Ashley Wins 2020 Munsey Award

Munsey Award print. Art by David Saunders.

The winner of Pulpfest’s 2020 Munsey Award is Mike Ashley, author, bibliographer, critic, editor, and historian with a special expertise in the history of magazine science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction.

The award is named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, and recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines. The winner is selected by a committee made up of all the living LamontMunsey, and Rusty Award recipients. The award is a fine art print created by David Saunders and published by Dan Zimmer of The Illustrated Press.

The award citation notes that Mike Ashley is the author or co-author of numerous works related to the pulps, science fiction, and fantasy. These include The Age Of The Storytellers: British Popular Fiction Magazines, 1880-1950, Algernon Blackwood: A Bio-Bibliography, “Blue Book — The Slick In Pulp Clothing,” The Gernsback Days: A Study In The Evolution Of Modern Science Fiction From 1911 To 1936, Monthly Terrors: An Index To The Weird Fantasy Magazines Published In The United States And Great Britain, Science Fiction, Fantasy And Weird Fiction Magazines,  The Supernatural Index: A Listing Of Fantasy, Supernatural, Occult, Weird And Horror Anthologies, and others. In 2000, Ashley began to publish his multi-part The History Of The Science-Fiction Magazines, beginning with The Time Machines: The Story Of The Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines From The Beginning To 1950. 

Ashley has also edited many anthologies and single-author collections, often drawing work from the pulps. He is currently part of a team compiling an index to the most important British popular fiction magazines published between 1880 and 1950, including all the British pulps.

In 2002, he received a Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the study of science fiction.

Pulpfest’s Mike Chomko posted these acceptance remarks from Mike Ashley:

It’s really great to win this award and I must thank everyone who voted for me. Especially as I feel such a long way from the epicentre of the pulp world, tucked away as I am in North Kent in England. Britain had its pulps, but nothing like those that appeared in the United States. In the early 1960s, when I started researching and collecting them, not only had the heyday of the pulps long passed, but it wasn’t easy to track them down in Britain.

Sure we had some dreadful British editions of American pulps that had appeared during the War and continued afterwards for some years, but these were often abridged versions and always looked second rate. If I was going to collect and understand the pulps properly, I had to collect the originals. However, in those long-ago, pre-internet days, doing so wasn’t that easy.

I now forget all of the dealers who helped me. There were some in Britain who had US pulps for sale — Ken Slater and Ken Chapman in particular. In the States, I was helped by Bob Madle, Bob Weinberg, and others. And bit by bit my collection grew.

However, my fascination was not just collecting pulps, but understanding their history. And it wasn’t just the science fiction or weird pulps that intrigued me. I suppose I have to thank or blame Sam Moskowitz for really setting my interest on fire, though it wasn’t just him. Tom Cockcroft in New Zealand was always enticing me with references to obscure magazines. Billy Pettitt said to me once that I was wasting my time researching the primary science fiction and fantasy magazines because they had already been covered. He told me that I ought to turn my attention to the rare British pulps like HUTCHINSON’S MYSTERY-STORY or the obscure PAN.

This was in the mid-sixties, and there was one small fanzine in particular that drove my collecting bug. That was LORE. Produced by Jerry Page and Jerry Burge, it made references to all kinds of lesser-known magazines — both British and American — and pushed for resources not only to index them, but to reprint them.

These days, with the wonderful work achieved by Adventure House, Black Dog Books, Steeger Books, and so many others, it’s relatively easy to acquire facsimile or reprinted issues of the old pulps. I never believed back in 1965 that I would have a complete reprint of THE THRILL BOOK – admittedly not as pulps in their original format — but no matter. It was so legendary that I doubted I’d ever see them. I remember trying to check out these early pulps at the British Library only to have my submission card returned time and again with the notation, ‘Destroyed in the War.’

In some ways, the comparative ease with which — thanks to the internet and reprint sources — you can now find so many of these early pulps has perhaps tainted some of that thrill of the chase. But for research purposes it’s brilliant. However, there is still so much that is not readily available. I wonder whether I’ll ever assemble a complete run of the British magazine, YES OR NO – not a pulp in looks, but definitely in content. This was another destroyed in the War, but in this case, very few seemed to have bothered to collect it. I may well have the biggest run of that magazine of anyone. However, I still have only 237 of its 798 issues, which is less than a third. It’s that kind of research that drives me on. The delight in discovering, reading, and researching such early magazines is still as vibrant in me now as it was almost sixty years ago.

Now I have another thrill, with the Munsey Award. How wonderful.

Many thanks.

2020 Munsey Award Nominees

Frank Munsey in 1910.

The PulpFest Organizing Committee has announced the fourteen 2020 Munsey Award nominees. Named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, the award recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines.

Although the 2020 PulpFest has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the convention’s organizing committee felt it was important to continue the tradition of honoring the service of such individuals. The winner of the 2020 Munsey Award will be selected by a committee made up of all the living LamontMunsey, and Rusty Award recipients and announced on Monday, August 3, at the start of the week that PulpFest 2020 was scheduled to take place.

  1. Author, bibliographer, critic, editor, and historian MIKE ASHLEY has a special expertise in the history of magazine science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction. In 2002, he received a Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the study of science fiction. He is the author or co-author of numerous works related to the pulps, science fiction, and fantasy. …In 2000, Ashley began to publish his multi-part THE HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION MAGAZINES, beginning with THE TIME MACHINES: THE STORY OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION PULP MAGAZINES FROM THE BEGINNING TO 1950. Mr. Ashley has also edited many anthologies and single-author collections, often drawing work from the pulps. He is currently working to compile an index to the most important British popular fiction magazines between 1880 and 1950.
  2. The Collections Librarian at the University of Connecticut, RICHARD BLEILER is a bibliographer and researcher in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, and adventure fiction. In 2002, he was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction for the second edition of SUPERNATURAL FICTION WRITERS: FANTASY AND HORROR. With his father, Everett Bleiler, Richard compiled SCIENCE-FICTION: THE EARLY YEARSand SCIENCE-FICTION: THE GERNSBACK YEARS, both published by Kent State University Press. His other work includes THE INDEX TO ADVENTURE MAGAZINE, THE ANNOTATED INDEX TO THE THRILL BOOK, the second edition of SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS: CRITICAL STUDIES OF THE MAJOR AUTHORS FROM THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT DAY, and REFERENCE AND RESEARCH GUIDE TO MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE FICTION. Richard’s essay, “Forgotten Giant: A Brief History of ADVENTURE MAGAZINE,” originally published in EXTRAPOLATION: A JOURNAL OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, is considered the finest overview of the classic pulp magazine….
  3. For several years, JASON RAY CARNEY has been researching, publishing, and teaching about the pulps, helping to maintain knowledge and interest in this important part of American popular culture. Here at Christopher Newport University, Dr. Carney makes pulps — such as WEIRD TALES — and pulp authors, including Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and H.P. Lovecraft, an integral part of many of his classes, from freshmen and sophomore composition, to popular genres, special topics, and Honors classes. Hundreds of students have now read, analyzed, discussed, and written about these pulp magazines and writers. Additionally, he has worked with undergraduate research assistants on his pulp-related writing projects, allowing select students to study elements of pulp fiction more closely. As a scholar, Dr. Carney’s monograph WEIRD TALES OF MODERNITY: THE EPHEMERALITY OF THE ORDINARY IN THE STORIES OF ROBERT E. HOWARD, CLARK ASHTON SMIT, AND H.P. LOVECRAFT, was released in July 2019 by MacFarland…. He is on the board for The Robert E. Howard Foundation and serves as co-editor for the academic journal dedicated to Howard and pulp fiction, THE DARK MAN: THE JOURNAL OF ROBERT E. HOWARD AND PULP STUDIES. He has been a speaker at numerous pulp-related conferences and events, including the annual Howard Days and Necronomicon. Finally, he is the area chair for the Pulp Studies section of the Popular Culture Association’s National Conference.
  4. CAMILLE CAZEDESSUS has been publishing a fanzine devoted to pulp fiction for more than fifty years, first as ERB-DOM and later as THE FANTASTIC COLLECTOR. All told, he has edited and published almost 250 issues, as well as several books. In its earliest incarnation, Caz’s magazine focused on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, presenting background information and bibliographic details about the author’s work as it appeared in magazines, books, comics, and movies. ERB-DOM won a Hugo Award in 1966. In the late nineties, Caz rechristened his fanzine as PULPDOM, a publication devoted to “studying the authors that wrote for the pulps and reprinting the ‘fantastic adventure’ type stories from pulp magazines.” … Caz continues to publish PULPDOM today as an online pulp fanzine.
  5. A researcher of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and adventure fiction for over thirty years, GENE CHRISTIE has extensively studied and indexed the magazines of the pulp era, especially those published by the Frank A. Munsey Company. Never too busy or tired to help, Gene has volunteered his time, knowledge, and editorial abilities, contributing to projects published by Adventure House, Off-Trail Publications, Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, and others….
  6. Probably best known for the SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX that he originally compiled with Steve Miller, WILLIAM CONTENTO has assembled other works that have become essential tools of reference. These include his INDEX TO SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGIES AND COLLECTIONS, INDEX TO CRIME AND MYSTERY ANTHOLOGIES (with Martin H. Greenberg), THE SUPERNATURAL INDEX (with Mike Ashley), and others. In the last seventeen years, he and Phil Stephensen-Payne have built up the online FictionMags Index into a research juggernaut. It currently lists the contents of over 75,000 issues of thousands of different magazine titles….
  7. STEPHEN HAFFNER — The “Big Poobah” of Haffner Press — has been returning the work of many well-regarded pulp fiction writers into print for nearly twenty years. Specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and mystery fiction, Stephen has brought back the early work of Leigh Brackett, Fredric Brown, Howard Brown, Edmond Hamilton, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Manly Wade Wellman, and Jack Williamson in a series of beautifully designed hardcovers. He is also working on volumes featuring the fiction of Robert Bloch, Donald Wandrei, and others. Ed Gorman wrote the following about Haffner Press books: “They’re among the best made and most handsomely illustrated of all the collectibles I’ve ever seen. These are masterpieces in every way.” Stephen has also been involved in furthering interest in the pulps among both academia and the general public. He has been associated with the annual Jack Williamson Lectureship at Eastern New Mexico University for many years and in 2009 was a co-sponsor with the Kinsman Historical Society of the first Edmond Hamilton Day in the late author’s hometown….
  8. Although pulp reprints abound in our day and age, such was not only the case. Along with John Gunnison of Adventure House, RICH HARVEY was one of the first small publishers to get the pulp reprint movement off the ground. He started in the pages of his fanzine, PULP ADVENTURES — begun in 1992 — where he published stories from COMPLETE NORTHWEST NOVEL, DIME DETECTIVE, .44 WESTERN MAGAZINE, NEW DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, and other pulps. …Along with his current partner, Audrey Parente, Rich manages the twice-a-year Pulp AdventureCon in two locations, New Jersey and Florida. These one-day events help to bring the world of pulp to a wider geographic range of fans. Rich is also great at personally communicating with fans one-on-one, whether on email or Facebook.
  9. CHRIS KALB is known in pulp circles for his hero pulp websites, like The 86th Floor and The Spider Returns, ventures that have helped to attract people who are new to the pulps. There isn’t anyone out there making better use of all the new technology while still preserving the “oldness” of pulps and popular culture. He has become the person to go to for publishers who want a retro-design for their books or website, including Ed Hulse’s Murania Press. He is also the lead designer for Age of Aces Books, a pulp reprint house that specializes in air war fiction. In 2010, Age of Aces received two National Indie Excellence Awards for Chris’s work on the bestselling THE SPIDER VS. THE EMPIRE STATE. Chris was the designer of PulpFest‘s original website and for many years, put together the convention’s print advertisements.
  10. Like many of us, RICK LAI has dedicated much of his adult life and disposable income to his passion for collecting pulp fiction (in all its permutations). Rick distinguished himself with the erudite and insightful scholarship that has made him respected among Wold Newtonians and purists alike. …Among his many books are CHRONOLOGY OF SHADOWS: A TIMELINE OF THE SHADOW’S EXPLOITS, THE RETURN OF JUDEX, THE REVISED COMPLETE CHRONOLOGY OF BRONZE, RICK LAI’S SECRET HISTORIES: DARING ADVENTURERS, and SHADOWS OF THE OPERA: RETRIBUTION IN BLOOD.
  11. DAVID PHIPPS is the creator and driving force behind the PULP ALLEY miniatures game. David’s enthusiasm for pulp fiction is evident in the mystery, excitement, and adventure that gameplayers encounter whenever they play another round of PULP ALLEY. …Another PULP ALLEY player suggested that, “. . . through the medium of tabletop gaming, Dave is attracting both people with a casual awareness of pulp fiction as well as those who are new to the field. . . . His enthusiasm for pulp fiction is genuine and infectious. He has led me to discover the likes of Solomon Kane, John Carter, and others. I honestly do not know if this qualifies him for the Munsey Award . . . However, in his own way, David Phipps, through PULP ALLEY, is introducing pulp fiction to a new audience. . . . Bringing new blood to tabletop gaming and piquing interest in a style of storytelling (in many mediums) . . . can only be good for the greater community.”
  12. While some nominees are like Doc Savage — out front and known to most — others are like The Shadow — hidden from view for most the time, yet still there and appearing when needed. A pulp collector since a teenager, SHEILA VANDERBEEK began attending pulp conventions in 1975. She has attended 62 of the 63 major pulp conventions since her first. She helped with all the radio recreations that were performed at Pulpcon. A member of the Battered Silicon Press pulp advisory committee, Sheila has helped on many books for the publisher…
  13. For twenty-five years, HOWARD WRIGHT was the publisher of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE. He created his magazine when there was no real Internet and very little information readily available about Lester Dent’s “Man of Bronze.” His main reason for starting the publication was to gather information about Doc Savage, disseminate this news to the “Fans of Bronze,” and keep Doc fans going during the “lean” years when Doc was, for the most part, a mere memory…
  14. DAN ZIMMER has been working to promote greater awareness of pulp artists by producing and distributing ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE since 2001. He has published over sixty issues of his magazine. Dan has tirelessly contributed his time, expertise and personal wealth to promote a more respectful awareness of the artistic accomplishments of pulp artists through the deluxe publication of the many biographical articles on such artists that have appeared in his magazine. He has done this despite the overwhelming fact that his creative vision is far beyond receiving any reasonable economic return for his efforts. His devotion to classic American illustrators is manifest in the elegant presentation of his magazine and has helped to turn the tide in our culture’s growing appreciation of pulp art. Dan has also published illustrated biographies of pulp artists Walter Baumhofer, H. J. Ward, and Norman Saunders through his book-publishing arm, The Illustrated Press….

