Pixel Scroll 8/4/20 Authors Pull Flashing Swords From
Story Stones

(1) SHATNER’S NOT SHOCKED. Ross A. Lincoln, “In Case You Were Wondering, William Shatner Knows Exactly What ‘Star Trek’ Slash Fiction Is” in The Wrap, says that someone thought she was blocked from Shat’s Twitter feed for making “Spirk”  (Spock/Kirk) slash fiction references, and Shat explained that he knew what slash fiction was, thought it hilarious, and noted that there are references to slash fiction in the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

(2) FINDING WOMEN HORROR WRITERS. “Weird Women:  The Forgotten Female Horror Writers of the 19th Century And Beyond” on CrimeReads is an excerpt from the introduction to a new anthology by Leslie S. Klinger and Lisa Morton (also called Weird Women, but with a different subtitle) of women who wrote supernatural fiction in the nineteenth century who the editors think are neglected and should be better known today.

…Yet there were women writing early terror tales—in fact, there were a lot of them. During the second half of the nineteenth century, when printing technologies enabled the mass production of cheap newspapers and magazines that needed a steady supply of material, many of the writers supplying that work were women. The middle classes were demanding reading material, and the plethora of magazines, newspapers, and cheap books meant a robust marketplace for authors. Women had limited career opportunities, and writing was probably more appealing than some of the other avenues open to them. Though the publishing world was male-dominated, writing anonymously or using masculine-sounding names (such as “M.E. Braddon”) gave women a chance to break into the market. It was also still a time when writers were freer than today’s writers to write work in a variety of both styles and what we now call genres. A prolific writer might pen adventure stories, romantic tales, domestic stories, mystery or detective fiction, stories of the supernatural—there were really no limits.

(3) INSURANCE FOR WRITERS. SFWA announcement:“Coalition of Eleven Book Industry Associations Launch Official Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP)”. Details at the link.

Today, a coalition of eleven book industry associations, including Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), launched the official Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP), an alliance with Lighthouse Insurance Group (LIG) Solutions designed to provide members from across the associations with a choice of health insurance options.

As of August 2020, official BIHIP coalition members include American Booksellers Association, American Society for Indexing, Authors Guild, Book Industry Study Group, Graphic Artists Guild, Horror Writers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, Novelists Inc., Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Inc., and Western Writers of America Inc….

(4) SECOND BLAST. The Dragon Awards website continues its Q&A with previous winners: “A Blast from the Past (Winners) – Part 2”.

So, your book comes out. At that time, what did you know about the Dragon Awards? Had you heard of them, and if so, how and what had you heard? How did you react when you found you were nominated?

Brian Niemeier: Oh, yes. I was well aware of the Dragon Awards from the day they were announced. The industry was in desperate need of a true readers’ choice award open to anyone, and I applauded the Dragons for meeting that need. Learning that Souldancer had been nominated confirmed that my writing efforts were worthwhile. It was like receiving the mandate of greater science fiction fandom.

Kevin Anderson: I’ve been aware of the Dragon Awards since the beginning, and I was thrilled as a fan and professional to know there was one award big enough to truly exemplify the feelings of a large pool of readers and voters. I had been soured on other awards because of politics and in-fighting, but the Dragon Awards really reflective of what readers like. Sarah and I were very thrilled to find out Uncharted had landed on the ballot.

SM Stirling: I’d heard of them and thought they were a good idea; the other major awards had become dominated by small cliques of the like-minded, and we needed a broad-based fan award. I’ve been going to Dragon Con for many years now — it’s my favorite con, full of youthful energy and like sticking your finger into a light socket, but in a -good- way. I was delighted to be nominated; you’re always in good company at the Dragons. Didn’t expect to win, though.

(5) TECH WRECK. Tim Maughan is interviewed by Brian Merchant in “The Man Whose Science Fiction Keeps Turning Into Our Shitty Cyberpunk Reality” on Medium.

.. Tim Maughan: I talk about surveillance to people who don’t think about surveillance all the time like I do and you do…And you walk in the house and they’ve got an Alexa. And you say, “I don’t like the Alexa because it’s a surveillance machine.” And they say to you, “Well, I haven’t got anything to hide. I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not a problem to me. It doesn’t matter if they’re listening to me. I’ve got nothing to hide.”

And it’s like, actually, the reason I dislike it isn’t the fact that I’m worried they might be listening to me now — it’s monitoring my behavior, and that’s what I’m worried about. I don’t care if it overhears what I say, or an algorithm is listening to it or even someone in an offshore call center. Even if they’re listening to it, that privacy thing isn’t what worries me. The issue that worries me is that they’re modeling my behavior, and they’re making judgments based on that, which might not be the right judgments for everybody. And they’re using that model to make decisions about people who aren’t even their users, too, or they’re using it to make decisions about their users.

It becomes a thing about like, well, okay, what information can we collect from Alexas about a neighborhood or just their Amazon use? What decisions can Amazon make geographically in physical spaces? This neighborhood in South Brooklyn, I used to live in, East Flatbush, it’s gentrified. And I’m sure Amazon can pull up a map of where all the Alexas are, where all their Amazon Prime accounts are and go, “Well, this is a neighborhood which is increasingly likely to be gentrified” — aka, more whites.

Tech workers are moving into the neighborhood. What can we do in that neighborhood for them? And suddenly you’re changing the nature of the neighborhood. …

(6) WOLFE TICKETS. At ReReading Wolfe, “Jack Dann talks about Gene Wolfe’s influence on the genre and his own Renaissance Man career”.

Jack Dann discusses Wolfe’s influence, on the writing process, on the New Wave, and on how he got his start.

