The situation is made even stickier because the April 15 deadline for filing to be on the Westercon site selection ballot has passed and cannot be extended under the Westercon Bylaws. However, Kevin Standlee, Westercon 73 Business Meeting Chair, explained in a post at Westercon.org it is still possible for groups interested in hosting Westercon 75 to file as a write-in bid up to the close of voting at Loscon – which will be open only on Friday, November 26, 2021, and is scheduled to close at 8 p.m. Pacific Time on that day. So no bids will be listed on the ballot, but write-in bids will be allowed. Standlee describes the process in full here.
Should no bid be selected through the site selection voting process, the Westercon Business Meeting can select a site by a three-fourths vote. If they don’t, it’s then up to the LASFS Board of Directors to select a site.
Standlee’s condensed version of these options is:
Site Selection will continue with write-in bids only.
Site Selection voting will be on Friday only, but will stay open later than usual (8 p.m.)
Any group that files the usual paperwork is eligible to win as a write-in.
If no eligible group wins, then the Business Meeting on Saturday (time TBA) can select a site.
If the Business Meeting cannot decide, then LASFS decides.
The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) is aware of the situation with respect to Westercon 73, and we regret that the Seattle Westercon Organising Committee (SWOC) who won the bid for Westercon 73 has experienced the troubles it has.
LASFS will host the functions mandated in the Westercon Constitution for Westercon 73 at Loscon 47, held over Thanksgiving Weekend, 2021. This includes the Business Meeting and Site Selection voting.
Individuals who decline to get their memberships of Westercon 73 refunded from SWOC are welcome to attend Loscon 47. Those keeping their supporting memberships will be able to vote as well, but have no other participation. If the supporting members wish to attend Loscon 47, they may pay the difference, for the current attending rate and the supporting rate for Westercon 73. All attending badged members at Loscon 47/Westrcon 73 will be able to participate in Westercon 75 site selection. LASFS undertakes no other obligations for Westercon 73. All contracts and agreements made by SWOC in the name of Westercon 73 remain the responsibility of SWOC. Please watch for further statements.
(1) JEOPARDY! Tonight’s installment of Jeopardy! featured an entire category about the Nebula Awards. The first clue even mentioned the L.A. Science Fiction League of 1937. Andrew Porter provides screencaps. (Click for larger image.)
Fans of science fiction learned last week that the word “robot” was first used in 1920—a full three years earlier than originally thought.The “massively important yet obvious” change in date was confirmed with a search of the Internet Archive, which has a digitized first edition of the Czech play, R.U.R. Rossum’s Universal Robots, published in 1920. There on the title page, hiding in plain sight in an English-language subtitle to the work, is the earliest known use of the word “robot.”
A piece of the Wright brothers’ first airplane is on Mars.
NASA’s experimental Martian helicopter holds a small swatch of fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer, the space agency revealed Tuesday. The helicopter, named Ingenuity, hitched a ride to the red planet with the Perseverance rover, arriving last month.
Ingenuity will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet no sooner than April 8. It will mark a “Wright brothers’ moment,” noted Bobby Braun, director for planetary science at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, the Wrights’ hometown, donated the postage-size piece of muslin from the plane’s bottom left wing, at NASA’s request….
An appeal to the public to raise £4.5m to buy JRR Tolkien’s former home in Oxford has failed.
Project Northmoor launched a crowdfunding campaign in December to raise money to acquire Tolkien’s former house at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford, before it was put on to the market. Backed by names including Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, who played Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf in adaptations of Tolkien’s novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the campaign said it wanted to turn the Grade II-listed property into “the first literary centre in the world dedicated to Tolkien”, and that it needed £4.5m to do so.
The Tolkien Society distanced itself from the project, after being approached for support by organisers, saying that the house “would not be a museum and would not be open to the public”, and that given the property is a listed building and already has a blue plaque celebrating the author, it is “well protected under the law and not in need of rescue”. The Tolkien Society was also concerned that plans it had seen for the property included “spiritual retreats”, that the charity’s “business model includes running a bed and breakfast, with a full-time resident warden”, and that its “primary intention appears to be to run creative workshops, rather than educational programmes about Tolkien”. It was also critical of the fact that “no prominent members of the Tolkien community – be they writers, academics, artists etc – are directors of the company”…
(6) “BLERDS” EXPLORE INTERSECTION OF BLACKNESS AND NERDINESS. Adam Bradley of the New York Times offers an insightful article titled “The Black Nerds Redefining the Culture”. In it, he traces how race and nerd subcultures overlap and affect each other.
“Blerds still love the same types of content [as other nerds],” Terril “Rell” Fields, the 33-year-old founder of the Raleigh, N.C.-based blerd.com says. “A Blerd just sees nerd culture through their Black cultural lens.” They may notice things that other nerds don’t: a Black or brown supporting character in a comic book that might otherwise be forgotten; a political allegory of race and democracy played out in a sci-fi television series.
…As a retired intelligence professional and a published novelist, and now the author of a spy novel, I’m here to set the record straight: Even when you’ve been in the espionage business, it’s hard to write a good spy novel.
The heart of a good spy novel is not the caper but the personal or moral issue facing the protagonist. In a nutshell, that is the spy business, particularly on the clandestine side. You’re constantly asking yourself, am I doing the right thing? Do the ends justify the means? If I do this questionable thing, what does it mean about me as a person? The best spies—like the best people in general—question themselves. Test their motives. And try to hold themselves accountable. Because—like Spiderman—spies have great power, and with great power comes great responsibility….
That’s right, the mind behind the brilliant TV series The Americans put a few years in with one of the three-letter agencies. Before his transition to television, he wrote this absolutely true-to-life novel. There was a tussle with CIA’s pre-publication review board that resulted in redactions, which the publisher cheekily decided to leave in. Without fail, when asked what it’s like to work at the Agency, this is the book I recommend. An Ordinary Spy perfectly captures what happens in the beginning, when your James Bond dreams crash into reality.
(8) THERE ARE OLD EQUATIONS, AND BOLD EQUATIONS, BUT THERE ARE NO OLD, BOLD COLD EQUATIONS. Netflix dropped a trailer for Stowaway, about a stowaway aboard a Mars mission,
(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
March 24, 1978 — Quark was slotted in on NBC as a mid-season replacement series. Yes, the pilot aired on May 7, 1977, so technically that its birthday but let’s skip past that technically please. Quark was created by Buck Henry, co-creator of Get Smart. It starred Richard Benjamin, Tim Thomerson, Richard Kelton, Tricia Barnstable and Cyb Barnstable. It specialised in satirizing popular SF series and films and the Wiki article says three episodes were based upon actual Trek episodes. It lasted but eight episodes, beating Space Rangers by two episodes in longevity. You can see the first episode here.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born March 24, 1852 – Edward Page Mitchell. Editor-in-chief of the New York Sun; pioneering SF author. “The Crystal Man” predated Wells’ Invisible Man; “The Clock That Went Backward” predated The Time Machine – though Wells must be credited for that superb name, and story; faster-than-light travel (“The Tachypomp”) in 1874; other firsts. See Sam Moskowitz ed., The Crystal Man (1973). More here. (Died 1927) [JH]
Born March 24, 1874 — Harry Houdini. His literary career intersects the genre world in interesting ways. Though it’s not known which, many of his works were apparently written by his close friend Walter B. Gibson who as you know is the creator of The Shadow. And one famous story of his, “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs”, was actually ghost written by Lovecraft! ISFDB lists another piece of genre fiction for him, “The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstad”. (Died 1926.) (CE)
Born March 24, 1897 — Theodora Kroeber. Mother of Ursula K. Le Guin. Anthropologist, Ishi in Two Worlds is the work she’s most remembered for. ISFDB lists her as having but one genre work, a children book titled Carrousel with illustrations by Douglas Tait. Ishi is available on the usual suspects. (Died 1979.) (CE)
Born March 24, 1911 – Gabriel Mayorga. I know of five covers, half a dozen interiors for us, but he may have done more. Tuned a notable artistic vision to the demands of our publishers. Here is the May 40 Super Science (Fred Pohl, editor). This Jun 40 Astonishing was re-used by Justine Larbalestier for The Battle of the Sexes in SF. Here is the May 41 Super Science Novels (also Pohl). Painted, sculpted, and taught in New York City, working in oil, pastel, watercolor, epoxy, plastic and polyester plastic. Here is Strength (1928) carved from a bar of soap for a contest. He illustrated this Theory and Practice of Fencing. More here. (Died 1988) [JH]
Born March 24, 1930 — Steve McQueen. He got his big break by being the lead, Steve Andrews, in The Blob. Setting aside the two different roles on Alfred Hitchcock Presents he had which are at least genre adjacent, The Blob is his only genre appearance in his brief life. He died of a heart attack. (Died 1980.) (CE)
Born March 24, 1946 — Andrew I. Porter, 75. Editor, publisher, fan. Major member of NYC regional fandom starting in the early Sixties. Editor of Algol: The Magazine About Science Fiction which became Starship. Algol / Starship started in the Sixties and was a five-time Hugo nominee in the Seventies, and exceedingly superb reading it was. He won a Hugo for Best Fanzine in 1974, in a tie with Richard E. Geis, who was doing SFR. He founded the newzine Science Fiction Chronicle in May 1980 and published it monthly, eventually selling it to DNA Publications in May 2000. He has won myriad awards including the Big Heart Award. He has attended hundreds of science fiction conventions and nearly forty Worldcons since his first in ‘63. He was Fan Guest of Honor at several conventions, including the 1990 Worldcon. And with John Bangsund, he was responsible for Australia hosting its first Worldcon. (CE)
Born March 24, 1946 — Gary K. Wolfe, 75. Monthly reviewer for Locus for twenty-seven years now and yes, I enjoy his column a lot. His brief marriage to Ellen R. Weil which ended with her tragic early death resulted in them co-writing Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. Old Earth Books has reprinted many of his reviews done between 1992 and 2006 in Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996. He’s also written several critical looks at the genre, Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy and The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction. (CE)
Born March 24, 1949 — Tabitha King, 72. Wife of Stephen, mother of that writing brood. I met her but once on the lot of the original Pet Sematary a very long time ago. ISFDB to my surprise lists only two novels she’s written solely by herself, Small World and Wolves at the Door, and one with Michael McDowell, Candles Burning. None of her books are with her husband which surprised me. (CE)
Born March 24, 1949 – Bob Walters, age 72. A score of covers, a hundred eighty interiors. Here is Sunspacer. Here is the Dec 84 Asimov’s. Here is the May 85 Analog. Here is A Thunder on Neptune. [JH]
Born March 24, 1960 – Lene Kaaberbøl, age 60. A score of novels for us; also crime fiction. Nordic Children’s Book Prize. Morgensen Prize. First published at age 15. “I was born in Copenhagen, by mistake, really, since my parents are both Jutlanders…. the distinction may appear trivial to non-Danes, but to insiders it is a crucial one!… The Morning Land was one of the first … Danish fantasy novels for adults.” Silver medal in pétanque at the World Championships. [JH]
Born March 24, 1975 – Carl Hancock Rux, age 46. Author of novels, essays, poems, plays, songs; actor and director; instrumentalist, singer (five solo albums, a dozen singles). Village Voice Literary Prize, NY Fdn. for the Arts Prize. Alpert, Bessie, Doris Duke, Obie Awards. Asphalt (novel, play) is ours. More here. [JH]
Born March 24, 1988 – Viktoria Gavrilenko, age 33. Three covers for us. Here is Villains, Inc. Here is Young Sentinels. Freelance concept artist and illustrator (also as “Viccolatte – call me Vik”); other occupations, tea drinking, writing, staring at ducks. [JH]
(11) COMICS SECTION.
