By Paul Weimer:Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson strongly starts off a NESFA Press series of volumes covering the work of one of the key 20th century writers of Science Fiction, Poul Anderson
In the introduction, the editor, Rick Katze, states “This is the first in a multi-volume collection of Poul Anderson stories. The stories are not in any discernible pattern”. The pieces of fiction are an eclectic mix of early works in his oeuvre, mixed with poetry and verse that range across his entire career.
The contents include:
Call Me Joe
Prayer in War
The Helping Hand
The First Love
The Double-Dyed Villains
To a Tavern Wench
The Immortal Game
Upon the Occasion of Being Asked to Argue That Love and Marriage are Incompatible
There Will Be Other Times
The Live Coward
Ballade of an Artificial Satellite
The Man Who Came Early
The Alien Enemy
The Sharing of Flesh
Flight to Forever
To Jack Williamson
The Martian Crown Jewels
Then Death Will Come
Kings Who Die
The introduction is not quite correct, in that the reader can find resonances between stories, sometimes in stories back-to-back. There are plenty of threads, and a fan of Anderson and his Nordic viewpoint might call it a skein, a tangled skein of fictional ideas, themes, ideas and characters. The same introduction notes that a lot of the furniture of science fiction can be found in early forms here, as Anderson being one of those authors who have made them what they were for successive writers. In many cases, then, it is not the freshness of the ideas that one reads these stories for, but the deep writing, themes, characters and language that put Anderson in a class of his own.
The titular story, for example, “Call Me Joe,” leads off the volume. It is a story of virtual reality in one of its earliest forms, about Man trying to reach and be part of a world he cannot otherwise interact with. Watchers of the movie Avatar will be immediately struck by the story and how much that movie relies on this story’s core assumptions and ideas. But the story is much more than the ideas. It’s about the poetry of Anderson’s writing. His main character, Anglesey, is physically challenged (sound familiar). But as a pseudojovian, he doesn’t have to be and he can experience a world unlike any on Earth:
Anglesey’s tone grew remote, as if he spoke to himself. “Imagine walking under a glowing violet sky, where great flashing clouds sweep the earth with shadow and rain strides beneath them. Imagine walking on the slopes of a mountain like polished metal, with a clean red flame exploding above you and thunder laughing in the ground. Imagine a cool wild stream, and low trees with dark coppery flowers, and a waterfall—methanefall, whatever you like—leaping off a cliff, and the strong live wind shakes its mane full of rainbows! Imagine a whole forest, dark and breathing, and here and there you glimpse a pale-red wavering will-o’-the-wisp, which is the life radiation of some fleet, shy animal, and…and…”
Anglesey croaked into silence. He stared down at his clenched fists then he closed his eyes tight and tears ran out between the lids, “Imagine being strong!”
Reader, I was moved.
That’s only part of the genius of Anderson’s work shown here. Anderson has many strings in his harp and this volume plays many of those chords.
There is the strong, dark tragedy of “The Man Who Came Early” which is in genre conversation with L Sprague De Camp’s “Lest Darkness Fall” and shows an American solider, circa 1943, thrown back to 11th century Iceland and, pace Martin Padway, doing rather badly in the Dark Ages. Poul Anderson is much better known for his future history that runs from the Polesotechnic League on through the Galactic Empire of Dominic Flandry, but this volume has three stories of his OTHER future galactic civilization, where Wing Alak manages a much looser and less restrictive galactic polity, dealing with bellicose problems by rather clever and indirect means.
And then there are his time travel tales. “Time Patrol” introduces us to the entire Time Patrol cycle and Manse Everard’s first mission. I’ve read plenty of his stories over the years, but this first outing had escaped me, so it was a real delight to see “where it all began”. “Wildcat” has oil drillers in the Cretaceous and a slowly unfolding mystery that leads to a sting in the tail about the fragility of their society. And then there is one of my favorite Poul Anderson stories, period, the poetic and tragic and moving “Flight to Forever”, with a one-way trip to the future, with highs, lows, tragedies, loss and a sweeping look at man’s future. It still moves me.
And space. Of course we go to space. From the relativistic invasion of “Time-Lag” to the far future of “Starfog” and “The Sharing of Flesh,” Anderson was laying down his ideas on space opera and space adventure here in these early stories that still hold up today. “Time-Lag’s” slow burn of a captive who works to save her planet through cycles of invasion and attack, through the ultimate tragedy of “Starfog” as lost explorers from a far flung colony seek their home, to the “Sharing of Flesh,” which makes a strong point about assumptions in local cultures, and provides an anthropological mystery in the bargain. “Kings Who Die” is an interesting bit of cat and mouse with a lot of double-dealing espionage with a prisoner aboard a spacecraft.
Finally, I had known that Anderson was strongly into verse and poetry for years, but really had never encountered it in situ. This volume corrects that gap in my reading, with a variety of verse that is at turns, moving, poetic, and sometimes extremely funny. The placing of these bits of verse between the prose stories makes for excellent palette cleansers to not only show the range of Anderson’s work, but also clear the decks for the next story.
The last thing I should make clear for readers who might be wondering if this volume truly is for them to is to go back to the beginning of this piece. This volume, and its subsequent volumes, are not a single or even multivolume “best of Poul Anderson”. This is a book, first in a series, that is meant to be a comprehensive collection of Poul Anderson. This is not the book or even a series to pick up if you just want the best of the best of a seminal writer of 20th century science fiction. This volume (and I strongly suspect the subsequent ones) is the volume you want if you want to start a deep dive into his works in all their myriad and many forms. There is a fair amount from the end of the Pulp Era here, and for me it was not all of the same quality. I think all of the stories are worthy but some show they are early in his career, and his craft does and will improve from this point. While for me stories like the titular “Call Me Joe”, “Flight to Forever”, “The Man Who Came Early”, and the devastating “Prophecy” are among my favorite Poul Anderson stories, the very best of Poul Anderson is yet to come.
…First of all the Eleventh World Science Fiction Convention committee called them the First Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards and not the Hugo Awards. Officially they continued to be called the Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards for many decades. It wasn’t until 1993 that they were officially renamed the Hugo Awards. Exactly when fans began giving the awards the nickname of Hugo I can’t be entirely sure. However, the earliest mention of the practise I’m aware of appeared in the 1955 Clevention’s Progress Report #4. In an article about the physical aspects of the award appears the following comment:
A great deal of hard work, money and time went into the project of making this “Hugo”, as some people have already dubbed the trophy.
Just who was using the term and how widespread the practise was by this point isn’t made clear in this article. It could be that committee members were aware of the nickname being used elsewhere but I suspect such usage was confined to the committee itself. After all, given that at this point the awards had only been given once and then were seemingly discontinued it seems a bit unlikely that fandom at large had decided to give something they couldn’t be certain would ever be seen again a nickname. Moreover, given that the awards are then continually referred as Hugos in the rest of the article I rather suspect some or all of the committee had not only adopted the term but also wanted to push the idea of calling it that as one way to put their stamp on the awards idea. All speculation of course but it does make for an interesting theory.
(2) BEFORE NUMBERS. And Galactic Journey’s Hugo headline deals with news that’s only a tad more recent — “The 1965 Hugo Ballot Is Out!” They also invite fans to join them for an online discussion on May 23.
… Since the Journey has covered virtually everything on the list, we’ve created a little crib sheet so you can vote in an educated fashion.
