(1) MCINTYRE TRIBUTE BOOK PLANNED. At CaringBridge, Jeanne Gomoll invites people to participate in a “Vonda Memories” project.
Stephanie Ann Smith and I are collecting memories of Vonda from folks who loved Vonda. We plan to collect the material into a book and would like to see it made available both as a free electronic document and as a print-on-demand physical book. We are looking for stories, poems, artwork, photos, tributes, ANYTHING you would like to contribute. Please send them to me at [email protected] or 2825 Union Street, Madison, WI 53704. I will keep you up-to-date on the publication here. Thank you!
(2) INTERPRETING THE AO3 LEAVES. Michael Schick’s article for Hypable philosophizes about the meaning of AO3’s Hugo nod:“Archive of Our Own’s Hugo Nomination is a win for marginalized fandom”.
In allowing for the nomination of AO3, the Hugo Awards are broadening what it means to contribute to the experience of fiction. This process, they have recognized, goes beyond interacting with a work of fiction as it is — it also encompasses interacting with what the work might be. The imaginations and creativity of fans also contribute to the story of that original story. Talking about art by working within it is not particularly different from talking about art from a remote perspective.
As any fanfiction writer will tell you, transformative works are constantly in dialogue with the original piece. That dialogue may take the form of a Coffee Shop AU rather than an essay, but it is equally as involved in the work of commentary and reflection. Far beyond the academic or critical space, fanfiction probes and challenges original works, bolstering themes and reworking flaws.
It just also happens to be done for fun.
Camestros Felapton also cheers the nomination: “Archive of Our Own is a work and its related and I’m really happy that it’s a Hugo finalist”.
As a thing in itself, AO3 is a monumental achievement and a huge expression of fan activity. It’s this last aspect that I think makes it a good fit for the Hugo Awards which are themselves derived from a similar drive of fannish self-organisation and expression.
(3) SHAZAM! NPR’s Glen Weldon gives context for his conclusion that “With ‘Shazam!’ DC Superhero Movies Bring The Thunder … And The Lightening Up”.
The cultural narrative that’s built around films starring DC Comics superheroes over the course of the past decade or so reads thusly: DC films are too dark and dour, and the company should take a cue from Marvel, whose films always leave room for the fun and whimsical elements so crucial to the superhero genre.
It’s a gross oversimplification, but there’s no denying the kryptonite-hard nugget of truth there: Years ago, Warners/DC executives looked at the runaway success of Christopher Nolan’s dark and dour The Dark Knight trilogy, and concluded that they’d cracked how to approach the superhero genre, once and for all.
…It would be easy to say that the latest DC superhero outing, Shazam!, represents DC/Warners finally learning how to pivot, how to come at a given hero in the mode that suits them best. It’s certainly true that the film’s stuffed to its gills with goofy gags and clever winks, and that the film’s resident good guy (his name’s “Shazam!” in the credits, but in the movie’s reality, it’s more an open-question kind of deal) is a puffed-up, square-jawed galoot in a tomato-red getup played by Zachary Levi. But it also frequently stops dead in its tracks to dutifully attend to more familiar, straight-ahead genre business…..
(4) YOACHIM TALKS. Lightspeed’s Laurel Amberdine gets the interview: “Author Spotlight: Caroline M. Yoachim”.
I know you write at a lot of different story lengths. Do you have a particular preference nowadays, and has that changed any over time?
I have less of a preference than I used to. For a long time, my natural length was flash, so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to write things longer—adding threads, having more characters, sometimes playing with the structure to force myself to draw out the story more.
The two projects I’m currently working on are relatively longer lengths—I’m currently finishing up a trio of inter-related short stories (which in some ways is like a novelette in three parts), and when that’s done I have a novella that I drafted last year and need to go back and revise.
(5) MILSF COMPARISONS. Paul Weimer conducted an “Interview with Kameron Hurley” about her new book The Light Brigade for Nerds of a Feather.
