SFPA’s 2020 Grand Master Nominees

Voting continues as Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) members decide who will be honored as Grand Master this year. Four candidates are under consideration: Linda Addison, F.J. Bergmann, Geoffrey A. Landis, and John Grey.  SFPA members have until December 1 to cast their ballots.

  • Linda Addison
Linda Addison

Linda D. Addison is the award-winning author of five collections, including The Place of Broken Things, written with Alessandro Manzetti, & How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, and a recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award®, co-editor of Sycorax’s Daughters, an anthology of horror fiction & poetry by African- American women, poetry editor of Space & Time Magazine since 2000, and editor of the 2018 Rhysling Anthology and the HWA StokerCon Anthology 2019. Her work has made frequent appearances over the years on the honorable mention list for Year’s Best anthology. She has a B.S. in Mathematics from Carnegie-Mellon University and currently lives in Arizona. Addison is a founding member of the writer’s group Circles in the Hair (CITH), and a member of HWA, SFWA and SFPA. For further information please see Linda’s website.

  • F. J. Bergmann
F. J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann has a distinguished body of speculative poetry from the last 20 years, winning the Rhysling (Short and Long), the Elgin Chapbook (twice), the SFPA Poetry Contest (several), and other contests. Her service to SFPA includes editing Star*Line, designing publications, and serving as webmaster and VP. Nor is her service to poetry limited to the SFPA.

  • Geoffrey A. Landis

Geoffrey A. Landis has had a strong body of work published over the last thirty-plus years, noted by his winning the Rhysling Long twice, the Asimov’s Reader’s Award for best poem four times, and the Dwarf Stars Award. In addition to his excellence in writing poetry, he has contributed to the SFPA by editing Eye to the Telescope and co-editing the 2012 Dwarf Stars anthology. He is active in the Cleveland poetry community, and for many years has run the Clevelandpoetics blog, which distributes news and information about poetry in the Cleveland area; he has also been active in the Ohio Poetry Day celebrations. He has published two collections of poetry, Iron Angels (Van Zeno, 2009) and The Book of Whimsy (Night Ballet, 2015). For more for more about Geoffrey visit his website.

  • John Grey

John Grey is Australian-born, U.S. resident, poet, short story writer, musician and playwright. He has had over 16,000 poems published throughout the world in magazines as diverse as Christian Science Monitor, Relix, Poetry East, Agni, Rhino, Rattle, Poet Lore and JAMA as well as numerous anthologies and books, including his latest, Leaves On Pages. A good percentage of those poems have been in genre magazines, (both sci-fi and horror, with the occasional fantasy) having grown up devouring the classic horror writers such as Blackwood, James, Bierce, Poe, etc. Publications in this field include work in Weird Tales, Space & Time, Dreams and Nightmares, The Pedestal, The Magazine Of Speculative Poetry, The Fifth Di, Leading Edge, Andromeda Spaceways, Not One Of Us, Strange Horizons, Chrome Baby and many many many more. Winner of the Rhysling Award (Short) in 1998. Was theater critic and poetry columnist for a local Providence, RI, weekly arts magazine and has had plays produced off-off Broadway and in Los Angeles.

Happy the Dwarf

By John Hertz:  Results of the 2020 SF Poetry Ass’n Contest were posted here on September 25th.

I won 3rd Place in the Dwarf category (1-10 lines).

Two Filers’ comments congratulated me by name.  Thanks.

Perhaps you’d like to see my entry.  It’s an unrhymed stanza in 5-7-5-word lines.

That hill – a giant
Green elephant asleep, lost
On his way to Mars.

File 770 reported the Contest’s biographical notes about the winners.  Mine was simply “John Hertz is”.  This was due to no request, coyness, or like that, from me.  No one asked.  If the Contest called for any biography from entrants, I missed it.  However, I’m content.


Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first full-length cel-animated feature film.  In Disney’s telling, Snow White meets dwarfs called Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.

2020 SFPA Poetry Contest Winners

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association has announced the winners of its 2020 Poetry Contest.

This year’s contest offered prizes in three divisions:

  • 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 poems 500+ words])

Contest chair John Reinhart received 391 entries (133 dwarf-length, 197 short, and 61 long poems) from around the world.

The winners, selected by judge Neil Aitken, will receive a $150 First Prize, $75 Second Prize, and $25 Third Prize in each category, as well as publication on sfpoetry.com

DWARF FORM WINNING POEM:

  • “Where Do We Go From Here?” by Ojo Taiye

Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian poet who uses poetry as a handy tool to hide his frustration with the society. He also makes uses of collage & sampling techniques.

DWARF FORM SECOND PLACE:

  • “the last whisper” by Deborah P Kolodji

Deborah P Kolodji is a former president of the SFPA and the California Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America. She has published over 1000 haiku and her first book of haiku and senryu won a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award from the Haiku Foundation.

DWARF FORM THIRD PLACE:

  • “That hill – a giant” by John Hertz

John Hertz is.

DWARF FORM HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • “artificial singularity” by Meg Freer
  • “The Hypothesis” by Sheryl Hamilton

SHORT FORM WINNER:

  • “Skylarking” by F. J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and (temporarily [again]) Star*Line, and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. She has competed at National Poetry Slam as a member of the Madison, WI, Urban Spoken Word team. Her mostly speculative work appears irregularly in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s SF, and elsewhere in the alphabet. A dystopian collection of first-contact expedition reports, A Catalogue of the Further Suns, won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest and the 2018 SFPA Elgin Chapbook Award.

SHORT FORM SECOND PLACE:

  • “The Indestructible Observer Admits” by Amie Whittemore

Amie Whittemore is the author of the poetry collection Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press), the 2020 Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Her poems have won multiple awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and her poems and prose have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Nashville Review, Smartish Pace, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She is the Reviews Editor for Southern Indiana Review and teaches English at Middle Tennessee State University.

SHORT FORM THIRD PLACE:

“The Archaeoastronomer Questions the Purposes of the Destroyed Neolithic Menhir” by T. D. Walker

T. D. Walker is the author of the poetry collections Small Waiting Objects (CW Books 2019) and Maps of a Hollowed World (Another New Calligraphy 2020). Her science fiction poems and stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apricity, The Future Fire, Web Conjunctions,The Cascadia Subduction Zone, and elsewhere. She curates and hosts Short Waves / Short Poems. After completing graduate work in English Literature, Walker began her career as a software developer. She draws on both her grounding in literary studies and her experience as a computer programmer in writing poetry and fiction. Find out more at tdwalker.net.

SHORT FORM HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Collection of Mouths by Ann DeVilbiss
  • My Life in the Bomb by Phil Tabakow
  • Aswang Mango: Santiago’s Fantasia by Vince Gotera

LONG FORM WINNER:

  • “Which is Which” by F. J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann lives in Wisconsin and likes to ride horses. She is pretty sure she’d like to ride unicorns, if only they’d cooperate.

LONG FORM SECOND PLACE:

  • “After the Decipherment” by FJ Doucet

Fatimah Jessica (FJ) Doucet’s poetry most recently appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, Beliveau Review, Yolk, Martin Lake Journal, and Literary Mama, while her work in Prometheus Dreaming magazine was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her speculative prose appears in the Retellings of the Inland Seas anthology from Candlemark and Gleam press, with more fiction forthcoming through Endless Ink Publishing House. She is a member of the SFPA, and is the newest president of the Brooklin Poetry Society, just outside of Toronto, Canada.

LONG FORM THIRD PLACE:

  • “Cityscape” by F. J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann is presently holed up in a 700-square-foot apartment with a husband and 7,000 books, most of which are science fiction.

LONG FORM HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • “Stellar Scrap Sweep” by Richaundra Thursday
  • “The Archaeoastronomer Explains to the American’s Daughter Why a Compass Will Not Work on the Moon” by T. D. Walker

Contest judge Neil Aitken is the author of two books of poetry, Babbage’s Dream (Sundress 2017) and The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga 2008), which won the Philip Levine Prize. His poetry chapbook Leviathan (Hyacinth Girl Press 2016) won the Elgin Award. Individual poems have appeared in The Adroit Journal, American Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter, Radar Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, and many other literary journals. He is the founding editor of Boxcar Poetry Review, curator of Have Book Will Travel, podcast host of The Lit Fantastic, and co-director of De-Canon: A Visibility Project.

