Online voting has
begun for the 18th Annual Rondo Hatton
Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in any
or all 30 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete ballot.
The deadline to participate is midnight March 29.
As a teaser, here are the Best Movie, Best Television Presentation, and Best Website finalists. Yes, Best Website – because guess who’s blog is smack dab in the middle of the list?
BEST FILM OF 2019
AND THE APOCALYPSE
DEAD DON’T DIE
KING OF THE MONSTERS
DEATH DAY 2U
STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
FAR FROM HOME
WARS: RISE OF SKYWALKER
BEST TV PRESENTATION
HORROR STORY: 1984, ‘Camp Redwood,’ 9.18.19, FX. Season nine kicks off
with homages to the 80s. ‘This is the site of the greatest summer camp massacre
of all time.’
YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK, ‘Submitted for Approval,’ 10.11.19, Nickelodeon. A new
member joins the Midnight Society. ‘Nothing bad is gonna happen on this ride.
MIRROR, ‘Smithereens,’ 6.5.19, Netflix. An Uber driver has another destination
in mind. ‘Do you mind if I follow an alternate route?’
CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, ‘An Exorcism in Greendale,’ 10.26.19, Netflix.
A demon inhabits Uncle Jesse. ‘Mephistopheles, save us from the dramatics of a
‘The Man in the Suitcase,’ 10/10/19, Shudder. An unexpected visitor has magical
powers. ‘An unfortunate condition causes me to produce gold when I am in pain.’
WHO, ‘Resolution,’ 12.31.19, BBC. The 13th Doctor confronts the
Daleks. ‘Don’t take that with alcohol, you’ll grow an extra head.’
‘October 31,’ 10.24.19, CBS. Halloween and an exorcism are a deadly
combination. ‘Kindness is hypocrisy.’
THE DARK, ‘All That We Destroy,’ 5.3.19, Hulu. For Mother’s Day, an experiment
with clones and family. ‘How many times has he killed me?’
MANDALORIAN, ‘Chapter Two: The Child,’ 11.15.19, DIsney+. Baby Yoda uses the
Force to save his protector. ‘May it survive and bring you a handsome reward.’
Left Her’ 9.13.19, Netflix. Friends return to an old school for a
ritual. ‘She’s a witch. I wrote these books to fight against her.’
‘The Gas Mask Man,’ 6.2.19, AMC. A sinister Christmas is coming at the school.
‘He’s hunting you.’
TREK DISCOVERY, ‘Such Sweet Sorrow’ 4.11.19, CBS Access. The saga of Captain
Pike ends where it began. ‘There’s a whole galaxy out there full of people who
will reach for you.’
THINGS 3: ‘The Battle of Starcourt,’ 7.4.19, Netflix. The Mind Flayer comes for
El. ‘The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave..’
;Atomic Monsters,’ 11.7.19. Final season finds Sam and Dean on the road again.
‘You’ve got to stop calling yourself “The Meat Man”. It doesn’t mean what you
think it means.’
TWILIGHT ZONE, ‘Replay,’ 4/1/19, CBS Access. A camcorder rewinds time on a
racist cop. ‘Only by embracing her past could she protect her son’s future.’
WALKING DEAD, ‘We Are the End of the World,’ 10.13.19, AMC. The origins of
Alpha and Beta. ‘There is clarity in the chaos. Do you doubt me?’
WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, ‘The Trial, 5.8.19, FX. Vampires stand accused by a
tribunal of their peers. ‘We might have floated the idea of murdering him, but
we didn’t do it. Did we??’
…This handsome, earnest, yet overstuffed and poorly paced film deviates frequently from the historical record. Most seriously, it ignores Tolkien’s devout Christian faith: there is no indication that he served Mass daily as a boy or ever even entered a Catholic church. His punch-ups with Wiseman and drunken night-time profanities are, in comparison, unimportant inventions.
But departures from reality are inevitable in dramatisations, and enumerating them can quickly devolve into captiousness. What’s more relevant is whether the artistic licence results in a successful story. One expects a biopic to sit somewhat loose to the facts, yet one hopes it will also hold the attention and make one care about the characters, however far from real life they may diverge.
A helpful comparison is Richard Attenborough’s Shadowlands, the story of CS Lewis’s late marriage. It’s worthless as an account of actual events, but works brilliantly as a movie: engaging, well-structured, powerful and poignant.
Here, with Lewis’s friend Tolkien, it’s a different story. Incidents come thick and fast, but are strangely uninvolving….
the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to CS Lewis.
(2) A MODEST PROPOSAL. Daniel Dern is
making an offer –
Our dead tree edition of the Sunday New York Times this week (here in the year 2019 – April 28) included a special 12-page section, consisting of (a version of) Ted Chiang’s story, “Better Versions of You,” adapted from his story “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” from Chiang’s new (coming out May 7) collection Exhalation. Illustrations by Daehyun Kim/Moonassi.
According to social media, “The piece is PRINT ONLY.” (My brief searches don’t show otherwise; I’d been looking for it before I found this tweet.)
Once we’re done reading the story, I don’t feel the need to keep it. So I’m happy to pass it along to the first Filer who asks for it, via a comment to this post. (We’ll sort out snail addresses, etc. off-list. If need be, I’ll ask OGH to be the email-address intermediary.)
Beyond possibly the minor cost of mailing it, I’m not asking any $ for it.
OTOH, I’m happy if the recipient will in turn, once it’s arrived, make a modest (say, $10-$25) donation to some sf/fan related fund/fundraiser or other Good Cause (of their choice, e.g., the Gahan Wilson GoFundMe, or some WorldCon-related fundraiser — your choice, I don’t need to know what/who, how much, or whether). But this is an optional follow-through.
(I don’t see Chiang listed in the current ReaderCon Guests list, so you’d be on your own for trying to get it autographed.)
Owner Alan Beatts, also the owner of Borderlands Books — which will remain open on Valencia Street at least for the next year — said that the decision to shutter the cafe was, by and large, voluntary. He attributed the move to a confluence of factors, including staff retention, slumping sales, and his personal desire to focus on the bookstore….
“It’s more of a full circle than you realize,” Starlin says. “I got the assignment to draw Invincible Iron Man #55-56 because the regular penciller on it, George Tuska, had to go in for some elective surgery. So I did the first issue, which I plotted out with Mike Friedrich, and then the second one I worked with this writer Steve Gerber. We did a funny Iron Man issue, and Stan Lee hated it so much he fired both of us.”
The Tonopah Westercon committee is a standing committee of San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. answerable to the corporation’s Board of Directors. Our organizing committee consists of the following people, with others helping on an ad hoc basis.
Chair: Kevin Standlee (Co-chair, 2002 Worldcon, San José CA) Assistant to Chair/Hospitality Lead : Lisa Hayes Treasurer: Bruce Farr (Chair, Westercon 45 (1992), Phoenix AZ) Facilities: Mike Willmoth (Chair, Westercon 62 (2009), Tempe AZ) Website Planning: Cheryl Morgan Travel Coordinator: Sandra Childress
Other Committee Members Without Portfolio: David W. Clark (Chair, 1993 Worldcon, San Francisco CA) Lisa Detusch Harrigan (Chair, Westercon 40 (1987), Oakland CA) Kevin Roche (Co-Chair, Westercon 66 (2013), Sacramento CA and Chair, 2018 Worldcon, San José CA) Andy Trembley (Co-Chair, Westercon 66 (2013), Sacramento CA)
(7) IT’S HISTORY. “And she’s
not only merely dead, she’s really most
sincerely dead.” At Gizmodo/io9,
last Thursday’s Morning Spoilers
column drops the news that “At Least One of the Game of
Thrones Spinoff Series Is Truly Dead” and the creator is
done, at least for now, at HBO. Tidbits for a dozen or so shows are shared in
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Bryan Cogman confirmed that his time with the franchise is over for now—because the spinoff series he was attached to is officially scrubbed…
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 30, 1926 — Cloris Leachman, 93. I’ve got grist in the genre in Young Frankenstein as Frau Blücher. (Strange film.) she does her obligatory mouse role when she voices Euterpe in The Mouse and His Child. Next up is being The Lord’s Secretary in The Muppet Movie. (Always a fun time.) Hmmm… she’s Millie Crown in Shadow Play, a horror film that I don’t plan on seeing. Not my cup of tea. Lots of voice work from there out and I will only note her as Mrs. Tensedge in The Iron Giant, a great film indeed. She in the live action and I assume disgusting Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse as Ms. Fielder.
Born April 30, 1934 — Baird Searles. Best- known for his long running review columns in Asimov’s, Amazing Stories and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. For a time, he managed a genre bookstore in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the Science Fiction Shop, which is no longer in business. With Brian Thomsen, he edited Halflings, Hobbits, Warrows & Weefolk: A Collection of Tales of Heroes Short in Stature, and among other publication that he wrote was the Cliff Notes on Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. (Died 1993.)
Born April 30, 1938 — Larry Niven, 81. One of my favourites author to read, be Ringworld, The Mote in God’s Eye with Jerry Pournelle, or the the Rainbow Mars stories, there’s always good reading there. What’s your favourite Niven story?
Born April 30, 1968 — Adam Stemple, 51. Son of Jane Yolen. One-time vocalist of Boiled in Lead. With Yolen, he’s written the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tales, Pay the Piper and Troll Bridge which are worth reading, plus the Seelie Wars trilogy which I’ve not read. He’s also written two Singer of Souls urban fantasies which I remember as engaging.
Born April 30, 1973 — Naomi Novik, 46. She wrote the Temeraire series which runs nine novels so far. Her first book, His Majesty’s Dragon, won the Compton Crook Award for best first novel in the science fiction and fantasy category. She most deservedly won the Nebula Award for Best Novel for Uprooted which is a most excellent read. I’ve not yet her Spinning Silver, so opinions are welcome.
Born April 30, 1982 — Kirsten Dunst, 37. Her first genre role was as Claudio in Interview with the Vampire. Later genre roles include Judy Shepherd in Jumanji, voicing Christy Fimple in Small Soldiers, voicing Becky Thatcher in The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man franchise, voicing Kaena in Kaena: The Prophecy, and showing up on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Hedrilin in the “Dark Page” episode. She would have been nine years old in that episode!
Born April 30, 1985 — Gal Gadot, 34. Wonder Woman, of course, in the DC film universe. Other genre work, well, other than voicing Shank on Ralph Breaks the Internet, there really isn’t any. She did play Linnet Ridgeway Doyle in the Kenneth Branagh of Murder on the Orient Express which is quite lovely but hardly genre…
(13) BEAUTIFUL BOOK. Look
at the gorgeous endpapers in the Russian edition of Goss’ novel:
(14) CELEBRATING THE RONDO
WINNERS. Steve Vertlieb sends his regards:
I want to take a moment this morning to wish hearty congratulations to all of this year’s most worthy Rondo Award winners. As always, the nominated films, television shows, writers, and artists were strong and worthy contenders, and each winner was deservedly voted the absolute best in his or her field of endeavor. In particular, however, I’d like to pay respect and homage to Veronica Carlson, Caroline Munro, and Martine Beswick whose long overdue recognition by The Rondo Hall of Fame was enthusiastically welcomed, and for my lifelong friend and brother, Wes Shank, whose loss late last Summer shattered us all, and whose entry last night into “The Monster Kid Hall of Fame” was a most fitting tribute to a beloved friend and fan. My personal remembrance of Wes was posted on File 770. Congratulations once again to all of this year’s most deserving Rondo Award winners.
