2019 Primetime Emmy Awards were presented September 22 in Los Angeles.
Game of Thrones claimed the Emmy
for outstanding drama series, the
fourth win for best drama, tying it with the other four-time victors in the
category — Hill Street Blues,L.A. Law, The West Wing and Mad Men.
Dinklage also took home his fourth Emmy for his role as Tyrion Lannister.
all started in the demented mind of George R.R. Martin,” executive
producer David Benioff said on stage.
Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones
Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Limited Series
Outstanding Drama Actor
Billy Porter (Pose)
Outstanding Drama Actress
Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Julia Garner (Ozark)
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark —
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Jesse Armstrong, Succession —
“Nobody Is Ever Missing”
Outstanding Comedy Actor
Bill Hader (Barry)
Outstanding Comedy Actress
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Luke Kirby (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Jane Lynch (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Harry Bradbeer, Fleabag — “Episode
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
— “Episode 1″
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series
Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series
Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series
Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series
Patricia Arquette (The Act)
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic
Outstanding Television Movie
Outstanding Competition Program
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Outstanding Structured Reality Program
Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
United Shades of
America with W. Kamau Bell
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
Last Week Tonight
With John Oliver
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Variety Special (Live)
Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All In The
Family and The Jeffersons
Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-recorded)
When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live
— “Host: Adam Sandler”
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
Last Week Tonight
With John Oliver
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Gadsby for Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
series or special
Bourdain Parts Unknown
[Apologies for any of these that were really given during the
Creative Arts Emmys broadcast last weekend, though I’ve tried to sort that
The 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards were
held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on September 14 and 15. The two-night ceremony preceded the 71st
Primetime Emmy Awards which will be aired on September 22. Emmys were
handed out in technical and acting categories.
A team from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and SpaceX won in the category of Outstanding Interactive Program for multimedia coverage of Demonstration Mission 1, a test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the International Space Station – the first human-rated spacecraft to lift off from U.S. soil since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, won Outstanding Original Interactive Program for the agency’s coverage – including news, web, education, television and social media efforts – of its InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission to Mars.
The winners of genre interest (plus NASA and Chernobyl, which
interest a lot of Filers) follow the jump.
Here’s the logline on Way Station: For more than 100 years Enoch Wallace has been the keeper of a Way Station on Earth for intergalactic alien travelers as they teleport across the universe. But the gifts of knowledge and immortality that his intergalactic guests have bestowed upon him are proving to be a nightmarish burden, for they have opened Enoch’s eyes to humanity’s impending destruction. Still, one final hope remains for the human race.
A second Game of Thrones prequel is in the works at HBO.
Sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that the premium cable network is near a deal for a pilot order for a prequel set 300 years before the events of the flagship series that tracks the beginnings and the end of House Targaryen. Ryan Condal (Colony) and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin will pen the script for the drama, which is based on Martin’s book Fire & Blood.
…I asked myself three questions, then, to challenge my knee-jerk defense of the status quo–and I’d encourage you to employ similar the next time a group decision focussed on harm-reduction finds you, initially, “on” or “on the other side of” the fence.
1. To whom are you listening in this debate?
In the wake of my defensiveness, I had to make a concerted effort to read counterpoints to my perspective. Lots of them. And as I did, I took note of the times when I felt the greatest urgency to seek out both-sides-ism, to return to the security of others whose initial reactions were the same as mine: folks reluctant to change the name of this award, to own up to the pain Sheldon’s story has left in the hearts of many living human beings.
Critically, too, I didn’t then seek out those arguments when I wanted to–because what need did I have of them? They’d be sheer preaching to the choir, like the reading of apologetics for some Christians when faced with doubts. But I did note the contexts in which I most wanted to dive for shelter… and those contexts? They were usually when someone said something that challenged me to reason from empathy, to recognize the humanity of other people marginalized by Sheldon’s prominence at potential cost to the value of her disabled husband’s life. At those points most of all, I felt the urge to hide behind the presumption of neutrality, in superficial phrasing like, Well, no one can say for sure what happened that night!
Which, sure, is true… but then why was I still automatically favouring one interpretation–the more convenient interpretation–over another that people were actively telling me did harm to their sense of full and safe inclusion in SF?
…Toy Biz’s motion acknowledged that the X-Men “manifest human characteristics at varying degrees,” but argued that most are more of a mixed bag of human and non-human aspects. For example, the document specifically calls out Wolverine (rude!) for having “long, sharplooking [sic] claws grafted onto his hands that come out from under his skin along with wolf-like hair and ears.”
Don’t body-shame Wolverine! He tries very hard!
Judge Barzilay’s official ruling, in which Toy Biz prevailed, states “the action figure playthings at issue here are not properly classifiable as ‘dolls’ under the HTSUS by virtue of various non-human characteristics they exhibit.”
You’re a parent. You love horror. But horror is scary. So how to share this love of horror with your young, innocent, in-love-with-the-world child?
…For me and my family, the first step to introducing horror was to introduce the language of scares without, really, the fear. It’s hard to be a little kid. You are tiny, and surrounded by giants. Nothing makes sense, and every outcome is uncertain. Mom’s leaving…Will she come back?! How long is an hour?! It’s unknowable. And worse, there might actually be a monster under the bed. Or in the closet — you just don’t know.
This is where Vincent Price and Scooby-Doo came in handy. It’s pretty unlikely any kid is going to be legitimately frightened by an episode of Scooby-Doo. And yet, there are ghosts, goblins, witches, vampires, werewolves, creepers, and more, all running about. I’m actually not a huge Scooby fan, but I found the Cartoon Network Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated series to be excellent. I watched a big chunk of it with my kids, who were five and seven at the time. They loved it, and still do. We re-watch episodes regularly. In a world where asking a kid who has grown up with an iPhone to watch Bela Lugosi’s Dracula seems like a bridge too far, this is a show that is fast-paced, conversant in horror tropes, dabbles in grotesque/frightening imagery, and is funny, smart, and good. It’s also a show that prominently features Vincent Van Ghoul, who is a not-at-all-disguised representation of Vincent Price.
…So far, that action includes two rather modest initiatives, unveiled on Wednesday. One is an online petition (eBooksForAll.org) urging Sargent and Macmillan to reconsider the publisher’s recently announced embargo. The other is a new online book club, in partnership with OverDrive. The “Libraries Transform Book Pick” will offer library users unlimited access to a selected e-book for two weeks, with no holds list and no waiting. The first pick is Kassandra Montag’s debut novel After the Flood (HarperCollins), which will be available for unlimited e-book checkouts at public libraries from October 7-21.
(7) WORDS OF A FEATHER. Paul Di Filippo’s F&SF
column “Plumage from
Pegasus” tells all about a collaboration by two of the genre’s
founders that was largely unknown ‘til a couple of years ago: Flora Columbia: Goddess of a New Age, by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.
In the year 1901, with the publication of his ninth novel, The First Men in the Moon, H. G. Wells, then a thirty-five-year-old wunderkind, cemented his reputation as the leading purveyor of “scientific romances.” The acclaim accorded to this British upstart, however, did not sit well with the aging lion of the nascent genre, Jules Verne—then an ailing seventy-three and just a few years away from his own death. Verne did not care for Wells’s less-stringent approach to scientific speculation, nor for his wilder imagination. In fact, Verne was so perturbed that he gave vent to his famous direct criticism of the novel: “I sent my characters to the moon with gunpowder, a thing one may see every day. Where does M. Wells find his cavorite? Let him show it to me!”
So much is a matter of historical record. But what came next remained secret until just recently.
Both irked and disappointed by the jab from this venerable figure who had done so much to pioneer imaginative literature and whose respect he would have relished, Wells did a daring thing. On a mission both conciliatory and confrontational, he journeyed to France to confront the Master. In Amiens, at 44 Boulevard de Longueville, he was received with a wary hospitality. But after some awkward conversation over a lunch of calvados and choucroute garnie, the two writers found a shared footing in their mutual love of “science fiction,” a term they would not even have recognized. And then, impulsively, they decided to seal their tentative new friendship in a manner befitting their shared passion.
They would collaborate on a short novel….
(8) COLLINS OBIT. Charles Collins (1935-2019) died August 26 at the age of 83. He worked as a Publisher’s Representative, eventually becoming co-owner of Como Sales Company. Also, with Donald M. Grant, he co-founded Centaur Press, later renamed Centaur Books, a small press active from 1969 through 1981.
It was primarily a paperback publisher, though one of its more successful titles was reissued in hardcover. It was notable for reviving pulp adventure and fantasy works of the early twentieth century for its “Time-Lost Series.”
Authors whose works were returned to print include Robert E. Howard, Arthur O. Friel, Talbot Mundy, H. Warner Munn, and William Hope Hodgson. In the sole anthology it issued, the press also premiered a new work by Lin Carter. In later years it also published longer works by contemporary authors, including Carter, Galad Elflandsson, and Robb Walsh. Its books featured cover art by Jeff Jones, Virgil Finlay, Frank Brunner, Stephen Fabian, Randy Broecker, and David Wenzel.
The family obituary is here.
Collins’ own history of Como Sales Company is here.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
September 13, 1969 – CBS introduced Scooby Doo, Where Are You? 50 years ago this week: Quoting the Wikipedia —
September 13, 1974 — Planet of the Apes debuted as a weekly television series with the “Escape from Tomorrow” episode. Roddy McDowall was once again Galen. Due to really poor rating, CBS canceled the series after 14 episodes.
September 13, 1999 — On this day, in the timeline inhabited by the crew of Space: 1999, the events told in the “Breakaway” premier episode happened.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 13, 1898 — Arthur J. Burks. He sold his first stories to Weird Tales in 1924. He became one of the “million-word-a-year” men in the pulp magazines by dint of his tremendous output. He wrote in the neighborhood of eight hundred stories for the pulps. Both iBooks and Kindle have some of his fiction available for free if you care to see how this pulp writer reads. (Died 1974.)
Born September 13, 1926 — Roald Dahl. Did you know he wrote the screenplay for You Only Live Twice? Or that he hosted and wrote for a sf and horror television anthology series called Way Out which aired before The Twilight Zone for a season? He also hosted the UK Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. My favorite Dahl work is The BFG. What’s yours? (Died 1990.)
Born September 13, 1931 — Barbara Bain, 86. She’s most remembered for co-starring in the original Mission: Impossible television series in the 1960s as Cinnamon Carter, and Space: 1999 as Doctor Helena Russell. I will confess that I never watched the latter. Her first genre role was as Alma in the “KAOS in CONTROL” episode of Get Smart!
Born September 13, 1932 — Dick Eney. Most notably, in 1959 he published Fancyclopedia 2, an over two hundred page encyclopedia of all things fandom. He worked on committees for Discon I, Discon II, and Constellation and was the Fan Guest of Honor at L.A.Con II, the 1984 Worldcon. He served as OE of FAPA and SAPS and was a member of The Cult and the Washington in ’77 Worldcon bid. He was toastmaster at Conterpoint 1993. (Died 2006.)
Born September 13, 1936 — Richard Sapir. Pulp writer in spirit if not in actuality. Among his many works is The Destroyer series of novels that he co-created with Warren Murphy. (Murphy would write them by himself after death of Sapir starting with the seventy-first novel until the series concluded with ninety-sixth novel.) And the main character in them is Remo Williams who you’ll no doubt recognize from Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins where Fred Ward played Remo which I’ve watched but remember nothing of thirty years on. (Died 1987.)
Born September 13, 1939 — Richard Kiel. He’s definitely best remembered for being the steely mouthed Jaws n The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Now let’s see what other SFF films he’s been in… His very last genre work was voicing Vlad in the animated Tangled with first his being The Salorite in The Phantom Planet. He was Eegah in the low budget horror film Eegah, a giant House of the Damned, Dr. Kolos in The Human Duplicators, Psychiatric Hospital Patient in Brainstorm, Bolob in the Italian L’umanoide, internationally released as The Humanoid, and he reprised his Jaws character in Inspector Gadget. Series wise, he’s shown up in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Twilight Zone, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Wild Wild West (where he working in a recurring role with Michael Dunn as Dr. Miguelito Loveless), I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan’s Island, Land of The Lost and Superboy. (Died 2014.)
Born September 13, 1944 — Jacqueline Bisset, 75. I never pass up a Bond performance and so she’s got on the Birthday Honors by being Giovanna Goodthighs in Casino Royale even though that might have been one of the dumbest character names ever. As near as I can tell, until she shows up in as Charlotte Burton in the “Love the Lie” episode of Counterpart that’s her entire encounter with genre acting.
Born September 13, 1947 — Mike Grell, 72. He’s best known for his work on books such as Green Lantern/Green Arrow, The Warlord, and Jon Sable Freelance. The Warlord featuring Travis Morgan is a hollow Earth adventure series set in Skartaris which is a homage to Jules Verne as Grell points out “the name comes from the mountain peak Scartaris that points the way to the passage to the earth’s core in Journey to the Center of the Earth .
Born September 13, 1961 — Tom Holt, 59. Assuming you like comical fantasy, I’d recommend both Faust Among Equals and Who Afraid of Beowulf? as being well worth time. If you madly, truly into Wagner, you’ll love Expecting Someone Taller; if not, skip it.
