When Should Fans Expect the 2023 Hugo Nominations to Open?

Just ten days before the January 31 deadline for people to join and be eligible to nominate for the 2023 Hugo Awards, the Chengdu Worldcon announced it finally had the capability to take credit card payments for memberships. Now that the convention has enjoyed that rush of business, the question is when will the members be able to start voting?

Dave McCarty, co-department head for the Hugo Awards, told the audience at Smofcon 38’s Chengdu Worldcon Presentation that “Regarding Hugo voting… there should be an email blast going out to people with all the information about nominating and your information about logging into the website. That should go out slightly before the website opens up for people to nominate, so that should be sometime in mid-January.” 

Of course, that date has come and gone. Indeed, up til now, members have not received any email contact from the committee since they won the site selection vote.

And although there’s no sign this is likely to happen, if online voting opened tomorrow it would already be starting later than it has any time in the past 15 years.

YearWorldconOnline Nominations Available
2022Chicon 8Jan 16 2022
2021DisCon IIIJan 26 2021
2020CoNZealandJan 5 2020
2019Dublin 2019Jan 10 2019
2018Worldcon 76Feb 3 2018
2017Worldcon 75Jan 9 2017
2016MidAmeriCon IIJan 28 2016
2015SasquanJan 16 2015
2014Loncon 3Jan 8 2014
2013LoneStarCon 3Jan 28 2013
2012Chicon 7Jan 3 2012
2011RenovationJan 3 2011
2010Aussiecon 4Jan 1 2010
2009AnticipationJan 18 2009
2008Denvention 3Jan 3 2008

Pixel Scroll 2/4/23 My Chief Pixel Has Told Me To Scroll And Fifth This File

(1) SHEREE RENÉE THOMAS LIBRARY EVENT. A Contemporary Conversations program with Sheree Renée Thomas will be held on Thursday, February 23 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Rockville (MD) Memorial Library. The in-person event will also be offered via live streaming. Register here.

New York Times bestselling, two-time World Fantasy Award-winning author and editor Sheree Renée Thomas will talk about Afrofuturism & Diversity in Sci-Fi.

Thomas has been a 2022 Hugo Award Finalist, and her collection, Nine Bar Blues, is a Locus, Ignyte, and World Fantasy Finalist. She edited the groundbreaking Dark Matter anthologies that introduced a century of Black speculative fiction, including W.E.B. Du Bois’s science fiction stories. Thomas wrote Marvel’s Black Panther: Panther’s Rage novel (Oct ’22), adapted from the legendary comics, collaborated with Janelle Monáe on The Memory Librarian and is the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, founded in 1949 and Obsidian, founded in 1975. In 2022 she co-curated Carnegie Hall’s historic, citywide Afrofuturism Festival.

(2) AUSTRALIAN YA WINS AWARDS. A pair of YA fantasy novels were among the winners of the Victorian premier’s literary awards in Australia: “Melbourne author Jessica Au wins $125,000 for ‘quietly powerful’ novella” in the Guardian.

Lystra Rose, a writer of the Guugu Yimithirr, Birri Gubba and Erub nations and Scottish descent, won the Indigenous writing prize for her debut young adult fantasy fiction novel The Upwelling, which weaves the language and practices of the Yugambeh people into the narrative.

The young adult prize was won by New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based writer Kate Murray for her debut novel We Who Hunt the Hollow, also a fantasy novel.

(3) WRITERS MARKET SITE SHUTTERED. Ralan.com, one of the two big sites for writers looking for markets, now closed. Joe Stech of Compelling Science Fiction reached out to Ralan and received this statement for publication:

Ralan.com was started on 5 December 1996 and provided organized and up-to-date market listings that only accepted submissions of speculative genres, or at least elements of such. As this information was shared, other writers soon started helping back, pointing out new markets, and noting changes in active listings. Many publishers and editors were also actively involved, and this three-way interaction continued until the website closed on 1 February 2023, after 26 years & 57 days. Other sites provided a similar service, but arguably Ralan.com, at least in the speculative genres, had one of the most up-to-date market listings. Add to this the how-to-submit articles page, an extensive list of non-functioning markets, and a writing link page second to none. I offer my deepest thanks to all who helped along the way, and wish everyone the very best future.

Stech added, “And if you, dear reader, are looking for another place to discover short fiction markets, try the Submission Grinder.”

(4) A USEFUL CRITICISM. Samuel Delany regaled Facebook readers about his friendship with Judith Merril and Algis Budrys and their intersection with an edition of Nova.

Here is the back of a 12th printing of the Bantam Books edition of my 1968 novel *Nova* (May, 1983). I began it in Athens, Greece, June ’66, and finished it NYC, in May of ’67.) The two critics quoted on the back are A. J. Budrys (the way I am called Chip, most people called him A. J.) and the other is Judith Merril. (To her friends, old and young, she was Judy.) I think of both as my friends, but we were friends in very different ways ….

…. Dick [Entin]’s response was that the ending needed to be stronger—and that’s always good advice. He also objected to one page-and-a -half-section in the MS, which he found “over-the-top” and unbelievable. His exact words were, “Chip—businessmen just don’t do things like that.” So I took the passage out.

In his *Galaxy* review, Budrys had realized that *Nova* was a pretty carefully structured book. “What happened to Bryan?” he asked. The young man’s absence at the end registered, to him, as a hole in the tale’s basic pattern.

It was.

As soon as I read the question, I realized that the pages I’d removed had, among other things, answered just that question. If the Doubleday editors, Larry or Mark, had asked the same thing, I would have returned those pages as well. But A. J. was the first one who did. Also I realized that my putative villain wasn’t simply a modern businessman; he was a sociopath, if not a psychotic—of the sort who sometimes take charge of a big business or even a country.

Between the first Double and Co. edition and the first Doubleday Bookclub edition, I reinserted the pages (yes, I ran them through the typewriter again, and made some cosmetic improvements), but in every subsequent edition they were back in place. As well, I was very thankful for A. J.’s pointing it out to me, even though he had to do it in public….

(5) BLASPHEMIPEDIA? “Pakistan blocks Wikipedia for ‘blasphemous content’”BBC News was unable to learn what material was in question.

…[Pakistan Telecommunication Authority] spokesperson Malahat Obaid said Wikipedia failed to respond to “repeated correspondence” over the removal of “blasphemous content”.

