Bill Burns announced eFanzines.com has stopped hosting announcements about National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) publications since yesterday, after N3F President George Phillies sent an email to his list asking for recipients to promote the N3F on Parler and Gab.
Burns says his response to Phillies’ email (which File 770 also received) was that he found “it hard to believe that this was a serious request.” Burns wrote back: “George: I assume you’re not aware that Parler and Gab are the sites frequented by those who planned and executed the recent attempted insurrection at the Capitol, which resulted in five deaths” and included links to the Wikipedia articles about Parler and Gab which explain their popularity with “Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing extremists” “including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists, and the alt-right…”
Your assumption is simply wrong. I am entirely aware of the namecalling contests that have replaced political discourse in this country.
Whatever their political inclinations — I am mostly not interested in politics these days — these people who use each of the sites I listed are also science fiction fans. If they have been banned from other sites, well, that makes it difficult to reach them using those other sites, now doesn’t it? Curiously, while they are doing stfnal things, they are not doing political things.
Phillies today sent another email to his N3F list:
I will repeat my request for people interested in publicizing the N3F with short posts in places like twitter, parler, gab, etc. I have already heard complaints from people who think that Parler is full of neo-Nazis or Twitter is full of Communists. (Parler, by the way, is inoperative and empty.) That completely misses the point, namely both those places are also full of people who are primarily SF fans who could be lured into joining us.
The network vanished from the internet after it was dropped by Amazon’s hosting arm and other partners over a lack of moderation after its users called for violence and posted videos glorifying the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.
On Monday, Parler’s website was reachable again, though only with a message from its chief executive, John Matze, saying he was working to restore functionality.
The internet protocol (IP) address it used is owned by DDos-Guard, which is controlled by two Russian men and provides services including protection from distributed denial of service attacks, infrastructure expert Ronald Guilmette told Reuters.
Gab also has been offline at times over the past couple years, dropped by domestic hosts who cited that many accounts engage in the “perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance,” and then by hosts in Norway for unspecified reasons. It is now hosted by Epik, which the Wikipedia describes as “a domain registrar and web hosting company known for providing services to websites that host far-right, neo-Nazi, and other extremist content.”
The National Fantasy Fan Federation was founded in 1941 by Damon Knight with the support of Art Widner and Louis Russell Chauvenet. George Phillies has been President of the N3F since 2015, and has edited some of its publications. He won the N3F Franson Award for club service in 2015, and in 2019 won one of its speculative fiction awards, the Neffys, Best Novel, for Against Three Lands.
Bill Burns adds:
I stopped hosting the N3F fanzines a couple of years ago, when I realized that they couldn’t be bothered to update their own website and were using me as an unpaid webmaster instead. Since then I have been posting announcements whenever Phillies sent me a note that their site was updated, but he was only sending these intermittently, and has been badmouthing me not posting updates he didn’t send.
When I got the unwanted email that included his absurd request, I felt I had to respond, but this was not connected to the previous hosting situation.
Before this I would have kept posting the announcements, but Phillies, despite his protestations on Facebook, had not sent me an update since May 2020. If he had I would have posted them, but now I’m done with them altogether.
Update 01/19/2021: Corrected that it is the announcements which will no longer be hosted at eFanzines, because the hosting of copies of the zines had already ended some time ago for another reason.
George Phillies, President of the National Fantasy Fan Federation, editor of TNFF, and ballot counter, has announced the winners of the 2020 National Fantasy Fan Federation Speculative Fiction Awards, the Neffys,
Endgames by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Best Shorter Work
“By the Warmth of Their Calculus” by T. S. Buckell.
Best Fan Writer
Astra: Lost in Space
Best Non-N3F Fanzine
Best N3F Fanzine:
Best Fan Artist:
Best Book Editor
Phillies said “No award” outcomes were omitted – probably in the three categories on the ballot for which no winner was named: TV Show, Cover Artist, Best Manga. He noted, “There were many more ‘No Award’ votes this year than there were last year.”
The National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) distributed the Neffy Award ballot in the May issue of TNFF.
N3F President George Phillies told members voting will take place in June. And when it’s over, “Recalling strange events of days gone by with other awards, neither the point totals nor the order of finish beyond first place will be revealed.”
What the Wind Brings by Matthew Hughes
The Family Pride by Chris Nuttall
Monster Hunter Guardian by Larry Correia and Sarah A. Hoyt
Endgames by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Best Shorter Work
“Waterlines” by Suzanne Palmer (Asimov’s SF)
“By the Warmth of their Calculus” by T. S. Buckell (Mission Critical)
We are currently working on an online event to replace it — a WisCOnline, if you will. More details will be coming in a second blog post by next Monday (March 30).
WisCon 45, in May 2021, will be a banger, with all the elements of WisCon 44 that we are unable to carry off online, as well as all of the normal elements of WisCon 45! More details will be coming soon on W45 as we confirm them; watch this space!
