By John Hertz: It’s the death-anniversary of Fritz Leiber (1910-1992). He wrote both fantasy and science fiction – all strange; if I may quote a Robert Louis Stevenson story, “Desire of strange things swept him on” (“The Isle of Voices”, 1893). Actually that’s not fair. I keep objecting when someone attributes what authors write to what they want. Leiber’s writing sweeps us on.
Two of my favorites among his science fiction are The Big Time (1958) and The Wanderer (1964). Both won Hugos.
Recently I hear people complaining when attitudes of characters in a story published in the past are other than what we’d aspire to now. I’m partly with this and partly not. I think the first look is at how authors treat their characters. A Filer said the other day I’d not call that book misogynistic. The character is, but the text clearly shows he’s an idiot. Then, as another Filer said, Of course it seems laughable to us now. Isn’t that a gratifying sign of how far we’ve come since then? There’s more, and Our Gracious Host has encouraged me to explore it, but I’m going to stop there for the moment.
We discussed The Big Time at Denvention III (66th Worldcon) in a set of SF Classics which I called “Wonders of 1958”. See this Eddie Jones cover of a German edition.
Spiders are the good guys, and our hero is a woman. The first Hero was a woman too, go look up Leander. Indeed this is a very classical book; it preserves the unities of time, place, and persons, which is mighty strange, considering. There’s slashing drama, and if you’ve never been a party girl, it might not be what you think.
We discussed The Wanderer at Renovation (which I always pronounce “Reno-vation”; 69th Worldcon). See this Allison cover of an Italian edition.
Here are a host of viewpoints, a first contact with aliens story as we learn a third of the way in, a look at some favorite notions like “Rovers are free and good” and “Love conquers all”, and a breathtaking exercise in climax and perspective.
… Cora has been doing the hard working of promoting self-published and small press SF&F for years. While sections of fandom have been trying to reframe publishing mode as some kind of partisan ideological battle, Cora has been writing, publishing and promoting indie sci-fi consistently and in a way designed to enhance science fiction writing….
Long before the coronavirus pandemic, tabletop board games were having something of a renaissance, with popular games like The Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride becoming mainstream additions to family game nights.
Then, COVID-19 hit and, as Quartz reported, it changed how many hobbyist board game creators approached the industry. But for many people who suddenly found themselves stuck at home under lockdown, the pandemic also spurred newfound interest in strategy games that require creativity and concentration. Board game hobbyists had more time to spend learning about new games coming out, while newbies to the scene were discovering a world beyond classics like Monopoly and Clue.
Then, on March 30, the board game Frosthaven — the dungeon crawling, highly-anticipated sequel to the hit game Gloomhaven — surpassed its funding goal of $500,000 on Kickstarter in mere hours. Today, it is the most-funded board game on the site ever, with nearly $13 million pledged toward funding the game’s development. Only two projects have ever crowdsourced more funding on the site.
Frosthaven’s success seemed to exemplify a shift that has been happening in the tabletop gaming community for years: toward games that are not only focused on strategy and adventure, but also a new type of funding model where fans have more say than ever in which games move from the idea stage to their living rooms. And hobbyist tabletop games are a different breed of entertainment altogether.
“You have mass market games, which are Monopoly and everything that you find at Target or Toys “R” Us, and you have hobbyist games, which you typically find at your FLGS — your friendly local gaming store,” said Cree Wilson, the programming and tabletop gaming manager for Comicpalooza. “Then there’s this blurry line of stuff in between, which I’ve heard sometimes called entertainment gaming, and it’s games selling tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of copies, but isn’t selling millions yet.”
For many of these smaller games, funding from fans has proved essential. Hasbro, the company that makes games like Monopoly and Connect 4, earns hundreds of millions each year through everything from game sales and licensing deals to its TV and film business. But funding models are far different for newer or smaller game makers. These makers have become part of one of the country’s most popular quarantine hobbies, but they’ve done so through a mini-economy that relies on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.
… “A few weeks ago, my friend and colleague Brent Spiner tweeted a hilarious musical spoof of himself that inspired me to do something in my characteristically more sophisticated manner, as an homage,” Picardo says in a statement about his new video. “My good friend James Marlowe (The Marlowe-Pugnetti Company) directed a crack mini-crew. Legendary event planner and TV personality Edward Perotti does a great cameo.”
And by popular demand, the Brent Spiner video he is reacting to:
The Covid-19 pandemic all but halted Hollywood. Production on most movies and television shows (except for a handful of animated programs) became too risky, and ceased. It’s only in the last few weeks that organizations like SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America have begun publishing guidelines for how cast and crew members might safely return to work. In this lull, however, studios are still cobbling together their stockpiled footage and releasing tantalizing trailers for upcoming projects. The most recent to ricochet around the internet? A first look at Apple TV+’s adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s beloved Foundation series.
Even if you’ve never read the Asimov novels, which were first published in the 1950s, every science fiction fan has felt their influence, especially in genre classics like Star Wars. Much of the plot concerns the fall of a certain Galactic Empire (ahem), and a desperate, surprisingly math-heavy attempt to save human civilization from a vast, bleak dark age. Apple’s adaptation, which is due to hit the tech giant’s streaming platform sometime in 2021, features stars like Jared Harris (Chernobyl) and Lee Pace (Halt and Catch Fire) and, based on the first teaser, looks epic. One of the people behind that epic-ness is Leigh Dana Jackson, Foundation’s co-executive producer. He can’t talk much about his new show yet, but WIRED still picked his brain about Asimov, Covid-19, and genre fiction’s unique capacity to capture revolution.
(6) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.
Published fifty-nine years ago as a novel by Ace Books, Fritz Leiber’s The Big Time started out as a two-part serial in Galaxy Magazine‘s March and April 1958 issues. It would win the Hugo Award for Best Novel or Novelette at Solacon. In general, it was well-received with Algis Budrys liking it but noting it was more of a play than an actual novel. In 2012, it was selected for inclusion in the Library of America’s two-volume compilation American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s. (CE)
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born July 5, 1878 – Howard Brown. A hundred covers for us, forty interiors; only a small part of his prodigious work. Cover artist for Scientific American 1913-1931. Argosy, Radio News, Science and Invention. Main cover artist for Astounding while Tremaine was editor. Also Startling and Thrilling Wonder. Here is the January 1934 Astounding. Here is the November 1938. Here is the May 1940 Startling. Here is an interior for At the Mountains of Madness (April 1934 Astounding). Here is HB’s cover for the April 1934 Astounding and a more detailed biography. (Died 1945) [JH]
Born July 5, 1935 – John Schoenherr. Two hundred covers, seven hundred interiors. Here is Starship Troopers. Here is The Tomorrow People. Here is the August 1980 Analog. Here is the March 1965 Analog with the beginning of Dune that made JS famous for illustrating this story. Here is an interior for Children of Dune. Here is his cover for Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon (1987) for which JS won the Caldecott Medal. See also “The Role of the Artist in Science Fiction” (with Kelly Freas, Jack Gaughan, Eddie Jones, Karel Thole), Noreascon I Proceedings (29th Worldcon). Here is Kurt Snavely’s treatment of JS. Here is Ian Schoenherr’s. Hugo for Best Pro Artist, 1965. Guest of Honor at Boskone 14, Lunacon 25. SF Hall of Fame. (Died 2010) [JH]
Born July 5, 1941 — Garry Kilworth, 79. The Ragthorn, a novella co-authored with Robert Holdstock, which won the World Fantasy Award. It’s an excellent read and it makes me wish I’d read other fiction by him. Anyone familiar with his work? (CE)
Born July 5, 1944 – Cathy Hill, 76. Known in particular for drawing raccoons – cartoon raccoons. Here is “Raccoons on the Moon”; here is “The Lisping Asteroid”, which was used for the cover of The “Rowrbrazzle” Sampler. The raccoons even got involved with Cerebus the Aardvark; and CH published Mad Raccoons. Here is an index of her comic-book work. She’s done more, in and out of our field: here is Locus 52 from its fanzine days, with her logograph (note that her puzzled aliens get it wrong); here is her cover for the 1979 printing of The Blue World; here is her cover for the original Keep Watching the Skies! (note propeller beanie). Here is a dinosaur she drew for Don Glut. Her oil paintings will have to wait for another time. [JH]
