By John Hertz: (mostly reprinted from No Direction Home 43) Saturday
11:30 a.m. at Loscon XLVI,
a panel discussion “The Asimov Centenary”.
We were starting early, or maybe
right; without birth records, he celebrated 3 Jan 1920 but it could have been
in 1919. Moderator, pro author and interviewer Alvaro Zinos-Amaro,
with Fan Guest of Honor Edie Stern, Joe Siclari of FANAC (Florida
Association for Nucleation And Conventions, sponsor of the 50th World Science
Fiction Convention [which Siclari chaired] at Orlando, Florida, and currently a
fanhistory Website <fanac.org>, fanac our
long-time slang for fan activity), Matthew Tepper the con chair and Asimov
scholar, and me.
The panel was billed as discussing
“his growth as a writer, and the
impact that his writings have had on real life culture and science”; I thought,
said, those people have gone to milk the bull.
The work of
Asimov the SF author was imagination; of Asimov the science writer – his four
hundred science columns for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science
Fiction, his six dozen popular-science books – was
explanation. He said he strove for clarity; at both this was his
talent, his skill, perhaps we may say his genius. Let us not turn
away to having an impact (that wretched cant) on real
life culture and science. His growth as a writer –
alas, I thought he shrank. I could not think The Gods
Themselves (1972) his best SF; on the
contrary. Nevertheless he was a wonder.
Tepper said Asimov brought sweeping
stories up close and personal. That also applied to his
non-fiction. Stern said, he worked out a premiss (yes, that’s how
the logic kind is spelled, plural “premisses”; “premises” is the land
kind). He showed how social forces shaped. Siclari said
he could present complex science simply. He had a spirit of play;
not only in his writing, he was active in Gilbert
& Sullivan fandom. I said he was one of our
best what if writers.
Zinos-Amaro asked, accusations of
his mistreating women have emerged: does that complicate what we think of
him? Stern reminded us these things were no news; everyone with a
skirt, she said, knew he was grabby. She told of a woman in a shirt
printed with six-finger outlines who retorted “Isaac, if your hands fit these,
you can, otherwise no”; he stopped. Tepper said, we’re faced with even
greater creative personalities who were flawed – like Wagner. We
can’t minimize either side. A woman in the audience said “I ran a
convention; he was very professional.”
On yet another side, Stern told of
a Boston collating session in the mimeograph days; just as a man declined to
pitch in, saying “I’m a published author”, Asimov stuck his head out of the
collating room calling “Hey, Tony, we need more of Page 2.”
Zinos-Amaro asked us each what one
book we’d recommend. Stern said, Pebble in the Sky (1950). Siclari
said, Foundation (1951). Tepper said, The
Caves of Steel (1953). I said, The End of
Eternity (1955). Look too for the collections of his short
stories and of his science essays. With fiction and non-fiction he had
published five hundred books – plus anthologies – plus founding Asimov’s
Science Fiction magazine.
In the Art Show the best for me was
Elizabeth Berrien. This
extraordinary wire-worker was famous among us for years. Her animals
and other creations are in many of our homes. At Lonestarcon II, the
55th Worldcon, she won Best in Art Show. As her career grew, she
found herself making things for airports, hotels, museums, offices,
restaurants, television advertising, zoos.
Chris Marble said “It’s been 21
years since she exhibited at Loscon.” In 2019 she was in the Art
Show at Spikecon, the combined Westercon (West Coast Science Fantasy
Conference) and NASFiC (North America SF Con, held when the Worldcon is
overseas), fifty miles from where the Final
Spike completed the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years earlier; Marble had carried her work to and from the 77th Worldcon in
When she’s present, at a party or a panel discussion, you’ll see
her listening or contributing to the conversation, all the while twisting
wire. She must carry the whole in her mind, like Michelangelo saying
“I just get a block of marble and chip away anything that isn’t a Madonna and
Child.” If you look at wire sculpture around the world, you’ll see
hers is distinctive. It may be unique.
We have fan tables. We
don’t know any better name for them. Along the traffic flow are
people and displays on behalf of scheduled cons, bids to hold cons, contests,
SF clubs, to answer questions and as may seem suitable.
At Loscon, the Orange County SF
Club usually has a table. Their logograph is a Space ship taking off
from an orange. To be friendly there’s usually an
orange-colored bowl with orange-flavored candy. I keep meaning to
ask whether OCSFC is in touch with the Netherlands
national football team.
If you can’t remember whether you
have a membership in something or other there may well be someone at a table
with a list paper or electronic who might, in case you don’t and want one,
offer you a do-it-now discount. Non-profit organizations have to get
I had to go off-site three times for errands that took hours. Half of one later proved needless. Another could have been avoided, but Life is a continuing series of adventures in which you learn you’d have done better to think of something else in advance.
I saw I’d be late for the Saturday
night Paul Turner memorial panel (1936-2019). High-tech
folk helped me tell Operations. I arrived after 8:30, but I
arrived. Neola Caveny moderated Greg Benford, Paul’s son now known
as the Wizard, Suzanne Vegas, and eventually me.
Paul was given
the Evans-Freehafer Award for service to the LASFS in 1964. He was
Fan Guest of Honor at Loscon XX. In our audience Bill Ellern said
that while Paul is with some justice credited for inventing the LASFS Building
Fund (Jerry Pournelle, “You’re out of your mind”; Paul, “Sure I am”), by
which LASFS indeed bought a clubhouse, Betty Knight as Treasurer in the 1950s
kept saying we should start one but nobody listened. Paul held
salons with SF authors, Jet Propulsion Lab scientists, and like that, for
conversation and nourishment. His mind ranged wide.
Sunday 2:30 p.m., the second Classics of
SF book talk, C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra (1943; reached
the Retro-Hugo ballot). I’ll stay with “audience” although I invite
and perhaps some would say drag in participation. Is it a
classic? why? From the audience: the people – and the other
characters – are genuine; I asked, how could we know; a woman said, “If we
met them they’d be like that.” She had hit on what Johnson said of
Shakespeare (two geometric figures of the same shape are similar, regardless of
differences in size):
He approximates the remote, and familiarizes the wonderful; the event which he represents will not happen, but if it were possible, its effects would probably be such as he has assigned; and it may be said, that he has not only shown human nature as it acts in real exigencies, but as it would be found in trials, to which it cannot be exposed.
Another said the descriptions of
landscape were almost as interesting as the plot. Another: the
portrayal of Ransom’s internal reactions. Another: Ransom isn’t too
perfect. Sean Smith said he wrestles with his moral
dilemma. He asks “Why me?” and painfully answers. Father
John Blaker said, Lewis takes these questions seriously – but not, ran our
consensus, at the expense of his fiction.
which might ideally mean inspiring, has too often proved to
mean oppressing; we thought Lewis avoided falling into that
pit. Another said a truly loving person discusses.
If Perelandra had
anything in common with our Friday book, Asimov’s Second
Foundation (1953) – gosh – it might be the centrality of
dialogue. Look at the nearly impossible task of characterizing
Ransom’s adversary – and I don’t mean Weston.
I bought Craig Miller’s “Star Wars” Memories (2019)
from his own self. Later, helping take
down the Dealers’ Room; dinner; I got to the Dead Dog Party (until
the last dog is –) round about midnight. As it happens I’d
helped to supply it – and the Staff Den; at length I’d been made Chief Hall-Costume
Judge (the costumes some people build or assemble for strolling the halls; Marjii
Ellers called them daily wear for alternative worlds)
Some of us were still
alive. Karl Lembke, chairman (the suffix -man is
not masculine) of the LASFS Board and a refreshments wizard, was still on
duty. A good thing, too.