The live streaming event will take place on Discord, a wonderful service for audio and text chatting – a free account will be needed to participate. The link you will need for the event is https://discord.gg/ZJfh7xD if you want to participate in the live text chat or want to be a reader. If you just want to listen, the live stream should be available on YouTube, thanks to the excellent support of the German Tolkien Society (Deutsche Tolkien Gessellshaft e.V.) – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCerbg8qXXeiQEvxq7u6Kz6w
You are welcome to join in at any time, though there will not be any scheduled readings until March 25th. If you would like to schedule a time to read something, please contact me through private message and we will work it out. Open mic readings will take place all day long as well if you just want to drop in.
Some of the guest readers will be: Marcel Aubron-Bülles, Dr. Luke Shelton, John Garth, Carl Hostetter, Dr. Andrew Higgins, Jason Fisher, Brian Sibley, Chica Chubb (Japan), Dr. Sara Brown, Stephen Hunter (“Bombur” in The Hobbit movies), Bruce Hopkins (“Gamling” in The Lord of the Rings movies), Ted Nasmith, Verlyn Flieger, and Dr. Una McCormack
(5) KAYMAR. Fan artist Jose Sanchez is the winner of the
2020 Kaymar Award, given by the National Fantasy Fan Federation.
Jose’s artistic contributions have added brilliance to the covers of the N3F’s magazines, including N’APA, Tightbeam, and Eldritch Science. Three cheers for Jose’s contributions! And may they long continue!
Jemisin cites the recent debates over the World Fantasy Award (which has traditionally been shaped as a bust of H.P. Lovecraft despite the “Call of Cthulhu” author’s public record of vile racism) as one of the main inspirations for The City We Became. That aforementioned “otherworldly threat” facing New York resembles both Lovecraft’s work and his life. The Enemy, as the characters refer to their many-headed foe, sometimes appears in the form of strange tentacled monsters (very reminiscent of Lovecraft’s signature Great Old Ones), but other times disguise themselves in human form as white gentrifiers and alt-right racists. Lovecraft himself lived in New York for a time, and documented in letters how repellent he found the city’s signature mix of people from all ethnicities and walks of life.
“It’s basically me mentally and spiritually engaging with the whole idea of how so much fantasy owes itself to Lovecraft, while overlooking his glaring flaws,” Jemisin says. “I also read some of his letters where you can see him just being horrifically racist, using the same language to refer to people in New York City the same way he refers to the Great Old Ones and Nyarlathotep and all the other creations of his. It’s kind of a deep dive into how pathological racists think. You cannot read Lovecraft without understanding that this is what’s in Stephen Miller’s head. There are all these people out there who sadly and horrifyingly now have positions of power, and they think of their fellow human beings this way.”
(7) UDERZO OBIT. Albert Uderzo
(co-creator of Asterix) has died at 92 according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Astérix,which has a cult following, particularly in Europe, has also becomea major film franchise, both in animated and live-action form. The property has spawned a number of cinematic adaptations, most notably 1999’s Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar, starring Gerard Depardieu and Roberto Benigni.
Asterix debuted in October 1959 in the French magazine Pilote, created by René Goscinny and Uderzo. Two years later, the first stand-alone effort, Astérix the Gaul, was released. Since then, the series has gone on to sell more than 380 million copies, translated into more than 100 languages internationally. The duo collaborated on the comic until the death of Goscinny in 1977. Uderzo then took over the writing until 2009.
March 24, 1946 — The Shadow’s“The Walking Corpse” first aired. Like most of The Shadow stories aired after the brief glorious run of Orson Welles as The Shadow in the Thirties, little is known about who was involved it in though it is known that Eric Walker was the writer. We were unable to pin down who were the actors involved, nor who the sponsors were. If you listen to the episode, do tell us what you find out!
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 24, 1834 — William Morris. Credited with creating the modern fantasy literature genre, he certainly wrote some of its earlier works, to note his epic poem The Earthly Paradise, The Wood Beyond the World and The Well at the World’s End, plus his entire artistic motif fits nearly within a fantasy literature and artistic design that looks as if it was created by the Fey Themselves. All of his works can be found at the usual digital suspects, often at no cost. (Died 1896.)
Born March 24, 1874 — Harry Houdini. His literary career intersects the genre world in interesting ways. Though it’s not known which, many of his works were written by his close friend Walter B. Gibson who as you know is the creator of The Shadow. And one famous story of his, “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs”, was actually ghost-written by Lovecraft! ISFDB lists another piece of genre fiction for him, “The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstad.” (Died 1926.)
Born March 24, 1897 — Theodora Kroeber. Mother of Ursula K. Le Guin. Anthropologist. Ishi in Two Worlds is the work she’s most remembered for. ISFDB lists her as having but one genre work, a children book titled Carrousel with illustrations by Douglas Tait. (Died 1979.)
Born March 24, 1924 — Peter George. Welsh author, most remembered for the late Fifties Red Alert novel, published first as Two Hours To Doom and written under the name of Peter Bryant. The book was the basis of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. (Died 1966.)
