Writers from Battlestar Galactica, Leverage, Warehouse 13, Outlander Created the Scripts for DisCon III’s Opening/Closing and Hugo Awards Ceremonies

A talented and imaginative team of writers have created the script for the Opening/Closing and Hugo Awards Ceremonies at DisCon III, the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Washington, DC., December 15-19, 2021.

The writers’ room is led by head writer Marque Franklin-Williams and joined by Jason Marcus, Holly Moyer, Danielle Nicki, Ian Maddox, and Tilly and Susan Bridges.

Writers’ rooms are used in Hollywood to create scripts for shows. They work by creating a space for a variety of voices and allowing each writer to play to their strengths, guided by a head writer with a clear vision. This year, the writers’ room will work on all three ceremonies, creating an overall arc and consistent voice for the convention. 

“I am giddy about having a writers’ room work on the Hugo ceremony, especially one that’s packed with so much talent. These are all working professional writers who are also fans,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, DisCon III Chair. “The script they have created will take us on a wonderful journey that lifts up fandom and the work that we celebrate at Worldcon.” 

“I grew up immersed in fantasy and science fiction novels. To contribute to a celebration of genre fiction, like the stories which inspired me to write in the first place, is an incredible way to close the circle,” said Marque Franklin-Williams. “To do it with this talented writers’ room and DisCon III’s amazing team is an honor.”

Marque is a television and film writer currently based in Los Angeles who has worked across a wide spectrum of material.  He was most recently staffed on the Starz show Outlander and Leverage: Redemption for IMDb TV, among others.  In addition to other accolades, Marque was awarded the Sloan Screenwriting Grant for his historical screenplay, Recognizing Morgan

“I’m a real fan, and it’s an absolute honor to be writing the Hugos with such a talented team,” said Jason Marcus.

Jason Marcus is a writer and comedian from Boston whose writing blends realistic characters with absurdist premises to explore the uniquely human experience in ways that are universally relatable. Among his accolades, Jason is a fellow of the Native American Showrunner Program and an NBC Late Night Writers Workshop alum. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, their twin toddlers, and a pug named Macho Man. 

“I’m delighted that Mary Robinette Kowal and her cat invited me to join this insightful team. It’s a treat to spend time with such excellent humans (and cats, chihuahuas, etc.) sharing our love of the genre and its fantastic fans,” said Moyer. 

Playing the singing rooster in her fifth-grade school Robin Hood play ultimately led Holly Moyer (she/her) into the fandom, a doctorate in late medieval and early modern English literature, and a television drama writing career. She specializes in fantasy, science fiction, and historic stories about diverse characters struggling to do the right thing against great odds.

“I am beyond excited to get the opportunity to write for the Hugo ceremony! Writers are my favorite people, and I am thrilled to be able to participate in celebrating them in this way,” said Danielle Nicki.

Danielle Nicki is a television and feature writer who enjoys creating stories centered around women of color with interesting and diverse life experiences not often seen on screen. And recently, Danielle was named one of the International Screenwriters Association’s Top 25 Writers to Watch in 2021.

Ian D. Maddox is known for his work on Warehouse 13 (2009), Battlestar Galactica (2004) and Warehouse 13: Grand Designs (2012). He has worked as a script coordinator and freelance writer for shows all across the sci-fi spectrum — most recently, Lovecraft Country.

“Marque Franklin-Williams had a great vision for the ceremonies right from the start, and as fans of all things sci-fi, we’re honored that we were invited to contribute,” said Tilly Bridges.

“While in the writers’ room, we really enjoyed the in-depth discussions about fandom, inclusivity, and Mary Robinette’s amazing cat,” added Susan Bridges.

Tilly & Susan Bridges are a married trans woman/cis woman team who writes fun, hope-fueled sci-fi, with blue sky imagination and a sprinkle of comedy. They’ve been making award-winning scripted podcasts since 2004 via their production company Pendant Productions, winning multiple Parsec Awards and Audio Verse Awards for excellence in speculative fiction podcasting. They also write comics and for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game.

The Opening/Closing and Hugo Awards Ceremonies at DisCon III, the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), will be available online.

DisCon III is the third World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) held in Washington DC, USA. Worldcon is the annual gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans, writers, artists, musicians, and other creators from across the globe. DisCon III will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on December 15-19, 2021.

Worldcon originally focused on and still has a strong emphasis on science fiction and fantasy literature but has grown to include genre television, movies, animation, games, and other popular media as well. It has truly become the world’s fair of science fiction and fantasy fandom. No other event brings together fans and creators, regardless of genre or medium, under one big tent with the intimacy of Worldcon.

DisCon III is sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc. (BWAWA, Inc.), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Maryland.

First held in New York City in 1939, Worldcon moves around the globe, held in a different city and organized by a different volunteer organization each year. Previous DC-based Worldcons were DisCon I in 1963 and DisCon II in 1974.

For more information on DisCon III, Worldcon, and how to become a member of the 79th Worldcon, visit http://www.discon3.org.

[Based on a press release.]


“World Science Fiction Society,” “WSFS,” “World Science Fiction Convention,” “Worldcon,” “NASFiC,” “Hugo Award,” the Hugo Award Logo, and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Trophy Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.

DisCon III Corrects Press Release to Acknowledge Fred Duarte

DisCon III has updated its “DisCon III Announces Vice Chairs” press release with the correction requested by LoneStarCon 2 chair Karen Meschke in her guest post of October 19 “Meschke Calls on DisCon III to Correct Fanhistorical Note in Press Release”.

This is a screencap of the added note (click for larger image):

Pixel Scroll 10/20/21 Roll Over Harkonnen And Tell Shai-Tchovsky The News

(1) KRESS Q&A. DisCon III has posted an “Interview with Author Guest of Honor Nancy Kress” conducted by staff member Dr. Karen Purcell.

