Pixel Scroll 10/29/20 The Wheel of Time Bears Bitter Fruit

(1) FOR THE WINNERS. Joy Alyssa Day posted a photo of this year’s Chesley Award.

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13. On April 13, 1970, the Apollo 13’s lunar landing was aborted in what would become a historic mission. The crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft splashed down on April 17, 1970.

It’s a beautiful piece, 4″ wide, 12″ deep and about 4″ tall. Water is sculpted fused glass with a blown glass Apollo Capsule attached. Capsule is engraved and painted for the doors and windows.

(2) BREAK THE CYCLE. Samantha Haney Press in a Facebook post urges “A Radical Approach To Fan-Run Cons”.

…Conrunning is a hard, sometimes thankless task. Most of the time people don’t know who does what unless they’re looking to complain. Most people don’t know that a lot of fan-run cons are run by volunteers, not paid workers.

THAT BEING SAID, conrunners are still stewards of and drawn from the community made up of the convention’s attendees. If your convention isn’t welcoming to congoers of marginalized identities, the demographics trickle up. Fewer people of color among attendees means fewer people of color to recruit from for leadership positions.

And the reverse becomes true, too – no people of marginalized identities in leadership roles? Those demographics will feel unwelcome as attendees, either through passive perception or active failures by leadership. It’s a cycle.

You have to make a DELIBERATE EFFORT to break the cycle. At *every* link in the chain, or it perpetuates itself.

You need not just one person overseeing programming, for instance, but an ecosystem of people across many departments, from front-facing/high-profile jobs to the invisible ones backstage. You need redundancy in case of burnout – conrunner burnout is REAL, and it’s **compounded** by social justice burnout for those trying to enact systemic change….

(3) SPECULATING ABOUT REALITY. Mary Anne Mohanraj interviews “Minal Hajratwala”, author of Leaving India, at Speculative Literature Foundation. (Transcript here.)

“South Asian work in particular, it’s interesting because I feel like…a modern South Asian science fiction sensibility, if there is one, is still forming. And of course, I mean, we’ve talked about this, how diverse South Asia is, so many different strands. So whether you can even say there is ‘a South Asian sensibility’ is disputable. But at the same time, I do think that South Asian countries have this deep wellspring of myth…and religion, which is nothing if not speculative. Like, that’s, to me, that’s the definition. It’s like we don’t know things; therefore, we will speculate about how reality is constructed. And so drawing from that is this really fertile ground that I think people are still just beginning to tap into.”

(4) SOUND FAMILIAR? Den of Geek presents “The Scariest Sentences Ever Written, Selected by Top Horror Authors”. You’ll know a bunch of these.

For Halloween we’ve attempted to round up some of the scariest sentences ever written – and who better to ask for their recommendations than some of the finest horror writers and editors around? We asked some of our favourite experts to tell us the line that scared them most and why. Any suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments.

To Serve Man by Damon Knight

Scariest sentence“It’s a cookbook,” he said.

Is there a better whammy of an end line than this? Ten to one you’ll know the story that precedes it: Seemingly benevolent aliens, the Kanamit, arrive on earth, promising peace and prosperity. The aliens are as good as their word, and start whisking “lucky” humans off to their planet for a “ten year exchange programme”. A U.N translator, who (rightly) thinks this is all too good to be true, sets about translating the aliens’ favourite book, which, from its title, “To Serve Man,” is assumed to be an innocent handbook. It ain’t (see the last line).

(5) CLUB FANS. PC Magazine asks Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society President Matthew B. Tepper “In 2020, Is Science Fiction Still an Escape?”

That was a long time before you joined, but do you have any memories of meeting [Ray Bradbury]?
MBT: 
If you bounced around to all the libraries and bookstores on LA’s Westside, as I did as a kid, it was hard not to meet Ray! He was always around somewhere, always genial, always ready to bask in adulation. The last time I saw him was just before his 90th birthday, at a bookstore.

There must be lots of writers who’ve emerged from LASFS over the years.
MBT: 
Yes, we’ve had many authors come up from our membership. The best known is Larry Niven, author of Ringworld, and he still attends our Zoom meetings. 

(6) MORE ABOUT LUPOFF. Comics expert Maggie Thompson focuses on the good times in “Richard Allen Lupoff: Among the Memories” at The Comics Journal.

…But facts, dates, awards: They don’t convey just how much fun it was to hang out with Dick and Pat — and how eternally kind they were as hosts. I’m speaking here as one among many who experienced their kindness. For example, they: provided home base, as Don and I explored Manhattan’s comics publishers; played host, as Don and I visited Poughkeepsie to tour the Western printing operation; and brainstormed collecting a bunch of nostalgia articles into book collections that others could share. Heck, I haven’t even mentioned their kindness, as the plans for us all to see the Broadway show It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman fell through — and they arranged to substitute the off-Broadway The Mad Show. They were there for us so that we could attend John Benson’s multi-day New York City comics convention that same year (with Pat and me as two of the four attending females). And it was grand to see them more than once at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

(7) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.

  • 1996 — Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife was published by Tor Books with the cover illustration by Susan Boulet. It would win the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature the following year. It was nominated for both the BFA and Nebula Awards too. She later published a somewhat loosely connected story, “The Color of Angels”, a year later. Jo Walton in What Makes This Book So Great says that The Wood Wife “hits a sweet spot for me where I just love everything it’s doing.”

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born October 29, 1906 – Fredric Brown.  Had he written only “Arena”, The Lights in the Sky Are StarsMartians, Go Home, and What Mad Universe, it would have been enough for us; these even if alone would make him a star in our sky.  Two more novels, a hundred thirty shorter stories – some very short, one of his gifts.  Also detective fiction (Edgar Award for The Fabulous Clipjoint).  NESFA Press has two collections.  I never met him in person; photos show an ordinary-looking man; all his strangeness, of which he had no lack, must have gone into his work.  (Died 1972) [JH]
  • Born October 29, 1925 – Beryl Mercer.  Active in the British SF Ass’n.  Essays, reviews in Vector and Zenith, some with husband Archie Mercer.  Fanzines Oz (for OMPA, the Off-trails Magazine Publishers Ass’n), Mercatorial Annual (with AM), The Middle Earthworm (with AM; Tolkien), The Once and Future Worm (with AM; Arthur); did much of the zine reproduction for PADS (Printing And Distributing Service) and contributed Link (with Mary Reed).  Eastercon committees.  Doc Weir award (U.K., for service).  (Died 2003) [JH]  
  • Born October 29, 1935 Sheila Finch, 85. She’s best-known for her stories about the Guild of Xenolinguists which are quite excellent. The Golden Gryphon collection The Guild of Xenolinguists is well worth seeking out. She also wrote Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction: Ancient Roots of the Literature of the Future which is exactly what the title says. Neither are available at the usual digital suspects though some of her other work is. (CE) 
  • Born October 29, 1938 Ralph Bakshi, 82. Started as low-level worker at Terrytoons, studio of characters such as Heckle and Jeckle and Mighty Mouse. His first major break would be on CBS  as creative director of Mighty Mouse and the Mighty Heroes. Fast forwarding to Fritz the Cat which may or may not be genre but it’s got a foul mouthed talking cat. Genre wise, I’d say War Wizards which features voice work by Mark Hamill and whose final name was Wizards so it wouldn’t be confused with you know what film. Next up was The Lord of the Rings, a very odd affair. That was followed by Fire and Ice, a collaboration with Frank Frazetta. Then came what I considered his finest work, the Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures series!  Then there’s Cool World… (CE) 
  • Born October 29, 1967 Rufus Sewall, 53. Appeared as Reichsmarschall John Smith in The Man in The High Castle loosely based on the novel by Philip K. Dick. And he was the lead in Dark City, a film often compared to the Matrix films. He’s also appeared, and this not a complete listing,in The Legend of ZorroAbraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterA Knight’s TaleMermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature, The Illusionist and on the American version of the Eleventh Hour series.(CE)
  • Born October 29, 1971 Winona Ryder, 49. Beatlejuice, of course, but also Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not to mention Alien Resurrection and Star Trek as Spock’s human mother Amanda Grayson. Which brings me to Being John Malkovich which might me the coolest genre film of all time. (CE) 
  • Born October 29, 1971 Anna Dale, 49. Scottish  writer whom many reviewers have dubbed “the next JK Rowling” whose best  known for her Whispering to Witches children’s novel. It was based on her masters dissertation in children’s writing. She has written two more novels of a similar ilk, Spellbound and Magical Mischief. (CE)
  • Born October 29, 1979 Andrew Lee Potts, 41. He is best known as Connor Temple on Primeval and the all-too-short live spinoff Primeval: New World. He was also Tim Larson in Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, a British crime drama series. Yes, it’s that Stan Lee. He also had recurring role of Toby in Strange, a BBC supernatural series. (CE) 
  • Born October 29, 1938 – Ralph Bakshi, 82.  Producer, director, writer, animator.  Fritz the Cat (1972), first animated film to be rated X, may be the most financially successful independent animated film of all time.  Two years of Mighty Mouse 1987-1989.  Started as a cel polisher at Terrytoons.  Golden Gryphon for his Lord of the Rings.  Inkpot.  Annie.  [JH]
  • Born October 29, 1968 – Stanley Donwood, 52.  One novel, a shorter story, four covers for us; half a dozen other books; artwork for the band Radiohead, its singer Thom Yorke’s solo albums, TY’s band Atoms for Peace – I’ll let you decide whether those are ours, Our Gracious Host has been after me for saying maybe. Website Slowly Downward, also the title of a 2001 collection.  Here is Blue Light.  Here is Concrete Island.  Here is Let’s All Go to the Science Fiction Disco.  [JH]
  • Born October 29, 1975 – Dahlia Rose, 45.  Seven dozen books; mostly romance, historical, military, modern, paranormal, combinations thereof; to quote her Website, “Bad boys, soldiers and shifters, spice between the sheets”.  Ten so far in the Paladin Dragons series.  [JH]
  • Born October 29, 1986 – Lyndsay Gilbert, 34.  Likes SF, playing the fiddle, cats, dogs, “and the ancient art of belly dance”.  Has read Tennyson and Yeats.   One novel, three shorter stories so far.  A few months ago she wrote, “My life has changed so much in the last two years.  Unfortunately my writing hasn’t changed enough, so prepare for a deluge of emotional poems, folks.”  [JH]

