Raks Geek will headline the closing ceremonies of DisCon III in Washington, DC., on the evening of December 19, 2021.
Raks Geek is the premiere bellydance, flow arts, and fire company by geeks for geeks. They are committed to blending a high degree of artistic and technical mastery with fun, creativity, and their favorite themes from nerd culture.
The dancers and fire-spinners have performed everywhere from Germany to Argentina and dance for hundreds of people every week. The members of Raks Geek are lifelong geeks who bring a love and expertise in science fiction, video games, technology, research science, and comics.
Raks Geek was featured on UK Channel 4 TV’s “50 Funniest Moments of the Year” and listed as a Timeout Chicago Critics’ Pick. They are based in Chicago, Illinois, but have made waves nationally and internationally on MSN, WGN-TV, The Daily Mail, WCIU, and the Chicago Tribune.
“I have loved science fiction ever since being handed Isaac Asimov books in elementary school,” said Dawn Xiana Moon, founder/director of Raks Geek. “Each of our performers is stunning on their own: They’ve won Hugo Awards, they’ve toured Europe, they’ve appeared on international TV.” (Troupe member Michi Trota has won multiple Hugo Awards.)
“The first time I saw Raks Geek, I fell in love with their work. Dawn’s work as an entertainer and director brings such a high level of artistry to our closing ceremonies,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, Chair of DisCon III.
DisCon III is the third World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) held in Washington DC, USA. Worldcon is the annual gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans, writers, artists, musicians, and other creators from across the globe. DisCon III will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on December 15-19, 2021.
Worldcon originally focused on and still has a strong emphasis on science fiction and fantasy literature but has grown to include genre television, movies, animation, games, and other popular media as well. It has truly become the world’s fair of science fiction and fantasy fandom. No other event brings together fans and creators, regardless of genre or medium, under one big tent with the intimacy of Worldcon.
DisCon III is sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc. (BWAWA, Inc.), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Maryland.
Trota took the job in December 2019, and for the last year-and-a-half has built up SFWA’s Publications department, defining many of the roles and processes that will enable the SFWA staff to continue producing The Bulletin, the annual Nebula Showcase Anthology, the monthly member newsletter The Singularity, and the bimonthly New Releases Newsletter.
Trota shared the following statement at the SFWA Blog:
It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as SFWA Editor-in-Chief. Being the first person of color to step into this role at SFWA was an opportunity I had never envisioned for myself, and I can’t thank former president Mary Robinette Kowal, current president Jeffe Kennedy, and both recent and current board members for providing the support, resources, and autonomy necessary for me to succeed in this role. Their actions have set a gold standard for what I will look for in future roles with other organizations, and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned with SFWA to my ever-expanding editorial role at the BIPOC-led news organization Prism.
I’m sad to leave, but beyond proud of the work that I was able to accomplish during my time at SFWA. I have the utmost faith and trust in the SFWA publications team—Managing Editor Kevin Wabaunsee, Art Director Lauren Raye Snow, Blog Editor C.L. Clark, Communications Manager Rebecca Gomez Farrell, as well as our incredible volunteers—to continue evolving and building SFWA Publications into more than I could imagine. Thank you to everyone who made my time with SFWA such a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The SFWA Board said the remaining publications team team and SFWA’s executive staff will continue working on all existing projects. This includes The Bulletin’s 2021 Winter/Spring double issue, which has been delayed but is now expected to be released in August. Guest editors Sascha Stronach and Yilin Wang will be in charge of curating its next two issues, as previously announced.
They anticipate releasing Nebula Showcase #55 in August, and aim to release #56 by the end of the year. They also said their newsletters have come out on a mostly regular schedule for the past year, and they expect that to continue.
Michi Trota is a multiple 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. She 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. She is shortlisted for the 2021 Ignyte Awards’ Ember Award for unsung contributions to genre.
(3) INSIDE THE HUGO CEREMONY. Erin Underwood, who presented the Best Fan Writer Hugo, told Facebook readers some specifics about the lack of support she received, and offered these general comments —
A few more thoughts, the ConZealand Hugo Awards Ceremony production team owned the production of the event (edited to be clear). It was their show. What we saw was what they created. George owns his words and choices, but they own the decision of using those videos. They produced the show that we saw.
… It is hard to push back against an iconic guest and to provide critical guidance for improved performance, but that was their job. ConZealand owned that Hugo Ceremony from start to finish. As con runners and volunteers, it’s our job to make sure that our speakers and guests are well-prepared and know exactly what’s expected of them, and if they fail, we fail.
CoNZealand Hugo administrators were as much in the dark about what was going on as you were. Probably more so in that we had no input at all, whereas at least you recorded a video.
Edited to add: practically the first thing we did with finalists was to ask the correct pronunciation of their names.
(4) AVOID FRIENDLY FIRE. Michi Trota is concerned about collateral damage from the social media response to the troubled Hugo Awards ceremony.
(5) ASPIRATION PLUS PERSPIRATION. Cheryl Morgan analyzes some of the challenges of managing Worldcons in “Why Worldcons Go Wrong” and says in conclusion:
…There’s a tendency in certain quarters to sneer when people say that running Worldcon is hard, but it is, and unless you have actually done it you probably don’t understand just how hard it is. Which is not to say that people don’t make terrible mistakes, and should not be called to account for them. I can assure you that I have done that often enough in my time (ask people about TorCon 3 if you don’t believe me). However, I have always tried to do so in the hope that we can learn from our mistakes and make Worldcon better. I hope you can see from the above that fixing things, or creating an alternative, is not simply a matter of vowing to “do better”.
(6) CLOSED CAPSHUNNING. The AI still needs some work.
The Eighties were a golden era for science-fiction. Cineplexes were chockablock with blockbusters like The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, Aliens and The Terminator. On the small screen, you could get your space fix with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sitcoms had aliens and androids as their stars in ALF and Small Wonder. Even the cars could talk on Knight Rider.
Of course, not everything was a hit. For every smash, there were scores of knock-offs. Every network attempted to launch its own time travel adventure, it seems. While these shows rarely made it to a second season, they remain cult favorites of those who watched them. They might have thrived today, in our geek culture of a thousand options…
13. THE POWERS OF MATTHEW STAR (1982–83)
Peter Barton starred alongside Lou Gossett, Jr., in this 1982 superhero series. Production began in 1981, though was put on hold after Barton fell onto a pyrotechnics flare, suffering severe third degree burns. Production was shut down, as the actor healed for several months in a hospital. Barton had edged Tom Cruise for the lead role, an alien prince hiding out in high school on earth. Star Trek fans take note: Leonard Nimoy directed an episode, and Walter Koenig wrote one.
I mean, in a novel. OK, a minor character, more like a cameo, but still — my name is the first that you see in the first chapter of “The Relentless Moon,” the new novel in Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Lady Astronaut” science fiction series. The novels are set in an alternate timeline that has the world, after a devastating meteorite strike and the resulting runaway global warming, greatly accelerating its space program to get humans off the doomed planet.
HALFWAY TO MARS John Schwartz, Special to the National Times KANSAS CITY, March 28, 1963 — If all goes as it should — and in space, that is no sure thing — then sometime today, thirteen brave voyagers will cross a Rubicon that no man ever has: the halfway point between our home planet and Mars.
