The Horror Writers Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards® live today at 8:00 p.m. EST. Join emcee Jonathan Maberry and guests who will present the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards®, as well as the Specialty Press Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Mentor of the Year, Richard Laymon Award, and the HWA Silver Hammer Award.
(1) MCINTYRE. Followers of CaringBridge learned today that Vonda N. McIntyre has finished work on her book. Jane Hawkins announced:
Vonda has finished Curve of the World! Be ready for a great read in a while! (No clue about publication date or anything like that.)
(2) PEAK OF THEIR CAREERS. Congratulations to Jason Heller (interviewed about his shortlisted book by File 770 in February), Alex Acks, and others whose work of genre interest made the finals of the 2019 Colorado Book Awards. Winners will be announced May 18. (Via Locus Online.)
- Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures, Alex Acks (Queen of Swords)
- While Gods Sleep, L.D. Colter (Tam Lin)
- Denver Moon: The Minds of Mars, Warren Hammond & Joshua Viola (Hex)
- Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded, Jason Heller (Melville House)
- The Lighthouse Between the Worlds, Melanie Crowder (Atheneum BFYR)
- Del Toro Moon, Darby Karchut (Owl Hollow)
- Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue, Jeff Seymour (Putnam)
(3) MARGINALIZED VOICES IN YA. Neither the headline on Katy Waldman’s New Yorker article, “In Y.A., Where Is the Line Between Criticism and Cancel Culture?”, nor the subhead, “When it comes to young-adult novels, what, precisely, is the difference between the marketplace of ideas and a Twitter mob?”, genuinely reflects her approach to the topic she discusses, however, they’re enough to help you decide whether you’d like to dive into the information she’s assembled.
…[A] disparaging Goodreads review, which took issue with Jackson’s treatment of the war and his portrayal of Muslims, had a snowball effect, particularly on Twitter. Eventually, Jackson tweeted a letter of apology to “the Book Community,” stating, “I failed to fully understand the people and the conflict that I set around my characters. I have done a disservice to the history and to the people who suffered.”
The Jackson fracas came just weeks after another début Y.A. author, Amélie Wen Zhao, pulled her novel before it was published, also due to excoriating criticisms of it on Twitter and Goodreads….
(4) DREAMING ABOUT THE DISNEY/FOX MERGER. Firefly fan and artist Luisa Salazar has created new Disney Princess images for Zoe Washburne, Inara Serra, Kaylee Frye, and River Tam.
(5) TWO RUSCH BOOKS IN NEW BUNDLE. “The 2019 Truly Epic Fantasy Bundle”, curated by Kevin J. Anderson, is available for a short time from StoryBundle.
Epic Fantasy is a genre that stretches the boundaries of the quest. Whether a triumph of good vs. evil, or a search for meaning or truth, these stories take readers to a new place.
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 five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
- Thought Gazer by Raymond Bolton
- MythWorld by James A. Owen
- Rider’s Revenge Trilogy Book 1: Rider’s Revenge by Alessandra Clarke
- The Fey Book 1: The Sacrifice by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- Set in Stone by Frank Morin
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular books, plus TEN more!
- Shadow Blade by Chris Barili
- The Taste of Different Dimensions by Alan Dean Foster
- The Whisper Prince Book 1: Fairmist by Todd Fahnestock
- The Fey Book 2: The Changeling by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- The First DragonRider by Kevin McLaughlin
- Accidental Thief by C.J. Davis and Jamie Davis
- Viridian Gate Online: Side Quests by James A. Hunter, D.J. Bodden, N.H. Paxton & More
- Half-Bloods Rising by J.T. Williams
- Nova Dragon – Book One of the Goblin Star by Gama Ray Martinez
- The Dragon’s Call Book 1: Dragon Sword by Angelique Anderson and Craig A. Price, Jr.
(6) AT THE CORE. The current Nature reports on “X-ray chimneys in the Galactic Centre”. Fermi gets mentioned, no sign of Santa, though.
X-ray observations of the Galactic Centre have uncovered chimney-like structures filled with hot plasma. The discovery might reveal how energy is transported from this central region to far-off locations….
The centre of our Galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole that currently emits electromagnetic radiation extremely weakly, but could have been much more active in the past. Observations of ?-rays have revealed two huge structures known as Fermi bubbles located above and below the Galactic plane1 . These bubbles are filled with highly energetic particles moving at close to the speed of light, which were released from the Galactic Centre a few million years ago.
What are you writing now?
Actually, my latest tie-in gig came right through IAMTW! Thanks, guys! One of our members is not only a tie-in writer himself, but is an editor for Mongoose Publishing, a British game publisher. They’re doing a reboot of the great old SF RPG, Traveller, and the editor, Matthew Sprange, asked the group for anyone familiar with the game who was interested in writing a short story tie-in. I played Traveller a lot back in my college days, and jumped at the chance. I’ve since written four stories for Mongoose and I’m delighted with the experience!
What’s your fan experience been like?
Mixed, but primarily positive. We all get those one-star reviews, right? A few stand out, however, and they are curiously all of the same theme: men who don’t like romance in their fiction. Mostly, I just eye-roll these and let them go. You don’t like romantic elements in your fiction, don’t read mine, but don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong. For the most part, the fan response has been great, and the feedback from my publishers has been wonderful. You know you’re doing your job right when people come up to you at conventions begging for your next novel, and publishers actually solicit you for work without prompting. That, above all else, speaks for itself.
(8) HANRAHAN OBIT. The International Costumers Guild reports Jamie Hanrahan died March 20. He was an early member of S.T.A.R. San Diego, and his other fanac included a term as co-editor of PyroTechnics, “The Now and Then Newsletter of General Technics.” His son Chuck wrote, “There was some kind of cardiac event and despite all heroic attempts, they were unable to restore a cardiac rhythm.”
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born March 21, 1902 — Gustav Fröhlich. Not widely known before landing the role of Freder Fredersen in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Though my German be rusty, I see no indication that anything else he did was genre in nature. (Died 1987.)
- Born March 21, 1936 — Margaret Mahy. New Zealand author of over a hundred children’s and YA books, some with a strong supernatural bent. She won the Carnegie Medal twice for two of her fantasy novels, The Haunting and for The Changeover, something only seven authors have done in total. (Died 2012,)
- Born March 21, 1946 — Timothy Dalton, 73. He is best known for portraying James Bond in The Living Daylights and License to Kill but is currently in The Doom Patrol as Niles Caulder, The Chief. As I’ve said before, go watch it now! He also was Damian Drake in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Sir Malcolm on the Penny Dreadful series and Lord President of the Time Lords (Rassilon) during the Time of Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. He went to theatre to play Lord Asriel in the stage version of His Dark Materials.
- Born March 21, 1956 – Teresa Nielsen Hayden, 63. She is a consulting editor for Tor and is best known for Making Light, ablog she shares with her husband Patrick. You can blame them for the Puppy target John Scalzi. And she is also one of the regular instructors for the writing workshop Viable Paradise.
- Born March 21, 1958 — Gary Oldman, 61. First genre film role was as Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Next up is the lead role in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And, of course, he was Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg In Fifth Element followed by being Lost in Space‘s Dr. Zachary Smith which in turn led to Harry Potter’s Sirius Black and that begat James Gordon in the Batman films. Although some reviewers give him accolades for us as role as Dr. Dennett Norton in the insipid Robocop remake, I will not. Having not seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I can’t say how he is as Dreyfus in it.
- Born March 21, 1962 — Matthew Broderick, 57. Very long, so let’s get started… He started off in WarGames but appeared over the years in Ladyhawke, Project X, The Lion King franchise (surely talking lions are genre, aren’t they?), Infinity (anything about Richard Feynman is genre), Godzilla, Inspector Gadget, the remake of The Stepford Wives, The Tale of Despereaux and Adventure Time.
- Born March 21, 1966 — Michael Carroll, 53. He also writes Judge Dreddfor 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine. He has other genre work such as the New Heroes series (known in the States as the Quantum Prophecy series) and the Pelicos Trilogy which is part noir mystery and part end of all things human as well.
- Born March 21, 1985 — Sonequa Martin-Green, 34. She currently plays Michael Burnham on Discovery. She had a brief recurring role as Tamara in Once Upon a Time and a much longer recurring role on The Walking Dead as Sasha Williams but I’ve never seen her there as zombies hold no interest to me. Well Solomon Grundy does… and she was in the Shockwave, Darkside film.
- Born March 21, 1986 — Scott Eastwood, 33. Deputy Carl Hartman in Texas Chainsaw 3D (truly horrid idea that) Lieutenant GQ Edwards in Suicide Squad and Nathan Lambert in Pacific Rim: Uprising.
(10) NAME THAT MOON. Gently thieved from John Scalzi’s Twitter feed (like so many good things are), Phil Plait’s tweet leads us to his post on SYFY Wire “Contest: Pick names for Jupiter’s new moons!”
We already have wonderful names for some of Jupiter’s moons, like Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto (the four Galilean moons), Amalthea, Metis, Adrastea, Themisto, Carpo (also the little-known sixth Marx brother), Himalia, Leda… well, you get the picture. There are dozens more.
Now that these newly discovered moons have been confirmed it’s time to name them. In general, the discoverer can suggest names to the International Astronomical Union (or IAU), the keeper of rules and lists of names. They’ll mull things over and decide if the names are up to snuff.
Faced with this, Sheppard and his team have decided to do something fun: Hold a contest where you, Earthling, can suggest names for these tiny worlds*!
All you have to do is submit your suggestions to the team by simply tweeting them to the handle @JupiterLunacy (ha!) on Twitter, either as a text tweet or as a short video, and adding the hashtag #NameJupitersMoons. Cool!
(11) GIVING WRITER’S BLOCK A NEW MEANING. Also tweeted by Scalzi — he’s discovered a use for the toxic waste social media miscreants aim at GRRM:
(12) YMMV. David Doering has a point: “Saw the announcement of a Funko Stan Lee doll on Amazon to be released in April. What made me curious is the delivery options: I do not think the word ‘Expedited’ means what you think it does…”
(13) BARRIE AWARD. Philip Pullman has won the J.M. Barrie lifetime achievement award. The Guardian has the story —
Author of His Dark Materials acclaimed as ‘a magical spinner of yarns’ who appeals to all ages – especially children
(14) SLEUTH. BookRiot has a neat quiz called “Which kickass literary investigator are you?”