A cat lover and space fan is about to make history by launching the remains of a cat named Pikachu into orbit around the Earth.
“Pikachu will have a final send-off like no cat has ever had before,” Steve Munt, Pikachu’s owner, wrote on a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising funds for Pikachu’s space memorial. Thanks to a company called Celestis — which also offers memorial spaceflights for humans — the orange tabby’s cremated remains will hitch a ride to space as a small secondary payload on a satellite launch sometime in the next 18 months, Munt told Space.com.
(16) MICE IN
SPACE. These mice, however, made it to orbit while still alive. Ben
Guarino in “Up
in space, mice found a new way to play” in the Washington Post, says a paper in Scientific Reports discusses what happened to mice that spent a
month in the International Space Station on the NASA Rodent Habitat.
After more than a week in space, young mice began to psrint and glide, as though they were zooming inside invisible hamster wheels. The scientists called this circling behavior, which they hadn’t seen before, ‘racetracking.’ Within a few days, other mice joined the fray. As a group, they ran laps around the habitats, reaching speeds of about a mile an hour. It’s strange to watch.
(17) HEDGEHOGGING THE ROAD. Sonic The Hedgehog is fast enough to create a blue shift.
He’s a whole new speed of hero. Watch the new trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog, in theatres this November
Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chip Hitchcock,
Mike Kennedy, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus
Eckerman and/or Daniel Dern. It’s complicated.]
The awards are named after Rondo
Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, and “honor the best in classic
horror research, creativity and film preservation.” This year’s e-mail vote,
conducted by the Classic Horror Film Board, a 23-year old online community, drew
responses from a record 4,510 fans and pros around the world.
director Ari Aster’s Hereditary, an
unsettling look at a family haunted from within was voted Best Film of 2018.
the impact of streaming services, The
Haunting of Hill House, a Netflix adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959
novel, was voted Best TV Presentation; and in a new category Best Fantasy or
Action Film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
beat two other Marvel epics, Avengers:
Infinity War and Black Panther as
the best of 2018.
Don Glut’s film Tales
of Frankenstein won the Best Independent Film category, an
anthology-style film, inspired by the old Hammer Horror films from the 1950s.
Ed Green has a part in the final chapter. It’s also the last film Len Wein
acted in and is dedicated to his memory.
was again voted Favorite Horror Host, but his large vote total was challenged
this time by Joe Bob Briggs, Lamia, Queen of the Dark and Elvira, among others.
winners included Bloody Disgusting, a
two-time winner as Best Website (where File
770 was also a nominee).
return of Texas exploitation film personality Joe Bob Briggs, who brought his
“Drive-In” redneck movie critic character back to Shudder TV, another example
of the resurgence in horror enthusiasm, was named Monster Kid of the Year.
year’s Monster Kid Hall of Fame inductees include the late horror collector and
historian Wes Shank (remembered in
this post by Steve Vertlieb);
one of the genre’s founding horror historians, Lucy Chase Williams;
Cleveland horror hosts Big Chuck and Lil’ John; Ron Adams, creator
of the long-running Monster Bash
convention and magazine; Ricou Browning, who swam as the original Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954;
and three of Hammer’s original glamour heroines, Caroline Munro,
Martine Beswick and Veronica Carlson, all still active on the convention
circuit and in films.
annual Rondo Awards Ceremony will be held Saturday, June 1 at the Wonderfest
Convention in Louisville.
SUBISSATI: In addition to editing RUE
MORGUE magazine, Andrea contributes smart and timely essays, singular
interviews and sharp reporting on the sometimes forbidden sides of horror
MADDOX: Mark Maddox’ eye-catching covers
and dramatic use of color and shading has become the look of monsters in the 21st Century.
Mark is a multiple Rondo winner whose work appears on numerous magazines each
LINDA MILLER AWARD FOR FAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR (In
memory of the late Linda Miller)
PUCKETT: The art of Eric Puckett is
bright and scary, capturing a monstrous world where deadly clowns and villains
lurk behind garish masks. A mainstay at conventions and exhibits, Eric’s work
is soaked with humor and danger.
OF THE YEAR
BOB BRIGGS: A smooth-talking Texan who made the most
deranged drive-in films somehow respectable, Joe Bob Briggs returned with both
car speakers blasting in 2018, heading up a new show on the Shudder streaming
service. In a world of safely digitized horror hosting, Joe Bob reminds us that
love of the films and old-fashioned showmanship always must come first. Welcome
back Joe Bob!
KID HALL OF FAME
SHANK: Yes, the late Wes Shank really did have The
Blob, and that was just the start. Wes was a master collector of monster and
science fiction memorabilia as well as a comforting and continuing presence at
conventions and educational events. Gone too soon, his enthusiasm and knowledge
will be missed but never forgotten.
CHASE WILLIAMS: The second wave of horror fandom
was still young in 1995 when Lucy Chase Williams released THE COMPLETE FILMS OF
VINCENT PRICE, still the definitive look at the master of horror’s cinema
output. Along the way she survived the ordeals of unwanted sexual harassment
in fandom, and bravely came forward, no matter the personal cost. A true hero
CHUCK AND LIL’ JOHN: Cleveland has always been a
magnet for horror hosts, and two of the most enduring are Charles “Big Chuck”
Schodowski and “Lil’ John” Rinaldi. Starting in 1966 with the original
Ghoulardi, Schadowski worked for many years with Bob “Hoollihan” Wells and
later Rinaldi. Featuring sketches, movies and more, Chuck and John are now a
part of horror hosting legend.
BROWNING: The Creature from the Black
Lagoon is more popular today than ever, thanks in large part to the underwater
swimming and elegant menace of Ricou Browning. Portraying the lovesick
prehistoric beastie was just the beginning for Browning, who helped create Flipper
and decades of film and TV work and has been a friendly and accessible presence
ADAMS: Much of what we take for granted in the world of horror would
not exist without the clear and monstrous vision of Ron Adams, one of the
genre’s original impresarios. Whether his groundbreaking Monster Bash
conventions, his ability to combine family-friendly weekends with wonderfully
obscure guests, his mail order catalog or his retro Monster Bash magazine, Ron
Adams is always on the forefro0nt of the hobby and what it stands for.
BESWICK, VERONICA CARLSON and CAROLINE MUNRO: It’s easy to throw
around terms like scream queens and Hammer glamour, but most horror film
actresses were far more. Witness these three wondrous inductees — Martine Beswick,
Veronica Carlson and Caroline Munro – all active during the Golden Age of
Hammer but still active today. Whether signing autographs at conventions around
the globe or offering memories of working with horror and fantasy greats, these
three icons remind us of why their films will always endure.
(1) HELP IS ON THE WAY. Jimmy Kimmel Live plugs the “Game of Thrones Hotline for Confused
There is a lot going on in “Game of Thrones,” and it can be difficult to keep track of what’s what and who’s who. But fortunately help is on the way. Cast members Sophie Turner, Lena Headey, John Bradley, Joe Dempsie, Maisie Williams, Kristian Nairn, Iwan Rheon & Liam Cunningham host a new hotline to assist their confused fans.
…So in this light, in the context of authors who actively avoid a novel of theirs being described as ‘science fiction’, and given the latest instance of Ian McEwan distancing himself from said label, I’d like to humbly offer a way in which one can tell if it’s an SF novel or not. “Whether a novel is science fiction—or not—depends on who the author is and who reviews it”.
As an advertising professional who has spent almost 20 years in the marketing business and who knows a thing or three about positioning and target audiences, this is perhaps the best description that I think we can arrive at. But where does this leave the reader?
It is up to the individual reader to decide whether he/she/they would rather go by convenient labels than follow interests or read what he/she/they would like to. As a reader – and not just of SF – I am in agreement with the author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, the writer David Mitchell who says that genre snobbery is a bizarre act of self-mutilation because, “It’s convenient to have a science fiction and fantasy section, it’s convenient to have a mainstream literary fiction section, but these should only be guides, they shouldn’t be demarcated territories where one type of reader belongs and another type of reader does not belong…What a shame. All those great books that you’re cutting yourself off from.”
(4) WEIMER DOUBLE-HEADER. Paul
Weimer told Facebook readers:
If you thought “Self, I want to hear @PrinceJvstin on a podcast”, today is YOUR day.
Hello, Rangers! We’re back with everyone’s favorite Space Nancy Drew in Komarr! This time Stina, Paul, and Trish sit around the campfire to talk about women’s agency, budding relationships, whether or not Miles is “dad” material, how good intentions can go horribly, horribly wrong, the politics of isolationism, and more!
(5) KNOWING CAMPBELL. Stanley
Schmidt’s guest editorial for Analog“John and
Me” takes off from the “The Astounding John W. Campbell, Jr.” panel at
last year’s Worldcon moderated by Alec Nevala-Lee. Schmidt’s views of Campbell’s
work are very different than those of fellow panelist Robert Silverberg, and he
says in closing —
…As for what kind of editing John was doing in his last years, my experience indicates that he was still doing the kinds of things he was famous for, and still doing them very well. It’s unfortunate that some of his personal idiosyncrasies drove away some of his best writers, but that’s a separate question from the quality of his work. Maybe I was fortunate that I didn’t know him personally before I started writing for him, or I might have found it harder, too—though I hope I wouldn’t have let my disagreements with him, even on big issues, make me reject him entirely as a person. I did disagree with his editorials more often in those years than I had earlier, but as far as I knew he was just doing the professional argument-baiting he had always done. Even if I had known that he really held beliefs that I found highly objectionable, I doubt that I would have found that adequate reason to sever all contact with him and his work. A lot of people hold misguided beliefs, but my experience, I think, is a good example of how it’s possible to work productively with somebody, and respect some of his qualities, even while sharply disagreeing with some of his views. Maybe that’s a lesson that a whole lot of people need to relearn about now.
(6) SLF READINGS. The Speculative
Literature Foundation’s Deep Dish Reading Series in Chicago resumes on May 9.
(7) DOC WEIR AWARD. The Doc Weir Award is voted on by attendees at the Eastercon and is presented to a fan who has worked hard behind the scenes at conventions or in fandom and deserves recognition. As Fandom.com explains —
The award consists of a silver cup (which must be returned the following year) and a certificate (if someone remembers to create one!)
The cup is engraved with the names of the previous winners, and in fine fannish tradition, it is up to each year’s winner to have their own name engraved at their own cost!
Jamie Scott is the
Bill Burns of eFanzines has more
info on the Doc Weir Award, and a list of all winners from 1963 to 2018 here.
(8) 71ST EASTERCON. Next
year’s UK Eastercon, called Concentric, will be in Birmingham at the Hilton
I’m Eneasz Brodski. I produce the Methods of Rationality podcast. It began as me, in my bedroom, with a lot of enthusiasm and a handheld mic after a few hours of research. As of this writing it’s been 6.5 years since I started. I’ve spent over 10,000 hours working on this podcast, I’ve produced over ninety hours of audio fiction spread across 185 episodes, totaling almost 4.5 million downloads. I’ve been a finalist for the Parsec Awards three times. I’ve never done professional audio work, but I have some idea of how to get an amateur podcast going.
…News of Wolfe’s passing spread on the internet on Monday morning, as the first images of the fire at Notre-Dame also started circulating. Many Wolfe fans were struck by the coincidence. “Gene Wolfe is dead and Notre-Dame is engulfed in flames,” the writer Michael Swanwick tweeted. “This is the Devil’s own day.” Swanwick’s grief is understandable. Yet Wolfe himself might offer more consoling counsel. Death and life, his work often showed, are not so much opposites but partners, with the passing of the old being the precondition for the birth of the new. Cathedrals can burn but they can also be rebuilt, and in fact all cathedrals are in a constant state of maintenance and repair….
