Daniel Dern’s Sunday Dublin 2019 Photos

Yr humble correspondent at the helm

That would be Starship Captain Dern, putting the vessel through its paces

More of Dern’s photos follow the jump.

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Pixel Scroll 8/26/18 Pixels Of Unusual Size? I Don’t Think They Exist

(1) ALL SYSTEMS WIN. Martha Wells posted a Worldcon 76 report including her experiences at the Hugo Awards ceremony —

Then we got to novella, and I was extremely nervous. I felt like I had a strong chance and was hopeful, but it was still awesome to win. I managed to get up the stairs to the stage, give my speech without crying (After the Nebula Awards I didn’t want to be the author who cries all the time.) (I saved it all up for Monday, when every time anyone said anything nice to me, I would start crying.) Managed to get down the Stairs of Doom backstage with the help of about four people, got stopped to get a photo outside the auditorium in the reception area, went back in the wrong door and could not get it open and had to thump on it until the backstage people heard me, and then got back to my seat in time to see Nnedi Okorafor win for Best YA novel and N.K. Jemisin win for Best Novel!

And she has some Worldcon photos on her Tumblr.

(2) DIGBY IN ONE PLACE. The Golds reminded readers today about the extended electronic edition of Tom Digby’s amazing fanwriting that’s available online, “Along Fantasy Way”. Originally produced for the 1993 Worldcon where Tom was a guest of honor, the collection was expanded in its 2014 digital version. What a treasure trove of wonderfully creative idea-tripping. Delightful poetry, too – for example:

…OR MINERAL(2/07/76)

Pet rocks are OK, but some people prefer more variety.
The guy upstairs from me
Has a 1947 Chevrolet engine block.
I think his apartment is too small for it,
But there it is.
And the family down the street
With the goldfish pond in the yard
Has an old ship’s anchor
To keep the fish company.

But of all the inorganic pets in the neighborhood,
The happiest is an old beer can
Belonging to a small boy.
It would never win a prize at a show:
Too many dents
And spots of rust
And paint flaking off.
And besides, it’s a brand of beer
Most people don’t like.
But that doesn’t really matter.
What matters is FUN
Like afternoons when they go for a walk:
The can leaps joyously ahead
CLATTERDY RATTLEDY CLANG BANG!
Then lies quietly waiting for its master to catch up
Before leaping ahead again.
I may get a beer can myself some day.

But I still don’t think it’s right
To keep a 1947 Chevrolet engine block
Cooped up in such a small apartment.

The collection is illustrated by Phil and Kaja Foglio.

(3) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. A very nice set of Bradbury quotes at Blackwing666: “Ray Bradbury – Born August 22, 1920”

(4) GUNNED DOWN. You could see this coming. The Hollywood Reporter says “‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Production Put on Hold”. The studio still expects to make the movie later on.

Sources say that crewmembers, which is, at this stage, a small group that was prepping for preproduction, are being dismissed and are free to look for new work.

The Marvel project was originally to have been directed by James Gunn and was to have begun principal photography in the winter, either in January or February. The project was crewing up and was to have gone into full preproduction mode in the fall.

But Gunn was let go as the director in July when old tweets were resurfaced in response to his vocal political posts. While some held out hope that the director would be given a reprieve by Disney, a mid-August meeting with Disney chairman Alan Horn closed the door on that.

(5) LAST DAYS OF BANG ON EARTH. Big Bang Theory has started production of its final season.

Let What Culture tell you Why The Big Bang Theory Just Got Cancelled.

(6) HUGO STATISTIC. I don’t have time to check. Could be….

(7) HOW THEY STACK UP. Rocket Stack Rank’s Eric Wong writes:

With the recent release of the TOC for the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2018 (BASFF), I’ve updated RSR’s 2017 Best SF/F Anthologies article with the 20 stories in that anthology plus their honorable mentions.

The grand total from five 2017 “year’s best” SF/F anthologies is 114 stories by 91 authors, from which we can make the following observations:

o   Magazines: Asimov’s (12), Clarkesworld (9), Lightspeed (9)

o   Anthologies: Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities (3/7), Extrasolar(5/14), Infinity Wars (5/15)

o   Nancy Kress (3), Rich Larson (3), Robert Reed (3), Alastair Reynolds(3)

To see other outstanding stories that didn’t make it into the five “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, go to RSR’s 2017 Best SF/F article, which has also been updated with the BASFF stories for a total of 256 stories by 201 authors.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • August 26, 1953The War of the Worlds premiered. (“Welcome to California!”)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge]

