Gollancz and Ben Aaronovitch announced the eight shortlisted titles for the inaugural Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME SFF Award on May 7.
The award was launched in October 2019 when Gollancz, the UK’s oldest sff imprint, teamed up with bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch, who founded and funded the award, to champion under-represented voices in science fiction, fantasy and horror after stats showed less than 1% of the genres’ books come from British BAME authors. (BAME is used in the UK to refer to black, Asian and minority ethnic people.)
The shortlisted stories are:
“Blood of the Wolf” by Jaya Martin
“Kali’s Call” by Dolly Garland
“Nowhere more Changeable than the Mortal Heart” by Ewen Ma
“Seeds of Heaven” by Victor Ogana
“The Principles of Moments” by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson
“The Reeves’ Guild” by Kyla Jardine
“The Scent of Cloves” by Dan Buchanan
“The Shape of the World” by Amy Borg
There were 220 entries for the prize. The shortlist will be judged by actress Adjoa Andoh, New York Times bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton, founder of Illumicrate subscription box Daphne Tonge, Gollancz’s senior commissioning editor Rachel Winterbottom and Abi Fellows, literary agent at The Good Agency.
The prizes include:
£4,000 for the overall winner alongside a critique and year-long mentoring programme with Gollancz commissioning editor Rachel Winterbottom.
Second place: £2,000 and a critique of their work
Five runners-up will receive £800 and a Gollancz goodie bag.
Nielsen’s results for science fiction and fantasy published in 2019 show almost double the amount of BAME British authors published in this genre but as the numbers were so small to start with, this only increases the authors represented from five to nine. These include authors such as: Tade Thompson, whose book Rosewater won 2019’s Clarke Award; physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili with Sunfall, his first foray into sci-fi; and the second book from Zen Cho, who has won both the British Fantasy Award and a Hugo Award. Even with this increase, BAME authors are still less than 3% of British authors published in sci-fi and fantasy, lagging far behind the representation of authors of colour in the American market.
The winner and runners up will be announced at a ceremony in July, details to be confirmed.
(1) CHANGES TO NY TIMES BESTSELLER LISTS. Publishers
Weekly reports “‘NYT’
Shifts Its Lists Again”. Mass market paperbacks and graphic books will
be tracked again, and middle grade paperback and YA paperback lists will debut.
After cutting the mass market paperback and graphic novel/manga lists in 2017, the Times‘ Best Sellers team will again track mass market paperback sales, as well as debut a combined list for graphic books, which will include fiction, nonfiction, children’s, adults, and manga. Two new monthly children’s lists, middle grade paperback and young adult paperback, will debut as well. (The Times retired its middle grade e-book and young adult e-book lists in 2017.) In addition, the Times will cut its science and sports lists, explaining that “the titles on those lists are frequently represented on current nonfiction lists.” The changes are effective October 2 online and October 20 in print.
The Times has already cut back its print lists on the combined print/e-book and print hardcover lists to 10 titles, from 15, although the online lists will continue to show 15 titles. A representative of the paper said that the change “was made for design reasons, specifically to improve the readability of the lists in print.”
Barbara Krasnoff is the author of over 35 short stories, including “Sabbath Wine,” which was a finalist for the Nebula Award, and recently published a mosaic novel titled The History of Soul 2065. She’s also responsible for a series of captioned photos that can be found under the hashtag #TheirBackstories.
Nicole Kornher-Stace is the author of the Norton Award finalist Archivist Wasp and its sequel, Latchkey. Her next novel, Firebreak, is due out from Saga in 2020. She can be found online at nicolekornherstace.com or on Twitter @wirewalking.
The event begins 7 p.m. at the KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street (just
off 2nd Ave, upstairs.)
New York, NY.
(3) SUNDAY IN THE PARK. Last Sunday at the Brooklyn Book Festival, Andrew Porter took this photo of the Dell Magazines booth which was hosted by Asimov’s editor Sheila Williams and her daughter.
(4) NEW AWARD PROMOTES DIVERSE SFF. Gollancz
and author Ben Aaronovitch are launching a writing prize championing under-represented voices in science fiction,
fantasy and horror after stats showed less than 1% of the genres’ books
come from British BAME authors. (BAME is used in the UK to refer to black, Asian and minority ethnic
Submissions for the
Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME SFF Award will
be taken from October 1, 2019 until January 31, 2020 — 5,000
to 10,000 words consisting of either a self-contained short story or the
opening of a novel that fits into the scifi, fantasy or horror genres
The prizes include:
£4,000 for the overall winner alongside a critique and year-long mentoring programme with Gollancz commissioning editor Rachel Winterbottom.
Second place: £2,000 and a critique of their work
Five runners-up will receive £800 and a Gollancz goodie bag.
Gollancz publisher Anne Clarke said:
The current lack of representation in science fiction and fantasy is no secret and it has to change. As modern speculative fiction publishers, we at Gollancz have a responsibility not just to say our doors are open, but to actively seek out and support writers whose backgrounds and experience have historically been – and still are – under-represented in our genre. I hope this award will encourage writers who have perhaps not always felt welcome in the world of science fiction and fantasy publishing and I’m looking forward to discovering exciting new writing talent within the submissions.
It’s Hollywood logic to try bleed more money from a stone. Whenever there’s a successful franchise, it’s natural for studios to stay safe and invest in more of the same product and produce as many sequels, prequels, TV shows, and reboots of the property. However, every so often, Tinseltown fails to catch lighting in a bottle a second time. Not every movie deserves 815 more iterations of the same story.
the middle of the list is —
Long before DCEU fans bemoaned the current DC movies, they were (rightfully) bailing on another one. Somehow, DC was able to zap all of the fun and sultriness out of Selina Kyle for the long-gestating Catwoman movie, which starred Oscar winner Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, and Benjamin Bratt. All in all, not a bad trio. So what went wrong?
First, the entire origins of a cat burglar/vixen are heaved out the window and replaced with an Egyptian Cat Mythology. That mythology would have worked if it was a little more thought out and the movie itself wasn’t just an excuse to feature the gorgeous Berry in as little clothing as possible.
…Steampunk is not exactly something you would associate with Papenburg, even though the steamship MV Liemba a.k.a. Graf Goetzen, which starred in The African Queen as the German gunboat Königin Luise, was built here in 1913. Therefore, I was very surprised to learn that Papenburg not only has an active Steampunk community, but also hosts Steamfest, a Steampunk festival which took place for the second time in 2019. And since Papenburg is only about 114 kilometres away, I of course decided to pay Steamfest a visit.
Magic as revenge, retaliation, or retribution is the theme of many of September’s best short speculative fiction stories. There are some new authors on this list alongside some very well-known names, yet no matter where they are career-wise, the stories they’ve written have left a mark on this world. Here are some of the ten best science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories I read in September.
The contributing authors include Kameron Hurley, Mur
Lafferty Patrice Sarath, Wendy Wagner, Julie C Day, Paul Jessup, Jamie Mason,
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Ross Lockhart, Karen Bovenmyer, with open submissions to
It used to be if someone wanted to mug you, they had to look you in the face and make a threat. Not anymore. Hackers can wipe a bank account without ever having to risk drawing blood. Bad people use technology for personal gain. Nothing’s new about that. What is new is the ways technology opens up opportunities for exploitation.
New technology is coming on-line all the time, creating new opportunities for creative criminals and dissidents. Stolen elections, companies held hostage by hackers, and acts of terror have all been committed with technology that didn’t exist a few short years ago.
Join leading edge speculative fiction authors on an exciting walk into darkness where people and machines plunder, cheat, kill, and steal in ways we can’t even imagine with tools that may not even exist, yet. But, they’re coming.
(9) SATIRE ON TWO WHEELS. Remember Knight
Rider? Well, here’s David Hasselhoff in Moped Rider…
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
September 27, 1958 — In Italy, The Day the Sky Exploded (Italian: La morte viene dallo spazio, “Death Comes From Space”. It is known as the first Italian SF film, predating even the SF films of Antonio Margheriti.
September 27, 1979 — Buck Rogers in the 25th Century began its regular first season (after the airing of the film) with an episode called “Planet of the Slave Girls”.
September 27, 2002 — Joss Whedon’s Fireflypremiered on Fox TV. It was cancelled after eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired. Eventually it concluded in a film called Serenity which Will Shetterly reviewed here.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 27, 1902 — Henry Farrell. Novelist and screenwriter, best known as the author of the “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” story which was made into a film of the same name starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. (Died 2006.)
