2018 Rhysling Award Finalists

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has finalized its 2018 Rhysling Award candidates, reports the group’s publication StarLine 41.2. Ninety-three members voted.

The Rhysling Award is given in two categories. “Best Long Poem” is for poems of 50+ lines, or for prose poems, of 500+ words. “Best Short Poem” is limited to poems of no more than 49 lines, or prose poems of no more than 499 words.

SFPA members have until June 15 to vote on the winners.

Short Poems (87 poems)
“Advice to a Six-Year-Old” • Mary Soon Lee • Star*Line 40.2
“After Midnight” • David Clink • Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty eds. Spider Robinson & James Alan Gardner (Edge, 2017)
“The Alchemy of Arsenic” • Neile Graham • Liminality 13
“All-Purpose Spell for Banishment” • Lesley Wheeler • Salamander 45
“An Announcement” • Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman • Uncanny 19
“Apologies from the Moon” • Lynne Sargent • Wild Musette: The Sin Eater
“Astro-Archaeologist’s Log” • Vince Gotera • The Poet’s Haven Digest: Strange Land
“The Astronaut Nightmare” • Michael H. Hanson • When the Night Owl Screams (MoonDream Press, 2017)
“Astronomers” • Ace G. Pilkington • The Horror Zine, November
“Baalberith” • Robert Beveridge • Priestess & Hierophant 2
“Baba Yaga: Her Almost Origin Story” • Minadora Macheret • Bramble & Thorn, ed. Nicci Mechler (Porkbelly Press)
“Beware” • Juleigh Howard-Hobson • Songs of Eretz Poetry Review 22/9/17
“Birth, Place” • Brandon O’Brien • Uncanny 18
“Black Star” • Adam Bolivar • The Lay of Old Hex (Hippocampus Press)
“Circe’s Guests” • Amelia Gorman • Liminality 12
“Cosmovore Searches the Animal Shelter” • Kristi Carter • Cosmovore (Aqueduct Press)
“Dark Solstice Cold and Deathly” • Richard L. Tierney • Spectral Realms 6
“The Dead Boy Teaches Me About Godzilla” • Lana Hechtman Ayers • Escape into Life
“Dead Bride Philosophy” • Sara Tantlinger • Space & Time 128
“The Dead Languages of the Wind” • David Clink • Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty eds. Spider Robinson & James Alan Gardner (Edge, 2017)
“Dear Shotgun City” • Holly Lyn Walrath • Eye to the Telescope 25
“The Devil in Boston” • A. J. Odasso • Barking Sycamores 12
“early years of transdimensional travel” • John Reinhart • New Myths 38
“Egress” • Marge Simon • Star*Line 40.4
“The Empty House” • A. J. Locke • Sycorax’s Daughters, eds. Kinitra Brooks, Linda D. Addison & Susana Morris (Cedar Grove Publishing)
“End-Times Tables” • Margarita Tenser • Star*Line 40.1
“Endeavour” • G. O. Clark • Asimov’s SF, May/June
“Enthusiasts of Ruin” • Margaret Wack • Liminality 14
“first date” • David F. Shultz •  The Literary Hatchet 18
“Flowers for Asimov” • William Shaw • Star*Line 40.4
“Giger’s Children” • Saba Syed Razvi • Machine Dreams 1
“Goodnight” • David F. Shultz • Polar Borealis Magazine 4
“Gramarye” • F. J. Bergmann • Polu Texni 12/26/17
“Grand Guignol” • G. O. Clark • Longshot Island 12/19/17
“Guttersnipe” • WC Roberts • Chrome Baby 63
“How to Grieve: A Primer for Witches” • Sara Cleto • Mythic Delirium, May
“Hubble’s Constant” • Marian D. Moore • Asimov’s SF, January/February
“In the Business of Things That Don’t Earn You Much” • Ziad Gadou • Strange Horizons, Arab League community and diaspora special issue
“late to work” • Julie Bloss Kelsey • Jersey Devil Press 91
“The Lovers and the Labyrinth” • Sara Cleto • Faerie Magazine 41
“Lycium Barbarum” • PS Cottier • Umbel & Panicle 5
“March Madness” • Francis W. Alexander • Night to Dawn, April
“Medusa in Her Mirror” • Hillary Lyon • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
“Messiaen Among The Dinosaurs” • Tim Jones • takah? 89
“Midwest Wonder Expo” • Amelia Gorman • Star*Line 40.4
“The Mushroom Siren” K. A. Opperman • The Audient Void 4
“The Mutant Rat” • K. V. Volney • krystalvolneyfanclub.blogspot.com
“My Little Green Secret” • Clay F. Johnson • Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase 4
“My Response to Your Mayday Call” • David Clink & Herb Kauderer • Dreams and Nightmares 105
“A Net to Snare a Unicorn” • Beth Cato • Mythic Delirium, January
“O Terrible Bird” • Sandra Kasturi • Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales, ed. Ellen Datlow (Pegasus Books)
“One More Attempt at Disaster Preparedness” • Jeannine Hall Gailey • American Poetry Journal
“Other People’s Tragedies” • Jennifer Crow • Mythic Delirium, August
“Pine Song, Robin Song, Star Song” • Holly Lyn Walrath • Liminality 11
“Pleiades”• Jenny Blackford • The Loyalty of Chickens, Pitt Street Poetry
“Poisoned Apple” • Ann Thornfield-Long • Abyss & Apex, March
“Quantum Socks” • R. Gene Turchin • Eye to the Telescope 25
“Radiant Things” • A. J. Odasso • Noble Dissent (ed. Rebecca Jane Bilkau, Beautiful Dragons Press)
“reanimated …” • Susan Burch • Scifaikuest, print
“Save Our Souls” • Karen Bovenmyer • Silver Blade 33
“scent of blackened” • Greer Woodward • Star*Line 40.1
“The Scratch inside Your Chest” • Layla Al-Bedawi • Strange Horizons 10/30/17
“Scorpio” • Jo Walton • Patreon 11/23/17
“Sea Legs” • Milo Gallagher • NonBinary Review 14
“Secret Identities” • Davian Aw • Strange Horizons 2/6/17
“Shadowfolk” • John Philip Johnson • Devilfish Review 19
“She traveled back in time” • Terrie Leigh Relf • Outposts of Beyond, April
“Small Town Witches” • Kate Pentecost • Liminality 13
“Some Things Never Change” • Alan Ira Gordon • Star*Line 40.1
“Song of a Changeling” • Adele Gardner • Balticon 51: The BSFAN, May
“Starlight” • Christina Sng • Space & Time 129
“A Streetcar Named Happily Ever After” • B. J. Lee • Illumen, Autumn
“Supper with the Sphinx” • Carolyn Clink • Canadian Ginger (ed. Kim Clark & Dawn Marie Kresan, Oolichan Books, 2017)
“Surreal Bucket List #3” • Bruce Boston • Mithila Review 9
“Sycorax’s Daughters Unveiled” • Linda Addison • Sycorax’s Daughters, eds. Kinitra Brooks, Linda D. Addison & Susana Morris (Cedar Grove Publishing)
“Syncing Minefields” • Karen Bovenmyer • Strange Horizons 2/20/17
“Table of Contents from a Lost Book of Divination” • Dean Kostos • Star*Line 40.2
“The Talking River” • John W. Sexton • Star*Line 40.2
“Titan’s Magic Islands: Transient Features in the Hydrocarbon Seas” • Geoffrey A. Landis • Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/August
“Vaginoplasticine” • Alison Rumfitt • Star*Line 40.4
“Vampirette” • Kathleen A. Lawrence • Star*Line 40.4
“Villain L” • Azriel Johnson • The Poet’s Haven Digest: The Distance Between Insanity and Genius
“Vul Ravin” • D. L. Myers • Spectral Realms 6
“Wayfaring King” • Beth Cato • Star*Line 40.4
“When the Aliens Come to Tea” • Mary A. Turzillo • The Poet’s Haven Digest: Strange Land
“The Witch Woman” • Alexandra Seidel • Polu Texni 7/17/17
“Yellow Spiders” • John C. Mannone • Altered Reality Magazine 4/28/17

 

