This is the guy who kept me in fandom 33 years ago
… but that’s another story. (Kees Van Toorn)
More pictures by Rich Lynch after the jump.Continue reading
This is the guy who kept me in fandom 33 years ago
… but that’s another story. (Kees Van Toorn)
More pictures by Rich Lynch after the jump.Continue reading
(1) OLD HOME PLANET WEEK. ScienceFiction.com reports “LeVar Burton Expects Geordi La Forge To Pop Up On ‘Star Trek: Picard’”.
LeVar Burton says that he expects to be invited to appear as Geordi La Forge on the upcoming CBS All Access series ‘Star Trek: Picard’ starring his old ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ captain Patrick Stewart. Furthermore, Burton expects other cast members to return as well. But not all at the same time.
“Each of us, I would say certainly, right? It is unreasonable to assume that he doesn’t know those people anymore, or that he stopped talking to them. And if he did there’s good storytelling in why. Are you gonna see all of us together, again, in a scene or episode? I don’t know. There’s a lot of paper that needs to be papered, before we get there.”
(2) GENTLEMEN, BE SEATED. The latest Two Chairs Talking podcast with Perry Middlemiss and David Grigg is a discussion of fanzines highlighted by an interview with Bruce Richard Gillespie: “Episode 7: All this I speak in print, for in print I found it”.
(3) FOLLOW THE MONEY. The Bank of England reveals the new face on its £50 note: “Alan Turing to feature on new £50 note”
Alan Turing, the scientist known for helping crack the Enigma code during the second world war and pioneering the modern computer, has been chosen to appear on the new £50 note.
The mathematician was selected from a list of almost 1,000 scientists in a decision that recognised both his role in fending off the threat of German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic and the impact of his postwar persecution for homosexuality.
The announcement by the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, completes the official rehabilitation of Turing, who played a pivotal role at the Bletchley Park code and cipher centre.
(4) FILLING THE INTELLECTUAL PANTRY. The latest Kittysneezes podcast episode concerns a topic that Filers might find very provocative. It’s called Reed Gud, Part 1, or Other Books Than ‘Harry Potter’ Exist:
In this week’s episode, R.S. Benedict is joined by Gareth and Langdon of Death Sentence, a podcast about books for people who hate books, podcasts and capitalism but like metal. And in order to Rite Gud, you’ve got to Reed Gud — in particular, why you need to read books other than Harry Potter.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with reading and enjoying Harry Potter. But you also need to read other books. Cultural intake is like a diet. There’s nothing wrong with eating chicken fingers and fries sometimes, but to be healthy you really need a variety of foods, and as an adult you probably should develop a more refined palate than just eating the same tater tots and spaghettiOs you lived on as a kid.
(5) SHORT SFF RECS. Rocket Stack Rank’s Eric Wong says, “RSR’s monthly ratings for July 2019 has been posted with 10 RSR-recommended stories out of 70 reviewed.” — “July 2019 Ratings”.
Here are some quick highlights by pivoting the July Ratings by story length, new writers, and authors. (Click links to see the different views.)
(6) LIU AND KOWAL IN NYT. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The Sunday July 15, 2019 NY Times dead-tree edition has a special section, The Next Leap — articles and photos on space exploration, including two by sf’ers:
Lots of pages of pix, not sure whether all will be online.
(7) DC IN 2021 DISSENT. Nick Larter, who identifies himself as a Dublin 2019 member, tweeted the following message about a motion he may submit to the business meeting:
I am extremely disquieted by the idea that in a few weeks, we, the international science fiction community, will probably be rubber-stamping a Worldcon in the United States for 2021.
If the 2021 Worldcon goes ahead in Washington DC, then it is going to transpire that some science fiction fans who would like to attend are going to be prevented from doing so, because of their nationality, religion, or ethnicity, on account of the current immigration policies of the US. More still will run the risk of intrusive personal inconvenience or other unacceptable disruption to their travel plans, during the immigration process.
As evidence of this I cite the recent news that last year, Star Wars actor Riz Ahmed, was prevented by the US authorities from attending a US event relating to the movie. If this can happen to a public figure like Ahmed, how many ordinary fans are going to get caught up?
In all honesty, I don’t understand why the Washington DC bidders haven’t looked at the current situation in the US and said, “Y’know what, this won’t do, so we’re just going to put on plans on hold for a few years, until the open, welcoming America we once knew and loved, has come back again.”
For these reasons, I believe that our community, which has an excellent record of embracing diversity and inclusivity of all kinds, has a duty to reject Washington DC as the venue for the 2021 Worldcon. It would be grossly delinquent of us to act in any other way.
