Pixel Scroll 2/22/19 Those Who Don’t Learn From Pixelry Are Doomed To Rescroll It

(1) RETRO HUGO FAN CATEGORY RESOURCE. Joe Siclari and the FANAC Fan History Project are providing support to Dublin 2019 Retro Hugo voters:

The nomination forms have gone out for Dublin 2019’s Retro Hugo awards for works published in 1943. It’s often very difficult to find materials relevant to the Fan Categories for the Retros, but we have a solution!  FANAC.ORG has assembled the list of fanzines published in 1943, with links to those available on line. We’ve made several hundred fanzines available, and more will be added if they become available at http://fanac.org/fanzines/Retro_Hugos1943.html .

Here you’ll find fanzines from 4sj, Doc Lowndes, J. Michael Rosenblum, Bob Tucker, Jack Speer, Larry Shaw, F. T. Laney and other stalwarts of 1943 fandom (and also Claude Degler). There are genzines, FAPAzines, newszines, and letterzines. There is fannish artwork, and fannish poetry.  There’s even the first publication of Lovecraft’s “Funghi From Yuggoth”. Fanzines which meet the issue requirements for Best Fanzine are so marked. 

Hugo nominations continue through March 15, 2019.

(2) THE SHOW WON’T GO ON. Scott M. Roberts, the editor of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalatic Medicine Show #67 announces the end. The magazine will publish two more issues before shutting down.

I am sad to report that Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show will be pulling up stakes in June 2019. I’ve been a reader since the first issue, and on the staff since 2009. My kids have grown up with the magazine in their lives, and I am fiercely proud of all that we’ve accomplished.

I am also very, very pleased with the state of science fiction and fantasy in general today. When IGMS first rolled onto the scene, online magazines were few and far between. Now the main mode of consumption of short SFF literature is online in one form or another (podcasts, e-issues, webpages, etc). And the voices of SFF today are vibrant, strident, beckoning, beseeching, screeching, awesome myriads. We have been a part of that polysymphonic wonder. We were one of the first to tell our truest lies on the brave digital frontier.

(3) RAVING ABOUT RAVENS. Adri Joy is an early bird, sharing her reaction to Leckie’s new novel: “Microreview [Book]: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie” at Nerds of a Feather.

Ah, ravens. They’re smart, they’re beaky, they come in murders, and many in our world are better Londoners than I am. They’re also the subject of more than their share of both folklore and, through that, fantasy interest. Whether they’re harbingers of death, guides to the spirit world, speakers of prophecy and truth or otherworldly tricksters, there’s a lot of mileage in these feathery next-level dinosaurs. Now, in Ann Leckie’s first novel-length foray into fantasy, a raven god is front and centre, alongside a cast whose human members often play second fiddle to their divine counterparts.

(4) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman hopes you’ll share spring rolls with Ruthanna Emrys and him in episode 89 of his podcast Eating the Fantastic.

Ruthanna Emrys

Ruthanna Emrys is best known for the H. P. Lovecraft-inspired Innsmouth Legacy series, which so far includes the 2014 novella “The Litany of Earth,” followed up by the novels Winter Tide in 2017 and Deep Roots in 2018. Her fiction has also appeared in such magazines as Strange Horizons and Analog Science Fiction and Fact, plus anthologies such as Timelines: Stories Inspired by H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu: New Lovecraftian Fiction.

We discussed the ways in which her first exposure to Lovecraft was through pop culture references rather than the original texts, the reasons for the recent rise of Lovecraft recontextualisation, how tea with Jo Walton convinced her she was right to go ahead and write her first Innsmouth Legacy novel, why she ascribes to the tenets of the burgeoning Hopepunk movement, her love of writing X-Men fanfic and her hatred of gastropods, how she recovered from a college professor’s unconstructive criticism, the time George Takei was nice to her at age 8 after she attended her first con in costume on the wrong day, and much more.

(5) NEW AWARD HONORS SUE GRAFTON. Mystery Writers of America has established the Sue Grafton Memorial Award for the best novel in a series with a female protagonist. (Do I hear Puppies howling?) The announcement is here.

Thirty-five years ago, Sue Grafton launched one of the most acclaimed and celebrated mystery series of all time with A is for Alibi, and with it created the model of the modern female detective with Kinsey Millhone, a feisty, whip-smart woman who is not above breaking the rules to solve a case or save a life. Like her fictional alter ego, Grafton was a true original, a model for every woman who has ever struck out on her own independent way.

Sue Grafton passed away on December 28, 2017, but she and Kinsey will be remembered as international icons and treasured by millions of readers across the world. Sue was adored throughout the reading world, the publishing industry, and was a longtime and beloved member of MWA, serving as MWA President in 1994 and was the recipient of three Edgar nominations as well as the Grand Master Award in 2009. G.P. Putnam’s Sons is partnering with MWA to create the Sue Grafton Memorial Award honoring the Best Novel in a Series featuring a female protagonist in a series that also has the hallmarks of Sue’s writing and Kinsey’s character: a woman with quirks but also with a sense of herself, with empathy but also with savvy, intelligence, and wit.

The inaugural Sue Grafton Memorial Award will be presented at the Edgar Awards on April 25. The nominees are:

  • Lisa Black, Perish – Kensington
  • Sara Paretsky, Shell Game, HarperCollins – William Morrow
  • Victoria Thompson, City of Secrets, Penguin Random House – Berkley
  • Charles Todd, A Forgotten Place, HarperCollins – William Morrow
  • Jacqueline Winspear, To Die But Once, HarperCollins – Harper

(6) A VANCE MYSTERY. At Criminal Element, Hector Dejean reviews The Man in the Cage by John Holbrook Vance, better known as Jack Vance, which won the 1961 Edgar Award for the best first mystery novel, even though it wasn’t his first novel in either genre:  “Jack Vance’s Edgar Award: A Mystery Novel Wrapped in an Enigma”.

Vance was extremely talented and prolific, publishing his first book, The Dying Earth, in 1950, and his last work of fiction, Lurulu, in 2004. In 1957, he published his first mystery novel, Take My Face, using the pen name Peter Held. Later that year, he published another novel, titled either Isle of Peril or Bird Island, under the name Alan Wade. (Different versions exist, and according to some Vance-ologists the book doesn’t really qualify as a crime novel.) A year later, he wrote his first mystery to be published under his full name, John Holbrook Vance. That book’s title, according to sources on the Internet, was Strange People, Queer Notions.

