Pixel Scroll 9/12/19 The Last Voyage Of The Space Unicorn, By A.E. Van Beagle

(1) DEFINITELY A FIRST. Somtow Sucharitkul’s full day included release of the Czech translation of his short story collection — Den v Mallworldu

What a day!

Siam Sinfonietta was honored by being made Orchestra in Residence of the International Music Festival in Olomouc

I received a medal for my work in cross-cultural outreach from Festa Musicale

My book was launched, the first book by a Thai author ever to appear in Czech

…Amazingly, while taking my orchestra on tour in Central Europe, well known fan and translator Jaroslav Olša organized the publication of all my stories that have previously appeared in Czech as a collection and I am having a book launch today – followed by conducting the orchestra in Martinu Hall! This has got to be a SF first, I would think!

(2) ALPHABET SLOOP. Camestros Felapton saw a need and filled it: “The less loved Star Wars wing fighters”.

I was impressed by this comprehensive list of ‘alphabet’ fighters from Star Wars https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/09/star-wars-wings-ranked/

I hadn’t realised there were so many but I can’t help thinking that there is a lot more of the alphabet Star Wars could have covered. So I have decided to fill in some of the gaps.

(3) DINOS FROM DUBLIN. Collider features a long interview with the director — “Exclusive: Colin Trevorrow on How He Secretly Made the ‘Jurassic World’ Short Film ‘Battle at Big Rock’”.

A lot of people are going to wonder how did you make a Jurassic World short film without anyone getting wind of it?

TREVORROW: We shot it in Ireland last winter. They have a grove of redwood trees outside Dublin that look exactly like the national parks in Northern California. I honestly never thought we’d make it this far without getting found out. The Irish can keep a secret….

Netflix has a Jurassic World animated series arriving next year. Do you guys have an idea of how long you want the animated series to go for? Do you have a plan if the show is a huge hit?

TREVORROW: Camp Cretaceous. The animation is gorgeous, it’s really exciting and emotional. I think kids are going to love these characters. The writers are so deeply invested in making something we can all be proud of. If it’s a hit and people want more, we’re ready. Just say the word

(4) FUNDRAISER. Kristine Kathryn Rusch sends fans “A Charitable Reminder” about an event she’s doing tomorrow —

I will be doing a live reading and Q&A for the Read for Pixels YouTube Session at 6.00pm PST on September 13th, 2019 (Friday).

The Pixel Project is a worldwide coalition of grassroots activists and volunteers who strongly believe that men and women must take a stand together for the right of women and girls to live a life free of gender-based violence. Our team, our allies, and our supporters use the power of the internet to mount a global effort to raise awareness about and hopefully mobilize communities around the world to get involved with ending violence against girls and women.

I’m participating in their fall fundraiser which began on September 1. Several other authors are participating as well. We’re donating our time and some goodies to encourage you to give a little bit of your hard-earned cash for the cause. So please join me on Friday!

(5) MAKING PARANORMAL MORE CONVINCING. Erin Lindsey, in “Tying In History, Mystery, and The Supernatural” on CrimeReads tells historical paranormal romance novelists that they’ll write better books if their history is accurate.

…Hang on a minute, you say. I was with you up to the magic paintings, but aren’t we writing historical fiction here? Isn’t that supposed to be, you know… accurate?

For the most part, yes. That’s why it’s so important to get the details right. To make sure everything else is meticulously researched and faithfully rendered, so that when that moment of departure comes, it makes a big impression. It helps if you can even ground your supernatural elements in real life – for example, by referring to unexplained incidents that actually exist in the historical record. For Murder on Millionaires’ Row, I researched ghost stories in the New York Times, selecting a few that took place at roughly the same time and even turning one of the real-life investigating officers into a major secondary character. Readers can go back to 19th century newspaper clippings and connect the dots between murders, ghosts, and a few other surprises—all against the backdrop of an otherwise historically accurate Gilded Age New York.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 12, 1958 The Blob premiered.
  • September 12, 1993 — CBS first aired Rockne S. O’Bannon’s Seaquest DSV on this date in 1993. Seaquest DSV would last just three years.
  • September 12, 1993 — Genre fans were treated to latest version of the Man Of Steel when Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman debuted this day.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 12, 1897 Walter B. Gibson. Writer and professional magician who’s best known for his work creating and being the first and main writer of the pulp character The Shadow. Using the pen-name Maxwell Grant, he wrote 285 of the 325 Shadow stories published by Street & Smith in The Shadow magazine of the Thirties and Forties. He also wrote a Batman prose story which appeared in Detective Comics #500 and was drawn by Thomas Yeates. (Died 1985.)
  • Born September 12, 1914 Desmond Llewelyn. He’s best known for playing Q in 17 of the Bond films over thirty-six years. Truly amazing. Live and Let Die is the only one in the period that Q was not in. He worked with five Bonds, to wit Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. Other genre appearances include The Adventures of Robin Hood, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr HydeThe Curse of the Werewolf and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. (Died 1999.)
  • Born September 12, 1916 Mary, Lady Stewart (born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow). Yes, you know her better as just Mary Stewart. Genre wise, she’s probably best known for her Merlin series which walks along the boundary between the historical novel and fantasy. Explicitly fantasy is her children’s novel A Walk in Wolf Wood: A Tale of Fantasy and Magic. (Died 2014.)
  • Born September 12, 1921 Stanislaw Lem. He’s best known for Solaris, which has been made into a film three times. Both iBooks and Kindle have generous collections of his translated works at quite reasonable prices. (Died 2006.)
  • Born September 12, 1922 John Chambers. He’s best known for designing Spock’s  pointed ears, and for the prosthetic make-up work on the Planet of the Apes franchise. Some of those character creations, including Cornelius and Dr. Zaius from the Planet of the Apes series, are on display at the Science Fiction Museum. He worked on the Munsters, Outer Limits, Lost in Space, Mission Impossible, Night Gallery and I Spy along with uncredited (at the time) prosthetic makeup work on Blade Runner. (Died 2001.)
  • Born September 12, 1940 Brian De Palma, 79. Though not a lot of genre in his resume, he has done some significant work including Carrie. Other films he’s done of interest to us are The Fury which most likely you’ve never heard of, and the first Mission: Impossible film along with Mission to Mars. Not genre, but I find it fascinating that he directed Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark video which has a genre connection as actress Courtney Cox would be in the Misfits of Science series and the Scream horror franchise as well. 
  • Born September 12, 1940 John Clute, 79. Critic, one of the founders of Interzone (which I avidly read) and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (with Peter Nicholls) and of the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (with John Grant) as well as writing the Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction. All of these publications won Hugo Awards for Best Non-Fiction. And I’d be remiss not to single out for praise The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror which is simply a superb work.
  • Born September 12, 1942 Charles L. Grant. A writer who said he was best at what he called “dark fantasy” and “quiet horror”. Nightmare Seasons, a collection of novellas, won a World Fantasy Award, while the “A Crowd of Shadows” short garnered a Nebula as did “A Glow of Candles, a Unicorn’s Eye” novella. “Temperature Days on Hawthorne Street” story would become the Tales from the Darkside episode “The Milkman Cometh”. Both iBooks and Kindle have decent but not outstanding selections of his works including a few works of Oxrun Station, his core horror series. (Died 2006.)
  • Born September 12, 1962 Mary Kay Adams, 57. She was Na’Toth, a Narn who was the aide to G’Kar in the second season of Babylon 5, and she would show up as the Klingon Grilka in the episodes “The House of Quark” and “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places”. 