Ms. Kowal, who has won Hugo and Nebula awards and who is president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, makes her novels something of a group project by relying on the expertise of others for thorny passages: She gets help with orbital mechanics and spacecraft piloting, for example, from actual astronauts. She puts the names of real people into her work, including astronauts.
But she tucks in other names, as well….
(9) DON COMES UP LIKE THUNDER. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Last night I heard a 2019 podcast Leonard and Jessie Maltin did with Don Hahn. Hahn began his career at Disney in the mid-1970s, back when an animator who asked to “see a scene” could have an intern go to the storage area where the original cels were stored. Hahn’s been associated with Disney ever since, surviving the first attempt to revive the animation decision in the early 1980s and the second one when Disney shifted to musicals with The Little Mermaid. He was the producer of the first versions of Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King, and tells many stories about the era, including how The Lion King was nearly scored by ABBA. He’s also proud of spotting talent early, including seeing the potential in composer Hans Zimmer and director Tim Burton, and says Burton became a success because of “an incredible work ethic.”
Hahn also writes books, including books about animation and an edited version of Walt Disney’s memos about animators. He paints and published a collection of his art called Hahn Solo.
Hahn also directs documentaries about Disney. His most recent one is Howard, about Howard Ashman, who revived the American musical with his lyrics for The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast but whose career was tragically cut short after he died of AIDS in the early 1990s. Howard is dropping on Disney+ on August 7,
Hahn was going to come to a movie convention Maltin held last year, and promised he would sign a book any way a customer wanted “as long as it was legal according to the laws of the state of California.”
John Clute, the co-editor of the six million-word Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, is pleading with me.
“Please don’t use it, it is deeply vulgar and very stupid. It’s really kind of reprehensible . . . I shouldn’t have mentioned it at all, and I didn’t.” But, John, it’s out there, it’s in your book. I really have no choice.
The term he loathes is “cli-fi”. It means climate-change fiction — stories about the world after a climate catastrophe, stories that used to be called science fiction. The purpose cli-fi serves is not noble, it is pure snobbery. It is, as the entry says, a way of “distancing from the perceived downmarket nature or Pulp roots of Genre SF”. “Speculative fiction” is another class-ridden term used by authors who don’t like to be seen slumming it. Even “sci-fi” is not welcome — in TV listings and the like it describes superhero nonsense.
Yet calling it SF will not, for many readers, drag it out of the lower ranks of the literary league table. Jessica Harrison, the editor of the new SF series from Penguin Modern Classics, admits that for her the term at first evoked book or magazine covers with “half-naked girls and purple planets”. Neither is present on the austere white covers of her list…
… Now, and here comes the optimism, SF has gone global, with new waves of Asian and African writers. One Chinese author in particular has to be mentioned, Liu Cixin. I’ve just started reading his book The Three-Body Problem — it is different from anything else and beautifully written. It is also brave, in that it starts with a vivid description of the horrors of Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. Barack Obama loved the book, not least because it made his “day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty”. That, of course, is exactly what SF should do.
SF will survive even as technological progress seems to race ahead of some of its wildest imaginings. It will survive because it is a way of seeing — not aliens, time warps, superluminal travels and so on, but ourselves. Dr Snaut nailed it in the greatest of all SF movies, Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972).
“We don’t want other worlds; we want a mirror. We seek contact and will never achieve it. We are in the foolish position of a man striving for a goal he fears and doesn’t want. Man needs man!”
(11) BRIMLEY OBIT. Actor Wilford Brimley, who appeared in Cocoon and its sequel, died August 1 at the age of 85. He was also in The Thing (1982), the Ewoks: Battle for Endor TV movie, Progeny, and in the genre-adjacent Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) as the head of C.U.R.E.
(12) BELATED MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
In July 1997, Donnerjack was published by the Easton Press. This was the true first edition as the Avon Books hardcover edition wouldn’t be out for another month. Though it was started by Roger Zelazny, this novel was largely completed by Jane Lindskold. He completed a few hundred pages of the first draft and left detailed notes for its remainder. The outline Zelazny did was entitled ”Donnerjack, of Virtù: A Fable for the Machine Age“. It was to be the first novel in a trilogy but as Zelazny said in his Hugo Award winning “24 Views of Mt. Fuji, byby Hokusai“ novelette, “I know, too, that death is the only god who comes when you call.” (CE)
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born August 2, 1916 — Elizabeth Russell. She’s best remembered as the Cat Woman (though the voice was dubbed by Simone Simon) in The Cat People. And she was Barbara Farren In The Curse of the Cat People — some of the same characters, not a sequel. She was also Countess Lorenz in The Corpse Vanishes where her co-star was Bela Lugosi. Lastly she was Dean of Women Grace Gunnison in Weird Women which was sort of based off Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife. (Died 2002.) (CE)
Born August 2, 1920 — Theodore Marcuse. He was Korob in “Catspaw”, a second-season Trek episode that aired just before Halloween aptly enough. He had appearances in The Twilight Zone (“The Trade-Ins” and “To Serve Man”), Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Wild, Wild West and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the episodes “The Re-collectors Affair”, “The Minus-X Affair”, and “The Pieces of Fate Affair”. (Died 1967.) (CE)
Born August 2, 1942 – Isabel Allende, 78. Adventures in and beside literature include ten novels for us, a score of shorter stories, translated into Dutch, French, German, Portuguese; many others (one of which, Chip Hitchcock, is Zorro). Fan of Shakespeare. Translator of romance novels into Spanish, fired for altering dialogue to show the heroines smarter, plots to show them more independent. First woman to receive the Gabriela Mistral Order of Merit. Harvard Litt.D. (Latin, Litterarum Doctor “doctor of letters”, in her case honoris causa “for the sake of the honor” i.e. honorary degree). Memoir, The Sum of Our Days. American Academy of Arts & Letters. Chilean Literature Prize. Gish Prize. US Medal of Freedom. [JH]
Born August 2, 1945 — Joanna Cassidy, 75. 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. I mean really bad horror. (CE)
Born August 2, 1948 — Robert Holdstock. Another one who died far too young. His Ryhope Wood series is simply amazing with Lavondyss being my favorite 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.) (CE)
Born August 2, 1949 — Craig Shaw Gardner, 71. Comic fantasy author whose work is, depending on your viewpoint, very good or very bad. For me, he’s always great. I adore his Ballad of Wuntvor sequence and highly recommend all three novels, A Difficulty with Dwarves, An Excess of Enchantments and A Disagreement with Death. Likewise his pun-filled Arabian Nights sequence will either be to your liking or really not. I think it’s worth it just for Scheherazade’s Night Out. (CE)