The complete citations are here.

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 5/25/20 Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Pixels How Do You Measure, Measure A Scroll?

(1) THE SANTA FE. Now he’ll really be George Railroad Martin: “George R. R. Martin Buys Part of Historic Santa Fe Railroad”.

George R. R. Martin, who wrote the book series that was adapted into the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” and two co-investors have bought an abandoned, 18-mile spur railroad line from Santa Fe to Lamy, New Mexico, with the intent of restoring it to its former glory as a tourist attraction, The Business Insider reported on Monday.

No price was mentioned for the purchase, which also includes 10 antique rail cars, two vintage locomotives, and a station house at Lamy currently leased by Amtrak that is part of its twice daily line from Chicago to Los Angeles.

“There are a lot of opportunities for a new tourist attraction,” Martin told the Albuquerque Journal. “COVID has thrown a monkey wrench into our plan. We had hoped to get things up and running in 2021, but now it won’t be until 2022.”

I’ve caught a train at the Lamy station, after visiting my sister in Santa Fe. It’s miles out of town — despite the city’s iconic railroad name, the Amtrak line doesn’t run through the city.

Martin explains his plans in more detail in his blog post “All Aboard for Lamy” which concludes:

…It is going to take a lot of work, more than a few bucks, and a fair amount of time to get the railroad running again.   There are tracks and trestles to inspect and repair, old historic coaches to restore to their former splendor, a dead locomotive to bring back to life.   And the coronavirus has slowed the process way down.   But sooner or later, we do hope to have the old Lamy Line chuffing and puffing once again, and we have all sorts of fun ideas for the future, live music and murder mysteries and train robberies and escape rooms and… well, we shall see.

And best of all, we won’t need to pull up the tracks when Christmas is over.

(2) CON CANCELLATION. Pulpfest, planned for August, has been cancelled, too. They made the announcement today: “There is Nothing Wrong with Your Television Set . . .”

…We regret to announce that PulpFest is being postponed until August 2021.

Although it is likely that businesses and events in the region where PulpFest is staged will be allowed to resume operations in June, they will have to follow guidelines issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

…Given the substantial risks involved and our desire to maintain the health and well-being of our many supporters, the PulpFest organizing committee voted unanimously to postpone this year’s convention until early August 2021.

(3) LEAP, BUT NOT QUANTUM. Chancellor Agard, in “Watch Legends of Tomorrow jump from Friends to Downton Abbey in exclusive sneak peek” on Entertainment Weekly discusses tomorrow’s episode, where the Legends jump from the world of a show like Friends to one like Downton Abbey to one like Star Trek.

(4) A HORSE, OF COURSE. Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of the debut of the third Back to the Future movie. Yahoo! Entertaiment put together a quiz — “‘Back to the Future Part III’ turns 30: Take this quiz to test your knowledge”. I really blew this one – only 6 out of 14. And one of my right answers was about how special effects manure was made – am I supposed to be proud of that?

… On May 24, 1990, the final film in Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s Back to the Future trilogy premiered in theaters. Directly picking up from the cliffhanger of 1989’s Back to the Future Part II, where Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and the DeLorean time machine accidentally being struck by lightning, sending him back to the Old West. Part III picks up with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) traveling to 1885 to rescue Doc and return him to the present. 

(5) SPACE FORCE REDUX. Netflix dropped a second trailer for Space Force, which they have cleverly called Space Force Trailer 2.

Steve Carell was also on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday  promoting Space Force but he doesn’t talk about the show until 5-1/2 minutes into the segment.

(6) STILES REMEMBERED. Balticon 54’s website includes a tribute to the late fanartist: “In Memoriam: Steve Stiles (1943-2020)”. Includes lots of photos and art.

Steve Stiles became a science fiction fan in 1957; he’d been illustrating fanzines from then until his death, earning him the first Rotsler Fan Artist Award in 1998, and a Fan Artist Hugo in 2016. Professionally, he worked in numerous comic book genres since 1973 (horror, super hero, science fiction, humor), including the award-winning Xenozoic Tales and perhaps the first steampunk graphic novel, The Adventures of Professor Thintwhistle, with author Richard Lupoff.

(7) TODAY’S DAY.

May 25Towel Day which is celebrated by fans every year on May 25 as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams. Fans carry a towel with them as described in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The commemoration was first held May 25, 2001 two weeks after Douglas Adams’ death. [Via Rocketmail.]

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • May 25, 1977 Star Wars premiered. Later retitled as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, it was written and directed by George Lucas. You know who the cast is so we’ll not list all of them here. Lucas envisioned the film as being in the tradition of Buck Rodgers which he originally intended to remake but couldn’t get the rights to.  Reception by critics and fans alike was fantastic with IguanaCon II voting it the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo over Close Encounters of The Third Kind. It holds a stellar 96% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 
  • May 25, 1983 Return of the Jedi, the last of the original trilogy, premiered. Later retitled Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, it came out six years after Star Wars. It is directed not by Lucas this time but by Richard Marquand from a screenplay by Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan who co-wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The principal cast is the same as the first film. Critics were ever so slightly less pleased with this concluding film of the trilogy but the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it an equally stellar 94% rating as the first film. It would win The Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo at L.A. con II beating Right Stuff and WarGames. Box office wise, it sold more tickets for most of its first eight week American run than any other film.  

