The online 2018 Locus Poll & Survey ballot is available here. Votes will be accepted from subscribers and non-subscribers alike. The voting deadline is April 15, 2018.
The 2017 Locus Recommended Reading List from the magazine’s February issue has been posted by Locus Online.
The list is a consensus by Locus editors, reviewers, and other professionals — editor-in-chief Liza Groen Trombi; reviews editor Jonathan Strahan; reviewers Liz Bourke, Carolyn Cushman, Paul Di Filippo, Gardner Dozois, Stefan Dziemanowicz, Amy Goldschlager, Paula Guran, Rich Horton, John Langan, Russell Letson, Adrienne Martini, Colleen Mondor, Tim Pratt, Tom Whitmore, and Gary K. Wolfe; Bob Blough; online editor Mark R. Kelly; Ysabeau Wilce; critics Paul Kincaid, Cheryl Morgan, and Graham Sleight. The young-adult list group wrapped in Laurel Amberdine, Gwenda Bond, Barry Goldblatt, Justina Ireland, and Justine Larbalestier. Art books were compiled with help from Arnie Fenner, Karen Haber, and Locus design editor Francesca Myman. Short fiction recommendations included editors and reviewers John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Liz Grzyb, Faren Miller, Charles Payseur, Nisi Shawl, and A.C. Wise.
On the list are —
- 28 SF novels, 21 fantasy novels, 14 horror novels, 22 YA books, 23 first novels;
- 25 collections, 11 original anthologies, 8 reprint/year’s best anthologies;
- 14 nonfiction books, 16 art books
- 26 novellas
- 42 novelettes
- 55 short stories
While the number of recommendations has expanded to recognize the field’s outburst of novellas – 26 this year versus 11 last year – and the novelette recommendations have increased by around 25%, there are just 55 short stories on the list versus 78 last year.
None of the recommended books is self-published (one self-published work made the 2016 list, an art book, and the 2015 list had three.) There is one self-published short story on the 2017 list, but it was also published by a magazine later in the year.
Baen placed one book on the 2017 list, Tim Powers’ collection Down and Out in Purgatory. (Baen had two books on the 2016 list, one in 2015, and zero in 2013 and 2014.)
The Locus Poll & Survey will soon open for online voting and will decide the winners of the Locus Awards.
[Thanks to Mark Hepworth and Cat Eldridge for the story.]
Rocket Stack Rank has answered “An Open Letter With Respect to Reviews Published on Rocket Stack Rank” with an apology and commentary. The open letter was coauthored by Brooke Bolander, Indrapramit Das, Ada Hoffmann, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Rose Lemberg, Sunny Moraine, Suzanne Palmer, Charles Payseur, A. Merc Rustad, K.M. Szpara, Bogi Takács, and JY Yang, and has been cosigned by well over 100 others since it was posted yesterday.
Rocket Stack Rank’s “Apology & Open Letter Responses” begins:
We apologize to all readers and authors we’ve harmed and offended. Greg [Hullender] has withdrawn from the Locus Recommended Reading List panel.
We apologize for offending non-binary and trans people who use “they” as their pronoun. Our criticism of fictional non-binary characters in stories hurt real people who read and identify with those characters. What we’d previously dismissed as differences of personal preference or as “neutral” linguistic arguments, actually exposed a major blind spot.
We also apologize for trying to “explain” trans people to a cis audience in two reviews (The Black Tides of Heaven & The Red Threads of Fortune). It is not our place to do that no matter how much history Greg had in the LGBT movement, and we should have known that.
Moving forward, we will no longer single out the use of “they” as pronouns for non-binary characters as a Pro or Con of a story. We will treat non-binary characters the same way we treat gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans characters. For existing reviews, we will update each with a correction and comment that links to this post. In general, if people tell us about errors in pronouns or gendering, we’ll thank them for their feedback and correct the errors.
We continue to listen and to learn, and we will do better.
The apology is followed by a paragraph-by-paragraph response to the Open Letter, accepting some of the criticisms, disagreeing with others, for example —
We do not promote ourselves as the one-and-only authority on short fiction, as evidenced by the search link we provide with every story that lets readers find reviews written by people with very different tastes from RSR, as well as direct links to recommendations from prolific reviewers where available.
Other parts of the response vary between accepting the criticisms and making further apology, explaining measures being taken to avoid similar problems in the future, and trying to document the inaccuracy of a few specific criticisms.
Meanwhile, Locus, which has been under pressure to drop Hullender from the Recommended Reading List panel, has issued this statement:
Thank you to those who brought their concerns about RSR to our attention. Greg Hullender will not be involved in the Locus Recommended Reading List. We support our wonderfully complex and diverse SF community, and hope for continued positive dialogue on these issues.
— Locus Magazine (@locusmag) November 30, 2017
[Editor’s note: I have been covering this story in the Scroll, however, I did not want to delay reporting these developments for eight or ten hours til the Scroll is ready to post.]
(1) RETURN OF INCOME. Jim C. Hines has posted the first results from his annual survey of novelist income.
Let’s start by looking at how much our authors made in 2016 before taxes or expenses. The total ranged from a few dollars to almost five million. Eight novelists made more than a million dollars (before taxes) in 2016.
- I admit, I was a little surprised by this, and wondered if maybe people were exaggerating or hit an extra zero. Fortunately, the survey also asked for an identifier (name or other) and an email address for anyone who wanted to be informed of the survey results. Looking at who was reporting these numbers, I believe they’re accurate.
Average Income: $114,124
Median Income: $17,000
(I think the median is more useful than the average, here. The average is pulled up significantly by those very successful outliers.)
Much more data, sliced and diced various ways, at the post.
(2) NEW AWARD FOR PAKISTANI SF. The inaugural Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction will be given this year. The new short story award, intended to “promote science fiction and related genres of writing in Pakistan,” is named for Dr. Albus Salam, one of the pioneers of science in Pakistan.
The website’s administrator says some Pakistanis may see pirated copies of sf movies, when it comes to written sf there’s little awareness —
I don’t know if science fiction as a genre even exist for Pakistani readers. When you go to book stores, you don’t find any books other than religous ones or text books needed for school curriculum. How can an average reader than get exposure to different genres of writing and specially fiction?
Eligible for the award are original, previously unpublished English-language stories of 10,000 words or less by persons residing in Pakistan, or of Pakistani birth/descent. (The complete guidelines are here.) Entries must be received by July 31.
The winner will receive a cash prize of Rs 50,000, a review by an established literary agent, a review from a professional editor, with the potential for publication by Tor.com.
(3) I LOST ON… Jeopardy! devoted a category to “Sci-Fi Books” on February 14. I only knew the $1,000 question – you’re bound to do better. (The correct reply will display if you scroll over the dollar amount.)
I didn’t get this one despite having read the damn book!
