[Editor’s note: be sure to read the comments on this post for more novellas and more Filer reviews.]
TL;DR: Here’s what I thought of the 2020 Novellas. What did you think?
I’m a huge reader of novels, but not that big on short fiction. But the last few years, I’ve done a personal project to read and review as many Novellas as I could (presuming that the story Synopsis had some appeal for me). I ended up reading:
31 of the novellas published in 2015,
35 of the novellas published in 2016,
50 of the novellas published in 2017,
38 of the novellas published in 2018,
57 of the 2019 novellas,
and this year I was waiting for access to a few novellas from my library, so I was reading others, and thus my final total crept up to 59!
I really felt as though this enabled me to do Hugo nominations for the Novella category in an informed way, and a lot of Filers got involved with their own comments. So I’m doing it again this year.
It is not at all uncommon for me to choose to read a book despite not feeling that the jacket copy makes the book sound as though it is something I would like – and to discover that I really like or love the work anyway. On the other hand, It is not at all uncommon for me to choose to read a book which sounds as though it will be up my alley and to discover that, actually, the book doesn’t really do much for me.
Thus, my opinions on the following novellas vary wildly: stories I thought I would love but didn’t, stories I didn’t expect to love but did, and stories which aligned with my expectations – whether high or low.
Bear in mind that while I enjoy both, I tend to prefer Science Fiction over Fantasy – and that while I enjoy suspense and thrillers, I have very little appreciation for Horror (and to be honest, I think Lovecraft is way overrated). What’s more, I apparently had a defective childhood, and I do not share a lot of peoples’ appreciation for fairytale retellings and portal fantasies. My personal assessments are therefore not intended to be the final word on these stories, but merely a jumping-off point for Filer discussion.
Novellas are listed in two sections below. The first section, those with cover art, are the ones I have read, and they include mini-reviews by me. These are in approximate order from most-favorite to least-favorite (but bear in mind that after around the first dozen listed, there was not a large degree of difference in preference among most of the remainder, with the exception of a handful at the bottom). The second section is those novellas I haven’t read, in alphabetical order by title.
I’ve included plot summaries, and where I could find them, links to either excerpts or the full stories which can be read online for free. Some short novels which fall between 40,000 and 48,000 words (within the Hugo Novella category tolerance) have been included, and in a couple of cases, novelettes which were long enough to be in the Hugo Novella tolerance were also included.
Please feel free to post comments about 2020 novellas which you’ve read, as well. And if I’ve missed your File 770 comment about a novella, or an excerpt for a novella, please point me to it!
If you see something that looks like gibberish, it is text that has been ROT-13’ed to avoid spoilers. (Please be sure to rot-13 any spoilers.)
(1) LOCUS LIST’S UNEXPECTED TREND. Dave Truesdale on Facebook wonders why so few of the listed stories come from Analog,Asimov’s, and F&SF. It is rather surprising.
Over at Locus Online the February Locus Magazine Recommended Reading List for 2020 has been posted. Granting my total count of novellas, novelettes, and short stories might be off by one, it makes no difference to the statistic I am about to reveal.
Of the novellas there are Zero stories from Analog, Asimov’s, or F&SF.
Of the novelettes there are Zero stories from Analog, One story from Asimov’s, and Two stories from F&SF.
Of the short stories there are Zero from Analog, Asimov’s, or F&SF.
Out of 124 stories in three fiction length categories selected by Locus reviewers and a few other outsider recommenders, there are exactly 3 stories selected from what has been traditionally known as the Big Three SF magazines. Offer your own theories as to why this has occurred–and has been occurring with a steady downward slide for a number of years now. They don’t give their fiction away for free is one guess and only a few review copies are sent out to review sites, thus accounting for perhaps fewer number of short fiction recommenders, and although other zines posting online do charge a little bit they are in the distinct minority. So are Locus recommenders reading primarily free magazines, or is there some other reason, maybe one having to do with content? This picture isn’t hanging quite straight and I’d like to know why so miserably few short fiction recommendations coming from Locus have appeared in the pages of Analog, Asimov’s, and F&SF. I’m sure their editors and authors would like to know, too. So if you have any ideas…
(2) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Matthew Kressel and Ellen Datlow will host livestream readings with this month’s authors, Kathleen Jennings and Shveta Thakrar, on YouTube, Wednesday, February 17 at 7 p.m. Eastern. The link will is posted later.