(2) FALLEN LEAVES AND HEROES. Brian Murphy shares ten spooky sword and sorcery stories for October:  “Ten Sword-and-Sorcery Tales For the Haunting Season” at Goodman Games.

…Here in New England, I find that as the leaves begin to turn and October shadows lengthen, so too do my thoughts drift from my natural sword-and-sorcery bent toward the nether regions of horror. Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, classic Hammer movies and bad slasher films, bring it on, all of it.

But I’m also reminded that I need not necessarily choose between the two. Sword-and-sorcery after all is bedfellows with horror. Though he loathed the term, Karl Edward Wagner described S&S as “a fascinating synthesis of horror, adventure, and imagination … the common motif is a universe in which magic works and an individual may kill according to his personal code.”…

(3) FIRST REFLECTIONS. Tom Shapira analyzes how the Holocaust was reflected in 1950s horror comics: “The Dead Come Back: Mid-Century Horror Comics & The Holocaust”.

We’ve come a long way since Art Spiegelman’s Maus. When the first collected edition published in 1986, it appeared to be a singular and wholly unimagined thing: a comic-book — garishly colored, childishly-plotted things that were mostly concerned with muscled men in tights — about the Holocaust. German philosopher Theodore Adorno once claimed that “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric”…so how can one justify the writing and drawing of comic-books?!

Flash-forward to 2021 and it’s clear that Maus has long stopped being a singular event. There are many more comics about the Holocaust including two graphic adaptations of The Diary of Anne Frank (one of which recently got a movie treatment), A Family SecretYosselThe BoxerHidden, and even the superhero genre feeling confident enough to take on the subject with the likes of Magneto: Testament….

(4) HE-MAN AND SHE-RA. The Rogues in the House podcast has dedicated an entire episode to “Masters of the Universe”.

(5) START AT THE TOP. And work your way down. Mark Lawrence has finally received a satisfactory result from his recent battles with Kindle Direct Publishing.  The updated saga is here. “My attempts to get sense from KDP”.

… At this point, having aired the first version of this blog post, I get advice from self-publishing experts. Email Jeff Bezos they say. So I do.

I find his email address and email him, explaining that I understand the email will land with one of his team of assistants but that I would appreciate any help in the issue (which I then lay out).

Additionally, I remember that: hey, I’m actually published by Amazon – my Impossible Times trilogy is published by 47North (there’s a story or two in there to be told one day!), one of Amazon’s own publishing imprints. So, I also email one of the people involved in the production of those books, and she very kindly agrees to reach out to someone she knows at KDP.

A day later I get an email from the Executive KDP team! This was on October 7th. A phone call from America follows and I get to speak to a human. A charming and helpful American human called Jeremy. He tells me that both my email to Jeff Bezos and to 47North reached his desk and either one would have prompted the call. So, at least you don’t have to be published by Amazon and sell 100,000+ books for them before they’ll listen.

However – we still had another 13 exciting days to go!…

(6) SKEPTICAL RESPONSE. Following a Last Dangerous Visions progress report, J. Michael  Straczysnki fielded criticisms that the writer list (as so far revealed) lacks diverse representation. His explanations prompted further discussion in a thread Karen Osdeath kicked off here.

(7) SET DECORATION. Gaiman’s co-author, the late Terry Pratchett, will be acknowledged again in the sequel: “Good Omens season 2: Neil Gaiman’s tribute to Terry Pratchett on set”Metro News has the story.

…Terry’s scarf and hat also appeared in the first season of the show.

Several Good Omens fans shared how much they loved the dedication to Terry on set, with one writing: ‘It warms my heart to see Terry Pratchett still represented. I miss the wit and wisdom of his books.’

(8) GET YOUR KICKS. Publishers Weekly interviews the master of a comics industry financial model: “Crowdfunding a Publishing House: PW Talks with Spike Trotman”.

…Lots of prose and comics publishers have used crowdfunding to bring out new work, but few have been doing it as long or as well as C. Spike Trotman, publisher/CEO of Chicago-based independent comics publisher Iron Circus Comics. Trotman recently wrapped up her 30th Kickstarter campaign, The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Storiesa new volume of comics stories by indigenous creators which raised more than $330,000 (the goal was $20,000) in September, marking more than $2 million raised by Trotman through the platform since 2009. But beyond the quantitative success, Trotman has led the way in using crowdfunding as part of a scalable publishing business model that brings unique projects from diverse creators into the mainstream comics and trade book distribution system.

… “I have one foot in international distribution through old-fashioned methods and one foot in the world of Kickstarter,” she said. “I’m distributed by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution, a division of Ingram that specializes in the quirky small press lines.”

She explained that it is not a prevalent strategy for crowdfunders because book distributors generally expect presses to put out at least 10 books per year. “A lot of crowdfunders can’t manage 10 books for trade bookstores, and I understand because it’s really hard. What got me through the door, in addition to volume, was that I had made the step between exclusively self-distributing through conventions or a website, and a larger company like Ingram. I was already reaching out to comic stores and independent bookstores, emailing them PDFs of my books and my catalog, and giving them special discount codes if they ordered from me direct.”

By the time she approached Ingram, Trotman already had more than 40 retailers placing orders. “We couldn’t fulfill the wholesale orders of 40 or 45 stores and run the business, so it’s good they were able to work with us.”…

(9) END OF THE CYCLE. Hollywood Insider examines  “The Rise and Fall of Young Adult Dystopian Adaptation Franchises”.

The year is 2014, the Oscars release a selfie of the world’s biggest movie stars, Justin Bieber’s mugshot surfaces, Emma Watson speaks at the United Nations for gender equality, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ popularizes the infinity sign; just about everything seems right in the world. As someone who lived and breathed the culture of 2014, everything in the world of pop-culture just seemed easy.

