is now open for the transformed professional development conference.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), today unveiled the
virtual home for SFWA’s 2020 Nebula Conference Online and showcased features of
the upcoming professional development conference for science fiction and
have been offering a streaming extension of the Nebulas for the past two years,
with a long-term plan for more. With this new platform, not only will we be
able to include people who would not otherwise be able to attend the Nebula
Conference, but we’ll also be able to offer year-round opportunities for
education and outreach.” the president of SFWA, Mary Robinette Kowal says.
Conference, Transformed: This
year’s transformed Nebula Conference will be held entirely online and will
include two live tracks of live-streamed panels such as “Being a Creative in
2020: Building Community, Visibility, and Audience in a Virtual World”; “Blades
and Badasses: Disability and Swordwork,” and “Writing Middle Grade with This
Year’s Norton Award Nominee” along with a third self-guided track of
pre-recorded presentations which attendees can view at their leisure.
successful conference mentorship program will also continue this year with
one-on-one video conversations between early-career writers and established
authors. Supporting content including writing workshops, forums, chats, and
virtual room parties (including a dance party hosted by bestselling author and
former SFWA president John Scalzi) will round out the weekend.
2020 Nebula Conference Online will be held from May 29-31. Registration, which
includes three days of online panels with real-time interaction, an annual
subscription to archived content, and a one-year subscription to SFWA’s
quarterly magazine the Bulletin, will be $150.
says that “SFWA’s vision for this year’s conference is for attendees to feel
elevated through the content, enjoy a sense of community with their peers, and
have an opportunity for celebration. We hope this year’s conference will
replicate the informative, exciting, and social experience that the Nebula
Conference has always offered, while being more accessible than ever before,
and welcoming attendees from around the world who may never have had the chance
to attend previously.”
annual culmination of the conference is the Nebula Awards ceremony, a gala
event in which SFWA members award the 2019 Nebula Awards® to the best works of
science fiction and fantasy of the year. This year’s event will also take place
virtually, and will be live-streamed to conference attendees and the public
alike, on May 30th at 8:00 PM ET.
a New Direction: With
today’s announcement, SFWA officially launched the 2020 Nebula Conference Online
registration page, an online entry point for conference attendees
that shares the aesthetic of the conference while the full conference
experience is finalized.
year’s transformed Nebula Conference comes in response to public health
measures addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, which have limited in-person
gatherings and instituted physical distancing policies across the United
the first time, part of the proceeds from this year’s conference will go to
SFWA’s “Where The Need Is Greatest” fund to provide grants to members
to address the financial difficulties experienced by many of SFWA’s members as
a result of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19. In addition,
SFWA’s Emergency Medical Fund is available for members who have unexpected
medical bills that interfere with their ability to write.
are all aware of the hardships that our members have experienced — and will
continue to experience — as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kowal said.
“It’s our hope that the 2020 Nebula Conference Online will continue to be a
valuable resource for everyone who can attend, member and non-member alike,
while also raising much-needed funds to help those in our community that have
been hardest hit by the disease and its repercussions.”
New Look, New Feel: Visitors to the 2020 Nebula Conference Online landing page will
notice the refreshed and redesigned SFWA logo, the work of SFWA’s new art
director, Lauren Raye Snow. The new look and feel for SFWA’s logo is part of a
planned refresh for the organization’s publications, web sites, and visual
assets. The new look will extend across all parts of the 2020 Nebula Conference
Online materials, and is inspired by the fantastic visual aesthetic of early
20th century graphic arts.
Snow says, “I’m
excited by the opportunity to reclaim and explore a classic domain with
culturally expansive motifs, characters, and messages.”
Intended to be
timeless, invoking both the WPA’s National Parks posters and NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory’s Space Tourism project: the update captures the best of
that pioneering spirit as 2020 launches SFWA into the future.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal sent a message to members about the fate of the 2020 Nebula Conference after the Los Angeles Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills started issuing cancellation notices today. The organization had intended to make a statement on March 31, but now has gone ahead and shared an overview of their plans.
ONLINE CONFERENCE. From May 29-31, there will be a live
and interactive online event. “The team has been
working on this for several weeks because we anticipated that holding an in-person
event this year would be irresponsible.”
Our goal is to create the essence of the Nebula Conference, even though the form has changed. Our vision is for attendees to feel elevated through the content, enjoy a sense of community with their peers, and have an opportunity for celebration.
…The Nebula Conference will include panels, solo presentations, conference mentorships, workshops, forums, chats, and virtual room parties (including a dance party hosted by John Scalzi).
… The online conference registration will be $150, which includes three days of online panels with real-time interaction, an annual subscription to archived content, and a one-year subscription to the Bulletin. People who have already registered will have the option to defer to the L.A. conference in 2021, donate to help with COVID-19 assistance, or receive a full refund.
NEBULA AWARDS. The Nebula Awards ceremony will stream live at 8 p.m. Eastern on
PLATFORM DEMO. Kowal told members:
On March 31st, we’ll have a demonstration of the online Nebula Conference. We are very excited by this platform because it will allow us to do online classes and host virtual book tours for our members going forward.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. Starting in April, the SFWA Board will be offering grants of up to
$1,000 for SFWA members financially affected by COVID-19. Donations are
If you would like to donate now to help with SFWA sponsored COVID-19 relief, visit https://www.sfwa.org/donate and select “Where The Need Is Greatest,” which the board can redirect to our relief efforts.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE WAY. The message ends —
The team has been working very hard for a March 31st release of this information and is not yet ready to process refunds or transfers. Please wait until we formally roll out our plans on March 31st before contacting the office with questions.
Over the next week, we will be reaching out to our team of volunteers, program participants, and Nebula finalists with more information about what these changes mean to them and how they will be able to participate in the transformed conference.
It would appear William Shatner is not quite through with Capt. James T. Kirk after all. The actor has been giving Star Trek fans a treat via social media with Captain’s Log updates — a plot device, usually done for story exposition, on the famed sci-fi TV show and subsequent films. Shatner, like many around the world, is self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last night, California announced that it was extending its shelter-in-place measures across the entire state. With the Nebula Conference scheduled to take place in Los Angeles at the end of May, we have been anticipating that move and working towards a positive solution which we had planned to announce on March 31st. I would like to keep to that timeline as it will enable us to complete some final details for what we believe will be a great conference. I would appreciate your patience until then.
Though the circumstances are distressing, the alterations that we are making to prioritize the health and safety of our attendees have offered us some exciting opportunities to make the Nebula Conference more accessible and inclusive. I know you may have questions about refunds and your hotel reservations. Please do not make any changes until we share with you our plan on March 31st, which will allow us to expand the range of options that you will have.
I look forward to speaking with you on March 31st.
BookExpo, Unbound and BookCon are being moved to July 22-26 from May 27-31, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Reedpop, the organizer of the events, explained: “We have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 in New York and around the country. Following the guidance of health officials, we are now complying with the State’s request that large gatherings be postponed to ensure the well-being of everyone involved with our event.”
Event director Jenny Martin commented: “If the situation changes again between now and July, we will change along with it. We run events, we pivot proudly. Right now, we remain focused on the goal of serving our community this summer with those who want to do the same.”
4. Mote Prime (1974): In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye, this is the homeworld of the Moties, a species that, due to cosmic happenstance, has been bottled up in its solar system ever since it evolved. Mote Prime is planet which has become a palimpsest, mutely testifying to the endless cycles of technological development and collapse experienced by the trapped Moties.
I’m quoting this one because a friend recently shared with me his quite
definite ideas about the usage of palimpsest.
Deadline reports that production on Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale has been temporarily suspended due to concerns over the recent spread of COVID-19, aka coronavirus. The show, which films in Toronto, has yet to announce whether this suspension will delay its planned fall premiere date….
On March 14, Variety reported Marvel Studios paused production on the rest of its Disney+ series, which includes Loki and WandaVision. For shows currently in production, the work will continue remotely.
