Erle Korshak, one of the last two surviving attendees of the first Worldcon in 1939, died August 25.
With Korshak’s death, Bob Madle is the sole surviving attendee of the first Worldcon.
Korshak’s first encounter with science fiction was in 1934 as an 11-year-old, following up his good friend Mark Reinsberg’s interest in the stories Astounding was publishing. In 1939, he created Moonstruck Press with the ambition of compiling a bibliography of every fantasy book published to that time.
Korshak also was part of the leadership triumvirate that brought the second Worldcon to Chicago in 1940. Reinsberg was chair, Korshak secretary, and Bob Tucker treasurer. Korshak presided over the opening day of the con, when Reinsberg fell ill.
Korshak was going to be one of the guests of honor at the 2022 Worldcon, Chicon 8. Convention chair Helen Montgomery said, “We were so happy to be able to call and ask him to join us. Erle was so excited to be our Guest of Honor, and told us so in every conversation we had with him since then.”
During World War II he served in the U.S. Army, enlisting in 1942 a month after he turned 19. He later graduated from law school, as did others in Chicago’s influential Korshak family. He became a successful lawyer and businessman in California and Nevada. (A diagram of the family tree is here.)
In the Fifties, Korshak helped found Shasta: Publishers together with T.E. Dikty and Mark Reinsberg, one of the earliest sf specialty presses. They initially planned only to publish Everett F. Bleiler’s The Checklist of Fantastic Literature (1948). However, the Library of Congress reviewed the copy they received, calling it “a lasting contribution to the American arts in the field of the humanities,” Korshak told interviewers. “Every library in America bought the book, the checklist. We couldn’t believe it. All of a sudden we’re selling these things — and it was expensive, because six dollars was big money in those days.” They sold out the first edition, and then did a second edition. “So now [Dikty]and I are looking at each other and saying hey, this is a great feeling, why don’t we publish some more books?” They began reprinting famous pulp sf works in hardcover. Some of Shasta’s best-known books were Who Goes There? (1948) by John W. Campbell, Jr.; The Man Who Sold the Moon (1950) by Robert A. Heinlein; Sidewise in Time (1950) by Murray Leinster; and The Demolished Man (1953) by Alfred Bester. Shasta operated from 1947-1957. And in 2009, Korshak and his son Stephen revived the imprint as “Shasta-Phoenix” to publish collections of classic sf art.
When Shasta originally went out of business, Erle dropped out of organized fandom for three decades. He resumed attending conventions in the Eighties, beginning with the 1986 Worldcon where his friend Ray Bradbury was guest of honor.
He was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1996.
At the Chicago 7 Worldcon of 2012, Erle Korshak was interviewed onstage by John Scalzi. Asked by Scalzi how many people came to the first Chicago Worldcon, Korshak said 129, and Scalzi gestured to the front of the Grand Ballroom, “About the first two rows here.”
Chicon 8’s announcement of Korshak’s death says he will still be celebrated next year:
Our plans to honor Erle will not change. We will continue to plan to celebrate his amazing life and his contributions to fandom, from the early days of Worldcon to starting Shasta Publishing to his career as an attorney and his love of art which he passed on to his children.
A slideshow of additional photos of Erle Korshak taken by Andrew Porter.
By JJ: It’s that time of year again! Even though the number of books published this year – and thus the number of eligible series – is down due to the pandemic, there are still plenty of great series for you to consider… and probably more opportunity than usual for you to get caught up on them.
To assist Hugo nominators, listed below are the series believed to be eligible as of this writing for the 2022 Best Series Hugo next year *†.
Each series name is followed by the main author name(s) and the 2021-published work(s).
Feel free to add missing series and the name of the 2021-eligible work in the comments, and I will get them included in the main post when I’ve verified their eligibility.
Note that previous Hugo Administrators ruled that nominations for a series and one of its subseries will not be combined. Therefore, when nominating a subseries work, think carefully under which series name it should be nominated. If the subseries does not yet meet the 3-volume, 240,000 word count threshold, then the main series name should be nominated. If the subseries does meet that threshold, then the subseries name should probably be nominated. This will ensure that another subseries in the same universe, or the main series itself, would still be eligible next year if this subseries is a finalist this year.
…In developing science fiction writing as her craft, after disparaging a campy sci-fi flick, Butler became a master storyteller whose unique works revealed how members of the African diaspora could use their own power to shape alternative futures. Butler is one of the futurists who will be honored in the Smithsonian’s expansive “Futures” exhibition, which will mark the Institution’s 175th anniversary and will debut in the Arts and Industries Building late this year.
“Anchoring her in the exhibition in the hall that we call ‘Futures That Unite’ is really important because her books have united people across time and space and ages and identities,” says Monica Montgomery, the exhibition team’s social justice curator. While many of Butler’s works are dystopian in nature, “We know that ultimately, her work aims to unite and go from what does the future of sorrow look like to what does the future of strength look like.”…
A Smithsonian artifact—an Olivetti typewriter—from the collections of the Anacostia Community Museum will represent Butler’s life in the “Futures” show. The museum received it directly from Butler in 2004, when it went on view in the exhibition, “All the Stories Are True,” explains Jennifer Sieck, the museum’s collections researcher. “Octavia Butler was one of the invited authors, and not only did she generously share her presence, but she also donated the typewriter to the museum, along with the ribbons.”
…In addition to the typewriter, Butler will be represented by a newly commissioned work of art by digital artist Nettrice Gaskins, who uses algorithms meant to be employed in machine learning to produce artworks. She will provide a series of portraits of featured futurists, including herself. Others include author and disability rights advocate Helen Keller, American sculptor and political activist Isamu Noguchi, and National Farmworkers Association co-founders Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, frontline researchers in the global race for a Covid vaccine Barney Graham and Kizzmekia Corbett, computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, non-binary professional skateboarder Leo Baker, the multi-disciplinary educator Buckminster Fuller and the civil rights activist Floyd McKissick.