Thomas in this James Dashner sci-fi book awakens being “jerked upward like an old lift in a mine shaft”
(4) NANOWRIMO’S POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS. Tom Knighton, in an article for PJ Media headlined “Supposedly Nonpolitical Writers Group Goes Hard Left”, criticizes a message he received from NaNoWriMo .
Unfortunately, the minds behind NaNoWriMo don’t seem to appreciate what that word “apolitical” really means. How do I know? Because of this email the Internet-based creative writing project sent to its mailing list late last week.
As a creative writing nonprofit, we’re not a political organization. We don’t endorse candidates or support any particular party. In an ideal world, we would focus only on empowering people to write.
Yet we find ourselves in a time where people’s ability to tell their stories—and even to safely exist—is at stake….
So while we are not a political organization, we feel moved to take action.
In response to the executive order, as well as any future government efforts that threaten people’s basic freedoms, we will:
Celebrate creativity over apathy, diversity over fear, and productivity over despair.
Welcome all stories and continue to make NaNoWriMo a safe space for all writers.
Advocate for the transformative power of storytelling to connect people and build a better world.
If you have concrete ideas for how we can work toward these goals (or if you have feedback about anything in this message), please share your thoughts.
That wasn’t all. Oh, no, not by any means. They also took issue with President Trump’s desire to end the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
There are a few things about NaNoWriMo that one must consider before truly understanding the context of the above email. First, there are no prizes for NaNoWriMo. “Winners” are basically all who complete a book, and the prize is…well, you wrote a book. Not insignificant considering how few people who talk about books ever finish one, but that’s about it.
Further, since it is basically an internet writers group/contest, President Trump’s executive order will have precisely zero impact on it. None.
In short, there’s absolutely no reason for Grant Faulkner to put his name on an email about a piece of political hay that impacts his operation in no way, shape, or form.
The email is more about virtue signaling, a way to tell progressives that NaNoWriMo is with them — and screw the right-leaning members of the email list! Of course, it’s also possible they couldn’t imagine that anyone on their list actually leans right politically.
(5) THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION. The Shimmer Program has posted Sanfeng’s “Science Fiction in China: 2016 in Review”. I found it an interesting contrast with U.S. society – people generally were happy to hear about President Obama’s tastes as an sf fan, but what if he had announced a plan to co-opt science fiction to further his policies?
SF as National Agenda
Historically, the trajectory of Chinese SF was heavily influenced by top-down political forces at times. Recently it begins to receive continuous and influential support from the governments at all levels. On the one hand, following the tradition of focusing on ‘science’ in science fiction, the government re-emphasizes SF as a useful instrument for popularizing science and improving citizen’s scientific literacy. On the other hand, due to the high popularity and penetration rate of SF media, it is conceivable that the so-called ‘SF industry’ is often adopted in governmental agenda for creative and cultural industry development.
In a central government’s paper regarding promoting citizens’ science literacy issued by State Council in February 2016, it is explicitly stipulated that the government shall support science fiction writing as part of popular science writing. More details were revealed in a later talk given by Han Qide, president of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), announcing that CAST will set up a national award for SF and host international SF festivals. The story reached the climax when Vice Chairman Li Yuanchao attended 2016 National SF Convention held in September 2016 and gave a speech at the opening ceremony warmly encouraging SF writing.
The post also tells about the 30th anniversary Galaxy Awards, and the inaugural winners of a new set of Chinese sf awards.
At its 30th anniversary, Galaxy Awards were presented on the evening of September 8th. Best Novel was awarded to Dooms Year by He Xi. Three days later, the ceremony of 7th Chinese Nebula Awards was held in National Library of China. The top award Best Novel was awarded to Jiang Bo for Chasing the Shadows and the Lights, which is the final installment of his epic Heart of Galaxy trilogy.
A couple of new SF awards are noteworthy. First ‘Droplet Awards’, named after a powerful and terrifying alien weapon in TBP, were organized by Tecent to call for submission of SF screenplays, comics and short videos. Best Screenplay was awarded to Day after Day by Feng Zhigang and Best Comics to The Innocent City by Yuzhou Muchang. Besides, First ‘Nebula Awards for Chinese SF Films’ were presented at a ceremony held in Chengdu in August 2016. Best SF Movie was given to a 2008 children SF movie CJ7 directed by Stephen Chow. Best SF Short Film was awarded to Waterdrop, a highly praised fan film of TBP, directed and produced by Wang Ren.
The Shimmer Program has also compiled a list of works from China eligible for 2017 Hugo nominations.
(7) TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF, SET A SPELL. Co-Geeking’s Erik Jensen is an American married to a Finn (Eppu) and living in the U.S. He has written a column of advice to fans going to the Worldcon this summer: “How to Helsinki: Concerning Finns”. There are quite a few do’s and don’ts, for example —
DO give people space – Finns expect a lot of it and they will give you a lot of it in return. If you’re talking to a Finn and they back away, don’t chase them. They’re probably not trying to get away from you, they’re just resetting comfortable boundaries. (See previous points.)
DO take your shoes off if you visit a private residence – so you don’t track in dirt that your host then has to clean up. Most Finnish homes have places for taking off and putting on shoes right by the front door….
…DON’T suggest getting together unless you want to make concrete plans – “We should do lunch some time” is just a casual pleasantry in the US. It’s an expression of general good will with no commitment attached. In Finland it is a commitment to future plans and Finns will expect you to follow through.
DON’T make small talk – if you’re in conversation with a Finn and feel like there’s an awkward silence, don’t try to fill it. For most Finns, silence is not awkward at all, but comfortable. The conversation will start again when someone has something to say.
And Eppu has put together an index to cultural resources published by Worldcon 75.
- “Finland: A Very Short Guide For Your First Trip” (Facebook)
- “Finland: An Assortment of Notes and Information” (in Progress Report 1)
- “Finnish Fandom: Some Unique Characteristics” (in Progress Report 1)
- “Finnish Foods and Where to Find Them” (in Progress Report 3)
- “Hotels: Understanding the Differences between Countries” (in Progress Report 3)
- “Non-Fandom Things to Do in Helsinki, If You Have the Time” (in Progress Report 2)
- “Älä hätäile! Don’t Panic! A Short Guide for Pronouncing Finnish” (in Progress Report 2)
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- February 15, 1903 — The first Teddy bear goes on sale.
Toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution
- February 15, 1950 — Walt Disney’s animated feature Cinderella opens in theaters across the United States.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born February 15, 1950 — Matt Groening, cartoonist; creator of The Simpsons.
(10) FORD’S IN HIS FLIVVER. Stephen Baxter has an op-ed in the February 11 Financial Times, “Dude, where’s my flying car?” He looks at flying cars, based on Uber’s announcement that they are launching a flying car development project. Examining the way flying cars are portrayed in movies from Metropolis through Back To the Future and Thunderbirds Are Go, he concludes that it’s more likely that monorails and electric cabs will be the future’s preferred form of transportation and “flying cars will remain a plaything of the super-rich–and a dream (perhaps in virtual reality) for the rest of us.”
