Chair Lisa Garrison, Vice Chair Dale Mazzola, and Treasurer Kim Williams are minimizing any expectations about membership refunds:
Like so many conventions affected by Covid-19, NASFIC has been involved in some very challenging negotiations. Because Ohio is trying to open up its economy, we are likely to have some heavy cancellation fees imposed by our facilities. Therefore, we are unlikely to be able to offer any meaningful level of membership refunds.
There won’t be a printed Souvenir Book:
We originally felt that any small residual amount could be spent on a low-cost book celebrating our Guests or passed along to a future event to benefit fans in general. We were wrong. If we gave the impression that we were prioritizing the Souvenir book or pass-along funds over the needs of our members, even those in hardship, we’re sorry.
They apologized for some aspects of the original statement.
We were also wrong to make such an announcement on a likely outcome before the actual negotiations were finalized. We apologize for those misjudgments, as of now negotiations are still ongoing.
Their approach to refunds now is this:
If refunds can be offered, we will. We will also ask anyone who can waive a refund requests do so. We hope to give those most in [need] a more meaningful amount. As soon as we know the amount left over, we will post a refund process.
Although we will absolutely not produce a physical Souvenir / Program Book, we will look into an electronic publication instead.
We understand people will be disappointed by the news that we will probably not be able to make more substantial refunds. We are negotiating in good faith, with our other partners in town, to seek the best possible settlement. I wish I could be more optimistic, but I’m staying realistic and hoping for the best.
Lisa Garrison, Chair of the Columbus 2020 NASFiC, announced their con, too, has fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak, but they intend to have a virtual event over the same weekend:
This is the statement I have been hoping we would not have to make, but it is with a heavy heart that I and the executive committee, in consultation with Hotel management and the local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, announce that we have made the decision to cancel the Columbus 2020 NASFiC. Due to the uncertain health situation and the unreliable travel restrictions, it was decided by all that hosting the NASFiC at this time would be unwise.
We will not be offering any refunds but, that being said, we still plan on publishing a souvenir book for all attending and supporting members.
We may have a virtual event on the weekend of August 20 -23. We’ll update everyone on that later once we have some plans.
We were very much looking forward to hosting the North American Science Fiction Convention this fall with you and regret that it cannot happen.
The Columbus 2020 NASFiC’s Kim Williams asked File 770 to signal boost the message posted on their website yesterday:
We would like to announce that at this point in time, April 25th 2020, we are STILL planning for the NASFIC in Columbus OH, to occur – live – on the weekend of August 20 – 23, 2020.
With various states lifting stay in place rules/orders/recommendations the hotel thinks that everything will be just fine.
What we (your NASFIC team) desperately need from you (our Members) is to know if you are still planning to attend. If you are NOT planning to attend, then please cancel your hotel reservation. It’s the only real way we have to know how to proceed.
Registration prices will stay at $100 until we welcome you to the Sheraton, then the at-the-door price will be $125.00.
Before comments begin: We have a Force Majeure clause. As we said in the post, the corporation is Marriott and they feel that unless the Governor Dewine keeps numerical limits on gatherings, it will be “just fine”. They are using GA (Dragon Con) as their evidence.
My pick for the book of the year, Tim Maughan’s Infinite Detail (MCD x FSG Originals), is a before-and-after tale of near-future social collapse after a coordinated attack takes the internet down. It’s hard to believe it is a debut, so assured and evocative is Maughan’s writing. As a portrait of the fragility of our current status quo it is as thought-provoking as it is terrifying; you won’t ever take your wifi for granted again.
(2) RESERVATIONS OPEN FOR 2020 NASFIC. The Columbus in 2020 NASFiC hotel room block is now open.
Click on the above link to take you to the Hotel page to book your room for The Columbus NASFIC in 2020 at a cost of $129.00 per night. Room Nights will be available at the discounted rate from August 16th thru the 27th.
I tried to book for 5 nights starting the Wednesday before the convention, but the hotel’s system said that there were no rooms available on Wednesday. So I booked for 4 nights starting Thursday and emailed the con about the issue. Within 24 hours they had added Wednesday to my reservation. So I’m happy. I was probably not the only person having issues because they have now added a note about booking problems on their facilities webpage. But they are obviously working on it.
The note on the Columbus website says
Apparently there are people who are having issues making extended reservations. If you are having these issues try and make the reservation for just the weekend of the convention. Until we can get this straightened out, Email the confirmation number to email@example.com with the dates you want to add and we’ll get them added.
James T. Kirk Cat is the inaugural release in Chronicle Collectibles’ new line of the legendary original Star Trek crew, reimagined as cats. This adorable 1:9 scale James T. Kirk Cat comes with his official command chair so that he can direct the furry crew of the Enterprise. Just the right size for any office desk at 7.5 inches tall, you just know this is going to be the right conversation starter at work that combines your love of Star Trek and cats.
(4) TENTACULAR SPECTACULAR. Ursula Vernon weighed in on a
question about Disney love interests. Thread starts here.
What follows is an abridged excavation of the history of Corridor8, under which hides a dense archive of art and literary material reaching back to the 1960s.
