The finalists for the 2020 Kurd Laßwitz
Preis were announced on March 29. The award, named after German author Kurd Laßwitz, is given to works
written in or translated into the German language and published during the
The German language editions of Margaret
Atwood’s The Testaments, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Dogs of War, and Arkady
Martine’s A Memory Called Empire are
some of the finalists for Best Foreign Novel. And in the Best Translation category,
the translators of Death’s End by Cixin Liu, The Murderbot Diaries omnibus,
and John Scalzi’s The Consuming Fire are among the nominees.
Voting is open until May 31. The winners will be announced at
ElsterCon 15 in Leipzig, Germany, on September 19, 2020.
Best German language novel first published in
Ein Fremder unter Millionen
(Koloniewelten, Band 3) by Galax Acheronian, Twentysix
Metropole 7 (Der
Letzte Admiral, Band 1) by Dirk van den Boom, Cross Cult
Die Nacht war bleich, die Lichter
blinkten by Emma
Dietmar Dath, Fischer Tor
Perry Rhodan – Das Größte Abenteuer by
Andreas Eschbach, Fischer Tor
Miami Punk by
Juan S. Guse, S. Fischer
Das Ewigkeitsprojekt by
Caroline Hofstätter, Atlantis
Die zweite Erde by
Christian Humberg, Lübbe e-books
Der Moloch by
Michael K. Iwoleit, Fabylon
Der Garten des Uroboros by
Michael Marrak, Amrun Verlag
Am Abgrund der Unendlichkeit by
Bernd Perplies, Bastei Lübbe
Shape Me by Melanie
Vogltanz, Ohne Ohren
Best German language short fiction first
published in 2019:
“Die Eismaschine” by Dirk
Alt in Nova 27, edited by Michael K. Iwoleit and Michael Haitel,
“1Raum” by Gabi Blauert in Flucht
von Zamura, edited by Peggy Weber-Gehrke, Modern Phantastik
“Die zweite Generation” by
Victor Boden in Exodus 39, edited
by René Moreau, Olaf Kemmler and Fabian Tomascheck, Exodus Verlag
“Vom Krug auf dem Hügel in
Tennessee” by Christopher Ecker in Exodus 39, edited by René
Moreau, Olaf Kemmler and Fabian Tomascheck, Exodus Verlag
“Die beste aller Welten” by
Frank W. Haubold in Nova 27, edited by Michael K. Iwoleit and Michael
“Das Fermi-Paradoxon, ein
Erklärungsansatz” by Axel Kruse in Flucht von Zamura, edited by
Peggy Weber-Gehrke, Modern Phantastik
Thorsten Küper in Elvis hat das Gebäude verlassen, edited by André
Skora, Armin Rößler und Frank Hebben, Begedia
“Koloss aus dem Orbit” by
Jacqueline Montemurri in Exodus 39, edited by René Moreau, Olaf Kemmler
and Fabian Tomascheck, Exodus Verlag
“Score!” by Barbara Schwarz
in c’t 16/2019, heise
“Die Aura oder Im Zustand der
Gnade” by Angelika and Karlheinz Steinmüller in Tor-Online.de
“URM 6754 und die
Sphärenklänge” by Angelika and Karlheinz Steinmüller in Sphärenklänge
by Angelika and Karlheinz Steinmüller, Golkonda
“Don’t Be Evil” by Tom
Turtschi in Nova 28, edited by Michael K. Iwoleit and Michael Haitel, p.machinery
“Zeitspringer” by Matthias
Weber in Gegen unendlich 15, edited by Michael J. Awe and Andreas
Best foreign novel first published in German in 2019:
Die Zeuginnen (The Testaments) by Margaret Atwood, Berlin Verlag
Wie man einen Toaster überlistet (Unauthorized Bread) by Cory Doctorow, Heyne
Der zweite Schlaf (The Second Sleep) by Robert Harris, Heyne
Die Mauer (The Wall) by John Lanchester, Klett-Cotta
Jenseits der Zeit (Death’s End) by Cixin Liu, Heyne
Die Reise (Noumenon) by Marina Lostetter, Heyne
Im Herzen des Imperiums (A Memory Called Empire) by Arkady Martine, Heyne
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag, Fischer Tor
Miss Maxwells kurioses Zeitarchiv (Just One Damned Thing After Another) by Jodi Taylor, Blanvalet
Im Krieg (Dogs of War) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Heyne
Tagebuch eines Killerbots (The Murderbot Diaries omnibus) by Martha Wells, Heyne
Die Dynastie der Maschinen (Clockwork Dynasty) by Daniel H. Wilson, Knaur
translation first published in 2019:
Karin Betz for Jenseits der Zeit (Death’s End) by Cixin Liu, Heyne
Frank Böhmert for Tagebuch eines Killerbots (The Murderbot Diaries omnibus) by Martha Wells, Heyne
Andreas Fliedner for Die letzten Tage von New-Paris (The Last Days of New Paris) by China Miéville, Golkonda
Bernhard Kempen for Mars Override (Thin Air) by Richard K. Morgan, Heyne
Bernhard Kempen for Verrat (The Consuming Fire) by John Scalzi, Fischer Tor
Friedrich Mader for Luna Trilogie (Luna trilogy) by Ian McDonald, Heyne
Birthe Mühlhoff for Micro Science Fiction by O. Westin, Mikrotext
Pia Oberacker-Pilick for “Interferenz” (Interferencia) by Vlad Hernandez in c’t 24/2019, heise
Gesine Schröder for Der Gott am Ende der Straße (The Future Home of the Living God) by Louise Erdrich, Aufbau Verlag
Best cover art first published in 2019:
Stefan Böttcher for Gegen unendlich
15, edited by Michael J. Awe and Andreas Fieberg, p.machinery
Alice Conisbee for Miami Punk by
Juan S. Guse, S. Fischer
Arndt Drechsler for phantastisch!
73, edited by Klaus Bollhöfener, Atlantis
Martin Frei for Interferenz by
Christopher L. Bennett, Cross Cult
Jan Hoffmann for Exodus 39,
edited by René Moreau, Olaf Kemmler and Fabian Tomascheck, Exodus Verlag
Timo Kümmel for Userland, Berlin
2069 by Uwe Hermann, Atlantis
Michael Marrak for Der Garten des
Uroboros by Michael Marrak, Amrun Verlag
Jens Maria Weber for Maschinengötter
by Kai Meyer, Fischer Tor
Best German language audio drama first
broadcast in 2019:
Unser Leben in den Wäldern by
Marie Darrieussecq and Gerrit Booms, WDR
Exit. Bericht aus einer verseuchten
Zukunft by Bianca Döring, WDR
Let them eat money. Welche Zunkunft?! by
Andreas Veiel, RBB/DLR
Special award for one-time outstanding
achievements in SF in 2019:
Dietmar Dath for his non-fiction book Niegeschichte
Ulrich Hilgefort, Isabel Grünewald und
Peter Schmitz for the c’t SciFiCast
Melanie Wylutzki, Hardy Kettlitz and
Klaus Farin for their efforts to rescue Das Science Fiction Jahr
Special award for longterm outstanding
achievements in SF in 2019:
Michael Haitel as publisher of
p.machinery and for his work with the SFCD
Dieter von Reeken for his achievements
in preserving classic German science fiction and recording the history of
German science fiction
Peggy Weber-Gehrke and Rico Gehrke for
their support for German language short science fiction
Heinz Zwack for his lifetime
achievement as a writer and translator
(1) IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME. Steven James “op-ed from the future” for the New York Times,“Criminals Should Serve Their Sentences Psychologically”, explains how that would work. (It’s part of a series in which sff authors and others write Op-Eds that “they imagine we might read five, 10, 50 or even 200 years from now.”)