Kathleen Jennings is a writer and illustrator from Australia. In 2020, her debut (illustrated) novella Flyaway was published by Tor.com, and her debut poetry collection Travelogues: Vignettes from Trains in Motion by Brain Jar Press. Her short stories have been published by Tor.com, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and Strange Horizons, among others. She’s currently working on a PhD about contracts in fantasy novels.
Shveta Thakrar is a fantasy writer and full-time believer in magic. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies including Enchanted Living, Uncanny Magazine, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, and Toil & Trouble. Her debut young adult fantasy novel, Star Daughter, is out now, and her second novel will follow in 2022.
“A couple festivals have DMed me and said they’re pulling the film, and the main actor in the film also told me he wasn’t aware that it was plagiarized and he never would’ve signed on if he knew,” Ellis told Newsweek. “It’s hard to know what festivals they submitted to, since the filmmakers haven’t been in contact with me.”
Ellis said that he was not currently pursuing litigation against the filmmakers.
“I’ve also had some lawyers reach out, and I’m keeping my options open, but I’m not interested in legal action at the moment,” Ellis said. “I don’t think it would ultimately lead anywhere, but we’ll see what happens. Mostly I just want the film to be pulled. The story is personal to me and I’m protective of it!”
…Nielsen says Wonder Woman 1984 racked up huge audiences on its opening weekend, becoming the biggest feature film in Nielsen’s rankings—and one of the biggest streaming titles of any kind since Nielsen launched its streaming measurement. (THR / Live Feed)
The movie amassed nearly 2.3 billion minutes viewed among U.S. viewers, about 35 percent more than Soul. Previously, Nielsen had said Pixar’s Soul was the most-viewed on its Top 10 streaming ranking for Dec. 21-27, 2020. (Variety)…
(6) BRIEF INTERZONE UPDATE. [Item by PhilRM.] This addendum was posted today on the TTA Press – Interzone page:
UPDATE 1ST FEB: Please be assured that we are addressing the concerns expressed by some subscribers and are seeking confirmation of certain matters. We’ll update again asap. Assuring you of our best efforts at all times…
(7) WE INTERRUPT THIS WANDAVISION. An intriguing mid-season trailer has dropped for Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. John King Tarpinian says of the show, “Really well done, each episode keeps you on your toes.”
(8) BURNS OBIT. Producer and screenwriter Allan Burns died January 30. Deadline’s tribute begins with some of his genre credits:
Allan Burns, a television producer and screenwriter best known for cocreating and cowriting for the television sitcoms The Munsters, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Rhoda, died Saturday at home. He was 85….
His first venture included working in animation for Jay Ward on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Dudley Do-Right, and George of the Jungle. Among his other accomplishments in his early days was creating the Cap’n Crunch cartoon character for Quaker Oats.
Burns formed a writing partnership with Chris Hayward, and the team created The Munsters (1964) and My Mother The Car (1965). They also teamed as story editors for the classic Get Smart.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born February 1, 1874 – Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Two of this gifted poet’s short stories for us are available in English. He worked closely with another strange gifted man, Richard Strauss, writing the words of two fantastic Strauss operas, The Woman without a Shadow and The Egyptian Helen. More about HH here. (Died 1929) [JH]
Born February 1, 1884 – Yevgeny Zamyatin. Had he only written We it would have been enough for us – maybe; others have taken it as a springboard. Three of his shorter stories and an essay on Wells are in English; We has been Englished nine times. Z’s life was so complicated you might want to look here. (Died 1937) [JH]
Born February 1, 1908 — George Pal. Let’s see… Producer of Destination Moon (Retro Hugo at Millennium Philcon), When Worlds Collide, The War of the Worlds (which I love), Conquest of Space (anyone heard of this one?), The Time Machine, Atlantis, the Lost Continent, Tom Thumb, The Time Machine, Atlantis, the Lost Continent, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (another I love)and his last film being Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze which is not so great. Can we hold a George Pal film fest, pretty please? (Died 1980.) (CE)
Born February 1, 1936 – Paul Turner. Rooted in Los Angeles, knew and reached many. Promoted a LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Society) building fund, kept at it till the spark caught; LASFS with luckily finite improbability bought a clubhouse; few have. Served a term as Director (as it then was), later President; earned the Evans-Freehafer Award (service); thirty years later, Fan Guest of Honor at Loscon 20. Also promoted conversation. Particular friend of Bill Rotsler. My appreciation here. (Died 2019) [JH]