The WSFS Constitution provides for what to do if members reject the eligible bids, but as I recall, it doesn’t authorize the business meeting to refuse to seat a bid picked by site selection voters. If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me in five… four… three…
(8) DRAGON AWARDS DEADLINE. The Red Panda Fraction reminds everyone that the deadline for the nominations for the 2019 Dragon Awards is this Friday, July 19. Here’s the link to the nominations page. The Pandas have also borrowed an idea from Renay and created an eligible works spreadsheet:
We also had many more people work on the Dragon Awards Google Docs spreadsheet (Dragon Awards Eligible Works 2019) this year since we got it up much earlier than last year. The anonymous contributors did a lot of work and even added extra information about possible nominees that I hadn’t thought of. It should make it easier for folks to find nominees.
(9) SHECHTER OBIT. Andi Malala Shechter died this morning, at the end of a months-long battle with an aggressive cancer called a glioblastoma, stage 4, otherwise known as glioblastoma multiforme.
Shechter lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and Seattle over the years. Her time in fandom dates at least to the New York Star Trek conventions of the Seventies. Toward the end of that decade she married Alva Rogers (1923-1982), who had co-chaired the 1968 Worldcon. In the Eighties, she moved to Boston, was active in Boskones, and served as a division head for Noreascon 3, the 1989 Worldcon. In the Nineties, she moved to Seattle with her long-time partner, Stu Shiffman (1954-2014).
Shechter was a powerful force in both sff and mystery fandom. She wrote numerous mystery reviews, and twice chaired Left Coast Crime, in 1997 and again in 2007. She was named fan guest of honor of LCC in 2001.
In 2013 Andi and Stu, who had been together for 25 years, announced their engagement. At the time Stu was trying to recover from a stroke. On June 18, 2014 they married in a ceremony at University of Washington’s Burke Museum with nearly 100 in attendance. Very sadly, Stu passed away before the end of the year.
Many of Andi’s friends are leaving tributes on her Facebook page – some are set to public, others are set to closer accessibility.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
(11) COMICS SECTION.
(12) YMMV. According to Food & Wine, “Twinkies Cereal Could Be Part of Your Balanced Hostess Snack Cake-Themed Breakfast”.
The idea of turning a Hostess snack cake into cereal isn’t totally insane. That was proven by the first two Hostess products that were introduced in bowl-worthy form courtesy of Post last year: Honey Bun Cereal and Donettes Cereal. Both honey buns and mini-donuts can be breakfast. Are they the healthiest breakfasts? Obviously not. But probably most everyone reading this has eaten one of those things for breakfast in the past — and at the very least, if someone told you they ate a Hostess Honey Bun or a pack of Donettes for breakfast, you wouldn’t stare them down in disgust. However, if someone told you they ate a Twinkie for breakfast…
(13) TONIGHT’S JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter reports the game show’s latest stfnal reference. (Photo by Brett Cox.)
Final Jeopardy – Women Authors
Answer: An award for works of horror, dark fantasy & psychological suspense honors this author who came to fame with a 1948 short story.
Wrong question: “Who is Ayn Rand?”
Correct question: “Who is Shirley Jackson?”
(14) THE NEW NORMAL? NPR observes that “Climate Change Fuels Wetter Storms — Storms Like Barry”.
People across southern Louisiana are spending the weekend worried about flooding. The water is coming from every direction: the Mississippi River is swollen with rain that fell weeks ago farther north, and a storm called Barry is pushing ocean water onshore while it drops more rain from above.
It’s a situation driven by climate change, and one that Louisiana has never dealt with, at least in recorded history. And it’s raising questions about whether New Orleans and other communities are prepared for such an onslaught.
“It is noteworthy that we’re in our 260th day of a flood fight on the Mississippi River, the longest in history, and that this is the first time in history a hurricane will strike Louisiana while the Mississippi River has been at flood stage,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in response to a question about climate change at a Friday news conference.
(15) WORKS BEST WHEN YOU DON’T USE YOUR BIRTHDAY. “Computer password inventor dies aged 93” – BBC has the story.
Computer pioneer Fernando Corbato, who first used passwords to protect user accounts, has died aged 93.
…Dr Corbato reportedly died as a result of complications caused by diabetes.
…He joined MIT in 1950 to study for a doctorate in physics, but realised during those years that he was more interested in the machines that physicists used to do their calculations than in the subject itself.
Using computers during the 50s was an exercise in frustration because the huge, monolithic machines could only handle one processing job at a time.
In a bid to overcome this limitation, Dr Corbato developed an operating system for computers called the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS).
