(1) A PEEK AT APEX. Apex Magazine Issue 122 has been released. The link below takes you to the new issue page where you’ll find fiction by Sam J. Miller, Sheree Renée Thomas, A.C. Wise, Annie Neugebauer, Barton Aikman, Sabrina Vourvoulias, Jason Sanford, and Khaalida Muhammad-Ali, plus essays by ZZ Claybourne and Wendy N. Wagner. The cover art is by Thomas Tan.
(2) ON “READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY” OBJECTIONS TO SEUSS IMAGERY PROMPT WITHDRAWAL OF SIX BOOKS. The National Education Association founded “Read Across America Day” in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Dr. Seuss/Ted Geisel’s birthday, March 2. However, the NEA has been deemphasizing Seuss, and today President Biden’s proclamation for “Read Across America Day” — in contrast to his predecessors Obama and Trump — omitted all mention of Dr. Seuss reports the New York Post.
President Biden removed mentions of Dr. Seuss from Read Across America Day amid accusations of “racial undertones” in the classic, whimsical tales for children.
Read Across America Day, started by the National Educational Association in 1998 as a way to promote children’s reading, is even celebrated on the author’s March 2 birthday.
In his presidential proclamation, Biden noted that “for many Americans, the path to literacy begins with story time in their school classroom,” USA Today reported.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, rightsholder to his books, also picked today to announce they’ll stop licensing six of his books: “Statement from Dr. Seuss Enterprises”.
Today, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship.
We are committed to action. To that end, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer. These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.
The New York Times article “6 Dr. Seuss Books Will No Longer Be Published Over Offensive Images” describes two examples of images that have inspired the objections:
…In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” a character described as “a Chinaman” has lines for eyes, wears a pointed hat, and carries chopsticks and a bowl of rice. (Editions published in the 1970s changed the reference from “a Chinaman” to “a Chinese man.”) In “If I Ran the Zoo,” two characters from “the African island of Yerka” are depicted as shirtless, shoeless and resembling monkeys. A school district in Virginia said over the weekend that it had advised schools to de-emphasize Dr. Seuss books on “Read Across America Day,” a national literacy program that takes place each year on March 2, the anniversary of Mr. Geisel’s birth….
Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C. have joined the move away from Seuss — and as a result needed to douse rumors last month that they were banning the books entirely. CNN reports: “Dr. Seuss books: This Virginia school district says it isn’t banning his books. On the annual Read Across America Day, it’s just no longer emphasizing them”.
A school district in Virginia recently made headlines for allegedly banning books by Dr. Seuss.
But Loudoun County Public Schools(LCPS), located in Ashburn, said it is not banning books by the famous children’s author. It’s just discouraging a connection between “Read Across America Day,” which was created to get kids excited about reading, and Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Both fall on March 2, and have often been “historically connected” to each other, the district said in a statement.
“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” LCPS said in its statement, which links to School Library Journal article from 2018 about the National Education Association focusing its Read Across America efforts “on Diversity Not Dr. Seuss.”
…Dr. Seuss had a long history of publishing racist and anti-Semitic work, spanning back to the 1920s when he was a student at Dartmouth College. There, Dr. Seuss once drew Black boxers as gorillas, as well as perpetuating Jewish stereotypes as financially stingy, according to a study published in the journal “Research on Diversity in Youth Literature.”
That study, published in 2019, examined 50 books by Dr. Seuss and found 43 out of the 45 characters of color have “characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism.” The two “African” characters, the study says, both have anti-Black characteristics.
(3) YOUNG PEOPLE. James Davis Nicoll’s Young People Read Old SFF is actually Young People Read Old Hugo Finalists this go-round. And he’s asked the panelists what they thing about “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke
Kit leads off the discussion:
…[It’s] still kind of on that spectrum of ?“Why does a benevolent God do these things?” and so it’s interesting to think about ?“What, exactly, is the point where you’re pushed over the edge in terms of thinking the world is too cruel to have a controlling power?”…
(4) FASHIONISTA. Suzanne Palmer makes a convincing argument.
(5) THE FUTURE OF THE WARDMAN PARK. In the Washington Post, Paul Schwartzman profiles activists who want to increase affordable housing in the largely white areas west of Rock Creek Park. He interviews Rebecca Barson, who wants to turn the bankrupt Wardman Park Hotel into “a mix of retail and affordable housing. She has embraced the cause even as she contemplates the risk to her property value.” The Wardman Park is still listed on the DisCon III website as the venue of this year’s Worldcon. “D.C. affordable housing push linked to racial justice after George Floyd’s death”.