This is where things get odd. Following a trip to Morocco—Vance was as impressive a traveler as he was a writer—Vance wrote a mystery set in North Africa; John Holbrook Vance was the name on this one as well. The book was The Man in the Cage, and it’s quite good—I would even say it’s a standout book, especially for readers curious about Vance who might not care for the conventions of sci-fi and fantasy. The MWA agreed, and in 1961 they gave it an award, making Vance’s awards-shelf one of the more diverse of any American author.

Awarding Vance isn’t the weird part. It’s that the book won the Best First Novel by an American Author award, even though it was not Vance’s first book, nor even his first mystery….

Dejean then goes on to laud the merits of the story itself.

(7) CONTRASTING EDGARS AND HUGOS. Criminal Element is also doing a retrospective of all Edgar Award winners for best novel: “The Edgar Awards Revisited”. Cora Buhlert sent the link with a comment: “It’s an interesting project and I was struck by how many women won Edgar Awards in the early years (the first five winners are four women and Raymond Chandler), which is very different from the early years of the Hugos.”

(8) CRIMEMASTER AWARD. The Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance has awarded its 2019 CrimeMaster Award to Lisa Gardner.

Storied crime author Lisa Gardner writes award-winning novels that are addictive. Thankfully for us, there are more than 30 of them, with some 22 million copies in print. That’s more copies than the entire population of New England, where she and her family live.

(9) TAKE COVER. Regarding the #CopyPasteCris plagiarism scandal, Nora Roberts is one of the authors whose work was appropriated, and as Kristine Kathryn Rusch phrased it —

Nora’s particularly outspoken about what she has gone through, and I have to admit, I snorted tea when I read this comment from Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books:

When I saw “Nora Roberts” [on this list] my first thought was, “Everybody, get underground NOW.”

Today Roberts posted her appropriately furious response: “Plagiarism Then and Now”.

I personally don’t believe fiction writers should use ghosts. Celebrity auto-biographies and such, that’s the job. If a fiction writer uses a ghost to help flesh out a book, or hires a book doctor to whip a book into shape, I strongly believe that person should be acknowledged–on the book.

The reader deserves honesty. The reader’s entitled to know she’s buying the author’s–the one whose name’s on the book–work, not somebody that writer hired for speed or convenience. And I’ll state here as I have before. If a book has my name on it, I wrote it. Every word of it.

I do not, never have, never will comprehend how someone can feel any pride claiming a book they didn’t write.

…A creature like Serruyo can have a decent run, make some money–make some best-seller lists–before she (or he, or they, who knows?) is found out. And the pain, the scars, the emotional turmoil this causes to the victims of plagiarism never ends.

Serruyo won’t be the only one using that underbelly, exploiting the lack of real guardrails on Amazon and other sites for a few bucks.

I’ll have a lot more to say about this, all of this. I’m not nearly done. Because the culture that fosters this ugly behavior has to be pulled out into the light and burned to cinders. Then we’re going to salt the freaking earth….

(10) IT’S OFFICIAL. I learned today that Iowa declared November 2018 to be Speculative Poetry Month. Impressive!

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 22, 1925 Edward Gorey. I reasonably sure that his animated introduction to the PBS series Mystery! Was my first encounter with him. I will recommend Gorey CatsThe Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas and The Doubtful Guest. Ok he’s not genre but damn if he’s fun and delightfully weird. Oh, and do go read Elephant House: Or, the Home of Edward Gorey, with superb photographs and text by Kevin McDermott. (Died 2000.)
  • Born February 22, 1929James Hong, 90. Though not genre, became known to audiences through starring in The New Adventures of Charlie Chan in the late Fifties. Genre wise, his first role was in Godzilla, King of the Monsters! voicing Ogata/Serizawa. He then pops up in The Satan Bug as Dr. Yang and next is seen playing Ho Lee In  Destination Inner Space. You’ll no doubt recognize him in Colossus: The Forbin Project, he’s Dr. Chin, but I’ll bet you’ve never heard of, oh wait you have, Blade Runner in which he’s Hannibal Chew and Big Trouble In Little China which I love in which he’s wizard David Lo Pan. its back to obscure films after that with next up being Shadowzone where he’s Dr. Van Fleet and Dragonfight where he’s Asawa. He’s next in The Shadow as Li Peng but I’ll be damned if I can remember his role and the same holds true for him as Che’tsai In Tank Girl too.  He’s Mr. Wu in the very loose adaption of the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Born February 22, 1930 Edward Hoch. The lines between detective fiction and genre fiction can be awfully blurry at times. ISFDB listed him but I was damned if I could figure out why considering he’s known as a writer of detective fiction who wrote several novels and close to a thousand short stories. It was his Simon Ark character who was the protagonist of Hoch’s first published story and who was ultimately featured in thirty-nine  of his stories that made him a genre writer as Ark is the cursed by God immortal doomed to wander forevermore and solved crimes. (Died 2008.)
  • Born February 22, 1937 Joanna Russ. Is it fair to say she’s known as much for her feminist literary criticism as her SF writings? That The Female Man is her best-known work suggests my question really isn’t relevant as there may be no difference between the two. She was for a long time an influential reviewer for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction where I think it would fair to say that you knew clearly what she thought of a given work. (Died 2011)
  • Born February 22, 1944 Tucker Smallwood, 75. Space: Above and Beyond as Commodore Ross is by far my favorite genre role by him. I think his first genre appearance was as President Mazabuka on Get Smart followed by one-offs on Babylon 5, Bio-Dome, X-Files, Contact, Millennium, NightManVoyager, Seven Days, The Others, The Invisible Man, The Chronicle, Mirror Man and Spectres. After that he landed a role on Enterprise playingXindi-Primate Councilor for an extended period of one season. 
  • Born February 22, 1956 Philip Kerr. Though better known for his Bernie Gunther series of historical thrillers set in Germany and elsewhere during the 1930s, his write several genre friendly works. A Philosophical Investigation is set in a near future UK where it is possible to test for violent sociopathy and the consequences of that. The other is Children of the Lamp, a more upbeat YA series set in London involving djinns and rather obviously young children. (Died 2018.)
  • Born February 22, 1959 Kyle MacLachlan, 60. Genre-wise known for his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks  and its weird film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Paul Atreides in Dune, Lloyd Gallagher in The Hidden, Clifford Vandercave In The Flintstones, Calvin Zabo in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet (OK not genre, just weird).
  • Born February 22, 1968 Jeri Ryan, 51. Seven of Nine of course but she’s had other genre roles including being Juliet Stewart  in Dark Skies, an UFO conspiracy theory series. She’s showed up in  briefly roles in Warehouse 13, The Sentinel, Helix and had recently showed up in the Arrowverse.
  • Born February 22, 1972 Duane Swierczynski,47. Though a mystery writer by trade, he’s also worked as a writer at both DC and Marvel on some very impressive projects. He did writing duties on the second volume of time traveling soldier Cable, penned the Birds of Prey as part of The New 52 relaunch and wrote an excellent Punisher one-off, “Force of Nature”.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) LIGHT OF OTHER DAYS. In her monthly column for The Paris Review, YA of Yore, Frankie Thomas takes a second look at the books that defined a generation.