(11) MARTIN BÖTTCHER OBIT. German film composer Martin Böttcher
(1927–2019) died April 19. Cora Buhlert pays tribute — “In Memoriam Martin Böttcher”.
…But Böttcher’s most famous film score would be the one he composed for Horst Wendlandt’s other series, the Winnetou movies of the 1960s, based on Karl May’s adventure novels. Ironically, Martin Böttcher himself had never read a single Winnetou novel, which must make him one of the very few Germans of his generation who did not read Karl May. When someone asked him why he didn’t read the novels, Böttcher answered, “I’ve seen every single Winnetou movie dozens of times. I know how the story goes. I don’t need to read it.”
Born April 22, 1916 — Virginia Heinlein. Editor of Grumbles from the Grave. Also allowed Tramp Royale to be published after her husband’s death. And for some reason allowed longer versions of previously published works Stranger in a Strange Land, The Puppet Masters, and Red Planet to be published. Anyone read these? Used bookstores here frequently had copies of Stranger in a Strange Land so buyers didn’t hold on to it… (Died 2003.)
Born April 22, 1934 — Sheldon Jaffery. Bibliographer who was a fan of Weird Tales, Arkham House books, pulps, and pretty much anything in that area. Among his publications are Collector’s Index to Weird Tales (co-written with Fred Cook), Future and Fantastic Worlds: A Bibliographical Retrospective of DAW Books (1972-1987) and Horrors and Unpleasantries: A Bibliographical History and Collector’s Price Guide to Arkham House. He also edited three anthologies which Bowling Green Press printed, to wit Sensuous Science Fiction from the Weird and Spicy Pulps, Selected Tales of Grim and Grue from the Horror Pulps and The Weirds: A Facsimile Selection of Fiction From the Era of the Shudder Pulps. (Died 2003.)
Born April 22, 1937 — Jack Nicholson, 82. I think my favorite role for him in a genre film was as Daryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick. Other genre roles include Jack Torrance in The Shining, Wilbur Force in The Little Shop of Horrors, Rexford Bedlo in The Raven, Andre Duvalier in The Terror, (previous three films are Roger Corman productions), Will Randall in Wolf, President James Dale / Art Land in Mars Attacks! and Jack Napier aka The Joker in Tim Burton’s The Batman. I watched the last one, was not impressed.
Born April 22, 1946 — John Waters, 73. Yes, he did horror films, lots of them. Shall we list them? There’s Multiple Maniacs, Suburban Gothic, Excision, Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat and Seed of Chucky. The latter described as a “supernatural black comedy horror film” on Wiki. He also narrates Of Dolls and Murder, a documentary film about a collection of dollhouse crime scenes created in the Forties and society’s collective fascination with death.
Born April 22, 1950 — Robert Elswit, 69. Cinematographer. An early short film he worked on was a 1982 TV adaptation of the Ray Bradbury short story “All Summer in a Day.” He began his career as a visual effects camera operator working on films like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Empire Strikes Back, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He worked on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
Born April 22, 1959 — Brian Taves, 60. Author of The Jules Verne Encyclopedia and Hollywood Presents Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction on Screen. He also wrote Talbot Mundy, Philosopher of Adventure: A Critical Biography. Mundy is the author of the Jimgrim / Ramsden stories, a fantasy series.
Born April 22, 1966 — Jeffrey Dean Morgan,53. He’s best known for his roles as Dr. Edward Marcase in The Burning Zone, John Winchester on Supernatural, the Comedian in Watchmen, Negan on The Walking Dead and Harvey Russell in Rampage. He also played Jeb Turnbull in Jonah Hex. And was Thomas Wayne in Batman v. Superman though he was uncredited for it.
Born April 22, 1984 — Michelle Ryan, 35. She appeared as the evil sorceress Nimueh in Merlin, and as Lady Christina de Souza in the Doctor Who episode “Planet of the Dead” in the era of the Tenth Doctor. She was also in the comedy film Cockneys vs Zombies as Katy,and played Elanor in Andron. And yes, they rebooted the Bionic Woman series in which she played the lead character Jaime Sommers. It lasted nine episodes. Points to who remembers the original actress without looking her up.
There’s at least one inexpensive TV-bundling service: Philo TV. At $16 a month for three simultaneous streams of 45 popular channels, it’s a steal. But, if you can live with commercials, there are at least 10 good free streaming services to try.
(16) COMMEMORATIVES. These
BrexitStamps are over a year old – but news to me!
(17) NAVIGATING BY THE PUPPY CONSTELLATION. Lou Antonelli has launched a semiprozine for original sff, Sirius Science Fiction, which offers $25 for each original story upon publication.
WHO WE ARE
Sirius Science Fiction is an on-line web site dedicated to publishing original speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, alternate history and horror. We like stories with a sense of wonder and excitement.
In a time when mainstream speculative fiction has been overrun by political correctness and identity politics, we offer a venue free of pretension and ideological litmus tests.
Sirius Science Fiction publishes one original short story a week, plus occasional reprints. Original stories are posted every Friday.
On a bright Sunday afternoon in early March, the Tamir River in the steppes of Mongola becomes a bowling alley. Two dozen Mongolian herdsmen have gathered to play musun shagai, known as “ice shooting.” Right now, the ice on the river is perfect. Clear and smooth. The players are cheerful and focused.
Their goal? To send a small copper puck called a zakh down a 93-yard stretch of ice and knock over several cow ankle bones, painted red, none bigger than a golf ball, at the other end. Extra points for hitting the biggest target, made of cow skin.
Together, the targets form a line of tiny red dots that are difficult to see, let alone hit. When that happens, players know because the spectators raise a boisterous cheer.
…This competition, originally scheduled for mid-March, was bumped up by two weeks. “The river was already melting,” Gurvantamir said.
In the fictional world of Marvel’s Black Panther, the Afro-futurist utopia of Wakanda has a secret, almost magical resource: a metal called vibranium. Its mythic ability to store energy elevated vibranium to a central role in the fictional nation’s culture and the metal became part of Wakandan technology, fashion and ceremony.
Of course vibranium isn’t real. But one metal has held a similarly mythic role for over 2,000 years in many cultures across the African continent: iron.
African blacksmiths have been crafting agricultural tools, musical instruments, weapons and symbols of power and prestige out of the raw material for ages. “Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths,” a new exhibit at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. showcases Africa’s rich history of ironworking through 225 tools, weapons and adornments from over 100 ethnic groups across Africa.
SpaceX has confirmed that its Crew Dragon capsule suffered an “anomaly” during routine engine tests in Florida.
A US Air Force spokesperson told local press the incident, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, had been contained and no-one had been injured.
An unmanned Crew Dragon successfully flew for the first time last month.
This latest incident, however, could delay plans to launch a manned mission to the International Space Station later this year.
Not since the end of the Space Shuttle programme in 2011 has the US been able to send its own astronauts into orbit. It has had to rely instead on Russia and its Soyuz spacecraft.
(23) A ‘STAN LEE’ MOMENT.
Daniel Dern asks:
Wanna get caught up on the Avengers: Endgame related comics… or just overload your eyeballs and brain in general?
Try a month of the Marvel Unlimited streaming comic service for $4.99 (normall $9.99/month, jumps to that if you don’t cancel). ~ 25,000 digitized Marvel comics (ranging from from-the-beginning-of-time through at-least-six-months-old).
Best on, sigh, a tablet that can view a comic full size, like the non-cheap iPad Pro 12.9. (which is why I bought one a year or so ago).
Even before the lushly designed curtain rises on Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, which opens Sunday night on Broadway (at the Booth Theatre, to Aug. 4), the fluids start shooting forth.
A woman appears and begins to spurt blood from her slashed neck. The blood flies out sporadically, and this looks a little precarious if you are in the front two rows. The woman, inevitably raspy of voice given her injury, muses on the nature of sequels and revenge.
Then the curtain rises on one of the great stage designs of this Broadway season. The sight of hundreds of human bodies immediately confronts the audience….
In this banqueting hall turned charnel house, there is the prosaically named Gary (Nathan Lane), a former clown now turned laborer, here to do some tidying up of bodies before the inauguration of a new leader the next day. “Bit more of them than I was expecting,” he says of the bodies. His voice is Cockney. Lane—orbiting in his brilliant way from shy to showman, naughty schoolboy to moral fulcrum—at first seems like a mischief-maker, bored on the job and up for fun.
The fourth wall stays permeable throughout; the actors stare out at us, puzzled at our applause….
(25) DERAILERS. ScreenRant shares “10 Superhero Deleted Scenes That Could
Have Changed Everything.”
Deleted scenes in movies are fun to watch but they are even more fun to watch when they are from superhero films. Instead of arguing over which Universe you enjoy more, DC or Marvel, sit back and watch these deleted scenes and let us know what you think in the comments below. Let’s take a look at Screen Rant’s video, ten Superhero Deleted Scenes That Could Have Changed Everything. And we have the plot holes from some of your favorite movies including the X-Men series, Marvel’s Iron Man, the Hugh Jackman film Logan, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice plus many more.
JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, World
Weary, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
“The shortlisting of AO3 does not mean that every work published on the site is a Hugo Award finalist,” clarified Kevin Standlee, a member of the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, to Polygon. “By analogy, if a magazine is nominated for Best Semiprozine, it does not mean that every work and every author published during that year’s run of the magazine is a Hugo Award finalist.”
Whyte also emphasized that Archive of Our Own as a project met all the requirements of the Best Related Work category as far as the Hugo administrators were concerned.
“Archive of our Own as a project is on the Hugo final ballot,” Whyte wrote in an email. “A substantial number of voters supported it, and it is not really the role of the Hugo administrators to second-guess or interpret their intentions. Our job is to determine whether it qualifies under the rules. We considered the precedents in this and other categories very carefully, and found no good reason to disqualify it.”
Archive of Our Own is a platform for fanfiction, yes, but it is also an intricate system of archiving and hosting said fanfiction, as well as a space built up by fandom members for their very own. No “one part” of AO3 qualifies the site for the prize. The entirety — past, present, and promise to the future — makes it uniquely primed for the honor.
“So if the question is, which of that work is the nomination recognizing?” penned Naomi Novik on her Tumblr. “It’s recognizing all of it. You can’t separate one part of it from the other. The garden wouldn’t exist without all of it. And I am grateful for it all.”
As far as the most bonkers fan theories go in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one clear-cut winner has emerged recently in predicting the climax (back end?) of the highly anticipated Avengers: Endgame.
That would be the premise coined “Thanus,” which posits that the Avengers will finally triumph over intergalactic, snapping super-baddie Thanos (Josh Brolin) when Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) uses his size-altering abilities to shrink down, enter the villain’s butthole and then expand, killing his target in what would essentially be the most volatile hemorrhoid ever.
(3) SNACK TIME. Ursula
Vernon is served a Tibetan delicacy. Thread starts here.
Followed by more culinary adventures. Thread starts here.
(4) KGB. Here are Ellen
Datlow’s photos from the April
17 KGB readings by Dale Bailey and Arkady Martine.
Theodore McCombs: What about Carmilla first attracted you to this project? What do you hope 2019’s readers will find in this 1872 vampire tale?