  • Born August 26 — Katherine Johnson, 100. NASA mathematician and physicist awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama in 2015. Her work made space travel possible. And yes she’s African-American as well! (Makers has a post celebrating her birthday.)
  • Born August 26 — Barbara Ehrenreich, 77. Social activist and author of one genre novel, Kipper’s Game which gets compared to the works of Connie Willis.
  • Born August 26 — Stephen Fry, 61. Narrator, all of the Harry Potter audiobook recordings, Col. K. In the animated Dangermouse series and any number of other delightfully interesting genre related undertakings.
  • Born August 26 — Wanda De Jesus, 60. Genre work includes Robocop 2, SeaQuest 2032, Tales from The DarksideBabylon 5, and Ghosts of Mars
  • Born August 26 — Melissa McCarthy, 48. Now starring in The Happytime Murders which apparently is the first film from the adult division of Jim Henson Productions. Also Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.
  • Born August 26 — Chris Pine, 38. James T. Kirk in the current Trek film franchise; also Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman film franchise as well as A Wrinkle in Time and Rise Of The Guardians.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brevity shows some movie dinosaurs who keep comic back.

(11) SPACE ANNIVERSARY. JPL celebrates “15 Years in Space for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope”, an instrument that has far outlasted its predicted useful life.

Launched into a solar orbit on Aug. 25, 2003, Spitzer was the final of NASA’s four Great Observatories to reach space. The space telescope has illuminated some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, revealed a new ring around Saturn, and peered through shrouds of dust to study newborn stars and black holes. Spitzer assisted in the discovery of planets beyond our solar system, including the detection of seven Earth-size planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1, among other accomplishments.

 

(12) OH NO, WHERE CAN THE MATTER BE. Gizmodo reports “Scientists Will Soon Drop Antimatter to See How It Behaves in Gravity”.

In a new study, physicists attempted to find differences between matter and antimatter—confusingly, also a kind of matter, but with the opposite charge and other differences. It’s like an evil twin. Confusingly, the universe has way more matter than antimatter, for no clear reason. Physicists haven’t found the specific differences they were looking for when studying the antimatter version of hydrogen, called antihydrogen, but they have demonstrated a way to study antimatter better than ever before.

Mike Kennedy forwarded the link with the note, “It’s a complicated story, and mostly about recent measurements of the Lyman-? emission lines of anti-hydrogen… in particular it being the same wavelength as for hydrogen <http://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0435-1>. The bit about laser cooling anti-hydrogen and dropping it to observe how it reacts to gravity is IIUC speculative at this point.”

(13) MORE ON NEXT SHATNER RECORD. SYFY Wire brings us news that William Shatner is releasing a holiday album (“William Shatner teases Christmas cover record: Shatner Claus”):

Set phasers to jolly.

The legendary actor and musician William Shatner is giving us another reason to be excited about the holiday season. Shatner tweeted the Amazon link to pre-order his first upcoming record: Shatner Claus The Christmas Album. You can add the self-described godfather of dramatic musical interpretation’s album digital audio, CD, or vinyl in your letter to the North Pole. With vinyl record sales on the constant rise, it’s exciting to see if this will find Shatner Claus’ sleigh riding its way to the top of the Billboard charts.

(14) JURASSIC BLETCHLEY PARK. In “Dinosaur DNA clues unpicked by researchers at University of Kent”, scientists are theorizing-from-clues that dinosaur DNA, like birds’, had many chromosomes, making mix-and-match easier.

Researchers at the University of Kent say their work uncovers the genetic secret behind why dinosaurs came in such a variety of shapes and sizes.

This variation helped the creatures evolve quickly in response to a changing environment – helping them to dominate Earth for 180 million years.

But the researchers behind the DNA work say they have no plans to recreate dinosaurs, Jurassic Park style.

(15) FLAME OFF. BBC assures us, “Yes, Antarctica has a fire department”.

But fighting fires in freezing temperatures also calls for some specialist equipment.

Surprisingly, water is still an option. McMurdo’s fire engine has a pump, which cycles water constantly through the vehicle to prevent it from freezing.

Remembering to set the pump going is, says Branson, a lesson quickly learned.

“You do not want to be the person who freezes all the water in the fire engine. Then you’re stuck with a 500 gallon engine with an ice block in it… and nobody on base is going to like you.”

(16) BEARLY VISIBLE. BBC has video: “Bear roams ‘The Shining’ hotel in Colorado”. It’s a good thing Jack Nicholson didn’t try swinging an axe at this guest….

A bear was filmed going through the lobby of the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s classic horror novel in Colorado.