Born September 13, 1969 — Bob Eggleton, 50. He’s has been honored with the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist eight times! He was guest of honor at Chicon 2000. There’s a reasonably up to date look at his artwork, Primal Darkness: The Gothic & Horror Art of Bob Eggleton which he put together in 2010 and was published by Cartouche Press.
Mapping Winter (2019) is Marta Randall’s reworking of her 1983 novel, The Sword of Winter. (Randall talks more about the story behind the book here.) Its release as Mapping Winter was followed shortly by the all-new sequel The River South, with the two novels making up the RIDERS GUILD series. It’s a secondary-world fantasy, but without magic; I was about two-thirds of the way through the book when I realized, “Huh, I don’t think there’s been any magic!” What it does have is a nation poised between feudalism and industrialization.
Kazuma Kamachi’s ongoing series of short novels and their associated manga and anime (A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun, A Certain Scientific Accelerator, etc.) is set in Academy City. The city is home to over two million students, most of whom have some degree of reality-breaking Esper power. Some can control electromagnetism; some can keep objects at a constant temperature. Imagine the Xavier School for the Gifted with the population of Paris, France. Unlike the leadership of Xavier’s school, however, the people running Academy City are ambitious people entirely unfamiliar with the concepts of consent or ethics….
(13) ABOUT THAT DEAD HORSE. Good point – after all, how many people would watch a channel that mostly runs commercials?
…In a world of twitter, and direct messages, and texts, and instant social media, long form letters are a delightful retro technology and form. Epistolary novels and stories, never the most common of forms even when letters were dominant as a means of communication, are exceedingly distinctive just by their format in this day and age. It’s a bold choice by the authors to have the two agents, Red (from a technological end state utopia) and Blue (from a biological super consciousness utopia) to start their correspondence and to have their letters (which take increasingly unusual forms as described in the narrative) be the backbone of the action. Every chapter has one of the principals in action, and a letter from the other principals, giving a harmonic balance for the reader as far as perspective. But it is within the letters themselves that the novella truly sings and shows its power.
The theme of Sarah Moss’s latest novel, Ghost Wall, can be summed up by a William Faulkner quote: “The past is never dead. It isn’t even really past.” Sylvie’s father plans an unusual vacation for their family: joining a local college professor’s project to spend a couple of weeks living the way British people did in the Bronze Age. This involves some of the physical discomforts you would expect, such as foraging for food in the summer heat and living in huts. But things take a darker turn as Sylvie’s father’s fascination with the period deepens into obsession. And not all the hazards of the era were natural ones; there’s evidence that a nearby bog was a site of human sacrifice….
(16) ALASDAIR STUART. It’s Full Lid o’clock!
(17) THE MESSAGE. Joseph Hurtgen has just released his
second sff novel with a theme chosen for reasons he explains in “Why I Wrote an Anti-Gun, Anti-Trump, Environmental
Science Fiction Novel “. “This novel is an exercise in hoping our
democracy outlasts this election cycle, hoping our generation doesn’t destroy
the planet, and hoping that we could rise above greed to make our nation safe
for our children. What better place to do all this hoping than in the pages of
The book follows William Tecumseh Sherman as he time travels around America’s history, talking to presidents that like their guns and aren’t interested in instituting environmental protections.
I realize that it’s a bit of stretch that Sherman would get involved politically. Sherman once said if he was elected, he wouldn’t serve. But isn’t that precisely the kind of leader America needs? Someone disinterested in leadership wouldn’t likely have ulterior motives for holding a position of power: no Putins to please, no buildings to build in Moscow or the Middle East.
But the reality of American politics is that those willing to profit from power are rewarded for it. In 2019, the emoluments clause might as well be struck from the record. It clearly isn’t taken seriously. But emoluments are only the tip of the ugly iceberg.
It’s being promoted as the biggest live immersive game yet. Variant 31 is theatre – there are 150 real-life performers involved. But its creator is hoping it will bring in video gamers – and people who like jumping out of aircraft.
If you heard reports of reanimated cadavers roaming at will beneath New Oxford Street you might suppose London had been having a particularly bad day for public transport.
But producer Dalton M Dale is proud to stand in a slightly musty former shop basement and talk of the malevolent band of marauding zombies he’s adding to the growing world of immersive theatre.
He’s from North Carolina but in 2017 he came to London after a few years working on immersive shows in New York.
“London is the place to push the envelope of what immersive storytelling can do: the point about Variant 31 is that as you move through our really large site you get actively involved in the story. That’s instead of standing at a slight distance and observing and admiring, which has often been the case with even the best immersive experiences.”
…”You start at Patient Intake at Toxico Technologies,” Dale explains. “Toxico 25 years ago has manufactured strange and nefarious materials for chemical warfare. You are given a piece of wrist technology which at key points across 35 floors will allow you to do various things: you can alter the lighting and open hidden passages and even change the weather.
“Creatures emerge as you move through. From the moment you step into this world the hunt is on and someone wants to catch you. Oh, and always bear in mind: the only way to kill a zombie is to aim for the head.
Players score points by killing the creatures and at the end of the experience there will be just one winner from your group. “We claim this is the first truly immersive experience: it’s not spoon-fed like some other shows. Your presence matters and genuinely changes what goes on.”
A Russian activist used a drone to get his data out of his high-rise flat when police came to search it.
Sergey Boyko says he sent hard drives to a friend by drone when police banged at his door at 10:00 local time, to avoid them getting hold of the data.
The search was part of a nationwide crackdown on the opposition.
Around 200 raids have been carried out in the past few days after the ruling party suffered major losses in local elections in Moscow.
A YouTube video taken (in Russian) by a female companion shows Mr Boyko, who lives in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, releasing a drone from his flat in a tall apartment block as police wait to be let in.
Mr Boyko heads the local branch of the movement of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who campaigned for voters to defeat candidates of the United Russia party using tactical voting in Sunday’s city council election.
The activists say the raids are a form of revenge by the authorities for the setbacks.
OF THE DAY. In A Month of Type on Vimeo, Mr Kaplin animates
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock,
John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Joseph Hurtgen, IanP, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contrbuting editor of the
day Matthew Johnson.]
Con or Bust so generously sent me funds to pay for accommodations and airfare–two large chunks of expenses that make me hopeful that I will be able to attend. In fact, I have already booked the tickets and my AirBnB stay. I need only save up for food, transportation, and other smaller travel expenses.
However, I hit several snags recently. Sudden health issues required medicines and physical therapy. As a freelancer, my biggest contract was recently ended, and so I have been searching for part-time gigs and full-time jobs to not only help me fund this trip and pay GoGetFunding, but to help pay for my daily and medical needs. Your contribution will greatly help toward lessening the amount I need.
And when Brandon O’Brien was trying to round up the last $700 he needed to get to Dublin, look what happened! Jeff VanderMeer put up 7 of the Sub Press Borne signed special editions for $100 each to the first 7 takers. And just like that, he was funded.
Here’s who you won’t see as Phase 4 unfolds between May 2020 and November 2021: Spider-Man, Star-Lord and a new Iron Man. But you will meet what’s easily the most diverse superhero line-up in comic book movie history, including a master of kung fu and a group of eternals. You’ll also welcome back a strange sorcerer, a sharpshooting archer and a sword-swinging Valkyrie. Based on the crowd reaction, the most anticipated reunions are with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who will be returning as a thunder goddess, and that vampire hunter Blade, now played by two-time Oscar winner, Mahershala Ali.
Most major achievements, be they personal or collective, arrive after rehearsals. Some unfold as flights of the imagination. The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing provides a great opportunity to examine how an entire branch of speculative fiction — novels, short stories and also feature films — lies behind the first human footprints on another world.
Works of fiction aren’t particularly known for having influenced historical events. Yet some foundational early rocket science, embedded deep within the developmental history of the Saturn 5 — the towering, five-stage rocket that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon 50 years ago this week — was paid for by the budget of the first science fiction film to envision just such a voyage in realistic terms.
Spaceflight as we know it today wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for three extraordinary figures: the borderline-crazy Russian spaceflight visionary Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the hard-right nationalist German-Transylvanian rocketry pioneer Hermann Oberth and the idiosyncratic American rocketeer Robert Goddard. All devised their distinctive strains of rocket science in response to speculative novels, specifically the stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells — founders of a nascent genre later to be known asscience fiction. Tsiolkovsky and Oberth also had important roles to play in early 20th century film projects depicting trips to the Moon.
… Of the three, only Tsiolkovsky actually wrote science fiction, which he used as a scratch pad for his revolutionary ideas. Living in near-poverty 100 miles southwest of Moscow, he also issued a stream of theoretical papers. In articles published in 1911-12, he came up with the great utopian credo of the space age: “Earth is the cradle of the mind, but humanity can’t live in its cradle forever.”
Fifty years ago, a bunch of comics fans in San Diego decided they wanted a way to meet other fans. They were mostly teenagers — okay, and two adults — but what they created became the pop culture phenomenon we know as San Diego Comic-Con.
Today, Roger Freedman is a physics professor, but in 1969 he was 17 years old — and he had no idea what he was about to get himself into. “I think it’s fair to say that if you had come to us and said how Comic-Con was going to evolve, we would have said A) what are you smoking, and B) where can we buy some?”
It all started with a guy named Shel Dorf — one of only two adults involved with that first convention. Dorf had some experience attending and planning conventions, and more importantly, he had connections. He knew Jack Kirby, the legendary co-creator of characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. And Kirby was willing to talk to a bunch of kids.
“I think we thought comic creators lived on some comic book Mount Olympus and couldn’t be approached by normal mortals like us,” says Mike Towry, who was 14 when he got involved with the convention committee. “And then to find out that we could actually meet them and talk to them one on one, and then have a convention where they would come and we would get to hang out with them was just kind of mind-blowing.”
…It’s not hyperbole to say that without Ken Liu and his Herculean efforts in translation, Chinese SF would not exist — or at least it would not exist in its current state. When Ken Liu’s 2014 translation of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem (2008) won the Hugo Award in 2015, not only was it the first Chinese work awarded the honor, it was the first work in translation from any language to be lauded so. At some point in the past decade, Chinese SF went from “having a moment” to “enjoying its golden age,” and if 2015 wasn’t the exact moment that shift happened, it was certainly when the translation heard round the world was sounded. The Three-Body Problem’s award signaled the significance of Chinese SF to many Anglophone readers for the first time, but equally important was its reaffirmation of Chinese SF for local readers. Liu’s translation has in turn been the source for the novel’s translations into other languages, putting Liu at the vanguard of Chinese SF’s march toward the world. Within hours of the award announcement, domestic internet searches and sales of both the first book and of Liu Cixin’s whole 2008–2010 trilogy increased more than tenfold. Publishing houses and state institutions like the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China redoubled their efforts using SF as a vehicle for promoting China’s “peaceful rise,” and have identified SF as a key aspect of their propaganda and publicity campaigns.
Just as, when pressed, Calvino’s Marco Polo claims that “[e]very time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice,” every story in Invisible Planets is saying something about the author’s own position — but that may or may not be the China we know (or think we know). Invisible Planets is not only the spiritual successor to Calvino’s Invisible Cities: it evinces the same magic without following the same formula, creating a panoply of possible worlds that may or may not be our worlds, and which may or may not be true.
(6) BRAZILIAN INVITATION. Canadian sff author Craig Russell
received multiple items of good news recently.
First, “an incredibly kind” review
of his novel Fragment written by Brazilian
literature professor, Dr. Zélia M. Bora and published in The
Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature and Ecocritics.
Some of the comments, translated from Portuguese:
Russell’s clever and captivating novel captures the sensitive reader’s
attention from the beginning to the end of the narrative, in a balanced
way between the real and the imagined.”
undoubtedly one of the most important ecocritical fiction works written in
Russell has also received an invitation to speak about the novel at the 2020 Association for the Study
of Literature and Environment (Brazil) conference in the
city of Curitiba, Brazil (pending travel grant funding approvals.)
The man suspected of carrying out a deadly arson attack on a Japanese animation studio may have visited the area before, local media reported.
Neighbours spotted a man resembling Shinji Aoba near the Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) office before Thursday’s fire.
Mr Aoba, 41, who suffered severe burns, is in police custody and has been transferred to a hospital in Osaka.
On Saturday, a man died in hospital from his injuries, bringing the death toll from the attack to 34.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 21, 1911 — Marshall McLuhan. He coined the expressions the medium is the message and global village, and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. I read The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects a long time ago. Somehow it seemed quaint. (Died 1980.)
Born July 21, 1921 — James Cooke Brown. He’s the creator of Loglan. Oh, and he did write SF. The Troika Incident written in 1970 features a global data net. That, and two short pieces of fiction, are the sum total of his of genre writings. The Troika Incident is available from Kindle but not from iBooks. (Died 2000.)
Born July 21, 1933 — John Gardner. Grendel, the retelling of Beowulf from the monster’s viewpoint, is likely the only work he’s remembered for. Gudgekin The Thistle Girl (and Other Tales) are genre fairy tales as are The King of the Hummingbirds (and Other Tales); A Child’s Bestiary is, well, guess what it says it is. Mickelsson’s Ghosts, his final novel written before his untimely death, is a ghost story. (Died 1982.)
