Pixel Scroll 1/15/18 Scroll Down, You File Too Fast, You Got To Make The Pixels Last

(1) KURT ERICHSEN’S RETIREMENT MAKES THE NEWS. The Toledo Blade has published a superb article about fanartist Kurt Erichsen, who is retiring from his day job as vice president of water quality planning for Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments after a 34-year career. I learned all kinds of things I never knew about his work on getting the Ottawa river cleaned up, and was pleased to see they also covered some of the fannish things I did know about the 2002 Rotsler Award winner —

Mr. Erichsen’s passion for environmental planning wasn’t his first calling in life, though. He was fascinated with drawing since he was young. He might have pursued a career as an illustrator if his parents hadn’t convinced him otherwise, but he never gave up his passion for drawing.

From 1980 to 2008, he produced a comic strip called “Murphy’s Manor.” It focused on the lives of gay men living in the fictional town of Black Swamp, Ohio. That series and others he produced, including “The Sparkle Spinsters” and “GLIB Talk,” appeared in as many as 70 publications marketed to homosexuals, resulting in awards from the Gay/?Lesbian Press Association.

“I was trying to be entertaining while making a point,” Mr. Erichsen said.

Mr. Erichsen also has produced artwork for fans of science fiction fanzines and conventions.

(2) COMES THE MILLENNIUM. Congratulations to James Davis Nicoll, who sent a link to his review of Elizabeth Hand’s Winterlong – captioned “And Rain Keeps Falling Like Helpless Tears” – with the note that it is his 1000th review.

Elizabeth Hand’s 1990 debut novel Winterlong is the first volume in her Winterlong Trilogy.

Nuclear war and germ warfare have left Washington a shadow of its once glorious past. A handful of administrators, descended from self-appointed curators, control the relics of America’s lost past, defending the remnants from the diseased, mutated, and simply unlucky inhabitants of the surrounding sea of ruins….

(3) VERSE AS SWORD AND SHIELD. Middle-Earth Reflections’ new post “On the songs of power” discusses how they work in The Silmarillion.

Among many powerful notions in the world of Arda few are more potent than music and language. Music is the essential element of Arda, its heart and soul, as the world was created and shaped by the majestic Music of the Ainur. And it was the word of Ilúvatar — Eä! — that brought the created vision to life.

The power of words in Middle-earth cannot be overestimated. If used masterfully, with subtlety and skill they can inspire others to do incredible things. It is especially prominent when words are put into verse: songs can become something a lot more potent than mere poetic recitals. I have already spoken about the songs of challenge in The Silmarillion: sung in the situations of dire need and despair, they bring hope and salvation against all the odds. A special place in the story is occupied by the songs of power. They are very effective verses able to create or destroy, be used as a weapon or for defence.

It is by means of a song that Yavanna brings to life the Two Trees of Valinor and, later, the last fruit and flower from them used for creating the Sun and the Moon after the Trees’ destruction. Finrod duels with Sauron on the songs of power. Lúthien sings an equally powerful song to make Tol-in-Gaurhoth tremble and be heard by Beren trapped in Sauron’s dungeons.

(4) HANDMAID’S TALE. Hulu previews the second season.

Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 returns April 25.

 

(5) ATWOOD’S FEMINISM. Margaret Atwood answers her own question, “Am I a bad feminist?”, in an op-ed at the Toronto Globe and Mail.

So let us suppose that my Good Feminist accusers, and the Bad Feminist that is me, agree on the above points. Where do we diverge? And how did I get into such hot water with the Good Feminists?

In November of 2016, I signed – as a matter of principle, as I have signed many petitions – an Open Letter called UBC Accountable, which calls for holding the University of British Columbia accountable for its failed process in its treatment of one of its former employees, Steven Galloway, the former chair of the department of creative writing, as well as its treatment of those who became ancillary complainants in the case. Specifically, several years ago, the university went public in national media before there was an inquiry, and even before the accused was allowed to know the details of the accusation. Before he could find them out, he had to sign a confidentiality agreement. The public – including me – was left with the impression that this man was a violent serial rapist, and everyone was free to attack him publicly, since under the agreement he had signed, he couldn’t say anything to defend himself. A barrage of invective followed.

But then, after an inquiry by a judge that went on for months, with multiple witnesses and interviews, the judge said there had been no sexual assault, according to a statement released by Mr. Galloway through his lawyer. The employee got fired anyway. Everyone was surprised, including me. His faculty association launched a grievance, which is continuing, and until it is over, the public still cannot have access to the judge’s report or her reasoning from the evidence presented. The not-guilty verdict displeased some people. They continued to attack. It was at this point that details of UBC’s flawed process began to circulate, and the UBC Accountable letter came into being.

