Co-chairs Norman Cates and Kelly Buehler have announced that CoNZealand, the 2020 Worldcon, will present Retro Hugo Awards for 1945, acknowledging notable works published in 1944.
The Hugos are the most prestigious award in the science fiction and fantasy genres. First presented in 1953, they honor literature, media and fan activities, and have become the key event held during the annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon).
Since 1996, Worldcon committees also have had the option of presenting Retrospective (Retro) awards to honor works published in the earlier years of Worldcon when no Hugos were awarded. No Hugo Awards were given out in 1945, when Worldcon was on hiatus due to World War II, and CoNZealand will take place 75 years after the awards would have occurred.
The 2019 Irish Worldcon, held in Dublin last month, presented the 1944 Retro Hugos for the 1943 calendar year; Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Ray Bradbury were amongst the winners.
“Some of the works created during the World War II years have become classics and it is a great opportunity to be able to formally celebrate them,” said Cates and Buehler.
Nominations for the 1945 Retro Hugos will open at the same time as the 2020 Hugo Award nominations.
In addition to the Hugos and Retro Hugos, CoNZealand will host the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, which recognize excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents.
(1) DUBLIN 2019 MASQUERADE. The convention tweeted photos
of the winners:
(2) DUBLIN 2019 ATTENDANCE. At the end of Thursday, Dublin
2019’s daily newzine reported the “total warm bodies registered” at 4,700.
(3) 2019 HUGO LIVESTREAM. Here’s where you find the 2019 Hugo Awards
Ceremony on Vimeo
The premiere event of the Worldcon will take place on Sunday evening, as we celebrate the best science fiction and fantasy of 2018. Hosted by Afua Richardson and Michael Scott, we invite you to join us in congratulating this year’s finalists and winners of the prestigious Hugo Awards.
(4) DUBLIN 2019 ART SHOW AWARDS. The daily newzine posted the results:
Best Jewellery Collection: Angela Jones-Parker
Best Collection Of Work: Maja Winnacka
Best Traditional Original: Johnman (John Green) for We Are All Majestic
Best Artwork: Jim Burns for Jane Delawney Had Her Dreams
Best Digital Art: Fred Gambino for 2nd Gen
Spirit Of Dublin: Paul Sheridan for An Unexpected Pub Crawl
Best 3D: Didier Cottier for Le Grand Chambellan
Best Textile Art: Sarah Haddock aka Cryptozoo
With thanks to the judging panel, Alice Lawson, Colin Harris, Jo Playford and Serena Culfeather, who had a hard task.
(5) RETRO HUGO VOTING STATISTICS. Hugo Administrator Nicholas White has published the Retro-Hugo results for this
year. He also tweeted an analysis of how differently this
year’s Retro Hugos would have been reported if the “Notability Still Matters”
amendment had been in force for this year’s awards. The thread starts here.
But there is something (intentionally) not quite right from the start. A T-Rex? The tyrannosaur has been stomping through dinosaur stories throughout this project and in almost every instance they have been symbols of sudden violence and an agent of vengeance and punishment of the wicked or cowardly. Symbolically in dinosaur stories the T-rex has been a kind of saurian Fury punishing the cowardly or those who in hubris forgot to show the proper respect to time-travel or dinosaurs.
Yet, in the very next sentence Swirsky flips this around, emphasising the vulnerability and muted scale of this fantasy T-Rex. The tyrant lizard is more of a benevolent and humane despot with fragile bones like a bird and a gentle gaze. The contrast is severe and adds to the sense that there is something going on here other than a fanciful musing.
(7) TOLKIEN’S ART. James Trilling considers “One
Man’s Modernism: J. R. R. Tolkien” at the Yale Review. Robin
Reid sent the link with a note, “I
bristled a bit at the opening section about the ‘academic and critical
community’ (seemed way oversimplistic) but was intrigued by the shift to focus
on his visual art and provide some commentary.” The article focuses on Tolkien’s
artwork, and the catalog of the recent Bodleian exhibit Tolkien:
Maker of Middle-Earth, edited by Catherine McIlwaine.
…Only in one respect does the new catalogue suggest a new approach [from the Bodleian’s previous exhibit]: the greater attention paid to Tolkien’s achievements as a visual artist. His visual world was complex and unresolved. He made, for example, naturalistic, largely academic early drawings in pen and ink, depicting buildings and landscape features. One of the best, from 1912, is reproduced in the catalogue. It is recognized that Tolkien’s most important drawing teacher was his mother. Even her handwriting shimmers with energy and elegance (see, e.g., cat. 17), and it is tempting to see in it the basis of her son’s medievalizing fantasies. Unfortunately we are deprived–like Tolkien himself–of the chance to investigate her influence in detail. After her tragically early death in 1904, her sister-in-law burned her papers: not from fear of any scandal, but because she simply could not imagine anybody wanting them.
(8) WILLIAMS OBIT. Animator Richard Williams, famed for his work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, died August 16 at the age of 86. The NBC News profile begins:
The Oscar-winning artist died from cancer at his home in Bristol, England, on Friday, his daughter Natasha Sutton Williams said Saturday.
Williams’ career straddled the “Golden Age of Animation,” which petered out between the 1950s and 1960s, and the rise of computer-assisted animation in the 1990s and beyond.
His best-known work may be as director of animation for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” a 1988 film that married live action cinema and cartoons from all eras, a process involved the laborious insertion of animated characters into each individual frame and complex lighting effects. The result — a madcap and slightly dark comedy where “toons” and humans interact seamlessly against a live action film noir background — was commercial and critical hit and helped revitalize Disney’s flagging animation department.
He won Oscars for Who Framed
Roger Rabbit? and A Christmas Carol.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
August 17, 1939 — The Man They Could Not Hang debuted in theatres.
August 17, 1960 — The Time Machine premiered in theaters, later losing the Hugo to a TV show called The Twilight Zone.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 17, 1917 — Oliver Crawford. Screenwriter who overcame the Hollywood blacklist during the McCarthy Era of the 1950s. He wrote three scripts for Trek, “The Cloud Minders”, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” and “The Galileo Seven”. He also wrote for The Outer Limits (“The Special One”), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (“The Lost Bomb”) and The Wild Wild West (“The Night of the Cossacks” and “The Night of Sudden Death”). No, that’s not everything hescripted. (Died 2008.)
Born August 17, 1930 — Harve Bennett. The individual who gave us Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Really he did. He would then serve as produced on the next three Trek films, The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home and The Final Frontier. His only on scene appearance is in the latter as Starfleet Chief of Staff. (Died 2015.)
Born August 17, 1945 — Rachel Pollack, 74. She’s best known is well known for her run of issues 64–87 (mid-Nineties) on DC’s Doom Patrol which took it up to its cancellation. She also had a run on the New Gods, the Jack Kirby created mythos. Two of her novels won major awards. Unquenchable Fire won the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Godmother Night won the World Fantasy Award.