Born July 5, 1948 — William Hootkins. One of these rare performers who showed up playing secondary roles in a number of major film franchises. He was the Rebel pilot Jek Tono Porkins in Star Wars, he played Munson in the Flash Gordon film, he was Major Eaton, one of the two officers who gave Indy his orders in Raiders of The Lost Ark, and he was Lt Eckhardt in the 1989 Batman. (Died 2005.) (CE)
Born July 5, 1957 — Jody Lynn Nye, 63. She’s best-known for collaborating with Robert Asprin on the ever so excellent MythAdventures series. Since his death, she has continued that series and she is now also writing sequels to his Griffen McCandle series as well. She’s got a space opera series, The Imperium, out now which sounds intriguing. (CE)
Born July 5, 1958 — Nancy Springer, 62. May I recommend her Tales of Rowan Hood series of which her Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest is a most splendid revisionist telling of that legend? And her Enola Holmes Mysteries are a nice riffing off of the Holmsiean mythos. (CE)
Born July 5, 1963 — Alma Alexander, 57. Sixteen novels, a dozen shorter stories, for us; more outside our field. The Secrets of Jin-Shei has been translated into fourteen languages; three sequels. God of the Unmage has Nikola Tesla. Of writing The Second Star, just released a few days ago, she says “dream fragments … wash up tantalizingly as flotsam and jetsam on the shores of coming awake. One such fragment lay glittering on that shore one morning – a single sentence … a soul is like a starfish”; this proves to bear on interstellar travel. She likes coffee, cherries, and sonnets. [JH]
Born July 5, 1964 — Ronald D. Moore, 56. Screenwriter and producer who’s best-remembered for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation where he fleshed out the Klingon race and culture, on the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, and Outlander. He’s the creator and writer of For All Mankind. (CE)
Born July 5, 1985 – Meagan Spooner, 35. Ten novels (five with Amy Kaufman). Shadowlark had a Booklist starred review; Hunted, a Kirkus starred review. These Broken Stars (with AK) was a New York Times Best-Seller and won an Aurealis Award. Here’s how she ranks some books I know: Euripedes, Electra, The Phoenician Women, The Bacchae (4.21); Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (4.18); Austen, Persuasion (4.14); Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac (4.07); Adams, Watership Down (4.06). She plays guitar, video games, and with her cat. [JH]
For those of you who saw this Sunday’s strip, I know you can see that I have decided to retire Stone Soup. I can’t imagine turning the strip, which is so personal to me, over to anyone else, and my syndicate is not planning on running reruns. The last Stone Soup strip will appear on July 26, when I will officially jump off the funny pages.
Disney has long been an outfit fueled by nostalgia…But Disney’s little secret is that such nostalgia cannot stand on its own–it needs to be continually fed and reinforced. New Star Wars offerings drive longing for the ’70s, a Beauty And The Beast remake powers nostalgia for the 1990s. Marvel movies draft off pleasant feelings of a childhood of comic books (and, 12 years into their run, of themselves). Disney is a constant interplat between past and present, a continuous bicycle chain between the pieces we once loved and the current releases we see to remind us of them.
And that chain has now been severed.
‘What Disney really needs to do, what they rely on, is creating new nostalgia; they can’t just let the old kind stand for itself,’ Spiegel said. ‘Because, at some point, the umpteenth time you watch Frozen is the last time you watch Frozen.’
The American launch company that flies its rockets out of New Zealand has lost its latest mission.
Rocket Lab said its Electron vehicle failed late in its ascent from Mahia Peninsula on North Island.
All satellite payloads are assumed to have been destroyed.
These included imaging spacecraft from Canon Electronics of Japan and Planet Labs Inc of California, as well as a technology demonstration platform from a UK start-up called In-Space Missions.
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck apologised to his customers.
“I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers’ satellites today. Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon,” he said on Twitter
Rocket Lab has made everyone in the space sector sit up since it debuted its Electron vehicle in 2017. It’s at the head of a wave of new outfits that want to operate compact rockets to service the emerging market for small satellites.
Saturday’s lift-off from New Zealand was the Electron’s 13th outing to date. All prior launches had been a complete success, bar the very first which failed to reach its intended orbit.
Julian Bass loves Spider-Man, a trait you can easily glean by scrolling through the videos he posts to his TikTok and Twitter accounts.
“I just think Spider-Man is so fun. It’s so inspiring to me,” Bass told NPR’s Weekend Edition. “Everything, every little aspect that you could possibly think of about Spider-Man is something that I’m aware of, that I know of.”
In one now-viral video, the 20-year-old theater major at Georgia State University morphs into his favorite heroes using his own special-effects — first a Jedi wielding a blue lightsaber, then Ben 10, before his final transition into Spider-Man. He asked his followers to retweet the video “enough times that Disney calls.” Twenty million views later, Disney wasn’t the only one he heard from.
At first, he said his video gained “some small traction with my immediate circle.”
“And then the verified profiles started commenting,” he said. “The first one for me was The Lonely Island. And then I started seeing Josh Gad, Matthew Cherry. I saw Mark Hamill liked it. I mean if Mark Hamill likes it, I’m a Jedi now.”
Bass said these aren’t just retweets — he’s also getting messages from “bigwigs” such as Marvel co-president Louis D’Esposito and people from HBO Max.
Several more overseas productions will join James Cameron’s Avatar sequels and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog Netflix film in New Zealand in the coming months.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment has announced that Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series, Netflix seriesCowboy Bebop andSweet Tooth, Peter Farrelly’s film Greatest Beer Run Ever starring Viggo Mortensen, and Power Rangers Beast Morphers series have been granted border exemptions.
A total of 206 foreign-based cast and crew from those productions, along with 35 family members, will be allowed to enter New Zealand in the next six months, according to MBIE manager immigration policy Sian Roguski, quoted by New Zealand’s Stuff. Additionally, 10 more Avatar crew – in addition to the 31 already in New Zealand – had been granted border exemptions. All new arrivals will be subject to self-quarantine….
(15) BLOWN UP, SIR! In “Independence Day Pitch Meeting” on ScreenRant, Ryan George explains that the film’s aliens are very considerate by blowing up monuments that can be put in the trailer.
[Thanks to Daniel Dern, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Errolwi, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) DARK MARK WALKED BACK? Christine Feehan tweeted another
update, saying that she “asked my trademark lawyer to withdraw all of the
current single word applications that have been filed and are causing so much distress.”
The statement, screencapped below, has been greeted with a mix of approval and skepticism
– see comments in the thread which starts here.
(2) MULAN. A second trailer for Disney’s Mulan dropped
When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.
… The Doctor Who and Broadchurch star is fronting the eight-part drama, which is produced by Slim Film + Television.
Following an outrageous bet, Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, played by rising French actor Ibrahim Koma, take on the legendary journey of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days, swiftly joined by aspiring journalist Abigail Fix, played by The Crown’s Leonie Benesch, who seizes the chance to report on this extraordinary story.
Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum, where the famed 19th-century author and literary critic lived during the 1830s, has been named a Literary Landmark by United for Libraries, a nationwide advocacy group and division of the American Library Association.
The Poe House will be Maryland’s first Literary Landmark, but not the first involving Poe. Philadelphia’s Edgar Allan Poe House, one of several places the author called home while living in Philly, was added to the list in 1988. And a stuffed Grip, Charles Dickens’ pet raven and the inspiration (so many believe) for Poe’s poem (the one Baltimore named its NFL team after), resides in the Rare Books Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. It was named to the list in 1999.
The national registry of Literary Landmarks, begun in 1986, singles out sites and objects with special literary significance….
(5) EREWHON LIT SALON. Carlos
Hernandez and C.S.E. Cooney will be the readers at the Erewhon Literary Salon
on December 12. The event takes place in the
office of Erewhon Books in the Flatiron/NoMad district of Manhattan. For
full information and policies, and to
RSVP, click here. Event address
and information will be emailed to those who have RSVPed a few days before the
CARLOS HERNANDEZ is the author of over 40 SFF short stories, poems, and works of drama. His critically acclaimed short story collection The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria came out in 2016 from Rosarium, and his middle-grade novel Sal and Gabi Break the Universe was published by Disney Hyperion in 2019. Carlos is a CUNY professor of English and a game designer and enthusiast. Look for Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe in May 5, 2020.