… As she drives around the city, Rebecca Barson, a health-care advocate, finds herself noticing encampments of people sleeping in tents in Dupont Circle and under highway overpasses.
“It just feels unconscionable that this is happening in a city like ours,” she said.
Barson, 43, joined a grass-roots campaign seeking city support for converting a recently bankrupt hotel near her Woodley Park condominium — the Marriott Wardman Park — into a mix of retail and affordable housing. She has embraced the cause even as she contemplates the potential risk to her property value.
“I’m not saying I’m not grappling with it. There could be a financial cost — personally, my apartment may not be worth as much,” she said. “I also think I have benefited as a White person from systems I didn’t create, and this is an important moment to do what’s right for the greater good.”
(6) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel will livestream readings by Jeffrey Ford and Kaaron Warren on March 17 at 7 p.m. Eastern. The link will be posted later.
Jeffrey Ford is the author of several novels and novellas including The Physiognomy, Memoranda, The Beyond, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass, The Cosmology of the Wider World, The Shadow Year, The Twilight Pariah, Ahab’s Return, and Out of Body. His short fiction has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies and in six collections. His work has won the World Fantasy, Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Nebula, and other awards. His most recent collection Big Dark Hole will be out from Small Beer Press this July
Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She has published five multi-award winning novels including The Grief Hole, currently under development, and seven short story collections. Her most recent books are the novella Into Bones Like Oil and the chapbook Tool Tales (with Ellen Datlow!) She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award.
(7) THE GOLDEN AGE, WHEN YODA WAS YOUNG(ER). In the Washington Post, David Betancourt interviews authors Charles Soule, Claudia Gray, Cavan Scott, Daniel José Older, and Justina Ireland about their forthcoming Star Wars tie-in novels set in the High Republic (formerly the Old Republic). “The future of Star Wars has arrived, and it takes place hundreds of years in the past”.
In the Star Wars universe, the High Republic is the stuff of legend. But someone had to write the story.
It all started with a vague reference from Obi-Wan Kenobi. “For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic,” Obi-Wan explained in 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope.” “Before the dark times. Before the Empire.”
In the decades since those words were uttered, movies, books and television have explored nearly every imaginable facet of the Star Wars universe. But this particular period in the galaxy’s past remained in the realm of conjecture. Now, that abstract golden age — a time of tranquility but also expansion, hundreds of years before the Skywalker saga — is finally coming into focus. Five writers, all with previous Star Wars books on their résumés, have been tapped to usher in a new era for the franchise by exploring one of the most storied.
In the coming years, Charles Soule, Claudia Gray, Cavan Scott, Daniel José Older and Justina Ireland will release books in the High Republic series, including comics and novels targeting various age groups. They will introduce new heroes — including the inspirational Jedi Avar Kriss — and villains, such as the Nihil, “space marauders,” who threaten the peace of the galaxy.
… Readers with Star Wars knowledge will find at least one familiar face, though: Yoda’s. (Forget you must not that Yoda lived to be 900 years old.) In the new series, he’s younger (kind of) and does a lot more than dispense wisdom, especially in the IDW comic books written by Older, “Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures,” illustrated by Harvey Tolibao.
“We see Yoda really out in the galaxy,” Older said. “He’s not stuck on Coruscant. He’s not in a library somewhere studying. .?.?. We get to see him in action, in the thick of battle doing all these Jedi master Yoda things.”
…In 1960, Rhea was invited to participate in the secret Mercury project, where she underwent grueling physical examinations and a battery of tests with 12 other female pilots to become the First Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATS), now known as the Mercury 13. Rhea passed all of the tests and advanced as one of five to meet the requirements. The U.S. government shut down the women’s program before they were ever allowed to fly a space mission….
The Mercury 13 were thirteen American women who, as part of a privately funded program, successfully underwent the same physiological screening tests as had the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959, for Project Mercury. (They were not part of NASA‘s astronaut program.)
