(1) ELLISON KICKSTARTER FULLY FUNDED. The Harlan Ellison Books Preservation Project Kickstarter has blown past its $100,000 goal. The total raises at this time is $102,409, with four days to go.
(2) TELL ME YOU’RE KIDDING. CinemaBlend says Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may give us more Howard the Duck.
In case you’ve somehow forgotten about Howard the Duck’s surreal appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, he was briefly spotted in a display case during the main movie as part of The Collector’s…well, collection. Later in the post-credits scene when The Collector sat by his destroyed museum, Howard (voiced by Seth Green) sat nearby and criticized the eccentric entity for letting Cosmo the Spacedog lick his face. Funny enough, James Gunn didn’t originally plan on including Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy because the original post-credits scene was supposed to tease Avengers: Age of Ultron. When Captain America: The Winter Soldier “stole” that, Gunn and editor Frank Raskin noticed in their existing footage that Beneicio del Toro looked to the side at a box, thus providing a way to sneak Howard in and redeem the character a little bit for that movie of his that still occasionally haunts our dreams.
With or without Howard the Duck’s participation, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, 2017.
(3) BRUCE SCHNEIER. What’s he been doing since he worked on E Pluribus Hugo? The Daily Dot reports on his recent testimony before Congress — “Bruce Schneier: ‘The Internet era of fun and games is over’”
Internet pioneer Bruce Schneier issued a dire proclamation in front of the House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Committee Wednesday: “It might be that the internet era of fun and games is over, because the internet is now dangerous.”
The meeting, which focused on the security vulnerabilities created by smart devices, came in the wake of the Oct. 21 cyberattack on Dyn that knocked Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and other major web services offline….
Here’s how he framed the Internet of Things, or what he later called the “world of dangerous things”:
As the chairman pointed out, there are now computers in everything. But I want to suggest another way of thinking about it in that everything is now a computer: This is not a phone. It’s a computer that makes phone calls. A refrigerator is a computer that keeps things cold. ATM machine is a computer with money inside. Your car is not a mechanical device with a computer. It’s a computer with four wheels and an engine… And this is the Internet of Things, and this is what caused the DDoS attack we’re talking about.
He then outlined four truths he’s learned from the world of computer security, which he said is “now everything security.”
1) ‘Attack is easier than defense’
Complexity is the worst enemy of security. Complex systems are hard to secure for an hours’ worth of reasons, and this is especially true for computers and the internet. The internet is the most complex machine man has ever built by a lot, and it’s hard to secure. Attackers have the advantage.
2) ‘There are new vulnerabilities in the interconnections’
The more we connect things to each other, the more vulnerabilities in one thing affect other things. We’re talking about vulnerabilities in digital video recorders and webcams that allowed hackers to take websites. … There was one story of a vulnerability in an Amazon account [that] allowed hackers to get to an Apple account, which allowed them to get to a Gmail account, which allowed them to get to a Twitter account. Target corporation, remember that attack? That was a vulnerability in their HVAC contractor that allowed the attackers to get into Target. And vulnerabilities like this are hard to fix. No one system might be at fault. There might be two secure systems that come together to create insecurity.
3) ‘The internet empowers attackers’
4) ‘The economics don’t trickle down’
The engineers at Google, Apple, Microsoft spent a lot of time on this. But that doesn’t happen for these cheaper devices. … These devices are a lower price margin, they’re offshore, there’s no teams. And a lot of them cannot be patched. Those DVRs are going to be vulnerable until someone throws them away. And that takes a while. We get security [for phones] because I get a new one every 18 months. Your DVR lasts for five years, your car for 10, your refrigerator for 25. I’m going to replace my thermostat approximately never. So the market really can’t fix this.
Schneier then laid out his argument for why the government should be a part of the solution, and the danger of prioritizing surveillance over security.