C.S.E. COONEY is an audiobook narrator, the singer/songwriter Brimstone Rhine, and author of World Fantasy Award-winning Bone Swans: Stories. Her work includes the Tor novella Desdemona and the Deep, three albums: Alecto! Alecto!, The Headless Bride, and Corbeau Blanc, Corbeau Noir, and a poetry collection: How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes, which features her Rhysling Award-winning “The Sea King’s Second Bride.” Her short fiction can be found in Ellen Datlow’s Mad Hatters and March Hares: All-New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the Sword and Sonnet anthology, Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and elsewhere.
…There are more tricks available, but every solution boils down to three things: make sense, make it matter, and make it clear.
“Make sense” means that whatever you do needs to feel true. The disruption to the available speculative elements needs to be either baked into the world, or clearly explained, so that it doesn’t feel like the exception is just there to allow the story to be told (even though that’s totally why you did it)…
(7) RETRO LANDS IN
HOUSTON. The late Fritz Leiber won a Retro Hugo at Dublin 2019 –
it’s now safely ensiled at the University of Houston Libraries:
(8) WEINER OBIT. Canadian sff writer Andrew Weiner, whose
first published story was “Empire of the Sun” in Again, Dangerous Visions (1972),
died December 3. The family obituary is here.
He wrote three novels, Station Gehenna (1987), Getting Near the End (2000),
Among the Missing (2002), and many shorter
works. The first of his several short story collections was Distant Signals
and Other Stories (1990)
of Science Fiction’s John Clute says, ” Craftsmanlike,
witty and quietly substantial, Weiner never gained a reputation befitting his
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
December 5, 1954 – The Shadow radio show aired “Murder by Proxy”. Starring Bret Morrison as The Shadow (Lamont Cranston) Gertrude Warner as Margot Lane. The script was by Judith Bublick and David Bublick, who contributed many scripts during the last two years it was on the air. (This “Murder by Proxy” is not the same script as an earlier show of the same name.)
December 5, 1956 — Man Beast premiered. It was directed and produced by Jerry Warren. It starred Rock Madison and Asa Maynor. The film was distributed in the States as a double feature with Prehistoric Women. Critics generally intensely disliked, and it has no ratings at Rotten Tomatoes.
December 5, 1980 — Flash Gordon premiered. Directed by Mike Hodges and produced by Dino De Laurentiis of Dune fame, it starred Sam Jones, Max von Sydow and Melody Anderson. Most critics sort of liked it although Clute at ESF definitely did not. It holds an 80% rating among viewers at Rotten Tomatoes and it did exceedingly well at the Box Office.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 5, 1890 — Fritz Lang. Metropolis of course, but also Woman in the Moon (German Frau im Mond) considered to be one of the first “serious” SF films. (Died 1976.)
Born December 5, 1901 — Walt Disney . With Ub Iwerks, he developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. During Disney’s lifetime his studio produced features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio, Fantasia (both 1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964), the latter of which received five Academy Awards. In 1955 he opened Disneyland. In the Fifties he also launched television programs, such as Walt Disney’s Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club. In 1965, he began development of another theme park, Disney World, and the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” (EPCOT). (Died 1966.)
Born December 5, 1921 — Alvy Moore. He shows up first in a genre role uncredited as Zippy in The War of the Worlds. (He was also uncredited in The Girls of Pleasure Island that same year.) He’s again uncredited, as a scientist this time, in The Invisible Boy (aka S.O.S Spaceship) and The Gnome-Mobile saw his continue that streak as a Gas Mechanic. The Brotherhood of Satan saw him get a credit role as did The Witchmaker, both all budget horror films. He’s listed as having co-written and produced, along with LQ Jones, A Boy and His Dog, the Ellison originated film. (Died 1997.)
Born December 5, 1936 — James Lee Burke, 83. This is one of the listings by ISFDB that has me going “Eh?” as to it being genre. The Dave Robicheaux series has no SFF elements in it and despite the title, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, neither does that novel. The character makes it clear that it’s likely he’s hallucinating. Great novel.
Born December 5, 1943 — Roger Robinson, 76. Owner of Beccon publications, a British small-press publisher specializing in SF and filk. He’s looked at filk (On the Filk Road), reviews (Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996 by Gary K Wolfe), fiction (Elizabeth Hand’s Chip Crockett’s Christmas Carol) and Fred Smith’s Once There was a Magazine ~~, a look at Unknown Magazine).
Born December 5, 1951 — Susan Palermo-Piscatello. SF Site in its obit said that she was “was active in fandom in the early 1970s, taking pictures that appeared in The Monster Times and working for the company that brought Japanese monster films, including Battle for the Planets and Time of the Apes to the US. She was among the first bartenders at CBGB and was in the band Cheap Perfume. She had recently returned to fandom after several years of gafiation.” (Died 2011.)
Born December 5, 1954 — Elizabeth R. Wollheim, 65. President, co-Publisher and co-Editor-in-Chief of DAW Books. Winner, along with her co-Publisher and co-Editor-in-Chief Sheila E. Gilbert, of a Hugo Award for Long Form Editing. In the early Nineties, they won two Chesley Awards for best art direction. DAW is, despite being headquartered at Penguin Random House, a small private company, owned exclusively by its publishers.
Born December 5, 1971 — Kali Rocha, 48. She is best remembered for her recurring role on Buffy as Anya’s vengeance demon friend, Halfrek, and as William the Bloody’s love interest, Cecily. She appeared with fellow Buffy alum Emma Caulfield in TiMER. And she’s in Space Station 76 which has remarkably good reviews.
Born December 5, 1973 — Christine Stephen-Daly, 46. Her fate as Lt. Teeg on Farscape literally at the hands of her commanding officer Crais was proof if you still need it that this series wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. She was also Miss Meyers in the two part “Sky” story on The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Born December 5, 1980 — Gabriel Luna, 39. He plays Robbie Reyes who is the Ghost Rider rather perfectly in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. Much better I’d say than Nick Cage did in the films. He was also Terminator Rev-9 in Terminator: Dark Fate, and he did voice work for the BlackSite: Area 51 video game.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Lio finds it impossible to escape the long reach of Disney.
(12) PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS. In “A
Tube Map of SF&F Genres” Camestros Felapton has designed an irresistibly
amusing representation of the field.
As with any London Tube style map, distance on the map has no connection with distance in reality. Position is about how to make everything fit. I feel like it needs more stops on the big pink Fantasy circle line. Green stops allow you to change services to mainstream rail lines. Purple stops allow you to change to the horror tram services.
There is a foot tunnel between Cyber Punk and Steam Punk.
(13) A CHRISTMAS SUGGESTION. [Item by SF Concatenation’s
Jonathan Cowie.] What to get the SF fan who has
nearly everything? SF²; Concatenation has a seasonal suggestion in their
advance-post (ahead of their spring edition) — Joel
Levy’s latest non-fiction: From Science Fiction to Science Fact: How
writers of the past invented our present, a colorful exploration of the
science fiction visions that came to be technological realities.
has recently been published under two different titles, one for each side of
the Pond. It is published in N. America as Reality Ahead of Schedule: How
Science Fiction Inspires Science Fact.
Packed with full
color illustrations and well researched, it is an ideal gift for fans of all
persuasion (or even a Christmas present to themselves). SF²; Concatenation
From Science Fiction to Science Fact may not be an encyclopaedic work, but there is sufficient here (and it is structured to be navigable) that those who personally like to study SF, as opposed to simply consuming it, will find this quite useful as a reference work of pointers. It will also be a welcome addition to any SF aficionado’s bookshelf if not coffee table. Here, the production values are high.
(14) IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE CW. [Item by Daniel
Dern.] Why (some of us) love the WB tv series
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow…
…because they do goofy great.
(15) GAHAN WILSON ON NPR. A nice snippet from a 1986 interview with Gahan Wilson from Fresh Air on NPR was replayed December 2 to commemorate Gahan after his recent passing. “The linked webpage has a transcript for those who do not wish to listen to the audio,” says Tom Boswell-Healey. “I think the audio is worthwhile as it contains Gahan’s verbal effects.”
