(1) STONY END. At Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum delivers a masterful review of the third novel in the acclaimed trilogy, “The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin”.
It might seem a bit strange to say that The Stone Sky, the concluding volume of the Broken Earth trilogy, had a lot riding on it. For the past two years, the SF field and its fandom have been falling over themselves to crown this trilogy as not just good, but important. Both of the previous volumes in the series, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, were nominated for the Nebula and the Hugo. When The Fifth Season won the Hugo in 2016, it made Jemisin the first African-American (and the first American POC) to win the best novel category. When The Obelisk Gate won the same award earlier this year, it was the first time that consecutive volumes in a series had won the Hugo back-to-back since, I believe, Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead thirty years ago. That’s probably not considered the best company nowadays, but it speaks to the kind of zeitgeist-capturing work that Jemisin is doing with this series. In that context, the third volume might almost be looked at as a victory lap, just waiting to be showered with laurels.
To me, however, a great deal depended on the kind of ending Jemisin crafted for her story….
(2) STAN BY ME. This doctor makes house calls? Here in LA in October!
(3) THEY WERE JUST RESTING. Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch have launched a Kickstarter to bring back “Pulphouse Fiction Magazine” after a 21-year hiatus.
Dean returns as editor of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, bringing back the attitude and editing eye that got Pulphouse three Hugo nominations and thousands of subscribers. Kris will function as executive editor. Allyson Longueira is the publisher, Gwyneth Gibby is the associate publisher, and Josh Frase will be the managing editor and website guru….
Pulphouse Fiction Magazine returns as a quarterly publication, with the first issue coming out in January 2018.
But before January, as was a tradition with Pulphouse Publishing, there will be an Issue Zero. Basically, Issue Zero will be a complete issue of the magazine, but will function as a test run.
Issue Zero will be given to anyone who supports this Kickstarter subscription drive if we make our goal.
They’ve already surpassed their $5,000 goal, with 17 days left to run.
(4) BURNING LOVE. The anonymous Red Panda Fraction calls Dragon Con their home convention, and seeks to justify one of their tactics to level the Dragon Awards playing field in “Why Did We Create a Red Panda Slate? 1st Post from Rad Sonja”.
Now that Dragon Con is over and our schedules have returned to normal, it seems like it’s time to explain why the Red Panda Fraction decided to create a slate for the Dragon Awards this year. It was the most controversial thing we did, and we noted the consternation among blog commenters. We appreciate the criticism that authors may not want to be on any slate because it would make them “political footballs” or put targets on their backs. If we create a recommendation list for the next Dragon Award, we will ask authors if they want to be taken off before sending anything out to the public….
“Rad Sonja” doesn’t really delve into the ethics of slating beyond the poetic “fighting fire with fire”, but instead indulges in lengthy speculation about the networking that led to certain results in the first year of the award.
Moreover, from the beginning, the most active boosters of the award have been Puppies. Among the first places to publish a story about the Dragon Awards (April 8th, 2016) was the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA), a closed Facebook group which includes a number of major Puppy organizers. It didn’t take much digging for us to figure out that Dragon Con’s SF=literature track director, Sue Phillips, and long-time SF-lit track volunteer, the Puppy-booster blogger and podcaster, Stephanie Souders, (aka “The Right Geek”, who added Phillips to the FB group in 2014) were also members of the CLFA Facebook group. The CLFA actively promotes the work of their members on their blog. See, for example, this post from this year….
(5) FROM ARES TO ARTEMIS. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination will host “An Evening with Andy Weir” on December 9 at UCSD. Time and ticket information at the link.
Join us for the launch of the much-anticipated new novel by Andy Weir, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Martian. Weir will discuss Artemis—a crime caper set on the moon, in a near-future world that Weir builds with his trademark rich, scientifically accurate detail.
Artemis is the first only city on the moon. If you aren’t a tourist or an eccentric billionaire, life in this fledgling new territory is tough. Providence and imperial dreams have been nickel-and-dimed from those who have called the moon their home. That’s why Jazz doesn’t rely on her day-job. She moonlights, instead, as a smuggler, and gets along okay with small-time contraband that is, until the chance to commit the perfect crime presents itself.
Weir will discuss Artemis with Dr. Erik Viirre, Associate Director of the Clarke Center and the Medical and Technical Director of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE.
Book signing to follow. Copies will be available for purchase.
(6) JUST GUYS DOIN’ STUFF. Ashe Armstrong answers the question “What is Orctober?” at Fantasy-Faction.
