(1) STICK IT TO ‘EM. There will be “Ten of Disney’s finest villains on new U.S. set” – Linn’s Stamp News has the story.
The Disney Villains stamps will be issued in a pane of 20 July 15 at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif. A 1:30 p.m. first-day ceremony is scheduled during the Disney fan event D23 Expo 2017.
…Each stamp in the set depicts a classic Disney villain set against a deep blue background. Each stamp includes text that identifies the film in which the villain appeared, and the villain’s name.
The 10 characters on the stamps are the Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Honest John (Pinocchio), Lady Tremaine (Cinderella), the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), Captain Hook (Peter Pan), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Cruella De Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians), Ursula (The Little Mermaid), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), and Scar (The Lion King).
(2) SINGERS WHO ARE BAD. But not bad singers. This is the perfect place to drop in Peter Hollens’ new “Epic Disney Villains Medley” featuring Whitney Avalon.
(3) CLARION FUNDRAISER. The Clarion Write-A-Thon hopes to raise $15,000 for the workshop between June 25 and August 5. They’ve taken in $1,802 in the first two days.
Welcome to Clarion UCSD’s Eighth Annual Write-a-Thon! What is a write-a-thon, anyway? Think charity walk-a-thon. In a walk-a-thon, volunteers walk as far as they can in return for pledges from sponsors who make donations, usually based on the number of miles the volunteer walks. Our Write-a-Thon works like that too, but instead of walking, our volunteers write with a goal in mind. Their sponsors make donations to Clarion sometimes based on number of words written, sometimes based on other goals, or just to show support for the writer and Clarion.
People can sign up to write or support writers, and win prizes.
As always, we have prizes for our top Write-a-Thon earners. In addition, this year we have surprises as well as prizes!
- The top fundraiser will receive a commemorative Clarion Write-a-Thon trophy celebrating their success.
- Our top five fundraisers will each receive a critique from a well-known Clarion instructor or alumnus. We’ve lined up Terry Bisson, David Anthony Durham, Kenneth Schneyer, Judith Tarr, and Mary Turzillo to have a look at your golden prose. A roll of the dice decides who is paired with whom. (The authors have three months to complete their critiques, and the short story or chapters submitted must be 7,500 words or less.)
- Our top ten fundraisers will each receive a $25 gift certificate of their choice from a selection of bookstores and stationers.
- A few small but special surprises will be distributed randomly among everyone who raises $50 or more. Lucky winners will be decided by Write-a-Thon minions drawing names from Clara the Write-a-Thon Cat’s hat. These are such a surprise that even we don’t know what they are yet. We do know that certain of our minions will be visiting places like Paris and Mongolia this summer. Anything at all might turn up in their luggage. In addition, who knows what mystery items unnamed Clarionites might donate to the loot!
(4) ASSISTED VISION. Invisible 3, a collection of 18 essays and poems about representation in SF/F, edited by Jim C. Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj, was released today. As with the first two volumes in this series, all profits go to benefit Con or Bust.
Here’s what you’ll find inside (with links to two free reads):
- Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford
- Heroes and Monsters, by T. S. Bazelli
- Notes from the Meat Cage, by Fran Wilde
- What Color Are My Heroes? by Mari Kurisato
- The Zeroth Law Of Sex in Science Fiction, by Jennifer Cross
- Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities, by Alliah
- Erasing Athena, Effacing Hestia, by Alex Conall
- Not So Divergent After All, by Alyssa Hillary
- Skins, by Chelsea Alejandro
- The Doctor and I, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
- My Family Isn’t Built By Blood, by Jaime O. Mayer
- Lost in Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes, by Carrie Sessarego
- Decolonise The Future, by Brandon O’Brien
- Natives in Space, by Rebecca Roanhorse
- I Would Fly With Dragons, by Sean Robinson
- Adventures in Online Dating, by Jeremy Sim
- Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon
- Shard of a Mirage, by MT O’Shaughnessy
- Unseen, Unheard, by Jo Gerrard
(5) GODSTALKER. Jamie Beeching finds many things to compliment in “Hamish Steel’s Pantheon – ‘Because gods are people too…'” , a graphic novel reviewed at Pornokitsch.
In Pantheon, Hamish Steele tackles the Egyptian deities in a way described by Steele as “a faithful retelling of […] the battle between the gods Horus and Set for the throne of Egypt.” Perhaps the most interesting word in that quote is ‘faithful’. I’m no expert on Egyptian mythology, so I’ll have to take the author’s word on the majority of the facts but I somehow doubt that any of the gods referred to Set as “a notorious cock”. It’s exactly this mixture of genuine mythological weirdness (and we’re talking totally batshit) and modern irreverence that creates Pantheon’s unique and very successful blend of humour.
(6) NINEFOX, TENFOX. Lightspeed Magazine interviews Yoon Ha Lee.
When did you notice or feel you had honed your voice? Was it before or after you made short story and poetry sales?
I think it developed during the process of learning to write. Early on, I aimed for a very clear, very transparent style in imitation of writers like Piers Anthony. Then I discovered Patricia McKillip and Harlan Ellison and Roger Zelazny, and they blew my head open in terms of how language can be used. Part of it was also subject matter. After reading Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game for the first time, I realized that what I wanted to write about, most of all, was military ethics. That was sometime in high school, and my writing shaped itself accordingly after that.
