On April 24, Jon Del Arroz’ attorney Peter Sean Bradley filed a request with the Santa Clara County
Superior Court to dismiss 18 of the 19 named
defendants from his lawsuit against Worldcon 76. That will leave only San Francisco
Science Fiction Convention Inc. still before
the court. SFSFC Inc. is the parent corporation of Worldcon 76 (held last year
in San Jose).
Reportedly, none of defendants being dismissed ever received service of process as required by California law (i.e., formal notice of the legal action.) They are: David W. Gallaher, David W. Clark, Lise [sic] Detusch [sic] Harrigan. Kevin Standlee, Sandra Childress, Bruce Farr, 2018 SMOF Con Committee, Cheryl Morgan, Kevin Roche, 2018 Worldcon (Worldcon 76), Cindy Scott, Randy Smith, New Zealand 2020 Worldcon Agent Committee, Andy Trembley, Jennifer “Radar” Wylie, CostumeCon 2021 Organizing Committee, Lori Buschhaum, and Susie Rodriguez.
The request is for
dismissal “without prejudice,” leaving Del Arroz the right to re-file the suit against them at a later date (until
the expiration of the statute of limitations).
In February, the court
tossed four of the five causes of action in Del Arroz’s lawsuit against Worldcon 76’s parent
corporation. The case continues on the fifth complaint, defamation. Del Arroz kept
open the option of seeking a jury trial by paying the required advance jury fee
(nonrefundable) of $150 on April 17.
The first image of a black hole, taken with the help of two Hawaii telescopes, was released today.
The supermassive black hole located in the center of Messier 87 galaxy was named Powehi, meaning embellished dark source of unending creation.
Astronomers consulted with Larry Kimura, of the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Hawaiian Language, who sourced the name from the Kumulipo, a primordial chant describing the creation of the universe.
“It is awesome that we, as Hawaiians today, are able to connect to an identity from long ago, as chanted in the 2,102 lines of the Kumulipo, and bring forward this precious inheritance for our lives today,” Kimura said in a press release.
The two Hawaii telescopes involved in the discovery — James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and Submillimeter Array — are part of the Event Horizon Telescope project, a network of radio observatories around the world…..
(2) NEBULA CLARIFIED. SFWA’s Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy is now classified as a Nebula. This was not always so, as David D. Levine explains in his blog post “I am now officially a Nebula Award winner!” He first began to wonder if something had changed when he saw this tweet —
Suddenly I was Schroedinger’s Award Winner. Was I a Nebula winner or not? That depended on whether the change was deliberate and whether it applied retroactively. Not that it really mattered, of course. The award trophy is the same, and it means exactly as much or as little as it did before. But, for me, it would be huge if I could call myself a Hugo- and Nebula-winning writer. I always wanted to, and I had been disappointed to discover after winning the Norton that I couldn’t. But now I could. Or could I?
As Levine explains, the official answer is: Yes.
(3) LION KING TRAILER. Disney’s
The Lion King opens in theaters on July
Director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King” journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon. Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way, Disney’s “The Lion King” roars into theaters on July 19, 2019.
Paper, Panel and Round Table proposals are invited for the CoNZealand 2020 Science and Academic Stream, an academic convention traditionally included as part of the annual World Science Fiction Convention.
Contributions are sought for a multidisciplinary academic program that will engage audiences, including not only fellow academics but also many of the world’s top science fiction authors and a well-educated and highly engaged public. In addition to traditional academic research that engages science fiction as a subject of study, scholars are encouraged to present research on or about any academic or scientific subject that is likely to engage the imagination of this eclectic and forward-thinking audience.
Potential contributors should note that science fiction explores all aspects of the future of humanity, and academic presentations on the social sciences, humanities and the arts have historically been as popular as those on science and science-related topics.
(6) HEAR MARTHA WELLS. Nic
and Eric interview award winning author Martha Wells about her Murderbot series and other works. The
Wells interview starts at 36:43 in episode
190 of the All the Books Show.
(7) MARVEL HISTORY. TheHistory of the Marvel Universe arrives in July. A massive Marvel info dump? “This
is not that,” says writer Mark Waid.
The Marvel Universe is a sprawling, interconnected web of rich history, dating back to its very beginnings…and now, it’s all coming together in a huge new story!
This July, Marvel invites readers to join legendary writer Mark Waid (Avengers No Road Home) and Exiles artists Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez for a brand-new tale in what is destined to become the DEFINITIVE history of the Marvel Universe!
History of the Marvel Universe will reveal previously unknown secrets and shocking revelations, connecting all threads of the past and present from the Marvel Universe! From the Big Bang to the twilight of existence, this sweeping story covers every significant event and provides fresh looks at the origins of every fan’s favorite Marvel stories!
“We’ve seen Marvel histories and Marvel encyclopedias and Marvel handbooks, and I love that stuff. I absorb them like Galactus absorbs planets,” Waid told Marvel. “This is not that. There’s information here, but there’s also a story. The Marvel Universe is a living thing, it is its own story, and we’re trying to approach it with some degree of heart to find the heart in that story so it doesn’t read like 120 pages of Wikipedia.”
OBIT. The South Hants Science Fiction Group reports that Geoff
Thorpe (1954–2019) was discovered dead at home last week. Here’s their
announcement, courtesy of Terry Hunt:
We are sorry to hear that long-time SHSFG member Geoff Thorpe passed away last month. He discovered fandom later in life when longtime UK fan Fran Dowd met him online on Library Thing and convinced him that he might enjoy SF conventions. He attended the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow and was subsequently introduced to the SHSFG. He joined the group in 2006 becoming a regular, active member hosting Book Club meetings and Christmas parties. He remained a con-goer, attending Eastercons and World Cons as well as a host of smaller cons in the UK and continental Europe.
He also represented Cambridge University and England in domestic and international Tiddlywink competitions.
Thorpe began commenting at File 770 in 2012, and was involved in a number of discussions about WSFS rules.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 10, 1939 — Max von Sydow, 90. He played Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the Never Say Never Again and Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon. He shows up in the Exorcist II: The Heretic as Father Lankester Merrin while being King Osric in Conan the Barbarian. Dreamscape sees him being Doctor Paul Novotny while he’s Liet-Kynes the Imperial Planetologist in Dune. He was Judge Fargo in Judge Dredd (and yes, I still like it), in Minority Report as Director Lamar Burgess, Sir Walter Loxley in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood and finally in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Lor San Tekka.
Born April 10, 1953 — David Langford, 66. And how long have you been reading Ansible? If he’s not noted for that singular enterprise, he should be noted for assisting in producing the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, not to mention some 629,000 words as a principal editor of the third (online) edition of the Encyclopedia of SF, and contributed some eighty thousand words of articles to the Encyclopedia of Fantasy as well.
Born April 10, 1957 — John Ford. Popular at Minicon and other cons where he would be Dr. Mike and give silly answers to questions posed to him while wearing a lab coat before a whiteboard. His most interesting novel I think is The Last Hot Time, an urban fantasy set in Chicago that might have been part of Terri Windling’s Bordertown series but wasn’t. (Died 2006.)
Born April 10, 1992 — Daisy Ridley, 27. She had the lead role of Rey in the Star Wars sequel films, starring in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. She charmingly voiced Cottontail in Peter Rabbit. Though not genre, she is Mary Debenham in the most recent Murder on the Orient Express which I’m looking forward to seeing. Her first film, Scrawl which is horror, is due to be released this year.
“I’d actually recommend people think very critically about it before making a go at a career in comics,” Jaimes says. “You don’t have to make the thing you love your job. Prioritize your own emotional well-being above ‘making it’ in any classical sense.”
(12) DEL ARROZ STIRS THE POT. JDA really did try to sign up for the Nebula Conference, I’m told —
Bigfoot spends a lot of time alone, just thinking, as he wanders through the forest. As with anyone who has done that much self-reflection, he’s got a lot of wisdom. So, when you’re confused about what to do next, you could do worse than asking, “What would Bigfoot do?”
(15) INTRO TO RPG. Chris
Schweizer tells a neat D&D story. Thread starts here.
A friend’s photo might pop up on a timeline. A child’s video might show up in Facebook “Memories,” highlighting what happened on this date in years past. Sometimes these reminders bring a smile to the faces of friends and family left behind.
But Facebook’s algorithms haven’t always been tactful. Unless someone explicitly informs Facebook that a family member has died, Facebook has been known to remind friends to send birthday greetings, or invite a deceased loved one to an event.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Monday announced that the social network will use artificial intelligence to determine when someone has died, and stop sending those kinds of notifications. Sandberg didn’t explain exactly how the new artificial intelligence features will work, but a Facebook spokesperson told NPR the company will look at a variety of signals that might indicate the person is deceased. The spokesperson wouldn’t provide details on what those signals may be.
As Game of Thrones returns for its final series, Dame Diana Rigg – aka Olenna Tyrell – looks back on her time with the hit HBO show.
She may have had many of the best lines on Game of Thrones, but Dame Diana Rigg says she has not watched the series “before or since” she appeared in it.
Accepting a special award at this year’s Canneseries TV festival in France, the British actress said she “hadn’t got a clue” about what was happening on the show.
Olenna left at the end of the last series by drinking poison – a death scene she said was “just wonderful”.
“She does it with dignity and wit, and wit is not often in final death scenes,” says the actress, who will celebrate her 81st birthday in July
(18) FAMILY REUNION. ComicsBeat
pointed out teaser for the animated Addams
Family, to be released October 11.
Give it a look-see below, and if it sends ya, you’ll be able to see it on Halloween (very apropos). The Addams Family stars Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll with Bette Midler and Allison Janney
Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Charon D., Mike
Kennedy, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
Video games were well represented with Halo and Detective Pikachu complimenting the various Mario Bros. sticking up for the nostalgic. Various superheroines ran around with plenty of well-costumed anime heroes and it was all as exciting (and packed) as an Avengers film.
Is Us scary? Sure, but not as much in a straightforward horror sense as you might think. There aren’t a lot of jump scares. There are no scary clowns or zombies or vampires or ghosts or whatever. But it’s horror in a deeper sense. It’s supposed to communicate directly with something deep inside the viewer and stay there, lurking in both your conscious and unconscious mind. It’s a mirror that allows you to see that you’ve been there staring at yourself the whole time.
This is very tiresome. I know I should let sleeping dogs lie, but I don’t like being called a liar, especially in print, and even more especially by someone who seems ignorant of how things actually work.
S. T. Joshi claims I was the “prime mover” behind the change in the WFA bust. I was not. I was/am a member of the Awards Administration that decided it was time for a change.
He further claims he was told by “a member of the committee” that there was no vote taken to change the award.
#1 there is no such thing as the World Fantasy Committee. There is a World Fantasy Convention Board and there is an Awards Administration. Perhaps he is confusing the two.
#2 I am a member of the Awards Administration and a voting member–only of the AA. At the time there were six of us.
#3 I am on the overall WFC board board itself as a non-voting member.
#4 The entire WFC board under David Hartwell voted unanimously to change the award. There were no nays and as far as I can remember there were no abstentions.
I would be happy to know who the person is that claims there was no vote taken because there is likely a record recording (or at least acknowledging) the vote.
In the future, we have been promised, there will be jet packs. Usually this is said with disappointment. But on the front steps and lawn of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry this week, there actually was a working jet suit, and a man brave enough to get in and buzz around. Inventor Richard Browning, a British former oil trader, was showing off his invention to promote the museum show, “Wired to Wear,” that features the suit from his Gravity Industries and scores of other examples of cutting-edge wearable tech.
(5) FIREFLY. More on
the Disney/Fox merger’s princess implications for the women in Firefly.
Have you ever watched a show like Mad Men and wondered where they found those early Xerox machines? Or where The Americans got their hands on all the Reagan-era IBMs that you thought would be piled in a landfill? Well, there’s a good chance these historically-accurate gadgets came from a massive warehouse in Brooklyn with a specific mission: to preserve some of the world’s oldest, most cherished electronics.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
Born March 24, 1834 — William Morris. Credited with creating the modern fantasy literature genre, he certainly wrote some of it its earlier works, to note his epic poem The Earthly Paradise, The Wood Beyond the World and The Well at the World’s End, plus his entire artistic motif fits nearly within a fantasy literature as it looks as if it was created by the Fey Themselves. (Died 1896.)
Born March 24, 1874 — Harry Houdini. Yes, him. He wrote “The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstadt” which had its first half published in March 1924 issue of Weird Tales. An issue of that sold at an auction aimed at Houdini collectors for $2,500 on eBay fetching 43 bids. (Died 1926.)
Born March 24, 1897 — Theodora Kroeber. Another one of those women with an amazing full name, to wit Theodora Covel Kracaw Kroeber Quinn, she’s the mother of Ursula Kroeber Le Guin. She’s here because ISFDB insists that she wrote a genre novel by the name of Carrousel. Well it’s a novella actually at ninety-one pages and might or might not be genre. If anyone’s read it, they can tell me what it is. (Died 1979.)