Born February 1, 1942 — Terry Jones. Member of Monty Python who was considered the originator of the program’s structure in which sketches flowed from one to the next without the use of punchlines. He made his directorial debut with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-directed with Gilliam, and also directed Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. He also wrote an early draft of Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, though little of that draft remains in the final version. (Died 2020.) (CE)
Born February 1, 1946 — Elisabeth Sladen. Certainly best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who, the most loved of all the Companions among fans. She was a regular cast member from 1973 to 1976, alongside the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), and reprised her role down the years, both on the series and on its spin-offs, K-9 and Company (truly awfully done including K-9 himself) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (not bad at all). It’s not her actual first SF appearance, that honor goes to her being a character called Sarah Collins in an episode of the Doomwatch series called “Say Knife, Fat Man”. The creators behind this series had created the cybermen concept for Doctor Who. (Died 2011.) (CE)
Born February 1, 1954 — Bill Mumy, 67. Well I’ll be damned. He’s had a much longer career in the genre than even I knew. His first genre roles were at age seven on Twilight Zone, two episodes in the same season (Billy Bayles In “Long Distance Call” and Anthony Fremont in “Its A Good Life”). He makes make it a trifecta appearing a few years later again as Young Pip Phillips in “In Praise of Pip”. Witches are next for him. First he plays an orphaned boy in an episode of Bewitched called “A Vision of Sugar Plums” and then it’s Custer In “Whatever Became of Baby Custer?” on I Dream of Jeannie, a show he shows he revisits a few years as Darrin the Boy in “Junior Executive”. Ahhh his most famous role is up next as Will Robinson in Lost in Space. It’s got to be thirty years since I’ve seen it but I still remember and like it quite a bit. He manages to show up next on The Munsters as Googie Miller in “Come Back Little Googie” and in Twilight Zone: The Movie In one of the bits as Tim. I saw the film but don’t remember him. He’s got a bunch of DC Comics roles as well — Young General Fleming in Captain America, Roger Braintree on The Flash series and Tommy Puck on Superboy. Ahhh Lennier. One of the most fascinating and annoying characters in all of the Babylon 5 Universe. Enough said. I hadn’t realized it but he showed up on Deep Space Nine as Kellin in the “The Siege of AR-558” episode. Lastly, and before our gracious Host starts grinding his teeth at the length of this Birthday entry, I see he’s got a cameo as Dr. Z. Smith in the new Lost in Space series. (CE)
Born February 1, 1962 – Maryrose Wood, age 59. Ten books for us, two of them with the Duchess of Northumberland (I am not making this up). Was in the original cast of Merrily We Roll Along (the musical, not the Kaufman & Hart play – nor was it with that Prince; another one). Three Richard Rodgers Awards. [JH]
Born February 1, 1965 — Sherilyn Fenn, 56. Best known for playing as Audrey Horne on Twin Peaks. Her first genre work was in The Wraith as Keri Johnson followed by being Suzi in Zombie High (also known charmingly not as The School That Ate My Brain). Her latest work is Etta in The Magicians series. (CE)
Born February 1, 1965 — Brandon Lee. Lee started his career with a supporting role in Kung Fu: The Movie, but is obviously known for his breakthrough and unfortunate fatal acting role as Eric Draven in The Crow, based on James O’Barr’s series. Y’ll know what happened to him so I’ll not go into that here. (Died 1993.) (CE)
Born February 1, 1967 – Meg Cabot, age 54. (Rhymes with “habit”.) Two dozen novels for us, half a dozen shorter stories; eighty books all told. Princess Diaries became two Disney films. Many awards, NY Times top best-sellers, 25 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Married on April Fool’s Day, possibly to spoof her husband, anyway they’re still at it. Works with charities e.g. Make-a-Wish Fdn, United Nations Refugee Agency, Reading is Fundamental, NY Public Libraries. Blogs abut her cats. [JH]
Born February 1, 1972 – Cristina Jurado, age 49. Editor and translator, SuperSonic. A dozen short stories, half available in English; so are anthologies Spanish Women of Wonder (not its Spanish title) and The Apex Book of World SF vol. 5. “Fandom in Spain” for the Worldcon 75 Souvenir Book, thanks Jukka, Curtis, Charlotte, Vesa. Interviewed (in English) in Three Crows. [JH]
A tiny new species of chameleon has been discovered, and it seems to be the smallest reptile in the world. Known as Brookesia nana, or the nano-chameleon, the petite species can perch on a fingertip and may have the smallest adult males of any vertebrate….