Born March 24, 1930 — Steve McQueen. He got his big break by being the lead, Steve Andrews, in The Blob. Setting aside the two different roles on Alfred Hitchcock Presents he had which are at least genre adjacent, The Blob is his only genre appearance in his brief life. (Died 1980.)
Born March 24, 1941 — Henry Glassie, 79. Folklorist who’s the author of one of my all-time fav Christmas books, All Silver and No Brass: An Irish Christmas Mumming. I was delighted to see that ISFDB say he has two works of genre fiction, “Coals on the Devil’s Hearth“ and “John Brodison and the Policeman”. Both are to be found in the Jane Yolen anthology, Favorite Folktales from Around the World which is available at all the usual digital suspects.
Born March 24, 1946 — Gary K. Wolfe, 74. Monthly reviewer for Locus for twenty-seven years now and yes, I enjoy his column a lot. His brief marriage to Ellen R. Weil which ended with her tragic early death resulted in them co-writing Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. Old Earth Books has reprinted many of his reviews done between 1992 and 2006 in Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996. He’s also written several critical looks at the genre, Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy and The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction.
Born March 24, 1946 — Andrew I. Porter, 74. Editor, publisher, fan. Major member of NYC regional fandom starting in the early Sixties. APA publisher and edition in mind boggling numbers with Algol: The Magazine About Science Fiction which became Starship. He won a Hugo for Best Fanzine in 1974, in a tie with Richard E. Geis. who was doing SFR. He sold Science Fiction Chronicle which he founded in May 1980 to DNA Publications in May 2000 and was fired in 2002. Algol/Starship lasted less than five years despite the exceedingly superb reading it was. He has won myriad awards, including the Big Heart Award at a recent Worldcon. He has attended hundreds of science fiction conventions and nearly forty Worldcons since his first in ‘63. He was Fan Guest of Honor at several conventions, including the 1990 Worldcon.
Born March 24, 1949 — Tabitha King, 71. Wife of Stephen, mother of that writing brood. I met her but once on the lot of the original Pet Sematary a very long time ago. ISFDB to my surprise lists only two novels she’s written solely by herself, Small World and Wolves at the Door, and one with Michael McDowell, Candles Burning. None of her books are with her husband which surprised me.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Lio explains to us why some aliens might wish to visit our planet:
Half Full, using a Batman reference, proves again that English is a funny language.
Grant Snider’s cartoon is not genre, but is apropos to the times.
(11) CALLING SHORT ORDER COOKS. The editorial team of Journey
Planet is looking for articles, artwork, creative writing, or anything
printable for their upcoming issue dedicated to DC’s Swamp Thing.
Anything related to that character in comics, film, and television — live
action or animated — is all good. They’ve received great submissions
already. They’d like yours as well. Send entries to Chuck Serface
at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1, 2020. The issue will appear
(12) FREE BOOK OFFER. To encourage folks to STAY AT HOME, Black Coat Press is now offering one free book to anyone who will write
to them and request one! You have a choice between four titles:
Send them an email at email@example.com telling (1) which title you desire, and (2) if you want to receive it as a PDF or an EPUB file. That’s all! No strings! No archiving of email addresses! Please stay home!
The Horror Writers Association (HWA) and Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of SourceBooks, present the Haunted Library of Horror Classics, a line of reissued classic horror literature books from over the past 250 years. These books are recognized as literary masterpieces of their era and are either remembered today only through distorted theatrical or movie versions, have been relegated to academic study, or have otherwise been nearly forgotten entirely.
…”Simply put, we are running out of fish,” says Daniel Pauly, a professor of fisheries at the Institute of Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia. “And the situation, the trend line, is getting worse every year.”
“Maybe centuries ago we could live off hunting for our food but we can’t live off hunting today and fishing is hunting. The notion of hunting in the 21st century to feed 10 billion people is absurd.”
A handful of start-up firms think they might have the answer. They are experimenting with growing fish “meat” in the lab.
Mainly based in Silicon Valley with a couple in Europe and Asia, they have developed techniques to extract fish stem cells and grow them into commercial quantities of edible flesh.
Stem cells are a type of cell, found in embryos or adult creatures – which can grow into a number of different specialised cells. They can grow into the muscle cells which make up most the parts of fish people like to eat.
They’ve also released “The Jedi Went Down to Tattooine” –
What happens when you mix The Phantom Menace with Charlie Daniels? An outer rim ho-down, ya’ll. Strap in and enjoy this before the mouse yeets it.
(18) JIM BUTCHER DOUBLE PLAY. A new trailer for Peace Talks (the next Dresden) just
came out — and at about the 1:49 mark of the trailer comes the announcement that
another new Dresden, called Battle Ground, will be coming out in
September of this year.
PEACE TALKS by Jim Butcher, Book 16 of the five-time #1 NYT Bestselling Dresden Files book series. Coming July 14th in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats from Penguin Random House.