Born August 2, 1949 – Joe Siclari, F.N., 71. Collector, fanhistorian, active in cons and fanzines. New Yorker and Floridian. Chair of MagiCon the 50th Worldcon. Co-founded SMOFcon (“Secret Master Of Fandom”, as Bruce Pelz said a joke-nonjoke-joke) and FanHistoriCon. Published The Complete “Quandry” (Q being Lee Hoffman’s fanzine; note spelling), The Enchantment (Walt Willis), A Wealth of Fable (Harry Warner’s fanhistory of the 1950s); edited a photo-illustrated ed’n of All Our Yesterdays (HW fanhistory of the 1940s). Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award). Chairman of FANAC (fanac has long been short for fan activity; in this case, the Florida Ass’n for Nucleation And Conventions) which sponsored MagiCon and now sponsors Fancyclopedia 3 and the FANAC Fan History Project. Fan Guest of Honor at MiniCon 31 (with wife Edie Stern), DeepSouthCon 34, Loscon XXVI, Lunacon 51. DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate (with Stern). Big Heart (our highest service award; with Stern). FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement Award) for Best Online Archive or Resource (i.e. the FANAC Fan History Pjt; with Stern). Named Fan Guest of Honor (with Stern) for Chicon 8 the scheduled 80th Worldcon. [JH]
Born August 2, 1952 – Hope Leibowitz, 68. Only person to have attended every Ditto (fanziners’ con; named for a brand of copying machine). Has lived in Toronto longer than New York (38 yrs, 30 yrs). Contributor to FLAP (Fannish Little Amateur Press, an apa). Sent a birthday card to Bob Madle (see here and here). Likes the cover for Mike Resnick’s Paradise – but I forgot to ask if she meant this one (Whelan) or maybe this one (Gauckler). [JH]
Born August 2, 1954 — Ken MacLeod, 66. 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! (CE)
Born August 2, 1973 – Prapda Yun, 47. Writer, filmmaker, graphic designer. S.E.A. Write Award for Probability (short stories); The Sad Part Was, mostly therefrom, seems the first translation of Thai fiction published in the UK. PY himself has translated Lolita and Pnin, A Clockwork Orange, R.U.R. Songs and other music for Buahima and the Typhoon Band. [JH]
Born August 2, 1976 – Emma Newman, 44. Eleven novels, as many shorter stories (one for Wild Cards). Collection, From Dark Places. Audiobooks. “How LARP [Live-Action Role Playing] Changed My Life” here. Best-Fancast Hugo for Tea and Jeopardy (with husband Peter), see here. [JH]
Born August 2, 1994 – Dawson Vosburg, 16. Three novels. “I love my imagination. It’s the one thing I’m thankful for every day.” Here’s Chapter 2 of Incognito. [JH]
This week in The Full Lid! With the movie riding high I dig into the second volume of the original Old Guard comic series. Force Multiplied changes the game for the immortals in some big ways and is both a good read and a great basis for the almost certain sequel.
Elsewhere this issue I take a look at Fredrica and Stefon Bristol’s audacious and smart time travel movie See You Yesterday which is one of those films that will stay with you after viewing. Finally, I take a look at the first issue of Bleed Them Dry, a vampire/cyberpunk/murder mystery from Vault Comics and the team of Hiroshi Kuzumi, Elliot Rahal, Dike Ruan, Tim Daniel and Miquel Muerto. Our interstitials this week are remixes of classic Calvin and Hobbes strips by the Blindspotting team of Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs.
The Full Lid is weekly, free and published every Friday at 5 p.m. BST. You can find an archive and a subscription link at the top of this week’s issue.
…my suggestions would be to focus on the award’s goal of introducing fans to lesser-known works and teaching us something about SF history. I’d suggest the following format changes: 1) make it a juried award, with the jury consisting of academics and critics who’ve done historical recovery work; 2) reduce the slate from 12 or so awards to 1 or 2, which would allow for more fan engagement with the work(s) in question; 3) make its guiding question not, ‘what works might have won in a given year’ but ‘Which lesser-known SF works from the years of eligibility most speak to the genre and the SF community in 2022?’”
We at BookNest.eu are incredibly excited to announce that we have reached the extraordinary milestone of TWO THOUSAND reviews! That’s an incredible number, considering all of the hours that go into crafting even a single review. We are proud of our reviewers, who have worked for years with passion and dedication to deliver our reviews to the fantasy community in the hopes of increasing awareness of authors and titles we are excited about.
In celebration of this occasion, our reviewers have compiled a list of our picks for the top one hundred fantasy novels that have been published this century. This list is, of course, subjective, so if your favourite book is missing, we apologize in advance. We have not read every book in the world, and the taste of our reviewers may not reflect your own.
(19) PRETTY COLORS. Goobergunch is definitely showing something here. Excuse me a minute while I go learn from the Wikipedia what it is….
Two NASA astronauts are back on Earth after their space capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
The last time any NASA astronauts came home by splashing down was in 1975—and back then, they were in an Apollo space vehicle. This time, the astronauts were in a white, bell-shaped capsule owned by SpaceX.
The success of their test flight, to the International Space Station and back, is a milestone for SpaceX, the first private company to send people to the outpost.
The company has been taking cargo to and from the station for years. This flight with people on board was the final test for SpaceX’s crew system to be certified by NASA as ‘operational’ for future astronaut missions.
That means the U. S. once again has its own ability to put people in orbit and return them safely. Since retiring its space shuttles in 2011, NASA has had to buy seats for its astronauts on Russian spaceships.
NASA can now rely on an American space taxi that takes off from Florida, and it’s already assigning astronauts to future SpaceX missions–including Megan McArthur, who happens to be married to one of the just-returned astronauts, Bob Behnken.
If you wanna watch, it’s live right now on Twitch.
(22) A HORSE, OF COURSE. Adam Thirwell says Bojack Horseman reminds him of everything from Don Quixote to Ibsen in “A Horse’s Remorse” at The New York Review of Books.
…I’m in no way an avid watcher of cartoons but, to risk a sense of disproportion, I began to feel something similar as the animated series BoJack Horseman unfolded on Netflix over six seasons and seventy-seven episodes, beginning in 2014 and ending early this year. “It’s not Ibsen,” went a repeated refrain in the show, which was funny not just because it was a form of immediate self-deprecation about the show itself—a cartoon comedy whose supporting cast includes a news anchor who’s an irascible blue whale and a film studio renamed Warbler Brothers—but also because this show was Ibsen in a way, just an opioid version: a wild investigation of self-deception and failure. Or rather, that’s what I concluded by the end. At first it was simply zany and delightful, this series about a talking horse who’s the washed-up star of a now-forgotten 1990s hit sitcom, Horsin’ Around, a saccharine confection about a horse who adopts three human orphans. But by the time it finished, it had become something much grander and more terrible. Exactly what, however, and exactly how, are conundrums that have preoccupied me….
[Thanks to John Hertz, Chip Hitchcock, rcade, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, Dann, N., Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
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.
Ulrika O’Brien launches BEAM 14 with an editorial that might have gone unnoticed outside the circle of FAAn Award voters if she hadn’t (1) given John Scalzi the KTF treatment and (2) Scalzi hadn’t tweeted a link to the zine to his 165,000 Twitter followers.
…But once a year, like clockwork, the Fan Hugo short list comes out and somehow I can never quite avoid seeing it. When I do see it, I increasingly find a bunch of total strangers who’ve not visibly participated in fandom, and I see red all over again. I will inevitably be told that the failing is in me, that were I to educate myself, I would discover their merit. As often as not, whatever merit is involved, what I actually discover are more neo-pros doing nothing remotely to do with fandom as we know it, or if they do, only in pursuit of making money off us. So thanks, Scalzi. Fuck you. Wait, what now? Why am I still on about John Scalzi’s Fan Writer Hugo, eleven years after the parade? Because it was John Scalzi who finally broke the Fan Hugos, that’s why. And he didn’t do the rest of the Hugos any favors, either, as it turns out….