I’ve seen comparisons to Starship Troopers–how do you feel that, for positive and negative, the novel has influenced this novel and other stories and novels of your work?
It’s more like the film than the book! In book form, I’d say it more closely resembles The Forever War in tone and approach, but really The Light Brigade is its own beast. I loved a lot about the film adaptation of Starship Troopers; it didn’t take itself too seriously while also being very serious. You can say important things about war, fascism, freedom, corporal punishment, and conscription while telling an exciting story. People who live in dystopias don’t always believe they’re living in one, especially when they’re young. They’re raised to believe it’s the only sane and rational way to be.
(6) MORE ABOUT MCINTYRE. The Guardian published its “Vonda N McIntyre obituary” today.
Vonda N McIntyre, who has died aged 70, was foremost among a legion of new female science-fiction authors in the early 1970s inspired by humanist writers such as Ursula K Le Guin, Joanna Russ and Samuel Delany. With Dreamsnake (1978), she became only the second woman to win the Nebula award and the third to win the Hugo award for best novel.
(7) SPIKECON GUEST. An introduction to Kitty Krell.
Masquerade, Hall Costuming Awards, and Cosplay are just the tip of the iceberg – meet Kitty Krell, cosplay Guest of Honor for Westercon 72. A wonderful Corset and Costume maker, cosplay advocate, artist and Kitty will be here in July!
(8) CAMPBELL HOLDING FORTH. On Fanac.org’s YouTube channel, hear Fred Lerner’s 1962 radio interview with John W. Campbell, Jr. I corresponded with Campbell but never met him, so this was a new experience for me.
John W. Campbell and his views on science fiction are showcased in this intriguing audio interview (presented with illustrative pictures) from 1962. Fred Lerner, noted librarian, bibliographer and historian, was just 17 when he interviewed John W. Campbell, the man that shaped much of science fiction for decades. Campbell was both a successful author and the long time editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later Analog). Topics discussed include Rudyard Kipling as a science fiction writer, the government’s interest in Cleve Cartmill’s fiction, and the nature and value of science fiction. If you like Golden Age science fiction, this is an opportunity to hear one of the giants of the field in his own voice
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 4, 1902 — Stanley G. Weinbaum. His first story, “A Martian Odyssey”, was published to general accolades in July 1934, but he died from lung cancer less than a year-and-a-half later. ISFDB lists two novels, The New Adam and The Dark Other, plus several handfuls of short stories that I assume were out for consideration with various editors at the time of his death. (Died 1935.)
- Born April 4, 1932 — Anthony Perkins. Without doubt, he’s best known for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and its three sequels. Three sequels?!? One sec.. H’h, I missed the third one in the Nineties. Genre wise, I don’t see a lot otherwise by him though he was in The Black Hole as Dr. Alex Durant and was in Daughter of Darkness as Prince Constantine. (Died 1992)
- Born April 4, 1948 — Dan Simmons, 71. He’s the author of the Hyperion Cantos and the Ilium/Olympos cycles. I’m reasonably sure that I’ve read some of the Hyperion Cantos but I’ll be damned if I remember it clearly now.
- Born April 4, 1952 — Cherie Lunghi, 66. Her fame arise from her role as Guinevere in Excalibur. (I saw Excalibur in a 1920s theater on a warm summer night with hardly anyone there. Those there were very impressed by it.) She was also Baroness Frankenstien (Victor’s Mother) in Kenneth Branagh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. She was also in The Lady’s Not for Burning as Jennet Jourdemayne.
- Born April 4, 1954 — Bruce Sterling, 65. Islands in the Net is I think is his finest work as it’s where his characters are best developed and the near future setting is quietly impressive. Admittedly I’m also fond of The Difference Engine which he co-wrote with Gibson which is neither of these things.