(3) AN EPISODE RECAP – SPOILERS? I’M NOT SURE. [By Martin Morse Wooster.] In the May 10 episode of Supergirl, Kara Zor-El and her friends were trying to track down bad guys who called themselves Leviathan. They went to the “United States Congressional Library” which eerily resembles a Canadian public library to talk to a librarian who was a “symbologist”–you know, like the guy in The Da Vinci Code. The symbologist explained that he tried to search for “leviathan”–but all of searches were blocked! Scary!
So they decided to visit “special collections,” which of course was the vault in the basement where The Good Stuff is kept and can only be seen by people with the secret passcode, But just as our hero punches the buttons, the bad guys start shooting at them. How these guntoters managed to get past the security guards is not explained, possibly because the “United States Congressional Library” doesn’t have any security guards.
Any resemblance between the “United States Congressional Library” and the Library of Congress is nonexistent.
…While Fugitive Telemetrymay be the sixth installment in the series, it is something new for this world: a murder mystery. The novella follows Murderbot as it discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, and sets about assisting station security to determine who the body was and how they were killed. Fugitive Telemetry takes place after the events of novella Exit Strategy and before the events of novel Network Effect, and is slated for an April 2021 release.
Actor Peter Capaldi, shows his support for The National Brain Appeal’s Emergency Care Fund – set up in response to the Covid-19 crisis. We’re raising money for staff on the frontline at The National Hospital – and those patients who are most in need at this time. He reads from The Runaway Robot by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
Any devoted audiobook listener can attest: Spending nine hours (or more) in the company of a terrible reader–a shrieker, mumber, droner, tooth whistler, or overzealous thespian–is an experience that can truly ruin a book. A narrator’s voice is not merely a delivery system, an element extraneous to the text, but an integral one–fulfilling, enriching, injuring, or sinking a book.”
She explains this is particularly true with books in the public domain. She notes that Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd comes in a dozen versions. including a superb one by John Lee and readings by Nathaniel Parker and Joe Jameson “are excellent if a little fast.” But “excruciating performers” of hardy’s novel include “a drawling old fogy; a governess on an elocution bender; a sprinter whose words tear along in a blur; and a man who seems to be recording inside a tin can.
This doesn’t have much to do with sf except that she says that Neil Gaiman is a very good reader of his own fiction (I agree). But I thought she made some good points.
(7) PEOPLE WHO KNEW PKD. “The Penultimate Truth About Philip K. Dick” on YouTube is a 2007 Argentine documentary, directed by Emiliano Larre, that includes with Dick’s ex-wives Kleo Mini, Anne Dick, and Tessa Dick, his stepdaughter Tandie Ford, and authors K.W. Jeter, Ray Nelson, and Tim Powers.
(8) WILLARD OBIT. Comedic star Fred Willard, who appears in the forthcoming show Space Force, died May 15 at the age of 86. He gained fame in a long career that included roles in Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap, Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family. More details at People.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born May 16, 1891 — Mikhail Bulgakov. Russian writer whose fantasy novel The Master and Margarita, published posthumously, has been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. The novel also carries the recommendation of no less than Gary Kasparov. If you’ve not read it, a decent translation is available at the usual digital sources for less than a cup of coffee. (Died 1940.) (CE)
Born May 16, 1917 – Juan Rulfo. Author, photographer. In Pedro Páramo a man going to his recently deceased mother’s home town finds it is populated by ghosts; translated into 30 languages, sold a million copies in English. A score of shorter stories; another dozen outside our field. Here are some photographs and comment. (Died 1986) [JH]
Born May 16, 1918 – Colleen Browning. Set designer, illustrator, lithographer, painter. A Realist in the face of Abstract Realism and Abstract Expressionism, she later turned to magic realism blurring the real and imaginary. See here (Union Mixer, 1975), here (Mindscape, 1973), here (Computer Cosmology, 1980s), and here (The Dream, 1996). (Died 2003) [JH]
Born May 16, 1920 – Patricia Marriott. Cover artist and illustrator, particularly for Joan Aiken (1924-2004); 21 covers, 18 interiors. See here and here. (Died 2002) [JH]
Born May 16, 1925 – Pierre Barbet. French SF author and (under his own name; PB is a pen name) pharmacist. Towards a Lost Future; Babel 3805; space opera, heroic fantasy, alternative history. In The Empire of Baphomet (translated into Czech, Dutch, English, Hungarian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish) an alien tries to manipulate the Knights Templar; in Stellar Crusade the knights go into Space after him; 72 novels, plus shorter stories, essays. (Died 1995) [JH]
Born May 16, 1928 – Burschi Gruder. Romanian pioneer and prolific illustrator of children’s books, textbooks, comic books; cover artist; reprinted in East Germany, Moldova, Poland, U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia. See here and here. (Died 2010) [JH]
Born May 16, 1937 — Yvonne Craig. Batgirl on Batman, and that green skinned Orion slave girl Marta on “Whom Gods Destroy”. She also appeared in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, Voyage to The Bottom of the Sea, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Land of the Giants, Fantasy Island and Holmes and Yo-Yo. (Died 2015.) (CE)
Born May 16, 1942 – Alf van der Poorten. Number theorist (180 publications; founded Australian Mathematical Society Gazette; Georges Szekeres Medal, 2002) and active fan. One of “Sydney’s terrible twins”. Reviewer for SF Commentary. (Died 2010) [JH]
Born May 16, 1944 — Danny Trejo, 76. Trejo is perhaps most known as the character Machete, originally developed by Rodriguez for the Spy Kids films. He’s also been on The X-Files, From Dusk till Dawn, Le Jaguar, Doppelganger: The Evil Within, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, Muppets Most Wanted and more horror films that I care to list here. Seriously, he’s really done a lot of low-budget horror films. In LA he’s even better known for donuts – i.e., he owns a shop with his name on it. (CE)
Born May 16, 1953 – Lee MacLeod. Four dozen covers, plus interiors, among us. Lee MacLeod SF Art Trading Cards.Batman, Howard the Duck, Pocahontas (i.e. Disney’s). Air Force Art Program. Here are two covers for The Mote in God’s Eye from 1993 and 2000. For his fine art e.g. plein air, see here.
Born May 16, 1962 — Ulrika O’Brien, 58. A Seattle-area fanzine fan, fanartist, con-running fan, and past TAFF winner. Her list of pubished fanzines according to Fancyclopedia 3 is quite amazing — Fringe, Widening Gyre and Demi-TAFF Americaine (TAFF Newsletter). Her APAzines include Mutatis Mutandis, and APAs include APA-L, LASFAPA, Myriad and Turbo-APA. (CE)
Born May 16, 1968 — Stephen Mangan, 52. Dirk Gently in that series after the pilot episode which saw a major reset. He played Arthur Conan Doyle in the Houdini & Doyle series which I’ve heard good things about but haven’t seen. He did various voices for the 1999 Watership Down, and appeared in Hamlet as Laertes at the Norwich Theatre Royal. (CE)
Born May 16, 1969 — David Boreanaz, 51. Am I the only one that thought Angel was for the most part a better series than Buffy? And the perfect episode was I think “Smile Time” when Angel gets turned into a puppet. It even spawned its own rather great toy line. (CE)
(11) DISNEY’S NEXT PLANS FOR THE STAGE. The Washington Post’s Peter Marks not only reports the demise of Frozen on Broadway, but that Disney Theatrical Productions president Michael Schumacher announced several musicals in development, including The Princess Bride, Jungle Book, and Hercules. “Citing the pandemic, Disney puts Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ permanently on ice”.