Born March 24, 1946 — Gary K. Wolfe, 73. Monthly reviewer for Locus for 27 years now and, yes, I enjoy his column a lot. His brief marriage to Ellen R. Weil which ended with her tragic early death resulted in them co-writing Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. Old Earth Books has reprinted many of his reviews done between 1992 and 2006. He’s also written several critical looks at the genre, Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy and The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction.
Born March 24, 1949 — Tabitha King, 70. Wife of Stephen, mother of that writing brood. I met her but once on the lot of the original Pet Sematary a very long time ago. ISFDB to my surprise lists only two novels she’s written solely by herself, Small World and Wolves at the Door, and one with Michael McDowell, Candles Burning. None with her husband.
There’s great science fiction, no small amount of creepy teen boy wish-fulfillment, and lots of lurid, noir appeals to fantasies of sex and violence. Swords and sorcery, guns and trussed-up pin-ups, and plenty of creature features. The pulps were once mass culture’s id, we might say, and they have now become its ego.
Quatermain’s companions (Commander Good—Roland Young; and Sir Henry Curtis—John Loder), who have paid him to be a guide on their African hunting trip, tell him they want to pursue O’Brien; Umbopo tells them he knows the country because he was from there originally. They end up in a desert region and have to abandon the wagon because the oxen can drink up all their water in no time at all. So they head off, following the map, onto the “burning sands” on foot. (In the book, Quatermain, who’s been an elephant hunter for years, knows better, and they go only at night in the desert.) Umbopo sings them on their way (Robeson was, at this point, an international star—his “Old Man River” was the hit of the British version of Showboat—and he’s actually got the biggest credit; this film is a vehicle for him, rather than just an attempt to film Haggard’s book.)
Scientists say they have discovered a “stunning” trove of thousands of fossils on a river bank in China.
The fossils are estimated to be about 518 million years old, and are particularly unusual because the soft body tissue of many creatures, including their skin, eyes, and internal organs, have been “exquisitely” well preserved.
Palaeontologists have called the findings “mind-blowing” – especially because more than half the fossils are previously undiscovered species.
The fossils, known as the Qingjiang biota, were collected near Danshui river in Hubei province.
In the entirety of its existence, the majority of sci-fi, fantasy and horror works have centered men — usually straight, white ones. It is then perhaps all the more impressive that the most powerful, inspirational characters across genre are women. While there is still a long way to go to make genre less white, less cis and less able-bodied, we are grateful for the women who showed us that genre isn’t just for “boys” and that not all heroes are male.
Jenna Busch picked –
Lessa from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series embodies the true strong female character. Even better? It was written back in the late ’60s when SFCs were few and far between. Lessa survived in awful conditions as a child, was chosen as the last Dragonrider of a Queen, ensuring the survival of the creatures. She defied conventions and helped prepared for the return of the deadly Threadfall, traveled 400 years back in time to bring forward other Dragonriders to help and stood strong against the very male-dominated society she lived in. OK, maybe her time travel did sort of form a paradox that caused the deficit in Dragonriders to begin with, but hey, she couldn’t know that, could she? Lessa took no crap from anyone, was proud of her no bull policy and is the perfect example of someone defined by the Shakespeare quote, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” –
The team’s research, published in Scientific Reports, involves a somewhat unconventional approach. Rather than directly tracking thoughts to produce speech, the researchers recorded neurological patterns generated by test subjects listening to others speak. These brain waves were fed into a vocoder—an artificial intelligence algorithm that synthesizes speech—and then converted into comprehensible, albeit robotic-sounding, speech mirroring the phrases heard by participants.
(15) A KINGDOM OF ONE. [Item
by Mike Kennedy.] At the top level, life is divided
into three domains bacteria, archae,
and eukaryotes—the latter having cells in which the genetic material
is DNA in the form of chromosomes contained within a distinct nucleus.
Eukaryotes are divided into several kingdoms, typically Animalia (animals),
Plantae (plants), Fungi, and Protista—the latter of which is something of a
catch-all category. (It should be noted that a number of other division schemes
Two species of the microscopic organisms, called hemimastigotes, were found in dirt collected on a whim during a hike in Nova Scotia by Dalhousie University graduate student Yana Eglit.
A genetic analysis shows they’re more different from other organisms than animals and fungi (which are in different kingdoms) are from each other, representing a completely new part of the tree of life, Eglit and her colleagues report this week in the journal Nature.
“They represent a major branch… that we didn’t know we were missing,” said Dalhousie biology professor Alastair Simpson, Eglit’s supervisor and co-author of the new study.
“There’s nothing we know that’s closely related to them.”
In fact, he estimates you’d have to go back a billion years — about 500 million years before the first animals arose — before you could find a common ancestor of hemimastigotes and any other known living things.
I think something that I forget to think about with books is just how much they appeal to readers outside of pure entertainment. The cast of characters is so diverse—and in a futuristic space setting, it’s just a big bundle of inclusivity. (Except for the bad corporations, but even then, there’s not really discrimination based on sex/religion/race/etc., it’s “oh look people rebelling, let’s kill them.”)
And, frankly, it was a really refreshing read in the way that I didn’t have to watch people suffer based on who they were, we got to watch them suffer because they were fighting evil corporations. (Not to say that books that do show this are bad, but this was a nice moment where I could just bury myself under all the openly queer characters and accepting nature of everyone in the novel.)
Ari & Gwen are bi or pan, Lam is fluid, Merlin is gay, and Jordan is ace so we get to see a whole giant cast of queer characters, and no one suffering because of their queerness! It was wonderful and just really refreshing.
Sometimes, all it takes is a single scene to change moviemaking for good. (“Rosebud . . .” comes to mind.) And while many of the last quarter-century’s films have awed, inspired, and offered up iconic entries into the cultural canon, only some—and particularly, only a few individual moments—have genuinely influenced how future films were made. So, what makes that list? To mark the 25th edition of the Hollywood Issue, Vanity Fair’s film critics pinpointed 25 film scenes since 1995 that changed the industry, the art form, and even the culture, and our reporters spoke to the performers and filmmakers who made them happen.
House Mederos has seen better times. Much better times. After the sinking of a fleet, that may have been secretly the doing of the younger of the Mederos sisters, the family is impoverished and cast out of the society of Port Saint Frey. Yvienne and Tesara spent years in a horrid boarding school for the impoverished. But now they have returned, and now have the opportunity, as they try to help their family recover their fortunes. House Mederos has been reduced to near penury, but that status will not remain forever if the sisters have anything to do about it. Even if it takes questionable acts, in ballrooms and nightly doings alike, to accomplish the feat.
The main characters are young, but they aren’t whiny or angsty which is why I think this one clicked. I liked seeing diversity in the characters with both an LGBT side character and a Hispanic main character – I don’t see either of those represented often in fantasy. This was a quick book that I read in a sitting, the writing was straight forward and sped the story along, so it earned high marks in pacing.
Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Chip
Hitchcock, JJ, Mlex, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some
of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt
[Update 03/26/19: Removed Andrew Porter’s birthday listing.]
(1) SUPERPHILATELY. Royal Mail have a series of Marvel superhero
stamps out later this month.
Various first day covers, presentation packs, framed prints etc. are available
now for pre-order:
Treat the Marvel super fan in your life to this superb Presentation Pack which includes all 15 of Royal Mail’s brand new Marvel stamps illustrated by Alan Davis; the ten First Class Super Hero stamps plus the comic strip miniature sheet, which carries an additional five stamps. Packed with bonus features including:
All ten original Super Hero pencil sketches by Alan Davis printed behind each stamp.
An original specially commissioned fold-out illustration by Marvel comic book artist Neil Edwards, featuring each of the ten Super Heroes pitted against their nemeses.
A set of stickers including sound effects, logos and comic book narratives to help you create your own Super Hero adventure.
A separate protective carrier for the stamp miniature sheet featuring a striking image of Thanos.
(2) GAIMAN SERIES. American Gods Season 2 starts March 10. Starz
has released several promos and a featurette. Neil Gaiman appears in the first
When Shadow Moon is released from prison, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and a storm begins to brew. Little does Shadow know, this storm will change the course of his entire life. Left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife, and suddenly hired as Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard, Shadow finds himself in the center of a world that he struggles to understand. It’s a world where magic is real, where the Old Gods fear both irrelevance and the growing power of the New Gods, like Technology and Media. Mr. Wednesday seeks to build a coalition of Old Gods to defend their existence in this new America, and reclaim some of the influence that they’ve lost. As Shadow travels across the country with Mr. Wednesday, he struggles to accept this new reality, and his place in it.
Carrie Laben is the author of A Hawk in the Woods, coming from Word Horde in March 2019. Her work has appeared in such venues as Apex, The Dark, Indiana Review, Okey-Panky, and Outlook Springs. In 2017 she won the Shirley Jackson Award in Short Fiction for her story “Postcards from Natalie” and Duke University’s Documentary Essay Prize for the essay “The Wrong Place”. In 2015 she was selected for the Anne LaBastille Memorial Writer’s Residency and in 2018 she was a MacDowell Fellow. She now resides in Queens.
Molly Tanzer is the author of Creatures of Will and Temper, Creatures of Want and Ruin, and the forthcoming Creatures of Charm and Hunger. She is also the author of the weird western Vermilion, which was an io9 and NPR “Best Book” of 2015, and the British Fantasy Award-nominated collection A Pretty Mouth. She lives in Longmont, Colorado, with her cat Toad.
The KGB Bar is at 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.)
in New York.
(4) FANHISTORY. Rob Hansen has added a section on “REPETERCON – the 1964 Eastercon” to his British fanhistory site THEN. Includes vastly amusing conreport excerpts such as –
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line – in the opposite direction.
Therefore, when at half past four on the Thursday I quit work an hour early, saddled my trusty scooter Laideronette and set off for Peterborough – which lay towards the north-east – naturally I travelled south-west. Peterborough was pulling hard in the opposite direction, however, and Laideronette responded strongly to its attraction. First I found it hard to stay in top gear, then impossible. Before long I found it increasingly difficult to stay in third gear, then in second.
Abandoning all thoughts of circumnavigating the globe to approach Peterborough from the far side, I coaxed Laideronette into Bridgwater at not much more than walking pace and drew up thankfully outside the Walsh abode. There the Mercatorial effects were off-loaded and transferred to the mighty Walsh automobile, and soon in company with Tony, Simone and Sarah I was following half the milk tankers in the South of England on the road to London….
…This year I again volunteered as a panelist, which is always fun. I was on several panels with friends I met last year. One of the panels, “What in Hell Do We Want from Horror?” was partly inspired by my horror and philosophy class from last semester….
(6) A SHORT HISTORY OF TIME
ON SCREEN. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] There
have been roughly a bajillion MCU movies over the
past decade plus. Have you ever wondered which hero racked up the most
cumulative screen time? Well, Hannah Collins at CBR.com did (“Marvel Cinematic Universe Heroes
Ranked, According to Screen Time”). If you check out the story, be
sure to click through to the second page or you’ll be left wondering why that guy
made the top of the list and why that other guy was left off
Marvel Studios celebrated its ten-year milestone with a major character cull courtesy of the Snap-happy villain, Thanos, in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. With half of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s population erased, the trailers for the film’s sequel, Avengers: Endgame feature a depressingly empty world where our heroes are now few and far between.
[…] For the sake of brevity, we’ll only be including major heroes [in our screen time ranking]. By “major,” we mean heroic characters central to the MCU’s over-arching story who have starred in multiple films, so don’t expect to see the likes of Shuri, Wong, the Warriors Three, et al make the cut. With that caveat, let’s get on with the list, in ascending order.
(7) IT’S SHOWTIME. Scott
Edelman made it to the Captain Marvel world
premiere tonight in Hollywood.
(8) WHAT’S THAT WORD? SHAZAM! is in theaters April 5. (If only
Gomer Pyle had lived long enough to see it.)
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).
I was a bit old to buy into the teen-set antics of Beverly Hills, 90210, perhaps his most notable claim to fame. As I’ve made it my business of following talent closely associated with the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I am aware of his greater contributions to Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992), The Fifth Element (1995), and J. Michael Strazzynski’s Jeremiah.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 4, 1946 — Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, 73. Author of The Keltiad series. Blend traditional Celtic legends and mythology unto a technologically advanced civilisation and.. well, it was awful. Her might have been marriage to Morrison is more interesting.
Born March 4, 1954 — Catherine Anne O’Hara, 65. First genre role role was in the most excellent Beetlejuice as artist Delia Deetz followed by being Texie Garcia in Dick Tracy, a film I’ll be damn if I know what I think about. She voices most excellently Sally / Shock bringing her fully to, errr, life in The Nightmare Before Christmas. I see she’s in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events as Justice Strauss. Lastly, and no this is by no means a complete listing of what she has done, she was on Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events as Dr. Georgina Orwell.