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born May 25, 1915 – DeeDee Lavender.  Four decades an active fan with her husband Roy.  Together they were Secretary-Treasurer of the Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n in 1950.  They were at Aussiecon I the 33rd World Science Fiction Convention (I wasn’t), and Noreascon II the 38th (I was).  They’re in Harlan Ellison’s forewords to his collections I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and Angry Candy; they knew Leigh Brackett & Edmond Hamilton, and were guests at the B&H homes in Ohio and California.  They were part of a Southern California fannish social group called the Petards, named by one of Rick Sneary’s famous misspellings, hoist for host.  Here she is with Roy at a Petards meeting in 1983 (Dik Daniels photo), and thirty years earlier in New York (L to R, Bea Mahaffey, Hannes Bok, DeeDee, Roy, Stan Skirvin; Mike Resnick collection).  (Died 1986) [JH]
  • Born May 25, 1916 – Charles Hornig.  Publishing his fanzine The Fantasy Fan in 1933, thus First Fandom (i.e. active by at least the first Worldcon, 1939), and hired, age 17, by Hugo Gernsback to edit Wonder Stories.  Founded the Science Fiction League with HG, 1934; later edited Fantasy; also Future and Science Fiction (they eventually combined); SF Quarterly.  See his notes on Nycon I, the first Worldcon, here.  (Died 1999) [JH]
  • Born May 25, 1926 – Phyllis Gotlieb.  Prix Aurora for A Judgement of Dragons (note spelling; she was Canadian).  The Sunburst Award is named for her first novel.  Thirteen SF novels, twenty shorter stories, eight poetry collections (the first being Who Knows One?).  Translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian.  Among her husband’s Physics students was Cory Doctorow’s father.  (Died 2009) [JH]
  • Born May 25, 1946 Frank Oz, 74. Actor, director including The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors and the second version of The Stepford Wives, producer and puppeteer. His career began as a puppeteer, where he performed the Muppet characters of Animal, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and oh so patriotic Sam Eagle in The Muppet Show, and Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover in Sesame Street. Genre wise, he’s also known for the role of Yoda in the Star Wars franchise. An interesting Trivia note: he’s in the Blues Brothers as a Corrections Officer, and is the Warden in Blues Brothers 2000. (CE)
  • Born May 25, 1946 Janet Morris, 74. Hey I get to mention Thieves’ World! Yea! In that universe, she created the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes. She has three series, both listed as SF though I’d call one of them fantasy,  the Silistra quartet, the Kerrion Space trilogy and the Threshold series. And let’s not over overlook her Heroes in Hell series she wrote,most co-authorEd with her husband Chris Morris, some with C J Cherryh and David Drake. (CE)
  • Born May 25, 1950 – Kathryn Daugherty.  Engineer.  Married four decades to James Stanley Daugherty.  Back when FORTRAN wasn’t even Two-tran she fed punch-cards to a Control Data CDC 6400.  For ConFrancisco the 51st Worldcon, Official Editor of the con committee’s APA (Amateur Press Ass’n, a collection of fanzines) The Never-Ending Meeting.  At Bucconeer the 56th Worldcon, headed Contents of Tables; a typo made it “Contests of Tables”: in each newsletter I announced “Today’s winner is the Picnic”, “Today’s winner is the Periodic”.  Chaired Westercon LIII, a hard one: it was at Honolulu, see my report here [PDF; p. 11].  Luckily not exhausted; she and JSD were Fan Guests of Honor at Baycon in 2001, and Loscon XXXI (2004).  Joined me in liking Mission of Gravity.  Obituary by OGH here.  (Died 2012) [JH]
  • Born May 25, 1952 Al Sarrantonio, 68. His horror short stories are brilliant and they‘ve earned him a Stoker for 999: New Tales of Horror and Suspense and a Jackson for Stories: All-New Tales, the latter co-edited with Gaiman. His Masters of Mars series is SF and he’s written a Babylon 5 novel as well, Personal Agendas. (CE)
  • Born May 25, 1953 – Stan Sakai.  Lettered Groo the Wanderer comics; since 1984, author of Usagi Yojimbo comics about samurai rabbit Miyamoto Usagi, who has (wouldn’t you know it) crossed paths with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The rônin lifeis hard.  During the most recent Year of the Rabbit (2011), the Japanese-American Nat’l Museum in Los Angeles had an Usagi Yojimbo exhibit.  Sakai has won a Parents’ Choice award, an Inkpot, six Eisners, an Inkwell, two Harveys, two Haxturs (Spain), a Plumilla de Plata (Mexico), a Cultural Ambassador award, and a Nat’l Cartoonists Society award.  [JH]
  • Born May 25, 1960 Eric Brown, 60. Well-deserved winner of two BSFA awards for his short stories, “Hunting the Slarqye” and “The Children of The Winter”.  He’s very prolific, averaging a novel a year over the past three decades and countless novellas and short stories. As far as SF goes, I’d start with his Binary System and Bengal Station series, both of which are superb. And I’m going to single out his Sherlock Holmes metaverse novel, The Martian Menace, in which The Great Detective meets and defeats those Invaders. (CE)
  • Born May 25, 1966 Vera Nazarian, 54. To date, she has written ten novels including Dreams of the Compass Rose, what I’d called a mosaic novel structured as a series of interlinked stories similar in to The One Thousand and One Nights that reminds a bit of Valente’s The Orphans Tales. She’s the publisher of Norilana Books which publishes such works as Catherynne M. Valente’s Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress anthologies,and Tanith Lee’s Lee’s Sounds and Furies. (CE)
  • Born May 25, 1982 – Bertrand Bonnet.  Six dozen reviews in Bifrost (French-language prozine; European SF Society award for Best Magazine, 2016), of Blish, Le Guin, Pohl (with and without Kornbluth), Resnick, Tolkien (including the Letters, yay).  [JH] 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Non Sequitur’s birds learn about their ancestors.
  • Non Sequitur sells foresight.
  • Non Sequitur has an SJWC intervention.
  • Mikey Heller drew a comic about a cat café. It’s got sjw credentials, sf, everything!

(11) LID OVERFLOW. In The Full Lid 22nd May 2020 Alasdair Stuart takes a look “at how now is very much the time for Strange New Worlds and what the Short Treks set on Pike’s Enterprise can teach us about the show’s tone.”

I also take a look at excellent, furious and overlooked movie Assassination Nation and Bog Bodies, a superb crime graphic novel out this week. Signal Boost is big this week but the YA/MG Author spotlight that follows it is much bigger and full of amazing books.

This week Stuart also launched The Full Lid Plus! A monthly supplement covering Disney Plus.

It’s first issue covers what we learn in the first for episodes of The Mandalorian and looks at award winning free-climbing documentary Free Solo. Oh and Will Smith sings.

The Full Lid Plus is published monthly and run off a paid subscription model, Details at the link.

Stuart’s Hugo Voting Packet for 2020 is also available at his website. “It touches on all my non-fiction work, has links to every piece and a consolidated PDF of everything too.”

(12) NO GO. It barely got out of California:“Virgin Orbit rocket fails on debut flight”

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit company has tried unsuccessfully to launch a rocket over the Pacific Ocean.

The booster was released from under the wing of one of the UK entrepreneur’s old jumbos which had been specially converted for the task.

The rocket should have ignited its engine seconds later but engineers had to terminate the flight.

Virgin Orbit’s goal is to try to capture a share of the emerging market for the launch of small satellites.

It’s not clear at this stage what went wrong but the firm had warned beforehand that the chances of success might be in the region of 50:50.

The history of rocketry shows that maiden outings very often encounter technical problems.

The firm is sure to be back for another attempt pretty soon – depending on the outcome of the post-mission analysis.

(13) FLOCKING OFF. [Item by John A Arkansawyer.] I just noticed this monologue from the May 18th Late Night with Seth Meyers. There was no genre-related sketch that night. However!

When Seth Meyers first started broadcasting from home, he apparently (to my eyes, at least) ordered several feet of cheap respectable-looking trade paper and hardcover books from a local used book store. One that caught my eye was Shardik, which has a lot of whitespace on the spine and that weird symbol. The two copies of a book about Thessalonica were the big tip-off to me these were surplus and not garage detritus.

And then there was The Thorn Birds. No one seemed to believe Seth Meyers was a Thorn Birds fan.

Soon Meyers moved out of his garage and into his attic, where he has a plain backdrop…and an end table with a small stack of books. I’ve seen two dust-jacketed books claiming to be The Thorn Birds and one unjacketed copy between them. The Janelle Monae clip has a stack of Thorn Birds, Thorn Birds II: More Thorns, and Thorn Birds III: Something written in script too fine for me to read.

But the best one yet you can see in this clip, in the lower left-hand corner:

(14) JUST WHEN THE PREZ LEARNED HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT. BBC reports “WHO halts trials of hydroxychloroquine over safety fears”.

Testing of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus has been halted because of safety fears, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Trials in several countries are being “temporarily” suspended as a precaution, the agency said on Monday.

It comes after a recent medical study suggested the drug could increase the risk of patients dying from Covid-19.

(15) DON’T KNOW HOW GOOD YOU’VE GOT IT. And we close with this benediction from The Onion: “Nation’s Politicians, Law Enforcement, Corporate Executives Marvel At Futuristic Utopia They’re Living In”.

“To think that I have all this at my fingertips, whether it’s automated high-volume stock trading or unlimited surveillance footage of my employees, it’s like something out of a science fiction paradise,” said pharmaceutical executive Ron Pollard, who claimed previous generations of police officers, elected officials, and business leaders could never comprehend the world of unlimited possibilities that has been created for them, where they are free to do whatever they want all the time.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Lise Andreasen, Cat Eldridge, Alasdair Stuart, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

2019 Munsey Award Winner

Munsey Award print. Art by David Saunders.

Publisher George Vanderburgh is the winner of the 2019 Munsey Award. The award was presented at PulpFest in Pittsburgh on August 17.

GEORGE VANDERBURGH has published over 600 books through his Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, many of them directly related to the pulps. He was largely responsible for finally getting all of Fred Davis’ classic Moon Man stories back into print. And what about his Peter the Brazen series, his five volumes featuring the work of Seabury Quinn, THE COMPLEAT ADVENTURES OF THE PARK AVENUE HUNT CLUB, his Green Ghost set, THE COMPLEAT SAGA OF JOHN SOLOMONTHE ADVENTURES OF THE GOLDEN AMAZONTHE COMPLEAT ADVENTURES OF THE SUICIDE SQUAD, and others? He has also given us numerous collections of detective fiction, including volumes featuring the Thinking Machine, Dr. Thorndyke, and Martin Hewitt. Looking at his website, his future plans include several books reprinting pulp authors who have been unjustly forgotten. Along with the late Robert Weinberg, George served as the co-editor of Arkham House Publishers until the death of April Derleth. A regular attendee of pulp conventions, George has helped both longtime and new fans to collect the tales of some of the most fantastic heroes from the pulps. At this year’s PulpFest, George was part of our presentation, “The Game’s Afoot: Sherlock Holmes and the Pulps.”

