(1) YOUNG PEOPLE READ AGAIN. James Davis Nicoll introduces the next phase of the program: “Young People Read Old Science Fiction: Rediscovery!”
The next phase of Young People Read Old Science Fiction focuses on a single reference text, Journey Press’s Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 – 1963). To quote from Journey Press’ site:
“The Silver Age of Science Fiction saw a wealth of compelling speculative tales — and women authors wrote some of the best of the best. Yet the stories of this era, especially those by women, have been largely unreprinted, unrepresented, and unremembered.
“Volume one of REDISCOVERY represents a historic first: fourteen selections of the best science fiction of the Silver Age, written by the unsung women authors of yesteryear and introduced by today’s rising stars. Join us and rediscover these lost treasures…. “
James is also recruiting participants:
I am looking for reviewers born after about 1980. The deadline for application is September 1, with a target date for the inaugural Young People Read Old Science Fiction: Rediscovery! post of October 1. If you are interested, please contact me at jdnicoll at panix dot com.
Where previous phases have involved each contributor working on their own, this chapter will feature a round table approach. Each contributor will be provided by me with a copy of the ebook.
(2) IN CONS TO COME. Cheryl Morgan assesses the competition to host a future Worldcon in “The Race for 2023”.
… Prior to Dublin the extant bids for 2023 were Nice (France), Chengdu (China) and New Orleans (USA). The New Orleans bid has, I understand it, collapsed. However, some US fans were busily organising a bid for another city. Apparently they viewed this as essential to prevent yet another non-US Worldcon. I think they have settled on Memphis but it was a bit confused.
The Chengdu bid is controversial for two reasons, one of which is that it is very hard to get into China. Elizabeth Bear told me that she has been denied a visa because she is a writer. That could happen to a lot of us. My own view is that a Chinese Worldcon won’t happen without government approval, and if that approval exists then it should be possible to set up a system whereby visa applications can be expedited. This is China, after all
(3) FINAL FANZINE SOLUTION. Cheryl Morgan also reacts to Nicholas Whyte’s statistics showing that the Best Fanzine Hugo category is skating on the edge of the abyss in “Whither Fanzine?”?
…On Twitter Aidan Moher has been calling for more appreciation for video fanzines. (Booktube appears to be the name for such things.) People making them certainly deserve recognition, but they belong in the Fancast category which is for:
Any generally available non-professional audio or video periodical devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects
Aidan also suggests collapsing Fanzine and Fancast to create a single category of fan-created works. Much as I would like to see fewer Hugo categories, I can’t see that happening. Neither the podcast people nor fanzine fandom would be happy….
(4) N3F SHORT STORY CONTEST. The National Fantasy Fan Federation’s annual short story contest is accepting entries through December 31, 2019. There are no entrance fees, but there are cash prizes. First prize is $50, second $30, and third $20. Read about it here: “2019 N3F Amateur Short Story Contest”. The judge is SF author Jefferson Swycaffer. Results will be announced by March 2020.
1. This contest is open to all amateur writers in the field, regardless of whether they’re members of the National Fantasy Fan Federation. For the purposes of this contest, we define an amateur as someone who has sold no more than two (2) stories to professional science fiction or fantasy publications or publishing houses.
2. Stories entered in the contest must be original, unpublished, not longer than 8,500 words in length—and must be related to the science fiction, fantasy, or similar genres in the opinion of the judge.
(5) AFRICAN FUTURES. “These Nigerian Teens Are Making Sci-Fi Shorts with Slick Visual Effects” – Kottke.org has the story. Photos of the steps in one of their productions can be seen at the post.
For the past year, a group of teens in Nigeria called the Critics Company have been uploading short sci-fi films to their YouTube channel. Using a smartphone with a busted screen, makeshift equipment, open source 3D tools like Blender, and green sheets hung on walls, the self-taught group has produced some professional-grade special effects. Check out this 10-minute short they uploaded in January, Z: The Beginning.
(6) MORE ON CAMPBELL. Comments by David Bowles, including some quotes from Campbell. Thread starts here.
(7) NO BILLIONS AND BILLIONS? The Hollywood Reporter drills into the “‘Spider-Man’ Standoff: Why Sony Thinks It Doesn’t Need “Kevin’s Playbook” Anymore”.
