2024 Jack Williamson Lectureship

The 47th Annual Jack Williamson Lectureship, hosted by Eastern New Mexico University, will be held April 11-13 in Portales, NM with guest of honor Martha Wells and emcee Connie Willis.

  • Martha Wells is a science fiction and fantasy writer.  She has written novels, short fiction, young-adult novels, and non-fiction in addition to tie-in fiction for Star WarsStargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering. Her work has appeared on the USA Today Bestseller List, the Sunday Times Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List.  Her novella All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries (Tor.com) won the Hugo Award for Best Novella, the Nebula Award for Best Novella, and a Locus Award. Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries (Tor.com) was a Nebula Award finalist, a Locus Award winner, and a Hugo Award winner. Exit Strategy: Network Effect (Tor.com) was a Nebula Award Winner for Best Novel, a Hugo Award Winner for Best Novel, and The Murderbot Diaries as a whole won a Hugo Award for Best Series. System Collapse (Tor.com), the seventh book in the Murderbot Diaries series, was released in November 2023. More information about Martha Wells can be found on her website:  www.marthawells.com .
  • Connie Willis has been publishing science fiction and fantasy works for more than 50 years.  After her first novel was published in 1982, she was able to quit her teaching job and become a full-time writer.  She’s won multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and named a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master.  Themes in her works include time travel, romantic comedy, history, and Christmas – to name a few.  Her 2016 novel Crosstalk was named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR. Her most recent novel is The Road to Roswell which was released in June 2023 by Random House. Click here to watch author Melinda Snodgrass interview Connie at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe in 2017.  Click here to visit Connie’s blog.    

The annual Jack Williamson Lectureship includes a luncheon with presentations by the guest of honor and toastmaster, readings by guest authors, time for book sales and signing, and panel discussions on a variety of science fiction and fantasy topics. All events are open to the public and the luncheon is the only event that requires advance reservations and a fee.

The lectureship, named for the prolific sff author and academic, was established by the university when Dr. Jack Williamson retired from his position as professor of English at Eastern New Mexico University in 1977. Ever since then writers, editors, artists and other speakers have gathered at ENMU every spring to share ideas, insights and their work with students, readers, viewers, creators, collectors and fans.

Cats Sleep on SFF: Umar

Dale Nelson says —

No sf books in sight here; but I mentioned this picture in a comment on the current picture (cat with Tolkien book).  There was no reason to think she really was feeling the weight of the world, but it sure looks that way to me (but bearing up all the same). If you think your readers would like to see the picture, here it is. This was taken not very long before the end of Umar’s life, though if cats have nine of those, I don’t know which one she had arrived at.


Photos of your felines (or whatever you’ve got!) resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com

Pixel Scroll 2/28/24 Two Scrolls Diverged In A File, And I — I Took The One Less Pixeled By

(1) WONKA EVENT SCAM, WITH AI ‘HELP’. [Item by Tom Becker.] A Willy Wonka-themed event closed immediately upon opening due to complaints from disappointed customers. UK correspondent Mark Plummer says there is a long-standing tradition of disappointing special experiences. A Christmas show turns out to be a muddy field with a donkey with reindeer horns tied to its head.

The Glasgow Willy Wonka fiasco is interesting because of its use of AI. The AI-generated images used to sell the show include total gibberish. Who would not want to experience a “Twilight Tunnel™” with features like “TWDRDING”, “DODJECTION”, “ENIGEMIC SOUNDS”, “SVIIDE”, and “UKXEPCTED TWITS”? Or “ENCHERINING ENTERTAINMENT” with “exarserdray lollipops, a pasadise of sweet treats”? “Cops called after parents get tricked by AI-generated images of Wonka-like event” at Ars Technica.

Actors were given AI generated scripts that were pathetically bad. They showed the guests responding “with a mix of excitement and trepidation” to the trite lines and meager offerings of candy. “The AI-Generated Script From the Fake Willy Wonka Experience Is Beyond Wild” says The Mary Sue.

And then there was the AI generated character of the Unknown, “an evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls.” At this point the children started crying and ran away. “Willy Wonka Experience Actor Says Event Had AI-Generated Script, Unknown Character, and No Chocolate” reports IGN.

The promoter behind the House of Illuminati also sells AI-generated books on Amazon. “’Willy Wonka’ Huckster Sells AI-Written Vaccine Conspiracy Books” at Rolling Stone.

Scams have always been with us, but now they are glitzier and weirder than ever. Who could possibly have predicted this? (Besides Cory Doctorow and thousands of others.)

(2) VERTLIEB NOMINATED FOR RONDO “BEST ARTICLE OF THE YEAR”. Congratulations to Steve Vertlieb whose File 770 article “Subversion of Innocence: Reflections on ‘The Black Cat’” is a finalist for the 2024 Rondo Hatton Awards. Steve’s article is an analysis of the sumptuous, Grand Guignol, pre-code Gothic decadence of Universal Pictures’ horrific Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi classic of 1934.

Public voting has begun for the 22nd Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in any or all 28 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete ballot. The deadline to participate is midnight April 16. Mail Votes (and your name) to David Colton c/o [email protected].

(3) WORMSIGN. Io9 interviews the filmmaker: “Denis Villeneuve Talks Making Dune: Part Two an Epic Theatrical Experience” at Gizmodo.

io9: Got it. I love that both movies have this weird little moment before the studio logo of some kind of Dune language statement. Is that something you have to okay with the studio? Because ultimately it’s their movie and you’re putting your mark before their logo. Was there any pushback and what was your thinking in doing that?

Villeneuve: The first time in Part One, the truth is that as we were doing sound design and developing ideas for sound, we came up with this language that was developed by Hans Zimmer that I absolutely adored. And there was this idea of putting a statement right before the logo to own the space. And maybe it was a reaction at that time, an arrogant reaction by me, but I didn’t get any pushback. Everybody loved the idea. And I love it when you watch a movie and it’s not a slow-down descent, it’s an abrupt start. You put away the parking lot and your concern about dinner. [Slap noise] Right away, it’s like, “Okay, guys, listen.” A bit like in theater when you have the boom at the beginning to say to the audience, “Okay, quiet down, we start right now.” I love that.

(4) CONLANG IN CINEMA. And The New Yorker devotes a whole article to “’Dune’ and the Delicate Art of Making Fictional Languages”.

A trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” features the boy prophet Paul Atreides, played by Timothée Chalamet, yelling something foreign and uninterpretable to a horde of desert people. We see Chalamet as the embodiment of charismatic fury: every facial muscle clenched in tension, his voice strained and throaty and commanding. A line at the bottom of the screen translates: “Long live the fighters!”

The scene fills barely a few seconds in a three-minute trailer, yet it establishes the emotional tone of the film and captures the messianic fervor that drives its plot. It also signals the depth of Villeneuve’s world-building. Part of what made his first excursion into the “Dune” universe such an experiential feast was its vivid, immersive quality, combining monumental architectural design with atmospheric soundscapes and ethereal costuming. We could see a few remnants of our world (remember the bit with the bagpipes?), but the over-all effect was transportive, as if the camera were not a piece of equipment but a cyborgian eye live-streaming from a far-flung alien civilization. Chalamet’s strange tongue is part of the franchise’s meticulous set dressing. It’s not gibberish, but part of an intricate linguistic system that was devised for Villeneuve’s adaptations.

