2021 SFPA Poetry Contest Winners

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association announced the winners of SFPA Poetry Contest on October 24.

Speculative poets from around the world sent Contest Chair Josh Brown 249 entries (76 dwarf-length, 133 short, and 40 long poems). From those blind entries, Judge Sheree Renée Thomas selected the winning poems in each length category.

All placing poems have been published on the SFPA website along with the judge’s comments. Winning poets receive $150, $75, and $25 cash prizes for first, second, and third place respectively.

DWARF CATEGORY

1st Place:  “Strings” by Deborah L. Davitt
2nd Place:  “The Health Benefits of Gardening” by Jerri Hardesty
3rd Place:  “Restitution” by Morgan L. Ventura

SHORT CATEGORY

1st Place: “We, Dust” by Blaize Kelly Strothers
2nd Place: “Double-Slit Experiment” by Bradley Earle Hoge
3rd Place: “engagement party” by Aiesha Muhammed

LONG CATEGORY

1st Place: “The Last Special Day” by Donald Raymond
2nd Place: “Docking on Phobos” by Clarabelle Miray Fields
3rd Place: “Fireflies in Retrograde” by Clarabelle Miray Fields 

Sheree Renée Thomas is an award-winning fiction writer, poet, and editor. Josh Brown is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

2021 Elgin Awards

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s Elgin Award winners have been announced by Jordan Hirsch, the 2021 Elgin Award Chair.

The award is named for SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin, and is presented in two categories, Chapbook and Book. Works published in 2019 and 2020 were eligible for this year’s awards.

CHAPBOOK CATEGORY

Winner: Otherwheres by Akua Lezli Hope (ArtFarm Press, 2020)

Second place: Twelve by Andrea Blythe (Interstellar Flight Press, 2020)

Third placeManifest by Terese Mason Pierre (Gap Riot Press, 2020)

FULL-LENGTH BOOK AWARD WINNERS

Winner: The Sign of the Dragon by Mary Soon Lee (JABberwocky Literary Agency, 2020)

Second place: A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2020)

Third place (tie): 

Mary Shelley Makes a Monster by Octavia Cade (Aqueduct Press, 2019)

A Route Obscure and Lonely by LindaAnn LoSchiavo (The Wapshott Press, 2020)

There were 19 chapbooks nominated and 64 full-length books; 62 SFPA members voted.

2021 Elgin Chair Jordan Hirsch writes speculative fiction and poetry in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Her work has appeared with Apparition Literary Magazine, The Dread Machine, Daily Science Fiction, and other venues. 

2021 Dwarf Stars Winners

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association‘s Dwarf Stars 2021 award winners have been announced.

The award recognizes the best speculative poem of 1–10 lines published in the previous year, and is designed to honor excellent scifaiku, tanka, cinquains, and other types of short poems that tend to be overshadowed in SFPA’s Rhysling Award competition.

FIRST PLACE

  • “Yes, Antimatter is Real” by Holly Lyn Walrath (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Sept/Oct 2020)

SECOND PLACE

  • “The Softness of Impossible Fossils” by Robert Borski (Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/Aug 2020)

THIRD PLACE

  • “Frozen Hurricanes” by Herb Kauderer (Minimalism: A Handbook of Minimalist Genre Poetic Forms, ed. Teri Santitoro; Hiraeth Press, 2020)

2021 Rhysling Award Winners

Linda D. Addison and Jenny Blackford are the winners of the 2021 Rhysling Awards presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA).

The winners were chosen by SFPA members, with 115 votes cast.

SHORT POEM

Winner: “Summer Time(lessness)” by Linda D. Addison, Star*Line 43.4

Second Place: “Why did white people conquer the world for spices and then never use them?” by R. Thursday, Drunk Monkeys (November 16)

Third Place: “Darning” by Sandra J. Lindow, Asimov’s Science Fiction (May/Jun)

LONG POEM

Winner: “Eleven Exhibits in a Better Natural History Museum, London” by Jenny Blackford, Strange Horizons (14 Sept.)

Second Place: “A Song from Bedlam” by Nike Sulway, Liminality 23

Third Place: “Devilish Incarnations” by Bruce Boston, Star*Line 43.1

The 2021 Rhysling Anthology edited by Alessandro Manzetti, with book design by F. J. Bergmann and cover image by Adrian Borda, can be purchased at the SFPA site.

Pixel Scroll 7/11/21 Why, Sir I Shall Call The Pixel Squad. You Are In Need Of Pixelation. They Will Scroll You

(1) TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. The Salam Award, which promotes imaginative fiction in and about Pakistan, released this video by Mushba Said to remind Pakistani writers they have until midnight July 31 to submit entries for the award. See full guidelines at the link. Participants must either be currently residing in Pakistan, or be of Pakistani birth/descent.

(2) GO ASK ALICE. This article in The New Yorker will pique your interest in the Victoria & Albert’s exhibition about “The Beguiling Legacy of ‘Alice in Wonderland’”.

The origins of Alice’s tumble into Wonderland and its long cultural afterlife—everything from Carroll’s tentative first sketches to cheery, Alice-themed advertisements for Guinness and tomato juice produced a hundred years later (“Welcome to a Wonderland of good drinking!”)—are the subject of a beguiling new exhibition, “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser,” at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. 

Here’s a link to the Victoria & Albert museum’s webpage about the exhibit: “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser – Exhibition at South Kensington”.

Exploring its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 157 years, this immersive and theatrical show charts the evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages.

They also offer a virtual reality tour: “V&A · Curious Alice: The Vr Experience”.

From rabbit holes to psychedelic mushrooms, flamingos to hedgehogs, Wonderland is the perfect world to explore in virtual reality. Curious Alice encourages audiences to reward their curiosity by navigating a fantastical landscape, interacting with the book’s famous characters and completing a series of curious challenges. Race against the clock to capture the White Rabbit’s missing glove; solve the Caterpillar’s mind-bending riddles; defeat the Queen of Hearts in a curious game of croquet.

(3) WENDIG AND KHAW. Powell’s Books presents “Chuck Wendig in Conversation With Cassandra Khaw,” promoting Wendig’s new book, on July 29 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific. Register for the virtual event here.

A family returns to their hometown — and to the dark past that haunts them still — in The Book of Accidents (Del Rey), a new masterpiece of literary horror by Chuck Wendig, bestselling author of Wanderers…. Wendig will be joined in conversation by Cassandra Khaw, game writer and author of Nothing but Blackened Teeth.

(4) POWER OF SFF POETRY. Sandra J. Lindow reviews Greg Beatty’s poetry collection Cosmic Songs for Human Ears at SPECPO, which includes his 2005 Rhysling winner “No Ruined Lunar City.”

An introductory essay published in 2005, “Driving the Machine Backward Through the Graveyard of Dead Narrative,” explains the evolution of genre poetry through reference to Johanna Russ’s 1971 critical essay, “The Wearing Out of Genre Materials.” Which argues that genre tropes progress through three distinct stages: “Innocence” which seems to be characterized by novelty and sense of wonder, “Plausibility,” which describes how authors use the rules of verisimilitude to support readers suspension of disbelief, and finally “Decadence” where a petrification of genre rules, “stylized, like ballet,” tempts writers to break long established conventions, for instance, combining magic with aliens and dinosaurs. Although Russ writes that it is not possible for a genre to return to Innocence, Beatty argues that it is possible for genre poetry to create a “liminal space” where tropes from fantasy and science become metaphor for human experience, thereby avoiding Decadence and possibly returning to the novelty and energy of Innocence.

(5) IT HAD TO BE SNAKE. The Guardian celebrates “Escape From New York at 40: John Carpenter rebelling against the system”.

With a pirate’s eyepatch and a scowl that seems as fixed and enigmatic as Mona Lisa’s smile, Snake Plissken, the hero of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, drifts through a cataclysmic future like a man condemned, forced into a mission that, at best, might save a world he doesn’t care about anyway. The allegiances he forges along the way are hard-earned but only temporary, swiftly discarded as he survives one assignment and looks ahead to another one. He is deeply suspicious of authority, too, from the two-faced benefactor who’s forcing him through an impossible gauntlet to an aloof president who’s openly contemptuous of him and others like him.

In other words, Snake Plissken is John Carpenter, and Escape from New York was the first of three films in the 1980s in which Kurt Russell would serve as his charismatic stand-in – an iconoclast who had no home in the new Hollywood, but would take up residence on its fringes. As Plissken runs and guns his way through a Manhattan that’s been turned into maximum security prison, it’s easy to imagine it as an allegory for a film production, where Carpenter weaves his way through an impossible job with the help of fellow ne’er-do-wells that he’ll have to leave behind at the end. If he survives, it’s onto the next gauntlet….

