2021 Splatterpunk Award Nominees

Best-selling authors and Splatterpunk Award founders Wrath James White and Brian Keene have announced the nominees for the 2021 Splatterpunk Awards, honoring superior achievement for works published in 2020 in the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror.

The nominees are recommended by readers, fans and peers. The nominees are as follows.

BEST NOVEL

1. Pandemonium by Ryan Harding and Lucas Mangum (Death’s Head Press)
2. Tome by Ross Jeffery (The Writing Collective)
3. Dust by Chris Miller (Death’s Head Press)
4. Slaughter Box by Carver Pike (Self-Published)
5. Gone To See The River Man by Kristopher Triana (Cemetery Dance Publications)
6. They All Died Screaming by Kristopher Triana (Blood Bound Books)
7. The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young (Death’s Head Press) 

BEST NOVELLA 

1. The Slob by Aron Beauregard (Self-Published) *
2. Bella’s Boys by Thomas R. Clark (Stitched Smile Publications)
3. Juniper by Ross Jeffery (The Writing Collective)
4. Red Station by Kenzie Jennings (Death’s Head Press)
5. True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik (Grindhouse Press)
6. The Night Silver River Run Red by Christine Morgan (Death’s Head Press)
7. How Much 2 by Matt Shaw (Self-Published)

BEST SHORT STORY

1. “The Incident at Barrow Farm” by M. Ennenbach (from Cerberus Rising, Self-Published)
2. “Full Moon Shindig” by Patrick C. Harrison III (from Visceral: Collected Flesh, Death’s Head Press)
3. “Phylum” by Tom Over (from The Comfort Zone and Other Safe Spaces, NihilismRevised)
4. “Footsteps” by Janine Pipe (from Diabolica Britannica, Keith Anthony Baird)
5. “Next In Line” by Susan Snyder (from Devour the Earth, Madness Heart Press)
6. “My Body” by Wesley Southard (from Midnight In the Pentagram, Silver Shamrock Publishing)
7. “The God In The Hills” by Jon Steffens (from The God In the Hills, Filthy Loot Press)

BEST COLLECTION

1. War of Dictates by John Baltisberger (Death’s Head Press)
2. Cerberus Rising by M. Ennenbach, Chris Miller and Patrick C. Harrison III (Self-Published) **
3. The Essential Sick Stuff by Ronald Kelly (Silver Shamrock Publishing)
4. Rhapsody In Red by Peter Molnar (Stitched Smile Publications)
5. Visceral: Collected Flesh by Christine Morgan and Patrick C. Harrison III (Death’s Head Press) ***
6. The Comfort Zone and Other Safe Spaces by Tom Over (NihilismRevised)
7. Blood Relations by Kristopher Triana (Grindhouse Press)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

1. Chew On This edited by Robert Essig (Blood Bound Books)
2. Brewtality edited by K. Trap Jones (The Evil Cookie Publishing)
3. Welcome To the Splatter Club edited by K. Trap Jones (Blood Bound Books)
4. Worst Laid Plans edited by Samantha Kolesnik (Grindhouse Press)
5. Crash Code edited by Quinn Parker (Blood Bound Books)
6. If I Die Before I Wake Vol. 3: Tales of Deadly Women and Retribution edited by R.E. Sargent and Steven Pajak (Sinister Smile Press)
7. Psi-Wars: Classified Cases of Psychic Phenomena edited by Joshua Viola (Hex Publishers)

* Qualifies due to being significantly revised from its original edition. 

** Qualifies as a collection, rather than an anthology.

*** Qualifies as a collection, rather than an anthology.

A panel of judges composed of professionals, critics and scholars in the field will now begin the process of reading each nominated work, and selecting a winner for each category. Winners will be announced at KillerCon, taking place in Austin, Texas this August. If national health concerns prevent a physical convention, then the winners will be announced in an online ceremony instead.

In addition to the winners, author and editor John Skipp will receive the annual J. F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award honoring his significant contributions to the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror. Previous recipients are David J. Schow, David G. Barnett and Edward Lee.

The administrators added these notes of interest regarding this year’s awards:

While each category normally has five nominees (six if there is a tie), press will note that each category for this year contains seven. That is due to the overwhelming response in recommendations from the public this year. More new readers were engaged with Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror in 2020, leading to an increase in public response. As such, Wrath and Brian decided to extend the nominees to seven for each category, to better serve the community.

Building on a trend we pointed out in 2019, this year saw a continued significant increase in the number of women and authors who identify as female writing Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror. The recommendation process evidenced readers and fans mentioning a number of new female voices.

Splatter Westerns (which combine elements of Splatterpunk or Extreme Horror with the traditional Western genre) were clearly a favorite among readers in 2020, as evidenced both in the nominees and in the recommendations.

[Thanks to Dann for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 1/28/21 And I Looked And Behold A Pale Pixel, And Their Name Who Sat On Them Was ´Scroll Title´

(1) ALL THAT JAZZ. Elle M. has a fascinating commentary on the difference between worldbuilding and lore. Thread starts here. A few quotes follow —

They also use the author of Harry Potter as a compelling example of where lore gets injected at the expense of worldbuilding.

(2) TRENDY PLACES. Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup blog is hosting “Building Beyond,” an “ongoing series about accessible worldbuilding. Building a world doesn’t have to be hard or scary — or even purposeful. Anyone can do it. To prove that, let’s talk to both a writer and a non-writer about a worldbuilding prompt.” For “Building Beyond: Robot Dating”, editor Brian J. White and writer Suzanne Walker imagine where they’ve gone on a date with a giant robot.

Gailey’s dry synopsis should make you very curious to read the post:  

…Brian’s date is the foundation of a story about a robot who is learning to live in the world, and who just so happens to be inhabiting a city of decadences. Suzanne’s date is the beginning of a world in which robots and humans regularly go out together, and frogs have learned to cater to the complicated ecosystem of needs that arise in such relationships. 

(3) UNDER THE HARROW. Constance Grady and Vox’s critic at large Emily VanDerWerff undertake a “Harrow the Ninth discussion: profound grief and terrible puns” at Vox.

Constance Grady: I have a hard time working out exactly how I feel about volume two of this trilogy. Harrow the Ninth is a trickier book than Gideon the Ninth, in the same way that bitchy, conniving Harrow is a trickier protagonist than sweet basic jock Gideon.

First of all, there’s the problem of tone. Gideon mined enormous amounts of tension and humor out of the contrast between its lurid goth world and Gideon’s straightforward “it looks like a sword, I want to fight it” worldview and her dirty jokes. That’s part of what helps puncture the grandiosity of Muir’s worldbuilding and keep everything feeling accessible and human-scale, no matter how complicated the mythology might be.

But Harrowhark worships all the lurid skeletal nonsense around her with a religious intensity, and she considers boning jokes prurient. So the easy laughter of the first volume fades away: The jokes are meaner in Harrow than they were in Gideon, and darker….

(4) MRS. PEEL, WE’RE NEEDED. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the January 23 Financial Times, Peter Aspden writes about the 60th anniversary of British TV series The Avengers, which was first broadcast in January 1960.

The plots (of The Avengers), in the meantime, got crazier.  In 1967’s ‘Epic,’ from the fifth season, Peel is kidnapped by a Teutonic film director named ZZ von Schnerk, who is filming a movie called The Destruction Of Emma Peel, for which he needs to kill her in real, or reel, life.  The self-referntiality was off the scale, now.  ‘Gloat all you like, but I am the star of his picture, says captive Peel to the villiainous director, and anyone interested in meta-texts.