Engineered languages such as the one Chalamet speaks represent a new benchmark in imaginative fiction. Twenty years ago, viewers would have struggled to name franchises other than “Star Trek” or “The Lord of the Rings” that bothered to invent new languages. Today, with the budgets of the biggest films and series rivalling the G.D.P.s of small island nations, constructed languages, or conlangs, are becoming a norm, if not an implicit requirement. Breeze through entertainment from the past decade or so, and you’ll find lingos designed for Paleolithic peoples (“Alpha”), spell-casting witches (“Penny Dreadful”), post-apocalyptic survivors (“Into the Badlands”), Superman’s home planet of Krypton (“Man of Steel”), a cross-species alien alliance (“Halo”), time-travelling preteens (“Paper Girls”), the Munja’kin tribe of Oz (“Emerald City”), and Santa Claus and his elves (“The Christmas Chronicles” and its sequel).

A well-executed conlang can bolster a film’s appearance of authenticity. It can deepen the scenic absorption that has long been an obsession for creators and fans of speculative genres such as science fiction and fantasy….

(5) MORE TBR. NPR’s “Here and Now” program recommends “Black genre fiction to pick up this History Month”. There are lists for romance, horror, thriller/mystery and —

Speculative fiction/science fiction/fantasy

(6) EXPERT EYE. In Gabino Iglesias’ column “4 New Horror Novels That Are as Fresh as They Are Terrifying” for the New York Times, the Stoker-winning author reviews new books by Emily Ruth Verona, Jenny Kiefer, Christopher Golden and Tlotlo Tsamaase.

(7) ANIME ART GOING UNDER THE HAMMER. Heritage Auctions will run “The Art of Anime, Dragon Ball, and More Animation Art Showcase Auction” on March 23-24.

Heritage Auctions celebrates the world of anime with its largest showcase sale, “The Art of Anime, Dragon Ball, and More,” on March 23-24. This event features over 700 lots, including an extensive collection from the iconic Dragon Ball series, celebrating its decades-long journey from its inception in Weekly Shonen Jump. The auction spans a wide range of anime titles, offering production art, promotional materials, model kits, and action figures. Highlights include rare items from Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Pokémon, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and more, alongside unique finds like Akira T-shirt prototypes. This showcase aims to reconnect fans with the unforgettable moments of their favorite anime series.

Here’s an example of what’s up for bid: “Dragon Ball Z Goku, Gohan, Master Roshi, Piccolo, and Cel Ice | Lot #85069”.

Some of Dragon Ball Z‘s most famous characters take a break from training and put on their ice skates in this incredibly rare hand-painted production cel featuring our beloved protagonist Goku, accompanied by his son Gohan, Piccolo, Master Roshi, and even the heinous Cell in his imperfect form! Possibly created for a TV commercial, this four-layer 12-field production cel offers sensational full-figure images of the characters with Gohan and Cell stopping as skillfully as they fight. 

(8) “HOMAGE” TO WARD SHELLEY’S HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION ON DISPLAY IN THE CHENGDU SF MUSEUM. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] The SF Museum in Chengdu has been re-opened to the public for almost exactly a month now, and whilst I’ve been trawling the likes of Bilibili and Xiaohongshu for any coverage, there hasn’t been much I thought that I thought was worth writing up and submitting to File 770.

However, tonight I encountered the image below in a small XHS gallery.  I’d not noticed it before; whether that’s because it has been newly added to the museum, or simply that previous posters didn’t consider it worth taking pictures of, I don’t know.  I’ve not tried to read any of the Chinese text, but the English subtitle reads:

Together, let’s write imaginative explorations of the future science fiction world

which I assume relates to the Post-It notes shown on the left of the image.

Readers may well find this image vaguely familiar.  For those who don’t, it bears a startling resemblance to Ward Shelley’s “The History of Science Fiction”.

Source: Andrew Liptak / The Verge

That earlier image was included in a talk that was part of “[the] First Industrial Development Summit of [the] World Science Fiction Convention”, which also had Ben Yalow as a speaker. Whether that earlier presentation was the genesis for this new display, who knows?

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born February 28, 1909 Olan Soule. (Died 1994.) Olan Soule, an actor who had at least two hundred and fifty performances in his career. So let’s look at this career that I find so interesting. 

First genre role? That’d be Mr. Krull, a boarding house resident in The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Remember Captain Midnight? From the third year on the radio serial, Soule had the role of L. William Kelly, SS-11, the second-in-command of the Secret Squadron. When it became a television series where it was rebranded Jet Jackson, Flying Commando, he was scientist Aristotle “Tut” Jones for the entire series. He was the only actor who performed on both the radio and television shows.

Olan Soule on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

He was in two Twilight Zone episodes, the first as IRS agent in “The Man in Bottle” and then as Mr. Smiles in “Caesar and Me”. The letter was the one with that evil ventriloquist dummy. Brrrr. The former which involves a couple and a genie I just don’t remember. 

He was on My Favorite Martian as Daniel Farrow in one of my favorite episodes, “Martin’s Favorite Martian”. 

He would appear as a newscaster on Batman in “The Pharaoh’s in a Rut”.

Olan Soule as newscaster on Batman.

He voiced Mister Taj in the English language version of Fantastic Planet. One seriously effing weird film. 

And now for a roll call of his other genre appearances: One Step BeyondBewitchedThe Addams FamilyThe MunstersMission: ImpossibleThe Six Million Dollar ManBuck Rogers in the 25th Century and Fantasy Island.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • F Minus – could this be Pluto’s revenge?

(11) REALLY EDUCATIONAL COMICS. “A Boom in Comics Drawn From Fact” – the New York Times says “One in four books sold in France is a graphic novel. Increasingly, those include nonfiction works by journalists and historians.”

Soon after the journalist and historian Valérie Igounet heard about the killing of Samuel Paty, the schoolteacher whose 2020 murder by an Islamist extremist shocked France, she knew she wanted to write a book about him.

Paty, who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to students during a class on freedom of expression, was murdered near the middle school where he taught in a Paris suburb. “I absolutely wanted Samuel Paty’s students to be able to read this book,” Igounet said, “and it was obvious that a 300-page book with footnotes would be reserved for a different kind of readership.”

Instead, Igounet decided to produce a comic book: “Black Pencil: Samuel Paty, the Story of a Teacher,” based on two years of reporting and made with the illustrator Guy Le Besnerais, was published in October. It meticulously reconstructs the events leading up to the murder while also showing Paty’s daily life in the classroom. Le Besnerais’s illustrations are accompanied by Paty’s handwritten notes, newspaper clippings and messages exchanged by his students in the weeks before he was killed.

One in four books sold in France is a comic book, according to the market research company GfK, and a growing number of those are nonfiction works by journalists and historians. In the past year, they have included titles such as “M.B.S.: Saudi Arabia’s Enfant Terrible,” a biography of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by Antoine Vitkine and Christophe Girard; “What Are the Russians Thinking?” based on the cartoonist Nicolas Wild’s conversations about the war in Ukraine during a 2022 trip to Russia; and “Who Profits From Exile?,” by Taina Tervonen and Jeff Pourquié, which looks at the economics of European immigration….

(12) FANAC FAN HISTORY ZOOM IN MARCH. “The Women Fen Don’t See” is the last FANAC Fan History Zoom for this season. The March 16 event promises to be an exceptionally interesting program on a topic that is often overlooked in fannish annals.

The Women Fen Don’t See

With: Claire Brialey, Kate Heffner, and Leah Zeldes Smith

Saturday, March 16, 2024. Time: 3PM EDT, 2PM CDT, Noon PDT, 7PM London (GMT), and Mar 17 at 6AM AEDT in Melbourne. To attend, send a note to [email protected]

[Click for larger image.]

(13) NEUROMANCER TO TV. “Apple Orders ‘Neuromancer’ Series Based on William Gibson Novel” reports Variety.