(15) TOUGH NEIGHBORHOODS. At Crimereads, Adam Abramowitz discusses how gentrification threatens crime and noir fiction set in big cities, because the dodgy neighborhoods where those stories are set are rapidly vanishing: “Noir in the Era of Gentrification”.
On the New York end, the bus route would take us through the Bronx, the borough announcing itself unfailingly with the calling card of a vehicle sitting squarely on its rims, hard by the side of the highway, engulfed in flames—welcome to the Bronx! Similarly, the arrival at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 41st Street and 8th Avenue brought its own thrills. After all, it was a place described in a 1970 New York Times where “two types of people could be found inside, some are waiting for buses. Others are waiting for death.” Though they left out the pimps waiting for those starry-eyed ingénues from Middle America, those corn-fed easy marks, sad scripts in waiting.
(16) EUROPE REBUILT. Cora Buhlert’s latest article Galactic Journey is about postwar architecture: “[March 21, 1964] Building the City of the Future upon Ruins: A Look at Postwar Architecture in Germany, Europe and the World”.
…One of my favourite new buildings in my hometown Bremen is the Stadthalle, a multi-purpose arena for exhibitions, sports events and concerts. Designed by Roland Rainer and completed only this year, the Stadthalle is notable by the six concrete struts which jut out of the front of the building and hold both the stands as well as the roof in a design reminiscent of tents and sailing ships.
For the Kongresshalle conference centre in Berlin, built for the Interbau exhibition of 1957, American architect Hugh Stubbins designed a spectacular hyperbolic paraboloid saddle roof, inspired by the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. The people of Berlin quickly nicknamed the organic structure the “pregnant oyster”.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “How to Write Descriptively” on YouTube, Nalo Hopkinson, in a TedEd talk from 2015, uses the work of Kelly Link, Cornelia Funke, and Tobias Buckell to provide samples of how to write imaginatively.
[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, JJ, Frank Catalano, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
(1) MARVEL AT MOPOP. Ellie Farrell had a photo taken with a friend during her visit to MoPop’s Marvel exhibit in Seattle. Opened last Spring, the exhibit continues through March 3.
(2) SFF DOES WORK TOO. Charlie Jane Anders, in a Washington Post opinion piece “Kamala Harris is wrong about science fiction”, takes issue with Sen. Kamala Harris’s claim that “we need facts, not science fiction” to deal with climate change, saying that “science fiction creators have been doing some soul-searching that includes looking for ways we can do more to restore people’s faith in the future” in dealing with climate change, “the global crisis of democracy,” and “attacks on LGBTQ people’s right to exist.”
Sen. Kamala D. Harris was half right in her speech launching her 2020 presidential campaign when she said we need to address climate change based on “science fact, not science fiction.” The truth is, we need both. Science fiction has an important role to play in rescuing the future from the huge challenges we’re facing — and the responses to Harris’s statement illustrate this perfectly.
When the California Democrat’s statement about climate change went out on social media, a number of people pointed out the truth: Science fiction has been helping us to prepare for a world of potentially disastrous climate upheaval for years. But an equal number of loud voices took issue with Harris’s warnings about climate change, because in our post-truth era, the scientific consensus about what humans are doing to our planet is still somehow a matter of opinion.
And that’s why science fiction is more important than Harris gives it credit for. No amount of scientific evidence will convince deniers — or the vast number of people who merely live in a state of denial. We live in an era in which facts and fiction are blurring into an indistinguishable mess and power belongs to whoever can tell the best story, true or not. No one can even tell what’s real anymore, and what matters is just how something makes us feel — which is why we need better stories, that, in the words of author Neil Gaiman, “lie in order to tell the truth.”
(3) SATIRE CONSIDERED. Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency podcast for January 30 takes a look back at the original Starship Troopers movie:
You’re going to love this week’s phenomenal conversation about Starship Troopers (1997) with special guests Mary Robinette Kowal and Max Temkin! Tune in for a thought-provoking discussion (and very amicable disagreement) about how successfully the film executes its satire of fascist military fantasies. Just what are the possibilities and limits of satire? What can director Paul Verhoeven’s career tell us about this “pointed critique of American imperialism”? And exactly how long will it take Anita to remember the name of the game Spec Ops without Carolyn to help?
(4) YA UPROAR CONTINUES. On Facebook, Nick Mamatas delved into the questions surrounding Amélie Wen Zhao’s decision to pull Blood Heir (reported in yesterday’s Scroll). His post is quoted with permission:
A YA novel called BLOOD HEIR, which sounds entirely awful, has been pulled from publication by its author Amélie Wen Zhao after complaints of plagiarism, poor “Russian rep” as it was put, and anti-blackness from YA twitter aficionadi:
1. Definitely messed up Russian naming conventions—though I am happy to point out that many of the same people complaining about this book are thrilled to go see the next Avengers film, and even agitated in the past for more action figures of the Black Widow in her sexy bodysuit (you know, for young girls!), called wrongly Natasha Romanoff in the films. So there is definitely a power relationship here; this is at least partially a game of “let’s flex on the new girl” while queueing up to consume a billion dollars worth of slop from the Disney hog trough.
2. Haven’t seen any screencaps actually demonstrating plagiarism except for a single sentence (“Don’t go where I can’t follow.”) In cases like this, often people casually use the term to mean “cliché” or even “genre trope.” Frankly if people don’t like clichés and genre tropes, they shouldn’t be reading children’s literature. That said, I may have just messed the presentation of textual evidence. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a ton of plagiarism.
3. The author claims that her interest was exploring indenture as it is currently practiced in China and Asia; her critics complain that a major scene involves a black-coded girl with ocean-light eyes being auctioned off, and then dying while the main character sings her a lullaby. Sounds entirely awful. I think this is also a bit of what people mean by plagiarism—this character has been identified as smacking of Rue from HUNGER GAMES. The critics definitely seem to have a point.
4. As is common, moralism abounds. I’ve certainly seen more than one note fretting aloud that CHILDREN and the YOUTH will read this book and thus be exposed to its anti-blackness. Of course, all the right-wingers rallying against the “SJW mobs” and promising the author that *they* would read the book, ya know, to triggerown the shitlibs or whatever, are lying and performing their own version of “virtue signaling” as they call it. None of those kobolds would ever read a thing that doesn’t feature a photo of the author on a red-white-and-blue background.
I think the issue of Blood Heir was that it was trafficking in racist cliches and daring to do so with only a mere publishing company and not a giant media complex behind it. I’ll always feel a thrill when an author is punished for laziness and top-of-mind decision-making, but let’s be clear: moralism itself is a cliché as well, even when it’s left-moralism. YA twitter is absolutely a Pretty Person Club and Zhao was this year’s scapegoat. But Zhao’s crime of auctorial laziness is just one more datum point showing how sadly inadequate the acquisition and editorial process in big publishing is.
And Arthur Cover has written a public letter to Zhao which says in part –
I just wrote this letter to a young author named Amelie Zhao, who withdrew her YA fantasy novel from publication because of negative comments on line…. Obviously I feel very strongly about this….
A novel cannot be all things to all people. At least one comment on your novel that I read was from a person who felt it insufficiently validated his/her ideas about slavery and villains using a cane. Often when a character uses a cane it is symbolic of something and is not a commentary on people who use a cane in real life. Readers who can’t tell the difference aren’t your concern.
Decades ago I was in a conversation with Samuel R. Delany and when he learned that a writing class was divided equally on the merits of one of his stories, he was quite pleased. He knew he’d accomplished something because of the class’s reaction.
Do not stop. Please reconsider your decision regarding your novel. These critics (and I’ve been a nasty one) are throwing spitballs at a battleship….
(5) AUDIO PALS. In the Washington Post, Karen Heller has a piece about authors and their audiobook readers, “‘I can write the words. He supplies the melody’: The harmonious bond between authors and audiobook narrators”. Two of the authors Heller interviews are genre writers: five-time Bram Stoker Award nominee Jonathan Maberry, who says he now hears the voice of his audiobook reader, Ray Porter, in his head when he’s writing, and Canadian urban fantasy writer Kevin Hearne, who liked narrator Luke Daniels so much they’ve worked together on independent projects.
Jonathan Maberry, a fiercely prolific author of often frightening novels, hears voices rattling in his head. Specifically, one voice, that of actor Ray Porter, who narrates his audiobooks. A five-time Bram Stoker Award winner, Maberry would “imagine how Ray would inflect certain things, and I started to write toward his performance.” Be it horror, thrillers, science fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, almost three dozen novels since 2006 — this is not a typo, and excludes anthologies, short stories and comics — Porter, without contributing a word, has helped Maberry accomplish the goal of most writers: selling more books. Says Maberry, “We’re very much a team.”
(6) NEW FAN FUND IDEA. Marcin Klak has written a proposal for creating a European Fan Fund to allow people from different countries to attend Eurocon. His draft of the rules and the winner’s responsibilities begins —
Purpose: The purpose of the Fan Fund is to create and strengthen bonds between European fans and fandoms. Currently in almost every country there is a fandom that quite often has small or no connection to the broader European fandom. Most fans do concentrate on the “here and now” and are not looking for friends in other countries.
The idea: A delegate would be elected by fans across Europe to travel to Eurocon. The delegate must offer to have a talk about fandom in their country. The delegate should also offer their participation as a guest in the Eurocon Awards ceremony, Opening ceremony and Closing ceremony. Any other help from the delegate should be encouraged. It will be for the Eurocon organizers to accept that help to the extent that suits them.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born January 31, 1923 – Norman Mailer. I never knew he wrote in the genre but he did. Ancient Evenings certainly has the elements of fantasy and The Castle in the Forest is interesting retelling of Adolf Hitler and his last days. (Died 2007.)
