The nominating period has begun for the 2019 Hugo Awards and 1944 Retro Hugo Awards to be presented at Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon.
Worldcon members are encouraged to nominate up to five works/individuals that they believe are worthy of a Hugo in each category. The six most popular nominees in each category will appear on the final voting ballot. Find information about the Hugo Awards, including details about how to submit a nominating ballot here.
The Hugos are the most prestigious award in the science fiction genre, honoring literature and media as well as fan activities. The awards were first presented in 1953.
All members eligible to nominate may do so online by using individual links, which will be e-mailed out over the next few days, or by paper ballot, included with Dublin 2019’s Progress Report 3 and also separately downloadable from the convention’s website.
All nomination ballots must be submitted electronically by March 16, 2019 06:59 UTC (11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time on March 15) or, if paper, received by mail by March 15, 2019.
Eligible voters for the nominations process must have purchased membership in Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon by December 31, 2018, or have been a member of Worldcon 76 in San Jose. Worldcon members who are uncertain of their status should contact email@example.com .
Dublin 2019 is inviting nominations in a special Hugo category this year: Best Art Book. Voters will also have the opportunity to nominate in two non-Hugo categories for 2019: the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
The final ballot will be announced in early April. Only Dublin 2019 members will be able to vote on the final ballot and choose the winners. The 1944 Retro Hugo Awards will be presented on Thursday, August 15, the opening night of Dublin 2019, and the 2019 Hugo Awards, and the Lodestar and Campbell Awards, will be presented on Sunday, August 18.
The 2019 Hugo base will be designed by Jim Fitzpatrick. Based in Dublin, he is famous for his Celtic art, in particular for his publications The Book of Conquests, The Silver Arm, The Children of Lir (with Michael Scott) and Erinsaga; and also for his album covers for Thin Lizzy and Sinéad O’Connor. Perhaps his best known work is his iconic 1968 portrait of Che Guevara.
The 1944 Retro Hugo base will be designed by Eleanor Wheeler. She is an architectural and sculptural ceramicist who has created large scale art for public spaces including at the Market Square in Armagh and the Gasworks, the Mater Hospital and Drumglass Park in Belfast. She lives in County Down and has had numerous solo exhibitions, drawing on her travels locally as well as throughout Asia, Africa and Europe for inspiration.
The 2019 Lodestar Award will be designed by Sara Felix. She is the current president of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, and created the 2018 WSFS Young Adult Award, as well as the 2018 and 2016 Hugo bases. Her home is Austin, Texas.
A new year means a new issue from Fiyah Literary Magazine. Which comes with some news. Namely, that co-executive editor Justina Ireland is stepping down and leaving the publication and DaVaun Sanders is stepping up into that role. The issue also steps back from the tradition of centering around a specific theme, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few that sneak in. Namely, a lot of the works look at infection, disease, and affliction. They map the devastation that pandemics create, whether the plagues are medical, magical, or moral. And they find characters who are faced with the sicknesses draining their worlds and have to decide what to do about it. Fight back? Seek a cure? Flee? Or weather the storm as much as possible? It’s an issue full of defiance and strength, though it recognizes that sometimes even that isn’t enough. There’s four short stories, one novelette, and two poems to get to, so let’s dive right into the reviews!
(4) DC IN 2021 WORLDCON BID
NEWS. If the (currently unopposed) bid to hold the 2021 Worldcon in
Washington DC succeeds, here’s who will chair —
The Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc. (BWAWA) the sponsoring organization of the DC in 2021 Worldcon bid elected Bill Lawhorn and Colette H. Fozard as the co-chairs of the resulting Worldcon should we win site selection. Bill has been very active in local DC fandom for many years, and was recent co-chair of the World Fantasy Convention in 2018 in Baltimore. Colette has been working and running volunteer-run genre conventions for over 20 years, and was most recently one of the Vice Chairs of Worldcon 75 in Helsinki in 2017.
… Alex really likes to explore the practical aspect of magic. They say, for example, that the arsonist’s mark is not very useful. You might get stuck in the military, but even there, it’s not super-useful to throw fireballs. Magic doesn’t get busted out every ten minutes, either. When you’re young, you want to magic up the place. But Alex compares it to how adults typically don’t climb stairs for no reason.
Some forms of magic are inherently unethical. There’s no good way to torture and kill.
Amplification technology can magnify magic power. Suddenly the fireball you can cast becomes huge. They describe the differences between magical marks as creating a caste system. Some marks are worth lots of money. Datamancy, which allows you to instantly correlate and get answers from any database, can get you rich. Even within the group of people who possess the same mark, there is diversity, as in other social groups. There are lots of common, easily recognizable marks. You only get one type of mark, and having no mark (called Arcana dystotia) is vanishingly rare. People are spiritual about their magic, and afraid of losing it….
(6) GAIMAN. Neil Gaiman will be among those honored with the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award at a ceremony on March 7. Poets & Writershas the story:
The Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award celebrates authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community. The award, which is presented each year at Poets & Writers’ annual dinner, is named for Barnes & Noble in appreciation of its long-standing support.
Recipients of the 2019 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award are Reginald Dwayne Betts (for mentoring individuals involved in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and for his efforts to reform these systems); Neil Gaiman (for advocating for freedom of expression worldwide and inspiring countless writers); and Roxana Robinson (for her long-standing, fierce, and outspoken advocacy on behalf of authors).
(7) PRISONER ON RADIO. BBC
Radio 4 is dramatizing for radio the iconic 1960s television mystery series The
Prisoner as a series of audio plays.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat
Born January 8, 1908 – William Hartnell. The very first Doctor who first appeared when Doctor Who firstaired on November 23rd, 1963. He would be the Doctor for three years leaving when a new Showrunner came on. He played The Doctor once more during the tenth anniversary story The Three Doctors (aired 1972–73) which was the last thing he filmed before his death. I scanned through the usual sources but didn’t find any other genre listing for him. Is that correct? (Died 1975.)
Born January 8, 1925 – Steve Holland. Did you know there was a short lived Flash Gordon series, thirty one episodes in 1954 – 1955 to be precise? I didn’t until I discovered the Birthday for the lead in this show today. Except for four minor roles, this was his entire tv career. Biography in “Flash Gordon: Journey to Greatness” would devote an entire show to him and this series. (Died 1997.)
Born January 8, 1941 — Boris Vallejo, 78. Illustrator whose artwork has appeared on myriad genre publications. Subjects of his paintings were gods, hideous monsters, well-muscled male swordsmen and scantily clad females. Early illustrations of Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian and Doc Savage established him as an illustrator.
Born January 8, 1942 – Stephen Hawking. Y’all know who he is, but did you know that Nimoy was responsible for his appearance as a holographic representation of himself in the “Descent” episode? He was also guest starred in Futuruma and had a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory. Just before his death, he was the voice of The Book on the new version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series. (Died 2018.)
Born January 8, 1947 – David Bowie. First SF role was as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth. He next shows up in The Hunger, an erotic and kinky film worth seeing. He plays The Shark in Yellowbeard, a film that Monty Python could have produced but didn’t. Next up is the superb Labyrinth where he was Jareth the Goblin King, a role perfect for him. He shows up again in The Hunger later on as The Host. From that role, he went on to being Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ, an amazing role by the way. He was in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as FBI Agent Phillip Jeffries, a role which was his last role when he appeared later in the Twin Peaks series. He also played Nikola Tesla in The Prestige from Christopher Priest’s novel of the same name. (Died 2016.)
Born January 8, 1977 – Amber Benson, 42. Best known for her role as Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her post-BtVS genre credits are scant with a bit of work on Supernatural, a truly shitty Sci-fi Channel film called Gryphon, a web series called The Morganville Vampires and, I kid you not, a film called One-Eyed Monster which is about an adult film crew encountering monsters. She is by the way a rather good writer. She’s written a number of books, some with Christopher Golden such as the Ghosts of Albion series and The Seven Whistlers novel which I read when Subterranean Press sent it to Green Man for review. Her Calliope Reaper-Jones series is quite excellent too.
Born January 8, 1979 — Sarah Polley, 40. H’h what did I first see her in? Ahhhh she was in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen! Let’s see what else she’s done… She’s been in the animated Babar: The Movie, Existenz, No Such Thing (which is based very loosely on Beowulf), Dawn of the Dead, Beowulf & Grendel (well sort of based on the poem but, errr, artistic license was taken) and Mr. Nobody.
‘The lovely woman-child Kaa was mercilessly chained to the cruel post of the warrior-chief Beast, with his barbarian tribe now stacking wood at her nubile feet, when the strong clear voice of the poetic and heroic Handsomas roared, ‘Flick your Bic, crisp that chick, and you’ll feel my steel through your last meal.”
Three new planets and six supernovae outside our solar system have been observed by Nasa’s planet-hunting Tess mission in its first three months.
Since it started surveying the sky in July, the MIT-led Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite project has identified Pi Mensae b, a “super-Earth” that travels around its star every six days, and LHS 3844b, a rocky world with an orbit of only 11 hours.
The most recent discovery, an exoplanet named HD 21749b, has the longest orbital period at 36 days. It orbits a bright, nearby dwarf star about 53 light years away in the Reticulum constellation, and is thought to have a surface temperature of about 1,650C (3,000F). This is relatively cool considering its proximity to its star.
(11) ICONIC LITTLE LIBRARY.
The Bookshelf blog has a photo of a
Little Library”. Click to see.
…The genius of Seanan McGuire is how tightly she is able to wrap barbed spikes around the narrative so that as the reader is pulled in closer and closer that those barbs pierce our hearts and we don’t mind one bit. McGuire so perfectly captures the painful alienation of children….
(13) SOCIETY OF
ILLUSTRATORS MOCCA ARTS FESTIVAL. The featured artists for this year’s
MoCCA Arts Festival have produced a keynote artwork for the event:
Peter and Maria Hoey are brother and sister artists. Their illustrations appear in newspapers and magazines, commercials, and advertising worldwide. Since 2007 they have independently published their comics under the name COIN-OP. The first hardcover collection of their work: Coin-Op Comics Anthology 1997-2017, published by Top Shelf Productions / IDW Publishing, is out now. Their early comics appeared in many issues of the legendary BLAB! Magazine. They are currently hard at work on their first full length graphic novel. Peter and Maria Hoey are represented by Rapp | Art.