Apple TV+ has ordered a series adaptation of the William Gibson novel “Neuromancer,” Variety has learned.

The 10-episode series hails from co-creators Graham Roland and JD Dillard. Roland will also serve as showrunner, while Dillard will direct the pilot. Skydance Television will co-produce with Anonymous Content.

Per the official logline, the series “will follow a damaged, top-rung super-hacker named Case who is thrust into a web of digital espionage and high stakes crime with his partner Molly, a razor-girl assassin with mirrored eyes, aiming to pull a heist on a corporate dynasty with untold secrets.”…

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. From The Simpsons several years ago, “What about Ray Bradbury?”

Martin is running for class president, and this is his platform.

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

2024 Rondo Awards Nominees

Online voting has begun for the 22nd Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in any or all 28 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete ballot. The deadline to participate is midnight April 16.

Don’t be shy about voting for Steve Vertlieb’s “Subversion of Innocence: Reflections on ‘The Black Cat’” from File 770, a Rondo nominee for Best Article! (Congratulations, Steve!)

And as a teaser, below are the Best Film and Best TV Presentation nominees.

BEST FILM OF 2023

Includes wide release, video-on-demand and streaming

  • THE CREATOR
  • EVIL DEAD RISE
  • THE EXORCIST: BELIEVER
  • FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S
  • GODZILLA MINUS ONE
  • INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY
  • KNOCK AT THE CABIN
  • LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER
  • LEAVING THE WORLD BEHIND
  • M3GAN
  • NO ONE WILL SAVE YOU
  • THE NUN II
  • RENFIELD
  • SCREAM VI
  • TALK TO ME

BEST TV PRESENTATION

  • AHSOKA, Disney+ Reluctant Jedi encounters the ghost of Anakin Skywalker. ‘Let’s just say I didn’t follow standard Jedi protocol.’
  • CHUCKY, SyFy. There’s a new visitor to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. ‘How do we get into the White House?’
  • CREEPSHOW, Shudder. Anthology series in its fourth season. ‘See you around the graveyard, kid.’
  • DOCTOR WHO BBC/Disney+ In series of specials, the 13th Doctor regenerates into a familiar 14th, and then a 15th. ‘I know these teeth.’
  • THE FALLOF THE HOUSE OF USHER, Netflix. Mike Flanagan connects a modern world of Poe adaptations.  ‘In this little pill is a world without pain. This world needs changing.’
  • FOUNDATION, Apple+ Isaac Asimov’s epic trilogy brought to life, with psychohistory twists. ‘I’ve met Hari Seldon. I’m used to fame.’
  • THE LAST OF US, HBO. A young girl is immune to the violent infection that has decimated the world. ‘Bomb this city and everyone in it.’
  • MONARCH: Legacy of Monsters. AppleTV+. Prequel series with Godzilla and the Titans. ‘If you want to save millions of lives, we can use some help.’
  • STAR TREK: PICARD Paramount+. Every crew member of Next Generation unites against the Borg. ‘What began over 35 years ago ends tonight.’
  • THE WALKING DEAD: Daryl Dixon, AMC. Fifth spinoff takes Daryl to Paris where zombie virus began. ‘If I don’t make it back, I want them to know I tried.’
  •  WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, FX. The misadventures of four vampires who live on Staten Island. ’Being a vampire is no different than being a human. We’re all just doing what it takes to survive.’

Jack Merry Review: Folkmanis Puppet: Enchanted Tree

Review by Jack Merry: All Jacks are storytellers and I’ve been known to weave many a tale late at night by the roaring fireplace in the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room in the Kinrowan Estate Library. And I’ve used many a Folkmanis puppet including what I call The Rodents of An Unusual Size and the lovely red fox as they are perfect for storytelling — durable and creatively made!

It’s an Ent! Well sort of. What Folkmanis calls this incredibly interesting creation is an Enchanted Tree Puppet but it really could be a small version of one of those creatures to be used in telling the story of them as they are a race of beings in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings who closely resemble trees. They are similar to the talking trees in many traditions around the world with their name being derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for giant.

It certainly looks like an Ent — though it is what they call a character puppet with a moveable mouth, a bristly mustache and branches. You can also move its blue eyes. There are a few oversized green leaves on the top branches, and a red topped toadstool in one of its hands.  This puppet is about fifteen inches tall, not as big as I’d might have liked it to be, but big enough to entertain listeners in a circle around a teller of tales.

If you combine it with one of the small Wolf puppets that Folkmanis has released, you could tell the tale of Ygggdrasil and Fenris, the wolf that tries to destroy that World Tree in the Norse myths. Or perhaps you could tell the story of the Indian Tree of the Sun and the Moon that told the future. If you’re good at voices, you can be the two aspects of the tree trunk, which depended on the time of day; in the daytime the tree spoke as a male and at night it spoke as a female. Did you know that Alexander the Great and Marco Polo are said to have consulted this leafy oracle?

Whatever you use it for, it is indeed a wonderful puppet — certainly one of the most imaginative creations from a company that has done many, many fine puppets down the years! I’ll certainly tell many a fine tale with it!


Jack Merry — I’m a fiddler, contradance caller, and a teller of tales. I like Guinness poured properly and served warm of course, red heads, and short stories with a touch of the fantastic in them. I like The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings for my winter reading.

Pixel Scroll 2/27/24 It’s Scrolls And Pixels I Recall, I Really Don’t Know Files At All

(1) BEN YALOW OFF LA IN 2026 BID. LA in 2026 Worldcon bid chair Joyce Lloyd told File 770 today, “I can confirm that Ben Yalow is no longer a member of the bid committee.”

Craig Miller, a director of the nonprofit, also said in a comment here that Yalow has resigned from SCIFI, Inc., the parent organization to the L.A. in 2026 Bid. And that Yalow is not going to be on the L.A. 2026 Worldcon Committee.

(2) SOUND OFF. Kristine Kathryn Rusch reacts to “Findaway And Corporate Rights Grabs” on Patreon.

…Does that mean that after next week, you will find my work on Findaway? Um, no. You will not. As a friend of mine said, they’ve shown their true colors. Musicians have had trouble with Spotify for years and these are Spotify-inspired changes.

Spotify bought Findaway in 2022, paying about $123 million dollars. At the time, Spotify CEO, Daniel Ek, told investors that he was “confident that audiobooks will deliver the kind of earnings that  investors are looking for, with profit margins north of 40 percent.”

Over the past 18 months or so, Spotify has tinkered with Findaway in a variety of ways, mostly to do with the way that they’re paying content providers. Then this new TOS rights grab, which is not unexpected. In fact, it’s right on time….

(3) VERSUS INJUSTICE. Reckoning publisher Michael J. DeLuca reacts to the 2023 Hugo disaster, then goes beyond, in his post “On Ongoing Prejudice in the SFF Community and What Is to Be Done”. (Or go straight to DeLuca’s “original, uncut and expletive-laden version” here: “Do the Right Thing: A Hugo Rant”  at The Mossy Skull.)

….We perceive the dangerous potential, as daily worse things seem to come out about the behavior of a Hugo admin committee responsible for hurting so many great authors and the entire fandom of China—not to mention individual humans in their immediate vicinity—of writing them off as irrevocably evil outliers and therefore not representative of problems in our field. We don’t want this latest crisis to overshadow the previous, ongoing crisis or the one before that. That the Hugo committee has provided a scapegoat to whom consequences can be applied cannot be allowed to obscure the fact that, for one glaring example, the insidious shutting-out of Palestinian voices is still going on. There are so many compounded crises, anyone can be forgiven for not addressing every one all the time loud enough so nobody else forgets. Individually, we must choose one injustice at a time to address, with our voices, our donations, our votes, because otherwise we’ll all implode from the pressure. But we can’t let the latest injustice blot out the rest.

