(1) LUKE CAGE CONTINUES. From Netflix, “Marvel’s Luke Cage – Season 2 Official Trailer.”
After clearing his name, Luke Cage has become a celebrity on the streets of Harlem with a reputation as bulletproof as his skin. But being so visible has only increased his need to protect the community and find the limits of who he can and can’t save. With the rise of a formidable new foe, Luke is forced to confront the fine line that separates a hero from a villain.
(2) NICHELLE NICHOLS’ HEALTH. “’Star Trek’ Star Nichelle Nichols Is Living With Dementia” – Madamenoir has the story,
Nichelle Nichols, who is known for her iconic role as Uhura in “Star Trek” is living with severe dementia.
Nichols’ son Kyle Johnson says that his 85-year-old mother needs protection to prevent people from taking advantage of her.
According to TMZ, Johnson filed documents nominating 4 fiduciaries to become his mother’s conservators—giving them control of her finances and authority to make decisions regarding her health.
(3) FANTASTIC FICTION AT KGB. At the next Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Tina Connolly & Caroline M. Yoachim. Date and time: Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 7 p.m. at the KGB Bar.
- Tina Connolly
Tina Connolly’s books include the Ironskin trilogy (Tor), the Seriously Wicked series (Tor Teen), and the collection On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories (Fairwood Press). Her books have been finalists for the Nebula, Norton, and World Fantasy awards. She is one of the co-hosts of Escape Pod, and runs the flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. Find her at tinaconnolly.com.
- Caroline M. Yoachim
Caroline M. Yoachim is the author of over a hundred short stories. Her fiction has been translated into several languages, reprinted in best-of anthologies, and is available in her debut collection Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World & Other Stories. Her 2017 short story “Carnival Nine” is a Nebula and Hugo finalist. For more about Caroline, check out her website at carolineyoachim.com
The KGB Bar id st 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.), New York, NY.
(4) NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER. David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist who studies climate evolution and habitability of other worlds, and Alan Stern, the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper belt, say “Yes, Pluto is a planet” in Washington Post op-ed.
Three years ago, NASA’s New Horizons, the fastest spaceship ever launched, raced past Pluto, spectacularly revealing the wonders of that newly seen world. This coming New Year’s Eve — if all goes well on board this small robot operating extremely far from home — it will treat us to images of the most distant body ever explored, provisionally named Ultima Thule. We know very little about it, but we do know it’s not a planet. Pluto, by contrast — despite what you’ve heard — is.
Why do we say this? We are planetary scientists, meaning we’ve spent our careers exploring and studying objects that orbit stars. We use “planet” to describe worlds with certain qualities. When we see one like Pluto, with its many familiar features — mountains of ice, glaciers of nitrogen, a blue sky with layers of smog — we and our colleagues quite naturally find ourselves using the word “planet” to describe it and compare it to other planets that we know and love.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced an attempted redefinition of the word “planet” that excluded many objects, including Pluto. We think that decision was flawed, and that a logical and useful definition of planet will include many more worlds….
(5) TRIVIAL TRIVIA. Because the International Space Station does not have a way to wash dirty clothes, astronauts shoot their laundry into the Earth’s atmosphere to be incinerated. Consequently, a crew of six can go through 900 pounds of clothing per year. (Source: Smithsonian.com)
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY
- May 7, 1950 — Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles became the first new work of science fiction ever noted in the New York Times Book Review, breaking that glass ceiling via Rex Lardner’s “Fiction in Brief” column. As John King Tarpinian tells it, “Ray was not happy with Martian being described as Science Fiction but heck, who cares now…”
(7) COMICS SECTION.
- Lise Andreasen says the lesson learned from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal’s “Soulmate” is never build a dating website.
(8) AFROFUTURISM. A BBC profile: “Afrofuturism: Why black science fiction ‘can’t be ignored'”.
Afrofuturism is perhaps best summed up by the queen of contemporary afrofuturism herself — Janelle Monae.
Her futuristic music videos and radical aesthetic (she even calls her fans “fAndroids”) are seen by some as a key force for pushing afrofuturism into the mainstream.
“Afrofuturism is me, us… is black people seeing ourselves in the future,” she explains in a 30-second video clip for Spotify.
It is no surprise then that Janelle cites the movement as the inspiration for her new narrative film, Dirty Computer: Emotion Picture, a visual accompaniment to her latest album (which is currently trending on YouTube).