We’re now at the point where we need to start making more ethical and political decisions about how these things work. When it didn’t matter—when it was Facebook, when it was Twitter, when it was email—it was OK to let programmers, to give them the special right to code the world as they saw fit. We were able to do that. But now that it’s the world of dangerous things—and it’s cars and planes and medical devices and everything else—maybe we can’t do that anymore.
That’s not necessarily what Schneier wants, but he recognizes its necessity
(4) BIG DATA. Mark R. Kelly spent a busy day updating the Science Fiction Awards Database, that indispensable research tool —
2016 Anlab, Asimov’s Readers, and Dell Magazine results
— posted Saturday 26 November 2016 @ 5:33 pm PST
More 2016 results: the readers’ polls from Analog and Asimov’s magazines, and the Dell Magazine Undergrad Awards, reported in Asimov’s magazine.
AnLab: 93 new and updated pages
Note the Analog readers’ poll now has a poetry category. Also, first page in this index for Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.
Dell Magazines Awards: 37 new and updated pages
Note these awards have a new dedicated website: http://www.dellaward.com/
Asimov’s Reader Awards: 91 new and updated pages.
Also updated: 2016 Results
Assorted 2016 results
— posted Saturday 26 November 2016 @ 3:37 pm PST
Big Heart 2016
First Fandom 2016
WSFA Small Press 2016
Dwarf Stars 2016
Copper Cylinder 2016
(5) REACHING A MILESTONE. Adam Whitehead celebrates a decade of blogging in “10 Years of the Wertzone: Listing the Classics”.
Occasionally I award a particularly special book, video game, movie or TV show the honour of being a “Wertzone Classic”. To be a classic, the work has to both be excellent and also to have withstood the test of time and emerged as a true defining work in its field. The following is a complete list of all works to be awarded a “Classic” award since the start of the blog in 2006. I would strongly recommend all of these works to anyone interested in science fiction and fantasy, be it in print or on screen.
The list includes 30 books.
(6) VISITS WITH ROBERT SILVERBERG. At Locus Online, “Russell Letson reviews Alvaro Zinos-Amaro”.
Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood Press 978-1-933846-63-7, $16.99, 274pp, tp) August 2016. Cover by Patrick Swenson.
Robert Silverberg’s career has spanned more than half the history of modern American science fiction: he began reading SF magazines in 1948, during the ‘‘Golden Age,’’ and by 1954 was writing for the pulps, producing the first entries in a bibliography that now runs to 600-plus items of fiction and booklength nonfiction alone. Between receiving a Hugo Award for ‘‘Most Promising New Author’’ in 1956 and attaining SFWA Grand Master status in 2004, Silverberg has been in a position to meet nearly everyone of consequence in the SF field, sell to nearly every editor (and do plenty of editing himself), and explore nearly every market niche, while also (for a while) carrying out parallel careers turning out carefully-researched nonfiction and pseudonymous, non-SF yard-goods.
(7) A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham
(8) BOB FELICE OBIT. Cynthia Felice told her Facebook readers, “My beloved and much-loved husband of 55 years, Bob Felice Sr. died yesterday. While his death was sudden and swift, it was not unexpected, not even by him.”
Cat Rambo says of Cynthia, “[She] is an SF writer and was the SFWA ombudsman (currently the position’s held by the amazing Gay Haldeman) for years, solving member problems with serenity and grace.”
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
- November 26, 1862 — Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson sends a handwritten manuscript called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground to 10-year-old Alice Liddell.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
- Born November 26, 1909 — Eugene Ionesco
- Born November 26, 1922 — Charles Schulz
- November 26, 1926 – Poul Anderson
- Born November 26, 1853 — William “Bat” Masterson. (John King Tarpinian sent this one in because, “The theme song from the TV show still reverberates between my ears.”)
(11) ANIMAL ASTRONAUTS. The art is irresistible and the story is cute. Krypton Radio tonight will air an interview with STEM children’s book author Andrew Rader.
