Pixel Scroll 3/16/22 I Had It, But I Traded It For These Magic Beans

(1) PLANETARY SOCIETY GRANTS. The first-ever winners of The Planetary Society’s Science and Technology Empowered by the Public (STEP) Grants were announced today. These are planetary science and/or technology grants that fit within one or more of The Planetary Society’s core enterprises (Explore WorldsFind LifeDefend Earth). “Announcing the First-Ever STEP Grant Winners”. The two winning projects are a radio SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) citizen science project, and a planetary defense project to use a new technique to study near-Earth asteroids. 

Are We Alone?

We have awarded US$49,980 to a team from the University of California Los Angeles led by Professor Jean-Luc Margot for their proposal “Are We Alone? A Citizen-Science-Enabled Search for Technosignatures.”

The search for life elsewhere in the universe seeks to answer one of the most fundamental questions: are we alone? One part of this search involves looking for signals from elsewhere in the universe sent by intelligent life. Looking for signals is like searching for a needle in a very enormous haystack. Over the decades, though no confirmed signal from ET has been found, the technology and the techniques have gotten more and more capable.

Demystifying Near-Earth Asteroids

We have awarded US$44,842 to a team from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, led by Professor Bojan Novakovi? for their proposal “Demystifying Near-Earth Asteroids (D-NEAs).”

Tens of thousands of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) have been found, but we only know the physical properties of a small percentage. Asteroids can range from solid rock to collections of boulders to fluff balls. Understanding these characteristics for individual NEAs as well as entire NEA populations is crucial to not only the science of asteroid evolution and variability, but also to considerations of how to deflect a dangerous asteroid in the future.

(2) CARNEGIE AND GREENAWAY MEDAL SHORTLISTS. The shortlists for the Yoto Carnegie and Yoto Kate Greenaway Awards 2022 were announced today. I couldn’t find any genre works in the mix, perhaps you will be more discerning.

The 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal (alphabetical by author surname):

  • October, October by Katya Balen, illustrated by Angela Harding (Bloomsbury)
  • Guard Your Heart by Sue Divin (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle (Andersen Press)
  • Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber)
  • The Crossing by Manjeet Mann (Penguin Children’s Books)
  • Tsunami Girl by Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada (Guppy Books)
  • Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (Andersen Press)
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The 2022 Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal (alphabetical by illustrator surname):

  • Drawn Across Borders illustrated and written by George Butler (Walker Books)
  • The Midnight Fair illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio, written by Gideon Sterer (Walker Books)
  • Too Much Stuff illustrated and written by Emily Gravett (Two Hoots, Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Long Way Down illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff, written by Jason Reynolds (Faber)
  • Milo Imagines the World illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de la Pena (Two Hoots, Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Shu Lin’s Grandpa illustrated by Yu Rong, written by Matt Goodfellow (Otter-Barry Books)
  • I Talk Like a River illustrated by Sydney Smith, written by Jordan Scott (Walker Books)
  • The Wanderer illustrated and written by Peter Van den Ende (Pushkin Children’s Books)

(3) NASFIC SAFETY. The Orlando in 2023 NASFiC Bid defends one city in Florida’s LGBTQIA+ record. This is just the beginning:

We’ve seen some of you ask about how friendly Orlando is to the LGBTQIA+ community and whether you will be safe coming to Orlando for the 2023 NASFiC. Those are excellent questions to ask, and we have answers for you.

The short answer: Orlando is one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly cities in the entire country. You will be welcomed, and you will be safe.

Period.

Full stop.

Have you noticed how people who like the “Period. Full stop” idiom always have so much to say after it?

(4) OPPOSITION TO 2023 WORLDCON IN CHENGDU. Sarah Mughal Rana, organizer of the Open Letter condemning China as host of the 2023 Worldcon, had two opinion pieces about the issue published today.  