[This story will be scraped by Locus Online in 5…4…3…]

2020 Elgin Awards

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) has announced the winners of the 2020 Elgin Awards for best collections of speculative poetry published in the previous two years. Named after SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin, awards are given in two categories: best chapbook and best full-length book.

FULL-LENGTH BOOK AWARD WINNERS

Winner: Soft Science • Franny Choi (Alice James Books, 2019)

Second Place: Elemental Haiku • Mary Soon Lee (Ten Speed Press, 2019)

Third Place: [tie]

The Comfort of Screams •  G. O. Clark (Alban Lake Publishing, 2018)

The Demeter Diaries • Marge Simon & Bryan D. Dietrich (Independent Legions, 2019)

CHAPBOOK CATEGORY

Winner: The Book of Fly • John Philip Johnson (Graphic Poetry Press, 2019)

Second Place: The Last Mastodon • Christina Olson (Rattle, 2019)

Third Place: Fragments from the Book of the After-Dead • Herb Kauderer (The Poet’s Haven, 2019)

This year’s Elgin Awards had 13 nominees in the chapbook category and 42 nominees in the full-length category.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association was established in 1978 and has an international membership. The 2020 Elgin Chair is Colleen Anderson, a Canadian author who has had over 170 poems published. She is a member of HWA and SFPA and a Canada Council grant recipient for writing. Her solo anthology Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland was published by Exile Books. She has served on both Stoker Award and British Fantasy Award juries. Her short-story collection, A Body of Work was published by Black Shuck Books, UK.

Pixel Scroll 6/30/20 The Pixel Scroll Is Read, Yet There’s Much More To Be Said

(1) DON’T BE THAT AUTHOR. Brenda Clough’s list grows longer: “Ways to Trash Your Writing Career: An Intermittent Series”.

There are the really obvious ways to torch your career — rudeness to editors, for instance.  And then there are the hidden trap doors.  The one I am going to reveal today is truly obscure.  It could be broadly described as meddling with the publication process. More specifically, you can enrage the publisher’s sales reps.  Kill your book dead in one easy step! …

(2) AND DON’T BE THAT POET. F.J. Bergmann wrote and Melanie Stormm designed “How To Piss Off A Poetry Editor” for readers of SPECPO, the blog of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. Here’s the header —

(3) KGB READINGS ONLINE. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Benjamin Rosenbaum and Mike Allen Wednesday, July 15 in a YouTube livestream event. Starts at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Benjamin Rosenbaum

Benjamin Rosenbaum’s short fiction has been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, BSFA, Sturgeon, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards, and collected in The Ant King and Other Stories. His first novel, The Unraveling, a far-future comedy of manners and social unrest, comes out this October from Erewhon Books. His tabletop roleplaying game of Jewish historical fantasy in the shtetl, Dream Apart, was nominated for an Ennie Award. He lives near Basel, Switzerland with his family.

Mike Allen

Mike Allen has twice been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. His horror tales are gathered in the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated collection Unseaming, and in his newest book, Aftermath of an Industrial Accident. His novella The Comforter, sequel to his Nebula Award-nominated story “The Button Bin,” just appeared in the anthology A Sinister Quartet. By day, he writes the arts column for The Roanoke (Va.) Times.

Listen to podcasts of the KGB readings here.

(4) FUTURE TENSE. The June 2020 entry in the Future Tense Fiction series is “The Last of the Goggled Barskys,” by Joey Siara.

Transmitted herewith are excerpts from statements provided by members of the Barsky family regarding the incident with Hayden Barsky, age 11.

The true origins of KHAOS remain unknown….

It was published along with a response essay, “How Not to Optimize Parenthood” by Brigid Schulte, director of the Better Life Lab and author of the book Overwhelmed: Work, Love, & Play When No One Has the Time.

Most parents are well-intentioned. We try to do the right thing, hoping to spare our children at least a measure of the pain or heartache we muddled through, to smooth the rough edges of life and give them every advantage to make it in an uncertain and often cruel world.

That’s at least the hope. In practice, no one really knows how to do that. So, particularly in America, where “winning” and the self-improvement dictate to “beat yesterday” are akin to sacred commandments, we have always turned to the experts for help. What does the science say? What are the neighbors doing? What book or podcast or shiny gadget will instantly make my child’s life easier? More joyful? Miraculous? And, perhaps most importantly, better than your kid’s?…

(5) LOCKDOWN MOVIE. “Quarantine Without Ever Meeting”Vanity Fair profiles the filmmakers. Tagline: “The actors set up lights, did their own makeup, and ran the cameras. The filmmakers advised on Zoom. Somehow…it worked.”

…While Hollywood is struggling to figure out if it’s possible to make a feature-length movie in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, this group of independent filmmakers and actors have already done it. “The whole movie has been written, produced, packaged, shot within quarantine. Now we’re in postproduction, and I had a first cut of the whole film done on Friday,” said director and cowriter Simon. As The Untitled Horror Movie nears completion, its producers are finally announcing the secret project and seeking a distributor. It appears to be the first movie created entirely within the parameters of the lockdown.

The horror comedy is about a group of needy and desperate young stars from a once-popular TV series who learn, via video conference, that their show has just been canceled. Fearing obscurity, they decide to stay in the spotlight by making a quickie horror film—but while shooting it, they perform a ritual that accidentally invokes an actual demonic spirit. Mayhem follows. “We kind of described it going into it as Scream meets For Your Consideration,” Simon said.

(6) OFF THE COAST. In the Washington Post, Rob Wolfe says that Wizards of the Coast has banned seven Magic:  The Gathering cards it says are “racist or culturally offensive” and promises a review of all 20,000 cards to find any other ones it deems questionable. “‘Racist’ and ‘culturally offensive’ images pulled from hugely popular trading card game”

The card had been around since 1994, tagged “Invoke Prejudice” by the world’s most popular trading card game. It showed figures in white robes and pointed hoods — an image that evoked the Ku Klux Klan for many people.This month, the company behind “Magic: The Gathering” permanently banned that card and six others carrying labels like “Jihad” and “Pradesh Gypsies.” Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of toy giant Hasbro, acknowledged the images were “racist or culturally offensive.”

“There’s no place for racism in our game, nor anywhere else,” the company said in a statement announcing its action.

With the country roiled by tensions and protests over African Americans’ deaths at the hands of police, the issues entangling Magic and its creators are unlikely to subside soon. The fantasy game of goblins, elves, spells and more boasts some 20 million players, and in pre-pandemic times, thousands flocked to elite international tournaments with hefty prizes. Players of color say they have long felt excluded in the white- and male-dominated community from the game’s top echelons, as well as employment at the company….

(7) WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. “A Better World ?” seems to be a kind of text-based game letting players choose among “Uchronies,” a French term that partakes of alternate history but is more fantastic in nature. I racked up a lot of karma in a hurry, sad to say.

The dates you can change are in yellow.

The dates you just changed are in pink.

Click on one of them to change the past!

Your current karma:

0

See the list of Uchronies (cancels the current game)

It didn’t go well, I’d like to start over…

(8) ANOTHER TONGUE. James Davis Nicoll says there are a bundle of “Intriguing SFF Works Awaiting English Translations” at Tor.com.

I am monolingual, which limits me to reading works in English. One of the joys of this modern, interconnected world in which we’re living is that any speculative fiction work written in another language could (in theory) be translated into English. One of my frustrations is that, generally speaking, they haven’t been. Here are five works about which I know enough to know that I’d read them if only they were translated….

(9) I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP. Olav Rokne says, “Sometimes, you just want to ask the question nobody wants.” He passed along some of the hilarious responses.   

(10) CARL REINER OBIT. The creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show and straight man to Mel Brooks’ “2000 Year Old Man,” died June 29 at the age of 98. The duo won a Grammy in 1998 for their The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000. (The New York Times eulogy is here.)