xkcd’s “IMDb Vaccines” illustrates an eccentric thought experiment about a scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
… For those who are unfamiliar with the show, Arsenic and Old Lace is a dark comedy about two sweet old ladies who murder for fun, and their poor nephew, Mortimer Brewster, who discovers their nasty habit and tries to clean up the whole mess. Further conflict arises when Boris Karloff- I mean Jonathan Brewster, Mortimer’s brother and a notably malicious murderer, returns home to hide out for a while. As you might imagine, insanity ensues….
Though the rest of the cast is marvelous, I’d have to say Tony Randall gives the best performance as Mortimer Brewster, the straightman nephew. You may believe I have a slight bias in favor of Randall at this point, and that’s probably true, but I think it’s also fair to say that his execution of Mortimer ties the whole show together.
(13) BEEN THEN, DONE THAT. The Science Fiction 101 podcast returns in episode 2, “It’s About Time”.
Phil [Nichols] and Colin [Kuskie] consider the persistence of the concept of time travel. And we have a little guess-the-mystery-sound competition, albeit with no prizes to speak of other than (a) some small kudos and (b) a shout-out on our next episode. (Post a comment if you can identify the sound.)
Gold prospectors first discovered the so-called Shigir Idol at the bottom of a peat bog in Russia’s Ural mountain range in 1894. The unique object—a nine-foot-tall totem pole composed of ten wooden fragments carved with expressive faces, eyes and limbs and decorated with geometric patterns—represents the oldest known surviving work of wooden ritual art in the world….
Based on extensive analysis, Terberger’s team now estimates that the wood used to make the Shigir statue is about 12,250 years old. Carved from a single larch tree with 159 growth rings, the object itself was likely crafted around 12,100 years ago, at the end of the Last Ice Age, reports Michelle Starr for Science Alert.
Writing didn’t always come easily for Douglas Adams.
That may be a surprise to fans of the late British comedy and sci-fi writer, whose prolific resume includes the iconic novels The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, as well as classic episodes of Doctor Who and Monty Python.
But it’s no surprise to his sister Jane Thrift, who was there when he was writing some of his most famous works, and often got a sneak peek at his earliest drafts.
“If it was going well, oh, it was exciting. He’d call you in and print it off the printer or show you what he’d written and he’d stand there. And it was a bit tricky sometimes because he was just waiting for the expression or the laugh,” Thrift told As It Happens host Carol Off.
“But the times when it was difficult — those were difficult. Those were hard. It was hard to watch him go through that process. And I think it was probably as he became more successful, he knew the value of each word and it had to be perfect.”
Adams’s insecurity about his own writing is one of revelations about the author’s inner-life that will be explored in the forthcoming book 42: The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams. …
Ever wondered what the world looks like through a cockatoo’s eyes? How about a giraffe—or even a butterfly?
For a new study published last month in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, a team of researchers set out in search of answers. As lead author Eleanor Caves explains in a press release, humans have higher visual acuity than most members of the animal kingdom, who “see the world with much less detail than we do.” And in recent decades, researchers have been slowly teasing apart how clear (or blurry) each critter’s view of the world is.
… As the measure decreases, an animal’s (or individual’s) vision worsens: At less than 10 cycles per degree, a human is deemed legally blind. The majority of insects, however, are lucky to see even one cycle per degree.
(17) STILL MORE SHAT! Birthday week continues with “William Shatner for the Commodore VIC-20” on YouTube. Shat learns that in 1982 you can play computer games on a computer!
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “The Cloudy Dog Talk About” on Vimeo is a cartoon by Asami Ike for Filers who know dogs are their friends!
[Thanks to JJ, Mike Kennedy, Rich Lynch, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, Olav Rokne, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Jennifer Hawthorne, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]
…The timescale for the complete evaporation of a black hole is huge, possibly longer than the age of our current universe, making them impossible to detect.
However, Sir Roger believes that ‘dead’ black holes from earlier universes or ‘aeons’ are observable now. If true, it would prove Hawking’s theories were correct.
Sir Roger shared the World Prize in physics with Prof Hawking in 1988 for their work on black holes.
Speaking from his home in Oxford, Sir Roger said: “I claim that there is observation of Hawking radiation.
“The Big Bang was not the beginning. There was something before the Big Bang and that something is what we will have in our future.
“We have a universe that expands and expands, and all mass decays away, and in this crazy theory of mine, that remote future becomes the Big Bang of another aeon.
“So our Big Bang began with something which was the remote future of a previous aeon and there would have been similar black holes evaporating away, via Hawking evaporation, and they would produce these points in the sky, that I call Hawking Points.
“We are seeing them. These points are about eight times the diameter of the Moon and are slightly warmed up regions. There is pretty good evidence for at least six of these points.”
(3) MULTIPLE CHOICES. The Guardian’s “Can you crack it? The bumper books quiz of 2020” includes a question about Iain Banks which I missed, so to heck with it anyway. (It’s a wide-ranging quiz. There are several more sff-themed entries. I missed almost every one of them, too, so double to heck with it.)
What day job did the Booker winner have while writing his novel? Who was rejected by Mills & Boon before becoming a bestselling author? Test your wits with questions from Bernardine Evaristo, Jonathan Coe, David Nicholls and more
(4) FAN SERVICE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is from Isaac Asimov’s In Memory Yet Green.
In The Early Asimov, I included “Big Game” among the list of those stories of mine that disappeared. Not so. I had it all these years and, without knowing it, had included the manuscript with papers of mine that I had donated to the Boston University library. A young science-fiction enthusiast, Matthew Bruce Tepper, who had prepared an accurate and exhaustive bibliography of my science fiction, went through my papers at BU, uncovered the manuscript, and sent me a Xerox copy. I had the story published in Before The Golden Age (Doubleday, 1974).
(5) IN MEMORY YET BROWN. Scott Edelman asks for help in tracing the history of this DC in 1974 Worldcon bid promotional shopping bag.
I found this among my late sister-in-law Ellen Vartanoff’s collection of science fictional memorabilia — an item I’d never seen before, promoting both Disclave and the 1974 D.C. Worldcon. You, who know all and see all, surely know when and where this might have been handed out — right?
…Eccleston went on to praise the scripts, which he described as “beautiful” – adding that the care and knowledge that had gone into them had played a huge part in easing him back into the role after such a long time away.
“That’s what made it feel seamless,” he said. “I felt that you [Briggs] understood what he was all those years ago – and so it was like putting on a pair of old shoes. Running shoes!
“Doing the scripts, you do get the sense of somebody who’s completely immersed in the lore of the show. I think what I realised, with all my writers, when I did the 13 episodes – and with this – is basically you’re playing the writer.
“You’re playing Steven Moffat, you’re playing Russell T Davies, you’re playing you [or] Rob Shearman… you’re playing them, their projected self, as the Doctor – and that’s what’s nice, because he has a slightly different voice from episode-to-episode while having continuity, of course. You all wanna be the Doctor!”
David Geiser, an artist whose career ranged from the underground comics he created in San Francisco in the late 1960s and 1970s to heavily textured mixed-media works he focused on after moving to New York in 1979, died unexpectedly of heart disease in his sleep at home in Springs on Oct. 14. He was 73.
A prolific artist, his work from the underground comics early in his career to recent drawings such as “Snail Ridin’ the Mouse” and “Dog Boy (a Young Cynic)” reflect his not only his wit and the eccentricity of his vision but also his remarkable draftsmanship….
“David left behind scores of underground comics from his early years in San Francisco, and hundreds of drawings and paintings,” as well as sculptures ranging in size from five inches square to 10 feet by 10 feet, according to Mercedes Ruehl, his partner since 1999. “In his spare time he was an avid reader of contemporary fiction from a wide array of cultures and nationalities,” she added….