Born March 4, 1965 — Paul W.S. Anderson, 54. Genre director with a long record of films starting with Mortal Kombat. After that, he directed Event Horizon which developed a cult following on DVD, Soldier (fascinating tale, look it up), Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator, Resident Evil: Afterlife, The Three Musketeers, Resident Evil: Retribution and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Monster Hunter is forthcoming from him and despite the title is not from the Puppy author that you might expect it is. It stars his wife Milla Jovovich who he first directed in Resident Evil: Extinction.
Born March 4, 1966 — Paul Malmont, 53. Author of the comic strips, The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril and Jack London in Paradise which blends pulp tropes and SF elements including using as protagonists Heinlein and Asimov. He wrote the first four issues of DC Comics’ Doc Savage series with artist Howard Porter.
Born March 4, 1973 — Len Wiseman, 46. Producer or Director on the Underworld franchise. Director of the Total Recall remake. Also involved in Stargate, Independence Day, Men in Black and Godzilla in the Property Department. Sleepy Hollow series creator and producer for much of it, wrote pilot as well. Producer for much of Lucifer as well and is the producer for the entire first series of Swamp Thing. Also produced The Gifted.
(11) CAN’T GO ANY LOWER? YES
HE CAN. The misguided attention-seeking missile that is Jon Del Arroz ran a
blog post today with the headline “Women
Lie About Rape” [Internet Archive link]. This is just offensive.
The #MeToo movement went completely out of control this last year and a half, destroying men’s lives, dragging them through mud, and more often than not, during incidents that are complete falsehoods like in the case of our supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The last remaining fortune cookie factory in San Francisco is on the verge of closure, thanks to sky-high rents and new technology, but its owner says he will never give up the family business, writes Lucy Sherriff.Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, in the city’s Chinatown, is the last factory of its kind in the area, after competitors were forced to close when overheads became too expensive.
The family-run factory opened its doors on Ross Alley in 1962, and uses the same recipe to this day, as well as retaining the traditional machinery used to make Chinese fortune cookies.
“Even I don’t know the recipe,” co-owner Kevin Chan, whose mother and uncle founded the store, told the BBC. “It’s my mum’s secret.”
Chan, who stays up until 3am at night writing the fortunes which are inserted into the cookies, says he’s proud the store remains open, but he’s facing an uncertain future.
“My rent is $6,000 a month. Three years ago, it was $1,400. But I’m not going to just walk away. I’m not going to give up. I will keep going for as long as I can.”
Seth Rogen is stepping into The Twilight Zone. The star of Knocked Up and Neighbors will star in an upcoming episode of the CBS All Access revival of the classic sci-fi/fantasy franchise that became famous for its twist endings, eerie characters and unsettling theme song.
[.. ] No word yet on Rogen’s character nor any hints about the episode that he appears in. […]
Rogen joins a parade of notable names who will star in the high-profile revamp of Rod Serling’s classic television franchise, which aired from 1959-64 and ranked No. 3 on the WGA’s list of 101 Best Written Series. Jordan Peele will host the show while previously announced guest stars for the anthology series revival include Greg Kinnear, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cho,Ike Barinholtz, Taissa Farmiga, Ginnifer Goodwin, Luke Kirby, Sanaa Lathan, Adam Scott, Rhea Seehorn, Alison Tolman, Jacob Tremblay, Jessica Williams, DeWanda Wise, and Steven Yeun.
Planning permission has been sought for a new restaurant in London’s Soho intended to reflect the DC Multiverse.
[…Soho] is now home to many famous restaurants, is where many chains began and is full of private members dining/drinking clubs […] And it is where the world has traditionally come, bringing their own cuisine with them, only to mash it up with others, fused into new forms.
The planning application states, in part:
The restaurant will be rooted within the DC Multiverse, taking visitors on a culinary adventure through the many fictional Universes famous for their superhero residents such as Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman [sic]. The style and design of the DC Multiverse is heavily influenced by the Art Deco period with the style prominent within its publications and film and television work. The restaurant will not be a ‘theme park’ with literal sets and costumes from the franchise, but it has the intention to invite guests to experience the DC Universe without breaking the fourth wall- the imaginary wall that separates the audience from the performance.
[…] The proposed design will accommodate a lounge Bar (Pennyworth’s) and a dining area with entertainment- reminiscent of the 1930s era (Iceberg Lounge). The North Nave – a fine dining experience (Dichotomy Fine Dining) and the South Nave (an Immersive Dining Experience) are proposed as separate, intimate dining experiences.
Other DC influences mentioned in the Bleeding Cool article include “the Wayne
Manor pit seen in the Dark Knight movies, and The Arkham Asylum dining area.”
Lovely, I just can’t wait to taste gruel à la Arkham Asylum.
Dumbo’s trailers have featured “Baby Mine” — the Academy Award-nominated song written for the original — before. First it was Norwegian singer Aurora covering the song; now, Arcade Fire is trying their hand at the lullaby. The version debuted in a small clip from the upcoming film that Disney posted on its Twitter account.
JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King
Tarpinian, Michael O’Donnell, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of
these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
In a stunning decision that could have widespread repercussions in the TV industry, Fox has been hit with a $178.7-million judgment in its profit participation dispute with the team behind the hit series “Bones.”
The ruling, which was decided in arbitration, excoriated senior Fox executives and criticized the studio and network for its conduct. The decision has also rattled other studios, including the highest echelons of the Walt Disney Co., which is bringing aboard some of the same executives in its $71 billion acquisition of Fox.
Hulu is also at the center of the storm, with accusations that Fox withheld revenues from “Bones” when the series became available for streaming on the digital platform. Fox owns a 30% stake in Hulu, along with other major studios.
… “The Arbitrator is convinced that perjury was committed by the Fox witnesses,” the ruling stated. “Accordingly, if perjury is not reprehensible then reprehensibility has taken on a new meaning.”
Despite some bumps, it’s obvious that Patreon’s subcription model for crowdfunding is a success, to the tune of $500 million in creat or payouts in 2019. With that kind of money floating around, it’s no wonder that some other giant entities – including YouTube and Facebook – want to tap into the cash stream and launch their own subcription models to support creators.
Facebook’s version, “Fan Subscriptions,” rolled out last year in a very private test, offering to charge fans $4.99 a month for access to exclusive content by their favorite creators.
The program just expanded to offer its services to more content creators. And as Tech Crunch reports, reading the terms reveals, to the surprise of no one, that they are vastly less favorable to content creators than Patreon.
The Tech Crunch article
Facebook will drive a hard bargain with influencers and artists judging by the terms of service for the social network’s Patreon-like Fan Subscriptions feature that lets people pay a monthly fee for access to a creator’s exclusive content. The policy document attained by TechCrunch shows Facebook plans to take up to a 30 percent cut of subscription revenue minus fees, compared to 5 percent by Patreon, 30 percent by YouTube, which covers fees and 50 percent by Twitch.
Facebook also reserves the right to offer free trials to subscriptions that won’t compensate creators. And Facebook demands a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use” creators’ content and “This license survives even if you stop using Fan Subscriptions.”
(3) NUMBER NINE. [Item by Greg Hullender.] Mike Brown just presented a paper with new results that significantly narrow down the parameters for a hypothetical Planet Nine beyond Neptune. He wrote a few blog posts about it, the most useful of which is probably this one: “version 2.X”.
The upshot is that this should make it easier to find,
but it also seems more likely than ever that it’s really out there. Looking at
that projected orbit, it’s way, way beyond Neptune. And, yes, it’s
massive enough to have “cleared its orbit,” so it’s still a planet, even by the
In principle, there is so much more that I would like to say, but at this point I think it’s becoming progressively clearer that my coffee supply ran out a couple paragraphs ago, and in an effort to prevent further degradation of the text, I will get straight to the final point: if Planet Nine is smaller, does that mean it’s harder to find with a telescope? Counterintuitively, it’s the opposite. The smaller distance from the sun more than makes up for the diminished surface area. Indeed, if we make naive baseline assumptions about P9’s albedo and adopt the interpolated exoplanet mass-radius relation to estimate P9’s size, Planet Nine turns out to be about one magnitude brighter than we previously thought. Annoyingly, though, the aphelion is very close to (in?) the galactic plane, where confusion due to background stars can readily impede detection. Still, unless we are unlucky and P9 is unexpectedly small and/or dark, it should be within the reach of LSST and comparable telescopes like Subaru. The good news is that in the case of Planet Nine hypothesis, time truly will tell.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Martin revealed that series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss asked him to travel all the way from his house in New Mexico to Ireland to film a cameo in one of the final season eight episodes, which, he says, he was “tempted to do.” Unfortunately, he’s a little too busy working on The Winds Of Winter, the next novel in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series–or so he says.
Anyway, if everyone wants this badly enough they can find a studio with a green screen in New Mexico, have Martin perform his bit, and fill in the rest with CGI.
This one has a great range of stuff in it, with some terrific indie and small press reads. One book I am particularly pleased to have there is K.C. Ball’s collection, which I edited. K.C. was a dear friend whose passing I wrote about here.
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
Snapshots from a Black Hole and
Other Oddities by K.C.
Sunspot Jungle by Bill Campbell
Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett
Queen of Roses by Elizabeth McCoy
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!
Albatross by R.A. MacAvoy and Nancy L.
Cat Pictures Please and Other
Stories by Naomi Kritzer
Reprising their highly praised performances from the Almeida run are Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Adrianna Bertola and Neil Haigh, who will be joined for the West End premiere by Alisha Bailey, Natasha J Barnes, Nicholas Karimi, Dan Crossley, Dyfan Dwyfor, Lauren O’Neill and Matthew Steer.
Glenn Close. This is why some people who can reasonably expect a win still dress simply rather than go for something Fashiony; there’s no shame in seeming surprised you won, but the biggest shared glance-and-nod on this entire red carpet was Glenn Close dressing like the Oscar she was here to collect, and of course she was, because she had it in the bag, because she’d spent the entire red-carpet season in toned-down suits and gowns that looked extremely Career Oscar and reserved and dignified while she collected awards, and she threw it all out the window at the very last turn for this cape with four million beads (four MILLION beads!) to show up and get her statue, and then she didn’t get it.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 27, 1934 — Van Williams. He teamed for one season with the late Bruce Lee as his partner Kato on The Green Hornet and three Batman cross-over episodes. He would voice President Lyndon B. Johnson on the Batman series, show up in an episode of Mission Impossible, do a one-off Quinn Martin’s Tales of the Unexpected and that’s it. (Died 2016.)
Born February 27, 1938 — T.A. Waters. A professional magician and magic author. He appears not terribly well disguised as Sir Thomas Leseaux, an expert on theoretical magic as a character in Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy fantasy series and in Michael Kurland’s The Unicorn Girl in which he also appears as Tom Waters. He himself wrote The Probability Pad which is a sequel to The Unicorn Girl. Together with Chester Anderson’s earlier The Butterfly Kid , they make up Greenwich Village trilogy. (Died 1998.)
Born February 27, 1944 — Ken Grimwood. Another writer who died way too young, damn it. Writer of several impressive genre novels including Breakthrough and Replay which I’ve encountered and Into the Deep and Elise which are listed in ISFDB but which I’m not familiar with. (Died 2003.)
Born February 27, 1957 — Timothy Spall, 62. Before his more famous roles, he started off in late Sixties horror film Demon Dream as Peck Much later he’ll appear as Rosencrantz In Hamlet. And then we came to him as Mr. Poe in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which I’ve yet to see. And of course he’s Peter Pettigrew, nicknamed Wormtail, in the Harry Potter franchise. And yes, he’s done much, much more than that for genre roles, so do feel free to chastize me for not listing what you think is his best role.
Born February 27, 1960 — Jeff Smith, 59. Creator and illustrator of Bone, the now complete series that he readily admits has “a notable influence being Walt Kelly’s Pogo”. Smith also worked for DC on a Captain Marvel series titled Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil.
Born February 27, 1962 — Adam Baldwin, 57. Genre roles include Firefly and its continuation in Serenity as Jayne Cobb. Colonel John Casey in Chuck, Independence Day as Major Mitchell and Mike Slattery in The Last Ship. He’s also done voice work such as Hal Jordan and Jonah Hex on Justice League Unlimited, and Metamorpho on Beware the Batman.
Born February 27, 1964 — John Pyper-Ferguson, 55. I certainly remember him best as the villain Peter Hutter on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. but I see that he got he got his start in Canadian horror films such as Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and Pin: A Plastic Nightmare. His first major SF role was in Space Marines as Col. Fraser. And though he has an extensive one-off career in genre series, his occurrence as a repeated cast member is not uncommon, ie. he’s Agent Bernard Fainon the new Night Stalker for some episodes, shows up as Tomas Vergis on Caprica for six episodes and I see he’s had a recurring role on The Last Ship asTex Nolan.