(17) YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. While excavating on YouTube, Carl Slaughter found Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965): “Frankenstein, ie, Frank the android, does battle with a Martian beast to prevent a Martian princess from replenishing Mars with voluptuous and sometimes bikini-clad Earth women.  The Pentagon monitors the situation and tries to lend Frank a hand.  Turns out Frank wears an Air Force uniform and holds military rank  – like Data.  This is in the so bad it’s good category.”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

Balticon 50 Opening Ceremonies

Last night’s opening ceremonies for Balticon 50, photographed by Sean Kirk. Pictured are the past and present Guests Of Honors in attendance for the convention’s 50th anniversary.

From left to right: George R. R. Martin, Jo Walton, Joe Halderman, Jody Lynn Nye, Charles Stross, Connie Willis, Larry Niven, Peter S. Beagle, Steve Barnes, Steve Miller, Sharon Lee, Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Harry Turtledove, Allen Steele, Donald Kingsbury, and Nancy Springer.

A Kerfuffle in Transylvania

Phil Foglio blogged how unhappy he is about the lack of communication from Tor concerning the future of the Girl Genius books.

Tor published a hardcover omnibus edition of Girl Genius collecting Phil and Kaja Foglio’s first three books in one volume. Afterwards the Foglios asked when the paperback would come out, and about doing a follow-up collection of the next several books in the series. They say a year went by with no response from their (unnamed) editor at Tor.  Even the Foglios’ agent couldn’t get an answer.

Phil ran into another Tor senior editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, at the 2013 Worldcon and enlisted his help, but by autumn became impatient for action and frustrated that Nielsen Hayden also wasn’t answering e-mails. So in the January 29 post Phil not only teed off on Nielsen Hayden but asked everyone on the internet to join in voicing their disapproval on Patrick’s Facebook page. (Curiously, to him alone, still no mention of the editor actually working on Girl Genius.)

Today Patrick explained his side of things on Making Light, including the caveats he’d given Phil about his schedule.

What happened next? Well, despite what I said to Phil about not being in a position to help him until late November, September wasn’t even over before I began getting emails from Phil’s agent demanding that I deal with this and/or instruct Phil’s editor to deal with this—emails in which it was clear that, in Phil’s agent’s eyes, I was now Part Of Phil’s Problem At Tor.

And Patrick emphasized that the people at Tor who are the source of Phil’s complaint don’t report to him. Senior editors report to the publisher; Tor doesn’t have an editor-in-chief; Patrick is not the other editor’s boss. It does Phil no practical good to bury him in complaints.

Bottom line: As far as I can see, Phil’s problems with Tor are being dealt with now. Sending me dozens of angry emails isn’t going to get them dealt with any faster or better. If you want to send me email telling me I’m a craphead for not having answered Phil Foglio’s emails from late November to mid-January, okay, guilty as charged. But I’m not the guy on a golden throne proposing and disposing the actions of all the other senior editors at Tor.

The thing that struck me is how many writers I’ve heard agonize about how slowly the publishing process works – with every publisher. It takes forever to get a decision about a submission. When a book is accepted, it takes another year or three to grind through the editorial process and reach market. Writers fear that infinite patience is likely to be rewarded with maximum delay, but are also wary about doing much elbow-jogging and ending even worse off. Since Phil’s post goes well beyond elbow-jogging – a body slam is more like it, and on the wrong party — I wonder if Girl Genius still has a future at Tor or will the publisher cut the Foglios loose as Phil more or less seems to hope at this point:

I mention that we’ve been selling graphic novels fairly well for quite awhile, and that we’d cheerfully give them pointers. However, if they just can’t wrap their heads around it, which seems obvious since after three years they have yet to sell through the initial print run (We’d have done it in 16 months- and that’s with no advertising, which is a fair comparison, as they did no advertising either), then we’ll just sing a chorus of “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You”, and then we’ll publish them ourselves, because if there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s publish and sell Girl Genius graphic novels.

Girl Genius Thrilled Not To Be On Hugo Ballot

A recent installment of Girl Genius delivers fresh evidence that Phil and Kaja Foglio like marching to the beat of a different drummer. The pair are ecstatic their comic is not a 2013 Hugo nominee —

“How exactly is this GREAT? We were only supposed to sit out ONE year!”

“Don’t you see? It means we’ve shown them, shown them all! …The Best Graphic Story category is REALLY NEW, and WE won the FIRST THREE! So SOME people said there was no point to the award, since WE’D just keep winning it – which was actually pretty nice of them—“

The Foglios withdrew Girl Genius for 2012 only, but are quite content to promote the health of the new category by leaving the glory to others for another year.

On the other hand, would they be drawing attention to the news in this way unless they were worried the trend might become permanent?

