(1) VIRTUAL PHILCON. Philcon 2020 will be taking place online the weekend of Friday November 20 through Sunday, November 22, 2020. It’s free. Information about how people can participate and navigate in Philcon using Zoom and Discord can be found at www.philcon.org and at https://konopas.philcon.org/#info
There will be no charge for joining Philcon 2020. It will be necessary to sign up for each program item, which may be done even while the program item is underway The program schedule is set, subject to changes, and can be reviewed at https://konopas.philcon.org/
There will be five program tracks, a reading track, a filk and music track and social gatherings in Zoom and Discord.
The massive Filk program begins at 11 a.m. Friday. Concerts, open filk and a songwriting contest will run day and night until Sunday night.
The panels, readings and workshops start at 5:30 p.m. Literary panels cover topics for fans and writers. Science and technology, fandom, media, anime, gaming all have substantial coverage.
There are currently plans for 157 program items.
For those of you who knew and loved Hugh Casey, we will be holding a memorial get-together on Saturday at 5:30.
We hope to have an in person Philcon back at the Cherry Hill Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in 2021. The dates will be November 19 to 21, 2021.
(2) VIRTUAL CONTRAFLOW/DEEPSOUTHCON. Also this coming weekend, on November 21 there will be a free one-day virtual 2020 DSC/SFC CONference put on by the CONtraflow committee.
As most of you already know, we had to postpone our 2020 convention due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While we were able to work out most of those details for a Convention next year, we are not able to postpone an actual Deep South Con. In lieu of what would have been our event this year, we would like to offer to the Fen at the Southern Fandom Confederation a virtual day of the community, creativity, and fun the Fans of the Southern Louisiana region can offer with a small taste of a virtual CONtraflow’s 2020 Deep South Con. We are calling it The 2020 DSC/SFC CONference.
This one-day event will be completely virtual and totally free and begins at 10 am Saturday November 21. It is an invitation for you to join us on ZOOM for panels on some of your favorite topics: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Film, TV, SMOF subculture, and much more.
…We will also be hosting a virtual Southern Fandom Confederation meeting, gaming on the Discord Platform (including the annual DSC Hearts event) and evening programming. Again, all the events are free- but since it is free, the space/seats are limited. Interested Fans should be sure to drop us an email at http://www.contraflowscifi.org or find/message us on Facebook to make sure there are seats still available before November 20. Also, while the event will be free, CONtraflow will be selling 2021 memberships during the day for the absolute lowest price that weekend on Eventbrite.com.
We will also have a donation page available for those who’d just like to help out since we have expenses accrued for 2020, even without holding a convention, and the costs of this weekend’s CONference….
(3) CARNEGIE MEDALS SHORTLIST. The six shortlist titles for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence — three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals — were announced on November 17. The winners will be named online on Thursday, February 4, 2021.
I believe none of these are genre, but you may still be interested.
- A Burning — Megha Majumdar (Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC)
- Deacon King Kong — James McBride (Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
- Homeland Elegies — Ayad Akhtar (Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)
- Fathoms: The World in the Whale — Rebecca Giggs (Simon & Schuster)
- Just Us: An American Conversation. — Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press)
- Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir — Natasha Trethewey (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins)
(4) THE BIG PICTURE. Kaaron Warren told Facebook followers her novel The Grief Hole has scored a development grant to be made into a movie. “Imagine Sol Evictus in real life…and all those ghosts.”
It’s one of seven projects to be supported by Screen Canberra.
THE GRIEF HOLE– Fiction Feature Film – Development loan Writers: Joshua Koske, Kaaron Warren When an embattled social worker with the ability to see how people die discovers her cousin’s suicide was influenced by a seductive and powerful celebrity, she must overcome her own personal tragedies and work with other gifted individuals to put a stop to his reign of terror before they become the next in a long line of willing victims.
Two of the other announced projects are also of genre interest:
PARANORMAL BLACKTIVITY Writers: Benny Eggmolesse, Jacob Keed, Nakyua Gorrie, Romina Accurso Producers: Benny Eggmolesse, Joe Weatherstone, Catherine Nabauer and Scott Wilson Development Loan, TV Series (horror) Rival siblings must team up to investigate bloody murders, strange disappearances and super weird stuff they suspect are caused by ancient Aboriginal monsters, woken by an imbalance in the natural world.
