ISFiC, corporate parent of Windycon, has announced the outcome of this year’s ISFiC Writers Contest. Although this year’s Windycon was postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19, ISFiC elected to hold the annual contest.
After deliberation, the judges chose not to recognize a winner for the ISFiC Writer’s Contest in 2020. They did cite S. Y. Kaplan as an honorable mention for her story “The Adventures of Nel.” Kaplan will receive a one-ounce silver coin in recognition of her achievement.
This year’s contest was administered by Tracy Townsend, author of The Nine, and judged by Barbara Barnett (Alchemy of Glass), Neal Litherland (New Avalon), and Megan Mackie (Death and the Crone).
The ISFiC Writers Contest was founded in 1986 to run in conjunction with Windycon to support new authors. The first winner, Richard Chwedyk, went on to win the Nebula Award. First prize for the contest is $300, a membership in Windycon, a hotel room for the convention, and publication in the Windycon program book. The contest is open to any resident of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, or Wisconsin or members of the previous or current Windycon.
Complete rules for the contest and names of past winners can be found here.
This month’s entry is from Doris Pitkin Buck, a Science Fiction Writers of America founder. Buck was mainly associated with The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which for various stupid reason was not a magazine I followed closely back in the day. Accordingly, I was not familiar with her work when I encountered this example of it way, way back in 2019. I see I carefully side-stepped my issues with poetry in my review. Let’s see what my Young People made of her poem.
(2) FREE MARS? In “Elon Musk’s Martian Way (Empire Not Included)” on National Review Online, Texas Tech economist Alexander William Salter says a curious clause in Musk’s Starlink satellite contracts doesn’t mean Musk quietly wants to conquer Mars.
…But a much more exotic charge against Starlink, and Elon Musk himself, has recently come to light. A curious clause in Starlink’s terms and conditions suggests SpaceX’s future plans for a Martian settlement will result in SpaceX becoming a law unto itself. As the service agreement reads:
“For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.”
Nefarious! Or is it? We need some context.
Clearly, the clause doesn’t pose any immediate legal concerns. This is a long-term issue. One of Musk’s ambitions is to create a settlement on Mars. In Musk’s vision, much of the infrastructure for the settlement, including Internet via Starlink, will be supplied by SpaceX itself. That includes governance: the rules dictating how the intrepid Martian explorers will live together. In fact, SpaceX’s legal team is currently working on a Martian constitution.
This science-fiction-esque plan predictably led observers to decry the prospect of corporate domination of space. “Elon Musk plans to get to Mars first, and that means he can quickly establish a fiefdom where he makes his own rules by a first-come, first-serve system,” complains Caroline Delbert at Popular Mechanics. Legal experts weighed in soon after, claiming that this language violates international law. The smart set seems more than happy to cast Musk in the role of Hugo Drax, the tech-savvy Bond villain who sought space power to control humanity….
(3) ISFIC WRITERS CONTEST EXTENSION. Steven H Silver brings word that the ISFiC Writers Contest for unpublished writers of science fiction and fantasy has extended its deadline for submissions to November 27. Guidelines for entries are at the link.
…Originally titled Anti-Life, the film’s premise is that a devastating plague has wiped out much of Earth’s population, and the survivors are being evacuated via an interstellar ark to “New Earth.” Willis plays Clay Young, described as a hardened mechanic who is part of the crew selected to stay awake and maintain the ark for the six-month journey. But then he discovers a shape-shifting alien (or “a malevolent cosmic terror,” per the early press materials) has also stowed away on the ark, and it seems to be intent on killing everyone on board…
(5) FIRST FANDOM SALUTE TO MADLE. First Fandom Annual 2020 has just been published with the theme “Celebrating Robert A. Madle.”
This is a tribute to legendary fan Bob Madle, who just recently celebrated his one hundredth birthday. In a long article featuring rare photographs and illustrations, Bob recounts his involvement in science fiction fandom over the course of ten decades. He also reflects on the early days of Amazing Stories, the origins of FAPA, and the genesis of First Fandom.
Among the highlights: appreciations of Bob by some of his long-time friends, including a poem from 1968 by Robert Bloch; a gallery of First Fandom photos and a Robert A. Madle bibliography prepared by Christopher M. O’Brien.
Edited by John L. Coker III and Jon D. Swartz. 60 pages, limited edition (26 copies); Laser printed on good quality paper; Photographs and interior illustrations; Gloss covers, 8½ x 11, saddle-stitched.
This will soon be out-of-print, so order your copy today by sending a check or money order for $30 payable to John L. Coker III to 4813 Lighthouse Road, Orlando, FL 32808.
The convention circuit has been profoundly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as social distancing guidelines and fluctuating positivity numbers have thrown out the possibility of large scale events. As a result, many high-profile events have been forced to move into a digital format, or delay their dates well into next year. The Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, is the latest to do so, announcing on Tuesday that its next convention will be held from December 10th through December 12th of 2021. This delays the 2021 convention pretty significantly, as it was originally set to occur March 26-28, 2021.
I met Kay McCauley at the World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto back in 2003. I was in desperate need of a new literary agent, and George offered to introduce me to his agent. Kay was there to support George who was the GoH, but wasn’t much into the convention scene so I took a taxi and met her for lunch at her hotel.