“They did remove some of the material but not all,” he added, confirming that the website would remain blocked until “all the objectionable material” was removed.

Details of the material in question have not been revealed.

The Wikimedia Foundation said if the ban continued it would “deprive everyone access to Pakistan’s knowledge, history, and culture”.

Free speech campaigners have raised concerns over the move, saying there seemed to be “a concerted effort to exert greater control over content on the internet”.

“The main purpose is to silence any dissent,” said digital rights activist Usama Khilji.

“A lot of times blasphemy is weaponised for that purpose,” he added….

(6) MELINDA DILLON OBITUARY. Actress Melinda Dillon died January 9 reports Variety: “Melinda Dillon Dead: A Christmas Story, Close Encounters Actor was 83”. She played many genre roles – in addition to those listed below, she also was in a Twilight Zone episode.

…Dillon is celebrated for her role as Jillian Guiler in Steven Speilberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), for which she earned an Oscar nomination for supporting actress. She received a second supporting actress nomination in 1982 for her role as Teresa in Sydney Pollack’s “Absence of Malice” (1981). In 1977, she received a Golden Globe nomination for acting debut in a motion picture for Hal Ashby’s “Bound for Glory” (1976).

In a statement, Spielberg praised Dillon, saying, “Melinda was generous of spirit and lent such kindness to the character she played in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’… We will all miss her.”

Dillon also played the matriarch of the Parker family in Bob Clark’s holiday classic “A Christmas Story” (1983) and went on to appear in “Harry and the Hendersons” (1987), “Captain America” (1990) and “Nightbreaker” (1989). Her most recent appearances were in “Heartland” in 2007, and before that in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” (1999) as Rose Gator, the wife of a game show host with a terrible secret….

(7) MEMORY LANE.

1958 [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

There are some Beginnings that are as perfect as the story that follows and one of them is that starts off Robert Bloch’s “That Hell-Bound Train” which many decades after reading it remains my favorite piece of fiction by him.

It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in September of 1958.

I’d stick a spoiler alert in here but surely every Filer here knows the story of Martin, a hobo, who one dark night has a large black train pulls up beside him. The conductor says Martin can have anything he wants in exchange for which he will “ride that Hell-Bound Train” when he dies. He hands Martin a watch which he tells him will stop time when Martin reaches he perceives to be the absolute perfect moment in his life.  

Y’all know what that moment turns out to be… 

It would win the Hugo Award at Detention in a field of nominees far too large to list here. Really it was. 

I love every word of the story from what Martin does with his life until he finally stops time. It is indeed a sterling story. 

William Tenn says in Immodest Proposals: The Complete Science Fiction of William Tenn, volume 1, that he helped shape the story while at the magazine as it was “an absolutely fine piece of work that just didn’t have a usable ending”.  He had come to the magazine after Boucher retired. 

So here’s that wonderful Beginning… and I wondering did anyone write a filk off of it? 

When Martin was a little boy, his daddy was a Railroad Man. Daddy never rode the high iron, but he walked the tracks for the CB&Q, and he was proud of his job. And every night when he got drunk, he sang this old song about That Hell-Bound Train.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 4, 1922 William Phipps. He started off his genre career by being in both The War of The Worlds and Invaders from Mars. He’d later be in Cat-Women of the MoonThe Snow CreatureThe Evil of Frankenstein, and the Dune series. He’d have one-offs in BatmanGreen HornetThe MunstersWild Wild West and a lead role in the Time Express series which would last four episodes according IMDB. (Died 2018.)
  • Born February 4, 1936 Gary Conway, 87. Best remembered I’d say for starring in Irwin Allen‘s Land of the Giants. He was also in How to Make a Monster, a late Fifties horror film which I’m delighted to say that you can watch here as it is out of copyright. He’s the Young Frankenstein in it. 
  • Born February 4, 1940 John Schuck, 83. My favorite SF role by him is as the second Draal, Keeper of the Great Machine, on the Babylon 5 series. I know it was only two episodes but it was a fun role. He’s also played the role of Klingon ambassador Kamarag in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  He guest starred in Deep Space Nine as Legate Parn in “The Maquis: Part II”, on Star Trek: Voyager as Chorus #3 in the “Muse” episode, and on Enterprise as Antaak in the “Divergence” and “Affliction” episodes.  Oh, and he was Herman Munster in The Munsters Today.  Now that was a silly role! Did you know his makeup was the Universal International Frankenstein-monster makeup format whose copyright NBCUniversal still owns? 
  • Born February 4, 1951 Patrick Bergin, 72. If he had done nothing else, he’d make the Birthday list today for playing Robin Hood in the 1990 Robin Hood which for my money is the finest such film made. Go ahead and argue, I’ve all night. Now as it turns out he has a very long career in this community starting after playing Robin Hood by being in Frankenstein as Victor Frankenstein, then Benjamin Trace In Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (a film universally despised), George Challenger in The Lost WorldTreasure Island as Billy Bones, Merlin: The Return as King Arthur, Dracula as, well, Dracula Himself, Ghostwood as Friar Paul and Gallowwalkers as Marshall Gaza. 
  • Born February 4, 1959 Pamelyn Ferdin, 64. She was in the “And the Children Shall Lead” episode of Trek. She’ll show up in The Flying Nun (as two different characters), voicing a role in The Cat in The Hat short, Night GallerySealab 2020 (another voice acting gig), Shazam! and Project UFO. She’d have a main role in Space Academy, the Jonathan Harris fronted series as well. 
  • Born February 4, 1961 Neal Asher, 62. I’ve been reading and enjoying his Polity series since he started it nearly twenty years ago. Listing all of his works here would drive OGH to a nervous tick as I think there’s now close to thirty works in total. I’m listening to The Line War right now and it’s typically filled with a mix of outrageous SF concepts (Dyson spheres in the middle of a hundred thousand year construction cycles) and humans who might not be human (Ian Cormac is back again). As I said several years ago, he is the sort of writer that I think drives our Puppies to madness — literate pulp SF pumped out fast that readers like. 
  • Born February 4, 1962 Thomas Scott Winnett.. Locus magazine editorial assistant and reviewer from 1989 to 1994. He worked on Locus looks at books and Books receivedas well. In addition, he wrote well over a hundred reviews for Locus. He died of AIDS-related pneumonia. (Died 2004.)

