The implications of a Worldcon bid for Israel fueled discussion here for days. News about the top awards commanded interest, too – the winners of the Nebulas and Bram Stokers, plus a poll asking what people think are the field’s most important awards.
Here are the ten most-read posts last month according to Google
(1) STOLEN HEARTS. Another
romance writer has been accused of plagiarism: the
#CopyPasteCris row involves accusations that Cristiane Serruya lifted large
sections of her romance novels from works by Courtney Milan and other writers,
then blamed the mess on a ghostwriter she’d hired. One side-effect is that the
Romance Writers of America is under pressure to either bar ghostwritten works
from its awards or insist such works are identified as such when submitted. Will
there be calls for sff and horror organizations to follow suit?
Milan said a reader alerted her to the wording issue in Serruya’s book, and tweeted, “I’m not exactly sure how to proceed from here, but I will be seeking legal counsel.”
Milan is a lawyer who used to teach intellectual property law at Seattle University.
Then the story became much larger. On Twitter, Milan and other authors and readers began posting passages from Serruya’s work that appeared to be lifted from other sources, sometimes using the hashtag #CopyPasteCris.
On Tuesday morning, Serruya initially seemed to deny the charges, tweeting at Milan, “Good morning, @courtneymilan I just woke up to this and I am astonished. I would have never, ever, done this. I am in this writing for a few years now and I am also a lawyer. Could we perhaps talk?”
Shortly after her first tweet, Serruya tweeted that her book did, indeed, contain plagiarism, which she blamed on a ghostwriter she had hired through Fiverr, a service that matches freelance creative professionals with those who want to hire them for gigs.
The newLord of the Rings series from Amazon is being kept more secret from fans than the One Ring was from the Elven-kings, Dwarf-lords, and Mortal Men. Apart from very vague and mysterious teases like a map laden with Easter eggs, Tolkien fans know next to nothing about the upcoming series that hopes to somehow co-exist with Peter Jackson’s fantasy films after the latter defined Middle-earth for a generation. And that’s partially because of how Amazon’s writer’s room is protected.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the team responsible for creating the first season of LotR TV has been even more isolated than Gollum in his cave….
The micron itself? A one day affair, consisting of two panels, a catered lunch break, a mini-dealers room and art show, bringing in two regionally popular guests, open to attendance of between 100 and 250 (max), designed to appeal to two distinct but related audiences: local folks familiar with the GoHs who would like a more intimate experience with them and local fans who want to experience a traditional convention for the first time, without having to commit to a full weekend, the travel and lodging requirements and etc.
This is currently a test-case, is expected to take place in Manchester, NH (or relatively close by) and is expected to happen in a 2020 time frame. (Very local helps keep associated expenses down.)
We expect to replicate nearly everything a traditional, weekend long convention does; there’ll be membership badges and registration, panels with Q&A, an opening and closing ceremonies and even what we’re calling A “Dead Dog Dinner Party” for our GoHs, staff and selected members of the convention….
…When Simon Ounsley was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease six years ago, he felt any chance to have a fiction book published had slipped from his grasp. But he has continued to write with the help of voice activation software and now has a children’s story on sale and another in the pipeline. “I have wanted to write fiction all my life,” he says. “But except for a few short stories, I was never able to secure the interest of an agent or publisher.
…“I had almost decided I should try to self-publish a children’s novel I had written, when an extraordinary stroke of luck led to me finding a publisher.”
That publishing firm is Journey Fiction, run by writer Jennifer Farey from Las Vegas, USA. Simon had been in touch with her husband Nic through science fiction fanzines and asked him to take a look at the book last September. He offered to show it to Jennifer and on December 1 The Shop on Peculiar Hill was released, available through Amazon and online bookstores.
It is in the sci-fi genre that Simon has done much of his writing, including for fanzines from 1978. He was one of eight people who launched fantasy and science fiction magazine Interzone in 1982. Still in existence today, it is the longest running British sci-fi magazine in history. Harrogate-born Simon was involved for six years.