Carmen Maria Machado: The connection between narratives of vampires and narratives of women—especially queer women—are almost laughably obvious. Even without Carmilla, they would be linked. The hunger for blood, the presence of monthly blood, the influence and effects of the moon, the moon as a feminine celestial body, the moon as a source of madness, the mad woman, the mad lesbian—it goes on and on. It is somewhat surprising to me that we have ever imagined male vampires at all. But of course, that’s because we think of Dracula as the ur-text, the progenitor of the vampire in literature. Carmilla simply isn’t as well-known; I was as surprised as anyone to learn about it. But despite the fact that it’s a somewhat obscure text, its influence can be keenly felt. So I wanted modern readers to understand both Carmilla and Carmilla’s importance.
The novelist Don DeLillo wrote shortly after the attacks that 9/11 would change “the way we think and act, moment to moment, week to week, for unknown weeks and months to come, and steely years.” It’s hard to deny that he was right. Several pop-culture phenomena sprang up in the years after 9/11, HBO’s Game of Thrones being one of the most important, but by no means operating in a vacuum. The runaway popularity of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games in the 2000s also signaled a different sort of sensibility from Tolkien’s postwar years. The enemies were closer, and sometimes they were even friends — or had been. Nothing was entirely trustworthy, not family, not community, and certainly not the government. The anti-establishment cynicism of the ’60s and ’70s had been replaced by a cynicism about virtually everything, and certainly about all institutions. Priests and teachers were now seen as potential molesters. Presidents were no longer just wrong as far as their opponents were concerned — they were actual criminal enemies. George W. Bush was labeled a murderer and Barack Obama was called a fascist. Political and cultural media were weaponized.
It’s the typeface that greets you on your tax forms. It announces MBTA station stops. Its sans-serif letters glow in the night outside Target and CVS.
In the world of typography, Helvetica is as common as vanilla ice cream. The 62-year-old font is celebrated and loathed for its ubiquity. Now, it’s getting a face lift for the digital age.
The reboot — by Monotype, a Woburn [MA]-based firm that owns Helvetica and thousands of other fonts — has set off a new round of debate over a typeface that has not only divided font fanatics but also transcended the field of design.
Indeed, not many fonts are controversial enough to show up on Twitter’s trending topics. So when Mitch Goldstein saw the word “Helvetica” among the social network’s hottest discussions, he joked that it must be there for the same macabre reason that sees celebrity names suddenly pop up.
With the passing of Science Fiction Writers of America Grandmaster Gene Wolfe (1931-2019), literature has lost a unique writer who embraced fruitful paradox. He was at once traditionalist and rebel, metaphysician and realist, trickster and pontiff, experimentalist and conservative, the consummate professional and the most endearingly heart-on-his-sleeve fan. He married the pulp tropes of science fiction and fantasy and horror to the stringent esthetics and techniques and multivalent worldview of echt modernism to produce works which both camps felt did honor to their respective lineages. Readers of “The Death of Doctor Island” or The Fifth Head of Cerebrus could discover all the thematic density and narrative complexity they might seek in a work by Pynchon or Nabokov in tales fully alive as visionary works in SF. In 2014, writer Michael Swanwick, himself a master craftsman, dubbed Wolfe “the single greatest writer in the English language alive today.”…
Born April 18, 1884 — Frank R. Paul. Illustrator who graced the covers of Amazing Stories from May 1926 to June 1939, Science Wonder Stories and Air Wonder Stories from June 1929 to October 1940 and a number of others well past his death date. He also illustrated the cover of Gernsback’s Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660 (Stratford Company, 1925), published first as a 1911–1912 serial in Modern Electrics. He was inducted into Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2009. Stephen D. Korshak and Frank R. Paul’s From the Pen of Paul: The Fantastic Images of Frank R. Paul published in 2010 is the only work I found that looks at him. (Died 1963.)
Born April 18, 1938 – Superman. Age: damn if I know. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 on April 18, 1938. Yes, it was cover-dated as June, 1938. This is generally thought of as the beginning of the Golden Age of Comics. (Died 1992. But he got better.)
Born April 18, 1945 — Karen Wynn Fonstad. She was a cartographer and academic who designed several atlases of literary worlds. Among her work are The Atlas of Middle-earth which is simply wonderful, and The Atlas of Pern which I’ve not seen. (Died 2005.)
Born April 18, 1946 — Janet Kagan. She wrote but three novels in her lifetime, Uhura’s Song, set in Trek universe, Hellspark and Mirabile which is a stitch-up of her Mirabile short stories. The Collected Kagan collects all of her short fiction not set in the Mirabile setting. Her story “The Nutcracker Coup” was nominated for both the Hugo Award for Best Novelette and the Nebula Award for Best Novelette, winning the Hugo. (Died 2008.)
Born April 18, 1953 — Rick Moranis, 66. Though now retired from acting, he was active genre-wise once upon a time in such properties as Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors (the remake obviously), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (which isn’t bad compared to the stinkers that followed in this franchise), The Flintstones and of course Spaceballs. For you next Christmas viewing delight, may I recommend Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys in which he voices The Toy Maker?
Born April 18 — Cheryl Morgan, born, as she put it to me today when I dared to ask her age, so long ago no one can remember. She is a Hugo award-winning critic and publisher now living in Britain. She is the owner of Wizard’s Tower Press and was running the Wizard’s Tower Books ebook store before she closed it due to changes in EU regulation. She was previously the editor of the Hugo award-winning Emerald City fanzine which I confess I read avidly. And she shares joint wins with the rest of the Clarkesworld team for Best Semiprozine in 2010 and 2011. Superb magazine that. Oh, and her personal blog which is great reading won a Hugo In 2009. Read it for the reviews, read it for the occasional snarky commentary. She is on the advisory board of Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research.
Born April 18, 1965 — Stephen Player, 54. Some birthday honor folks are elusive. He came up via one of the sites JJ gave me but there is little about him on the web. What I did find is awesome as he’s deep in the Pratchett’s Discworld and the fandom that sprung up around it. He illustrated the first two Discworld Maps, and quite a number of the books including the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Light Fantastic and The Illustrated Wee Free Men. Oh, but that’s just a mere wee taste of all he’s done as he did the production design for the Sky One production of Hogfather and The Colour of Magic. He did box art and card illustrations for Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame. Finally, he contributed to some Discworld Calendars, games books, money for the Discworld convention. I want that money.
Born April 18, 1969 — Keith DeCandido, 50. Another writer whose makes his living writing largely works based on series. He’s done works set within the universes of Sleepy Hollow, Star Trek, Buffy, Spider-Man, X-Men, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Andromeda, Farscape, Spider-Man, X-Men, and Stargate SG-1. He has a fantasy series, Dragon Precinct, ongoing.
Born April 19, 1971 — David Tennant, 48. Eleventh Doctor and my favourite of the modern Doctors along with Thirteen whom I’m also very fond of. There are some episodes such as the “The Unicorn and The Wasp” that I’ve watched repeatedly. He’s also done other spectacular genre work such as the downright creepy Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, and and Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He’s also in the Beeb’s remake of the The Quatermass Experiment as Dr. Gordon Briscoe.
We now know that Julian Assange’s cat, who lived with him in the Ecuadorian embassy for a time, is safe and being looked after, but we didn’t know this when I asked about it late last month. And I didn’t know that asking about it would result in the ‘Defend Assange Campaign’ getting in touch….
The highly anticipated film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats is making its way to theaters. The story is based on T.S. Eliot’s book of poems titled Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
The live production-turned-movie follows a tribe of felines, known as the Jellicle Cats, as they attend the annual Jellicle Ball. During the ball, the tribe’s leader Old Deuteronomy chooses one cat to be reborn and return to a new life.
The Universal film features a star-studded cast that includes Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Jason Derulo and Steven McRae.
After considering a number of career choices I decided that ‘novelist’ was the best match to my temperament and experience. With both my schooling and military service behind me, I had a wealth of life experience to draw from and the natural wit of England’s upper classes running through my veins.
Here’s the deal: The Fourth of July-inspired sweets are the classic chocolate and creme combo we all know and love but with a twist. They’re filled with red and blue popping candies, so they will quite literally explode in your mouth—in a totally safe Pop Rocks kind of way, you know?
A Russian company called StartRocket says it’s going to launch a cluster of cubesats into space that will act as an “orbital billboard,” projecting enormous advertisements into the night sky like artificial constellations. And its first client, it says, will be PepsiCo — which will use the system to promote a “campaign against stereotypes and unjustified prejudices against gamers” on behalf of an energy drink called Adrenaline Rush.
Yeah, the project sounds like an elaborate prank. But Russian PepsiCo spokesperson Olga Mangova confirmed to Futurism that the collaboration is real.
“We believe in StartRocket potential,” she wrote in an email. “Orbital billboards are the revolution on the market of communications. That’s why on behalf of Adrenaline Rush — PepsiCo Russia energy non-alcoholic drink, which is brand innovator, and supports everything new, and non-standard — we agreed on this partnership.”
(17) RONDO. Steve
Vertlieb would be thrilled if you’d consider voting for his article:
It’s “Rondo Award” time again, and my work on “Dracula In The Seventies: Prints of Darkness” has been nominated by the “Rondo Award” committee for “Best Article of the Year.” Anyone can vote once for their favorites in this category, and voting continues through April 20th, 2019. I’ll go “bats” if you care to vote for my work. Winning a competitive “Rondo” would mean a great deal to me, and sublimely reward these sometimes fragile seventy three years. Simply send your selection (along with your name and e-mail address) to David Colton at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please accept my sincere thanks for your most gracious kindness.
Sometimes rare diseases can let scientists pioneer bold new ideas. That has been the case with a condition that strikes fewer than 100 babies a year in the United States. These infants are born without a functioning immune system.
The disease is called severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID. “It was made famous in the mid ’70s when the ‘Bubble Boy’ was described in a documentary, and I think it captured the imagination of a lot of people,” says Matthew Porteus, a pediatrician at Stanford University.
David Vetter was the boy who spent most of his short life inside a plastic bubble to protect him from infection. He died at age 12 in 1984.
All babies born in the United States are now screened for this condition, and the best treatment today — a bone marrow transplant — succeeds more than 90 percent of the time. The disease remains a source of great interest to researchers.
“This is one of those diseases in which there’s probably more doctors and scientists studying the disease than patients who have the disease,” Porteus says.
In the 1990s, European scientists actually cured SCID in some patients, using a technique called gene therapy. This process involves removing defective blood cells from a patient, inserting a new gene with the help of a virus and then putting the cells back into the body. Those cells then build up the patient’s immune system.
At first, this treatment in the 1990s and early 2000s looked really promising.
“Of the 20 patients, they all had immune recovery,” says Donald Kohn, an immunologist at UCLA’s Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research. “But, over time, five of them went on to develop a leukemia.”
Pennsylvania’s soon-to-be official amphibian has more than its fair share of nicknames: snot otter, mud devil, Allegheny alligator, devil dog, lasagna lizard.
In short, it’s not exactly a looker.
But the Eastern hellbender salamander was the overwhelming choice of lawmakers for amphibian representation in the state. On Tuesday, the state’s House of Representatives voted 191-6 on a bill that would name the aquatic creature its state amphibian. The Senate passed the bill in February.
The hellbender is a nocturnal salamander that can grow more than 2 feet long. The mud-colored creature, covered in a layer of mucus, breathes primarily through loose flaps of thick, wrinkled skin that look a little bit like lasagna noodles.
The hellbender is also a canary for environmental degradation.
A new species of giant mammal has been identified after researchers investigated bones that had been kept for decades in a Kenyan museum drawer.