“I used styles that corresponded with each futurist,” Gaskins says. “When I created the futurist portraits, I collaborated with the A.I. [artificial intelligence] and fed the machine different styles to see what the results would be, then I chose the ones that captured what I imagined.” Mirroring characters in Butler’s Parables series, “I’m finding ways to use A.I. to recognize my own power to affect and direct change or chance,” she says….
(3) 2022 WORLDCON HIKING MEMBERSHIP RATE. Chicon 8, the 2022 Worldcon, is raising its attending membership rate to $190 on August 1. So if you want to beat the deadline, click here: Memberships – Chicon 8. The new rate will be good until December 20, 2021.
…“I came to horror as a way of wrestling with the darkness in human nature, the darkness in my own nature,” Mike said, speaking to the autobiographical quality of some of his poems. “I had to make peace with my understanding of the world. The fact that the things Edgar Allen Poe was writing about were not alien, but part of the human experience.”
When he announced this, it hit me and made things plain. I understood my own tendency to like dark things: they seemed to tell the truth and I turn to fiction and poetry as much for truth as I do for adventure. These sorts of work found all the things our minds want to reject as part of life and wove them into the narrative. It’s about acceptance and not only thrill. I found myself reflecting internally on the kind of catharsis that comes from reading work like Aftermath and on my own desire to escape the Jeremiad news cycle. And yet, in the middle of the pandemic, life had been stressful for me, but I found that I wasn’t suffering from the same psychological horror that others I cared about suffered from. I felt strangely spared the extent of shock and sleepless nights others had, spared the existential crisis, the headlines (and very real events) created in others. Not because I was brighter or wiser or more resilient. In fact, it felt as though the level of peace I had was gifted to me.
As though reading the new question in my mind, Mike said: “In a way, horror inoculates you. There’s an addictive quality to it as it produces a lot of chemical activity in your brain, but it also inoculates you.” Mike paused, wondering whether ‘inoculate’ was the best word given the situation the world faced. Then, after a moment, he nodded. “Yeah, it inoculates you. You come to accept that the worse can happen, and that idea maybe shocks you less than it does other people.”…
(5) STAN’S ORIGIN STORY. J. Hoberman chronicles “Marvel’s Ringmaster” at the New York Review of Books. “Under Stan Lee’s guidance, Marvel marketed not only its characters but also the men who created them.” The first part of the article is open, but the rest is behind a paywall.
…The comic book industry was largely created by first-generation Americans. Lee’s Romanian immigrant father was a fabric cutter in New York City’s garment industry; the family struggled during the Great Depression. Skipping grades, the faster to finish his education and get a job, Lee attended DeWitt Clinton, a huge all-boys public high school in the Bronx that produced many distinguished alumni. Lionel Trilling, Irving Howe, A.M. Rosenthal, and William Kunstler were graduates. Lee’s classmates might have included the future playwright Paddy Chayefsky, the disgraced studio boss David Begelman, the Get Smart actor Don Adams, and (before he dropped out) the champion boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, as well as Richard Avedon and James Baldwin. Lee worked on the school literary magazine, less as a writer or editor than a self-appointed publicity director….
…Literature has no single golden age, but some genre fiction does, and Science Fiction had a long one, stretching from the mid-30s all the way up to the mid 50s – up, perhaps, to Crick and Watson and the genuinely astounding discovery of DNA with which it briefly struggled to compete. Soon, we’d been to the moon too, and the race to speculate before science could accumulate became a lot tighter.
Sci-Fi thrives off society’s sense of the unknown. The fiction of this era is worth reading as much to register the blind spots, as to applaud the bulls’ eyes. These are generally by way of under estimating the societal changes which were to sweep across the West after WW2. Many authors anticipate nuclear annihilation, and subsequent genetic mutation, but there does not appear to be a single one who saw feminism coming.
Instead, stories by Asimov, Heinlein and the like bristle with square jawed 21st century heroes, wise cracking journalists, distracted academics and Blondes, Blondes, Blondes. Some of the predicted innovations in tech are hauntingly accurate, but the action remains firmly rooted in a social milieu Raymond Chandler would recognise. But this is instructive in itself and tells us something about the business of understanding what can, and cannot change, and how quickly. Many people envisaged the rise of a global pandemic at some point in the future but not many paused to consider its social implications – plus ça change. …
(7) VAMPIRE CLEARANCE SALE. FX dropped this trailer for season 3 of What We Do In The Shadows.
An evil bucket that’s great for collecting evil. See how the vampires are decluttering for the all-new season premiering Sept 2nd on FX.
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
July 31, 1992 – Twenty-nine years ago the Buffy the Vampire Slayer film premiered. Written by Joss Whedon, it was directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui and produced by Howard Rosenman and Kaz Kuzui. The cast was Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer and Luke Perry. It got middling reviews from the critics and currently holds a rating of just forty-three percent at Rotten Tomatoes. It neither made nor lost money at the box office.
It of course would spawn the later Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Angel series as well. The former was both a critical and rating success. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer series would win a Hugo at Torcon 3.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 31, 1932 — Ted Cassidy. He’s best known for the role of Lurch on The Addams Family in the mid-1960s. If you’ve got a good ear, you’ll recall that he narrated The Incredible Hulk series. And he played the part of the android Ruk in the episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” on Trek, and provided the voices of the more strident version of Balok in the “The Corbomite Maneuver” episode and the Gorn in the “Arena” episode. In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. “The Napoleon’s Tomb Affair” episode, he was Edgar, who kidnapped, tortured, and repeatedly attempted to kill Napoleon and Illya. And failed magnificently. (Died 1979.)