He shared the lead in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming and appeared in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. He directed numerous movies, including several starring Steve Martin. In recent years he voiced characters in several genre animated TV shows — and Carl Reineroceros in Toy Story 4.

John King Tarpinian remembers:

He is not genre but his passing reminds me of the good old days.  Back in the 80s, I was president of the largest Atari club consortium in the US.  One of the members owned the Vine Street Bar & Grill.  It was between Hollywood & Sunset.  The first Wednesday of the month the guest jazz singer was Estelle Reiner.  Ron Berinstein, club member and club owner invited me to come on Estelle’s nights to make sure the club was always full.  The first time I went her husband, Carl, was also there.  I learned that he always came…and that he’d have friends join them.  Over the years everybody from Sid Caesar, Buck Henry, Neil Simon, Dick Van Dyke, Mel Brooks & more.

During Estelle’s break between sets Carl & whomever was also there would get up and entertain.  Carl & Mel would do their 2000 Year Old Man routine but not the Ed Sullivan version but the version they’d do a parties.  My ribs would be sore the next morning from laughing so hard. 

Sid Caesar would come to Ray Bradbury’s plays.  Imagine somebody being able to upstage Ray…who also would be laughing so hard.

(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • June 30, 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory premiered. Based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory novel, it was directed by Mel Stuart, and produced by Stan Margulies and David L. Wolper. The screenplay was by Roald Dahl and David Seltzer. It featured Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka with a supporting cast of Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, Leonard Stone and Denise Nickerson. Some critics truly loved it while others loathed it. It currently holds an 87% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. (CE)

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born June 30, 1905 — Nestor Paiva. Sometimes it only takes one film or series  for a performer to get a Birthday write-up from me. Paiva makes it for Lucas the boat captain in The Creature from the Black Lagoon and its oft forgotten sequel Revenge of the Creature. Though that was hardly his only genre role as his first role was in the early Forties as an uncredited prison guard in Tarzan’s Desert Mystery and he’d be in many a genre film and series over the decades as Prof. Etienne Lafarge in The Mole People, as the saloon owner in (I kid you not!) Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Felicity’s Father in The Spirit Is Willing, Captain Grimby in “The Great Treasure Hunt” of The Adamms Family and a Doorman in the “Our Man in Leotards” episode of Get Smart. (Died 1966.) (CE)
  • Born June 30, 1920 Sam Moskowitz. SF writer, critic, and historian. Chair of the very first World Science Fiction Convention held in NYC in 1939. He barred several Futurians from the con in what was later called the Great Exclusion Act. In the Fifties, he edited Science-Fiction Plus, a short-lived genre magazine owned by Hugo Gernsback, and would edit several dozen anthologies, and a few single-author collections, most published in the Sixties and early Seventies. His most enduring legacy was as a historian of the genre with such works as Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of “The Scientific Romance” in the Munsey Magazines, 1912–1920 and Hugo Gernsback: Father of Science Fiction. (Died 1997.) (CE)
  • Born June 30, 1929 – Anie Linard, 91.  Active from France, herself and with Jean Linard, in the 1950s and 1960s; fanzines Innavigable MouthMeuhVintkatX-trap.  Voted in the 1958 TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) campaign.  She was, like many of us, a correspondent of Ned Brooks.  I have not traced her more recently than June 1962.  Anie, if you see this, salut!  [JH]
  • Born June 30, 1935 – Jon Stopa, 85.  Active with Advent publishing house, half a dozen covers including In Search of WonderThe Eighth Stage of Fandom, and The Issue at Hand.  Three stories in Astounding.  Program Book for Chicon III the 20th Worldcon, and cover for its Proceedings; with wife Joni, Fan Guests of Honor at Chicon V the 49th, where I think they were in some of the Madeira tastings I assembled when I found four or five D’Oliveiras in the hotel bar.  The Stopas were (Joni has left the stage) also great costumers, both as entrants and judges; there’s a YouTube of their work here.  [JH]
  • Born June 30, 1959 Vincent D’Onofrio, 61. Kingpin in that not terribly good or bad Daredevil film, Edgar the Bug in the only truly great Men in Black film and Vic Hoskins in Jurassic World. He also was Jason Whitney / Jerry Ashton in The Thirteenth Floor, loosely based upon Simulacron-3, a early Sixties novel by Daniel F. Galouye. (CE)
  • Born June 30, 1961 Diane Purkiss, 59. I’ve not read her Corydon Trilogy she wrote with Michael Dowling, her son, but I can say that  At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things is as splendid as the title suggests it is. She’s also written Fairies and Fairy Stories: A History. (CE)
  • Born June 30, 1961 – Nigel Rowe, 59.  Published Timeless Sands history of New Zealand fandom, then moved to Chicago.  Here is a 1994 photo of him with Russell Chauvenet (who coined the word fanzine) at Corflu 11 in Virginia.  A 2019 photo of him is on p. 47 of Random Jottings 20 (PDF), the Proceedings of Corflu 36 in Maryland; he’s also on the cover (back right; you may be able to make out his badge “Nigel”).  Very helpful relaying paper fanzines across the seas.  [JH]
  • Born June 30, 1961 – carl juarez, 59.  No capital letters in his name.  Co-edited the fanzine Apparatchik with Andy Hooper (from Apak 62), later Chunga with Hooper and Randy Byers.  Here is his cover for Chunga 8.  He’s on the right of the cover for Chunga 17 (PDF).  Chunga credited cj as designer, the results being indeed fine.  He, Byers, and Hooper were such a tripod that with Byers’ death, Chunga tottered; should it fall, may cj find his feet.  [JH]
  • Born June 30, 1963 Rupert S. Graves, 57. Here because he played Inspector G. Lestrade on that Sherlock series. He also appeared on Doctor Who as Riddell in the Eleventh Doctor story, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. He had one-offs in The Nightmare Worlds of H. G. Wells: The MothTwelve MonkeysKrypton and Return of the Saint. (CE)
  • Born June 30, 1966 – Penny Watson, 54.  Degrees in plant taxonomy, horticultural science, biology, and floral design; “there is nothing better than getting up in the morning, heading out to your garden and picking fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, cukes, and arugula greens for breakfast.”  Obsessed with dachshunds.  Has trained dolphins, coached field hockey and lacrosse.  Nat’l Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.  Eight novels, five of them and a novella for us.  [JH]
  • Born June 30, 1966 Peter Outerbridge, 54. Dr. David Sandström in what I think is the underrated ReGenesis series as well as being Henrik “Hank” Johanssen in Orphan Black anda recurring role on Millennium as Special Agent Barry Baldwin. He’s currently in two series, The Umbrella Academy with a recurring role as The Conductor, and as Calix Niklosin in V-Wars, yet another Netflix SF series. (CE)
  • Born June 30, 1972 Molly Parker, 48. Maureen Robinson on the current Lost in Space series. One-offs in Nightmare Cafe, The Outer Limits, The SentinelHighlander: The SeriesPoltergeist: The LegacyHuman Target and she appeared in The Wicker Man asSister Rose / Sister Thorn. (CE)
  • Born June 30, 1974 – Juli Zeh, 46.  A dozen novels so far, three for us.  Deutscher BücherpreisSolothurner Literaturpreis; doctorate in international law, honorary judge at the Brandenburg constitutional court.  About Schilf (“reed”, name of a character – likewise an English surname), translated into English as Dark Matter (London) and In Free Fall (New York), when a Boston Globe interviewer asked “Are you asking the reader to reconsider the nature of reality?” JZ answered “Yes, I want to take the reader on an intellectual journey”; to “Can a novel of ideas be written today, without irony?” JZ answered “As long as mankind doesn’t lose its curiosity to think about the miracles of being.”  [JH]

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • Non Sequitur shows us the first science fiction writer — and true Hard SF, even as to the medium it’s composed on.
  • Today’s Bizarro is not an SF comic, but one with good advice for the privileged rich kid starting a literary career.

(14) DOOMSCROLLING. I learned a useful new word from John Scalzi’s post “Check In, 6/30/20”.