The first, at Winteriscoming.net, “Dear World(con): Don’t host the Hugos amidst Uyghur concentration camps”, fleshes out these arguments:

  • The development of Chengdu as a sci-fi and tech center is contributing to genocide
  • Chengdu Worldcon has problematic Guests of Honor
  • Turkic authors, publishers, and intellectuals are persecuted in China
  • Condemning Worldcon is not the result of Western bias
  • Holding Chengdu Worldcon goes against artistic values

The second, at The Bookseller, “Science fiction’s moral reckoning: why we must block Worldcon Chengdu”, says in part —

…As an activist who, only one month ago, organised a protest over the Beijing Winter Olympics in light of the Uyghur genocide, I was stunned by the writing community’s support of the Chengdu 2023 Worldcon bid. It is not rare for authors to get involved in politics, as evidenced by well-known authors such as Stephen King, Joe Abercrombie, Holly Black, and more announcing their intentions not to renew their releases with Russian publishers in support of Ukraine. However, in the case of Chengdu, China – no one resisted.

…Supporting and attending Worldcon 2023 makes us hypocrites. Writers create characters that oppose entrenched power structures, malicious regimes, status quos and utopias. In science fiction, we use our fiction to draw parallels about reality, unchecked uses of technologies, persecution and surveillancing. Our characters work to overthrow cruel empires; they are the heroes that protect their culture and societies against invasion, injustices and genocide. How can one of the world’s most prestigious writing awards celebrate science fiction’s best stories while millions of Uyghurs are subject to severe persecution? How can we celebrate China’s sci-fi scene when artists, writers and intellectuals of its ethnic minorities are interned in camps or in exile, unable to attend?

Among Chengdu Worldcon’s guests of honour are Sergei Lukyanenko, a bestselling sci-fi writer who has constantly defended Russia’s Ukraine policy, and Liu Cixin, an internationally bestselling Chinese sci-fi writer who was recently hired for SenseTime as a director of Science Fiction Planet Research Center – a tech company that is using sci-fi research to develop immersive artificial intelligence. SenseTime—along with four other firms—is responsible for creating mass surveillance AI systems used to identify and police Uyghurs, Tibetans and other Turkic populations in China. The US has even banned investments into SenseTime for its prominent role in the genocide. The advanced systems include facial and voice recognition, DNA sampling, and racial profiling; these factors are directly responsible for widening the scope of the genocide. But SenseTime is not the only company. Chengdu has invested billions in sci-fi research to attract writers, creators, animation departments, and tech start-ups; these same companies create advanced AI that are is being used to persecute China’s Muslim minorities.

Chengdu is an emerging global sci-fi capital of China, but supporting the sci-fi scene there contributes to the genocide and mass policing of ethnic minorities….

(5) STORY TIME. Simultaneous Times science fiction podcast Special 4 Year Anniversary Episode is a collaboration with Sci-Fi Lampoon Magazine: Simultaneous Times Ep.49 – Michael James & J.W. Allen.

Stories featured in this episode:

“Minimum Sage” – by Michael James; music by Phog Masheeen; read by Jean-Paul Garnier

“Systems Strike” – by J.W. Allen; music by RedBlueBlackSilver; read by Jean-Paul Garnier

Simultaneous Times is a monthly science fiction podcast produced by Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, CA.

(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1984 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Thirty-eight years ago today a very silly film called The Ice Pirates premiered. Yes I am editorializing. That’s why my name is on these essays. It was directed by Stewart Raffill, who co-wrote the screenplay with Krull screenwriter Stanford Sherman. Raffill would also direct The Philadelphia Experiment this year. Sherman wrote quite a few Batman episodes and a few of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well.

The producer was John Foreman who had already done Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and who would later do what was known in the States as The Great Train Robbery which I essayed here on File 770  several weeks back. (Great film and a rather good book as well.)

The primary cast was Robert Urich, Mary Crosby and Michael D. Roberts; but the secondary cast of Anjelica Huston, Ron Perlman, Bruce Vilanch, John Carradine was rather notable as well. 