Born July 31, 1951 — Jo Bannister, 70. Though best known as a most excellent British crime fiction novelist, she has three SF novels to her credit, all written in the early Eighties — The Matrix, The Winter Plain and A Cactus Garden. ISFDB lists one short story by her as genre, “Howler”, but I wasn’t at all aware that Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine printed genre fiction which is where it appeared first though y’all corrected me when I ran this Birthday note first several years back.
Born July 31, 1955 — Daniel M. Kimmel, 66. His essays on classic genre films were being published in The Internet Review of Science Fiction from 2005–2010 and are now in the Space and Timemagazine. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association.
Born July 31, 1956 — Michael Biehn, 65. Best known in genre circles as Sgt. Kyle Reese in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Cpl. Dwayne Hicks in Aliens and Lt. Coffey in The Abyss. He was also The Sandman in a single episode of Logan’s Run. Though not even genre adjacent, he was Johnny Ringo in the magnitude Tombstone film. Likewise he was in The Magnificent Seven series as Chris Larabee.
Born July 31, 1959 — Kim Newman, 62. Though best known for his Anno Dracula series, I’d like to single him out for his early work, Nightmare Movies: A critical history of the horror film, 1968–88, a very serious history of horror films. It was followed up with the equally great Wild West Movies: Or How the West Was Found, Won, Lost, Lied About, Filmed and Forgotten. He’s also a prolific genre writer and his first published novel, The Night Mayor, sounds very intriguing. (CE)
Born July 31, 1962 — Wesley Snipes, 59. The first actor to be Blade in the Blade film franchise where I thought he made the perfect Blade. (There’s a new Blade actor though they name escapes right now.) I also like him as Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man. And he was Aman in Gallowwalkers, a Western horror film that is really, really bad. How bad? It gets an eleven percent rating by audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
Born July 31, 1976 — John Joseph Adams, 45. Anthologist of whom I’m very fond of The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dead Man’s Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West which he did. He was the Assistant Editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction for nearly a decade, and he’s been editing both Lightspeed and Fantasy magazines since the early part of the previous decade.
(11) HAMILTON DROPS OUT OF THE TREES. Netflix dropped a trailer for the animated movie Vivo. Arrives August 6.
A one-of-kind kinkajou (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda), embarks on an unforgettable, musical adventure to deliver a love song to Marta (voiced by Gloria Estefan) on behalf of his owner Andrés (Buena Vista Social Club’s Juan De Marcos).
VIVO is an exhilarating story about gathering your courage, finding family in unlikely friends, and the belief that music can open you to new worlds.
(12) WELL, THAT WAS EXCITING. That new Russian module at the International Space Station got a little rowdy. The maneuvering thrusters fired accidentally, pushing the whole station out of position. The mis-orientation was bad enough that the ISS lost radio communication with ground controllers for about 11 minutes. One thinks that Roscosmos will have some explaining to do. “International Space Station briefly loses control after new Russian module misfires” at CNN.
An unusual and potentially dangerous situation unfolded Thursday at the International Space Station, as the newly-docked Russian Nauka module inadvertently fired its thrusters causing a “tug of war” with the space station and briefly pushing it out of position, according to NASA flight controllers.
Nauka — a long-delayed laboratory module that Russian space agency Roscosmos’ launched to the International Space Station last week — inadvertently fired its thrusters after docking with the International Space Station Thursday morning.
NASA officials declared it a “spacecraft emergency” as the space station experienced a loss of attitude (the angle at which the ISS is supposed to remain oriented) control for nearly one hour, and ground controllers lost communications with the seven astronauts currently aboard the ISS for 11 minutes during the ordeal. A joint investigation between NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos is now ongoing.
For the first time ever, scientists have seen the light from behind a black hole.
Black holes are regions in space-time where gravity’s pull is so powerful that not even light can escape its grasp. However, while light cannot escape a black hole, its extreme gravity warps space around it, which allows light to “echo,” bending around the back of the object. Thanks to this strange phenomenon, astronomers have, for the first time, observed the light from behind a black hole.
In a new study, researchers, led by Dan Wilkins, an astrophysicist at Stanford University in California, used the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space telescopes to observe the light from behind a black hole that’s 10 million times more massive than our sun and lies 800 million light-years away in the spiral galaxy I Zwicky 1, according to a statement from ESA.
The light “echo” was first predicted by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity, published in 1916….
…In Stray, you play as an injured cat who has been separated from his family. He’s searching for a way back to them through the winding alleys of a decaying “cybercity.” Humanoid robots that lend an air of melancholy to the neon-lit streets are the only residents of this strange city. On his journey, the cat will find and befriend a small drone named B-12. They’ll work together to survive and get back home….
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) OMENANA. The new issue of Omenana Speculative Fiction Magazine is available to read online. The tri-monthly magazine takes submissions from speculative fiction writers from across Africa and the African Diaspora.
Omenana is the Igbo word for divinity – it also loosely translates as “culture” – and embodies our attempt to recover our wildest stories. We are looking for well-written speculative fiction that bridges the gap between past, present and future through imagination and shakes us out of the corner we have pushed ourselves into.
(2) WINNIPEG WORLDCON BID. The Winnipeg in 2023 Worldcon bid will hold a “Question Time” Zoom session on Sunday, July 25, at 1:00pm CDT. The session will also be streamed live on their YouTube channel.
We will start off with standard questions and then take submitted questions. Questions may be submitted via our social media accounts , Discord server and our “Contact Form“. During the session, questions may be submitted through Zoom and YouTube chat. As with all “Question Time”, moderation will be applied.