Taking two steps back and looking at the bigger picture and the actual societal changes occuring in the relevant time period, what do we see? Nothing mysterious and nothing secretly controlled by John Scalzi but rather the increasing and inevitable online nature of fandom, along with generational change. The period of 2000 to 2020, was always going to be one in which fandom would have the kind of generational change that fandom is always having because people get older and people from a younger generation become more influential. To use tired generational-terms, a shift from Baby Boomers to Gen-X with (now) more Millennials (and younger).
The accompanying shift was technological with blogs, blogging networks (particularly Live Journal at one point), social media platforms and commerical pop-culture media sites changing where fan-related discourse was happening. This was a cross-generational change (e.g. GRRM’s Live Journal or how influential Mike Glyer’s File770 fanzine-turned-blog became during the Puppy Debarkle).
Doc Rocket’s tweet is especially interesting for its “no one, really” conclusion —
Hugo Award-winning Publishers/Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are proud to present the 28th issue of their 2016, 2017, and 2018 Hugo Award-winning online science fiction and fantasy magazine. As always, it features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture, along with an award-winning monthly podcast featuring a story, poem, and interview from that issue. Stories from Uncanny Magazine have been finalists or winners of Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards.
All of Uncanny Magazine’s content will be available in eBook versions on the day of release from Weightless Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo. Subscriptions are always available through Amazon Kindle and Weightless Books. The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on June 4.
EBOOKS. This issue will coincide with the Weightless Books Subscription Drive for a year’s worth
of Uncanny Magazine eBooks. The drive will run from May 1-May
15. For that limited time, people can receive a year’s worth of Uncanny for
$2 off the regular price. They will have giveaways for a few lucky new or
renewing subscribers at particular milestones, too (including T-shirts, back
issues, and tote bags.) All new or renewing subscribers will get a vinyl
Space Unicorn sticker and a Space Unicorn enamel pin.
STAFF CHANGES. Uncanny Magazine will also be having some staff
changes in the coming months. Managing and Nonfiction Editor Michi Trota has
decided to move on from her Uncanny editorial duties at the
end of 2019. Michi will be staying through Uncanny Magazine #31
(November/December 2019) to make sure we have a seamless editorial transition.
Starting with Uncanny Magazine #31 (November/December 2019),
the new Managing Editor will be Chimedum Ohaegbu, the current Uncanny
Magazine Assistant Editor. Starting with Uncanny
Magazine #32 (January/February 2020), the new Nonfiction Editor will
be Elsa Sjunneson-Henry. And finally, starting with Uncanny Magazine #31
(November/December 2019), the new Assistant Editor will be Angel
28 Table of Contents
She’s Going Places by Galen Dara
“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas (5/7)
“Nice Things” by Ellen Klages (5/7)
“Probabilitea” by John Chu (5/7)
“A Salt and Sterling Tongue” by Emma Osborne (5/7)
“Lest We Forget” by Elizabeth Bear (6/4)
“A Catalog of Love at First Sight” by Brit E. B. Hvide (6/4)
“Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan” by Christopher Caldwell (6/4)
“Corpse Soldier” by Kameron Hurley (6/4)
“Black Horror Rising” by Tananarive Due (5/7)
“Everyone’s World is Ending All the Time: notes on becoming a climate resilience planner at the edge of the anthropocene” by Arkady Martine (5/7)
“Jennifer Adams Kelley—A Remembrance” (5/7)
“Toy Stories” by Gwenda Bond (6/4)
“‘You Have Only Your Trust in Me’: Star Trek and the Power of Mutual Belief” by Nicasio Andres Reed (6/4)
“The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly” by Theodora Goss (5/7)
“The following parameters” by Nicasio Andres Reed (5/7)
“Flashover” by S. Qiouyi Lu (5/7)
“The Magician Speaks to the Fool” by Ali Trotta (6/4)
“Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Beast” by Brandon O’Brien (6/4)
John Chu interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (5/7)
Elizabeth Bear interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim(6/4)
Uncanny Magazine Podcast 28A (5/7)
“Nice Things” by Ellen Klages, as read by Erika Ensign
“The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly” by Theodora Goss, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
Ellen Klages interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas
Uncanny Magazine Podcast 28B (6/4)
“A Catalog of Love at First Sight” by Brit E. B. Hvide, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
“The Magician Speaks to the Fool” by Ali Trotta, as read by Erika Ensign
(1) WORLD FANTASY CON. After Silvia Moreno-Garcia criticized WFC 2019 for announcing an all-white guest slate, the concom’s answer did not allay complaints. And the World Fantasy Convention Board’s answer to a letter she sent them has only fanned the flames. Moreno-Garcia’s screencap of their reply is part of a reaction thread which starts here.
and decades of experience in all cases. The length of experience has varied with ppl that have been quite 'new' to the field. Why can't 'newer' POC faces be appearing? 2) We cannot wait 10 years for a problem to solve itself.
But also — I am one of the people who turned down a Special Guest invite (for 2020). This is why: a) because as one of this select group that WFC finds desirable, I am BUSY. Cons eat guests alive and I don't have time or energy for them anymore.
And to be clear–the board sets the tone. The board often constricts what the con people on the ground can and cannot do. The board has the power to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen. Or to change the rules.
…it was not great. These are already difficult places for newcomers to penetrate (I won't even get into the scowls I got for having a kid there). and there's a lot of cons. People are going to go where they feel welcome and tell their friends to do the same.
So basically when your con/org/event etc acts in ways that aren’t welcoming or showing an inclination to learn & do better you’re not just losing access to the ppl you’ve deemed “acceptable” you’re losing access to EVERYONE they could recommend in their place.
I realize this a) might seem silly, b) be exactly what certain assholes in the world want everyone to believe and c) that privileged writers have been selling books and winning awards for a long time w/o that fear b/c systemic advantages BUT Writer Anxiety feelings, y'know
If they've historically had poor representation, they have a bad rep. They might seek more diverse guests, who side-eye the invite and don't attend because of said rep. No one wants to be invited/recognized grudgingly b/c the host was forced to do it. Vicious cycle ensues.
Earth is a rare and special place in the universe. Astrophysicist Jackie Faherty joins forces with Broken Earth series author N.K. Jemisin to examine what makes our planet unique compared to others in our solar system and beyond. Find out where artists and scientist alike look for life beyond Earth, from Io to Enceladus and beyond.
In Ralph Breaks the Internet, a hyperconnected sequel to the animated hit Wreck-It Ralph, the possibilities of a Disney/Star Wars/Marvel crossover are breathlessly celebrated while fragile masculinity threatens to destroy the world. Cultural anthologists of the future will require no carbon dating to recognize this film as extremely 2018. In fact, as a screen grab of online and entertainment culture, Ralph Breaks the Internet seizes so shrewdly on the times that the prospect of watching it 10, 20 or 100 years from now is more exciting than seeing it in a theater today, when it feels too much like an animated extension of everyday stresses and distractions. Clickability isn’t always a virtue.
(4) CRITICS AT THE FBI. The Harper’s Magazine post “Literary Agents” has excerpts from Writers Under Surveillance in which they reprint the FBI’s description of writers they were watching.
The FBI said Ray Bradbury was “a freelance science fiction writer whose work dealt with the development and exploitation of Mars, its effect on mankind, and its home world.”