(8) DOCTOR WHO COLLECTIBLES. If you’re at the New York Comic Con (October 3-6) you might have a shot at these —

DOCTOR WHO 3″ Thirteenth Doctor “Kerblam!” Kawaii TITAN

Titan Entertainment are proud to present the latest in their series of limited edition Thirteenth Doctor Kawaii TITANS vinyls! For NYCC 2019, we’re showcasing the Thirteenth Doctor as she appears in the seventh episode of season eleven “Kerblam!” Available in very limited numbers at Titan Entertainment Booth #2142!

DOCTOR WHO 3″ Thirteenth Doctor “Rosa” Classic TITAN

Titan Entertainment are thrilled to announce the latest in their series of limited edition Thirteenth Doctor classic TITANS vinyls! For NYCC 2019, we’re debuting the Thirteenth Doctor as she appears in the third episode of season eleven “Rosa”. Available in very limited numbers at Titan Entertainment Booth #2142!

(9) FILM NOTES. The New York Times’ Joshua Barone is there when two movie scores, overshadowed for one reason or another when they first screened, get their due in a performance at David Geffen Hall: “‘Psycho’ and ‘Close Encounters’ Roll at the Philharmonic”.

‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

That Mr. Williams wrote his score for “Star Wars” in the same year as “Close Encounters” speaks to his versatility. One is a grand space opera, with catchy Wagnerian leitmotifs and blaring immensity; the other is atonal and elusive, full of amorphous sound that rarely coalesces into melody. (Mr. Williams, ever adaptable, later wrote playfully enchanting music for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which the Philharmonic will perform in December.)

If you listen closely, there are signs that “Star Wars” and “Close Encounters” share a composer: an affinity for Ligeti comes through in both, as does a mastery of cosmic Romanticism. But their differences are clear from the first measure. Where “Star Wars” begins with fanfare and a brassy overture, Mr. Spielberg’s movie doesn’t open with any sort of memorable theme….

‘Psycho’

Steven C. Smith, in his biography “A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann,” repeats a quip from the composer that Hitchcock completed only 60 percent of any film.

“I have to finish it for him,” Herrmann said.

That’s not too outrageous; in the films they collaborated on between 1955 and 1964, from “The Trouble With Harry” to “Marnie,” Herrmann’s soundtracks were vital in setting tone and offering insight into psychology.

(10) CATS SLEEP ON SFF. Twitter edition –

(11) TURN BACK THE CLOCK. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The SF concept of Anagathics or Antiagathics may about to come of age as an article in Nature reveals…. “First hint that body’s ‘biological age’ can be reversed”.

In a small trial, drugs seemed to rejuvenate the body’s ‘epigenetic clock’, which tracks a person’s biological age.

A small clinical study in California has suggested for the first time that it might be possible to reverse the body’s epigenetic clock, which measures a person’s biological age.

For one year, nine healthy volunteers took a cocktail of three common drugs — growth hormone and two diabetes medications — and on average shed 2.5 years of their biological ages, measured by analysing marks on a person’s genomes. The participants’ immune systems also showed signs of rejuvenation.

The results were a surprise even to the trial organizers — but researchers caution that the findings are preliminary because the trial was small and did not include a control arm.

(12) DYNASTIC DUO. SciFiNow shared Eoin Colfer reading from a forthcoming novel — “Exclusive video: Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer reads his new book The Fowl Twins”.

The new fantasy series sees Artemis’s twin brothers at the helm of a dangerously fast-paced adventure. With their brother, criminal virtuoso Artemis Fowl, away on a five-year mission to Mars, the younger Fowl children, 11- year-old twins Myles and Beckett, have been left alone at the Fowl family home.

One day, the twins manage to accidentally get caught up in an interspecies dispute when a troll burrows out of the Earth’s core right in front of Beckett’s eyes! In the events that follow the boys are shot at, kidnapped, buried, arrested, threatened and even temporarily killed but, despite their differences, the twins find that there is no force stronger than the bond between them. 

(13) THE TESTAMENTS ON RADIO. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] B Beeb Ceeb Radio 4 are doing a Book at Bed Time, Atwood’s The Testaments. They must have been quietly working on this as I only heard of it yesterday (usually I am pretty genned up on Radio 4 as it is piped to my study).

If you want an abridged audio book then this could be it for you. Episodes begin Monday 16th Sept (so not downloadble yet) starting here.