It was supposed to have a rather extravagant budget for a film of its sort at twenty million dollars but MGM had just been slapped quite hard by its bankers as it losing a great deal of money just then and all films then in production were limited by the those bankers to just eight million to spend. So the story goes that Raffill rewrote the script from a hard SF film to a comic SF affair to make less it much dependent on SFX. 

So how did it fare with critics? The New York Times said upon its release that “THE ICE PIRATES,” which opens today at the Warner and other theaters, is a busy, bewildering, exceedingly jokey science-fiction film that looks like a ”Star Wars” spinoff made in an underdeveloped galaxy.” (Raffill for the record denies that it was based off of Star Wars at all.) 

And the Sunday Call-Chronicle said of it that “’The Ice Pirates,’ a cross between ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail,’ is amusingly silly through the first box of popcorn. After that, you’re on your own.” Ouch. 

Box office wise, it likely didn’t make money as it grossed only fourteen million against a budget that eventually hit nine million. So I doubt the bankers were very happy. 

It performs decently but not great at Rotten Tomatoes currently with a score of fifty percent among audience reviewers. 

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 16, 1883 Sonia Greene. Pulp writer and amateur press publisher who underwrote several fanzines in the early twentieth century. Wiki says she was a president of the United Amateur Press Association but I can’t confirm that elsewhere. And she was married to Lovecraft for two years. Her best-known story is “The Horror at Martin’s Beach” which was revised and edited by Lovecraft and renamed as “The Invisible Monster” when it got published in Weird Tales inNovember 1923. (Died 1972.)
  • Born March 16, 1900 Cyril Hume. He was an amazingly prolific screenplay writer with twenty-nine from 1924 to 1966 including The Wife of the Centaur (a lost film which has but has but a few scraps left), Tarzan Escapes, Tarzan the Ape Man, The Invisible Boy and Forbidden Planet. (Died 1966.)
  • Born March 16, 1920 Leo McKern. He shows up in a recurring role as Number Two on The Prisoner in  “The Chimes of Big Ben”, “Once Upon a Time” and “Fall Out”. Other genre appearances include Police Inspector McGill in X the Unknown, Bill Macguire in The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Professor Moriarty in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, The Voice of Gwent in “The Infernal Machine” episode of Space: 1999. (Died 2002.)
  • Born March 16, 1929 Ehren M. Ehly. This was the alias of Egyptian-American author Moreen Le Fleming Ehly. Her first novel, Obelisk, followed shortly by Totem. Her primary influence was H. Rider Haggard of which she said in interviews that was impressed by Haggard’s novel She at an early age. If you like horror written in a decided pulp style, I think you’ll appreciate her. (Died 2012.)
  • Born March 16, 1931 Irene Champlin. Though she was short-lived, she’s remembered most as Dale Arden in the Fifties syndicated Flash Gordon series in which she was both intelligent and resourceful. Her entire acting  career was but three years in length, ending with in appearance on I Spy. (Died 1990.)
  • Born March 16, 1951 P. C. Hodgell, 71. Her best known work is the God Stalker Chronicles series with By Demons Possessed being the current novel. She has dabbled in writing in the Holmesian metaverse with “A Ballad of the White Plague” that was first published in The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes as edited by Marvin Kaye. All of the God Stalker Chronicles series are available from the usual suspects. 
  • Born March 16, 1952 Alice Hoffman, 70. Best known for Practical Magic which was made into a rather good film. I’d also recommend The Story Sisters, a Gateway story, The Ice Queen, an intense riff off of that myth, and Aquamarine, a fascinating retelling of the mermaid legend. The Rules of Magic was nominated for Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature Award.
  • Born March 16, 1971 Alan Tudyk, 51. Hoban “Wash” Washburne  in the Firefly universe whose death I’m still pissed about. Wat in A Knight’s Tale. (Chortle. Is it genre? Who cares, it’s a great film.)  He’s K-2SO in Rogue One and yes he does both the voice and motion capture. Impressive. He also had a recurring role on Dollhose as Alpha, he voiced a number of characters in the Young Justice series streaming on HBO Max, and he was a very irritating Mr. Nobody on the Doom Patrol series also on HBO Max.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Candorville jokes about the multiverse.
  • Bizarro injects a moment of horror into the lives of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man family.