…With that said, there’s another aspect of it, too, which I think I’ve been minimizing: it’s not just time on social media, it’s engagement when I am on it, and how social media is making me feel when I use it. The term “doomscrolling” refers to how people basically suck down fountains of bad news on their social media thanks to friends (and others) posting things they’re outraged about. It’s gotten to the point for me where, particularly on Twitter, it feels like it’s almost all doomscrolling, all the time, whether I want it to be or not.

(15) STANDING UP. David Gerrold’s unlocked Patreon post “I Stand With The Science Fiction Writers of America” may be a reaction to yesterday’s item about the publisher of Cirsova, and certainly gives emphatic support to SFWA’s recent statement about BLM.

…The BLM movement are not terrorists. They are not thugs. They are peaceful protesters, marching against industrial discrimination and system-entrenched bigotry. The demonstrators have actually caught looters and rioters and delivered them to the police.

It doesn’t matter how much the limousine-liberals preach equality if there are no serious efforts to redress the grievances of the disadvantaged. 

If we truly are all in this together, then it behooves all of us to reach out to each other and create partnerships and opportunities. This isn’t preferential treatment. It’s a necessary bit of repair work to a damaged genre. 

If we don’t talk about it, if we don’t take steps, if we don’t address it, then we are guilty of complicity. If the racism of the past was a product of its time, then let our attempts to redress the situation be a product of our time. 

(16) BLOCKED OUT. Missed this in March: “Lego embraces the dark side with three helmet building kits”. And it’s not like I didn’t have time on my hands.

… These sets are up for preorder now from Lego at $59.99 and are set to ship on April 19.

  • Stormtrooper Buildable Model Helmet ($59.99; lego.com)
  • Boba Fett Buildable Model Helmet ($59.99; lego.com)
  • TIE Fighter Pilot Buildable Model Helmet ($59.99; lego.com)

With the Stormtrooper, you’re getting a 647-piece helmet-building set, complete with the blacked-out visor, two nodes on the bottom for speaking and stickers to complete the look. Similarly, the Boba Fett helmet will let you pay homage to the original Mandalorian. This set is 21 centimeters tall (a little over 8 inches) and has 625 pieces. You’ll be constructing each detail of the helmet, including the fold-down viewfinder that lets Boba easily track down his targets. (He is a bounty hunter, after all.)

(17) HAKUNA ERRATA. [Item by Daniel Dern.] In Pixel Scroll 5/27/20 Johnny Mnemonic B. Goode I’d said —

This in turn reminded me of one of my favorite songs by Chris Smither, “Henry David Thoreau” riffing on (same tune) Berry’s song. Oddly, even incomprehensibly, I find NO mention of it anywhere via DuckDuckGo nor Google, even though I’ve heard Smither sing it numerous times. (I also checked his discography.

It turns out that, while I have heard Chris Smither sing this song, he wasn’t the author. That was Paul Geremia, one of Boston/Cambridge’s wonderful acoustic blues musicians.

The song is on his Self Portrait In Blues album. (And on my ~2,800-song Spotify playlist, which is how, when it came around again this morning on the guitar, as it were, I realized my mistake.)

Here’s a so-so performance:

The song (and much of the album) is on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple, and elsewhere. Apple’s got a reasonable sample snippet.

(18) THE STAR VANISHES. The BBC says Alfred Hitchcock isn’t involved in “Mystery over monster star’s vanishing act”.

Astronomers have been baffled by the disappearance of a massive star they had been observing.

They now wonder whether the distant object collapsed to form a black hole without exploding in a supernova.

If correct, it would be the first example of such a huge stellar object coming to the end of its life in this manner.

But there is another possibility, the study in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society reports.

The object’s brightness might have dipped because it is partially obscured by dust.

It is located some 75 million light-years away in the Kinman Dwarf galaxy, in the constellation of Aquarius.

The giant star belongs – or belonged – to a type known as a luminous blue variable; it is some 2.5 million times brighter than the Sun.

Stars of this kind are unstable, showing occasional dramatic shifts in their spectra – the amount of light emitted at different wavelengths – and brightness.

(19) YOU WILL BELIEVE A…EH, NO YOU WON’T. NPR explains “How Snakes Fly (Hint: It’s Not On A Plane)”

Flying snakes like Chrysopelea paradisi, the paradise tree snake, normally live in the trees of South and Southeast Asia. There, they cruise along tree branches and, sometimes, to get to the ground or another tree, they’ll launch themselves into the air and glide down at an angle.

They undulate their serpentine bodies as they glide through the air, and it turns out that these special movements are what let these limbless creatures make such remarkable flights.

That’s according to some new research in the journal Nature Physics that involved putting motion-capture tags on seven snakes and then filming them with high-speed cameras as the snakes flew across a giant four-story-high theater.

How far they can go really depends on how high up they are when they jump, says Jake Socha at Virginia Tech, who has studied these snakes for almost a quarter-century. He recalls that one time he watched a snake start from about 30 feet up and then land nearly 70 feet away. “It was really a spectacular glide,” Socha recalls.

Part of the way the snakes do this is by flattening out their bodies, he says. But the snakes’ bodies also make wavelike movements. “The snake looks like it’s swimming in the air,” he says. “And when it’s swimming, it’s undulating.”

(20) BLOCKBUSTED. “With Big Summer Films Delayed, AMC Theatres Puts Off U.S. Reopening”.

The nation’s largest movie theater chain is delaying its U.S. reopening until the end of July because film companies have postponed release dates of two anticipated blockbusters.

AMC Theatres announced that a first round of approximately 450 locations will resume operations two weeks later than initially planned, to coincide with the updated August release dates of Warner Brothers’ Tenet and Disney’s Mulan.

“Our theatre general managers across the U.S. started working full time again today and are back in their theatres gearing up to get their buildings fully ready just a few weeks from now for moviegoers,” CEO Adam Aron said in a June 29 statement. “That happy day, when we can welcome guests back into most of our U.S. theatres, will be Thursday, July 30.”

The company said it expects its more than 600 U.S. theaters to be “essentially to full operation” by early August.

AMC Theatres made headlines earlier this month when it announced patrons will be required to wear masks, reversing course on a controversial reopening plan that had only encouraged them to do so.

(21) ALL THE SMART KIDS ARE DOING IT. “Famous New York Public Library Lions Mask Up To Set An Example”.

For the first time, the familiar marble faces outside the New York Public Library will be obscured by masks.

Patience and Fortitude, the iconic lion sculptures guarding the 42nd Street library, are wearing face coverings to remind New Yorkers to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

The masks arrived on June 29, and measure three feet wide by two feet tall, according to a library statement.

New York Public Library President Anthony Marx emphasized the symbolism of the aptly named lions, and said New Yorkers are similarly strong and resilient.

(22) NEVERENDING SENDUP. The Screen Junkies continue their look at oldies with an “Honest Trailer” for The Neverending Story, where they show that gloomy Germans created “a world of neverending misery.”  They discovered that star Noah Hathaway subsequently played Harry Potter Jr. in Troll (1986) with Michael Moriarty playing Harry Potter Sr.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, JJ, Joey Eschrich, Rich Horton, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Darrah Chavey, Olav Rokne, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to wandering minstrel of the day Cliff.]

2020 Rhysling Awards

Jessica J. Horowitz and Rebecca Buchanan are the winners of the 2020 Rhysling Awards presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA).

The winners were chosen by SFPA members, with 112 votes cast.

The 2020 Rhysling Awards

Short Poem Category

First Place

Second Place

Third Place (tie)

  • “Creation: Dark Matter Dating App” • Sandra J. Lindow • Asimov’s SF, July/August
  • “The Day the Animals Turned to Sand” • Tyler Hagemann • Amazing Stories, Spring

Long Poem Category

First Place

  • Heliobacterium daphnephilum” • Rebecca Buchanan • Star*Line 42.3

Second Place

Third Place (tie)

  • “The Macabre Modern” • Kyla Lee Ward • The Macabre Modern and Other Morbidities (P’rea Press, 2019)
  • “Ode to the Artistic Temperament” • Michael H. Payne • Silver Blade 42

[Via Locus Online.]