Long Poems (63 poems)
“Alternate Genders” • Mary Soon Lee • Mithila Review 9
“The Android Who Gave Herself Away” Rohinton Daruwala • Eye to the Telescope 23
“Apocalyptic Mass” • Alessandro Manzetti • No Mercy (Crystal Lake Publications)
“Atop the Crystal Moon” • Ashley Dioses • Diary of a Sorceress (Hippocampus Press)
“The Ballad of the de la Poers” • Adam Bolivar • Spectral Realms 7
“Castaway” • John C. Mannone • Anak Sastra 28
“Chrysopoeia & Isagoge” • Saba Syed Razvi • Beside the Muezzin’s Call & Beyond the Harem’s Veil (Finishing Line Press)
“A Cleaner Times Square” • Vanessa Kittle• Chrome Baby 61
“Commentary Track” • Troy Jollimore • The Plume Anthology of Poetry 5 ed. Daniel Lawless (Plume Editions)
“Dab3 (Mount Hermon, 1998)” • Sara Saab • Strange Horizons 10/30/17
“Daunted” • Mary Soon Lee • Dreams and Nightmares 105
“Don’t Forget the Tinderbox” • Jennifer Lynn Krohn • NonBinary Review 14
“A Dream of Milk and Blood” • Alessandro Manzetti • No Mercy (Crystal Lake Publications)
“The Drum Star (Orion’s Ghost)” • Ryu Ando • Strange Horizons, Fund Drive Special
“The First Battle of the Puffer War” • Herb Kauderer • Outposts of Beyond, July
“For Preserves” • Cassandra Rose Clarke • Star*Line 40.4
“Four Moons” • John Philip Johnson • Mithila Review 9
“Frida’s Monsters” • Alessandro Manzetti • No Mercy (Crystal Lake Publications)
“Ghosts of 1816” • Clay F. Johnson • Spectral Realms 6
“The Hawthorn Muses” • Shannon Connor Winward • Timeless Tales 8
“Hot” • Cislyn Smith • Strange Horizons 5/29/17
“The Huntsman” • Lora Gray • Liminal Stories 4
“In the Labyrinth” • Allan Rozinski • Eternal Haunted Summer, Winter Solstice
“Instructions for Astronauts” • Michael Janairo • Mithila Review 8
“Just Rosie” • Kathleen A. Lawrence • Eye to the Telescope 23
“Kindred Spirit” • F. J. Bergmann • Dreams and Nightmares 106
“Let Me In” • Tonya Liburd • Alligators in the Sewers (Unnerving Magazine chapbook)
“Little Red” •  Christina Sng • Polu Texni 9/4/17
“Little Red: Morning” • Sally Rosen Kindred • Bramble & Thorn, ed. Nicci Mechler (Porkbelly Press)
“Looking Back to the Stars” • Vince Gotera • Altered Reality Magazine, October
“Lotus Moon” • Mary Soon Lee • Mythic Delirium 4.2
“Maintenance Call” • Ken Poyner • Abyss & Apex 61
“Masques and Mayhem” • Jennifer Crow • Mythic Delirium, September
“Moonlight in the Playground” • Christina Sng • Spectral Realms 6
“The Mushroom Hunters” • Neil Gaiman • Brainpickings 4/26/17
“O Ippos” • Mari Ness • Through Immortal Shadows Singing (Papaveria Press)
“On a Dreamland’s Moon” • Ashley Dioses • Black Wings VI (PS Publishing)
“Opposition Night” • Christina M. Rau • Liberating the Astronauts (Aqueduct Press)
“The Patron Saint of Lost Causes” • Chris Castro-Rappl •  Abyss & Apex, September
“Pre-Raphaelite Girls” • Delbert R. Gardner & Adele Gardner • Buckshot Magazine, 7/12/17
“Protestations Against the Idea of Anglicization” • Cassandra Khaw • Uncanny 19
“Quietly, on the way to Mars” • Bronwyn Lovell • Cordite Poetry Review, September
“The Rain that Falls in the Mutant Rain Forest” • Bruce Boston • Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest (Crystal Lake Publications)
“Rapunzel and Medusa” • Colleen Anderson • Polu Texni 9/25/17
“The Raven’s Hallowe’en” • Shannon Connor Winward • Wild Musette, 10/26/18
“Romance of Possible Contrasts” • Alison Rumfitt • Strange Horizons, 12/18/17
“The Seal Wife” • Signe Pike• Faerie Magazine 38
“The Secret Life of a Toaster” • Mary Soon Lee • Polu Texni 10/2/17
“Shards of a Fractured Soul” • Deborah L. Davitt • The Poet’s Haven Digest: Strange Land
“She Dreams of Tigers, or Remembers” • Jennifer D’Aubergny • The Poet’s Haven Digest: The Distance Between Insanity and Genius
“The Simple Poem” • Abhishek Sengupta • Liminality 12
“Signs That the World Might Be Ending” •  E. E. King • NonBinary Review 13
“Size 15W Should Do It (after George Orwell” • Tyree Campbell • A Danger to Self and Others (Alban Lake)
“Sons of Fire and Clay” • Jesse Parent• The Poet’s Haven Digest: The Distance Between Insanity and Genius
“Starskin, Sealskin” • Shveta Thakrar & Sara Cleto • Uncanny 17
“The Story of Shen Dho, A Pirate in the Red Flag Fleet, Who Serves Ching Shih Devotedly for Many Years” • Kendall Evans • Illumen, Autumn
“tha may ask thee sen/At the Finish” • Paul Brookes • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
“The Trajectory of Culture” • David C. Kopaska-Merkel & Kendall Evans • Polu Texni 5/15/17
“The Tree Builder” • Christina Loraine • Eye to the Telescope 25
“Waking” • Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman • Liminality 10
“What Neighbors Do” • Herb Kauderer • 49th Parallels, ed. Hayden Trenholm (Bundoran Press)
“Whispers & Lies” • Deborah Elizabeth Whaley • Sycorax’s Daughters, eds. Kinitra Brooks, Linda D. Addison & Susana Morris (Cedar Grove Publishing)
“The Woman in the Feathered Mask” • K. A. Opperman • Skelos 3

Call For 2018 Rhysling Award Nominations

The Science Fiction Poetry Association members have until February 15 to nominate eligible poems for addition to the Rhysling Award longlist.

Poems already recommended are listed here. (None at this writing; keep checking back.)

The Rhyslings were first established in 1978, named for the blind poet Rhysling in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.” Rhysling’s skills were said to rival Rudyard Kipling’s. In real life, Apollo 15 astronauts named a crater near their landing site “Rhysling,” which has since become its official name. Winning works are regularly reprinted in the Nebula Awards Anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Rhysling Awards are considered in the speculative literature field to be the poetry equivalent of the awards given for prose— achievement awards given to poets by the writing peers of their own field of literature.

Linda D. Addison is the 2018 Rhysling Award chair.

2017 Rhysling Awards

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association has announced the 2017 Rhysling Award winners.

Short Poem

Winner

2nd:

3rd (tie)

Long Poem

Winner

  • Rose Child” by Theodora Goss • Uncanny 13

2nd:

3rd:

Pixel Scroll 2/27/17 That’s it! Scroll Over Man, Scroll Over!

(1) ACADEMY INVITES LE GUIN. Ursula K. LeGuin has been voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters reports SFGate. The 87-year-old Le Guin is one of 14 new core members of the Academy.

The arts academy, an honorary society with a core membership of 250 writers, artists, composers and architects, once shunned “genre” writers such as Le Guin. Even such giants as science fiction writer Ray Bradbury and crime novelist Elmore Leonard never got in.

Academy member Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, advocated for Le Guin.

“As a deviser of worlds, as a literary stylist, as a social critic and as a storyteller, Le Guin has no peer,” he wrote in his recommendation, shared with the AP, that she be admitted. “From the time of her first published work in the mid-1960s, she began to push against the confines of science fiction, bringing to bear an anthropologist’s acute eye for large social textures and mythic structures, a fierce egalitarianism and a remarkable gift of language, without ever renouncing the sense of wonder and the spirit of play inherent in her genre of origin.”

(2) 2017 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY COVER REVEAL. Hat tip to F.J. Bergmann.

(3) NEW FICTION WEBZINE. Science fiction and fantasy book imprint Strange Fictions Press will officially launch Strange Fictions SciFi & Fantasy Zine on February 28 with “This Chicken Outfit,” by Pushcart nominated author, A.L. Sirois. Siriois’ short stories have appeared in ThemaAmazing Stories, and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. He has also contributed comic art for DC, Marvel, and Charlton.

Strange Fictions will focus “on publishing speculative short fiction, nonfiction, art, and poetry twice a week for genre fans worldwide.”  New stories, poems, and essays will appear every Tuesday and Friday. Subscribers can sign up for email notifications whenever a new story is posted.

Strange Fictions SF&F Zine is open to submissions from both new and experienced genre writers, and details can be found at the website.

Authors of acquired pieces for Strange Fictions SF&F ‘Zine will receive a flat fee payment of $5 for stories, essays, poetry, and book reviews of 4,999 words and under and $10 for stories, essays, poetry, and book reviews of 5,000-10,000.

(4) ALOFT. Martin Morse Wooster recommends Miyazaki Dreams of Flying as “a lovely compilation of flying scenes from Miyazaki films, including an interview where the great animator expresses his love of airplanes.”

(5) DEFYING THE LAW…OF GRAVITY. In “Mars Needs Lawyers” on FiveThirtyEight, Maggie Koerth-Baker looks at the many problems of international law that have to be solved in we’re ever going to have successful Mars missions.  For example:  if you have astronauts from five countries flying in a spacecraft that’s registered in Liberia, how do you figure out which country’s law applies?