Born September 27, 1932 — Roger Charles Carmel. The original Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd as he appeared in two episodes of the original Star Trek, “Mudd’s Women” and “I, Mudd”” and one episode of the animated series as well, “Mudd’s Passion”. I say original because Discovery has decided that they have a Harry Mudd. He also had one-offs on I-Spy, Munsters, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Batman. It is rumored but not confirmed he was going to reprise his role as Harry Mudd in a first-season episode of Next Gen but died before filming could start. (Died 1986.)
Born September 27, 1934 — Wilford Brimley, 85. His first genre role is as Dr. Blair in John Carpenter’s The Thing. He’s Benjamin ‘Ben’ Luckett in the Cacoon films, and Agency Director Harold Smith in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. He made a rather splendid President Grover Cleveland in The Wild Wild West Revisted. And finally I note that he was Noa in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.
Born September 27, 1947 — Meat Loaf, 72. He has a tasty role as Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And I’d argue some of his music videos are genre stories in their own right. He also has film roles in Wishcraft (horror), Stage Fright (horror) and Urban Decay (yes, more horror). He’s also in BloodRayne which is yes, horror. He’s had one-offs on Tales from the Crypt, The Outer Limits, Monsters, Masters of Horror and was Doug Rennie, a main cast member of Ghost Wars.
Born September 27, 1950 — Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, 69. He’d be on the Birthday Honors list if he’d only been Zylyn in Space Rangers which lasted only six episodes. Damn. But he’s also shown up on Babylon 5, the premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Superboy, Alien Nation, the Australian version of Mission: Impossible, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Stargate SG-1, Poltergeist: The Legacy, The Librarians, voicing characters on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars Rebels. He’s currently got two main roles going, the first being Nobusuke Tagomi in The Man in The High Castle, the other being Hiroki Watanabe in Lost in Space.
Born September 27, 1956 — Sheila Williams, 63. Editor, Asimov’s Science Fiction last fifteen years. She won the Hugo Award for Best Short Form Editor in 2011 and 2012. With the late Gardner Dozois, she co-edited a bonnie bunch of anthologies such as Isaac Asimov’s Robots, Isaac Asimov’s Christmas and Isaac Asimov’s Cyberdreams. She was also responsible for the Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy writing being renamed the Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing.
Born September 27, 1972 — Gwyneth Paltrow, 47. Yes, she is Pepper Potts in the Marvel Universe film franchise but her first genre role was as a young Wendy Darling in Hook. And she shows up in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow asPolly Perkins, a reporter for The Chronicle.
(12) ROCKET ROYALTY. In Olav Rokne’s post “Many
Princes; One Crown” at the Hugo Book Club Blog, readers are
reminded of the challenges in voting on works translated to English, beginning
with a recent Retro-Hugo winner.
…But the case of The Little Prince is more comparable to that of the first translated work to appear on a Hugo Ballot: the 1963 novel Sylva, which was written by French war hero Vercors (A.K.A. Jean Bruller). No translator is mentioned on the dust jacket of the book. And until this summer, when the record was updated at our request, the official Hugo Awards site did not list the name of the translator, Rita Barisse. The Wikipedia entry for the Hugo Awards, and several other publications continue to neglect Barisse’s contribution to the work….
(13) LAFFERTY AWARENESS. Shelf Awareness checks in
with the author of Lies My
Teacher Told Me in
with… James W. Loewen”. R.A. Lafferty gets a big shout-out:
Book you’re an evangelist for:
The only historical novel I recommend without reservation: Okla Hannali by R.A. Lafferty. Even though by a white author, I credit it as a Choctaw history of the 19th century, in the form of a biography of a fictional Choctaw leader who was born in Mississippi around 1801 and died in Oklahoma in 1900. I realize such a statement creates all sorts of problems for me–expropriation of Native knowledge, white arrogance, etc. My only defense is the work itself. I have no idea how Lafferty, otherwise known for science fiction, learned so much about Choctaws (and white folks), but every time I have checked out any fact in Okla Hannali, no matter how small, Lafferty got it right. And what a read! Only a little over 200 pages long, but an epic, nevertheless.
(14) ANOTHER WAY OF LOOKING AT THINGS. David Gerrold contends
art and the artist should be regarded separately in his public
So let’s say that I point out that the owners of a specific fast-food chain have donated a lot of money to anti-LGBTQ+ causes.
This is not an invitation to say:
“The food is terrible.”
Let’s say that I point out that a particular actor has said some unsavory things about politics. This is not an invitation to say,
“She can’t act anyway.”
Or maybe a well-known author has said something egregiously stupid. That’s not an invitation to say,
You are on a runaway trolley. On one track are five people who have not yet seen The Good Place and don’t intend to, and who will die if you don’t move the lever. On the other track is one person who, like you, is caught up and can discuss the show with you. What do you do?
(16) PENN AND POURNELLE. There’s a pair of names you wouldn’t
put in the same sentence – unless you’re Tedium’s Ernie Smith. In “All
Penn, No Teller” he recalls when Penn Jillette was “a sometimes-rebellious big-name computer magazine
columnist in the ’90s.”
…Now, tech writing of this era doesn’t have the pedigree of, say, good music journalism in the 1970s. Certainly, there were good tech writers during this time, particularly free-wheeling voices like fellow moonlighter Jerry Pournelle of Byte, hard-nosed insiders like journeyman scribe John C. Dvorak and the long-anonymous Robert X. Cringely, and well-considered newspaper voices of reason like syndicated columnist Kim Komando and the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg.
But Jillette was something different. He was already famous—certainly more famous than Pournelle, an established science-fiction author, thanks to being a regular fixture on television during much of his career and starring in a legendary Run-DMC music video—and he likely did not need a nationally distributed computer magazine column to make a living. Jillette simply liked computers and knew a lot about them, which meant that he could rant about the details of an Autoexec.bat file just as easily as he can about politics. He gave the tech writing form something of an edge, while maintaining the freewheeling nature established by fellow pre-blogging voices like Pournelle….
“Caltech scientists have discovered a new species of worm thriving in the extreme environment of Mono Lake. This new species, temporarily dubbed Auanema sp., has three different sexes, can survive 500 times the lethal human dose of arsenic, and carries its young inside its body like a kangaroo.”
Terry Hunt sent the link in with a note: “I was
irresistibly reminded of Vonda N. McIntyre’s story ‘Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand’ and its novel expansion Dreamsnake.”
(18) LOOKING FOR ET IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. The Beyond Center
presented the 2019 Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Lecture with James Benford on
Abstract: A recently discovered group of nearby co-orbital objects is an attractive location for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) to locate for observing Earth. Near-Earth objects provide an ideal way to watching our world from a secure natural object that provides resources an ETI might need: materials, a firm anchor, concealment. These co-orbital objects have been little studied by astronomy and not at all by SETI or planetary radar observations. I describe the objects found thus far and propose both passive and active observations of them by optical and radio listening, radar imaging and launching probes. We might also broadcast to them.
The future: The fully realized version of Shapeshifter would be a “mothercraft” lander that carries a collection of 12 mini robots (“cobots”) to the surface, acts as the main power source, and uses a suite of scientific instruments that can directly analyze samples. The cobots could work together to carry and move the mothercraft to different areas. They would be able to operate individually or as one cohesive unit, in order to adapt to a variety of terrains and environments.
For example, the cobots would be able to separate and fly out in different directions or together as a flock, link up together like a barrel of monkeys in order to explore narrow caves and caverns, or even float on or swim in liquid.
(22) SURVIVE BY A WHISKER. Gato Roboto
a video game designed to let you channel your inner feline.
Pounce inside of your cozy armored mech and set off on a dangerous trek through an alien underworld full of irritable creatures and treacherous obstacles in a valiant effort to save your stranded captain and his crashed spaceship. Tiptoe outside the friendly confines of your technological marvel and follow your feline instincts through tight tunnels and mysterious waterways to scavenge for new weapons and gear. Adventure awaits the most curious of cats in Gato Roboto!
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy,
Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Terry Hunt, Nina Shepardson,Cliff, Rob Thornton,
Michael J. Walsh, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories.
Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna NImmhaus.]
Popular Chinese director Ning Hao has seen his comedy fantasy film “Crazy Alien” gross more than $100 million at the mainland Chinabox office after just two days on release during the Chinese New Year holiday period. It’s the highest two-day total for any film in the Middle Kingdom so far this year.
The milestone was passed at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. By 10 p.m., the film’s accumulated gross had advanced to $101 million (RMB680 million), according to website China Box Office.
The film is about a zookeeper who finds an unusual animal and takes it home. There he discovers that the creature is in fact an extraterrestrial, but getting rid of it may be problematic.