- Born April 4, 1958 — Phil Morris, 61. His first acting role was on the “Miri” episode of Trek as simply Boy. He was the Sam the Kid on several episodes of Mr. Merlin before returning to Trek fold as Trainee Foster in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Next interesting role is voicing Vandal Savage on a three-part Justice League Unlimited story called “The Savage Time”, a role he reprised for Justice League: Doom. No, I’ve not forgotten that he was on Mission: Impossible as Grant Collier. He also played the Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz) on Smallvillie. Currently He’s Silas Stone on Doom Patrol and no, I didn’t spot that was him in that role.
- Born April 4, 1960 — Hugo Weaving, 59. He is known for playing Agent Smith in The Matrix franchise, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, V in V for Vendetta and Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also voiced Megatron in the first three films of Transformers franchise.
- Born April 4, 1965 — Robert Downey Jr., 54. Iron Man in the Marvel Universe film franchise. Also a rather brilliant Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Also voicing James Barris in an animated adaption of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. Charmingly enough, he’s playing the title role in the ‘20 release of The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle.
- Born April 4, 1967 — Xenia Seeberg, 52. She is perhaps best known for her role as Xev BeLexx in Lexx, a show’s that’s fantastic provided you can see in its uncensored form. I’ve also see her playing Muireann In Annihilation Earth, Noel in So, You’ve Downloaded a Demon, uncredited role in Lord of The Undead, and Sela In the “Assessment” episode of Total Recall 2070.
- Born April 4, 1968 — Gemma Files, 51. She’s a Canadian horror writer, journalist, and film critic. Her Hexslinger series now at three novels and a handful of stories is quite fun. It’s worth noting that she’s a prolific short story writer and four of them have been adapted as scripts for The Hunger horror series.
(10) ORDER TODAY! Dr. Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Azusa Pacific University honors students will publish the fruit of their labors as a book: Warnings from Outer Space: Backdrops and Building Blocks of C. S. Lewis’s Science Fiction Trilogy.
My students were fortunate enough to collaborate with some of the best scholars around: Charlie Starr, Mike Glyer, Scott Key, and Sørina Higgins took an active role and read draft chapters and gave advice. It was wonderful to see these undergraduates joining the scholarly conversation. Did you order your copy?
(11) STAR POWER. The manicurist didn’t get the story quite right, but look how MRK celebrated her Hugo nomination:
(12) DEL TORO. Coming on July 2, a book will fill out the background of a popular movie: “Guillermo Del Toro Is Expanding The World Of ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ With A Novel” – ScienceFiction.com has the story.
Thirteen years after it was released, Guillermo del Toro is fleshing out his iconic film ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ with a novel titled ‘Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun.’ In its pages, you will find the full tale from the movie which was co-written with Cornelia Funke
(13) THE MAGIC GOES AWAY. Microsoft is getting out of ebook selling – and the books its customers bought will be going away too: “Books in Microsoft Store: FAQ”.
The books category is closing
Starting April 2, 2019, the books category in Microsoft Store will be closing. Unfortunately, this means that starting July 2019 your ebooks will no longer be available to read, but you’ll get a full refund for all book purchases. See below for details.
While you can no longer purchase or acquire additional books from the Microsoft Store, you can continue to read your books until July 2019 when refunds will be processed.
If that isn’t clear enough, let the BBC explain it: “Microsoft’s eBook store: When this closes, your books disappear too”.
…But just think about that for a moment. Isn’t it strange? If you’re a Microsoft customer, you paid for those books. They’re yours.
Except, I’m afraid, they’re not, and they never were – when you hand over money for your “book”, what you’re really paying for is access to the book. That access, per the terms and conditions of every major eBook store, can be taken away at any moment.
At BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow heaps contempt on the whole arrangement: “Microsoft announces it will shut down ebook program and confiscate its customers’ libraries”.
…People sometimes treat me like my decision not to sell my books through Amazon’s Audible is irrational (Audible will not let writers or publisher opt to sell their books without DRM), but if you think Amazon is immune to this kind of shenanigans, you are sadly mistaken. My books matter a lot to me. I just paid $8,000 to have a container full of books shipped from a storage locker in the UK to our home in LA so I can be closer to them. The idea that the books I buy can be relegated to some kind of fucking software license is the most grotesque and awful thing I can imagine: if the publishing industry deliberately set out to destroy any sense of intrinsic, civilization-supporting value in literary works, they could not have done a better job.