(6) INFLUENTIAL CINEMA. The Criterion Channel is
running a block of historic movies of the ”German Expressionism”
Physical reality warps and bends to fit the twisted psychological states on display in the cinema of the German expressionist movement of the 1920s. With their emphasis on exaggerated shadows, off-kilter camera angles, dreamlike sets, and macabre story lines, these movies paved the way for the aesthetics of both horror cinema and film noir, genres in which mood and atmosphere take precedence over realism. This selection of some of the movement’s key works includes the quintessential example of the style, the delirious nightmare THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI; F. W. Murnau’s shivery vampire classic NOSFERATU; and several masterpieces by Fritz Lang, who, following the success of works like METROPOLIS and M, would go on to become instrumental in importing expressionist aesthetics to the Hollywood of the 1930s and ’40s.
…Etsy shop 9andthreequartersco has created coffee blends inspired by the magical world of Harry Potter. These coffees names are not only inspired by the books and movies, but so are the flavors.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 20, On this date, X Minus One’s “Protection” first aired. A man accidentally acquires an alien protector, who knows every disaster in the world before it happens. The script is by Ernest Kinoy. The cast includes Bill Redfield, William Keane and Elliott Reed. It written by Robert Sheckley. It was a half-hour science fiction radio drama series that broadcast from April 24, 1955 to January 9, 1958 in various timeslots on NBC. You can hear it this episode here.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 20, 1902 — David Lasser. From 1929 to 1933, he was the Managing Editor of Gernsback’s Stellar Publishing Corporation. He edited Science Wonder Stories and Wonder Stories Quarterly, as well working with writers on both zines. Lasser also edited Gernsback’s Wonder Stories from June 1930 to October 1933. As near as I can tell, The Time Projector novel is his only genre work. (Died 1996.)
Born March 20, 1932 — Jack Cady. He won the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker Award, an impressive feat indeed. McDowell’s Ghost gives a fresh spin on the trope of seeing seeing a War Between The States ghost, and The Night We Buried Road Dog is another ghost story set in early Sixties Montana. Underland Press printed all of his superb short fiction into two volumes, Phantoms: Collected Writings, Volume 1 and Fathoms: Collected Writings, Volume 2. (Died 2004.)
Born March 20, 1948 — Pamela Sargent, 72. She has three exemplary series of which I think the Seed trilogy, a unique take on intergenerational colony ships, is the one I like the best. The other two series, the Venustrilogy about a women determined to terraform that world at all costs is quite good also, and there is the Watchstar trilogy which I know nothing about. Nor have I read any of her one-off novels, so please do tell me about them.
Born March 20, 1950 — William Hurt, 70. He made his first film appearance as a troubled scientist in Ken Russell’s Altered States, a history-making film indeed. He’s next up as Doug Tate in Alice, a Woody Allen film. Breaking his run of weird roles, he shows in it’s that not bad really to be Lost in Space as Professor John Robinson. Dark City and the phenomenal role of Inspector Frank Bumstead follows for him. He was in A.I. Artificial Intelligence as Professor Allen Hobby and performed the character of William Marshal in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, Up next was horror film Hellgate and his role as Warren Mills which spiked a lot watchable than The Host and Jebediah character from Winter’s Tale as adapted from the Mark Helprin novel was interesting as wax the entire film. His final, to date that is, is in Avengers: Infinity War as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Two series roles of notes, the first being in the SyFy Frank Herbert’s Dune as Duke Leto I Atreides. Confession: the digitised blue eyes bugged me so much that I couldn’t watch it. The other role worth noting is him as Hrothgar in Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands.
Born March 20, 1955 — Nina Kiriki Hoffman, 65. Her first novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones, won the Bram Stoker Award for first novel. In addition, her short story “Trophy Wives” won a Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Other novels include The Silent Strength of Stones (a sequel to Thread), A Fistful of Sky, and A Stir of Bones. All are excellent. Most of her work has a strong sense of regionalism being set In either California or the Pacific Northwest.
Born March 20, 1979 — Freema Agyeman, 41. Best-known for playing Martha Jones in Doctor Who, companion to the Tenth Doctor. She reprised that role briefly in Torchwood. She voiced her character on The Infinite Quest, an animated Doctor Who serial. She was on Sense8 as Amanita Caplan. And some seventeen years ago, she was involved in a live production of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld’s Lords and Ladies held in Rollright Stone Circle Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. It was presented out of doors in the centre of two stone circles.
Macanudowonders what if traditional witches gained access to Lovecraftian monsters?
Bizarro finds the … bright? … side of a visit to the pediatrician.
Covid-19 is serious business. In an effort to control the spread of the virus, people across the world are being asked to practice social distancing and to stay home.
As part of that call, Apex Books and other publishers are providing free eBooks to help readers cope with the extended periods of inactivity and being housebound.
We hope this selection of Apex titles will help make this stressful time pass a little easier, a little quicker.
Books in the Covid-19 bundle:
Machine by Jennifer Pelland (dark SF)
Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka (dark SF)
Maze by J.M. McDermott (dark fantasy)
Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley (horror)
Like Death by Tim Waggoner (horror)
(12) FREE MISS FISHER. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Even if you’ve already seen all the Miss Fisher
Mysteries episodes, here’s your chance to see the new (releasing 3/23/2020)
movie! Also starring David Tennant and (from The Good Wife/The Good Fight)
Cush Jumbo (she played Luca Quinn)
Per a Miss F movie thread on
Facebook from a few weeks back that I’m not sure where it is.
Starting today, we’re offering an extended 30-day free trial for new subscribers with code FREE30. Settle in for the streaming debut of Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears (3/23) and Deadwater Fell starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo (4/6). Share the best TV from Britain and beyond.
Daniel Dern notes: “I’m not sure
whether they’d already been offering a 30-day free trial anyway. Their ‘Start
Free Trial’ page asks for, but doesn’t seem to require, a promo code. Since
we’ve already been subscribing to Acorn for a buncha months — watched/watching
Murdoch Mysteries, The Good Karma Hospital, the Brokenwood Mysteries,
Foyle’s War, etc.
“Mmm, they have Slings &
Arrows, which we saw years ago, but if you haven’t, recommended! (‘…this
darkly comic Canadian series follows the fortunes of a dysfunctional
Shakespearean theatre troupe, exposing the high drama, scorching battles, and
electrifying thrills that happen behind the scenes. Paul Gross (Tales of the
City, Due South [AND The Republic Of Doyle – DPD]) leads an outstanding
ensemble cast in ‘one of TV’s greatest shows’ (The A.V. Club).’”
(13) UNCLE TIMMY TRIBUTE. The Give Me Libertyconanthology E-ARC is available from Baen. The trade paperback will be
released in June.
Since its inception, LibertyCon has been a science fiction convention like no other. Held annually in Chattanooga, Tennessee, LibertyCon attracts the best of the best science fiction and fantasy writers, working scientists, fans, and organizers. Now, join Baen Books as we celebrate this unique institution with an anthology of all-new fiction and nonfiction—and some filk songs, too! A new Honorverse story by David Weber, and stories by Timothy Zahn, David Drake, Larry Correia, Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Massa, Charles E. Gannon and Sarah A. Hoyt, David B. Coe, Kacey Ezell and Christopher L. Smith, Bill Fawcett, and more. Plus, nonfiction by Les Johnson, filk (science fiction folk) songs by Gray Rinehart.
A portion of the sales will fund a scholarship set up in the name of superfan, TVA engineer, and LibertyCon founder Richard T. “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo.
“Please leave the room, close the door and start a disinfection,” says a voice from the robot.
“It says it in Chinese as well now,” Simon Ellison, vice president of UVD Robots, tells me as he demonstrates the machine.
Through a glass window we watch as the self-driving machine navigates a mock-hospital room, where it kills microbes with a zap of ultraviolet light.
“We had been growing the business at quite a high pace – but the coronavirus has kind of rocketed the demand,” says chief executive, Per Juul Nielsen.
He says “truckloads” of robots have been shipped to China, in particular Wuhan. Sales elsewhere in Asia, and Europe are also up.