The history of Corridor8 begins with Michael Butterworth, the Manchester-based writer, editor, and artist who originally conceived of a publication called Corridor in the early 1970s. This first issue of Corridor can be understood as one discrete point amid a trail of interrelated literary projects fomenting at the time. Before Corridor there was a broadsheet called Concentrate, and before (and during) Concentrate there was a thriving publication called New Worlds. These iterations were surrounded by a succession of other broadsheets and half-imagined projects consigned to the wastebaskets of avant-garde history. The resultant archive relays a history of experimental writing in the North of England, and leads us by way of papery trail to our present Corridor8 platform.
… With these aims (of creating slippages between reader, writer, and editor), Butterworth published the fourth issue Corridor later in 1972, with renewed commitment to destabilising and hybridising form. The teaser language on the cover of the issue shows the extent to which Corridor had evolved into a magazine dedicated to dissolving edges between text-art, criticism, and fiction. This new issue contained a new Jerry Cornelius story by Moorcock, a ‘word movie’ by John Riley, a long poem by Kevin Dixon-Jackson, ‘acid head fantasy’ by Chris Naylor, a review of William Burroughs written by Jay Jeff Jones, experimental work by Trevor Hoyle’s ‘the constant copywriter’ as well as a healthy smattering of letters to the editor. It was an issue that particularly reflected the post-industrial landscape of Manchester: Kevin Dixon-Jackson’s long poem evoked the strange, derelict geometry of Manchester’s city centre, alongside a photo series, also by Jackson, ringing with a palpable hauntology for lost Northern futures.
As women get old, they gain a superpower: invisibility. And not only in real life. ‘Young adult’ fantasy and science-fiction hits such as Suzanne Collins’s novel series The Hunger Games and Stephenie Meyers’s Twilight series have been taken to task for doing away with mature women. In fantasy generally, older women mainly occupy supporting roles, such as fairy godmothers, wise crones and evil witches. The best are subversions — George R. R. Martin’s Queen of Thorns in A Song of Ice and Fire, for instance, or Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg in the Discworld series. All of them embrace old age with gusto. I expected better from science-fiction novels, where alternative worlds and alien nations explore what it means to be human. In 1976, after all, Ursula K. Le Guin argued in her essay ‘The Space Crone’ that post-menopausal women are best suited to representing the human race to alien species, because they are the most likely to have experienced all the changes of the human condition. And Robert A. Heinlein offers a fantastic galactic grandmother in The Rolling Stones (1952): Hazel Stone, engineer, lunar colonist and expert blackjack player irritated by the everyday misogyny of the Solar System.
Nominations for the A Bertram Chandler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction will open in December and close 1 February 2020. The Award was established in recognition of the contribution that science fiction writer A. Bertram Chandler made to Australian Science Fiction and to Australian fandom in general. It is Australia’s premier award for lifetime achievement in science fiction.
You are encouraged to nominate a person who fulfils the criteria on the nomination page here at ASFF.
Please read the guidelines carefully before making a nomination. The winner of the award will be announced at the 2020 Natcon — which is Swancon in Perth — over the Anzac Day weekend 2020.
(8) THAT BITES. Andrew Porter was in front of his TV when another group of Jeopardy! contestants plotzed on a genre answer.
Category: Classic British Novels.
Answer: “The title character of this novel says of his home, ‘The wind breathes cold through the broken battlements and casements.'”
“What is The Hunchback of Notre Dame?’
“What is Tristam Shandy?”
Correct question (which no one got): “What is Dracula?”
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
November 30, 1959 – On UK screens, The Man Who Could Cheat Death premiered. Starring Anton Diffring and Christopher Lee, Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films says the film “suffers from an excess of dialogue and a lack of action.” Not surprisingly, it gets only 37% at Rotten Tomatoes.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 30, 1835 — Mark Twain. It’s been decades since I read it but I still know I loved A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court when I read it. His other genre work is The Mysterious Stranger In which Satan might be visiting us went unpublished in his lifetime and it’s only relatively recently with the University of California Press editions of all his completed and uncompleted versions in one volume that a reader can see what he intended. (Died 1910.)
Born November 30, 1906 — John Dickson Carr. Author of the Gideon Fell detective stories, some of which were decidedly genre adjacent. The Burning Court with Fell is on this list as is his vampire mythos backstoried novels, Three Coffins and He Who Whispers. And I really should note his Sir Henry Merrivale character has at one genre outing in Reader is Warned. (Died 1977.)
Born November 30, 1937 — Ridley Scott, 82. Alien: Covenant, which did surprisingly well at the box office, is his most recent genre work of note but he’s got a long and distinguished list that includes Blade Runner, Alien, the 1984 Apple advert, Exodus: Gods and Kings , Legend, Alien: Covenant, Prometheus and Robin Hood. I’ve watched Blade Runner sans the narration and I’ll say I prefer the original version.
Born November 30, 1945 — Billy Drago. Best remembered, I think, as the evil John Bly in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. He was certainly booked in a lot of genre roles as he has appearances in Cyborg 2, Sci-Fighters, Supernatural and X-Files. He also played the demon Barbas in the original Charmed series. He also was in Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, a film I’m sure no one was begging for. He was in the Masters of Horror “Imprint” episode, which Showtime pulled due to “disturbing content” which you can read about here. (Died 2019.)