There is a bitter-sweet existence in knowing that decades have passed since the beginning of ‘Harry Potter’ with eight films from 2001-2011 earning 7.7 billion USD from the box office. Or the next successful franchise, ‘Twilight’ with five films from 2008-2012 earning 3.3 billion USD from the box office. Both YA franchises were the kick-start to a rapid incline of young adult dystopian films centered around political impact, connections, love, and loss. Ultimately the success of pop culture, income, and fan-bases from the ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’ franchises became the reason as to why studios reached out to the most popular young adult novels in order to try and gain that same impact for more films. So much so that the number of franchises that were successful compared to the ones that failed before their sequel is rather devastating. At the same time, some films give off the apparent reason as to why they failed with lousy acting, even poorer attention to storyline adaptation, timing, and in cases simply didn’t work for audiences.

… With the success of the previous films mentioned, studios began to create anything they thought would be comparable or better than the previous successors. But, with the heavy amount of failures as opposed to the successes, the amount of YA dystopian fiction adaptations diminished into almost nothing. Nowadays, studios are choosing to create YA films targeting important meanings or values such as gay relationships, movements such as Black Lives Matter, or the realism of cyberbullying….

(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1967 – Fifty-four years ago on this evening, NBC first aired Star Trek’s “Doomsday Machine” which was scripted by Norman Spinrad. It was the sixth episode of the second season. The principal guest star was William Windom as Commodore Matt Decker. The episode is considered one of the finest of the series with the TV Guide ranking it the fourth best, and SciFiNow recently ranked it the tenth best episode of the original series. The special effects and much of the episode were digitally remastered fifteen years ago. And yes, it was nominated for a Hugo at Baycon, one of five Trek episodes so nominated that Con with the Harlan Ellison scripted  “The City on the Edge of Forever” being the winner. 

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 20, 1882 Bela Lugosi. He’s best remembered for portraying Count Dracula in the 1931 film franchise Drácula. He came to hate that he played that character feeling he’d been typecast which he certainly had. Now tell me what’s your favorite film character that he played? (Died 1956)
  • Born October 20, 1905 Frederic Dannay. One half with Manfred Bennington Lee of the writing team who created Ellery Queen. ISFDB lists two Ellery Queen novels as being genre, And on the Eight Day and The Scrolls of Lysis, plus a single short story, “ A Study in Terror”. (Died 1982.)
  • Born October 20, 1916 Anton Diffring, A long career with many genre roles which I’ll note but a few of here. He was Fabian in Fahrenheit 451 who the sixty-eighth anniversary of the novel we noted yesterday, Graf Udo Von Felseck of Purbridge Manor in The Masks of Deaths (a rather well-crafted Holmes film) and he played De Flores, a neo-Nazi in “Silver Nemesis”, a most excellent Seventh Doctor story. (Died 1989.)
  • Born October 20, 1923 Erle Korshak. He’s a reminder of how old fandom is. He discovered SF in 1934 with the August Astounding magazine and became a very serious collector in 1937 according to several sources. By 1939 he was a well-known fan and one of the leaders of the Moonstruck Press publishing house which was created to created a bibliography of all fantasy books.  He was part of the leadership triumvirate of Chicon 1, the 1940 Worldcon. He later founded a publishing house whose first major work was Everett F. Bleiler’s The Checklist of Fantastic Literature in the late Forties, a pioneering work of SF bibliography. This was followed by major works by Heinlein, Bester, Fredric Brown and other SF suthors. He was absent from fandom from the late 50s for thirty years, then rejoined fandom and was attending cons with his children.  He was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1996, and won the Barry R. Levin Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Lifetime Collectors Award in 2001. (Died 2021.)
  • Born October 20, 1934 Michael Dunn. He’s best remembered  for his recurring role on the Wild Wild West as Dr. Miguelito Loveless attempting to defeat our heroes over and over, but he has had other appearances in genre television. He would be Alexander, a court jester, in the Trek “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode and a killer clown in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’s “The Wax Men” episode. He was even in the Get Smart! pilot as Mr. Big. (Died 1973.)
  • Born October 20, 1937 Emma Tennant. To the manor born and a lifelong supporter of Labour, ISFDB lists nine of her novels as being as SFF. As the Literary Encyclopedia  says “ Her work is feminist, magical and wicked, and uses the fantastic and the Gothic to interpret and explore everyday women’s roles.“ I’ve not read her, so do tell me about her please if you’ve read her! (Died 2017.)
  • Born October 20, 1958 Lynn Flewelling, 63. The lead characters of her Nightrunner series are both bisexual, and she has stated this is so was because of “the near-absence of LGBT characters in the genre and marginalization of existing ones.” (As quoted in Strange Horizon, September 2001) The Tamír Triad series is her companion series to this affair. 
  • Born October 20, 1966 Diana Rowland, 55. New Orleans writer with a fascinating job history that includes cop, a crime scene investigator, and a morgue assistant. She’s best known for her Kara Gillian series and White Trash Zombie series. Her only award is a Phoenix Award, a lifetime achievement award for a science fiction professional who has done a great deal for Southern Fandom, given by DeepSouthCon. 

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) BLACK PANTHER #200. Marvel’s Black Panther comics will reach its milestone 200th issue in January. To celebrate, Black Panther #3 will be an oversized issue with bonus stories celebrating the past and foreshadowing the future of the Black Panther and the world of Wakanda. (Click on gallery for larger images.)

Writer John Ridley will introduce a new hero who rises up to protect the people of Wakanda while T’Challa finds his life and role as Black Panther thrown into turmoil! Fans will be able to witness the beginning of this new hero’s journey before seeing him become a key player of Ridley’s run in future issues.