Like so many of the fashions of the 1960s, Rigg only lasted a couple of seasons. She left to star in her own Bond Film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in which she showed that her range extended further than understated self-mockery (in fairness, she had also already played Cordelia opposite Paul Scofield’s Lear) by providing one of the franchise’s few genuinely heartbreaking endings.  Peel’s farewell to Steed was itself a rare poignant moment, a peck on the cheek with a final piece of womanly advice:  ‘Always keep your bowler on it times of stress.  And watch out for diabolical masterminds.’

(5) SPLATTERPUNK AWARDS. [Item by Dann.] Nominations are open for the 2021 Splatterpunk Awards through February 14.  Brian Keene and Wrath James White have been experiencing….ummm…difficulties in getting valid nominations.  Someone nominated HP Lovecraft who, being dead, is ineligible.  Also, he hasn’t published anything new in the last year.  Also, also, he hasn’t published anything that is close to being Splatterpunk.

Midnight Pals over on Twitter has the theoretic exchange where Brian and Wrath try to explain how this is supposed to work.  (I’m pretty sure that Dean Koontz didn’t nominate HP Lovecraft.)

The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the 2021 Killercon Convention, taking place in Austin, Texas.

In addition to the Splatterpunk Awards, author John Skipp will receive this year’s J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field.

(6) FLOWER POWER. Galactic Journey’s Vicki Lucas encounters a classic of the Sixties: “[January 28, 1966] The Book as Rorschach Test (Flowers for Algernon)”.

…Try as I might, I have great difficulty thinking of this novel as a science-fiction story. It could be conceived of as a psychological thriller, but no one dies except a mouse. It is deeply psychological and delves as far into the brain as anyone can get right now, accepting Freudian analysis as routine, while it is Jung’s “individuation” that the main character, Charlie Gordon, seeks without a guide except for his reading.

…I recommend this book, no matter its genre, and hope that anyone who reads it finds him- or herself touched by the plight of both those who are “exceptional” on the low end and those “exceptional” on the high end.

What will you see in it?

I see five stars.

(7) TAPPING INTO TED WHITE. Fanac.org posted a second installment of Ted White’s livestreamed interview, conducted by John D. Berry.

Ted White has been a science fiction fan for over 70 years, as well as an artist, fanzine editor and publisher, professional writer, editor and jazz critic. Interviewer John D. Berry has known Ted for more than 50 years. 

In part 2 of the January 23, 2021 interview, Ted talks about how he began writing professional science fiction, and the influence of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Terry Carr, Bob Tucker and others. There are anecdotes of the New York Fanoclasts and of how the bid for the 1967 NyCon3 came about. 

Ted discusses “The Club House” column in Amazing Stories, responsible for bringing many into fandom in the early 1970s, and speaks of his many fanzine collaborations, along with challenges along the way. This Zoom interview was very well received by all the attendees, who clamored for more. Look for the next part of the interview.

(8) WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE. Camestros Felapton risked his eyeballs – will you? “I watched Star Trek – Lower Decks”.

…Pitched as humorous, adult-orientated animated series in the Star Trek universe, the series creator is Mike McMahan, a lead writer from Rick and Morty. However, the show’s humour is both less crude and less imaginative than that show, indeed overall it pitches itself at ‘amusing’ rather than ‘funny’. The obvious comparison is with The Orville, rather than Galaxy Quest or John Scalzi’s Redshirts….

(9) IMAGINARY PAPERS. ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination has published the fifth issue of Imaginary Papers, a quarterly newsletter on science fiction worldbuilding, futures thinking, and imagination. (Use this link to subscribe for future issues.)

Issue #5 features writing from games critic Emma Kostopolus, on the space opera game Mass Effect 3 (2012), and writer and educator Malik Toms, on John Sayles’ The Brother from Another Planet (1984), as well as a piece from me about the collection Scotland in Space (2019).

 (10) MEMORY LANE.

  • 2000 — Twenty one years ago at Chicon 2000, Galaxy Quest, a DreamWorks film, would win the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. It would edge out The Matrix (which lost by just three votes), The Sixth SenseBeing John Malkovich and The Iron Giant. It was directed by Dean Parisot. Screenwriters David Howard and Robert Gordon worked off the story by David Howard. It’s considered by many Trekkies to the best Trek film ever made. 

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born January 28, 1820 – Vilhelm Pedersen.  First illustrator of Hans Christian Andersen; a hundred twenty-five in the five-volume 1849 edition.  Indispensable like Tenniel’s for Lewis Carroll.  Here is “The Top and Ball”.  Here is “The Flying Trunk”.  Here is “Hyldemor”.  Here is “Thumbelina”.  (Died 1859) [JH]
  • Born January 28, 1834 – Sabine Baring-Gould.  Anglican priest, author of fiction, folklorist.  Grandfather of the Holmes scholar.  Wrote “Onward, Christian Soldiers” (music by Sir Arthur Sullivan).  This edition including Curious Myths of the Middle Ages and Were-wolves appeared recently.  (Died 1924) [JH]
  • Born January 28, 1929 Parke Godwin. I’ve read a number of his novels and I fondly remember in particular Sherwood and Robin and the King. If you’ve not read his excellent Firelord series, I do recommend you do so. So who has read his Beowulf series? (Died 2013.) (CE)
  • Born January 28, 1931 – Komatsu Sakyô.  (Personal name last, Japanese style.)  Leading Japanese SF author.  Most famous for Japan Sinks.  Two shorter stories in this collection.  Author Guest of Honor at Nippon2007 the 65th Worldcon – of which, incidentally, you can see my report here (PDF).  (Died 2011) [JH]
  • Born January 28, 1957 – Joanne Findon, Ph.D., age 64.  Assistant Professor of English at Trent Univ. (Peterborough, Ontario).  Two novels for us.  “I blame my two lifelong passions – writing fiction and studying the past – on … Lloyd Alexander.”  More here.  [JH]
  • Born January 28, 1959 Frank Darabont, 62. Early on, he was mostly a screenwriter for horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream WarriorsThe Blob and The Fly II, allminor horror filmsAs a director, he’s much better known as he’s done, The Green MileThe Shawshank Redemption and The Mist.  He also developed and executive-produced the first season of The Walking Dead. He also wrote Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that I like a lot. (CE) 
  • Born January 28, 1961 – Michael Paraskevas, age 60.  Illustrator and animation producer.  With his mother Betty, books and television Maggie and the Ferocious BeastMarvin the Tap-Dancing Horse.  MP encouraged BP, which I think is cool.  A score of books, some with her, some not.  Spaceships and many other things at MP’s Website.  [JH]
  • Born January 28, 1981 Elijah Wood, 40. His first genre role is as Video-Game Boy #2 in Back to the Future Part II. He next shows up as Nat Cooper in Forever Young followed by playing Leo Biederman In Deep Impact. Up next was his performance as Frodo Baggins In The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit films. Confession time: I watched the very first of these. Wasn’t impressed.  He’s done some other genre work as well including playing Todd Brotzman in the Beeb’s superb production of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. (CE) 
  • Born January 28, 1985 Tom Hopper, 36. His principal genre role was on the BBC Merlin series as Sir Percival. He also shows up in Doctor Who playing Jeff during the “The Eleventh Hour” episode which would be during the time of the Eleventh Doctor. He’s also Luther Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy which is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. (CE) 
  • Born January 28, 1986 – Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, age 35.  This historic champion track & field athlete has recently written half a dozen children’s fantasies with Elen Caldecott, may the name be for a good omen.  Here’s the latest I know of.  [JH]
  • Born January 28, 1998 Ariel Winter, 23. Voice actress whose shown up in such productions as Mr. Peabody & Sherman as Penny Peterson, Horton Hears a Who!DC Showcase: Green Arrow as Princess Perdita and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as Carrie Kelly (Robin). She’s got several one-off live performances on genre series, The Haunting Hour: The Series and Ghost Whisperer. (CE)

(12) COMICS SECTION.