The woman I met was a bit taller than me with elegantly coifed brunette hair, elegant gold jewelry, a chic pantsuit and a perfect manicure. Kay alternated between being charming, brusque, funny, judgmental, demanding. She pushed me — what are your goals? Why do you do this? What do you want to write? I could tell she was sizing me up in every way possible. I guess I managed to do something right because she became my agent a few months later.
She worked tirelessly for me for nearly twenty years. But this wasn’t just a professional relationship. Kay became my dear friend and confidant and it was a two way street. I could call her when I was sad or upset and she knew she could lean on me whenever life dealt her a blow. We always kept each other’s confidences. We had each other’s backs….
(8) LAFARGE OBIT. Tom LaFarge (1947-2020) died on October 22. He is survived by Wendy Walker and his son Paul La Farge. Tom had recently completed The Enchantments, a series of three novels published 2015-18. Author Henry Wessells wrote an essay on his writings for NYRSF, “Ticket to Bargeton”.
(9) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
1975 – Forty-five years ago, Poul Anderson’s A Midsummer Tempest would win the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and be nominated for the Locus, Nebula and World Fantasy awards as well. Set in a world where Shakespeare was the Great Historian, all the events depicted within his plays were historical fact. Lester Del Rey in his August 1974 If review said that it is “a fantasy I can recommend with pleasure.” Tom Lewis is the cover artist. It is available in print and digital editions. (CE)
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born November 12, 1877 – John R. Neill. Starting with the second Oz book, illustrated the rest of Baum’s, all of Thompson’s, three of his own. Before, worked on newspapers; around the time of Baum’s death, became a free lance, drawing for e.g. Boy’s Life, Ladies’ Home Journal, Vanity Fair, Saturday Evening Post, Argosy. Here is The Lost Princess of Oz. Here is The Magic of Oz. Here is Scraps, the Patchwork Girl. Here is an interior from the Dec 19 Everybody’s. Here is “Beyond the Dark Nebula” from the 4 Apr 31 Argosy. A granddaughter maintains a Website. (Died 1943) [JH]
Born November 12, 1929 — Michael Ende. German author best known for The Neverending Story which is far better than the film which only covers part of the novel. Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves is a charming if strange novel worth your time. The rest of his children’s literature has been translated from German into English mostly by small specialist presses down the years. Unlike The Neverending Story and Momo which I’ve encountered, I’ve not read any of these. (Died 1995.) (CE)
Born November 12, 1930 – Irma Chilton. Ten novels, a few shorter stories. Wrote in English and Welsh. Tir na n-Og Award. Crown for prose at 1989 Nat’l Eisteddfod. Welsh Arts Council’s Irma Chilton Bursary prize named for her. (Died 1990) [JH]
Born November 12, 1943 — Wallace Shawn, 77. Probably best remembered as the ferengi Grand Nagus Zek on Deep Space Nine, a role he only played seven times. He was also Vizzini in the beloved Princess Bride, and he played Dr. Elliott Coleye in the My Favorite Martian film.(CE)
Born November 12, 1943 — Julie Ege. A Bond Girl On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as Helen, the Scandinavian girl. She also appeared in Hammer‘s Creatures the World Forgot and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. And in The Mutations which got released under the alternative title of The Freakmaker. She had a role in De Dwaze Lotgevallen Von Sherlock Jones which got dubbed into English as The Crazy Adventures of Sherlock Jones. (Died 2008.) (CE)
Born November 12, 1943 — Valerie Leon, 77. She appeared in two Bond films, Never Say Never Again and The Spy Who Loved Me, and in the horror flick Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb as Margaret Fuchs / Queen Tera. She was also Tanya in Revenge of the Pink Panther, and had one-offs in The Avengers, Space:1999 and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). (CE)
Born November 12, 1945 – Michael Bishop, 75. A dozen novels, a hundred thirty shorter stories, fifty poems; a dozen “Pitching Pennies Against the Starboard Bulkhead” essays, many others e.g. Introductions to Nebula Awards 23-25, “Forty Years with Asimov’s SF” (Jul-Aug 17 Asimov’s), letters in Locus, NY Rev SF, Riverside Quarterly, SF Commentary; a dozen collections, recently The Sacerdotal Owl. Reflections, Reverie for Mister Ray. M.A. thesis on Dylan Thomas. Two Nebulas, a Rhysling, a Shirley Jackson. Website here. [JH]
Born November 12, 1950 – Michael Capobianco, 70. Two novels and a shorter story; four more novels, two shorter stories, with William Barton. Two (non-consecutive) terms as SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) President; Service to SFWA Award. MC & WB interviewed in SF Eye. [JH]
Born November 12, 1952 — Max Grodenchik, 68. He’s best known for his role as Rom, a recurring character on Deep Space Nine. He has a long genre history with appearances in The Rocketeer, Here Come The Munsters, Rumpelstiltskin, Star Trek: Insurrection (scenes as a Trill were deleted alas), Tales from The Crypt, Sliders, Wienerland, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Bruce Almighty. (CE)
Born November 12, 1969 – Olivia Grey, 51. Three novels, four more under another name; half a dozen shorter stories. Muse of the Fair at 2011 Steampunk World’s Fair. Avalon Revisited won Steampunk Chronicle’s 2012 Reader’s Choice for Best Fiction. M.A. thesis on Le Morte d’Arthur. [JH]
Born November 12, 1976 — Richelle Mead, 44. Best known for her Georgina Kincaid series, the Vampire Academy franchize and its spin-off series Bloodlines, and the Dark Swan series. I’ve only read Succubus Blues by her but it’s a truly great read and I recommend it strongly. Spirit Bound won a Good Reads Award. (CE)
Born November 12, 1984 – Benjamin Martin, 36. Moved to Okinawa from Arizona. Two fantastic samurai novels (Samurai Awakening won a Crystal Kite Award), one shorter story. Karumi Tengo photography prize. [JH]
… This 314-page hardcover, published by Frederick Fell, with a cover by Frank McCarthy (1924–2002) collected twelve stories from 1948. It sold for $2.95, which in today’s currency is about $30.