- Born January 31, 1937 – Philip Glass, 82. 1000 Airplanes on the Roof: A Science Fiction Music-Drama, Einstein on the Beach, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 (with a libretto by Doris Lessing based on her novel of the same name), The marriages between zones three, four, and five (1997, libretto by Doris Lessing, after her second novel from Canopus in Argos), The Witches of Venice and The Juniper Tree would be a fragmentary listing of his works that have a genre bias.
- Born January 31, 1960 – Grant Morrison, 59. If you can find it, his early stuff on such U.K. publishers as Galaxy Media and Harrier Comics is worth searching out. Not your hero in tights materials at all. For his work in that venue, I’d recommend his run on The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul, all of his Doom Patrol work (and the DC Universe series this fall is based on his work), Seven Soldiers and his weird The Multiversity.
- Born January 31, 1977 – Kerry Washington, 42. Alicia Masters in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Also played Medical Officer Marissa Brau in 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea. She voices Natalie Certain in Care 3. She also voices Princess Shuri in a short run Black Panther series.
(8) MR. & MRS. Bill writes, “The 1/29 scroll item about Tiptree got me to looking things up, and I found the attached” – a bit of social news from the Chicago Tribune for January 24, 1946. Definitely still news to me.
(9) WRONG ON JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter spotted another bad guess on tonight’s episode of Jeopardy!
Category: Scribbling Siblings
Answer: Aviation writer Robert Serling helped little bro Rod with “The Odyssey of Flight 33” episode of this series.
Wrong answer: What is “Star Trek”?
(10) GALAPAGOS AIR FORCE. BBC tells how “Drones help Galapagos tackle rat infestation”.
Drones are helping conservationists rid one Galapagos island of an infestation of rats threatening indigenous birds.
The drones have dropped poison on more than half of North Seymour Island in a bid to kill off the invasive species.
The island’s rare birds nest on the ground and their numbers are being depleted by the rodent invasion.
The drones work much faster and more cheaply than helicopters which have been used in similar rat eradication projects elsewhere.
(11) TRACING CLIMATE HISTORY. Researchers think “America colonisation ‘cooled Earth’s climate’”.
Colonisation of the Americas at the end of the 15th Century killed so many people, it disturbed Earth’s climate.
That’s the conclusion of scientists from University College London, UK.
The team says the disruption that followed European settlement led to a huge swathe of abandoned agricultural land being reclaimed by fast-growing trees and other vegetation.
This pulled down enough carbon dioxide (CO?) from the atmosphere to eventually chill the planet.
It’s a cooling period often referred to in the history books as the “Little Ice Age” – a time when winters in Europe would see the Thames in London regularly freeze over.
“The Great Dying of the Indigenous Peoples of
the Americas led to the abandonment of enough cleared land that the resulting terrestrial carbon uptake had a detectable impact on both atmospheric CO? and global surface air temperatures,” Alexander Koch and colleagues write in their paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews.
(12) THE ELEPHANT (SEAL) IN THE ROOM. Look what happens when those pesky humans aren’t around — “Seals take over California beach closed in US shutdown”.
A large herd of elephant seals has taken over a beach in California that was forced to close during the government shutdown.
The seals took advantage of the 35-day shutdown to make themselves at home on Drakes Beach, and in its car park.
So far they have been spotted lying on their stomachs, taking naps and occasionally snuggling their pups.
The beach will remain closed until the seals decide to move on – although it’s not clear when that will be.
(13) HELP WANTED. There’s a job vacancy in Gotham: “Ben Affleck signals Batman departure”.
Holy recasting, Batman! The search is on for a new Dark Knight following Ben Affleck’s apparent confirmation that he is hanging up his Bat cape.
The actor effectively said as much by retweeting a story saying Matt Reeves’ The Batman would be made without him.
“Excited for #TheBatman in Summer 2021 and to see @MattReevesLA vision come to life,” Affleck wrote.
The 46-year-old first appeared as the comic book superhero in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
(14) DEATH RIDES A BOBBLEHEAD. Matt Monaghan, in “The Dia de Los Dodgers Skull Bobblehead is Amazing” on Cut4 has one of the all-time greatest fantasy bobbleheads EVER.
Bobblehead nights happen all the time at baseball games. Already this year, there’s been one for a nun, one for Pitbull and one for a bald eagle that flew into a pitcher’s face. But during Wednesday’s Rockies-Dodgers game, we may have found the coolest bobblehead ever: The Dia de Los Dodgers sugar skull bobblehead.
(15) STAN LEE GIVEN POSTHUMOUS KEY TO THE CITY. Hey, it’s LA. L. Ron Hubbard put out books here for years after he died. Who’s to say Stan won’t get some use from it? That was just part of what happened at the celebrity-studded tribute to Stan Lee on Wednesday night: “Stan Lee’s Friends and Fans Pay Tearful, Funny Tribute to Their ‘Generalissimo’” in The Hollywood Reporter.
…Hosting the show was Lee’s long-time friend and fan, filmmaker Kevin Smith, who was sure to note that Lee was “one of the best humans to ever walk the Earth” before inviting everyone to enter the theater. The theater itself was transformed into a monument to the man, with some of his most beloved comics on display, from the first appearance of Spider-Man and Black Panther to some of the most iconic adventures of the Fantastic Four. Costumes from the Sony-led Spider-Man films were displayed inside glass cases, but it was the energy in the room that truly punctuated the evening.
Smith put it best at the beginning of the tribute: “This is not a funeral, though he’s gone. This is a celebration! That’s how religions start. We all agree that we saw him tonight and that he’s no longer gone. Stan’s spirit is here with us.” With all the outpourings of love in the room, it’d be hard to argue otherwise. Copious footage of Lee played throughout the evening, including a touching clip of him singing “Cocktails for Two”, with all the energy of someone in their twenties, as his embarrassed assistants set up his microphone.
Smith kicked off the evening with the story of how he met Stan for his movie Mallrats and the grand efforts it took to convince the then less-recognizable legend to appear in his film after Lee read the script and remarked “I would never say this.” Smith admitted that Lee himself was never quite accepting or aware of his successes, despite his put on braggadocio. “This was a guy who spent his life dreaming of writing the great American novel, and he didn’t realize that he had been successful and fulfilled his dreams one-thousand times over,” Smith said. Smith himself admitted that “it was hard to understand that we were friends” before eventually coming to realize just how much Lee loved him.
…Perhaps the biggest moment of the night came with the appearance of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who detailed Lee’s love affair with L.A. before running through a detailed catalogue of his own nerdiness, including a proclamation that no one could offer him enough money to let go of his complete collection of original copies of the Wolverine comic series. Garcetti made it clear, “Stan Lee was a mensch who always fought for the underdog”, before presenting Stan’s former company Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment with Garcetti’s third ever “Key to the City”, carved from a fallen tree and engraved with Stan’s image and catchphrase “Excelsior!”
(16) IN THE SPIRIT OF IAIN M. BANKS. A funny thread about pet names for weaponry – begins here.
(17) DEALING WITH A FOOD EVANGELIST. “Dear Mother Goose”, an advice column for children’s book characters, by Slate’s Emma Span. Here’s the problem, click to read Mother’s answer:
Dear Mother Goose,
I am being aggressively pursued by someone (I’ll call him S.I.A.) who is bizarrely obsessed with getting me to eat “green eggs and ham.” He has offered no explanation of where the ham and eggs came from, why they are green, or why he cares if I eat them. I have calmly and clearly turned him down, but he is following me everywhere, carrying a plate of food, which by now is cold, dirty, and wet as well as green. Nevertheless, S.I.A. thinks I might like the food. He has brought a mouse, a fox, and a goat to me, as if that would change my mind. We were even involved in a boating accident because of his behavior….
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Olav Rokne, John A Arkansawyer, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]
(1) #2018NEBULAS. More from Grandmaster Peter S. Beagle’s reception.
— Jason Sanford (@jasonsanford) May 18, 2018
— Sarah Guan (@ #Nebulas2018) (@Sarah_Guan) May 18, 2018
(2) #2018NEBULAS PANEL LIVETWEET. All summed up here: “Thread by @sfwa: ‘Hello ! Panel live tweet starts NOW, with “How to fail gracefully,” with Michael Underwood, Carrie DiRisio, Vanessa Rose Phin, […]’”
(3) #2018NEBULAS LIVESTREAM. Really?
Thanks for watching @sfwa's #Nebulas2018 livestream! Programming resumes tomorrow EDT:
1pm How to Teach Classes in Storytelling
2:30pm Social Media Theory and Practice
4pm What Science Fiction Can Learn from Archaeology
7:15pm Market Presentation by Data Guy
8:30pm Nebula Awards! pic.twitter.com/VCbz8D7wPQ
— Diane Morrison (Sable Aradia) #author #SFF #Pagan (@SableAradia) May 18, 2018
(4) SF EXHIBIT. Six Pasadena museums will open their doors on May 20, including the Pasadena Museum of History — “Free Day: 2018 Museums of the Arroyo Day at PMH”. Guess what you can see for free…
At PMH, delve into the worlds of science fiction in the multifaceted exhibition, Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science, Fiction, & Southern California. The exhibit explores how the literary genre interacted with the advances of science, the changes in technology, and shifts in American society during five pivotal decades, the 1930s to the 1980s. Visitors will enjoy a fantastic array of vintage costumes and movie props, fantasy art and illustrations, original manuscripts, robotic toys, and fan gear.
(5) F&SF. Galactic Journey’s time traveler Gideon Marcus experienced an especially good day in 1963 — “[May 18, 1963] (June 1963 Fantasy and Science Fiction)”’
Every so often, you get a perfect confluence of events that makes life absolutely rosy. In Birmingham, Alabama, the segregationist forces have caved in to the boycott and marching efforts of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Two days ago, astronaut Gordo Cooper completed a day-and-a-half in orbit, putting America within spitting distance of the Russians in the Space Race. And this month, Avram Davidson has turned out their first superlative issue of F&SF since he took the editorial helm last year….
