By John Hertz: (mostly
reprinted from No Direction Home 42) On Friday
night at Loscon XLVI (local SF convention, sponsored by the L.A. Science
Fantasy Society; see here) after Regency dancing (see Mimosa 29; or read Georgette Heyer‘s Regency romances – or both) I
changed back to my conventional attire and went to
wander the world of parties.
I’ve long felt an in it but not of it quality
is elemental to fandom. More usually interest-groups seem tighter
focused on, or entangled with, their topic. It makes us harder to
explain. People ask me “Are you a writer?” and I have to answer with
something like my father’s scrupulous reply when we played Guess What Daddy Had
for Lunch, “Not within the normal meaning of that term.” My best
formulation so far is A love of SF is the thread on which the beads of
fan activity are strung. Anyway, it shows in our social life.
At our cons we have open (everybody welcome) and
closed (invitation-only) parties. Some of them have a particular
reason for existence. Some of them. See what I mean?
I dropped by the Baycon party. This is the
San Francisco Bay area local con, held over the United States Memorial Day
weekend; Baycon XXXVIII will be in 2020 (we’re not always careful terminologists:
Westercon XIV – the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference on or near U.S.
Independence Day, though not necessarily within the U.S.; Westercon LXXIII will
be in 2020 – was “Baycon”, apparently the first SF con [in two senses of “SF”]
so called: later the 26th World Science Fiction Convention, combined with
Westercon XXI, and famous in song and story, was also “Baycon”).
A calendar conflict keeps me from Baycon, although I
have friends there, and am an honorary officer of the Bay Area SF Association
(Club motto, also Rule 0, “We do these things not because they are hard, but
because we are weird”), which was convenient when the 66th Worldcon was at
Yokohama Bay – in a Bay Area, and BASFA wanted a quorum. So I seek
out Baycon parties.
To some extent a Baycon party is an attempt to sell
Baycon memberships. (Among our better acts of terminology we insist
we sell not tickets, but memberships: not admittance to a thing others have
made, but participation in making it.) Why not? See, we can
host a party: we can host a convention. But also it’s a
contribution to the conviviality (good word to look up) of the time and place
where it’s held. I’m in favor of that. Also similar
parties thrown by other cons, and by bids to hold cons.
Some cons have themes. I’m not particularly
in favor of that; I’d rather they had theremins (seems unfair to ask for the
Island of Kalymnos dance Thymariotikos, although I’m fond of it).
The Baycon XXXVIII theme is “The future is now!”,
elaborated as “This year’s theme celebrates science fiction’s
influence on our present day”. I found that particularly
regrettable. It seemed to draw in the notion that SF is in the
business of predicting the future, one of the nastier poisons to afflict
us. Also the current cant of influence too often
operates as a nasty distraction from actually looking, substituting instead
what other people think. So I had the nourishingly demanding task of
managing conviviality with my friends, making new friends, and conferring about
the health of our field.
Down the hall was Keith Kato’s, combined as happens at
Loscon with Carol & Elst Weinstein’s, and Kenn Bates’.
At cons Kato has for years been hosting chili parties, some open, some closed. He cooks up a vat of hot (“To Everyone Except Bob Silverberg”) and a vat of mild (“To Everyone Except Marion Zimmer Bradley”), recently also a vat of vegetarian and, at Loscon, one of bison. He has not been hindered by his career as a physicist, his achieving a Black Belt in shõtõkan karate, nor his term as President of the Heinlein Society. In File 770 159 (PDF) p. 35, his own story to that date, I was in his Gang of Four. If he’s on the night of Regency dancing he knows I can’t show up soon; nor can I fairly ask him to save me a bowl of mild, I have to take my chances.
The Weinsteins at Loscon have hosted Herbangelist wine
and cheese parties (on Herbie
Popnecker, see Forbidden Worlds 73; he had his
own title 1964-67; zeal lasts); Bates has hosted dessert parties, usually with
a chocolate-fondue fountain; that they would co-host was inevitable, and they
Brad Lyau had been given the Moskowitz Archive Award
at the 77th Worldcon (Dublin, 15-19 Aug 19). I congratulated
him. The Award, named for Sam Moskowitz, is from First Fandom, for
excellence in SF collecting; First Fandom is both a historical fact – those
happy few active since at least the first Worldcon, 1939 – and an organization
devoted to fanhistory.
Lyau had revealed in Scientifiction 61
(N.S., i.e. New Series) that he has Julie Schwartz’ copy of SaM’s 1954 Immortal
Storm, inscribed to Julie by SaM – then when Lyau told them he’d gotten it,
inscribed by each of them to him! Gosh! Forry Ackerman
had helped with Lyau’s Ph.D. dissertation on 1950s French SF. Lyau
has been at it a while.
I was fascinated to learn he’d studied with Hans Küng
(1928- ). We spoke of epistemology (good word to look
up); I repeated my jest that I’d long been an amateur epistemologist – I was a
Philosophy major – and now I’m also a professional epistemologist, although we
lawyers don’t like to think of ourselves as philosophers. We’re
Lyau talked of the “scholastic stranglehold” in the
days of the Schoolmen, say 1100-1700. I said that wasn’t really fair
to Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) for one. Lyau said it wasn’t Aristotle’s
fault (lived fifteen centuries earlier) that Aristotle’s work became
ossified. I said the poor Buddha (a century before Aristotle), if
that expression could be used, told people not to make statues of
him. Lyau said the Buddha was a messenger of universal truth. I
had been with a Japanese Buddhist priest during the Bon Festival
(rhymes with “hone”; short for a Sanskrit word referring to suffering by the
dead in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which the Festival hopes to relieve) who
said “We don’t worship our ancestors, we just venerate them.”