(6) THE SHARP END. Netflix dropped a trailer for season 2 of The Witcher. Premieres December 17.

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • July 11, 2011 — A decade ago, Alphas premiered on Syfy. It was created by Zak Penn and Michael Karnow. It is in the same universe as Warehouse 13 and Eureka, a fact confirmed when Vanessa Calder who is a recurring character on Warehouse 13 appeared in one episode of the series. (Thanks Andrew (not Werdna) for confirming that in a recent Scroll.)  It had far too many Executive Producers and Producers to list here, a puzzle for a series that would last but two seasons and twenty four episodes. It starred David Strathairn, Ryan Cartwright, Warren Christie, Azita Ghanizada, Laura Mennell, Malik Yoba and Erin Way. Critics in general loved it and the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give a most excellent seventy seven rating. Syfy cancelled it on an unresolved cliffhanger. 

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 11, 1899 — E. B. White. Author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, both of which are surely genre. Along with William Strunk Jr., he is the co-author of the The Elements of Style English language style guide. (Died 1985.)
  • Born July 11, 1913 — Cordwainer Smith. Pen name of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger. Most of his fiction was set in The Instrumentality of Mankind series which I know I read once upon a time in fragments. The usual suspects are well stocked with his novels and short stories including Scanners Live in Vain, a most excellent novella. (Died 1966.)
  • Born July 11, 1920 — Yul Brynner. The Gunslinger in Westworld and its sequel Futureword.  He would also play Carson, a human warrior in the post-apocalyptic The Ultimate Warrior. Are we considering The King and I genre or even genre adjacent?  If we are, he played King Mongkut in the short-lived Anna and the King TV series as well. (Died 1985.)
  • Born July 11, 1925 — David Graham, 96. The voice of Daleks in the early years of Doctor Who including two non-canon films, Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.; his voice work made him a sought after worker and he’d be used on ThunderbirdsAsterix & Obelix Take On Caesar, Timeslip, Moomin, Stingray and even the recent Thunderbirds Are Go. And yes, he’s still doing voice work as his last genre work was for the Nebula-75 series just last year.
  • Born July 11, 1950 — Bruce McGill, 71. His first role was as Director Eugene Matuzak in Time Cop. He later got one-offs in Quantum Leap (twice), Babylon 5Voyager and Tales from the Crypt. He’s in the television remake of The Man Who Fell to Earth as Vernon Gage. If MacGyver counts as genre, he has the recurring role of Jack Dalton. 
  • Born July 11, 1956 — Amitav Ghosh, 65. Author of the absolutely brilliant The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium and Discovery which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Really just go read it and we’ll discuss it over a cup of chai masala. His newest work is about the medieval Bengali tale about the forest (Sundarbans) goddess, Bon Bibi.
  • Born July 11, 1958 — Alan Gutierrez, 63. An artist and illustrator, specializing in SF and fantasy cover art. His first professional sale was to the now defunct semi-professional Fantasy Book in 1983. He then began producing work for Baen Books, Tor Books,Pequod Press and other publishers. He has also painted covers for Analog magazine, Aboriginal Science FictionAsimov’s Science Fiction, and other SF magazines. He’s been nominated for five Asimov’s Readers Awards and two Analog Awards as well. 
  • Born July 11, 1984 — Serinda Swan, 37. She first graces our corner of the multiverse in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as Aphrodite. Later on she’s in Tron: Legacy as Siren #2. Currently she’s Medusa in The Inhumans. She’s got one-offs in Supernatural, Smallville and The Tomorrow People.

(9) PUT TO THE TEST. DUST’s new sci-fi short film release is “Intelligentia”.

Lisa receives a butler A.I. to Turing test, and over the course of the procedure, she discovers the A.I. is not what it seems and her entire world disrupted.

(10) FLIGHT TO THE EDGE OF SPACE. The 70-year-old British billionaire and crew members of Virgin Galactic launched the commercial space plane Unity from New Mexico, reached the edge of space and landed safely back at the spaceport on Sunday. The New York Times posted “Highlights From Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Flight”.

…The rocket plane, a type called SpaceShipTwo, is about the size of an executive jet. In addition to the two pilots, there can be up to four people in the cabin. The particular SpaceShipTwo that flew on Sunday is named V.S.S. Unity.

To get off the ground, Unity was carried by a larger plane to an altitude of about 50,000 feet. There, Unity was released, and the rocket plane’s motor ignited. The acceleration made people on board feel a force up to 3.5 times their normal weight on the way to an altitude of more than 50 miles.

At the top of the arc, those on board were able to see the blackness of space as well as the curve of Earth from the plane’s windows. They also got out of their seats and experienced about four minutes of apparent weightlessness. Fifty miles up, Earth’s downward gravitational pull is essentially just as strong as it is on the ground; rather, the passengers were falling at the same pace as the plane around them.

The two tail booms at the back of the space plane then rotated up to a “feathered” configuration that created more drag and stability, allowing the plane to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere more gently. This configuration SpaceShipTwo like a badminton shuttlecock, which always falls with the pointy side oriented down, than a plane.

Still, the forces felt by the passengers on the way down were greater than on the way up, reaching six times the force of gravity.

Branson gets all the attention – but who piloted the mission and were the other crew members?

The pilots are David Mackay and Michael Masucci….

In addition to Mr. Branson, three Virgin Galactic employees joined the flight to evaluate how the experience will be for future paying customers. They were Beth Moses, the chief astronaut instructor; Colin Bennett, lead operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs and research operations.

In 2018 The New Yorker profiled a predecessor in “Virgin Galactic’s Rocket Man”, “The ace pilot risking his life to fulfill Richard Branson’s billion-dollar quest to make commercial space travel a reality.”

At 5 a.m. on April 5th, Mark Stucky drove to an airstrip in Mojave, California, and gazed at SpaceShipTwo, a sixty-foot-long craft that is owned by Virgin Galactic, a part of the Virgin Group. Painted white and bathed in floodlight, it resembled a sleek fighter plane, but its mission was to ferry thousands of tourists to and from space.

Stucky had piloted SpaceShipTwo on two dozen previous test flights, including three of the four times that it had fired its rocket booster, which was necessary to propel it into space. On October 31, 2014, he watched the fourth such flight from mission control; it crashed in the desert, killing his best friend. On this morning, Stucky would be piloting the fifth rocket-powered flight, on a new iteration of the spaceship. A successful test would restore the program’s lustre.

Stucky walked into Virgin Galactic’s large beige hangar. He is fifty-nine and has a loose-legged stroll, tousled salt-and-pepper hair, and sunken, suntanned cheeks. In other settings, he could pass for a retired beachcomber. He wears the smirk of someone who feels certain that he’s having more fun than you are…

(11) SKYSCRAPER CAT. CBS This Morning devoted a short segment to the 3-D cat billboard in Tokyo that was recently covered by the Scroll. Their report includes video callbacks to several previous 3-D billboards.

(12) SO BAD YOU CAN’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF IT. In “The Schlock-Horror Drive-In That Rose From the Grave”, the New York Times tells about a drive-in revival in Pennsylvania.  

It was about 2 a.m. on a Sunday when the gross-out horror-comedy “Class of Nuke ’Em High” started playing at the Mahoning Drive-In. This was the last screening at TromaDance, an annual showcase of low-budget horror and sex comedies produced by the Queens-based Troma movie studio. Earlier that evening, about 600 cars had piled into the drive-in in Lehighton, Pa., but by 2 a.m., only the die-hards remained. Kevin Schmidt, an extra in the film, was among them.

He had driven to the Mahoning from Summit, N.J., and hadn’t seen the movie projected on screen since it was first shown in Jersey City in December 1986. “This is the only time I can justify driving 100 miles to see a movie,” Mr. Schmidt said much earlier in the evening.

By the time the evening was over, it had been another success for the Mahoning, a 72-year-old drive-in theater that was left for dead just seven years ago….

…Movie screenings at the Mahoning Drive-In often feel like events. Films are shown in double and triple features, sandwiched between older (and often bizarre) movie trailers. You might take in “Escape From New York” and “Invasion U.S.A.,” which play after vintage church advertisements (“Worship at the church of your choice”) or an anti-cable-TV screed (“Don’t let pay TV be the monster in your living room”). It is, in the words of Mr. Schmidt, “a special place.”…

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Director Mel Stuart reminiscences about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in this short from 2011 that Warner Bros. released two weeks ago.