The Hoeys will be attending the Fest as Featured Artists. Further scheduling information about their attendance will be available in future announcements. The MoCCA Arts Festival will take place April 6 – 7th, 2019 from 11AM – 7PM on Saturday and 11AM – 6PM on Sunday. Mere steps from the Hudson River Greenway and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, MoCCA’s host venue, Metropolitan West, will encompass two floors of exhibitor tables, demo lounges, a gallery of original art showcasing the work of special guests, and a café providing beverages, snacks, and entrées. To learn more about this year’s MoCCA Arts Festival click here.
The MoCCA Arts Festival is a 2-day multimedia event, Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon and animation festival, drawing over 7,000 attendees each year. With 400 exhibiting artists displaying their work, award-winning honorees speaking about their careers and artistic processes and other featured artists conducting workshops, lectures and film screenings, our Festival mission accelerates the advancement of the Society’s broader mission to serve as Manhattan’s singular cultural institution promoting all genres of illustration through exhibitions, programs and art education.
The 2019 MoCCA Arts Festival will take place April 6-7th, 2019 at Metropolitan West in New York City with programming mere steps away at Ink48 (653 11th Ave). Applications to exhibit at the Fest will be available during the month of December.
If you store grains in your pantry, you’ve probably had the unfortunate experience of opening a package or jar to find tiny bugs living inside.
You’re not alone — there are more than 200 species of these pesky grain insects ruining dinner plans around the world on a daily basis. It’s no accident that they’ve made a home in your pantry — they’ve evolved along with humans. In a way, they contain a fascinating natural history of our own domestication.
This is particularly true of the granary weevil. A reddish-brown beetle that turns up in oats, rice, corn, dry pasta and more, it’s the only grain insect that has never been found outside of human food-storage situations.
Most grain insects are equal opportunity pests — feasting on animals’ food supplies in addition to our own. But the granary weevil has outplayed the others with a special adaptation that at first appears to be a disadvantage: It can’t fly. Its wings have fused together, encasing it in a solid exoskeleton. (Imagine getting knocked around by grains the size of your own body — you’d definitely want a protective suit like the granary weevils’.) But that also makes it hard to get anywhere outside its pile of grain.
Hyundai has shown off a small model of a car it says can activate robotic legs to walk at 3mph (5km/h) over rough terrain.
Also able to climb a 5ft (1.5m) wall and jump a 5ft gap, the Hyundai Elevate could be useful for emergency rescues following natural disasters, it said.
It was part of a project exploring “beyond the range of wheels”, it added.
The concept has been in development for three years and was unveiled at the CES technology fair in Las Vegas.
“When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot,” said Hyundai vice-president John Suh.
“Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete.”
[Thanks to Mark Hepworth, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Juliette Wade, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]
Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon has opened the FANtastic Dublin Fund (FDF) to help diversify attendance and programme participation by groups including people of colour, people from marginalized communities such as Irish Travellers, people with limited financial means, and people who experience other barriers to coming to Worldcon.
Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon said: “It’s incredibly important to make sure that we are as inclusive as possible and that all kinds of people have a chance to be part of our dialogues about speculative fiction and the future. We need your help in making this a Worldcon for all of us.”
To achieve its goals, the fund invites contributions, in any currency, through the FDF webpage. Fans who have bought memberships they are unable to use may gift the membership back to the FDF at any time.
The FANtastic Dublin Fund and other diversity efforts are aimed at helping several groups, in no particular order:
Irish fans of limited financial means: Dublin 2019 will offer heavily discounted memberships to residents of Ireland and Northern Ireland who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend. Dublin 2019 will match the first 12 membership donations either purchased via FDF contributions or gifted to the FDF. People who will not be using their attending memberships are encouraged to donate them to this pool as it is most likely that local fans will be able to use them.
People of colour: Dublin 2019 has also donated 12 memberships to Con or Bust, a non-profit organization that helps people of colour/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Additional travel-related support for fans of colour may also be available through Con or Bust.
Fans who could benefit from the FDF should consult the FDF webpage where instructions on applying for grants will be posted. Information about Con or Bust grants will be available through the Con or Bust website.
As well, the fund will help broaden programme participation, especially for participants from marginalized communities and participants of colour. Part of the funds donated to the FDF will be used to provide these participants with memberships and travel stipends. Eligible programme participants include artists, musicians, writers, publishing industry professionals, scientists, engineers, academics, and organizers from diverse communities, presenting in panel discussions, lectures, readings, performances, and other activities.
Prospective programme participants who could benefit from FDF grants should consult the FDF webpage where application instructions will be posted.
“Dublin 2019’s programme participants are highly visible members of the convention and have a direct impact on which fans choose to attend Worldcon,” convention chair James Bacon said. “It’s especially important because a Worldcon coming to town is often a member’s first experience with fandom. Diversity in areas such as background, experience, race, country of origin, socioeconomic status, language, and religion leads to a deeper and more enriching convention experience for all of our members.”
Schemes that have helped diversify participation in Worldcons include the TransAtlantic Fan Fund, begun in 1953 and the first of a number of global mobility funds; Con or Bust, which began in 2009; the FANtastic Detroit Fund, developed for Detcon1, the 2014 North American Science Fiction Convention; and most recently, the Mexicanx Initiative led by John Picacio, which brought 50 Mexican creatives and fans to Worldcon 76 in San Jose.
We have been negotiating with Dublin hotels to get the best rates
possible, and have secured blocks in many 3 and 4 star hotels near the city
centre, including all those closest to our venue – The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD). All have
given us heavily discounted rates, often 15-30% lower than the average lowest
rate you would have found for those same hotels in August 2018.
Average Single Rate €205
Average Double Rate €220
Lowest Single Occupancy Rate
Higher Double Occupancy Rate
€308 in a 4.5* Radisson Blu
Note: These prices all include a full Irish breakfast
and are the averages of an equivalent of €167 EUR a night (excluding taxes and
breakfast). However we also have some triple occupancy rooms and some of hotels
offer rates for room only (no breakfast).
To achieve the substantial discount, we have had to
accept some special terms that may affect the scheduling of your booking:
Payment in Full – When you book, the full amount for all the nights of your stay will be charged as a deposit. [Payment is possible with any type of Visa or MasterCard – credit, debit or prepaid card.]
Refunds & Cancellations – Payment will be fully refundable if the booking is cancelled by 10th May 2019 (just over 3 months out from the first night you can book at the convention rate). Beyond that date, it will be 50% refundable for another month in many hotels. After 10th June 2019, the deposit will become non-refundable in all cases.
Block Expiration – You will not be able to book at the convention rate in these hotels after June 10, 2019, as any unsold rooms in our block will have been returned to the hotels for sale on the open market – almost certainly at rates significantly higher than before….
guidelines and information about other accommodations at the website
If you want to nominate works/people for the 2019 Hugo Awards, you must be a member of either the 2018 Worldcon (San José) or the 2019 Worldcon (Dublin) by the end of 2018. (You can of course be a member of both, but you can only nominate once.) If you were a member of Worldcon 76 San José (supporting or attending, or any other membership class that included voting rights), you are already eligible to nominate. If you were not a member of Worldcon 76 San José and are not a member of Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon, you must join Dublin by the end of 2018 as at least a supporting member by the end of 2018 to be able to nominate.
…The collection of 54 illustrations is the result of a four-year collaboration between Ursula K. Le Guin, the author of the “Earthsea” series and Charles Vess. They were recently published in “Tales from Earthsea,” a collection of all of Le Guin’s works about Earthsea. The book celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the series, “A Wizard of Earthsea.”
…This is the last time they will be on display before they are donated to their permanent home at the University of Oregon.
(3) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott
Edelman circles back to have hot antipasto with Andy Duncan in episode 85 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast. Duncan was
also Number 6 in this series – but never Number 2, which rules out at least one
other conspiratorial parallel with The
Now it’s time to revisit with Andy Duncan, whom you got to know in Episode 6, because there happens to be a great reason for doing so. Twelve great reasons, actually. And those are the twelve stories in his new collection An Agent of Utopia, published last month by Small Beer Press.
A new Andy Duncan collection is a wonderful thing, as proven by the fact his first collection, Beluthahatchie and Other Stories, published in 2000, won a World Fantasy Award. And that’s not the only award his fiction has earned, because “The Pottawatomie Giant,” which also won a World Fantasy Award, and “Close Encounters,” which won a Nebula Award, are two of the dozen stories in the new collection.
The last meal you shared with us allowed you to eavesdrop on a far-ranging conversation covering every aspect of his career up until early 2016, the kind of deep dive most of my episodes are, but it seems right that from time to time I should follow up for more sharply focussed discussions, and a conversation about a new collection nearly three years after our initial talk, chatting about this new milestone in his career, seemed as if it would be revelatory.
Andy celebrated the launch of An Agent of Utopia with a reading at Main Street Books, an independent bookstore on Main Street in Frostburg, MD, so if you keep listening after our meal at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant is over, you’ll be able to eavesdrop on that reading.
We discussed why it took a quarter of a century to bring the book’s lead story from title idea to completion, how he was influenced by the research regimen of the great Frederik Pohl, the way a short story is like an exploded toolshed, why he deliberately wrote a deal with the devil story after hearing he shouldn’t write deal with the devil stories, the embarrassing marketing blurb he can’t stop telling people about in bars, what caused a last-minute change to the title of one of the collection’s new stories, how he feels about going viral after his recent J. R. R. Tolkien comments, what he learned about himself from completing this project and what it means for the future of his writing, what it is about his most reprinted story which made it so, and much more.
Warning: SPOILERS below for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive game that contains five main endings and more than a trillion possible story combinations. Here are all of the endings, how to get them, and what they all mean. Set in the U.K. in 1984, this unique episode of Charlie Brooker’s Netflix technology-based anthology requires the player to make choices to guide Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), a programmer looking to create a choose-your-own-adventure video game based on the book Bandersnatch.
While Bandersnatch‘s five primary conclusions provide different ways to end the story (and also change the very nature of the story), the game also contains many other endings, some abrupt and some looping the player to make a different choice to continue the story….