Saturday 11:30 a.m., “The Asimov Centenary”, Joe
Siclari, Fan Guest of Honor Edie Stern, Matthew Tepper, and me, moderated by
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro. Isaac Asimov didn’t know his birthday, no
records. He celebrated January 2, 1920, but it could have been a day
in 1919. Anyway, why not start now?
Siclari had chaired the 50th Worldcon (Orlando), has
long been a student of SF particularly graphic art, also fanhistory; was the
2005 Down Under Fan Fund delegate; with Stern his wife received the 2016 Big
Heart Award; heads (although he and Stern moved back to New York) the Florida
Association for Nucleation And Conventions (yes, that spells FANAC, since at
least the 1940s short for “fan activity”), sponsor of the 50th Worldcon and
these days a fanhistorical Website.
Tepper, the con chair and in fact an Asimov scholar,
had been the “Let’s kill him now” boy of Asimov’s anecdote in The
Hugo Winners; to be fair, Asimov himself didn’t say that.
Zinos-Amaro has on his Website, along with Lao Tzû and
Emily Dickinson, Asimov’s line from I. Asimov “The interplay
of thought and imagination is far superior to that of muscle and sinew.”
(1) VIEW TRANSIT OF MERCURY ON MONDAY. These occur on average about 13 times each
century. The next one won’t be until the year 2032. Let EclipseWise
tell you about Monday’s event in “2019 Transit of
On Monday, 2019 November 11, Mercury will transit the Sun for the first time since 2016. The transit or passage of a planet across the face of the Sun is a relatively rare occurrence. As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible….
Observing the Transit
Since Mercury is only 1/194 of the Sun’s apparent diameter, a telescope with a magnification of 50x or more is recommended to watch this event. The telescope must be suitably equipped with adequate filtration to ensure safe solar viewing.
(2) SUPERNATURAL EPISODE RECAP. [Item by Martin Morse
Wooster.] In the latest episode of Supernatural a character was
introduced who said she made her living as “the number-one purveyor of
non-authorized ‘Supernatural’ collectibles on Etsy.” She also wrote
fiction set in the Supernatural universe, although it wasn’t clear if
this was fan fiction or professional fiction. But what made the fiction
distinctive was that instead of the typical Supernatural episode, which
has, for 15 thunderous seasons, pitted Sam and Dean Winchester against
vampires, assorted monsters, and the forces of Hell itself, the fan fiction had
the Winchester brothers doing laundry and other chores. This made the
stories very popular.
episode didn’t do much with the main character other than having her deal with
another character who was struggling with writer’s block. “The only
way to deal with writer’s block is to write,” she said.
is the first TV episode I’ve seen where fan fiction characters were referred to
in the episode…
(3) THE NEW NUMBER TWO. When John Hertz looked at Walter
Fiction trading cards he noticed that a photo of Isaac Asimov appears on
both Asimov’s and Arthur C. Clarke’s cards in the online gallery. It brought to
mind an anecdote about the two authors which is retold in the “Isaac Asimov FAQ” at Stason.org.
5.5 What is the Asimov-Clarke treaty?
The Asimov-Clarke Treaty of Park Avenue, put together as Asimov and Clarke were travelling down Park Avenue in New York while sharing a cab ride, stated that Asimov was required to insist that Arthur C. Clarke was the best science fiction writer in the world (reserving second best for himself), while Clarke was required to insist that Isaac Asimov was the best science writer in the world (reserving second best for himself). Thus the dedication in Clarke’s book Report on Planet Three reads “In accordance with the terms of the Clarke-Asimov treaty, the second-best science writer dedicates this book to the second-best science-fiction writer”.
(4) SIGHTS TO SEE. Fanac.org’s Joe Siclari called attention
to recent additions to their online collection, photos from the 1959 Worldcon,
and scans of calendars featuring work by two great fanartists, George Barr and
We also added two calendars today, one from 1960 (George Barr) and the other from 1969 (Tim Kirk). They’re now in a directory set aside for calendars, and I’m sure there will be more as we go forward. Scans by Joe Siclari. You can see it at: http://fanac.org/fanzines/Calendars/.
Actor-turned-politician Lenore Zann is finding a second act in politics just as one of her most well-known roles finds a second life on the streaming screen.
Zann, a longtime New Democrat MLA from Nova Scotia, arrived in Ottawa this week as a newly elected Liberal MP.
Rogue, the character Zann voiced in the iconic 90s X-Men: The Animated Series, will be on Disney’s new streaming service along with the rest of the superhero team when that service launches in Canada next week….
(6) MALTIN PODCAST. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In Leonard and Jessie Maltin’s podcast with James Gray, they talk about cosplay beginning at minute 14, when Gray asks, “At what point did adults start dressing up like Captain America at Comic-Con?” and then segue into Martin Scorsese’s complaint about the MCU films not being cinema. Gray argues that the decline in the humanities in the past decade meant that more young people don’t have as deep a knowledge of film as previous generations do. At minute 20, they switch to deep and interesting film talk.
never discusses why he decided to make a sf film with Ad Astra, although
he did say he enjoyed working with Donald Sutherland.
Leonard Maltin revealed at the end of the podcast that he always sits through
the credits because “the movie isn’t over until you’ve been threatened
with civil and criminal prosecution.”