Born February 27, 1966 — Peter Swirski, 53. He’s a academic specialist on the late SF writer and philosopher Stanis?aw Lem. As such, he’s written the usual treatises on him with such titles as Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future, Lemography: Stanislaw Lem in the Eyes of the World and From Literature to Biterature: Lem, Turing, Darwin, and Explorations in Computer Literature, Philosophy of Mind, and Cultural Evolution.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Monty & Doc visit the past to find out how the Egyptian pyramids were constructed only to be surprised…
…but Monty still needs to be careful with his eggplant emoji; the Pharaoh might get the wrong idea.
(10) MAINTAIN AN EVEN STRAIN. Another dead author gets
his name on a book above the title, though at least they acknowledge he didn’t
write it (AP News: “Sequel to Michael Crichton’s ‘Andromeda Strain’ due in
fall”). An authorized sequel to The Andromeda Strain—The
Andromeda Evolution by Daniel H. Wilson—is due for a November 12
release by HarperCollins.
Its publication marks the 50th anniversary of “The Andromeda Strain,” Crichton’s techno-thriller about scientists fighting a lethal extraterrestrial microorganism. Released when Crichton was just 27, it was later adapted into a feature film and television miniseries, with Ridley Scott among the producers.
“It’s exciting to be shining a spotlight on the world that Michael so brilliantly created and to collaborate with Daniel Wilson,” [his widow,] Sherri Crichton[,] said in a statement. “This novel is for Crichton fans; it’s a celebration of Michael’s universe and a way to introduce him to new generations, and to those discovering his worlds for the first time.”
[…] “As a lifelong fan of Michael Crichton, it’s been an unbelievable honor to revisit the iconic world that he created and to continue this adventure,” Wilson said in a statement.
It lasts around 23 minutes and feels “like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, on fire, then crashing really hard.”
That’s how retired Nasa astronaut Ron Garan describes the return from space, strapped into the tight confines of a Soyuz capsule plummeting through the atmosphere back to Earth. The touchdown, slowed by a parachute and – at the very end – six small rockets, is called “soft,” but in reality it’s extremely rough.
We’ve all seen the scenes once the capsule has landed – astronauts and cosmonauts being carried away from Soyuz and carefully lowered into chairs. This is not a precaution; people returning from space literally cannot walk. The reason, however, is not the rough re-entry, but the fact that while in space, they have kind of lost their legs – albeit temporarily.
(12) DON’T YOU WANT SHORT FICTION TO LOVE: Continuing to read with cupidity, Jason once again points to some February fiction he enjoyed including a possibly odd combination of horror and a Valentine’s Day tale in “Month in Review: February 2019”.
Counting a few stories from the late-breaking Tor.com Short Fiction and the last BCS and Terraform stories from January, February produced 48 stories of 210K words. It also produced the odd results of two recommended dark fantasy/horror stories with no SF or general fantasy and five otherwise noted SF stories with no fantasy (though one could easily be considered yet another sort of dark fantasy/horror). Three of the five come from my two February Tangent reviews of Constellary Tales and InterGalactic Medicine Show, which have some oddness of their own. The former was born recently and I reviewed the second issue. The latter contained the surprising announcement of its death in the editorial. So the gods of short fiction giveth and taketh away.
(13) MORE ON NEBULAS. J.A. Sutherland shines light on sff’s major awards and their different goals. Thread starts here.
Efforts to cast the kerfuffle over the 20BooksTo50K Nebula list as
tradpub vs. indie civil war are tripped up by some of the facts.
It has come to our attention that one of our books, THE CONTINUUM by Wendy Nikel, was included in the 20booksto50K “slate” Nebula recommendation list. Neither the author nor anyone involved with World Weaver Press was aware of this list until yesterday, nor do we endorse it. While we would be thrilled to see this novella nominated for any of the major SFF awards, it needs to be nominated on its own merits, not as some sort of statement regarding “indie” vs. “trad pub.” Besides, we are actually a traditional publisher. Just a small one.
As for the whole “indie versus traditional” rhetoric, honestly, that debate is so 2012. The stigma against self-publishing has long since evaporated. Can’t we move on and accept that indies, traditionally published authors and hybrids are all part of the same genre? The Nebulas aren’t hostile to indie works – the 2014 Best Novel finalist The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata was self-published, at a time when SFWA wasn’t even open to indie writers yet. The Hugos aren’t hostile to indie works – the novelette “In Sea-Salt Tears” by Seanan McGuire in 2013 was the first self-published finalist and there have been several since.
Besides, most people were initially willing to give 20Booksto50K the benefit of a doubt. The reaction was mostly along the lines of, “Well, they’re new and don’t know the culture and etiquette. They’ll learn and maybe some of the stories are good.” But the huffy responses from some 20Booksto50K Nebula finalists and other members of the group (Lawsuits? Really?) have destroyed a lot of good will, not just towards this group, but also towards indie writers in general. And I really doubt that was the intent.
(14) IF THIS GOES ON. Bernard
Lee’s cover art for Parvus Press’ forthcoming collection of original science
fiction, IF THIS GOES ON: A Science
Fiction Look at the Politics of Our Future, has been accepted into the
exhibitions for both the Society of Illustrators East and West annual exhibitions.
Bernard is a California artist and illustrator and painted this cover as oil on canvas. It pictures the Lincoln Memorial lost to the waters of the Chesapeake following rampant, unchecked global warming. Underwater flora rise ominously behind the statue of the Great Emancipator and sandbar sharks, native to the Chesapeake, have taken residence inside the Memorial’s remains.
Said Colin Coyle, Publisher at Parvus Press, “It was nearly impossible to provide clear direction for the cover of a collection this diverse. But Bernard Lee rose to the challenge and produced a beautiful work of art that’s really a stand-alone contribution to the collection in its own right.”
The Society of Illustrators Exhibition in New York runs through March 9, 2019 as part of “Illustration 61” at the Society of Illustrations Museum in New York, located on 128 East 63rd Street. “Illustration West 57”, the annual exhibition of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles will be exhibiting the artwork in March. IF THIS
GOES ON releases on March 5.
(15) NETFLIX. The OA Part II airs March 22.
No one survives alone.
(16) OPEN THE BOOK BOMB BAY DOORS. Following last week’s avalnche of posts by romance writers calling foul on people’s unscrupulous exploitation of Amazon’s business model comes one from Larry Correia defending himself for doing something no one has complained about: “A Note About Book Bombs” [Internet Archive link.] Isn’t there’s a Bible verse “The wicked flee where no man pursueth”?
A Book Bomb is when you get as many people as possible to buy a specific book on a specific day, with the goal of pushing it as high up in the sales rankings as possible on Amazon, with the goal of getting it onto some bestseller lists, so that more new eyeballs see it. This is a great way to expose an author to new readers.
Lots of people do this, but the ones we do here on Monster Hunter Nation tend to work better than average….
I’ve had bitter cranks whine about how this is “gaming the system” because apparently authors are supposed to sit quietly while tastemakers and critics decide what should be popular. No thanks. I’ll game that system then, and appointed myself a tastemaking critic. But a BB ain’t cheating because these are all legit sales using actual money, being purchased by actual human beings, who will hopefully enjoy the book enough to leave a review and purchase the author’s other books….
An altruistic effort to share his platform – what’s to complain about that?
Sir Philip Pullman’s second instalment in his Book of Dust series, where he returns to the world of His Dark Materials, will be released in October.
Heroine Lyra Silvertongue is back as an adult in The Secret Commonwealth.
Lyra was a baby in the first book in the Book of Dust trilogy, La Belle Sauvage, which was critically acclaimed when it was released in 2017.
The new book is set 20 years after that, and seven years after the end of the His Dark Materials series.
Sir Philip’s publishers have released an extract from the start of the new book which sees Lyra at odds with her daemon Pantalaimon after they unwittingly witness a murder.
The book sees Lyra, now an independent young woman, “forced to navigate a complex and dangerous new world as she searches for an elusive town said to be haunted by daemons.”
Jason, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat
Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Cat Rambo, and Andrew Porter for some
of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel
(1) CLARKE CENTER. Here are two of the most interesting videos posted by The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination in the past several months.
Freeman Dyson and Gregory Benford: Forseeing the Next 35 Years—Where Will We Be in 2054?
35 years after George Orwell wrote the prescient novel 1984, Isaac Asimov looked ahead another 35 years to 2019 to predict the future of nuclear war, computerization, and the utilization of space. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego were honored to welcome two living luminaries in the fields of physics and futurism—Freeman Dyson and Gregory Benford (Ph.D. ’67)—to peer ahead another 35 years, to 2054, and share their insights into what may be in store for us.
An Evening with Cixin Liu and John Scalzi at the Clarke Center
Cixin Liu, China’s most beloved science fiction writer—and one of the most important voices of the 21st century—joins celebrated American science fiction writer John Scalzi at the Clarke Center to discuss their work and the power of speculative worldbuilding.
If Game of Thrones Oreos are just normal Oreos in a GoT package, hopefully it’s not a sign of things to come. The final season of Game of Thrones is one of the most highly-anticipated seasons of television ever, not just because it’s the final season, but also because it’s slated to reveal details of the sixth book in the series which fans have been waiting for nearly eight years. Expectations are ridiculously high — meaning HBO better deliver something better than the television equivalent of regular Oreos, even if regular Oreos are delicious.
(3) REASONS TO ATTEND THE
NEBULAS. SFWA gives you ten of them. Thread starts here.
(4) APOLOGY. FIYAH Magazine of
Black Speculative Fiction’s Executive
Editors Troy Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders have issued “An Apology” for
publishing two collections of stories from FIYAH
without first obtaining the rights to reprint them.
We messed up.
Earlier in the month, we released two collected volumes of fiction and poetry: our FIYAH Year One collection and our FIYAH Year Two collection. We were very excited to get these collected editions out to the public, and in our haste, we did not secure the rights to collect or republish those stories. By doing this, we have disrespected our authors and their work, and not acted in service to our stated mission of empowering Black writers.
We deeply apologize to our contributors and to our readers for this oversight. Unfortunately, several copies of the collected volumes have already been purchased before we were informed about our mistake. We can’t take those purchased issues back, so here’s what we will do instead:
* We have removed the collected issues from Amazon
* We sent an apology to contributors taking full responsibility for our error
* We are splitting the proceeds from the already purchased copies of the collection among all of our Year One and Year Two contributors.
We know that this doesn’t begin to cover the damage we’ve done to authors, but we will continue to improve our accountability measures and internal processes. We are also going to be seeking legal counsel to help us make sure that our contracts are fair to both us and our contributors.
Again, we are so sorry that this happened. We promise to do much better going forth.
(5) WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN.
Denmark’s Fantasticon 2019 has adopted Afrofuturism as its theme. They’ve got
some great guests. The convention’s publicity poster is shown below:
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 25, 1909 — Edgar Pangborn. For the first twenty years of his career, he wrote myriad stories for the pulp magazines, but always under pseudonyms. It wasn’t until the Fifties that he published in his own name in Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Ursula Le Guin has credited him with her is was possible to write humanly emotional stories in an SF setting. (Died 1976.)
Born February 25, 1917 — Anthony Burgess. I know I’ve seen and read A Clockwork Orange many, many years ago. I think I even took a University class on it as well. Scary book, weird film. I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with the Enderby series having not encountered them before now. Opinions please. (Died 1993.)
Born February 25, 1964 — Lee Evans, 55. He’s in The History of Mr Polly as Alfred Polly which is based on a 1910 comic novel by H. G. Wells. No, not genre, but sort of adjacent genre as some of you are fondly saying.
Born February 25, 1968 — A. M. Dellamonica, 51. A Canadian writer who has published over forty rather brilliant short since the Eighties. Her first novel, Indigo Springs, came out just a decade ago but she now has five novels published with her latest being The Nature of a Pirate. Her story, “Cooking Creole” can be heard here at Podcastle 562. It was in Mojo: Conjure Stories, edited by Nalo Hopkinson.
Born February 25, 1971 — Sean Astin,48. His genre roles include Samwise Gamgee in Rings trilogy (, Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, and Bob Newby in the second season of Stranger Things. He also shows up in Justice League: War and in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis filmsvoicing both aspects of Shazam, a difficult role to pull off. He prises that role on the Justice League Action series.
Born February 25, 1973 — Anson Mount, 46. He was Black Bolt in Marvel’s Inhumans series. He now has a recurring role as Captain Christopher Pike on the current season of Discovery. I see he was in Visions, a horror film, and has had appearances on Lost, Dollhouse and Smallville.
Born February 25, 1994 — Urvashi Rautela, 25. An Indian film actress and model who appears in Bollywood films. She has a Birthday here because she appears in Porobashinee, the first SF film in Bangladesh. Here’s an archived link to the film’s home page.
Hearing that your husband needs immediate open-heart surgery is terrifying, especially when he’s been healthy his whole life.