By John Hertz: (mostly
reprinted from No Direction Home 42) On Friday
night at Loscon XLVI (local SF convention, sponsored by the L.A. Science
Fantasy Society; see here) after Regency dancing (see Mimosa 29; or read Georgette Heyer‘s Regency romances – or both) I
changed back to my conventional attire and went to
wander the world of parties.
I’ve long felt an in it but not of it quality
is elemental to fandom. More usually interest-groups seem tighter
focused on, or entangled with, their topic. It makes us harder to
explain. People ask me “Are you a writer?” and I have to answer with
something like my father’s scrupulous reply when we played Guess What Daddy Had
for Lunch, “Not within the normal meaning of that term.” My best
formulation so far is A love of SF is the thread on which the beads of
fan activity are strung. Anyway, it shows in our social life.
At our cons we have open (everybody welcome) and
closed (invitation-only) parties. Some of them have a particular
reason for existence. Some of them. See what I mean?
I dropped by the Baycon party. This is the
San Francisco Bay area local con, held over the United States Memorial Day
weekend; Baycon XXXVIII will be in 2020 (we’re not always careful terminologists:
Westercon XIV – the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference on or near U.S.
Independence Day, though not necessarily within the U.S.; Westercon LXXIII will
be in 2020 – was “Baycon”, apparently the first SF con [in two senses of “SF”]
so called: later the 26th World Science Fiction Convention, combined with
Westercon XXI, and famous in song and story, was also “Baycon”).
A calendar conflict keeps me from Baycon, although I
have friends there, and am an honorary officer of the Bay Area SF Association
(Club motto, also Rule 0, “We do these things not because they are hard, but
because we are weird”), which was convenient when the 66th Worldcon was at
Yokohama Bay – in a Bay Area, and BASFA wanted a quorum. So I seek
out Baycon parties.
To some extent a Baycon party is an attempt to sell
Baycon memberships. (Among our better acts of terminology we insist
we sell not tickets, but memberships: not admittance to a thing others have
made, but participation in making it.) Why not? See, we can
host a party: we can host a convention. But also it’s a
contribution to the conviviality (good word to look up) of the time and place
where it’s held. I’m in favor of that. Also similar
parties thrown by other cons, and by bids to hold cons.
Some cons have themes. I’m not particularly
in favor of that; I’d rather they had theremins (seems unfair to ask for the
Island of Kalymnos dance Thymariotikos, although I’m fond of it).
The Baycon XXXVIII theme is “The future is now!”,
elaborated as “This year’s theme celebrates science fiction’s
influence on our present day”. I found that particularly
regrettable. It seemed to draw in the notion that SF is in the
business of predicting the future, one of the nastier poisons to afflict
us. Also the current cant of influence too often
operates as a nasty distraction from actually looking, substituting instead
what other people think. So I had the nourishingly demanding task of
managing conviviality with my friends, making new friends, and conferring about
the health of our field.
Down the hall was Keith Kato’s, combined as happens at
Loscon with Carol & Elst Weinstein’s, and Kenn Bates’.
At cons Kato has for years been hosting chili parties, some open, some closed. He cooks up a vat of hot (“To Everyone Except Bob Silverberg”) and a vat of mild (“To Everyone Except Marion Zimmer Bradley”), recently also a vat of vegetarian and, at Loscon, one of bison. He has not been hindered by his career as a physicist, his achieving a Black Belt in shõtõkan karate, nor his term as President of the Heinlein Society. In File 770 159 (PDF) p. 35, his own story to that date, I was in his Gang of Four. If he’s on the night of Regency dancing he knows I can’t show up soon; nor can I fairly ask him to save me a bowl of mild, I have to take my chances.
The Weinsteins at Loscon have hosted Herbangelist wine
and cheese parties (on Herbie
Popnecker, see Forbidden Worlds 73; he had his
own title 1964-67; zeal lasts); Bates has hosted dessert parties, usually with
a chocolate-fondue fountain; that they would co-host was inevitable, and they
Brad Lyau had been given the Moskowitz Archive Award
at the 77th Worldcon (Dublin, 15-19 Aug 19). I congratulated
him. The Award, named for Sam Moskowitz, is from First Fandom, for
excellence in SF collecting; First Fandom is both a historical fact – those
happy few active since at least the first Worldcon, 1939 – and an organization
devoted to fanhistory.
Lyau had revealed in Scientifiction 61
(N.S., i.e. New Series) that he has Julie Schwartz’ copy of SaM’s 1954 Immortal
Storm, inscribed to Julie by SaM – then when Lyau told them he’d gotten it,
inscribed by each of them to him! Gosh! Forry Ackerman
had helped with Lyau’s Ph.D. dissertation on 1950s French SF. Lyau
has been at it a while.
I was fascinated to learn he’d studied with Hans Küng
(1928- ). We spoke of epistemology (good word to look
up); I repeated my jest that I’d long been an amateur epistemologist – I was a
Philosophy major – and now I’m also a professional epistemologist, although we
lawyers don’t like to think of ourselves as philosophers. We’re
Lyau talked of the “scholastic stranglehold” in the
days of the Schoolmen, say 1100-1700. I said that wasn’t really fair
to Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) for one. Lyau said it wasn’t Aristotle’s
fault (lived fifteen centuries earlier) that Aristotle’s work became
ossified. I said the poor Buddha (a century before Aristotle), if
that expression could be used, told people not to make statues of
him. Lyau said the Buddha was a messenger of universal truth. I
had been with a Japanese Buddhist priest during the Bon Festival
(rhymes with “hone”; short for a Sanskrit word referring to suffering by the
dead in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which the Festival hopes to relieve) who
said “We don’t worship our ancestors, we just venerate them.”
Saturday 11:30 a.m., “The Asimov Centenary”, Joe
Siclari, Fan Guest of Honor Edie Stern, Matthew Tepper, and me, moderated by
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro. Isaac Asimov didn’t know his birthday, no
records. He celebrated January 2, 1920, but it could have been a day
in 1919. Anyway, why not start now?
Siclari had chaired the 50th Worldcon (Orlando), has
long been a student of SF particularly graphic art, also fanhistory; was the
2005 Down Under Fan Fund delegate; with Stern his wife received the 2016 Big
Heart Award; heads (although he and Stern moved back to New York) the Florida
Association for Nucleation And Conventions (yes, that spells FANAC, since at
least the 1940s short for “fan activity”), sponsor of the 50th Worldcon and
these days a fanhistorical Website.
Tepper, the con chair and in fact an Asimov scholar,
had been the “Let’s kill him now” boy of Asimov’s anecdote in The
Hugo Winners; to be fair, Asimov himself didn’t say that.
Zinos-Amaro has on his Website, along with Lao Tzû and
Emily Dickinson, Asimov’s line from I. Asimov “The interplay
of thought and imagination is far superior to that of muscle and sinew.”
By John Hertz: (mostly reprinted from No Direction Home 41) Loscon
is my local SF convention, sponsored by the Los Angeles Science
Fantasy Society; Loscon XLVI was 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2019 at the L.A. Int’l Airport
Marriott Hotel; Author Guest of Honor Howard Waldrop, Fan GoH Edie Stern,
Editor GoH Moshe Feder; attendance about 730; Art Show sales about $5,500.