In this episode, special guest Jennifer Albright of Have You Seen This? drops by to talk about Mary Sues, a term used to describe an overly-perfect female character created as a self-insertion wish fulfillment vehicle for the author. The discussion traces the expression Mary Sue back to its origin in Star Trek fanfiction and tries to grapple with its current usage. Does Mary Sue mean anything anymore? Is it a misogynistic term? Is Rey from Star Wars a Mary Sue? Is James Bond a Mary Sue? Does it really matter if a character is a Mary Sue?
(8) BOOKS FRANK MILLER LOVES. Shelf Awareness brings
with… Frank Miller”, best known for Daredevil, The Dark
Knight Returns, Sin City and 300.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, because he went for impossible adventure.
Your top five authors:
Isaac Asimov: He was the godfather of modern science fiction. He took us beyond the rocket ships and bug-eyed monsters.
Raymond Chandler: For his urban romantic poetry that celebrated 1940s Los Angeles.
Dashiell Hammett: His town was San Francisco; his dialogue was clipped, yet wildly evocative. His heroes were tough and very, very alone.
Dorothy B. Hughes: She brought a distinctly feminine edge to the hard-boiled genre and, in her own way, was ready to take us to darker places than any of the rest.
Mickey Spillane: For his pounding and frenetic portrait of New York City in the post-World War II era.
In 1950, a New York City police officer who was working missing-persons cases examined the body of an approximately 30-year-old man that was brought into the morgue. The man had shown up in the middle of Times Square at 11:15 p.m. that evening, “gawking and looking around at the cars and up at the signs like he’d never seen them before,” then was quickly hit and killed by cab when he tried to cross a street against the traffic lights.
The pockets of the deceased’s clothing held multiple pieces of coinage and currency of forms that had not been produced for several decades, yet many of them were in mint condition. His possessions also included items from types of businesses that no longer existed in New York City (i.e., a bill from a livery stable and a brass slug from a saloon), a letter postmarked in 1876, and cards bearing the name Rudolph Fentz with an address on Fifth Avenue….
Rod Serling remains one of the more influential writers in the annals of science fiction. As creator of The Twilight Zone, he took took viewers to strange dimensions and pushed the boundaries of what the genre could do. Yet, part of him feared he would not leave a lasting legacy. That’s one of the topics tackled in Remembering Rod Serling, a new documentary that will be unveiled Nov. 14 in theaters via Fathom Events to celebrate The Twilight Zone‘s 60th anniversary.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 9, 1886 — Ed Wynn. He appeared on The Twilight Zone in “One for the Angels” which Sterling wrote specifically for him. He appeared one more time on the series in, “Ninety Years Without Slumbering”. He provided the voice of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland and played The Toymaker in Babes in Toyland. No doubt his best-remembered film appearance was in Mary Poppins as Uncle Albert. Bet you can name the scene he’s best remembered for! (Died 1966.)
Born November 9, 1921 — Alfred Coppel. Have I ever mentioned how much I love pulp? Everything from the writers to the artwork to the magazines themselves are so, so cool. And this writer was one of the most prolific such authors of the Fifties and Sixties. That he was also a SF writer is an added bonus. Indeed, his first science fiction story was “Age of Unreason” in a 1947 Amazing Stories. Under the pseudonym of Robert Cham Gilman, he wrote the Rhada sequence of galactic space opera novels aimed at a young adult market. Wiki claims he writing under A.C. Marin as well but I cannot find any record of this. (Died 2004.)
Born November 9, 1924 — Alan Caillou. The Head in the Quark series. If you have to ask… Last role was Count Paisley in Ice Pirates and his first was on the One Step Beyond series. (Died 2006.)
Born November 9, 1924 — Lawrence T. Shaw. A Hugo Award-winning fan, author, editor and literary agent. In the Forties and Fifties, Larry Shaw edited Nebula, Infinity Science Fiction and Science Fiction Adventures. He received a Special Committee Award during the 1984 Worldcon for lifetime achievement as an editor. (Died 1985.)
Born November 9, 1954 — Rob Hansen, 65. British fan, active since the Seventies who has edited and co-edited numerous fanzines including his debut production Epsilon. And he was the 1984 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate. His nonfiction works such as Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980, lasted updated just a few years ago, are invaluable.
Born November 9, 1973 — Gabrielle Miller, 46. Her first genre series was Highlander: The Series. And yes, she had long red hair in it. That’s followed by M.A.N.T.I.S., Outer Limits, X-Files, The Sentinel, Dead Man’s Gun, Stargate SG-1, Viper, Poltergeist, Welcome to Paradox… oh, you get the idea.
Born November 9, 1974 — Ian Hallard, 45. He was on Doctor Who as Alan-a-Dale in “Robot of Sherwood”, a Twelfth Doctor story; in Sherlock as Mr Crayhill in “The Reichenbach Fall”; and he played one of the original directors of Doctor Who, Richard Martin, in An Adventure in Space and Time. And he wrote “The Big Four” episode with Mark Gatiss for the Agatha Christie series.
(12) JFK. Gideon Marcus (Galactic Journey) is lining
up fans who are interested in a free alternate history story.
Why did you decide to look so closely at these first 20 years of Lewis’s life?