China’s first homegrown sci-fi epic, The Wandering Earth, is continuing its upwards trajectory. After opening at No. 4 on Tuesday, the start of the Chinese New Year, it gained traction on Wednesday to move into the No. 2 spot, and today, it led the daily Middle Kingdom box office.
With an estimated additional RMB 342M ($50.7M) on Thursday, the increase from yesterday was about 33% for a local cume of RMB 800M ($118.6M). That still lags about $20M behind Crazy Alien‘s cume, though it should quickly make up the difference after Crazy Alien had led the first two days of the Lunar New Year period. The Wandering Earth‘s performance is testament to the positive buzz being generated by the $50M pic, which stars Wolf Warrior 2’s Wu Jing in a race against time to save the planet’s population.
The easiest way to add or remove details from a story is to undermine those elements that contradict the new canon. In Stars Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope¸ Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke Skywalker that his father was a skilled pilot betrayed and killed by the evil Darth Vader. Later in the series, it’s revealed that Vader is Luke’s father and that Obi-Wan knew all along.
Creator George Lucas has claimed that he always knew Vader was Luke’s father, but fans point to a host of evidence that this wasn’t the case when the scene was written. If they’re right, Lucas had no problem retconning his decision later, since the information that stood in his way came from a single source. When it’s time to reveal that Vader is Luke’s father, Obi-Wan admits he lied, hiding the truth to try to influence Luke’s reaction.
This is the easiest way to retcon information out of a story – someone lied, omitted key details, implied something that wasn’t true, or thought they were telling the truth but were wrong. Sometimes, this means adding additional information to give characters a reason to have lied, but since all this takes place in the realm of character motivations and interactions, it can even serve to enliven a story, and it might inspire new directions, as in the Star Wars prequel films….
In May 2015, Clarkesworld published “An Evolutionary Myth” by Bo-Young Kim, translated from Korean by Gord Sellar and Jihyun Park. I am pleased to announce that Clarkesworld Magazine has now received a grant from the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea) to translate and publish nine more Korean science fiction stories in 2019.
The process for selection and translation of stories will be similar to the model developed for Clarkesworld‘s Chinese translation project, which has recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. In that model, a group of people serve as a recommendation team that will provide story notes and details to Neil Clarke for evaluation and selection. Stories will then be confirmed for English language availability, contracted, and assigned to one of several translators.
(4) HOLD THE CAKE! In
theory a new edition of The Best of R.A.
Lafferty was released by Gollancz today. Except it wasn’t.
(5) READ THIS, NOT THAT. But yesterday Tor.com published Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut story “Articulated Restraint”.
He took a slow breath. “No one is dead. A ship returning from the moon had a retrorocket misfire while docking with Lunetta yesterday evening.”
“Oh God.” Scores of people worked on the Lunetta orbiting platform. People she knew. And Eugene Lindholm, her partner for today’s run—his wife would have been on the lunar rocket. Ruby played bridge with Myrtle and Eugene. She turned, looking for the tall black man among the people working by the pool. He was at the stainless steel bench, running through his checklist with tight, controlled motions. No one was dead, but if the Meteor had taught the world anything, death wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to someone. “How bad?”
(6) FANHISTORY RESOURCE. Peter Balestrieri, Curator, Science Fiction and Popular
Culture Collections at University of Iowa Libraries has announced —
McPhail was one of the earliest sf fans (1929). He co-edited a magazine called The Original Idea with Jim Speer (Jack’s older brother). In 1936 he founded the Oklahoma Scientifiction Association. An early member of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA), McPhail introduced the Mailing Comment –which, if you’ve ever belonged to an apa, you know that’s what everyone hopes their contribution will inspire. File 770 published McPhail’s obituary in 1984.
(7) JOSHI FELLOWSHIP. There’s
a name I don’t associate with fellowship, nevertheless — The John Hay Library at Brown University invites
applications for its 2019-2020 The S. T. Joshi Endowed Research
Fellowship for research relating to H.P.
Lovecraft, his associates, and literary heirs. The application deadline is
March 15, 2019.
The Hay Library is home to the largest collection of H. P.
Lovecraft materials in the world, and also holds the archives of Clark
Ashton Smith, Karl Edward Wagner, Manly Wade Wellman, Analog Magazine, Caitlín Kiernan, and others.
The Joshi Fellowship, established by The Aeroflex Foundation and Hippocampus Press, is intended to promote scholarly research using the world-renowned resources on H. P. Lovecraft, science fiction, and horror at the John Hay Library. The Fellowship provides a monthly stipend of $1,500 for up to two months of research at the library between July 2019 and June 2020. The fellowship is open to individuals engaged in pre- and post-doctoral, or independent research.
(8) HOW TO AFFORD AN EDITOR. Authors who want their manuscripts worked on by a professional an editor know they have to come up with the bucks to pay them. There have been a couple of threads recently filled with more-or-less serious advice about ways “broke” writers can foot the bill. C.L. Polk’s begins here.
Fred Coppersmith’s less serious thread begins here.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
February 7, 1940 — Walt Disney’s movie Pinocchio debuted. Guillermo del Toro’s
version might be slightly darker.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 7, 1812 – Charles Dickens. Author of more genre fiction according to ISFDB than I knew. There’s A Christmas Carol that I’ve seen performed lived myriad times but they also list The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In, The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home, The Battle of Life, The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain and The Christmas Books. Somewhere there being overly broad in defining genre perhaps? (Died 1870.)
Born February 7, 1908 – Buster Crabbe. He also played the title role in the Tarzan the Fearless, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers series in the Thirties, the only person to do though other actors played some of those roles. He would show up in the Seventies series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as a retired fighter pilot named Brigadier Gordon. (Died 1983.)
Born February 7, 1913 – Henry Hasse. Best known for being the co-author of Ray Bradbury’s first published story, “Pendulum”, which appeared in November 1941 in Super Science Stories. ISFDB lists a single novel by him, The Stars Will Wait, and some fifty short stories if I’m counting correctly. (Died 1977.)
Born February 7, 1929 – Alejandro Jodorowsky, 90. The Universe has many weird things in it such as this film, Jodorowsky’s Dune. It looks at his unsuccessful attempt to film Dune in the mid-1970s. He’s also has created a sprawling SF fictional universe, beginning with the Incal, illustrated by the cartoonist Jean Giraud which is rooted in their work for the Dune project which is released as comics.
Born February 7, 1941 – Kevin Crossley-Holland, 78. Best known for his Arthur trilogy consisting of The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing-Places, and King of the Middle March. I really liked their perspective of showing a medieval boy’s development from a page to a squire and finally to a knight. Highly recommended.
Born February 7, 1949 – Alan Grant, 70. He’s best known for writing Judge Dredd in 2000 AD as well as various Batman titles from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. If you can find it, there’s a great Batman / Judge Dredd crossover “Judgement on Gotham” that he worked on. His recent work has largely been for small independents including his own company.
Born February 7, 1950 – Karen Joy Fowler, 69. Her first work was “Recalling Cinderella” in L Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol I. Her later genre works are Sarah Canary, the Black Glass collection and the novel The Jane Austen Book Club, is not SF though SF plays a intrinsic role in it, and two short works of hers, “Always” and ““The Pelican Bar” won significant Awards. Her latest genre novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, is being adored far and wide.
Born February 7, 1950 – Margaret Wander Bonanno, 69. She written seven Star Trek novels, several science fiction novels set in her own worlds, including The Others, a novel with Nichelle Nichols. In putting together this Birthday, several sources noted that she had disavowed writing her Trek novels because of excessive editorial meddling by the publisher. She self-published Music of the Spheres, her unapproved version of Probe, the official publication. According to her, Probe has less than ten per cent of the content of her version.
Born February 7, 1960 – James Spader, 59. Most recently he did the voice and motion-capture for Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. No I did not enjoy that film. Before that, he played Stewart Swinton in Wolf, a Jack Nicholson endeavour. Then of course he was Daniel Jackson in Stargate, a film I still enjoy though I think the series did get it better. He then plays Nick Vanzant in Supernova andJulian Rome in Alien Hunter.
Born February 7, 1985 – Deborah Ann Woll, 34. She is known for her roles as the vampire Jessica Hamby in True Blood, and Karen Page in Daredevil, The Defenders, and The Punisher.she also played Molly in the horror film Little Murder and Amanda Harper in Escape Room, another horror film.
(12) QUARTERS, WITH MORE OR
LESS BITS. Writing for The Mary Sue—and
using floor plans that were on Angie’s
List—Kaila Hale-Stern takes a look at six different Captain’s quarters from
the various Star Trek series (“Let’s Judge These Star Trek Captains’ Quarters”). Welcome to
Kirk’s, Picard’s, Sisko’s, Janeway’s, Archer’s, and Lorca’s abodes.