(9) GONE ALREADY. ComingSoon reports “Sci-Fi Drama Brave New World Cancelled at Peacock After One Season”.  

According to DeadlinePeacock has officially decided not to give David Wiener’s sci-fi drama series Brave New World a second season renewal, with UCP planning to shop it to other streamers or networks. This cancellation comes four months after the Alden Ehrenreich-led series debuted its 9-episode first season as part of the original slate for the streamer’s launch in July.

(10) FOR ALL MANKIND. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “What if America had lost the race to the moon? My long-read Q&A with Ronald D. Moore” at the American Enterprise Institute, AEI scholar James Pethokoukis interviews For All Mankind creator Ronald D. Moore about his show, including why NASA did not cooperate with the series because they don’t want to hear from cranks who think the Moon landing was faked, why there should be more optimistic sf, and whether Moore, as a former Star Trek writer, agrees with Peter Thiel’s statement that Star Wars is capitalist and Star Trek communist because there’s no money in Star Trek.

In the show, one of the lead characters, astronaut Ed Baldwin, portrayed by Joel Kinnaman, criticizes NASA for being too risk-averse. Is that just a purely in-show criticism? Or is that a real-world criticism when we think about the things that have either gone wrong or not really been as spectacular as maybe many of us had hoped decades ago?

I think it’s a little bit of both. In the show’s context, I felt like that’s where the characters would go. They would be looking for reasons why they got beat, and it was like, “Well, this is why we got beat: We got too risk-averse after the Apollo 1 fire. It made us too cautious, and we lost that spirit. That’s the reason.”

In real-world terms, I think there is some validity to that. I think that the Apollo 1 fire, the Challenger accident, and the Columbia accident were magnified to the point in the public imagination that then everything at NASA became about safety. I’m not saying that we should risk astronaut lives willy-nilly. That’s not the point at all. But these are inherently dangerous things that we’re attempting. We’ve gotten to the point with space travel where we’re so concerned about that aspect that it feels like they’re really unwilling to take much risk at all.

And it’s an inherently dangerous undertaking. So then you’re sort of saying, “Well, we’re going to do very, very little of it because we have to be so, so, safe in every single possible way because we’re so deathly afraid of losing somebody.” The truth is it was predicted that we were going to lose more than one orbiter when the Space Shuttle program was first posited. So it wasn’t a shock on a certain level that it happened. It’s an inherently dangerous business. But, as a result of what happened, the way it was portrayed, and the way we dealt with it, the American public just became like, “God, we just cannot risk their lives anymore.” That works against the idea of, “You have to boldly go. You got to be bold. You got to take the risk.”

(11) REWINDING SHEETS. The Guardian brings you “Scariest ghosts in cinema – ranked!”. My favorite horror movie is almost at the bottom of this list.

18. Emeric Belasco in The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Size does matter. If ever a ghost failed to live up to its reputation it’s the malevolent entity at the centre of John Hough’s screening of Richard Matheson’s haunted house tale (played by an uncredited Michael Gough) who has to delegate his havoc-wreaking to a black cat and unsecured chapel furniture. He still manages to rack up a body count.

(12) HOUSELESS HAUNTS. CrimeReads’ Matthew Lyons counts off “The 9 Scariest Fictional Haunted Houses (That Aren’t Actually Houses)”. First on the list —

The Photo Album – Paper Tigers, Damien Angelica Walters

Some of the scariest hauntings are borne out of trauma, and in no other book is this fact examined with such dread and empathy as Damien Angelica Walters’ Paper Tigers. The story follows Alison, a horribly scarred young woman navigating the trauma from the loss of the life she used to know, who soon discovers a photo album in a curio shop that is far more terrifying and alive than it seems at the outset….

(13) BOWIE. Pitchfork invites everyone to “Watch the New Trailer for David Bowie Movie Stardust  — “…The movie focuses on a U.S. publicity tour in 1971, which led to Bowie inventing the Ziggy Stardust character. The film is coming to theaters and VOD on November 25.”

David Bowie is one of the most seminal legends in music history; but who was the man behind the many faces? In 1971, a 24-year-old fledgling David Bowie (Johnny Flynn) is sent to America to promote his newest record, The Man Who Sold the World. Leaving behind his pregnant wife Angie (Jena Malone), Bowie and his band embark on a makeshift coast-to-coast promotional tour with struggling Mercury Records publicist Rob Oberman (Marc Maron).

(14) MUPPET SCARES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Yahoo! Entertainment story, “MVP of Horror: Alice Cooper recalls making a devilish deal with the Muppets”, Lyndsey Parker interviews Cooper, who said he was concerned that appearing on The Muppet Show would affect his brand as a super-scary guy, but Cooper says he had a really great time.

Back in the ‘70s, almost every major musical artist was starring in some bonkers movie musical or TV variety show — even KISS got in on the act. But KISS’s fellow shock-rocker Alice Cooper turned most of those opportunities down, out of concern that such projects would dilute the menacing image he’d so carefully cultivated with his own 1975 television special, Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, and its companion concept album, Welcome to My Nightmare. “I never wanted to be in a show where I had to totally lose the Alice character and become something else,” he explains to Yahoo Entertainment.

But when Jim Henson came calling, asking him to star in The Muppet Show’s 1978 Halloween special, that was an offer Alice could not refuse. “I never had so much fun in my life as doing The Muppet Show,” he gushes.

“I balked at first,” Cooper admits. “I went, ‘Oh man, I’ve been spending all this time building this villain image. Is this just going to water it down?’ I said, ‘Who’s going to be on it?’ And they said Christopher Lee, Vincent Price [who’d done previous Muppet Show Halloween guest spots]. And I went, ‘I’m in!’ I didn’t even have to think about it. I went, ‘I’m in. If those guys can do it, I am privileged to do it.’”

I saw the version of “School’s Out” Cooper did with the Muppets and I thought it was pretty entertaining.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel “Poppin’ Wheelies” Dern.]

2020 Chesley Awards

The Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists (ASFA) revealed the winners of the 2020 Chesley Awards in an online ceremony today.

The Chesley is named for astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell.