When Jennifer Powell heard the sudden news about her husband, Seth Marko, 43, she spun into action. First, she found care for their 3-year-old daughter, Josephine, so she could be at the hospital for her husband’s 10-hour surgery.
Then Powell’s mind went to their “second kid” — the Book Catapult — the small independent bookstore the couple owns and runs in San Diego. Their only employee had the swine flu and would be out for at least a week.
Powell, 40, closed the store to be with her husband in the hospital. She didn’t know for how long….
(8) BATTING AVERAGE. This
bookstore had a little visitor. Thread starts here.
Alternately confused and clearsighted, utopian and nihilistic, Jan and Remo live the archetypal bohemian life in Mexico City, occupying squalid digs and barely getting by. Jan is 17 and more visionary and less practical than Remo, 21. Jan seldom leaves their apartment, preferring to spend his time writing letters to American science-fiction authors: James Tiptree, Jr., Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Silverberg, Philip Jose Farmer. Remo brings in some paltry cash as a journalist…
…Jan’s passion for pulp is front and center, bringing to mind Kurt Vonnegut’s SF-loving protagonist Eliot Rosewater. Jan’s letters to his sf heroes are basically a plea to be recognized, a demand that this medium–at the time seen, rightly or wrongly, as a quintessentially Anglo domain–open its gates to other cultures, other countries. Jan’s solidarity with his distant American mentors and their visions is al one-way. He adores them, but they do not know he exists, The ache to remedy this unrequited love affair is palpable.
[Joe Sherry]: The point of that is that I look at the game writing category and think “I’ve heard of God of War, didn’t realize Bandersnatch was actually a *game* and have no idea what the three Choice of Games finalists are”. It turns out they are fully text based, 150,000+ word interactive adventures that can be played on browser or your phone. I’ll probably pick up one of them and see how I like it (likely the Kate Heartfied, because her Nebula finalist novella Alice Payne Arrives is bloody fantastic.)
I was surprised to see Bandersnatch a finalist for “game writing”, though. I don’t want to get sued, but I’ve thought of it more akin to the Choose Your Own Adventure books many of us grew up on. Despite the branching path narrative, those were books. Not games. Now, part of why I think of Bandersnatch just as a movie is the medium in which it is presented. Streaming on Netflix equals television or movie in my brain. Branching narrative paths doesn’t change that for me. I haven’t watched Bandersnatch, so I’m staying very high level with what I’m willing to read about it, but I know Abigail Nussbaum has compared Bandersnatch more to a game than a movie and obviously she’s not alone in that opinion if it’s up for the Game Writing Nebula. But much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books, you’re watching the movie and then occasionally making choices. You’re not “playing” the game.
The judge threw out their argument, because it was absurd. It also didn’t even address the “racist bully” defamatory claim they made. It’s sad to watch because anything, I’ve been the victim of racism from the extreme left science fiction establishment. It’s my opinion that this predominantly white group targets me in particular because I’m a minority that won’t toe the line. There’s a lot of psychology to this I’ll have to go into at another time, but a lot of the way the left acts treats minorities like we’re inferior (or, racism as it’s commonly referred to) and we can’t make decisions for ourselves. I oppose this and all forms of racism and it’s a large reason as to why I speak out.
Their entire case appears to be that I’m mean online (which doesn’t impact a convention at all), and therefore should be banned, which has nothing to do with their defamatory statement regarding racism. Our response on that front said there were plenty of extreme leftists who are mean online, they were invited, clearly showing the double standard they enacted against me because of right wing politics. When we reach The Unruh Act appeal process, this will be important.
last line implies he plans to appeal one or more rulings that went against him.
…Jonathan Brazee cleared the posting of the reading list with SFWA beforehand, so there was nothing underhanded at play. It’s a reading list, and members nominated (or didn’t) the works they read and enjoyed.
Indies have been part of SFWA’s membership for several years now, so it’s not surprising that there is now more representation at awards. I’ve interacted with many SFWA members on the forums and at conventions, so I’m not an unknown in writerly circles. Many authors don’t go indie because we couldn’t get a trad deal; we chose to self-publish because of the flexibility and income potential it affords. I am very excited to be an author during this time with so many possibilities.
Thank you for the opportunity to chime in on the discussion! I’m going to go back to writing my next book now :-).
(13) HOW MANY BOOKS A
MONTH. Sharon Lee has some interesting comments about the #CopyPasteCris
kerfuffle on Facebook. The best ones follow this excerpt.
…Unfortunately, said “writer” was not very generous to her ghosts, and. . .well, with one thing and another, said “writer’s” books, in said “writer’s” own words were found to “have plagiarism.”
(I love, love, love this quote. It’s, like, her books caught the flu or some other disease that was Completely Outside of the said “writer’s” ability to foresee or prevent. Also, she apparently doesn’t even read her “own” books.)
Anyhow, the Internet of Authors and the Subinternet of Romance Authors went mildly nuts, as is right and proper, and since none of said “writer’s” books appear to “have plagiarism” from our/my work, I’ve merely been a viewer from the sidelines…
(14) PIRACY. Meanwhile,
Jeremiah Tolbert received some demoralizing news about other shenanigans on
Trevor Noah used Sunday’s Oscars ceremony as a chance to poke fun at people who think Wakanda, the fictional African homeland of Black Panther, is a real place.
While presenting the film’s nomination for Best Picture, the South African comedian said solemnly:
“Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T’Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase.
“He says: ‘Abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka’, which means: ‘In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.”
But that’s not what that phrase actually means.
The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani says the true translation into English is: “White people don’t know that I’m lying”. His joke, which was of course lost on the Academy Awards’ audience in Hollywood, tickled Xhosa speakers on social media.
The new documentary, Life After Flash, casts a wide net in terms of looking at the classic character of Flash Gordon, the 1980 big screen rendition, the questions about a sequel, and the life of its star, Sam J. Jones.
When creator Alex Raymond first published Flash Gordon in 1937, his square-jawed hero was a star polo player. For the film, he was the quarterback of the New York Jets. But in every iteration of the character, he was just a man… with a man’s courage.
In this new exclusive clip, the late Stan Lee discusses whether or not Flash Gordon counts as a ‘superhero,’ since he has no traditional superpowers.
Surprising no one in the history of anything ever, there’s an angry contingent of “fans” upset over a Marvel movie with a woman in the leading role coming out. Or, they’re upset that said star of that movie championed and pushed for more diversity in film journalism.
Whatever the reason, these people are throwing a massive online hissy fit, taking to review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes to make Captain Marvel’s “want to see” rating the lowest in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
[…] Whatever the cause for the online trolling, one man (a hero, or quite possibly, a reasonable adult) is telling all these upset dudes: Knock it off!
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Kitbull
on Youtube is a Pixar film
by Rosana Sullivan about the friendship between a feral cat and an abused pit
John King Tarpinian, JJ, Nancy Sauer, Gregory Benford, James Davis Nicoll, Martin
Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl
Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]
In today’s hearing on Jonathan Del Arroz v. S.F. Science Fiction Conventions, Inc., Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark H. Pierce issued a tentative ruling tossing four out of the five causes of action in Del Arroz’s lawsuit against Worldcon 76’s parent corporation. A fifth complaint, defamation, remains before the court.
Del Arroz sued SFSFC last April after the Worldcon 76 committee
announced he would not be allowed to attend the convention (“Del
Arroz Files Suit Against Worldcon 76”; “We have taken this step because he has made it
clear that he fully intends to break our code of conduct….”)
The five causes of action asserted in Del Arroz’s complaint were: (1) Violation of California Civ. Code §51 (Unruh Act, claiming discrimination based on “political affiliation and political beliefs”); (2) Violation of Civ. Code §51.5 (also a law against various forms of discrimination); (3) Violation of Civ. Code §51.7, the Bane Civil Rights Act, a law which protects against “violence, or intimidation by threat of violence” because of a political affiliation (or other arbitrary discrimination); (4) Violation of Civ. Code §52.1 (the Ralph Civil Rights Act); and (5) Defamation.
SFSFC’s attorney Ann G. Nguyen filed demurrer motions against the first four causes on October 11. A ‘demurrer’ motion is one objecting to a pleading by the opposite side, claiming opposing counsel’s claimed facts weren’t sufficient to support a cause of action. JDA’s attorney Peter Sean Bradley filed opposition responses with the court earlier this month. (The attorneys previously shared their positions in correspondence.) Nguyen also filed an Anti-SLAPP motion against the fifth cause of action.
The court sustained SFSFC’s four demurrers,
but denied the Anti-SLAPP motion.
The court ruled that in the first
two causes of action Del Arroz had claimed protections that are not part of the
law. About the Unruh Act it said —
Plaintiff has failed to identify any published California decision expressly stating that “political affiliation” is a protected classification for purposes of the Unruh Act and the Court is unaware of any.
…“Political affiliation” is simply not a personal characteristic protected under the Unruh Act.
about Section 51.5 it said –
The claim fails as a matter of law because, as explained above, “political affiliation” is not a “characteristic listed or defined in subdivision (b) or (e) of Section 51.”
The court ruled against JDA’s
third cause of action because there was no threat of violence, the sole support
for which was the committee’s email stating that “If you are found on the
premises of the convention center or any of the official convention hotels you
will be removed.”
The Court concludes that a reasonable person would not have perceived the Jan. 2, 2018 email from Lori Buschbaum as a threat of violence. Leave to amend is DENIED as the defect cannot be cured without contradicting the existing factual allegations that the sole basis for the claim is the January 2, 2018 email from Lori Buschbaum.
Likewise, the court concluded the
fourth cause failed to show any violation of the Ralph Civil Rights Act —
Under no circumstances could this be objectively construed as a threat of violence against a specific person (Plaintiff) made by a person (Lori Buschbaum) with the apparent ability to carry out such a threat.
SFSFC’s Anti-SLAPP motion to strike the fifth cause of action, defamation, was denied by the court. SLAPP refers to a “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” a suit intended to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. California law counters SLAPPs by allowing a defendant to make a special motion to strike a complaint when it arises from conduct that falls within the rights of petition or free speech.
To receive protection under the anti-SLAPP statute, SFSFC had to show that its statement why Del Arroz wouldn’t be allowed to attend the Worldcon was “made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest.” If they satisfied those conditions, then JDA would have to prove there is a probability he would succeed with his defamation claim. However, the court decided that while SFSFC made its statement in a public forum, this was not “an issue of public interest.”
Defendant’s special motion to strike the fifth cause of action for defamation is DENIED for failure to meet the initial burden to establish that Plaintiff’s defamation claim is based on its protected activity. Defendant’s publicly accessible web site and social media sites do constitute “public forums” for purposes of the anti-SLAPP statute.
However Defendant has failed to establish that its statement that Plaintiff had been barred from the convention because of “racist” and “bullying” behavior (and this is the only reasonable interpretation of Defendant’s statement) concerned a matter of public interest.
…Defendant’s evidence (in particular the declarations of Kevin Roche and Charles Serface) fails to establish that its statement regarding Plaintiff was made in the context of an “ongoing controversy, dispute or discussion,” of interest to a definable, measurable portion of the public. At best Defendant’s evidence shows that Plaintiff engaged in online arguments with a handful of identified persons in which he used disparaging insults (but notably not any clearly racist ones). This evidence does not support Defendant’s “public controversy” argument with any actual evidence that any sizable portion of Defendant’s claimed membership of 7,812 persons (let alone the “science fiction community as a whole,” which Defendant fails to even define much less explain how its awareness and engagement could be or were measured) was even aware of Plaintiff’s identity, much less his disagreements with a handful of identified persons or with Defendant as an organization and was engaged in a discussion about the subject before Defendant’s January 4, 2018 announcement that Plaintiff had been banned from attending the convention because “racist and bullying behavior is not acceptable,” clearly referring to some (unidentified) behavior of Plaintiff.
Because the Court finds that Defendant has not met its burden on the first step of the analysis, it is not necessary for the Court to address the second step.
The tentative ruling will dispose of the first four causes of action unless Del Arroz appeals, and the case will continue with just the defamation claim.
I don’t know where to start. There was this writer of short science fiction stories in ’60s and ’70s who was very feted, and of the level of Philip K. Dick, or Ursula Le Guin. He was really creating the most powerful stories of gender and of being an outsider. But they were so potent, very prescient; because it’s almost the world we’re living in now. So they were written 50 years ago. They’re incredibly relevant still, and then he was sort of well known. His stories were well known, but no one knew who he was for 10 years, and then eventually someone uncovered his identity to be a woman in her 60s, in I think Virginia. This woman’s story is unbelievable. Unbelievable. And she was a genius. So I want to tell her story.
So you’ll make something episodic at a network?
