(1) MARVEL AT 80. The company will be celebrating all year —
Eighty years ago, the Marvel Universe roared into existence with the publication of the now-historic MARVEL COMICS #1. Over the years, the company expanded mightily under the guidance of legends Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and countless other industry titans. Today, Marvel is one of the most exciting and recognizable brands shaping pop culture, modern mythology and entertainment around the world – and this year, you can join millions of fans in celebrating MARVEL’S 80TH ANNIVERSARY!
For all of 2019, Marvel will be honoring its iconic characters and stories across every decade of the company’s rich history – from the early years as Timely Comics, to the latest adventures in the Marvel Universe fans know today. Whether you have been following Marvel since the beginning or you’ve just discovered The House of Ideas, you won’t want to miss this year-long celebration across publishing, animation, new media, collectibles, games, and more!
… Visit marvel.com/marvel80 or follow #Marvel80 for more information.
(2) SFF RESPONSE TO TRUMP. WIRED Magazine’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy interviews some of the authors with stories in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy — “Sci-Fi Writers Are Grappling With a Post-Trump Reality”.
Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley notes that many of the stories, such as Samuel R. Delany’s “The Hermit of Houston,” have a clear political message.
“In his author’s note Delany says this is his attempt to write a post-Trump science fiction story,” Kirtley says. “And there were at least two other authors—E. Lily Yu and Charlie Jane Anders—who explicitly say in their author’s notes that their stories were somehow a response to Trump being president.”
Charles Payseur, whose story “Rivers Run Free” leads off the book, agrees that the Yu and Anders’ stories will make readers think hard about current political realities. The Yu story, in which humanity declines to aid extraterrestrial refugees, and the Anders story, in which a trans woman’s consciousness is forcibly transferred into a male cadaver, both grapple with the issue of morally-compromised bystanders.
“I think that both of them do an excellent job of challenging the perspective of not taking action, or being complicit with evil,” Payseur says.
Listen to the complete interview with John Joseph Adams, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Charles Payseur in Episode 342 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above)….
(3) WHAT AUTHORS MAKE. John Scalzi analyzes an Author’s Guild survey in “Author Incomes: Not Great, Now or Then” at Whatever.
What’s being passed around among authors in the last few days: The latest Authors Guild survey, which shows that the median income for all authors (from their books) is $6,080, while the median income for full-time authors is $20,300. That $6k median figure is down significantly from previous years. So if you made more than $6k from book earnings last year, congratulations, you made more than half of your authorial compatriots.
Before everyone panics about the declines too much, please note: “The Authors Guild’s prior surveys were focused on Authors Guild members. For our 2018 survey, we greatly expanded the number of published authors we surveyed to provide a much larger, highly diverse pool and wider perspective,” i.e., the comparing the results this year to previous years isn’t apples to oranges, but might be comparing a Honeycrisp to a Red Delicious….
(4) TREATMENT IN PROGRESS. Sad health update from Jim C. Hines’ house – “Family Health and Ongoing Hiatus”.
I’m back home for the first time in a while, and I’ve been given permission to talk more about what’s going on. Last month, my wife Amy was diagnosed with cancer — an aggressive form of lymphoma, to be specific.
Aggressive, but treatable. We’ve done the first round of chemo, and the last scans showed some tumor shrinkage, which is a good sign.
(5) LIPTAK’S NEWSLETTER. Andrew Liptak, whose contributions to The Verge are often linked here, launched his own newsletter last year, and just published the 6th installment. Liptak says —
The goal is to talk about SF/F, storytelling, as well as reading and writing. I’m hoping to grow it a bit, and to use it as a platform to talk about stuff that isn’t necessarily newsworthy — a bit more commentary driven about the content of SF, but also to chat a bit about the general broader SF/F community at some point.
You can find it here: here. 5 of the 6 issues are archived: a 6th is subscriber-locked, which I’ll be using to publish short stories.
…A while ago on Twitter, I asked for suggestions for standalone SF novels — nominally for this list — but also because I was generally interested in finding something different to pick up. One story that came up a lot was Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time. Orbit recently released the book in the US for the first time — it originally came out in the UK in 2015 and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. I picked up both the book and the audiobook, which we listened to on the drive down to PA and back between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
It’s a fantastic novel, and I can see where all the praise is coming from I’ll write up a proper review of it at some point in the coming week, but something stood out for me that’s notable: Tchaikovsky’s use of suspended animation for his characters to play out a story that stretches thousands of years.
He’s not the first to do this by a long shot, but the use here reminded me of Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest, and Peter Watts’ Freeze-Frame Revolution, in which several characters drop in and out of suspension, again, over decades and hundreds of years. Both stories use the technology not just as a convenient tool for the characters, but it’s also a neat literary instrument that allows both Cixin and Tchaikovsky to frame their story from one, unwavering perspective….
