Heinlein Installed in Hall of Famous Missourians

While I missed reporting a lot of news stories while I was hospitalized, I want to pick up the ending of a story I’ve been following for a couple years – Robert A. Heinlein’s induction to the Hall of Famous Missourians.

Jeb Kinnison, whose contribution made possible the production of the Heinlein bust, has a lot of photos of The Heinlein Society’s unveiling ceremony at MidAmeriCon II in his Worldcon report.

Sculptor E. Spencer Schubertand Jeb Kinnison flank Heinlein's bust at MACII.

Sculptor E. Spencer Schubertand Jeb Kinnison flank Heinlein’s bust at MACII.

Then, immediately following the Worldcon, lawmakers in Jefferson City, the Missouri state capital, officially inducted Heinlein to the Hall.

Lawmakers on Tuesday inducted science fiction writer Robert Heinlein to the Hall of Famous Missourians to a cheering crowd of fans who call themselves “Heinlein’s children.”

The Missouri native won science fiction awards for some of his most famous works including “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “Starship Troopers,” a story about a war against arachnid-like aliens that later was adapted for film.

Fans, including a state lawmaker, said his work also inspired readers to pursue careers in science and space exploration. State Rep. T.J. Berry, of Kearney near Kansas City, said Heinlein encouraged others to “strive for the stars, for the moon” and “for what’s next.”

“Our devotion to this man must seem odd to those outside of the science fiction field, with spaceships and ray guns and bug-eyed monsters,” Heinlein Society President Keith Kato said. “But to Heinlein’s children, the writing was only the beginning of doing.”

heinlein-bust

 

Heinlein Goes Into Hall of Famous Missourians on 8/23

"Artist's proof" of Heinlein bust by artist E. Spencer Schubert .

“Artist’s proof” of Heinlein bust by sculptor E. Spencer Schubert .

The Heinlein Society is organizing a post-MidAmeriCon II relaxacon in Jefferson City, MO to coincide with the official ceremony inducting Robert A. Heinlein into the Missouri House of Representatives Hall of Famous Missourians.

The Induction Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. on the floor of the House chambers, followed by a light coffee/tea reception until about noon.

(MidAmeriCon II ends Sunday, August 21.)

The Society has arranged a group rate of $89/night (plus taxes and fees) at the Capitol Plaza Hotel, with a group dinner planned on August 22, 6:00-8:00 p.m., followed by the use of a function room for a fannish talkfest until 1:00 a.m. if need be. For details, contact Keith Kato, President of The Heinlein Society, at chairman@heinleinsociety.org.

Room reservations are due by July 23 to get the group rate (latecomers will be given the group rate if there are rooms available), and names of attendees are due by July 20 to receive formal invitations by the Speaker of the House (latecomers will be seated in the Visitors’ Gallery). Dinner menu selections will be available in late July; orders for the group dinner must be placed with the Capitol Plaza Hotel by close of business, August 17.

Travel from Kansas City to Jefferson City is available via Amtrak, or privately driven cars.  There are flights on American Airlines leaving Jefferson City from the local Columbia Regional Airport (COU) to the Dallas-Ft. Worth and Chicago O’Hare hubs.

The Heinlein bust will be unveiled at MidAmeriCon II.

[Thanks to Keith Kato for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 5/12/16 The Pixels Scrolls Don’t See

(1) THE SICHUAN CHICKEN EMERGENCY. Last year’s Hugo-winning novelist has received a new honor — “Dinosaur relics named after science fiction writer Liu Cixin”.

A new kind of bird-footed dinosaur footprint was discovered in Gulin county, Southwest China’s Sichuan province and named for Chinese science-fiction writer Liu Cixin, to honor his contribution to raising public interest in science.

Liu, who was thrilled to hear the news, said that he has great interest in paleontology.

“It is like a science fiction we’re reading that the dinosaur in Gulin county was preserved so well for billions of years. It helps us travel back in time. I hope the relics could be studied and preserved well.”

(2) SUPERGIRL ADDS W, LEAVES BS BEHIND. Variety makes it official — “’Supergirl’ Lands at the CW for Season 2”.

After nearly two years of rumors, “Supergirl” is heading to the CW for its second season, Variety has learned….

At CBS, “Supergirl” averaged a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 10.03 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. It was CBS’ top-rated rookie drama this season in the demo, and was also its youngest-skewing drama with a median age of 55.6 — however, it was down from comedies in the Monday night timeslot last year.