Schumacher also used the letter to detail other projects in the works — notably, a stage musical version of the 1987 cult movie favorite “The Princess Bride,” with a book by Bob Martin and Rick Elice and a score by David Yazbek, and an expanded stage version of the “Hercules” that debuted last summer in Central Park. Book writer Robert Horn, a Tony winner for “Tootsie,” will be added to the songwriting team of Alan Menken and David Zippel.
(12) PRINCEJVSTN’S FINEST. Best Fan Writer Hugo finalist Paul Weimer’s “Hugo Packet 2020” is available from an unlocked post on his Patreon page. (I have the right URL here but can’t get it to open from the Scroll, which is why I am also including Paul’s tweet).
Facebook is teaming up with telecoms companies to build a 37,000km (23,000-mile) undersea cable to supply faster internet to 16 countries in Africa.
Its length – almost equal to the circumference of the Earth – will make it one of the longest, it said.
It is part of a long-running bid by Facebook to take its social media platform to Africa’s young population.
Ready for use by 2024, it will deliver three times the capacity of all current undersea cables serving Africa.
“When completed, this new route will deliver much-needed internet capacity, redundancy, and reliability across Africa, supplement a rapidly increasing demand for capacity in the Middle East, and support further growth of 4G, 5G, and broadband access for hundreds of millions of people,” said Facebook in a blog.
Africa lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to internet access, with four in 10 people across the continent having access to the web, compared with a global average of six in 10.
Bill Murray really missed working alongside Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis while filming the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
The legendary comedian admitted as much during his recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, saying that the pair were “greatly missed for so many reasons,” adding, “They were so much a part of the creation of [Ghostbusters] and the fun of it.”
(16) TOASTS OF THE TOWN. At the #OrbitTavern on Instagram, Creative Director Lauren Panepinto interviews an author about their upcoming book Ann Leckie and Laura Lam in one session) —and teaches viewers how to make the perfect cocktail to pair it with! Replays of their live shows are also available on Orbit’s website.
For example, a couple of days ago they celebrated World Cocktail Day with Alix Harrow.
(17) NESFA PRESS SALE. NESFA Press has announced a 20% discount good through June 14, 2020 on all NESFA Press physical books — with some exceptions. This does not include E-Books, ISFiC books (including the Seanan McGuire Velveteen books), and the following limited-edition books: Stan’s Kitchen by Kim Stanley Robinson and A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison (limited, boxed edition).
To take advantage of this discount, go to the NESFA Press online store: http://nesfapress.org/, select the titles you wish to purchase, and during checkout enter “COVID-19” in the coupon text field. The 20% will be automatically deducted from the book price.
[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kevin Harkness.]
The temperature ranged from chilly (it is winter) to downright frosty (12? Saturday morning, maybe up to 20? by 9:45AM when we walked the overpass from our hotel to the con), but on the other hand, no snow, rain, or weather public-transit shutdowns (all of which have happened to Boston-in-winter cons).
Boskone 57’s Featured Guests were:
GUEST OF HONOR: Kim Stanley
YOUNG ADULT FICTION GUEST: Holly
OFFICIAL ARTIST: Eric Wilkerson
MUSICAL GUEST: Cheshire Moon
HAL CLEMENT SCIENCE SPEAKER: Jon
NESFA PRESS GUEST: Jim Burns
The 150+ program participants also included a mix of established
and new writers, artists, editors and agents, along with well-known fans, e.g.
(citing mostly people I know/names I recognize), Ellen Asher, Joshua Bilmes,
Holly Black, Ginger Buchanan, Jeff Carver, John Chu, C.S.E. Cooney, Andrea
Martinez Corbin, Josh Dahi, Julie C. Day, Bob Devney, Paul Di Filippo, Vincent
Docherty, Debra Doyle, Tom Easton, Bob Eggleston, Esther Friesner, Craig Shaw
Gardner, Greer Gilman, Max Gladstone, Anabel Graetz, Charlaine Harris, Grady
Hendrix, Carlos Hernandez, Sarah Jean Horwitz, Jim Infantino, James Patrick
Kelly, John Kessel, Dan Kimmel, Mur Lafferty, Kelly Link, James D. Macdonald,
Darlene Marshall, Beth Meacham, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden,
Julie C. Rios, Cameron Roberson, Erin Roberts, Joseph Siclari, Allen M. Steele,
Michael Swanwick, Christine Taylor-Butler, Erin Underwood, Martha Wells, Trisha
J. Wooldridge, Brianna Wu, Frank Wu.
(Some that, sadly, were listed but had to cancel included Bruce
Coville, Steve Davidson, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Suzanne Palmer, Adi
Rule, and Jane Yolen.)
While there was no File770 meet-up (that I was aware of),
I spotted/chatted briefly with a few Filers (hardly surprisingly, of course).
FYI, NESFA Press had brand-new books available at Boskone 57:
I’ve just done purchase requests to my local library for these. Take that, Mount To-Be-Read!
A SATISFYING PROGRAM. This year’s program has lots of good stuff — for several time slots
I saw three or even four that I wanted to go to. I could easily have spent the
entire con doing nothing but program items, with brief breaks for food,
schmoozing, and strolling the Dealer’s Area and the Art Show, of course).
In “Great Novels That Don’t Work”, Grady Hendrix, Allen M.
Steele, Bracken MacLeod, Michael Swanwick and Brianna Wu talked about the
problems of various sf works, from plot to “one unforgivable step.” I missed
the first few minutes of this session, I’d love to hear/watch a recording of
the whole thing.
“Business of Being a Writer” tracks are a staple at many cons,
instructively essential for beginners, and often entertaining for all.
(Particularly the “horror stories/don’t do’s.”) In “Editing from Agent, to Editor, to Publisher”, Melanie
Meadors, Joshua Bilmes, Beth Meacham, John Kessel and James D. Macdonald
examined the “manuscript’s journey” of read/rewrite/edit/revise from author
through beta readers, copy editors, proof readers and other stations.
I went to several readings, including Daniel Kimmel, reading a
not-yet-published time travel story involving a character from his second sf
novel (which you don’t have to have read to enjoy the story), Max Gladstone,
and James Patrick Kelly, plus kaffeeklatsches with Esther Friesner and
with Tor editor Beth Meacham.
TRIVIA PURSUIT! One of my favorite items at Boskones is the Trivia For Chocolate game show run by Mark and
Priscilla Olson and Jim Mann, where us audience members strive to be the first
(or loudest) to yell out enough of the right answers to sf trivia questions,
with, per the name of the game, points being awarded using those thin
rectangular green-wrapped chocolate Thin Mints (and only uneaten ones are count
for your final tally).
For example, in “First Lines” — “The baloney weighed the raven
down.” (“N Svar Naq Cevingr Cynpr, Crgre F Orntyr” — as I was yelling out the
answer mid, ahem, weigh.)
This isn’t the kind of content you can cram for, and I’m not
sure you could even study for it — certainly not time-effectively. The only way
is to have consumed sf&f voluminously — and remembering the relevant
The not-so-secrets to doing well in TRIVIA FOR CHOCOLATE include
location (front or second row), luck, low memory-to-mouth latency, chutzpah
and having consumed sf (including f, and h) omnivorously for years-to-decades.
This year, to my happy surprise, I came in first, by a 14-point
spread against tied-for-seconds Karen von Haam (who, I’m pretty sure, was the
person on my right snagging answers right and left for the open several minutes),
and the always-impressively-knowledgeable-about-really-obscure-stuff Bob
(I donated all but two of my winnings to the Narnia Coat Check
Closet. ’nuff et!)