(14) ROWLING WINS IN COURT. BBC reports “JK Rowling assistant to pay back fraud money to Harry Potter author”.
A former personal assistant to JK Rowling has been ordered to pay almost £19,000 to the Harry Potter author after fraudulently using her credit card.
Amanda Donaldson, 35, from Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, must pay £18,734 back with interest.
The author pursued damages in a civil case at Airdrie Sheriff Court under her married name Joanne Murray.
She said the money would be donated to her charity Lumos.
Donaldson was dismissed from her job in Ms Rowling’s Edinburgh office in 2017 over the incident.
(15) ANCIENT KINDLING. History illustrates a possible worst case — “Climate change: Warning from ‘Antarctica’s last forests'”.
Scramble across exposed rocks in the middle of Antarctica and it’s possible to find the mummified twigs of shrubs that grew on the continent some three to five million years ago.
This plant material isn’t much to look at, but scientists say it should serve as a warning to the world about where climate change could take us if carbon emissions go unchecked.
The time period is an epoch geologists call the Pliocene, 2.6-5.3 million years ago.
It was marked by temperatures that were significantly warmer than today, perhaps by 2-3 degrees globally.
These were conditions that permitted plant growth even in the middle of the White Continent.
(16) SEE SPOT RUN. For the first time, scientists studying Neptune have been able to track the blossoming of a ‘Great Dark Spot’ — an enormous, whirling storm in the planet’s atmosphere. The academic paper is a tad dry, so here’s a snap the Hubble took:
(17) FRESH GUNS. The Borderlands 3 game is coming in September.
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Carl Slaughter, Harold Osler, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Paul Weimer, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]
(9) I’ve read Weinbaum’s posthumous mixup “The Black Flame” as well as the story everyone’s read.
9) Stanley G. Weinbaum was born here in Louisville!
@13, I used to have a Sony ebook, back in the early days of dedicated e-readers. There’s a reason I download all of my ebooks; I don’t trust corporate clouds to care about my elibrary. Once burned, twice shy.
13) So basically they are letting everyone know they have 3 months to transfer the books to a different device and remove DRM?
bookworm1398: 13) So basically they are letting everyone know they have 3 months to transfer the books to a different device and remove DRM?
That was my first thought. I don’t have any book purchases on their platform, but if I did, Apprentice Alf and I would be having a marathon session on Calibre.
I have a reader, but I jailbreak the ones with DRM so I can read them as epubs (and store them offline). If I’m going to be paying close to dead-tree prices, I’m going to treat them like physical books.
(2) This was a very long way around for me to write a comment on a discussion on an earlier scroll 🙂
(9) Is The Dark Other another name for The Black Flame? I have two Weinbaum novels (on the “to be offloaded” piles, sadly, but after years of not reading them, some things have to go), and that’s the title of the one that’s not The New Adam. I’m absolutely keeping his short stories—I loved those.
(13) Yeah, this is kind of why I avoid commercial ebooks. Gutenberg, archive, and other open source kind of things are more my speed, and proprietary readers give me the willy creeps too. Also why I seem to have a ton of pulp on my shelves, which obliges me to ask daily, “Well, what can I get rid of to lighten the old homestead?” Man, I sure do like how little space and weight my ebooks possess.
Andrew, what did you think of The Black Flame? It’s still right here in my house. I could, in theory, still read it (just as I could have, in theory, read it in the last, oh, thirty years).
Thanks for the title cred, Mike.
9) — Lexx! Which I like to describe as the show for people who thought Farscape wasn’t weird enough.
I really should watch it again one of these years — the first three seasons, at least.
(13) I grimly await the day B&N does this. All my Kindle books get jailbroken immediately via Calibre, butmif there’s a way to do that for my B&N books, I don’t know how. Which is why I now only buy Kindle books, and don’t update the Kindle for PC software.
