(1) TRICK OR WHO. The official Doctor Who site says the new series of Doctor Who will premiere on Sunday October 31.
Get ready for Doctor Who: Flux, beginning this Halloween.
There’s also some kind of flash advertising campaign under way, with a number to call:
(2) SCA SETS COVID POLICY. The Society for Creative Anachronism announced a “Board Resolution – COVIDSafe Proof of Fully Vaccinated Status or Negative COVID Test Policy” to govern who is eligible to participate in its events. (A complete copy of the policy is here.)
The SCA Board of Directors aims to balance getting Society participants back to doing the things we love with measures that support Kingdoms in protecting all that people have worked so hard for. Our COVIDSafe Resolutions provide a flexible, risk based framework that allows Kingdoms in the United States and Canada to put in place a core set of requirements that event organisers and individuals must adhere to, based on their current environment and public health directions and advice….
In addition to the existing policy allowing Kingdoms to establish a mask policy, Kingdom Seneschals in consultation with the Crown shall have the discretion to implement the following policy requiring proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of an event start time from all event attendees…
(3) DURING THE SPACE RACE. “Moon Station (1967)” at Dreams of Space displays all the frames of a Soviet school filmstrip produced in 1967 showing the artist’s conception of how a moon colony would be built. Entertaining as well as informative. We’re still waiting for anybody to build a base on the Moon, of course.
(4) WINDY CITY REPORT. Walker Martin’s report on the Windy City Pulp & Paperback show is on page 11 of the Plymouth Review. Photos from the show appear throughout the issue.
(5) BEAR MEDICAL NEWS. Elizabeth Bear gave readers a “Cancer stuff update” at her Throwanotherbearinthecanoe Newsletter.
So, this is gonna get long, but I saw my surgeon on Wednesday and my shiny new medical oncologist on Friday, and the filet (you see what I did there) is that the incisions are healing well, and my tumor samples are being sent for oncotesting (basically genetic analysis of Barry to see what kind of a little bastard he is)….
(6) GILLER PRIZE. One work of genre interest has survived to make the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2021 Shortlist.
- Angélique Lalonde’s story collection Glorious Frazzled Beings (House of Anansi)
The complete five-book shortlist is here.
(7) SPOCK IS NOT LOGICAL: SHOCK, HORROR, DRAMA, PROBE! [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4 has a statistics program. (Yes, disturbing for some as it may be, stats are fun for tru-geeks.) It is called More or Less and it has had its 20th anniversary edition that was book-ended by Star Trek. More or Less: “Behind the Stats, Reason, numbers and Mr Spock”.
It began with a parody of the original Star Trek series opening credits and ended with a defense of a previous edition’s assertion that Star Trek’s Spock was not at all logical: many fan listeners wrote in to complain! In between there were statistics stories from the recent news calling out official figures and some number claims; enough to satisfy your inner nerd.
You can download the mp3 for a few weeks here. You can also enjoy this infographic about The Original Series. Click for a larger image.
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
2002 – Nineteen years ago this evening on The WB, the Birds of Prey series began its brief, thirteen episode run. Set in a post-Batman Gotham, it was loosely based on the DC Comics series of the same name. It starred Ashley Scott as Helena Kyle / Huntress, Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl / Oracle and Rachel Skarsten as Dinah Redmond (née Lance). It also had Shemar Moore as Detective Jesse Reese and Ian Abercrombie as a rather perfect Alfred Pennyworth. The Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earths eventretroactively establishes the world of Birds of Prey as Earth-203 before the Anti-Monitor destroys it. Ooops. There were two different pilots, with Sherilyn Fenn portraying Harley Quinn in the original unaired pilot. Mia Sara plays her in the series. Ratings started out strong but declined rapidly and The WB didn’t pick up the series after the initial thirteen episode run. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a neither good nor bad forty-one percent rating.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 9, 1936 — Brian Blessed, 85. Lots of genre appearances including Space 1999, Blake’s 7, Hamlet (as the ghost of Hamlet’s father), MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis, Johnny and the Dead and in The Phantom Menace. He even managed to show up on Doctor Who in a Sixth Doctor story, “Mindwarp” as King Yrcanos.
- Born October 9, 1948 — Ciaran Carson. Northern Ireland-born poet and novelist who is here, genre wise at least, for his translation of the early Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, which he called simply The Táin. I’m also going to single him out for penning the finest book ever written on Irish traditional music, Last Night’s Fun: About Time, Food and Music. It’s every bit as interesting as Iain Banks’ Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram is. (Died 2018.)
- Born October 9, 1949 — Jim Starlin, 72. Comics artist and illustrator. If you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ve seen the characters Thanos and Drax the Destroyer which he created. He would also work for DC and other companies over the years. Starlin and Bernie Wrightson produced Heroes for Hope, a 1985 one-shot designed to raise money for African famine relief and recovery. Genre writers such as Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, Harlan Ellison, and Edward Bryant would contribute to this undertaking. He’s written a number of genre novels co-written with his wife Daina Graziunas.
- Born October 9, 1953 — Barbara March. She was Lursa, one of the Klingon Duras sisters. She appeared on Next Generation (“Redemption” and “Firstborn”), Deep Space Nine (“Past Prologue”), and Star Trek Generations. Though she did no other genre acting, she played Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the stage and renown for being Lady Macbeth. She wrote a horror novel, The Copper People. (Died 2019.)
