(1) MORE CORE. Some might wonder if James Davis Nicoll has hit peak trollage with his latest list, “Twenty Core Problematic Speculative Fiction Works Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”. Some might thank him for listing their favorite book.
As with the previous core lists, here are twenty Problematic Speculative Fiction Works chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field 1 and in this case, the likelihood of encountering their avid fans. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider or the only twenty books whose fans may some day corner you so they can expound at length on the virtues of these books.
Here are the first three on his list of 20 —
- The Heritage of Hastur by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach
- Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey
(2) YOUNG PERSON WATCHES OLD SF. Echo Ishii’s next excursion into old sf TV series has a William Shatner connection – “SF Obscure: TekWar”.
Tek War is based on William Shatner’s TekWar books, ghostwritten by Ron Goulart. There are about nine books in the series. The show started as a series of two-hour TV movies and then a proper second season, from what I can figure out. Open to corrections.
(3) THE SOUND OF WHO. Some of the more, ahem, “experimental” Dr Who soundtracks. “12 ‘Doctor Who’ Jazz Funk Greats” at We Are Cult.
The Sea Devils (1972)
A relentless barrage of white noise that was the result of a life or death struggle between sonic terrorist Malcolm Clarke and the Radiophonic Workshop’s massive EMS Synthi 100, otherwise known as the ‘Delaware’. Anticipates, at various points, Throbbing Gristle, Metal Machine Music, Frank Zappa’s Jazz From Hell and – in its calmer moments – Eno & Fripp’s No Pussyfooting. A BDSM specialist’s shag tape.
(4) DON’T RUN, WALKAWAY. The Reason interview with Cory Doctorow, “Cory Doctorow on Cyber Warfare, Lawbreaking, and His New Novel ‘Walkaway'”, is also is available on YouTube.
Katherine Mangu-Ward: Do you think that the underlying conditions of free speech as it is associated with dubious technologies, are they getting better or worse?
Cory Doctorow: There is the—there is a pure free speech argument and there’s a scientific argument that just says you know it’s not science if it’s not published. You have to let people who disagree with you—and who dislike you—read your work and find the dumb mistakes you’ve made and call you an idiot for having made them otherwise you just end up hitting yourself and then you know your h-bomb blows up in your face, right?
And atomic knowledge was the first category of knowledge that scientists weren’t allowed to freely talk about—as opposed to like trade secrets—but, like, scientific knowledge. That knowing it was a crime. And so it’s the kind of original sin of science. But there’s a difference between an atomic secret and a framework for keeping that a secret and a secret about a vulnerability in a computer system. And they’re often lumped together….
(5) DID YOU KNOW? Complaints Choirs took their inspiration from a conversation in Helsinki.
It all got started during a winter day walk of Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen in Helsinki. Perhaps it was due to the coldness of the day that they ended up discussing the possibility of transforming the huge energy people put into complaining into something else. Perhaps not directly into heat – but into something powerful anyway.
In the Finnish vocabulary there is an expression “Valituskuoro”. It means “Complaints Choir” and it is used to describe situations where a lot of people are complaining simultaneously. Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen thought: “Wouldn´t it be fantastic to take this expression literally and organise a real choir in which people sing about their complaints?”
As complaining is a universal phenomenon the project could be organised in any city around the world. Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen offered the concept to different events where they were invited as artists – but it was only after Springhill Institute in Birmingham got excited about the idea that the First Complaints Choir became a reality.
And here’s a detailed plan for starting a complaints choir in your town.
STEP 1 – Invite People to Complain
Invite people from your city to join the complaints choir. Distribute flyers, spread posters and write a press release. Everybody can join, no singing skills required! The more diverse the participants the better. From pensioner to teenager, everybody has something to complain about. The people that sign up for the choir send in their complain before the first meeting….
(6) RECOMMENDED. Professional filker Miracle of Sound has a released a Wonder Woman song.
I walk a wild new world
The strangest sights surround me
I grow into
This sense of wonder that I’ve found
There is pain
There is joy
There is so much they destroy
Every soul here is a two way battleground
(7) TODAY’S DAY
Octavia Butler Day
Here are links to the first five of a dozen posts BookRiot has published in honor of the day.
- Science Fiction Short Story Collections by Authors of Color – Amy Diegelman
- Fear and Butler in America – Jessica Pryde
- Fierce: The Short Fiction of Octavia Butler – Cassandra Neace
- A Smurfette in Science Fiction and Fantasy: Octavia’s Legacy – Priya Sridhar
- LUMINESCENT THREADS: Knowing Octavia Butler Through a Community That Loves Her – Deya
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- June 22, 1960 — The House of Usher starred Vincent Price, screenplay by I Am Legend author Richard Matheson, and directed by Roger Corman. The film was the first of eight Edgar Allen Poe based feature films that Corman directed.
- June 22, 1979 – Alien premiered.
(9) FROM SOMEBODY’S MOUTH TO GOD’S EAR. Yesterday it was (supposedly) speculation. Today’s it’s a done deal. The Hollywood Reporter says “Ron Howard to Direct Han Solo Movie”.
“I’m beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since 5/25/77,” Howard tweeted Thursday afternoon. “I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.”
Howard, who directed 1995’s Apollo 13 and won an Oscar for helming 2002’s A Beautiful Mind, comes to the Han Solo film with several connections to George Lucas and the worlds of Lucasfilm. He appeared in Lucas’ 1973 breakout film American Graffiti and helmed Lucas’ 1988 pet fantasy project Willow. Howard also revealed on a podcast in 2015 that Lucas had approached him to direct the 1999 Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace.
