By Kevin Standlee: The WSFS Business Meeting was probably the shortest such meeting ever held, albeit not the smallest, despite fears of being able to achieve the quorum of 12 members of WSFS physically present. Because New Zealand isn’t in internal lockdown, members of CoNZealand who were in Wellington could attend the meeting were induced to do so by the provision of coffee/tea/snacks, and in the end apparently 23 people attended. That means their meeting had more people attending that were at the WSFS Business Meetings held at Nippon 2007 in Yokohama.
With none of the originally-announced WSFS Business Meeting staff able to attend M. Darusha Wehm agreed to act as Moderator (or “Emergency Holographic Chair” as I put it), working from a “script” supplied by Business Meeting Chair Kent Bloom. The intention was to deal quickly with the small number of things that couldn’t wait, and postpone everything else to next year.
Those people attending Virtual CoNZealand could follow a text description of the Business Meeting by Daniel Spector (who was attending) on the convention’s Discord at #major-events. This makes more sense than one might think, in that functionally, the Business Meeting is more like a small Event than a program item. People like me who are suffering from WSFS Withdrawal Syndrome (I’ve not missed a single session of any WSFS Business Meeting going back to 1989.) could at least follow along.
According to the descriptions from Daniel and the tweets from Soon Lee, shortly after a quroum was achieved, the Preliminary Business Meeting was called to order. It took four minutes to receive all reports, unanimously approve the Hugo Award eligibility extensions (see http://www.wsfs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-WSFS-agenda-20200714.pdf p.25), continue all existing ad hoc committees as currently constituted, adopt blanket debate times for everything, and adjourn the preliminary meeting so that people could attack the coffee/tea service.
When the Main Business Meeting convened ten minutes later, things went even faster. The Site Selection results (announced the previous day) were received and the ballots ordered destroyed, which is the technical point at which time the election is final, not that there was any chance of there being a protest. Question Time for conventions and bids was waived.
The meeting effectively postponed the ratification of all pending constitutional amendments for one year. (There is more than one way to do this, and we won’t know exactly which was was used until we see the recording/get the minutes, but one possible route would have been to unanimously agree to reject ratification of every proposal and then immediately pass all of those same items as new proposals, resetting their ratification clocks.) There was no new constitutional business.
Because the election of the Mark Protection Committee members is in the Standing Rules, not the Constitution, it can and was waived. This means that the three seats whose terms ended this year went vacant. The MPC will meet via Zoom (open to any attending CZ member; it’s listed in the Grenadine schedule) just before Closing Ceremonies. Per existing authority in the rules, the MPC plans on appointing the three people whose terms ended this year (John Coxon, Linda Deneroff, and Dave McCarty) to temporarily fill those three vacant seats until next year’s Business Meeting, where the BM will need to elect six people instead of the usual three, with three people being elected to two-year terms.
With all constitutional business resolved, the Main Business meeting adjourned, having lasted about two minutes. It is possible to get a lot of stuff done if every single person in the room agrees to it and does not raise an objection to it.
Anna Smith Spark, a grimdark author from London, has organized an open “letter of concern” with several dozen co-signers, including Charles Stross, about the bid to bring the Worldcon to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2022, which will be voted on this week. The competition is a bid for Chicago in 2022.
Anna Smith Spark sent File 770 the letter, and “Also (and I will be dead in the eyes of the WSFS for this) the email they sent me washing their hands of this and having a quick pop at those involved in the anti-Puppies work as well for good measure,” which is a reply received from WSFS webmaster Kevin Standlee.
An open letter to the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) and to Norman Cates as the Chair of the 2020 WorldCon
Dear WSFS, and dear Norman,
As writers, publishers and readers of science fiction and fantasy, we are writing to express our concern that Saudi Arabia has been accepted as a potential host site for the 2022 World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon).
SFF is the great genre of possibilities and pluralities. As readers, writers and publishers of SFF our task is to inspire wonder: we look up at the stars to seek out other ways of being, we look down at the earth around us to find enchantment, beauty, romance, horror, hope. We create new worlds because we believe that in doing so we can make this world a better and intellectually richer place. A Jeddah WorldCon would allow fandom a chance to visit a breathtakingly beautiful city, Jeddah. It would break new ground for SFF Fandom, open up a new world to fans who may otherwise never have an opportunity to travel there, and show solidarity with creative communities within Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. It’s therefore with great sadness that we must face reality for what it is, that the Saudi regime is antithetical to everything SFF stands for.
The most recent Amnesty International report on Saudi Arabia states that in 2019 the Saudi government ‘escalated repression of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. They harassed, arbitrarily detained and prosecuted dozens of government critics, human rights defenders, including women’s rights activists, members of the Shi’a minority and family members of activists. […] Some people, most of them members of the country’s Shi’a minority, were executed following grossly unfair trials.’ Saudi women face systematic legal discrimination, while identifying as LGBQT+ is illegal and can be punishable with corporal punishment and even execution. Saudi Arabia is a key player in the war in Yemen that has left 80% of the Yemeni population in need of humanitarian aid, and has been accused of war crimes in the region. The UN concluded last year that it was ‘credible’ that the Saudi Crown Prince personally ordered the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for the crime of writing words. It cannot and must not be acceptable to stage an international event against this backdrop. Indeed, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi alone should be enough to render the concept of a literary convention in the country an absurdity.
On a personal level, we note that many of us would ourselves not be able to write or to live freely under Saudi law. We refuse to attend an event if those staffing it cannot have the same basic freedoms. We express deep concern that many members of the SFF community would be excluded from attending an event because of their sexuality, nationality or religious beliefs.
We stand in solidarity with those who seek change in the country. And we write in protest but also in hope – that by raising awareness of the political situation in Saudi Arabia a WorldCon SA will one day be possible.
Anna Smith Spark (organiser), Justin Lee Anderson, Andrew Angel, Helen Armfield, Allen Ashley, Graham Austin-King, Ali Baker Brooks, Andrew Bannister, RJ Barker, Alan Baxter, Donna Bond, James Brogden, Mike Brooks, Angela Cleland, Tom Clews, Adrian Collins, Lee Conley, Emily Cornell, Sarah Doyle, Margaret Eve, Mike Everest Evans, The Fantasy Hive, Fantasy Faction, Nick Ferguson, Karen Fishwick, Carol Goodwin, T. L. Greylock, Joanne Hall, Patricia Hawkes-Reed, Bethan May Hindmarsh, Stewart Hotson, Shellie Horst, Steve D. Howarth, Humber SFF, Barbara James, Cameron Johnston, Daniel Kelly, Simon Kewin, Alex Khlopenko, Shona Kinsella, Alex Knight, David Lascelles, Ulff Lehmann, Dale Lucas, Eloise Mac, Steve McHugh, Juliette McKenna, Peter McLean, Kevin McVeigh, Kareem Mahfouz, Masimba Musodza, Andy Marsden, GR Matthews, Simon Morden, Alistair Morley, T. O. Munro, Stan Nicholls, Chris Nuttall, Scott Oden, Graeme Penman, Peter Philpott, Steven Poore, Gareth L Powell, Robert V.S Redick, Ian Richardson, Courtney Schaffer, S. Naomi Scott, Ian Segal, Mike Shackle, Steve J Shaw, Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, , Rita Sloan, Sammy HK Smith, Vaughan Stanger, Mark Stay, Charlie Stross, Allen Stroud, Amanda M Suver Justice, Clayton Synder, Sue Tingey, Three Crows Magazine, Tej Turner, Catriona Ward, Matthew Ward, David Watkins, RB Watkinson, Adam Weller, Graeme Williams, Phil Williams, Deborah A Wolf.
Copied to the Board of the SFWA, Locus Magazine, Tor.com, Starburst, the UK Guardian newspaper
WSFS Web Site Team Reply
There is no such entity as the “Board of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS).” WSFS is an unincorporated literary society that has no Board of Directors, no ongoing chief executive, and no “Head Office.” I am copying the co-chairs of ConZealand on this reply.
The rules of WSFS, which are made by the members of WSFS (the attendees of the Worldcon), set very minimal technical requirements for any group to bid for a Worldcon. The selection is not made by a Board of Directors or Executive Committee, but by the entire membership of WSFS, who vote on the choice, just as they vote on the Hugo Awards. Indeed, the process is very similar in both cases, in that Worldcons are not supposed to make subjective value judgments about nominees for the Hugo Awards. This decision is reserved to the entire membership, exercising their right to vote.
If you are interested in more information about how WSFS works and how you can propose changes in its rules, I can explain things in further detail.
This is not intended as being dismissive, but to try and explain that Worldcons and WSFS as a whole does not give anyone the right to make subjective judgements about either Hugo Award nominees/finalists or prospective Worldcon sites other than the entire membership.
(1) YOU’VE SEEN HIM EXPLAIN HUGO VOTING, SO YOU KNOW HE’S GOT
THIS. Kevin Standlee, a volunteer in Nevada’s Democratic Caucuses, appeared
on CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto to answer questions
about the assistive technology being used there (not the one that sparked
controversy in Iowa). See the video here.
Kevin added, responding to a File 770 email:
My specific role was “Precinct Chair,” meaning that I conducted the caucus for my own precinct (Lyon County precinct 40), conducting the votes and certifying the results to the site lead. (Seven precincts caucused at our site.) The Site Lead then took the official paper records, reported them to the party headquarters by telephone and by texting pictures of the records to the party, then he took custody of the paper records and returned them to the party headquarters in Reno.
And before I finished today’s Scroll
Kevin had written a complete account (with photos) on his blog — “3 1/2 Minutes
of Fame”. Plus, his photos of the CNN appearance start here, and photos of the
Nevada Caucus start here.
…Since stepping into an executive role at the company, DiDio has served as DC’s public face at conventions and public events, and has worked to champion not only the company as a whole but specifically the comic book division — and comic book specialty market — as being integral to DC’s success on an ongoing basis. DiDio was also part of the push to expand DC’s publishing reach into Walmart and Target via exclusive 100-Page Giant issues, an initiative that proved so successful that the issues were expanded to the comic store market.
…With DiDio’s departure, Jim Lee becomes sole publisher at DC, in addition to his role as the company’s chief creative officer, a position he’s held since June 2018.