(9) VIEW DORAN ART. “Colleen Doran Illustrates Neil Gaiman” will be on exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York beginning March 22 and running through July 29.

In the midst of a long career drawing comics for such titles as Wonder Woman and Legion of Super-Heroes, Colleen Doran has found her artistic Holy Grail in her series of adaptations of Neil Gaiman short stories published by Dark Horse, including her latest masterpiece Chivalry, the Eisner and Bram Stoker Award winning dark fantasy Snow Glass Apples, and The Troll Bridge, a spooky coming-of-age story.

A lifelong enthusiast of Arthurian mythology, Doran longed to adapt Gaiman’s 1998 short story Chivalry, the story of Mrs. Whitaker, a British widow who finds the Holy Grail in a thrift shop and the knight who offers her priceless relics in exchange so he can win the Grail and end his quest. Like the Illuminated manuscripts that inspired her colors and layout, Doran’s lush hand-painted pages for Chivalry are full of symbolism taken from her personal life, world history, and Arthurian legend. Her jewel-toned color palette and detailed drawing make viewing the original artwork a special experience.

Also on view will be several pages from Snow Glass Apples, Doran’s version of Gaiman’s chilling retelling of the Snow White story, drawn in an intricate style influenced by the Irish artist Harry Clarke. The exhibit, curated by Kim A. Munson, editor of the Eisner nominated anthology Comic Art in Museums and 2022 Eisner Awards Judge, will also include works from other Doran/Gaiman titles such as The SandmanAmerican GodsNorse Mythology, and others.

(10) PINKWATER DOES CAR TALK. “#2309: Circumferentially-Challenged: The Best of Car Talk” on NPR. Andrew Porter says, “The Daniel Pinkwater part comes at 27 minutes into this episode. And it’s hilarious!”

From the Daniel Pinkwater files comes a tale of unexpected advice buried deep inside a BMW owner’s manual. The boys also contemplate why men never pay for anything with coins, helmets for drivers and, oh yeah- some actual car problems! All on this episode of the Best of Car Talk.

(11) HISTORIC FIND. The New York Times reports a remarkable discovery: “Metal Detector Hobbyist Finds a 500-Year-Old Pendant Linked to Henry VIII”.

Charlie Clarke, a 34-year-old cafe owner in Birmingham, England, was feeling down about losing his dog to cancer, so he went over to a friend’s place in the countryside to take a stroll and get some fresh air. He brought his metal detector with him, gear for the new hobby he had picked up six months earlier.

When he heard the unusually loud beeps emitted while he walked on his friend’s property in nearby Warwickshire, he thought he had probably come across a soda can. Instead, about a foot down into the earth, he happened upon a treasure that has electrified researchers, and could very well change the course of his family’s future.

Mr. Clarke pulled up a gold chain and heart-shaped pendant, adorned with symbols his friend recognized as connected to Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. At first, he thought it must have been from a costume, but it seemed far too heavy for that, he said in an interview on Friday.

“I knew it was special,” he said.

The pendant itself was an ornate spectacle: The front was decorated with a pomegranate bush, an emblem of Katherine, and an entwined, double-headed Tudor rose, which was employed by the Tudors starting in 1486. On the other side, the letters H and K — for Henry and Katherine — were written in Lombardic script and connected by a ribbon….

(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Courtesy of Netflix, here’s the “Wednesday Official Blooper Reel”. Wednesday usually is spooky, except when she’s breaking herself up.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Dariensync, Cathy Green, Mark Whitroth, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day by Andrew (not Werdna).]

100 Year Starship Announces 2023 Canopus Award Winners

100 Year Starship presented the 2023 Canopus Awards for Excellence in Interstellar Writing in seven categories on February 2 during the 100YSS Nexus 2023 held in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Canopus Award recognizes the finest fiction and non-fiction works that engage broad audiences and enhance the understanding, excitement, and knowledge of interstellar space exploration and travel. This year’s theme was “Who Owns Space?” Writers were invited to explore the possible paths ahead in space, to help identify how various actions, technology focuses, policies, individuals, and communities, and even the stories we tell over the next ten years may indelibly fix space exploration objectives, gatekeepers, and benefits for decades into the future.

Published Long-Form Fiction

  • Sentient by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, 2019 (TKO)

Published Short-Form Fiction

  • “The Hind” by Kevin J. Anderson and Rick Wilber, 2020, originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction

Published Long-Form Nonfiction

  • A Traveler’s Guide to the Stars by Les Johnson, 2022 (Princeton University Press)

Published Short-Form Nonfiction

  • “Language Development During Interstellar Travel” by Alex McKenzie and J. Punske, 2020, originally published in Acta Futura

Published Digital Presentation

  • Ixion by Bulwark Studios, 2022, (Kasedo Games)

Original Short-Form Fiction

  • “The Living Archaeologist” by Jamiella Brooks

Original Local Short-form Fiction

  • “Gumbojena” by Chioniso Tsikisayi, Zimbabwe

[Thanks to Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki for the story.]

2023 Canadian Unity Fan Fund Nominations Are Open

By Fran Skene (CUFF 2019 Delegate to CanCon in Ottawa): Nominations are now open for the 2023 CUFF delegate. We are looking for a fan from anywhere in Canada to travel to and attend Pemmi-Con, the 15th North American Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Winnipeg July 20-23. A hotel room has been reserved for the delegate, and the registration is comped.

Note: This year, former CUFF delegates may apply (no restriction to only new folks).

The delegate is welcome to stay longer than just the convention and hang out with local fans. Also consider visiting Winnipeg’s famous Royal Aviation Museum.

In order to be nominated for the CUFF this year, an application (see further info below) plus emails from the six nominators must be submitted by March 10, 2023 to Fran Skene at fskene(a)shaw.ca.

As well, we are asking for a bond of $20 CAD from each applicant, which will be added to the CUFF funds. This (and all donations) can be sent via either PayPal or Interac e-transfer to Fran at the above email address. (If you’d like to pay another way, email Fran to negotiate.)

In exchange for funds that will hopefully cover all costs for the trip (this will include Air Miles for the airfare from Fran), the primary responsibilities of the delegate are to:

  • Attend the convention, take part in programming, and report back to your fellow fans on the event.
  • Assist in raising funds for the next year’s delegate.
  • Administer (with the assistance of other Canadian fans) the process to select the next year’s fan delegate.
  • Promote Canadian genre-related media and fan activities.