Over here in the Stylist.co.uk offices we know that women are strong and smart and powerful and awe-inspiring. We celebrate this on a daily basis. But there are many out there who aren’t as comfortable watching a female superhero save the world in such spectacular fashion.
And they’re all trolls lurking in the swampy backwaters of the internet.
A campaign spearheaded by sexist social media users to target Captain Marvel with negative reviews has hit Rotten Tomatoes today. The idea, according to these users, is to ensure that the movie’s audience score is impacted and reduced.
Just to be clear, the film hasn’t even been released yet. But that hasn’t stopped people leaving negative comments on the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes’ page anyway. These reviews target the film’s female-led subject matter and star Larson’s commitment to utilise inclusion riders on the press tour for the movie to ensure that female, disabled and people of colour journalists are given preference for interview time.
In a very real sense horror, in the form of slavery, was a part of the African-American experience from the beginning. Unsurprisingly, horror was a part of African-American narratives from the first as well. The folklore, legends, and myths brought over from Africa during the Middle Passage and turned into oral literature by the slaves was one significant element of pre-twentieth century African-American horror literature.1 A second, which long outlasted the African folklore and legends as a source of African-American horror, was the Gothic, which in its “Afro-Gothic” form was as popular by the end of the twentieth century as it was in its more primitive form centuries earlier.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
February 20, 1962 — Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. He made 3 trips around the earth in his Mercury-Atlas spacecraft, Friendship 7, in just under 5 hours.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 20, 1912 — Pierre Boulle. Best known for just two works, The Bridge over the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes. The latter was was La planète des singes in French, translated in 1964 as Monkey Planet by Xan Fielding, and later re-issued under the name we know. (Died 1994.)
Born February 20, 1926 — Richard Matheson. Best known for I Am Legend which has been adapted for the screen four times, as well as the film Somewhere In Time for which he wrote the screenplay based on his novel Bid Time Return. Seven of his novels have been adapted into films. In addition, he wrote sixteen television episodes of The Twilight Zone, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Steel”. The former episode of course has William Shatner in it. (Died 2013.)
Born February 20, 1943 — Diana Paxson, 76. Did you know she’s a founder of the Society for Creative Anachronism? Well she is. Genre wise, she’s best known for her Westria novels, and the later books in the Avalon series, which she first co-wrote with Marion Zimmer Bradley, then – after Bradley’s death, took over sole authorship of. All of her novels are heavily coloured with paganism — sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. I like her Wodan’s Children series more than the Avalon material.
Born February 20, 1945 — Brion James. Without doubt best known for his portrayal of Leon Kowalski in Bladerunner. He did have a number of genre roles including playing Stubbs in Enemy Mine, Tank in Steel Dawn, Stacy in Cherry 2000, Staten Jack Rose in Wishman, Maritz in Nemesis… Well you get the idea. He appeared in myriad low budget, not terribly good genre films after Bladerunner. (Died 1999.)
Born February 20, 1954 — Anthony Head, 65. Perhaps best known as Librarian and Watcher Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he also made an impressive Uther Pendragon in Merlin. He shows up in Repo! The Genetic Opera as Nathan Wallace aka the Repo Man, in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance as Benedict, and in the awesomely great Batman: Gotham by Gaslight voicing Alfred Pennyworth.
Born February 20, 1972 — Nick Mamatas, 47. Writer and editor. His fiction is of a decidedly Lovecraftian bent which can be seen in Move Under Ground which also has a strong Beat influence. It is worth noting that his genre fiction often strays beyond genre walls into other genres as he sees fit. He has also been recognised for his editorial work including translating Japanese manga with a Bram Stoker Award, as well as World Fantasy Award and Hugo Award nominations.
In Frazz, they discuss how SJW credentials view food.
(10) VERTLIEB ON TV. Film
historian Steve Vertlieb appeared in an episode of Counter Culture, a local PBS talk show, that aired last night. You
can watch the episode at the link.