[Thanks to JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Dann.]

2021 Dwarf Stars Finalists

The 2021 Dwarf Stars Anthology contents have been finalized, which constitutes the shortlist for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association‘s Dwarf Stars award. The poems were selected by editor Charles Christian.

The award recognizes the best speculative poem of 1–10 lines published in the previous year, and is designed to honor excellent scifaiku, tanka, cinquains, and other types of short poems that tend to be overshadowed in SFPA’s Rhysling Award competition.

SFPA members have until August 31 to vote their favorite short-short poem from the anthology and determine who will receive the Dwarf Stars Award. A copy of the Dwarf Stars anthology is included with SFPA membership.

Some poems have a title, others are identified by a phrase from their first line placed in brackets:

Anthology Table of Contents:

  • [6 months] • Susan Burch
  • [adrift in space] • semi
  • [alien hovercraft] • Deborah P Kolodji
  • [alternate history] • Greer Woodward
  • [bacon and coffee] • Michelle Muenzler
  • [black rabbits] • Michelle Muenzler
  • Blue Mood • Gretchen Tessmer
  • [bovine witnesses] • William Shaw
  • [brain software warning] • Julie Bloss Kelsey
  • Document Search • Lorraine Schein
  • [downwind] • Nick Hoffman
  • [driving home] • Susan Burch
  • [every lover] • Christina Sng
  • [evil comes always] • Juan Manuel Perez
  • Fairy Ring • John C. Mannone
  • [fireflies] • Anna Cates
  • Frozen Hurricanes • Herb Kauderer
  • [the FTL squad] • Deborah P Kolodji
  • Garden • Kim Goldberg
  • [happy hour] • LeRoy Gorman
  • [head in one hand] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
  • How to Tidy the Asteroids • Mary Soon Lee
  • [how bright you shine] • Monica Louzon
  • I Think the Article Said Something about First Contact • R. Mac Jones
  • [in a cracked mirror] • Julie Bloss Kelsey
  • Lesser Eternity • F. J. Bergmann
  • Light Voyager • Adele Gardner
  • [lonely robot] • Noel Sloboda
  • More Than a Feeling • Lauren McBride
  • [on a pirate ship] • Lana M. ‘Rochel
  • Phoenix • Colleen Anderson
  • [photons in knit and purl] • Kimberly Nugent
  • [probably mist] • John Hawkhead
  • [right at home] • LeRoy Gorman
  • Runaway Greenhouse Effect • David C. Kopaska[1]Merkel
  • Sailing the Seas of Lune • Robert Borski
  • Saint George’s Lament • Jacob Bergstresser
  • seasonal greeting • Herb Kauderer
  • [shapeshifter] • Ngo Binh Anh Khoa
  • Sheets • Deborah L. Davitt
  • The Softness of Impossible Fossils • Robert Borski
  • [Sotheby’s Lot 9] • Greer Woodward
  • [springtime on Pluto] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
  • Surreal Agenda • Bruce Boston
  • [t)here] • LeRoy Gorman
  • [thrown away in recycling] • Christina Sng
  • [the winged demons come] • Greg Fewer
  • [winter jasmine] • Debbie Strange
  • [wet market] • John Hawkhead
  • Yes, Antimatter Is Real • Holly Lyn Walrath
  • Zombie Night • Lisa Timpf

2021 Elgin Award Finalists

Nominations for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s Elgin Award have closed and Jordan Hirsch, the 2021 Elgin Award Chair reports the works named below are the nominees.

The award is named for SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin, and is presented in two categories, Chapbook and Book. Works published in 2019 and 2020 were eligible for this year’s awards.

Chapbooks (19 chapbooks nominated)
25 Trumbulls Road, Christopher Locke (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)
Alice Zero • Joshua Pantalleresco (2020)
Betelgeuse Dimming • Jean-Paul L. Garnier (Space Cowboy Books, 2020)
Borrowings of the Shan Van Vocht • Catherine Moore (Unsolicited Press, 2020)
Broken Nails • Susan Snyder (Madness Heart Press, 2020)  
Coronations • Catherine Kyle (Ghost City Press, 2019)
Inverted Night • John W. Sexton (SurVision Books, 2019)
The Island of Amazonned Women • Sandra J. Lindow (Cyberwit, 2019)
Kola Superdeep Borehole • Joe Fletcher (Bateau Press, 2019)
Manifest • Terese Mason Pierre (Gap Riot Press, 2020)
Odes to Scientists / Us, Clone (audio) • Jean-Paul Garnier (Space Cowboy Books, 2019)
Otherwheres • Akua Lezli Hope (ArtFarm Press, 2020)
[re]construction of the necromancer • Hannah V Warren (Sundress Publications, 2020)
Space in Pieces • Juan Manuel Pérez (House of the Fighting Chupacabras Press, 2020)
Titania in Yellow • Dayna Patterson (Porkbelly Press, 2019)
Twelve • Andrea Blythe (Interstellar Flight Press, 2020)
The Undead • Luiza Flynn-Goodlett (Sixth Finch, 2020)
Visions at Templeglantine • John W. Sexton (Revival Press, 2020)
What the Gargoyle Sees • Gene Twaronite (Kelsay Books, 2020)
Full-length Books (64 books nominated)
Algorithmic Shapeshifting • Bogi Takács (Aqueduct Press, 2019)
Altars & Oubliettes • Angela Yuriko Smith (2020)
The Ambassador Takes One for the Team • David C. Kopaska-Merkel (Diminuendo Press, 2019)
The Apocalyptic Mannequin • Stephanie M. Wytovich (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2019)
america, MINE • Sasha Bank (co-im-press, 2020)
Android Girl and Other Sentient Speculations • Michael H. Hanson (Three Ravens Publishing, 2020)
As The Seas Turn Red • Morgan Sylvia (2019)
Bad Jamie • Jessica Fordham Kidd (Anhinga Press, 2020)
Before We Remember We Dream • Bryan Thao Worra (Sahtu Press, 2020)
Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows • Frank Coffman (Bold Venture Press, 2020)
Burials • Jessica Drake-Thomas (CLASH Books, 2020)
Carpe Noctem • Robert Borski (Weird House Press, 2020)
The Ceremonial Armor of the Impostor • Gregory Kimbrell (Weasel Press, 2019)
Choking Back the Devil • Donna Lynch (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2019)
A Collection of Dreamscapes • Christina Sng (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2020)
A Complex Accident of Life • Jessica McHugh (Apokrupha Books, 2020)
The Configuration Discordant • John Baltisberger (Things in the Well, 2019)
Cradleland of Parasites • Sara Tantlinger (Strangehouse Books, 2020)
Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower • Ronald J. Murray (Bizarro Pulp Press, 2020)
The Cyborg Anthology • Lindsay B-e (Brick Books, 2020)
DMMTHL • C.C Hannett (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019)
Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning • Michelle Scalise (Lycan Valley Press, 2019)
Dub • Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Duke University Press, 2020)
Easy Travel to the Stars • G.O Clark (Alban Lake Publishing, 2020)
Echoes From an Expired Earth • Allen Ashley (Demain Books, 2020)
The Gates of Never • Deborah L. Davitt (Finishing Line Press, 2019)
goodwill galaxy hunting • LeRoy Gorman (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2019)
The Golem and the Nazi • Anna Cates (Red Moon Press, 2019)
The High Alive: An Epic Hoodoo Diptych by Carlos Sirah (The 3rd Thing Press 2020)
how to extricate yourself • Laura Theis (Demsey & Windle, 2020)
Into the Forest and All the Way Through • Cynthia Pelayo (Burial Day Books, 2020)
The Journey • Anna Cates (Resource Publications, 2020)
The Ladies of the Everlasting Lichen and Other Relics, Wade German (Mount Abraxas Press, 2019)
The Malevolent Volume • Justin Phillip Reed (Coffee House Press, 2020)
Many Restless Concerns • Gayle Brandeis (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)
Maps of a Hollowed World • TD Walker (Another New Calligraphy, 2020)
Mary Shelley Makes a Monster • Octavia Cade (Aqueduct Press, 2019),
Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison • Anton Cancre (The Dragon’s Roost Press 2020)
Monsters I Have Been • Kenji C. Liu (Alice James Books, 2019)
Monstrous • PS Cottier (Interactive Press, 2020)
Notes from the Last Age • José Chapa Valle (FlowerSong Press, 2020)
The Nurseryman  • Arthur Allen (Kernpunkt Press, 2019)
The Octopus Museum • Brenda Shaughnessey (Knopf, 2019)
Past the Glad and Sunlit Season • K. A Opperman (Jackanapes Press, 2020)
The Planets • Wendy Van Camp (2019)
Poems that Could End the World • Ronald A. Busse (Turning Point, 2020)
A Refuge of Tales • Lynne Sargent (Renaissance Press, 2020)
A Route Obscure and Lonely • LindaAnn LoSchiavo (The Wapshott Press, 2020)
Sacred Summer • Cassandra Rose Clarke (Aqueduct Press 2020)
Sci-Ku: Explorations into the Poetry of Science • Jay Friedenberg (2020)
Shadow Abyss • Luna Nyx Frost (Enchanting Tales Publishing, 2020)
Shelter in Place • Catherine Kyle (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019)
The Sign of the Dragon • Mary Soon Lee (JABberwocky Literary Agency, 2020)
Small Waiting Objects • T. D. Walker (CW Books, 2019)
The State She’s In • Lesley Wheeler (Tinderbox Editions 2020)
Such Luck • Sara Backer (Flowstone Press, 2019)
The Sun Ships & Other Poems • Steven Withrow (2019)
Tea with Death • Abigail Wildes (Alban Lake Publishing, 2020)
Temporary Planets for Transitory Days • Albert Wendland (Dog Star Books, 2020)
Toxicon and Arachne • Joyelle McSweeney (Nightboat Books, 2020)
Whitechapel Rhapsody • Alessandro Manzetti (Independent Legions, 2020)
Witch Doctrine • Annah Browning (The University of Akron Press, 2020)
The Withering • Ashley Dioses (Jackanapes Press, 2020)
Zen Amen: A Collection of Abecedarians • Michael Kriesel (Pebblebrook Press, 2019)