(7) SOCIOLOGY OR ARCHEOLOGY? In case you haven’t heard enough about fandom in the Seventies this week… Hey, where did everybody go? James Davis Nicoll forwarded this link to Albert I. Berger’s paper “Science-Fiction Fans in Socio-Economic Perspective: Factors in the Social Consciousness of a Genre” in Science Fiction Studies (Nov. 1977), which analyzes the responses to 3,000 questionnaires distributed at the 1973 Worldcon in Toronto.

Since 1948, several different studies have been made of the demographic characteristics of science-fiction readers, most by the editors of the commercial science-fiction magazines seeking to determine the characteristics of their own readerships. The results of these, along with data collected at two recent science-fiction conventions, have been admirably collected and summarized by Charles Waugh, Carol-Lynn Waugh, and Edwin F. Libby of the University of Maine at Augusta, whose work this paper used throughout for purposes of comparison.2 This study, conducted at the 31st World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto, September, 1973, is offered against the historical perspective of these earlier studies. As the Waughs and Libby discovered, there are difficulties in applying the findings of this survey to the entire science-fiction audience, since it is impossible to know exactly in what ways, if any, people at a convention differ from those who did not attend. Certainly science-fiction fans themselves are divided into groups, with some, notably those primarily interested in film and television SF, and members of the cult following of the series Star Trek, under-represented at this convention (see tables 20 and 21 below). However, the numbers of people responding to the questionnaire, and the diversity of their involvement in science fiction beyond attendance at the convention, suggests that the picture of fans irelatively reliable for readers of science fiction as a whole and, if qualified for the greater affluence of those who could afford to travel to Toronto, is at least as reliable as such commonly accepted-with-qualifications measurements as the Gallup polls….

(8) COPYEDITING, THE GAME. The New Yorker signal boosts “Stet!, the Hot New Language Game”.

… Nitpickers by profession, we ran into a problem right away. The instructions for Stet! suggest that you “play with three or more players” (is that redundant?), and we had been unable, during the pandemic, to scare up a third nerd. The game of Stet! comprises two packs of cards with sentences on them, fifty of them Grammar cards with indisputable errors (dangling modifiers, stinking apostrophes, and homonyms, like horde/hoard and reign/rein) and fifty of them Style cards, on which the sentences are correct but pedestrian, and the object is to improve the sentence without rewriting it. There are trick cards with no mistakes on them. You might suspect that there is something wrong with (spoiler alert) “Jackson Pollock” or “asafetida” or “farmers market,” but these are red herrings. If you believe that the sentence is perfect just as it is, you shout “Stet!,” the proofreading term for “leave it alone” (from the Latin for “let it stand”), which is used by copy editors to protect an author’s prose and by authors to protect their prose from copy editors.

(9) PLAY NICELY. BBC says “Sony’s Spider-Man exclusive sparks backlash”.

The upcoming Marvel Avengers game has sparked a backlash after it was revealed that Spider-Man will only be in the PlayStation version.

Its developer said the web-slinger will be available as downloadable content (DLC) next year on one platform only.

The game will be released on 4 September across several platforms including PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Fans have suggested the move will see many players missing out on the game’s full experience.

Sony has owned the rights to Spider-Man since 1999.

However, the superhero has appeared in games on multiple consoles and PC over the years, including games based on The Amazing Spider-Man film and its 2014 sequel.

But one recent game, simply entitled Spider-Man, was a critically-acclaimed PlayStation 4 exclusive title.

Numerous fans shared their outrage on social media following the surprise announcement on Monday.

(10) MAY SETTLE IN SHIPPING. “Sales Of ‘Settlers Of Catan’ Skyrocket During Coronavirus Crisis”NPR demonstrates, and interviews the creator.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In the pandemic, board games are back. And as NPR’s Rob Schmitz reports, many people are turning to a classic one from Germany.

(SOUNDBITE OF DICE ROLLING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Eight.

ROB SCHMITZ, BYLINE: Eight again. More brick.

Family game night – we’ve done this a lot this year, thanks to the pandemic. And my family has dusted off Monopoly, Scrabble, but we usually settle on “Settlers Of Catan.”

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Two bricks for anything.

SCHMITZ: It’s a game of trade and development. Players compete for resources on an island and trade with each other in order to build settlements, cities and roads. The most successful developer wins.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Why in the world would I need brick?

SCHMITZ: Entrepreneurs love the game. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a fan, as is LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who plays the game in job interviews as a way to size up an applicant. In its 25th year, “Catan” has sold more than 32 million units. It’s one of the bestselling board games of all time.

…SCHMITZ: [Klaus] Teuber spoke with me over an old computer, and his voice sounded distant, so we asked one of our colleagues to read for him. He’s 68 now, and he’s just released his autobiography “My Way To Catan” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the game. Teuber was a dental technician, bored out of his mind by his job when he began creating games in his basement in the 1980s.

…SCHMITZ: And as families shelter in place, sales of “Catan” continue to climb. As the pandemic sent the global economy into a downward spiral, “Catan’s” sales skyrocketed by 144% for the first five months of this year. Teuber, whose two sons work for his company Catan Inc., says he still plays the game with his family, but he admits he’s not very good at it and that he rarely wins. He says what he enjoys most is playing it and being there with his family, something millions of other families are enjoying, too.

(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • August 4, 1992  — In the United Kingdom, The Lost World premiered. This is the third film made off the Doyle novel, the first being made in 1925. Another film would be made between these two in 1960, and four radio dramas would be as well. The 1944 one would have John Dickson Carr narrating and playing all parts, and the 1966 one would have Basil Rathbone as Professor Challenger. This film was directed by Timothy Bond and produced by Harry Alan Towers from a screenplay by Marion Fairfax. The primary cast was John Rhys-Davies, Eric McCormack, David Warner and Tamara Gorski whole character replaced that of Lord Roxton. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a twelve percent rating. 

