The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) spotlights some of the best science fiction and fantasy published in 2018 with the release of The Nebula Awards Showcase 54.This latest volume of the prestigious anthology series contains works that were nominated for or won the 54th Annual Nebula Awards, as voted by SFWA members. Nibedita Sen, a Hugo, Nebula, and Astounding Award-nominated writer and editor, edited the volume and contributed an introduction.
The Showcase’s table of contents includes the following material (winners are noted by an asterisk):
Introduction by Nibedita Sen
“It’s Dangerous to Go Alone” by Kate Dollarhyde
“Into the Spider-verse: A Classic Origin Story in Bold New Color” by Brandon O’Brien
“The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by P. Djèlí Clark*
“Interview for the End of the World” by Rhett C. Bruno
“And Yet” by A. T. Greenblatt
“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow
“The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker
“The Only Harmless Great Thing” by Brooke Bolander*
“The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by Tina Connolly
“An Agent of Utopia” by Andy Duncan
“The Substance of My Lives, The Accidents of Our Births” by José Pablo Iriarte
“The Rule of Three” by Lawrence M. Schoen
“Messenger” by R.R. Virdi & Yudhanjaya Wijeratne
Excerpt: “The Tea Master and the Detective” by Aliette de Bodard*
Excerpt: “Fire Ant” by Jonathan P. Brazee
Excerpt: “The Black God’s Drums” by P. Djèlí Clark
Excerpt: “Alice Payne Arrives” by Kate Heartfield
Excerpt: “Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach” by Kelly Robson
Excerpt: “Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries” by Martha Wells
Excerpt: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal*
Anthology editor Nibedita Sen is a Hugo, Nebula, and Astounding Award-nominated queer Bengali writer from Calcutta and a graduate of Clarion West 2015 whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Podcastle, Nightmare and Fireside. “The works nominated in 2019 represent a broad range of topics and perspectives that reflect the diversity in science fiction and fantasy being published today,” Sen said. “It was an honor to edit this showcase to represent so many voices.”
The Nebula Awards Showcase #54 is available at all major online retailers for $19.99 for the print edition, $9.99 for the digital version, and for library borrowing through Overdrive. For the complete list of retailers, visit the The Nebula Awards Showcase #54 webpage at the SFWA website here.
Audible has deflected criticism of their returns policy by curtailing the time when a return would be charged against a writer’s royalties from a year to seven days. However, the authors who initially raised the issue question what difference that will make.
As File 770 reported in November (see “How Audible’s Returns Policy Exploits Writers”), Audible, the audiobook publisher/distributor, stands accused of attracting readers to pay its monthly membership premium by encouraging customers to exchange a book they’re done with for another they want to listen to – becoming in effect a rental library. By treating the first sale as a return, Audible deprives the author of what they should have earned on a work that was bought and enjoyed.
Amazon’s company ACX is a self-serve audiobook production platform, and Audible is its audiobook sales outlet. The adjustment to the returns policy was announced in “A Note from ACX” at the Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (November 24):
…The intent of this program is to allow listeners to discover their favorite voice, author, or story in audio. In instances where we determine the benefit is being overused, Audible can and does limit the number of exchanges and refunds allowed by a member. But as designed, this customer benefit allows active Audible members in good standing to take a chance on new content, and suspicious activity is extremely rare.
We hope this helps convey perspective to our valued writers and ACX partners as to the impact of our current returns policies. However, in recognition of these concerns, moving forward and effective as of January 1, 2021, Audible will pay royalties for any title returned more than 7 days following purchase.
Susan May, one of the leaders in bringing these issues to public attention, told The Alliance of Independent Authors why she is not satisfied:
“In offering authors the burden of bearing the cost of a return up to seven days of purchase, and Audible then assuming that cost for the balance of the 365 days of the ‘Easy Exchange’ [membership] benefit, we still have no idea of the value of this concession. It’s our belief that most customers would return a book in the first seven days after listening, and then a smaller percentage will return thereafter. This is a reusable credit as we’ve seen, and so we may still be enduring substantial losses.
“Audible has no mechanism in place that we have found through multiple tests which prevents overuse of this ‘Easy Exchange’ program. They’ve also given no indication that they do in fact prevent someone from returning a book once a majority of it has been consumed, or limit the exchanges and refunds allowed by members.