…It’s time that we stop allowing our justice system to hand out sentences that we know a person cannot possibly serve. Imagine spending two thousand years in solitary confinement. That’s what we’re currently sentencing people to — we just don’t expect the prisoner to be alive to serve it. It has been argued that we should sentence someone for each crime committed (hence the 50-year sentences for every murder) to ensure that all victims’ families receive justice. I agree. The victims and their families deserve to see justice carried out. But these meaninglessly long sentences aren’t justice — they’re a mockery of it.
Yes, those who commit such abhorrent crimes deserve to be punished. And yes, they deserve to serve the entire sentences that they’re given. Otherwise, our criminal justice system would either be giving perpetrators prison terms that no one intends them to serve or sentences that could only be completed if they lived for thousands of years — neither of which is a rational pursuit of justice. We know that a person cannot live for dozens or hundreds of lifetimes, but what if they could perceive themselves to have lived that long? What if they could have the perception that thousands of years have passed?
…The selling point of Lord Foul’s Bane, back in the day, was the way it elaborated a charming, hippyish Tolkienian fantasy realm (called ‘The Land’) only to flag-up horriblenesses of a kind Tolkien would never countenance—for example, Thomas Covenant, leperous visitor from our world and the series protagonist, starts his sojourn in The Land by raping someone. It was the first intimation of what was to become Grimdark, I suppose, although it would presumably read as thin stuff to today’s more committed and Sadean Grimdarkster.
The other notable thing about Donaldson was his prose, what David Langford somewhere calls his ‘knurred and argute vocabulary’, an attempt to elevate the idiom of Fantasy that crashes precipitously into the ceiling of the Ludicrous: ‘they were featureless and telic, like lambent gangrene. They looked horribly like children’ [White Gold Wielder] and the like.
…Now, though, Donaldson has stepped back from such gaudier excesses of style. Both volumes of his new Fantasy series, The Great God’s War [Seventh Decimate (2017) and The War Within (2019)] are written in a markedly plainer prose, a gambit in which the advantage of not being actively fucking ridiculous must be balanced against the disadvantage of positive dullness. Swings, we might say, and roundabouts, although in this instance there are rather more roundabouts than swings.
(3) TWO TO TWAIN UP. I linked to Lionel’s Star Trek
train in January, but courtesy of Andrew Porter here’s a much better
set of images to show what makes them entertaining.
This year, Lionel wanted to Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before” and offer an out-of-this-world line of iconic Star Trek offerings! Whether you are a lifetime Star Trek fan, or new to the fandom, our Star Trek LionChief Set and add on cars are sure to be some of the most classic pieces on your layout. Let your true Star Trek heart “Live Long and Prosper,” and don’t miss out on these amazing offerings.
(4) RECAP. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The Magicians S5E12: “Fillory’s Extraordinary Playlist” aired
March 25 on Syfy.
(Actual title, “The
Balls”) Not the final-final episode quite yet – this is the penultimate,
with the season and series finale scheduled for April 1, 2020 — but this is
the last musical episode. In this episode, as an unintended/unexpected
side-effect of a group communications spell to aid in planning a heist, the
gang periodically “goes full Glee,” with (unlike in Zoe’s
Extraordinary Playlist) all the under-the-influencers aware of what’s going
I’m only partway (and one musical
number) into the episode so far, FWIW.
(5) ONE FIRST AFTER ANOTHER. Here’s video of Joe Siclari’s
conversation with legendary First Fandom Hall of Famer Bob Madle at Philcon in
2013, via Fanac.org.
A science fiction reader and fan since the early 1930s, Bob Madle has been a part of the SF field for almost 90 years. He has done it all – he’s pubbed his ish, worked on conventions, been a TAFF fan fund winner, a worldcon Fan Guest of Honor, and one of the best known book dealers in science fiction. His encyclopedic command of the field is legendary. Bob is the one that named the Hugos (and he talks here about how the awards came to be). In this 2013 interview by fan historian Joe Siclari, Bob talks about it all, from his first entry into fandom to his experiences across the years.
(6) PENDERECKI OBIT. Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki,
whose original instrumental music was used in such genre films as The
Exorcist and The Shining, has died at the age of 86. The
WIRE tribute promises, “Even if his name doesn’t sound all
that familiar, you’ve almost certainly heard his work in a famous movie
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 29, 1968 — Star Trek’s “Assignment: Earth” first aired as part of the second season. Guest starring Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and Terri Garr as Roberta Lincoln, our crew which has time-travelled to 1968 Earth for historical research encounters an interstellar agent and Isis, his cat, who are planning to intervene in Earth history. It was intended as a pilot for an Assignment: Earth series but that never happened. Interesting note: The uncredited human form of Isis was portrayed by actress, dancer, and contortionist April Tatro, not Victoria Vetri, actress (in Rosemary’s Baby under the name of Angela Dorian) and Playboy Playmate of the previous year, as would become part of Trek lore.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 29, 1930 — John Astin, 90. He is best-known for playing as Gomez Addams in Addams Family, reprising it on the Halloween withtheNew Addams Family film and the Addams Family animated series. A memorable later role would be as Professor Wickwire in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and I’d like to single out his delightfully weird appearance on The Wild Wild West as Count Nikolai Sazanov in “The Night of the Tartar” episode.
Born March 29, 1938 — Barry Jackson. I’ve been good, with not a Doctor Who performer in several days, so now you’ll get one. Or maybe several if I’m feeling generous. He appeared in the series during the time of the First Doctor, in “The Romans” and in “Mission to the Unknown” which served as a prelude to “The Daleks’ Master Plan”. He would also played Drax, a school pal of the Doctor, in the Fourth Doctor story, “The Armageddon Factor.“ (Died 2013.)
Born March 29, 1943 — Eric Idle, 77. Monty Python is genre, isn’t it? If not, I know that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Yellowbeard, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Quest for Camelot, Shrek the Third and Nearly Departed, an updated version of Topper, which he all hand in certainly are. And it turns out he’s written a witty SF novel, The Road to Mars: A Post-Modern Novel, which involves an Android, comedy and interplanetary travel.
Born March 29, 1947 — Patricia Anthony. Flanders is one damn scary novel. A ghost story set in WW I it spooked me for nights after I read it and I don’t spook easily. Highly recommended. James Cameron purchased the movie rights to her Brother Termite novel and John Sayles wrote a script, but the movie has not been produced. (Died 2013.)
Born March 29, 1950 — Robbie Coltrane, 70. I first saw him playing Dr. Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald on Cracker way back in the Ninties. Not genre, but an amazing role none-the-less. He was Valentin Dmitrovich Zhukovsky in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough, with a much less prominent role as a man at an airfield in Flash Gordon being his first genre role. Being Rubeus Hagrid in the Potter franchise was his longest running genre gig. He’s also voiced both Mr. Hyde in the Van Helsing film and Gregory, a mouse, in The Tale of Despereaux film.