…Glowing like light sabres, eight bulbs emit concentrated UV-C ultraviolet light. This destroys bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes by damaging their DNA and RNA, so they can’t multiply.
It’s also hazardous to humans, so we wait outside. The job is done in 10-20 minutes. Afterwards there’s a smell, much like burned hair
“There are a lot of problematic organisms that give rise to infections,” explains Prof Hans Jørn Kolmos, a professor of clinical microbiology, at the University of Southern Denmark, which helped develop the robot.
“If you apply a proper dose of ultraviolet light in a proper period of time, then you can be pretty sure that you get rid of your organism.”
The fall-out from the coronavirus crisis is even being felt in space.
Rising infection rates near key technical centres in Louisiana and Mississippi mean the US space agency is suspending production and testing of its Moon rocket and capsule systems.
…Nasa said it had no choice but to suspend work on the construction of the rocket, called the Space Launch System, and the capsule, known as Orion.
The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi has had one confirmed infection among its staff, and although the Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana hasn’t yet had a COVID-19 case – growing infection rates in the communities around both complexes means a shut-down is the only sensible option.
(17) CORONAVIRUS ADVICE. This is how you get to be a
2000-year-old man. “Don’t Be A Spreader,” a message from Mel Brooks’
(18) CHANGES IN STORE. John Scalzi is among the writers
contributing the the Washington Post’s speculative“After
the Pandemic”. As he framed it at Whatever –
The folks over at the Washington Post have put together a piece on how the world will change after this pandemic — not in the huge ways, but in the smaller, day-to-day ways — and they asked me to write something for it. I did a piece on personal greetings, because, as it happens, it was a matter of some discussion on the cruise I just came back from.
[Thanks to Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, Andrew Porter, John King
Tarpinian, JJ, Rich Horton, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Willard
Stone, Jeffrey Smith, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title
credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) has announced that
the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award will be presented to John Picacio and David
Gaughran at the 55th Annual SFWA Nebula Awards.
Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award is given by SFWA for distinguished contributions to
the science fiction and fantasy community. Picacio and Gaughran join the ranks
of previous Solstice Award winners, including Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree,
Jr., and Carl Sagan. The award will be presented at the SFWA Nebula Conference
in Woodland Hills, CA, May 28-31.
Picacio is an award-winning artist whose work can be seen on many science
fiction and fantasy novels. He has produced art for the Loteria Grande cards
series, a re-imagineering of the classic Mexican game of chance, which is
published by his imprint Lone Boy. In 2018, upon realizing he was the first
Mexicanx creator to be honored as a Worldcon Guest of Honor, Picacio founded
the Mexicanx initiative to help open up Worldcon, and eventually other science
fiction and fantasy events, to other Mexicanx professionals and fans. Picacio
has been named a recipient of the Solstice Award for his efforts to make
science fiction more accessible to underrepresented creators and fans.
President Mary Robinette Kowal has noted about Picacio, “The work
that John Picacio has done with the Mexicanx Initiative started as an
effort for one conference and has had ripple effects through the field of
science-fiction and fantasy. His on-going outreach is encouraging new voices to
enter the community making SFF more vibrant than ever.
Gaughran is the author of several historical fantasies which he successfully
self-published. He took his experience with marketing his work and began to
share it with other authors, publishing a number of marketing books which are targeted
at the self-published and independent authors. He has also used his skills to
create giant marketing campaigns for several authors and has run workshops,
written blogs, and otherwise helped other self-published authors to achieve
President Mary Robinette Kowal has noted about Gaughran, “David
Gaughran has been doing yeoman’s work for years, alerting indie writers about
predatory schemes and warning them about changes in independent publishing. His
work makes the science-fiction and fantasy landscape safer for writers.”
Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which
will feature a series of seminars and panel discussions on the craft and
business of writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. On May 31,
a mass autograph session will take place at Warner Center Marriott Woodland
Hills and is open to the public.
…As some of you may be aware, over the course of several weeks, trolls created dozens of false accounts as part of a harassment campaign against some writers. We reached out to Goodreads to ask for assistance in stopping those attacks and they were, thankfully, responsive. Goodreads was as committed to solving this as SFWA was. If readers lose their faith with the site because of false reviews, that’s a problem for all of us.
During the course of the conversation, we shared with them some ideas that they might use to block this form of targetting. They are working on implementing some of those, although I hope you’ll understand that we won’t be able to share the details of those particular efforts….
There are also some existing tools on Goodreads that were not immediately apparent. We offered to highlight those to our members while Goodreads puts the other measures into place.
Flagging reviews – Goodreads does not allow Ad Hominem reviews or attacks on an author. They made it clear to us that when reviews become about the author, not about the book, authors are able to flag uses of harmful language or when the intent is to harm the person, not to review the book. If an author is receiving an avalanche of those, they may send a link to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a link via Goodreads’ contact form.
Reporting entire accounts – Sometimes, a single actor will create negative reviews of an author’s entire body of work. In those cases, any author may send a link to email@example.com.
(2) RIPPED BODICE. Since Courtney Milan is one of them, the Scroll will
report all the winners of the inaugural Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in
Romantic Fiction. The award was launched last year by Leah and Bea Koch,
co-owners of the
Ripped Bodice bookstore
in Culver City, Calif., and is sponsored by Sony Pictures Television. Chosen by
a panel of industry experts, each honoree receives $1,000 plus a $100 donation
to the charity of their choice.
The winning titles are:
Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
If Doctor Who seems like a show that has been disappointing its devotees for 56 years and counting, perhaps that is to be expected. After all, no other TV series in history has shown such a wilful disregard for anything approaching a house style, happily pressing the re-set button every week and leaping between planets and time zones, comedy and tragedy, psychodrama and space opera.
More people want a new Back to the Future film than want a new instalment in any other franchise. But one of its creators says doing another movie would be like “selling your kids into prostitution” – so it’s been rebooted as a stage musical instead.
Walking though the Manchester Opera House foyer a week before the first performance of Back to the Future: The Musical means picking your way through piles of props and kit that are waiting to be slotted into place before opening night.
A skateboard and some of the Doc’s scientific equipment are lying around, and a crew member walks past carrying what look like dancers’ 1950s dresses. The components of the Doc’s nuclear-powered flux capacitor are probably spread around somewhere.
…Thursday’s first performance will mark the end of a 12-year journey to bring one of the best-loved films to the stage. Another journey will start – the show is set to go to the West End after Manchester, and then perhaps Broadway.
“It’s the same story of the movie,” says Bob Gale, who has scripted the stage show and co-wrote the movies. “But there are things that you can do and can’t do on stage that differ from cinema.”
So in the show, Marty plays more music, and new songs take us deeper into the characters’ emotions and back stories. But some of the action (like the skateboard chase and the gun-toting Libyan terrorists) has been changed. And, sadly, there’s no Einstein the dog.
“Lots of people were clamouring, ‘Why don’t you guys do Back to the Future part 4? Why don’t you do a reboot of Back to the Future?'” Gale says.
‘The wrong thing to do’
But he and Robert Zemeckis, director and co-writer of the three films, had it written into their contracts with Universal that no new film could be made without their say so. Studio bosses have tried their best to persuade them.
…”We don’t want to ruin anybody’s childhood, and doing a musical was the perfect way to give the public more Back to the Future without messing up what has gone before.”
(6) DUNCANN OBIT. Geraldine Duncann died
February 2 at the age of 82, her daughter
Leilehua reported on Facebook. Duncann announced to FB readers in
January that she had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Astrid Bear described Duncann in these terms:
As Mistress Geraldine of Toad Hall, she was a major force in the Society for Creative Anachronism from its very early days, excelling in all she tried, whether cooking, sewing, embroidery, pottery, singing, writing, or anything else. Her generosity, wit, intelligence, and zest for life were wonderful.
Her memorial/celebration of life will be on her
birthdate, May 9, at the Golden Gate Bridge and include a Bridge Walk. Details
will be posted on her FaceBook page and her Questing Feast Patreon blog.