In addition, the main story in the 200th issue of BLACK PANTHER will see T’Challa face off against the X-Men! With assassins closing in and Wakanda’s faith in him shaken, T’Challa goes to visit Storm on the newly terraformed Mars. But this will not be a happy reunion as T’Challa has ulterior motives for his visit. And back home, Shuri discovers who is behind the attacks on Wakanda’s secret agents — a revelation that will change everything.

(14) SCHWAB Q&A. “V.E. Schwab’s New Graphic Novel Returns to her Villains Series”, and Publishers Weekly did an interview with her.

Publishers Weekly: The power you gave Charlotte is a truly horrifying one: When she looks at someone’s reflection, she can vividly foresee the moment of their death. How did you come up with that?

V.E. Schwab: It’s the very first power I ever created for the Villains universe. In the first iteration of Vicious, I had as my main character a man who arrives in this city and two warring groups of people try to recruit him, the Heroes and the Villains. They’re essentially gangs. This character had this ability to see deaths in reflective surfaces, and I loved that ability. The story didn’t work. I ended up just stopping for a minute to write the backstories for the gang leaders, and that’s where I got the Victor and Eli story which would go on to be the series. But I always was looking for someone to give this power to. The way that the powers work in this world is that they’re tied to near-death experiences. You can’t just give the power to anyone; you almost have to retroactively figure out the person from the power. So I had to figure out what circumstance puts Charlotte into the situation where she has a near-death experience that leads to this ability. 

(15) AT THE SCREENING. At Black Gate, Matthew David Surridge reviews an interesting-looking animated fantasy film called The Spine of Night:  “Fantasia 2021, Part XXXII: The Spine Of Night”

 …The feature film it was bundled with was the movie I’d been most eagerly looking forward to at Fantasia, and it did not disappoint. The Spine of Night, written and directed by the team of Morgan Galen King and Philip Gelatt, is billed as a feature-length animated sword-and-sorcery film for adults in the vein of the Heavy Metal movie. And it very much is that. It’s more serious than Heavy Metal in many ways, but the violence and cosmic scope is if anything even greater….

(16) SPACE CUISINE CHALLENGE. This is not your father’s space ice cream — or — chow, chow, chow — or — “NASA Announces Winners of Deep Space Food Challenge”. (The chosen teams are listed at the link.)

Variety, nutrition, and taste are some considerations when developing food for astronauts. For NASA’s Deep Space Food Challenge, students, chefs, small businesses, and others whipped up novel food technology designs to bring new solutions to the table.

NASA has selected 18 U.S. teams to receive a total of $450,000 for ideas that could feed astronauts on future missions. Each team will receive $25,000. Additionally, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) jointly recognized 10 international submissions.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will air a show on the Deep Space Food Challenge at 11 a.m. EST Nov. 9 with details about the competition, winning solutions, and what could be next for the teams.

Special guests during the show will include celebrity chef Martha Stewart and retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will announce the winners of two awards honoring international teams that demonstrated exceptional innovation. Other participants will include retired CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield and celebrity chef Lynn Crawford…

(17) LIKE THAT WHALE IN OREGON? “The often untold story of cleaning up dead kaiju finally coming to theaters next year” promises SoraNews24. I knew I’ll be holding my breath.

…And coming 4 February, 2022, a truly bold experiment in the genre is set to take place. Daikaiju No Atoshimatsu (lit. “The Great Monster’s Remains“, tentative English title: Kaiju Cleanup) marks the first time veteran film studios Shochiku and Toei have teamed up on a single feature. Perhaps the reason two companies were needed is that this movie boasts the largest monster in Japanese movie history.

However, it’s dead for pretty much the whole film….

That’s because Daikaiju No Atoshimatsu picks up where most tokusatsu films leave off. The evil kaiju collapses in defeat, the hero walks off into the sunset, and credits roll, but also those poor extras who have already been through so much, now have a gigantic rotting corpse to dispose of….

(18) VINTAGE VINELAND. A study published in Nature finds “In tree rings and radioactive carbon, signs of the Vikings in North America” reports NBC News.

… Previous studies have established there was such a cosmic ray event in the year 993 that for a few months caused greater than usual levels of radioactive carbon-14 in the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere.

Trees “breathe” carbon dioxide as they grow, and so the researchers used that radioactive carbon signature to determine which of the annual growth rings seen in cross-sections of the wood was from 993, Kuitems said.

They then used a microscope to count the later growth rings until the bark of the wood, which gave them the exact year the tree had stopped growing — in other words, when it had been felled by the Norse.

To their surprise, each of the three pieces of wood they tested was from a tree cut down in 1021, although they were from three different trees — two firs and probably one juniper….

(19) LOST AND FOUND. Cowboy Bebop’s “The Lost Session” teaser debuts online. The live-action remake arrives at Netflix November 19.

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Squid Game Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George, in a spoiler-packed episode, confuses the producer, who thinks the game is in the Shark Tales universe.  But why are the bad guys pretending to be PlayStation buttons?

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Dann, Cora Buhlert, Lise Andreasen, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Meschke Calls on DisCon III to Correct Fanhistorical Note in Press Release

Guest Post by Karen Meschke, Chair, LoneStarCon 2 (1997 Worldcon): DisCon III made a major error in their Press Release (dated September 3) by overlooking the contributions of Fred Duarte in announcing their new Vice-Chairs (“DisCon III Announces Vice Chairs”) and that Lauren Raye was the “first Latinx Vice Chair.”  Fred’s son, Matthew Duarte, and I wish it to be acknowledged and corrected.

Fred Duarte Jr. (d. 2015). Photo by Mark Olson.