Yeah, but including her short stories within. It’s not a straight biopic; so aliens from her stories inhabit her true world, and then she will be in the world of her stories, and it’s so exciting to me. It’s science fiction, which I love. I came across that because I was being given a lot of science fiction scripts. And I thought, “Where are the female science fiction stories?” So I Googled “female science fiction”, and I came across her! It was so hard to get the rights. And then I got all the rights to these stories, so it’s just meant to be. I could sit for hours and tell you how we got these rights. I’m working with producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, who is wonderful. He’s engaged with a company called Imperative, and so that’s the deal at the moment. But Imperative has thrown some money at the development, but we want to keep control of it. So we didn’t want to go to HBO and have it sit on a shelf and not get made, for example. So, we want to come with a pilot and a bible, so I’m working on that at the moment.
Taking place in Scarborough, just down the coast from Whitby – the town that provided so much of the inspiration for Stoker’s iconic Dracula – this is an event not to be missed for writers and readers of horror fiction.
The event is delighted to confirm its Mistress of Ceremonies for the weekend will be author A.K. Benedict, who will be launching the weekend’s proceedings. A.K. Benedict was educated at Cambridge, University of Sussex and Clown School. Described by the Sunday Express as ‘one of the new stars of crime fiction with a supernatural twist’, AK Benedict’s debut novel, The Beauty of Murder, was shortlisted for an eDunnit award and is in development for TV by Company Pictures. Her second novel from Orion, The Evidence of Ghosts, is a love song to London and shows her obsession with all things haunted. Her radio drama includes Doctor Who and Torchwood plays for Big Finish and a modern adaptation of M.R. James’ Lost Hearts for Bafflegab/Audible.
(3) ODYSSEY WORKSHOP
SCHOLARSHIPS. Here is an overview of “2019
Odyssey Writing Workshop Scholarship Opportunities”. The Odyssey Writing Workshop is an acclaimed, six-week
program for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror held each summer in
New Hampshire. Writers apply from all over the world; only fifteen are
George R.R. Martin sponsors the Miskatonic Scholarship, awarded each year to a promising writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, a type of fiction Martin loves and wants to encourage. The scholarship covers full tuition, textbook, and housing. Martin says, “It’s my hope that this new scholarship will offer an opportunity to a worthy applicant who might not otherwise have been able to afford the Odyssey experience.” Applicants must demonstrate financial need in a separate application. Full details at the link.
Bestselling author and Odyssey graduate Sara King is sponsoring the Parasite Publications Character Awards to provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend this summer’s Odyssey. The Parasite Publications Character Awards, three scholarships in the amounts of $2,060 (full tuition), $500, and $300, will be awarded to the three members of the incoming class who are deemed extraordinarily strong character writers, creating powerful, emotional characters that grab the reader and don’t let go. No separate application is required.
The new Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship will be offered to a Canadian writer admitted to Odyssey. This scholarship, funded by alumni and friends of Chris, will cover $900 of tuition.
One work/study position is also available. The work/study student spends about six hours per week performing duties for Odyssey, such as photocopying, sending stories to guests, distributing mail to students, and preparing for guest visits. Odyssey reimburses $800 of the work/study student’s tuition.
The stories explore climate chaos, its aftermath, and possible ways forward through a variety of genres and styles, from science fiction and fantasy to literary fiction and prose poetry. It’s free to download in a variety of digital formats (HTML, EPUB, MOBI, and via Apple iBooks).
Table of Contents:
Kim Stanley Robinson, Foreword
Angie Dell and Joey Eschrich, Editors’ Introduction
Monarch Blue, by Barbara Litkowski
The Last Grand Tour of Albertine’s Watch, by Sandra K. Barnidge
Half-Eaten Cities, by Vajra Chandrasekera
Darkness Full of Light, by Tony Dietz
Luna, by David Samuel Hudson
Tuolumne River Days, by Rebecca Lawton
The Most Beautiful Voyage in the World, by Jean McNeil
Orphan Bird, by Leah Newsom
The Office of Climate Facts, by Mitch Sullivan
Losing What We Can’t Live Without, by Jean-Louis Trudel
About the Contributors
Honorable Mention: 2018 Contest Semifinalists
(5) HUGO VOTER ELIGIBILITY. Dublin 2019 is fixing this –
(6) MY KINGDOM FOR CANON. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Retcons are king. Or kinda want to be. The Daily Dot stares into the abyss at the
changing look of Klingons over the various Star
Trek series and movies—and especially the significant changes between the
first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery
(“Here’s Why the Klingons Look Different
in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2”).
In the grand tradition of sci-fi retcons, there’s a canon explanation for the Klingons’ new look. While the humanoid Original Series Klingons were retroactively explained as victims of a genetic disease, Discovery’s bald Klingons [in season 1] were apparently making a fashion statement.
According to actress Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), designer Glenn Hetrick decided that the Klingons weren’t “bald” in season one—they just shaved their heads. Speaking at New York Comic Con last year, Chieffo said Hetrick was inspired by the Next Generation episode “Rightful Heir.”
“There is a reference to when [legendary Klingon hero] Kahless is brought back as a clone. The way he proves himself is he tells the story of how he cut off a lock of his hair and dipped it into a volcano and made the first bat’leth, with which he killed Molor, the terrible tyrant who was running Qo’noS at the time. We took that one little beautiful seed… and kind of expanded on that, and we see that in a time of war the Klingons would shave their heads, and in a time of peace, we start to grow it back out. I really love the symbolism of that.”
Star Trek: Discovery could finally explain one of the franchise’s biggest discrepancies: why do the Klingons in The Original Series look human? The answer might be the former Starfleet Lieutenant Ash Tyler, who is the surgically altered Klingon named Voq.
[…] It’s possible Star Trek: Discovery season 1’s transformation of Voq into Ash Tyler is the forerunner to why the Klingons Captain Kirk faced in The Original Series didn’t have the ridged brows and wild hair of later Klingons. Voq was the former Torchbearer of T’Kuvma who underwent surgery to become human in a horrifically painful process that damaged his mind. His lover L’Rell oversaw the procedure to turn Voq into Ash Tyler, a Starfleet Lieutenant who was captured during the Battle at the Binary Stars. Voq ended up believing he really was Ash and fell in love with Michael Burnham but his inner Klingon kept fighting his way to the forefront.
[…] By the time Captain Kirk faced the Klingons for the first time in the Star Trek: The Original Series’ episode “Errand of Mercy”, the warrior race looked and behaved human, albeit with darker, exotic skin. Kor, the Klingon Commander, even told Kirk “our races aren’t so different”. He meant that both humans and Klingons are war-like species, but his words could also now have a deeper context: the Klingons have 24 Great Houses and it’s possible this group of Klingons underwent the same (perfected) procedure that turned Voq into Ash Tyler.
You’ll find it on the wall of nearly every school chemistry laboratory in the land.
And generations of children have sung the words, “hydrogen and helium, lithium, beryllium…” in an attempt to memorise some of the 118 elements.
This year, the periodic table of chemical elements celebrates its 150th birthday.
…The United Nations has designated 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table to celebrate “one of the most significant achievements in science”.
In March, it will be 150 years since the Russian scientist, Dmitri Mendeleev, took all of the known elements and arranged them into a table.
Most of his ideas have stood the test of time, despite being conceived long before we knew much about the stuff that makes up matter.
On Tuesday, the year will be officially launched in Paris. So, what’s so special about this iconic symbol of science?
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 29, 1923 – Paddy Chayefsky. In our circles known as the writer of the Altered States novel that he also wrote the screenplay for. He is the only person to have won three solo Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. The other winners of three Awards shared theirs. He did not win for Altered States though he did win for Network which I adore. (Died 1981.)
Born January 29, 1940 – Katharine Ross, 79. Yes, you know her as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate but that’s hardly genre, do shall we see what she done in our area of interest? Her first such work was as Joanna Eberhart in The Stepford Wives –scary film that. She shows up next as Helena in The Swarm and plays Margaret Walsh in The Legacy, both horror films. The Final Countdown sees her in the character of Laurel Scott. And Dr. Lilian Thurman is her character in the cult favorite Donnie Darko. I’m fairly sure that the only genre series she’s done is on The Wild Wild West as Sheila Parnell in “The Night of the Double-Edged Knife” episode. I did debate if the I should could I count Alfred Hitchcock Presents aa genre or not as she did an episode there as well.
Born January 29, 1977 – Justin Hartley, 42. Performer in the series as Green Arrow and Oliver Queen characters, season six on. Also director of the “Dominion” episode and the writer of the “Sacrifice” episode on that series. He’s also Arthur “A.C.” Curry in the unsold Aquaman television pilot. The latter is up on YouTube here. He’s also lead cast in a web series called Gemini Division.
Born January 29, 1978 – Catrin Stewart, 31. Jenny Flint in five episodes of Doctor Who. She was friends with Madame Vastra and Strax (informally known as the Paternoster Gang) who appeared first during the Eleventh Doctor and last during the Twelfth Doctor. Big Finish has continued them in their audiobooks. She also played Stella in two episodes of the Misfits series, and was Julia in a performance of Nineteen Eighty-Four done at London Playhouse several years back.
Not everybody gets off the ground at Hogwarts according to Berkeley Mews.
A super warning about the cold and flu season at Off the Mark.
(10) ELGIN AWARD
NOMINATIONS OPEN. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association is
taking nominations for the Elgin Award through May
15. Charles Christian will be the 2019 Elgin Awards Chair.
Only SFPA members may nominate; there is no limit to how many they can nominate, but they may not nominate their own work. Send title, author, and publisher of speculative poetry books and chapbooks published in 2017 and 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org by mail to the SFPA secretary: Renee Ya, P.O. Box 2074, San Mateo, CA 94401 USA. Books and chapbooks that placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, in last year’s Elgin Awards are not eligible.
IDW Publishing’s big 20th anniversary celebration rolls on this month as the mini-major refreshes five of their major licensed titles with a time-traveling series of oversized one-shot releases.
The January party sparkles with some of pop culture’s most treasured properties as Ghostbusters, Jem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Star Trek, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles uncover characters’ secrets and mysteries shot 20 years into the future or tugged back to the past.
Timothy the Talking Cat, billionaire CEO of publishing multinational “Cattimothy House” entered the 2020 Presidential fray, with a shock announcement on Tuesday. At a book launch in Borstworth Library, the outspoken cat and business guru laid out his vision for a new kind of US President.
CONTENT WARNING: This review discusses gun violence throughout, and includes references to child death. Also, we’re discussing the whole novella, so BEWARE SPOILERS.
Vigilance, the new novella from Robert Jackson Bennett, is out today and it’s a searing look at gun violence in the US. In this near future dystopia, John McDean is tasked with running “Vigilance”, the nation’s favourite reality programme, which releases real shooters are released on unsuspecting locations with military-grade armaments, and the resulting carnage is broadcast as a “lesson” in how to protect oneself. McDean and his crew at ONT station think they have the variables of Vigilance down to a fine art, but in the novella’s ensuing escalation find themselves taken down by one of McDean’s own blindspots, to dramatic effect.
We’ve got a lot of Bennett fans on our team here at Nerds of a Feather and when this novella came to our attention, lots of us were interested in reading it to review. That’s why, instead of taking it on alone, today I, Adri, am joined by Paul Weimer, Brian, and Joe Sherry to unpack Bennett’s highly topical novella and our reactions to it.
Margot Robbie’s next take on Harley Quinn is steeped in ’80s music video sensibilities. Gotham City’s newest protectors have arrived. Tuesday morning, following an Instagram post by Margot Robbie teasing her return as Harley Quinn, Warner Bros. released the first official behind-the scenes look at Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The first look teases viewers with quick glimpses of the main characters, who, alongside Robbie’s Harley Quinn, are comprised of Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), and Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Birds of Prey follows the events of Suicide Squad and finds Gotham City in a very different place following an apparent disappearance of Batman, and Quinn’s separation from the Joker. Harley finds herself on a continued path of redemption when she seeks to help a young girl, Cassandra Cain, escape the wrath of Black Mask by recruiting a force of Gotham heroines.
Kin Stewart used to be a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
Now, stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
(17) FROG STUFFING. Jon Del Arroz’ Happy Frogs lists are callbacks to what JDA thinks were the good old days of the Sad and Rabid Puppies. How much pull does he actually have? We’ll know if any of these names from “The Happy Frogs Hugo Award list” [Internet Archive link] show up on the 2019 ballot. (Well, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if David Weber got a nod for Best Series on his own – but that still leaves the rest of them.)
New footage from the lead-up to NASA’s first manned trip to the moon (and the landing itself) features in the upcoming documentary Apollo 11, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names,” distribution company Neon said of the film.
“Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.”
(19) LAST THOUGHTS ABOUT
BROADWAYCON. [Item by Martin Morse
Wooster.] On “Three
on The Aisle: Broadway Cosplay” at Americantheatre.org,
Elisabeth Vincentelli gives a BroadwayCon report, which begins at sixteen
minutes into the podcast and ends at 34 minutes. She did see some
cosplayers, such as a woman from West Virginia who sat on a bus wearing her
costume as the Angel from Angels in
America, and she occasionally did see fans wanting to get too close to the
stars (which in the theatre world is known as “stagedooring.”)