2021 SFPA Poetry Contest Opens

The 2021 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest is taking entries through August 31. The contest is open to all poets, including non-SFPA-members. Prizes will be awarded for best unpublished poem in three categories:

  • Dwarf (poems 1–10 lines [prose poems 0–100 words])
  • Short (11–49 lines [prose poems 101–499 words])
  • Long (50 lines and more [prose 500 words and up])

Line count does not include title or stanza breaks. All sub-genres of speculative poetry are allowed in any form. Winners will be announced October 1.

The prizes in each category (Dwarf, Short, Long) will be $150 First Prize, $75 Second Prize, $25 Third Prize. The first through third place poems will be published on the SFPA website. There is an entry fee of $3 per poem.

The contest judge is Sheree Renée Thomas, award-winning fiction writer, poet, and editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. She has authored a prose collection, two multigenre/hybrid collections, and edited the World Fantasy-winning groundbreaking black speculative fiction Dark Matter anthologies. She also is the associate editor Obsidian: Literature & the Arts in the African Diaspora.  

The 2021 contest chair is Josh Brown.

Entries are read blind. Unpublished poems only. Author retains rights, except that first through third place winners will be published on the SPFA website. Full guidelines here.

Pixel Scroll 4/9/21 I Have Heard the Pixels Scrolling, Each to Each

(1) WHEN THE DOORS OPEN, WHO WILL COME IN? The Los Angeles Times interviewed people who rely on convention business to measure the distance between reopening and recovery. “California reopening: When will huge conventions come back?”

The San Diego Convention Center hosted about 135,000 visitors two years ago for Comic-Con, the four-day celebration of comic books and pop culture.

…But even when state restrictions lift, experts acknowledge, it may be a year or more before California convention centers host the kind of mega-crowds that flocked to Comic-Con, NAMM and E3 in past years.

“We anticipate that shows will be smaller starting off and getting back up to speed hopefully next year,” said Ellen Schwartz, general manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center. “As we get into the last quarter of this calendar year and start the new year, we’re hopeful that the business will come back to closer to where it was before the pandemic.”

Among the reasons for the smaller events: State officials say COVID-19 protocols for large-scale indoor events will still require testing or vaccination verifications, which could exclude some would-be attendees. The state has yet to release details of those requirements.

Also, surveys show that many business travelers still don’t feel safe meeting face to face indoors with thousands of strangers. Some elements of future events are likely to be conducted via streaming video, accommodating virus-cautious attendees who want to stay home.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends against attending large indoor gatherings, saying they increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Rachel “Kiko” Guntermann, a professional costume maker who previously attended five or six conventions a year, including Comic-Con, said she would not feel safe returning to a large convention even though she has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Conventions were a center of my life for a while, and now the idea of being in a vendor hall with that many people makes me want to dry heave,” she said….

(2) FRANKENSTAMP AND FRIENDS. A set of Classic Science Fiction stamps will be issued by Great Britain’s Royal Mail on April 15. Preorders are being taken now.

A collection of six Special Stamps celebrating the imagination and artistic legacy of classic science fiction.

The issue coincides with the 75th anniversary of the death of HG Wells and the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Day of the Triffids.

Each stamp features a unique interpretation by a different artist illustrating a seminal work by a classic British science fiction author

Two First Class, two £1.70 and two £2.55 stamps presented as three horizontal se-tenant pairs.

Click for larger images.

(3) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to grab a slice of pizza with Nebula Award-winning writer A. T. Greenblatt in episode 142 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.

A.T. Greenblatt

A. T. Greenblatt’s short fiction has appeared in Strange HorizonsUncannyBeneath Ceaseless SkiesClarkesworldFiresideLightspeed, and other magazines. She won the 2019 Nebula Award for Best Short Story for “Give the Family My Love,” and is also on the current Nebula Awards ballot for her novelette “Burn or The Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super.” She was also a Nebula finalist for 2018. She has also been a Theodore Sturgeon Award finalist as well as a Parsec Award finalist. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise and Clarion West workshops, and has been an editorial assistant at the flash fiction magazines Every Day Fiction and Flash Fiction Online.

We discussed the writing workshop-induced panic which caused her to begin writing her latest Nebula Award-nominated story, how the Viable Paradise workshop helped kick her writing up a notch, why she prefers Batman to Superman, the importance of revisions, critique groups, and community, what’s to be learned from rereading one’s older work, why she’s a total pantser, her love of Roald Dahl, something she wishes she’d known earlier about the endings of stories, how much of writing is being able to keep secrets and not explode, and much more.

(4) 2021 SFPA POETRY CONTEST AND JUDGE ANNOUNCED. The 2021 Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) Speculative Poetry Contest will be open for entries from June 1 through August 31, with Sheree Renée Thomas serving as guest judge of the contest. Full guidelines here.

Sheree Renée Thomas is an award-winning fiction writer, poet, and editor. Her work is inspired by myth and folklore, natural science and Mississippi Delta conjure. Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future (Third Man Books) is her first all prose collection. She is also the author of two multigenre/hybrid collections, Sleeping Under the Tree of LIfe and Shotgun Lullabies (Aqueduct Press) and edited the World Fantasy-winning groundbreaking black speculative fiction Dark Matter anthologies (Hachette/Grand Central). 

Sheree is the associate editor of the historic Black arts literary journal, Obsidian: Literature & the Arts in the African Diaspora and editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

The 2021 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest is open to all poets, including non-SFPA-members. Prizes will be awarded for best unpublished poem in three categories: Dwarf (poems 1–10 lines [prose poems 0–100 words]); Short (11–49 lines [prose poems 101–499 words]); Long (50 lines and more [prose 500 words and up]). Line count does not include title or stanza breaks. All sub-genres of speculative poetry allowed in any form.

Prizes in each category (Dwarf, Short, Long) will be $150 First Prize, $75 Second Prize, $25 Third Prize. Publication on the SFPA website for first through third places. Winners will be announced and posted on the site October 1.

(5) IN EXTREMIS. The new This Is Horror podcast features Wrath James White talking about Extreme Horror, Uncomfortable Writing, and The Resurrectionist.

Wrath James White is a former World Class Heavyweight Kickboxer, a professional Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts trainer, distance runner, performance artist, and former street brawler, who is now known for creating some of the most disturbing works of fiction in print. His books include The ResurrectionistSucculent Prey, and The Teratologist with Edward Lee.

(6) PLUCKED OFF THE SLUSHPILE. [Item by rcade.] Though many novelists would tell the story of how they first became published as a heroic triumph of talent and perseverance over rejection and adversity, the science fiction author Stephen Palmer credits something else entirely in a new interview with SFFWorld: “Interview with Stephen Palmer”.