We’ve had several beloved Starfleet Captains, but how are they sleeping at night? Journey with me into the final frontier of Star Trek Captains’ quarters, and let’s see who had the sweetest floor plan.
Courtesy of a post by home services site Angie’s List, we now have detailed layouts to pore over. They created floor plans of our Captains’ quarters, starting with Kirk’s in The Original Series to Archer’s on Enterprise. Discovery is a bit trickier Captain-wise, since we only have the late unlamented Lorca’s rooms for reference—but maybe Pike will show us where he lays his head in the future.
The toilet onboard the ISS was installed in 2008, during one of the last space shuttle missions. It’s based on a design that’s about as old as the ISS itself, so it was in need of some improvement. The ISS astronauts were trying to install that improvement when something went wrong.
According to a NASA blog, the ISS crew were trying to install the new Universal Waste Management System, a next-gen toilet system that’s supposed to be smaller, lighter, cleaner, and more efficient than what they have now. […]
The aforementioned 1 February 2019 NASA blog explains:
Universal Waste Management System (UWMS):
The crew successfully installed a new double stall enclosure within Node 3 today. During the activity, the crew experienced a water leak while de-mating a Quick Disconnect (QD) for the potable water bus. Approximately 9.5 liters leaked before the bus was isolated by MCC-H flight controllers. The crew worked quickly to re-mate the leaky QD and soak up the water with towels. An alternate QD was then de-mated in order to continue with the installation. The new concept, referred to as the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), includes favorable features from previous designs while improving on other areas from Space Shuttle and the existing ISS Waste Collection System (WCS) hardware. This double stall enclosure provides privacy for both the Toilet System and the Hygiene Compartment. The starboard side will provide access to the existing toilet and the port side will be used for hygiene until new replacement Toilet System arrives in early 2020.
Mopping up 2.5 gallons of water is hard enough with
gravity to collect it all on the floor for you,
(17) GET MY BETTER SIDE. NASA has taken a candid snapshot of the neighbors (NASA: “First Look: Chang’e Lunar Landing Site”).
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has
spotted the landing site of China’s Chang’e 4 lander on the back side of the
Moon. The LRO wasn’t close enough to picture the whole Chang’e 4 “family”—the
tiny rover is just too small for the camera to pick up.
On Jan. 3, 2019, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 4 safely landed on the floor of the Moon’s Von Kármán crater (186 kilometer diameter, 116 miles). Four weeks later (Jan. 30, 2019), as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter approached the crater from the east, it rolled 70 degrees to the west to snap this spectacular view looking across the floor toward the west wall. Because LRO was 330 kilometers (205 miles) to the east of the landing site, the Chang’e 4 lander is only about two pixels across (bright spot between the two arrows), and the small rover is not detectable. The massive mountain range in the background is the west wall of Von Kármán crater, rising more than 3,000 meters (9,850 feet) above the floor.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of electronic music or have never heard of the EDM producer Marshmello, Fortnite’s live in-game concert was still a shockingly stunning sight to behold — it was also an unprecedented moment in gaming. It truly felt like a glimpse into the future of interactive entertainment, where the worlds of gaming, music, and celebrity combined to create a virtual experience we’ve never quite seen before.
At 2PM ET [2 February], every one of the likely tens of millions of players of Epic Games’ battle royale title were transported to a virtual stage. There, Christopher Comstock — who goes by the DJ name Marshmello and is known best for his signature food-shaped helmet — began a 10-minute mini-set, all while while up to 60 players across thousands of individual matches were able to watch live. Epic, having learned from past one-time live events like its iconic rocket launch and its most recent freezing over of the entire game map, smartly launched a special game mode specifically for the show.
Based on its team rumble mode, it allowed players to respawn if they were taken out by an especially rude enemy trying to spoil the fun. Going even further, however, Epic disabled the ability to use weapons for the entirety of the 10-minute event, which ensured that everyone could have a front-row seat to the spectacle.
(19) DON’T TELL ME. Matthew
parody is a mite long for a Scroll title, so I’ll salute it here:
Counting pixels on the scroll, that don’t bother me at all Playing D&D ’til dawn, with my twenty-sideds gone Eating soylent green and watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Now don’t tell me I can’t go back in time
[Thanks to Paul Weimer, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, StephenfromOttawa, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]
(1) CASTING CALL. James Davis Nicoll wants young people for his next project.
I am looking for volunteers for the follow up to Young People Read Old SFF, Young People Listen to Old SF. Participants will get to listen to and react to one moderate length olden timey radio drama per month.
…Introducing a premise like The City & The City without tying it into current political issues feels like a much less tenable proposition right now. And yet this is what the BBC did in its recent miniseries adaptation of the book. As an adaptation, the miniseries is dutiful but not very exciting. It does a good job of transposing the book’s technique, of slowly revealing its setting until we finally realize that there is nothing going on except a mass delusion, to a more visual medium. In one particularly memorable scene, Borlú and his assistant, Lizbyet Corwi, speak on their cellphones, he from Ul Qoma and she in Bes?el. The camera cuts between them as we’d expect from any TV series trying to convey that two characters are in different physical spaces. Then it pulls back to reveal that Borlú and Corwi are sitting on the same bench, which is half in one city and half in the other. The series also does a good job of beefing up the roles of women, giving Corwi more to do, changing the gender of Borlú’s Ul Qoman counterpart, and even giving her a wife. (A similar impetus might have been at the root of a new subplot involving the disappearance of Borlú’s wife, but it just ends up reading like the common trope of motivating a man by having a woman suffer.)
Still, one has to wonder why you’d even try to adapt this novel, at this moment in time, if you weren’t willing to change it enough so that it actually says something…
(3) WHEN YOU CARE ENOUGH. Just came across this today. As we say around here, it’s always news to someone. From Know Your Meme.
Christopher Nolan wants to show me something interesting. Something beautiful and exceptional, something that changed his life when he was a boy.
It’s also something that Nolan, one of the most accomplished and successful of contemporary filmmakers, has persuaded Warner Bros. to share with the world both at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and then in theaters nationwide, but in a way that boldly deviates from standard practice.
For what is being cued up in a small, hidden-away screening room in an unmarked building in Burbank is a brand new 70-mm reel of film of one of the most significant and influential motion pictures ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 science-fiction epic “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Yes, you read that right. Not a digital anything, an actual reel of film that was for all intents and purposes identical to the one Nolan saw as a child and Kubrick himself would have looked at when the film was new half a century ago.
Vulture Bones is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine showcasing the voices of transgender and nonbinary writers.
Vulture Bones is what is left when everything useful is harvested, even the gamey meat of scavengers.
Vulture Bones is the name of a bald and genderless sharpshooter with thirteen enemies and one bullet left.
Vulture Bones is something morbid and foundational.
Vulture Bones is a wild ride.
(6) STAFFCON. Kevin Standlee takes you inside the room where it happened this weekend – “StaffCon”.
“StaffCon” for Worldcon 76 planning had over 100 people registered, using the same RegOnline system that the convention itself is using. Today was a chance to do a bit of a dry run of what on-site registration would be like, and to discover some bugs now while there is a chance to adjust them and make things better for the actual convention. After the initial morning session, there were numerous impromptu meetings (including a short WSFS division meeting with the four members of the division who are actually here), followed by groups touring the San Jose Convention Center. There’s an event moving in today, so we couldn’t get at everything, but everyone got a decently good look around before the lunch break. The break allowed people to spread out and find places to get lunch within a short distance of the convention center. There are many such places (far more than there were sixteen years ago).
Folks, we’ve got two additional Campbell finalists who could use a boost getting to the Hugos. I’ve got a form set up for additional finalists.
Let’s see how many we can get to the ceremony.
Need help? The link to the application is in Update #2.
(8) GOLLANCZ OBIT & KERFUFFLE. A trade publication’s obituary about Livia Gollancz (1920-2018), who once ran UK publisher Gollancz, a major publisher and now imprint of sf, got pushback from the imprint’s current editor.
For anyone under 40, Gollancz is merely a science fiction imprint—“the oldest specialist sci-fi and fantasy (SFF) publisher in the UK.” Gollancz indeed published many award-winning and successful SFF authors, J G Ballard and Terry Pratchett among them, but Gollancz is far more important than that, which makes the story of its last two decades a tragedy.
Victor Gollancz, a classics graduate from Oxford, was just 30 when he set up his eponymous company in 1927. He published George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, and Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, as well as books by Ford Madox Ford, Daphne du Maurier, Franz Kafka and Vera Brittain. On his daughter Livia’s watch, Julia Hales’ The Green Consumer Guide and Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch were trendsetting bestsellers….