A fair-minded person would now withhold judgment as to guilt until the report and the evidence are available for us to see. We are grownups: We can make up our own minds, one way or the other. The signatories of the UBC Accountable letter have always taken this position. My critics have not, because they have already made up their minds. Are these Good Feminists fair-minded people? If not, they are just feeding into the very old narrative that holds women to be incapable of fairness or of considered judgment, and they are giving the opponents of women yet another reason to deny them positions of decision-making in the world.

The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system. All too frequently, women and other sexual-abuse complainants couldn’t get a fair hearing through institutions – including corporate structures – so they used a new tool: the internet. Stars fell from the skies. This has been very effective, and has been seen as a massive wake-up call. But what next? The legal system can be fixed, or our society could dispose of it. Institutions, corporations and workplaces can houseclean, or they can expect more stars to fall, and also a lot of asteroids.

If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers? It won’t be the Bad Feminists like me. We are acceptable neither to Right nor to Left. In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated. Fiction writers are particularly suspect because they write about human beings, and people are morally ambiguous. The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity.

(6) VENUS IF YOU WILL. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler reports on the wealth of information collected by the latest (in 1963) Venus probe — “[January 15, 1963] Venus’ true face (Scientific Results of Mariner 2)”.

Getting there is half the fun

Before I talk about Mariner’s encounter with Venus, it’s important to discuss what the spacecraft discovered on the way there.  After all, it was a 185 million mile trip, most of it in interplanetary space charted but once before by Pioneer 5.  And boy, did Mariner learn a lot!

For instance, it has finally been confirmed that the sun does blow a steady stream of charged particles in a gale known as the “Solar Wind.”  The particles get trapped in Earth’s magnetic field and cause, among other things, our beautiful aurorae.

Mariner also measured the interplanetary magnetic field, which is really the sun’s magnetic field.  It varies with the 27-day solar rotation, and if we had more data, I suspect the overall map of the field would look like a spiral.

Why is all this important?  Well, aside from giving us an idea of the kind of “space weather” future probes and astronauts will have to deal with, these observations of the sun’s effect on space give us a window as to what’s going on inside the sun to generate these effects.

One last bit: along the way, Mariner measured the density of “cosmic dust,” little physical particles in space.  It appears that there’s a lot of it around the Earth, perhaps trapped by our magnetic field, and not a lot in space.  It may be that the solar wind sweeps the realm between the planets clean….

(7) LAST JEDI DOES NOT IMPRESS CHINESE. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “China Box Office: ‘Jumanji’ Clobbers Competition With $40M, ‘Last Jedi’ Crashes and Burns”.

Dwane Johnson’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle roared into China over the weekend, racking up a strong $40 million.

The Sony tentpole finally toppled runaway Chinese hit The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes, which earned $25.3 million in its third frame, bringing its local total to $272 million. Globally, Jumanji, also starring Kevin Hart, has earned $667 million.

Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, meanwhile, didn’t even put up a fight. Only in its second weekend on Chinese screens, The Last Jedi pulled in a paltry $2.4 million — a 92 percent decline from its disappointing $28.7 million debut, according to data from EntGroup.

The Star Wars franchise, never popular in China, appears to be on a precipitous decline in the Middle Kingdom, the world’s second-largest film territory.

…The global picture is far better, of course: As of Sunday, Last Jedi had a worldwide haul of $1.264 billion, making it the biggest film of 2017.

Looper attempts to explain the disappointing numbers –

(8) BINTI ARC CONCLUDES. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog points out how Binti: The Night Masquerade Is the Epic Climax to a Deeply Personal Saga”.

Each of the previous two books in Dr. Nnedi Okorafor’s coming-of-age story saw Binti faced with tremendous change and exposed her to new truths that widened her world, and made it smaller. She’s taken on attributes of the (sometimes) murderous and very alien Meduse, and come to understand there’s more to the seemingly uncivilized desert people of her homeland than she’d ever imagined. The Night Masquerade is the conclusion of her journey, and the title refers to a spectre of change that appears to significant people at times of great crisis. It’s wonderfully evocative of the climactic nature of the story, and Binti will face a great deal more turmoil before hers is done.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born January 15, 1935 – Robert Silverberg

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Mike Kennedy says Pearls Before Swine showed him an excellent reason (or three) to keep the closet closed
  • John King Tarpinian discovered the consequences of making a Flintstones reference in B.C.
  • Mike Kennedy learned news happens whether you know it or not in this installment of Nonsequitur.
  • The Flying McCoys explore what would happen to Batman if a certain supervillain lived up to his name.

