Uncanny Magazine Issue 41 Launches July 6

The 41st issue of Uncanny Magazine  winner of five Hugos and a British Fantasy Award, will be available on July 6

Hugo Award-winning Publishers Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are proud to present the 41st issue of their five-time Hugo Award-winning online science fiction and fantasy magazine, Uncanny Magazine. Stories from Uncanny Magazine have been finalists or winners of Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. As always, Uncanny features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture, along with a Parsec Award-winning monthly podcast featuring a story, poem, and interview from that issue. 

All of Uncanny Magazine’s content will be available in eBook versions on the day of release from Weightless Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo. Subscriptions are always available through Amazon Kindle and Weightless Books. The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on August 3. 

Follow Uncanny on their website, or on Twitter and Facebook.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 41 Table of Contents

Cover:

  • Seelie Springs by Alexa Sharpe

Editorials:

  • “The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • “Imagining Futures: Reading to a Better World” by Elsa Sjunneson

Fiction:

  • “The Wishing Pool” by Tananarive Due (7/6)
  • “The Graveyard” by Eleanor Arnason (7/6)
  • “Diamond Cuts” by Shaoni C. White (7/6)
  • “Presque vue” by Tochi Onyebuchi (8/3)
  • “Immortal Coil” by Ellen Kushner (8/3)
  • “From the Archives of the Museum of Eerie Skins: An Account” by C. S. E. Cooney (8/3)

Reprint:

  • “The Chameleon’s Gloves” by Yoon Ha Lee (8/3)

Nonfiction:

  • “Through a Thousand Eyes” by Nisi Shawl (7/6)
  • “The Necessity of Slavery Stories” by Troy L. Wiggins (7/6)
  • “The Bad Dad Redemption Arc Needs to Die” by Nino Cipri (8/3)
  • “WWXD: A Warrior’s Path of Reflection and Redemption” by C.L. Clark (8/3)

Poetry:

  • “Sonnet for the Aglæcwif” by Minal Hajratwala (7/6)
  • “Hitobashira” by Betsy Aoki (7/6)
  • “After The Tower Falls, Death Gives Advice” by Ali Trotta (8/3)
  • “Radioactivity” by Octavia Cade (8/3)

Interviews:

  • Eleanor Arnason interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (7/6)
  • C. S. E. Cooney interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (8/3)

Podcasts: 

  • Episode 41A (7/6): Editors’ Introduction, “The Wishing Pool” by Tananarive Due, as read by Matt Peters, “Sonnet for the Aglæcwif” by Minal Hajratwala, as read by Joy Piedmont, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Tananarive Due.
  • Episode 41B (8/3): Editors’ Introduction, “Presque vue” by Tochi Onyebuchi, as read by Matt Peters, “Radioactivity” by Octavia Cade, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing  Tochi Onyebuchi.

Pixel Scroll 6/26/21 A Planet Must Have Sharp Elbows

(1) UNRELATED TWINS. Darryl Mott tweeted a rundown about why two gaming companies that each go by the name TSR are making the wrong kind of news recently. Thread starts here.

(2) COOL IDEA. IceCon 2021, the convention happening this November in Reykjavík, Iceland has added Ted Chiang as its third GoH. The first two are Mary Robinette Kowal and Hildur Knútsdóttir.

(3) ABOUT HUGO FINALIST STRANGE HORIZONS. Maureen Kincaid Speller, Strange Horizons’ Senior Reviews Editor speaking here as an individual, set the record straight about their interactions with DisCon III in a Facebook public post.   

… There has been a lot of pushback against this kind of thing in the last few years, especially as more groups/collectives are nominated, and rightly so. There is something very wrong with trying to reduce the work of many to one or two names, as if there is something inherently wrong in not being a lone creator. Is it not amazing that all these people pull together to produce this material in their spare time? For nothing? Apparently, it isn’t.

Last year, unforgettably, Fiyahcon showed that it is actually possible to work successfully to a different model. Strange Horizons was nominated for the inaugural Ignyte Award (which we won), and the difference in approach was unbelievable. Everything from happily listing everyone in the press releases to checking how we wanted our names pronounced to providing free access to the convention online for the entire weekend. I mean, wow? Winning was purely a grace note in some ways, but god, did I feel seen! Didn’t we all.

And so to this year’s Worldcon. SH gets nominated for Semi-Prozine again! Yay! Strange Horizons has a civil interaction with the Hugo Awards team and it is agreed that all of the collective can be individually named in the announcement, because pixels are not in short supply.

Except, apparently, they are.

Consternation.

We cannot all be listed, because we are too many. I’m not sure what went on behind the scenes but then, suddenly, we were not too many after all, and we were all listed.

I was not privy to the discussion about what would happen at the ceremony, but here are the things I do know, based on ludicrous claims I have seen on the internet this week….

(4) HWA PRIDE. Horror Writers Association’s “A Point of Pride” series features an “Interview with Nikki Woolfolk”.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?

Speculative fiction and horror are my go-to regarding explaining the world and reflect current events from a differing perspective. I wrote a short story that was painful and cathartic regarding a beloved cousin who was murdered. The story “L’Chaim” is my way of giving her a chance to live. My editor read the story and informed me that I had written psychological horror.

I had no idea that what I wrote could be seen as horror since I’m kinda a wimp when it comes to consistently watching or reading horror. Looking back I’ve noticed my Urban Fantasy stories have more of a horror slant and it’s surprising to me.

(5) DELANY IN ACADEMIA. Samuel R. Delany answers the question “How did I become a professor?” for Facebook readers.

…Now even then I knew enough about the history of the world to know that people who deluged older folks in a position of authority with long polemical letters are often thought of as basically nuisances whose screeds are to be glanced at and put aside to be looked at later, if not to be simply consigned to the circular file. Basically I was writing across an ocean into a world about which I had no real notion of how it worked: the American academic system.

What Leslie [Fielder]’s letter said was: Would you consider coming to the U. of Buffalo for a term, and teaching here, as Visiting Butler-Chair Professor. It’s an endowed chair. You will have a 10k fund to do with as you wish, as long as it benefits the university, as well as a salary of . . . I don’t even remember what it was. I just know that, other than a job in a rotisserie on upper Broadway (from which I’d been fired after a few weeks because I couldn’t make change) to another as a stock clerk at Barnes & Noble on 18th and 5th to still another behind the counter at a small walk-in soft-core porn and second-hand sex magazine store called Bob’s Bargain Books on West 42 St., for a couple of months each, I’d never had a salary since I was 15, working as a library page at the St. Agnes Branch Library on Amsterdam Avenue.

So Marilyn and I talked about it, and I wrote back “Yes.”

A single term as a guest professor, however, is not the same as full professorship—which did not happen until eleven years later. But it was certainly connected to it….