Born March 29, 1955 — Marina Sirtis, 65. Counselor Deanna Troi in the Trekverse. Waxwork II: Lost in Time as Gloria is her true genre film role followed shortly by a one-off on the The Return of Sherlock Holmes series as Lucrezia. And then there’s her mid Nineties voice acting as Demona on Gargoyles, possibly her best role to date. Skipping some one-offs on various genre series, her most recent appearance was on Picard where she and Riker are happily married.
Born March 29, 1956 — Mary Gentle, 64. Her trilogy of Rats and Gargoyles, The Architecture of Desire and Left to His Own Devices is a stunning work of alternate history with magic replacing science. I also highly recommend her Grunts! novel. Gamers particularly will love it. She has a cyberpunk novel, Left To His Own Devices, but I’ve not read it. Who here has read it?
Born March 29, 1957 — Elizabeth Hand, 63. Not even going to attempt to summarize her brilliant career. I will say that my fav works by her are Wylding Hall, Illyria and Mortal Love. We did do an entire edition at Green Man on her and I need to update it to the present site. It’s got a neat conversation with her on what her favorite foods are.
Born March 29, 1957 — Yolande Palfrey. Yes, another Doctor Who performer. She was Janet in “Terror of the Vervoids”, a Sixth Doctor story. She was also in Dragonslayer as one of its victims, She was Veton in the “Pressure Point” episode of Blake’s 7 and she shows as Ellie on The Ghosts of Motley Hall series. She died far too young of a brain tumor. (Died 2011.)
Born March 29, 1968 — Lucy Lawless, 52. Xena in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Cylon model Number Three D’Anna Biers on that Battlestar Galactica series. She also played Countess Palatine Ingrid von Marburg, the last of a line of Germanic witches on the Salem series. Her most recent genre role as Ruby Knowby, one of the Dark Ones, on the Ash vs Evil Dead series. Though not genre, she was Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, its prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and its sequel Spartacus: Vengeance. Let’s just say that her acting may not have been why folks watched those latter series to see her.
(9) THINKING ABOUT OUR FRIEND, MICHAEL J. WALSH. [Item
by Martin Morse Wooster.] A character in the episode of The Frankie Drake Mysteries
I saw yesterday was named “Michael Walsh.” In the episode,
first broadcast in Canada in 2018. Walsh was an authenticator at the Field
Museum who was sent to Toronto to verify a rare piece of Incan pottery, except
he was killed and someone pretending to be Walsh was going to show up and
replace the real piece of pottery with a fake.
lines as “Michael Walsh is running the con” reminded me that renowned
Baltimore fan Michael Walsh has chaired Worldcons and World Fantasy Cons.
My favorite line was “I want you to know that Michael Walsh is tucked away
at the Bethany Funeral Home.”
Writers around the globe are gathering—virtually—to raise their spirits and keep creating through an initiative called StayHomeWriMo. Sponsored by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the organizers of the annual November write-a-thon in which authors pen a novel draft in a month, StayHomeWriMo invites writers to find comfort in their creativity and stay inside while the battle with COVID-19 continues.
The initiative launched on March 23 and will run “as long as it’s relevant,” says National Novel Writing Month’s executive director, Grant Faulkner. Each day writers can participate by visiting the StayHomeWriMo website or its social media channels for a daily checklist of four activities.
(11) STAY IN TOUCH. Essence
of Wonder with Gadi Evron has a mission: “In these times of Covid-19
isolation we create online live sessions to explore interesting topics with
interesting people.” Read descriptions and participant lists of planned
Some of this info and offers may
not necessarily be new. (It’s a paywalled site, so I’m conveying the essential
Note: Probably they all require
you to create and account and provide a credit card number. Based on pre-C
experiences, I suggest that if you don’t plan to continue a subscription, do
the cancellation by the end of Week 3, to allow the site’s processing time to
digest your “thanks but don’t start charging me.”
Consider doing the cancel like a
day after you sign up (but read the rules first). For example, according
to The Verge, “CBS also allows you to cancel the plan
immediately and still use the entire month…To do that, head over to the CBS
All Access account page, scroll down to the ‘Subscription’ line of the ‘Subscription
& Billing’ section, and hit ‘Cancel Subscription.'”
I’m including some of my own
what-to-watch suggestions. (My apologies if I mis-remember what’s where.)
Netflix: Lost In Space.
Amazon: Bosch (from Michael Connolly’s books). The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Glow. The Boys. The Expanse.
CBS All Access (Free access through April 23, if I understand correctly, use “GIFT”, see https://t.co/i2IfFQN3I8 for more.) Star Trek: Picard. Star Trek: Discovery. The Good Fight (all 3 seasons) and more.
ACORN TV (Code FREE30): Murdoch Mysteries. Miss Fisher Mysteries (including the just-released Miss F movie.)
AMC’s Shudder (Code “SHUTIN” — scary and horror stuff, apparently.
(13) BEWARE PICARD SPOILERS.
Interesting posts abound analyzing the conclusion of Picard’s first season.
It’s possible that even quoting their headlines is too much – so YOU ARE WARNED!
(14) STAR TREK REVIVAL. This video should be safer – surely
you’ve seen all these movies by now. (Or if you haven’t, won’t give a hoot.) “The
Story of Star Trek’s Miraculous Resurrection – Movies with Mikey.”
Stardate 47634.44- Mikey discusses the resurrection of Star Trek after the cancellation of TOS, and examines all 6 of the original films.
(15) ‘BOY BRADBURY. Those who didn’t read Playboy for
the articles may have missed these:
The pencil and ink art by Alex Raymond, the creator of the strip, is expected to sell in the range of $400,000 to $600,000 but its historical significance could push it higher.
Or at least it could have. With America now in the throes of the pandemic, auction houses don’t know how collectors are feeling.
“I could have seen this go for a million but now I don’ t know,” says Profiles CEO Joe Maddalena. “In the last 30 days the world has changed. We’re truly in uncharted territory.”
There is some sign for optimism. Last week, Heritage Auctions saw a rare 1933 poster for Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man sell for $182,000, with spirited bidding that exceeded the initial estimates of $125,000.
(17) A LONG, LONG, TIME AGO RIGHT NOW. If you’re still looking
for something to help you fill the idle hours… In the Washington Post, David Betancourt gives a
definitive chronology of all the Star Wars movies, animations, comics, and TV
shows, including what you should watch between episodes two and three and where
the Star Wars comics fit in the grand scheme. “The
ultimate guide to your Star Wars binge”.
…Now, when a lot of us are spending more hours indoors than ever, we have the entirety of the Star Wars entertainment catalogue at our fingertips. And with a new season of “The Mandalorian” not coming until this fall, revisiting the finer moments of this far away galaxy with a good stream or two doesn’t seem like the worst idea. Especially if your viewing of “The Rise of Skywalker” felt like a disturbance in The Force….
(18) GOODNIGHT FILE. Tuck yourself in and listen to “’Goodnight
Moon’ as read by LeVar Burton to Neil deGrasse Tyson.” Arranged by @Audible,
When Star Trek actor LeVar Burton took to Twitter to explain his fruitless efforts in trying to find public domain short stories to read to audiences at home, superstar scribe Neil Gaiman answered the call.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse
Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, N., and Chip Hitchcock
for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of
the day Andrew.]
(1) TURNING THE TABLE. Scott Edelman volunteers to be the next interviewee on the Eating the Fantastic podcast if you’ll think of the questions. Thread starts here.
(2) BALTICON MOVES ONLINE. Michael
Rafferty, now Chair, Virtual Balticon 54, and the
Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) have announced “a free Virtual
Balticon” over Memorial Day weekend.