(6) ETERNAL FLAME. Michael Moorcock tells why Fahrenheit 451 endures: “The Truth of Ray Bradbury’s Prophetic Vision” at LitHub.
In the late 1960s my friend J. G. Ballard phoned me full of outrage. Feeling weighed down by the bad prose cluttering his study, he had dug a pit in his back garden and thrown his review copies in, splashing them with a little petrol. But they proved harder to burn than he thought, so he put one in the kitchen oven, which had a suitable thermometer, to test the igniting heat of book paper. “Bradbury was wrong!” he complained. “Fahrenheit 451 isn’t the temperature at which book paper burns!” But, I asked, hadn’t Bradbury phoned the Los Angeles Fire Department to get the temperature right?
“Well, they’re wrong, too!” announced Ballard, who admired Bradbury and whose own early Vermilion Sands stories echo Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Ray Bradbury, he said, had shown him that science ?ction was worth writing.
…Although Bradbury obviously held up a mirror to the world so that it might see itself the better, I believe him when he claims that he was not setting out to do what Orwell did in 1984, nor even what Pohl and Kornbluth did in a later Galaxy serial “The Space Merchants.” Rather, like Philip K. Dick, he let his excellent instincts have their way. They told him what to put in while his taste told him what to leave out. He was doing what he had always done by letting the resonances in his own imagination determine the kind of story he told: Fahrenheit 451 remains as readable as when it was written, some sixty-odd years ago, thanks to Bradbury’s almost psychic sense of how the world works.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- May 18, 1962 — The Twilight Zone aired “I Sing The Body Electric,” an episode based on a story by the legendary Ray Bradbury. This served as the thirty-fifth episode for the program’s third season.
(8) HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Steven H Silver celebrates Jonathan Maberry’s natal day in his Black Gate column: “Birthday Reviews: Jonathan Maberry’s ‘Red Dreams’”.
Maberry won the 2007 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel for Ghost Road Blues, which was also nominated for Best Novel. The next year he won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Nonfiction with David F. Kramer for their book The Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange & Downright Bizarre. In 2012, he won the Bram Stoker for Best Young Adult Novel for Dust & Decay, and again the following year for Flesh & Bone. In 2015, he shared a Bram Stoker Award for Best Graphic Novel with Tyler Crook for Bad Blood.
(9) SEND FOR MORE CANDLES. And Tor.com coincidentally (not) reposted Elizabeth Bear’s tribute “The Perfect Chaotic Worlds of Diane Duane on Duane’s birthday.
In all her genres, Diane Duane is one of my favorite writers.
She spreads her talents around, too. She writes in multiple genres and forms—scripts to novels, tie-ins to original fiction, young adult urban fantasy to historical fantasy to science fiction to second-world fantasy. And whether she’s writing Y.A., as with her Young Wizards series, or Star Trek media tie-ins, she always brings an inimitable playful voice and a startling sense of “Yes; that’s right; that’s just like people.” to her work.
(10) TESS SEES ITS FIRST LIGHT. Mashable headline: “First photo from NASA’s planet-hunting TESS satellite is full of stars”. The latest exoplanet-hunting satellite has begun opening it’s “eyes” and taken its first photos. Though still undergoing shakeout tests, these first photos from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite are nonetheless spectacular.
A new NASA telescope, sailing toward its assigned orbit, took a moment to look around before it starts its ultimate mission: searching the galaxy for alien planets.
NASA’s TESS spacecraft — short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — beamed home one of its first photos taken from space, and it’s a doozy.
The photo, which effectively amounts to a test of one of the satellite’s four cameras, contains more than 200,000 stars, NASA said.
But that’s only a fraction of the number of stars it will eventually study in order to find alien worlds out there circling them.
- Mission website: https://tess.gsfc.nasa.gov
- NASA press release about image — “NASA’s New Planet Hunter Snaps Initial Test Image, Swings by Moon Toward Final Orbit” — includes a higher-resolution version of the image and a YouTube video of the orbit.
(11) NOT DEAD YET? ThinkProgress says a climate science NASA mission may not be completely dead. Time to visit Miracle Max: “Critical NASA program cut by Trump re-introduced in latest budget”.
The House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for overseeing NASA, voted on Thursday to approve $10 million in funding for a “climate monitoring system” intended to help the agency better “understand the major factors driving short and long term climate change.” In a unanimous vote, lawmakers gave the green light to an amendment in a 2019 spending bill mandating that NASA fund such a system, Science first reported Thursday.
…That system’s description sounds nearly identical to the Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10 million-per-year program established to measure carbon dioxide and methane using satellite technology and similar mechanisms. The CMS has played a crucial role in the study of greenhouse gases, but last week the Trump administration confirmed that the program had ended after its funding was cut from the 2018 budget passed in March.
Now, it appears the CMS might be back from the dead — in everything but name. The $62 billion 2019 CJS Appropriations bill approved on Thursday extends to a number of departments, including the Justice Department and numerous science-linked agencies, NASA among them.
“This bill invests our hard-earned tax dollars into the safety and security of our nation,” said Culberson [(R-TX), chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee.], who went on to detail various elements within the legislation.
(12) WINNING WWII AGAIN. Cnet reports “Steven Spielberg making a DC movie, punching Nazis again”.
Fresh from squeezing Batman and other DC comics cameos into Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg is now taking on the real thing. The legendary director is set to make a movie based on DC’s fighter ace Blackhawk.
Like DC’s smash hit Wonder Woman, and Spielberg’s Indiana Jones movies, Blackhawk is a retro wartime story, this time about a squadron of aerial adventurers battling Nazis and supervillains in World War II. Blackhawk was created in 1941 by Bob Powell, Chuck Cuidera and comic book legend Will Eisner.
(13) VULCAN DINOS ON EARTH. Popular Science realizes these creatures can only come from one place – and it’s not Earth — “Green bones, green hearts, can’t lose: these lizards survive with toxic green blood”.
Several species of New Guinea lizards seem to be from Vulcan, what with having green blood and all. But unlike Mr. Spock, their blood isn’t based on copper… they’ve evolved to tolerate a blood breakdown produce called biliverdin (which marks both jaundice and the sometimes spectacular green color of a bruise) at levels that would be fatal to a human.
In the forests of New Guinea, lizards scurry around with green bones, green hearts, green tongues, and green blood. At least six species share this enigmatic trait, which didn’t originate from one bizarre mutation but evolved four different times, according to new research in Science Advances.
These lizards have green insides because their bile carries super high levels of a deadly compound called biliverdin, the product of old red blood cells. People make the same pigment—you can see it when you get a gnarly, green-tinged bruise—but our livers filter it from our blood. Trace amounts of biliverdin cause jaundice, a disease common in infants and adults with liver failure. The levels found in these lizards would kill us. But for these lizards, well, it sure is easy being green.
(14) MAKE EVERY MOVIE A DEADPOOL SEQUEL. Adweek found out how to do it: “Here’s the Story Behind Deadpool’s Incredible Blu-ray Takeover at Walmart”.
When a display of Blu-rays, with each covered photobombed by Deadpool, popped up this week at Walmarts across the country, we had more questions that we had answers.
Who had created this amazing in-store activation, and how did such a sweeping takeover—entailing new, customized cover sleeves for The Terminator, Predator, Office Space, Fight Club and many more—come about?
Well, now we know. The short answer is that it was a collaboration between the in-house teams at Fox Home Entertainment and Los Angeles creative agency Neuron Syndicate, which designed the covers….
(15) CYBORGASM. Stephen Colbert reviews the latest news about robots in a Late Show comedy segment.
Google demonstrated its new Google Duplex, an A.I. assistant that can have realistic conversations with humans. But what happens when they talk to each other?
(16) REAL STINKERS. The finalists in the 2018 Lyttle Lytton Contest, which seeks the worst first sentence ever, have been posted. This year’s winner of the “found division” is:
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Bill, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]
(1) ORIGIN STORY. Paris Review kicked off a series of posts about the author of Dracula with “Something in the Blood, Part 1”.
To celebrate the spookiest of holidays, we’re publishing a selection of excerpts from David J. Skal’s Something in the Blood, a biography of Bram Stoker, published this month by Liveright. First up: the origins of Dracula.
There are many stories about how Bram Stoker came to write Dracula, but only some of them are true. According to his son, Stoker always claimed the inspiration for the book came from a nightmare induced by “a too-generous helping of dressed crab at supper”—a dab of blarney the writer enjoyed dishing out when asked, but no one took seriously (it may sound too much like Ebenezer Scrooge, famously dismissing Marley’s ghost as “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese”). But that hasn’t stopped the midnight snack of dressed crab from being served up as a matter of fact by countless people on countless occasions. While the nightmare aspect may well have some validity—Stoker’s notes at least suggest that the story might have had its genesis in a disturbing vision or reverie—it exemplifies the way truth, falsehood, and speculation have always conspired to distort Dracula scholarship. An unusually evocative piece of storytelling, Dracula has always excited more storytelling—both in endlessly embellished dramatizations and in the similarly ornamented accounts of its own birth process.
(2) SOFT OPENING. Quill & Quire previews the new Toronto Bar “Famous Last Words”.
For readers looking for a casual haunt to sit down with a good book and a drink (or writers looking for a few strong ounces of liquid creativity)‚ Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood [is] home to a literary-themed bar‚ slated to open Oct. 14. Famous Last Words – echoing CanLit legend Timothy Findley’s 1981 novel of the same name – will feature craft cocktails “with a literary twist‚” with book-inspired names like The English Patient‚ Cryptonomicon‚ The Perks of Being a Wallflower‚ and Fahrenheit 451.
The bar’s bookish decor includes a Scrabble-tile-topped bar‚ bookshelf wallpaper‚ washrooms for Jane Austens or Oscar Wildes‚ typewriters‚ and‚ of course‚ plenty of paperbacks to browse on a bar-spanning book wall.