“Therefore, this begs the question: Why won’t Audible/ACX supply authors and publishers with their returns data in a timely and open fashion?”
May also realizes that Audible will not really be out of pocket by paying two authors a royalty on the expenditure of one subscriber credit. The company will be diluting the royalties on returns beyond the seven-day widow as a function of increasing the number of sales among which Audible divides the authors’ share of monthly subscription income. May said on her own blog enty, “Audiblegate 2: The Emperor’s New Clothes Policy, Pot Theory, Unicorns & Pirates”:
…Under the new returns policy, the Emperor’s New ClothesPolicy, a subscriber can still “exchange” an audiobook in the exact same way, up to 365 days later. The only difference is that if a user exchanges a book after 7 days, both Author #1 AND Author #2 will receive the royalty for their sale.
Ooh, that seems good, and even if most of them are returned in the first seven days, that’s still something, right?
Well, no, because these returns after seven days are still potentially deducted from the exact same pot of money we all share. It’s still lost to authors and not being worn by the oh, so, magnanimous Audible, the party with the overly large share of the profit split.
…The Authors Guild appreciates that Audible has acknowledged the concerns raised by authors and has shown a willingness to make changes to its policy so that authors lose their royalties only if an audiobook is returned within seven days of purchase rather than the current 365, but their proposal does not go far enough. For high volume audiobook listeners, a seven-day period is more than enough to listen to a whole audiobook, and it is not fair to deduct the author’s royalty for books that have been or could have been listened to. This practice is unparalleled in digital media retail. We think that royalties should only be deducted in cases of accidental purchase and within a much shorter period of time, such as 48 hours, and only if the audiobook hasn’t been listened to substantially. We have communicated this to Audible. We have also asked Audible for transparency in their reporting so that authors can see the royalty deductions from their accounts; currently authors only see the net amounts – the number of books sold minus returns.
Many other author organizations have now joined the protest reports Publishing Perspectives.
The Dramatists’ Guild
The UK-based international Alliance of Independent Authors
The Writers’ Union of Canada
The Irish Writers Union
The Australian Society of Authors
The Society of Authors in the United Kingdom
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America;
The Romance Writers of America
Sisters in Crime
The Mystery Writers of America
May encourages writers to join the Facebook group she helped start where they can keep informed and work together to get Audible to treat them fairly.
Nalo Hopkinson has been named the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) for her contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy.
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award recognizes “lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.” Hopkinson joins the Grand Master ranks alongside such legends as C. J. Cherryh, Peter S. Beagle, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, and Joe Haldeman. The award will be presented at the 56th Annual Nebula Conference and Awards Ceremony, held online the weekend of June 4–6, 2021.
Hopkinson’s first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, was published as the winner of the Warner Aspect First Novel Contest in 1998 and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1999. She has published five additional novels, including the Andre Norton Award–winning Sister Mine, and three collections of her short fiction.
Hopkinson has also proven herself an adept editor, guest-editing an issue of Lightspeed Magazine and editing five anthologies, including Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction and So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy. Hopkinson has also won the British Fantasy Award, the Aurora Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and the Sunburst Award. She has taught at Clarion East, Clarion West, and Clarion South and is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal adds:
I have loved Nalo Hopkinson’s work since 1999 when I discovered her through the short story “Precious” in a Datlow/Windling anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon. Each new piece continues to delight me and stretch me as a reader and makes me bolder as a writer.
Naming Nalo as Grand Master recognizes not only her phenomenal writing but also her work as an educator who has shaped so many of the rising stars of modern SFF.
Kowal, LeVar Burton, and many more sff authors and editors tell why the honor is deserved in this SFWA video:
Bova’s first professional sf sale was a Winston juvenile, The Star Conquerors (1959), and his first published short fiction was bought by Cele Goldsmith at Amazing – “A Long Way Back” (1961). During the Sixties he had nearly two dozen more novels and stories published.
He made several sales to Analog before meeting editor John W. Campbell, Jr. face-to-face at a Worldcon in Washington, D.C. After shaking his hand, Campbell provocatively said: “This is 1963. No democracy has ever lasted longer than 50 years, so this is obviously the last year of America’s democracy.”
Another story sold to Campbell, “Brillo” (1970), co-authored with Harlan Ellison, was his first story to be up for an award, a Hugo nominee. (And ten years later they won a judgment against ABC and Paramount, makers of Future Cop, for plagiarizing their idea.)
