(1) CHINESE NEBULA AWARDS. Regina Kanyu Wang, linking to the Chinese-language announcement, informed Facebook readers about three people who will be guests at the Chinese Nebula Awards this year: Worldcon 75 co-chair Crystal Huff, SFWA President Cat Rambo and Japanese sf writer Taiyo Fuji.
Crystal Huff responded:
I am so very honored and pleased to reveal what I’ve been quietly psyched about for a while now:… I am thrilled to go to China for my first ever visit, and meet new friends in Beijing and Shanghai! So thrilled!
Cat Rambo told File 770 she’s more than excited about the trip:
I am super!! stoked!! about it and have been spending the last month and half trying to pick up a little conversational Mandarin. Post Beijing, another Chinese SF organization is taking me to Chengdu for a similar ceremony involving SFF film awards. This trip is – next to being able to tell Carolyn Cherryh she was a SFWA grandmaster — one of the biggest thrills of being SFWA president I’ve experienced so far, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the Chinese publishing scene a bit better in a way that benefits SFWA and its members.
(2) ANIME EXPO HARASSMENT POLICY. Sean O’Hara reported in a comment, “Anime Expo just went hardcore with a new Youth Protection program that requires all employees, volunteers, vendors and panelists to submit to a criminal background check and take an online courses.”
Read the policy here [PDF file].
SPJA Youth Protection Policy
- Purpose and Goals
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) recognizes the importance of protecting youth participants in SPJA events and activities, including online activities. SPJA has adopted a zero tolerance policy with regard to actions or behaviors that threaten the safety of young people, including violence, bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other inappropriate or potentially harmful actions or behaviors. SPJA views the safety and security of all participants—especially young people— as a top priority.
All participants at SPJA events and activities (including online activities) are encouraged to report any unsafe or inappropriate behaviors, conditions, or circumstances, including any violation of this Youth Protection Policy or violation of any other policy or rule intended to promote a safe environment….
(3) LIVING HISTORY. Ted White, the Hugo-winning fanwriter, pro, and former editor of Amazing, was interviewed for his local paper, the Falls Church News-Press, on May 6 – “F.C.’s Ted White Reflects on Comics, Sci-Fi and the Little City”. The reporter asked about his interests in sf, jazz, writing, and comics.
N-P: How were you introduced to comic books?
White: They were there. I found them. I mean, I can’t remember what the first comic book I ever saw was but it was probably one that one of the neighborhood kids had and it very likely didn’t even have a cover….We’re talking the war years, the ‘40s, early on [and] comic books just sort of passed from hand-to-hand. It was a long time before I bought my first comic book.
There’s an interesting story involved in all of this….One day, I think it was between the first and second grade, the summer, and…Madison had a swimming program for the summer.
And I would walk over to the school, which was a mile away but it didn’t matter because I used to walk everywhere, at a certain time in the morning and join up with a motley crew of other kids and be taken into Washington, D.C. to 14th and K Streets where there was the Statler Hotel….At the end of that we were brought back to Madison and it was time for me to walk home.
But I didn’t walk directly home. For some strange reason I followed N. Washington Street north…I’m not sure where I was headed to but north of Columbia Street there is a bank that used to be a Safeway, a tiny Safeway…and I’m walking in that direction and I’m almost opposite that Safeway when I meet a friend of mine who is pushing his bicycle up the sidewalk…and in the basket of his bicycle he has several comic books.
And we stopped and we talked and he showed me the comic books and I don’t know how I did it, but I talked him out of them and he gave them to me and one of them was an issue of Wonder Woman.
Now I had never seen Wonder Woman before – this was a brand new comic book to me. And it was strange. The art was strange…it was almost Rococo and the writing was even stranger….I started reading this comic book as I was coming along Columbia Street to Tuckahoe and I’m just sort of very slowly walking, reading intensely. It would be the equivalent of someone obliviously reading their cell phone while walking down a sidewalk….I was about halfway home when I look up and I see my mother rapidly approaching and she does not have a happy look on her face.
I am hours late because I’ve been spending all my time dawdling, reading comic books. And my mother took the comic books out of my hand and took the ratty dozen or so that I already had, most of them coverless, and took them out to our incinerator and burned them all.
This profoundly upset me but it also changed me. I was six or seven then, and I decided two things which I was happy to share with my mother. One of them was that she was never ever going to destroy anything of mine again and she never did….and the other thing it did was make me into a collector…from that point on I became a comic book collector…and by time I was in high school…I was written up in a newspaper called the Washington News as the boy with 10,000 comic books.
(4) SF DRAMEDY. Seth MacFarlane will do an sf comedy/drama series reports Collider.
Between Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show, prolific writer/producer/voice actor Seth MacFarlane has voiced a lot of characters on television and created even more, but now he’s heading into the live-action realm for his next TV series.