…Rothman will need to deliver Marvel-less fare that lives up to hype of the Spider-Man character’s MCU appearances. “If the two sides don’t come to a compromise, it’s a lose-lose for everybody,” argues Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for industry website Boxoffice. “Marvel won’t be able to resolve the cliffhanger in future movies, which is saying something when it’s their most popular hero. And for Sony, who has had success, Far From Home doesn’t get to a billion dollars without Feige and Marvel’s involvement.”
Adds Robbins, “The other big question is, ‘How are fans are going to react to a Tom Holland Spider-Man movie that is not set in the MCU?’ That is a roll of the dice that no studio should take.”
(8) I THOUGHT BUGS HATE RAID(S). Cnet reports “Spider-Man fans want to ‘storm’ Sony and ‘bring our boy home’ to the MCU”.
A Facebook event, hosted by three fans, was set up on Tuesday. The event, according to its description, involves dressing up in Spider-Man costumes and bringing “our boy home!” (to the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
The raid is planned for Oct. 31, aka Halloween. The perfect guise.
This fan rage spawned from a report Deadline published Tuesday of a high-level dispute between Sony and Marvel. That dispute means Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige won’t produce any more Spider-Man films and Marvel will no longer be involved in the Spider-Man movie universe.
(9) CRYSTAL CLEARING. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance premieres August 30 on Netflix.
As power-hungry overlords drain life from the planet Thra, a group of brave Gelfling unite on a quest to save their world and fight off the darkness.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 22, 1907 — Oliver McGowan. He played The Caretaker in the “Shore Leave” episode of the original Trek. It must be decades since I’ve seen that episode but I still remember liking it a lot silly though it be. It’s kind of the ancestor to the holodeck, isn’t it? McGowan has one-offs on One Step Beyond, Wild Wild West, I Dream of Jeannie, The Twilight Zone and Bewitched. (Died 1971.)
- Born August 22, 1909 — Paul W. Fairman. His story “No Teeth for the Tiger” was published in the February 1950 issue of Amazing Stories. Two years later, he was the founding editor of If, but he edited only four issues. In 1955, he became the editor of Amazing Stories and Fantastic which he would hold for three years. There are several films, Target Earth and Invasion of the Saucer Men, based on his stories, plus some TV episodes as well. (Died 1977.)
- Born August 22, 1920 — Ray Bradbury. So what’s your favorite book by him? I have three. Something Wicked This Way Comes is the one I reread quite a bit with The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles being my other go to regularly works by him. (Died 2012.)
- Born August 22, 1925 — Honor Blackman, 94. Best known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers, Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger and Hera in Jason and the Argonauts. She was also Professor Lasky in “Terror of the Vervoids” in the Sixth Doctor’s “The Trial of a Time Lord”.
- Born August 22, 1948 — Susan Wood. Of extremely fragile health, she received three Hugo Awards for Best Fan Writer in 1974, 1977, and 1981, and a Best Fanzine Hugo as coeditor of Energumen in 1973. In 1976 she was instrumental in organizing the very first feminist panel at a con, at MidAmericon. The reaction to this helped lead to the founding of A Women’s APA and of WisCon. While teaching courses in SF at UBC, one of her students was William Gibson. “Fragments of a Hologram Rose” which is his first published story was written as an assignment in her SF class. (Died 1980.)
- Born August 22, 1955 — Will Shetterly, 64. Of his novels, I recommend his two Borderland novels, Elsewhere and Nevernever, and Dogland. Married to Emma Bull, they did a trailer for her War for The Oaks novel which is worth seeing.
- Born August 22, 1959 — Mark Williams, 60. He was Arthur Weasley in seven of the Potter films. He also played Brian Williams in the BBC series Doctor Who, appearing with the Eleventh Doctor in “The Power of Three” and “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. He was also Olaf Petersen on Red Dwarf. His first genre role was as Fearnot’s Brother in the “Fearnot” episode of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.
- Born August 22, 1963 — Tori Amos, 56. One of Gaiman’s favorite musicians, so it’s appropriate that she penned two essays, the afterword to “Death” in Sandman: Book of Dreams) and the Introduction to “Death” in The High Cost of Living. Although created before they ever met, Delirium from The Sandman is based on her.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Speedbump has a very funny variation on an old theme, with a little environmental message.
- In Pearls Before Swine we meet a frog who’s a different kind of prince.
- Grimmy serves up a very cheap pun!
(12) BRADBURY REDISCOVERIES. The B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog calls readers’ attention to “8 Lesser-Known Works by Ray Bradbury” on his birthday.