I privately contacted Randy Shepherd the day after the above referenced news (September 4) was released as he is one of the DisCon III Advisors. Randy and Fred both served as Vice-Chairs at LoneStarCon 2, the 1997 Worldcon, as did Bill Parker. This is the Worldcon that I chaired in San Antonio, Texas.

This is the gist of the first email I sent Randy:

“Could the wording be changed to first female Latinx Vice Chair and Fred be added as a footnote? Don’t mean to make a fuss but to ignore Fred’s contributions to fandom for decades is just wrong. I do not wish to make this a public issue, not my style or Fred’s. I want fandom to honor Fred’s accomplishments and leave his son, Matthew, the real legacy of his dad’s life, not history rewritten.”

Initially, he agreed that it should be fixed and he would see what he could do. Randy has not responded to subsequent emails since September 24.

So on October 4, I reached out to Patty Wells the other DisCon III Advisor. Patty asked Randy what was going on with a well-deserved apology, and his response to her was “it’s in process but slow.” Patty stated “she would find out more and would not let it go though.” This response was sent by Patty on October 5.

It has now been almost two weeks, and I have still received no responses or updates from either Randy or Patty.

My observation is this is slowly slipping through the cracks, and the final solution appears to be to simply include Fred as a footnote in the DisCon III Program Book in their list of former Worldcons for historical information.

This is situation has been ongoing since September 4 and it needs to be corrected sooner rather than later.


Fred’s role is documented in the LSC2 Program Book on page 7.

Nommo Awards to be Announced at DisCon III

The African Speculative Fiction Society’s 2021 Nommo Awards Ceremony will be held this December at DisCon III, the World Science Fiction Convention.

The ASFS is the organization of African writers, artists, editors, and publishers in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres.

The organization says the virtual component of the convention “means greater numbers of African writers can be part of the convention, to take part in panels, give readings and attend events of interest to them all online. Holding the Awards ceremony as part of the convention’s diversity streams will help bring African writing and comics to the attention of the international SFF fan, writing, editing and publishing communities.”

ASFS member voting on the 2021 Nommo Awards shortlist closed August 30.

John Harris DisCon III Artist Guest of Honor’s Artwork Will Be Exhibited at Event

John Harris

John Harris, who was added as DisCon III’s Artist GoH in May 2020, will not be attending the convention in person due to its change in date from August to December. His artwork will be on display at the convention.

Alison Eldred, Artists’ Agent for Harris, shared the following statement.

John was delighted when he was asked to be the professional artist Guest of Honour at DisCon III, this year’s Worldcon in Washington DC. All credit to the organisers who have now restaged this for December this year – and this will be on their programme cover.

It’s unfortunate that he isn’t able to be there in person, but we have many plans to send work, to illustrate the programme, and to introduce his paintings, sketches and short films to people who don’t already know them.

“While we are sad that John Harris will be unable to join us in Washington, DC in person, we are beyond excited to have his extraordinary talent showcased on the cover of our program,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, Chair of DisCon III. “The way John makes pastels dance is just a delight. There’s such depth and nuance in his relationship with light and form.”

“All Worldcon Art shows are a one-time unique gallery, and while disappointed that John cannot join us in person, we are thrilled to display his art for all the fans to see,” said Randall Shepherd, Exhibits Division Head of DisCon III.

For more than 40 years, John Harris has created book covers for many of the most iconic authors in SF, such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, and Orson Scott Card. His work is collected internationally, and a piece commissioned by NASA hangs in the Kennedy Space Center and is part of the Smithsonian Collection. In 2015, he won the Chesley Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

He was also nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist in 2014. 

Three films about him have recently been completed and can be viewed online. The latest book about his work, Beyond the Horizon, is currently in its second edition.

DisCon III will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on December 15-19, 2021.

[Based on a press release.]

Looking Ahead to 2023 Site Selection

Three groups are bidding to host the 2023 con — Chengdu, China, Memphis, USA, and Winnipeg, Canada – and DisCon III’s Newsletter Issue 2 distributed in early September noted the Advance Supporting Membership rate will be announced no later than when the Site Selection Ballot is released to the public. File 770 inquired when that will happen.

Site Selection Administrator Tim Szczesuil says, “The Tech Division is developing the online payment system for the Site Selection Voting Fee. We hope to have it available shortly. As soon as the payment process is complete we’ll release the Site Selection ballot.”

Raks Geek to Headline DisCon III Closing Ceremonies

Raks Geek cast. Photo credit Braden Nesin

Raks Geek will headline the closing ceremonies of  DisCon III in Washington, DC., on the evening of December 19, 2021.

Raks Geek is the premiere bellydance, flow arts, and fire company by geeks for geeks. They are committed to blending a high degree of artistic and technical mastery with fun, creativity, and their favorite themes from nerd culture. 

The dancers and fire-spinners have performed everywhere from Germany to Argentina and dance for hundreds of people every week. The members of Raks Geek are lifelong geeks who bring a love and expertise in science fiction, video games, technology, research science, and comics. 

Raks Geek was featured on UK Channel 4 TV’s “50 Funniest Moments of the Year” and listed as a Timeout Chicago Critics’ Pick. They are based in Chicago, Illinois, but have made waves nationally and internationally on MSN, WGN-TV, The Daily Mail, WCIU, and the Chicago Tribune.

“I have loved science fiction ever since being handed Isaac Asimov books in elementary school,” said Dawn Xiana Moon, founder/director of Raks Geek. “Each of our performers is stunning on their own: They’ve won Hugo Awards, they’ve toured Europe, they’ve appeared on international TV.” (Troupe member Michi Trota has won multiple Hugo Awards.)

“The first time I saw Raks Geek, I fell in love with their work. Dawn’s work as an entertainer and director brings such a high level of artistry to our closing ceremonies,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, Chair of DisCon III.