Fox announced today that MacFarlane is developing a new, though still untitled comedic drama for the network for which he’ll executive produce and star based off a script he wrote. Here’s what we know: the series will consist of 13 hourlong episodes and takes place 300 years in the future where the crew of the Orville, “a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship in Earth’s interstellar Fleet,” deal with cosmic challenges on their adventures.
(5) MARKET OPENS. Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-speculation edited by Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Wieland, which was funded by a Kickstarter appeal, now is open for submissions.
Submissions for fiction and poetry are open until June 4th. Submissions for line art and coloring pages are open until June 30th.
We want this anthology to reach outside Western and Anglophone traditions of speculative fiction, showcasing the way environment and environmental issues are talked about and perceived in all parts of the world. We encourage and welcome submissions from diverse voices and under-represented populations, including, but not limited to, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, those with disabilities, and the elderly. Authors of all walks of life should feel encouraged to send us stories and poems celebrating these diverse characters and settings all around us.
(6) NO SH!T. Here’s some more good news — the No Sh!t, There I Was – An Anthology of Improbable Tales Kickstarter has funded, reaching its $8,500 goal. The anthology is edited by Rachael Acks.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- May 8, 1985 – Theodore Sturgeon passed away.
(8) SELECTIVE QUOTE. A responsible blogger would have chosen a tweet about the writer’s Amazon sales, his con appearances, or his charitable causes. But noooo…!
The tragedy of my life is that I am burdened with the constant knowledge that sooner or later, I will have to put on pants.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) May 7, 2016
(8) YOUR BARTENDER. Marko Kloos shares his recipe for “frontlines: the cocktail”.
Just in time for the upcoming Manticon (where I will be Guest of Honor), I present to you the first Frontlines-themed cocktail: the Shockfrost.
Those of you who have read ANGLES OF ATTACK will know that the Shockfrost is featured in the novel as the specialty of the bars on the ice moon New Svalbard, and that it’s supposed to pack quite a punch. Andrew mentions the look (blue) and the flavors of the drink when he tries one for the first time (notes of licorice, mint, and God-knows-what-else). So I made a trip to the liquor store for ingredients and experimented with the flavors a bit to create a real-world replica….
(9) A SMASHING TIME. The Traveler at Galactic Journey reviews a monster movie: “[May 8, 1961] Imitation is… (Gorgo)”.
…Is it art for the ages? Absolutely not. Though there is some morality tacked on, mostly of the “humanity mustn’t think itself the master of nature” sort of thing, it’s an afterthought. Characterization is similarly abandoned around the halfway mark. This is no Godzilla — it is knocking over of toy cities for the fun of it.
At that, it succeeds quite well. Gorgo makes liberal and reasonably facile use of stock footage (though the planes all inexplicably bear United States markings!) The cinematography is well composed, the color bright, the screen wide. The acting is serviceable, and for anyone who wants to see what London looks like in this modern year of 1961, there are lots of great shots, both pre and post-destruction…
(10) INTERPRETING AN ICON. In “Captain America and Progressive Infantilization” Jeb Kinnison replies to Amanda Marcotte’s widely-read post about Cap.
…In her piece, “Captain America’s a douchey libertarian now: Why did Marvel have to ruin Steve Rogers?”, Marcotte is upset because the Cap didn’t knuckle under to “reasonable, common-sense” restrictions on his freedom to act for good. It’s not worth a detailed fisking — generating clickbait articles for a living doesn’t allow much time for careful writing — but she does reveal the mindset of those who believe every decision should be made by a committee of the select. The “unregulated” and “uncontrolled” are too dangerous to tolerate. Some key bits:
Steve Rogers is an icon of liberal patriotism, and his newest movie turns him into an Ayn Rand acolyte…
Most corporate blockbuster movies would cave into the temptation to make the character some kind of generic, apolitical “patriot,” abandoning the comic tradition that has painted him as a New Deal Democrat standing up consistently for liberal values. Instead, in both the first movie and in “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” we get Steve the liberal: Anti-racist, anti-sexist, valuing transparency in government and his belief that we the people should hold power instead of some unaccountable tyrants who believe might makes right.
Steve is All-American, so he is classically liberal: believing in the rule of law, equality of opportunity, and freedom to do anything that doesn’t step on someone else’s rights and freedoms. Amanda does not believe in individual freedom — she believes in “freedom,” approved by committee, with individual achievement subordinated to identity politics aiming at equality of outcome. No one should be free to judge the morality of a situation and act without lobbying others to achieve a majority and gaining approval of people like her….
(11) AN ORIGINAL MAD MAN. Ben Yakas, an interviewer for Gothamist, spent some time “Hanging With Al Jaffee, MAD Magazine’s 95-Year-Old Journeyman Cartoonist”.
His career took off in earnest in the early 1940s, initially while he was still in the Army. He taught wounded airmen how to do figure drawing at a hospital in Coral Gables, Florida, then was recruited by the Pentagon to create posters, illustrated pamphlets, and exercise pieces for soldiers in hospitals around the country. Once he was discharged, he worked at Timely Comics and Atlas Comics (precursors of Marvel Comics) with his first boss, Stan Lee. “He had been discharged from the military and took over from a substitute editor,” Jaffee said. “He said, ‘Oh, come ahead.’ He even wrote a letter to tell them that I had a job to go to so they favored my release. That’s how my career really got going.”