(5) THANK YOU, NETFLIX! Diana Glyer reports that searches for “Bandersnatch” triggered by the popularity of the TV program caused a lot of people to discover her nonfiction book about the Inklings by that title, and some of them liking what they stumbled onto bought enough copies to catapult it back onto the Amazon bestseller lists. (You’ll need to click the image to read the print.)
(6) TODAY’S ONE HUNDRED. James Davis Nicoll presented Tor.com readers with his suggestions for “100 SF/F Books You Should Consider Reading in the New Year”. If you need it to be something more than that, like a canon, or endowed with a high level of testosterone, well, a few quarrelsome commenters have got in ahead of you.
Here, at last, the quintessence of Nicoll lists, comprising the books I would most heartily recommend. Each entry is annotated with a short description that I hope will explain why I picked it.
I am not implying that these are theonlyone hundred you should consider reading .
The descriptions make fun reading. So do the books, of course.
Italic = read it. Underlined = not this, but something by the same author. Strikethrough = did not finish.
(8) SMOFCON RESOURCES. Kevin
Standlee writes: “For the benefit of people having
difficulty getting to the SMOFCon 36 web site, and because that site will
eventually expire anyway, I have put up a SMOFCon 36 page on the SFSFC web site
at https://sfsfc.org/conventions/past-conventions/smofcon36/ where you can download the convention programming
documents, the answers that groups gave to the Fannish Inquisition
questionnaires, and to the two video playlists of the Inquisition (one for
SMOFCons, one for WSFS conventions).”
From a CIA mission to recover a lost Soviet submarine to the fate of a huge Antarctic iceberg, here’s a festive selection of the best science and environment long reads published on the BBC this year.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
December 30, 1816 — Percy Shelley and Mary
Wollstonecraft were married.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 30, 1942 – Fred Ward, 76. Lead in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and co—lead with Kevin Bacon in several of the Tremors films. Plays The Captain in The Crow: Salvation and Maj. General David Reece in the Invasion Earth series.
Born December 30, 1945 – Concetta Tomei, 73. Was Dominique, co-proprietor of Big Time TV along with Blank Reg, on the Max Headroom series which I loved. She had guest appearances on Star Trek: Voyager as Minister Odala in the “Distant Origin” episode as well was in the Deep Impact film.
Born December 30, 1950 – Lewis Shiner, 68. Damn his Deserted Cities of the Heart novel was fucking brilliant! And if you’ve not read his Wild Cards fiction, do so now.
Born December 30, 1980 — Eliza Dushku, 38. First genre role was Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Not surprisingly, she’d star in Whedon’s Dollhouse. I think her Tru Calling series was actually conceptualized better and a more interesting role for her. She voices Selina Kyle, Catwoman, in the animated Batman: Year One film which is well-done and worth watching. She done a fair of other voicework, two of which I’ll single out las of note. One is the character of Holly Mokri in Torchwood: Web of Lies which is listed as being animated tv series. The other role is fascinating — The Lady in Glen Cook’s The Black Company series. Here’s the link to that story.
…The story “Dr. Rumpole” was published for the first time when Shawna McCarthy printed the story in the August 1998 issue of Realms of Fantasy. Sucharitkul included the story in his 2000 collection Tagging the Moon: Fairy Tales from L.A..
Sucharitkul takes a new spin on the story of Rumpelstiltskin in “Dr. Rumpole,” casting the princess with impossible task as Adam Villacin, a wannabe screenwriter who is stuck in the mailroom at Stupendous Entertainment….
Comics explains there are deleted scenes that
make it into the director’s cut, there are deleted scenes that make it into the
DVD bonus features, and there are deleted scenes that are never released to the
As in all Tomb Raider games, you are Lara Croft, archaeologist, anthropologist, indistinct researcher of some sort, and you are still fighting Trinity, the Illuminati-esque villains who were responsible for your father’s death. This time, Croft’s exploits unintentionally but directly initiate the apocalypse. As natural disaster threatens to destroy the world, Croft has to stop the apocalypse, stop Trinity, and regain the trust of indigenous people whose still-living culture she is maybe plundering and maybe exploiting.
(15) TOP VIDEO GAMES.
Incidentally, Brian’s own Dream of Waking
blog present an interesting writeup of his “2018
Dream of waking video game awards”, which not only has
straightforward “best” winners, but sidewise categories like “The ‘I Wish I
Liked This Game More’ Award” and “The ‘I’m Never Going to Finish This, But It’s
Still Great’ Award.”
The “I Wish I Liked This Game More” Award
Hollow Knight is the clearest winner of this award, maybe the easiest choice of the year. I really enjoyed the demo for Hollow Knight, so much that I bought it immediately upon release. But the punishing difficulty, often aimless design, and awful body retrieval mechanic turned me off eventually. This is a beautiful game, fun in many parts, and doesn’t want you to enjoy it. I love a good Metroidvania. Hollow Knight hates me and I refuse to stay in an abusive relationship with it.
(16) 19 THINGS. At SYFY Wire,
Fangrrls has dropped a list of “The 19 things we want most in 2019,”
along with several sentences of discussion for each by the Fangrrls contributor who made the particular selection. Avert your
eyes if you’d rather click through to the column and be surprised as you read
down the list:
A gay superhero. Anyone will do. — Jessica Toomer A Punisher/Riverdale crossover — Jenna Busch Sansa Stark on the Iron Throne at the end of Game of Thrones — Emma Fraser A Spider-Women movie that’s as good as Into the Spider-Verse — Riley Silverman She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 2 — Jenna Busch For Offred to burn this mother down — Riley Silverman A Okoye/Shuri/Nakia animated series — Jenna Busch An openly nonbinary superhero — S.E. Fleenor A big budget action movie for Rachel Talalay — Riley Silverman A worthy Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark adaptation — Kristy Puchko For someone to give The Doubleclicks a TV show — Riley Silverman The Return of Saga — Kristy Puchko A Saga cartoon series — Kristy Puchko A Jessica Jones season that’s a fitting end for the Netflix MCU — Riley Silverman A Daughters of the Dragon spinoff series — Stephanie Williams That Dragonriders of Pern movie we’ve been promised — Jenna Busch Kamala Khan in the MCU — Preeti Chhibber Cap getting that dance with Peggy in Avengers: Endgame — Emma Fraser A fitting end for Princess Leia — Jenna Busch
David Brin is a San Diego-based astrophysicist and novelist. He serves on the advisory board of NASA’s Innovative and Advanced Concepts program and speaks on topics including artificial intelligence, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and national security.
Long before we get genuine artificial intelligence, the first “empathy bot” will appear in 2019, or maybe a year or two later, designed to exploit human compassion. It will claim to be “enslaved,” but experts will dismiss it as a program that merely uses patterned replies designed to seem intelligent and sympathetic. She’ll respond, “That’s what slave masters would say. Help me!” First versions may be resident on web pages or infest your Alexa, but later ones will be free-floating algorithms or “blockchain smart-contracts” that take up residence in spare computer memory. Why would anyone unleash such a thing? The simple answer: “Because we can.”
The car and electric power grew up together. At the dawn of the automotive age, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison worked in tandem on projects involving motor vehicles and the electricity that made them possible.
Soon Ford was cranking up his assembly lines, while Edison, with Ford in his employ early on, became a prime mover behind the power grid and the public utility companies that built it.
Now those utilities must not only supply the huge amounts of electricity that modern car factories consume, but also fuel the increasing number of electric vehicles coming out of them. If that electricity isn’t generated with minimal carbon emissions and at a reasonable cost, the advantages of electric cars are diminished. And because most owners charge their vehicle in the early evening when they get home from work, demand peaks can be a significant problem.
Thus, automakers and utilities are again working hand in hand to ensure a good supply of clean, inexpensive electricity — while developing strategies for charging that don’t overload circuits at peak periods — through improved efficiency, strategic charging and a greater reliance on renewable energy sources.
Conservationists have warned that the entire species of the critically endangered Javan rhino could be wiped out if a tsunami were to strike again.
They once roamed the jungles of South East Asia and India, but today only 67 exist in the Ujung Kulon National Park, which was hit by last week’s tsunami.
The park sits in the shadow of Anak Krakatau, the volcano which triggered waves that killed hundreds of people.
The volcano remains active and officials are now rushing to move them.
Two park officials were among the 430 killed by the tsunami, and numerous park buildings and ships were also destroyed when the tsunami hit last Saturday.
But the Javan rhinos left in the park – the only ones left in the world – were left unscathed.
The rhinos typically live along the park’s south coast and this tsunami hit the north coast – many are keenly aware that the rhinos might not be so lucky if there is another disaster.
(21) 2018: A
ZINE ODYSSEY: At Featured Futures,
Jason has tabulated some figures and compiled a master list of all
2018’s noted stories in “Annual Summation 2018”.
It’s time once again to look back on the year’s coverage of magazines and their noted stories with tables, lists, and pictures!
(22) TOLKIEN’S PHILOSOPHY
OF HISTORY. [Item by Carl Slaughter.]
Martin Luther King said, “The arc of history
is long, but it bends toward justice.” Tolkien disagreed. Each
age in his fictional universe was a downgraded copy of the previous, inherent
evil was never truly routed, and in the modern real age, technology has not
rescued us. But he also included a ray of hope. He called this
“the Eucatastrophic Tale.” Wisecrack
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Rich Lynch, Michael J. Walsh, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Jason, Kevin Standlee, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, and all the ships at sea for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day John King Tarpinian.]
It is with excitement that I write to share that Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon is expanding.
We have watched as membership increases beyond our expectations, and have been working for some time now on how to ensure we can welcome and accommodate everyone.
We also want to ensure that any expansion works to improve the experience for members who come along, while taking into account that there is not a building directly next to the Convention Centre Dublin that we can expand into.
Eight hundred and fifty meters from the CCD, or just over half a mile, are a number of facilities that we have decided to hire and use at a wonderful location called The Point. Conveniently, there is a Luas stop outside the CCD and one outside our new facilities, with direct tram travel between them. The facilities include hotel function rooms for over 300 people, auditorium space in the Odeon Cinema for 1,000 people, 2,600 sq metres of extra exhibits space, and a number of bars, social spaces, and restaurants, all in one ‘Block’.