The species, dubbed “Simbakubwa kutokaafrika” meaning “big African lion” in Swahili, roamed east Africa about 20 millions years ago.
But the huge creature was part of a now extinct group of mammals called hyaenodonts.
The discovery could help explain what happened to the group.
…”Based on its massive teeth, Simbakubwa was a specialised hyper-carnivore that was significantly larger than the modern lion and possibly larger than a polar bear,” researcher Matthew Borths is quoted by AFP news agency as saying.
(21) READY, AIM, MEOW. Here’s
a piece of technology some of you will want – the Catzooka – Cat Launcher!
Unlike traditional headphones, AirPods are the kind of things you can keep in your ears at all times, and many people do. Their sleek design and lack of wires make it easy to forget they’re resting in your head. And their status symbol shine doesn’t exactly scream “take me out.” This may be great for Apple and its bottom line, but it’s making life weird for people interacting with those wearing them. Are they listening to me? Are they listening to music? A podcast? Just hanging? It’s tough to know.
(23) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Cabin Pressure” on Vimeo,
Matthew Lee explains how to behave badly on airplanes!
Martin Morse Wooster, Ellen Datlow, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Mark Hepworth, Chip
Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Rob
Thornton, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]
The first thing to understand is the scale of the task. Each of these projects, the Laundry Files and the Merchant Princes, represents a sunk cost of many years of full time labour. At my rate of production (roughly 1.5 novels per year, long term, where a novel is on the order of 100-120,000 words) either of them would be a 7 year slog, even if I worked at them full time to the exclusion of all other work. So we’re talking a PhD level of project scale here, or larger.
In reality, I didn’t work at either series full-time. They only account for two thirds of my novel-length fiction output: in the case of both series, I’ve gone multiple years at a time without touching them. Burnout is a very real thing in most creative industries, and if you work for a duration of years to decades on a single project you will experience periods of deep existential nausea and dread at the mere thought of even looking at the thing you just spent the last five years of your life on. It will pass, eventually, but in the meantime? Try not to put all your eggs in the one ultra-maxi-giant sized basket.
(2) CLICK WITHOUT THINKING.
James Davis Nicoll gives us three reasons to click through to Tor.com —
There are in every field creators whose output has been lamentably small, people from whom one wishes more material had emerged. This is as true for science fiction and fantasy as any other field. Here are five authors on my “more, please” list.
Who knows? If careless time travellers had stepped on different animals 541 million years ago, the Earth’s surface might be dominated by…larger but still squishy things, rather than our marvellous selves….
(3) 2020 VISION. The
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two) will host the “Ray
Harryhausen | 100 years” exhibit from May 23-October 25, 2020
Special effects superstar Ray Harryhausen elevated stop motion animation to an art during the 1950s to 1980s. For the first time, Ray’s collection will be showcased in its entirety, and, as such, this will be the largest and widest-ranging exhibition of his work ever seen, with newly restored and previously unseen material from his incredible archive.
Ray Harryhausen’s work included the films Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad films of the 50s and 70s, One Million Years B.C and Mighty Joe Young, and a wider portfolio including children’s fairy tales and commercials. He also inspired a generation of film-makers such as Peter Jackson, Aardman Animation, Tim Burton, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, and his influence on blockbuster cinema can be felt to this day.
This exhibition is in collaboration with the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday year. As part of a series of events and initiatives under the banner #Harryhausen100, this exhibition will be accompanied by screenings, workshops and more, bringing his creations to life once more and celebrating the legacy of a filmmaker who changed the face of modern cinema.
(4) HARRYHAUSEN TRIBUTE YOU
CAN OWN TODAY. Steve Vertlieb says: “Scary Monsters Magazine presents Monster
Memories, issue No. 27,
is an all Ray Harryhausen issue, and features my affectionate tribute to Ray,
and to our half century of friendship. This wonderful one-of-a-kind magazine is
available, and on newsstands now. Get yours while copies last. You won’t want
to miss this very special collector’s edition honoring the beloved special
(5) SHUT UP AND TAKE MY
MONEY. This Kickstarter has funded and attained a whole series of stretch
goals, but how can we resist?
Kind of interesting how this logic works. There’s a Hugo category for Semiprozines and Fanzines, but by design, no category for prozines (which Locus is) — it was superseded by the creation of the Best Editor (now Best Editor, Short Form) category. The rules say anything eligible in another Hugo category may not be nominated for Best Related Work, however, an editor and a magazine are by no means the same thing, and in the absence of a prozine category the rules don’t seem to prevent this result. Yet we’ve gone all these years without the Best Related category being captured by Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, etc. Someone needs to be reminded how this is supposed to work.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 12, 1925 — Harry Harrison. Best known first I’d say for his Stainless Steel Rat and Bill, the Galactic Hero series which were just plain fun, plus his novel Make Room! Make Room! Which was the genesis of Soylent Green. (Died 2012.)
Born March 12, 1933 — Barbara Feldon, 86. [86, you say?] Agent 99 on the Get Smart series. Other genre credits include The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and reprising her character on the short-lived follow-up to this series. She didn’t have that much of an acting career.
Born March 12, 1952 — Julius Carry. His one truly great genre role was as the bounty hunter Lord Bowler in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. oh but what oh role it it was! Over the course of the series, he was the perfect companion and foil to Bruce Campbell’s Brisco County, Jr. character. (Died 2008.)
(11) FILERS ON THE RONDO BALLOT. I was honored when it was pointed out to me that File 770 is up for the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award in the Best Website category. There are lots of true horror-oriented sites that deserve the award more, but news of that genre is part of the mix here. It’s a very nice compliment.
Don Glut’s film Tales of Frankenstein is a nominee in the Best Independent Film category. It’s an anthology-style film, inspired by the old Hammer Horror films from the 1950s. Ed Green has a part in the final chapter. It’s also the last film Len Wein acted in and is dedicated to his memory. Len Wein created Wolverine, as well as several of the “New” X-Men, and had a cameo in X-Men: Days of Future Past. In this trailer, Len appears around the :45 mark, and Ed very briefly as the priest on the right at 1:33.
And nominated for Best Article is Steve Vertlieb’s “Dracula in the
Seventies: Prints of Darkness,” a restored version of an original article on
the Christopher Lee vampire cycle.
(12) UP ABOVE THE WORLD SO
HIGH. During the Cold War while the U.S. Air Force was inspiring Dr. Strangelove, the Royal Air Force was
discovering the hazards of “Exploding
When Tony Cunnane joined the Royal Air Force in 1953, chocolate teacakes were “all the rage.” Employees aboard strategic nuclear strike aircrafts requested the snack be added to their in-flight ration boxes. But this wasn’t just a sugary jolt to fuel their Cold War training. Chocolate-coated marshmallow teacakes had become, as Cunnane described it, “the subject of some rather unscientific in-flight experiments.”
Shortly after the foil-wrapped treats appeared in RAF ration packs, pilots began to notice that as altitude increased, the teacakes expanded….
On Friday the Crew Dragon capsule will detach from the International Space Station (ISS) 400km above Earth and begin a fiery journey back through the atmosphere, ending in a splashdown 450km off the coast of Florida.
If all goes according to plan, it will wrap up the first complete test mission of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which is expected to carry its first astronauts into orbit by the middle of this year.
They’ve played 300 shows around the world – and most of their instruments don’t make it through the set.
It’s three hours before showtime and members of an orchestra are seated onstage in the garden of a 1,000-year-old Benedictine monastery outside Cologne, Germany. On cue, the neatly coiffed, black-clad musicians slowly raise their instruments, purse their lips and begin playing the opening passage of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Just then, a sound technician abruptly cuts them off. The carrot flutes were too strong and he couldn’t hear the leek violin.
“One more time,” he says. “Starting with the cucumber.”
…Another man with a variant of that name became the center of an online controversy involving Charlotte’s popular and long-running science fiction convention ConCarolinas last year. This was the conservative military science fiction and political action thriller writer John Ringo, whose announcement as Guest of Honor caused some other scheduled guests to boycott the convention.
Kurtz was one of those who announced she would not attend the 2018 convention, despite being previously announced as a guest. I asked her if she planned to attend this year’s ConCarolinas, which will be held May 31 through June 2 at the Hilton Charlotte University Place Motel.
“There is an entirely new board and new convention committee this year,” she wrote back, “so I am going to go and see if they’ve done anything differently. I know firsthand from speaking with board members and programming directors they are very interested in increasing diversity and fostering an open, collaborative, and safe environment. I am going to see the changes put in action. The board has stated they wanted to show fans that what was shown last year wasn’t who they are as a convention.”
John Ringo’s publisher is Baen Books, the science fiction and fantasy imprint founded in 1983 by conservative editor Jim Baen. Headquartered in Wake Forest and distributed by Simon and Shuster, Baen Books is also the publisher of several writers associated with the anti-diversity “Sad Puppies” movement formed as a reaction to what its members claim is the negative influence of “social justice warriors” on their genres. Although the Sad Puppies have repeatedly proclaimed their manifesto of restoring what they call the classic virtues of old-fashioned action-adventure storytelling to science fiction and fantasy, few of them write nearly as well as the best of the 1930s and ‘40s pulp authors they claim to admire.
Last July, Baen Books published the Weird Western anthology Straight Out of Tombstone, edited by David Boop. It included Kurtz’s story “The Wicked Wild.” I asked her how it felt appearing in a book from the same publisher as John Ringo.
Kurtz replied that she and the book’s editor David Boop had been friends for decades. “I trusted him with my story, and with the material.” She also said that Straight out of Tombstone wasn’t a typical Baen publication. “I think they were surprised by the success of it. Baen is associated with the Sad Puppies, but I am not sure they want to just be known as the publisher of Sad Puppies authors. They have diverse titles in their catalog, so I didn’t worry about it too much, because I trusted my editor.”
Why does she write horror?
…But, she explained, for a kid growing up in public housing projects, nothing on the page was as frightening as the real world, where she saw people die from violence or drugs, and in which the Atlanta child murders dominated the T.V. news cycle. Horror was an escape from that.
Scientists have found evidence of a huge blast of radiation from the Sun that hit Earth more than 2,000 years ago.
The result has important implications for the present, because solar storms can disrupt modern technology.
The team found evidence in Greenland ice cores that the Earth was bombarded with solar proton particles in 660BC.
The event was about 10 times more powerful than any since modern instrumental records began.
The Sun periodically releases huge blasts of charged particles and other radiation that can travel towards Earth.
The particular kind of solar emission recorded in the Greenland ice is known as a solar proton event (SPE). In the modern era, when these high-energy particles collide with Earth, they can knock out electronics in satellites we rely on for communications and services such as GPS.
…Modern instrumental monitoring data extends back about 60 years. So finding an event in 660BC that’s an order of magnitude greater than anything seen in modern times suggests we haven’t appreciated how powerful such events can be.
Hal Blaine, one of the most prolific and influential drummers of his generation, has died at the age of 90.
Over the course of his career, he played on countless hits by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys and John Lennon, amongst others.
But his most recognisable riff was the “boom-ba-boom-crack” bar that opened The Ronnettes’ Be My Baby.
…According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 2000, Blaine “certainly played on more hit records than any drummer in the rock era, including 40 number one singles and 150 that made the [US] top 10.”
Among those songs were Elvis Presley’s Return to Sender, The Byrds’ Mr Tambourine Man, the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations, Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson, The Mamas and the Papas’ California Dreamin’ and the theme song to Batman.
Blaine also played on eight songs that won a Grammy for record of the year, including Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, 5th Dimension’s Aquarius/Let The Sunshine and Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In the Night.