Margaret Atwood’s powerful and hugely anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale picks up 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown. Now shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

(14) ROWLING HONORS MOTHER. It involves a charitable contribution: “JK Rowling donates £15.3m to Edinburgh MS research centre”.

JK Rowling has donated £15.3m to support research into neurological conditions at a centre named after her mother.

The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh was established with a £10m donation from the Harry Potter author in 2010.

Her latest gift will help create new facilities and support research.

Anne Rowling died aged 45 from complications related to multiple sclerosis (MS).

The centre is an integrated care and research facility focusing on MS and neurological conditions with the aim of bringing more clinical studies and trials to patients.

Neurological conditions studied at the clinic include motor neurone disease (MND), Parkinson’s and dementias.

(15) LEGENDARY ELEMENT. BBC asks, “‘Red mercury’: why does this strange myth persist?”.

For centuries rumours have persisted about a powerful and mysterious substance. And these days, adverts and videos offering it for sale can be found online. Why has the story of “red mercury” endured?

Some people believe it’s a magical healing elixir found buried in the mouths of ancient Egyptian mummies.

Or could it be a powerful nuclear material that might bring about the apocalypse?

Videos on YouTube extol its vampire-like properties. Others claim it can be found in vintage sewing machines or in the nests of bats.

There’s one small problem with these tales – the substance doesn’t actually exist. Red mercury is a red herring.

The hunt for red mercury

Despite this, you can find it being hawked on social media and on numerous websites. Tiny amounts are sometimes priced at thousands of dollars.

Many of the adverts feature a blurry photo of a globule of red liquid on a dinner plate. Next to it there will often be a phone number scribbled on a piece of paper, for anybody foolish enough to want to contact the seller.

(16) EXIT INTERVIEW. [Item by Jo Van.] In New Zealand, the law requires that people going for an employment-related meeting or medical consultation be permitted to bring a support person, who may be there to provide emotional support, other kinds of support for a mentally- or physically-disabled or ill person, or translation services in the case of someone whose English comprehension may not be strong. “Auckland adman hires professional clown for redundancy meeting” in the New Zealand Herald. (“redundancy” = “down-sized” or “laid off”.)

…The Herald understands that the clown blew up balloons and folded them into a series of animals throughout the meeting.

It’s further understood that the clown mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over to the staffer.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Mike Kennedy, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Iphinome, Jo Van, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask — Special Irish Worldcon Edition, Day Five

DAY FIVE

By Chris M. Barkley: Author’s Note: This column is being written on the day after our return from Ireland. Because, time travel. AND jet lag.

Field Notes

  • BREAKING NEWS: I received a text from John and incredibly, Carole’s wallet was FOUND with all of the contents intact. I immediately spread the news on the Dublin 2019 Irish WorldCon Community Group and on my own page. I hope the details on who found it and where it was lost will be forthcoming. Needless to say, there was much rejoicing in the land this day!
  • Dublin has a taxi service called FreeNow, which, I have come to discover, is neither. I was considering filing a suit with the World Trade Organization but HEY, Carole’s wallet was found, so forgetaboutit…
  • Neither the flatmates nor myself have turned on the tv since we’ve been here. And we’re good with that.
  • My Irish flatmate Peter has sadly informed me that Hurling is a sport that does not involve vomiting on a professional level. I told him I was very relieved to hear this because the programmers at Fox Sports do not need any encouragement…
  • I do regret not getting to John Scalzi’s incredibly danceable DJ session Saturday night. It probably would have annoyed him if I had pestered him all night requesting Manchester (UK) bands like The Stone Roses, The Smiths, 808 State, Inspiral Carpets, Swing Out Sisters, Simply Red, Oasis, The Chemical Brothers, Electronic, The Mothmen, The Mindbenders, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Charlatans, The Happy Mondays, New Order, Elbow, The Fall, The Courteeners and The Drones but not Bauhaus. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a great band, but from Northampton. Sorry.
  • Women and people of color and of alternate and non-conforming genders dominated the Hugo Awards for the umpteenth year in a row. Bravo. There must have been much squealing of horror from the basements of cis-gendered nerd boys last evening. White men had dominated fantasy and sf awards for decades so I am not feeling too sorry that other folks are in the ascendance right now. I am reminded of what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked in 2010, “How many women would be enough on the Supreme Court?” She replied, “Nine, nine… There have been nine men there for a long, long time, right? So why not nine women?”

I began the day solo because Juli had been hit with a double play of a sinus infection and a migraine brought on by the raising and lowering of the house lights during the Hugo Award Ceremony. As such, she remained in bed for most of the day.

Both Juli and I had one big regret out trip; that we hadn’t had time to very much sightseeing beyond the city. But, as I was walking about the city and looking at all of the people from different countries, cultures and languages, all working and living in this big, bustling cauldron of humanity felt like a more worldly, more cosmopolitan city than my own home town. I was both humbled and awed by the city of Dublin. 

As I was crossing the drawbridge, I saw an older woman of indeterminate heritage, sitting off to the right side of the walkway with a dixie cup of with a few coins in it.. I stopped in front of her.

Several weeks ago, while looking through a grocery trash can for losing lottery tickets (which could be redeemed for state lottery prizes), I saw a gleaming flash coming from the bottom. I reached in and pulled out a one Euro coin. My thought was that it was brought back to the US by a tourist and was used to rub lottery scratch off tickets and was either accidentally or deliberately thrown away.

But here I am, an American with an honest to god Euro and I was going to an honest to god country in the European Union. Right there and then, I vowed to make sure that this little Euro went home where it belongs.

And there I was on the bridge. I took that Euro and another coin out of my wallet. I leaned over and she smiled and held her cup up. “ I found this coin my country,” I said to her as I put the coins in her cup, “and I am just returning it to its home.” 

The woman gave me a broad smile and said something that was unintelligible to me but to me it felt both grateful and heartfelt. I wish I had given her more but the only thing I had left at this point in the trip were a few American bills, which would have been problematic for her to exchange. I walked on, hoping for the best for her. When I returned later, she was gone.