I want to thank popular comedian and radio personality Grover Silcox for inviting me share a delightful segment of his new “Counter Culture” television interview series which aired last night on WLVT TV, Channel 39 Public Television in Allentown. We sat together at the famed Daddypops Diner in Hatboro, Pennsylvania where the wonderful series is filmed, and talked about the long history of Monster Movies. For anyone who didn’t catch it last night, the program is available on line by accessing the link below. You’ll find my segment in the middle of Episode No. 3.
A faulty app has tripped up Nike’s $350 self-tying shoes.
Nike released the Adapt BB, its tech-infused sneaker, on Sunday during the NBA’s All-Star game, along with an app that can control the shoe’s fit and light-up colors.
You’re able to loosen and tighten the sneakers through two buttons on the sneaker’s side, but Nike executives talked up the app experience, saying that it would also help you with your fitness activities in the future.
The Adapt BB needed a firmware update in its first week, which could only be installed via an iOS or Android app, Nike executives said in January.
But for people using Android, the app for the self-tying sneakers hasn’t been a perfect fit. Multiple reviews for the Nike Adapt app on Google’s Play Store said that it hasn’t connected to the left shoe, and an update rendered the sneaker’s main feature useless.
Usually bricking tend to render devices completely useless, at least the Adapt BB just turns into a regular pair of sneakers. You’re also still able to control the fit through the buttons on the side.
I think I’ve come to a realization — most of my current favorite TV shows are only still favorites because I’m waiting for them to come to what seems like an inevitably gruesome end. I’m a deer in the headlights, hoping that in a world where death and dismay is around every corner, the Game of Thrones cast might actually find their final rest; the handmaids in The Handmaid’s Tale might permanently escape their torture and mutilation the only way that seems plausible; Westworld will see the robots triumph over humanity (yes I’m in that camp); and that Killing Eve might, well, it’s right there in the title.
That’s why I’m delighted to say that The Man in the High Castle will end after its fourth season, as you can see by watching this new trailer.
(13) PAYING IT FORWARD. Award-winning and best-selling paranormal romance writer
Nalini Singh wants to send a New Zealand first-timer to the Romance Writers of
This week, we chatted with RITA award-winning fantasy romance author Jeffe Kennedy. She started her career writing non-fiction, shifted to romance and fantasy romance with traditional publishing, and now does some self-publishing as well. We asked her about whether awards are worth trying for, her thoughts on the professional organizations SFWA and RWA, and what she’s tried and liked for marketing over the years.
(15) SKYLARK THANKS. The
full text of Melinda Snodgrass’ 2019
Skylark Memorial Award acceptance speech has been posted to her blog –
click the link.
Welcome to the third annual linked collation of annuals or “year’s bests.” As the contents of the Afsharirad, BASFF, Clarke, Datlow, Guran, Horton, Shearman/Kelly, and Strahan science fiction, fantasy, and horror annuals are announced, they will be combined into one master list with links to the stories which are available online. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy some of them and that will help you decide which annual or annuals, if any, to purchase.
…I’m something of an emotive reader, which means that there are times when reading that a story just hits me right in the feels and I need to take a moment to recover. These are stories that, for me, are defined most by their emotional weight. By the impact they have, the ability to completely destroy all the careful emotional shields we use to keep the rest of the world at bay. These are the stories that pry open the shell of control I try surround myself in and leave me little more than a blubbering mess. So joining me in smiling through the tears and celebrating this year’s winners!
Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.
For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.
“This will really be a breakthrough experiment,” says Ruth Mueller, an entomologist who runs the lab. “It’s a historic moment.”
The goal is to see if the mosquitoes could eventually provide a powerful new weapon to help eradicate malaria in Africa, where most cases occur.
Nightflyers will not fly again for Syfy. The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has opted to cancel the expensive space drama based on the George R.R. Martin novella after one season. The cancellation arrives as one of its leads just booked a series regular role in a broadcast pilot.
Nightflyers was, without question, a big swing for Syfy….