Raks Geek: Dawn Xiana Moon. Photo credit Bartek Karas

DisCon III is the third World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) held in Washington DC, USA. Worldcon is the annual gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans, writers, artists, musicians, and other creators from across the globe. DisCon III will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on December 15-19, 2021.

Worldcon originally focused on and still has a strong emphasis on science fiction and fantasy literature but has grown to include genre television, movies, animation, games, and other popular media as well. It has truly become the world’s fair of science fiction and fantasy fandom. No other event brings together fans and creators, regardless of genre or medium, under one big tent with the intimacy of Worldcon.

DisCon III is sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc. (BWAWA, Inc.), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Maryland.

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 9/7/21 I’ve Scrolled Through The Desert In A File With No Name

(1) TROPE THE LIGHT FANTASTIC. The Nerds of Color had the opportunity to interview Denis Villeneuve. Their headline asks “Is ‘Dune’ Truly a White-Savior Story?”, however, there is much more to the interview than the part relating to the title, excerpted here:

There is a storytelling trope called the White Savior where a Caucasian will go into a foreign land and act as a rescuer or messianic figure to the indigenous people there. And Herbert’s work has been criticized for falling into that trope. So how do you contemporize the story to avoid falling into the problematic areas that trope may potentially present?

That’s a very important question. And it’s why I thought Dune was, the way I was reading it, a critique of that [trope]. It’s not a celebration of a savior. It’s a condemnation and criticism of that idea of a savior. Of someone that will come and tell another operation how to be and what to believe… it’s a criticism. That’s the way I feel it’s relevant and can be seen contemporary. And that’s what I’ll say about that. Frankly it’s the opposite [of that trope].

(2) DISCON III RATE HIKE SEPT. 15. DisCon III membership prices go up on September 15. Purchase your Attending, Virtual, or Supporting Worldcon membership now.

(3) NYRSF READINGS. Michael Bishop will feature in the New York Review of Science Fiction readings series on September 9. The program will livestream from the NYRSF Readings Facebook page at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

(4) CAR TUNES. Bob Gale finally got his wish. “In ‘Back to The Future: The Musical,’ the Car Is the Star of the Show” – and the New York Times has the story.

During a recent performance of “Back to the Future: The Musical,” at the Adelphi Theater here, the audience couldn’t stop cheering.

They cheered a preshow announcement asking everyone to turn off their cellphones, “since they weren’t invented in 1985,” the year the original movie was released. They cheered when Marty McFly, the show’s main character (played by Olly Dobson), skateboarded onstage in an orange body warmer. And they cheered, again, when he started singing, surrounded by break dancers and women in aerobics getup to complete the 1980s vibe.

But the loudest applause came about 20 minutes in. After three loud bangs and a flash of light, a DeLorean car seemed to magically appear in the middle of the stage, lights bouncing off its steel bodywork and gull-wing doors.

The audience went wild.

Bob Gale, who co-wrote the original movie with Robert Zemeckis and wrote the musical’s book, said in a telephone interview that he always knew the car would be vital to the show’s success. “We knew if we pulled it off, it was going to make the audience go nuts,” he said.

He added he had been working on making that happen for over 15 years. 

(5) GAME ON. The “Montegrappa Winter Is Here Limited Edition Fountain Pen” is marked down to $4,400! Hmm, shall I buy it, or do my laundry for the next 220 months?

Made under license to HBO, Montegrappa’s new Game of Thrones pen, Winter is Here, pays homage to the mysterious forces from north of The Wall.

Using the ancient jeweller’s art of lost wax casting, Montegrappa has created half pen, half objet d’art.

Three-dimensional effigies of the Night King and White Walker form a sterling silver superstructure that encases a body of shiny lines celluloid. The figure of Viserion wraps around the cap, and the dragon’s head with a tongue of ice coming out of its mouth acts as an innovative pocket clip. Enamelled, crystal blue flames encircle the base of the cap, while semi-precious apatite stones emulate the cold, mysterious eyes unique to beings of the North.

(6) MOUNTAIN CLIMBER. James Davis Nicoll devises “Five Extremely Unscientific Methods for Picking Your Next Book” at Tor.com.

Anyone can apply logic, taste, and methodical research to the problem of selecting which limited subset of the vast number of books available one is to read. Conversely, one can half-ass one’s way through Mt. Tsundoku using methods of dubious reliability. Don’t believe me? Here are five methods I have used, each more ludicrous than the one before….

(7) FREE MARS EVENT. Explore Mars, Inc., is holding a free S2021 Humans to Mars Summit (H2M 2021) on September 13–15. It will be a virtual event, however, Explore Mars plans to also conduct some in-person elements in Washington, D.C. Register here.

The topics include:

  • Planet of Robots: Recent Milestones and Discoveries on Mars
  • Artemis to Mars: Utilizing the Moon to sending Humanity to Mars
  • How Space Exploration Improves Life on Earth
  • Making it on Mars: 3-D Printing and Other Critical Technologies
  • Building a Space Workforce: Inspiring and Motivating Preprofessional     and Early Professionals
  • EVA Suits and Surface Operations
  • Nuclear Propulsion and Surface Power
  • Robotic Support: Prior, During, and After Crewed Missions to Mars
  • How Can Space Exploration Expand Inclusiveness and Diversity?

(8) BEAR MEDICAL UPDATE. A Livejournal post from Elizabeth Bear for public sharing: “if memories were all i sang i’d rather drive a truck”.

Just wanted to let everybody know that my surgical consult is on Thursday afternoon, and I expect to be scheduled rapidly for surgery after that. If that goes well then I can look forward to a month off to heal and then radiation. If it goes poorly, alas, it’s probably straight into chemo but right now that is considered unlikely.

Scott can’t come in to the consult with me because plague. I’m going to ask if I can record it.