Born November 30, 1950 — Chris Claremont, 69. Writer in the comic realm. Best known for his astounding twenty year run on the Uncanny X-Men starting in 1976. During his tenure at Marvel, he co-created at least forty characters. Looking at his bibliography, I see that he did Sovereign Seven as a creator own series with DC publishing it. And then there’s the matter of Lucas providing the notes for The Chronicles of the Shadow War trilogy to follow the Willow film and then contracting our writer to make them exist. Anyone ever encountered these?
Born November 30, 1955 — Andy Robertson. A fan and editor who worked as an assistant editor on Interzone and contributed myriad reviews and interviews. He published some fiction and edited two anthologies based on the works of William Hope Hodgson’s Night Lands, Volume 1: Eternal Love, featuring tales set in Hodgson’s world, and William Hope Hodgson’s Night Lands Volume 2: Nightmares of the Fall. Alas, they never made into digital editions. (Died 2014.)
Born November 30, 1955 — Kevin Conroy, 64. Without doubt, best known for voicing Batman on Batman: The Animated Series. Justice League Action which just just had its twofirst seasons on the Carton Network saw him reprise that role with the other characters often noting his stoic personality. I’ve not seen it, but on Batwoman, he plays Bruce Wayne in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two” episode.
Born November 30, 1957 — Martin Morse Wooster, 62. He discovered fandom in 1974 when he heard about “a big sci-fi con” in downtown Washington where admission was $10 at the door. He had ten bucks, and so attended Discon II at 16. A year later, he discovered fanzines through Don Miller, and discovered he liked writing book reviews. He has been turning them out ever since. In 1975, he was one of twelve founders of the Potomac River Science Fiction Society, which split from the Washington Science Fiction Association, and regularly attends PRSFS meetings to discuss books. He has contributed to File 770 since 1978.
Born November 30, 1965 — Andrew Tiernan, 54. British actor who, yes, did show up on Doctor Who playing Purcell in “Night Calls”, an Eleventh Doctor story. He’s also played Banquo in MacBeth on The Estate, was a Paris vampire in Interview with the Vampire and, skipping several decades worth of performances, is The Manager in Autómata, a neat sounding Spanish-Bulgarian SF film.
Osamu Tezuka is well known for being “the father of manga”, and for good reason. His prolific and pioneering works, and the way he redefined genres has rightfully earned him that title. It was Tezuka who developed and shaped the modern style of manga that we know today. Many considered him the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney. Tezuka’s most famous work is arguably Astro Boy, which tells the story of an android with human emotions who is created by Umataro Tenma after the death of his son. But what about Tezuka’s other works? They deserve some love, too. So, here’s Osamu Tezuka’s ten best works that aren’t Astro Boy, ranked.
10. Kimba the White Lion
Kimba the White Lion tells the story of a young cub whose family is killed en route to a zoo before being shipwrecked on the Arabian Peninsula. After the stars form the face of his mother, Kimba must journey back to his home in Africa to become his father’s successor.
Kimba was written early in Tezuka’s career and he drew inspiration from post-WW2 Japan and the hardships and struggles they were facing. Kimba’s story is an emotional tale about self discovery and overcoming adversity, serving as a touching metaphor for Japan’s journey toward prosperity following World War II.
Bloomingdale’s is looking to the stars for its holiday windows this year. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, the store pays tribute to space travel with “An Out of This World Holiday Windows.” The first diorama begins the journey with a silver flying saucer beaming up beings dressed in futuristic fashions followed by a series of extraterrestrial holiday scenes….
…On the flight home, I became oddly emotional thinking about Fred and Joanne — about how much they’d affected so many simply by expressing genuine care and kindness toward their neighbors. As she told the moviemakers, Fred wasn’t a saint. Since his death, she feels as if he’s been placed on an even higher pedestal. And she doesn’t like it.
“He’s out there now as somebody who’s somehow way above all the rest of us,” she said. “People invariably say, ‘Well, I can’t do that, but I sure do admire him. I would love to do it.’ Well, you can do it. I’m convinced there are lots of Fred Rogerses out there.”
(14) PULP IN NEW JERSEY. Gary Lovisi and Paperback Parade
takes a tour of the “Bold Venture” Annual Pulp Fest in Bordentown NJ.
DC Comics has yanked a poster for a new Batman title from its social media accounts after the image drew criticism from Chinese commenters who said it appeared to support the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The artwork depicts Batman throwing a Molotov cocktail against a backdrop of hot-pink words spelling out the new comic book’s tagline, “the future is young.” It was posted on DC Comics’ Twitter and Instagram accounts; both platforms are blocked in mainland China. The poster was meant to promote a forthcoming DC Black Label comic called “Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child,” due to hit shelves Dec. 11. DC Black Label is an imprint that seeks to appeal to an older-skewing readership through reprints and original limited series.
But the poster came under fire from Chinese internet users who contended that it contained coded messages in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. They said that the Molotov cocktail alluded to young Hong Kong protesters’ more violent tactics, that the “dark knight’s” choice of black attire referred to the black-clad Hong Kong protesters, and that the “golden child” of the book’s title was a veiled reference to the color yellow, which was taken up by previous pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong five years ago….
There’s a mole on Mars that’s making NASA engineers tear their hair out.
No, they haven’t discovered a small, insectivorous mammal on the red planet.
The mole vexing engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena is a scientific instrument known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3 — or just “the mole” — carried on NASA’s InSight probe that landed on Mars a year ago.