In order to be nominated for the CUFF this year an emailed application must be submitted by March 10, 2023 to fskene(a)shaw.ca plus a bond of $20.  It should contain a brief fan-related bio and how you hope to make this trip beneficial for you and the Canadian fan community. The application must have a minimum of three fan supporters from the east and three in the west (six total). (The Manitoba/Ontario border separates east and west.)

If we have more than one applicant, voting will be open March 15 and close April 15th, in order to give the successful candidate enough time to work with Pemmi-Con programming and to schedule their visit.

Nominating: Any Canadian fan or pro may individually nominate a fan to be this year’s CUFF delegate. Just email Fran from your personal email, saying briefly why you’re nominating that fan.

If you (the nominator) are not likely to be known to the current fund administrator (Fran Skene), please give the name and contact info for a fan who is likely to be well known and can confirm you are an active fan, or links to information that will make your involvement in fandom clear. The same process will hold true for voting.

Voting: Voting, when open, will be permitted by anyone who has been active in Canadian fandom for two years or more. Voters are urged to make a donation to the fund of at least $5.00 to assist with the candidate’s expenses. Votes can be sent to fskene(a)shaw.ca.

Robson Added as World Fantasy Awards Judge

Peter Dennis Pautz of the World Fantasy Awards Administration announced today that Kelly Robson has been added to the panel for this year’s awards. (The full slate of judges is listed in File 770’s updated post here.)

  • Kelly Robson, 315 – 96 Saint Patrick Street; Toronto, ON CANADA; M5T 1V2;

[email protected]       

Prefers MOBI, ePUB, HC (in order)

Robson replaces Mary Anne Mohanraj who stepped down due to personal circumstances in January.

Pixel Scroll 2/3/23 Listen To Them, The Pixels Of The Scroll! What Files They Make!

(1) SPACE UNICORNS SOUND OFF. You have until February 21 to make your voice heard: “Uncanny Celebrates Reader Favorites of 2022!”.

…While we have our personal favorites, we’d like to know which stories YOU loved from Uncanny in 2022.

We’ve set up a poll for Uncanny readers to vote for their top three favorite original short stories from 2022. (You can find links to all of the stories here.)

The poll will be open from January 31 to February 21, after which we’ll announce the results. We’re excited for you to share which Uncanny stories made you feel!

snazzy certificate will be given to the creator whose work comes out on top of  the poll!

(2) LOCUS RECOMMENDED READING LIST. The 2022 Locus Recommended Reading List from the magazine’s February issue has been posted by Locus Online.

(3) CEMETARY DANCE DROPS MONTELEONE. [Item by rcade.] He was still an active columnist for the magazine, 29 years after the bigoted column. Not any more, though:

(4) A FAREWELL TO HARMS. Priya Sridhar writes “My Goodbye Letter To J.K. Rowling: What To Do When Your Magical World Has Cast You And Your Friends Out With Hate” at Medium in Counter Arts. (Via Cat Rambo.)

… J.K. Rowling has joined the list of these creators that break their pedestals. I’ve been debating on writing this article for several years, because I did not understand. How could a woman that wrote about fighting tyranny with courage and friendship say such things, to hurt people? Why would she dig herself deeper, going from misappropriating Navajo beliefs to claiming that trans people do not exist?

This recent transphobia has provided the answer. YouTuber Jessie Gender posted a video revealing that JKR found her tweets about Jessie talking about Hogwarts Legacy, and decided to send her own fanbase against one person, labeling her a “trans gamer”. Jessie had to spend Christmas in Buffalo, New York, dealing with the fallout. According to the video, JKR apparently earns more money every time she talks about this issue in her hateful way. She didn’t care that she would be hurting a vulnerable person if it got the desired reaction.

JKR isn’t causing controversy because she is being an idiot. She’s harassing marginalized creators and critics to earn more revenue from her books and establish power over those that disagree with her.

Now, doesn’t that sound familiar? Oh yes, I know two bigoted characters that did exactly the same thing in the Harry Potter series. Spoiler alert: they were not protagonists, or even heroic side characters….

(5) BLACK HERITAGE IN HORROR. The Horror Writers Association Blog continues its series: “Black Heritage in Horror: Interview with Beatrice Winifred Iker”.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

I grew up in Southern Appalachia with a rich sociocultural history to draw from. The horrors and allure of the South are genuinely neverending, fostering my interest in the genre, specifically in the subgenre of southern gothic.

Aside from that, I’m fascinated with the darker tendencies and desires of the human mind. We spend so much time assimilating and confining ourselves to social norms, but I’m more interested in examining people and histories who choose not to or don’t have a choice….

(6) IT’S A FELONY. Them explains why “Some Florida Teachers Are Removing Books from Classrooms Due to New State Law”.

Teachers in Florida’s Manatee and Duval counties are removing or physically covering up books in their classrooms after the State Board of Education ruled that a law restricting the books a district may possess applies not only to school libraries but to teachers’ classroom books as well.

House Bill 1467, which went into effect last July, requires that all schools’ books may only be displayed if they’ve been deemed appropriate by a librarian or “certified media specialist” who has undergone state retraining. Under the guidelines, books must be “free of pornographic material” and “appropriate for the age level and group.” New training approved by the State Board of Educators also asks media specialists to avoid books with “unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.”

Breaking the law is a third-degree felony: A teacher could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for displaying or giving students a banned book. 

There’s a good chance that these “unsolicited theories” and “student indoctrination” tactics apply to the disproportionately high number of banned books that feature queer and trans characters, as well as other marginalized communities. A report from nonprofit group PEN America released last September found that over 41% of books banned over the past school year were targeted due to LGBTQ+ content…

(7) SCAM REVEALED. At Writer Beware, Victoria Strauss alerts everyone to: “Peak Fake: United Writers Organization and the Perpetual Eagle Awards”.

There’s a new solicitation doing the rounds. It’s from United Writers Organization, which describes itself as a “leading professional organization” for writers and publishers, and it delivers exciting news: you’ve been nominated for an award! A “complimentary nomination certificate” is yours for the asking–you don’t even have to pay! Although of course it would be nice if you became a UWO member, which will cost you a mere $99….