(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
1995 – Twenty five years ago, Elizabeth Hand won the Otherwise Award for Waking the Moon. It would go on to win the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature the next year. And Terri Windling would in her fantasy summation in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighth Annual Collection select it as of her best books of the year. The American first edition cuts one hundred pages out of the British first edition.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born December 20, 1897 – Susanne Langer, Ph.D. First woman popularly and professionally recognized as an American philosopher. Fellow of the Amer. Acad. Arts & Sciences. Cellist. Five short stories for us, in The Cruise of “The Little Dipper”. (Died 1985) [JH]
Born December 20, 1930 – Tom Boardman, Jr. Son of the founder of UK’s Boardman Books, managing director after it left the family, SF advisor to Gollancz, Four Square, Macdonald, New English Lib’y. Edited five reprint anthologies 1964-1979. An ABC of SF got Aldiss to Zelazny if we allow its pseudonymous B.T.H. Xerxes. (Died 2017) [JH]
Born December 20, 1943 — Jacqueline Pearce. She’s best remembered as the villain Servalan on Blake’s 7. She appeared in “The Two Doctors”, a Second and Sixth Doctor story as Chessene, and she’d voice Admiral Mettna in “Death Comes to Time”, a Seventh Doctor story. I’d be remiss not to note her one-offs in Danger Man, The Avengers, The Chronicles of Young Indiana Jones and The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. (Died 2018.) (CE)
Born December 20, 1952 — Kate Atkinson, 68. A strong case can be made that her Jackson Brodie detective novels are at least genre adjacent with their level of Universe assisting metanarrative. (The Jason Isaacs fronted series is superb.) The Life After Life duology is definitely SF and pretty good reading. She’s well stocked on all of the digital book vendors. (CE)
Born December 20, 1952 — Jenny Agutter, 66. Her first SF role was Jessica 6, the female lead in Logan’s Run. Later genre roles include Nurse Alex Price in An American Werewolf in London (fantastic film), Carolyn Page in Dark Tower which is not a Stephen King based film, an uncredited cameo as a burn doctor in one of my all-time fav films which is Darkman, and finally she was Councilwoman Hawley in The Avengers and The Winter Soldier. (CE)
Born December 20, 1957 – Angela Hunt, Ph.D., age 63. Two novels, five shorter stories for us; a hundred fifty books, children’s, middle-graders’, adults’; some nonfiction; five million copies sold. Romantic Times Book Club Lifetime Achievement Award. A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year. Also Angela Hunt Photography. One of her dogs was on Live With Regis and Kelly as second largest in America. [JH]
Born December 20, 1960 — Nalo Hopkinson, 60. Named a SFWA Grand Master this year. First novel I ever read by her was Brown Girl in The Ring, a truly amazing novel. Like most of her work, it draws on Afro-Caribbean history and language, and its intertwined traditions of oral and written storytelling. I’d also single out Mojo: Conjure Stories and Falling in Love With Hominids collections as they are both wonderful and challenging reading. Worth seeking out is her edited Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction. She was a Guest of Honor at Wiscon thrice. Is that unusual? (CE)
Born December 20, 1967 – Jukka Halme, age 53. Chaired three Finncons. Guest of Honor at Eurocon 33 (Stockholm) and 37 (St. Petersburg). GUFF (Going Under Fan Fund when southbound, Get Up-and-over Fan Fund northbound) delegate, attended the 55th Australian national convention (“natcon”) in Brisbane. Chaired the 75th Worldcon (called simply “Worldcon 75”; opinions expectably differ on naming these things). Seen in fanzines e.g. Chunga, Twink, The White Notebooks. Served on the 2020 Tähtifantasia (“star fantasy”) Award jury. [JH]
Born December 20, 1970 — Nicole de Boer, 50. Best remembered for playing the trill Ezri Dax on the final season of Deep Space Nine (1998–1999), and as Sarah Bannerman on The Dead Zone. She’s done a number of genre films including Deepwater Black, Cube, Iron Invader, and Metal Tornado, and has one-offs in Beyond Reality, Forever Knight, TekWar, Outer Limits, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Psi Factor and Stargate Atlantis. Did I mention she’s Canadian? (CE)
Born December 20, 1981 – Nick Deligaris, age 39. Digital artist. Two dozen covers, and much else. Here is Bypass Gemini. Here is Skykeep. Here is Nova Igniter. He did the cover and is interviewed in this issue of Deep Magic. He has an interior on p. 5 of this issue of Tightbeam (PDF). [JH]
Born December 20, 1990 – Ashley Dioses, age 30. Five short stories; a hundred forty poems in The Audient Void, The Literary Hatchet, Ravenwood Quarterly, Spectral Realms, Weirdbook; collection Diary of a Sorceress. Inspired by Poe. [JH]
.. Lavie: Let me throw the first snowball here: I’m going with Tove Jannson’s “Moominland Midwinter” (translated from the Swedish by Thomas Warburton), one of the true greats and my favorite moomin book. Moomintroll wakes up alone from hibernation to find the world transformed, and everyone he knows is gone or sleeping (apart from Little My, who’ll never miss the fun). If you don’t cry over “The Squirrel With the Marvelous Tail,” you’re a monster. I reread it a few weeks ago and it’s just as wonderful as ever.
(12) NIVEN’S GENESIS.Fanac.org adds constantly to its online fannish collection. Among the latest gems are the programs from the series of LASFS Fanquets the club used to hold to honor members’ first pro sales. Larry Niven is now a Grand Master, but once upon his time he made his first sale to If. Read about his early career and what Fred Pohl liked about his work in Fanquet 13edited by Bruce Pelz.
Australian Science Fiction Review was nominated for Best Fanzine in 1967 and 1968. In 1968 (in the first year the Ditmars were presented), it won the award for best Australian fanzine. We now have a complete run under that name. The zine changed its name to Scythrop in 1969, and we added 5 issues of Scythrop: #21-24 and #28. We just lost John Bangsund to Covid-19 this year.
(14) PARIS, BUT NOT IN THE SPRINGTIME. Could be news to you, too – J. G. Ballard’s interview in The Paris Review, Winter 1984: “The Art of Fiction No. 85”
I take for granted that for the imaginative writer, the exercise of the imagination is part of the basic process of coping with reality, just as actors need to act all the time to make up for some deficiency in their sense of themselves. Years ago, sitting at the café outside the American Express building in Athens, I watched the British actor Michael Redgrave (father of Vanessa) cross the street in the lunchtime crowd, buy Time at a magazine kiosk, indulge in brief banter with the owner, sit down, order a drink, then get up and walk away—every moment of which, every gesture, was clearly acted, that is, stressed and exaggerated in a self-conscious way, although he obviously thought that no one was aware who he was, and he didn’t think that anyone was watching him. I take it that the same process works for the writer, except that the writer is assigning himself his own roles. I have a sense of certain gathering obsessions and roles, certain corners of the field where the next stage of the hunt will be carried on. I know that if I don’t write, say on holiday, I begin to feel unsettled and uneasy, as I gather people do who are not allowed to dream.
Cyberpunk 2077‘s launch has been the kind of disaster we now expect from 2020. Released on Dec. 10, the ridiculously hyped roleplaying game was swiftly and widely derided for having more bugs than the Montreal Insectarium, with flying cars and glitchy penises dominating the discourse. Now, Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced that not only will it offer refunds to anyone who bought the game from its PlayStation Store, it will also stop selling Cyberpunk 2077 altogether….
(16) YOUR COMEDY MILEAGE MAY VARY. From last night’s Saturday Night Live.
“The Grinch” explains all the fun the Grinch had in Whoville the day after he carved roast beast at the feast.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Dann, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
“The Mandalorian” teed up the arrival of Ahsoka Tano two episodes ago and judging from the speed and cameo size of the show thus far, viewers would have been forgiven for thinking we might only get a small glimpse of the Jedi this episode. But that thought was immediately sliced in half by two white lightsabers….
It’s been one week since eagle-eyed viewers discovered an unexpected blooper on The Mandalorian, as a regular-clothed member of the crew was spotted in the background of one of the scenes of the hit Disney+ TV series.
However, despite “Jeans Guy” quickly becoming a bit of an Internet sensation, the production gaffe — which even appeared in production stills for the series — has since been digitally removed from the episode by the streamer and Lucasfilm….
How did you feel when you first started out at DAW?
It was very difficult working in an office between my mother and my father for ten long years. But I stayed because I loved the work and realized that was what I was meant to do.
(4) LASFS. The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society has named Susan Fox as the winner of the Evans-Freehafer Award for club service – specifically, her work this year facilitating the club’s virtual meetings.
I would like to propose some terminology for a particular type of headcanon that can be applied across many media, though centered around actor-based media like movies and TV based on actor-transitivity and character-transitivity: the Universal Transitive Headcanon (UTH). This proposal will be the basis of a series of posts that I intend to write analyzing movies, books, comics, and other media through the UTH.
For those who are not familiar with the term, “headcanon” refers to an unofficial interpretation of a work of fiction, which may or may not have any support in the source material, but which are not part of the official canon as defined by the source material.
…The foundational concepts of the Universal Transitive Headcanon are:
Actor-Transitivity: Every character played by a single actor is part of the same continuity. For example, this would dictate that Darth Vader and Mufasa are part of the same character story….
(6) BATMAN HISTORY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] “How Batman Changed The World” on Screen Rant is a Batman documentary on YouTube that explains how the best Batman stories, including “Batman: The Animated Series” and the films of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan, have room both for strongly realized Batman characters and strongly realized descriptions of Bruce Wayne. This includes a description of historian Mark Bolderman’s efforts to find Bill Finger’s heirs and get them to successfully sue Warner Brothers for co-creator credit (which first happened on Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice.” This dropped today.
(7) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
2005 — Fifteen years ago, China Miéville’s the Iron Council novel would win the Arthur C. Clarke Award besting Ian McDonald’s River of Gods, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Richard K. Morgan’s Market Forces, Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife and Neal Stephenson’s The System of the World. It follows Perdido Street Station which also won this Award and The Scar which was nominated for this Award in the Bas-Lag universe series. It would also win the BFA August Derleth Fantasy Award for Best Novel and place well in the Hugo Award for Best Novel that year as well.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldrdge and John Hertz.]