Daniel P. Dern notes, “I’m sure that, at least with this group, I’m not the only person who instantly thought of the classic Bob & Ray ‘The Komodo Dragon’ bit.”
Abstract: Long before photocopiers and on-line blogs became the tools of fandom, science-fiction fans mastered the art of mimeography and other methods of amateur publishing. Since the late 19th century, amateur printers had grouped together in so-called “amateur press associations” (or “apas”) to distribute their home-made magazines to each other in bundles. The “apa” was a key feature of science fiction fandom by the 1940s. By the 1950s, critics were wondering whether the back-and-forth exchanges which went on inside “apas”, as members used their own magazines to respond to others, was producing unprecedented levels of infighting and souring the atmosphere in science fiction fandom. In the early 1960s, a move to block an accused pedophile from attending the World Science Fiction Convention split science fiction fandom into warring factions, and the heated discursive environment of the amateur press association was seen as one cause of this atmosphere of intense polemic. Drawing on my new research into mimeography, pre-media fandoms and the amateur press association, I will show how systems for the distribution and circulation of fanzines shaped particular climates of dissension.
A Maine company that’s developing a rocket to propel small satellites into space passed its first major test on Sunday.
Brunswick-based bluShift Aerospace launched a 20-foot (6-meter) prototype rocket, hitting an altitude of a little more than 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) in a first run designed to test the rocket’s propulsion and control systems.
It carried a science project by Falmouth High School students that will measure flight metrics such as barometric pressure, a special alloy that’s being tested by a New Hampshire company — and a Dutch dessert called stroopwafel, in an homage to its Amsterdam-based parent company. Organizers of the launch said the items were included to demonstrate the inclusion of a small payload.
The company, which launched from the northern Maine town of Limestone, the site of the former Loring Air Force Base, is one of dozens racing to find affordable ways to launch so-called nano satellites. Some of them, called Cube-Sats, can be as small as 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters….
(14) COLORING INSIDE THE LINES. The Schickele.com Site Map is the best ever says Daniel Dern. It helps that it’s an actual map. The site promotes the performer known as PDQ Bach. And that’s not all he’s known for.
Turns out the entire universe is a product of the number 42, specifically 42 times the collection of lm/2t, such that l, m and t are the Planck Units. In a newly published paper, Measurement Quantization Describes the Physical Constants, both the constants and laws of nature are resolved from a simple geometry between two frames of reference, the non-discrete Target Frame of the universe and the discrete Measurement Frame of the observer. Its only and primary connection to our physical reality is a scalar, 42. Forty-two is what defines our universe from say any other version of our universe. So, while Douglas Adams may have just been picking numbers out of the sky when writing Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it turns out he picked the right number, the one that defines … well … everything.
In addition to presenting new descriptions for most of the physical constants (descriptions that don’t reference other physical constants), the paper is also noted for presenting a classical unification of gravity and electromagnetism.
On Friday, missing alerts for the Texas Department of Public Safety included the murderous doll, Chucky, and his son, Glen Ray. Glen is described as having a blue shirt and black collar while Chucky is said to be wearing “blue denim overalls with multi-colored striped long sleeve shirt” and “wielding a huge kitchen knife.”
The local NBC affiliate learned that this was actually the result of a test gone wrong. The Department of Public Safety was testing out its server when it accidentally made these faux alerts public.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “The Hunger Games Sequels Pitch Meeting” on ScreenRant, Ryan George takes on the three sequels to The Hunger Games, noting †he capitol is guarded by “really mean Power Rangers” and the plot of the third movie can be summarized as “The rebels compensate for Katniss’s poor acting abilities.”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, David Doering, Michael Toman, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, PhilRM, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John Hertz, Danny Sichel, Daniel Dern, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
By JJ: To assist Hugo nominators, this post provides information on the artists and designers of nearly 750 works which appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy for the first time in 2020.