From Wells and Orwell to Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, and Annalee Newitz, there’s a long tradition of reporters becoming writers of SF/F/H. Our veteran newshounds report on what a background in journalism can bring to genre work. Are you already accustomed to research, deadlines, and low wages? Does the drive to get the facts mean it’s harder to make stuff up? Can reporters be written as good genre characters? While pounding out a hot story, must you wear a fedora?
This could easily have filled a day-long symposium. Heck, I
could (preferably with at least 20 minutes advance notice to web-refresh my
brain) have done an hour just on Mark Twain. (“Connecticut Yankee,” “Captain
Stormfield…” “The Mysterious Stranger,” etc.) Lots of great stuff was said, by
all panelists — let’s do this one again!
I also did a reading, a workshop on learning magic tricks and
becoming a magician (my handout including reading list available on request),
and, in DragonsLair, my young-kids-oriented magic show (heavy on the funny
props and bad jokes).
And, as nearly-always, I spent some time walking around taking
Looking ahead, here’s the Featured Guests currently scheduled
for Boskone 58, February 12-14 2021:
Guest of Honor: Joe Abercrombie
Official Artist: Julie Dillon
Special guest: Tamsyn Muir
Musical Guest: Marc Gunn
NESFA Press Guest: Ursula Vernon
Hal Clement Science Speaker:
Mike Brotherton and Christian Ready (Launch Pad Astronomy)
We had a great time talking with guest author Paul Krueger about his novel, Steel Crow Saga. Paul describes it as a love letter to Pokémon, and also as what would happen if Pokémon and Full Metal Alchemist had an anti-colonialist baby. He said he went way out on a limb with the book, using a different world with situations in it that are not average, and that it meant he had to draw on a lot more personal things in order to make it real and relatable.
… Paul told us that what really brought the book together was when he realized he was interested in the idea of forgiveness. Can you do the unforgiveable? Can you then forgive yourself afterwards? Returning to these questions kept him going.
He also said he believes in the forensic principle that all things that come in contact with each other leave traces behind. He applies this to characters. Watch what happens when two pairs of characters come in close proximity to each other. What happens if they switch “dance partners” for a while?
… I asked Paul about something he’d said online about fan art. Paul told us that his first book, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, didn’t have any fan art. When he whined about it, he was told he’d only vaguely described the characters. In Steel Crow Saga, therefore, he made sure that each character had colors and symbols, their own animal, and distinct physical traits. Paul said, “I went really overboard with visual cues.” The good news is, he’s gotten lots of fan art this time! Paul says being friends with artists has made him a better writer. He listed Victoria Schwab and Erin Morganstern as writers with great visuals.
(2) SOUND OF SKYWALKER. Disney has created an entire ”for your consideration” website to
recommend six films for awards – all of which happen to be genre-related.
(3) LOCKED AND LOADED. There’s a vein of alternate history
stories that dates back even farther than I was aware. Library of America’s story
of the week, “If
Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox” by James Thurber, is part of it
At the end of 1930 Scribner’s Magazine began publishing what would prove to be a short-lived series of “alternative history” pieces. The first installment, in the November issue, was “If Booth Had Missed Lincoln.” This was followed by a contribution from none other than Winston Churchill, who turned the concept on its head. It was bafflingly titled “If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg”—but, as we all know, Lee didn’t win the Battle of Gettysburg. Instead, Churchill’s essay purported to be written by a historian in a world in which Lee had won not only the battle but also the entire war. This fictional historian, in turn, speculates what might have happened if Lee had not won the battle. This type of dizzying zaniness brought out the parodist in Thurber, who published “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox” in The New Yorker in December. The next month Scribner’s published a third essay (“If Napoleon Had Escaped to America”) before bring the series to an end. All three pieces were soon forgotten, but Thurber’s parody became one of his most famous and beloved works.
If someone is interested to take over the portal and the domain’s name, kindly let us know. Thank you all of you !
Ukranian fan Borys Sydiuk immediately raised his hand – so perhaps
the site will be kept online after all. Stay tuned.
(5) LAST CHANCE. Tim Szczesuil of
the NESFA Press says they’re about to run out of two titles by popular sff
This is an informative notice that we are getting low on The Halycon Fairy Book by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon). At the rate it’s selling I expect to be out by the end of the month. If you’ve delayed getting a copy, this may be your last chance, since there are no plans to reprint.
On a similar note, we’re also getting low on Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire. In this case, we do not have the rights to reprint, and Seanan is not disposed to grant anyone these rights. So, when they’re gone, that’s it.
… Nineteen Eighty-Four is the most prominent example of this, by far, but the strict, legal regulation of language pops up in various science fiction novels and stories that follow Orwell’s. Inhabitants of Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s Green-sky have no means of expressing the negative emotions they feel, and are treated as social pariahs for being “unjoyful.” Ascians in Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun do not understand any sentence constructions that do not appear in their government-issued manuals on “Correct Thought.” Lois Lowry’s The Giver portrays a society whose emotional range has been stunted by its insistence on “precise speech.”
First published in Sweden in 2012, Karin Tidbeck’s Amatka offers up a new, much more material take on language restriction—a world in which every object, from a chair to a pot of face cream, must be verbally told what it is and visibly labeled as such….
(7) IT NEVER ENDS. Paste Magazine came up with
another list — “The
25 Best TV Episodes of 2019” – but this one has a solid genre showing. In the order Paste
ranked them, here they are from lowest to highest.
“Adriadne,” Russian Doll
“Hard Times,” Good Omens
“Episode 4,” Years and Years
“Séance & Sensibility” Legends of Tomorrow
“Twin Cities,” Counterpart
“Pandemonium,” The Good Place
“The Trial,” What We Do in the Shadows
“Time to Make … My Move,” The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
“Vichnaya Pamyat,” Chernobyl
20. “Hard Times,” Good Omens
Good Omens is a series that tackles more than its fair share of deep philosophical issues, telling a story about hope, love and faith in one another during the literal end of the world. But despite the somewhat pressing nature of the impending Apocalypse, Good Omens spends most of its third episode exploring the complicated pair at the heart of story: prissy angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and snarky demon Crowley (David Tennant).
…Not bad for a sequence that, technically shouldn’t exist. None of these flashbacks appear in the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett novel on which the show is based and were specially written for the Amazon series. God—or Gaiman himself in this case— does indeed work in mysterious ways. —Lacy Baugher
… Part of it is that I’m a restless and then forgetful reader. Even after finishing an amazing book, I often want to switch gears to something different and then I fail to return to something else by the amazing book’s author. But mainly I do this on purpose. I like the feeling of looking forward to a sure thing, the comfort of a story I haven’t heard but I know will be good.
(10) THE WITCHER CHARACTER INTRODUCTIONS. You can’t
outrun destiny just because you’re terrified of it. The Witcher arrives
Henry Cavill is Geralt of Rivia.
Freya Allan is Princess Cirilla.
Anya Chalotra is Yennefer of Vengerberg.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 10, 1815 — Ada Lovelace. Lovelace was the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron and his wife Lady Byron. She was an English mathematician and writer, principally known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Genre usage includes Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, Stirling’s The Peshawar Lancers and Crowley’s Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land. (Died 1852.)
Born December 10, 1824 — George MacDonald. His writings have been cited as a major literary influence by many notable authors Including Tolkien and Lewis, Gaiman and L’Engle, Beagle and Twain to name but a few. I’d single out. The Princess and The Goblin and Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women as particularly fine reading. (Died 1905.)