We decided this was the best way to bring the Balticon Community together without contributing to the spread of the illness.
Plans for Virtual Balticon are still in development….
The virtual convention will kick off Friday night May 22nd, 2020 and run until Monday afternoon. Details on the schedule will be listed on the Balticon website (https://balticon.org).
The shift to a virtual convention this year presents a challenge to many of the artists and dealers who depend on sales made at Balticon for a substantial part of their income. If you had planned on attending Balticon 54 and making purchases, please consider purchasing directly through the links we will provide at Balticon.org.
BSFS depends on memberships from Balticon for nearly all of its yearly budget, including the seed money for the next Balticon. While the Virtual Balticon will be free of charge, donations would be greatly appreciated. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all donations to BSFS are tax-deductible (please contact your tax professionals for full details). Please visit http://www.bsfs.org/donate.htm to donate.
Lastly, we have been sending emails regarding pre-paid Balticon 54 memberships and reservations for Artist Alley, Dealers Room, or Art Show. If you purchased one of these and have not yet received an email, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is an accomplished debut novel. A group of neighborhood children orphaned simultaneously in a devastating event are taken in by a mysterious stranger who becomes their overbearing “father.” Whenever the reader thinks they know what will happen next, the story veers into another direction, perfectly controlled by the author. An excellent, very dark fantasy about the monstrousness of gods. It’s both horrifying and funny, and it hits every mark.
“Accuracy above all things. You will never remember the great if you do not remember the small.”
What details are truly small? Who says they are? Ask yourself as you read The Empress of Salt and Fortune.
This book is not a happy ending book. This is a salt and fortune book: dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful. Here, the truth is delicately, tenderly fished out of darkness. Ugliness is couched in exquisite poetry and the ordinary is finely-drawn; any object, however plain in purpose or silly in function, might be a relic of endurance and a witness to greatness. Nghi Vo’s story of women and intrigue at the end of one empire and beginning of another reveals in flashes that what you think you see isn’t all there is to see. It asks — and answers — the question: What is important? Who is important? Here, the old aphorism “all that glitters is not gold” is particularly apt.
Cleric Chih is on their way to the new Empress’s first Dragon Court, accompanied by their assistant Almost Brilliant (a “neixin” or talking hoopoe with mythical, generational recall of history), when word comes that all sites put under imperial lock during the previous Empress In-Yo’s reign have been declassified. Fortunately, they happen to be near Lake Scarlet, the haunted site of In-Yo’s exile from court “before the mammoth trampled the lion.”
They can’t resist the chance to be first to uncover Lake Scarlet’s secrets about this mysterious but important time in the empire’s history, and are surprised to find the residence there, though locked down, hasn’t been abandoned….
(5) XPRIZE GETS INVOLVED. The “Xprize
Pandemic Alliance” intends “to bring the innovative power of the
global crowd together with a powerful network of partners who can work together
to solve the world’s greatest challenges and enable radical breakthroughs for
the benefit of humanity.”
The Pandemic Alliance is a global coalition that combines the power of collaboration, competition, innovation, and radical thinking to accelerate solutions that can be applied to COVID-19 and future pandemics. We are focusing on dire areas such as accelerating solutions for remote care, provision of personal protective equipment to the front line, testing access, and food and medicine security for vulnerable populations.
The Clarke Center joins the Alliance alongside the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Ending Pandemics, Intel, Illumina, IEEE Standards Association, MIT Solve, C2 International, Cloudbreak Health, the Foundation Botnar, McGill University, Nvidia, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and the PPE Coalition, among others. Dr. Erik Viirre, Director of the Clarke Center, is Medical Director of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE.
…According to the modeling, Jupiter’s inner core grew to the equivalent of about 20 times the mass of the Earth within the first million years. The Sun was still a protostar at this stage, not having become dense enough for hydrogen fusion to begin.
The growth rate then slowed down, but continued, reaching about 50 times the mass of earth three million years later.
“Thus, Jupiter is the oldest planet of the solar system, and its solid core formed well before the solar nebula gas dissipated,” the team writes.
(7) GOODMAN OBIT. Minneapolis-area fan Dan Goodman (1943-2020) passed away March 25. He discovered fandom in New York City in 1962, participating in FISTFA (the city’s “fannish insurgents” group), before moving to the Bay Area and on to Los Angeles. He joined LASFS in 1969 and remained active for several years. When I knew him he worked as a typist at the IRS producing statutory notices of deficiency (which was no trivial job for a typist in those days). We were together in several APAs, not the least of which was the weekly APA-L. Goodman, Jack Harness, perhaps John Hertz, and I don’t know who else, lived near downtown and helped each other get their contributions in, or delivered finished copies of the APA, and joked about being members of STUD – Shoving Things Under Doorways. He contributed to my early genzines, and even to an issue of File 770 — in #12 (1979) Dan’s article “Just the Facts” used his own fannish biography to satirically demonstrate how anyone bidding for a convention could simulate an impressive resume. Dan was one of several LASFSians who were attracted by Minneapolis’ very congenial fandom and moved there. He edited some issues of the Minn-stf’s newsletter, Einblatt. He was always strongly interested in fiction writing – I’m a little surprised that ISFDB reports only one published story, “The Oldest Religion” which appeared in Tales of the Unanticipated in 1988. His CaringBridge page indicates Dan’s health began a final decline early this year. In a wonderful gesture on February 8, they brought the Minn-stf meeting to him – about 10 people. It certainly sounds like he chose the right place to put down roots.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 28, 1959 — The Manster premiered. Shot in Japan, it was produced by George P. Breakston as directed by Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane. The screenplay was by Walter J. Sheldon. Sheldon’s script was based on Breakston’s story which he originally titled The Split, presumably because the process that created the monster gave it two heads. (It was marketed as The Split in areas.) It starred Peter Dyneley, Jane Hylton, Tetsu Nakamura and Terri Zimmern. One reviewer at the time called it “a pathetic pot-boiler” and another noted that “the second head lolled around at random”. The audience at Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 30% rating. You can see it for yourself here.
March 28, 2003 — Tremors: The Series premiered on Syfy. It followed three Tremors films and starred Michael Gross, Gladise Jimenez, Marcia Strassman and Victor Brown. Created by Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson who brought us the entire Tremors franchise, it lasted but thirteen episodes. You can watch the first episode, “Feeding Frenzy” here.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 28, 1922 — A. Bertram Chandler. Did you ever hear of popcorn literature? Well the Australian-tinged space opera that was the universe of John Grimes was such. A very good starting place is the Baen Books omnibus of To The Galactic Rim which contains three novels and seven stories. If there’s a counterpart to him, it’d be I think Dominic Flandry who appeared in Anderson’s Technic History series. Oh, and I’ve revisited both to see if the Suck Fairy had dropped by. She hadn’t. (Died 1984.)
Born March 28, 1932 — Ron Soble. He played Wyatt Earp in the Trek episode, “Spectre of The Gun.” During his career, he showed up on a huge number of genre series that included Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Shazam, Planet of The Apes, Fantasy Island, Salvage 1 and Knight Rider. His last genre role, weirdly enough, was playing Pablo Picasso in Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills. (Died 2002.)