Note – you will probably hit a paywall using the direct link. I was able to access and read the article through a Google search.
(11) LITTLE BUNDLES OF JOY. And maybe not all that little, when you pop for the maximum sized bundle.
- There’s a Humble Bundle of sff books from Subterranean Press.
- And elsewhere, a Steampunk Storybundle, curated by Cat Rambo.
Both are limited-time offers.
(12) NEW BIMBO VERSE. Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff continues her Book View Café series with “There’s a Bimbo on the Cover Verse 8: Who Reads Reviews, Anyway?” and a story of the Analog Mafia.
They reviewed my book in Locus magazine.
They reviewed my book in Locus magazine.
The way Mark Kelly synopsized it,
I barely recognized it,
but they reviewed my book in Locus magazine.
True story. In fact, it happened repeatedly with my Analog stories….
(13) ETHICS BEYOND THE STRATOSPHERE. At Dreaming About Other Worlds, Aaron has reviewed Nobody Owns the Moon: The Ethics of Space Exploitation by Tony Milligan.
In Nobody Owns the Moon, Milligan begins his inquiry from the ground up, so to speak, starting with the fundamental question of whether space exploration itself can be ethically justified at all, specifically focusing on whether manned space exploration is justifiable. By starting at such a fundamental level, Milligan indicates that he is going to tackle the questions at hand without presuming that anything is justified. Instead, Milligan works through each issue with as few preconceptions as possible, examining both the arguments for and against the proposition being examined. This can seem frustratingly indecisive at times, because with most questions there is no clear cut answer one way or the other, because there are pros and cons to every position. The end result is that for most such questions, the answer lies in choosing which is the best of a flawed collection of alternatives, not in choosing the one that is clearly correct.
Milligan is also concerned with only dealing with questions that result from actions that are within the realm of possibility. To this end, he spends a fair amount of time examining the question of whether terraforming a planet to be more Earth-like is possible before he gets into the question of whether it is ethical. As he points out, examining a question that could never possibly come to pass is simply idle speculation. To a certain extent, almost all of the questions Milligan addresses in the book are somewhat hypothetical – no one is currently actually mining asteroids or terraforming Mars, but as he outlines in the book, they are all within the realm of reasonable possibility, and thus it is worthwhile to consider their the ethical implications.
(14) FIXING THE SCIENCE IN SCIENCE FICTION. Joe Stech, of Compelling SF, asks you to help him decide which of his guidelines to work on first.
Every so often I receive engaging story submissions that have wonderful writing and great human elements, but contain clearly implausible science. This can pull readers out of the story and potentially mar an otherwise excellent work.
I’ve been thinking about working with scientists to create a series of writer’s guides to help with this pain point, and I was hoping you could help me out by letting me know which subjects you’d find most useful in such a series. The idea is that we’d provide a general overview of the topic and then give some specific tips regarding common misconceptions that we’ve seen. If you have a moment please let me know what you think via the following survey:
A Survey About Science Fiction Writer’s Guides
Feel free to share the survey link with others that might have an interest.
(15) CHURCHILL’S LOST ESSAY ABOUT ALIENS. An unpublished essay by Winston Churchill about the possibility of life on other worlds is the subject of an article by Mario Livio in the latest issue of Nature. According to the BBC:
The document was uncovered in the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, by the institution’s new director Timothy Riley….
Churchill was a prolific writer: in the 1920s and 30s, he penned popular science essays on topics as diverse as evolution and fusion power. Mr Riley, director of the Churchill Museum, believes the essay on alien life was written at the former prime minister’s home in Chartwell in 1939, before World War II broke out.
It may have been informed by conversations with the wartime leader’s friend, Lindemann, who was a physicist, and might have been intended for publication in the News of the World newspaper.
It was also written soon after the 1938 US radio broadcast by Orson Welles dramatising The War of the Worlds by HG Wells. The radio programme sparked a panic when it was mistaken by some listeners for a real news report about the invasion of Earth by Martians.
Dr Livio told BBC News that there were no firm plans to publish the article because of issues surrounding the copyright. However, he said the Churchill Museum was working to resolve these.
(16) SAME BAT CHANNEL, NOT SAME BAT. Carl Slaughter sent a link to “The Evolution of Batman in Television and Film, 1943 – 2016.”
(17) THE GOOD STUFF. Aliette de Bodard has put up her awards eligibility and recommendations post.
I feel like I should start with the usual call to action/disclaimer: if you’re eligible to vote for any of the awards (Nebulas/Hugos/etc.), then please do so, even if you felt you haven’t read enough. It’s a big field and few people can claim to have read everything that came out last year–and generally the people who recuse themselves from voting tend to be marginalised folks, which skews ballots. So please please vote?
Here is an excerpt from her recommendations.
I enjoyed Fran Wilde’s JEWEL AND HER LAPIDARY: set in a universe where gems hold magic but can drive people mad, JEWEL concerns itself with the fall of that kingdom, and the desperate straits in which it leaves its princess and her companion. This is a heart wrenching tale of power, friendship, and two women’s struggle to survive.
Marjorie Liu’s “The Briar and the Rose” (which I suspect is a novelette, from Navah Wolfe’s and Dominik Parisien’s The Starlit Wood) is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a twist: a swordswoman falls in love with Rose–but Rose is only herself one day of the week, when the witch who occupies her body has to rest… I loved the characters and their relationship, and the quest undertaken by the swordswoman to free Rose.
Alyssa Wong’s “You’ll Surely Drown Here if You Stay”: a weird Western with a lovely friendship at its core, a tale of the desert, magic, belonging, and the weight of the dead. Definitely sticks in the mind.
Christopher Kastensmidt’s Elephant and Macaw Banner is sword and muskets set in colonial Brazil, following the adventures of Gerard van Oost and Oludara in a land filled with strange creatures. It’s a series of linked novelettes (with gorgeous cover art), and it’s great fun. Two volumes came out last year: A Torrential Complication and A Tumultuous Convergence.
(18) SIRI. In “The Voice (Siri)–a 48 hr film” on Vimeo, Yonatan Tal imagines what Siri would do if confronted with too many inane questions, including knock-knock jokes and “Where can I get some drugs?”
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Steven H Silver, JJ, Mark-kitteh, Joe H., Peter J, John M. Cowan, John King Tarpinian, Aaron, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dawn Incognito.]
SF and fantasy are heavily represented across the entire spectrum of 2017 Audie Awards categories. The shortlist of the best audiobooks of the year was announced February 8.
The audiobooks in the Science Fiction and Fantasy categories are shown below. In addition —
- Neil Gaiman is a finalist in the Narration by Author category for his work on The View from the Cheap Seats.