Virtually all of Lewis’s biographers have puzzled over why he devoted most of his spiritual biography, Surprised by Joy, to his first 20 years. As I first began to read the letters of young Jack Lewis from the time when he first went away to school, I realized why Lewis thought his childhood and youth were so important in his conversion. During this period, he developed all of his major tastes about what he enjoyed in life and what he hated. Many of the ideas that he would pursue in both his scholarly work and his popular writings have their genesis in his teenage years. Whether books like The Allegory of Love and A Preface to Paradise Lost, or The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity, many of the ideas found in these books were topics of Lewis’s interest in letters to [lifelong friend] Arthur Greeves when he was 16 and 17….
NASA scientists recently opened a sample tube of rock and soil collected on the moon during Apollo 17. The tube remained unopened for nearly 47 years, and it is the first time NASA scientists have broken in to a fresh moon sample in over four decades. Researchers are using the lunar dirt to test next-generation sampling tools in preparation for the next time humans fly to the moon.
The sample tube holds about 15 ounces of lunar regolith, or loose rocky material from the surface. Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt collected the material during mission in December of 1972, NASA’s last crewed mission to the moon. The sample, 73002, was taken from a two-foot-long tube that the astronauts drove into a landslide deposit in a feature called the Lara Crater. A second sample, 73001, is scheduled to be opened in January.
In the latest installment of SYFY WIRE’s Behind the Panel, we’re roaming the halls of New York Comic Con while searching for an elusive Treasury Edition: MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz. True story: That was the first-ever collaboration between Marvel and DC. But their second collaboration was a true game changer: Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man.
That’s right, the unthinkable crossover already happened in 1976, with a follow-up sequel in 1981. Only the Treasury Edition format could fully capture the twin heroic icons of comics as they had their inevitable battle before their equally inevitable team-up to save the day. For the time, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man was the comic book equivalent of a blockbuster movie. That Treasury Edition is long out of print, but fans may be lucky enough to spot it at comic conventions.
(17) FROM THE LETTERZINE ZEEN. Kim Huett shares another gem
from his files with readers of Doctor Strangemind. “One of the reasons I find nosing through old fanzines so
worthwhile are the contemporary reactions to stories and authors. It’s always
fun to discover reviews of the big names back when they were just starting out.
As you can probably imagine I was most pleased to find what I suspect was the
first critical reaction to Ursula Le Guin.” — “In the Beginning”
… Take for example consider the following comments by US fan, Earl Evers, who reviewed the contents of the April 1964 issue of Fantastic Stories of Imagination in his fanzine, Zeen #2 within weeks of it hitting the shelves. In the process of reviewing this magazine, story by story, he had the following to say about what was one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s earliest published stories…
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Kim Huett also shared this link for…
Here’s an #Owlkitty video which more than adequately explains exactly why Tolkien didn’t feature cats in either Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Yes, the right cat would make a great Balrog or an excellent Nazgal mount except cats have minds of their own and I can’t imagine Sauron would like that (besides, they would stare right back at him and it doesn’t take an All Seeing Eye to find that sort of behavior annoying):
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John Hertz, Rich Lynch, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, RS Benedict, Olav Rokne, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Kim Huett, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
(1) SECOND CARR COLLECTION IS A FREE READ. David Langford has released the Terry Carr
collection Fandom Harvest II at the TAFF
website. Download it free – and please consider making a donation to the
Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund as thanks.
Complementing the 1986 Fandom Harvest and even longer, this further selection of Terry Carr’s fine fanwriting was assembled by David Langford with much help from others and released as an Ansible Editions ebook for the TAFF site on 1 June 2019. Cover art by Steve Stiles from The Incompleat Terry Carr (1988 edition). Over 118,000 words.
With thanks to Carol Carr for her permission and encouragement to produce this new ebook. (For the many further credits, see within.)
Langford spotlights his selections in the Introduction:
Of the above, Fandom Harvest was the first choice for a TAFF ebook since it’s not only the largest by far of these collections but was published as a printed hardback that was relatively easy to convert to digital text. The next logical step seemed initially to be an ebook of The Incompleat Terry Carr, but unfortunately there’s considerable overlap between this collection and Fandom Harvest. After removing duplications (“Trufan’s Blood”, the “Fandom Harvest” column selections, “The Fastest Ham in the West” and “Confessions of a Literary Midwife”), what remained of The Incompleat Terry Carr was an unsatisfactorily slim volume. This has been augmented with the fannish items reprinted in Between Two Worlds, the four best pieces from The Portable Carl Brandon, and many more notable articles, columns, editorials and stories not previously included in any Terry Carr collection. Ranging from 1955 to 1987, it’s a great read throughout.
And I appreciate Dave sending me the scoop in advance of the
Monday edition of Ansible!
(2) UK GAMES EXPO ENFORCES CODE
OF CONDUCT. Sexual violence in an RPG scenario hosted by a volunteer
violated UK Games Expo’s code of conduct. The committee took action, explained
It was brought to our attention that in an RPG game on Friday afternoon a GM volunteer included content that was completely unacceptable and breached both the letter and spirit of the UK Games Expo. The scenario included descriptions of sexual violence involving the players. The players were understandably distressed and shocked by this content.
This content was not set out in the game description. If it had been included in the submission it would have been rejected as unacceptable even for a game with an 18 rating. All games must still comply with the policies and the spirit of UKGE.
We have spoken personally to the player who first raised the issue and have unreservedly apologized for the distress caused. We are currently contacting the other players so we can offer them our apologies and any assistance they might need. We have made it clear that this kind of behavior and content has no place at UKGE and will not be accepted.
We immediately halted the game the GM was currently running and cancelled all of the games he was due to run.
The GM has been ejected from the show and will not be allowed access to any of the NEC halls or Hilton function rooms that are under the control of UK Games Expo.