The hotly anticipated crossover with “The Flash” on March 28 was a ratings hit for the CW, prompting the rumors to begin swirling once again that “Supergirl” would head over to the younger-skewing network, in order to nab a renewal. That episode, co-starring “Flash’s” Grant Gustin, averaged a 2.5 rating in 18-49 and 9.6 million total viewers in L+7 — the show’s best numbers in the second half of its run.

(3) KRYPTON. Vulture says Supergirl’s home planet is also going to be on the tube: “Syfy Orders Pilot for Krypton, a Show About Superman’s Grandpa Who Lives on a Planet That Definitely Isn’t Going to Explode Any Time Soon”.

And you thought Batman was the only DC Comics superhero who would get a TV show about what everyone around him was doing before he became interesting: THR reports that SyFy has ordered a pilot for Krypton, a Superman prequel from David S. Goyer set on the eponymous doomed planet. The series will follow Superman’s grandpa as he “fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos,” which is one task at which he is guaranteed to fail (because the world will blow up) and another that is a bit of a moot point (because, again, the world will blow up).

(4) GEMMELL VOTING STARTS TOMORROW. Voting on the longlists for 2016’s David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy (the Legend, Morningstar, and Ravenheart Awards) opens midday on Friday, May 13 and closes at midnight on Friday June 24.

The award’s Facebook page revealed there will be 48 nominations for the Legend Award, 6 for the Morningstar and 39 for the Ravenheart.

Voting on the shortlist opens at midday on Friday July 8 and closes at midnight on Friday August 19.

The presentation takes place at 8pm on Saturday September 24 at Fantasycon in Scarborough.

(5) MIND MELD. SFFWorld threw a lifeline to Rob B, whose Mind Meld installment needed a home after SF Signal went offline. The participants are N. E. White, Jonah Sutton-Morse, Yanni Kuznia, and Summer Brooks.

“MIND MELD: Recent SF/F/H You’ve Read & Enjoyed About Which You Knew Little”

Q: What recent SF/F/H books have you read and enjoyed which you knew little to nothing about beforehand? (For example, you go into a bookstore and picked a book off the shelf based on title and/or cover alone.)

(6) NEW YORK NEW YORK NEW YORK. Pornokitsch compares and contrasts in “Will Eisner and Three Visions of New York”.

Both Eisner and Fantasia 2000 also recognise this aspect of the city: it can grind people down, even to the point of death. Using the darkness of the city in this way all three of these representations show the city itself to be an active force working on their various protagonists. Dark Dark Dark focus more on the elemental aspects of the city while Eisner examines the interaction of the people and their home, but both are aware of the inherent magic of the place. Dark Dark Dark present in their enigmatic lyrics and the swirling otherworldliness of their instrumentals what Eisner recognised in his introduction to ‘The Building’, there is something “unexplained and […] magical” about the city which can affect those that live in it.

(7) NEW DESTINATION. Variety’s article “Winchester Mystery House Movie Attracts Spierig Brothers” discusses the next project by the Spierig Brothers, Winchester, about the famous San Jose, CA haunted house.

Keith Kato writes, “Michael and Peter Spierig, the Spierig Brothers, are favorites of (and members of) The Heinlein Society for their most recent film, Predestination (2014 U.S. release), based on the Robert A. Heinlein short story ‘All You Zombies.’ We have been told by the Brothers that they will be out of the country from July-September, presumably for filming commitments for this project and they regret they will not be able to attend the Kansas City Worldcon.”

(8) FURNITURE. I don’t think we’ll be able to order a park bench from them, though it’s nice to know Sancal’s Futura collection is based on 1960s sci-fi space stations.

Dezeen promotion: Spanish brand Sancal has launched a “retro-futuristic” collection of furniture, featuring tables, chairs and ornaments that reference 1960s science fiction films (+ movie).

The Futura collection, which was exhibited by Sancal during this year’s Milan design week, is modelled on the set designs of movies such as the 1968 epic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

futura-furniture-collection-sancal-milan-design-week-2016_dezeen_936_8

(9) NEW AWARDS? Bleeding Cool passed on this rumor about the San Diego Comic-Con.

The word on the street is that we are about to get a brand-new, very well-funded awards show for San Diego Comic Con.

I understand that high level talks are taking place between Jennifer O’Connell, Executive VP of Alternative Programming, Seth Lederman, Executive VP General Manager of the new streaming channel Comic-Con HQ and David Glanzer, Chief Communications and Strategy Officer of Comic-Con International, the people behind San Diego Comic Con.