Bleeding Cool now understands that yes, DiDio was fired this morning by Warner Bros at 10.30am PT in their Burbank offices and he left the building straight away. I am told by sources close to the situation that he was fired, for cause, for ‘fostering a poor work environment’ – as evidenced, as we previously stated, by significant departures at the publisher by editors. Dan DiDio has a reputation of being a micro-manager from some, for being very involved in projects from others. And DC Comics was heading towards a big change in its publishing programme – one aspect of which was the much-rumoured 5G – or Generation Five. Which would have seen DC’s major figures Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Diana and more aged out and replaced with new characters taking the roles of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as part of the new DC Timeline. And some folk at DC Comics were very much against this. But opposition never worried Dan, after all he was at constant odds with the direction the company line was pushed for pretty much his entire career as Publisher, and was always was striving to put comics first, as he saw it….
JC: Historical fictions are designed largely as a sort of medley: true details of time and place, actual persons of the period treated as fictional characters with their own point of view, invented persons who interact with the historical ones, real events that will form memories for the real people and for the fictional ones. You’ve long been drawn to this kind of fiction and its possibilities. What do you think its power is, for writer and reader?
EH: Well, as you know yourself, history is an immense sandbox for a writer to play in. I would add “fulfilling,” but can a sandbox be fulfilling? I love research, searching for and delving into primary sources in hopes of discovering some nugget of information that’s somehow gone unnoticed, that I can then use in a story. And while I always try to create as authentic and absorbing a portrait of a period as I can, I love playing with all the what ifs of history. Darger and Chaplin and Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht and others were all in Chicago at the same time: what if their paths crossed in some way?
JC: A theme of Curious Toys is how people in that period were fascinated with human oddities (fake or real), and you explore how, as much as that was about fear and wonder over the bodies of differently-abled people, it was also connected with the period’s gender rules and expectations. How much of this background psychology do you expect readers will sense?
EH: I never know what readers will “get” or not. To me, some things in a narrative seem perfectly obvious, yet are completely overlooked by readers (and critics). But I hope that my depiction of that period and its fears and bigotries is realistic enough that readers grasp how similar it was to our own time, even though many things have changed for the better. I came across an anti-immigrant government screed from around 1915 that could have been written yesterday by a member of the current administration. Gender expectations have changed since 1915; I suspect Pin would have very similar experiences were she to pull the same gender reversals today, though they’d be updated for the twenty-first-century workplace. I guess my real concern should be that some readers will think my historical depiction of an earlier era’s prejudices is fake news.
NOAF: You’re also on TV! While us viewers only see the polished, edited version, you literally get to see what happens behind the scenes. Any funny or surprising stories from your experiences filming the Contact and Hunted TV shows? Is television something you hope to do more of?
MC: I love doing TV. For one thing, I love attention. I used to think of this as a character flaw (we’re all raised to be self-effacing and taught that seeking the spotlight is a sign of egomania), but I’ve come to accept that for better or worse, it’s who I am. TV is so much easier than writing. It’s grueling work (12-15 days when you’re shooting), but it’s compressed into a tight period (Hunted was two month’s work. Contact was one month’s work). I get paid more to do a single TV show than I do in a year of writing, and a book takes me 1-2 years to write.
But just like writing, just because you’re doing it at a professional level is absolutely no guarantee you will get to keep doing it. I thought that starring on two major network shows and having an agent at CAA (it’s really hard to get in there) meant my TV career was set. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The only real benefit of having done two shows is that I now have a gorgeous, professional “reel” (clips of me on TV) that I can show to other shows I am trying to get to book me. Otherwise, I’m basically at square one. So, I’m currently hustling for my next show and there’s no guarantee that I’ll get it.
A lot moreStar Trek is on the way. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish confirmed during the company’s 2019 earnings call that two more Star Trek television shows are in the works. These are on top of Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the already announced Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Section 31, and the untitled Nickelodeon Star Trek animated series. Bakish also confirmed that the next installment of the Star Trek film series is being developed by Paramount Pictures. This was the first earnings call since ViacomCBS formed out of the merger of Viacom and CBS in 2019. The merger brought the Star Trek film and television rights under the same roof for the first time since the two companies split in 2006.
Bakish says that the reunited ViacomCBS plans “take the Star Trek franchise and extend it across the house.”
To that end, Bakish confirmed that a new line of Star Trek novels is on the way from VIacomCBS subsidiary Simon & Shuster. This line will include prequels tying into Star Trek: Picard. The first Picard tie-in novel, The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack, was released in February.
Bakish also confirmed that more Star Trek comics are on the way…
.(6) DARK MATTERS. “Chasing
Einstein: The Dark Universe Event” will be hosted by The Arthur C.
Clarke Center for Human Imagination on March 2. A
screening of the feature documentary Chasing Einstein will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A.
Could Einstein have been wrong about the true nature of gravity? Does his general theory of relativity and the Standard Model need an update? Unprecedented advances in experimental particle physics, astronomy and cosmology are uncovering mysteries of cosmic consequence. Among the most challenging is the realization that 80% of the universe consists of something unknown that exerts galactic forces pulling the universe apart. The search for Dark Matter extends from the worlds most powerful particle accelerators to the most sensitive telescopes, to deep under the earth. Nobel worthy discoveries await. Scientists at UC San Diego are at the epicenter of the search for Dark Matter leading efforts to build the next generation of instruments and experiments to uncover its secrets.
The panelists will be —
Professor, and Founder of the
XENON Dark Matter Project, Elena Aprile
Professor of Physics Brian Keating
Kaixuan Ni, Ph.D, Ni Group at UC San
Diego. Dr. Ni leads the development of liquid xenon detectors for the
search of dark matter.
Patrick de Perio, postdoctoral research
scientist, Columbia Univerity
…Bo used his body. He developed specific stances and specific locations, along with a variety of sounds. One such was to come running up to you, circle once, face you straight on and chuff. We quickly learned that this meant “I’m trying to tell you something and you are too stupid to figure it out.” So we’d guess, and here’s the cool thing: we’d know if the guess was right or wrong by what Bo did. We’d offer (something like “do you need to go out”?) and if we were wrong, he’d look at whatever it was, but not move, then look back at us. “Nope, that’s not it.”
Finally, if we were unable to come up with an answer, we’d say “show me”, and off Bo would go. He’d walk right to the immediate vicinity of whatever it was (oh, I left food in the microwave – Bo standing, facing the microwave on the counter, or oh, your toy is way under the jelly cabinet – Bo standing facing the cabinet, then looking up at us, then back down at the floor).
Once he learned that attempts at communicating would be rewarded, he never stopped.
Steve still needs to pay some
on-going expenses for Bo’s treatment and has a GoFundMe campaign here.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
February 22, 1918 — In Denmark, A Trip to Mars (Himmelskibet in Danish), premiered. It is a 1918 Danish film about a trip to Mars. In 2006, the film was restored and released on DVD by the Danish Film Institute. Phil Hardy, the late English film critic, in The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction claims it is “the film that marked the beginning of the space opera subgenre of science fiction”. You can watch it here.
February 22, 1956 — The Mole People premiered. It was produced by William Alland, and directed by Virgil W. Vogel. It stars John Agar, Hugh Beaumont, and Cynthia Patrick. (Beaumont is best remembered for his portrayal of Ward Cleaver.) The story is written by László Görög who also scripted The Land Unknown and Earth v. The Spider, two other late Fifties SF films. Though I can’t find any contemporary critical reviews, currently audiences at Rotten Tomatoes give it a 28% rating. Oddly enough, the only video of it on YouTube is the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 airing which you can see here. That video alludes to the changed end which may have been done to placate the studio and their sensitivities to Fifties social mores.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 22, 1899 — Dwight Frye. He’s the villain in classic Universal Thirties horror films such as Renfield in Dracula, Fritz in Frankenstein and Karl in The Bride of Frankenstein. You might also know him as Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon. He’s uncredited as a Reporter in The Invisible Man. (Died 1943.)
Born February 22, 1917 — Reed Crandall. Illustrator and penciller best known for the Forties Quality Comics’ Blackhawk (a DC property later) and for stories in myriad EC Comics during the 1950s. In the late Sixties, he did the illustration work on King Features Syndicate’s King Comics comic-book version of the syndicate’s Flash Gordon strip. He’s been inducted into Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame. (Died 1982.)
Born February 22, 1925 — Edward Gorey. I’m reasonably sure that his animated introduction to the PBS series Mystery! was my first encounter with him. I will recommend Gorey Cats, The Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas and The Doubtful Guest. Ok if he’s not genre but he’s still fun and delightfully weird. Oh, and do go read Elephant House: Or, the Home of Edward Gorey, with superb photographs and text by Kevin McDermott. (Died 2000.)
Born February 22, 1929 — James Hong, 91. Though not quite genre, he became known to audiences through starring in The New Adventures of Charlie Chan in the late Fifties. Genre wise, his first role was in Godzilla, King of the Monsters! voicing Ogata/Serizawa. He then pops up in The Satan Bug as Dr. Yang and next is seen playing Ho Lee in Destination Inner Space. You’ll no doubt recognize Colossus: The Forbin Project wherehe’s Dr. Chin but I’ll bet you’ve never heard of, oh wait you have, Blade Runner in which he’s Hannibal Chew and Big Trouble In Little China which I love in which he’s wizard David Lo Pan. It’s back to obscure films after that with next up being Shadowzone where he’s Dr. Van Fleet and Dragonfight where he’s Asawa. He’s next in The Shadow as Li Peng but I’ll be damned if I can remember his role and the same holds true for him as Che’tsai In Tank Girl too. He’s Mr. Wu in the very loose adaption of the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Born February 22, 1933 — Sheila Hancock, 87. Helen A. In the Seventh Doctor story, “The Happiness Patrol”. Other than voicing The White Witch in an animated version of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, that’s it for her genre work as far as I can tell but it’s a role worth seeing if you’ve not seen it!
Born February 22, 1937 — Joanna Russ. Is it fair to say she’s known as much for her feminist literary criticism as her SF writings? That The Female Man is her best known work suggest my question really isn’t relevant as there may be no difference between the two. She was for a long time a influential reviewer for Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction where I think it would fair to say that you knew clearly what she thought of a given work. (Died 2011.)
Born February 22, 1953 — Genny Dazzo, 67. She attended the first Star Trek Convention in New York. She has since been involved in the local SF con, Lunacon. Moving out to LA, she was on the committee for all of the LA WorldCons as well as the Westercons, Loscons, and AmineLA.
Born February 22, 1959 — Kyle MacLachlan, 61. Genre wise known for his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks and its weird film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Paul Atreides in Dune, Lloyd Gallagher in The Hidden, Clifford Vandercave In The Flintstones, Calvin Zabo in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet (OK not genre, just weird).
(10) COMICS SECTION.
At Family Circus, the kids ask their Mom a challenging genre question.
(11) BOOK FU. This seems like something no one should miss.