(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
- March 2, 1984 — On this date in 1984, Repo Man premiered. It was written and directed by Alex Cox. It was produced by Jonathan Wacks and Peter McCarthy with the executive producer being Michael Nesmith. It starred Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez. It is widely considered to be one of the best films of 1984, genre or otherwise. Ebert in his review said that “Repo Man comes out of left field, has no big stars, didn’t cost much, takes chances, dares to be unconventional, is funny, and works. There is a lesson here.” It currently holds a 98% rating among the Rotten Tomatoes audience. You can watch it here. (CE)
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born March 2, 1904 — Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. My favorite books by him are Horton Hears a Who!, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat and The Hat. I adored the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas, can’t stand the Jim Carrey one and haven’t seen the most recent version. Oh, and let’s not forget the splendid The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. For which he wrote the story, screenplay and lyrics. (Died 1991.) (CE)
- Bon March 2, 1933 – Leo Dillon. A hundred sixty covers, two hundred twenty interiors, with his wife Diane Dillon, working so fluently and intimately they sometimes called their joint work the product of a third artist; much else outside our field. Artbook The Art of Leo & Diane Dillon. Here is Some Will Not Die. Here is Dangerous Visions. Here is Fourth Mansions. Here is The Phoenix and the Mirror. Here is The Left Hand of Darkness. Here is Ashanti to Zulu. Here is the Winter 2002 On Spec. Here is Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. Here is my note of an exhibit at Chicon 7 the 70th Worldcon. Here is an on-line archive. (Died 2012) [JH]
- Born March 2, 1939 – jan howard finder. Known as the Wombat. Co-founder of Albacon; Fan Guest of Honor at Albacon 2000, also BYOB-Con 8, Maplecon 3, LepreCon 8, Ad Astra 12, Arisia ’01, Archon 30, ConFrancisco the 51st Worldcon. One story, one anthology that I know of. Often a judge of our on-stage costume competition the Masquerade. Led tours e.g. of New Zealand sites where Tolkien films were shot. Fanzines The Spang Blah and Il Vombato. Susan Batho’s reminiscence here. (Died 2013) [JH]
- Born March 2, 1943 — Peter Straub, 78. Horror writer who won the World Fantasy Award for Koko and the August Derleth Award for Floating Dragon. He’s co-authored several novels with Stephen King, The Talisman which itself won a World Fantasy Award, and Black House. Both The Throat and In the Night Room won Bram Stoker Awards as did 5 Stories, a short collection by him. OK, you know not that I’m that impressed by Awards, but this is reallyimpressive! (CE)
- Born March 2, 1952 – Mark Evanier, age 69. Writer for comics, television, both: Blackhawk, Groo the Wanderer, Garfield and Friends and The Garfield Show (animated); outside our field e.g. Welcome Back, Kotter. Has attended every San Diego Comic-Con since the first (1970). Won an Eisner and a Harvey for Kirby: King of Comics. Three more Eisners; Inkpot; Clampett; Lifetime Achievement Award from Animation Writers’ Caucus, Writers Guild of America West. Started Fantagraphics’ reprints of Pogo. Administers the Bill Finger Award. Weblog NEWS FROM me. [JH]
- Born March 2, 1960 – Jeff Beeler, age 61. Hardworking Michigan fan, e.g. on ConFusion, Detcon the 11th NASFiC (N. Amer. SF Con, since 1975 held when the Worldcon is overseas), Anticipation the 67th Worldcon. Member of the Stilyagi Air Corps. Having been a librarian, is now a bookseller. [JH]
- Born March 2, 1960 — Peter F. Hamilton, 61. I read and quite enjoyed his Night’s Dawn trilogy when it first came out and I’m fairly sure that I’ve read Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained as they sound really familiar. (Too much genre fiction read over the years to remember everything…) What else have y’all read by him? (CE)
- Born March 2, 1966 — Ann Leckie, 55. Ancillary Justice won the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the Nebula Award, the Kitschies Award Golden Tentacle, Locus Award for Best First Novel, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the BSFA Award. The Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy also won awards and were no less impressive experiences. I’ve not yet read The Raven Tower, so opinions in it are welcome. (CE)
- Born March 2, 1968 — Daniel Craig, 53. Obviously Bond in the present-day series of films which I like a lot, but also in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider as Alex West, Lord Asriel In the film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, in SF horror film The Invasion as Ben Driscoll, in the very weird Cowboys & Aliens as Jake Lonergan,voicing Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine / Red Rackham in The Adventures of Tintin and an uncredited appearence as Stormtrooper FN-1824 In Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (CE)
- Born March 2, 1974 – Marianne Mancusi, age 47. Two dozen novels, two shorter stories. I’ve not yet read A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court. Won two Emmys producing television. Loves pineapple pizza and marshmallow Peeps – she says so herself. [JH]
- Born March 2, 1982 – Chelsea Campbell, age 39. Eight novels, three shorter stories. Fiber artist e.g. knitting & crocheting. Collects glass grapes. As a kid & teen, used to read adults’ books; now reads kids’ & teens’. Degree in Latin & Ancient Greek; “humanity … honestly hasn’t changed that much in the last couple thousand years, and that isn’t useless. (Plus even when people look at you funny for being ‘useless,’ you know Latin and they don’t.)” [JH]
- Born March 2, 1992 — Maisie Richardson-Sellers, 29. A most believable Vixen on Legends of Tomorrow for the first three seasons, in my opinion, as I’ve always liked that DC character. (Season four onward, she’s been Clotho.) Prior to that role, she was recurring role as Rebekah Mikaelson / Eva Sinclair on The Originals, andshe had a cameo asKorr Sella in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (CE)
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Yesterday, xkcd explained Leap Year 2021.