For instance, a limited number of satellites can orbit the Earth simultaneously. Put up too many, and you end up with an expensive game of celestial bumper cars. But some countries — Russia and the United States, in particular — had a big head start on gobbling up those slots. What do you do if you’re Nigeria? Today, Gabrynowicz said, the international community has settled on a regulatory system that attempts to balance the needs of nations that can put an object into geostationary orbit first with the needs of those that aren’t there yet but could be later. And even this compromise is still extremely controversial.

The same basic disagreement behind them will apply to Mars, too. And it’s at issue right now in the U.S., as lawmakers try to figure out how best to implement the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act — a bill signed by President Obama in November 2015. That law states that U.S. companies can own and sell space resources — including minerals and water. But the details of what this means in practice haven’t been worked out yet, Gabrynowicz said. Legal experts say that those details will make the difference in terms of whether the law puts the U.S. in violation of the Outer Space Treaty.

This question of whether space should be an Old West-style gold rush or an equitably distributed public commons could have been settled decades ago, with the 1979 Moon Agreement (aka the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies), which would have established space as part of the “common heritage of mankind.” What this would have meant in practice is not totally clear. But at the time, opponents saw it as having the potential to ban all private enterprise and effectively turn the heavens into a United Nations dictatorship. It ended up being signed by a handful of countries, most of which have no space program. But it is international law, and if humans go to Mars, though, we’ll likely end up debating this issue again.

(6) GAME WRITING. Monica Valentinelli gives an “Overview of Game Production and the Role of Writers” at the SFWA Blog.

One of the things I enjoy doing as a game developer is hiring new writers. In almost every case, writers are shocked to learn how many levers and pulleys there are in game production. This tends to hold true regardless of what kind of game a writer is contributing to; in part, this has to do with the process of transitioning from a consumer’s mindset (e.g. fan, critic, reviewer) to that of a creator’s. Sometimes, however, the process is confusing because there are aspects physical development that writers aren’t always involved with. A good example of this is that developers often regard word processing documents with an eye for production when they redline and provide comments. What’s laid out vertically on a page in text isn’t how it will be rendered in the final product, and that has a huge impact on what the writers are hired to write, edit, and make changes on. Sometimes, the number of words that fit on a page or a screen can also shape a writer’s assignment, too.

Other, lesser-known aspects of production might include:

  • Canon or Setting Bible creation
  • Systems/rules documentation
  • Marketing copy and sell sheets
  • Outlining and project management
  • Mock-ups and proofs for manufacturing
  • Playtest or beta editions

(7) DISNEY’S DUDEFRÉRES. Another clip from the live-action Beauty and the Beast shows LeFou singing “My, what a guy, that Gaston!” With Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou.

(8) VOIR DIRE STRAITS. Shadow Clarke juror Jonathan McCalmont followed his introductory post with an entry on his ownblog, Ruthless Culture “Genre Origin Stories”.

A couple of things that occurred to me upon re-reading the piece:

Firstly, I think it does a pretty good job of capturing how I currently feel about the institutions of genre culture. To be blunt, I don’t think that genre fandom survived the culture wars of 2015 and I think genre culture has now entered a post-apocalyptic phase in which a few institutional citadels manage to keep the lights on while the rest of the field is little more than a blasted wasteland full of isolated, lonely people. One reason why I agreed to get involved with shadowing the Clarke Award is that I see the Shadow Clarke as an opportunity to build something new that re-introduces the idea that engaging with literary science fiction can be about more than denouncing your former friends and providing under-supported writers with free PR….

McCalmont’s post includes a high overview of the past 40 years of fanhistory. I was surprised to find many points of agreement, such as his takes about things that frustrated me at the time they were happening, or that I witnessed affecting my friends among the LA locals who founded anime fandom.

Regardless of whether they are conventional, idiosyncratic, or simply products of distracted parenting, our paths into science fiction cannot help but shape our understanding and expectations of the field. Unfortunately, where there is difference there is bound to be misunderstanding and where there is misunderstanding there must inevitably be conflict.

The problem is that while the walls of science fiction may be infinitely porous and allow for inspiration from different cultures and artistic forms, the cultural institutions surrounding science fiction have shown themselves to be remarkably inflexible when it comes to making allowances for other people’s genre origin stories.

The roots of the problem are as old as genre fandom itself. In fact, the very first Worldcon saw the members of one science fiction club deny entry to the membership of another on the grounds that the interlopers were socialists whose politicised understanding of speculative fiction posed an existential threat to the genre’s continued existence. A similar conflict erupted when the unexpected success of Star Wars turned a niche literary genre into a mass market phenomenon. Faced with the prospect of making allowances for legions of new fans with radically different ideas as to what constituted good science fiction, the institutions of genre fandom responded with sluggishness indistinguishable from hostility. Media fandom was born when traditional fandom refused to expand its horizons and the same thing happened again in the early 1990s when fans of anime decided that it was better to build their own institutions than to fight street-by-street for the right to be hidden away in the smallest and hottest rooms that science fiction conventions had to offer.

The institutions of genre culture may pride themselves on their inclusiveness and forward-thinking but this is largely a product of the excluded not sticking around long enough to give their own sides of the story. Time and again, the institutions of genre culture have been offered the chance to get in on the ground floor when science-fictional ideas began to manifest themselves in different ways. Time and again, the institutions of genre culture have chosen to protect the primacy of the familiar over the vibrancy of the new and the different….

Cultural commentators may choose to characterise 2015 as the year in which genre culture rejected the misogynistic white supremacy of the American right but the real message is far more nuanced. Though the institutions of genre culture have undoubtedly improved when it comes to reflecting the diversity not only of the field but also of society at large, this movement towards ethnic and sexual diversity has coincided with a broader movement of aesthetic conservatism as voices young and old find themselves corralled into a narrowing range of hyper-commercial forms.

I thought that was well said. Unfortunately, I also read the comments.

(9) BELATED BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • February 24, 1909 – August Derleth
  • February 26, 1918 – Theodore Sturgeon

(10) THE STRAIGHT POOP. “Do Cats Cause Schizophrenia? Believe the Science, Not the Hype” advises WIRED.

The link between schizophrenia and cats goes back to the 1970s, when psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey learned that viruses from dogs might trigger multiple sclerosis—a neurological condition—in humans. “That got me thinking about which animals host which infectious agents,” he says. Soon, he learned that cats host the most successful infectious bacteria in the world: Toxoplasma gondii. Looking into previously published research, he found plenty of studies showing that schizophrenics often had higher levels of toxoplasma antibodies in their blood than people without the mental illness.

Then he started surveying schizophrenics about their life history, and found that many had indeed lived with cats. But what’s important isn’t just if, it’s when. See, Torrey’s theory isn’t merely that T. gondii causes mental illness, it’s that it somehow alters the development of a person’s brain during crucial periods of brain development—and probably only if that person is genetically predisposed to schizophrenia. It’s a complicated hypothesis, and even after four decades of study, Torrey says he’s still not totally convinced it’s fact. Hence, his continued research on the subject.

Still, every study he publishes—his most recent, dropped in July of 2015—attracts the media like nip. Same with refutations, like the one published this week. The authors analyzed a dataset of 5,000 UK children, looking for a correlation between cat ownership during critical ages of brain development and behavioral indicators of later psychosis (like dark thoughts) at the ages of 13 and 18. Their statistical analysis of the results showed no correlation. Most (but not all) news websites ran with some variation of “Relax, Cats Don’t Cause Schizophrenia.”

But that’s not what the study said.

(11) GUESS WHO. From 2015. David Tennant’s NTA Special Recognition – his reaction: “Actor Sees A Tribute Video On Screen. The Realizes It’s For Him And He Can’t Believe It”

(12) TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Carl Slaughter says, “This documentary convincingly demonstrates how the Batman movies/trilogies reflect the cultural era in which they were produced.”

  • 60s Batman  –  prosperity
  • 70s  –  disillusionment  –  no Batman movies
  • Batman  –  escapism
  • Batman Returns  –  anti rich
  • Batman Forever, Batman & Robin  –  safety
  • Batman Begins, Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises  –  fear
  • Batman versus Superman  –  extremism

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

2017 Rhysling Award Nominees

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has finalized its 2017 Rhysling Award candidates.

The Rhysling Award is given in two categories. “Best Long Poem” is for poems of 50+ lines, or for prose poems, of 500+ words. “Best Short Poem” is limited to poems of no more than 49 lines, or prose poems of no more than 499 words.

SFPA’s F.J. Bergmann confirmed this year’s entries broke all the new records set last year for the highest number of nominated poems the award has ever had (93 short and 60 long), coming from the longest list of publications, 77. Strange Horizons and Star*Line (SFPA’s own newsletter) tied for publishing the most nominees, 11.