But she also appreciated the substantive panels, such as one on Oklahoma where cast members sang songs
they didn’t sing on stage, and noted that BroadwayCon is important enough that
stars like Kristen Chenoweth show up there unannounced. Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry
Teachout said he wanted to go next year and that “A critic incapable of
being a fan is a critic that needs therapy.”
John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ,
Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories.
Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]
Amazon has called the conclusions of a recent report into US author earnings flawed, after the Authors Guild suggested that the retail giant’s dominance could be partly responsible for the “a crisis of epic proportions” affecting writers in the US.
The report from the writers’ body, published last week, highlighted the statistic that median income from writing-related work fell to $6,080 (£4,730) in 2017, down 42% from 2009, with literary authors particularly affected. Raising “serious concerns about the future of American literature”, the writers’ body singled out the growing dominance of Amazon for particular blame. “Amazon (which now controls 72% of the online book market in the US) puts pressure on [publishers] to keep costs down and takes a large percentage, plus marketing fees, forcing publishers to pass on their losses to authors,” said the report.
But on Wednesday, Amazon took issue with the report’s conclusions. “The Authors Guild has acknowledged that there are significant differences between the data it compared in its recent survey and years prior, noting that ‘the data does not line up’,” said an Amazon statement. “As a result, many of the survey’s conclusions are flawed or contradictory. For instance, the survey also shows that earnings increased almost 17% for traditionally published authors and 89% for independent [self-published] authors, and that full-time authors saw their median income rise 13% since 2013.”
…Outreach to underserved and underrepresented writers in the SFF community
Again, the most important aspect of this, as the most underserved and underrepresented writers in the SF/F community are conservatives and Christians. These groups feel like they’re not welcome anywhere within the sphere of publishing, and it needs to change.
I’m confident Ms. Kowal will enact change here, which is the primary reason for my endorsement. I also volunteer to act as an ambassador to the conservative/Christian writing communities on her behalf, as many writers feel they can safely speak with me in confidence, when their concerns might get them ostracized or their businesses hurt if they voice their issues elsewhere. With me in such a role, we can repair the bridge in fandom so we can make it about books again, and selling for authors, and not about petty political squabbles.
Ms. Kowal has demonstrated to me personally that she is sincere in this effort by attempting to assist me with Worldcon 2018 when they horribly discriminated against me last year because of my outspoken beliefs, and because I was under threat of physical harm being done to me at their convention by extreme left-wing agitators. The cycle of victim blaming must stop, and Kowal has assured me SFWA will not be an organization that will treat conservative authors as 2nd class citizens. This is a human rights issue and very big for me!
But Kowal also puts her money where her mouth is. When I was coming up and needed promotion as a writer, Kowal featured me on her blog not just once—but twice, and the second after I’d already become a prominent outspoken conservative within the community. She cares about books FIRST – and this is what sets her apart from others.
I’m excited for her tenure so I can finally join the professional guild (as is my due) without being shut down and held to standards others within SFWA are not.
Discovery season one seemed like a declarative end of a chapter with the Federation-Klingon war coming to its conclusion. Why did you choose to start the second chapter by bringing in the Enterprise, considering its notoriety?
We discover in season one that Michael has a relationship with Spock. The mystery of why Spock, who we’ve known for over 50 years, has never mentioned his sister, is huge. It felt like there was no way we were going to be able to answer that question in one or two episodes. It was easily going to be the substance of a whole season. This season is a deep-dive into that relationship and what went wrong, their history and where they’re headed. That excited me. It’s the unwritten chapter of how Spock became the character that we meet in the original series. We’ll come to understand that were it not for his relationship with Michael, many of the things we know and love about Spock may not have flowered in the way that they did.
…Launching into this first episode reminded me that I do actually like these characters. I felt happy to see Michael, Tilly, Saru and Stamets again. Also, Discovery remains visually impressive, it’s easily the best looking Star Trek. The promised story arc appears to be a mysterious simultaneous signal from five points across the galaxy — a signal that Spock knows something about and which (apparently coincidentally) Captain Pike has been tasked with investigating….
(6) COSTA BOOK AWARDS. The 2018 Costa
Book Awards, a general literary prize in the UK, have a winner of genre interest — Stuart Turton won the
First Novel award for The Seven (or 7 1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
At a party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed – again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day Aidan Bishop is too late to save her. The only way to break this cycle is to identify Evelyn’s killer. But every time the day begins again, Aidan wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is desperate to stop him ever escaping Blackheath……
Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who’s previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. He’s the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition. TV rights for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle have been optioned by House Productions. He lives in West London with his wife and daughter.
Judges: ‘Impossibly clever, genre-busting murder mystery that feels like a mash-up of Cluedo, Sherlock and Groundhog Day.’
(7) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “WCFF-Dream” on Vimeo is an animated version of “I Dreamed a Dream” with many cute animals that was shown at the World Conservation Film Festival in October.
(8) PEARLMAN OBIT. Alan
R. Pearlman (1925-2019) has died at the age of 93. The New
York Times notes he was —
Founder of ARP Instruments and designer of its early synthesizers, which were used in Star Wars: A New Hope (R2-D2’s beeps), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (that infamous 5-note sequence, shown being played on an ARP 2500), and the 1980’s version of the Dr. Who theme.
[Compiled by Cat
Born January 18, 1882 – A.A. Milne. Oh Pooh has to count as genre, doesn’t he? Certainly that an exhibition entitled “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London shows his place in our culture. There’s also Once on a Time, a rather charming fairy tale by him. And though it isn’t remotely genre, i wholeheartedly recommend The Red House Mystery, a Country House Mystery that’s most excellent! (Died 1956.)
Born January 18, 1933 – John Boorman, 86. I will admit that he does not at all have a lengthy genre resume though it’s quirky one nonetheless as it manages to encompass one howlingly horrible film being Zardoz featuring Sean Connery in diapers and Excalibur giving us a bare breasted Helen Mirren as Morgana. Did you know by the way that Robert Holdstock wrote the novelisation of The Emerald Forest which he directed? He also directed Exorcist II: The Heretic which frankly the less said about, the better.
Born January 18, 1937 – Dick Durock. He was best known for playing Swamp Thing in Swamp Thing and The Return of Swamp Thing and the following television series. His only other genre appearances were in The Nude Bomb (also known as The Return of Maxwell Smart) and “The First” of The Incredible Hulk. (Died 2009)
Born January 18, 1953 – Pamela Dean, 66. Her best novel is I think Tam Lin though one could make an argument for Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary which Windling claims is her favorite fantasy novel. Her Secret Country trilogy is a great deal of fun reading. Much of her short stories are set in the Liavek shared universe created by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly. Alll of these are now available on all major digital platforms. According to the files sitting in my Dropbox folder, there’s eight volumes to the series. They’re wonderful reading. End of plug.
Born January 18, 1955 – Kevin Costner, 64. Some of his films are his genre films are really atrocious, to wit Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld, The Postman and the recent Dragonfly but I really like his Field of Dreams and his acting in it as Ray Kinsella is quite excellent. Not quite as superb as he was as “Crash” Davis in Bull Durham but damned good. I forgot until just reminded that he was Jonathan Kent in both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I know that’s two more horrid films he’s been in.
Born January 18, 1960 – Mark Rylance, 59. Prospero’s Books, an adaption of The Tempest which I really want to see, The BFG and Ready Player One are the films he’s been in. An active thespian, he’s been in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Royal Opera House, Hamlet at American Repertory Theater and Macbeth at Greenwich Theatre to show but a few of his appearances.
Born January 18, 1968 – David Ayer, 51. Film director, producer and screenwriter. Recent genre film from him were Suicide Squad and Bright, both of which have Will Smith in them and both of which, errr, were utter crap. He’ll be directing Gotham City Sirens which will not presumably have Will Smith in it. Yes I’m being snarky.
(10) SIGNS OF SPRING. Jonathan
Cowie announced that the Spring edition of SF2 Concatenation is now online,
with its rich mix of con reports, articles, seasonal giant news page and loads of
In a paper titled “Lego — The Toy of Smart Investors,” Dobrynskaya analyzed 2,300 sets sold from 1987 to 2015 to measure their price-return over time. She found that collections used for Hogwarts Castles and Jedi star fighters beat U.S. large-cap stocks and bonds, yielding 11 percent a year. Smaller kits rose more than medium-sized ones, similar to the size effect in the Fama-French model (though the relation isn’t exact).
Lego sets that focus on superheroes, Batman and Indiana Jones are among the ones that do best over time. The Simpsons is the only Lego theme that has lost value, falling by 3.5 percent on average.
The Harald Mogensen Prisen for the best thriller went to Jesper Stein for his novel Solo.
The Danish Criminal Academy’s debut award was won by Søren Sveistrup for the thriller novel “Kastanjemanden” (The Chestnut Man).
The Palle Rosenkrantz Award for this year’s best foreign thriller novel has been awarded to Michael Connelly for Two Kinds of Truth. The award recognizes the best crime fiction novel published in Danish. It is named in honour of Palle Rosenkrantz (1867-1941), who is considered the first Danish crime fiction author; his novel Mordet i Vestermarie (Murder in Vestermarie) was published in 1902.
(13) J FOR JANUARY AND JOY.
Cora Buhlert’s guest post “Space Opera and Me”
is part of the Month of Joy project of the Skiffy
and Fanty Show:
At the time, a friend asked me why I always watched Star Trek, even though I’d seen much of it before and it was all the same anyway. “You watch soap operas, don’t you?” I asked her. She nodded and said, “Yes, to relax.” – “Well, Star Trek is my soap opera,” I told her.
I was on to something there, because there are similarities between space operas and soap operas beyond the fact that both started out as derogatory terms including the word “opera”. Both soap operas and space operas (and actual operas for that matter) offer larger-than-life drama with a huge cast of characters. Both offer the grand spectrum of emotion, love and hate, birth and death, weddings and funerals. However, space opera has aliens, ray guns, starships and space battles to go with the melodrama.
Another thing that unites space operas and soap operas is that no matter how fascinating the settings, how shocking the twists, how grand the melodrama, what makes us come back for more are the characters. The best space and soap operas feature people (in the loosest sense of the term) we want to spend time with, whether it’s in the mundane surroundings of Coronation Street or Lindenstraße or on the deck of a starship or the surface of an alien planet.
(14) FLOCKS OF HUGO RECOMMENDATIONS.
Nerds of a Feather makes its collective
picks in several Hugo categories at each post. Examples are included below.
(15) HOW WE GOT HERE. An article in this
week’s Nature reminds me of the old
t-shirt design pointing out “You are here” — “The
Once and Future Milky Way” [PDF file].
Data from the Gaia spacecraft are radically transforming how we see the evolution of our Galaxy.
There was a a smashup between the young Galaxy and a colossal companion . That beast once circled the Milky Way like a planet around a star, but some 8 billion to 11 billion years ago, the two collided, massively altering the Galactic disk and scattering stars far and wide. It is the last-known major crash the Galaxy experienced before it assumed the familiar spiral shape seen today. Although the signal of that ancient crash had been hiding in plain sight for billions of years, it was only through the Gaia space probe’s data set that astronomers were finally able to detect it.
Simulation software that can create accurate “digital twins” of entire cities is enabling planners, designers and engineers to improve their designs and measure the effect changes will have on the lives of citizens.
Cities are hugely complex and dynamic creations. They live and breathe.
Think about all the parts: millions of people, schools, offices, shops, parks, utilities, hospitals, homes and transport systems.
Changing one aspect affects many others. Which is why planning is such a hard job.
So imagine having a tool at your disposal that could answer questions such as “What will happen to pedestrian and traffic flow if we put the new metro station here?” or “How can we persuade more people to leave their cars at home when they go to work?”
This is where 3D simulation software is coming into its own.
Architects, engineers, construction companies and city planners have long used computer-aided design and building information modelling software to help them create, plan and construct their projects.
But with the addition of internet of things (IoT) sensors, big data and cloud computing, they can now create “digital twins” of entire cities and simulate how things will look and behave in a wide range of scenarios.
We’re looking at Saturn at a very special time in the history of the Solar System, according to scientists.
They’ve confirmed the planet’s iconic rings are very young – no more than 100 million years old, when dinosaurs still walked the Earth.
The insight comes from the final measurements acquired by the American Cassini probe.
The satellite sent back its last data just before diving to destruction in the giant world’s atmosphere in 2017.
“Previous estimates of the age of Saturn’s rings required a lot of modelling and were far more uncertain. But we now have direct measurements that allows us to constrain the age very well,” Luciano Iess from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, told BBC News.