“The mole is designed to measure heat flow coming out of the interior of Mars,” says Troy Hudson, InSight’s instrument system engineer.
Scientists are interested to know how much heat is still being generated inside the core of the once geologically active Mars. To do that, the mole has to bury itself about 16 feet below the Martian surface so it won’t be affected by daily temperature fluctuations.
The mole is basically a tube about 16 inches long and an inch in diameter. It has a pointy tip and an internal hammer that works like a kind of pile driver to pound the instrument into the ground.
The frustrations began last February when the digging started. Instead of going down to 16 feet, it got stuck after just 14 inches.
Maybe they need to send for the crew from Armageddon?
South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol, who retired from professional Go competition last week after gaining worldwide fame in 2016 as the only human to defeat the artificial intelligence (AI) Go player AlphaGo, said his retirement was primarily motivated by the invincibility of AI Go programs.
“With the debut of AI in Go games, I’ve realized that I’m not at the top even if I become the number one through frantic efforts,” said Lee.
“Even if I become the number one, there is an entity that cannot be defeated,” he said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Seoul on Monday.
AlphaGo, built by Google’s DeepMind Technologies, won four of its five matches against Lee in March 2016, but Lee’s sole win in Game 4 remains the only time a human has beaten the AI player.
A documentary about the epic match was released in 2017.
With more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe, the ancient Chinese game of Go has long been considered a grand challenge for artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history.
Directed by Greg Kohs with an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka, AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the halls of Oxford, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of Google DeepMind in London, and ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?
[Thanks to Dennis Howard, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock,
Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan
Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File
770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
By John Hertz:Spikecon combined Westercon LXXII (regional)
and the 13th NASFiC (North America S-F Con, since 1976 held when the Worldcon
is off-continent – this year’s Worldcon was in
Dublin, Republic of Ireland), plus a 1632 Minicon (fans of
Eric Flynt’s 1632 series) and Manticon 2019 (fans of David
Weber’s Honor Harrington series, with its Royal Manticoran
Navy, i.e. Space navy). This was a first.
Kate Hatcher; attendance, about 800; in the Art Show, sales about $20,000 by
about 60 artists.
Westercon and NASFiC each had Guests of Honor. The Utah Fandom
Organization (yes, that spells –) brought two more; eight other sponsors
brought nine more.
all happened at Layton, Utah, 4-7 July 2019, fifty miles from where the Final
Spike was driven completing the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years
(population about 70,000) is twenty-five miles from Salt Lake City, where
Westercon LXVII had been – the first in Utah.
used the Davis County Conference Center and five hotels.
available space I hadn’t seen anywhere to put a Fanzine
Lounge. Hatcher said “How about a fanzine party in the Hospitality
Suite?” With Hospitality Suite chief Dorothy Domitz’ agreement we settled
– if that word may be used in fandom – on Friday night, 7-10 p.m.
Glassner, who had hosted the Fanzine Lounge at the 76th Worldcon in 2018, was
my co-host for the fanzine party. We were both on-site by Wednesday
and went shopping with Chris Olds the Party Maven. I made a flier.
I was Chief Hall-Costume Judge. Decades ago hall
costume was settled for the costumes some people wear strolling the
halls. Marjii Ellers called them “daily wear from alternative
costumes are meant to be seen at a distance; hall costumes are meant to be
met. To acknowledge them a gang of judges prowls the con and,
spotting a good one, awards a rosette on the spot.
con had made disks with Spikecon – Hall Costume Award;
while shopping I looked for lace, or like that, to go round
them. JoAnn Fabric & Crafts didn’t have spools enough in any
appealing style, but on the way out I saw some red-white-and-blue-striped cake
cups (for cupcakes, right?): it was the Independence Day
weekend. We got those.
Selina Phanara hadn’t
anything ready to exhibit in the Art Show, but luckily I was able to borrow the
Selina Phanara Sampler from fellow Phanara fans Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink &
Jerome Scott, a vertically (“portrait”?) laid out banner with color
reproductions and her name and E-mail address. Art Show chief Bruce
Miller proved to have space for it.
first of three Classics of SF discussions
I led, on “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (which just won the Retrospective Hugo for Best Novelette of 1943), was at 12:45 p.m. Regency dancing had to be at 3:15 – another time and space problem. The Chesley Awards(by the Ass’n of SF Artists) and Art Show Reception were at 7. So after “Mimsy” I hustled back to my room, changed, sauntered to the Conference Center for dancing – can’t hustle in Regency clothes – then met my fellow Art Show judges to decide and turn in the Art Show Awards before the Reception, then back to my room for conventional garments, and hustled to the Hospitality Suite where Glassner had started the fanzine party.
we trespass upon chronology.
“Mimsy”. A.J. Budrys, one of our best authors and critics both,
taught “Always ask, Why are they telling us this?” Why
do Kuttner & Moore tell us Jane Paradine, the children’s mother, is very
pretty? Remember a woman is co-writing; K&M always said that
everything they published, under any name (they used many; “Mimsy” appeared as
by Lewis Padgett), was by the two of them together.
considered Sexism? – or Mere sexism? (whatever
that may mean, about which there was also talk) – or Sexism
unconsciously or otherwise adopted by a 1943 woman?
or beneath or beside this we human beings are drawn to beauty; think not only
of an attractive man or woman, but also “I saw
young Harry … gallantly armed, / Rise from the ground … and vault … with
such ease into his seat / As if an angel dropped down from the clouds, / To
witch the world with noble horsemanship” (Henry IV Part 1, Act 4 scene
different points in “Mimsy” K&M invite us to feel for the parents
– for the children.
also the sneaky ironic foreshadowing of “The only people who can understand
philosophy are mature adults or kids like Emma and Scotty.”