I had seven Star Trek books bought from the Microsoft Store. I just downloaded them, which took some time to figure out how to do:
1. Open Microsoft Edge and log in to your Microsoft account.
2. Click the Hub icon at upper right in your browser (a star combined with three equal signs).
3. Choose Books.
A panel opens displaying the cover of each of your books. You can click a cover to download a book, then click it again to open it.
With the book open, click near the top of the page. A menu bar appears. Click the Save button to save your book. If there is no Save button, that function must be disabled for that book due to DRM. I’m not sure how to get around that.
The Dark Other, The Black Flame, and The New Adam are completely distinct works. (I own and have read all three.) The Dark Other is available on Project Gutenberg. IMHO it’s easily the worst of his three novels, and worth reading only for completism’s sake. (The Black Flame is my favorite of his novels, and I also like the short story “The Red Peri”, which anticipated Clarke in having the hero escape his prison by running through a vacuum—the surface of Pluto—without a spacesuit.)
Indeed. I am surprised BN has held on as long as it has.
I’m surprised that the Microsoft bookstore still existed.
It was the first ereader format in ever used, getting on for 15 years ago when it became apparent that if you fiddled with a phone while jobs compiled then no-one ever said anything, but getting out a paperback would attract Attention.
Entirely reading Barn free library and project Gutenberg back then. Never bought anything.
Weinbaum’s The Black Flame was published as Startling Stories very first Science Fiction Hall of Fame feature in the very first issue of that magazine.
Several of his shorter pieces, including A Martian Odyssey, are available at ProjectGutenberg, including the sequel Valley of Dreams
I did a long review series on A Martian Odyssey Part 1
Including a scan of the first illustration of Tweel by Frank R. Paul.
Just in case you need to read more about that story.
@Kip: Regarding the Black Flame. I liked it. It’s a “sleeper wakes in a dystopian future” tale, and quite fast-moving (only 200 pages, so it has to be). I do recall that the hero is deeply in love with three women over what has to be only a year or so of his subjective time, so I had some issues with his fickleness.
9) My favorite Sterling novels are Distraction and Schismatrix. Overall, his works seem to have a scattershot feel to them—some dead on, others wide off the mark. But when Sterling is at the top of his game, he’s among the best of the best.
13) Note to self: Do research on Calibre this weekend.
@9: Simmons’s Hyperion Cantos are like anchovies: some people love them and some hate them. I’m in the latter category — I found them pointlessly drawn-out (at best).
@9 ctd: I’ve read and seen the original version of The Lady’s Not for Burning; the supernatural appears only to be shown up as nonsense believed by the credulous. Is the Branagh/Lunghi TV version different? (I’d vaguely like to see it regardless, to see if he could do simple world-weariness, which ISTM doesn’t fit with KENNETH BRANAGH THE BOLD AND FLIP (as he became a few years later).
Are you sure those aren’t eels instead of anchovies?
Today, The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie is $2.99 for ebook across the major ebook platforms!
It’s interesting that the hero’s fickleness is on display. One thing I remember from reading the “best of” collection was a half-serious series about a protagonist who keeps falling in love with women (“girls,” no doubt) who were Not For Him for good reasons.
Thanks, friends, for your words about The Black Flame. I have rescued it from the pile in a way that I hope was discreet and inconspicuous. Mum’s the word.
The DeDRM Plugin for Calibre (at least its newest version) should be able to remove DRM from B&N books.
There’s also some newer plugins that make it possible to import books from the current version of the Kindle app into Calibre (the name includes something with KFX).
@Paul — Nice! Grabbed!
You’re Pixeliacci? I hear you have some new baby shoes for sale.
(17) Yeah, I liked the first two, but the pre-sequel was really buggy. (And I bought it as part of the Handsome Collection so they had time to fix things.) I grow tired of game developers depending on download fixes to release games on time.