(6) THE TV SETS ARE BEING EXTINGUISHED ALL OVER EUROPE. Well, no – and perhaps quite the opposite will happen over the long term: “‘The thought is unbearable’: Europeans react to EU plans to cut British TV”The Guardian has the story.

…But post-Brexit, politically the will is there to challenge the dominance of British TV and film.

When the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, visited Rome this week to formally approve Italy’s spending plan for its share of the EU’s recovery fund, the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, hosted her at the Cinecittà film studios in Rome, where €300m (£257m) of the funds are to be invested in development.

“It’s obvious that if Britain leaves the EU, then its productions no longer fall within the community’s quotas,” the Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini, told Corriere della Sera. “Europe will have to respond on an industrial and content level, and Cinecittà will be strategic on this front.”

Sten-Kristian Saluveer, an Estonian media policy strategist, said EU plans to reassess the amount of UK content – in particular on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon – were inevitable.

“A big catalyst is the increased trade tensions between the UK and France, as well as the EU’s anti-trust procedures,” he said. “The question is not so much about original content produced in the UK as it is about studios in the UK connected to platforms like Apple and Netflix, which are very well positioned to utilise the good relations the UK has with the US – as well as exploiting the European capacity, including everything from work permits to subsidies,” he said.

“When Britain was in the EU there were spillover effects for the rest of the bloc. But now it’s not, the question is why should these platforms be able to exploit the same benefits?”

Saluveer said smaller EU members could stand to benefit from a reduction in UK content, as it could allow more room for their content. He cited the box office success Tangerines – an Estonian-Georgian co-production which was nominated for a Golden Globe – or the Oscar-nominated The Fencer, a Finnish-Estonian-German collaboration…

(7) THE LIGHT OF OTHER DAYS. MIT Press’ new Radium Age imprint will republish “proto-sf” from the early 20th Century.

Under the direction of Joshua Glenn, the MIT Press’s Radium Age is reissuing notable proto–science fiction stories from the underappreciated era between 1900 and 1935. In these forgotten classics, science fiction readers will discover the origins of enduring tropes like robots (berserk or benevolent), tyrannical supermen, dystopian wastelands, sinister telepaths, and eco-catastrophes. With new contributions by historians, science journalists, and science fiction authors, the Radium Age book series will recontextualize the breakthroughs and biases of these proto–science fiction classics, and chart the emergence of a burgeoning genre.

ABOUT RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF

Do we really know science fiction? There were the Scientific Romance years that stretched from the mid-19th century to circa 1900. And there was the so-called Golden Age, from circa 1935 through the early 1960s. But between those periods, and overshadowed by them, was an era that has bequeathed us such memes as the robot (berserk or benevolent), the tyrannical superman, the dystopia, the unfathomable extraterrestrial, the sinister telepath, and the eco-catastrophe. A dozen years ago, writing for the sf blog io9.com at the invitation of Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders, I became fascinated with the period during which the sf genre as we know it emerged. In honor of Marie Curie, who shared a Nobel Prize for her discovery of radium in 1903, only to die of radiation-induced leukemia in 1934, I dubbed it the “Radium Age.”

Curie’s development of the theory of radioactivity, which led to the freaky insight that the atom is, at least in part, a state of energy constantly in movement, is an apt metaphor for the 20th century’s first three decades. These years were marked by rising sociocultural strife across various fronts: the founding of the women’s suffrage movement, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, socialist currents within the labor movement, anti-colonial and revolutionary upheaval around the world… as well as the associated strengthening of reactionary movements that supported, e.g., racial segregation, immigration restriction, eugenics, and sexist policies….

In order to help surface overlooked Radium Age texts — particularly works by women, people of color, and writers from outside the USA and Western Europe — Joshua Glenn and Noah Springer have an advisory panel that presently includes Annalee NewitzAnindita BanerjeeDavid M, Higginskara lynchKen LiuSean Guynes, and Sherryl Vint.

Here are the covers of the first books in the series.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1966 – Fifty five years ago at Tricon which was held in Cleveland and had Issac Asimov as its Toastmaster, Roger Zelazny would win his first Hugo for …And Call Me Conrad which would later be called This Immortal. It was published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, October and November of 1965 and then in book form by Ace the same year. It tied with Frank Herbert’s Dune. It would be the first of six Hugos that he would win and one of two for Best Novel, the other being for Lord of Light.  His other four Hugos would be for the “Home Is the Hangman” novella, the “Unicorn Variation“ novelette, “24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai” novella and “Permafrost” novelette. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 25, 1904 — Peter Lorre. I think his first foray into genre was in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea film as Comm. Lucius Emery though he was in Americanized version of Casino Royale which an early Fifties episode of the Climax! series as Le Chiffre. (James Bond was called Jimmy. Shudder!) Other genre roles were in Tales of Terror as Montresor in “The Black Cat” story, The Raven as Dr. Adolphus Bedlo and The Comedy of Terrors as Felix Grille. (Died 1964.)
  • Born June 25, 1910 — Elsie Wollheim. The wife of Donald A. Wollheim. She was one of the original Futurians of New York, and assisted them in their publishing efforts, and even published Highpoints, her own one-off fanzine. When he started DAW Books in 1972, she was the co-founder, and inherited the company when he died. Their daughter Elizabeth (Betsy) now runs the company along with co-publisher and Sheila E. Gilbert. (Died 1996.)
  • Born June 25, 1950 — Tom DeFalco, 71. Comic book writer and editor, mainly known for his Marvel Comics and in particular for his work with the Spider-Man line. He designed the Spider-Girl character which was his last work at Marvel as he thought he was being typecast as just a Spider-Man line writer. He’s since been working at DC and Archie Comics.
  • Born June 25, 1965 — Daryl Gregory, 56. He won a Crawford Award for his Pandemonium novel. And his novella, We Are All Completely Fine, won the World Fantasy Award and a Shirley Jackson Award as well. It was also a finalist for the Sturgeon Award. I’m also fond of his writing on the Planet of The Apes series that IDW published.
  • Born June 25, 1969 — Austin Grossman, 52. Twin brother of Lev. And no, he’s not here just because he’s Lev’s twin brother. He’s the author of Soon I Will Be Invincible which is decidedly SF as well as You: A Novel (also called YOU) which was heavily influenced for better or worse by TRON and Crooked, a novel involving the supernatural and Nixon. He’s also a video games designer, some of which such as Clive Barker’s Undying and Tomb Raider: Legend are definitely genre. 
  • Born June 25, 1969 — Lev Grossman, 52. Author most noted for The Magicians trilogy which is The MagiciansThe Magician King and The Magician’s Land. Winner of the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. His latest work was the screenplay for The Map of Tiny Perfect Things film which was based off his short story of that name. 
  • Born June 25, 1980 — Jason Schwartzman, 41. He first shows up in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Gag Halfrunt,  Zaphod Beeblebrox’s personal brain care specialist. (Uncredited initially.) He  was Ritchie in Bewitched, and voiced Simon Lee in  Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation. He co-wrote Isle of Dogs alongwith Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Kunichi Nomura. I think his best work was voicing Ash Fox in Fantastic Mr. Fox. 
  • Born June 25, 1984 — Aubrey Plaza, 37. April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation which at least one Filer has insisted is genre. She voiced Eska in recurring role on The Legend of Korra which is a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. She was in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as Julie Powers. And she was Lenny Busker on Legion.  