The Green Towns
Green Town is to Bradbury what Derry and Castle Rock are to Stephen King: an invented town that brings to life the community of the author’s childhood dreams, shot through with an undercurrent of the supernatural. The town is based on Waukegan, Illinois, where Bradury spent his boyhood years, and his fond memories and great love for the place shine throughout the Green Town series’ four novels, the most widely read of which is Something Wicked This Way Comes.
(13) BLOW OUT YOUR CANDLE. LitHub declares “Ray Bradbury still deserves birthday sex, even after all these years.”
…I bet you didn’t know that Crazy Ex Girlfriend creator and star Rachel Bloom is quite possibly his biggest fan. In 2010, she went public with her adoration and shared “F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury” with the world. (In 2011, the video was even nominated for a Hugo Award!)
So, celebrate Ray Bradbury today with lyrics like: “Since I was 12, I’ve been your number one fan / Kiss me, you illustrated man. / I’ll feed you grapes and dandelion wine / And we’ll read a little Fahrenheit 69.” You’re welcome.
(14) ON THE AIR. “Fast radio bursts” feature in today’s Nature. Their origin has been a mystery and some have (seriously) proposed ET intelligence origin (like pulsars were but you know how that turned out). There are also repeaters… “Haul of mysterious cosmic bursts excites astronomers”.
Discovery of more ‘repeater’ fast radio bursts should help to reveal signals’ origins…
Astronomers are edging closer to finding out what causes brief, powerful flashes in the sky known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), after a Canadian telescope discovered eight more of the most intriguing type of these blasts — those that repeat their signals. FRBs are intensely energetic events that flare for just milliseconds, seemingly all over the sky and from outside the Galaxy. But their cause has remained a mystery since the first FRB was identified in 2007. Astronomers hope that studying bursts that repeat their flashes, rather than flare just once, can help to elucidate the origins of FRBs. That’s because it’s easier for high-resolution telescopes to make followup observations of ‘repeaters’ and trace their origins compared with one-off blasts.
(15) BOT AND DELIVERED. My cousin Russia Mike, as I like to call him, is on his way to the ISS: “Russia launches life-sized robot into space”. (With photos.)
Russia has launched a rocket carrying a life-sized robot to the International Space Station (ISS).
It was launched from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday and is set to arrive at the station on Saturday.
The robot, named Fedor (Experimental Demonstration Object Research), is the first ever sent into space by Russia.
In order to test a new emergency rescue system, the robot was the Soyuz rocket’s only passenger.
Fedor stands some one metre and 80 centimetres tall (5ft 11 inches) and weighs 160 kilograms.
During its 10 days at the ISS, Fedor will learn new skills such as “connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” said Alexander Bloshenko, the Russian space agency’s director for prospective programmes and science.
It is hoped that Fedor will eventually carry out more dangerous tasks such as spacewalks.
(16) A CITY SAID TO THE UNIVERSE. They hope there isn’t any there there: “City of Bielefeld offers €1m for proof it doesn’t exist” – BBC has the story.
It’s a German city dating back to the 9th Century, with 340,000 residents, a university, a medieval fort… but does it really exist?
Bielefeld is now offering a €1m (£914,000) prize to anyone in Germany who can prove the city’s non-existence.
The city marketing group running the competition wants to disprove a 25-year-old conspiracy theory.
Back in 1994 a student light-heartedly posted the message “Bielefeld? There’s no such thing” on the Usenet system.
Achim Held’s message became a long-running joke in Germany, once it spread virally with the subsequent internet boom
(17) WE KNOW HE IS A WIZ OF A WIZ. Matthem Dessen imparts “A Brief History of Peeing in Video Games” at Slate.
Gamescom 2019 kicked off in Cologne, Germany on Monday night, and as usual, the annual trade fair has been full to bursting with announcements, trailers, and exciting new details about upcoming games. But one development is making a bigger splash than the rest: Visionary video game auteur Hideo Kojima’s next game, Death Stranding, will feature the kind of hyper-realistic urination gameplay action that gamers crave. Drench your eyeballs in this leaked footage from Gamescom’s opening night stream to see Death Stranding star Norman Reedus take the most lavishly digitized piss in video game history…
…Mystery House (On-Line Systems, 1980)
Roberta and Ken Williams are rightfully hailed as two of the most influential game designers in history, but their first attempt to break gaming’s pee barrier was an abject failure. Mystery House, the very first graphical adventure game, was also the very first graphical adventure game to feature a drawing of a toilet….
[Thanks to Rich Horton, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John A Arkansawyer, Mike Kennedy, DMS, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Alan Baumler, George Phillies, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]