…Passwords were introduced to CTSS as a way for users to hide away the files and programs they were working on from others on the same machine.
(16) BASTILLE STORMED BY FLYBOARD. BBC video shows “Bastille Day: Flyboard takes part in military display”.
The annual Bastille Day parade, marking the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, has been taking place in Paris.
Over 4,000 military personnel and more than 100 aircraft took part in ceremonies, with crowds entertained by inventor Franky Zapata and his futuristic flyboard.
(17) DISTRACTED DRIVING. BBC is there for “Monsters and power-ups in new go-kart experience” (video).
An experience which allows go-kart drivers to race against each other while shooting virtual monsters and picking up power-ups has been developed.
Drivers wear a Magic Leap headset which allows them to see the augmented reality elements of the track.
(18) A HUNK OF BURNIN’ LOVE. NPR says the Feds have found another place to put a wall: “Federal Clampdown On Burning Man Imperils Festival’s Free Spirit Ethos, Say Burners”.
Burning Man started three decades ago as a low-key gathering of friends who celebrated summer solstice on a West Coast beach by setting a wooden man aflame.
Now, event organizers say the counterculture gathering of arts, music and communal living is eyeing attendance in the six figures, leading to a months-long struggle with federal regulators over whether its swelling size will cause long-term harm to the environment and even make the event vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
The battle is heating up as Burning Man officials attempt to secure a new 10-year permit to allow the August gathering in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to jump from its current capacity of 80,000 to 100,000. But the Bureau of Land Management is clamping down.
In a recent report assessing Burning Man’s environmental impact, the BLM capped the festival population at 80,000, citing an abundance of trash generated by the thousands of revelers and a host of safety concerns for eventgoers as well as for the federally protected land.
A preliminary report from the BLM called for new regulations, including an attendance cap, mandatory security screenings and a concrete barrier to encircle the perimeter. Federal officials have since eased those controls for now, except for the population cap.
Still, longtime participants say the government tightening its grip on the growing event threatens the anarchic principles that underpin the festival.
(19) AREA 51 WARNING. All those of you who never watch Fox News should shut your eyes at this point:
Officials warn public of dangers at secretive Nevada base and signal that the Air Force stands ready; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin report from the Pentagon.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, mlex, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]
(1) GREEN EYED MONSTER. Elizabeth Bear’s “Jealousy part two: what if it isn’t a friend?” is a public post from her subscription newsletter.
In response to my previous newsletter on dealing with jealousy for the career successes of friends and colleagues, I’ve had a couple of conversations about how one might deal with an even more difficult form of jealousy: jealousy for the successes of people you just can’t stand—or, even worse, who have done you some personal harm. Sometimes abusers, toxic exes, harassers, or people who got you fired go on to have brilliant careers and amass great amounts of personal power.
And that’s a hard thing to take. Especially if, every time you go to an industry event, somebody is telling you how awesome that person is.
If there’s one thing that the #MeToo movement has made evident, it’s that this isn’t a problem unique to publishing. It’s a terrible situation to be in—triggering, traumatizing, and grief-provoking. It can make you doubt your own experience, memories, and senses. It can prove a constant reminder of violation.
It’s also (if there’s another thing the #MeToo movement has made evident) a depressingly common situation.
So how does one deal with it, when one finds one’s self in a situation like that?
(2) BECOMING SUPERMAN. J. Michael Straczynski previews his forthcoming autobiography. Thread starts here.
(3) TWO-COUNTRY PROBLEM. Jiayang Fan profiles Liu Cixin for The New Yorker: “Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds”
… When the first volume of the series was published in the United States, in 2014, the models for Trisolaris and Earth were immediately apparent. For the Chinese, achieving parity with the West is a long-cherished goal, envisaged as a restoration of greatness after the humiliation of Western occupations and the self-inflicted wounds of the Mao era. As Liu told the Times, “China is on the path of rapid modernization and progress, kind of like the U.S. during the golden age of science fiction.” The future, he went on, would be “full of threats and challenges,” and “very fertile soil” for speculative fiction.
In the past few years, those threats and challenges have escalated, as China’s global ambitions, especially in the field of technology, have begun to impinge upon America’s preëminence.
…As the standoff has intensified, Liu has become wary of touting the geopolitical underpinnings of his work. In November, when I accompanied him on a trip to Washington, D.C.—he was picking up the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation’s Award for Imagination in Service to Society—he briskly dismissed the idea that fiction could serve as commentary on history or on current affairs. “The whole point is to escape the real world!” he said. Still, the kind of reader he attracts suggests otherwise: Chinese tech entrepreneurs discuss the Hobbesian vision of the trilogy as a metaphor for cutthroat competition in the corporate world; other fans include Barack Obama, who met Liu in Beijing two years ago, and Mark Zuckerberg. Liu’s international career has become a source of national pride. In 2015, China’s then Vice-President, Li Yuanchao, invited Liu to Zhongnanhai—an off-limits complex of government accommodation sometimes compared to the Kremlin—to discuss the books and showed Liu his own copies, which were dense with highlights and annotations.