(9) THE SPRING BEFORE THE SUMMER OF LOVE. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] I’m at Galactic Journey today, reviewing Tarnsman of Gor by John Norman, while my colleague Victoria Silverwolf reviews Why Call Them Back From Heaven? by Clifford D. Simak. Victoria obviously got the better deal: “[March 16, 1967] A Matter of Life and Death (Why Call Them Back From Heaven? by Clifford D. Simak; Tarnsman of Gor, by John Norman)”.

(10) BASEDCON. Robert Kroese is organizing BasedCon 2022, following up last year’s event for alt-right sff authors. That said, I found it hard to resist the honesty of this line in his latest message:

…The biggest challenge once again is going to be money. I’m a moderately successful sci-fi author, which is another way of saying that I am poor…. 

(11) MERCIFUL MAUDE. “Disneyland’s Newest Menu Item Is Its Most Divisive Yet” claims The Takeout.

Though the Disney parks are known for all sorts of innovations, the food continues to be a big draw for many tourists. Some Disney fans go so far as to plan whole trips around sampling as many dishes as possible, and even Florida’s stork population seems to love the food on offer. Disneyland in California, however, has created a dish that might be a little divisive among park guests. I’m having some conflicted feelings about it right now just thinking about it. It’s dessert pasta, and everyone has an opinion.

This peanut butter and jelly pasta is now available at the Nuts About Cheese stand in Disneyland as part of the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. I want to understand the motivations of whoever created this. Food writer and Takeout contributor Julie Tremaine sampled this new concoction for SFGate and came away with some mixed feelings.

The peanut butter & jelly mac involves macaroni noodles coated in a peanut butter sauce and finished off with a dollop of strawberry jelly, a sprinkle of brown sugar streusel, and a layer of strawberry crackle, which is pretty much just a serving of Pop Rocks….

(12) AFTER HE LANDED. Showtime released a teaser featuring the first five minutes from the new TV series The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the novel by Walter Tevis and the iconic film starring David Bowie. Deadline reports that the series “will follow a new alien character (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution, and must confront his own past to determine our future.” It debuts April 24 on Showtime.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers:  Free Guy,” the Screen Junkies say the game in Free Guy  is part Grand Theft Auto, part fortnite, and part Nothing at All, because the script was bought in 2016.  And did you know Taika Waititi and Ryan Reynolds worked together in Green Lantern?  Well, they did!

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Sarah Mughal Rana, Chris Barkley, Rich Lynch, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/16/22 I Had It, But I Traded It For These Magic Beans

  1. First!

    I voted for the Hugos with just four hours to spare. Never said my since of deadlines was terrible good.

    Btw I forgot to mention the role that I most remember Leo McKern from — Rumpole of the Bailey which aired on PBS.

  2. 7) Probably the best single thing that File 770 did for me was introduce me to the God Stalker Chronicles. I have really enjoyed it.

  3. 11) I purchased chocolate pasta from a farmers market one time. Only chocolate item I have ever disliked. I can’t imagine this pasta is any better.

  4. bookworm1398 says I purchased chocolate pasta from a farmers market one time. Only chocolate item I have ever disliked. I can’t imagine this pasta is any better.

    It’s no secret here that I love chocolate. (I just tried Tallimook coffee chocolate chip mocha ice cream, it was amazingly delicious.) This sounds like an absolute abomination of the first order.

  5. Andrew (not Werdna) says McKern is the best Number Two (in my opinion, of course)

    I was surprised to discover when putting together this Birthday that he’d only appeared four times in The Prisoner as I’ve sweared he had been there a lot more times. So much for my memory decades on after watching it.

    I need to get a Prisoner button. Not a replica, but an original one done as a promo item fir the series.

  6. 9) Is there a dialect of English in which “an unique” is correct, instead of “a unique”? Maybe I’ve been doing too much copy editing recently.