… Of course this is a scam–the out of the blue solicitation is a big clue, as are the language and grammar mistakes and telltale info from UWO’s domain registration–just 7 days old as of this writing, somewhat contradicting “Est. 1957” in the UWO logo….

(8) FESTIVAL OF MONSTERS. The Center for Monster Studies has put out a call for papers for the 2023 Festival of Monsters Conference. The conference will be held October 13-15, 2023 at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The deadline to submit abstracts and short bios is March 1.

The Center for Monster Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz is an interdisciplinary research, arts, and outreach organization focused on the ways monsters and tropes of monstrosity both perpetuate and contravene forms of social and cultural injustice. Each year we host a Festival of Monsters that brings together scholars, artists, students, and members of the general public to consider these issues.

Our 2023 Festival of Monsters (Oct. 13-15 in beautiful Santa Cruz) includes an academic conference, performances, readings, presentations from monster-makers in theatre, film and television, and events in association with an exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) entitled Werewolf Hunters, Jungle Queens, and Space Commandos: The Lost Worlds of Women Comics Artists.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers or presentations on any aspect of monsters or monster studies. We are particularly interested in work that addresses the following topics:

Women creators of monsters

Monsters and misogyny

Monsters in comics

Monsters and sexual politics from any time period

Monsters and queerness

Papers from all disciplines are welcome. Because participants in the Festival include members of the general public as well as people from within the academic community, we ask that proposed papers consider the Festival’s mixed audience. We welcome complex theoretical concepts and scholarly interventions, but please make sure the terms and stakes of your paper are articulated as clearly as possible.   

Please submit 250-word abstracts and 50-word bios to [email protected] and [email protected] by March 1, 2023.

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1937 [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Now it is time for my all-time favorite Beginnings. It’s the first words of Tolkien’s The Hobbit, a novel I’ve read so many times that I know it by heart at this point. I consider it a perfect novel. 

Now we all know that the hobbit here is named Baggins but that won’t know here until the third paragraph of the novel, a nice touch indeed.  

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill—The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.

This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours’ respect, but he gained—well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 3, 1925 John Fiedler. He’s solely here as he played the ever so bland bureaucrat who gets possessed by the spirit of Jack the Ripper on the Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold”. I’m less interested in him, though it was a stellar episode, than who wrote that screenplay. It was written by Robert Bloch, a master of horror who would write two other Trek episodes, “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” and “Catspaw”. (Died 2005.)
  • Born February 3, 1933 George Gipe. Screenwriter, The Man with Two Brains. He also wrote Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid but it’d be a stretch to consider that even genre adjacent. He wrote novelizations of Back to the FutureExplorers and Gremlins. And his Nearer to the Dust: Copyright and the Machine is interesting early (mid sixties) look at the potential effects of computers on copyrights. (Died 1986.)
  • Born February 3, 1938 Victor Buono. I remember him best in his recurring role of Count Manzeppi in The Wild Wild West. In his very short life, he showed up in a number of other genre roles as well including as a scientist bent on world domination in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in an episode titled “The Cyborg”, as Adiposo / Fat man in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Colonel Hubris in  The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Professor William McElroy / King Tut in Batman, Sir Cecil Seabrook in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and Mr. Schubert on Man from Atlantis. (Died 1982.)
  • Born February 3, 1954 Shawna McCarthy, 69. Editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction from 1983 to 1985, and Realms of Fantasy from 1994 to 2011. Sheila Williams in her history of the former said “While remaining a welcoming home for new writers, Shawna’s Asimov’s acquired an edgier and more literary and experimental tone.” 
  • Born February 3, 1963 Alex Bledsoe, born 1963, aged sixty years. I highly recommend his Tales of The Tufa which can sort of be described as Appalachian Fae though that’s stretching it. His Eddie LaCrosse novels remind of Cook’s Garrett PI series and that’s a high compliment as that’s one of my favorite fantasy PI series. Anyone read his Firefly Witch series? And to my surprise, he’s stopped writing fiction altogether.
  • Born February 3, 1970 Warwick Davis, 53. At least fifty live and voice appearances since first appearing in the Return of the Jedi in in place of Kenny Baker who was going to be a Ewok before he fell ill. Did you know he’s in Labyrinth as a member of the Goblin Corps? I certainly didn’t. Or that he did a series of humorous horror films centered around him as a Leprechaun? They did well enough that there was six of them. Hell he even shows up in Doctor Who during the Time of the Eleventh Doctor. 
  • Born February 3, 1979 Ransom Riggs, 44. He’s best known for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which I’ll confess I know absolutely nothing about, so educate me. I know it was turned into a film by Tim Burton which could a Very Good Thing. 

(11) CHEAP IS GOOD, FREE IS BEST. “12 Surprisingly Low-Tech Special Effects Moments In Movies” – these are Ranker’s favorites.

Before there was computer-generated imagery (CGI), special effects crews often had to use practical effects to achieve their cinematic vision. Many of these practical effects were surprisingly low-tech genius creations that prove creative thinking often trumps throwing loads of money at a problem.

Practical effects include any special effects created without the use of computer-generated imagery. It’s a kitchen-sink term that incorporates everything from prosthetics to pyrotechnics to miniature models. Find out which grotesque movie monster was constructed in part with strawberry jam and creamed corn. How did they create that swirling tornado in The Wizard of Oz, which still looks great even by today’s visual effects standards? Some of these films were made more recently when computer effects were readily available. Yet, the filmmakers opted to get creative and go old-school low-tech practical effects that yielded a more authentic-looking result.

First up –

The Tornado In ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Was Made From A Stocking Wrapped Around Chicken Wire

Back in the 1930s, practical effects were not a stylistic choice, they were a necessity. At the beginning of The Wizard of Oz, a tornado takes Dorothy (Judy Garland) from the barren lands of Kansas to the magically magnificent world of Oz. 

The production hired prolific special effects master Arnold Gillespie to figure out how to create the movie’s famous twister. The Academy Award winner attempted several different methods before finally getting it right…. 

(12) RETRO SFF. Michael Dirda reviews The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff in “The moon falls to Earth in a 1939 novel that remains chillingly relevant” at the Washington Post (behind a paywall.)

