(1) WHEN IS HUGO VOTER PACKET COMING? Joe Yao of the Chengdu Worldcon committee responded online to questions about this year’s Hugo Voter Packet.
Sorry for the delayed release of the Hugo Packet since we are still waiting for the approval from the Administrator.
This year we have about 88 entries including all the works in fiction categories (Novel, Novella, Novelette and Short Story), and as you can see this is a Hugo finalist with the most non-Chinese works and editors/writers than ever before. We encouraged the finalists to submit their works with both Chinese and English as much as they can and some of the non-Chinese finalists are willing to do a Chinese translation version for the Chinese fandom, thus it took longer than we expected to release the packet.
But the good news is that we are almost there, and please stay posted with us on our official announcement.
Thanks for your patience.
The online Hugo voting deadline is October 1, 2023, 17:59 pm China Standard Time / September 30, 2023,23:59 pm Hawaiian Time.
(2) CHENGDU SCIENCE FICTION MUSEUM VIDEO. [Item by rcade.] There’s video of the Chengdu Science Fiction Museum under construction embedded in a June 2023 post at KevinJamesNg: “Chengdu Science Fiction Museum #June2023| a New International Landmark”. When the video was made is unknown to me.
(3) NEW PILOT. Escape Pod announces “A Change in Crew”. Assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney is leaving. Kevin Wabaunsee is coming aboard.
As Octavia Butler said, “All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change.”
Escape Pod is changing as our longtime Assistant Editor, Ben Kinney, leaves the bridge. Ben has been part of the crew since 2016, and he’s seen many of the changes we’ve gone through: the shift from Submittable to Moksha, from volunteer staff to paid staff, from private company to non-profit. Not to mention the co-editors transitions!
Ben has also helped to change Escape Pod for the better through his tireless work. From recruiting and overseeing the associate editors to navigating the galaxy of submissions we receive, Ben’s guidance and vision have kept our ship flying at warp speed. His knowledge of science and of what makes a good story are some of the reasons the podcast has been so successful in recent years. We will miss him.
Taking up Ben’s post is Kevin Wabaunsee. Kevin is a speculative fiction writer and a former newspaper reporter. He is a professional science news editor and the former managing editor for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA). He is a Prairie Band Potawatomi. His short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, PseudoPod, Apex, and the anthology Fighting for the Future. You can find him online at kevinwabaunsee.com. We’re excited to discover what changes Kevin has in store for us in the future….
(4) IT’S HIM. You may not realize it but the name of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who made news yesterday presiding over the submission of grand jury indictments against Trump and 18 others, came up in a news item here once before.
In 2019 he was the presiding officer of the Georgia state panel that officially suspended Judge Kathryn Schrader after she and three co-defendants were indicted on felony computer trespass charges. We covered it because one of those co-defendants was Dragon Con co-founder Ed Kramer. He worked for a private investigator tracking the activity on a WireShark monitoring system the judge had installed on her computer, under a belief the DA was spying on her. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution article quoted from the panel’s report:
“The Panel further finds that Judge Schrader’s personal decision to allow an outside third party to gain access to the County’s network — with its many subsequent repercussions, including the discovery that Judge Schrader’s actions allegedly enabled a convicted child molester to have access to Court data — also adversely affects the administration of that office, as well as the rights and interests of the public,” wrote Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, the presiding officer of the JQC panel.
(5) EKPEKI AND OMENGA Q&A. “Carriers of Culture: PW Talks with Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Joshua Uchenna Omenga” at Publishers Weekly.
In the stories and essays of Between Dystopias: The Road to Afropantheology (CAEZIK SF & Fantasy, Oct.), Ekpeki and Omenga explore the intersections of the fantastic and the spiritual.
What drew you to speculative fiction?
Ekpeki: I was exposed to speculative fiction at a young age through oral storytelling traditions maintained by my grandmother….
See the rest at the link.