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 4, 1792 – Percy Shelley.  This great poet wrote in our sphere, e.g. AdonaisPrometheus UnboundThe Triumph of Life, the novel St. Irvyne.  What about “Ozymandias”?  David Bratman, what’s this I hear about “The Marriage of King Elessar and Arwen Undómiel” appearing over his name in a Sep 82 issue of The New Tolkien Review?  I can’t get at it or I’d look instead of asking you.  (Died 1822) [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1869 – Evelyn Sharp.  For us a score of short stories, mostly collected in All the Way to Fairyland and The Other Side of the Sun; one novel (a dozen more of those).  At that time there were both suffragettes and suffragists; she was vital.  (Died 1955) [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1924 – Gumarcindo Rocha Dorea, 96.  Brazilian writer, editor, publisher.  His GRD Edições alternated translations with work by local writers, beginning in 1958 with Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet and in 1960 Eles herdarão a Terra (Portuguese, “They shall inherit the Earth”) by Dinah Silveira de Queiroz.  Edited Antologia brasileira de ficção cientifica (1961), first local anthology of only Brazilian authors.  His enterprise continued despite Brazilian politics and what Roberto de Sousa Causo calls a terminal inability to make money.  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1933 – Thé Tjong-Khing, 87.  There are nine and sixty ways of transliterating Chinese these days, and every single one of them is right.  He’s an Indonesian Chinese from Java living in the Netherlands.  Illustrator.  Likes Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Stan Drake’s Heart of Juliet Jones, Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates.  He’s worked in that style, but see hereherehere – a thumbnailsworth of a long productive career.  Three Golden Brush prizes, Woutertje Pieterse prize, Max Velthuijs prize.  Website here (in Dutch).  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1937 David Bedford. Composer who worked with Ursula K Le Guin to produce and score her Rigel 9 album which the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says is ‘a work that is musically pleasant although narratively underpowered.’ I’ve not heard it, so cannot say how accurate this opinion is.) (Died 2011.) (CE)
  • Born August 4, 1941 Martin Jarvis, 79. He makes three appearances on Doctor Who over twenty years. Hilio, captain of Menoptra, in “The Web Planet”, a First Doctor story.  He later is the scientist Dr. Butler in “Invasion of the Dinosaurs”, a Third Doctor story, and as the governor of the planet Varos in “Vengeance on Varos”, a Sixth Doctor story. He also voiced Alfred Pennyworth in the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham Adylum which is the real Suicide Squad film. (CE)
  • Born August 4, 1950 Steve Senn, 70. Here because of his Spacebread duology, Spacebread and Born of Flame. Spacebread being a large white cat known throughout the galaxy as an adventuress and a rogue. He’s also written the comic novels, Ralph Fozbek and the Amazing Black Hole Patrol and Loonie Louie Meets the Space Fungus. (CE) 
  • Born August 4 – Taras Wolansky.  Persevering contributor to AboriginalAlexiadFOSFAXThe MT VoidNY Review of SFSF ChronicleScience Fiction & Fantasy Book ReviewSF Review.  Good at asking questions, like “If he had been, would he have done anything differently?” Never mind that I’d leave off the last two letters.  We’ve met in person, which is more than I can say for some people I know.  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1961 Lauren Tom, 59. Voice actress for our purposes. She shows up on Superman: The Animated Series voicing Angela Chen. From there on, she was Dana Tan in Batman Beyond and several minor roles on Pinky and the BrainFuturama is her biggest series to date where she voices Amy and Inez Wong. (CE)
  • Born August 4, 1969 Fenella Woolgar, 51. Agatha Christie in “The Unicorn and The Wasp” episode of Doctor Who where she more than capably played off against David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. Her only other genre was as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. (CE) 
  • Born August 4, 1961 – Andreas Findig.  It’s possible to be a Perry Rhodan author and an absurdist; he was.  Six PR novels; two short stories and a novella Gödel geht tr. as “Gödel’s Exit” which may be impossible.  (Died 2018)  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1981 Meghan, the former Duchess of Sussex, 39. Yes, she’s done a genre performance or so. To be precise, she showed up on Fringe in the first two episodes of the second season (“A New Day in the Old Town” and “Night of Desirable Objects” as Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup. She was also in the  “First Knight” episode of Knight Rider as Annie Ortiz, and Natasha in “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Lose” on Century City, a series you likely never heard of. (CE) 

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Argyle Sweater finds working at home can be inconvenient.
  • Lio helps prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

(14) OH MY GOD, YOU’RE FROM THE SIXTIES. In the new episode of Two Chairs Talking, “Translations, transforms and traumas”, David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss discuss ConNZealand and the 2020 Hugo Awards, then take the Hugo Time Machine back to the very interesting year of 1963, when The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick won Best Novel, and “The Dragon Masters” by Jack Vance won Best Short Fiction.

(15) KEEPING SCORE. Lyndsey Parker, in the Yahoo! Music story “‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ composer Danny Elfman assumed he’d never work in Hollywood again: ‘I thought the score would get thrown out'”, looks at how Danny Elfman began writing film scores 35 years ago with Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and discusses how Elfman got into film music responding to a challenge from his brother and then explains why he is Tim Burton’s preferred choice for writing scores.