What Was It About Animorphs?

For children’s books in particular it was an era of quantity over quality, an unremitting glut. In those pre–Harry Potter days, a typical “series” meant hundreds of books churned out on a monthly basis by teams of frantic ghostwriters. You could order them by the pound. Often they came with a free bracelet or trinket, as if resorting to bribery. There were 181 Sweet Valley High books, 233 Goosebumps books, and so many Baby-Sitters Club books that their publisher, Scholastic, has never made the full number public (by my count it was at least 345 if you include all the spin-offs)—and they were all, to a certain degree, disposable crap.

But then there was Animorphs….

Harry Potter and the Secret Gay Love Story

The fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was published in the summer of 2003, by which point Harry was fifteen and those of us growing up along with him had discovered sex. The Harry Potter years also happened to coincide with the Wild West era of the internet and the rise of abstinence-only sex education; as a result, for better or for worse, erotic Harry Potter fan fiction played a major and under-discussed role in millennial sexual development. This was especially true if you were queer—or, not to put too fine a point on it, if you were me—and had picked up on the secret gay love story that existed between the lines of Rowling’s text.

I refer, of course, to Sirius and Lupin….

(14) THEY’RE MADE OF MEAT. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] A team from Sweden’s Lund University is searching for the elusive Borkborkborkino particle, which would be proof that the Chef field exists. Or at least I guess that’s what they were doing at this year’s “Stupid Hackathon Sweden” event. Gizmodo has the story: “Particle Physicists Build a Meatball Collider.”

A team of particle physicists wanted “to unveil the deepest secrets of the Universe—and of Swedish cuisine.” So, naturally, they built a Swedish meatball collider.

The MEAL, or MEatball AcceLerator collaboration, could answer important questions such as why we’re made of meatballs, rather than anti-meatballs, or whether we can create dark meatballs. The proof-of-concept experiment was a success.

[…] they’ve got lofty goals for their next steps, according to the project’s slides: “Get funding for a meatball—anti-meatball collider that has the circumference of the solar system and meatballs the size of the Earth.”

(15) VIRGIN TEST. “Virgin test flight blasts to edge of space” — Reuters has video coverage.

A Virgin Galactic rocket plane on Friday soared to the edge of space with a test passenger successfully for the first time, nudging British billionaire Richard Branson’s company closer to its goal of suborbital flights for space tourists.

(16) ONLY THE BEGINNING.It will take two months to land, but it’s on its way: “Israel Launches Spacecraft To The Moon” – NPR has the story. (See also, BBC: “Israel’s Beresheet Moon mission gets under way”.)

An Israeli spacecraft blasted off this evening, aiming to land on the moon. And if the mission is successful, it would make Israel the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface – after the U.S., the former Soviet Union and China.

It would also be the first privately initiated project to do so, although it was assisted by government partners, as Nature notes. “The feat seems set to kick off a new era of lunar exploration – one in which national space agencies work alongside private industries to investigate and exploit the moon and its resources,” Nature added.

The spacecraft, which is called Beresheet (Hebrew for “in the beginning”), was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

It was initially conceived as part of Google’s challenge called the Google Lunar XPRIZE for a private company to complete a soft landing on the moon. The Israeli non-profit SpaceIL was one of five international teams in the running for the $20 million grand prize; Google announced last year that the contest would end with no winner because no team was prepared to launch by the deadline. Still, the Israeli engineers at SpaceIL continued to work toward landing a spacecraft on the moon.

(17) A SCALZI CONSPIRACY FONDLY REMEMBERED. John Scalzi’s classic prank showed up in the background of a recent Big Bang Theory episode.

Mayim Bialik photographed the items in Wil Wheaton’s TV set apartment on Big Bang Theory and got him to explain their significance.

Wil and I both grew up on camera, and we also are geeky nerds who share a passion for discussing our mental illness struggles publicly. We are very similar, and it’s so refreshing to work with him.

The set that was used as his living room was really special because it contained actual items from Wil’s real life house. I was so delighted to see artwork, fan art, and memorabilia from his life—and I was so delighted that I photographed all of it and asked him to describe each item.

Wil Wheaton received the painting in 2008 and when it was finally revealed to him who had sent it, he wrote about the experience in “evil and awesome (but mostly awesome)”.

Without knowing that I needed a reminder not to take this stuff so seriously, without knowing – in April, when the wheels were set into motion – that around the beginning of August I’d be feeling pretty lousy about getting cut from the show I look forward to attending every year, John did what good friends do: pick you up when you’re down, and provide reality checks when you need them the most.

(18) UNFORGETTABLE. Nerds of a Feather features “6 Books with Simon Ings”:

5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

John Christopher got under my skin as a child and has never let me go. Kids’ books like The Prince in Waiting fed me those nostalgic and valedictory notes you need if you’re going to write into the British fantasy tradition. Much, much later I discovered the man had teeth: Death of Grass is a sort of John-Wyndham-without-the-apology tale about how personal virtue actually works in a disintegrating culture. Kindness is not a virtue. It is a sentiment. There, I’ve said it. But JC said it first.