Born December 10, 1918 — Anne Gwynne. One of the first scream queens because of her numerous appearances in horror films such as The Strange Case of Doctor Rx, Weird Women (with Lou Chaney) and The House of Frankenstein (Chaney and Karloff). And she also was one of the most popular pin-ups of World War II. She’s Chris Pine’s grandmother. (Died 2003.) Photo is from a set of twenty four trading cards.
Born December 10, 1927 — Anthony Coburn. Australian writer and producer who spent most of his career living and working in the U.K. He was closely involved in the earliest days of Who to the extent that it’s believed it was his idea for the Doctor’s travelling companion, Susan, to be The Doctor’s granddaughter. He wrote four scripts for the show, of which only An Unearthly Child was used. (Died 1977.)
Born December 10, 1928 — John Colicos. You’ll recognize him as being the first Klingon ever seen on classic Trek, Commander Kor in “Errand of Mercy” episode. (He’d reprise that role as the 140-year-old Kor in three episodes of Deep Space Nine.) He’ll next show up as Count Baltar in the original Battlestar Galactica continuity throughout the series and film. He’ll even show up as the governor of Umakran in the Starlost episode “The Goddess Calabra”. (Died 2000.)
Born December 10, 1933 – Mako. It’s sounds weird but I mostly remember him in Robocop 3 as Kanemitsu and in a role on the Lovejoy series that only lasted two episodes. He’s had one-offs on I-Spy, I Dream of Jeannie, Green Hornet, Time Tunnel, Fantasy Island and quite a bit more. Among his genre film appearances, I think I’ll just single out Conan the Destroyer in which he plays Akiro the Wizard. (Died 2006.)
Born December 10, 1946 — Douglas Kenney. He co-founded National Lampoon in 1970 along with Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman. With Beard alone in 1969, he wrote Bored of the Rings. (Died 1980.)
Born December 10, 1960 — Kenneth Branagh, 59. Oh, Branagh, I feel obligated to start with your worst film, Wild Wild West, which, well, had you no shame? Fortunately, there’s much better genre work from you as an actor including as Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As a Director, I’m only seeing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Thor — Anyone know of anything else genre related? Is Hercule Poirot genre adjacent?
Born December 10, 1984 — Helen Oyeyemi, 35. I like it when a Birthday results in my adding to my audiobook listening list. She’s resident in Prague now and her take on European folktales that surround her there is particularly sharp in her latest, Mr. Fox, off of that well known tale. And White is for Witching has all the makings of a damn fine haunted house story.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
Frank and Ernest indirectly prove the benefits of being young – because with luck you may not be old enough to remember the commercial that sets up this pun.
(13) CONNIE WILLIS AT CHRISTMAS. [Item by Olav Rokne.] For
a few years, I’ve been invited onto a podcast to speak about Christmas
movies. This year, I took the opportunity to talk about how great Connie
Willis is by suggesting the (*very bad*) Christmas movie Snow Wonder
which was based on Willis’ (*very good*) novella Just Like The Ones We Used
To Know. Even though the movie’s a relatively faithful adaptation, it’s
shocking how much life they manage to drain from Willis’ work. The Movie Jerks
—Episode 372 – Olav Rokne, The Christmas Prince Royal Baby
and Snow Wonder
Olav Rokne is back to talk about for his yearly Christmas film review. This time we may have broke our guest, as we discuss the television film “Snow Wonder” and the third installment in the “Christmas Prince” series.
Three months after his bone marrow transplant, Chris Long of Reno, Nev., learned that the DNA in his blood had changed. It had all been replaced by the DNA of his donor, a German man he had exchanged just a handful of messages with.
He’d been encouraged to test his blood by a colleague at the Sheriff’s Office, where he worked. She had an inkling this might happen. It’s the goal of the procedure, after all: Weak blood is replaced by healthy blood, and with it, the DNA it contains.
…The implications of Mr. Long’s case, which was presented at an international forensic science conference in September, have now captured the interest of DNA analysts far beyond Nevada.
The average doctor does not need to know where a donor’s DNA will present itself within a patient. That’s because this type of chimerism is not likely to be harmful. Nor should it change a person. “Their brain and their personality should remain the same,” said Andrew Rezvani, the medical director of the inpatient Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit at Stanford University Medical Center.
He added that patients also sometimes ask him what it means for a man to have a woman’s chromosomes in their bloodstream or vice versa. “It doesn’t matter,” he said….
But for a forensic scientist, it’s a different story. The assumption among criminal investigators as theygather DNA evidence from a crime scene is that each victim and each perpetrator leaves behind a single identifying code — not two, including that of a fellow who is 10 years younger and lives thousands of miles away. And so Renee Romero, who ran the crime lab at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, saw an opportunity when her friend and colleague told her that his doctor had found a suitable match on a donor website and he would be undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
In a photo that circulated on Chinese social media on the weekend, workers at a library located in Zhenyuan county in north-central Gansu province were shown burning books in an act the library described (link in Chinese) as a “quick and comprehensive” filtering and destruction of “illegal” publications, including books related to religion. The library said it wanted to enhance its function as a major propaganda tool in terms of promoting mainstream Chinese values. The post, which was originally published on Oct. 22, has since been deleted.
In total, the library destroyed 65 books under the supervision of officials from the Zhenyuan culture affairs bureau, according to the post. Zhenyuan’s propaganda department told a local Chinese publication (link in Chinese) that it was looking into the incident.
Under Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s tightening grip on the freedom of speech, religion, and ideas, authorities have been conducting a large scale clean-up of books in libraries in elementary and middle schools since October, according to a notice (link in Chinese) published by the Ministry of Education. The ministry ordered schools to remove books deemed “illegal” or “inappropriate,” including those that are “against the ideologies of the party,” “describe the party, the nation, or the military’s history in a mocking way,” or “promote religious doctrine, theory, and rules.”
The episode stirred an unusual backlash on Chinese social media, with many saying that it reminded them of the country’s painful history of repressing intellectuals and academic freedom. Many cited the example of the tyrannical emperor Qin Shihuang, who unified China more than 2,000 years ago and directed the “burning the books and burying the scholars” …movement which led to some 460 Confucian scholars being buried alive for their opposition against imperial policies.
Grandmother killer whales boost the survival rates of their grandchildren, a new study has said.
The survival rates were even higher if the grandmother had already gone through the menopause.
The findings shed valuable light on the mystery of the menopause, or why females of some species live long after they lose the ability to reproduce.
Only five known animals experience it: killer whales, short-finned pilot whales, belugas, narwhals and humans.
With humans, there is some evidence that human grandmothers aid in the survival of their children and grandchildren, a hypothesis called the “grandmother effect”.
These findings suggest the same effect occurs in orcas.
(20) THE LONG AND WINDING FILM. The Criterion Collection
has available Wim Wenders’ director’s cut of Until
the End of the World, the 1991
French-German science fiction drama film.
Conceived as the ultimate road movie, this decades-in-the-making science-fiction epic from Wim Wenders follows the restless Claire Tourneur (Solveig Dommartin) across continents as she pursues a mysterious stranger (William Hurt) in possession of a device that can make the blind see and bring dream images to waking life. With an eclectic soundtrack that gathers a host of the director’s favorite musicians, along with gorgeous cinematography by Robby Müller, this breathless adventure in the shadow of Armageddon takes its heroes to the ends of the earth and into the oneiric depths of their own souls. Presented here in its triumphant 287-minute director’s cut, Until the End of the World assumes its rightful place as Wenders’ magnum opus, a cosmic ode to the pleasures and perils of the image and a prescient meditation on cinema’s digital future.