Orctober seeks, as you may have guessed by now, to celebrate the orc. With the Elder Scrolls and Warcraft blowing up like they have, thanks to World of Warcraft and Skyrim, orcs have started to be viewed differently. While there are still those who love the old vision of them, grimy and lanky and full of malice, many of us are embracing a changing view of them. Orcs can be just as varied as the other races. They’re no longer an Evil Race of Evil, or at least not just that. It even happened with the Forgotten Realms books, with Drizzt and the orc, Obould Many-Arrows. In Warcraft, you had Thrall and Durotan. The Elder Scrolls had Gortwog go-Nagorm, who sought to reclaim the lands of Orsinium and help his people find respect.
(7) IN LIVING 3-D. This is great! Walk through the Center for Bradbury Studies using My Matterport.
In the spring of 2007, IUPUI’s School of Liberal Arts created the nation’s first center for the study of Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)
(8) PERSONAL FANDOM STORIES WANTED. Joe Praska at The Continuing Voyage is looking for autobiographical contributions to their series “My Fandom. My Story.”
My Fandom. My Story. is a series on The Continuing Voyage that aims to share the stories of individuals; their fandoms, passions, identity, struggles and successes. Maybe you have a passion for a certain science fiction franchise that’s helped shape your ideals as an adult, maybe your knitting hobby led you to find a sense of community, maybe your love for a specific book helps you feel a deeper connection to your family or your culture, or maybe your interest in science has shaped your career. Whatever it is, we’d like to hear your story.
My Fandom. My Story hopes to bring to light personal stories that explore countless themes that may arise such as community, family, creativity, art, inspiration, identity, mindfulness, politics, social justice, and culture while of course exploring the fandoms and passions of the individuals writing.
(9) TRIVIAL TRIVIA
In the original and best The Wolf Man, Larry Talbot had been away 18 years working on Mt. Wilson Observatory in California.
(10) TRIVIALEST TRIVIA
Silent film actor Gibson Gowland appears in The Wolf Man as a villager present at the death of Larry Talbot. He also had been present during the Phantom’s death scene in the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), becoming the only actor to appear in death scenes performed by both Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
- October 1, 1957 — The Brain From Planet Arous premiered on this day.
- October 1, 1992 — The Cartoon Network started.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL
- Born October 1, 1935 — Julie Andrews (whose best-known genre work is Mary Poppins.)
(13) COMPELLING SF. Publisher Joe Stech has released the 9th issue of Compelling Science Fiction. You can buy the issue from the Kindle store, or download the issue from Patreon in DRM-free mobi and epub format if you’re a subscriber. They also welcome readers to their new Facebook page — facebook.com/CompellingSF
(14) CHEERING FOR CHAOS. Camestros Felapton, in “Separatism, Spain, Catalonia, Russia, the Alt-Right & Chaos-Fascism”, tries to fathom the motives behind the latest political posturing.
I don’t know what Putin’s perspective is on Catalonia but I can guess by looking at more accessible proxy mouthpieces. Our least favourite science fiction publisher, Vox Day, is very much against the Spanish government’s actions and supportive of the Catalonian government. Likewise Julian Assange. The Alt-Right, in general, are treating events in Catalonia and the Spanish government’s heavy hand suppression of the voting as vague proof of something – it isn’t clear what they think it proves but their choosing of sides is clear: Madrid bad, Barcelona good. For once they aren’t on the side of militarised police beating the crap out of ordinary people. Why not? After all, in many ways, the current Spanish government is also nationalist and its application of force to quash dissent would, under other circumstances be cheered by the Alt-Right as strong government protecting national identity.
The answer is that there is always at least 50-50 chance which side of a cross-nationalist conflict they will pick but they will tend to pick the side that creates the biggest headache for trans-national cooperation. Putin wants Western Europe divided, both as payback and strategically and the alt-right follows suit. Everybody loses except chaos-fascism.
(15) BLATANT LIVING. Ethan Mills of Examined Worlds is ready to lament “The Death of Subtlety?” (if the answer turns out to be yes.)
The problem with our civilization is the death of subtlety. Or – scratch that. One of many problems with a lot of the culture of the United States in 2017 is that there is less subtlety than there maybe should be.
I continue to have – albeit with somewhat diminished enthusiasm as of late – hope that subtle questioning is on the whole a better method than bludgeoning people with the truth….
(16) IN ITS DNA. The Hugo Award Book Club argues that science fiction is, in some ways, a “more political form of literature” than other genres: “The Political Power Of Science Fiction”.