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Alley Oop runs into a little Moon explorer name confusion.

(11) TURING PASSES TEST. “New £50 note featuring Alan Turing goes into circulation” reports The Guardian.

The new £50 note goes into circulation on Wednesday – but with consumers increasingly going cashless, for millions of people it may be months or even years before they see or touch one….

However, perhaps the new-look £50 – featuring Alan Turing, the scientist best known for his codebreaking work during the second world war – will give the note’s image a makeover.

Its arrival is notable as it means the Bank of England has now completed its switch away from paper money.

The Turing £50 will join the Churchill £5, the Austen £10 and the Turner £20, all of which are printed on polymer, a thin and flexible plastic material that is said to last longer and stay in better condition than paper.

… The new £50 note, which features Alan Turing, contains advanced security features including two windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit.

(12) THE KLEPTO CONNECTION. “Stealing Science-Fiction: Why the Heist Works So Well in Sci-Fi” – Justin Woolley explains at CrimeReads.

…There is something inherently lovable about the heist story. They have been a mainstay of cinema since the mid-twentieth century and feature prominently in novels, TV, video games and across all media. The heist story often gives us many of the things we love in story, underdogs, a sense of style, thrills, adventure and a chance to see characters who are the smartest, the fastest, the best at what they do. Heists are also perfectly set up for the structure of a story. We usually have a clear external conflict from the very beginning, our team versus whatever is protecting the ‘big score’. Then, we get to see how the crew are going to overcome the odds by being (often literally) in on the plan, blueprints and all. Throw some spanners in the works, maybe a betrayal, a few character flaws to be overcome, and you’re primed to go for a terrific caper.

There’s something else I find interesting about heist stories—they are, in many ways, genre-neutral. They appear most commonly as contemporary action stories but also in historical fiction, fantasy and, of biggest interest to me, science-fiction. I am a fan of many genres, including crime and thriller, but I am foremost an author of science-fiction…. 

(13) IN THE BEGINNING. Mental Floss’ article about “The Early Careers of 12 Famous Novelists” includes entries on Octavia Butler, Frank Herbert, Mark Twain, and George R.R. Martin.

8. FRANK HERBERT

Frank Herbert was a veteran newspaper reporter when he began circulating Dune, his 1965 novel of galactic intrigue over spice. Though it was well-received by sci-fi fans and even serialized in Analog magazine, Herbert had no takers until it was accepted by automotive publisher Chilton. By 1972, Herbert had given up his newspaper career to write novels.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: League of Legends: Wild Rift” on YouTube, Fandom Games says this is “a bite-sized version of League of Legends that lasts half as long” and “has no chat functionality, making it “one of the few games that people who haven’t had their hearts turned to coal by the Internet” can enjoy.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, James Davis Nicoll, Nic Farey, Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Bill.]

DisCon III Reaches Out to Hugo Finalists About Communications Plan, Leadership Change, and Participation Options

DisCon III Events Division Head Gadi Evron, as part of his temporary role coordinating between the Worldcon and Hugo finalists, sent an email to finalists today covering the changes in convention leadership and the con’s efforts to start making collaborative decisions with them.

Toward a great DisCon III experience

Dear Finalists,

As you may have heard, DisCon III announced yesterday that Bill Lawhorn has resigned from his position as Convention Chair. We thank Bill for his hard work and dedication in bringing Worldcon to Washington, DC, and for his contributions to DisCon III. The Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association (BWAWA) has begun the process of finding a permanent replacement. Until the position is filled, the DisCon III Division Heads and staff will continue with the business of the convention, including continuing to finalize plans for the Hugo Award Ceremony.

We are also pleased to announce that Linda Deneroff, the former WSFS Division head for Sasquan (the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention), the division that holds the responsibility for the Hugo Awards balloting, has graciously accepted the same position for DisCon III and will also lead the Hugo Administration team for the convention. 

We are emailing you to share a plan for moving forward, and we would appreciate your input on it. But first, we’d like to answer a few of the more urgent inquiries we received from you:

  • As noted in our last email, the four-person limit has been rescinded and all Finalists and their plus ones are welcome at the Reception and Ceremony.
  • Day passes will be provided at no cost to Finalists and their plus ones for the entire day of the Reception and Ceremony. If you cannot attend in person, we will be glad to have you attend virtually.
  • Finalists will be able to participate in the Hugo Ceremony remotely.
  • DisCon III has a virtual membership option. There will be virtual panels and other participatory online program items, as well as livestreams of several program rooms at the hotel. We will be running online program items for every time zone around the world, and online panels and presentations will be recorded for later access. One function room at the hotel will be dedicated to showing online program items, including overnight, for those at the hotel who do not have computers.
  • We welcome you to join us on the program and kindly remind you to complete the form if you haven’t already: https://discon3.org/forms/program-participant-application/.
  • An FAQ about the program will be posted on the website this week and will cover both in-person and online program questions. The program team will be holding two open forums through Zoom on July 10th and July 11th, accommodating people in various time zones.

DisCon III will be reaching out to you shortly with an attendance survey. Further, we’ll be setting up town hall meetings (also accommodating people in various time zones) to discuss issues directly with you. We will come with some ideas that reflect what we’ve already heard from you, but mostly with open ears to listen to what you have to say so that we can make informed, collaborative decisions.

Please reach out to me directly with anything by emailing hugofinalists@discon3.org (CC’d).

Once again, congratulations on being Hugo Award Finalists. We look forward to December!

Thanks,

Gadi.

2021 Colorado Book Awards

The 2021 Colorado Book Awards winners were announced June 26. Awards are presented in 17 categories by Colorado Humanities to celebrate the accomplishments of Colorado’s outstanding authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers.

Winners of genre interest include —

Science Fiction/Fantasy

  • Once Again: A Novel by Catherine Wallace Hope (Alcove Press/Crooked Lane Books)

Anthology

  • Monsters, Movies & Mayhem edited by Kevin J. Anderson (WordFire Press)

Historical Fiction

  • Creatures of Charm and Hunger by Molly Tanzer (John Joseph Adams Books)

[Thanks to Nick Mamatas for an assist.]

2021 Locus Awards

The winners of the 2021 Locus Awards were announced in an online ceremony on June 26, selected by readers voting on an open public ballot.