Bova also served as the science advisor for the Canadian television series Ellison created, The Starlost. Appalled by the production, Ellison assigned his credit to “Cordwainer Bird,” and Bova resigned but didn’t have the “contractual right to remove his name from the credits.” His novel The Starcrossed, is loosely based on those experiences.
Ben Bova studied journalism at Temple University in the Fifties, paying his way through by working as a copyboy at the Philadelphia Inquirer on a shift that started at 6 p.m. and went until 3 a.m. He learned “the basics of writing news copy are simple enough: be clear and deliver on time.”
He acquired his interest in science from visiting the Fels Planetarium, part of Philadelphia’s science museum, the Franklin Institute. “I never took a formal college course in science; I learned from the director of the Planetarium, I.M. Levitt, who became a lifelong friend and mentor.”
In 1956 he was hired by Glenn L. Martin Co. and worked on Project Vanguard, having marketed himself to recruiters as “someone who could understand what the engineers were doing and translate it into copy that the general public could understand.” In the 1960s he worked for the Avco Everett Research Laboratory.
When John W. Campbell, Jr. suddenly died in 1971, Bova was offered the job of editing Analog Science Fiction magazine. “It was like being drafted to run for president. You’re terribly afraid you’re not up to the task, but you can’t refuse to step up to it.” He eventually asked the publisher’s executive who had hired him why he was picked for the job, when much better-known science-fiction writers had been considered. The executive answered that he had made it a point to read the work of each person up for the job. “Ben,” he said, “you were the only one I could understand!”
Bova made Analog, already the prozine with the largest circulation, even more successful. His accomplishments included publishing Spider Robinson’s first sale, a Callahan’s Bar story, and during his tenure acquiring many Hugo-winning stories, among them Larry Niven’s “The Hole Man” and ”Borderland of Sol”, Vonda McIntyre’s Dreamsnake, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song for Lya,” The Forever War and “Tricentennial” by Joe Haldeman, “Home Is the Hangman” by Roger Zelazny, “Eyes of Amber” by Joan D. Vinge, and more. He was the winner of the first Best Professional Editor Hugo (1973), and collected five more while at the helm of the magazine.
He left Analog in 1978 to edit Omni, holding that post until 1982.
During Bova’s career he wrote over 120 fiction and nonfiction books. His novel, Titan, part of The Grand Tour series, won the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2007. Another in the series was Jupiter —
Bova served as President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) from 1990 to 1992. SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal paid tribute: “I am devastated that our community has lost Ben Bova. He was so welcoming to new writers and embodied the philosophy of paying it forward.”
Bova taught science fiction at Harvard University and at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, where he has also directed film courses. He received his doctorate in education in 1996 from California Coast University.
He was Worldcon Author Guest of Honor at Chicon 2000. He was awarded the Robert A. Heinlein Award in 2008 for his work in science fiction.
Bova was married three times. He had a son and a daughter with his first wife, Rose. They divorced in 1974. That same year he married Barbara, and their marriage lasted 35 years, until her death in 2009. In 2013, he married Rashida Loya.
By Cora Buhlert: After some confusion regarding the start time, the joint Zoom press conference of Alan Dean Foster and SFWA about Disney’s failure to pay royalties due to Mr. Foster, started with a slight delay. Present were Alan Dean Foster, his agent Vaughne Hansen and Mary Robinette Kowal, president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The moderator was Kitty Kurth.
The press conference began with statements from Alan Dean Foster and Mary Robinette Kowal. Alan Dean Foster phrased his statement as an open letter to Mickey Mouse, while Mary Robinette Kowal talked about the broader implications of the issue. Both statements may be found on the SFWA website. After the statements were read, moderator Kitty Kurth opened the floor to questions from the audience.
Some time ago, Alan Dean Foster noticed that he no longer received either royalties or royalty statements for the novelization of the first Star Wars movie, the Star Wars tie-in novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye as well as the novelizations of Alien, Aliens and Alien 3.
Alan Dean Foster contacted his agent Vaughne Hansen, who contacted the current publishers of the novels in question. It turned out that the problem was not with the publishers, but with Disney.
When Disney’s legal department kept stonewalling Vaughne Hansen, Alan Dean Foster contacted the SFWA grievance committee, who had no more luck getting a response from Disney. According to Alan Dean Foster, his agent and SFWA have been trying to talk to Disney without success for over a year now. So the matter was escalated to SFWA president Mary Robinette Kowal, who decided to take the unprecedented step to go public with the issue.
