(1) NASFIC FAN FUND AUCTION. Michael J. Lowrey makes a last-minute appeal: We still need items for auction pretty desperately: books, fanzines, tuckerizations, fannish memorabilia, whatever, for the Virtual FanFund Auction at the virtual NASFIC on Facebook.” Post items there. The auction starts Friday. Lowrey says —
An auction item post should include the following:
Please note that if your Fan Fund Auction Donation requires shipping, you are expected to pay for that shipping as an additional donation. If you wish to restrict shipping to your home country, say so up front.
This is a Silent Fan Fund Auction, to be held on behalf of TAFF (the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, http://taff.org.uk/), GUFF (the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund, https://taff.org.uk/guff.html), DUFF (the Down Under Fan Fund, https://downunderfanfund.wordpress.com/), and LAFF (The Latin American Fan Fund). These funds serve to enable fans to travel to other countries and continents to attend their major conventions and meet the local fans, people they may know only from letter columns, email, or chatty websites. And to get it all done, the funds depend on contributions of fans like you… and, of course, benefit auctions.
This is your chance to pick up any number of interesting things… art, books, fanzines, pulp magazines, t-shirts, things that somehow involve cats… the opportunity to be “Tuckerized” into a work of fiction… or other peculiar or “fannish” stuff.
Donations for the fan fund auction will be accepted via posts to this event, and we also accept monetary donations via paypal to email@example.com. If you would like the proceeds from your auction donation to go to a particular fan fund, indicate that in your post. The proceeds from donations without designations will be evenly split between the fan funds.
(2) SHIELDS UP. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Chris Lindahl, in the Indiewire story “Embroiled In A Legal Battle, Nichelle Nichols’ Family Seeks GoFundMe Help For Star Trek Icon”, says that Nichols’s son, Kyle Johnson, is suing her manager, Gilbert Bell, saying that Bell is taking advantage of Nichols’s infirmity to abuse her fortune. Nichols was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and had a stroke in 2015. The GoFundMe campaign which has raised $64,760 of its $100,000 goal is under “Shields Up Nichelle Nichols.”
Now allegedly suffering from dementia, Nichelle Nichols, 87, who played Uhura on the original “Star Trek” in the late 1960s, is embroiled in an ongoing legal battle involving her manager, Gilbert Bell. Alleging Bell took advantage of Nichols over the last decade, Nichols’ family has taken to GoFundMe to help raise money for the icon’s legal battle.
The most recent court action came earlier this month, when Kyle Johnson, Nichols’ son, filed a cross complaint against Bell. The complaint is in response to a 2019 lawsuit filed by Bell against Johnson, where Bell alleges that it is Johnson’s actions that are harming Nichols — while Bell has always had her best interests in mind.
Johnson has denied Bell’s allegations of wrongdoing against him. Bell has not yet responded in court to Johnson’s allegations. IndieWire has reached out to lawyers for Johnson, Bell, and a representative for Nichols….
(3) THE CAISSONS KEEP ROLLING ALONG. I would like to contest the claim in Steve Davidson’s title “The Science Fiction Cannon is Not a Thing; Canon is.”
…There’s also the contention that Science Fiction is a continuum, an on-going, centuries old dialogue of call and response, writers reacting to published works and offering up variations, counter-arguments, expansions in response. “We stand on the shoulders of giants” is an expression often used to acknowledge that without the work perfomed by previous generations of authors, editors, publishers, artists and fans, contemporary SF would not be where it is today.
That latter is often negatively receieved these days, and it shouldn’t be. Much is made about contemporary SF rejecting the all white heterosexual european male colonialist based SF of the 40s, 50s and 60s – but of course without the existence of such a body of work, there would be nothing to react to or reject. Call it a benign correction as the field expands to incorporate diverse voices or call it a war against patriarchy, in both estimations there is something that is being addressed and re-evaluated (if not pushed back against and excoriated).
Is there an SF Canon? Yes. But is it a moving scale? Is it inviolate? Is it mandatory?
No, no and no.
(4) CASTING THE CANON. And Doris V. Sutherland cannot resist trying to answer the question for another genre, “What is the Horror Canon?”
