Chicon 8 Opens 2022 Hugo Nominations

Chicon 8 has announced that nominations for the 2022 Hugo Awards are now open, as are nominations for the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Nominatons will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT, UTC-7) on March 15, 2022.

All DisCon III members and Chicon 8 members who are registered before 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST, UTC-8) January 31, 2022, are eligible to nominate.

Instructions for accessing the online nominating form have been sent to eligible members via e-mail.

Worldcon members who are uncertain of their status or who experience problems with the online nominating form should contact hugo-help@chicon8.org.

The Hugo Awards were first presented in 1953 and have been awarded annually since 1955. Members of the Worldcon vote on them for the given year, while the sitting Worldcon is responsible for administering them.

As permitted under the rules, the Chicon 8 Committee has irrevocably delegated all Hugo Award Administration authority to a subcommittee. Therefore, Kat Jones, Jesi Lipp, Brian Nisbet, and Nicholas Whyte are ineligible for 2022 Hugo Awards. Any other member of the committee remains eligible.

Complete information about the nominating process is available at Hugo Awards – Chicon 8.

Chicon 8 Hugo Nominations Open Soon; Forms Will Be Solely in English

All the fans who bought supporting memberships in DisCon III so they would be eligible to vote for Chengdu in 2023 also acquired the right to cast nominating ballots for the 2022 Hugo Awards, creating an opportunity that the Hugo Book Club Blog discusses in “Hugos Unlike Any Previous”.

…Given that there are usually little more than 1,000 nominating ballots cast in a given year, these supporting members of Discon III could have an enormous influence on what makes the ballot at the Chicago Worldcon. We encourage them to nominate….

Some past administrators have said one of the hardest and most time-consuming tasks is perfecting the data entry from the variegated spellings submitted by the voters. And that’s from people writing in English. I asked the Chicon 8 Hugo Administrators what resources they have to deal with the possibility of receiving ballots with the names of works and individuals written in Chinese characters.

Nicholas Whyte, Deputy Hugo Administrator, says:

There isn’t a problem. Kansa (the nomination software) copes perfectly well with inputs in all alphabets and scripts, and we are confident that we have the internal resources to deal with all nominations as they come in, including any that are not in the Latin alphabet.

I also asked whether Chicon 8 will use solely English-language forms for the Hugo voting instructions and ballot.

Researching Worldcon publications at Fanac.org seems to show the Hugo voting forms have always been in English, regardless of host country, even in when the Worldcon has been held in countries where the primary language is something other than English. Fanac.org shows that in 1970 (when held in Germany) and 1990 (when held in The Netherlands) Hugo nominating and final ballots were in English, with no indication of an alternate in the national languages. (Fanac.org doesn’t show a form for Helsinki, from 2017.) For 2007 (Nippon) the progress report explained the Hugo nominating process in both Japanese and English, however, I find no indication that the actual voting forms were provided in both languages — Fanac.org doesn’t display a copy of the nominating ballot; the final ballot is English-only.

There is ample precedent for a Chicago convention to do everything in the English language, and it is the primary language of the United States. But a committee could always decide to facilitate voting in other languages, following the example of DisCon III site selection.

Nicholas Whyte’s response on that topic is —

We’re not planning to offer Hugo nominations materials in any language other than English this year. In an ideal world we could have looked at this, but as you note, no previous Worldcon, including those based in non-English-speaking locations, has provided Hugo voting material in any language other than English.

Unfortunately, the time we have available simply will not allow the preparation of the ballot and instructions to the standards that are necessary for the job to be done properly, so it’s not a runner for us this year. (Have you ever tried to translate “Semiprozine” into another language? I have, and it’s not pretty.)

Chicon 8 announced on Facebook yesterday they will soon be taking nominations, and if you’re not already eligible to vote there’s still time:

As we prep for the opening of Hugo nominations, we want to remind everyone that nominating is open to anyone who has a Supporting or Attending membership to the previous or current Worldcon as of January 31, 2022.

For Chicon 8, this means members of DisCon III (the 2021 Worldcon) and Chicon 8 itself.

Nominations will open soon and will run through March 15, 2022. Stay tuned!

Chicon 8 Silent Auction Runs Thru December 18

By Helen Montgomery, Chicon 8 Chair: The World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS), an unincorporated literary society. Worldcon started in 1939, and Chicon 8 will be the 80th Worldcon.

We are running a silent auction now through Saturday, December 18 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. The auction benefits the Chicago Worldcon Community Fund, and can be found here: https://www.32auctions.com/chicon8

Chicon 8 is a group of fans who love Chicago and love Worldcon! Some of us have a lot of experience in running conventions, and others are new to convention running. The Worldcon will be returned to Chicago for a record eighth time, and we plan to build upon our previous experiences to show the world our beautiful city, and either introduce them or welcome them back to our amazing local fandoms.

