(1) PALLET JACKED. “Gen Con Card Heist: $300K Worth of Cards Stolen From Show Floor” – Gizmodo has the story.
…Per Indianapolis’ WRTV, the tabletop game convention had over $300,000 worth of cards stolen from the show floor. Dicebreaker reported that the theft occurred on Wednesday, August 2 as vendors were setting up for the event at the Indiana Convention Center. Police in the area claim the thieves used a pallet jack to remove a pallet of cards, which allowed them to blend in since everyone was moving product around the convention floor that day. Dicebreaker further noted that the theft was pulled off with two thieves. At time of writing, it’s unknown which specific cards were stolen, and what company (or companies) they belonged to…
More details and security cam images of the suspects at WRTV’s post “Over $300K worth of gaming cards stolen from Gen Con during setup”.
(2) MISSING FROM MOPOP. Deadline explains why “JK Rowling Airbrushed From Pop Culture Museum’s Harry Potter Display”.
The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle had previously published a blog explaining its decision to airbrush Rowling from its display, due to her “super hateful and divisive” views.
Project manager Chris Moore, who is transgender, wrote in the piece:
“There’s a certain cold, heartless, joy-sucking entity in the world of Harry Potter and, this time, it is not actually a Dementor….”
The Deadline article is sourced in “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, a May 2023 blog post by Chris Moore, MoPOP’s Exhibitions Project Manager.
We would love to go with the internet’s theory that these books were actually written without an author, but this certain person is a bit too vocal with her super hateful and divisive views to be ignored. Yes, we’re talking about J.K. Rowling, and no, we don’t like that we’re giving her more publicity, so that’s the last you’ll see of her name in this post. We’ll just stick with You-Know-Who because they’re close enough in character….
And what is MoPOP doing? If you’ve visited the museum recently, you will have seen artifacts from the Harry Potter films in Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic gallery and her likeness in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. They’re there and trying to dance around it would make me look like a bigger hypocrite. But here’s the deal… it’s complicated. Long conversations are being had and a lot of considerations around what to do with problematic people and content because instances like this are going to keep happening. I’m privileged to get to work with our Curatorial team and see the decision-making processes there, so let me give you a little bit of insight into what these are like after someone outs themself as holding terrible ideologies….
… As for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, this list of inductees has a long history that didn’t start with MoPOP, EMP Museum, or even the Experience Music Project. It was founded in 1996 at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction and came to MoPOP in 2004. The inductees are specifically chosen by public voting. You-Know-Who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 before she became the face of trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF). If you keep looking in there, you’ll see other figures with questionable if not downright disturbing pasts. But what does that mean? Are MoPOP’s hands tied on something that is in our building? Again, it’s complicated. For the time being, the Curators decided to remove any of her artifacts from this gallery to reduce her impact. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s what we were able to do in the short-term while determining long-term practices. As we’ve continued to learn and grow, they’re planning on continuing to add context to creators and content through our blog and possibly in-gallery QR codes….
(3) SEVENTIES GENRE ART. [Item by Ben Bird Person.] Jared Pechaček will talk with 70’s Sci-Fi Art curator Adam Rowe about his new book Worlds Beyond Time: Sci-Fi Art of the 1970s. It’ll be streamed live on Zoom at 12 PM EST/3 PM PST on Tuesday, August 8th. Register here.
A visual history of the spaceships, alien landscapes, cryptozoology, and imagined industrial machinery of 1970s paperback sci-fi art
Third Place Books welcomes local author Adam Rowe—senior writer at Tech.co and curator of the popular, multi-platform 70s Sci-Fi Art feed @70sscifi—for a presentation of his latest book, Worlds Beyond Time: Sci-Fi Art of the 1970s. Visit the store to see this stunning art-object for yourself! Rowe will be joined in conversation by local artist and writer Jared Pechaček.
This event will be broadcast live on Zoom. Registering will provide you with a unique access link in an email. During the event, you can ask questions using the Q&A feature, or chat with fellow attendees. A recording of the event will be made available and emailed to all who register.
This author talk is free! You can sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book.