Born March 28, 1933 — J. R. Hammond. Looking for companionable guides to H.G. Wells? Clute at EoSF has the scholar for you. He wrote three works that he recommends as being rather good (H G Wells: A Comprehensive Bibliography, Herbert George Wells: An Annotated Bibliography of his Works and An H G Wells Companion: A Guide to the Novels, Romances and Short Stories). Clute says that his “tendency to provide sympathetic overviews, now as much as ever, is welcome.” (Died 2018.)
Born March 28, 1944 — Ellen R. Weil. Wife of Gary K. Wolfe. She wrote a number of works with him including the non-fiction study, Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. They wrote a fascinating essay, “The Annihilation of Time: Science Fiction; Consumed by Shadows: Ellison and Hollywood”, which can be found in Harlan Ellison: Critical Insights. (Died 2000.)
Born March 28, 1946 — Julia Jarman, 74. Author of a children’s book series I like a lot, of which I’ll single out Time-Travelling Cat And The Egyptian Goddess, The Time-Travelling Cat and the Tudor Treasure and The Time-Travelling cat and the Viking Terror as the ones I like the best. There’s more in that series but those are my favorites.
Born March 28, 1955 — Reba McEntire, 65. Her first film role was playing Heather Gummer in Tremors. Since then, she’s done voice work as Betsy the Cow in Charlotte’s Web and as Etta in The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave. She also voiced Artemis on the Disney Hercules series.
Born March 28, 1960 — Chris Barrie, 60. He’s Lara Croft’s butler Hillary in the most excellent Tomb Raider franchise films. He also shows up on Red Dwarf for twelve series as Arnold Rimmer, a series I’ve never quite grokked. He’s also one of the principal voice actors on Splitting Image which is not quite genre adjacent but oh so fun.
Born March 28, 1972 — Nick Frost, 48. Yes, he really is named Nick Frost as he was born Nicholas John Frost. Befitting that, he was cast as Santa Claus in two Twelfth Doctor stories, “Death in Heaven” and “Last Christmas”. He’s done far more genre acting that I can retell here starting with the Spaced series and Shaun of The Dead (he’s close friends with Simon Pegg) to the superb Snow White and The Huntsman. He’s currently Gus in the forthcoming Truth Seekers, a sort of low budget comic ghost hunter series
(11) A PSA YOU SHOULD FOLLOW. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] When the Silver Surfer tells you you
should practice #SocialDistancingNow, you should probably listen. You really don’t want
him to sic Galactus on you. “Silver
Surfer Provides a PSA for Self-Quarantining” at CBR.com.
“Hello, True Believers! This is Norrin Radd, Sentinel of the Spaceways and Herald to Galactus, Devourer of Worlds,” begins Radd. “It is important to remember that while I wield the Power Cosmic, you do not and, as such, it is your responsibility to maintain your social distance during this pandemic.”
After delivering the PSA, the Surfer goes on to play electric guitar and sing his own theme song.
(12) LEADFOOT ON THE TIME ACCELERATOR. I thought it was
interesting to read how developments from the coronavirus epidemic broke into
John Scalzi’s plan to get away from the news while he was on the JoCo cruise: “The
Last Best Time”.
Last week, the Doubleclicks streamed every day and played games, interviewed authors, recorded and even wrote songs! It was really fun, and you can watch all the videos we made up on this YouTube playlist. We’ll definitely do more streaming in the future, but we’re taking a little while to regroup and rest next week. However, we want to recommend some awesome livestreams you should check out, done by people we really enjoy and recommend!
…Speaking from his home outside of Boston, Perrotta says he was startled by some people’s scornful response to the premise of “The Leftovers.” “Two percent?” they said. “That’s nothing.”
But that would be 6.5 million Americans, and it could soon be this administration’s economic plan for the United States.
The horror of even contemplating a loss of that magnitude is staggering. “I look out my window, and it’s a beautiful day, and the water comes out of the faucet when I turn it on, and my car works,” Perrotta says. “The infrastructure of the world is intact, but there is this feeling of dread and grief that makes it feel entirely different than what it did a month ago. I wake up and as soon as I go downstairs and come in contact with any information, this heaviness just comes over me that I carry through the whole day. And I think, you know, 2 percent is a lot.”
As he suggested in “The Leftovers,” which was later adapted into an HBO series, Perrotta doubts anybody would survive such a “minor” apocalypse unscathed. “It may not be somebody in your first ring of acquaintances,” he says, “but it’ll be someone in the second and maybe someone right next to you. One of the things it does is really make you aware of just how connected we are.”
OneWeb, the high-profile London-based satellite start-up, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.
The firm, which has been building a network to deliver broadband across the globe, blamed the Covid-19 crisis for its inability to secure new investment.
OneWeb issued a statement saying it was laying off most of its staff while it seeks a buyer for the company.
The start-up recently launched the 74th satellite in a constellation planned to total at least 648 spacecraft.
The idea is that this network will provide high-bandwidth, low-latency internet connections to any point on Earth, bar Antarctica.
Rumours of a collapse had been swirling around OneWeb this past week. It had raised £2.6bn to implement its project but experts in the space industry speculated that double this sum would probably be needed to complete the system.
The statement released by OneWeb in the early hours of Saturday, London time, said the company had been close to obtaining financing but that, “the process did not progress because of the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of Covid-19”.
Neanderthals were eating fish, mussels and seals at a site in present-day Portugal, according to a new study.
The research adds to mounting evidence that our evolutionary relatives may have relied on the sea for food just as much as ancient modern humans.
For decades, the ability to gather food from the sea and from rivers was seen as something unique to our own species.
Scientists found evidence for an intensive reliance on seafood at a Neanderthal site in southern Portugal.
Neanderthals living between 106,000 and 86,000 years ago at the cave of Figueira Brava near Setubal were eating mussels, crab, fish – including sharks, eels and sea bream – seabirds, dolphins and seals.
The research team, led by Dr João Zilhão from the University of Barcelona, Spain, found that marine food made up about 50% of the diet of the Figueira Brava Neanderthals. The other half came from terrestrial animals, such as deer, goats, horses, aurochs (ancient wild cattle) and tortoises.
Nasa says it has detected the first signs of significant melting in a swathe of glaciers in East Antarctica.
The region has long been considered stable and unaffected by some of the more dramatic changes occurring elsewhere on the continent.
But satellites have now shown that ice streams running into the ocean along one-eighth of the eastern coastline have thinned and sped up.
If this trend continues, it has consequences for future sea levels.
There is enough ice in the drainage basins in this sector of Antarctica to raise the height of the global oceans by 28m – if it were all to melt out.
“That’s the water equivalent to four Greenlands of ice,” said Catherine Walker from Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
[Thanks JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Ben Bird Person, Cat Eldridge, Mike
Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian
for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of
the day Jack Lint.]
The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts has reported the 2020 winners of the various awards usually presented at their annual conference, which was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
THE CRAWFORD AWARD
annually by the IAFA for a first book of fantasy.]
Tamsyn Muir, Gideon the Ninth (Tor.com)
THE JAMIE BISHOP
[For a work of scholarship written in a language
other than English.]
Valentina Gosetti and E.J. Kent, “Maribas et la
sorcellerie masculine” [“Marinas and Male Witchcraft”]
THE WALTER JAMES
MILLER MEMORIAL AWARD
[For a student paper on a work or works of the
fantastic originally created in a language other than English,]
Brittany Roberts Brittany Roberts, ”The Soviet
Anthropocene: Desiccation, Desertification, and Environmental Horror in Dmitri
THE IMAGINING INDIGENOUS FUTURISM AWARD
[Recognizes emerging authors who use science fiction to address
issues of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.]