The best thing about Worldcon is the people. Worldcon is an event where amazing, awesome people come together to create, to learn, to make, to do, and to participate with one another as we build our community together.

Our community becomes amazing when we are able to help as many people as we can join us.

This auction is to raise funds for our Chicago Worldcon Community Fund (CWCF), which is here to facilitate bringing more people into our community by attending the Worldcon in Chicago in 2022. The CWCF is a special fund to help defray the expenses of attending Chicon 8 for the following groups of people:

  • Non-white fans or program participants
  • LGBTQIA+ fans or program particpants
  • Local Chicago area fans of limited means

By participating in the auction, you will be helping fans from around the world be able to attend Chicon 8! And you’ll get cool stuff!

Again, the auction can be found here and will be open until Saturday, December 18 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time.

For more information about the Chicago Worldcon Community Fund and the link to donate to the Fund, please visit our website.

TAFF 2022 Race Begins 12/15

Beginning December 15, you can help decide which European fan is going to attend the 2022 Worldcon in Chicago as the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate.

The candidates are: Anders Holmström (Sweden), Fia Karlsson (Sweden), Miko?aj Kowalewski (Poland), and Julie Faith McMurray (UK).

Each has been nominated by five other fans to travel to Chicon 8, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention, being held next year in Chicago from September 1-5. Then the winner will assume their duties as the next European administrator of TAFF.

Voting commences December 15, 2021 and closes April 18, 2022. These dates coincide with DisCon III in Washington DC and Reclamation (Eastercon) in London, respectively. When the race opens you will be able to read their platforms on David Langford’s TAFF site. This is also the place to go to learn more about TAFF, to read the rules for voting, to make the necessary monetary donation needed for voting, and to cast your vote.

For more information, contact Johan Anglemark, European Administrator (EUTAFF@gmail.com) or Geri Sullivan, North American Administrator (TAFF@toad-hall.com).

Chicon 8 Publishes Second Progress Report

Chicon 8, the 2022 Worldcon in Chicago, has posted Progress Report #2 [PDF file] (also available to nonmembers).

GUEST OF HONOR FEATURES. The Progress Report spotlights Guests of Honor Charles de Lint and the late Erle Korshak. It also introduces three new Featured Guests: Dr. Eve L. Ewing, Gene Ha, and Erik Wilkerson

TRAINING. Chair Helen Montgomery’s message announces that some committee members will receive antiracism training.

In other news, we made a decision very early on that we wanted to work on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with Crossroads Antiracism in Chicago, and our Division Heads and a few others will be participating in a training with them this coming January. We know that we are only one event, and so part of our focus is learning how we can take the tools of anti-racism and bring them into the community in other ways – including through working on our local conventions and future Worldcons. In addition to this training, we are exploring training options for all of our staff in bystander intervention work, helping them to become more comfortable in making our convention as safe and inclusive as possible.

2022 HUGO AWARDS. Remember there is a deadline for acquiring a membership – December 31 – if you want to be eligible to nominate for the 2022 Hugo Awards.

Nominations for the 2022 Hugo Awards, the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer will be opening in January 2022. Any person who is a voting member of at least one of the 2021 or 2022 World Science Fiction Conventions as of 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST; UTC -8) on December 31, 2021, may cast a nominating ballot for the 2022 Awards

PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS. People who want to be considered as program participants and receive a program survey must separately fill in Chicon 8’s program participant interest form. They say: “If you do not fill in the interest form, you will not receive an invitation to fill in the prospective participant survey.” Also —

Chicon 8 will be using an opt-in program development model. During our signup phase in 2022, program participants will select specific program items that they would like to be on. They will be asked to provide information as to why they are a great choice for the topics that they choose.

INTERNATIONAL VISA TEAM. Chicon 8 has a Visa Team, a part of Member Services that helps international attendees by providing links to resources for getting to the United States. Members planning to attend from outside the United States are encouraged to check out the International Travelers page on the convention website for information and links about visas, passports, and other requirements.

MEMBERSHIP DEMOGRAPHICS. Chicon 8 currently has 1,478 members – 1,084 attending and 394 supporting.

In total, there are 1,228 members from the U.S. The other countries with the most members are the United Kingdom (75), Canada (44), Germany (22), Ireland (18), Australia (16) and Finland (15).

Somewhat surprisingly, China has only one (supporting) member.

ROOM RESERVATIONS. Chicon 8 room bookings will open in February 2022. Fans are advised to check Twitter or their website regularly for announcements of the exact date and time, which will come about a week before bookings open. All room reservations must be made through the Hyatt booking page – which will not accept reservations beforehand.