(3) SUMMIT MEETING. There’s a photo on the Chicago Worldcon Facebook page showing that Chicon 8 Chair, Helen Montgomery, and DisCon III Chair, Mary Robinette Kowal, “met up in DC yesterday for convention strategizing. They have Plans with a capital P for their attendees!”
Sources say that Outlier Society has hired a writer who is currently working on the script, though we were unable to ascertain their identity. Though it was initially unclear whether the Val-Zod project would be a movie or a limited series, sources have since reached out to clarify that as of right now, it is, in fact, being written as a limited series that Jordan will produce and possibly even star in, though he has yet to officially commit on the latter front.
As previously reported, J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot are set to produce a Black Superman movie for Warner Bros. that is expected to follow the Kal-El/Clark Kent version of the character. Though Clark Kent is traditionally depicted as white in the DC comics, the character will be played by a Black actor in the Bad Robot movie, which will likely be directed by a Black filmmaker, as Abrams is simply expected to produce. Author and cultural critic Ta-Nehisi Coates is already hard at work on the script for that project.
While Jordan did work with Warner Bros. on developing a Black Superman movie at one point, he recently shot down rumors that he would star in Abrams’ new film, saying “I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation. It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.”
The question is, why?
A recent editorial penned by Jamie Broadnax for Black Girl Nerds provides some context and prompted Collider to do some digging, as Broadnax’s sources told her that “Jordan has not wanted to engage in conversations about racebending Kal-El for the same reasons many of the fans are pushing back on the current Warner Bros. re-imagined version of Clark Kent, but that he would be interested in engaging on a Black Superman project centering on the Val-Zod storyline.”
(5) CANADIAN SFF HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES. Stan Hyde, the late Monica Hughes, and Jean-Louis Trudel are the 2021 inductees into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame reports Robert J. Sawyer. He and Carolyn Clink, along with fellow jurors Clint Budd, Marcie Tentchoff, and Chris Sturges, made the selections. Here are excerpts from the citations (full text at the link).
Stan Hyde is an exemplar of passionate, lifelong devotion to SF&F fandom and fan activity, specifically in the areas of club organization, writing, film media, and model kit making, painting, and collecting.
Stan is also noted for the numerous articles he has written for G-Fest, a magazine devoted to the topic of Godzilla, about whom Stan is a world-renowned expert and recognized as such by Toho Studios where he is always welcome. (He visits once every two years on average.)
Monica Hughes (1925-2003), an Officer of the Order of Canada, wrote about 40 books including more than 20 that ISFDB covers as speculative fiction novels. Although she spent a large part of her life writing, she was almost fifty when her first book was published (Gold-Fever Trail: A Klondike Adventure, a Canadian historical novel.) …Invitation to the Game (Toronto: HarperCollins, 1990) won the Hal Clement Award as the year’s best science fiction novel for young adults.
Jean-Louis Trudel holds degrees in physics, astronomy, and the history and philosophy of science. Since 1994, he has authored (alone or in collaboration with Yves Meynard as Laurent McAllister) three science fiction novels published in France, four fiction collections, and twenty-six young adult books published in Canada…. He has received several literary distinctions, including the “Grand Prix de la Science-Fiction et du Fantastique québécois” in 2001 and several Prix Aurora Awards.
Can anyone explain how there’s a hole in the Earth — the kind that supernaturally swallows up hapless Los Angeles residents and spits them out in the frightening primeval past? That’s just the first mystery launching with NBC’sLa Brea, the highly awaited sci-fi series that’s set to make its TV debut this fall….
On the other side of the time warp are Gavin’s wife and son, all while a “disparate group of strangers” work alongside the family’s stranded half to “uncover the mystery of where they are and if there is a way back home,” according to NBC’s earlier series description. Are all these stuck strangers merely the random victims of fate, or might they be connected by something deeper?
Bob Gale is asking fans not to be too hard on Netflix for a censored version of Back to the Future: Part II, which was streaming for a short while.
Fans of the series were irate when they discovered a tiny portion of the 1989 sequel was changed, poorly. It has since been replaced with the standard version. The alteration happened when Marty (Michael J. Fox) finds the Oh La La magazine within the sports almanac dustcover. The moment was cut short, with the cover of the magazine edited out.
Gale, the screenwriter of the beloved trilogy, explained what happened and why it was not Netflix’s fault.
(10) PATRICIA KENNEALY-MORRISON (1946-2021). Author Patricia Kennealy-Morrison died a few days ago reported Liz Williams on Facebook. She wrote eight books and a collection of short stories in her genre series The Keltiad. She also wrote the Rennie Stride mystery series. She was a widely-read rock journalist, and widow of the late Jim Morrison of The Doors.
(11) MEMORY LANE.
2003 – Eighteen years ago at Torcon 3, Neil Gaiman wins a Hugo Novella for Coraline. (Other nominated works were “Bronte’s Egg” by Richard Chwedyk, “Breathmoss” by Ian R. MacLeod, “A Year in the Linear City” by Paul Di Filippo, “The Political Officer” by Charles Coleman Finlay and “In Spirit” by Pat Forde.) It also won a Nebula, a Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book and a BSFA Award for Short Fiction, along with a Stoker for Superior Achievement in a Work for Young Readers. It would become an animated film written and directed by Henry Selick, and both musicals and operas were based off it.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 24, 1878 — Lord Dunsany whose full name and title was a jaw dropping Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany. So ISFDB lists him as genre for the Jorkens body of work among works. H’h. Gary Turner, who some of you will recognize from Golden Gryphon Press and elsewhere, reviewed The Collected Jorkens: Volumes One, Two, and Three for Green Man, so I’ve linked to the review here. They also list The King of Elfland’s Daughter which I’m going to link to another review on Green Man as it’s a audio recording with a very special guest appearance by Christopher Lee. (Died 1957.)