Bill Lampkin, last year’s winner, made the presentation.

The award, named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines. The winner is selected by a committee made up of all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award recipients. The award is a fine art print created by David Saunders and published by Dan Zimmer of The Illustrated Press.

2019 Munsey Award Nominees

Frank Munsey in 1910.

The PulpFest Organizing Committee has announced the fifteen 2019 Munsey Award nominees. Named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, the award recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines. The winner will be selected by a committee made up of all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award recipients and named August 17 at PulpFest in Pittsburgh.

  1. Author, bibliographer, critic, editor, and historian MIKE ASHLEY has a special expertise in the history of magazine science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction. In 2002, he received a Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the study of science fiction. He is the author or co-author of numerous works related to the pulps, science fiction, and fantasy. …In 2000, Ashley began to publish his multi-part THE HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION MAGAZINES, beginning with THE TIME MACHINES: THE STORY OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION PULP MAGAZINES FROM THE BEGINNING TO 1950. Mr. Ashley has also edited many anthologies and single-author collections, often drawing work from the pulps. He is currently working to compile an index to the most important British popular fiction magazines between 1880 and 1950.
  2. The Collections Librarian at the University of Connecticut, RICHARD BLEILER is a bibliographer and researcher in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, and adventure fiction. In 2002, he was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction for the second edition of SUPERNATURAL FICTION WRITERS: FANTASY AND HORROR. With his father, Everett Bleiler, Richard compiled SCIENCE-FICTION: THE EARLY YEARS and SCIENCE-FICTION: THE GERNSBACK YEARS, both published by Kent State University Press. His other work includes THE INDEX TO ADVENTURE MAGAZINE, THE ANNOTATED INDEX TO THE THRILL BOOK, the second edition of SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS: CRITICAL STUDIES OF THE MAJOR AUTHORS FROM THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT DAY, and REFERENCE AND RESEARCH GUIDE TO MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE FICTION. Richard’s essay, “Forgotten Giant: A Brief History of ADVENTURE MAGAZINE,” originally published in EXTRAPOLATION: A JOURNAL OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, is considered the finest overview of the classic pulp magazine….
  3. CAMILLE CAZEDESSUS has been publishing a fanzine devoted to pulp fiction for more than fifty years, first as ERB-DOM and later as THE FANTASTIC COLLECTOR. All told, he has edited and published almost 250 issues, as well as several books. In its earliest incarnation, Caz’s magazine focused on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, presenting background information and bibliographic details about the author’s work as it appeared in magazines, books, comics, and movies. ERB-DOM won a Hugo Award in 1966. In the late nineties, Caz rechristened his fanzine as PULPDOM, a publication devoted to “studying the authors that wrote for the pulps and reprinting the ‘fantastic adventure’ type stories from pulp magazines.” … Caz continues to publish PULPDOM today as an online pulp fanzine.
  4. Probably best known for the SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX that he originally compiled with Steve Miller, WILLIAM CONTENTO has assembled other works that have become essential tools of reference. These include his INDEX TO SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGIES AND COLLECTIONS, INDEX TO CRIME AND MYSTERY ANTHOLOGIES (with Martin H. Greenberg), THE SUPERNATURAL INDEX (with Mike Ashley), and others. In the last seventeen years, he and Phil Stephensen-Payne have built up the online FictionMags Index into a research juggernaut. It currently lists the contents of over 75,000 issues of thousands of different magazine titles….
  5. WIN SCOTT ECKERT is the coauthor with Philip José Farmer of the Wold Newton novel THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE and the author of THE SCARLET JAGUAR, both featuring Patricia Wildman, daughter of the pulp hero Doc Wildman, the bronze champion of justice. …Additionally, he is the editor of and a contributor to MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE — a 2007 Locus Awards finalist — and the coeditor with Christopher Paul Carey of TALES OF THE WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE. He was the coeditor of FARMERPHILE from 2007–2009. His massive timeline of crossover stories — CROSSOVERS: A SECRET CHRONOLOGY OF THE WORLD — was published by Black Coat Press in 2010. In 1997, he launched the first Wold Newton website, The Wold Newton Universe. A tireless chronicler of Farmer’s idiosyncratic view of a broad shared universe, Eckert has shown remarkable fidelity to Farmer’s vision and serves as an inspiration to the many who have followed in his wake. Like Farmer, Win is one of the leading “Children of the Pulps.”
  6. RALPH GRASSO may just be the ultimate pulp fan. He has created and is the administrator for at least 25 pulp and pulp-related Facebook groups. Ralph actively participates in these groups to engage members in spirited conversation relative to the group topic. These groups provide a place for fans of the pulps to congregate and chat. They also serve to bring in new members and introduce them to pulp literature, authors, and characters. Just some of the groups that Ralph has created are A. MERRITT FAN GROUP, FANS OF BRONZE, H.P.L. — THE MASTER OF COSMIC HORROR, IN THE ROARING HEART OF THE CRUCIBLE, THE MYSTERY MEN OF JOHNSTON MCCULLEY, PULP SWORD AND SORCERY, THE SHADOW STRIKES, SWORD AND PLANET FICTION, TWO-GUN BOB — THE WORLDS OF ROBERT E. HOWARD, and WELLMAN’S GUYS!
  7. STEPHEN HAFFNER — The “Big Poobah” of Haffner Press — has been returning the work of a number of well-regarded pulp fiction writers into print for nearly twenty years. Specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and mystery fiction, Stephen has brought back the early work of Leigh Brackett, Fredric Brown, Howard Brown, Edmond Hamilton, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Manly Wade Wellman, and Jack Williamson in a series of beautifully designed hardcovers. …Stephen has also been involved in furthering interest in the pulps among both academia and the general public. He has been associated with the annual Jack Williamson Lectureship at Eastern New Mexico University for many years and in 2009 was a co-sponsor with the Kinsman Historical Society of the first Edmond Hamilton Day in the late author’s hometown….
  8. Although pulp reprints abound in our day and age, such was not only the case. Along with John Gunnison of Adventure House, RICH HARVEY was one of the first small publishers to get the pulp reprint movement off the ground. He started in the pages of his fanzine, PULP ADVENTURES — begun in 1992 — where he published stories from COMPLETE NORTHWEST NOVEL, DIME DETECTIVE, .44 WESTERN MAGAZINE, NEW DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, and other pulps. …Along with his current partner, Audrey Parente, Rich manages the twice-a-year Pulp AdventureCon in two locations, New Jersey and Florida. These one-day events help to bring the world of pulp to a wider geographic range of fans….
  9. CHRIS KALB is known in pulp circles for his hero pulp websites, like The 86th Floor and The Spider Returns, ventures that have helped to attract people who are new to the pulps. There isn’t anyone out there making better use of all the new technology while still preserving the “oldness” of pulps and popular culture. He has become the person to go to for publishers who want a retro-design for their books or website, including Ed Hulse’s Murania Press. He is also the lead designer for Age of Aces Books, a pulp reprint house that specializes in air war fiction. In 2010, Age of Aces received two National Indie Excellence Awards for Chris’ work on the bestselling THE SPIDER VS. THE EMPIRE STATE. Chris was the designer of PulpFest‘s original website and for many years, put together the convention’s print advertisements.
  10. Like many of us, RICK LAI has dedicated much of his adult life and disposable income to his passion for collecting pulp fiction (in all its permutations). Rick distinguished himself with his erudite and insightful scholarship that has made him respected among Wold Newtonians and purists alike. …Among his many books are CHRONOLOGY OF SHADOWS: A TIMELINE OF THE SHADOW’S EXPLOITS, THE RETURN OF JUDEX, THE REVISED COMPLETE CHRONOLOGY OF BRONZE, RICK LAI’S SECRET HISTORIES: DARING ADVENTURERS, and SHADOWS OF THE OPERA: RETRIBUTION IN BLOOD.
  11. While some nominees are like Doc Savage — out front and known to most — others are like The Shadow — hidden from view for most the time, yet still there and appearing when needed. A pulp collector since a teenager, SHEILA VANDERBEEK began attending pulp conventions in 1975. She has attended 62 of the 63 major pulp conventions since her first. She helped with all the radio recreations that were performed at Pulpcon. A member of the Battered Silicon Press pulp advisory committee, Sheila has helped on many books for the publisher….
  12. GEORGE VANDERBURGH has published over 600 books through his Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, many of them directly related to the pulps. He was largely responsible for finally getting all of Fred Davis’ classic Moon Man stories back into print. …Looking at his website, his future plans include several books reprinting pulp authors who have been unjustly forgotten. Along with the late Robert Weinberg, George served as the co-editor of Arkham House Publishers until the death of April Derleth….
  13. Although some may believe he is old enough to have purchased pulps off the newsstand, CHUCK WELCH is a mere whippersnapper. As one of the original Internet Fans of Bronze, Chuck started attending the summer pulp convention in the late 1990s. After meeting his future wife at one of those conventions, Chuck took some time off to start a family. At the behest of Bill Mann, he returned to attend PulpFest. As was his wont, Chuck immediately started volunteering and making suggestions to the organizing committee. Having enough of his puppy-dog eyes, he was asked to join the team. Chuck served as the convention’s technology and social media director until his resignation in 2018, due to family commitments. When the Internet began to take off, Chuck began Flearun, a Doc Savage group now at Facebook. He is also the creator of the Hidalgo Trading Company — perhaps the closest anyone has come to presenting an online Doc fanzine — and the current editor of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE.
  14. For twenty-five years, HOWARD WRIGHT was the publisher of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE. He created his magazine when there was no real Internet and very little information readily available about Lester Dent’s “Man of Bronze.” His main reason for starting the publication was to gather information about Doc Savage, disseminate this news to the “Fans of Bronze,” and keep Doc fans going during the “lean” years when Doc was, for the most part, a mere memory…
  15. DAN ZIMMER has been working to promote greater awareness of pulp artists by producing and distributing ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE since 2001. He is nearing the sixtieth issue of his magazine. Dan has tirelessly contributed his time, expertise and personal wealth to promote a more respectful awareness of the artistic accomplishments of pulp artists through the deluxe publication of the many biographical articles on such artists that have appeared in his magazine. He has done this despite the overwhelming fact that his creative vision is far beyond receiving any reasonable economic return for his efforts. His devotion to classic American illustrators is manifest in the elegant presentation of his magazine and has helped to turn the tide in our culture’s growing appreciation of pulp art. Dan has also published illustrated biographies of pulp artists Walter Baumhofer, H. J. Ward, and Norman Saunders through his book-publishing arm, The Illustrated Press.…

The complete citation are here.