Rex Holloway, the psychologist, help or hurt? Does Paradine suggest paradigm;
does Holloway suggest hollow way?
“Mimsy” tragic – in the classical sense, grievous and revealed to result from a
fault of the recipient even if – or because – that fault had been thought
does the story end with the telephone ringing? Who did K&M tell
us is calling? Why?
Unthahorsten is “a good many million years in the future”, what happens to Emma
Regency dancing. Maybe you already knew my article in Mimosa,
or maybe you followed the link to it above. I hold Jane Austen one of the
greatest authors in the world, and yes, that means I rank her with Aeschylus,
and Shakespeare, and Lady Murasaki. But she – since I’m talking to
SF fans here – is, like them, a Martian writing for other
Martians. She doesn’t explain. Georgette Heyer, writing
two centuries later, like an SF author introduces us to the world she
portrays. So it’s she I recommend, to start with anyhow; luckily
she’s a superb author herself.
said Cross-cultural contact is homework for SF. Mike
Ford said history is our secret ingredient. Theodore Sturgeon said
science fiction is knowledge fiction. Not all knowledge is
data. Some of it is doing. I learn a lot from this hobby
that grew out of a hobby.
Hospitality Suite was in the Garden Inn, attached to the Conference Center, not
in the Homes2 Suites across a driveway, which had been planned as the
Party Hotel. As it turned out, the Hospitality Suite could stay open
until 2 a.m.; the Homes2 shut down parties at midnight. Could that
have been discovered in advance, maybe even worked around? For ways
that are dark, and tricks that are vain, our hotel negotiations are peculiar.
and I had each brought a handful of fanzines, some recent, some from years
past. People looked and talked. I’d also printed the opening
page of Bill Burns’ efanzines.com. That gratified some, and was
news to others. Obviousness is relative. After our
three hours we donated what remained of our food and drink, also two little
tables I’d bought to spread fanzines on.
Hospitality Suite may be the best part of an SF convention. You’re
welcome whether you’re a fan or a pro or both; whether or not you’re in with
some in-crowd. Conversations happen. You meet people you
didn’t know you wanted to meet.
it’s called the Con Suite because the con itself hosts it, unlike say a SFWA
Suite (SF Writers of America).
the Homes2 lobby later, half past midnight or maybe one, I found a surprisingly
large crowd, and a spread of refreshments along a center table. Thus
I learned parties were being shut down. People had gravitated, and
brought leftovers. It was Lobbycon.
I heard Match Game SF had been fun, as usual. Of course it had to
happen. Kevin Standlee, his wife Lisa Hayes, and their friend Kuma
Bear, were Westercon’s Fan Guests of Honor. For a dozen years
they’ve been mounting this adaptation of the oft-revived television panel-game. At
the Worldcon they’d be nose-deep in the Business Meeting, and like that;
Spikecon was the moment. Until they started this, who
knew Standlee had a game-show host in him?
Standlee, Hayes, and Kuma are fen of many talents.
Hayes does the tech. I think Kuma is the producer.
Rocket Ship “Galileo” at the crack of dawn, i.e. 10:15 a.m. I was not alone
in wanting to celebrate the Glorious 20th; the U.S. Postal Service had issued a
decades before humankind actually did it, Heinlein wrote this
speculation. It’s the first of his “juveniles” – they have
young-adult protagonists – books which some of us think his best: they’re gems.
“Galileo” is reasonable science for 1947. Heinlein said he’d only
compressed the time and the number of people. Note that it isn’t a
rocket ship built in a back yard.
how he manages the characterization – sparely but tellingly. The
books on the shelf in the clubhouse – Ross Jenkins’ parents (the one-word
utterance “Albert.” in Chapter 4!) – “Going to put her down on manual?” and
what follows. Look how characterization also advances the plot
– like setting up Art’s speaking German.
very points we might hang fire on are things Heinlein needs for what I’ve
called the C.S. Lewis One-Strange rule: an extraordinary person in ordinary
circumstances, or an ordinary person in extraordinary
circumstances. Boys taking apart almost anything mechanical from alarm
clocks to souped-up jalopies. “Cigarette,
Doctor? Cigar?” These are verisimilitude at the time of
you looking for the Heinlein Double Surprise – something strange happens, then
something really strange happens? There it is!
Art Show tour I led was at 11:30. I didn’t invent these tours, but I
often arrange them, and usually lead one myself. Why me? When
Kelly Freas first told a con to get me for one, I went to him. He said,
“You seem to be able to say what you see.”
never forgotten that. When I’m arranging the tours it’s what I ask tour
leaders to do.
used to say “docent tours”. Docent is the right word,
but I found people didn’t know what it meant, and didn’t look it up, so it put
them to sleep.
Art Show was one of the strengths of Spikecon.