In a bid to eventize Nightflyers, Syfy set a binge model and released the entire series on Dec. 2 on its digital platforms and aired the series over 10 straight nights on its linear network. The series hit Netflix on Feb. 1 and, unlike the breakout success that became LIfetime’s You, did not break out. The Dec. 13 season finale — which now doubles as a series finale — drew just 420,000 live viewers (down from 623,000 for the premiere).
(21) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Smash and Grab on Youtube is a Pixar film by Brian Larsen about two
robots who would rather play than perform their menial jobs.
John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Steve Green, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Mike
Kennedy, Steve Davidson, Chip Hitchcock, Errolwi, Andrew, Carl Slaughter, and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Joe H.]
By John Hertz: Being one of the Rotsler Award judges, it was my happy task to call Teddy Harvia (“Hey, Teddy!” – no, wait, that’s a water-softener joke) and tell him he won.
Actually I asked him first whether he’d accept the Award if we gave it to him. We adopted that protocol a few years ago after a Learning Experience.
The Greek poet Hesiod said “Only fools need suffer to learn” (Works and Days line 217). But you already know what kind of fool I am.
Harvia said, more or less (with this equipment I can’t find how to do Jack Speer’s quasi-quotes – which reminds me, Sandra Bond, thanks for all the fish), “Certainly, I’d be honored.” So I said, more or less, “That’s good. You are.”
Then this thank-you note came in the mail.
Didn’t I tell you “Keep watching the stars”?
Shakespeare fans, and maybe others, will know that in Shakespeare’s time “nothing” rhymed with “voting”. Much Ado about Nothing, to the Elizabethan-Jacobean ear, rang the chime of taking note (and of music: Act II, sc. iii, “Come, Balthasar, we’ll hear that song again…. Nay, pray thee come, / Or if thou wilt hold longer argument, / Do it in notes.” “Note this before my notes: / There’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.” “Why, these are very crotchets [whimsies, quarter-notes] that he speaks! Note notes, forsooth, and nothing!”).
Shakespeare was a punster of almost Japanese dimension – or, for that matter, the 14th Chorp Dimension – but I digress.
Harvia has for a while now been – well – exploring nothing. Some of us saw this in the Lonestarcon III Program Book (71st Worldcon, San Antonio, Texas, 2013).
[Editor’s note: I have used Paint to remove as much of the cancellation mark from the postcard art as I could. It may still look spotty.]
By John Hertz: Texan Teddy Harvia (“har-VEE-a”) has won the 2015 Rotsler Award, named for the late great Bill Rotsler (1926-1997), sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, and announced at L.A.’s local convention Loscon.
The winner receives a plaque and an honorarium of US$300. The Rotsler is given, as the plaque says, “for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community.”
Rotsler himself was so prolific that previously unpublished drawings of his continue to ornament fanzines today.
Loscon is sponsored by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, oldest SF club on Earth. The LASFS (“lahss-fahss”, although Len Moffatt always rhymed it with “sass mass”) and SCIFI (“SKIF-fy”) are independent California non-profit corporations. SCIFI established the Award in 1998. Loscon XLII was November 27-29, 2015.
Among SCIFI’s other projects have been the 1984, 1996, and 2006 World Science Fiction Conventions (L.A.con II-IV), the 1992 hardbound edition of Harry Warner’s fanhistory book A Wealth of Fable, and the 2002 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (“Conagerie”, Westercon LV).
The Rotsler is decided by a panel of three judges, currently Mike Glyer (since 1998), John Hertz (since 2003), and Sue Mason (beginning in 2015, replacing Claire Brialey who, before this year’s decision, retired from the panel after eight years’ excellent service).
Harvia has won the Hugo Award four times as Best Fanartist (1991, 1995, 2001-2002); likewise the Science Fiction Chronicle readers’ poll four times (1990-1993); also the Southern Fandom Confederation’s Rebel Award (1997).