…You cannot write about imaginary futures and different worlds without showing how their societies are different than our own; how they are better and how they are worse. In this sense, as others have observed, science fiction is a medium of utopias and dystopias. And the determination of what makes a society dystopic or utopic is inherently about political values.
If you believe that all humans are really created equal, your utopia likely won’t include a caste system. If you believe that humans have a right to privacy, a government surveillance state will be depicted as a dystopia. If you believe that the world needs racial purity and genetically superior heroes to save us from corruption, you might write a fantasy about a man of high Númenórean blood who is destined to reclaim the Throne of Gondor.
These are all political beliefs.
Practical politics is about changing the world. Science fiction is about exploring worlds that have been changed. The two are intertwined.
This is what the Futurians and their critics at the first Worldcon all understood: By imagining utopias and dystopias, science fiction helps create blueprints that guide us towards, or away from, potential futures….
(17) TV TRIBUTE. Inverse has been eavesdropping: “Elon Musk Named ‘Moon Base Alpha’ After Grooviest Sci-Fi Show Ever”.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced Friday that his space exploration plans now include not just Mars but also the moon. Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk revealed the company’s planned next-generation rocket will make it possible to build a moon base — and the name he picked is just his latest homage to beloved science fiction, in this case, the British cult classic Space: 1999….
Musk’s proposed name for the base is Moon Base Alpha, which is a reference to the 1970s British cult classic Space: 1999.
(18) THIS JOB IS NOT THAT #@%! EASY. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination shares episode 10 of its podcast Into the Imagination, “Pictures, Pastries, and the Matter of the Universe”.
Physics is cool–and sometimes very hard to understand. …We talk to Duncan Haldane, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize, about quantum topology and why the Nobel committee brought a bagel, a pretzel, and a bun to the award ceremony to explain his ideas. And with the inimitable Sir Roger Penrose, we explore the visual imagination as it relates to science, the work of artist M.C. Escher, and what it has to do with Penrose’s cosmological theory of the universe.
(19) ESKRIDGE PREMIERE. On October 5, the film OtherLife, written by Clarion Workshop alum Kelley Eskridge, gets its North American premiere at the San Diego Film Festival. In the film, OtherLife is a new drug that creates virtual reality directly in the user’s mind–a technology with miraculous potential applications but also applied to dangerous uses, like imprisoning criminals in virtual cells.
Click this link for time and ticket information.
(20) YOU AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A SOUND DOG. Warts and all, “The Voyager Golden Record Finally Finds An Earthly Audience” – from NPR.
Pescovitz approached his former graduate school professor — none other than Ferris, the Golden Record’s original producer — about the project, and Ferris gave his blessing, with one important caveat.
“You can’t release a record without remastering it,” says Ferris. “And you can’t remaster without locating the master.”
That turned out to be a taller order than expected. The original records were mastered in a CBS studio, which was later acquired by Sony — and the master tapes had descended into Sony’s vaults.
Pescovitz enlisted the company’s help in searching for the master tapes; in the meantime, he and Daly got to work acquiring the rights for the music and photographs that comprised the original. They also reached out to surviving musicians whose work had been featured on the record to update incomplete track information.
Finally, Pescovitz and Daly got word that one of Sony’s archivists had found the master tapes.
Pescovitz remembers the moment he, Daly and Ferris traveled to Sony’s Battery Studios in New York City to hear the tapes for the first time.
“They hit play, and the sounds of the Solomon Islands pan pipes and Bach and Chuck Berry and the blues washed over us,” Pescovitz says. “It was a very moving and sublime experience.”
(21) RED NOSES, GREEN LIGHT. Was this campaign meant to coincide with the clown consciousness-raising of Stephen King’s It? Or is it too funny for that to matter? From Adweek — “Audi Sends in the Clowns for This Madcap Ad About How to Avoid Them on the Road”.
A lot of car advertising treats the obstacles that drivers face on the road as literally faceless threats—an avalanche of rocks tumbling across a mountainside road, or a piece of cargo falling blamelessly off a pickup truck in the city.
But let’s face it. The real problem on the roads is the other drivers. Or, if you like, the clowns who share the streets with us…
As simple as it is, the concept also lends itself to brilliant visuals, as the Audi drivers have to deal with all sorts of clowns driving all sorts of clown cars (and buses). It’s all set to a whispering version of Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns” by Faultline and Lisa Hannigan.
[Thanks to JJ, Joe Stech, Chip Hitchcock, Camestros Felapton, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jamoche.]