Born July 24, 1916 — John D. MacDonald. Though better known for the Travis McGee series which I really like, he wrote three genre novels of which I think the best by far is The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything. He also wrote some sixty genre short stories, many of them collected in End of The Tiger which is available from the usual digital suspects. (Died 1986.)
Born July 24, 1936 — Mark Goddard, 85. Major Don West, the adversary of Dr. Zachary Smith, on Lost in Space. Other genre appearances were scant. He played an unnamed Detective in the early Eighties Strange Invaders and he showed up on an episode of The Next Step Beyond which investigated supposed hauntings as Larry Hollis in “Sins of Omission”. Oh and he was an unnamed General in the Lost in Space film.
Born July 24, 1951 — Robert Hood, 70. Australian horror writer who won a William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review for “Weight of Water: Vengeance from Beyond the Grave?” and another Atheling for “Divided Kingdom: King Kong Versus Godzilla”. The latter is included in David Brin and Leah Wilson’s King Kong Is Back! An Unauthorized Look at One Humongous Ape. He won a Ditmar for his Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales collection, and an Australian Shadows Award for his Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories.
Born July 24, 1951 — Lynda Carter, 70. Wonder Woman of course. But also Principal Powers, the headmistress of a school for superheroes in Sky High; Colonel Jessica Weaver in the vampire film Slayer; Moira Sullivan, Chloe Sullivan’s Kryptonite-empowered mother in the “Prodigy” episode of Smallville; and President Olivia Marsdin In Supergirl. She has a mid credit appearance in Wonder Woman 1984 as Asteria.
Born July 24, 1964 — Colleen Doran, 57. Comics artist and writer. The work she’s done includes Warren Ellis’ Orbiter graphic novel, Wonder Woman, Legion of Superheroes, Teen Titans, the “Troll Bridge” by Neil Gaiman and her space opera series, A Distant Soil. She also did portions of The Sandman, the “Dream Country” and “A Game of You”. She’s tuckerized Into Sandman as the character Thessaly.
Born July 24, 1971 — Patty Jenkins, 50. Director of Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984, she appears in Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics as herself in ‘The Truth About Wonder Woman’ episode. She’s the director and producer of the forthcoming Star Wars film, Rogue Squadron. She’ll also be directing Gal Gadot in Cleopatra.
Born July 24, 1981 — Summer Glau, 40. An impressive run in genre roles as she’s was River Tam in the Firefly series and of course the Serenity film, followed by these performances: Tess Doerner in The 4400, as Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Bennett Halverson in Dollhouse (is this worth seeing seeing?), Skylar Adams in Alphas, and Isabel Rochev who is The Ravager in Arrow. Her latest role is Miss Jones (The Water Wu) on The Wu Assassins series.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
Speed Bump introduces a familiar character whose phone asks a well-known question.
Science Fiction was extraordinarily popular in the 1940s and 1950s — and so were books about U.F.O.s. Coverage of mysterious objects in the night sky was plentiful in The Times, too. On July 6, 1947, the front page featured an article headlined “Flying Saucers Mystify Experts; May Be Prank of Nature.” Two days later, a follow-up appeared, also on the front page, with a more provocative headline: “‘Disks’ Soar Over New York, Now Seen Aloft in All Colors.” It should perhaps come as no surprise that those years saw the Book Review filled with ads looking to sate this interest in the extraterrestrial and dystopian.
(16) LOOKS FAMILIAR. [Item by David Doering.] Surely this design is no accident! Whoever designed this high school in PA deserves a medal. (Or at least a Hugo.) I wonder if the school mascot is the Falcon??
(17) NOLAN APPRECIATION. Mr. Sci-Fi, Marc Scott Zicree, in “Logan’s Run Writer Passes Away”, remembers the help William F. Nolan gave him when Zicree was researching his Twilight Zone book.
…And he was an astonishing man. He was basically — the great thing about Bill Nolan was not only was he very articulate and very enthusiastic but he had kept notes on everything and recordings on everything and so he knew an enormous amount about Charles Beaumont and Ray Bradbury and all of these characters who were central to what i was working on but also central to science fiction…
(18) TALK TO THE DOCTOR. Louis Moorhouse, a blind fan who’s been raising money for Living Paintings, to make a set of Touch to See books about Doctor Who, interviews Tom Baker in this YouTube video.
Blind Doctor Who super fan meets one of his heroes, Tom Baker, thanks to inspirational fundraising campaign. Louis,19, from Bradford, has been blind since he was 18 months old. A few weeks ago, Louis launched a fundraising campaign on Crowd Funder in an attempt to raise £15,000 to make it possible for a charity, Living Paintings, to make a set of Touch to See books which will bring him and other blind and partially sighted people closer to the incredible world of Doctor Who. Having blasted through his first fundraising target Louis is now looking to raise an incredible total £25,000 to support the charity that has helped him since he was two years old. Louis says of his motivation to carry on with the campaign:“Living Paintings has had such a hugely positive impact on my life, from the first time I received a book and found out what Thomas the Tank Engine looks like (until then I had no idea what a train with a face could possibly mean), to helping me learn to read and express myself. I wouldn’t be who I am today without this wonderful charity and I hope people continue to support me on this journey so I can help other children facing the struggles I overcame with their help.” Louis and Living Paintings have been overwhelmed by the support shown by the Doctor Who community and this week he met one of his favourite ever Doctors on Zoom, the wonderful Tom Baker.
(19) MUSIC OF THE SPHERES. This is a NASA video that dropped on July 14 about June flybys of Jupiter and Ganymede.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Jannie Shea, David K.M. Klaus, David Doering, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]
Chicon 8, the 2022 Worldcon in Chicago, has posted Progress Report #1 (also available to nonmembers).
