(1) WHOSE SECRETS ARE THESE ANYWAY? That’s one of the questions sf writer Alma Katsu answers while explaining why her historical horror novel The Fervor has an Asian protagonist. “Alma Katsu: Why I Finally Decided to Write a Main Character Who Shares My Ethnicity” at CrimeReads.
…When I started work, I didn’t think it was a big deal. Meiko was just another character and it was my job to slip into her head, as I do with all the POV characters.
Only it wasn’t that simple. The ghosts of my past kept dropping in, insisting on being heard.
My mother was Japanese. She married my father, who was white, when they met after the war. My mom was a product of her time and culture, demure and quiet, but she was also shaped by her experiences after the war. Complete strangers would come up to her in public and say hateful things (much like the anonymous assailants who attack Chinese grandmothers on the streets today). Until she died at 91, she hid in her room every December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day.
It was more than the influence of WWII. Being an Asian woman means navigating stereotypes and others’ assumptions….
(2) BUTLER AS OPERA. We’ve talked about the opera version of Parable Of The Sower. This article has a link to a trailer: “Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower Created by Toshi Reagon & Bernice Johnson Reagon”.
Parable of the Sower is a triumphant, mesmerizing work of rare power and beauty that illuminates deep insights on gender, race, and the future of human civilization.
This fully-staged opera brings together over 30 original anthems drawn from 200 years of black music to recreate Butler’s sci-fi, Afrofuturist masterpiece live on stage.
(3) SHEER LUNACY. CBC News says “Crimes on the moon could soon be added to Canada’s Criminal Code”. But it may take awhile for the cops to arrive.
…The proposed amendment to the code that would include crimes committed on the moon can be found deep inside the 443-page Budget Implementation Act that was tabled Tuesday in the House of Commons.
The Criminal Code already accounts for astronauts who may commit crimes during space flight to the International Space Station. Any such crime committed there is considered to have been committed in Canada.
But with Canada part of the Lunar Gateway project, which also includes a planned trip to the moon, the federal government has decided to amend the Criminal Code to incorporate those new space destinations.
In the Budget Implementation Act, under the subhead Lunar Gateway — Canadian crew members, the amendment reads:
“A Canadian crew member who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside Canada that if committed in Canada would constitute an indictable offence is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada.”…
(4) SIGNATURE WEBSITE LAUNCHED. GideonMarcus.com is now live, publicizing his many sff activities.
Founder of Journey Press, an independent publisher focused on unusual and diverse speculative fiction, four-time Hugo Finalist Gideon Marcus also runs the time machine project, Galactic Journey. He is a professional space historian, member of the American Astronautical Society’s history committee, and a much sought after public speaker.
Galactic Journey, frequently covered here, is a remarkable project:
Gideon Marcus and his team live in 1967, regularly commuting 55 years into the future to write about then-contemporary science fiction and fantasy, particularly fiction found in magazines. But that’s not all there is to life 55 years ago! So expect to read about the movies, the space shots, the politics, the music, and much more!
Galactic Journey has been a smash hit, garnering the Serling Award and four Hugo Nominations. So come jump through the portal and see a world you may but dimly remember, or which you may never have seen before, but without which your time could never have been…
(5) CROWDED TARDIS. “Is Doctor Who’s regeneration Centenary special too overstuffed?” asks Radio Times. This might be a rare occasion when being “bigger on the inside” won’t be enough.
In the thrilling trailer for the Doctor Who Centenary special, we discovered a whole host of exciting characters will be joining Jodie Whittaker for her final outing as the Doctor. Chief among those returning? ‘80s companions Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding) and Ace (Sophie Aldred), whose shock comeback has thrilled Doctor Who fans old and new.
But that’s not all – some of the Doctor’s more recent allies including Vinder (Jacob Anderson) and UNIT leader Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) were also revealed to be joining the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) once again. And that’s not all – the Daleks, the Cybermen and Sacha Dhawan’s brilliant incarnation of the Master were also shown to be returning. Clearly, this will be a jam-packed finale episode for Whittaker.