…Elfman’s Pee-wee score, with its goofy oompah riffs, Looney Tunes references, and frenetic pacing, was a wild and whimsical ride; created with Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek, it became one of the most instantly recognizable scores in ‘80s cinema. Elfman acknowledges that he quickly became the movie and TV industry’s go-to “quirky comedy guy” — for instance, Matt Groening later enlisted him to compose the Simpsons theme song. It was a label that was tough for Elfman to shed when he was hired by skeptical producers to compose an uncharacteristically darker-sounding score for Burton’s Batman, four years after Pee-wee. But it turns out the most skeptical person in Hollywood was Elfman himself.

(16) TUBULAR, MAN! See “The Roman Empire’s Roads In Transit Map Form”.

Unless you’re a historian or map buff, interpreting a map of the Roman Empire can be a daunting exercise. Place names are unfamiliar and roads meander across the landscape making it difficult to see the connections between specific cities and towns.

Today’s visualization, by Sasha Trubetskoy, has mashed-up two enduring obsessions – transit maps and Ancient Rome – to help us understand the connection between Rome and its sprawling empire.

At the height of the Roman Empire, there were approximately 250,000 miles (400,000 km) of roads, stretching from Northern England to Egypt and beyond. This impressive network is what allowed Rome to exercise control and communicate effectively over such a large territory….

(17) I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Louise McCreesh, in “Game of Thrones’s George RR Martin Accused of Making Racially and Sexually Insensitive Comments At Awards Show” on Digital Spy would only be interesting because she includes the words “in a post on File 770” and links to F770 which is the first time I have ever seen this on a random item in the Yahoo! news feed.

(18) THEY MADE A LITTLE MISTAKE. Meanwhile, Hampus Eckerman emailed to tell me, “You got promoted!” when he saw this passage in io9’s article “George R.R. Martin Responds to Accusations of Hugo Awards Racism, Apologizes for Mispronouncing Names”. (Their link for “the comment section” is to File 770.)

…In response to the criticisms of his hosting—a number of people have described it overall as racist—Martin took to the comment section of the Hugos’ official website to comment rather than his often used personal blog.

Wow. I thought io9 writers were supposed to know fandom better than that.

(19) NOW ON A MOON OF SATURN. Mad Genius Club has revamped its site design. Looks good! Or maybe I’m just a sucker for sky blue at the top of a page….

(20) SPACE CAMP SAVED. With large donations from several companies—as well as many individual donations—the USS&RC has achieved its minimum $1.5 million goal. WAFF 48 reports “New donation pushes US Space & Rocket Center past fundraising goal”.

 A $250,000 donation from Science Applications International Corporation has pushed the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s “Save Space Camp” campaign over its initial goal just one week after the effort launched.

The campaign began July 28 with the hope of raising a minimum of $1.5 million to sustain museum operations and to be able to reopen Space Camp in April 2021.

…The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the Rocket Center, which closed March 13, 2020, in keeping with state health orders intended to combat the surge in coronavirus cases. The museum reopened in late May, but with far fewer than normal visitors. Space Camp did not reopen until June 28, and then with only 20 percent of its usual attendance. With limited admission from international students and school groups this fall and winter, Space Camp will again close for weeklong camp programs in September.

The Space & Rocket Center is continuing to ask for support for the campaign. For more information and to make a donation, visit savespacecamp.com.

(21) EVERYBODY FIGHTS, NOBODY QUIPS! [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Starship Troopers (ft. Casper Van Dien)” on YouTube, the Screen Junkies take on the 1997 film “not at all based in the classic sci-fi novel” featuring soldiers whose bodies pulse “with the repulsive green goo they use to make Monster Energy” drinks.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Darrah Chavey, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

When You Fall Off the Internet, You Have to Get Right Back On

[Editor’s Note: Twenty years ago I reprinted Bill Bowers’ catalog of online fanac, Fan Basic 101, in an issue of File 770. As a companion piece, I wrote about my own experiences as a novice website creator. They now make a rather nostalgic set of confessions.]

By Mike Glyer: If you have to write your own HTML code, designing a web page is a lot like being forced to solve one of those word problems that starts “if a train leaves Baltimore at 50 miles per hour.” On the other hand. I’ve always used Microsoft Publisher and I feel the experience combines the best features of building blocks and finger-painting, with no tidying afterwards.

I started out like an Internet neo, searching for free icons, copying blinky lights, culling through hundreds of animated GIFs, and thieving other pages’ colorful backgrounds. Naturally, I also spent hours selecting a  free hit counter.

A link on CompuServe’s Ourworld (which hosts my web page) led me to a suite of icons created from photographs of the nine planets as seen from space. They are very well crafted, and float beautifully on a mottled gray background reminiscent of a lunar landscape. I made them the thematic elements of my main page.

Somewhere else I found three sets of animated red, yellow and green console lights that blink at slow, frequent, and rapid speeds. Every article about web page design warns against loading a page with too many animated files and blinking lights. Because “too many” is not a numerical limit, I am free to assume that the ten or twelve blinky lights I’ve used as hyperlinks to news stories is not “too many.”

Once I had my web page set up, I wanted it to be easy for you to read and use. My first concern was the address:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mglyer/f770/index.html

Try getting anyone to type a 55-character address! One solution is getting other web pages to link to mine. Then, the only person who ever has to type the address correctly is the other webmaster. Chaz Boston Baden and the Chicon 2000 page have sent some of you my way. I’d like to set up reciprocal links with more fannish web pages. 

I’ve also thought about how to get a shorter URL. The obvious way is to register my own domain and pay to have it hosted on a server. Domain registration costs about $70 for the first two years. At that price I have to ask, for the number of hits I’m going to get, does it make more sense to pay for my own domain, or just send each of you a dollar bill with a polite request to look at the site?