He has also been banned from submitting any games for the foreseeable future…
Science fiction purports to be based on science. I hate to tell you this, but a lot of SF is as close to science and math as Taco Bell is to authentic Mexican cuisine.
I revelled and still revel in mass ratios and scale heights, albedos and exhaust velocities, evolutionary biology and world history. (I’m not the only one. Big wave to my homies out there.) So…as much as I love SF, I’m constantly running head-on into settings that could just not work the way the author imagines. My SOD (suspension of disbelief) is motoring along merrily and suddenly, bang! Dead in its tracks. Perhaps you can understand now why so many of my reviews grumble about worldbuilding….
Nothing pairs better with a cold rainy Sunday and a warm baby Loxodonta quite like a Rockaway Nitro Black Gold Stout. About one-third of the way through Tim Burton’s Dumbo, I ordered a second, and as it was delivered to me in the dark, I was struck by the scene where V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton)–evil, conniving moneybags and Dreamland amusement park owner–explains to the scrappy, DIY road circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) that of course he should bring his entire operation, airborne pachyderm included, into his opulent fold. Why? Because the future of entertainment is bringing the people to you, not the other way around.
Sipping Dumbo suds at Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, I couldn’t have agreed more, and as attested by the typical full house, I was not alone….
…After Disney, Southerland moved on to Mattel to help develop shows for two of their toy lines: Enchantimals and Monster High. As a showrunner, Southerland was able to expand on those worlds while placing female characters—and their close friendships—at the center. She particularly enjoyed working on Monster High because of the opportunity to create more complex teenage characters, and she eventually developed the idea for Adventures of the Ghoul Squad, a miniseries in which the main friends—all children of famous monsters—travel the world to help others and solve mysteries….
(7) CASTING COWL. Rachel
Bloom, of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and
“F*ck Me Ray Bradbury” fame, voices Batgirl in the recently released animated video
Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Batman, Batgirl and Robin forge an alliance with The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to fight against the Turtles’ sworn enemy, The Shredder, who has teamed up with Ra’s Al Ghul and The League Of Assassins.
…I attended my first World Fantasy Con in 1993, in Minneapolis. Dennis met me almost as soon as I arrived, and started introducing me to everyone. One of the editors I met there – Stephen Jones – would buy my first short story a year later, and go on to become the editor I’ve worked with the most.
That convention was an amazing experience. I rented a car and became Dennis’s driver for a few days. At the time Dennis was embroiled in a feud with Harlan Ellison, and I still laugh when I think of him telling me that he’d put any five of his stories up against any five of Harlan’s stories (Dennis was also a wrestling fanatic, which made this even more amusing). I drove Dennis to a signing at the massive Mall of America; no one came to the signing, so Dennis, Poppy Z. Brite, and Melanie Tem read their stories to each other while I listened in….
…After serving at Fort Dix in New Jersey from 1944 to 1946, he returned to the comic-book business. He did a lot of work for Avon Comics, he said, because unlike some other imprints it allowed artists to sign their work. (Early in his career he used the name “Everett Raymond” for brevity’s sake, though he eventually switched to his full name.)…
As part of its Distinguished Illustrators Series,
Norman Rockwell Museum exhibited “Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to
Portraits,” in 2012.
Highly-regarded as a prominent American portraitist, Everett Raymond Kinstler began his career as a comic book artist and illustrator working for the popular publications of his day. The artist’s original illustrations and portraits of noted celebrities—from Katharine Hepburn, Tony Bennett, and Tom Wolfe to artists James Montgomery Flagg, Alexander Calder, and Will Barnet [was] on view in a lively installation that explores the process of capturing likenesses of his subjects for posterity.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 1, 1955 — This Island Earth premiered.
June 1, 1984 — Star Trek III: The Search for Spock could be found in theaters.
June 1, 1990 — Total Recall made its memorable debut.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 1, 1874 — Pierre Souvestre. He was a journalist, writer and avid promoter of motor races. He’s remembered today for his co-creation with Marcel Allain of the master criminal Fantômas. The character was also the basis of various film, television, and comic book adaptations. Some of these could be considered genre. (Died 1914.)
Born June 1, 1937 — Morgan Freeman, 82. Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight trilogy and less notably Azeem in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (and yes I saw it). He’s God in Bruce Almighty as he is in the sequel, Evan Almighty. And he played the President in Deep Impact.
Born June 1, 1940 — René Auberjonois, 79. Odo on DS9. He’s shown up on a number of genre productions including Wonder Woman, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, The Bionic Woman, Batman Forever, King Kong, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Enterprise, Stargate SG-1 andWarehouse 13. He’s lent both his voice and likeness to gaming in recent years, and has done voice work for the animated Green Lantern and Justice League series.
Born June 1, 1947 — Jonathan Pryce, 72. I remember him best as the unnamed bureaucrat in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He’s had a long career in genre works including Brazil, Something Wicked This Way Comes as Mr. Dark himself, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as Governor Weatherby Swann, The Brothers Grimm, in the G.I. Joe films as the U.S. President and most recently in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote as Don Quixote.
Born June 1, 1950 — Michael McDowell. Screenwriter and novelist whose most well-known work is the screenplay for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. He also did work on Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas though he’s not listed as the scriptwriter. He wrote eleven scripts for Tales from the Darkside, more than anyone else. And he wrote a lot of horror which Stephen King likes quite a bit. (Died 1999.)
