Luis R. Rondon, former King of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s East Kingdom, was expelled from the Society a year ago this month after his arrest in connection with the murder of Deborah Waldsinger.
Rondon’s attorneys entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, felonies; and misdemeanor weapon possession this past November.
Prosecutors believe Rondon used a framing hammer to beat 32-year-old Deborah Waldinger to death on October 7, 2019. He then traveled to California to attend the Great Western War sponsored by the Kingdom of Caid, a regional chapter of the SCA, and was arrested by Taft (CA) police on October 11 at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area where the event was in progress. He was extradited to New York.
The victim, Deborah Waldinger, was also active in the SCA, as well as in the Markland Medieval Mercenary Militia.
Since then, defense attorney Dennis J. Ring has filed motions trying to free his client on technical grounds, or convince the court to rule out some of the evidence the prosecution wants to present at trial.
In June, Judge Craig Brown of the Orange County (NY) court handed down rulings on eight of these motions.
Ring’s first motion asked the court to dismiss the indictment due to alleged defects in the Grand Jury proceedings. These included a claim that witness testimony stating Rondon was having an extramarital affair with Waldinger should not have been permitted:
Regarding testimony, the defendant takes exception to the People’s inclusion as a witness April Cruz, the co-worker of the deceased victim, characterizing the same as impermissible hearsay testimony for which no legally cognizable exception applies. The defendant states that the witness’s testimony was “highly inflammatory” because it related to an extramarital affair that defendant was allegedly having with the victim. Over the course of four days, the People presented fifteen witnesses, who testified as to their personal knowledge of the case as well as, where appropriate, their professional experiences in the fields of criminal investigation and forensic pathology.
… In opposition, the People …argue that their inclusion of the homicide victim’s statements to her co-worker were both appropriate and probative of her state of mind (specifically, that her intent to end the extramarital relationship with defendant and thus, by extrapolation, the defendant’s motive to kill her).
Judge Brown said in his decision that the court found no defects in the indictment.
The court did grant the defendant’s motion for the release of all transcripts of the testimony of persons who testified before the Grand Jury.
The court rejected additional claims that the Grand Jury procedure was defective, saying: “[The] Court finds that the People properly instructed the Grand Jury on the law and only permitted those grand jurors who heard all the evidence to vote on the matter… Those nineteen Grand Jurors then deliberated and voted 19-0 to indict defendant on all three counts of the Indictment.”
A motion to suppress the defendant’s statements to law enforcement was granted to the extent that a hearing was ordered to determine the admissibility of statements allegedly made by the defendant.
Likewise, the ruling on another motion, “to suppress the use of any evidence obtained as the result of a nonconsensual seizure of his cellular telephone on October 10, 2019 in Bakersfield, California by a New Windsor police detective” was deferred until a hearing could determine the admissibility of physical evidence allegedly obtained from the defendant.
The court ruled against defendant’s motion to suppress physical evidence obtained through multiple search warrants, which the judge found were based upon probable cause and supported by appropriate affidavits.
The defense’s motion to preclude the cross-examination of the defendant as to prior bad acts was granted to the extent that a hearing will be held immediately prior to trial “to determine which, if any, bad acts or convictions may be used as impeachment in the event that the defendant elects to testify at trial or as substantive proof of any material issue in the case…”
The court granted three other motions, to compel the District Attorney to provide the defense with any exculpatory evidence, ordering the mutual sharing of outstanding discovery material, and allowing the defense to file further motions as provided under the law.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for October 23.
…Here Young Wizards says: it’s never too late to change. Diane Duane comes back to this idea again and again throughout the series. Wizardry is always about choosing to change or not, in one way or another. Of course, change is never without a price: wizardry gives only so much as it is given. But if you are willing, if you choose, you can change more than you ever dreamed.
“This is a business for saints, not children!” Nita’s father exclaims to Tom and Carl in High Wizardry, upon learning Nita’s younger sister Dairine has also become a wizard. “Even saints have to start somewhere,” they tell him. The youngest wizards have the most power, because they aren’t yet so confined by the idea of “possible.”
I’ve known that guest, Danny Fingeroth, for more than 40 years. A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee, his biography of “The Man,” has just been released in paperback. That’s but the latest of his many accomplishments since he started in comics back in the ’70s as an assistant at Marvel to previous guest Larry Lieber.
Danny went on to become group editor for all the Spider-Man titles, and writer of the Deadly Foes of Spider-Man and Lethal Foes of Spider-Man mini-series, plus long runs on Dazzler and Darkhawk. His other books in addition to that Stan Lee bio include Superman On The Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us About Ourselves and Society and Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero.
As for dinner … our multi-course meal was made up of nothing but Marvel-branded food — which clearly should be ingested for their novelty value only — about which you’ll hear us kibitz during our conversation.
We discussed his start (like mine) in the Marvel British reprint department, what was wrong with the early letters he wrote to comics as a kid, his admittedly over-generalized theory that there were only two kinds of people on staff at Marvel, our differing reactions to the same first comic book convention in 1970, our somewhat similar regrets about the old-timers we worked beside during our early days in comics, the reason working in comics was wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time, why he wanted to be not only Stan Lee, but both Stan and Jack Kirby, how he was able to interview “The Man” and get him to say things he’d never said before, why comics was the perfect medium for Stan Lee, and much more.
DSW: What’s your secret to being so successful as an editor of anthologies?
ED: It depends on what one means by success. I’ve been lucky to continue to propose anthologies that are of interest to enough publishers and readers that they sell OK (usually, but not always).
But basically I only edit anthologies on themes that are broad enough that I can get the writers I solicit stories from to push the envelope of that theme. I’ll be living with the “theme” for at least two years from conception to publication so I have to love it.
I’d very much like to edit more non-themed anthologies but they’re a very hard sell.
A letter to Donna Reed from a former schoolteacher led to MGM making the first film about the development of the atomic bomb. That’s the first nugget in this scrupulously researched tale of The Beginning or the End (1947), a film that tried to keep everyone from J. Robert Oppenheimer and President Harry S. Truman happy and wound up pleasing almost no one. Author Greg Mitchell appears shocked—shocked!—that Washington exerted such power over a movie studio, but threads his story with documentation that is beyond dispute. An experienced author and researcher (whose earlier book The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair’s Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics is a longtime favorite of mine) he reveals his ignorance of old movies when he badly summarizes the career of Brian Donlevy—who was chosen to play General Leslie Groves in this film—but stays on solid ground when he details the endless negotiations that won the government’s approval of the finished picture. It’s an interesting saga that has particular relevance as we reevaluate the consequences of the bombs that dropped on Japan 75 years ago.
…Or, okay, at the very least, we can all agree that hauntings are a very useful metaphor. “Whether or not ghosts are real,” writes Erica Wright, “their stories give us inspiration, a way to live more alert to possibilities.” A ghost in a story can deliver information living characters lack access to, so it’s no wonder spirits have apparated throughout Western literature, from Hamlet’s truth-telling father to the psychological spirits of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. A literary ghost can also be a neat way to link a story’s present with the past, a seductive trick for the expansively-minded novelist. The contemporary American ghost tends to be a little more complicated, however, than a Dickensian Ghost of Christmas Past rattling around in a nightgown. As Parul Sehgal writes in the New York Times, “The ghost story shape-shifts because ghosts themselves are so protean—they emanate from specific cultural fears and fantasies… They are social critiques camouflaged with cobwebs; the past clamoring for redress.” She notes that America is a haunted country, despite, or maybe because of, our “energetic amnesia.”