(19) OSCAR-WORTHY FX. Here are three BBC posts with behind-the-scenes info about movie special effects.

The film Solo: A Star Wars Story has been Oscar nominated in the best visual effects category.

Visual effects supervisor Julian Foddy of ILM London spoke to Al Moloney about some of the challenges the company faced in helping to make the film.

The film Christopher Robin has been Oscar nominated in the best visual effects category.

Visual effects supervisor Chris Lawrence spoke to Al Moloney about some of the challenges the company faced in helping to make the film.

Robert Rodriguez’s latest stint as director is on the sci-fi blockbuster Alita: Battle Angel.

The film was written and produced by James Cameron, who originally planned to direct it.

Rodriguez says he made the movie for half the price Cameron would have, but with a reported budget of $200m (£154m), it still cost considerably more than your average indie-flick.

BBC Click’s Marc Cieslak speaks to the director and cast of the film, to find out more.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Jason, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Andrew Porter, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

2019 Edgar Award Nominations

Mystery Writers of America announced the nominees for the 2019 Edgar Allan Poe Awards on January 23. The award honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2018.

The Edgar® Awards will be presented on April 25 in New York City.

BEST NOVEL

  • The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard (Blackstone Publishing)
  • House Witness by Mike Lawson (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
  • A Gambler’s Jury by Victor Methos (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
  • Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland)
  • Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (Penguin Random House – Hogarth)
  • A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Penguin Random House – Berkley)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

  • A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper (Seventh Street Books)
  • The Captives by Debra Jo Immergut (HarperCollins Publishers – Ecco)
  • The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs (Simon & Schuster – Touchstone)
  • Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin (HarperCollins Publishers – Ecco)
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

  • If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
  • Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara (Prospect Park Books)
  • Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
  • The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)
  • Under My Skin by Lisa Unger (Harlequin – Park Row Books)

BEST FACT CRIME

  • Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler (W.W. Norton & Company – Liveright)
  • Sex Money Murder: A Story of Crack, Blood, and Betrayal by Jonathan Green (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure by Carl Hoffman (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
  • The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Penguin Random House – Viking)
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
  • The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

 BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

  • The Metaphysical Mysteries of G.K. Chesterton: A Critical Study of the Father Brown Stories and Other Detective Fiction by Laird R. Blackwell (McFarland Publishing)
  • Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)
  • Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger (Pegasus Books)
  • Mark X: Who Killed Huck Finn’s Father? by Yasuhiro Takeuchi (Taylor & Francis – Routledge)
  • Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson (Pegasus Books)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Rabid – A Mike Bowditch Short Story” by Paul Doiron (Minotaur Books)
  • “Paranoid Enough for Two” – The Honorable Traitors by John Lutz (Kensington Publishing)
  • “Ancient and Modern” – Bloody Scotland by Val McDermid (Pegasus Books)
  • “English 398: Fiction Workshop” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Art Taylor (Dell Magazines)
  • “The Sleep Tight Motel” – Dark Corners Collection by Lisa Unger (Amazon Publishing)

BEST JUVENILE

  • Denis Ever After by Tony Abbott (HarperCollins Children’s Books – Katherine Tegen Books)
  • Zap! by Martha Freeman (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
  • Ra the Mighty: Cat Detective by A.B. Greenfield (Holiday House)
  • Winterhouse by Ben Guterson (Christy Ottaviano Books – Henry Holt BFYR)
  • Otherwood by Pete Hautman (Candlewick Press)
  • Charlie & Frog: A Mystery by Karen Kane (Disney Publishing Worldwide – Disney Hyperion)
  • Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon (Candlewick Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT

  • Contagion by Erin Bowman (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperCollins)
  • Blink by Sasha Dawn (Lerner Publishing Group – Carolrhoda Lab)
  • After the Fire by Will Hill (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Fire)
  • A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers (Wednesday Books)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

  • “The Box” – Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Teleplay by Luke Del Tredici (NBC/Universal TV)
  • “Season 2, Episode 1” – Jack Irish, Teleplay by Andrew Knight (Acorn TV)
  • “Episode 1” – Mystery Road, Teleplay by Michaeley O’Brien (Acorn TV)
  • “My Aim is True” – Blue Bloods, Teleplay by Kevin Wade (CBS Eye Productions)
  • “The One That Holds Everything” – The Romanoffs, Teleplay by Matthew Weiner & Donald Joh (Amazon Prime Video)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD

  • “How Does He Die This Time?” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Nancy Novick (Dell Magazines)

 * * * * * *

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD

  • A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur Books)
  • A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington Publishing)
  • Bone on Bone by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books)
  • The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
  • A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier (Minotaur Books)

MWA Withdraws Linda Fairstein Grand Master Award

The pushback against yesterday’s Mystery Writers of America announcement of Linda Fairstein as a 2019 Grand Master has led to cancellation of the award.

Linda Fairstein’s selection was protested by one of last year’s Edgar-winning writers, Attica Locke, who reminded MWA members that while Fairstein was working for the Manhattan District Attorney, her office supervised the prosecution in 1990 of the Central Park Jogger case, which ended in the conviction of five teenagers who were later exonerated of any part in the crime.

Prior to MWA’s action, Fairstein and Locke jousted on Twitter –

Today MWA withdrew the honor — “Mystery Writers of America Withdraws Fairstein Award”:

On Tuesday, November 27, Mystery Writers of America announced the recipients of Grand Master, Raven & Ellery Queen Awards, special awards given out annually. Shortly afterwards, the MWA membership began to express concern over the inclusion of Linda Fairstein as a Grand Master, citing controversy in which she has been involved.

When the MWA Board made its selection, it was unaware of Ms. Fairstein’s role in the controversy.

After profound reflection, the Board has decided that MWA cannot move forward with an award that lacks the support of such a large percentage of our members. Therefore, the Board of Directors has decided to withdraw the Linda Fairstein Grand Master award. We realize that this action will be unsatisfactory to many. We apologize for any pain and disappointment this situation has caused.

MWA will be reevaluating and significantly revising its procedures for selecting honorary awards in the future. We hope our members will all work with us to move forward from this extremely troubling event and continue to build a strong and inclusive organization.