What did the best of 1948 look like, you wonder? I am so happy you asked.
The table of contents is dominated by men. One of the two women included, Catherine Moore, was concealed behind her husband’s byline effectively enough that an editorial comment makes it clear the editors believed the story was by Kuttner alone. Women were active in the field at the time, but as documented by Lisa Yaszek, the editors crafting SF canon were not much interested in acknowledging women. Who else, one wonders, was overlooked?
Still, one has to review the Best SF anthology one has, not the Best SF anthology you might want or wish to have at a later time….
Relaxing from the universe’s withering stresses has always been an important part of the Star Trek universe. For some, that included imbibing alcoholic drinks. Be it solemnly inside their quarters to mark a moment, or collecting with peers in a bar like Ten-Forward, Trek has given us plenty of tantalizing visual cocktails in all of its various film and television iterations that audiences have long wished to taste at home.
Luckily, you can now give almost 40 different Star Trek inspired alcoholic drinks a spin at home with the release today of Hero Collector’s Star Trek Cocktails: A Stellar Compendium. Written by Glenn Dakin with drinks curated by mixologists by Simon Pellet and Adrian Calderbank, the coffee table book features photos and illustrations of the drinks, the characters, and the events that inspired their creation.
(15) SPACEX IS GO. SPACEX but it’s THUNDERBIRDS! by Psyclonyx.
…The scandal has roiled Bird of the Year 2020, an online popularity contest among the native birds of New Zealand, and made headlines in the remote Pacific Island nation, which takes its avian biodiversity seriously.
“It’s kind of disappointing that people decide to try their little tech tricks on Bird of the Year,” Laura Keown, the spokeswoman for the competition, told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday. “I’m not sure what kind of person could do it, but I like to assume that it’s somebody who just really loved native birds.”
No one has claimed responsibility, and no one is expected to.
The contest, which began on Nov. 2 and ends on Sunday, is conducted through an instant-runoff system that allows voters to rank their favorite birds — just as New Zealanders do when they elect humans to office. The organizer, a New Zealand-based advocacy group called Forest & Bird, has said that the contest is designed to raise awareness about the plight of the country’s more than 200 species of native birds, many of which are threatened or at risk of extinction.
(17) HONEST TRAILERS. In “Honest Trailers: The Evil Dead Movies,” the Screen Junkies say the three “Evil Dead” movies are “as light on substance as they are heavy on style” and contain “enough red-dye corn syrup to flood the Eastern Seaboard.”
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, James Davis Nicoll, David Doering, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
I am pleased to report that I’ve finished the first draft of a new Penric & Desdemona novella. The title will be “Masquerade in Lodi”. The final editing pass/es are still to go, and will take the usual unknown amount of time, but artist Ron Miller is beforehand with the cover art.
It’s a sort of pocket prequel, a small-scale tale taking place over one day, set during the period Penric spent working for the archdivine of Adria about a year before his big Cedonian adventure. So in terms of internal chronology, it falls between “Penric’s Fox” and “Penric’s Mission”. It is at the moment a mid-sized novella, about 33k words.
She also said the release of Baen’s mass market paperback edition of the first collection Penric’s Progress is set for February 2021 (with “Penric’s Demon”, “Penric and the Shaman” and “Penric’s Fox”.)
(2) ISFIC WRITERS CONTEST. [Item by Steven H Silver.] Although Windycon will not take place as an in-person convention this year (and a further announcement about that is coming this week), we will be running the ISFiC Writers Contest. Updated rules and timeline at located here.
The contest is open to anyone who was a member of Windycon 46, Windycon 47 in 2020, or Windycon 47 in 2021, as well as anyone resident in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, or Wisconsin.
Windycon 47 in 2021 Membership
Double Room for Windycon 47 in 2021
The winning story will be included in the Windycon 47 in 2021 program book and archived on the ISFiC Website.