Born November 27, 1935 — Verity Lambert. Founding Producer of Doctor Who. (When she was appointed to Who in 1963, she was BBC Television’s only female drama producer, as well as the youngest.) After leaving BBC, she’d oversee the Quatermass series at Thames. She’d return to BBC to Executive Produce three seasons of So Haunt Me, a supernatural series. She appeared in the fan-made Doctor Who tribute “A Happy Ending” in 2005. (Died 2007.) (CE)
Born November 27, 1951 — Melinda M. Snodgrass, 69. She wrote several episodes of Next Generation including “The Measure of a Man” which was nominated for a Prometheus Hall of Fame Award and served as the series’ story editor during its second and third seasons. She also wrote scripts for Sliders, Strange Luck, Beyond Reality, Odyssey 5, Outer Limits and SeaQuest DSV. She’s co-editor and a frequent story contributor to George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series. Of her novels, I like her Queen’s Gambit Declined the best. CE)
Born November 27, 1957 — Michael A. Stackpole, 63. Best known for his myriad Star Wars and BattleTech books, but I’m going to single him out for the excellent Once a Hero which was nominated for a Nebula, his Conan the Barbarian novel, and the two Crown Colonies novels. (CE)
Born November 27, 1961 — Samantha Bond, 59. Best known for playing Miss Moneypenny in four James Bond films during the series’ Pierce Brosnan years. Was Mrs Wormwood in three episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures, the spin-off of Doctor Who, and played Helga in Erik the Viking which written and directed by Terry Jones. (CE)
Born November 27, 1963 — Fisher Stevens, 57. He’s best remembered as Ben Jabituya in Short Circuit (and renamed Ben Jahveri in the sequel), Chuck Fishman on Early Edition, and Eugene “The Plague” Belford in Hackers. He’s alsomhad roles on The Hunger, Lost, The Mentalist, Medium and Elementary. (CE)
Born November 27, 1974 — Jennifer O’Dell, 46. Her only meaningfu role to date, genre or otherwise, has been that of Veronica on SirArthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World but what a pulp heroine she made there. She’s had some minor roles such on Charmed and Bones, and appearances on films such as Alien Battlefield and Dr. Laurie Williams on Vampire flick Slayer but nothing major to date. (CE)
Born November 27, 1907 – L. Sprague de Camp. Aeronautical engineer and author; as Fancyclopedia 3 says “not primarily a fan but a very fannish pro”; famous for fantasy often rooted in science; good-natured and playful when he accepted the rules; tireless materialist and debunker, with all that brought. A hundred books, far more shorter stories, four hundred essays, two hundred reviews, a hundred poems. Guest of Honor at Tricon the 24th Worldcon (1966) and many SF conventions thereafter, e.g. Balticon 3 &17, Boskone 9, Lunacon 20, LibertyCon 1, 5 & 10. Forry Award, Pilgrim Award, Int’l Fantasy Award, SFWA Grand Master, World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, Sidewise Award for Life Achievement in Alternative History. Productive collaborator with e.g. Lin Carter, Robert E. Howard, Fletcher Pratt, Catherine Crook de Camp. Biographer of Howard and Lovecraft. Fiction and study guides about Conan the Barbarian. One Hugo, for his memoir Time and Chance. The Incomplete Enchanter, see the NESFA Press omnibus. Tales from Gavagan’s Bar, get the Owlswick ed’n if you can; the Bantam lacks the illustrations; the Kindle I’m told has goofs. Outside our field notably The Ancient Engineers. My anecdote here (11th paragraph, but you’ll need the 4th). (Died 2000) [JH]
Born November 27, 1909 – James Agee. One novelette for us, which he got published in Harper’s; very worthy outside our field, see here. (Died 1955) [JH]
Born November 27, 1916 – Earl Singleton, Sc.D. His Nepenthe was the first fanzine devoted to poetry. Journeyed from Boston to Chicon I the 2nd Worldcon (1940) with Art Widner in AW’s car the Skylark of Foo, no small adventure then. Later great outside our field. (Died 1999) [JH]
Born November 27, 1928 – Josh Kirby. Three hundred covers, two hundred interiors. Artbooks Voyage of the Ayeguy, The Josh Kirby Poster Book, In the Garden of Unearthly Delights, A Cosmic Cornucopia, Josh Kirby’s Discworld Portfolio. British Fantasy Award for Best Pro Artist. Here is New Writings in SF 13. Here is The Jagged Orbit. Here is A Bad Day for Ali Baba. Did the Two of Cups for Bruce Pelz’ Fantasy Showcase Tarot Deck (PDF). (Died 2001) [JH]
Born November 27, 1942 – Marilyn Hacker, 78. Nat’l Book Award, Barnstone Translation Prize, PEN (Poets, Essaysts, Novelists) Award for Poetry in Translation, Fagles Translation Prize, PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, Lambda Literary Award, Marshall Poetry Prize, Lorde Award, Conners Prize, Masefield Memorial Award, NY Writers Hall of Fame, Amer. Acad. Arts & Letters Literary Award. Chancellor of the Amer. Acad. Poets. Edited Quark with Delany; his Babel-17 has chapter epigraphs from her poems. [JH]
Born November 27, 1960 – Lori Wolf. Hugo Ceremony Manager at LoneStarCon 2 the 55th Worldcon. Co-chaired ArmadilloCon 15 & 23. Reviews in Nova Express. Fan Guest of Honor at Conestoga 6 and much missed. (Died 2004) [JH]
Born November 27, 1974 – Lisa Mangum, 46. Three novels, four shorter stories, four anthologies. Lives in Utah, likes trips to Disneyland. Has read The Secret Lives of Codebreakers (I myself recommend Between Silk and Cyanide), Stephen King’s On Writing, The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook, Literature: Unsuccessfully Competing Against Television Since 1953. [JH]
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Pluggers says you are one (a plugger) if this genre idea is your ambition.
Self-described “nerd” John Horgan flashed a Vulcan salute while being sworn in as B.C.’s 36th premier on Thursday, but said the gesture was purely accidental.
Horgan had his hand raised to recite the oaths of allegiance, office and confidentiality with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin when his fingers slowly formed the salutation made famous by Leonard Nimoy on “Star Trek.”
While speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Horgan acknowledged making the gesture but suggested he did it subconsciously.
“Quite honestly it wasn’t until after it happened that it was brought to my attention,” Horgan said. “I’m a nerd, I can’t help it. I do that a lot.”
The premier stressed that he meant no disrespect giving the salute during a formal ceremony, and that it wasn’t an intentional “signal to geeks everywhere.”
This Darth Vader clapper responds and talks each time you clap your lights on or off. Just clap twice to turn you lights on, and he’ll say “The force is strong with this one”, and clap twice again to turn your lights off, and he’ll respond with “You underestimate the power of the dark side”. Just plug your lamp into the bottom of him, and plug him into any wall outlet.
Okay, this is what everybody I know is getting for Christmas!
… Designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968, the Futoro house is one of only 100 ever built.
…Futuro homes were originally intended to be ski cabins that would be easy to built and heat, with the end result being transportable homes that could be dismantled and reassembled in two days — or even airlifted in one piece if required.
(13) PUPPET TIME CAPSULE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] “Art Carney Meets Peter And The Wolf with The Bil Baird Marionettes” on YouTube is a show originally broadcast on ABC on November 30, 1958, as a puppet-based musical with music by Sergei Prokofiev and lyrics by Ogden Nash. The video includes 10 minutes of an interview Ed Sullivan did with Walt Disney (and Donald Duck) at the Disney studios in 1953.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Olav Rokne, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Rich Lynch, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
(1) FOR THE WINNERS. Joy Alyssa Day posted a photo of this year’s Chesley Award.
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13. On April 13, 1970, the Apollo 13’s lunar landing was aborted in what would become a historic mission. The crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft splashed down on April 17, 1970.
It’s a beautiful piece, 4″ wide, 12″ deep and about 4″ tall. Water is sculpted fused glass with a blown glass Apollo Capsule attached. Capsule is engraved and painted for the doors and windows.
…Conrunning is a hard, sometimes thankless task. Most of the time people don’t know who does what unless they’re looking to complain. Most people don’t know that a lot of fan-run cons are run by volunteers, not paid workers.
THAT BEING SAID, conrunners are still stewards of and drawn from the community made up of the convention’s attendees. If your convention isn’t welcoming to congoers of marginalized identities, the demographics trickle up. Fewer people of color among attendees means fewer people of color to recruit from for leadership positions.
And the reverse becomes true, too – no people of marginalized identities in leadership roles? Those demographics will feel unwelcome as attendees, either through passive perception or active failures by leadership. It’s a cycle.
You have to make a DELIBERATE EFFORT to break the cycle. At *every* link in the chain, or it perpetuates itself.
You need not just one person overseeing programming, for instance, but an ecosystem of people across many departments, from front-facing/high-profile jobs to the invisible ones backstage. You need redundancy in case of burnout – conrunner burnout is REAL, and it’s **compounded** by social justice burnout for those trying to enact systemic change….
(3) SPECULATING ABOUT REALITY. Mary Anne Mohanraj interviews “Minal Hajratwala”, author of Leaving India, at Speculative Literature Foundation. (Transcript here.)
“South Asian work in particular, it’s interesting because I feel like…a modern South Asian science fiction sensibility, if there is one, is still forming. And of course, I mean, we’ve talked about this, how diverse South Asia is, so many different strands. So whether you can even say there is ‘a South Asian sensibility’ is disputable. But at the same time, I do think that South Asian countries have this deep wellspring of myth…and religion, which is nothing if not speculative. Like, that’s, to me, that’s the definition. It’s like we don’t know things; therefore, we will speculate about how reality is constructed. And so drawing from that is this really fertile ground that I think people are still just beginning to tap into.”
For Halloween we’ve attempted to round up some of the scariest sentences ever written – and who better to ask for their recommendations than some of the finest horror writers and editors around? We asked some of our favourite experts to tell us the line that scared them most and why. Any suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments.
To Serve Man by Damon Knight
Scariest sentence: “It’s a cookbook,” he said.
Is there a better whammy of an end line than this? Ten to one you’ll know the story that precedes it: Seemingly benevolent aliens, the Kanamit, arrive on earth, promising peace and prosperity. The aliens are as good as their word, and start whisking “lucky” humans off to their planet for a “ten year exchange programme”. A U.N translator, who (rightly) thinks this is all too good to be true, sets about translating the aliens’ favourite book, which, from its title, “To Serve Man,” is assumed to be an innocent handbook. It ain’t (see the last line).
…That was a long time before you joined, but do you have any memories of meeting [Ray Bradbury]? MBT: If you bounced around to all the libraries and bookstores on LA’s Westside, as I did as a kid, it was hard not to meet Ray! He was always around somewhere, always genial, always ready to bask in adulation. The last time I saw him was just before his 90th birthday, at a bookstore.