These credits have been accumulated over the course of the year from dust jackets, Acknowledgments sections and copyright pages in works, cover reveal blog posts, and other sources on the internet. This year, Filers Martin Pyne and Karen B. also collected this information, and though we had a lot of overlap, their extra entries have greatly increased the information we are able to provide you. My profound thanks go to Martin and Karen for all of their hard work.
You can see the full combined spreadsheet of Editor and Artist credits here (I will be continuing to update this as I get more information).
In this post I will display up to 8 images of artworks for each artist for whom I have identified 3 or more works which appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy for the first time in 2020. Clicking on the thumbnail will open a full-screen version of each work; where I could find a version of the work without titles, that is the image which is linked.
3.3.12: Best Professional Artist. An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year.
3.2.11: A Professional Publication is one which meets at least one of the following two criteria:
(1) it provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or,
(2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.
3.10.2: In the Best Professional Artist category, the acceptance should include citations of at least three (3) works first published in the eligible year.
Under the current rules, artwork for semiprozines and fanzines is not eligible in this category. You can check whether a publication is a prozine or a semiprozine in this directory (the semiprozine list is at the top of the page, and the prozine directory is at the bottom).
Please be sure to check the spreadsheet first; but then, if you are able to confirm credits missing 2020-original works and the names of their artists from Acknowledgments sections, copyright pages, or by contacting authors and/or artists, go ahead and add them in comments, and I will get them included in the spreadsheet, and if the artist is credited with at least 3 works, in this post. If you have questions or corrections, please add those also. Please note that works may or may not be added to the list at my discretion.
PLEASE DON’T ADD GUESSES.
Artists, Authors, Editors and Publishers are welcome to post in comments here, or to send their lists to jjfile770 [at] gmail [dot] com.
(warning: this post is heavily image-intensive, and will probably not work well on mobile devices: flee now, or prepare to meet your doom extremely slow page download)
The 2019 World Fantasy Awards Judges have been announced.
Nancy Holder (USA)
Kathleen Jennings (Australia)
Stephen Graham Jones (USA)
Garry Douglas (United Kingdom)
Tod McCoy (USA)
The judges will be reading and considering eligible materials until June 1, 2019. All forms of fantasy are eligible, e.g. epic, dark, contemporary, literary.
Qualifications: All books must have been published in 2018; magazines must have a 2018 cover date; only living persons are eligible.
The award categories are: Life Achievement; Best Novel; Best Novella (10,001 to 40,000 words); Best Short Story; Best Anthology; Best Collection; Best Artist; Special Award??Professional; Special Award??Non?Professional.
The awards will be presented at World Fantasy Convention 2019 , to be held Thursday, October 31 through Sunday, November 3, 2019, at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Through May 20, 2019, an attending membership costs $225, which does not include the Awards Banquet. Banquet tickets will be available in Summer, 2019. Information and forms can be found on the website.
The Hugo Awards are selected by a vote of the members of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in a two-stage process. The first stage is nominating (which starts in early 2019) and the second stage is the final ballot that includes those works/people that received enough nominations in the first stage (which starts later in 2019). If you want to participate in the nominating stage and are not yet a member of either the 2018 or 2019 Worldcons, take note of the December 31, 2018 deadline for joining Worldcon in order to be eligible to nominate in 2019.
If you want to nominate works/people for the 2019 Hugo Awards, you must be a member of either the 2018 Worldcon (San José) or the 2019 Worldcon (Dublin) by the end of 2018.
(2) HOW MUCH SCIENCE IS IN YOUR FAVORITE SF? Gregory Benford’s quote from Loscon about “If you write sf honey, gotta get the science right” lit off several discussions on Twitter.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia started a list of famous sf that is not scientifically accurate. Thread begins here.
Sci Fi is littered with implausible Science (Philip K Dick, Heinlein) which didn't stop books from being lauded. But you get a woman, a black woman, writing SF and suddenly oh 'honey' it better be hard sci Fi. And then ppl say this is the literature if the imagination. 🙂
Speculative fiction doesn't belong to any one group or literary conversation, because our stories are not universal. We are all limited by our own perspectives. To say that one literary conversation is necessary reading is to say "this perspective must be centered at all times."
