Videos from the “Fannish Inquisition” held at SMOFCon 37 in Albuquerque NM on December 7 have been posted. They capture the questions and answers posed to representatives of seated WSFS conventions (Worldcon and NASFiC), and bids for future Worldcons and NASFiCs.
The makers put them up with this caveat: “This is raw video
for the future SMOFCons and seated WSFS conventions taken from the camera
without editing. Because the camera records files of a maximum length, then
starts a new file, segments may begin or end in mid-word.”
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 1 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 2 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 3 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 4 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 5 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 6 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – SMOFCons/Seated WSFS Conventions – Part 7 of 7
SMOFCon 37 Fannish Inquisition – Worldcon Bids
The “Fannish Inquisition” held at SMOFCon 37 in
Albuquerque NM on the evening of Saturday, This is the final segment of the
Fannish Inquisition, consisting of presentations from and questions to bids for
future World Science Fiction Conventions.
Kevin Standlee also has posted videos of the Westercon Fannish Inquisitions.
PROSE, WE HOPE. Will
Frank (scifantasy), Vice-Administrator of the 2016 Hugo Awards and Administrator of
the 2021 Hugo Awards, who also identifies himself as a fanfiction writer on AO3
and a trademark attorney, is
trying to pour some oil onto the stormy waters that separate parts of the
Worldcon community from parts of the AO3 community: “HugO3”. (Please
don’t strike a match.)
…If the Worldcon-running community doesn’t police use of the phrase, someone else–someone with less humorous, less celebratory, less free-spirited intent–might be able to plausibly argue that he can call his self-published book a Hugo Award Winner just because it was fanfic, or he has an AO3 account, because the term has lost all of its significance by not being protected.
Is that likely? Who the hell knows. Is it something the Worldcon-running community wants to risk, especially so soon after a concerted effort to undermine the award, not by fanfiction authors in celebration of their validation but by a group of politically-motivated writers with an axe to grind? Definitely not.
(I’ve also seen some people saying that there isn’t any prestige in a Hugo Award given some of the historical winners, and…well, get in line behind the Oscars and the Grammys and the others, I guess. The fact is that “Hugo Award” on the cover of a book does indeed help sales. It matters. There is still cachet in being a Hugo Award winner. Or even a finalist!)
So, no, the Worldcon-running community is not saying “Hey, don’t have fun.” It is saying, “please, don’t undermine our ability to stop people with malicious intent from poisoning the term Hugo Award.”
I’m not even telling you that you have to think I’m right. But at least, please know that this isn’t just a matter of “don’t have fun.” It’s a plea for your help.
(2) HEINLEIN’S OTHER VERSION. The Number of the Beast versus
Pursuit of the Pankera – not the same book at all. Arc Manor would be
delighted for you to put the claim to a test — http://www.arcmanor.com/as/Comparison.pdf
It is a different book. Of the 187,000 words in the new book, it shares the first 28,000. But then is totally different. The separation occurs in chapter XVIII and here is a side by side comparison of the chapters in the two books with the point of divergence clearly marked.
Wendy Pini does it all. In the 1970s Wendy used to hit the cons dressed as Sonja. She was born in San Francisco in 1951, and from an early age demonstrated the talents later to come to fruition as a professional illustrator, and eventually as the creator of Elfquest.
(4) CHANGES AT TOR. Shelf Awareness is reporting a couple
of promotions at Tom
Theresa DeLucci has been promoted to senior associate director of marketing of Tor Books, Forge, and Nightfire.
Renata Sweeney has been promoted to senior marketing manager, Tor.
(5) ELLEN VARTANOFF INTERVIEW. From Small Press Expo 2017
(but just posted on YouTube today.)
Rusty and Joe talk to Ellen Vartanoff about her decades in the comics field and the early days of comic conventions!
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
September 19, 1952 — “Superman On Earth” aired as the pilot episode for The Adventures of Supermantelevision series starring George Reeves.
September 19, 1961 — On a return trip from Canada, while in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been abducted by aliens.
September 19, 1986 — The Starman series debuted with Jeff Bridges replaced in the role of The Starman with Robert Hays. The series lasted for twenty-two episodes.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 19, 1867 — Arthur Rackham. English book illustrator who is recognized as one of the leading literary figures during the Golden Age of British book illustration. His work can be seen on genre fiction ranging from Goblin Market to Rip Van Winkle and The Wind in the Willows. Derek Huson’s Arthur Rackham: His Life and Work is one of the better looks at him and his art. (Died 1939.)
Born September 19, 1911 — William Golding. Though obviously best known for the Lord of The Flies novel, I’m more intrigued by the almost completed novel found in draft after his death, The Double Tongue which tells the story of the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo at Delphi. (Died 1993.)
Born September 19, 1922 — Damon Knight. Author, critic, editor. He is the author of “To Serve Man”, a 1950 short story which became a The Twilight Zone episode. It won a 50-year Retro-Hugo in 2001 as the best short story of 1950. Wiki says “He ceased reviewing when Fantasy & Science Fiction refused to publish a review.” What’s the story here? (Died 2002.)
Born September 19, 1928 — Adam West. Best known as Batman on that classic Sixty series, he also had a short role in 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars as Colonel Dan McReady. The less said about his post Batman films, including a softcore porn film, the better. (Died 2017.)
Born September 19, 1928 — Robin Scott Wilson. Founder, with Damon Knight and others, of the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop. He edited Clarion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction and Criticism from the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, Clarion II and Clarion III. He wrote one genre novel, To the Sound of Freedom (with Richard W. Shryock) and a lot of short fiction. Alas, neither iBooks nor Kindle has anything by him available. (Died 2013.)
Born September 19, 1933 – David McCallum, 86. Gained fame as Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and has rounded off his career playing medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in another TV series that is known by its initials, NCIS.
Born September 19, 1940 — Caroline John. English actress best known for her role as scientist Elizabeth “Liz” Shaw in Doctor Who as companion to the Third Doctor. She’d repeat her role in Dimensions in Time, a charity special crossover between Doctor Who and the EastEnders that ran in 1993. Her only other genre role was playing Laura Lyons in The Hound of the Baskervilles. (Died 2012.)
Born September 19, 1947 — Tanith Lee. I hadn’t realized that she wrote more than ninety novels and three hundred short stories in her career. And even wrote two Blake’s 7 episodes as well. I was more fond of her work for children such as The Dragon Hoard and The Unicorn Series than I was of her adult work. (Died 2015.)
Born September 19, 1952 — Laurie R. King, 67. She’s on the Birthday Honors List for the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries, featuring Sherlock Holmes as her mentor and later partner. She’s also written at least one genre novel, Califia’s Daughters.
Born September 19, 1972 — N. K. Jemisin, 47. Her most excellent Broken Earth series has made her the only author to have won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years.
Emergency sirens wailed on Hawaii’s Oahu and Maui islands Wednesday evening, warning of a tsunami, but the alert turned out to be a mistake, sparking anger from residents who recalled a similar false warning last year of an imminent ballistic missile attack.
Within minutes of the alarm going off shortly after 5 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET) authorities were trying to calm the public by getting out word of the mistake.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu tweeted: “***NO TSUNAMI THREAT*** We have received phone calls about sirens going off across Oahu, but we have confirmed with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center that there is NO TSUNAMI THREAT.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also took to Twitter. “Mahalo to everyone for taking appropriate action & tuning into local media,” he tweeted, adding that the sirens had been “inadvertently triggered” during Honolulu Police Department training.
… Burger King has decided to remove all plastic toys from its kids’ meals. Not only that but the initiative, created by agency Jones Knowles Ritchie and starting this week in the U.K., is also calling for people to drop plastic toys from meals past in “plastic toy amnesty bins” at Burger King locations to be melted down and recycled into things that are actually useful, like play areas and surface tools, which can be recycled many times over.
People in the U.K. who bring in toys to melt down next week will get a free King Junior meal when they buy any adult meal. To promote the project, Burger King has created a cast of melted-down plastic toy characters, including Beep Beep, a jeep-driving bunny, which the brand has installed a giant melting version of on London’s South Bank to promote the project.
Despite their giraffian proportions, giant azhdarchid torso were relatively tiny. Witton and Habib (2010) noted that, like many pterodactyloid pterosaurs, their torsos were probably only a third or so longer than their humeri, suggesting a shoulder-hip length of about 65-75 cm for an animal with a 10 m wingspan. That’s a torso length not much larger than your own, although they were considerably more stocky and swamped with muscle. Azhdarchid shoulders, in particular, are well endowed with attachment sites for flight muscles, as are (for pterosaurs) their pelves and hindquarters.