Born July 21, 1939 — John Woodvine, 80. First role in our realm is as Macbeth at Mermaid Theatre back in the early Sixties. Shortly thereafter, he’s Badger in Toad of Toad Hall at the Comedy Theatre before being The Marshal in the Fourth Doctor story, “The Armageddon Factor”. He’s in An American Werewolf in London as Dr. J. S. Hirsch, and he had a recurring role in The Tripods as Master West. He did show up on The Avengers several times, each time as a different character, and he was Singri Rhamin for the episodes of Danger Man.
Born July 21, 1948 — G. B. Trudeau, 71. Not precisely genre or even genre adjacent, but he did an amazing series on the Apple Newton when it came out.
Born July 21, 1951 — Robin Williams. Suicides depress me. I remember a bootleg tape of a performance of him and Carlin in their cocaine fueled days. Such manic energy. Genre wise, he was brilliant in most everything he did, be it Mork & Mindy, Hook, The Fisher King, Bicentennial Man or Jumanji. (Died 2014.)
Born July 21, 1960 — Lance Guest, 59. An American film and television actor, best known for his lead role in The Last Starfighter. He also shows up in Jaws: The Revenge as Michael Brody, as Jimmy in Halloween II, as Kyle Lane in the “Fearful Symmetry” episode of The X-Files and as The Burning Zone in “The Critical Mass” episode.
Born July 21, 1976 — Jaime Murray, 43. If you watch genre television, you’ve most likely seen her as she’s been Helena G. Wells in the Warehouse 13, Stahma Tarr in Defiance, Fiona/the Black Fairy In Once Upon a Time, Antoinette in The Originals, and Nyssa al Ghul in Gotham. Film wise, she was Livinia in The Devil’s Playground and Gerri Dandridge in Fright Night 2: New Blood.
(9) DRIVE AROUND THE BLOCK AGAIN. Referring to the second tweet below — You never know who you’re going to wish you’d run into at Comic-Con.
(10) YEAR 6 IS IN THE BANK. The Uncanny Magazine Kickstarter
is clicking along, too. Year 6 is funded, and they’re in hot pursuit of their
second stretch goal already, with 24 days remaining.
(11) ON THE HORIZON. The “Strange
Horizons 2020” Kickstarter has also passed its $13,000 goal with 9
days to go in the campaign.
This was the Big Superhero Showdown Marvel’s been aiming towards for ten years, but when I saw it, it felt a bit….underwhelming. With so many characters tossed into the mix and so much to do, there wasn’t time for any of them to make much of an impression, with the possible exception of Thor and Rocket. Also, if I’d been Chris Pratt, I would have been ticked off by the way my character was forced to wield the Starlord Stupid Stick, not once but twice. If Peter Quill had only killed Gamora in the beginning, like she asked him to do and he agreed, Thanos would never have found the Soul Stone. Of course, then we wouldn’t have had a $2 billion-plus grossing movie…..
(13) WIDENING GYRE OF HUGO COVERAGE. Steve J. Wright has completed his Campbell
Best New Writer reviews + Pro Artist Hugo and Retro Hugo reviews.
Former NASA intern Gary George sold off three of the agency’s videotapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing for $1.82 million at auction house Sotheby’s on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of the event, CNN reported.
Sotheby’s claims the videos have not been enhanced, restored, or otherwise altered and are the “earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man’s first steps on the moon,” CNN wrote. George paid $217.77 in 1976 (approximately $980 in today’s dollars) for 1,150 reels of NASA magnetic tape at a government auction while he was a Lamar University student interning at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
…For discerning pet owners who treat their cats and dogs like family — in some cases better than family — designers are creating stylish, even glamorous, furniture. Witness the new $5,000 Crystal Clear Lotus Cat Tower by the Refined Feline, with three platforms for lounging and a hideaway cubby at the bottom lined in white faux fur. (You can see one at the trendy Los Angeles cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers.) And now you and Buddy can catnap or watch DOGTV on matching tufted Chesterfield-style Wayfair Archie & Oscar sofas; his is a $399 miniaturized version of yours in faux-leather scaled with similar nailhead trim and turned legs.
FX’s Archer has some huge changes coming for season 11. The first piece of news is that there is going to be a season 11 (creator Adam Reed has previously suggested the show might end after the current 10th season). The second revelation is — as Archer producers just revealed at Comic-Con in San Diego on Friday — that Sterling Archer is going to wake from his three-year coma in the upcoming finale as the show plans a return to its spy agency roots next season. But there’s a lot more to it than just that.
EW exclusively spoke to executive producers Matt Thompson and Casey Willis about their season 11 shakeup. We got the scoop on the show’s major story line for next season, how long Archer has been in a coma, the future involvement of Reed on the show, and more.
A little over three months after Paris’ Notre Dame caught fire, French officials say the cathedral is still in a precarious state and needs to be stabilized. Ultimately, they aim to restore the monument, a process that will take years.
When that work begins, there will be a new demand for experts who have the same skills required to build Notre Dame 900 years ago. In the workshops of the Hector Guimard high school, less than three miles from the cathedral, young stone carvers are training for that task.
In an airy and light-filled workshop in the north of Paris, a handful of students chip and chisel away at heavy slabs of stone. Each works on his or her own piece, but all are sculpting the same project: the base of a Corinthian column. The students are earning a professional degree to hew the stone pieces needed to maintain and restore France’s historical monuments.
…”In the beginning, it was my own parents who were surprised when I left my architecture studies to do this,” says Marjorie Lebegue. “But most everyone who finds out I’m studying to be a stone carver says, ‘Wow, what a beautiful profession.'”
Luc Leblond instructs the aspiring stone carvers.
“There’s no reason this should be a masculine profession,” he says. “Men have more physical force, but as a professor, I see the women have a sharpened sensitivity for the more detailed work. So it’s complementary.”
Los Angeles Times correspondent Benjamin Crutcher wound up going viral at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con by cosplaying as the infamous coffee cup that appeared during an episode of the final season of Game of Thrones.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “The Simpsons: Russian Art Film Version” on YouTube is what the opening of “The Simpsons” would be like in a gloomy Soviet apartment complex.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge,
Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, Daniel Dern, Carl
Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
During today’s The Orville panel at San Diego Comic-Con, show creator and star Seth MacFarlane made big news, announcing the show is hopping from the Fox Broadcasting Network to the Hulu streaming service.
Note: These novellas don’t get much push from me beyond a few blog and chat-space posts, so getting the word out is pretty much up to their readers. Amazon always gets plenty of reviews, so appropriate mentions and reviews out-and-about elsewhere on the Net extend the reach more. Do please pass the word, if you are so moved.
(4) ANOTHER REVOLUTION. Journey Planet 45 – The Matrix dropped yesterday, assembled by guest editor John Coxon with Chris Garcia and James
Bacon. The stunning cover is by Meg Frank. Download the issue here.
Twenty years ago, The Wachowski sisters brought a groundbreaking film to fruition that not only bent the rules in regard to production but became the most memorable film of 1999 far eclipsing easily forgotten movies or disastrous disappointments.
The contributors to this issue ask many questions, discuss a variety of angles and consider the work now with ample time for reflection and digestion.
Contributors include, Emma Harris, Warren Frey, España Sheriff, Jenn Scott, Dave Lane, Ulrika O’Brien, Peppard Saltine, Helena MacCallum, Pete ‘Cardinal’ Cox, Bill Howard and CiteUnScene AI.
Art contributors include España, Chris, OzynO, Dark Ronin, Helianmagnou, Dark Tox1c, Frederikz, L0lock and ShaqueNova.
The Matrix spawned sequels, comics, animation and a considerable amount of books, thinking about concepts it set out.
Join us as you realize that 20 years have slipped by, and remind yourself of how you felt and what you thought about this fantastic film.
Audible tells The Verge that the captions are “small amounts of machine-generated text are displayed progressively a few lines at a time while audio is playing, and listeners cannot read at their own pace or flip through pages as in a print book or eBook.” Audible wouldn’t say which books would get the feature, only that “titles that can be transcribed at a sufficiently high confidence rate” will be included. It’s planning to release the feature in early September “to roll out with the 2019 school year.”
Penguin Random House, one of the world’s five biggest publishers, told The Verge that “we have reached out to Audible to express our strong copyright concerns with their recently announced Captions program, which is not authorized by our business terms,” and that it expects the company to exclude its titles from the captions feature.
(6) FRED PATTEN NEWS. Together with Stan Lee and
other notables, Fred Patten was commemorated by San Diego Comic-Con’s in
memoriam list, shown last night during the Eisner Awards ceremony. Fanbase
Press tweeted photos:
Sherrill Patten, his sister, says Fred’s final two books
are available to order.
has just published Fred’s last furry fiction anthology, the Coyotl Awards
Books now shows the cover of Furry Tales – A Review of Essential
Anthropomorphic Fiction in their online FALL catalog. Copies can be
Tales featuring anthropomorphic animals have been around as long as there have been storytellers to spin them, from Aesop’s Fables to Reynard the Fox to Alice in Wonderland. The genre really took off following the explosion of furry fandom in the 21st century, with talking animals featuring in everything from science fiction to fantasy to LGBTQ coming-out stories.
In his lifetime, Fred Patten (1940–2018)—one of the founders of furry fandom and a scholar of anthropomorphic animal literature—authored hundreds of book reviews that comprise a comprehensive critical survey of the genre. This selected compilation provides an overview from 1784 through the 2010s, covering such popular novels as Watership Down and Redwall, along with forgotten gems like The Stray Lamb and Where the Blue Begins, and science fiction works like Sundiver and Decision at Doona.
(7) REMEMBRANCE. Now online is Dublin 2019’s In Memoriam list, which shows the names of sff people who have died
since the last Worldcon.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 20, 1924 — Lola Albright. Though she’s best remembered best known for playing the sultry singer Edie Hart, the girlfriend of private eye Peter Gunn, she did do some genre performances. She’s Cathy Barrett, one of the leads in the Fifties film The Monolith Monsters, and television was her home in the Fifties and Sixties. She was on Tales of Tomorrow as Carol Williams in the “The Miraculous Serum” episode, Nancy Metcalfe on Rocket Squad in “The System” episode, repeated appearances on the various Alfred Hitchcock series, and even on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the episodes released as the feature length film The Helicopter Spies. She was Azalea. (Died 2017)
Born July 20, 1930 — Sally Ann Howes, 89. She is best known for the role of Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She was in Brigadoon as Fiona McLaren at New York City Center Light Opera Company, and in Camelot as Guenevere at St. Louis Municipal Opera. She was even in The Hound of the Baskervilles as Laura Frankland which has a certain Starship Captain as George Stapleton.
Born July 20, 1931 — Donald Moffitt. Author of the Baroness thriller series, somewhat akin to Bond and Blaise, but not quite. Great popcorn literature. Some SF, two in his Mechanical Skyseries, Crescent in the Sky and A Gathering of Stars, another two in his Genesis Quest series, Genesis Quest and Second Genesis, plus several one-offs. (Died 2014.)
Born July 20, 1938 — Diana Rigg, née Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, 81. Emma Peel of course in The Avengers aside Patrick Macnee as a John Steed. Best pairing ever. Played Sonya Winter in The Assassination Bureau followed by being Contessa Teresa “Tracy” Draco di Vicenzo Bond on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. By the Eighties, she’s doing lighter fare such as being Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper and Miss Hardbroom in The Worst Witch, not to mention The Evil Queen, Snow White’s evil stepmother in Snow White. Now she would get a meaty role in Game of Thrones when she was Olenna Tyrell. Oh and she showed up recently in Dr. Who during the Era of the Eleventh Doctoras Mrs. Winifred Gillyflower in the “The Crimson Horror” episode.
Born July 20, 1949 — Guy H. Lillian III, 70. Letterhack and fanzine publisher notable for having been twice nominated for a Hugo Award as best fan writer and rather amazingly having been nominated twelve straight times without winning for the Hugo for best fanzine for his Challenger zine. As a well-fan of Green Lantern, Lillian’s name was tuckerized for the title’s 1968 debut character Guy Gardner.
Born July 20, 1959 — Martha Soukup, 60. The 1994 short film Override, directed by Danny Glover, was based on her short story “Over the Long Haul”. It was his directorial debut. She has two collections, Collections Rosemary’s Brain: And Other Tales of Wonder and The Arbitrary Placement of Walls, both published in the Nineties. She won a Nebula Award for Best Short Story for “A Defense of the Social Contracts”. “The Story So Far” by her is available as the download sample on iBooks in Schimel’s Things Invisible to See anthology if you’d liked to see how she is as a writer.
Born July 20, 1977 — Penny Vital, better known as Penny Drake, 42. Uncredited role as Old Town Girl in Sin City, Sox in Zombie Strippers (which also stars Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson), Astrid in Star Chicks, Sabula in Monarch of the Moon and Annette DeFour in Dreamkiller which I think is genre.
(10) CAKE RE-ENACTMENT. Yessir, don’t we all love gray
frosting? Other than that, impressive!
(11) HARD SCIENCE. The latest issue of IEEE Spectrum — Project Moon Base – contains fifteen
excellent articles about getting to the moon, building a base there, long-term
stays on the moon, and a bit of history. Greg Hullender says, “Highly
recommended to anyone interested in lunar exploration, particularly anyone
thinking of writing a story set in a future moonbase.”