Here was Mark Roland, one of few who does etching; his “Persistence of Memory” won 1st Place Monochrome (if you follow the link, scroll down, 3rd image; you’ll see he says these are limited-edition fine art prints, hand-wiped and printed on rag paper in his studio).
was Elizabeth Berrien, whose “Cloud Unicorn” in aluminum wire won Best 3-D; she
has not exhibited with us for a while, being distracted with airports and hotel
lobbies. Her Website is worth a look. At a
party, or a panel discussion, you’ll see her listening or contributing to the
conversation, all the while twisting wire. She must carry the whole
in her mind, like Michelangelo saying “I just get a block of marble and chip
away anything that doesn’t look like a Madonna and Child.”
Douglas’ “Ghost Leviathan”, worked up from the page into bas-relief with layers
of color, and found objects, won 1st Place Color. She has
recently been at Orycons.
by Elizabeth Fellows won 2nd Place Monochrome. Looking straight at it you
saw vertical strands of dark yarn on a field of white. Fellows
didn’t, so the Art Show did, mount a sign Look at it
sideways. You then saw a face – which I think was Alan Rickman
as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter movies – but wasn’t his
word “Forever”? Where are my notes?
particularly glad Bjo Trimble, her husband John, and their daughter Kat, were
at the con; as it turned out they were sponsored by Ctein (pronounced “k-TINE”;
yes, that’s his full name; while we’re at it, there should be a circumflex over
the j in Bjo, an Esperantism indicating
In the photo you can see Bjo’s “Aslan” (from The Chronicles of Narnia), which won 3rd Place Monochrome, over her head. Kat’s “Mariposa” (which you can’t quite see in the photo) was a Judges’ Choice.
is one of few photographers in our Art Shows. Photos are necessarily
of things actually existent; what’s the SF element? We get some
neighbors, like astronomicals, or the spacecraft so far built; and indeed Ctein
shoots them. But his other pictures too have a quality of marvel.
The art of photography includes the mind of the artist. Ctein
being one of the judges, and also exhibiting, he insisted that nothing by a
judge should get an award.
No picture-taking is our Art Show rule, but Jan Gephardt was allowed to shoot this panel of her own (you can just make out
some of her paper sculptures at upper left).
night, the Masquerade. Decades ago this was a dress-up party;
it’s now a costume competition – with a stage, lights, and sound, if we can
manage. The Masquerade Director was Tanglwyst de Holloway; Master of
Ceremonies, Orbit Brown; judges, Dragon Dronet, Theresa Halbert, Kitty Krell.
as a Novice, and winning Best in Show – which is quite possible, I’ve been a
judge at Worldcon Masquerades where we did that – was Hanna Swedin, “Snaptrap”
(Re-Creation, from Five Nights at Freddy’s 3; Re-Creation entries
are based on known images, Original entries are not; the Novice, Journeyman,
and Master classes allow entrants to compete against others with their own
level of experience if they wish, but anyone can “challenge up”, and experience
brought the Site-Selection results. Columbus, Ohio, won unopposed
for the 14th NASFiC in 2020 (the 78th
Worldcon will be at Wellington, New Zealand, in
2020). Tonopah, Nevada, beat Phoenix, Arizona, 82-51, for Westercon
LXXIV in 2021 (Westercon LXXIII will
be at Seattle, Washington, in 2020).
is a noteworthy outcome. In contrast with Phoenix, Tonopah is an
unincorporated town of population 2,600; no air, rail, intercity-bus service;
it’s halfway between Reno and Las Vegas (each about 200 miles, 250 km,
away). Probably not even the best crystal-gazer would venture to say
what lurks in the minds of fen, but “Why Tonopah?” from the bid committee to its parent organization, all
explained again at Spikecon in conversation, bid parties, and the exercise
we call the Fannish Inquisition, may be instructive.
quarter to one p.m., October the First Is Too Late. As
always I asked who’d read it recently or had it fresh in mind, who even if
having read it didn’t have it fresh in mind, who hadn’t read it, who hadn’t
heard of it; most always there are some of each (hadn’t heard of it may
prove to be but I hear these discussions are fun, which I’ll take).
way of reminding people to look things up I pointed out that “bacon” for an
Englishman is nearer to what United States people call “Canadian bacon” than to
what U.S. people call “bacon”. If this is what you’re living on while
camping, it makes a difference.
all the music for? Is it mere window-dressing? Well, it
shows the mind of the narrator. It sets up the exploration of art
and technology, human and mechanical possibilities, with the future (though we
must beware of that word with this book) keyboard instrument in Chapter 13.
music, at least as we understand it, is about time, and time is the theme, the
endoskeleton, of the book: one of the more brilliant observations I heard all
about the framing story? What about “someone, or something, was
using the Sun as a giant signaling device”? Does it tell us anything
about the fourth-millennium people? The narrative doesn’t take us to
it again – or does it, in the last chapter, with “a higher level of perception
than our own”?
we to be uncertain about the certain uncertainty of the people we meet at the
end, like Sir Arthur Clarke’s “It is well to be skeptical [or as he spelled it,
sceptical] even of skepticism”?
Closing Ceremonies the joined Westercon and NASFiC had to
disjoin. When Kate Hatcher ended Spikecon, the Westercon gavel went
to Sally Woehrle for Westercon LXXIII; but the NASFiC is an entity of the World
Science Fiction Society, so the WSFS gavel went to a courier for the 77th
Worldcon which would need it before the 14th NASFiC.