Radiant thanks to
Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink for her computer-aided-graphics help with Rotsler Award
displays. The Award is for
long-time wonder-working in amateur publications of the science fiction
community, the fame of its eponym Bill Rotsler, to honor whom it was begun in
1998; it’s sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests
(yes, that spells SCIFI, pronounced “skiffy”), and announced at
Loscon. The judges are Mike Glyer, Sue Mason (since 2015), and me
For years I made
Worldcon displays showing work of the winners to date, and Loscon displays
showing work of the year’s winner, with photocopies and colored construction
paper. At Denvention III the 66th World Science Fiction
Convention they were mounted on handsome black signboard contributed by Spike;
otherwise on pegboard with hooks and clips.
with her expertise and equipment has labored with me to do both displays on
computer-printed banners, which have looked swell, saved hours of at-con
effort, and eased reaching overseas Worldcons I’ve usually been unable to
The 2019 Worldcon (the
77th) was at Dublin; we also made a display celebrating the 500th year after
the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), who touched on SF with his designs
for things not yet possible to available technology, and was generally amazing
astounding planetary thrilling wondrous. We mounted it at Loscon
XLVI too. Thanks to Jan Bender for getting it and the
Rotsler-winners-to-date display to and from Dublin.
This year’s Rotsler
winner is Alison Scott. Thanks to Mason for helping wrangle Scott
images (I mustn’t call them Scottish, she’s English) in time for
Loscon. You can see a note by me, with samples, here.
Photographs of the
Loscon XLVI displays have been promised and no doubt will arrive Real Soon Now. Meanwhile
you can see the Dublin winners-to-date display here.
At cons I’ve been
leading Classics of SF discussions, one story (mostly book-length)
each. Once I did two books together – same author, same
year. I’ve been on but don’t recommend “What are the classics?”
panels; I find they tend, instead of discussing, to become favorite-fights.
Sometimes a con puts me
on, or has me moderate, a panel to discuss a story. Most often it’s
just I and the so-called audience – “so-called” because, from my point of
view anyway, the blood of the SF community is participation. I tell
people “You needn’t speak up, but I hope you will.” Also I believe
the price of having strong opinions is recognizing that others can have strong
Do cons keep naming me
alone because I’m so wonderful? Maybe. Maybe it’s easier for
Programming than juggling the schedules of five people.
Loscon this year asked
me to do two classics; I proposed, and when they were accepted I led
discussions on, Asimov’s Second Foundation (1953), Friday
afternoon at half-past one, and Lewis’ Perelandra (1943),
Sunday afternoon at half-past two.
Perelandra had reached the Retrospective Hugo ballot. It’s one of
few books in our field to engage with mainstream religion. Second
Foundation happened to be the first Asimov I ever
read. It’s the third in a trilogy (Foundation 1951, Foundation
and Empire 1952; decades later Asimov and others added prequels and
sequels); Perelandra is the second (Out of the Silent
Planet 1938, That Hideous Strength 1945).
Re-reading each before
proposing them to the con I felt each could stand by itself. Also I
elected taking Second Foundation as a single novel, though
composed of two shorter works “Now You See It –” (1948), “– And Now You Don’t”
(1950; reached the Retro-Hugo ballot).
I try for stories
interesting in different ways. I think Second
Foundation and Perelandra are.
Once a con asked me to
do only one of these discussions; at another I did five. Three seems
to be about right, thinking of the con as an artform, its rhythm, its balance.
Some years ago when a Programming chief asked me what size rooms I’d
need, I said “These discussions usually draw a dozen or two”; she said “That’s
about what I thought. Not huge crowds; but they’re a kind of thing
we should be doing.” I said “That’s what I think too.”
classic? I’m still with A classic is a work that survives
its time; after the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it
remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself.
I don’t think we’re
very classics-conscious in fandom. Not just SF classics; any.
(1564-1616): we know his plays drew crowds; we know all kinds of folk went
to see them; they’re full of references to Greek and Roman literature of the
previous millennium; indeed if you could read and write in his day you could
read and write Latin.
which was written for the general reading public, and is full of references to
the Bible, The Divine Comedy (1320), Goethe (1749-1832), Greek
mythology, Milton (1608-1674), Pope (1688-1744), Renaissance painting and
poetry, Roman history, Shakespeare, H.G. Wells – and Lewis
Carroll. A current that’s changed.
On Friday afternoon, no
one wishing to amend my proposed definition, we proceeded to Is “Second
Foundation” a classic?
David H. Levine (i.e.
not David D., whom I don’t expect to see at Loscon) said it towered above other
SF. Many said its characters were distinct – which is largely
achieved by dialogue. We’re given little of how they look; what they
wear; their music; their landscapes; but – speaking of Lewis Carroll – if this
is a book without pictures, it certainly has conversations (Alice in
Wonderland ch. 1, 1865).
It’s complicated; but
it presents its complications with clarity. It has a sense of
event. It has a sense of the telling detail. It’s neat;
indeed, spare. It’s vivid. And if, as Asimov later said,
he heard from somebody in the late 1940s that no one could write an SF
detective story, he didn’t disprove it in 1953 with The Caves of
Steel – he already had.
Then Regency dancing.
This fad in fandom – England having had few regencies, we
mean the one of 1811-1820, and the years before and after, since a historical
period seldom starts of a sudden – is of course very much my fault, but it came
about because of Georgette Heyer.
Her historical fiction
set then, thirty superb books published until her death in 1972 and much
reprinted – yes, they’re romances, yes I a heterosexual man was so dull I had
to be introduced to them by a woman – spark with wit appealing to the fannish
mind. I took up the challenge of teaching the
dances. Fuzzy Pink Niven doesn’t make that eggnog anymore.
So on Friday evening I
changed clothes to host. Sometimes a dozen or two come by, in
costume or not; at the 42nd Worldcon there were three hundred. Neola
Caveny, whom Greg Benford had found and who the next night would moderate the
Paul Turner memorial panel, had come from Hawaii and had made a Regency gown.
John Hertz: Alison
Scott has received the 2019 Rotsler Award for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur
publications of the science fiction community.
Award, established at the death of Bill Rotsler, has been given since
1998. It carries an honorarium of US$300.
did everything and knew everyone. He sculpted with stainless-steel
rods and went house-hunting with Marilyn Monroe. He drew on paper,
mimeograph stencils, food, body parts.
The SF community’s highest achievement award is the Hugo
Award, named for SF pioneer Hugo Gernsback, voted annually in several
categories by members of the World Science Fiction Convention.
Rotsler won the Best-Fanartist Hugo five times, in 1975 and
1979, 1996 (when he also won a Retrospective Hugo for 1946) and 1997, a
remarkable span. His cartoons were deft, his serious drawing fine,
his fluency downright breathtaking.
gained renown as layout wizard and cover artist for the much-loved – no, it’s
British, better not say that – highly-regarded fanzine PLOKTA, “the
journal of superfluous technology”, PLOKTA being an acronym for Press Lots Of
Keys To Abort.
PLOKTA won the Best-Fanzine Hugo in
2005 and 2006. Scott won the United Kingdom’s Nova Award as Best
Fanartist in ’05, ’07, and ’08. The Plokta cabal attended the 67th
Worldcon (“Anticipation”, Montreal) and produced its newsletter Voyageur.
chaired her national convention the Eastercon (held Easter weekend) in 1995
(“Confabulation”, 46th Eastercon, London) and 2018 (“Follycon”, 69th Eastercon,
Harrogate). She will be Fan Guest of Honour in 2020 (“Concentric”,
71st Eastercon, Birmingham).
admirable distinctions are only mentioned as noteworthy. They
do not of course qualify or disqualify her for the Rotsler Award, which is a
cat that walks by itself.
are front and back covers Scott did for an issue of Beam (then
by Nic Farey and Jim Trash, currently by Farey and Ulrika O’Brien),
a front cover for PLOKTA.
Concentric materials so far released say she is irrepressible. Brits are
Rotsler winner is announced each year at Loscon, held at Los Angeles during the
United States Thanksgiving-holiday weekend. Loscon
XLVI, 29 November – 1 December 2019, will have a display of
Scott’s work in the Art Show, and elsewhere of all Rotsler winners to
date. A display of all Rotsler winners can usually be seen at the
Worldcon; for “Dublin 2019”, the 77th Worldcon, look here.
is sponsored by the non-profit L.A. Science Fantasy Society, oldest SF club in
the world. The Rotsler is sponsored by the non-profit Southern
California Institute for Fan Interests. The current Rotsler judges
are Mike Glyer, John Hertz (since 2003), and Sue Mason (since 2015).