Chair Helen Montgomery says in the PR they “have fully signed the contract with the Hyatt Regency Chicago and have completed our initial space allocation plan.” The PR also previews the Chicago Worldcon Community Fund, which some can tap into for assistance in attending the con. And Chicon 8 announces they will run a 1946 retrospective instead of awarding Retro-Hugos.
CHICAGO WORLDCON COMMUNITY FUND. “We know that Worldcon can be an expensive prospect for many people,” notes Montgomery. “We also know that Worldcon is great fun and we want as many people there as possible.” The Chicago Worldcon Community Fund (CWCF) will crowdsource donations from the community and distribute the money to fans who may need a little help in order to attend.
Funds will be available to the following groups of people:
1946 RETROSPECTIVE. Chicon 8 won’t exercise its option to run Retro Hugos for 1947. Instead, they will do a retrospective of the works and fandom of 1946, a project headed up by Cora Buhlert, 2020 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fan Writer.
The committee gave five reasons for its decision.
First, the public feedback made on social media and sent to us in email after the last two Retro Hugos largely were not supportive of Retro Hugos at Chicon 8. Second, it has been increasingly difficult to get representatives from estates involved in the awards, leading us to question who we were actually honoring when the creators are deceased and the estates, for the most part, are uninterested. Third, there is a financial cost factor — rockets and bases, tech for putting on a ceremony, etc. Fourth, the labor costs of administering the awards, the director and crew for a ceremony, hosts and acceptors, etc. Fifth, there tends to be much less interest in the Retro Hugos, based on lower nominations, lower voting, and lower attendance at Retro Hugos ceremonies.
Their retrospective project will explore the literary and media works of 1946, and “the state of fandom” that year.
In fact, 1946 was the first Worldcon held after WWII and was notable for several firsts, including the first non-American Guests of Honor (A.E. Van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull, both from Canada) and the first woman Guest of Honor (E. Mayne Hull). We plan to have several program items looking at 1946, as well as an exhibit on it.
Anyone interested in working on the project should let the committee know by volunteering.
Well, they just admitted me to the hospital Covid floor. O2 level had fallen to about 83%. Got it back up to 88 or so, but still not good and the fever was spiking again. So our lovely daughter Morgan Rice-Weber drove her dads butt to the ER, where they told me there was a 95% chance they’d keep me. I sent her on home, they hooked me up to an IV, and told me they are going to pretty much blast me with everything they’ve got, including steroids, plasma, and all that other stuff. Got here about 3:30, I think, but it was closing in on 7 before they could find me a bed. SUPER nurses, and everyone is taking really good care of me.
Fever has broken, O2 level is up to 95%, but they don’t like the chest X-rays, so I’m pretty sure they’ll be keeping me for a bit.
I am feeling a LOT better, and the girls are keeping an eye on Sharon Rice-Weber to make sure she’s watching HER O2.
Update: copied from Mr Weber’s post: Therapy proceeding. We’re on top of the fever; the high blood pressure looks like it’s under control; hydration levels look good. Still having trouble keeping the O2 up. They’ve got me on a pressure setting of 6, and I’m still dropping into the upper 80s whenever I move around. Takes a minute or two to get back up to the 90s once I’m back off my feet. Problem seems to be getting the lung function up to speed again. I’m confident we’re moving in the right direction, but it’s gonna take however long it takes.
Kingkiller Chronicle author Patrick Rothfuss can’t get into The Wheel of Time, praises George R.R. Martin but not his imitators, and HATES The Witcher….
…At one point, someone in the stream notes that fantasy authors seem to be in a competition with each other to have as many characters as possible, which is true. Rothfuss thinks he knows how this trend got started:
“I think of that as the George Martin effect. Where Martin is an author who has a ton of craft under his belt — he’s been writing for ages in many different ways — and he started Game of Thrones, and all of those books had multiple point-of-view characters to achieve a specific effect in this huge world-spanning story he was telling, and he had the craft to pull it off. And then everyone’s like, ‘I wanna do a Game of Thrones, too.’ And I’m like, ‘No, you can’t, it’s too many characters, you’re not that good.’ And you certainly don’t get that many point-of-view characters. Here’s the rule: if you’re starting a novel, you can have three point-of-view characters, and that’s it. And you probably shouldn’t have that many.”
Rothfuss also talks about Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth series (he enjoyed the first two books but eventually dropped it) and touched on the work of Brandon Sanderson, who finished off The Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan died and has several long multi-volume fantasy stories of his own. “I’d read a lot of Brandon Sanderson’s books, for a while I’d read most of them. But now, he’s got so many, he just writes so much, I’m far behind.”
…While other gatherings of fans, such as Chicago’s C2E2, are run by businesses and are profit-driven enterprises (albeit still very fun, Levy said), events such as Chicago’s Worldcon, specifically called Chicon 8, are run by volunteers and financed solely by attendees, known as members.
Chicago’s bid, which overwhelmingly won over a bid from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, was awarded at the virtual 2020 Worldcon, which had been slated to be in Wellington, New Zealand. The 2021 event had previously been awarded to Washington, D.C. There’s no word as of yet if the 2021 event will be an in-person gathering.
The pandemic permeates all things these days, and even events rooted firmly in the imagination are not immune. But being immersed in a style of literature that offers ideas and different perspectives is a plus when it comes to dealing with the mundane and often depressing details of life in the time of the novel coronavirus….
(5) NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT. Just stuff a person reading the Wikipedia could come across on any random day, don’t ya think?