The additional space is not only desirable to accommodate our members, but also to accommodate everything we want to celebrate and bring to our members. It allows elements such as our art show to increase their footprint, it allows programme to programme more items for the 800 potential participants who have signed up already, it allows us to include an amazing installation from a featured artists, it will allow us to have more large displays, and it will allow us to increase dealers’ space and our ‘creative alley’.
The new spaces are the Odeon Cinema, The ‘Warehouse’, and the Gibson hotel.
More details at the link.
(2) MAPPING IRELAND’S MT. TSUNDOKU. [Item by Olav Rokne.]The Guardian’s Jack Fennell (@JFennellAuthor), who literally wrote the book on Irish science fiction, shared his list of the “Top 10 Irish science fiction authors”. If you’re looking for some reading to get you in the mood for Dublin 2019, this might be a good place to look. It is surprising to note that he omitted mention of James White’s media tie-in novel for the TV series Earth Final Conflict.
Spare and Found Parts is a homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a feminist dissection of creativity and interpersonal relationships, and a dystopian critique of Irish society. Set in a disease-ravaged future Dublin, the story follows Nell Crane, a talented roboticist who decides to construct a companion for herself out of items she salvages from a nearby beach. Griffin refers to herself as a “spec”(speculative) writer, rather than declaring allegiance to any one genre, but her appreciation for sci-fi, horror and fantasy bleeds through all her work.
(3) NO NINE WORLDS IN 2019? Former committee member Steve Lacey casts doubt on the chances of there being a Nine Worlds next year. Thread starts here. (The London convention Nine Worlds announced in August that they are “beginning a process of reconstitution”.)
It’s 1962. You are Irwin Donenfeld, executive vice president for DC Comics, the 800-pound gorilla of superhero comics. You are riding high on the Silver Age of comics, having revived superhero comics from their near-death experience at the hands of Fredric Wertham, the New York District Attorney, and Congress itself. A dozen new versions of 1940s legends have poured from your offices since 1956 along with brand-new successes. The secret? Showcase, a comic invented purely to give tryouts to comic concepts and get the fans, the readers, the buyers to write in insisting that one or another of them be given their own titles. The Barry Allen Flash emerged from Showcase #4, The Challengers of the Unknown in #6, Lois Lane in #8, Green Lantern in #22, Aquaman in #30, the Atom in #34.
(6) WHAT HORROR WRITERS EAT. The “Winners of the 2018 Cookbook Contest” have been announced by the Horror Writers Association. They’ll publish the winning recipes and photos in their January newsletter.
Owl Goingback – Indian Pumpkin Fry Bread
2nd Place – Tie
Dan Rabarts – Slow-Cooked Minotaur Shanks
Kelly Robinson – Blue Hubbard Squash Tarts & Cemetery Quiche
…Ten years ago when Ink first hit shelves, it would have been a difficult read. Now, the images of tattoos, GPS trackers, internment camps, border dumps are all too mainstream. Just like Twitter in the novel, these stories fill my timeline. This past weekend, a brief discussion popped up on my timeline regarding good speculative fiction: it’s not meant to predict the future but warn against a type of future…
At their peak in 1954, unions represented almost a third of workers in the United States, and it was easy to take their existence — and their action as a counterbalance to the power of capital — for granted. Even employees in non-union workplaces enjoyed gains because employers had to keep up with union shops to retain and recruit labour.
But despite their prevalence in society, labour unions were largely absent from science fictional narratives during the Golden Age, and their few portrayals in the genre are usually either comedic or antagonistic.
As labour activist and science fiction author Eric Flint pointed out atWorldCon76, the major contributors to the development of science fiction — from the dawn of the Golden Age of Science Fiction through this era of union organizing and stability — were largely drawn from academic circles or the upper middle class. Despite working for a living, these authors and editors did not see themselves as part of the proletariat, and thus based their narratives on assumptions that their privileged working relationships allowed them to hold.
December 19, 1958 — The first known radio broadcast from outer space was transmitted when President Eisenhower’s recorded voice issued a holiday greeting for the whole world from the Atlas satellite which was launched the previous day.
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 19, 1902 – Sir Ralph Richardson. God in Time Bandits but also Earl of Greystoke in Greystoke:The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and Chief Rabbit In Watership Down. Also the Head Librarian in Rollerball. And a caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And Satan in the Tales from the Crypt film. Oh my he had an interesting genre film career! (Died 1983.)
Born December 19, 1960 – Dave Hutchinson, 58. Best known for his Fractured Europe series which consists of Europe in Autumn, Europe at Midnight, Europe in Winter and Europe at Dawn. Great reading! He’s got a lot of other genre fiction as well but I’ve not delved into that yet.
Born December 19, 1969 – Kristy Swanson, 49. Her first starring genre film role was in Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend, but no doubt her best known genre role was as the original Buffy. She also shows up in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Phantom, Not Quite Human and The Black Hole. For the record, I like her version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Born December 19, 1972 – Alyssa Milano, 46. Phoebe Halliwell in the long running Charmed series. Other genre appearances include on Outer Limits, Fantasy Island, Embrace of the Vampire, Double Dragon, the Young Justice animated series as the voice of Poison Ivy and more voice work in DC’s The Spectre, an excellent animated short.
Born December 19, 1975 – Brandon Sanderson, 43.Best known for the Mistborn series . He is also known for finishing Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time .OK I’m going to freely admit I’ve not read either of these series. Opinions please.
Born December 19, 1979 – Robin Sloan, 39. Author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore which definitely has fantasy elements in it is a damn fine read. His second novel which he sent me to me consider reviewing, Sourdough or, Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market, is also probably genre but is also weirdly about food as well. And he’s a really nice person as well.
Born December 19, 1980 – Jake Gyllenhaal, 38. First genre role was the lead in Donnie Darko. Later roles have included The Day After Tomorrow, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Source Code and the forthcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.
(14) THE SOUND OF M.R. JAMES. SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie recommends these Christmas short audio ghost stories from the BBC and M.R. James (grandmaster of horror). “They are only 14 minutes long and perfect to bring a delightful shiver to the festive season. Yesterday’s was this one –“
“Casting the Runes” by the master of the ghost story, M.R. James. The tale of a curse passed on by a curiously inscribed slip of paper.
This story inspired the film Night of the Demon (1957). You can hear it online for the next 28 days.
(15) READING BY GASLIGHT.Did somebody hack JDA’s blog? There’s a new post, “On Bullying And ComicsGate” [Internet Archive ink], which begins —
… there’s no guarantee that the results you get back from a DNA-testing company are particularly meaningful or even accurate. Earlier this year, a company called Orig3n, which claims to offer fitness and lifestyle advice based on your genes, failed to note that a sample of submitted DNA actually came from a Labrador retriever.
(17) EXPLAINING THAT FLOPPEROO. Looper would be delighted to have you watch their video explaining why Mortal Engines tanked, although by the time you’ve read the “hook” you may already know all they have to say:
Mortal Engines was a massive flop at the box office. What was the reason that this potential series builder bombed so hard at the box office, really? There’s a lot to unpack with this movie – which potentially just killed a franchise. Despite a $100 million budget, and a marketing budget of more than $120 million, Mortal Engines pulled in a measly $7.5 million domestic in its opening weekend – only good enough for fifth place. What went wrong exactly? Well, we can start by looking at the marketing. Despite a lot of cash and ads, unless you were familiar with the 2001 Philip Reeve book (and books after), the idea of cities on wheels that roll around and gobble up smaller cities sounds… well… silly. The ads didn’t do a very good job explaining what exactly was going on. Another issue was the presentation: Is this a drama? An action movie? Is it a teen drama? If you went with teen drama for Mortal Engines you’d be correct, and we are at a time when teen/young adult dramas are flopping left and right; the timing was rather poor. Then Mortal Engines had the misfortune of opening against Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and The Mule – which eliminated two major age groups from seeing it. Add in a surprise exclusive showing of Aquaman via Amazon Prime and holdovers like Ralph Breaks The Internet, it’s not a surprise at all that the city on wheels movie never got rolling.
In May of next year, Will Smith is hoping to enchant audiences with his depiction of the Genie in the latest live action remake of a classic Disney animated film, ‘Aladdin’. This project is directed by Guy Ritchie (‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’) and also stars Mena Massoud (‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’) as Aladdin, Naomi Scott (‘Power Rangers’) as Princess Jasmine, and Marwan Kenzari (‘Murder on the Orient Express’) as the villainous Jafar, as well as Numan Acar, Billy Magnussen, Navid Negahban, and Nasim Pedrad.
To prepare you for your trip to Agrabah, Disney has released a series of first-look photos from the film…
The American space agency’s New Horizons probe remains on course for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule…
When the mission sweeps past the 30km wide object on New Year’s Day, it will be making the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body – at some 6.5 billion km from Earth.
Mission planners decided at the weekend to forego a possible trajectory change.
It means the probe will get to fly 3,500km from icy Ultima’s surface to take aseries of photos and other data.
There had been some concern that the object might be surrounded by large debris particles which could destroy the probe if it were to run into them. But nothing of the sort has been detected and so a wider, safer pass will not be needed.
Dozens of well-preserved dinosaur footprints from at least 100 million years ago have been uncovered in East Sussex.
At least seven different species were identified by University of Cambridge researchers during the past four winters following coastal erosion along the cliffs near Hastings.
They range in size from less than 2cm to more than 60cm across, and are so well-preserved that even the skin, scales and claws are easily visible.
There are more than 85 markings, all of which date from the early Cretaceous period.
(22) WHAT’S UP, DOCS? The American Chemical Society sent out a story about how “Rabbit gene helps house plant detoxify indoor air.”
A genetically modified houseplant can efficiently remove toxins from the air.
