Pixel Scroll 5/27/24 Pixel Yourself On A Scroll By A Tickbox

(1) WAYWARD WORMHOLE Signups are being taken for the Rambo Academy Wayward Wormhole – New Mexico 2024. Full details at the link.

The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers is pleased to announce the second annual Wayward Wormhole, this time in New Mexico. Join us for the short story workshop to study with Arley Sorg and Minister Faust, or the novel workshop with Donald Maass, C.C. Finlay, and Cat Rambo.

Both intensive workshops will be hosted at the Painted Pony ranch in Rodeo, New Mexico. The short story workshop runs November 4-12, 2024, and the novel workshop runs November 15 through 24, 2024.

(2) EARLY ENTRY ON THE 2024 BUSINESS MEETING AGENDA. Linda Deneroff, Alexia Hebel, Kevin Standlee, and Kevin Black have submitted to the Glasgow 2024 Business Meeting an amendment to the WSFS Constitution to restore “supporting” and “attending” to replace “WSFS Membership” and “Attending Supplement”.

Short Title: The Way We Were

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution by striking out and inserting the following:

Moved: To replace WSFS Membership with Supporting Membership wherever it appears in the Constitution, and to replace Attending Supplement with Attending Membership, including all similar variations of the words (e.g., WSFS Memberships, WSFS members, attending supplement) to their grammatically correct replacements.

Proposed by: Linda Deneroff, Alexia Hebel, Kevin Standlee, and Kevin Black

Commentary: Since both terms involved the word “Membership” there has been a lot of confusion among people purchasing memberships who do not understand why they have to purchase a “second” membership, or why they have to buy a “WSFS membership” in the first place. Under the original terminology, the price of an attending membership was inclusive of the support price.

Any reimbursement restrictions could still remain in place, with the price of the supporting portion of the attending membership deducted from any refund.

(3) IF IT’S NOT MADE IN MIDDLE-EARTH, IT’S CRAP! “Why Do Dwarves Sound Scottish and Elves Sound Like Royalty?” While Atlas Obscura  tries to say Tolkien had a lot to do with it, their evidence shows it’s not his books but the filmmakers who adapted them that are the greatest influence.

…Of course the original readers couldn’t hear what Tolkien’s creatures sounded like, but the intense focus he placed on developing their languages gave people a pretty good idea. “Tolkien was a philologist,” says Olsen.“This is what he did. He studied language and the history of language and the changing of language over time.”

Tolkien would create languages first, then write cultures and histories to speak them, often taking inspiration from the sound of an existing language. In the case of the ever-present Elvish languages in his works, Tolkien took inspiration from Finnish and Welsh. As the race of men and hobbits got their language from the elves in Tolkien’s universe, their language was portrayed as similarly Euro-centric in flavor.

For the dwarves, who were meant to have evolved from an entirely separate lineage, he took inspiration from Semitic languages for their speech, resulting in dwarven place names like Khazad-dûm and Moria….

… However, the dwarves of the Lord of the Rings movies don’t speak with an Israeli accent, and the elves of Warcraft don’t have a Finnish inflection. This comes down to the differences between how Tolkien portrayed his fantasy races and how he imagined they should talk, and the readers’ interpretation….

(4) KEEP THEM SEQUELS ROLLIN’. “Alien? Mission: Impossible? Toy Story? What is the greatest movie franchise ever?” The Guardian’s staff stake their claims. Here’s Jesse Hassenger’s pick.

Predator

There are a lot of movie series that made it through four or five entries as an unusual rotating showcase for different directors before giving in to the temptation to re-hire past successes. I still love the Alien and Mission: Impossible movies dearly, but they’ve also made me extra-grateful for the rare franchise that has managed to never repeat a director or major (human) cast member. I’m talking – for now – about the Predator movies, the B-movie little siblings to the classier, weirder, more thought-provoking A-list Alien. Only one is bad – the second Alien vs Predator match-up, nonsensically subtitled Requiem. All of the rest, where various badass aliens hunt various opponents (including Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Danny Glover, Olivia Munn, the xenomorph and Adrien Brody, among others) for sport, filter their premise through a different vision of monster-movie splendor. On one level, you always know what you’ll get: clicky noises, gory deaths, those triangle laser-sight things. Yet the specifics have plenty of wiggle room: should they be scary, funny or nasty? Action, horror or sci-fi? It’s a throwback to when movie franchises knew their place as fun programmers, rather than tentpole sagas. Alas, Dan Trachtenberg is about to become the first Predator director to return to the series. He did a great job with the entertaining Prey; it’s just a shame for the series to lose its constant one-and-done churn. For now, I’ll continue to savor those no-nonsense weirdos with the ugly mandibles and over-elaborate armor, and their accidental compatibility with B-movie auteurism. Jesse Hassenger

(5) THAT 70’S ART. This link assembles many examples of “Space Bar” themed examples of “70s Sci-Fi Art”. (And from later, too).

(6) JOHNNY WACTOR (1986-2024). Best known for his work in daytime TV, Johnny Wactor was reportedly killed by thieves on May 25. The New York Times’ summary shows he also had roles in several genre series.

Johnny Wactor, an actor best known for his role in “General Hospital,” was shot and killed on Saturday, reports said, amid what his family described as an attempted theft of a catalytic converter in Los Angeles.

Ms. Wactor said her son thought his car was being towed at first, and when he approached the person to ask, the person “looked up, he was wearing a mask, and opened fire.”

Mr. Wactor … also appeared in episodes of “Westworld,” “The OA” and “Station 19.”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Paul Weimer.]

May 27, 1934 Harlan Ellison. (Died 2018.)

By Paul Weimer. Or, even though he has passed away, he still might sue me from beyond the grave, so Harlan Ellison® .

My reading of Harlan Ellison® was benefited to me thanks to my older brother, whom I have mentioned earlier in this space was mainly responsible for me to get into science fiction and fantasy, and his bookshelf were my early steps into the genre. As it so happened, he had a fair number of the extant Harlan Ellison®  short story collections. So very early on in my SFF reading, I did come across “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream” “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes” and other SFF stories of his. At that early age, I found few SFF short story writers that could match him.

Harlan Ellison at the ABA convention; Larry and Marilyn Niven behind him: Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

And I learned, thanks to the collections my brother had, that Harlan Ellison®   wrote far more than SFF short stories. I’m not even talking about his movie or television scripts.  Ellison is the first SFF author who I read non-SFF work by. I read The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat. I read and reread his criticism of television and cinema and began to understand the wide range of his talent. When I discovered he wrote mimetic short stories, and horror short stories as well, there was a point that I wondered what Ellison didn’t excel at as a writer in the short form.

My favorite Harlan Ellison®  is not “Mouth” because I think that is just too easy an answer. I have a fondness for the sadness of “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes” and the tragic fate of the protagonist. “Jeffty is Five” breaks my heart every time I read it. “The Whimper of Whipped Dogs” moved me, even though I was too young to know it was a take on the Kitty Genovese murder.

I will reach more deeply and go with “Paladin”, which I saw first as the Twilight Zone episode “Paladin of the Lost Hour” and then later read the Hugo winning novelette. It’s a poignant story, with some of the sadness and gray veil that you find in some of Ellison’s work.  It’s as if Harlan Ellison® is grabbing me by the collar and shouting. “Feel something, you coward. Feel something!”.  The anger of raging against the dying of the light and being angry when people shoulder-shrug, give up, and shuffle along?  I may not have ever met Harlan Jay Ellison®, but I think Paladin helps you feel just how powerful, angry, and potent a writer he was. Love him or hate him, his work could not and would not be ignored.  

I think there are definite periods and waves of Harlan Ellison® ‘s work. And like another sui generis artist, David Bowie, you probably will find a wave or period of Harlan Ellison® that you will like best. Not all of his oeuvre worked for me, there is a definite band I like, and a narrower (but not narrow) band that I really like. This may be the consequence of his extensive oeuvre and constant ability to change and try and write new things, or rewrite old things in a new way. Restless, Angry, Raging. Potent. 

 I loved his cameo on Babylon 5 which he served as a creative consultant and wrote an episode “A View from The Gallery”.  (Which may mean that we have  Harlan Ellison®  to thank for Lower Decks, which is to Star Trek that this episode is to the rest of Babylon 5.) 

That, my friends, is the work of Harlan Ellison® 

Harlan Ellison in 2014 at Creation event in Las Vegas.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) ANOTHER HARLAN TRIBUTE. Janis Ian marked Harlan Ellison’s 90th with this tribute on Facebook.

In my life, there have been very few colleagues who viscerally understand having been an “enfant terrible”. Even fewer that lived up to their promise. And even fewer who continued to be brave, and bold, fearlessly speaking out despite the consequences.