…Christopher Lee is the only member of the cast or crew to have met Tolkien. In fact, Lee mentioned in the extended cut commentary for “Fellowship” that Tolkien had given him his blessing to play Gandalf in any potential film adaptation of “LOTR.” But when Lee auditioned for Gandalf, he was asked to play Saruman instead, as it was believed he was too old to play Gandalf. Lee accepted the role, but agreed that Ian McKellen was right for Gandalf.
Viggo Mortensen initially didn’t have much interest in playing Aragorn, but took the role after his Tolkien-loving son, Henry, pleaded for him to accept the role. After learning more about Aragorn, Mortensen viewed the character’s sword as the key element to his character and carried it with him at all times during filming, even when he was not on set….
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
January 3, 1993 — Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered in syndication. The fourth spin-off of the original series (counting the animated run) was the first developed after the death of Roddenberry, created by Rick Berman and Michael Piller. It starred Avery Brooks, René Auberjonois, Terry Farrell, Cirroc Lofton, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimerman, Alexander Siddig, Nana Visitor and Michael Dorn. It would run for seven seasons and one hundred and seventy-six episodes. It would be nominated for two Hugo Awards but wouldn’t win either.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born January 3, 1892 — J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ll admit that to this day I much prefer The Hobbit to The Lord of The Rings. There’s a joy, a pleasure in that novel that I just don’t get in the trilogy. I’m currently listening to the Andy Serkis narration of The Hobbit which I highly recommend. (Died 1973.) (CE)
Born January 3, 1898 – Doris Buck. A score of short stories, including “Cacophony in Pink and Ochre” long announced as part of The Last Dangerous Visions so not yet published; as many poems. Mostly in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Founding member of SFWA (now Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and on the first Nebula ballot. Anthologized by Knight, Silverberg, Biggle. (Died 1980) [JH]
Born January 3, 1930 – Stephen Fabian, age 91. Radio & radar in the Air Force, then twenty years’ electronics engineering while active as a fanartist, then pro career (self-taught) while continuing fanart. Here is Progress Report 3 for Noreascon I the 29th Worldcon. Here is SF Review 29. Here is SF, a Teacher’s Guide & Resource Book. Here is the Dec 74 Galaxy. Here is Refugees from an Imaginary Country, hello Darrell Schweitzer. Several artbooks e.g. Women & Wonders (using his cover for The Dragon of the Ishtar Gate). Three hundred forty covers, fourteen hundred twenty interiors. Dungeons & Dragons artwork 1986-1995. World Fantasy Award for life achievement. [JH]
Born January 3, 1937 — Glen A. Larson. Triple hitter as a producer, writer and director. Involved in Battlestar Galactica, Galactica 1980, The Six Million Dollar Man, Manimal (no, really don’t ask), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Knight Rider. He also was responsible for Magnum, P.I. which I love but I’ll be damned if I can figure anyway to claim that’s even genre adjacent thought I think one of you will figure a way. He also did a lot of Battlestar Galactica novels, some with Ron Goulart. (Died 2014.) (CE)
Born January 3, 1940 — Kinuko Y. Craft, 81. She is a Japanese-born American painter, illustrator and fantasy artist. True enough. So why is she here? Because she had an amazing run of illustrating the covers of the Patricia McKillip novels until quite recently. I’m linking here to our review at Green Man of The Bards of Bone Plainfor a favorite cover of mine she did. There’s a slim volume on Imaginosis called Drawings & Paintings which collects some of her work which Green Man reviews here. (CE)
Born January 3, 1945 – Mark Owings. Bibliographer. Index to the Science-Fantasy Publishers (with Jack Chalker) 1966, rev. 1991 then thirteen supplements. Blish, Heinlein, Lovecraft, Pohl, Russell, Schmitz, Simak, Williamson. Our Gracious Host’s appreciation here. (Died 2009) [JH]
Born January 3, 1947 — Patricia Anthony. Flanders is one damn scary novel. A ghost story set in WW I, it spooked me for nights after I read it and I don’t spook easily having died over and over. Highly recommended. James Cameron purchased the movie rights to her Brother Termite novel and John Sayles wrote a script, but the movie has not been produced. (Died 2013.) (CE)
Born January 3, 1951 – Rosa Montero, age 70. Daughter of a bullfighter, active in protests that eliminated killing of the bull, however traditional, in the centuries-old Toro de la Vega at Tordesillas. Thirty books, two for us in English. Spring Novel prize, Cavour Prize, two Qué Leer prizes. [JH]
Born January 3, 1974 – Arwen Dayton, age 47. Six novels for us. Resurrection an Amazon Kindle Best-Seller. Stronger, Faster, More Beautiful won Kirkus Best Young Adult SF, Wall Street Journal Best SF. Has read The Sirens of Titan, Bleak House, The Door Into Summer, The Illustrated Man, Sense and Sensibility. [JH]
Born January 3, 1975 — Danica McKellar, 46. From 2010–2013 and since 2018, she’s voiced Miss Martian in the Young Justice series. It’s just completed its fourth season and it’s most excellent! She’s done far, far more voice work than I can list here, so if you’ve got something you like that she’s done, do mention it. (CE)
Born January 3, 1976 — Charles Yu, 45. Taiwanese American writer. Author of the most excellent How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and the short-story collections, Sorry Please Thank You and Third Class Superhero. His novel was ranked the year’s second-best science fiction novel by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas — runner up for the Campbell Memorial Award. (CE)
Born January 3, 1978 – Dominic Wood, age 43. Magician (the theatrical-art kind) and author. Int’l Brotherhood of Magicians’ Shield for Sleight of Hand. Co-presenter of Brainiac’s Test-Tube Baby. Three BAFTA (Brit. Acad. Film & Television Arts) awards. Dom and the Magic Topper is ours; the protagonist although named Dominic is a child, and although a theatrical-art magician has a top hat that really is magic; see here. [JH]
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Today I discovered R.E. Parrish:
(11) CIRQUE DE SOUL. Leonard Maltin reviewed Soul and thought it was a provocative film but one he wished he could like more than he did. “’Soul’ Tackles The Big Questions”.