It's an attitude that smacks of "we share our toys with each other but EEEWWW NOT WITH YOU." Well, buddies, they're not your toys. A group of people playing with their own toys without paying attention to you hasn't copied you or stolen from you.
Re-using ideas and tropes to write works that exist in conversation with previous works is a staple of speculative fiction. And when a writer with a different perspective does it, they're almost guaranteed to bring something new to the conversation. They're bringing themselves.
Posted in lieu of a scream, bc I don't have TIME for all this shit: the science in the Broken Earth trilogy isn't the psi — for which I used the groundbreaking term "magic" — but the seismology. Also the social sciences, but I know that's a lost cause w/some. So. FYI for all.
(4) BOOK OF DOUBT. Aidan Doyle is currently running a Kickstarter for Kickstarter for The Writer’s Book of Doubt . It contains essays and advice for writers on how to deal with self-doubt. It’s illustrated by Hugo and World Fantasy nominated artist Kathleen Jennings and includes a Map of Submissionland.
Why don’t I have any ideas?
Why haven’t I written anything? Why haven’t I written anything good? Why won’t anyone publish my stories? Why won’t anyone pay me for my stories?
The Writer’s Book of Doubt by Aidan Doyle is a book of comfort for writers. An acknowledgement that writing can be a difficult and lonely process. It includes essays and advice from a number of writers and will be illustrated by Hugo and World Fantasy nominated artist, Kathleen Jennings.
… The book includes guest essays from a range of writers giving advice on how to deal with doubt and providing examples of encouragement and hope. The essays are reprints, but many of them are revised and expanded.
Contents include —
Delilah S. Dawson – No Word is Ever Wasted
Malon Edwards – I am a Big Black Man Who Writes Science Fiction
Meg Elison – Revenge is 100 Dresses
Kate Elliott – The Space You Make For Your Art
Kameron Hurley – 10 Things I Learned From Failure
Matthew Kressel – Overcoming Self-Doubt as a Writer
R. F. Kuang – The Racial Rubber Stamp
Fonda Lee – The Great Green Monster
Rose Lemberg – Don’t Self-Reject
Likhain – Seeing Yourself in Stories
Jeannette Ng – Cultural Appropriation for the Worried Writer
A. Merc Rustad – The Necessity of Hope
Bogi Takács – How (Not) to Include Trans People as Background Characters
E. Catherine Tobler – Writing, Mostly
Isabel Yap – Whenever I’m in an Extended Period of Not-Writing I am Always Deeply, Deeply Mystified About How the Hell to Start Again
Plus a bonus illustration from
Tom Gauld – The Ghost of Future Book Sales
With 12 days to go, the appeal has brought in $2,805 – its original goal was $1,097.
(6) THE NOVAE OF NOVEMBER:Featured Futures look at the bright spots in this month’s short fiction from the prozines in Summation: November 2018.
The issues of Clarkesworld and F&SF were especially strong and Galaxy’s Edge had a couple of nice tales. I also began belated coverage of the resurrected Amazing‘s August “Fall” issue this November. On the other hand, in general, non-prozine news, Shimmer ceased publication and I noticed that the long-dormant SQ Mag had finally acknowledged its death in September. Speaking of death, this month’s wombat was at least three excellent stories in which the deaths of mothers and a sister played significant parts.
The tally for November was 79 stories of 482K words (plus five October stories of 19K in November’s first review of the weeklies) with thirteen noted and six of those recommended. In more general site news, I’ve decided on Featured Futures‘ 2019 coverage. The link to that is in the “News” section at the end of this post.
(7) TODAY’S VERY FANNISH BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]
Born November 30, 1893 – E. Everett Evans, Writer, Editor, Conrunner, and Member of First Fandom who started out with fan writing, but eventually became a published genre author as well. He helped to found the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) and served as its president and editor of its publication. Food for Demons was a chapbook compilation of his fantasy tales, though he was generally not considered to be a good fiction writer. Fandom’s Big Heart Award, which was founded by Forrest J Ackerman in 1959, was named for him for its first 40 years. In 2018, Bob Tucker’s fanzine Le Zombie, of which he had co-edited two issues, won a Retro Hugo Award. (Died 1958.)