…Picture a bookshelf, completely empty and ready to have a tidy set of volumes lined up on it. Now imagine that someone has decided to fill it with the canonical works of horror literature. What would they start with? Frankenstein and Dracula would be obvious choices. These may well be followed with reasonably-sized collections of Poe and Lovecraft stories. Next, let’s add the complete ghost stories of M. R. James.
Now pause for thought. That’s five books – and already we’ve covered a pretty substantial chunk of the most influential horror fiction in the English language. Regardless of what else we put on the shelf – and it’s easy enough to think of further titles, from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to The Exorcist – it’s hard to deny that those above five books will cover a pretty big percentage of whatever horror canon we end up with.
Now try to imagine a bookshelf with the science fiction canon. It’s a taller order: off the top of my head, we’d have at least four books if we wanted to represent Isaac Asimov alone (I, Robot and the Foundation trilogy). When we factor in Verne, Wells, Heinlein, Clarke, Bester, Ellison, Le Guin… well, let’s just say we’re going to end up with more than five books.
So, the horror canon is smaller than the science fiction canon – or, to phrase that differently, more tightly-focused. Thinking about it, this makes sense. Horror is a genre where less is more – look at how many classics of horror fiction are short stories rather than novels, for one. And when I look back at our hypothetical bookshelf of canonical horror, I have to wonder if those books might be better described not as a horror canon, but as a set of horror archetypes.
(5) SPIRITUAL FORMATION. John Scalzi enters the confessional at Whatever and gets it all off his chest: “Okay, Sure, It’s My Fault Science Fiction is the Way It Is Right Now”.
The dimwitted bigot brigade finally came across my piece about the Science Fiction canon from a couple of weeks ago and had a predictable spasm about it, asserting how it was evidence that (I’m paraphrasing from various sources, here) a) science fiction and fantasy was dying, b) traditional publishing (the sf/f parts of it anyway) is dying too, c) I’m responsible in some measure for a) and b), despite d) the fact that apparently I don’t actually sell and/or only sell through byzantine sleight of hand by the publishing industry for reasons and also e) I suck, f) which is why I don’t want people to read older works because then they would realize that, and while we’re at it g) modern sf/f is infested with terrible work from people who aren’t straight white dudes, h) which I, a straight white dude, am also somehow responsible for, and so in short, i) everything is my fault, and j) I am simultaneously a nobody and also history’s worst monster.
It’s a lot! I think it must be tiring to be a dimwitted bigot, thinking about me….
(6) I’M BATMAN. Will there be as many of them as there were of Spartacus? Yahoo! Entertainment reports “Ben Affleck To Return As Batman In Upcoming ‘Flash’ Movie That Also Will Feature Michael Keaton As Dark Knight”.
…Affleck reportedly got the script for The Flash at the end of last week and agreed to board the project.
“He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before,” Muschietti tells Vanity Fair who broke the news. “It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.”
Another reason feature mythology-wise why Affleck’s Batman is coming back to The Flash, and that’s that Miller’s Flash considers him to be the original Dark Knight, the guy he fought alongside in Justice League. Hence, per Muschietti, it was necessary to have Affleck’s Batman as a starting point: “He’s the baseline. He’s part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry’s adventure…There’s a familiarity there,” he further tells Vanity Fair.
(7) STORYBUNDLE. Available for the next three weeks: The Exclusive Dark Fantasy and SF Bundle – Curated by Douglas Smith.
2020 has been a scary year. Like some dark fantasy or horror story. Or a dystopian tale about the end of the world.
Why not embrace that spirit? Show this year from hell that you can take whatever it dishes out, because you know what dark fantasies and horror stories are really like. And you’ve seen more ends of the world than 2020 could even dream of.
…Read about curses and ghosts, about Norse gods on the Canadian prairies and what happens after Ragnarök and the end of the world. Read how life on Earth may end if we don’t stop killing our planet. Read twenty-one tales of personal apocalypses (because someone’s world is always ending), and stories from a very special and very strange bookstore. Read about post-human biopunk and day-after-tomorrow climate change adventure. Read about the boy who is either a scrawny, bullied, neglected son of insane parents or the imprisoned leader of a death cult dedicated to the goddess of discord.