[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Dann, Martin
Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Olav Rokne, Chuck
Serface, Nina Shepardson, Darrah Chavey, Daniel Dern, Danny Sichel, Paul Di Filippo,
Contrarius, and birthday boy Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title
credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
The next phase of Young People Read Old Science Fiction focuses on a single reference text, Journey Press’s Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 – 1963). To quote from Journey Press’ site:
“The Silver Age of Science Fiction saw a wealth of compelling speculative tales — and women authors wrote some of the best of the best. Yet the stories of this era, especially those by women, have been largely unreprinted, unrepresented, and unremembered.
“Volume one of REDISCOVERY represents a historic first: fourteen selections of the best science fiction of the Silver Age, written by the unsung women authors of yesteryear and introduced by today’s rising stars. Join us and rediscover these lost treasures…. “
James is also recruiting participants:
I am looking for reviewers born after about 1980. The deadline for application is September 1, with a target date for the inaugural Young People Read Old Science Fiction: Rediscovery! post of October 1. If you are interested, please contact me at jdnicoll at panix dot com.
Where previous phases have involved each contributor working on their own, this chapter will feature a round table approach. Each contributor will be provided by me with a copy of the ebook.
(2) IN CONS TO COME. Cheryl Morgan assesses the competition
to host a future Worldcon in “The
Race for 2023”.
… Prior to Dublin the extant bids for 2023 were Nice (France), Chengdu (China) and New Orleans (USA). The New Orleans bid has, I understand it, collapsed. However, some US fans were busily organising a bid for another city. Apparently they viewed this as essential to prevent yet another non-US Worldcon. I think they have settled on Memphis but it was a bit confused.
The Chengdu bid is controversial for two reasons, one of which is that it is very hard to get into China. Elizabeth Bear told me that she has been denied a visa because she is a writer. That could happen to a lot of us. My own view is that a Chinese Worldcon won’t happen without government approval, and if that approval exists then it should be possible to set up a system whereby visa applications can be expedited. This is China, after all
(3) FINAL FANZINE SOLUTION. Cheryl Morgan also reacts to
Nicholas Whyte’s statistics showing that the Best Fanzine Hugo category is
skating on the edge of the abyss in “Whither Fanzine?”?
…On Twitter Aidan Moher has been calling for more appreciation for video fanzines. (Booktube appears to be the name for such things.) People making them certainly deserve recognition, but they belong in the Fancast category which is for:
Any generally available non-professional audio or video periodical devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects
Aidan also suggests collapsing Fanzine and Fancast to create a single category of fan-created works. Much as I would like to see fewer Hugo categories, I can’t see that happening. Neither the podcast people nor fanzine fandom would be happy….
(4) N3F SHORT STORY CONTEST. The
National Fantasy Fan Federation’s annual short story contest is accepting
entries through December 31, 2019. There are no entrance fees, but there are
cash prizes. First prize is $50, second $30, and third $20. Read about it here:
“2019 N3F Amateur Short Story Contest”.
The judge is SF author Jefferson Swycaffer. Results will be announced by March
1. This contest is open to all amateur writers in the field, regardless of whether they’re members of the National Fantasy Fan Federation. For the purposes of this contest, we define an amateur as someone who has sold no more than two (2) stories to professional science fiction or fantasy publications or publishing houses.
2. Stories entered in the contest must be original, unpublished, not longer than 8,500 words in length—and must be related to the science fiction, fantasy, or similar genres in the opinion of the judge.
For the past year, a group of teens in Nigeria called the Critics Company have been uploading short sci-fi films to their YouTube channel. Using a smartphone with a busted screen, makeshift equipment, open source 3D tools like Blender, and green sheets hung on walls, the self-taught group has produced some professional-grade special effects. Check out this 10-minute short they uploaded in January, Z: The Beginning.
(6) MORE ON CAMPBELL. Comments by David Bowles, including
some quotes from Campbell. Thread starts here.
…Rothman will need to deliver Marvel-less fare that lives up to hype of the Spider-Man character’s MCU appearances. “If the two sides don’t come to a compromise, it’s a lose-lose for everybody,” argues Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for industry website Boxoffice. “Marvel won’t be able to resolve the cliffhanger in future movies, which is saying something when it’s their most popular hero. And for Sony, who has had success, Far From Home doesn’t get to a billion dollars without Feige and Marvel’s involvement.”
Adds Robbins, “The other big question is, ‘How are fans are going to react to a Tom Holland Spider-Man movie that is not set in the MCU?’ That is a roll of the dice that no studio should take.”
A Facebook event, hosted by three fans, was set up on Tuesday. The event, according to its description, involves dressing up in Spider-Man costumes and bringing “our boy home!” (to the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
The raid is planned for Oct. 31, aka Halloween. The perfect guise.
This fan rage spawned from a report Deadline published Tuesday of a high-level dispute between Sony and Marvel. That dispute means Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige won’t produce any more Spider-Man films and Marvel will no longer be involved in the Spider-Man movie universe.
(9) CRYSTAL CLEARING. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance premieres August 30 on Netflix.