Jaffee explained his unusual working relationship with Lee, whom he first met when he was just 20 years old: “Usually in the comic book business, someone writes a script, an artist is called in, the artist shows pencils, and if the pencils are approved, the artist is told to finish with ink,” he said. “Each step is edited by the editor who approves of each stage. I didn’t have that with Stan Lee. He and I apparently hit it off so well that he just told me, ‘Go ahead and write it, pencil it, and ink it and bring it in.’ It was never rejected. I was very fortunate because it was so smooth working and we enjoyed each other’s company and he was a very, very bubbling with ideas kind of guy.”
That loose set-up turned out to be the norm for Jaffee throughout his career, even as he left Lee and ventured out into the uncertain world of freelancing: “We were responsible for our own income and upkeep. What you do is you wake up every Monday morning and you say, ‘What am I going to produce now to make a buck?'”
(12) AUDIO TINGLES. Starburst’s The BookWorm Podcast hosted by Ed Fortune enters the Hugos debate. Mostly by laughing: “Enter the Voxman”.
Ed reviews Star Wars Bloodline by Claudia Gray and Ninfa returns to review Victoria Avayard’s The Glass Sword. Extended chatter about the awards season and the usual silliness.
(13) SHORT SF VIDEO. Hampus Eckerman says, “This nice little gem became available on Youtube just a few days ago:”
The Nostalgist A Sci-fi Short Based on a Story From the Author of Robopocalypse
In the futuristic city of Vanille, with properly tuned ImmerSyst Eyes & Ears the world can look and sound like a paradise. But the life of a father and his young son threatens to disintegrate when the father’s device begins to fail. Desperate to avoid facing his traumatic reality, the man must venture outside to find a replacement, into a city where violence and danger lurk beneath a beautiful but fragile veneer…
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Sean O’Hara, Paul Weimer, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Doctor Science.]
Thus far, I’ve not seen any new emails from MACII. But then again, I’m towards the end of the mailing list.
I’d say that one of Ultron’s big problems was being overloaded with setup for future films that didn’t connect all that naturally to the Ultron story, while the concept of Civil War was a much better peg to hang a multitude of character arcs on. Civil War still handled things rather better even making all allowances for that, though.
I feel asleep during Winter Soldier, the action scenes were just too boring. Will try it again.
@kathodus: Also @Brian Z: Cat Pixels please (!!!) Awesome.
Agreed. Pair that with “So Much Scrolling”. 😀
I seem to recall that the Champions ‘Corporations’ sourcebook actually had some information on that, including particular power sets in big demand. Things like telekinetics working in research and hazardous waste material handling because they can just stand outside the clean room and manipulate things inside it without opening it up.
Heck, I had a speedster character once who was also a courier (and had paid points for the licence Perk in Champions to be legal about it). Charged exorbitant amounts, but when you really needed to get a demo unit to the next town for a presentation in fifteen minutes…
My recommendation for a not-quite-superhero story is the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist, which is about how their most powerful super in the world decides to quit being a superhero, and go beck to school to find some meaningful way to make the world better. The fact that she is a walking potential KT event compound the problem. Nobody is going to force her to sign any accord, for a start…
One of the interesting elements is that “superheroes” is to be an American way of channeling powerful people into more-or-less safe occupations; other countries treat their supers very differently. It also addresses the suggestion of what asuperbring can do to make the world a better place Alloson for example uses her powers as a volunteer firefighter, but she wants to do more. But then there the question of whether the world even wants people with world-changing powers and a sense of social justice.
@All – thanks for the information about the Marvel movies. Very helpful!
Jessica Jones is at least playing around with the notion of the superhero who doesn’t want to be a superhero (or supervillain). Although, becoming a detective may not have been the wisest choice for getting away from superheroness. 🙂
A thing you could imagine happening is, after supers start appearing, a populist groundswell leads to laws against “unfair competition” from metahumans. This would close off most options for making an honest living with your powers. The frustration would push a good number of enhanced folks into crime, while a smaller number would try to thwart the miscreants on a volunteer basis for the usual mix of reasons. Presto! You’ve got the classic hero/villain split and even the typical demographics (way more villains than heroes).
Back in my libertarian days, I wanted to use this idea as the basis of a DC Elseworlds story. The real heroes were going to be the Question* and Roulette.
*The original Ditko Question was an Objectivist rather than a libertarian as such, and Denny O’Neil moved him pretty far from that way back in the 80s, but one must make do with what one has.
(13) SHORT SF VIDEO. Cool short, thanks, @Hampus Eckerman & @Mike Glyer. In return, a video linked from Youtube when I wanted #13:
Apparently a take on this one (which IMHO is better):