Born August 17, 1956 — John Romita Jr., 63. If you’ve read Spider-Man since the Sixties, it’s very likely that you’ve seen his artwork as he had six stints on it between 1980 and 2009. He find a number of other titles on Marvel and DC including Superman, Ghost Rider,Hulk, All-Star Batman, Eternals, Captain America and Daredevil to name but a few of the titles he illustrated. He also worked with Mark Miller at Image Comics on Kick-Ass, and did the one shot Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights.
Born August 17, 1960 — Chris Baker, 59. He’s the cover artist for British and German versions of the Redwall books, as well as a storyboard and conceptual artist having worked with Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and Tim Burton. Among his films are Big Fish, Skyfall, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Corpse Bride.
Born August 17, 1962 — Laura Resnick, 57. Daughter of Mike Resnick. She is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction for “No Room for the Unicorn”. I’ve not read her Manhattan Magic series so I’m interested to know what y’all think of it. She’s readily available ion iBooks and Kindle.
Born August 17, 1966 — Neil Clarke, 53. Editor in Chief of Clarkesworld Magazine which has won an impressive three Best Semiprozine Hugos. SFWA also gave him a Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award. He edits The Best Science Fiction of the Year series for Night Shade Books.
(11) THE SHEEP SHOW UP. A reliable source says an anonymous package was waiting for RedWombat at her panel this afternoon…
The new Disney DuckTales reboot has taken on a mythology all its own, one far more complicated than the show we might remember from the nineties. The theme song threatens “racecars, lasers, aeroplanes,” but those things seem tame compared to what the ducks are facing now: Duels on erupting volcanoes, shadow creatures, sorceresses, gladiators, sky pirates, undersea realms, cursed talismans, and full-blown demigods. That’s more than a duck-blur. This is some Game of Thrones action, only with less murder, more jokes and a lack of crushing disappointment from the conclusion. At least for now.
Sound silly? Well, the new version of Ducktales; which started in 2017 and recently ended its stellar second season on — of course — a cliffhanger, has more in common with the world of Westeros than the Disney-verse of old. And not just because its characters are perpetually pantsless….
(13) TRUE LOVE. The
News arm of The Beeb brings us an in depth article (Why I ‘married’
an anime character) about a
young man who fell in love with Miku, an anime character.
There is a word in Japanese for people who are obsessed with video games and anime – otaku. An increasing number of otaku now say they have fallen in love with anime characters and given up on the idea of real-world romance, reports the BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty.
Akihiko Kondo wakes up every day to the sound of his wife’s voice. She calls him from across the room in her high-pitched, girlish, sing-song voice. She dances and swirls around, urging him to get out of bed.
At the same time, he’s holding her in his arms on the bottom tier of their metal-framed bunk bed – and if he was more awake he could be watching an illustrated cartoon of her singing on YouTube.
This is because Akihiko’s “wife” is an idea – an anime character called Miku.
She’s the hologram that lives in a glass capsule on a shelf in the corner of the room, and the cuddly toy with its big soft head and small body that he holds close at night. But she can take innumerable other forms.
(14) BY A WHISKER.I’d Watch That shows how the upcoming CATS musical is even
scarier when it comes from the mind of Stephen King!
A Nasa facility in Alabama that developed the giant rocket for the Apollo programme in the 1960s will play a key role in sending astronauts down to the Moon’s surface in 2024.
The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville will lead the development of a vehicle that will land astronauts on the body for the first time since 1972.
The decision was announced by Nasa’s administrator Jim Bridenstine.
But it’s a disappointment for Texas, which was in the running.
The White House wants to send a man and a woman to the South Pole of the Moon in five years, under a programme called Artemis.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “New Civilization VI Theme *EPIC CHOIR* Performance” on
YouTube is the Oregon State University choir singing the theme music to the
video game Civilization VI.
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, Robin
Reid, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
By Chris M. Barkley: After a brutal and taxing
trans-Atlantic transit on Monday, my partner Juli and I were able to obtain our
membership badges fairly easily Tuesday morning.
Yesterday was mainly spent getting used to our surroundings and
the weather; the city could have been any busy port city in New England in tone
save for the local traffic patterns were the opposite from what we Americans
were used to and the skies were for the most part slightly chilly, overcast
with partial, misty showers throughout the day.
At 10:20 a.m., Juli and I walked to the Convention Centre which was located less than a kilometer away from the gated apartment complex we were renting for the week.
My first panel was at 11 a.m. in a moderately sized room on the
second floor of the Centre, “Crime and Punishment in the Age of Superheroes.”
Since it was early in the morning on the first day, my expectations were quite
low. I met my fellow panelists, UK fan Rachel Coleman and US novelist Dan Moren
in the Green Room situated at the top floor of the building. In our initial
greetings they reminded me that I was the moderator of the panel, which I had
conveniently forgotten and was a momentary source of amusement. Our fourth
member, the Hugo-nominated French author Aliette de Bodard was missing but we
weren’t particularly worried that she might not show.
Imagine our surprise when we walked into our room and saw that it
was nearly standing room only crowd! As we settled in, Ms. de Bodard came
hustling in out of breath but quite able and willing to dive into our subject.
What followed was a lively session in which we discussed the
degree superheroes might be legally liable for their activities, the rendition
of super villains, how any super-powered person might be tried and imprisoned
and what sort of punishment would be appropriate and what would be considered
“cruel and unusual punishment”.
One of the more entertaining bits of discussion was comparing the
relative degree of danger a person the psychological profile like Tony Stark or
Bruce Wayne would be versus some like Peter Parker, who, at least at this point
in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is relatively altruistic.
As always with the panels I moderate, half the time was spent with
the panel and the remaining time we took comments and questions from the
We could have easily gone on for another hour. At the end of our
time, the audience gave us a healthy round of applause and we were quite pleased with their
My next panel, “Sports in Science Fiction and Fantasy” was scheduled
for 2 p.m. We decided to cruise through the Dealer’s Room, which was rather
smaller in comparison to the previous Worldcons I have attended but I was quite
happy with the number of vendors and their wares.
Another early shopper was the well-known media mogul/mega best-selling
author George R.R. Martin (pictured below), who was only slightly disguised
(eschewing his usual fishing cap in favor of a Game of Thrones baseball
cap) and enjoying himself immensely. He also took a moment to take me to task
for proposing yet another Hugo Award category (In this case, the Best
Translated Novel, which might be discussed at the Main Business Meeting
if it is passed on from the Preliminary Business Meeting on Friday.)
“It’s getting to be too much,” Martin said. “I hope it doesn’t get
to be like the Emmy Awards.”
“What do you mean,” I asked.
“Well, some of the awards are not going to be televised and are
going to be given out before the show. I don’t want that to happen to the
I assured GRRM that I did not want that to happen either and that
I personally did not have any plans to introduce any other changes at the
moment. We then parted, he with a somewhat relieved look on his face. Have a
Happy Worldcon, George…
I had to make a courtesy visit to the Press Office, where Daniel
Dern presented me with a spare File 770 “Scum and Villainy” button and
met the Area Head, the gracious and amiable Diana Ben-Aron, who presented me
with a Press ribbon.