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)

FANTASY NOVEL

  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US & UK)

HORROR NOVEL

  • Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher)

YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll)

FIRST NOVEL

  • Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)

NOVELLA

  • Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)

NOVELETTE

  •  “The Pill“, Meg Elison (Big Girl)

SHORT STORY

  •  “Little Free Library“, Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com 4/8/20)

ANTHOLOGY

  • The Book of Dragons, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Harper Voyager UK; Harper Voyager US)

COLLECTION

  • The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, Ken Liu (Saga; Head of Zeus)

MAGAZINE

  • Tor.com

PUBLISHER

  • Tor

EDITOR

  • Ellen Datlow

ARTIST

  • John Picacio

NON-FICTION

  • The Magic of Terry Pratchett, Marc Burrows (White Owl)

ILLUSTRATED AND ART BOOK

  • The Art of NASA: The Illustrations that Sold the Missions, Piers Bizony (Motorbooks)

LOCUS SPECIAL AWARD

For Inclusivity, Representation, and Education

  • Bill Campbell and Rosarium Publishing

DisCon III Announces Deneroff Is New WSFS Division Head

DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon has announced who will take over responsibility for the division whose responsibilities include the Hugos and Site Selection:  

We’re happy to announce Linda Deneroff has accepted the WSFS Division Head position. She will be responsible for administrating the Hugo Awards, the WSFS Business Meeting, and the 2023 Worldcon Site Selection.

Deneroff fills the vacancy created by the much-discussed resignation of Nicholas Whyte. Her extensive fannish experience includes being Secretary of several Worldcon Business Meetings, and reaches back to helping organize the very first Star Trek convention, held in NYC in 1972. 

2021 Munsey Award Nominees

Frank Munsey in 1910.

The PulpFest Organizing Committee has announced the twelve nominees for the 2021 Munsey Award

Named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, the award recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines.

The winner of the 2021 Munsey Award will be selected by a committee made up of all the living LamontMunsey, and Rusty Award recipients and announced on Friday, August 20.

Here are the nominees and the citations that explain why they are up for this honor.