But herein lies a potential issue. While all of these character returns are thrilling for fans, in an episode which should be Whittaker’s final time to shine as the Doctor, it’s possible to get the feeling that Doctor Who’s Centenary special is at risk of being overstuffed.
(6) DINO MITE. This trailer for Jurassic World Dominion dropped today.
This summer, experience the epic conclusion to the Jurassic era as two generations unite for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by Oscar®-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill in Jurassic World Dominion, a bold, timely and breathtaking new adventure that spans the globe. From Jurassic World architect and director Colin Trevorrow, Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. Dinosaurs now live—and hunt—alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures.
(7) GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. GateWorld remembers “Why (Almost) Every Stargate SG-1 Cast Member Was Written Out”.
Whether they’re moving on to new opportunities, ready to retire from show business, or are driven away by conflict on the set, there are moments in the life of a hit show where the actor leaves … but the show must go on.
And so the characters we’ve come to know and love set out for greener pastures. Or they’re recast with another actor. Or, worst case scenario, they get killed off.
Stargate SG-1 was no exception. Running for 10 years across both Showtime and the SCI FI Channel in the United States, the series saw its fair share of cast changes over the years. In each case the writers had to think creatively to write the character out of the show – and in a few cases to bring them back again later.
In fact, every single member of the show’s original cast ended up written out at one time or another … everyone, that is, except for one. Let’s round up when and why the writers wrote out each member of the original cast, as well as a couple of honorable mentions along the way.
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1978 — [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.] Ahhh, Space Force. Do you remember it? Well forty-four years ago on this evening, the pilot for it aired on NBC with the primary cast being William Phipps as Commander Irving Hinkley, Fred Willard as Captain Thomas Woods, and Larry Block as Private Arnold Fleck. It also had a very large ensemble cast.
Now I say pilot but the series was never picked up, so that was it. Some parties claimed the cancellation was a result of the network earlier canning Quark which had lasted but eight episodes. This series was modeled upon the Phil Silvers series and perhaps someone at the networks thought better of a SF series based on that premise.
Fred Willard reprised his role from the pilot in a comedy sketch for Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2018.
Willard portrayed an unrelated character for the 2020 Netflix series Space Force, which began airing two weeks after his death.
Not a single review I read about the 1978 series had a less-than-completely-harsh word for it. Now I have not seen it, so I do want to know what those who have seen it think of it, please.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 28, 1914 — Philip E. High. He first made his name in the Fifties by being published in Authentic Science Fiction, New Worlds Science Fiction and Nebula Science Fiction, and was voted “top discovery” in the Nebula readers’ poll for 1956. A collection of his short stories, The Best of Philip E. High, was published in 2002. He wrote fourteen novels but I can’t remember that I’ve read any of them, so can y’all say how he was as a novelist? He is very well stocked at the usual suspects. (Died 2006.)
- Born April 28, 1919 — Sam Merwin, Jr. An editor and writer of both mysteries and science fiction. In the Fifties, he edited, Fantastic Story Quarterly, Fantastic Universe, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Wonder Stories Annual. As writer, he’s best remembered for The House of Many Worlds and its sequel, Three Faces of Time. At L.A. Con III, he was nominated for a 1946 Retro Hugo for Best Professional Editor for Thrilling Wonder Stories and Startling Stories. He seems to be deeper stocked in mysteries than genre at the usual suspects. (Died 1996.)
- Born April 28, 1929 — Charles Bailey. Co-writer writer with Fletcher Knebel of Seven Days In May, a story of an attempted coup against the President. Rod Serling wrote the screenplay for the film. (Died 2012.)
- Born April 28, 1930 — Carolyn Jones. She played the role of Morticia Addams (as well as her sister Ophelia and the feminine counterpart of Thing, Lady Fingers) in The Addams Family. Her first genre role was an uncredited appearance in the original The War of the Worlds as a Blonde Party Guest, and she was Theodora ‘Teddy’ Belicec in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. She had a recurring role as Marsha, Queen of Diamonds on Batman. (Died 1983.)