Another way to get a shorter URL is by going through someone else’s domain. Charlie, how about — www.locusmag.com/file770….?

Or maybe I can go in with a local group. SCIFI wants to set up a web page to get some good publicity. Shaun Lyon offered to handle the whole thing for us through Network Solutions. His own “Dr. Who” pages are getting 12,000 hits a day. Hearing that, I darned near left the meeting to drive home and add some  “Dr. Who” stuff to my site.

But no. If the sole object was to reach the maximum number of people, it would have made the most sense to convert File 770 to an e-mailed zine. The medium’s practically free. The audience is still there — most, if by no means all, fans get e-mail. Best of all, fans will immediately read something delivered to them, whereas many will never get around to browsing a fannish web page, or necessarily look at one more than once. Despite the advantages I’m not going to do that. Developing layouts that flow text and art together is something I enjoy too much to give up editing a paper fanzine. Designing a web page involves the same pleasures, and adds new dimensions of color, animation, sound and mutability.

As yet, a faned can’t use e-mail to achieve all he can do on a web page. The culture of e-mail use, more than technology, is the main barrier to distributing documents with the same level of design complexity found on a web page. Any use of graphics rapidly increases a document’s size, and fans don’t seem to appreciate receiving unsolicited 400K e-mails. (Bill Bowers handles this by sending a notice that his e-zine is available for you to request.) There are also some technical limits. A document’s layout is unlikely to remain stable if it is read by a different program than created it. And megabyte-sized files will be rejected by the filters on some services.

So for the time being, I’m investing my energy in a web page, and keeping it consistent with the purpose of the paper File 770,  not adding any Doctor Who stuff. Of course, I want more people to read it.  I assume that when I mail out 325 copies of File 770, 325 people read it. What if I actually knew the truth, the way I know how many readers access my web page? In fact, the number on my hit counter hasn’t changed since last Thursday. Odd how that little counter subverts everything. Suddenly, I don’t need LoCs, I don’t need contributions — I need a big number! I want to win! How can I tap the power of the Internet to draw an audience and shift my counter into overdrive?

I heard there were free services that promote web pages. A search on Altavista promptly retrieved a list of 14. The first one I looked at – SelfPromotion.com — worked so satisfactorily I’ve made no comparisons. SelfPromotion.com is an easy-to-use, free site with extensive and intelligent coverage of search engines and indexes.

It’s even fun to use. SelfPromotion.com’s designer believes – correctly – that users will disdain the simplest instructions and blunder ahead, filling in blanks on the computerized forms with their unenlightened best guesses. So the designer steers us to a tutorial cleverly written as a dialogue between himself and his 6-year-old son. The tutorial proceeds as if we adults were looking over little James Ueki’s shoulder as he learns how to make Dad’s site promote his first web page:

“At first, James wants to use the account name ‘Anakin Skywalker,’ but after Dad explains who Anakin grows up to be, James (unimaginatively) decides to use his name as his account name, and his nickname (‘jkun’ is Japanese for ‘jimmy’) as his password. Dad will have to talk to him about choosing an unguessable password later!”

Fellows like Dad and I are too grown-up to need instructions ourselves, of course, but I closely watch little Jimmy’s progress so that I won’t be embarrassed by making any errors he’s managed to avoid. Along the way I pick up a lot of good information about the differences between a search engine and an index, what they’re looking for and strategies to optimize a page for selection.

He makes Yahoo sound like the grail for anyone trying to increase traffic on their website. He says that Yahoo is selective and it helps a page get listed if it has won some legitimate awards. So my first thought was to go back to the ISP that hosts my page, CompuServe’s “Ourworld,” and apply for consideration as Ourworld’s  Site-of-the-Day.

Within hours of getting my e-mail, they notified me that my page had been “suspended.” They sternly reminded me about the three cardinal rules Ourworld homepages must obey: (1) they can’t violate copyright, (2) they can’t post pornography, and (3) they can’t carry on a business. I hadn’t done (1) or (2). That left (3). I knew this was about the subscription rates in the colophons. So I spent a couple of hours finding and deleting the subscription info and reloading the page. The authorities did not trouble me again.

I may never get listed on Yahoo, but I did become CompuServe Out-of-Sight for a day.
Meantime, the SelfPromotion.com robots are doing their work. I’ve been listed on at least one search engine. Where? I’ll give you a hint.

People on the island of Vanuatu can’t brag very often about having something North America lacks. Now added to that very short list is getting the File 770 web page indexed on Matilda, their local Internet portal. The Matilda search engine has a series of portal pages tailored for users throughout the South Pacific, including Vanuatu, though Australia and New Zealand probably account for most of their traffic. Matilda added File 770‘s page to its index within two days of submission, a decision encouraged by the frequent mention of “Australia” in stories about the latest Worldcon. Until Altavista, Excite, and perhaps the big prize, Yahoo!, catch up with Matilda’s leadership, fan(s) on Vanuatu will have a lot easier time searching for the File 770 web page than most of you.

But please keep trying!

[The only place you can see that old website anymore isn’t on Vanuatu but at the Internet Archive.]

2020 Locus Awards Shortlist

The 2020 Locus Awards finalists have been posted at Locus Online. See the full list at the link, but here’s one category of particular interest!

MAGAZINE

  • Analog
  • Asimov’s
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Clarkesworld
  • F&SF
  • File 770
  • Lightspeed
  • Strange Horizons
  • Tor.com
  • Uncanny

Winners will be announced June 27, 2020 at the virtual Locus Awards Weekend; Connie Willis will MC the awards ceremony. Additional weekend events are planned. Supporting/virtual memberships are available and come with a Locus t-shirt.