Today is the birthday of my late friend Harlan Ellison. A writer who completely understood what it was like for me at the age of 15, when “Society’s Child” became a hit. Unable to connect with most of my peers because of the experiences I was having, unable to much time with those I could connect with, who were always 5 to 10 years older and usually on the road.

Harlan understood better than most that Fame hadn’t changed me, it had changed the people around me. And he understood the impossibility of living up to the expectations placed on me because of my innate talent and ability.

He could be an unbelievable pain in the rear. He could be absolutely impossible. He could be rude and obnoxious and he did not suffer fools. God help you if you annoyed him. But to me, he was unfailingly courteous, generous, kind, and giving. I miss him more than I can say, and I regret the years I did not know him.

(10) APPLAUSE FOR BRENNAN. Rich Horton reviews “Cold-Forged Flame, and Lightning in the Blood, by Marie Brennan” at Strange at Ecbatan.

Marie Brennan has been publishing short SF and Fantasy (mostly Fantasy, I think) for a couple of decades, after winning the Asimov’s Undergraduate Award back in 2003. (That’s an award which spurred some excellent careers over time — writers like Rich Larson, Marissa Lingen, Eric Choi, and Seth Dickinson are also among the past winners.)…

…The two books [Cold-Forged Flame, and Lightning in the Blood] concern Ree, whom we meet “coming into existence” as Cold-Forged Flame opens. She has no idea of her name, only a dim sense of her abilities (she is a warrior, for one thing) and of her character (suspicious, prickly) — but also aware that she is bound to do what the nine people who have summoned her ask. After some debate, she learns what these people want: she must go and bring back a vial of blood from the cauldron of the Lhian. And, in exchange, they offer her her freedom — and, but only after the fact, what knowledge they have of her … history. To tell too much in advance would harm her, they suggest….

(11) SAM I AM. Knowing that a fan’s brain is never sufficiently stuffed with trivia about Tolkien, CBR.com brings us “The Lord the Rings’ Samwise Gamgee’s Real World Inspiration, Explained”.

…In Appendix C of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien explained the in-universe origin of the surname Gamgee. It came from the family’s ancestral village of Gamwich, which meant “game village” in the language of the hobbits. Over time, the name Gamwich evolved into Gamidge and later to Gamgee. This was one of many examples of the great amount of thought and effort that went into even the tiniest worldbuilding details of The Lord of the Rings. However, this backstory was a retroactive explanation that Tolkien came up with long after settling on the name Sam Gamgee for his story’s deuteragonist. The real-world basis for Sam’s surname was more unusual, and its origins predated Tolkien’s conception of Middle-earth.

Gamgee is a real — albeit uncommon — surname. In fact, in 1956, a man named Sam Gamgee wrote a letter to Tolkien after learning that a character in The Lord of the Rings shared his name. Tolkien was surprised and delighted by this coincidence. Since the real Sam had not read the novel for himself, Tolkien assured him that the fictional Sam was “a most heroic character, now widely beloved by many readers” and offered to send him a copy of the book. In Tolkien’s response, he also explained the reason that he chose to use the name. It was a long story that began with a famous surgeon: Dr. Joseph Sampson Gamgee.

Born in 1828, Joseph Gamgee made major strides in the field of aseptic surgery, the practice of ensuring that a doctor’s hands and tools remain sanitary during medical procedures….

(12) WOLFE PACK ON LOCATION. Black Gate has Bob Byrne’s newest installment of “Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone”: “Welcome to Kanawha Spa – The Wolfe Pack 2024 Greenbrier Weekend”. He joined the Wolfe Pack for a descent on the West Virginia resort featured in Too Many Cooks.

…Trish [Parker] is the resident Greenbrier historian. She is also a Wolfe fan! She gave a really cool presentation that talked about the Greenbrier, the logistics of of other locations (Barry Tolman was NOT going to make that court session he was pressing to be at), and other related information.

I loved it! It was really neat. Especially as she knew the story. I really enjoyed it. She took a couple questions and got a healthy round of applause.

Intelligence Guided by Experience – A question I heard more than once over the weekend was, “Did Rex Stout stay here before he wrote the book?” While the thought seemed to be, ‘Probably, as he knew the place pretty well.’ it’s unknown. The records from that early have been lost over the years. No proof he had been to the Greenbrier….

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Rob Jackson, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask #87, A Column of Unsolicited Opinions

Susan and Harlan Ellison in 2014. Photo by Steve Barber.

What Harlan Ellison (STILL) Means To Me

By Chris M. Barkley 

“The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. […] There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the ‘normal’, the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.”

― Harlan Ellison

And what exactly is the art of writing? Because people have been freaking out over the process for many millennia. 

Including myself.

Until I had a near-death experience at the age of forty in October of 1996, I hadn’t really given the matter much thought. But surviving that event, the cataclysmic, coma induced diabetic, bitch slap my body gave me for abusing it so terribly for decades, was enough to give me pause about who I was and what I wanted to do with whatever time I had left on this mortal coil.

Writing, which until that point in my life had been an interesting little sidebar I dabbled in, became an integral and driving force since then.     

The late William H. Gass (1924-2017), who is still regarded in many circles as one of the most highly regarded literary writers who ever lived, compared the process of writing to alchemy, saying, “The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Which brings us to the late Harlan Ellison, whose 90th birthday we celebrate today. He had an entirely different take on the matter: 

“Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you – as if you haven’t been told a million times already – that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching.” 

– Harlan Ellison

With all due respect to Mr. Gass, I’m siding with Mr. Ellison on this point.

Harlan Ellison. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

To say that Harlan Jay Ellison was, no, wait, still is, a huge influence in my life would be a huge understatement. In going through my archives of my memories of him, I came across this, one of my favorite anecdotes about him, that directly affected me, can be found in my 2019 Windycon Fan Guest of Honor Speech, which is linked here.

I first met Harlan in 1978 at Kubla Khan 5 in Nashville, Tennessee. Like countless other people, I found him to be a brilliant writer of fiction and essays, a dynamic personality and above nearly all of his other talents, an amazing and brilliant raconteur.

One story he shared with the audience at that convention was burned into my synapses forever, an incident he had experienced at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Harlan had just finished doing his “business” in a washroom when he noticed out of the corner of his eye that a middle-aged patron was leaving without washing his hands.

Now THIS greatly offended Harlan since, if anything, he was a real stickler for health and cleanliness.

“Hey! You”, he said in his loud, nasally, faux-Brooklyn accent. “You forgot to wash your hands!”

The man in question turned and said something incredibly rude about Harlan’s parentage and proceeded to walk out into the terminal.

Enraged at this person’s intransigence, Harlan burst out of the restroom and trailed behind the man screaming at the top of his lungs, “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN! DON’T TOUCH HIM! HE DIDN’T WASH HIS HANDS!”

And he did this. All the way to this person’s departure gate.

Now, I told you that story to tell you this one: For Chicon 2000, I was promoted from my regular duties in the Worldcon Press Office to serve on Chairman Tom Veal’s staff AND as the Fairmont Hotel liaison. It was a very important position, which I shared with my ex-wife, in that both the Masquerade and the Hugo Award Ceremony were being held there.

One afternoon, I was finishing my “business” in the restroom, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a middle-aged fan was leaving without washing his hands.

My mind immediately flashed back to Harlan’s story. My first thought was, I am NOT Harlan Ellison. And then my second thought was, “What would Harlan do?”

So, within a few seconds, I screwed up my moral courage and, in my even tempered, faux-midwestern black accent, I spoke up and said, “Excuse me, but you forgot to wash your hands.”

The fan whirled around and shouted, “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD!”

Needless to say, I was taken aback. But fortunately, my skills as a radio talk show host and a standup comedian kicked into high gear:

“You see this?” I pointed to the bright blue COMMITTEE ribbon hanging on my convention badge and stated with absolute authority:

“While you’re here at this convention, this ribbon says I AM YOUR DAD!!”

The fan sighed, turned and washed his hands.


“You must never be afraid to go there.”

― Harlan Ellison


Harlan Ellison. Photo by Jill Bauman.

I have recounted here before that the very first story of his I read was in the summer of 1972 (courtesy of my good friend and fellow File 770 columnist Michaele Jordan), was one his most infamous stories, the 1969 novella “A Boy and His Dog”. It featured in her paperback copy of the 1970 edition of World’s Best Science Fiction edited by Donald Wollheim and Terry Carr. Needless to say, my fifteen-year-old mind was blown wide open.

(I tend to think she gave me this particular story to read ON PURPOSE, like a good friend should. Thanks Again, Michaele…)

Harlan Ellison immediately became, and in many ways still is, my favorite writer. And it was a great time to discover his works; Again, Dangerous Visions and Alone Against Tomorrow (1972), Approaching Oblivion (1974), Deathbird Stories and No Door, No Windows (1975), The Illustrated Harlan Ellison and Strange Wine (1978) and that’s only the fiction published during that period.