Julia A. Thompsan, “White Hope”
THE DAVID G. HARTWELL
EMERGING SCHOLAR AWARD
[For an outstanding student paper.]
Filip Boratyn “Magic(s) of the Anthropocene:
Enchantment vs. Terroir in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach.”
DELL MAGAZINES AWARD
[An Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writing. More details here.]
Rona Wang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
LORD RUTHVEN AWARDS
for the best fiction on vampires and the best academic work on the study of the
vampire figure in culture and literature.]
Vampire Non-Fiction: Sorcha Ní Fhlainn for Post-Modern Vampires: Film, Fiction and Popular Culture
Fiction: Bryan D. Dietrich and Marge Simon for The Demeter
Media: TV series What We Do in the Shadows
Some of these have been previously reported here or at Locus Online.]
By John Hertz: The only current annual fanziners’ convention I know of is
Corflu. Another called Ditto having run two decades, not always
annually, fell asleep. An attempt at another called Toner lasted, if
memory serves, two years.
Corflu is mimeograph correction fluid, once
indispensable. The Mimeograph was a 19th Century invention for
making inexpensive copies by forcing ink through stencils held on a rotating
drum. In the United States, “Mimeograph” was a registered trademark of
A.B. Dick Co., but was allowed to become generic.
Gestetner-brand machines appeared
a few years later. With Roneo-brand machines you could change drums to
change the color of ink. Rex Rotary was another
brand. I’m not sure how widely mimeograph or mimeo was
used as a generic term outside the U.S.
Many thought this the Grade A
technology for fanzine publication until cheap photocopying
arrived. Corflu was essential so as to cure misteaks.
Spirit duplication, which always sounded to me like something out of a fantasy
story, was a 1920s tech. Writing on a master sheet pressed the
master against a second, inked sheet; the master, duly inked on its back side,
and attached to a drum, was rolled over a wick holding an alcohol-based solvent
that transferred ink onto paper.
The Ditto brand was best known;
another was Heyer. You could
correct errors with skillful use of a razor blade, or an X-Acto knife, and
rewriting (or even retyping).
Each of these had various
advantages, disadvantages, and know-how. Generally mimeo could
reproduce more copies, spirit duplication was cheaper.
Toner is the powdery ink used in
laser printers and many photocopiers.
As Paul Skelton recently quoted
from Marshall McLuhan in Raucous
Caucus 7, when technology becomes obsolete it reshapes into an art
form. Actually McLuhan also said obsolescence isn’t an ending, it’s a
beginning. Speaking for myself I’m big on Right tool for
Corflu XXXVII was March 13-15,
2020, at College Station, Texas, U.S.A. (some cons get names; this one was
“Corflu Heatwave”). Corflu XXXVIII is scheduled for March 26-28,
2021, at Bristol, England, U.K. (“Corflu Concorde”). Seldom able to
attend in person, I’ve been a faithful Supporting Member, and happily recommend
membership in either kind.
If you’re electronic you can
or you can always write to me, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA
(2) RESEARCHERS WANT MORE INTERVIEWS WITH TOLKIEN FANS. Robin
Reid is asking for help to spread the word:
The link below leads to my Digital Tolkien class discussion about the Marquette Tolkien Oral History Project created and curated by Bill Fliss. This project is incredible effort to create an online accessible archive of interviews with Tolkien fans that consists of podcasts and transcriptions of the interviews for fan and academic meta. You can read all about the process at the link, but I’m asking for your help circulating the project information in fan spaces to generate more interviews. My sense is that Tumblr would be a great space to advertise it, along with some others, but I’m not in the least literate or comfortable in Tumblr (I tried it. I failed it). But if you all were willing to spread the information, it would be great!
…The notion of a “Science Fiction House” emerged in New York fandom in the late 1930s and became real with the establishment of a residence in Brooklyn known as Futurian House. The story of that fabled abode is told in detail in the October 1939 and January 1940 issues of the Jim Avery’s M.S.A. Bulletin, the club organ of the Maine Scientifiction Association.
But Wollheim had already formed a vision of an idyllic communal living space for fans. This fictional history, sadly incomplete, is dated December 3 1937. The post contains scans of his original three-page document. Enjoy!
(4) ON THE ROAD AGAIN. [Item by Olav Rokne.] NME reports that Anna Taylor-Joy has auditioned (via skype due to
Coronavirus) for a role in the Mad Max spin off Furiosa. The movie,
which is set to film in 2021 is one of the productions that seems to have
recently escaped development hell, as studios are gearing up for accelerated
production schedules post-Coronavirus. “‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ spin-off ‘Furiosa’ reportedly in
Director George Miller is ready to return to the iconic post-apocalyptic world after the green light was given for shooting to take place in Australia this autumn, according to Geeks WorldWide.
(5) HALEGUA OBIT. Veteran
pulp collector Mark Halegua died March 18 at the age 66. Murania Press’ Ed Hulse has an obituary for Mark
on his blog: “Mark Halegua (1953-2020), R.I.P.”
One of the highlights —
At the 1997 Pulpcon in Bowling Green, Ohio, I recognized Mark from the comic-book conventions and introduced myself. During our first brief conversation I learned he was a fan and collector of the “Thrilling Group” pulps edited by Leo Margulies and published by Ned Pines. He was compiling complete sets of The Phantom Detective, Black Book Detective (with his favorite character, the Black Bat), and Captain Future, among others. He liked hero pulps in general and also had a fondness for science fiction.
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 27, 1957 — X Minus One’s “A Pail of Air” aired. . A family are together in their nest. Everything is calm for the moment, but at any moment the mother could wake and start to ramble on about things that don’t exist anymore. Things such as the sun and grass. Or are things as they believe they are? Written by Fritz Leiber for Galaxy in December 1952, the radio script was by Pamela Fitzmaurice, with the cast being Ronald Liss and Eleanor Phelps. Daniel Sutter was the director. You can download it here.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 27, 1892 — Thorne Smith. A writer of humorous supernatural fantasy. He is best remembered for the two Topper novels — a comic fantasy fiction mix of plentiful drink, many ghosts and sex. Not necessarily in that order. The original editions of the Topper novels complete with their erotic illustrations are available from the usual digital sources. (Died 1934.)
Born March 27, 1901 — Carl Barks. Cartoonist, writer, and illustrator. He is best known for his work in Disney comic books, as the writer and artist of the first Donald Duck stories and as the creator of Scrooge McDuck. He wrote The Fine Art of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge McDuck. He was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. (Died 2000.)
Born March 27, 1942 — Michael York, 78. I remember him in the Babylon 5 “A Late Delivery from Avalon” episode as a man who believed himself to be King Arthur returned. Very chilling. I also enjoyed him as D’Artagnan in the Musketeers films and remember him as Logan 5 in Logan’s Run. So what is on his genre list that really impresses you?
Born March 27, 1949 — John Hertz, 71. Winner of the Big Heart Award at the 2003 Torcon. He’s quite active in the fanzine world publishing the Vanamonde fanzine. Four collections of his fanwriting have been published, West of the Moon, Dancing and Joking,On My Sleeve, and Neither Complete nor Conclusive. He‘s been nominated for the Hugo for Best Fan Writer three times.
Born March 27, 1952 — Dana Stabenow, 68. Though better known for her superb Kate Shugak detective series, she does have genre work to her credit in the excellent Star Svensdotter space series. The latter is available at the usual digital suspects.