My route to publication was the one too few people talk about – pure chance. Random luck is a far larger player in getting published than most people realize, partly because writers don’t want to believe they have little or no agency in their own success, and partly because the odds against success are so huge nobody wants to face them. I was plucked off the slush pile because I sent in the right novel at the right time. Tim Holman remembered it when he and Colin Murray were seeking new British writers, and he contacted me. But it could have been so different. In December 1993 me and my then wife were about to move house, and for reasons too unpleasant to detail here we weren’t going to leave a forwarding address. A few days before we departed a letter popped through the letterbox. It was from Tim Holman, writing back to me a full year after I’d sent him an extract of Memory Seed, telling me he wanted to read more. If I’d moved a week earlier I might not be an author now…

 Palmer’s debut novel Memory Seed is being  republished by Infinity Plus. He got the rights back from Orbit for that book and Glass nine years ago but the original files were lost. He bought copies, removed the pages and did the OCR scanning himself.

(7) DO YOU REMEMBER LOVE? Maybe not, it’s been awhile! But now Forbes’ Ollie Barder reports:  “The Decades Long Rights Battle Over ‘Macross’ And ‘Robotech’ Has Finally Been Resolved”.

This has been one of the longest running legal battles in anime and I never thought I would see it resolved in my lifetime….

As to the details of what this agreement entails, this is what the official press statement has to say:

“Tokyo based BIGWEST CO.,LTD. and Los Angeles based Harmony Gold U.S.A. announced an agreement regarding the worldwide rights for the legendary Macross and Robotech franchises. This expansive agreement signed by both companies on March 1, 2021, ends two decades of disagreements and will allow Bigwest and Harmony Gold to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential of both the Macross and Robotech franchises worldwide. The landmark agreement immediately permits worldwide distribution of most of the Macross films and television sequels worldwide, and also confirms that Bigwest will not oppose the Japanese release of an anticipated upcoming live-action Robotech film. The agreement also recognizes Harmony Gold’s longstanding exclusive license with Tatsunoko for the use of the 41 Macross characters and mecha in the Robotech television series and related merchandise throughout the world excluding Japan. Moving forward, both parties will cooperate on distribution regarding future Macross and Robotech projects for the benefit of both franchises.”

(8) PUTTING THE EVIDENCE TOGETHER. “French police on trail of international gang of Lego looters”The Guardian has the story.

French police say they are building a case against an international gang of toy thieves specialising in stealing Lego – and they have warned specialist shops and even parents to be aware of a global trade in the bricks.

The alert comes after officers arrested three people – a woman and two men – in the process of stealing boxes of Lego from a toy shop in Yvelines, outside Paris, last June. Under questioning, the suspects, all from Poland, reportedly admitted they were part of a team specialising in stealing Lego sought by collectors.

“The Lego community isn’t just made up of children,” one investigator told Le Parisien newspaper. “There are numerous adults who play with it; there are swaps and sales on the internet. We’ve also had people complaining their homes have been broken into and Lego stolen.”

Van Ijken cited a Cafe Corner Lego set that cost €150 when it was released to shops in 2007 selling in its original box for €2,500 last year.

Lego looting appears to be a global business, according to reports in the US, Canada and Australia, where numerous thefts have been reported over the last five years. In 2005, San Diego police arrested a group of women found to have €200,000 worth of Lego.

(9) THE UNKINDEST CUT. [Item by rcade.] The acclaimed weird fiction author Jeff VanderMeer is sickened by the actions of one of his new neighbors in Tallahassee, Florida:

Someone bought a house a few streets down and just cut down 30 mature pine trees — in the spring. I wonder if they know there’s little they could do in their lives to make up for the wildlife they just slaughtered. I know we’ll be getting survivors in the yard for weeks to come.

I’m planting two sycamores and some river birch, mayhaw next week and then also seeking out some of the pine saplings to protect them. We have 8 mature pines in the yard and not a damn one is getting cut down. …

Developers are trying to eat this city alive and we have, purportedly 55% canopy, although I imagine it’s a lower percentage after the predation of the past few years.

A Florida law enacted in 2019 made it much harder for cities and counties to stop property owners from removing trees. Tallahassee and the surrounding county have 78 miles of roads shaded by oak, hickory, sweet gum and pine trees and the city’s tree canopy coverage is among the largest in the U.S.

Noted for elements of ecofiction in his works, VanderMeer has filled his Twitter feed with photos of area trees and wildlife.

(10) NEW BOOK: HUMMINGBIRD SALAMANDER. Carmen Maria Machado has done a Q&A with Jeff VanderMeer for Interview: “Can Author Jeff VanderMeer Save Us from Extinction?”

[From the Introduction] A scroll through Jeff VanderMeer’s Twitter account yields all manner of birds, flowers, trees, bird feeders, backyard wildlife, and the occasional portrait of his housecat, Neo. By and large, it seems such joyous, benevolent content that it’s surprising it comes from the same hands as one of the most subversive, experimental, apocalyptic, and politically daring fiction writers at work in America today. 

…Another of his passions involves his ongoing project of “rewilding” his half-acre yard on the edge of Tallahassee. In order to combat natural-habitat destruction, VanderMeer has reintroduced native plants and trees to encourage the return of local wildlife. The fruits of VanderMeer’s tweets spring directly from the myriad animals, insects, organisms, and flowering flora that have returned to his homegrown micro nature-preserve. (“Right now, during migration season,” he reports, “we have about 300 yellow-rumped warblers in the yard and another 400 pine siskins, along with ruby-crowned kinglets, Baltimore orioles, orange-crowned warblers, hermit thrushes, cedar waxwings, etc.”) Will VanderMeer save our planet? Can it even be saved at this point? These are the real mysteries of our era…. 

MACHADO: It’s a bit like watching this pandemic unfold. We’re botching it all up, and you can’t help but feel like it doesn’t have to be this way. Do you think you’re a cynic about wildlife and the climate crisis?

VANDERMEER: I think that fixing the climate crisis should be more ingrained in our discussions and it’s not. Even in fiction, I see a lot of green-tech solutions that are totally divorced from actually dealing with what’s going on in the landscape. The other day I saw that Elon Musk had gone from chastising the oil industry to being like, “We need to mine for our SpaceX platform so that we have energy for our rockets.” Those are the kinds of things that get to me. One reason I push so hard for wildlife and for habitat is that I just don’t think we can make it through without them. We can’t just green-tech our way into some kind of solution. We have to change how we actually interact. And I do think we can all make small changes in how we do things that can really help us. In that way, I’m not cynical. People ask about hope all the time, which in a very absurdist way cracks me up because there’s always this question of, “Is it too late?” And it’s like,

“Well, what are you going to do if it’s too late? You really have no choice but to try to do the best things possible to get out of this.” Next cheery question!

(11) ROSWELL AWARD. The Roswell Award and Women Hold Up Half the Sky – Virtual Celebrity Readings & Awards will happen on Saturday, May 22 at 11 a.m. Pacific.  The Roswell Award finalist judge is Wesley Chu.

We received some truly incredible stories from 60 different countries this season.

Make sure to save the date for May 22 if you want to experience exciting new sci-fi stories, chat with competition participants from around the world, and hear our celebrity guest readers!

(12) HUMMEL OBIT. The Washington Post has an obituary for Joye Hummel by Harrison Smith.  Hummel was hired by William Moulton Marston as a secretary and then went on to write Wonder Woman scripts until 1947.  Historians credit her as being the first woman to write scripts for Wonder Woman. She died April 5. “Joye Hummel, first woman hired to write Wonder Woman comics, dies at 97”.

In March 1944, shortly before Joye Hummel graduated from the Katharine Gibbs secretarial school in Manhattan, she was invited to meet with one of her instructors, a charismatic psychologist who had been impressed by her essays on a take-home test.

Over tea at the Harvard Club, professor William Moulton Marston offered her a job — not in the classroom or psych lab, but in the office of his 43rd Street art studio. He wanted Ms. Hummel to help him write scripts for Wonder Woman, the Amazonian superhero he had created three years earlier and endowed with a magic lasso, indestructible bracelets, an eye-catching red bustier and a feminist sensibility.Ms. Hummel, then 19, had never read Wonder Woman; she had never even read a comic book. But Marston needed an assistant. His character, brought to life on the page by artist H.G. Peter, was appearing in four comic books and was about to star in a syndicated newspaper strip. He was looking for someone young who could write slang and who, perhaps most importantly, shared his philosophy and vision for the character. “You understand that I want women to feel they have the right to go out, to study, to find something they love to do and get out in the world and do it,” Ms. Hummel recalled his saying. She was “astonished and delighted” by the job offer, according to historian Jill Lepore’s book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” and soon began writing for the comic. “I always did have a big imagination,” she said.