Walter Day Will Debut SF Trading Cards at 2020 Balticon

Walter Day, the trading card creator who also celebrates video games and historical figures, has announced that Balticon will host his 2020 Science Fiction Trading Card Award Ceremony on Saturday, May 23 at 2 p.m. Day will unveil the newest cards in the Science Fiction Series and present ornate awards to worthy honorees who have contributed greatly to the global science fiction culture.

In recent years this ceremony has been conducted at WorldCon 74 (Kansas City), WorldCon 75 (Helsinki, Finland), WorldCon 76 (San Jose) as well as smaller ceremonies at the last five years of the Nebula Awards Weekend.

This year’s awards ceremony will be held at Balticon 54, which is the annual Maryland Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention put on by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Here are some of the trading cards that will be unveiled during these ceremonies and given away as free gifts to the attendees at the event. I thank Walter for including my card in this release!

(Note: Day says he has already corrected the spelling of Leibowitz, but he hasn’t posted the new art.)

Day has held his ceremony in conjunction with major cons and events over the past several years. Card #65 (author C. J Cherryh) was presented on the stage during the 2016 Nebula Awards weekend festivities, in Chicago, IL. Card #34 (author Robert Silverberg) was among many presented on the stage during the Grand Masters Talk at the 2016 WorldCon, in Kansas City, MO. On Saturday, May 18, 2019, at the 2019 SFWA Nebula Awards Conference in Los Angeles, Science Fiction Historical Trading Card #211 was presented to William Gibson — the author of Neuromancer — as part of the ceremonies that enshrined him as the 2019 SFWA Damon Knight Grand Master of Science Fiction.

Here is a link to the full gallery of the 182 Science Fiction Historical Trading Cards already in print.

Day first gained fame as a video arcade owner and for his work certifying video game achievements for the Guinness Book of Records. He is widely recognized as the inspiration for Mr. Litwak, the beloved arcade owner in Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph animated film released in November 2012.

Ready Player One author Ernest Cline says Walter Day (along with Twin Galaxies arcade and Billy Mitchell) were the inspiration for writing his story in 2011, later adapted for the screen by Steven Spielberg.

[Card art reproduced with permission.]

Filers at Worldcon — A Schedule

By Hampus Eckerman: Now that the Dublin 2019 Worldcon Program has arrived, I have tried to compile all schedule with all appearances of Filers. I might have missed some, especially when I can’t remember what names they have apart from the nick, so there might be gaps. Please enter a comment here if I have missed you.

I also added the main events that I expect a lot of Filers will be at, and thus not good for meetups (Opening Ceremonies, Business Meeting, Masquerade, Hugos, Closing Ceremony).

After having reviewed these schedules, my proposal for Filer meetups are the following:

First Filers Almost Sleeping on SFF Meetup

Thursday 15:th of August, 18:00

I will try to find out the best place for the meetup, somewhere in the convention center (or extremely close nearby). This should be a good place to meet to go to the Opening Ceremonies together for those that haven’t already made arrangement with other fans. Or go and have a snack together before.

Filer Live Action Pixel Scroll Meetup

Saturday 17:th of August, 17:30 – 19:30

There will still be a collision with some filer panels here, but it is a hard time to find a gap where no one is occupied. I will try to book something as close as possible to the convention center.  We can do a meetup in the convention center and walk together.

Thursday 15th of August

  • 10:00 – 10:50      Fanzines Now!     Greg Hullender
  • 11:00 – 11:50      Is it about a bicycle? The influences of a comedic genius     Nicholas Whyte, Nigel Quinlan
  • 11:00 – 11:50      Crime and punishment in the age of superheroes     Chris M. Barkley
  • 11:30 – 12:20      Introduction to working with leather     Ingvar Mattsson
  • 12:00 – 12:50      A musical history of swedish fandom    Karl-Johan Norén
  • 13:00 – 13:50      Non-English language SFF television     Cora Buhlert
  • 13:00 – 13:50      Reading     Jo Walton  
  • 13:00 – 13:50      Evolution of Fanzines     Jerry Kaufman
  • 13:30 – 14:20      Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker     Liz Bourke
  • 14:00 – 14:50      Sports in science fiction and fantasy     Chris M. Barkley
  • 14:00 – 14:50      Dragons and debutantes: fantasy set in the Regency     Heather Rose Jones
  • 15:30 – 17:20      Speed crafting – session 1     Cora Buhlert
  • 15:30 – 16:20      How to Manage Finite Natural Resources     Nigel Quinlan
  • 16:00 – 16:50      ‘Celtic’ Fantasy and Mythology     Kathryn Sullivan
  • 16:00 – 17:50      Mark Protection Committee (MPC) meeting     Kevin Standlee
  • 16:30 – 17:20      Armour and armour-making     Ingvar Mattsson
  • 17:00 – 17:50      Literary Beer: Ellen Datlow     Ellen Datlow
  • 17:00 – 17:50      Is Literary Escapism Good for Kids?     Nigel Quinlan
  • 18:00 – 18:50      Talking Animal Characters in SFF     Lise Andreason
  • 20:00 – 20:50      Introduction to hopepunk     Jo Walton
  • 20:00 – 21:50      Opening Ceremonies, featuring the 1944 Retro Hugo Awards 