There was a Sunday session of the Business Meeting but I decided to skip it for reasons that will become very clear in my final report. 

I checked the schedule of remaining items and there was nothing of interest as far as I was concerned. So I made a beeline for the fan exhibit/dealer’s room. I had only been through the room once before and since I had a limited amount of space and weight allowance for our one suitcase and I wanted to buy at least one thing while I was in Dublin. 

Joe Scilari, Edie Stern and Boston superfan Mark Olson were manning the Fanac.org table and they proudly informed me that over 3500 pages of information had been uploaded to be archived, a tremendous success for the organization.

Edie Stern, Joe Siclari and Mark Olson at the Fanac.org table

If you are unfamiliar with Fanac, their website says:

“This site is devoted to the preservation and distribution of information about science fiction and science fiction fandom. There are fanzines, photos, and all sorts of strange and wonderful information about fandom’s past… 

So, check it out sometime.

While making my way to the New Zealand bid table, I wandered too close to the Chicago in 2022 table and was beckoned over by Dave McCarty, who was sporting the most garishly red Grateful Dead shirt I have ever seen.

Mr. McCarty specifically called me over for the expressed purpose of explaining, in passionate, excruciating detail, why the US Women’s Soccer team was being wrongheaded in their approach to their lawsuit against FIFA for equal pay. 

I will not go into detail about what his arguments were (if you were to contact him directly, I am quite sure he would be MORE than happy to lay out all of the evidence for you) but I conceded that he may have a point, which seemed to satisfy him (for now). And before you all label Mr. McCarty merely a sexist “mansplainer”, I want you to know that he is the father of a daughter and he desperately WANTS them to achieve to goal of being paid on an equal basis as the men’s team.

I also had the good fortune of being present when Mr. McCarty presented his lovely eight-year-old daughter, Mia, with her convention gift, a replica version of Hermione Granger’s wand. 

Dave McCarty and Mia

My next stop was the CoNZealand table where I checked on the price for a pair of supporting memberships. One of the staff members (whose name, unfortunately, I did not record) was utterly delighted to see my “Saint” symbol button and told he about how she obtained a rare copy of the original Leslie Charteris novel Meet The Tiger and how she was lucky enough to get it autographed by the late Sir Roger Moore!

Speaking of which, I had my phone out to check on my Paypal balance when I was approached by a fan named, wait for it…JAMES BOND, who asked me for some help finding a program item on Dublin’s online Worldcon app, Grenadine.

“One moment please,” I said as I put my phone down and reached into my crossbody bag for the printed pocket program book.

“Here you go. I’m analog today, not digital.” Mr. Bond got a good laugh out of that remark. For the record, I did NOT expect him to die…laughing. Just Sayin’.

When I finally got around to shopping the dealer tables, I caught sight of a book that I was very interested in; Farrah Mendelsohn’s The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein,  a deep, unflinchingly and critical look analyzing his fiction and non-fiction and how he influenced science fiction literature. 

While I was buying the book, I was reunited with my fellow File 770 reporter, Daniel Dern. We were also joined briefly by one of Dublin’s Special Guests, Spider Robinson and his “driver”, writer and comedian Stephan Herman. Spider had trouble remembering me until I reminded him that I had scored some pot for him and his late wife Jeanne at the 1994 Worldcon in Winnipeg, Canada. Ah good times. Also, yay for the statute of limitations.

Spider told me he had a fantastic time in Dublin and was very excited to sit down with a local genealogist while he was there. “ I have learned more about my family in that one hour than I ever did from the rest of my family during my life,“ he gushed.

Spider Robinson

I went back to our flat to check on Juli around 3:30. She was feeling well enough to go to the Closing Ceremonies at 4:30, but I wanted to take a short nap myself.

This decision proved to be a bad idea because Juli, thinking that I wasn’t getting enough sleep  on this trip, let me sleep in until 4:15. 

We rushed to the auditorium but the ceremony was already under way and we arrived in time to see George R.R. Martin and his partner Parris McBride on stage, accepting a Committee Award from Chair James Bacon for his contributions to Fandom and the Dublin bid in particular. I was saddened to see Ms. McBride in a neck brace and I sincerely hope she recovers soon.

I was surprised and happy to see that Dublin had recruited the creator of Artemis Fowl, Eowin Colfer, as the Host of Closing Ceremonies. Soon enough, Mr. Bacon took to the stage to thank the convention committee, his staff and volunteers and finally the fans who attended, to make it a memorable experience for everyone.

Chair James Bacon and the volunteers

Memorable? Indeed it was, But I can assure everyone reading this that the Dublin convention will be studied, scrutinized and autopsied more closely than any other recent Worldcon due to the cutoff of the sale of attending memberships weeks before the start of the convention, the size of the venue, the imposition of queuing lines by the owners of the convention center and the confusion they caused between the staff, volunteers and the attending fans. But, it’s Worldcon. It’s a certainty that things WILL go wrong and there will be some embarrassments and obstacles to overcome. People may have been angered over some incidents and inconvenienced by others but in the long run, the only thing that matters is that everyone survived and no one died. Having gone the 29 Worldcons now, I can attest to that).

After the gavel was symbolically passed to the New Zealand bid via interpretive dance and acrobatics, Juli and I headed over the The Drunken Fish for a celebratory dinner with Wyn, Liz, our flatmates Anna and Peter and our Australian fans, Susan and Grahame. As usual, I ordered too much food but, in the spirit of detente between the US and Ireland, I finished it all. Except for the extra helping of kimchi someone passed my way. There is only so much kimchi a person can take, I mean, c’mon man.

Wyn and Liz had been in country for nearly a week before everyone else arrived and took an extended driving tour of Ireland, visiting many castles along the way.

“Were any of the castles white?,” I asked Liz, who, thinking of the ubiquitous American fast food restaurant chain, broke out into a giggling fit. 