- Original Work is dominated by familiar sf/f names and series — The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent by Larry Correia, narrated by Adam Baldwin, Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs, with seven voice talents, and The Dispatcher by John Scalzi, narrated by Zachary Quinto.
- The Alien and Doctor Who franchises claimed three of the five Audio Drama finalist spots
- One finalist in Short Stories/Collections is The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke by Arthur C. Clarke, narrated by Ray Porter, Jonathan Davis and Ralph Lister.
- And there is some kind of yin/yang dynamic at work in having a Best Female Narrator nominee for The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (narrated by Bahni Turpin) and a Best Male Narrator nominee for Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters (narrated by William DeMeritt). Also recognized as Best Narrators are the men who voiced End of Watch by Stephen King and Jerusalem by Alan Moore. And The Underground Railroad received a second nomination, in the Literary & Classic Fiction category.
- There is even a genre entry for the best Business Book — Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek by Manu Saadia, narrated by Oliver Wyman
Winners will be revealed at the Audie Awards® Gala on June 1, 2017. A roll-call of all the nominees, many with samples you can listen to, appears here.
The Audie Awards generated extra attention this year by having guest presenters tweet each set of finalists — genre participants included Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, Marissa Mayer, Neil Gaiman, Colson Whitehead, and Locus Magazine.
Audiobook fans: the Audio Publishers Association is announcing #Audies2017 finalists today via your favorite authors, narrators, & critics
— AudioFile Magazine (@AudioFileMag) February 8, 2017
— Paula Poundstone (@paulapoundstone) February 8, 2017
— Michael Connelly (@Connellybooks) February 8, 2017
— Library Journal (@LibraryJournal) February 8, 2017
— Ruta Sepetys (@RutaSepetys) February 8, 2017
— AudioFile Magazine (@AudioFileMag) February 8, 2017
LITERARY FICTION & CLASSICS
— Tavia Gilbert (@taviagilbert) February 8, 2017
BEST FEMALE NARRATOR
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) February 8, 2017
BEST MALE NARRATOR
— James Patterson (@JP_Books) February 8, 2017
INSPIRATIONAL FAITH-BASED FICTION
— Simon Vance (@SimVan) February 8, 2017
INSPIRATIONAL FAITH-BASED NONFICTION
— carminegallo (@carminegallo) February 8, 2017
— AudioFile Magazine (@AudioFileMag) February 8, 2017
LITERARY FICTION & CLASSICS
— Tavia Gilbert (@taviagilbert) February 8, 2017
— Locus Magazine (@locusmag) February 8, 2017
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 8, 2017
— Marissa Meyer (@marissa_meyer) February 8, 2017
NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR
— Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater) February 8, 2017
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) February 8, 2017
— Audiobook Community (@Audiobook_Comm) February 8, 2017
— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) February 8, 2017
— colson whitehead (@colsonwhitehead) February 8, 2017
— Ron Charles (@RonCharles) February 8, 2017
— LA Review of Books (@LAReviewofBooks) February 8, 2017
— Elizabeth Hoyt (@ElizabethHoyt) February 8, 2017
— Katherine Kellgren (@katykellgren) February 8, 2017
— BethFishReads (@BethFishReads) February 8, 2017
— Amie Kaufman (@AmieKaufman) February 8, 2017
— Jennifer Conner (@LitHousewife) February 8, 2017
(1) SPECTRUM 24 CALL FOR ENTRIES. John Fleskes, Spectrum Director, has issued an invitation for professional and student artists, art directors, publishers and artists’ representatives to submit entries to the 24th Annual Spectrum International Competition for Fantastic Art.
All artworks in all media embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror and the surreal are eligible for this show. Fantastic art can be subtle or obvious, traditional or off-the-wall, painted, sculpted, done digitally or photographed: There is no unacceptable way to create art, and there are no set rules that say one piece qualifies while another does not. Imagination and skill are what matters. Work chosen by the jury will be printed in full color in the Spectrum annual, the peer-selected “best of the year” collection for the fantastic arts.
Entries will be accepted until January 25. Click here to submit.
The Spectrum 24 jury is a five member panel of exceptional artists working in the industry today, Christian Alzmann, Laurie Lee Brom, Mark Newman, John Picacio and Victo Ngai.
“Spectrum represents such a rich visual history and standard of excellence for what we collectively dream in the fantastic art field,” states John Picacio. “I’ve always been grateful any time my work was selected for inclusion in the annual, and it’s a profound honor and responsibility to give back to the book this year as a juror.”
(2) GOLDEN GLOBES. Although there were a lot of Golden Globe nominees of genre interest in the December announcement, all lost except one:
Best Motion Picture – Animated
(3) ERIC FLINT HEALTH. Flint did not get the best possible news from his medical tests:
I’ll have more to report by the end of the month, when all the tests and biopsy results finally come in. But here’s what definite:
I do have a form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, although they still don’t know exactly what type. (That’s what’s taking so long for the biopsy to be finished.) Once they know what kind it is, they’ll start me on a chemotherapy program.
Sadly, my hopes in the hospital that since the surgery had gone so well maybe the cancer was completely gone turned out to be childish delusions. (Which I suspected myself, but…) Lymphoma is what they call a systemic cancer, which means that surgery by itself can’t do anything but arrest the malignancy for a while and provide the material needed for a thorough biopsy. But to really fight lymphoma, you need chemotherapy.
The good news is that lymphoma generally responds well to chemo, and it’s not uncommon for people to be cured of the disease altogether. We’ll see what happens in my case, but even in the worst case scenario it looks as if I’ll have quite a few years to fend the cancer off.
However, he says frankly that after chemo he may live for years to come —
if you look at it the right way. I’ll be 70 in a month. I don’t have to fight off lymphona indefinitely. I just have to fight it off long enough for something else to bump me off.
(4) EYES WIDE WHAT? Myke Cole’s next tweet will explain how his stories are like radio except with no sound.
— Myke Cole (@MykeCole) January 9, 2017
The late Gordon Archer did a lot of commercial art for Weetabix cereal involving Doctor Who, Star Trek, Asterix and other pop culture subjects which his son now has on display on a website. [Corrected, because Archer is still with us, as his son states in a comment below.]
(6) HITLER UNBEARABLE. “A A Milne letter features in Imperial War Museum’s anti-war show”, from The Guardian.
Winnie the Pooh creator’s letter reflects moral dilemma of pacifists faced with rise of Hitler in interwar period
…The Milne letter has been retrieved from its vast collection of documents and reflects the conflict felt by many pacifists who had experienced the horrors of the first world war and earnestly hoped “never again”.
“It encapsulates the moral dilemma that a lot of pacifists had in the interwar period,” said curator Matt Brosnan. “Milne opposed war but increasingly saw Hitler and the Nazis as an evil that had to be met by force.”
In his letter, Milne declared himself a “practical pacifist”, writing: “I believe that war is a lesser evil than Hitlerism, I believe that Hitlerism must be killed before war can be killed.”