Ms. Hummel worked as a Wonder Woman ghostwriter for the next three years, long before any woman was publicly credited as a writer for the series. As invisible to readers as Wonder Woman’s transparent jet plane, she was increasingly recognized after Lepore interviewed her in 2014. Four years later, she received the Bill Finger Award, given to overlooked or underappreciated comic book writers at the Eisner Awards….

(13) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • April 9, 1955 — On this date in 1955, Science Fiction Theatre first aired in syndication. It was produced by Ivan Tors and Maurice Ziv.  It ran for seventy eight episodes over two years and was hosted by Truman Bradley who was the announcer for Red Skelton’s program. The first episode “Beyond” had the story of a test pilot travelling at much faster than the speed of sound who bails out and tells his superiors that another craft was about to collide with his. It starred William Lundigan, Ellen Drew and Bruce Bennett. You can watch it here.

(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born April 9, 1906 – Victor Vasarely.  Grandfather of op art, like this, and this (Supernovae, 1961).  Here is The Space Merchants using some of VV’s Folklore Planetario for the cover.  (Died 1997) [JH]
  • Born April 9, 1911 George O. Smith. His early prolific writings on Astounding Science Fiction in the 1940s ended when Campbell’s wife left him for Smith whom she married. Later stories were on Thrilling Wonder StoriesGalaxySuper Science Stories and Fantastic to name but four such outlets. He was given First Fandom Hall of Fame Award just before he passed on. Interestingly his novels are available from the usual digital sources but his short stories are not. (Died 1981.) (CE) 
  • Born April 9, 1913 George F. Lowther. He was writer, producer, director in the earliest days of radio and television. He wrote scripts for both Captain Video and His Video Rangers and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.  You can see “The Birth of The Galaxy” which he scripted for the first show here as it is in the public domain. (Died 1975.) (CE) 
  • Born April 9, 1915 – Charles Burbee.  One of our best fanwriters, of the brilliant but biting type (if you like that, as well as admiring it, you can change but to and).  Fanzine, Burblings; co-edited Shangri L’Affaires awhile.  Fan Guest of Honor at Westercon 27.  You can see The Incompleat Burbee here (part 1) and here (part 2).  Burbeeisms still circulate, like AKICIF (All Knowledge Is Contained In Fanzines) – sometimes without his mocking tone, a neglect he would have mocked.  (Died 1996)  [JH]
  • Born April 9, 1937 – Barrington Bayley.  A dozen novels, fourscore shorter stories, some under other names (“Michael Barrington” for work with Michael Moorcock).  Two collections.  Interviewed in InterzoneVector; on the cover of V223 for a Mark Greener article.  (Died 2008) [JH]
  • Born April 9, 1937 Marty Krofft, 84. Along with Sid, his brother, are a Canadian sibling team of television creators and puppeteers. Through Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, they have made numerous series including the superb H.R. Pufnstuf which I still remember fondly all these years later not to forget Sigmund and the Sea MonstersLand of the Lost and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. (CE) 
  • Born April 9, 1949 Stephen Hickman, 72. Illustrator who has done over three hundred and fifty genre covers such as Manly Wade Wellman’s John the Balladeer and Nancy Springer’s Rowan Hood, Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest. His most widely known effort is his space fantasy postage stamps done for the U.S. Postal Service which won a Hugo for Best Original Art Work at ConAndian in 1994. (CE) 
  • Born April 9, 1954 Dennis Quaid, 67. I’m reasonably sure that he first genre role was in  Dreamscape as Alex Gardner followed immediately by the superb role of Willis Davidge in Enemy Mine followed by completing a trifecta with Innerspace and the character of Lt. Tuck Pendleton. And then there’s the sweet film of Dragonheart and him as Bowen. Anyone hear of The Day After Tomorrow in which he was Jack Hall? I hadn’t a clue about it. (CE) 
  • Born April 9, 1972 Neve McIntosh, 49. During time of the Eleventh Doctor, She plays Alaya and Restac, two  Silurian reptilian sisters who have been disturbed under the earth, one captured by humans and the other demanding vengeance. Her second appearance on Doctor Who is Madame Vastra in “A Good Man Goes to War”. Also a Silurian, she’s a Victorian crime fighter.  She’s back in the 2012 Christmas special, and in the episodes “The Crimson Horror” and “The Name of the Doctor”. She’s Madame Vastra, who along with her wife, Jenny Flint, and Strax, a former Sontaran warrior, who together form a private investigator team. Big Finish gave them their own line of audio adventures. (CE) 
  • Born April 9, 1980 – Jill Hathaway, age 41.  Two novels.  Teaches high-school English, bless her.  Has read Cat’s Cradle, Tender Is the NightNative Son.  [JH]
  • Born April 9, 1981 – Vincent Chong, age 40.  Two hundred twenty covers, sixty interiors.  Artbook Altered Visions.  Here is Shine.  Here is the Gollancz ed’n of Dangerous Visions.  Here is G’s Left Hand of Darkness.  Here is Ghost Story.  [JH]
  • Born April 9, 1990 – Megan Bannen, age 31.  Two novels, one just last year.  “An avid coffee drinker and mediocre ukulele player…. in her spare time, she collects graduate degrees from Kansas colleges and universities.”  Or so she says.  [JH]

(15) COMICS SECTION.

(16) PRINCE PHILIP RIP. The Cartoon Museum in London noted the passing of its Patron HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh has been Patron of The Cartoon Museum in London for over 20 years. In 1949 he and the young Princess Elizabeth attended the Royal Society of Arts and listened to a speech by the great British cartoonist H. M. Bateman, calling for a national museum of cartoons.

He has given the museum continuous support and with his great love of humour he admired the genre of British cartooning. In 1994 he opened the museum’s exhibition on Giles, who drew for the Daily and Sunday Express from 1943 – 1991. The Duke of Edinburgh owned several Giles cartoons in his private collection; Giles was his favourite cartoonist – he admired his social observations, gentle humour, and depictions of the Royal Family.

The monarchy have been a persistent (and easy) target of cartoonists and caricaturists for 300 years, from Gillray and Beerbohm to Scarfe, Bell, Rowson and Peter Brookes – but the Duke of Edinburgh could always see the funny side in any situation, and took humorous depictions of himself in his stride. In 2002 Prince Philip opened an exhibition of cartoons on the Kings and Queens (300 Years of Cartoons about the Monarchy), and in 2006 he opened London’s first museum of cartoons.

The Cartoon Museum, its Trustees, Staff, and the cartooning community are saddened to hear Prince Philip has passed away, and send their deepest condolences to H. M. The Queen and his family.

(17) TO BOLDLY GO…WHO KNOWS WHERE? SYFY Wire reports  “New ‘Star Trek’ film set for summer 2023, as studios shuffle several releases”. Just don’t ask what it will be about.

Star Trek is bolding coming back to the big screen… two years from now. Paramount Pictures confirmed Friday that a brand-new Trek film will hit theaters on June 8, 2023. While the project is currently untitled and plot details are non-existent, we suspect this is the movie currently being written by The Walking Dead alum, Kalinda Vasquez.

(18) SANDMAN CROSSOVER. There’s a Q&A with the authors in “Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez preview their Locke & Key Sandman crossover” at Entertainment Weekly.

…Written and illustrated by the Locke & Key creative team of writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez, with the blessing of The Sandman co-creator Neil GaimanHell and Gone is set in 1927, during the opening sequence of The Sandman in which Morpheus, the King of Dreams, is held captive by the human sorcerer Roderick Burgess. Mary Locke, an ancestor of the Locke children who populate the main Locke & Key story, reaches out to Burgess to see if his occult society can help her save her brother’s soul from hell…. 

GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ: I started buying Sandman from the newspaper stand near my house once they started selling the Spanish edition here in Chile. They started publishing from the eighth issue, in which they introduce Death, and from then on they did the entire run. I remember reading that very first issue and was immediately hooked by the storytelling. And then when we get into the Doll’s House story line, I immediately realized it was going to be something really big and cool, and I ended up collecting the entire series. At the time I was reading Sandman, I was just daydreaming about eventually making a comic book myself, but living in such a small country where we don’t have a huge publishing industry, especially back then, it felt impossible.

(19) UNSOUND EFFECTS. “2021 Oscar-Nominated Short: “Yes-People'” on YouTube is an Icelandic animated film, directed by Gisli Darri Hallsdottir, that is an nominee for best short animated film, and is presented by The New Yorker.

“Yes-People” follows several Icelanders as they navigate minor daily conflicts—on their way to work, or to school, or while grocery shopping.