I was genuinely shocked to see the comments about Gollancz in Livia Gollancz’s obituary published in The Bookseller. To describe a beloved publishing list as “merely a science fiction imprint” and its last two decades as a “tragedy” is offensive to my colleagues; our authors and fans; our reviewers and bloggers; fellow SFF publishers; and to the wider genre community. While everyone has a right to their personal opinion and literary preferences, to air such a definitive bias against genre fiction in the obituary of our former owner was troubling and frankly insulting.
It is easy to point out how many of the greatest works ever written are SF or Fantasy titles. From the Iliad to Jules Verne, to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, to The Handmaid’s Tale, right up to Naomi Alderman’s The Power, speculative fiction has been an unrivalled way of exploring our world and society. It is just as easy—as your publication has demonstrated—to dismiss that claim by saying those books are ”proper” literary novels not “merely SFF”.
That argument is nonsense. Worse, it is prejudiced and badly informed nonsense….
My comments on the diminution of Victor Gollancz should not be interpreted as a slight on the proud history of SF publishing itself, at Gollancz or anywhere else. Rather it is a reminder, to readers and publishers too young to remember the “old” Gollancz, that Victor Gollancz Ltd was a leader in so many ways and an independent powerhouse that set standards and trends in both adult and children’s publishing….
Mike Kennedy notes a possibly fatal mistake in Brewster Rockit’s visit to the Jurassic.
(11) AURORA AWARDS HEADS-UP. Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association members have until May 26 to nominate eligible works for the Aurora Awards – see the nominations page.
(12) KEEP YOUR SUIT ON. In this Wired video, Chris Hadfield makes nude space walks sound even less attractive than they already did. And that’s just for starters.
Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield helps debunk (and confirm!) some common myths about space. Is there any sound in space? Does space smell like burnt steak? Is NASA working on warp speed?
(13) HURTS SO GOOD. I keep reading Galactic Journey despite Gideon Marcus’ tendency to break my teen-aged fannish heart. It’s bad enough the things he says about every issue of Analog. Now he’s lighting into one of young Mike’s all-time favorite sf novels (in the hardcover version, Way Station): “[May 6, 1963] The more things change… (June 1963 Galaxy)”.
The proud progressive flagship [Galaxy] appears to be faltering, following in the footsteps of Campbell’s reactionary Analog. It’s not all bad, exactly. It’s just nothing new…and some of it is really bad. Is it a momentary blip? Or is Editor Pohl saving the avante-garde stuff for his other two magazines?
…Simak is one of the great veterans of our field, and he has been a staple of Galaxy since its inception. He is unmatched when it comes to evoking a bucolic charm, and he has a sensitive touch when conveying people (human or otherwise). This particular tale begins promisingly, but it meanders a bit, and it frequently repeats itself. Either over-padded or under-edited, it could do with about 15% fewer words. Three stars so far, but I have a feeling the next half will be better….
Next he’ll be telling Mozart “too many notes”!
(14) SPOCK IN OREGON. As long as we’re revisiting the Sixties, here’s Leonard Nimoy to tell you all about his Star Trek character….
Interview from 1967 conducted by KGW-TV, a news station in Portland, Oregon. This was rediscovered in 2010 in their film archives. Nimoy talks at length about playing Mr. Spock on “Star Trek”, then in its second season.
Takei on Tuesday is set to discuss his experience during World War II spent in U.S. internment camps for Japanese-Americans.
Takei used his family’s story as the inspiration for the Broadway musical “Allegiance.”
The show tells the narrative of the fictional Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
The cast of the SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of Takei’s musical also will perform during the event at the library’s main branch at Copley (KAHP’-lee) Square.
(16) IT’S DEAD, JIM. Self-conscious about your Latin pronunciation? Let @Botanygeek James Wong put you at ease. Jump on the thread here:
In fact, botanical Latin isn't really Latin. But a mix of Ancient Greek, Latin, plus a whole bunch of other languages mixed in.
It's only there to provide a universal name, so everywhere in the world people know what you are on about.
New radar scans have provided conclusive evidence that there are no hidden rooms inside King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said Sunday, bringing a disappointing end to years of excitement over the prospect.
Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said an Italian team conducted extensive studies with ground-penetrating radar that showed the tomb did not contain any hidden, man-made blocking walls as was earlier suspected. Francesco Porcelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin presented the findings at an international conference in Cairo.
“Our work shows in a conclusive manner that there are no hidden chambers, no corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb,” Porcelli said, “As you know there was a theory that argued the possible existence of these chambers but unfortunately our work is not supporting this theory.”
(18) BRAIN DEATH. Vice headline: “This Neurologist Found Out What Happens to Our Brains When We Die”. German neurologists Jens Dreier and Jed Hartings have published a study about what happens to the human brain while dying. It turns out some of the details are remarkably like that discussed in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Skin of Evil” during the death of character Tasha Yar.
…if German neurologist Jens Dreier had just binged enough Star Trek: The Next Generation, he could have already known the outcome of his groundbreaking research, which the sci-fi series predicted 30 years ago.
Dreier works at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, one of Germany’s leading university hospitals. In February, the 52-year-old and his colleague, Jed Hartings, published a study that details what happens to our brain at the point of death. It describes how the brain’s neurons transmit electrical signals with full force one last time before they completely die off. Though this phenomenon, popularly known in the medical community as a “brain tsunami”, had previously only been seen in animals, Dreier and Hartings were able to show it in humans as they died. Their work goes on to suggest that in certain circumstances, the process could be stopped entirely, theorising that it could be done if enough oxygen is supplied to the brain before the cells are destroyed.
Soon after their discovery, the two researchers also found out that a 1988 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation shows chief physician Beverly Crusher trying to revive Lieutenant Tasha Yar, while clearly describing the exact processes the neurologists have been trying to understand for years. I spoke to Dreier about their discovery and how it feels to be beaten by a TV show by three decades.
And didn’t Connie Willis’ Passage make use of this premise as well?
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Karl-Johan Norén, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Carl Slaughter, ULTRAGOTHA, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Jay Byrd, Avilyn, Alan Baumler, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]
Essentially, BBC Worldwide has put out a press release to announce a new deal with a Chinese media company, and one paragraph of the press bumf seems to suggest that the Beeb is planning for Doctor Who – in its current, post-relaunch state – to run until at least its fifteenth series.
The MOU comes on the back of a content deal that BBC Worldwide also signed with SMG Pictures yesterday evening. The deal will see the entire catalogue of Doctor Who including spin-offs, Torchwood and Class available on popular TV channels and on-demand platforms all over China.
The deal not only covers Showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat’s Series 1- 10, but also incoming Showrunner Chris Chibnall’s yet-to-film Series 11, as well as a first look for Series 12-15. [Emphasis added.]
The Wachowski sisters’ remarkable Netflix series, Sense8, is now in its second season. It is an elaborate envisioning of another race of humanoids, homo sensorium, who communicate telepathically and live among us.
These come in “clusters” that are scattered around the world, and from its opening credits, Sense8 is careful to present the viewer with the enormously diverse quilt that is humanity itself. The opening credits roll over a stunning montage of multicolored crowds, couples, celebrations, and rituals from around the globe (yes, the show has a break-the-piggybank travel budget).
The cluster of eight we follow is diversity itself â€” a Kenyan, a German, an Indian, an Icelander, people of color, a Brazilian gay man, and a Bay Area transgender woman. In nearly every episode, a cluster character denounces humanity’s unfortunate propensity to fear and oppress those we see as different, as the “Other.”
Not a single genderqueer person anywhere. Not in this cluster. Not in the others. Not in any character they interact with. Even the crazy underground computer hacker named Bug is, like everyone else, quite gender-normative.
Apparently gender difference is the Other that must not speak its name. And this is from a team where not one but both siblings have bravely and publicly transitioned to be trans women. Et tu, Lana and Lilly?
Moreover, all of this occurs in science fiction, a genre invented to let creative imaginations run wild with possibility. Apparently veering from the gender binary is not among the possible. And in this, Sense8 is hardly alone….
…It is sadly to be expected that cisgender people cannot imagine us. But it is beyond sad that even when we are behind the camera and behind the typewriter, as with Sense8, we cannot imagine us either….
Original ‘Power Rangers’ star Jason David Frank has had a bit of a close shave, as a lone gunman headed to Phoenix Comic Con with the intention of killing him.
A heavily-armed man — identified as 31-year-old Matthew Sterling — arrived at the convention on Thursday claiming to be ‘The Punisher’ with a plan to kill numerous ‘bad’ cops as well as the original Green Ranger, who was appearing at the comic con…
But why did he want to kill the Green Ranger?