(6) THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE TO STAY TIL THE END. “Judge Approves Final Injunction in Publishers, Internet Archive Copyright Case” — but with a twist reports Publishers Weekly. Will it make a difference? The publishers spokesperson doesn’t think so.
After more than three years of litigation, it took judge John G. Koeltl just hours to sign off on the parties’ negotiated consent judgment—but not without a final twist. In a short written opinion made public yesterday, Koeltl sided with the Internet Archive in a final dispute, limiting the scope of the permanent injunction to cover only the plaintiffs’ print books that also have electronic editions available.
In a letter to the court, lawyers for the plaintiff publishers had argued that the injunction should cover all the plaintiffs’ commercially available books, whether the books have digital editions or not. “The law is clear that the right to decide whether or not to publish a book in electronic format belongs to its authors and publishers, not IA,” the publishers’ letter argued. Furthermore, IA’s unauthorized digital editions create “clear potential market harm to the print book market,” the publisher letter claims, because a “straight, verbatim digital copy of the entire work is an obvious competing substitute for the original.”
In their letter to the court, IA attorneys argued that the injunction should be limited to the plaintiffs’ books that have digital editions available because that was what the suit addressed. “Because the parties did not have the opportunity in this case to litigate the degree to which the unavailability of digital library licensing would affect the fair use analysis, it is inappropriate for an injunction in this case, by its breadth, to effectively prejudge the outcome of that question,” IA attorneys argued.
Koeltl sided with the Internet Archive, holding that because the 127 works chosen for the suit were all commercially available works with digital editions, sweeping all the plaintiffs’ books into the final injunction risked being overbroad.
“This action concerned the unauthorized distribution of a select number of works in suit, all of which were ‘available as authorized e-books that may be purchased by retail customers or licensed to libraries,’” Koeltl pointed out in a 4-page order. “That fact was relevant to the court’s conclusion that Internet Archive was liable for copyright infringement. In particular, the court’s fourth-factor analysis emphasized the ‘thriving e-book licensing market for libraries’ and concluded that Internet Archive ‘supplants the publishers’ place in this market’ by ‘bring[ing] to the marketplace a competing substitute for library e-book editions of the works in suit.'”
In an August 15 statement, AAP president and CEO Maria Pallante said Koeltl’s decision would have “a very minimal” impact.
“The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands of books that plaintiffs make available in print are also commercially available from them as authorized e-books,” Pallante said. “Nor are the plaintiffs precluded from enforcing under the Copyright Act the small percentage of works that may not be covered by the injunction.”…
(7) PERSONS OF INTEREST. Gizmodo learned that “Persons of Interest in Gen Con Card Theft Are Game Designers”.
At Gen Con earlier this month, a pallet of Magic: The Gathering cards worth $300,000 was stolen from the convention center; the product belonged to Pastimes, a gaming shop and MTG vendor. In an update from Indianapolis news station WTHR 13, police have identified two people of interest in the case: Thomas J. Dunbar and Andrew Pearson Giaume.
Dunbar and Pearson Giaume were attending Gen Con 2023, and might have been present to support their own card game, Castle Assault. In the photos taken from security footage, such as the one that appears above, a man that the police department has identified as a person of interest (assumed to be Dunbar) can be seen wearing a dark tee shirt with what looks like Castle Assault artwork and logotype on the back….
(8) DITCH DAY. Akemi C. Brodsky finds “5 Academic Novels That Won’t Make You Want to Go Back to School” for Tor.com.
… The academic setting works as a literary mount just as well, if not better. Students are bound by law or narrative obligation to remain, trapped, day after day, and therefore must face their demons (sometimes literally). Maybe it’s rooting for the underdog that keeps me coming back, maybe it’s just nostalgia. In any case, I am drawn to campus novels. Still, I have no desire to relive my own school days. Fiction seems to emphasize the facts and while some stories highlight first friendships and carefree youth, others remind us that education is laced with external pressures and inner turmoil….
