(1) SAVING THROW. A replacement pop-up con for Universal Fan Con served vendors and a thousand fans in Baltimore: “How The Creators of Wicomicon Executed A Blerd Convention In A Week” — Black Enterprise has the story.
Karama Horne was moved to tears when she entered the room at 1100 Wicomico St. in Baltimore on Saturday morning. She knew people were going to show up but just how many, she wasn’t sure. The week prior, one of the largest, blackest, most diverse fan-organized conventions, Universal FanCon, had indefinitely postponed its 24-hour event leaving fans stranded with hotel bills and plane fares they couldn’t get out of. Knowing the financial hole people were in, but also understanding the longstanding stigma and perhaps the consequences of the cancellation of the convention, prompted Horne and her friends to band together to create and hold WICOMICON on the same day Universal FanCon was supposed to be held.
(2) LET THE AI WIN. Dr. Janelle Shane has been at it again, this time with D&D character names At lewisandquark: “D&D character names – generated by a neural network”. Some are pretty good. Not these —
Other names made perhaps less sense.
- The Cart – Kenku Rogue
- Nine Case – Dark Elf Fighter
- Rump – Kenku Cleric
- Gubble Daggers – Tabaxi Monk
- Bog – halfling wizard
- Jameless – Dwarf Champion Barbarian
- Rune Diggler – Halfling Rogue
- Borsh the Bardlock – Human Paladin
- Spullbeard – Dwarf Fighter
- Tovendirgle – Human Ranger
- Pinderhand The Bugs – Gnome Wizard
- Rune Wash – Human Wizard
- Stumbleduckle – Human Paladin
(3) DEADPOOL AND DION. ScienceFiction.com says “Celine Dion And Deadpool Make Beautiful Music In ‘Deadpool 2’ Trailer”.
Deadpool 2’ has brought back the music video in its own weird way by having Celine Dion sing a song for the upcoming film. The music video gives us a glorious shot of Deadpool in heels dancing to the music.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) May 3, 2018
(4) THE ROMANCE IS OVER. Digital Reader reports the pushback being given to Dragon Con about a guest: “DragonCon Invites the Infamous Lori James of All Romance eBooks as Author Guest”.
All Romance eBooks was at one time a leading romance ebook retailer, but by the time it shut down in late 2016 it was clouded in scandal…
ARe owner Lori James is being sued by a class of authors, so one would think she would maintain a low profile.
… According to the DragonCon website, Lori James has been invited to attend the con as an author guest. She will be coming under her pen name, Samantha Sommersby, but no matter what you call her this is still the same person who owes authors hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
DragonCon was first made aware of this situation 3 weeks ago by authors who belong to the (closed) FB group Pissed Off former ARe Authors…
Dragon Con says they’re looking into it.
(5) PART ROLLER COASTER, PART VIDEO. A VR sci-fi theme park in China:
Looking for an out of this world experience during your next theme park adventure? Well, today we get our first look at China’s massive new Sci-Fi virtual reality theme park, the ‘Oriental Science Fiction Valley.’ This unique part is found in Guizhou, China, spanning over 330 acres while allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a futuristic world. The park features everything from VR attractions and much more, offering 35 rides in all for guests to enjoy.
The highlight of the park is the huge mecha at 174 feet tall that weighs 700 tons. CEO Chen Jianli said in a YouTube interview “There’s fierce competition in the theme park market right now.” He went on to add “We are trying to give customers a new experience by combining modern technologies such as VR and [augmented reality] with traditional recreational facilities.
(6) WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA. A “New Film Festival Planned In Beverly Hills” will feature the premiere of a new restoration of 1953 sci-fi classic War of the Worlds.The Hollywood Reporter says —
The City of Beverly Hills will be the home of a newly-created film festival aimed at bridging Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach.
While planning is still underway, the debut The Beverly Hills Infinity Film Festival is slated to take place Nov. 1-4 with The Paley Center for Media as its home base. Additional intended locations include the Writers Guild Theater and various private screening rooms at Beverly Hills-based talent agencies. Organizers also hope to attract Beverly Hills hotels for participation and various retail storefronts to host pop-ups for exhibitions and installations.
The first two days will feature screenings and programming for industry professionals. At press time, organizers confirmed that Paramount Pictures intends to premiere a new restoration of its 1953 classic War of the Worlds, which won an Academy Award for special effects, at the festival….
(7) TRIBUTE TO LE GUIN. Literary Arts announced tickets are now available for the Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin on June 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. Click here to reserve your free seat. Tickets are for General Admission (open seating). Reservations will be limited to 2 tickets per person.