Best Cover: Hardback Book

  • Eric Wilkerson — Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia (Rick Riordan Presents / October 2019)

Best Cover: Paperback or Ebook

  • Amanda Makepeace — The Long List Anthology Volume 5 by David Steffen (Diabolical Books / December 2019)

Best Magazine Illustration

  • Evan Cagle — Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Ones #1 / August 2019

Best Interior Illustration

  • John Picacio — Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron Books/Macmillan / September 2019)

Best Gaming Related Illustration

  • Charles Urbach – King By His Own Hand Official VIG (Very Important Gamer) Attendee Badge and Art Print for GameHole Con Gaming Convention (October 2019)

Best Product Illustration

  • Rachel Quinlan — Olde Fae tuck box, Rachel Quinlan (Changeling Artist Collective)

Best Color Work – Unpublished

  • Debbie Hughes — The Raven, The Wolf and the Maiden (Oil on panel)

Best Monochrome Work- Unpublished

  • Tehani Farr — Gyhan akaii dannan Deli Iatt ”She who sits at the end of the world upon a mountain of bones dreaming” (Mixed Media, watercolor, graphite pencil)

Best Three Dimensional

  • Forest Rogers — Selene (Mixed media)

Best Art Director

  • Lauren Panepinto (Orbit)

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award

  • Syd Mead

Note: Syd Mead died December 30, 2019.

Photos of some of the winners and presenters follow the jump.

Continue reading

Pixel Scroll 10/21/20 The Haunting Of Mount TBR House

(1) ON THE FRONT OF F&SF. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction’s Nov/Dec 2020 cover art by David A. Hardy is for “Skipping Stones in the Dark” by Amman Sabet.

(2) SOME TRICKS, SOME TREATS. A new trailer — Season 2 of The Mandalorian streams October 30 on Disney+.

(3) WATCH THE CHESLEYS. Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists President Sara Felix reminds everyone, “The Chesley award ceremony is this weekend on line in conjunction with IX Arts, Saturday October 24th at 7 pm EST.”

It will be streaming on the ASFA website here.

(4) EARLY WARNER SYSTEM. SYFY Wire frames another new trailer: “The Animaniacs Catch Up On The 21st Century In Full, ‘Insany’ Trailer For Hulu Reboot”.

The Warner siblings are back and better than ever in the official trailer for Hulu‘s Animaniacs reboot. True to form, Yakko (Rob Paulsen), Wackko (Jess Harnell), and Dot (Tress MacNeille) are very much aware of how much time has passed since the original series was canceled in the late 1990s.

They’re right at home in a post-Deadpool world and have a lot to catch up on, like mobile tablets, quinoa wraps, and, most importantly, Queen Bae. Meanwhile, Pinky (also voiced by Paulsen) and the Brain (Maurice LaMarche) are still trying to take over the world, but must adapt to the modern woes of catfishing and Instagram likes.

(5) SCHOLARSHIP IN 2020. Livia Gershon’s article “The Self-Styled Sci-Fi Supermen of the 1940s” at JSTOR Daily is filed with the tagline: “Way before there were stans, there were slans. Too bad about their fascist utopian daydreams!” The author is eager to slap the fascist label on fans – and seems ignorant of the fact that that some of the people who lived in the Michigan “Slan Shack” were gay, and that their idea of a utopia free of persecution might not really match up with the author’s fascist stereotype. And treating Claude Degler as a representative of mainstream fandom is an idea as nutty as Degler was.

Science fiction is often a vehicle for social and political ideas, from celebrations of high-tech space colonialism to warnings about the misuse of technology. In the 1940s, English and technology scholar Andrew Pilsch writes, a utopian strain in science fiction fandom brought readers uncomfortably close to an alignment with fascism.

Pilsch writes that science fiction experienced a “superman boom” starting around 1939. This was driven largely by John W. Campbell Jr., editor of Astounding Stories. Campbell editorialized about the real-world possibilities of human enhancement. He also published many stories about super-human beings. Most notable among these was Slan, a novel by A.E. van Vogt. Amazing Stories serialized Slan in 1940—two years after Superman himself had debuted in Action Comics. In van Vogt’s story, the regular people of Earth persecute “slans,” genetically advanced humans.

The book gave the science fiction–reading community a new slogan: “fans are slans.”

Pilsch writes that some fans took this concept very seriously, imagining themselves as a group distinct from the rest of humanity. Among them were Al and Abby Lu Ashley, who proposed creating a “Slan Center”—a settlement as big as a city block, with homes, a library, and a space for publishing fanzines. Describing the concept, the Ashleys wrote that “Intellectually, fans far exceed the ordinary person.”

Dal Coger, a fan who was involved in the initial planning, explained later that “everyone had experienced the raised eyebrows of mundanes when you tried to discuss science fictional ideas with them. Slan Center would make it possible to be openly fannish any time we were away from work.”

While the Slan Center never became reality, the Ashleys did found an eight-room fan house in 1943. Those who moved into the Ashleys’ “Slan Shack” included fan artist Jack Wiedenbeck, fanzine publisher Walt Liebscher, and science fiction writer E.E. “Doc” Smith. Other fan houses popped up, including Tendril House in Los Angeles, the Ivory Birdbath in Massachusetts, and the Futurian Fortress in New York….

(6) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.

  • 2000 — Twenty years ago at Chicon 2000, Vernor Vinge‘s A Deepness in the Sky won the Hugo for Best Novel.  The novel is a loose prequel (set twenty thousand years earlier) to A Fire Upon the Deep. Published by Tor Books in 1999, it decidedly beat out Lois McMaster Bujold’s A Civil Campaign with the rest of the final ballot being Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, Greg Bear‘s Darwin’s Radio and J. K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  It would also win the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and Prometheus Award along with being nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke, Nebula, Locus, BFA and HOMer awards. 

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born October 21, 1772 – Samuel Coleridge.  This complicated genius wrote, among much else, in 54 lines of poetry, “Kubla Khan”, one of the finest fantasies.  See also the Raymond F. Jones story “The Person From Porlock”; C’s title may lie behind the Theodore Sturgeon story “The Skills of Xanadu”.  Poet, critic, philosopher.  Coined the expression “suspension of disbelief”.  (Died 1834) [JH]
  • Born October 21, 1904 – Edmond Hamilton.  Seven novels of the Interstellar Patrol; two of Star Kings; three of Starwolf; a score of Captain Future; a dozen more.  Two hundred fifty shorter stories; see The Best of Edmond Hamilton edited posthumously by his widow Leigh Brackett.  For DC Comics he particularly wrote Batman and Superman; co-created Batwoman (1956).  He reached far.  (Died 1977) [JH]
  • Born October 21, 1914 Martin Gardner. He was one of leading authorities on Lewis Carroll. The Annotated Alice, which incorporated the text of Carroll’s two Alice books is still a bestseller. He was considered the doyen (your word to learn today) of American puzzlers. And, to make him even more impressive, in 1999 Magic magazine named Gardner one of the “100 Most Influential Magicians of the Twentieth Century”.  Cool! (Died 2010.) (CE)
  • Born October 21, 1929 Ursula Le Guin. She called herself a “Narrative American”. And she most emphatically did not consider herself to be a genre writer instead preferring be known as an “American novelist”. Oh, she wrote genre fiction with quite some brilliance, be it the Earthsea sequence, The Left Hand of DarknessThe Dispossessed, or Always Coming Home. Her upbringing as the daughter of two academics, one who was an anthropologist and the other who had a graduate degree in psychology, showed in her writing. And the home library of the family had a lot of SF in it. If you’re interested in the awards she won in her career, she garnered  the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and World Fantasy Award, each at least once and she was also awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters It won’t surprise you that she was made a Grandmaster of Science Fiction, one of a few women writers to take the top honor in the genre. (Died 2018.) (CE) 
  • Born October 21, 1933 Georgia Brown. She’s the actress who portrayed Helena Rozhenko, foster mother of Worf, in the Next Gen’s “Family” and “New Ground” episodes. She was Frau Freud in The Seven-Percent Solution, and was Rachel in “The Musgrave Ritual” episode of the Nigel Stock fronted Sherlock Holmes series. (Died 1992.)  (CE) 
  • Born October 21, 1936 – Ken Cheslin.  Famously published Fables of Irish Fandom (with John Berry); The Bleary Eyes (about the Goon Defective Agency; JB was Goon Bleary); a second ed’n of Vincent Clarke’s tributezine Atom, and one of his own, Atom 2000 – to this day we still quarrel over writing the fanartist Arthur Thomson’s signature and nickname as “ATom” or “Atom”.  (Died 2000) [JH]
  • Born October 21, 1945 Everett McGill, 75. Stilgar in the first Dune film. Earlier in his career, he was a Noah in Quest for Fire. Later on, he’s Ed Killifer in License to Kill, and on Twin Peaks, he’s Big Ed Hurley. He was also Rev. Lowe in Stephen King’s Silver Bullet, a werewolf flick that actually has a decent rating of 55% at Rotten Tomatoes! (CE)
  • Born October 21, 1955 – Nancy Wirsig McClure, 65.  Revived, ran, and was Master of Ceremonies for the Masquerade costume competition at ICON (Iowa City); Fan Guest of Honor (with husband Martin McClure), ICON 18.  Originated, ran, and MC’d Masquerades at Demicon (Des Moines).  Con committees at Minicon, edited the Bozo Bus Tribune at Minicon 30.  Moved to Portland; OryCon committees.  Runs a design & illustration business; designed e.g. this OryCon flier, this Bruce Schneier book; see here.  [JH]
  • Born October 21, 1956 Carrie Fisher. In addition to the original Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars Holiday SpecialThe Force AwakensStar Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, she was in Amazon Women on the MoonThe Time Guardian, Hook, Scream 3, and A Midsummer Night’s Rave. (Died 2016.) (CE)
  • Born October 21, 1958 – Julie Bell, 62.  Graphic artist in her own right and with husband Boris Vallejo.  Three Chesleys (one with him).  Three artbooks and eight with BV.  A hundred covers, four hundred interiors.  Here is Stonehenge.  Here is Falling Stars.  Here is Beguilement.  Here is Soft as Steel.  Also horses and other wildlife.  [JH]
  • Born October 21, 1973 Sasha Roiz, 47. I know him only as Captain Sean Renard on the excellent Grimm series but he’s also been Sam Adama on Caprica as well. And he’s also been on Warehouse 13 in the recurring role of Marcus Diamond. He even showed up once on Lucifer as U.S. Marshal Luke Reynolds. (CE)
  • Born October 21, 1974 – Chris Garcia, 46.  Fanziner and immeasurable being.  Edited Tightbeam and The National Fantasy Fan, served as President of the N3F (Nat’l Fantasy Federation).  Hugo for The Drink Tank.  Nova for Journey Planet (with James Bacon).  Also Claims DepartmentExhibition Hall.  TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) delegate, his report Rockets Across the Waters.  Fan Guest of Honor at SFContario 3, ConQuest 44, Westercon 67, Baycon 2018.  He and I were separated at birth; he got the hair.  [JH]