The Los Angeles Times published a piece about the controversy on November 27 by Steph Cha, a novelist, editor and attorney, and a member of Mystery Writers of America since 2013 — “Writer Linda Fairstein’s past as a prosecutor overseeing the Central Park Five case causes award controversy”.

…The Five served six to 13 years in prison before their convictions were vacated following the confession of a serial rapist, confirmed by DNA evidence, in 2002. Fairstein has never apologized or changed her position on their guilt. (Nor has Donald Trump, who in 1989 took out full-page newspaper ads in New York City calling for the return of the death penalty after the teens were arrested.) Only four months ago, in a letter to the editor of the New York Law Journal, Fairstein maintained that the questioning [of the Central Park Five] was respectful, dignified, carried out according to the letter of the law and with sensitivity to the young age of the men.”

… Her presence among us should be the scandal of every conference — it probably would’ve been earlier if there had been more crime writers of color when the Five were exonerated in 2002. But at some point, her background must have become old news, an uncomfortable thing the larger crime world has been happy to ignore. How many of us have been polite to her on accident because the rest of us were polite to her on purpose?

Tacit approval is one thing, of course; the Grand Master Award is another. Mystery Writers of America has made a lot of fuss about diversity over the last few years, and I do believe that the mystery community has made some meaningful strides toward inclusion. But we’re apparently still at a place where the board of Mystery Writers of America thinks calling the white prosecutor who oversaw the conviction of innocent black boys “Grand Masteris a good idea. It’s also worth noting that the Edgar Awards banquet will take place in April, almost exactly 30 years after the Five were wrongfully arrested and imprisoned….

Attica Locke’s comment on MWA’s action was:

Fairstein has not tweeted a response to the withdrawal.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth and Andrew Porter for the story.]

MWA’s 2019 Special Edgar Awards Include Protested Grand Master

Mystery Writers of America has named two new Grand Masters – Linda Fairstein and Martin Cruz Smith — plus the winners of several other awards: “MWA Announces 2019 Special Edgar Awards – Grand Master, Raven and Ellery Queen Award Recipients”. However, Fairstein’s selection is being protested by one of last year’s Edgar-winning writers.

2019 Grand Masters

MWA’s Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality.

Martin Cruz Smith, the son of a jazz musician and a Native American chanteuse, is perhaps best known for his eight-novel series featuring Arkady Renko, who first appeared in Gorky Park. That book was turned into an award-winning motion picture starring William Hurt and Lee Marvin. Even before his breakout with the Arkady series, Smith had received two Edgar nominations for books in his Roman Gray series, Gypsy in Amber (1971) and Canto for a Gypsy (1972). Both books were originally published under his birth name, Martin Smith, but when he learned that there were six other Martin Smiths who wrote novels he adopted Cruz, his paternal grandmother’s surname, to differentiate himself. Smith also received an Edgar nomination in 1978 for Nightwing, a standalone that drew upon his own tribal ancestry, and has written more than thirty novels in a career that spans nearly five decades.

“When I was a mere strip of a ‘gunsel’, I attended the 1971 Mystery Writers Edgar Award dinner,” Smith said when informed of the honor. “I was overwhelmed to be in the presence of talents like Dick Francis, Donald Westlake and Ross McDonald. Once again, I find myself in the company of wonderful mystery writers at the height of their talent. I’m knocked out, floored and honored. Spasibo.”

Linda Fairstein became a sex-crimes prosecutor during a time when sex crimes were almost impossible to prosecute. In her 30-year tenure at the Manhattan DA’s Office, she was a pioneer in the war against rape, fighting for historic changes to the criminal justice system and for justice on behalf of victims of the most heinous crimes. When she left the District Attorney’s office in 2002, she became a novelist – writing about her alter-ego, Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. Ms. Fairstein’s first novel, Final Jeopardy, was a New York Times bestseller and made into an ABC Movie of the Week starring Dana Delaney. Ms. Fairstein has since written twenty Alexandra Cooper mysteries, most of which have become instant New York Times bestsellers, and which have been translated into dozens of languages. Her novels draw on Ms. Fairstein’s legal expertise as well as her knowledge of and affection for the rich history of the city of New York.

Attica Locke, who won a 2018 Edgar Award for her novel Bluebird, Bluebird, a mystery featuring a black Texas Ranger as protagonist, is calling on MWA to withdraw Fairstein’s honors. Locke’s thread starts here.

MWA has responded, saying they are “Addressing concerns about a Grand Master recipient”

We are taking seriously the issues raised by Attica Locke. Our Board is going to discuss these concerns as soon as possible and make a further statement soon.

Paraphrasing the Wikipedia:

Linda Fairstein’s office supervised the prosecution in 1990 of the Central Park Jogger case, which ended in the conviction of five teenagers who were later exonerated of any part in the crime. In a settlement lawsuit it was claimed that Fairstein, with the assistance of the detectives at the 20th precinct, coerced false confessions from the five arrested teenagers following thirty straight hours of interrogation and intimidation, of both the youths and their supporting adults. …Fairstein’s behavior seemed so outrageous that in the 1993 appeals decision on Salaam’s case then appellate court judge Vito Titone specifically named her in his dissenting opinion and said in an interview, “I was concerned about a criminal justice system that would tolerate the conduct of the prosecutor, Linda Fairstein, who deliberately engineered the 15-year-old’s confession. … Fairstein wanted to make a name. She didn’t care. She wasn’t a human.” All five convictions were vacated in 2002 after convicted rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime…

Three of the defendants sued the city of New York for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and emotional distress. A proposed settlement in the case was reached on June 19, 2014.

Ken Burns made a film about The Central Park Five (2012), and Ava DuVernay is producing a miniseries for Netflix, Central Park Five (2019).

Raven Award

The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.

Marilyn Stasio will receive the 2019 Raven Award. Ms. Stasio has been the mystery critic for the New York Times Book Review (and other magazines) for thirty years—since 1988—with hundreds of books coming under her loving, unforgiving, eye.  Whether her judgment is elegiac or brutal, when it comes to the mystery genre, a Stasio review is a thing to be treasured or feared, but always learned from.