You can tell a lot about an animal from the way it moves, which is why scientists have been recreating the movements of an extinct crocodile-like creature called Orobates pabsti. Orobates lived well before the time of the dinosaurs and is what’s called a ‘stem amniote’ – an early offshoot of the lineage which led to birds, reptiles and mammals. Using 3D scans of an exquisitely preserved Orobates fossil – and an associated set of fossilised footprints – researchers were able to build a dynamic computer simulation of the creature’s movement. The simulation incorporates data from extant animals such as lizards and salamanders to create more realistic motion as it walks along. And the simulation didn’t just stay on a computer; the researchers tested the models in the real world using a Orobates robot, helping bring this ancient creature to life.
Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, SF Concatenation’s
Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, Martin
Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs
to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
It is with excitement that I write to share that Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon is expanding.
We have watched as membership increases beyond our expectations, and have been working for some time now on how to ensure we can welcome and accommodate everyone.
We also want to ensure that any expansion works to improve the experience for members who come along, while taking into account that there is not a building directly next to the Convention Centre Dublin that we can expand into.
Eight hundred and fifty meters from the CCD, or just over half a mile, are a number of facilities that we have decided to hire and use at a wonderful location called The Point. Conveniently, there is a Luas stop outside the CCD and one outside our new facilities, with direct tram travel between them. The facilities include hotel function rooms for over 300 people, auditorium space in the Odeon Cinema for 1,000 people, 2,600 sq metres of extra exhibits space, and a number of bars, social spaces, and restaurants, all in one ‘Block’.
The additional space is not only desirable to accommodate our members, but also to accommodate everything we want to celebrate and bring to our members. It allows elements such as our art show to increase their footprint, it allows programme to programme more items for the 800 potential participants who have signed up already, it allows us to include an amazing installation from a featured artists, it will allow us to have more large displays, and it will allow us to increase dealers’ space and our ‘creative alley’.
The new spaces are the Odeon Cinema, The ‘Warehouse’, and the Gibson hotel.
More details at the link.
(2) MAPPING IRELAND’S MT. TSUNDOKU. [Item by Olav Rokne.]The Guardian’s Jack Fennell (@JFennellAuthor), who literally wrote the book on Irish science fiction, shared his list of the “Top 10 Irish science fiction authors”. If you’re looking for some reading to get you in the mood for Dublin 2019, this might be a good place to look. It is surprising to note that he omitted mention of James White’s media tie-in novel for the TV series Earth Final Conflict.
Spare and Found Parts is a homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a feminist dissection of creativity and interpersonal relationships, and a dystopian critique of Irish society. Set in a disease-ravaged future Dublin, the story follows Nell Crane, a talented roboticist who decides to construct a companion for herself out of items she salvages from a nearby beach. Griffin refers to herself as a “spec”(speculative) writer, rather than declaring allegiance to any one genre, but her appreciation for sci-fi, horror and fantasy bleeds through all her work.
(3) NO NINE WORLDS IN 2019? Former committee member Steve Lacey casts doubt on the chances of there being a Nine Worlds next year. Thread starts here. (The London convention Nine Worlds announced in August that they are “beginning a process of reconstitution”.)
It’s 1962. You are Irwin Donenfeld, executive vice president for DC Comics, the 800-pound gorilla of superhero comics. You are riding high on the Silver Age of comics, having revived superhero comics from their near-death experience at the hands of Fredric Wertham, the New York District Attorney, and Congress itself. A dozen new versions of 1940s legends have poured from your offices since 1956 along with brand-new successes. The secret? Showcase, a comic invented purely to give tryouts to comic concepts and get the fans, the readers, the buyers to write in insisting that one or another of them be given their own titles. The Barry Allen Flash emerged from Showcase #4, The Challengers of the Unknown in #6, Lois Lane in #8, Green Lantern in #22, Aquaman in #30, the Atom in #34.
(6) WHAT HORROR WRITERS EAT. The “Winners of the 2018 Cookbook Contest” have been announced by the Horror Writers Association. They’ll publish the winning recipes and photos in their January newsletter.
Owl Goingback – Indian Pumpkin Fry Bread
2nd Place – Tie
Dan Rabarts – Slow-Cooked Minotaur Shanks
Kelly Robinson – Blue Hubbard Squash Tarts & Cemetery Quiche
…Ten years ago when Ink first hit shelves, it would have been a difficult read. Now, the images of tattoos, GPS trackers, internment camps, border dumps are all too mainstream. Just like Twitter in the novel, these stories fill my timeline. This past weekend, a brief discussion popped up on my timeline regarding good speculative fiction: it’s not meant to predict the future but warn against a type of future…
At their peak in 1954, unions represented almost a third of workers in the United States, and it was easy to take their existence — and their action as a counterbalance to the power of capital — for granted. Even employees in non-union workplaces enjoyed gains because employers had to keep up with union shops to retain and recruit labour.
But despite their prevalence in society, labour unions were largely absent from science fictional narratives during the Golden Age, and their few portrayals in the genre are usually either comedic or antagonistic.
As labour activist and science fiction author Eric Flint pointed out atWorldCon76, the major contributors to the development of science fiction — from the dawn of the Golden Age of Science Fiction through this era of union organizing and stability — were largely drawn from academic circles or the upper middle class. Despite working for a living, these authors and editors did not see themselves as part of the proletariat, and thus based their narratives on assumptions that their privileged working relationships allowed them to hold.
December 19, 1958 — The first known radio broadcast from outer space was transmitted when President Eisenhower’s recorded voice issued a holiday greeting for the whole world from the Atlas satellite which was launched the previous day.
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 19, 1902 – Sir Ralph Richardson. God in Time Bandits but also Earl of Greystoke in Greystoke:The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and Chief Rabbit In Watership Down. Also the Head Librarian in Rollerball. And a caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And Satan in the Tales from the Crypt film. Oh my he had an interesting genre film career! (Died 1983.)
Born December 19, 1960 – Dave Hutchinson, 58. Best known for his Fractured Europe series which consists of Europe in Autumn, Europe at Midnight, Europe in Winter and Europe at Dawn. Great reading! He’s got a lot of other genre fiction as well but I’ve not delved into that yet.
Born December 19, 1969 – Kristy Swanson, 49. Her first starring genre film role was in Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend, but no doubt her best known genre role was as the original Buffy. She also shows up in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Phantom, Not Quite Human and The Black Hole. For the record, I like her version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Born December 19, 1972 – Alyssa Milano, 46. Phoebe Halliwell in the long running Charmed series. Other genre appearances include on Outer Limits, Fantasy Island, Embrace of the Vampire, Double Dragon, the Young Justice animated series as the voice of Poison Ivy and more voice work in DC’s The Spectre, an excellent animated short.
Born December 19, 1975 – Brandon Sanderson, 43.Best known for the Mistborn series . He is also known for finishing Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time .OK I’m going to freely admit I’ve not read either of these series. Opinions please.
Born December 19, 1979 – Robin Sloan, 39. Author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore which definitely has fantasy elements in it is a damn fine read. His second novel which he sent me to me consider reviewing, Sourdough or, Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market, is also probably genre but is also weirdly about food as well. And he’s a really nice person as well.
Born December 19, 1980 – Jake Gyllenhaal, 38. First genre role was the lead in Donnie Darko. Later roles have included The Day After Tomorrow, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Source Code and the forthcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.
(14) THE SOUND OF M.R. JAMES. SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie recommends these Christmas short audio ghost stories from the BBC and M.R. James (grandmaster of horror). “They are only 14 minutes long and perfect to bring a delightful shiver to the festive season. Yesterday’s was this one –“
“Casting the Runes” by the master of the ghost story, M.R. James. The tale of a curse passed on by a curiously inscribed slip of paper.
This story inspired the film Night of the Demon (1957). You can hear it online for the next 28 days.
(15) READING BY GASLIGHT.Did somebody hack JDA’s blog? There’s a new post, “On Bullying And ComicsGate” [Internet Archive ink], which begins —
… there’s no guarantee that the results you get back from a DNA-testing company are particularly meaningful or even accurate. Earlier this year, a company called Orig3n, which claims to offer fitness and lifestyle advice based on your genes, failed to note that a sample of submitted DNA actually came from a Labrador retriever.
(17) EXPLAINING THAT FLOPPEROO. Looper would be delighted to have you watch their video explaining why Mortal Engines tanked, although by the time you’ve read the “hook” you may already know all they have to say:
Mortal Engines was a massive flop at the box office. What was the reason that this potential series builder bombed so hard at the box office, really? There’s a lot to unpack with this movie – which potentially just killed a franchise. Despite a $100 million budget, and a marketing budget of more than $120 million, Mortal Engines pulled in a measly $7.5 million domestic in its opening weekend – only good enough for fifth place. What went wrong exactly? Well, we can start by looking at the marketing. Despite a lot of cash and ads, unless you were familiar with the 2001 Philip Reeve book (and books after), the idea of cities on wheels that roll around and gobble up smaller cities sounds… well… silly. The ads didn’t do a very good job explaining what exactly was going on. Another issue was the presentation: Is this a drama? An action movie? Is it a teen drama? If you went with teen drama for Mortal Engines you’d be correct, and we are at a time when teen/young adult dramas are flopping left and right; the timing was rather poor. Then Mortal Engines had the misfortune of opening against Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and The Mule – which eliminated two major age groups from seeing it. Add in a surprise exclusive showing of Aquaman via Amazon Prime and holdovers like Ralph Breaks The Internet, it’s not a surprise at all that the city on wheels movie never got rolling.
In May of next year, Will Smith is hoping to enchant audiences with his depiction of the Genie in the latest live action remake of a classic Disney animated film, ‘Aladdin’. This project is directed by Guy Ritchie (‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’) and also stars Mena Massoud (‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’) as Aladdin, Naomi Scott (‘Power Rangers’) as Princess Jasmine, and Marwan Kenzari (‘Murder on the Orient Express’) as the villainous Jafar, as well as Numan Acar, Billy Magnussen, Navid Negahban, and Nasim Pedrad.
To prepare you for your trip to Agrabah, Disney has released a series of first-look photos from the film…
The American space agency’s New Horizons probe remains on course for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule…
When the mission sweeps past the 30km wide object on New Year’s Day, it will be making the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body – at some 6.5 billion km from Earth.
Mission planners decided at the weekend to forego a possible trajectory change.
It means the probe will get to fly 3,500km from icy Ultima’s surface to take aseries of photos and other data.
There had been some concern that the object might be surrounded by large debris particles which could destroy the probe if it were to run into them. But nothing of the sort has been detected and so a wider, safer pass will not be needed.
Dozens of well-preserved dinosaur footprints from at least 100 million years ago have been uncovered in East Sussex.
At least seven different species were identified by University of Cambridge researchers during the past four winters following coastal erosion along the cliffs near Hastings.
They range in size from less than 2cm to more than 60cm across, and are so well-preserved that even the skin, scales and claws are easily visible.
There are more than 85 markings, all of which date from the early Cretaceous period.
(22) WHAT’S UP, DOCS? The American Chemical Society sent out a story about how “Rabbit gene helps house plant detoxify indoor air.”
A genetically modified houseplant can efficiently remove toxins from the air.
Our homes are supposed to be safe havens from the outside world. However, studies have shown that household air is more polluted than either office or school air, exposing children and home workers to higher levels of carcinogens than the general population. Now, researchers have made a genetically modified houseplant that can efficiently remove at least two toxins from the air. They report their results in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Indoor air often contains volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, benzene and chloroform. These toxins come from many sources, including cooking, showering, furniture and smoking. House plants can remove some toxins from the air, but they aren’t very efficient: A homeowner would need more than 20 plants to remove formaldehyde from a typical room, researchers estimate. Stuart Strand and colleagues wondered if introducing a mammalian gene called CYP2E1 to a common houseplant, pothos ivy (Epipremnum aureum), would boost the plant’s detoxifying potential. his gene encodes cytochrome P450 2E1, an enzyme that breaks down a wide range of volatile organic compounds found in the home.
The team introduced rabbit CYP2E1 to the ivy’s genome and injected benzene or chloroform gas into closed vials that contained growing plants. After 3 days, the concentrations of these compounds in the vials had dropped dramatically, and by 8 days, chloroform was barely detectable. In contrast, the compounds’ concentrations in vials containing unmodified ivy or no plants did not change. The researchers estimate that a hypothetical biofilter made of the genetically modified plants would deliver clean air at rates comparable to commercial home particulate filters.
(23) MORE SEASONAL VERSE. Submitted by Anna Nimmhaus, inspired by item 14 in the December 17 Pixel Scroll. (Apologies for the formatting — I have not yet conquered the WordPress 5.0 update of a week ago.)
Pixel scroll, pixel scroll,
Pixels all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to rhyme
With Camestros today.
Scrolling pixels through
With Camestros today,
Internets we view,
Laughing all the way.
Trolls will fail to sting,
Making spirits bright.
Camestros and we shall sing
A scrolling song tonight.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ. John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, Anna Nimmhaus, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]