In essence, Disney claims that when they purchased Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox, they purchased the rights to the five novels in question, but not the obligation to pay Alan Dean Foster the royalties he is entitled to.
Mary Robinette Kowal stated that according to US contract law, when a company is bought or merged, both rights and obligations are transferred to the legal successor of the original company. Vaughne Hansen confirmed that the original contract for the Alien novelisations also includes a clause stating that rights and obligations are transferred to the legal successor in case of a buyout or merger. No word on the two Star Wars novels, but it would be very unusual, if the contract did not contain a transference of rights and obligations clause.
In my day job as a translator, I see a lot of contracts and can confirm that every contract contains a clause regarding the transferences of rights and obligations in case of a buyout or merger. This is very much a legal and business standard.
Vaughne Hansen stated that the problem is not with the contracts, but with Disney. Mary Robinette Kowal also pointed out that Disney’s behaviour sets a dangerous precedent with potentially huge consequences for all creatives. Mary Robinette Kowal also implored any writers who have experienced similar issues with Disney or any other company to contact SFWA via this form on their website.
Alan Dean Foster’s experience does not seem to be an isolated incident, because during the Q&A part of the press conference Steve Davidson reported experiencing a similar issues regarding the trademark to Amazing Stories, which he holds, and the eponymous Apple TV series. Michael Capobianco also expressed concerns regarding the novelisation of Alien Resurrection, which his late wife A.C. Crispin wrote.
Mary Robinette Kowal once more stressed that SFWA and Alan Dean Foster’s representatives want to talk to Disney to find a solution to the problem and that they only decided to go public, because they could not get a reply from Disney. Mary Robinette Kowal also stated that whether the contracts in question continue or are cancelled, Disney must pay the outstanding royalties to Alan Dean Foster.
Here are the statements by Mary Robinette Kowal and Alan Dean Foster posted at the SFWA Blog:
A message from SFWA’s President, Mary Robinette Kowal:
Last year, a member came to SFWA’s Grievance Committee with a problem, which on the surface sounds simple and resolvable. He had written novels and was not being paid the royalties that were specified in his contract. The Grievance Committee is designed to resolve contract disputes like this. As part of our negotiating toolbox, we guarantee anonymity for both the writer and the publisher if the grievance is resolved.
When it is working, as president, I never hear from them.
When talks break down, the president of SFWA is asked to step in. We do this for any member.
In this case, the member is Alan Dean Foster. The publisher is Disney.
Here are his words.
We have a lot in common, you and I. We share a birthday: November 18. My dad’s nickname was Mickey. There’s more.
When you purchased Lucasfilm you acquired the rights to some books I wrote. STAR WARS, the novelization of the very first film. SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE, the first sequel novel. You owe me royalties on these books. You stopped paying them.
When you purchased 20th Century Fox, you eventually acquired the rights to other books I had written. The novelizations of ALIEN, ALIENS, and ALIEN 3. You’ve never paid royalties on any of these, or even issued royalty statements for them.
All these books are all still very much in print. They still earn money. For you. When one company buys another, they acquire its liabilities as well as its assets. You’re certainly reaping the benefits of the assets. I’d very much like my miniscule (though it’s not small to me) share.
You want me to sign an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) before even talking. I’ve signed a lot of NDAs in my 50-year career. Never once did anyone ever ask me to sign one prior to negotiations. For the obvious reason that once you sign, you can no longer talk about the matter at hand. Every one of my representatives in this matter, with many, many decades of experience in such business, echo my bewilderment.
You continue to ignore requests from my agents. You continue to ignore queries from SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. You continue to ignore my legal representatives. I know this is what gargantuan corporations often do. Ignore requests and inquiries hoping the petitioner will simply go away. Or possibly die. But I’m still here, and I am still entitled to what you owe me. Including not to be ignored, just because I’m only one lone writer. How many other writers and artists out there are you similarly ignoring?
My wife has serious medical issues and in 2016 I was diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer. We could use the money. Not charity: just what I’m owed. I’ve always loved Disney. The films, the parks, growing up with the Disneyland TV show. I don’t think Unca Walt would approve of how you are currently treating me. Maybe someone in the right position just hasn’t received the word, though after all these months of ignored requests and queries, that’s hard to countenance. Or as a guy named Bob Iger said….