One of those books is —
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Of all of these novels, this is the book that makes me want to go back to school least of all. Throughout the story, Galaxy “Alex,” Stern is repeatedly traumatized by both the mystical and the mundane (in ways that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout). An undergraduate given a special acceptance to Yale, Alex is an apprentice, learning to keep watch over Yale’s infamous secret societies. Only thing is, the secret societies each practice their own brand of dark magic. What I love about this book is that as much as the narrative relies on mystical elements, Bardugo does not shy away from the evils of our own world. In fact, she carefully wraps them up in her own magic that keeps you speeding through the pages but leaves you with a chilling understanding of the true wickedness among us. She almost makes you believe that Yale’s secret societies really are practicing the occult, or worse.
Disney-owned Lucasfilm/ Industrial Light & Magic is to close its VFX and animation facility in Singapore, where more than 300 people are employed. The company points to changes in the global entertainment industry as a factor behind the decision.
“Over the next several months, ILM will be consolidating its global footprint and winding down its Singapore studio due to economic factors affecting the industry,” Disney said in a statement emailed to Variety.
The Singapore studio was founded in 2004 as Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and began operations in 2006 with work on the animated TV series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
It relocated within the city-state in 2013, setting up shop in the futuristic George Lucas-owned Eclipse Building at Fusionopolis. It was nicknamed the “Sandcrawler Building,” due to its similarity to an iconic “Star Wars” vehicle. The Eclipse Building was sold by Lucas in January 2021 to the Blackstone Group.
(11) AI-ASSISTED BOOK CHALLENGES. “Iowa School District Bans 19 Books Over ‘Depictions of a Sex Act’” reports Rolling Stone, and the assessment was done using AI.
BOOKS ARE BEING pulled from the library shelves of an Iowa school district following new legislation from Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, which purports to protect children from obscene material, The Gazette reports.
The new legislation, Senate File 496, prohibits “instruction related to gender identity and sexual orientation in school districts, charter schools and innovation zone schools in kindergarten through grade six.” It requires that every book available to students be “age appropriate” and free of any “descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act.”
The district used Artificial Intelligence to make is determinations on what books to ban.
The Mason City school board began reviewing library titles last month to ensure compliance with the law. The district said “lists of commonly challenged books were compiled from several sources to create a master list of books that should be reviewed. The books on this master list were filtered for challenges related to sexual content. Each of these texts was reviewed using AI software to determine if it contains a depiction of a sex act. Based on this review, there are 19 texts that will be removed from our 7-12 school library collections and stored in the Administrative Center while we await further guidance or clarity. We also will have teachers review classroom library collections.”…
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 15, 1858 — E. Nesbit. She wrote or collaborated on more than sixty books of children’s literature including the Five Children Universe series. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organization later affiliated to the Labour Party. (Died 1924.)
- Born August 15, 1906 — William Sloane. Best known for his novel To Walk The Night which Boucher, King and Bloch all highly praise. Indeed, the latter includes it on his list of favorite horror novels. It and the Edge of Running Water were published together as The Rim of Morning in the early Sixties and it was reissued recently with an introduction by King. (Died 1974.)
- Born August 15, 1933 — Bjo Trimble, 90. Her intro to fandom was TASFiC, the 1952 Worldcon. She would be active in LASFS in the late 1950s onward and has been involved in more fanzines than I can comfortably list here. Of course, many of us know her from Trek especially the successful campaign for a third season. She’s responsible for the Star Trek Concordance, an amazing work even by today’s standards. And yes, I read it and loved it. She’s shows up (uncredited) as a crew member in the Recreation Deck scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Bjo and her husband John Trimble were the Fan Guests of Honor at the 60th Worldcon, ConJose. She was nominated at Seacon for Best Fanzine for Shangri L’Affaires, and two years later at DisCon 1 for the same under the Best Amateur Magazine category.