Dragon*Con Addresses Kramer Connection

Dragon*Con’s management has responded on Facebook to the storm over its continued financial connection to Ed Kramer.

The controversy was energized by Kramer’s extradition from Connecticut to Georgia, where he has been facing child molestation charges since 2000, and a recent article in an Atlanta monthly that raised fans’ awareness that Kramer remains a stockholder in Dragon*Con’s parent corporation and gets dividends from the con’s profits.

Nancy Collins has called for a Dragon*Con boycott and some have answered, notably Kaja and Phil Foglio.

Dragon*Con’s response begins:

There has been a great deal of discussion as of late in the community regarding our continued financial connection to Edward Kramer. Please know that we are as troubled by this circumstance as anyone else, but please also know that there is no simple, legal, solution to this matter…if there were, it would have been resolved long ago.

For the record, Edward Kramer resigned from the Dragon*Con convention in the year 2000. Since that time, he has had no role in the direction or management of the convention; however, he remains a stockholder despite our desires otherwise.

Since Edward Kramer’s arrest in 2000, we have made multiple attempts to sever all ties between Edward Kramer and Dragon*Con including several efforts to buy Edward Kramer’s stock shares. Unfortunately, Edward Kramer’s response to our buyout efforts was repeated litigation against Dragon*Con…th­us our buyout efforts have been stalled. The idea proposed of dissolving the company and reincorporating­ has been thoroughly investigated and is not possible at this point. Legally, we can’t just take away his shares. We are unfortunately limited in our options and responses as we remain in active litigation.

They deny generally the “current flood of ‘information’” sourced in Kramer’s multiple lawsuits against Dragon*Con, claiming “much of this misinformation is being quoted as pure fact despite the reality that a court of law determined that many of the facts and figures provided by Mr. Kramer in his law suits were false, inaccurate or completely fictitious.”

The statement also emphasizes that since 2000, Dragon Con has been managed by three of the original co-founders, Chairman Pat Henry and board members Dave Cody and Robert Dennis. Which is to say – not Ed Kramer.

Regardless whether Dragon*Con management is legally helpless, or just unwilling to do anything that might kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, one fact is clear. People who don’t want to be making a financial contribution to Ed Kramer must find their own solutions. Not giving Dragon*Con any of their money is one.

Collins, the Foglios any many others consider the boycott a necessity to cut off the funds Kramer uses for his legal defense. I make no doubt that Ed uses his Dragon*Con income to pay his lawyers, but let’s not forget that in our system he’s entitled to a defense. If he was broke, the government would have to appoint him a public defender. I won’t characterize it as a problem that he’s defending himself, frustrated as I may be that the charges have lingered unresolved for almost 13 years.

It’s the prosecutors and courts in Georgia I’ve felt should be held accountable for letting Ed scam them into infinite delays, arguing he was unable to assist in his own defense. Quotes from people who saw Kramer out and about prior to his arrest in Connecticut show he considers himself able to work on a film. Why wasn’t anyone in Georgia law enforcement able to bring similar information to light over the years?

[Thanks to James Bacon for the link.]

Foglios Boycott Dragon*Con

Kaja & Phil Foglio posted today on the Girl Genuis Webcomic Facebook page that they will not be going to Dragon*Con this year because of co-founder Ed Kramer’s history as an accused pedophile, and because Kramer’s significant income from his continued financial interest in Dragon*con (though he is no longer an officer) has afforded him the ability to mount a defense which has helped him avoid going to trial on the charges since they were brought 12 years ago.

The Foglios were invited to come to Dragon*Con as guests and say they will be sacrificing $15,000 of income by skipping the con.

They also posted a link to an article about Nancy Collins’ call for a Dragon*Con boycott.

The Foglios’ announcement has already received over 500 “likes” and 400 shares.

Mining for Foglio’s Gold

Before Phil Foglio was a prolific and dominant pro artist he was a prolific and dominant fan artist. He racked up two Best Fan Artist Hugos (1977, 1978). Over three decades later, Foglio’s vintage fanzine art is the heart of John Teehan’s new project:

I’ve gotten Phil Foglio to agree to let me (as Merry Blacksmith Press) take a stab at pulling together a bound collection of his early black and white fan art. He doesn’t have much from his early days still hanging around and wouldn’t know where to find them if he did. Kaja might know, but it was before her time and she’s not so sure either.

If anyone can help me track down some art, or help with some scans or originals to scan, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Can you can help? Contact John Teehan at jdteehaniphone (at) gmail (dot) com.

If I were Teehan I’d start looking through the top genzines published from 1976-1978 (or perhaps a little earlier). He not only needs to find Foglio illos, he needs to find well-reproduced copies. The best bet is to search in zines like Outworlds or Simulacrum.