There must be lots of writers who’ve emerged from LASFS over the years. MBT: Yes, we’ve had many authors come up from our membership. The best known is Larry Niven, author of Ringworld, and he still attends our Zoom meetings.
…But facts, dates, awards: They don’t convey just how much fun it was to hang out with Dick and Pat — and how eternally kind they were as hosts. I’m speaking here as one among many who experienced their kindness. For example, they: provided home base, as Don and I explored Manhattan’s comics publishers; played host, as Don and I visited Poughkeepsie to tour the Western printing operation; and brainstormed collecting a bunch of nostalgia articles into book collections that others could share. Heck, I haven’t even mentioned their kindness, as the plans for us all to see the Broadway show It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane … It’s Superman fell through — and they arranged to substitute the off-Broadway The Mad Show. They were there for us so that we could attend John Benson’s multi-day New York City comics convention that same year (with Pat and me as two of the four attending females). And it was grand to see them more than once at Comic-Con International: San Diego.
(7) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
1996 — Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife was published by Tor Books with the cover illustration by Susan Boulet. It would win the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature the following year. It was nominated for both the BFA and Nebula Awards too. She later published a somewhat loosely connected story, “The Color of Angels”, a year later. Jo Walton in What Makes This Book So Great says that The Wood Wife “hits a sweet spot for me where I just love everything it’s doing.”
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born October 29, 1906 – Fredric Brown. Had he written only “Arena”, The Lights in the Sky Are Stars, Martians, Go Home, and What Mad Universe, it would have been enough for us; these even if alone would make him a star in our sky. Two more novels, a hundred thirty shorter stories – some very short, one of his gifts. Also detective fiction (Edgar Award for The Fabulous Clipjoint). NESFA Press has two collections. I never met him in person; photos show an ordinary-looking man; all his strangeness, of which he had no lack, must have gone into his work. (Died 1972) [JH]
Born October 29, 1925 – Beryl Mercer. Active in the British SF Ass’n. Essays, reviews in Vector and Zenith, some with husband Archie Mercer. Fanzines Oz (for OMPA, the Off-trails Magazine Publishers Ass’n), Mercatorial Annual (with AM), The Middle Earthworm (with AM; Tolkien), The Once and Future Worm (with AM; Arthur); did much of the zine reproduction for PADS (Printing And Distributing Service) and contributed Link (with Mary Reed). Eastercon committees. Doc Weir award (U.K., for service). (Died 2003) [JH]
Born October 29, 1935 — Sheila Finch, 85. She’s best-known for her stories about the Guild of Xenolinguists which are quite excellent. The Golden Gryphon collection The Guild of Xenolinguists is well worth seeking out. She also wrote Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction: Ancient Roots of the Literature of the Future which is exactly what the title says. Neither are available at the usual digital suspects though some of her other work is. (CE)
Born October 29, 1938 — Ralph Bakshi, 82. Started as low-level worker at Terrytoons, studio of characters such as Heckle and Jeckle and Mighty Mouse. His first major break would be on CBS as creative director of Mighty Mouse and the Mighty Heroes. Fast forwarding to Fritz the Cat which may or may not be genre but it’s got a foul mouthed talking cat. Genre wise, I’d say War Wizards which features voice work by Mark Hamill and whose final name was Wizards so it wouldn’t be confused with you know what film. Next up was The Lord of the Rings, a very odd affair. That was followed by Fire and Ice, a collaboration with Frank Frazetta. Then came what I considered his finest work, the Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures series! Then there’s Cool World… (CE)
Born October 29, 1967 — Rufus Sewall, 53. Appeared as Reichsmarschall John Smith in The Man in The High Castle loosely based on the novel by Philip K. Dick. And he was the lead in Dark City, a film often compared to the Matrix films. He’s also appeared, and this not a complete listing,in The Legend of Zorro, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, A Knight’s Tale, Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature, The Illusionist and on the American version of the Eleventh Hour series.(CE)
Born October 29, 1971 — Winona Ryder, 49. Beatlejuice, of course, but also Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not to mention Alien Resurrection and Star Trek as Spock’s human mother Amanda Grayson. Which brings me to Being John Malkovich which might me the coolest genre film of all time. (CE)
Born October 29, 1971 — Anna Dale, 49. Scottish writer whom many reviewers have dubbed “the next JK Rowling” whose best known for her Whispering to Witches children’s novel. It was based on her masters dissertation in children’s writing. She has written two more novels of a similar ilk, Spellbound and Magical Mischief. (CE)
Born October 29, 1979 — Andrew Lee Potts, 41. He is best known as Connor Temple on Primeval and the all-too-short live spinoff Primeval: New World. He was also Tim Larson in Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, a British crime drama series. Yes, it’s that Stan Lee. He also had recurring role of Toby in Strange, a BBC supernatural series. (CE)
Born October 29, 1938 – Ralph Bakshi, 82. Producer, director, writer, animator. Fritz the Cat (1972), first animated film to be rated X, may be the most financially successful independent animated film of all time. Two years of Mighty Mouse 1987-1989. Started as a cel polisher at Terrytoons. Golden Gryphon for his Lord of the Rings. Inkpot. Annie. [JH]
Born October 29, 1968 – Stanley Donwood, 52. One novel, a shorter story, four covers for us; half a dozen other books; artwork for the band Radiohead, its singer Thom Yorke’s solo albums, TY’s band Atoms for Peace – I’ll let you decide whether those are ours, Our Gracious Host has been after me for saying maybe. Website Slowly Downward, also the title of a 2001 collection. Here is Blue Light. Here is Concrete Island. Here is Let’s All Go to the Science Fiction Disco. [JH]
Born October 29, 1975 – Dahlia Rose, 45. Seven dozen books; mostly romance, historical, military, modern, paranormal, combinations thereof; to quote her Website, “Bad boys, soldiers and shifters, spice between the sheets”. Ten so far in the Paladin Dragons series. [JH]
Born October 29, 1986 – Lyndsay Gilbert, 34. Likes SF, playing the fiddle, cats, dogs, “and the ancient art of belly dance”. Has read Tennyson and Yeats. One novel, three shorter stories so far. A few months ago she wrote, “My life has changed so much in the last two years. Unfortunately my writing hasn’t changed enough, so prepare for a deluge of emotional poems, folks.” [JH]
According to Deadline, Peacock has officially decided not to give David Wiener’s sci-fi drama series Brave New World a second season renewal, with UCP planning to shop it to other streamers or networks. This cancellation comes four months after the Alden Ehrenreich-led series debuted its 9-episode first season as part of the original slate for the streamer’s launch in July.
(10) FOR ALL MANKIND. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “What if America had lost the race to the moon? My long-read Q&A with Ronald D. Moore” at the American Enterprise Institute, AEI scholar James Pethokoukis interviews For All Mankind creator Ronald D. Moore about his show, including why NASA did not cooperate with the series because they don’t want to hear from cranks who think the Moon landing was faked, why there should be more optimistic sf, and whether Moore, as a former Star Trek writer, agrees with Peter Thiel’s statement that Star Wars is capitalist and Star Trek communist because there’s no money in Star Trek.
In the show, one of the lead characters, astronaut Ed Baldwin, portrayed by Joel Kinnaman, criticizes NASA for being too risk-averse. Is that just a purely in-show criticism? Or is that a real-world criticism when we think about the things that have either gone wrong or not really been as spectacular as maybe many of us had hoped decades ago?
I think it’s a little bit of both. In the show’s context, I felt like that’s where the characters would go. They would be looking for reasons why they got beat, and it was like, “Well, this is why we got beat: We got too risk-averse after the Apollo 1 fire. It made us too cautious, and we lost that spirit. That’s the reason.”
In real-world terms, I think there is some validity to that. I think that the Apollo 1 fire, the Challenger accident, and the Columbia accident were magnified to the point in the public imagination that then everything at NASA became about safety. I’m not saying that we should risk astronaut lives willy-nilly. That’s not the point at all. But these are inherently dangerous things that we’re attempting. We’ve gotten to the point with space travel where we’re so concerned about that aspect that it feels like they’re really unwilling to take much risk at all.
And it’s an inherently dangerous undertaking. So then you’re sort of saying, “Well, we’re going to do very, very little of it because we have to be so, so, safe in every single possible way because we’re so deathly afraid of losing somebody.” The truth is it was predicted that we were going to lose more than one orbiter when the Space Shuttle program was first posited. So it wasn’t a shock on a certain level that it happened. It’s an inherently dangerous business. But, as a result of what happened, the way it was portrayed, and the way we dealt with it, the American public just became like, “God, we just cannot risk their lives anymore.” That works against the idea of, “You have to boldly go. You got to be bold. You got to take the risk.”
18. Emeric Belasco in The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Size does matter. If ever a ghost failed to live up to its reputation it’s the malevolent entity at the centre of John Hough’s screening of Richard Matheson’s haunted house tale (played by an uncredited Michael Gough) who has to delegate his havoc-wreaking to a black cat and unsecured chapel furniture. He still manages to rack up a body count.
The Photo Album – Paper Tigers, Damien Angelica Walters
Some of the scariest hauntings are borne out of trauma, and in no other book is this fact examined with such dread and empathy as Damien Angelica Walters’ Paper Tigers. The story follows Alison, a horribly scarred young woman navigating the trauma from the loss of the life she used to know, who soon discovers a photo album in a curio shop that is far more terrifying and alive than it seems at the outset….
David Bowie is one of the most seminal legends in music history; but who was the man behind the many faces? In 1971, a 24-year-old fledgling David Bowie (Johnny Flynn) is sent to America to promote his newest record, The Man Who Sold the World. Leaving behind his pregnant wife Angie (Jena Malone), Bowie and his band embark on a makeshift coast-to-coast promotional tour with struggling Mercury Records publicist Rob Oberman (Marc Maron).
Back in the ‘70s, almost every major musical artist was starring in some bonkers movie musical or TV variety show — even KISS got in on the act. But KISS’s fellow shock-rocker Alice Cooper turned most of those opportunities down, out of concern that such projects would dilute the menacing image he’d so carefully cultivated with his own 1975 television special, Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, and its companion concept album, Welcome to My Nightmare. “I never wanted to be in a show where I had to totally lose the Alice character and become something else,” he explains to Yahoo Entertainment.