How do individual people get to act this terribly? They get encouraged. If they’re entitled white men, that encouragement need amount to nothing more than looking the other way. How do individual people get encouraged to be better? By positive peer pressure. By example.

The antidote to bureaucratic power-clutching and uninterrogated fascist creep, like the problem, is manifold. We need juried awards with juries of accountable, well-intentioned people empaneled by accountable, well-intentioned people. The Ignyte awards are one such. So are the Shirleys. Support them, care about them, pay attention to who wins. Our fellow Detroit-based indie press Atthis Arts bent over backwards this past year rescuing an anthology of Ukrainian SFF, Embroidered Worlds, from the slag heap. Pay attention to what they’re doing. Lift them up. We need magazines like Strange Horizons (who published a Palestinian special issue in 2020), FiyahClarkesworld (who have long been in the vanguard of championing translated work and translators), Omenana, and khōréō (their year 4 fundraiser ends 2/29). We need magazines whose editors and staff are actively listening to, seeking out, boosting, celebrating, paying—and translating, paying, and celebrating translators of—Chinese, Taiwanese, Palestinian, Yemeni, Ukrainian, Russian, Israeli, Indigenous, Aboriginal, Congolese, Nigerian, disabled, neurodivergent, queer, and trans voices. Do we in that litany miss anybody currently getting oppressed and shut out? Undoubtedly. This work is unending. We choose to keep at it.

The Hugo admins aren’t the only ones failing at this. The PEN Awards have recently been actively lifting up pro-genocide voices and suppressing Palestinian voices. A story we published, “All We Have Left Is Ourselves” by Oyedotun Damilola Muees, won a PEN Award for emerging writers in 2021. How can the administrators of an award designed specifically to remedy the way the publishing establishment has systematically ignored marginalized voices side with imperialism? There’s an open letter calling the PEN organization to task for this. Reckoning is among those who have signed it….

(4) ROMANTASY. Vox explores “How Sarah J. Maas became romantasy’s reigning queen”.

… Within the stories themselves, Maas’s worldbuilding is full of hat tips to her predecessors. In A Court of Thorn and Roses, the faerie land is called Prythian, a nod to Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain. In Prythian, faeries use a form of teleportation called “winnowing,” and their explanation of it will be familiar to anyone who loved Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. “Think of it as … two different points on a piece of cloth,” Maas writes (very much her ellipses). “Winnowing … it’s like folding that cloth so the two spots align.” If you’ve read the classics of YA fantasy before, you’ll recognize the sampling and remixing she is doing here.

Part of the pleasure of reading Maas is seeing these familiar YA fantasy references lie cheek by jowl with the tropes of romance novels. In A Court of Mist and Fury, the second volume of the series, two lovers who have not yet admitted their feelings for each other find themselves forced by cruel circumstance to fake date. Later, they end up at an inn with only one bed to spare, not once but twice. Across ACOTAR, Maas’s protagonist, Feyre, is torn between two boys. One is blond and sunny; one is dark-haired and brooding; both are impossibly beautiful, rich, and powerful; both begin as Feyre’s enemies….

(5) CHESTBURSTERS, MUPPETS, AND A BLACK HOLE, OH MY! Hugo Book Club Blog calls 1980 “The Ascendancy of Science Fiction Cinema (Hugo Cinema 1980)”.

In each year from 1970 to 1975, fewer than five of the top-30 movies (which could only be seen in cinemas at that time) could even remotely be considered genre works. By 1979, just two years after Star Wars, most of the top grossing movies were science fiction.

When the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation began in 1958, there had been concerns raised about whether or not there could be sufficient SFF movies worthy of consideration. Several times between 1958 and 1978, fans voted to present no award because they were dissatisfied with the cinematic fare on offer. That would never happen again.

After decades as a marginal cinematic genre, science fiction was in its ascendancy.

Most of the movies on the 1980 Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo have withstood the test of time: The Muppet MovieTime After TimeStar Trek The Motion Picture, and Alien remain well-loved today. Only Disney’s The Black Hole stands out as being one we thought was unworthy of Hugo Awards consideration … and even it has some charm to it….

(6) GODZILLA MINUS ONE LIVE REVIEW. Artist Bob Eggleton and Erin Underwood will review Godzilla Minus One live on YouTube on February 29 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. (YouTube link.)

Join a special live movie review on YouTube of Godzilla Minus One with award winning science fiction artist Bob Eggleton, whose past work on Godzilla imagery has earned him love from fans around the world. Godzilla Minus One is the newest Japanese remake of the iconic monster who has captured our hearts ever since its original release in 1954. The newest film in the Godzilla genre features post war Japan when the country is still trying to recover, and “a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb.”

Bob Eggleton: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bobeggleton; Bob Eggleton has won 9 Hugo Awards, and various other important awards for his art over the last 30 years of his career. He is a fan of Godzilla and worked as a creative consultant on the American remake. While in Japan he appeared as an extra in one of the more recent films. Bob has designed concepts for Star Trek, Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius (2001) and The Ant Bully (2006) as well as created art for various publishers, magazines, book covers and media projects. His passion is with classic masters of art such as JMW Turner, John Martin and the Romantic movement. Bob has always been fascinated with ‘scale’ as a philosophy in the painted image, whether it be the vastness of outer space, or the size of a kaiju, H P Lovecraft denizen, or a dragon viewed from a human perspective.

Erin Underwood: YouTube: www.youtube.com/@ErinUnderwood; Erin Underwood is a movie reviewer on YouTube. She’s also a science fiction and fantasy conrunner, fan, author, and editor who loves dissecting stories and talking about films, TV, and books. However, in the daylight hours, she designs and produces emerging technology conferences for MIT Technology Review, where she tells the story of how new technologies are being used and how they are likely to impact our world.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born February 27, 1940 Howard Hesseman. (Died 2022.) So yes, I’m doing Howard Hesseman so I can mention how much I liked him as Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati. Hesseman prepared for the role by actually DJing at KMPX-FM in San Francisco for several months. 

In interviews, the producers of the show said that persona was largely developed by him and the following opening words of him on the first show are all his doing. 

All right, Cincinnati, it is time for this town to get down! You’ve got Johnny—Doctor Johnny Fever, and I am burnin’ up in here! Whoa! Whoo! We all in critical condition, babies, but you can tell me where it hurts, because I got the healing prescription here from the big ‘KRP musical medicine cabinet. Now I am talking about your 50,000 watt intensive care unit… 

Now let’s talk about his genre roles. 

He was Fred in Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo, a television horror film that has no rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but one person there says the only interesting thing was the real tarantulas. 

Howard Hesseman in 2014.

No, Clue, one of my all-time favorite films cannot be stretched to be considered genre, but I’m including it here because he, though uncredited, had the juicy role of The Chief. 

He was in the wonderful Flight of the Navigator as Dr. Louis Farsday, and then there’s the amusing thing Amazon Women on the Moon where he’s Rupert King in the “Titan Man” segment. 

He was Dr. Berg in the excellent Martian Child which based the David Gerrold’s Hugo Award winning novelette, not the novel based off it. 

Yes, he was in both Halloween II as Uncle Meat and Bigfoot as Mayor Tommy Gillis, neither career highlights by any measure.

I see he showed up on one of my favorite series, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, playing a character named Bayes: in “Downwind from Gettysburg”.

Around the that time, he  went elsewhere to the new Outer Limits to be Dr. Emory Taylor in “Music of the Spheres”. 