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Close To Home shows how one witch is adapting to the latest technology.

(9) IN DYING COLOR. On Bruce Sterling’s Tumblr today he has a number of crayon Lovecraftian illustrations “by a young Robert Bloch”.

Lovecraftian illustrations by a young Robert Bloch, (original Cthulhu Mythos fanboy, later famous as the author of Psycho) doodled in crayon on various notebooks and pieces of cardboard between 1933 and 1937.

Here’s one —

(10) CHOW CALL. Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman and Illustrated by Chris Riddell goes on sale December 1.

Meet LONG JOHN McRON, SHIP’S COOK . . . and the most unusual babysitter you’ve ever seen.

Long John has a whole crew of wild pirates in tow, and—for one boy and his sister—he’s about to transform a perfectly ordinary evening into a riotous adventure beneath a pirate moon. It’s time to make some PIRATE STEW.

Marvelously silly and gloriously entertaining, this tale of pirates, flying ships, doughnut feasts and some rather magical stew is perfect for all pirates, both young and old.

(11) REVOKE THE VOTE? Camestros Felapton addresses the question: “Should John C Wright be allowed to vote?” It doesn’t take long.

Today’s politico-ethical question is easily answered. Yes, science fiction author John C Wright should be allowed to vote in whatever nation he chooses to live in, because people who are held accountable to laws should have a say in those laws AND also the legitimacy of government should derive from the broad consent of the governed….

But why is this a question? Because John C. Wright posed it himself in “It is Time to Reconsider”, although it’s not his own franchise but that of women, that he has doubts about:

Is it time to reconsider the 19th Amendment?

The argument for female suffrage is that women are not more prone to bouts of emotionalism than men, and hence is it equally worthwhile, as the whole, to consult with them over the conduct and control of public business.

Unfortunately, it is evident that there are but rare and few men in the current generation show any particular manly or masculine virtues which would entitle them to a say in the public business, if stoicism, reason, and virtue were preconditions for the franchise.

The argument against female suffrage is that voting is a peaceful substitute for revolution, wherein the less numerous party, seeing himself outnumbered, agreed without bloodshed to abide by the vote of the more numerous. Women, being largely less ready, willing, or able to take up arms than men, have no place in these military questions.….

Yes, if only the legislators who ratified the 19th Amendment – virtually all of whom were men, by the way – had been aided by the prophetic vision of that six-time Hugo nominee and Grand Inquisitor of the Evil Legion of Evil, John C. Wright.

(12) PKD’S POLITICAL ADVICE. Meanwhile, back in 1952, Philip K. Dick wrote to the editors of the Oakland Tribune naming his candidate to save the country:

Editor:  Unless we elect Justice William O. Douglas President this country will surely continue to drift toward militarism and uniformity of thought.  Only Justice Douglas seems to realize that our military outlook is fast destroying our liberty and economy.  We must see that he is nominated and elected, or America may become another Spain.  Governments all over the world are gaining in diabolical powers; with a great liberal President this trend might be reversed. . . .

— PHILIP K. DICK

Berkeley.

[Feb 21, 1952]

Thanks to Bill for the clipping.

(13) SAVING THROW. Whereas this author’s advice was posted by Polygon just yesterday. “We asked Kim Stanley Robinson: Can science fiction save us?”

Can science fiction save us in our present political and cultural circumstances? Is it a useful teaching tool to help us think about how to solve our present problems, or model better ways of living?

Well, it’s the latter, for sure. Whether it’s the former depends on whether we pay attention. But let me answer a little more at length.

If you think of science fiction as just a kind of modeling exercise, everybody is a science fiction writer in their own lives. You make plans based on modeling in your mind. When you’re feeling hopeful, you have a kind of utopian plan: if you do these things, you’ll get to a good place. And then when you’re afraid, you have these worries that if you do these things, you’ll get to a bad place. So the fundamental exercise of science fiction is a very natural human thing. And then when it gets written down in long narrative forms, like science fiction novels, everybody recognizes the exercises involved there. Although when I say that, I realize that, actually, lots of people don’t like to read science fiction, so they’re not recognizing the way books are the same as what they do for their own lives. That’s surprising to me, but it happens a lot….

(14) IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTENING. The LA Times takes notes on “What scientists hope to learn from a beetle that can survive being run over by a car”.

It’s a beetle that can withstand bird pecks, animal stomps and even being rolled over by a Toyota Camry. Now scientists are studying what the bug’s crush-resistant shell could teach them about designing stronger airplanes and buildings.

“This beetle is super tough,” said Purdue University civil engineer Pablo Zavattieri, who was among a group of researchers that ran over the insect with a car in the name of science.

So, how does the seemingly indestructible insect do it?

The species — the aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle — owes its might to an unusual armor that is layered and pieced together like a jigsaw, according to the study by Zavattieri and his colleagues published in Nature on Wednesday. Its design, they say, could help inspire more durable structures and vehicles.

(15) THE LAND AND THE DRAGON ARE ONE. Restore peace. Find the last dragon. See the new trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon, in theaters March 2021.

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers:  Star Wars:  Squadrons” on YouTube, Fandom Games says in this game “you can fly an X-Wing and it makes a “pu-pu’ sound.  What more do you want?”

[Thanks to JJ, Michael Toman, Bill, Andrew Porter, Gordon Van Gelder, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, N., Cat Eldridge, Sara Felix, Martin Morse Wooster, Dennis Howard, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

2020 Chesley Nominations

Today during the Virtual Columbus NASFiC, the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists (ASFA) unveiled the finalists for the 2020 Chesley Awards.

The Chesley is named for astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell. The winners will be voted by ASFA members.