2019 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest

On June 1, the 2019 Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) Poetry Contest opens and will be accepting entries from all poets, including non-members of the SFPA. Poets may enter 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 poems 500+ words)

All sub-genres of speculative poetry are welcome in any form. Entries will be read blind. Winners will receive a $100 First Prize, $50 Second Prize, and $25 Third Prize in each category, as well as publication on sfpoetry.com. The contest fee is $2 to enter.

Entries must be submitted by August 31.Winners will be announced by October 1. To enter or learn more, see the submission guidelines on the official SFPA contest website at sfpoetry.com/contests.html.

This year’s contest judge is Nicole Oquendo, a writer and visual artist who combines these two elements to craft multimodal nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. Their work can be found in literary journals like BOAAT, CutBank, DIAGRAM, and Gulf Stream, among others. They are the author of the hybrid memoir Telomeres, as well as five chapbooks. Their most recent book of illustrated speculative poetry is Space Baby: Episodes I-III. They are currently an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications who are publishing their curated anthology, Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities, in 2019.

[Based on a press release.]

2019 Rhysling Award Nominees

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has finalized its 2018 Rhysling Award candidates, reports David C. Kopaska-Merkel. Eighty-nine members voted.

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

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

Short Poems (86 poems)
3D-Printed Brother • Millie Ho • Strange Horizons 9/25/18
Acceptable Documentation • Sonya Taaffe • Sycorax Journal 1
After Her Brother Ripped the Heads from Her Paper Dolls • Beth Cato • Mythic Delirium 4.3
Alien Interview Questions • Mary Soon Lee • Dreams and Nightmares 109
An Alien Visits an Earth Psychiatrist • John Grey • The Pedestal Magazine 82
“as if …” • LeRoy Gorman • Atlas Poetica: 25 Science Fiction Tanka & Kyoka, eds. Julie Bloss Kelsey & Susan Burch
beseeching the kitchen gods • M. C. Childs • Grievous Angel 5/20/18
Cardiad • Virginia M. Mohlere • Mythic Delirium 4.4
A City Built on Bones • Ann K. Schwader • Abyss & Apex, March
Colorless Reflexion • Cindy O’Quinn • Poppy Road Review 8/29/18
Concerning President Carter and the UFO Sighting • August Huerta • Strange Horizons 3/19/18
Consumption •  Jennifer Ruth Jackson • Eye to the Telescope 29
The Crimson Witch • K. A. Opperman • Eye to the Telescope 30
Curse of Waccasassa Lagoon • John Reinhart • Dreams and Nightmares 109
Data Value • Patricia Gomes • Star*Line 41.2
Dead-Eye Girl • Holly Lyn Walrath • Liminality 17
Dear Creator • Mary Soon Lee • Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February
The Dissolution of Icarus • Michelle Muenzler • Liminality 18
Divinatory • Rose Lemberg • Sycorax Journal 1
Down in Windy Hollow • Jenny Blackford • The School Magazine, June
Dream Catchers • Steve DeFrance • The Poet’s Haven poetry gallery
drop some amens • Brandon O’Brien • Uncanny 21
Echoes of Light from Orbit • Megan Engelhardt • Asimov’s SF, November/December
Engineered •  Bruce McAllister • Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March/April
Entanglement • David C. Kopaska-Merkel & Kendall Evans • Entanglement (diminuendo press)
Esprit d’Escalier • May Chong • Apparition Lit 1
Excalibur’s Lament • P.S. Cottier • Eye to the Telescope 27
Flat Dyson • Francis W. Alexander • Spaceports & Spidersilk, July
Forest Mother • Christina Sng • The Ladies of Horror Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge
Fortune Favors the Cold • Katherine Inskip • Abyss & Apex 68
From Her Tower, the Lady of Shalott Sees the Ice Age Come • R. Mac Jones • Eye to the Telescope 27
Galahad Returns from the Holy Wars • David E. Cowen • Bleeding Saffron (Weasel Press)
Generation Ship • David Barber • Kaleidotrope, Summer
The Girl and Her Wolf Dog • Christina Sng • Spectral Realms 8
Golgothan (Shit Demon’s Sonnet) • David F Shultz • Deadman’s Tome Shit Fest, ed. Jesse Dedman (?)
Heart’s Desire • Lynn White • The Sirens Call 41
Hey Man, Nice Shot • Gretchen Tessmer • Strange Horizons 2/26/18
Intruders • Cindy O’Quinn • Star*Line 41.2
The Ladies of Lancashire • Clay F. Johnson • Eye to the Telescope 30
Laika • Holly Day • Dreams and Nightmares 109
Lament of the Four Moons • Kendall Evans & John Philip Johnson • Asimov’s SF, ?
Lost Memories • Bruce Boston • The Literary Hatchet 19
The Maenad to Her Artist Friend • Amal El-Mohtar • Strange Horizons 2/12/18
Mars Must Remember • Denise Dumars • The Pedestal Magazine 82
Mining Time • P.S. Cottier • Not Very Quiet 2
Monster, Creature, Human • Herb Kauderer • Dreams and Nightmares 109
My Little Vampire • Adele Gardner • Dreams and Nightmares 110
The Mysterious Hermit • Krystal Volney • krystalvolneyfanssite
Neuroweb • Logan Thrasher Collins • Abyss & Apex 67
The Nightmare Thing • Sandra Kasturi • Eye to the Telescope 29
O Siren • Ashley Dioses • Liquid Imagination 38
Ode to the Gorgon • K. A. Opperman • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
Okuri Inu, or the sending-off dog demon • Betsy Aoki • Uncanny 22
Our Lady of the Winter Squash • Jenny Blackford • Polu Texni 10/29/18
Pan’s Descent • Bruce Boston • Artifacts (Independent Legions Publishing)
Past Is Present • Deborah L. Davitt • Modern Poetry Review 8
The Patron Saint of Alien Abductees • Noel Sloboda • Evansville Review XXVIII
Pinocchio Plays the Cotton Club • Alan Ira Gordon • Star*Line 41.3
Planck Length • David F. Shultz • Dreams and Nightmares 108
Planetary Lensing • Herb Kauderer • Dreams & Nightmares 109
Planktivorous Fish and the Structure of Pelagic Plankton • David Clink • Juniper 2:2
Pouring the Pennyroyal • Andrea Blythe & Laura Madeline Wiseman • Priestess & Hierophant 5
Quetzalcoatlus roboti Heads Home • Vince Gotera • Multiverse, ed. Russell Jones (Shoreline of Infinity)
Relic • Kari Flickinger • Riddled with Arrows 2.3
The Sea Horse Isles • Michael H. Hanson • Untimely Frost: Poetry Unthawed, eds. Suzie & Bruce Lockhart (Lycan Valley Press)
The Sea Never Says It Loves You • Fran Wilde • Uncanny 21
Seraphima • Hal Y. Zhang • Liminality 15
Son of Aswang • Vince Gotera • The Philippines Graphic, October
The Southern Lady • Marge Simon • War (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Spatial Arrangement • David F. Shultz • Abyss & Apex 65
“Stand and Wait” • Herb Kauderer • Scifaikuest print, August
Station Rain • Erik Burdett • Apparition Lit 4
Stephen Hawking • Greer Woodward • Haikuniverse 3/24/18
That’s one small step for (a) man … • Russell Jones • Dark Matters (Tapsalteerie Press)
Things That Go Bump and Smile in the Night • Kathleen A. Lawrence • Altered Reality Magazine ?
This Sacred Earth • Deborah L. Davitt • Abyss & Apex 67
Thunderstorm in Glasgow, July 25 2013 • Amal El-Mohtar • Fireside Fiction broadside
Trips to Impossible Cities • Sandra Kasturi • Amazing Stories Magazine 2
Try the Veal • Robert Beveridge • Vastarien 1
Universal Immigrants • Ann K. Schwader • Star*Line 41.1
Unstole It • Jim Davies • Altered Reality Magazine ?
Venusian Arachnoids • David F. Shultz • Star*Line 41.1
Waterworld • Terry Persun • Space & Time Magazine 131
What Is Dead • Kristin Garth • Luna Luna Magazine 4/13/18
What Loves You • Jeff Crandall • Fantasy & Science Fiction September/October
Wraiths • Wade German • Vastarien 1:1
Long Poems (54 poems)
3-Minute Future • F. J. Bergmann • Unlikely Stories V
After the Wolf • Jeff Crandall • Fantasy & Science Fiction March/April
Alima among the Trees • T. D. Walker • Projector Magazine 1
Atomic Numbers • D. A. Xaolin Spires • Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January/February
Cassini’s Mini-Packets Home • Jessy Randall • Strange Horizons 7/2/18
Cataclysm Days: Arizona Conservatives Revert to Old Forms of Worship • Chuck Von Nordheim • Liquid Imagination 37
The Cat’s Daughters • Nitoo Das • Uncanny 20
Cinderella’s Pumpkin • Colleen Anderson • Polu Texni 5/28/18
The Collaborator • Cassandra Rose Clarke • Illumen, Spring
Commemoration of the Divine Passion • William Cook • Eye to the Telescope 30
Conditions of the Curse • Herb Kauderer • Exploits in the Adirondacks, eds. (pub518)
Dragon Mountain • Mary Soon Lee • Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 35
Drug Wars • Marge Simon • War (Crystal Lake Publishing)
The Fairies in the Crawlspace • Beth Cato • Uncanny 21
Finding Hecate • Clay F. Johnson • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
five sigils • David F. Shultz • Eye to the Telescope 27
Getting to Mars • Roger Dutcher • The Pedestal Magazine 82
If you would seek a Seeress • Rebecca Buchanan • Star*Line 41.1
In the Vaults • Adele Gardner • The Pedestal Magazine 82
It Took Some Time • David C. Kopaska-Merkel • Devilfish Review 20
The Kind Thing to Do • Kurt Newton • Polu Texni 4/23/18
The Last Transport • Frank Coffman • Abyss & Apex 65
Lorelei • Ali Trotta • Uncanny 22
Lost Girls • Rachel Verkade • Liminality 15
Misstep • David C. Kopaska-Merkel • Star*Line 41.4
Mother • Deborah L. Davitt • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
Mother Giant • Peri Fae Blomquist • Mythic Delirium 4.4
nakajiru • D. A. Xiaolin Spires • Mithila Review 10
The Nightmares • Wade German • Spectral Realms ?
Nixon’s Planet • Peter Ullian • Secret Histories and Exobiologies (Poet’s Haven)
Om Economics • Sandra J. Lindow • 2018 SFPA Poetry Contest
Our Minds Are Jewels of Uncertainty • Terrie Leigh Relf & Kendall Evans • Star*Line 41.3
Past Far Gone • Toby Macnutt • Arsenika 3
The Poisoning •  Jessica Drake-Thom • Eye to the Telescope 29
The Prophet’s Vision • W. C. Roberts • Polu Texni 10/15/18
The Protest: Ant Work Ethic • Michael H. Payne • Civilized Beasts III, ed. Vincent Corbeau (Weasel Press)
Ragnarök: A Prism • Alexandra Seidel • Sycorax Journal 1
Rapunzel • Christina Sng • Dreams and Nightmares 109
Rex Arthurs • Deborah L. Davitt • Eye to the Telescope 27
The Sea-Wolf of Brittany • Deborah L. Davitt • Liminality 17
The Search • Deborah L. Davitt • Zetetic, May
Seven Witches • Alexandra Seidel • Eye to the Telescope 30
Skathi’s Spite • Deborah L. Davitt • Eternal Haunted Summer, Winter Solstice
Snow: White; White: Snow • Erin Robinson • Liminality 18
The Space of One Paragraph • Mark McCutcheon • Riddled with Arrows 2.2
The Stars Are Not Eternal • Kendall Evans & David C. Kopaska-Merkel • Entanglement (diminuendo press)
Third-Floor Bookstore • Herb Kauderer • Altered Reality Magazine 12
Thirteen Ways Of Looking At A Monster • Bruce Boston • Birthing Monsters: Frankenstein’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Cruelties (Firbolg Publishing)
Two Dozen Restaurant Concepts for a Gentrified Mixed-Use Vacancy • James Ebersole • The Cockroach Conservatory Vol 1: The Working Zealot’s Guide to Gaining Capital in Pre-Apocalyptic America
Ursula LeGuin in the Underworld • Sarah Tolmie • On Spec: The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic, April
Verdant • F. J. Bergmann • Dreams and Nightmares 110
The Visionary • Ian Futter • Spectral Realms 9
White Siege • Alessandro Manzetti & Marge Simon • War (Crystal Lake Publishing)
The Witch’s House • Jeana Jorgenson • Liminality 15