(12) THERE WAS SCIENCE BEHIND KING KONG? March 2, 1933 is the date of the world premiere of King Kong. And Mental Floss assures us “’King Kong’ Was Inspired By a Komodo Dragon-Hunting Expedition”.
…According to Slate, a 1926 expedition to the East Indies funded by the American Museum of Natural History planted the seeds for King Kong. The party, led by museum trustee William Douglas Burden, set off with the goal of recording footage of Komodo dragons and bringing specimens back to the U.S. for the first time.
In addition to the many lizards that were hunted and shot, the expedition brought back two live Komodo dragons that ended up at the Bronx Zoo. Tens of thousands of spectators went to see the living dinosaurs in person. In a pre-King Kong world, the exhibit was the closest people could get to seeing a monster with their own eyes….
(13) DEADLIER THAN. CrimeReads knows you think you know who’s number one on this list — “The Most Murderous Mammals: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science”.
Picture the most murderous mammal in the world. Not the best predator, taking down prey with a single swipe of a great talon or claw, but the one that excels in slaying its own kind.
Are you picturing a human being? Well, you would be wrong. But you might be surprised to know Homo sapiens actually falls at number 30 out of more than a thousand species on the list of animals that most often kill members of their own kind. Humans, it turns out, are just average members of a particularly violent lot, the primates. And the most prolific murderers* in the animal world are a different species altogether.
Which, you might ask? Believe it or not, it’s the meerkat, a cute little African mammal belonging to the mongoose family and immortalized in the wisecracking character Timon in The Lion King.
(14) GRRM STORY IN DEVELOPMENT. Director Paul W.S. Anderson is teaming with Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) for the movie In the Lost Lands, based on the short story by George R.R. Martin, Deadline reported. Anderson has written the script. “’Resident Evil’ Duo Set For George R.R. Martin Adaptation ‘Lost Lands’” at Deadline.
…The movie will follow a queen, desperate to obtain the gift of shape shifting, who makes a daring play: She hires the sorceress Gray Alys (Jovovich), a woman as feared as she is powerful. Sent to the ghostly wilderness of the “Lost Lands,” Alys and her guide, the drifter Boyce (Bautista), must outwit and outfight man and demon in a fable that explores the nature of good and evil, debt and fulfillment, love and loss.
(15) THE HECK YOU SAY. Gizmodo’s eye-catching headline declares: “A 1990s iMac Processor Powers NASA’s Perseverance Rover”.
…However, there’s a major difference between the iMac’s CPU and the one inside the Perseverance rover. BAE Systems manufactures the radiation-hardened version of the PowerPC 750, dubbed RAD750, which can withstand 200,000 to 1,000,000 Rads and temperatures between ?55 and 125 degrees Celsius (-67 and 257 degrees Fahrenheit). Mars doesn’t have the same type of atmosphere as Earth, which protects us from the the sun’s rays, so one flash of sunlight and it’s all over for the Mars rover before its adventure can begin. Each one costs more than $200,000, so some extra protection is necessary.
(16) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter continues to monitor Jeopardy! contestants’ struggles with genre topics. From tonight’s episode —
Category: Alternate History Novels
Answer: In “Ruled Britannia”, the Spanish Armada was victorious & this Spaniard rules England alongside Bloody Mary Tudor.
Wrong question: Who is Francis Drake?
No one got, Who is Phillip II?
All the other questions, including Philip K. Dick, and Charles Lindbergh, were correct.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Little Nightmares II” on YouTube, Fandom Games says Little Nightmares II portrays “a disgusting, but adorable world” where “twee Tim Burton knockoffs try to kill you.”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Steven H Silver, Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Dann, James Davis Nicoll, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Olav Rokne.]