GROSS: When you came to New York with your portfolio of cartoons and tried to sell them to magazines, was it hard to get in initially?
WILSON: Very. Very, yeah because I’m still regarded as sort of far-out in some circles, and at that point, I was really, really far out. And I mean, I was really bizarre. They – what I’d – what had happened to me was this singularly frustrating scene where the editors would say, look at this stuff, and they’d laugh at it hysterically and just think it was marvelous and compliment me on – this is – kid, you’re really great. This is great stuff, kid, but our readers would never understand it. And then they would hand it back to me. And that was my big block, was that they figured that I was beyond the – those jerks out there.
GROSS: Could you maybe describe a couple of those early cartoons?
WILSON: Oh, sure. Let’s see. There’s this fellow, and he’s in a cannibal pot. He’s being cooked. And he has a evil look on his face, and he has a bottle of poison, and he’s pouring the poison, and the water is being cooked in. And that was one. And then let me see – oh, they were – there was one where there’s this little kid, and he’s with his father, and they’re in a snowstorm. And there’s this dead bird on the snowbank with his feet in the air, and the little kid’s pointing at it. And he says look, Daddy – the first robin.
An unprecedented mission to venture close to the sun has revealed a strange region of space filled with rapidly flipping magnetic fields and rogue plasma waves.
These surprises are among just some of the first observations by NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which blasted off last year to get up-close-and-personal with our nearest star.
Scientists say the findings, described in a series of reports in the journal Nature, could help explain long-standing mysteries — like why the sun’s extended atmosphere is hotter than its surface.
They also could help scientists better understand and predict solar storms that might disrupt vital artificial satellites that orbit our planet.
…From Earth, during a total solar eclipse, it’s easy to see the sun’s corona, an aura of plasma that is the sun’s outer atmosphere. The Parker Solar Probe is designed to plow through the corona with instruments that measure magnetic fields, plasma, and energetic particles.
All of this lets researchers explore the origin of the solar wind, charged particles that continually spew out of the sun.
It turns out that close to the sun, the wind seems to get sped up by powerful, rogue waves that move through the magnetic field, says Kasper.
“We’d see suddenly a spike in flow, where in just a couple seconds the solar wind would start flowing 300,000 miles an hour faster,” he says.
A newly discovered planet offers new insights into the Solar System after the Sun reaches the end of its life in 5-6 billion years.
Astronomers observed a giant planet orbiting a white dwarf, the small, dense objects some stars become once they have exhausted their nuclear fuel.
It’s the first direct evidence planets can survive the cataclysmic process that creates a white dwarf.
Details of the discovery appear in the journal Nature.
The Solar System as we know it won’t be around forever. In about six billion years, the Sun, a medium-size yellow star, will have puffed up to about two hundred times its current size. In this phase, our parent star will be known as a Red Giant.
As it expands, it will swallow and destroy the Earth before collapsing into a small core – the white dwarf.
Researchers discovered a white dwarf that lies 2,000 light-years away had a giant planet thought to be about the size of Neptune (though it could be larger) in orbit around it.
“The white dwarf we’re looking at is about 30,000 Kelvin, or 30,000C. So if we compare the Sun, the Sun is 6,000 – almost five times as hot. This means it’s going to be producing a lot more UV radiation than the Sun,” said Dr Christopher Manser, from the University of Warwick.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborvilleis getting into the spirit with a snowy present-filled makeover of Giddy Park, a social hub where plant and zombie players can mingle and duke it out. Alongside update 1.03, PopCap went ahead and booked Sir Patrick Stewart to recite a festive poem.
[Thanks to Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John
King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan
Cowie, Tom Boswell- Healey,
and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]
Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) was a name that appeared multiple times in the Retro Hugo ballot this year. His Conjure Wife took the best novel Retro Hugo, and another Leiber novel, Gather, Darkness! was the second-place finisher. He was also in the hunt for Best Novelette for “Thieves’ House”.
none of these works are currently in the public domain, I did find a podcast with an
hour-long discussion of Conjure Wifeon Internet Archive. The podcast
was Necronomipod (which appears to be from 2007 and a completely
different iteration than the current day podcasts of the same title, which
discusses weirdness and true crime).
Conjure Wife was adapted as a movie called Inner Sanctum in 1948, and
the movie is in the public domain and available on Internet Archive. Interestingly, Fritz Leiber
Sr., father of the writer, was an actor and played Dr. Valonius in the movie.
there are plenty of other Lieber works, from short stories to full-length
novels, available on Project Gutenberg and Librivox, so I thought this would be
a good time to take a look.
volunteers sometimes make their own anthologies by recording a set of stories
as a stand-alone audiobook project, either on their own or with a group of volunteers.
Lieber features in several of these audiobooks:
more interesting Librivox anthology is X Minus One
This collects an assortment of short SF tales that were adapted by the radio
show X Minus One that ran from 1955-1958. The anthology includes “The
Moon is Green” by Leiber, along with other stories by authors like Robert
Sheckley, H. Beam Piper, Frederik Pohl, and several others. (X Minus One
adapted even more famous stories by the likes of Asimov, Heinlein and Bradbury,
but those stories aren’t in the public domain yet.)
of X Minus One, the series adapted three Leiber stories during its run,
and they are available on Internet Archive:
A world that actively seeks to kill the colonists. Not a pleasant
place. The hordes of ferocious animals all come with deadly poison and a
will to kill as many humans as possible. Even the plants have teeth and
claws and toxins dripping from every surface. They fly, crawl and run for
the chance to sink something terrible into a human arm or leg. Oh, and did
I mention the 2G gravity? Pyrrus is its name. The settlers there were
supermen… twice as strong as ordinary men and with instantaneous
reflexes. They had to be. For their business was murder…a 3 year old
Pyrrian had a loaded gun strapped to his forearm and knew how to use it or
he was a dead 3 year old. It was up to Jason dinAlt, interplanetary
gambler, to discover why Pyrrus had become so hostile during man’s brief
habitation…if he could stay alive long enough to even make a start…
The first of these stories was originally published in the July 1934
issue of Wonder Stories. It was followed four months later by a sequel,
“Valley of Dreams” in the same magazine. These classic stories
take us to Mars where we meet a Martian, or at least something very
different from us, and several other completely original specimens of
life. The Martian “Tweel” looks like an ostrich and the Egyptian
god Osiris – for good reason, as you will find out if you listen to the
Third in the trilogy of the feminist classics, after Moving the Mountain
and Herland. In Herland, three American young men discover a country
inhabited solely by women, who were parthenogenetic (asexual procreation),
and had borne only girl children for two thousand years; they marry three
of the women. Two of the men and one woman leave the country of Herland to
return to America; Jeff Margrave remaining in Herland with his wife,
Celis, a willing citizen; Terry O. Nicholson being expelled from Herland
for bad conduct; and Ellador electing to leave Herland with her husband,
Vandyck Jennings. We now continue the story, told from the viewpoint of
Vandyck Jennings, as they return to America.
In the midst of the war—that terrible conflict that threatened
humanity’s total destruction—the “new people” suddenly appeared.
Quietly performing incredible deeds, vanishing at will, they were an
enigma to both sides. Kurt Zen was an American intelligence officer among
the many sent to root them out. He found them. Taken captive in their
hidden lair, he waited as the enemy prepared to launch the super missile,
the bomb to end all bombs—and all life. If only he could find the source
of the new people’s power, Kurt alone might be able to prevent
obliteration of the Earth….
But long before Jason Momoa emerged as the charismatic King of Atlantis in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2017’s Justice League, and, now, Aquaman, an officially authorized, $10,000 fan film became the world’s first Aquaman movie.
The film in question is on YouTube here. It runs about 20 minutes. I haven’t watched it – you’re on
You may not know the name Harry Fischer. A new writer, perhaps? Well, not exactly. In fact, Fischer created the famous characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in a letter to his friend Leiber nearly three decades ago. Since then, of course, the great fantasist has made the pair of adventurers his own. In 1937, Fischer wrote about ten thousand words of a novel. Leiber completed it, and it appears here for the first time.