(13) JURASSIC SHORT. Battle at Big Rock on YouTube is an eight-minute video, set in the Jurassic
World universe one year after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen
Kingdom that premiered on FX last night and was put online today.
(14) BRADBURY INTERVIEW. Here’s a 9-minute video of Ray
Bradbury’s 1978 appearance on the Merv Griffin Show.
The always brilliant Ray Bradbury, one of the greatest sci-fi writers in history, talks with Merv about the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, Steven Spielberg, his mission as a writer, the future of mankind, and ends by reading from his poem “If Only We Had Taller Been” from his collection “When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed.”
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchccock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Kevin Standlee, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JJ.]
By John Hertz:Spikecon combined Westercon LXXII (regional)
and the 13th NASFiC (North America S-F Con, since 1976 held when the Worldcon
is off-continent – this year’s Worldcon was in
Dublin, Republic of Ireland), plus a 1632 Minicon (fans of
Eric Flynt’s 1632 series) and Manticon 2019 (fans of David
Weber’s Honor Harrington series, with its Royal Manticoran
Navy, i.e. Space navy). This was a first.
Kate Hatcher; attendance, about 800; in the Art Show, sales about $20,000 by
about 60 artists.
Westercon and NASFiC each had Guests of Honor. The Utah Fandom
Organization (yes, that spells –) brought two more; eight other sponsors
brought nine more.
all happened at Layton, Utah, 4-7 July 2019, fifty miles from where the Final
Spike was driven completing the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years
(population about 70,000) is twenty-five miles from Salt Lake City, where
Westercon LXVII had been – the first in Utah.
used the Davis County Conference Center and five hotels.
available space I hadn’t seen anywhere to put a Fanzine
Lounge. Hatcher said “How about a fanzine party in the Hospitality
Suite?” With Hospitality Suite chief Dorothy Domitz’ agreement we settled
– if that word may be used in fandom – on Friday night, 7-10 p.m.
Glassner, who had hosted the Fanzine Lounge at the 76th Worldcon in 2018, was
my co-host for the fanzine party. We were both on-site by Wednesday
and went shopping with Chris Olds the Party Maven. I made a flier.
I was Chief Hall-Costume Judge. Decades ago hall
costume was settled for the costumes some people wear strolling the
halls. Marjii Ellers called them “daily wear from alternative
costumes are meant to be seen at a distance; hall costumes are meant to be
met. To acknowledge them a gang of judges prowls the con and,
spotting a good one, awards a rosette on the spot.
con had made disks with Spikecon – Hall Costume Award;
while shopping I looked for lace, or like that, to go round
them. JoAnn Fabric & Crafts didn’t have spools enough in any
appealing style, but on the way out I saw some red-white-and-blue-striped cake
cups (for cupcakes, right?): it was the Independence Day
weekend. We got those.
Selina Phanara hadn’t
anything ready to exhibit in the Art Show, but luckily I was able to borrow the
Selina Phanara Sampler from fellow Phanara fans Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink &
Jerome Scott, a vertically (“portrait”?) laid out banner with color
reproductions and her name and E-mail address. Art Show chief Bruce
Miller proved to have space for it.
first of three Classics of SF discussions
I led, on “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (which just won the Retrospective Hugo for Best Novelette of 1943), was at 12:45 p.m. Regency dancing had to be at 3:15 – another time and space problem. The Chesley Awards(by the Ass’n of SF Artists) and Art Show Reception were at 7. So after “Mimsy” I hustled back to my room, changed, sauntered to the Conference Center for dancing – can’t hustle in Regency clothes – then met my fellow Art Show judges to decide and turn in the Art Show Awards before the Reception, then back to my room for conventional garments, and hustled to the Hospitality Suite where Glassner had started the fanzine party.
we trespass upon chronology.
“Mimsy”. A.J. Budrys, one of our best authors and critics both,
taught “Always ask, Why are they telling us this?” Why
do Kuttner & Moore tell us Jane Paradine, the children’s mother, is very
pretty? Remember a woman is co-writing; K&M always said that
everything they published, under any name (they used many; “Mimsy” appeared as
by Lewis Padgett), was by the two of them together.
considered Sexism? – or Mere sexism? (whatever
that may mean, about which there was also talk) – or Sexism
unconsciously or otherwise adopted by a 1943 woman?
or beneath or beside this we human beings are drawn to beauty; think not only
of an attractive man or woman, but also “I saw
young Harry … gallantly armed, / Rise from the ground … and vault … with
such ease into his seat / As if an angel dropped down from the clouds, / To
witch the world with noble horsemanship” (Henry IV Part 1, Act 4 scene
different points in “Mimsy” K&M invite us to feel for the parents
– for the children.
also the sneaky ironic foreshadowing of “The only people who can understand
philosophy are mature adults or kids like Emma and Scotty.”
Rex Holloway, the psychologist, help or hurt? Does Paradine suggest paradigm;
does Holloway suggest hollow way?
“Mimsy” tragic – in the classical sense, grievous and revealed to result from a
fault of the recipient even if – or because – that fault had been thought
does the story end with the telephone ringing? Who did K&M tell
us is calling? Why?
Unthahorsten is “a good many million years in the future”, what happens to Emma
Regency dancing. Maybe you already knew my article in Mimosa,
or maybe you followed the link to it above. I hold Jane Austen one of the
greatest authors in the world, and yes, that means I rank her with Aeschylus,
and Shakespeare, and Lady Murasaki. But she – since I’m talking to
SF fans here – is, like them, a Martian writing for other
Martians. She doesn’t explain. Georgette Heyer, writing
two centuries later, like an SF author introduces us to the world she
portrays. So it’s she I recommend, to start with anyhow; luckily
she’s a superb author herself.
said Cross-cultural contact is homework for SF. Mike
Ford said history is our secret ingredient. Theodore Sturgeon said
science fiction is knowledge fiction. Not all knowledge is
data. Some of it is doing. I learn a lot from this hobby
that grew out of a hobby.
Hospitality Suite was in the Garden Inn, attached to the Conference Center, not
in the Homes2 Suites across a driveway, which had been planned as the
Party Hotel. As it turned out, the Hospitality Suite could stay open
until 2 a.m.; the Homes2 shut down parties at midnight. Could that
have been discovered in advance, maybe even worked around? For ways
that are dark, and tricks that are vain, our hotel negotiations are peculiar.
and I had each brought a handful of fanzines, some recent, some from years
past. People looked and talked. I’d also printed the opening
page of Bill Burns’ efanzines.com. That gratified some, and was
news to others. Obviousness is relative. After our
three hours we donated what remained of our food and drink, also two little
tables I’d bought to spread fanzines on.
Hospitality Suite may be the best part of an SF convention. You’re
welcome whether you’re a fan or a pro or both; whether or not you’re in with
some in-crowd. Conversations happen. You meet people you
didn’t know you wanted to meet.
it’s called the Con Suite because the con itself hosts it, unlike say a SFWA
Suite (SF Writers of America).
the Homes2 lobby later, half past midnight or maybe one, I found a surprisingly
large crowd, and a spread of refreshments along a center table. Thus
I learned parties were being shut down. People had gravitated, and
brought leftovers. It was Lobbycon.
I heard Match Game SF had been fun, as usual. Of course it had to
happen. Kevin Standlee, his wife Lisa Hayes, and their friend Kuma
Bear, were Westercon’s Fan Guests of Honor. For a dozen years
they’ve been mounting this adaptation of the oft-revived television panel-game. At
the Worldcon they’d be nose-deep in the Business Meeting, and like that;
Spikecon was the moment. Until they started this, who
knew Standlee had a game-show host in him?
Standlee, Hayes, and Kuma are fen of many talents.
Hayes does the tech. I think Kuma is the producer.
Rocket Ship “Galileo” at the crack of dawn, i.e. 10:15 a.m. I was not alone
in wanting to celebrate the Glorious 20th; the U.S. Postal Service had issued a
decades before humankind actually did it, Heinlein wrote this
speculation. It’s the first of his “juveniles” – they have
young-adult protagonists – books which some of us think his best: they’re gems.