This chapter does not mention the array of sneaky means by which we sci fi authors try to weasel our way around causality and temporal protection. One is the universe branching point. When Spock accidentally lures a vengeful Romulan to go back in time and destroy Planet Vulcan (in J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek flick) many fans consoled themselves that this is just a branching-off of a newborn parallel reality… that the older timeline still stands, where Shatner-Kirk and all the rest remain, along the original timeline, like a trellis for the new one to grow alongside.
Well, well, that’s an artistic representation of one of many ways that physicists (at least a few) think that paradoxes might be resolved. Speaking as both a physicist and a science fiction author, I must say that this very loose partnership is one of the most fun that our unique and marvelous civilization offers, during a unique and marvelous… time.
(4) FELINE FEST. For National Cat Day, Jeff Somers of the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has compiled “The 25 Best Cats in Sci-Fi & Fantasy”. (Not all of them are cats strictly speaking – for example, Aslan is on this list.)
Lying Cat in Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples If you Google “lying cat” you’ll be rewarded with a slew of images of a fierce-looking cat saying the word “lying” in various tones—from vicious to interrogative. Lying cat can always tell if someone is deliberately lying, and thus is an invaluable companion to bounty hunter The Will in this remarkable comic series. More than just a very large cat that acts as a lie detector, Lying Cat is also a fierce warrior, and fiercely loyal. The fact that a cat that comes up to The Will’s shoulder was the runt of its litter should disturb you.
(5) DON’T YOU THINK SHE LOOKS TIRED? Fansided’s “Doctor Who Watch” uncovered scandalous facts in a candidate’s leaked emails — “Hillary Clinton Reportedly Calls Doctor Who ‘Boring Garbage’”
However, there is one email* that has come out that may truly signal the end of her hopes for the Presidency. Instead of being political in nature, or housing secret government information, this email discusses Doctor Who — or, rather, how she just does not appreciate the show, calling it “boring garbage” and feeling as though she is being left out on a joke that everyone else understands
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) October 24, 2016
…But to say that Doctor Who is boring garbage? Well, that crosses a line that few would dare to verbalize. In saying that, she has, in effect, removed the Whovian demographic from her voting population. Yes, she has a somewhat higher opinion of Sherlock, which has a great deal of overlap in terms of fandom, but to attack the Doctor?
(6) SAVE OUR STOTTIES. Fanhumorist and distinguished geezer Graham Charnock is in jeopardy of being denied access to an essential food group. He has launched a petition at Change.org
Greggs have ceased to sell ham and pease pudding stotties, a staple food of the Tyneside community. Let’s persuade them they are wrong that there is no demand.
Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support.
You can read more and sign the petition here.
And to reassure yourself this is not (entirely) a hoax, you can study up on Tyneside cuisine in this Chronicle article.
(7) ZACHERLE OBIT. Horror movie TV host John Zacherle died October 27 at the age of 98 reports the New York Times.
[He] played a crypt-dwelling undertaker with a booming graveyard laugh on stations in Philadelphia and New York in the late 1950s and early ’60s…
In 1953 he began appearing as characters on “Action in the Afternoon,” a live western series shot in a vacant lot behind the studios of WCAU. “The idea was to get somebody in trouble on Monday, and either get him out of trouble, shoot him or hang him by Friday,” he told The Daily News in 1959.
One of his recurring characters was an undertaker named Grimy James, whose frock coat came in handy when the station bought a collection of 52 old horror films from Universal. The station manager, reviewing his new acquisition, decided that most of the films were so bad, he would have to build a show around them to add entertainment value.
Mr. Zacherle put on the frock coat and, in October 1957, went to work as the host of “The Shock Theater” (later simply “Shock Theater”), bringing with him an endless supply of sight gags and ad-lib patter.
A rabid fan base developed. When the station held an open house, expecting about 1,500 viewers to turn up, 13,000 stormed the studio to meet the Cool Ghoul, as Mr. Zacherle was known.
(8) CONVENTION IN A SYNAGOGUE. The first Jewish Comic Con takes place in Brooklyn on November 13.
All it took was a Shabbat dinner between the President of Congregation Kol Israel, Fred Polaniecki, and comic book creator Fabrice Sapolsky. Together, they outlined the Jewish Comic Con – a place to explore how Jewish identity has influenced comics both on the page and behind the scenes. Featuring panel discussions, artist tables, and lots of shmoozing,…
Now, Congregation Kol Israel is proud to organize the first ever Comic Con in a synagogue, our synagogue!
(9) PLAID AND PROUD. A kilt reference in yesterday’s Scroll prompted John King Tarpinian to remind me about the local Pasadena specialty store Off Kilter Kilts.
Southern California’s only multi-brand modern kilt store is celebrating its first anniversary on August 27, 2016.
Kilters from across the region will be converging on the store to mark the occasion with owner J.T. Centonze and the rest of the OKK crew. With more than 800 kilts sold in the first year, Off Kilter Kilts has a lot to celebrate.
Off Kilter Kilts has become a regular sight at local Renaissance Faires, Highland Games, and Celtic Festivals. They can also be seen around Pasadena hosting Kilts and Drinks nights at local restaurants.
(10) THE WINNER. Jonathan Maberry explains that the Canyon Crest Academy Writers Conference is the nation’s only absolutely free writers conference for teens. This year the conference inaugurated an award and named it after an author – him — the Jonathan Maberry Inspiring Teens Award. Then they turned around and made Maberry the first winner. Says Maberry, “I’m insanely honored to be the recipient of an award that is named after me. Yeah…I know. That’s surreal.”
(11) HAM ON VINYL. Someone sent along a link to William Shatner Live, a 1977 spoken word album. With the assurance, “No, I’ve not listened to it.” I must confess I have honored that choice myself, beyond about the first 15 seconds of the YouTube recording listed below.
The Wikipedia article on the album includes the text of William Shatner’s explanation for doing this one-man show on stage.
If I were good, it would be the actor’s dream– but if it failed I would be alone. Alone up there with thousands of eyes peering at me — opera glasses raised for a closer look, and the unasked but heavily felt question “what’s he going to do?”
All this was going through my head as I learned the lines — all this was in front of my eyes as I lay down at night — and when the day came that I was to open at Texas A&M University I was filled with fear.
A very primitive fear — the fear of the actor. The nightmare that all actors have from time to time is appearing naked in front of an audience — not knowing the lines, not knowing the play — I was living the dream.
Thirty-five hundred people awaited me expectantly; the buzz of their voices reached me backstage, the lights dimmed, the M.C. announced my name and I walked out. The spotlight hit me like a physical force and I was on — oh muse, be with me know — I took a breath & started to speak…
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, David K.M. Klaus, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jonathan Edelstein.]
By Carl Slaughter: Jonathan Maberry is the editor of three anthologies coming out in 2017.
Aliens: Bug Hunt, all new stories of the Colonial Marines (Titan Books, 2017), will be released April 11, 2017.
Here’s the killer lineup!
- Brian Keene is a best-selling horror author and comic book writer. His landmark novel The Rising helped establish the genre of zombie literature.
- Christopher Golden, #1 New York Times best-selling author, editor and comic book writer. His works include Tin Men, Lord Baltimore (with Mike Mignola), Cemetery Girl (with Charlaine Harris), and Aliens: River of Pain.
- Dan Abnett is a multiple New York Times best-selling author and comic book writer who’s work includes the Gaunt’s Ghosts series, The Horus Heresy, Doctor Who, and the Guardians of the Galaxy comic that inspired the motion picture.
- David Farland, is a New York Times award-winning author who has worked with Star Wars, The Mummy, and his own bestselling fantasy Runelords series.
- Heather Graham Pozzessere: International best-selling author of over seventy suspense novels.
- James A. Moore, is a best selling author of twenty-five novels including his own Seven Forges series who has also worked with Aliens, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the World Of Darkness.
- Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of Patient Zero, Rot & Ruin, and many other novels; anthology editor and comic book writer.
- Keith DeCandido is a Scribe finalist whose works include Star Trek, Supernatural, Stargate SG-1, and many others.
- Larry Correia is the bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International series, the Grimnoir Chronicles, and the Dead Six military thrillers
- Matt Forbeck is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning game designer whose latest works include Halo: New Blood, the Marvel Encyclopedia, and his Shotguns & Sorcery series.
- Mike Resnick is a best-selling author of military science fiction, including The Outpost, The Dead Enders series, and many more; and has edited dozens of anthologies. He has won multiple Hugo Awards, the Homer Award, the Skylark Award, as well as many international awards.
- Paul Kupperberg is a former editor in chief for DC Comics, and a prolific writer of comic books and newspaper strips.
- Rachel Caine, New York Times bestselling author of almost 50 thriller, SF/F, and YA novels, including Ink and Bone, and the Morganville Vampires series.
- Ray Garton, bestselling author of over sixty books and recipient of the Grandmaster Award from the World Horror Convention.
- Scott Sigler, NY Times bestselling author of Infected and the ALIVE, Book I of the Generations Trilogy.
- Tim Lebbon, is the best-selling author of Coldbrook, The Cabin in the Woods, the Noreela series of fantasy books (Dusk, Dawn, Fallen and The Island), the NY Times Bestselling novelisation of the movie 30 Days of Night, Alien: Out of the Shadows, and Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Into the Void.
- Weston Ochse, USA Today New and Notable List, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of SEAL Team 666 and Grunt Life
- Yvonne Navarro, Bram Stoker award-winning author of the Dark Redemption Series, Aliens: Music of the Spears, and seven Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels.
Nights of the Living Dead Anthology edited by Jonathan Maberry and George Romero will be released July 11, 2017
Calling ALL zombie fans! New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, Rot & Ruin) and the godfather of the dead himself, George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) are joining forces to edit Nights of the Living Dead, an anthology of all-original stories set in the 48 hours surrounding Romero’s landmark film. If you love zombies –and who doesn’t?—it all started with NOTLD. Every zombie movie, comic, book, game, or toy exists because of Romero’s landmark film.
Nights of the Living Dead will be published by Griffin, and will include stories by:
Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Brian Keene, an American author, primarily of horror, crime fiction, and comic books. He has won two Bram Stoker Awards. His 2003 novel The Rising is often credited with inspiring pop culture’s current interest in zombies
Chuck Wendig, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath.