(Foglio once sent me something but I made a mess of it. Save your time, no need to look in old issues of Scientifriction or Prehensile…)

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Tracking Withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos

A number of past and present Hugo winners, out of a gracious desire to share the wealth, have already announced they will not accept an award nomination in 2012 for a specific category.

Inevitably, these kinds of announcements get distorted in the retelling. Or somebody will post what they wish the person had said, not what they really said. I’ve already seen this happening though Renovation was just last month!

That’s why I thought it would be helpful to run down the correct information about four prior nominees whose real or rumored withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos have made news. Here is their verified status:

Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius (2012 withdrawal)
Best Professional Editor, Long Form: David Hartwell (permanent withdrawal from this category only)
Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld (2012 withdrawal)

Also, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011, says he has yet to make up his mind about 2012 — therefore he has not withdrawn as of this writing.

Girl Genius: Phil Foglio must wonder how he could have made it any more clear, with a public announcement at the 2011 Hugo ceremonies, followed by online comic explaining that the decision to bow out affects next year alone.

David G. Hartwell: The popular editor wants everyone to understand he has pulled out of only one category:

I want this to be very clear. I withdrew from one category only, Best Editor Long Form, permanently. I would very much like to be nominated again in Best Editor Short Form, and for NYRSF (or any other category). But I felt after all these years, and finally three wins in four years, that I should withdraw permanently from Best Editor Long Form, as long as it remains a category. And I am pleased to see the way the category has opened up to younger talent.

Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld Magazine: The outspoken champion of the semiprozine category, whose zine won the Hugo in 2010 and 2011, said he wants to see new titles on the ballot:  

Yes, Clarkesworld is withdrawing itself from consideration in 2012. The category has suffered from a history of serial nominees and winners and after two consecutive wins, I felt this was the right thing to do. In stepping down, I hope to encourage people to put their support behind one of the many semiprozines that have never been nominated. There are a lot of worthy candidates. The ballot has been reflecting more of that recently and it’s a trend I’d like to see continue.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: Patrick withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011 but there’s a reason he has yet to make a decision about 2012:

My only real public statement on the matter was while actually accepting the 2010 Hugo on stage in Melbourne — I said, roughly, that since my colleague David Hartwell and I had now split the four-so-far “Editor Long Form” awards between us, I was going to withdraw from the category in 2011 in order to make sure some other editors got their long-overdue recognition. I meant to write a post on Making Light repeating this, but I never got around to it.

I didn’t commit to withdrawing from the category beyond 2011, and to be honest I haven’t actually made up my mind what I’m going to do next year. I do have one remaining major-SF-award ambition, which is to win a Hugo or something equally whooshy when Teresa is actually in the room. I’ve won a World Fantasy Award and two Hugos, all of them at overseas conventions that Teresa didn’t attend. 

Not that I’m presuming I would automatically make the ballot in future years. As I pointed out to my assistant Liz Gorinsky at the post-Hugos party in Reno, she got the second largest number of nominations, trailing only Lou Anders who actually won. Liz got significantly more nominations than either David or me, and over twice as many as any of the other five runners-up. “That’s crazy,” Liz said. “Hey, numbers don’t lie,” I said. “That’s crazy. That’s crazy. That’s crazy,” was all she would say.

(It is actually a matter of non-trivial pride to me that in 2010, Liz and I were both on the ballot — the first time an editor and his-or-her assistant have been shortlisted for the same Hugo award. In 2010, Liz was also the youngest-ever finalist in any of the editor categories, a record previously set by 31-year-old Jim Baen in 1975.)

[Thanks to Neil Clarke, David G. Hartwell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, for their comments. ]

Genius Move in the Graphic Story Hugo Category

Girl Genius has won 100% of the Hugos ever awarded in its category – all three given for Best Graphic Story since the category was provisionally added.  

When the online comic’s creators Phil & Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright accepted their latest rocket at Renovation, Phil announced they would withdraw Girl Genius from consideration in 2012.

Now they’ve also produced an installment of Girl Genius explaining that the decision to bow out for a year is “for the good of the category,” because “we want people to see it’s a viable award.”  

The Best Graphic Story category must be re-ratified by the 2012 Worldcon business meeting or else it will be automatically eliminated.

Many years ago, while accepting a second consecutive Hugo in the Best Fan Artist category, Phil Foglio also withdrew himself (permanently, in that case). That winning streak started just after Tim Kirk had dominated the category for several years, a history that influenced Phil’s memorable line to the 1978 Worldcon audience — “As hard as it is to win one of these, it’s even harder to stop.”

[Via Glenn Glazer.]