(20) PETRIFIED DINO GIZZARDS. Megafauna swallowed bigger stones than their avian descendants: “These Rocks Made a 1,000-Mile Trek. Did Dinosaurs Carry Them?”

The gastroliths were found in Jurassic-aged mudstones in a rock formation called the Morisson. A rainbow of pinks and reds, the Morisson formation brims with dinosaur fossils, including those of sauropods, such as Barosaurus and Diplodocus, as well as meat-eaters such as Allosaurus.

But the rocks, which are similar to gastroliths dug up elsewhere, were found on their own without any dinosaur remnants. To get a clue as to how they had ended up in modern-day Wyoming, the team crushed the rocks to retrieve and date the zircon crystals contained inside, a bit like studying ancient fingerprints.

“What we found was that the zircon ages inside these gastroliths have distinct age spectra that matched what the ages were in the rocks in southern Wisconsin,” said Malone, now a doctoral student studying geology at the University of Texas at Austin. “We used that to hypothesize that these rocks were ingested somewhere in southern Wisconsin and then transported to Wyoming in the belly of a dinosaur.

“There hasn’t really been a study like this before that suggests long-distance dinosaur migration using this technique, so it was a really exciting moment for us.”

(21) FOSSILIZED STINK. Or maybe dinos were shying rocks at this creature to get rid of the smell? “Beast of five teeth: Chilean scientists unearth skunk that walked among dinosaurs” at Yahoo!

A fossil of a skunk-like mammal that lived during the age of dinosaurs has been discovered in Chilean Patagonia, adding further proof to recent evidence that mammals roamed that part of South America a lot earlier than previously thought.

A part of the creature’s fossilized jawbone with five teeth attached were discovered close to the famous Torres del Paine national park.

Christened Orretherium tzen, meaning ‘Beast of Five Teeth’ in an amalgam of Greek and a local indigenous language, the animal is thought to have lived between 72 and 74 million years ago during the Upper Cretaceous period, at the end of the Mesozoic era, and been a herbivore…

(22) JUST IN TIME. The sixth season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow premieres Sunday, May 2.

The Legends continue their new mission to protect the timeline from temporal aberrations – unusual changes to history that spawn potentially catastrophic consequences. When Nate, the grandson of J.S.A. member Commander Steel, unexpectedly finds himself with powers, he must overcome his own insecurities and find the hero within himself. Ultimately, the Legends will clash with foes both past and present, to save the world from a mysterious new threat.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Michael J. Walsh, Frank Olynyk, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, rcade, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, James Bacon, Scott Edelman, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg Hullender, with an assist from rcade.]

2021 Rhysling Award Nominees

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has finalized its 2021 Rhysling Award candidates. One hundred six members nominated.