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
I’m not feeling it.
Alan Dean Foster
Mary Robinette Kowal adds:
In my decade with the organization, the fact that we are forced to present this publicly is unprecedented. So too, are the problems. The simple problem is that we have a writer who is not being paid.
The larger problem has the potential to affect every writer. Disney’s argument is that they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract. In other words, they believe they have the right to publish work, but are not obligated to pay the writer no matter what the contract says. If we let this stand, it could set precedent to fundamentally alter the way copyright and contracts operate in the United States. All a publisher would have to do to break a contract would be to sell it to a sibling company.
If they are doing this to Alan Dean Foster, one of the great science fiction writers of our time, then what are they doing to the younger writers who do not know that a contract is a contract?
To resolve the immediate issue regarding their breach of contract with Alan Dean Foster, Disney has three choices:
Pay Alan Dean Foster all back royalties as well as any future royalties.
Publication ceases until new contract(s) are signed, and pay all back royalties to Alan Dean Foster as well as any future royalties.
Publication ceases and pay all back royalties to Alan Dean Foster.
This starts with a conversation. You have our contact information and offer to sit down with a Disney representative, Alan’s agent Vaughne Lee Hansen, and a SFWA representative.
Regardless of choice, Disney must pay Alan Dean Foster.
If you’re a fan of Alan Dean Foster or believe that a writer’s work has value, please let Disney know.
If you are a writer experiencing similar problems with Disney or another company, please report your circumstances to us here.
SFWA and Alan Dean Foster will hold a joint press conference on November 18 about unpaid royalties Disney owes the author.
Famed science fiction and fantasy writer Alan Dean Foster, writer of multiple book series, numerous novelizations of film scripts and more than 20 novels, will hold a joint press conference with Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America on Wednesday, November 18 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern/1:00 p.m. Central/ 11:00 a.m. Pacific. Foster and SFWA will discuss the non-payment by Disney of several contracts for works including multiple Star Wars and Aliens novelizations.
Foster was originally contracted to write the Alien novelizations by Titan Books, and the Star Wars novelizations by Lucasfilms. Both companies regularly paid his royalties. When The Walt Disney Company acquired the rights to these novelizations in 2015, the payments stopped although the books continue to be sold. Disney continues to get money for the books. Alan Dean Foster, and possibly other authors with similar contracts, have not been paid.
Foster and SFWA will discuss the fact the contracts are contracts and that Disney must pay this author and any author to whom they owe royalty checks.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) has released the Bud Webster Legacy Kit to aid professional writers in compiling the resources they need to protect their legacies. The Legacy Kit is available online at the SFWA website and as a PDF.
The Legacy Kit was created in honor of Bud Webster, a driving force behind the SFWA Estates Program. It includes a checklist of important documents, sample book inventories and tables, and a layman’s glossary of important terms in addition to explanatory articles on the relevant topics. With this resource, writers can begin to plan what happens to their literary properties after their deaths. These materials will aid in that process, though they do not constitute or replace advice from a lawyer.
The kit is available for all writers, not just SFWA members, to read or download and can be freely distributed with proper credit given. Other writing organizations are encouraged to share these materials, and the SFWA Legacy Committee members may be approached to develop seminars, workshops, and presentations on this important topic. The material will be updated quarterly to ensure relevance and incorporate new information as needed.
“SFWA hopes the Legacy Kit will help writers and their loved ones prepare their estates and protect their intellectual property in the event of emergencies or passing on,” said SFWA Vice President Tobias S. Buckell.
The Legacy Kit was written, researched, compiled, and produced by the members of the SFWA Legacy Committee, which falls under the umbrella of SFWA’s Estate Project. Committee members include Jean Marie Ward, Jeanne Adams, and Erin Wilcox. Others who contributed time and expertise to the effort include Julian Block, M. L. Buchman, Kim Headlee, James P. Nettles, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lawrence M. Schoen, Jonathan M. Wall, and Diane Whiteside.
“It’s been a privilege to work on the Bud Webster Legacy Kit from its inception under Lawrence M. Schoen, to the creation of the Legacy Committee under Tobias Buckell, to today when it takes its place on the SFWA website alongside the Bud Webster Estate Project,” said Jean Marie Ward, who led the committee. “It’s not just about what happens to a writer’s legacy after their death. It’s also about helping writers get the most value for their creative endeavors while they live.”