Born November 30, 1917 – Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Actor of Stage and Screen and Producer. Best known in genre, without doubt, as the voice of Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series and the animated films linked to it – unless you’re a big Babylon 5 fan, in which case you might remember him from four episodes where he played William Edgars. He also played character voices in the 1990s series Spider-Man as Doctor Octopus and Iron Man as Justin Hammer, and had a role in Beyond Witch Mountain. (Died 2014.)
Born November 30, 1919 – Dr. Milton A. Rothman, Nuclear Physicist, Writer, Teacher, and Member of First Fandom who co-founded the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, organized the first Philcon science fiction convention in October 1936, and attended the first Worldcon in 1939. He published the fanzines Milty’s Mag and Plenum. An outspoken skeptic, his The Physicist’s Guide to Skepticism applied the laws of physics to paranormal and pseudoscientific claims to show why they are impossible. He chaired the Philadelphia Worldcons in both 1947 and 1953, and was Guest of Honor at the Philadelphia Worldcon in 1976. His complete science fiction works were published posthumously in 2004 in the collection Heavy Planet and Other Science Fiction Stories. (Died 2001.)
Born November 30, 1933 – Bill Ellern, 85, Engineer, Writer, Editor, Conrunner, and Member of First Fandom who is a 60-year member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and has also served on the committees for several Worldcons and other conventions. As an engineer at JPL, he worked on the Ranger moon probe. As an author, he received permission from E.E. Smith to extend the Lensman series of novels. In 2005, he was honored by LASFS for his service with the Evans-Freehafer Award.
Born November 30, 1937 – Ridley Scott, 81, Oscar-nominated Director and Producer. The Hugo and Saturn Award-winning The Martian is his most recent genre work of note, but he’s got a long and distinguished list that includes Hugo winners Blade Runner and Alien, Hannibal, the Clio-winning “1984” Apple video advert, Legend, Prometheus, Alien: Covenant, and a superb Robin Hood. Interestingly, he had a poem entitled “Blood Runner” published by the Science Fiction Poetry Association in its Star*Line magazine in 2011.
Born November 30, 1949 – Billy Drago, 69, Actor, Writer, and Producer known for playing villains, most especially John Bly, the antagonist in the first and best storyline of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. He also played the demon Barbas in the original Charmed series, and has appeared in many horror films, including True Blood, Vamp, Cyborg 2, Sci-Fighters, Demon Hunter, and The Hills Have Eyes. He also was in Tremors 4: The Legend Begins – a film I’m sure no one was asking for.
Born November 30, 1952 – Debra Doyle, 66, Writer, Filker, and Fan. Her novel Knight’s Wyrd, co-written wither her husband and collaborator James D. Macdonald, won a Mythopoeic Award for Children’s Literature. Most of their co-written works are fantasy, but their Mageworlds series also crosses into space opera territory. As filker Malkin Grey, she and Pergyn Wyndryder won a Pegasus Award for Best Historical Song. She is an instructor at the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop, and has been Guest of Honor at several conventions.
Born November 30, 1952 – Jill Eastlake, 66, IT Manager, Costumer, Conrunner, and Fan who is known for her elaborate and fantastical costume designs; her costume group won “Best in Show” at the 2004 Worldcon. A member of fandom for more than 50 years, she belonged to her high school’s SF club, then became an early member of NESFA, the Boston-area fan club, and served as its president for 4 years. She has served on the committees for numerous Worldcons and regional conventions, co-chaired a Costume-Con, and chaired two Boskones. She was the Hugo Award ceremony coordinator for the 1992 Worldcon, and has run the Masquerade for numerous conventions. Her extensive contributions were honored when she was named a Fellow of NESFA in 1976, and in 2011 the International Costumer’s Guild presented her with their Lifetime Achievement Award. She and her fan husband Don (who is irrationally fond of running WSFS Business Meetings) were Fan Guests of Honor at Rivercon.
Born November 30, 1953 – Mandy Patinkin, 65, Actor and Producer who is well-known to genre fans for his portrayal of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, which included several memorable and memeable lines, most famously “You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means”. His other genre credits a lead role in the film Alien Nation for which he received a Saturn nomination, Dick Tracy, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, a main role in the Dead Like Me TV series, a guest part in an episode of Hercules, and voice roles in Castle in the Sky, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Wind Rises, and Smurfs: The Lost Village.