(4) CHANGING EXPECTATIONS. Why didn’t the latest Men In Black movie take off? Is it the chemistry of the leads, the script, or a third cause proposed by The Hollywood Reporter: “‘Men in Black’ and When Spectacle Isn’t Enough”.
There’s another potential explanation as to why Men in Black: International has failed to click with audiences, and it has to do with spectacle. Spectacle has long been a key part of the draw of big-budget Hollywood films. And for a long time, spectacle in terms of what films were using the most cutting-edge technology — had the most lifelike monsters, the most extensive battle sequences and so on — quite often corresponded with what films did well.
Think of a film like Avatar (2009). No one was writing home about the story. In spite of the various box office records it broke, the actual content of the film has left little lasting impression on popular culture in comparison to other comparable box office successes. While Jaws lives on in references like, “you’re gonna need a bigger boat” and the characters of the Star Wars films or the Marvel Cinematic Universe are household names, a lot of people would have a far more difficult time recalling any characters or lines of dialogue from Avatar. And this is because Avatar is the sort of film that reached the heights it did by merit of technical spectacle — immersing the audience in what, for many, was a compellingly photorealistic alien world.
(5) AUDIO FURNITURE. The new Two Chairs Talking podcast, in which David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss talk about sff books and movies, takes its name from the pair’s history as Worldcon Chairs — David: Aussiecon Two; and Perry: Aussiecon Three and co-chair of Aussiecon 4.
The fifth episode, “Episode 5: An Incomplete History of Serious Events”, features guest Leigh Edmonds talking about how he became a historian, and about his project to write a history of science fiction fandom in Australia. It also features Perry on Greg Egan, and David, as he says, “talking probably for too long about the tv series A Series of Unfortunate Events.
(6) CALLING DOUGHNUT CONTROL. Krispy Kreme is cashing in on the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by launching a new type of doughnut. (John King Tarpinian, who sent the link, promises he’ll be sticking to his traditional Moon Pie.)
One small bite for man. One giant leap for doughnut-kind! As America prepares for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Krispy Kreme is making a giant leap for doughnut-kind by introducing a whole NEW interpretation of the brand’s iconic Original Glazed. This will be the FIRST TIME Krispy Kreme has offered another version of the Original Glazed Doughnut on the menu PERMANENTLY.
(7) GOAL EXCEEDED. The Dennis Etchison Memorial Fund at GoFundMe raised $5,445 to help Kristina Etchison with costs incurred to have Dennis laid to rest. (The target amount was $4,000.)
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
(10) COMICS SECTION.
(11) SIGHTING. The commemorative Moon Landing Oreos have hit the markets. John King Tarpinian snapped this photo in a Target store.
(12) HUGH JACKMAN. Ahead of his live show in Houston, Hugh Jackman visited NASA, something he’s been dreaming about doing since childhood:
Also, in the opening number of the second act of his show, channeling Peter Allen, he brought a NASA salsa dance instructor up on stage with him. Who even knew NASA had salsa dance instructors? It’s a real thing apparently!
“I don’t know about you guys! I’m going to Mars!” … “I’m gonna sign up to be an astronaut tomorrow!”
(13) THANKS FOR PLAYING. Kotaku: “Amazon Lays Off Dozens Of Game Developers During E3”.
Yesterday, as the video game industry’s attention was focused squarely on the final day of the E3 convention in Los Angeles, Amazon’s video game division quietly laid off dozens of employees.
Amazon Game Studios, which is currently developing the online games Crucible and New World, told affected employees on Thursday morning that they would have 60 days to look for new positions within Amazon, according to one person who was laid off. At the end of that buffer period, if they fail to find employment, they will receive severance packages.
Amazon also canceled some unannounced games, that person told Kotaku.
(14) FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND. BBC now knows “Why are Nike trainers washing up on beaches?”
Over the past year, from Bermuda and the Bahamas to Ireland and Orkney, hundreds of pairs of unworn shoes have washed up on beaches. But how did they get there, and why are scientists so interested in where they are being found?
…The source of all these shoes is believed to be a single ship.
“Through the research I have done,” Mr Ribeiro says, “everything indicates they may have been from some of the 70 to 76 containers that fell overboard from the Maersk Shanghai.”