But when Jim Henson came calling, asking him to star in The Muppet Show’s 1978 Halloween special, that was an offer Alice could not refuse. “I never had so much fun in my life as doing The Muppet Show,” he gushes.
“I balked at first,” Cooper admits. “I went, ‘Oh man, I’ve been spending all this time building this villain image. Is this just going to water it down?’ I said, ‘Who’s going to be on it?’ And they said Christopher Lee, Vincent Price [who’d done previous Muppet Show Halloween guest spots]. And I went, ‘I’m in!’ I didn’t even have to think about it. I went, ‘I’m in. If those guys can do it, I am privileged to do it.’”
I saw the version of “School’s Out” Cooper did with the Muppets and I thought it was pretty entertaining.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel “Poppin’ Wheelies” Dern.]
Neil Gaiman was voted the 2020 Forrest J Ackerman Award for Lifetime Achievement by the members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society at their October 22 meeting.
The Forrest J Ackerman or Forry Award has been given by the LASFS annually since 1966 for lifetime achievement in the SF field. Usually, it is presented at Loscon, the convention hosted each Thanksgiving Weekend by the club, although the con has been postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. Ackerman joined LASFS in the year the club was founded, 1934.
Gaiman’s many works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has previously won the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. In 2013, his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.
The names of all previous Forry Award winners can be seen here.
(1) NEW MARVEL COMICS ON THE WAY. Today, Marvel Comics announced its plans to resume releases for its comics starting Wednesday, May 27. Said a press releasem “True Believers everywhere will now be able to escape back into the Marvel Universe and continue following their favorite Marvel stories and characters.”
Over the next few weeks, Marvel will keep a balanced release schedule for its comics and trade collections as the industry continues to restart distribution and comic shops begin to reopen and adapt to current social distancing policies. Stay tuned for more information as Marvel continues to release new comics in the most thoughtful way we can for fans, creators, and the industry during these unpredictable times.
(2) THINGS COVID-19 MAKES UNPREDICTABLE.Fantastika 2020 today announced that they have optioned March 19-21, 2021 as a backup in case their first deferred date – October 23-25 this year – doesn’t pan out. All four guests of honor — Adrian Tchaikovsky, Aliette de Bodard, Peadar Ó Guilín, and Eva Holmquist — are planning to come to Fantastika 2020 in October, but right now no one knows if they will be able to come next March.
It’s the 30th anniversary of Good Omens’ publication, so Neil Gaiman, David Tennant, Michael Sheen, and the other folx involved with last year’s miniseries have offered up a brand new scene. As a (literal) treat.
Robin Miles gives voice to everything New York in this fantastical celebration of the city’s spirit. As the novel opens, New York City is going through a transformation–it’s becoming sentient, embodied by six human avatars who represent the city’s five boroughs plus New York as a whole….
‘Upload’ When to watch: Starting Friday, on Amazon.
“Upload” feels like a hybrid of “The Good Place,” “Black Mirror” and “Idiocracy,” a cheeky, cynical but still lyrical sci-fi romantic dramedy. Robbie Amell stars as Nathan, a tech bro in 2033 whose consciousness is uploaded to a chichi but bizarre afterlife. Corporate greed is a defining pillar of modern life, and on “Upload” it’s a defining pillar of death, too, where the indignities of being advertised to, of always feeling shaken down, of being little more than a revenue stream, can endure for eternity. But hey, free gum! If you like big, imaginative shows with bite, watch this.
What to drink as you sit in your favourite reading spot with a good book is a vexing question of no import whatsoever. Wine has its advocates but I think drinking beer or slowly sipping spirits is a better a match for novels.
But what to match with this year’s Hugo Finalists for Best Novel?
So many factors to consider about each book! For example —
… The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley. Do we need a high-strength beer here to match the mind-twisting plot or something with more flavour and less alcohol so we can concentrate and try to work out what is going on? I’ve drunk Chocolate Fish Milk Stout before which is a suitably disorientating car-crash of nouns but I don’t think that is the right tone for this novel. I want something that is sharp but very much not what it seems to be — a drink that makes you want to know what is going on and why? Perhaps something with a hint of a terrible experiment gone wrong… …
(9) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. HBO dropped a teaser trailer. The series debuts in August.
HBO’s new drama series, based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff of the same name, debuts this August. The series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
(10) MORE BUDRYS. David Langford says, “Research for the recent Budrys SF essay collection Beyond the Outposts uncovered a mass of material that didn’t fit the scope of that already oversized book. I’m happy to report that the Budrys family liked the idea of my releasing a free ebook of other writings by our man — from a tasty 1960 fanzine to his final editorials in Tomorrow SF.”
(11) IT WASN’T THAT LONG AGO. Onward came and went with good reviews but an otherwise muted reception placing it much lower than Pixar’s more beloved films. YouTuber 24 Frames of Nick gives it a reappraisal. “You’re wrong about Onward.”
(12) TODAY’S DAY.
SPACE DAY is celebrated annually on the first Friday of May. An unofficial educational holiday created in 1997 by Lockheed Martin, Space Day aims to promote the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields among young people.
(13) TODAY IN HISTORY.
May 1, 1953 — Tales of Tomorrow’s “The Evil Within” episode first aired. A scientist has perfected a chemical that unleashes the beast within, but before he can create an antidote, his wife takes it when he takes a sample home to keep it refrigerated. It was directed by Don Medford from a script by David E. Durston and Manya Starr. It starred James Dean, Margaret Phillips and Rod Steiger. It was Dean’s only genre role. You can watch it here.
(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 1, 1905 — E. Mayne Hull. She was the first wife of A. E. van Vogt and a genre writer in her own right with two novels to her credit, Planets for Sale and The Winged Man (which is co-written with her husband), and about a dozen stories. The Winged Man is a finalist for the Retro Hugo this year. She does not appear to be available in digital form. (Died 1975.)
Born May 1, 1923 — Ralph Senensky, 97. Director of six Trek episodes including “Obsession” and “Is There in Truth No Beauty?“ which are two of my favorite episodes. He also directed episodes of The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, The Twilight Zone (“Printer’s Devil”), Night Gallery and Planet of the Apes.
Born May 1, 1946 — Joanna Lumley, 73. No, she was no Emma Peel, but she was definitely more than a bit appealing (pun fullly intended) in the New Avengers as Purdey. All twenty-six episode are out on DVD. Her next genre outing was In Sapphire & Steel whichstarred David McCallum as Steel and her as Sapphire. If you skip forward nearly near twenty years, you’ll find her playing The Thirteenth Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death in the 2017 Comic Relief special. Yes, she played the first version of a female Thirteenth Doctor.
Born May 1, 1952 — Andrew Sawyer, 68. Librarian by profession, critic and editor as well being an active part of fandom. He is the Reviews Editor for Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. I’ve also got him doing Upon the Rack in Print, a book review column in Interzone and elsewhere and contributing likewise the Rust Never Sleeps column to Paperback Inferno as well. He hasn’t written much fiction, but there is some such as “The Mechanical Art” in the Digital Dreams anthology.
Born May 1, 1955 — J. R. Pournelle, 65. Some years ago, I got an email from a J. R. Pournelle about some SF novel they wanted Green Man to review. I of course thought it was that Pournelle. No, it was his daughter. And that’s how I came to find out there was a third Motie novel called, errrr, Moties. It’s better than The Gripping Hand.
Born May 1, 1956 — Philip Foglio, 64. He won the Hugo Award Best Fan Artist at SunCon and IguanaCon 2. He later did work for DC, First and Marvel Comics including the backup stories in Grimjack. He and his wife are responsible for the totally ass kicking Girl Genius series.
Born May 1, 1957 — Steve Meretzky, 63. He co-designed the early Eighties version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video game with the full participation of Douglas Adams. ESF also says that he did a space opera themed game, Planetfall and its sequel A Mind Forever Voyaging in the Eighties as well. He did the definitely more erotic Leather Goddesses of Phobos as well.
Born May 1, 1972 — Julie Benz, 48. I remember her best as Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, but she’s had other genre roles such as Julie Falcon In Darkdrive, a very low budget Canadian Sf film, Barbara in the weirdly good Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th, and Angela Donatelli in Punisher: War Zone.
(15) COMICS SECTION.
Reality Check tells how one robot family overcame its hereditary medical problem.
Reality Check also demonstrates the importance of grammar when instructing one’s fairy godmother.
Speed Bump describes a drug with questionable effects.
(16) THE LAST OF SHE-RA. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Final Season Trailer.
(17) HISTORY IMPROVED UPON. David Doering wonders if this is where the tradition of fabulous meeting minutes began for the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society:
“Bruce A. Yerke’s position as the most entertaining Secretary the LASFS ever corralled, and as founder and editor of Imagination (the magazine which precipitated the unprecedented hordes of LASFS publications on the fan world ), is doubtless well known to most fans, but it wouldn’t do to forgo mention of his fabulously hilarious minutes. Those priceless documents were probably the indirect cause of the attendance of many otherwise uninterested persons, who came around solely to discover whether they had been libeled or praised, and to writhe or bask in a flow of words as the minutes were read.”
“The Damn Guy” in Fan Slants, Sept. 1943
Some of Yerke’s other attempts at jocularity in 1943 were more sophomoric.
“I was resting on a couch in one corner of the LASFS clubroom, dozing contentedly. Yerke entered, espied my recumbent form, and concluded that this was a splendid opportunity for some real fun. Producing an enormous sheet of wrapping paper, he tucked it about me, and then gleefully set fire to it. Luckily I came to my senses at this point and prevented an uncomfortable experience. When I demanded an explanation for his unseemly conduct, he replied, ‘I was giving you a hot-torso!’”
… The mediocrity principle would suggest that other ring systems exist—systems that may be even more spectacular than Saturn’s. Recent discoveries hint that this may be the case. Data from the star 1SWASP J140747—have I complained yet today that astronomers are terrible at naming things?—suggests that its substellar companion may have a ring system that could be 180 million kilometers wide. That is about 30 million kilometers more than the distance from the Earth to the Sun. If Saturn had a ring system like that, it would be naked-eye visible.