The SFWA Estate Project promotes and helps preserve the work of those writers who helped build the science fiction and fantasy field, as well as more recently deceased writers, to ensure that legitimate publication of their works can take place without violating copyright protection.
Although N.K. Jemisin’s “The City We Became” (Orbit) is a fantasy novel set in New York City, its message is anything but a fantasy.
Jemisin says in her video recorded for the 2020 National Book Festival: “I think the thing that people will hopefully begin to take from the book, if they want to take anything from it, is that when people work together they are literally able to do just about anything — and that’s the struggle that we’re having right now as a country.”
(2) FINANCAL HELP NEEDED. Adam-Troy and Judi Castro say they have been “Wiped out by Identity Theft” and have launched an appeal for help through GoFundMe. At this hour, $15,990 of the $20,000 goal has been raised. Judi Castro explains:
Over the past year or so, Adam and I have been slapping out little embers here and there as our credit and debit cards were attacked. Usually little things that the banks quickly fixed.
The little attacks ended a few months ago.
Suddenly, large amounts were being transferred out of our accounts (multiple) seemingly as fast as they were deposited. We sat with the bank, took all the steps to protect ourselves. Reported to all the right agencies, filed reports with the authorities etc. We’ve changed accounts, banks and debit cards multiple times. But. They. Kept. Finding. Us.
Now the home has been taken and we are being forced to move.
It’s all been too much so we are turning to our friends and neighbors for help.
We thank you all for listening and will keep updates flowing.
(3) HUMBLE BUNDLE FOR SFWA. The new Humble Bundle campaign to benefit SFWA, Stars Of Sci-Fi & Fantasy By Open Road Media, is heavy on Shatner and Piers Anthony, but there are also many other authors including Jane Yolen, Tim Powers, Timothy Zahn, and Pamela Sargent.
…And although JM Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson never met, they developed a warm friendship, engaged in a long-distance exchange of letters between Britain and the Pacific Islands, and have left behind a treasure trove of playful and poignant missives.
… The latter is a particularly evocative piece because he had intended to travel to Samoa to meet Stevenson, only for the latter to suffer a fatal cerebral haemorrhage at the age of just 44 in 1894.
Yet, as Dr Shaw revealed, all this material had lain in an American library for decades until he carried out some detective work which was worthy of one of Barrie’s contemporaries – and cricket teammates – Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
…In one letter, Stevenson writes that Barrie had the second-worst handwriting he had ever encountered, but that’s as far as the criticism goes.
Elsewhere, the tone is, by turns, witty, competitive, enlightening, analytic and often highly personal in nature.
Dr Shaw said: “I was initially intrigued by the length of their letters, especially towards the end of correspondence and some of them run to around 3,000 words.
“Stevenson’s friend, Sidney Colvin, described one of them as a ‘journal letter’ which is a good description.
“I was also intrigued by Barrie including a playlet in four acts in one letter – where he imagines his visit to Samoa – and a humorous family tree, showing that his and Stevenson’s characters were related….”
(6) STOP HELPING. A trailer has dropped for the sff film Parallel.
A group of friends stumble upon a mirror that serves as a portal to a “multiverse”, but soon discover that importing knowledge from the other side in order to better their lives brings increasingly dangerous consequences.