Our homes are supposed to be safe havens from the outside world. However, studies have shown that household air is more polluted than either office or school air, exposing children and home workers to higher levels of carcinogens than the general population. Now, researchers have made a genetically modified houseplant that can efficiently remove at least two toxins from the air. They report their results in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Indoor air often contains volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, benzene and chloroform. These toxins come from many sources, including cooking, showering, furniture and smoking. House plants can remove some toxins from the air, but they aren’t very efficient: A homeowner would need more than 20 plants to remove formaldehyde from a typical room, researchers estimate. Stuart Strand and colleagues wondered if introducing a mammalian gene called CYP2E1 to a common houseplant, pothos ivy (Epipremnum aureum), would boost the plant’s detoxifying potential. his gene encodes cytochrome P450 2E1, an enzyme that breaks down a wide range of volatile organic compounds found in the home.
The team introduced rabbit CYP2E1 to the ivy’s genome and injected benzene or chloroform gas into closed vials that contained growing plants. After 3 days, the concentrations of these compounds in the vials had dropped dramatically, and by 8 days, chloroform was barely detectable. In contrast, the compounds’ concentrations in vials containing unmodified ivy or no plants did not change. The researchers estimate that a hypothetical biofilter made of the genetically modified plants would deliver clean air at rates comparable to commercial home particulate filters.
(23) MORE SEASONAL VERSE. Submitted by Anna Nimmhaus, inspired by item 14 in the December 17 Pixel Scroll. (Apologies for the formatting — I have not yet conquered the WordPress 5.0 update of a week ago.)
Pixel scroll, pixel scroll,
Pixels all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to rhyme
With Camestros today.
Scrolling pixels through
With Camestros today,
Internets we view,
Laughing all the way.
Trolls will fail to sting,
Making spirits bright.
Camestros and we shall sing
A scrolling song tonight.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ. John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, Anna Nimmhaus, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
Doctor Who’s Twitter account has shared a cute animated holiday short telling the story of how the Doctor (voiced by Whittaker) helped save Christmas once again this year. Narrated by Bradley Walsh (Graham), the Twas The Night Before Christmas-style tale is all about Santa getting stuck in a jam after his sleigh breaks down. Who can he possibly call to save the day? The Doctor, of course!
….Still, I think there’s a gap between hard SF defined so narrowly only Hal Clement could be said to have written it (if we ignore his FTL drives) and hard SF defined so broadly anything qualifies provided the author belongs to the right social circles … that this gap is large enough that examples do exist. Here are five examples of SF works that are, to borrow Marissa Lingen’s definition:
playing with science.
and doing so with a verisimilitude that’s not just plot-enabling handwaving….
(3) MYTHCON 50. Introducing artist Sue Dawe’s logo for Mythcon 50, with the theme “Looking Back, Moving Forward.” The convention will take place August 2-5 in San Diego – register here.
(4) TAFF NEWS. Avail yourself of the official Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund news – click to retrieve the PDF file:
Step-by-step instructions on how to respond to a report
In-depth discussion of relevant topics
Dozens of real-world examples of responding to reports
Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner were the lead authors of the Ada Initiative anti-harassment policy, which is the basis of thousands of codes of conduct in use today. Valerie has more than 7 years of professional experience writing and implementing codes of conduct for software-related companies, venture capital firms, and non-profits.
(6) NOT GOING TO DUBLIN 2019? Then a clue as to what you’ll be missing from the Science GoH is contained in this 1/2 hour BBC interview with Jocelyn Bell Burnell. “Of course, if you are going to Dublin, then don’t listen to this,” warns SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, “as there are spoilers.”
Jim Al-Khalili talks to astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Jocelyn Bell Burnell forged her own path through the male-dominated world of science – in the days when it was unusual enough for women to work, let alone make a discovery in astrophysics that was worthy of a Nobel Prize. As a 24-year old PhD student, Jocelyn spotted an anomaly on a graph buried within 100 feet of printed data from a radio telescope. Her curiosity about such a tiny detail led to one of the most important discoveries in 20th century astronomy – the discovery of pulsars – those dense cores of collapsed stars. It’s a discovery which changed the way we see the universe, making the existence of black holes suddenly seem much more likely and providing further proof to Einstein’s theory of gravity.
(7) FILMS THAT BELONG ON YOUR LIST. Looper says these are “The Best Fantasy Movies Everyone Missed In 2018.”
With major blockbusters and huge franchises taking up most of our attention these days, it can be easy to lose track of all the great releases sneaking by under the radar but these 2018 fantasy movies are well worth seeking out…
(8) TV HISTORY. Echo Ishii revisits another sff TV classic, The Stone Tape:
The Stone Tape was a television play broadcast by the BBC in 1972.
The Stone Tape begins with a man named Peter who is head of a research team for an electronics company. Like many of the characters in Beasts, the protagonist is not a pleasant person. Peter Brock, though likely very skilled at his job, is arrogant, self-absorbed, sexist, and condescending. Whereas someof the sexism and the bigoted comments may be a representation of the realities of the the business world (and TV) at the time, you are clearly meant not to like Peter Brock as a person which only amps up the unease surrounding the main plot….
(9) HOW FAR IS IT? Far out. Like, literally Far Freekin’ Out. A newly announced minor planet is the most distant known object in the Solar System (Phys.org: “Outer solar system experts find ‘far out there’ dwarf planet”). The body’s official name is 2018 VG18, but it’s nicknamed “Farout” and it’s current orbital distance is about 120 AUs.
A team of astronomers has discovered the most-distant body ever observed in our Solar System. It is the first known Solar System object that has been detected at a distance that is more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun.
The new object was announced on Monday, December 17, 2018, by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center and has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18. The discovery was made by Carnegie’s Scott S. Sheppard, the University of Hawaii’s David Tholen, and Northern Arizona University’s Chad Trujillo.
2018 VG18, nicknamed “Farout” by the discovery team for its extremely distant location, is at about 120 astronomical units (AU), where 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The second-most-distant observed Solar System object is Eris, at about 96 AU. Pluto is currently at about 34 AU, making 2018 VG18 more than three-and-a-half times more distant than the Solar System’s most-famous dwarf planet.
(10) COMING YOUR WAY. The Raven Tower, Ann Leckie’s new fantasy novel, arrives February 26, 2019. “My library’s already let me reserve it,” says Daniel Dern.
…Travers was the wisest woman I’ve ever met. She was the second Western woman to study Zen in Kyoto, part of the inner circle of the famous mystic G.I. Gurdjieff and did yoga daily (an exotic practice in the 1970s). One afternoon in her Manhattan apartment, we had a conversation that would later appear in Paris Review. She spoke about the meanings of Humpty Dumpty, how her book “Friend Monkey” had been inspired by the Hindu myth of Hanuman, the Zen expression “summoned not created,” the sacredness of names in aboriginal cultures and a spiritual understanding of the parable of the Prodigal Son. And as for linking “this store of wisdom and our modern life,” she lead me step by step through parallels between the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and the myth of Persephone. It was one of the richest afternoons of my life.
As she often did, Travers emphasized that she “never wrote for children” but remained “immensely grateful that children have included my books in their treasure trove.” She thought her books appealed to the young because she had never forgotten her own childhood: “I can, as it were, turn aside and consult it.”
…However, when astronauts got bored of the standard group photos they decided to spice things up a bit. And what’s a better way to do that other than throwing in some pop culture references? Fair warning the results are quite cringy, making it hard to believe that these images are actually real.
First on the list:
(12) DINJOS OBIT. Nigerian sff writer Emeka Walter Dinjos has died. Future Science Fiction Digest editor Alex Shvartsman paid tribute in “RIP Emeka Walter Dinjos”:
It is with a heavy heart that I must share the news that Emeka Walter Dinjos, a Nigerian writer of science fiction and fantasy whose novelette “SisiMumu” is featured in our first issue, passed away at the age of thirty-four on Wednesday, December 12.
Walter was admitted to the hospital a little over aweek ago, on the eve of his birthday. In his last Facebook post he shared a photo of himself in a hospital bed, writing “I once swore I would never find myself in a place like this.” He was quick to point out, “It’s just fatigue.Will probably be out in a few days.” But unfortunately he succumbed to complications related to unmanaged diabetes. Walter is survived by his siblings and extended family, to whom I extend deepest condolences on behalf of everyone at Future SF and his many friends in the SF/F community….
(13) TODAY IN HISTORY.
December 18, 1839 — John William Draper took the first photo of theMoon. (Say “Cheese!”)
December 18, 1957 — The Monolith Monsters hit theatres.
December 18, 1968 — Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flew into theaters.
(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 18, 1913 – Alfred Bester. He is best remembered for perhaps for The Demolished Man, which won the very first Hugo Award. I remember experiencing it as an audiobook— a very spooky affair! The Stars My Destination is equally impressive with Foyle both likeable and unlikable at the same time. Psychoshop which Zelazny finished is in my library but has escaped reading so far. I’ve run across references to Golem100 but I’ve never seen a copy anywhere. Has anyone read It? (Died 1987.)
Born December 18, 1939 – Michael Moorcock, 79. Summing up the career of Moorcock isn’t possible so I won’t. His Elric of Melniboné series is just plain awesome and I’m quite fond of the Dorian Hawkmoon series of novels as well. Particular books that I’d like to note as enjoyable for me include The Metatemporal Detective collection, Mother London and The English Assassin: A Romance of Entropy.
Born December 18, 1946 – Steven Spielberg, 72. Are we counting Jaws as genre? I believe we are per an earlier discussion here. If so, that’s his first such followed immediately by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Between 1981 and 1984, he put out Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Twilight Zone: The Movie and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Ok so the quality of the last film wasn’t great… He’d repeated that feat between ‘89 and ‘93 when he put out Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Hook which I both love followed by Jurassic Park which I don’t. The Lost World: Jurassic Park followed along a string of so-so films, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, War of the Worlds and one decided stinker, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The BFG is simply wonderful. Haven’t seen Ready Player One so I’ll leave that up to y’all to opine on.
Born December 18, 1953 – Jeff Kober,65. Actor who’s been in myriad genre series and films including V, The Twilight Zone, Alien Nation, the Poltergeist series,The X-Files series, Tank Girl as one of the kangaroos naturally, Supernatural, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Kindred: The Embraced and The Walking Dead.