David C. Kopaska-Merkel is the 2019 Rhysling Chair. He edited Star*Line in the late ’90s and later served as SFPA President. His 29th book, the speculative-poetry collection Metastable Systems, was nominated for the Elgin award. He edits and publishes Dreams and Nightmares, a genre poetry zine in its 33rd year of publication. In 2017 he was named an SFPA Grandmaster.

Pixel Scroll 1/29/19 Dill Pixels

(1) TIPTREE ON TV? Jennifer Kent, who directed the exceptional horror film The Babadook, and is currently at Sundance screening her second film, the historical drama The Nightingale, is developing a project based on the life and stories of James Tiptree Jr. / Alice Sheldon: “Sundance 2019 Interview: Babadook Director Jennifer Kent on Her New Film, The Nightingale” at Rogerebert.com.

And Tiptree?

I don’t know where to start. There was this writer of short science fiction stories in ’60s and ’70s who was very feted, and of the level of Philip K. Dick, or Ursula Le Guin. He was really creating the most powerful stories of gender and of being an outsider. But they were so potent, very prescient; because it’s almost the world we’re living in now. So they were written 50 years ago. They’re incredibly relevant still, and then he was sort of well known. His stories were well known, but no one knew who he was for 10 years, and then eventually someone uncovered his identity to be a woman in her 60s, in I think Virginia. This woman’s story is unbelievable. Unbelievable. And she was a genius. So I want to tell her story.

So you’ll make something episodic at a network?

Yeah, but including her short stories within. It’s not a straight biopic; so aliens from her stories inhabit her true world, and then she will be in the world of her stories, and it’s so exciting to me. It’s science fiction, which I love. I came across that because I was being given a lot of science fiction scripts. And I thought, “Where are the female science fiction stories?” So I Googled “female science fiction”, and I came across her! It was so hard to get the rights. And then I got all the rights to these stories, so it’s just meant to be. I could sit for hours and tell you how we got these rights. I’m working with producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, who is wonderful. He’s engaged with a company called Imperative, and so that’s the deal at the moment. But Imperative has thrown some money at the development, but we want to keep control of it. So we didn’t want to go to HBO and have it sit on a shelf and not get made, for example. So, we want to come with a pilot and a bible, so I’m working on that at the moment.

(2) STOKERCON UK. In April 2020 the Horror Writers Association’s annual event, StokerCon, will be held in the UK, and A.K. Benedict will be the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Taking place in Scarborough, just down the coast from Whitby – the town that provided so much of the inspiration for Stoker’s iconic Dracula – this is an event not to be missed for writers and readers of horror fiction.

The event is delighted to confirm its Mistress of Ceremonies for the weekend will be author A.K. Benedict, who will be launching the weekend’s proceedings. A.K. Benedict was educated at Cambridge, University of Sussex and Clown School. Described by the Sunday Express as ‘one of the new stars of crime fiction with a supernatural twist’, AK Benedict’s debut novel, The Beauty of Murder, was shortlisted for an eDunnit award and is in development for TV by Company Pictures. Her second novel from Orion, The Evidence of Ghosts, is a love song to London and shows her obsession with all things haunted. Her radio drama includes Doctor Who and Torchwood plays for Big Finish and a modern adaptation of M.R. James’ Lost Hearts for Bafflegab/Audible.