David Wellington, bestselling author of the landmark Monster Island and its sequels as well as the critically acclaimed new zombie novel, Positive.
George Romero, the Godfather of the dead.
Isaac Marion, author of the #5 New York Times bestselling zombie novel, Warm Bodies, which was made into a successful movie.
Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of the Walking Dead novels.
Joe R. Lansdale, bestselling & Bram Stoker Award-winning author of 45 novels as well as comics and short stories. His mystery series Hap & Leonard is in production for TV. His Bram Stoker Award-winning short story, “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks,” was included in the first-ever zombie anthology, Book of the Dead (edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector).
John Russo, co-screenwriter of Night of the Living Dead, and author of the first-ever zombie novels Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead.
Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Patient Zero, Rot & Ruin, Dead of Night, Zombie CSU, and co-author of Marvel Zombies Return.
Keith R.A. DeCandido, bestselling author of the Resident Evil novelizations, as well as popular novels in the worlds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Sleepy Hollow, V-Wars, etc.
Mike Carey, award-winning comic book writer (Lucifer, soon to be a TV series, Hellblazer, X-Men: Legacy) and novelist (the Felix Castor series, The Girl with All the Gifts, which is in post-production for film).
Mira Grant, New York Times bestselling author (pen name of Seanan McGuire) whose Newsflesh series hits every zombie best-of list and was ranked #74 in an National Public Radio listener poll of the top 100 thriller novels of all time. Mira/Seanan has won the John W. Campbell Award, Darrell Awards Hall of Fame, six Pegasus Awards, and a Hugo Award.
Neal Shusterman & Brandon Shusterman. Neal is a winner of the National Book Award and a bestselling author. His son, filmmaker Brandon, is a frequent collaborator on Neal’s short fiction.
Craig Engler is the Co-Creator/Writer/Co-Executive producer for Syfy’s hit zombie series Z Nation, and co-writer of the upcoming Z Nation comic book. He also wrote Zombie Apocalypse, one of Syfy’s highest-rated original films.
Baker Street Irregulars co-edited by Michael A. Ventrella and Jonathan Maberrry will be released March 21, 2017.
Thirteen authors, including Gail Z. Martin, David Gerrold, and Jonathan Maberry, come together to pen short stories innovating Sherlock Holmes, adapting and revolutionizing the iconic character.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most iconic and lasting figures in literature. His feats of detection are legendary, and he continues to capture audiences today. But BAKER STREET IRREGULARS presents the celebrated detective in a dozen different, wildly entertaining new ways. In Ryk Spoor’s thrilling “The Adventures of a Reluctant Detective”, Sherlock is a re-creation in a holodeck. In Hildy Silverman’s mesmerizing “A Scandal in the Bloodline”, Sherlock is a vampire. Heidi McLaughlin sends Sherlock back to college, while Beth Patterson, in the charming “Code Cracker”, turns him into a parrot. The settings are as varied as Russia in the near-future, a dystopian world, a reality show, an orchestra. Without losing the very qualities that make Sherlock so illustrious a character, these authors spin new webs of mystery around their own singular riff on one of literature’s truly singular characters.
By Carl Slaughter: For an alarming premise, an ambitious plot, a high stakes mission, an ensemble cast, deeply developed main characters, vivid conversations and internal narrative, philosophical pondering, classic battle scenes, and global scale, you’d be hard pressed to find a science fiction special ops international thriller better than a Joe Ledger story. Jonathan Maberry has been cranking out a novel per year since 2009. The latest, Kill Switch, came out in April. Joe Ledger fans will have to wait ‘til 2017 for the next installment, Dogs of War. Those of you who have not yet become addicted can binge read by buying the collection.
DOGS OF WAR
Robots are no longer science fiction. Autonomous, programmed to react like animals: fast, relentless, deadly. From microscopic nanobots to massive self-guided aircraft. This technology is here, it’s assessable, and it’s dangerous. What’s even scarier is that almost anyone can get their hands on it.
A freelance terrorist uses the latest generation of robot dogs to deliver WMDs into cities across America. Ultra-realistic robots in the sex industry are used to spread designer plagues. Sophisticated military weapons systems turn on their human masters. A technological apocalypse is coming and we may be too late to stop it.
Joe Ledger and a newly rebuilt Department of Military Sciences square off against this new and terrible threat. Dogs of War pits Joe against a merciless new enemy and an army of techno-terrorists in a race to prevent a global destruction.
Let loose the Dogs of War. (Coming in 2017.)
JOE LEDGER SERIES SUMMARIES
PATIENT ZERO: Patient Zero (2009) introduces readers to the legend that is Joe Ledger and to the secret government agency, the Department of Military Sciences (DMS) that recruits him. Terrorists have a death-defying bioweapon that threatens to turn innocent civilians into man-eating zombies.
DRAGON FACTORY: In Dragon Factory (2010), Joe Ledger and the DMS face-off against two competing groups of geneticists. One side is creating exotic transgenic monsters and enhanced mercenary armies; the other is using modern technology to continue the Nazi Master Race program begun by Josef Mengele.
KING OF PLAGUES: King of Plagues (2011) introduces Joe and his DMS team to a massively powerful secret society bent on world destruction. They plan to use the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destroy global economies unless Joe can stop them.
ASSASSIN’S CODE: In Assassin’s Code (2012), Joe Ledger and Echo Team go on a relentless chase to stop an ancient order of killers from plunging the world into Holy War. When they rescue American hostages, the Iranian government asks them to help find six nuclear bombs, a chase that leads them into vaults of forbidden knowledge, mass-murder, and a brotherhood of genetically-engineered blood-thirsty killers.
EXTINCTION MACHINE: Extinction Machine (2013) finds UFOs in the sky, the president of the United States missing, and Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rushing headlong into the world’s deadliest arms race. The global sprint to retro-engineer alien technologies halts when someone—or something—wants that technology back.
CODE ZERO: Code Zero (2014) is the exciting and direct sequel to Patient Zero. A highly elite team of killers breaks through unbreakable security and steals the world’s most dangerous weapons. Within days there are outbreaks of mass slaughter and murderous insanity. Joe Ledger must stop the Land of the Free from turning into a land of the dead.
PREDATOR ONE: When armies of killer drones explode across the nation, on baseball’s opening day, Joe Ledger and his team realize that American technology has been compromised at all levels, most importantly, on Air Force One. The president is trapped, and the plane is now a missile; it has become Predator One. (Published 2015)
KILL SWITCH: In Kill Switch (2016), a terrifying new kind of assassin has the power to take over people’s minds in order to wreak chaos on the world. A terrorist group has acquired one hundred E-bombs. Each bomb’s electromagnetic pulse is powerful enough to blow out all power and all technology from a major city. Joe must stop the criminals waiting for the lights to go out.
(1) MODERATE TO HEAVY PUPPIES. Standback contributes “A Moderate Conversation Re: Sad Puppies”.
So to some extent, this is a sufficient answer to Stephanie’s question. Why is there so much vitriol against the Puppies? Because we’re on the internet, where it doesn’t take a whole lot to escalate an argument over Best Brand of Pasta into virtual knifings…..
To start things off: I would say I understand the core Puppy complaints, and agree with many of them (to varying extents).
I definitely see a shift in the “focus” of the genre, even if I’d be hard-pressed to nail it down to a definition (not unreasonable, in a genre still best-defined as “what we point to when we say it”). The disproportionate influence of particular groups and fandoms has been raised and enthusiastically argued over in the past (e.g.   ). And I think there’s been a lot of snubbing, condescension and ad-hominem attacks coming from non-Puppies. Which they often don’t notice, or consider justified. (Scott Alexander’s I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup springs to mind, as it so often does.)
I won’t go over the Puppy grievances one by one, but I think I can see where all of them are coming from.
(2) DAN SCHNEIDER VIDEO INTERVIEW #68. Steven H Silver says, “Yesterday, Terry Bisson and I were interviewed for a podcast about Alternate History. If you want to hear what I would sound like recording on an Edison cylinder, I imagine this is pretty much it.”
(3) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman’s third episode of his Eating the Fantastic podcast is now live, with guest Bill Campbell.
Bill opened up about many things, including the genius of Samuel R. Delany, how Rosarium’s first book Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond gave birth to a new publishing company, the challenges of crowdfunding creative projects, why he was once blacklisted at a convention, and many other topics which I hope you’ll find as fascinating as I did.
Episode four, coming in two weeks, will feature writer Tom Doyle.
(4) REQUESTING MORE CONTENTS, FEWER TABLES. Black Gate continues its Hartwell tribute with “The Books of David G. Hartwell: Visions of Wonder and The Science Fiction Century”. I’m all in favor of paying tribute to Hartwell, I’d just like to see more in these posts than the reprinted tables of contents of his collections.
(5) NAMING CONVENTIONS. Michael J. Walsh observes what a well-Cultured sense of humor Elon Musk displayed in naming his ships.
By January 2016, a total of three ASDSs have been refitted. The first ASDS, named Just Read the Instructions (JRtI), was converted from a barge in late 2014 and was deployed in January 2015 during the CRS-5 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station in order to provide a landing platform for a test flight of the returning booster stage. It was used for two landing tests through April 2015, and by June 2015, was retired as an ASDS. The second ASDS, named Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY), was converted from a much-newer deck barge and became operational in June 2015 to support a landing test on the CRS-7 mission.
(6) CRADLE OF SF’S GOLDEN AGE. Robert A. Heinlein’s birthplace in Butler, MO has been listed for sale. The asking price is $97,500.
Geo Rule says “The Heinlein Society will gladly accept a six figure donation to purchase it and turn it into a museum, if you’re feeling generous as well. Well, maybe seven figure to turn it into a museum…”
(7) STATHOPOULOS EXHIBITION. Rejects! The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, a retrospective of portraits by famed Australian painter Nick Stathopoulos , runs March 28-April 15 at Project 504 Studio in St. Leonards (Sydney). Stathopoulos is a 10-time Ditmar Award winner, who also was a 1999 Hugo nominee in the Best Professional Artist category.