Friday 16th of August

  • 10:00 – 12:50      WSFS Business Meeting: preliminary
  • 10:00 – 10:50      Autographs     Jo Walton
  • 10:30 – 11:20      Star Trek: Discovery season 3     Liz Bourke
  • 11:30 – 12:20      So you want to enter the Masquerade?     Kevin Roche
  • 10:30 – 11:20      Autographs     Catherynne Valente
  • 12:00 – 12:50      Bridging the language barrier: translated SFF     Cheryl Morgan
  • 13:00 – 13:50      Sharp storytelling     Ingvar Mattsson
  • 15:00 – 15:50      Introduction to SFF romance     Cora Buhlert
  • 15:00 – 15:50      How to create anthologies     Ellen Datlow
  • 16:00 – 16:50      Using SFF as sandboxes for ideas on politics and society     Nicholas Whyte 
  • 16:30 – 16:50      Reading     Catherynne Valente
  • 17:00 – 17:50      Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading     Kathryn Sullivan
  • 17:00 – 17:50      Autographs     Ellen Datlow
  • 19:00 – 19:50      Hugo finalists discussion: Best Dramatic Presentation     Olav Rokne
  • 20:00 – 20:50      Anniversary: The Left Hand of Darkness (book)     Cheryl Morgan

Saturday 17th of August

  • 10:00 – 10:50      Revolutions in an era of advanced technology     Catherynne Valente
  • 10:00 – 11:00      Masquerade contestant briefing     Kevin Roche
  • 10:00 – 12:50      WSFS Business Meeting: main session
  • 11:00 – 11:50      Critics talk 2018: the year in books     Liz Bourke
  • 12:00 – 12:50      Building the SFF community online     Heather Rose Jones
  • 13:00 – 13:50      Kaffeeklatsch     Catherynne Valente
  • 13:30 – 14:20      The global multiverse: the comics scene worldwide     Cora Buhlert
  • 13:30 – 14:20      Re-imagining national epics     Jo Walton
  • 14:00 – 14:50      Young adults versus… the world!     Catherynne Valente
  • 15:00 – 15:50      Changing climates, changing world     Olav Rokne
  • 15:30 – 16:20      Robots before RUR     Cheryl Morgan
  • 16:00 – 16:50      Group Reading: Speculative Performance Poetry     Nigel Quinlan
  • 16:00 – 17:50      Fan Funds Auction     Jerry Kaufman
  • 17:00 – 17:50      Tall technical tales     Ingvar Mattsson
  • 17:00 – 17:50      Horror: where are we going?     Ellen Datlow
  • 17:00 – 17:50      Kaffeeklatsch     Jo Walton
  • 20:00 – 22:00      Masquerade 
  • 21:00 – 21:50      Panel show: ‘That was unexpected!’     Catherynne Valente 

Sunday 18th of August

  • 10:00 – 10:50      What I read when I was young     Catherynne Valente
  • 10:00 – 12:50      WSFS Business Meeting: Site Selection
  • 10:00 – 10:50      Autographs      Heather Rose Jones
  • 10:00 – 10:50      Down the Rabbit Hole: The Appeal of Portal Fantasy     Kathryn Sullivan
  • 11:00 – 11:50      Orville vs. Discovery     Lise Andreason
  • 11:00 – 11:50      How Science and Ordinary People Can Change the Future     Rich Lynch
  • 13:30 – 14:20      Get us out of the Twilight Zone: the work of Jordan Peele     Chris M. Barkley
  • 14:00 – 14:50      Ditch Diggers podcast: live recording     Ursula Vernon
  • 15:00 – 15:50      Breaking into short horror fiction markets     Ellen Datlow
  • 15:00 – 15:50      Autographs     Kathryn Sullivan
  • 15:30 – 16:00      Children’s singalong / filking session     Karl-Johan Norén
  • 15:30 – 16:20      Behind the seams of the Masquerade     Kevin Roche
  • 15:30 – 16:20      Fan podcasts     Heather Rose Jones
  • 16:00 – 16:50      Using science in fantasy writing     Jo Walton
  • 16:00 – 16:50      Origins of Irish Fandom     Jerry Kaufman
  • 17:30 – 18:20      Parents and children in fandom     Karl-Johan Norén
  • 20:00 – 22:00      The 2019 Hugo Awards Ceremony

Monday 19th of August

  • 10:00 – 12:50      WSFS Business Meeting
  • 10:00 – 10:50      No, what do you mean by AI?     Kevin Roche 
  • 10:30 – 11:20      Irish science and scientific discoveries     Nicholas Whyte
  • 11:00 – 11:50      Breaking the Glass Slipper podcast: live recording     Jo Walton
  • 11:00 – 11:50      Kaffeeklatsch     Liz Bourke
  • 13:30 – 14:20      Challenges in men’s costume     Kevin Roche
  • 13:30 – 13:50      Reading     Heather Rose Jones
  • 16:30 – 17:20      Irish Myths and Legends for Children     Nigel Quinlan
  • 16:30 – 17:20      Closing Ceremonies

[Update 08/05/2019: Added Filer schedule items.]

File 770 Gatherings at Worldcon 76


By Rick Moen: Two File 770 gatherings near Worldcon 76 are planned so far — the evenings of Thursday, August 16 and Friday, August 17.

Thursday:

6:30 p.m. onwards (at end of Opening Ceremonies), starting at
Forager Tasting Room & Eatery
420 S 1st Street, S. of W. San Salvador Street
http://sjforager.com/
(408) 831-2433

Rick Moen (me, the organizer) will be walking there from Opening Ceremonies (Forager being just over a block east). Look for a tall guy wearing a Panama hat, if you want to tag along.