Best Semiprozine Hugo:
Eligible Semiprozines from 2021

SJW Credential Reading a Book in Bed (c) Can Stock Photo / gkondratenko

By JJ: To assist Hugo nominators, listed below are the Semiprozines believed to be eligible as of this writing for the 2022 Best Semiprozine Hugo next year †.

This list has been compiled from Neil Clarke’s Semiprozine Directory at semiprozine.org, supplemented by the hard work done by Filer Cora Buhlert to identify additional eligible Semiprozines.

Read more…

TAFF Taking Nominations for 2022 Race

The 2022 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund race is now officially open for nominations.

After two consecutive eastbound races, it is time for a westbound race. Johan Anglemark, European TAFF Administrator, and Geri Sullivan, North American TAFF Administrator, say ”These are still uncertain times, but we think it is realistic to proceed with the race. It seems unlikely that the pandemic will make a TAFF trip impossible in 2022.”

Therefore, European fans who want to stand for TAFF for an East to West (Europe to North America) race should round up their nominators and contact one of the administrators by December 10.

Voting to elect the TAFF delegate will commence December 15 and close April 18, 2022. The winning delegate will attend Chicon 8, The 80th World Science Fiction Convention, in Chicago, Illinois, (chicon.org) from September 1 to September 5, 2022 and take over as TAFF’s next European administrator upon returning home.

This year candidates will need three European fans and two North American fans known to the Administrators to nominate them: these people must contact the current Administrators by December 10, 2021, informing them of whom they are nominating. Potential delegates will also need to send an official statement to the administrators that they are standing for TAFF (contact information provided below) listing their nominators, plus a 101-word platform statement, and a £10/€12 bond fee sent via PayPal to EUTAFF@gmail.com.

Note: When counting the votes, if there are more than three candidates, we will not apply the “20% rule” until the candidates with the fewest votes have been eliminated and there are just three candidates left.

More details about TAFF can be found at David Langford’s excellent website, taff.org.uk. If you are interested in standing for the 2022 TAFF Race or would like to nominate some deserving fan, please contact Johan Anglemark, the European Administrator (EUTAFF@gmail.com), or the North American Administrator, Geri Sullivan (TAFF@toad-hall.com).

[Based on a press release.]

Erle Korshak (1923-2021)

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.

Front: Mark Reinsberg, Jack Agnew, Ross Rocklynne Top: V. Kidwell, Robert A. Madle, Erle Koeshak, Ray Bradbury at Coney Island, 7/4/1939, during the first Worldcon held in New York.

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.

A Buck Rogers-themed header from the Chicon program book. Supplied by the John F. Dille Co.

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.”

Erle Korshak auctioning at Pacificon, 1946.

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.”

Erle Korshak being interviewed at Chicon 7 in 2012. Photo by Keith Stokes.

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.

Erle Korshak photo from the Chicon 8 website.

A slideshow of additional photos of Erle Korshak taken by Andrew Porter.

Best Series Hugo:
Eligible Series from 2021

Junior SJW Credential Napping on SFF Books (c) Can Stock Photo / underworld

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.

(*) ineligible series are preceded by an asterisk

Read more…

Pixel Scroll 7/31/21 So You Want To Be An Orc’n’Scroll Star

(1) RETURN OF A MAN CALLED CHUCK. Chuck Tingle’s Twitter account has been restored. He tweeted thanks to some who helped him along the way.

(2) SMITHSONIAN FUTURES EXHIBIT. Octavia Butler, one of her typewriters, and some newly commissioned art, will be part of the Smithsonian’s “Futures That Unite” exhibit that opens in November reports Smithsonian Magazine: “The Pioneering Sci-Fi Writer Octavia E. Butler Joins a Pantheon of Celebrated Futurists”. The complete set of Nettrice Gaskins’ images can be viewed here.

…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.

(4) SELF-PUBLISHING DURING THE PANDEMIC. Mike Allen is interviewed by Melanie Stormm at the SPECPO blog: “The Uncertain Journey of Shirley Jackson Finalist, Aftermath…”

…“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….

(6) LEARNING FROM WRONG GUESSES. Simon Evans discusses “What Sci Fi novels can teach us about uncertainty” in The Spectator.

…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 MatrixThe 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 Time magazine. 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.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Alley Oop isn’t ready for this cosmic discovery.

(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.

(13) HE CALLED IT. It always gives John King Tarpinian a warm feeling inside whenever Einstein is proved right. Yahoo! has the latest instance: “Einstein right, again: Researchers see light ‘echo’ around black hole”.

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….

(14) STRAY CAT STRUT. Nerdist says we have something to look forward to: “STRAY The Sci-Fi Game About a Stray Cat Debuts Early 2022”.

…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.]