Got my You Are A Cancer Patient Now covid booster which was surprisingly emotional. Cue crying in a CVS. Could be worse… so glad I’m not doing this last year….

(9) WALL OF FAME. “Muppets creator Jim Henson’s London home gets blue plaque” reports The Guardian.  

Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, has been honoured with a blue plaque at his former London home.

The US puppeteer, acclaimed for his work on Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock and as director of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, lived at 50 Downshire Hill in Hampstead from 1979….

…His son Brian, who is chairman of the board at The Jim Henson Company, said: “My father moved to London to make The Muppet Show, and then chose to stay because he was so impressed by the UK’s many gifted artists and performers….

(10) TONY SELBY (1938-2021). Actor Tony Selby died September 5 after contracting Covid-19. His genre work included Doctor Who and Ace of Wands.

…In a different vein – and sporting a beard – Selby was one of Doctor Who fans’ favourite guest stars. He played Sabalom Glitz, the selfish mercenary from the planet Salostopus who forms uneasy alliances with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy’s incarnations of the Time Lord in two adventures, the series-long story The Trial of a Time Lord (1986) and Dragonfire (1987). The unbroadcast back story for the second revealed that Glitz had taken the virginity of the doctor’s young companion Ace (Sophie Aldred).

Alongside guest roles as crooks in various television series, the actor played Sam Maxstead, reformed convict and assistant to the magician who uses his real supernatural powers to fight evildoers, in the first two runs (1970-71) of the children’s fantasy series Ace of Wands….

(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • 1974 – Forty-seven years ago this night, the Land of the Lost series premiered on NBC. (It went into syndication for the last two seasons.) It was created by Sid and Marty Krofft and (though uncredited during the series) also by David Gerrold, and produced by the Kroffts who were previously known for H.R. Pufnstuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. (I actually remember the former. Particularly the theme song which is earworming its way into my brain now.) Starring Spencer Milligan, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Phillip Paley, and Ron Harper, it ran for three seasons and forty-three half hour episodes. A number of SF writers wrote scripts including  Ben Bova, Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon and Norman Spinrad.  The Kroffts continue to claim that they are working on an updated remake to the series and that this time it will be an hour-long series.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 7, 1921 — Donald William Heiney. Under the pseudonym of MacDonald Harris, which he used for all of his fiction, wrote one of the better modern set novels using the Minotaur myth, Bull Fever. His time travel novel, Screenplay, where the protagonist ends up in a film noir 1920s Hollywood is also well crafted. Most of his work is available from the usual digital suspects. (Died 1993.)
  • Born September 7, 1924 — Gerry de la Ree. He published fanzines such as Sun Spots ran for 29 issues from the that Thirties through the Forties, and as editor, he published such work as The Book of Virgil FinlayA Hannes Bok Sketchbook, and Clark Ashton Smith – Artist. He was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame. (Died 1993.)
  • Born September 7, 1955 — Mira Furlan. Damn, another early death among that cast. She’s best known for her role as the Minbari Ambassador Delenn on the entire run of Babylon 5, and also as Danielle Rousseau on Lost, a series I did not watch. (and have absolutely no interest in doing so.) She’s reunited with Bill Mumy and Bruce Boxleitner at least briefly in a Canadian SF series called Space Command. (Died 2021.)
  • Born September 7, 1956 — Mark Dawidziak, 65. A Kolchak: Night Stalker fan of the first degree. He has written The Night Stalker Companion: A 30th Anniversary Tribute, Kolchak: The Night Stalker ChroniclesKolchak: The Night Stalker Casebook and The Kolchak Papers: Grave Secret. To my knowledge, he’s not written a word about the rebooted Night Stalker series. Proving he’s a man of discriminating taste. 
  • Born September 7, 1960 — Susan Palwick, 61. She won the Rhysling Award for “The Neighbor’s Wife,” the Crawford Award for best first novel with Her Flying in Place, and the Alex Award for her second novel, The Necessary Beggar. Impressive as she’s not at all prolific. All Worlds are Real, her latest collection, was nominated for the 2020 Philip K. Dick Award. She was one of the editors of New York Review of Science Fiction which was nominated for the Best Semiprozine Hugo at Noreascon 3. 
  • Born September 7, 1966 — Toby Jones, 55. He appeared in “Amy’s Choice,” an Eleventh  Doctor story, as the Dream Lord. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he voiced Dobby the house elf. And in Finding Neverland, Mr. Smee, Captain Hook’s bo’sun. Guess what work that film was based on. Finally I’ll note that he was using motion capture as Aristides Silk in The Adventures of Tintin. 
  • Born September 7, 1973 — Alex Kurtzman, 48. Ok, a number of sites claim he single-handedly destroyed Trek as the fanboys knew it. So why their hatred for him? Mind you I’m more interested that he and Roberto Orci created the superb Fringe series, and that alone redeems him for me. And I’m fascinated that he was Executive Producer on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess!
  • Born September 7, 1974 — Noah Huntley, 47. He has appeared in films such as 28 Days LaterThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (excellent film), Snow White and the Huntsman (great film), Event Horizon (surely you’ve something else to do) and Dracula Untold (well, not so great). He’s Gawain in The Mists of Avalon series which I refuse to watch, and shows up as Donovan Osborn in the CW series Pandora which, I’m not kidding, which gets a Rotten Tomatoes zero percent audience rating. Ouch. Anyone here seen it? 

(13) COMICS SECTION.

(14) IF ONLY IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE. It’s a good thing the writers didn’t wait – reality has already overtaken the future predicted in this 2006 movie: “The oral history of ‘Idiocracy,’ Mike Judge’s time travel triumph” at Inverse.