IEEE Spectrum: You invented a completely new technology for landing on the moon. It seems to combine a maglev train, a railgun, and a hyperloop. Can you briefly describe how that works and how you came up with it?
Kim Stanley Robinson: I got the idea from a lunatic friend of mine. It’s basically the reverse of the magnetic launch rails that have been postulated for getting off the moon ever since the 1930s: These take advantage of the moon’s light gravity and its lack of atmosphere, which allow a spaceship to be accelerated to a very high speed while still on the surface, after which the ship could just zoom off the moon going sideways, because there is no atmosphere to burn up in on the way out. If you just reverse that process, apparently you can land a spaceship on the moon according to the same principle.
It blew my mind. I asked about the tolerance for error; how precise would you have to be for the system to work? My friend shrugged and said it would be a few centimeters. This while going about 8,000 miles an hour (12,900 kilometers per hour)! But without an atmosphere, a landing can be very precise; there won’t be any winds or turbulence, no friction. It was so fantastic a notion that I knew I had to use it.
(12) COLLECTIBLE. Montegrappa prices this beautiful
fountain pen at 6,750 Euros.
Moon Landing L.E.
A giant leap for mankind
In 1969 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins captivated the world. Supported by a cast of thousands, their supreme achievement continues to set the bar for how big boyhood dreams can be. Developed in close coordination with NASA, a marvel of engineering in miniature transforms the act of writing. Allow your ideas to go where no-one has gone before. The Eagle has landed!
When Buzz Aldrin embarked 50 years ago on his historic voyage to the moon aboard Apollo 11, he packed a tiny, credit-card-sized book, “The Autobiography of Robert Hutchings Goddard, Father of the Space Age.”
Goddard, who was a physics professor at Worcester’s Clark University, launched the first liquid-fueled rocket in Auburn in 1926 and is generally considered the father of modern rocketry.
For Aldrin, who was the second man to set foot on the moon, there was also a personal connection.
Goddard had taught Edwin Aldrin Sr., Buzz’s father. Buzz never met Goddard but cherished his father’s connection with the professor, said Fordyce Williams, a coordinator of archives and special collections at Clark, where the book is on display.
The cast of HBO’s recently concluded Game of Thrones took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con Friday night to reflect on their time on the long-running fantasy series, and revealed a few secrets about their characters.
warning followed that opening paragraph. Tons of spoilers followed the warning.
So, you have now been warned
twice. (Or is it thrice?)
(15) UNDER COVER. ScreenRant profiles “The Most Popular Actor You’ve Never
Doug Jones is a highly respected and acclaimed actor who has appeared in over 150 acting jobs to his name to this day. However, chances are you never realized who Doug Jones was unless you’re a hardcore cinephile. That’s because many of Jones’ roles require him to be covered in extensive makeup and costumes that hide his natural visage. Jones is the man behind such iconic characters as the Lead Gentleman in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s best episode, “Hush”, the monster in The Shape of Water, Saru in Star Trek Discovery and Abe in Hellboy, the latter of which took seven hours in makeup everyday just to bring the character to life. Jones got his start not by acting, but as a mime for his University’s mascot.
(16) FAN MAIL FROM A FLOUNDER. The surprising thing
about Richard Paolinelli is not that he wants to be insulting, but that he only
repeats insults someone else thought up first. Which probably informs potential
readers what to expect from his fiction.
There will be no manholes in Berkeley, California. City workers will drop into “maintenance holes” instead.
Nothing will be manmade in the liberal city but “human-made.” And students at the University of California, Berkeley, will join “collegiate Greek system residences” rather than fraternities and sororities.
Berkeley leaders voted unanimously this week to replace about 40 gender-specific words in the city code with gender-neutral terms — an effort to be more inclusive that’s drawing both praise and scorn….
(18) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter was tuned in to Jeopardy!
on Friday and witnessed this:
Category: African-American Authors.
Answer: In the “African Immortals” series by Tananarive Due, vampire-like beings from this Horn of Africa country prey on the living.
Incorrect questions: “What is Somalia?” and “What is Cape Horn?”
Correct question: “What is Ethiopia?”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat
Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Michaeline Duskova, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
(1) KLOOS SIGNS OFF TWITTER. Marko Kloos left Facebook
seven months ago, and today deleted his Twitter account, too. He explains why
in “Writing and the
I have to come to realize that over the last few years, the Internet has had a profoundly corrosive effect on my professional output and occasionally even my emotional health.
This effect has been especially severe in two areas: social media and email, both of which basically constituted my consent to being easily and directly available to contact by anyone with an Internet connection. In Twitter’s case, that contact has also been fully public, which means that anyone with a Twitter account has been able to see and share any conversation I’ve had with people outside of direct messages.
As of today, I am withdrawing that consent by getting off social media and curtailing my availability via email.
Late last year, I got so tired of the constant necessity to curate my Facebook feed and the drama resulting from pruning my Friends list that I pulled the plug for good and deleted my account. In the seven months since then, I have not missed it, and beyond a few concerned messages from long-time Facebook acquaintances, my absence has been inconsequential to the world and a lot less aggravation and anxiety in my life. Last night, I deleted my Twitter account as well, for slightly different reasons that boil down to the strong feeling that it will have a similar life-improving consequence….
… To put it bluntly: I can no longer allow anyone with a smartphone and a data plan the potential ability to darken my day or interrupt my work by trying to pick an argument or fill my Twitter feed with aggravating stuff. Most emails and Twitter interactions with fans have been fun and positive, but there have been exceptions. And even the well-meaning emails from happy readers take a slice out of my writing time.
… And hoo boy, their expectations were met. That inaugural installment of Jessica Jones was a true humdinger. It was distinctive without being flashy, mature without being ponderous, ambitious without being self-satisfied, sexy without being exploitative, and just … good. I can’t tell you how much of a revelation a good superhero show was at that time. We were used to spandex outings that were inane, formulaic, and utterly uninterested in pushing a single envelope. But here was a tale that seemed like it was going to grapple with everything from PTSD to queerness and do it all with style. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg and star Krysten Ritter genuinely seemed to be elevating the game. As soon as the screening was done, I rushed to the lobby to get reception and email my editor like an old-timey reporter clamoring for a pay phone just after getting a hot scoop. I have seen the future of superheroes, I thought, and it is Marvel Netflix.
If it ever was the future, it is now the past. This week sees the barely ballyhooed release of the third and final season of Jessica Jones, which is itself the final season of Marvel’s four-year Netflix experiment. Its death has been agonizingly and humiliatingly gradual: Over the course of the past few months, each of the five ongoing series that made it up has been given the ax, one after another. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher; their fans saw them all go the way of the dodo — without fanfare….
(3) ENDS WITH A BANG. Fast Company’s article “The most expensive hyphen in history” unpacks an historic incident in the U.S. space program (that inspired a scene in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Calculating Stars.)
Mariner 1 was launched atop a 103-foot-tall Atlas-Agena rocket at 5:21 a.m. EDT. For 3 minutes and 32 seconds, it rose perfectly, accelerating to the edge of space, nearly 100 miles up.
But at that moment, Mariner 1 started to veer in odd, unplanned ways, first aiming northwest, then pointing nose down. The rocket was out of control and headed for the shipping lanes of the North Atlantic. Four minutes and 50 seconds into flight, a range safety officer at Cape Canaveral—in an effort to prevent the rocket from hitting people or land—flipped two switches, and explosives in the Atlas blew the rocket apart in a spectacular cascade of fireworks visible back in Florida.
… A single handwritten line, the length of a hyphen, doomed the most elaborate spaceship the U.S. had until then designed, along with its launch rocket. Or rather, the absence of that bar doomed it. The error cost $18.5 million ($156 million today).
(4) BATMAN AT 80. The Society of Illustrators is opening several momentous Batman exhibits at its New York museum.
Join us for a celebration of three momentous exhibits:
Starting out with Dirk Gently, Adams breaks away from the science-fiction/comedy genre a bit, creating a “ghost-horror-detective-time travel-romantic comedy epic” as the promotional copy on the hardback release claims. It does combine several divergent plotlines that mostly come together at the end. The main characters include a computer programmer, a mysterious detective, and an eccentric professor along with an Electric Monk, and an ancient ghost (as well as a more recent one). Part of the plot line of the book is similar to the Doctor Who story “City Of Death” with the main characters involved with an alien being from the past and using a time travel machine to defeat it. The time travelling done in Dirk Gently seems to be done by TARDIS. The professor in the book is Professor Chronotis from the Doctor Who story Shada that was written by Douglas Adams but was never completed. The setting of Cambridge, is also the same. Overall, it is an enjoyable book, although a bit hard to follow at times.
With the release of the HHG Companion book, even more links with Doctor Who are made known. Neil Gaiman has done a good job chronicling the history of the Hitchhiker’s Guide along with the rest of Douglas Adams career to date.
(6) CHANDLER AWARD. This is what the 2019 A. Bertram Chandler Award looks like – Edwina Harvey posted the photo.
The Lorax would be devastated to hear that the tree that inspired Dr. Seuss’ 1971 children’s book has fallen.
The Monterey Cypress tree was at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California, the seaside community where author Theodor Seuss Geisel lived from 1948 until his death in 1991.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 18, 1964 — The Twilight Zone aired its series finale: “The Bewitchin’ Pool”.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 18, 1908 — Bud Collyer. He was voiced both the Man of Steel and Clark Kent on The Adventures Of Superman radio show in the Forties on the Mutual Broadcasting System. He also voiced them in the animated The New Adventures of Superman which was a Filmation production. Joan Alexander voiced Lois Lane in both shows. (Died 1969.)
Born June 18, 1917 — Richard Boone. You likely know him as Paladin on Have Gun – Will Travel, but he does have some genre appearances including on The Last Dinosaur as Maston Thrust Jr. and in Rankin Bass’s The Hobbit the voice of Smaug. He also played Robert Kraft in I Bury the Living, a horror flick that I think has zombies and more zombies. (Died 1981.)
Born June 18, 1931 — Dick Spelman. He was a fan who was a legendary book dealer that really hated being called a huckster. He was active at SF conventions from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. He was guest of honor at ICON (Iowa) 12. Fancyclopedia 3 says it was themed “money-grubbing capitalist con” in his honor. (Died 2012.)
Born June 18, 1942 — Paul McCartney, 77. Well, I could include him for the Magical Mystery Tour which might be genre, but I’m not. He actually has a cameo in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as a character named Uncle Jack in a cell playing poker singing “Maggie May”. A shortened version of the song is on the Let It Be album.
Born June 18, 1945 — Redmond Simonsen. Coined term ‘games designer’. Best remembered for his design of the Seventies games Starforce: Alpha Centauri, Battlefleet Mars and Sorcerer. He cofounded Simulations Publications Inc (SPI) with James Dunnigan. (Died 2005.)
Born June 18, 1947 — Linda Thorson, 72. Best known for playing Tara King in The Avengers. For her role in that series, she received a special BAFTA at the 2000 BAFTA TV Awards along with the other three actresses from the series, Honor Blackman, Joanna Lumley and Diana Rigg. She’s also been in Return of the Saint, Tales from the Darkside, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, F/X: The Series and Monsters.
Born June 18, 1949 — Chris Van Allsburg, 70. He won two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration, for Jumanji and ThePolar Express, both of which were made into films. Guess which one I like? He illustrated A City in Winter by Mark Helprin which won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella.
Born June 18, 1958 — Jody Lee, 61. Illustrator with a long career in genre work. Her first cover art was Jo Clayton’s Changer’s Moon for Daw Books in 1985. Her latest was Michelle West’s First Born that came out this year on Daw Books which seems to be her primary client. Her rather excellent website is here.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Close To Home is there when diplomas are handed out at the Academy of Paranormal Studies.
A star of Avengers: Endgame, one of the biggest movies of all time, was completely excised from a modified pirated version of the film — along with everything else in the film seen as feminist or gay.
An anonymous fan edited out shots, scenes and characters in a “defeminized” version circulating now on an illegal streaming site. As well as losing Larson’s character, Captain Marvel, the defeminized edit is missing a scene where Hawkeye teaches his daughter to shoot. (“Young women should learn skills to become good wives and mothers and leave the fighting to men,” the editor opined in an accompanying document.) The role of Black Panther is minimized. (“He’s really not that important.”) Spider-Man doesn’t get rescued by women characters anymore. (“No need to.”) And male characters no longer hug.
(15) PITCH MEETING. Step
inside the pitch meeting that led to the final season of Game of Thrones!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, JJ,
Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
(1) THE LAST DAY. Macmillan Publishers is moving from the
Flatiron to the Equitable Building
and taking Tor.com with it. Seanan McGuire commemorates the departure in her
Way the Wind Blows”.
I turn. Our navigator is looking over his shoulder at me. Well. One of his heads is. The other is still watching the curved window that makes up the front of our airship, crystal clear and apparently fragile. Most people who attack us aim for that window first, not asking themselves how many protections we’d put on a sheet of glass that size. The fact that it’s not a solid mass of bugs doesn’t seem to be the clue it should.
“What is it?”
He smiles uncertainly. “I think I see the Flatiron.”
Tor Books also posted a group shot taken outside the building here.