Born June 1, 1966 — David Dean Oberhelman. Mike has an an appreciation of him here. The Intersection of Fantasy and Native America: From H.P. Lovecraft to Leslie Marmon Silko which he co-wrote with Amy H. Sturgis was published by The Mythopoeic Press. ISFDB lists just one genre essay by him, “From Iberian to Ibran and Catholic to Quintarian”, printed in Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. (Died 2018.)
Born June 1, 1973 — C. E. Murphy, 46. Her Urban Shaman series was one of the best such series I’ve read in recent years. She had The Walker Papers – Alternative Views which used other characters as viewpoint narrators but none appealed to me alas as much as Joanne Walker, her primary character.
Born June 1, 1996 — Tom Holland, 23. He’s known for playing Spider-Man in five films: Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War,Avengers: Endgame, and the forthcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.
(12) PUNCHLINE CREATOR.
At Kalimac’s Corner, DB digs up more
info about award-winning comics writer E. Nelson Bridwell, ending with perhaps
his most widely-known contribution to pop culture: “this is the joke”.
…Evanier’s announcement credits Bridwell with co-creating a comic called The Inferior Five, which I’d never heard of either. A quick visit to its Wikipedia page proves that it’s exactly what it sounds like, a sort of precursor to Mystery Men, a rare case of a superhero movie I rather liked. So I might enjoy The Inferior Five as well, especially as Evanier says that Bridwell’s “writing was marked by a wicked sense of humor.”…
In 1951, astronomer Kenneth Heuer, author in 1953 of The End of the World, wrote Men of Other Planets(Pellegrini & Cudahy, NYC) where he speculates on the kinds of humanoid life that was possible on the other planets, moons and asteroids of outer space. In those days thousands of people were actually trying to book passage on space ships. With jet propulsion and atomic fuel bringing space travel into realms of possibility, the mysteries of flying saucers, possible invasions of the earth from another worlds were closer to reality and yesterday’s science fiction was moving into tomorrow’s news.
The full-page scratch board illustration by R.T. Crane adds both a science fact and fictional aura to the quirky propositions in this book…
(Spoiler alert: even though it’s called Dungeons & Dragons, beginning level characters should not try to slay a dragon. They will fail. However, I have a policy with brand new players: I promise that their characters won’t die in the first three sessions. If they really do try to slay a dragon, the dragon may just beat them up, take all their stuff, and leave them naked outside the nearest town. Or more likely, the dragon will singe them a bit, then say, “Okay, if you don’t want to die, you have to agree to run an errand for me…”)
It would be fair to say that for me, coming into contact with fandom in this period, my image of “fan art” was formed by Tim Kirk’s work, along with two more artists who won for their 1970s work, William Rotsler and Alexis A. Gilliland.
(16) WALK THIS WAY. The New York Post’s 2013 profile of the band contains a previously unsuspected (by me) bit of sff trivia: “First KISS”.
…Simmons then modeled his demon walk after a serpentine, loping-gaited martian named Ymir that stop-motion effects master Ray Harryhausen designed for the 1957 science fiction film “20 Million Miles to Earth.”
“I realized I couldn’t copy the movements of Mick Jagger or the Beatles because I didn’t have a little boy’s body,” Simmons says. “But I could be a monster.”
Look up into the sky and it’s hard to imagine where the Earth’s atmosphere ends and outer space begins.
Commonly referred to as the Karman line, that imaginary border is 62 miles (100km) away and on Friday a group of students from across the US and Canada are hoping to send an unmanned rocket through it.
It’s the brainchild of 19-year-old rocket-obsessed North Carolina University student Joshua Farahzad, who said he came up with the idea during his “boring” summer vacation last year.
“I was always fascinated with space, I built a small rocket in high school after watching a movie called October Sky, and thought to myself how one day I’d like to build a bigger one,” he said.
…Without the help of a large financial backer, engineering professionals, or teachers, Operation Space began collaborating on the project remotely from their various locations across the US and Canada, using a Slack message channel, video chats and phone calls.
Operation Space is not the only group of students to build and launch spacecraft. Last month, students from the University of Southern California (USC) successfully sent their Traveler IV rocket across the Karman line.
While he’s full of praise for them, Joshua said his team is unique. “USC is cool but we are different because we are doing this all remotely with no university help,” he explained.
A Lego-themed pop-up is coming to six U.S. cities this summer. The Brick Bar, which is not technically affiliated with the brand btw, is built with over 1 million blocks and will debut in NYC June 19.
The bar opened its first temporary location in London back in January 2018, and the “nostalgia trip” was an instant hit. Now the concept is expanding to a number of North American cities including New York, L.A., Miami, Houston, Cincinnati, and Denver. It will also hit Toronto and Vancouver in July.
“The bar will feature sculptures made completely from building blocks as well as an abundance of blocks for people to shape into their own creations. There will also be local DJ’s spinning tunes all day,” the website says. “We will have an Instagram worthy menu as well including a Brick Burger and Cocktails!
(20) A FORK IN THE ROAD. Compelling Science Fiction Issue #13 is available for purchase. Beginning with this issue, says publisher Joe STech, the magazine no longer posts its contents free online.
We start with LA Staley’s “Steps in the Other Room”. An elderly woman reports that her husband has been kidnapped. This seems difficult, since he has been dead for many years (2040 words). Our second story is “Sasha Red” by Tyler A. Young. In it, a woman fights to rescue refugees from Mars (6100 words). The third story this issue, Mark Parlette-Cariño’s “Bodybit,” is a story about the social effects of a fitness device that tracks sexual performance (4630 words). Next we have “What We Remember” by Mark Salzwedel. This one is first-contact story about a telepathic fungus (2800 words). Our fifth story is “Love and Brooding” by M. J. Pettit. Inspired by mouth-brooding tilapia, this story explores a very alien life cycle (5000 words). Our final story is “Steadies” by returning author Robert Dawson. A doctor is conflicted when she decides to prescribe her husband an anti-cholesterol drug that has also recently been found to strengthen relationships (3400 words).