Prof Stephen Hawking has been honoured on a new 50p coin inspired by his pioneering work on black holes.
The physicist died last year at the age of 76, having become one of the most renowned leaders in his field.
He joins an elite group of scientists to have appeared on coins, including Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
Designer Edwina Ellis said: “I wanted to fit a big black hole on the tiny coin and wish he was still here chortling at the thought.”
(20) UNHAPPY ENDING. Anastasia
Hunter told Facebook readers this
video was taken at San Diego Comic Fest this past weekend and the speaker will
not be invited back.
John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike
Kennedy, John A Arkansawyer, Martin Morse Wooster, and Chip Hitchcock for some
of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack
Online voting has
begun for the 17th Annual Rondo Hatton
Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in
any or all 30 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete
ballot. The deadline to participate is midnight April 20.
As a teaser, here are the Best Movie, Best Television Presentation, and Best Article finalists.
FILM OF 2018
THE LAST KEY
NIGHT EATS THE WORLD
WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE, ‘Boy Wonder, 10.10.18, FX. Classic characters from
‘Coven’ return. Stevie Nicks, too. ‘Have we learned nothing from Attila
the Hun? Herod the Great? Mark Zuckerberg? Men make terrible leaders.’
VS. EVIL DEAD, ‘The Mettle of Man,’ 4.29.18. Starz .A heroic Ash takes on the
deadites in a final battle royal. ‘Oh great! I’ve doomed humanity.’.
MIRROR, ;Bandersnatch,’ 12.28.18, Netflix. Viewers get to choose crucial plot points.
‘You are just a puppet. You are not in control.’
ROCK, ‘Severance,’ 7.25.18, Hulu. Shawshank is setting for series based on
Stephen King’s works. ‘In my experience, the dead aren’t particular.’
ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK, ‘Sacrifice Zone,’ 3.15.18, SyFy. A creepy pasta led to
this unnerving finale. ‘Our god has many angels. We promised her to him, but
she got away.’
CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, ‘An Exorcism in Greendale,’ 10.26.19, Netflix.
A demon inhabits Uncle Jesse. ‘Mephistopheles, save us from the dramatics of a
WHO, ‘Rosa,’ 10.21.18, BBC. The 13th Doctor and her friends
meet Rosa Parks. ‘She changed the world. In fact, she changed the universe.’
GOLDBERGS (Yes, the Goldbergs), ‘Mister Knifey-Hands,’ 10.24.18, ABC. Robert
Englund makes rare appearance as Freddy. ‘Not anymore, Mr. Kroeger.’ ‘Krueger!
HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, ‘The Bent-Neck Lady,’ 10.12.18, Netflix. A family
reunion is shocked by a childhood spectre.. ‘We take care of the house. The
house takes care of us.’
AGAINST EVIL, ‘Larva My Life,’ 11.7.18, IFC. Town falls victim to 50s sci-fi
and kaiju monsters. ’Your ex-husband is here and he’s turning into a caterpillar.’
TREK DISCOVERY, ‘Despite Yourself,’ 1.7.18, CBS Access. The crew finds itself
in a mirror universe. ‘Intelligence suggests we’re not the first ship from our
universe to find ourselves here.’
TERROR, ‘We Are Gone,’ 5.21.18. AMC. Season finale finds death and acceptance
in the Arctic. ‘Our empire is not the only empire. I see that now.’
WALKING DEAD, ‘What Comes After,’ 11.4.18, AMC. Rick confronts ghosts from the
past. ‘One could argue it’s my family you’re looking
Then: Excavating Beneath the Planet of the Apes,’ by John Harrison, WENG’S CHOP
#11. How the ape world ended, with a bang.
Beauty Who Created A Beast,’ by Brian J. Robb, THE DARK SIDE #190. The unsung
career of Millicent Patrick, makeup wizard behind the Creature of the Black
Birds: A HorrorHound Retrospective,’ by Jason ‘Jinx’ Jenkins, HORRORHOUND #72.
The making and marketing of Hitchcock’s classic.
Cool Ghoul Invades Hollywood,’ by Jan Alan Henderson, FILMFAX #152. A personal
account of Zacherley’s rare trips to Los Angeles.
Creeper Chronicles,’ by Tom Weaver, CLASSIC IMAGES #521. Behind-the-scenes of
Rondo Hatton’s five films for Universal.
in the Seventies: Prints of Darkness,’ by Steve Vertleib, Thethunderchild.com.
Restored version of an original article on the Christopher Lee vampire cycle.
Is Family,’ by Andrea Subissati, RUE MORGUE #182. Package of features on roots
and impact of Hereditary.
Fly: Kurt Neumann’s Reinvention of Science Fiction,’ by Nige Burton, CLASSIC
MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #12. How a genre came of age.
to Remember: Creature Features Never to Forget,’ by Spence Connolly, SCARY
MONSTERS #110. A personal journey through horror.
Genesis: This Is How It All Began,’ by Denis Meikle, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS
#40. The influence of the Carreras and Hinds families.
History of Planet Film Productions,’ by Christopher Gullo, MIDNIGHT MARQUEE
#80. The obscure British horror company.
of the Holy,’ by Sean Plummer, RUE MORGUE #180. How religion propels horror
Insects Invade,’ by Mark C. Glassy, PhD., SCARY MONSTERS #107. The creepy truth
behind those giant bug movies.
Man for All Reasons: A Personal Tribute to Richard Hatch,’ by Brad Linaweaver,
Mondocult.com. A remembrance of Battlestar Galactica star.
of Puppets’, and ‘How to Slit Your Own Throat,’ by Preston Fassel and Tate
Steinsiek, FANGORIA Vol. 2, #1. Exploring Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.
of Haruo Nakajima,’ by Tim Bean. G-FAN #118. The Godzilla suit actor in words
Monsters: Reprobates in Disguise,’ by Jamie Jones, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE
MOVIES #13. The loss of humanity as the root of all horrors.
in the Living Room,’ Parts 1-3, by Jim Ivers. SCARY MONSTERS #109-111. A
decade-by-decade look at horror on television.
Mummy in Australia,’ by Daniel Best, MONSTER! #33. Real-life murder surrounded
the Kharis films in the 1940s.
Price of Candy: The Making of Never Take Sweets from a Stranger,’ by
Constantine Nasr, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #40. Examining one of Hammer’s
Harryhausen: A Fan’s Remembrance,’ by L.J. Dopp, MondoCult.com. A career retold
through the memories of his films.
Swings: The Unseen Chainsaw Massacres,’ by William S. Wilson. FANGORIA Vol. 2,
#1. Through newly-discovered story treatments, the sequel that never was.
The Real Magick of Dario Argento,’ by Kat Ellinger, SCREAM #51. Why the
original survives as a genre classic.
First Mad Scientist,’ by Kurt McCoy, SCARY MONSTERS #110. Revealing Prof.
Singleton in 1915’s ‘The Eleventh Dimension.’
Inner Sanctum Series,’ by Pedro de Queiroz, WE BELONG DEAD #20. Tracking the
Lon Chaney Jr. mysteries.
the Hounds of Zaroff,’ by Jon Towlson, THE DARK SIDE #196. The making, and cutting,
of The Most Dangerous Game..
The Power of Facial Disfigurement in Genre Cinema,’ by Chris Herzog, SCREEM
#36. The stuff of nightmares, but rarely discussed.
Are the Martians Now: The Making of Quatermass and the Pit,’ by Bruce G.
Hallenbeck, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #40.
Danforth Ruled the Earth: The Making of Hammer’s Second Dinosaur Epic,’ by Mark
Wolf,’ LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #41. More than stop-motion went into When
Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.
Created Kong?’ by Neil Pettigrew, THE DARK SIDE #191. Comparing Edgar Wallace’s
first draft to what ended up on screen.
The awards are named after Rondo Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, and “honor the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation.” This year’s e-mail vote, conducted by the Classic Horror Film Board, a 23-year old online community, drew more than 3,700 ballots, the most ever.
A Rondo Awards Ceremony will be held at the WonderFest Convention in Louisville on Saturday, June 2, 2018.
BEST FILM OF 2017
THE SHAPE OF WATER
BEST TV PRESENTATION
STRANGER THINGS 2
SUSPIRIA LIMITED EDITION (Synapse)
THE PHANTASM COLLECTION (Well Go USA)
SUSPIRIA LIMITED EDITION (Synapse)
DAVID DEL VALLE, DEREK BOTELHO (Suspiria)
BEST DVD EXTRA
A SIGH FROM THE DEPTHS: 40 YEARS OF SUSPIRIA, directed by Daniel Griffith
BEST INDEPENDENT FILM
THE DEVIL’S CANDY, directed by Sean Byrne
BEST SHORT FILM
KONG: STEEL IN LOVE, directed by Tom Woodruff Jr.
MONSTER KIDS: THE IMPACT OF THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT, directed by James-Michael Roddy
BOOK OF THE YEAR
THE ART OF HORROR MOVIES: An Illustrated History by Stephen Jones
BEST MAGAZINE (Classic)
BEST MAGAZINE (modern)
‘The Epic Untold Saga Behind Frankenstein: The True Story,’ by Sam Irvin, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #38.
BEST INTERVIEW (Award goes to interviewer)
The W.I.T.C.H. interviews by Andrea Subassati, RUE MORGUE #178
The Doctor Is In-Sane, by Dr. Gangrene (SCARY MONSTERS)
SCARY MONSTERS #105 by Scott Jackson
BEST MULTI-MEDIA SITE
TWILIGHT ZONE PODCAST
BEST LIVE EVENT
RAY HARRYHAUSEN’S MYTHICAL MENAGERIE, Science Museum Oklahoma
Few people know the secrets of Collinsport more than Patrick McCray, a Dark Shadows expert whose contributions to the Dark Shadows Daybook keep horror’s enduring scare opera alive for new generations. A writer who viewed 1,225 episodes in 45 days, he shares his obsession with Collinsport fans daily.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The dazzling artwork of Mark Maddox has become as familiar as the logos of our favorite monster magazines. Whether giving a vibrant vibe to Ghidrah or a somber take on Dracula, the Maddox touch is sure and steady. No wonder his work is nominated for several covers each year.
LINDA MILLER AWARD FOR FAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR (In memory of the late Linda Miller)
David G. Hardy
The art of David G. Hardy flows naturally, capturing the hearts and torments of our favorite monsters and supporting players. Whether casual sketches or full-throated portraits, Hardy’s work is in the grand tradition of classic fantasy, propelled by an exuberance of spirit that keeps his horrors…alive.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Sonny Vento of the Haunted Barn Movie Museum
That’s Sonny Vento, now 87, appearing very briefly in 1953 as a longshoreman in THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, just before the Rhedosaur attacks. Vento helped his son, Joey, start the Haunted Barn Movie Museum in New York, which since 1968 has displayed monster props and shown movies to kids young and old. Says Joey: “When we do our Monstrous Movie Memories Show displays, we always do a tribute to dad.” We at the Rondos are delighted to honor a Greatest Generation Monster Kid!
MONSTER KID OF THE YEAR
A vice president at the Cohen Media Group, Tim was the driving force behind the restoration of James Whale’s OLD DARK HOUSE on Blu-Ray. Working his industry contacts for years, he finally got access to a Library of Congress copy for a 4K restoration. Classic horror fans now have the 1932 film as it was meant to be seen. The Rondos are honored to select Tim Lanza as our Monster Kid of the Year,
THE MONSTER KID HALL OF FAME
June Foray was quite literally the voice of several generations, the voice artist behind Rocky and Bullwinkle, Looney Toons, Hanna-Barbera, Disney and scores of commercials and films. Passing away last year at the age of 99, her legacy lives on to the delight of our children and grandchildren.