(7) KOWAL INTERVIEW IN LOCUS. An excerpt of Locus’ interview with Mary Robinette Kowal has been posted at Locus Online.
The moment I knew I was setting something during the First World War, I knew that darkness was going to be part of it, and that I would have to work really hard to keep the darkness from completely overwhelming Ghost Talkers. When you do any reading at all about the First World War, it becomes very clear why it made such a huge, permanent mark on Europe – and the US less so, because we were not directly touched by it. It wasn’t even the death tolls, because in England a lot of men actually came home, but everyone came home wounded in some way, either physically or emotionally. I read interview after interview of survivors saying, ‘I went over the top of the trench, and everyone in my platoon died. I don’t know why I lived.’ I knew going in that dealing with someone who deals with ghosts as her job, during WWI, would mean a darker book than people are used to from me. On the other hand, the last book in the Glamourist series, I jokingly refer to as ‘Regency Grimdark.’
(8) DIVERSITY DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN. Nalo Hopkinson’s advice “To Anthology Editors”.
But here’s where those voices have a point: if you wait till after you’ve put out your call for submissions to run around trying to fill in diversity slots for your anthology — you know, the “one of each so long as there aren’t too many of them” approach — you will more likely than not end up with a dog’s breakfast of a volume in which it’s clear that you selected writers for their optics, not their writing. That’s tokenism, not sound editorial practice. The time to be trying to make your anthology a diverse one is before submissions come in, not during or after.
On the other hand, if you just put your call for fiction out there and cross your fingers, you’ll end up with mostly the usual suspects. It’s not enough to simply open the door. Why? Because after centuries of exclusion and telling us we’re not good enough, an unlocked door is doing jack shit to let us know that anything’s changed. Most of us will continue to duck around it and keep moving, thank you very much. We’ll go where we know there are more people like us, or where there are editors who get what we’re doing.
So make up your mind that you’re going to have to do a bit of work, some outreach. It’s fun work, and the results are rewarding….
(9) RARA AVIS. Definitely not on my bucket list.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only Hugo Award winner to have once shoplifted an L. Ron Hubbard book.
— Jason Heller (@jason_m_heller) January 6, 2017
(10) CHRISTENSEN OBIT. Artist Jim Christensen died January 8 of cancer. He was 74.
Christensen saw himself not as the “fantasy artist” label given him, but rather as an artist who paints the fantastic.
“I paint things that are not real,” he told the Deseret News in 2008. “But fantasy often ventures into the dark and scary stuff. I made a decision long ago that I would not go to dark places. There’s a lot of negativity in the world. I try not to be part of it.”
His honors and awards include being named a Utah Art Treasure as well as one of Utah’s Top 100 Artists by the Springville Museum of Art and receiving the Governor’s Award for Art from the Utah Arts Council. He had won all the professional art honors given by the World Science Fiction Convention as well as multiple Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Christensen had served as president of the National Academy of Fantastic Art, and he co-chaired the Mormon Arts Foundation with his wife, Carole.
Dave Doering paid tribute: “I loved this man. For various years he was our Artist GoH at LTUE but also quite well known in all fantasy art circles.”
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
- January 9, 1493 — On this date, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids”–in reality manatees–and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”
(12) WORLDBUILDERS. At Tor.com, David Weber discusses five authors who he says are “great world-builders.” All five of the authors are women: Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz, Mercedes Lackey, Barbara Hambly, and Patricia McKillip:
“[McKillip] is, without a doubt, one of my two or three all-time favorite authors. When I first read The Riddle-Master of Hed in 1978, I immediately went out and found Heir of Sea and Fire and then waited impatiently for Harpist in the Wind. In many ways, the Riddle-Master’s world is less fully articulated than Pern or Gwynedd, but I think that’s because so much of the detail is cooking quietly away in the background behind the land rulers. There’s a sense of an entire consistent, coherent foundation and history/backstory behind all of it, but the struggles of Morgon, Raerdale, and Deth take front stage with an intensity that reaches out and grabs the reader by the shirt collar and shakes him or her to the bone. Patricia’s prose is absolutely gorgeous and evocative and her stories fully satisfy the deep love for the language my parents taught me as a very young reader. I literally don’t think it’s possible to over-recommend this series … and the rest of her stuff is pretty darn good, too.”
(13) ST. ELSEWHERE. But did it work? “This Brazilian Grandma Has Been Accidentally Praying to a ‘Lord of the Rings’ Statuette” —
Saint Anthony of Padua’s the patron saint of Brazil, Portugal, pregnant women, and the elderly. He wears brown robes, and he usually holds baby Jesus and lilies. And – as one Brazilian woman discovered – a miniature figure of Santo Antônio also vaguely looks like Elrond, the elf lord of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings. Brazilian makeup artist Gabriela Brandao made the hilarious discovery last week and posted about it on Facebook for all to see. Brandao explained that her daughter’s great-grandmother prayed to the Elrond figurine daily, erroneously believing it was Santo Antônio.
(14) IMAGINARY HUGO RECOMMENDATIONS. There is no such work, except in your mind:
— R. L. Allison (@robdamnit) January 10, 2017
Well, and Chuck’s mind.
please also nominate "TROLLING OF RABID PUPPIES" for Hugo Award of best related work
— Chuck Tingle (@ChuckTingle) January 10, 2017
(15) BRIANNA WU’S CAMPAIGN. She’s already gaining media attention in Boston.
Brianna Wu was at the center of “Gamer-Gate” and received some horrific threats over social media. But instead of keeping a low profile, she tells Jim why she’s now planning on running for Congress.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Andrew Porter, Rob Thornton, Arnie Fenner, and Dave Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]
(1) TREKKIN’ WITH FILLION? Here’s some clickbait for you – “Rumor Mill: Nathan Fillion New Star Trek Captain?” asks SciFi Obsession.
Many noticed how much weight Nathan lost for the final season of Castle. Now that it’s 8 year run is over, could he be sitting in the center seat for the new 50th Anniversary Trek series on CBS All Access?
(2) CAPT. JACK VAGUEBOOKS. And here’s a second helping of clickbait – Den of Geek quoted John Barrowman’s comments about coming back to Doctor Who.
Adding fuel to the fire that he could return to the live-action Doctor Who universe in the near future, John Barrowman has now instructed fans to “keep watching.”
Asked on The One Show whether he’d be returning to either Doctor Who or Torchwood, the Captain Jack Harkness actor said, “I’d love to, keep watching. Keep watching. I’d love to! I don’t know!”
“It’s not up to me,” he added, “but keep watching!”
(3) DOZOIS REVIEWS SHORT FICTION. Locus Online has posted an excerpt from the magazine edition, “Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction April 2016”, covering Clarkesworld 1/16, 2/16, Asimov’s 2/16, and Interzone 1-2/16. With the link, Greg Hullender passed along his theory that Dozois is Lois Tilton’s replacement.