While the existing Eisner Awards cover the comic book industry, and have been the premier awards at San Diego for some time, this new award show is planned to cover comics, TV, film, games and all manner of fan and genre culture. So expect very big names on hand to host and present awards…..

Lionsgate is said to be interested in producing the show.

(10) YESTERDAY IN HISTORY. Can it be May 11th was National Twilight Zone Day….? And I missed it?

Well…! Then I guess that makes it appropriate to feature a “lost episode”…

(11) STARFLEET TRAINING. “’Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience’ is coming to the USS Intrepid this summer”. MeTV has the story.

The museum exhibit will allow fans to study Starfleet culture as part of “Starfleet Academy’s Career Day.”

Beginning July 9, those lucky enough to get to New York City can visit Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience. The museum exhibit is opening aboard the USS Intrepid, which sits on Pier 86 along the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan. A naval museum might seem like a strange location for a Star Trek exhibit, but what is Star Trek if not a space navy? Besides, NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise is on display at the Intrepid Museum.

The Intrepid Museum will be the first venue in the United States to host this immersive “Trek Tech” experience, a sort of quick fantasy camp. The exhibit allows visitors to join Starfleet Academy’s Career Day, which includes orientation and nine zones of study in language, medicine, engineering, navigation, command and science. Tickets cost $18–$35. The exhibit runs through October 31, 2016. (That final day will be a cosplay dream.)

Visit the Intrepid website for more information.

(12) MEMORIES. Here’s a Lou Stathis artifact I never heard of before.

The cover image comes from here.

(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born May 12, 1937 — George Carlin (comedian; first to host Saturday Night Live)
  • Born May 12 – Heather Rose Jones
  • Born May 12 – David Doering

(15) WILL FANAC FOR CHARITY. Jim C. Hines is back with another example of “SF/F Being Awesome: Lar DeSouza and Sailor Bacon”.

If my math is right, Lar [DeSouza] and his fans have raised around $40,000 in total to fight MS.

There’s even a new Sailor Bacon plush, with a portion of the proceeds going to MS research.

Fighting MS by con light,
Winning breakfast by daylight,
Rainbow beard that is so bright!
It is the one named Sailor Bacon!

The MS Walk was May 1 this year, but it looks like you can still donate.

(16) END OF DISNEY DOLLARS. Paleofuture at Gizmodo mourns that gift cards have killed Disney Dollars.

When I was a kid I loved Disney Dollars. For those unfamiliar, they’re Disney’s paper notes that look like real money and feature cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Dumbo on the front. They’re only good at Disney Parks and stores, making them essentially like gift certificates. But Disney will stop printing Disney Dollars on May 14, 2016.

It’s truly the end of an era for Disney nerds. As reported by WDW News Today, the move is being blamed on the rise of gift cards and the general death of paper money. Disney staff were told just a couple of hours ago but the company has yet to make an official statement.

Disney Dollars will continue to be accepted at Disney locations, since they have no expiration date. But unless you have hundreds of notes to unload you should probably just hold on to them for a bit. The resale market for even once-common Disney products can be pretty lucrative after a few years.

John King Tarpinian recalls, “A long time ago when friends would have a kid or a grandkid I would buy one share of Disney stock. (Usually with a $25 premium over the stock price.) The certificates were beautifully framed, not to mention that with even one share it would get an invite to corporate events. Then Disney went electronic and that was gone. Now Disney Dollars. Gift cards are just not the same.”

(17) CAP’S PSA. Jim Burns says, “With all this Captain America chat (my all time favorite super hero, by the way!), a truly rare piece of film: a public service announcement, circa 1980 (or thereabouts)!”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Keith Kato, Will R., Tom Galloway, Andrew Porter, and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Doctor Science.]

First Look at Heinlein Bust

Robert A. Heinlein was one of four additions to the Hall of Famous Missourians in 2013. Artist E. Spencer Schubert has just finished sculpting the “artist’s proof” of the commemorative bust that will be installed in the state capitol.

Missouri’s rule is that the bust must be paid for by the public (not the state), and The Heinlein Society completed fundraising in June 2015 with the help of a generous donation by Jeb Kinnison.

Keith Kato, President of The Heinlein Society, sent this progress report about the sculpture, plans for displaying it at next year’s Worldcon, and the installation ceremony:

The clay sculpture bust of the Robert A. Heinlein Exhibit for the Missouri House of Representatives “Hall of Famous Missourians” was recently completed.  Multiple photos of Robert Heinlein circa 1971 (age 64), from various angles, were selected by The Heinlein Society’s Board of Directors and sent to the sculptor, E. Spencer Schubert, a long-time Heinlein reader and fan.