- Born April 28, 1948 — Terry Pratchett. Did you know that Steeleye Span did a superb job of turning his Wintersmith novel into a recording? You can read the Green Man review here as reviewed by Kage’s sister Kathleen. Pratchett was a guest of honor at Noreascon 4 (2004). He was knighted by the Queen for his services to literature in a 2009 ceremony. See his coat-of-arms here. My favorite Pratchett? Well pretty much any of the Watch novels will do for a read for any night when I want something English and really fantastic. (Died 2015.)
- Born April 28, 1953 — Will Murray, 69. Obviously MMPs still live as he’s writing them currently in the Doc Savage Universe, to the tune of eighteen under the house name of Kenneth Robeson since 1993. He’s also written in the King Kong, Julie de Grandin, Mars Attacks, Reanimator Universe, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.,Tarzan, Destroyer and The Spider media franchises. So how many do you recognise? At CoNZealand, his Doc Savage series got nominated for a RetroHugo. The Cthulhu Mythos series, if it can be called a series, by H. P. Lovecraft, August Derleth and others won that Award.
- Born April 28, 1957 — Sharon Shinn, 65. I’m very fond of her Safe-Keepers series which is I suppose YA but still damn fine reading. The Shape-Changers Wife won her the William L. Crawford Award which is awarded by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts for best first fantasy novel. And she was twice nominated for the Astounding Award.
- Born April 28, 1967 — Kari Wuhrer, 55. Best known for her roles as Maggie Beckett in Sliders and as Sheriff Samantha Parker in Eight Legged Freaks. Her first genre role was as Jackie Trent in Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time. She also played Amy Klein in Hellraiser VII: Deader (There were that many films in that franchise? Really? Why?) She voiced Barbara Keane and Pamela Isley in the most excellent Batman: Gotham by Gaslight which deviated a lot from the Mike Mignola series and earlier in her career she was Abigail in the first live action Swamp Thing series.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
(11) LEVAR BURTON HONORED. “LeVar Burton will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award” at the inaugural Children’s Emmys in December.
LeVar Burton, the beloved former Reading Rainbow host, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Children’s and Family Emmys in December, the Television Academy announced this week.
Burton took on executive producer and hosting duties for the PBS kids’ program in 1983. On the show, Burton read books, conducted interviews and explained current events to children. The show aired for 23 years, and has won 12 Daytime Emmys and a Peabody Award….
(12) WOMEN OF MARVEL. “Marvel Entertainment’s Original Podcast Series ‘Women of Marvel’ is Now Back for the Spring Season” – the first episode of the new season went live today: Peggy Carter: “Made to be Captain America.”
…In each episode, the hosts talk to the early and modern-day creators who helped bring to life some of Marvel’s most iconic women super heroes and learn how these beloved characters have evolved over time. This season features an impressive lineup of guests including comic writers Trina Robbins, Rainbow Rowell, Elsa Sjunneson; editors Alanna Smith, Lauren Amaro, Renee Witterstaetter; colorist Jordie Bellaire; actors Milana Vayntrub, Ashlie Atkinson; historians Jacque Nodell, Beth Pollard; games designer Paige Pettoruto; playwright Karen Zacarias; directors Giovanna Sardelli, Jenny Turner-Hall, and more!
Episode 1 is titled Peggy Carter: “Made to be Captain America.” Meet the beloved Peggy Carter and in particular, a fan-favorite version of her – the Super-Soldier serum-enhanced Captain Carter. Captain Carter didn’t begin in the comics pages or on-screen. Rather, she was born on the smaller screens of the MARVEL Puzzle Quest game – but she didn’t stop there! This week’s guests include Paige Pettoruto and Elsa Sjunneson!…
(13) OCTOTHORPE. The Octothorpe staff, John Coxon, Alison Scott, and Liz Batty are live from @reclamation2022, the 2022 Eastercon! “Sorry, Am I Supposed to Be Recording This”.