2020 Chesley Nominations List

Best Cover: Hardback Book

  • Tommy Arnold — Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Tor / September 2019)
  • Tran Nguyen — The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson (Source Books Fire / July 2019)
  • Karla Ortiz – Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter (Orbit / July 2019)
  • Feifei Ruan — The Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (Albert Whitman / April 2019)
  • Michael Whelan — Empire of Grass by Tad Williams (DAW Books / May 2019)
  • Eric Wilkerson — Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia (Rick Riordan Presents / October 2019)

Best Cover: Paperback or Ebook

  • David Curtis — Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh (Tor/Forge Tor.com / June 2019)
  • Jamie Jones — The Warrior Moon by K Arsenault Rivera (Tor / September 2019)
  • Amanda Makepeace — The Long List Anthology Volume 5 by David Steffen (Diabolical Books / December 2019)
  • David Palumbo — Wildcards IX: The Jokertown Shuffle edited by George R.R. Martin (Tor / April 2019)
  • Dan Dos Santos — The Cunning Man by D.J. Butler and Aaron Michael Ritchey (Baen / November 2019)
  • Jeremy Wilson — Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes (Orbit / April 2019)

Best Magazine Illustration

  • Yoshitaka Amano — Blood Borne #12 / June 2019
  • Evan Cagle — Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Ones #1 / August 2019
  • Matt Dixon — Clarkesworld #152 / May 2019
  • Tiffany England — Into the Wild Blue Yonder, Cricket Magazine / October 2019
  • Tithi Luadthong — Lightspeed #109 / June 2019
  • Reiko Murakami — Lightspeed #104 / January 2019

Best Interior Illustration

  • Francois Baranger — The Call of Cthulhu Design (Studio Press / November 2019)
  • Audrey Benjaminsen — Time Variance of Snow by E. Lily Yu (Tor.com / December 2019)
  • Amanda Makepeace — “Fanfare for Rose” (Amazing Stories, Spring 2019, Vol 76)
  • John Picacio — Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron Books/Macmillan / September 2019)
  • Armando Veve —  Knowledgeable Creatures (Tor.com / March 2019)
  • Allen Williams — Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke (Katherine Tegen Books / July 2019)

Best Gaming Related Illustration

  • Wylie Beckert — Rosethorn Acolyte: Throne of Eldraine Magic Card (WotC / October 2019)
  • Iris Compiet — Brazen Borrower: Throne of Eldraine Magic Card (WotC / October 2019)
  • Melissa Gay — Summer Dandelion: Olde Fae Card Game (Changeling Artist Collective / June 2019)
  • Winona Nelson — Lonesome Unicorn: Throne of Eldraine Magic Card (WotC / October 2019)
  • Omar Rayyan — Flaxen Intruder: Throne of Eldraine Magic Card (WotC / October 2019)
  • Charles Urbach – King By His Own Hand Official VIG (Very Important Gamer) Attendee Badge and Art Print for GameHole Con Gaming Convention (October 2019)

Best Product Illustration

  • Oliver Barrett — Full Metal Jacket (Mondo Poster / June 2019)
  • Tehani Farr — The Sky Mage and The God Eye Poster art (Pawahtun Festival / January 2019)
  • Emily Hare — Dragons 2020 Calendar (Kickstarter / November 2019)
  • Kez Laczin — Cover art for the song Stronger by TheFatRat (Monstercat / June 2019)
  • John Picacio — La Cantarita (Loteria Grande Card published by Lone Boy / December 2019)
  • Rachel Quinlan — Olde Fae tuck box, Rachel Quinlan (Changeling Artist Collective)

Best Color Work – Unpublished

  • Bruce Brenneise — If Stones Could Cry (Digital)
  • Martina Fa?ková — Spellbinding Terror (Digital)
  • Te Hu — Who am I? -La Marcarena (Digital)
  • Debbie Hughes — The Raven, The Wolf and the Maiden (Oil on panel)
  • Elizabeth Leggett — The Devil / The City (Digital)
  • David Seidman — The Divine Migration (Digital)
  • Lauren Raye — Snow Anima Sola I (Digital)

Best Monochrome Work- Unpublished

  • Ken Cunnningham — Both Their Coats Were Heavy (Graphite powder on dura-lar)
  • Jeff Echevarria — Doctor, My Eyes (Charcoal, graphite and gouache)
  • Tehani Farr — Gyhan akaii dannan Deli Iatt ”She who sits at the end of the world upon a mountain of bones dreaming” (Mixed Media, watercolor, graphite pencil)
  • Melissa Sue — Stanley The Tootsie Monster (Graphite)
  • Allen Williams — The Hidden Light (Powdered graphite pencil, oil on board)

Best Three Dimensional

  • Daria Aksenova — The Crane Wife (Pen, Ink & Goldleaf on hand cut, suspended, layered)
  • Sara Felix — The Cosmic Egg (Mixed Media)
  • Kristine Poole — The Spinner of Dreams (Bronze)
  • Forest Rogers — Selene (Mixed media)
  • Vincent Villafranca — Unbridled and Unfettered (Bronze)

Best Art Director

  • Christine Foltzer (Tor.com)
  • Irene Gallo (Tor / Tor.com)
  • Kate Irwin (Wizards of the Coast)
  • Lauren Panepinto (Orbit)
  • Nadine Schäkel (Ulisses Spiele)
  • Cynthia Sheppard (Wizards of the Coast)

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award

  • Yoshitaka Amano
  • Stephanie Law
  • Gregory Manchess
  • Iain McCaig
  • Syd Mead
  • Wendy Pini
  • Allen Williams

Pixel Scroll 10/16/19 The Pixels In This Scroll Are Not For Eating!

(1) CHESLEY AWARD. Neil Clarke shows off this year’s beautiful trophy.

(2) HELP NEEDED TO FIND TEXT OF A BOB SHAW SPEECH. Rob Jackson and Dave Langford are planning an ebook of Bob Shaw’s legendary Serious Scientific Talks, to be added to the free library at the TAFF site (taff.org.uk). They have traced thirteen of these convention speeches — three never before collected — but not the final one. This was delivered at Confabulation, the 1995 UK Eastercon, and (perhaps with revisions) at the first Glasgow Worldcon later that year. Rather than the usual knockabout punning, Bob reminisced movingly about his 50 years in fandom. Can any Filer help with a copy, transcription or recording of this talk to complete the set?

Here is the planned cover, with artwork by Jim Barker from the five-speech collection The Eastercon Speeches (1979) edited by Rob Jackson.

(3) MODERATING CON PANELS. Matt Moore’s post from a few years ago surfaced again because it has so many useful things to say: “How to Be a Good Moderator for Panel Discussions at Conventions”.

Understanding your role as moderator

The moderator is there to make sure there actually is a discussion, and that it runs smoothly. Panelists should have a lot to say, but you need to guide the conversation. This means:

  • Everyone gets a chance to speak
  • Only one person speaks at a time
  • People can disagree and be passionate in their views, but it must be done respectfully
  • You stay on topic

(4) TALKIN’ ABOUT THE 451 WAYS. Alex Jay talks about drafting graphics for a long-ago video game in “Lettering: Fahrenheit 451” at Tenth Letter of the Alphabet.

In 1984 Byron Preiss Visual Publications produced a video game adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for Trillium. The book was published by Ballantine Books on October 19, 1953.

Byron Preiss gave an Atari console to me to create the graphics. I don’t recall the model number. Below are my ideas for the title sequence. Preiss wanted to use a salamander in the sequence.

(5) THE CRAFT IN LOVECRAFT. Learn how unexpectedly picky HPL was about space opera in “The Cthulhu Mythos and Space Opera by Bobby Derie” at the On An Underwood No. 5 blog.

…A keen amateur astronomer, Lovecraft largely eschewed the dynamics that made space opera feasible. In his 1935 essay “Some Notes on Interplanetary Fiction” he railed:

“A good interplanetary story must have realistic human characters; not the stock scientists, villainous assistants, invincible heroes, and lovely scientist’s-daughter heroines of the usual trash of this sort. Indeed, there is no reason why there should be any “villain”, “hero”, or “heroine” at all. These artificial character-types belong wholly to artificial plot-forms, and have no place in serious fiction of any kind…”

(6) FELINE PERFECTION. BBC reports: “Catwoman: Zoe Kravitz follows Hathaway and Berry in The Batman role”.

Comic book fans will be purring with delight at the mews that Zoe Kravitz will play Catwoman opposite Robert Pattinson in the next Batman film.

Kravitz as good as confirmed her casting when she responded to an Instagram post by Aquaman star Jason Momoa in which he said he was “freaking stoked” by her latest role.

“Love that Aquaman and Catwoman spend the holidays together from now on,” wrote the 30-year-old, best known for her appearances in Big Little Lies and the Fantastic Beasts films.

Kravitz, daughter of rock star Lenny and actress Lisa Bonet, previously provided Catwoman’s voice in 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie.

The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Pattinson as a young Bruce Wayne, will be released in the UK in June 2021.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • October 16, 2001 — WB first aired Smallville which would run for ten seasons. Starring Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk and Annette O’Toole, it ran five years on the WB and the last five on the CW. The series lives on in comics and novels. 