Short Poems (93 poems)
“3d printer” • Francis Wesley Alexander • Scifaikuest November
“Adolescence” • Ken Poyner • Star*Line 39.4
“After” • Herb Kauderer • Asimov’s SF November/December
“Always the Black and White Keys” • Corrine deWinter • Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Vol. III, ed. David E. Cowen
“Annie&Diana/One Canoe” • Shari Caplan • Nonbinary Review 11: Anne of Green Gables
“Antagonist” • F.J. Bergmann • Spectral Realms 5
“appendage sale” • Susan Burch • Star*Line 39.2
“The Architect of Bonfires” • Tonya Liburd •  Space & Time 127
“The Ash Manifesto” • Rose Lemberg • Strange Horizons 10 October
“At the Robot National Convention” • Alan Ira Gordon • Star*Line 39.3
“The Bird Prince” • John W. Sexton • Faerie Magazine Summer
“The birds forget to sing” •  Carl Mayfield • Abbey 147
“Black Bull of Norroway” • Jane Yolen • Goblin Fruit Winter
“Bones Knock in the House” • Mary McMyne • Rose Red Review 18
“Bottle Cast Upon A Dry Sea” • G.O. Clark • Asimov’s Science Fiction February
“The Box of Dust and Monsters” • Beth Cato • Devilfish Review 17
“A Bug in the System” • Anton Cancre • Quick Shivers about Bugs (Cosmonomic Multimedia)
“Build a Rocketship Contest: Alternative Class A Instructions and Suggestions” • Wendy Rathbone • Asimov’s SF January
“Christmas on Mars” • Carolyn M. Hinderliter •  Scifaikuest Vol. XIII, No. 4
“Classification of Folktales” • Margaret Wack • Strange Horizons
“The Dark between the Stars” • G.O. Clark • Star*Line 39.4
“Death Rides USAir At Night” • Jane Yolen • Parody 5:1
“Descent of the Composer” • Airea D. Matthews • Poem-a-Day October 24, Academy of American Poets
“Doppelgänger and the Ghost” • Lev Mirov • Eye to the Telescope 22
“Dorothy Delivered” • Kathleen A. Lawrence • Altered Reality Magazine 1
“Exotic Heads Trimmed Neatly” • John Reinhart • Eye to the Telescope 21
“Falling (A Part)” • Alexandra Erin •  medium.com June 8
“The Fantasy of Hans Christian Andersen” • KH Van Berkum • Strange Horizons February 8
Feles Alieni Vere Sunt • Neile Graham • Devilfish Review 17
“*For Quick Sale*” • Greer Woodward • Lupine Lunes, ed. Lester Smith (Popcorn Press)
“Foreign Policy” • David Barber • Star*Line 39.3
“The Frog” • K. Cassandra O’Malley • The Well of Changes (Bag Person Press) [reprint permission unavailable]
“George Tecumseh Sherman’s Ghosts” • Marge Simon • Silver Blade 32
“The Genius” • Sara Backer • Mithila Review 3
“The Giantess’s Dream” • Ada Hoffman • Twisted Moon 1
“Godzilla vs. King Kong” • James S. Dorr • Dreams and Nightmares 103
“History Teacher” • Gary Every • Star*Line 39.4
“How far does night have to fall?” • F.J. Bergmann • The Future Fire 38
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco. I Left Yours Somewhere in Colorado …” • Matt Betts • Underwater Fistfight (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
“Ink” • Akua Lezli Hope • Yellow Chair Review, Horror Issue, October
“Invocation of Diana” • K.A. Opperman • Eternal Haunted Summer Summer
“The Last Woman on Earth” • Mary Stone • Amethyst Arsenic 6:1
“Learning the History of War” J.J. Steinfeld • Star*Line 39.3
“Less than Human” • Marge Simon • You, Human (Dark Regions Press)
“The Long Run” • Neil Gaiman • Uncanny November/December
“Loose String” E. Kristin Anderson • Coe Review 47.1
“Love in the Time of Apocalypse” • Ann Thornfield-Long • Silver Blade 31
“Marginalia on Eiruvin 45b” • Bogi Takács • Bracken Magazine 2
“Martian Garden” • John Philip Johnson • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction July/August 2016
“Memorial (for Jonathan Franzen)” • Tim Jones • New Sea Land (Makaro Press)
“The Memory Machines” • Jane Williams • The Pedestal Magazine 79
“My Corpse My Groom” • Ashley Dioses • The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy 1
“My Pet Alien” • Dennis Caswell• Rattle Fall
“A Natural History of Snow” • David Clink • The Role of Lightning in Evolution (Kelp Queen Press, CZP)
“Nothing Goes Away” • A.J. Odasso • The New England Review of Books
“Of My Wounds, There Are Many” • Stephanie M. Wytovich • Sanitarium Magazine 48
“The Old Ones gather” • Terrie Leigh Relf • Scifaikuest May
“Orpheus” • Ace G. Pilkington • The Horror Zine June
“Past Imperfect” • Deborah L. Davitt • Poetry Quarterly Summer
“The persecution of witches” • Ali Trotta • Uncanny 11
“The Phosphorescent Fungi” • D. L. Myers • Spectral Realms 4
“Propagation” • Layla Al-Bedawi • Strange Horizons 18 April
“Quack” • Neal Wilgus • Dreams and Nightmares 104
“Quasar” • Triin Paja • Cleaver 14
“Returning” • Mary Soon Lee •  The Open Mouse May 6
“Richard Feynman’s Commute” • John Weswick • The Were-Traveler December 21
“Riding the Dark” B.J. Lee • Frostfire Worlds February
“Robot Testimonial Z” • Margaret Rhee • Mission at Tenth
“Rusalka” • Jane Yolen • Mythic Delirium 3.1
“Sappho and the Woman of Starlight” • John W. Sexton • Eternal Haunted Summer Winter
“Selkie” • E. Kristin Anderson • Faerie Magazine Summer
“Skin” • Alice Fanchiang • Liminality 10
“Song of the Encantado” • Jeremy Paden • Apex Magazine 83
“Space Opera” • Vince Gotera • Altered Reality Magazine 1
“The Sparrows in Her Hair” • Hester J. Rook • Strange Horizons 18 July
“The Spook Tree” • Cindy O’Quinn • Blood Moon Rising Magazine 66
“Star Dust” • Josh Brown • Illumen 25
“Stellar Quake” • John C. Mannone • The New England Journal of Medicine 375:1305
“Supercomputer Spends the Night” • Danielle Zaccagnino • Weirderary 4
“Sutekh From The Throne” • Denise Dumars • Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Vol. III, ed. David E. Cowen
“Terran Mythology” Shannon Connor Winward • Analog Science Fiction and Fact October
“This Rat” • Anne Carly Abad • Chrome Baby 48
“To Live In The Zombie Apocalypse” • Burlee Vang • Poem-A-Day December 20
“To the Girl Who Ran Through Crop Circles” • Karen J. Weyant • Strange Horizons 18 August
“Until Dawn” • Michael H. Hanson • Poetic Hustles 2 (Black Freighter Productions)
La Villa de Sirenia” • Jack Ralls • Star*Line 39.4
“Well, Water, Stars” • Adele Gardner • Silver Blade 32
“Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek” • Timons Esaias • Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek (Concrete Wolf)
“Widening Gyre” • A.J. Odasso • Not A Drop anthology (Beautiful Dragons Press)
“Witch Lord of the Hunt” • Ashley Dioses • Eternal Haunted Summer Spring
“The woman on the bus encounters time dilation” • Daniel R. Jones • Altered Reality Magazine
“World’s Tiniest Human” • Muriel Leung • The Adroit Journal 16

 