Quarmall is a strange kingdom. Its ruler lives in a keep above ground, but the rest of his realm lies deep down below. He has two adult sons. One reigns over the upper half of this underground land, the other the lower half. The brothers are bitter rivals, each trying to destroy the other through treachery and magic. They also plot against their father. He, in turn, hopes to eliminate his sons and leave his kingdom to the unborn child of a concubine.
Unknown to each other, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are each hired as a swordsman by one of the brothers. When the king’s archmage announces the death of his master, the conflict between the siblings explodes into open warfare….
(3) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 23, 1945 – Raymond E. Feist, 73. Best known for the Riftwar series. The only novel I’ve read by him is was Faerie Tale, a dark fantasy set in the state of New York, which is one damn scary work.
Born December 23, 1971 – Corey Haim. You’ll most likely remember him from the Lost Boys but he had a long career in genre film after that with roles in Watchers, Prayer of the Roller Boys, Fever Lake, Lost Boys: The Tribe (no, I’ve never heard of heard it) and Do Not Disturb. He showed in two series, PSI Factor and Merlin. (Died 2010.)
John A Arkansawyer explains, “The strip is there, big as day, but you have to mouse over for the Christmas greeting. I’m sorry he’s not updating as regularly as he did, but this week and last week were both very fine send-ups of supercliches. Maybe it’s just as well that we have to wait longer for longer, consistently good strips” — The Non-Adventures of Wonderella.
Some passengers traveling through Denver International Airport this holiday season are in for a treat—or what amounts to a treat in today’s high-throughput, high-stress security environment. As they go through TSA screening, they’ll be able to keep their hands at their sides because of a new type of rapid body scanner. Instead of standing sideways in a plastic tube while a scanner shwoop shwoops around them, Denver fliers will step between two white plastic walls, about 4 feet apart. There are no moving parts, and the scan takes less than a second; if all is clear, the passenger moves on. The Denver scanner is built by Rohde & Schwarz, which also has a system up and running in Cologne Bonn Airport, Germany.
Not having to raise your arms over your head is a tiny improvement, but it’s a big deal for people with limited mobility. And saving even a second per person adds up to shorter lines for everyone. The new scanner is an example of the booming, maturing field of full-body scanners. They are based on millimeter-wave technology, and they’re giving security personnel the equivalent of Superman’s x-ray vision. (But without the x-ray radiation concerns.)
One of the first men to orbit the Moon has told BBC Radio 5 Live that it’s “stupid” to plan human missions to Mars.
Bill Anders, lunar module pilot of Apollo 8, the first human spaceflight to leave Earth’s orbit, said sending crews to Mars was “almost ridiculous”.
Nasa is currently planning new human missions to the Moon.
It wants to learn the skills and develop the technology to enable a future human landing on Mars.
Nasa was approached for a response to Anders’ comments, but hasn’t responded.
Anders, 85, said he’s a “big supporter” of the “remarkable” unmanned programmes, “mainly because they’re much cheaper”. But he says the public support simply isn’t there to fund vastly more expensive human missions.
“What’s the imperative? What’s pushing us to go to Mars?” he said, adding “I don’t think the public is that interested”.
Frank Babics, SENTENCED TO PRISM, Alan Dean Foster
Les Blatt, MORE MURDER IN A NUNNERY, Eric Shepherd
Brian Busby, BEST BOOKS read in 2018
Kate Jackson/CrossExaminingCrime. MYSTERY IN WHITE. J. Jefferson Farjeon
Martin Edwards, FIVE ROUNDABOUTS TO HEAVEN, Francis Iles
Rich Horton, THE CONFIDENCE MAN, HIS MASQUERADE, Herman Melville
Jerry House, THE CALIGARI COMPLEX, Basil Copper; THE SECRET OF SHARK REEF by “William Arden” (Dennis Lynds)
George Kelley, TIED UP IN TINSEL, Ngaio Marsh
Margot Kinberg, ALL SHE WAS WORTH, Miyuke Miyabi
Rob Kitchin, COP HATER, Ed McBain; SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, Kurt Vonnegut
B.V. Lawson, DANGLE, Meg Elizabeth Atkins
Evan Lewis, THE KING’S COAT, Dewey Lambdin
Todd Mason, “The Faithless”, a novella by John D. MacDonald, plus stories by James McKimmey, Jr. et al.: REDBOOK, May 1958
J.F. Norris, THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS GHOST STORIES, V. 3, edited by Simon Stern
Mike Lind/Only Detect, CHARLIE CHAN: HIS UNTOLD STORY, Yunte Huang
Matt Paust, THE DEATH OF MR. LOMAS, Francis Vivian James Reasoner, LONGARM AND THE COLDEST TOWN IN HELL, Tabor Evans Richard Robinson, A HOLIDAY FOR MURDER, Agatha Christie Gerard Saylor, THE TOMB, F. Paul Wilson Andi Shechter, NO HUMAN INVOLVED, Barbara Seranella
Kevin Tipple, FLASHBACK, Ted Wood
TomCat, “Time Wants a Skeleton”, Ross Rocklynne
TracyK, THE SHORTEST DAY, Jane Langton
(9) VIDEO OF THE DAY. James Cordon: 22
Musicals In 12 Minutes w/ Lin Manuel Miranda & Emily Blunt. Daniel Dern says, “No real sfnal aspect here, but hey,
who doesn’t love a quick zoom through great musical moments…and see the
current ‘Ms. Poppins’ strut some other stuff.”
John King Tarpinian, JJ, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip
Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, John A Arkansawyer, Todd Mason, and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
(1) WSJ’S TOP SF OF 2017. Congratulations to all the authors who made the Wall Street Journal’s list of best 5 sf novels of the year 2017. Especially Gregory Benford, who sent me the news item. (The list came out in December but is behind a paywall.)
Science fiction writers can’t seem to agree on the rules of time travel. Sometimes, as in Doctor Who (above), characters can travel in time and affect small events without appearing to alter the grand course of history. In other stories, such as Back To The Future, even the tiniest of the time travellers’ actions in the past produce major ripples that unpredictably change the future.
Evolutionary biologists have been holding a similar debate about how evolution works for decades. In 1989 (the year of Back To The Future Part II), the American palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould published his timeless book Wonderful Life, named after the classic movie that also involves time travel of sorts. In it, he proposed a thought experiment: what would happen if you could replay life’s tape, rewinding the history of evolution and running it again? Would you still see the same movie with all the evolutionary events playing out as before? Or would it be more like a reboot, with species evolving in different ways?
(3) RESOLVED. Rocket Stack Rank will comply with Charles Payseur’s request to drop him from the list of reviewers they track.
OK, we've removed your recommendations from the Best SF/F by People of Color and all the Best SF/F and New Writers pages (basically all the new dynamic tables). Your recs in the old static tables will be fixed after Norwescon when we migrate them to dynamic tables.
Charles Payseur acknowledged their response, and discussed some of comments made by Filers since the request hit the news yesterday. Jump on his thread here:
The other day I asked to be taken off of Rocket Stack Rank's lists/recommendations/aggregation/etc. I see some discussion of this on FIle770 that implies this is 1. overstepping and 2. hurts the pursuit of getting people to look at stories, especially by marginalized creators
(4) WFC RATES WILL RISE. World Fantasy Convention 2018 registration rates are due to increase on April 1, from $200 to $250 for a full attending membership. If you become a member now you will still have time to nominate for this year’s World Fantasy Awards (for which the deadline is May 31.)
WFC2018 will be held at the Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, Nov 1–4, hosted by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) and Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA).
Ray Bradbury’s daughter Ramona invites you to pull up a chair in her virtual living room as she shares an intimate evening of memories about growing up in the eclectic Bradbury household in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. The format is a conversation with historian Richard Schave (Esotouric Bus Adventures, Los Angeles), followed by a Q & A session.
Ramona will reminisce about life with her famous father, and share rare family photos and stories of weekend excursions to Hollywood Boulevard book shops and the Palos Verdes Peninsula (made more adventurous because her father didn’t drive!), eccentric family friends, special gatherings, and important public events.