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 16, 1924 David Armstrong. He never had a major role in any genre show but he was in myriad ones. In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. alone he appeared in twenty-two episodes in twenty-two different minor roles, he was a henchmen twice on Batman and had two uncredited appearances on Trek as well. He showed up on Mission Impossible, Get Smart!, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and even The Invaders. (Died 2016.)
  • Born October 16, 1925 Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury, 94. She first shows up in a genre work as Sibyl Vane in The Picture of Dorian Gray. A few years later, she’s Queen Anne of France in The Three Musketeers. Somewhat later, she’s Miss Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. She voices Mommy Fortuna in The Last Unicorn, and is Granny in A Company of Wolves. And yes, she’s in Mary Poppins Returns as The Balloon Lady.
  • Born October 16, 1947 Guy Siner, 72. He’s one of only ten actors to appear in both the Trek and Who franchises. He appeared in the “Genesis of the Daleks”, a Fourth Doctor story, and on Enterprise in the “Silent Enemy” episode. Interestingly, he shows up on Babylon 5 as well in “Rumors, Bargains and Lies”. 
  • Born October 16, 1952 Ron Taylor. He got his break with the 1982 off-Broadway production Little Shop of Horrors as he voiced Audrey II in the show which ran for five years and over 2,000 performances. He didn’t do a lot of genre, showing up only on Ice PiratesQuantum Leap, Twin Peaks and Deep Space Nine, plus voice work on Batman Beyond. (Died 2002.)
  • Born October 16, 1958 Tim Robbins, 61. His first genre role was Phil Blumburtt in Howard the Duck. He played Erik in Erik the Viking, and is in The Shawshank Redemption as Andy Dufresne. He’s Woodrow “Woody” Blake in Mission to Mars. He was Harlan Ogilvy in the truly awful War of the Worlds followed by being Senator Robert Hammond in the even worse Green Lantern.
  • ?Born October 16, 1965 Joseph Mallozzi, 54. He is most noted for work on the Stargate series. He joined the Stargate production team at the start of Stargate SG-1’s fourth season in 2000. He was a writer and executive producer for all three series. He also co-created the Dark Matter comic book series with Paul Mullie that became a Syfy series. 
  • Born October 16, 1973 Eva Röse, 46. Most likely best-known for her role as the android Niska in Season 1 of the Swedish Real Humans upon which AMC’s Humans was based. She also was one of the voice cast for the animated Creepschool series, and was Jasmie on The Befallen, a supernatural series that lasted one season there. 

(9) INSERT LIGHTSABER SOUND HERE. Major League Baseball’s Cut4 blog declares “The best possible way to interrupt a live interview is with a lightsaber”.

The Nationals finished off an NLCS sweep of the Cardinals on Tuesday and are headed to their first-ever World Series. Champagne was flowing, players were dancing, Max Scherzer was being Max Scherzer and a couple MLB Network analysts were still on the field — trying to wrap their heads around what had just happened. And then, well …

(10) IF YOU WERE A DESKTOP DINOSAUR, MY LOVE. Gizmodo teases, “Lego’s New Dinosaur Fossils Turn Your Desk Into a Miniature Natural History Museum”. Photos at the link.

You can claim to be interested in historical artifacts like pottery, suits of armor, and maybe even a mummy, but the most compelling reason to visit a museum, even as an adult, are the dinosaur fossils. If your hometown happens to be lacking in museums, however, Lego’s new Dinosaur Fossils set puts a small collection of thunder lizard skeletons on your desk, no admission required.

(11) SMILE AND THE WORLD SMILES WITH YOU. Delish claims “People Are Loving The Joker Frappuccino Even More Than The Movie That Inspired It”.

…First, you’ll have to ask for the barista to draw the smile on the side of the cup in strawberry syrup. Next, they’ll blend a Matcha Green Tea Creme Frappuccino. Then, Pyper suggests you ask for matcha powder to be mixed into the whipped creme but you honestly could probably just get it on top. That’s finished off with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and there you have it.

(12) BOMBS AWAY. The Mirror (UK) names the “Biggest box-office flops of the 21st century”.  There are three genre films atop the list. One of them is —

4. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

Starring Eddie Murphy in a dual role, the critically panned sci-fi comedy managed to earn a Razzie nomination for worst film, worst actor, worst director, worst screenplay and worst on-screen couple (both for Eddie Murphy and a cloned version of himself).

It managed to make just £5.73 million on a budget of £81.83 million.

(13) MOBILE SUIT xEMU. “For NASA’s New Suits, ‘Mobility’ Is The Watchword”NPR has the story. (The BBC has more pictures here.)

NASA has unveiled prototypes of its next generation space suits to be worn inside the Orion spacecraft and on the surface of the moon when American astronauts return there as soon as 2024.

At the space agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., two NASA engineers modeled the new suits destined for the Artemis program, one known as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), designed for walking around the lunar surface, and the other, the Orion Crew Survival System, a bright orange pressure suit to be worn when astronauts launch from Earth and return.

The design criteria? After keeping the crew safe, including America’s first woman moon walker, it’s all about mobility.

To that end, the suited models demonstrated bending, squatting and walking around in the bulky garments.

“This is the first suit we’ve designed in about 40 years,” Chris Hansen, a manager at NASA’s spacesuit design office, said. “We want systems that allow our astronauts to be scientists on the surface of the moon.”

Amy Ross, NASA’s lead spacesuit engineer, said: “Basically, my job is to take a basketball, shape it like a human, keep them alive in a harsh environment and give them the mobility to do their job.”

(14) WHAT APRIL SHOWERS BRING. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.]“Unmanned ship to go on 400-year-old journey across the Atlantic”. This will be a real test for artificial “intelligence” — how will it aim for Virginia and wind up in Massachusetts?

A fully autonomous ship tracing the journey of the Mayflower is being built by a UK-based team, with help from tech firm IBM.

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship, or MAS, will launch from Plymouth in the UK in September 2020.

Its voyage will mark the 400th anniversary of the pilgrim ship which brought European settlers to America in 1620.

IBM is providing artificial intelligence systems for the ship.

The vessel will make its own decisions on its course and collision avoidance, and will even make expensive satellite phone calls back to base if it deems it necessary.

(15) CUBE ROUTER. Working one-handed and with obstacles, “Robot hand solves Rubik’s cube, but not the grand challenge”. Includes video.

A remarkable robot, capable of solving a Rubik’s cube single-handedly, has demonstrated just how far robotics has advanced – but at the same time, experts say, how far we still have to go.

OpenAI’s system used a computer simulation to teach the robot hand to solve the cube, running through routines that would take a single human some 10,000 years to complete.

Once taught, the robot was able to solve a cube that had been slightly modified to help the machine tell which way up it was being held.

Completion time varied, the research team said, but it generally took around four minutes to complete the task.

Using machine-learning and robotics to solve a Rubik’s cube has been achieved before. Notably, in March 2018, a machine developed by engineers at MIT managed to solve a cube in just 0.38 seconds.

What’s significant with OpenAI’s effort is the use of a multi-purpose robot, in this case a human-hand-like design, rather than a machine specifically designed to handle a Rubik’s cube and nothing else.

(16) TERMINAL MAN. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.] “And ‘Lo!’ – How the internet was born”. The writer underestimates undergraduate students…

In the 1960s, Bob Taylor worked at the heart of the Pentagon in Washington DC. He was on the third floor, near the US defence secretary and the boss of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arpa).

…Next to his office was the terminal room, a pokey little space where three remote-access terminals with three different keyboards sat side by side.

Each allowed Taylor to issue commands to a far-away mainframe computer.

…Each of these massive computers required a different login procedure and programming language.

It was, as the historians Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon put it, like “having a den cluttered with several television sets, each dedicated to a different channel”.

…The solution was proposed by another computing pioneer, physicist Wesley Clark.

Clark suggested installing a minicomputer at every site on this new network.

The local mainframe – the hulking Q-32, for example – would talk to the minicomputer sitting close beside it.

…The network designers wanted message processors that would sit quietly, with minimal supervision, and just keep on working, come heat or cold, vibration or power surge, mildew, mice, or – most dangerous of all – curious graduate students with screwdrivers.

(17) DOGGIE DINER. It can’t be easy to get a real dog to forego eating a meatball. Although maybe the meatball is fake, unlike the dog? “New Trailer for Live-Action ‘Lady and the Tramp’ Teases Iconic Spaghetti Dinner Scene”. Hypebeast breaks it down.

Following the first trailer for Disney’s forthcoming live-action adaptation of the renowned pup love story, Lady and the Tramp, the second trailer for the highly-anticipated film has arrived. Pegged as the first of the entertainment conglomerate’s original movies to premiere via Disney+, the film will take on the memorable story of a cocker spaniel named Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) who finds love with a stray mutt named Tramp (Justin Theroux). The film will also star Janelle Monáe, Thomas Mann, Kiersey Clemons, Benedict Wong, Ashley Jensen, and Yvette Nicole Brown.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Dave Langford, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]

2019 Chesley Award Winners

ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists, announced the winners of the 2019 Chesley Awards at Spikecon in Layton, Utah on July 5.