(9) CATCHING UP. Here are “Some Pragmatic Picks by Foz Meadows” a 2018 Shadow Clarke juror.
In compiling my personal Shadow Clarke shortlist, I’ve opted to forego the pressures of dutiful or adventurous reading, and have stuck to a selection of books which, for various reasons, I’d already planned to read. Partially, I’ve done so out of pragmatism: it’s hard enough at the best of times to force myself to read something in which I have little to no existing interest and whose premise doesn’t appeal to me, and if I can’t actually bring myself to read my selected works, there’s little point in being a shadow judge at all. At the same time, I’d argue that the parameters of the Clarke Award are such that the final selection of any judge or judges, whether shadow or otherwise, is always going to hinge on personal taste. The submissions list, as the name suggests, does not come pre-curated: in order to be in contention for the award, eligible works need only be submitted for consideration by their publishers. While there’s invariably a fascinating conversation to be had about which of their titles particular houses either forget, neglect or actively decline to submit in the first place, the impact of those choices is at best a process of curation by collective omission. That being so, the contents of the submissions list as is become something of a crapshoot, running the gamut from obvious, big-name contenders to self-published indies to midlist titles flung at the wall to see what sticks. But then, science fiction, when not broken down into subgenres, is a spectacularly broad mandate – how else can it be honestly navigated except through personal preference?
(10) WHERE DO THEY ALL COME FROM. “Cat Rambo’s Ideas For The Asking: A Guest Post!” at Sue Bursztynski’s blog.
Where do you get your ideas, my youngest brother asked as we were driving to dinner. I shrugged and said, Everywhere. He eyed me sideways, as though to say, it has to be harder than that.
But the truth is that I’ve always tried to look at the world in different ways. As a child, a favorite activity was looking at the ceiling and imagining what it would be like to live from that angle — not so different from our own life, but with much more inconvenient doors, for one. Or later, looking at public spaces to imagine what a superhero battle would be like staged there — where was cover, where the blind spots or perches? …
(11) RAMBO TRIVIA. Time to cram for the quiz:
I will add some random facts since there are some likes. I am a Maryland-certified master gardener.
— Rainbow Riot Rambo (@Catrambo) May 7, 2018
(12) FAAN STATS. Click on the link to download Nic Farey’s FAAn Awards voting statistics and analysis publication.
(13) MINIATURE WORLDCON BID. Kate Secor (bid chair) and Michael Lee (bid treasurer) have announced a bid for “Worldcon 84: The Minimal Viable Worldcon” to be held in Charlottesville, VA in 2026. This is probably supposed to be funny.
W84 is targeting lovely Charlottesville, Virginia as a site. We will be capping attending memberships at 125 (not including staff) in order to fit in our chosen venue, the Charlottesville CitySpace. …
We are currently looking at dates in early October, so as to take advantage of Virginia’s long fall season and lovely natural scenery. We expect there to be sufficient hotel rooms to accommodate all our members at various price points. There will be no official con hotel, although W84 may be able to work with Charlottesville’s Visitor Bureau to change this.
…W84 will be administering the Hugos entirely online and via postal mail, and announcing the results via press release. Trophies will be mailed to the winners. W84 will be administering Site Selection largely via mail, but will accept hand-carried ballots and also allow on-site voting for all members even if they do not have attending memberships.
(14) MODERN WARRIOR. James Breakwell reporting:
7-year-old: *puts a lightsaber, a princess crown, and goldfish crackers in a duffel bag*
Me: Where are you going?
7: To war.
— James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) April 28, 2018
(15) READY PLAYER THREE. And right after —
Me: I told you to pick up your toys.
3-year-old: I did.
Me: They're still out.
3: I put them back down.
— James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) May 7, 2018
(16) GOOD DOG. At Middle-Earth Reflections, Olga Polomoshnova a series of posts finishes with “Reading Roverandom /// Chapter 5”.
The closing chapter of Roverandom is a good example of a happy turn of events when you least expect it. Moreover, it is where we can see the results of Rover’s moral journey and how he has changed over the course of the story.
Once out of the sea depths, Rover again addresses Artaxerxes with his request: to change him into his proper size and shape. He does not hesitate to use the word “please” abundantly. The wizard is happy to help the dog as he has become wiser and kinder, too, following his failure as PAM and the anger of mer-people. But, alas, all his spells were destroyed at the bottom of the ocean. Artaxerxes is truly miserable, and he really means it being eager to change Rover back into his normal self. Things would have been pretty bad had it not been for the wizard’s shrewd wife. She kept some spells and now has exactly the one he needs to grant Rover’s request.