As power-hungry overlords drain life from the planet Thra, a group of brave Gelfling unite on a quest to save their world and fight off the darkness.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 22, 1907 — Oliver McGowan. He played The Caretaker in the “Shore Leave” episode of the original Trek. It must be decades since I’ve seen that episode but I still remember liking it a lot silly though it be. It’s kind of the ancestor to the holodeck, isn’t it? McGowan has one-offs on One Step Beyond, Wild Wild West, I Dream of Jeannie, The Twilight Zone and Bewitched. (Died 1971.)
Born August 22, 1909 — Paul W. Fairman. His story “No Teeth for the Tiger” was published in the February 1950 issue of Amazing Stories. Two years later, he was the founding editor of If, but he edited only four issues. In 1955, he became the editor of Amazing Stories and Fantastic which he would hold for three years. There are several films, Target Earth and Invasion of the Saucer Men, based on his stories, plus some TV episodes as well. (Died 1977.)
Born August 22, 1920 — Ray Bradbury. So what’s your favorite book by him? I have three. Something Wicked This Way Comes is the one I reread quite a bit with The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles being my other go to regularly works by him. (Died 2012.)
Born August 22, 1925 — Honor Blackman, 94. Best known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers, Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger and Hera in Jason and the Argonauts. She was also Professor Lasky in “Terror of the Vervoids” in the Sixth Doctor’s “The Trial of a Time Lord”.
Born August 22, 1948 — Susan Wood. Of extremely fragile health, she received three Hugo Awards for Best Fan Writer in 1974, 1977, and 1981, and a Best Fanzine Hugo as coeditor of Energumen in 1973. In 1976 she was instrumental in organizing the very first feminist panel at a con, at MidAmericon. The reaction to this helped lead to the founding of A Women’s APA and of WisCon. While teaching courses in SF at UBC, one of her students was William Gibson. “Fragments of a Hologram Rose” which is his first published story was written as an assignment in her SF class. (Died 1980.)
Born August 22, 1955 — Will Shetterly, 64. Of his novels, I recommend his two Borderland novels, Elsewhere and Nevernever, and Dogland. Married to Emma Bull, they did a trailer for her War for The Oaks novel which is worth seeing.
Born August 22, 1959 — Mark Williams, 60. He was Arthur Weasley in seven of the Potter films. He also played Brian Williams in the BBC series Doctor Who, appearing with the Eleventh Doctor in “The Power of Three” and “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. He was also Olaf Petersen on Red Dwarf. His first genre role was as Fearnot’s Brother in the “Fearnot” episode of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.
Born August 22, 1963 — Tori Amos, 56. One of Gaiman’s favorite musicians, so it’s appropriate that she penned two essays, the afterword to “Death” in Sandman: Book of Dreams) and the Introduction to “Death” in The High Cost of Living. Although created before they ever met, Delirium from The Sandman is based on her.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Speedbump has a very funny variation on an old theme, with a little environmental message.
The Green Towns Green Town is to Bradbury what Derry and Castle Rock are to Stephen King: an invented town that brings to life the community of the author’s childhood dreams, shot through with an undercurrent of the supernatural. The town is based on Waukegan, Illinois, where Bradury spent his boyhood years, and his fond memories and great love for the place shine throughout the Green Town series’ four novels, the most widely read of which is Something Wicked This Way Comes.
…I bet you didn’t know that Crazy Ex Girlfriend creator and star Rachel Bloom is quite possibly his biggest fan. In 2010, she went public with her adoration and shared “F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury” with the world. (In 2011, the video was even nominated for a Hugo Award!)
So, celebrate Ray Bradbury today with lyrics like: “Since I was 12, I’ve been your number one fan / Kiss me, you illustrated man. / I’ll feed you grapes and dandelion wine / And we’ll read a little Fahrenheit 69.” You’re welcome.
(14) ON THE AIR. “Fast radio
bursts” feature in today’s Nature. Their origin has been a mystery
and some have (seriously) proposed ET intelligence origin (like pulsars were
but you know how that turned out). There are also repeaters… “Haul of mysterious cosmic bursts excites astronomers”.
Discovery of more ‘repeater’ fast radio bursts should help to reveal signals’ origins…
Astronomers are edging closer to finding out what causes brief, powerful flashes in the sky known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), after a Canadian telescope discovered eight more of the most intriguing type of these blasts — those that repeat their signals. FRBs are intensely energetic events that flare for just milliseconds, seemingly all over the sky and from outside the Galaxy. But their cause has remained a mystery since the first FRB was identified in 2007. Astronomers hope that studying bursts that repeat their flashes, rather than flare just once, can help to elucidate the origins of FRBs. That’s because it’s easier for high-resolution telescopes to make followup observations of ‘repeaters’ and trace their origins compared with one-off blasts.
Russia has launched a rocket carrying a life-sized robot to the International Space Station (ISS).
It was launched from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday and is set to arrive at the station on Saturday.
The robot, named Fedor (Experimental Demonstration Object Research), is the first ever sent into space by Russia.
In order to test a new emergency rescue system, the robot was the Soyuz rocket’s only passenger.