(6) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
Twenty-five years ago, Greg Bear’s Moving Mars, the thirdnovel in his Quantum Logic series, won the Nebula Award beating out works by Octavia E. Butler, Jonathan Lethem, James K. Morrow, Rachel Pollack, Kim Stanley Robinson and Roger Zelazny. It would also be nominated for the Hugo, Locus, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. It would lose in the Hugo race for Best Novel at ConAdian to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Green Mars. (CE)
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born September 25, 1919 – Betty Ballantine. With husband Ian (1916-1995) established Bantam Books, then Ballantine Books which they led to a fine SF publishing history: Blish, Bradbury, Clarke, Kornbluth, Leiber, Niven, Pohl, Tolkien; a hundred covers by Richard Powers, a distinctive genius. SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) President’s Award; Special Committee Award from the 64th Worldcon; World Fantasy Award for life achievement; SF Hall of Fame (Betty & Ian jointly). (Died 2019) [JH]
Born September 25, 1930 – Shel Silverstein. Cartoonist, journalist, poet, songster. Introduced to most by the Ballantines. Here is one of his collections. Here is another. Is he jolly, or melancholy? Have you sung “The Boa Constrictor”, by golly? (Died 1999) [JH]
Born September 25, 1932 — J. Carol Holly. Her various book dedications showed she had a strong love of cats. I’ve not encountered her novels but she wrote a fair number of them including ten genre novel plus The Assassination Affair, a novel in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. franchise. Only The Flying Eyes novel by her is available from the usual digital suspects. (Died 1982.) (CE)
Born September 25, 1946 – John D. Owen, 74. Fanziner noted particularly for Crystal Ship, which you can see here, and Shipyard Blues, which you can see here (both in archived copies). [JH]
Born September 25,1951 — Mark Hamill, 69. I’ll confess that my favorite role of his is that he voices The Joker in the DC Universe. He started doing this way back on Batman: The Animated Series and has even been doing on other such series as well. Pure comic evilness! Oh, and did you know he voices Chucky in the new Child’s Play film? Now that’s creepy. (CE)
Born September 25, 1957 – Christine Morton-Shaw, 63. Two novels for us; a half dozen picture books for young children which have been found fun. You may already know her teen fantasy The Riddles of Epsilon. [JH]
Born September 25, 1960 – Kristin Hannah, 60. Lawyer and fictionist. Two novels for us; a score of others (historical fiction The Nightingale sold 2 million copies). “The mall? I live on an island.” Website. [JH]
Born September 25,1961 — Heather Locklear, 59. Her first genre role was Victoria ‘Vicky’ Tomlinson McGee in Stephen King’s Firestarter followed by being Abby Arcane in The Return of Swamp Thing. She was also Dusty Tails in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. She’s had one-offs in Tales of the Unexpected, Fantasy Island, Muppets Tonight and she voiced Lisa Clark “Prophecy of Doom” on Batman: The Animated Series. (CE)
Born September 25,1962 — Beth Toussaint, 58. She was Ishara Yar in the “Legacy” episode of Next Gen and she’s been in a lot of genre series and films including Berserker, Babylon 5, the Monsters anthology series, the very short-lived Nightmare Cafe, Mann & Machine, Project Shadowchaser II, Legend and Fortress 2: Re-Entry. (CE)
Born September 25,1964 — Maria Doyle Kennedy, 56. She was Siobhán Sadler in Orphan Black, and currently is Jocasta Cameron in Outlander. She’s been cast as Illa in the soon to be filmed The Wheel of Time series. (CE)
Born September 25, 1969 — Catherine Zeta-Jones, 51. Her first role ever was as Scheherazade in the French short 1001 Nights. The Daily Telegraph noted it’s remembered only for its “enjoyable nude scenes”. Her next role was Sala in The Phantom. Does Zorro count as genre? If go, she appeared as Eléna Montero in The Mask of Zorro and Eléna De La Vega in The Legend of Zorro. She was Theodorain The Haunting, a riff off of The Haunting of Hill House. And finally she was in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles as Maya in “Palestine, October 1917”. (CE)
Born September 25, 1989 – Élodie Serrano, 31. Two novels, collection The Die Is Cast, twenty more stories (e.g. “Muse for Sale, Accepts Souls”, “The Word Thief”, “At the Heart of Plants”), in French. [JH]
If you’ve been reading my comic book reviews, you know Hawkman is one of my favorite comics out right now. Robert Venditti has written an excellent take on the character and he’s reached new heights (sorry) of what’s possible with him.
It was kind of fitting then that I saw the news about Aldis Hodge (The Invisible Man) being cast as Hawkman in the Black Adam movie from Venditti’s Twitter feed….
Hodge joins Dwayne Johnson, who plays the title character Black Adam, and Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) who will be Atom Smasher. The Black Adam version of the JSA is small with only Doctor Fate and Cyclone revealed although their casting have yet to be announced.
Riverbraid prides itself on its toleration of magickers, even minor ones like Mona, whose talents are limited to baked goods. Because Mona is poor and her magic has no obvious military applications, she’s left to work in her aunt’s bakery. It’s not a bad life, really. Everything changes the morning that Mona finds a corpse sprawled on the floor of the bakery.
The victim is a another magicker. It soon becomes apparent that someone is hunting down the magically talented. Mona’s attempts to unravel the mystery involve her in a desperate resistance against high-level scheming and barbarian invasion. Only a baker can save the day.
When a group of thieves stole $3.2 million worth of rare books from a London warehouse in 2017, including seminal scientific texts by Isaac Newton and Galileo, they shocked the antiquarian book world and inspired a number of theories about what had happened. Who would target such rare titles—including a 1566 edition of On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus, worth $268,000—that they would be essentially impossible to sell on the black market?
An anonymous source told The Guardian that the heist “must be for some one specialist. There must be a collector behind it.” One source, in Smithsonian, said that “a wealthy collector known as ‘The Astronomer’ may have hired the thieves to steal the books for him.” Other texts in the collection included those by Leonardo da Vinci and a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy from 1569.
Now, British, Romanian, and Italian investigators working together have found them: they were “in a concealed space under a house in rural Romania,” the Associated Press reports. The main suspects are members of a Romanian organized crime group, and police have already arrested 13 people in connection with this heist and a string of other high-profile burglaries.
(12) RUSSIAN VACCINE DATA SUSPICIOUS SAY RESEARCHERS. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] Putin is rushing out a vaccine – Sputnik V – against SARS-CoV-2 / CoVID-9 but it has not had mass testing, though it has had a small trial on 76 volunteers. The immune response of this small trial has been reported in The Lancet.
This rushed approval (by Russia only – as the approval does not meet international standards) has previously been criticised. However, now, the Russian paper in The Lancet reporting the trial has also been criticised in an open letter by 40 biomedical research scientists.
The Lancet paper does not include in the on-line version the underlying data. Conversely, the Oxford University and Astra Zeneca vaccine paper previously published in The Lancet had the underlying data included. Without it, it is impossible to check the headline data in the paper.
Further, in the headline data that was included in the Sputnik V vaccine paper in The Lancet, there were seeming repetitions. While these repetitions could be purely coincidence, they are unlikely.
The journal Nature became intrigued and their news team investigated. The Russian researchers are standing by their paper and have not responded to Nature’s news team’s queries. Nor has The Lancet commented why it failed to insist that the underlying data be included in the Sputnik V vaccine paper as it was for the British vaccine.
(13) ANTARCTICA IS CLOSE TO THE POINT WHERE FURTHER WARMING WILL SEE A COMMITMENT TO ICE SHEET COLLAPSE. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] Researchers have looked at how the Antarctic has responded in the past and compared this with an ice sheet model that includes a number of feedbacks. For example, with ice surface melt, the surface becomes less reflective and so absorbs more sunlight. So enhancing future warming. Also with surface melt, the melted ice drains away lowering the surface and low altitude surfaces are warmer. There are other feedbacks, both positive and negative.