Standlee, Hayes, and Kuma were present, being Fan Guests of Honor for Westercon
LXXII, and Linda Deneroff was present, being Fan Guest of Honor for the 13th
NASFiC, all experienced in Business Meeting fandom, so we managed.
in the course of helping take down and clean up I found my roommate Kevin Rice
carrying a box of leftover plastic train-whistles. He’d made them by
3-dimensional printing, gosh: six inches long with two pipes, the top one
marked “Spikecon 2019” and the bottom one “Layton, UT”. They were in
knew there would be a Dead Dog party (until the last dog is –), and separately
a Dead Dog Filk, so that’s where
I went with them. More of the filkers being of the
musical-instrument type, they took more.
NASFiC 2020: Ben Yalow, Spikecon Site Selection Area Head,
reported the results of the 2020 NASFiC site selection voting held at the joint
The information was shared as a courtesy at the Westercon business meeting on July 6, there being no WSFS business meeting at a NASFiC. The complete Westercon 72 Business Meeting minutes are posted here.
Columbus ran unopposed. Yalow said 100 votes were cast.
Minneapolis in ‘73
Peggy Rae’s House
None of the Above
Total With Preference
Total votes cast
With 87 votes, Yalow
declared that Columbus had won the 2020 NASFiC.
Westercon Site Selection: Ben Yalow also
presented the results of the Site Selection for Westercon 74. With 140 votes
cast, 68 votes were required to declare a winner.
None of the Above
Total With Preference
Needed to Elect (Majority)
Total votes cast
With 82 votes, Tonopah was
declared the winner of the 2021 Westercon.
A video of the Westercon business meeting is available:
The unopposed Columbus
in 2020 NASFiC bid has been confirmed by site selection voters. Next year’s
NASFiC will take place August 20-23 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Convention
Center in Columbus, Ohio.
A North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) is authorized by WSFS rules to be held whenever the Worldcon is outside North America. With consecutive Worldcons occurring in Ireland and New Zealand, the 2020 site selection vote was administered by the 2019 NASFiC, Spikecon, going on this weekend in Utah.
Columbus chair Lisa Garrison (Ragsdale) announced
the result. The vote count has not yet appeared on the bid’s Facebook or
Twitter accounts. However, the 2020 NASFiC guests of honor have been named:
Author Guests of Honor are Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
Artist Guest of Honor is Stephanie Law.
Editor Guest of Honor is Christopher J. Garcia.
Science Guest of Honor is NASA Scientist, Marc Millis.
By John Hertz: (reprinted from No
Direction Home 12) Indeed there
was rejoicing on Friday 10 May at Promontory, Utah.
40 miles from Layton, site of this year’s combined Westercon LXII [West
Coast Science Fantasy Conference – oh, all right, it’s been in Colorado and
Texas, and Alberta] and 13th NASFiC [North America Science Fiction Convention,
held when the Worldcon is overseas] (also, for good measure, combined with the
1632 Minicon – Eric Flint’s 1632
shared-universe stories – and the Manticon – David Weber’s Honor Harrington
stories with their Royal Manticoran Navy), to be held 4-7 July.
A hundred fifty years ago at Promontory, on May 10, 1869, the final spike
was driven into the final rail-tie completing six and a half years’ work to
create the Transcontinental Railroad.
Travel – of passengers or freight – from New York to San Francisco was
shortened, not in space but in time, from six months to ten days.
So our convention will be Spikecon.
We s-f fans are to some extent students of technology. Here was some.
Thousands attended the 150th-anniversary celebration, from 49 of the 50 States and from Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Switzerland.
The Central Pacific railroad had built from the west, the Union Pacific
from the east. In a famous photograph –
more technology – the Central’s steam engine No. 60 and the Union’s No. 119
met, cowcatcher to cowcatcher, two 60-ton machines great in their day, the
Union’s burning coal, the Central’s burning wood. They were represented on this anniversary by
first sang “Who built the Ark?” I’ve
traced it to 1892 and it was well known then (The Dental Register v. 46, p. 603).
Thousands of Chinese helped build the Transcontinental in the west,
thousands of Irish in the east.
Mulhall, ambassador from the Republic of Ireland, was present for this 150th,
and raised a toast. The ambassador from
the People’s Republic of China, whose name in courtesy to him I had better
spell Cui Tiankai and not Ts‘ui T‘ian-k‘ai, said in a recorded message the
Transcontinental was a “telling example of how the Chinese and American people
can come together to get things done and make the impossible possible.”
Chao, United States Secretary of Transportation and the first Chinese-American
of Cabinet rank, said “The Central Pacific needed industrious, tireless
workers, and Chinese answered the call with great skill and dedication.” A multiracial theater troupe performed a
musical retelling in the wrong kind of Chinese peasant hats. Lance Fritz, head of the Union Pacific, which
now hauls far more freight than passengers, said the railroad laborers, in
12-hour days and sometimes brutal conditions, changed America forever.