At xkcd Randall Munroe has a couple more installments on his living in a scaled world series:

(13) SPACE UNICORNS SOUND OFF. You have until February 8 to make your voice heard: “Uncanny Celebrates Reader Favorites of 2020!”

We’ve set up a poll for Uncanny readers to vote for their top three favorite original short stories from 2020. (You can find links to all of the stories here.)

The poll will be open from January 11 to February 8, after which we’ll announce the results. We’re excited for you to share which Uncanny stories made you feel!

snazzy certificate will be given to the creator whose work comes out on top of  the poll!

(14) CON CALLS ON FANS FOR HELP. “Otakon Discusses Future, Asks for Donations” reports the Anime News Network. Their 2021 event is scheduled to be held at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. from August 6 to 8. Last year’s Otakon was cancelled.

Otakorp president Brooke Zerrlaut announced in a newsletter on Thursday that the organization is requesting donations for the first time. The Otakon convention’s staff are continuing to evaluate plans for 2021 and noted that the event may “potentially close” permanently.

The newsletter explained that Otakorp, a volunteer-run non-profit organization, runs the annual Otakon convention dedicated to Asian culture. Because of the cancelation of Otakon 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is in a “precarious position.”

(15) A WRITER’S BEGINNING AND END. Book and Film Globe in“The Tragedy of Karl Edward Wagner” reviews a documentary about the acclaimed fantasy writer and editor.

The makers of the new Vimeo documentary, The Last Wolf: Karl Edward Wagner, have trained their lens on an elusive horror and fantasy writer with a cult following. Besides the stories of supernatural and psychological terror collected in In a Lonely Place (1983) and Why Not You and I? (1987), Wagner spun tales about Kane, a hero sometimes compared to Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, who wanders and fights his way through a fantasy realm peopled with brigands, thieves, sorcerers, monks, and shapeshifters. This body of work exceeds the better-known Conan mythos in its sexuality and violence, tropes that Wagner used with uneven results.

Wagner was also a longtime editor of the Year’s Best Horror Stories series, showcasing the work of Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Harlan Ellison, Robert Bloch, Brian Lumley, Elizabeth Hand, David J. Schow, T.E.D. Klein, Charles L. Grant, Dennis Etchison, and dozens of others in the field. A few of these scribes appear in The Last Wolf, with especially vivid remembrances coming from Campbell and Etchison. Peter Straub, who wrote a foreword to In a Lonely Place, also has a lot to say.

…The sources interviewed in The Last Wolf render a portrait of an ambitious youth who collected paperbacks, became well known to the staff of a used bookshop in Knoxville through constant visits, and liked to freak out his nephews with spooky tales as they lay in their beds by an open window. While still in high school, Wagner meets a charming young woman, Barbara Mott, on a double date. He later marries her. His career enters high gear in the 1970s as he churns out stories, but not novels, and he stays busy writing and editing through the 1980s and 1990s, almost right up to his death.

“The Fourth Seal” is about a scientist looking to cure cancer. Wagner became the victim of something comparable its destructiveness. The Last Wolf doesn’t skirt around the plunge into alcoholism that drew growing concern on the part of Wagner’s peers in the weird field and led to the end of his marriage. Some of the recollections are hard to take. 

(16) BUY BUTLER. The London Review Bookshop’s Author of the Month is Octavia E. Butler.

Our Author of the Month for February is the American Science Fiction writer Octavia E. Butler.

In her many sometimes interlocking works Butler asks questions about race, gender and, pre-eminently, hierarchy in startling ways, and to offer equally startling versions of possible futures, often dystopian, that are uncannily like the present. This is extraordinary writing, written against the grain of gender and race prejudice and against the grain of Butler’s own persistent writer’s block.

Start with her masterpiece Kindred. We’re next to certain you won’t stop there.

(17) A GLIMPSE OF SF HISTORY. Samuel R. Delany reminisced about Judith Merril in a Facebook post.

Judith Merrill [sic] (Boston, 21 Jan 1923—Toronto, 12 Sept 1997), was—for the last years of her life, one of my best friends in the science fiction world, and thus, like all of her friends, to me she was “Judy” and I—to her—was “Chip.” We could never quite agree about where we met. During the time I was sharing a room with my friend, Bob Aarenberg, at the St. Marks Arms, on West 113th St., in NYC, and in our upstairs neighbor Randy Garrett took me to a party in Greenwich Village, where I met her and talked with her quite a while. But a few years later, she had no memory of that meeting. But as a kid I’d read her collaborations with C. M. [K]ornbluth (the Gunner Cade books), and thoroughly enjoyed them; I’d read a handful full of her stories—”Only a Mother,” which I felt was okay, but also “Dead Center” which I felt was much stronger (and still do after several rereadings of both and others)—but the writings of hers that meant most to me was her critical work….

(18) BUT THEY DID. James Davis Nicoll remembers “Five SF Empires That Seemed Too Big to Fail”, by authors Andre Norton, Phyillis Eisenstein, John Scalzi, Walter Jon Williams, and H. Beam Piper.

(19) FOR THE EAR AND THE EYE. Cora Buhlert’s spotlight series detours to visit with the creator of a semiprozine: “Not-a-Fanzine Spotlight: Simultaneous Times”.

Why did you decide to start your site or zine?

…The Simultaneous Times Newsletter started when the pandemic lockdowns started. Usually I’m at my bookstore six days a week, and since we specialize in science fiction, most of my conversations center around the genre. Immediately I began to miss the conversations and my customers, so I started the newsletter as a way to stay connected with science fiction fans. Since then it has just grown. But we still give free subscriptions. I thought people would prefer to get a letter in the mail over receiving an email.

What format do you use for your site or zine (blog, e-mail newsletter, PDF zine, paper zine) and why did you choose this format?

Several members of my team, including myself, have a background in radio. When we all started talking about starting a podcast we decided that we wanted to produce the program the way that radio shows were produced in the past. Really take the radio arts approach instead of going with modern trends in podcasting. Since then we’ve even teamed up with the radio station KZZH 96.7 in Northern California, so our program did end up on the air.

The Newsletter is print because I wanted to put something physical in people’s hands, especially during this time of not being able to see each other. That being said, I have started to put the back issues on our website, so the archive is available to everyone

(20) IT’S PEOPLE! Shiv Ramdas comments on a trending topic. Thread starts here.

(21) THE SINS OF STARSHIP TROOPERS. [Item by Dann.] The guys at Cinema Sins have  “Everything Wrong With Starship Troopers in 19 Minutes or Less”. (Parenthetically, I’m not looking for the 5,681st iteration of “The book is better than the movie” or the 12,259th iteration of “Verhoeven never read the book!”.  I like ’em both for different reasons.  And the Cinema Sins guys are great.)

(22) TINGLE REVIEWED IN THE GUARDIAN. [Item by PhilRM.] Here are words I never expected to read in the Guardian: “’My Antifa Lover’: I read the weirdest Trump-era erotica so you don’t have to” by J. Oliver Cromwell.

…In recent years, Amazon’s e-books market has nurtured a flourishing cottage industry of self-published romance and erotic literature – and the Trump years have inspired many to put pen to paper. The most successful authors (most write under pseudonyms) are known for their prolific publication, thesaurus-aided descriptions of the human anatomy, and responsiveness to current events.