We have already warmed the planet by 1.25°C above pre-industrial era temperatures. The researchers have found that up to 2°C above pre-industrial there is some stability in both the West and East Antarctic ice sheets. However, above 2°C warming (which we are currently on track to reach before the mid-21st century) the West Antarctic ice sheet becomes committed to partial collapse. Also, above 2°C warming sea level rise from Antarctic melt almost doubles to 2.4 metres per degree of warming. Above 6°C, melt soars to 10 metres per degree of warming up to 9°C above pre-industrial.
Worse, once each threshold level is reached, it is harder to reverse. That is to say cooling to temperatures back to the threshold point will not reverse matters: still further cooling is required.
The paper’s abstract is here. (The full paper is behind a pay wall.)
With a handful of successfully funded projects under its belt, including a towering X-Men Sentinel robot, Hasbro’s HasLab crowdfunding platform is returning to its Star Wars roots with another Vintage Collection spaceship: an incredibly detailed, 30-inch long replica of the Razor Crest from The Mandalorian. Now this is the way.
Designed to be perfectly scaled to Hasbro’s 3.75-inch action figures, the Star Wars: The Vintage Collection Razor Crest also measures in at an impressive 20-inches wide and 10.5-inches tall when perched on its functional retractable landing gear….
If you’re craving a zombie series that ditches the cynicism and has some good old-fashioned fun with the idea, then allow me to introduce you to Zomboat!, a short, six-episode British comedy with a silly title but a surprisingly clever premise.
The series follows sisters Kat and Jo (Leah Brotherhead and Crazyhead’s Cara Theobold) after they wake up one Sunday to find Birmingham under attack by zombies. As a gamer nerd who knows her zombie lore, Kat already has a plan for this scenario – steal a canal boat and escape to Eel Pie Island in London, because zombies can’t swim. And, as Kat puts it, “The Walking Dead would have been over in one season if Rick Grimes had gone to the Everglades.”
After stealing said canal boat, the sisters find two stowaways in the bathroom: misanthropic Sunny (Hamza Jeetooa) and his sensitive gym bro buddy Amar (Ryan McKen), who are stranded in the city after a stag weekend. Though they clash at first, the group decides to team up for survival, leading to plenty of bickering, bonding and snogs. As a result, the series avoids falling into the same style-over-substance trap that spoiled other recent zombie comedies (like Netflix’s Daybreak); instead, it benefits from the kind of found-family warmth that made Zombieland so charming.
…In a new peer-reviewed paper, a senior honors undergraduate says he has mathematically proven the physical feasibility of a specific kind of time travel. The paper appears in Classical and Quantum Gravity….
The math itself is complex, but it boils down to something fairly simple. Time travel discussion focuses on closed time-like curves (CTCs), something Albert Einstein first posited. And Tobar and Costa say that as long as just two pieces of an entire scenario within a CTC are still in “causal order” when you leave, the rest is subject to local free will.
“Our results show that CTCs are not only compatible with determinism and with the local ‘free choice’ of operations, but also with a rich and diverse range of scenarios and dynamical processes,” their paper concludes….
(17) ATTENTION ELEANOR CAMERON FANS. Lehman College Multimedia Music Theater and Dance department presents Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet. A musical composed by Penny Prince.
[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michal Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Rich Horton, Andrew Porter, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]
(1) NEW BEOWULF. Maria Dahvana Headley’s “new, feminist translation of Beowulf“ was released today by Macmillan.
Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf—and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world—there is a radical new verse translation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements that have never before been translated into English, recontextualizing the binary narrative of monsters and heroes into a tale in which the two categories often entwine, justice is rarely served, and dragons live among us.
…And so, I offer to the banquet table this translation, done by an American woman born in the year 1977, a person who grew up surrounded by sled dogs, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and bubbling natural hot springs nestled in the wild high desert of Idaho, a person who, if we were looking at the poem’s categories, would fall much closer in original habitat to Grendel and his mother than to Beowulf or even the lesser denizens of Hrothgar’s court.
I came to this project as a novelist, interested specifically in rendering the story continuously and clearly, while also creating a text that feels as bloody and juicy as I think it ought to feel. Despite its reputation to generations of unwilling students, forced as freshmen into arduous translations, Beowulf is a living text in a dead language, the kind of thing meant to be shouted over a crowd of drunk celebrants. Even though it was probably written down in the quiet confines of a scriptorium, Beowulf is not a quiet poem. It’s a dazzling, furious, funny, vicious, desperate, hungry, beautiful, mutinous, maudlin, supernatural, rapturous shout.
In contrast to the methods of some previous translators, I let the poem’s story lead me to its style. The lines in this translation were structured for speaking, and for speaking in contemporary rhythms. The poets I’m most interested in are those who use language as instrument, inventing words and creating forms as necessary, in the service of voice. I come from the land of cowboy poets, and while theirs is not the style I used for this translation, I did spend a lot of time imagining the narrator as an old-timer at the end of the bar, periodically pounding his glass and demanding another. I saw it with my own eyes.
Members of the very small but very vocal group of Alien: Covenant supporters (and its smaller Prometheus chapter) are probably a little extra excited for Raised By Wolves. HBO Max’s new sci-fi series is executive produced by Ridley Scott, who also directed the first two episodes of a story that definitely looks like it’s treading thematic territory similar to Covenant—or what might’ve come after Covenant if Scott had been allowed to complete his trilogy. Scripted and created by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners), Raised By Wolves follows a pair of androids (including one played by Amanda Collin, serving serious Michael Fassbender android vibes) raising human children on a distant planet, where they’re teaching the little kiddos to be atheists. Everything is just fine until some other humans show up with their strong religious views and hatred of robots:
(3) ADDRESSEE UNKNOWN AT BAKER STREET. Netflix dropped a trailer for Enola Holmes, based on the novels by Nancy Springer about Sherlock Holmes’s little sister.
When Enola Holmes—Sherlock’s teen sister—discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord. Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, with Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham-Carter.
…However, there is absolutely no way that fans should get to dictate the way a story unravels. They do not get to demand of an author to end the series in the way that is not what the writer envisioned, or what the story demanded of them. Fans have no right to force the inclusion of events that do not ring true for that author or the story they’re trying to tell.
Yet, large clusters of fans believe that it is, in fact their right. Those folks, it seems, are not above threatening to end the careers of the author(s) that displeased them, some even going so far as to send death threats. No example of this sticks in my mind than the threats sent to author Veronica Roth, who displeased fans by killing off her protagonist (bold move. I can respect that), leaving the love interest to deal with that trauma.
…What scares me even more, however, is the idea that someone with too much time and a deeply entrenched sense of entitlement might show up at my door one day. I’ve heard first hand accounts of this happening to YouTubers and other celebrities, and the idea alone is enough to make me hyperventilate. Perhaps my home in the country will be an underground bunker…
This fear is, of course, compounded by gender. I’ve worked my fair share of gigs in retail with overly amorous clientele. I’ve been stalked by blokes who thought that a friendly sales person was actually a flirt. I’ve been hounded by men insistent that I am their future wife and they would treat me so well, if only I could be made to see it. I’ve had some of those men turn aggressive and threatening when I state in no uncertain terms that I am not interested. I’ve lost sleep and had panic attacks (and before anyone decides to explain to me that it’s not that bad, I highly recommend a little site called When Women Refuse).