…This novel is an exercise in trusting an author. When it starts like another novel I didn’t like, it proved me wrong to misjudge it. When it doesn’t explain its setting or history from the start, it respected my patience by giving me enough to keep going and eventually answering my questions…
…The novel is a rather slippery fantasy to try and get a hold of. Is it a Portal fantasy, as the back matter and the title suggests? Yes, and no, the Portal aspects of the fantasy are not the central theme. Is it a coming of age story, of a young woman coming into herself? Yes, but there is much more going on with theme, history, theory and thought on it. The book is, however, a fantasy about the power of stories, and where stories come from, and how stories, for good, and bad, accurately and inaccurately, shape us and mold us, and make us what we are–and sometimes, if we find the right story, what we want and need to be…
(23) RETRO REVIEWS. Steve J. Wright has completed his Retro-Hugo novella finalist reviews:
(24) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Albatross Soup on Vimeo, Winnie Cheung solves the riddle of why a guy killed himself after having a bowl of albatross soup in a restaurant.
Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John
Hertz, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of
these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mister
This unique conference will examine the totality and comprehensiveness of Tolkien scholarship in three large groups: the past (from the 1950s to the 2010s), the present (from the 2010s to the present), and the future (from the present to the next 20 years). There will be four days of paper presentations, plenary speakers, discussions, film screenings, exhibits, book-signings, and music.…
I have contracts on three books. A novella section of one of those books (co-written with Ctein) will be appearing in the May/June issue of Asimov’s. I believe it is one of the better things I’ve been involved with.
The other two books are Chtorran novels and the final draft of one of them will be turned in by summer.
I have sold an option for a TV series based on one of my projects, and the option on another book was just (enthusiastically) renewed. I have also been approached to direct a film based on a favorite fantasy novel, I just finished my first rewrite of the script. (The first writer did a marvelous job of getting all the pieces on the board, my job was to energize them.)
Masculinity has, almost since the category of speculative fiction emerged in the early 20th century, been a concern of fiction written in the genre. A culturally dominant, Western, toxic form of masculinity has dominated storytelling in speculative fiction. In worlds as varied and diverse as the distant past of magical worlds and the far future of this one, models of maleness and masculinity tend to be the same toxic form of masculinity that dominates modern Western culture. We want to interrogate that model of masculinity, to problematise it, and to question it; we want to see other possible models of masculinity, models not centred on dominance and violence and repression of feelings; other role models for men. We are looking for fiction, essays and poetry which do this.
We are particularly looking for submissions from authors from marginalised identities and backgrounds, especially where those identities complicate the author’s relationship with masculinity, including but by no means limited to disabled writers, trans writers, and writers of colour.
This awards season has been all about hitting the zeitgeist, or at least that’s what the media, present company included, has been telling itself and you. Best picture nominees ought to tap into the #MeToo moment or, failing that, anxieties born in the age of Trump.
But is that narrative really true? And does it fully explain how a fairy tale about a janitor who hooks up with a fishman became the movie to beat?
The film, “The Shape of Water,” stars Sally Hawkins as a cleaning lady who falls for a merman held captive in a government lab, and leads the race with 13 Oscar nominations, more than any other movie. It has also scooped up key precursor awards that often culminate in Oscar gold — last weekend, the Directors Guild of America gave the filmmaker Guillermo del Toro its top prize, two weeks after the Producers Guild of America did the same.
A 2010 Tesla Roadster achieves the highest speed and longest range of any electric car ever — and still going strong.
Plus, it can charge from solar.
The most amazing thing to me: it’s a real photo. It’s about time someone did something to capture the imagination of kids who are deciding what to be when they grow up. Engineering, science, technology, astrophysics — they have amazing opportunities.
If nothing else, the stereotype is proven true: red cars are the fastest!
It’s hard to imagine that a blue dye sold in pet food stores in the U.S. to fight fungal infections in tropical fish could be a potent weapon against malaria.
…Actually, the use of the dye to fight malaria is not quite as odd as it sounds. The blue dye in question, called methylene blue, is the oldest synthetic anti-malarial drug. A paper published in 1891 tells how two scientists successfully used it to treat a malaria patient.
But there was a catch.
“The treatment being followed by an intense blue coloring of the urine, and the faeces becoming blue on exposure to light, it is not very likely that methylene blue will be much used outside of hospitals,” reads an 1892 publication of the Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association.
(15) HE LIKES IT. Black Panther reviewed by Mark Kermode on BBC Radio 5. Spoiler free review (as usual) from Mark, who seems to have really liked it.
Also Kermode on the attempt to game the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for Black Panther.
(16) SEATTLE FILM FEST. The 2018 “Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival” presented by MoPOP and SIFF will feature twenty short films from all over the world at Seattle’s historic Cinerama Theater on March 24. Tickets are now on sale.
The lineup is presented in two sessions of films with a 30-minute intermission and concludes with an awards ceremony.
SFFSFF brings together industry professionals in filmmaking and the genres of science fiction and fantasy to encourage and support new, creative additions to genre cinema arts. Admitted films are judged by a nationally recognized jury comprised of luminaries in the fields of science fiction and fantasy.