[Via Locus Online.]

Pixel Scroll 9/7/18 Pixel Yourself On A Spinning Space Station, With Alien Porters With Arthropod Eyes

(1) HAPPENS TO THE BEST OF US. Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes about battling website and ISP) problems in “Business Musings: Website Issues”. The post begins —

It’s tough to write my blog when my website is down…for the second time in two weeks. Both times had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the website hosting service, which is so monumentally incompetent that I’m speechless.

I learned a lesson during this incident. A big important lesson.

And it ends —

…And as I (and the kind folks at WMG) rebuild, we will be doing so with an eye to a 2018 website, not a 2010 website. We’ll make information easy to find. The weekly features will remain as well.

It’s going to take a bit of time, but it was something I needed to do. Bluehost forced me into it.

They also taught me a valuable lesson. Every few years, I need to re-evaluate every service that I hire to help with my business, not just to see if the service is doing well, but also to make sure the service itself is the same company that I hired a few years before.

Things change quickly in this modern world, and I really need to incorporate that awareness of change into my own business planning…

In between, Rusch explains how she learned the lesson the hard way.

(2) ABOUT GRIMDARK. Paul Weimer analyzes “The Fugue of Fantasy and the Grimdark Interregnum” at Nerds of a Feather.

…In the history of epic fantasy, following this analogy and paradigm, there has always been a voice in a minor key, a strain of fantasy with antiheroes, shades of dark grey and darkness, worlds where hope and optimism are not valued or are even punished. Violence is the name of the game, dystopic amorality the norm and the worlds are often the successor states or the  ruins of another, brighter time. The classical Western European model of the first few centuries after Rome fell is the historical ur-model, and indeed, many novels use thinly disguised or even explicitly set in that time period. The latest iteration of this minor-key fantasy, which had in recent years become a dominant theme in epic fantasy, is what we call Grimdark….

(3) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites you to share a steak dinner with legendary comics creator Don McGregor in episode 76 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

I reached out to Dauntless Don — we all had nicknames back them; he was Dauntless, I was Sparkling — and said, hey, how about if when I’m on the way back to the airport at the end of Readercon, I swoop down, take you out for dinner, and we chew over the old times. And that’s exactly what we did, at the Safehouse in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, along with Dauntless Don’s wife, the Marvelous Marsha, whose voice you’ll occasionally hear in the background of this episode.

Don started out his career in comics by writing some of the best horror stories to appear in the pages of Creepy and Eerie — and I remember well reading the first of them in the early ’70s. When he moved on to Marvel Comics, he did groundbreaking work with such characters as Black Panther, Killraven, and Luke Cage. In fact, his two-year “Panther’s Rage” arc was ranked as the third most important Marvel Comics storyline of the ’70s by Comics Bulletin. In 2015, he was awarded the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing at San Diego Comic-Con International.

We discussed how meeting Jim Steranko led to him selling his first comics story, why when he was 13 years old, he wanted to be Efrem Zimbalist Jr., what he learned from Naked City creator Stirling Silliphant, how his first meeting with future Black Panther artist Billy Graham could have been disastrous, why the comics he wrote in the ’70s wouldn’t have been able to exist two years later, the reasons Archie Goodwin was such a great editor, how he convinced Stan Lee to allow the first interracial kiss in mainstream comics, what life lessons he took from Westerns in general and Hopalong Cassidy in particular, why he almost stopped writing Lady Rawhide, and much more.

(4) ALIEN ENCOUNTER NUMBER CRUNCHING. James Davis Nicoll discourages the idea that we’ll be meeting aliens in reality: “Doing the Math: Aliens and Advanced Tech in Science Fiction”. After reading Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem, maybe that’s a relief?

Everyone loves them some aliens. But …if the encounter is to work out to the satisfaction of all concerned, it is best if the aliens not be too advanced (because they could brush us aside like ants) or too primitive (we might brush them aside like ants). No, there’s a Goldilocks zone for aliens, in which they are close to the same tech level as humans … and can interact peaceably with us.

Which leads me to wonder: just how likely is it that two unconnected civilizations could reach the same technological level (roughly) at the same time?

Time for some large, round numbers….

(5) EXCEEDING THE READ LIMIT. Walter Mosley declares, “Enough with the Victors Writing History”, at LitHub.

I have studied the great powers that vie to control what they want us to believe about the past; but I don’t identify with them. I identify with the librarians who, when asked by GW Bush to report on their visitors’ reading habits, held up a hand and said, “First Amendment.” I identify with outsider artists and labor organizers and autodidacts who either refuse to or are unable to believe in the lies foisted upon us by the conquerors. I identify with the belief that there exists a history out there just beyond the reach of our powers of cognition. And I believe that a lie is a lie; that if you coexist with a population that helped to build your house, your culture, your music, a population that helped to raise your children and fine-tune your language, and you deny that culture’s impact on who you are… then your knowledge of history will fail you and the past will devour you and your children.

If you deny your past your future will be a detour around your fondest hopes and dreams…

Daniel Dern sent the link with a note, “While best known for his detective fiction, Mosley has written a handful of sf… and is a big sf fan… I’ve got a photo from Millennial PhilCon (Worldcon 2001) of him and Orson Scott Card, just after they met and near-simultaneously said to the other ‘I’m a huge fan.’”

(6) WOMBAT TO RETURN TO ALBUQUERQUE. Kevin Sonney boosts the signal –

(7) A MARTIAN ODYSSEY. Chabeli Herrera in the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Kennedy Space Center has opened up the Astronaut Training Experience, which simulates a trip to Mars by having visitors “strap onto a microgravity simulator: and then carry out a repair on the space station.  There’s also a simulation of Mars Base 1, where visitors can “work together to solve various technical problems” including “programming a team of robots to clean dust off the base’s solar panels.” — “Like real astronaut training, Kennedy Space Center’s new simulators let you work in zero gravity, drive Mars rover”.

Like a scene from “The Martian,” the botany lab in Mars Base 1 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex grows vegetables under the glow of fluorescent purple lights.

But it’s not all potatoes like in the 2015 film. This room can grow anything from cress to tomatoes, and all of the crops are planted and harvested by guests playing astronaut for the day.

The botany room is one of several new features at Kennedy Space Center’s Astronaut Training Experience Center, a two-year project designed to simulate astronaut training and work on Mars. The attraction opened in February, but officials gathered Thursday to officially kick off the opening of the ATX with representatives from its sponsor, aerospace company Lockheed Martin.

(8) SPEAK MEMORY. Hear the Harlan Ellison Memorial Panel at Worldcon 76:

(9) SHELLEY OBIT. Actress Carole Shelley (1939-2018), who appeared on stage in The Odd Couple and Wicked, and voiced characters in the Disney animated movies The Aristocats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973), died August 31 reports the New York Times:

A new generation of theatergoers knew Ms. Shelley for originating a less sympathetic character in the musical “Wicked,” a prequel of sorts to L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

The show opened in 2003 with Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, the putatively good witch, and Idina Menzel as Elphaba, who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. (“Wicked” was still running on Broadway, with a different cast, when Ms. Shelley died.)

Ms. Shelley played Madame Morrible, a college official who pairs Glinda and Elphaba as roommates. She later helps arrange a series of events that push Elphaba toward wickedness.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 7, 1958  — Queen of Outer Space premiered.
  • September 7, 2017 – Jerry Pournelle died. Cat Eldridge notes: “Author, The Mote in God’s Eye with Larry Niven, numerous other works including the Janissary series, and superb tech commentary writer as well. His Byte column was something I very much looked forward to reading every month.”

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 7 – Karen Frenkel, 63. Author, Robots: Machines in Man’s Image (1985) with Isaac Asimov. Available on her website.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • A Hollywood in-joke you’ll all get – Long Story Short.
  • Scene from a comic con by Nigel Auchterlounie —

(13) HIGH CONCEPT. This December in Infinity Wars: Fallen Guardian #1.

(14) CATS IN THE VICINITY OF SFF. David D. Levine made a fan —

(15) ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Data from the Chandra X-ray telescope has been combined with optical data to image a distant galaxy that seems to be encircled by black holes and/or neutron stars (International Business Times: “Ring Made Of Black Holes? Massive Cosmic Structure Found Encircling Distant Galaxy”). Galaxy AM 0644-741 was involved in a recent (astronomically speaking) collision with another galaxy that boosted star formation. The most massive of those stars had a very short life and have since gone supernova, leaving behind black holes and neutron stars.

Out of the newborn baby stars, the most massive ones probably led a short life, spanning on the scale of millions of years. They lost their nuclear fuel with time and exploded as supernovae, where the majority of the stellar material is blown away, leaving black holes 5 to 20 times heavier than the sun or dense neutron stars carrying approximately same mass as the sun.

This indicates the ring is either made from stellar-mass black holes or neutron stars that are accompanied by close companion stars. The dense objects are drawing gas from their stellar counterparts, forming a super-hot spinning disk which acts as a detectable X-ray source for Chandra.

Though the researchers behind the discovery — a team from INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Italy — couldn’t confirm the identity of individual sources making up the ring, they believe this could either be a case of all black holes or all neutron stars, or a mix of both.

The NASA website (“Cosmic Collision Forges Galactic One Ring—in X-rays”) that AM 0644-741 is only one of several galaxies with such X-ray rings and adds a link to the pre-print article on the arXiv service.

The paper describing the study of AM 0644 and its sister ring galaxies appeared in the August 10, 2018 issue of the Astrophysical Journal and is available online. The co-authors of the paper are Antonella Fruscione from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., and Michela Mapelli from INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova in Padova, Italy.

(16) PULPFEST DATES IN 2019. The dates for PulpFest 2019 are the same weekend at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon but that may not represent an actual conflict for more than a few fans.

PulpFest 2019 will take place from Thursday, August 15, through Sunday, August 18. We’ll be returning to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” PulpFest will be joined by FarmerCon. Hopefully, they’re not too hung over from this year’s Philip José Farmer centennial.

Start making your plans for the 48th convening of PulpFest and its celebration of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and more. Join us for “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” at “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.” Please bring your friends!

(17) ALMOST. James Davis Nicoll credits John Varley for showing us “How to Make a Near-Utopia Interesting: John Varley’s Eight World Stories” at Tor.com.