Fans showing up at my door, even if just for a chat or an autograph, would absolutely trigger all of this nonsense. They would be a thoroughly unwelcome presence in my space. The utter lack of concern they show for a person’s need for privacy and even their mental well-being is frightening. Just thinking about it is making me get clammy.
(5) NASA. A Dublin 2019 Worldcon Special Guest is in the news.
…Just one caveat before you start ordering and downloading and diving into things: some of these works could be construed as fantasy rather than science fiction. The distinction between these two imaginative genres is often blurred, and it’s especially hard to make out their boundaries when exploring the writing of African-descended authors. Why? Because access to the scientific knowledge from which SF often derives has been denied to people of the African diaspora for much of history. And the classification of what is and is not scientific knowledge hasn’t been under our control–it’s frequently a matter of dispute. Also, it’s sometimes difficult to understand the history of black science fiction without reference to the history of black fantasy.
Keeping in mind how inextricably the two genres are interwoven, I include works of fantasy in this history of black science fiction crash course reading list, though I’m careful to note their presence with a parenthetical F at the end of each entry, thusly: (F).
Nisi Shawl will join Gadi to co-host a show on music and spirituality in the creative process. Nisi will be joined by Iya Oshunmiwa for a discussion of West African religious traditions and how Nisi’s work relates to those traditions. Oshun Miwa is a Priest of Oshun and professional storyteller?. Nisi and Gadi will explore the role of music in Nisi’s life and work, and we’ll also have a reading from Nisi’s work.
…I stopped reading the AI books once I hit the first unfathomable equation. Instead, I found myself carrying The Pillow Book around with me, as if it were a balm that I wanted always to have on hand. In Japan, The Pillow Book is a set school text. It has been hailed as one of the earliest works of literature by a woman. But I believe that what has truly given it longevity—across a whole millennium—is Sei’s own distinctive, seductive voice.
Her writing feels like a witty and perceptive friend, cutting in her opinions, but never too serious. Some have even called Shonagon—mistakenly—shallow. The Pillow Book has been described as a 1,000-year-old proto-blog. It has some of that same immediacy and intimacy. That sense of fun.
When I went to my friends’ café each morning to write my own book, The Pillow Book would be tucked in my bag. Something of its timeless narrator slipped a circuit and made it into my writing too. Sylv.ie’s voice began to emerge: a mix of politeness, restraint and disarming honesty. Naïve and rather snobbish, but with a clear, outsider’s eye.
(10) FANFUND AUCTION AT COLUMBUS VIRTUAL NASFIC. [Item by Michael J. Lowrey.] The Fanfund Auction at the Columbus in 2020 Virtual NASFIC has closed, with total sales of US$549.01. Items sold ranged from chapbooks, to naming rights in a new shared universe. to a knitted lace shawl, to private cocktail classes, to a crocheted Irish steampunk textile postcard.
Even though it was a NASFIC, participants included (at a minimum) fen from Germany, Ireland, Poland, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.
…There are two types of people who frequent special collections that are open to the public: scholars who want to study something in particular, and others who just want to see something interesting. Both groups are often drawn to incunables. Books printed at the dawn of European movable type, between 1450 and 1500, incunables are old, rare and historically important. In short, an incunable is so valued and usually such a prominent holding that any thief who wanted to avoid detection would not steal one. The Oliver Room thief stole ten.
Visitors and researchers alike love old maps, and few are more impressive than those in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, commonly known as the Blaeu Atlas. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s version, printed in 1644, originally comprised three volumes containing 276 hand-colored lithographs that mapped the known world in the age of European exploration. All 276 maps were missing….
(12) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
August 25, 1951,Space Patrol’s “A Big Wheel Named Ferris” first aired. The series was created by Mike Moser who was the series writer along with Norman Jolley. The principal cast was Ed Kemmer, Lyn Osborn, Ken Mayer, Virginia Hewitt, Nina Bara and Bela Kovacs. Although aimed at children, it had a sizeable adult following for its fifteen-minute and half-hour versions. Books, comic books and a radio series were soon to be added. Even toys would be offered to the viewers. You can watch this episode here.
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born August 25, 1909 — Michael Rennie. Definitely best-remembered as Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still. He would show up a few years later on The Lost World as Lord John Roxton, and he’s got an extensive genre series resume which counts Lost in Space as The Keeper in two episodes, The Batman as The Sandman, The Time Tunnel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Invaders. (Died 1971.) (CE)
Born August 25, 1913 – Walt Kelly. Having acknowledged Herriman’s Krazy Kat as immortal and unique, what does that leave for Kelly’s Pogo? There is something sublime about the Kat; but Pogo is superb. If the Kat is brandy, say Delamain, Pogo may be bourbon, say Willett. Here is a sample. Here is another. Judith Merril put Pogo in No. 6 of her Year’s Best SF. Fantagraphics is up to vol. 6 of a complete run. (Died 1973) [JH]
Born August 25, 1930 — Sir Sean Connery, 90. Best film? From Russia with Love. Best SF film? Outland. Or Time Bandits you want go for silly. Worst film? Zardoz. These are my choices and yours no doubt will be different. (CE)
Born August 25, 1947 – Michael Kaluta, 73. Fifty covers, two hundred fifty interiors. Interviewed in Realms of Fantasy. Artbooks The Studio (with Jones, Windsor-Smith, Wrightson), The MK Collection, MK Series 2, Dream Makers (with Grant, Heller, Moore, Vess, Wrightson), Echoes, Wings of Twilight, MK Sketchbook vols. 1-4. Comics, music albums, role-playing games, collectible cards; airplane-nose art and flight-unit patches. Here is the Baycon ’87 Program Book. Here is Davy. Here is Vector 276. Here is Deep Signal. Shazam Award. Inkpot. Chesley for Artistic Achievement. Spectrum Grand Master. [JH]
Born August 25, 1955 — Simon R. Green, 65. I’ll confess that I’ve read pretty much everything he’s written save his NYT best-selling Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. (Shudder! I did see it.) Favorite series? The Nightside, Hawk & Fisher and Secret History are my all-time favorite ones with Drinking Midnight Wine the novel I’ve re-read the most. His only active series now is the Ishmael Jones fantasy mystery and it’s quite excellent. (CE)
Born August 25, 1956 – Chris Barkley, 64. Con-goer; several hundred including some three dozen Worldcons when I last tried to count; I often find him doing Press Relations. Campaigned for a Young Adult award; we now have the Lodestar. Accessibility and diversity, too, get his labors. Vigorous contributor to File 770. Fan Guest of Honor at Windycon 2019. “You have to walk a fine line between your utter conviction that you are right AND feeling flexible enough in your beliefs that you can admit you are wrong or can compromise.” [JH]
Born August 25, 1958 — Tim Burton, 61. Beetlejuice is by far my favorite film by him. His Batman is interesting. Read that comment as you will. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is definitely more Dahlish than the first take was, and Sleepy Hollow is just damn weird. (CE)
Born August 25, 1959 – Georges T. Dodds, Ph.D., 61. Essays, reviews, in Argentus, SF Site, WARP. Edited The Missing Link and Other Tales of Ape-Men. Did an adaptation of Lemina’s To-Ho and the Gold Destroyers. Note that his reviews include The Ghost Book of Charles Lindley, Viscount Halifax; Mary Shelley’s Last Man; and Brooks’ Freddy the Detective. [JH]
Born August 25, 1967 – Laura Anne Gilman, 53. Thirty novels, six dozen shorter stories, some with co-authors, some under other names; more outside our field. Managed a wine-tasting room awhile. Interviewed in After Hours, Apex, Electric Velocipede, Fantasy, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Strange Horizons. “Writer, editor, tired person”. Amen. [JH]
Born August 25, 1970 — Chris Roberson, 50. Brilliant writer. I strongly recommend his Recondito series, Firewalk and Firewalkers. The Spencer Finch series is also worth reading. He’s also written two Warhammer novels, Dawn of War and Sons of Dorn, and Is publisher with his wife Allison Baker of Monkey Brain Books. He won a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History for his O One novella which I’ve not read. (CE)
Born August 25, 1971 – Lisa Papademetriou, 49. A dozen novels, some under another name; more outside our field; many for young adults, but your mileage may vary. Ranks The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about the same as The Wave in the Mind. [JH]
Born August 25, 1987 — Blake Lively, 33. She was Adaline Bowman in The Age of Adaline, a neat meditation upon life and death. She also played Carol Ferris in that Green Lantern film but the less said about it the better. Her very first role was as Trixie / Tooth Fairy in The Sandman at age eleven. (CE)
“My wife [Patrice] and I have cried many nights over this project,” says Ken Bretschneider, founder and CEO at Evermore Park. “This is not a position we wanted or should have gotten into.”