Buckle up, space fans, for an intriguing conversation with Andrew Rader, author of the upcoming children’s book Mars Rover Rescue, and its predecessor, MC Longneck’s Epic Space Adventure. Andrew has a PhD in human space flight from MIT, and works professionally as an aerospace engineer. This gives him a unique perspective when it comes to creating educational children’s books that can ignite the imaginations of young budding future scientists. The new book has already blown past its goal on Kickstarter, and now the second book about the self-assured “giraffestronaut” is well into stretch goal territory….
Tune in this evening at 9 pm PT / Midnight ET for the first broadcast of this fascinating interview with Andrew Rader. Your hosts this evening are Susan Fox and Gene Turnbow….
(12) NEXT STEPS. Cat Rambo begins her blog post “Nattering Social Justice Cook: Prepare to Ride, My People” with a list of links to disturbing post-election news, then tells how she plans to move forward.
The world is broken. Love isn’t enough to fix it. It will take time and effort and blood and sweat and tears. It will stretch some of us almost to the breaking point and others past it. We must help each other in the struggle, must be patient and kind, and above all hopeful. We must speak out even when we are frightened or sad or weary to the bone….
In my opinion. You may disagree, and that’s fine. This is what I think and what’s driving my actions over the next four years. I am going to speak up and object and point things out. I am going to support institutions that help the groups like the homeless, LGBT youth, and others whose voting rights have been stolen and whose already too-scant and under threat resources are being methodically stripped away.
I am going to continue to insist that honesty, tolerance, and a responsibility for one’s own words are part of our proud American heritage, the thing that has often led us along the path where, although there have been plenty of mistakes, there have been actions that advanced the human race, that battled the forces of ignorance and intolerance, and that served as a model for the world. That “liberty and justice for all” are not hollow words, but a lamp lifted to inspire us and light our way in that direction.
I will continue to love in the face of hate, to do what Jesus meant when he said hate the sin while loving the sinner. I will continue to teach, formally and by setting an example of what a leader, a woman, a good human being should do, acknowledging my own imperfections so I can address them and keep growing and getting better at this human existence thing. If I see a fellow being in need, I will act, even if it means moving outside my usual paths.
(13) DOGGONE IT. Adam-Troy Castro sees no reason for feudin’ and fussin’ over awards:
I have won a few significant (if in prestige second-tier) awards at this gig, and on those occasions, I won because some folks thought that I had written the best story, and by God, that is less complicated, and more satisfying than AGITATING FIGHTING COMPLAINING CAMPAIGNING FRETTING RAGING AND DECLARING ENEMIES FOR MONTHS ON END could possibly be. It certainly was. I don’t have a Hugo or a Nebula or a Stoker, and may never get one, but by God I came close a bunch of times, and each time it was without the help of a carefully-managed campaign by hundreds of yahoos screaming bile. It was just me, putting words down, getting what acclaim I got all on my own, and that was *it*. Again, it feels better.
Since Gustav Gloom, I have gotten that feeling just being beamed at by kids.
And on top of that? Typing THE END at the close of work of fiction, and knowing, *knowing*, that it’s a superior piece of work, is where that great feeling comes first.
(14) CANCEL THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. Now we know what the Sad Puppies are waiting on –
Every time more than half a crowd doesn't like me I console myself with the thought that I killed with the Electoral Audience.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) November 26, 2016
(15) IT’S ON THE BAG. Fan artist Jose Sanchez – who provided the back covers of my past two paperzines – announces his online shop http://www.shopvida.com/collections/jose77sanchez, which he touts as a place “where you can find my artwork on new apparel products that can make great gifts-especially now in the holidays!”
(16) RON GLASS’ TWILIGHT ZONE EPISODE. You can watch “I of Newton” on YouTube. Teleplay by Alan Brennert based on a short story by Joe Haldeman.