(7) SHRAPNEL OBIT. [Item by Steve Green.] John Shrapnel (1942-2020): British actor,
died February 14, aged 77. Genre appearances include Space: 1999 (one episode, 1975), Fatherland (1994), Invasion:
(three episodes, 1998), Spine Chillers (one episode, 2003), Alien Autopsy (2006), Apparitions (five episodes, 2008), Mirrors
(2008), The Awakening (2011), Merlin (one episode, 2012), Macbeth
(2013), Hamlet (2015).
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
February 15, 1955 — Captain Midnight aired “Saboteurs Of The Sky”. Captain Midnight began September 9, 1954, on CBS, continuing for thirty-nine episodes until January 21, 1956. This was the twenty-fifth episode of the program’s first season. Captain Midnight itself started as a serial film, became this show, and later was both a syndicated newspaper strip and a radio show. The series starred Richard Webb who was not the actor of the Captain Midnight role , Robert O’Brien, from the film serial. (Two actors, Sid Melton and Olan Soule, were retained from the serial.) When the TV series went into syndication in 1958 via Telescreen Advertising, several changes happened. First a change in advertisers happened as Ovaltine was no longer involved. More importantly Wander Company owned all rights to use of Captain Midnight which meant that Screen Gems had to change Captain Midnight to Jet Jackson, Flying Commando, and all references in the episodes to Captain Midnight to Jet Jackson, Flying Commando, both text and sound wise. You can watch this episode here.
February 19, 1978 — The Project U.F.O. pilot: “Sighting 4001: The Washington D.C. Incident” first aired on NBC. It was created. by that Jack Webb Harold Jack Bloom, was based rather loosely on the real-life Project Blue Book. It starred William Jordan, Caskey Swaim and Edward Winter. Most of the UFOs were by Brick Price Movie Miniatures that were cobbled together from the usual model kits. You can see the pilot here.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 19, 1893 — Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke. His first SFF role was a plum one — in 1937‘s Solomon’s Mines as Allan Quatermain. He’s been in a lot of genre films: On Borrowed Time, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man Returns, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Invisible Agent, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The War of the Worlds (the voice doing providing commentary). (Died 1964.)
Born February 19,1912 — Walter Gillings. UK fan. He edited Scientifiction, a short lived but historic fanzine. Shortly thereafter he edited Tales of Wonder, regarded as the first UK SF zine. Clarke made his pro debut here. He’d edited a number of other genre zines later on, and ISFDB lists him as having two genre stories to his credit whereas Wiki claims he has three. (Died 1979.)
Born February 19, 1930 — John Frankenheimer. Depending on how widely you stretch the definition of genre, you can consider his first SFF film as director to be Seven Days in May. Certainly, The Island of Dr. Moreau is genre as is Prophecy and Seconds. He also directed an episode of Tales from The Crypt, “Maniac at Large”, and directed Startime’s “Turn of The Screw” with Ingrid Bergman in the lead role off the Henry James ghost story of that name. (Died 2002.)
Born February 19, 1937 — Lee Harding, 83. He was among the founding members of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club along with Bertram Chandler. He won Ditmar Awards for Dancing Gerontius and Fallen Spaceman. In the Oughts, the Australian Science Fiction Foundation would give him the Chandler Award in gratitude for his life’s work. It does not appear that any of his work is available fir the usual digital sources.
Born February 19, 1937 — Terry Carr. Well-known and loved fan, author, editor, and writing instructor. I usually don’t list awards both won and nominated for but his are damned impressed so I will. He was nominated five times for Hugos for Best Fanzine (1959–1961, 1967–1968), winning in 1959, was nominated three times for Best Fan Writer (1971–1973), winning in 1973, and he was Fan Guest of Honor at ConFederation in 1986. Wow. He worked at Ace Books before going freelance where he edited an original story anthology series called Universe, and The Best Science Fiction of the Year anthologies that ran from 1972 until his early death in 1987. Back to awards again. He was nominated for the Hugo for Best Editor thirteen times (1973–1975, 1977–1979, 1981–1987), winning twice (1985 and 1987). His win in 1985 was the first time a freelance editor had won. Wow indeed. Novelist as well. Just three novels but all are still in print today though I don’t think his collections are and none of his anthologies seem to be currently either. A final note. An original anthology of science fiction, Terry’s Universe, was published the year after his death with all proceeds to his widow. (Died 1987.)
Born February 19, 1944 — Donald F. Glut, 76. He’s best known for writing the novelization of the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back. I’m more fascinated that from the early Fifties to the late Sixties, he made a total of forty-one amateur films including a number of unauthorized adaptations of such characters as Superman, The Spirit and Spider-Man. Epoch Cinema released a two-DVD set of all of his amateur films titled I Was A Teenage Moviemaker.
Born February 19, 1963 — Laurell K. Hamilton, 57. She is best known as the author of two series of stories. One is the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter of which I’ll confess I’ve read but one or two novels, the other is the Merry Gentry series which held my interest longer but which I lost in somewhere around the sixth or seventh novel when the sex became really repetitive.
Born February 19, 1964 — Jonathan Lethem 56. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a weird mix of SF and detective fiction, is fantastic in more ways that I can detail briefly here. I confess that I lost track of him after that novel, so I’d be interested in hearing what y’all think of his later genre work particularly his latest, The Feral Detective.
Born February 19, 1966 — Claude Lalumière, 54. I met him once here in Portland at a used bookstore in the SFF section. Author, book reviewer and editor who has edited numerous anthologies. Amazing writer of short dark fantasy stories collected in three volumes so far, Objects of Worship, The Door to Lost Pages and Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes. Tachyon published his latest anthology, Super Stories of Heroes & Villains.
…But his reverie was broken by the phone 12 minutes later. “I picked it up and thought, ‘Please don’t let this be a credit card offer.’ Can you imagine? I would have just burst into tears.”
On the other end of the line, Newbery committee chair Krishna Grady told Craft that his graphic novel New Kid (HarperCollins) had been chosen as winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal. “Then the people in the background started screaming and then I started screaming, then I screamed more and they screamed more,” Craft said. “It was pretty amazing.” It is also historic, as New Kid is the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal.
New Kid introduces African-American seventh grader Jordan Banks, an aspiring artist who leaves his home in Washington Heights each morning and takes the bus to his new, private, mostly white school in the Bronx. In his sketchbook, he chronicles what it’s like for him to navigate his two different worlds, the ups and downs of middle school, and the various micro-aggressions he faces each day. The book was inspired by Craft’s own school experiences, as well as those of his two sons, and has been a hit since its release last February. Prior to ALA Midwinter, New Kid had already earned starred reviews in the major review journals, landed on numerous best-of lists for 2019, became a New York Times bestseller, and won the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature.
Craft was still riding high from the Newbery call when his phone rang again at 7:07 a.m. “I thought, ‘OK, that’s weird,’” Craft said. “I saw area code 215, which is Philadelphia [where ALA Midwinter was being held], and I thought, if they’re calling me up to say, ‘Hi, we thought you were Jerry Pinkney when we called earlier. Sorry about that—we hope you didn’t tell anyone,’ that would have made me cry even more.” But, of course, there was no such mix-up. The second call alerted Craft to the fact that he had also won the Coretta Scott King Author Award. “I was stunned,” he recalled, noting that he hadn’t heard any buzz, or seen anything like a mock Coretta Scott King Award poll.
Hands over hearts, folks. On February 12, NASA announced that Vanguard 1 had gone silent, and the agency was finally turning off its 108 Mhz ground transceivers, set up during the International Geophysical Year. The grapefruit-sized satellite, launched March 17, 1958, was the fourth satellite to be orbited. It had been designed as a minimum space probe and, had its rocket worked in December 1957, would have been America’s first satellite rather than its second. Nevertheless, rugged little Vanguard 1 beat all of its successors for lifespan. Sputniks and Explorers came and went. Vanguards 2 and 3 shut off long ago. Yet the grapefruit that the Naval Research Laboratory made kept going beep-beep, helping scientists on the ground measure the shape of the Earth from the wiggle and decay of Vanguard’s orbit.
