(1) MESSAGE FROM THE RESISTANCE. Sometimes you need an inter-dimensional perspective to put things into their proper focus, like what Andrew Paul provides in “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside Nyarlathotep’s Death Cult” at McSweeney’s.
Nyarlathotep is now facing one of the greatest threats in Its presidency so far. I should know, I clock in to kneel at Its feet upon the Altar of Despair every day.
In the year-and-a-half since the Black Pharaoh replaced the Oval Office with a literal blood fountain throne, I’ve watched as the hits keep on coming. The executive cabinet is wracked with scandal, ordinary citizens who signed the cultist oath are making good on their grave pacts, and, of course, the entirety of the country’s water supply is now teeming with pulsating eggs from some kind of inter-dimensional parasite. It’s easy to look at these kinds of headlines, to read these sorts of leaked stories from the desiccated Capitol Hill, and see an unsustainable administration. Rumors of reversal incantations are beginning to make the rounds, and if our Commander-in-Chief is not careful, It could find Itself cast back among the stars beyond the universe. The past few weeks, in particular, have seen our President certainly live up to our campaign slogan “I See All, and It Shall Burn.”…
(2) FOR THE RECORD. On the second night of the 2018 Creative Arts Awards no Emmys were given for works of genre interest, which made it hard to do a post about them….
(3) TREK ON EMMYS. On the Academy’s website you can watch a 12-minute video of Saturday’s “2018 Creative Arts Emmys: Tribute To Star Trek”, introduced by Bill Nye.
Eighty cast and crew members came together as William Shatner accepted the 2018 Governors Award for the Star Trek franchise.
(4) DUBLIN 2019 PROGRAM. Don’t be shy!
(5) DARRELL AWARDS. Nominations are open for the 2019 Darrell Awards in the following categories:
- Best Midsouth SF/F/H Novel, Novella, or Short Story on a one year basis (works published between November 1, 2017, and October 31, 2018);
- Best Midsouth SF/F/H Other Media on a two year basis (works that were published or first shown to the public between November 1, 2016, and October 31, 2018); and
- The Coger Memorial Hall of Fame on an ongoing basis (for works that were not considered during their year of eligibility and were qualified at the time they were published).
… Works must be published by October 31st (Halloween) of this year (2018) in order to qualify. Please see the Rules for the other qualifications.
(6) RECOMMENDATIONS. Bryan Cebulski poses the question “How Do We Establish Speculative Fiction’s LGBTQ+ Canon?” at Tor.com.
Like many SF/F fans across the intersections of LGBTQ+ identities, I’m constantly on the lookout for good fiction that reflects something of my own experience. In seeking lists that recommend or simply catalogue such works, I’ve found many that, while well-intended, tend to mash an enormous body of work together without considering how authors actually deal with the content. This means that quite often, bigoted portrayals are set right next to works that feature positive representation, or else work that is as gay as possible will be set next to work with only the briefest passing mention of “non-normative” sexuality.
This raises some potentially thorny questions: How should we approach the idea of canon, in this particular set of circumstances? What should we look for when we compile lists of LGBTQ+ speculative fiction? What are we compiling for? Do we consider any mention at all? Focus mainly on positive representation? What about historical context and works by authors who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community?
(7) WRITING CLASS HIGHLIGHTS. Connect with Cat Rambo’s livetweeted highlights from last weekend’s classes at the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers:
- Rachel Swirsky talking about Breaking the Rules: thread starts here.
- Rachel Swirsky’s Ideas Are Everywhere class: thread starts here.
- Fran Wilde’s Fantastic Worldbuilding class: thread starts here.
(8) DAVID R. BUNCH. AV Club’s Alex McLevy cheers that “An obscure but enduring science fiction author finally gets his due” in a collection with an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.
If you’ve read David R. Bunch, there’s a good chance it’s because of Harlan Ellison. The famed author (and renowned grouch of popular culture) selected not one, but two short stories by the little-known writer for his landmark 1967 New Wave sci-fi collection, Dangerous Visions—the only contributor to have more than one piece included. As a result, “Incident In Moderan” and “The Escaping” are where most people’s awareness of Bunch begins—and ends. He published hundreds of short stories in his life, but mostly in small digests, obscure literary magazines, and even fanzines. No definitive bibliography exists; his last published work (a book of poetry) was from 18 years ago, and neither of his two collections of fiction have been in print for decades.