Long Poems (60 poems)
“Absentation” • Lesley Wheeler • Thrush Poetry Journal November
“Adam’s Rendezvous with Dante” • John C. Mannone • Last Darn Rites Anthology (Whitesboro Writers, 2016)
“Alice-Ecila” • Steph Post • Nonbinary Review 10: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
“At Issue, the Miramo” • Ken Poyner • Dreams and Nightmares 103
“Best of” • Sarah Ann Winn •  Found Poetry Review: Bowietry
“The Blind Elephants of Io” • Karen Bovenmyer • Shortest Day, Longest Night (Arachne Press)
“The Butterflies of Traxl IV” • John Reinhart • The Pedestal Magazine 79
“The Chinese Pirate Ching Shih Plays Go With a Hooded Opponent” • Kendall Evans • Abyss & Apex 59
“Cobblestone Dragon” • Herb Kauderer • Polu Texni July 11
“Dame Evergreen” • Rebecca Buchanan • Faerie Magazine Winter
“The Dark Lord’s Diary” • Lee S. Hawke • Star*Line 39.1
“Data Mine” • Alexandra Erin • medium.com October 24
“The Death of the Horse” •  Beth Cato • Remixt Magazine 1:8
“Defender Prime” • A.C. Spahn • Outposts of Beyond July
“Elegy for Iain Banks” • Vince Gotera • Star*Line 39.3
“Exploratory Colony 454—15th May, 2052” • Lore Bernier • Eye to the Telescope 20
“First Lesson” • Mary Soon Lee • Silver Blade 30
“For Lonnie” • Holly Walrath • Liminality 9
“Further” • F.J. Bergmann • Lovecraft eZine 38
“Getting Winterized: A Guide To Winter Living” • Elizabeth R. McClellan • Angels of the Meanwhile April
“god-date” • Brandon O’Brien • Uncanny 9
“The Great Unknown” • Bruce Boston and Alessandro Manzetti • Illumen Spring
“Houses of the living, houses of the dead” • Jenny Blackford • Ipswich Poetry Feast International Poetry Competition, Highly Commended
“I Will Be Your Grave” • Tlotlo Tsamaase • Strange Horizons 7 November
Im Wald • Sandi Leibowitz • Mythic Delirium 3.2
“In Defence of Science” • David Clink • The Role of Lightning in Evolution (Kelp Queen Press, CZP)
“The Inconceivable Shape” • Simon Smith • Chrome Baby 45
“Interview with a 22nd-Century Sex Worker” • Darren Lipman • Strange Horizons 4 July
“The Journeymaker to Keddar (II)” • Rose Lemberg • Marginalia to Stone Bird (Aqueduct Press)
“Legend of the Albino Pythons and the Bloody Child” • Bruce Boston & Alessandro Manzetti • Polu Texni 18 April
“The Leviathans of Europa” • Christina Sng • Polu Texni 10 October
“The Lies You Learned” • S. Qiouyi Lu • Liminality 7
“little stomach” • Charlotte Geater • Strange Horizons 26 September
“Luminous Decay” • Robert Frazier • Dreams and Nightmares 103
“Morning During Migration Season” • Beth Cato • Star*Line 39.4
“Not Like This” • Mary Soon Lee • Apex Magazine August 4
Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas Lost at Sea, 1527” • Lisa M. Bradley • Strange Horizons 3 October [reprint permission declined]
“Phoenix Fire, Tabula Rasa” • Kim Eun-byeol • Stone Telling 13
“The Poem Gardens of the Ascari” • Rohinton Daruwala • Strange Horizons 13 June
“Portrait of the Captain with Small Waiting Objects” • T.D. Walker • Recompose 2
“Revolution” • Holly Lyn Walrath • Abyss & Apex 58
“The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner” • Adam Bolivar • Spectral Realms 5
“The Robot by the Fireplace” • Ken Poyner • Eye to the Telescope 20
“Rose Child” • Theodora Goss • Uncanny 13
“Salome’s New King” • Terry Miller • Devolution Z: The Horror Magazine 10
“Sargasso Sea” • A.J. Odasso • Remixt Magazine 1:1
“Spoiler Alert” • Matt Betts • Underwater Fistfight (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
“The Starlet Who Married A Monster” • Robert Borski • Lupine Lunes, ed. Lester Smith (Popcorn Press)
“Storm Miners” • Deborah L. Davitt • Blue Monday Review August
“Surviving a Canadian Poem” • David Clink • The Role of Lightning in Evolution (Kelp Queen Press, CZP)
“Talk to the Machines” • Johan Jönsson • Dreams and Nightmares 104
“Thirteen Ways to See a Ghost” • Shannon Connor Winward • 2016 SFPA Poetry Contest
“To the weaver, from the woman who slew Bakunawa” • M. Sereno • Stone Telling 13
“Väinämöinen Sings” • Jennifer Lawrence • Eternal Haunted Summer Winter
“We Shall Meet in the Star-Spackled Ruins” • Wendy Rathbone • 2016 SFPA Poetry Contest
“Were-” • Naru Dames Sundar • Liminality Summer
“Werewolf” • K.A. Opperman • Spectral Realms 4
“What Wants Us” • Karolina Fedyk • Star*Line 39.1
“When Coyote Called Down the Stars” • Aaron Vlek • The Were-Traveler December 21
“When the Gunman Comes” • Edith Hope Bishop • Mythic Delirium 2.3

 

Pixel Scroll 1/29/17 Have Space Suit, Would Travel, But Ain’t Got No Visa

(1) SLOWER THAN EMPIRES AND HALF VAST. It all seems to obvious now. CheatSheet explains: “’Star Wars’: Why Delaying ‘Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’ Was the Right Call”.

From there, the plan was to release Episode VIII  (now officially titled The Last Jedi) a quick five months later, with each subsequent sequel and spinoff releasing in May of their respective years. Recent events though have put that schedule in jeopardy, culminating in a massive seven-month delayOur first hint at this possibility came courtesy of Meet the Movie Press, with host Jeff Sneider reporting on rewrites for Rian Johnson’s script that pushed the beginning of production out to February (initial plans had production scheduled to begin in September 2015). Already under the gun with the minuscule five-month gap between Rogue One and Episode VIII, the call was made official by Lucasfilm: The sequel to The Force Awakens will now release December 17, 2017.

…More than anything, the May release of Episode VIII would have been a nightmare from the marketing side. The Force Awakens released its first teaser almost exactly a year before its premiere. To follow a similar plan, Episode VIII would need a teaser by May of this year, all while Rogue One tries to get itself heard above the din of the main trilogy ahead of its own December release. The end result would have drowned out Rogue One and kept everyone’s eyes fixed on May 2017. With a year of spacing now between the two films, Lucasfilm no longer runs the risk of making people feel inundated by a revived franchise that’s already permeating every facet of our pop culture.

(2) KICKSTARTER SUCCESSS. Matt Godwin’s crowdfunded Latin@ Rising gets favorable notice from a San Antonio news outlet — “Anthology gathers best Latino sci-fi stories” in MySA.com.

Matt Goodwin compares “Latin@ Rising,” the new anthology of science fiction from San Antonio’s Wings Press, to an eclectic literary mix tape or playlist “in which there is an ebb and flow as you move through the loud and the brash, the quiet and the thoughtful.”

The latter might be Carmen Maria Machado’s “Difficult at Parties,” a first-person, present-tense story told as if through a camera lens about a woman struggling to return to some semblance of normal life after a sexual assault. As tension builds, she discovers she has developed a disturbing new psychic power.

On the other hand, Giannina Braschi’s “Death of a Businessman” is the cacophonous opening to a novel titled “The United States of Banana,” which is the author’s response to 9/11: “I saw the wife of the businessman enter the shop of Stanley, the cobbler, with a pink ticket in her hand. The wife had come to claim the shoes of the businessman. After all, they had found the feet, and she wanted to bury the feet with the shoes.”

(3) BOYCOTT WHEN CONVENIENT. Charles Stross says he’s canceling GoH appearance at Fencon XIV and won’t be making any other US appearances after that — “Policy change: future US visits”. However, he’s not cancelling a business trip to New York or attendance at Boskone because that would cost him money.

…Consequently I’m revising my plans for future visits to the United States.

I’ll be in New York and Boston for business meetings and Boskone in mid-February (I unwisely booked non-refundable flights and hotel nights before the election), but I am cancelling all subsequent visits for now. In particular, this means that I will no longer be appearing as guest of honor at Fencon XIV in Texas in September.

…As for why I’m cancelling this appearance … I have two fears.

Firstly, at this point it is clear that things are going to get worse. The Muslim ban is only the start; in view of the Administration’s actions on Holocaust Memorial Day and the anti-semitism of his base, I think it highly likely that Jews and Lefists will be in his sights as well. (As a foreign national of Jewish extraction and a member of a left wing political party, that’s me in that corner.)

Secondly, I don’t want to do anything that might be appear to be an endorsement of any actions the Trump administration might take between now and September. While it’s possible that there won’t be any more bad things between now and then (in which case I will apologize again to the Fencon committee), I find that hard to believe; equally possibly, there might well be a fresh outrage of even larger dimensions right before my trip, in which case my presence would be seen by onlookers as tacit acceptance or even collaboration.

As for my worst case nightmare scenario? Given the reshuffle on the National Security Council and the prominence of white supremacists and neo-nazis in this Administration I can’t help wondering if the ground isn’t being laid for a Reichstag Fire by way of something like Operation Northwoods. In which case, for me to continue to plan to travel to the United States in eight months time would be as unwise as it would have been to plan in February 1933 to travel to Germany in September of that year: it might be survivable, but it would nevertheless be hazardous….

(4) DICKINSON OBIT. Andrew Porter reports —

Originally from Leeds, England, fan Mike Dickinson, 69, died from cancer on January 20th. He had been in poor health for a year since being hit by a car, and then was diagnosed with lung cancer.

With David Pringle, he co-chaired Yorcon, the 1979 Eastercon, in Leeds, and was toastmaster of Yorcon II in 1981..

Among fanzines he published were the one-off fanzine Adsum in 1978; with Alan Dorey the one-off Sirius; three issues of Bar Trek with Lee Montgomerie; in 1979, the 95-97th issue of Vector for the British SF Association; and, in 1984, Spaghetti Junction.

David Pringle writes, “He was a mainstay of the Leeds SF group which met every Friday evening from some time in 1974 onwards, initially in a pub called The Victoria and later in one called the West Riding. That petered out in the 1980s — after I’d left Leeds in 1982, and after Mike and his partner Jackie went abroad for a couple of years, teaching English as a foreign language in Italy.”