The surreality of the past four years was particularly generative of their creative juices. With the Trump era now drawn to a chaotic close, we decided to review four of the most memorable entries in this niche literary genre.

I’m strangely drawn to the title “My Antifa Lover”, although slightly disappointed that Conroy opted to review Chuck Tingle’s Pounded In The Butt By The Handsome Physical Manifestation Of Tromp’s [sic] Twitter Ban That Should’ve Come Years Sooner But Fine Now That It’s Here High Five rather than the frankly superior Domald Tromp [sic] Pounded In The Butt By The Handsome Russian T-Rex Who Also Peed On His Butt And Then Blackmailed Him With The Videos Of His Butt Getting Peed On. No, I have no idea how the internet got us here either, really.

I feel compelled to note that the reviewer gave Tingle’s work 5/5.

(23) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In the 1780s, a charismatic healer caused a stir in Paris. An amusing video about the history of Mesmer’s methods and how he influenced medicine in the late 18th Century. Vox recalls The phony health craze that inspired hypnotism”.

Scientific progress in the 18th century in Europe, a period known as the “Age of Enlightenment,” was demystifying the universe with breakthroughs in chemistry, physics, and philosophy. But medical practices were still relying on centuries-old treatments, like leeching and bloodletting, which were painful and often ineffective. So when Franz Anton Mesmer, a charismatic physician from Vienna, began “healing” people in Paris using an alternative therapeutic practice he called “animal magnetism,” it got a lot of attention. Mesmer claimed that an invisible magnetic fluid was the life force that connected all things and that he had the power to regulate it to restore health in his patients. He was a celebrity figure until the King of France, Louis XVI, commissioned a group of leading scientists to investigate his methods in 1784. Benjamin Franklin headed the commission, and they debunked the existence of the magnetic fluid in the first-known blind experiment. Mesmer was ruined, but “mesmerism” didn’t end there. The report also acknowledged that Mesmer’s methods were making his patients feel better, which they attributed to the power of the human imagination. This experiment ultimately laid the groundwork for our understanding of the placebo effect and inspired an evolution of Mesmer’s practice into something more recognizable today: hypnotism.

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Andrew Porter, Cora Buhlert, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Mlex, Joey Eschrich, Rob Thornton, Michael J. Walsh, PhilRM, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer, who has ridden the fourth horse once before.]

2020 Splatterpunk Awards

Best-selling authors and Splatterpunk Awards founders Wrath James White and Brian Keene announced the winners of the 2020 Splatterpunk Awards on August 8 during the virtual KillerCon. The awards honor superior achievement for works published in 2019 in the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror. An image of the award trophy, which might be a little strong for young viewers, is here.

BEST NOVEL

  • Lakehouse Infernal by Christine Morgan (Deadite Press)

BEST NOVELLA

  • One For the Road by Wesley Southard (Deadite Press)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Angelbait” by Ryan Harding (from The Big Book of Blasphemy, Necro Publications)

BEST COLLECTION

  • Dirty Rotten Hippies and Other Stories by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • And Hell Followed, edited by Jarod Barbee and Patrick C. Harrison III (Death’s Head Press)

J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Edward Lee, author and editor

Honoring his significant contributions to the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror. Previous recipients are David J. Schow and David G. Barnett.

2020 Splatterpunk Awards Shortlist

Best-selling authors and Splatterpunk Award founders Wrath James White and Brian Keene have announced the nominees for the 2020 Splatterpunk Awards, honoring superior achievement for works published in 2019 in the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror. The nominees are recommended by readers, fans and peers.

While each category normally has six nominees, the Best Novel category for this year contains seven due to a tie in the recommendation process.

The nominees are as follows.

BEST NOVEL

1. Carnivorous Lunar Activities by Max Booth III (Cinestate/Fangoria)
2. Killer Lake by W.D. Gagliani and David Benton (Deadite Press)
3. Reception by Kenzie Jennings (Death’s Head Press)
4. Lakehouse Infernal by Christine Morgan (Deadite Press)
5. Merciless by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)
6. Toxic Love by Kristopher Triana (Blood Bound Books)
7. They Kill by Tim Waggoner (Flame Tree Press)

BEST NOVELLA

1. White Trash Gothic Part 2 by Edward Lee (Section 31 Productions)
2. Saint Sadist by Lucas Mangum (Grindhouse Press)
3. Weeping Season by Sean O’Connor (Uafas Press)
4. How Much To..? by Matt Shaw (Self-Published)
5. One For the Road by Wesley Southard (Deadite Press)
6. Paradise, Maine by Jackson R. Thomas (Alien Agenda Publishing)


BEST SHORT STORY

1. “Breaking the Waters” by Donyae Coles (from Pseudopod)
2. “Angelbait” by Ryan Harding (from The Big Book of Blasphemy, Necro Publications)
3. “Censered” by Christine Morgan (from And Hell Followed, Death’s Head Press)
4. “Shoulder Pain” by Chandler Morrison (from Macabre Museum Magazine)
5. “Param” by Susan Snyder (from Trigger Warning: Body Horror, Madness Heart Press)
6. “Norwegian Woods” by Jeremy Wagner (from The Big Book of Blasphemy, Necro Publications)


BEST COLLECTION

1. Dead Sea Chronicles by Tim Curran (Bloodshot Books)
2. Various States of Decay by Matt Hayward (Poltergeist Press)
3. Dawn of the Living Impaired, and Other Messed-Up Zombie Stories by Christine Morgan (Death’s Head Press)
4. This Is A Horror Book by Charles Austin Muir (Clash Books)
5. Dirty Rotten Hippies and Other Stories by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)
6. Resisting Madness by Wesley Southard (Death’s Head Press)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

1. And Hell Followed, edited by Jarod Barbee and Patrick C. Harrison III (Death’s Head Press)
2. The Big Book of Blasphemy, edited by Regina Mitchell and David G. Barnett (Necro Publications)
3. Dig Two Graves, edited by Jarod Barbee and Patrick C. Harrison III (Death’s Head Press)
4. Midnight In The Graveyard, edited by Kenneth W. Cain (Silver Shamrock Publishing)
5. The New Flesh: A Literary Tribute to David Cronenberg, edited by Sam Richard and Brendan Vidito (Weirdpunk Books)
6. Polish Extreme, edited by Edward Lee & Karolina Kaczkowska (Necro Publications)

A panel of judges composed of professionals, critics and scholars in the field will now begin the process of reading each nominated work, and selecting a winner for each category. Winners will be announced at KillerCon, taking place in Austin, Texas from August 7-9.

In addition to the winners, author and editor Edward Lee will receive the annual J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award honoring his significant contributions to the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror. Previous recipients are David J. Schow and David G. Barnett.

2019 Splatterpunk Awards

Wrath James White and Brian Keene presented the Splatterpunk Awards in a ceremony at the 2019 Killercon on August 17 in Austin, Texas. The awards recognize superior achievement in the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror.

BEST NOVEL

  • Full Brutal by Kristopher Triana (Grindhouse Press)

BEST NOVELLA

  • Kill For Satan by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)

BEST SHORT STORY

  •  “The Seacreator” by Ryan Harding (Splatterpunk Forever)

BEST COLLECTION

  • DJStories by David J. Schow (Subterranean Press)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • Splatterpunk Forever by Jack Bantry and Kit Power (Splatterpunk zine)

In addition to these nominees, publisher and author David G. Barnett received the J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field.