Honorable Mentions (Up to 2)
American 1 oz. Silver Coin
(3) HEAR IGUANACON II. Audio recordings of 19 panels/events at Iguanacon II, the 1978 World Science Fiction Convention have been posted by Hal C. F. Astell on the AZ Fandomwebsite. Some of the panels available are —
Unexplored Archetypes and Mythologies (Octavia Butler, William Wu, Diana Paxson, Paul Edwin Zimmer) (1:14:39, 179 MB)
Life on a Neutron Star (Dr. Robert L. Forward) (1:28:18, 212 MB)
Art as an Outlet for Changemakers (Jeanne Gomoll, D. C. Fontana, Virginia Aalko, CJ Cherryh) (1:07:09, 161 MB)
Critic’s Circle (Bill Patterson, Avedon Carol, Mike Glyer, Gary Farber, Tom Perry, Ted White) (1:04:03, 154 MB)
Dialogue (Samuel R. Delany, Robert Silverberg) (44:39, 107 MB)
(4) A TRIO OF MENTORS. From the Odyssey Writing Workshops come three Odyssey Podcasts — #129 (Holly Black), #130 (E.C. Ambrose) & #131 (Scott H. Andrews)
Holly Black was a guest lecturer at the 2019 Odyssey Writing Workshop. In this excerpt from her question-and-answer session, Holly answers questions about writing young adult and middle grade fiction. One student points out that some people think fantastic creatures must be a certain way. How do you deal with those expectations? Holly says that when writing in a tradition, you’re adding to a conversation. Bring your own perspective into the conversation based on who you are….
E. C. Ambrose was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2020. In this excerpt from her lecture on generating plot from the heart of your story, Elaine talks about “How to Middle,” how to use plot turns to avoid getting mired in the muddy middle. Many writers get stuck after the opening section of their novel or story. Once the characters and situation have been introduced, we need to start playing with those elements, using plot turns and plotting tools. Plot turns change the trajectory of a plot or change the meaning of the story in the mind of the reader. Elaine explains different types of plot turns: the time bomb, the time trap, the crucible, the dilemma, the reversal, the revelation, the confrontation, and natural elements. A lot of flash fiction has a single plot turn, usually a reversal or a revelation. Plot turns can be presented in different ways: through dialogue, action, thought, or narration. The rate of plot turns is a significant factor in the pace of a story.
In Winter 2019, Scott H. Andrews, editor and publisher of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, taught the Odyssey Online course Emotional Truth: Making Character Emotions Real, Powerful, and Immediate to Readers, and he’ll be teaching an expanded version of the class this winter. In this excerpt from the first class, Scott shares an example from Angela Hunt, in which she describes how reading the sequel to Gone with the Wind had her in tears after a few pages. A character died, one that she had a strong attachment to from the first book. The sequel tapped into the well of emotion she already had. That’s what stories need to do; they need to make the reader feel something by leveraging readers’ past experiences. For writers, this task breaks into two parts. First, the writer needs to get the emotion into the story so the reader understands it. That means making the emotion clear and obvious enough that the reader picks it up. Many writers tend to be overly subtle or oblique about emotion, so it doesn’t come through. Second, the writer needs to make the reader feel the emotion. This involves using concrete images, using the physical rather than the cerebral, and conveying emotion through the prose. Common weaknesses include lack of specificity, ambiguity, and lack of honesty. Writers may flinch from what something really feels like.
…“Family,” which debuted Oct. 1, 1990, is an outlier among Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes; it’s the only episode with no scenes set on the Enterprise-D bridge or to not feature Data (Brent Spinter). It’s also special in that there is no sci-fi B-plot. It’s an off-premise character drama exploring the lives of Picard, Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) and Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) as the Enterprise undergoes repairs post-Borg attack while orbiting Earth. What may seem dull on paper is a compelling and, at times, heartstrings-tugging affair that adds much necessary depth and emotion to three of sci-fi’s most memorable characters.
It’s ironic that an episode loved by so many fans was met with disdain by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
“Gene really hated it,” recalls Moore of his initial story meeting with Roddenberry….