More examples of Alison Scott’s artwork follow the jump.
(1) FACEBOOK FLIES OFF THE HANDLE. Canadian sff author Daniel
Arenson somehow ran
afoul of Facebook’s moderators by sharing images commemorating the
Holocaust on his author page. The problem was unresolved for several days, and
even now Arenson is concerned that he will be banned, as he explained in a post
on his personal FB page. (As of this writing, the commemorative posts can be
seen on Daniel Arenson’s
An update on my Facebook trouble… I might be banned entirely from the site. If I disappear, I want you to know why.
A few days ago, on my Author Page (separate from this account, which is my personal account) I shared a post that commemorated the Holocaust. It was a project created by a Jewish artist, and included some images of Holocaust victims. Facebook removed the photos, claiming they feature “nudity or sexual activity.”
This seemed to be the work of a bot. I figured it was just a bug in the algorithm. So I applied for a human to review this case, and to potentially restore the photos. A human took a look, told me the memorial photos (created by a Jewish artist) are “hate speech,” and that I’m banned from using Facebook for 24 hours.
Three days went by, and my Author Page was still in “Facebook jail.” Meanwhile, Facebook charged my credit card $1,100 for running ads using that page. The same page I’m locked out of.
I contacted Facebook support, and I finally got a hold of a human. I asked why I was banned, and how long the ban would last. They simply threatened to extend the ban. From their tone, it sounded like they might hit me with even more bans, maybe affecting my personal account (this one) too.
They did not provide reasons why this is happening. I explained that the photos were created by a Jewish artist, who wanted to commemorate the Holocaust. Facebook support staff simply threatened further bans against my account(s).
Today, even on my personal account, I’ve had some trouble accessing the website. Maybe it’s just a Facebook-wide issue, though, and unrelated to my troubles.
If I disappear entirely, this is why. I shared photos by a Jewish artist who wanted to commemorate the Holocaust. Since then, Facebook has been smacking my accounts around, and every time I contact them, it gets worse.
(2) VETERAN OF TM BATTLE SPEAKS OUT. Tara Crescent, after
seeing news about Christine
Feehan’s effort to trademark “Dark” for a series of fiction works, wrote how
burdensome it was for her last year to fight someone else’s attempt to
trademark “Cocky.” Thread starts here.
‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ has once again been cancelled. This time by Netflix and right before the show’s anniversary. The series debuted on Thanksgiving in 1988 and would later grow into a yearly marathon. This year, you can still binge on this fan-favorite event but with the sad news that new episodes will not be on the horizon on Netflix.
You can read the entire order here, but it boils down to Mignogna being required to pay almost $250k to the defendants. While this is significantly less than the amounts asked for by the defendants (which was a sum roughly around $800k), it’s still a significant chunk of change. Mignogna’s representatives already attempted to file an appeal prematurely, and it is highly likely that they will attempt to do so again. If Mignogna’s potential appeal fails, he will be required to pay significantly more to the defendants as well.
Disability rights advocates have filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that the brand new Hunters Point Library in Queens prevents people with mobility issues from “full and equal access” to the branch.
The lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn federal court by the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York (CIDNY), argues that the Steven Holl Architects-designed library violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After two decades of planning, the $41 million branch opened in Long Island City this September to glowing architectural reviews, but soon came under fire because sections of the library are inaccessible to wheelchair users and others with limited mobility.
Disability Rights Advocates is handling the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs and claims that “inaccessible features pervade” the new branch, and calls out three levels with bookshelves, a reading and small-group space in a children’s section, and a rooftop terrace for featuring accessibility barriers that prevent “full and equal enjoyment” of the library.
“Heralded as a ‘stunning architectural marvel’ and a ‘beacon of learning, literacy and culture,’ the newly-built Hunters Point Library was designed and built with a total disregard for adults and children with mobility disabilities and in flagrant contempt of the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” the 21-page complaint states.
(6) THE DEAR DEPARTED. There will be a special party at
this weekend’s Loscon in Los Angeles –
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
November 27, 1981 — Frankenstein Island preimired. Starring John Carradine and Cameron Mitchell, it’s more or less a remake of Teenage Zombies. It was co-produced, written, directed and edited by Jerry Warren who did the latter film as well. The fifteen hundred who have collectively rated it at Rotten Tomatoes give a vote of just seven.
November 27, 2002 — The animated Treasure Planet premiered. It is at least the second telling of Stevenson’s Treasure Island in an SF film setting as there’s an 1987 Italian L’isola del tesoro (Treasure Island in Outer Space) series. It went on to be one of the costly box office failures ever as production costs alone were nearly one hundred and fifty million dollars. While it bombed at the theater, it has an impressive 71% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 27, 1907 — L. Sprague de Camp. The Tales from Gavagan’s Bar he wrote with Fletcher Pratt are my favorite works by him. Best novel by him? I’d say that’s Lest Darkness Fall. (Died 2000.)
Born November 27, 1935 — Verity Lambert. Founding Producer of Doctor Who. (When she was appointed to Who in 1963, she was BBC Television’s only female drama producer, as well as the youngest.) After leaving BBC, she’d oversee the Quatermass series at Thames. She’d return to BBC to Executive Produce three seasons of So Haunt Me, a supernatural series. Wiki weirdly has her producing an episode of Doctor Who called “A Happy Ending” in 2006 which doesn’t exist. (Died 2007.)
Born November 27, 1942 — Jimi Hendrix. I wouldn’t be including him but the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has a long and persuasive essay on him actually being influenced by SF. It has comments such as “for example the title of his second single, ‘Purple Haze’ (1967), though taken by many to encode a reference to drugs, is actually from Philip José Farmer’s novel Night of Light…” That essay is here. (Died 1970.)
Born November 27, 1940 — Bruce Lee. His only genre role was as Kato in The Green Hornet which to my utter surprise lasted for just twenty-six episodes between 1966 and 1967. He also appeared on Batman in three episodes, “The Spell of Tut”, “Batman’s Satisfaction”, and “A Piece of The Action”. (Died 1973.)
Born November 27, 1951 — Melinda M. Snodgrass, 68. She wrote several episodes of Next Gen while serving as the story editor during its second and third seasons. She also wrote scripts for Sliders, Strange Luck, Beyond Reality, Odyssey 5, Outer Limits and SeaQuest DSV. She’s a co-editor of and frequent story contributor to George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series.
Born November 27, 1964 — Rebecca Ferratti, 55. Did you know some of the Gor novels were made into films? Well they were. This actress played Takena, the co-lead, in the ones that were made, Gor and The Outlaw of Gor. They may or may not have been the worst films she was in during her film career…
Born November 27, 1974 — Jennifer O’Dell, 45. Her only meaningful role to date, genre or otherwise, has been that of Veronica on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. She’s had some minor roles such on Charmed and Bones, and appearances on films such as Alien Battlefield but nothing major to date.
Born November 27, 1974 — Alec Newman, 45. He played Paul Atreides on the Dune and Children of Dune series. He was Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows film, and he had the recurring role of Malik on Enterprise. He was Drogyn, Keeper of the Deeper Well, and an eternally young warrior of good on Angel.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Bizarro realized which profession would know how to get the most passengers in a small spacecraft.
Ms. Mackie received rave reviews from fans – and critics across the globe – playing the down-to-earth Bill, the series’ first openly gay companion character, including her tour-de-force performances later in the season during the two-part finale and the subsequent Christmas special, both hers and Capaldi’s final adventure “Twice Upon a Time.”