(11) WHAT GOES UP. The BBC talks to “The astronaut fighting to save our home in space”:

The International Space Station (ISS) is humanity’s most expensive structure – and in just six years’ time, it may vanish, plunging into the Pacific Ocean. BBC Future meets the man trying to save it.

… “I’ve been very, very, very, very lucky,” he says, laughing. “Most astronauts are very jealous of me, which is probably why I won’t get to fly in space again!”

Most famously, Foale was on board Mir in June 1997 when an un-crewed Progress supply ship ploughed into the station, smashing a solar panel and breaching the hull. With the master alarm sounding, air leaking, power failing and the station spinning, Foale worked with his two Russian crewmates to prepare their Soyuz escape capsule and close off the damaged module.

By holding his thumb to a station window and examining the movement of stars, Foale used his physics training to estimate the spin rate of the station, so mission control could fire thrusters to bring it back under control.

(12) MUST COME DOWN. Someone hit the center divider on the road, went airborne and crashed into the SECOND floor of a dental business —

Which inspired this Harry Potter reference from “Typical Girl” —

(13) MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. In “Bruce Lee Lightsabers Scene Recreation,” Patrick Nan asks, “What if Bruce Lee fought with lightsabers?”

(14) COMMITMENT. Laura Resnick continues a series about her volunteer work — “Cat Rescue, Part 3: Return to Sender”.

I’m writing a series of blog posts about my volunteer work in cat rescue with Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T.). Part 1 discusses how I got involved and outlines how it works. Part 2 talks about the happy endings that are so rewarding in this work, as well as the sad ones (and also the appallingly infuriating ones) that make some days very hard.

There is another kind of outcome to pet adoption, too. Despite good people trying hard, sometimes things just don’t work out. A cat turns out to be a bad fit for a family, or the family’s life changes in tragic ways that make keeping the cat impossible… and they return them to C.A.T.. This is sad for everyone, but it is absolutely the right thing to do in such circumstances.

I cannot stress this strongly enough: if family decides not to keep a pet, they should return the animal to us (and any responsible rescue group has this same policy). The most important thing to us is that the cat should always be safe. By rescuing the cat, we made a promise that we will never abandon this animal or allow it to return to the condition from which we rescued it, alone and forsaken in the world. Do not break our promise by abandoning the animal we entrusted to you at the time of adoption. Return it to us.

(15) CLASSIC WEIRD. Jared pays tribute to “Jane Gaskell, First Lady of the Weird” in a compelling review article at Pornokitsch. Here’s an excerpt:

The Atlan Series: The Serpent (1963), Atlan (1965), The City (1966), Some Summer Lands (1977)

Note: To keep things complicated, later printings split The Serpent into two volumes (The Serpent and The Dragon)

This series – Gaskell’s epic fantasy saga – is batshit crazy.

It follows Princess Cija, as she meddles in the politics of Atlantis. She goes from princess to prisoner to conqueror to spy to Chosen One to fugitive to back again… It is bonkers, risque and occasionally befuddling.

In a way, the Atlan saga is an even more extreme version of Strange Evil, exacerbated, perhaps, due to its epic length. Cija, like Judith, lacks agency. She is notable because she is desired, rather than possessing any strong desires of her own. She’s passed from hand to hand (to paw), partner to partner. Her bloodline is important, her presence is ‘destined’, but, again, we find in Cjia a distressing subversion of a Chosen One. She is one that has been Chosen, rather than having any control over her fate. This is the Epic Fantasy with the princess-in-the-tower as the first person protagonist, and it can make for harrowing reading: to be the prize and not the hero is, unsurprisingly, kind of dark.

Atlan also has an utterly ridiculous setting – packed with ‘SPACE AGE’ SF, mad science, dragons, monsters, death rays, lizard people, whatever. It feels almost deliberately pulpy, in a way that makes its sneaky-dark message all the more sinister.

Michael Moorcock included the series in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books (1988), and admires – slightly sarcastically – the over-the-top pulpy elements. He refers to the series’ “bewildering status changes” and “breathless peregrinations”, and his summary gleefully points out how silly the whole thing is. But he eventually concludes “Too much? Never! Stirring stuff, all of it.”