(4) WHAT’S OPERA? Andrew Liptak recommends “15 Space Opera Books for Firefly Fans” at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.
We don’t need to tell you that Firefly has transformed from failed TV series to cultural phenomenon in the years since its 2003 cancellation after an inauspicious 12-episode run on Fox. Joss Whedon’s Western-styled space opera might be missed, but in the years since, its fans have found ways to cope with its absence, turning to other TV shows, writing fan fiction—or searching out books that scratch their Big Damn Heroes itch. We always find ourselves reaching for a solid space opera novel during the summer months, so we’re offering up 15 space opera books for Firefly fans, each embodying one or more of the qualities that made that show so great.
(5) CHECK REJECTS. SJPA, the organization behind Anime Expo, has partially retracted its recently announced Youth Protection policy. Anime News Network has the story — “Background Checks Not Mandatory for Anime Expo, Except for Its Employees, Volunteers”.
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the California-based non-profit organization behind Anime Expo, announced on Friday that the criminal background check requirement it introduced as part of its Youth Protection Program are now only mandatory for its own employees and volunteers. Background checks are optional but strongly encouraged for Artist Alley participants, exhibitors, press, Guests of Honor, performers and vendors.
SPJA is partnering with the Nonprofit Risk Management Center to launch the Youth Protection Program to protect young attendees at Anime Expo. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center began streaming an introduction video for the program on Tuesday. The organization also began streaming a video on April 29 that explains the responsibilities of being a partner to the Youth Protection Program.
SPJA noted the other elements of the program that will remain in place:
We are creating SafeSpace kiosks and other means for youth to report and receive immediate help. Significantly increased private security and LA Police officers will be present onsite. To protect minors from exposure to adult content, spatial separation and ID checks will be enforced at AX. Exhibitors will be required to keep adult materials behind closed pipe and drape, and to conduct ID checks at entrances to adult areas. Similarly, adult programming will be physically separated from other programming spaces and IDs will be required for access.
The policy originally required all employees, volunteers, panelists, performers, guests, members of a guest’s or performer’s entourage, and Artist Alley participants to consent to a background check, as well as completing certain online youth protection training courses. Exhibitors, press, and vendors were also required to affirm that all representatives complete a background check. Some exhibitors had already signed to agree with this previous policy and submitted information to comply.
(6) WISB AWARDS. Shaun Duke of The World in the Satin Bag has distributed the 2016 WISB Awards – including some for File 770!
The fiction section is led off by Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s novel Signal To Noise. The Best Non-Fiction Work was Eric Flint’s “A Response to Brad Torgersen.”
Now that awards season is in full swing, it’s time to release the winners of the 2016 WISB Awards. As with every year of the award, the winners are selected from my reading and viewing experiences throughout 2015 and during my annual Hugo Awards reading binge. As such, the long list included works published decades ago.
Unlike previous years, the 2016 WISB Awards included a long list, which you should check out to see all the great stuff I enjoyed. You might also check out the 2016 Hugo Awards Reading/Watching List, which includes works from my original list and works suggested by readers.
As with every year of the awards, these selections are based entirely on my own tastes, which are imperfect, narrow, and weird….
(7) ALPHA GAME. The Traveler at Galactic Journey found a classic in “this month’s” F&SF — “[May 21, 1961] Pineapple Upside-Down Month (June 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction).
Cordwainer Smith’s Alpha Ralpha Boulevard is one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. Most tales of the future are either frustratingly conventional or completely opaque. Not so in Boulevard, which features a world dominated by “Instrumentality”, an omniscient computer dedicated to the happiness of humanity. 16,000 years from now, after a placid, highly regulated existence, people are, at last, offered the luxury of uncertainty (or at least the illusion thereof).
(8) PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. I guess readers are supposed to be shocked and dismayed that if you leave a flag outside in the sun for 50 years it isn’t going to stay looking brand new.
On the other hand, nobody has any photos showing “The American flags on the Moon have all turned white”.
(9) OPPOSED BY MARS. But this story you can see with your own eyes. NPR tells you how easy it will be to view Mars this weekend.
Sometimes astronomy can be challenging, but spotting Mars this weekend should be a breeze.
Step 1: Head outside right after sunset and look toward the southeastern sky.
Step 2: Find the full moon. (So far, so good, right?)
Step 3: Look up and to the right, and find what looks like a bright red star.
That’s Mars, our planetary neighbor — getting up close and personal.
This weekend is the “Mars opposition,” when the planet shines most brightly; at the end of the month, in a related event, we’ll have the “Mars close approach,” when there’s the shortest distance between the two planets.
(10) YOUR ROBOTIC FUTURE. Robin Hanson’s The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth will be released by Oxford University Press on June 1.
Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or ems. Scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer, and you have a robot brain, but recognizably human.
Train an em to do some job and copy it a million times: an army of workers is at your disposal. When they can be made cheaply, within perhaps a century, ems will displace humans in most jobs. In this new economic era, the world economy may double in size every few weeks.
Some say we can’t know the future, especially following such a disruptive new technology, but Professor Robin Hanson sets out to prove them wrong. Applying decades of expertise in physics, computer science, and economics, he uses standard theories to paint a detailed picture of a world dominated by ems.
The book, set 100-150 years in the future, is “speculative nonfiction” by an economist. The publicity blurbs come from David Brin, Vernor Vinge, Gregory Benford, and Hannu Rajshiemi, among others.
The website includes a TEDx talk Hanson did which got 2.2 million hits.
(11) GOOD, IF YOU LIKE ADS. “Goodreads has found a new way to get money from authors while annoying their use base,” says Dawn Sabados. “Opt out of ads features are just so wonderful.”
With the launch of Goodreads Deals in the U.S., we’re now offering authors and publishers a new way to amplify ebook price promotions to our millions of members. The Goodreads Deals program comes with built-in personalization options based on members’ Want to Read shelves, the authors they follow, and the genres they prefer—all designed to help your deals reach the readers with the highest interest in buying your books. Goodreads Deals is unique because we’ll enable you to reach existing fans and introduce your ebooks to new readers:
- Existing Fans: Every second, our members add 6 books to their Want to Read shelves—that’s 15 million books per month that have captured the interest of readers. With Goodreads Deals, you can now tap into that interest. We’ll email members when a book on their Want to Read shelf has a price promotion. We’ll also email any members who follow the author on Goodreads.
(12) IT IS SO. Writer and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan Emily Spahn, after learning that MLP is up for a Hugo because of the Rabid Puppies slate, wrote “I Have a Pony in this Race” to tell Hugo voters why the show (and that particular episode) are good sci-fi worthy of serious consideration rather than being just a troll nomination:
You know, it’s kind of appropriate that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was nominated for a Hugo in order to troll people. Our entire fandom was built on some trolling.