- Born October 9, 1954 — Scott Bakula, 67. Lead in two great SF series, Sam Beckett on Quantum Leap and Captain Jonathan Archer on Enterprise. He also starred as Nolan Wood who discovers the alien conspiracy in the remake of The Invaders. Though definitely not genre or even genre adjacent, he was Dwayne Pride on the recently cancelled NCIS: New Orleans.
- Born October 9, 1956 — Robert Reed, 65. Extremely prolific short story writer with at least two hundred tales so far. And a number of novels as well such as the superb Marrow series. I see he won a Hugo at Nippon 2007 for his “A Billion Eves” novella. And he was nominated for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer as well. His latest novel, Poubelle, was just published.
- Born October 9, 1958 — Michael Paré, 63. I’ll start off with being in Streets of Fire which I’m claiming as genre but he’s also been in The Philadelphia Experiment, Lunarcop, both BloodRayne films and Moon 44.
- Born October 9, 1961 — Matt Wagner, 60. The Grendel Tales and Batman / Grendel are very good as is Grendel vs. The Shadow stories he did a few years back. His run on Madame Xanadu was amazing too. Oh, and I’d suggest both issues of House of Mystery Halloween Annual thathe did for some appropriate Halloween reading. And let’s not forget his long run on the Sandman Mystery Theatre.
- Born October 9, 1964 — Guillermo del Toro, 57. Best films? Hellboy, Hellboy II and Pan’s Labyrinth which won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form at Nippon 2007. Hellboy II is watchable over and over just for the Goblin’s Market sequence. His latest project is Pinocchio which will be on Netflix, it’s described as a “stop-motion animated musical fantasy”. Huh.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Cartoonist Joe Heller envisions William Shatner in Space.
- The Argyle Sweater shows two parents telling each other about their unusual careers.
- Dork Tower has a mordant joke about Apple+’s Foundation.
(11) HOLY SHEET! Bleeding Cool alerts fans “There Is Not Enough Paper In America For Comic Books Right Now”. Fortunately, there are plenty of pixels.
Comic books, more than many printed media, are vulnerable to issues with printing. Paper stock, and image reproduction are more of an issue for a graphic novel than a novel. Bleeding Cool has been reporting major delays and stock issues hitting the comics industry, including information from Bad Idea, DC Comics and from Marvel Comics, while there is still a “manga drought” from East Asia. This week we have been informed by a major printer in the field that “we continue to experience pricing and supply chain challenges in many sectors of our business – primarily in the graphic paper (commercial papers, SBS board, and corrugate), ocean, and road freight and branded merchandise markets. All continue to experience extreme volatility, including price increases, extended lead times, product shortages, reduced capacity, and longer transit times.” Here is information that is being shared by printers with their customers, about the issues arising and what publishers need to start doing, including that “there is simply not enough paper making capacity to support the current domestic demand.”
(12) NOT TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE. James Davis Nicoll points Tor.com readers at “Five SF Novels Featuring Ancient Alien Artifacts” even though he finds the idea highly unscientific:
I tend to prefer plausible settings for fiction, as my readers may have noticed. One matter that catches my attention: the implications of geological time scales for the existence of alien relics left behind by visiting extra-solar litterbugs. Many SF stories assume that such visitors will have arrived during the Phanerozoic era. Very often visitors are said to have visited towards the tail end of the Phanerozoic, the Cenozoic….
His first example:
Scarlet Dream by C. L. Moore (1934)
Northwest Smith’s solar system is ancient. The space-tanned Earthman’s civilization is only the latest to call the System home. Artifacts of unknown origin and potentially ominous purpose are scattered over the System like raisins in scones. A prudent man would think twice about acquiring alien artifacts without doing some serious homework re: the device’s past and powers.
Northwest is many things, but prudent is not one of them. He sees only an alluring scarlet scarf. The dream realm in which he is subsequently trapped offers only empty, dissatisfying pleasure. Death appears to be the only escape. Although, as Northwest discovers, it need not be his death…
(13) SPACE COWBOY ROUNDUP. Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, CA has some items for your calendar.
Online Flash Science Fiction Night
Tuesday October 12th 6pm PST
Featuring short science fiction stories by Geoff Habiger, Rodrigo Assis Mesquita, & Tom Purdom
Register for free here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/169769889309
Online Reading and Interview with Gideon Marcus
Tuesday October 19th 6pm PST
Celebrate the release of Gideon’s latest book Sirena
Register for free here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/169201501245
(14) BANNED BOOKS SMELL THIS WAY. North Ave. Candles is offering “Smoked Pine + Parchment / Inspired by Fahrenheit 451”.
No Banned Books Collection would be compete without Bradbury.
Smoked Pine + Parchment is the scents of pine, balsam, bergamot, and smokey birch blended with base notes of antique sandalwood.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
The other 15 candles in their Banned Books Collection include these genre titles:
- White Tea + Rose, inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- Clove + Orange, inspired by A Clockwork Orange
- Ginger + Peach, inspired by James and the Giant Peach
- Sugared Citrus + Island Greens, inspired by Where the Wild Things Are
- Pomegranate + Red Tulip, inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale
- Coffee + Chestnut, Inspired by 1984
(5) TREEHOUSE OF HORROR. The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror XXXII” airs Oct. 10 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox. Mashable pointed to a segment inspired by American pen-and-ink illustrator Edward Gorey.
Rolling Stone added these details:
The annual Halloween episode has often turned horror classics — complete with faux-Vincent Price narration — into fodder for its chapters, and in this clip, Price reads Maggie Simpson a bedtime story called “The Telltale Bart”; however, despite its title, the chapter has little in common with Edgar Allen Poe’s version.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, James Davis Nicoll, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]