…For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
- Picking Up the Ghost by Tone Milazzo
- Wasps at the Speed of Sound by Derryl Murphy
- The Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumière
- Tombstone Blues by Chadwick Ginther
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SEVEN more books, for a total of eleven!
- Bullettime by Nick Mamatas
- It’s Not the End and Other Lies by Matt Moore
- Chimerascope by Douglas Smith
- Over the Darkened Landscape by Derryl Murphy
- Objects of Worship by Claude Lalumière
- Too Far Gone by Chadwick Ginther
- Wikiworld by Paul Di Filippo.
(8) DESEGREGATION DRAMATIZED. Series developers include Black Panther’s lead actor and the creator of The Orville: “Chadwick Boseman, Seth MacFarlane, Eisa Davis team up to develop series about Little Rock Nine” – THV11 has the story.
Chadwick Boseman and Seth MacFarlane are teaming up with Eisa Davis to develop a drama based on the Little Rock Nine’s efforts to end racial segregation at Central High School in 1957.
Deadline reported the three will work on developing the project, based on Carlotta Walls LaNier’s memoir A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High.
The series will look at the desegregation of the high school and how 14-year-old LaNier and eight other students became the first Black people to attend the all-white school.
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that segregated schools were unconstitutional and called for the integration of all schools.
The nine students, along with Daisy Bates, became civil rights icons as they risked their lives to combat the racist school segregation policies in Arkansas.
(9) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
- This week in 1950, Dimension X aired a story out of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles in which a Martian named Eala dreams of a visitor from a planet, Earth, where they know life is impossible. This episode was unusual in that Bradbury hosted it instead of the usual Dimension X host. The story was later renamed “Ylla” which is considered the canonical title for this story but it was first published as “I’ll Not Ask for Wine” in Maclean’s, January 1, 1950. Listen here.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born August 20, 1883 — Austin Tappan Wright. Did you know that Islandia wasn’t published when he was alive? His widow edited his fifteen hundred page manuscript for publication, and following her own death in 1937 their daughter Sylvia further edited and cut the text yet more; the resulting novel, shorn of Wright’s appendices, was published in 1942, along with a pamphlet by Basil Davenport, An introduction to Islandia; its history, customs, laws, language, and geography, based on the original supplementary material. Is there a full, unedited version? (Died 1931.) (CE)
- Born August 20, 1906 – Sheila Hawkins. Wrote and illustrated fifty children’s books in the United Kingdom and Australia, many with animals, many fantastic. Here is The Singing Chameleon. Here is Taliesin. Here is an interior for Long Ears. Here is Wish and the Magic Nut, which won Picture Book of the Year. Also landscapes and abstracts. (Died 1999) [JH]
- Born August 20, 1909 — André Morell. Best remembered as Professor Bernard Quatermass in the Quatermass and the Pit series, and as Doctor Watson in the Hammer Film Productions version of The Hound of the Baskervilles which is quite excellent. It’s also worth noting that he played O’Brien in BBC’s 1954 Nineteen Eighty-Four, opposite Peter Cushing as Winston Smith. (Died 1978.) (CE)
- Born August 20, 1915 – Arthur Porges. For us a hundred short stories, some under other names; half a dozen posthumous collections. Many more for others e.g. detective fiction. Translated into Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish. Here he is on the cover of the Sep 60 Fantastic (i.e. his story “The Shadowsmith”; cover artwork by John Duillo). This Website is about AP and his brother Irwin. (Died 2006) [JH]
- Born August 20, 1942 – Joe Mayhew, F.N. One of our finest fanartists; two Hugos for that. Five short stories published, in Aberrations, Aboriginal, and Tomorrow; a score of reviews in Absolute Magnitude, more in the Washington Post. A hundred seventy drawings in Asimov’s, Flag, FOSFAX, The Frozen Frog, It Goes on the Shelf, Journey Planet, Mimosa, NY Rev. of SF, PLOKTA, Squiggeldy Hoy, Vojo de Vivo; various Worldcon and other con publications. Radio-style plays for Disclaves and Boskones. Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award). Chaired the 1987 Disclave. Library of Congress Recommending Officer for SF. Fan Guest of Honor at Novacon II, Albacon 3; Ghost of Honor at Capclave 2001, Balticon 49. Here is his cover for the Nov 98 WSFA Journal (Washington, D.C., SF Ass’n). Here is an illustration from Mimosa 17. (Died 2000) [JH]