By contrast, they said Gore Vidal was “A writer who is intolerable, masquerading as smart-aleck entertainment.”
That he is not better known elsewhere is perhaps due to the unclassifiable nature of his work – yet his influence can be seen everywhere, from the films of Tim Burton to the novels of Neil Gaiman and Lemony Snicket.
Gorey himself was a complicated, reclusive individual whose mission in life was “to make everybody as uneasy as possible”. He collected daguerreotypes of dead babies and lived alone with 20,000 books and six cats in his New York apartment. Sporting an Edwardian beard, he would frequently traipse around the city in a full-length fur coat accessorised with trainers and jangling bracelets.
This week, we’re joined by fantasy and science fiction author Nicholas Erik, who also writes and experiments under the pen name D.N. Erikson. He’s an analytical guy who’s always observing what’s working and what’s not, both for his own work and for others.
Reasons for launching a pen name and whether it should be secret or not.
Trying a new series and new genre when you’re not getting the results you hoped for from your first effort.
Nick’s “trifecta of indie success” — marketing, craft, and productivity….
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]
November 21, 1924 – Christopher J. R. Tolkien, 94, Writer and Editor who is the son of J. R. R. Tolkien, and editor of so much of his father’s posthumously-published material. He drew the original maps for the Lord of the Rings, and provided much of the feedback on both The Hobbit and LoTR; his father invited him to join the Inklings when he was just twenty-one years old, making him the youngest member of that group. He published The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise: Translated from the Icelandic with Introduction, Notes and Appendices. The list of his father’s unfinished works which he has edited and brought to published form is a long one; I’ll leave it to the august group here to discuss their merit, as I have mixed feelings on them.
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 original 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.)
November 21, 1941 – Ellen Asher, 77, 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.
November 21, 1942 – Al Matthews, Actor, Singer, and former Marine with two Purple Hearts, who is best known for his appearance as Gunnery Sergeant Apone in Aliens – a performance so memorable that his character was the inspiration for Sgt. Avery Johnson in the Halo franchise. He reprised his role 27 years later in the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines. Other genre films include The Fifth Element, Superman III, Riders of the Storm (aka The American Way), Omen III, The Sender, and Tomorrow Never Dies. (Died 2018.)
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.)
November 21, 1945 – Vincent Di Fate, 73, 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.
November 21, 1950 – Evelyn C. Leeper, 68, 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.
November 21, 1953 – Lisa Goldstein, 65, Writer, Fan, and Filer whose debut novel, The Red Magician, was so strong that she was a finalist for the Campbell 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.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Rabbits Against Magic has a wonderful “Cartoon Lexiconville” showing English words and phrases that were originated in or popularized by comic strips.
(10) FLAME ON! “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fry!” – is not a quote from “’Eat, Fry, Love’ a Turkey Fryer Fire Cautionary Tale presented by William Shatner & State Farm.” (Released in 2011 but it’s news to me!)
It is a turkey fryer cautionary tale with excellent video of the dangers associated with using turkey fryers. It shows how fire can rapidly intensify, spread, destroy and cause serious injury. Enjoy this video, learn from it and stay safe.
But a lot of it is thanks to artificial intelligence. With AI, computers analyze reams of data, making decisions and performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI is key to Amazon’s retail forecasting on steroids and its push to shave off minutes and seconds in the rush to prepare, pack and deliver.
“It goes beyond just being able to forecast we need a hundred blouses,” Freshwater says. “We need to be able to determine how many do we expect our customers to buy across the sizes, and the colors. And then … where do we actually put the product so that our customers can get it when they click ‘buy.’ ”
That’s a key element to how Amazon speeds up deliveries: The team predicts exactly where those blouses should be stocked so that they are as close as possible to the people who will buy them.
(Note: Amazon is one of NPR’s financial supporters.)
This process is even more essential now that the race is on for same-day and even same-hour delivery. Few other retailers have ventured into these speeds, because they’re very expensive. And few rely quite so much on AI to control costs while expanding.
A milestone oil development project in Alaska’s Arctic waters is having to extend its construction timeline to accommodate the warming climate. The recently approved Liberty Project — poised to become the first oil production facility in federal Arctic waters — has altered its plans due to the shrinking sea ice season.
The challenge comes as the Trump administration has reversed an Obama-era policy and proposed re-opening the majority of Alaska’s federal waters to drilling. It’s pushing to hold a lease sale in the Beaufort Sea next year. The lease for the Liberty Project pre-dates the Obama-era ban on oil development in Arctic waters.
Get ready to get nostalgic — or rather, listen to me get nostalgic — on an episode of Eating the Fantastic which features a guest I believe I’ve known longer than any other — comics legend Paul Levitz.
Paul and I go way back, all the way to Phil Seuling’s 1971 Comic Art Convention, when I would have been 16 and him 15, both fans and fanzine publishers, long before either of us had entered the comics industry as professionals. We later, along with a couple of other friends, roomed together at the 1974 World Science Fiction Convention in Washington D.C. As you listen, think of us as we were in the old days — that’s us in 1974 compared to us now —
In 1976, he became the editor of Adventure Comics before he’d even turned 20. He ended up working at DC Comics for more than 35 years, where he was president from 2002–2009. He’s probably best known for writing the Legion of Super-Heroes for a decade, scripting the Justice Society of America, and co-creating the character Stalker with Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko. He was given an Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2002 and the Dick Giordano Hero Initiative Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2013 at the Baltimore Comic-Con. And if you try to lift his massive and essential history 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking, you’re going to need to see a chiropractor.
We discussed why even though in a 1973 fanzine he wrote he had “no desire to make a career for myself in this industry” he’s spent his life there, how wild it was the suits let kids like us run the show in the ’70s, the time Marv Wolfman offered him a job over at Marvel (and why he turned it down), what he learned from editor Joe Orlando about how to get the best work out of creative people, the bizarre reason Gerry Conway’s first DC Comics script took several years to get published, how he made the Legion of Super-Heroes his own, which bad writerly habits Denny O’Neil knocked out of him, the first thing you should ask an artist when you start working with them, why team books (of which he wrote so many) are easier to write, our shared love for “Mirthful” Marie Severin, how glad we are there was no such thing as social media when we got started in comics, why Roger Zelazny is his favorite science fiction writer, and much, much more.
[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Lurkertype, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
(1) WORLDS BEYOND HERE. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle is hosting Worlds Beyond Here from October 12, 2018 through September 15, 2019.
Looking at the connection between Asian Pacific Americans and the infinite possibilities of science fiction, World’s Beyond Here follows the path of a young Sci Fi fan becoming an empowered creator, limited only by imagination.
Popular science fiction has had a disappointing lack of Asian Pacific American (APA) representation in American media, based primarily on stereotypes. Despite this, APAs have had and continue to have a large impact in science fiction, often behind the scenes, and a number of pioneering APA artists, actors, designers, writers, animators, and directors have persevered and inspired new generations of fans/creators with their stories and visions. For many Asian Pacific Americans, science fiction addresses issues related to identity, immigration and race, technology, morality and the human condition, all while capturing the imagination through exciting adventures in outer space and time travel.
The exhibit covers pop culture touchstones like Star Trek, Star Wars, time travel, “cli-fi,” and sentient robots, as well as how APA creators are imagining silkpunk worlds, reclaiming the genre from Orientalism, envisioning exploration narratives free from colonialism, and grappling with the ethics and morality of technological access and development, as well as science fiction’s ever-present questions of what it means to be human—all through the lens of APA experiences and perspectives.