Fedor stands some one metre and 80 centimetres tall (5ft 11 inches) and weighs 160 kilograms.
During its 10 days at the ISS, Fedor will learn new skills such as “connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” said Alexander Bloshenko, the Russian space agency’s director for prospective programmes and science.
It is hoped that Fedor will eventually carry out more dangerous tasks such as spacewalks.
Gamescom 2019 kicked off in Cologne, Germany on Monday night, and as usual, the annual trade fair has been full to bursting with announcements, trailers, and exciting new details about upcoming games. But one development is making a bigger splash than the rest: Visionary video game auteur Hideo Kojima’s next game, Death Stranding, will feature the kind of hyper-realistic urination gameplay action that gamers crave. Drench your eyeballs in this leaked footage from Gamescom’s opening night stream to see Death Stranding star Norman Reedus take the most lavishly digitized piss in video game history…
…Mystery House (On-Line Systems, 1980)
Roberta and Ken Williams are rightfully hailed as two of the most influential game designers in history, but their first attempt to break gaming’s pee barrier was an abject failure. Mystery House, the very first graphical adventure game, was also the very first graphical adventure game to feature a drawing of a toilet….
[Thanks to Rich Horton, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John A Arkansawyer, Mike Kennedy, DMS, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Alan Baumler, George Phillies, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
George Phillies, President of the National Fantasy Fan
Federation, editor of TNFF, and ballot counter, has
announced the winners of the National Fantasy Fan
Federation Speculative Fiction Awards, the Neffys,
(over 100,000 words)
Against Three Lands – George Phillies
Best Shorter Work (under 100,000 words)
“The Black God’s Drums” – P. Djèlí Clark – Tor
Best Book Editor
(electronic publication is allowed)
Tightbeam from the N3F
Mad Genius Club – the Mad Genii
Best TV Show
Game of Thrones
Best SF Movie/Video
A Quiet Place
Best Graphic Art Publication
Raven Daughter of Darkness – Marv Wolfman
Best Cover Art
Kent Bash – the March-April 2019
Brad Fraunfelter – The Broken Throne (novel by Chris Nuttall)
Bog butters are large, white to yellow waxy deposits regularly recovered from the peat bogs of Ireland and Scotland, often found in wooden containers or wrapped in bark or animal membranes (Fig. 1). With recorded weights of up to 23?kg (and several examples that may be larger), bog butters were first documented in the 17th century; the total number recovered to date may approach 500 specimens1,2. Published radiocarbon determinations on Irish bog butters show activity spanning the Iron Age to the post-medieval period3,4 with folk accounts indicating survival into the 19th century5,6. While the reasons behind their deposition continue to be debated1,2, the remarkable preservative properties of peat bogs are well known7 and several post-medieval accounts mention the practice of storing butter in bogs to be consumed at a later date, whether by necessity or as a delicacy8,9,10. Early medieval Irish law tracts list butter as one of the products payable as food rents11, which may have needed to be stockpiled or stored. Parallels have also been drawn with the widespread deposition of metal and other objects in wetlands during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, often assumed to be votive or ritual acts….
(2) CLOSE GUESSES. The New York Times
Book Review has two articles on
world-building in speculative fiction this week:
“Ours is a world of laws—and given available evidence, so are all other worlds.
As they build their wild what ifs, the authors of speculative fiction draft legislation: They draw up regulations and establish cabinet agencies and sub-agencies, often employing a diction eerily reminiscent of real-life government and politics—the eeriness being very much the point.”
Maybe because we’re living in a dystopia, it feels as if we’ve become obsessed with prophecy as of late. Protest signs at the 2017 Women’s March read “Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again!” and “Octavia Warned Us”…
In “The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered The World,” Thomas Disch calls this relay between fiction and reality “creative visualization.”
(3) FIRE IN THE WHOLE. Steven Zeitchik
says in the Washington Post that
tensions are rising between the Writers Guild of America (East) & Writers
Guild of America (West) and the Association of Talent Agents because the
writers think the agents are forming production companies and not being fair to
the writers. He says if the agents and writers don’t negotiate a new
“artists manager basic agreement” about fee sharing by April 6, the
result could be a mass firing by the 20,000 WGA members of their agents. “Hollywood
agents and writers meet, but impasse remains”.
…The writers say they do not wish to renew the franchise agreement without significant revisions. They want new units that the agencies created to function as production companies to instead be formally carved out as separate entities. At present those units exist more as extensions of the agencies, which the writers say ups the possibility for conflicts of interest.
The also want to overhaul the main ways agents collect money on writers’ work. At the moment those revenue are dominated not by standard commissions from clients but by packaging fees, in which studios pay the agents for putting together the creative elements of a show. Those fees, the writers say, encourage agents to act against their own clients’ interests and also allow them to dip into a pool of revenue that should go to creators.
The agencies, particularly the Big Four — CAA, WME, UTA and ICM — that are leading the fight, say that the writers are working under false assumptions. Packaging fees and new entities offer riches to both parties, they say, especially as the media companies with which they are negotiating are growing larger and more vertical.