This event will include tributes from fellow writers and close friends of Le Guin, including Margaret Atwood (by video), Molly Gloss, Walidah Imarisha, Jonathan Lethem, Kelly Link, China Miéville, and Daniel José Older. The tribute will also include rare documentary footage of Le Guin, along with photos and images from her life and work
(8) PROTTER OBIT. Literary agent Susan Protter (1939-2018) died on May 3. Andrew Porter recalls, she was the agent for many SF writers, including Rudy Rucker, Terry Bisson, David Nighbert, Michael D. Weaver, and David Hartwell. More info here.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Mike Kennedy and John King Tarpinian saw how the world ends in Non Sequitur.
(10) PREDATORS ON DISPLAY. Visit “Fran Wilde’s Museum of Errant Critters” at Terrible Minds. Exhibit includes her cartoons of each specimen.
Welcome to The Museum of Errant Critters – Established somewhere between 1812 and 2018 to catalog and archive mind-creatures that often behave in creatively destructive ways.
Visit our exhibits to learn tips and tricks for Critter Management… (results not guaranteed). In particular, we’ve found that identification and discussion helps with management of many of these critters. At least, it helps with identifying the gnawing sounds in the dark of night….
The gravity well near most Guilt Gorillas is extensive and can drag down even a stalwart creative. Feeds on: pre-existing feelings of not doing enough, overwork, and lateness. Distraction devices include planning calendars, reminding yourself to stand up and stretch once in a while, and that yes even you should take a @!%$#@ vacation now and then.
(11) DESPERATELY SEEKING SNORTS. Yes, this is what we’re talking about:
i guess i was frying falafel in these
— operation silky chicken (@robertjbennett) May 3, 2018
(12) COLLECTIBLES. If only you’d ever owned one of these in the first place, right? Syfy Wire chronicles “Awesome Stuff We Want: The original Star Wars toy vouchers are insanely valuable now”.
There is no shortage of Star Wars toys and paraphernalia these days; the franchise is an industry unto itself, with branded merchandise that spans from action figures to toiletries, and just about anything else you can imagine. But back when the first movie premiered in 1977, Lucasfilm and Fox had no idea how big of a hit it would be and what kind of demand it would create for Star Wars toys. They had to scramble to catch up, and so they issued vouchers that fans could redeem for toys when they were ready.
Up for grabs on eBay is one of those Star Wars Early Bird Certificate packages, which has remarkably never been opened. It’s just an envelope from 1977 that promises a handful of the first Star Wars action figures to arrive in the middle of 1978 — and it is now way more valuable than any of those toys. All it will cost you is $12,950.
(13) OH, NUTS! The Popular Mechanics headline reads: “Screws and Washers Are Falling Off NASA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Space Telescope”.
On anything that moves, from vehicles to rolling office chairs, you need to be wary of bolts rattling loose over time. Thread-locking fluids and tapes are a great way to make sure your suspect bolts stay where they should, and nyloc nuts can also keep components snug and secure.
Northrop Grumman might need to look into something along these lines, because apparently “screws and washers” are falling off the spacecraft and sunshield it is building to carry NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Space News reports that NASA’s JWST program director, Greg Robinson, said that hardware was found underneath the spacecraft element of JWST (everything but the mirror and instruments) after it was moved from an acoustic testing chamber to a vibration testing chamber.
“Right now we believe that all of this hardware—we’re talking screws and washers here—come from the sunshield cover,” Robinson said today at the National Academies’ Space Studies Board in Washington D.C., according to Space News. “We’re looking at what this really means and what is the recovery plan.”
And the Space News story has more details: “JWST suffers new problem during spacecraft testing”
(14) 24 KLEENEX PER SECOND. MeTV asks you to “Pick: What’s your favorite cartoon tearjerker?”.
Who got you to turn on the waterworks: Dumbo or Mufasa?
Some cartoon movies are so good, you could cry. In fact, many of them set out to make you do just that. But which cartoon tearjerker inspired the most waterworks for you?
Log your vote below for your favorite cartoon tearjerker to make your choice between classics like Bambi and those emotional Pixar movies that dependably dampen faces today. See how many others wept along with you!
(15) SCARCE AS HEN’S TEETH. There was a time when they weren’t so rare — “How birds got their beaks – new fossil evidence”.
Scientists have pieced together the skull of a strange ancient bird, revealing a primitive beak lined with teeth.
The “transitional” bird sheds light on a pivotal point in the pathway from dinosaurs to modern birds.
Ichthyornis dispar lived in North America about 86 million years ago.
The seagull-sized bird had a beak and a brain much like modern birds, but the sharp teeth and powerful jaws of dinosaurs like Velociraptor.
“It shows us what the first bird beak looked like,” said Bhart-Anjan Bhullar of Yale University, a study researcher.
“It’s a real mosaic of features, a transitional form.”
(16) ASK THE MAN WHO OWNS ONE. More Solo: A Star Wars Story promo – “Tour The Millennium Falcon with Donald Glover”
[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little.]