Wouk (rhymes with “oak”; May 27, 1915 – May 17, 2019) died ten days short of
his 104th birthday. He became famous
first novel Aurora Dawn (1947) was a
Book-of-the-Month Club selection. His
third, The “Caine” Mutiny (1951), won
the Pulitzer Prize, was adapted into a Broadway play The “Caine” Mutiny Court-Martial (1953) and a motion picture with
Humphrey Bogart (E. Dmytryk dir. 1954).
next, Marjorie Morningstar (1955),
put him on the cover of Time magazine
and was made into a movie with Gene Kelly (I. Rapp dir. 1958). His sixth, Youngblood Hawke (1962), which he denied basing on Thomas Wolfe
(1900-1938), was serialized in McCall’s
and made into a movie (D. Daves dir. 1964) with James Franciscus.
eighth and ninth, The Winds ofWar (1971) and War and Remembrance (1978), were made into television mini-series
(D. Curtis dir. 1983, Winds; 1988-89,
Remembrance) with Robert Mitchum.
A Hole in Texas (2004) is
science fiction; what if, years after U.S. President Clinton canceled the
Superconducting Supercollider, the Chinese announced finding the Higgs boson? In fact no one found it until 2012.
The inside jacket of Hole says Wouk “exercises his deep
insight and considerable comic powers to give us a witty and keen satire –
about Washington, the media, and science, and what happens when these three
forces of American culture clash.”
Like a good satirist he is
fundamentally concerned with human nature, our foibles and – Sarcasm is in anger, satire is with love
– our fortes. Like a good s-f writer he
illuminates by means of possible, fictional, science. He realizes, as Sturgeon said, that Science fiction is knowledge fiction.
Remembrance together are 1,800 pages.
Hole is 280.
A word to the wise is sufficient. This
is problematic for satirists. What if
people in the audience – including, perhaps, the satirized – aren’t very wise?
Lafferty made Thomas More (1478-1538)
the eponym of his marvelous Past Master
(1968). Poor Sir Thomas, if one may use
that expression, pulled five hundred years into the future, keeps crying “Utopia  is a satire!”
We haven’t yet reached the setting of Past Master – and I certainly hope we
shan’t – but fifty years after Past
Master was published we still don’t see that about Utopia.
You may jib at Hole’s explanation, chapter 5, thinking “It would have been better
if Wouk had read more s-f.” You may
dislike, as the book goes on, what seems to be increasingly fundamental
Should those befall, you will be lucky
if you remember the superb management of what characters and readers must know
in Marjorie Morningstar, and the
devastating treatment of masculine and feminine romantic sex fantasies there
and in Youngblood Hawke.
Maybe you won’t. Maybe you won’t have read them. In that case, and if nothing else helps you
first, wait till the end of Hole,
when the bubble bursts, the man is crashingly shown not so smart, and – satire is with love – everything
nevertheless comes right.
Marjorie Morningstar may be Wouk’s best. It may be great. I have yet to meet anyone who was awake to it – what’s the author’s name?? – but time may tell.
National Book Foundation making it a finalist said Marjorie was “released from
the social constraints of her traditional Jewish family, and thrown into the
glorious, colorful world of theater….
[a] paean to youthful love and the bittersweet sorrow of a first
heartbreak.” O Sir Thomas!
Voting to select the site of the 2020
North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) has started.
The Columbus for 2020
NASFiC bid is the only one on the ballot. They propose to hold the con August
20-23, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Convention Center, in Columbus, Ohio.
Lisa Garrison is the bid chair, and the committee includes Dale Mazzola and Kim
Members of SpikeCon, the 2019 NASFiC in Layton,
Utah, are eligible to vote on the site of the 2020 NASFiC upon payment of a $35
Advance Supporting Membership (“Voting”) Fee.
Voting in advance
closes June 29, 2019. SpikeCon/NASFiC 2019 must receive your ballot
by that date. (Postmark date does not count.) Voting at the convention opens on
the afternoon of Thursday, July 4, 2019 and closes on the evening of Friday,
July 5, 2019.
The rules allow for
write-in votes and votes for “None of the Above.”
Voting for the location of the 2020 NASFiC and 2021
Westercon will be held at in July at Spikecon, which is the combined Westercon
72, 13th NASFiC (2019), and 1632 Minicon.
Spikecon’s Westercon/NASFiC site selection
administrator Ben Yalow has shared the latest procedural information:
Since this upcoming Westercon is also the NASFiC (since Dublin is non-NA, there was a NASFiC selected), then the WSFS and Westercon rules mean that since the 2020 Worldcon is also non-NA, there will be two site selections at this year’s Westercon/NASFiC. And, since a few deadlines have passed, we know a bit more about the races (which should be reported soon on the convention web site).
Columbus (OH) Only Filed 2020 NASFiC Bid: For the upcoming NASFiC race, there is only one bid filed, for Columbus, OH. The filing deadline has passed, so there will be no other bids on the printed ballot.
Westercon Bids Can Be Entered from Any Region: For the Westercon race for 2021, since no bids have filed before Jan 1, then the zone restrictions have been lifted, and all three of the Westercon zones are now eligible. So we’ll be taking bids from all of the Westercon region, not just North and South. The filing deadline for getting on the ballot is April 15.
There’s more information on the convention website about how to file, with links to the various Constitutions. As ballots are settled, they’ll also be on the convention web site, and in the various PRs (note that, as always, since the Westercon filing deadline is April 15, that ballot won’t be out until shortly after that date).
If there are questions on the rules, I’ll be glad to explain them, and help people with their filings.