(11) RAPPIN’ REY. On the Tonight Show, Daisy Ridley
performed a rap recapping the first eight episodes that make up Star Wars’
trilogy of trilogies. Full lyrics on YouTube here.
Woodtech on Triana Boulevard makes tap handles for local breweries in addition to specialty items for defense companies, wine crates, puzzles, wooden boxes, business signs, trays with old maps of Huntsville, cornhole-game boards and more.
Another beer-space Huntsville-local connection is the Straight
to Ale craft brewery, makers of Monkeynaut Pale Ale, which was inspired by Miss Baker, who lived out
her life at the local U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
Miss Baker (1957-1984) was a squirrel monkey who in 1959 became, along with rhesus macaque Miss Able, one of the first two animals launched into space by the United States and safely returned.
A turkey may be so prepared and preserved that, according to Artephius’s Key of Wisdom, “an ingenious Man may raise the fine Shape of a Homunculus out of its Ashes at his Pleasure, so he may, without any criminal Necromancy raise the Shape of any dead Ancestor for study and labor.”
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Well, it’s
a commercial. But it’s a cute commercial.
This holiday, follow the magical story of Lucy, a curious 6-year-old with a few questions for her reindeer friends. With the help of her mom’s Surface and Microsoft Translator, she finally gets her chance to ask the most important questions of the season. Microsoft technology empowers and connects everyone on the planet…well, almost everyone.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Bill, Chip Hitchcock, Cat
Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of
these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip
I have spent the past week reading and processing the ongoing revelations and allegations about my publisher ChiZine. I honour the words and experiences and the courage of those who have come forward to speak.
Through my agent, I have requested that ChiZine revert to me the rights to all of my work that they have published.
Re: The current status of my collection Celestial Inventories and Melanie’s final novel The Yellow Wood–I’ve asked for and received a reversion of the rights for these two ChiZine titles. As soon as they are removed from such online booksellers as Amazon they will be re-issued by Crossroads Press as e-books. Hopefully, at some point they will reappear in paperback form, but I can’t be sure if and when.
Statement from Can*Con regarding recent public information about ChiZine:
A large number of detailed allegations of abusive behaviour and non-payment of authors and staff have recently come to light. Friends and members of the Can*Con community have been touched and hurt financially and emotionally. As Co-Chairs of Can*Con, we stand with the victims and offer our support, both as an organization and as Derek and Marie. We do not believe that there is a place in our community for abusive behaviour.
We would also like to offer to use what platform and resources we have to help the affected authors and staffers continue to move their careers forward. We would like to immediately offer to:
***use Can*Con’s social media presence to promote the books that affected authors may have for sale that will put money in their pockets, as well as places where the public can support their art through means such as Patreon, Ko-Fi, Drip, etc;
***waive the registration fee for Can*Con 2020 to affected authors and staffers so as to reduce the burden of participating in the community; and
***we will set aside 1-2 tables for free in the dealer’s room at Can*Con 2020, where affected authors and staffers can sell their author stock, other books, etc. without an additional conference expense. The authors could work together to organize shifts for the table, so that they can enjoy the con and network.
Any staffers or authors who would like to participate in any or all of this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As co-chairs of a public event, we also have additional responsibilities in the face of this new information. We’ll take other appropriate actions to make Can*Con a place free of harassment and abuse, although it is possible that we will not be able to make public statements about that work. However, we hope that people take at face value our commitment to creating a positive, encouraging, energizing, uplifting space for SFFH folk. We are committed to always listen, learn, and act to continue to make Can*Con a space the community can be proud of.
We send our best and much warmth to those directly affected and also those triggered by these events. If we can do anything to help, please feel free to personally reach out to either or both of us.
Derek and Marie (and the whole Can*Con team)
Kerrie Byrne, after reading various posts revealing ChiZine’s finances, wrote another extended thread which begins here.
I’ve been at the shit end of the stick with them ever since our relationship blew up when I withdrew my last book in Jan of 2018. My reasons for doing so were both personal and professional. Leaving the personal reasons aside, they hadn’t given me a royalty statement or payment in three years, to say nothing of the reserves against returns they withheld, some up to 5 years after they were due. Moreover, their support of my last book was, to say the least, underwhelming. To be fair, however, most of the money owing (as well as questions of rights) has been settled since, although not without a long and frustrating back and forth which included personal attacks on me. In the few years before I severed ties with them, several other authors had complained to me about their late/non-existent royalties and/or the way they’d been treated. When this first started happening, I generally defended Chizine. But, when it became clear this wasn’t just a few isolated cases, I gave up on trying to defend the indefensible, and my advice to other authors became, “They produce a good-looking product, but be aware of what you’re getting into.”
[Letitia Lemon:] I grew up watching Voyager, but it wasn’t until university that I made my way through the whole Star Trek back-catalogue. Studying film and TV production, I could see that the shows were products of their time, but the characters and themes were timeless.
In my final year, I had an accident in the scene-dock where the sets were kept. A huge metal pole fell on to my head, missing my eye by less than an inch. For several weeks I had concussion, with nausea and light sensitivity that made it hard to look at a TV.
Then the nightmares began. In my dreams, the accident had left me with a gaping bloody eye-socket, like something from a horror movie. I would wake gasping for breath and run to check myself in the mirror. Every time I went back into the scene-dock I froze. I didn’t realise it, but I had PTSD.
It was an episode of Discovery that finally made it all click. In a crisis, Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) was having flashbacks to being tortured by the Klingons, and Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) was trying to calm him down. “You’re safe,” she told him. “What you are experiencing are the effects of past trauma.”
I stared at the screen in silence. I wasn’t watching as a film student now – or even as a fan – but as someone who knew exactly what that character was feeling. The admiral’s words gave me strength. From that day on, the nightmares stopped.
I tracked Jayne down on Twitter and told her my story. When I saw she was appearing at this year’s Las Vegas convention I knew I had to go, even though I was terrified of flying. I got through my first ever flight with Cornwell’s final line scrawled on a piece of paper in my lap: “Whatever your path may be, you can handle it.” When I arrived, she gave me a big hug. I knew it had all been worth it.
Demon with a Glass Hand marks Robert Culp’s third appearance on The Outer Limits, after his previous roles in The Architects of Fear and Corpus Earthling. The third time is absolutely a charm. In this episode, Culp transforms into Trent, a man who recalls nothing of his past, but in the present is being pursued by human-like extraterrestrials called the Kyben.
The Kyben are after Trent to gain possession of his glass computerized hand, which “holds all knowledge.” His hand speaks, providing guidance to Trent to help him avoid capture. The Kyben already possess three of his fingers, which Trent needs in order to collect more information about his past. Along the way, he meets and is helped by a charming seamstress, Consuelo Biros, played by Arlene Martel of The Twilight Zone episodes Twenty Two and What You Need.
Harlan Ellison has done it again. Just like with The Soldier, Ellison‘s writing has helped The Outer Limits dive much deeper into science fiction. Ellison combines a lot of different things that, in the hands of a less skilled writer, might not work as well as they do here. The episode has an interesting premise, drama, action, and just a little bit of everything. Culp and Martel deliver spectacular performances. Back in the director’s chair is Byron Haskin, director of The War of The Worlds (1953) and this summer’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
…I spent a long time on the phone with very talkative, very enthusiastic, very convincing Hollywoodians. And I HATE phone calls. Hate them.
I was even skyped by the head of the head of a major US TV network’s Hollywood studio (CBS). He talked about how many millions would be spent on the (and here I forget the terminology) short taster that would be used to drum up funding for a full film.
I had small film companies showing me their short-form work and conference calling about scripts for different scenes – filming to start in 3 months.
Here’s the thing though. All of these people wanted the option on my work. Not one of these people was prepared to pay for it.