It’s unclear why Sterling took umbrage against Jason David Frank, despite his claims that he previously stabbed the Green Ranger in a separate altercation.
Those claims seem to be entirely fabricated.
“I don’t know this individual, but I will pray for him,” said Frank in an interview with Fox News, adding that the alleged stabbing never took place. “I think if you mention ‘stabbed’, and I haven’t been stabbed, the story speaks for itself.”
According to Maricopa County Deputy Attorney Ed Leiter, the man was also planning to attack a number of other individuals, whose identities have not been released.
“He exhibited a dramatic threat to the community beyond police officers, beyond Jason David Frank,” he explained. “A number of other people were referenced as possible targets or people he wanted to kill….
(5) DENOUEMENT. Yesterday, after N.K. Jemisin publicly posted that she had asked Felicity Harley not to post the results of Harley’s interview with her, host site The Writing Cooperative took down the post and apologized.
(6) TO TWEET OR NOT TO TWEET. Lots of fans are tweeting about things they’re hearing on convention panels this weekend. But here’s a bit of social media etiquette I haven’t seen before —
Kinder Eggs are coming to the U.S. — legally. The hollow chocolate egg with the toy surprise inside has not been allowed in the states due to a 1930s law banning candy with non-food objects inside, though fans of the European treat have previously smuggled them in.
(9) TRIVIAL TRIVIA
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY
May 27, 1988 — Killer Klowns From Outer Space opens in theaters.
The Gollancz Festival is back! Join us on the 4th November 2017 for a day long celebration of genre authors, fiction and fans. Book your tickets now.
This year we are thrilled to continue our partnership with Foyles for a day of readers’ events at Foyles Charing Cross Road. Meet your favourite authors, enjoy a day of panel events, interviews, Q&As and signings. To find out more about our readers’ events and book your tickets click here.
We will also be running our very popular Writers’ Festival with panel events, speed dating style pitching, advice from authors and editors at the Phoenix Artists’ Club. To find out more about our Writers’ Festival and book tickets click here.
Authors in attendance include: Ben Aaronovitch, Mark Alder, James Barclay, Stephen Baxter, AK Benedict, Pat Cadigan, Ed Cox, Jaine Fenn, Joanne Harris, Joe Hill, Antonia Honeywell, Simon Ings, Tom Lloyd, Suzanne McLeod, Elizabeth May, Paul McAuley, Ed McDonald, Simon Morden, Richard Morgan, Sam Peters, Christopher Priest, Alastair Reynolds, Justina Robson, Adam Roberts, Al Robertson, Gavin Smith, Tricia Sullivan, Tom Toner, Jon Wallace, Catriona Ward and Chris Wooding.
(13) STILL NEWS TO SOMEONE! Andrew Porter announces you can now find his old fanzine, SF Weekly, online at Fanac.org.
Well, most of them. The issues #185 to #228, from 1967 to 1968, anyway.
All the news that fit, back in the day…
Not to be confused with any other SF WEEKLY, including ones published decades later. Nor with anything to do with San Francisco, or Suomi Finland.
Scanned in by a bunch of people, especially Mark Olson!
Many English departments are now beginning to offer courses on graphic novels, which integrate text and visual imagery. Graphic novels are increasingly studied alongside traditional literature, in some cases supplanting more standard text-based curricula.
For example, one course at UNC Chapel Hill titled “The Visual and Graphic Narrative”can be taken to satisfy the literary appreciation part of a student’s general education requirements. (Students are only required to take one literary appreciation class.) The university also offers a course titled “Comics as Literature”as a first-year seminar.
Given these courses’ rising popularity among students, administrators and instructors may view them in terms of their ability to renew student interest in the humanities. But while graphic novels do have artistic merit, and are of aesthetic interest, the rise of undergraduate courses on graphic novels is problematic.
One reason is that the majority of graphic novels tend to advance political agendas. The graphic novels found on course syllabi and on reading lists often deal with controversial political issues such as social justice, immigration, gay rights, etc. This is part of a larger trend in the humanities, where focus often is on oppression and identity politics.
For example, Ursinus College assigns the widely acclaimed and controversialFun Home by Allison Bechdel in undergraduate literature courses. Bechdel’s graphic novel is written as memoir, and discusses her experiences growing up in a dysfunctional family. The reader follows Bechdel as she learns about her father’s homosexuality and her lesbianism.
Another graphic novel, Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick, also is a popular choice on university syllabi and has been described as an “intersectionally feminist text.”The book is about “a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords….
(16) LOGAN. From last March, the stars of Logan appeared on the BUILD series.
Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart come to BUILD to dish on the anticipated film, “Logan.” The film tells the tale of a weary Logan taking care of an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. Although Logan attempts to remain hidden from the world, a young mutant soon changes what he had planned. Join us when they take the stage
[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Nicholas Whyte, Andrew Porter, JJ, Camestros Felapton, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Charon D.]
The Gollancz Online Festival is a weekend of digital activities on social media platforms with the hashtag #GollanczFest that begins Monday, September 12.
Meet your favourite authors. Test your knowledge. Discover new books. Join us as we celebrate all things genre with a week of interactive fun!
The events are free. The following schedule runs on BST time.
Monday 12th September
All Day- Writers’ Tips
Join us here on the Gollancz Blog for some incredible writing advice from your favourite authors, including Joanne Harris, Mike Carey, Miles Cameron and many more!
6.30 pm- Reddit AMA with the Gollancz Editorial Team
Have you got a burning question for our Editorial Team? We just might have an answer. Make sure you visit us on Reddit at 6.30pm for a live AMA with Marcus Gipps, Rachel Winterbottom and Craig Leyenaar.
Tuesday 13th September
All day- #AuthorLife
Ever wonder what authors get up to all day? Spend the day with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as our authors share their days in a series of tweets, photos and posts! Follow the #AuthorLife hashtag.
3 pm- Which Brandon Sanderson Character are you?
Ever felt like you might be Mistborn? Wondered if a strange star might summon forth your Epic powers? Or would you be more at home with a Shardblade in your hand? Take our quiz and find out which of Brandon Sanderson’s weighty tomes you truly belong in.
7.30 pm- Special #GollanczFest edition of #FeminismInYA
We are thrilled to be working with Mariam Khan (@helloiammariam) to take part in #FeminismInYA with a focus on Feminism in Fantasy. Join Mariam, Joanne Harris and Elspeth Cooper at 7.30pm on Twitter. Follow the #FeminismInYA hashtag.
Wednesday 14th September
11 am- Which Joe Hill book should you be reading?
Not sure where to start with the incredible works of Joe Hill? Don’t worry, once you’ve taken our quiz you’ll know exactly which Joe Hill book you should be reading right now.
7.30 pm- Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) takes over the Gollancz Twitter
The brilliant Sam Sykes will be taking over the Gollancz Twitter. Follow @Gollancz to take part in this interactive and probably owl-filled event.
Thursday 15th September
All Day- Gollancz Blog Urban Fantasy Takeover
Make sure you visit the Gollancz Blog for a series of interviews with three of the biggest names in Urban Fantasy: Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh and Suzanne McLeod.
11 am- Connecting Wall Quiz
Test your skills with our Gollancz themed Connecting Wall Quiz.
Friday 16th September
11 am- Have you read them all?
Take our SF Masterworks Quiz and test your knowledge of classic SF.
3.30 pm Google Hangout
Don’t miss our live Google Hangout with Elizabeth Bear, Bradley Beaulieu, Scott Lynch, Ezekiel Boone and Mark Stay. Our authors will be answering your questions – come and say hi!
There will be a separate party for readers and authors on September 17, including a brief talk from three major fantasy authors. Ticket price for the Gollancz Festival party will be £15 and will include two drinks and snacks – book here.
There also will be a Gollancz Festival for Writers on September 17, two three-hour sessions, costing £25 per session. To receive updates, register your interest at GollanczFest.co.uk.
Foyles has posted the schedules for the panel events, Festival for Writers, and party.
Gollancz Festival – Morning
Saturday 17th September 2016 10am – 1pm
Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road
Come and join esteemed science fiction and fantasy publisher Gollancz and a host of their authors for a morning of discussion and debate in the Foyles auditorium. The session will run from 10am until 1pm with a 20 minute interval, and will be followed by a signing by all authors. Ticket price includes a free Gollancz goody bag. The line-up includes:
Panel 1. Why So Early?
James Barclay, Tom Toner and Catriona Ward will be discussing community engagement, excitement and involvement within the scifi and fantasy community and genre.
Panel 2. More Than a Story
Stephen Baxter, Pat Cadigan and Den Patrick will be discussing the effects of fiction and whether it can really change the world.