 As a matter of fact, we did see a white castle,” said Wyn in a very serious manner.

“Really?” I turned to Liz. “How was the food?” Liz collapsed in uncontrollable laughter. Mission accomplished. 

After dinner was consumed, we said goodbye to our dinner companions The flatmate squad then called a cab and traversed over to the southside of Dublin for a whiskey tasting at The Market Bar, the nicest looking hole-in-the-wall that I have ever seen in my life. Since I don’t drink spirits, I drank in the atmosphere and watched grown adults swoon over whiskey. Good times.

It took five tries but we were finally able to summoned a FreeNow cab (which, as I noted above, is neither) and we made our way back home.

While the flatmates recovered by chatting about their convention experiences, I began packing for the flight home, which was scheduled for 12:55 local time tomorrow.

As always, United Airlines advised us to get to the airport at least three hours in advance of the flight. Juli was particularly worried  about getting there early but hey, when we’ve flown in America, the wait time was usually a bogus ruse to get us there and buy stuff while we wait.

What could POSSIBLY go wrong, eh?   

Pixel Scroll 10/26 Racket Online

(1) Arthur C. Clarke’s papers came to the Smithsonian Institution earlier this year. Patti Williams, acquisition archivist for the National Air and Space Museum, blogged about the steps in bringing the materials from Sri Lanka to the U.S.

I have been the Museum’s acquisition archivist for almost 26 years, and during that time over 3,200 archival collections have been entrusted to us. Most of these materials have been personally delivered or shipped, but it has sometimes been necessary for me to travel to obtain a collection, whether to California, New York, or South Dakota. Sri Lanka has certainly been the furthest I’ve travelled for a collection.

Martin Collins, a curator for the Space History Department, gave an overview of what’s in Clarke’s papers, accompanied by many photos.

What emerges from a first review of his papers is a deeply thoughtful man shaped by and creatively responding to his time—with World War II and the first decades of the Cold War as critically formative. From his early 20s through the rest of life he possessed a remarkably consistent vision and purpose of what was important to him: to make sense of a world experiencing tremendous advances in science and technology, the result of which, in his view, augured potentially radical changes in the fabric of social and cultural life. In the years after the war, this dynamic seemed especially  insistent, making the idea and reality of the “future” a critical problem in need of understanding. Through his career, this challenge led Clarke to advance his three laws of prediction (easily found via an internet search), an attempt to make serious the future as a shared, collective human concern but do so with a light touch.

From this vantage, Clarke’s interest in science fiction, as is evident throughout his papers, was not merely incidental but central: It was his essential tool, perhaps the best one, for sorting through and understanding this condition and educating readers about the time in which they were living.

(2) In a podcast for Creature Features, Walter Murch, writer and director of Return to Oz, “discusses the long genesis of the 1985 fantasy film, how personal a project it was for him, how tumultuous it became at times, and how happy he is with it after 30 years.”

Soundcloud – Pod People Episode 4 – Walter Murch

(3) The PBS documentary about cosplay aired in 2013 can be viewed online.

(4) The Golden Age Site’s post about “New York Comic Book Conventions ~ 1966-1978 ~ The good old days when Comic Shows were about comics” shows many many fans in those days were involved in both comics and sf, inspiring Andrew Porter to comment, “Gosh, there’s my name at the top, along with a bunch of [now] old pharts!”

I also ran off the program — about 250 copies of a single page, as I recall — for Dave Kaler’s NY Comic Convention, held in 1965 at the Hotel Broadway Central (an impressive pile in Theodore Dreiser’s “Sister Carrie”) on my Ditto machine.

 

02_seulingcon_1966_title

(5) The University of Oregon Libraries will celebrate the acquisition of the James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice B. Sheldon) literary papers with a two-day symposium at the Eugene, Oregon campus on December 4-5, 2015.

The acquisition of the Tiptree Papers enriches Special Collections and University Archives’ growing collection of feminist science fiction manuscript collections, which include the Ursula K. Le Guin Papers, the Joanna Russ Papers, the Sally Miller Gearhart Papers, and the Suzette Haden Elgin Papers.

The symposium will kick off with a keynote talk by Julie Phillips, author of the biography: James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon (St. Martins, 2006), and will also feature a panel discussion with other writers who carried on lively and engaging correspondence with Tiptree, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Suzy McKee Charnas and David Gerrold.

 

tiptree_03 COMP

(6) Emily Hughes conducts “Updraft: A Q&A with Fran Wilde” at Suvudu.

SUVUDU: Updraft has some of the most original worldbuilding I’ve ever come across – could you tell us a little bit about your process for creating the details of this city built out of bone towers and its residents?

FRAN WILDE: That’s wonderful to hear! The city of bone towers was born late one night at a writing workshop following many cups of coffee. I realized that I wanted to write a story set in a living city with a focus on engineering and flight. (I wasn’t drinking Red Bull, I swear.)

What emerged from that writing session was a short story that had elements of Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Codex Seraphinianus, China Mieville’s short stories about living cities in Looking for Jake, and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities as ancestors. The story contained the man-made wings, bridges, and bone towers that exist today, but the characters and conflict were different.  After reading it, Gordon Van Gelder of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine wrote me to suggest I look at other high-altitude megastructure stories like Steven Gould’s “Peaches for Mad Molly” and K.W. Jeter’s Farewell Horizontal as well.

So my process from the first draft involved a lot of reading. In the end, when the short story had grown into a novel, and the very spare sketch of bone towers and wings had grown into a world, the process also involved getting into a wind tunnel to go indoor skydiving, and talking to cloud and weather experts about wind shear near steep, high-altitude objects, and to biologists about bone growth. I also researched scarcity societies, high-altitude food production, and cephalopods, among other things.

(7) John Plotz recalls A Wizard of Earthsea in “Le Guin’s Anarchist Aesthetics” on Public Books.