Earth has many stories to tell, even in the dark of night. Earth at Night, NASA’s new 200-page ebook, is now available online and includes more than 150 images of our planet in darkness as captured from space by Earth-observing satellites and astronauts on the International Space Station over the past 25 years.
The images reveal how human activity and natural phenomena light up the darkness around the world, depicting the intricate structure of cities, wildfires and volcanoes raging, auroras dancing across the polar skies, moonlight reflecting off snow and deserts, and other dramatic earthly scenes.
…In addition to the images, the book tells how scientists use these observations to study our changing planet and aid decision makers in such areas as sustainable energy use and disaster response.
(22) FORMATION FLYING. Amazon is going all-out to advertise
The Expanse Season 4.
The Expanse drone space opera lit up the sky at the 2019 Intersect Festival in Las Vegas.
There’s also a 6-minute version shot at ground level here.
(23) DIY AT HOME. Jimmy Kimmel Live showed everyone
the way to “Make Your Own Baby Yoda.” (He’s kidding, okay? Just kidding!!)
Baby Yoda is a very cute and popular character from “The Mandalorian,” but according to Disney, which owns Star Wars, Baby Yoda toys will not be available for Christmas. However, if you want a Baby Yoda for your kid or your adult nerd help is on the way. Guillermo demonstrates a simple way for anyone to make their own little Yoda at home.
[Thanks to Olav Rokne, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter,
Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, Olav Rokne, N., Bill, Juliette Wade, Cat
Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
(1) DRESSING UP. An 11-minute video of cosplay at San Diego
San Diego Comic Con 2019, at the San Diego Convention Center. In its 50th year it was an hectic and news worthy convention with some really great costumes and creativity, thanks everyone for participating
(2) DUBLIN 2019 REMINDERS. The Hugo voting deadline is upon
Voting will end on 31 July 2019 at 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time (2:59am Eastern Daylight Time, 07:59 Irish and British time, all on 1 August)
Professor Jennifer Zwahr-Castro is researching Worldcon, and investigating why we attend and what we get out of the experience. She would like to invite all Dublin 2019 attendees to take part in her research by filling out a survey.
(3) THE CHERRY ON THE TOP OF MT. TBR. An email from NESFA
Press tells me they are pleased to
announce two new ebooks available immediately–
Moskowitz, Sam, The Immortal Storm (978-1-61037-334-0)
Nielsen Hayden, Teresa, Making Book (978-1-61037-333-3)
(4) CLOSE READING. [Item by rcade.] Catherynne Valente tweeted that in 15 years
writing professionally, she doesn’t think she’s ever described the size of a
After some internal debate over whether I should, I broke the news to her that she had.
The overall thread has a lot of hilarious stuff in it. It starts here.
(5) BOOKER PRIZE LONGLIST. Margaret Atwood’s inclusion on
Book Prize Longlist was reported in yesterday’s Scroll – but here’s the
complete list, or
‘Booker Dozen’, as the cognoscenti say.
This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges: founder and director of Hay Festival Peter Florence (Chair); former fiction publisher and editor Liz Calder; novelist, essayist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo; writer, broadcaster and former barrister Afua Hirsch; and concert pianist, conductor and composer Joanna MacGregor.
2019 longlist, or ‘Booker Dozen’, of 13 novels, is:
Margaret Atwood (Canada), The
Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night
Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
(UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
The rising academic interest in the zombie as an allegory for cultural and social analysis is spanning disciplines including, humanities, anthropology, economics, and political science. The zombie has been used as a metaphor for economic policy, political administrations, and cultural critique through various theoretical frameworks. The zombie has been examined as a metaphor for capitalism, geopolitics, globalism, neo-liberal markets, and even equating Zombiism to restrictive aspects of academia.
On a recent morning, 15 teenage girls and young women reported for duty at an office overlooking the Pentagon. Their mission: Save the world from nuclear war.
“This is where I want you to stop being you,” said Stacie Pettyjohn, a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a defense think tank. “You’re going to have to start to role-play.”
Pettyjohn was leading a war-game exercise on North Korea. Typically, military commanders and policymakers use war gaming to test strategies and their likely consequences. But nothing about this game was typical. It was designed by women — RAND’s “Dames of War Games” — for teenagers from Girl Security, a nonprofit that introduces girls to defense issues. The partnership was a first for both groups; it’s among a series of recent efforts to boost women’s participation in national security.
“You have to fight,” Pettyjohn told the teens. “You are the military commanders.”
The scenario Pettyjohn laid out was bleak. U.S. talks with North Korea had collapsed, and deadly tit-for-tat attacks had spiraled into open conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Half the teens would join the blue team, assuming the roles of U.S. and allied South Korean generals. The others went to the red team, playing North Korean leaders determined to stay in power.
(8) SOMEDAY MY BLUEPRINTS
WILL COME. Curbed’s Angela Serratore shares credit with architects
of the Eighties and Nineties for corporate Disney’s current world domination: “The
magical (postmodern) world of Disney”.
It was 1991 and Michael Eisner was on the brink of changing everything.
After becoming the CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1984, Eisner, a native New Yorker, set out to turn the old-fashioned Disney brand into one that would speak not just to the present moment but also, crucially, to the future. During his tenure, the company would eventually acquire the television network ABC and the sports behemoth ESPN and produce films that would come to define the Disney Renaissance—The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin, among others.
An amateur architecture and design buff, Eisner also understood that a company like Disney ought to have a real presence—theme parks, of course, but also office buildings, studios, and hotels. What if, his design philosophy seemed to suggest, people could look up at Disney headquarters in Burbank or Orlando and feel the same awe and delight they must’ve felt on Disneyland’s opening day?
We all wish we could change the past, at least some of the time. Relationships, elections, conversations: there are countless moments in our lives we’d love the chance to rework, or simply reimagine. Living in an era when we can easily tweak the small (delete a sentence, crop an image) but feel helpless when facing the large (political turmoil, climate change), it’s hard not to fantasize about reworking our histories.
But this inclination is not new. Attempting to rework the past, at least on paper, has been the outlet of artists and authors for as long as people have been wishing for different endings. “As If: Alternative Histories From Then to Now,” an exhibition at the Drawing Center, presents eighty-four works from 1888 to the present that “offer examples of how we might reimagine historical narratives in order to contend with the traumas of contemporary life.”
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 25, 1907 — Cyril Luckham. He played the White Guardian on Doctor Who. He appeared in The Ribos Operation episode, The Key to Time season during the Era of the Fourth Doctor, and the Enlightenment story during the Era of the Fifth Doctor. He was also Dr. Meinard in the early Fifties Stranger from Venus (a.k.a. Immediate Disaster and The Venusian). (Died 1989.)
Born July 25, 1921 — Kevin Stoney. He appeared in three serials of the science fiction series Doctor Who over a period of ten years, playing Mavic Chen in The Daleks’ Master Plan during the time of the First Doctor, Tobias Vaughn in The Invasion during the time of the Second Doctor and Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen during the time of the Fourth Doctor. Other genre credits include: The Adventures of Robin Hood, Danger Man, The Avengers, The Prisoner, Doomwatch, The Tomorrow People, Space: 1999, The New Avengers, Quatermass, and Hammer House of Horror. (Died 2008.)
Born July 25, 1922 — Evelyn E. Smith. She has the delightful bio being of a writer of sf and mysteries, as well as a compiler of crossword puzzles. During the 1950s, she published both short stories and novelettes in Galaxy Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her SF novels include The Perfect Planet and The Copy Shop. A look at iBooks and Kindle shows a twelve story Wildside Press collection but none of her novels. (Died 2000.)