(2) PITT THE YOUNGER SEEKS PITT THE ELDER.Ad Astra comes
to theaters in September 2019.
Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system when he finds his missing father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, has been doing threatening experiments in space. He must unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.
(3) FROM DEEP IN THE FILES. Baen Ebooks is distributing
the English translation of a nonfiction work Judgment in Moscow by Vladimir Bukovsky on its retail ebook site, as well as
offering a selection of other ebooks from Judgment in Moscow publisher,
Ninth of November Press.
Bukovsky spent years in the Soviet gulag, finally being released to the West in 1976. In 1991, Boris Yeltsin’s government asked Bukovsky to serve as an expert witness at a possible trial of the Communist Party. Bukovsky combed through the archives, scanning and copying much of the material there, and, after the trial became a dud, smuggled the material out of Russia. Judgment in Moscow is a behind the scenes look at these original documents which detail how the Soviet leadership and the Communist Party kept the Russian nation enslaved, accompanied by Bukovsky’s commentary elucidating the extent of the evil recorded therein.
Judgment in Moscow is based on the trove of Communist Party archives that Bukovsky spirited away before access was shut down. These contain elaborate details of Soviet meddling in Western politics, and it also details Western complicity in Soviet Russia’s program of totalitarian oppression. Originally written in Russian, Judgment in Moscow was seen as a major indictment of political treachery both inside and outside the USSR.
Western publishers, including Random House in America, backed down from publishing an English translation out of what appears in hindsight cowardice and fear of offending the emerging new Russian oligarchy. Now after years with no translation available, a new English version has finally been created with Bukovsky’s wholehearted participation.
…Wallace villains are never just ordinary criminals, but run improbably large and secretive organisations with dozens of henchmen. At least one of the henchmen is deformed or flat out insane, played either by former wrestler Ady Berber or a charismatic young actor named Klaus Kinski, who gave the performance of his life as a mute and insane animal handler in last year’s The Squeaker.
The crimes are extremely convoluted, usually involve robberies, blackmail or inheritance schemes and are always motivated by greed. Murder methods are never ordinary and victims are dispatched via harpoons, poison blow guns, guillotines or wild animals. The villains inevitably have strange monikers such as the Frog, the Shark, the Squeaker, the Avenger, the Green Archer or the Black Abbot and often wear a costume to match. Their identity is always a mystery and pretty much every character comes under suspicion until the big reveal at the end. And once the mask comes off, the villain is inevitably revealed to be a staunch pillar of society and often a member of Sir John’s club.
(5) GLORIOUS COVER. Alex Shvartsman posted a cover reveal for his debut novel, Eridani’s Crown. It’s a beauty.
The full wraparound
cover was drawn and designed by Tomasz Maronski.
Holy Hall of Fame, Batman! The Caped Crusader is robbin’ all the other comic book superheroes to seize the illustrious distinction of becoming the very first inductee into the new Comic-Con Museum’s inaugural class of honored comics characters.
The Dark Knight will hold the door for all the rest of the museum’s first, still-unannounced heroic batch, DC revealed in a press release announcing “The Gathering,” a July fundraising event for the new museum. Located near the site of San Diego Comic-Con in the city’s Balboa Park, the Comic-Con Museum (or CCM) will be a 68,000-square-foot shrine to all things heroic and villainous, drawing on decades of rich history from the pages of comics, graphic novels, and more.
“On the occasion of Batman’s 80th anniversary, a ceremony honoring DC’s most popular super hero will be the centerpiece” of the July 17 event, which is timed to help kick off this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
(7) DARK PHOENIX. On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence,
Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain, Nicholas Hoult and Tye Sheridan talk
about making Dark Phoenix together and reveal some of their on-set
(8) FINANCIAL OMENS. Our Designated Financial Times Reader
Martin Morse Wooster peered behind the paywall at Dan Einav’s
interview with Michael Sheen and David Tennant about Good Omens.
Stars are usually personally held accountable when a series fails to meet the expectations of the fans–and lovers of fantasy and sci-fi are often notoriously implacable, To say that a screen adaptation of “Good Omens” has been hotly anticipated is to understate the extent of the fervour Gaiman’s devotees have for his work.
Do the actors feel anxious about a potential backlash? ‘I read the book when it first came outm so I’m one of those fans and I’ve felt the weight of expectation,’ says Sheen. “But Neil has said all the way through that he’s not making it for the fans, he’s making it for Terry.”
Tennant, who is no stranger to opinionated fans from his days as Doctor Who, is a little more blunt, ‘You can’t make TV which pleases what people’s preconceived notions might be. You just have to make something you feel proud of and works for people who haven’t read the book.
(9) WHERE IS EVERYBODY? Likewise behind a paywall, at Commentary,
astrophysicist Ethan Siegel
argues in “Are
We Alone In The Universe?” that
the likelihood there is life elsewhere in the universe is vanishingly small.
When we ask the big question–where is everybody?–it’s worth keeping a great many possibilities in mind. Aliens might be plentiful, but perhaps we’re not listening properly. Aliens might be plentiful, but they might self-destruct too quickly to maintain a technologically advanced state. Aliens might be plentiful, but they may choose to remain isolated. Aliens might be plentiful, but they might purposely choose to exclude Earth and their inhabitants from their communications. Aliens might be plentiful, but the problems of interstellar travel might be too difficult to overcome.
But there’s another valid possibility that we must keep in mind, as well: Aliens may not be there at all. The probability of the three vital leaps, as described above, is enormously uncertain. If even one of these three steps is too cosmically impossible, it may well be that in all the universe, there’s only us.
(10) BRADBURY REMEMBERED. [Item by Robert
Kerr.] “Ray died 7 years ago today. I know
he’d like to be remembered, but he’d like to be remembered with joy. Among
Ray’s many accomplishments was writing the script for the Epcot attraction
Spaceship Earth. This picture was taken in 1982 at the opening of Epcot. Ray
took a bus or train to get to Florida, but he had to get back to L.A. faster
than a bus or train could get there. Ray was a self-proclaimed coward who
didn’t conquer fears very well. He never drove a car his entire life, and at 62
he was going to get on a plane for the first time. He said they put a bunch of
martinis in him and loaded him onto the plane. To commemorate the occasion of
Ray’s first time on a plane, some Disney animators drew a piece showing Ray on
a plane, martini in hand, with Mickey Mouse sitting next to him. Ray kept that
piece on display in his study for the rest of his life.”
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 5, 1908 — John Russell Fearn. British author and one of the first British writers to appear in American pulp magazines. A prolific author, he also published novels as Vargo Statten and with various pseudonyms such as Thornton Ayre, Polton Cross, Geoffrey Armstrong and others. As himself, I see his first story as being The Intelligence Gigantic published in Amazing Stories in 1933. His Golden Amazon series of novels ran to over to two dozen titles, and the Clayton Drew Mars Adventure series that only ran to four novels. (Died 1960.)
Born June 5, 1928 — Robert Lansing. He was secret agent Gary Seven in the “Assignment: Earth” on StarTrek. The episode was a backdoor pilot for a series that would have starred Lansing and Teri Garr, but the series never happened. He of course appeared on other genre series such as The Twilight Zone, Journey to the Unknown, Thriller and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (Died 1994.)
Born June 5, 1946 — John Bach, 73. Einstein on Farscape, the Gondorian Ranger Madril in the second and third movies of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Also a British body guard on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. And he was the body double for shooting for Saruman in place of Christopher Lee, who was unable to fly to New Zealand for principal photography on The Hobbit film series
Born June 5, 1960 — Margo Lanagan, 59. Tender Morsels won a World Fantasy Award for best novel, and Sea-Hearts won the same for Best Novella. She’s an alumna of the Clarion West Writers Workshop In 1999 and returned as a teacher in 2011 and 2013.
Born June 5, 1976 — Lauren Beukes, 43. South African writer who’s the author of a number of SF novels. Zoo City won the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award, The Shining City, about a time travel serial killer and the woman who catches him, is being adapted as a series in South Africa, and Moxyland is a cyberpunk novel set in a future Cape Town. Very impressive!
(12) WHO WRITER OUSTED FROM ANTHOLOGY. Gareth Roberts has been “dropped from an upcoming Doctor Who
anthology over ‘offensive’ transphobic tweets” BBC Books has
Parent company Ebury confirmed that Roberts’ contribution to Doctor Who: The Target Storybook, will not feature….
Ebury’s decision to drop Roberts over his tweets, which it says conflicts with its “values as a publisher”, has sparked debate on social media.
For nearly three decades, Stephenson’s novels have displayed an obsessive, technically astute fascination with cryptography, digital currency, the social and technological infrastructure of a post-government world, and Asian culture. His novel Anathem is, among other things, an elaborate investigation into the philosophy of knowledge. His new book, Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, pursues these themes literally beyond the grave, into the complications of estate planning and cryogenics.
(14) CALLING LONG DISTANCE. Drop by the Richard M. Nixon
Presidential Library and Museum between now and January 12, 2020 to see the phone
he used to call the Moon in the interactive exhibit Apollo 11: One Giant Leap for
Artifacts and objects featured in the exhibit include:
Buzz Aldrin’s penlight used in the Lunar Module and Apollo 11 patch worn on the surface of the moon
NASA X-15 silver-gleaming pressure suit used to train Neil Armstrong and America’s first astronauts in the 1950s
Moon rocks from the lunar surface, acquired during the Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 missions
Oval Office telephone that President Nixon used to call Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they explored on the lunar surface
Presidential Medal of Freedom Award presented to astronaut Michael Collins by President Nixon
Original of President Nixon’s draft speech prepared in the event of a “moon disaster”
A 3-D printed, life-sized statue of Neil Armstrong in his space suit, as he climbed down the ladder of the Lunar Module on the moon
A giant, exact recreation of an Apollo mission command module
Thoughts: This story won the Nebula Award, and I don’t think it’s a bad pick for the award, which is a testament to the strength of this ballot. It’s a fantasy story about nine slaves’ lives and hopes, with the teeth taken from them as the gateway to their stories (and the effects of those teeth on George Washington) – with those slaves’ lives having various degrees of fantasy elements, all fitting the themes of those realistic slave-lives. Still, I think it probably works the least of these six as a cohesive whole, even if the individual parts of this story are excellently done (with the final part reclaiming the supposedly noble action of Washington to free his slaves on his deathbed, in a really nice touch).
A scientist walks up to a cottonwood tree, sticks a hollow tube in the middle and then takes a lighter and flicks it. A jet of flame shoots out from the tube.
It seems like a magician’s trick. Turns out, there’s methane trapped in certain cottonwood trees. Methane is the gas in natural gas. It’s also a powerful greenhouse gas.
So how does it get inside towering trees like the ones on the campus of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee?
“The wood in this particular species naturally has this condition called wetwood, where it’s saturated within the trunk of the tree,” says the lighter-flicking scientist, Oak Ridge environmental microbiologist Christopher Schadt.
This wetwood makes for a welcoming home for all sorts of microorganisms.
…Some of those organisms turned out to be species of archaea that are known methane producers. So it’s not the trees themselves that are making the methane, it’s the microbes living in the trees.
…Because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, Cregger says, it’s important to see how much of it the trees are actually producing.
This raises the surprising notion that trees could actually be contributing to global warming. Yes, these trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but could the methane be making things worse?
The Ásatrú faith, one of Iceland’s fastest growing religions, combines Norse mythology with ecological awareness – and it’s open to all.
…The ‘blót’, as the changing-of-the-season ceremony is known, began with the lighting of a small fire, which flickered in the breeze as the congregation listened to Old Norse poetry and raised the beer-filled horn to honour the Norse gods. Elsewhere on the island, similar ceremonies, I was told, were taking place.
The blót had been organised by the Ásatrú Association of Iceland, a pagan faith group that is currently one of the country’s fastest growing religions, having almost quadrupled its membership in a decade, albeit from a low base of 1,275 people in 2009 to 4,473 in 2018.
The congregation, which comprised a few dozen souls, including a Buddhist and a Hindu guest, had gathered near a sandy beach on the outskirts of Reykjavik, next to the city’s domestic airport, to celebrate the first day of the Icelandic summer. It was 25 April, slightly chilly and mostly overcast. Rain looked likely….
(19) WITH WINTER COMES ICE. The whole Game of Thrones cast raps in A Song of Vanilla Ice and Fire – Game of Thrones x Ice Ice Baby.
[Thanks to Lenore Jean Jones, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy,
Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooter, and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
As I’m composing them, I’m asking you for a favor. If there is some SFWA moment that has been particularly meaningful for you in the past five years, I’d love to hear about it. I’d also love to know if there is a SFWA volunteer or volunteers that have helped make your experiences with SFWA positive. This is YOUR chance to give them a shout-out; drop me an e-mail about it!
And Cat asked me:
Would you pass this along to the Filers?
I really very much would like to hear from the F&SF community at large about how they think SFWA is doing, if there’s been highlights for them, and what they’d like in the future from the organization.
File 770 has been one of the places I’ve gotten a lot of feedback and suggestions from during my time with SFWA and it’s been the source of so many titles that I added to the recommended reading lists each year. I’m doing a lot of writing up thank yous this final month and I definitely owe them one.