Only eight years ago, Bretschneider invested more than $37 million (and counting) of his own fortune largely from the sale of his previous startup DigiCert in 2012 to build a sort of live-action theme park in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He hired dozens of contracted construction workers to bring his medieval vision to life, but as plans became more and more grandiose, Bretschneider found himself strapped for cash and unable to make payments to the teams building the park.
Bretschneider claims he’s been fighting for additional funding something he says has been hard to procure for a unique project such as this but until he does, he owes millions of dollars in construction, mechanic, and landscaping fees to workers across the valley who have yet to be paid, sparking a number of controversies across the state….
(16) DREAM FOUNDRY WRITING CONTEST. The Dream Foundry Writing Contest is taking submissions through October 11, 2020. The contest will be judged by Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld Magazine. Full guidelines here.
We’re looking for complete and finalized stories of speculative fiction of up to 10,000 words. This year, we’re proud to announce monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.
1st: $1000; 2nd: $500; 3rd: $200
There is no submission fee. All rights remain with the creators.
Professional development spaces for emerging writers are not necessarily easily accessible to those who need it most. How do you see opportunities like the Dream Foundry’s writing contest fitting into the professional development of new and upcoming writers?
I think nine-tenths of “professional development” for a short story writer at the beginning of their career is learning how to make their own practice effective. This means figuring out what they want to write about and what they’re good at writing, and writing more stories where they do those things, ideally at the same time. Sometimes it’s just that a contest gives you a clearly defined set of constraints to work within, which can be very productive. Sometimes it’s good to hang out in a discord with a bunch of other people who are trying to solve the same problems you are—so you can commiserate and share experiences and animal pictures, if you’re into that sort of thing, and even if not, these are good spaces to eventually share knowledge about the industry, too.
(17) DREAM FOUNDRY ART CONTEST. The new Dream Foundry Art Contest coordinator is Dante Luiz, an illustrator and occasional writer from southern Brazil. He is one of the two Art Directors for Strange Horizons, and his first graphic novel was published in 2020 by comiXology Originals (CREMA, written by Johnnie Christmas).
The Dream Foundry Art Contest will run from 1 September 1 to November 1, 2020. The first place winner for the art contest will receive $1000. Guidelines are located here.
This app was designed by Matt Inman, creator of The Oatmeal.
It was built and developed by Nick Inman, Matthew’s brother.
When will it be available in the Google Play store? It will be available at some point in space and time.
The app didn’t work for me! What should I do? Try vigorously shaking your phone and rebooting your router. If that fails, try blowing profusely into your phone’s charge port. If that fails, accept that the universe is fundamentally against you. Just please don’t email us about it.
Does this app work on dogs? No. That’s why it has the word “cat” in the title.
What about tigers? Yes, it is tiger-compatible.
(19) ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY ON THE INTERNET. Think of your experiences on Facebook. Ever wonder how you got into arguments you don’t even want to be in? Ever had to block someone? Now think of having to deal with 800 times as much of it as you do. Okay. Now you’re ready to hear Larry Correia explain “About My ‘Tone’ On Social Media” [Internet Archive] on Monster Hunter Nation.
…I had one last month, with 8,000 comments, where I ended up blocking over 100 people in 24 hours. That was nuts.
Apparently, where all these people come from, blundering into a stranger’s living room and screaming in his face is a “conversation”. And if you don’t put up with their endless abuse, you’re obviously a bad person.
Awesome. I’ll be the bad guy.
And it is bipartisan. Though I’d say 80% of the time I’m yelled at by annoying leftists, 15% it’s annoying right wingers, and 5% Too Fucking Insane To Register On Any Regular Political Scale.
That’s for controversial posts. For regular, boring, not controversial posts at all, I can count on getting lots of “helpful” suggestions. These mean well, but then never stop coming, and most of them are so awful they really make my head hurt. You’re right, sir, I should totally install more electrical outlets into my closet. Why thank you, ma’am, I should totally disregard my decade of professional experience and write my books according to your really awful suggestions.
Then there’s the people who think they are funny, who aren’t. I’ve heard the same tired jokes 10,000 times. I can’t post about the availability of a new product without Shut Up And Take My Money memes, and I can never mention food spicier than white bread without listening to dozens of people whine about how weak their bowels are…
A new estimate suggests the Milky Way contains more free-floating planets than stars. It’s a big claim, but an upcoming mission might actually prove it.
Rogue planets in our galaxy could number in the tens of billions and possibly even trillions, according to new research published in the Astronomical Journal. If confirmed, it means the Milky Way hosts more unbound, starless planets than it does stars. This estimate was developed in preparation for the Roman Galactic Exoplanet Survey (RGES), a five-year mission that’s scheduled to start in about five to six years.
…Because viruses have such small genetic codes they have to be very efficient when it comes to building their shapes. Many, such as COVID-19, have polyhedral designs. A polyhedron is a three-dimensional shape with flat faces that are made of two-dimensional polygons. They have straight edges and sharp corners. As geometric figures, they have been studied since the time of the ancient Greeks.
In the early 17th century the astronomer Johannes Kepler, perhaps best known for his derivation of the laws of planetary motion, was fascinated by these shapes. In 1619, exactly 400 years before the outbreak of COVID-19, he produced a book called “Harmonices Mundi” (“Harmony of the Worlds”) that peered into and tried to understand these simple yet mysterious forms. The Library has copies of this work in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division.
Now, for the 2020 fall season, Harpoon and Dunkin’ are releasing a full lineup of four beers—including three new brews, two of which are billed as the first beers to ever be made with actual Dunkin’ donuts. And tapping into craft beer’s biggest trend, one of those is even a donut-infused hazy IPA!
Arriving this September, Harpoon and Dunkin’ are bringing back their popular Coffee Porter for the third consecutive year—and it arrives alongside a trio of new creations: Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin, Harpoon Dunkin’ Boston Kreme, and Harpoon Dunkin’ Jelly Donut. The first of the three is described as a “Spiced Latte Ale” inspired by the seasonal espresso drink. The “light in color and easy-drinking” 5.2 percent ABV ale is “brewed with real pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, and a splash of coffee” to create “a perfect blend of all the autumn flavors we love, with just a touch of espresso-like roast.”…
(24) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Fall Guys, Ultimate Knockout” on YouTube, Fandom Games takes on a multi-player game where you “use five percent of your brain” to maneuver your character through a course “that’s somewhere between Battle Royale and a Japanese game show.”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Rich Horton, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, David Doering, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]
Gwinnett County (GA) Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader, still awaiting retrial on charges of computer trespass, lost her bid for re-election in a runoff held August 11.