(17) DECODING HEINLEIN. Does the BBC know this was the source of the ship name in Citizen of the Galaxy? — “Sisu: the Finnish art of inner strength”.
“Sisu will get you even through granite,” my Finnish mother-in-law used to say. If you look at the enormous grey outcrops of granite scattered since the ice age through the Finnish countryside and forests, you’ll realise that getting through them is not just difficult, it is pretty well impossible.
‘Sisu’ in Finnish means strength, perseverance in a task that for some may seem crazy to undertake, almost hopeless. My mother-in-law experienced the bombings of the Winter War (1939-1940) when Finland was attacked by the much superior Soviet army but managed to mount a resistance to remain independent. The New York Times ran an article in 1940 with the headline “Sisu: A Word that Explains Finland”.
So, what is this almost mythical quality that appears to be so Finnish? “It is a special thing that is reserved for especially challenging moments. When we feel that we came to the end point of our preconceived capacities. You could say that sisu is energy, determination in the face of adversities that are more demanding than usual,” says Emilia Lahti, a researcher of sisu from Aalto University in Helsinki.
(18) CELEBRATING HEINLEIN’S BIRTHDAY. A Barcelona club plans to celebrate Heinlein’s birthday on July 7. Juan Miguel de la Torre Quesada, Vice-President of Barcelona’s Otium Club sent out an English translation of their press release with the schedule. Here are a few highlights.
H-Day – Heinlein’s Day
Saturday, July 7nth, 2018 – from 10: 00 to 14:00.
Civic Center Joan Oliver “Pere Quart”
C/ Comandante Benítez, 6 – Barcelona (Spain)
About the event:
On the day of his 111nth birthday, this July, the seventh, we’re gathering to celebrate the life and work of Robert Anson Heinlein in a event we have baptised as “Dia H – Heinlein’s Day”. With this activity we wish to present to the greater audience, beyond the limits of fandom, this seminal autor and his influence within the genere of SF as well as in the cultural fabric of our times.
Robert Heinlein is considered one of the greatest and most essential writers in the SF cannon, not only because of his excellent narrative and literary qualities, but as a pioneer in the field, a paladin of critical thinking and of rational pragmatism, owing perhaps to his formation as an engineer, whose ideas and reflections, poured into a hundred Works, remain relevant today and are worth debating.
Ángel.F. Bueno, founder and President of the Otium Club will welcome the attendees with a brief exposition about the activities, presneting the author and his work, and then introducing the main guest speaker, Salvador Bayarri.
10: 20 – 11:40 Conference : “Robert Heinlein: a libertarian in science fiction”.
Salvador Bayarri, Doctor in Physics and Master Degree in Philosophy, as well as an SF writer, will expound on a complete exploration and biographical analysis on the thought, themes and work of the autor, in a light and humorous manner.
11:40 – 11:45 “The attendees will be invited to blow the candles on a birthday cake customised for the occasion”.
11:45 – 13:13 Screening of “Predestination” (2014) , The Spierig Brothers.
Salvador Bayarri and Ángel F. Bueno will introduce this excellent movie based on the short story “All you zombies!” (1958) by Robert A. Heinlein….
(19) TAGGING ALONG. The latest Mars mission has company: “WALL-E and EVE on their way to Mars with InSight”.
NASA’s InSight lander is on its way to Mars, after a successful launch on Saturday morning.
The lander was launched by an Atlas V rocket taking off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California shortly after 4 a.m. local time. It successfully separated from the upper stage more than an hour later.
Because InSight is a lander — not a rover — it will stay put on Mars as it carries out “an $813.8 million mission to study the interior of the Red Planet.”
Two CubeSats, or miniature satellites about the size of a briefcase, were launched by the same rocket, basically hitching a ride with the Insight. Named after the characters in the 2008 animated movie, WALL-E and EVE are each about the size of a briefcase or large cereal box. They popped out from the rocket’s upper stage after liftoff and are hightailing it to Mars, right behind InSight. This is the first time CubeSats have set sail for deep space.
[Thanks to Keith G. Kato, JJ, Cat Eldridge, ULTRAGOTHA, John King Tarpinian, Mark Hepworth, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Lise Andreasen, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]