If you need a Weasley reunion, look no further than Fan Expo Dallas 2020. Four Harry Potter actors are getting together for some exciting times.
That’s right. You’ll get four of the Weasley siblings. And these aren’t the ones that you didn’t see enough off on screen. Fan Expo Dallas 2020 has managed to get the four Weasley siblings who spent most of their time on screen; the ones you cried over and rooted for.
Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, and Oliver and James Phelps will all attend the multi-fandom convention….
Musk’s love of books and the lessons he took from them inspired him to create “cleaner energy technology or [build] spaceships to extend the human species’s reach” in the future, according to Vance.
One set of those books Musk still recommends today: the seven-book “Foundation” science fiction series by scientist and author Isaac Asimov.
(14) 1968 ASIMOV AUDIO. Fanac.org presents a recording
of Isaac Asimov’s talk at the 1968 Boskone.
In this audio recording (illustrated with more than 50 images), Isaac Asimov spends an hour talking about everything and anything. He is speaking to his extended family – a roomful of science fiction fans.
Isaac speaks with great good humor about his writing (both science fiction and science fact), ribs his fellow writers, especially Lester Del Rey and others who were in the room, and tells stories about Harlan Ellison and John W. Campbell.
He is charming and arrogant, explaining his view of women, why he doesn’t write for TV, his experiences on late night TV and more.
This is an opportunity to get to know one of science fiction’s greats as his contemporaries did.
Thanks to the New England Science Fiction Society (NESFA) and Rick Kovalcik for providing the recording. Brought to you here by FANAC.org , the Fanhistory Project. For more fan history, visit FANAC.org and Fancyclopedia.org .
The big question is “What changed?” Why is it that, after nearly a decade, these antiquated approaches to web spamming are back?
The real answer is that web scraping never really went away. The nature of spamming is that, even after a technique is defeated, people will continue to try it. The reason is fairly simple: Spam is a numbers game and, if you stop a technique 99.9% of the time, a spammer just has to try 1,000 times to have one success (on average).
But that doesn’t explain why many people are noticing more of these sites in their search results, especially when looking for certain kinds of news.
Part of the answer may come from a September announcement by Richard Gingras, Google’s VP for News. There, he talked about efforts they were making to elevate “original reporting” in search results. According to the announcement, Google strongly favored the latest or most comprehensive reporting on a topic. They were going to try and change that algorithm to show more preference to original reporting, keeping those stories toward the top for longer.
Whether that change has materialized is up for debate. I, personally, regularly see duplicative articles rank well both in Google and Google News even today. That said, some of the sites I was monitoring last month when I started researching this topic have disappeared from Google News.
(16) FROM POWERED ARMOR TO CRAB SHELL. “Anytime you think
I’m being too rough, anytime you think I’m being too tough, anytime you
miss-your-mommy, QUIT! You sign your 1240-A, you get your gear, and you take a
stroll down washout lane. Do you get me?” He’s had quite a career since playing Sgt. Zim
in Starship Troopers – the Maltin on Movies podcast interviews Clancy Brown.
With films ranging from The Shawshank Redemption to Starship Troopers and recent TV appearances on The Mandalorian, Emergence, Billions, and The Crown (as LBJ), Clancy Brown is the living definition of a “working actor.” He’s also been the voice of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants for more than twenty years! Leonard and Jessie have been after him for many months to appear on the podcast and finally found a day he wasn’t on a soundstage; it was well worth the wait.
In The Poet King, Ilana C Myer sticks the landing, in completing the Harp and the Blade trilogy, a poetical and lyrically rich fantasy of the tumultuous return of magic to a fantasy land, and the poet central to the mythically infused events.
The Last Sun introduced us to a fascinating world of Atlanteans, their world gone, living on the occupied island of Nantucket. A world where the most powerful Atlanteans carried terrible magical power, Rune, last heir of fallen House Sun, became wrapped up in the machinations of other, great Houses, and slowly coming into his own power in the process. An unusual sort of urban fantasy, The Last Sun was notable for its invention, its strong character focus, and the queer friendliness of Atlantean society.
Now in The Hanged Man, K.C. Edwards continues the story of Rune, and Brand, his bonded Companion, and their slowly accumulating set of friends, lover, and allies.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian,
Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Karl-Johan
Norén, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of
these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]
The Wall Street Journalreported Tuesday that members of Manhattan’s Community Board 5 are objecting to parts of the plan from Warner Bros. to open a Harry Potter–themed exhibit and store in a landmarked building in the Flatiron District. The studio has proposed opening a roughly 20,000-square-foot store called Wizarding World at 935 Broadway, the former home of upscale furniture brand Restoration Hardware.
Crain’s first reported in September that Warner Bros. had reached a deal with the building’s landlord, Shefa Land Corp., for the store.
Design firm Studio Superette unveiled plans for the store at the hearing Tuesday. The design calls for adding a fiberglass dragon with a clock, two backlit Harry Potter signs and six flagpoles, designed to look like wands, to the building’s facade, the Journal reported.
The changes require approval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which refers such requests to community boards for a recommendation before making a decision.
Members of the community board’s landmarks committee said the design ideas represent “inappropriate signage,” according to the Journal, and voted unanimously to recommend against approval.
The full community board will vote on the proposal later this month before sending its recommendation to the city landmarks commission, according to the report.
(2) A SHOCK. Steve Stiles, one of fandom’s all-time most
popular artists, revealed
sad news on Facebook saying, “So the word is: I’ve got a few months, more
I was going to write a rant about how writers should be supportive of each other.
Then I realized …
I’m naive. ….
(5) KGB. The Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen
Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Richard Kadrey and Cassandra Khaw on Wednesday,
January 15, 7:00 p.m.at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, 2nd Floor, New York).
Richard Kadrey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sandman Slim dark urban fantasy series. Sandman Slim was included in Amazon’s “100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime,” and is in production as a feature film. Some of Kadrey’s other books include The Grand Dark, The Everything Box, Hollywood Dead, and Butcher Bird. In comics, he’s written for Heavy Metal, Lucifer, and Hellblazer. He’s currently partnered with Winterlight Productions for his original horror screenplay, Dark West.
Cassandra Khaw is a scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Her fiction has been nominated for the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award, and her game writing has won a German Game Award. You can find her short stories in places like F&SF, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. Her novella Nothing But Blackened Teeth is coming out from Nightfire, the new Tor horror imprint in 2021.
January 8, 1958 — Teenage Monster premiered and you can see the trailer here. It was produced and directed by Jacques R. Marquette, and starred Anne Gwynne (who was a scream queen in the Forties but past her prime now) and Stuart Wade. It played as double bill with The Brain from Planet Arous which is a story unto Itself.If you saw it on television, It was called Meteor Monster. We can find reviews of it at the time (not unusual) and It has no ratings at Rotten Tomatoes. The Fifties is littered with similar films.
January 8, 1967 — It’s About Time aired “To Catch A Thief.” It’s here today because we’ve never heard of this series before. It was created by Sherwood Schwartz, and used sets, props and the music bits from his other television series shooting at the time, Gilligan’s Island. Its cast was Frank Aletter, Jack Mullaney, Imogene Coca, Joe E. Ross, Cliff Norton and Mike Mazurki. It lasted but one season and twenty six episodes, considerably shorter than his other show did. This futuristic spaceman meet cavemen comedy bombed in the ratings after the first few episodes.
January 8, 2006 – The BBC’s Hyperdrive enjoyed its premiere. The series was written by Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley, directed by John Henderson and produced by Alex Walsh-Taylor. The cast was Nick Frost, Kevin Eldon, Miranda Hart, Stephen Evans, Dan Antopolski and Petra Massey. BBC ran it for two seasons and twelve episode. It’s a comedy with a decidedly scatological and crude sexual bent.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 8, 1908 — William Hartnell. The very first Doctor who first appeared when Doctor Who firstaired on November 23, 1963. He would be the Doctor for three years leaving when a new showrunner came on. He played The Doctor once more during the tenth anniversary story The Three Doctors (aired 1972–73) which was the last thing he filmed before his death. I scanned through the usual sources but didn’t find any other genre listing for him. Is that correct? (Died 1975.)
Born January 8, 1925 — Steve Holland. Did you know there was a short lived Flash Gordon series, thirty-one episodes in 1954 – 1955 to be precise? I didn’t until I discovered the Birthday for the lead in this show today. Except for four minor roles, this was his entire tv career. Biography in “Flash Gordon: Journey to Greatness” would devote an entire show to him and this series. And yes you can see him here as Flash Gordon. (Died 1997.)
Born January 8, 1941 — Boris Vallejo, 79. Illustrator whose artwork has appeared on myriad genre publications. Subjects of his paintings were gods, hideous monsters, well-muscled male swordsmen and scantily clad females. Early illustrations of Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian and Doc Savage established him as an illustrator.
Born January 8, 1942 — Stephen Hawking. Y’all know who he is, but did you know that Nimoy was responsible for his appearance as a holographic representation of himself in the “Descent” episode? He also guest starred in Futurama and had a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory. Just before his death, he was the voice of The Book on the new version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series. (Died 2018.)
Born January 8, 1947 — David Bowie. First SF role was as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth. He next shows up in The Hunger, an erotic and kinky film worth seeing. He plays The Shark in Yellowbeard, a film that Monty Python could have produced but didn’t. Next up is the superb Labyrinth where he was Jareth the Goblin King, a role perfect for him. From that role, he went on to being Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ, an amazing role by the way. He was in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as FBI AgentPhillip Jeffries, which was his last role when he appeared later in the Twin Peaks series. He also played Nikola Tesla in The Prestige from Christopher Priest’s novel. Ok, what did I am leaving y’all to mention? (Died 2016.)
Born January 8, 1956 — Jack Womack, 64. Ok, I was trying to remember what I’d read by him. I realized it was his excellent Ambient novel when it first came out and that I hadn’t kept up with his later writings. So what do y’all think of his later novels? I know, he stopped witting essentially a generation ago except for his Flying Saucers Are Real! non-fiction release. Non-fiction?
Born January 8, 1977 — Amber Benson, 43. Best known for her role as Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her post-BtVS genre credits are scant with a bit of work on Supernatural, a Sci-fi Channel film called Gryphon, a web series called The Morganville Vampires and, I kid you not, a film called One-Eyed Monster which is about an adult film crew encountering monsters. She is by the way a rather good writer. She’s written a number of books, some with Christopher Golden such as the Ghosts of Albion series and The Seven Whistlers novel which I read when Subterranean Press sent it to Green Man for review. Her Calliope Reaper-Jones series is quite excellent too.