Best Cover – Hardback

  • Jon Foster 

I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis (Subterranean Press) April 2018

Best Cover – Paperback 

  • Amanda Makepeace

Diabolical Plots Year Three Edited by David Steffen (Diabolical Plots, L.L.C.) June 2018

Best Cover – Magazine

  • Arthur Haas 

Clarkesworld #140, May 2018

Best Interior Illustration

  • Vanessa Lemen

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin  (Easton Press) November 2018 (8 Illustrations in all)

Best Gaming Illustration

  • Mitchell Malloy 

“Frantic Search” Ultimate Masters Magic card (WotC) December 2018

Best Product Illustration

  • Charles Urbach 

“The Pirate Queen,” Gary Con Promotional Art, Released 2018

Best Color Illustration – Unpublished

  • Melissa Gay 

Harvest (Oil)

Best Monochrome Illustration – Unpublished

  • Chris Wade 

Failure To Launch: Grounded (Graphite Pencil)

Best Three Dimensional Art

  • Patrick Masson 

Reflection (Digital sculpt to be casted in Bronze)

Best Art Director

  • Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Diane Dillon

The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 as ASFA’s peer awards to recognize individual works and achievements not otherwise recognized by the Hugo Awards, during a given year. The Chesleys were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell after his death in 1986. The awards are usually presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention or at the North American Science Fiction Convention when the Worldcon is held outside of North America.

The Chesleys are nominated and decided upon by the members of our community, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

[Thanks to Sara Felix for the story.]

2019 Chesley Award Finalists

The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) has posted the finalists for the 34th annual Chesley Awards. The Chesleys, named for the great astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell, started in 1985 as a means for the sff art community to recognize individual works and achievements in a given year. Member voting begins May 27.

This year’s Chesley Awards ceremony will be at Spikecon in Layton, Utah, July 4 -7.

Best Cover Illustration – Hardback Book

  • Tommy Arnold – Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Subterranean Press)
  • Jensine EckwallSoulless Illustrated Edition by Gail Carriger (Orbit Books)
  • Jon FosterI Met a Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis (Subterranean Press)
  • Michael KomarckLow Chicago edited by George R. R. Martin (Tor)
  • Maurizio ManzieriThe Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)
  • John Jude PalencarThe Fork, the Witch, and the Worm: Tales from Alagaësia by Christopher Paolini (Knopf)
  • Charles VessThe Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press)
  • Rebecca YanovskayaSisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner (Redhook)

Best Cover Illustration – Paperback Book/Ebook

  • Melissa GayThe Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF, Vol 4 edited by David Afsharirad (Baen Books)
  • Donato GiancolaWarrior by Terry Brooks (Grim Oaks Press)
  • Nataša Ilin?i?The Raven’s Ballad: A Retelling of the Swan Princess (Otherworld Book 5) by Emma Hamm (Self Published)
  • Amanda Makepeace – Diabolical Plots Year Three Edited by David Steffen (Diabolical Plots, L.L.C.)
  • John PicacioConstance Verity Saves the World  by A. Lee Martinez (Simon & Schuster / Saga Press)
  • Nicholas SciaccaThe Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell (Saga Press)

Best Magazine Illustration

  • Cindy Fan – Strange Horizons # 19 November 2018
  • Donato GiancolaAnalog March/April 2018
  • Arthur HaasClarkesworld #140, May 2018
  • Sean Andrew Murray – Clarkesworld Magazine #141, June 2018
  • Greg RuthStranger Things 2 Variant Cover, Dark Horse, October 31, 2018

Best Interior Illustration

  • Audrey Benjaminsen – “Triquetra” by Kirstyn McDermott (Tor.com)
  • Jon FosterLegion: Lies of the Beholder by Brandon Sanderson (Subterranean Press)
  • Vanessa Lemen – The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin  (Easton Press)
  • John Picacio – “Evernight” by Victor Milán (Tor.com)
  • Charles VessThe Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press)
  • Jeremy WilsonYellow by Bill Perry (Self-published online)

Best Gaming Related Illustration

  • Kari Christensen – “Feasting Hunger” – Elder Scrolls Legends Houses of Morrowind  (Betheseda Softworks)
  • Jesper Ejsing – “Bitterblossum” – Ultimate Masters Magic card (WotC)
  • Lars Grant-West – “Glowspore” – Shaman Guilds of Ravinca (WotC)
  • Howard Lyon – “Octopus Umbra” – Commander Magic card (WotC)
  • Mitchell Malloy – “Frantic Search” – Ultimate Masters Magic card (WotC)
  • Ryan Pancoast – “Knight of Autumn” – Guilds of Ravnica Magic card (WotC)

Best Product Illustration

  • Devon Dorrity – “Dragonsteel” – Bronze & LED backlighting logo for Brandon Sanderson’s production company (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  • Rachel Quinlan – “Portal” – Promotional image for the Detroit Festival of Books
  • John Jude Palencar – George R. R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar (Bantam)
  • John Picacio – “La Musica” Lone Boy 
  • Charles Urbach – “The Pirate Queen” – Gary Con Promotional Art
  • Boris Vallejo & Julie BellBoris Vallejo & Julie Bell’s Fantasy Calendar (Workman Publishing)

Best Color Work – Unpublished

  • Julie Bell – Pegasus Befriends the Muses – Oil on wood
  • Ingrid Kallick – The Gardener Of Souls – Acrylic on masonite
  • Melissa Gay – Harvest – Oil
  • Te Hu – 8 buddha: jingnangshou – Digital
  • Mark Poole – Falling – Acrylic
  • Eric Wilkerson – The Oba – Oil on Panel

Best Monochrome Work – Unpublished

  • Michael Blank – The Midnight Encounter – Photoshop
  • Emily Hare – Unburnt – Watercolor
  • Yoann Lossel – Diane – Graphite, Gold Leaf, mixed
  • Matthew Stewart – The Scroll of Isildur – Red Watercolor pencil and white pencil on toned paper
  • Chris Wade – Failure To Launch: Grounded – Graphite Pencil
  • Babs Webb – Vacant Memory – Powdered graphite on bristol

Best Three Dimensional Art

  • Daria Aksenova – Metamorphosis – Paper
  • Dan Chudzinski – Grim – Epoxy, Sculpt, Foam, Steel, Acrylic Paint
  • Devon Dorrity – Lilith and the Serpent – Bronze
  • Patrick Masson – Reflection – Fimo and Magic Sculpt
  • Forest Rogers – Green Faun – Mixed
  • Vincent Villafranca – Bane of Thieves – Bronze

Best Art Director

  • Neil ClarkeClarkesworld Magazine 
  • Irene Gallo – Tor Books/Tor.com
  • Dawn Murin – Wizards of the Coast
  • Lauren Panepinto – Orbit Books
  • Cynthia Sheppard – Wizards of the Coast

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award

  • Diane Dillon
  • Jeff Easley
  • Greg Manchess
  • Iain McCaig
  • Ruth Sanderson
  • Allen Williams
  • Charles Vess

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

NASFiC 2019 to Host Chesley Awards; New Trimble Sponsor Steps Forward

The Utah Fandom Organization has issued an update about events, guests, and other plans for the combined Westercon 72, NASFiC 2019, & 1632 Minicon (Spikecon.org) convention to be held July 4-7, 2019 in Layton, Utah:

  • The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) Announces NASFiC 2019 as the location to host the Chesley Awards – The Chesleys will be held at the NASFIC in Layton Utah, July 4 -7, 2019. ASFA member Vincent Villafranca is the artist guest and we can’t wait to get involved.  There will be ways for artists to participate at the convention so please check http://www.asfa-art.org/.
  • Westercon 72 Gaming Guest Tim the GM (Mottishaw) – We regret to inform our gaming guest Tim Mottishaw had to cancel his appearance at Spikecon due to conflicts in dates. He offers his regret and apology to everyone, and is assisting us with possible candidates to honor in his stead.
  • NASFiC 2019 Master and Mistress of Ceremony, Bjo & John Trimble (and Sponsorship) -A fan, professional photographer and writer, Ctein (Kuh-TEIN), has volunteered to continue the sponsorship, and support Bjo and John Trimble in their appearance at Spikecon 2019. Utah Fandom Organization wishes to thank everyone for their support in making these combined events fun and exciting.
  • (Ctein is a professional photographer and writer. He is the co-author, with John Sandford, of the New York Times best selling science fiction thriller, “Saturn Run.” He is currently writing an natural disaster thriller, “Ripple Effect,” with David Gerrold. Ctein is also the author of “Digital Restoration From Start To Finish” and “Post Exposure.” He is best known in the SF community for his photographs of eclipses, aurora, natural and unnatural scenics, and space launches and his hand-printed fine-art books.  His photographic work can be seen at http://ctein.com and photo-repair.com.)
  • Updates to Departments – The website, https://www.spikecon.org/ , has updated forms to apply for the Art Show, Dealers Room, Program Participation, Gaming, Panel Suggestions and Membership Updates.
  • Future Announcements – Upcoming plans include a special event 4th of July breakfast with Bjo and John Trimble to discuss Star Trek(™), A filk/music guest announcement and a new progress report due at the end of November.