How has the overall reaction to Ninefox Gambit been from readers?
Very bimodal! From what I can tell, most people either love it or hate it. There were some narrative decisions I made that I knew would not be popular with some readers. For example, because the two main characters, Cheris and Jedao, are making command decisions from the very top, I chose to use throwaway viewpoint characters to depict the “boots on the ground” perspective and show the consequences of decisions that are abstract from a general’s perspective. Some readers really like to tunnel into a smaller number of characters and get close to them, and I knew that I would be losing people who like to read that way. For another, I used minimal exposition. I remember really enjoying C.J. Cherryh’s Faded Sun books because they’re told in a similar way, leading to this great sense of immersion, but some readers prefer to have the world spelled out for them. On the other hand, other readers liked those very things. There are always trade-offs.
(7) EU DROPS THE HAMMER ON GOOGLE. The Guardian reports “Google fined record €2.4bn by EU over search engine results”. However, huge civil penalties like that are really in the nature of an opening bid – Google will never pay that amount. But it makes for a stunning headline.
The European Union has handed Google a record-breaking €2.42bn (£2.14bn) fine for abusing its dominance of the search engine market in building its online shopping service, in a dramatic decision that has far-reaching implications for the company.
By artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches, Google denied both its consumers real choice and rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field, European regulators said.
The Silicon Valley giant has 90 days to stop its illegal activities and explain how it will reform its ways or face fines of up to €10.6m a day, which equates to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of its parent company Alphabet.
On the back of the finding that Google is the dominant player in the European search engine market, the EU regulator is further investigating how else the company may have abused its position, specifically in its provision of maps, images and information on local services.
…Google immediately rejected the commission’s findings, and signalled its intention to appeal, in an indication of the gruelling legal battle to come between the two sides.
(8) TREASURE MAP. The investor-pitch map of the first Magic Kingdom sold for a chest of gold.
An original map of the first Disneyland park has fetched £555,838 ($708,000) at an auction in California.
The 1953 drawing was used by Walt Disney to secure funding, after his own studio refused to fund the site.
The artist’s impression was given to an employee, and remained out of public view for more than 60 years.
The map was personally annotated by the creator of Mickey Mouse, and reveals a picture of Walt Disney’s vision for the theme park, built in 1955.
(9) AUDIOPUNK. Carl Slaughter says, “Via YouTube, listen to the complete BBC radio broadcast of Neuromancer, William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic brought to life in the form of a very well done radio drama.”
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born June 27, 1966 – J.J. Abrams
(11) COMIC SECTION. Martin Morse Wooster commends this Dilbert strip full of timey-wimey-ness.
(12) SINCE SLICED BREAD. Marc Scott Zicree, Mr. Sci-Fi, explains why science fiction conventions are the greatest thing ever.
(13) PECULIAR SCI-FI BAR. The Washington Post’s Maura Judkis discovered “The real reason everyone’s standing in line for D.C.’s ‘Game of Thrones’ pop-up bar”.
And this is what we want from our bars in 2017: an exhilarating escape from reality. Except instead of rides, we want photo ops.
“It’s purely for the Instagram,” said Lara Paek, 28, waiting with her sister in line outside the bar before it opened.
People who order “the tequila-and-grapefruit tonic ‘Shame,’ have the bartenders shout, ‘Shame! Shame!’ at them while everyone snaps photos for Snapchat.”
(14) KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. Geoffrey Thomas’ debut novel, The Wayward Astronomer, is set in the same fictional universe as the online anthropomorphic graphic novel series Dreamkeepers, by Dave and Liz Lillie. The book was released May 17.
THE WAYWARD ASTRONOMER
Hal Adhil and Miri Rodgers are best friends. They spend their days working at a small observatory in the Starfall Mountains beyond the metropolis of Anduruna.
Miri is the only person Hal trusts to understand a dangerous secret: Hal can see all wavelengths of light. Hal uses his superpower only when they are free from prying eyes that could report them to the authorities.
The lives of Hal and Miri quickly change one night, however, when a meteor crashes into the nearby mountains. When they set out to retrieve the fallen star, it quickly becomes apparent that things are not what they seem. What appeared to be an ordinary meteor is in fact a strange power source that Hal and Miri are not the only ones looking for.
In order to rescue his closest companion, Hal must not only unravel a mystery that has eluded his people for ages, but also face unsavory characters from his own past. Can Hal, the Wayward Astronomer, harness his supernatural powers to rescue his friend before time runs out?
(15) HARD-TO-MISS MACROPODESTRIANS. A problem Down Under? Volvo’s driverless car can avoid most animals but is confused by kangaroos.
The Swedish car-maker’s 2017 S90 and XC90 models use its Large Animal Detection system to monitor the road for deer, elk and caribou.
But the way kangaroos move confuses it.
“We’ve noticed with the kangaroo being in mid-flight when it’s in the air, it actually looks like it’s further away, then it lands and it looks closer,” its Australia technical manager told ABC.