Born January 8, 1979 — Sarah Polley, 41. H’h what did I first see her in? Ahhhh, she was in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen! Let’s see what else she’s done… She’s been in the animated Babar: The Movie, Existenz, No Such Thing (which is based very loosely on Beowulf), Dawn of the Dead, Beowulf & Grendel (well sort of based on the poem but, errr, artistic license was taken) and Mr. Nobody.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Free Range jokes about studying fantastic beasts in Oz.
…Cogo Guebara rushed over to the motorized police officer and pushed its emergency alert button on seeing the brawl break out in Salt Lake Park, Los Angeles, last month. But instead of offering assistance, the egg-shaped robot, whose official name is HP RoboCop, barked at Guebara to ‘Step out of the way’. To add insult to injury, the high-tech device then rolled away while humming an ‘intergalactic tune’, pausing periodically to say ‘Please keep the park clean.’
The explanation turned out to be disgustingly simple:
Local Police Chief Cosme Lozano says the robots, which cost between $60,000 and $70,000 a year to lease, are still in a trial phase and that their alert buttons have not yet been activated.
It’s one of the more remarkable specimens taken into London’s Natural History Museum. It’s certainly one of the most “fantastic”.
The horn comes from an Erumpent, a fictional beast created in the mind of author JK Rowling.
It’s going to feature in a major new exhibition at the South Kensington institution this spring, in which the extraordinary creatures of the Harry Potter universe are used to shine a light on some of the “magical” animals that exist in the real world.
The NHM is describing the show as its most ambitious to date.
…The exhibition will put 50 specimens from the museum’s world famous collections next to props from the Potter movies. Interactive displays will compare and contrast different animals.
“You’ll recall the Erumpent’s mating dance from Fantastic Beasts. We’ll be making comparisons with the peacock spider, which has its own extraordinary movements that it uses to attract a mate,” explained the NHM executive.
From the robots we know and love, to the robot in your pocket, explore the fascinating future of robots at work, at home and in the blurring boundaries between human and machine.
With new technological developments being made every day, it has never been more important to explore our relationships with robotics.
Explore the influence of robots through four galleries that draw you into a conversation with simple but thought-provoking questions.
Trace our fascination with the science and fiction of robots before delving into an evolving world of industry and work. Consider the role of robots as companions and helpers and explore what the future may hold as we find new ways to tackle social and environmental problems. Would you live in a robot? And can they make us better than nature intended?
Michael Thorn, Fox’s president of entertainment, shared his thoughts on the matter with The Wrap. “Any time we look at one of our classic titles, if there’s a way to reinvent it for today so it’s as resonant now as the original was, and is, to the fans, we’re wide open,” he said.
“I loved ‘Firefly,’ personally, and I watched every episode. I didn’t work on it, but I loved the show. It had come up before, but we had ‘The Orville’ on the air and it didn’t make sense for us to have, as a broadcast network who is very targeted, to have two space franchises on our air.”
The Orville now airs on Hulu, but [Firefly executive producer Tim Minnear] is allegedly currently tied up with a number of other projects.
Astronomers have discovered a vast structure in our galaxy, made up of many interconnected “nurseries” where stars are born.
The long, thin filament of gas is a whopping 9,000 light-years long and 400 light-years wide.
It lies around 500 light-years from our Sun, which is relatively close by in astronomical distances.
…An international team analysed data from the European Gaia space telescope, which was launched in 2013.
The monolithic structure has been dubbed the Radcliffe Wave, in honour of Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“What we’ve observed is the largest coherent gas structure we know of in the galaxy, organized not in a ring but in a massive, undulating filament,” said co-author Joao Alves, from the University of Vienna, Austria, and Harvard.
…Co-author Prof Alyssa Goodman, from Harvard, commented: “We were completely shocked when we first realised how long and straight the Radcliffe Wave is, looking down on it from above in 3D.”
‘Scenes in the Square’ is a new installation at London’s Leicester Square next month that will include eight dynamic statues – which means they will be integrated into the existing landscape of the Square, rather than actually move or anything. Regarded as the home of cinema in Britain, Leicester Square has had a statue of Charlie Chaplin for many years. From February 27th, he will be joined by statues of Laurel and Hardy, Bugs Bunny, Gene Kelly, Mary Poppins, Batman, Mr Bean, Paddington and Wonder Woman, sculpted by David Field.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock,
Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Olav Rokne, Hampus Eckerman, SF
Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories.
Title credit goes o File 770 contributing editor of the day rgl.]
The Hugo Awards official website has made a fresh attempt to interpret the meaning of Archive of Our Own’s 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work and how individual participants ought to identify with it. However, the December 18 statement “2019 Hugo Awards Clarification” does not explain what need it’s supposed to meet or why it was issued at this time. In response, a number of fans have filled in the blanks with the worst motives they can conceive.
We would like to clarify that the winner of the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work is Archive Of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works.
This category of the Hugo Awards is one which recognizes works that are non-fiction or which are notable primarily for aspects other than fiction. Thus, the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work recognizes AO3 as a project and a platform; the fiction hosted on that site is not the award recipient, nor are the authors of fiction hosted on that site the award recipients.
Further, the only officially recognized 2019 Hugo Award Winner for Best Related Work is Archive Of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works. No natural persons can claim to be a Hugo Award Winner, Finalist, or Nominee for this award on behalf of AO3.
Individual works of fiction on AO3 are eligible for the Hugo Awards in the fiction categories of the corresponding length, for the award year in which they are first published. In addition, the Hugo Awards have Fan Writer, Fan Artist, Fanzine, and Fancast categories which recognize contributions that fans give freely to fandom.
Members of AO3 are welcome and encouraged to promote themselves as “participant in the Hugo Award-Winning project Archive Of Our Own” or “contributor to the Hugo Award-Winning AO3 website”.
The Hugo Awards site is created
and managed by the Hugo Awards Marketing Subcommittee of the World Science
Fiction Society Mark Protection Committee, who are responsible for the statement.
Renay, of this year’s Hugo-winning
fanzine Lady Business, characterized the statement as an anonymous
attack calculated to discourage AO3 participants from joining CoNZealand and becoming
eligible to vote in the 2020 Hugos.
Since Archive of Our Own (AO3) recently won a Hugo, and Lady Business the fanzine I write for also won its second Hugo I wanted to talk a bit about the Hugos and why I like taking part in them. I’ve been nominating and voting for the Hugo Awards for a while now and have had a really positive experience, of the Hugos as a fun communal event where a lot of people I like talk about media they like. I also enjoy the way the awards process lets me and others share and receive recs, and celebrate the SFF community….
The Hugo Awards are trademarked by
the World Science Fiction Society (“WSFS”). A mark must be enforced against
violators who come within notice of the holder in order to remain effective. The Mark
Protection Committee’s report to the Dublin 2019 business meeting contended that
they already had to take action against someone selling a pin on Etsy:
Also in June, we were notified of a violation of our rocket trademark by a group marketing a pin to content creators on the website, Archive of Our Own. While the website itself was a finalist for a Hugo Award this year, the individual content creators are not finalists in the same way that authors edited by Best Editor are not considered finalists. The main issue, however, was that the seller used our marks and created a derivative work of our rocket shape without our permission. The right to control derivative works is one of the rights and responsibilities of a mark holder, and the seller transformed our rocket ship mark without permission. We informed the Dublin 2019 Worldcon committee of this issue because even issuing a cease-and-desist order might create a ruckus for the Worldcon among fans who are legitimately excited and happy to celebrate that AO3 is a Hugo finalist for the first time. Dublin 2019 declined to issue any guidance. If the creator withdrew this merchandise and created other material, we would then react to that based on the new merchandise. The MPC determined that it was important enough to protect our mark that it sent a cease-and-desist letter asking them to withdraw the design. We also pointed out that Worldcons issue their own pins to legitimate Hugo finalists. Toward the end of June, after getting no response from the seller, we filed an intellectual property infringement claim with Etsy, citing both the U.S. and EU registrations. Within days, Etsy had removed the item from their site.
The members of the Mark Protection Committee (“MPC”) at the time of the business meeting were Judy Bemis, Stephen Boucher, John Coxon, Joni Dashoff, Linda Deneroff, Paul Dormer, Donald E. Eastlake III, Michael Lee, Tim Illingworth, Dave McCarty, Randall Shepherd, Kevin Standlee, Mike Willmoth, and Ben Yalow. Three seats came up for election and two of the incumbents were returned, with Tim Illingworth being superseded by Jo Van Ekeren. So with one exception the membership remains the same as it was in Dublin.
Although the new statement appears gratuitous to some and pedantic to others, a likelier motive is to lay a foundation for WSFS to do something about trademark violations without going straight to court, which it lacks the budget to do. Consider what Kevin Standlee, who chaired the Mark Protection Committee until Dublin 2019, wrote on his blog on November 4:
If you are someone who insisted that nobody would ever make commercial or professional use of the Hugo Award registered service mark to claim that they were individually and personally Hugo Award winners on account of having contributed to An Archive of Our Own, you are flat-our wrong. It’s happening, and I’m not talking about “jokes” or “one-two-millionth of a Hugo Award winner” statements. The WSFS Mark Protection Committee is doing what it can about such things. Despite what some people seem to think, the first step in such cases is almost never LAWYER UP and FILE A LAWSUIT. But it uses up resources that are rather limited. I wish we didn’t have to do so. I wish that I hadn’t been right about people doing what I predicted they would do.
However, waving the threat of litigation at a group of fans collectively,
almost none of whom started out with any desire to violate the trademarks, will
not only offend many of them, it runs the risk of inciting people who feel unjustly
persecuted to act out in precisely that way.
Videos from the “Fannish Inquisition” held at SMOFCon 37 in Albuquerque NM on December 7 have been posted. They capture the questions and answers posed to representatives of seated WSFS conventions (Worldcon and NASFiC), and bids for future Worldcons and NASFiCs.
The makers put them up with this caveat: “This is raw video
for the future SMOFCons and seated WSFS conventions taken from the camera
without editing. Because the camera records files of a maximum length, then
starts a new file, segments may begin or end in mid-word.”
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 1 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 2 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 3 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 4 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 5 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 6 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 7 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – Worldcon Bids
The “Fannish Inquisition” held at SMOFCon 37 in
Albuquerque NM on the evening of Saturday, This is the final segment of the
Fannish Inquisition, consisting of presentations from and questions to bids for
future World Science Fiction Conventions.
Kevin Standlee also has posted videos of the Westercon Fannish Inquisitions.
The January 1 episode is part one of a two-part story called “Spyfall,” with part two arriving on Sunday, January 5, presumably also at 8 pm. That will be ‘Doctor Who’s regular time slot going forward.