(6) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
Twenty-five years ago, the Mythopiec Award for Adult Fantasy went to Patricia A. McKillip for her Something Rich and Strange novel. It was written for Brian Froud’s Faerielands series under the creative impulse of Froud’s art. It was published by Bantam Spectra in 1994. It would be her second major award, her first being the World Fantasy Award for The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born October 3, 1862 – Alice Woodward. Prolific illustrator. For us, children’s books e.g. Adventures in Toyland, The Peter Pan Picture Book, Alice in Wonderland; also Bon Mots of the Eighteenth Century; Gilbert & Sullivan; science. Here are Peter Pan and Wendy flying. Here are Alice and the Caterpillar. Here is Robert Browning’s Pied Piper. Here is a fairy opening a book. (Died 1951) [JH]
Born October 3, 1874 — Charles Middleton. He is no doubt best remembered for his role as the Emperor Ming the Merciless in the three Flash Gordon serials made between 1936 and 1940 which is only genre production he appeared in save three chapters of a Forties Batman serial in which he played Ken Colton. (Died 1949) (CE)
Born October 3, 1924 – Harvey Kurtzman. Founding editor of Mad. Earned more money by getting Playboy to include Little Annie Fanny which, let’s face it, was exquisitely designed for its market – and satirized its readers. Taught (“Satirical Cartooning”) at the NY School of Visual Arts. European Acad. Comic Book Art Lifetime Achievement Award. Harvey Award named for him. (Died 1993) [JH]
Born October 3, 1931 – Ray Nelson, 89. Eight novels, a score of shorter stories (notably “Eight O’Clock in the Morning”); famed and distinctive as a fanartist, not least for inventing the propeller beanie: the direct connection from Ray to Time for Beany and Beany & Cecil on one tentacle, and numberless drawings in fanzines on another, is known. Rotsler Award. First Fandom Hall of Fame. [JH]
Born October 3, 1935 — Madlyn Rhue. She was in “Space Seed” as Lt. Marla McGivers, Khan Noonien Singh’s (Ricardo Montalbán) love interest. Other genre appearances included being on the original Fantasy Island as Lillie Langtry in “Legends”, nd Maria in the “Firefall” episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. (Died 2003.) (CE)
Born October 3, 1948 – Marilyn Singer, 72. Over a hundred children’s and young adults’ books; fantasies, realistic novels, nonfiction, poetry. Cybil Award for Mirror, Mirror (reversible verse). Here is Turtle in July. Here is Sky Words. Here is The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn’t (her first). Here is The Circus Lunicus. See her in Wikipedia. [JH]
Born October 3, 1964 — Clive Owen, 56. First role I saw him in was the title role of Stephen Crane in the Chancer series. Not genre, but fascinating none the less. He’s been King Arthur in the film of the same name where Keira Knightley was Guinevere. He also was in Sin City as Dwight McCarthy, and in The Pink Panther (though weirdly uncredited) as Nigel Boswell/Agent 006. I’ll also single him out for being Commander Arun Filitt in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. (CE)
Born October 3, 1969 – Colleen Houck, 51. After 17 years a sign-language interpreter she self-published Tiger’s Curse which became a NY Times Best Seller; five sequels. Reawakened and three sequels another best-seller. Recently The Lantern’s Ember. “Indian mythology is very complex … the same god or goddess can have … incarnations with different names, appearances, and personality traits. My Indian mythology is ‘westernized’…. don’t try to pass a test … based on my version … I hoped to make it … real enough that if you happened to visit Hampi you’d look for the statue and the entrance to Kishkindha.” Don’t miss her husband’s caption glasses. [JH]
Born October 3, 1973 — Lena Headey, 47. Many of you will know her as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones but I liked her sociopathic Madeline “Ma-Ma” Madrigal on the most awesome Dredd much better. She was also Angelika in The Brothers Grimm, a film I’m sure I’ve seen but remember nothing about even though Heath Ledger was in it. (CE)
Born October 3, 1984 — Jessica Parker Kennedy, 36. She played Melissa Glaser on The Secret Circle, and was Nora West-Allen / XS on The Flash; on Smallville, she had the recurring role of Bette Sans Souci / Plastique. Next she was in the principal cast of Black Sails as Max but I’ll leave it to you to judge if that show was genre. (CE)
Born October 3, 1987 – Katsuie Shibata, 33. (Pen name of Shôta Watatani; the original 1522-1583 was a trusted general of Nobunaga Oda 1534-1582 famous in song and story; in Japanese style these are all reversed, with personal name e.g. Nobunaga last) Won the second Hayakawa SF Contest with Niruya Island. Since then, World Insurance (3 vols.), “Southern Cross”, “Princess Diary”, “Quarantine Officer”. Here he is imagining education in 2036 for Ricoh. [JH]
Born October 3, 1988 — Alicia Vikander, 32.She was Ava, an artificial intelligence, in Ex Machina, spooky film it was. Several years later, she starred as Lara Croft in the rebooted Tomb Raider. In The Man from U.N.C.L.E., she plays Gaby Teller. Finally she’s The Lady / Esel in The Green Knight, a retelling of the story of Sir Gawain. It’s listed as forthcoming this year. (CE)
Saturday, Oct. 3 marks the 40th anniversary of Somewhere in Time, a film that took one of the longest, weirdest journeys to popularity. It was savaged at the box office for being stodgy, overly romantic, and out of touch. But today, it’s a cult favorite, beloved for the very qualities it was panned for. Its fan base includes retired 4-star General Colin Powell, a couple of FilmWeek critics, and me.
… Christopher Reeve, fresh from Superman, is the playwright. Jane Seymour, then of Battlestar Galactica, is the actress. And Christopher Plummer, who had just killed as Sherlock Holmes in Murder by Decree, is her controlling manager. The bestselling score was by John Barry, and it was directed by Jeannot Szwarc — who had just saved Universal’s butt by taking over Jaws 2….
(10) SLF SCORES ILLINOIS GRANT. Speculative Literature Foundation director Mary Anne Mohanraj announced the Illinois Arts Council has awarded the SLF a grant for $1700, “which will be a big help as we continue to build out the Portolan Project.” She extended thanks to their Development Director Cee Gee, and to UIC spring interns Darius Vinesar and Emmanuel Henderson “who helped us research and build out a database of grants we should be applying for.”
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Gary Farber, Andrew Porter, Steven H Silver, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, and John Hertz for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
It may not be in the Red Keep, but it was once a throne fit for George R.R. Martin. The “Game of Thrones” creator spent four years living in an apartment in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Now, you can live there too – for $354,900.