  1. Begun in 2004, AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS was the brainchild of veteran comic book writer, Ron Fortier. Familiar with the reprints being published to keep alive the memory of the classic pulp heroes, Ron wondered why no one was creating brand new adventures featuring these amazing characters. Partnering with professional comic book illustrator and graphic artist, Rob Davis, Fortier self-published THE HOUNDS OF HELL, co-authored with Gordon Linzner. In this tale, the TEN DETECTIVE ACES  hero, The Moon Man, battles Doctor Satan, the equally famous WEIRD TALES villain. They followed this book with their first anthology, LANCE STAR – SKY RANGER, starring all-new exploits of a long-forgotten Canadian aviation pulp hero. Then came two anthologies of brand new Secret Agent “X” stories and the first all-new adventures of Ace Periodicals’ Captain Hazzard. Today, Airship 27 Productions continues its mission of producing brand new adventures of classic pulp heroes, as well as new, pulp-inspired heroes. There are over 200 titles in its catalog. Through Airship 27, Ron Fortier and Rob Davis have helped to establish and invigorate the new pulp fiction genre and introduce classic pulp characters to new enthusiasts. Airship 27 has also provided many new writers and artists an outlet for their work, helping them to establish their careers. Airship 27 continues to promote new pulp through such outstanding titles as LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION and the non-fiction guidebook, WHO’S WHO IN NEW PULP, as well as their longtime support for the Pulp Factory Awards, presented annually for the best in New Pulp Fiction.
  2. As the publisher of Wildside Press, JOHN BETANCOURT has made available hundreds of stories from pulp magazines, digests, and early paperbacks available in print and ebook form, particularly in his MEGAPACK format. In the late 1980s, John also helped to revive WEIRD TALES. The magazine went on to garner a World Fantasy Award in 1992 and a Hugo Award in 2009. In 2015, Betancourt helped the revived WEIRDBOOK get off the ground. Originally published by W. Paul Ganley — for which he won a World Fantasy Award in 1992 — WEIRDBOOK continues to appear on a fairly regular basis from Betancourt and Wildside Press. He also serves as the publisher of SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE and the infrequently issued ADVENTURE TALES, which presents classic tales from the pulp magazines. Earlier this year, John revived STARTLING STORIES, the classic science fiction pulp originally published by Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines.
  3. The Collections Librarian at the University of Connecticut, RICHARD BLEILER is a bibliographer and researcher in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, and adventure fiction. In 2002, he was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction for the second edition of SUPERNATURAL FICTION WRITERS: FANTASY AND HORROR. With his father, Everett Bleiler, Richard compiled SCIENCE-FICTION: THE EARLY YEARSand SCIENCE-FICTION: THE GERNSBACK YEARS, both published by Kent State University Press. His other work includes THE INDEX TO ADVENTURE MAGAZINE, THE ANNOTATED INDEX TO THE THRILL BOOK, the second edition of SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS: CRITICAL STUDIES OF THE MAJOR AUTHORS FROM THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT DAY, and REFERENCE AND RESEARCH GUIDE TO MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE FICTION. Richard’s essay, “Forgotten Giant: A Brief History of ADVENTURE MAGAZINE,” originally published in EXTRAPOLATION: A JOURNAL OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, is considered the finest overview of the classic pulp magazine. He has also written essays on early science fiction, fantasy, and mystery authors for THE DICTIONARY OF LITERARY BIOGRAPHY and other reference works, as well as articles on the writings of Frank Belknap Long and Clark Ashton Smith for Gary Hoppenstand’s PULP FICTION OF THE ’20S AND ’30S.
  4. A researcher of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and adventure fiction for over thirty years, GENE CHRISTIE has extensively studied and indexed the magazines of the pulp era, especially those published by the Frank A. Munsey Company. Never too busy or tired to help, Gene has volunteered his time, knowledge, and editorial abilities, contributing to projects published by Adventure House, Off-Trail Publications, Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, and others. He annually volunteers at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, in addition to proofing their program book, and has been a long-time attendee at other pulp-related conventions. In conjunction with Black Dog Books, he has compiled and edited several rare and previously unreprinted works, including Cornell Woolrich’s THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, George Allan England’s THE EMPIRE IN THE AIR, Seabury Quinn’s DEMONS OF THE NIGHT, Murray Leinster’s THE SILVER MENACE, and the excellent Munsey anthologies THE SPACE ANNIHILATOR and THE PEOPLE OF THE PIT. He also serves as the editor for Black Dog Books’ Talbot Mundy Library. At PulpFest 2019, Gene offered convention attendees a wonderful presentation on Robert Hobart Davis, considered by many to be the greatest editor of the pulp era.
  5. Probably best known for the SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX that he originally compiled with Steve Miller, WILLIAM CONTENTO has assembled other works that have become essential tools of reference. These include his INDEX TO SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGIES AND COLLECTIONS, INDEX TO CRIME AND MYSTERY ANTHOLOGIES (with Martin H. Greenberg), THE SUPERNATURAL INDEX (with Mike Ashley), and others. Since 2003, he and Phil Stephensen-Payne have built up the online FictionMags Index into a research juggernaut. It currently lists the contents of over 75,000 issues of thousands of different magazine titles. Pulps are heavily represented, of course, but pulp writers turn up in other magazines, too, and the FictionMags Index allows them to be discovered. A huge endeavor, the FictionMags Index has been a tremendous boon to pulp-magazine research.
  6. Although pulp reprints abound in our day and age, such was not always the case. Along with John Gunnison of Adventure House, RICH HARVEY was one of the first small publishers to get the pulp reprint movement off the ground. He started in the pages of his fanzine, PULP ADVENTURES — begun in 1992 — where he published stories from COMPLETE NORTHWEST NOVEL, DIME DETECTIVE, .44 WESTERN MAGAZINE, NEW DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, and other pulps. Two of the highlights were two short stories by Norvell Page, offering the first two adventures of the popular pulp hero The Spider. Rich — along with his onetime partner, Cat Jaster, would go on to reprint two dozen of The Spider’s adventures. As Bold Venture Press, he has published a six-volume series reprinting the complete run of Johnston McCulley’s Zorro tales, reprinted unique tales from one of the longest-lived pulp magazines, RAILROAD STORIES, “new pulp” adventures in AWESOME TALES, and pulp old and new in the continuing PULP ADVENTURES. In 2020, he was the publisher of ZORRO: THE DARING ESCAPADES, an anthology of sixteen all-new adventures from multiple authors, based on the legendary character created by Johnston McCulley. Along with his current partner, Audrey Parente, Rich manages the twice-a-year Pulp AdventureCon in two locations, New Jersey and Florida. These one-day events help to bring the world of pulp to a wider geographic range of fans. Rich is also great at personally communicating with fans one-on-one, whether by email or through social media.
  7. CHRIS KALB is known in pulp circles for his hero pulp websites, like The 86th Floor and The Spider Returns, ventures that have helped to attract people who are new to the pulps. There isn’t anyone out there making better use of all the new technology while still preserving the “oldness” of pulps and popular culture. He has become the person to go to for publishers who want a retro-design for their books or website, including Ed Hulse’s Murania Press. He is also the lead designer for Age of Aces Books, a pulp reprint house that specializes in air war fiction. In 2010, Age of Aces received two National Indie Excellence Awards for Chris’s work on the bestselling THE SPIDER VS. THE EMPIRE STATE. Chris was the designer of PulpFest‘s original website and for many years, put together the convention’s print advertisements.
  8. Like many of us, RICK LAIhas dedicated much of his adult life and disposable income to his passion for collecting pulp fiction (in all its permutations). Rick distinguished himself with the erudite and insightful scholarship that has made him respected among Wold Newtonians and purists alike. Rick’s speculative theories on character and continuity may have been inspired by Philip José Farmer, but were never bound by Farmer or anyone else’s parameters. Rick’s brilliant and provocative flights of fantasy informed, inspired, and even infuriated readers, but kept them coming back for the next article or book. Later in life, Rick made the natural progression from scholar to storyteller as he began creating works that supplement and expand upon his literary speculations. Among his many books are CHRONOLOGY OF SHADOWS: A TIMELINE OF THE SHADOW’S EXPLOITS, THE RETURN OF JUDEX, THE REVISED COMPLETE CHRONOLOGY OF BRONZE, RICK LAI’S SECRET HISTORIES: DARING ADVENTURERS, RICK LAI’S SECRET HISTORIES: CRIMINAL MASTERMINDS, and SHADOWS OF THE OPERA: RETRIBUTION IN BLOOD. Rick has also presented at PulpFest and written many articles for THE PULP COLLECTOR, PULP VAULT, ECHOES, BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER, and other periodicals.
  9. From the beginning of his very varied career, writer GARY PHILLIPS has always tipped his cap to those who came before, and been a living, breathing homage to pulp culture and aesthetic. From his graphic novels — PEEPLAND, ANGELTOWN — to his short stories — “L. A. Noir,” “Treacherous” — and his novels — the most recent featuring a pulp reimagining of Matthew Henson, the first black explorer to reach the North Pole, his ethos has remained true. A long-time native of Los Angeles who lives near to where he was born and raised, Phillips writes some of the most realistic crime fiction in the genre, filling his stories with characters that fit right into the context of their times. He particularly admires Dashiell Hammett for his plotting and ability to keep his stories “grounded in reality.” Phillips’ restless devotion to bettering his craft shows, as he is still publishing some of his best work even after twenty-three years of being a professional author. Chantelle Aimée Osman, his editor at Agora Books, has written, “Knowing him for a decade before acting as his editor, I can’t think back to a single conversation where Gary didn’t refer me to some (usually obscure) pulp author or series. To me, and to many in the industry, Gary basically serves as the pulp ‘North Star,’ pointing the way for those who come after and making sure we remember those who came before.” In addition to his Doc Savage inspired novel, MATTHEW HENSON AND THE ICE TEMPLE OF HARLEM and his Hammett-inspired detective novels, Gary has contributed stories to ASIAN PULP, THE AVENGER CHRONICLES, BASS REEVES, FRONTIER MARSHALL, BLACK PULP, THE DARKER MASK: HEROES FROM THE SHADOWS, ECHOES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, THE GREEN HORNET CASEFILES, JEWISH NOIR, LOS ANGELES NOIR, THE SPIDER: EXTREME PREJUDICE, and similar pulp-inspired anthologies.
  10. While some nominees are like Doc Savage — out front and known to most — others are like The Shadow — hidden from view for most of the time, yet still there and appearing when needed. A pulp collector since a teenager, SHEILA VANDERBEEK began attending pulp conventions in 1975. She has attended nearly all of the major pulp conventions since her first. She helped with all the radio recreations that were performed at Pulpcon. A member of the Battered Silicon Press pulp advisory committee, Sheila has helped on many books for the publisher. In addition to recommending authors and series, she has supplied all or most of the stories included in Battered Silicon’s Great Merlini, John Solomon, Needle Mike, Park Ave Hunt Club, Satan Hall,  and Suicide Squad collections, as well as others. She has also provided copies of stories to Steeger Books and other pulp-related publishers. Owning one of the largest and wide-ranging pulp collections in existence, Sheila also provided content information to Leonard Robbins for his groundbreaking pulp magazine indices. She has also helped with countless other research projects in the pulp field. Sheila has been a member of the Pulp Era Amateur Press Society since 1997.
  11. For twenty-five years, HOWARD WRIGHT was the publisher of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE. He created his magazine when there was no real Internet and very little information readily available about Lester Dent’s “Man of Bronze.” His main reason for starting the publication was to gather information about Doc Savage, disseminate this news to the “Fans of Bronze,” and keep Doc fans going during the “lean” years when Doc was, for the most part, a mere memory. Through Howard’s sustained efforts, interest in Doc was maintained and his return to the limelight assured. His final issue of the GAZETTE was published at the beginning of 2016. The magazine is being continued by Terry Allen, Kez Wilson, and Chuck Welch, creator of the Hidalgo Trading Company and a former member of the PulpFest organizing committee. It takes three people to duplicate Howard’s superb work on the GAZETTE.
  12. DAN ZIMMER has been working to promote greater awareness of pulp artists by producing and distributing ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE since 2001. He has published over seventy issues of his magazine. Dan has tirelessly contributed his time, expertise, and personal wealth to promote a more respectful awareness of the artistic accomplishments of pulp artists through the deluxe publication of the many biographical articles on such artists that have appeared in his magazine. He has done this despite the overwhelming fact that his creative vision is far beyond receiving any reasonable economic return for his efforts. His devotion to classic American illustrators is manifest in the elegant presentation of his magazine and has helped to turn the tide in our culture’s growing appreciation of pulp art. Dan has also published illustrated biographies of pulp artists Walter Baumhofer, H. J. Ward, and Norman Saunders through his book-publishing arm, The Illustrated Press. Additionally, he has supported the pulp community by drawing his readers’ attention to various pulp conventions, including the Windy City Pulp and Paper ConventionPulpcon, and PulpFest. Dan has also served as the sponsor of Windy City’s annual pulp art exhibit and created the limited edition print of David Saunder’s Munsey Award painting without cost to the PulpFest organizing committee.