If you’re a ‘Doctor Who’ superfan, BBC and BBC America are teaming up with Fathom Events for a one-time-only screening of both parts of “Spyfall” on the big screen, followed by a LIVE Q&A with Whittaker, Cole, and Gill from the Paley Center for Media in New York. These showings will be held at 600 theaters in the US on January 5. (Tickets go on sale on Friday at FathomEvents.com.)
(3) SMILE FOR THE CAMERA. Kevin Standlee promoted the
Tonopah 2021 Westercon at this weekend’s Loscon.
Team Tonopah welcomed 19 new attending members while we were at Loscon 46 at the LAX Airport Marriott, and talked to many more people to tell them all about our plans for Westercon in Tonopah, Nevada.
(4) KGB READINGS. TheFantastic Fiction at KGB reading
series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Paul Tremblay and
Nathan Ballingrud on Wednesday, December 18 at the KGB Bar. Event starts at 7
p.m. (KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY.)
Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of The Cabin at the End of the World, A Head Full of Ghosts, and most recently the short story collection Growing Thingsand Other Stories. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies.
Nathan Ballingrud is the author of North American Lake Monsters and Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell. He’s twice won the Shirley Jackson Award, and has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Awards. His stories have appeared in numerous Best of the Year anthologies. Wounds, a film based on his novella “The Visible Filth,” has recently been released. North American Lake Monsters is in development as an anthology series at Hulu.
The Doppelgänger Gambit by Leigh Killough, 1979, cover by Michael Herring
Herring’s cover captures two key elements of this gripping 21st-century police procedural. The first: the two police officers don’t get along. The second: clothing fashions in this future are somehow even more hideous than real-world 1970s fashions. The cover is true to the work. Detective Janna Brill thinks Maxwell takes unconscionable risks, and these are the clothes described in the novel. (Though I suspect the cops in the novel used holsters.)
Two years ago, Ikea sent designers to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), which created a habitat in the Utah desert that mimics the conditions on the Red Planet. Ikea interior designer Christina Levenborn stayed in the habitat, ultimately creating an Ikea line for small spaces inspired by her stay. But more recently, she used her experience living in the habitat to help researchers outfit the space. She just returned from redecorating the habitat, which now looks brightly lit and neatly organized. In fact, it looks a lot like what you’d see in an Ikea catalog—which is impressive, because the space is exceptionally small and stark.
Sff writer David Levine did a cycle with the MDRS in 2010 and File
770 ran several posts based on his updates, including “Levine Reaches Mars”.
Two external members of the Nobel literature prize committee have quit after criticising the Swedish Academy.
Gun-Britt Sundstrom said the choice of Peter Handke as this year’s winner had been interpreted as if literature stood above politics and she did not agree.
The choice of Handke was criticised because of his vocal support for the Serbs during the 1990s Yugoslav war.
Kristoffer Leandoer said he’d left due to Academy reforms taking too long following a sexual assault scandal.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
December 2, 1979 — Star Trek comics premiered in syndicated form in the U.S. From 1979 to 1983, the Los Angeles Times Mirror Syndicate produced a daily and Sunday comic strip based upon this series. Larry Niven was among the many writers who did scripts for it. IDW has reprinted them in two volumes, The Newspaper Comics, Volume 1 and The Newspaper Comics, Volume 2.
December 2, 2005 — Aeon Flux premiered. Produced by Gale Hurd, it stars Charlize Theron in the title role. It’s based on the animated Aeon Flux series of the same name created by Peter Chung. It bombed at the box office, was poorly received by critics, and currently has a 9% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
December 2, 2017 – First pizza party in space took place on the International Space Station.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 2, 1913 — Jerry Sohl. Scriptwriter and genre writer who did work for The Twilight Zone (ghostwriting for Charles Beaumont who was seriously ill at the time), Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits and Star Trek. One of his three Trek scripts was the superb “Corbomite Maneuver” episode. (Died 2002.)
Born December 2, 1914 — Ray Walston. Best known of course for playing the lead in My Favorite Martian from 1963 to 1966, alongside co-star Bill Bixby. His later genre appearances would include The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, Six Million Dollar Man, Galaxy of Terror, Amazing Stories, Popeye, Friday the 13th: The Series and Addams Family Reunion. He would appear in The Incredible Hulk (in which David Banner was played by Bill Bixby) as Jasper the Magician in an episode called “My Favorite Magician”. (Died 2001.)
Born December 2, 1937 — Brian Lumley, 81. Horror writer who came to distinction in the Seventies writing in the Cthulhu Mythos and by creating his own character Titus Crow. In the Eighties, he created the Necroscope series, which first centered on Speaker to the Dead Harry Keogh. He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, and a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Born December 2, 1946 — Josepha Sherman. Writer and folklorist who was a Compton Crook Award winner for The Shining Falcon, which was based on the Russian fairy tale “The Feather of Finist the Falcon”. She was a prolific writer both on her own and in collaboration authors such as Mecedes Lackey (A Cast of Corbies), and Laura Anne Gilman (two Buffyverse novels). I knew her personally as a folklorist first and she was without peer writing such works as Rachel the Clever: And Other Jewish Folktales and Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood that she wrote with T K F Weisskopf. Neat lady who died far too soon. Let me leave you with an essay she wrote on Winter for Green Man twenty years ago. (Died 2012.)
Born December 2, 1946 — David Macaulay, 73. British-born American illustrator and writer. Genre adjacent I’d say. Creator of such cool works as Cathedral, The New Way Things Work which has he updated for the computer technology age, and his latest, Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World.
Born December 2, 1952 — OR Melling, 67. One of her favorite authors is Alan Garner whose The Owl Service is a frequent read of hers she tells me. As for novels by her that I’d recommend, the Chronicles of Faerie series is quite excellent. For more adult fare, her People of the Great Journey is quite good.
Born December 2, 1968 — Lucy Liu, 51. She was Joan Watson on Elementary in its impressive seven-year run. Her other genre role, and it’s been long running, has been voicing Tinkermist in the Disney Fairies animated franchise. I kid you not. She’s had a few genre one-offs on The X-Files, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and the Rise: Blood Hunter film, but not much overall.
Popular Edwardian novelist and inventor of the concept of Time Travel Herbert George Wells has appeared in central London this morning, intending to punch whoever made the BBC adaptation of War of the Worlds squarely on the nose.
Wells, who believed the chances of anyone making a boring adaptation of his masterpiece were a million to one, said ‘but still, it’s done’.
“There was a great disturbance in the… oh, I’m sure you’ll come up with a word for it”, said Wells. “As if millions of my fans voices cried out ‘what the heck’.”
Tamara Wilhite: What are you currently working on?
Louis Antonelli: Well, kind of following up the previous question, since the Sad Puppies in 2015 there’s been a pretty ironclad blacklist in the major science fiction magazine and publishers against anyone who isn’t an intolerant doctrinaire left-wing asshole. Nobody denies it anymore, because such assertions only gets the horse laugh.
The only major book publisher that judges authors impartially is Baen; Analog is the one major magazine that seems to pick stories based on merit and not the author’s politics and lifestyle….
Eighty million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, Mongolia’s Gobi Desert was a dinosaur’s paradise of vast valleys, freshwater lakes and a humid climate.
Mammal-eating velociraptors, lizard-hipped sauropods and spike-armoured ankylosaurs could have been spotted roaming in what are now the Martian red sandstone spires of Bayanzag’s Flaming Cliffs.
These prehistorically favourable conditions make the Gobi Desert the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world.
Over almost 100 years of palaeontological research in the Gobi, more than 80 genera have been found. But for many people living there, this scientific heritage remains unknown.
“Putting a fence up is not protection; protection is people’s knowledge,” Mongolian palaeontologist Bolortsetseg Minjin explains as we wind through the Flaming Cliffs in search of signs of fossil poaching.
A tiger has undertaken the longest walk ever recorded in India, travelling some 1,300km (807 miles) in five months.
Experts believe the two-and-a-half-year-old male is possibly in search of prey, territory or a mate.
The tiger, which is fitted with a radio collar, left its home in a wildlife sanctuary in the western state of Maharashtra in June.
It was then tracked travelling back and forth over farms, water and highways, and into a neighbouring state.
So far, the tiger has come into conflict with humans only once, when it “accidentally injured” one person who was part of a group that entered a thicket under which it was resting.
(16) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter watched tonight’s Jeopardy!
with wrapped attention….
Category: Literary Works of the 1920s.
Answer: “Jane Webb Loudon wrote the 1st novel about one of these creatures, including the line, ‘Weak, feeble worm! Exclaimed Cheops.'”
Wrong question: “What is a Sphinx?”
Correct question: “What is a Mummy?”
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “The
Mushroom Hunters” on YouTube is a poem by Neil Gaiman read by Amanda
Palmer, with music by Jherek Bischoff.
[Thanks to Camestros Felapton (Felapton Towers, Bortsworth, Bortsworthshire),
John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Olav Rokne, Mike
Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew Porter. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day StephenfromOttawa.]
PROSE, WE HOPE. Will
Frank (scifantasy), Vice-Administrator of the 2016 Hugo Awards and Administrator of
the 2021 Hugo Awards, who also identifies himself as a fanfiction writer on AO3
and a trademark attorney, is
trying to pour some oil onto the stormy waters that separate parts of the
Worldcon community from parts of the AO3 community: “HugO3”. (Please
don’t strike a match.)
…If the Worldcon-running community doesn’t police use of the phrase, someone else–someone with less humorous, less celebratory, less free-spirited intent–might be able to plausibly argue that he can call his self-published book a Hugo Award Winner just because it was fanfic, or he has an AO3 account, because the term has lost all of its significance by not being protected.
Is that likely? Who the hell knows. Is it something the Worldcon-running community wants to risk, especially so soon after a concerted effort to undermine the award, not by fanfiction authors in celebration of their validation but by a group of politically-motivated writers with an axe to grind? Definitely not.
(I’ve also seen some people saying that there isn’t any prestige in a Hugo Award given some of the historical winners, and…well, get in line behind the Oscars and the Grammys and the others, I guess. The fact is that “Hugo Award” on the cover of a book does indeed help sales. It matters. There is still cachet in being a Hugo Award winner. Or even a finalist!)
So, no, the Worldcon-running community is not saying “Hey, don’t have fun.” It is saying, “please, don’t undermine our ability to stop people with malicious intent from poisoning the term Hugo Award.”
I’m not even telling you that you have to think I’m right. But at least, please know that this isn’t just a matter of “don’t have fun.” It’s a plea for your help.