Way back in 2011, some guys on 4Chan started posting My Little Pony pictures and memes from the then-new series, Friendship is Magic. Other people complained, and being 4Chan, they responded by flooding the site with pictures of ponies.
But somewhere in there a strange thing happened. People checked out the show, whether because they thought the characters were cute or because they thought it would be dumb and wanted to mock it, and they liked it. Not ironically, and not because it was subversive or slipped adult humor in under the radar. They just really liked the simple stories about Twilight Sparkle and her pony friends. And Bronies were born.
Three weeks earlier a post written by Horizon, “MLP’s Hugo Award nomination: Into the culture wars”, provided historical context and got picked up by Equestria Daily, MLP fandom’s biggest website.
It is ambiguous whether the nomination was serious and ideological (the episode in question is about Starlight Glimmer’s “equality cult”, making it a potential political statement), or whether it was a “joke” nomination in the same vein as short-story finalist Space Raptor Butt Invasion, but in either case it was pretty transparently proposed as a slap in the face to Hugo voters.
If you don’t give a crap about SFF or American culture wars, that should be all the context you need to understand what has other people upset, and help you avoid falling into the drama if you stumble into someone slamming MLP.
(13) SCHOOL’S IN! SF Crowsnest points to this Eighties-style trailer for the new X-Men movie. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is now open for enrollment… (X-Men: Apocalypse in theaters May 27.)
[Thanks to Dawn Sabados, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Petrea Mitchell, Paul Weimer, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]
(1) PRELIMINARY PUPPIES. Vox Day issued his first “preliminary recommendations” today: “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best New Writer” (Preliminary, since he may change them based on feedback about eligibility, or for other reasons.)
To kick things off, we’ll begin with the Campbell Award: Best New Writer category:
- Pierce Brown
- Cheah Kai Wai
- Sebastien de Castell
- Marc Miller
- Andy Weir
There was a noteworthy exchange in the comments.
[Phil Sandifer] Just for the record, Vox, the only reason Andy Weir wasn’t on the ballot last year was the Puppies. Without you, the Campbell nominees last year would have been Chu, Weir, Alyssa Wong, Carmen Maria Marchado, and Django Wexler.
[VD] Oh, Phil, you’re always so careless. That is not the only reason. It is a reason. Had you SJWs favored Weir over Chu, he would have also been on the ballot.
In any event, since you all are such champions of Weir, I’m glad we will all be able to join forces and get him nominated.
(2) GRRM REQUESTS. After announcing that the Locus Recommended Reading List is online, George R.R. Martin explicitly said –
Just for the record, before the issue is raised, let me state loudly and definitively that I do not want any of my work to be part of anyone’s slate, this year or any year. But I do feel, as I have said before, that a recommended reading list and a slate are two entirely different animals.
— an announcement whose timing may be more relevant today than it would have been yesterday.
(3) LOCUS SURVEY. You can now take the Locus Poll and Survey at Locus Online. Anyone can vote; Locus subscriber votes count double. Voting closes April 15.
Here is the online version of the 46th annual Locus Awards ballot, covering works that appeared in 2015.
In each category, you may vote for up to five works or nominees, ranking them 1 (first place) through 5 (fifth).
As always, we have seeded the ballot with options based on our 2015 Recommended Reading List [this link will open a new window], mainly because this greatly facilitates tallying of results. However, again as always, you are welcome to use the write-in boxes to vote for other titles and nominees in any category. If you do, please try to supply author, title, and place of publication, in a format like the options listed, where appropriate.
Do not vote for more than one item in a category at the same rank (e.g. two selections ranked 1st); if you do, we will disregard your votes in that category.
File 770 is seeded in the Best Magazine or Fanzine category and would cherish your fifth place votes. Or twenty-fifth, for that matter – the competition is formidable.
(4) IT IS THE END MY FRIEND. And perhaps this is the right place to admire John Scalzi’s Whatever post title: “The End of All Things on the 2015 Locus Recommended Reading List”.
(5) STATISTICS. Brandon Kempner at Chaos Horizon began the month of February by “Checking Back in with the SFWA Recommended Reading List”. He prepared a change table and interpreted the rising fortunes of various novels, beginning with the greatest uptick —
What does this tell us? That Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk has emerged as a major Nebula contender, despite being lightly read (as of January 30th, this only has 93 ratings on Goodreads, 31 on Amazon, much much lower than other Nebula/Hugo contenders). That’s due in part to Schoen’s late publication date: the novel came out on December 29, 2015. That’s a tough time to come out, as you get lost in the post-Christmas malaise. A Nebula nomination would drive a lot of attention to this book. Schoen now seems like a very good bet for the Nebula, particularly when we factor in that he received Nebula nominations in the Best Novella category in 2013, 2014, and 2015. There’s clearly a subset of Nebula voters that really like Schoen’s work; a Best Novel nomination might be a spark that gets him more read by the rest of us.
(6) CONGRATULATIONS SCOTT EDELMAN. He did it! Scott Edelman celebrates a special sale in “Never give up, never surrender: My 44-year question to sell a short story to Analog”.
I’ve lost track of how many submissions I made to Analog during the intervening years, first to Ben Bova, then Stan Schmidt (for more than three decades!), and now Trevor Quachri. Were there 25 short stories? Fifty? It’s probably been more than that, but I don’t know for sure. And it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is—in the face of rejection, I kept writing.
What matters is—in the face of rejection, I kept submitting.
What matters is—I never took it personally. I knew that I wasn’t the one being rejected—it was only the words on the page that weren’t the right match.
(7) WILL EISNER AUCTION. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is auctioning books from Will Eisner’s personal collection.
Will Eisner wasn’t just the godfather of comics, a creative force who changed the face of modern comics — he was also a staunch advocate for the freedom of expression. In celebration of Eisner’s indomitable talent and advocacy, CBLDF is delighted to offer up for auction books from Eisner’s own personal collection!
All books in this collection come from the late, great Will Eisner’s personal library. The books from this collection are bookplated with Eisner’s own personalized bookplate, featuring his most famous creation, The Spirit. Most of the books in this collection are signed and personalized to the master himself by creators whom Eisner inspired over his illustrious 70-year career
The items are on eBay. The CBLDF’s post has all the links to the various lots.
(8) FAN ART AT RSR. I see that with help from eFanzines’ Bill Burns, Rocket Stack Rank terrifically upgraded its “2016 Fan Artists” content. Gregory N. Hullender explains.
With the help of Bill Burns, we’ve updated the Best Fan Artist page at RSR to include cover art from eFanzines (plus a few that Bill scanned by hand). This doubled the number of artists and tripled the number of images, making it comparable to the Pro Artist page.