…Despite the environmental damage, scientists can salvage something from such incidents – a better understanding of our oceans and the currents that drive them.
While many of the shoes from the Maersk Shanghai have been washing up on beaches, far more are likely to be doing laps of the North Atlantic ocean, stuck in a network of powerful currents.
…Even more enlightening, Dr Ebbesmeyer says, is how the shape of the shoes seems to dictate where they end up.
“The left and the right sneakers float with different orientation to the wind,” he explains. “So when the wind blows on them they will go to different places. So on some beaches you tend to get the left sneakers and on others you get the right.”
(15) VLOGBRO NOVEL. Ana Grilo’s “Book Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green” appears at The Book Smugglers:
…This book is a cool mixture of puzzle-solving, personal story and world-changing events.
What strikes me the most about it though is the choice of having this particular type of protagonist because April? Not exactly a super great person. She is kinda of a jerk, she is flawed, full of contradictions, she well and truly fucks up on numerous occasions. She loves AND hates all the attention and fame she receives – especially in a world that mirrors our own in terms of how social media shapes the lives of people. There is good in it, but there is also bad and there is certainly the ugly too and at different times April embodies all of these possibilities.
(16) KEEP ON DOWN THE ROAD. Andrew Liptak praises Rebecca Roanhorse’s next novel — “Storm of Locusts is like American Gods meets Mad Max: Fury Road“. (Beware spoilers in the body of the review.)
In her debut novel Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse introduced readers to a compelling future in which climate change and wars have wrecked North America, resulting in some fantastical transformations to the country. Native American gods walk alongside mortal humans, some of whom have developed fantastical clan powers, and magical walls have grown around the traditional Navajo homeland Dinétah. In her next adventure, Storm of Locusts, Roanhorse ups the stakes for her characters and the world….
(17) KEEPING THE SRIRACHA IN SF. This is Jason Sheehan’s advice for NPR readers: “Regular Old Sci-Fi Not Weird Enough For You? Try ‘FKA USA'” (Reed King’s new book.)
Hey, you. Did you really like A Canticle For Leibowitz but think it needed more robot hookers and a talking goat? Then FKA USA is the book for you.
Did you think The Road suffered by not having enough gunfights with Mormons? Do you have a fondness for The Wizard Of Oz but believe, deep in your weird little heart, that it suffered a crippling lack of footnotes, bad language and fart jokes? Yeah, me, too. Which is (maybe) why I liked FKA USA so much.
(18) SAVAGE BUILDS. The Verge invites everyone to “Watch Adam Savage make a flying Iron Man suit in his new show, Savage Builds”.
For a limited time, the first episode of Savage Builds—in which Adam Savage (late of Mythbusters) constructs and tests an Iron Man suit—is available free on the Discovery Channel website.
Adam Savage became a household name as the cohost of Mythbusters, and now, he’s returned to the Discovery Channel with a new show: Savage Builds. In each episode of the series, Savage goes out and builds something, consulting with other experts and builders. The series just began airing on Discovery, and the first episode, in which he builds a flying Iron Man costume, is available for free online (at least in the US) for the next two weeks.
Think of it like a builder’s version of Mythbusters: take a thing from pop culture or history, and make a version that functions as closely as possible to its on-screen counterpart. In the show’s first episode, Savage sets out to build a real, flying Iron Man costume that’s also bulletproof.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Woke Up Looking” on Vimeo is a love song Gideon Irving sings to his robot.
[Thanks to Kat, Irwin Hirsh, Contrarius, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
The Aussiecon 4 committee has reporters eating out of their hands ever since their announcement that
I think it’s a fairly safe bet that games and science fiction go together like movies and popcorn. Some may not love both but few would disagree the combo works like a charm.
Industry Minister Theo Theophanous said it was a coup for
to be chosen as the host for the 68th World Science Fiction Convention…. Melbourne
“This science fiction event, Aussiecon 4, has universal appeal and we’re expecting more than 3000 fans to converge on our fantastic new convention centre,” Mr Theophanous said.
Aussiecon 4 Co-Chair, Mr Perry Middlemiss, says this is an exciting time for Australian Science Fiction, and that, given growing interest in the genre, Melbourne is set to see the largest Aussiecon to date.
“In the past ten years the science fiction, fantasy, horror and young adult literary genres have seen significant growth in
in both quantity and quality, with many new and established writers gaining recognition internationally. Aussiecon 4 will showcase the work of Australia ‘s emerging writers, but will also attract well known and highly acclaimed writers from around the world.” Australia
[Links via Isaac Alexander]