- Born August 20, 1943 — Sylvester McCoy, 77. The Seventh Doctor and the last canon Doctor until the modern era of the official BBC Doctors when they revised canon. He also played Radagast in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, he’s The Old Man of Hoy in Sense8 and he voices Aezethril the Wizard in the “Endgame” episode of Thunderbirds Are Go. (CE)
- Born August 20, 1951 — Greg Bear, 69. Blood Music which won both a Nebula Award for Best Novelette and a Hugo Award at L.A. Con II for Best Novelette is an amazing read. I’m also very fond of the Songs of Earth and Power duology, The Infinity Concerto and The Serpent Mage, and found his Queen of Angels a fascinating mystery. I confess that I’ve not read him over the past few decades. What’s he done as of late that I should consider reading? (CE)
- Born August 20, 1961 — Greg Egan, 59. Australian writer who exists though he does his damnedest to avoid a digital footprint. His excellent Permutation City won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and “Oceanic” garnered a Best Novella Hugo at Ausiecon Three. I assume he wasn’t there given his stance against attending Worldcons? (CE)
- Born August 20, 1961 – Jim Clemens, 59. Three dozen novels for us, half a dozen shorter stories, some with Rebecca Cantrell; action-adventure books under another name, some with Grant Blackwood; certified SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diver; Doctor of Veterinary Medicine under yet another name – if he wants to keep these careers separate, why shouldn’t we? Translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian. [JH]
- Born August 20, 1962 — Sophie Aldred, 58. She’s Ace, the Seventh Doctor’s Companion. (By the way Doctor Who Magazine: Costume Design: Dressing the Doctor from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker is a brilliant read and has a nice look at her costuming.) She’s reprised the role in the Big Finish audio adventures. (CE)
- Born August 20, 1969 – Christina Diaz Gonzalez, 51. Three novels for us, three others. Many awards for historical fiction The Red Umbrella (also in Spanish). Born in Florida to Cuban parents. Took a law degree, practiced law awhile. Lives in Miami with husband, sons, a dog that can open doors. [JH]
- Born August 2, 1972 – Carolyn Cohagen, 48. Four novels. Conducts Girls With Pens, creative writing for girls 8-14. Earlier, a stand-up comic in New York, Chicago, London, Amsterdam; studied physical theater at École international de théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris. Ranks The Phantom Tollbooth about the same as Slaughterhouse-Five. [JH]
(11) COMICS SECTON.
(12) HORRIBLE EXAMPLES. Earlier this month Titan Comics was handed a golden opportunity to publicize their collection of The Best of Hägar The Horrible by Dik Browne.
Joe Biden recently announced his choice of Kamala Harris as running mate, and in the official photograph by Adam Schultz also revealed that he keeps a framed cartoon strip on his desk – from Titan’s own Hägar the Horrible!
Bleeding Cool reported on the story, as well as quoting Biden saying that the strip had helped him through personal tragedies by reminding him “a lot of people are going through a lot worse than you’re going through, and the way they get through it is … they have people reach out, touch them, give them solace.”
This is the strip on Biden’s desk:
And here are some other examples Titan shared in its press kit, several with genre jokes.
(13) NINETEEN MINUTES OF FAME. At least, the nineteen-minute mark is where fame summons James Davis Nicoll in Isaac Arthur’s video The Fermi Paradox: Galactic Disasters. James notes, “He mispronounced my name but I am the Nicoll in Nicoll-Dyson Laser, which can reduce an Earth-sized world to vapour in a week at distances of up to a million light years.”
If anything, this video makes Cixin Liu’s Death’s End sound too cheerful.
(14) THE NAME OF MY LAST BAND. Just released on YouTube today — Live From the Space Stage: A HALYX Story is a full-length documentary.