She has a Twitter thread, starting here, that includes photos and art.
I was one of the people the curators consulted at the start of the exhibit, and though I didn’t have time to get as involved as I would’ve liked, I think I helped reframe their initial concept away from just focusing on tokenization and exclusion towards examining and celebrating the historic and current work of APA SF creators.
They even included a little thing I wrote about Spock. Is this the first time I’ve had work in a museum? I think it might be!
I am beyond honored that Ken Liu appreciated my artwork illustrating the world of the Grace of Kings for his May 2015 Locus interview. He’s used it a couple times since to illustrate the idea of “silkpunk” for various publications, but a museum show is above and beyond!
This installment of Old People Read New SFF features JY Yang’s Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points. Some of us—well, me, mostly—only became aware of Yang when they read Yang’s Silkpunk works for tor dot com. Yang has in fact been active since 2012, published in venues from Clarkesworld to Apex. Some of us—well, me, mostly—should have been more observant. Although Yang’s protagonist Starling is in no sense human, it turns out Starling shares something vital with its human creators. But is that common element enough to endear it to my Old Readers?
The Society of Illustrators is pleased to announce a special exhibition of legendary artist Maurice Sendak’s work. Longtime friends and collectors Justin Schiller and Dennis M V David present a look at some of Sendak’s rarest pieces, including illustrations from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, a booklet commissioned by his British publishers as a 1967 Christmas keepsake. It is the only remaining manuscript for a published Sendak title still in private hands and is being exhibited for the first time publicly. In addition to these drawings, this exhibition will include more than a hundred watercolors, ink and pencil designs for Mr. Sendak’s various book, theatre and commercial work. All of the works will be available to purchase.
Admission to the exhibit will be free during special hours (Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 5pm; Saturday – Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm).
(4) KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED. In “Proof of life: how would we recognise an alien if we saw one?” on Aeon, Oxford postgrad Samuel Levin asks how you would recognize alien life from a photograph. How would it be different from a bunch of rocks The answer is that natural selection would show that aliens have adapted to their environment.
One thing that sets life apart from nonlife is its apparent design. Living things, from the simplest bacteria to the great redwoods, have vast numbers of intricate parts working together to make the organism function. Think of your hands, heart, spleen, mitochondria, cilia, neurons, toenails – all collaborating in synchrony to help you navigate, eat, think and survive. The most beautiful natural rock formations lack even a tiny fraction of the myriad parts of a single bacterial cell that coordinate to help it divide and reproduce.
(5) THE BOYS. Coming from Amazon Prime Video in 2019.
In a world where superheroes embrace the darker side of their massive celebrity and fame, THE BOYS centers on a group of vigilantes known informally as “The Boys,” who set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than their blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty. THE BOYS is a fun and irreverent take on what happens when superheroes – who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as Gods – abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. It’s the powerless against the super powerful as The Boys embark on a heroic quest to expose the truth about “The Seven,” and Vought – the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that manages these superheroes. THE BOYS is scheduled for a 2019 release.
It’s been months since NASA engineers have heard from the sleeping Opportunity rover, which powered down after getting caught in a massive dust storm on Mars that obscured its surface from the Sun. But all hope isn’t yet lost, as the space agency said in an update Thursday that a coming windy season on the Red Planet could help clear dust believed to be obstructing Opportunity’s solar panels.
“A windy period on Mars—known to Opportunity’s team as “dust-clearing season”—occurs in the November-to-January time frame and has helped clean the rover’s panels in the past,” NASA said.
In the meantime, engineers with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—which oversees the 14-year-old rover’s operations—are increasing the number of commands to Opportunity and listening for any calls home in the event that it is still operational.
(7) THEY SCOPED OUT THE PROBLEM. But there’s good news about another piece of space exploring tech: Just a few days after putting itself in safe mode after a gyroscope failure, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has been diagnosed, the problem addressed, and the telescope on its way back to normal (NASA: “Chandra Operations Resume After Cause of Safe Mode Identified”). Science operations should resume shortly.
The cause of Chandra’s safe mode on October 10 has now been understood and the Operations team has successfully returned the spacecraft to its normal pointing mode. The safe mode was caused by a glitch in one of Chandra’s gyroscopes resulting in a 3-second period of bad data that in turn led the on-board computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum. The erroneous momentum indication then triggered the safe mode.
The team has completed plans to switch gyroscopes and place the gyroscope that experienced the glitch in reserve. Once configured with a series of pre-tested flight software patches, the team will return Chandra to science operations which are expected to commence by the end of this week.
(8) PAUL ALLEN OBIT. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died October 15 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however: 1) most of these “users” never bought BASIC (less than 10 percent of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) the amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 per hour.
Of course, just a few years later they secured a deal to provide the software for IBM PCs, the foundation of their success.
Paul Allen effectively left the company he named (“Micro-Soft”) in 1982 due to serious illness, but remained on the Microsoft board of directors until 2000, and retained his stock, so when the company went public he became a billionaire.
His investments and philanthropy have often made news.
In a Gehry-designed building near Seattle’s Space Needle he created a dual science fiction and rock music museum with many exhibits drawn from Allen’s own collections. (The cream of those sf collectibles had been bought from Forrest J Ackerman.) And in 2004 the Science Fiction Hall of Fame was transplanted from the GunnCenter for the Study of Science Fiction to Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum. However, not even Paul Allen’s money could sustain things as originally conceived. The Science Fiction Museum was de-installed in 2011 and the place has been reorganized as MoPOP, a pop culture museum that includes science-fiction-themed exhibits.
He was the sole investor behind aerospace engineer and entrepreneur Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne suborbital commercial spacecraft.
He also donated $30 million to build the Allen Telescope Array, run by the SETI Institute near Mt. Shasta, an enormous ear listening for any sign of intelligent life in the universe.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ — and a guest!]
Born October 15, 1911 – James H. Schmitz, Writer. An émigré from Germany to the U.S., he produced numerous short fiction works and novels, the best known of which is the space opera The Witches of Karres, which earned him one of his two Hugo nominations and has been translated into several different languages. Witches was an expansion of a novelette originally published in Astounding, where many of his stories were published. His short fiction, which also garnered four Nebula nominations, has been gathered into several collections, including a NESFA’s Choice “Best of” edition.
Born October 15, 1919 – E.C. “Ted” Tubb, Writer, Editor, Conrunner, and Fan from England who between 1950 and his death in 2010 produced more than 230 short fiction works and 140 novels, the best known of which are his Dumarest series, and the Cap Kennedy series written as Gregory Kern. In the late 50s, he edited the magazine Authentic Science Fiction for two years. He was one of the co-founders of the British Science Fiction Association, as well as editor of the first issue of its journal, Vector. Interestingly, he also wrote several Space: 1999 tie-in novels in the 70s. He served on convention-running committees, and was Guest of Honor at several conventions, including the 1970 Worldcon in Germany.
Born October 15, 1923 – Italo Calvino, Writer and Journalist who was born in Cuba, but grew up in Italy. His works range widely across the literary spectrum, across realism, surrealism, and absurdism. As a genre writer he is best known for his “cosmicomics”, linked stories which explore fantastical speculations about subjects such as mathematics, evolution, and human perception. At the time of his death in 1985, he was the most-translated Italian author, and he was recognized with a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.