Session 1: Noon-2:00pm
FTL (dir. Adam Stern, Canada)
The Sea is Blue (dir. Vincent Peone, USA)
Everything & Everything &… (dir. Alberto Roldan, USA)
Cautionary Tales (dir. Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor, UK)
After We Have Left Our Homes (dir. Marc Adamson, UK)
Die Lizenz (dir. Nora Fingscheidt, Germany/France) – US Premiere
Ghost Squad (dir. Kieran Sugrue, Australia)
Fizzy and Frank (dir. Randall McNair, USA)
Haskell (dir. James Allen Smith, USA)
Strange Beasts (dir. Magali Barbe, UK)
Jiminy (dir. Arthur Molard, France)
The Privates (dir. Dylan Allen, USA)
For more information including film synopses and director bios, visit MoPOP.org/SFFSFF.
(17) RETURN OF THE KESH. Wire Magazine says the record label Freedom to Spend will be reissuing Ursula K. Le Guin and Todd Barton’s 1985 recording Music And Poetry Of The Kesh in physical and digital formats on March 23 — “Music And Poetry Of The Kesh reissued on LP”.
Todd Barton and Ursula K Le Guin’s recording Music And Poetry Of The Kesh, originally released as a cassette accompanying Le Guin’s 1985 book Always Coming Home, will receive a long awaited reissue next month via Freedom To Spend. Part novel, part lengthy textbook, the publication tells the story of an invented Pacific Coast people called The Kesh and a woman called Stone Telling, weaving an anthropological narrative of folklore and fantasy. For its soundtrack, words and lyrics were put together by the late novelist while the sound was composed by Barton, an Oregon based musician and Buchla synthesist with whom Le Guin had worked on public radio projects….
Both Barton and Le Guin has started work on the reissue before the novelist’s death on 22 January of this year. Moe Bowstern, a writer and friend of Le Guin, wrote the sleevenotes for this new edition in which she explains that Barton had built and then taught himself to play several instruments of Le Guin’s design, among them ‘the seven-foot horn known to the Kesh as the Houmbúta and the Wéosai Medoud Teyahi bone flute.’”
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Lise Andreasen, Steve Green, Lenore Jean Jones, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, IanP, Mark Hepworth, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, Carl Slaughter, Wobbu Palooza, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]
It’s a great event. I really enjoyed it. Book dealers fill the exhibit hall, and at a row of tables next to the stage waves of writers and artists autograph their works for fans, free, throughout the day. Some of the people signing when I first arrived were Karen Anderson, Barbara Hambly, and Tim Kirk. Joe Lansdale and his daughter, Kasey, were at one of the dealers tables.
Kasey Lansdale and her father Joe Lansdale.
On the way in I met Tim and Serena Powers. Tim said he looks in on the File 770 blog, which was nice to hear. I had a long conversation with Marc Schirmeister, who I last saw at Sasquan.
I met artist Tony Gleeson for the first time – an artist often mentioned here in news stories — and he in turn introduced me to author Odie Hawkins.
Quite a few LASFS members were present — Matthew Tepper, Michelle Pincus, Karl Lembke – in addition to the member/authors who were signing. I hear Robert J. Sawyer visited the Loscon table later, after I had gone.
Robert J. Sawyer. Photo by Michelle Pincus.
While touring the dealer tables I saw lots of classic old stuff — but got a giggle out of seeing a copy of Zotz! Among the precious wares in a glass case. That’s the book which became a (negative) legend and running joke in the LASFS Xmas Gift Exchange — even though it’s a hardcover, you couldn’t get credit for contributing ZOTZ! as a gift unless you included with it something else that was worth the minimum. One year I unwrapped a copy which came with a $5 bill…
The event staff were doing a really good job — seemed to have an eye open for everything, and treated people very nicely.
I can’t end without mentioning the Civic Auditorium’s rather odd parking structure. The property is built into a hillside. You enter the structure on the bottom level, as you would expect, however, to exit you have to drive all the way up to the roof — which puts you on a level with another driveway to the street.
Spectrum 20 Jury & Directors: Tim Bruckner, Mark A. Nelson, Irene Gallo, Michael Whelan, Cathy Fenner, Tim Kirk, and Arnie Fenner.
The Spectrum 20 Award jury members Tim Bruckner, Irene Gallo, Tim Kirk, Mark A. Nelson, and Michael R. Whelan evaluated over 6,000 entries before selecting 40 finalists for this year’s edition of the Spectrum Fantastic Art Annual.
Founded in 1993 by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner, Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art is among the most respected art showcases, covering a wide range of disciplines. It is the only “art annual” with categories devoted to comics, concept art, and sculpture.
Judging was completed March 2. Their selection of the year’s best fantastic art will appear in Spectrum 20, scheduled for October release in both hardcover and softcover from Underwood Books. Gold and silver medal winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony during Spectrum Live, a weekend long celebration of fantastic art, in Kansas City, May 17-19. The Spectrum Grand Master Award will also be presented during the ceremony, which will be held in the historic Midland Theater.
The gold and silver finalists are:
Michael C. Hayes: Procession
Android Jones: Ganeshatron
Greg Ruth: Three Outlaw Samurai
Dan DosSantos: Dragon Empress
William O’Connor: Wargriffin
David Palumbo: Fed
Shaun Tan: Never Leave a Red Sock on the Clothesline
Charles Vess: Tanglewood: I Didn’t Know She Was a Bottle Witch