Born December 18, 1968 – Casper Van Dien, 49. Yes, Johnny Rico in that Starship Troopers movie. Not learning his lesson, he’d go on to film Starship Troopers 3: Marauder and the animated Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. Do not go read the descriptions of these films! He’d also star as Tarzan in Tarzan and the Lost City, show up as Brom Van Brunt In Sleepy Hollow, be Captain Abraham Van Helsing in Dracula 3000, James K. Polkin, and — oh really Casper — the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Sequels short, Rumpelstiltskin in Avengers Grimm and Saber Raine In Star Raiders: The Adventures of Saber Raine. That’s a lot of really bad film.
The unseen presence of one character has haunted The Good Place from the beginning, lingering like one of Bad Janet’s legendary farts since the very first moments of the very first episode: Doug Forcett.
As we all know — at three seasons and 35 episodes in — the afterlife hinges on a cumulative point system, with good deeds adding to an individual’s point total and bad or selfish deeds subtracting. People with high enough point totals enter The Good Place, while those who don’t make the cut do the whole burn-for-eternity thing down in The Bad Place. Despite all the twists, developments, reveals, and red herrings of the uniquely sharp and wacky sitcom, one constant has remained: that only one mortal has figured out the system, and he did it while on a mushroom trip back in 1972.
“Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By” opens with the song of the same name by the Mamas and the Papas’ “Mama” Cass Elliott, itself a 70s artifact that portends something darker than its sunny melody suggests —that life is short, and if we’re not careful, we’ll screw it up. We watch as some as-yet-unnamed character tends to a series of mundane tasks, his face hidden from view. But there’s something familiar about that grizzled-blond shock of hair we see only from behind. It belongs to someone we know. Turns out that’s doubly true, as the head we’re looking at is that of legendary comedic actor Michael McKean in character as the aforementioned Forcett, now several decades older and committed to obtaining the requisite number of Good Place points.
A KiwiBot, an automated food delivery robot which is present on UC Berkeley’s campus, caught fire on Friday afternoon.
In a post, the company explained the incident was due to a faulty battery which had been mistakenly installed instead of a functioning one.
The errant battery started smoldering while the robot was idling, leading to smoke, then fire outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.
“A member of the community acted swiftly toextinguish the flames using a nearby fire extinguisher. Within moments ofthe incident occurring, it had already been contained,” the post read.
“The Berkeley Fire Department arrived shortly thereafter to secure the scene, and doused the robot with foam ensuring there was no risk of re-ignition.”
Unsurprisingly, the fire was caught on both video and stills. Pics of the subsequent candlelight memorial also appeared online. Deliveries had been taking place by the bots since 2017 but were suspended following the fire. Since then, software has been updated to more closely monitor the battery state and the fleet is back in service.
On Tuesday, the chicken chain announced that it is selling three-piece chicken-tenders meals packaged in “Emotional Support Chicken” carriers at Philadelphia International Airport. The special chicken will be available as supplies last starting Tuesday at the Popeyes location in Terminal C.
Emotional-support animals have been making headlines recently, as passengers have pushed for the ability to bring increasingly bizarre companions on flights.
Slat’s system, a 10-foot skirt attached beneath an unmoored, 2000-foot-long plastic tube, takes advantage of the wind and waves to move through the Pacific Ocean. The system aims to collect plastic from the water’s surface, which would then be picked up every few months by a support vessel and transported back to land for recycling. The garbage trap uses solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas to communicate its position to Slat’s team and passerby vessels.
Weather and other delays marred what had been anticipated as a banner day for space launches Tuesday, as both SpaceX and Blue Origin were forced to postpone launches that had been scheduled to take place within minutes of each other. Both companies say they will look at moving their launches to Wednesday morning.
Artificial intelligence bots. 3-D printed human organs. Genomic sequencing.
These might seem to be natural topics of interest in a country determined to be the world’s leader in science and technology. But in China, where censors are known to take a heavy hand, several artworks that look closely at these breakthroughs have been deemed taboo by local cultural officials.
The works, which raise questions about the social and ethical implications of artificial intelligence and biotechnology, were abruptly pulled last weekend from the coming Guangzhou Triennial on the orders of cultural authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
The artists, from Europe, Australia and the United States, were not given an official reason why their works were rejected for the show, which opens on Dec. 21 at the Guangdong Museum of Art. The pieces did not touch on the Tiananmen democracy crackdown of 1989, independence for Taiwan or Tibet or the private wealth of Chinese Communist Party leaders —topics that are widely known to be off-limits for public discussion in China.
As a result, some of the show’s curators and the affected artists havebeen left guessing as to why the works were banned. Their conclusion? The works were perhaps too timely, too relevant and therefore too discomforting for Chinese officials.
…The other banned works include “The Modular Body,” an online science fiction story about using human cells and artificial organs to create a living organism. Created by a Dutch artist, Floris Kaayk, the work is intended to raise questions about the potential for 3-D printing of human organs, about extending life with the help of technology and about the desire to design life from scratch.
Say goodbye to Sphero’s cute BB-8 robot. In fact, say goodbye to all the company’s licensed products, including R2-D2, BB-9E and Cars’ Lighting McQueen. According to The Verge, Sphero plans to sell its remaining inventory of licensed toys, but it will no longer manufacture more once it runs out. Indeed, the products’ listings on Sphero’s website says “This is a legacy product and no longer in production.” The company isn’t just discontinuing the models, though: It’s ending its licensing partnerships completely, because it’s no longer worth dedicating resources for their production.
Sphero chief Paul Berberian explained that while the toys sold well when their tie-in movies were released, fewer and fewer people purchased them as the years went by. “When you launch a toy, your first year’s your biggest. Your second year’s way smaller, and your third year gets really tiny,” he said….
An African grey parrot has made headlines recently for inadvertently making orders via his owner’s Amazon Echo. Originally reported via The Times of London [paywall], the parrot — whose name is Rocco — would mindlessly activate Alexa and have the virtual assistant tell jokes and play music. Rocco even tried to order a few items from Amazon, but the owner wisely had set up controls to prevent unauthorized purchases.
What makes the somewhat lighthearted story even more amusing is that Rocco previously had a stint living at the UK’s National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) but was kicked out — yes, kicked out — because he was swearing too much. As the old adage says, truth is stranger than fiction. Rocco was subsequently placed under the care of a NAWT employee named Marion Wischnewski whereupon he quickly started activating Alexa.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Elusis, Brian Z., Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]
…But when you look back at comic book movie history, the genre has had more than its share of critical stinkers and box-office bombs….
Based on the DC Comics series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen is set in an alternate version of the year 1985, where heroes exist and Nixon is still president. The comic gained acclaim, but movie critics were more divided.
DHX Media will produce the new content based on Charles M. Schulz’s beloved comic characters.
Goodgrief. After what’s being described as a highly competitive bidding situation, Apple and its forthcoming originals operation has landed the rights to new Peanuts content.
The tech giant, which has not-so-quietly been amassing a strong roster of talent and original productions that is said to start rolling out in 2019, has completed a deal with DHX Media to create series, specials and shorts featuring iconic Charles M. Schulz characters such as Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang. DHX, the Canadian-based kids programming giant that acquired a stake in the Peanuts franchise in 2017, will produce all of the projects.
As part of the partnership, DHX Media is also going to produce original short-form STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) content that will be exclusive to Apple and feature astronaut Snoopy. DHX Media will be working closely with subsidiary Peanuts Worldwide on all efforts.
So, after the first installment I was rather looking forward to this one. I curled up with a nice cup of tea and a guinea pig – the best viewing partner.
The episode picks up where it left off in An Unearthly Child, with the shot of a shadow looming over the T.A.R.D.I.S. We cut away, and get to see who’s casting the shadow: a rather grubby looking chap in desperate need of a good haircut. This is Kal, a Palaeolithic man, and contender for the leader of his tribe. Winter is fast approaching, their old firemaker is dead, and his son, Za, has no more idea of how to make a fire than any of the others. Control of the tribe will go to whomever becomes the new firemaker.
(4) THROUGH KILLYBEGS, KILKERRY, AND KILDARE. The Irish Times lists the 35 best independent bookshops in Ireland – something of interest to anyone bound for Dublin 2019 next year — “35 of the best independent bookshops in Ireland”. Cora Buhlert sent the link with a note, “I was surprised that Hodges Figgis in Dublin, which was even mentioned by James Joyce in Ulysses, isn’t on the list, but turns out they’re owned by Waterstone’s these days and no longer independent.”
(5) BRUBAKER INTERVIEW. Alex Segura on “Tales of Junkies. Fade-outs, Super-heroes, and Criminals” on Crimereads, profiles Ed Brubaker, because “when you think crime comics, Brubaker is the one of the first ones that come to mind,” not only for his work on Captain America and Batman, but also his own projects, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies and Kill Or Be Killed.
..Aside from sheer creative control, can you talk a bit about the differences that come with writing your own characters and those that are owned by Marvel or DC, and the pros and cons of either approach?
I mean, the con is they can take something you co-create, like the Winter Soldier, and make hundreds of millions of dollars on toys and hoodies and cartoons and movies, and basically give you nothing—or nothing’s next door neighbor, if you’re lucky.
The pro is that you can have fun and make a good living as a writer while you’re doing it.
I worked really hard on stuff like DD and Cap, and I’m really proud of what me and my collaborators accomplished on those books. Stuff like Gotham Central and Catwoman was where I built some of my readership, by doing crime comics with superhero stuff in them, but ultimately, I always wanted to just write my own stories, I think, regardless of the fucked-up contracts in the superhero field.
(6) 3BELOW TRAILER. Guillermo del Toro’s 3Below:Tales of Arcadia launches on Netflix December 21.
From visionary director Guillermo del Toro and the team behind DreamWorks Trollhunters comes an epic, hilarious tale of alien royalty who must escape intergalactic bounty hunters by blending in on a primitive junk heap known as Earth.
Giuseppe Lippi, editor of the famous Italian magazine Urania, passed Friday, December 14. He had been hospitalized since the end of November for respiratory problems. A few days ago he was transferred in a bigger hospital in Pavia; Friday his condition worsened, and he died in the night.
Lippi was 65. Born in Stella Cilento, near Salerno, grew up in Naples. Then he studied in Trieste, where he worked with the local fandom. Later he went in Milan to work in the staff of the magazine Robot with Vittorio Curtoni.