Forager is a cavernous but non-noisy place for local beers and ciders, with light food offerings (not full meals; Filer Charon D. described these as ‘kale salad and sandwiches and things’) and long tables, so a big Filer crowd can gather and converse. On Thursdays, like many San Jose establishments, Forager closes at 8 p.m.: I figure many attendees will wish to reconvene, then or earlier, to one or more nearby restaurant, so I’ll have a map and list of suggestions, including Bo Town, a Chinese family-style restaurant with some Vietnamese dishes, on the same block as Forager and open daily to 10pm.

Bo Town Chinese Restaurant
409 S. 2nd Street, S. of W. San Salvador Street
http://www.botown-sanjose.com/
(408) 295-2125

Friday:

7 p.m. onwards at
Back A Yard Caribbean Grill
80 N Market Street, north of W. Santa Clara Street
http://www.backayard.net/
(408) 294-8626

This restaurant offering amazing Jamaican food is 850 metres north of the convention centre (1/2 mile), about five blocks up Market Street, and a short walks from both the Santa Clara Station and St. James Station VTA light-rail stops. Tables are big enough, it’s not too noisy, and it probably won’t be crowded. Friday, it’s open to 9pm. It’s not fancy, being all about the excellent cooking.

Steve Davidson has kindly offered the Amazing Stories Magazine booth (which I assume will be in the Dealers’ Room) as a place to meet and leave messages.

Interested in calling an additional File770 gathering? Good! Please send details to Mike Glyer (mikeglyer(at)cs(dot)com), and then I assume he’ll update this posting.

Rick Moen can be SMSed or voice-called on his mobile at +1 (650) 283-7902.

Filers on Worldcon 76 Program

Compiled by Hampus Eckerman: I tried to write down a schedule of all filers that are part of programming on Worldcon.

If you’re a commenter or a lurker here, and you’d like to have your programming items added to this list, please comment below or send an e-mail to mikeglyer [at] cs [dot] com.

Thursday:

14:00 Kevin Standlee: WSFS Mark Protection Committee Meeting
15:00 Gideon Marcus: Beyond Yaoi: Trends in LGBTQ+ Representation in Anime & Manga
15:00 Chris M. Barkley: A Short History of the YA Award Category
16:00 John Hertz: My First Worldcon
16:00 Douglas Berry, Gideon Marcus: How Gaming is Important to Fandom

Friday:

08:00 Adam Rakunas: Wrun With Writers
08:00 Cat Rambo: SFWA Business Meeting
09:00 Steve Davidson, Greg Hullender: Stroll With The Stars
10:00 Gideon Marcus: The Art and Craft of Anthology Curation
11:00 Ann Leckie: Pronouns Matter — Gender Courtesy for Fans
11:00 John Hertz: Classics of SciFi: The Sword of Rhiannon
11:00 Cat Rambo: Successfully Negotiating Book Contracts
11:00 Bill Higgins: The Myth of the Astronaut – Who Are the Space Cadets of Yesterday,
Today, and Tomorrow?
13:00 Ann Leckie: Kaffeeklatsch
13:00 James Bacon: Future WSFS Conventions
13:00 Gideon Marcus: Come Time Travel With Me
14:00 Heather Rose Jones: Autographs
15:00 Cat Rambo: What Can SFWA Offer Me
15:00 Ann Leckie: Autographs
16:00 Gregory Benford: Commentary on “Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future”
16:00 Greg Hullender: Evolution of the Fanzine
17:00 Ctein: Kaffeeklatsch
17:00 Gregory Benford: Autographs
19:00 Adam Rakunas: Reading

God Stalk Bonus: 17:00 PC Hodgell: Autographs

Saturday:

10:00 John Hertz: Classics of SciFi: A Mirror For Observers
12:00 Gregory Benford: Kaffeeklatsch
12:00 Lee Whiteside: 25 Years of Babylon 5
13:00 Ann Leckie: Reading: Hugo Finalists – Best Novel
13:00 Cat Rambo: Autographs
13:00 James Bacon: Eurovision: A Science Fictional Spectacular Spectacle
14:00 Chris M. Barkley: In Memoriam: Harlan Ellison
15:00 Cat Rambo: Chasing Shadows: Living in Our Transparent Society
16:00 Heather Rose Jones: Reading: Escape Artists reading
16:00 Ctein: Geek Identity, Policing, and Gatekeeping
17:00 Gregory Benford: Chasing Shadows: Living in Our Transparent Society
17:00 Greg Hullender: Author vs Fan Ownership
17:00 Ursula Vernon: SFF Middle-Grade: Parameters and Opportunities
17:00 Douglas Berry: Veteran’s Roundtable
20:00 John Hertz: Masquerade

God Stalk Bonus 2: 16:00 PC Hodgell: In For the Long Haul: The Ups and Downs of Writing a Long Series

Sunday:

10:00 John Hertz: Classics of SciFi: Red Planet
10:00 Heather Rose Jones, Lisa Goldstein: Mythogenesis
11:00 Ctein: Autographs
11:00 Douglas Berry: Fandom as a Method of Cultural Adaptation
12:00 Heather Rose Jones: Podcasts? Can’t Be THAT Hard…
12:00 Steve Davidson: Overcoming Fannish Factions
13:00 Gideon Marcus: The Future You Imagine is the Future You Get
15:00 Greg Hullender: Getting Zoomed! Virtual Technology on the Rise
15:00 Bill Higgins: So You Want To Build A Science Fictional Device
16:00 John Hertz: Regency Dancing
17:00 Ursula Vernon: Recommended Reading in Webcomics
17:00 Lisa Goldstein: Autographs
17:00 Bill Higgins: The Impact of Evolutionary Theory on 19th Century Science Fiction

Monday:

12:30 Kevin Standlee: WSFS Mark Protection Committee Meeting
15:00 James Bacon: Closing Ceremonies