- Born August 15, 1934 — Darrell K. Sweet. Illlustrator who was best-known for providing cover art for genre novel with his first with being Andre Norton’s Shadow Hawk, published by Ace in 1972, in which capacity he was nominated for a Hugo award in 1983. He was Illustrator GoH at 71st Worldcon, LoneStarCon III. He was also a guest of honor at Tuckercon in 2007, at the 2010 World Fantasy Convention in 2010, and LepreCon in 2011. (Died 2011.)
- Born August 15, 1943 — Barbara Bouchet, 80. Yes, I’ve a weakness for performers who’ve shown up on the original Trek. She plays Kelinda in “By Any Other Name”. She also appeared in Casino Royale as Miss Moneypenny, a role always noting, and is Ava Vestok in Agent for H.A.R.M. which sounds like someone was rather unsuccessfully emulating The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
- Born August 15, 1945 — Nigel Terry. His first role was John in A Lion in Winter which is at least genre adjacent as its alternate history, with his first genre role being King Arthur in Excalibur. Now there’s a bloody telling of the Arthurian myth. He’s General Cobb in the Tenth Doctor story, “The Doctor’s Daughter”, and on the Highlander series as Gabriel Piton in the “Eye of the Beholder” episode. He even played Harold Latimer in “The Greek Interpreter” on Sherlock Holmes. (Died 2015.)
- Born August 15, 1958 — Stephen Haffner, 65. Proprietor of Haffner Press which is mainly a mystery and genre reprint endeavor though he’s published such original anthologies as Edmond Hamilton & Leigh Brackett Day, October 16, 2010 and the non-fiction work Thirty-Five Years of the Jack Williamson Lectureship which he did with Patric Caldwell.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
- David Brin says xkcd makes his point:
(14) WALK A MILE (OR THREE) IN HER SHOES. Take Anne Marble’s advice about “How to Attend the National Book Festival” at Medium. To read all of it requires registration for a free account.
…The National Book Festival is a yearly event run by the Library of Congress. In 2001, it was founded by former First Lady Laura Bush (a librarian) and the 13th Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington. The first one hosted between 25,000 and 30,000 attendees.
The National Book Festival is huge, busy, and overwhelming. Read up on the event. Learn from what I did right, and most important of all, learn from what I did wrong…
(15) SIC TRANSIT AVENUE VICTOR HUGO. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Avenue Victor Hugo Books, a SF-and-much-more bookstore (which also, for a while, was doing Galileo magazine) used to be one of my regular stops over on Boston’s Newbury Street. Then they relocated to Lee, New Hampshire. (Where I never got to.)
Now, Vince McCaffrey is hanging up his brick’n’mortar shingle, as Vince explains on the store’s web site main page, “A letter to our customers” and in the August 1st, 2023 entry to the site’s blog-ish Annotations.
Bookselling is not what it used to be. Never was, really. For me, it was always what I was willing to make of it. It’s probably that way with most independent booksellers. I’ve known a few and the motivations are as diverse as the individuals themselves.
Maybe an explanation for that is in order. The world is full of unpleasant jobs that have to be done. Bookselling is not one of them—unless it’s made to be that way. Selling books as rectangular objects to be marketed with phony advertising or artificial words such as ‘magisterial,’ or ‘brilliant,’ or even the lowly ‘provocative,’ without regard to the real matters that the authors have spent years of their lives (or too few weeks perhaps) working on, is not a better occupation than selling cars or soap…
FYI, AVH is running a 20% off online sale here.
(16) SUBLIME ACTING. Praise for “Jules: Ben Kingsley Rules” at Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy.
Ben Kingsley disappears into every character he plays, and the quiet senior citizen he becomes in Jules is no exception. The fact that he has a mop of hair and no trace of a British accent should come as no surprise; this is an actor who has played everyone from Mahatma Gandhi to Salvador Dali, not to mention his wide range of fictional characters in films as diverse as The Wackness and House of Sand and Fog.
In Jules, writer Gavin Steckler and director Marc Turtletaub have given him a part he can play with, an understated senior citizen whose life has fallen into a routine….
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Anne Marble, rcade, Cliff, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]