Panel 3. Awards, huh? What are they good for?
A discussion of awards, their role and impact from Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Paul McAuley and Justina Robson.
Panel 4. #amwriting
How important is your online presence? With Joe Abercrombie, Antonia Honeywell and Gavin Smith.
Gollancz Festival – Afternoon
Saturday 17th September 2016 3pm – 6pm
Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road
Come and join esteemed science fiction and fantasy publisher Gollancz and a host of their authors for an afternoon of discussion and debate in the Foyles auditorium. The session will run from 3pm until 6pm with a 20 minute interval, and will be followed by a signing by all authors. Ticket price includes a free Gollancz goody bag. The line-up includes:
Panel 1. Utopia vs Conflict:
Ezekiel Boone,Al Robertson and Jon Wallace discussing why we are in love with the end of the world.
Panel 2. The Comfort Zone: Leave or Remain?
Alex Lamb, Suzanne McLeod and Christopher Priest will be discussing how important originality is and do readers even want it.
Panel 3. Don’t Make Me Laugh
Stephen Deas, Tom Lloyd and Simon Morden discuss the role and difficulties of humour in fiction.
Panel 4. Does Anyone Need a Wee?
Ben Aaronovitch, Ed Cox, Joanne Harris and Scott Lynch will be discussing the logistics in fantasy.
Sunday 18th September 2016 10am – 1pm
Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road
Come and join esteemed science fiction and fantasy publisher Gollancz for a morning of insightful and engaging discussions between authors. This ticket grants all holders access to four morning discussions in the Foyles auditorium including:
Panel 1. Joe Abercrombie, Tom Lloyd and Scott Lynch in conversation
Panel 2. Ben Aaronovitch in conversation with Elizabeth Bear
Panel 3. Stephen Baxter in conversation with Alastair Reynolds
Panel 4. Joanne Harris in conversation with Ed Cox
The Writer’s Day – Morning
Saturday 17th September 2016 10am – 1pm
The Phoenix Artist Club, 1 Phoenix St, London WC2H 8BU
Join science fiction and fantasy publisher Gollancz, in the cosy Phoenix Artist Club (just across the road from Foyles, Charing Cross Road) for a morning of workshops and talks focused on the mechanics and skills needed by the modern writer.
The session includes a fascinating insight into the life of the agent from top literary agent, Juliet Mushens, a speed-workshopping session where small groups of attendees will benefit from a series of 15 minute sessions with different authors to discuss the business of being a writer; and a panel discussion on expanded universes, forgotten realms and future histories. The session will run from 10:00 until 1pm, and will be followed by a signing. Space is very limited!
Authors in attendance include Ben Aaronovitch, Ezekiel Boone, Edward Cox, Stephen Deas, Joanne Harris, Alex Lamb, Tom Lloyd, Suzanne McLeod, Simon Morden, Christopher Priest, Al Robertson and Jon Wallace.
The Writer’s Day – Afternoon
Saturday 17th September 2016 3pm – 6pm,
The Phoenix Artist Club, 1 Phoenix St, London WC2H 8BU
Join science fiction and fantasy publisher Gollancz, in the cosy Phoenix Artist Club (just across the road from Foyles, Charing Cross Road) for a morning of workshops and talks focused on the mechanics and skills needed by the modern writer.
The session includes a fascinating insight into the editorial process from four Gollancz editors, a speed-workshopping session where small groups of attendees will benefit from a series of 15 minute sessions with different authors to discuss the business of being a writer; and a panel discussion on worldbuilding. The session will run from 3pm until 6pm, and will be followed by a signing. Space is very limited!
Authors in attendance include: Joe Abercrombie, James Barclay, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Pat Cadigan, Antonia Honeywell, Scott Lynch, Paul McAuley, Den Patrick, Justina Robson, Gavin Smith, Tom Toner and Catriona Ward.
Gollancz Festival Party
Saturday 17th September 2016 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road
Ten years ago four of the biggest names in modern fantasy were published. Science fiction and fantasy publisher, Gollancz, celebrates this landmark achievement with special editions of these four novels: The Blade Itself, Stormcaller, The Final Empire and The Lies of Locke Lamora. Now, join them in celebrating at the 10th Anniversary Book Launch where Gillian Redfearn will be in conversation with Joe Abercrombie, Tom Lloyd and Scott Lynch.
Following the conversation, mingle with Gollancz authors and editors attending the festival, ask questions and get your book signed. The ticket price includes a glass of wine or a soft drink, and nibbles.
Science fiction artist Richard Powers is among the Society of Illustrators’ newest Hall of Fame inductees, along with Beatrix Potter, Peter de Seve, Marshall Arisman, Guy Billout, Rolf Armstrong, and William Glackens. Since 1958, the Society of Illustrators has elected to its Hall of Fame artists recognized for their “distinguished achievement in the art of illustration.”
Richard Powers was a hugely influential science fiction illustrator throughout the 1950s and ’60s…
Powers was dedicated to a fine art career alongside of his commercial work—the influences of modern art were clear throughout his illustration. While trends switched towards more literal and rendered illustration in the ’80s to ’90s, Powers is still beloved today. This year’s World Fantasy Convention mounted a special exhibit of nearly 90 Powers paintings and collages.
We talk a lot of about writers and stories on Tor.com but we always strive to give equal attention to our visual presentation. We are indebted to the artists who work tirelessly to make us, and our stories, look good and connect to readers. With that in mind, I’m sure you can appreciate how delighted and honored I am that 12 illustrations for Tor.com Publishing have been selected for this year’s Society of Illustrators annual exhibition.
(4) Simon Spanton, associate publisher at Gollancz, left Orion on November 20. Orion said Spanton was leaving the publisher after 19 years “by mutual agreement.”
Spanton joined Orion in 1996, having started out as a bookseller in 1986 and after a spell at Macmillan UK.
He first worked on Orion’s Millennium imprint in a wide role encompassing fiction, sports books, military history and children’s fiction before it was bought by Cassell in 1999, after which he became co-editorial director for Gollancz with Jo Fletcher. Spanton was promoted to the position of associate publisher at the sci-fi and fantasy imprint in May 2013, tasked with responsibility for “innovative acquisitions and Gollancz’s social media and community engagement, as well as continuing to publish his award-winning list to its full potential”.
There does seem to be a theme running through a lot of the fanmail I get, along these lines: people who’d stopped reading fantasy for whatever reason have been reading my work and then feeling pulled back into the genre. And that’s awesome. I love that my audience contains so many “non-traditional” fantasy fans. But this is the kind of thing that shouldn’t be happening just because of my fiction. There’s plenty of fantasy out there with “no wizards or orcs or rangers or elves”… and while I think there isn’t nearly enough fantasy out there starring middle-aged mothers of color (or biracial polyamorous proto-goddesses, or blind black women, or Asian male ex-gods with daddy issues, or gay black male assassins, or shy black female healers, or…), there’s some other stories like that out there, too. So what’s happening here, that so many ex-fantasy readers — readers who really just need one non-formulaic book to bring them back into the fold — aren’t aware that there’s stuff here they might enjoy?
Welcome to the last third of NaNoWriMo, where we all despair! Let me throw out some ideas that might help you get going again.
Finished? Ha! Go back a make a searchable mark (I use ///) everyplace where you told us about something instead of showing us, instead of pulling us into the situation.
Then go back to the start and search those out. Rewrite them. Use lots of dialog. Don’t be stiff and terse. Have some fun. Have your hero call something pink. Have your heroine disagree. “Don’t be silly! It’s obviously a soft dusty salmon.” “It’s a fish?” Or flip the genders on it. He’s an artist, he sees these colors. Make the reader laugh. Or cry. Or get mad.
Then go to the next mark and rewrite that bit. Do them all.
Carlo Morris Cerutti was in court Monday, accused of attacking his neighbor for putting trash in his trash can on Saturday. Court documents Cerutti, 50, is charged with Assault after swinging a Klingon sword at his neighbor.
Documents said Cerutti’s wife, Joyce, had accused their neighbor of putting trash in their trash can. The neighbor told police he had gotten into argument with the wife about the trash.
“Our next door neighbor was evicted and he was throwing his stuff in our garbage can so I took it put it in a bag, took it to him and said Jr. will you please not put your stuff in our garbage can,” said Joyce.
Joyce said the incident only escalated from there.
“I turned around and he chucked the bag at me and hit me in the back and then he started throwing garbage all over my yard,” said Joyce.
The neighbor said after the argument, Cerutti came rushing out of his house with a weapon that had multiple blades and started swinging. Court documents said the neighbor put his hands up and blocked the blade from striking him. The neighbor said he was able to pull the weapon away from Cerrutti and in the process, he fell backwards off the porch. The neighbor then called 911. Documents said when police arrived on scene Cerrutti was taken into custody for Assault and was later booked into the Spokane County Jail.