Le Guin’s peculiar gift, though, is to make the ordinary feel as important as the epic: mundane questions about who’s cutting firewood or doing the dishes share space with rune books and miscast spells. Her Earthsea has less in common with Narnia, Hogwarts, and Percy Jackson’s Camp Half-Blood than it does with medieval romances and Icelandic sagas, where dragons and death keep company with fishing yarns, goat-herding woes, and village quarrels.

Plotz also interviewed Le Guin for Public Books in June.

JP: And has it always been clear to you which category your books fall into?

UL: Oh no. When I started it was all mushed up together! My first three novels are kind of science fantasy. Rocannon’s World (1966) is full of Norse myth barely disguised. But I began to realize there was a real difference between these two ways of using the imagination. So I wrote Earthsea and Left Hand of Darkness. From then on I was following two paths.

In Left Hand of Darkness I was using science fiction to come at a problem that I realized was very deep in me and everybody else: what is gender? What gender am I? A question we just hadn’t been asking. Look at all the answers that are coming out now. We have really deconstructed it. We really didn’t even have the word “gender” back then. Just, “What sex are you?” So in some respects we really have come a long way, and in a good direction, I think.

(8) Gregory N. Hullender says, “No one seems to have commented on it yet, but I think the December 2015 Analog is unusually strong. After a really weak year, maybe they’re getting their act together.” He has more to say on Reddit.

(9) Irish children’s laureate Eoin Colfer (“Artemis Fowl”) and illustrator and writer Oliver Jeffers  have joined forces to create an imaginary friend.

They decided to collaborate on ‘Imaginary Fred’ due to a chance meeting in New Zealand.

“We were there for the Auckland book festival and we met up at a story slam competition,” Mr Colfer said.

“We were giggling like schoolboys at each other’s stories, and at the end of the night we said let’s do something together.”

‘Imaginary Fred’ tells the story of Fred, who becomes the imaginary friend of Sam, a boy in need of company.

The two embark on a series of adventures together, but when Sam meets Sammi, a girl with an imaginary friend of her own, Fred has to move on from Sam.

The story, unusually, is told from Imaginary Fred’s point of view.

“I like to do that with my books,” said Mr Colfer.

“To take what is often a secondary character and make them the main character because they’re a lot more interesting to me.”

(10) An event celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Marion E. Wade Center on October 29 at 7 pm Central time will be livestreamed. The Wade is a focal point of Inklings scholarship. Featured speakers will include the Wade’s former director, Dr. Lyle W. Dorsett, poet Luci Shaw, and Dr. Leland Ryken, who is currently at work on a book length history of the Wade Center. The dedication of the new Bakke Auditorium will be part of this special evening. Watch the proceedings online via WETN.

(11) Bradbury-inspired art! Vroman’s Art on the Stairwall presents George Cwirko-Godycki on November 14 at 2 p.m. at the main store in Pasadena.

Join us as we celebrate our newest Artist on the Stairwell! Illustrator George Cwirko-Godycki presents a limited edition poster show inspired by the works of Ray Bradbury. The show is the first in Vroman’s Artists on Authors series in the stairwell where visionary artists interpret the works of renowned authors.  The first 25 attendees will receive a signed catalog of the exhibition that details the process of creating this unique show from start to finish. George is based in San Francisco where he provides concept illustration for the entertainment industry and teaches figure drawing at the Academy of Art University.

(12) Frequent File 770 contributor James H. Burns’ writes about the Tri-State losing a major supermarket chain, Pathmark, in a piece for the Long Island Press.

Ultimately, the neatest feature at Pathmark for a youngster may have been a huge paperback section featuring an amazing array of bestsellers and non-fiction books. Pathmark was where I bought some of my very first books on the history of movies, including, in my monster-loving youth, a biography of Boris Karloff!

From its inception in Franklin Square, Pathmark had tried to be unique. At the back of the store was a section invoking the classic Horn and Hardart cafeterias in Manhattan, famous for all the food, sandwiches and cakes and the like, being offered through slots in the wall protected by a glass cover. If you put coins in the apparatus, you could lift the cover and take your treat.  Horn and Hardart was famous for the quality of its offerings, and for being a very affordable place for any New Yorker to put together a decent meal. More than one location also became known as a writers’ hangout, with some of the best-known reporters and talent of the era sitting for a long while, sipping their coffee, and enjoying the conversation.

Beginning in the 1970s, Pathmark also had a long running series of television commercials, starring James Karen. Most of us probably presumed he was a Pathmark executive, until he also began popping up as an actor in horror movies like “Poltergeist” and “The Return of the Living Dead.”

(13) Pee Wee Herman’s blog features a gallery of photos of work by the “’Picasso of Pumpkin Carving’ Ray Villafane”.

Grimace-Pumpkin-by-Ray-Villafane COMP

Until October 31st, the town of Carefree, Arizona is hosting the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, a one-of-a-kind event conceived by master pumpkin carver Ray Villafane! The Wall Street Journal calls him the “Picasso of pumpkin carving.”

(14) Ray Bradbury is all over the place in this documentary about Charlie Chaplin, first at the 40 second mark

 

(15) The Nitrate Diva links to “Fear You Can Hear: 31 of the Scariest old Time Radio Episodes for Halloween”

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but, when it comes to the best old-time radio horror, each word is worth a thousand pictures.

By using voices, sound effects, and snippets of music, masters of radio terror turned what could’ve been a disadvantage of the medium—we can’t see what’s happening—into their greatest asset.

Radio writers and actors spawned monsters that the technology of the time couldn’t have realistically portrayed on film. They suggested depravity and gore that screen censorship would’ve banned. And they could manipulate the imagination so that listeners themselves collaborated in the summoning of their worst fears.

In case you can’t tell, I adore old-time ratio (OTR) horror. After countless hours poring over archives of old shows, I’ve selected 31 bloodcurdling episodes, from 1934 all the way up to 1979, for your pleasure.

(16) Oh noes! “William Shatner Isn’t a Huge Fan of the New ‘Star Wars’ Trailer”.