Others also (mostly) approve – John Clute describes it with lukewarm praise: “In genre terms the series – sometimes uneasily, but at points with real panache – marries sf and the popular romance; it is full of vigorous and exuberant invention and occasionally overheated prose.” (It is worth noting that late 1960s ‘popular romance’ was pretty bleak stuff – this isn’t a sappy love story, but a harrowing tale of self-actualisation [or… semi-reluctant acceptance].)

(16) ROBOTS V. FAIRIES. SF Bluestocking’s Bridget McKinney isn’t high on this new collection — “Book Review: Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe”.

Robots vs. Fairies is my first reading disappointment of 2018. I loved Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s first anthology, 2016’s The Starlit Wood, so I was very hyped for this one when it was announced. Unfortunately, Robots vs. Fairies is a bit of a sophomore slump for the editing pair, with a theme that feels more questionable the farther one reads into the collection, stories that largely feel a little too written to spec, and not enough that’s new and interesting to recommend it on those scores. It might work as sort of comfort reading for those who find its table of contents—filled with some of the hottest short fiction writers currently working in SFF—appealing, but if you’re looking for exciting, fresh, innovative work, there’s not much of that here.

(17) JDA TODAY. Jon Del Arroz tries to defend against the Jim C. Hines compilation without mentioning the author by name in “The Ever-Changing Narrative And Double Standards Show They’re Disingenuous” (link to the Internet Archive).

In the past couple days, with that Narrative being such bad publicity for the convention because of the double standard they applied over political affiliation, it’s shifted to “he’s mean on the internet!”  NYT Bestsellers have been swearing about me on their twitter, lower-selling midlist authors are cheering and congratulating each other over spreading rumors and gossip like this is a high school clique rather than professionals. This strategy is going to backfire as well, because first, being mean on the internet is not a crime. No one has been banned from conventions over being mean on the internet before. And it applies to these folk in a massive double standard way. I don’t go around being nearly as mean or cruel as they are.

(18) MEDIC, I’M HIT! I was bitterly disappointed that Jim C. Hines showed in comments today that he reviewed the evidence with JDA about his doctored “Goodbye Jon” email conversation with me (which actually happened in this order) only to conclude —

The summary: We have several possibilities here.

  1. Jon is faking his screenshots.
  2. Mike is lying.
  3. Jon’s Sent Mail shows a different Sent Time than the email(s) Mike received from him.

(19) CHOPPAGE. At Pedestrian, Ben McLeay reports the latest antics of men’s rights activists – erasing women from The Last Jedi — “MRAs Make 46-Minute Cut Of ‘The Last Jedi’ That Edits Out All The Women”.

It is utterly tragic that MRAs aren’t given the respect they deserve. It’s truly galling that just because their entire worldview was formed around a profound sense of entitlement induced by watching thousands of hours of harem anime, no one takes them seriously. It’s heartbreaking to think that people dismiss them out of hand just because – instead of addressing actual issues like the rates of suicide and depression among men – they focus on dumb shit like editing out all the parts of The Last Jedi that aren’t centred around men.

If that last thing sounded too ridiculous to be true, you have clearly forgotten which time it is that we live in and the corresponding fact that pretty much nothing now is too ridiculous to be true. We live in the most aggressively ridiculous timeline. Accordingly, the self-described “chauvinist cut” of TLJ is very, very real, and exactly as dumb as it sounds.

Uploaded to The Pirate Bay yesterday by an anonymous user, the “The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit” is, according to their own description “basically The Last Jedi minus Girlz Powah and other silly stuff“.

(20) HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM. WIRED delivers a less-than-stunning revelation: “Cantina Talk: The Last Jedi’s Shirtless Kylo Is Proving a Problem for Cosplayers”.

So, About Kylo’s High-Waisted Tights…

Source: The Wall Street Journal, of all places

Probability of Accuracy: They did get a high quality still of shirtless Kylo, so there’s no denying that they know what they’re doing.

The Real Deal: Perhaps the most surprising Last Jedi story to appear in recent weeks is this Wall Street Journal piece about the high-waisted tights Kylo wore in that one super-uncomfortable scene of him Force-communicating with Rey. (Don’t pretend like you know know exactly which one we’re talking about.) For one, it was surprising because it was in the Journal, but also because it focused on how hard Shirtless Buff Kylo Ren was to pull off for cosplayers. The piece even quotes Last Jedi costume designer Michael Kaplan, who said, “The world of Star Wars is not our world… Kylo Ren is not some hipster in hip-hugging jeans. Think Errol Flynn swashbuckling coolness as a point of departure. Hide that navel!” So, now you know. (Also, let’s be honest: Kylo Ren most definitely is some hipster in hip-hugging jeans, even if his wardrobe doesn’t reflect it.)