Spencer has provided the accompanying photographs of the final product, and the time-lapse movie of the sculpting process.

Three iterations of the bust were made to accommodate critiques and comments during the process.  From the movie it can be seen that Mr. Heinlein’s head is approximately 175% normal size when compared with Spencer’s head.  If you look closely, a small “I know something” smile and twinkling eyes have been incorporated into the face.

The next step in the process will creation of a mold and casting an “artist’s proof” of high density plaster to allow a final visual inspection of the casted bust, after which the bronze bust will be made.

It is the Society’s intent to unveil the Heinlein Hall of Famous Missourians Exhibit at the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City, Missouri (MidAmeriCon II) before taking it to the state capitol in Jefferson City for a post-Worldcon Induction Ceremony.

Spencer says the artist’s proof and copies of the bronze casting will be available for purchase if there are interested parties, but they cannot be delivered until after the Induction Ceremony.

 

[Thanks to Keith Kato for the story.]

The Sasquan Party Story

We’re having “meet and greets” at Sasquan, not parties. Keith Kato explains:

Those of us who requested party rooms at the designated party hotel for Sasquan were sent the following memo, which speaks for itself — the term “party” is banished. As I heard it, the party addendum to the hotel contract with the Davenport was not signed until very late July, and by these instructions it seems to me the hotel is still touchy about it. I don’t know what is going to happen when the activities begin, since it is usual for the hotel security to patrol the halls as a matter of course, right?  Of course at the 2009 Montreal Worldcon, the party hotel management melted down and shut down all parties, including the SFWA suite, until the phrase “breach of contract lawsuit” was used.

Here’s relevant excerpts from the e-mailed memo:

Subject: Important party reminders for Sasquan

Bringing party supplies in through the hotel lobby — please remember to be discreet with your supplies, have everything boxed or covered/concealed so that the hotel is not alerted and therefore concerned about PARTIES.

These party events are being called “Meet & Greets” so when interfacing with any hotel personnel regarding any questions, or dealing with bellmen, that is the term to use! Not “party”.  😉 ….

If your event is PUBLIC, please bring us 6 copies of your party flyer and we will be happy to post it on all the Party Boards (erm, “Meet & Greet” Boards) located in each of the main hotel lobbies and the convention center.

Personally, I’m fine with whatever stance they need to take to keep their hotels happy, although I understand experienced fans who become impatient about having to adopt a fiction in order to have their annual, erm, meet and greets.

I certainly haven’t heard of any problems so far.

On a different topic — somebody working with the con suite did express roundabout gratitude to the Sad Puppies, saying their department is one place the extra funds from supporting memberships are being plowed back into the convention.

Pixel Scroll 8/17 Knock-knock. Who’s there? Noah. Noah Who? Noah Ward

When you copy many sources it’s research – or today’s Scroll.

(1) Exhibit #27,837 that science fiction fandom has gone mainstream:

(2) The renovated Clifton’s Brookdale Cafeteria, where LASFS once met, reopens September 17.

Clifton's Cafeteria after the remodel.

Clifton’s Cafeteria after the remodel.

In its prime [in the 1930s] the Brookdale served close to 10,000 people a day, and Clinton went on to open ten more cafeterias, among them the Polynesian-themed Pacific Seas, where a two-story waterfall greeted customers at the entrance and every 20 minutes rain fell over the mezzanine. Clinton’s wondrous environments are said to have inspired everyone from Walt Disney to writer Ray Bradbury, animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen, and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who gathered at the Brookdale for meetings of the newly formed Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.

“This is a total playground,” Meieran told me, digging into a crumbling box of old metal nameplates he had just discovered in a corner. “When I get into a project, I love to tear it apart. The first night I get a screwdriver and a hammer and I start opening things.”

Linda Dishman, executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, consulted with Meieran on how to overhaul the building while being mindful of its history. “You want somebody who respects what it is—you don’t want somebody who is going to strip that away,” she says. “But then you don’t want somebody to go ‘Clifton’s crazy,’ either. Andrew did a fabulous job. He took spaces that had not been included in the restaurant and made them into a Clifton’s for this century.”

(3) And when they weren’t at Clifton’s, Joseph Hawkins has a theory about how some LASFSians were spending their time. This theory has been around for awhile, but Hawkins’ version sounds nicer than Laney’s.