(6) TWO ON ONE. Two NPR reviewers take on Ready Player One:
MONDELLO: A Willy Wonka prize worth playing for if you’re a gamer and a movie conceit worth playing with if you’re Steven Spielberg. Ernest Cline’s novel gave Halliday a consuming nostalgia for the 1980s, and who better to bring that to the screen? The filmmaker crams every corner of Wade’s cyberscapes with Deloreans, Batmobiles, aliens, King Kong, The Iron Giant. There’s Prince and Van Halen on the soundtrack and even a sequence where Spielberg lets loose his inner Kubrick. Wade, who calls himself Parzival in the OASIS, teams up with his best buddy, Aech…
Like the popular 2011 Ernest Cline science fiction novel on which it’s based, “Ready Player One” is an extended valentine to those pop culture relics, most of which came out in the ’80s and are thus beloved by people who grew up watching, well, Steven Spielberg movies. Spielberg avoids any allusions to his own films apart from a stray dinosaur who may or may not hail from “Jurassic Park.” But as one of the undisputed high priests of American popular entertainment, he is in many ways enshrining his own legacy. Frankly, I wish he’d been more careful with it.
Physicists had hoped that the [Large Hadron Collider] would turn up evidence of physics phenomena not explained by the Standard Model. So far, efforts to detect new physics have come away empty-handed, but studying the Higgs in more detail might break the impasse.
A successor to the Large Hadron Collider would be designed in a way that allows scientists to zero in on the Higgs boson.
The LHC works by smashing beams of proton particles together, but the collisions that produce the Higgs also produce many other particles. This makes it complicated to work out which collisions produce the Higgs boson.
A different type of particle smasher, called an electron-positron collider, should produce only a Higgs and another particle called a Z boson.
81 years ago, at the age of 77, Georges Méliès – the father of narrative and fantastical film – hand-wrote his autobiography; the story of the creation of cinema from not only a firsthand witness but also its greatest innovator. It has been completely unavailable since 1945 and has never been translated into English. This is one of the great unseen texts of cinema history.
I’ve had it translated. And it’s GREAT! Reading it blew my film-loving mind. A voice from history telling me in his own words about how cinema began and his role in it. Now I need your help to rescue this important, illuminating and fascinating testimony, to get it back into print and where it truly belongs – in our hands and on our bookshelves.
…. In 1937, a year before he died, he wrote longhand a 32 page autobiography detailing his life, his work and his observations on both. He sent it to a film historian who was writing a book about him. The first 500 copies of this book were packaged with a facsimile of the manuscript. What remains of that print run exists now only in the jealously guarded collections of film enthusiasts who have been lucky or wealthy enough to secure one.
This memoir is an enthralling story in which Méliès guides us from his childhood into his early career, explaining how all of the elements fell into place to put him in the perfect position to become a pioneer of cinema. He talks about becoming one of the first people in the world to see a projected moving image at a private demonstration by the Lumiére brothers and the international mission this inspired him to take to become a part of the new medium. He explains how and why he became the first impressario of cinema, how he built France’s first film studio and how he invented special effects techniques and helped define the very format of cinematic film. More than this, it’s a human story; at times braggadocios, joyous, humble and bitter. We learn how times and the industry changed, how he became the first victim of film piracy and how he ended up in his old age, forgotten, broke and selling toys and sweets in a tiny stall in Montparnasse train station. Most interesting to me was discovering that he was a man already aware of his legacy and surprisingly unhappy about how he could see he was going to be remembered. His memoir crackles with life and is a vivid account of the dawn of movies from its most colourful participant.
(9) HEAR FRITZ LEIBER. Fanac.org’s new YouTube video pairs a sound recording of Fritz Leiber’s “Monsters And Monster Lovers” talk from the 1964 Worldcon with selected images.
Pacificon II, the 22nd World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Oakland, CA in 1964. In this interesting audio with images, Fritz Leiber speaks eloquently about his favorite literary monsters (from Yog Sothoth to the forest in Peer Gynt), the relationship of science fiction to traditional monsters, why we are drawn to these characters, and on horror in a time of war. The first 10 minutes or so are a loving listing of characters, and the meat of the talk starts after that. This material was provided by The Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (SCIFI), and Jerome Scott, Director of Projects for SCIFI in LA.
(10) MAYNARD OBIT. Bill Maynard (1928-2018): British actor, died March 30, aged 89. Genre appearances: You Too Can Have a Body (1960), The Boy with Two Heads (all seven episodes, 1974), Zodiac (one episode, 1974).
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
March 30, 1988 – Beetlejuice premiered. The Hollywood Reporter has reposted its review of the film.
March 30, 1990 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit theaters.
Oliver’s writing career began with the publication of the short story “The Land of Lost Content” in the November 1950 issue of Super Science Stories. He published short fiction through his career, with his final story published in 1991. During that time, he also published six novels and collaborated occasionally with Charles Beaumont and Garvin Berry. His 1984 story “Ghost Town” was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story.
(14) ACE REPORTER. Jon Del Arroz says he will be on hand for the Hugo finalist announcement at the 7 Stars Bar & Grill in San Jose tomorrow. The bar’s online schedule promises there will be Bottomless Mimosas and karaoke on Saturday – no wonder he can’t stay away!
Very excited to attend the #HugoAwards finalists event tomorrow in San Jose as it is open to the public and press (of which I am both) as is my due civil right as a citizen of the State of California. Come join me! https://t.co/NL27I2VXAm
Scientific American and Nature partnered with the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, which organizes the annual competition….
The mind-bending possibilities of quantum physics lend themselves to philosophy—to wondering about the theory’s implications for the meaning of life, the idea of free will, the fate of us all. A talented pool of writers have capitalized on those implications to produce an impressive array of entries in this year’s Quantum Shorts contest, which invites short fiction based on the ideas of quantum mechanics. Scientific American and Nature partnered with the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, which organizes the annual competition. Judges, including Scientific American and Nature editors, selected a winner and runner-up in two categories—“open” and “youth”—and online voting identified a “people’s choice” favorite; all winners will receive a cash award, a certificate and an engraved trophy.
(16) NEW FORNAX. Charles Rector’s 21st issue of his fanzine Fornax [PDF file] is available at EFanzines. Here’s what’s inside —
Among other things is an essay about how I was treated as a handicapped student by gym teachers while I was in the public schools during the 1970’s. There is also an essay about how the Big Tech companies such as Google, Twitter and You Tube have been using their power to censor political speech by conservatives and socialists and how this all ties in with the allegations that all anti-establishment activity is tied in with Vladimir Putin and his gang in Russia. There is also an essay about irresponsible rhetoric such as Guy H. Lillian III’s defense of Al Franken and this Daniel Greenfield character who claims that we are on the verge of “civil war” because there is a great deal of opposition to the Trump Administration. There is also a look back at the Solar Empire game of yesteryear.
There are also some essays by both Robin Bright and Gerd Maximovic as well as poetry by Denny E. Marshall.
…However, the vocal subgroup of Alt-Furries has been hard at work asserting their space within the movement of late, and it’s this very spirit of inclusivity they wish to expunge.
“The furry ‘community’ is a fandom that has been overrun by liberal ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ and as a result it’s become sanctuary to hardcore paedophiles and
people with serious mental problems,” the unnamed author of Nazi furry erotica “The Furred Reich” told The New Statesman, which has been doggedly covering the Alt-Furry scene for years.
The core furry community, then, finds itself in quite the bind: Can a group founded upon the idea of consummate tolerance embrace a clique that’s so staunchly intolerant?
For the opposing furries leading an outright fight against the alt-right, the answer is no. Dogpatch Press, a furry news source offering “fluff pieces every week day,” often rails against Alt-Furries and their attempts at indoctrination. In February, a Dogpatch writer with the fursona Patch O’Furr published a “deep dive into the Altfurry mission to ‘redpill’ fandom with hate,” warning readers about the #AltFurry mission to indoctrinate members of the fandom and spread its white supremacist teachings.
According to O’Furr, furry fandom is a perfect venue for alt-right recruiters. Just as Pepe the Frog (RIP) served as a seemingly harmless, comedic package through which to promulgate racist, misogynist and xenophobic beliefs, fursonas can act as effective, hirsute fronts for extreme views. As Furry fandom member Deo elaborated in a Medium post, furry communities ? often populated by “socially awkward internet nerds” ? are prime targets for alt-right trolls, who target young people, outsiders and insecure, white men.