The third-floor unit in the 900 block of West Margate Terrace on the North Side, where Martin lived from 1971 to 1975 along with several roommates, has hit the market. The three-bedroom condo is listed on Martin’s website as the home where he lived after getting his master’s degree from Northwestern.
“I say ‘three bedroom,’ but for our purposes there were five, once we put a bed in the dining room and another on the back porch,” he wrote. “The rent was $150 a month, after all. There was no way a bunch of guys just out of college could afford that without cramming.”
(2) WORLDCONS PAST AND FUTURE. Here’s video of the chairs
introducing themselves at the 2019 Worldcon Chairs photo session.
… But what set Tumblr, Twitter, Discord, and text chats alight across the world was the news that Archive of Our Own won the Hugo for Best Related Fanwork. This was the Archive’s first time being nominated, news initially treated as somewhat contentious by those who still don’t want to try and understand the vital, ever-growing, incredibly rich and variegated culture of fan-created work.
…Archive of Our Own’s win felt like a real victory for millions of us who write and create fanart, videos, podfic, meta essays, and more. It sure is nice to have that shiny rocket statue and acknowledgment from one of the most prestigious award-giving bodies in genre fiction that we are here and crafting wondrous things.
…To the members of the Business meeting and the SMOFs mailing list I say this: I thank you for your advice and patience. Your vigilance in protection of the Constitution and the Hugo Awards has been long and admirable. But your seeming officiousness, proof of worthiness, over reliance on years and years of committee studies are your weakness. These things scare and alienate fans from engaging in the process. While it was all good and well to fast track the Best Fancast and Best Series categories, it was done at the expense of the Young Adult Award, which lingered for years before it was decided to give it a trial and only then as something other than a Hugo category. The BM has proven itself to be nimble to act when we were threatened by the Puppies and yet unable to debate the merits of a Best Game or Interactive Experience amendment after a year in committee and a detailed, sixty page report from its proponents. I implore you all to be more intuitive and take more risks and chances, especially with those who come before you for the first time.
To you, the members of this community who contemplating going to the Business Meeting or are loath to spend any amount of your precious Worldcon time attending these long, laborious meeting; if you do not approve of what is happening at the World Science Fiction Convention or with the WSFS Constitution and the Hugo Awards, there is no substitution for GETTING INVOLVED!. There are a lot of things I regret; not learning how to become a switch hitter in softball, learning to play a musical instrument or becoming bilingual. But every moment I spent the Business Meeting has been well spent. So go down to your independent/used bookstore or online and get a Roberts Rules of Order and jump into the action. If you don’t, you haven’t any damned right to bitch about it….
(5) ENTERING THE LISTS. [Item
by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The Hugo long-list has
been announced. How does this compare with SF² Concatenation’s
beginning-of-year suggestions as to the best SF works of 2019? You may
recall that at the beginning of each year the SF² Conatenation team members
have a round-robin suggesting best works of the previous year and multiple
citations of work get listed. it is purely a bit of fun but over the
years we have noticed that regularly a few of these go on to be nominated for
major SF awards and in turn some of these turn out to be winner.
Semiosis by Sue Burke (character-driven, exo-planet first contact) Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (futuristic, post climate-apocalyptic world building) Before Mars by Emma Newman (off world, mundane-ish, new wave SF) Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor – also short-listed
In a parallel universe, I may be an avid reader of science fiction. In this one, the genre has almost entirely eluded me. And yet on Thursday, through some warp in the space-time continuum, I found myself among the speakers on a panel at Worldcon 2019, an extraordinary event that has brought thousands of sci-fi enthusiasts to Ireland from all over the world. If you see any strange-looking people wandering around Dublin this weekend, it’s them.
The subject of the panel was Flann O’Brien, formerly of this parish, whose work would not normally be described as science fiction, although it appears to have formed a bridge to that community. Crucial to this is his novel The Third Policeman, which revolves around the work of a mad scientist. Among other things, it inspired part of the cult 2005 TV series, Lost, through which many of the world’s sci-fi enthusiasts first heard of its author.
“If you see any strange-looking people wandering
around Dublin” – isn’t it reassuring that some things never seem to change,
like the stereotypical view of SF fans among reporters?
The American creator of the hugely popular fantasy book and TV series said he appreciated that readers loved his fantasy writing, but urged people not to “neglect real history.”
He made the comments in a public interview at the GPO in Dublin this evening, where he was awarded the 2019 An Post International Recognition Award for his contribution to fantasy and science fiction writing over the past 40 years.
“I’m glad so much of the world has fallen in love with my books and my TV show. But we’re living in perilous times, folks, in the US and UK and I’m sure it’s affecting every part of the world.
“Nothing is ever truer than those who do not know real history are doomed to repeat it.”
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 21, 1888 — Miriam Allen deFord. Almost all of her genre fiction was published at TheMagazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Anthony Boucher. It can be found in two collections, Xenogenesis and Elsewhere, Elsewhen, Elsehow. Her “A Death in the Family” story was adapted in Night Gallery‘s second season. Other a few short stories, nothing’s available digitally by her. (Died 1975.)