“USC seminar to explore how sci-fan fandom sparked the gay rights movement. Gender Studies 410 will ask students to conduct original research using materials from the largest LGBT archive in the world”

The stories and commentary in these journals served as incubators for ideas that would lead to political organizing decades later. Sci-fi allowed readers to safely engage with thoughts about alien races with mixed genders or finding love despite their differences. In the 1930s, these messages were actually more overt; by the McCarthy era, the culture’s atmosphere had stifled messages about gay or lesbian themes.

“You have to read between the lines,” Hawkins said. Publications like Weird Tales or other “creature magazines” often featured monsters carrying off nude women — and were being illustrated by female artists. The same was true for some illustrations featuring men. Considering the artists’ sexual backgrounds lends a different context to who these clichéd monsters represented — one that says more about life on Earth than anywhere else.

In the days before the Internet, sci-fi magazines also served as an early precursor to discussion forums. Readers traded letters about space exploration as well as changes in society. They even trolled one another, igniting epic arguments about politics and other subjects.

The readers in these circles include a who’s who of classic sci-fi: Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and the omni-present L. Ron Hubbard were all highly active. So was superfan Forrest Ackerman, publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland.

But just like Internet forums, most people wrote using nom de plumes, allowing them to express a side of themselves that was often kept hidden. Kepner himself had about 14 different pseudonyms ranging from esoteric references to unprintable humor.

Some gay and lesbian writers had entire alter egos to go with their names. One of those writers was “Lisa Ben” — an anagram of “lesbian” — who worked as a Warner Bros. secretary and used company equipment to print the first lesbian zine in the United States. But she also was known as Tigrina the Devil Doll, a kind of proto-Catwoman with her own handmade costume.

All those pseudonyms make for intensive detective work. Hawkins and others at ONE Archives have had to sleuth out who is who and what the relationships were between everyone. Those skills are vital to archival research, he said, and have helped to uncover unexpected connections between sci-fi and LGBT communities across the country, and even internationally.

(4) Nancy Kress, guest blogging at Women in Science Fiction, talks about the ultimate sources of stories in “Why This? Why There? Why Now? Or Why I Wrote Crossfire. Maybe”.

So what does all this have to do with science fiction, and specifically with my novel Crossfire? SF writers may name the inspiration for their works (AI research, the battle for Iwo Jima, Star Trek, a dream about ghosts), but that only identifies the rocks and beaches on the surface. Most fiction comes from shifting tectonic plates far underground, throwing up fire and lava from everything the writer has ever experienced. This is what gives fiction depth (and scholars something to write about). Sometimes, even the author is surprised by what emerges from his or her keyboard.

(5) Earl Hamner fans have created a Change.org petition calling for him to receive Kennedy Center honors.

Earl Hamner not only gave us The Waltons but he brought us Falcon Crest and several episodes of The Twilight Zone. He also brought us the animated adaption of Charlotte’s Web (1973 film). He produced great Novels like; Fifty Roads to Town (1953), Spencer’s Mountain (1961), You Can’t Get There From Here (1965), The Homecoming: A Novel About Spencer’s Mountain (1970), and Generous Women: An Appreciation (2006). He also gave us great TV movies like; Heidi (1969), Appalachian Autumn (1969), Aesop’s Fables (1971), The Homecoming (for CBS, 1971), Where the Lilies Bloom (1972), The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story (1983) and more!  These are just some of the reasons Mr. Hamner should be an Honoree.  We the undersigned call on you to honor Mr. Hamner in 2016 with this WAY OVER DUE recognition!

Go to the Kennedy Center Website and submit Earl’s name directly to them for 2016. Do this even if you have already signed the petition and/or if you submitted for 2015.  Look for the button that says “Recommend an Honor“. Click that button and fill out the form.

Join our Facebook Group: Make Earl Hamner Jr a 2016 Kennedy Center Honoree

(6) Keith Kato, President of The Heinlein Society, participated in the latest Take Me To Your Reader Podcast.

Seth was lucky enough to get Keith Kato of the Heinlein Society on the phone to chat about the Society, R.A.H. himself, his work, rumors of future adaptations, and even some tidbits about Predestination, which the Pounders discussed earlier in 2015 and is probably still their favorite episode.

(7) Vox Day in “Negotiation” lists whose skulls “we would be willing to accept in order to bring about a rapprochement in science fiction.”

I believe it is a priori apparent that their skulls would be of far more utility to mankind if they were helping satiate the thirst of the Dark Lord and his guests than any other purpose for which they might be currently used.

Of course you do.

(8) It’s Dave Freer’s turn at Mad Genius Club today – see how you score on “Quizz kid”.