UK fan Neil Williamson was the moderator of “Sports in Science
Fiction and Fantasy” along with novelist Fonda Lee, prolific writer Rick Wilber
(author of many baseball and sports related short stories. I described myself
as a lifelong baseball fan whose home is also that of the first professional
baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds, celebrating this year the 150th Anniversary
of the first team.
With that, I pulled out my black ESPN cap and offered a Euro to
the first person who could tell me what the letter “E” stood for. A number of US fans in the
audience were flummoxed by the challenge but a quick-thinking male European fan
remembered that it stood for Entertainment Sports Programming Network. Hilarity
ensued when I fumbled around and was unable to FIND the coin in my change
purse. Anxious to move on, Neil produced a coin and paid off the winner. (Juli
gave me a coin to reimburse Neil and I found the coin later and paid her back…)
Fonda Lee and Rick Wilber gave some excellent examples through
their own works of how the portrayal of sports in fiction gave some insight
into the societies they were writing about. Neil and I mostly mused on how the
sports we love might change in the future. Again, the audience seemed to have
had a good time and gave us all a round of applause.
From there we checked off the obligatory “American food experience
in a foreign country” of the travel list with a lunch at Eddie Rocket’s, a
disturbingly familiar place that served burgers, fries and milkshakes.
The restaurant was adjacent to the Odeon Theater at The Point our
next programming destination, where artist John Picacio was giving a slideshow
overview of his works. The venue was rather unique because it took place in a
mid-sized movie theater in the complex.
Mr. Picacio regaled the almost full house with stories of how he
became artist, techniques and style tips for beginning artists and some
fascinating stories of how George R.R. Martin roped him into doing the 2012 Game
of Thrones calendar and how the images from this source were highly-referenced
by the producers and casting directors in choosing actors for their roles.
The highlight of the day was the Opening Ceremonies which also
presented the1944 Retro Hugo Awards. After some festive banter by our hosts
Ellen Klages and Dave Rudden, we were treated to a short comi-tragic play and
the introduction of the Guests of Honor, who also served as Hugo presenters.
Hilarity ensued through the evening as each successive presenter
struggled to open the award envelopes, which were triple sealed by masking AND
Well, not all of the presenters; Author Guest of Honor Diane Duane
was undaunted because she was the only one who was carrying a knife, because,
as she explained, “Knives ALWAYS work.” She declined to share the knife with
any of the other presenters.
After that it was off to the parties, which were being held on the
third level of the Centre. As crowded and festive as this gathering was, I can
only wonder what Edie Stern, Joe Siclari and former Worldcon Chair Michael
Walsh were intensely discussing near the escalators away from all the
The 1944 Retro-Hugo Award base (left) and 2019 Hugo Award base (right) are on display at Dublin 2019. Thanks to Rich Lynch for the photo.
The 1944 Retro Hugo base was designed
by Eleanor Wheeler. She is an architectural and sculptural
ceramicist who has created large scale art for public spaces including at the
Market Square in Armagh and the Gasworks, the Mater Hospital and Drumglass Park
in Belfast. She lives in County Down and has had numerous solo
exhibitions, drawing on her travels locally as well as throughout Asia, Africa
and Europe for inspiration.
The 2019 Hugo base was designed by Jim
Fitzpatrick. Based in Dublin, he is famous for his Celtic
art, in particular for his publications The Book of Conquests, The Silver Arm, The Children of Lir (with
Michael Scott) and Erinsaga; and also for his album covers for Thin Lizzy and
Sinéad O’Connor. Perhaps his best known work is his iconic 1968 portrait of Che
Science fiction and fantasy author N.K. Jemisin will be the spokesperson this year for Indies First, the campaign supporting independent bookstores that takes place on Small Business Saturday, which this year is November 30, Bookselling This Week reported.
Jemisin the first author in history to win three consecutive Hugo Awards for Best Novel, all for her Broken Earth trilogy. She is also the winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Sense of Gender Award for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first volume in her Inheritance Trilogy. She is published by Hachette’s Orbit imprint.
In November 2018, Jemisin published How Long ’til Black Future Month?, a collection of short stories that, BTW said, “sharply examine modern society with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption.” The paperback edition was published on Tuesday.
Jemisin has already created a video, in which she encourages viewers to visit their local indie on November 30, the seventh annual Indies First Day. Appropriately the video was filmed at the Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, N.Y.
(2) SELECTED RETRO STATS. Pending the appearance of the
full 1944 Retro-Hugo voting statistics, Nicholas Whyte offers lots of
illuminating observations in his “Retro Hugo
summary”. For example –
Closest results: Best Fan Writer, where Forrest J. Ackerman beat Wilson “Bob” Tucker by 18 votes. Best Fanzine, where Le Zombie beat Futurian War Digest by 23 votes, after several rounds of very close eliminations. Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, where Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman beat I Walked With a Zombie by 25 votes
IN 2017, Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel proposed all leaders be required to read science fiction to help them understand the past and future of science and technology as well as how new innovations might affect human society.
Similarly, in 2015, his predecessor Ian Chubb said science teachers could learn a thing or two from the television sitcom The Big Bang Theory about making science fun.
This isn’t just Australian contrarianism. Britain’s former science minister Malcolm Wicks suggested in 2007 that teachers use scenes from Doctor Who and Star Wars to kickstart discussion in science classrooms.
Just last year American vulcanologist Jess Phoenix ran for Congress on a platform of linking science-based environmental action to the values of the Star Trek universe.
It may seem outlandish to talk about real science and popular fiction in the same sentence, and doing so frequently creates clickbait headlines, but there’s surprising depth to this connection….
…I can still remember, with piercing clarity, my first experience of reading Etchison’s work. Indeed, I can even recall precisely the place and time: a stifling summer night in 1983, in a two-room apartment in Lake Worth, Florida, with insects buzzing at the screen and the fan cranked up high. The book was the 1982 Scream Press edition of The Dark Country, the author’s first collection, and I passed from the clutching terror of “It Only Comes Out at Night,” in which a driver slowly realizes he is being tracked by a killer, to the creepy elusiveness of “The Nighthawk,” whose young heroine comes to suspect that her brother may be a shapeshifting monster, to the unremitting grimness of the title story, wherein a pack of nihilistic expats in Mexico fritter away their days and their sanity, in a sustained, breathless epiphany.
It is hard to say why Etchison connected with me so powerfully on a visceral level. Perhaps Karl Edward Wagner offers a hint, in his introduction to the next Scream Press collection, Red Dreams (1984): “Etchison’s nightmares and fears are intensely personal, and his genius is to make us realize that we share them.”
Science fiction is my favorite literary genre by far—I’ve written five sci-fi books myself—so making this list was going to be difficult. I ended up going with some of my favorites, while weighing against the larger scale of some of these novels and their impact on the genre overall.
There are some truly massive series in here, as well as all-time greats that any literary fan should read, regardless of their favorite genre. Here are some of the best science fiction books of all time:
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
August 15, 1939 — The Wizard of Oz
premieres at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, in Hollywood, on this day.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 15, 1858 — E. Nesbit. She wrote or collaborated on more than sixty books of children’s literature including the Five Children Universe series. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organization later affiliated to the Labour Party. (Died 1924.)
