(1) GRANTS AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR CREATIVES. Jason Sanford’s updated “COVID-19 resources, info, and assistance for the science fiction, fantasy, & horror communities” includes a number of emergency funds open to writers and artists, along with info on genre conventions, freelancing and more.
(2) RESEARCHERS WANT MORE INTERVIEWS WITH TOLKIEN FANS. Robin Reid is asking for help to spread the word:
The link below leads to my Digital Tolkien class discussion about the Marquette Tolkien Oral History Project created and curated by Bill Fliss. This project is incredible effort to create an online accessible archive of interviews with Tolkien fans that consists of podcasts and transcriptions of the interviews for fan and academic meta. You can read all about the process at the link, but I’m asking for your help circulating the project information in fan spaces to generate more interviews. My sense is that Tumblr would be a great space to advertise it, along with some others, but I’m not in the least literate or comfortable in Tumblr (I tried it. I failed it). But if you all were willing to spread the information, it would be great!
- “Discussion Prompt & Info for Mar 23-27: J.R.R. Tolkien Fandom Oral History Collection, William Fliss”
(3) BEFORE THE TUCKER HOTEL. Now on the First Fandom Experience blog: “A Visit To Science Fiction House” (1939-40), from the papers of Donald A. Wollheim.
…The notion of a “Science Fiction House” emerged in New York fandom in the late 1930s and became real with the establishment of a residence in Brooklyn known as Futurian House. The story of that fabled abode is told in detail in the October 1939 and January 1940 issues of the Jim Avery’s M.S.A. Bulletin, the club organ of the Maine Scientifiction Association.
But Wollheim had already formed a vision of an idyllic communal living space for fans. This fictional history, sadly incomplete, is dated December 3 1937. The post contains scans of his original three-page document. Enjoy!
(4) ON THE ROAD AGAIN. [Item by Olav Rokne.] NME reports that Anna Taylor-Joy has auditioned (via skype due to Coronavirus) for a role in the Mad Max spin off Furiosa. The movie, which is set to film in 2021 is one of the productions that seems to have recently escaped development hell, as studios are gearing up for accelerated production schedules post-Coronavirus. “‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ spin-off ‘Furiosa’ reportedly in production”.
Director George Miller is ready to return to the iconic post-apocalyptic world after the green light was given for shooting to take place in Australia this autumn, according to Geeks WorldWide.
(5) HALEGUA OBIT. Veteran pulp collector Mark Halegua died March 18 at the age 66. Murania Press’ Ed Hulse has an obituary for Mark on his blog: “Mark Halegua (1953-2020), R.I.P.” One of the highlights —
At the 1997 Pulpcon in Bowling Green, Ohio, I recognized Mark from the comic-book conventions and introduced myself. During our first brief conversation I learned he was a fan and collector of the “Thrilling Group” pulps edited by Leo Margulies and published by Ned Pines. He was compiling complete sets of The Phantom Detective, Black Book Detective (with his favorite character, the Black Bat), and Captain Future, among others. He liked hero pulps in general and also had a fondness for science fiction.
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- March 27, 1957 — X Minus One’s “A Pail of Air” aired. . A family are together in their nest. Everything is calm for the moment, but at any moment the mother could wake and start to ramble on about things that don’t exist anymore. Things such as the sun and grass. Or are things as they believe they are? Written by Fritz Leiber for Galaxy in December 1952, the radio script was by Pamela Fitzmaurice, with the cast being Ronald Liss and Eleanor Phelps. Daniel Sutter was the director. You can download it here.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born March 27, 1892 — Thorne Smith. A writer of humorous supernatural fantasy. He is best remembered for the two Topper novels — a comic fantasy fiction mix of plentiful drink, many ghosts and sex. Not necessarily in that order. The original editions of the Topper novels complete with their erotic illustrations are available from the usual digital sources. (Died 1934.)
- Born March 27, 1901 — Carl Barks. Cartoonist, writer, and illustrator. He is best known for his work in Disney comic books, as the writer and artist of the first Donald Duck stories and as the creator of Scrooge McDuck. He wrote The Fine Art of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge McDuck. He was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. (Died 2000.)
- Born March 27, 1942 — Michael York, 78. I remember him in the Babylon 5 “A Late Delivery from Avalon” episode as a man who believed himself to be King Arthur returned. Very chilling. I also enjoyed him as D’Artagnan in the Musketeers films and remember him as Logan 5 in Logan’s Run. So what is on his genre list that really impresses you?
- Born March 27, 1949 — John Hertz, 71. Winner of the Big Heart Award at the 2003 Torcon. He’s quite active in the fanzine world publishing the Vanamonde fanzine. Four collections of his fanwriting have been published, West of the Moon, Dancing and Joking, On My Sleeve, and Neither Complete nor Conclusive. He‘s been nominated for the Hugo for Best Fan Writer three times.
- Born March 27, 1952 — Dana Stabenow, 68. Though better known for her superb Kate Shugak detective series, she does have genre work to her credit in the excellent Star Svensdotter space series. The latter is available at the usual digital suspects.
- Born March 27, 1962 — Kevin J. Anderson, 58. Ok, I’ll admit that I love first two Dune books and have only read the first four of them, so I’m puzzled what the market is for eighteen novels and counting that he and his co-writer have written that have expanded that universe. I mean he’s really, really prolific — he even co-wrote Clockwork Angels with Neil Peart, a novelization of Rush’s 20th studio album of the same name!