Millions of Star Wars fans may have eagerly devoured the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, due out on December 18, but William Shatner—captain of the starship Enterprise and star of the original Star Trek series—wasn’t among them. “To me there isn’t a controversy,” the actor tells Newsweek. “Star Trek is far superior to Star Wars.”

(17) Would Dr. Sheldon Cooper agree? He certainly has plenty of reason to be happy with Star Trek.

tbbt-spock

Fans of The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek can rejoice because an upcoming episode the geektastic TV sitcom will feature a guest appearance from the son of Mr. Spock himself, Adam Nimoy! Plus, we have an exclusive first look at the episode, which airs on Thurs., Nov. 5 at 8/7! In “The Spock Resonance,” recurring guest star Wil Wheaton will appear alongside Adam, an accomplished writer and director in real life, who asks Sheldon Cooper to be in a documentary about his beloved father, Leonard.

(18) Natalie Luhrs has a terrific post about “World Fantasy’s Harassment Non-Policy” at Pretty Terrible.

The final progress report from World Fantasy was emailed to members this evening. It included the harassment policy, which is legalistic and is essentially useless. For posterity, here it is…

[Thanks to Bill Menker, Michael J. Walsh, Andrew Porter, Bill Burns, James H. Burns, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

Eoin Colfer Selected
Laureate na nÓg

Eoin Colfer at 2009 Wexworlds Library Talk.

Eoin Colfer at 2009 Wexworlds Library Talk. (James Bacon stands at left.)

Novelist Eoin Colfer, famed author of the Artemis Fowl series (my daughter’s current favorite!) was named Laureate na nÓg — Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature — on May 8.

Na nÓg is a phrase in the Irish language meaning “young people.”

Colfer is the third person to hold the title, which was created in 2010. Each Laureate serves for two years.

The laureate is chosen for his or her internationally recognized body of children’s writing or illustration and the impact on readers, writers and illustrators.

The honor has been established to engage young people with high quality literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative life.

Eoin Colfer was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1965. He has traveled and worked in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. He based his first book, Benny and Omar (1998) on his experiences in Tunisia. He gained international recognition with the bestselling Artemis Fowl series, which began appearing in 2001. Among his other popular works are Half Moon Investigations, The Wish List, The Supernaturalist, and Airman. His latest novel, Warp The Reluctant Assassin has been nominated for the CBI Book of the Year 2014.

[Via SF Site News.]

2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury and Nominees

In alternate years the International Board on Books for Young People presents its Hans Christian Andersen Awards to “a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature.”

IBBY has revealed the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award nominees and jury members.

For the 2014 Awards 29 authors and 31 illustrators have been nominated from 34 countries. 

  • Argentina: author María Cristina Ramos; illustrator Isol
  • Australia; author Nadia Wheatley; illustrator Ron Brooks
  • Austria: author Renate Welsh; illustrator Linda Wolfsgruber
  • Azerbaijan: author Sevinj Nurugizi
  • Belgium: author Frank Andriat; illustrator Carll Cneut
  • Brazil: author Joel Rufino dos Santos; illustrator Roger Mello
  • Canada: author Kenneth Oppel; illustrator Philippe Béha
  • China: author Hongying Yang; illustrator Liang Xiong
  • Croatia: illustrator Svjetlan Junakovi
  • Denmark: author Lene Kaaberbøl; illustrator Charlotte Pardi
  • Estonia: author Aino Pervik
  • Finland: author Kirsi Kunnas; illustrator Pekka Vuori
  • France: author Jean-Claude Mourlevat; illustrator François Place
  • Germany: author Mirjam Pressler; illustrator Rotraut Susanne Berner
  • Greece: author Sofia Madouvalou; illustrator Daniela Stamatiadi
  • Iran: author Houshang Moradi Kermani
  • Ireland: author Eoin Colfer; illustrator PJ Lynch
  • Italy: author Bianca Pitzorno; illustrator Fabian Negrin
  • Japan: author Nahoko Uehashi; illustrator Ken Katayama
  • Republic of Korea: author Jin-Kyung Kim; illustrator Byoung-Ho Han
  • Latvia: illustrator Reinis P?tersons
  • Netherlands: author Ted van Lieshout; illustrator Marit Törnqvist
  • Norway: author Bjørn Sortland; illustrator Øyvind Torseter
  • Portugal: author António Torrado; illustrator Teresa Lima
  • Russia: author Vladislav Krapivin; illustrator Igor Oleinikov
  • Serbia: author Ljubivoje Ršumovi?; illustrator Dobrosav Živkovi
  • Slovakia: author Daniel Hevier; illustrator Peter Uchnár
  • Slovenia: author Polonca Kova; illustrator Alenka Sottler
  • Spain: illustrator Javier Zabala
  • Sweden: illustrator Eva Lindström
  • Switzerland: illustrator Albertine
  • Turkey: author Serpil Ural; illustrator Saadet Ceylan
  • UK: author Jacqueline Wilson; illustrator John Burningham
  • USA: author Jacqueline Woodson; illustrator Bryan Collier

Congratulations to Eoin Colfer of Ireland, who has featured on File 770 before.

The award’s Jury President will guide the judging and preside over the jury meeting March 15-16, 2014.  The shortlist will be disseminated immediately following the meeting and the winners will be announced at the IBBY Press Conference at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on March 24, 2014.

Eoin Colfer at 2009 Wexworlds Library Talk

Eoin Colfer at 2009 Wexworlds Library Talk.

WexWorlds Saturday Report

Alexandra Drafilova at WexWorlds

Alexandra Drafilova at WexWorlds

By James Bacon: So as Ireland took it upon itself to deftly sink in parts, the phrase ‘grand soft day’ was rapidly replaced with ‘Jesus Mary, Mother of God.’

Saturday, Day two, began with a strong sun bitterly shinning down coldly on a damp Wexford. Nearby Enniscorthy was now  impassable.