Born August 15, 1906 — William Sloane. Best known for his novel To Walk The Night which Boucher, King and Bloch all highly praise. Indeed, the latter includes it on his list of favorite horror novels. It and the Edge of Running Water were published together as The Rim of Morning in the early Sixties and it was reissued recently with an introduction by King. (Died 1974.)
Born August 15, 1932— Robert L. Forward. Physicist and SF writer whose eleven novels I find are often great on ideas and quite thin on character development. Dragon’s Egg is fascinating as a first contact novel, and Saturn Rukh is another first contact novel that’s just as interesting. (Died 2002.)
Born August 15, 1933 — Bjo Trimble, 86. Her intro to fandom was TASFiC, the 1952 Worldcon. She would be active in LASFS in the late 1950s onward and has been involved in more fanzines than I can comfortably list here. Of course, many of us know her from Trek especially the successful campaign for a third season. She’s responsible for the Star Trek Concordance, an amazing work even by today’s standards. And yes, I read it and loved it. She shows up (uncredited) as a crew member in the Recreation Deck scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Bjo and her husband John Trimble were the Fan Guests of Honor at the 60th Worldcon, ConJose.
Born August 15, 1934 — Darrell K. Sweet. Illlustrator who was best-known for providing cover art for genre novels, in which capacity he was nominated for a Hugo award in 1983. He was Illustrator GoH at 71st Worldcon, LoneStarCon III. He was also a guest of honor at Tuckercon in 2007, at the 2010 World Fantasy Convention in 2010, and LepreCon in 2011. (Died 2011.)
Born August 15, 1943 — Barbara Bouchet, 76. Yes, I’ve a weakness for performers who’ve shown up on the original Trek. She plays Kelinda in “By Any Other Name”. She also appeared in Casino Royale as Miss Moneypenny, and is Ava Vestok in Agent for H.A.R.M. which sounds like someone was unsuccessfully emulating The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It will be lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Born August 15, 1945 — Nigel Terry. King Arthur in Excalibur. Now there’s a bloody telling of the Arthurian myth. He’s General Cobb in the Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s Daughter” which occurs during the time of the Tenth Doctor, and on the Highlander series as Gabriel Piton in the “Eye of the Beholder” episode. He even played Harold Latimer in “The Greek Interpreter” on Sherlock Holmes. (Died 2015.)
Born August 15, 1957 — David Henry Hwang, 62. Writer of 1000 Airplanes on the Roof which is a melodrama in one act by Philip Glass with projections by Jerome Sirlin. The opera premiered on July 15, 1988, at the Vienna Airport in Hangar #3. The initial performance featured vocals by Linda Ronstadt.
Born August 15, 1958 — Stephen Haffner, 61. Proprietor of Haffner Press which appears to be largely a mystery and genre reprint endeavor though he’s published such original anthologies as Edmond Hamilton & Leigh Brackett Day, October 16, 2010 and the non-fiction work Thirty-Five Years of the Jack Williamson Lectureship which he did with Patric Caldwell.
Born August 15, 1972 — Ben Affleck, 47. Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League which I’ll admit I’ve not watched. IMDB claims he shows up in a uncredited spot in Suicide Squad as well. He’s Matt Murdock aka The Daredevil in Daredevil which I have seen — it’s pretty crappy. He’s actually in Field of Dreams, too, as a fan on the stands in Fenway though he’s not credited.
(8) CATCHING UP WITH OBAMA. A bit of sff shows up on Barack Obama’s summer reading list —
Amidst all the big-budget mega-blockbusters this
summer, Alexandre Aja
managed to carve out a respectable performance from his horror flick Crawl, your timeless tale of human
vs. alligator vs. hurricane.
Now, the director behind High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, and Piranha 3Dis staying firmly in his horror lane as he’s signed on to make a haunted house feature for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. But unlike most horror movies that get a theatrical release, this one will ditch its linear story and instead embrace a sprawling ‘choose your own adventure’ narrative (one seemingly unrelated to any of the actual Choose Your Own Adventure series of books).
Mike Kennedy says, “In
my opinion the true horror is all of the theatergoers using the special voting
app on their smartphones continuously during the movie. You know half of them
will be live-tweeting the movie and the other half getting update after update
after update from the ones’ tweeting.”
It was kind of like Christmas — except it was August, the only presents were vintage television sets, and Santa had a TV on his head.
Residents of more than 50 households in Henrico County, Va., woke up this weekend to find old-style TVs outside their doorsteps, said Matt Pecka, a lieutenant with the local police department. Pecka said police began receiving reports about the TVs early Sunday. By the morning, their phones were clogged with calls.
…The givers had TVs instead of faces.
The videos reveal at least one of the deliverymen: a man dressed in a blue jumpsuit, black gloves and what appear to be brown hiking-style boots. He wears a TV set on his shoulders, positioned so it obscures his face…
(11) ROMAN SORCERER’S TOOLKIT. According to the art website Hyperallergic, archaeologists at Pompeii have discovered a wooden box full of sorcerer’s implements. They believe that the box was owned by a Roman sorceress. “A ‘Sorcerer’s Treasure Trove’ Uncovered in Pompeii”
The sorcery items include crystals, amber and amethyst stones, buttons made of bones, amulets, dolls, bells, phallic amulets, fists, human figurines, and a miniature human skull. A glass bead depicts the head of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility. Another glass amulet features a dancing satyr.
“The high quality of the amber and glass pastes and the engraving of the figures confirm the importance of the domus owner,” Osanna continued. But since none of the objects in this “sorcerer’s treasure trove” was made of gold, a material favored by Pompeii’s elites, they most likely belonged to a servant or a slave rather than the owner of the house, Osanna assessed in an interview with the Italian news agency ANSA .
[Thanks to Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Contrarius, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Rob Thornton, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern with an assist from Anna Nimmhaus.]
…I pitched the idea to my editor—“think Better Call Saul meets Nineteen Eighty-Four”—and he liked it so much he wanted two.
Rule of Capture, out today from Harper Voyager, is the result. The story of Donny Kimoe, a burned out trial lawyer defending political dissidents hauled in front of the special emergency court of an America drifting into totalitarianism. Busy trying to save one client from the death penalty after he’s framed for aiding an attack on the President, Donny gets assigned the unwinnable case of Xelina Rocafuerte, a young journalist and eco-activist who witnessed the assassination of a grassroots political leader and is being prosecuted as a terrorist to silence her. To get her off, Donny has to extract justice from a system in which due process has been suspended. That means breaking the rules, and risking the same fate as his clients.
Donny practices law in a world where the clients are mostly guilty. It’s the laws they violate that are unjust. In otherwords, it’s a lot like the real world, but uses the tools of dystopian fiction to tell truths more conventionally realist legal thrillers cannot. …
Carmen Maria Machado has been hailed as one of the most talented young writers of our time. With In the Dream House, she reinvents the memoir with a gut-wrenching tale of love gone wrong, exploring her personal history of psychological abuse while bearing witness to the history and reality of violence in queer relationships. Her dark, fantastical short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.