Born November 30, 1955 – Kevin Conroy, 63, Actor who is, without doubt, best known for voicing Batman on first Batman: The Animated Series, and then later myriad other Batman-inclusive undertakings. (Note that The New Batman Adventures have been folded into that series when it was released in DVD format and as video.) He reprised the role of an elder Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond. Justice League Action, which just had its first season on the Cartoon Network, saw him again in the Batman role, with the other characters often noting his stoic personality.
Born November 30, 1957 – Martin Morse Wooster, 61, Journalist, Writer, Editor, Critic, and Member of First Filedom. He discovered fandom as a high-schooler in 1974, when he heard about “a big sci-fi con” in downtown Washington, and so attended Discon II. A year later, he discovered fanzines, and found that he liked writing book reviews and Letters of Comment (LOCs); he has been turning them out ever since. In 1975, he was one of 12 founders of the Potomac River Science Fiction Society, and still attends PRSFS meetings to discuss books. He has written several non-fiction books, on subjects such as education policy and how to do philanthropy well. He has been a File 770 contributor since 1978, and frequently writes reports of the conventions he attends.
Born November 30, 1965 – Ryan Murphy, 53, Writer, Director, and Producer who is responsible for those roles on the various iterations of American Horror Story, which have thus far included Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show, Hotel, Roanoke, Cult, and Apocalypse, and on the two-year Scream Queens anthology series.
Born November 30, 1985 – Kaley Cuoco, 33, Actor and Producer. Reversing my usual method of stating their past credits, I’m going to note that she will be Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel in the forthcoming Harley Quinn series on the DC Universe streaming service. Yes, I’m excited, as the trailer looked great! She appeared as regular cast in the last season of the original Charmed series, and is a main cast member on the homage to geekdom The Big Bang Theory
The bride wore a deep scarlet dress, in honor of Harry Potter’s Gryffindor House colors, and she held a bouquet of paper flowers made with pages from the beloved J.K. Rowling novel. The groom wore a blue and bronze tie for his favored house of Ravenclaw.
(10) TONIGHT ON JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter has the latest sff reference from the game show:
In the category “Books with Animals,” the answer was: “The title characters in ‘Tailchaser’s Song’ is this kind of Animal.”
A normal way for fans to appreciate Edgar Wright’s 2004 zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead is to watch it again and perhaps discover a few grace notes they missed the first or second or third time around. But there’s something to be said for considering it through the prism of slavish imitator like Anna and the Apocalypse, a Scottish genre mash-up that plays like a piece of fan art, only with a musical component added.
I have learned a lot from playing the character of Hermione on stage in the last few years. Although generally calm and level headed, righteous and empathetic Hermione knows how to use anger effectively when it’s needed.
Hermione’s anger is a beautiful thing – she displays it most through her loyalty and love, especially when she’s in love and trying to understand that. She’s asking those she loves to do better. She holds them up to a high standard because she has faith they can reach that. Fiercely. And she’ll be there when they do.
Disney Junior has greenlighted an animated mystery-adventure series for preschoolers that is inspired by the cultures and customs of India.
Mira, Royal Detective will star 15-year-old newcomer Leela Ladnier in the title role, along with the voices of Freida Pinto, Hannah Simone, Kal Penn, Jameela Jamil, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Aasif Mandvi.
Set in the magical Indian-inspired land of Jalpur, the series follows the brave and resourceful Mira, a commoner who is appointed to the role of royal detective after solving a mystery that involves saving the kingdom’s young prince.
In March 2017, when Budweiser proclaimed its intentions to be the first beer on Mars, the announcement could have easily been dismissed as just another marketing stunt, a forward-looking contrast to Bud Light’s medieval-set “Dilly Dilly” campaign, even. But despite the fact that, no, Budweiser will not be arriving on Mars anytime soon, Bud has continued to prove that, though the campaign does have a significant marketing angle, it is not simply a stunt.
This week, the beer brand has announced that it plans to conduct its third experiment on the International Space Station as part of a SpaceX launch scheduled for this coming Tuesday, December 4. Coincidentally enough, on that date exactly one year ago, Budweiser sent its first two Bud on Mars experiments to the ISS, also via a SpaceX launch. Those endeavors looked at how a microgravity environment affected barley seedlings, both in general and with regards to germination. Of course, as any beer expert can tell you, once barley is grown, you have to malt it before it can be used to brew beer, so this latest experiment takes the barley journey one step further.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Olav Rokne, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]