10) Do you believe that comments that disagree with you should be censored, or disemvoweled? a) Yes. We’re protecting the freedom of speech and expressing tolerance. How can we do that if just any old redneck can say what he thinks? We’re looking for a vibrant diversity of opinion just like ours. You won’t get that if you let the scum talk. They need to be deprived of a platform, any platform! b) No. Give them a fair crack of the whip at least. Ask ‘em to be civil, maybe. And if they can’t be they can go and spout it somewhere else.

I believe in quoting exactly what they say. Which is why they can’t stand me.

(9) Have you heard? Someone filed a lawsuit against meal replacement company Soylent because it may contain ingredients it shouldn’t.

(10) What actual science fiction fan can’t think of an answer to this question?

[Thanks to Jamoche, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cubist.]

Pixel Scroll 7/15

Six stories and a ribbon are tied together in today’s Scroll.

(1) Keith Kato, President of The Heinlein Society, says donors to Heinlein’s “Hall of Famous Missourians” bust who attend Worldcon and/or Loscon are eligible for this ribbon:

Heinlein donor ribbon

(2) The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla offers a first look at New Horizons’ Pluto and Charon images ,which a team member calls “baffling in a very interesting and wonderful way.”

There are other bodies in the solar system similar in size to Charon: Ariel, Umbriel, and Oberon. They, too, have some craters, as well as chasms. Yesterday, people were saying Charon looked more heavily cratered, hence, older. Seen at higher resolution, Charon is looking younger than we thought. Now I really, really wonder, if we could look more closely at Uranus’ moons, would we see more youthful surfaces than we thought?

The other most amazing image of the press briefing was Pluto, seen at high resolution. It is in the bright area that we have been informally calling the “heart” but which now has a still informal but slightly more official name: Tombaugh regio, named for the discoverer of Pluto. It is located near the southern end of Tombaugh Regio, near the terminator, where the Sun glances across the landscape at a low angle, highlighting topography. And oh my goodness, what topography.

(3) A Rancor costume at Comic-Con inspired this close analysis by Tech Crunch writer Greg Kumparak.

Comic Con is full of Vaders, Boba Fetts, and Storm Troopers. But how many people can say they’ve roamed the show in an ultra detailed, kind-of-terrifying Rancor costume?

Just one — special effects artist Frank Ippolito.

Built in just a month by Ippolito and a team of artists along with our friends over at Tested, the costume is about as intense as they get.

My favorite trick of the whole project: as you may note, the Rancor’s eyes don’t happen to fall in a place that offers the wearer much of a view to the outside world. So how do they keep him from running into walls and stepping on small children? There’s a camera hidden in one of the nostrils; inside the costume, he’s wearing a pair of goggles that beams that camera feed to his eyes.

The post includes a motion GIF of Rancor in action and a link to a video about how the costume was made.

(4) Vox Day has a new project in the works:

The good news. I will publish a book this fall, most likely in September, and it will be a non-fiction book entitled SJWS ALWAYS LIE: How to Defend Yourself From the Thought Police. The meme is rapidly spreading, more and more people are understanding that the First Law of SJW is both a truism and a reliable metric, and everyone needs to know how to defend themselves against an SJW swarm. And based on who is writing it, the Foreword may well be the best part.

(5) Entirely coincidentally, Alexandra Erin found renewed inspiration for two new humor pieces.

“Interview With A Pratt” – July 14

Q: You attribute what you call your tactical genius to your love of wargames. Forgive my ignorance, but how exactly does playing Warhammer make you an expert on 4GW? Don’t the rules only model conventional warfare?

A: That’s your problem exactly. The “rules”. Who wrote those precious rules? Who told you that you have to follow them? The use of Fourth Generation Warfare transcends the tabletop as it transcends all battlefields. 4GW is psychological. It changes from situation to situation. It adapts.

Q: How does it adapt to tabletop gaming?

Sometimes it means licking your opponent’s miniatures so he will not want to touch them.

“What’s Up With John Z. Upjohn” – July 15

Since it seems unlikely that The Freedom of Liberty will see the light of day anytime soon, [John Z. Upjohn] asked me if I would share it, so at least part of it might find an audience.

Jon P. Johnson was not a hateful man. There was no room for hate in heart, not with all the love of freedom crammed in there. But he was a man, all man, and he had the same natural reaction to homosexuals as every other man.