[Via Locus Online.]

Pixel Scroll 6/25/21 Pixelin’ Files And Feelin’ Scrolly

(1) MORE CONTEXT FOR SFF HISTORY. Niall Harrison’s “Accelerated History: Chinese Short Science Fiction in the Twenty-First Century” at Vector notes that 2021 is the tenth anniversary of the publication of the translated Chinese short story that became the foundation for Clarkesworld’s ongoing collaboration with Storycom. And he has been inspired to work up a chronology of Chinese short sf in English, including a nifty diagram.

…What I hope that looking at the original chronology of stories does do, however, is provide another angle on the portrait of Chinese SF that has been presented to readers in English. To a limited extent it also makes it possible to contrast what was happening in English-language and Chinese-language SF at the same time; to think about the conscious and perhaps less-conscious choices made in the filtering process; and, most optimistically, to notice gaps, and provide a tentative framework within which future translations can be understood. In that spirit, in place of the original collections, I’ve organised my discussion into some rough periods, but I will revisit the books themselves at the end.

2. Liu Cixin Era

There’s nothing Liu Cixin likes more than a big picture, so let’s start there. With two single-author collections in the pile — The Wandering Earth (2013 / 2017 retranslations) and Hold Up The Sky (2020) — it’s not a surprise that he is the most-represented author, accounting for one-third of collected stories. In fact the skew is greater the earlier the period you look at. He accounts for over half of the 49 stories that first appeared before August 2011, and nearly three-quarters of the 28 stories that were first published in 2005 or earlier. In English, the story of Chinese SF in the early twenty-first century is overwhelmingly the story of Liu Cixin….

(2) BACK SPACE. James Davis Nicoll introduces Tor.com readers to “Five SF Travel Methods That Offer an Alternative to Starships”. (Holy cow, there’s a Langford novel on this list!)

Starships are all very nice—who among us has not wanted to own a Type-S Scout with the upgraded life support system?—but not all authors stick with that well-tested method of getting their characters from A to distant B. Ponder these five novels, each of which posits a new way of traversing the gulfs of space.

The Space Eater by David Langford (1982)

Project Hideyhole’s geniuses gave America Anomalous Physics. Anomalous Physics let Americans tweak the laws of physics to their taste. Thus, dimensional gates that facilitated an American colony on Pallas, a world that is many light-years from Earth. Thus, the inadvertent destabilization of six percent of the stars across the Milky Way and beyond. Thus, the inadvertent megamegaton explosion as Hideyhole stumbled across total conversion of matter to energy. Thus, the global thermonuclear exchange that followed thanks to the US assumption the explosion was a Soviet attack.

Having sat out WWIII, the EEC places very sensibly limits the use of AP. The problem is the American colony on Pallas, which has been isolated since WWIII. The Europeans detect that the Pallasians are dabbling in Anomalous Physics. Someone must be dispatched to convince Pallas to drop this research before more stars—stars like the Sun—are destabilized. The problem: a full-scale gate of the width needed for an adult male like unfortunate voluntold Forceman Ken Jacklin could well set off more novas. A smaller gate—1.9 cm, say—may be safe. The first step towards Pallas is going to be very, very hard on poor Forceman Jacklin, but this is a sacrifice his superiors are willing to make.

(3) YOUR TURN. Martin Morse Wooster got a kick out of a flash fiction story “Mozart Made A Tsunami, Most Likely By Accident” by Jeff Ronan at Sci Phi Journal. (Which really is too short to excerpt.)

(4) CUE THE SAND. From Yahoo! we learn that “DUNE Has a New Release Date!” But before that, Eric Diaz recaps the entire history of “cursed” efforts to bring this book to the screen.

When Does Dune Arrive In Theaters?

Dune was scheduled for release on December 18, 2020. And though the film will debut at the Venice Film Festival in September (via Variety), it won’t arrive in theaters until October 22, 2021 (this is delayed from October 1).

(5) UNDERGROUND ART. Two resources with images and histories about the artwork in Lewis Carroll’s books.

The Public Domain Review presents “Lewis Carroll’s Illustrations for ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’ (1864)”.

“[W]hat is the use of a book”, asks Alice in the opening scene to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “without pictures or conversations?” This question from Alice is at once a critique of her sister’s pictureless tome, and a paving the way for the delight of words and images to follow. Indeed, John Tenniel’s famous illustrations — for both the first edition of Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass — have become integral to how we experience the story, in both books and film. Tenniel, however, was not the first to illustrate the tale. That honor belongs to Carroll himself, whose original manuscript of the story (then titled “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground”) is littered with thirty-seven of his own sepia-ink drawings. It seems this entwining of word and image — so important to the published version — was there from the beginning….

“John Tenniel and his illustrations” at Alice-in-Wonderland.net.

…Carroll had Tenniel alter his illustrations several times, for example when he was not happy with Alice’s face – even when the woodblocks were already engraved, which meant also the woodblock had to be (partly) re-done.

That doesn’t mean Tenniel’s illustrations were exactly what Carroll described they should be. Tenniel had quite a lot of freedom to give his own interpretation to the illustrations. On several occasions, Carroll was very much willing to accept the artist’s ideas, and in the illustrations the typical style of Tenniel is recognizable. Tenniel had some freedom in selecting the scenes to be illustrated (Hancher), and when Tenniel complained about having to draw a Walrus and a Carpenter, Carroll was willing to change the characters of his poem for him….

(6) WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE EDITOR. E. Catherine Tobler, editor of The Deadlands, found she actually had to spell it out:

(7) JACKIE LANE (1941-2021). Actress Jackie Lane, who played the companion of the First Doctor Who, has died at the age of 79 reports Radio Times.