(21) BLACK PANTHER. Ruth Carter “‘Black Panther’ Costume Designer Talks Tribal-Tech Inspirations” in The Hollywood Reporter.

Ruth Carter has created costumes for some epic films, Amistad, Malcolm X and Selma among them, but nothing prepared her for the size and scope of Black Panther. For the super-stylish superhero film opening Feb. 12, she imagined a new African diaspora with 700 costumes fusing futurism, indigenous dress and high fashion, using research that spanned from the Rose Bowl Flea Market to textile dealers in Accra, Ghana.

The Ryan Coogler-directed film brings to the big screen Marvel Comics’ first black superhero, reinventing the circa 1966 character for today. Black Panther is depicted as T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who rules over the fantastical African country of Wakanda, rich with vibranium, a mythic metal that is woven into the superhero’s sleek black, repeating triangle-pattern suit (designed by Marvel’s Ryan Meinerding), and has allowed the population to make technological advances nearly a century ahead of the rest of the world. The fight for vibranium is at the heart of the story, with T’Challa defending the kingdom against Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger.

Carter worked with five illustrators, 14 designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more. “It was an army,” the costume designer says. On her mood boards were images of African dress from the Maasai, Tuareg, Turkana, Xhosa, Zulu, Suri and Dinka peoples (including a men’s glass bead, animal skin and cowry shell corset from the Metropolitan Museum of Art), as well as piercings and body art, and more abstract examples of drapery and beading. She also examined fashion by avant-garde pleating master Issey Miyake, African-style vintage pieces by Yves Saint Laurent and Donna Karan.

(22) STARTS TOMORROW. CW released a clip from Black Lightning — The Resurrection Scene 2 – a show that premieres January 16.

About BLACK LIGHTNING: Jefferson Pierce is a man wrestling with a secret. Nine years ago, Pierce was gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, which he used to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life and his family on the line, he left his Super Hero days behind. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.

 

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, James Davis Nicoll, Dann, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John From GR.]

Jeanne Gomoll’s Rotsler Award Statement

[Editor’s note: Jeanne wrote this in comments and I wanted to give everyone a chance to see it.]

By Jeanne Gomoll: I am extremely honored to have received the Rotsler award and am grateful for this recognition for my work. Thank you so much!

A long time ago, in 1975, I was just learning what the words “fandom,” “illo,” and “egoboo” meant. “Send the fanzine editor an illo…” Hank Luttrell counseled neofan me, “…and they’ll send you a copy of their zine.” It was all a new world to me, and one that I was eager to explore. Around that time, I remember a fan telling me about a fabulous artist, Frank Frazetta, who was famed for his comic book and paperback book covers. I remember this fan sadly remarking that because Frazetta’s professional career was turning out so well, he had stopped doing fannish work. Now, (Google research tells me:) I suppose this was a reference to Frazetta’s fanzine, Outlooks, but at the time, I was simply struck with the mind-bending idea that a fanzine artist might move from amateur to professional work, and feel allegiance to both fannish and professional worlds. Later I would become acquainted with Bill Rotsler’s art. I was one of the lucky fan editors who received envelopes stuffed with Bill’s illos. Here was another artist who maintained a foot in fandom and a professional career.

This moment embedded itself in my memory, in the same way that a second, earlier experience did, and for the same reason: both moments ended up resonating with the course my life took.

The second experience happened long before I encountered fandom. I was probably only about 7 years old and sitting on the front porch watching people walk past on the sidewalk. A woman appeared, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, and I was so captivated by her purposeful, confident stride, that I ran to the sidewalk and watched her until she disappeared. I wanted to be that woman. Years later, I was walking up State Street carrying some posterboard in an artist’s portfolio, and I suddenly thought I had glimpsed that very same woman, from 25 years earlier, walking down State Street. But it was me; I had seen my own reflection in a store window. I had become the woman I had dreamed of becoming.

With this award, I realize that I have traveled another full circle. I’ve experienced and enjoyed a dual identity — as fannish AND professional artist. The possibility that so intrigued me in 1975 became a framework for my life. I have so much for which to thank fandom: the skills and experiences I gained as a fannish artist translated into a career, without dousing my enthusiasm for fannish projects.

To be honored for these life-definining experiences is a wonderful thing. Thank you.

[Below: A photo of the exhibit at Loscon courtesy of Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink.]

Jeanne Gomoll Wins 2017 Rotsler Award

The 2017 Rotsler Award has been given to Jeanne Gomoll, of Madison, Wisconsin.