The nominees were selected by readers, fans, professionals and the jurors. The final ballot was voted on by this year’s jury: Regina Garza-Mitchell, Gabino Iglesias, Tod Clark, Gerard Houarner, Jason Cavallaro, and Garrett Cook.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1Sdpk0AkDY9N8HHbH74RsFBic4MPWCAdbPi3s0
https://www.instagram.com/p/B1Sb-xygagdQZJw6zbqw-L6mYaLLVi2tRn-EDw0

2019 Splatterpunk Awards Nominees

Wrath James White and Brian Keene, founders of the Splatterpunk Awards, which recognize superior achievement in the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror, announced the nominees for the second annual awards on February 4.

BEST NOVEL

  • A Gathering of Evil by Gil Valle (Comet Press)
  • Camp Slasher by Dan Padavona (Independently Published)
  • Full Brutal by Kristopher Triana (Grindhouse Press)
  • Last Day by Bryan Smith (Independently Published)
  • Rabid Heart by Jeremy Wagner (Riverdale Avenue Books)
  • Ring of Fire by David Agranoff (Deadite Press)

BEST NOVELLA

  • 1000 Severed Dicks by Ryan Harding and Matt Shaw (Independently Published)
  • Cockblock by CV Hunt (Grindhouse Press)
  • Dead Stripper Storage by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)
  • Kill For Satan by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)
  • The Mongrel by Sean O’Connor (Matador)
  • The Writhing Skies by Betty Rocksteady (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Diabolicus Interruptus” by Christine Morgan (Forbidden Futures #1)
  • “Fistulas” by Mame Bougouma Diene (Dark Moons Rising on a Starless Night)
  • “Rebound” by Brendan Vidito (Nightmares In Ecstasy)
  • “The Seacreator” by Ryan Harding (Splatterpunk Forever)
  • “Seersucker Motherfucker” by Jay Wilburn (Beautiful Darkness)
  • “Virtue of Stagnant Waters” by Monica J. O’Rourke (Splatterpunk Forever)

BEST COLLECTION

  • Dark Moons Rising on a Starless Night by Mame Bougouma Diene (Clash Books)
  • DJStories by David J. Schow (Subterranean Press)
  • Nightmares In Ecstasy by Brendan Vidito (Clash Books)
  • The Very Ineffective Haunted House by Jeff Burk (Clash Books)
  • Walking Alone: Short Stories by Bentley Little (Cemetery Dance Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • The Black Room Manuscripts Volume 4 by J. R. Park and Tracy Fahey (Sinister Horror Company)
  • Monsters of Any Kind by Alessandro Manzetti and Daniele Bonfanti (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Splatterpunk Forever by Jack Bantry and Kit Power (Splatterpunk zine)
  • Welcome to the Show by Doug Murano and Matt Hayward (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 3 by Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax (Red Room Press)

In addition to these nominees, publisher and author David G. Barnett will receive the J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field.

The nominees were selected by readers, fans, professionals and the jurors. The final ballot will be voted on by this year’s jury: Regina Garza-Mitchell, Gabino Iglesias, Tod Clark, Gerard Houarner, Jason Cavallaro, and Garrett Cook.

The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the 2019 Killercon Convention, taking place August 16-18 in Austin, Texas.  

[Via Locus Online.]

David G. Barnett To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

David G. Barnett

Splatterpunk Award founders Wrath James White and Brian Keene have announced that David G. Barnett will be the honoree of the 2019 J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award.

Since 1993, Barnett has operated Necro Publications (and its imprints), publishing some of the biggest and best names in modern horror and extreme horror, including Edward Lee, Joe R. Lansdale, Charlee Jacob, Ryan Harding, Gerard Houarner, Mehitobel Wilson, Jeffrey Thomas, Patrick Lestewka, K. Trap Jones, and dozens of others. He has also edited or co-edited a number of anthologies, including Damned: An Anthology of the Lost and Into the Darkness Vol. 1. As an author, his own books include Dead Souls, Spying on Gods, Awakenings: Tales of the Fallen Book 1, Neon Wings: Tales of the Fallen Book 2, and The Baby (with Edward Lee).

The J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award — named after author J.F. Gonzalez — honors individuals who have upheld, impacted and contributed to the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror. It will be presented during the second annual Splatterpunk Awards, taking place at Killercon 2019 in Austin, Texas.

[Thanks to Dann for the story.]

2018 Splatterpunk Awards

Winners of the inaugural Splatterpunk Awards were announced at KillerCon in Austin, TX, August 24-26.

BEST NOVEL

  • WHITE TRASH GOTHIC by Edward Lee (Deadite Press)

BEST NOVELLA

  • HEADER 3 by Edward Lee and Ryan Harding (Necro Publications)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “The Tipping Point” by Jeff Strand, from Everything Has Teeth (Thunderstorm Books)

BEST COLLECTION

  • GORILLA IN MY ROOM by Jack Ketchum (Cemetery Dance Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK, edited by Jack Bantry and Kit Power (Splatterpunk Zine)

Also announced was the inaugural winner of the —

J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award

  • David J. Schow

The nominees were selected by Splatterpunk Awards jurors: David J. Schow, Gerard Houarner, Monica J. O’Rourke, Mike Lombardo, and Tod Clark. Jurors were ineligible for consideration for a Splatterpunk Award in any category.

The award trophy doesn’t fail to live up to the name —

[Via Doris V. Sutherland.]

2018 Splatterpunk Awards Finalists

Nominees for this year’s Splatterpunk Awards were announced on The Horror Show with Brian Keene podcast,  The awards ceremony will take place at KillerCon in Austin, TX, August 24-26.

The nominees were selected by the jurors for this year’s Splatterpunk Awards: David J. Schow, Gerard Houarner, Monica J. O’Rourke, Mike Lombardo, and Tod Clark. Jurors are ineligible for consideration for a Splatterpunk Award in any category.

BEST NOVEL

  • CONTAINMENT by Charlee Jacob (Necro Publications)
  • EXORCIST FALLS by Jonathan Janz (Sinister Grin Press)
  • THE HEMATOPHAGES by Stephen Kozeniewski (Sinister Grin Press)
  • SPERMJACKERS FROM HELL by Christine Morgan (Deadite Press)
  • WHITE TRASH GOTHIC by Edward Lee (Deadite Press)

BEST NOVELLA

  • THE BIG BAD by K. Trap Jones (Necro Publications)
  • DAMN DIRTY APES by Adam Howe (Thunderstorm Books)
  • HEADER 3 by Edward Lee and Ryan Harding (Necro Publications)
  • KILLER CHRONICLES by Somer Canon (Thunderstorm Books)
  • THE LUCKY ONES DIED FIRST by Jack Bantry (Deadite Press)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Dirty Desk” by Jeffrey Thomas, from Chopping Block Party (Necro Publications)
  • “Extinction Therapy” by Bracken MacLeod, from Splatterpunk Fighting Back (Splatterpunk Zine)
  • “Melvin” by Matt Shaw, from Splatterpunk Fighting Back (Splatterpunk Zine)
  • “Molly” by Glenn Rolfe, from Splatterpunk Fighting Back (Splatterpunk Zine)
  • “The Tipping Point” by Jeff Strand, from Everything Has Teeth (Thunderstorm Books)

BEST COLLECTION

  • 2017: A YEAR OF HORROR AND PAIN, PART ONE by Matt Shaw (Amazon Digital Services)
  • EVERYTHING HAS TEETH by Jeff Strand (Thunderstorm Books)
  • THE GARDEN OF DELIGHT by Alessandro Manzetti (Comet Press)
  • GORILLA IN MY ROOM by Jack Ketchum (Cemetery Dance Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • CHOPPING BLOCK PARTY, edited by Brendan Deneen and David G. Barnett (Necro Publications)
  • DOA III, edited by Marc Ciccarone and Andrea Dawn (Blood Bound Books)
  • SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK, edited by Jack Bantry and Kit Power (Splatterpunk Zine)
  • VS:X: U.S. VS U.K. EXTREME HORROR, edited by Dawn Cano (Shadow Work Publishing)
  • YEAR’S BEST HARDCORE HORROR VOLUME 2, edited by Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax (Comet Press)

Also announced was the inaugural winner of the — 

J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award 

  • David J. Schow

[Thanks to Dann for the story.]