(18) KERMODE. Here are three recent genre film reviews by YouTuber Mark Kermode.
Ready Player One
“Really properly good fun!”
Annihilation (audio only)
“Shame I didn’t get the chance to see it in the cinema” and “a really fine piece of work”
A Wrinkle in Time
“I’d rather a film aimed high and tripped than played it safe, and I think A Wrinkle in Time does that”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Steve Green, Chip Hitchcock, IanP,Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John A Arkansawyer, Gregory Benford, Ann Marie Rudolph, Brian Z., Charles Rector, with Carl Slaughter as The Beaver for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]
Malcolm Devlin and Helen Marshall. Travellers to antique lands frequently flock to Shelley’s two vast and trunkless legs of stone. But why not squint up with the locals into the desert firmament azure, where hover two vast and trunkless arms of flame, Helen and Malcolm?
(9) CYCLIC HISTORY. Ah yes. Those who don’t know the lessons of fanhistory are doomed to repeat them. As are those who do know them.
more about dragon awards: here's what Asimov wrote about the Futurians in his memoir. fascinating how stable this phenomenon is pic.twitter.com/lKNZ6ribkJ
Witches and wizards the world over will rejoice this week at the news that Primark has announced it will be introducing a Harry Potter range to its stores in honour of the famous book series’ 20th anniversary.
The high street retailer, which is famed for its bargains, has created an official range of clothing, stationery and home accessories in line with the wizarding theme which will be available in shops from next week.
Fans of the fantasy world will be able to pick up everything from potion shaped fairy lights (£8) to cauldron mugs (£6) with some items costing as little as £2.
The wait will finally be over for those after their Hogwarts acceptance letter too, which can be bought on a cushion for £4 and whether you’re a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, you’ll be able to pick up a pair of pyjamas in your house colours for just £6.
To the Batpoles! This awesome 20? tall replica of the Shakespeare bust from the 1966 Batman TV series doubles as a coin bank. Like the prop, the coin slot (along with the customary dial and button) is hidden inside the bust’s neck. See it unboxed on video here.
The Walking Dead has been a big money-making success at AMC, pulling in an impressive amount of viewers for the network. But Skybound—the entertainment company founded by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman—just announced that Amazon will be the home of all their new TV content moving forward.
(13) COMIC SECTION. Chip Hitchcock found more on autonomous cars in Arctic Circle.
(14) THE TRUE SIGN OF QUALITY. Camestros Felapton (or was it Timothy?) put his marketing and design skills to the test.
I’m not worried about American lives above everyone else’s – hopefully nobody has to die because of two unhinged custodians of nuclear power taking brinkmanship too far – but there is one American who must be kept safe, no matter what.
I’m talking about George R. R. Martin, the author of the epic fantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, better known to most people as Game of Thrones, the HBO hit series that is, hands down, the best show on TV these days.
… But if you’ve read the books, you’ll agree that the TV show is not a patch on Martin’s writing and sheer storytelling genius. He makes TheLord of the Rings look like a slow ride to grandma’s cottage. George R.R. Martin is J. R.R. Tolkien on steroids, and then some.
In 2006, Butler died of a stroke outside her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington. Her many papers now reside at the Huntington, a private library in San Marino, California. Curator Natalie Russell describes the collection as including “8,000 manuscripts, letters and photographs and an additional 80 boxes of ephemera.”
On display there now are numerous treasures, including working manuscript pages from The Parable of the Sower covered in her brightly colored notes: “More Sharing; More Sickness; More Death; More Racism; More Hispanics; More High Tech.”
There are the beautiful, bold affirmations that recently went viral online, which she wrote to frame her motives for writing: “Tell Stories Filled With Facts. Make People Touch and Taste and KNOW. Make People FEEL! FEEL! FEEL!” On one page of her journals she visualized the success that she desired: “I am a Bestselling Writer. I write Bestselling Books And Excellent Short Stories. Both Books and Short Stories win prizes and awards.”
But what is not on public view are the drafts?—?the things she had hoped to write someday and never did, including The Parable of the Trickster.
Scholar Gerry Canavan described getting a look at that work-in-progress for the LA Review of Books in 2014:
Last December I had the improbable privilege to be the very first scholar to open the boxes at the Huntington that contain what Butler had written of Trickster before her death. What I found were dozens upon dozens of false starts for the novel, some petering out after twenty or thirty pages, others after just two or three; this cycle of narrative failure is recorded over hundreds of pages of discarded drafts. Frustrated by writer’s block, frustrated by blood pressure medication that she felt inhibited her creativity and vitality, and frustrated by the sense that she had no story for Trickster, only a “situation,” Butler started and stopped the novel over and over again from 1989 until her death, never getting far from the beginning.
The novel’s many abandoned openings revolve around another woman, Imara, living on an Earthseed colony in the future on a planet called “Bow,” far from Earth. It is not the heaven that was hoped for, but “gray, dank, and utterly miserable.” The people of Bow cannot return to Earth and are immeasurably homesick. Butler wrote in a note, “Think of our homesickness as a phantom-limb pain?—?a somehow neurologically incomplete amputation. Think of problems with the new world as graft-versus-host disease?—?a mutual attempt at rejection.”
(17) NEVERTHELESS. Mindy Klasky has put together an anthology by Book View Café authors, “Nevertheless, She Persisted”. It has released in July Here’s the table of contents.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Those were the words of Mitch McConnell after he banned Senator Elizabeth Warren from speaking on the floor of the United States Senate. In reaction to the bitter partisanship in Trump’s United States of America, nineteen Book View Café authors celebrate women who persist through tales of triumph—in the past, present, future, and other worlds.
From the halls of Ancient Greece to the vast space between stars, each story illustrates tenacity as women overcome challenges—from society, from beloved family and friends, and even from their own fears. These strong heroines explore the humor and tragedy of persistence in stories that range from romance to historical fiction, from fantasy to science fiction.
From tale to tale, every woman stands firm: a light against the darkness.
Table of Contents:
“Daughter of Necessity” by Marie Brennan
“Sisters” by Leah Cutter
“Unmasking the Ancient Light” by Deborah J. Ross
“Alea Iacta Est” by Marissa Doyle
“How Best to Serve” from A Call to Arms by P.G. Nagle
“After Eden” by Gillian Polack
“Reset” by Sara Stamey
“A Very, Wary Christmas” by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
Fritz Leiber, a science fiction and fantasy author, wrote a story in 1939 called “Two Sought Adventure” starring Fafhrd, a large barbarian from the frozen North, and the Gray Mouser, a taciturn thief. Soon, Leiber realized he could use these characters to not only poke fun at the Conan the Barbarian-type stories that pervaded fantasy magazines, but to also construct his own fantasy world and deconstruct a various number of characters and tropes.
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser sold their services to anyone with the right coin — more importantly, Mouser was a former member of the Thieves’ Guild and would often go up against his former employers. But they also went on adventures due to bets or because they wanted to have a bit of fun. Sometimes they got into trouble because of drink or because of women — they were often subject to the Cartwright Curse, where their love interests ended up dead by the end of the story. However, later stories gave both of them long-term girlfriends, even if one of them was, uh, a big unconventional.*
* One of Mouser’s girlfriends was Kreeshka, a ghoul, whose skin and organs are all invisible. Which means she looks like an animated skeleton. Whatever you do, don’t think about their sex life.
(19) BUGS, ZILLIONS OF ‘EM. Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars trailer #3:
(20) SHOOTING AND BLOWING UP. Kingsman 2 trailer #3 TV spot.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Lee Whiteside, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
(1) CODES OF CONDUCT. Dave McCarty and Helen Montgomery share thoughts about administering Codes of Conduct (CoC) in “The Shield or the Weapon” at Copious Free Time. These excerpts encompass some of their more challenging points, but only a reading of the post can do justice to all the nuances they bring out.
DAVE McCARTY: …As another example, there was a time a few years ago where Bob(2) brought a new CoC for their convention to a fairly public convention runner forum (presumably for review and input). As with most CoCs, there was a lot there that was good but at least a few people had some push back on some of the policies. One of the pieces of feedback about one or two specific policies was that they were worded in a way that made them overly broad…almost everyone attending Bob(3)con would be in violation of these sections of the CoC.