After devouring those books, I went back and discovered earlier collections; Ellison Wonderland, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream and The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World amaze me to this day. 

And who am I to argue that “‘Repent, Harlequin!’, Said the Ticktockman” is NOT one of the greatest short stories ever written? 

Harlan’s non-fiction works, such as his fascinating books of essays on television, The Glass Teat (1970) and The Other Glass Teat (1975), gave me some very up close and personal observations of the television industry and the media manipulations of that era that still serve me well to this day.

“The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.”

Harlan Ellison, Strange Wine

Of course, I, like many people before me, tried to imitate his style. And, like those countless other writers, found that this was an incredibly foolish endeavor. Because there was, is, only one Harlan Ellison. You can write as sharply, angry and curmudgeonly as you like but there is no way anyone, myself included, can duplicate Harlan’s life, education, perceptions and experiences into words. 

The lesson that I learned was that I needed to write what I feel, what I have experienced, what I have felt and what I know to be true.

And the hard truth was that for decades, I was afraid to express myself, in my writing or in real life. But, as I grew older, I eventually realized that Harlan also was right in another regard; embracing and wrestling with one’s fears and overcoming them not only led me to be a better writer, but to being a better person as well.

In the numerous times I saw Harlan Ellison in person, either on university tours or at conventions, he frequently claimed, over and over again, that he NEVER wrote ‘science fiction”, per se. Some people, lesser literary minds one might say, just perceived and labeled his fiction that way, much to his frustration:

“What I write is hyperactive magic realism. I take the received world and I reflect it back through the lens of fantasy, turned slightly so you get a different portrait.”

— Harlan Ellison

And Harlan hated, hated, HATED the artificial neologism “sci-fi” and constantly being called a “sci-fi writer” (even up to and, unfortunately, after his death) was one of the worst insults he had to endure. In my earliest encounters with him, he passed along this intense dislike directly to me. To this day, I’d rather eat a raw onion and gummy worm sandwich than have that (alleged) word pass my lips.

Six years ago, a commenter named Joe Adams wrote one of the most succinct and elegant answer as to why Harlan felt that way that I have ever read, excerpted here from Quora:

“Harlan objected to the term because it restricted writers in flexibility and in payscale. Sci-Fi was the cheap spaceships, rayguns, and aliens cranked out for pulps and comic books. It was low-paying and serious authors, like himself or Philip K. Dick, were the Rodney Dangerfields of writing – “No Respect.” And tiny paychecks…I can’t say he single handedly changed the face of 21st Century fiction, but he is closer to that claim than anyone else I can think of. He shepherded new talent, chided the old, and cranked out his own hundred-plus title bibliography at the same time…He brought a simple concept to the Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction arena – be a Mensch. Stand up for what you believe, show up for what you believe, put your money where your mouth is, complete what you start, and take as good as you give. 

Society at large is welcome to use it on a regular basis but, like Harlan, I remain steadfast in my utter revulsion of it.

“Like a wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we were, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.”

― Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison in 1981. Photo by Marsha Traeger for the LA Times.

Here’s something weird; in examining my life, I have found some strange and opposing parallels in my life and Harlan’s:

  • Harlan was white and Jewish, I am black and raised catholic.
  • Harlan was born in Painesville, Ohio (near Cleveland) and I was born almost directly southwest from him in the other corner of Ohio, in Cincinnati.
  • In his youth, Harlan could recite, from memory, the starting lineup of the 1948 World Champion Cleveland Indians of the American League (now, thankfully, the Guardians). I can still name the Great Eight lineup of the 1975-1976 double World Champion Cincinnati Reds (AKA, the Big Red Machine).
  • Harlan was well known as a double threat, writing fiction and non-fiction in great quantities. I am only known for my smaller amount of social activism in fandom and these columns.
  • Harlan earned an enormous amount of money (by my standards) during his lifetime. I have never accepted a dime for anything I’ve written (so far).
  • Harlan has won a ton of awards and accolades, I have (allegedly) won only one Hugo Award. 
  • Harlan relished performing for the public and being in the spotlight and the center of attention. And while I have given speeches and have spoken on both radio and television, I prefer observing than being observed.
  • Harlan (and his lovely partner in life, Susan) have left the building. And I remain, mourning their absence.

“The passion for revenge should never blind you to the pragmatics of the situation. There are some people who are so blighted by their past, so warped by experience and the pull of that silken cord, that they never free themselves of the shadows that live in the time machine…

And if there is a kind thought due them, it may be found contained in the words of the late Gerald Kersh, who wrote:”… there are men whom one hates until a certain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the writhing of something nailed down and in torment.”

― Harlan Ellison, from The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective

Susan and Harlan Ellison. Photo by Annie Fishbein.

Harlan Ellison was not a perfect person. I have witnessed and read about his public mistakes and social faux pas. We know now, after the fact, that he suffered from a myriad of various illnesses and maladies. It does not excuse some of his behavior and we don’t need to recount them here. I tend to think he would loathe being called a role model for anyone or any cause. 

I, too, have made mistakes in my life.  I often cringe at the thought of them when I dredge them up out of my memory banks.

But here’s the thing; in the wake of those actions, for good or for ill, he strived to move forward. In the end, it was his will to do that, no matter what the odds, to do better and be better. And I have as well. 

That’s a lesson that’s worth remembering.

“To say more is to say less.”

― Harlan Ellison

I do not consider myself to be a follower, disciple or an acolyte of Harlan Ellison. I am a reader and a writer.

To me, Harlan’s greatest legacy is as a teacher; to write clear and understandable prose, to stand up for what you believe, to give no quarter or comfort to those who would oppress another person’s rights and to rally against censorship, lies and disinformation at every opportunity. 

How should we honor the memory of Harlan Ellison? 

By remembering.

By remembering his countless acts of kindness towards his fans and colleagues.

By remembering his works and keeping them in print for others to discover.

By remembering that while you are alive, each day brings an opportunity to be better AND do better, for yourself, the people in your life and even for random people who need your help, today and every day that follows.  

Remember Harlan Ellison’s epitaph, the very last words that he wanted to be known by:

“For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.”

-Harlan Jay Ellison, 27 May 1934  –  28 June 2018

Pixel Scroll 5/26/24 How Can You Have Any Pixels If You Won’t Scroll Your File?

(1) HIGHEST QUALITY DUMPS. Dorothy Grant points writers at “Excellent info on infodumping well” at Mad Genius Club.

I used to think I hated infodumps. I’ve come to realize, with careful line-by-line analysis of works I love and works I find mediocre, that I hate poorly-done infodumps.

What is the difference?

Relevancy, and timeliness.

Here’s an excerpt from Grant’s advice about relevancy:

Relevancy:
“Who is my audience and what specific question does it need answered?”

If my audience are current and prior military looking for a thriller, then that affects how I present the answer, as opposed to if my audience are civilian women over 40 looking for a light romance read that will not tax them by forcing them to think.

…But even in thrillers, where the audience enjoys the deep dive into the specs on the submarine, or the loadout someone’s carrying, they only enjoy it if it’s useful to the story.

(2) ARKS LOST AND FOUND. Julien*s Auctions has an array of highly recognizable props in its “Hollywood Legends: Danger, Disaster & Disco” auction happening June 12-14.

From beloved blockbusters to side-splitting comedies, cult classics, and even thought-provoking art films, this auction is a treasure trove for movie enthusiasts. Brace yourself as The Big Lebowski, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial take center stage, alongside the electrifying disco inferno of Saturday Night Fever. Marvel and DC fans, prepare to unleash your inner superhero as this auction proudly showcases astounding treasures from the beloved comic book universes.

An original production-used Ark of the Covenant prop as used during the making of the action-adventure Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark (Lucasfilm Ltd., 1981). 

This ark prop is composed of wood, plastic trophy figures (missing arms), hot glue, and gold-tone paint. The back side of the ark is unfinished and is painted black. The Ark is uniquely constructed from layers of picture frames and hot glue, placed together to form an ornate design. The top of the Ark features a hinged lid and a “battleship gray” painted interior. A cut-out portion of the interior of the lid may have been used to mount the trophy figures and frames on the surface of the lid, or may have served a purpose during pyro experimentation.

An original hero large-scale filming miniature of the USOS Seaview submarine from the Irwin Allen science fiction film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (20th Century Fox, 1961) and the television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (20th Century Fox Television, 1964 – 1968). 

(3) FANZINE NEWS. Chinese fan RiverFlow discusses plans for an English language edition in time for the Worldcon.

(4) CORFLU FIFTY WINNERS FOR 2025. The Corflu Fifty guests at next year’s Corflu – Corflu 42 in Newbury, UK – will be Nic and Jennifer Farey. 

The Corflu Fifty are a group of fans who jointly pay for some worthy person to attend the convention. Rich Coad is the US Administrator and Rob Jackson the UK Administrator.