“Goodness, I feel like Sally Field.  (“Wow!  You like me!  You actually like me!”)  When I think of the great people the MWA has honored in the past — people like Edward Gorey and Vincent Price — I want to duck behind the door.  My only wish is that those great guys were still around to hand me the Raven, which I promise to treasure.”

Ellery Queen Award

The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”

Linda Landrigan. Ms. Landrigan came to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in 1997 as an associate editor and has been its editor since 2002. Under her leadership, the magazine has not only continued to thrive but has also navigated dramatic changes in the publishing industry—she has overseen the introduction of AHHM in digital formats as well as the creation of a podcast series featuring audio recordings of stories from the magazine as well as interviews with authors.

The 73rd Annual Edgar Awards Banquet will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on April 25, 2019.

2018 Edgar Awards Winners

The Mystery Writers of America named the winners of the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards on April 26. The awards honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced last year.

BEST NOVEL

  • Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

  • She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper (HarperCollins – Ecco)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

  • The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Landmark)

BEST FACT CRIME

  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Penguin Random House – Doubleday)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

  • Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson (W.W. Norton & Company)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Spring Break” – New Haven Noir by John Crowley (Akashic Books)

BEST JUVENILE

  • Vanished! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)

BEST YOUNG ADULT

  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Simon & Schuster – Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

  • “Somebody to Love” – Fargo, Teleplay by Noah Hawley (FX Networks/MGM)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD

  • “The Queen of Secrets” – New Haven Noir by Lisa D. Gray (Akashic Books)

GRAND MASTER

  • Jane Langton
  • William Link
  • Peter Lovesey

RAVEN AWARD

  • Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO Books
  • The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence Kansas

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD

  • Robert Pépin

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD

  • The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow Paperbacks)

2018 Edgar Awards Nominees

The Mystery Writers of America have revealed the nominees for the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2016. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners on April 26.

BEST NOVEL

  • The Dime by Kathleen Kent (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
  • Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr (Penguin Random House – Marian Wood Books/G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (Penguin Random House – The Dial Press)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

  • She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper (HarperCollins – Ecco)
  • Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li (Polis Books)
  • Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love (Penguin Random House – Crown)
  • Tornado Weather by Deborah E. Kennedy (Macmillan – Flatiron Books)
  • Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Random House)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

  • In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Lake Union)
  • Ragged Lake by Ron Corbett (ECW Press)
  • Black Fall by Andrew Mayne (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper Paperbacks)
  • The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Landmark)
  • Penance by Kanae Minato (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
  • The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong (Text Publishing)

BEST FACT CRIME

  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Penguin Random House – Doubleday)
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
    American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse (W.W. Norton & Company – Liveright)
  • The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill and Rachel McCarthy James (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
  • Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation by Brad Ricca (St. Martin’s Press)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

  • From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women who Created an Icon by Mattias Bostrom (Grove/Atlantic – The Mysterious Press)
  • Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier by Tatiana de Rosnay (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Murder in the Closet: Essays on Queer Clues in Crime Fiction Before Stonewall by Curtis Evans (McFarland Publishing)
  • Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes by Michael Sims (Bloomsbury USA)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Spring Break” – New Haven Noir by John Crowley (Akashic Books)
  • “Hard to Get” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Jeffery Deaver (Dell Magazines)
  • “Ace in the Hole” – Montana Noir by Eric Heidle (Akashic Books)
  • “A Moment of Clarity at the Waffle House” – Atlanta Noir by Kenji Jasper (Akashic Books)
  • “Chin Yong-Yun Stays at Home” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by S.J. Rozan (Dell Magazines)

BEST JUVENILE

  • Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
  • Vanished! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
  • The Assassin’s Curse by Kevin Sands (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
  • First Class Murder by Robin Stevens (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
  • NewsPrints by Ru Xu (Scholastic – Graphix)

BEST YOUNG ADULT

  • The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Feiwel & Friends)
  • Grit by Gillian French (HarperCollins Publishers – HarperTeen)
  • The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (Simon & Schuster)
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Simon & Schuster – Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers – Balzer + Bray)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

  • “Episode 1” – Loch Ness, Teleplay by Stephen Brady (Acorn TV)
  • “Something Happened” – Law and Order: SVU, Teleplay by Michael Chernuchin (NBC Universal/Wolf Entertainment)
  • “Somebody to Love” – Fargo, Teleplay by Noah Hawley (FX Networks/MGM)
  • “Gently and the New Age” – George Gently, Teleplay by Robert Murphy (Acorn TV)
  • “The Blanket Mire” – Vera, Teleplay by Paul Matthew Thompson & Martha Hillier (Acorn TV)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD

  • “The Queen of Secrets” – New Haven Noir by Lisa D. Gray (Akashic Books)

GRAND MASTER

  • Jane Langton
  • William Link
  • Peter Lovesey

RAVEN AWARD

  • Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO Books
  • The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence Kansas

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD

  • Robert Pépin

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD

  • The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby (Minotaur)
  • You’ll Never Know Dear by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
  • The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow Paperbacks)
  • Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
  • The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins – William Morrow Paperbacks)

Pixel Scroll 11/20/17 I’ll Be Over Here Eating My Lunch Alone On The Pixelground

(1) TURKEY FIRST. ULTRAGOTHA chastized me for yesterday’s Scroll title:

Mike, Mike, Mike. Please. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Can’t we have our Pixellated Turkey with Scrollbean Casserole and all the fixins before being subject to Scrollnuts Roasting on an Open Glyer?

(2) ATTENTION REDWOMBAT READERS. T. Kingfisher’s Clockwork Boys is available for pre-order.

For those following along at home, this is the Thing With The Paladin And The Ninja Accountant. And it is Book One! It is not a standalone! Book Two will be out, hopefully February-ish! (It is, however, a duology, not a trilogy or whatever.)

(3) LINE UP AND SIGN UP. The makers of Pacific Rim Uprising are offering someone a chance to be in the movie – sign up at Jaeger Academy.

Do you have what it takes to become a Jaeger Pilot? Welcome to Jaeger Academy, where you will learn to pilot the most powerful machines to ever walk the Earth, and become the most heroic version of yourself. Enlist now to test yourself in Pan Pacific Defense Corps missions for the chance to become immortalized in the Hall of Heroes, have your name in the film credits, name a Jaeger from the film, and more! Join the Uprising now to stand tall for all humanity.