I’m off to watch the pilot now…

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) NO SFF IN DICK TRACY RETURN. In “Dick Tracy Writers Tease the Legendary Detective’s Return” at CBR.com, Alex Segura and Michael Moreci celebrate Dick Tracy’s return. No fancy wrist-radio, though.

When does your series take place? What made you choose this era as a setting?

Moreci: We’re very specific in the time we’re setting this — our story takes place in 1947, so it’s just after World War II. Again, there’s a definite, clear reason for that, rooted in Tracy’s character and the mood we’re trying to set.

Segura: This is Dick Tracy: Year One, basically.

(10) CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME. In a manner of speaking… The Library Foundation of Los Angeles invites you to “The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball”, 36th edition, on Sunday, March 3 at 12:00 a.m. – “Wherever you are!”

While you’re celebrating, take a moment to support the Library Foundation of Los Angeles by donating what you would have spent on a night out.

Share photos of your literary festivities on our Facebook event pageInstagram, or Twitter and tell us what you’ll be reading. Tag us at @LibraryFoundLA and use hashtag #StayHomeandRead to let others know how you are celebrating!

(11) THE ROBOT YOU NEED? The “Lost In Space Electronic Lights & Sounds B9 Robot Golden Boy Edition” is offered by Diamond Select Toys on Amazon.

  • Eyes light up and sensors blink, Chest blinks when B-9 talks
  • Head bubble manually raises and lowers, Arms extend and collapse
  • Claws open and close
  • Wheels allow B-9 to roll
  • B-9 Says the following phrases, including dialogue from “Cave of the Wizards”: “Watch it, I do not like grubby finger stains on my new suit of gold.” “From now on I’d appreciate it if you’d call be Golden Boy” “In my opinion, it is not Professor Robinson who needs psychiatric treatment, it is his doctor.” “I forgot, you are brave, handsome Dr. Smith.” and more!

(12) SIDEWAYS ON LUNA. [Item by Steven French.] I wonder if one of the engineers went home before the launch thinking “I’m sure I’ve forgotten something”! “Odysseus craft’s moon mission to be cut short after sideways landing” in the Guardian.

….On Friday, Intuitive Machines had disclosed that the laser range finders – designed to feed altitude and forward-velocity readings to Odysseus’ autonomous navigation system – were inoperable because company engineers neglected to unlock the lasers’ safety switch before launch on 15 February. The safety lock, akin to a firearm’s safety switch, can only be disabled by hand….

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Introduction from Deadline: “’The Watchers’ Trailer Sees Dakota Fanning Stalked Through Irish Forest”. Comes to theaters June 7.

Warner Bros on Tuesday unveiled the first trailer for The Watchers, the anticipated supernatural thriller marking the feature debut of writer-director Ishana Night Shyamalan, with Dakota Fanning (The Equalizer 3) in the lead.

Set up at New Line following a multi-studio bidding war, this film from the daughter of M. Night Shyamlan is based on the 2021 gothic horror novel by A.M. Shine. Pic tells the story of Mina (Fanning), a 28-year-old artist who gets stranded in an expansive, untouched forest in western Ireland. When Mina finds shelter, she unknowingly becomes trapped alongside three strangers that are watched and stalked by mysterious creatures each night….

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

Los Angeles Is Sole Bid for 2026 Worldcon to File By Deadline for Printed Ballot

Glasgow 2024 has announced that Los Angeles (LA) in 2026 is the only bid to have been formally submitted by the filing deadline of February 18, 2024 as required by the WSFS Constitution in order to appear on the printed ballot. The required documentation was submitted to Glasgow’s Site Selection Administrator on February 2, 2024 by the LA in 2026 Bid Committee. Their website link is LA in 2026.

To be on the ballot, the WSFS Constitution requires a bidding committee to file the specified documents no later than 180 days prior to the official opening of the administering convention. Write-ins are still eligible provided the bidding committee files the required documents by the close of the voting.

The election to select the site of the 2026 WorldCon will be administered by Glasgow 2024, the 2024 WorldCon. The documents filed by LA in 2026 can be found on the Glasgow 2024 website here. The proposed dates are August 27 to August 31, at the Anaheim Convention Centre and Anaheim Hilton. The Bid Chair and proposed Convention Chair is Joyce Lloyd.

About Site Selection: Worldcon sites are selected two years in advance, by a secret ballot of WSFS members. For this year this includes all full Adult and Young Adult Attending members, Online Members with bundled WSFS Memberships, and WSFS Members of Glasgow 2024.

Any group that meets the technical requirements in the WSFS Constitution and files the necessary documents with the administering Worldcon may bid for the right to host a Worldcon.

Glasgow 2024 WSFS Members who wish to vote in Site Selection will need to buy an Advance WSFS Membership in the 2026 Worldcon, at a cost of £45.00. All members who pay this fee will automatically become WSFS Members of the 2026 Worldcon, regardless of who they vote for (or indeed if they vote at all).

Details on how to vote in site selection will be announced early in April 2024. All Advance WSFS Membership fees received by Glasgow for the 2026 Worldcon will be passed on to the successful candidate.

[Based on a press release.]                                                

John Hertz on Fuzzy Pink Niven (1940-2023)

Philip Jose Farmer, Larry Niven, and Fuzzy Pink at the St. Louiscon, the 1969 Worldcon.

By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 1575): Marilyn Wisowaty Niven (1940-2023) was “Fuzzy Pink” to me and perhaps to you. She and Larry Niven met in 1967, and were married in 1969, until death did them part. She left us for After-Fandom on December 3rd. She’d been wrestling with ill health for some while. As Larry told me by telephone, it finally was too much for her.

In the Sixties at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology her bedroom slippers, or I’ve also heard it was sweaters, led Fran Dyro, her roommate, to call her Fuzzy Pink Roommate; “Fuzzy Pink” stuck. She was graduated S.B. in 1962. The first woman graduate from M.I.T. was Ellen Swallow (1842-1911; S.S. + an A.M. from Vassar the same year; later Ellen Swallow Richards) in 1873, but there still weren’t many women nine decades later,

The M.I.T. SF Society (MITSFS, “mits-fiss”) had 10,000 books then (70,000 today); Fuzzy Pink maintained an index, naturally called the Pinkdex. She was instrumental in forming NESFA, the New England SF Association; when it established a Fellowship in 1976 (“created to honor those people who have made a significant contribution to NESFA and to the furtherance of its aims. The Fellowship is modeled after academic fellowships Fellows are awarded the postnominal abbreviation F. N.”, NESFA Fellowship), she was made a Founding Fellow, along with Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, Judy-Lynn & Lester del Rey, Jill & Don Eastlake, Suford & Tony Lewis, Elliott Shorter, Col. Harry Stubbs, Leslie Turek.

She joined LASFS, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in 1968, was on our Board Of Directors by the time of our first clubhouse in 1973, earned our Evans-Freehafer service award in 1982, was Fan Guest of Honor at Loscon X (our local SF convention; Loscon XLIX was 24-26 Nov 23) in 1983. Her APA-L zine was Fuzzily. She sometimes signed things “Fuzzily, Pink”.

She was a friend to costumers and did some herself. By Heicon (28th World Science Fiction Convention, Heidelberg, 1970) Larry had begun the Trantorcon in 23,309 bid for the 21,370th Worldcon — a big world by then — or maybe a Galacticon — Lazarus Long says “I’ll be there, Will you?” — and he & Fuzzy were in the Masquerade (SF cons’ costume competition) as “The Trantorcon in 23,309 Committee” (l was later added to the concom; it’s true we haven’t published a Progress Report in a few decades, but there’s still a long time before site-selection voting). Somewhere I have a Bea Barrio drawing of Larry in a crown and Fuzzy Pink in something fuzzy.