  7. Rice pudding is delicious and that’s a savoury starchy thing turned into dessert so I think a sweet pasta dish could certainly work in theory. Not convinced of the execution, but I bet a lot of kids would get a real kick out of it. It would be like they’re getting away with something: They’ve turned pasta into dessert! Good luck to any parents having to deal with a particularly enterprising smol one trying to convince them that it counts as a main course because it’s pasta, though.

  8. Alan Tudyk currently stars in the SciFi Channel series “Reisdent Alien” as an alien sent to earth to prepare for an invasion who begins to like humans.

    He also starred in the very funny movie “Tucker and Dale vs Evil” as one of a pair of “well meaning hillbillies” who are mistaken for backwoods killers by a group of drunken and horny college students who are camping out. Tucker and Dale are constantly mystified by the behavior of the students who keep getting drunk and falling into wood chippers or onto running chainsaws, and who the surviving students blame on the “killers”, Tucker & Dale

  9. Troyce days Let’s not forget Leo McKern was also in the most excellent “Ladyhawk.”

    I’ve never seen it, so that’s why it didn’t get included. I’ll add it in next year. Leo’s one of those individuals whose is worth noting every year. Thanks much for your note.

    (Too much fiction of all manner, too little time.)

  10. I’ve been known to eat Thai style peanut sauce over noodles, which is on the spicy/savory side ideally. Going to take a hard pass on covering it with sugar but I might add some fish sauce and sriracha.

  11. 4) I have a few, selective barbs for all of the well meaning people who are up all up in arms over Chengdu hosting the 2023 Worldcon:

    A) The Chengdu bid has been up and running for several years. Were you unaware of this?

    B) Did you know there was a process for bidding governed by the World Science Fiction Society? Or that the vote that decided the winning bid was by held at Discon III in Washing DC this past December? I doubt it.

    C) Do you see that if you HAD KNOWN about the first two points, you could have averted all of the angst you’re feeling right now?

    D) Can you feel my anger directed at you, because all of you are vehemently protesting an election that at this point in time is a moot point?

    E) That only an extraordinary and increasing unlikely turn of events can prevent Chengdu from holding the 81st World Science Fiction Convention?

    Too little and far too late, people. To be sure, I very sympathetic to your cause and the reasons behind them. But where the hell were you a year ago when you were really needed?

  12. Leo McKern had a very important role in the Beatles movie Help!. He worked a lot!

  13. There are desserts made with pasta – many are Italian, but not all. But they aren’t usually like the pb&j mac.

  14. Chris M. Barkley: Let’s not be too naive. Targeting the Chengdu Worldcon gives the creators of the open letter leverage to make people read their case against the Chinese government’s mistreatment of Uyghur minority. That’s their primary purpose. They already knew it was a done deal — as Ms. Rana said in a quote in the news post here “We know that a bid cannot be revoked.”

    I agree it would have been interesting if the signers of the open letter had spoken up in the years while the Chengdu bidders were campaigning. However, the issue with the Uyghurs has been raised here in comments many times. It was generally known. Yet the only writers we heard from were the ones receiving subsidized trips to Chinese sf conventions who came back raving how wonderful fandom is there.

    And don’t overlook that the Chengdu bid won by a thousand votes. If everybody who was late to the party had voted, they still would have won, but maybe only by eight or nine hundred.

  15. Charon Dunn on March 16, 2022 at 7:53 pm said:

    I’ve been known to eat Thai style peanut sauce over noodles, which is on the spicy/savory side ideally. Going to take a hard pass on covering it with sugar but I might add some fish sauce and sriracha.

    See, “Like a sweet pad thai?” is precisely where my mind went when I read that description. I think it could be done so that it wasn’t an abomination – sweet and savory happen together all the time – but darned if I can figure out how to fix it. Guess I’d better start experimenting.

    (What about mint jelly instead of strawberry? Hmm. Or! sweet red bean paste?)

  16. 6) Ice Pirates certainly isn’t great, but I found it not without its charms back in the day. (And it wasn’t like I had a lot to choose from at the time if I wanted to go see something even remotely Star Wars-like in the theater.)