On 27 April 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense officially released three unclassified videos, footage taken on Navy fighter jets. These videos, leaked to the public in 2007 and 2017, appear to show three unidentified flying objects moving in weird and unexpected ways. The Navy had already acknowledged the videos were real, but pointedly did not say what they show.
Do these videos show alien spaceships? If you do a lazy search on Google for them, the results might give you the idea they do. A lot of electrons have been spilled claiming these show alien vehicles making impossible maneuvers, are surrounded by a glow indicating some sort of advanced tech like a “warp drive,” and are clearly beyond our own miserable human technology.
But is any of this actually true?
Yeah, no. I mean, sure, the objects in the footage are unidentified, but something being a UFO doesn’t make it, y’know, a UFO….
Ever since Gene Roddenberry’s seminal sci-fi series blasted off in 1969, scientists across Earth have been naming newly-discovered species after the franchise’s characters and cast. Which animals share names with Star Trek’s most beloved and why? We’ve energized the etymology behind seven real-life Star Trek species into one handy databank below.
First on the list:
Ledella spocki (named after Mr. Spock)
At first, naming a mussel after Leonard Nimoy’s Science Officer may seem highly illogical. However, when tasked to title a newly-discovered mollusk in 2014, Spanish researchers led by Dr. Diniz Viegas opted to pay homage to Spock. The reason? They noted the shape of the mussel’s valves resembled the pointed ears of Star Trek’s most famous human-Vulcan hybrid.
…This might come across as a contrarian hot take, but it seems obvious to me that the best film in the Star Wars series is, in fact, Star Wars. (I know we’re supposed to call it ‘A New Hope’ these days, but it was called Star Wars when it came out in 1977, so that’s good enough for me.) What’s more, it seems obvious that The Empire Strikes Back is the source of all the franchise’s problems. Whatever issues we geeks grumble about when we’re discussing the numerous prequels and sequels, they can all be traced back to 1980.
…My grievance with The Empire Strikes Back isn’t that it sticks to the winning formula established by Star Wars: that’s what most sequels do, after all. My grievance is that it also betrays Star Wars, trashing so much of the good work that was done three years earlier. My un-Jedi-like anger bubbles up even before the first scene – at the beginning of the ‘opening crawl’ of introductory text, to be precise. “It is a dark time for the Rebellion,” says this prose preamble. “Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.”
Haaaaang on a minute. “Although the Death Star has been destroyed”? “Although”? The sole aim of the heroes and heroines in Star Wars was to destroy the Death Star, a humungous planet-pulverising spaceship of crucial strategic importance to the Empire. One of their big cheeses announced that “fear of this battle station” would keep every dissenter in line. Another hailed it as “the ultimate power in the universe”. But now the Rebels’ demolishing of the ultimate power in the universe is waved aside with an “although”? That, frankly, is not on. And it’s just the first of many instances when The Empire Strikes Back asks us to pretend that Star Wars didn’t happen….
Scientists have identified the highest levels of microplastics ever recorded on the seafloor.
The contamination was found in sediments pulled from the bottom of the Mediterranean, near Italy.
The analysis, led by the University of Manchester, found up to 1.9 million plastic pieces per square metre.
These items likely included fibres from clothing and other synthetic textiles, and tiny fragments from larger objects that had broken down over time.
The researchers’ investigations lead them to believe that microplastics (smaller than 1mm) are being concentrated in specific locations on the ocean floor by powerful bottom currents.
“These currents build what are called drift deposits; think of underwater sand dunes,” explained Dr Ian Kane, who fronted the international team.
“They can be tens of kilometres long and hundreds of metres high. They are among the largest sediment accumulations on Earth. They’re made predominantly of very fine silt, so it’s intuitive to expect microplastics will be found within them,” he told BBC News.
A number of zoos around the world are reporting that their animals are becoming “lonely” without visitors.
Zoos have had to close to members of the public due to Covid-19.
At Phoenix Zoo, keepers have lunch dates with elephants and orangutans, and one sociable bird needs frequent visits. Primates have gone looking for missing visitors.
Dublin Zoo said animals were also “wondering what’s happened to everyone”.
Director Leo Oosterweghel said the animals look at him in surprise.
“They come up and have a good look. They are used to visitors,” he told the Irish Times.
…Without visitors, some animals lack stimulation, Paul Rose, lecturer in animal behaviour at the University of Exeter, told the BBC.
“Some individuals, such as primates and parrots get a lot of enrichment from viewing and engaging with visitors. It is beneficial to the animal’s wellbeing and quality of life. If this stimulation is not there, then the animals are lacking the enrichment,” he said.
Keepers at Toyko’s Sumida Aquarium, which has been closed since 1 March due to the coronavirus pandemic, are starting to worry about their garden eels.
The sensitive little creatures had become used to seeing hundreds of faces peering into their tanks.
Now the aquarium is deserted they’ve started to dive into the sand whenever their keepers walk past.
This makes it hard to check they’re healthy.
The aquarium says the eels are “forgetting about humans” and is making what it calls an “emergency plea”.
“Could you show your face to our garden eels from your home?”
Yes, they’re asking people to call in for a sub-aqua video chat and remind the eels that humans are friendly.
(24) COMIC STALK. Marvel Entertainment announced today the launch of a brand-new digital series, Marvel Presents: The World’s Greatest Book Club with Paul Scheer, a six-episode weekly series celebrating your favorite comics and the community around them. This fun, light-hearted series is hosted by actor and comedian Paul Scheer, who will be joined by celebrity guests including Damon Lindelof, Gillian Jacobs, W. Kamau Bell, Phil Lord, Yassir Lester, and Jason Mantzoukas. The series is produced in partnership with Supper Club with Paul Scheer, Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn, and David Gelb as executive producers.
For fans, comic shops have and always will be the heart of the comic book community; a place for new and longtime fans to come together and share their passion, fandom, and appreciation for the artform while learning about something new. As a lifelong lover of Marvel comics, Scheer will look to capture some of that comic shop experience by diving into the personal origin stories with comics and beyond with each guest in the series. Scheer will be joined by Marvel New Media Head of Content Stephen Wacker to provide an inside look into some of Marvel’s most-read classics and unlock forgotten treasures from the Marvel vault.
In the first installment, Scheer and special guest Damon Lindelof and Marvel’s Stephen Wacker take an inside look into some of Marvel’s most-read classics and forgotten treasures, discussing Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk (2005) #1, New Mutants (1983) #1, and The New Mutants Marvel Graphic Novel (1982).
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, David Doering, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, N., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) ON BOARD. Tim Pratt’s space opera The Fractured Void will kick off a new series of books from Aconyte based on the Twilight Imperium strategic boardgame. Pratt does a Q&A here about his novel, coming in November.
How do you get into the headspace of a completely alien species… ones who might not even have heads?
All the playable aliens in Twilight Imperium have something in common with humanity: they want stuff. Desire is the common language that drives character motivations (and character is what drives plot).
Whether you’re a telepathic serpent or an ocean-dwelling scientist with tentacles, the universality of desire makes you comprehensible.
Admittedly, there are some factions that are harder to write point-of-view characters for, because their mental process is so alien – the Nekro Virus and the Arborec come to mind – but there are tricks for writing entities that are insane by human standards or possessed of a group consciousness (stream of consciousness, first-person plural viewpoints, and so on). Science fiction is all about imagining alien mindsets, or familiar mindsets confronted by alien circumstances and writing Twilight Imperium will give me the chance to do both.
(2) FULLY PACKED. This week in “The Full Lid 17th April 2020”, Alasdair Stuart leads off with “The Patron Saints of Freelancing,” about the lessons freelancers can take away from the hard-travelling heroes of The Mandalorian and The Witcher.
The Mandalorian and The Witcher have a lot in common. Monosyllabic leads, a bone-dry sense of humor, plots about reluctant dads, tons of cool armor, not quite enough screen time for supporting female characters…
But underneath all that there’s another narrative, one that resonates with me on a deep level. Both shows are about freelancers. And not (just) the biblical ass-kicking you get handed either: the social pressures of the job, the ways you survive it and the people you meet….
He also takes a look at how The Letter for the King almost lands some really brave choices, and the new oceanic horror movie, Sea Fever. Interludes this week are Sam Rockwell, Margaret Qualley and Christopher Walken cutting various degrees of rug in some epic dance routines and, as ever, Signal Boost is crammed full of treasures.
The Full Lid publishes weekly at 5 p.m. GMT on Fridays. Signup is free and the last six months are archived here.
(3) READERCON CANCELLED. The Readercon committee has announced that the event, which was to be held in Boston this July, has been cancelled. The series will resume next year.
Since our initial announcement on March 15, the United States has become an epicenter for COVID-19. The Governor of Massachusetts has prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people through at least May 4, as of this announcement. Experts predict that continued social distancing efforts may be required until such time as there is an effective vaccine, a milestone we are not expected to reach in time for this summer.
Because the safety of all our members—and their families—is our top concern, we have decided to postpone Readercon 31 for a year. It will now be held July 8 to 11, 2021 at the Marriott Boston Quincy, and Jeffrey Ford and Ursula Vernon have graciously agreed to remain our Guests of Honor, with Vonda N. McIntyre as our Memorial Guest of Honor….
…“I have no idea how many days I’ve been in quarantine. None,” said Scott Kelly, the former NASA astronaut who spent 340 days in space, the record for the longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut. “I don’t think about it. I just think, this is my reality. This is my mission. And it will someday be over.”Today, instead of being confined on the International Space Station with a handful of crewmates, he’s restricted to his 1,200-square-foot, two-bedrooms-with-den apartment in Houston with his wife. But his philosophy is the same, as is his strict adherence to routine, laid out daily on a shared Google calendar. He sets his alarm for 7 a.m., eats breakfast, “then work goes to noon, and then lunch, and then work, and then physical training, then plan for the next day, then dinner, then free time.”
The conclusion of the trilogy qualified it for this year’s Best Series award, which is the Hugo’s newest addition, established in 2017.
In reaction to the nomination, Arden said, “The first time the Hugos came onto my radar was when I read Ender’s Game over and over as a kid. It had ‘WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD’ emblazoned on the cover.”