(8) NANCY REAGAN OBIT. Former First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan died today, March 6, at the age of 95. Like her spouse, she had an acting career prior to living in the White House, which included a role in the genre movie Donovan’s Brain. The movie was based on a 1942 horror novel by Curt Siodmak who, showing what a small world it is, lived in those days not far from Robert A. Heinlein’s home on Laurel Canyon.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
- Born March 6, 1906 — Lou Costello. “Abbott and Costello Meet… have to be some of the best monster movies,” says John King Tarpinian.
- Born March 6, 1928 – William F. Nolan
(10) ACE OF HORROR. SF Signal has “5-Time Bram Stoker Winner Jonathan Maberrry on His Prolific Career”
CARL SLAUGHTER: Which of your novels is being adapted by hollywood?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I’m fortunate to have several of my projects in development for film and television. My Joe Ledger thrillers are being developed by Lone Tree Entertainment and Vintage Picture Company as a possible series of movies, likely beginning with Extinction Machine, the 5th in the series. And my vampire apocalypse series, V-Wars, is headed to TV, with a brilliant script by former Dexter head writer, Tim Schlattmann. Several other properties, including Rot & Ruin, The Pine Deep Trilogy, and others, are being discussed.
CS: How long and how hard is the journey to the screen?
JM: Like most writers I’ve coasted the edges of the Hollywood experience for years. There are some frustrations, of course, but that’s part of the game. For example, back on 2007 I co-created a show for ABC-Disney called On the Slab, which was a horror-sci fi-fantasy news program. Disney paid us to develop it and write a series bible and sample script; and then there was a change of management in the department that purchased it. Suddenly the project was orphaned and therefore dead in the water. Another time producer Michael DeLuca (Blade, Magnolia) optioned the first Joe Ledger novel, Patient Zero, on behalf of Sony, who in turn took it to ABC, who hired Emmy Award-winning TV writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost) to write a pilot. Then after we’d gone a long way toward seeing it launch they decided instead to focus on the reboot of Charlie’s Angels, which flubbed badly. That’s Hollywood. I don’t take this stuff personally, though. And I never lost my optimism.
(11) FRIENDSHIP CALCULUS. Adam-Troy Castro explains “How To Remain My Friend When You Really Hate My Friend”.
I guarantee you, if I am close to Friend X, I know that “Asshole” is part of his Venn Diagram. As it is part of mine. As it is part of yours. I have clearly already made my personal calculations and decided that his other aspects are more important. I may someday change my mind. But it is my mind to change, based on whatever passes between me and Friend X; possibly even depending on what I see Friend X do to Friend Y. But you, who have had a different experience with Friend X, and therefore a different reaction, cannot win this argument with me using words, no matter how eloquently you express everything you find objectionable about him. It is, however, very possible for you to lose it. You can become a bore. You can become a scold. You can just become the distasteful person who always feels obligated to piss on my pal; the guy who gives me the impression that nothing will satisfy him until I start pissing on my pal too. That makes YOU the shithead.
(12) VIRUS WITH A LIBRARY. Nature reports “CRISPR-like ‘immune’ system discovered in giant virus”.
Gigantic mimiviruses fend off invaders using defences similar to the CRISPR system deployed by bacteria and other microorganisms, French researchers report. They say that the discovery of a working immune system in a mimivirus bolsters their claim that the giant virus represents a new branch in the tree of life.
Mimiviruses are so large that they are visible under a light microscope. Around half a micrometre across, and first found infecting amoebae living in a water tower, they boast genomes that are larger than those of some bacteria. They are distantly related to viruses that include smallpox, but unlike most viruses, they have genes to make amino acids, DNA letters and complex proteins.
(13) TO BOLDLY BUILD WHAT NO MAN HAS BUILT BEFORE. Collider explains why “NASA Has Designed a Warp Ship Inspired by ‘Star Trek’s Enterprise”.
When does science-fiction become science fact? Throughout various mediums over the last few centuries, we’ve seen early versions of concepts that would eventually become a reality. Sometimes these portrayals are pretty far off base (still waiting on those flying cars), while other times they feel downright prescient. But in the case of Star Trek and one particular engineer at NASA, science-fiction actually informed science fact, with NASA engineer and physicist Harold White now actively working on a space ship that would allow travel faster than the speed of light—or, for the Star Trek inclined, warp speed.
White announced this idea a few years ago, with the concept seeking to allow travel faster than the speed of light by literally expanding space-time behind the object and contracting space-time in front of it. In reality, the object doesn’t “go fast,” but instead takes advantage of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity to move between space-time.
If your head has yet to explode, sit tight—in concert with White, designer Mark Rademaker has now created a CGI design concept of the ship that would operate using this theory, which they have aptly named the IXS Enterprise. Per Rademaker in an interview with the Washington Post, the idea behind the concept art serves two purposes: to visualize their idea, and to inspire burgeoning young scientists
(14) PAGING HUGO NOMINEES. George R.R. Martin knows it’s “Nomination Time”. His short fiction recommendation is a needle in a small Venusian haystack.
Last year, however, these three categories were among those most impacted by Puppygate. The slates dominated all three, sweeping the board and shutting out all other work. In the novelette category, a disqualification allowed one non-Puppy nominee to squeeze onto the ballot, and that story ultimately won. In novella and short story, fans unhappy with the choices presented them voted No Award. Understandably, IMNSHO… still, it was not a happy ending. There was some wonderful and powerful work published in these categories in 2014, and it was a shame that none of it could be recognized. (I was proud and pleased to present Alfie Awards to Ursula Vernon for “Jackalope Wives” in short story, and to Patrick Rothfuss for “The Slow Regard of Silent Things” in novella… but we all know that an Alfie is not a Hugo, and in an ordinary year both Vernon and Rothfuss would surely have been contending for a rocket).
That’s last year, however. No amount of rehashing can change what happened. The important thing is to see that it does not happen again. And to that end, it behooves all of us to nominate the short stories, novelettes, and novellas that we enjoyed most last year… to share our thoughts with our friends… to shout our recommendations from the rooftops. Let’s make sure this year’s shortlists truly represent the best of what was published in 2015.
As to my own recommendations…
Ah, there I hit a problem. I am not making any recommendations in these categories. Problem is, I have a conflict of interest. As a writer I did not publish any original short fiction in 2015, true. As an editor, however… well, Gardner Dozois and I co-edited an anthology called OLD VENUS that came out last year, and in my (admittedly less than objective) view, that book contained several stories that are worthy of Hugo nominations, and one that is so bloody brilliant that I think it stands right up there with any story that ever won the Hugo.
I really can’t tell you which one it is, however. Or the names of the other stories in the book that I think worthy of consideration. Look, Gardner and I liked all the stories we included in OLD VENUS. If we hadn’t, we would not have purchased them (and we do reject stories for every one of our anthologies). But we’d be lying if we said we liked all of them equally. There are stories Gardner liked more than I did; there are stories I liked more than Gardner did; there are stories both of us loved, loved, loved. As editors, however, it would be unethical for us to say which were which in public. Just as parents need to maintain devoutly that they love all their children equally and have no favorites, it behooves the ethical editor to take a similar stance toward the stories they purchase and publish.
(15) GIVING KATE A HELPING PAW. Steve Davidson hated to let go to waste the effort he invested on a comment I deleted here the other day. It now has manifested as “Puppy See, Puppy Do-Do” at Amazing Stories.
Kate Paulk recently closed the comments (at the beginning of March) so that they could be compiled and a final list composed.
It’s a little late in the game, especially considering that nominators are kinda expected to read and be familiar with works they’re going to recommend (but that isn’t necessarily an impediment for organized voting), so we’ve decided to help them out a bit and give them a hand up.
We started with one of the most visible categories – Best Novel. The following list contains all of the individual works mentioned in the comments. We did not verify eligibility (although most, if not all of the works seems to meet that criteria). When judging whether or not someone recommended something, we took “Plus 1” and “Me Too” to count for a “vote”. If someone talked about a work but didn’t expressly indicate that it was something they were going to nominate, we didn’t count it.
If a “top ten” is going to be compiled, it’s pretty obvious from the counts below what we should see on the Sad Puppy IV Slate. It will be interesting to see how the final list compares.
(16) HAMMER EMCEE RAPPED. Marie Porter has some feedback for masquerade emcees, triggered by a recent bad example of the art.
I want to talk about Emcees for convention ?#?cosplay masquerades.
It feels like almost every masquerade we’ve competed in, judged, or watched – with maybe 1-2 exceptions – has had an emcee that behaves in a manner that I find disrespectful to the competitors.
As a general thing, it usually comes in the form of trying to be “entertaining”, and basically comes off like this emcee has an audience, that they are the STAR of the show, and the competitors are basically props to them. They feed off the laughs, which they try to obtain by any means necessary.
A lot of the time, it happens by cracking rude and unnecessary jokes while introducing the competitor, as the competitor leaves the stage, etc.
When it happens, it feels like the emcee has lost sight of what the show is actually about – showcasing the hard work of the competitors. It’s not the “emcee show”, no matter how much they would like to think it is.
Tonight, a few things happened that still have me mad, so let me describe it to demonstrate what I’m saying.
A friend of mine was competing in the beginner category, in a costume she SLAVED over – a Steampunk Lady Thor. I watched her build progress – she put a ton of work into it, and she had every reason to be proud of it.
As she was on stage – being judged, mind you – the emcee talked *over her provided audio* to say – and I quote
“She could hammer me any time”.
She looked horrified, and – quite frankly – like she wanted to murder the guy. Rightly so, IMHO. She basically had all of her hard work diminished into a sexual joke. It was degrading and objectifying, and had no place happening. SHE WAS COMPETING, during PERFORMANCE judging. Can you imagine being shocked by something like that, after all that work?
This is a Facebook link to video of the emcee’s “hammer” line. You can see it for yourself.
(17) UNLOOTED LOOT? Nile Magazine wonders if someone blabbed: “It is full of treasures… the discovery of the 21st century”.