(16) ANT POWER. There’s a pilot project for buses that run on formic acid. (Easier to handle than hydrogen as it just sits there.)
Team Fast has found a way the acid can efficiently carry the ingredients needed for hydrogen fuel cells, used to power electric vehicles.
The fuel, which the team has dubbed hydrozine (not to be confused with hydrazine), is a liquid, which means you can transport it easily and refill vehicles quickly, as with conventional fuels.
The difference is that it is much cleaner.
“The tailpipe emissions are only CO2 and water,” explains Mr van Cappellen. “No other harmful gases like nitric oxides, soot or sulphuric oxides are emitted.”
(17) STAND AND DELIVER. It’s the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the ATM in the UK – how many questions can you answer in this 10-part trivia quiz? “Cash machine quiz: Test your knowledge”.
I only got three right – you have to do better than that!
(18) GLOOP AVOIDANCE. Jason Heller reviews Karen Tidbeck’s novel for NPR — “In ‘Amatka,’ A Warped And Chilling Portrait Of Post-Truth Reality”.
Her 2012 short story collection, Jagganath, showcased her knack for sharp yet dreamlike tale-spinning. Tidbeck’s debut novel Amatka came out the same year, in Swedish only — and it’s seeing its first English translation now. Not a moment too soon, either: Despite being originally published five years ago, its surreal vision of deadly conspiracies, political oppression, and curtailed freedom couldn’t be more eerily timely.
Amatka takes place in one of the most audacious science-fiction settings since Bes?el/Ul Qoma from China Miéville’s The City and The City….
Tidbeck’s premise is almost comical, but her execution is anything but. Amatka teems with mysteries, and almost every innocuous detail — like the fact that the colony’s residents are vegan — winds up having head-spinning ramifications later on. As exquisitely constructed as her enigmas are, however, they’re atmospheric and deeply moving. Vanja is not an easy character to latch onto, but that sense of distance makes her ultimate choices and sacrifices — and what they say about loneliness and freedom — so much more poignant.
(19) UP IN THE AIR. Debut Tor novelist Robyn Bennis does sky military steampunk with a rookie female officer who has to overcome odds on all fronts.
THE GUNS ABOVE by Robyn Bennis (Tor)
Released May 2, 2017
In the tradition of Honor Harrington and the high-flying Temeraire series, Bennis’s THE GUNS ABOVE is an adventurous military fantasy debut about a nation’s first female airship captain.
They say it’s not the fall that kills you.
For Josette Dupre, the Corps’ first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back.
On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. Bernat’s own secret assignment is to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.
So when the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself?
Praise for The Guns Above:
- “Steampunky navy-in-the-air military tale full of sass and terrific characters. Great storytelling. Loved it.” ?Patricia Briggs
- “Marvelous, witty, gory AF, action-packed steampunk with exquisite attention to detail. Bennis’s writing is incredible, her vocabulary impressive, and she honest to God made me believe you could build an airship from spare parts.”?New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Ann Aguirre
- “The Guns Above is a sharp, witty Ruritanian adventure full of flintlock rifles, plumed shakos, brass buttons… and airships! Taking place in an alternate mid-nineteenth-century Europe where dirigibles ply the smoky air over battlefields and women have been grudgingly admitted to the air corps,The Guns Above takes a clear-eyed, even cynical view of the ‘glories’ of war, complete with blood, shit, shattered limbs, and petty squabbles among the nobility. The aerial combat is gut-clenchingly realistic, the two viewpoint characters are well-drawn and as different as can be, and the action never stops. Hard women learn compassion, soft men learn bravery, and the fate of a nation depends on one rickety airship and its stalwart crew. A winner!” ?David D. Levine, author of Arabella of Mars
- “An engaging gunpowder adventure with a helping of witty Noel Coward dialogue and a touch of Joseph Heller.” ?Tina Connolly, Nebula Award-nominated author of Ironskin
- “Wonderfully adventurous and laudably detailed. Bennis paints airship battles so clearly you’d swear they were from memory.” ?Becky Chambers, author of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
(20) TONIGHT’S FINAL JEOPARDY! The Jeopardy! game show often makes references to sff. For example, in the Final Jeopardy answer for June 27 —
An homage to a 1953 novel, this number appears as an error code when a user tries to access a web page with censored content
Click here and scroll down past the ads to read the correct question.
(21) FAVES. At Open Culture, “Hayao Miyazaki Picks His 50 Favorite Children’s Books”. Here are the first five on his list:
- The Borrowers — Mary Norton
- The Little Prince — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Children of Noisy Village — Astrid Lindgren
- When Marnie Was There — Joan G. Robinson
- Swallows and Amazons — Arthur Ransome
(22) OVERDRAWN AT THE IDENTITY ACCOUNT. What Happened To Monday? stars Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe, and Glen Close.
Set in a not so distant future burdened by overpopulation, with a global one child per family policy, seven identical sisters (portrayed by Noomi Rapace) live a cat-and-mouse existence pretending to be a single person to elude the Child Allocation Bureau.
[Thanks to Rich Lynch, Hampus Eckerman, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor the day Peer Sylvester.]