Born August 21, 1911 — Anthony Boucher. I’m currently reading Rocket to the Morgue which the folks at Penzler Publishers sent me for review. Really great read. If you can find a copy, The Compleat Boucher: The Complete Short Science Fiction and Fantasy of Anthony Boucher is a most excellent read. Unfortunately, The Compleat Werewolf and Other Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction is the collection available digitally. (Died 1968.)
Born August 21, 1937 — Arthur Thomson. Fanzine writer and editor and prolific artist known as ATom. Artist for the well known Hyphen zine, he won the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund in 1964 and visited the States. He was nominated five times for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist, but never won. After Thomson won the 2000 Rotsler Award, it was decided not to present the Rotsler posthumously again. (Died 1990.)
Born August 21, 1943 — Lucius Shepard. Damn I didn’t know he’d passed on. Life During Wartime is one seriously weird novel. And his World Fantasy Award winning The Jaguar Hunter is freaking amazing as are all his short collections. (Died 2014.)
Born August 21, 1956 — Kim Cattrall, 63. Gracie Law in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Fantastic film! She also played Justine de Winter in The Return of the Musketeers, Paige Katz in Wild Palms, Lieutenant Valeris inStar Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Linday Isley in Good v. Evil. Series wise, she was one offs in Tales of the Gold Monkey, Logan’s Run, The Incredible Hulk and The Outer Limits.
Born August 21, 1957 — John Howe, 62. Canadian book illustrator who’s worked on many a project of which the Peter Jackson Hobbit films is the one we’ll most know and which he did with Alan Lee, but he’s also done a number of endeavors including a limited edition of George R. R. Martin’s novel A Clash of Kings which was released by Meisha Merlin, A Diversity of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey and A Middle-Earth Traveler: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor.
Born August 21, 1966 — Denise Mina, 53. Genre wise, she’s best known for having written thirteen issues of Hellblazer. Her two runs were “Empathy is the Enemy” and “The Red Right Hand”. ISFDB lists The Dead Hour as genre but it’s very much not. Excellent novel but think rather in the vein of Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels.
Born August 21, 1967 — Carrie-Anne Moss, 52. I first saw her as Tara McDonald in the Dark Justice series. Not genre, just her first video I think. Playing Monica Howard in the “Feeding the Beast” episode of Forever Knight was her first genre role. Oddly enough her next role was as Liz Teel in the Canadian series called Matrix which has nothing to do with the Matrix film franchise where she’s Trinity. As of late, she’s been playing Jeryn Hogarth in the Netflix based Marvel Universe.
Sony says it’s “disappointed” not to be working with Disney on future Spider-Man films.
We might not see actor Tom Holland in new Marvel movies because a fresh deal can’t be reached over the character.
The film rights to the superhero are owned by Sony – but he could appear in movies like Avengers: Endgame due to a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios – owned by Disney.
Sony says it hopes things “might change in future”.
In a series of tweets, Sony thanked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige for his “help and guidance” with the franchise.
(9) ISFIC WRITERS CONTEST. The 2019 Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago (ISFiC) Writers Contest is
accepting submissions until September 1. Don’t miss out!
If you are a writer currently living in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, or Ohio, or were a Windycon 2018 attendee, and if you have not yet been paid to publish your fiction, you’re eligible to submit your work! Please review the complete contest guidelines here.
The ISFiC Writers Contest began in 1986 and has helped many authors begin their careers in publishing. All authors retain the rights to their stories and are free to publish them elsewhere after the contest, with the winning story making its debut in the Windycon 2019 program.
Winners will enjoy a $300 cash award and the opportunity to attend Windycon 2019 with a complimentary membership badge and double room at the convention hotel. Honorable mentions will receive a commemorative 1oz American silver coin.
(10) GRAPHS TO THE RESCUE. Camestros
Felapton has been inspired by Nicholas Whyte’s Hugo vote analysis to think
about ways to save the whales Best Fanzine Hugo: “More
Hugo Graphs, Fanzine & Ramblings”.
“We were surprisingly close to not giving a Best Fanzine award in both 2019 Hugos and 1944 Retro Hugos this year. The total first preference votes for Best Fanzine finalists other than No Award in both cases was 26.9% of the total number of votes cast overall (833/3097 and 224/834).”
Strangest fact: While most sci-fi hedges its bets and sets the story long after both author and audience have shuffled off this mortal coil, some stories are far more daring, portraying a drastically different near-future, when in fact the near future usually looks mostly like the present but everyone’s phone is thinner and more expensive. Kevin Costner’s infamous bomb The Postman took place only 16 years after its 1997 release, and in that short time the public has forgotten who Shakespeare is (but thankfully not Tom Petty). But the 2013 of the film is still reeling from a long-ago disaster that happened in… 1997, meaning the movie’s premise was already out of date by the time the film hit DVD.