Born October 15, 1924 – Mark Lenard, Actor best known to genre fans as Sarek, father of Spock, in both the original and animated Star Trek series, as well as three of the films and two episodes of The Next Generation. He also played a Klingon in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and a Romulan in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, and had guest roles in genre series Mission: Impossible, The Girl With Something Extra, Planet of the Apes, The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Otherworld. During the same time period as the original Star Trek series, he also starred in the western Here Come the Brides, and SFF author Barbara Hambly famously worked a crossover of the two series into her early Star Trek tie-in novel for Pocket Books, Ishmael, where Lenard’s Brides character is one of Spock’s ancestors, and which also contained cameos by characters from Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica.
Born October 15, 1933 – Georgia Myrle Miller, 85, Writer under the name of Sasha Miller who produced a number of fantasy novels and shorter works, including collaborating with Andre Norton on the five novels in the Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan, a novel written in Norton’s Witch World universe, and GURPS Witch World with Ben W. Miller, a rule book for the role-playing game system.
Born October 15, 1935 – Ray “Duggie” Fisher, Editor, Conrunner and Fan, who chaired the 1969 Worldcon in St. Louis, was on the committee for several other conventions, and was a founding member of the Poplar Bluff Science Fiction Club and the Ozark Science Fiction Association. His fanzine ODD was a finalist for a Best Fanzine Hugo. His contributions to fandom were, sadly, cut short by his death at age 52 due to complications of diabetes.
Born October 15, 1938 – Don Simpson, 80, Artist and Fan who has done cover art and interior illustrations for numerous genre works. He also shows up in several of David McDaniel’s Man from U.N.C.L.E. tie-in novels as “Mr. Simpson of R&D”, and was the inspiration for the villain in McDaniel’s first U.N.C.L.E. novel The Dagger Affair. He is the proud possessor of a purchase order from the Smithsonian Institution for “One (1) alien artifact,” which he designed for the Air and Space Museum. He has been Artist Guest of Honor at a Westercon and other conventions.
Born October 15, 1942 – Lon Atkins, Editor, Conrunner, and Fan who chaired a DeepSouthCon and was editor of numerous fanzines and apazines, including eight years as co-editor of Rally!. He was Fan Guest of Honor at a Westercon, and a recipient of Southern Fandom’s Rebel lifetime achievement award. He was also a ferocious Hearts player.
Born October 15, 1969 – Dominic West, 49, Actor, Musician, and Director from England whose most recent appearance was as Lara Croft’s father in the Tomb Raider reboot, but has also appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 300, John Carter, The Awakening, Hannibal Rising, and a version of The Christmas Carol, as well as providing voices in animated features such as Finding Dory and Arthur Christmas.
Born October 15, 1999 – Bailee Madison, 19, Actor who starred in The Bridge to Terabitha at the age of 7, the series The Wizards of Waverly Place at age 11, and the series Good Witch which is now in its fourth season. Other genre appearances include Afraid of the Dark, The Night Before Halloween, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, and Once Upon a Time.
[guest birthday bio from Mark Hepworth]
Born October 15, 1953 – Walter Jon Williams, 65, Writer. A versatile author who has skipped around genres, including writing his cyberpunk novel Hardwired without having heard of cyberpunk, while Metropolitan is a novel he insists is fantasy but fans persistently label as some flavour of science fiction. His near-future Dagmar Shaw series rather prophetically featured a Turkish revolution facilitated by social media just as the Arab Spring was gaining momentum. His longest-running series is the space opera Dread Empire’s Fall (Praxis), which he recently rebooted with the short novel Impersonations and the just-released novel The Accidental War. He has five Hugo nominations, ten Nebula nominations (winning twice), a Sidewise Award, and an assortment of other nominations including Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, World Fantasy, and Prix Imaginaire. He has been Guest of Honour for at least a dozen conventions, including WorldCon 75. Other work includes writing for Star Wars, Wild Cards, RPGs, TV, and historical novels, and he is founder and an instructor for the Taos Toolbox, an annual two-week SF writer’s workshop.
The sequence is the work of a visual effects artist only known as John Smith, who made his own opening back in 2010 as a 16-year-old fan and posted it to YouTube.
“I had no idea what I was doing, but was so excited for Matt Smith’s first series that I decided to try what every Whovian-turned-VFX-Artist does at some point… making my own title sequence for the show,” Smith wrote in a Facebook post.
Eight years later, Smith was tapped to create a real sequence for the latest series.
…Assuming that large red star isn’t just extremely close to the planet, it could be a red giant nearing the end of its life. What of the other? For clues, we can look to the planet’s flora.
The Tenth Doctor referenced trees with silver leaves. Lillian Ostrach, a research physical scientist at the US Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center, told Earther the silver color could come from the absorption of strange metals from Gallifrey’s soil. It could also mean that those plants evolved to absorb a different type of solar radiation than Earth’s green plants do….
(13) HISTORIC SFF PHOTOS. The Forbidden Planet bookstore archive hosts images from their instore events — from 1978 to 1989, including signings with Mark Hamill and Dave Prowse, James Doohan, Nick Rhodes, Jon Pertwee, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, Anne McCaffrey and others.
Meaning ‘beyond the river’ in Lithuanian, Užupis is separated from the rest of the city by the Vilnele River. The republic celebrates its independence annually on 1 April, known locally as Užupis Day. On this day, travellers can get their passports stamped as they cross the bridge into the republic (every other day, the border is not guarded), use the local (unofficial) currency and treat themselves to the beer that flows from the water spout in the main square (yes, really).
(15) A LOT OF BIRTHDAYS AGO. Walter Jon Williams was interviewed about cyberpunk by phone in this 1991 episode of the Chronic Rift TV program.
In our second season premiere, Andrea Lipinski and Keith DeCandido welcome editor Brian Thomsen, physicist Joseph Pierce, and author Walter Jon Williams to our Roundtable discussion of the cyberpunk genre. The Memorable Moment is from the classic film, “H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond”. Trivia: We resolve the cliffhanger by introducing a race of beings called, “The Dork”. We also have a new animated sequence and theme song. The sequence was created by Mike Fichera who wanted to emulate the feel of the “Terminator” movie. The theme song was created by Victor Fichera. It would be the theme song for the rest of the series and was used when the podcast started. Victor recently updated the theme for our Facebook Live show. Originally Aired: September 2, 1991
In truth, however, the tsundoku fails to describe much of my library. I own a lot of story collections, poetry anthologies and books of essays, which I bought knowing I would probably not read every entry. People like Taleb, Stillman and whoever coined the word tsundoku seem to recognize only two categories of book: the read and the unread. But every book lover knows there is a third category that falls somewhere between the other two: the partially read book. Just about every title on a book lover’s reference shelves, for instance, falls into this category.
It’s the second month of Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! As before, I’m breaking October’s offerings into two parts, the fiction and the poetry, and starting out with the six new stories exploring futures near and far. This month’s pieces definitely focus on some grim realities—hospitals and universities and families and cities where disabled people are not exactly the priority, or at least not in the ways they want. The stories look at characters trapped by circumstance and (largely) by tragedy, brought to a crisis because their situation is getting worse and worse. And in each case, they must make decisions either to sit down and be quiet or to fight back, to try to follow their own hearts. The works are often dark, often difficult, but ultimately I feel reaching for healing and for peace, for a space that the characters can have as their own, which is much more about freedom than confinement. To the reviews!