That introduction is common to genre fans: The award can help readers cut through the overwhelming pile of stories and find the best ones. “The possibility that a book of my own will have a similar bit on its cover is thrilling and surreal,” Arden said.
It’s just the sort of object SF authors might find notable enough to namecheck. More importantly, it’s something at which curious, technically advanced species would want a closer look. Call it a Leinster Object.
(7) ROWAND OBIT. LASFS member Ken Rowand (1948-2020) died April 12 of cancer. In years gone by he was a regular at the clubhouse’s Hell’s Bridge games and Magic Tournaments. He lived in Northern California for awhile in the early 1980s and did work for the Star Wars Fan Club, such as conducting the interview with Ralph McQuarrie published in Bantha Tracks #15 (1982). He is survived by his wife Marta Strohl.
…In a statement, Spielberg said his old his friend was, “a wonderful artist, but his warmth and humanity were as powerful as his lens.”
Daviau was born 77 years ago in New Orleans, and started out making music videos long before MTV existed. In 1968, he teamed up with Spielberg for the short film Amblin. They went on to make the memorable 1980’s films Empire of the Sun, The Color Purple, and E.T. the Extra -Terrestrial….
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
April 17, 1956 — X Minus One’s “Jaywalker” first aired. Written by Ross Rocklynne who was a regular contributor to Astounding Stories, Fantastic Adventures and Planet Stories, and who is a finalist this year for the Retro Hugo for his “Intruders from the Stars” novella. George Lefferts wrote script. The cast included Bob Hastings, R.E. Johnson, Terri Keane and Connie Leinke. You can hear it here.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 17, 1923 — Lloyd Biggle Jr. He was the founding Secretary-Treasurer of Science Fiction Writers of America and served as Chairman of its trustees for many years. Writing wise, his best known series was about the Jan Darzek and Effie Schlupe troubleshooting team, and the Cultural Survey. I find it interesting that he wrote his own Sherlock Holmes stories from the perspective of Edward Porter Jones, an assistant who began his association with Holmes as a Baker Street Irregular. There’re are two novels in this series, The Quallsford Inheritance and The Glendower Conspiracy. (Died 2002.)
Born April 17, 1923 — T. Bruce Yerke. Involved in LASFS early on, serving as its secretary for many years, and instrumental in recruiting Ray Bradbury to the club. Forrest J. Ackerman, Morojo and he co-edited the Imagination! zine which won the Best Fanzine 1939 Retro-Hugo Awards at Loncon 3. His unfinished biography though published biography, Memoirs of a Superfluous Fan, is a good look at the early days of LASFS. (Died 1998.)
Born April 17, 1942 — David Bradley, 78. It’s his DoctorWho work that garners him a Birthday honor. He first showed up during the time of the Eleventh Doctor playing a complete Rat Bastard of a character named Solomon in the “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” episode. But it was his second role on the series as actor who was the First Doctor that makes him really worth noting. He portrayed William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time and then played the role of the First Doctor again in “The Doctor Falls” and “Twice Upon a Time”, both Twelfth Doctor stories. He is also known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film franchise, Walder Frey in Game of Thrones and Abraham Setrakian in The Strain.
Born April 17, 1948 — Peter Fehervari, 72. Ok, I’ll admit I’m including him because he’s written a number of novels set in the Warhammer Universe and I’ve never read anything set there. Who here has read the fiction set there? Is it worth reading, and if so, is there a good starting point?
Born April 17, 1959 — Sean Bean, 61. His current role that garners him recognition is his performance as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, but he’s worked in our area interest a long time. His first genre role was in GoldenEye as the the antagonist of Bond, Alec Trevelyan (Janus). Next he shows up as Boromir in the first of The Lord of the Rings films. He played Dr. Merrick in the horror SF film The Island and was James in horror flick The Dark high purports to be based off Welsh myth. Following in the horror vein, he’s Chris Da Silva in Silent Hill (which gets a sequel later in Silent Hill: Revelation) and in yet more horror is John Ryder in the remake of the The Hitcher. (Was it so good that it yearned for a remake? I doubt it.) Black Death — yes more horror — and the character of Ulric ensued next. Finally, something not of a horror nature in playing Zeus in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief happened. I’m going to forgo listing the subsequent horror films he’s in and just finally note that he’s in The Martian playingMitch Henderson.
Born April 17, 1972 — Jennifer Garner, 48. Back before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were Marvel Comic movies. Such was the case with Elektra and its lead character of Elektra Natchios. Don’t remember anything about the film anymore. She also had the same role in Daredevil which was at best an OK film.
Born April 17, 1985 — Rooney Mara, 35. She first shows up as Mary Lambert in Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, a slasher film, followed by being Nancy Holbrook in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and then Tiger Lily in Pan, a prequel to Peter Pan. Since then, she’s been M in A Ghost Story, and lastly is Molly Cahill in Nightmare Alley.
(12) MAKING HEADLINES. As anticipated Cora Buhlert’s Hugo nomination made the news in her other local paper, too, the Kreiszeitung (County Paper): “Sie ist eine Auserwählte”. The tagline says (according to Google Translate) —
Seckenhausen – “You have been nominated.” These four words were in an email that Cora Buhlert had discovered in her mailbox about three weeks ago. At first she thought it was just a Worldcon newsletter, but then she read the next word…
Cora says, “I’m quite stunned about the extensive coverage. I suspect part of the reason is that since sports events, city council sessions, festivals, etc… don’t take place at the moment, local journalists have more time and space to report about other things such as North Germany’s first Hugo finalist.
“I also got invited to contribute a book recommendation to the World Book Day coverage of one of the two local papers, which again has never happened before, even though I used to hang out on the edges of the local arts scene.”
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Once upon a time there was a small group of uber-powerful folks who truly messed up the world. Luckily that was ages, sorry, I mean, Ages, ago. But now one of those ancient badass power users is potentially going to return and hoo boy is the world in trouble if he gathers all his power yet again. Thank the gods for the plucky group of scruffy underdogs who are definitely not a fellowship and who have decided to risk their lives to prevent the Dark Power’s rise. Anyone? Bueller?
OK, yes. We’ve all heard it before. So you might be forgiven if, upon learning that Robert Jackson Bennett’s newest title, Shorefall (sequel to the fantastic Foundryside), is about a spirited group of outnumbered and outgunned people trying to prevent the resurrection of an ancient power, you think to yourself, “Oh man, not another one of these!” You might be forgiven. But then again, you might not be. Because that would mean you haven’t been paying attention to Robert Jackson Bennett, because you would know he doesn’t do “another one of those.” And really, nobody should be forgiven for not paying attention to Robert Jackson Bennett, who has proven himself to be one of our best writers. Consider yourself duly chastised….
Nasa has announced that next month it will launch its first manned mission from US soil in almost 10 years.
The rocket and the spacecraft it is carrying are due to take off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre on 27 May, taking two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Both the rocket and spacecraft were developed by private company SpaceX.
Nasa has been using Russian rockets for manned flights since its space shuttle was retired in 2011.
(15) 1984 BALLET. Available on YouTube as a fundraiser, the UK’s Northern Ballet production of 1984.
Winston Smith lives in a world of absolute conformity, his every action is scrutinized by Big Brother. But when Winston meets Julia, he dares to rebel by falling in love. Based on George Orwell’s masterpiece and choreographed by [former Royal Ballet dancer] Jonathan Watkins, 1984 pushes the boundaries of contemporary ballet and won the dance award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards in June 2016. If you can, please help us to protect our people and our work during these unprecedented times and make a donation when you watch:
Musical maker Andrew Lloyd Webber will stream his anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera on his new YouTube channel from 7pm on Friday (17 April).
The 25th-anniversary concert production, filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011 features Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine. It will be available for 24 hours – so worth planning for a Friday night or Saturday matinee!
The show is the third in a new series of Lloyd Webber’s works that are being streamed for free online while a lockdown of UK households continues, which has seen theatres closed up and down the country. You can tune in here on Friday for more.
The star of “Mrs. America” on FX and Hulu wields some serious hero weaponry in this pajama party interview with Stephen Colbert.
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Steve Green, Francis Hamit, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Russell Letson.]
By John Hertz: The Los
Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS; pronounced like “lahss fuss”) is the
oldest SF club in the world, founded 1934.
The Evans-Freehafer has
been given since 1959 for service to the club. It is currently
announced at the SF convention LASFS sponsors, Loscon (held on the weekend of
the United States Thanksgiving holiday, Friday – Sunday following the last
Thursday in November; Loscon XLVI was November 29 – December 1, 2019).
E. Everett Evans
(1893-1958; sometimes “Triple E”, “Tripoli”) and Paul Freehafer (1918-1944)
were productive big-hearted LASFS members.
Evans chaired the first
West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (“Westercon”, annually on a weekend
including or near U.S. Independence Day, although not necessarily in the U.S.;
Westercon LXXIII will be July 2-5, 2020, at Seattle, Washington).
Freehafer, who had been
with the club since 1934, was so prized for cheerfully carrying club projects
to completion that wherever the LASFS meets is Freehafer Hall.
The Evans-Freehafer is
decided annually by the previous three years’ recipients, and kept secret until
announced, sometimes flabbergasting the new recipient. In fifty years
only four people – Mike Donahue, Bob Null, Bruce Pelz, and Elayne Pelz his
widow – have received it more than once.
Smith is a long-time LASFS member who has held various
offices including President, and served on the Board of
Directors. If you are familiar with hobby activity you know such
positions less often result from a contest for who will be elected to them than
a search for who will undertake them.
extrude other hobbies; in the SF community a home-made song tradition (hmm,
maybe not the right word) came to be called “filk music”, from a 1950s
typographical error for “folk music” that stuck; Smith has been active there
too, chairing filk conventions, singing, writing, placed in the Filk Hall of
Fame in 2015.
Smith recently curated
an exhibit “Dreaming the Universe” held March 3 – September 2, 2018, at the
Pasadena Museum of History, exploring the interaction of science, fiction, and
Southern California, with artifacts, fine and graphic art (those being somewhat
technical terms), books, ephemera, photographs. Building it took him
Elsewhere in his life
Smith has for almost forty years been a technician at the Pasadena Public