Ed Kramer earlier this year took a plea bargain on charges of computer trespass and in February testified against Schrader, his former co-defendant. Her trial ended in a hung jury. A new trial had originally been scheduled for April, but the court system has been shut down since March because of the pandemic.
Kramer is a co-founder of Dragon Con, but he has not been a co-owner since 2013.
Ed Kramer, who earlier this year took a plea bargain on charges of computer trespass and testified against his former co-defendant, Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader, has sued one of the judge’s electoral challengers over a campaign flyer labeling him a “convicted sex offender.”
Eliminated judicial candidate Christa Kirk is the defendant in Kramer’s suit. Her campaign distributed a flyer showing photos of Kramer and Schrader under a heading of “Indicted,” and said Schrader’s case involves “a convicted sex offender.”
Kramer’s lawsuit contends this is a libel because when he was in court on three counts of child molestation in 2013 he entered an Alford plea — which allowed him to maintain his innocence while accepting guilt for the charges. And as Law.com explains in “Gwinnett Judge Races Sparks Libel Lawsuit by Incumbent’s Former Co-Defendant”, if the sentence is completed with no further offenses, no conviction is entered on the defendant’s record. “[Kramer], who has always maintained his innocence, was sentenced under this First Offender statute in 2013 and has been, and is still, serving a First Offender sentence,” his lawsuit says. “Consequently, [he] is not ‘convicted’ and has never been ‘convicted’.”
Kramer is, however, listed as a “sexually dangerous predator” in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Sexual Offender Registry.
The lawsuit argues that the flyer harmed Kramer in the following ways:
While [Kramer] has suffered economic loss in the form of missed business opportunities and has been exposed to public hatred, contempt and ridicule, he has also suffered grave prejudice in a jurisdiction where he has pending criminal matters that may go to trial.
This act by Defendants was not only a violation of civil rights, defamatory, and libelous, it was a highly unethical act in the pursuit of a seat on the Gwinnett County Superior Court bench.
The suit asks for an order “enjoining defendants from making defamatory and libelous statements against [Kramer] and to redress the defamatory and libelous statement already made, including the disclosure of any and all parties who received the defamatory and libelous statement.”
The suit also seeks unspecified monetary and punitive damages.
Kramer is a co-founder of Dragon Con, but has not been a co-owner since 2013.
Ed Kramer entered an Alford plea — which allows a defendant to enter a plea without admitting any guilt — to computer trespassing during a hearing in Gwinnett (GA) Superior Court on February 3. Kramer is a co-founder of Dragon Con, but has not been a co-owner since 2013.
Kramer received a sentence of 10 years of probation for one count of computer trespassing. Related additional counts were dropped.
Kramer was one of four co-defendants in the hacking case, together with private investigator TJ Ward, Ward’s employee Frank Karic, and Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader. They had been indicted on three counts of felony computer trespass. GBI investigators allege that Judge Schrader hired Ward to investigate her concerns that DA Danny Porter was trying to hack into her computer. It has yet to be shared why the judge believed that, and Porter has denied the claim. Kramer worked for Ward tracking the activity on a monitoring system installed on the judge’s computer.
T.J. Ward pleaded guilty to two counts of computer trespassing last fall and received a 24-month probation sentence. Frank Karic reached an agreement with prosecutors last week to enter a one-year pre-trial diversion program. With Kramer having accepted a plea bargain, Judge Schrader will proceed to trial alone next week on charges of computer trespassing. Karic and Kramer are expected to testify at the trial, according to John Regan, a prosecutor handling the case for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.
The hacking case came to light following Kramer’s unrelated arrest in February 2019, when he was accused of taking a photograph of a child in a Lawrenceville doctor’s office. Investigators searching Kramer’s home computer reportedly found a folder with Judge Schrader’s name on it, and discovered Kramer allegedly had gained the ability to access the computer system for the county’s courthouse. On his home computer they also found controversial images which led to a child porn charge against Kramer, although his attorney argued in a court hearing that the image isn’t pornographic. These other charges are still pending.
The district attorney requested a controlled DNA swab from Luis Rondon, former King of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s East Kingdom, at the latest hearing in Orange County (NY) court on December 6. He wants the New York State Police forensic lab to compare Rondon’s DNA profile to evidence found at the scene of Deborah Waldinger’s death and elsewhere.
Rondon, who was Waldinger’s boyfriend, is accused of
killing her with a framing hammer. He faces felony charges of second-degree
murder and first-degree manslaughter as well as misdemeanor weapon possession.
Rondon’s lawyer opposed the DNA request, saying prosecutors have not shown probable cause that a sample from Rondon will yield relevant evidence.
Waldinger’s body was found in her New Windsor, NY apartment on
October 9. Police arrested Rondon a few days later in California, where he had
traveled for an SCA event.
On Friday, in court before Judge Craig Brown, Milza revealed that lab testing of bloodstains from gloves police located in a trash can about 30 feet from where Rondon parked his car at Newark International Airport showed DNA consistent with three people, with Waldinger, 32, as the major contributor. Bloodstains on sneakers police found in the trash outside Rondon’s house on Quassaick Avenue in New Windsor also matched Waldinger’s DNA profile, Milza said.
Officials have security video of Rondon buying a box of garbage bags, and an identical box was found within three feet of Waldinger’s body, he said. Milza said investigators swabbed bloodstains from a bathroom wall next to a light switch, and a Nov. 21 lab report determined that the DNA matched Waldinger and a male.
“I can think of no more relevant evidence,” Milza told the judge.
… Milza [later] said Rondon’s Google searches and website visits in the days after the slaying included “can they track your movements with the Galaxy S10,” the type of phone Rondon owned; “what destroys DNA;” “can bleach destroy DNA;” and “if you want to get away with murder use a special detergent.”
The judge gave the defense attorney time to file further
arguments against the DNA sample. He also heard the defendant’s bail
application, at set bail at $2.5 million cash or $7.5 million bond.
Luis Rondon, former King of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s
East Kingdom, was back in Orange County (NY) court November 8, where his
attorneys entered a not guity plea to charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter,
felonies; and misdemeanor weapon possession.
believe that Rondon used a framing hammer to beat 32-year-old Deborah Waldinger
to death on October 7. He then traveled to California to attend
the Great Western War sponsored by the Kingdom of Caid, a regional chapter of
the SCA, and was arrested by Taft (CA) police on October 11 at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area where the
event was in progress. He was extradited to New York.
Waldinger left her job in Middletown about 1 a.m. on Oct. 7, her usual time, and at 2:08 a.m. she texted a friend that she was home, also typical, Milza said.
At 1 a.m. on Oct. 7, Milza said, Rondon is on video at WalMart buying items including a white Tyvek-type coverall suit and several bottles of bleach. Two hours later he returned to the store and bought cleaning and first-aid items, Milza said.
Waldinger was due to work on Oct. 7, but failed to show.
Early on Oct. 8, Milza said, Rondon flew to California, leaving his car at Newark International Airport. Rondon went to a medieval history and reenactment event in Taft, Calif. Detectives who tracked him down in California observed a cut on his forehead, which had been visible in the 3 a.m. WalMart video, and cuts on his hands and chest, Milza said.
Rondon was later extradited back to New York.
Milza said police got warrants for Rondon’s cars and home. In the car at the airport, he said, investigators found a number of distinctive-looking black rubber gloves with white interiors in the backseat, and more of the gloves, along with cloth and other items, in a nearby trash can. Some of the items from the can tested positive for the presence of blood, Milza said.