(12) THE TINGLE WAY. Now that you’ve explained it, I
(13) POUNDED BY YOUR CREDIT CARD. But wait! There’s all
kinds of Chuck
Tingle merchandise available. Like this hoodie, or this towel.
“The Scream” is fading. And tiny samples of paint from the 1910 version of Edvard Munch’s famous image of angst have been under the X-ray, the laser beam and even a high-powered electron microscope, as scientists have used cutting-edge technology to try to figure out why portions of the canvas that were a brilliant orangeish-yellow are now an ivory white.
Since 2012, scientists based in New York and experts at the Munch Museum in Oslo have been working on this canvas — which was stolen in 2004 and recovered two years later — to tell a story of color. But the research also provides insight into Munch and how he worked, laying out a map for conservators to prevent further change, and helping viewers and art historians understand how one of the world’s most widely recognized paintings might have originally looked….
If you’ve never heard of the board game Settlers of Catan, you aren’t alone.
Marcus Smart hadn’t. Neither had Kemba Walker. Nor Brad Stevens.
If you have heard of it, you’re in good company, too.
The game is a favorite of Celtics rookie Grant Williams.
Williams was introduced to Settlers of Catan — Catan, for short — when he was a sophomore on the basketball team at Tennessee. He walked in on Riley Davis, the team’s video coordinator, playing the classic strategy game with players Lucas Campbell, Brad Woodson, and Yves Pons. A self-proclaimed nerd, Williams wanted to learn.
“They’re like, ‘Oh dear, we have to teach Grant now,’ ” Williams recalled. “Next thing you know, we played and I won my first game.”
Williams was hooked. The group kept a board at the training facility, where they would play at least twice a week, as well as one in each of their dorm rooms. There also was a “road-trip board” that would travel with the team.
…The objective of the game sounds simple: Collect resources to build roads, settlements, and cities on the island of Catan. The implementation is a bit more complicated.
Krispy Kreme and Adult Swim have teamed up for a limited line of sweet R &M-inspired products, including a donut modeled after Pickle Rick. Don’t worry, though, the green pastry isn’t salty and sour like a brined cucumber. That would be nasty. Instead, it’s filled with “mouth-watering lemon crème, dipped in white choc truffle, with a white choc ‘Pickle Rick.'”
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Olav Rokne, Nina Shepardson, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer, plus a crowdsourced aspostrophe.]
(1) WELCOME WAGON. SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal responded
to the Romance
Writers of America meltdown by tweeting, “As president of SFWA, please
accept my invitation to consider our organization if you feel your work has a
kinship with SFF, even a tenuous tie.” Thread starts here.
This Cele Lalli discovery, just 24 years old, garnered three Galactic Stars this year.
He narrowly beats out Harry Harrison (and Harrison might have been on top, but he came out with clunkers as well as masterpieces this year).
And bless the Journey staff for recognizing newzines in
this category —
Starspinkle gave up the ghost last month, though it has a lookalike sequel, Ratatosk. They were/are both nice little gossip biweeklies.
(3) CLASSIC IRISH FANWRITING. The Willis
Papers by Walt Willis is the latest free download produced by David
Langford in hopes of inspiring donations to the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund.
A collection covering the first decade (and a bit) of Walt Willis’s fanzine writing, from his 1948 debut in Slant to 1959, edited by George W. Field and published by Ted Johnstone in August 1961. As well as twenty-two classic Willis articles, there are Prefaces by both editor and publisher, while Vin¢ Clarke and John Berry provide not entirely serious tributes to the great man.
The text of The Willis Papers was long ago transcribed into HTML by Judy Bemis for Fanac.org, and this Ansible Editions ebook is gratefully based on that version. The cover photograph of Walt Willis at the 1957 London Worldcon was taken by Peter West. (From the Ethel Lindsay photo archive, courtesy of Rob Hansen.) Ebook released on 25 December 2019. 31,500 words.
Walt Willis was born in October 1919, and his centenary in 2019 has been little remarked in science fiction fandom.
…Publishers inside and outside China say the release of American books has come to a virtual standstill, cutting them off from a big market of voracious readers.
“American writers and scholars are very important in every sector,” said Sophie Lin, an editor at a private publishing company in Beijing. “It has had a tremendous impact on us and on the industry.” After new titles failed to gain approval, she said, her company stopped editing and translating about a dozen pending books to cut costs.
The Chinese book world is cautiously optimistic that the partial trade truce reached this month between Beijing and Washington will break the logjam, according to book editors and others in the publishing industry who spoke to The New York Times.
… Still, publishing industry insiders describe a near freeze of regulatory approvals, one that could make the publishing industry reluctant to buy the rights to sell American books in China.
“Chinese publishers will definitely change their focus,” said Andy Liu, an editor at a Beijing publishing company, adding that the United States was one of China’s most frequent and profitable sources of books.
“Publishing American books is now a risky business,” he said. “It’s shaking the very premise of trying to introduce foreign books” as a business.
While China is known for its censorship, it is also a huge market for books, including international ones. It has become the world’s second-largest publishing market after the United States, according to the International Publishers Association, as an increasingly educated and affluent country looks for something engrossing to curl up with.
This time around, you get to take a seat at the table with Bob Proehl, who published his first novel in in 2016. A Hundred Thousand Worlds is about the star of a cult sci-fi TV show and her nine-year-old son making a cross-country road trip with many stops at comic book conventions along the way, and was named a Booklist best book of the year.
His latest novel, The Nobody People, about the emergence of super-powered beings who’ve been living among us, came out earlier this year…
We slipped away to Sabatino’s Italian restaurant …where we chatted over orders of veal parmigiana and eggplant parmigiana. (I’ll leave it to you to guess which of us was the carnivore, though I suspect that if you’re a regular listener, you’ll already know.)
We discussed how it really all began for him with poetry, the way giving a non-comics reader Watchmen for their first comic is like giving a non-novel reader Ulysses as their first novel, why discovering Sandman was a lifesaver, the reason the Flying Burrito Brothers 1968 debut album The Gilded Palace of Sin matters so much to him, why he had a case of Imposter Syndrome over his first book and how he survived it, the reasons he’s so offended by The Big Bang Theory, what he meant when he said “I actually like boring books,” his love for The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the X-Men, whether it’s hard to get a beer in New York at six o’clock in the morning, why he wasn’t disappointed in the Lost finale, and much more.
…Of course the tweet is simply just that a tweet, and doesn’t mean anything will come it. However, Chu is a hot name in the industry after directing the 2018 hit Crazy Rich Asians, he would be a fantastic choice to develop a Rose Tico series. Chu is currently working on the film adaptation of In The Heights based on the hit broadway musical, and will return to direct China Rich Girlfriend.
You also mentioned that your time at New Worlds was an exciting one as it provided you with the possibility to read the manuscripts of Ballard’s stories even before they were printed. What’s interesting to me is that, while writers like Aldiss or Moorcock, who loved SF and fantasy genre and helped revitalize it (although Aldiss later disowned his participation in the new wave “movement”), Ballard seemed to quickly abandon the genre (except, maybe, for Hello America).
I think it took Ballard a long time to “abandon” the genre, if he can be said to have done that, and that the process began much earlier than people admit. From the beginning his relationship to science fiction was modified by his personality, his needs as a writer, and his many cultural influences outside SF. So from the outset of his career he was working his way towards the idiopathic manner we associate with short stories like “The Terminal Beach” and novels like The Drought and The Atrocity Exhibition. It was not so much an “abandonment” as a steady evolutionary process. This happens with writers. They develop.
Today, based on a suggestion from reader Stephen R., we take a look at the time that Clark Kent had to help Kurt Vonnegut finish a novel!
The story appeared in 1974’s Superman #274 by Gerry Conway, Curt Swan and Vince Colletta, where Clark Kent and Kurt Vonnegut are both on a talk show together…
The “Wade Halibut” name is a reference to Vonnegut’s famous fictional writer, Kilgore Trout, who appeared in many of Vonnegut’s classic works, like Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse Five…
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
December 27, 1904 –J. M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan premiered in London.