 

Pixel Scroll 10/17/17 If I Have Scrolled Further Than Others, It Is Because I Stood On The Pixels Of Filers

(1) NOW YOU KNOW. Ron Howard says the movie will be called Solo: A Star Wars Story.

(2) ATOMIC AGE LORE. Tony Rothman kicks off his American Scientist article “The Forgotten Mystery of Inertia” with – of all things – a Worldcon anecdote.

In days of yore, at a World Science Fiction Convention in Boston, a Harvard graduate student polished his reputation as a brilliant mad scientist by roaming the convention halls, brandishing what at first glance appeared to be a rather peculiar steel bowling ball. Portholes perforated its surface, providing a glimpse of electronic hardware inside; tangled wires sprouted from the same holes, and a gear train surrounded the mysterious object’s equator.

“What’s that?” I asked him.

“It’s the gyro platform for an intercontinental ballistic missile,” he replied. “If you put it on a Titan rocket, it will fly to Kiev.”

“How do you know?”

“It’s an inertial guidance system, stupid. It knows where Kiev is.”

“I know how inertial guidance systems work, but how do you know it knows where Kiev is?”

“Oh, that. It was stamped on the box.”

This sorcerer’s apprentice had discovered that for $900 you could buy a surplus intercontinental ballistic missile, 10 years before the electronics were declassified. His Titan was delivered on two railway cars, “Kiev Titan Missile” stamped on the crates. He junked the body, donated the engines to an art museum, and saved the electronics for his research. A tall tale? Sounds like one, but the gyro platform was there for all to see.

That is the question. At what, exactly, is the gyroscope pointed? According to the law of inertia, objects tend to continue doing what they’ve been doing: If at rest, they remain at rest; if moving, they continue moving at the same speed in the same direction. The gyroscope also bends to inertia’s will, but in confounding ways. Touch it, and the gyro opposes you by veering in unexpected directions. If it is spinning extremely rapidly, the gyroscope remains rigidly locked in the direction it has been set, its sights fixed on…Kiev—hence the term inertial guidance systems. If a rocket veers off the gyro’s fixed course, a sensor detects the error, and a servomechanism realigns the missile with the gyroscope axis.

Was that Russell Seitz? When I first got into fandom that was the story going around about him, of which the following is one version:

In the late 70’s, when most of our nuclear arsenal was converted from liquid to solid fuel, the U.S. Government auctioned off a number of obsolete missile silos and their contents. Mostly the silos got bought by local farmers who converted them for grain storage. I only know what happened to one of the missiles. It was offered at sealed bid auction and a friend of mine, Russell Seitz, bought it. When you bid on something like this, you have to send in a check for 10% of your bid as a deposit. He looked at his bank account, and figured he could spare about $300 that month, so that’s what he sent. When he discovered that he’d won the bid, he had to scrounge up the rest. Now the buyer must pick up the goods himself, but he can request that his purchase be delivered, at government expense, to the nearest military base. Being an undergraduate at M.I.T. at the time, he had the missile shipped to Hanscom Airforce Base, about 12 miles away. He then arranged for a truck, and donated the missile to a local modern art museum (I forget which one). Tax laws were a little different in those days, and if you donated something to an art museum, you could deduct not the just the purchase price, but the original value of the object, which was considerable. Income averaging allowed him to spread the “loss” out over a number of years so that he didn’t have to pay taxes for a long time! He was legendary at M.I.T. for quite a while, and acquired the nickname “Missile” Seitz.

(3) ED KRAMER BACK IN THE NEWS. Ed Kramer, Dragon Con founder and convicted sex offender, has sued the producers of The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway, claiming they owe him for his work in creating and developing the program. The Huffington Post has the story: “Sex Offender Claims Responsibility For Natalee Holloway TV Series”.

Just when it seemed the Natalee Holloway case couldn’t get more peculiar, HuffPost has uncovered another twist in the teenager’s 2005 disappearance: A registered sex offender is claiming responsibility for a recent television series about the mystery.

Edward Kramer is suing producers of “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,” a TV series that began in August on the Oxygen Network, alleging he is “co-owner, developer and writer,” according to his lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in California. Kramer wants unspecified “just compensation” for his work, plus punitive damages.

Kramer’s personal website claims:

Edward E. Kramer is the creator and developer of the six-part series, The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway for Brian Graden Media (BGM) and NBC Universal’s newly re-branded Oxygen Crime Network. This landmark series, featuring Dave Holloway and Private Investigators T. J. Ward, Kathy Wainscott, Trace Sargent and Eric Bryant, Detective Frank Karic and Forensic Scientist Jason Kolowski, which finally puts to rest the 2005 murder of Natalee Holloway.

The defendants in the lawsuit, Brian Graden Media and Lipstick Inc., filed an answer to the suit, denying they owe anything to Kramer.

He wasn’t “named as a writer, screenwriter, or co-creator,” they said, and was working as an “employee or agent of T.J. Ward,” a private investigator who appeared on the series with Holloway’s father, Dave Holloway.

Read a copy of the original lawsuit filing and the defendants’ answer here.

(4) MARVEL EXEC’S COMICS COLLECTION LOOTED. Marvel’s Joe Quesada is looking for help to recover or reacquire comics and other art stolen from his collection. He gives the background in a long public post on Facebook, leading up to recent discoveries of his artwork for sale, and the arrest of the culprit.

In early June I was contacted by a longtime friend, he was looking at some comic art auctions and was curious as to why I was auctioning a piece that he knew was part of my personal collection and something I would never, ever sell. He sent me a link where I discovered 24 pieces in total from my private collection up for auction including pieces I did long before I was a working professional. While at the moment I’m not at liberty to give the details, investigating this further it turns out that the artwork that was up for auction was all originally purchased from a Mr. Francesco Bove.

Further investigation uncovered that, since the time he was thrown out of my house, at least 185 more pieces of my stolen art were sold at auction and all of it originally purchased directly from Mr. Bove. That’s 185 pieces, sold and gone! How much more was sold privately is unknown at the moment but I’m not feeling optimistic.

So why is this news breaking now? As the case was being investigated the Detective in charge discovered Mr. Bove had left the country and had gone to Italy. Upon his return he was arrested which brings us to right now. From what I know so far it’s believed that Mr. Bove has sold portions of my art to comic shops, dealers and collectors in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, as well as parts of Long Island and New Jersey. It could be wider spread than that but I’m not at liberty to say.