(2) HEINLEIN’S OTHER VERSION. The Number of the Beast versus
Pursuit of the Pankera – not the same book at all. Arc Manor would be
delighted for you to put the claim to a test — http://www.arcmanor.com/as/Comparison.pdf
It is a different book. Of the 187,000 words in the new book, it shares the first 28,000. But then is totally different. The separation occurs in chapter XVIII and here is a side by side comparison of the chapters in the two books with the point of divergence clearly marked.
Wendy Pini does it all. In the 1970s Wendy used to hit the cons dressed as Sonja. She was born in San Francisco in 1951, and from an early age demonstrated the talents later to come to fruition as a professional illustrator, and eventually as the creator of Elfquest.
(4) CHANGES AT TOR. Shelf Awareness is reporting a couple
of promotions at Tom
Theresa DeLucci has been promoted to senior associate director of marketing of Tor Books, Forge, and Nightfire.
Renata Sweeney has been promoted to senior marketing manager, Tor.
(5) ELLEN VARTANOFF INTERVIEW. From Small Press Expo 2017
(but just posted on YouTube today.)
Rusty and Joe talk to Ellen Vartanoff about her decades in the comics field and the early days of comic conventions!
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
September 19, 1952 — “Superman On Earth” aired as the pilot episode for The Adventures of Supermantelevision series starring George Reeves.
September 19, 1961 — On a return trip from Canada, while in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been abducted by aliens.
September 19, 1986 — The Starman series debuted with Jeff Bridges replaced in the role of The Starman with Robert Hays. The series lasted for twenty-two episodes.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 19, 1867 — Arthur Rackham. English book illustrator who is recognized as one of the leading literary figures during the Golden Age of British book illustration. His work can be seen on genre fiction ranging from Goblin Market to Rip Van Winkle and The Wind in the Willows. Derek Huson’s Arthur Rackham: His Life and Work is one of the better looks at him and his art. (Died 1939.)
Born September 19, 1911 — William Golding. Though obviously best known for the Lord of The Flies novel, I’m more intrigued by the almost completed novel found in draft after his death, The Double Tongue which tells the story of the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo at Delphi. (Died 1993.)
Born September 19, 1922 — Damon Knight. Author, critic, editor. He is the author of “To Serve Man”, a 1950 short story which became a The Twilight Zone episode. It won a 50-year Retro-Hugo in 2001 as the best short story of 1950. Wiki says “He ceased reviewing when Fantasy & Science Fiction refused to publish a review.” What’s the story here? (Died 2002.)
Born September 19, 1928 — Adam West. Best known as Batman on that classic Sixty series, he also had a short role in 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars as Colonel Dan McReady. The less said about his post Batman films, including a softcore porn film, the better. (Died 2017.)
Born September 19, 1928 — Robin Scott Wilson. Founder, with Damon Knight and others, of the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop. He edited Clarion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction and Criticism from the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, Clarion II and Clarion III. He wrote one genre novel, To the Sound of Freedom (with Richard W. Shryock) and a lot of short fiction. Alas, neither iBooks nor Kindle has anything by him available. (Died 2013.)
Born September 19, 1933 – David McCallum, 86. Gained fame as Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and has rounded off his career playing medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in another TV series that is known by its initials, NCIS.
Born September 19, 1940 — Caroline John. English actress best known for her role as scientist Elizabeth “Liz” Shaw in Doctor Who as companion to the Third Doctor. She’d repeat her role in Dimensions in Time, a charity special crossover between Doctor Who and the EastEnders that ran in 1993. Her only other genre role was playing Laura Lyons in The Hound of the Baskervilles. (Died 2012.)
Born September 19, 1947 — Tanith Lee. I hadn’t realized that she wrote more than ninety novels and three hundred short stories in her career. And even wrote two Blake’s 7 episodes as well. I was more fond of her work for children such as The Dragon Hoard and The Unicorn Series than I was of her adult work. (Died 2015.)
Born September 19, 1952 — Laurie R. King, 67. She’s on the Birthday Honors List for the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries, featuring Sherlock Holmes as her mentor and later partner. She’s also written at least one genre novel, Califia’s Daughters.
Born September 19, 1972 — N. K. Jemisin, 47. Her most excellent Broken Earth series has made her the only author to have won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years.
Emergency sirens wailed on Hawaii’s Oahu and Maui islands Wednesday evening, warning of a tsunami, but the alert turned out to be a mistake, sparking anger from residents who recalled a similar false warning last year of an imminent ballistic missile attack.
Within minutes of the alarm going off shortly after 5 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET) authorities were trying to calm the public by getting out word of the mistake.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu tweeted: “***NO TSUNAMI THREAT*** We have received phone calls about sirens going off across Oahu, but we have confirmed with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center that there is NO TSUNAMI THREAT.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also took to Twitter. “Mahalo to everyone for taking appropriate action & tuning into local media,” he tweeted, adding that the sirens had been “inadvertently triggered” during Honolulu Police Department training.
… Burger King has decided to remove all plastic toys from its kids’ meals. Not only that but the initiative, created by agency Jones Knowles Ritchie and starting this week in the U.K., is also calling for people to drop plastic toys from meals past in “plastic toy amnesty bins” at Burger King locations to be melted down and recycled into things that are actually useful, like play areas and surface tools, which can be recycled many times over.
People in the U.K. who bring in toys to melt down next week will get a free King Junior meal when they buy any adult meal. To promote the project, Burger King has created a cast of melted-down plastic toy characters, including Beep Beep, a jeep-driving bunny, which the brand has installed a giant melting version of on London’s South Bank to promote the project.
Despite their giraffian proportions, giant azhdarchid torso were relatively tiny. Witton and Habib (2010) noted that, like many pterodactyloid pterosaurs, their torsos were probably only a third or so longer than their humeri, suggesting a shoulder-hip length of about 65-75 cm for an animal with a 10 m wingspan. That’s a torso length not much larger than your own, although they were considerably more stocky and swamped with muscle. Azhdarchid shoulders, in particular, are well endowed with attachment sites for flight muscles, as are (for pterosaurs) their pelves and hindquarters.
(13) JURASSIC SHORT. Battle at Big Rock on YouTube is an eight-minute video, set in the Jurassic
World universe one year after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen
Kingdom that premiered on FX last night and was put online today.
(14) BRADBURY INTERVIEW. Here’s a 9-minute video of Ray
Bradbury’s 1978 appearance on the Merv Griffin Show.
The always brilliant Ray Bradbury, one of the greatest sci-fi writers in history, talks with Merv about the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, Steven Spielberg, his mission as a writer, the future of mankind, and ends by reading from his poem “If Only We Had Taller Been” from his collection “When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed.”
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchccock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Kevin Standlee, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JJ.]
(1) ONE STOP SHOPPING. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] SF2 Concatenation’sAutumn
2019 edition is up. Voluminous
seasonal news and reviews page of both SF and science which includes the major
UK SF/fantasy imprint book releases between now and New Year. (Many of
these will be available as imports in N. America and elsewhere.)
(2) LEM V. DICK. [Editor’s note: I apologize for what amounts to misspelling, but characters that WordPress would display as question marks have been changed to a letter of the alphabet without marks.]
[Item by Jan Vanek Jr.] Yesterday the English-language website of the Polish magazine Przekrój published (and started promoting on Facebook, hence my knowledge) the translation of a 2,700-word excerpt (not a self-contained “chapter” as they claim) from Wojciech Orlinski’s 2017 biography of Stanislaw Lem detailing what led to “the famous Lem-Dick imbroglio” with PKD’s “famous Lem report to the FBI”: “access to previously unpublished letters […] resulted in what is likely the first accurate description of the incident, as well as the ultimate explanation as to how the concept of ‘foreign royalties under communism’ is almost as much of a mess as ‘fine dining under communism’ (but not quite as fine a mess)”:
…It all began with Lem’s depiction of Dick – in the third of his great essay collections, Science Fiction and Futurology as little more than a talentless hack. Lem had a poor opinion of almost all American authors, and never thought much of the literary genre of which he himself was an exponent (think of his equally critical view of Pirx the Pilot, for example, or Return from the Stars)….
I found it a quite informative and interesting read, although “Lem’s unfortunate expulsion from the SFWA” that ensued is mentioned only briefly and I think misleadingly (I have checked the Polish book and there is nothing more about it, but it has been described in American sources, many of them online).
(3) ABOUT AO3’S HUGO AWARD. The Organization for Transformative Works has clarified
to Archive of Our Own participants — “Hugo
Award – What it Means”.
We’re as excited as you are about the AO3’s Hugo win, and we are shouting it to the rafters! We are grateful to the World Science Fiction Society for recognizing the AO3 with the award, as well as to the many OTW volunteers who build and maintain the site, and all of the amazing fans who post and enjoy works on it.
The World Science Fiction Society has asked us to help them get the word out about what the award represented—specifically, they want to make sure people know that the Hugo was awarded to the AO3, and not to any particular work(s) hosted on it. Therefore, while we can all be proud of the AO3’s Hugo win and we can all be proud of what we contributed to making it possible, the award does not make any individual fanwork or creator “Hugo winners”—the WSFS awarded that distinction to the AO3 as a whole. In particular, the WSFS asked us to convey this reminder so that no one mistakenly describes themselves as having personally won a Hugo Award.
Thanks for sharing our enthusiasm, and consider yourselves reminded! We appreciate every one of your contributions.
So far there are 80 comments, any number by Kevin Standlee making Absolutely Clear Everybody Must Understand Things Exactly The Way He Does. One reply says, “You aren’t doing a particularly good job of reading the room here.”
(4) ARISIA PERSISTED. Arisia
2020 has issued its first online
Progress Report. Key
points: (1) It’s happening! (2) It’s (back) at the Westin Boston Waterfront. (3)
The headliners are Cadwell Turnbull, Author Guest of Honor, Kristina Carroll, Artist
Guest of Honor, and Arthur Chu, Fan Guest of Honor.
Halloween’s almost here… well, OK, it’s more than a month away, but that means it’s time for Halloween haunts — aka Halloween mazes, aka scary Halloween things at theme parks and the like, to start.
Halloween Horror Nights has been taking over Universal Studios Hollywood for 21 years, and we got the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour of two of the brand new mazes, Ghostbusters and Us. We were guided through by Creative Director John Murdy, the man in charge of creating the stories and the scares inside all of the mazes.
He works with an art director to design every moment, writing treatments for each attraction than can run up to 100 pages.
“It’s a narrative from the guest’s POV — everything I see, hear, smell, etcetera, as if I’m going through the maze,” Murdy said. “But it also has a very elaborate technical breakdown by scene, by discipline, down to the timecode of the audio cues.”