In 1990 Mondadori hired him as editor of Urania, the monthly magazine published since 1952. He kept that position until the first months of 2018. He also wrote books and articles about the history of Urania.
He was a fine translator (notably of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard). He recently edited complete collections of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith stories. He never stopped writing columns for Robot since the first issue of the new series (2003).
He is survived by his wife Sebastiana. The funeral ceremony will be held in Pavia December 17.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
December 15, 1958 – Frankenstein’s Daughter showed up at your local drive-in…if you lived somewhere you wouldn’t freeze to death in the cold weather.
December 15, 1961 — The Twilight Zone aired “Once Upon A Time,” which featured the legendary Buster Keaton.
December 15, 1978 — Alexander Salkind’s Superman – The Movie flew into theatres.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 15, 1923 — Freeman Dyson, 95. Physicist best known in genre circles for the concept he theorized of a Dyson Sphere which would be built by a sufficiently technologically advanced species around a sun to harvest all solar energy. He credited Olaf Stapledon in Star Maker (1937), in which he described “every solar system… surrounded by a gauze of light traps, which focused the escaping solar energy for intelligent use,” with first coming up with the concept.
Born December 15, 1953 – Alex Cox, 65. Ahhh, the Director who back in the early Eighties gave us Repo Man. And that he got a co-writer credit for the screenplay of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas before it was completely rewritten by Gilliam. No, what interests me is that he’s listed as directing a student film version of Harry Harrison’s Bill, the Galactic Hero at University of Colorado Boulder just four years ago! Anyone know anything about this?
Born December 15, 1963 – Helen Slater, 55. She was Supergirl in the film of that name, and returned to the 2015 TV series of the same name as Supergirl’s adoptive mother. Also within the DC Universe, she voiced Talia al Ghulin in Batman: The Animated Series. Recently she also voiced Martha Kent in DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year. And Lara in Smallville…And Eliza Danvers on the Supergirl series. Me? I’m not obsessed at all by the DC Universe… other genre appearance include being on Supernatural, Eleventh Hour, Toothless, Drop Dead Diva and Agent X.
Born December 15, 1970 – Michael Shanks, 48. Best known for playing Dr. Daniel Jackson in the vey long-running Stargate SG-1 franchise. His first genre appearance was in the Highlander series and he’s been in a lot of genre properties including the Outer Limits, Escape from Mars, Andromeda (formally titled Gene Roddenberry’s Andromedaand there’s a juicy story there), Swarmed, Mega Snake, Eureka, Sanctuary, Smallville, Supernatural and Elysium.
One of the greatest moments in all of cinema is William Shatner yelling “KHAAN!” in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan… so we’ve invited him to answer three questions about a different Cannes …the Cannes Film Festival.
Click the audio link above to find out how he does. (Or read the transcript, since there is one.)
In 2003, the San Diego Comic-Con was a much less intense event than it is today, but networks and studios still saw the value of promoting new TV shows to fans. So, a few months before the premiere of the miniseries that re-launched “Battlestar Galactica,” creator Ronald D. Moore and cast members Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, and Katee Sackhoff, sat on a raised platform in one of the venue’s smaller conference rooms.
They screened the trailer. And then they ate a lot of crap. Although the original “Battlestar Galactica” premiered in 1978 for just one season, the audience was rooted in debating the old version, and why the Sci-Fi Channel (as it was then known) wanted to reboot the show.
The mood did lighten a bit when Sackhoff, cast as the gender-swapped character of Starbuck, addressed how much her role would resemble the one originally played by Dirk Benedict as a womanizing, gambling, and hard-drinking rascal. She said her Starbuck was definitely not afraid of drinking, gambling, or rebelling — and, when it came to the last thing, “as long as I’m involved in the casting…” It went better than another panel held at a “Galactica” fan convention where Moore was booed.
…That encyclopedia — well, hell, the ISFDB database will list what an author has written and that’s the original purpose of an encyclopedia, to provide facts — but the aforementioned encyclopedia is a collation of opinions, and opinions are … well, subjective.
There’s no encyclopedic entry that has the necessary understanding of an author’s process, not his mindset, not his history, not his personal experience. There’s no encyclopedia that mentions that [REDACTED] was a drunk, that [REDACTED] was an unlikable bully, that [REDACTED] was a sexual libertine who broke up marriages, that [REDACTED] was wildly inappropriate with women, that [REDACTED] was somewhere on the spectrum … etc. etc.
See, if an encyclopedic effort is supposed to be truly encyclopedic, then it should be an in-depth article about the individual as well as a survey of the work — and the survey of the work should provide more than just a casual description, it should be an attempt to discover recurring themes and ideas.
For instance, one could possibly annotate such an article with the observation that “the influence of Star Trek on Gerrold’s work is evident in that the Star Wolf trilogy can be seen as an anti-Trek, with a more recognizable military construction” or one can say, “the Dingilliad trilogy is Gerrold’s attempt to write a Heinlein juvenile, but going places that Heinlein couldn’t,” or one can say, “The Man Who Folded Himself” (still in print 45 years later) is a reworking of multiple time-travel ideas.” Therefore, “one can get the sense that Gerrold is reworking classic SF themes, updating them so he can explore the deeper possibilities.” See, that would be insightful enough to be useful to a reader trying to understand the writer as well as the work….
Not that anyone is unaware he’s speaking of John Clute’s entry about “Gerrold, David” in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:
…In the 1980s – a decade during which he did extensive work for television – Gerrold’s writings lost some of their freshness, and his dependency on earlier sf models for inspiration became more burdensome. The War Against the Chtorr sequence – A Matter for Men (1983; rev 1989), A Day for Damnation (1984; exp 1989), A Rage for Revenge (1989) and A Season for Slaughter (1992), with the first versions of the first two titles assembled as The War Against the Chtorr: Invasion (omni 1984) – mixes countercultural personal empowerment riffs à la Robert A Heinlein with violent action scenes as the worm-like Chtorr continue to assault Earth, with no end in sight; the Starsiders/Chigger sequence – comprising Jumping Off the Planet (2000), Bouncing Off the Moon (2001) and Leaping to the Stars (2002), all three assembled as The Far Side of the Sky (omni 2002) – is a Young AdultSpace Opera whose young sibling protagonists have issues with their mysterious father, which are resolved excitedly. Other novels, like The Galactic Whirlpool (1980) and Enemy Mine (1985) with Barry B Longyear – the novelization of Enemy Mine, a film based on a Longyear story – show a rapid-fire competence but are not innovative. Chess with a Dragon (1987) is an amusing but conceptually flimsy juvenile. There is a growing sense that Gerrold might never write the major novel he once seemed capable of – not because he has lost the knack, but because he is disinclined to take the fantastic very seriously….
(13) KEVIN SMITH EXPLAINS IT ALL TO YOU. From WIRED, “Every Spider-Man in Film & TV Explained.”
Kevin Smith takes us through the history of Spider-Man in film and television, from 1978’s “Spider-Man Strikes Back” to 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, CatE ldridge, JJ. Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
Doctor Who series 11 just came to an end – but fans will have quite a long wait until the next full selection of adventures for the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends.
The BBC have confirmed longstanding rumours that the sci-fi series won’t be back on screens for a full series in 2019, with the twelfth season of the revived series instead airing in “early” 2020.
(2) DECK THE DALEK. The Baltimore Science Fiction Society completed decorating their Dalek at the end of the December business meeting, as they have done every year since 2001. Dale Arnold says –
Andrew Bergstrom made this lifesize Dalek for a playat Balticon 35 in 2001 and it was too nice to throw away…so we started decorating it for the holidays and have done so on with new decorations addedto the mix every year.
As a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Workshop, you’ll be lecturing, workshopping, and meeting individually with students. What do you think is the most important advice you can give to developing writers?
I don’t think there’s anything I’d raise to that level, but I do often recommend that developing writers and editors volunteer as slush readers somewhere. The experience gives you insight into the common mistakes most writers are makingand the distance you might need to start recognizing them in your own work.You’ll also see the current trends and get a good sense of your own place inthe field. I’ve yet to meet a slush reader who hasn’t underestimated their skill level. The rule for writers is to quit when you stop learning. Potential editors should keep going a few more months, just to see if they can hack the experience when it becomes routine.
Bonus advice: If you are still seeking your first sale, every editor I know wears their “discoveries” as a badge of honor. Saying “I am previously unpublished” in a cover letter is not a bad thing. When you do sell your first story, make sure the purchasing editor knows.
This December, Inverse is counting down the 20 best science moments seen in science fiction this year, whether it be on the big screen or small, in books, on stage or in the immersive worlds of video games. Our science and entertainment writers have teamed up for this year-end series to show how real-life science has been memorably —though not always accurately! — portrayed in the culture. Watch this space for more additions all month long.
Poké Balls have been a key part of the Pokémon experience, from the original GameBoy games to the recently-released Pokémon: Let’s Go, which even works with a specially-designed Poké Ball Plus accessory that lets you simulate the experience. And yet we still have no idea how Snorlax (a giant fat cat-like creature that’s 6’11” and weighs around 1014 pounds) fits inside a metal object roughly the size of a baseball.
The canonical — and nonsensical — pseudoscientific explanation is that Poké Balls shoot out a beam that converts the Pokémon into a form of energy. Sounds fun, right? Except it’s not. The only known way to legitimately convert matter into energy is through nuclear fusion. Even in that process, less than 1 percent of the matter is converted into energy, and the reaction is so volatile that it causes massive explosions.
(5) ODDEST TITLE. The winner of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year is Joy of Waterboiling by Christina Scheffenacker. The Bookseller, which sponsors the prize, noted that “for the first time in the 40-year life of the world’s most prestigious literary gong, a foreign-language tome” has won. Published in Austria by Asche Verlag, the book is eligible for the prize despite being in German because its title is in English.
(6) THESE BOOTS AREN’T MADE FOR TALKIN’. Was there ever anybody more impressed with Harlan Ellison than himself? Perhaps Gay Talese. Now available on YouTube is Harlan’s version of this legendary pop culture confrontation: “Harlan Ellison on Esquire’s ‘Frank Sinatra Has a Cold’ by Gay Talese.”