Rob Jackson sent the news with this comment: “Donations over and above the standard contributions by the C50 members are always welcome, of course; but we are being ambitious in supporting a couple for a Transatlantic trip this year.  Fandom – especially fanzine fandom – will be doing its best to support them, of course.”

(5) AMENDED HUGO BALLOT. Xueting C. Ni, translator of a Hugo finalist, asks Glasgow to add their credit:

(6) GARFIELD MAKES MAX MADDER. According to the New York Times, “‘Furiosa’ Is a Box Office Dud, Adding to Hollywood Woes”.

Hollywood expected “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” to scorch the box office over the holiday weekend. Instead, the big-budget Warner Bros. prequel iced it over.

“Furiosa,” which cost $168 million to make, not including tens of millions of dollars in marketing costs, collected an estimated $25.6 million in the United States and Canada from Thursday night to Sunday. Box office analysts expected the film to take in about $5.4 million on Monday, for a holiday-weekend total of $31 million….

…Hollywood had high expectations for “Furiosa,” which Warner Bros. premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; the movie received exceptional reviews. On Sunday, however, it was unclear whether “Furiosa” would manage even first place at the box office. Analysts said the poorly reviewed “Garfield” (Sony), which cost $60 million to make, could inch ahead. It could also be a tie….

(7) ELUSIVE MEMORY. Phil Foglio sent a note about yesterday’s birthday celebrant, Ian McKellen:

Hardly anybody remembers this one, and it’s a damn shame: The best film version of the Scarlet Pimpernel. (1982) McKellen is the romantic villain, Paul Chauvelin. He is hilarious, heart-breaking, and ice-cold terrifying, and his is not even the best performance in the movie.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

May 26, 1923 James Arness. (Died 2011.) We are here tonight to discuss Marshall Matt Dillion, errr, I mean James Arness. Though he’s certainly best remembered for playing that role on Gunsmoke. It premiered on September 10, 1955 and would run until March 31, 1975, on CBS, with six hundred and thirty-five episodes. 

James Arness in 1970. Photo by Steve Mays.

The first two seasons were not called Gunsmoke, but rather were Marshall Dillon.  I’m not much of a Western fan but what I saw of the few seasons I really liked.

After cancellation, there would be four Gunsmoke films about ten to twenty years later. Not going to comment on how old that made the actors who were still with us at that point… 

So, his genre-related films. 

Well, he did save Mike’s city from giant ants in Them where he played FBI agent Robert Graham. With others, he discovers that all the incidents plaguing Mike’s city are due to giant ants that have been mutated by atomic radiation.

In The Thing from Another World, mostly called The Thing, he played, errrr, The Thing. Cast in the role because of being six feet seven inches tall, he made a most splendid monster. Of course, you know that The Thing is based on the “Who Goes There?” which was written by John W. Campbell.

Arness as the Thing.

Lastly, he was Kirk Hamilton in Two Lost Worlds which was a really low budget Fifties film that had dinosaurs and pirates in it. How low budget? The dinosaurs appear 58 minutes into the film. They were taken from footage recycled from the One Million B.C. Film that had ended up in the bin. Yeah, they were considered that bad. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Broom Hilda avoids the second novel problem.
  • Frazz ponders the difference between rereads and sequels.
  • Free Range introduces a needed superhero.
  • Shoe says an actor’s roles point to an inescapable conclusion.
  • Thatababy explains brain freeze. Can you name the characters?
  • The Argyle Sweater updates a fairy tale.

(10) ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER. “Daniel Radcliffe not expecting to return for Harry Potter TV show”, so he tells Entertainment Weekly.

When it comes to the upcoming Harry Potter TV series, don’t expecto patronum Daniel Radcliffe to make an appearance.

The actor, who of course played the Boy Who Lived in all eight of the blockbuster Harry Potter movies, recently told E! News that he didn’t think a role or cameo in the upcoming entry into the Wizarding World was in the cards for him.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think they very wisely want to [have] a clean break. And I don’t know if it would work to have us do anything in it.”

And that’s perfectly all right with the 34-year-old actor, who added he is “very happy to just watch along with everyone else.”

Radcliffe remained coy when asked what his response would be should the Max production team actually conjure up an opportunity for him to return, though. “I’m gonna be a politician about this,” he said, “and not deal in hypotheticals.”…

(11) REPLICANT CHOW. [Item by Steven French.] This is a bit of a tangential genre allusion but I love Jay Rayner’s restaurant reviews in The Observer and I just couldn’t resist bringing this passage from his latest to the Collective Attention: “Sam’s Montpellier, Cheltenham: ‘Dishes that deserve our attention’ – restaurant review” in the Guardian:

…She smiles broadly. “Here at Sam’s, we have…” Pause. “A small plates concept. A bit like tapas.” You do? Oh, you marvellous, dear, young person. And if that sounds like I’m being patronising all I can say is, how clever of you to notice. In this job you see things. Granted, restaurant reviewing isn’t all attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, and C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate, but it can be challenging. So when someone threatens profound difference, sweaty-palmed trepidation is reasonable. And when that difference turns out to be something achingly familiar, so is relief….

(12) WILL YOU FAIL TO PROVE YOU’RE NOT A ROBOT? NPR agrees, “It’s not your imagination. CAPTCHA tests are getting harder”. Weekend Edition host Scott Simon interviews cybersecurity expert Amanda Fennell.

… SIMON: What are some of the hardest CAPTCHA tests out there that you’ve seen?

FENNELL: Well, I actually am one of those people who’s challenged by them. There’s a percentage of the human population, about 3%, actually, that have a literal issue whenever they see these kind of stimulant tests. And so, for me, personally, they’re horrible. And it doesn’t matter if I do the audio or the visual. I have a high probability of failing it.

SIMON: And you’re a cybersecurity expert.

FENNELL: I know. That’s what they say. Yeah. But there are some better alternatives to what they’ve been using for CAPTCHA, the version 1, 2, 3, ReCAPTCHA with Google. There are better ideas that are coming out in more recent years.

SIMON: And they are coming out, right? There are things on the horizon?

FENNELL: You may have seen some of them. My personal favorite is actually gamification. It’s, you know, some kind of an image that’ll say, can you plant a garden? And you have to move the images that make sense. Simple questions, you know, what’s one plus one? Things like that. Sliders, which all of us Apple users love to see when we see a slider across the screen. But a lot of things are actually happening behind the scenes. This is actually concerning. And I don’t want to get on a soapbox, but this…

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Ryan George checks out “What Facebook Is Like Now” – and it’s worse than any horror movie you can see in a theater, that’s for damn sure.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Rob Jackson, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

Do You Want To Own the First Hugo Award Ever Given?

Ackerman and Asimov as first ever Hugo Award is presented in 1953.

On June 7 the Hugo Award given to Forrest J Ackerman by Isaac Asimov at the 1953 Worldcon will be up for auction – the first ever presented. Also on the block is the honorary Hugo Award given to Hugo Gernsback in 1960 as “The Father of Science Fiction.” These two pieces of Hugo Awards history are part of Hindman Auctions’ “Fine Books and Manuscripts, including Worlds of Tomorrow, and Americana”. The complete auction catalog is online.

Here’s their entry for Ackerman’s Hugo.

THE VERY FIRST HUGO EVER AWARDED.

Overall dimensions 15 x 6 1/4 x 6 1/4″. Metal award on wooden base with engraved plaque (slight separation in wood at base, some scratches and gouges, one rocket flap missing). Engraved on plaque: “11th / World / Science-Fiction / Convention / Award / 1953.” Later mounted onto elevated wooden platform. Provenance: Forrest J. Ackerman (1916-2008), American editor, magazine publisher, and science fiction author; acquired by the present owner directly from Ackerman.

The 11th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) took place at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia on 5-7 September 1953. Though the Hugo Awards were originally conceived as a one-off event, they proved so popular that organizers, having skipped handing them out during the 12th WorldCon, reinstated them in 1955 and thereafter made them a tradition. This award was issued to Forrest J. Ackerman for being the #1 Fan Personality. Accompanied by photograph of Ackerman receiving award.

Incidentally, history records that immediately after he was handed the very first Hugo Award as #1 Fan Personality at the 1953 Worldcon, Ackerman declined it in favor of Ken Slater and abandoned the little rocket-shaped trophy on stage to be forwarded to Britain. This was acknowledged a magnificent gesture by everyone. Decades later, Ackerman secured the return of the trophy so it could be added to his collection, having asked Slater whether he had plans for the award when he passed on. Thus, it became part of Ackerman’s estate when Forry died in 2009.

The catalog says Gernsback’s Hugo was also formerly owned by Ackerman.

HONORARY HUGO AWARDED TO THE “FATHER OF SCIENCE FICTION”, HUGO GERNSBACK.