[Thanks to Steve Green, Cat Rambo, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
I have never read The Affirmation, so I cannot comment on similarities. I will say that Lanark is an absolute classic, vivid and fascinating (and roughly half of it is SFF). The one caution I would give about Lanark is that the protagonist is in many ways neither likable nor admirable (although not completely so; he does have his occasional shining moments.) I think it’s intentional because the book frequently implicitly acknowledges this, so it’s not a flaw in the writing, but if you have a hard time with protagonists like that I think parts of the book could be rough going.
Even so, The concept has been used in Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space series (which is what I was alluding to.):
Today’s Meredith Moment:
Today only, Cyber Monday specials on Amazon Kindle books, up to 85% off
Behind The Throne by K.B.Wagers
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler
A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey
and a bunch of Star Trek books.
Less so than the half-realist/half-fantastic division of both might make them sound — the Priest interleaves the narratives far more, and the question of what’s real is more urgent throughout. The Dream Archipelago at its worst is more pastoral than Unthank.
@Kyra I have never read The Affirmation
I hope you put that right. Both are excellent novels. But as James said The Affirmation felt different to Lanark to me, and not just in the industrial nature of Unthank and the degree of interleaving.
I’m another who has never read Priest. I suppose I should do something about that. What book(s) should I start with?
@Kyra, James, and andyl (and anyone else who comments): thanks!
@Cassy B: I’ve only read 10 or so of his books so this isn’t definitive, but I would recommend starting with Inverted World. It’s the first one I read and a good introduction to his work. It’s marvelously well-written with an incredibly constructed world (or city). And while it isn’t straight-forward–it is a Priest book after all–, it is more straight-forward than many of his other works.
That said, The Affirmation is by far my favorite–and one that really is central to his work. The only reason I hesitate to put it first is that for personal reasons, I found it especially powerful. I’m not sure if many others would feel similar. The book, like most of his books, is incredibly clever and I worry that many people will take it as being merely clever. I think there’s less of a chance of thinking Inverted World is merely clever. Still, if you want to read more Priest The Affirmation is important since it is one of his first books to mention the Dream Archipelago, which also appears in later books. It’s not necessary to read The Affirmation to understand the later books, but it certainly helps.
Here’s a link to his books on his website. He gives helpful introductions and quotes from reviews. You might also check out The Separation and The Adjacent. In fact, the only books I would recommend against starting with are Fugue for a Darkening Island because it is somewhat atypical and The Islanders because it takes place entirely in the Dream Archipelago. Both books, however, are excellent so it’s not a strong recommendation against reading them.
I second Shao Ping’s recommendation of The Inverted World as a good starting point for Priest’s novels.
@Shao Ping: have you read his latest, The Gradual? It’s typically excellent, although it wasn’t quite what I expected: it’s almost shockingly conventional in structure for a Chris Priest novel!
@PhilRM: I haven’t–and had actually forgotten it was out. Glad (though not surprised) that it is good. I’ll probably wait for it to come out in paperback–my library system doesn’t have many of his work and I need to save money at present.
Plus I still have The Dream Archipelago and The Space Machine on my shelves, waiting to be read.
@Shao Ping: I may have to reread The Inverted World; I gave it a very bad review when I did a column for The Tech (MIT student paper) about the 1975 Hugo nominees (~”didn’t care about what happened to any of the characters”), but I was 21 then. I would recommend The Prestige for starters, because it’s not quite as vertiginous as main-line (let alone flat-out) Priest — the reader actually gets an answer or two for the many questions they may have. (I may have a small bias in this, as I played with stage magic in my youth.) I hear he wasn’t very happy with the movie; it did blow up some of the subtleties of the book, but had at least one image (the “Chinese” magician) that I found much more effective on-screen than in the book (if it was there at all).
Wandering through to ask if anybody else has seen this new sf television show (about an alien abduction support group, starring Wyatt Cenac), People of Earth. I caught it for the first time tonight after hearing housemate geeking out over it, and am definitely seeing where it goes.