“Galileo” is reasonable science for 1947. Heinlein said he’d only
compressed the time and the number of people. Note that it isn’t a
rocket ship built in a back yard.
how he manages the characterization – sparely but tellingly. The
books on the shelf in the clubhouse – Ross Jenkins’ parents (the one-word
utterance “Albert.” in Chapter 4!) – “Going to put her down on manual?” and
what follows. Look how characterization also advances the plot
– like setting up Art’s speaking German.
very points we might hang fire on are things Heinlein needs for what I’ve
called the C.S. Lewis One-Strange rule: an extraordinary person in ordinary
circumstances, or an ordinary person in extraordinary
circumstances. Boys taking apart almost anything mechanical from alarm
clocks to souped-up jalopies. “Cigarette,
Doctor? Cigar?” These are verisimilitude at the time of
you looking for the Heinlein Double Surprise – something strange happens, then
something really strange happens? There it is!
Art Show tour I led was at 11:30. I didn’t invent these tours, but I
often arrange them, and usually lead one myself. Why me? When
Kelly Freas first told a con to get me for one, I went to him. He said,
“You seem to be able to say what you see.”
never forgotten that. When I’m arranging the tours it’s what I ask tour
leaders to do.
used to say “docent tours”. Docent is the right word,
but I found people didn’t know what it meant, and didn’t look it up, so it put
them to sleep.
Art Show was one of the strengths of Spikecon.
Here was Mark Roland, one of few who does etching; his “Persistence of Memory” won 1st Place Monochrome (if you follow the link, scroll down, 3rd image; you’ll see he says these are limited-edition fine art prints, hand-wiped and printed on rag paper in his studio).
was Elizabeth Berrien, whose “Cloud Unicorn” in aluminum wire won Best 3-D; she
has not exhibited with us for a while, being distracted with airports and hotel
lobbies. Her Website is worth a look. At a
party, or a panel discussion, you’ll see her listening or contributing to the
conversation, all the while twisting wire. She must carry the whole
in her mind, like Michelangelo saying “I just get a block of marble and chip
away anything that doesn’t look like a Madonna and Child.”
Douglas’ “Ghost Leviathan”, worked up from the page into bas-relief with layers
of color, and found objects, won 1st Place Color. She has
recently been at Orycons.
by Elizabeth Fellows won 2nd Place Monochrome. Looking straight at it you
saw vertical strands of dark yarn on a field of white. Fellows
didn’t, so the Art Show did, mount a sign Look at it
sideways. You then saw a face – which I think was Alan Rickman
as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter movies – but wasn’t his
word “Forever”? Where are my notes?
particularly glad Bjo Trimble, her husband John, and their daughter Kat, were
at the con; as it turned out they were sponsored by Ctein (pronounced “k-TINE”;
yes, that’s his full name; while we’re at it, there should be a circumflex over
the j in Bjo, an Esperantism indicating
In the photo you can see Bjo’s “Aslan” (from The Chronicles of Narnia), which won 3rd Place Monochrome, over her head. Kat’s “Mariposa” (which you can’t quite see in the photo) was a Judges’ Choice.
is one of few photographers in our Art Shows. Photos are necessarily
of things actually existent; what’s the SF element? We get some
neighbors, like astronomicals, or the spacecraft so far built; and indeed Ctein
shoots them. But his other pictures too have a quality of marvel.
The art of photography includes the mind of the artist. Ctein
being one of the judges, and also exhibiting, he insisted that nothing by a
judge should get an award.
No picture-taking is our Art Show rule, but Jan Gephardt was allowed to shoot this panel of her own (you can just make out
some of her paper sculptures at upper left).
night, the Masquerade. Decades ago this was a dress-up party;
it’s now a costume competition – with a stage, lights, and sound, if we can
manage. The Masquerade Director was Tanglwyst de Holloway; Master of
Ceremonies, Orbit Brown; judges, Dragon Dronet, Theresa Halbert, Kitty Krell.
as a Novice, and winning Best in Show – which is quite possible, I’ve been a
judge at Worldcon Masquerades where we did that – was Hanna Swedin, “Snaptrap”
(Re-Creation, from Five Nights at Freddy’s 3; Re-Creation entries
are based on known images, Original entries are not; the Novice, Journeyman,
and Master classes allow entrants to compete against others with their own
level of experience if they wish, but anyone can “challenge up”, and experience
brought the Site-Selection results. Columbus, Ohio, won unopposed
for the 14th NASFiC in 2020 (the 78th
Worldcon will be at Wellington, New Zealand, in
2020). Tonopah, Nevada, beat Phoenix, Arizona, 82-51, for Westercon
LXXIV in 2021 (Westercon LXXIII will
be at Seattle, Washington, in 2020).
is a noteworthy outcome. In contrast with Phoenix, Tonopah is an
unincorporated town of population 2,600; no air, rail, intercity-bus service;
it’s halfway between Reno and Las Vegas (each about 200 miles, 250 km,
away). Probably not even the best crystal-gazer would venture to say
what lurks in the minds of fen, but “Why Tonopah?” from the bid committee to its parent organization, all
explained again at Spikecon in conversation, bid parties, and the exercise
we call the Fannish Inquisition, may be instructive.
quarter to one p.m., October the First Is Too Late. As
always I asked who’d read it recently or had it fresh in mind, who even if
having read it didn’t have it fresh in mind, who hadn’t read it, who hadn’t
heard of it; most always there are some of each (hadn’t heard of it may
prove to be but I hear these discussions are fun, which I’ll take).
way of reminding people to look things up I pointed out that “bacon” for an
Englishman is nearer to what United States people call “Canadian bacon” than to
what U.S. people call “bacon”. If this is what you’re living on while
camping, it makes a difference.
all the music for? Is it mere window-dressing? Well, it
shows the mind of the narrator. It sets up the exploration of art
and technology, human and mechanical possibilities, with the future (though we
must beware of that word with this book) keyboard instrument in Chapter 13.
music, at least as we understand it, is about time, and time is the theme, the
endoskeleton, of the book: one of the more brilliant observations I heard all
about the framing story? What about “someone, or something, was
using the Sun as a giant signaling device”? Does it tell us anything
about the fourth-millennium people? The narrative doesn’t take us to
it again – or does it, in the last chapter, with “a higher level of perception
than our own”?
we to be uncertain about the certain uncertainty of the people we meet at the
end, like Sir Arthur Clarke’s “It is well to be skeptical [or as he spelled it,
sceptical] even of skepticism”?
Closing Ceremonies the joined Westercon and NASFiC had to
disjoin. When Kate Hatcher ended Spikecon, the Westercon gavel went
to Sally Woehrle for Westercon LXXIII; but the NASFiC is an entity of the World
Science Fiction Society, so the WSFS gavel went to a courier for the 77th
Worldcon which would need it before the 14th NASFiC.
Standlee, Hayes, and Kuma were present, being Fan Guests of Honor for Westercon
LXXII, and Linda Deneroff was present, being Fan Guest of Honor for the 13th
NASFiC, all experienced in Business Meeting fandom, so we managed.
in the course of helping take down and clean up I found my roommate Kevin Rice
carrying a box of leftover plastic train-whistles. He’d made them by
3-dimensional printing, gosh: six inches long with two pipes, the top one
marked “Spikecon 2019” and the bottom one “Layton, UT”. They were in
knew there would be a Dead Dog party (until the last dog is –), and separately
a Dead Dog Filk, so that’s where
I went with them. More of the filkers being of the
musical-instrument type, they took more.
…Mascarenhas has said of her novel that time travel “[makes] you constantly think of what stories people leave behind”. Every time we recover a female author, scientist, doctor, activist, every time we affirm that black people lived in medieval Europe, that queer people have always existed and often led happy lives, we change history – not the past, crucially, but history, our story about the past, our narratives and paradigms. And as we change history, we change the future. I’d worried that our book wouldn’t be relevant – it turns out all of us were right on time.
(2) WORLDCON DINING. Now is when this massive project pays
off – Dublin 2019 Eats – compiled by Guest of Honour Diane Duane and Peter Morwood.
…For a lot of years now, SFF conventions have often had local restaurant guides to help their attendees find out what the local food options were. With this concept in mind, and as a way of assisting our thousands of convention visitors in finding their way around the Dublin food scene, in 2018 we came up with the concept of this casual online guide to food that’s either in the immediate area of the Dublin Convention Centre, the Worldcon’s main venue, or accessible from that area via public transport. Your two site managers — locally-based science fiction and fantasy novelists and screenwriters Peter Morwood and Diane Duane — have between them some seventy years of experience at the fine art of tracking down and enjoying great Dublin food.
For the purposes of this guide, our attention is focused mostly on food located near the city’s fabulous Luas tram system — mainly the Red Line that serves the DCC, but also the Luas Green Line that connects to it.
We have a focus on affordable food — because we, like a lot of our Worldcon guests, have often had to spend enough just getting to the venue to make the cost of eating an issue.