For one glorious summer, an experimental, sci-fi band rocked Disneyland’s space stage. With a bass-playing Wookiee and an acrobatic frog, the band’s existence is nearly unbelievable, and the story behind its creation is just as incredible.
(15) TIME TO BREAK INTO THE PIGGY BANK. At Heritage Auctions, bidding is up to $180,000 for Frank Frazetta A Princess of Mars Painting Original Art (1970).
Possibly the most famous of all of the John Carter of Mars covers by Frazetta, the artist actually painted two versions in 1970, with the first being published as a Doubleday hardback dustjacket cover. Fearing that the original art would not be returned from the publisher, Frazetta immediately painted a version for himself – the stellar painting we’re offering – since he was so proud of the image. Frazetta personally related to Joe and Nadia Mannarino (see below), and presumably others, that he loved this second painting even more than the original (which he actually sold in the early 1970s). We’re showing the two paintings side-by-side online for review. Regardless of which version you prefer, both represent the quintessential heroic fantasy image, with the bold, strong hero, the voluptuous female at his legs, and surrounded by a dangerous alien environment.
(16) THE DOCTOR’S MONSTER. BBC shares some “Surprising secrets of writers’ first book drafts”.
…When Frankenstein first appeared in print in 1818, anonymously but with a preface by Percy Bysshe Shelley, plenty of readers assumed that the poet was its author. In Mary Shelley’s introduction to the 1831 edition, she wrote that people had asked her “how a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea?” In keeping with the story’s eerie origins – the stormy nights and sunless summer days beside Lake Geneva – she put it down to a kind of visitation, the result of “imagination, unbidden, possessed”. Yet as the manuscript reveals, inky-fingered graft played a big role in allowing the doctor’s monster to evolve into the more tragic, nuanced creature that’s haunted our imaginations ever since. In fact, “creature”, Mary’s initial description, is later replaced by “being”, a being who becomes still more uncannily human thanks to other tweaks such as replacing the “fangs” that Victor imagines in his feverish delirium with “fingers” grasping at his neck.
Sadly, the refusal to believe that a woman barely out of girlhood could possibly have authored this transcendent Promethean fable has never quite gone away, and Percy’s notes on the manuscript have been used to bolster the theory that he at least co-authored Mary’s novel. While he’s certainly an astute line editor, the chief revelation here is domestic: the radical Romantic was a supportive, affectionate partner.
(17) FLUSHED WITH PRIDE. “Transparent Public Toilets Unveiled In Tokyo Parks — But They Also Offer Privacy”.
The idea of using a public bathroom with see-through walls may sound like the stuff of nightmares. But a famous Japanese architect is hoping to change that view, using vibrant colors and new technology to make restrooms in Tokyo parks more inviting.
“There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park,” according to architect Shigeru Ban’s firm. “The first is cleanliness, and the second is whether anyone is inside.”
Transparent walls can address both of those worries, Ban says, by showing people what awaits them inside. After users enter the restroom and lock the door, the powder room’s walls turn a powdery pastel shade — and are no longer see-through.
“Using a new technology, we made the outer walls with glass that becomes opaque when the lock is closed, so that a person can check inside before entering,” the Nippon Foundation says.
The group is behind the Tokyo Toilet project, enlisting world-famous architects to create toilets “like you’ve never seen.”
(18) NOT COSPLAY. You couldn’t make this up: “Ninja museum: Thieves carry out heist at Japanese site”.
A ninja museum has been raided in Japan, with thieves making off with more than a million yen (£7,100).
The Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in central Japan is dedicated to the history of the famous Iga clan of ninja.
Police were called after an alarm was set off at 01:30 local time on Monday (16:30 GMT on Sunday), the museum said on Thursday.
Officers found the office door had been forced with what is thought to be a crowbar and the 150kg safe was missing.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Someone with time on their hands turns 2001 into 2020.
2020: an isolation odyssey is a reenactment of the iconic finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968). Restaged in the context of home quarantine, the journey through time adapts to the mundane dramas of self-isolation–poking fun at the navel-gazing saga of life alone and indoors.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, N., Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Andrew Porter, Michael J. Walsh, Linda Deneroff, Chip Hitchcock, Paul DiFilippo, John A Arkansawyer, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Simon Bisson.]