Born March 27, 1962 — Kevin J. Anderson, 58. Ok, I’ll admit that I love first two Dune books and have only read the first four of them, so I’m puzzled what the market is for eighteen novels and counting that he and his co-writer have written that have expanded that universe. I mean he’s really, really prolific — he even co-wrote Clockwork Angels with Neil Peart, a novelization of Rush’s 20th studio album of the same name!
Born March 27, 1971 — Nathan Fillion, 49. Certainly best known for being Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds in Firefly verse. An interesting case of just how much of a character comes from the actor. In his case, I’d say most of it. He voiced Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen. Oh, and he appeared in a recurring role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Caleb.
(10) A HIGHER TECH PRACTICAL JOKE. [Item by Mike
Kennedy.] Be sure to follow the link to the Facebook post. It will take you to the page
where the Chain Chomp is being sold. Anchor one to the floor just inside the
bathroom door after everyone else has gone to bed…
ONLINE OFFERINGS. Clarion West is offering a
series of free online workshops.
Our amazing community of alumni, instructors, and friends has come together to create a robust and diverse offering. We have everything from one-hour presentations on specific areas of craft to week-long interactive workshops. There are also writing sprints to help you get words down on paper.
The workshop class list is here, and it can be found under Workshops -> Online Workshops.
Virtual theater listings for Bacurau are available on the Kino Lorber website. (You’ll receive a rental link, and the profits will help support the independent theater you select on the page.)
And here’s the Kino Lorber link — Bacurau
— with description of the film.
(13) EATING THE FANTASTIC TIME CAPSULE. Scott Edelman
invites listeners to time travel to 1995 as Geoffrey A. Landis and Yoji Kondo
ponder the age of the universe in a flashback episode of the Eating the
When I launched Science Fiction Age in 1992, one of the things I decided to do to deliver a different experience than other science fiction publications of the time was to have our science column be — not an essay by a single author — but a Science Forum. There was an occasional exception, but for the most part, from the very beginning, until the magazine shut down in 2000, I’d take science fiction writers who were also scientists out for a meal, we’d eat, we’d chat, and I’d record the results for publication.
A couple of years back, I realized that since I’d been eating in restaurants talking about the fantastic with science fiction writers, it made sense to repurpose what conversations survived for this podcast. And now, with the coronavirus making meals in restaurants either risky or impossible depending on your location, I thought it would be fun to share yet another time travel episode.
At the time of this conversation 25 years ago, Geoffrey A. Landis worked for Sverdrup Technology at the NASA Lewis Research Center and was named by Ad Astra magazine as a “cutting edge” theorist in the special issue on the “stars” of space. As an SF writer, Geoffrey Landis had won the Hugo Award for “A Walk in the Sun” and a Nebula Award for “Ripples in the Dirac Sea.” In the quarter century since, he’s won 2003 Hugo Award for best short story “Falling Onto Mars,” the 2011 Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short science fiction for “The Sultan of the Clouds,” and the 2014 Robert A. Heinlein Award.
A quarter of a century ago, Yoji Kondo, an astrophysicist, was the director of the geosynchronous satellite observatory IUE. The previous year, he co-organized and co-chaired the International Astronomical Union Symposium on “Examining the Big Bang” in The Hague. Under the pseudonym Eric Kotani, he had written five SF books, four with John Maddox Roberts and one with Roger MacBride Allen. Since that time, he published an additional novel with Roberts, as well as the Star Trek Voyager novel Death of A Neutron Star. In 2003, the Lunarians awarded him its Isaac Asimov Memorial Award. Sadly, Kondo passed away October 9, 2017.
We discussed how the idea of the universe even having a beginning is a relatively new concept, the way we choose between the many competing theories of its age, how the phrase “Big Bang” was a joke which stuck, the paradox of some stars appearing to be older than the universe itself, how a science fiction writer’s imagination might solve unanswered questions, whether knowing when the universe was born will help us calculate when it will end, and more.
Elon Musk has promised to provide New York with hundreds of ventilators to help meet demand from the growing coronavirus outbreak.
The Tesla chief executive said the first batch of donated machines would be delivered later on Friday.
The ventilators were purchased from US government-approved manufacturers in China.
The mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio thanked Mr Musk on Twitter writing “We’re deeply grateful.”
“We need every ventilator we can get our hands on these next few weeks to save lives,” he tweeted.
The ventilators will be donated to hospitals in New York City and across New York state.
(16) FEAR ITSELF. Following up on a mention of him the
other day, “Max Brooks Has Been Called The ‘Zombie Laureate’” is a clip of his
appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2017.
‘Minecraft: The Island’ author Max Brooks explains the paranoid upbringing that led him to write about the undead.
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mike
Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, N., Olav Rokne, Darrah Chavey, and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has
added three staff members: Kevin Wabaunsee has been named as the
new SFWA Managing Editor, Lauren Raye Snow has been named as the
new SFWA Art Director, and Beth Dawkins has been named the
new SFWA Volunteer Coordinator.
Managing Editor will support the Editor-in-Chief in overseeing the
reorganization and production of SFWA’s publications and communications
channels. The Art Director will oversee all visual aspects of SFWA, including
graphics, branding, and design. The Volunteer Coordinator will work across the
organization to ensure that members who want to offer their time and services
are placed where they are needed most.
Wabaunsee is a speculative fiction writer and editor. He is a
Prairie Band Potawatomi, a Chicagoan, and a former newspaper reporter.
Wabaunsee is a graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop and an associate editor
at Escape Pod.
His short fiction has been published by Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, and PseudoPod. In addition to his SF/F work, Wabaunsee has more
than 10 years of experience as an editor, publications manager, and
communications director, primarily working in higher education and research
SFWA President, Mary Robinette Kowal said, “I’m not sure that
I’ve ever met a more organized, soothing person as Kevin. Watching processes
come into place that make SFWA’s communication more efficient has been
Managing Editor, Wabaunsee will assist Editor-in-Chief Michi Trota in providing
oversight and executing production of the SFWA publications and communications
that help shape and maintain the organization’s reputation. This critical
position is responsible to help facilitate SFWA’s goals and mission statement
of informing, supporting, promoting, defending and advocating for its members.
“I’ve long admired SFWA and the work it does on behalf
of the science-fiction and fantasy community. I’m thrilled at the opportunity
to join Michi Trota, Mary Robinette Kowal, and SFWA’s board and staff in
helping to produce SFWA’s publications and sharing them with the world,”
Snow is a designer, illustrator, and arts activist from South
Texas. Over the course of her career, she has served as Creative Director for
multiple nonprofits and justice movement campaigns. In her personal work, she
is inspired by the Symbolists and the Pre-Raphaelites, by the Catholic and
Indigenous religious icons of her native South Texas, as well as speculative
works of wonder, horror, romance, and beauty in literature and music.
“I have long wanted to have an art director for SFWA to
create a cohesive look to the organization’s publications and web presences.
Earlier this year, I had asked John Picacio, for a recommendation for a
volunteer to do some graphic work for the Nebulas conference. In the first
meeting with Lauren, I knew that we had found someone exceptional. When I
proposed expanding her role to art director, everyone on the team gave an
enthusiastic ‘yes’.” Kowal says.