…The sad news was confirmed by Fantom Films on Twitter last night, with a post reading “It is with deep regret that we announce that actress and friend Jackie Lane has sadly passed away. We pass on our sympathies to her family and friends. Jackie was best known to Doctor Who fans as companion Dodo Chaplet. RIP 1941 – 2021″

… Another fan wrote, “Despite appearing on-screen for just 19 weeks in 1966 as a hastily developed & consistently underserved character who exited the series as strangely & suddenly as she arrived, it’s really heartwarming to see all the love for dear Jackie Lane on #DoctorWho Twitter tonight. RIP.”…

(8) MEMORY LANE.

  • 2019 — In Dublin 2019, fifty-one years after she got her first Hugo at Heicon ‘70 for The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin (who died in 2018) won her final Hugo for The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition. It was not awarded a Best Novel Hugo but instead was awarded Best Art Book with its illustrations being by Charles Vess who won Best Professional Artist that same year. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 25, 1903 — George Orwell. George Orwell, born Eric Blair in 1903. I’m not sure if Animal Farm counts as fantasy, but 1984 is clearly Science Fiction, and it may hold the record for the most neologisms added to English by a single SF book. Orwell was mostly known as a journalist and essayist, including his spats with H.G. Wells, most notably in “Wells, Hitler and the World State”. (Died 1950.) (Alan Baumler)
  • Born June 25, 1925 — June Lockhart, 96. Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space which amazingly only ran for three seasons. She has a number of genre one-offs including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Greatest American Hero and Babylon 5. She appeared in the Lost in Space film as Principal Cartwright. 
  • Born June 25, 1935 — Charles Sheffield. He was the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronautical Society. He won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his novelette “Georgia on My Mind” and a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel for Brother to Dragons which is an amazing read. Much of his fiction is in his Heritage Universe series; the linked short stories of space traveller Arthur Morton McAndrew are a sheer comic delight. (Died 2002.)
  • Born June 25, 1956 — Anthony Bourdain. That’s a death that hit me hard. Partly because he’s round my age, partly because, damn, he seemed so interested in everything that I couldn’t conceive him committing suicide. And yes, he was one of us with three works to his credit: Get Jiro! (with Joe Rose and Langdon Foss), Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi (with Joe Rose and Ale Garza) and Hungry Ghosts (with Joel Rose, Alberto Ponticelli, Irene Koh, Paul Pope). The first two are on DC, the latter‘s on Berger Books. I’m also going to strongly recommend, and it’s not remotely genre, note his Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations: Iceland Special Edition just because it’s so damn fun to watch complete with fermented shark. (Died 2018.)
  • Born June 25, 1960 — Ian McDonald, 61. Now here’s an author that I’ve read a lot of starting with his first novel, Desolation Road, and following through to his most recent, The Luna series. I do have favorites — the aforementioned Desolation Road and the other Mars novel, Ares Express, plus the India in 2047 series and The Dervish House are the ones I like the best. Chaga I think is the one I need to read again as I was annoyed by it the first time. 
  • Born June 25, 1981 — Sheridan Smith, 40. She makes the Birthday list for being Lucie Miller, a companion to the Eight Doctor in his Big Finish audio adventures starting in 2006 and running through at least this year. Her only video genre work was being in The Huntsman: Winter’s War as Mrs Bromwyn.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Farcus makes clear why a student is anxious about a visit to the principal.

(11) HELP WANTED. Looking for work in England?“Cambridge to Hire Archivist to Catalog Stephen Hawking Collection” says Mental Floss.

… Last month, it was announced that the University of Cambridge—where Hawking got his Ph.D. and worked for decades—would house the archive in its library. Now, as BBC News reports, Cambridge is looking for an archivist to “arrange, describe, audit the physical condition, rehouse, and review” all 10,000 or so pages. Their main task is to digitize every document so researchers around the world can access them online.

Applicants should have archiving experience; and since they’ll be operating out of Cambridge University’s library, they also need to be allowed to live and work in the UK. The gig is set to last two years, and it’ll pay somewhere between £30,942 and £40,322 (about $43,000 to $56,000). If you’re an avid archivist who’d like to have a hand in preserving Hawking’s legacy, you can apply online here.

(12) HEAD’S UP. The New York Times reports “Discovery of ‘Dragon Man’ Skull in China May Add Species to Human Family Tree” (registration required.) And there’s “A Virtual Reconstruction of a New Homo species, H. longi” at YouTube.

(13) DRUMROLL, PLEASE. “UFO report: US intelligence community releases long-awaited report” at CNN. (And CNN has the full text here.) Don’t they release these things on Friday so nobody will be in the office the next day and have to take questions?

The US intelligence community on Friday released its long-awaited report on what it knows about a series of mysterious flying objects that have been seen moving through restricted military airspace over the last several decades.

In short, the answer, according to Friday’s report, is very little, but the intelligence community’s release of the unclassified document marks one of the first times the US government has publicly acknowledged that these strange aerial sightings by Navy pilots and others are worthy of legitimate scrutiny.

The report examined 144 reports of what the government terms “unidentified aerial phenomenon” — only one of which investigators were able to explain by the end of the study. Investigators found no evidence that the sightings represented either extraterrestrial life or a major technological advancement by a foreign adversary like Russia or China, but acknowledge that is a possible explanation….

(14) HARD TO BELIEVE? Chris Carter tells the New York Times: “I Created ‘The X-Files.’ Here’s Why I’m Skeptical of the New U.F.O. Report.” (Registration probably required.)

…The plot of “The X-Files” was built on a conspiracy theory: The government is lying to you about the existence of U.F.O.s and extraterrestrials. Do I believe the government lies to us? Absolutely. I’m a child of Watergate. Do I believe in conspiracies? Certainly. I believe, for example, that someone is targeting C.I.A. agents and White House officials with microwave radiation, the so-called Havana syndrome, and your government denied it.

Will the new report, or any government report, give us clear answers? I’m as skeptical now as I’ve ever been.

In 1996 I was invited to the clinic of the Harvard psychiatrist John Mack to witness the regression hypnosis of a self-professed alien abductee. I first met Dr. Mack, who studied and ultimately believed in alien abduction, when he came to Fox Studios to discuss his work. I had used a Roper survey he was involved in (a poll of 6000 Americans on their belief in the existence of extraterrestrials) to sell “The X-Files” as a TV show in 1992, and later read his book, “Abduction.” So I knew something about what I was going to see. I went in doubtful, unprepared for the drama of a woman sitting next to me in tears and in terror over the encounter with aliens that she described, on a beach in Mexico. The experience turned out to be powerful and not a little unsettling….