Peace and prosperity sound like they’re good things, but perhaps not for authors. What kind of plots can be imagined if the standard plot drivers are off the table? How does one tell stories in a setting that, while not a utopia, can see utopia at a distance ? The premise seems unpromising, but thirteen stories and a novel argue that one can write absorbing narratives in just such a setting. So how did Varley square this particular circle?

(18) AN OSCAR ON HOLD. About that new “popular film” Oscar? Like the Magic Eight-Ball says – “Ask again later” — “Oscars postpone plans for new popular film category”.

…The award, which could have recognised films popular with audiences but not critics, was only announced last month.

In a statement, the Academy’s CEO said she had “recognised the need for further discussion” with its members about the proposal first.

…In previous years, films which have done well at the box office with audiences – including Mamma Mia, Avatar and the Mission Impossible franchise – have been snubbed by the Academy.

The Oscars’ organisers did not elaborate in their August announcement how eligibility for the new category would have been established.

Some Hollywood critics suggested the new category’s “popular” tag was confusing and could risk creating a two-tier system among films.

It was feared films praised by critics and audiences alike, such as Dunkirk and Get Out, would risk being relegated to the new category rather than standing a chance in the prestigious Best Film award category.

(19) MORE RUBY SLIPPER NEWS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Smithsonian has a little more info, including how the recovered shoes were authenticated, as well as more info about the ownership of this pair and the others pairs still extant: “After 13-Year Chase, F.B.I. Nabs Pair of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers”.

…The slippers, it turns out, were not actually owned by the Judy Garland Museum. Instead, they were property of a collector named Michael Shaw, who purchased them in 1970 for a mere $2,000, reports Jennifer Medina for The New York Times. Shaw, who also owns one of Dorothy’s dresses, a witch’s hat and a munchkin outfit from the 1939 movie, was in the habit of loaning out the slippers to museums around the country, donating his display fee to children’s charities. The slippers were on display as part of a 10-week traveling tour when they were stolen on the night of August 28. According to a press release from the Grand Rapids police, a thief or thieves broke into the museum’s back door and smashed open the plexiglass case. There were no cameras on the premises and the museum’s alarm failed to sound.

…After the shoes were apprehended, the F.B.I. brought them to the Smithsonian, which owns another pair of slippers used in the filming, to confirm their ruby slippers were the real deal. For the last two years, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has been analyzing and conserving a different pair of slippers donated to the museum in the late 1970s as part of a Kickstarter campaign. The F.B.I. brought the purloined pair to objects conservator Dawn Wallace for a look.

“We were able to spend two days looking at them and doing close examination as well as some analysis,” Wallace tells Smithsonian.com. “Not only did we have a physical examination, but we were able to conduct some technical analysis of the material to confirm that they were in fact consistent.”

Wallace says two other details cinched the case: First, it’s difficult to fake 80 years of aging on a pair of shoes. Second, the pair in the Smithsonian’s collection is actually a mismatched pair of ruby slippers, with the left sized “5C” and the right sized “5BC.” The pair recovered by the F.B.I. turned out to be the mates of the museum’s shoes (which are set to go back on display in a climate-controlled case on October 19)….

Since Mr. Shaw had received an $800,000 insurance settlement quite some time ago, the shoes belong to the insurance company now.

(20) FOYLES SOLD:BBC reports “Waterstones buys Foyles to defend bookshops against Amazon” – the Foyles Charing Cross Road location hosted this year’s Clarke Award announcement.

Waterstones is buying the 115 year-old family-owned chain Foyles, saying the deal will help to “champion” real bookshops in the face of online rivals.

The sale includes Foyles’ well-known Charing Cross Road store in central London, which was relocated to larger premises in 2014.

Waterstones said the deal would help booksellers fight back against Amazon’s “siren call”.

The larger chain has 283 bookshops across the UK and northern Europe.

[Thanks to Scott Edelman, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, James Davis Nicoll, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day jayn.]

2018 Munsey Award Winner

Munsey Award print. Art by David Saunders.

William Lampkin is the winner of the 2018 Munsey Award. The award was presented at PulpFest in Pittsburgh on July 28.

William Lampkin, is a freelance writer/editor and publication designer who has spent much of his work life in the newspaper field, much like Rambler Murphy (but without the cool nickname and crime-solving). After freelancing for a number of years, he’s now the public information officer for a professional licensing board. Like many from his generation, Bill discovered the pulps through paperback reprints of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Spider. He bought his first actual pulp in the seventies. Bill runs ThePulp.Net, which he created in 1996, and also writes the Yellowed Perils blog. He founded the Facebook group Southern Pulpsters in 2015. A resident of Florida, he has designed THE PULPSTER since 2008, and beginning with its 22nd issue, became editor of the award-winning program book.

The first twenty-one issues of the magazine were edited by Tony Davis, winner of the 1999 . Tony calls Bill: “One of the unsung heroes of contemporary pulp fandom.” In late 2013, Bill also began to design <PulpFest‘s print advertisements, badges, and other materials. He is a member of the <PulpFest organizing committee, serving as the convention’s advertising director and webmaster.

The award, named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines. The winner is selected by a committee made up of all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award recipients. The award is a fine art print created by David Saunders and published by Dan Zimmer of The Illustrated Press.

2018 Munsey Award Nominees

Frank Munsey in 1910.

The PulpFest Organizing Committee has announced the fifteen 2018 Munsey Award nominees. Named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, the award recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines. The winner will be selected by a committee made up of all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award recipients and named July 28 at PulpFest in Pittsburgh.

  • Author, bibliographer, critic, editor, and historian MIKE ASHLEY has a special expertise in the history of magazine science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction. In 2002, he received a Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the study of science fiction. He is the author or co-author of numerous works related to the pulps, science fiction, and fantasy. …Mr. Ashley has also edited many anthologies and single-author collections, often drawing work from the pulps. He is currently working to compile an index to the most important British popular fiction magazines between 1880 and 1950.
  • The Collections Librarian at the University of Connecticut, RICHARD BLEILER is a bibliographer and researcher in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, and adventure fiction. In 2002, he was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction for the second edition of SUPERNATURAL FICTION WRITERS: FANTASY AND HORROR. With his father, Everett Bleiler, Richard compiled SCIENCE-FICTION: THE EARLY YEARS and SCIENCE-FICTION: THE GERNSBACK YEARS, both published by Kent State University Press.
  • CAMILLE CAZEDESSUS has been publishing a fanzine devoted to pulp fiction for more than fifty years, first as ERB-DOM and later as THE FANTASTIC COLLECTOR. All told, he has edited and published almost 250 issues, as well as several books. In its earliest incarnation, Caz’s magazine focused on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, presenting background information and bibliographic details about the author’s work as it appeared in magazines, books, comics, and movies. ERB-DOM won a Hugo Award in 1966. In the late nineties, Caz rechristened his fanzine as PULPDOM, a publication devoted to “studying the authors that wrote for the pulps and reprinting the ‘fantastic adventure’ type stories from pulp magazines.” With the help of various writers and indexers including Gary Lovisi, Al Lybeck, Jerry Page and, most recently, Mike Taylor, PULPDOM has explored nearly every pre-1932 general fiction pulp ever published, including ARGOSY, ALL-STORY, BLUE BOOK, CAVALIER, and THE POPULAR. Caz continues to publish PULPDOM today as an online pulp fanzine.
  • Probably best known for the SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX that he originally compiled with Steve Miller, WILLIAM CONTENTO has assembled other works that have become essential tools of reference. These include his INDEX TO SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGIES AND COLLECTIONS, INDEX TO CRIME AND MYSTERY ANTHOLOGIES (with Martin H. Greenberg), THE SUPERNATURAL INDEX (with Mike Ashley), and others. In the last seventeen years, he and Phil Stephensen-Payne have built up the online FictionMags Index into a research juggernaut. It currently lists the contents of over 75,000 issues of thousands of different magazine titles. Pulps are heavily represented, of course, but pulp writers turn up in other magazines, too, and the FictionMags Index allows them to be discovered. A huge endeavor, the FictionMags Index has been a tremendous boon to pulp-magazine research.
  • RON FORTIER has been a professional writer for three decades. In 2007, Ron teamed up with illustrator Rob Davis to start Airship 27 Productions and build a home for new adventures featuring long moribund pulp characters such as the Green Lama, the Masked Rider, Secret Agent X, and Fortier’s own version of Ace Periodicals’ Captain Hazzard….
  • The late JOEL FRIEMAN worked for many years in the publishing industry. He was the person most responsible for taking The Shadow to a new paperback house — Pyramid/Jove — after it had failed at Bantam Books. It was Joel who worked to have Jim Steranko do the covers for the new Shadow line. Joel was also responsible for the Pocket Books editions of The Spider in the 1970s and, as the fiction editor at Freeway Press, he reprinted several Operator 5 adventures in paperback, featuring cover art by pulp illustrator George Gross. In 1981, Joel purchased Popular Publications from Popular Publications International. Joel was directly involved with every Popular Publications reprint in any format ever since….
  • STEPHEN HAFFNER — The “Big Poobah” of Haffner Press — has been returning the work of a number of well-regarded pulp fiction writers into print for nearly twenty years. Specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and mystery fiction, Stephen has brought back the early work of Leigh Brackett, Fredric Brown, Howard Brown, Edmond Hamilton, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Manly Wade Wellman, and Jack Williamson in a series of beautifully designed hardcovers….
  • Although pulp reprints abound in our day and age, such was not only the case. Along with John Gunnison of Adventure House, RICH HARVEY was one of the first small publishers to get the pulp reprint movement off the ground. He started in the pages of his fanzine, PULP ADVENTURESbegun in 1992 — where he published stories from COMPLETE NORTHWEST NOVEL, DIME DETECTIVE, .44 WESTERN MAGAZINE, NEW DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, and other pulps. …Along with his current partner, Audrey Parente, Rich manages the twice-a-year Pulp AdventureCon in two locations, New Jersey and Florida. These one-day events help to bring the world of pulp to a wider geographic range of fans….
  • CHRIS KALB is known in pulp circles for his hero pulp websites, like The 86th Floor and The Spider Returns, ventures that have helped to attract people who are new to the pulps….
  • WILLIAM LAMPKIN is a freelance writer/editor and publication designer who has spent much of his work life in the newspaper field, much like Rambler Murphy (but without the cool nickname and crime-solving). …A resident of Florida, he has designed THE PULPSTER since 2008, and beginning with its 22nd issue, became editor of the award-winning program book. The first twenty-one issues of the magazine were edited by Tony Davis, winner of the 1999 Lamont Award. Tony calls Bill: “One of the unsung heroes of contemporary pulp fandom.” In late 2013, Bill also began to design PulpFest‘s print advertisements, badges, and other materials. He is a member of the PulpFest organizing committee, serving as the convention’s advertising director and webmaster.
  • …A pulp collector since a teenager, SHEILA VANDERBEEK began attending pulp conventions in 1975. She has attended 62 of the 63 major pulp conventions since her first. She helped with all the radio recreations that were performed at Pulpcon. A member of the Battered Silicon Press pulp advisory committee, Sheila has helped on many books for the publisher….
  • GEORGE VANDERBURGH has published over 600 books through his Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, many of them directly related to the pulps. …Along with the late Robert Weinberg, George served as the co-editor of Arkham House Publishers until the death of April Derleth. A regular attendee of pulp conventions, George has helped both longtime and new fans to collect the tales of some of the most fantastic heroes from the pulps.
  • Although some may believe he is old enough to have purchased pulps off the newsstand, CHUCK WELCH is a mere whippersnapper. As one of the original Internet Fans of Bronze, Chuck started attending the summer pulp convention in the late 1990s. …When the Internet began to take off, Chuck began Flearun, a Doc Savage group now at Facebook. He is also the creator of the Hidalgo Trading Companyperhaps the closest anyone has come to presenting an online Doc fanzine — and the current editor of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE.
  • For twenty-five years, HOWARD WRIGHT was the publisher of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE….
  • DAN ZIMMER has been working to promote greater awareness of pulp artists by producing and distributing ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE since 2001. …Dan has also published illustrated biographies of pulp artists Walter Baumhofer, H. J. Ward, and Norman Saunders through his book-publishing arm, The Illustrated Press….