Born July 25, 1937 — Todd Armstrong. He’s best known for playing Jason in Jason and the Argonauts. A film of course that made excellent by special effects from Ray Harryhausen. His only other genre appearance was on the Greatest American Hero as Ted McSherry In “ A Chicken in Every Plot”. (Died 1992.)
Born July 25, 1948 — Brian Stableford, 71. I am reasonably sure that I’ve read and enjoyed all of the Hooded Swan series a long time ago which I see has been since been collected as Swan Songs: The Complete Hooded Swan Collection. And I’ve certainly read a fair amount of his short fiction down the years.
Born July 25, 1973 — Mur Lafferty, 46. Podcaster and writer. Co-editor of the Escape Pod podcast with Divya Breed, her second time around. She is also the host and creator of the podcast I Should Be Writing which won aParsec Award for Best Writing Podcast. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Escape Artists short fiction magazine Mothership Zeta. And then there’s the Ditch Diggers podcast she started with Matt Wallace which is supposed to show the brutal, honest side of writing. For that, it won the Hugo Award for Best Fancast in 2018, having been a finalist the year before. Fiction-wise, I loved both The Shambling Guide to New York City and A Ghost Train to New Orleans with I think the second being a better novel.
The man who came up with Twitter’s retweet button has likened it to “handing a four-year-old a loaded weapon”, in an interview with BuzzFeed.
Developer Chris Wetherell said no-one at Twitter had anticipated how it would alter the way people used the platform.
…He told BuzzFeed that he thought the retweet button “would elevate voices from under-represented communities”.
Previously people had to manually retweet each other by copying text and typing RT and the name of the tweeter but once the process was automated, retweeting meant popular posts quickly went viral.
While some went viral for good reasons, such as providing information about natural disasters, many others were not so benign.
Gamergate – a harassment campaign against women in the games industry – was one example of how people used the retweet to co-ordinate their attacks, Wetherell told BuzzFeed, describing it as a “creeping horror story”.
“It dawned on me that this was not some small subset of people acting aberrantly. This might be how people behave. And that scared me to death.”
Before humans headed up there, animals were the first living creatures that were sent into space. But India will now become the first nation to fly a spacecraft with only humanoid robots. Science writer Pallava Bagla reports.
The Indian government has sanctioned $1.4bn (£1.1bn) to the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for its first manned space flight by 2022.
…To date – using indigenously made rockets – Russia, the US and China have sent astronauts into space. If India can achieve this, it will become the fourth country to launch humans into space from its own soil.
But, unlike other nations that have carried out human space flights, India will not fly animals into space. Instead, it will fly humanoid robots for a better understanding of what weightlessness and radiation do to the human body during long durations in space.
Nasa is finding out how people cope with the demands of long space missions at its Human Exploration Research Analog (Hera).
For 45 days a crew of four people live in a habitat which simulates a mission to Phobos, a moon that orbits the planet Mars.
The crew carry out daily maintenance tasks on board, enjoy views of space from the capsule window and keep in contact with mission control via a five minute delay, meaning that a response to a communication takes 10 minutes.
…Generally, it takes a novel that breaks out of the YA spaces and gains visibility in some of the more SFF communities that I engage with (see, Children of Blood and Bone) or has some aspect that catches the attention of those communities (see, Dread Nation) or are beloved by commentators I deeply admire and respect (see, Tess of the Road). Also, I almost said the “wider SFF communities”, but that would not have been correct because YA publishing and readership is absolutely huge and has a significant overlap in science fiction and fantasy that should not be understated.
This is all to say that I was familiar with three of the novels on the ballot, and I was excited to read everything here to see which novels would break out into my list of new favorites. At least one, and let’s find out which….
Rifts over a dormant volcano in Hawaii have resurfaced in recent days, pitting the state’s culture and history against its ambitions.
Plans for a powerful new telescope near the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano could bring in hundreds of jobs and boost science and the economy. But some native Hawaiians insist the site is sacred and that the long-planned construction should not go ahead.
Last week, protesters blocked access to the building site on Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its underwater base. At least 33 people were arrested, given citations and released.
Hawaii’s governor has issued an “emergency proclamation” that increases powers to break up the blockade but said he wanted to find a “peaceful and satisfactory” solution for both sides.
Here, some of the people at the centre of the debate explain what Mauna Kea and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project mean to them.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an author I’d follow into almost any genre, and that’s a good thing given how varied her career has been so far. From the 80’s nostalgia-heavy Signal to Noise to the romance fantasy of manners The Beautiful Ones, to the criminally underrated sci-fi novella Prime Meridian and even the editorial work she does on The Dark Magazine (a recent addition to my short fiction rounds), Garcia brings talent, nuance and a particular eye for female characters challenging overwhelming imbalances in power over the forces against them. Now, in Gods of Jade and Shadow, Moreno-Garcia brings her talents to a historic fantasy where 1920’s Jazz Age Mexico meets the gods and monsters of Mayan mythology, taking protagonist Casiopea Tun on an unexpected but long-dreamed-of adventure with a deposed Lord of the Underworld….
A French inventor has failed in his attempt to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered flyboard.
Franky Zapata, a former jet-ski champion, had been hoping to cross from northern France to southern England in just 20 minutes.
But the 40-year-old fell into the water halfway across as he tried to land on a boat to refuel.
He took off from near Calais on Thursday morning and was heading for St Margaret’s Bay in Dover.
Mr Zapata was not injured when he fell and later announced he was planning a second bid to fly across the Channel next week.
(19) FIRE ONE. James Gleick traces the long,
fictional effort to infect Earthlings with “Moon
Fever” at New York Review of Books.
…The first moon landing was at once a historical inevitability and an improbable fluke. Inevitable because we had already done it so many times in our storytelling and our dreams. Astonishing, even in hindsight, because it required such an unlikely combination of factors and circumstances. “The moon, by her comparative proximity, and the constantly varying appearances produced by her several phases, has always occupied a considerable share of the attention of the inhabitants of the earth,” remarks Jules Verne in his fantastic tale From the Earth to the Moon (1865). The French fabulist imagined that the pioneers of space would be none other than Les Yankees: “They had no other ambition than to take possession of this new continent of the sky, and to plant upon the summit of its highest elevation the star-spangled banner of the United States of America.”
To get there, Verne proposed a projectile fired from a giant gun. He had probably read Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall” (1835), in which a Dutchman journeys to the moon by lighter-than-air balloon and meets the inhabitants, “ugly little people, who none of them uttered a single syllable, or gave themselves the least trouble to render me assistance, but stood, like a parcel of idiots, grinning in a ludicrous manner.” Like Poe, Verne embellished his story with a great deal of plausible science involving computations of the moon’s elliptical orbit, the distances to be traveled at apogee or perigee, the diminishing force of gravitation, and the power of exploding gunpowder….
The speed and extent of current global warming exceeds any similar event in the past 2,000 years, researchers say.
They show that famous historic events like the “Little Ice Age” don’t compare with the scale of warming seen over the last century.
The research suggests that the current warming rate is higher than any observed previously.
The scientists say it shows many of the arguments used by climate sceptics are no longer valid.
When scientists have surveyed the climatic history of our world over the past centuries a number of key eras have stood out.
These ranged from the “Roman Warm Period”, which ran from AD 250 to AD 400, and saw unusually warm weather across Europe, to the famed Little Ice Age, which saw temperatures drop for centuries from the 1300s.
The events were seen by some as evidence that the world has warmed and cooled many times over the centuries and that the warming seen in the world since the industrial revolution was part of that pattern and therefore nothing to be alarmed about.