…Kingdoms of Elfin was first published as a collection in 1977 and comprises sixteen stories by Sylvia Townsend Warner; all but two of these had originally been published in The New Yorker earlier in that decade. Set in and around various, predominantly European, fairy courts, the stories were a consequence of Warner’s desire to write “about something entirely different [than the human heart]” following the death of her partner, Valentine Ackland, in 1969. The result is a set of stories that, Greer Gilman notes in her foreword to this new edition (Handheld Press, 2018, with an introduction by Ingrid Hotz-Davies), return constantly to images of “captivity and flight. The cages here are courts, Gormenghastly in their etiquette; but glittering.”
…Abigail Nussbaum: Well, I’ll take the easy answers and mention Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, for the way that it attaches class so strongly to the fairy realm, and Gormenghast, for the way that it stresses ossified rituals that govern the lives of even the most elevated members of the court (I thought the similarity was particularly notable in “The Five Black Swans”). And, of course, if you mention Clarke, you have to assume that Mirrlees and Dunsany are not far behind. They both see fairies as fundamentally irrational beings and tell stories about humans getting caught in their webs. One thing that I found interesting about the Elfland stories was how rarely humans figured into them at all, and how the arrow of irrationality tended to point the other way when they did—it’s the fairies who find humans bizarre and hard to parse.
Another connection that I made while reading and that I’ve been mulling over since then is to Tove Jansson’s Moomin books. There’s something about the way the fairy courts are constructed—hidden in the wilderness but so comfortable and hypercivilized (in a way that can be stifling as well as comfortable once you’re allowed in)—that reminds me of the Moomin house, and of the way the books, especially the later ones, reveal an undertone of wildness and danger that is only just held at bay by the Moomins’ fundamental goodness….
(3) PAY RAPT(OR) ATTENTION. Check in to Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous,
an all-new animated series coming to Netflix in 2020. According to ScienceFiction.com:
Little is known about the series so far, but it will be set within the timeline from the 2015 release of ‘Jurassic World.’ The plot will have the show follow “a group of six teenagers chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at a new adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar. But when dinosaurs wreak havoc across the island, the campers are stranded. Unable to reach the outside world, they’ll need to go from strangers to friends to family if they’re going to survive.”
The Cold Blue‘s director on his new doc, restoring William Wyler’s The Memphis Belle and propaganda and “fake news,” then and now.
“Of all the liars, the smoothest and most convincing is memory.” My pal Harlan Ellison used to say that all of the time (and he would also want you to know that that line wasn’t his. Harlan was picky about giving credit where due). How then is it possible to tell the truth about our shared past? We have recently seen the emergence of three documentaries that revolve around the restoration of archival footage to depict a forensic kind of truth. They Shall Not Grow Old takes us back to the devastating British experience of World War 1, Apollo 11 recreates a moment of technological triumph and the last call of American “can-do” optimism, and my film The Cold Blue celebrates the “last of the best,” the young men who flew suicidally dangerous combat missions in B-17s over Germany in World War II. All of these films spraying Windex onto the murky window of the past – and give it a good big-screen, immersive-sound-design wipe.
These three documentaries have all generated a surprising amount of critical attention and box-office success, clearly speaking to modern audiences in a way that has surprised many. Nostalgia for a lost past has never seemed so vital, which perhaps says more about the dysfunction and demoralization of our current life and times than we might care to admit.
As for myself, I have long been fascinated with the secret history of the 20th century. Not what is in the books, but what really happened behind the scenes and in the margins. All too often, history has been reduced to cliché, or black-and-white images that immediately distance us from the past, with the quotidian details that bring history to life obscured.
The Cold Blue was a chance for me to attend to those details, as well as pay homage to a generation that became inadvertently great, along with a filmmaker who worked very hard at staying great, William Wyler.
It started with a chance discovery of all 34 reels of the source material for Wyler’s classic documentary The Memphis Belle — filmed during the spring and summer of 1943 on 8th Air Force bases in England, and on bombing missions over Nazi occupied Europe. During production, one of Wyler’s cameramen, Harold Tannenbaum, was lost along with his plane over France. Since The Memphis Belle’s original release, all copies have deteriorated, and laboratory scratches inflicted on the original footage in 1943 remained. When I learned about the existence of the 15 hours of Wyler’s raw footage, in radiant color, that captured, home-movie style, the insanely risky missions flown by the 8th Air Force, I knew there was a new story that demanded to be told. But first, we replaced 500 individual shots of this raw footage over the 1944 The Memphis Belle’s existing soundtrack, and fully restored that film to pristine condition….
COLLABORATION. Neil Gaiman was interviewed by Pasadena radio station
Frame today about Good Omens.
Novelist and comic book creator Neil Gaiman is no stranger to writing for television — from episodes of “Babylon 5” and “Doctor Who” to bringing his own book, “American Gods,” to the Starz network. But for his latest mini-series for Amazon, “Good Omens,” starring Michael Seen and David Tennant, Gaiman had the added task of honoring the memory of the late Terry Pratchett. In 1990, Gaiman and Pratchett co- wrote the novel, “Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnus Nutter, Witch.” Before Pratchett’s death in 2015, the two had hoped to bring the story to the screen but a production never came to light. In an interview at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, Gaiman told John Horn what it’s like to finally bring “Good Omens” to television all these years later without Pratchett as a writing partner.
(6) ON THE SHELF. Kim Huett analyzes what it takes to be “The
Next Big Thing” at Doctor Strangemind.
… I’m not sure that even book series such as Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern or Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga would work (even though I’m sure many people would be excited if they did, I’d certainly like to see the latter)….
The show will be shot in archaic Latin and feature 700 stunt people and thousands of extras occupying meticulously recreated historic locations.
Sky Italia is going back in history — way back to the eighth century B.C., and the creation of Rome — in its new series Romulus. Sky is producing the new 10-episode original with ITV Studio’s Cattleya and Groenlandia.
Director Matteo Rovere (Italian Race, Drifters) will serve as showrunner for the series, which will be shot in archaic Latin. His latest film, Romulus & Remus: The First King, debuted earlier this year in Italy, revealing the mythology of the two twin brothers whose turbulent story led to the founding of Rome. Michele Alhaique and Enrico Maria Artale are also slated to direct episodes.
…Howard believes the core fan base was interested in the product but it failed to spark the mainstream’s attention. “Whatever millions [‘Solo’] made worldwide, those were the core fans, but it didn’t hit that zeitgeist point, for whatever reason,” he told the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. “Timing, young Han Solo, pushback from the previous movie, which I kept hearing was maybe something.”
And of course, “some trolling, definitely some trolling. Some actual aggressive… It was pretty interesting,” he shared. “It was especially noticeable prior to the release of the movie. Several of the algorithms, whether it was Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, there was an inordinate push down on the ‘want to see’ and on the fan voting.”
(9) DUBLIN 2019 DAY PASSES. Available soon.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 4, 1936 — Bruce Dern, 83. Here for Silent Running, a film I’d completely forgotten I’d seen until compiling this Birthday. It’s the directorial debut of Douglas Trumbull who went on to much more famous projects. He also shows up in a number of other genre films such as The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, The Haunting, The Astronaut Farmer and Freaks. Needless to say, you’ll find him on series such as The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Land of the Giants.
Born June 4, 1951 — Wendi Pini, 68. With husband Richard, responsible for Elfquest. Over the years Elfquest has been self-published by the Pinis through their own company Warp Graphics, then Marvel Comics, then the Pinis again, more recently DC Comics and then Dark Horse Comics. Everything prior to 2013 is free online. Be prepared to spend hours lost in great reading!
Born June 4, 1953 — Kathleen Kennedy, 66. Film producer and current president of Lucasfilm. In 1981, she co-founded the production company Amblin Entertainment with Spielberg and husband Frank Marshall. If you’ve liked a major genre film, be it Raiders of the Lost Ark, Who Framed Roger Rabbit or The Secret World of Arrietty to give three very random examples, she most likely had a hand in it.
Born June 4, 1960 — Kristine Kathryn Rusch, 59. If you’ve not discovered the amazements of her Diving Universe series, you’re in for a treat — it’s that good. Her Retrieval Artist series is one that IIRC can be read in no particular order but is great deal of fun no matter where you start. Other than those two series, I’ve not read deeply of her, so recommendations are welcome.
Born June 4, 1964 — Sean Pertwee, 55. Let’s see, where did I see him first? Oh, of course playing Sheriff Hugh Beringar on Cadfael but that’s not really genre, is it? Captain Heinz in “Trenches of Hell, Part 2 “, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was his first genre role followed being Pilot Smith on Event Horizon and Macbeth in a UK film the same year. He did a bit of low budget horror playing Bradley Cortese in Tale of the Mummy and likewise in being Sergeant Harry G. Wells in Dog Soldiers. There were some fairly low budget SF as well, say Father in Equilibrium. Not to mention Brother Proteus in Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie! All of which gets redeemed by his Inspector Lestrade in Elementary, a stunning take on that character. And then there’s his Alfred in Gotham.
Born June 4, 1972 — Joe Hill, 47. I’ve met him once or twice down the years as he shows up here in Portland for signings. Nice guy. Locke & Key is an amazing series and I’m fond of all of his short stories, particularly those collected in 20th Century Ghosts.
Born June 4, 1975 — Angelina Jolie, 44. I really liked her two Tomb Raider films and thought Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was a really cool film. I never saw her early Cyborg 2 undertakingbut think Hackers and her role as Kate “Acid Burn” Libby was rather good. I’ve not seen, nor have any desire to see, her two Maleficent films.
(11) CARL BRANDON ON BRADBURY. This is from the pastiche “The Cacher In The Rye” by Carl Brandon (Terry Carr with Bhob Stewart), first published in 1956, and available again in Jeanne Gomoll’s collection Carl Brandon, recently published through Lulu.
Who the hell wants to see the program of a stfcon? But anyway, we went and heard goddam Bradbury.
Bradbury’s talk wasn’t as bad as some I’ve heard. I mean he wasn’t like old Ackerman with that toastmaster gag he pulls every convention. Bradbury just read one of his stories. It was kind of on the cruddy side. I know lots of fans think Bradbury is great and all, but I don’t. He writes real smooth and all, and he’s got good characterization and lots of goddam emotion in his stories…the only trouble is he writes too good. I mean, you don’t pay attention to what’s happening. You just notice how good he writes. But he was different, anyway. A hell of a lot better than old Ackerman pulling his toastmaster gig.
(12) BIG THREE. In contrast, Charlton Comics was much kinder toward Ray in this quick bio from
Haunted #61 (published in 1971).
(13) YOUNG ERB. According to True
West, a magazine that covers the history of America’s Old West, Edgar Rice
Burroughs’s stories were influenced by his two-year stint in the 7th U.S.
Calvary as they hunted for an elusive outlaw: “Edgar Rice Burroughs Hunted the Apache Kid”.
Dateline: Fort Grant, Arizona Territory, Saturday, May 23, 1896.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, age 20, arrived here today to begin a harrowing ten-month tour of duty with the 7th U.S. Cavalry. A graduate of Michigan Military Academy, Burroughs had recently failed the entrance exam to West Point. Yet youthful optimism led him to believe a commission might still be attained from the ranks. Enlisted at Detroit with consent of his father (former Civil War Maj. George Tyler Burroughs), underage Ed had now achieved his rather perverse but expressed desire to be sent to “the worst post in the United States.” At Fort Grant his high hopes for rapid advancement would soon be crushed upon hard Arizona rocks.
Unknown to Burroughs, those same jagged rocks concealed a living legend—the Apache Kid. Kid roamed ghost-like through the remote mountain vastness, a $5,000 bounty on his head on both sides of the border. Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose own legend was still unlit, would soon join the hunt for this famed phantom outlaw—thus tying his name forever to the Apache Kid saga.”
Rob Thornton sent the link with a note of warning: “Some
sexism here, including the use of the term ‘soiled dove’ when the article
refers to prostitutes).”
Victoria Girgis was leading a public outreach session at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., when one of her guests noticed a string of lights moving high overhead.
“Occasionally, you’ll see satellites, and they look kind of like shooting stars moving through the sky,” Girgis says. “But this was a whole line of them all moving together.”
The guest hadn’t spotted a UFO invasion. Rather, it was the first installment of billionaire Elon Musk’s vision for the future: a constellation of satellites known as Starlink that’s meant to provide Internet to the entire planet.
On May 23, Musk’s company SpaceX launched a rocket that carried 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. The 500-pound satellites fanned out like a deck of cards. From the ground, they looked like a glittering string whizzing across the arc of the sky.
The crowd watched as the satellites moved in front of the small telescope Girgis had trained on some distant galaxies. The bright satellites created over two dozen streaks across an image she was taking.
“My first immediate reaction was, ‘That’s visually kind of cool,'” she says. “But my second reaction was, ‘Man you can’t see a single galaxy.’ “
Winter may have arrived in Westeros, but that’s not going to stop our favorite “Game of Thrones” characters—the ones who are left, anyway—from indulging in their favorite sweets, meats, and goblets upon goblets of various boozes. (Or at least that’s what we assume. Not even a White Walker seems like it’d stand in the way of a Lannister, Stark, or Targaryen and his or her meal.)
[…] While waiting to see what the final episode has in store, we’ve rounded up some of the most notable dishes below, along with recipes that you can try for yourself.