(4) FOR MEMORY CARE. The
GoFundMe for Gahan Wilson has raised
$52,175 of its $100,000 goal in the first 14 days. More than a thousand people
(5) NOT SAFE FOR WHATEVER. [Item by Dann.] Netflix
recently released their series of sci-fi/fantasy/horror animated short files
under the title Love,
Death + Robots. The collection features 10-20 minute long films
based on genre stories. Original story authors include John Scalzi, Marko
Kloos, Joe Lansdale, and Ken Liu.
The collection is billed as an “NSFW
anthology”. It generally lives up to that appellation. The
films range from mildly questionable language to full-on body dismemberment to
sexually explicit content (voluntary and otherwise). The use of felines
periodically borders on being questionable.
The collection is part of Netflix’s effort to create
unique content. Many recently released titles feature genre based
stories. Not unlike Amazon’s influence on the increasing number of
sub-novel length works, might this development be a signal of technology
changing markets to allow a range of video productions other than long format
movies or shorter format TV series?
Is there a Hugo worthy animated short in this
anthology? Only people living in 2020 know for certain.
Cartoonist Tom K. Ryan, who gave us the syndicated strip Tumbleweeds has passed at the age of 92…actually, about 92.8. His popular western-themed comic made its debut in September of 1965 and lasted until the end of 2007 when Ryan decided he was getting too old to continue it. A run of 42+ years is pretty impressive in any industry. Like most cartoonists, Ryan was aided by occasional assistants, one of whom — a fellow named Jim Davis — did okay for himself when he struck out on his own and created Garfield.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 17, 1846 — Kate Greenaway. Victorian artist and writer, largely known today for her children’s book illustrations. So popular was she and her work that the very popular Kate Greenaway Almanacks appeared every year from 1883 to 1895. Among her best-known works was her edition of Robert Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Rosa Mulholland’s Puck and Blossom and Bret Harte’s Pirate Isle. (Died 1901.)
Born March 17, 1906 — Brigitte Helm. German actress, Metropolis. Her first role a an actress, she played two roles, Maria and her double, the Maschinenmensch. Oddly enough I’ve not seen it, so do render your opinions on it please. She’s got some other genre credits including L’Atlantide (The Mistress of Atlantis) and Alraune (Unholy Love). Her later films would be strictly in keeping with the policies of the Nazis with all films being fiercely anti-capitalist and in particular attacking Jewish financial speculators. (Died 1996.)
Born March 17, 1945 — Tania Lemani, 74. She played Kara in the Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold”. She first met Shatner when she was offered her a role in the pilot for Alexander the Great, starring him in the title role (although the pilot failed to be picked up as a series). She had parts in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Bionic Woman and she shows up in the fanfic video Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. I assume as Kara, though IMDb lists her as herself.
Born March 17, 1947 — James K. Morrow, 72. I’m very fond of the Godhead trilogy in which God is Dead and very, very present. Shambling Towards Hiroshima is a lot of satisfying satirical fun as is The Madonna and the Starship which is also is a wonderful homage to pulp writers.
Born March 17, 1948 — William Gibson, 71. I’ve read the Sprawl trilogy more times than I can remember and likewise the Bridge trilogy and The Difference Engine. The works I struggled with are Pattern Recognition, Spook Country and Zero History. I’ve tried all of them, none were appealing. Eh?
Born March 17, 1949 — Patrick Duffy, 70. Surely you’ve seen him on Man from Atlantis? No? Oh, you missed a strange, short-lived show. His other genre credits are a delightfully mixed bag of such things as voicing a Goat on Alice in Wonderland, appearing on The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne as Duke Angelo Rimini in the “Rockets of the Dead” episode and voicing Steve Trevor in the incredibly excellent “The Savage Time” three-parter on Justice League.
Born March 17, 1951 — Kurt Russell, 68. I know I saw Escape from New York on a rainy summer night in a now century-old Art Deco theatre which wasn’t the one I later saw Blade Runner in. I think it’s much better than Escape from L.A. was. Of course there’s Big Trouble in Little China, my favorite film with him in it. And let’s not forget Tombstone. Not genre, you say. Maybe not, but it’s damn good.
Born March 17, 1958 — Christian Clemenson, 61. Though I’m reasonably sure his first genre appearance was on the Beauty and The Beast series, his first memorable appearance was on the BtVS episode “Bad Girls” as a obscenely obese demon named Balthazar. Lots of practical effects were used. His other significant genre role was on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. as fish way out of the water Eastern lawyer Socrates Poole. And yes, I loved that series!
Born March 17, 1962 — Clare Grogan, 57. On the Red Dwarf series as the first incarnation of Kristine Kochanski. Anyone here watch it? One truly weird series! She really doesn’t have much of any acting career and her genre career is quite short otherwise, a stint in an episode on Sea of Souls, a Scots ghost chasing series, is it.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
Tom the Dancing Bug finds humor in explaining why some time travelers hold no terrors for Americans of the 1950s.