December 27, 1951 — Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere premiered on film screens. It was directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Wallace A. Grissel with a script by Royal G. Cole, Sherman I. Lowe and Joseph F. Poland. Judd Holdren, in what was only his second starring screen role, plays Captain Video, the leader of a group of crime-fighters known as the Video Rangers. This fifteen-part movie serial is unusual as it’s based off a tv series, Captain Video and His Video Rangers. Like most similar series, critical reviews are scant and there is no rating at Rotten Tomatoes. It was popular enough that it aired repeatedly until the early Sixties. There’s a few episodes up on YouTube – here’s one.
December 27, 1995 — Timemaster premiered on this date. It was directed by James Glickenhaus and starred his son Jesse Cameron-Glickenhaus, Pat Morita and Duncan Regehr. It also features Michelle Williams in one of her first film roles, something she now calls one of the worst experiences of her acting career. The film got universally negative, if not actively hostile, reviews and has a 0% rating among reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 27, 1888 — Thea von Harbou. She penned the novel Metropolis based upon her uncredited screenplay of that film for husband Fritz Lang. She also collaborated with him on other projects, none of which save her 1922 Phantom screenplay appear to be genre. (Died 1954.)
Born December 27, 1917 — Ken Slater. In 1947, while serving in the British Army, he started Operation Fantast, a network of fans which had eight hundred members around the world by the early Fifties though it folded a few years later. Through Operation Fantast, he was a major importer of American SFF books and magazines into the U.K. – an undertaking which he continued, after it ceased to exist, through his company Fantast up to the time of his passing. He was a founding member of the British Science Fiction Association in 1958. (Died 2008.)
Born December 27, 1938 — Jean Hale, 81. If you’ve watched Sixties genre television, you’ve likely seen her as she showed up on My Favorite Martian, In Like Flint (at least genre adjacent), Alfred Hitchcock Presents, My Brother the Angel, Wild Wild West, Batman and Tarzan.
Born December 27, 1948 — Gerard Depardieu, 71. He’s in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet which we all agree (I think we agree) is genre. He plays Obélix in the French film Asterix & Obélix and Asterix at the Olympic Games: Mission Cleopatra and is Cardinal Mazarin in La Femme Musketeer.
Born December 27, 1951 — Robbie Bourget, 68. She started out as an Ottawa area fan, where she became involved in a local Who club and the OSFS before moving to LA and becoming deeply involved in LASFS. She was a key member of many a Worldcon and Who convention over the years (she was the co-DUFF winner with Marty Cantor for Aussiecon) before she moved to London in the late Nineties.
Born December 27, 1951 — Charles Band, 68. ExploItation film maker who’s here because some of his source material is SFF in origin. Arena was scripted off the Fredric Brown “Arena” short story which first ran in the June 1944 Astounding, and From Beyond which was based on H P Lovecraft’s short story of the same name, first published in June 1934 issue of The Fantasy Fan.
Born December 27, 1960 — Maryam d’Abo, 59. She’s best known as Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights. Her first genre role was her screen debut in the very low-budget SF horror film Xtro, an Alien rip-off. She was Ta’Ra in Something Is Out There, a miniseries that was well received and but got piss poor ratings. Did you know there was a live Mowgli: The New Adventures of the Jungle Book? I didn’t. She was Elaine Bendel, a recurring role in it.
Born December 27, 1969 — Sarah Jane Vowell, 50. She’s a author, journalist, essayist, historian, podcaster, social commentator and actress. Impressive, but she gets Birthday Honors for being the voice of Violet Parr in the Incredibles franchise. I say franchise as I’ve no doubt that a third film is already bring scripted.
Born December 27, 1977 — Sinead Keenan, 42. She’s in the Eleventh Doctor story “The End of Time” as Addams, but her full face make-up guarantees that you won’t recognize her. If you want to see her, she’s a Who fan in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. Her final Who work is a Big Finish audio drama, Iterations of I, a Fifth Doctor story. And she played Nina Pickering, a werewolf, in Being Human for quite a long time.
Born December 27, 1987 — Lily Cole, 32. Been awhile since I found a Who performer and so let’s have another now. She played The Siren in the Eleventh Doctor story, “The Curse of The Black Spot”. She’s also in some obscure film called Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a character named Lovey. And she shows up in the important role of Valentina in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Not mention she’s in Snow White and The Huntsman as Greta, a great film indeed.
Born December 27, 1995 — Timothée Chalamet, 24. First SF role was as the young Tom Cooper in the well received Interstellar. To date, his only other genre role has been as Zac in One & Two but I’m strongly intrigued that he’s set to play Paul Atreides In Director Denis Villeneuve forthcoming Dune. Villeneuve is doing it as a set of films instead of just one film which will either work well or terribly go wrong.
This week, Richard sits down with duo Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who write science fiction together under the name James SA Corey. Their bestselling space-opera series, The Expanse, which started in 2012 and is due to end in 2021, is set in the middle of the 24th century, when humanity has colonised the solar system. Human society is now beyond race and gender, and is instead divided on a planetary level: those living on Earth, on Mars and on various asteroids, moons and space stations called Belters.
The eighth book in the series, Tiamat’s Wrath, is the latest, while the fourth season of the award-winning TV adaptation [is] on Amazon Prime on 13 December.
And Claire, Richard and Sian discuss the 20 books up for the 2019 Costa awards shortlists.
Vinyl album sales hit yet another record week in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.
In the week ending Dec. 19, the data tracking firm reports 973,000 vinyl albums were sold in the U.S. — marking the single biggest week for vinyl album sales since the company began electronically tracking music sales in 1991.
…Another incident happened that same day at the Magic Kingdom, the world’s busiest theme park.
It started innocently when a 36-year-old Disney employee who portrays Minnie Mouse posed for pictures with a man and his wife from Minnesota in the park’s circus-themed meet-and-greet area.
Afterward, Minnie Mouse gave the man a hug. Then without saying a word, he groped her chest three times, according to the sheriff’s incident report.
The employee alerted her supervisors. On Dec. 6, she identified pictures of the 61-year-old man from Brewster, Minn.
She decided against pressing charges.
It wasn’t the first time the man had done something wrong at Disney World on his trip.
The man also had “an inappropriate interaction with a cast member” Dec. 5 at the Magic Kingdom, according to the sheriff’s office incident report that didn’t provide any additional details on what happened. Disney declined to elaborate.
(15) RAPPED GIFT.Bad Lip Reading dropped a bizarre “A Bad Lip Reading of The Last Jedi”
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Hampus Eckerman, Mike Kennedy,
Andrew Porter, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat
Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit
belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]
Trota is the The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s new Editor-in-Chief.
is a four-time Hugo Award winner, British Fantasy Award winner, and the first
Filipina to win a Hugo Award. She also has over 25 years of editorial and
production experience in publishing and communications. Trota is co-editor of
the upcoming WisCon Chronicles Vol. 12 with Isabel Schechter (May 2020)
and served as Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy’s
Managing Editor (2014-2019) and Nonfiction Editor (2019). Her nonfiction has
been published in The Book Smugglers, Invisible: An Anthology of
Representation in SF/F, and Chicago Magazine, and she was the
exhibit text writer of Worlds Beyond Here: Expanding the Universe of APA
Science Fiction (2018-2019) at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle, WA.
succeeds Neil Clarke, who stepped down earlier this year.
President Mary Robinette Kowal welcomed the new editor:
After a candidate search, the board selected Michi Trota to head our publications. We were all impressed with her vision and understanding of how the magazine could serve, not just the SFWA members, but the larger science-fiction and fantasy community. I am very much looking forward to working with her as we revitalize the Bulletin.”
Editor-in-Chief is the official publisher of one of SFWA’s key communications
vehicles, The SFWA Bulletin, and provides oversight and direction
regarding SFWA publications and communications that help shape and maintain the
organization’s reputation. This critical position is responsible to help
facilitate SFWA’s goals and mission statement of informing, supporting,
promoting, defending and advocating for its members.