  17. @ Chris M. Barkley

    “Ah, you’ve been with the professors and they’ve all liked your looks
    With great lawyers you have discussed lepers and crooks
    You’ve been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
    You’re very well-read, it’s well-known
    But something is happening here and you don’t know what it is
    Do you, Mr. Jones?”

    -Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man”

  18. 4) I largely agree with Chris. I sympathise with Sarah Rana’s cause, but the time to speak up against the Chengdu was when the bid was still a bid and site selection voting was still ongoing. And indeed, several people did speak up against the Chengdu bid, though I don’t recall reading Sarah Rana’s name in that context.

    6) Ice Pirates was certainly not good, but I have very fond memories of watching it on late night TV as a kid.

    11) I have had chocolate dessert pasta at a local restaurant (now defunct) specialising in pasta dishes and found it tasty enough, though I only ordered it once, because normally I’m too full after a large platter of pasta to have another large platter of pasta for dessert.

    That said, pasta with cinnamon and sugar is a somewhat old-fashioned homecooking dessert in Germany. I never make it myself, because I prefer my pasta savoury, but it is perfectly acceptable.

    There’s also spaghetti ice cream, which is not pasta at all, but ice cream squeezed through a spaetzle press to look like pasta and topped with strawberry sauce to imitate tomato sauce and sprinkles of white chocolate to imitate parmesan. It’s a popular ice cream parlour dish. Children usually love it.

  19. 6) Streaming on HBO EscapeMetaAltControlShift or whatever it’s called this week.

    7) Apparently HPL never submitted the divorce papers, so Sonia Greene was married to him for the rest of his life.

    There’s a variation on kheer that uses vermicelli instead of rice. I’ve had it and it’s quite good.

  20. The PB&J pasta might be more acceptable if you think of the pasta as Lousy Bread Chunks.

    Which is my signal to rant about “al dente” pasta. Why would anyone want to eat pasta straddling the thin line between “barely cooked” and “undercooked”? It seems to have become the default cooking method here in the US around thirty years ago, and it baffles me that it’s still around I don’t want it. I’ve never liked it. When I cook pasta, I always give it 2-3 minutes more cooking time than modern instructions call for.

    Especially for Mac-&-Cheese. Al dente mac-&-cheese is an abomination. I want my macaroni to be soft and buttery and come apart and slip down my throat without having to “tooth” every piece.

    Welp, I guess that’s enough of a rant for tonight. I’ll be out in the front yard, yelling at clouds.

  21. Should have known that other Filers and OGH would mention McKern’s work as Rumpole, the friar in Ladyhawke and the villain in Help! before I could get here to do so. Fine actor.

  22. That’s a taste thing. I like al dente pasta and don’t like overcooked pasta. In fact, one reason that I don’t like spaetzle is because they are frequently overcooked and too soft.

  23. McKern’s work in Rumpole is an interesting case – John Mortimer wrote many Rumpole stories after the BBC series started, and because he liked McKern’s portrayal so much, he wrote the later stories with McKern in mind (readers often have a particular actor in mind when reading a story – but this is a case where the author had someone specific in mind).

  24. Andrew (not Werdna) says McKern’s work in Rumpole is an interesting case – John Mortimer wrote many Rumpole stories after the BBC series started, and because he liked McKern’s portrayal so much, he wrote the later stories with McKern in mind (readers often have a particular actor in mind when reading a story – but this is a case where the author had someone specific in mind).

    Thanks, I don’t know that had happened.

    It was one of those lovely times when the actor and the character were perfectly suited for each other.

    Am I remembering that one case involved stolen chickens?

  25. At Westercon 44 in Vancouver, the Westercon Business Meeting was held in a room with a large circular table with large empty space in the middle. Bruce Pelz chaired the meeting, and rather than pick a point on the outside of the circle, he rolled a chair into the middle. Bruce (who bore a resemblance to Leo McKern), announced, “I am the new Number Two!” to the amusement of the members.