In a second vehicle, he said, police found receipts showing that Rondon’s credit card was used Oct. 1 to buy a 50-gallon bin and a box of large, industrial-type garbage bags. A box matching that description was found next to Waldinger in her apartment, Milza told the judge.
Milza said the medical examiner found “at least 12 blows, and possibly another one or two” had been inflicted on Waldinger.
The prosecutor asked the judge to deny bail. The judge scheduled a December 6 hearing where the defense attorneys can make formal bail arguments, meantime, Rondon remains in custody awaiting trial.
(1) WOKE 100. Essence has named two well-known sff
authors to its 2019 Woke 100.
This year’s list includes women who exemplify the true meaning of being change agents and power players. Working in areas from social justice to politics to entertainment, they inspire not only us here but also others around the world….
American Book Award winner Due is a leading voice in American Black speculative fiction. The author, professor and filmmaker teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA….
One of the best fantasy writers in the world is a Black woman. The three-time Hugo Award winner is the author of ten novels, and her latest How Long ’til Black Future Month?, which has been hailed as “marvelous and wide-ranging” by the Los Angeles Times.
Benioff and Weiss were supposed to usher in the post-Skywalker era of the Star Wars brand with a 2022 new-start story that would stake out a new frontier for the era-defining cinema brand created by George Lucas. The Emmy-winning pair cited their historic deal with Netflix. They said their enthusiasm for Star Wars remains boundless but, regrettably, their schedule is full.
…“There are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both Star Wars and our Netflix projects,” the GoT pair said in a statement to Deadline. “So we are regretfully stepping away.”
Showrunner Goldman has been emailing the cast and crew of the project to tell them that the pilot is dead, we hear. The development has not been confirmed by HBO.
The prequel, created by the Kingsman scribe and George R. R. Martin, takes place thousands of years before the wars, romances and dragons of the Emilia Clarke- and Kit Harington-led GoT, which wrapped up its blockbuster eight-season run in May. Weaving in issues of race, power, intrigue and White Walkers, the Goldman-run prequel was given the pilot green light back in June 2018.
HBO hastened to publicize one of the surviving projects:
House Of The Dragon, a Game of Thrones prequel is coming to HBO.
The series is co-created by George RR Martin and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series.
(4) THROWING, ER, PASSING THE TORCH. Norman Spinrad’s peppery “On Books” column in the current issue of Asimov’s opines about Astounding, by Alec Nevala-Lee, and Nebula Awards Showcase 2018, edited by Jane Yolen, and Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson. [Note: Link has been updated to Pastebin, following Asimov’s removal of the column, with a statement to follow.]
Spinrad finds much to admire about the historianship of Nevala-Lee, but his positive critique is followed by the author’s own ideas about “how it really was.”
…Nevala-Lee’s Astounding reads somewhat strangely to someone like me, who was involved with the main characters toward the ends of their literary stories and the beginning of mine, and probably would to anyone involved with the fannish history of science fiction, let alone readers of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. Which is to say, to an insider one way or another. Nevala-Lee, at least to judge by what he has written, is not.
This has its strengths and its weaknesses. His research is admirably academically exhaustive, except when it comes to Hubbard—a notorious bullshit artist and outright liar—and on such a level is about as definitive as a full complex history of science fiction history up until the 1960s can get.
The strength of this is that Nevala-Lee writes all this from a certain emotional and neutral distance, as one might write a similar history of the nineteenth-century American union movement or the early twentieth-century history of the Hollywood film industry if these events occurred before you were born. The book would be entirely from the record. Nevala-Lee therefore has no personal axes to grind and sticks to the facts….
Then, Spinrad deconstructs the latest SFWA Nebula Awards anthology, doubting the benefit of excerpting novels and novellas, finding fault with many of the winners and runners-up represented in the book, and above all, expressing profoundly unhappy feelings about the condition of the genre:
So what does Nebula Awards Showcase 2018 tell us about the state of what the membership of SFWA is writing, and what is the state of their art in the present and likely into the future?
It tells us that fantasy has long since come to dominate SF. It tells us that many or perhaps even a majority of these SF writers do not have the education or indeed the inclination to learn the difference between science fiction and fantasy and to dish the result out to a populace that has more than enough confusion about the difference between reality and magic already.
(5) INDISTINGUISHABLE. Having encountered Spinrad’s column and Mark Lawrence’s recent post “The magic of science” on the same day, I wished for a panel discussion between the two writers — that would be highly interesting,
I’ve blogged several times on the dead and over-beaten horse of science vs magic. Today, rather than point out yet again that these two things are in fact the same, I’m going to point out an important difference.
This is not to contradict my earlier thoughts. Magic truly is science – but it’s generally presented in a manner that means it is radically different to the kind of science we encounter in the real world.
This difference has political echoes and doubtless would have political consequences if we were to encounter the most commonly imagined forms of “magic”.
In short, magic is typically presented in much the same way that superheroes are. To use magic you need to be specially gifted.
…A graduate student named Charley Kline sat at an ITT Teletype terminal and sent the first digital data transmission to Bill Duvall, a scientist who was sitting at another computer at the Stanford Research Institute (now known as SRI International) on the other side of California. It was the beginning of ARPANET, the small network of academic computers that was the precursor to the internet.
October 29, 2012 — In Canada, Primeval: New World first aired. A spin-off of Primeval, it starred Niall Matter (Zane Donovan on Eureka) and Sara Canning. It was canceled after the first season of thirteen episodes.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 29, 1926 — Margaret Sheridan. She’s best remembered as Nikki Nicholson in The Thing from Another World. It was her first acting role and she’d be done acting a little over a decade later in the early Sixties. (Died 1982.)
Born October 29, 1928 — Jack Donner. He’s no doubt best known for his role of Romulan Subcommander Tal in the Trek episode “The Enterprise Incident”. He would later return as a Vulcan priest in the “Kir’Shara” and “Home” episodes on Enterprise. He’d also show up in other genre shows including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission Impossible (eleven episodes which is the most by any guest star) and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. (Died 2019.)
Born October 29, 1928 — Benjamin F. Chapman, Jr. He play the Gill-man in the land takes in Creature from the Black Lagoon. Ricou Browning did the water takes. His only other genre appearance was in Jungle Moon Men, a Johnny Weissmuller film. (Died 2008.)
Born October 29, 1935 — ?Sheila Finch, 84. 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.
Born October 29, 1938 — Ralph Bakshi, 81. 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 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…
Born October 29, 1941 — Hal W. Hall, 78. Bibliographer responsible for the Science Fiction Book Review Index (1970 – 1985) and the Science Fiction Research Index (1981 – 1922). He also did a number of reviews including three of H. Beam Piper’s Fuzzy books showing he had excellent taste in fiction.
Born October 29, 1947 — Richard Dreyfuss, 72. Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And The Player in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Not to mention the voice of Mister Centipede in James and the Giant Peach.
Born October 29, 1971 — Winona Ryder, 48. Beetlejuice of course but also Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not to mention Alien Resurrection and Star Trek. Which brings me to Being John Malkovich which might be the coolest genre film of all time.
Born October 29, 1979 — Andrew Lee Potts, 40. He is best known as Connor Temple on Primeval and the 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.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
Off the Mark shows why computer dating is out of the question for these fantastic beings.
Grant Snider’s Incidental Comic for Halloween. (Apologies for a duplication of one panel – WordPress insists on showing pairs of tweets when they are internal to the thread.)
Featuring a one-of-a-kind selection of rare original Joe Quesada drawings assembled from the personal collection of award-winning artist and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.