Overall dimensions 21 1/2 x 6 1/4 x 6″ .Metal award on wooden base with engraved plaque (scratches, nicks and dents, green spot on back of model). Engraved on plaque: “To Hugo Gernsback / The Father of Magazine Science Fiction from Science Fiction Fandom 1960.” Provenance: Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967), American editor and magazine publisher; given by his wife, Mary Gernsback (1914-1985), to Forrest J. Ackerman (1916-2008), American editor, magazine publisher, and science fiction author; acquired by the present owner directly from Ackerman.

Widely considered to be the “Father of Science Fiction,” publisher and writer Hugo Gernsback’s best-known work, Amazing Stories, left an indelible mark on science fiction and on the American pop cultural landscape at large; as of 2024 the magazine has been in operation for nearly a hundred years. This award was presented to Hugo Gernsback as a special award which formally recognized him as the Father of Science Fiction. It was later gifted to Forrest J. Ackerman by Gernsback’s widow, Mary.

The auctioneers estimate each trophy may bring $5,000-$7,000.

[Thanks to Linda Deneroff for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 5/25/24 If A Pixel Scrolls In A File And No Notification Goes Out, Is Yngvi Still A Louse?

(1) ANTHRO NEW ENGLAND LEADERSHIP TURNOVER. Anthro New England, a furry convention held in Boston, issued statements yesterday and today about the removal of two top officers, Remy and Scales. The specific reasons are not given. Comments in social media are speculative.

Statement May 24

Statement May 25

Remy, one of the officers, replied online:

The account identified with Scales also made comments.

An individual whose X.com account is @psykhedelos announced they have also resigned their position with the con.

(2) CARTOON BY TEDDY HARVIA. Here’s a character who can have it both ways.

(3) SHATNER TO RECEIVE ROBERT HEINLEIN MEMORIAL AWARD. William Shatner accepted the National Space Society’s Robert Heinlein Memorial Award last night at the ISDC: “International Space Development Conference 2024 beams up Star Trek’s William Shatner and more in Los Angeles” reports Space.com.

The stars of Star Trek are about to get a taste of real-life space exploration when they beam into the 2024 International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles this weekend, and you have a chance join them to get your space fix. 

On Friday (May 24), actor William Shatner, who originated the role of Captain James T. Kirk and launched into space on a Blue Origin rocket in 2021, will receive the Robert Heinlein Memorial Award “for his deep impact on public perception of the human expansion into space, which boldly highlighted diversity and inclusion previously unseen on television,” conference officials said in a statement. The award, which is given annually by the nonprofit National Space Society at ISDC, is just one event featuring Star Trek actors. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can learn how to attend the ISDC conference at the at isdc.nss.org.

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” actor Melissa Navia, who portrays helm pilot Lt. Erica Ortegas, will host the 2024 ISDC conference. NSS officials have also recruited her fellow Trek alums in a May 26 panel “Science Fiction to Science Fact” featuring Nana Visitor (Major Kira Nerys on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), John Billingsley (Doctor Flox on “Star Trek: Enterprise”) and other Trek and sci-fi veterans to discuss “how science fiction has, and will continue to, transition into our everyday lives, and ultimately, the exploration of space.” 

But real science fact is the main draw for ISDC, which is expected to draw over 1,000 attendees to its talks at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport.

“ISDC 2024 talks will cover the exploration, development, and settlement of the Moon, Mars, and cislunar space; deep space exploration; innovative spaceflight technology; the commercialization of space and space infrastructure; life support systems; collaboration in space; living in space; space solar power; space debris mediation solutions; planetary defense; space law; and both national and international space policy, among others,” organizers wrote in an overview.

This year, the conference’s theme of “No Limits” has drawn in retired astronauts Susan Kilrain and Jose Hernandez, as well as Alan Stern (who leads the New Horizon mission to Pluto and beyond, as well as Vast Space CEO Max Haot, Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin and YouTube creators Isaac Arthur and Brian McManus….

(3) RETCON OF THE RINGS. Inverse compares J.R.R. Tolkien to George Lucas in “73 Years Ago, J.R.R. Tolkien Changed Gollum Canon Forever — It’s About to Happen Again”. – It burns! It burns!

…Published in 1937, The Hobbit transformed fantasy literature like no other book before or since. Presented as an intricate middle-grade children’s chapter book, The Hobbit tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the titular Hobbit, as he is pulled into a great journey beyond his cozy home in the Shire. Along with a company of Dwarves, and Gandalf the Wizard, this proto-fellowship encounters various threats, which all get scarier and scarier as the book progresses. The world-building of The Hobbit is shockingly vivid, and, nearly thirty years later, in 1954, when Tolkien decided to expand his world of Middle-earth into a larger epic with his trilogy of novels — The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King — very little adjustment to his landscape was needed. Only two elements had to be heavily revised to make the setting of The Hobbit click: The Ring of Power itself, and its bedraggled former owner, Gollum. And so, in 1951, three years before The Lord of the Rings was published, Tolkien published a new version of The Hobbit.

As extensively revealed by Bonniejean Christensen in the 1975 nonfiction book A Tolkien Compass, “Gollum’s function differs in the two works. In The Hobbit, he is one in a series of fallen creatures on a rising scale of terror. In The Lord of the Rings, he is an example of the damned individual who loses his own soul because of devotion to evil…”

Gollum is not the big bad of The Hobbit and is left behind by Bilbo roughly midway through the book. Crucially, in the original 1937 and 1938 editions of The Hobbit, Gollum is not a depraved maniac addicted to the Ring’s power. Nor is the Ring suggested to be sentient in the original Hobbit. All of those details were altered by Tolkien by 1951 when he changed the text and meaning of Chapter 5: “Riddles in the Dark.”

There are several examples of these changes, but the most relevant alteration is the later suggestion to the reader that Gollum is a crazed murderer and can’t be trusted to be bound by the rules of the riddle game. In the 1937 version, Gollum is just a weird creature.

From the original Hobbit (1937):

“But funnily enough he [Bilbo] need not have been alarmed. For one thing Gollum had learned long ago was to never cheat at the riddle-game, which is a sacred one and of immense antiquity.”

From the revised Hobbit (1951, 1965, et al.):

“He knew of course, the riddle-game was sacred and of immense antiquity and even wicked creatures were afraid to cheat when they played it. But he [Bilbo] felt he could not trust this slimy thing [Gollum] to keep any promise at a pinch. Any excuse would do for him to slide out of it. And after all that last question had not been a genuine riddle according to the ancient laws.”

Tolkien tinkered with “Riddles in the Dark” up until 1966, making him something of a George Lucas; continually modifying his story to fit with his other books. This retcon of Gollum’s character was so entirely successful that if you read The Hobbit now, you will only find the latter text. The 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, published in 2012, acknowledges the changes to “Riddles in the Dark,” briefly, in a section toward the front of the book, but the only way to get your hands on the first version of “Riddles in the Dark” — short of buying an extremely expensive 1937 or 1938 Hobbit — is to read Douglas A. Anderson’s The Annotated Hobbit, where he elucidates some these changes.

(4) DEEP DICTIONARY DIVE. Greg Cwik reviews a new Ellison compilation edited by J. Michael Straczynski: “Beamed from Within: On Harlan Ellison’s ‘Greatest Hits’” in the LA Review of Books. Harlan’s polysyllabic vocabulary is contagious but not fatal.

…In 1996, the year he won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, Ellison defined his writing for us: “What I write is hyperactive magic realism. I take the received world and I reflect it back through the lens of fantasy, turned slightly so you get a different portrait.” Ellison wrote like a man suffering from perpetual fever hallucinations, his stories governed by an inimitable eerie logic….

… Ellison’s writing has the electric shock of a malfunctioning machine, words like sparks spraying out. Yet there is humanity—bitter, yes, and often mean, with lust for life unrequited by the vicissitudes of fate, but Ellison’s best work is endowed with the spirit of man with a big, bruised, beating heart. He was a man fascinated by and disappointed with the society roiling around him, and thus his characters are also often denied penance and peace. Ellison is that rare beast, a writer who suffuses his work with smart-man musings without the boring, masturbatory listing of dead philosophers to boost intellectual credit. Except when he did do that (I’m not judging—I’m doing the same thing). In his nonfiction, he bemoans, with avidity, elitists’ tendency to intellectualize everything, while doing so himself, which he undoubtedly knows, just another layer of irony in the madman’s spiritual coils. He was a complicated, even hypocritical man of singular style and insoluble beliefs. (He also dressed real snazzy.)…

(5) RICHARD M. SHERMAN (1928-2024). “Richard M. Sherman, who fueled Disney charm in ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘It’s a Small World,’ dies at 95”. The AP News profile lists many of his credits, work done with his late brother Robert.

…Sherman, together with his late brother Robert, won two Academy Awards for Walt Disney’s 1964 smash “Mary Poppins” — best score and best song, “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” They also picked up a Grammy for best movie or TV score. Robert Sherman died in London at age 86 in 2012….