And here’s the thing that keeps me up at night. These were pieces that I was never intending to sell, art that had deep personal meaning to every member of my family. There was an enormous collection of Archie art from various artists like Stan Goldberg, Harry Lucey, Sam Schwartz but the majority of it by Dan DeCarlo. There were also Laugh Comics pages by Bill Woggon, The Adventures Of Pipsqueak by Walt Lardner as well as Pat The Brat and Shrimpy by Joe Harold and a huge assortment of other artists from the 50s and 60s to today. I lost pages of my own professional art as well as art I purchased from dear and talented friends. But what stings the most is that Mr. Bove took artwork that I had discovered many years ago stored in my father’s home after he had passed away. Drawings and paintings I did in elementary school, high school and college. Practice sample pages I had done before ever seriously thinking I could be in comics. This was art I was leaving behind for my daughter just as my father had left it for me. It kills me to think that I’ll never get this stuff back now that it’s been scattered to the four winds perhaps bought and sold more times than I care to imagine… or possibly even destroyed. So yes, heartbreak after heartbreak. Not only was the thief someone who I trusted, allowed into my home and helped during rough times, but the items he stole in order to keep himself afloat once he realized he irreversibly burned his bridge with me were the ones most irreplaceable and of personal importance.

Now here’s the part where I could use your help.

While I’m hopeful that now in custody Mr. Bove may lead the Detectives to the people and locations where he sold the art, perhaps some of you reading this might be able to point the Sparta New Jersey Police Department in the right direction. If you’ve purchased any art from Mr. Francesco Bove and have it in your possession or know someone who does please contact

Det. Jeffrey McCarrick at (973) 726-4072

Or the Sparta New Jersey Police Department spartanj.org or on their FB page https://www.facebook.com/sparta.police/

You can also reach out to me here on FB as well. Please know that I understand completely that this was sold under false pretenses and I fault no one for not knowing that. All I want is to retrieve as much of the art as I possibly can especially the attached Dan DeCarlo cover for Archie #322 which means the world to me and my family. Unfortunately it has been sold at least twice over that I’m aware of but if you know where I can find it I will gladly purchase it back.

(5) BOOTS ON THE GROUND. The Planetary Society reports on the first meeting of the newly reconstituted National Space Council in “We choose to go to the Moon and do the other things”.

Returning to the Moon

The biggest news to come out of today’s meeting was [Vice President] Pence’s authoritative declaration that Americans will return to the lunar surface.

“We will return American astronauts to the Moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” Pence said.

This wasn’t unexpected, considering prior statements by Pence, other administration officials, and the backgrounds of space council executive secretary Scott Pace, and NASA administrator nominee Jim Bridenstine.

Very few details were given on how a return to the lunar surface would work, or when it would occur. Pence did not say whether the Americans on the surface would be government or commercially-employed astronauts. And the agency’s exploration goals already include a return to lunar space via the Deep Space Gateway, a small space station in lunar orbit, which would provide a test-bed for closed-loop life support, deep space maneuvering, and other technologies necessary for travel to Mars.

In a statement, NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said the agency has “highlighted a number of initiatives underway in this important area (cislunar space), including a study of an orbital gateway or outpost that could support a sustained cadence of robotic and human missions.” That implies the Deep Space Gateway is still on the table, and could theoretically fit within the broad plans outlined by Pence.

The fate of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule have been a perennial point of discussion among space advocates, particularly during the transition to this new, business-friendly administration. Though it wasn’t stated explicitly, today’s discussions seemed to assume the continuation of SLS and Orion, at least for now. The programs have always had strong congressional support, and were intended to be destination-agnostic, both by design and congressional directive. NASA can thus shift its focus without a drastic restructuring of its major hardware programs.

(6) TAKE A SHOWER. Space.com tells you — “Orionid Meteor Shower 2017: When, Where & How to See It”.

One of the year’s best sky shows will peak between Oct. 20 and 22, when the Orionid meteor shower reaches its best viewing. The meteors that streak across the sky are some of the fastest and brightest among meteor showers, because the Earth is hitting a stream of particles almost head on.

The particles come from Comet 1P/Halley, better known as Halley’s Comet. This famous comet swings by Earth every 75 to 76 years, and as the icy comet makes its way around the sun, it leaves behind a trail of comet crumbs. At certain times of the year, Earth’s orbit around the sun crosses paths with the debris.

(7) NOTABLE SIGNATURES. Michael Burstein posted copies of some historic letters his grandfather received from Einstein, Teller and Isaac Asimov.

Among other things, my grandfather Rabbi Abraham Burstein was secretary of the Jewish Academy of Arts and Sciences. One of his tasks was reaching out to various luminaries to see if they would be interested in joining the academy. Sometimes he reached out to people whom he knew were Jewish but who might not be very public about it; joining the academy was a way to express solidarity without becoming too public. From what I understand, the academy had annual meetings with speakers.

I do not know what was in the letters my grandfather sent out to these three recipients, but we can see what they said back.

The earliest letter is from Albert Einstein, dated June 7, 1936. The next letter is from Edward Teller, dated December 21, 1962. The last letter is from Isaac Asimov, dated October 21, 1965.

(8) HONOR AN AUSTRALIAN SFF CONTRIBUTOR. The A. Bertram Chandler Award is calling for nominations.

So why is a person awarded this honour?  It’s because the recipient has demonstrated over many years untiring commitment and selfless work within Australian fandom or the Aussie SF scene in general.  Work such as convention running, local club activities, publishing, writing of merit in the genre whether that be blogs, fanzines, short stories or novels, artistic endeavours such painting, graphics or other such forms.  The criteria is not limited to any one activity; but mostly it is for activities that are visible and evident to the Aussie SF community.

So, do you know someone who has made a significant contribution to Australian science fiction and/ or Australian fandom, not just over the last year, but year in, year out? Feel that they should be honoured / recognised for this work? Then why not nominate them for the A Bertram Chandler Award. It is really easy to do: just write to the ASFF and outline why you think that the person is deserving of the award.  No forms to fill out, no entrance fee, nothing but a simple few paragraphs outlining the person’s achievements.

For more information about the A Bertram Chandler Award and the Australian Science Fiction Foundation visit our website ( www.asff.org.au )

To nominate a worthy person, send to awards@asff.org.au

(9) EBOOK TIDE RECEDING? A Wall Street Journal blogger relates what publishers had to say at the Frankfurt Book Fair in “Book Publishers Go Back to Basics”.

Book publishers are giving an advance review of the industry’s future, and it looks a lot like the past. After a decade of technological upheaval and lackluster growth, executives at the top four U.S. consumer book publishers say they are done relying on newfangled formats to boost growth.

It has been nearly 10 years since Amazon.com Inc. introduced its Kindle e-book reader amid the financial crisis, destabilizing publishers and challenging their well-honed business models.

Now, e-book sales are on the decline, making up a fraction of publishers’ revenue, and traditional book sales are rising. The consumer books industry is enjoying steady growth in the U.S., with total revenue increasing about 5% from 2013 to 2016, according to the Association of American Publishers.

Executives gathered in Frankfurt for the industry’s biggest trade fair said they are returning to fundamentals: buying and printing books that readers want to buy—and they are streamlining their businesses to get them out faster than ever before.

It is about “knowing what [readers] want,” said Markus Dohle, chief executive of Bertelsmann SE and Pearson PSO -1.91% PLC’s joint venture Penguin Random House, “to drive demand at scale.”

The shift is a surprise reversal for an industry that experts just a decade ago predicted was facing radical change, if not a slow death, because of digitization and changing reading habits. Instead, e-book sales in the U.S. were down about 17% last year, according to the AAP industry group, while printed book revenue rose 4.5%.

…Mr. Murray blamed flagging e-book sales on “screen fatigue,” and said HarperCollins was upping investment in printed books, “the value anchor” for the entire business. Printed books are “more beautiful now,” he said. “You’ll see endpapers [and] a lot more design sensibility going into the print editions because we recognized that they can’t be throwaway.”