Recipes are offered for Lemon Cakes; Kidney Pie;
Purple Wedding Pie; Pork Sausage, Oysters, Clams, and Cockles; Roast Boar;
Whole Roasted Chicken; and Mulled Wine.
The world’s largest rare book fair, this biennial event features more than 200 exhibitors from across the globe.
In 2020, we are celebrating the 100 years of national women’s suffrage with special exhibits, lectures, and panel discussions.
There will also be an additional exhibit and seminar in honor of the 100th anniversary of Ray Bradbury’s birth.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock,
Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Rob Thornton, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Paul Weimer.]
…Speakers over the weekend included Brianna Wu, a congressional candidate from Massachusetts who was one of the most high-profile victims of an online harassment campaign aimed at women in the video game industry in recent years.
In conversations with the attendees on Sunday — an intimacy organizer Chris Castro said is a selling point of BayCon over larger conventions — Wu and moderator Gregg Castro discussed activist burnout and creating spaces for people who want to help but may not be comfortable canvassing or making phone calls. Wu also encouraged more women to run for office, calling it “the best job in the world.”
Also presenting at that panel was Sarah Williams, who grew up in Fremont and now lives in Davis. She said discussing social issues and activism is “almost necessary” in science fiction because it’s so forward-looking. The panels are also useful in fans’ personal lives, she said. As a queer woman, Williams said she knew she had to be supportive when her daughter told her she was a transgender girl.
Still, she said, she needed guidance on what support her daughter would need. She could access that through panels such as “Transfans,” a presentation held on Sunday morning about transgender science fiction fans. Williams said she also knew she could look up the speakers and reach out to them for advice.
However, Sumiko Saulson was present at another panel which didn’t reflect that kind of acceptance, and wrote about the experience on Facebook:
I’m reluctant to get into what happened when I was on a panel yesterday because it was fairly traumatic, but the short of it is that a well-known author guest (David Brin) started the panel by saying he wouldn’t trust regular Americans with this but we’re alpha sci fi writers, then went into a very ableist spiel about how we all know some beings – including, specifically certain humans, and he referenced the developmentally disabled – are inferior, people are just too politically correct to say so. Then he asked a moral dilemma question about if it would be more ethical to uplift animals and have them as servants than to genetically alter humans as servants and make them low IQ
Then he got into an argument with a young enby [non-binary] person in the audience who was sitting near Darcy (Chris Hughes) and the rest of the extremely poorly moderated panel included lots of yelling between the audience and panel, as he’d set the tone. He seemed to be intentionally asking baited or loaded questions….
(The report goes on for several more paragraphs in which some
panelists’ conduct grew even more disturbing.)
…as of April 14th, 2019, Eric Torgersen has been suspended from AnimeNEXT staff, pending this investigation, and will not be present at the 2019 event. AnimeNEXT and Universal Animation, Inc. have hired a neutral third party to conduct the investigation.
Additionally, Mr. Torgersen has not been a member of the board since 2018 and has not been Convention Chairman since 2017.
AnimeNEXT and Universal Animation, Inc. want our convention to be a safe and positive experience. As such, we do not condone harassment of any kind. We appreciate your patience and understanding until this investigation is completed.
While Amazing Stories editor Steve Davidson was holding down a booth at Balticon, the Capital Region’s largest sci-fi convention, I was an hour away at the Museum of Science Fiction’s annual convention: Escape Velocity 2019.
Escape Velocity is a different sort of con than anything else in sci-fi. Visually it looks like a media con, with lots of large-scale movie props and cosplayers, but behind the closed panel doors, there’s a serious attempt to create a fusion of pop-sci-fi culture, accessible science, resources for educators, and even a few policy wonks talking about the future of space conflict….
(4) PROOF NEGATIVE. Fabrice Mathieu unblushingly presents MOON SHINING » or: How Stanley Kubrick shot
the Apollo 11 Mission? — “an imaginative behind the
scenes of the Moon Landing of Apollo 11 directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1969!”
… Captain Marvel counters with a handshake and introduces herself. The man tells her: “People call me… The Don.”
Releasing an unimpressed “wow”, Captain Marvel then unleashes her superhero powers on the man, sending electrical pulses through her hand, forcing the man to his knees in pain.
“Here’s a proposition for you,” she says. “You’re going to give me your jacket, your helmet and your motorcycle, and in return, I’m going to let you keep your hand.”
He quickly hands over his keys, and Captain Marvel lets go, adding: “What, no smile?”
In just a minute-long scene, Captain Marvel sums up what’s wrong with men telling women to smile, and unsurprisingly, that’s made some men angry.
…The men criticising the scene — and attacking Larson — are missing the point, and being purposefully obtuse as to its message.
Yes, it shows Captain Marvel using her powers to harm someone else, but plenty of superheroes before her have done exactly the same, and gone much further than she did. That Captain Marvel is called out for behaviour that male superheroes have got away with for decades is sexist.
And saying the scene will hurt “feminist causes” is a fundamental misunderstanding of what feminism is about — women want equality, and that partially means dismantling the idea that the only good women are nice women.
…. Both sides have, as you can predictably guessed, gone up in arms. Both make some good points, and both make some bad points.
However, the reason I chose to take some time out of my crunched day to post about this was because at its core, the argument Disney’s marketing team and the writers of Captain Marvel have claimed is … well, wrong.
Vers isn’t a hero in that scene. Not by any definition of the term. And to see people so aggressively defending Vers actions as “heroic,” even the writing team? Well … I think that’s in part why the Captain Marvel had the problems it had.
See, the problem isn’t that the scene exists, but that people, creators included, are insisting that it is “heroic.” And it isn’t. It’s far from it, in fact, unless you’re aiming to redefine “heroism” as something completely different. Which I don’t think the writers are trying to do … They just genuinely don’t seem to know what heroism is.
Already there are people defending the “heroism” of the scene online by saying that naysayers are only unhappy because it’s “a woman,” declaring that no one had issues with a male character doing similar in Terminator 2.
No. Because in Terminator 2 the T-800 is nota hero. He’s an anti-hero. If someone declares that heroic, than they’re wrong. Flat out. He threatens physical harm to innocents because he doesn’t care, and has no morals. Classic anti-hero trait.
Vers threatening a slimy guy past simply shutting him down isn’t heroism with the goal of stealing his possessions isn’t heroism. It’s the mark of an anti-hero, just as it was with the T-800….
…A New Zealand husky rescue charity that has dealt with hundreds of abandoned dogs after Game of Thrones ramped up the breed’s popularity is pushing for reform outlawing “backyard breeders.”
Michelle Attwood, who founded the Canterbury-based charity Husky Rescue NZ in 2009, said that hundreds of huskies had been abandoned to her charity every year since Game of Thrones launched – their TV connection clear through names like Ghost, Nymeria, Stark and Snow.
Huskies have become a real “status symbol,” she said, with Thrones fans driving a vicious cycle.
Peter Dinklage publicized the problem
At the time he released a statement:
‘Game of Thrones’ star Peter Dinklage is asking fans to stop buying huskies as pets just because they resemble the fictional direwolves in the blockbuster HBO show. The actor warns fans the pups still need constant care after the novelty wears off. “Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned,” Dinklage said Tuesday in a statement released by PETA.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 28,1908 — Ian Fleming. The James Bond novels of course which are no doubt genre but also Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang which originally was published in three volumes and became a much beloved film. Like Heinlein, he would do a travelogue, this one called Thrilling Cities. (Died 1964.)
Born May 28,1951 — Sherwood Smith, 68. YA writer best known for her Wren series. She’s also co-authored The Change Series with Rachel Manija Brown. She also co-authored two novels with Andre Norton, Derelict for Trade and A Mind for Trade.
Born May 28,1954 — Betsy Mitchell, 65. Editorial freelancer specializing in genre works. She was the editor-in-chief of Del Rey Books. Previously, she was the Associate Publisher of Bantam Spectra when they held the license to publish Star Wars novels in the Nineties.
Born May 28, 1977 — Ursula Vernon, 42. She is best known for her Hugo Award-winning graphic novel Digger which was a webcomic from 2003 to 2011. Vernon is also the creator of The Biting Pear of Salamanca, a digital work of art which became an internet meme in the form of the LOL WUT pear.
Born May 28,1982 — Alexa Davalos, 37. Her first genre role i think was Gwen Raiden on the fourth season of Angel. She‘s Juliana Crain currently on The Man in the High Castle. And she was Andromeda in the remake of Clash of the Titans.
(9) HUGO AWARDS ON
JEOPARDY! TOMORROW.For once you
get the news before the show is
aired. Kevin Standlee says, “The
Hugo Awards will be featured in a category on Jeopardy! on Wednesday, May 29.”
…Necromantica is, essentially, a love story. You feel it in the way Lama speaks to Mornia. You see it in Mornia’s behavior. Remember, they’re not sharing a drink. They’re in the midst of the battle and they slaughter enemies. Call it a dark fantasy romance. I mean, you don’t write a story called Necromantica without it being dark, right?
Lama and Mornia share heart-wrenching stories. Mornia used to live a free, spiritual life and wanted to grow into a healer. By the time the story begins, her life has been robbed from her and ell her loved ones killed. She survived, but she’s broken. Whatever magic she possessed, she used for revenge. Instead of healing people, she focused on black arts and necromancy. …
Last year, when the Avengers: Infinity War trailer revealed that Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers had grown a beard, the internet went wild. How is it possible that Evans, this hunky cinnamon roll of a golden retriever boy scout bro, could get even hotter? It was almost unfair, yet there it was. We mourned the loss of Cap-beard for an extended period of time on SYFY FANGRRLS, but it also got us thinking as to what it was about some well-organized facial hair that had us all aflutter.
It turns out that there’s a scientific reason for that. It’s not just pure shallowness! According to a study in 2013 on the subject, facial hair acts as a major influence in shaping people’s ideas about what we expect from men in society. The study revealed that “women judged faces with heavy stubble as most attractive and heavy beards, light stubble and clean-shaven faces as similarly less attractive.” For men, it was the opposite case, with full beards as the most attractive. Those conducted for the study also revealed that full beards were judged as an excellent sign of parenting ability and healthiness, so all your daddy Steve Rogers jokes paid off in a big way.
They go on to judge the beard-appeal and stylings for
Jason Momoa, Chris Evans, Henry Cavill, Chris Hemsworth, John
Krasinski, Rahul Kohli, Keanu Reeves, and Jason Mantzoukas.
…Many of the more famous anime and manga is often defined and remembered because of a certain iconic character, unique setting, or piece of machinery (which is often Mecha). Some imported Japanese animations or comics are lucky enough to be imported wholly to the West along with other associated products like models, video games, or toys. Others were not so lucky and came over to our shores in pieces and over a great length of time, forging fans along with way….
…What is “Armored Trooper VOTOMS”? VOTOMS is the brainchild of Fang of the Sun Dougram creator Ry?suke Takahashi and despite being developed in 1983, VOTOMS is still an on-going Japanese military science fiction franchise encompassing anime TV series, OVAs, video games, models, and toys. At about the time that Fang of the Sun Dougram was ending its run on Japanese television, Takahashi and Nippon Sunrise animation studio would continue the mecha-centered war stories with the VOTOMS 52 episode television show that aired on TV Tokyo from April 1st, 1983 through March 23rd, 1984….
Hugo Award voting just opened at the start of May and continues through the end of July. For those of you new to the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre, the Hugo Award is one of the most prominent awards for works in the genre, with the Award being given based upon voting by those who have paid for at least a Supporting Membership in this year’s WorldCon. As I did the last two years, I’m going to be posting reviews/my-picks for the award in the various categories I feel qualified in, but feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments….
The Folio Society recently announced that it was releasing a special collector’s edition of A Game of Thrones, the first novel in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Now, on the cusp of the series finale for HBO’s Game of Thrones, it looks like we can expect even more—the entire A Song of Ice and Fire, including those famously still-unwritten books. Of course, that all depends on whether Martin ever finishes them.
In a statement to io9, the Folio Society’s representative confirmed that it was following up its A Game of Thrones hardcover edition with other books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The publisher says the project is a collaborative with Martin, who’s been involved “every step of the way.” The first book is available for preorder, and is set to come out on July 16.
Back in 2016, mobile technology the like of which had not been seen before rolled into the remote community of Funhalouro, in Mozambique.
Pulled by donkey, the container consisted of four LCD screens, powered by solar panels.
It was a mobile roadshow, starting with music to draw a crowd and then switching to a three-minute film on the biggest of the screens.
While the topic – digital literacy – was not the most entertaining, it was engaging for the audience, many of whom had never seen a screen or moving images before.
After the film, the audience was invited to use smaller touchscreen tablets to answer a series of questions about what they had seen.
There were prizes of T-shirts and caps for those with the highest scores.
For those who couldn’t read, the questions were posed in diagram form….
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “The Shocking Truth of Lightsabers vs.
Lightning,” on YouTube, Martin Archer, a physicist at Britain’s Queen
Mary’s University, says that if lightsabers are made of plasma, having two of
them blast each other is a bad idea and having lightning bolts sent toward a
lightsaber is a really bad idea.
Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King
Tarpinian. Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title
credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]
(1) A DAY OBSERVED. At Book View Café, Diana Pharoah Francis
marks the U.S. holiday: “Memorial Day”.