(7) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
November 2006 — In the Night Garden, the first volume of Catherynne Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales was published by Bantam Spectra. The novel and its sequel, In the Cities of Coin and Spice, would both win the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Both volumes are copiously illustrated by Michael Kaluta. She would also win an Otherwise Award that year. It would also be nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Both volumes are available at the usual digital suspects.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born November 4, 1897 — Lionel Britton. Actor who’s best remembered for the “Spacetime Inn” play, a genre pub tale which, because one of the characters is Queen Victoria, was denied a UK theatre performance license. It was however performed by him playing all the parts in the House of Commons on the 10th of June 1931. Really. Truly. It’s the only play ever done there. (Died 1971.) (CE)
Born November 4, 1912 – Wendayne Ackerman. Born in Germany, spoke French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish. Dubbed Wendayne by husband Forrest J Ackerman (no period after the J; so far as I know, no United Kingdom or Commonwealth fan, where this punctuation mark has a different name, ever asked “Forry, where’s the point?”). Taught French and German twenty years at East Los Angeles Junior College. Translated many Perry Rhodan books. With Forry, Fan Guests of Honor at Rhocon and Fantasy Faire VII. (Died 1990) [JH]
Born November 4, 1917 — Babette Rosmond. She worked as an editor at the magazine publisher Street & Smith, editing Doc Savage and The Shadow in the late Forties. Rosmond’s first story, co-written by Leonard M. Lake, “Are You Run-Down, Tired-“ was published in in the October 1942 issue of Unknown Worlds. Error Hurled was her only genre novel and she only write three short genre pieces. (Died 1997.) (CE)
Born November 4, 1934 – Greg Calkins. Long in FAPA, served a term as its President, succeeding Our Gracious Host. Fanzine, The Rambling Fap. Fan Guest of Honor at Westercon 29. (I believe he died 2014-2015, but haven’t yet been able to confirm.) [JH]
Born November 4, 1946 – Mike Shupp, 74. Aerospace engineer. Chaired Loscon 7. Five novels. Biographers beware, he is neither the singer-songwriter MS nor the retired colonel of U.S. Marines. [JH]
Born November 4, 1953 — Stephen Jones, 67. Editor, and that is putting it quite mildly, as he went well over the century mark in anthologies edited quite some time ago. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror accounts for seventeen volumes by itself and The Mammoth Book of (Pick A Title) runs for at least another for another dozen. He also, no surprise, to me, has authored a number of horror reference works such as The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History, Basil Copper: A Life in Books and H. P. Lovecraft in Britain. He also done hundreds of essays, con reports, obituaries and such, showing up, well, just about everywhere. (CE)
Born November 4, 1953 — Kara Dalkey, 67. Writer of YA fiction and historical fantasy. She is a member of the Pre-Joycean Fellowship (which if memory serves me right includes both Emma Bull and Stephen Brust) and the Scribblies. Her works include The Sword of Sagamore, Steel Rose, Little Sister and The Nightingale. And her Water trilogy blends together Atlantean and Arthurian mythologies. She’s been nominated for the Mythopoeic and Otherwise Awards. (CE)
Born November 4, 1955 — Lani Tupu, 65. He had two roles on the Farscape series (arguably the best SF series ever done), one visible and one not. He was Peacekeeper Bialar Crais and the voice of Pilot as well. Genre wise, he also showed up on Time Trax, The Lost World and Mission: Impossible. He was also in the first Punisher film. (CE)
Born November 4, 1959 – Alan Winston, 61. Chaired Loscon 6. Learned English Regency ballroom dance from J. Hertz, was one of the Avengers; moved to San Francisco Bay; taught (almost) JH Regency-style choreography “Mutual Promises” at a Playford Ball; active in that hobby. Has been in every mailing of LASFAPA since the first, a commendable string of 529 months so far. [JH]
Born November 4, 1960 — John Vickery, 60. In Babylon 5, he played Neroon which is where I remember him from as he was a Right Bastard there. His major Trek universe role was as Rusot, a member of Damar’s Cardassian resistance group, appearing in the DS9 episodes “The Changing Face of Evil”, “When It Rains…” and “Tacking Into the Wind”. He also played a Betazoid in Next Gen’s “Night Terrors” and a Klingon in Enterprise‘s “Judgment” episode. (CE)
Born November 4, 1964 – Kerry Kyle, 56. Daughter of David, the Man in the Red Jacket as he became in recent years. KK and Brian Pearce run Red Jacket Press; you can see Dave’s fanhistory articles in Mimosa and get some of his and related books (his fine Pictorial History of SF and Illustrated Book of SF Ideas & Dreams are available, used, from Amazon and from Powell’s Books, as also shown here). [JH].
Born November 4, 1986 – Kristin Cast, 34. A score of books, four novellas with her mother; three novels, two novelettes alone; a NY Times and USA Today best-seller. Born on a U.S. Air Force base in Japan. “Writing is the most difficult job I’ve had…. it all comes down to one person – YOU…. Read. Read. Read…. Think of each book … as a lesson…. I highlight words I love or don’t know, figurative language that inspires me…. I know … authors who don’t outline…. who handwrite their first drafts. Outline, chart, crazy math equations, I’ve seen it all.” [JH]
Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious, the epic Doctor Who transmedia event, is in full swing. Titan Comics released a trailer for its part in the story. Titan’s trailer spotlights the Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious graphic novel, collecting issues #1 and #2 of the Time Lord Victorious comic book that began the event. The comic features the most beloved Doctor, the Tenth Doctor (portrayed by David Tennant), for a story written by Jody Houser and featuring artwork by Roberta Ingranata. The tale is titled “Defender of the Daleks.” As the title suggests, the story finds the Doctor in a most unusual position: coming to the aid of his greatest enemies, the Daleks.