…The result is a show suffused with anxiety. When discussing Years and Years, I’ve found that people tend to reference its big dramatic moments, such as the ending of episode 1, in which an air raid siren alerts the gathered family to the fact that the US has dropped an atomic bomb on a Chinese military base (Davies doesn’t try too hard to ground his predictions in carefully-reasoned reality, but his speculation that Donald Trump would do something like this on his final day in office is scarily plausible). Or that of episode 4, in which Daniel and Viktor board an overloaded inflatable raft in a desperate attempt to cross the handful of miles separating Calais from England. But I think the scene that will hit a lot of viewers where they live is actually the end of episode 2, in which Stephen and Celeste race to their bank to try to retrieve even some of their money, and find themselves in a crowd of people hoping to do the same, all equally doomed. The first two are things that you can imagine happening, but maybe not to you. The second feels like exactly the sort of calamity that the comfortably middle class people the show has been aimed at are most likely to experience in the coming decades….
Renowned for his beloved and acclaimed children’s books, Maurice Sendak (1928–2012) was also an avid music and opera lover. In the late 1970s, he embarked on a successful second career as a designer of sets and costumes for the stage. Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet will be the first museum exhibition dedicated to this aspect of his career. It will include storyboards, preparatory sketches, costume studies, luminous watercolors, and meticulous dioramas from Mozart’s Magic Flute, Janá?ek’s Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and an opera based on Sendak’s picture book Where the Wild Things Are.
The exhibition will include nearly 150 objects drawn primarily from the artist’s bequest to the Morgan of over 900 drawings. Sendak borrowed gleefully from a personal pantheon of artists, some of whom he encountered firsthand at the Morgan. Several such works, by William Blake, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Domenico and Giambattista Tiepolo, will be displayed alongside his designs. Although less well known than his book illustrations, Sendak’s drawings for the stage embody his singular hand, fantastical mode of storytelling, keen—sometimes bawdy—sense of humor, and profound love of music and art history.
…The emotional dynamism of Delany’s sentences has been perhaps less acknowledged than his world-building, or the sweep of his vision. But when asked to speak about writing as a practice, Delany himself often turns to the art ofsentences, and of how to imbue words with such “ekphrastic force” that they summon the material presence of an imagined world. When Korga and Marq return to themselves they are awe-struck, struggling to narrate the intensity of their own transformative experience. It is impossible not to hear in that a metatextual echo of the obsession of Delany’s practice: that of creating the most immersive possible aesthetic experience for us, his readers and devoted enthusiasts….
…Not long ago I was reading a collection of essays by Hilaire Belloc titled One Thing and Another, and, as is sometimes the case when I read other people’s essays, I got the idea of writing this one. The “idea,” such as it was, had nothing to do with the subject matter of any of the forty essays contained in Belloc’s book; what struck me was that the pages smelled as if they had been soaked in gasoline. I remembered abruptly that it had smelled that way when I’d bought it, and although it has sat on the shelf in my study for twenty years, waiting to be read, the odor hasn’t diminished. It could be fatal to light a match anywhere near it.
This olfactory discovery sent me off in a nostalgic search for my copy of Philip K. Dick’s Dr. Bloodmoney, which Phil gave to me in 1975. My wife, Viki, and I took off on a road trip a few days later in our old Volkswagen Bug, and I brought the book along. It mysteriously disappeared early one rainy morning in central Canada, and I didn’t find it again until a year later, after the car’s battery died. The VW’s battery was under the back seat, and when I pulled out the seat to get at the battery, there was Dr. Bloodmoney, its cover partly eaten by battery acid. I was monumentally happy to find it. The book is inscribed to “Jim Blaylock, a hell of a neat dude,” the only existing written evidence of that allegation….
Built in 1907, the Mizpah Hotel in haunted Tonopah has many spirits supposedly roaming its halls, including Rose, a prostitute murdered by a jealous gambler. Guests report items that mysteriously move and an old elevator whose doors randomly open and close.
…Also, I’ve only ever seen one scene from the entire movie, when a hooded figure wielding a hook stabs a dude in the stomach and blood starts coming out of that man’s mouth. I have watched hundreds of horror films since, but stop me in the street and ask me: What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? and I will unwaveringly answer “I Know What You Did Last Summer, because I was a seven-year-old wuss who had never seen a grown man run through with a sheep hook in a gas station lot before.”
What I’m saying is, “scary” is a silly metric by which to measure a horror movie’s quality, especially if it’s the only one you use. Not to get all “I own a thesaurus” on you, but there are distinct differences between something that’s scary, spooky, threatening, shocking, dreadful, et cetera. The new big horror release, Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark, for example, writes a check the movie needs to cash. It’s right there in the title…
(9) TODAY’S DAY. [Item by Hampus Eckerman.] Moomin Day today:
But not everyone is happy. Here are demonstrators from
last weeks manifestation against the placement of a new Moomin theme park in
the Swedish city of Karlstad. Anti-Moonin feelings are running high. The
picture says it all: “Flera
hinder för Mumin”
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
August 9, 1930 — Betty Boop debuted in the animated film Dizzy Dishes.
August 9, 1989 — James Cameron’s The Abyss premiered on this day.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 9, 1899 — P.L. Travers. Yes, she’s genre. A flying nanny is certainly fantasy. Did you know there are total of eight books? I’m sure I’ve seen the film but it’s been so long that I remember ‘nought about it. Anyone here seen the new film? (Died 1996.)
Born August 9, 1920 — Jack Speer. He is without doubt was one of the founders of fandom and perhaps the first true fan historian having Up to Now: A History of Science Fiction Fandom covering up to 1939 as well as the first Fancyclopedia in 1944. Fannish song-writing (before the term “filk” was coined) and costume parties are also widely credited to him as well. Mike has a proper remembrance here. (Died 2008.)
Born August 9, 1927 — Daniel Keyes. Flowers for Algernon was a novel that I read in my teens. Two of the teachers decided that SF was to be the assigned texts for that school year and that was one of them. I don’t now remember if I liked it or not (A Clockwork Orange was another text they assigned and that I remember) nor have I ever seen Charly. I see he has three other genre novels, none that I’ve heard of. (Died 2014.)
Born August 9, 1944 — Sam Elliott, 75. Weirdly the source for this Birthday thought he’d only been in one genre role, General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross in the 2003 Hulk film, but he’s got many other roles as well. His first was Duke in Westworld followed by being Luke Peck in Time Bandits, Flik Whistler in The Thing and Lock in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. He’s the Phantom Rider in Ghost Rider and Lee Scoresby in The Golden Compass. His latest genre is as the lead in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot as The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot.
Born August 9, 1947 — John Varley, 72. One of those authors that I’ve been meaning to read more of. I read both The Ophiuchi Hotline and Titan, the first novels respectively in his Eight Worlds and the Gaea Trilogy series, but didn’t go further. (See books, too many to read.) If you’ve read beyond the first novels, how are they as series? Worth pursuing now?
Born August 9, 1949 — Jonathan Kellerman, 70. Author of two novels in the Jacob Lev series (co-authored with Jesse Kellerman), The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. I’ve read the first — it was quite excellent with superb characters and an original premise. Not for the squeamish mind you.
Born August 9, 1968 — Gillian Anderson, 51. The ever-skeptical, well most of the time, Special Agent Dana Scully on X-Files. Currently playing Media on American Gods. And she played Kate Flynn in Robot Overlords. Did you know she’s co-authored a X-File-ish trilogy, The EarthEnd Saga, with Jeff Rovin?
Without two Cleveland kids from Glenville High School, Superman never would’ve taken flight.
Those two kids, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, fought for decades to get the recognition they deserved for creating the Man of Steel, which became a huge moneymaker for DC Comics- but not for them.
Now their story of financial hardship is the subject of a graphic novel, told specifically from the point of view of the artist in “The Joe Shuster Story” by writer Julian Voloj and illustrator Thomas Campi….
…In Queen of Crows, author Myke Cole explores the burning question: Now what? A blow for freedom has been struck, yes, but the Sacred Throne, and in particular, the Inquisition-like Order is not going to take this lying down. Heloise may well be a saintly figure, possibly even a holy Palatinate, but her actions are not an unalloyed good. The Empire will, indeed, Strike Back, and it is only a question of time before overwhelming force is brought to bear on Heloise and the people she has sworn to protect. This leads to Heloise and her people going on the road, meeting others who have not done well under the Empire’s tyranny, and asking hard questions about oppression, revolt, tyranny, resistance, prejudice, and at the same time providing solid medieval fantastic action….