 

(4) A LIST OF THE BEST. The B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog calls these 25 books “The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017”. I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve heard of a third of these titles. And their runner-up list has several titles I expect to be award nominees.

Which brings us to the books below—25 titles that stood out in a particularly strong year for SFF, a year during which many of us looked to the speculative to help us grapple with the strangeness around us—or to offer us an escape from it. Taken collectively, they are: provoking, thoughtful, compelling, challenging, unique. And, most certainly, they are all so very 2017. These are the best science fiction and fantasy books of the year. (Never fear, short fiction fans: we’re covering anthologies and collections in a separate list—horror too.) 

(5) ELEVENFOX. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog also has the cover reveal for Elevenfox Gambit, actually titled Revanant Gun.

Yoon Ha Lee Answers 5 Questions About Revenant Gun

What are we looking at on the cover of Revenant Gun?
The cover shows my protagonist Jedao’s flagship (“command moth,” in the parlance of the books), called the Revenant, and the Fortress of Pearled Hopes.

(6) LE GUIN, MOTHERHOOD, AND WRITING. David Streitfeld does the asking in “Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin” at the LA Review of Books.

When did you write?

After the kids were put to bed, or left in their bed with a book. My kids went to bed much earlier than most kids do now. I was appalled to learn my grandchildren were staying up to 11:00. That would have driven me up the wall. We kept old-fashioned hours — 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. I would go up to the attic, and work 9:00 to midnight. If I was tired, it was a little tough. But I was kind of gung-ho to do it. I like to write. It’s exciting, something I’m really happy doing.

Does being in the Library of America make you feel you’ve joined the immortals? You’re now up there with all the greats — Twain, Poe, Wharton.

I grew up with a set of Mark Twain in the house. Collections of authors’ work were not such a big deal. And my agent was hesitant about the contract, since the pay upfront was less than she’s used to settling for. She’s a good agent. Her job is to make money. What I did not realize is that being published in the Library of America is a real and enduring honor. Especially while you’re still alive. Philip Roth and I make a peculiar but exclusive club.

(7) MWA AWARDS. Mystery Writers of America announced the recipients of its 2018 Special Edgar Awards – Grand Master, Raven and Ellery Queen:

Jane Langton, William Link, and Peter Lovesey have been chosen as the 2018 Grand Masters by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). MWA’s Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality.  Ms. Langton, Mr. Link, and Mr. Lovesey will receive their awards at the 72nd Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on April 26, 2018.

…The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.  The Raven Bookstore and Kristopher Zgorski will receive the 2018 Raven Award.

The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. The store was opened in 1987 by co-owners Pat Kehde and Mary Lou Wright. Kehde kept the store for 28 years, weathering the Borders storm with a plan to “stay the same size and cultivate [the] clients.” Heidi Raak took over the store in 2008. Current owner and poet Danny Caine took over in August of 2017; he is a longtime employee of the shop. The Raven has two store cats, Dashiell and Ngiao.

The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.” This year the Board chose to honor Robert Pépin. Mr. Pépin began his literary career in 1964 as a translator of English-language novels. Since then he has been a translator, editor, and publisher of some of the most important authors of the past century including Lawrence Block, Alex Berenson, C.J. Box, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, James Church, Miles Corwin, Martin Cruz Smith, and Robert Crais.

[Hat tip to Locus Online.]

(8) MORE ON TOLKIEN SAINTHOOD. Here is an initiative of the Student Association of Roman pontifical universities and sponsored by the Conference of rectors of Roman pontifical universities.

(9) DENISE DUMARS. The SPECPO blog interviewed a veteran sf poet who’ll be at Loscon this weekend: “From Sheet Lightning to Paranormal Writing: An interview with Denise Dumars”.

Looking back at your first poetry collection Sheet Lightning to now, what’s changed most about your process in putting a manuscript together?
I rarely think in terms of “putting together a manuscript” when it comes to poetry and short fiction. The poems come one at a time, and rarely do I have a theme for a collection. My most recent collection is an exception to that rule: Paranormal Romance: Poems Romancing the Paranormal was a themed volume; more than half the poems dealt with paranormal research of the type that I find really funny—you know, the ghost hunters and all their gadgets. But the other half of the book is more serious as it deals with New Orleans and the paranormal. Every collection is different. Right now I have a collection of haiku that I’m trying to figure out where to send—it’s call the Punk Rock Picnic Haiku, as it was written over time as I went to punk rock concerts with the rest of my elderly punk set at Liquid Kitty, a club that was recently bought by someone who turned it into a rich businessman’s lounge. The haiku series is a memorial to a time and place. I keep meaning to create a collection of specifically science fiction poems and a collection specifically of horror and dark fantasy poems.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) PRIME TIME. GeekWire says the Electric Dreams release date has been set:

Amazon today announced that its new anthology series “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” will premiere on Jan. 12, exclusively on Prime Video. The much-anticipated streaming series will be comprised of 10 standalone episodes, each set in different worlds — five to 5,000 years in the future…

 

(12) MOON MEN. Bad Astronomer Phil Plait enjoys himself while demolishing another conspiracy theory in “No, that’s not a stagehand in an Apollo astronaut photo”.

I was checking Facebook Sunday, and saw I was tagged in a post by Evan Bernstein, from Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Dreading what I’d see if I went to the page, I clicked the link anyway. I can’t help it. Bad astronomy is like catnip to me.

I wasn’t disappointed. Evan had a link to an article in NewsweekNewsweek — that is a credulous account of a guy on YouTube who calls himself Streetcap1. This particular video shows an image from the Apollo 17 mission, which landed two astronauts on the Moon in December 1972.

… That’s clearly the figure of a human. I think we’d all agree on that. Where I part ways with Streetcap1 is that he is guessing that’s a stagehand or someone else standing there when this photo was taken. In his video he points out features he thinks he sees on the figure, including — and I swear I’m not making this up — long hair. Because this was “back in the early ’70s.”

Yes. He said that.