She made lace; she led a workshop on that at Noreascon Ill (47th Worldcon, 1989; many things happen at Worldcons), co-chaired the Int’l Old Lacers, Inc. (Int’l Org. of Lace, Inc., since 2012), annual convention in 1992, and edited lace magazines. She won table-setting contests at the LA County Fair.

For years there was LASES Poker, often at the Nivens’. My father taught me there were two kinds Of Poker, 5-Card Draw or 5-Card Stud, and crazy games like Baseball (7-Card Stud, 3s and 9s Wild; if dealt a 4 up, you get another face-down card; if dealt a 3 up, you match the “pot” or fold; best5 of 7 wins). Baseball was mild in LASFS Poker, with games like Werewolf, Vampire, Girdle Sale in Yankee Stadium, and Soft Shoe where you could shuffle off to bluff a low. Fuzzy was patient and good-humored throughout.

I looked at a book on a table one night at the Nivens’ and asked “What’s that?” Fuzzy said It’s a Regency romance by Georgette Heyer, try it, you’ll like it. Soon I was driving all over town to find the rest of them in bookshops. See “The English Regency and Me”, Mimosa 29.

When I learned she had gone I wrote to Larry,

     I had a hot fudge sundae for her — and you. We got acquainted because of “Inconstant Moon”.

     I saw her sense of whimsy — I’ll use a greater word, and say “comedy”; her brilliant mind — many Who have that, flaunt it, which she never did; her craftsmanship; her sense Of — I’ll use another big word — beauty; in these last times, her — another big word, I can’t help it — dignity, which also she never flaunted. I’m trying to remember that, according to my religion, she’s been released.

     My special gratitude to her is for sparking the Regency Dancing adventure. I’d never have thought of it. When Rich Lynch asked me to write it up for Mimosa, he wouldn’t let me minimize it. I try to remember that.

     It mustn’t go without saying that she was a wonderful hostess. That mustn’t be minimized either.

     I’ve written this poem. It’s an acrostic (read down the first letters of each line) in unrhymed 5-7-5-7-7-syllable lines, like Japanese tanka.

“Friend to levity”
Under another regime
Zeroed approval;
Zest, among us, counts for more.
Your light, flavor, nourished us.

At the funeral Larry said “She loved you.” Somehow I didn’t cry, I just said “l loved her too.” Tim Griffin read my poem aloud. The urn had Forever in our hearts.


S. B. = Scientiae Baccalaurea, Latin, Bachelor (female; from graduates’ wearing laurel crowns filled with berries, for the fruits of their studies; bachelor = a knight with no standard [in the heraldic sense] of his own who fights under another’s standard, and bachelor = unmarried man, are another story) of Science; A.M. = Artium Magistra, Latin, Master (female) of Arts. Harry Stubbs wrote SF as Hal Clement. Trantor, see Asimov’s Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), Second Foundation (1953); Lazarus Long, see Methuselah’s Children (R. Heinlein 1958). “Shuffle Off to Buffalo”, A. Dubin & H. Warren 1933. “Inconstant Moon”, L Niven 1971. “Friend to levity” e.g. Heyer, The Unknown Ajax ch. 9 (1959).

The fuzziest, pinkest photo ever taken of Fuzzy Pink Niven — by Len Moffatt at the 1972 Westercon.

Pixel Scroll 2/26/24 I’ve Been Yeeted, Been Mistreated, When Will I Be Faunched

(1) UNCLE HUGO’S WILL CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY. Don Blyly’s How’s Business newsletter invites everyone to mark your calendar — Uncle Hugo’s turns 50 this weekend.

Don Blyly readies the new Uncle Hugo’s for business. Photo (c) by Paul Weimer.

Uncle Hugo’s opened for business on March 2, 1974, which makes this coming Saturday our 50th anniversary.  Uncle Hugo’s 50th Anniversary Sale is Friday, March 1, 2024 through Sunday, March 10, 2024, with an extra 10% off everything at Uncle Hugo’s/Uncle Edgar’s. If you have an Uncle Hugo’s discount card, you get 20% off everything. With a $200.00 purchase, we’ll throw in a free 50th anniversary mug (while supply lasts). The sale only applies to in-store purchases, not to mail orders.

But there continue to be a few bumps on the road to that celebration. Blyly says this happened to him recently:

A customer that I had never done business with before ordered a $30.00 book through AbeBooks, and I sent it off to him.  About a week later he sent me an e-mail saying that the book had a small ding on the top edge of the page block that was not mentioned in the description, and he enclosed a photo of the ding.  He wanted me to refund part of the price for the ding or else he would return the book for a refund.  I checked on what other people were charging for the same book and saw that even with the ding he was getting a good price, but I agreed to refund him $5.00 for the ding.    He wrote back that I would have to refund at least $15 or he would return the book.  I told him to return the book.  The next day he started the AbeBooks process for returning the book.  But the day after that he told AbeBooks that he had never received the book and that they should refund his full purchase price without having to return the book he had never received–the book that he had already sent me a photo of to try to get me to cut the price in half.

(2) SPIRIT AWARDS. Two items of genre interest were winners of 2024 Independent Spirit Awards. (The complete list is at the link.)

BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

  • Keivonn Montreal Woodard, The Last of Us

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

  • Nick Offerman, The Last of Us

Deadline reported quotes from the actor’s acceptance remarks — “Nick Offerman Slams ‘Homophobic Hate’ Aimed At His Episode Of ‘The Last Of Us’ In Indie Spirit Awards Speech”.

At Sunday’s Independent Spirit Awards, actor Nick Offerman addressed “homophobic hate” aimed over the past year at “Long, Long Time,” the stand-alone episode of HBO‘s post-apocalyptic drama The Last of Us that he starred in with Murray Bartlett and that earned Offerman a win today for Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series.

“Thank you so much, Film Independent. I’m astonished to be in this category, which is bananas,” Offerman began while onstage to accept the prize. “Thanks to HBO for having the guts to participate in this storytelling tradition that is truly independent. Stories with guts that when homophobic hate comes my way and says, ‘Why did you have to make it a gay story?’ We say, ‘Because you ask questions like that.’”

Added an impassioned Offerman: “It’s not a gay story, it’s a love story, you a**hole.”…

(3) BEST CANADIAN. R. Graeme Cameron reviews Year’s Best Canadian Fantasy and Science Fiction, Volume One at Amazing Stories. After discussing a great many of the works individually, he gives this overall endorsement:

… I must say editor Stephen Kotowych has excellent taste and judgement. What I reviewed is a real powerhouse of quality fiction sparkling with originality, brilliant perception and sophisticated subtlety; the kind of reading session which leaves me feeling inspired and excited.

I frankly assume the rest of the works in this anthology are just as good….

…In my opinion this volume of The Year’s Best Canadian Fantasy and Science fiction belongs on every Canadian reader’s bookshelf. The second volume is underway. I’d like to see it become an annual tradition. As many readers of my reviews are aware, there is a lot of excellent genre fiction being written in Canada. May this series become the definitive annual sample. If all are good as this one, I can see them becoming textbooks for high schools and universities. Makes sense to me. You owe it to yourself to purchase it for your bookshelf.

(4) DIGITAL LOSS COMPENSATION. The Verge opines that “Funimation’s solution for wiping out digital libraries could be good, if it works”.

The president of Crunchyroll, Rahul Purini, announced that the company is working to compensate customers who will lose their digital libraries in the upcoming Funimation / Crunchyroll merger on April 2nd. 