Mike Judge’s science fiction satire imagined what the United States might look like in the year 2505. From his perspective, that meant:

A population made stupid by advertising

A brash president who used to be a wrestler

Crocs dominating the footwear landscape

Society seems doomed until a 21st-century everyman (Luke Wilson) gets frozen by the military and wakes up 500 years later, making him the smartest person in America and the only man who can save it.

Beset by a low budget and little-to-no-advertising support from 20th Century Fox, Idiocracy almost didn’t happen at all. The fact that it exists is a miracle. The fact that it managed to accurately predict the future is just a bonus, though Judge loves to downplay his prescience….

JUDGE: I started talking to other writers; Etan Cohen was over at my house and I told him about the idea and the next day he said, “I really like that idea. I was thinking there could be a fart museum.” I thought, “Maybe his head’s in the right place for this.”

ETAN COHEN (CO-WRITER): It was great because there wasn’t a rush. It was a luxury to have that much time to generate the idea….

COHEN: One of the great things about the movie was it was very cathartic because you could just drive around and if anything got you angry it could go right in the movie….

(15) ANOTHER BITE OF THE POISONED APPLE. Two more authors think it’s not too late to mock the spirit of the times. Canadian authors Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock have produced a new installment in their cult-classic graphic novel series, The Silent Invasion, coming out from NBM Publishing on October 19.

Dark Matter is the latest installment in the graphic novel series which began 35 years ago. The series originally focused on the paranoia and conspiracy theories in the 1950s including UFOs, alien abductions and invasions — both alien and communist. The current book continues with an emphasis on brainwashing by religious cults that may be in league with a secretive cabal of industrialists, military authorities and scientists, who may have the assistance of alien overseers . 

The Silent Invasion is a visually striking series drawn in a bold and expressionistic European-influenced black and white style . However, Dark Matter is a complex, compelling and sometimes humorous tale filled with numerous twists and turns. 

Referring to the current political atmosphere filled with rampant conspiracy theories, writer Larry Hancock, said, “If there is any time for a good dose of paranoia that doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s now.” 

Co-author and illustrator Michael Cherkas added, “I’ve always been fascinated by the phenomenon of UFO sightings, aliens abductions and conspiracies. It’s interesting that this sort of “magical thinking” is no longer confined to the fringe element. It’s now part of the mainstream.” 

(16) STOLEN AND FOUND. Suggest brings us “The Wild Story Of Nicolas Cage’s Issue Of The First Superman Comic”.

Nicolas Cage’s love of comic books is fairly well known. The star of Ghost Rider and Kick-Ass once owned the legendary Action Comics No. 1, featuring the first appearance of Superman. What happened to this specific issue is quite wild, and the story even features a connection to the hit A&E series Storage Wars. Here’s what happened….

I can’t resist an item that mentions Storage Wars — my friend Elst Weinstein appeared as an expert in the show’s first season.

(17) SCARY LEGO SPECIAL. There can be more terrifying things than stepping on them barefoot — “LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales debuts Disney+ trailer” at SYFY Wire.

Marvel isn’t the only one capable of exploring alternate realities within established canon. The official trailer for the LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales special (coming to Disney+ early next month) teases a trio of stories that put a fresh — and borderline What If…? — twist on beloved characters and storylines.

Set on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, Terrifying Tales follows Poe Dameron (Jake Green), BB-8, and plucky mechanic Dean (Raphael Alejandro) as they’re treated to a hair-raising tour of Vader’s old castle. One of the most foreboding locations in the Star Wars mythos, the castle is being turned into a galactic tourist attraction by Graballa the Hutt (Dana Snyder)….

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Shang-chi Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George, in a spoiler-packed episode, has the producer take out the “Marvel Movies checklist” to find that Shang-Chi does have “a big messy CGI Battle,” ‘color-coded energy blasts,” and a hero who takes off his shirt to reveal sic-pack abs.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, Alan Baumler, Jeffrey Smith, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

DisCon III Names Two Vice Chairs

DisCon III has announced Marguerite Smith and Lauren Raye Snow will join the 2021 Worldcon team as Vice Chairs.  

Lauren Raye Snow is a designer, illustrator, and arts activist from South Texas. During the course of her career, she has served as Creative Director for multiple nonprofits and mission-driven campaigns. Snow’s professional website is Raye Draws. She was a Mexicanx Intiative selectee and attended WorldCon 76 in San Jose (August 2018). She wrote the statement presented by the group (quoted below). She also attended Dublin 2019. She is currently Art Director for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She will be the first Latinx to serve as a Worldcon Vice Chair.

Marguerite Smith returns to DisCon III in a different capacity after having departed in June as WSFS Deputy Division Head when Nicholas Whyte and the entire Hugo Administration Team resigned

Smith, who volunteered at her first Worldcon, Interaction (Glasgow, 2005) is now part of the Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid, hoping to bring the city its third Worldcon. She was on the Valley Forge in 2017 NASfiC bid committee, worked on the Worldcon’s YA Award Study Committee, and received a CanSMOF scholarship to attend SMOFcon 36 (2018). She joined the Dublin 2019 Worldcon team in 2016 as a volunteer, was soon advanced to Deputy Division head and then onto Division Head for Promotions. She served as WSFS Deputy Division Head for ConZealand in 2020. At this year’s Eastercon, Smith was a participant on the “Managing the Crisis” panel about how to manage con-related crises in an age of instantaneous, fast-moving social media.

“We are fortunate to have Marguerite and Lauren as Vice Chairs. Marguerite will be responsible for the mechanical aspects of the convention, such as logistics and back of house operations, and Lauren will focus on the aesthetics and everything in the front of house,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, Chair of DisCon III. “They each bring a unique set of talents and skills that will help make DisCon III a success.”

DisCon III will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on December 15-19, 2021.

[Includes information from a press release.]