(11) OUT OF THE PARK EXPERIENCE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Michael Clair, in “Seven Baseball Movies Perfect For a Midnight Marathon” on MLB.com, recommends seven off-trail baseball movies most of which combine the great game of baseball with fantasy and horror. These include The Battery, in which a pitcher and catcher flee a zombie apocalpyse, and the anthology film Body Bags (1993), whose third segment, directed by Tobe Hooper, has Mark Hamill as a minor-league player about to be called up to the majors, except he has an accident and needs an eye transplant… and the eyes come from a serial killer!
SJWs will want to see Rhubarb, a 1951 film in which the owner of the Brooklyn Loons dies and leaves the team to his cat. The film features a very early appearance by Leonard Nimoy.
Clair notes that Twilight, for some reason, has six minutes of baseball in it.
I’m Greef Karga. (Hey, don’t look like that’s a bad thing!)
To celebrate the all-new episodes of the live-action Star Wars series, we’ve created a new quiz to help you determine your place in the story so far. Are you the hero of it all, masked and mysterious, with armor that conceals a heart of gold? A kid at heart no matter your age? Do you follow the rules of the Empire or stick to the bounty hunter’s code?
(14) PWNED TO KING FOUR. Deep Blue: Down the Rabbit Hole is an in-depth documentary on the Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov computer chess matches of 1996-7
After an electrical engineer enters the field of computer chess, his creation captures the attention of the world as he attempts to defeat the world chess champion.
…Scientists have known about these energetic pulses — called fast radio bursts — for about 13 years and have seen them coming from outside our galaxy, which makes it harder to trace them back to their source. Making it even harder is that they happen so fast, in a couple of milliseconds.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “All things Fall–3D Printed Zoetrope” on Vimeo is a 2015 interpretation by Mat Collishaw of a nineteenth-century form of animation. WARNING: Shows violence against women.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, Dann, N., Lise Andreasen, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Darrah Chavey, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel “Good as Gold” Dern.]
Recently, TIME Magazine put together a list of the 100 Best Fantasy Books, containing some of the most beloved titles of readers around the world, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has issued a press release pointing out that thirty-six of these books are written by current or past SFWA members.
“SFWA is thrilled that the accomplishments of its members have been recognized as the ground-breaking work that it is. This list represents the wide range of science fiction and fantasy writers working today,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, President of SFWA.
The 36 writers (and the titles of their books) are:
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Jade City by Fonda Lee
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Spindle’s End by Robin Mckinley
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Witchmark by C.L. Polk
TIME built a team to develop the list back in 2019, recruiting a panel of leading fantasy authors—Tomi Adeyemi, Cassandra Clare, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, Marlon James, N.K. Jemisin, George R.R. Martin, and Sabaa Tahir—to join the TIME staff in nominating the top books of the genre (no author nominated their own works). The team then rated 250 works on a scale, and using their responses, TIME created a ranking. After considering every finalist, TIME editors based their selection on a multitude of factors, including originality, artistry, ambition, critical and popular reception, and influence on the fantasy genre and literature.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have notified members that they will be subject to discipline if they violate a new policy against abuse of the SFWA Member Directory.
Last month, one of our members used the membership directory to send all members of SFWA a promotional email. This was done without SFWA’s consent or prior knowledge. As a result, the Board decided to prioritize an email harvesting policy already in development for the organization.
No one is named in the announcement, however, the timeframe is right for this alert tweeted in June by Natalie Luhrs which many writers remarked on and SFWA responded to. Thread starts here.
The SFWA Member Directory exists as a courtesy to facilitate communication between individual members of SFWA. It is not to be used for marketing or promotional purposes.
SFWA provides a number of opt-in opportunities for promotion, including our Featured Books and Authors Program and the New Release Newsletter page where you can promote new releases. The board encourages members to participate in these approved programs as both readers and writers.