Pixel Scroll 1/7/18 Your Majesty Is Like A Scroll With Pixels On Top

(1) BOOK SMUGGLERS AT 10. Happy birthday to The Book Smugglers. They celebrated their tenth anniversary today:

Welcome to Smugglivus 2017: A Year In Review. Today, January 7, 2017, is our bloggoversary–and it’s a big one. Today we officially turn ten years old. To celebrate, we’re looking back at 2017 to document our year, as well as our top 10 moments since starting The Book Smugglers a decade ago.

A lot of interesting achievements and reminiscences in this post.

(2) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Myke Cole and Joseph Helmreich on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 7 p.m. at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, New York).

Myke Cole

Myke Cole is the author of the military fantasy Shadow Ops series and its prequel trilogy, the Reawakening series, both from Ace/Roc. His Sacred Throne series is forthcoming from Tor.com in February. His first nonfiction (military history) book, will be out from Osprey in the fall. Myke appeared on CBS’ hit TV show Hunted, as part of a team of elite investigators tracking fugitives across the southeastern United States.

Joseph Helmreich

Joseph Helmreich has contributed writing to NewsweekNY Daily News, and Tor.com, and is author of the recent sf thriller, The Return (St. Martin’s Press, March 2017) about a physicist who gets abducted by an alien ship on live TV.  When not writing, Joe is a ventriloquist, illustrator, voice-over actor and member of alternative folk duo, Honeybrick. He lives in New York City and works in film distribution.

(3) SALAM AWARD. The 2018 jury for the Salam Award will be Elizabeth Hand , E. Lily Yu and Anil Menon. The award promotes imaginative fiction in Pakistan.

Last year’s winner was Firuza Pastakia for her story The Universe is a Conscientious Gardener.

(4) FANTASY MINIATURES. Dangerous Minds showcases some cute miniature models of Fauns, Jackalopes, Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, and Unicorns. Here’s Exhibit A:

Warning: Cuteness overload ahead

Silvia Minucelli is an engineer and freelance artisan who creates itsy-bitsy, ickle figurines using polymer clay and a toothpick—can you imagine how painstaking and difficult that must be? Minucelli produces and sells her delightful models under the name Mijbil Creatures—named after the famous otter in Gavin Maxwell’s book Ring of Bright Water.

(5) PKD ON TV. The New York Times’ Jonathan Ringer tells how “With ‘Electric Dreams,’ Philip K. Dick Gets the TV Anthology Treatment”.

…The actors attracted to the series included Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” (also one of the show’s executive producers), Steve Buscemi, Maura Tierney and the avant-R&B singer Janelle Monáe. And “Electric Dreams” attracted writers and directors like Dee Rees (“Mudbound”), Peter Horton (“American Odyssey,” “Thirtysomething”) and Alan Taylor (“Game of Thrones”).

Dick’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, whose production company Electric Shepherd oversees adaptations of her father’s work, reached out in 2012 to Mr. Dinner, executive producer of FX’s “Justified,” and invited him to look at the short stories. “Michael really had the idea to do it as anthology,” said Mr. Moore, a friend of Mr. Dinner’s who was brought on soon after.

Mr. Dinner, who had a deal with Sony, also recruited Mr. Cranston, who, like the others, is a major Philip K. Dick fan. All four brought in people they’d worked with as well as reaching out to talent they admired. “I sent Janelle Monáe a letter and asked her if she’d want to be a part of it,” Ms. Hackett said. “I knew that she was a big fan of my dad’s.”

David Klaus sent these comments with the link:

There’s an irony in that Star Trek was sold as the first s.f. t.v. series unlike previous s.f. series which had all been anthology shows, to have continuing characters and standing sets, to reduce production costs.

It could also be said another of Robert Heinlein’s great gifts to science fiction was the typewriter he bought and gave to PKD so that he could earn his way out of being so broke he couldn’t pay a library overdue fine.

(6) BLATHER. The New York Times interviewed an expert about “How To Speak Gibberish”. And it wasn’t even a member of Congress.

… In 2014, Sara Maria Forsberg was a recent high-school graduate in Finland when she posted “What Languages Sound Like to Foreigners,” a video* of herself speaking gibberish versions of 15 languages and dialects. Incorporate actual phonology to make a realistic-sounding gibberish. “Expose yourself to lots of different languages,” says Forsberg, now 23, who grew up speaking Finnish, Swedish and English.

Assemble your raw linguistic materials. Shortly after her YouTube video went viral — it has since been watched more than 19 million times — Lucasfilm contacted Forsberg and asked her to make up a language for one of the alien fighter groups in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The actors were Indonesian, so Forsberg studied online videos in various Austronesian languages including Bahasa Indonesia and Sundanese, a language spoken in western Java. “Listen for repeated syllables,” she says. Write them down phonetically. Note the rhythm of the language. Look at the way a speaker’s lips and tongue give shape to his or her words. You don’t need to be a linguist to get an impression of real syntactic rules, which you can borrow. It helps to love listening to the singsong quality of people talking. For Forsberg, “it’s like music.”…

(7) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.

A friend was watching Queen of Outer Space with Zsa Zsa Gabor and noticed the title stuff did not appear until 17 minutes into the flick.

He then recalled that George Lucas was fined by the Directors Guild for not having the opening credits.  George paid the half million dollar fine and quit the Guild — see “How famous Star Wars title sequence survived imperial assaults” at The Conversation.

Star Wars creator George Lucas had to fight to maintain his vision of going straight into the story through the use of his rolling text sequence. He thought that opening credits were nothing to do with making a movie, seeing them as an example of the old-school posturing that he and his new Hollywood contemporaries had spurned. In this he could well have been inspired by George Mélies’ A Trip to the Moon (1902), which is regarded as the first sci-fi film and avoided using any credits because the visual narrative was so strong.

Lucas did end up having to put the studio and Lucasfilm idents at the start of the reel, but he put his own directing and producing credits at the end of the film. He argued that credits would destroy the impact of the opening, and put them at the end of the film instead.

Lucas did the same thing for Empire Strikes Back in 1980, which was directed not by himself but by Irving Kershner. This time the Directors Guild of America objected, even though Kershner didn’t mind. The guild wanted the movie withdrawn from theatres, the opening re-titled with Kershner’s directing credit at a cost of US$500,000 (£1.4m today), and that Lucas pay a $25,000 fine.

Lucas was incensed and took the guild to court. When it countersued, he decided to pay the fine to avoid entangling Kershner in the dispute. It was a pyrrhic victory for the guild, however. Lucas resigned from both the writers’ and directors’ guilds and all future Star Wars opening titles were untouched and consistent with the original.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 7, 1929 — The Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. comic strip debuted. (The character’s first appearance was in a story published by Amazing Stories in 1928.)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • January 7, 1934 – Flash Gordon. This has been long regarded as his “birthdate” because that was the day Alex Raymond’s strip was first published.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) WOMBAT ON THE AIR. Information wants to be free —

(12) REMEMBERING THE GREAT RAY BRADBURY. Steve Vertlieb hopes you will read his piece for AmericanMusicPreservation.com, “A Ray Bradbury Remembrance (Film Music Review 14th Anniversary Special)”.

Here is my affectionate tribute to cherished friend Ray Bradbury, whose loving presence occupied my world and my heart for nearly four decades. Ray was one of the most distinguished writers of the twentieth century and, with H.G. Wells, perhaps the most influential, legendary science fiction writer of the past one hundred years. More importantly, however, Ray was a gentle little boy whose love of imagination, fantasy, and stories of other worlds influenced hundreds of writers and millions of admirers all over the world. His monumental presence upon this planet warmed and inspired all who knew him, and I was honored to call him my friend for thirty-eight years. Here, once more, is my loving remembrance of the life and world of Ray Bradbury, “I SING BRADBURY ELECTRIC.”

Steve’s article begins —

He was a kindly, gentle soul who lived among us for a seeming eternity. But even eternity is finite. He was justifiably numbered among the most influential writers of the twentieth century. Among the limitless vistas of science fiction and fantasy he was, perhaps, second only in literary significance to H.G. Wells who briefly shared the last century with him. Ray Bradbury was, above all else, the poet laureate of speculative fiction.

(13) KARMA. The house directly to the left of what was Ray Bradbury’s is listed on Air BnB and other sites as a party rental  You can even search for it by name, Cheviot Wonderland.