QUESTION ONE: What is your process like for Best Horror of the Year? I know you read the big name magazines, and then get all of the top anthologies sent to you, the obvious projects on your radar, but do you have any help with pre-screening stories, or looking outside of the genre (horror) into fantasy and science fiction, for example? And how do you start whittling the work down to your long-list, short-list and final TOC. That’s a daunting task. Must be hundreds of stories a year, if not thousands.
ANSWER ONE: Yes, it’s hundreds of stories. As I read during the year, I create a “recommended” list and if there’s a story I really like, I’ll put an asterisk by the title/author and ask the publisher to send me a word doc file of the story so I can keep it in a separate email folder labeled “considering.”
With regard to where I find the stories, I attempt to keep track of all venues that might publish horror or very dark fiction and request copies of magazines, literary journals, anthologies, collections, and novellas/chapbooks (plus appropriate nonfiction titles). I currently have two readers who help me sift through the material I think unlikely to contain much horror. One reads online/e-zines not specifically geared toward horror. And the other reads print magazines/anthologies that don’t look like they contain dark material. They suggest stories that they judge to be horror or very dark fantasy so I can check them out.
Once in a while (mostly because it’s a story I originally published, I’ll know immediately that I’m going to take a story, so I’ll send out the contract and move the story into my “story” folder, adding it to my Table of Contents.
But usually, I’ll begin rereading the stories I’ve noted toward the end of the year. I know how many words I have to work with—I usually begin the rereading process with twice the word count I’m allowed and read/reread each story until I whittle my choices down to my word limit.
…Kumar says. “Unfortunately, it’s a genre that hasn’t been explored in Bollywood.”
One reason might be the box office failure of Love Story 2050 in 2008. A frenzied time travel movie, it broke India’s film-budget record, but its mix of Mad Max futurism, slushy romance and traditional Bollywood song-and-dance routines was a flop.
…Then again, last year Kumar played the villain in 2.0, a Tamil-language thriller about Chennai’s mobile phones going berserk and arranging themselves into creatures that devastate the city – a bit like a Vodafone version of The Birds. Reportedly with a budget of $76m – costing more than ISRO’s entire mission to Mars – it was a visual rollercoaster and a big commercial success.
Another key factor over the last decade has been the boom in India’s visual effects industry – to which Hollywood outsources much of its own special effects – that has enabled higher quality film-making…
Shanghai Fortress, China’s latest big-budget science fiction tentpole, crashed and burned shortly after liftoff over the weekend.
The expensive film’s flop is a blow to the Chinese industry’s efforts to ramp up production values so that it can begin competing with Hollywood’s effects-heavy blockbusters on more equal footing. After the colossal success of sci-fi tentpole The Wandering Earth earlier this year — it earned $700 and rave local reviews — hopes were high that Shanghai Fortress might be the next big breakthrough.
Costing an estimated $57 million (RMB 400 million), Shanghai Fortress was developed and produced over a period of five years. The movie is an adaptation of a 2009 novel of the same name, about a group of young people hiding out in Shanghai, which has become humanity’s last redoubt against a devastating alien invasion. It stars Taiwanese actress Shu Qi and pop star-turned-actor Lu Han (the latter previously Disney’s marketing ambassador for the Star Wars franchise in China).
Shanghai Fortress briefly opened at the top of China’s box office during the first half of Friday, but its ticket sales quickly plummeted as negative reviews and harsh word of mouth began to course through local social media…
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
August 13, 1942 — The Walt Disney classic, Bambi, premiered on this day at Radio City Music Hall.
August 13, 1953 — The War Of The Worlds was premiered in New York City.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 13, 1422 — William Caxton. He was an English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. Its widely thought that he was the first British individual to work as a printer and also the first to introduce a printing press into England. He published The Historye of Reynart the Foxe (from the Dutch, 1481) which is sort of genre. (Died 1491.)
Born August 13, 1899 — Alfred Hitchcock. If he’d only done Alfred Hitchcock Presents, that’d be enough to get him Birthday Honours. But he did some fifty films of which a number are genre such as The Birds and Psycho. Though I’ve not read it, I’ve heard good things about Peter Ackroyd’s Alfred Hitchcock. (Died 1980.)
Born August 13, 1909 — Tris Coffin. I’d say he’s best known for being Jeff King in King of the Rocket Men, a late Forties production, the first of three serials that he did starring the Rocketman character, who would later be paid homage to through the Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer character. He would show in two episodes of Batman as The Ambassador, “When the Rat’s Away, the Mice Will Play” and “A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away”. (Died 1990.)
Born August 13, 1932 — John Berkey. Artist whose best-known work includes much of the original poster art for the Star Wars trilogy. He also did a lot of genre cover art such as the 1974 Ballantine Books cover of Herbert’s Under Pressure (I read that edition), and the 1981 Ace cover of Zelazny’s Madwand which I think is the edition I read. (Died 2008.)
Born August 13, 1945 — Patricia McNulty, 74. She played Yeoman Tina Lawton in the “Charlie X” episode of Trek. Like many performers on Trek, she had a brief acting career at time, barely six years.
Born August 13, 1950 — Jane Carr, 69. Most current genre role is the recurring one as Tabitha the Fairy God Mother on The Legends of Tomorrow. She also appeared as Malcolm Reed’s mother, Mary Reed in the “Silent Enemy” episode of Enterprise, and was Timov, one of the three wives of Londo Mollari in the “Soul Mates” episode of Babylon 5.
Born August 13, 1971 — Heike Makatsch, 38. Dr. Lisa Addison in Resident Evil, and Alicia Wallenbeck in A Sound of Thunder. The latter being loosely based on the short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. On Rotten Tomatoes, it got a six percent score!
Born August 13, 1972 — Crystal Allen, 47. Green skinned Orion slave girl D’Nesh on the “Bound” episode of Enterprise. These characters originally showed up in “The Cage” episode of Trek. She went to be one of many Trek performers from all series appearing in Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, the non-canon and not Paramount-sanctioned fan mini-series where she played Conqueror Navigator Yara.
Born August 13, 1990 — Sara Serraiocco, 29. She’s Nadia Fierro/Baldwin, a mysterious assassin from the Prime world in Counterpart. She was nominated for the Autostraddle TV Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Sci-Fi Series.
The Perfect Spell will do just that. When customers show up, they’ll be put into wizard training by the head master of the restaurant. In order to eat, you’ll have to pass your first class. From there, diners will enjoy a delicious meal while the performance takes place in front of them. Each “show” will be for a maximum of 30 people, and performances will only take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
The Eventbrite description adds —
THE PERFECT SPELL … A POP UP MAGICAL THEATRICAL RESTAURANT!
ONLY OPEN 1 YEAR & ONLY TAKING 3,744 TABLE RESERVATIONS!
If you Love HARRY POTTER, WIZARD’S, WITCHES, MAGIC, THEATER then you’re going to love this magical theatrical restaurant. Let our leading Head Master Wizard guide you through a magical Theatrical Dinner experience with Wizards, Witches, Magic and much more!