(6) JAPAN’S ADAPTATION OF E.E. “DOC” SMITH. The Skaro Hunting Society answers the question “Why is the Lensman anime so rare?”.
… According to Frederik Pohl, after years of lobbying and proposals a major studio bit and decided it was going to produce a series of big-budgeted Lensman films. Deals were made, contracts were written, millions of dollars were going to be invested – and the Smith family stood to profit greatly from the entire endeavor.
Then, a video tape showed up on the Smith family doorstep.
Back up. Up until the 1980s, Japan (and much of Asia) worked on a different system of copyright and licensing rights than the Western world; if a Japanese publisher bought the publishing rights to something, under Japanese law they bought the rights to EVERYTHING – including the rights to exploit that property in movies, tv, comics, or whatever. This is one of the reasons why you ended up with things like Batman manga, two different adaptations of Captain Future, etc. Western publishers knew this but worked with it anyway, reasoning that even if someplace like Japan made a TV or movie adaptation of a property it was highly unlikely that copies of it would make their way back to the west, and even if they did, who would want to watch them anyway? (Remember, this was all before the advent of the VCR, and the subsequent tape trading/collecting culture of SF/F media fandom). So when Japanese publisher Kodansha bought the rights to publish E.E. Doc Smith in Japanese in the 1960s, they considered themselves the owners of all the Japanese rights to Smith’s oeuvre. Meaning, they could make TV series or movies of any of it if they chose to, so long as it stayed in Japan….
(7) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Victor LaValle and Julie C. Day on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 7pm at the KGB Bar in New York.
Victor LaValle is the author of seven works of fiction and one graphic novel. His most recent novel, The Changeling won the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel and the Dragon Award for Best Horror Novel. His novella, The Ballad of Black Tom, won the Shirley Jackson Award, the British Fantasy Award, the This is Horror Award for Novella of the Year, and was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Awards.
He lives in New York City with his family, and teaches writing at Columbia University.
Julie C. Day
Julie C. Day has published over thirty stories in venues such as Black Static, Podcastle, and the Cincinnati Review. Her genre-bending debut collection, Uncommon Miracles, was released by PS Publishing in October 2018. Julie lives in a small New England town with her family and various pets. You can also find her on twitter at @thisjulieday or on her blog stillwingingit.com
Wednesday, January 16th, 2019, 7 p.m. at KGB Bar,85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.) New York, NY.
(8) SHEPPARD OBIT. “William Morgan Sheppard death: Star Trek and Doctor Who actor dies aged 86” – The Independent has the story.
British actor and voice actor William Morgan Sheppard has died aged 86.
He is best-known for his work on Star Trek across the years, playing the Rura Penth commandant in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the chief Vulcan Science Council minister in 2009’s Star Trek, Data’s “grandfather” Ira Graves in The Next Generation episode “The Schizoid Man,” and as Quatai in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Bliss.”
He appeared in the opening episode of series six of Doctor Who, in an episode titled “The Impossible Astronaut”. In it, he played the older version of the character Canton Everett Delaware III, while his son, Mark Sheppard, played the younger version.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born January 7, 1899 – F. Orlin Tremaine. He was the Editor of Astounding Science Fiction and Fact from 1933 to 1937. It said that he bought Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness without actually reading it. Later as Editor at Bartholomew House, he brought out the first paperback editions of Lovecraft’s The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Dunwich Horror. He wrote a dozen or so short stories that were published in the pulps between 1926 and 1949. (Died 1956.)
- Born January 7, 1912 – Charles Addams. Illustrator best known for the Addams Family which he first drew in 1932 and kept drawing until his death. Needless to say there has been a number of films using these characters of which The Addams Family is my favorite. (Died 1988.)
- Born January 7, 1913 – Julian S. Krupa. Pulp cover and interior illustrator from 1939 to 1971 who graced Amazing Stories and Fantastic.(Died 1989.)
- Born January 7, 1928 – William Peter Blatty. Novelist and screenwriter best known for The Exorcist though he was also the same for Exorcist III. The former is by no means the only genre work that he would write as his literary career would go on for forty years after this novel and would include Demons Five, Exorcists Nothing: A Fable which he renamed Demons Five, Exorcists Nothing: A Hollywood Christmas Carol and The Exorcist for the 21st Century, his final work. (Died 2017.)
- Born January 7, 1955 – Karen Haber, 64. Wife of Robert Silverberg. Author Of the Fire In Winter series (first co-written with Robert) and the War Minstrels series as well. With Robert, she edited three of the exemplary Universe anthologies that Terry Carr had created. Her Meditations on Middle Earth, her essay collection on J.R.R. Tolkien is quite superb. And of course her prequel Thieves’ Carnival to Leigh Brackett’s The Jewel of Bas is stunning.