The option is a legal agreement that for the period of the option (typically 1 or 2 years) the author will not sell the film or TV rights to their work to anyone else. That’s all it is. You haven’t agreed to sell them to the person who holds the option (though sometimes you have – more of that later), just not to sell them to anyone else….
(5) TODAY IN HISTORY.
November 13, 1933 — The Invisible Man premiered. Produced by Universal Pictures, the film stars Claude Rains, in his first American screen appearance, and Gloria Stuart. The movie was popular at the box office, Universal’s most successful horror film since Frankenstein. The film holds a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
November 13, 1940 — Walt Disney’s Fantasia premiered at the Broadway Theater in New York; first film to attempt to use stereophonic sound.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 13, 1850 — Robert Louis Stevenson. Author of for Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekylland Mr Hyde and the New Arabian Nights collection of short stories. (Died 1894.)
Born November 13, 1888 — Philip Francis Nowlan. He’s best known as the creator of Buck Rogers. While working in Philadelphia, he created and wrote the Buck Rogers comic strip, illustrated by Dick Calkins. Philip Nowlan working for the syndicate John F. Dille Company, later known as the National Newspaper Service syndicate, was contracted to adapt the story into a comic strip. The strip made its first newspaper appearance on January 7, 1929. (Died 1940.)
Born November 13, 1930 — Adrienne Corri. Mena in “The Leisure Hive”, a Fourth Doctor story. She was also in A Clockwork Orange, Devil Girl from Mars, Corridors of Blood, The Tell-Tale Heart, Lancelot and Guinevere, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Moon Zero Two which is not a complete listing by any means. (Died 2016.)
Born November 13, 1933 — James Daris, 86. He played the role of Creature in the deservedly maligned “Spock’s Brain” episode. He’d do one-offs in I Spy, I Dream of Jeannie, Land of the Giants, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible, the latter with Shatter and Nimoy. He retired from acting with a role in Larva, a horror film.
Born November 13, 1953 — Tracy Scoggins,66. Capt. Elizabeth Lochley on Babylon 5 and its follow-up series, the short-lived Crusade. See Neil Gaiman’s Babylon 5 episode “ Day of the Dead” for all you need to know about her. She was also Cat Grant in the first season of Lois & Clark, and she played Gilora Rejal, a female Cardassian, in “Destiny” a DS9 episode.
Born November 13, 1955 — Whoopi Goldberg, 64. Best known as Guinan the Barkeep in Ten Forward on Enterprise in Next Gen which she reprised in Generations and Nemesis. Other genre appearances include It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle to name but a few of her appearances as she’s very busy performer!
Born November 13, 1957 — Stephen Baxter, 62. Ok I’m going to confess that the only thing I’ve read that he’s written is the Long Earth serieswith Terry Pratchett. I’ve only read the first three but they are quite great SF! Ok I really, really need your help to figure out what else of his that I should consider reading. To say he’s been a prolific writer is somewhat of an understatement and he’s gotten a bonnie bunch of literary awards as well. It’s worth noting that Baxter’s story “Last Contact” was nominated for a. Hugo for best short story.
Born November 13, 1971 — Noah Hathaway, 48. Best known as Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story and for being Boxey on the original Battlestar Galactica series. He was also Harry Potter Jr. in Troll, a 1986 comedy horror film which had nothing to do with that series.
…We also have some really weird things. …. One day a customer calls us and says they want a full refund. We say, “Why do you want a full refund?” They said, “Because the house is haunted and there’s a ghost in the house.” And we’re, like, “O.K., well, we have to adjudicate this.”
So we call the host, and all the host has to do is deny it, because there’s no photo evidence of ghosts. Well, unfortunately the host confirms the ghost, says that it’s a friendly ghost named Stanley, and that the ghost Stanley is in the listing description.
We read the listing description, Stanley is mentioned. So we go back to the guest and the guest says, “Yes, we knew about Stanley, that’s why we booked it. But Stanley has been harassing us all night.” How do you adjudicate that? So I guess the point is in this new economy built on trust you can only imagine the kind of issues you deal with. There is no playbook for this stuff.
(9) PRESERVING FANHISTORY. Fanac.org’s
Joe Siclari sent out an update – he and Edie will see you next at Loscon in
LA over Thanksgiving Weekend.
We brought the FANAC scanning station to Philcon last weekend, Nov. 8-10, and scanned over 1,500 pages. We also received donations of both publications and recordings. The week before, we also received a carton of recordings from NESFA. Those cover Boston fandom going back to at least Boskone 5 in 1968! We haven’t had a chance to inventory them yet but a quick glance includes recordings of Marvin Minsky, Isaac Asimov, Gordon Dickson and many, many others.
Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANT: Edie Stern, our webmaster is going to be a Guest of Honor at Loscon 46 in 2 weeks, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2019, at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Come by and say “hello” to her.
To celebrate her Honorship, we will have another FANAC Scanning Station at the con. Bring your favorite fannish photos and fanzines to Loscon so we can scan them and add them to FANAC.org. If you have old fannish recordings or films you can bring those as well. See you at Loscon.
The silver-backed chevrotain — a mysterious animal that’s the size of a rabbit but looks like a silver-splashed deer — has been photographed in the wild for the first time. The chevrotain is the world’s smallest hoofed mammal, or ungulate.
Scientists say they have rediscovered a type of chevrotain that had been “lost to science” for nearly 30 years.
“They are shy and solitary, appear to walk on the tips of their hooves and have two tiny fangs,” says Global Wildlife Conservation, which helped back the project that recently tracked down the elusive animals in southern Vietnam.
…During the study, which used an instrument to analyse the air on Mars over the course of three Martian years or just under six Earth years, scientist found that gases like nitrogen and argon behave predictably through the year. The proportion of the gas rises and falls relative to the amount of carbon dioxide, which makes up 95 per cent of Martian air.
They thought that oxygen would see the same changes. But they were shocked to find that it in fact rose through the spring and summer, with a varying amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, which suggests that it is being produced and then removed from the air.
Researchers were so shocked by the findings that their first course of action was to check the accuracy of the instrument used to find the data, but found it was working fine. Other possible explanations based on what we know about the Martian atmosphere were also considered, but rejected.
“We’re struggling to explain this,” said Melissa Trainer, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland who led the research. “The fact that the oxygen behavior isn’t perfectly repeatable every season makes us think that it’s not an issue that has to do with atmospheric dynamics. It has to be some chemical source and sink that we can’t yet account for.”
The similarities between the mystery of Martian methane and Martian oxygen could be more than a coincidence, scientists speculate. It might be possible that they both have the same as yet unidentified cause.
“We’re beginning to see this tantalizing correlation between methane and oxygen for a good part of the Mars year,” Atreya said. “I think there’s something to it. I just don’t have the answers yet. Nobody does.”
This is the fourth version of the scene to appear in an official release: the original 1977, where Han appears to shoot (ahem) solo; the 1997 Special Edition that added in Greedo’s wide shot; the 2004 DVD edition which has Han and Greedo shooting at the same time; and now the 2019 Disney+ version, with Greedo getting in the last, baffling word.
“The studio was happy,” says Elfman. “Jon Peters, he came up to me when we were scoring it — because there was not even going to be a soundtrack album for the score; it was only for Prince’s songs, and I knew that. And he came up to me, and he said, ‘You know what? This score is so good, we’re going to release a second soundtrack.’ And I go, ‘Yeah, right. You’re just saying that.’ That had never been done. And he did it! Like I said, it was a tough sell, but once he got sold, he was really excited, and he was a huge advocate, and he personally made it a big deal to get that second soundtrack out. So, he became a really fantastic advocate for the score that he was so resistant to in the beginning.”