(5) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 29, 1845 — Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven,” beginning “Once upon a midnight dreary,” is published on this day in the New York Evening Mirror.
  • January 29, 1924 — Carl Taylor’s ice cream cone-rolling machine patented.
  • January 29, 1964 Stanley Kubrck’s timeless Dr. Strangelove opens simultaneously in the UK and USA. It was James Earl Jones’ first movie role.

(6) QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” ~ George Orwell

(7) ALL THE ROAD RAGE. My daughter liked playing on Wii, but I drove off the road so many times in one of those Mario Bros. games I would never be the kind of customer for this platform that this collector is — “Guy completes entire Wii library, and it’s massive”

Your stack of old Wii games pales in comparison to this guy’s collection. Nintendo Age forum user Aaron Norton, who goes by Nintendo Twizer, has posted pictures of his entire Wii library collection, and it’s ridiculous.

According to Norton, the Wii had 1,262 game releases in North America. His collection doesn’t include variants, like different cover arts, collector’s editions, or Nintendo Selects, which were discounted re-releases of popular games. It also doesn’t include demo discs or games that were released in two-packs later on, like the Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy bundle.

(8) JUST DROPPING IN. What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? NASA’s video “A Colorful ‘Landing’ on Pluto” simulates the ride down.

This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip down onto the surface of Pluto — starting with a distant view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon — and leading up to an eventual ride in for a “landing” on the shoreline of Pluto’s informally named Sputnik Planitia.

To create a movie that makes viewers feel as if they’re diving into Pluto, mission scientists had to interpolate some of the panchromatic (black and white) frames based on what they know Pluto looks like to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. Low-resolution color from the Ralph color camera aboard New Horizons was then draped over the frames to give the best available, actual color simulation of what it would look like to descend from high altitude to Pluto’s surface.

After a 9.5-year voyage covering more than three billion miles, New Horizons flew through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, coming within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto. Carrying powerful telescopic cameras that could spot features smaller than a football field, New Horizons sent back hundreds of images of Pluto and its moons that show how dynamic and fascinating their surfaces are.

 

(9) RHYME AND REASON. The Science Fiction Poetry Association has started a blog, SPECPO, with a flurry of interesting posts. SFPA President Bryan Thao Worra introduced it on Facebook:

Some of you may have noticed we had a soft-launch of the new blog for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, SPECPO. This will be where we hope to share and archive more member news, interviews, reviews, readings, announcements, and shareable items with one another in a more timely and entertaining way.

To keep it clear: From an organization standpoint, SPECPO does NOT replace Star*Line as the official newsletter of the SFPA for more formal matters that require members atte…ntion, such as voting or other issues outlined in our bylaws and constitution. But SPECPO can serve as a space to post reminders and clarifying commentary and frequently unofficial viewpoints, particularly from guest posters (which will be clearly marked as such when appropriate).

The hope is that this will facilitate conversations on speculative poetry for those who aren’t actively on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, and to provide diverse content that’s reasonably easy to search back for, given the often overwhelming flurry of items that can come up on our list-serv and other forums. This is a work in progress, but I hope you enjoy what we’re putting together and that many of you will volunteer to be guest contributors! 🙂

Keep inspired and keep creating!

(10) DEFINE SPECULATIVE. Just like defining science fiction gives rise to controversies, so does the effort to define speculative poetry. SFPA’s Shannon Connor Winward asked people what is and isn’t “speculative” in a poll on her website. Now the results are in.

In November 2016, the SFPA officers published an informal online survey entitled “What Is Speculative Poetry”. The main purpose of this survey was to determine whether there is an overall consensus among the membership regarding what genres or sub-genres of poetry belong under the heading “speculative”, assuming no other genre elements are present. The results are posted below.

Survey Results

As indicated in the graph and table below, the results of the “What Is Speculative Poetry” survey represent a wide spectrum of opinion regarding what counts as “speculative”.  On the upper end of consensus, we find categories that are understood across the literary landscape as falling within the speculative umbrella, including Science Fiction, Space science & exploration, Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural Horror, Myth and Folklore, Fairy Tales, Alternative History, SF&F pop culture, Superheroes, Surrealism, Slipstream, Fabulism, and Weird and “What If”.

Genres that fell more towards the middle of the spectrum—that is, those receiving support by 40-65%  of responders, included Science (physics, chemistry, biology, etc), Domestic Fabulism, Dinosaurs, “Interstitial” works, biographies of speculative poets, and poems in which traditional SF&F tropes as literary device (analogy, simile).

On the lower end of the spectrum—those genres that are most controversial, according to responders—we find Bizzaro, SF&F tropes as metaphor (bit of inconsistency there), biographies of scientists and (non-speculative) poets, Mundane Horror, Nature, Religion, Gender, Real history, Cowboy & Western, and Romance.

… Based on the results, the answer to that question is clear as mud–yes, there is consensus, and no, there really isn’t.  Are we surprised? Not really!

Nevertheless, it is the consensus of the SFPA executive committee that this survey was, at least, an interesting experiment.  We feel that you, our members and colleagues, will also find it interesting, and that, in regards to eligibility for our awards and publications, this survey can also be a useful tool to future SFPA editors and award Chairs, who are tasked with answering the practical question, “What is speculative poetry?

(11) HOUSE DIVIDED. Shannon Connor Winward has also released the results of a poll about a more specific question – “SFPA ‘Rhysling Maximum Length’ Survey Report” . Despite the narrower question, there was even sharper division.

One such discussion pertained to the Rhysling award “Long Poem” category – specifically, what, if anything, should be done with especially long poems that are nominated for the award.  Several members voiced concerns that poems above a certain length might strain the budget for the Rhysling anthology by adding in extra pages and printing costs.  Others expressed the idea that particularly long poems might be better considered as a distinct genre, rather than competing against poems of a more easily-consumed length.

In response to these concerns, the SFPA officers published an online survey entitled “Rhysling Maximum Length”, in November 2016.

Question #1: Should there be an upper line limit to long length Rhysling nominated poems?

While not every participant responded to all six questions; this fundamental question received exactly 100 responses, revealing a pure 50/50 split in member opinion:

No – 50 (50%)

Yes – 50 (50%)

Question #2: If yes, what should the upper limit be?

Assuming the membership voted in favor of an upper line limit for poems in the “Long Poem” Rhysling category, it would be necessary to define said limit.

The first option, “9 pages / 5K words / 500 lines” was designed to dovetail upper length limit for Rhysling “Long Poems” with the minimum length requirements for the SFPA’s Elgin Award for book-length works.  Out of 51 responses, this option received a majority vote.

9 pages / 5K words / 500 lines – 30 (59%)

Other – 21 (41%)

(12) TRADING PRICES. If you already ordered this Gauntlet Press at the original $150 price you saved $50. Maybe more

When we priced the lettered edition of John Russo’s Night of the Living Dead we were told that George Romero would not be signing the lettered edition (even though we had a preface he wrote). Now Romero has agreed to sign that edition. His signing makes this an event book, therefore we are increasing the price of the lettered edition to $200. The only reason we would increase the price of a book is if we had someone sign our lettered edition we hadn’t expected; someone truly collectible. The good news is that anyone who has already purchased the lettered edition for $150 won’t have to pay a penny more. We don’t believe we should make those who pre-ordered a book pay more if we increase its price. Those who pre-ordered get the same lettered edition, signed by Russo and Romero, as anyone who orders now. And, a word to the wise…we are trying to get other major names to sign the book so the price might increase again. Order now and you get the book for $200 regardless whomever else we get to sign.

(13) MARTIAN CHRONICLER. In 2009, Ray Bradbury made his last visit to JPL to celebrate the success of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andew Porter, and Mark-kitteh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

2016 Rhysling Award Winners

2016 Rhysling

The 2016 Rhysling Award nominees have been assembled in this anthology edited by Charles Christian.

The Science Fiction Poetry Association announced the winners of the 2016 Rhysling Awards on June 20.

Short Poem

Winner

  • “Time Travel Vocabulary Problems” (Dreams and Nightmares), by Ruth Berman

2nd place

  • “Tech Support for the Apocalypse” (Dreams and Nightmares) by F. J. Bergmann

3rd Place

  • “An Introduction to Alternate Universes: Theory and Practice” (Gyroscope Review) Sandra J. Lindow

Long Poem

Winner (tie)

  • “It Begins with a Haunting” (Dance Among Elephants – Sahtu Press), by Krysada Panusith Phounsiri

AND

  • “Keziah” (Dark Energies – P’rea Press), by Ann K. Schwader

2nd Place

  • “Chronopatetic” (Dreams and Nightmares 100), by F.J. Bergmann

3rd place (tie)

  • “from “Sunspots”” (Poetry, December 2015), by Simon Barraclough

AND

  • “The White Planet” (Boulevard 31:1), by Albert Goldbarth

The Rhysling Award will be presented at DiversiCon (July 29-31) in St. Paul by SFPA Vice President, Sandra J. Lindow.

Pixel Scroll 6/5/16 Scroll Sung Blue, Everybody Knows One

(1) D&D. Josh Kramer at the Washington Post created “An illustrated guide to why grown-ups are playing Dungeons & Dragons again”.