2018 Chesley Awards


The Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists presented the 33rd annual ASFA awards, the Chesleys, at Worldcon 76 in San Jose on August 17.

Note that each category has a link to an album with images of the finalists.

Best Cover Illustration – Hardback Book

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/dLNApxEe8czyUsoeA

  • Marc Simonetti The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, Grim Oak Press, August 2017

Best Cover Illustration – Paperback Book or Ebook

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/MThpAouoVebnSZ3V2

  • Jaime Jones The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera, Tor, October 2017

Best Magazine Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/2jF2th7EMhaC2PGb9

  • Ingrid Kallick Cricket Magazine January 2017

Best Interior Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JEWYafv1NidMuNcj9

  • Gregory Manchess Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess Saga Press, October 2017

Best Gaming Related Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/o6sjoSdFjZFJjJSG8

  • Melissa Gay Offering Sagaborn RPG Core Rule Book Lone Wanderer Entertainment August 2017

Best Product Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Zif6qgngtQkyNjB02

  • Annie Stegg Gerard Stormy Serenade, DragonCon Tshirt art 2017

Best Color Work – Unpublished

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/geXR3MLbGco6VQa89

  • Charles Urbach Not All Treasure is Gold Colored Pencil

Best Monochrome – Unpublished

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/XEWnQPNhy3ivGe1e7

  • Ruth Sanderson “Dragon Drum” Ink

Best Three Dimensional Art

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/BWFvrV6pBwPxvOuf1

  • Forest Rogers “Octopoid Descending” Kato polyclay

Best Art Director

  • Neil Clarke Clarkesworld

Lifetime Achievement

  • Alan Lee

The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 as ASFA’s peer awards to recognize individual works and achievements not otherwise recognized by the Hugo Awards, during a given year. The Chesleys were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell after his death in 1986. The awards are usually presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention or at the North American Science Fiction Convention when the Worldcon is held outside of North America.

The Chesleys have long been internationally acclaimed as the most prestigious awards in the field of fantastic arts. These awards are nominated and decided upon by the members of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

[Thanks to Sara Felix for the story.]

2018 Chesley Awards Nomination List

The Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists has released the finalists for the 33rd annual ASFA awards, the Chesleys. The Chesley is named for astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell.

The winners will be voted by ASFA members. The awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held during Worldcon 76 in San Jose.

Note that each category has a link to an album with images of the finalists.

Best Cover Illustration – Hardback Book

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/dLNApxEe8czyUsoeA

  • Tommy Arnold     Horizon by Fran Wilde, Tor, September 2017
  • Marcela Bolívar     Julia by Peter Straub, Centipede Press, December 2017
  • Julie Dillon         Final Girls by Mira Grant, Subterranean Press, April 2017
  • Donato Giancola     Assassin’s Price by L.E. Modesitt Jr., Tor, July 2017
  • John Harris         The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker, Tor, September 2017
  • Elizabeth Leggett     Retrograde by Peter Cawdron, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 2017
  • Marc Simonetti     The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, Grim Oak Press, August 2017

Best Cover Illustration – Paperback Book or Ebook

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/MThpAouoVebnSZ3V2

  • Julie Dillon         Beyond the Stars: New Worlds, New Suns – A Space Opera Anthology, edited by Ellen Campbell, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, April 2017
  • Aly Fell         Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire, DAW, March 2017
  • Jaime Jones         The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera, Tor, October 2017
  • Miranda Meeks     The Fisher of Bones by Sarah Gailey, Fireside Fiction, October 2017
  • Gene Mollica         Call of Fire by Beth Cato, Harper Voyager, August 2017
  • Dave Palumbo         Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor, Tor, January 2017
  • Stephen Youll         Acadie by Dave Hutchinson,Tor, September 2017

Best Magazine Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/2jF2th7EMhaC2PGb9

  • Julie Dillon         Clarkesworld #128 May 2017
  • Ingrid Kallick         Cricket Magazine January 2017
  • Eddie Mendoza        Clarkesworld #130 July 2017
  • Reiko Murakami     Lightspeed #82 March 2017
  • Sergei Sarichev    Clarkesworld #126 March 2017

Best Interior Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JEWYafv1NidMuNcj9

  • Gregory Manchess     Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess Saga Press, October 2017
  • John Picacio         “When the Devil Drives” by Melinda Snodgrass Tor.com July 2017
  • Dan Dos Santos     The Name of the Wind: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Patrick Rothfuss DAW, October 2017
  • Omar Rayyan         Goblin Market by Christine Rosetti Donald M. Grant, Jan. 2017
  • Marc Simonetti     The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks Grim Oak Press, August 2017
  • Sam Weber         “These Deathless Bones” by Cassandra Khaw Tor.com, July 26, 2017

Best Gaming Related Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/o6sjoSdFjZFJjJSG8

  • Kari Christensen     Chandra Gremlin Wrangler Heroes of the Realm WotC September 2017
  • Melissa Gay         Offering Sagaborn RPG Core Rule Book Lone Wanderer Entertainment August 2017
  • Piotr Jablo?ski     Moaning Wall Magic card for Hour of Devastation WotC July 2017
  • Jaime Jones         The Ur- Dragon Magic card for Commander 2017 WotC, August 2017
  • Sara Winters         Compulsive Research Magic card for Modern Masters 2017 WotC, March 2017

Best Product Illustration

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Zif6qgngtQkyNjB02

  • Kari Christensen     Call of Cthulhu, FilmQuest Festival, 2017
  • Julie Dillon         American Gods Promo art for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab/Trading Post, 2017
  • Annie Stegg Gerard     Stormy Serenade, DragonCon Tshirt art 2017
  • Adam Hughes         In a Galaxy Far, Far Away LE Art Print by Acme Archives, July 2017
  • James Jean         The Shape of Water teaser poster FOX Searchlight, December 2017
  • Rachel Quinlan     Knight of Cups, 78 Tarot Astral 2017

Best Color Work – Unpublished

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/geXR3MLbGco6VQa89

  • Serena Maylon         Erebor Watercolor and Gouache
  • Alessandra Pisano     Kindred Spirits Oils
  • Cynthia Sheppard     Deconstructing Wonderland Digital
  • Charles Urbach     Not All Treasure is Gold Colored Pencil
  • Eric Velhagen         Respite Oils

Best Monochrome – Unpublished

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/XEWnQPNhy3ivGe1e7

  • Ed Binkley         “Thistledown” Digital
  • Bobby Chiu         “Romeo and Juliet” Digital
  • Karla Ortiz         “Ada” Oil
  • Christine Rhee         “Gumiho” Graphite
  • Shawn E. Russell     “Release” Graphite
  • Ruth Sanderson     “Dragon Drum” Ink
  • Kaysha Siemens     “Pensive” Oils

Best Three Dimensional Art

Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/BWFvrV6pBwPxvOuf1

  • Skink Chen         “Resentful Beast” Painted cast resin
  • Ellen Jewett         “The Burden of Motion and Ambition” Cold porcelain and polymer clay
  • Colin & Kristine Poole     “Gift of the Faun” Bronze
  • Forest Rogers         “Octopoid Descending” Kato polyclay
  • Lisa Sell         “Manifesting Orb Dragon” Aves Apoxie Sculpt
  • Vincent Villafranca     “Fever Dream #17” Bronze

Best Art Director

  • Neil Clarke          Clarkesworld
  • Christine Foltzer      Tor.com Publishing
  • Irene Gallo          Tor Books/Tor.com
  • Lauren Panepinto      Orbit Books and for Muddy Colors blog articles
  • Cynthia Sheppard      Wizards of the Coast

Lifetime Achievement

  • Richard Hescox
  • Alan Lee
  • Gregory Manchess
  • William O’Connor
  • Allen Williams