Although Thanos may know what it’s like to lose, the Mad Titan finally knows what it’s like to win! For the inaugural SYFY WIRE Awards, Thanos has been named the Best Villain of 2019.
But it’s not like Thanos didn’t have stiff competition. His closest competitor was none other than Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It Chapter Two. Pennywise certainly knew how to strike fear into the hearts of children, as well as their impeccably cast adult counterparts. But in the end (or should we say in the Endgame?), Thanos proved to be too much for Stephen King’s fearsome creation.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin
Morse Wooster, Susan de Guardiola,John
King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Darrah Chavey, and Andrew Porter
for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of
the day Daniel Dern.]
By John Hertz: We’ll
take up two Classics of Science Fiction at Loscon XLVI, one discussion
each. Come to either or both. You’ll be welcome to join
definition is “A classic is a work that survives its own time. After
the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is
seen to be worthwhile for itself.” If you have a better definition,
Each of our two is
famous in a different way. Each may be more interesting now than
when first published. Have you read them? Have you
Isaac Asimov, Second
Thousands of years in
the future humanity has merged into a galactic empire. One man, Hari
Seldon, foresees its collapse. He establishes a Foundation to preserve
knowledge and advance technology so the dark age afterward will be
shorter. He hints at a Second Foundation behind.
Seldon Plan succeeds for centuries. Another man, a powerful mutant
known only as the Mule, gains interstellar power and grows
impatient. To re-unite the worlds himself he searches for the Second
Foundation. He can read and control emotion. Who could hide from him?
The Mule has a human
lifespan and no heir. The Foundation itself then becomes
distrustful. The Second Foundation, if it exists, begins to seem
dangerous, and anyway needless. The Foundation’s superior science
should be able to find and eliminate it. A fourteen-year-old girl
proves to be the heart of the story.
C.S. Lewis, Perelandra (1943)
We get few authors like
this one, who took a triple first (highest honors in three subjects) at Oxford,
taught there three decades, then accepted a chair at Cambridge and taught there
another decade until his death. He was a friend of Tolkien’s.
He opens the novel as
the narrator. The first thing he does is leave a railway station and
start a three-mile walk: we’re in another world. It’s 1940s England;
so there are blackout curtains, and language (and thought) not quite like the
1940s in the United States. Far stranger things lie ahead.
The protagonist, a man
named Ransom, goes to Venus, given as a world possible at the time of writing,
and described poetically. Indeed this is a highly poetic
book. His journey is not only of sight and sound, but of
mind. He lands in a world-shaking argument. His opponent
is extraordinary. Watch the author’s characterization.
The argument becomes a fight. Its climax leads to another climax – which leads to another. There is a passage which has been called hymnlike. Nor is that the end.
Is the moment near the end of the
last chapter – only seven hundred words – comparable to Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker (1937)?
A Netherlander has
posted a glossary of allusions and quotations here.
(1) LOSCON ADDS MOSHE FEDER. Tor Books editor Moshe Feder
has been named a guest
of honor of the 2019 Loscon, to be held over Thanksgiving weekend (November
29 – December 1) at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel.
Moshe Feder’s influence is felt around the world, perfecting the work of science fiction and fantasy’s brightest writers: David Gerrold, Juliet McKenna, Archbishop John J. Myers, Robert Silverberg, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Gary K. Wolfe. Loscon 46 is proud to announce Feder, a Tor Books editor, as its Editor Guest of Honor.
Loscon 46 Guests of Honor also include award-winning speculative fiction writer Howard Waldrop (The Ugly Chickens, Night of the Cooters), and Edie Stern, a fan celebrated for her work at fanac.org, a fan-history archive as well as other fan community activities around the world.
Participants include area artists and authors, such as Sean M. Carroll, Rick Sternbach, Steven Barnes, Harry Turtledove, Tananarive Due, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and Tim Powers.
The forthcoming WarnerMedia streaming platform has acquired the exclusive streaming rights to “Doctor Who,” with all 11 seasons of the historic BBC series coming to the service upon launch in spring 2020. The news comes as part of a deal with BBC studios which means the streamer will be the home of future “Doctor Who” seasons after they air on BBC America.
(3) ROCKET STACK RANK. Eric Wong reports Rocket Stack
Rank’s “July 2019 Ratings” have been updated to show 31
recommendations (red highlights) by seven prolific reviewers of SF/F short
Here are some quick observations by pivoting the list on story length, new writers, and authors. (Click links to see the different views.)
Length: 5 stories out of 70 got a score of 3 or more (only 1 free online).
New Writers: 6 stories out of 9 written by Campbell-eligible writers got a recommendation (5 free online).
Authors: Of 5 authors out of 65 with more than one story here, only Tegan Moore had all her stories recommended by one or more reviewers (1 free online).
(4) ST:P COMICS. What do you call the prequel of a sequel? The Hollywood Reporter is claiming yet another Star Trek: Picard exclusive — “’Star Trek: Picard’ to Get Prequel Novel and Comic Series”. Both a short comic series and a novel will lay some groundwork for the new CBS All Access streaming series. So get out your theodolite and let’s mark the corners for this new foundation.
The first prequel to appear will be IDW’s Star Trek: Picard – Countdown, a three-issue comic book series written by Mike Johnson and Picard supervising producer Kirsten Beyer, which will center around a single mission that would change the life of Picard. That series launches in November, and runs through January 2020.
In February 2020, Galley Books will follow the conclusion of Countdown with Una McCormack’s The Last Best Hope, a novel that will lead directly into the Picard television series proper, and introduce new characters appearing in the show. McCormack is a name familiar to Star Trek fans, having previously written eight novels tying into the legendary sci-fi property
This episode’s guest is Rachel Swirsky, who’s won some Nebula Awards of her own — for her novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” in 2010 and her short story “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” in 2013. She’s also been a Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award nominee. She was the founding editor of the PodCastle podcast, co-edited the anthology People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, and served as vice president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2013.
We got together for brunch the Saturday morning of the Nebula Awards weekend at Lovi’s Delicatessan in Calabasas, California where we chatted over brisket, latke, and of course, cheesecake.
We discussed what it was like to be critiqued by Octavia Butler at the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop, how she learned there’s no inherent goodness in being concise in one’s writing, the generational shift in mainstream literature’s acceptance of science fiction, why she’s an anarchist (though she’s really not), what she learned about writing as a reporter covering pinball professionally, how the things most people say are impossible actually aren’t, why you shouldn’t base your self-worth on your accomplishments, how to deal with writers block and impostor syndrome (and the way they’re sometimes connected), the proper way to depict mental illness in fiction, why whenever she writes erotica it turns out to be depressing, how she survived the controversy over “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love,” and much more.
(6) MARTIN HOARE. The August issue of Ansible includes David Langford’s tribute to his friend, the late Martin Hoare, and a wonderful gallery of photos showing him from his time at Oxford (1972) through his latest adventures with Doris Panda (2018), plus prized moments like sharing the Hugo ceremony stage with George Takei at Nippon 2007.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 2, 1932 — Peter O’Toole. Though his best-known role in genre was as Dr. Harry Wolper in Creator, I’d like to single out his performance as A. Conan Doyle in Fairytale: A True Story. And though uncredited, he’s a Scottish bagpiper in Casino Royale! (Died 2003.)
Born August 2, 1917 — Wah Chang. Of interest to us is the props he designed for Star Trek: The Original Series including the tricorder and communicator. He did a number of other things for the series as the Rabbit you see on the “Shore Leave” episode, the Tribbles and the Romulan Bird of Prey. Other work included building the title object from The Time Machine, and the dinosaurs in Land of the Lost. (Died 2003.)