Today is the day we remember and honor those who’ve served in the military and those who continue to serve. Those who died in service to their country, and those who gave up more than any of us can possible know, even though they kept their lives.
This is the day we say thank you, paltry though that is. For me, it’s also the day to remember those who’ve fallen in service to others in all capacities. You give me hope.
(2) PLUS ÇA CHIANG. Ted
Chiang authored “An Op-Ed From The Future” for the New York Times: “It’s
2059, and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning”. An editor’s note explains,
is the first installment in a new series, “Op-Eds From the Future,” in which
science fiction authors, futurists, philosophers and scientists write op-eds
that they imagine we might read 10, 20 or even 100 years in the future…”
…We are indeed witnessing the creation of a caste system, not one based on biological differences in ability, but one that uses biology as a justification to solidify existing class distinctions. It is imperative that we put an end to this, but doing so will take more than free genetic enhancements supplied by a philanthropic foundation. It will require us to address structural inequalities in every aspect of our society, from housing to education to jobs. We won’t solve this by trying to improve people; we’ll only solve it by trying to improve the way we treat people….
About 300 forks, knives and spoons are separated each day from the food remains of the Uppsala populace, by their local biogas plant. In order to, in a fun way, show how important it is to sort properly, Uppsala water has built a magnificent cutlery throne.
– We believe that the majority of cutlery comes from catering establishments and schools where cutlery is easier to get lost among leftovers. But we do not know for sure, says Jasmine Eklund, Communicator at Uppsala Water.
The cutlery throne consists of about 4,000 pieces of cutlery which corresponds to two weeks of cleaning. The cutlery has been washed and then welded together.
– We do not think that people have thrown the cutlery among the leftovers on purpose. Therefore, we hope that the throne will make people more aware of what they throw out and how they sort, says Jasmine Eklund.
“Great fun that people want to come here”
Until easter Thursday, anyone who wants to visit the Pumphouse in Uppsala can sample the huge glittering throne.
– We have had many visitors this weekend, and hope for more during the Easter week. It is great fun that people want to come here and learn more about our work, says Jasmine Eklund.
On Monday morning, Vilgot Sahlholm, 11 years old, visited Pumphouse with his brother, grandmother and grandfather.
– I think the throne was pretty hard, so it wasn’t so comfy to sit in, he says.
Weight: 120 kg.
Number of cutlery: About 4000 pieces.
So much cutlery is sorted out each year: 3,5 tons, which means around 100 000 pieces.
…Throughout his life, the American writer Russell Hoban produced a number of startlingly original novels. Perhaps the most startling of them all is “Riddley Walker,” first published in 1980. (Hoban died in 2011.) The book belongs to the dystopian genre that has become fairly popular in recent decades. What makes it unlike any other is its language — a version of English as it might be spoken by people who had never seen words or place names written down, an idiom among the ruins of half-remembered scientific jargon, folklore and garbled history. In the post-apocalyptic universe created by Hoban, words create ripples of meaning, echoes reaching into the heart of language and thought through a thick fog of cultural trauma and loss…
First off, I want to make it absolutely clear that there’s no agenda here about how awards should reflect popularity, or that awards that don’t meet someone’s personal perception of what is “popular” are bad/fixed/etc, or any similar nonsense. (Although I am more than happy to point out cases where claims of representing popular opinion aren’t backed up by the statistics.)
(6) CLARKE AWARD. On Five Books, Cal Flyn interviews Arthur C. Clarke Award director
Tom Hunter, who explains why the six Clarke nominees are worth reading.
Categorisation was something I wanted to touch on. Looking at the list of your previous finalists, I was interested to see books that I wouldn’t initially have considered to be sci fi. For example: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which won in 2017. So I wonder if you might say a bit more about the definition of ‘science fiction’ and what you consider it to encompass.
Yes. Going right back to the beginning, to the award’s creation: one of Arthur’s stipulations was that it wasn’t to be an award for the best book-that-was-a-bit-like-an-Arthur-C-Clarke-book. He wanted it to be very broad in its definition. And science fiction is a phenomenally hard thing to define anyway. It’s one of those things, like: I know it when I see it. And it changes – going back to my previous point about how publishing’s view has changed.
(7) CLOSURE FOR D&D TV SERIES. Fans of the ‘80s Dungeons & Dragons TV series know that the series never truly ended. Well, Renault Brasil has decided to wrap things up in their new and rather impressive commercial for the KWID Outsider. Series creator Mark Evanier has given his blessing.
…Someone also usually writes to ask if there was ever a “last” episode where the kids escaped the D&D world and got back to their own…and occasionally, someone writes to swear they saw such an episode on CBS. No, no such episode was ever produced. One of the writers on the series later wrote a script for such an episode but it was not produced until years later as a fan-funded venture. I do not endorse it and I wish they hadn’t done that…but if you like it, fine.
The show is still fondly remembered and is rerun a lot in some countries. It’s popular enough in Brazil that the folks who sell Renault automobiles down there spent a lot of money to make this commercial with actors (and CGI) bringing the animated characters to life.
“I see myself as a combination of Zorro and Jiminy Cricket,” wrote Ellison, describing himself while writing the introduction to Stephen King’s ‘Danse Macabre.’ “My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrater or critic with umbrage will say of my work, ‘He only wrote that to shock.’ I smile and nod. Precisely.”
Ellison’s prickly attitude was typified by the manner in which he left Ohio State University in 1953 after only attending for 18 months. After a writing professor questioned his ability to craft a compelling story Ellison physically attacked him and was subsequently expelled.
In the 1970s Stephen Thorne created three of the greatest adversaries of the Doctor, characters whose influence endures in the programme today.
His towering presence and deep melodious voice were first witnessed in the 1971 story The Dæmons, where he portrayed Azal, the last living Dæmon on Earth, in a story often cited as one of the most appreciated of the third Doctor’s era and story emblematic of the close-knit UNIT team of the time.
He returned to the series in 1972 playing Omega, the renegade Time Lord fighting The Three Doctors, a character that would return to confront the Doctor in later years. In 1976 he opposed the Fourth Doctor playing the male form of Eldred, last of the Kastrians in the story The Hand of Fear.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 27, 1894 — Dashiell Hammett. No, the author of The Maltese Falcon did not write anything of a genre nature but he did edit early on Creeps by Night: Chills and Thrills. I note there are stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Frank Belknap Long among a lot of writers of writers less well known as genre writers. (Died 1961.)
Born May 27, 1911 — Vincent Price. OK, what’s popping into my head is him on The Muppets in the House of Horrors sketch they did. If I had to single out his best work, it’d be in such films as House on Haunted Hill, House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum. Yes, I know the latter two are Roger Corman productions. He also did a lot of series work including being Egghead on Batman, appearing in the Fifties Science Fiction Theater, a recurring role as Jason Winters on the Time Expressand so forth. (Died 1993.)
Born May 27, 1922 — Christopher Lee. He first became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a series of Hammer Horror films. His other film roles include The Creature in The Curse of Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, Kharis the Mummy in The Mummy, Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, Lord Summerisle In The Wicker Man, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit film trilogy, and Count Dooku in the second and third films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. (Died 2015.)
Born May 27, 1935 — Lee Meriwether, 84. Catwoman on Batman. (And if you have to ask which Batman, you’re in the wrong conversation.) Also, she had a turn as a rather sexy Lily Munster on The Munsters Today. And of course she had a co-starring role as Dr. Ann MacGregor on The Time Tunnel as well. And yes, I know I’m not touching upon her many other genre roles including her Trek appearance as I know you will.
Born May 27, 1934 — Harlan Ellison. Setting aside the “The City on the Edge of Forever” episode”, I think I best remember him for the Dangerous Vision anthologies which were amazing reading. (Died 2018.)
Born May 27, 1958 — Linnea Quigley, 61. Best know as a B-actress due to her frequent appearances in low-budget horror films during the 1980s and 1990s. Most of them no one remembers but she did play a punk named Trash in The Return of the Living Dead which is decidedly several steps up from Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. She’s currently Joanie in the 86 Zombies series which streams pretty much everywhere.
Born May 27, 1966 — Nina Allan, 53. Author of two novels to date, both in the last five years, The Race and The Rift which won a BSFA Award. She has done a lot of short stories hence these collections to date, A Thread of Truth, The Silver Wind: Four Stories of Time Disrupted, Microcosmos, Stardust: The Ruby Castle Stories and Spin which has also won a BSFA Award. Partner of Christopher Priest.
Born May 27, 1967 — Eddie McClintock, 52. Best known no doubt as Secret Service agent Pete Lattimer on Warehouse 13, a series I love even when it wasn’t terribly well-written. He’s also in Warehouse 13: Of Monsters and Men which is listed separately and has the plot of ‘the Warehouse 13 operatives uncover a mysterious comic book artifact and must work together to free themselves from its power.’ He’s had one-off appearances in Witches of East End, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Supergirl, but no other major genre roles to date.
…A lot of authors left the genre to try their luck in the mainstream world. That’s why we lost Bob Sheckley, Ted Sturgeon, and Philip K. Dick for a while. But times are tough in the real world, too. Plus, of late, sff seems to be picking up again: IF is going monthly, we’ve got a couple of new mags in Worlds of Tomorrow and Gamma, books are coming out at an increasing rate. And so Dick is back in force, and others who have left the field are nosing their way back in….
Robert Silverberg is another one of the authors who wrote sff like the dickens back in the ’50s and then disappeared. He’s still writing and writing and writing, but most of his stuff doesn’t end up on our favorite shelves or in our favorite magazines.
…Kucharski said she wanted to name her daughter after another strong female. (Arya’s twin is named after Maya Angelou.) The character Arya Stark stood out to Kucharski because of the heroine’s strong-willed nature and the fact that she doesn’t take no for an answer.
“She was able to carve her own way,” Kucharski said…
(13) A STORY OF OUR TIMES. No idea if this is true. Have a tissue ready:
…By the way, Sterling is a master of juxtaposing the brightness of futurity with dark pessimism. And for presenting the wonder of the future and then darkening and wrecking that vision, Holy Fire might be Sterling’s apotheosis. Sterling’s analysis of the future in this novel is ahead of the curve in the spheres of tech, psychology, human culture, and art. The novel takes place in 2090, a hundred years from when he wrote it, and going on 25 years later, it still reads as if it occurs in a future several decades out. But the real beauty of the work is the pessimism about what some of the early attempts at radical life extension could look like–namely, lost souls, people shadows of their former selves living a second youth, this time more reckless because they’ve already lived a century of making good decisions, so why not?
There are many ways to tell a Space Opera story. Big space battles with fleets of ships using their silicon ray weapons to destroy the enemy. Or perhaps a story of diplomatic intrigue, where the main character journeys to the heart of an Empire , using words as a weapon to direct, and divert the fate of worlds. Or even have an Opera company tour a bunch of worlds in a spacecraft of their own.
Una McCormack’s The Undefeated goes for a subtler, more oblique approach, by using the life story of a famous, award winning journalist, Monica Greatorex,, whose journey back to her home planet braids with not only the story of her planet’s annexation into the Commonwealth, but of the enemy who seeks in turn to overthrow that Commonwealth.
The closest that Travis Rupp came to getting fired from Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colo., he says, was the time he tried to make chicha. The recipe for the Peruvian corn-based beer, cobbled together from bits of pre-Incan archaeological evidence, called for chewed corn partially fermented in spit. So, Rupp’s first task had been to persuade his colleagues to gather round a bucket and offer up their chompers for the cause.
Once he got to brewing, the corn-quinoa-spit mixture gelatinized in a stainless steel tank, creating a dense blob equivalent in volume and texture to about seven bathtubs of polenta. Oops.
In another go, Rupp managed to avoid the brew’s gelatinous fate, but encountered a new problem when it came time to drain the tank. “It literally turned into cement in the pipes because the corn was so finely ground,” says Rupp. “People were a little cranky.”
These are the kinds of sticky situations that come with trying to bring ancient flavors into modern times.
A self-proclaimed beer archaeologist, Rupp has traveled the world in search of clues as to how ancient civilizations made and consumed beer. With Avery Brewing Co., he has concocted eight of them in a series called “Ales of Antiquity.” The brews are served in Avery’s restaurant and tasting room.
And when I speak to people, I always put a roll of toilet paper on the podium and let them wonder about it till the end of my lecture. I’m given maybe five to 10 bottles of wine when I travel, so how do you pack wine so it doesn’t break? You put a toilet roll around the neck, because that’s where the bottle is going to break. I’ve never had one break.
(20) SINGULARITY SENSATION.
Certifiably Ingame is here to
help Trek fans with the question “Fluidic
Space: What is it?”
Everything you need to know (but mostly stuff you didn’t) about about the home of Species 8472, the realm of Fluidic Space. This video is mostly theory-crafting about what exactly Fluidic space is as shown in Star Trek as there are no defined answers, but like most Science Fiction, it has may have a basis in reality. Or realities in this case. The laws of physics seem the same, as seen by crossing over, but the USS Voyager also get there by flying into a singularity made by gravitons because its Star Trek.
JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, Rob Thornton, Mike Kennedy
Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Bonnie McDaniel, and John King Tarpinian
for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of
the day Daniel Dern.]