The large floor plan with gorgeous floor to ceiling windows overlooking the breathtaking pool area makes entertaining a breeze. With a state of the art chef’s kitchen and dining room that seats 10, tastefully dazzle your guests with a perfect setting for your dinner parties.

Los Angeles architect Thom Mayne razed Bradbury’s longtime Cheviot Hills home and built a place of his own design, which was finished in 2017.

(14) SIMULTANEITY PRINCIPLE. Andrew Porter points out there will be two conventions a few miles apart, same town, same weekend, July 27-29. Confluence is at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel. And Pulpfest is at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. He says —

They’re about 8 miles apart, NW of downtown Pittsburgh. You’d think both conventions could do some sort of deal together. Maybe a shuttle between the two. I bet both sets of dealers would be happy with the exposure.

Also, judging from people’s Facebook posts, Confluence will be gaining some writers who have been trimmed from ReaderCon programming (another July convention).

(15) ANOTHER ADDICTIVE GAME. They say literally anybody can play: “China’s Most Popular Mobile Game Charges Into American Market”.

Chinese tech giant Tencent is trying to do something that’s never been done before: take the biggest online mobile game in China global.

Kings Of Glory, sometimes also translated as Honor Of Kings, boasts over 200 million monthly players worldwide. In China, it’s been reported that tens of millions play daily. The game is so popular that Tencent had to implement a daily time restriction for young players to “ensure children’s healthy development.”

(16) JUST IN TIME. The doctor will see you – right after he levels up. “Gaming addiction classified as disorder by WHO”.

Gaming addiction is to be listed as a mental health condition for the first time by the World Health Organisation.

Its 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will include the condition “gaming disorder”.

The draft document describes it as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour so severe that it takes “precedence over other life interests”.

Some countries had already identified it as a major public health issue….

(17) MORE TRIVIA. Mad Genius Club has 10 times more people who want to read JDA’s blog than we have here. At least. Didn’t we know that already?

(18) ROWLING SITES. The Washington Post’s Tom Shroder tells how to go about “Discovering the magic of Edinburgh” in a travel piece about his visit to the places where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in longhand, and a trip to Greyfriars Graveyard, whose tombs include Thomas Riddle (the real name of Lord Voldemort).

It was the first of what I came to think of as our Edinburgh Harry Potter moments — when the ordinary Muggle reality suddenly parted to reveal something magical. As it turned out, this wasn’t entirely fanciful thinking on my part. I only discovered later that J.K. Rowling herself said, in a 2008 speech accepting the Edinburgh Award, “Edinburgh is very much home for me and is the place where Harry evolved over seven books and many, many hours of writing in its cafes.”

The city’s remarkably consistent buildings of mottled brown stone blocks, the most spectacular of them with sharply peaked roofs and ostentatious turrets, are clear inspiration for the architecture of the Hogwarts School of Wizardry. The tombstones in the fabulously gloomy Greyfriars Kirkyard in the oldest part of the city bear the names of some key Potter characters — McGonagall, Moodie and, most notably, Thomas Riddle, the birth name of Harry’s nemesis, Lord Voldemort. Tourists flock to the cafes where the then-impoverished author wrote out her stories in longhand: the Elephant House, Nicholson’s (now called Spoon), the baroquely gorgeous Balmoral Hotel.

(19) ADDRESSER UNKNOWN. An anonymous piece at write.as summarizes Jon Del Arroz’ track record and concludes —

The most mind-boggling thing of all about Jon is, he insults and harasses people, then wonders why folks don’t want him around. If you call SFWA terrorists, insult women in science fiction related podcasts, insult people in the comic industry, call folks running fandom sites bigots, then openly admit you’re going to break a convention’s rules, why would you be surprised when people start banning you? You are your own worst enemy, Jon Del Arroz. I don’t believe you anymore.

(20) WHAT THOSE TINY HANDS ARE FOR. Thanks to ScienceFiction.com I discovered this artistic triumph — “Colorado Symphony Performs ‘Jurassic Park’ Theme Led By A T-Rex”.

Last March, Colorado Symphony conductor Christopher Dragon donned a T-rex costume to lead the ensemble in a performance of John Williams’ beloved ‘Jurassic Park’ theme song. The hilarious musical moment is getting its 15 minutes of fame after a video from the concert was posted to social media.

 

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Steve Vertlieb, Chris Garcia, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mister Dalliard.]

Pixel Scroll 12/30/17 Happy Scrollidays To All Who Pixelate

(1) NEW BLACK SFF INITIATIVE. The Chicago Tribune reports — “Chicago collective puts black characters in fantasy, horror and sci-fi films”.

When Chris Adams was a teen growing up in the Far South Side’s Roseland area, he would often imagine himself living in space and existing alongside alien creatures such as those in “Star Wars.”

Or he would picture an alternate reality, where black people were served by robots and lived in houses filled with futuristic devices or battled enormous, prehistoric monsters.

“I’ve (long) been a big fan of fantasy films and horror and sci-fi,” he said. “But black people are underrepresented in those genres. When we are there, we’re the first to die.”

Hoping to bring fresh voices and perspectives to film, Adams recently launched a project with a collective of Chicago filmmakers that concentrates on producing short movies.

Rather than giving voice to the typical stories of violence, grief or family drama, these filmmakers want to showcase fantasy, horror and science fiction films with black characters as the focus.

Their effort comes at a time when there is an increasing appetite for films and television shows that present black lives from nuanced and nonstereotypical perspectives.

Still, Adams and his Paradigm Grey project are unusual because the independent films center on black characters but have very little to do with the realities African-Americans experience. All five of the filmmakers and production crews involved in the group hail from the Chicago region and shoot their projects here, yet they avoid narratives centered on poverty, joblessness, drug abuse, corruption or other topics often central to storylines involving black characters.

With their combined reputations, they hope to take their films from underground to a wider audience, Adams said.

“Nearly everyone who joined on to this project were frustrated with the current state of filming,” he said. “The actors were sick of playing drug dealers, prostitutes, gangbangers and the typical roles you see us in. We all wanted a chance to do something completely imaginative. So this project was like a breath of fresh air.”

(2) PULPFEST PROGRAM POSTED. PulpFest has announced its planned program for the convention to be held July 26 – 29, 2018 in Pittsburgh. Joe Lansdale will be PulpFest Guest of Honor. They’ll be honoring the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I. They’ll also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Science Fiction Grand Master Philip José Farmer.

(3) NOMINATE FOR MUNSEY AWARD. Nominations for PulpFest’s 2018 Munsey Award are being accepted through May 1, 2018. Full details here.

All members of the pulp community are welcome to nominate someone for this year’s award. If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy to receive this prestigious award, please let us know.

All members of the pulp community — excepting past winners of the MunseyRusty, or Lamont Awards  — are eligible. Your nomination can be sent to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. You can also reach Mike at 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542. You will need to provide the person’s name and an explanation describing why that person should be honored.

The award recipient will be chosen by a vote of all living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners. The 2018 Munsey Award will be presented on Saturday evening, July 28,

(4) DECEMBER’S CHILDREN. (And Everybody’s): Jason lists the big hits of this month’s short web fiction in the “Summation of Online Fiction: December 2017” from Featured Futures.

Thinking about this month’s noted stories, I’m reminded of the rational Isaac Asimov’s comments on how numerology “works” because you can find patterns in anything. In this 12th month (1+2=3), threes and twos (and thus ones) are a recurring motif. This month, I recommend three SF stories (two of which come from Compelling – though the one from Nature really can’t be missed) and three fantasy stories (two of which come from Grievous Angel) and honorably mention three fantasy stories (two of which come from Uncanny). Which is, again, three sets: two of recommendations and just one of honorable mentions. Meaningless, but I’ll admit it is a weird coincidence. These nine tales were chosen, not from 32 stories of 123K words, but from forty December webzine stories of 162K words.

(5) GRAFTON OBIT. Sue Grafton, famed for her alphabet-titled mystery series about private eye Kinsey Millhone, died December 28 at the age of 77.

The first, A is for Alibi, was published in 1982 and the last, Y is for Yesterday, was published in August.

“As far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y,” her daughter said in a statement posted to Facebook.

(6) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian saw the ghost of a mashup yet to come in Ziggy.

(7) APEX SUBMISSION WINDOW OPENS. Apex Book Company will be holding open novel and novella submissions from January 1st to January 31st, 2018. Guidelines and information here.

We will consider novellas in length of 30,000 to 40,000 words and novels in length up to 120,000 words, and are particularly looking for novels that fit within the dark sci-fi category. Dark fantasy and horror submissions are also welcome.

A literary agent is not required for submission. We may take up to three months or more to review your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay. We will only accept one submission per author.

(8) LIKE LEGO AND EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE. Io9’s Andrew Liszewski says “You Can Beam Whatever You Want From My Wallet for These Custom Star Trek: TNG Minifigures”.

The eight-figure set isn’t officially produced by Lego, but each of the minifigures—including Wesley Crusher, Lt. Commander Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Cmdr. William Riker, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Counselor Deanna Troi, Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge, and Lieutenant Worf—are 100 percent compatible with your existing plastic brick collections.

(9) SOME BOOKSTORES DOOMED. A New York Times article about bookstore chains that have been forced to the brink or given up — “Bookstore Chains, Long in Decline, Are Undergoing a Final Shakeout”.

Here is one way to measure the upheaval in bookselling: Replacing Book World as the fourth-largest chain, Publishers Weekly says, will be a company that had no physical presence a few years ago. That would be Amazon, which having conquered the virtual world has opened or announced 15 bookshops, including at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

In a famous passage in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” a novel that Book World used to sell, a character is asked how he went bust. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

That more or less mirrors what happened to Book World and other bookstore chains.

(10) TWO HEARTS AND THIRTEEN LIONS. That’s fun – Camestros Felapton, in “Today’s Infographic: Doctor Where”, plots out the birthplaces of Doctor Who actors.

(11) IT’S ABOUT TIME. Fabrice Mathieu shared “STAR WARS 4.7: Skywalker vs Starkiller,”his new Star Wars Mashup, successor to “Darth by Darthwest” and “Raiders of the Lost Darth”.

Young Jedi Luke Skywalker and his trusty companion R2-D2 pilot their battle worn X-wing fighter into a massive black hole, propelling them 30 years into the future.  They find themselves engaged in the mighty rebel attack against the New Order’s fierce machine known as the Starkiller Base.

[Thanks to Standback, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Jason, Francis Hamit, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Jason Sizemore, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Giant Panda.]