…On Wednesday, the day before WorldCon officially started, I helped with move in and set-up at Point Square. This involved carrying boxes, assembling shelves for the staff lounge and crafting area, taping down table cloths and helping to set up the Raksura Colony Tree model. This was my first time volunteering at a WorldCon and it was a great experience. Not only do you get to help to make a great project like WorldCon happen, no, you also get to meet a lot of lovely people while volunteering. Especially if you’re new to WorldCon and don’t know anybody yet, I recommend volunteering as a way to meet people and make friends. What is more, I also got a handful of groats (which I used to buy a very pretty necklace in the dealers room) and a cool t-shirt.
(7) MEMORIAL. Jim C.
Hines tweeted the link to his post about the Memorial held for his wife,
Amy, on September 8, a touching and highly personal tribute.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
September 14, 2008 — The Hunger Games novel hit bookstores. (For some reason, the bookstores did not hit back.)
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 14, 1915 — Douglas Kennedy. No major SFF roles that I see but he’s been in a number of films of a genre nature: The Way of All Flesh, The Ghost Breakers, The Mars Invaders, The Land Unknown, The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold, The Alligator People and The Amazing Transparent Man. Series wise, he had one-offs on Alcoa Presents, Science Fiction Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. (Died 1973.)
Born September 14, 1919 — Claire P. Beck. Editor of the Science Fiction Critic, a fanzine which published in four issues Hammer and Tongs, the first work of criticism devoted to American SF. It was written by his brother Clyde F. Beck. Science Fiction Critic was published from 1935 to 1938. (Died 1999.)
Born September 14, 1927 — Martin Caidin. His best-known novel is Cyborg which was the basis for The Six Million Dollar Man franchise. He wrote two novels in the Indiana Jones franchise and one in the Buck Rogers one as well. He wrote myriad other sf novels as well. (Died 1997.)
Born September 14, 1932 — Joyce Taylor, 87. She first shows as Princess Antillia in Atlantis, the Lost Continent. Later genre appearances were The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the first English language Beauty and the Beast film, the horror film Twice-Told Tales and the Men into Space SF series.
Born September 14, 1936 — Walter Koenig, 83. Best-known for his roles as Pavel Chekov in the original Trek franchise and Alfred Bester on Babylon 5. Moontrap, a SF film with him and Bruce Campbell, would garner a 28% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and InAlienable which he executive produced, wrote and acts in has no rating there.
Born September 14, 1941 — Bruce Hyde. Patterns emerge in doing these Birthdays. One of these patterns is that original Trek had a lot of secondary performers who had really short acting careers. He certainly did. He portrayed Lt. Kevin Riley in two episodes, “The Naked Time” and “The Conscience of the King” and the rest of his acting career consisted of eight appearances, four of them as Dr. Jeff Brenner. He acted for less than two years in ‘65 and ‘66, before returning to acting thirty-four years later to be in The Confession of Lee Harvey Oswald which is his final role. (Died 2015.)
Born September 14, 1947 — Sam Neill, 72. Best known for role of Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park which he reprised in Jurassic Park III. He was also in Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Snow White: A Tale of Terror, Bicentennial Man, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, Thor: Ragnarok and Peter Rabbit.
Born September 14, 1961 — Justin Richards, 58. Clute at ESF says “Richards is fast and competent.” Well I can certain say he’s fast as he’s turned out thirty-five Doctor Who novels which Clute thinks are for the YA market between 1994 and 2016. And he has other series going as well! Another nineteen novels written, and then there’s the Doctor Who non-fiction which runs to over a half dozen works.
Construction of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is in full swing.
On Friday, Lucas — along with his wife and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — watched as construction crews helped bring his vision to life.
And he thanked them for the tireless effort.
“You’re doing the impossible — thank you so much,” Lucas said.
“Millions of people will be inspired by this building. We were just in our board meeting for the museum and George said you are the artists so you’re the artists of this art museum,” says Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments and the museum’s co-founder.
Henry Lien teaches law and creative writing at UCLA Extension. A private art dealer, he is the author of the Peasprout Chen middle grade fantasy series, which received New York Times acclaim and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.
High school can be a turbulent time for any budding teenager, but when you’re allowed to dress up as your favorite movie or television character, facing picture day isn’t the daunting challenge it once was. Per a report from The Huffington Post, North Farmington High School in the suburbs of Detroit allowed its senior pupils to assume the persona of their favorite pop culture icon for the sake of ID photographs. What followed was a parade of Woodys (Toy Story), Shuris (Black Panther) Fionas (Shrek), creepy twins (The Shining), and so many more!
…Now, because her fans kept asking, she is getting more personal than ever. The Eisner Award-winning author who launched her publishing empire with 2010?s “Smile,” about her years-long dental adventures as a kid, is prepared to bare new parts of her interior world with “Guts,” available Tuesday, which centers on how fear affected her body.
“This is the reality of my life,” Telgemeier told her fans. She quickly got to the heart and GI tract of the matter: “I was subject to panic attacks and [was] worrying that something was really wrong with me.”…
(15) SIGNAL BOOST. Naomi Kritzer offers an incentive for
supporting a cause that needs a cash infusion.
And there may be a financial cost. Over the Sept. 6-8 weekend, New Line and director Andy Muschietti’s It: Chapter Two opened to $91 million domestically, a 26 percent decline from the first It, which debuted to $123.4 million on the same weekend in 2017. The sequel ran a hefty 169 minutes, 34 minutes longer than its predecessor.
“Andy had a lot of story to tell in concluding his adaptation of Stephen King’s book, which is more than 1,100 pages,” says Jeff Goldstein, chief of distribution for Warner Bros., New Line’s parent. “We strategically added more shows and locations to counterbalance losing a show on each screen.”
Adds a rival studio executive regarding It: Chapter Two, “look, $91 million is a great number. But anytime the second film in a hoped-for franchise goes down — and not up — that’s not what you wish for. And I do think the fact that it was so long didn’t help.”
(17) COLBERT. Stephen Colbert’s “Meanwhile…” news roundup
includes a furry joke related to the movie Cats, and a bit on “The 5D Porn Cinema No One Asked For.”
These items start at 2.02 — here on
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Cinema verite of author Liz Hand on
Vimeo. A 5-minute video of Hand
at work and play
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Chip
Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some
of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew
By John Hertz:Spikecon combined Westercon LXXII (regional)
and the 13th NASFiC (North America S-F Con, since 1976 held when the Worldcon
is off-continent – this year’s Worldcon was in
Dublin, Republic of Ireland), plus a 1632 Minicon (fans of
Eric Flynt’s 1632 series) and Manticon 2019 (fans of David
Weber’s Honor Harrington series, with its Royal Manticoran
Navy, i.e. Space navy). This was a first.
Kate Hatcher; attendance, about 800; in the Art Show, sales about $20,000 by
about 60 artists.
Westercon and NASFiC each had Guests of Honor. The Utah Fandom
Organization (yes, that spells –) brought two more; eight other sponsors
brought nine more.
all happened at Layton, Utah, 4-7 July 2019, fifty miles from where the Final
Spike was driven completing the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years
(population about 70,000) is twenty-five miles from Salt Lake City, where
Westercon LXVII had been – the first in Utah.
used the Davis County Conference Center and five hotels.
available space I hadn’t seen anywhere to put a Fanzine
Lounge. Hatcher said “How about a fanzine party in the Hospitality
Suite?” With Hospitality Suite chief Dorothy Domitz’ agreement we settled
– if that word may be used in fandom – on Friday night, 7-10 p.m.
Glassner, who had hosted the Fanzine Lounge at the 76th Worldcon in 2018, was
my co-host for the fanzine party. We were both on-site by Wednesday
and went shopping with Chris Olds the Party Maven. I made a flier.
I was Chief Hall-Costume Judge. Decades ago hall
costume was settled for the costumes some people wear strolling the
halls. Marjii Ellers called them “daily wear from alternative
costumes are meant to be seen at a distance; hall costumes are meant to be
met. To acknowledge them a gang of judges prowls the con and,
spotting a good one, awards a rosette on the spot.
con had made disks with Spikecon – Hall Costume Award;
while shopping I looked for lace, or like that, to go round
them. JoAnn Fabric & Crafts didn’t have spools enough in any
appealing style, but on the way out I saw some red-white-and-blue-striped cake
cups (for cupcakes, right?): it was the Independence Day
weekend. We got those.
Selina Phanara hadn’t
anything ready to exhibit in the Art Show, but luckily I was able to borrow the
Selina Phanara Sampler from fellow Phanara fans Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink &
Jerome Scott, a vertically (“portrait”?) laid out banner with color
reproductions and her name and E-mail address. Art Show chief Bruce
Miller proved to have space for it.
first of three Classics of SF discussions
I led, on “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (which just won the Retrospective Hugo for Best Novelette of 1943), was at 12:45 p.m. Regency dancing had to be at 3:15 – another time and space problem. The Chesley Awards(by the Ass’n of SF Artists) and Art Show Reception were at 7. So after “Mimsy” I hustled back to my room, changed, sauntered to the Conference Center for dancing – can’t hustle in Regency clothes – then met my fellow Art Show judges to decide and turn in the Art Show Awards before the Reception, then back to my room for conventional garments, and hustled to the Hospitality Suite where Glassner had started the fanzine party.
we trespass upon chronology.
“Mimsy”. A.J. Budrys, one of our best authors and critics both,
taught “Always ask, Why are they telling us this?” Why
do Kuttner & Moore tell us Jane Paradine, the children’s mother, is very
pretty? Remember a woman is co-writing; K&M always said that
everything they published, under any name (they used many; “Mimsy” appeared as
by Lewis Padgett), was by the two of them together.
considered Sexism? – or Mere sexism? (whatever
that may mean, about which there was also talk) – or Sexism
unconsciously or otherwise adopted by a 1943 woman?
or beneath or beside this we human beings are drawn to beauty; think not only
of an attractive man or woman, but also “I saw
young Harry … gallantly armed, / Rise from the ground … and vault … with
such ease into his seat / As if an angel dropped down from the clouds, / To
witch the world with noble horsemanship” (Henry IV Part 1, Act 4 scene
different points in “Mimsy” K&M invite us to feel for the parents
– for the children.
also the sneaky ironic foreshadowing of “The only people who can understand
philosophy are mature adults or kids like Emma and Scotty.”
Rex Holloway, the psychologist, help or hurt? Does Paradine suggest paradigm;
does Holloway suggest hollow way?