We discuss Eastercon a lot and we’re very excited, plus there are audience heckles and questions.
(14) ZOOMING WITH THE HALDEMANS. Courtesy of Fanac.org, you can now see the two-part video of “Joe and Gay Haldeman – Fandom From Both Sides,” a Fan History zoom with Joe Siclari
Esteemed icons in the field, Joe and Gay Haldeman have been involved with science fiction fandom since discovering it in the early 1960s. With long, successful careers, they have a view on science fiction from both the fan and the professional side. Joe Haldeman’s highly regarded writing career has included 5 Hugo awards, 5 Nebulas, 3 Rhysling Awards, and many other honors; Big Heart award winner Gay Haldeman has managed the business as well as been a literary agent. But in this delightful zoom interview, the focus is primarily on fandom. Interviewer Joe Siclari knows just what to ask, having been friends with the Haldemans for decades.
PART 1. Joe and Gay describe how they first found fandom, their experiences at their first convention (Discon I, 1963), and how (and why) they became fans. They tell anecdotes of fans and professionals, their connections with non-US fandom, and the surprising identity of Joe’s Italian editor. Joe tells the story of how he single-handedly (if unintentionally) started I-Con in 1975, his work on convention program (some of it while serving in Viet Nam), his contributions to fanzines and more. There’s serious discussion about the reaction of fandom to him as a returning vet, along with Gay’s fannish activities while Joe was overseas. You’ll also hear much more, including the relationship between book advances and house mortgages, and the ultimate story of how far a science fiction novel can go. Highly recommended.
PART 2. The conversation continues with discussion and personal anecdotes about well-known authors and Big Name Fans. Rusty Hevelin was a particularly good friend, and Joe and Gay tell how they met him, and some impressive travel stories (especially the bicycle ones!). They offer stories and insights on Keith Laumer, Gordon Dickson, Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, and others outside the field as well. This part of the zoom has audience Q&A, ranging from a literary question about the role of women in the Forever War to favorite means of writing (which leads to samples of Joe’s artwork). Many of the questions begin with “I first met you in xxxx”, and the tone of the session is that of close friends, sharing a cherished time together. As one of the attendees says, “You are some of the best people I know”.
(15) DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. A data disk you don’t want to lose…or need to back up too quickly! Gizmodo is wowed that this “Quantum Computing Diamond Disc Could Store A Billion Blu-Rays”.
Don’t toss your hard drives, SSDs, and RAIDs just yet, but a company with an expertise in making precision jewel-based industrial tools has partnered with researchers from Japan’s Saga University to create a diamond wafer that’s both pure enough and large enough to be used in quantum computing applications, including memory with a mind-blowing storage capacity….
(16) JULES VERNE PREDICTED THIS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Companies blast satellites into orbit with a huge gas cannon. “Hypersonic space cannon promises 10 minutes from ground to orbit” at New Atlas.
…Green Launch COO and Chief Science officer Dr. John W. Hunter directed the Super High Altitude Research Project (SHARP) program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory some 30 years ago, and in the process led the development of the world’s largest and most powerful “hydrogen impulse launcher.”
This is effectively a long tube, filled with hydrogen, with helium and oxygen mixed in, and a projectile in front of it. When this gas cannon is fired, the gases expand extremely rapidly, and the projectile gets an enormous kick in the backside. The SHARP program built and tested a 400-foot (122-m) impulse launcher in 1992, breaking all railgun-style electric launcher records for energy and velocity, and launching payloads (including hypersonic scramjet test engines) with muzzle velocities up to Mach 9….
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] (Spoiler warning?) In “Moonfall Pitch Meeting,” Ryan George begins with the writer saying, “You know the moon? It’s going to fall!” “Are you putting spoilers in the title?” says the producer. After the pitch, the producer asks why it’s a happy ending. “Didn’t billions of people die?” “Yeah, but none of the people we care about,” says the writer.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Olav Rokne, John A Arkansawyer, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian,and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]