Joyce said that her husband never attacked the neighbor with a sword. She said her husband did grab the Klingon sword off the wall and said he did swing it at the neighbor. She said he only did this after he barged into their home.
(8) Neal Stephenson will be at George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe to discuss Seveneves next Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Although definitions of science fiction are tricky, it surely specializes in “What if?” – placing humans (or aliens) in an imagined scenario that has an element of science or technology in its set-up and seeing how they react. This is why Jules Verne got it so wrong about H. G. Wells when comparing their fictional voyages to the Moon. Verne remarked “It occurs to me that his stories do not repose on a very scientific basis… I make use of physics.” Yet in reality, Wells did the better job. He took an admittedly fictional means of travel, but then followed it through logically in its impact on humans. Verne took an existing technology – the cannon – and used it in a totally illogical fashion, firing his astronauts into space with a g force that would have left them as soup.
It is far more important in science fiction for the follow-through of the “what if” to be realistic and logical than it is for the setup to make a clear prediction of scientific possibility.
Gross is perhaps best remembered at National Lampoon for the 1973 “Death” issue, whose cover featured the words “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog” emblazoned over an image of a dog with a gun to its head. “This very talented comedian named Ed Bluestone came to the office in 1972 with the line,” Beard told Splitsider in 2012. “The next day Michael found a dog who would turn its eyes away from a pistol with a little prodding. I saw this picture and simply couldn’t believe it. And it was like with a wave of his left hand. Magic.”
“Jessica Jones,” the second of Netflix’s original series based on Marvel comic books (after “Daredevil”), is reluctantly superheroic. Created by Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter of five “Twilight” movies as well as a writer on TV shows including “Dexter,” and starring the acerbic Krysten Ritter of “Don’t Trust the B____ in Apartment 23,” it’s a clever 21st-century take on film noir, featuring a heroine who hides her superstrength because it’s at the root of her extreme emotional vulnerability and fear. There’s a tricky balancing act going on — crossing a moody detective show with both a comic action thriller and a woman-in-peril psychological drama — but Ms. Rosenberg proves to be mostly up to the task.
(14) Hunger Games‘ heroine Katniss Everdeen (played by comedian Whitney Avalon) and Harry Potter‘s Hermione Granger (played by actress Molly C. Quinn) are facing off in an epic edition of Princess Rap Battles.
[Thanks to Brian Z., John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JJ .]
(1) Here is Hampus Eckerman, “A happy Filer on way to see The Martian.”
(2) But did he know that The Martian is a comedy? Nobody else knew it either until the people who run a set of Hollywood awards started playing games —
The Martian is one of my favorite films of 2015. It was intellectually stimulating, inspiring, thrilling, and even funny here and there, but was it a comedy? I don’t think so, but that’s the opinion of Hollywood Foreign Press: the organization behind the Golden Globes award. Apparently, the film is being shuffled over into comedy so it’ll have a chance to snatch a few awards–any awards–from the grasps of lighter fare: something that it won’t be able to do in the drama category, where there’s stiffer competition.
NASA is not wasting any time in developing new spacesuits to be used in a variety of locations for the Journey To Mars. Two new suits, PXS and Z2, were introduced in October and they have now reached the stage of working advanced prototypes.
The PXS, or prototype exploration spacesuit, was developed to improve performance on extra-vehicular activities (EVAs), spacewalks, in low-earth orbit or outer space. The suit aims to minimize the amount of equipment necessary for long duration EVAs. The PXS has a versatile approach to fittings. Many features are 3D printed, so the suit can be personalized for any crew member and for different types of EVAs.
(4) Remember Westworld, “Where nothing can possibly go wrong…”? If you’re going to the screening of Westworld at the Ace Hotel in LA on November 15, please note that the correct start time is 1:00 PM, not 2:00 PM as displayed in the original show banner.
On Sunday, 18th of October, prolific SFF publisher Gollancz held the Gollancz Festival for Writers, as a sort of addendum to the already sold-out Gollancz Festival 2015. It had a smaller line-up of authors compared to the main festival itself, and focused solely on writing (obviously). I was gutted that the main festival sold out so it was a pleasant surprise when this was announced, and I snapped up tickets immediately.
The main line-up consisted of Ben Aaronovitch, Joe Abercrombie, Joanne Harris and Joe Hill. Out of these four, I’d only read Abercrombie, and I’ve also seen him at events twice before (including Fantasy-Faction’s own Grim Gathering). Joe is one of my favourite writers and also a joy to see speak, so I was already thrilled to be going, but also seeing three other authors I’ve not seen before was a massive bonus.
Efforts to establish a global ban on offensive autonomous weapons — a.k.a. “killer robots” — have intensified in recent weeks. This uptick in lobbying comes on the heels of an open letter calling for such a ban from a group of artificial intelligence and robotics researchers, including well-known luminaries such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Noam Chomsky.
Unfortunately, these efforts have stigmatized much-needed research on autonomous robots that will be central to increasing economic productivity and quality of life over the next half century — but only if the technology is able to be developed. Rather than allowing those predicting a techno-dystopia to dominate the debate, policymakers should vocally champion the benefits of autonomous robots — including in the military — and embrace policies designed to accelerate their development and deployment.
“Ban the Killer Robots!” sounds like a demonstration-slogan shout in a scene on Futurama or something from an Ed Wood movie, but this article is about a real organization with real concerns.
From tele-operated drones to rudimentary A.I. in battlefield machines, they’re worried about the further mechanization of war against enemies of a lower technological level which would still be using human soldiers.
Nobody uses the word “cylon” but it sure as hell was the first thing that came to my mind.
And — I am not making this up — according to Twitter, one of the followers of “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots” tweets is Edward James Olmos.
I keep remembering this quotation by Allen Ginsberg, that “We live in science fiction.” That’s always resonated with me as prophetic, and it becomes more and more true every year.
‘Doctor Who’ has attracted some impressive guest stars over the years including Brian Blessed, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, and more recently Maisie Williams, but it seems like the Beeb has its sights set on an even higher stratosphere of names for the future.
Peter Capaldi, the actor currently in the lead role, says his BBC bosses asked him to tap up Tom Hanks to appear on the hit sci-fi show.
Not that he’d actually have to parallel any role he’s done in movies, but Hanks has experience with some of the show’s familiar tropes – he’s been through a time paradox in Radio Flyer, had his own Pompeii moment in Joe Versus the Volcano, and had an extended lifespan in The Green Mile.
(9) John King Tarpinian has been catching up on Scream Queens: [Spoiler Warning]
I watched the other night’s episode this afternoon, they had a big belly laugh scene. Jamie Leigh Curtis is taking a shower, the opening of which is shot-for-shot the same as her mother did for Hitchcock. Except that Jamie beats down the bad guy saying, “I’ve seen the movie like fifty times.”
You can’t make an omelette, they say, without breaking a few eggs. Well, you also can’t blow up a Death Star without crashing a few X-wings. (That was the lesson of Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, right?) But while that sucks if you’re Porkins or one of his pilot brethren, the collision of X-wings and Death Stars makes for some pretty awesome destruction.
(11) Today In History
November 14, 1964:Santa Claus Versus The Martians is released – generally regarded as one of the worst films ever made…
Man, this has been a shitty year in many ways, and one full of life lessons that apparently the universe felt were overdue. Some of those I’m still grappling with. I am so freaking behind on this book it’s not even funny, but thank god for both the wonderful time spent writing in California this summer and the kick in the ass that NaNoWriMo has administered. I’m feeling hopeful about that again and making steady progress.
At the same time among the bumps there’s been plenty of bright spots. Among them my first novel, my first appearance in a Year’s Best collection (edited by Joe Hill, no less), and my first acceptance to longtime goal Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (I have been submitting there for over a decade now). I’ve had nineteen original publications come out since my last birthday, and twelve are currently forthcoming, including a team-up with Mike Resnick. Rachel Swirsky and I are working on some projects together, which is terrific fun. I have a good half dozen stories already spoken for. My collaboration with Bud Sparhawk finally got accepted so he can stop nagging me about why it hasn’t sold yet.
As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.
(14) You can buy Forrest J Ackerman Presents Music For Robots, created by Frank Coe, on iTunes for $9.99.
The album was released in 2005. It seems that some (all?) of it has already been uploaded to YouTube.
[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus, Hampus Eckerman, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
Writers! Following on from the success of the Gollancz Festival 2015, which included the Festival of New Writers, we are excited to announce that we will temporarily be opening for direct submissions again in January 2016.