A very magical theatrical feel right from the candle entrance designed to bring magic to life. This restaurant is packed full with the art of Magic, Singing, Dancing, and Acting. All while having a delicious meal.
Location is in a small cute country setting going with the whole awesome magical theme of the restaurant in North Pownal.
(11) THOUGHTS HE CAN’T GET OUT OF HIS HEAD. Timothy
the Talking Cat finds much to admire in the fiction of Hewlett Packard
Lovercraft as the feline explains in “Timothy
Reads The Call of Cthulhu” at Camestros Felapton.
By far his greatest work is The Call of Cthulhu. Now you might think this is about a phone call from somebody called Cthulhu or you might thing this is about the sound a cthulhu makes when it is lost in the woods after maybe you had got a pet cthulhu for Christmas but then decided you didn’t want it after all because you can’t handle the responsibilities of keeping a pet, so you take it out into the woods and abandon it and afterwards you here it’s plaintive cry as you run back to the car and tell you driver to drive away but when you get home you can still here the lonely cry in your sleep but no. That would be too obvious and that’s why I didn’t think those things, particularly not the last one. Lovercraft is just messing with your head with that title because that is how good a writer he is.
They may not be enough to buy a decent jar of marmalade, but new 50p coins featuring Paddington Bear have entered circulation.
Two new coins – featuring the bear from darkest Peru at the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral – have been released by The Royal Mint.
On Tuesday, they filled the tills at the Mint’s museum in Llantrisant, South Wales, and will be circulated more generally in the coming weeks.
The coins mark 60 years of Paddington.
The first Paddington book was published in October 1958 and the series following his adventures have become classics of children’s literature. Last year, the Mint released 50p coins depicting the fictional bear visiting other London landmarks – the train station after which he was named, and the guards outside Buckingham Palace.
(14) PARTS WELL-KNOWN. Culinary adventurer John Scalzi goes
the distance —
The works of The Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger are finally being published in ebook format, nearly 10 years after his death.
Salinger’s work has remained offline because the writer hated computers and technology, his son Matt told the New York Times.
But he said he now wanted his father’s work to be more accessible.
Matt Salinger said a letter from a disabled fan, who found it difficult to read print, changed his mind.
“Ebooks and audiobooks are tough… he clearly didn’t want them,” said Matt, who helps run the JD Salinger Literary Trust.
…”My father always did what he could to keep his books affordable and accessible to as many readers as possible, especially students,” said Matt.
(16) BUT COULD HE WITHSTAND
ADMANTIUM? [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The source of this article is the
New York Post tabloid, so use the largest grain of salt possible. That
said, pay attention to the final sentence below. Headline: “Ozzy Osbourne is a genetic mutant, DNA research proves”
Lede: “In 2010, when scientists at Knome Inc. were
looking to study a remarkable human’s DNA, they didn’t ring up Steve Jobs or
Beyoncé. Instead, the Cambridge, Mass.-based human genome company reached out
to Ozzy Osbourne. They wanted to know what genes had kept the rocker alive
through decades of heavy drug and alcohol abuse.”
Amazon is being told to reveal how it decides which products get the “Amazon’s Choice” label in its online store.
Two US senators have written to Amazon asking it to say whether people or algorithms are making decisions about what gets the label.
They are worried that the Choice category can be manipulated via fake reviews and can mislead customers.
Amazon has been given until 16 September to respond to the letter.
The letter was written following an investigation by news site Buzzfeed which claimed many products in the “Choice” category are of poor quality or have their ratings boosted by fake reviews.
Research suggests products getting the Choice label sell better. OC&C Strategy Consultants found that products awarded the Choice label see a sales jump of about 300%.
This is partly because anyone using their Amazon Echo smart speaker to buy products in a category in which they have never shopped before, will get a product bearing the Choice label.
“We are concerned the badge is assigned in an arbitrary manner, or worse, based on fraudulent product reviews,” wrote Democrats Bob Menendez and Richard Blumenthal.
(18) YOUR NARRATOR, ADAM SELENE.
BBC reports that in China “AI
used to narrate e-books in authors’ voices”. A skeptical Chip
Hitchcock sent the link with a comment: “I’ll believe this is worthwhile when
they can mimic someone who can read well — e.g., Gaiman.”
…It is now a simple process to use text-to-speech technology to quickly generate an audio version of a book, using digitised, synthetic voices.
But most people prefer audiobooks that are “professionally narrated” by authors, actors or famous public figures.
And now, advances in machine learning and speech-to-text technologies mean that digitised voices are becoming more lifelike.
For example, the company Lyrebird allows clients to create custom “vocal avatars” from just a one-minute recording of their voices.
[Thanks to Contrarius, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat
Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Nigel.]
Days left to vote, the Hugo Administrators have discovered an error in their
tally of the nominations for the 1944 Retro Hugo for Best
Fanzine and updated the ballot.
Whyte, Hugo Administrator for Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon, explains:
In fact, Guteto, edited by Morojo (Myrtle R. Douglas) received enough votes to qualify for the final ballot; and Fantasy News, edited by William S. Sykora, did not.
We have accordingly revised the online ballot, and the downloadable ballot form, to reflect that Guteto is a finalist in this category, and that Fantasy News has been disqualified. Write-in votes for Guteto on previously printed hard copy versions of the ballot will be accepted.
We apologize to voters, and to the estates of Myrtle R. Douglas and William S. Sykora, for the inconvenience.
When the ship in which they are traveling is captured by Carpagamon island raiders, Temple sorcerer Penric and his resident demon Desdemona find their life complicated by two young orphans, Lencia and Seuka Corva, far from home and searching for their missing father. Pen and Des will need all their combined talents of mind and magic to unravel the mysteries of the sisters and escape from the pirate stronghold.
This novella follows about a year after the events of “The Prisoner of Limnos”.
E-publication before the end of the month, I’m pretty sure; this week or next, maybe. I still have some last polishing and fretting to do on the text file, and then there is the vexing question of a map.
(2) GAINING INSIGHT. Jonathan LaForce advises writers
looking to base their stories on lived experience “How
to Talk with Veterans” at Mad Genius Club.
Last month, we talked about telling the stories of combat veterans as they really happened. Without whitewashing or varnish. Without embellishment. Without lies. In the third-to-last paragraph, I make mention of sitting down and talking with veterans. Over the last month I’ve been looking around and realizing nobody has ever explained how to talk with veterans, as a writer looking for technical (and personal) knowledge about the profession of arms. Today, we’re gonna start down that road.
This project started because I was wrong. My initial premise was that speculative fiction relegated women “of a certain age” to very specific roles: the crone, the wise woman, the meddling mother, the friendly innkeep. This seemed such an obvious truth that it was barely even worth stating. We’ve seen these women all our lives, in fairy tales and epic fantasy, and of course in Terry Pratchett’s wonderful parodies of old women in all of their cliched roles.