- Born January 7, 1961 – Mark Alan Shepherd, 48. The bar patron Morn in Deep Space Nine. His character appeared once in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager.
- Born January 7, 1982 – Lauren Cohen, 37. Best known as Maggie Rhee on The Walking Dead. She is also known as Bela Talbot on Supernatural, Rose on The Vampire Diaries, and Vivian McArthur Volkoff on Chuck. And she was in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as Martha Wayne.
- Born January 7, 1983 – Ruth Negga, 36. She was Raina in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but she left that show as she got a leading role Tulip O’Hare in Preacher. She was also Nikki in Misfits, Queen Taria In Warcraft and a WHO Doctor In World War Z
- Born January 7, 1988 — Haley Bennett, 31. First role was Molly Hartley in The Haunting of Molly Hartley. She was also Julie Campbell in The Hole, Stella in Kaboom and Justine Wills In Kristy.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Brewster Rockit illustrates a little laundry problem aboard the Death Star.
(11) PROHIBITION. Camestros Felapton saw Wikileaks had issued a general prohibition to the media against saying certain things about their leading light and decided to share his own list of “40 Other Things You Shouldn’t Say About Julian Assange”.
Wikileaks has sent a list of 140 thing that the news media should not say about Julian Assange (which you can read here https://hillreporter.com/leak-read-wikileaks-list-of-140-things-not-to-say-to-julian-assange-20413 )
As a major news organisation Felapton Towers has a confidential memo listing 40 other things we are not to say about Julian Assange which at great risk to myself I am leaking to the public.
At the top of his list is —
It is false and defamatory to say that Julian Assange is or ever has been a member of Slytherin House or ever shouted “I’ll get you Potter!” across the Hogwarts dining hall.
(12) SWIRSKY’S 2018 RESUME. Rachel Swirsky has compiled a “Writing Round-up and Eligibility Post for 2018”.
…I’m really glad to be writing more again. I mean, for one thing I’m writing at least twelve pieces of poetry and/or flash fiction a year, because of Patreon. (Obligatory plug: You can get one new piece of my work each month for $1!) Some of my work has been noveling, and some isn’t out yet, so it’s not all visible in this list– but I am really happy to enjoy prose again….
(13) MODERN ARCHEOLOGY. Remembering what these were for: “The concrete blocks that once protected Britain”. Includes photos.
More than 100 years ago acoustic mirrors along the coast of England were used to detect the sound of approaching German zeppelins.
The concave concrete structures were designed to pick up sound waves from enemy aircraft, making it possible to predict their flight trajectory, giving enough time for ground forces to be alerted to defend the towns and cities of Britain.
Invented by Maj William Sansome Tucker and known as sound mirrors, their development continued until the mid-1930s, when radar made them obsolete.
Joe Pettet-Smith set out to photograph all the remaining structures following a conversation with his father, who told him about these large concrete structures dotted along the coastline between Brighton and Dover.
(14) BIG CATCH. BBC shares “Incredible ‘sea monster’ skull revealed in 3D”.
Some 200 million years ago in what is now Warwickshire, a dolphin-like reptile died and sank to the bottom of the sea.
The creature’s burial preserved its skull in stunning detail – enabling scientists to digitally reconstruct it.
The fossil, unveiled in the journal PeerJ, gives a unique insight into the life of an ichthyosaur.
The ferocious creature would have fed upon fish, squid and likely others of its kind.
Its bones were found in a farmer’s field more than 60 years ago, but their significance has only just come to light.
Remarkably, the skull is three-dimensionally preserved and contains bones that are rarely exposed.
(15) DEEP UNCOVERED. Undersea mining was once a mere cover story for Howard Hughes’ Glomar Explorer (intended to retrieve a Soviet submarine) – now it’s a real thing: “Japan’s grand plans to mine deep-sea vents”.
Off the coast of Okinawa, a slim stretch of land among Japan’s southern Ryuku islands, thousands of metres below the surface, there are the remains of extinct hydrothermal vent systems scattered about the ocean floor.
The minerals at these long-dead former vent sites are now gaining attention due to increasing international interest in deep-sea mining. Just one of these deposits is thought to contain enough zinc to supply Japan’s demand for a year. For a country that imports the vast majority of its mineral resources, seafloor sulphide deposits are seen as a tantalising potential domestic alternative. But there is a high price: disrupting these sites through mining could put unique and fragile ecosystems at risk.
(16) AMERICAN GODS RETURNS. Here’s a sneak peek.
Mr. World (Crispin Glover) and Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) deal with the ramifications of the Season 1 finale in this exclusive clip from Season 2.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Rachel Swirsky, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]