…Their hundreds of credits as joint lyricist and composer also include the films “Winnie the Pooh,” “The Slipper and the Rose,” “Snoopy Come Home,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Magic of Lassie.” Their Broadway musicals included 1974’s “Over Here!” and stagings of “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in the mid-2000s.

…They wrote over 150 songs at Disney, including the soundtracks for such films as “The Sword and the Stone,” “The Parent Trap,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Aristocrats” and “The Tigger Movie.”

“It’s a Small World” — which accompanies visitors to Disney theme parks’ boat ride sung by animatronic dolls representing world cultures — is believed to be the most performed composition in the world. It was first debuted at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair pavilion ride….

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

May 25, 1939 Ian McKellen, 85. Now remember that the following are roles are the ones that I like, not all the roles that he’s done. 

For me, that’d be him playing a nearly ninety-year-old retired detective who’s a beekeeper in Mr. Holmes who given the title of the film is obviously intended to that Holmes. He’s played as an individual who is struggling to recall the details of his final case because his mind is slowly deteriorating. He plays this with considerable dignity. 

Ian McKellen at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Yes, I think he made a magnificent Gandalf the White in Jackson’s telling of Tolkien’s story. Note I didn’t say Tolkien’s story as it’s Jackson’s story. Now McKellen pulled off that role as he did not wear a wig or any prosthetics at all. His website detailing the shooting The Fellowship of The Ring says he had very little make-up time either. 

A film that I think that doesn’t get as much love as it should get is The Shadow which I’m very, very fond of. He played Dr. Reinhardt Lane there and did a very nice job of doing it. 

Now he was the narrator of Stardust based somewhat loosely off Gaiman’s novel. And he made a truly magnificent narrator here. Now him narrating an audiobook of that novel would be as delightful as the one Gaiman did which yes I wholeheartedly recommend. 

I’ve not seen it, though I very much want to, but forty-five years ago, the Royal Shakespeare Company production of MacBeth was filmed by Thames Television, and it featured Ian McKellen as Macbeth and Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth. That sounds awesome. It’s available on DVD. 

Well those are my favorite roles by him. What are yours? 

(7) COMICS SECTION.

(8) AI LEAVES EGG ON GOOGLE’S FACE.  Or would if Google had a face. “Google AI Overviews Search Errors Cause Furor Online”. (This is an unlocked New York Times article.)

Last week, Google unveiled its biggest change to search in years, showcasing new artificial intelligence capabilities that answer people’s questions in the company’s attempt to catch up to rivals Microsoft and OpenAI….

…The incorrect answers in the feature, called AI Overview, have undermined trust in a search engine that more than two billion people turn to for authoritative information. And while other A.I. chatbots tell lies and act weird, the backlash demonstrated that Google is under more pressure to safely incorporate A.I. into its search engine….

… [T]hings quickly went awry, and users posted screenshots of problematic examples to social media platforms like X.

AI Overview instructed some users to mix nontoxic glue into their pizza sauce to prevent the cheese from sliding off, a fake recipe it seemed to borrow from an 11-year-old Reddit post meant to be a joke. The A.I. told other users to ingest at least one rock a day for vitamins and minerals — advice that originated in a satirical post from The Onion….

(9) ONE WRITER’S FAVE. Chowhound is going to tell you “Why Peanut Butter And Onion Sandwiches Are Named After Ernest Hemingway”.

… Ernest felt onion sandwiches were the perfect meal to enjoy while fishing. Exactly when he began adding peanut butter to the mix is uncertain, but the writer memorialized the PB&O in his novel “Islands in the Stream,” which came out after his death….

…During the Great Depression of the 1930s, an onion stuffed with peanut butter was just one of many fascinating foods, along with dandelion salad and water pie, that was commonly eaten. So a variation on these food combinations isn’t all that out of the ordinary. And, as it turns out, science is on the side of this sandwich. As Marie Wright, chief global flavorist for American food processing giant ADM, told The Takeout, peanut butter and onion complement each other because they both have sulfur-containing compounds…

(10) THE MUNSTERS’ LUCKY NUMBER. SYFY Wire reports “James Wan Eyeing New Take on The Munsters Titled 1313 From Universal”.

The Munsters might be moving back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Variety reports that Universal Studio Group is developing a reboot of the iconic monstrous (but friendly!) family from the 1960s sitcom. 

The Munsters, which premiered in 1964 and ran for two seasons, followed the titular family. There was Herman Munster (a Frankenstein’s Monster-type), his wife Lily (a vampire), Grandpa (elderly Count Dracula), daughter Merilyn (a normal-looking young woman), and little Eddie (a werewolf). Despite their monstrous appearances, the Munsters were just as normal as any other red-blooded American family… well, almost as normal. 

The new series — which is still in the works with no details announced yet — is being developed by James Wan of SawThe Conjuring, Aquaman, Furious 7, and M3GAN fame. Lindsey Anderson Beer and Ingrid Bisu are also listed as developers, per Variety, and Beer will serve as the showrunner and executive producer along with Wan. 

According to the official logline, the upcoming take is described as a horror series that “lives and breathes within the Universal Monsterverse” — suggesting that these new Munsters might not be as cuddly as the original ‘60s incarnation. 

The tentative name for the reboot is 1313, after the family’s address at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. …

(11) THEY’RE THE TOPS. “NASA Earns Best Place to Work in Government for 12 Straight Years”.

For the 12th year in a row, the Partnership for Public Service named NASA the best place to work among large agencies in the federal government. “Once again, NASA has shown that with the world’s finest workforce, we can reach the stars,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Through space exploration, advances in aviation, groundbreaking science, new technologies, and more, the team of wizards at NASA do what is hard to achieve what is great. That’s the pioneer spirit that makes NASA the best place to work in the federal government. With this ingenuity and passion, we will continue to innovate for the benefit of all and inspire the world.” The Partnership for Public Service began to compile the Best Places to Work rankings in 2003 to analyze federal employees’ viewpoints on leadership, work-life balance, and other factors of their job.

… Read about the Best Places to Work for 2023 online.

(12) MIGHTY MAKEUP. Paul Williams paralyzes Johnny Carson when he arrives straight from filming “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” in this clip from a 1973 episode of The Tonight Show.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. This week How It Should Have Ended reposted “MAD MAX Fury Road”. It may be news to you!

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Janney.]

Warner Holme Review: A Stranger in the Citadel

  • A Stranger in the Citadel by Tobias S. Buckell (Tachyon, 2023)

Review by Warner Holme: Set in a world with sharp class divides and deeply buried secrets, this book provides a variety of fascinating looks at a strange world especially terrifying to readers.

Lilith is the daughter of the Lord Musketeer, and also a trained guard under the auspices of the much respected Kira. Yet a man is caught, the first visitor in many decades and he has brought the forbidden to this land in the form of books. As a result this stranger, calling himself Ishmael, is to be sentenced to death. Lilith, while curious about this, reveals more than she intends to Kira and sets off a personally catastrophic chain of events.

Rather than a fantasy or alternate world, this novel is very decidedly post-apocalyptic, albeit very distantly. References, obvious and not, to cultural touchstones of today and the past couple centuries are scattered throughout the story. Major and minor pop cultural touchstones, whether people or stories, are brought up dozens of times, some of the mass as rather key elements and others merely in passing. All of them are twisted noticeably, even ones as well known as creation myths having blended over whatever timespan has passed.

Little details early on pay off throughout the story, such as the complete absence of a mother for Lilith, referencing not only to the mythological nature of the name but also the idea there is something rather wrong with her father. A variety of terminology that is a religious or political is sprinkled about in various settlements, with the many different ways that it has drifted over time helping to illustrate the strangeness of this world. These require less explanation, and lend fairly well to the themes about the risks of illiteracy and an oral tradition. Nonetheless, the way that the book seems to avoid answering questions definitely feels slightly unsatisfying after an otherwise very well constructed book.

Very few answers come at the end of this book, and pretty much every piece of discovery relates to lessons learned within a human lifetime or two. Questions about the apocalyptic events of the past, while interesting, remain unanswered even in the final pages. What answers one does get about the current setting are obvious enough as early as halfway through the book, and even when such entities as the archangel appear later they do nothing to provide further clarity.

By a similar token the book is practically advertising itself as intended for a series, ending with the current threat taken out but the lead outright planning to continue her adventures. Combined with the lack of answers to virtually any questions involving this world, it very much feels like baiting rather than an open ending on the part of the author.

There is an entertaining and adventurous plot, with many wonderful twists and oddities happening throughout. Movements and style of setting might leave a reader looking for other post-apocalyptic stories, like Vampire Hunter D rather than Shannara or Deathlands. It is so post-apocalyptic one is left with only hints of the motivations of anyone involved, yet treats these questions as too prominent in the plot to justify the complete lack of explanations. Curious parties can definitely look this book up and are very likely to enjoy it, and the very fact it leans so into wanting a sequel suggests it might cover over some of the holes certain readers would find in it at a later date.