That changes with the publication of Moderan, the latest entry in NYRB Classics’ series, and a fascinating testament to Bunch’s strange talent….
(9) TODAY’S TRIVIA
Andre Delambre, The Fly, 1958 —
“Take television. What happens? A string of electrons – sound and picture impulses – are transmitted through wires into the air. The TV camera is the disintegrater. Your set [the reintegrater] unscrambles or integrates the electrons back into pictures and sound…the disintegrator/will completely change life as we know it. Think what it’ll mean. Food. Anything. Even humans will go through one of these devices. No need for cars or railways or airplanes, even spaceships. We’ll just set up matter transcieving devices throughout the world, and later the universe. They will never be a need or famine. Surpluses can be sent instantaneously at almost no cost anywhere. Humanity need never fear or want again.”
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY
- September 10, 1993 — The X-Files premiered
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 10 – Thelma J. Shinn, 76. Author of Worlds Within Women, Myth and Mythmaking in Fantastic Literature by Women and Women Shapeshifters: Transforming the Contemporary Novel.
- Born September 10 — Nancy A. Collins, 59. Ok, I consider her Sonja Blue punk vampire series which ran I think to nearly a baker’s dozen works starting in the early 90s to be one of the best of that genre, easily the equal of the Blade comic series. She also did more than a smattering of short fiction, essays and reviews as well.
- Born September 10 – Victoria Strauss, 63. An author of nine fantasy novels largely in the Stone and the Way of Arata series. Has written myriad reviews for both print and website venues.
- Born September 10 – Pat Cadigan, 65. Writer whose work has been described as cyberpunkish. Won a Hugo for “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” in the Novelette category. Garnered the Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novels Synners and Fools. Tea from an Empty Cup is my favorite work by her.
Pat Cadigan herself celebrated with this post: “The Second Birthday I Wasn’t Supposed To See”.
I wanted to write something profound and wise about life, the universe, all the fish, and everything else. However, when I woke up this morning, the party in my head was already in full swing.
I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m alive! Everybody conga!
Steven H Silver joined in saluting the day at Black Gate with “Birthday Reviews: Pat Cadigan’s ‘New Life for Old’”.
Cadigan won a Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 2013 for “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi.,” which has also won a Seiun Award. She had previously won a World Fantasy Award in the Non-Professional category for co-editing the fanzine Shayol with Arnie Fenner. She won two Arthur C. Clarke Awards for her novels Synners and Fools. In 1979, her story “Death from Exposure” won the coveted Balrog Award. In 2006, Cadigan received the third (and most recent) Richard Evans Memorial Prize, given to genre authors who were considered insufficiently recognized for their excellence. Cadigan served as the Toastmaster for MidAmericon II, the 2016 Worldcon in Kansas City.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
(13) HATERS LOSE. Marketing analysts report “Nike sales defy Kaepernick ad campaign backlash”.
Nike sales appear to have increased in the wake of its controversial advertising campaign, using Colin Kaepernick as the face of the brand.
Online sales grew by 31% in the bank holiday weekend after the ad launched, according to researcher Edison Trends.
The rise will confound critics, who encouraged people to destroy Nike goods in protest at the use of Mr Kaepernick.
(14) HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN. These farms look like moon bases: “Are hot springs the future of farming?”
In the centre of the small downtown, on the banks of the San Juan River, sit three conspicuous, geodesic greenhouses, each 42ft (13m) in diameter. They stand in stark contrast to the old-timey buildings on the road above. All will house gardens, but each has a different mission.
(15) AM. Ryan Hollinger puts an intriguing Cold War frame around his video commentary “The Bleakest Sci-Fi World Ever Created: ‘I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream'”.
(16) GET READY TO CLICK. Kevin Canfield, in “The FBI’s Spying On Writers Was Literary Criticism at Its Worst”, in The Daily Beast, is a review of Writers Under Surveillance: The FBI Files. It only has one paragraph on Ray Bradbury’s FBI file but that paragraph is a doozy!
(17) POWER OF THE MIND. Defense One’s story “It’s Now Possible To Telepathically Communicate with a Drone Swarm” tells how a communication interface directly connected to a human brain can control up to three drones. The serious implications extend well beyond the defense industry to potential help for the locationally challenged as well as those with artificial limbs.