He arrived among us in 1975, since then contributing hundreds of cartoons, illustrations, and covers to fanzines and con publications. He was long associated with the fanzine Mimosa. He was memorable in the cartoonists’ jam at the 2013 Worldcon (“Lonestarcon III”, San Antonio, Texas), where he and the rest drew lightning-quick responses to a time travel story extemporized by David Brin.
Asked whether there should be an accent mark over the i, Harvia said “That’s the Spanish side of the family. We on the Finnish side don’t use one.”
Some of his creatures, like Chat the Fourth Fannish Ghod (the extra h is an age-old, or h-old, touch of comedy in fanzines), or the Wing Nuts, re-appear. Others we know not if we shall see again. Keep watching the stars.
Updated 12/01/2015: Adopted helpful correction by supergee. John Hertz says, “The mistake about Wingnuts Soccer was mine; I misinterpreted a previous draft by Mike Glyer. Harvia gave me the 1975 date, which was used in the Loscon exhibit.”
The Melbourne Science Fiction Club is hosting a “Tribute to Ian Gunn” on November 28, a memorial to the well-known Australian fanartist who passed away ten years ago. Donations to the Ian Gunn Memorial Fund and the Anti-Cancer Council are welcome.
Update 10/24/2008: Cheryl Morgan is looking for more details. The little more I know from the current issue of MSFC’s clubzine, Ethel the Aardvark, is a calendar entry that says: “Tonight [November 28] we join Jocko Allen and KRin Pender-Gunn to acknowledge and celebrate the life of a man still sorely missed. Supper will be served.”
Frank Wu has preemptively announced that he will decline if nominated for Best Fan Artist in 2008.
“This essay is incredibly hard to write. I don’t want to be misunderstood, to come across as churlish, arrogant, calculating or ungrateful…. Having won three Hugo Awards for Best Fan Artist, in three of the last four years, I have decided that – should I be nominated – I will decline the nomination [in 2008],” wrote Frank in an editorial published in Abyss and Apex issue 24, dated the fourth quarter or 2007.
I learned about Frank’s decision when his editorial popped up in response to a Google search about another fan artist. Such news must have been reported and discussed long since (though not anywhere Google could show me). Such a remarkable example of selflessness is worth retelling, in any case.
Frank thoughtfully explains that his decision has been made for the sake of the vitality of the Best Fan Artist Hugo category. He wants to “break the logjam” for other fan artists like Alan F. Beck, Taral Wayne, Dan Steffan, Marc Schirmeister, Alexis Gilliland, and Stu Shiffman. (Though Frank surely must know Gilliland and Shiffman have won before.)
To help show that withdrawing is not an ungrateful response to his popularity, Frank lists many other people who withdrew from past Hugo races. He might have added the two most important examples from the Best Fan Artist category itself. There’s not another category where serial winners have been so conscientious about sharing the limelight.
Phil Foglio won the Best Fan Artist Hugo in 1977 and 1978. During his last acceptance speech, Foglio withdrew from future fanartist Hugo consideration saying, “I know how hard it is to get on the list, and once you do it’s even harder to get off.” Victoria Poyser won the category in 1981 and 1982, then announced she would not accept future nominations. Foglio and Poyser both went on to professional success.
Frank does tell how Teddy Harvia and Brad Foster declined their nominations in 1997. He speculates, “Apparently they were trying to clear the path for fellow nominee Bill Rotsler, who would pick up his Hugo and then pass away a month later.” Well, no. Just the previous year (1996) Rotsler had won the Best Fan Artist Hugo, a Retro Hugo, and a Special Committee Award. He’d already cleared his own path. The reason Harvia and Foster gave in 1997 is that they had a self-perceived conflict of interest created by their close involvement with the San Antonio Worldcon. Foster had drawn the covers for all the Progress Reports, and Harvia contributed other art. They made a highly-principled decision. A past progress report artist had been criticized for having an unfair advantage over competitors for the Hugo — that’s fandom for you, where someone demands that our top talents forego Hugo nominations as a condition of being allowed to provide art for free!