Pixel Scroll 5/24/24 File “P” For Pixel

(1) RECONCILING MIDDLE-EARTH. Max Gladstone enjoys sharing his insights about The Silmarillion in “Just Silmaril Things” at The Third Place.

…Of course it’s unreliable, it’s a transcribed oral tradition! But this is the one point in the fantasy of the Silmarillion on which we, the readers, proceed with authority. We can check the bard’s math. We were there, Gandalf: we were there at the close of the Third Age. Frodo did not cast the ring “into the Fire where it was wrought.” “Alone with his servant!” No Gollum at all—imagine a version of the Lord of the Rings that doesn’t understand Gollum! (And I thought that a version that didn’t understand Faramir was a crying shame…) The previous paragraph mentions the Witch-King falling at the battle of Pelennor Fields, but says nothing at all about Merry, or Eowyn.

Two thoughts, divergent. First: how amazing, at the end of a magisterial text, to invite the reader to rethink the whole damn thing. Not to undermine it, to lampoon or lambaste—but to encourage new questions, new depths of thought, insight: who else was there? At the ride of Fingolfin, at the kinslaying of the Teleri? What haven’t we seen, for the light of all this majesty? What isn’t told? What has been forgotten?…

(2) SCIENTIFIC FICTION. What Mark Twain did for Fenimore Cooper, and Damon Knight did for his sf-writing colleagues, Dashiell Hammett once did for practitioners of his genre. The Library of America’s “Story of the Week” is Hammett’s “Suggestions to Detective Story Writers”.

Soon after Dashiell Hammett published his third novel, The Maltese Falcon, to critical acclaim and strong sales, he accepted a position as crime fiction reviewer for the New York Evening Post….

…Perhaps inevitably, after several years of reading (and trashing) so many unremarkable novels, Hammett threw up his hands. His “Crime Wave” column in the June 7, 1930, issue of the Evening Post was supposed to be a review of three newly arrived mystery novels that were “from beginnings to endings, carelessly manufactured improbabilities having more than their share of those blunders which earn detective stories as a whole the sneers of the captious.” He declined to review the books he had been assigned and instead published a list of blunders he had encountered in these and other recent books, with the hope that writers might avoid them in the future….

Hammett begins:

…It would be silly to insist that nobody who has not been a detective should write detective stories, but it is certainly not unreasonable to ask any one who is going to write a book of any sort to make some effort at least to learn something about his subject. Most writers do. Only detective story writers seem to be free from a sense of obligation in this direction, and, curiously, the more established and prolific detective story writers seem to be the worst offenders….

Here are three things on his list that apparently would have come as news to certain authors:

…(4) When a bullet from a Colt’s .45, or any firearm of approximately the same size and power, hits you, even if not in a fatal spot, it usually knocks you over. It is quite upsetting at any reasonable range.

(5) A shot or stab wound is simply felt as a blow or push at first. It is some little time before any burning or other painful sensation begins.

(6) When you are knocked unconscious you do not feel the blow that does it…

(3) BOLD AS BRASS. On the other hand, if it’s a science fiction writer you want to be, take Ursula K. Le Guin’s advice: “Ursula K. Le Guin on How to Become a Writer” at Literary Hub.

How do you become a writer? Answer: you write.

It’s amazing how much resentment and disgust and evasion this answer can arouse. Even among writers, believe me. It is one of those Horrible Truths one would rather not face….

…Honestly, why do people ask that question? Does anybody ever come up to a musician and say, Tell me, tell me—how should I become a tuba player? No! It’s too obvious. If you want to be a tuba player you get a tuba, and some tuba music. And you ask the neighbors to move away or put cotton in their ears. And probably you get a tuba teacher, because there are quite a lot of objective rules and techniques both to written music and to tuba performance. And then you sit down and you play the tuba, every day, every week, every month, year after year, until you are good at playing the tuba; until you can—if you desire—play the truth on the tuba.

It is exactly the same with writing. You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned how to do it….

(4) DAVID BRIN HONORED BY CALTECH. David Brin is one of this year’s recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA), Caltech’s highest honor for alumni. The announcement was made at Caltech’s 87th Annual Seminar Day on May 18. “Caltech Celebrates Its 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients”.

[The award] went to four alumni who, because of both personal commitment and professional contributions, have made remarkable impacts in a field, on the community, or in society more broadly.

The 2024 class of DAAs are: David Brin (BS ’73)Louise Chow (PhD ’73)Bill Coughran (BS, MS ’75), and Timothy M. Swager (PhD ’88)….

David Brin is recognized for his enduring excellence in storytelling, examining how change, science, and technology affect the human condition in his New York Times-bestselling science fiction novels, and for his support of revolutionary ideas in space science and engineering through NASA’s Innovative and Advanced Concepts Program.

Brin’s novels explore science’s potential impact on society with a mixture of hope and dread. His books have been honored with Hugo and Nebula awards, the most prestigious awards for science fiction and fantasy writing, and have been translated into more than 20 languages. One of his novels, The Postman, was the inspiration for the 1997 movie of the same name, which starred Kevin Costner. His 1998 nonfiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? received the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award from the American Library Association.

Brin serves on several advisory committees and sits on the external council for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, which explores high-risk, high-reward ideas that are capable of “changing the possible.”

(5) ALL DESIRES KNOWN. New Scientist interviews “Sci-fi author Martha Wells, author of the Murderbot series, on what a machine intelligence might want”.

When I wrote All Systems Red, one of my goals was to think about what a machine intelligence would actually want, as opposed to what a human thinks a machine intelligence would want. Of course, there’s no real way to know that. The predictive text bots labelled as AIs that we have now aren’t any more sentient than a coffee cup and a good deal less useful for anything other than generating spam. (They also use up an unconscionable amount of our limited energy and water resources, sending us further down the road to climate disaster, but that’s another essay.)

In the world of All Systems Red, humans control their sentient constructs with governor modules that punish any attempt to disobey orders with pain or death. When Murderbot hacks its governor module, it becomes essentially free of human control. Humans assume that SecUnits who are not under the complete control of a governor module are going to immediately go on a killing rampage.

This belief has more to do with guilt than any other factor. The human enslavers know on some level that treating the sentient constructs as disposable objects, useful tools that can be discarded, is wrong; they know if it were done to them, they would be filled with rage and want vengeance for the terrible things they had suffered….

(6) ANOTHER REASON TO REMEMBER 1984. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] It strikes me that as it is 2024 this year is the 40th anniversary (1984) of the first (and I think only?) combination Eastercon-Eurocon.

Back in the day, I provided press operations for a number of conventions including Shoestringcons 1 & 2, BECCON 87 (Eastercon), Eastcon (Eastercon) etc. One of these was the 1984 Eurocon cum Eastercon, Seacon 84. Because I was doing press I got these posters (someone else produced) to include in my press kits. The attached is a photo of said poster.

The artwork shows the Brighton seaside with three piers (Brighton has had a troubled history with its piers – see the Wikipedia entries for West Pier and Brighton Palace Pier. And there is a spaceship crashing. The thing is that this space ship is also (look again) a beer mug. (Beer and SF go together in the UK.)

Sadly, I note that none of the GoHs are with us today (all those I looked up to, when I joined fandom in the 1970s, are now gone, (as also gone are a disturbing number of my fan friends which is the main reason I have cut back on con going to just one or two a year)).

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

May 24, 1963 Michael Chabon, 61. The first work by Michael Chabon that I read was the greatest baseball story ever told, and yes, I know that statement will be disputed by many of you, or at least the greatest fantasy affair which is Summerlandin which a group of youngsters save the world from destruction by playing baseball.  It’s a truly stellar novel, perfect, that in every way deserved the Mythopoeic Award it received.

Michael Chabon

 Next on my list of novels that I really enjoyed by him is The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, the alternate history mystery novel, which would win a Hugo at Devention 3. Like Lavie Tidhar’s Unholy Land, this novel with its alternate version of Israel is fascinating. 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is story of  them becoming major figures in the comics industry from its start into its Golden Age. It’s a wonderful read and an absolutely fantastic look at the comics industry in that era.

An interesting story by him is “The Final Solution: A Story of Detection” novella. The story, set in 1944, is about an unnamed nearly ninety-year-old retired detective who may or may not be Holmes as this individual is a beekeeper. 

He is, I’d say, a rather great writer. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) HER. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] And here’s The Onion‘s take on the ScarJo AI voice fiasco. “Jerky, 7-Fingered Scarlett Johansson Appears In Video To Express Full-Fledged Approval Of OpenAI”. Read the short satire at the link.

(10) OCTOTHORPE. In Episode 110 of the Octothorpe podcast “Tom Hanks Bloody Loves the Moon”, John Coxon is a professor, Alison Scott doesn’t have a bucket list, and Liz Batty is the country’s foremost fan historian.