However, when pressed, I discovered that there was one place where we do not see these women: in science fiction novels. Old women are a rarity in science fiction and when they do exist, they inhabit a very different space. We don’t have innkeeps, we have immortals. We don’t have crazy cat ladies, we have body snatchers. There’s a distinct lack of old ladies who love solving cozy mysteries, but we do have a greater than-normal number of politicians.
“I was born with the devil in me.” So said H.H. Holmes, one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Holmes began construction of his so-called hotel as Chicago was gearing up for the 1893 World’s Fair. Far from your normal bed and breakfast, the building included soundproofed rooms, maze-like hallways and, in the basement, a crematorium and acid vats. Although the number of people he killed there is unknown, it was more than enough to give the building a different name—“The Murder Castle.”
…But perhaps the oddest Moon-related cultural experience was one that happened on the occasion of the launch of Apollo 17, in December 1972, the last Apollo mission to the Moon. It was a Caribbean cruise on Holland America’s ship, the S.S. Statendam, and anyone with the money for a ticket could mingle with NBC newsman Hugh Downs, science fiction legends Isaac Asimov and Ben Bova, novelist Katherine Anne Porter, and yes, Norman Mailer himself. This curious collection of luminaries also organized events and panels as part of the ship’s entertainment. The cruise lasted almost as long as the Apollo 17 mission itself: nine days, starting with a seaborne view of Apollo 17’s launch from seven miles off Cape Kennedy….
(6) DECALCOMANIA. The family that cosplays
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 7, 1907 — Robert Heinlein. So what do you like by him? I’m very fond of The Moon is A Harsh Mistress. And I like Starship Troopers despite the baggage around it. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is on my occasional re-read list as I find a fun read in a way that Friday isn’t. Time Enough for Love is, errr, self-indulgent in the extreme. Fun though. (Died 1988.)
Born July 7, 1919 — Jon Pertwee. The Third Doctor and one that I’ll admit I like a lot. He returned to the role of the Doctor in The Five Doctors and the charity special Dimensions in Time for Children in Need. He also portrayed the Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure. After a four year run here, he was the lead on Worzel Gummidge where he was, errr, a scarecrow. And I must note that one of his fist roles was as The Judge in the film of Toad of Toad Hall by A. A. Milne. (Died 1996.)
Born July 7, 1931 — David Eddings. Prolific and great, with his wife Leigh, they authored several best-selling epic fantasy novel series, including The Belgariad, The Malloreon and The Dreamers to name but three of their series. They’ve written but one non-sriracha novel, The Redemption of Althalus. (Died 2009.)
Born July 7, 1948 — Kathy Reichs, 71. Author of the Temperance Brennan series which might be genre adjacent, she’s also the author of Virals, a YA series about a group of a young adults with minor super powers.
Born July 7, 1959 — Billy Campbell, 60. There are some films so good in my memory that even the Suck Fairy can’t spoil them and The Rocketeer in which he played stunt pilot Cliff Secord is one of them. BTW, IDW did a hardcover edition called Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures and Amazon has it for a mere twenty-five bucks!
Born July 7, 1968 — Jeff VanderMeer, 51. Ok I’ll admit that I’m ambivalent about the Southern Reach Trilogy and am not sure if it’s brilliant or not. I will say the pirate anthology he and his wife Anne did, Fast Ships, Black Sails, is quite tasty reading.
Born July 7, 1969 — Cree Summer, 50. Voice performer in myriad series such as as Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. She’s playing a number of the cast in the current Young Justice series including Madame Xanadu and Aquagirl.
Born July 7, 1987 — V. E. Schwab, 32. I’m very pleased with her A Darker Shade of Magic which explores magicians in a parallel universe London. It’s part of her Shades of Magic series.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
Free Range is there when an important discovery is made about the dark side of the moon.
Soon in Dublin the winners of this year’s Hugo Awards will be revealed, including the winners of the Retro Hugo Awards for science fiction published in 1943. This year unfortunately there is no voters packet for the Retro Hugos. However most of the publications in which the finalists appeared are available on the Internet Archive, where they can be read online or downloaded by Hugo Award voters. See below for links to where the various works can be found. Voting closes at midnight on 31July, so get reading.
(10) NOW IN BLACK AND WHITE. Missed out on this when it
first came around in 2015 – a takeoff on “Batman v Superman” courtesy of a “Vulture Remix” of
two 1940s serials.
These days, superhero movies are all about bombast — take, for example, the upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” But there was a simpler time, when superheroes looked terrible and were more charming than scary. We imagine what a Batman/Superman matchup would’ve looked like in the era of the first serial films about the characters from way back in the middle of the century.
Revoked White House credentials, the mysterious death of a journalist and a conspiracy to profit from the separation of migrant families at the border. This looks like a job for … Lois Lane, the Daily Planet reporter.
The character, who, like Superman and Clark Kent, first appeared in 1939, is starring in a 12-issue comic book series that begins on Wednesday. The story, written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Mike Perkins, focuses on Lois Lane as she tries to find out more about the death of Mariska Voronova, a journalist who had been critical of the Kremlin.
(12) NOTES FROM SPIKECON. David Doering sent a couple of
short news items from the NASFiC/Westercon:
Joy Day’s fabulous ASFA award, a vibrant spherical interpretation of a Black Hole, got lost enroute to Layton in the Black Hole of the USPS…
While I hoped for one or more of our locals who were nominated to win, but those that did were very worthy.
Sadly, not one winner was in attendance. We need to elevate the appreciation of art. Cover art and illustrations are often the cause of us picking up a book or magazine in the first place.
I still associate Lord of the Rings with the gum drop tree cover art from 1965…
this morning, Dave was able to check another box on his fannish bucket list:
I earned the dubious honor tonight of having our room party shutdown for being too noisy. Who knew that LTUE and World Fantasy crowd could be so boistrous?
(13) ALSO SEEN AT SPIKECON. Tanglwyst de Holloway was encouraged by John Hertz to share this photo, as it was the first time John had seen it done:
His latest, “Fall; or, Dodge in Hell,” is another piece of evidence in the anti-Matrix case: a staggering feat of imagination, intelligence and stamina. For long stretches, at least. Between those long stretches, there are sections that, while never uninteresting, are somewhat less successful. To expect any different, especially in a work of this length, would be to hold it to an impossible standard. Somewhere in this 900-page book is a 600-page book. One that has the same story, but weighs less. Without those 300 pages, though, it wouldn’t be Neal Stephenson. It’s not possible to separate the essential from the decorative. Nor would we want that, even if it were. Not only do his fans not mind the extra — it’s what we came for.
“Unlike some of my hard science fiction books, such as ‘Seveneves’—where I sweated the details of orbits, rocket engines, etc.—‘Fall’ is meant to be read as more of a fable,” Stephenson explains. “I’m not making any pretense in the book that the neuroscience and computer science are plausible. My approach was to take a particular way of thinking around brains and the uploading of human consciousness into digital form, and just say, ‘Suppose this is all true; let’s run with it and see where it takes us on a pure storytelling level.’”