(10) GONE IN SIXTY DIGITS. Another unexpected side-effect of tech: “‘How I could have stolen my old car using my smartphone'”.
Charles Henderson loved his “awesome” convertible, particularly the fact that he could start, lock and unlock it remotely via his mobile phone.
It was one of the first connected cars that synchronise wirelessly with smartphones for entertainment and work purposes.
But after he sold the vehicle, he was astonished to discover that he could still control it using the associated smartphone app.
“I could have found out where the car was, unlocked it remotely, started it and driven off with it,” he tells the BBC.
Mr Henderson, from Austin, Texas, is global head of X-Force Red, IBM’s offensive security group, so he knows a thing or two about security. He tests companies’ defences, both physical and digital.
(11) NEXTGEN ST. BERNARD. (Video) “The soft 3D-printed robot that could come to the rescue”.
Engineers at the University of California are working on a soft legged robot that can navigate difficult terrain. Its complex design has been achieved through 3D printing.
One possible use for the robot would be to help in search and rescue operations – perhaps in a collapsed building. Its legs can alternate between walking, crawling and climbing.
(12) TIME MACHINE OUT OF ORDER? Tech failure: “California earthquake alarm sounded – 92 years late”.
A computer error caused the US Geological Survey (USGS) to issue the false alarm about the magnitude 6.8 quake.
The quake actually took place in 1925 when it laid waste to the city of Santa Barbara and caused 13 deaths.
In a statement, the USGS said its computers had “misinterpreted” data causing the alarm to be wrongly issued.
News organisations across the US received the emailed alert about the quake which, if it had been real, would have been one of the largest ever recorded in California.
Few organisations reacted directly to the news because it was dated 29 June 2025 – exactly 100 years after the actual event took place.
The LA Times, which uses AI-based software to automatically write up the USGS alerts, did issue a news story based on the alarm notice.
(13) PLANETEXIT. The UK gets ambitious: “Queen’s Speech: Plan aims to secure space sector”.
The stated purpose of the new Bill is to make the UK the most attractive place in Europe for commercial space – including launches from British soil.
(14) DEAR DIARY. Aaron Pound reviews Carrie Fisher’s Hugo-nominated The Princess Diarist at Dreaming of Other Worlds.
Short review: Carrie Fisher found some old diaries she wrote when she was filming Star Wars and having an affair with Harrison Ford. She used them as the basis for a book.
When filming Star Wars
Fisher had a fling with Ford
Now she remembers
(15) HAPPPY NOMINEES. Fangirl Happy Hour is a Hugo-nominated fancast where Ana of The Book Smugglers and Renay of Lady Business team up to discuss books, comics, TV and movies, fandom and pop culture.
Renay: Yeah, I remember telling everybody, “Hey, Bridget’s doing great work, why don’t we nominate her, ” and apparently everybody was already planning to because here she is. I was super excited. And then next category is Best Semiprozine which has you in it! Yay!
Renay: It’s Ana! I’m so excited, The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James. Look at you guys. Look at you on the ballot. so cute!
Ana: I’m very pleased about that. There is a lot of work that goes into the Book Smugglers as you know. I’m happy to be here. There are other amazing nominees in this category and I am like, “Oh fuck.” [laughter]
Renay: Would you have your feelings hurt if I voted for Strange Horizons first and then you second?
Ana: I would, but I would also understand.
Renay: Well I’m gonna put you first, and Strange Horizon second. I was just feeling it out.
Ana: I was very conflicted, because I love Strange Horizons and I think Niall Harrison has done such amazing work for the past few years. And he announced that he’s stepping down from being editor in chief of Strange Horizons and I’m like FUCK so this means that this is the last year that he’s eligible for the Hugos. And I’m like, I think he deserves one? But I also want one!
(16) ANTIQUE VERBIAGE. Brenda Clough takes us on a visit to “The Language Attic” at Book View Café.
Our language is a treasure house. Some of its glories are well-used and well-polished, taken out and set on the table every day. But up in the attic we’ve got some thrilling long-lost terms. This is a series devoted to dragging some of the quainter antiquities out, and dusting them off for you to see.
And today’s fun word is fistiana. Oh, you have a dirty mind. I can see what you’re thinking. No, no — it had nothing whatever to do with X-rated matters. We have pure minds around here, at least at this moment. Maybe later in this series we’ll get some really colorful words. This word’s close relative is boxiana, and both words refer to boxing — pummeling people with your fists.
(17) FOUND IN SPACE. Kyle Hill of Nerdist calls on everyone to “Join Us on the Bizarre Pop Culture Quest that is THE S.P.A.A.C.E. PROGRAM”
As Nerdist‘s resident sci-fientist (TM), there are never enough collisions between science and pop culture. I truly believe that exploring our nerdy passions with science helps appreciate both even more. I’ve tried my best to do this for the last few years with Because Science, but something was missing…oh, right, I wasn’t in sppppppaaaaacccccceeeee!
Starting today, you can watch the first episode of my new Alpha show The S.P.A.A.C.E. Program. It takes all the geeky analysis that I do on Because Science and combines it with a real set, actual production value, and a snarky artificial intelligence. It’s like if Carl Sagan’s COSMOS and Mystery Science Theater 3000 had a weird, long-haired baby. Check out a promo below:
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Aaron Pound, Chip Hitchcock, Jay Byrd, and Mark-kitteh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]