(3) ODYSSEY WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIPS. Here is an overview of “2019 Odyssey Writing Workshop Scholarship Opportunities”. The Odyssey Writing Workshop is an acclaimed, six-week program for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror held each summer in New Hampshire. Writers apply from all over the world; only fifteen are admitted.

  • George R.R. Martin sponsors the Miskatonic Scholarship, awarded each year to a promising writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, a type of fiction Martin loves and wants to encourage. The scholarship covers full tuition, textbook, and housing. Martin says, “It’s my hope that this new scholarship will offer an opportunity to a worthy applicant who might not otherwise have been able to afford the Odyssey experience.” Applicants must demonstrate financial need in a separate application. Full details at the link.
  • Bestselling author and Odyssey graduate Sara King is sponsoring the Parasite Publications Character Awards to provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend this summer’s Odyssey. The Parasite Publications Character Awards, three scholarships in the amounts of $2,060 (full tuition), $500, and $300, will be awarded to the three members of the incoming class who are deemed extraordinarily strong character writers, creating powerful, emotional characters that grab the reader and don’t let go. No separate application is required.
  • The new Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship will be offered to a Canadian writer admitted to Odyssey. This scholarship, funded by alumni and friends of Chris, will cover $900 of tuition.
  • One work/study position is also available. The work/study student spends about six hours per week performing duties for Odyssey, such as photocopying, sending stories to guests, distributing mail to students, and preparing for guest visits. Odyssey reimburses $800 of the work/study student’s tuition.

(4) FREE READ. Arizona State University has published Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction, Volume II, an anthology featuring 10 short stories from ASU’s 2018 global climate fiction contest, plus a foreword by Kim Stanley Robinson, who also served as the lead judge for the contest.

The stories explore climate chaos, its aftermath, and possible ways forward through a variety of genres and styles, from science fiction and fantasy to literary fiction and prose poetry. It’s free to download in a variety of digital formats (HTML, EPUB, MOBI, and via Apple iBooks).

Table of Contents:

  • Kim Stanley Robinson, Foreword
  • Angie Dell and Joey Eschrich, Editors’ Introduction
  • Monarch Blue, by Barbara Litkowski
  • The Last Grand Tour of Albertine’s Watch, by Sandra K. Barnidge
  • Half-Eaten Cities, by Vajra Chandrasekera
  • Darkness Full of Light, by Tony Dietz
  • Luna, by David Samuel Hudson
  • Tuolumne River Days, by Rebecca Lawton
  • The Most Beautiful Voyage in the World, by Jean McNeil
  • Orphan Bird, by Leah Newsom
  • The Office of Climate Facts, by Mitch Sullivan
  • Losing What We Can’t Live Without, by Jean-Louis Trudel
  • About the Contributors
  • Honorable Mention: 2018 Contest Semifinalists

(5) HUGO VOTER ELIGIBILITY. Dublin 2019 is fixing this –

(6) MY KINGDOM FOR CANON. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Retcons are king. Or kinda want to be. The Daily Dot stares into the abyss at the changing look of Klingons over the various Star Trek series and movies—and especially the significant changes between the first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery  (“Here’s Why the Klingons Look Different in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2”).

In the grand tradition of sci-fi retcons, there’s a canon explanation for the Klingons’ new look. While the humanoid Original Series Klingons were retroactively explained as victims of a genetic diseaseDiscovery’s bald Klingons [in season 1] were apparently making a fashion statement.

According to actress Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), designer Glenn Hetrick decided that the Klingons weren’t “bald” in season one—they just shaved their heads. Speaking at New York Comic Con last year, Chieffo said Hetrick was inspired by the Next Generation episode “Rightful Heir.”

“There is a reference to when [legendary Klingon hero] Kahless is brought back as a clone. The way he proves himself is he tells the story of how he cut off a lock of his hair and dipped it into a volcano and made the first bat’leth, with which he killed Molor, the terrible tyrant who was running Qo’noS at the time. We took that one little beautiful seed… and kind of expanded on that, and we see that in a time of war the Klingons would shave their heads, and in a time of peace, we start to grow it back out. I really love the symbolism of that.”

Meanwhile, ScreenRant.com has a different take on the whole, um, different Klingon thing (“Star Trek Theory: Discovery Is Why The Original Series Klingons Look Different”).

Star Trek: Discovery could finally explain one of the franchise’s biggest discrepancies: why do the Klingons in The Original Series look human? The answer might be the former Starfleet Lieutenant Ash Tyler, who is the surgically altered Klingon named Voq.

[…] It’s possible Star Trek: Discovery season 1’s transformation of Voq into Ash Tyler is the forerunner to why the Klingons Captain Kirk faced in The Original Series didn’t have the ridged brows and wild hair of later Klingons. Voq was the former Torchbearer of T’Kuvma who underwent surgery to become human in a horrifically painful process that damaged his mind. His lover L’Rell oversaw the procedure to turn Voq into Ash Tyler, a Starfleet Lieutenant who was captured during the Battle at the Binary Stars. Voq ended up believing he really was Ash and fell in love with Michael Burnham but his inner Klingon kept fighting his way to the forefront.

[…] By the time Captain Kirk faced the Klingons for the first time in the Star Trek: The Original Series’ episode “Errand of Mercy”, the warrior race looked and behaved human, albeit with darker, exotic skin. Kor, the Klingon Commander, even told Kirk “our races aren’t so different”. He meant that both humans and Klingons are war-like species, but his words could also now have a deeper context: the Klingons have 24 Great Houses and it’s possible this group of Klingons underwent the same (perfected) procedure that turned Voq into Ash Tyler.

(7) CELEBRATORY YEAR. “150 years of the periodic table: Test your knowledge”. I scored 5 for 5 – how unusual!

You’ll find it on the wall of nearly every school chemistry laboratory in the land.

And generations of children have sung the words, “hydrogen and helium, lithium, beryllium…” in an attempt to memorise some of the 118 elements.

This year, the periodic table of chemical elements celebrates its 150th birthday.

…The United Nations has designated 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table to celebrate “one of the most significant achievements in science”.

In March, it will be 150 years since the Russian scientist, Dmitri Mendeleev, took all of the known elements and arranged them into a table.

Most of his ideas have stood the test of time, despite being conceived long before we knew much about the stuff that makes up matter.

On Tuesday, the year will be officially launched in Paris. So, what’s so special about this iconic symbol of science?

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 29, 1923 Paddy Chayefsky. In our circles known as the writer of the Altered States novel that he also wrote the screenplay for. He is the only person to have won three solo Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. The other winners of three Awards shared theirs. He did not win for Altered States though he did win for Network which I adore. (Died 1981.)
  • Born January 29, 1940 Katharine Ross, 79. Yes, you know her as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate but that’s hardly genre, do shall we see what she done in our area of interest? Her first such work was as Joanna Eberhart in The Stepford Wives –scary film that. She shows up next as Helena in The Swarm and plays Margaret Walsh in The Legacy, both horror films. The Final Countdown sees her in the character of Laurel Scott.  And Dr. Lilian Thurman is her character in the cult favorite Donnie Darko. I’m fairly sure that the only genre series she’s done is on The Wild Wild West as Sheila Parnell in “The Night of the Double-Edged Knife” episode. I did debate if the I should could I count Alfred Hitchcock Presents aa genre or not as she did an episode there as well.
  • Born January 29, 1977 Justin Hartley, 42. Performer in the series as Green Arrow and Oliver Queen characters, season six on. Also director of the “Dominion” episode and the writer of the “Sacrifice” episode on that series. He’s also Arthur “A.C.” Curry in the unsold Aquaman television pilot. The latter is up on YouTube here. He’s also lead cast in a web series called Gemini Division.
  • Born January 29, 1978 Catrin Stewart, 31. Jenny Flint in five episodes of Doctor Who. She was friends with Madame Vastra and Strax (informally known as the Paternoster Gang) who appeared first during the Eleventh Doctor and last during the Twelfth Doctor. Big Finish has continued them in their audiobooks. She also played Stella in two episodes of the Misfits series, and was Julia in a performance of Nineteen Eighty-Four done at London Playhouse several years back. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Frank and Ernest encounter a superhero with a not very pleasant power.
  • Not everybody gets off the ground at Hogwarts according to Berkeley Mews.
  • A super warning about the cold and flu season at Off the Mark.