Late last month, NASA announced that an asteroid would pass exceptionally close to the Earth. As Jennifer Hassan wrote in The Washington Post, “NASA was quick to reassure people that the asteroid, which is estimated at between 11 feet (about 3.5 meters) and 28 feet (8.5 meters) across, would not end life as we know it on our planet.” Suppose, though, a much larger celestial object — say, the moon — were actually to crash into Earth. What then?

This is the scenario of R.C. Sherriff’s novel “The Hopkins Manuscript” (1939), recently reissued by Scribner. From its opening pages we learn that more than eight centuries have gone by since “the Cataclysm” and that Europe, particularly England, has been left a barren wasteland. For years, however, archaeologists of the Royal Society of Abyssinia have been seeking artifacts to help “reconstruct the lost glory of the ‘white man.’” During one expedition to what was once London, a young scientist, out gathering brushwood, unearths a small vacuum flask, inside which is a handwritten account of life in a small village called Beadle during the days leading up to the lunar catastrophe….

(13) IT’S BEING LET GO. “’Never Let Me Go’ Series Not Moving Forward at FX” reports Variety.

… The show was originally picked up to series by FX back in October and was meant to air exclusively on Hulu. It had originally been reported as being in development at FX in May 2022. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, production had not yet begun before the decision to scrap the series was made.

The drama series was inspired by Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 science fiction novel of the same name, which was previously adapted into a film in 2010. The film was written by Alex Garland, directed by Mark Romanek, and produced by Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich….

(14) BIG APPETITES. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Raquel Welch please note… “Neanderthals lived in groups big enough to eat giant elephants” says a Science story.

Meat from the butchered beasts would have fed hundreds.

On the muddy shores of a lake in east-central Germany, Neanderthals gathered some 125,000 years ago to butcher massive elephants. With sharp stone tools, they harvested up to 4 tons of flesh from each animal, according to a study that is casting these ancient human relatives in a new light. The degree of organization required to carry out the butchery—and the sheer quantity of food it provided—suggests Neanderthals could form much larger social groups than previously thought…

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, James Reynolds, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day by Jack Lint.]

Tähtivaeltaja Award 2023 Shortlist

The 2023 Tähtivaeltaja (“Star Rover”) Award finalists have been posted. The award, sponsored by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society, goes to the best science fiction book published in Finland in the previous year.

• N. K. Jemisin: Kivinen taivas (The Stone Sky, Translated into Finnish by Mika Kivimäki, Jalava)

• Heikki Kännö: Ihmishämärä (Sammakko)

• Jens Liljestrand: Vaikka kaikki päättyisi (Originally published in Swedish. Translated into Finnish by Jaana Nikula, WSOY)

• Emily St. John Mandel: Asema 11 (Station Eleven, Translated into Finnish by Aleksi Milonoff, Tammi)

• Richard Powers: Hämmästys (Bewilderment, Translated into Finnish by Antero Tiittula, Gummerus)

The nominees were selected by a jury composed of journalist Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and critic Kaisa Ranta. The winner will be announced in April-May.

Prix Bob Morane 2023 Finalists

The 2023 Prix Bob Morane shortlist was announced on January 23.

The Prix Bob Morane is a French literary prize named for a fictional adventurer created by Belgian writer Henri Vernes in the 1950s. 

ROMANS FRANCOPHONES / FRENCH NOVELS

  • Tom Clearlake : Signatures, Moonlight
  • Eva Dequard : Gemina, Auto Edition
  • Laurent Genefort : Les temps ultramodernes, Albin Michel
  • Philippe Le Roy : Aliana, Cosmopolis
  • Xavier Massé : 30 secondes, Taurnada
  • Olivier Paquet : Composite, L’Atalante

ROMANS ÉTRANGERS / FOREIGN NOVELS

  • P. Djeli Clark : Maître des Djinns, L’Atalante (A Master of Djinn. Translated into French by  Mathilde Montier)
  • Anthony Doerr : La cité des nuages et des oiseaux, Albin Michel (Cloud Cuckoo Land. Translated into French by  Marina Boraso)
  • Paul J. McAuley : Austral, Bragelonne (Austral. Translated into French by  Sébastien Baert)
  • Francis Stevens : La fiole au cerbère, Marie Barbier (The Heads of Cerberus. Translated into French by  Michel Pagel)

NOUVELLES / SHORT STORIES

  • Jean-Marc De Vos : La dernière machine, Auto Edition
  • Jean-Marc Ligny : Dix légendes des âges sombres, L’Atalante
  • Estelle Tharreau : Digital way of life, Taurnada

Pixel Scroll 2/2/23 Out Fifthed The Web And Pixeled Wide; The Mirror Scroll’d From Side To Side

(1) WRITER PROMOTIONAL TOOLS MAY BE INTERRUPTED. K. Tempest Bradford draws attention to this news:

(2) HERE’S YOUR CHANCE. Publishers Weekly has put out a “Call for Info: SF, Fantasy & Horror (Adult) “ seeking pitches on sffh themes.

Deadline: Feb. 17. Issue: Apr. 17. For this feature, we’d like to speak with authors about creating non-human characters and cultures—aliens, monsters, A.I., and more. We’re also interested in romantic fantasy, Gothic horror, and class conscious, “eat the rich,” near-future SF. Pitches on other SFFH themes are welcome; please limit these to standalone titles and first-in-series books. Pub dates: Apr.–Sept. Adult books and new titles only, please; no reprints. Submission deadline: Feb. 17. Visit publishersweekly.com/ SFFHspring23 to submit your titles

(3) NOT JUST ANY BOT. Martha Wells guests on the If This Goes On (Don’t Panic) podcast. The next Murderbot book, System Collapse, will be released November 14. See the cover here.

In this episode, Alan and Diane chat with author, Martha Wells, about Neurodiversity, writing action scenes, the origins of ART (the sentient spaceship), developing humor in writing, and Martha’s new book.

(4) HARD SCIENCE. Jack Dann will be giving a talk for the Tucson Hard-Science SF Channel about the craft of writing, which will include what he calls “The Keys to the Kingdom” and “Writing As Cartography”. He says, “Basically, this will be a craft-based Jack Dann schmooze session relating to the insane joys and anxieties of becoming a writer and (Heaven forfend!) being a writer.” You’ll be able to find it here on YouTube on February 4 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

(5) OCTOTHORPE. In episode 76, the Octothorpe crew ask “Does It Matter What We Think?”