(14) SILENCE OF THE TWEETS. Jon Del Arroz is in Twitter jail again.
(15) AT GEN CON. Brian’s “Pop Up Gen Con!” report for Nerds of a
Feather begins with an intriguing summary of “We’re
a game where the world is ending and the governments of the world (each
government is a player) need to jointly construct a rocket ship.”
(16) CHOW QUEST. In “Military
Logistics for Fantasy Writers” at the SFWA Blog, Mollie M.
Madden, holder of a Ph.D. in medieval history, challenges authors to explain how
the big armies of their imaginations avoid starving to death.
We all know ‘an army marches on its stomach,’ but it’s not like Napoleon discovered something new. Vegetius (De re militari) and Sun Tzu (The Art of War) were well aware of this concept, as was Alexander the Great (Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, 1980). And it wasn’t news to them, either. Pre-modern military commanders knew this; they planned for this. They paid attention to logistics.
A U.S. court has ruled that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the company over face recognition technology, meaning a class action can move forward.
The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued its ruling on Thursday. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, it’s the first decision by a U.S. appellate court to directly address privacy concerns posed by facial recognition technology.
“This decision is a strong recognition of the dangers of unfettered use of face surveillance technology,” Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said in a statement. “The capability to instantaneously identify and track people based on their faces raises chilling potential for privacy violations at an unprecedented scale.”
Facebook told NPR that the company plans to ask the full circuit court to review the decision of the three-judge panel. “We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time,” said Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman. Information about its facial recognition technology is available in the company policy online.
The case concerns Facebook users in Illinois who accused the social media giant of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act.
Facebook argued that the users had experienced no concrete harm. But the 9th Circuit panel noted that intangible injuries can still be concrete, and it noted the Supreme Court has said advances in technology can lead to more personal privacy intrusions.
The appeals panel decided that Facebook’s technology “invades an individual’s private affairs and concrete interests.”
…On one level, this constant release of tension from individual incidents is quite nice – no need to worry about Chekov’s gun on the mantlepiece, in this universe it’s going to stay right where it is. However, it also means that the link between individual incidents and the emotional arc of the novella – as the characters grapple with their place in the universe, without a link to Earth calling them back – is either subtle or non-existent, depending on how generous one feels….
A £5m footbridge to a dramatic, wind-battered headland that is at the heart of Arthurian legend will this weekend finally open to the public.
The bridge, one of the most ambitious, complicated and at times controversial heritage projects seen in the UK in recent years, will, says English Heritage, restore the lost crossing of Tintagel Castle in north Cornwall.
Sugary cereal, toys inside the box, Disney characters—does it get any more nostalgic than this? FunkO has announced the latest additions to its cereal portfolio, and my inner child is pumped.
Disney fanatics will want to get their hands on the Ursula (from The Little Mermaid) cereal, a purple version of the FunkO multigrain O’s. Tim Burton devotees and former mall goths will obviously need to try the Oogie Boogie—of The Nightmare Before Christmas fame—version, a green take on the breakfast treat. Insider reports that both cereals will come with Pocket Pop! versions of the characters’ figurines. Considering that FunkO’s Pop! figures are established as cool collectibles, these cute minis are a pretty great prize to get in your cereal box.
[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge,
Chip Hitchcock, Top Elf, PhilRM, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Michael J.
Walsh, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title
credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
NASFiC 2020: Ben Yalow, Spikecon Site Selection Area Head,
reported the results of the 2020 NASFiC site selection voting held at the joint
The information was shared as a courtesy at the Westercon business meeting on July 6, there being no WSFS business meeting at a NASFiC. The complete Westercon 72 Business Meeting minutes are posted here.
Columbus ran unopposed. Yalow said 100 votes were cast.
Minneapolis in ‘73
Peggy Rae’s House
None of the Above
Total With Preference
Total votes cast
With 87 votes, Yalow
declared that Columbus had won the 2020 NASFiC.
Westercon Site Selection: Ben Yalow also
presented the results of the Site Selection for Westercon 74. With 140 votes
cast, 68 votes were required to declare a winner.
None of the Above
Total With Preference
Needed to Elect (Majority)
Total votes cast
With 82 votes, Tonopah was
declared the winner of the 2021 Westercon.
A video of the Westercon business meeting is available:
The unofficial pending results were Tonopah 82, Phoenix 51, Write-ins 1. That’s 134 votes with preference, so 67 votes (a majority) were needed to win. In addition, there were 6 No Preference (abstention) votes that do not count toward the total for the purpose of determining a majority.
The Tonopah bid leadership team is Kevin Standlee, Lisa Hayes, and Kuma Bear. The guests of honor have not yet been posted online (if, indeed, they have been announced). The bid website is here.
By John Hertz: (reprinted from No
Direction Home 12) Indeed there
was rejoicing on Friday 10 May at Promontory, Utah.
40 miles from Layton, site of this year’s combined Westercon LXII [West
Coast Science Fantasy Conference – oh, all right, it’s been in Colorado and
Texas, and Alberta] and 13th NASFiC [North America Science Fiction Convention,
held when the Worldcon is overseas] (also, for good measure, combined with the
1632 Minicon – Eric Flint’s 1632
shared-universe stories – and the Manticon – David Weber’s Honor Harrington
stories with their Royal Manticoran Navy), to be held 4-7 July.
A hundred fifty years ago at Promontory, on May 10, 1869, the final spike
was driven into the final rail-tie completing six and a half years’ work to
create the Transcontinental Railroad.
Travel – of passengers or freight – from New York to San Francisco was
shortened, not in space but in time, from six months to ten days.
So our convention will be Spikecon.
We s-f fans are to some extent students of technology. Here was some.
Thousands attended the 150th-anniversary celebration, from 49 of the 50 States and from Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Switzerland.
The Central Pacific railroad had built from the west, the Union Pacific
from the east. In a famous photograph –
more technology – the Central’s steam engine No. 60 and the Union’s No. 119
met, cowcatcher to cowcatcher, two 60-ton machines great in their day, the
Union’s burning coal, the Central’s burning wood. They were represented on this anniversary by
first sang “Who built the Ark?” I’ve
traced it to 1892 and it was well known then (The Dental Register v. 46, p. 603).
Thousands of Chinese helped build the Transcontinental in the west,
thousands of Irish in the east.
Mulhall, ambassador from the Republic of Ireland, was present for this 150th,
and raised a toast. The ambassador from
the People’s Republic of China, whose name in courtesy to him I had better
spell Cui Tiankai and not Ts‘ui T‘ian-k‘ai, said in a recorded message the
Transcontinental was a “telling example of how the Chinese and American people
can come together to get things done and make the impossible possible.”
Chao, United States Secretary of Transportation and the first Chinese-American
of Cabinet rank, said “The Central Pacific needed industrious, tireless
workers, and Chinese answered the call with great skill and dedication.” A multiracial theater troupe performed a
musical retelling in the wrong kind of Chinese peasant hats. Lance Fritz, head of the Union Pacific, which
now hauls far more freight than passengers, said the railroad laborers, in
12-hour days and sometimes brutal conditions, changed America forever.
Wouk (rhymes with “oak”; May 27, 1915 – May 17, 2019) died ten days short of
his 104th birthday. He became famous
first novel Aurora Dawn (1947) was a
Book-of-the-Month Club selection. His
third, The “Caine” Mutiny (1951), won
the Pulitzer Prize, was adapted into a Broadway play The “Caine” Mutiny Court-Martial (1953) and a motion picture with
Humphrey Bogart (E. Dmytryk dir. 1954).
next, Marjorie Morningstar (1955),
put him on the cover of Time magazine
and was made into a movie with Gene Kelly (I. Rapp dir. 1958). His sixth, Youngblood Hawke (1962), which he denied basing on Thomas Wolfe
(1900-1938), was serialized in McCall’s
and made into a movie (D. Daves dir. 1964) with James Franciscus.
eighth and ninth, The Winds ofWar (1971) and War and Remembrance (1978), were made into television mini-series
(D. Curtis dir. 1983, Winds; 1988-89,
Remembrance) with Robert Mitchum.
A Hole in Texas (2004) is
science fiction; what if, years after U.S. President Clinton canceled the
Superconducting Supercollider, the Chinese announced finding the Higgs boson? In fact no one found it until 2012.
The inside jacket of Hole says Wouk “exercises his deep
insight and considerable comic powers to give us a witty and keen satire –
about Washington, the media, and science, and what happens when these three
forces of American culture clash.”