Taking the tradition of horror hosts to sexy and hilarious heights, Cassandra Peterson’s Elvira character never forgot the dignity of the films she lampooned. For 30 years she’s kept forgotten horror franchises alive. One of the genre’s true pioneers.
In a world of suits and balance sheets, it’s rare that someone who gets it takes charge of a horror franchise as important as THE WALKING DEAD. A trailblazing makeup and effects artist, Nicotero’s deft directing touch keeps the show at the cutting edge of 21st Century storytelling. His work will be a guide for generations of filmmakers to come.
In a world of collectors, few can compare with Robert Taylor, whose rooms of show business memorabilia from the early 1900s to the fright films of the 50s is a living museum. With access to Forrest J Ackerman’s writings and Vincent Price artwork, Taylor is a master of ephemera that matters. In addition, his years of serving as Sara Karloff’s aide de camp at conventions and elsewhere have kept icons available to fans and researchers. Shown above with Victoria Price and Karloff, Robert is a true gentleman of the genre.
For decades he was the anonymous man in the Godzilla suit, walking silently through miniature cities. It was hot in the suit, he said later, sometimes he was injured. But Haruo Nakajima never faltered as he kept Toho’s monster franchise on schedule. Late in life fans learned his names and flocked to him at conventions. When he died at age 88, Nakajima knew that in his own way, he was a star.
Mike Hill’s lifelike sculpts of famous monsters can take your breath away. Full-size and detailed down to the tear on a teenage werewolf’s pants leg, Hill’s work reveals the humanity in even the fiercest of creatures. His work on the merman in THE SHAPE OF WATER shows his Hollywood influence has only just begun.
(1) READ THE GAME. The Read it Forward site is celebrating Ready Player One’s theatrical debut this week with an interactive 8-bit-inspired excerpt that “gamifies” the prologue from Ernest Cline’s novel. [Click on the GIF to view.]
Read your way to the top of the Scoreboard as you earn points for discovering Easter eggs that bring the content to life. As readers learn of Parzival’s hunt for the keys to OASIS, they’ll maneuver their way around a maze, attend an ‘80s dance party, unlock footnotes, and more. Upon completion, readers can add their name to a Scoreboard and share their score with a link to the excerpt on social media. All of the excerpt’s hidden extras are unlocked once a reader earns the maximum score of 10,000 points.
The Hugo-winning Chinese novel The Three-Body Problem could become Amazon’s Game of Thrones. A new report from Financial Times suggests Amazon is pursuing a deal to make a three-season television show based on the trilogy from Liu Cixin, and it may be willing to pay up to $1 billion to do so.
According to the Financial Times report, international investors say Amazon is negotiating for the rights to produce three seasons based on Remembrance of Earth’s Past, the scifi trilogy more commonly known by the title of its first book, The Three-Body Problem.
In a statement reported by Chinese news outlets, YooZoo Pictures stated that it remains the sole owners for the film and TV rights for The Three-Body Problem, though it didn’t comment on whether Amazon had approached the company or were in talks with them to collaborate on this reported streaming project. Cixin was also asked about this development by Chinese news outlet MTime.com, where he revealed he knew nothing about the project and doesn’t know if he’d be invited to work on it.
(3) DISSENTING VOICE. In contrast to those looking forward to the movie, Vox says “The Ready Player One book used to be considered a fun romp. Then Gamergate happened,” in “The Ready Player One backlash, explained”.
A time traveler from 2011 could be forgiven for being deeply confused by this response. In 2011, Ready Player One was beloved. It was “a guaranteed pleasure.” It was “witty.” It was not only “a simple bit of fun” but also “a rich and plausible picture of future friendships in a world not too distant from our own.”
What gives? How did the consensus on a single book go from “exuberant and meaningful fun!” to “everything that is wrong with the internet!” over the span of seven years?
… But the main thing Ready Player One is doing is telling those ’80s-boy-culture-obsessed gamers that they matter, that in fact they are the most important people in the universe. That knowing every single goddamn word of Monty Python and the Holy Grail can have life-or-death stakes, because why shouldn’t it? (Yes, that is a crucial step in Wade’s battle to save the OASIS.)
For readers in Cline’s target demographic in 2011, that message felt empowering. For readers who weren’t, it felt like a harmless piece of affirmation meant for someone else. Everyone deserves a silly escapist fantasy, right? And since Cline’s silly escapist fantasy wasn’t specifically meant for girls — unlike, say, Twilight, which was getting savaged in popular culture at the time — Ready Player One was largely left alone by the people it wasn’t built for…
(4) ASHBY STORY. This month’s entry in the Future Tense Fiction series, “Domestic Violence” by Madeline Ashby, is a free read at Slate.
A partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University, Future Tense explores how emerging technologies will change the way we live. The latest consumer gadgets are intriguing, but we focus on the longer-term transformative power of robotics, information and communication technologies, synthetic biology, augmented reality, space exploration, and other technologies. Future Tense seeks to understand the latest technological and scientific breakthroughs, and what they mean for our environment, how we relate to one another, and what it means to be human. Future Tense also examines whether technology and its development can be governed democratically and ethically.
Violence against women is having something of a moment right now. Which is to say, portrayals of domestic violence in film and TV are gaining critical acclaim. Through shows like Big Little Lies and movies like I, Tonya, popular culture is grappling with more nuanced representations of domestic violence and the humanity of survivors of abuse. These are important conversations, and I hope that this is the start of a profound societal transformation, though time will tell. For me, the most disturbing part of these portrayals is not the brutality of the assaults, but how frequently physical violence is prioritized over other types of abusive behavior. It is what we don’t see that worries me.
We see this distorted prioritization in real life, too. I’ve been a domestic violence attorney for more than a decade. Despite the long list of clients who have struggled to get the justice system to live up to its name, I have found that survivors are much more likely to get help for physical assaults than for other kinds of abusive behavior such as stalking, surveillance, harassment, and intimate image disclosures, which frequently feel more harmful to the survivor.
(5) AVENGERS PLUG. A new TV spot for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War.
The end is near. One month until Avengers: Infinity War.
(6) SEARCH FOR DIVERSE FICTION. Rocket Stack Rank has another new feature. Greg Hullender explains:
In response to readers who wanted a way to find good stories by diverse authors, we did an analysis of the most-recommended short speculative fiction stories written by people of color in 2015 and 2016 — “Best People of Color SF/F of 2015-2016”.
This only looks at stories that got some sort of recognition (e.g. solid recommendation from a prolific reviewer, inclusion in a years-best anthology, finalist for a major award), so just 481 stories across those two years. Of those, 112 were written by people of color.
The credit for this work goes to Eric Wong, who did the hard work of looking up information on all the authors as well as customizing the software to let readers group the data different ways.
Or what about one who, with a quick pour of potassium iodide into a mix of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and food coloring, makes bubbly foam that shoots toward the ceiling? Kate Biberdorf is no imaginary teacher. She’s real, and she’s coming to Washington next month, bringing along her blowtorch and cornstarch, her supplies of liquid nitrogen and dry ice, and a lot of enthusiasm for chemistry.
Bibersdorf’s website is http://katethechemist.com/. How could Filers NOT be interested in a woman who says her goal in life is “to have an explosive science show in Vegas?”
We all need a little help sometimes. This is one of those times for Bill. He has several different health issues going on right now and the medical expenses he is incurring that are not covered through Medicare are mounting and could get much worse. As well, he’s facing some unforeseeable out of pocket expenses that could potentially end up being a serious problem. Right now, Bill simply doesn’t have enough for monthly bills, day to day living expenses and numerous co-pays that keep coming his way for various medical necessities.
Many readers know Bill as the award-winning writer William Browning Spencer, author of novels like Zod Wallop, Resume with Monsters and short-story collections like his latest, The Unorthodox Dr. Draper and Other Stories.
But Bill has contributed to others in a very different way as well. By freely and graciously donating endless amounts of his time over the years to sponsoring and supporting people who are facing their own daunting problems related to alcohol, drugs and living life. It’s time to give back to Bill what he has so freely given.
This is something Bill would never ask for himself, but he is one of my best friends and I know he is important to folks like yourself, who may wish to help in his time of need. Bill is truly one of the most amazing, caring and hilarious human beings I know and if you’re reading this you most likely feel the same. I think we’d all love for Bill to have the peace of mind of knowing that, whatever happens, he need not be stressed out and worried each day about how he’s going to pay for medication or a test or procedure he needs on top of his modest monthly and day to day expenses.
(9) BISCHOFF OBIT. Writer David Bischoff, 66, of Eugene, OR died March 19. He was a contributor to Doug Fratz’ 1970s fanzine Thrust. His first professional successes included The Seeker, a novel published in 1976, and the Nebula-nominated story “Tin Woodman,” co-authored with Dnnis Bailey, later adapted into both a novel and TV episode for Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also wrote the Star Trek tie-in novel Grounded, which spent time on the bestseller list. His other TV work included Dinosaucers (with Ted Pedersen). Bischoff wrote 75 original novels, and tie-in novels for movies and TV series.
David Bischoff. Photo by and copyright Andrew Porter.
(10) A POLICEMAN’S LOT. Camestros Felapton reacted to Richard Paolinelli’s minor league prank of complaining to the Aussie cops about Felapton’s blog.
A stalwart champion of free speech has attempted to report me to the federal police for the crime of having a blog – once again surpassing satire.
Cop’s spouse: did you catch many evil doers today honey? Cop: Mainly read an advice column on the internet…by a dinosaur…about how t-Rexs drink too much and try to climb trees when they are drunk… Cop’s spouse: Just another day on the mean crime ridden streets of Canberra
Back in Victorian Britain, science was still largely an amateur pastime conducted by bands of self-financed enthusiasts who formed scientific societies. One was the Scottish Meteorological Society, which set up and maintained a network of weather stations across Scotland between 1855 and 1920.
Tell us how important is the detection of two colliding neutron stars?
It is a genuine milestone. It is the first ever detection of a gravitational wave source with an electromagnetic counterpart. It confirms that short gamma-ray bursts occur with neutron star mergers. It gives a new way of determining distances in cosmology. And it teaches us about the behaviour of matter with incredibly high density.
No. Most of the 8.5-tonne station will disintegrate as it passes through the atmosphere.
Some very dense parts such as the fuel tanks or rocket engines might not burn up completely. However, even if parts do survive to the Earth’s surface, the chances of them hitting a person are incredibly slim.
“Our experience is that for such large objects typically between 20% and 40% of the original mass will survive re-entry and then could be found on the ground, theoretically,” the head of Esa’s space debris office, Holger Krag, told reporters at a recent briefing.
“However, to be injured by one of these fragments is extremely unlikely. My estimate is that the probability of being injured by one of these fragments is similar to the probability of being hit by lightning twice in the same year.”
Adam Nimoy, son of the late “Star Trek” icon Leonard Nimoy, and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” actress Terry Farrell married on Monday, on what would’ve been Leonard Nimoy’s 87th birthday.
The couple tied the knot in a civil ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco, according to film critic Scott Mantz, who tweeted a photo of the couple on their wedding day. Farrell retweeted Mantz’s photo and wrote, “Freakin AWESOME day!!!!!!! Love ya all! Aka: Mrs. Adam Nimoy.”
She also changed her Twitter bio to include “Mrs. Adam Nimoy.”