The award, established in 1998 and named for the talented, prolific artist Bill Rotsler (1926-1997), is for long-time artistic achievement in amateur publications of the science fiction community.  The winner receives a plaque and an honorarium of US$300.

Gomoll (“go-MOLL”) was a Guest of Honour at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, held at London, England, in 2014.  She created the covers for its Pocket Programme Guide.  The 24th issue of the amateur magazine Chunga had covers by her, with a discussion in Chunga 25 (February 2017).  She has been praised for illustration, graphic design, and focus, in monochrome and color.

She was twice a finalist for the Hugo Award (Best Fanartist, 1978, 1980).  She created the logos for the Tiptree Award, and for the fanzine-interest convention Corflu.  She did covers and interiors for many issues of Janus, which she co-edited with Janice Bogstad.  Janus won two Fan Activity Achievement Awards and was three times a Hugo finalist (Best Fanzine, 1978-1980).

Gomoll co-founded Wiscon, the leading feminist S-F convention, and served on the board of its sponsoring organization for almost forty years.  She was elected the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate in 1987 and was sent to the 45th Worldcon, held at Brighton, England.

She worked for the State of Wisconsin, then started her own firm Union Street Design, serving State-agency clients and others.

The Rotsler is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, a non-profit corporation which has produced the World Science Fiction Convention three times.  Current judges are Sue Mason, John Hertz, and Mike Glyer.  The Rotsler is announced at Loscon, the annual Los Angeles SF convention, sponsored by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, a non-profit corporation.

This year Loscon XLIV was held November 24-26 at the Los Angeles International Airport Marriott Hotel.  A display of Gomoll’s work was in the Art Show.

Rotsler Award Exhibit at Worldcon 75

Photographer Eric Wong granted John Hertz’ wish to see how his Rotsler Award exhibit was displayed at Worldcon 75.

The exhibit took a circuitous route to Helsinki, the banners rolled in a mailing tube and delivered by Hertz at Westercon to Seth Breidbart for relay at NASFiC to Worldcon Vice-Chair Colette Frozard; she to give to W75 Exhibits Deputy Div. Head Terry Neill.

John adds, “Rick Kovalcik of Boston helped arrange by E-mail.  He and I co-wrote an explanation of putting up the banners, and a request they not be confined to the Fanzine Lounge but placed where everyone could see them, as was done at MAC 2.”

The last leg of the exhibit’s journey will be when Chris Marble brings the banners home.

Rotsler Award Exhibit at Midamericon II

mac-rotsler-4-kenn-bates-min

Rotsler Award exhibit at MidAmeriCon II. Photos by Kenn Bates.

By John Hertz: Midamericon II was the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, held at Kansas City, Missouri, August 17-21, 2016. The 34th, now known as Midamericon I, was there in 1976.

The Rotsler Award, named for Bill Rotsler (1926-1997), is given annually for long-term wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the S-F community. The winner is determined by a panel of judges, currently Mike Glyer, Sue Mason, and me.

Founded in 1998, the Rotsler is sponsored by the non-profit Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc. At Loscon, the annual L.A. convention over the United States’ Thanksgiving weekend in November (Loscon XLIII was 25-27 Nov 16), the winner is announced and a sample of the winner’s work exhibited.

I try to exhibit all the winners to date at the Worldcon. Two exhibits I was particularly happy about were at Denvention III (66th Worldcon; Denver, Colorado, 2008), where Spike contributed those handsome black foam-core panels, and Lonestarcon III (71st; San Antonio, Texas, 2013), where volunteers helped me choose samples visually interesting to folks who might not know fanzines.

Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink contributed her electronic wizardry to the MAC II exhibit; also a fine design sense, and not being very active in the fanzine world she could temper my enthusiasm for reference jokes. For Chicon VII (70th Worldcon; Chicago, Illinois, 2012) she’d helped marvelously with an exhibit in honor of Diane Dillon and in memory of Leo (1933-2012).

With a few hours at Klein-Lebbink’s equipment — well, more than a few, actually — we were able to print a Rotsler Award exhibit on six-foot-long banners. I took them to MAC II and didn’t have to get dozens of images enlarged by photocopy, mounted on colored construction paper, and hung with binder clips from hooks set in pegboard panels.

The banners looked swell. Kenn Bates kindly photographed them.

mac-rotsler-1-kenn-bates-minmac-rotsler-2-kenn-bates-minmac-rotsler-3-kenn-bates-min

Loscon is hosted by LASFS, the L.A. Science Fantasy Society, oldest S-F club on Earth. I rhyme LASFS with joss fuss, but Morris Keesan said “That’s your dialect,” and Len Moffatt rhymed it with sass mass. I miss them.