… But the prosecution raises a good question: Where is the Deep Throat of the U.F.O. world? Why no credible deathbed confessions? As Nobelist Enrico Fermi’s famous paradox asked, if aliens are out there, why haven’t we seen them? Could the government actually be telling the truth? That it really doesn’t know what to make of the phenomena? Or is the truth above top secret?…

(15) YOU’D BE INCONSOLABLE. Vice recommends to players of vintage games: “Don’t Piss Off Bradley, the Parts Seller Keeping Atari Machines Alive”.

Every old video game console dies eventually. Moving parts seize-up, circuit boards fail, cables wear out. If a user needs a replacement connector, chip, ribbon, gear, shell—or any of the thousands of other parts that, in time, can break, melt, discolor, delaminate, or explode—they’re usually out of luck, unless they have a spare system to scavenge.

But there is an exception to this depressing law of nature. In San Jose, on a side street next to a highway off-ramp, inside an unmarked warehouse building, is part of the world’s largest remaining collection of factory-original replacement Atari parts — a veritable fountain of youth for aging equipment from the dawn of the home computing and video gaming era. This is the home of Best Electronics, a mail-order business that has been selling Atari goods continuously for almost four decades.

But if you’d like to share in Best’s bounty, as many die-hard Atari fans desperately do, there’s a very important piece of advice you need to keep in mind: whatever you do, don’t piss off Bradley.

Almost everyone who spends enough time loving, collecting, and using Atari products eventually finds their way to the Best Electronics website. And many of them quickly develop strong feelings about Bradley Koda, Best’s proprietor, who, by outlasting most of his competition, has become a sort of one-man Atari-parts powerhouse….

(16) RUH ROH! Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog is a straight-to-video feature.

An original animated feature so exciting it’s scratching at the door! Comedy is unleashed when Scooby-Doo, your favorite mystery-solving mutt, teams up for the first time with Courage the Cowardly Dog. The canine colleagues sniff out a strange object in the middle of Nowhere, Kansas, the backwoods hometown of Courage and his owners, Eustace and Muriel Bagge. Soon, the mysterious discovery puts them on the trail of a giant cicada monster and her wacky winged warriors. Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy know that this job is too big for a flyswatter. They’ll need the help of the doggy duo to piece together the puzzle. Can Scooby and Courage overcome their jitters and defeat the insect army before the whole world bugs out? Try not to get scared. We double-dog dare you!

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, James Davis Nicoll, Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little.]

Bill Lawhorn’s Goodbye Message to DisCon III Staff

Bill Lawhorn, who resigned today as chair of DisCon III, sent a message about his decision to the convention staff and has given permission to quote it here.  

From: Bill Lawhorn

Subject: [allstaff] Convention Update

To: AllStaff

To run a Worldcon you need to have the internal passion and the faith of your team. At this point, I have neither. Reflecting over the last several months I have been working towards January 2022 and not the convention dates themselves.

Colette [Fozard]’s resignation hit me much harder than I have ever admitted. Were we perfect together? No, but it worked even when I got stubborn. I miss her.

The need to remove Toni Weisskopf sapped a lot of my passion as I saw her GOH position as a chance to heal fannish fractures going back several years. I nearly walked away then. But there was still passion and things I wanted to be sure were done, so I continued. Maybe I shouldn’t have. With so many issues still in the air, I couldn’t put that burden on someone else.

We cleared up a bunch of them. I thank Randall Shepherd and Patty Wells for stepping up to work with me as we tried to get resolution with the Wardman Park. John Pomeranz was critical in reaching resolution. The team did a great job with the shift to December.

Special note: Without Sharon Sbarsky much would not have been accomplished over the past year. You were my rock.

The challenge of not knowing dates and location or even format were a problem. I have great faith that Lisa and her team will put together a stellar program for all to see, it was a joy to plan with you. Covid-19 is still real and even the vaccination progress creates doubt. Work with MSS. If you know people who can help in some of his vacancies, ask for their help.

Lots of stuff I’ll skip at this point. But… Last week, when I was tired, I reviewed a letter. I got focused on my personal issue and missed a big picture one. I am sorry for approving that letter. In discussions, I got frustrated and angry. It was not the mark of a good leader.

Could I continue even with all the headwinds, probably. But I find myself relieved to not. After 15 months of constant worry, it is enough. Will I miss some of the interactions? Yes. Will my wife be happy to have a bunch of floor space back? A bigger YES.

The BWAWA Board will now be making a decision. Although I have not consulted him. I think John Pomeranz, (I am sorry John), is best positioned to lead DisCon III forward. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge. I just hope he has the passion to pick up the pieces.

To the rest of the staff, help Rivka and Bobbi help you. Share your information with them. Please do not resign, take a week and breathe or go for a walk or several. Make sure to create the best experience for our members as you can. Will it be what we dreamed? No, but it can still be something special. A true December to Remember.

Please work with Randy and Patty during the transition to the new leadership team. I will be at the convention, hopefully recovered. I expect to do some therapy with Helen Montgomery if she is willing to continue talking.

A few parting requests:

I hope that the events team will continue to move forward with the Thursday evening Hugo Finalist Reception with all DisCon III members. A chance to honor both the finalists from 2020 and 2021 and have them interact.

Second, early in June I authorized the transfer of $10,000 of the received passalong funds to be dedicated to the Capitalize! Fan Fund.  Please honor that commitment so even more marginalized fans can attend either in person or virtually. If the FIYAH staff request funds, please be generous.

Third, I have the base material to be used for the pin back for the Hugo pins. I hope that someone will carry on with the project to make sure all of the finalists get a little piece of the base.

Finally, please make sure Bob Silverberg gets his virtual panel so he can continue his streak of attendance.

I’ll leave you, as I resign, with a life poem Linda Addison shared with me when I was struggling in February, “U are stronger than U know / your strength increases light / in your world & the World…” Her words are so powerful and you can be too.


Bill Lawhorn
Former Chair DisCon III

DisCon III Events Division Head Gadi Evron responded with these valedictory comments:

Bill has played an instrumental part in bringing Worldcon back to DC. He never signed up to be a solo chair of a Worldcon — and as the saying goes, “Friends don’t let friends chair Worldcons” — but he stepped up when he was needed. He led us through a difficult Covid year, a co-chair leaving, our venue, the Wardman Park going bankrupt, and more. Did I always agree with him? Of course not. Were there issues? Yep. Even very strong disagreements that at times strained our friendship. He is a good man who put Worldcon first, and I am thankful for him bringing us this far. He deserves our thanks, and our respect.

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DisCon III Chair Lawhorn Resigns

DisCon III, the 79th World Science Fiction Convention, announced today that Bill Lawhorn has resigned from his position as Convention Chairperson of DisCon III, effective immediately.

The Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association (BWAWA) has begun the process of finding a permanent replacement. Until the position is filled, the DisCon III Division Heads and staff will continue with the business of the convention.

The committee’s press release said: “We wish to thank Bill for his hard work and dedication in bringing Worldcon to Washington, DC, and his contributions to DisCon III.”