Enchanted Designs Limited miners digging at Alberta’s Bearpaw Formation for rainbow-shaded ammolite gemstones, which are created by the fossilized shells of extinct marine mollusks called ammonites, discovered the nearly complete remains of the “T-rex of the Seas” in soft black-shale mudstone. The impressive specimen measured in at between 20 and 23 feet long.
(16) PITCH MEETINGS. Beware spoilers in ScreenRant’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home Pitch Meeting.”
Marvel Studios wrapped up Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Avengers: Endgame — except wait no, they squeezed another Spider-Man movie in there before closing the curtains. Spider-Man: Far From Home is Tom Holland’s second “solo” outing as Peter Parker, and the character is still heavily influenced by the recently departed Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. Far From Home raises a lot of questions. Like what exactly is Mysterio’s long-term plan? What’s going on with all the other living Avengers? How does Spider-Man get his Peter Tingle back? Why are the mid-credits and post-credits scenes the most memorable parts of this film? To answer all these questions and more, step inside the pitch meeting that led to Spider-Man: Far From Home! It’s super easy, barely an inconvenience!
[Thanks to JJ, Cat
Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Nicholas Whyte, Tanglwyst de Holloway, Alan Baumler,
Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, Mike Kennedy, Carl
Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories.
Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
by Shieldforyoureyes Dave Fischer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
By Jo Van Ekeren:
I’ve spent the last couple of years exhuming statistics and ephemera about the Hugo Awards from various sources, including old Usenet posts on Google Groups, old fanzines, archived con websites, and various historical documents which have been scanned and made available online (and I give my thanks to those of you who have been making those archiving efforts, especially Joe Siclari, Edie Stern, Mark Olson, and Bill Burns).
I’ve managed to resurrect full or partial statistics for around 23 additional years beyond what was posted at TheHugoAwards.org. A few years have already been posted there, and I will be gradually rolling out the rest of them over the next few months as I get them formatted into readable documents.
I’ve updated it with Site Selection ballot numbers, Advance Membership numbers, and Hugo participation percentages for 2000-2019, plus Retro Hugo data, as well as showing the difference between the number of categories which were on the nominating ballot versus the number of categories which had sufficient participation to be on the final voting ballot.
You are welcome to link to the full Google document — and certainly can make a backup of it if you wish — but please be aware that I expect it to continue to change as more bits of information become available.
Please do report to me any errors or omissions you might notice, either in the comments on this post, or by submitting a message here.
What does the most recent data about Hugo nominators and voters tell us?
Tracking of the electronic vs. paper nominations and votes, at the turn of the century, was helpful in evaluating the amount of electronic uptake by Hugo voters. That hit 99% in 2011, and has remained there ever since. Now this comparison tracking is chiefly of interest in noting how many remaining members are either unable or unwilling to nominate and vote electronically.
From 1989 through 2007, participation in the final ballot was consistently under 20% of the Advance membership (those eligible to participate in voting). In 2008, both overall membership numbers and Hugo participation began to rise steadily. It is likely that common acceptance and the ease of the ability to nominate and vote electronically contributed significantly to this. In addition, 2008 was the first year of the annual Hugo Voter Packet – containing finalist works which were not otherwise available for free – and this has also likely contributed to the rise of member numbers and of Hugo participation among members.
The ratio of Supporting to Attending members has also steadily risen in the last 10 years, and while some of this can be attributed to the Puppy campaigns of 2015-2016 as well as to fans from the U.S. being unable to attend overseas Worldcons in London and Helsinki, it seems clear that access to a large number of free works in the Hugo Voter Packet is also a contributing factor. Percentage of eligible advance member participation in the Hugo Awards is now at an all-time high, at 40% to 50% of the eligible membership.
Site Selection, which has remained a mail-in or on-site endeavour, has seen somewhat of a decline in participation in the last 10 years. This is likely due to having only one bid site in many of those years, but possibly also somewhat due to people who previously voted for both Hugos and Site Selection by mail in the past now only voting for the Hugos online. This is not likely to change unless and until it becomes common for bidcoms to be willing to have electronic voting for Site Selection.
Hugo Voting: Let's Look At The Record Again (1971-1999), by George Flynn
29 - Noreascon I
30 - L.A.Con I
31 - Torcon II
32 - Discon II
33 - Aussiecon One
34 - MidAmeriCon
35 - SunCon
36 - IguanaCon II
37 - Seacon '79
38 - Noreascon Two
39 - Denvention Two
40 - Chicon IV
41 - ConStellation
42 - L.A.con II
43 - Aussiecon Two
44 - ConFederation
45 - Conspiracy '87
46 - Nolacon II
47 - Noreascon 3
48 - ConFiction
The Hague, Netherlands
49 - Chicon V
50 - MagiCon
51 - ConFrancisco
52 - ConAdian
53 - Intersection
54 - L.A.con III
55 - LoneStarCon 2
56 - BucConeer
57 - Aussiecon Three
Hugo Voting: Let's Look At The Record Yet Again (2000-2020),
by Jed Hartman and Jo Van Ekeren
Valid Nominating Ballots
Valid Final Ballots
58 - Chicon 2000
59 - Millennium Philcon
60 - ConJosé
61 - Torcon 3
62 - Noreascon 4
63 - Interaction
64 - L.A.con IV
65 - Nippon2007
66 - Denvention 3
67 - Anticipation
68 - Aussiecon 4
69 - Renovation
70 - Chicon 7
71 - LoneStarCon 3
72 - Loncon 3
73 - Sasquan
74 - MidAmeriCon II
75 - Worldcon 75
76 - Worldcon 76
77 - Dublin 2019
78 - CoNZealand
Wellington, New Zealand
Hugo Voting: Let's Look At The Record for the Retro Hugos
Valid Nominating Ballots
Valid Final Ballots
54 - L.A.con III
59 - Millennium Philcon
62 - Noreascon 4
72 - Loncon 3
74 - MidAmeriCon II
76 - Worldcon 76
77 - Dublin 2019
Number of categories includes the Hugo Awards, the Campbell Award, the Lodestar/YA Award, and any other special categories or awards announced that year. Discrepancies between total nominating categories and total voting categories are the result of categories with insufficient nominations being dropped from the final ballot.
Chicon 2000 received 1,101 Hugo ballots, of which 475 were electronic ballots and 626 were paper ballots. 30 ballots were invalid, which left 1,071 valid ballots. It is unclear how many of the 30 invalid ballots were paper vs. electronic.
ConJosé received 940 Hugo ballots. There were 697 were electronic ballots, 226 paper ballots, and 17 fax ballots. 16 ballots were invalid, which left 924 valid ballots. It is unclear how many of the 16 invalid ballots were paper vs. electronic vs. fax.
Torcon 3 received 805 Hugo ballots, of which 478 were electronic ballots and 327 were paper ballots. 29 ballots were invalid, which left 776 valid ballots. It is unclear how many of the 29 invalid ballots were paper vs. electronic.
The number of final Hugo ballots for Nippon 2007 is unknown. The quoted figure is the number of Novel ballots / 80%, which is the average percentage of final ballots cast for Novel during that stretch of years.
Site Selection went from 2 years to 3 years in advance
Site Selection went from 3 years to 2 years in advance