“Mimsy” tragic – in the classical sense, grievous and revealed to result from a
fault of the recipient even if – or because – that fault had been thought
does the story end with the telephone ringing? Who did K&M tell
us is calling? Why?
Unthahorsten is “a good many million years in the future”, what happens to Emma
Regency dancing. Maybe you already knew my article in Mimosa,
or maybe you followed the link to it above. I hold Jane Austen one of the
greatest authors in the world, and yes, that means I rank her with Aeschylus,
and Shakespeare, and Lady Murasaki. But she – since I’m talking to
SF fans here – is, like them, a Martian writing for other
Martians. She doesn’t explain. Georgette Heyer, writing
two centuries later, like an SF author introduces us to the world she
portrays. So it’s she I recommend, to start with anyhow; luckily
she’s a superb author herself.
said Cross-cultural contact is homework for SF. Mike
Ford said history is our secret ingredient. Theodore Sturgeon said
science fiction is knowledge fiction. Not all knowledge is
data. Some of it is doing. I learn a lot from this hobby
that grew out of a hobby.
Hospitality Suite was in the Garden Inn, attached to the Conference Center, not
in the Homes2 Suites across a driveway, which had been planned as the
Party Hotel. As it turned out, the Hospitality Suite could stay open
until 2 a.m.; the Homes2 shut down parties at midnight. Could that
have been discovered in advance, maybe even worked around? For ways
that are dark, and tricks that are vain, our hotel negotiations are peculiar.
and I had each brought a handful of fanzines, some recent, some from years
past. People looked and talked. I’d also printed the opening
page of Bill Burns’ efanzines.com. That gratified some, and was
news to others. Obviousness is relative. After our
three hours we donated what remained of our food and drink, also two little
tables I’d bought to spread fanzines on.
Hospitality Suite may be the best part of an SF convention. You’re
welcome whether you’re a fan or a pro or both; whether or not you’re in with
some in-crowd. Conversations happen. You meet people you
didn’t know you wanted to meet.
it’s called the Con Suite because the con itself hosts it, unlike say a SFWA
Suite (SF Writers of America).
the Homes2 lobby later, half past midnight or maybe one, I found a surprisingly
large crowd, and a spread of refreshments along a center table. Thus
I learned parties were being shut down. People had gravitated, and
brought leftovers. It was Lobbycon.
I heard Match Game SF had been fun, as usual. Of course it had to
happen. Kevin Standlee, his wife Lisa Hayes, and their friend Kuma
Bear, were Westercon’s Fan Guests of Honor. For a dozen years
they’ve been mounting this adaptation of the oft-revived television panel-game. At
the Worldcon they’d be nose-deep in the Business Meeting, and like that;
Spikecon was the moment. Until they started this, who
knew Standlee had a game-show host in him?
Standlee, Hayes, and Kuma are fen of many talents.
Hayes does the tech. I think Kuma is the producer.
Rocket Ship “Galileo” at the crack of dawn, i.e. 10:15 a.m. I was not alone
in wanting to celebrate the Glorious 20th; the U.S. Postal Service had issued a
decades before humankind actually did it, Heinlein wrote this
speculation. It’s the first of his “juveniles” – they have
young-adult protagonists – books which some of us think his best: they’re gems.
“Galileo” is reasonable science for 1947. Heinlein said he’d only
compressed the time and the number of people. Note that it isn’t a
rocket ship built in a back yard.
how he manages the characterization – sparely but tellingly. The
books on the shelf in the clubhouse – Ross Jenkins’ parents (the one-word
utterance “Albert.” in Chapter 4!) – “Going to put her down on manual?” and
what follows. Look how characterization also advances the plot
– like setting up Art’s speaking German.
very points we might hang fire on are things Heinlein needs for what I’ve
called the C.S. Lewis One-Strange rule: an extraordinary person in ordinary
circumstances, or an ordinary person in extraordinary
circumstances. Boys taking apart almost anything mechanical from alarm
clocks to souped-up jalopies. “Cigarette,
Doctor? Cigar?” These are verisimilitude at the time of
you looking for the Heinlein Double Surprise – something strange happens, then
something really strange happens? There it is!
Art Show tour I led was at 11:30. I didn’t invent these tours, but I
often arrange them, and usually lead one myself. Why me? When
Kelly Freas first told a con to get me for one, I went to him. He said,
“You seem to be able to say what you see.”
never forgotten that. When I’m arranging the tours it’s what I ask tour
leaders to do.
used to say “docent tours”. Docent is the right word,
but I found people didn’t know what it meant, and didn’t look it up, so it put
them to sleep.
Art Show was one of the strengths of Spikecon.
Here was Mark Roland, one of few who does etching; his “Persistence of Memory” won 1st Place Monochrome (if you follow the link, scroll down, 3rd image; you’ll see he says these are limited-edition fine art prints, hand-wiped and printed on rag paper in his studio).
was Elizabeth Berrien, whose “Cloud Unicorn” in aluminum wire won Best 3-D; she
has not exhibited with us for a while, being distracted with airports and hotel
lobbies. Her Website is worth a look. At a
party, or a panel discussion, you’ll see her listening or contributing to the
conversation, all the while twisting wire. She must carry the whole
in her mind, like Michelangelo saying “I just get a block of marble and chip
away anything that doesn’t look like a Madonna and Child.”
Douglas’ “Ghost Leviathan”, worked up from the page into bas-relief with layers
of color, and found objects, won 1st Place Color. She has
recently been at Orycons.
by Elizabeth Fellows won 2nd Place Monochrome. Looking straight at it you
saw vertical strands of dark yarn on a field of white. Fellows
didn’t, so the Art Show did, mount a sign Look at it
sideways. You then saw a face – which I think was Alan Rickman
as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter movies – but wasn’t his
word “Forever”? Where are my notes?
particularly glad Bjo Trimble, her husband John, and their daughter Kat, were
at the con; as it turned out they were sponsored by Ctein (pronounced “k-TINE”;
yes, that’s his full name; while we’re at it, there should be a circumflex over
the j in Bjo, an Esperantism indicating
In the photo you can see Bjo’s “Aslan” (from The Chronicles of Narnia), which won 3rd Place Monochrome, over her head. Kat’s “Mariposa” (which you can’t quite see in the photo) was a Judges’ Choice.
is one of few photographers in our Art Shows. Photos are necessarily
of things actually existent; what’s the SF element? We get some
neighbors, like astronomicals, or the spacecraft so far built; and indeed Ctein
shoots them. But his other pictures too have a quality of marvel.
The art of photography includes the mind of the artist. Ctein
being one of the judges, and also exhibiting, he insisted that nothing by a
judge should get an award.
No picture-taking is our Art Show rule, but Jan Gephardt was allowed to shoot this panel of her own (you can just make out
some of her paper sculptures at upper left).
night, the Masquerade. Decades ago this was a dress-up party;
it’s now a costume competition – with a stage, lights, and sound, if we can
manage. The Masquerade Director was Tanglwyst de Holloway; Master of
Ceremonies, Orbit Brown; judges, Dragon Dronet, Theresa Halbert, Kitty Krell.
as a Novice, and winning Best in Show – which is quite possible, I’ve been a
judge at Worldcon Masquerades where we did that – was Hanna Swedin, “Snaptrap”
(Re-Creation, from Five Nights at Freddy’s 3; Re-Creation entries
are based on known images, Original entries are not; the Novice, Journeyman,
and Master classes allow entrants to compete against others with their own
level of experience if they wish, but anyone can “challenge up”, and experience
brought the Site-Selection results. Columbus, Ohio, won unopposed
for the 14th NASFiC in 2020 (the 78th
Worldcon will be at Wellington, New Zealand, in
2020). Tonopah, Nevada, beat Phoenix, Arizona, 82-51, for Westercon
LXXIV in 2021 (Westercon LXXIII will
be at Seattle, Washington, in 2020).
is a noteworthy outcome. In contrast with Phoenix, Tonopah is an
unincorporated town of population 2,600; no air, rail, intercity-bus service;
it’s halfway between Reno and Las Vegas (each about 200 miles, 250 km,
away). Probably not even the best crystal-gazer would venture to say
what lurks in the minds of fen, but “Why Tonopah?” from the bid committee to its parent organization, all
explained again at Spikecon in conversation, bid parties, and the exercise
we call the Fannish Inquisition, may be instructive.
quarter to one p.m., October the First Is Too Late. As
always I asked who’d read it recently or had it fresh in mind, who even if
having read it didn’t have it fresh in mind, who hadn’t read it, who hadn’t
heard of it; most always there are some of each (hadn’t heard of it may
prove to be but I hear these discussions are fun, which I’ll take).
way of reminding people to look things up I pointed out that “bacon” for an
Englishman is nearer to what United States people call “Canadian bacon” than to
what U.S. people call “bacon”. If this is what you’re living on while
camping, it makes a difference.
all the music for? Is it mere window-dressing? Well, it
shows the mind of the narrator. It sets up the exploration of art
and technology, human and mechanical possibilities, with the future (though we
must beware of that word with this book) keyboard instrument in Chapter 13.
music, at least as we understand it, is about time, and time is the theme, the
endoskeleton, of the book: one of the more brilliant observations I heard all
about the framing story? What about “someone, or something, was
using the Sun as a giant signaling device”? Does it tell us anything
about the fourth-millennium people? The narrative doesn’t take us to
it again – or does it, in the last chapter, with “a higher level of perception
than our own”?
we to be uncertain about the certain uncertainty of the people we meet at the
end, like Sir Arthur Clarke’s “It is well to be skeptical [or as he spelled it,
sceptical] even of skepticism”?
Closing Ceremonies the joined Westercon and NASFiC had to
disjoin. When Kate Hatcher ended Spikecon, the Westercon gavel went
to Sally Woehrle for Westercon LXXIII; but the NASFiC is an entity of the World
Science Fiction Society, so the WSFS gavel went to a courier for the 77th
Worldcon which would need it before the 14th NASFiC.
Standlee, Hayes, and Kuma were present, being Fan Guests of Honor for Westercon
LXXII, and Linda Deneroff was present, being Fan Guest of Honor for the 13th
NASFiC, all experienced in Business Meeting fandom, so we managed.
in the course of helping take down and clean up I found my roommate Kevin Rice
carrying a box of leftover plastic train-whistles. He’d made them by
3-dimensional printing, gosh: six inches long with two pipes, the top one
marked “Spikecon 2019” and the bottom one “Layton, UT”. They were in
knew there would be a Dead Dog party (until the last dog is –), and separately
a Dead Dog Filk, so that’s where
I went with them. More of the filkers being of the
musical-instrument type, they took more.