  26. Another favorite Alan Tudyk role was Wray Nerely in “Con Man,” (tag line, “Because ‘Convention Man’ Doesn’t Sound As Cool’) a show (two seasons, each containing twelve 10 minute or so episodes) which Tudyk also created and directed. Tudyk’s character had been featured in a cult SF series lasting one season (starring Jack Moore, played in the series by Nathan Fillion), and who now makes his living appearing at conventions, doing voice overs, etc. In addition to Fillion’s presence in several episodes, most of the Firefly/Serenity cast (as well as Joss Whedon) have cameos.

  27. Meredith moment: T Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places is currently 99p in the UK Kindle store.

  28. Chris: Personally, I did vote against Chengdu. Sadly, that was not enough.

    I do plan to nominate the open letter in question for Best related work of 2022, to be awarded at next year’s Hugo ceremony. With enough nominations in a similar spirit, the Chengdu worldcon just might decide that they do not want to host the Hugo awards, after all.

  29. @Sten

    Please don’t. There is an enormous quantity of really great non-fiction work out there, enough to fill the ballot several times over. They deserve better than to be pushed off the ballot by yet another round of Worldcon-themed finalists.

  30. Sten: Is that all you’re going to do to oppose China’s mistreatment of the Uyghur and Turkic minorities, nominate something for a Hugo? Because if Chengdu weren’t hosting 2023 you could go back to ignoring it like the writers who signed the letter were doing, and the ones who accepted subsidized trips to conventions in China?

  31. Please don’t. There is an enormous quantity of really great non-fiction work out there, enough to fill the ballot several times over. They deserve better than to be pushed off the ballot by yet another round of Worldcon-themed finalists.

    Yes, this.

    There is so much good SFF-related non-fiction coming out (I profiled several 2021 examples and am going to continue in 2022) and the increasing tendency to use Best Related Work to send a message to Worldcon organisers is denying the people who work hard to write and edit excellent non-fiction works their day in the sun.

  32. Don’t we all know that the point of BRW nominations is to vent our collective spleen against whatever fraction of fandom is currently being targeted for a two minutes hate?

  33. Stem venting his anger says I do plan to nominate the open letter in question for Best related work of 2022, to be awarded at next year’s Hugo ceremony. With enough nominations in a similar spirit, the Chengdu worldcon just might decide that they do not want to host the Hugo awards, after all.

    Oh what a waste of a nomination. There’s not a chance in whatever Hell you in believe that this will have any effect what so ever on the Chengdu Worldcon committee backing out of hosting.

    Don’t like the Chengdu Worldcon? Don’t go. It’s that simple. You always have the option not to support such an endeavor by not going to it. And that’s all you can do.

    Chengdu Is going to happen. And probably future Workdcons that we don’t like given the demographics of global fandom where we as Americans are outnumbered by other populations in terms of sheer numbers. Will say a Jakarta Worldcon happen with its government which is way less than friendly towards its non-Muslim minority populations including gays and such? Possibly. Or in Riyadh? It could happen.

    As long as we play by the current rules, it will happen as it happened here.

  34. 6) Never saw the movie, but I like the mention of special affects on the poster.

  35. @Sten: “With enough nominations in a similar spirit”

    Great idea, maybe you can make a list of such works and get people to vote for them in a block.

  36. Meredith says Absolutely not. We do not do block voting. We aren’t Puppies.

    No, we don’t block vote ever. We are the antithesis of puppies as we are cats and you cannot tell us do anything like that in unison.

    Now listening to Simon R. Green’s Jekyll & Hyde Inc.. A minor work by his standards, but a fun listen none the less.

    Now nibbling on Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

  37. (11) I remember when I was a child, before the arrival of Vesta spaghetti bolognese in a box in the 1970s, the only pasta you ever saw was in a dessert. My least favourite of the traditional British milk puddings forever associated with school dinners: rice pudding, semolina pudding, tapioca pudding, sago pudding and macaroni pudding. Tins of Ambrosia tinned macaroni pudding are still sold today.

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