The Postman isn’t the only one that cut it close. 12 Monkeys (1995) predicts a virus that wipes out most of humanity in 1996; Roland Emmerich’s 2012 came out in 2009; 1988’s Alien Nation portrays a 1991 in which aliens have integrated into society after landing on Earth in 1988
(16) FURRIES AT WAR. Blake Montgomery, in the Daily
Beast story “How
A Cooling Vest Invented by a Furry Made Its Way To The U.S. Military” says that the EZ Cooldown vest was
invented by Dutch furry Pepeyn Langedijk in 2014 as a way of keeping cool when
wearing furry outfits. It’s gained ground in the U.S. military,
particularly among tank crews, but its rise is in part due to
“Milfurs,” soldiers who spend their spare time in furry fandom.
In his green claws, the former armorer for the U.S. Army held a collection of military insignia, including a Combat Action Badge, signifying that he had engaged with enemy fighters in Iraq. He stood before an amused audience of men in tight haircuts and camouflage as his unit came together to honor his service.
In his fursuit, Travis is better known as “Stolf,” a fantastical big cat blending the features of a snow leopard, tiger, and wolf. He likes the odd motorcycle ride or ski run while dressed up, and enjoys meeting other “furries”—members of an internet subculture centered on dressing up as anthropomorphic animals.
In his less colorful uniform, Travis was entrusted with the maintenance and repair of small arms like the Mk 19 grenade launcher, both in Iraq and at his duty station, McChord Air Force Base in Washington state. (Travis asked that only his first name be used because of online threats he’s received.)
(17) PITT STOP. A
new trailer for the sf adventure Ad Astra was just released. In theaters
Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.
[Thanks to Steven H Silver, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock,
Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s
Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes
to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]
By Tracy Townsend: As coordinator of the Illinois
Science Fiction in Chicago (ISFiC) Writers Contest for 2019, it’s my pleasure
to announce we are open for submissions!
If you are a writer currently living in Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, or Ohio, or were a
Windycon 2018 attendee, and if you have not yet been paid to publish your
fiction, you’re eligible to submit your work! Please review the complete contest guidelines here.
The ISFiC Writers Contest began in 1986 and has helped many
authors begin their careers in publishing. All authors retain the rights to
their stories and are free to publish them elsewhere after the contest, with
the winning story making its debut in the Windycon 2019 program.
Winners will enjoy a $300 cash award and the opportunity to
attend Windycon 2019 with a complimentary
membership badge and double room at the convention hotel. Honorable mentions
will receive a commemorative 1oz American silver coin.
Please submit all stories in .rtf format to email@example.com by
September 1, 2019. Questions about the contest may be directed to the email
address above. Good luck, and write well!
Siobhan Duffey won the ISFiC Writer’s Contest with her story “Under the Hill.” The contest is sponsored by ISFiC in conjunction with Windycon. Duffey won a membership at Windycon, room nights, and $300. Her story was published in the con program book. This year’s contest was judged by Bill Fawcett, Roland Green, and Elizabeth Anne Hull.
ISFiC is the parent company for Windycon, Picnicon, and ISFiC Press. The ISFiC Writers Contest has been run since 1986. The ISFiC Writer’s Contest is administered by Marcy Lyn-Waitsman and the rules can be found at here. A list of past winners can be found here.
Liz A. Vogel won the ISFiC Writer’s Contest with her story “Windy van Hooten’s Was Never Like This.” The contest is sponsored by ISFiC (Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago) in conjunction with Windycon.
Vogel won a membership at Windycon, room night, and $300. Her story was published in the con program book. This year’s contest was judged by Bill Fawcett, Roland Green, and Richard Chwedyk.
ISFiC has been running the ISFiC Writers contest in conjunction with Windycon since 1986. The first winner, Richard Chwedyk, has gone on to win the Nebula Award.
Mary Mascari’s short story “The Pod” has won the 2011 ISFiC Writers Contest. Her award was announced November 11 at Windycon, the Chicago area’s longest running science fiction convention. She received a cash prize of $300, plus membership and a room at Windycon, and her story was published in the program book.
Mascari won for the second year in a row, joining the ranks of other two-time winners Richard Chwedyk (1986 & 1988) and C.T. Fluhr (1993 & 1996). The award has been presented since 1986.
Honorable mentions went to Michael Unger for “Dawn Must Come” and Jeff Byrne for “The Un-usual Suspects.” The honorable mention winners received a silver coin.
The judges for the 2011 Award were Bill Fawcett, Roland Green, and Elizabeth Anne Hull.
Mary Mascari’s story “Lost and Found” has won the annual ISFiC Writers Contest. The selection was announced November 12 during Windycon.
Mascari received $300, room and membership at Windycon, and her story was published in the convention program book.
This year’s contest judges included Jody Lynn Nye, Elizabeth Anne Hull, and Roland Green.
The ISFiC Writers contest was created in 1986 and is open to residents of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, or any member of the previous year’s Windycon. The contest is for previously unpublished authors. See the rules here.
[Thanks to Steven H Silver for the story.]
Update 11/15/2010: Removed the extra period from Steven’s name — it is now available for adoption to a good home.
FlashForward, the tv series based on a novel by Robert Sawyer, has just premiered(*).
While the author is enjoying maximum name recognition, ISFiC Press is seizing the opportunity to advertise its collection of his stories, Relativity, and use the author’s popularity to attract attention to the press’s other books. Discounts are available – the more you buy, the more you save.