“[We] are working really hard directly with each [customer] to ensure that they have an appropriate value for what they got in the digital copy initially,” Purini tells Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel during this week’s Decoder podcast. “As people reach out to us through customer service, we are responding and handling each of those requests as they prefer.”

When asked what “appropriate value” meant, Purini said, “So it could be that they get access to a digital copy on any of the existing other services where they might be able to access it. It could be a discount access to our subscription service so they can get access to the same shows through our subscription service.”

These options haven’t been formally announced or detailed, and Purini went on to say that it was something Crunchyroll customers are currently taking advantage of. My attempts to secure the “appropriate value” for some digital copies have, so far, been unsuccessful….

(5) YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK. Deadline reports “’Star Wars’ Pic ‘The Mandalorian & Grogu’ Lands California’s Largest Tax Credit Ever”.

The Star Wars franchise is coming to shoot a film entirely in California for the first time with The Mandalorian & Grogu movie, and the Golden State is paying out its weight in tax incentive gold to have the bounty hunter saga made within state lines.

To be specific, that is a total tonnage of $21,755,000 in conditional tax credits for the Jon Favreau directed film. With a new Fantastic FourGladiator 2 and a new season of The Last of Us on his dance card, it is unclear right now if SAG Award winner Pedro Pascal will be resuming his role of Din Djarin and teaming back up with the charming Baby Yoda for the Mandalorian movie.

What is known is that $21,755,000 in tax credits is one of the biggest allocations in the California Film Commission run program’s history.

Put another way, Mandalorian & Grogu won’t be getting the $22.4 million that Transformers spinoff Bumblebee scored back in 2017, but it tops the more than $20.8 million that Captain Marvel was awarded seven years ago, and the $20.2 million that Quentin Tarantino’s supposed last film #10 received last September.

Estimated to be hiring 500 crew members, 54 cast members, and 3500 background players for 92 filming days in California this year, The Mandalorian & Grogu is expected to generate a record-breaking $166,438,000 in qualified expenditures and below-the-line wages….

(6) A FAIRY TALE TAKEOFF. Atlas Obscura Experiences’ “Transforming Fairy Tales With Anca Szilágyi” is a four-session course that starts March 4. Details at the link.

This class invites beginners and experienced writers alike to use concepts from fairy tales as a launch pad for new writing. Drawing from Max Lüthi’s The Fairy Tale as Art Form and Portrait of Man, we’ll play with archetypes and motifs (and explore how motifs play with us), consider how far a fairy tale can be stretched into something new while still retaining some glimmer of recognition, and contemplate how the trope of the tiny flaw can serve as a source of tension in a story. We’ll look at work by authors such as Margaret Atwood, Michael Cunningham, Sofia Satmar [sic, Samatar], and more. In our final class, students will exchange drafts for peer and instructor feedback in a supportive environment.

While this class is designed for folks of all experience levels who are interested in fairy tale writing, it can also serve as an appropriate complementary course for students who have previously taken courses with Anca.

(7) APEX ANNOUNCES LH MOORE COLLECTION. Apex Book Company has acquired first North America English rights to LH Moore’s short story collection Breath of Life.

Breath of Life is a collection of the works of author and poet LH Moore, whose history- and Afrofuturism-inspired speculative short fiction, poetry, and essays move between and blur the genres from horror to science fiction to fantasy. With themes of family and identity, rooted solidly in history and imagining the unknown—both here on Earth and beyond—Breath of Life is an exploration of the unexpected.

Writer, poet and historian LH Moore’s Afrofuturism- and history-inspired speculative fiction and poetry have been in numerous publications and anthologies, such as all three groundbreaking Dark Dreams anthologies of Black horror writers; Bram Stoker Award Finalist anthology Sycorax’s Daughters; Black Magic Women; Chiral Mad 4 and 5, SLAY, Conjuring Worlds, StokerCon 2019, Humans Are the Problem anthologies; and Fireside, Apex, and FIYAH magazines.

(8) HANDHELD WILL CLOSE. Fantasy Hive announces the coming demise of “Handheld Press (2017-2024)”.

Handheld Press will be publishing their last books in July 2024, and cease trading in June 2025. Handheld Press was founded by Kate Macdonald in 2017, specifically with the aim of bringing brilliant but overlooked works by women writers back into print. With their striking cover art and gorgeous design, Handheld Press titles were immediately recognizable on sight. And the reader could rest assured that the contents would match the packaging – Handheld had a knack for choosing exciting and surprising novels and collections and matching them with introductory essays by experts and comprehensive notes on the text….

…One only had to look at the sections of descriptors on Handheld’s website to get a firm idea of their priorities – Women’s Lives, LGBT+ and Disability rub shoulders with Fantasy and Science Fiction, Crime/Thriller and Biography. Macdonald’s mission, which she has pursued with vigour and enthusiasm over the past eight years, has been to recover lost voices from the past, perspectives that are in danger of being forgotten by the largely white, straight and male traditional writers of literary history…. 

(9) BRITISH BOARD OF FILM CLASSIFICATION RULES ON DISNEY CLASSIC. “’Mary Poppins’ Age Rating Raised In UK Over ‘Discriminatory Language’”Deadline has the story.

Mary Poppins has been deemed potentially unsuitable for children.

That’s the verdict of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which last week increased the age rating on the Julie Andrews classic because it contains “discriminatory language.”…

…It did not specify the language in question, but the Daily Mail newspaper reported that the warning refers to the movie’s use of the word Hottentots.

Now regarded as racially insensitive, the word was used by Europeans to refer to the Khoekhoe, a group of nomadic herders in South Africa.

Reginald Owen’s Admiral Boom utters the slur twice in Mary Poppins, including using it to describe chimney sweeps, whose faces are blackened with soot.

The BBFC has been contacted for comment. It told the Mail that a lack of condemnation for the admiral’s language was considered to be a reason for raising the age limit.

The organization said: “We understand from our racism and discrimination research… that a key concern for… parents is the potential to expose children to discriminatory language or behaviour which they may find distressing or repeat without realising the potential offence.”

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born February 26, 1918 Theodore Sturgeon. (Died 1985.) This is not a comprehensive look at Theodore Sturgeon. This is my look at what I truly like.

It is an understatement to say he was a prolific writer. There would be eleven novels, more than one hundred and twenty short stories, and those scripts for Star Trek. And he wrote some four hundred reviews. Keep in mind that he that he only lived to be sixty-seven years old.

Theodore Sturgeon. Photo by Carol DePriest.

I think I’ll start with his Trek scripts as even before I knew that he was the scriptwriter for them, I liked those episodes, “Amok Time” and “Shore Leave”, the latter which is easily in my top ten episodes of this series. I’m not sure how much of his script survived the rewriting first by Coon and then obsessively by Roddenberry. Is his original script published anywhere?

Theresa Peschel notes that he wrote that the screenplay for Studio One’s 1952 adaptation of They Came to Baghdad, a novel that Agatha Christie had written the previous year. She notes “Yet it’s not listed anywhere, including on the semi-comprehensive website devoted to him whose name I can’t remember.”

Now let’s consider his Ellery Queen mystery which was The Player on The Other Side. I’ve read it and it’s quite excellent. It was written from a forty-two page outline by Frederic Dannay, half along with Manfred Bennington of the original Ellery Queen writing alias. I didn’t know if this was the standard practice for these ghostwritten novels but it certainly would make sense if it was so. 

It is said that his “Yesterday Was Monday” story was the inspiration for the rebooted Twilight Zone’s “A Matter of Minutes” episode but given that Harlan Ellison and Rockne O’Bannon wrote the script I doubt much of his original story made it to the screen.  My opinion of course only. 