…I feel like an ingrate as I complain about a mainstream Disney release that doesn’t talk down to its audience, a Trojan horse of philosophizing packaged as shiny entertainment. But as much as I was intrigued by Soul, I didn’t actually enjoy the experience. I watched it with my family and we all had different reactions.
I would be foolish and narrow-minded if I didn’t applaud the effort and artistry that went into this film. How lucky we are that a studio like Pixar exists, unafraid to tackle complex and challenging ideas within the mainstream movie industry. I just wish I liked their new movie better.
…[In WW84] To help match his antenna-transmitted ambition, Pascal was asked to shave off his trademark swashbuckling mustache that has followed him through roles in “Game of Thrones,” “Narcos” and the Star Wars universe in the rare moments he can take off his Mandalorian helmet (which he did for the second time in the series in the episode that aired on Dec. 11). Pascal is adamant the facial hair removal was real and not the digital disaster that was Henry Cavill’s lip service in the widely panned “Justice League.”…
…The mystery of who created the monolith may never be solved. If we accept that it was a guerrilla art intervention, it was clearly successful, seizing public attention in ways a commissioned work never could. Weeks after the structure vanished, monolith fever has not abated, with copycats springing up across the U.S. and around the globe, from Romania to Morocco to Paraguay. Their spread so captivated social media that many wondered whether the world was falling for a viral marketing campaign.
But the appeal of the monolith touches deeper depths than the usual dopamine hits of the viral internet. In an age of GPS mapping and Google Earth, we may feel that the planet has been demystified, down to the centimeter — that there is no more unsurveilled terrain. The appearance of a monolith in a hinterland is a satisfying reminder that the world remains very large. It is still possible for an artist, or a prankster, or an artist-prankster, to slip undetected into the backcountry and leave something weird and alluring behind. Online detectives studying Google Earth figure the pillar was installed around 2016, which would mean that it’s possible for a weird, alluring thing to remain hidden for years, a secret shared only with passing bighorn sheep.
(14) WILL MINDS BE CHANGED? Essence of Wonder takes up the question “What Would Convince You a Miracle Is Real?” hosted by Alan Lightman with Rebecca Goldstein and Edward Hall. On Saturday, January 9, at 3:00 PM US Eastern Time. Register here.
In this discussion with philosopher and novelist Rebecca Goldstein, philosopher of science Edward Hall (Harvard), and physicist and novelist Alan Lightman (MIT), we will consider the question of the role of experiment in science and how that feature separates science from the humanities. We will also discuss the strong commitment of scientists to a completely lawful universe.
This latter issue could be framed as a question: What would it take to convince a scientist that some phenomenon was a miracle — that is, could not be explained, even in principle, to lie within the laws of nature?
For most scientists, the answer is NOTHING. Yet surveys repeatedly show that 75% of the American public believes in miracles. Why this marked discrepancy between the beliefs of scientists and nonscientists?
The original Dune, penned by science fiction writer Frank Herbert, was published in 1965, and it quickly became one of the best-selling sci-fi novels of all time. Countless writers have cited his series as inspiration, including his son, Brian Herbert.
The story has been adapted for several films over the years, as well as games, comic books and spin-off books.
Ahead of its return to the big screen (again) next year, we’re taking a look into the recently published Dune: The Graphic Novel.
Created by Herbert’s son, Brian, and science fiction writer Kevin J Anderson, Dune: The Graphic Novel depicts the epic adventure that unfolds on the desert planet Arrakis in stunning illustrations.
What follows is an extract from the new book, where we take flight across the desert with the Duke, his son, and planetologist Dr Kynes…
[Thanks to Jim Meadows, Cliff, John Hertz, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
Next year fans will choose the site of the 2023 Worldcon: Chengdu, China and Memphis, TN (USA) are currently in contention. Beyond that? An abundance of new Worldcon bids have responded to SMOFCon 37-1/4’s call for questionnaires — Israel, Los Angeles, and Orlando joining the others already in the field. You’ll find all their Q&As here.
(In addition, the seated Worldcons – DisCon III (2021) and Chicon 8 (2022) have submitted answers.)
Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund administrators Johan Anglemark, Geri Sullivan and Mike Lowrey say “After much thought and consideration, [we] have come to the conclusion that we need to postpone the 2021 TAFF race due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The TAFF race for 2021 was intended to go East to West, from Europe to DisCon III. They will now wait until 2022, and instead have a race from Europe to Chicon 8, the 80th Worldcon.
The administrators explained the reasoning behind the delay:
The general expectation of expert epidemiologists is that the pandemic will continue to rage well into 2021. For example, the British government has announced that they expect severe restrictions, including the bans on public events, to be in place for another half year. We think that DisCon III likely will be one of the first large conventions after the pandemic has been successfully beaten back or we have learnt how to live with it. Our concern is with having a TAFF race in the midst of the pandemic, without any physical conventions to attend. It would be much more difficult to enthuse people and get them to vote and to donate.
Postponing the race reduces the uncertainty for the eventual westbound TAFF delegate, and it greatly increases the probability that Michael Lowrey — this year’s TAFF winner — will get to take his postponed trip first.
“We don’t want to increase the inventory of TAFF delegates waiting to travel,” say the administrators. “And it’s not just TAFF and Mike Lowrey. Fandom has two more fan fund delegates waiting to take their trips: Alison Scott (GUFF) and Erin Underwood (DUFF). We think there will be a lot more excitement for another race once we start having in-person conventions again.”