FRANSON AWARDS. National Fantasy Fan
Federation (N3F) President George Phillies has picked three recipients for this
year’s Franson Awards, named for the late Donald Franson, and given as a show
As your President, it is my privilege and honor to bestow the N3F President’s Award on our three art-ists, who have been doing so much to beautify our N3F zines. Please join me in thanking Angela K Scott, Jose Sanchez, and Cedar Sanderson for what they have done for our Federation.
An old deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith where Anakin speaks droid has started to gain popularity online. Some Star Wars fans are having a hard time believing that the scene is real, which makes sense in an age where deleted scenes are practically a thing of the past. Over the years, the prequels have been looked at in a better light by a younger generation that grew up with those three installments being the first Star Wars movies that they saw.
…While it is a bit of a silly scene, it does probably point Obi-Wan in the direction to learn droid. In A New Hope, he can understand R2D2, so the scene could have served a purpose had it been left in. But it’s a little on the silly side because these are powerful Jedi that we’re talking about here. They should, at the very least, know how to talk to a droid before levitating rocks and using Jedi mind tricks. Whatever the case may be, the scene was left on the cutting room floor and thrown on the DVD.
When it comes to ‘90s-era Star Trek series, Voyagerdoesn’t always get its due, maybe because it couldn’t quite live up to the high standard set by The Next Generation or because it lacked the gravitas and daring of Deep Space Nine. (Or maybe it’s just because we’re all trying to avoid thinking too hard about the events of “Threshold.”) Still, Voyager stayed true to Star Trek’s overarching spirit of exploration and cooperation, forcing two very different groups of people to work together to survive and testing the characters’ utopian ideals by stranding them far from the safety of the Federation. Plus, the series was the first in the franchise to be led by a female captain, Kathryn Janeway, played by the dynamic Kate Mulgrew.
The show’s lasting influence can be felt in two stories from this week about prominent Democratic politicians, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Stacey Abrams, both of whom are fans of Voyager and, in particular, its lead character. The first surprise nod to Trek in the political sphere came from the Daily Mail’s unexpectedly wholesome interview with Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, who described how Voyager became a portent of her daughter’s future success.
[…] The other Voyager shoutout appeared in the New York Times on Thursday in a story with the headline “Stacey Abrams, Star Trek Nerd, Is Traveling at Warp Speed.” In quotes from a previously unpublished interview from last summer, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate says that while The Next Generation is her favorite series, she “reveres Admiral Janeway.” She also shows off her good taste in Trek by picking a Voyager episode, “Shattered,” as a favorite. […]
A Star Wars Is Born . . . How did I not see this coming? The Star Wars and A Star Is Born universes finally collided to pay tribute to two fan-favorite ships in a Nerdist parody music video. If Ally and Jackson were transported to a galaxy far, far, away, perhaps their version of “Shallow” would’ve ended up a little like Kylo Ren and Rey’s.
Other than the trailer released at NYCC, we’ve haven’t seen much else in regard to everyone’s favorite psychopath with a heart of gold. That is until Cuoco took to Instagram and posted some shots from her voice sessions.
That’s the California company that owns worldwide rights to trademarked terms within British author J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world, including “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” It’s an arm of The Saul Zaentz Co., which produced the animated 1978 “Lord of the Rings” film.
A friend of mine inquired about an obscure science fiction story the other day. She expressed surprise that I had, in fact, read it, and wondered what my criteria were for choosing my reading material. I had to explain that I didn’t have any: I read everything published as science fiction and/or fantasy.
My friend found this refrain from judgment admirable. I think it’s just a form of insanity, particularly as it subjects me to frequent painful slogs. For instance, this month’s Fantasy and Science Fiction continues the magazine’s (occasionally abated) slide into the kaka. With the exception of a couple of pieces, it’s bad. Beyond bad — dull….
FLING THAT THING. Comic Books vs The World calls them “giant
death frisbees” in “Every MCU Captain America Shield
He may not have been in action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe all that much, but Captain America’s had a bunch of different shields over the years. Let’s look over the timeline of the MCU and see what all he’s used so far!
Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, John King
Tarpinian, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of
these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel
Dern, who just saw Captain Marvel.]
The National Fantasy Fan Federation Speculative Fiction Awards, called the Neffy Awards, have been given annually since 2005.
Princess Holy Aura by Ryk Spoor
Best Shorter Work
“And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker
Best Book Editor
Mad Genius Club
Best TV Show
The Ancient Magus Bride
Best Graphic Art Publication
By vote of the Directorate, N3F Historian Jon Swartz has been elected as a Life Member of the N3F. He joins long-time Life Member Jacqueline Lichtenberg in this role.
2018 KAYMAR AWARD
The Kaymar Award is given for work for the benefit of the club and its members. The recipient is decided by a vote of prior winners. The award, which may only be won once, is a memorial to long-time Neffer K. Martin Carlson (1904-1986) who originated, maintained, and financed it for 25 years.
Update: Corrected title of Spoor novel — which was wrong in the Tightbeam announcement.