As Art Director, Snow will provide direction and coordination
regarding graphics, art, and other visual elements among SFWA’s multiple
channels and content streams. This new position will help strengthen SFWA’s
“I am delighted to serve as SFWA’s new Art Director,” Snow
says. “My love for genre fiction runs deep. My father, himself an astronomer by
trade and lifelong genre fan, read me Tolkien at bedtime; I spent many an
afternoon wandering the halls of the offices of the Planetarium where he
worked, marveling at the glowing murals of constellations and playing with his
large plastic replica of Ridley Scott’s Alien. To take on the role of Art Director for the Science
Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America is a dream come true. I can’t wait to
work with the SFWA team to bring some fantastical beauty into being.”
is a long-time volunteer for SFWA herself, working with the organization at
Nebula Conferences and Worldcons, as well as helping out behind the scenes. Her
fiction has been published in Flame Tree’s Heroic Fantasy Short
Stories, Apex Magazine, If This Goes On, and Analog. She lives
in Northeast GA with her partner and two dogs.
strength of any service organization comes from its volunteers. SFWA has no
shortage of people in the community who want to help. To link them to the work,
we needed someone who was organized and responsive to a constantly changing
landscape. Beth Dawkins has been doing tireless work matching volunteers to
opportunities and we are very fortunate to have her.” said Kowal.
Volunteer Coordinator, Dawkins will work with members throughout the
organization to catalog the need for volunteers and to match up potential
volunteers with the jobs and tasks that need to be done. SFWA runs on its
volunteers and Dawkins will ensure that it can continue to function and grow.
have always believed in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. It
is a pleasure to connect people with one another and continue to help grow our
community,” Dawkins said.
STARBURST invited nominations from publishers and
creators earlier this year. The award goes to an individual, not a
specific work. The magazine’s team actively sought out examples published in
2019 that most define a creator’s output. STARBURST editorial staff
assembled the shortlist from roughly 100 entries, which included blog posts,
comic books, short stories, screenplays, poetry, anthologies and novels. This
was then discussed vigorously amongst the team at the Starburst International
Film Festival in March.
STARBURST Magazine’s own
Literary Editor, Ed Fortune, is the head judge. He said “Blimey, it gets
harder every year. Some very different entries this year, but we are very proud
of this year’s short list and recommend any book on this list.”
The panel of judges for the Brave New Words Award includes
genre critics and media professionals. The panel includes Urban Fantasy
author Russell Smith, media expert Rebecca Derrick,
book podcaster Jane Hanmer and book blogger Matt Cavanagh. Finally, we welcome narrative
expert Professor Esther MacCallum-Stewart to the team.
A ceremony presenting the awards is planned to take place
at Edge Lit 9, the UK’s
premier annual indie book event. In 2020 the event will be held at the Derby
Quad on the 11th and 12th of July. Guests will include John Gwynne
and David Quantick. If the event cannot go ahead due to current circumstances,
an online ceremony will replace it.
It is bittersweet news we bring to you today. As you know we have diligently kept our eyes on the situation surrounding COVID-19 and evaluating what we should do in the best interest of our community, our organization, and the community at large.
It is with both sadness, but also with hope, that I am able to announce that the Westin has offered to move our contract to April 2021. This means that Penguicon 2020 has officially been cancelled.
(3) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 26, 1989 — Quantum Leap premiered. Created by Donald P. Bellisario (Tales of The Golden Monkey, AirWolf), it starred Scott Bakula as the time-travelling Sam Beckett and Dean Stockwell as his holographic contact from the future, Admiral Al Calavicci. The series would air on NBC for five seasons gaining a large following after a mediocre start. It has a stellar 97% rating by the audience at Rotten Tomatoes. You can se the pilot here.
March 26, 2005 — The modern era of Doctor Who premiered with the airing on BBC of “Rose”. Starring Christopher Ecclestone as the Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler with Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler and Noel Clarke and Mickey Smith, Russell T Davies was the showrunner snd scriptwriter for that episode which you can see here.
(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 26, 1850 — Edward Bellamy. Looking Backward: 2000–1887 is really the only work that he’s remembered for today. It’s interesting if more than a bit stifled in its language style. He wrote two other largely forgotten works, Dr. Heidenhoff’s Process and Miss Ludington’s Sister: A Romance of Immortality. (Died 1898.)
Born March 26, 1920 — Alex Comfort. No smirking please as we’re adults here. Yes, he’s the author of The Joy of Sex but he did do some decidedly odd genre work as well. Clute at EoSF notes that his “first genuine sf novel, Come Out to Play (1961), is a near-future Satire on scientism narrated by a smug sexologist, whose Invention – a potent sexual disinhibitor jokingly called 3-blindmycin (see Drugs) – is accidentally released over Buckingham Palace at the Slingshot Ending, presumably causing the English to act differently than before.” (Died 2000.)
Born March 26, 1931 — Leonard Nimoy. I really don’t need to say who he played on Trek, do I? Did you know his first role was as a zombie in Zombies of the Stratosphere? Or that he did a a lot of Westerns ranging from Broken Arrow in which he played various Indians to The Tall Man in which at least his character had a name, Deputy Sheriff Johnny Swift. His other great genre role was on Mission: Impossible as The Great Paris, a character whose real name was never revealed, who was a retired magician. It was his first post-Trek series. He of course showed up on the usual other genre outings such as The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Outer Limits, Night Gallery and Get Smart. And then there’s the matter of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.” (Died 2015.)
Born March 26, 1942 — Erica Jong, 78. Witches which has amazing illustrations by Joseph A. Smiths is very much still worth your time nearly forty years on. ISFDB also lists Shylock’s Daughter: A Novel of Love in Venice which is a time travel story but it certainly sounds more like a romance novel to me.
Born March 26, 1950 — K. W. Jeter, 70. Farewell Horizontal may or may not be punk of any manner but it’s a great read. Though I generally loathe such things, Morlock Night, his sequel to The Time Machine , is well-worth reading. I’ve heard good things about his Blade Runner sequels but haven’t read them. Opinions please.
Born March 26, 1951 — Brian Bolland, 69. Best remembered as one of the most memorable Judge Dredd artists for 2000 AD, he also did crack work on Camelot 3000 and The Killing Joke as well. The latter received an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album.
Born March 26, 1953— Christopher Fowler, 67. I started reading him when I encountered his Bryant & May series which though explicitly not genre does feature a couple of protagonists who are suspiciously old. Possibly a century or more now. The mysteries may or may not have genre aspects (some such as Seventy Seven Clocksare genre) but all are wonderfully weird. Other novels by him which I’d recommend are Roofworld and Rune which really are genre, and Hell Train which is quite delicious horror.
Born March 26, 1985 — Keira Knightley, 35. To my surprise and this definitely shows I’m not a Star Wars geek, she was Sabé, The Decoy Queen., in The Phantom Menace. Next up for her is Princess of Thieves, a loose adaptation of the Robin Hood legend. Now I didn’t see that but I did see her in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl as Elizabeth Swann though I’ll be damned if I remember her role. (She’s in several more of these films. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.) I saw her as Guinevere, an odd Guinevere indeed, in King Arthur. Her last role I must note was as The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in which she was the Sugar Plum Fairy!
(5) WHERE WILL YOU PIN YOUR BADGE? You’ll need to decide, because Adri Joy is getting a head start on badge ribbons for the virtual Worldcon.
(6) ALSO IN NEW ZEALAND, Wellington Paranormal is helping out in their own way.
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, Mike
Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Errolwi, and Andrew Porter
for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of
the day Brian Z.]