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Outer Space” by Sabine Hossenfelder on YouTube is a video about space travel done by a singer whose day job is as a theoretical physicist.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Jeffrey Smith, James Davis Nicoll, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]
When Worldcon 76 program participants were sent their schedules over the weekend such controversy resulted that the schedule was taken offline this morning, Chair Kevin Roche issued an apology, and the committee now is reviewing the participant bios, asking to hear from Hugo nominees who haven’t been put on the program and, presumably, filling the vacancies left by writers who have now dropped out.
Three issues drawing the most fire in social media have been —
Respect for people’s chosen pronouns (and related concerns about LGBTQAI+ and POC participation);
Whether new writers are being accepted onto programming (with skepticism fueled by the realization that several newer writers who are Hugo nominees are not on the program); and
Dissatisfaction with responses by the Worldcon 76 program division.
Lighting off the social media cycle was Hugo nominee Bogi Takács’ call for an apology after seeing eir bio in the program database. (The thread starts here.)
I would very much appreciate a public apology from @worldcon2018 for rewriting my bio to change my name and my gender.
I have never, ever used "he" pronouns.
After many similar exclusionary actions, this is the last straw, I am honestly not sure I can safely attend. pic.twitter.com/agazsY1rmV
Unfortunately, Roche’s general apology was preceded by another one based on some wrong information, leading to this exchange:
Okay, the baldfaced lies are getting ridiculous at this point. There is literally no publicly published bio of Bogi's on the internet that uses he/him pronouns. Your team did not pull an incorrect bio, they pulled a correct one and then DELIBERATELY EDITED IT TO MISGENDER BOGI.
— ?Nibedita Sen, smol potato @ Readercon ? (@her_nibsen) July 23, 2018
I was told in good faith by my head of Program this. She believed this. I am continuing to investigate.
And how exactly is an apology from the chair of the convention "Not Official"?
If this is your reasoning @worldcon2018 you can take me off your programming right fucking now. I don’t want to be there if a fucking HUGO NOMINATION isn’t enough for a new/marginalized writer to be considered of value. pic.twitter.com/MaqdOfGD0m
Do not put this on us. Or the many NON finalists who asked to be included on programming and were summarily turned away bc programming was “full”. A community is not just made out of a handful of people FFS. https://t.co/FpnIgEdxjU
Just a data point but: I’m up for a 3rd Hugo & San Jose will be my 3rd Worldcon but this is the 1ST TIME I’ve ever been included on programming. And that 1st Worldcon? I was attending as the 1st Filipina Hugo finalist but no programming for me til now so ?????? pic.twitter.com/O9dgMf56w3
Before going further I want to acknowledge that @worldcon2018’s chair has posted an apology & a commitment to investigate the issues—but I really want to know how this happened, & how to prevent it from happening again.
For the record, the email Program Division Head Christine Doyle sent to program participants yesterday said in part:
We had over 2000 people ask to be on the program, and unfortunately there was no way to accommodate everyone. Similarly, we had over 2000 program items submitted, with lots of duplication in some areas, and we couldn’t schedule them all.
We realized that many people didn’t receive our initial communications, because they were either blocked without us getting notice (i.e., earthlink), or filtered into the promotions bin (gmail).
We may contact some people for headshots and bios. If the headshot and/or bio that we have for you is not to your liking, please contact us with suggested edits or replacements. A note about names: for consistency and fairness, we are not using any prefixes (honorifics) or suffixes for your name unless it changes who you are (Sr/Jr/III). That said, we fully expect all of those details to be in the bios. Let us know if we need to edit the bio to get this included.
The present controversy has cost Worldcon 76 some of its best-known participants.
N.K. Jemisin dropped out of Worldcon 76 programming:
FYI for all — I've withdrawn from @worldcon2018 programming, which frees up 2 hours for (hopefully) #ownvoices panels, etc.
A Twitter thread on the recent contretemps at Worldcon 76, where many newer writers (including some Hugo finalists) were not represented on the initial programming slate
Including this comment:
5. With this year's Worldcon, we're having discussion about who gets to be seen on programming. As someone now who is *definitely* seen, I think it's important that we continue to pay it forward — to give new voices, new people and new perspectives a literal seat at the table.
There are program items I cannot step out of (specifically the memorial panel for Harlan Ellison), but I have written to the Worldcon Committee and asked them to cancel my reading and slot in a Hugo nominee or a person of color or a woman into that spot instead.
I will be taking a second look at a couple other panel assignments as well.
David D. Levine also offered to vacate his place on Worldcon 76 program.
I haven't yet reached the point of canceling my @worldcon2018 participation, but I would gladly give up my panels if that's what it takes to get marginalized authors a seat on the podium.
I directed the Program Division to take down the preliminary program information that was released yesterday evening. There were too many errors and problems in it to leave it up.
I am sorry we slighted and angered so many of the people we are gathering to meet, honor, and celebrate. This was a mistake, our mistake. We were trying to build a program reflecting the diversity of fandom and respectful of intersectionality. I am heartbroken that we failed so completely.
We are tearing the program apart and starting over. It was intended to be a reflection of the cultures, passions, and experiences of Worldcon membership, with room for both new voices and old. What we released yesterday failed to do that; we must do better.
Many of you have offered to help us do a better job. Thank you. We cannot accept all those offers, but yes, we will be turning to some of you to help us do it better this time.
We will continue to reach out to the Hugo Finalists we have missed connections with, to ensure any who wish to be on the program will have a place on it.
Chair, Worldcon 76 in San Jose
An additional complaint about how the bios seem to have been created:
I'm just here to have a good time and maybe get some Taco Bell. Like, my public website has a bio and lots of art already there for use? *sigh*
— Fictograph | grace p fong @ Worldcon (@fictograph) July 23, 2018
More dissatisfaction about program from two Hugo nominees.
So, I'm a Hugo nominee, I've been a finalist for the Eugie Foster and Theodore Sturgeon Award (twice), won the Asimov's & AnLab Reader's award multiple times, and @worldcon2018 has put me on exactly one programming item: a kaffeeklatch the last day, an hour after hotel checkout.
I really want to see everyone in their favorite convention duds, have amazing conversations, know that folks are being treated well and uplifted, enjoying themselves. I want it to be everyone’s best night. And it is shaping up very much not to be.
So, this is one of those posts that’s going to be mystifying to a lot of people but make perfect sense to others. It’s a busy day and I don’t have the time or wherewithal to go into the background. The short version is: WorldCon 76 is fudging up quite badly in how it treats attendees, up to and including finalists for its crown jewel Hugo Award. Multiple genderqueer, non-binary, and non-conforming members have spoken up about feeling unsafe and disrespected, and WorldCon’s safety team is not inspiring a lot of confidence.
Accordingly, I am taking one of my standing offers at WisCon and expanding and formalizing it for the larger WorldCon: I am forming a Queer Rapid Response Team. Before the convention next month, I will set up an automated channel that will text any messages onward to everybody on the team. The idea is that if anybody in the family needs an escort, needs a friendly face, needs emotional support, or whatever, we can form up on them like queer Voltron.