The comforting weight of the rifle in his hands was comforting to his hands. It was a custom made version of the latest model the finest weaponsmiths on Ceanndana could turn out: the Garand Turismo Mark III with the double extended clip and a polycarbonite stock with a gunmetal gray finish expertly covered over in stained walnut.

Not satisfied with the machine results, he had insisted on rifling the barrel by hand himself. He’d been shooting since before he could walk. What machine knew more about rifles than he did? His bold and unconventional and boldly unconventional choice had resulted in a weapon that was accurate to a range of approximately seven meters, but he was quite sure that no other weapon was quite as accurate at that range.

(6) Not sf, but a compelling literary event prompted Joseph Bentz, Professor of English at Azusa Pacific University, to answer readers who are unhappy with Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman:

[First of four points]

  1. I believe it is a mistake to see Atticus Finch as simply older and more racist than he was in Mockingbird. Instead, I think he is essentially a different character in Watchman than the reconceived Atticus in Mockingbird. In other words, there are two Atticuses, created by the author to fit the needs of the particular book.  

Why is Atticus Finch so different in Watchman than he is in Mockingbird? The publication history of the two novels is crucial in answering that question. Lee submitted Watchman to her editor in the 1950’s. The editor, enjoying the childhood flashbacks the most, urged Lee to write a novel set 20 years earlier, focusing on those elements of the story. In doing so, I believe Lee created an alternate version of Atticus Finch. He is a different character in Mockingbird than in Watchman, though carved from the same materials.

Mockingbird and Watchman are not really sequels or prequels to one another. They are separate treatments of the same core material. Even the outcome of the trial that is central to Mockingbird is different when it is referred to in Watchman. Lee never expected to publish both books. She did not need to keep the characters completely consistent between the two books. She had the freedom to adjust the characters to meet the needs of the particular book. One implication of this for readers is that if they don’t like the Atticus in Watchman, that doesn’t need to “ruin” the Atticus in Mockingbird for them. They can choose whichever conception of the character they like best.

The Scout character in Watchman, who is more commonly called Jean Louise, also strikes me as significantly different from the Scout character in Mockingbird. It’s not simply that she is twenty years older in Watchman, it’s that I don’t think she is simply a grown-up version of the Mockingbird Scout. She is a reconceived character. She is not radically different in the two books, but different in ways that novelists often change the personalities and other traits of their characters in later drafts of the stories.

Heinlein Bust Commissioned for Hall of Famous Missourians

Today The Heinlein Society initiated two purchase orders for the Heinlein Exhibit for the Missouri House of Representatives Hall of Famous Missourians.

The 125-150% life-sized Heinlein clay sculpture and bronze bust will be produced by E. S. Schubert Sculpture Studios of Kansas City MO.  Keith Kato, President of The Heinlein Society, said, “It turns out Spencer Schubert is a long time Heinlein reader and fan, so he is especially excited to take on this project.”

Spencer has been sent several photographs of Robert Heinlein, circa 1971, from the online Heinlein Archives, containing multiple aspect angles.  This link is a time-lapse movie of Spencer’s most recent project for the Hall of Famous Missourians, Mel Hancock.  He says a similar movie will be made of the Heinlein sculpture.

The granite pedestal will be produced by Carved In Stone of Jefferson City MO.  It will be a hollow box pedestal made of “Uba Tuba” black granite.

The Heinlein Society is accepting suggestions for the Exhibit’s plaque).  Based on other plaques, there is about a 1,000 character limit (spaces and punctuations included).  Cutoff date is August 1, 2015. The Missouri legislature has final approval of the plaque wording.

A Heinlein Roundup

Stories of news and history about Robert A. Heinlein.

(1) Keith G. Kato, President of The Heinlein Society, tells the future of the Heinlein bust destined to be installed in the Hall of Famous Missourians.

I was going to send you the news that THS has met its fundraising goal on the Heinlein statuary, thanks to super-donor Jeb Kinnison and the matching grant from the Heinlein Prize Trust, when I see you have already posted the story!

Let me add a followup that THS will attempt to get the Heinlein exhibit on loan to the 2016 MidAmeriCon 2 Worldcon for display; we are examining transportation and insurance costs, and need some understanding from the concom about security arrangements.  We are also considering sequencing the timing of the sculpture etc. so that we can do the Worldcon exhibit first, then trek the 160 miles from Kansas City to Jefferson City for the official Induction Ceremony after Big Mac 2.  That would allow more Heinleiners to attend the Ceremony.

This went a lot faster than I thought, and Kinnison cited File 770 as his primary source of information.  Thanks to you for your help and support.