(9) INCONCEIVABLE. Japan’s huge convention Comic Market, aka Comiket, which draws half a million fans (in aggregate over three days) expects to be bumped from its facilities in 2020. What could bump an event that big? The Olympics. Anime News Network reports —
Tokyo Big Sight, the convention center where Comiket is usually held, announced earlier that it would not be able to hold the convention between April 2019 and October 2020. Event spaces have been closing throughout the Tokyo area for the past decade. Tokyo Big Sight has also announced that industry booths at this summer’s Comiket would close after two days (instead of the usual three) to accommodate construction work to expand the building for the upcoming Olympics.
(10) TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE CANON. We might call this a contrarian view.
Given all the weird shit she's done since HP7, I do not accept that JKR is qualified to determine canon anymore. https://t.co/f8qDZODEe3
— Bill Ruhsam (@bruhsam) February 1, 2016
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
- February 1, 2003 – Space shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- February 1, 1954 – Bill Mumy, soon to be seen in Space Command.
(13) WOODEN STARSHIP. A Washington Post article about the renovation of the original Starship Enterprise model reveals it was mostly made from big pieces of wood. When ready, the Enterprise will be displayed in a slightly more prestigious spot .
Collum said the model had long hung in the gift shop of the Air and Space Museum on the Mall. Now it is headed for the renovated Milestones of Flight Hall there.
“The historical relevance of the TV show, and this model, has grown,” he said. “So it’s now being brought up into the limelight, and it’s going to be in the same gallery as the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ [and] the Apollo 11 command module.”
(14) HOW GAMES INSPIRE ENGAGING FICTION. N. K. Jemisin in “Gaming as connection: Thank you, stranger” talks about the aspect of game play that challenges her as a writer. (Beware spoilers about the game Journey.)
I see a lot of discussion about whether games are art. For me, there’s no point in discussing the matter, because this isn’t the first time I’ve had such a powerful emotional experience while gaming. That’s why I’m still a gamer, and will probably keep playing ’til I die. This is what art does: it moves you. Maybe it makes you angry, okay. Maybe it makes you laugh. Not all of it is good, but so what? There’s a lot of incredibly shitty art everywhere in the world. But the good art? That’s the stuff that has power, because you give it power. The stuff that lingers with you, days or years later, and changes you in small unexpected ways. The stuff that keeps you thinking. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to recreate that game experience with my fiction.
(15) SF IN CHINA. Shaoyan Hu discusses“The Changing Horizon: A Brief Summary of Chinese SF in Year 2015” at Amazing Stories. Quite an impressive roundup.
There were more than 70 college SF clubs in China in year 2015. Compared to 120 clubs in 2012, the number was reduced. However, two independent fandoms, Future Affairs Administration in Beijing and SF AppleCore in Shanghai, were still very active.
SF AppleCore is the most important fandom in Eastern China. Last year, in addition to orchestrating the annual Shanghai Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival, SF AppleCore continued to operate on a regular base to bring about the public SF events such as AppleCore Party (speeches and gatherings of fans) and AppleCore Reading Group.
Future Affairs Administration was the backbone behind the 2016 Worldcon bid for Beijing. Although the bid was not successful, they organized the Chinese Nebula Award ceremony in 2014. Last year, this fandom was consolidated into a media platform for SF and technology related information, although the function for fan events still remained.
(16) WORLDS OF LE GUIN. The Kickstarter fundraising appeal for Arwen Curry’s documentary Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin has begun. So far, 514 backers have pledged $39,699 of the $80,000 goal. The SFWA Blog endorsed it today:
Viewers will accompany Le Guin on an intimate journey of self-discovery as she comes into her own as a major feminist author, inspiring generations of women and other marginalized writers along the way. To tell this story, the film reaches into the past as well as the future – to a childhood steeped in the myths and stories of disappeared Native peoples she heard as the daughter of prominent 19th century anthropologist Alfred Kroeber.
Le Guin’s story allows audiences to reflect on science fiction’s unique role in American culture, as a conduit for our utopian dreams, apocalyptic fears, and tempestuous romance with technology. Le Guin, by elevating science fiction from mind candy to serious speculation, has given permission to younger mainstream writers like Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, and Jonathan Lethem to explore fantastic elements in their work.
(17) CGI OVERDOSE? At Yahoo! News, “These ‘Star Wars’ Blooper Reels Show Exactly Why the Prequels Failed”.
The blooper reels for the Star Wars prequel films have been available for a while, but there’s a noticeable trend with all of them. Nearly every blooper — genuinely funny or otherwise — is filmed within a green screen backdrop.
[Thanks to Janice Gelb, JJ, Petrea Mitchell, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Gregory N. Hullender.]
The 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List from the magazine’s February issue has been posted at Locus Online.
The list is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers, and others: Liza Groen Trombi, Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, Faren Miller, Russell Letson, Graham Sleight, Adrienne Martini, Carolyn Cushman, Tim Pratt, Karen Burnham, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Cheryl Morgan, Paul Kincaid, Ysabeau Wilce, Liz Bourke, Colleen Mondor, and James Bradley.
Short fiction selections are assembled from material from Laird Barron, K. Tempest Bradford, Karen Burnham, Neil Clarke, Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, Paula Guran, Rich Horton, Brit Mandelo, Faren Miller, Nisi Shawl, Jonathan Strahan, Lois Tilton, and Gary K. Wolfe.
On the list are —
- 28 SF novels, 22 fantasy novels, 19 YA books, 13 first novels;
- 27 collections, 12 original anthologies, 11 reprint anthologies;
- 7 nonfiction books, 18 art books;
- 18 novellas
- 32 novelettes
- 66 short stories
Three self-published works made the list: two art books, and Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Baen Books broke into the Locus Recommended list this year with John Joseph Adams’ original anthology Operation Arcana, ending a drought going back years (the publisher had no books on Locus’ 2014 or 2013 lists.)
Those sifting the omens to learn whether Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen will be Hugo-eligible in the year determined by its available-for-purchase 2015 e-ARC or its February 2016 publication date can ponder what it means that the book does not appear on the Locus list.
Locus Magazine’s Liza Groen Trombi has commented on Lois Tilton’s statement about her resignation as the publication’s short fiction reviewer.
While we don’t usually discuss the end of a contract relationship online, we do want to clarify something about the recent statement made by a freelance reviewer and her relationship with Locus. Lois Tilton wrote: “Without consulting or informing me, they had begun deleting material they considered negative from my reviews. To me, this is censorship and completely unacceptable.” This has been interpreted incorrectly to mean that Locus was making editorial changes to Lois’s columns without her consent.
To clarify, Locus made a decision this month to change how editing future online review columns was to be managed — folding the online columns in to the existing Locus editorial stream and applying the same standard to online reviews as the magazine.
Locus publishes both positive and negative reviews and, we hope, encourages a robust conversation about the works being discussed. When Lois was told about the editorial process being applied to the website, she opted to resign. None of her columns affected by this decision have been posted online, and she was paid for the work even though it will not be published.
We are sorry to see this relationship come to end after 205 columns. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.