Like a good satirist he is
fundamentally concerned with human nature, our foibles and – Sarcasm is in anger, satire is with love
– our fortes. Like a good s-f writer he
illuminates by means of possible, fictional, science. He realizes, as Sturgeon said, that Science fiction is knowledge fiction.
Remembrance together are 1,800 pages.
Hole is 280.
A word to the wise is sufficient. This
is problematic for satirists. What if
people in the audience – including, perhaps, the satirized – aren’t very wise?
Lafferty made Thomas More (1478-1538)
the eponym of his marvelous Past Master
(1968). Poor Sir Thomas, if one may use
that expression, pulled five hundred years into the future, keeps crying “Utopia  is a satire!”
We haven’t yet reached the setting of Past Master – and I certainly hope we
shan’t – but fifty years after Past
Master was published we still don’t see that about Utopia.
You may jib at Hole’s explanation, chapter 5, thinking “It would have been better
if Wouk had read more s-f.” You may
dislike, as the book goes on, what seems to be increasingly fundamental
Should those befall, you will be lucky
if you remember the superb management of what characters and readers must know
in Marjorie Morningstar, and the
devastating treatment of masculine and feminine romantic sex fantasies there
and in Youngblood Hawke.
Maybe you won’t. Maybe you won’t have read them. In that case, and if nothing else helps you
first, wait till the end of Hole,
when the bubble bursts, the man is crashingly shown not so smart, and – satire is with love – everything
nevertheless comes right.
Marjorie Morningstar may be Wouk’s best. It may be great. I have yet to meet anyone who was awake to it – what’s the author’s name?? – but time may tell.
National Book Foundation making it a finalist said Marjorie was “released from
the social constraints of her traditional Jewish family, and thrown into the
glorious, colorful world of theater….
[a] paean to youthful love and the bittersweet sorrow of a first
heartbreak.” O Sir Thomas!
The former business manager for Stan Lee has been charged with multiple counts of elder abuse related to the late Marvel icon.
Keya Morgan was charged with multiple counts related to elder abuse, including alleged false imprisonment, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Superior Court told The Hollywood Reporter.
…Last summer, legal representatives for Lee filed for a restraining order against Morgan, which was granted.
… Morgan, who has long been involved in the pop culture memorabilia scene, was one of the subjects of the investigation.
Last month, Morgan pleaded no contest to filing a false police report. He must stay away from Lee’s family and residence, along with completing 100 hours of community service, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.
(3) NYT BOOK REVIEW ON MCEWAN. The New York Times Book Review’s Tina Gordon
reluctantly reports on the speculative fiction
community’s response to Ian McEwan’s novel and his dismissal of the genre in
The sci-fi community began calling out McEwan’s genre snobbery on Twitter and in opinion pieces. ‘It is as absurd for McEwan to claim he’s not writing sci-fi as it is for him to imply that sci-fi is incapable of approaching these themes interestingly,” said one ‘Alternative history and nonhuman consciousness are established sci-fi motifs.’ Another wrote, ‘Anyone is entitled to try out ideas. What you can’t do is write a detective story and think ‘the butler did it’ is a world-first clever twist.’
As [NYT Book Review’s] Dwight Garner noted in his review of Machines Like Me ‘people are touchy about genre.’ Kurt Vonnegut famously complained that he was ‘a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled ‘science fiction’ … and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.’ And Harlan Ellison once said, ‘Call me a science fiction writer. I’ll come to your house and I’ll nail your pet’s head to a coffee table. I’ll hit you so hard your ancestors will die.’
…This immensely valuable and entertaining volume — purportedly the first of several — captures for posterity a chronologically delimited slice of the subculture of science-fiction fandom — currently dying or healthy; vanished or extant? — in such a manner that even those folks who have no prior inkling of the subculture — assuming they possess a modicum of curiosity and intelligence — should still be able to completely grok the subject matter and derive amusement and pleasure and wisdom from this richly annotated compilation….
… So just be aware that, for the most part, you will not get rehashed literary battles of the day as fought in the pages of these zines, but rather insights into the amateur press people and their publications themselves….
(5) TRAILER TIME. Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is in theaters
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is a fantasy adventure that picks up several years after “Maleficent,” in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora. The film continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.
(6) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott
Edelman says, “Dare to eat donuts with a dozen horrific creators during the ’StokerCon
Donut Spooktacular’” on his Eating
the Fantastic podcast.
Regular listeners to Eating the Fantastic know that once a year, instead of serving up the usual well-researched one-on-one conversations which make up most of this podcast’s ear candy, I opt for total anarchy, plopping myself down in a heavily trafficked area of a con with a dozen donuts and chatting with anybody who’s game to trade talk for sugar and grease. It’s totally spontaneous, as I never know to whom I’ll speak until they pass by and their eyes light up at the sight of a free donut.
Late Saturday night, I sat down with an assorted dozen from The Donut Conspiracy in Grand Rapids accompanied by the usual sign explaining the setup, and found no shortage of willing guests.
Join us as Michael Bailey describes his novel inspired by a fire which turned his home to ashes in seven minutes, Geoffrey A. Landis shares about the Sherlock Holmes/Jack the Ripper horror story he published in the science fiction magazine Analog, Brian Keene explains why he chose last weekend to finally reappear at an HWA event, Wile E. Young tells why he thinks of the Road Runner whenever a story gets rejected, Anton Cancre reveals which guest that weekend earned most of his squee, and Wesley Southard offers his schtick for selling books when stuck behind a dealers table at a con.
Plus Erik T. Johnson gives an unexpected (but perfectly logical) answer when asked about one of the perks of StokerCon, Patrick Freivald looks back on how his horror career began via a collaboration with his twin brother, Josh Malerman recounts how he replaced readings with full blown Bird Box interactive performances and how an audience of 85-year-olds reacted, Asher Ellis shares how the Stonecoast MFA program made him a better writer, Kennikki Jones-Jones discusses her Final Frame award-winning short film Knock Knock, Eugene Johnson celebrates his Bram Stoker Award win that night for It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life, and much, much more!
(7) DAY OBIT. Her
recordings showed up in episodes of Quantum
Leap and The Simpsons. Steve
Vertlieb writes about “Remembering Doris Day, the ‘Girl Next Door’” who died
Remembering the wondrously youthful, eternally vivacious Doris Day whose infinite flirtation with joy, music, and film ended this morning with her passing at age 97. She will forever remain timeless in our hearts and memories. She was truly everyone’s favorite “girl next door.” While famously private in her personal life, I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful response from her several years ago when I wrote her of my life long affection for her. It is reproduced here with love, reverence, and respect. Doris Day will forever remain an integral component of my precarious youth, and coming of age. Rest Well, Doris. I shall always love you.
While well-known to the Baby Boomer generation for his comedic work on McHale’s Navy and The Carol Burnett Show, Conway also endeared himself to Millennials and Generation Z, even if they don’t know him by sight. That’s because he voiced the character of Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob, the sailor’s uniform-wearing super-sidekick to Mermaid Man, who was played by Conway’s McHale’s Navy co-star, Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012).
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 14, 1933 — Siân Phillips, 86. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in Dune, Cassiopeia in Clash of The Titans, and Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Born May 14, 1944 — George Lucas, 75. He created the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchise. (Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are fine. Several Star Wars films are.) and let’s not forget THX 1138.
Born May 14, 1945 — Francesca Annis, 74. Lady Jessica in Dune, Lady Macbeth in Roman Polanski’s Macbeth.
Born May 14, 1945 — Rob Tapert, 74. I’d say he’s best known for co-creating Xena: Warrior Princess. He also produced and/or wrote several other television series including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, M.A.N.T.I.S. and American Gothic. Tapert also co-created the prequel series Young Hercules which I loved. He’s married to actress Lucy Lawless.
Born May 14, 1952 — Robert Zemeckis, 67. So he’s responsible for some of my favorite films including the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Death Becomes Her. What’s your favorite films that’s he had a hand In?
Born May 14, 1952 — Kathleen Ann Goonan, 67. Her Nanotech Quartet is most particularly the first novel, Queen City Jazz. She’s written an interesting essay on the relationship between sf and music, “Science Fiction and All That Jazz”.
Born May 14, 1961 — Tim Roth, 58. Guildenstern In Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Gary ‘Hutch’ Hutchens in Twin Peaks, plus several one-offs in such genre series as Tales from the Crypt and Theatre Night.