SCIFI (of course that’s what the initials spell; despite the power of Forry Ackerman, pronounced skiffy) has among other things produced Worldcons, Westercons (West Coast Science Fantasy Conference), a NASFiC (North America Science Fiction Convention, held when the Worldcon is overseas), and the second (1992, hardbound) edition of Harry Warner’s history of 1950s fandom A Wealth of Fable.

mac-rotsler-6-kenn-bates-min

Artwork by ATom.

Artwork by Brad Foster.

Artwork by Brad Foster.

mac-rotsler-9-kenn-bates-min

Artwork by Kurt Erichsen.

 

Rotsler Award To Ditmar

Dick Jenssen in 2000.

Dick Jenssen in 2000.

Martin James Ditmar (“Dick”) Jenssen is the winner of the 2016 Rotsler Award, given for long-time artistic achievement in amateur publications of the science fiction community. Established in 1998, the award carries an honorarium of US$300.

Known among fans as Dick or Ditmar, Jenssen got his first look at sf art – a painting of Saturn by Chesley Bonestell – when he was eight. Immediately his imagination kicked into gear, and he found himself able to visualize variations in the color, the point of view, and other details or hardware. By the time he was a teenager, he was producing art for his friends’ mimeographed fanzines, which involved using a metal stylus to draw on waxed master sheets.

Seeing for the first time Morris Scott Dollens’ black-and-white space and planetary scenes made him want to learn another technique, scraperboard. This was a thin white clay bonded to a cardboard base, which could be covered in India ink, then scraped away with a scalpel to reveal the white underneath. Ditmar’s efforts in this vein were published on the covers of Australian fanzines.

ditmar-cover-1954

The advent of computers gave Ditmar a new tool for producing exotic color compositions. “Since I usually always wanted to redo what I had created, in order to reorganize the compositional elements, and/or the coloring, and/or the elements themselves, it seemed that graphic packages would be ideal. Software which would allow me to generate three-dimensional objects in a virtual world, to organize their spatial distribution and relations, to color them as I wished, to manipulate them in unreal ways.” And digital and online fanzine publishers, freed from the cost of printing color art on paper, responded with approval, publishing several elaborate folios of these images.

dagonburst14mod

The Rotsler Award is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, a non-profit corporation, which hosted the 1984, 1996, and 2006 World Science Fiction Conventions. The award is named for the late Bill Rotsler, a talented and prolific artist over many years. Sue Mason, Mike Glyer, and John Hertz served as this year’s judges.

The award was formally announced at Loscon 43. An exhibit honoring Ditmar’s work was displayed in the Art Show.

Online galleries

Thanks, nothing

By John Hertz:  Being one of the Rotsler Award judges, it was my happy task to call Teddy Harvia (“Hey, Teddy!” – no, wait, that’s a water-softener joke) and tell him he won.

Actually I asked him first whether he’d accept the Award if we gave it to him. We adopted that protocol a few years ago after a Learning Experience.

The Greek poet Hesiod said “Only fools need suffer to learn” (Works and Days line 217). But you already know what kind of fool I am.

Harvia said, more or less (with this equipment I can’t find how to do Jack Speer’s quasi-quotes – which reminds me, Sandra Bond, thanks for all the fish), “Certainly, I’d be honored.” So I said, more or less, “That’s good. You are.”

Then this thank-you note came in the mail.

Harvia Postcard CLEAN 2Didn’t I tell you “Keep watching the stars”?

Shakespeare fans, and maybe others, will know that in Shakespeare’s time “nothing” rhymed with “voting”. Much Ado about Nothing, to the Elizabethan-Jacobean ear, rang the chime of taking note (and of music: Act II, sc. iii, “Come, Balthasar, we’ll hear that song again…. Nay, pray thee come, / Or if thou wilt hold longer argument, / Do it in notes.” “Note this before my notes: / There’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.” “Why, these are very crotchets [whimsies, quarter-notes] that he speaks! Note notes, forsooth, and nothing!”).

Shakespeare was a punster of almost Japanese dimension – or, for that matter, the 14th Chorp Dimension – but I digress.

Harvia has for a while now been – well – exploring nothing. Some of us saw this in the Lonestarcon III Program Book (71st Worldcon, San Antonio, Texas, 2013).

Harvia Wingnuts LSC3 PR CROP

[Editor’s note: I have used Paint to remove as much of the cancellation mark from the postcard art as I could. It may still look spotty.]