Jeb Kinnison adds:

Let no one say that nothing good came of the Puppy War. 🙂

Heinlein Society logo(2) The Heinlein Society has also called for help in wording the plaque that will be part of the installation.

Remembering that you have to count the spaces and punctuation marks as well, what you get from looking at [Mark] Twain’s is 965 total characters, We’ve been advised that probably 1,100 total characters is the practical limit.

So, we are hereby soliciting “Heinlein’s Children” for the suggested wording to be used on Robert’s plaque. We won’t pay you (except with “Thanks!”), we reserve the right to mix and match bits and pieces from several contributions, and to the degree we can remember we will acknowledge who we took bits and pieces from on our website once we settle on the final wording.

Which parts of Robert’s career would you choose to highlight?

…Please submit all suggested wordings (remember, 1,100 total characters tops, including all spaces and punctuation marks) to secretary@heinleinsociety.org.

The deadline is August 1.

(3) Photos of Robert and Leslyn Heinlein in the early 1940s housed at GeneralSemantics.org.

(4) Photos of all three of Heinlein’s wives here, from Spider Robinson’s website.

(4) Earlier this month two bloggers defended Heinlein against accusations of misogyny.

Cedar Sanderson – “Gold Plated Misogynist”

Clearly those who are still  flinging mud have slipped dreamlessly into a delusion so deep they might never be able to get back out again. When the woman who had first made the titular accusation was questioned by multiple voices in startlement, she finally admitted that she knew it to be so, because she had read it in Asimov’s biography. Wait a minute, was my reply, you mean that man that Eric Leif Davin in his recent book Partners in Wonder wrote this about? ” Isaac Asimov is on record for stating that male fans didn’t want females invading their space.  According to the letter columns of the time, it seems that the only fan who held that opinion was… Isaac Asimov.  A number of males fans welcomed their female counterparts.  As did the editors, something Davin goes to great lengths to document.” (You can read more on the women that other women ignore here at Keith West’s blog) So this woman has taken a known misogynist’s claim that another man is a misogynist without questioning and swallowed it whole.

Sarah A. Hoyt – “Glamor and Fairy Gold” – June 2

My friend Cedar, today, posted about one of those lies that “everybody knows” and that are absolutely not true. Not only not true, but risible on their face. The lie is that Heinlein was a misogynist, which is not only a lie but a whole construct, an artifact of lies. And one that humans, nonetheless seem to buy wholesale…..

I run into this again and again. In a panel, once, questioning accusations of misogyny directed at Heinlein I got back “Well, obviously he was. His women wear aprons.” I then got really cold and explained that in Portugal, growing up, when clothes were expensive (how expensive. People stole the wash from the line. Imagine that happening here. People stealing clothes. Just clothes. Not designers, not leather, just clothes, including much-washed-and-mended pajamas.) we always wore aprons in the kitchen. And Heinlein was writing when clothes were way more expensive, relatively. (I buy my clothes at thrift stores. So unless it’s a favorite pair of jeans or something, I don’t wear aprons.) The difference is not “putting women in their place.” The difference is the cost of clothes.

And this is why I don’t get put on the “Heinlein, threat or menace” panels any more.

But 90% of the women who make the accusation that Heinlein hated women or couldn’t write women have never read him. They’ve just heard it repeated by people with “authority.” The cool kids. And so they can’t be reasoned out of this assumption, because it’s not an assumption. It’s glamor. (The other ten percent, usually, were primed to think he was a misogynist and read the beginning of a book and didn’t “get” some inside joke. Like, you know, the getting married after a tango. Which was pure fan fodder. They wouldn’t have thought anything of it if they hadn’t been primed. But they’d been primed. They were under a glamor to see what wasn’t there.)

 

Spotlight on The Heinlein Society

Heinlein Society logoKeith Kato was elected the fourth President of The Heinlein Society at its September 7, 2014 meeting. He succeeded LA-area fan and LASFS member Michael Sheffield, who chose not to run for the Board again.

Keith is someone I have known for over 40 years — and he has played host to many of you at his famed Worldcon chili parties. Keith hopes you will help him fund Heinlein’s bust for the Hall of Famous Missourians (click here).

In addition to President Keith Kato, the Society’s other new officers are Minnesota fan Geo Rule as Vice President-Secretary, and Baltimore fan John Tilden as Treasurer. The Board of Directors (in order of elected seniority) consists of Joe Haldeman, Jerry Pournelle, Michael Cassutt, Connie Willis, Washington fan John Seltzer, and Texas fan Betsey Wilcox.