- Born March 27, 1971 — Nathan Fillion, 49. Certainly best known for being Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds in Firefly verse. An interesting case of just how much of a character comes from the actor. In his case, I’d say most of it. He voiced Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen. Oh, and he appeared in a recurring role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Caleb.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- Lio begins Tolkien-inspired gardening.
(9) NOTORIOUS F.I.L.E.
(10) A HIGHER TECH PRACTICAL JOKE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Be sure to follow the link to the Facebook post. It will take you to the page where the Chain Chomp is being sold. Anchor one to the floor just inside the bathroom door after everyone else has gone to bed…
(11) CLARION’S ONLINE OFFERINGS. Clarion West is offering a series of free online workshops.
Our amazing community of alumni, instructors, and friends has come together to create a robust and diverse offering. We have everything from one-hour presentations on specific areas of craft to week-long interactive workshops. There are also writing sprints to help you get words down on paper.
The workshop class list is here, and it can be found under Workshops -> Online Workshops.
Registration opens at 12pm PST Friday, March 27th. It is first-come, first-served and most workshops are capped at 20 participants.
(12) YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE. Vox kicks off its list of “The 10 best movies you can now watch at home” with Bacurau, a film which some fans are seeking an eligibility extension for the 2021 Hugos:
Virtual theater listings for Bacurau are available on the Kino Lorber website. (You’ll receive a rental link, and the profits will help support the independent theater you select on the page.)
And here’s the Kino Lorber link — Bacurau — with description of the film.
(13) EATING THE FANTASTIC TIME CAPSULE. Scott Edelman invites listeners to time travel to 1995 as Geoffrey A. Landis and Yoji Kondo ponder the age of the universe in a flashback episode of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.
When I launched Science Fiction Age in 1992, one of the things I decided to do to deliver a different experience than other science fiction publications of the time was to have our science column be — not an essay by a single author — but a Science Forum. There was an occasional exception, but for the most part, from the very beginning, until the magazine shut down in 2000, I’d take science fiction writers who were also scientists out for a meal, we’d eat, we’d chat, and I’d record the results for publication.
A couple of years back, I realized that since I’d been eating in restaurants talking about the fantastic with science fiction writers, it made sense to repurpose what conversations survived for this podcast. And now, with the coronavirus making meals in restaurants either risky or impossible depending on your location, I thought it would be fun to share yet another time travel episode.
At the time of this conversation 25 years ago, Geoffrey A. Landis worked for Sverdrup Technology at the NASA Lewis Research Center and was named by Ad Astra magazine as a “cutting edge” theorist in the special issue on the “stars” of space. As an SF writer, Geoffrey Landis had won the Hugo Award for “A Walk in the Sun” and a Nebula Award for “Ripples in the Dirac Sea.” In the quarter century since, he’s won 2003 Hugo Award for best short story “Falling Onto Mars,” the 2011 Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short science fiction for “The Sultan of the Clouds,” and the 2014 Robert A. Heinlein Award.
A quarter of a century ago, Yoji Kondo, an astrophysicist, was the director of the geosynchronous satellite observatory IUE. The previous year, he co-organized and co-chaired the International Astronomical Union Symposium on “Examining the Big Bang” in The Hague. Under the pseudonym Eric Kotani, he had written five SF books, four with John Maddox Roberts and one with Roger MacBride Allen. Since that time, he published an additional novel with Roberts, as well as the Star Trek Voyager novel Death of A Neutron Star. In 2003, the Lunarians awarded him its Isaac Asimov Memorial Award. Sadly, Kondo passed away October 9, 2017.
We discussed how the idea of the universe even having a beginning is a relatively new concept, the way we choose between the many competing theories of its age, how the phrase “Big Bang” was a joke which stuck, the paradox of some stars appearing to be older than the universe itself, how a science fiction writer’s imagination might solve unanswered questions, whether knowing when the universe was born will help us calculate when it will end, and more.
(14) US SPACE FORCE. “US Space Force launches satellite after short delay”.
The US military’s newest branch has launched its first satellite, despite a short delay in the countdown.
A rocket carrying a US Space Force communications satellite lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday.
An inaccurate reading on hydraulic equipment stopped the clock for 80 minutes before the issue was resolved.
US President Donald Trump established the Space Force, which is focused on warfare in space, in December 2019.
Lieutenant General John F Thompson, Commander of the Space and Missiles Systems Centre in California, explained why the launch was proceeding despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is a really, really important launch,” he said. “It’s the very first launch for the US Space Force.
“There are critical things, or mission essential things, that the US Department of Defence does every day. Even in the face of a global pandemic we must continue to perform mission essential tasks.
“[The satellite] supports the president and other world leaders with critical communications around the planet. This launch extends that communication into a timeframe beyond 2030.”
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The launch was delayed by an hour due to a ground hydraulics issue.
The public viewing area was closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(15) DIRECT ACTION. “Tesla donates hundreds of ventilators to New York”.
Elon Musk has promised to provide New York with hundreds of ventilators to help meet demand from the growing coronavirus outbreak.
The Tesla chief executive said the first batch of donated machines would be delivered later on Friday.
The ventilators were purchased from US government-approved manufacturers in China.
The mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio thanked Mr Musk on Twitter writing “We’re deeply grateful.”
“We need every ventilator we can get our hands on these next few weeks to save lives,” he tweeted.
The ventilators will be donated to hospitals in New York City and across New York state.
(16) FEAR ITSELF. Following up on a mention of him the other day, “Max Brooks Has Been Called The ‘Zombie Laureate’” is a clip of his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2017.
‘Minecraft: The Island’ author Max Brooks explains the paranoid upbringing that led him to write about the undead.
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, N., Olav Rokne, Darrah Chavey, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]