(13) LET ‘ER RIP. Camestros Felapton is decompressing from the first season of Star Trek: Discovery by launching a weekly review of older Trek TV episodes — “Trek Tuesday* – Errand of Mercy”.

The obvious pretext for including this episode as background for Discovery is that it is the first Klingon episode. Like Discovery, Starfleet finds itself rapidly falling into war with the Klingons. However, my main reason for picking on it is as an example of what Discovery is failing to do, which is to examine some of the assumptions of Star Trek that arise out of its post-WW2 and US hegemonic roots.

… Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet, leaving Sulu in charge of the Enterprise with strict others to skedaddle if the Klingon fleet turns up. Kirk and Spock find the Organians to be a technologically primitive people, with little in the way of government. The Organians lsiten politely to Kirk’s offer of Federation membership and help against the Klingons but they politely decline. Shortly thereafter the Klingon fleet arrives and invades Organia.

It needs to be said that the Klingons are both comical and appalling. The Klingon army is a few guys marching across the set. The makeup manages to be racist in a way that is insulting both to black people and Chinese people – apparently they literally used shoe polish. The Klingon commander, Kor, is perhaps the most urbane Klingon in the Trek canon beating even Christopher Plummer’s Shakespeare quoting Klingon from the movies. At this point in Trek, the Klingons are just a generic military dictatoship, more 1984 than the syncretic mix of Viking-Samurai from later versions.

(14) DEADER THAN A SUPER DOORNAIL. The Hollywood Reporter’s Ciara Wardlow asks the question n“Has ‘Justice League’ Killed the Superhero Origin Story?” and argues that the answer is “Yes.”

At first glance, this may appear like the Warner Bros.’ DC universe taking shortcuts in order to try to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there is something else important to be considered. Namely, that the MCU’s Phase One strategy to build up to The Avengers is no longer an option. It’s too reliant on solo origin stories. Even within Phase One, audiences were getting a little restless with the formula by the time Captain America: The First Avenger rolled around only two months after Thor.

There’s nothing wrong with origin stories, and even just this year we got a great one with Wonder Woman. But the cinematic reboot craze jumpstarted by 2005′ Batman Begins lead to such an explosion of origin stories that the market has grown saturated. There is still a niche or two left available here and there. “Quality female superhero origin story” was still wide open for Wonder Woman, and can probably fit a few more entries before things start getting too crowded. But origin stories revolving around one Great Big Hero are naturally going to end up hitting the same narrative beats and plot points. Switching up various elements can keep things interesting for a while, there are limits that the superhero genre is inching very close to surpassing — a boundary where pleasantly or at least tolerably familiar crosses into the territory of boringly repetitive.

(15) LIFE IMITATES ART. “Finally, You Can Have Breakfast at Tiffany” – the New York Times has the story.

There are certain movie scenes that are so iconic that they still retain their importance in the pop-culture lexicon, even decades later. When Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, stepped out of a yellow cab and sauntered to the window of Tiffany & Co. in the 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” with Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s “Moon River” playing in the background, such a scene was created.

As Holly ate a croissant and carried a cup of coffee, she was still, unfortunately, on the outside of the building. Since 1837, Tiffany’s has been a preeminent luxury jeweler and not a place where you could actually have breakfast. However, that changed on Friday, with the opening of the Blue Box Café, at the company’s venerable flagship store at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City. Menu items will be seasonal and reflect a sophisticated take on a variety of New York dishes.

Located on the fourth floor of the building, which houses a recently renovated home and accessories section, the café is a bright, airy space, with the “Breakfast at Tiffany” breakfast starting at $29….

(16) SKILLZ. Finally, a school that teaches something students believe will be useful after they graduate…. The BBC explains “Why Singapore is training professional gamers”.  (Video preceded by obnoxious ad)

 A career in gaming would once have been unthinkable in Asia. But with the global e-sports market forecast to hit $1.5bn in three years, Singapore wants to help train new gamers how to go professional.

(17) PIG BELLY. Why this one won’t melt as quick as expected: “Antarctic glacier’s rough belly exposed”.

The melting Antarctic ice stream that is currently adding most to sea-level rise may be more resilient to change than previously recognised.

New radar images reveal the mighty Pine Island Glacier (PIG) to be sitting on a rugged rock bed populated by big hills, tall cliffs and deep scour marks.

Such features are likely to slow the ice body’s retreat as the climate warms, researchers say.

(18) CUISINE ALCHEMY. Carrots in blackberry yogurt? “The surprising ingredients behind common foods” (video).

Some of our daily staples are made of strange things that enhance their taste or their looks, or make them cost-effective.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Goodbye Uncanny Valley” in Vimeo, Alan Warburton looks at the state of computer graphics today, including a look at edgy projects that are on the verge of development in the future.

[Thanks to Nancy Sauer, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

2017 Special Edgar Awards

Mystery Writers of America has announced the recipients of the 2017 Special Edgar Awards.

GRAND MASTERS. Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart have been chosen as the 2017 Grand Masters by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). They will receive their awards at the 71st Annual Edgar Awards Banquet in New York City on April 27.

  • Max Allan Collins sold his first two novels in 1972 while a student at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.  More than one hundred novels have followed, including his award winning and groundbreaking Nathan Heller historical series, starting with True Detective (1983). His graphic novel Road to Perdition (1998) is the basis of the Academy Award winning 2002 film starring Tom Hanks.  His other comics credits include the syndicated strip “Dick Tracy”; his own “Ms. Tree”; and “Batman.”  For the hit TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, he wrote ten novels selling millions of copies worldwide, and his movie novels include Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, and American Gangster.
  • Ellen Hart is the author of thirty-two crime novels.  She is the six-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery, the four-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Fiction, and the three-time winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award for mystery.

RAVEN AWARD. Dru Ann Love will receive the Raven Award for outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. She is owner/editor of dru’s book musings, a blog where characters give a glimpse into a day in their life, as well as her musings. Her musings also appear in Crimespree Magazine. She is also a guest blogger at the Stiletto Gang.

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD. Neil Nyren will be honored with The Ellery Queen Award, established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.” Nyren is the Executive VP, associate publisher and editor in chief of G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Random House. He has been at Putnam for over 32 years, and before that, at E.P. Dutton, Little Brown, Random House, Arbor House, and Atheneum.