John Coxon is watching movies, Alison Scott is making games, and Liz Batty isn’t picky. The three of us celebrate Groundhog Day by talking about the Chengdu Worldcon again, and again, and again…  

(6) WITNESSES TO FANHISTORY. Fanac.org has several more “FanHistory Project Zoom Sessions” scheduled in the months to come. Everyone who wants access should write to [email protected] to be put on the attendance list.

Schedule for Future sessions

  • February 11, 2023 – 4PM EST, 1PM PST, 9PM GMT London, Sunday the 12th at 8AM in Melbourne, AU – New York Fandom in the 70s with Moshe Feder, Andy Porter, Steve Rosenstein and Jerry Kaufman
  • March 18, 2023 – 4PM EDT, 3PM CDT, 1PM PDT, 8PM London, March 19 at 7AM in Melbourne, AU – Feminism in 1970s Fandom, with Janice Bogstad, Jeanne Gomoll, and Lucy Huntzinger
  • April 22, 2023 – 7PM EDT, 4PM PDT, April 23 at 12AM in London, 9AM in Melbourne AU – Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track Part 2, with Leigh Edmonds and Perry Middlemiss

(7) EVERGREEN. Gary Farber pointed out the timeless timeliness of John Scalzi’s 2017 post “The Brain Eater” which deals with writers whose careers hit a flat trajectory and makes them easy to convince that somebody (not them) is to blame.

(8) BEGIN AS YOU INTEND TO GO ALONG. Slashfilm recommends these as “The 14 Greatest Opening Scenes In Sci-Fi Movies”. This favorite is on the list – but not as the final entry.

The Terminator

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone choose the intro to “The Terminator” over the opening battle in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”? After all, “T2” has that famous shot of the T-800 stomping a human skull, better VFX, more action, and a smoldering, scarred John Connor (Michael Edwards) watching over it all. Is the original’s first scene really better than that?

The answer, of course, is yes, and it all comes down to tone. Sure, the “T2” scene is fun, and it does a decent job of introducing the myth of John Connor. However, at the end of the day it’s little more than an action scene. By contrast, the “Terminator” opening is exactly as bleak as the concept of the Future War demands. There’s no epic battle here, no heroic stand against the machines — only the charred rubble of Los Angeles, a sea of skulls, and a single, desperate soldier fleeing from the lights of the HK-tanks.  More extermination than war, this scene establishes the rest of the movie’s hopeless tone.

The opening of “The Terminator” is then rounded off by what must surely be the greatest piece of expository text in the history of cinema: “The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. Their war to exterminate mankind had raged for decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Tonight …” How’s that for setting the scene?

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1952 [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Our next Beginnings comes from Lis Carey who says C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has the “best opening line ever” and she thinks “the rest of the paragraph lives up to it, but I’m not moving right now”. Fortunately it was easy to retrieve from Kindle. 

This is the novel’s seventy-first anniversary as it was published in the United Kingdom by Geoffrey Bles in 1952.  It is the third of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia series. 

Like the other novels, it was illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and her work has been retained in many later editions.

THERE WAS A BOY CALLED EUSTACE Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. His parents called him Eustace Clarence and masters called him Scrubb. I can’t tell you how his friends spoke to him, for he had none. He didn’t call his Father and Mother “Father” and “Mother,” but Harold and Alberta. They were very up-to-date and advanced people. They were vegetarians, non-smokers and teetotalers and wore a special kind of underclothes. In their house there was very little furniture and very few clothes on beds and the windows were always open. Eustace Clarence liked animals, especially beetles, if they were dead and pinned on a card. He liked books if they were books of information and had pictures of grain elevators or of fat foreign children doing exercises in model schools.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 2, 1933 Tony Jay. Ok I mostly remember him as Paracelsus in the superb Beauty and the Beast series even it turns out he was only in a handful of episodes. Other genre endeavors include, and this is lest OGH strangle me only the Choice Bits, included voicing The Supreme Being In Time Bandits, an appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Third Minister Campio In “Cost of Living”, being in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (and yes I loved the series) as Judge Silot Gato in “Brisco for the Defense” and Dougie Milford In Twin Peaks. (Died 2006.)
  • Born February 2, 1940 Thomas DischCamp ConcentrationThe Genocides334 and On Wings of Song are among the best New Wave novels ever done.  He was a superb poet as well, though I don’t think any of it was germane to our community. He won the Related Book Hugo for The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of at Aussiecon 3, a critical but loving look on the impact of SF on our culture, and was nominated for a number of other Hugos for his short fiction. (Died 2008.)
  • Born February 2, 1944 Geoffrey Hughes. He played Popplewick aka The Valeyard in the Fifth Doctor story, “The Trial of The Time Lord”. Intriguingly he was also the voice of Paul McCartney in Yellow Submarine which surely is genre.  And he as Harper in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’s “Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave” episode. (Died 2012.)
  • Born February 2, 1947 Farrah Fawcett. She has a reasonably good SFF resume and she‘s been in Logan’s Run as Holly 13, and Saturn 3 as Alex. (Does anyone like that film?) She was also Mary Ann Pringle in Myra Breckinridge which might I suppose be considered at least genre adjacent. Or not.  Series wise, she shows up on I Dream of Jeanie as Cindy Tina, has three different roles on The Six Million Man, and was Miss Preem Lila on two episodes of The Flying Nun.  Well, she does fly. (Died 2009.)
  • Born February 2, 1949 Jack McGee, 74. Ok so how many of us remember him as Doc Kreuger on the Space Rangers series? Six episodes all told. Not as short as The Nightmare Cafe I grant you but pretty short. I’ve also got him as Bronto Crane Examiner in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, as a Deputy in Stardust, Mike Lutz in seaQuest, Doug Perren in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a Police Officer Person of Interest, to name some of his genre roles.
  • Born February 2, 1949 Brent Spiner, 74. Data on more Trek shows and films than I’ll bother listing here. I’ll leave it up to all of you to list your favorite moments of him as Data. He also played Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, a role he reprised in Independence Day: Resurgence. He also played Dr. Arik Soong/Lt. Commander Data in four episodes of Enterprise. Over the years, he’s had roles in Twilight Zone, Outer LimitsTales from the DarksideGargoylesYoung JusticeThe Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest HeroesWarehouse 13 and had a lead role in the thirteen-episode run of Threshold
  • Born February 2, 1986 Gemma Arterton, 37. She’s best known for playing Io in Clash of the Titans, Princess Tamina in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, and as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. She also voiced Clover in the current Watership Down series.  Really? Strawberry Fields? That original to the Fleming novel? 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) BUTTERWORTH POETRY COLLECTION. Tomorrow, February 3, Space Cowboy Books launches Michael Butterworth Complete Poems 1965-2020.