(10) ELGIN AWARD NOMINATIONS OPEN. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association is taking nominations for the Elgin Award through May 15. Charles Christian will be the 2019 Elgin Awards Chair.

Only SFPA members may nominate; there is no limit to how many they can nominate, but they may not nominate their own work. Send title, author, and publisher of speculative poetry books and chapbooks published in 2017 and 2018 to elgin@sfpoetry.com by mail to the SFPA secretary: Renee Ya, P.O. Box 2074, San Mateo, CA 94401 USA. Books and chapbooks that placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, in last year’s Elgin Awards are not eligible.

(11) FOREVER YOUNG. A young Captain Picard steps up alongside a bunch of  Italian Renaissance turtles and other, um, beloved characters (SYFY Wire: “Exclusive: Young Captain Picard commands the U.S.S. Stargazer in Star Trek: IDW 20/20 one-shot”).

IDW Publishing’s big 20th anniversary celebration rolls on this month as the mini-major refreshes five of their major licensed titles with a time-traveling series of oversized one-shot releases. 

The January party sparkles with some of pop culture’s most treasured properties as GhostbustersJem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Star Trek, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles uncover characters’ secrets and mysteries shot 20 years into the future or tugged back to the past.

(12) RUN, CAT, RUN! Camestros Felapton has the news — “Shock billionaire spoiler candidate enters presidential race”.

Timothy the Talking Cat, billionaire CEO of publishing multinational “Cattimothy House” entered the 2020 Presidential fray, with a shock announcement on Tuesday. At a book launch in Borstworth Library, the outspoken cat and business guru laid out his vision for a new kind of US President.

(13) NEW BENNETT NOVELLA DISCUSSED. Several star reviewers from Nerds of a Feather participate in “Review Roundtable: Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett”.

CONTENT WARNING: This review discusses gun violence throughout, and includes references to child death. Also, we’re discussing the whole novella, so BEWARE SPOILERS.

Vigilance, the new novella from Robert Jackson Bennett, is out today and it’s a searing look at gun violence in the US. In this near future dystopia, John McDean is tasked with running “Vigilance”, the nation’s favourite reality programme, which releases real shooters are released on unsuspecting locations with military-grade armaments, and the resulting carnage is broadcast as a “lesson” in how to protect oneself. McDean and his crew at ONT station think they have the variables of Vigilance down to a fine art, but in the novella’s ensuing escalation find themselves taken down by one of McDean’s own blindspots, to dramatic effect.

We’ve got a lot of Bennett fans on our team here at Nerds of a Feather and when this novella came to our attention, lots of us were interested in reading it to review. That’s why, instead of taking it on alone, today I, Adri, am joined by Paul Weimer, Brian, and Joe Sherry to unpack Bennett’s highly topical novella and our reactions to it.

(14) MARKET UPDATE. Coming over the air now —

(15) PREY WITHOUT CEASING. We linked to the trailer yesterday, now The Hollywood Reporter explains it all to you: “How ‘Birds of Prey’ Footage Builds on ‘Suicide Squad’ Look”.

Margot Robbie’s next take on Harley Quinn is steeped in ’80s music video sensibilities. Gotham City’s newest protectors have arrived. Tuesday morning, following an Instagram post by Margot Robbie teasing her return as Harley Quinn, Warner Bros. released the first official behind-the scenes look at Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The first look teases viewers with quick glimpses of the main characters, who, alongside Robbie’s Harley Quinn, are comprised of Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), and Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Birds of Prey follows the events of Suicide Squad and finds Gotham City in a very different place following an apparent disappearance of Batman, and Quinn’s separation from the Joker. Harley finds herself on a continued path of redemption when she seeks to help a young girl, Cassandra Cain, escape the wrath of Black Mask by recruiting a force of Gotham heroines.

(16) OUT OF TIME. Vicky Who Reads makes it sound irresistible: “Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen (DRC): An Amazing Adult Sci-Fi Novel with Strong Family Themes”. Her review begins….

Kin Stewart used to be a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Now, stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.

(17) FROG STUFFING. Jon Del Arroz’ Happy Frogs lists are callbacks to what JDA thinks were the good old days of the Sad and Rabid Puppies. How much pull does he actually have? We’ll know if any of these names from “The Happy Frogs Hugo Award list” [Internet Archive link] show up on the 2019 ballot. (Well, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if David Weber got a nod for Best Series on his own – but that still leaves the rest of them.)

(18) WHERE FEW HAVE GONE. After five decades it’s hard to believe, but newly uncovered (or rediscovered) wide-format footage and uncatalogued audio was available as the basis for a new Apollo 11 documentary. Rolling Stone has the story of the doc plus a trailer (“‘Apollo 11’ Trailer: See Never-Before-Seen Footage From NASA’s Moon Mission”).

New footage from the lead-up to NASA’s first manned trip to the moon (and the landing itself) features in the upcoming documentary Apollo 11, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names,” distribution company Neon said of the film.

“Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.”

(19) LAST THOUGHTS ABOUT BROADWAYCON. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] On “Three on The Aisle:  Broadway Cosplay” at Americantheatre.org, Elisabeth Vincentelli gives a BroadwayCon report, which begins at sixteen minutes into the podcast and ends at 34 minutes.  She did see some cosplayers, such as a woman from West Virginia who sat on a bus wearing her costume as the Angel from Angels in America, and she occasionally did see fans wanting to get too close to the stars (which in the theatre world is known as “stagedooring.”)  But she also appreciated the substantive panels, such as one on Oklahoma where cast members sang songs they didn’t sing on stage, and noted that BroadwayCon is important enough that stars like Kristen Chenoweth show up there unannounced. Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout said he wanted to go next year and that “A critic incapable of being a fan is a critic that needs therapy.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

2018 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest Winners

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association announced the winners of its 2018 Speculative Poetry Contest on October 25.

This year’s contest offered prizes in three divisions:

  • 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 poems 500+ words])

The winners were chosen by Judge Laurel Winter, past recipient of SFPA’s Rhysling Award, Asimov’s Reader’s Poll Awards, and a World Fantasy Award. Her Growing Wings was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award.

Speculative poets from around the world sent contest chair Holly Lyn Walrath 335 entries — 80 dwarf-length, 191 short, and 64 long poems.

DWARF CATEGORY

  • Winner: “Walkers 1” by Jerri Hardesty
  • Second Place: “At Last” by Sandra J. Lindow
  • Third Place: “in-laws at the door” by Julie Bloss Kelsey

SHORT FORM CATEGORY

  • Winner: “tick more slowly” by Meg Freer
  • Second Place: “Tin-Head Soliloquy” by M. C. Childs
  • Third Place: “Seeking Exemption Status?” by Claire Bateman

LONG FORM CATEGORY

  • Winner: “Magic Lessons” by Shannon Connor Winward
  • Second Place: “Om Economics by Sandra J. Lindow
  • Third Place: “Ars Timore (a Wreath of Sonnets)” by Frank Coffman

The 2018 winners are residents of North America.

  • Jerri Hardesty lives in the woods of Alabama with husband, Kirk, also a poet. They run the nonprofit poetry organization, New Dawn Unlimited, Inc. (NewDawnUnlimited.com) Jerri has had over 400 poems published and has won more than 1300 awards and titles in both written and spoken word poetry.
  • Meg Freer grew up in Montana and now lives in Kingston, Ontario. She has worked as an editor and teaches piano and music history. She enjoys being outdoors year-round, playing the piano and running. Her award-winning poems and photos have been published in various North American journals and anthologies.
  • Shannon Connor Winward is the author of the Elgin-award winning chapbook Undoing Winter and winner of a 2018 Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowship. She is also the founding editor of Riddled with Arrows. Her first full-length collection, The Year of the Witch, was released from Sycorax Press in September 2018.

The poets will receive $100, $50, and $25 cash prizes for first, second, and third place respectively.

All placing poems have been published on the SFPA website along with the judge’s comments.