In response to the feedback, Bob(2) stated that they didn’t believe these parts of the CoC were problematic since the organizers knew who they would enforce them against.
Selective enforcement is *absolutely* a weapon and it’s a heinous one. It’s one of the larger issues disenfranchised groups have in regular life…it’s one of the preferred tools of racism and sexism and I would *bet* almost any other “ism” folks can throw at me.
If we are going into something with the thought of “how do we safeguard our member’s enjoyment”, I find it exceedingly unlikely that we ever work our way to policies designed to be used against *specific* people or even *narrow* groups.
This is the soul of the issue on CoC issues for me. Are we trying to protect or are we trying to remove. Is this about preventing harm or seeking retribution?…
HELEN MONTGOMERY: …About 10 years ago I was involved in writing the CoC for Bob(6)con. The group decided early on that we didn’t want just an anti-harassment policy, because there were a lot of other behaviors that can make a convention less safe and less fun. So we went with the broader CoC. The intent is a shield – here’s how to act and not act so that everyone has a good time. It’s a much longer version of Wheaton’s Law – don’t be a dick. We went in with the assumption that most of our attendees didn’t want to violate Wheaton’s Law. We incorporated what attendees should do if there are problems, starting with “try talking to them if you feel comfortable doing so” and we listed that consequences of violating the CoC included but were not limited to X, Y, and Z. We recognized that behaviors and circumstances are made up of shades of gray, and we gave ourselves flexibility to work with that reality.
Fast forward to a recent Bob(6)con. There’s a guy, Bob(7), who has become well-known in the larger community as being someone who has sexually harassed women. At least one convention has banned him, albeit with much Sturm und Drang in the process. He then shows up on our membership list. He’s never been accused of causing any problems at Bob(6)con. What’s a con to do?
As luck would have it, I was Board President at the time. (Pardon me whilst I wipe away the sarcasm that just dripped from that sentence.) There was much internal discussion, and ultimately we stood by what has been our stance from the beginning with our CoC – we do not pre-emptively ban people from Bob(6)con….
Shot on the cheap in and around Austin, this 2004 film about a pair of engineers who accidentally discover time travel in their garage is not easy to follow the first time you see it. The characters mumble dialog into their chests just like how real humans talk, the narrators telling the story might be lying, and the same events are shown from multiple points of view—we’re never sure what’s really real. But the joy, they say, is in the journey, and trying to piece together exactly what the hell happens in this story of unexplained paradoxes is part of the fun. Primer is that rare kind of film that not only benefits from repeat viewings but also manages to show you something new every time you watch it.
This year, as the Chicago Cubs came closer and closer to winning a World Series, people wondered what that might mean for the Old Man’s War series of books. After all, in several places I had people in the books discussing the Chicago Cubs and their inability to win a World Series, and in The Human Division, it’s actually a plot point. So what happens to those books, now that the Cubs, after 108 years, have won a World Series?….
Now the Old Man’s War books suffer from the same problem as all the science fiction stories before 1969 that named a first man on the moon, or the ones that imagined canals on Mars. The real world caught up to them and passed them by, waving as it did so.
And that’s okay. This is the risk you take when you put a plot point in your books that’s contingent on the real world….
(…)”So right then and there,” Pa went on, (…) “I told myself that I was going on as if we had all eternity ahead of us. I’d have children and teach them all I could. I’d get them to read books. I’d plan for the future, try to enlarge and seal the Nest. I’d do what I could to keep everything beautiful and growing. I’d keep alive my feeling of wonder even at the cold and the dark and the distant stars.”
But will this resonate with younger people? Let’s find out!
The responses as a whole are some of the best Nicoll has received to date.
“Mr. Roddenberry was chosen because of his vision of what space exploration could, be his commitment to promoting the future of space exploration and his work that inspired people worldwide to believe in the reality of the “final frontier”,” said museum executive director Christopher Orwoll, adding that, “Roddenberry’s leadership brought to the forefront social, political and cultural issues that impacted the world then and continue to do so now.”
The introductory panels for the exhibit highlight Roddenberry himself, his history as a filmmaker and the legacy of his Star Trek series, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Exhibit cases throughout the gallery document just how widespread the Star Trek phenomenon has become. Collectibles of just about every kind are represented, from Barbies to stuffed bears to pizza cutters, and everything in between. The series, although relatively short-lived in the beginning, touched on many social and moral issues particularly how women were viewed. One exhibit case is dedicated to “The Women of Star Trek”. Another pays homage to the various “Starships of Star Trek” and a third features photos, videos and other images from the series.
But the smallest exhibit cases may be the ones that hold the real treasures, straight from the vault of the Smithsonian. The Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles, written by David Gerrold who will be a special guest on opening night, revolves around furry little critters that multiply at an incredible rate and who also have a serious dislike for Klingons. Although the Starship Enterprise was overrun by tribbles at the time, only a very few remain in existence today. The tribble visitors will admire inside its eight inch case was actually used in that episode and is on loan to the museum from the Smithsonian.
In 1985, Kraft started and led a thirteen year campaign to have Star Trek emblazoned on a stamp. His efforts, and those of his Star Trek Stamp Committee, paid off in 1999 when the stamp was created as part of the Post Office’s “Celebrate the Century” series of commemorative stamps.
This year, the U.S. Postal Service issued four commemorative Star Trek stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous television show which first aired on September 8, 1966. It didn’t take an act of Congress or over a dozen years of letter writing and campaigning, or, as Kraft might say, even a letter from God. The original 1999 stamp campaign and the amazing effort that went into it, is documented by Kraft in his book, Maybe We Need A Letter From God.
(6) MY BAD. Ken Liu noticed more people are buying his anthology than The Complete Works of Confucius.
Never thought I’d be able to claim that an anthology of Chinese SF I edited and translated outsells Confucius. Sorry, Great Sage! ?? pic.twitter.com/8FmAYSpv1S
(7) WHO REY! Amanda Hess’ “How Female Fans Made Star Wars Their Own” in the New York Times talks about how lots of female Star Wars fans are excited by Rogue One because it’s about a woman leading a bunch of men around and that there are now more women in Star Wars than “Leia, Leia, Leia and Rey, Rey, Rey.”
The dominant cultural image of a “Star Wars” fan may be a lightsaber-wielding fanboy, but women have always been essential creators in the fan universe. They started early fan clubs and mailed out fanzines like Skywalker and Moonbeam, packed with fiction, essays and art. In 1982, Pat Nussman published an essay in the zine Alderaan that described a female fandom so rich and vast that she was prompted to ask, “Where are the men?” She continued, “Male names are rare in columns or fanzine order lists, male faces scarce at media conventions, and the number of men writing or drawing or editing in media fandom so minimal as to be practically nonexistent.”
(8) IN PLAIN SIGHT. Via Galleycat and Leah Schnelbach at Tor.com I learned —
“The star left the novels as part of the Books On The Underground movement which sees ‘book fairies’ leave their favourite reads for people to enjoy. Watson left about 100 books with some including a hand-written note….Books on the Underground started in 2012 and leave about 150 books in stations across London each week.”
The University of Houston Libraries has the largest collection of Fritz Leiber’s papers. They have scanned and posted at their website many publications Leiber brought home from conventions over the decades – complete program books (particularly for the World Fantasy Convention), newsletters, Leiber’s own manuscripts for GOH speech and convention reports.
This digital collection provides a glimpse into the world of science fiction and fantasy conventions during the 1970s and 1980s. It features programs, pamphlets, newsletters, flyers, and other documents collected by writer Fritz Leiber as he attended science fiction and fantasy conventions across the United States and internationally. Leiber often actively participated in these conventions, as a planner, speaker, or presenter. In all, the collection contains over 200 items.
The overall plan of the convention is to focus on the serious side of fantasy literature. Fritz Leiber recently reflected on one of the effects of his correspondence with Lovecraft. “…I became convinced that the supernatural horror story and the fantasy (and the sword-and-sorcery story) are as much high art as any other sort of fiction ….” That’s exactly the guiding light of belief for his convention: to gather for serious exploration into, and discussion of, fantasy art….”