Born May 14, 1965 — Eoin Colfer, 54. He is best known for being the author of the Artemis Fowl series. He wrote the sixth novel of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, entitled And Another Thing…
(10) TONOPAH BID. Kevin
Standlee says his proposed 2021 Westercon won’t have guests of honor and will
have light programming, so he really needs to answer the question “Why Tonopah?”, which he does in this post on the SFSFC
Relaxed: We are currently planning a relatively light schedule of programming, giving our members an expanded opportunity to socialize and to explore the community. Rather than running the members off their feet rushing from item to item and constantly protesting that they seem to need to be in three places at once, we want our members to enjoy themselves without running themselves ragged.
(11) RELATED REVIEWS. Steve
J. Wright has completed his Best Related Work Hugo Finalist reviews
On the night of Jan. 16, Liz O’Sullivan sent a letter she’d been working on for weeks. It was directed at her boss, Matt Zeiler, the founder and CEO of Clarifai, a tech company. “The moment before I hit send and then afterwards, my heart, I could just feel it racing,” she says.
The letter asked: Is our technology going to be used to build weapons?
With little government oversight of the tech industry in the U.S., it’s tech workers themselves who increasingly are raising these ethical questions.
O’Sullivan often describes technology as magic. She’s 34 — from the generation that saw the birth of high-speed Internet, Facebook, Venmo and Uber. “There are companies out there doing things that really look like magic,” she says. “They feel like magic.”
Her story began two years ago, when she started working at Clarifai. She says one of her jobs was to explain the company’s product to customers. It’s visual recognition technology, used by websites to identify nudity and inappropriate content. And doctors use it to spot diseases.
Clarifai was a startup, founded by Zeiler, a young superstar of the tech world. But shortly after O’Sullivan joined, Clarifai got a big break — a government contract, reportedly for millions of dollars.
It was all very secretive. At first, the people assigned to work on the project were in a windowless room, with the glass doors covered.
O’Sullivan would walk by and wonder: What are they doing in there?
An American explorer has found plastic waste on the seafloor while breaking the record for the deepest ever dive.
Victor Vescovo descended nearly 11km (seven miles) to the deepest place in the ocean – the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench.
He spent four hours exploring the bottom of the trench in his submersible, built to withstand the immense pressure of the deep.
He found sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.
It is the third time humans have reached the ocean’s extreme depths.
(15) GOOGLE U. During
an exchange about JDA’s lawsuit, Steve Davidson told Adam Rakunas “I went to
the same law school you did,” So Rakunas replied, “Remember
our school’s fight song?”
We’re gonna fill up those search boxes We’re gonna write out those search strings! We’re the Fightin’ Queries of Internet U And we look up all the things!
Oh, we don’t have accreditation And no one gets degrees But that doesn’t stop us from sounding off Go, go, go, Fightin’ Queries!
Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Rob Thornton, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter,
Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel
By John Hertz: Spikecon, 4-7 July 2019, will combine two general-interest s-f conventions, Westercon LXXII (West Coast Science Fantasy Conference – oh, all right, it’s been in Colorado and Texas) and the 13th NASFiC (North America Science Fiction Convention, held when the World Science Fiction Convention is overseas), and two special-interest ones, 1632 Minicon and Manticon 2019. There’s a big tent for us! Or maybe a geodesic dome. Or a Dyson sphere.
The con is named in honor of the Golden Spike, the last
spike driven to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific creating the
Transcontinental Railroad on 10 May 1869, just forty miles from the con site.
We’ll do three Classics of SF
discussions, one story each. Come to as
many as you like. You’ll be welcome to
I’m still with A classic is an artwork that survives its
time; after the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it
remains, and is seen as worthwhile in itself. If you have a better definition, bring it.
Here are our three. I think each is interesting in a different
way. Each may be more interesting now
than when originally published.
Kuttner & Moore, “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (1943)
The authors each said, after they
married, anything under their names or their various pseudonyms was by
both. Decades later, Tim Powers is known
for explaining the real – i.e. SF – reason for something in history; here’s the
real – i.e. SF – reason for something in fantasy; yet even that’s hardly the
greatest element. The title alludes to
Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass
(1871), as we – maybe – eventually understand.
Rocket Ship “Galileo” (1947)
We’ve also come to the golden
anniversary of the Glorious 20th, when humankind first set foot on the
Moon. Decades earlier came this
speculation. It isn’t, incidentally, a
rocket ship built in a back yard; and as A.J. Budrys used to demand, it answers
“Why are they telling us this?” Nor are
these pioneers the first – nor yet the second.
Hoyle, October the First Is Too Late (1966)
This first-rate astronomer – he
was knighted six years later – also wrote SF.
In both fields he was famously willing to propose speculations far from
others’. In science one may someday be
proved right or wrong; fiction doesn’t work that way. We might say of this story It’s about time. Only maybe it isn’t. Maybe time isn’t.
This latest episode of Eating the Fantastic — recorded at Mezcal Mexican restaurant in Owings Mills — quickly turns nostalgic, because guest Steve Stiles and I were the proverbial ships that passed in the night at mid-‘70s Marvel Comics. My first job there was as the associate editor for the company’s line of British reprint books, which was a department he only started working at the following year, once I’d already moved over to the Bullpen to work on the American originals.
Stiles may be best-known for the post-apocalyptic dinosaur-filled future of Xenozoic Tales, which he drew for eight years, but he’s also appeared in titles such as Death Rattle, Bizarre Sex, and Anarchy Comics for underground publishers like Kitchen Sink and Last Gasp. He’s also done kid-friendly work, though, like The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Royal Roy.
And so much more — like the fanzine art which has made him a 17-time nominee for the Hugo Award, with nominations spread over a 50-year period from 1967 to 2018, an award which he won in 2016.
We discussed what it was like to work at Marvel Comics in the mid-’70s, the ironic reason he no longer owns his Silver Age Marvels, the time he thought he’d gotten the gig to draw Dr. Strange (but really hadn’t), what it was like being taught by the great Burne Hogarth at the School of Visual Arts, his first professional art sale (and why it ended up hanging on Hugh Hefner’s wall), how his famed comic strip The Adventures Of Professor Thintwhistle And His Incredible Aether Flier was born, why he didn’t like being art-directed by Marie Severin, which current comics he keeps up with, what Robert Silverberg said to him when he won his first Hugo Award after 14 tries and 49 years, the phrase he most wants carved onto his gravestone, and much more.
‘Endgame’ will be goodbye to several characters, and as UCLA psychology professor Yalda Uhls notes: “Absolutely that can feel like real grief.”
“God, it seems like a thousand years ago,” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) says in the second trailer for Avengers: Endgame. “I fought my way out of that cave, became Iron Man…”
While it hasn’t quite been a thousand years, the final installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga represents an unprecedented moment in movie history, partly because some of the characters who have been a consistent presence in movie theaters since 2008 might retire, or even die.
And over time, those characters have started to feel like real friends to audiences.
In fantasy stories, like any stories, the stakes matter.
In 2012, writing for the now-defunct fan site SF Signal, Paul Weimer suggested a classification for such tales based on the relative size of what’s at stake, ranging from sagas in which only a city or smaller community is in peril to those where the whole universe hangs in the balance. Wherever a story lands on that scale, one thing remains crucial: The stakes have to feel real.
“Stakes are what the actions or inactions of the protagonist cause to happen, or fail to happen, depending on their success or failure,” Weimer wrote in “Stakes in Fantasy Novels: A Schemata of Classification.” “You can have multiple sets of stakes going on at one time, but you can look at a work of fantasy in terms the largest stakes, and use that to give an overall sense of the scale of the conflict in that book.”
Nollywood screenwriter and director Dimeji Ajibola recently released a 1-minute teaser of his upcoming dystopian movie, Ratnik. Impressed by the visual effects and dystopian locations, local publications waxed lyrical about the film. YNaija!called it “the dystopian action-thriller we deserve in 2019.” Ratnik deserves its early praise; it is an ambitious project and its visual effects are impressive.
For some, a sci-fi Nigerian movie is unheard of, but Ratnik is not the first time a Nollywood sci-fi film will generate this much buzz. Kajola—the last one that did—was an utter disappointment. The debut film of now Nollywood box office king, Niyi Akinmolayan, it was released in 2009 to much fanfare. Akinmolayan was tired of Nollywood filmmakers: “those yeye people that don’t know how to make cool stuff.” Young and naïve, he thought he would change Nollywood forever by making “the greatest Nigerian movie ever. It will be action/sci-fi with lots of effects and we are going to win an Oscar.”
(6) NOT DEAD YET. The Digital Antiquarian studies the
history of Activision in “An Unlikely Savior”.