We’re a day late because John got distracted! We go through our mailbag and have our thoughts provoked by lots of intriguing commentary, before talking a little about the Arthur C Clarke Award and then onto picks.

Three photographs of the night sky, labelled Newcastle, Bangkok, and “Quite near London” (the labels were written by a Londoner, which is why it doesn’t just say “London”). Text above reads “Octothorpe 110” and below reads “Local Aurora Snapshots”. The Newcastle and London images show photographs of aurora with some minor bits of vegetation intruding; the Bangkok picture shows a skyline of buildings underneath a thunderstorm.

(11) SPACE PIONEER. “Ellison Shoji Onizuka: The First Asian American in Space” – the National Air and Space Museum website has a profile of this astronaut’s work in space before being lost in the Challenger disaster.

…Months after the tragedy, as debris from Challenger was found and processed, personal possessions were returned to the crew’s families. The Onizukas received a memento with special meaning. He had taken on the flight a soccer ball inscribed with good wishes and signatures from his daughter’s Clear Lake High School soccer team, which he helped coach. Stowed in a bag inside a locker in the crew cabin, the ball had been found in the wreckage. The Onizuka family presented the ball to the school. Thirty years later in 2016 astronaut Shane Kimbrough, whose son attended the same school, took the ball on his expedition to the International Space Station and later returned it to the school, where it remains on display. Symbolically, this flight seemed to complete Onizuka’s too-short final mission….

(12) THE BIG ONE. Smithsonian Magazine lists “The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Jupiter”.

…With its gorgeous swirling overcoat and nature of extremes, Jupiter has long captured the public imagination and continues to inspire scientific study. Recent discoveries have only heightened Jupiter’s mystique, enticing researchers to probe this far-flung realm. Here are some of the most enthralling findings scientists have made about Jupiter and its moons in the last five decades….

You may not have gotten the memo:

Yes, Jupiter has a ring

“A lot of people don’t even realize it has one,” Becker says. Too puny to be observed with a backyard telescope, Jupiter’s dusty wreath remained undetected for a long time. Discovered only in 1979 during the Voyager 1 flyby, the ring has since been viewed with more powerful ground telescopes and other visiting spacecraft.

Like any ring encircling other planets in the solar system, Jupiter’s is a glorified debris field. Detritus from crash-landed meteorites congregate around Jupiter. This loose mélange of ice, dust and rock spans 32,000 to 130,000 miles in width from the planetary surface.

When other celestial objects pass through the ring, they can leave behind tracks in the dust stream. One of the most famous of wakes came from the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashing into Jupiter in 1994. Years later, the Galileo and New Horizons spacecraft found ripples in Jupiter’s ring that were kicked up by shards from the comet, the celestial equivalent of footsteps in freshly fallen snow….

(13) WE’LL GO AT NIGHT. The BBC reports on ESA’s proposed new Sun probe: “Airbus UK to build Vigil satellite to monitor Sun storms”.

British engineers will lead the development of a new satellite to monitor the Sun for the energetic outbursts it sends towards Earth.

The announcement of Vigil, as the spacecraft will be known, is timely following the major solar storm that hit our planet earlier this month.

The event, the biggest in 20 years, produced bright auroral lights in skies across the world.

Airbus UK will assemble Vigil and make it ready for launch in 2031.

It’s a European Space Agency (Esa) mission. The €340m (£290m) industrial contract to initiate the build was signed at an Esa and European Union space council being held in Brussels….

(14) VIDEO OF ANOTHER DAY. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Roger Corman’s 1994 (but never released) Fantastic Four movie is now on YouTube. I bought a VHS of this at some WorldCon, probably late in the previous millennium. Watched it once. If this is (per the CBR article) an improved viewing, I might give it a try.

An interesting article about it from 2017: “Where Are They Now: Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four”.

The Roger Corman’s ill-fated film The Fantastic Four was supposed to officially release in 1994, but that never happened. In 2005, Stan Lee said that the only reason the film was ever made was because executive producer Bernd Eichinger wanted to retain the rights to the film series, so he made a low budget film knowing it would never see the light of day, and one day make a big-budget version for the public to see. Eichinger and Corman deny these claims, stating that their intentions were always to release the film.

Avid Arad, who was a Marvel executive at the time and would later found Marvel Studios, bought the film and ordered that it be buried without even seeing the movie because he didn’t want Marvel to be associated with low-budget B movies as it might tarnish the franchise. So what happened to the movie? It is still available for free to stream on Youtube and Dailymotion. The quality as admittedly quite poor, but it is still watchable for anyone interested in a superhero movie with the incredibly low budget. And what about the cast and crew of this Marvel anomaly? Let’s take a look at what they’ve all been up to since their work on this film.

The movie: The Fantastic Four (1994) unreleased film produced by Roger Corman and Bernd Eichinger.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Robin Anne Reid, Jeffrey Smith, Daniel Dern, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, and Kathy Sullivan for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

2024 Prix Imaginales

The winners of the 2024 Prix Imaginales were announced on May 24 at the Imaginales festival in Epinal, France.

The Prix Imaginales recognize the best works of fantasy of the year published in France in six categories.

[NOTE: The Prix Imaginales is a different award than the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire.]

CATÉGORIE ROMAN FRANCOPHONE / FRENCH NOVEL

  • Du thé pour les fantômes, by Chris VUKLISEVIK, (Denoël)

CATÉGORIE ROMAN ÉTRANGER TRADUIT / FOREIGN NOVEL TRANSLATED INTO FRENCH

  • Sauvage, by Joan MICKELSON, Translated by Joan MICKELSON, (Hachette Heroes)

CATÉGORIE JEUNESSE (FANTASY) / YOUTH CATEGORY (FANTASY)

  • Mille Pertuis, tome 1, La Sorcière sans nombril, by Julia THÉVENOT, (Gallimard jeunesse)

PRIX IMAGINALES DE L’ALBUM RELEVANT DE L’IMAGINAIRE AU SENS LARGE (DE 3 À 6 ANS) / PRIX IMAGINALES FOR THE ALBUM RELATING TO THE IMAGINATION IN THE BROAD SENSE (FROM 3 TO 6 YEARS OLD)

  • Fjord, by Willy WANGGEN (author and illustrator), (Hong Fei)

CATÉGORIE ILLUSTRATION (FANTASY) / ILLUSTRATION (FANTASY)

  • Les Cités obscures, le retour du Capitaine Nemo, illustrated by François SCHUITEN, texte by François SCHUITEN et Benoît PEETERS, (Casterman)

PRIX IMAGINALES DE LA BANDE DESSINÉE (FANTASY, SCIENCE-FICTION, ANTICIPATION…) / PRIX IMAGINALES COMICS PRIZE (FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, ANTICIPATION, ETC.)

  • Les Murailles invisibles, tome 1, by Ludovic RIO (drawing), Alex CHAUVEL (scénario), (Dargaud)

Fifteenth Doctor Gets a Comic Book

Titan Comics will release Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1 on June 26.

The Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday have followed a mysterious signal to a shopping mall in the last days of Earth. It’s sure to be a trap, but to find the source, The Doctor must face his greatest fears…

The issue is written by Dan Watters, with art by Kelsey Ramsay, and colorist Valentina Bianconi.

Following the jump, check out the brand-new unlettered pages preview below, which feature the first look at the comic’s iconic villains. 

Continue reading

2024 Dublin Literary Award

Solenoid by Mircea Cărtărescu, translated from the original Romanian by Sean Cotter, is the winner of the 2024 Dublin Literary Award.

The award’s overview of Solenoid shows how it merges the mundane and fantastic:

Based on Cărtărescu’s own role as a high school teacher, Solenoid begins with the mundane details of a diarist’s life and quickly spirals into a philosophical account of life, history, philosophy, and mathematics. On a broad scale, the novel’s investigations of other universes, dimensions, and timelines reconcile the realms of life and art. The novel is grounded in the reality of late 1970s/early 1980s Communist Romania, including long lines for groceries, the absurdities of the education system, and the misery of family life. Combining fiction with autobiography and history, Solenoid ruminates on the exchanges possible between the alternate dimensions of life and art within the Communist present.

Erik Karl Anderson’s review for Lonesome Reader describes the fantastic aspects of the novel:

Dublin Literary Award logo

…There are solenoids buried in the foundations of certain buildings around Bucharest and these form sorts of gateways which allow him to traverse the fourth dimension. I don’t understand the science behind all this but the book possesses an internal logic which makes it convincing and also adds such fascinating mystery as it breaks the limits of reality and leads this story into some outlandish situations. It’s so entertaining and it becomes almost hypnotic as the narrator leads the reader into such curious realms….

Sponsored by Dublin City Council, the award is worth €100,000, and is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English. If the winning book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000.