I’m thrilled by this incredible opportunity to take the helm of SFWA’s publications. It’s an honor to step into the role of SFWA Editor-in-Chief and I look forward to working with Mary Robinette Kowal and the rest of the SFWA Board and staff.
She will be the 20th Editor-in-Chief in SFWA’s 54-year history, and is the first person of color to serve as the organization’s Editor-in-Chief.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) has
named Lois McMaster Bujold the 36th Damon Knight Grand Master for her
contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an
engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her
early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two
grown children. Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion
series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen
Books features the perennially bestselling Vorkosigan Saga. Her work has
been translated into over twenty languages and has won seven Hugo Awards and
three Nebula Awards.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal commented:
Lois McMaster Bujold has had an undeniable influence on the field of science- fiction and fantasy. From the the Vorkosigan Saga, to the Chalion series and the Sharing Knife series, she finds new ways to explore the genre, mixing and matching everything from regency to science fiction. With dozens of books in multiple languages, while continuing to write, she is one of the most prolific authors working today. Importantly, she also serves as a role model for many writers, including me. In A Civil Campaign, she wrote, “Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.” There is no doubt about Lois McMaster Bujold’s honor and becoming SFWA’s newest Grand Master only underlines her sterling reputation.
Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award will be presented along with the
Nebula Awards® during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 28-31
and features seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of
writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. During that weekend, a
mass autograph session will also take place at the Warner Center Marriott
Woodland Hills and is open to the public.
Nebula Awards®, presented annually, recognize the best works of science fiction
and fantasy published in the United States as selected by members of the
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards® were
presented in 1966.
…The guests are from 14 countries and regions, and over 40 events will be organized during the three-day conference.
…Chengdu, the capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province which is best known as the home of pandas, is the cradle of “Science Fiction World,” China’s most popular sci-fi periodical.
Founded 40 years ago, the magazine has cultivated a large number of well-known sci-fi figures including Han Song, Wang Jinkang and Hugo Award-winner Liu Cixin.
Chengdu has made great efforts in recent years to develop the sci-fi culture industry and build itself into China’s science fiction town. It has put in a formal bid to host the 81st World Science Fiction Convention in 2023.
A partial list of the international writers and conrunners who are
in Chengdu includes CoNZealand (2020) co-chairs Kelly
Buehler and Norman Cates, DisCon III (2021) co-chairs Colette Fozard and
William Lawhorn, Chicago in 2022 bid co-chairs Dave McCarty, Helen
Montgomery, plus Crystal Huff, Pablo
M.A Vazquez, Ben Yalow, Derek
Künsken, Mimi Mondal, Robert J. Sawyer, and Francesco Verso.
Some of the guests and visitors were also part of the group photo below taken at the China Science Fiction Conference two weeks ago (November 2-3) in Beijing, China. SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal is at center, with Vazquez on the left, and Vincent Docherty (co-chair 1995 and 2005 Worldcons) to the right.
… Kennedy adds an interesting little tidbit about the material used to create the screen:
“But I’m going to add one other thing that I didn’t know anything about this and it’s an interesting little tidbit. You have to grow the crystals for these screens. Who knew? You have to wait five years for the crystals to grow. And the crystals means a limited number of screens. Not only do you have to grow them but if you have volume, it’s important that you have the same bunch of LCD screens so that all the crystals are growing together. And then, how they refract the light, then they go into a whole pass on the ground crystals to then curate which ones are refracting the light in the same way so Its quite a process.”
So now the soundstage, a performance capture volume like the one James Cameron used on the Avatar films, is wrapped with these very high-resolution LED screens that present footage either shot on location or “in combination with CG environments.” Brennan explains further:
“And we’re able to have the perspective with cameras, but that means that you can change from Iceland to the desert in one [minute] from setup to setup so it really changes the flow of production. I think it also helps because actors are not in a sea of green. They’re actually seeing the environments that they’re in. And you add to that, after the puppetry and they’ve got characters to perform against in the environments that they are in and I think it does change.”
Silvia: I like mosaic novels so it’s no wonder I thought “Automatic Eve” by Rokuro Inui was cool, but it also had a Phillip K. Dick meets steampunk Japan vibe that is hard to miss. The other science fiction novel I recommend is Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s “We Cast a Shadow,” in which a black lawyer wants his son to undergo an expensive procedure that will render him white. It’s a near-future, socially charged and pretty impressive debut.
The first book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy introduces a stunning world in the midst of an apocalyptic event. To avoid major spoilers, let’s just say that The Fifth Season is brimming with gloriously intense family drama and includes one of the most phenomenal magic systems ever created. It also boasts a complex protagonist who is a mother, gifting us with one of the most formidable and fascinating characters of the 21st century. Jemisin made history by winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in the row for this trilogy, cementing her status as an essential voice in fantasy literature. But critical success aside, simply diving into her luminous prose will be enough for you to discern why she’s such a brilliant, must-read author. —Frannie Jackson
(5) TODAY IN HISTORY.
November 21, 1942 — “Tweety Bird” debuted.
November 21, 1969 — First ARPANET link put into service.
ARPANET was an early computer network developed by J.C.R. Licklider, Robert Taylor, and other researchers for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It connected a computer at UCLA with a computer at the Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA. In 1973, the government commissioned Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn to create a national computer network for military, governmental, and institutional use. The network used packet-switching, flow-control, and fault-tolerance techniques developed by ARPANET. Historians consider this worldwide network to be the origin of the Internet.
November 21, 1973 — The Michael Crichton scripted Westworld premiered. Starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin, critics gave it mixed reviews but it has an 86% rating among watchers at Rotten Tomatoes.
November 21, 2012 — The animated Rise Of The Guardians enjoyed its premiere. The feature starred the talents of Hugh Jackman, Jude Law and Isla Fisher. Based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood series, it really bombed. However the audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes is very healthy 80%.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 21, 1924 — Christopher Tolkien, 95. He drew the original maps for the LoTR. He provided much of the feedback on both the Hobbit and LoTR and his father invited him to join the Inklings when he was just twenty-one years old, making him the youngest member of that group. Suffice it to say that the list is long of his father’s unfinished works that he has edited and brought to published form. I’ll leave to this group to discuss their merit as I’ve got mixed feelings on them.
Born November 21, 1937 — Ingrid Pitt. Actor from Poland who emigrated to the UK who is best known as Hammer Films’ most sexy female vampire of the early Seventies. Would I kid you? Her first genre roles were in the Spanish movie Sound of Horror and the science-fictional The Omegans, followed by the Hammer productions The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, and The House That Dripped Blood. She appeared in the true version of The Wicker Man and had parts in Octopussy, Clive Barker’s Underworld, Dominator, and Minotaur. She had two different roles in Doctor Who – somewhat of a rarity – as Dr. Solow in the “Warriors of the Deep” episode and as Galleia in “The Time Monster” episode. (Died 2010.)
Born November 21, 1941 — Ellen Asher, 78. Editor who introduced many fans to their favorites, as editor-in-chief of the Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) for thirty-four years, from 1973 to 2007 (exceeding John W. Campbell’s record as the person with the longest tenure in the same science fiction job). She was personally responsible for selecting the monthly offerings to subscribers, and oversaw the selection of individual works for their special anthologies and omnibuses. She has been honored with a World Fantasy Special Award and an Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction. In 2009, she was given a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and she was Editor Guest of Honor at Worldcon in 2011.
Born November 21, 1942 — Jane Frank, 77. Art collector along with her husband quite beyond belief. Really. Together they put compiled a legendary collection of genre artwork, The Frank Collection, that has won awards. She is the author of numerous articles on illustration art, artists and collecting, and the book The Art of Richard Powers which was nominated for a Hugo, The Art of John Berkey, and The Frank Collection.
Born November 21, 1944 — Harold Ramis. Actor, Writer, and Producer, best-known to genre fans for his role as Egon Spengler in the Saturn-winning, Oscar- and Hugo-nominated Ghostbusters and its lesser sibling Ghostbusters II (the scripts for both of which he co-wrote with Dan Aykroyd). He had voice roles in Heavy Metal and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, and a cameo in Groundhog Day, for which he received Saturn nominations for writing and directing. He was also director and producer of Multiplicity. (Died 2014.)