Three new research papers show that argument is on shaky ground.
The science teams reconstructed the climate conditions that existed over the past 2,000 years using 700 proxy records of temperature changes, including tree rings, corals and lake sediments. They determined that none of these climate events occurred on a global scale.
(21) TRAILER PARK. From the novel The Future of Another Timeline,
by Annalee Newitz, comes a riot grrl band called Grape Ape. They are lost to
our timeline, but you can see them here in all their glory. The Future of
Another Timeline comes out from Tor Books on Sept. 24, 2019.
[Thanks to rcade, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Carl
Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, mlex,
Anthony Lewis, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
Written over the course of five years, consisting of exhaustive and exclusive interviews with Ellison, his colleagues, his family, his friends, and his enemies, A Lit Fuse will be published in a 500-copy limited special edition this fall (2016). The limited edition is now available for pre-order at $75 from NESFA Press. A general hardcover edition is expected by early Spring, 2017. The slipcased special limited edition will include features not available in the general edition.
“A Lit Fuse is authorized, but that doesn’t mean it’s a hagiography,” says Segaloff. Of course Ellison wouldn’t want a hagiography. If you clean up and smooth over all the controversy, the face-to-face throwdowns, the litigation, all the let-me-show-you-who’s-in-charge-here moments in his career, while you’d still have a lot of really fine stories to talk about, Harlan Ellison the human being would have disappeared in the process.
Those interviewed for the bio include Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt, Peter David, David Gerrold, Robert Sawyer, Michael Scott, Edward Asner, Leonard Nimoy, Ed Bryant, Alan Brennert, J. Michael Straczynski, Robert Silverberg, Paul Krassner, and Walter Koenig. Segaloff also conducted the Emmy Legends interview with Harlan Ellison for the Archive of American Television.
The press release, following the no-hagiogrphy theme, says, “Of particular note are an analysis of the Connie Willis controversy, the infamous dead gopher story, allegedly pushing a fan down an elevator shaft, and the final word on The Last Dangerous Visions.” But mentioning the Connie Willis episode leads me to say, if it’s going to be anything but a faithful recitation of Ellison’s version of events I’ll believe it when I see it. As for Last Dangerous Visions, what else can the last word be than, “Nevermore”?
If I am not an uncritical Ellison fan, I have certainly enjoyed the decades of drama and entertainment he has delivered. Therefore, the kind of bio I want to read about him isn’t going to be a relentless ideological ripping, or a literary deconstruction. Judging from Nat Segaloff’s resume, he seems likely to strike the balance where I want it. He’s written bios of entertainment industry figures like Arthur Penn, William Friedkin, and Stirling Silliphant, and produced documentaries on Stan Lee, John Belushi, Larry King, and Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop.
Tracing the fractious Ellison’s life and career – and including, for the first time with permission, excerpts from his work – the biography explores his fears, his demons, and his doubts as well as his principles, his hopes, and his triumphs. “It is, without question, the most vulnerable and intimate he has ever allowed himself to appear in print,” Segaloff says. “This is a portrait of the man and his intensely personal creative process, not the usual list of lawsuits, melees, or tantrums, although they’re in here, too.”
By the way, it’s the NESFA Press that calls this a biography. In Michael A. Ventrella’s interview with author Nat Segaloff, Segaloff coyly emphasized that his title does not include the word biography.
VENTRELLA: Tell us about the Harlan Ellison book!
SEGALOFF: It was after he read my Arthur Penn book that Harlan (whom I had known since I directed my Stan Lee documentary) asked me if I would be interested in writing his. He barely finished the question when I said Yes. It’s due out later this year from NESFA Press – the New England Science Fiction Association – and will be a very different book than people are expecting. Everyone who knows Harlan Ellison knows that he is combative, precise, relentless, and brilliant. My book probes the roots of those traits and led both of us into highly personal areas that reveal him as few have ever seen. We’re calling it A LIT FUSE: THE PROVOCATIVE LIFE OF HARLAN ELLISON, AN EXPLORATION BY NAT SEGALOFF. Note that it doesn’t have the word biography in the title. I don’t know what kind of book it is. Yes I do. It’s Harlan.
A LIT FUSE: THE PROVOCATIVE LIFE OF HARLAN ELLISON, AN EXPLORATION BY NAT SEGALOFF
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments
Chapter 1: Morning in the Sunken Cathedral
Chapter 2: First Contact
Chapter 3: Harlan in Wonderland
Chapter 4: Marriage Ain’t Nothin’ But Love Misspelled
Chapter 5: Science Friction
Chapter 6: Teats for Two
Chapter 7: All the Lies That Are His Life
Chapter 8: The Cordwainer Chronicles
Chapter 9: Aye, Robot
Chapter 10: The Snit on the Edge of Forever
Chapter 11: The Voice in the Wilderness
Chapter 12: The Collector
Chapter 13: Repent, Harlan!
Chapter 14: The Rabbit Whole
Chapter 15: The Lost Dangerous Visions
Chapter 16: The Flight of the Deathbird
Appendix A: Harlan Ellison on Writing: A Conversation
Appendix B: Unrealized Projects (Unproduced Teleplays, Screenplays, and Treatments)
Tired of fanhistoricist bullies kicking sand in your face? Want to impress femmefans at parties? Change your life today and strengthen your mind! Start by lifting a copy of Harry Warner’s All Our Yesterdays, newly reissued by the NESFA Press. Let fandom’s leading historian be your coach and soon your cerebellum will be rippling with revelations of fanac in times of old!
With extra vitality injected by editor Joe Siclari, this powerful classic is harnessed by Steve Stiles’s cover art in a dust jacket designed by Alice Lewis. All Our Yesterdays is the late Harry Warner’s history of SF fandom up to 1950, first published in 1969 by Advent:Publishers but long out of print.
The new NESFA Press version is studded with additional photos that were not in the Advent edition. NESFA Press also boasts the book has a more muscular index. It must be quite fine, George Price’s original index was extravagantly praised by Warner himself. Presumbly, no one dared tamper with Wilson “Bob” Tucker’s original Introduction as long as any Olympian lightning bolts remained in the Bloomington arsenal.
Warner explained in “Most of My Days Before Yesterday” (Pelf 7, April 1969) how dissatisfied he was with the major fan histories that had been created up to then: “They had all emphasized fandom as a power struggle and this seemed wrong to me. Fandom, of all places, is a field where nobody can wield power over more than a fistful of local acolytes, at best.” In particular, Warner saw his history as an antidote to Sam Moskowitz’ epic, The Immortal Storm. He dryly remarked about the rival work: “If read directly after a history of World War II, it does not seem like an anticlimax.” (John Trimble campaigned for Warner’s book to be called “The Immortal Calm.”)
The origins of many kinds of fanac, from fanzines and apas to clubs and costuming, are traced in All Our Yesterdays. Conventions, especially Worldcons, are prominently featured in his chronicle although he didn’t go to them even when they were close to home. He made an exception for Noreascon I, the 1971 Worldcon, where he was fan guest of honor.
Harry Warner, Jr. was born in 1922 and died in 2003. He had been an active science fiction fan since 1936. Through the years he gained fame in the science fiction world variously as a fanzine publisher, correspondent, fan writer, and historian. His fanzine Horizons had been a mainstay of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association since 1939, and his correspondence appeared in the letter columns of seemingly every science fiction fanzine title published since the 1930s. He won the Best Fanwriter Hugo in 1969 and 1972, and A Wealth of Fable garnered him another Hugo in 1993 for Best Non-Fiction Book.