A second, “A Saucer of Loneliness”, was broadcast in 1986 and was dedicated to his memory. This was directly off a story by him, which first appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction in the February 1953 issue.

The Dreaming Jewels which was nominated for a Retro Hugo at The Millennium Philcon for best novella is uneven but worth reading novel none-the-less. I think More Than Human is a much better with more interesting character and a story that actually makes sense all that way through. And other novels I like, well that it’s. I have read others but those are the only ones I liked. 

I’ve read more than enough of his short fiction to say that he’s a wonderful writer at it. Noel Sturgeon and Paul Williams have published The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, all thirteen volumes.

So tell what you like from his fiction.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) NEW HINTS ABOUT DISNEYLAND EXPANSION. “DisneylandForward – New Details on $2.5 Billion Disneyland Expansion Master Plan” at Mickey Visit.

…Disneyland hopes to make land changes:

  • Establish a new parking structure off the East Side Harbor Blvd entrance to the theme parks
  • Build a new entertainment/shopping facility on the current site of the Toy Story Parking Lot across the street from the Anaheim Convention Center a block down Harbor Blvd – the plans also list this as the potential for theme park use
  • Expand Downtown Disney, Disneyland, and Disney California Adventure into the current grounds of the Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Hotel, and surrounding parking lots – this is the area that would be the most newsworthy and change the offerings of the resort!

On January 23, 2024 Disney announced a new set of details around the proposed investment that would be aligned with the DisneylandForward zoning approvals. While discussing the proposed investment Disney again teased the recently opened World of Frozen and Zootopia lands as potential inspirations for expansion at Disneyland. They also mentioned potential expansions based on Marvel’s Black Panther, Coco, Tangled, Peter Pan, Toy Story, and Tron according to the OC Register.

As part of the new investment proposal, Disney will invest a minimum of $1.9 billion in the resort over the next ten years. The amount could reach $2.5 billion and beyond. If the investment does not reach $2.5 billion within 10 years Disney pays an additional $5 million in street and transportation improvements. 

(13) IT COULD HAVE BEEN SMOOTH. [Item by Steven French.] One for the hovertrain enthusiasts: “Forgotten Grumman TLRV – Pueblo, Colorado” at Atlas Obscura.

IN DOWNTOWN PUEBLO, COLORADO, TWO futuristic hovertrains sit idly next the road, looking absurdly out of place next to any cars that happen to drive by, like a forgotten piece of rail travel’s ambitious past.

One is a Grumman Tracked Levitation Research Vehicle (TLRV), an air-cushion transportation prototype that was built to reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour. The hovertrain was intended to glide along the track without wheels on what was essentially a cushion of compressed air, which was squeezed through tubes along the train’s body then pushed downward. It was meant to be a revolutionary form of rail travel….

(14) KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER? “A college is removing its vending machines after a student discovered they were using facial-recognition technology” says Business Insider. The article includes statements from the companies that own and service these machines denying that they collect the information, or that the information violates GDPR regulations. Take your pick.

A university in Canada is expected to remove a series of vending machines from campus after a student discovered an indication they used facial-recognition technology.

The smart vending machines at the University of Waterloo first gained attention this month when the Reddit user SquidKid47 shared a photo. The photo purportedly showed an M&M-brand vending machine with an error code reading, “Invenda.Vending. FacialRecognition.App.exe — Application error.”

The post drew speculation from some users and caught the attention of a University of Waterloo student whom the tech-news website Ars Technica identified as River Stanley, a writer for the local student publication MathNews. Stanley investigated the smart vending machines, discovering that they’re provided by Adaria Vending Services and manufactured by Invenda Group. The Canadian publication CTV News reported that Mars, the owner of M&M’s, owned the vending machines.

(15) I’LL BE DAMMED. Nothing to do with sff, still, quite interesting: “I Knew Something Big Was Happening: A Guest Post from Leila Philip” at B&N Reads.

…I discovered beavers by accident. I was heading back from a walk through the woods with my dog, Coda, when I heard a loud bang. I literally jumped, thinking a gun had gone off, then I looked out and saw that the dry marshy area I was walking by was now brimming silver – curiously it was filled with water!  Then came another bang and I saw a small brown head moving fast. A beaver had built a dam there and was swimming back and forth, slamming her tail to try to scare us away.  I was transfixed. Over the next few weeks, I watched the shallow woodland valley become a pond. Soon I was seeing and hearing the rustling and movements of so many birds and animals. Mornings, the whole area rang with a complexity of bird song I’d never heard before. I knew something big was happening I just didn’t know yet what it was. Thinking back now I would describe my encounter with the beaver that day as a moment of awe, an experience when I was shifted out of my self and connected to something much larger that I hadn’t been in touch with just moments before. That was the book’s start….

(16) GOOD NEWS FROM THE MOON. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The chances were slim and none. Slim was the winning bet! Is this the real SLIM Shady?

The Japanese Moon lander that fell over on touchdown last month (as opposed to the American Moon lander that fell over on touchdown this month) is back online. JAXA was very pessimistic about SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) surviving the super cold Lunar night. However, it did, and the solar cells have provided enough juice to charge the battery and reestablish communication.

Which is not to say SLIM is 100% OK. In fact, the heat of the sun has so far made it inadvisable to restart any of the scientific instruments. Things are expected to cool off in a few days as the sun angle lowers, hopefully allowing more observations to be made before night once again falls. “Japan Moon lander survives lunar night” at the BBC.

Japan’s Moon lander has survived the harsh lunar night, the sunless and freezing equivalent to two Earth weeks.

“Last night, a command was sent to #SLIM and a response received,” national space agency Jaxa said on X.

The craft was put into sleep mode after an awkward landing in January left its solar panels facing the wrong way and unable to generate power.

A change in sunlight direction later allowed it to send pictures back but it shut down again as lunar night fell.

Jaxa said at the time that Slim (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) was not designed for the harsh lunar nights.

(17) POTTERO SOUTHERNALIUS FIO. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] You might have to be Southern to get some of the references, or at least to know why they’re so funny. “If Harry Potter Was Southern” with Matt Mitchell.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Ryan George takes us inside the “Madame Web Pitch Meeting” Beware spoilers.

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

Writers Protest Illegal Selling of Fanfiction

By Anne Marble: Fanfiction is known for tropes like enemies-to-lovers. But some vendors have become the enemies of the fanfic community — by making a profit from fanfiction.

These vendors are breaking one of rules of the fanfiction world: Don’t make a profit from fanfic. Even worse, they’re making a profit from someone else’s fanfiction. And putting the whole fanfic community in jeopardy.

Along with many others, Diane Duane shared this post about people who are binding and selling fanfic:

The original post starts here. This thread shows lots of examples. You can find bound fanfic on Etsy and other vendors. You’ll find examples if you explore the fanfic category. There is even a Fanfiction Book Binding category.

Some vendors try to protect themselves by saying they are not selling the fanfic (as that’s illegal) — they are selling binding services. I am not a lawyer but that sounds like a grey area.

The important thing to note is that the fanfic writers are not behind this. They are not giving their permission — and they not getting compensated. Creators of fanart are also seeing their work sold on Etsy and other sites.

As a result of this, many established fanfic writers (and artists) have started pulling all their work from fanfic sites. So beloved stories and artwork that have been available to fans for free are now lost because somebody wanted to make money out of them.

It has also been pointed out that this endangers all fanfiction. The companies that own the rights to these characters and stories have been ignoring the fanfiction — because it does not make money. If that changes, they could very well go back to suing fanfic writers (and artists). (Point made by @ramsay_b_OFMD here.)

Fans used to print out their favorite fanfic, add their own artwork, and even share it with friends for free. This is not what is going on now.