GIRL ON THE MOON – Television Series Fiction – Development loan Writers: Georgina Jenkins, Sue McPherson In 2069, Aboriginal Australian girl Luna (17), the only child ever born on the Moon, dreams of travelling to Earth to connect with her unknown father and her culture. But she knows her weak Moonling body would never survive. Luna is about to discover she is more powerful than any Earthling.
(5) CAREER WISDOM. “Questions for: David Burnett” – the former Gollancz publisher — at BookBrunch [PDF file.]
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
There have been a few, including Paul Elek [of Paul Elek Publishers]. He taught me to go out there and find authors and projects and pictures when you have small resources (in his case, it was a crushing bank overdraft). Liz Calder was the greatest. Victor Gollancz was a publishing genius and one man tornado. He could dine on sardines if the going got difficult, otherwise it was the Savoy Grill.
(6) PANIC IN THE YEAR TWO-OH-TWO-ZERO. I usually don’t get my cancel culture news from Mad Genius Club, but here is Amanda S. Green with two scoops concerning The Mandalorian: “A Swab, A Huh? And A You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me”.
…But I do think we will see more pressure from the Left to try to delist our work if it doesn’t meet the cause du jour. We’ve already seen how Target overreacted to a single tweet about a book and removed it from its shelves last week. It’s apologized and, iirc, returned the book. But this knee-jerk reaction to the woke crowd is more than a little disturbing.
The idiocy seems to grow with each week that passes. Just this month, Baby Yoda was “cancelled” by the woke crowd because he dared eat the eggs of a sentient being. How dare this “Child” do that! Bad Baby Yoda.
But that’s not the only scene from The Mandalorian to catch the eye of the woke crowd this month. In a more recent episode, cries of outrage were heard through the interwebz because of a character’s armor.
Boobz armor is bad according to Anita Sarkeesian.
Why do I think she’d have been outraged if the lady Mando armor was exactly the same as Mando’s was? After all, then they could be accused of trying to erase the female form.
But, but, but it’s not “real”, as one commenter points out. No shit, Sherlock. It’s a fucking show. It’s fiction. Not that the Sarkeesians of the world care as long as they can show their woke card.
And, yes, they will come for those writers they feel aren’t giving out the right message–especially those more successful than they are. And that presents a danger to all of us. Will the venues we’ve been using to sell our books remain open to us in their current forms or will we have to start tailoring our books to their demands?
(7) VICTORY AT SEA. Harry Turtledove, dubbed “The Master of Alternate History”by Publishers Weekly, has written a number of classics in the subgenre, including How Few Remain, The Guns of the South and The Man with the Iron Heart. His new novel Salamis was released November 11.
Salamis is the fifth (standalone) novel in Harry Turtledove’s critically acclaimed Hellenic Traders universe, detailing the adventures of two cousins, Menedemos and Sostratos, who work as seaborne traders following the death of Alexander the Great. This time the stage is one of the greatest sea battles ever fought in ancient times; the Battle of Salamis of 306 BC.
The small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great’s marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and Egypt, under the rule of Ptolemaios.
As tensions between the great powers escalate, Menedemos and Sostratos are trying to resolve their own problems, oblivious to the fact that one of the greatest navel fleets in ancient history is about to set sail. Ptolemaios, needing shipping to carry weapons for the army he intends to land, coerces Menedemos into bringing their ship, the Aphrodite, along as part of his expeditionary force. And so, very much against their will, Menedemos and Sostratos become small parts of one of the ancient world’s most significant naval battles.
Turtledove uses his study of history (with a Ph.D in Byzantine history) to create alternate worlds in intricate detail, crafting enthralling adventures that have garnered him high critical praise as well as making him one of the most successful bestselling authors in alternate history.
(8) YOUNG AUTHORS’ CLUB. SFFAudio tweeted a graphic of this story by 13-year-old Philip K. Dick published in a Berkeley paper in 1942.