For more than fifty years Michael Butterworth, better known for his work as a writer, editor and publisher, has also been a quiet unobtrusive voice in poetry, with roots lying both in the small press poetry journals of the sixties and seventies and in New Wave of Science Fiction. His work is distinguished as much for the restless intelligence, wit and intimacy of his voice as a determination, shown in many of these poems, to paint metaphorical pictures of the perils we face due to our poor regard for the fragile biosphere in which we live. In other poems, he finds, within the events of an ordinary life, scope for the transcendent, and in still others his use of nonsense and absurdity playfully captures the moment, puncturing the illusions of the self. Across his work, elements are reiterated but endlessly transfigured –

The effect is at once familiar and yet profound, in language that has the confessional qualities and simplicity of early influences such as Sylvia Plath and the Beats, and the later influence of Zen poets such as Ryōkan. Occasionally the writing is startlingly radical – a reminder of the poet’s beginnings in the New Wave.

A collection such as this one from Space Cowboy Books is overdue, and Complete Poems: 1965-2020 brings to more deserving attention a less heard voice in modern poetry.

(13) PENNYWORTH DROPPED. “’Pennyworth’ Canceled After Three Seasons at HBO Max” reports Variety.

…The third season, officially titled “Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler,” was the first season of the show to originate on HBO Max. The series originally debuted on Epix in 2019, with Season 2 airing on that channel in two chunks in 2020 and 2021. Season 3 launched on HBO Max in October 2022.

“While HBO Max is not moving forward with another season of ‘Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler,’ we are very thankful to creator Bruno Heller and executive producers Matthew Patnick, Danny Cannon and John Stephens, along with Warner Bros. Television, for their brilliant, unique, gripping depiction of the origin of Alfred Pennyworth, one of the most iconic characters in the Batman world,” an HBO Max spokesperson said in a statement…. 

(14) I LOVE YOU. Entertainment Weekly made sure we heard that the “Valentine’s Day 2023 New Star Wars Funko Pops Have Arrived”. Use them when “I know” isn’t a sufficient answer.

… Whether this will be your first time buying Valentine’s Day-specific Star Wars Funko Pops or if you started collecting the special holiday Funko Pops last year and are looking to build up your collection, these figures are the perfect way to add a pop of romantic hues and swoon-worthy sci-fi charm to any room. There’s a Kylo Ren, Rey, BB-8, and Princess Leia figure, and each figure is entirely red, white, and pink and costs around $13….

(15) RANSOM TRILOGY DISCUSSED. The Pints with Jack podcast presents “’After Hours’ with Dr. Diana Glyer”.

Dr. Glyer returns to the show to speak in more detail about the book she edited, A Compass for Deep Heaven: Navigating the C. S. Lewis Ransom Trilogy.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Joe Siclari, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day by Andrew (not Werdna).]

Future Worlds Prize Announces 2023 Judges, Extends Submission Deadline

Future Worlds Prize for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of Colour today announced its judging panel for the 2023 prize. Also, the submission deadline has been extended to February 20.

This year’s judges are:

  • Syima Aslam – founder of Bradford Literature Festival
  • Ben Bailey Smith – actor, author, comedian and rapper
  • Aliette de Bodard – author and winner of three Nebula Awards, an Ignyte Award, a Locus Award, a British Fantasy Award and five British Science Fiction Association Awards
  • Nikita Gill – poet and author of seven volumes of poetry and one novel in verse
  • Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson – inaugural winner of Future Worlds Prize.

Future Worlds Prize for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of Colour aims to find new talent based in the UK writing in the SFF space, from magical realism and space operas to dystopia and more. The winner will receive a prize of £4,000, the runner-up £2,000 and up to six additional shortlisted authors will each receive £800. All shortlisted writers, the runner-up and the winner will also receive mentoring from one of the prize’s publishing partners. The prize is in its third year, and is funded by author Ben Aaronovitch and Bridgerton actor Adjoa Andoh. 

The prize has extended its submission window to Monday February 20 at 23:59 GMT.

Sylma Aslam, founder and artistic director of the Bradford Literature Festival (BLF), which she established in 2014, said: “Platforming early-career writers of colour is a vital step to ensuring all voices are included in the national conversation and that they are heard. As the founder of the UK’s most diverse and inclusive literary festival, I am delighted to join the judging panel for this year’s Future Worlds Prize.”

Ben Bailey Smith, rapper, TV and film actor, stand up, screen writer and children’s books author, said: “Hyped to be a part of the judging panel for the Future Worlds Prize, not just because I’m a judgey guy, but more because to see writers of colour tackling science fiction is incredibly exciting to a brown sci-fi nerd like me. Can’t wait to see what the prize has up its sleeve this year, if prizes can have sleeves.”

Aliette De Bodard said: “Having once been a young writer of colour in the industry, I’m very keenly aware of how important visibility and support are early on, and how fortunate I was to benefit from both. I’m thrilled to be part of Future Worlds Prize, and to be able to pay it forward.”

Nikita Gill, an Irish-Indian writer and illustrator, said: “Stories are the lifeblood of the universe, they give us a place to find hope, challenges and fortitude. The Future Worlds Prize for Fantasy and Science Fiction will bring us the very brightest and best of storytelling, and I look forward to reading the entries and escaping into the worlds invented by brilliant minds, the stranger, the better!”

Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson, co-founder of Impact of Omission, a campaign to make Black history a compulsory part of the national curriculum, said: “I cannot wait to read this year’s wonderful submissions for the Future Worlds Prize – a truly phenomenal initiative that takes concrete, meaningful steps to address the inequality present in SFF publishing, by supporting and championing incredible writers with beautiful stories to tell. Good luck everyone!”

The 2021 prize was won by M. H. Ayinde, for her story “A Shadow in Chains.” The runner-up was Salma Ibrahim for her story “Frankincense”.

For submission details and more on the prize, visit its online presence at website, Twitter, or Instagram.

[Based on a press release.]