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

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

Short Poems (103 poems)
“Summer Time(lessness)” • Linda D. Addison • Star*Line 43.4
“Timegeddon” •  Francis Wesley Alexander • Illumen, Spring
“The Void Blends in Your Hands” • Carmen Lucía Alvarado • Utopia Science Fiction, February
“The Tree Of Eyes” • Colleen Anderson • Literary Hatchet 26
“They Made My Face” • Sara Backer • Silver Blade 47
“Sealskin Reclaimed” • Alison Bainbridge • Glitchwords 2
“a siren whispered in my ear one night” • Ashley Bao • Arsenika 7
“Chrono-Man” • F. J. Bergmann • Polu Texni, May 11
“Lesser Eternity” • F. J. Bergmann • Survision Magazine 6
“Chronovisor Wanted” • Robert Borski • Star*Line 43.1
“The Monster Maker” • Bruce Boston • Silver Blade 45
“When Change Comes” • Karen Bovenmyer • Arcana: Story
“The Edge of Galaxy NGC 4013” • Warren Brown • Speculative North 3
“He Sold What He Had Left” • Diane Callahan • Speculative North 1
“Three Triolets” • Anna Cates • Strange Horizons, 7 December
“Mrs. Housekeeper” • Beth Cato • Eye To The Telescope 35
“The Luck Eaters” • Beth Cato & Rhonda Parrish • Star*Line 43.3
“Post-Obit Cautionary Tale” • G. O. Clark • Tales From the Moonlight Path, July
“Zodiac Girl” • Carolyn Clink • Eye to the Telescope 36
“Back Story” • David Clink • Strange Horizons, 12 September 2020
“The dead couple of Blenheim” • William Clunie • Dreams and Nightmares 116
“an alien axiom” • Gerald L. Coleman • Star*Line 43.4
“Mouthing off” • PS Cottier • Monstrous (IP, Brisbane, Australia)
“Visit to Poe’s House” • Cynthia Cozette •  2020 SFPA Halloween Poetry Page
“The Memory of Summer” • Jennifer Crow • Polu Texni, May 31
“The Old God Dies” • Jennifer Crow • Liminality 24
“The Man with the Corpse on His Shoulders” • James Cushing • Rattle, October 1, 2020
“Isotropical” • d’Ores&Deja • Analog, July/August
“A Hand Against My Window” • Deborah L. Davitt • 34 Orchard 1
“A Touch of Lightning in the Soul” • Deborah L. Davitt • Abyss & Apex 73
“The Witch’s Cat” • Deborah L. Davitt • Eye to the Telescope 38
“Beneath the Fullest Moon” • Ashley Dioses • Midnight Under the Big Top, ed. Brian James Freeman (Cemetery Dance Publications)
“Disassembly at auction” • Robin Wyatt Dunn • Mobius: The Journal of Social Change 31:4
“Ghazal” • Joshua Gage • Silver Blade 47 (permission declined)
“Dragons Guard Our Family Fortune” • Adele Gardner • Star*Line 43.2
“Last Contact” • Jean-Paul L. Garnier • Poetry Super Highway, December 28
“The Mollusk God” • Maxwell Ian Gold • Space & Time Magazine 139
“Tree Limbs Block the Road” • Patricia Gomes • Wicked Women: An Anthology by New England Horror Writers, ed. Trisha Wooldridge
“Lucky & His Dad” • Alan Ira Gordon • Illumen Spring
“The Crib” • Vince Gotera • Making the Novel, August
“A Soldier Writes His Wife” • Vince Gotera • Ribbons 16:2
“First Contact“ • Robin Rose Graves • Simultaneous Times 6
“Teddy Bear Diner” • Michael H. Hanson • Android Girl and Other Sentient Speculations (Three Ravens Publishing)
“Hungry Ghost” • Millie Ho • Uncanny 33
“Ignorance, my prophylactic” • Akua Lezli Hope •  Eye to the Telescope 38
“Dolly Waits” • Juleigh Howard-Hobson • Final Cut Zine, October 31
“That is not what I meant at all” • Brian Hugenbruch • Abyss & Apex 76
“‘Flee’—The Last Dispatch from the Jemison Station” • Maya C. James • Star*Line 43.4
“Requiem” • Clay F. Johnson • Nightingale & Sparrow 8
“Form Factor” • Tim Jones • Eye To The Telescope 38
“Family Historian” • Herb Kauderer • Scifaikuest, August
“Cave Painting” • Oliver Keane •  Eternal Haunted Summer, Winter Solstice
“Posle Nas” • Rosalie Morales Kearns • Apparition Lit 11
“Star Trip(tych)”  • M. X. Kelly • Speculative North 2
“Witching” • Erin Kirsh • Speculative North 2
“Life Goes On” • David C Kopaska-Merkel • Anwen 107
“We sell skin on sale” • Rachel Lachmansingh • Augur Magazine 3.2
“The Forest in the Full of the Moon” • Geoffrey A. Landis • New Myths, December
“Snow White and the Seven Deadly Sins” • Geoffrey A. Landis • Space & Time Magazine, May
“Last Seen Sunset” •  Hazel Ann Lee • Star*Line 43.4
“The Cat’s Epilogue” • Mary Soon Lee • The Sign of the Dragon (JABberwocky Literary Agency)
“Cavall” • Mary Soon Lee • Asimov’s Science Fiction, September/October
“What Phoenixes Read” • Mary Soon Lee • Star*Line 43.3
“Darning” • Sandra J. Lindow • Asimov’s Science Fiction, May/June
“Rapunzel at Seventy” • Sandra J. Lindow • Taj Mahal Review, June
“Grass Whisperer” • Lynne M MacLean • Speculative North 1
“Lovely Ludwig Van” • Alessandro Manzetti • Space & Time 139
“Kings and Queens of Narnia” • Meep Matsushima • Octavos 9/24/2020
“Black Water, Black Bones” • Michelle Muenzler • Liminality 23
“Libations” • Soonest Nathaniel • FIYAH 15
“Cento for Lagahoos” •  Brandon O’Brien • Uncanny 36
“Mountain” • Cindy O’Quinn • Shelved: Appalachian Resilience Amid Covid-19 (Mountain Gap Books anthology)
“You Were With Me” • CIndy O’Quinn • Space & Time Magazine 136
“The Krakeness” • K. A. Opperman • Cosmic Horror Monthly, June
“On the Edge of Forever” • Josh Pearce • Star*Line 43.1
“Fin” • Terese Mason Pierre • Uncanny 36
“Like Clockwork” • Christina M. Rau • Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, March
“Bar Scene” • John Reinhart • Star*Line 43.3
“It Feels Like Drowning” • Terrie Leigh Relf • HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. VII, ed. Stephanie Wytovich
“fear of police, but as sci-fi, because /that/ you can understand -or, less passive aggressively- get these fucking phasers out of my face” • J. C. Rodriguez • Freeze Ray Poetry 19
“invocation of my guardian angel in six sexts” • Camille Rosas • Eye to the Telescope 37
“Arrival Mind” • Louis B. Rosenberg • Arrival Mind (Outland Publishing)
“Of fairy tales—” • David F. Shultz • Star*Line 43.1
“People Dropping Dead in the Mall Parking Lot” • lan Ray Simmons • Abyss & Apex 76
“Journey’s End” • Marge Simon • Silver Blade 46
“Old Playfellow” • Noel Sloboda • Abyss & Apex 75
“Riding the Exhale” • Angela Yuriko Smith • HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. VII, ed. Stephanie Wytovich
“The Deer” • Christina Sng • A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
“Dream Weaver” • Blaize Kelly Strothers • Apparition Lit 12
“The Selkie Wife” • Marcie Lynn Tentchoff • Speculative North 3
“Andromeda’s Lament” • Gretchen Tessmer • Liminality 26
“End Credits” • Gretchen Tessmer • Liquid Imagination 44
“A Tempest” • Sheree Renée Thomas • Star*Line 43.4
“Why did white people conquer the world for spices and then never use them?” • R. Thursday • Drunk Monkeys, November 16
“King Pest” • Richard L. Tierney • Spectral Realms 13
“Athena Holds Up a Mirror to Strength” • Ali Trotta • Uncanny 34
“Persephone’s Sneakers” • Amanda Trout • Little Death Lit 5
“Extinction No. 6” • Morgan L. Ventura • Augur 3.2
“Unlooping” • Marie Vibbert • Asimov’s Science Fiction, January/February
“Acacia” • Holly Lyn Walrath • Liminality 24
“we are all energy” • M. Darusha Wehm • Kaleidotrope, Spring
“The Paper Effigies Shop” • Deborah Wong • Eye to the Telescope 36
[hand-me-down] • Greer Woodward • Eye to the Telescope 35
Long Poems (65 poems)
“And It Was Bad” • Anne Carly Abad • Abyss & Apex 75
“The Looking Glass” • Colleen Anderson • Illumen, Spring
“Snow White’s Apples” • Colleen Anderson • Polu Texni, April 14
“Time Traveller’s Memory” • Davian Aw • The Future Fire 55
“Regarding” • F. J. Bergmann • Polu Texni, March 30
“The Riches of Cloud Country” • Ruth Berman • Asimov’s Science Fiction, May/June
“Eleven exhibits in a better Natural History Museum, London” • Jenny Blackford • Strange Horizons, 14 September
“The priestess’s daughter” • Jenny Blackford • Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, February
“The Third Sister” • Andrea Blythe • Twelve (Interstellar Flight Press)
“Parabiont” • Robert Borski • Dreams and Nightmares 115
“It’s Like This I Told the Archangel” • Marianne Boruch • The Georgia Review, Fall(permission declined)
“Devilish Incarnations” • Bruce Boston • Star*Line 43.1
“Wishes” • Jennifer Bushroe • Polu Texni, September 7
“Learning the Way” • Sarah Cannavo • Liminality 25
“My Cat, He” • Beth Cato • Uncanny 36
“Cursebody” • May Chong • Apparition Lit 11
“Municipal Ghosts” • May Chong • Eye to the Telescope 36
La Bête: The Beast of Gévaudan” • Frank Coffman • Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows (Bold Venture Press)
“The Wheel of the Year” • Frank Coffman • Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows (Bold Venture Press)
“The Imp and the Bottle” • Sharon Cote • Star*Line 43.2
“The King of Eyes” • PS Cottier • Monstrous (IP, Brisbane, Australia)
“Twisted Sayings” • Ashley Dioses • The Withering (Jackanapes Press)
“After the Decipherment” • FJ Doucet • SFPA Poetry Contest
“Penelope, the truth” • Clarabelle Fields • Corvid Queen, April 3, 2020
“The Mad Scientist to the Muse of her Dreams” • Adele Gardner • Dreams and Nightmares 114
“Odysseus Grins at Fate and the Gods” • Adele Gardner • Mithila Review 13
“Seven Steps to Reach Your Father Across the Great Divide” • Adele Gardner • Liminality 25
“Cellars, Caskets, and Closets” • Maxwell I. Gold • Baffling Magazine 1
“The Secret Ingredient is Always the Same” • Sarah Grey • Fantasy Magazine 61
“Fermi’s Spaceship” • Jamal Hodge • Star*Line 43.4
“Igbo Landing” • Akua Lezli Hope • Penumbra, Fall 2020
“First Turn” • Juleigh Howard-Hobson • Final Cut Zine, October 31
“The Finger” • Abi Hynes • Dreams and Nightmares 114
“An Offering” • Michael Janairo • Line of Advance (2020 Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Awards)
“The Emerald Witch Stone” • Clay F. Johnson • Moonchild Magazine, January
“The First Dragon” • Herb Kauderer • Altered Reality Magazine, 14 December
“The Unicorn Insane” • Herb Kauderer • Speculations II: Poetry from the Weird Poets’ Society, ed. Frank Coffman
“Dictionary of the Lost” • Luke Kernan • Déraciné 7
Robo sapiens Thinks He Thinks” • Geoffrey A. Landis • Eye To The Telescope 35
“Ford” • Mary Soon Lee • The Sign of the Dragon (JABberwocky Literary Agency)
“Jumble” • Mary Soon Lee • Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 43
“Two Weeks” • Mary Soon Lee • The Sign of the Dragon (JABberwocky Literary Agency)
“Invisible Ink” • Gerri Leen • Community of Magic Pens (Atthis Arts anthology)
“Social Graces” • Lori R. Lopez • Bewildering Stories 871
“The Whistle Stop” • Lori R. Lopez • Impspired 8
“The Son-in-Law from Hell” • LindaAnn LoSchiavo • Bewildering Stories 875
“Budapest: for Lianne” • S. Qiouyi Lu • In Charge Magazine, June 4
“Alice” • Alessandro Manzetti • Whitechapel Rhapsody (Independent Legions)
“the cage” • Alessandro Manzetti • Midnight Under the Big Top, ed. Brian James Freeman (Cemetery Dance Publications)
“The Believers” • Meep Matsushima • Strange Horizons, 21 December
“Nephele, On Friday” • Elizabeth R. McClellan • Air: Sylphs, Spirits & Swan Maidens, ed. Rhonda Parrish (Tyche Books)
“There Must Be Blood” • Elizabeth R. McClellan • Rejection Letters, October 8
“lagahoo culture (Part I)” Brandon O’Brien • Uncanny 35
“Mise-en-scène” • Suphil Lee Park • Michigan Quarterly—Mixtape: Apocalypse issue
“Next!” • Michael Payne •  Silver Blade 47
“Caged” • Marsheila Rockwell • American Diversity Report, December 16
“Our Lady of the Archerontia” • Allan Rozinski • Spectral Realms 13
“Such Monstrous Births” • Emily Smith • Strange Horizons, 9 March
“All that I have lost” • Christina Sng • A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
“Dark Forest” • Christina Sng • New Myths 53
“Hansel and Gretel” • Christina Sng • A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
“Love Song of the Swamp” • Alena Sullivan • Crow & Cross Keys, December
“A Song from Bedlam (with apologies to Christopher Smart)” • Nike Sulway • Liminality 23
“A Dish Best Served” • Lisa Timpf• Liminality 23
“Daughters Saving Mothers” • Holly Lyn Walrath • Liminality 23

Update 02/24/21: The poems by Marianne Boruch, Cynthia Cozette, Joshua Gage and Hazel Lee have been removed from the Rhysling candidates page after being withdrawn by the authors.