(9) ZACK’S CUT. HBO Max dropped a trailer for what is now called Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born November 17, 1915 – Raymond F. Jones. Sixteen novels, six dozen shorter stories. Son of the Stars was I think the first science fiction I read, at about age 8. Also I like “The Person from Porlock” – which Groff Conklin, one of our finest anthologists, put in his Treasury, one of our finest anthologies. RFJ entitled a story “I Tell You Three Times” a year before Heinlein put that Hunting of the Snark allusion in The Rolling Stones. When I agree with Clute and Nicholls it’s a frabjous day – oops, wrong Carroll poem: RFJ wrote “solid, well-crafted … adventures … in a … transparent style…. one of the carriers of the voice of SF.” (Died 1994) [JH]
- Born November 17, 1925 — Rock Hudson. Best known genre role was as Col. John Wilder in The Martian Chronicles series off the Ray Bradbury work. He also played President Thomas McKenna in the World War III miniseries which you may or may not consider SF. That’s it. He was by the way yet another of the uncredited guest performers on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. (Died 1985.) (CE)
- Born November 17, 1936 – John Trimble, 84. He and wife Bjo (the software won’t show the caret over her j, an Esperantism indicating the pronunciation “bee-joe”), two of our great fans, are also omnifans: fanwriting, fanart, clubs, costuming, conventions, Star Trek, our neighbor the Society for Creative Anachronism. I’ve been Master of Ceremonies for our onstage costume competition the Masquerade, a wondrous and sometimes terrifying task; JT was MC for possibly the greatest, certainly the longest, at L.A.con II the 42nd Worldcon: over a hundred entries: you couldn’t leave, the next one would be even better: two-thirds through, when a voice cried “How many more, John??” he answered I won’t tell you. I can’t quite remember this panel, but it was fun. JT chaired Westercon 23 and an Equicon; he & Bjo were Guests of Honor at Westercons 66 & 70, at the 13th NASFiC (North America SF Con, since 1975 held when the Worldcon is overseas; in the photo, JT & BT with daughter Kat), at ConJosé the 60th Worldcon. More here. [JH]
- Born November 17, 1952 — Robin McKinley, 68. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast was her first book. It was considered a superb work and was named an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Rose Daughter is another version of that folktale, whereas Spindle’s End is the story of Sleeping Beauty, and Deerskin and two of the stories that you can find in The Door in the Hedge are based on other folktales. She does a superb telling of the Robin Hood legend in The Outlaws of Sherwood. Among her novels that are not based on folktales are Sunshine, Chalice and Dragonhaven. Her 1984 The Hero and the Crown won the Newbery Medal as that year’s best new American children’s book. She was married to Peter Dickinson from 1991 to his death in 2015, they lived together in Hampshire, England where she still lives. They co-wrote two splendid collections, Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits and Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits. I’d be very remiss not to note her Awards, to wit a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword, then a Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown, a World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection for Imaginary Lands, as editor, a Phoenix Award Honor Book for Beauty and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for Sunshine. Impressive indeed! (CE)
- Born November 17, 1954 –Kevin E. Johnson, 66. A hundred forty covers, a few interiors; one short story. Here is Gods of Riverworld. Here is Firebird. Here is The Toynbee Convector. Here is Throne of Fools. Here is Ciara’s Song. Artist Guest of Honor at RustyCon 2, Valleycon 11. [JH]
- Born November 17, 1956 – Rebecca Moesta, 64. Half a dozen novels, three shorter stories; thirty more novels, half a dozen more shorter stories, two pop-up books, with husband Kevin Anderson. Interviewed together in SF Chronicle 224, Shimmer 4. The only continent they have not visited together – yet – is Antarctica. Devout gadgetologist. [JH]
- Born November 17, 1965 — Sophie Marceau, 54. Elektra King, the villain opposing our hero In The World Is Not Enough, the 19th Bond Film. Also Eloïse d’Artagnan in Revenge of the Musketeers, Hippolyta in that version of A Midsummer Night’s DreamandLisa / Belphegor in Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre. She’s also one of the voice actors in Nature is Speaking, a Gaian series. (CE)
- Born November 17, 1966 — Ed Brubaker, 54. Comic book writer and artist. Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives I’d consider his first genre work. Later work for DC and Marvel included The Authority, Batman, Captain America, Daredevil, Catwoman and the Uncanny X-Men. If I may single out but one series, it’d be the one he did with writer Greg Rucka which was the Gotham Central series which has been rumored to in developed as a tv series. It’s Gotham largely without Batman but with the villains so GPD has to deal with them by themselves. Grim and well done. He’s a member of the writing staff for the Westworld series where he co-wrote the episode “Dissonance Theory” with Jonathan Nolan. (CE)
- Born November 17, 1976 – Shawna Yang Ryan, 44. Four novels for us, one other. Fulbright scholar. Ass’n for Asian American Studies Best Book Award in Creative Writing, Elliot Cades Emerging Writer Award, American Book Award. [JH]
- Born November 17, 1978 — Tom Ellis, 42. Currently playing Lucifer Morningstar in the rather excellent Lucifer series created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg from The Sandman series. It’s quite good. Also had roles in Doctor Who as Tom Milligan in the Ten Doctor story, “Last of the Time Lords”, Once Upon a Time, Messiah, The Strain and Merlin. (CE)
- Born November 17, 1983 — Christopher Paolini, 37. He is the author of the most excellent Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance. Several years ago, The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, the first book in a series called Tales of Alagaësia, was published. A film version of the first novel came out sometime ago but I’ve not seen it. And his first SF novel, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, was just published. (CE)
- Born November 17, 1993 – Andrew Melvin, 27. Sixteen short stories so far; they are all horrid – I mean, literally – and so collected in Horror Tales; see this cover. [JH]
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro is there to witness Dracula’s day in court.