(15) COMPLAINTS ABOUT DATE OF HUGO ANNOUNCEMENT. The announcement of the 2018 Hugo finalists wouldn’t be on March 31/Passover/Easter weekend/a Saturday if it was up to these folks:
Do Worldcons get to pick when the Hugo finalists get announced? Because if so I'm going to start exclusively supporting bids that pledge to announce nominees on a weekday, when nominees have a chance of getting press coverage.
And yes I realize I'm kicking the hornet's nest of "this is a fandom event" vs "this is a professional industry event." It's both. That's fine. But cleaving to a practice that doesn't serve modern fandom is choosing 'tradition' over inclusivity.
Hey @Dublin2019, PLEASE, Next year, please announce the Hugo Award Finalists on a Monday or Tuesday morning, not on a Saturday.This is a tradition that long since has lost its usefulness. https://t.co/OZn8jADkDu
Last year was the anomaly. Releasing the info simultaneously on the weekend of multiple Easter weekend conventions has been the tradition as long as I remember. (Not saying it's good or defensible. I was just pleasantly surprised it was a weekday last year)
Part of a longstanding tradition of announcing them the weekend of Easter, so it's always been an inconvenience to observant Christians. This year, by fluke of the calendar, they're discriminating a little bit less.
OK, while I'm yelling about dumb Hugos things, what the hell is this nonsense? Who thought it was a good idea to put the ceremony on a Sunday night? Most attendees need to be back at work and this makes it that much harder even for pros and industry folk to attend. pic.twitter.com/9LWnJopd8Q
The ceremony is usually on the Saturday. Worldcon 76 contact information page:https://t.co/FoGWz43NlE I'd suggest contacting Events, the Chair, and WSFS. I have no idea if the plans are too mature to change.
— ULTRAGOTHA [Call Congress: (202) 224-3121] (@ULTRAGOTHA) March 27, 2018
(16) VERTLIEB CANVASSES. Rondo Awards voting closes April 8 at midnight and Steve Vertlieb hopes people will consider his nominated article “Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight” for Best Article of the Year.
My published work about the author of “Psycho” … “Robert Bloch: The Clown At Midnight” … has been nominated for a Rondo Award for “Best Article of the Year.” Anyone can vote. This year’s competition ends Sunday night, April 8th, at midnight. To vote for my remembrance of Robert, simply send your choice, along with your name, to email@example.com
This is the story of my twenty five year friendship with acclaimed writer Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho. It is the newly published remembrance of a complex, remarkable man, and our affectionate relationship over a quarter century.
Robert Bloch was one of the founding fathers of classic horror, fantasy, and science fiction whose prolific prose thrilled and influenced the popular genre, its writers, and readers, for much of the twentieth century. An early member of “The Lovecraft Circle,” a group of both aspiring and established writers of “Weird Fiction” assembled by Howard Phillips Lovecraft during the early 1930’s, Bloch became one of the most celebrated authors of that popular literary genre during the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s, culminating in the publication of his controversial novel concerning a boy, his mother, and a particularly seedy motel. When Alfred Hitchcock purchased his novel and released “Psycho” with Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh in 1960, Bloch became one of the most sought after authors and screen writers in Hollywood. His numerous contributions to the acclaimed television anthology series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” are among the best of the director’s classic suspense series, while his legendary scripts, adaptations and teleplays for Boris Karloff’s “Thriller” series for NBC are among the most bone chilling, frightening, and horrifying screen presentations in television history. He also famously penned several classic episodes of NBC’s original “Star Trek” series for producer Gene Roddenberry. Writers Stephen King, Richard Matheson, and Harlan Ellison have written lovingly and profusely of their own literary debt to Robert Bloch. Bob was, for me, even more significantly, a profoundly singular mentor and cherished personal friend for a quarter century. This is the story of that unforgettable relationship.
(17) NUMBER PLEASE. A strange post at George R.R. Martin’s Not a Blog caught Greg Hullender’s eye: “I wonder if this is a coded announcement that Winds of Winter is coming?” “Yowza” consists of a series of pictures of hands with finger extended as though counting. But does the number 4534 really mean anything?
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Joey Eschrich, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Ghostbird, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Greg Hullender, Paul DiFilippo, and Mark Hepworth for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]
Online voting has begun for the 16th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in any or all 29 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete ballot. The deadline to participate is midnight April 8.
As teaser, here are the Best Movie, Best Television Presentation, and Best Article finalists.
BEST MOVIE OF 2017
THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER
BLADE RUNNER 2049
CULT OF CHUCKY
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2
HAPPY DEATH DAY
Stephen King’s IT
IT COMES AT NIGHT
KONG SKULL ISLAND
THE SHAPE OF WATER
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
SUPER DARK TIMES
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
BEST TELEVISION PRESENTATION OF 2017
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT, ’11/9.’ 9.26.17, FX. Election results spark a murderous cult from both sides. ‘Take pain in one hand and anger in another. Use them.’
BLACK MIRROR, ‘USS Callister,’ 12.29.17, NETFLIX. A creepy take on fandom and Star Trek. ‘But then you threw my son out of an airlock.’
DOCTOR WHO, ‘Twice Upon a Time,’ 12.25.17, BBC America. The Twelfth Doctor, refusing to regenerate, meets the First Doctor. ‘There’s a few false starts, but you get there in the end.’
THE EXORCIST, ‘Darling Nikki,’ 11.10.17, FOX. An attempt to draw the Demon out of hiding. ‘After they’ve gone, we’ll start putting this house together again.’
FEUD, ‘You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?’ 4.23.17, FX. The Bette Davis-Joan Crawford finale includes recreation of Crawford filming TROG. ‘My mother told me to never speak ill of the dead, only good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.’
GAME OF THRONES, ‘The Spoils of War,’ 8.6.17. A spectacular battle of fire and ice. Dragons, too. ‘I will fight for you. I will fight for the North. When you bend the knee.’
THE HANDMAID’S TALE, ‘A Woman’s Place,’ 5.17.17, HULU. An ambassador brings short-lived hope. ‘We let them forget their real purpose. We won’t let that happen again.’
THE ORVILLE, ‘Pria’ 10.5.17, FOX. Charlize Theron guests as an alien from the future. ‘When we get to my century, I’ll introduce you to Amelia Earhart.’
STAN AGAINST EVIL, ‘Girl’s Night,’ 11.8.17, IFC. Jeffrey Combs guest stars as Impish Man. ‘Answer the door. Then step outside and lock it, and everything will be great.’
STRANGER THINGS, ‘The Gate,’ 10.27.17, NETFLIX. Eleven and others confront beasts from the Upside Down. ‘I never gave up on you. I called you every night.’
THE WALKING DEAD, ‘Bury Me Here,” 3.12.17 AMC. Carol rejoins the fight after a delivery to the Saviors goes bad. ‘We have to fight. We do. But not today..’
‘Battle of the Monster Makers: The Science Behind Henry and Victor Frankenstein,’ by Mark C Glassy, PhD, SCARY MONSTERS #103. The science behind Universal and Hammer’s dueling mad doctors.
‘Boris Karloff: Host of NBC’s Thriller,’ by Dr. Robert J. Kiss, CLASSIC IMAGES #507. How the horror icon held viewers spellbound.
‘Caltiki: The Name Written in Tripe,’ by Tim Lucas. SCREEM #33. The rediscovery of Mario Bava’s role in his Italian monster movie.
‘Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight,’ by Steve Vertlieb, THETHUNDERCHILD.COM. Recalling a 25-year friendship with the author of Psycho.
‘Could the Zombo Show Be Successful Today?’, by Mike DeMesa (art by Rob Costello), SCARY MONSTERS #103. A wistful look at the Munsters short-lived horror host.
‘The Epic Untold Saga Behind Frankenstein: The True Story,’ by Sam Irvin, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #38. More than 100 pages on the 1973 NBC miniseries that brought elegance and star-power to Mary Shelley’s monster.
‘Fan Therapy: Subscription Boxes,’ by Nathan Hanneman, HORRORHOUND #63. What do you actually get in those horror mystery boxes? HH opens them up.
‘The Future of Horror: Directing a New Generation,’ by Nathan Hanneman and staff, HORRORHOUND #68. A look at directors who will be taking the genre in scary new directions.
‘The Great and Secret Showman,’ by Sean Plummer, RUE MORGUE #176. The myths and truths behind Satanist Anton Lavey.
”How Do You Solve a Problem Like Carmilla, Part Two,’ by John-Paul Checkett, VIDEO WATCHDOG #184. More surp[rising films based on LeFanu’s novella.
‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ by Nige Burton, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #9. An in-depth look at the 1939 all-time classic.
‘James Whale,’ a three-part article by Neil Pettigrew, DARK SIDE #183, 188, 189. Visits to Whale’s birthplace and stage career offer insights to his Universal monsters.
‘Less Is More: on the Need to Return to Generic Horror,’ by Preston Fassel, HeardTell.com. A prescription for change.
‘The Mummy: 85 Years of Stalking,’ by Jon Kitley with Jason Jink Jenkins, HORRORHOUND # A museum-full of mummified films, toys, games and artifacts.
‘Music to our Fears,’ by Jamie Jones, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #6. Dissecting the horror themes that made so many films so memorable.
‘The Night of the Eagle Revisited,’ by Clive Dawson, DARK SIDE #181. The many incarnations of Burn Witch Burn.
‘The Obscure Cinematic Lore of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,’ by Steve Joyce, the Journal of Stevenson Studies, Vol. 13. Exploring the many silent-film takes on one of literature’s original monsters.
‘The Old Dark House, Fixed Up Good as New,’ by Tom Weaver, CLASSIC IMAGES #509. Interviews and tons of facts about the newly restored James Whale classic.
‘Paul Blaisdell: The Strange Creature of Topanga Canyon,’ by Vincent di Fate, SCARY MONSTERS #104-105. The low-budget triumphs and career heartbreak of a master monster maker.
‘Paul Naschy,’ by Rod Barnett, SCREEM #34. An expert examines the latest Naschy resurgence.
‘Phyllis Coates, or Loosing Lois Lane in New York,’ by Bruce Dettman, FILMFAX #150. A first-person account of escorting the Superman star to a Manhattan convention.
‘The Production of Universal’s Invisible Man Returns,’ by Greg Mank, MONSTER BASH #29. How Vincent Price went invisible.
‘Regarding the Incomparable Acting Career of Peter Lorre,’ by Lucas Paris, MONDOCULT.com. The performances are the thing in this look at one of horror’s most singular presences.
“The Road to Hell: The Making of To the Devil a Daughter and the Unmaking of Hammer,’ by David Taylor, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #39. How Hammer blew a last chance to stay afloat.
‘Supernatural Folklore in the Japanese Ghost Film,’ by Kat Ellinger, DIABOLIQUE #26. Tracing the cultural roots of apparitions and demons.
‘Triple Threat: Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster,’ by Martin Arlt, MAD SCIENTIST #32. Everything, and more, you need to know about Godzilla’s arch-nemesis.
’20 Years of Monsters,’ by Michael Ramsey and Deborah Painter, MONSTER BASH #30. A look back at two decades of fandom’s most monster-friendly convention.
Filer Steve Vertlieb’s article “Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight” is up for a “Best Article” Rondo Award, and he’d be glad to have you read and consider voting for it. Anyone can vote – simply send an e-mail to David Colton (firstname.lastname@example.org) with their name, e-mail, and the nominees they’re voting for. Everyone may vote just once. Voting ends Sunday night, April 8, 2018, at midnight.