Dann appreciated that the above link was followed in his RSS feed by a Dilbert comic that suggests there are some folks who might be beyond help.
(18) PAYING ATTENTION, In “The stunning artworks made of light”, the BBC reports on an interactive digital museum where each display of chandelieresque lights etc. changes according to the people in the room.
“The museum itself is one artwork,” Takashi Kudo of teamLab tells BBC Culture. The Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless is a 10,000 sq m (107,639 sq ft) digital art space in Tokyo, Japan, where everything is controlled by computers, right down to the electronic tickets. The museum is made up of 60 individual artworks, but as the name, Borderless, suggests, the place is meant to be experienced as a whole, rather than as a series of individual pieces.
Made up of 520 computers and 470 projectors, the museum is inspired by the concept of interactivity and the art responds to movement as visitors walk through the space. In this piece, Forest of Lamps, the lights react to a person’s presence. If there is more than one person in the room, the lights will change based on both of their movements, and the process continues the more people you add. Kudo explains that having multiple people experiencing an artwork at one time, and becoming a part of it, means the experience is enhanced for all.
(19) DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? [Item by Mike Kennedy.] In a new scientific paper in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (“Universal method for robust detection of circadian state from gene expression”) Dr Rosemary Braun, et al., claim to have developed a new and simpler method to measure a person’s circadian rhythm. The paper is broken down in simpler terms in Popular Science (“This new blood test can figure out what time it is inside your cells”). The existing method requires numerous blood draws so that melatonin in the blood can be measured over time. The new method requires only two blood draws—a number of different markers are measured to determine the level of expression of different genes. Popular Science author Kat Eschner writes:
…To create this test, researchers trained [an] algorithm to look for chemical evidence of about 40 specific genes in the blood samples. They picked those 40 by analyzing a much larger dataset and finding the ones that express at specific times.
According to the research, the algorithm works regardless of whether the patient is sick or well. That’s significant because gene expression—the way your genes activate, prompting the production of chemicals and helping your body to function—is changed by things as simple as how much sleep you get.
…The researchers found something unexpected—the genes that are the best predictors of body clock aren’t all “what we could call the core clock genes,” Braun says. “A lot of them are genes that are related to other biological processes, but they’re regulated by the clock. They’re regulated so tightly by the clock that observing them becomes a good marker for the clock itself.”
(20) BATTLE BOTS. Well, what would you make a battle robot look like? CNET reports that “Kalashnikov battle robot concept looks like a Star Wars AT-ST”. (Maybe they’ll go for the full AT-AT experience next time.)
Kalashnikov Concern, a Russian manufacturer known for the AK-47 assault rifle, is thinking pretty big these days when it comes to new defense machines. The company unveiled a concept for a bipedal battle robot this week and all I can think about are the two-legged AT-STs from Star Wars.
The Kalashnikov creation seems to be solidly in the concept realm right now. It looks like its main job is to just stand there and look cool.
It has a couple of grabby arms and hands reminiscent of the Power Loader suit from Aliens and a large cabin at the top where presumably a human driver would sit to control the machine. It looks a bit top-heavy and not quite as lithe as an AT-ST.
(21) NPR HORROR POLL. “Click If You Dare: 100 Favorite Horror Stories” carries the results of a poll of NPR followers. 7000 responses — over 1000 for King, but many others.
…And this year, we’re celebrating the 200th birthday of one of the most famous scary stories of all time: Frankenstein — so a few months ago, we asked you to nominate your favorite horror novels and stories, and then we assembled an expert panel of judges to take your 7000 nominations and turn them into a final, curated list of 100 spine-tingling favorites for all kinds of readers. Want to scar your children for life? We can help. Want to dig into the dark, slimy roots of horror? We’ve got you covered.
As with our other reader polls, this isn’t meant to be a ranked or comprehensive list — there are a few books you won’t see on it despite their popularity — some didn’t stand the test of time, some just didn’t catch our readers’ interest, and in some cases our judges would prefer you see the movie instead. (So no Jaws, sorry.) And there are a few titles that aren’t strictly horror, but at least have a toe in the dark water, or are commenting about horrific things, so our judges felt they deserved a place on the list.
One thing you won’t see on the list is any work from this year’s judges, Stephen Graham Jones, Ruthanna Emrys, Tananarive Due and Grady Hendrix….
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Dann, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lee.]