Tantalising news about the ‘secret chamber’ in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
“We do not know if the burial chamber is Nefertiti or another woman, but it is full of treasures.” – Egypt’s Tourism Minister, Hisham Zaazou.
It seems that some secrets are too good to keep. Is this a phenomenal leak about what lays beyond the false wall in Tutankhamun’s tomb? Is it speculative wishful thinking? Or is this a clever boost for badly-needed tourism?
Mr. Zaazou claims that the announcement of what lays inside the secret chamber will be made in April. “It will be a ‘Big Bang’ – the discovery of the 21st century.”
To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of the news that has wafted out of Egypt via Spain in the past 24 hours. The Spanish national daily newspaper, ABC, claims that Egypt’s Tourism Minister, Hisham Zaazou, who was in Spain a few weeks ago, confirmed that there is “treasure” in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
(18) OLD NEWS IS GOOD NEWS. Shortly after Ray Bradbury died in 2012, Jessica Allen wrote a retrospective for Maclean’s about the Bradbury stories Maclean’s had published, in “Here’s to you, Ray Bradbury”. Her article was adorned with photos of the title page art, including a notable typo in the credit for his contribution to Maclean’s September 15, 1948 edition.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Michael J., Walsh, Steven H Silver, Lis, Andrew Porter, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP.]
(1) IN SFWA TIMES TO COME. Cat Rambo in “What I’m Hoping For SFWA in 2016” tells about the organization’s accomplishments and shortfalls in 2015, and what the future holds. Here’s an excerpt from each category —
SFWA’s 2015 Accomplishments
We hammered out membership criteria that didn’t just include writers publishing independently or with small presses but made us the first organization to consider crowdfunded projects as a publication path. That’s led to an influx of new members and fresh energy that’s been delightful to be part of….
Some Bad Stuff
The lack of a plan behind the 50th Anniversary Anthology finally sank that project when our CFO and I realized that the books would have to sell for 84.50 each in order to break even….
What I’m Looking Forward to in 2016
M.C.A. Hogarth has been a terrific Vice President, proactive and self-guided. One of her projects is a guidebook for SFWA members that explains everything: how to join the discussion forums, how to nominate for the Nebulas, how to participate in the Featured Book Program on the website, who to mail with directory issues, etc. That will appear in 2016 and I think it will be a bit of a revelation to us all….
Rambo ends with Henry Lien’s anthem “Radio SFWA,” which I must say I am a huge fan of, whatever it may do for anybody else…. (The lyrics appear when you click “show more” at the song’s YouTube page.)
(2) RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens lands unprecedented award nomination” reports Polygon.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already shattered plenty of box office records, but the movie has also made history by reportedly earning an unprecedented nomination from the Broadcast Critics Association.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Association made the historic move to include the film as the eleventh contender for their Best Film award. The nomination list had come out eight days before The Force Awakens was released, effectively shutting the film out entirely. Usually, films must be submitted during a specific voting period and those that don’t meet the deadline aren’t considered at all.
(3) GOOD FOR A QUOTE. Academic Henry Jenkins, who appeared as a witness in The People Vs. George Lucas, explains “What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars” at Confessions of an Aca-Fan.
This blog post might be subtitled “The Pretentious Ass Strikes Back.” Here’s a story we tell in my family.
In 1977, Cynthia Ann Benson, an undergraduate at Georgia State University, has signed up for a class on film theory and criticism, with some nervousness about whether it will take the pleasure out of going to the movies. On the first day of class, the instructor — Jack Creech — is late, and a group of students are gathered outside the classroom. This guy — you know the one — another undergraduate student is standing around making assertions about gender, race, and technology in the recently released Star Wars movie to anyone who will listen and to many who would probably rather not be listening. She goes off after class and writes a letter to her best friend describing “this pretentious ass pontificating about the social significance of Star Wars” as summing up everything that made her fearful of cinema studies. It took me several years to overcome that unfortunate first impression and get her to go out on a date with me. We’ve now been married for almost 35 years.
So, it was some ironic glee that I accepted the invitation of the media relations folks at USC to be put on a list of experts who could talk to the media about Star Wars. I found myself doing some dozen or more interviews with reporters all over the world in the week leading up to the release of A Force Awakens, filling them in about the impact which the Star Wars franchise has had over the past few decades.
(4) HE’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK FOLKS. James H. Burns sent an email to ask: “Hey, Mike, do you know why I’ll be wearing a deerstalker cap on the 25th?”
The answer: “Because I’ll be Holmes, for Christmas.”
(5) I’M MELTING…MELTING….
— Alan (@GammaCounter) December 21, 2015
(6) HIGH CASTLE TO CONTINUE. Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle has displaced Titus Welliver-starrer Bosch as its most-watched original according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show’s pilot also has been streamed more times than any other pilot in Amazon history. The company announced a few days ago it has renewed the show for a second season.
(7) DID YOU PAY ATTENTION? Pit your wits against “Orbit’s Ultimate 2015 Science Fiction and Fantasy Quiz” at Playbuzz. Multiple choice questions, for example:
Fans visited the Discworld for the last time this year, with Terry Pratchett’s final book, The Shepherd’s Crown, released in August. If you were to visit Ankh Morpork, how would you recognise the city’s crest? It contains…
JJ says, “In my opinion, it’s way too heavy on media (Film, TV, comics) and Game of Thrones, but I’m sure a lot of Filers will do well on it.”
(8) BIG NAME ZOMBIE WRITERS. Jonathan Maberry and George Romero are joining forces to edit Rise of the Living Dead, an anthology of all-original stories set in the 48 hours surrounding Romero’s landmark film.
Rise of the Living Dead will be published by Griffin, and will include stories by Brad Thor, Brian Keene, Chuck Wendig, David Wellington, George Romero, Isaac Marion, Jay Bonansinga, Joe Lansdale, Joe McKinney, John Russo, Jonathan Maberry, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Mike Carey, Mira Grant (pen name of Seanan McGuire), Neal Shusterman & Brandon Shusterman, and Sandra Brown & Ryan Brown.
(9) LEWIS PART THREE. Matthew David Surridge unveiled “Wandering the Worlds of C.S. Lewis, Part III: Dymer” at Black Gate.
In 1922 C.S. Lewis recorded in his diary that he had “started a poem on ‘Dymer’ in rhyme royal.” His phrasing’s interesting: a work “on” Dymer, as though it were a well-known subject. “Dymer” was already a familiar story to him. He’d written it out in prose in 1917, one of his first mature prose works to use modern diction and avoid the archaisms of William Morris’ novels. Late in 1918 he wrote in a letter that he’d just completed a “short narrative, which is a verse version of our old friend Dymer, greatly reduced and altered to my new ideas. The main idea is that of development by self-destruction, both of individuals and species.” Nothing of this version seems to have survived in the 1922 poem, which was finished in 1925 and published in 1926 to mixed reviews.
(10) HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS. After viewing “Boston Dynamics’ Robo-Dogs Pulling a Sleigh is a Terrifying Glimpse of Christmas Future”, Will R. asked, “Do electric puppies dream of…wait…where was I?”
I love the possibility of a Christmas battle royal between the Robo-Dogs and the regiment of parading Krampuses – it would be the real life equivalent of that Doctor Who episode where the Daleks fought the Cybermen….
(11) PARTYARCHS. Because the MidAmeriCon II Exhibits team will be helping people throw parties in the Worldcon’s event space, rather than have them in hotel rooms, they are inviting people to an advance discussion —
Hi all you party throwers!
At MidAmeriCon II, we are going to have a different party setup and we have some questions to ask of you and answers to share with you.
Please subscribe to our party-discussion mailing list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line of SUBSCRIBE.
Even if you aren’t going to throw a party, we are interested in your insight and advice.
(12) BOND ON ICE. James H. Burns calls”Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?” from the sixth James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, “Perhaps the most unusual song in a James Bond film.” Nina Van Pallandt is the singer.
The song played behind this action scene:
(14) BOIL’EM, BAKE ‘EM, STICK ‘EM IN A STEW. Peru’s Centro Internacional de la Papa will learn how to grow “Potatoes on Mars”.
A team of world-class scientists will grow potatoes under Martian conditions in a bid to save millions of lives.
The experiment, led by the International Potato Center (CIP) and NASA, is a major step towards building a controlled dome on Mars capable of farming the invaluable crop in order to demonstrate that potatoes can be grown in the most inhospitable environments.
The goal is to raise awareness of the incredible resilience of potatoes, and fund further research and farming in devastated areas across the globe where malnutrition and poverty are rife and climbing….
By using soils almost identical to those found on Mars, sourced from the Pampas de La Joya Desert in Peru, the teams will replicate Martian atmospheric conditions in a laboratory and grow potatoes. The increased levels of carbon dioxide will benefit the crop, whose yield is two to four times that of a regular grain crop under normal Earth conditions. The Martian atmosphere is near 95 per cent carbon dioxide.
(15) FISHER. “Han Jimbo” (James H. Burns) says this interview with Carrie Fisher from earlier in the month is just delightful.
(16) CINEMATIC COAL LUMP. ‘Tis the season to remember what is generally regarded among the worst movies ever made.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians can be viewed free online. (As if you would pay to see it!)
(17) WAY OF THE HOBBIT. Ebook Friendly draws our attention to the “Following the Hobbit trail (infographic)”.
Quirk Books, an independent book publisher based in Philadelphia, has released a fantastic infographic that will let you study the timeline of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
The visual was prepared for Quirk Books by Michael Rogalski.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Will R., James H. Burns, John King Tarpinian, JJ, and Gregory N. Hullender for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]
Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Monster Hunter International creator Larry Correia have signed a contract with Baen to co-edit an anthology of stories set in Correia’s Monster Hunter universe.
Schmidt told his Facebook readers the anthology will feature 18-20 stories. Correia will write two of them himself, including one from a monster’s POV (never done before).
Other invited contributors include Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, Jessica Day George, Faith Hunter, John Ringo, Sarah A. Hoyt, John A. Pitts, Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Kupari, Maurice Broaddus, plus Steve Diamond and John C. Wright .
Correia says the book will come out in 2017.