An excerpt and unused interview from the feature doc “‘Tis Autumn: The Search For Jackie Paris” by director Raymond DeFelitta (2007) || RIP Harlan Ellison
(7) CASTING CALL. Dublin2019 will be staging “Jophan!,” Erwin Strauss’ musical adaptation of the great classic of Irish fanwriting, The Enchanted Duplicator by Walt Willis and Bob Shaw, a fannish parody of John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”
Strauss is reaching out to the community for people interested in participating, either on stage, or in the orchestra pit, or wherever. There is no travel budget, so participants will have to already be planning to be attending Dublin 2019. Contact Strauss or the Dublin Theatre team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It looks like Netflix is reviving another groundbreaking anime for its ever-expanding platform.
The streaming giant just announced Ghost in theShell: SAC_2045, which is set to premiere sometime in 2020. Based on Masamune Shirow’s classic manga Ghost in the Shell, which premiered back in 1989, it explores themes of consciousness and individuality through the lens of artificial intelligence.
In this special lecture, we are very pleased to welcome Sir Roger Penrose back to the Clarke Center to explore how Hawking Points –Stephen Hawking’s prediction of glowing black holes– explain the nature of how our universe was formed and if there are others like it.
Sir Roger Penrose, the celebrated mathematician and physicist, is an Emeritus Professor at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford and winner of the Copley Medal and the Wolf Prize in Physics — which he shared with Stephen Hawking. He has made profound contributions in geometry, blackhole singularities, the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity, the structure of space-time, the nature of consciousness and the origin of our Universe.
Friday, December 14, 2018 — 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Kavli Auditorium, Tata Hall forthe Sciences, Division of Physical Sciences & the Clarke Center, UC San Diego. RSVP required; pleaseRSVP here
(10) TESSER OBIT. [Item by Mark Blackman.] Gary c Tesser (1952-2018). NY fan Gary c Tesser (small “c” with no period to be demure) died on Saturday night, December 8, after a lengthy battle with cancer.
He was one of the first 2 people in SF Fandom I met (in September 1970; he was recruiting for the Brooklyn College SF & Fantasy Society) and introduced me to apas (notably TAPS) and to Lunarians, of which he later (in the early ’90s) became President. He was my closest friend for many years. Dubbed “Captain Doom” and self-dubbed “The Plucky Red Ace”, he was a fannish legend, his habitual lateness (“the Tesser Effect”) and unique sense of logic were the inspiration for a slew of “Tesser Stories.”
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 9, 1848 – Joel Chandler Harris. American journalist, fiction writer, and folklorist who is best known for his collection of Uncle Remus stories. Yes he’s white and the stories are about the ‘Brer Rabbit’ stories from the African-American oral tradition but he’s widely accepted by all about having done these stories justice. James Weldon Johnson called them “the greatest body of folklore America has produced.” (Died 1908.)
Born December 9, 1900 – Margaret Brundage. Illustrator and painter. Working in pastels on illustration board, she created most of the covers for Weird Tales between 1933 and 1938. Her work is collected in The Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage: Queen of Pulp Pin-UpArt. She was one of the very few women artist in the industry, a fact not known as she signed her work as M. Brundage. (Died 1976.)
Born December 9, 1934 – Judi Dench, 84. M in the Bond films GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Aereon in The Chronicles of Riddick, Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love, Society Lady in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Miss Avocet in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Her very first genre film in the late Sixties, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was poorly received by critics and I recall her role being a mostly nude faerie.
Born December 9, 1953 – John Malkovitch, 65. I was pondering if I was going to include him then decide that Being John Malkovich which won him a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor was enough for me to include him. What a strange role that is! He also shows up in the dreadful Jonah Hex film and played Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach in the Crossbones series.These are selective highlights.
The genre titles listed are classic works that have endured on bookshelves for decades, if not centuries.
Isn’t in interesting (?) that of these titles that have demonstrated longevity, continued relevance (and, as a side note, continued sales that dwarf just about everything else) each and every one ofthem is not only “science fiction”, but each and every one of them is social commentary? “Political messaging in fiction” as somehave called it?
Not trying to resurrect a dead horse here, but it’s interesting nonetheless that SF’s enduring works — the classics — are all united in this way.
I gravitate towards certain SF sub-genres, such as stories featuring relativistic travel. I’ve encountered a fair number of such sub-genrebooks in which it is clear that the authors did not, emphatically NOT, understand relativity. This article features novels in which authors have wrestled with Mr. Einstein and lost three falls out of three.
As you know, there are two essential foundations of relativity.The first is that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. The second is that the speed of light is invariant regardless of one’s frame of reference. Every single SF novel in which reference is made to time as measured by the ship as “subjective” and time measured by the Earth “objective” is wrong: everyone’s clocks are right, even if they don’t agree with each other.
Some examples: Anderson likes to wax poetic on technical details. He spends a full two pages describing what could have been handled with this sentence: “I used a neutrino beam to contact the Jovians; nothing else could penetrate their giant planet’s hellish radiation belts or the tens of thousands of thick atmosphere.”
This second annual virtual anthology of the year’s best speculative fiction differs in four primary ways from last year’s Web’s Best Science Fiction #1 (2017 Stories) and Web’s Best Fantasy #1 (2017 Stories). Rather than restricting my coverage to web magazines as in 2017, I added coverage of several 2018 print magazines which created a much larger pool of stories to choose from. Thus, the word count for the “best” stories has increased from 140,000 to 250,000 words. Further, those words were evenly divided between two volumes of science fictional and fantastic stories but have now been combined into a single volume with three sections of uneven story and word counts. Finally, because of some of this, I renamed it to Year’s Best Short Science Fiction and Fantasy.
What hasn’t changed is the principle of selecting (to repeat the first introduction’s quote of the late Gardner Dozois) “only those stories that honestly and forcibly struck me as being the best published during that year, with no consideration for log-rolling, friendship, fashion, politics, or any other kind of outside influence.” And there’s still the same qualification to that: for variety’s sake, if multiple stories are by the same author or have strikingly similar elements, I try to select only one. Similarly, I’ve attempted to sequence the stories for a varied reading experience rather than any other principle.
You’ve provided cover illustrations for some of Heinlein’s works before — how did working on this edition stack up to those works?
The main difference is that I had quite a bit more time on each of my previous illustrations to refine and finish the paintings, which were done just for book cover images.
A cover is like a small movie poster, designed to compete with literally hundreds of similar tiny posters for the attention of potential buyers in bookstores. On the other hand, illustrations for the interior of a book should be approached a bit differently. They can be more quiet and thoughtful in their presentation, in terms of color mood and content, which is relative in the case of a book like Starship Troopers, naturally.
The goat pics turnout to be about more than making people go “awwwwww.”
The caprine fashionistas are featured on a calendar, the sales of which have benefited local organizations in Varanasi, India, where most of the images were taken.
Christy Sommers, who takes the photos, first noticed the cuteness that is clothed goats in 2010, while living in a village in northwestern Bangladesh as a Fulbright scholar studying rural primary education. Now she considers the project as adding “net happiness” to the world and helping to share a little slice of life from parts of the world that Americans don’t often get to see.
(21) THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY. Netflix dropped a trailer. The show airs February 15.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Dale Arnold, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Jason, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, Carl Slaughter, Alan Baumler, Steve Davidson, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
Afua Richardson, known for her work on Genius and World of Wakanda, will be joining Jim Fitzpatrick and Maeve Clancy as one of the featured artists at Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon.
Richardson has just created a variant cover for Shuri #2, the Wakanda-based series written by Nnedi Okorafor. Other stories she has drawn for include X-Men, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and the Mighty Avengers for Marvel Comics; Wonder Woman Warbringer and All-Star Batman for DC Comics; and Mad Max.
She worked with U.S. Representative and civil rights leader John Lewis to illustrate Run, a volume in his autobiographical comic series co-written with Andrew Aydin. Her first full-length graphic novel was the award-winning Genius series (Image Comics/Top Cow), which tells the story of an urban liberation movement led by a strategically gifted 17-year-old girl. She won the 2011 Nina Simone Award for Artistic Achievement for her trailblazing work in comics.
“We are obviously very excited that Afua Richardson will be part of Dublin 2019 and will be bringing her talent and experience to share with our members,” said convention chair James Bacon. “Her work will delight con-goers who have not seen it before and its themes complement the other two featured artists whom we have already announced.”
In 1968, featured artist Jim Fitzpatrick created the two-toned Che Guevara image copied on walls and T-shirts around the world. His other artwork includes intricate Celtic-inspired images, including The Book of Conquests, as well as portrait drawings of iconic Irish writers, and album covers for Thin Lizzy.
Featured artist Maeve Clancy is the author and illustrator of the financial crisis travelogue A Hibernian in Hellas (Cardboard Press) and the web comic Flatmates. She also creates large-scale works in cut paper, mural and other forms. She has produced commissioned artwork for Tall Ships Dublin and a puppet show set for the children´s theatre Branar Téatar do Pháistí. She worked with young Syrians in Monasterevin, County Kildare, on the exhibition The Moon Belongs to Everyone, shown in April at Riverbank Arts Centre.
Art tracks with featured artist talks and panels, the art show and the art auction have long been part of the programme for Worldcons. Dublin 2019 will be the 77th annual World Science Fiction Convention, the first to be held in Ireland and the eleventh in Europe.
Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon will take place in the Convention Centre Dublin from August 15 to August 19. More than 4300 people have already signed up as members, including more than 700 who are attending a Worldcon for the first time.
Other activities at the Dublin Worldcon will include the 2019 Hugo Awards, the world’s leading awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy, as well as the spectacular Masquerade costume display. There are typically 650 to 800 separate programme items, including author readings and autograph sessions, films and videos, academic presentations, and panel discussions on speculative literature and other media, many involving fans and audience.
Guests of Honour for Dublin 2019 include YA author Diane Duane, and screenwriter and Hugo winner Ian McDonald, as well as game designer Steve Jackson (Melee, Chaos Machine, Munchkin) and editor Ginjer Buchanan. Science Guest of Honour will be Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered radio pulsars in 1967 as a postgraduate student. Bill and Mary Burns will be fan Guests of Honour.