(12) URBAN SPACEMAN. Sprudge invites you to “Meet Covidisor, A Practical COVID Helmet That Lets You Drink Coffee”.
…But what the Covidisor has that puts it head and shoulders above the Air is a special swivel-mounted port on the front of the face shield that allows the wearer to consume any beverages via a straw. No longer will you have to make your face available to the outside world in order to enjoy that extra hot no foam latte. At last we can be safe, and caffeinated.
Available in eight different color options for the hard hat, the Covidisor retails for $275. And if you’re not sold on it yet, this snazzy music video by Vedra might change your mind. They’re walking all over a plague-ridden NYC, singing and wearing the Covidisor and just having the time of their life as though everything is fine. Everything is going to be fine…with Covidisor.
(13) SUPERMAN DOCUMENTARY MINI-REVIEW. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The Amazing Story of Superman on YouTube is a 2006 documentary, directed by Kevin Burns and narrated by Kevin Spacey, about Superman from Siegel and Shuster’s creation through Superman Returns. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was originally a bonus feature for the Superman Returns DVD, because there’s too much of a hard sell for both that movie and “Smallville” which makes both productions out to be imaginative masterpieces, even though Superman Returns is average and “Smallville” got pretty soapy pretty quickly. But there’s lots of interesting Superman stuff in it, such as the photos of Superman from the 1939 World’s Fair, ads for Superman Bread from the 1940s, and commercials from around 2004 with Jerry Seinfeld and an animated Superman. The most interesting discovery is that after George Reeves killed himself in 1959, the people behind the Superman TV show did a pilot for The Adventures of Super Pup with characters in animal suits. This of course went nowhere. I still think it’s worth watching provided you know you’re getting a hard sell for about a third of the film.
Forrest J. Ackerman is in it briefly explaining what fanzines are and how Siegel and Shuster got their start in sf fandom.
(14) SPACEX ISS MISSION SUCCESSFUL. “SpaceX capsule with 4 astronauts reaches space station” – WDRB has the story.
SpaceX’s newly launched capsule with four astronauts arrived Monday at the International Space Station, their new home until spring.
The Dragon capsule pulled up and docked late Monday night, following a 27-hour, completely automated flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The linkup occurred 262 miles (422 kilometers) above Idaho.
“Oh, what a good voice to hear,” space station astronaut Kate Rubins called out when the Dragon’s commander, Mike Hopkins, first made radio contact….
(15) WHERE NO GREEN TOY HAS GONE BEFORE. “‘Star Wars’ Fans Notice An Adorable Addition To The New Space Station Crew” – Yahoo! News has details.
The four astronauts onboard used a plush toy of the beloved character from the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” to determine whether they had reached zero gravity:
(16) PREDICTING THE PRESENT. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Songbird takes place in week 215 of the national lockdown, where people quarantined under Covid-23 have to be placed in camps. Good times! Produced by Michael Bay.
(17) ACQUISITION. Publishers Lunch reports:
Richard Kadrey and Cassandra Khaw’s THE DEAD TAKE THE A TRAIN, about a freelance psychic operative tracking an ever-morphing supernatural serial killer in New York City, to Diana Gill at Nightfire, with Kelly Lonesome editing, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2022, by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown for Kadrey, and by Michael Curry at Donald Maass Literary Agency for Khaw.
(18) ITTY BITTY TEENY WEENY BACTERIAL SPACE MINERS. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The New York Times reports “These Microbes May Help Future Martians and Moon People Mine Metals”. (May be paywalled.)
An experiment aboard the space station showed that bacteria were effective at extracting rare earth elements from rocks.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Trailers: Toy Story 4” on YouTube, the Screen Junkies say the fourth Toy Story movie has Keanu Reeves in it because we all love Keanu Reeves and has “many beloved character actors getting paid only to say ‘Woody’ or ‘Buzz.'”
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, John Hertz, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Gary Feldbaum, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]