(10) IT’S THE PRICE. Amanda S. Green’s opinion about the above news is that trad publishers constantly talk around the real obstacle to e-book sales, which she identifies in “The delusions continue” at Mad Genius Club.

…Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy claims that nothing “went wrong” with e-books. It seems she believes people have gotten tired of reading on their screens. Again, a complete disconnect from reality. People don’t want to pay as much — or more — for an e-book as they will for a print copy. But the laugh out loud moment comes further down in the article when Reidy says she firmly believes “a new version of the book based on digital delivery will come eventually, though she does not know what it might look like.”

Blink.

Blink. Blink.

Hmm, wouldn’t that be an e-book? The bells and whistles might be a bit different, but it if walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, isn’t it a duck?

And what about her argument that e-book sales have leveled off because we are tired of reading on our screens?

It constantly amazes me the way these folks continue to tie themselves into knots trying to explain how e-books are bad, or are a passing fad or a way for writers not good enough for traditional publishing to get their works into the hands of readers. All I know is that the real numbers, the numbers that look at more than the Big 5 titles, tell a different tale. As a reader, I know I find myself picking up more and more books from indie authors because they are writing stories I want to read and they are doing it at prices that allow me to read two or three or more books for the price of a single Big 5 title. When is the point going to come where an accountant who isn’t afraid of rocking the boat says they can actually sell more — and make more money — if they lower their prices to something reasonable?

(11) SPLATTERPUNK AWARD SEEKS NOMINATIONS. As announced recently on Episode 136 of The Horror Show with Brian Keene, the SplatterPunk awards are now taking nominations for works of horror.  The categories are:

  • BEST NOVEL (for works of more than 50,000 words)
  • BEST NOVELLA (for works from 15,000 to 50,000 words)
  • BEST SHORT STORY (for works from 500 to 14,000 words)
  • BEST COLLECTION (for single-author works over 50,000 words)
  • BEST ANTHOLOGY (for multiple-author collections over 50,000 words)

Anyone registered to attend next year’s KillerCon is eligible to nominate.  Early registration is $89.99 until the end of 2017.  Registration is capped at 250 attendees.

Dann sent the link along with an observation, “The nomination form is a little unusual in that there is only one space provided for a nomination.  The attendee is supposed to indicate the appropriate category in one box and the work being nominated in a second box.  It isn’t clear how an attendee is supposed to nominate works in more than one category.”

Guests of honor at next year’s Killer Con include Brian Keene, Edward Lee, and Lucy Taylor.  Special Guests include author Matt Shaw and freelance editor Monica J. O’Rourke.

The 2018 Splatterpunk Awards jurors are David J. Schow, Gerard Houarner, Monica J. O’Rourke, Mike Lombardo, and Tod Clark.

The Founders of the SplatterPunk Awards, Wrath James White and Brian Keene, will select the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

(12) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • October 17, 1937: Huey, Dewey, and Louie (Donald Duck’s nephews) first appeared in a comic strip.

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born October 17, 1914 – Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman.
  • Born October 17 – Michael J. Walsh, publisher, Old Earth Books, and former Worldcon chair (1983)

(14) THE NEIGHBORS’ HALLOWEEN DISPLAY. That would be a two-story tall Star Wars Imperial Walker —  “‘The Force’ is strong in Parma as residents unveil towering Star Wars’ robot”.

Everyone wants to see Nick Meyer’s latest Halloween decoration.

“That is an imperial armored transporter from (‘Star Wars: Episode V – The) Empire Strikes Back,’” said Meyer.

Star Wars’ fans would know the official name for the towering rover: an AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport).

Seven years ago, Meyer and his family started the tradition of building a Halloween display in the front yard.

“I love it, I encourage it,” said Nick’s wife Becky Meyer.

It gets bigger every year.

“I liked the clowns we did one year. Last year we did ‘Friday the 13th’ cabin, that was one of my favorites,” Becky said. “Last year was pretty awesome, and he topped it,” said next door neighbor, Amber Johnson.

One would think some neighbors might not want to stare at a two-story Star Wars robot for a few weeks, you’d be wrong.

“No, this is our fourth year living next door to them, and we love it,” Johnson said.

(15) IN MEMORY YET GRAY. Lawrence Schoen asks the inevitable question of Vivian Shaw, author of Strange Practice, in “Eating Authors: Vivian Shaw”.

LMS: Welcome, Vivian. What’s your most memorable meal?

VS: If you’d asked me this two years ago, I would have had no difficulty whatsoever in coming up with the best meal I’d ever eaten. That was in 2004, in Chicago, the same day I met Scott McNeil and George Romero: I was at a Transformers convention and decided to take myself to an actual steakhouse for an actual steak, and I can still so clearly remember the gorgeous rich mineral taste of that first-ever filet mignon, the way it almost dissolved in my mouth. The vivid greenness of the two asparagus spears on the plate, the peppery kick of the Shiraz that accompanied it — even thirteen years later it’s incredibly easy to recall.

(The most memorable, however, was the time on British Airways in the 1990s where for reasons known only to themselves somebody had decided to add bits of squid to the fruit salad. Memorable doesn’t equal pleasant.)

(16) LECKIE’S PROVENANCE Camestros Felapton reviews the new novel Provenance by Ann Leckie.

The people of Hwae (or at least the high-ranking ones) obsess over social status in a way that the Radch obsesses over rank (and tea). Central to this cult-like obsession is the veneration of ‘vestiges’ – artifacts that demonstrate the age of a family and possible connections to historical events. Vestiges can be anything from physical objects to letters and postcards or ticket stubs.

When we first meet Ingray she is off planet, embroiled in a scheme that is within her cognitive capacity to execute but for which she is not temperamentally prepared. As events unfold, a prison break, stolen spaceships, a murder of foreign dignitary and an invasion plot unfold around Ingray in a story that has elements of a mad-cap caper along side space-opera and Leckie’s trademark examination of the potential variety of human culture.

Above all Ingray is an honest person caught in a story in which most people she meets (both the good and the bad) are liars. This is such a clever trick by Leckie, as she manages to encapsulate Ingray very quickly as a character very early in the book, while giving her a backstory that gives her reasons to attempt a devious scheme (returning a notorious exiled criminal/disgraced vestige keeper to Hwae to embarrass her parent’s political rival). Ingray’s basic niceness wins her some useful allies and her naturally bravery pushes her further into the events.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Andrew Finch tells the inspiration for his short film Others Will Follow.

But Why?

Thanks for watching, Others Will Follow was inspired by this speech written for President Nixon to deliver in the event that the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the moon. Fortunately they never used it, so I figured I would. NASA has parked its space ships in museums in the decades since the contingency speech was written. Most humans alive today didn’t exist the last time humanity left low earth orbit. I wanted to make something that would outline the importance of human space flight by imagining a brute-force mission to Mars in the early 2000s that, despite disastrous circumstances still manages to pass the torch of inspiration. I spent 4.5 years making this short and attempted to do every aspect of its creation myself, from pyrotechnics to music composition. Many of the disciplines were completely new to me like designing and building the space ship and constructing the space suit, others like VFX and cinematography I had a background in.

The lone survivor of the first mission to Mars uses his last moments to pass the torch of inspiration.

Making of: Others Will Follow

VFX Breakdowns and funny funny stuff from the set of Others Will Follow

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Mark-kitteh, Dann, Michael J. Walsh, Steve Davidson, Cat Eldridge, Andrew, and Rose Mitchell for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brad J.]