Activision Blizzard is the largest game publisher in the Western world today, generating a staggering $7.5 billion in revenue every year. Along with the only slightly smaller behemoth Electronic Arts and a few Japanese competitors, Activision for all intents and purposes is the face of gaming as a mainstream, mass-media phenomenon. Even as the gaming intelligentsia looks askance at Activision for their unshakeable fixation on sequels and tried-and-true formulas, the general public just can’t seem to get enough Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush Saga. Likewise, Bobby Kotick, who has sat in the CEO’s chair at Activision for over a quarter of a century now, is as hated by gamers of a certain progressive sensibility as he is loved by the investment community.
But Activision’s story could have — perhaps by all rights should have — gone very differently. When Kotick became CEO, the company was a shambling wreck that hadn’t been consistently profitable in almost a decade. Mismanagement combined with bad luck had driven it to the ragged edge of oblivion. What to a large degree saved Activision and made the world safe for World of Warcraft was, of all things, a defunct maker of text adventures which longtime readers of this ongoing history have gotten to know quite well. The fact that Infocom, the red-headed stepchild a previous Activision CEO had never wanted, is directly responsible for Activision’s continuing existence today is one of the strangest aspects of both companies’ stories….
1) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 2) Metropolis (1927) 3) Nosferatu (1922) 4) The Lost World (1925) 5) Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922) 6) Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924) 7) A Trip to the Moon (1902) 8) The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
(8) FULL LID. Alasdair Stuart sends a link to The Full Lid with this introduction:
This week’s Full Lid features a look at the deeply fantastic zombie coming of age comedy musical Anna and the Apocalypse. Also this week, there’s a review of the first issue of the excellent new fantasy detective comic FairLady and a look at the first month of The SCP Archives, a new podcast bringing stories from the legendary wiki fiction experiment to life. The spotlight is James Davis Nicoll, there’s a photo of my word buckets and a short film from excellent Irish writer director Chris Brosnahan.
(9) NEW YORK SLICE. A
heartwarming story about George R.R. Martin. The thread begins here.
Geraldyn “Jerrie” M. Cobb, a noted aviation pioneer and fierce advocate for women flying into space, died March 18 at her home in Florida, her family has revealed. She was 88.
Cobb is perhaps most well-known for her participation in what became known as the “Mercury 13,” a group of 13 women who passed preliminary screening processes in 1960 and 1961 to determine their suitability as astronauts under the guidance of Dr. Randolph Lovelace. Cobb scored in the top 2 percent of all who had taken the battery of tests for candidates previously, including both women and men.
However, the privately funded effort was not officially sanctioned by NASA. A Netflix documentary about the experience, released in 2018, offered a clear verdict for why women were excluded from NASA in the space agency’s early days—”good old-fashioned prejudice,” as one of the participants said.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 19, 1925 — Hugh O’Brian. His only meaningful genre involvement was being Harry Chamberlain in Rocketship X-M in which he was also the voice on the loudspeaker. He’d play the evil Hussein in Son of Ali Baba, and he was Richard Camalier in Doin’ Time on Planet Earth as well. He’d have one-offs appearances on shows such the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and he had five different roles on Fantasy Island. (Died 2016.)
Born April 19, 1933 — W.R. Cole. Author of A Checklist of Science Fiction Anthologies, self-published In 1964. Ok, I’m including him today because I’m puzzled. SFE said of this that ‘Though it has now been superseded and updated by William Contento’s indexes of Anthologies, it is remembered as one the essential pioneering efforts in Bibliography undertaken by sf Fandom.’ Was this really the first time someone compiled an index of anthologies? I seem to remember earlier efforts though I can’t remember precisely who. (Died 2002.)
Born April 19, 1935 — Herman Zimmerman, 83. He was the art director and production designer who worked between 1987 and 2005 for the Trek franchise. Excepting Voyager, he in that era worked on all other live-action productions including the first season of Next Gen, the entire runs of Deep Space Nine and Enterprise, as well as six Trek films. As Memory Alpha notes, “Together with Rick Sternbach he designed the space station Deep Space 9, with John Eaves the USS Enterprise-B and the USS Enterprise-E. His most recognizable work though, have been his (co-)designs for nearly all of the standing sets, those of the bridge, Main Engineering (co-designed with Andrew Probert) and Ten Forward for the USS Enterprise-D in particular.” Not surprisingly, he co-wrote the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual with Rick Sternbach and Doug Drexler.
Born April 19, 1936 — Tom Purdom, 83. There’s very little on him on the web, so I’ll let Michael Swanwick speak to him: ‘How highly do I regard Tom’s fiction? So highly that I wrote the introduction to the collection — and I hate writing introductions. They’re a lot of work. But these stories deserve enormous praise, so I was glad to do it.’ He’s written five novels and has either one or two collections of his stories.
Born April 19, 1946 — Tim Curry, 73. Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show of course is not his first genre appearance as he’d appeared a year earlier at the Scottish Opera in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Puck. (And yes, I adore RHPS.) And yes, I know that he appeared in the live show which was at the Chelsea Classic Cinema and other venues before the film was done. Other genre appearances include playing Darkness in Legend, an outstanding Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, Farley Claymore in The Shadow (great role), another superb performance playing Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island and in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as The Player.
Born April 19, 1952 — Mark Rogers. He’s probably best known for writing and illustrating the Adventures of Samurai Cat series. His debut fantasy novel Zorachus was followed by The Nightmare of God sequel. His novella “The Runestone” was adapted as a film of the same name. And his art is collected in Nothing But a Smile: The Pinup Art of Mark Rogers and The Art of Fantasy. (Died 2014.)
Born April 19, 1967 — Steven H Silver, 52. Fan and publisher, author, and editor. He has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times and Best Fanzine four times without winning. Ok, is that a record? He’s a longtime contributing editor to SF Site and has written that site’s news page since its beginning. Over twenty years ago, he founded the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and has served as a judge ever since. And he publishes his own fanzine, Argentus.
Born April 19, 1968 — Ashley Judd, 51. Best known genre wise for playing Natalie Prior in the Divergent film franchise. She was also Carly Harris-Thompson in the Tooth Fairy film, and was Ensign Robin Lefler in a few episodes of Next Gen. She played Beverly Paige on several episodes of Twin Peaks as well.
The source code of every Infocom text adventure game has been uploaded to code-sharing repository GitHub, allowing savvy programmers to examine and build upon some of the most beloved works of digital storytelling to date.
There are numerous repositories under the name historicalsource, each for a different game. Titles include, but are not limited to, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall, Shogun, and several Zork games—plus some more unusual inclusions like an incomplete version of Hitchhiker’s sequel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Infocom samplers, and an unreleased adaptation of James Cameron’s The Abyss.
[…] The games were written in the LISP-esque “Zork Implementation Language,” or ZIL, which you could be forgiven for not being intimately familiar with already. Fortunately, Scott also tweeted a link to a helpful manual for the language on archive.org.
(16) YTTERBIUM. A
fashion update from John Scalzi:
Sure, if you have the same color eyes as the Easter Bunny….
There is the possibility that the undead will win and destroy all life on Westeros, yes. But that is preferable to returning to life as chattel. If humanity has such a problem with extinction, maybe it shouldn’t have made life a living hell for so many.
There’s just one problem. The show that became famous for its willingness to kill off seemingly essential figures has grown less and less likely to do so. Even before Jon Snow came back from the dead, viewers had begun to develop a sense of which characters were essential to the series’ endgame, and thus impossible to kill off. You didn’t need Ramsay Bolton or even Littlefinger to tie up the story’s loose ends, but it’s impossible to imagine Dany or Jon getting axed for shock value. There was no chance the High Sparrow would dethrone Cersei for good or that Arya would fail the Faceless Men’s tests. The show’s core characters had acquired what fans call “plot armor,” which meant that any time the odds seemed truly hopeless, when they were backed against a wall and there seemed to be no way out, we knew the question wasn’t if they’d escape but only how.
Hunkered down in their hives and drunk on smoke, Notre Dame’s smallest official residents — some 180,000 bees — somehow managed to survive the inferno that consumed the cathedral’s ancient wooden roof.
Confounding officials who thought they had perished, the bees clung to life, protecting their queen.
“It’s a big day. I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn,” Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant told The Associated Press on Friday.
“Instead of killing them, the CO2 (from smoke) makes them drunk, puts them to sleep,” he explained.
Geant has overseen the bees since 2013, when three hives were installed on the roof of the stone sacristy that joins the south end of the monument. The move was part of a Paris-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers. Hives were also introduced above Paris’ gilded Opera.
(20) FELINE EFFECTS. Epic Cats presents a superpowered
Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, John
A Arkansawyer, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter
for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of
the day Kip Williams.]