Deterred, not the young Jedi of Wexford, I tell you.

You just cannot beat duct tape, plastic piping and foam, for shutting children up, yes the light sabre shenanigans was very popular. Especially exciting was the more violent football jersey wearing kid who decided he was going to single handedly murder everyone, I was impressed with his energy, so took him on myself, and enjoyed teaching him rubbish moves, that made perfect sense to both of us. Full House for the boys.

The library continued to be a good focus of support, Sarah Rees Brennan is an awesome girl, so delightful, and she is also very with it, her reading went well, while more serious discussions about weather comics are just for boys seemed to spark a lot of interest.

Of course, problems arise. Problemo 1 was a guest MIA. OK so it’s Wexford and its a festival, but the retort ‘one of our guests is missing’ made me laugh for a moment or two, but we must be serious now, and that’s not very professional is it…. ah well. They remain nameless…

Darren Shan was excellent, from Elephant and Castle, it was nice to chat with someone who knows where Croydon is, he is beyond nice, and was especially good with his younger fans and he writes out individual long inscriptions, tailored to the reader – awesome. He looks like a indie rock star, who might DJ of an evening, in a hoodie top, a stylish jacket and with curly hair and a real cheeky smile.

Dr. Emma now has a Wexford fan club, with the science of another thing well-attended, and children took every opportunity to run down to the stage to stare closer at her. Fascinated.

So one of our other guests, left his keys in his door, at the guest house, but they were missing, but feared that MIA guest may have taken them, the plot not so much thickened, as stewed.

I was unsure how a comic workshop would work out, but it filled to capacity (24 youths) and they made very good use of all the materials we brought along, is it natural that kids will attempt to up their game, when provided with professional equipment?

The big show of the day was Darren Shan and Eoin Colfer in conversation, they both read some, and it was a great ‘discussion’ the two of them are very funny, Eoin has the ability of a stand up comedian, and paired with Darren it was great laugh out loud laughter. Then they signed and signed and signed.

So a third guest reported that he had been ‘invaded’ in the middle of the night. MIA guest had apparently gained access to his room in the early hours, unclear how this was, or if door was unlocked, but the second time, guest 3, freaked a little, exited guest house and departed. Oh Dear.

So the Curator, arranged new accommodation and profusely apologised to Guest 3. Reimbursed emergency hotel accommodation and offered a received hug. All was well.

Time Travel, short stories and hitchhikers all proved very popular. Very impressed with Ian McDonald’s reading about confectionary, brilliant stuff.

But then came the cabaret.

Caca Millis Cabaret is a regular light entertainment evening, first off we had the hostess, looking French, singing Duke Ellington and Edith Piaf. Then we had a belly dancer with a sword, Alexandra Drafilova from the Khelashi Dancers, it was, well, we had to stop men and women running to the stage to be fascinated. Paul Creane was next, with Seamus, on mouth organ and occasional guitar accompaniment, Sarah Rees Brennan made everyone laugh with a short reading from her, book, and then a reading by Oran Ryan, one that was full of metaphor and insight, followed by some really great poetry readings (yes, I said that) by Patrick Chapman, I especially liked “Darwin’s Vampire,” “Saint Dracula” (which had everyone pissing themselves laughing) and his reading of his title poem, from his book A Shopping Mall on Mars, was very science fictional.

But then, there was something really rare and delightful. Eoin Colfer had said a few times during the day that he would be reading something that he had never read out loud before, something that most people did not even know about, something that he could never read to kids.

And so, he appeared on stage, with a book of crime stories, set in Dublin and deep hidden away in dark pages about Dublin, he read a story he had written. There was a Batman reference in the story, which drove the gathered crowd, who had been guffawing and laughing to cheering and it was very good, violent, dark, full of vulgarity and abuse and Dublinisms.

The weekend was made.

More music, Jacques Brel’s “The Port of Amsterdam,” and some amazing footage by a local teenager Chris O’Neil — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TywmpMQYojs — who was on stage, and due to the baying of the crowd, was forced to endure an encore and replaying.

Then, as things wound up, we had a humourous clip, and it went dark and quiet, and then we saw a man in an attic, scurrying nearly, being pursued, and a real hush befall the venue, and we saw Rick Deckard slip and fall and grip to a girder for dear life, and as Roy Batty saved his live a real tingle ran through the audience, and then, we all watched, and some even cried, as we watched what must be the best science fictional movie moment of al time.

No humour, no post modern ironic bull, no laughs, just the words as they were meant to be seen.

Not much could follow that, really, and the night shortly drew to a close.

WexWorlds Day 1

James Bacon writes that the first WexWorlds convention is under way in Wexford, Ireland:

Despite torrential weather and a cancelled ferry, I arrived in Wexford yesterday, to find all is well here.

The first event of the weekend, a talk by Eoin Colfer is full. 644 school children are booked in. Our second event a Library talk with Oisin McGann is also full to capacity.

Two clothes shops, Chemical Afflictions and Psychosis, both have free comics to give away, as does the library.

We were inundated with volunteers, of a variety of ages, which is good. Was on South East Radio yesterday with Eoin, and Darren Shan is on Morning Ireland this morning, a national radio programme.

So its all go.

Hitchcon 09

A gateshow celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first print appearance of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy takes place October 11 at London’s Southbank Centre.

The Guardian‘s announcement is appropriately less-than-reverent:

If you see large groups of middle-aged men carrying towels in the vicinity of London’s Southbank this weekend then you may be well advised to follow them. They have not have discovered a new local swimming pool, but will instead be heading for this celebration of the 30th anniversary of the publication of Douglas Adams’s legendary tome The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. 

Eoin Colfer will be there reading from his newly-released addition to the Hitchhiker series, And Another Thing… The original radio cast including Simon Jones and Mark Wing-Davey will perform a show ‘radio-style’ of excerpts from the original radio series. And attendees can order Pangalactic gargleblasters at the bar to anesthetize themselves at any point during this day-long commercial.