(17) Not only have I preordered the Super Deluxe Edition of BL3, I also bought the GotY Edition of BL1. Super excited for this.
Thanks for that info! I have an older version.
But I needed help to get that installed. I’ll need to get help updating it, too!
But at least I have a course of action to follow.
On an unrelated note, if you want to see the Game of Thrones title sequence remade with Oreos …
@Joe H. —
I love it! 😀
A Google search (“nook plugin for cailbre”) turned up this recent link:
Dunno how well it’ll work, don’t have any Nook books. But worth an investigation.
pax / Ctein
Thanks. I’ll look that over and give it a try.
The weird thing for me about the Hyperion books was that I think they peaked in the second chapter of book one. The Priest’s Story, at the time I read it (I was maybe 16) blew my goddamn mind. I read the rest of the book and at least one sequel chasing that particular high, then gave up. Can’t remember 90% of the plot now, but the freaky little parasite people still stick with me.
The Hyperion Cantos (taken as a unit) is solidly in my top 10 favorite books that I’ve ever read.
I loved the first Hyperion books.
I liked the second, but…not nearly as much. Was not tempted to read further, given the direction it was going in.
One of my favorite passages is from the third book, Endymion. A very old Martin Silenius is recruiting very ordinary Raul Endymion for a job. Endymion questions Silenius’s sanity, and humors him. Something about it strikes me as one of the funniest things I’ve read in a non-humerus SF book:
(Earlier passage, but necessary to set up the main one.)
(And the funny part.)
Apprentice Alf posted on 30 March that an updated version of DeDRM tools had been released (6.6.3) which should be able to deal with all your Kindle and Nook titles, though there is no reference to Microsoft’s bookstore so any customers may have to look elsewhere for help.
Updating Calibre should be easy, certainly on a PC, and particularly if you have an old version installed. Launching the old version gives you a link at the bottom right to the latest version and this takes you to the website to download; once the file is on your PC opening it sets everything in motion.
I think that updating Calibre and downloading and installing the the latest version of the tools only took about 10 minutes. Apprentice Alf’s instructions are very clear. I admit though that I did not install the KFX plug in as I’ve made it a habit whenever I buy a Kindle book to do a “download for transfer via USB” to give me a azw3 file which is what I use for my DeDRMed back ups. (I started this when KFX came in and Calibre/Alf could not cope).
I suspect that you wont have any problem with this but if you do need any help with a PC install don’t hesitate to ask.
I have Calibre; I have the latest version. I’ve cownloaded and unzipped the latest DeDRM tools package.
There is supposed to be Preferences menu in Calibre, someplace, and I dimly remember there being one.
I can’t find it.
FOUND IT! I MIGHT NOT BE AN IDIOT!!!!!!
I have got as far as where I apparently need to customize the plugin for the B&N books. I am stalled there, as I have done everything it tells me to, and it can’t retrieve the B&N keys, or so it tells me.
Jury still out on whether I’m an idiot, the B&N site is a bit wonky, or I just need to lay down for a bit and come back to it later.
Or get help. Who knows?
Oh dear. Following. I have over 400 Nook books and haven’t tried this yet.
I’m sorry Lis but I’m in England and B&N closed their international Nook operation some time ago so I don’t have any Nook books to experiment on. My DRM stripping has all been on Kindle files.
All I can do is make simple minded suggestions based on the documentation and you’ve probably already tried these. You really need someone who knows what they are doing and has some ebooks to experiment on. However, for what it’s worth …
Having selected Barnes and Noble ebooks for configuration did you click on the green cross to create a new key?
Did you import any existing keys?
I assume you tried both and none of them work when you try to strip the DRM?
The documentation suggest that you may need to download the books again due to past changes in the DRM implementation – the download program can apparently be found here (assuming all this still works): http://images.barnesandnoble.com/PResources/download/eReader2/bndr2_setup_latest.exe
It might be worth trying this with one book to see if it helps.
Sorry I can’t really provide any Nook related assistance.