Born November 21, 1945 — Vincent Di Fate, 74. Artist and Illustrator who has done many SFF book covers and interior illustrations since his work first appeared in the pages of Analog in 1965. He was one of the founders of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA), and is a past president. In addition to his Chesley Award trophy and 7 nominations, he has been a finalist for the Professional Artist Hugo 11 times, winning once; two collections of his artwork, Infinite Worlds: The Fantastic Visions of Science Fiction Art and Di Fate’s Catalog of Science Fiction Hardware, have been Hugo finalists as well. He was Artist Guest of Honor at the 1992 Worldcon, for which he organized their Art Retrospective exhibit. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011. You can see galleries of his works at his website.
Born November 21, 1946 — Tom Veal, 73. He’s a con-running fan who chaired Chicon 2000. He was a member of the Seattle in 1981 Worldcon bid committee. He chaired Windycon X. In 2016 he married fellow fan Becky Thomson. And he wrote the “1995 Moskva 1995: Igor’s Campaign“ which was published in Alternate Worldcons and Again, Alternate Worldcons as edited by Mike Resnick.
Born November 21, 1950 — Evelyn C. Leeper, 69. Writer, Editor, Critic, and Fan, who is especially known for her decades of detailed convention reports and travelogues. A voracious reader, she has also posted many book reviews. She and her husband Mark founded the Mt. Holz Science Fiction Club at Bell Labs in New Jersey (Mt = abbreviation for the labs’ Middletown facility), and have produced their weekly fanzine, the MT VOID (“empty void”), since 1978; it is currently at Issue #2,041. She was a judge for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for 20 years. She has been a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times, and Fan Guest of Honor at several conventions, including a Windycon.
Born November 21, 1953 — Lisa Goldstein, 66. Writer, Fan, and Filer whose debut novel, The Red Magician, was so strong that she was a finalist for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer two years in a row. Her short fiction has garnered an array of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominations, as well as a Sidewise Award. The short story “Cassandra’s Photographs” was a Hugo and Nebula finalist and “Alfred” was a World Fantasy and Nebula finalist; both can be found in her collection Travellers in Magic. Her novel The Uncertain Places won a Mythopoeic Award. You can read about her work in progress, her reviews of others’ stories, and other thoughts at her blog.
Born November 21, 1965 — Björk, 54. Who bears the lovely full name of Björk Guðmundsdóttir. I like Icelandic. And I’ve got boots of her band somewhere here I think. She’s here for The Juniper Tree which is a 1990 Icelandic film directed and written by Nietzchka Keene which is based on “The Juniper Tree” tale that was collected by the Brothers Grimm. She’s one of five performers in it. Oh, and because her last album Utopia explored that concept even using cryptocurrency as part of the purchase process.
Coca-Cola Amatil, which produces the beverage, said the ad was a light-hearted parody of “zom-com” or “zomedy” movies such as Shaun of the Dead and Warm Bodies.
…The Advertising Standards Authority dismissed the complaints, saying that while the ad may be distasteful to some viewers, it did not reach the threshold to be considered likely to cause harm or serious offence.
It noted that since receiving the complaints, the advertiser had decided to reschedule the ad to be screened after 7pm.
We still don’t know what the titular hero of The Mandalorian is going to do with the little “asset” that he found in the first live-action Star Wars series, but it is more than clear that the real world wants a piece of it. Everyone wants merchandise for the “Yoda Baby,” and there’s good news on the horizon.
Disney and Lucasfilm purposely held back this bit of salesmanship to avoid spoilers, but that starship has flown. CNBC reports that all kinds of toys and apparel based on the character will be out in time for the holidays.
(9) IN WIRED. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The December WIRED
has three articles on Star Wars that I thought were interesting. These
Angela Watercutter interviews cosplayers who enjoy cosplaying Rey because her costume is relatively simple and because she is the first female character in Star Wars to wield a lightsaber: “Everybody Loves Rey, a Star Wars Story”.
Annamarie McIntosh is coming undone. People in comic-book tees are rushing past her, lit up by too-bright fluorescents. She’s surrounded by massive signs with corporate logos, from Nintendo to DC Comics. The cavernous hall is 460,000 square feet, and McIntosh is taking up about three of them, trying to cinch the beige bandages wrapped around her arms. “We’re having issues here,” she says, with an exasperated giggle. “It’s been falling down all day.” With an assist by her mom, the 17-year-old finally twists and tucks her costume into place. All things considered, the fix is easy. It’s 2019’s Comic-Con International, and compared to the wizards and warlocks and Wonder Women crowding the floor, the outfit of the Jedi Rey is plain, simple. Sensible.
Adam Rogers undertakes “A Journey to Galaxy’s Edge, the Nerdiet Place on Earth” — and discusses how the park is a form of storytelling. He says that cosplaying in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is banned, although “I saw a few women cosplaying on the down low, hair done weird, rocking galactically appropriate boots.” This graf of Rogers is news to me:
Eventually, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will open. That’s a two-day stay adjacent to the Orlando park in a hotel designed to look like a Star Wars spaceship, a luxury liner called the Halcyon. The windows will somehow look out onto space; families will get tours of the bridge, and ‘port day’ will connect to Galaxy’s Edge. Apparently even the hotel building ill be bermed off from arriving guests–all they’ll see is the ‘terminal’ where they board a shuttle to the Halcyon in orbit above.
Genevieve Valentine fills in the backstory of Padme Amidala from the story in Revenge of the Sith and other clues from various other Star Wars stories: “Padmé Amidala, Queen of Empty Space”.
The biggest battle in Star Wars is between its mythic arcs—the heroes’ journeys—and its political stories. Padmé fell on the political side so squarely that the prequel trilogy expended significant visual and narrative energy trying to drag her toward the mythic, where Anakin Skywalker was waiting.
She never got there. Her realm was that of the negotiation and the vote, and nothing was able to bring her into line with the adventure and the myth.
(10) KIWI IN TRAINING. Stephen Colbert has spent the week
masquerading as The Newest Zealander. I
don’t think any WorldCon venues are in shot, but parts are right next to Museum
Prominent New Zealand celebrities Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Bret McKenzie (“Flight of the Conchords”) show Stephen around the town of Wellington and offer him tips on how to blend in as a local.
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, N., Martin Morse
Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Errolwi, Tom
Boswell-Healey, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes
to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]
SFWA is monitoring the ongoing situation with small press publisher ChiZine. In light of documented financial and contractual misconduct, as well as other troubling business practices, SFWA is placing an advisory warning on ChiZine.
One of SFWA’s main tasks is to support writers by helping the industry adopt best business practices. To this end, SFWA supports a number of initiatives to advocate for writers and educate writers about their rights. In addition, SFWA recognizes the emotional distress that the authors involved have experienced.
Authors who need assistance or wish to share their experience as part of SFWA’s monitoring process may contact Susan Forest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All information is held in confidence and will not be shared in any form without the writer’s explicit permission.
While we are aware that Chizine has begun to take steps on their own to correct their missteps, our duty to our membership requires that we evaluate the market based on their actions rather than their plans. The authors who are published through Chizine need a stable marketplace. As such, a SFWA representative has contacted ChiZine with an offer to set a series of benchmarks to bring them into line with industry standards. We hope that this will help with accountability moving forward.
In the larger picture, any SFWA members who are experiencing issues resolving problems with editors, publishers, agents, or other writing-related business associates are encouraged to contact SFWA’s Grievance Committee. Types of grievances that can be undertaken include: non-payment of money legitimately owed to the member; failure to perform or uphold contractual obligations owed to the member; release from contracts that are clearly, in the opinion of the Committee Chair, onerous; mediation of non-monetary, non-contractual disputes with publishers, editors, agents, or other writing-related business associations; and other situations which the Committee Chair may deem appropriate use of committee resources.
File 770’s ongoing coverage of authors’ experiences with CZP can be searched using the ChiZine Publications tag. The first post in the current series of reports is here.