With a jolt of popularity from its latest edition and a larger pop cultural footprint, Dungeons & Dragons might be making a significant comeback. (A handbook for the game topped Amazon’s best-sellers list for several days in 2014.) The largest group of players are millennials, and more of the new devotees are female than you might have thought, too. As a freelance cartoonist, journalist and a game-player in D.C., I wanted to explore why D&D isn’t just a throwback.

There are 16 frames – this is the second.

d and d

(2) WHAT WRITERS GET PAID. Fynbospress at Mad Genius Club sounds the alert – “New Author Earnings Report Out!”

This report is in far greater depth – not only did they crawl the top 100 in subgenre, but print, audio, and also-boughts as well. It’s tracking over 1 million titles, to shine a light into the previously dark unknown of who and what isn’t on a bestseller list but is still selling, and how, and where. And the results – are impressive!

Where does the information in the “May 2016 Author Earnings Report” come from?

Our methodology employs a software spider that crawls across Amazon’s bestseller lists. The 200,000+ titles on those lists make up roughly 60% of Amazon’s daily sales. This leaves an appreciable number of titles and sales unaccounted for. There’s more elephant here to uncover! We’ve long heard this might be the case, as independent authors familiar with our data have claimed to be making a livable wage without a single one of their books appearing on any Amazon bestseller list. These are the truly invisible among the already difficult-to-discern. We wanted to see if they could be found.

So for this report, we went deeper. Instead of just looking at Amazon’s bestseller lists, we had our spider follow links to also-bought recommendations and also through each authors’ full catalog. This resulted in a million-title dataset, our most comprehensive and definitive look yet at author earnings. We were able to tally up precisely how many indie authors, Big Five authors, small/medium press authors, and Amazon-imprint authors are currently making enough from Amazon.com sales to land in a number of “tax brackets”.

The report has lots of graphs and interpretive text, and ends with this comment:

When we lowered the author earnings bar to $50,000 a year, we found 142 invisible authors that were earning that much or more on Amazon.com, without any of their titles appearing on any category best-seller lists. 105 of those 142 were self-published indies.

We live in exciting times. Today it’s possible to be a full-time professional author, quietly earning $50,000+ a year — even six figures a year — without ever sending a query letter to anyone. On Amazon alone, the data shows over a thousand indie authors earning a full-time living right now with their self-published titles.

The only gatekeepers that matter now are readers.

(3) BUT THE REAL MONEY’S IN THE FUNNIES. “Comic books buck trend as print and digital sales flourish” reports CNBC.

Digital disruption has upended virtually every corner of publishing, but in the world of comic books, something curious is happening: Print sales are thriving alongside the rise of their digital counterparts.

Print comic book revenues have been on the rise in recent years, even as digital comics’ sales boom. Print receipts have held up at a time when publishers have introduced all-you-can-download subscriptions that offer thousands of comics for a flat monthly or annual fee.

In 2014, digital comics revenues excluding unlimited subscriptions reached $100 million, according to ICv2, an online trade magazine that tracks comic sales and other trends. That was up from just $1 million seven years ago, when ICv2 started collecting data.

(4) RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY. While members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association have already received a copy, the public can buy from Amazon the 2016 Rhysling Poetry Anthology with the works nominated for this year’s award.

The anthology allows the members to easily review and consider all nominated works without the necessity of obtaining the diverse number of publications in which the nominated works first appeared and serves as a showcase of the best science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry of 2015. The Rhysling Anthology is available to anyone with an interest in this unique compilation of verse from some of the finest poets in the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry.

(5) CLARION FUNDRAISER. Clarion UCSD’S Seventh Annual Write-a-Thon is looking for participants.

What is a write-a-thon, anyway? Think charity walk-a-thon. In a walk-a-thon, volunteers walk as far as they can in return for pledges from sponsors who make donations, usually based on the number of miles the volunteer walks. Our Write-a-Thon works like that too, but instead of walking, our volunteers write with a goal in mind. Their sponsors make donations to Clarion sometimes based on number of words written, sometimes based on other goals, or just to show support for the writer and Clarion.

And there are incentives.

As always, we have prizes for our top Write-a-Thon earners. In addition, this year we have surprises as well as prizes!

  • The top fundraiser will receive a commemorative 2016 Clarion Write-a-Thon trophy celebrating their success.
  • Our top five fundraisers will each receive a critique from a well-known Clarion instructor or alumnus. We’ve lined up Terry Bisson, David Anthony Durham, Kenneth Schneyer, Judith Tarr, and Mary Turzillo to have a look at your golden prose. A roll of the dice decides who is paired with whom. (The authors have three months to complete their critiques, and the short story or chapters submitted must be 7,500 words or less.)
  • Our top ten fundraisers will each receive a $25 gift certificate of their choice from a selection of bookstores and stationers.
  • A few small but special surprises will be distributed randomly among everyone who raises $50 or more. Lucky winners will be decided by Write-a-Thon minions drawing names from Clara the Write-a-Thon Cat’s hat. These are such a surprise that even we don’t know what they are yet. We do know that certain of our minions will be visiting places like Paris and Mongolia this summer. Anything at all might turn up in their luggage. In addition, who knows what mystery items unnamed Clarionites might donate to the loot!

(6) SECOND FIFTH. CheatSheet refuses to allow anyone to remain ignorant — “’Voltron’: 5 Things to Know About the Netflix Rebook”

For those who don’t know, the series was a top-rated syndicated children’s show during its original two-season run. Despite its initial success, previous attempts at bringing Voltron back haven’t worked out, and the show hasn’t returned to air in three decades. That’s all about to change now, thanks to Netflix. Here’s what we know about the company’s planned upcoming revival so far….

Here’s a trailer.

ROAR, created by the Voltron production team, is a special look inside Season 1 of the Netflix original series DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender, which reimagines one of the most popular fan-favorite shows of all time in an all-new comedic action-packed show from executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos (The Legend of Korra, Avatar: The Last Airbender) and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery (The Legend of Korra).

 

(7) BRADBURY. The New Yorker published Ray Bradbury’s reminiscence “Take Me Home” the day before he died in 2012.

When I was seven or eight years old, I began to read the science-fiction magazines that were brought by guests into my grandparents’ boarding house, in Waukegan, Illinois. Those were the years when Hugo Gernsback was publishing Amazing Stories, with vivid, appallingly imaginative cover paintings that fed my hungry imagination. Soon after, the creative beast in me grew when Buck Rogers appeared, in 1928, and I think I went a trifle mad that autumn. It’s the only way to describe the intensity with which I devoured the stories. You rarely have such fevers later in life that fill your entire day with emotion.

When I look back now, I realize what a trial I must have been to my friends and relatives. It was one frenzy after one elation after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another. I was always yelling and running somewhere, because I was afraid life was going to be over that very afternoon.

(8) MORE BANG FOR THE BILLION. The news is filled with speculation about the Rogue One reshoots – which may involve literal shooting judging by the latest hire.

Veteran stunt coordinator and second unit director Simon Crane has been tapped to assist with the lengthy reshoots for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Rogue One, being directed by Gareth Edwards, will undergo significant additional filming this summer, it was revealed earlier this week. Disney and Lucasfilm are hoping to accomplish several goals with the reshoots, including working on the tone of what has been described by sources as a “war movie.” The lightening of the feel of the film is meant to broaden its appeal.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and Angel Johnston for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

2016 Rhysling Award Nominees

The Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2016 Rhysling Award candidates have been finalized reports F.J. Bergmann.

The Rhysling Award is given in two categories. “Best Long Poem” is for poems of 50+ lines, or for prose poems, of 500+ words. “Best Short Poem” is limited to poems of no more than 49 lines, or prose poems of no more than 499 words.

Bergmann says this is the highest number of nominated poems the award has ever had (71 short and 44 long), coming from the broadest list of publications as well, 59. Strange Horizons has the most nominees, 11.