Born August 2, 1944 — Susan Denberg, 75. One of the actresses in “Mudd’s Women”, she played Magda Kovacs. It was one of but two genre roles in her very brief acting career, the other that of Cristina in Frankenstein Created Woman, a British Hammer horror film. After two years as an actress, she returned to her native Austria. Rumors circulated that she become drug addicted and died a horrid death, but no, she’s alive and quite well.
Born August 2, 1945 — Joanna Cassidy, 74. She is known for being the replicant Zhora Salome in Blade Runner and Dolores in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, two of my favorite films. She also did really bad horror films that don’t bear thinking about.
Born August 2, 1948 — Robert Holdstock. Another one who died far too young. His Ryhope Wood series is simply amazing with Lavondyss being my favourite volume. And let’s not overlook his Merlin Codex series which is one of the more original takes on that character I’ve read. The Ragthorn, co-written with Garry Kilworth, is interesting as well.(Died 2009.)
Born August 2, 1949 — Wes Craven. Swamp Thing comes to mind first plus of course the Nightmare on Elm Street franchiseof nine films in which he created Freddy Krueger. Let’s not forget The Serpent and the Rainbow. (Died 2015.)
Born August 2, 1954 — Ken MacLeod, 65. Sometimes I don’t realize until I do a Birthday note just how much I’ve read a certain author. And so it was of MacLeod. I’ve read the entire Fall Revolution series, not quite all of the Engines of Light Trilogy, all of The Fall Revolution, just the first two of the Corporation Wars and every one of his one-off novels save Descent. I should go find his Giant Lizards from Another Star collection as I’ve not read his short fiction. Damn, it’s not available digitally!
Born August 2, 1976 — Emma Newman, 43. Author of quite a few SF novels and a collection of short fiction. Of interest to us is that she is co-creator along with her husband Peter, of the Hugo Award winning podcast Tea and Jeopardy which centres around her hosting another creator for a nice cup of tea and cake, while her scheming butler Latimer (played by Peter) attempts to send them to their deaths at the end of the episode.
An unopened copy of a 1987 cult-classic video game that a Nevada man found in the attic of his childhood home is expected to sell for up to $10,000 at an online auction.
The boxed game cartridge of Nintendo’s “Kid Icarus” was still in the bag with the receipt for $38.45 from J.C. Penney’s catalog department three decades earlier.
Scott Amos of Reno told the Reno Gazette Journal he initially thought it might be worth a couple hundred dollars.
But Valarie McLeckie, video game consignment director at Heritage Auctions, says it’s one of the hardest Nintendo titles to find in sealed condition. She says there are fewer than 10 in the hands of vintage game collectors.
“To find a sealed copy ‘in the wild,’ so to speak, not to mention one in such a nice condition and one with such transparent provenance, is both an unusual and rather historic occurrence,” she said. “We feel that the provenance will add a significant premium for serious collectors.”
(9) THEY GIVE A SHIRT. The posters at Mumsnet are
deciding what they think about Worldcon
Dublin. The initial comment in the thread asks:
Any other GC fans going to Worldcon in Dublin? There’s already things I’ve seen on the schedule that make me want to stand outside in my AHF t-shirt but not brave enough to do it alone!
(The meaning of the initials is explained in the thread.)
…A former staff member of multiple U.S. anime conventions confirmed to ANN that she is the author of a Twitter thread that includes allegations about voice actorVic Mignogna‘s conduct.
Lynn Hunt, who uses the Twitter name @ljmontello, has worked in many positions at anime conventions across the United States since 2000. She told ANN that at the Ohayacon event in Columbus, Ohio in 2003, she saw many instances of Mignogna inappropriately touching guests, fans, and other convention patrons. Hunt believes many of the attendees who Mignogna allegedly touched inappropriately looked young.
At the Anime Central (ACEN) convention in Rosemont, Illinois in 2004, Hunt says she saw Mignogna give his personal phone number to many young female fans, and touch and kiss other young female fans inappropriately. Again, she believes many of the other parties he allegedly touched and kissed looked young.
Most of Hunt’s allegations, however, relate to the Tekkoshocon event (now known as Tekko) in Pittsburgh. Hunt said that at this event in 2007, Mignogna allegedly harassed convention guest Mari Iijima, the Japanese voice of Lynn Minmay in The Super Dimension Fortress Macross anime.
Responding on Twitter to Hunt’s comments about Mignogna and Iijima, voice actor Brett Weaver claimed to have been on a panel at Tekkoshocon 2007 with both actors. He said, “I had never met Mari but just before the panel, she told me that she felt very uncomfortable being around him. I had her sit to my right, and when Vic arrived I made it clear he was going to sit to my left. He laughed and moved toward her. I looked him square in the eye and [said], ‘Nope. Sit there.’ We went through the panel and I don’t think Vic and I ever spoke again.” …
…[Hunt] said that she notified the Tekko convention staff on June 9, 2019 to give them a “heads up” that she would be posting material regarding Mignogna on Twitter. She said that she received no response from Tekko until after she started posting the material on June 27.
Tekko issued a statement on Twitter that said that no member of the current Board of Directors was present during the years in question, and that no documented harassment issues were passed along by the previous leadership team during the transition period.
Have you ever noticed the popularity of white robots?
You see them in films like Will Smith’s “I, Robot” and Eve from “Wall-E.” Real-life examples include Honda’s Asimo, UBTECH’s Walker, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, and even NASA’s Valkyrie robot.All made of shiny white material. And some real-life humanoid robots are modeled after white celebrities, such as Audrey Hepburn and Scarlett Johansson.
The reason for these shades of technological white may be racism, according to new research.
“Robots And Racism,” a study conducted by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ) and published by the country’s University of Canterbury, suggests people perceive physically human-like robotsto have a race and therefore apply racial stereotypes to white and black robots.
These colors have been found to trigger social cues that determine how humans react to and behave toward other people and also, apparently, robots.
“The bias against black robots is a result of bias against African-Americans,” lead researcher Christoph Bartneck explained to The Next Web. He told CNN, “It is amazing to see how people who had no prior interaction with robots show racial bias towards them.”
American delicacy, the Twinkie, is looking a little different these days. On Thursday, Hostess announced its latest flavor launch, a mysterious dark blue Moonberry, and it’s out of this world.
…like literally. It’s got a whole galactic thing going.
By the looks of that packaging, it’s got the same shape as our OG Twinkie, but with a completely different taste and aesthetic otherwise. A rep for the brand told PEOPLE the dark sponge cake is meant to resemble the night sky. And that inside, an elusive Moonberry-flavored filling, is smooth, sweet, and fruity.
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “While you Were Sleeping” on Vimeo, Charlie Stewart explains why robots always do their jobs.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat
Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Hampus Eckerman, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing
editor of the day johnstick.]
“Karl Kofoed is probably best known for his Galactic
Geographic series that ran in Heavy Metal for many years, and
his astonishing planet and starscapes that have adorned numerous book and
magazine covers. Karl says this will be his first trip to Los Angeles in 60
years.” Matthew B. Tepper, Loscon 46 Chair said of the Pennsylvania-based
Kofoed steps in for the original invitee who cannot make it
for personal reasons.
Loscon’s guest of honor slate also includes award-winning
speculative fiction writer Howard Waldrop (The Ugly Chickens, Night
of the Cooters) and Edie Stern, a fan celebrated for her work at fanac.org, a Fan-history archive
as well as other fan community activities around the world.
Hosted by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, the
world’s oldest continuously active science fiction and fantasy club (founded 1934),
the 46th Loscon this family-friendly gathering includes program with
diverse participants such as Steven Barnes, Harry Turtledove, Tananarive
Due, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Tim Powers, and Larry Niven.
Loscon is hosted at the recently redesigned Los Angeles
Airport Marriott, located on Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International
Airport. Weekend memberships and room reservations are available at discounted
rates before the convention.
For updates, follow Loscon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and search for