Rotsler Award to Harvia

TH_Hydra_c2

By John Hertz: Texan Teddy Harvia (“har-VEE-a”) has won the 2015 Rotsler Award, named for the late great Bill Rotsler (1926-1997), sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, and announced at L.A.’s local convention Loscon.

The winner receives a plaque and an honorarium of US$300. The Rotsler is given, as the plaque says, “for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community.”

Rotsler himself was so prolific that previously unpublished drawings of his continue to ornament fanzines today.

Loscon is sponsored by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, oldest SF club on Earth. The LASFS (“lahss-fahss”, although Len Moffatt always rhymed it with “sass mass”) and SCIFI (“SKIF-fy”) are independent California non-profit corporations. SCIFI established the Award in 1998. Loscon XLII was November 27-29, 2015.

Among SCIFI’s other projects have been the 1984, 1996, and 2006 World Science Fiction Conventions (L.A.con II-IV), the 1992 hardbound edition of Harry Warner’s fanhistory book A Wealth of Fable, and the 2002 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (“Conagerie”, Westercon LV).

The Rotsler is decided by a panel of three judges, currently Mike Glyer (since 1998), John Hertz (since 2003), and Sue Mason (beginning in 2015, replacing Claire Brialey who, before this year’s decision, retired from the panel after eight years’ excellent service).

Harvia has won the Hugo Award four times as Best Fanartist (1991, 1995, 2001-2002); likewise the Science Fiction Chronicle readers’ poll four times (1990-1993); also the Southern Fandom Confederation’s Rebel Award (1997).

He arrived among us in 1975, since then contributing hundreds of cartoons, illustrations, and covers to fanzines and con publications. He was long associated with the fanzine Mimosa.  He was memorable in the cartoonists’ jam at the 2013 Worldcon (“Lonestarcon III”, San Antonio, Texas), where he and the rest drew lightning-quick responses to a time travel story extemporized by David Brin.

Asked whether there should be an accent mark over the i, Harvia said “That’s the Spanish side of the family. We on the Finnish side don’t use one.”

Some of his creatures, like Chat the Fourth Fannish Ghod (the extra h is an age-old, or h-old, touch of comedy in fanzines), or the Wing Nuts, re-appear.  Others we know not if we shall see again.  Keep watching the stars.

chat11

Updated 12/01/2015: Adopted helpful correction by supergee. John Hertz says, “The mistake about Wingnuts Soccer was mine; I misinterpreted a previous draft by Mike Glyer. Harvia gave me the 1975 date, which was used in the Loscon exhibit.”

Rotsler Award Display at Loscon

Rotsler Award display at Loscon 41 -- past winners. Photo by Kenn Bates.

Rotsler Award display at Loscon 41 — past winners. Photo by Kenn Bates.

At Loscon 41 over Thanksgiving Weekend in November there was a display in the Art Show of cartoons and illos by Rotsler Award winners. One of the panels was devoted to the award’s history, and the other to work by its 2014 winner Sue Mason.

The display was curated by John Hertz. Thanks to Kenn Bates for these photographs.

Sue Mason Wins 2014 Rotsler Award

Illustration by Sue Mason. Published in File 770 #139 and elsewhere.

Illustration by Sue Mason. Published in File 770 #139 and elsewhere.

Sue Mason from the United Kingdom has won the 2014 Rotsler Award, given for long-time artistic achievement in amateur publications of the science fiction community. Established in 1998, the award carries an honorarium of US$300.

Mason is a widely-published pen-and-ink artist who is particularly well-known for her activity in the British fanzine Plokta. Her illustrations are whimsical, humorous and richly-detailed.

Some of her best artwork can be seen in the chapbook I Want to Be a Celtic Death Goddess When I Grow Up [PDF file].

She is also accomplished at pyrography, the process of producing designs by burning them onto a surface, generally wood, leather or paper.

Mason is a two-time winner of the Best Fan Artist Hugo. She has won the Nova Award for Best Fan Artist seven times.

The Rotsler Award is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, a non-profit corporation, hosts of the 2006 Worldcon. The award is named for the late Bill Rotsler, the talented and prolific fanartist. Claire Brialey, Mike Glyer, and John Hertz served as this year’s judges.

The award was formally announced on Saturday, November 29, 2014 at Loscon 41. An exhibit honoring Mason’s work was displayed in the Art Show.

For more about the Rotsler Award, visit www.scifiinc.org/rotsler/. Samples of Mason’s work will be posted shortly.