 Rhysling Award Candidates
Short Poems (71 poems)
“Abandonarium” • Stacey Balkun • Devilfish Review 13
“Hard Being A God” • David Barber •Star*Line 38.4
“Tech Support for the Apocalypse” • F. J. Bergmann • Dreams and Nightmares 101
“Time Travel Vocabulary Problems” • Ruth Berman • Dreams and Nightmares 100
“The Astronaut’s Heart” • Robert Borski • Asimov’s SF, September
“Forever Tracking” • Bruce Boston • Grievous Angel, May
“Aboard the Transport Tesoro • Lisa M. Bradley • Uncanny 7
‘hell-bent’ • Susan Burch • Grievous Angel, February
“Fried Okra” • Beth Cato • Tales of the Talisman 10.4
“Elegy for WLC” • David Clink • The Dalhousie Review 94:3
“Portrait” • David Clink • OnSpec Magazine, Winter
“The Sun Never Rises” • Michael Coolen • Latchkey Tales 2.6
“Secondary Ghosts” • P. S. Cottier • Australian Poetry Journal 5:2
“Pleistocene Park, Mammoth Steppe, Siberia” • Mark Danowsky • Star*Line 38.4
“Worlds in Collision” • Bryan D. Dietrich • Farrago’s Wainscot, 2015
“Ligeia” • Ashley Dioses • Spectral Realms 2
“On The Other Hand” • James Dorr • Grievous Angel, August
“Why Have We Not Been Visited?” • Martin Elster • The Asses of Parnassus, 11/30/15
“Institutional Memory” • Alexandra Erin • Star*Line 38.1
“The Argument Box” • JD Fox • Abyss & Apex 55
“The Boats” • Adele Gardner • Abyss and Apex 56
“The More It Changes …” • Delbert R. Gardner • Songs of Eretz Poetry Review
“Couples Therapy” • Howie Good • The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles 10
“Robot Agonistes” • Alan Ira Gordon • The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb
“How Eternal Night Was Created” • Vince Gotera • The Syzygy Poetry Journal 1:2
“Gaunt” • Charles Gramlich • The Pedestal Magazine 76
“Mummies” • Richard Hedderman • Rattle 49
“Glinda’s Dilemma” • Gloria Heffernan • Parody 4:1
“Selenites” • John Philip Johnson • The Pedestal Magazine 76
“Kraken” • Tim Jones • Interstellar Award
“Moth and Memory” • Sandra Kasturi • Postscripts to Darkness 6
“Venice Letting Go” • Sandra Kasturi • Postscripts to Darkness 6
“hard copy” • Herb Kauderer • Asimov’s Science Fiction, August
“luddite’s dream” • Herb Kauderer • Star*Line 38.4
“The Changeling’s Gambit” • Sasha Kim • Strange Horizons, 9/14/15
“re-entry heat” • Deborah Kolodji • Mariposa 32
“The Only Time Machine” • David Kopaska-Merkel • Sub- Saharan Magazine
“Rip Van Winkle On Mars” • David C. Kopaska-Merkel • The Martian Wave, 2015
“Post-Apocalyptic Toothbrush” •  Betsy Ladyzhets • Strange Horizons, 6/29/15
“Ode to Dorothy Gale” • Jenna Le • Nonbinary Review 4
“Flora and Fauna” • James Frederick Leach • HWA Poetry Showcase Volume II
“The Dreaded Dreadnoughtus” • B.J. Lee • Frostfire Worlds, November
“The Washerwoman’s Daughter” • Mary Soon Lee • Crowned: The Sign of the Dragon: Book 1 (Dark Renaissance Books)
“Postlude” • Nolan Liebert • Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, October
“B’resheet” • Julia Burns Liberman • Strange Horizons, 10/7/15
“An Introduction to Alternate Universes: Theory and Practice” • Sandra J. Lindow • Gyroscope Review 16:1
“Under the Cancer Tree ” • Sandra Lindow • Tales of the Talisman 10.4
“Four Chambers” • Shira Lipkin • Mythic Delirium, September
“Challenger” • Bronwyn Lovell • Strange Horizons, 6/8/15
“It Came to Pass” • Mark Mansfield •Star*Line 38.3
“The Subtle Arts of Chemistry” • Elizabeth R. McClellan • New Myths, March
“The Woman Sings Her Marriage Into Being” • Lev Mirov • Through the Gate 7
“Bone-House” • A.J. Odasso • Liminality 4
“Transition Metal” • A.J. Odasso • My Dear Watson: The Very Elements of Poetry (Beautiful Dragons Press)
“In Fits of Wildest Dreaming” • K. A. Opperman • Spectral Realms 3
“The Palace of Phantasies” • K. A. Opperman • The Crimson Tome (Hippocampus Press)
“Requiem” • Matt Quinn • Eye to the Telescope 16
“Lola” • Gabby Reed • Strange Horizons 7/20/15
“Attack of the Saurus” • John Reinhart • Star*Line 38.4
“Lot’s Wife” • Michelle Scalise-Piccirilli • HWA Poetry Showcase Volume II
“He Promised Me The Moon” • Marge Simon • Abyss & Apex 55
“Serving the Blind Girl” • Marge Simon • Silver Blade 28
“Before I Kill You (An Arch-Villainelle)” • David Sklar • Stone Telling 12
“Raven Speaks” • Michael Spring • Absinthe Poetry Review 2
“buried pet turtles” • David Lee Summers • Zen of the Dead, ed. Lester Smith (Popcorn Press)
“Origami Crane/Light-Defying Starship” • Naru Dames Sundar • Liminality 5
“Philomela in Seven Movements” • Natalia Theodoridou • Mythic Delirium, June
“An Unrequited Love Process Loops” • Marie Vibbert • Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2015
“The Sun Ships” • Steven Withrow • Eye to the Telescope 16
“Crater Conundrum Pizza” • Greer Woodward • 2015 SFPA Poetry Contest Winners
“Passenger Seat” •Stephanie Wytovich • An Exorcism of Angels (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

 

Long Poems (44 poems)
“Toujours Il Coute Trop Cher” • Mike Allen & C.S.E. Cooney • Spectral Realms 3
“I Dreamed a World” • Colleen Anderson • Polu Texni, 3/2/15
“Season of the Ginzakura” • Ryu Ando • Strange Horizons, 7/13/15
“Seasons in a Moon Ocean” • Daniel Ausema • Dreams and Nightmares 100
from “Sunspots” • Simon Barraclough • Poetry, December 2015
“Chronopatetic” • F. J. Bergmann • Dreams and Nightmares 100
“Resonance Redux” • Bruce Boston • Resonance Dark and Light (Eldritch Press)
“Black Momma-faces” • Angela Brown • Silver Blade 28
“Dali’s Apostles” •  David E. Cowen • The Horror Zine, December 2015
“The Comet Elm” • Martin Elster • 2015 SFPA Poetry Contest Winners
“Observations from the Black Ball Line Between Deimos and Callisto” • Alexandra Erin • The Martian Wave, 2015
“A Brief History of Human Evolution” • Gary Every • Tales of the Talisman 10.4
“Actaeon” • Alice Fanchiang • Strange Horizons, 11/11/15
“Deliverance” • Adele Gardner • Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, 6/28/15
“The White Planet” • Albert Goldbarth • Boulevard 31:1
“Letter to Zelazny from Olympus Mons” • Vince Gotera • The Syzygy Poetry Journal 1:2
“Artist Signature” • Susan Gray • Lunar Mission One, 10/16/15
“Illusions of Man” • Deborah Guzzi • Silver Blade 26
“Reversed Polarities” • Nin Harris • Strange Horizons, 6/1/15
“Thirteen Ways of Looking at Blackbeard” • Ed Higgins • Parody 4:1
“Drowned City” • Ruth Jenkins • Liminality 3
“Typhon & Echidna: A Love Story” • Sandra Kasturi • Gods, Memes and Monsters: A 21st Century Bestiary, ed. Heather J. Wood (Stone Skin Press)
“Dragonslayer” • Mary Soon Lee • Crowned: The Sign of the Dragon: Book 1 (Dark Renaissance Books)
“Training: Stances” • Mary Soon Lee • Crowned: The Sign of the Dragon: Book 1 (Dark Renaissance Books)
“archival testimony fragments / minersong” • Rose Lemberg • Uncanny 2
“Long Shadow” • Rose Lemberg • Strange Horizons, 9/3/15
“And then the stars …” • Matt W. Mani • The Pedestal Magazine 75
“Interiora II” • Alessandro Manzetti • Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)
“Et je ne pleurais jamais les larmes cicatrisantes magiques; c’est seulement un mensonge joli” • Elizabeth R. McClellan • Niteblade 31
“Changeling” • Lynette Mejia • Liminality 6
“An Unexpected Guest” • Lev Mirov • Liminality 5
“Poetry Set: Red Wire, Monsters, Slipknot” • A.J. Odasso • SWAMP Writing 17
“Halloween” • K. A. Opperman • The Crimson Tome (Hippocampus Press)
“It Begins With A Haunting” • Krysada Panusith Phounsiri • Dance Among Elephants (Sahtu Press)
“O Dervish of the Restless Heart” • Saba Razvi • Nonbinary Review 6
“The Coming Dark” • Wendy Rathbone • Star*Line 38.2
“ugly bags of mostly water” • Yann Rousselot • Dawn of the Algorithm (Inkshares)
“The Noble Torturer” • Sofia Samatar • Bluestockings Magazine, 7/28/15
“Keziah” • Ann K. Schwader • Dark Energies (P’rea Press)
“Adarna” • M. Sereno • Strange Horizons, 12/21/15
“Twenty Years” • Christina Sng• New Myths 32
“The Woman in the Coffee Shop” • Christina Sng • Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction 5
“The Iterative Nature of the Magical Discovery Process” • Bogi Takács • Through the Gate, March
“A Love in Twelve Feathers” • Shveta Thakrar • Strange Horizons, 10/19/15

Update 02/23/2016: Corrected several entries based on update provided by F. J. Bergmann.