Before becoming Marvel’s Editor-in Chief in 2000 and the company’s Chief Creative Officer in 2010, Joe Quesada made his mark as one of the most accomplished artists working in the comics medium. His groundbreaking work on series like Marvel’s X-FACTOR, DC’s THE RAY, Valiant’s NINJAK, and his own creation, ASH led to critical acclaim and an offer from Marvel to co-found the MARVEL KNIGHTS imprint. That line was an immediate success thanks to Quesada’s standout work on DAREDEVIL (with writer Kevin Smith) and later projects like WOLVERINE: ORIGIN and DAREDEVIL: FATHER (which he also wrote), cementing his reputation as one of the most important illustrators of his generation. Drawn from the pages of the career retrospective book, THE MARVEL ART OF JOE QUESADA, this exhibit features key pieces from all of those series as well as a number unique media inspired images created by Quesada during his tenure as Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer.
Avengers: Endgamewriters confirm The Electric State movie is still happening. It’s no easy task following up a hit as big as this summer’s Avengers: Endgame, but it appears that the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely is more than willing to try.
AMC Theatres has tweeted out an image from a panel confirming The Electric State will be the next project from the blockbuster duo. The film is based on an art book by Swedish author/illustrator Simon Stålenhag, which utilized a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2017 to get it off the ground. Previous reports have stated that Markus and McFeely would be working to adapt the project, with IT director Andy Muschietti on board to direct.
His most interesting tidbit on Winds came in an update on his long-running series of Dunk & Egg short stories that take place within the world of Westeros. When asked if we may see more of the titular characters soon, Martin offered something of a tentative publication schedule for the next few Westeros titles.
“But first I have this book The Winds of Winter,” he said. “I have to finish that, and then I can write another Dunk and Egg story, and then I write A Dream of Spring, and then I write another Dunk and Egg story. At some point in there, I have to write the second part of Fire and Blood, so I have my work cut out for me.”
… Perhaps you have stopped reading right here and are clicking around somewhere else looking for videos of baby animals in the hopes of purging this image from your mind’s eye. No one could blame you. This is grade-A sickening stuff….
(14) STOLEN ROBOT CLOTHES RETURNED.
Gabrielle Russon, in “NBA
player Robin Lopez unknowingly bought stolen Disney World items, records
show” in the Orlando Sentinel,
says that police are investigating rare Disney items acquired by Milwaukee
Bucks player Robin Lopez, including Buzzy, an animatronic robot that was part
of the Cranium Command exhibit retired from Epcot in 2007. Police say
Lopez is a victim or a crime ring operated by former Disney employee Patrick
Spikes, who they charge with an accomplice routinely stole retired Disney
exhibits and then sold them through intermediaries to high-dollar Disney
Milwaukee Bucks player Robin Lopez confirmed Tuesday he gave back the clothes from Buzzy, a Disney World animatronic that authorities said had been stolen before they were sent to the company’s archives in California….
(15) FRESH BITES. A trailer for BBC’s Dracula, which
also will stream on BBC’s iPlayer.
From the makers of Sherlock, Claes Bang stars as Dracula in this brand new mini-series inspired by Bram Stoker’s classic novel.
[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy,
Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
Stephen Reba, defense attorney for Dragon Con co-founder Ed Kramer, has moved to have Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter thrown off all cases involving his client.
The October 10 motion filed in Gwinnett Superior Court accuses Porter of prosecutorial misconduct — in part because a recent child porn charge filed against Kramer was based on his possession of a published photograph from a well-known, albeit controversial, artist.
Reba contends DA Poter misled the grand jury about the nature of the photo in order to secure an indictment and prevent Kramer from possibly getting bond in another case. On September 30, two hours after Reba was in court asking for bond to secure Kramer’s release from jail, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation issued a warrant against Kramer on a new felony count of child pornography.
…The photo in question is titled “Popsicle Drips, 1985” and comes from a provocative 1992 collection published in the book “Immediate Family”by photographer Sally Mann. It depicts the genitalia of Mann’s young son.
“The claim that the image qualifies as child pornography … cannot be supported under any legal interpretation,” Reba wrote in his motion.
Porter has not yet filed a formal response. But he denied any abuse of power and defended the most recent charge against Kramer, a registered sex offender and longtime legal nemesis who Porter first charged with child molestation in 2000.
Porter said to qualify as child pornography a photograph “has to be of a naked child, a lewd display of a naked child.” He said the fact that Mann’s photo is a published work of art was “not part of the analysis” in bringing charges.
The question of whether the photograph constitutes child porn is ultimately one for a jury, Porter said.
“Kramer selected the ones of naked children and put them in his own file,” Porter said.
Reba’s motion argues, “The image is a copyrighted piece of art that has been possessed and displayed by famous museums, universities, public libraries, major retail bookstores, and citizens alike – in fact, Mann’s work is featured in a world-traveling exhibit at the High Museum in less than two weeks. If there is probable cause to arrest and charge Defendant for the possession of this image, so too must there be probable cause to arrest and charge the aforementioned institutions and businesses.”
The latest round in Kramer’s case also has been written up by the Associated Press in a story that ran on the New York Times website.
…“That fact that an image has been published is not in and of itself controlling on whether or not it’s child pornography,”Porter said. “It’s a question for the jury, and we’ll leave that question to the jury when the case goes to trial.”
The prosecutor also denied there was any manipulation of the grand jury. Kramer was already in jail on other charges related to accessing the county’s computer network.
“The whole thing about manipulating a grand jury — we routinely, particularly in a situation where, if we had a preliminary hearing and it’s dismissed, we still could have presented the case to the grand jury,” Porter said. “In this case, with him in custody, there was no reason to have a preliminary hearing and even if this speculation that he was going to succeed was true, we still could have presented the case to the grand jury and he would have been re-arrested.”
Although that indictment is listed as the reason for the motion, there are several other complicated layers of issues looming over this matter. One of them is another indictment, for making false statement, that was handed against Kramer on the same day as the sexual exploitation charge.
Kramer had accused Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Lou Solis of physically assaulting him, but Porter said video evidence contradicted that claim. That led to the false statements charge, which Porter said he did not know about until the Sheriff’s Office sought a warrant for Kramer’s arrest. That is one of the cases Reba is trying to get Porter recused from.
Meanwhile, there have been new developments in the computer hacking case where Kramer is a defendant.
Kramer and his three hacking case co-defendants all entered not guilty pleas at their Oct. 10 arraignment hearing. Kramer, private investigator TJ Ward, Ward’s employee Frank Karic, and Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader have been indicted on three counts of felony computer trespass. GBI investigators allege that Schrader hired Ward to investigate her concerns that DA Danny Porter was trying to hack into her computer. It has yet to be shared why the judge believed that, and Porter has denied the claim. Kramer worked for Ward tracking the activity on a WireShark monitoring system installed on the judge’s computer.
Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission handed down its ruling against Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader on Wednesday, nearly a month after she and three co-defendants were indicted on felony computer trespass charges. Schrader is accused of triggering a strange — and illegal — series of events by hiring a private investigator to look into her fears that someone was trying to access her work computer.
In its ruling, the JQC’s hearing panel wrote that Schrader’s alleged actions and the subsequent criminal charges had adversely affected her ability to do her job.
“The Panel further finds that Judge Schrader’s personal decision to allow an outside third party to gain access to the County’s network — with its many subsequent repercussions, including the discovery that Judge Schrader’s actions allegedly enabled a convicted child molester to have access to Court data — also adversely affects the administration of that office, as well as the rights and interests of the public,” wrote Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, the presiding officer of the JQC panel.
next hearing in Kramer’s criminal case is scheduled for Nov. 7.