(4) PREEMPTIVE BOOK DUMPING. “Bookstores’ donations from teachers rise amid Florida book bans” reports WESH in Orlando.
Some used bookstores are seeing a rush of donations from teachers because those teachers are worried about book bans.
A stack of books sat in front of “Best Used Books” in Longwood on Thursday.
Crystal Bryant says the shelves are filling up more quickly this summer.
“Every author that you could possibly think of,” Bryant said.
Teachers are donating thousands more books than usual because they’re concerned about banned books.
“Those teachers are literally coming back every day, bringing boxes of stuff that they can’t they can’t use in their classrooms, which is sad,” Bryant said.
Bryant’s family has owned the shop for nearly 30 years.
And she says this year, they’ve gotten three times the amount of book dropoffs.
“Just a lot of stuff coming in,” Bryant said.
And we’re just like, we will take it because we don’t discriminate whatsoever.
“You’re seeing a lot of teachers saying, ‘I’m just not going to take the chance and I’m going to get rid of the classroom libraries,'” Andrew Spar said.
Spar is the president of Florida’s largest teachers’ union….
(5) THE ROARING TWENTIES OF BOOK SALES. The Guardian brings word: “‘I can’t stress how much BookTok sells’: teen literary influencers swaying publishers”.
The famous Waterstones in London’s Piccadilly is a modernist/art deco building. It started life as a menswear store and has the feel of that sort of traditional shop that is fast disappearing. But this bookshop, like many others, is enjoying a very modern sales boost from social media.
Groups of teenage girls regularly gather here to buy new books and meet new friends, both discovered on the social media app TikTok. Recommendations by influencers for authors and novels on BookTok – a community of users who are passionate about books and make videos recommending titles – can send sales into the stratosphere.
But while very much an online phenomenon, BookTok is having a material impact on the high street, with TikTok now pushing people to buy their books from bricks-and-mortar booksellers through a partnership with bookshop.org, which allows people to buy online and support independent bookshops at the same time.
Last year, Waterstones Piccadilly hosted a BookTok festival. One sales assistant told the Observer: “I can’t stress how much BookTok sells books. It’s driven huge sales of YA [young adult] and romance books, including titles such as The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and authors such as Colleen Hoover.
“The demographic is almost exclusively teenage girls, but the power it has is huge. We have a ‘BookTok recommended’ table – and you can tell which books are trending by the speed at which they sell.”…
(6) JETSON LORE. Back with another MeTV quiz – “How well do you know Elroy Jetson?” I only got 8 out of 10. “Only” because I’m convinced I knew the hardest ones, and one of my misses wasn’t really a question about the show itself.
“His boy, Elroy!”
Meet the boy of the future, Elroy Jetson! He’s got all the gadgets you could shake a stick at. But even though he’s living in a sci-fi world, Elroy Jetson is still relatable enough that any kid could see themselves reflected in his astronaut helmet.
How well do you recall this techno-lad? Was Elroy your favorite, or were you tuning in for Astro? Who here wanted to be Elroy? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
After the regrettable incidents on the island (the old island), the Doctor kept a low profile. Many thought he was dead. There was safety in that once. Now the greater safety is in being known.
What plans he had, back in the day! World domination! If only … but no, this is just the sort of negative spiral his therapist has warned him about. He has remade himself as an altruist, a philanthropist, and he means for his efforts to have maximum impact.
His therapist calls it “harm reduction,” a transition from the “malignant” narcissism of his past to the “altruistic” narcissism of the present. And it’s true he has changed: In times past, even referring to his narcissism might have earned the therapist a trip to the guano workings. But he is no longer that malevolent man. He’s even developed a sense of humor. He collects mad doctor jokes. He has a T-shirt that reads I’M NOT MAD I’M JUST GETTING EVEN….
The response essay, “Why we’re unprepared to confront the threat of extinction” is by Tyler Austin Harper, an “expert in philosophy and existential risk.”
One of Friedrich Nietzsche’s great early essays opens with a strange, science fictional vignette. Set on a melancholy little planet where “clever beasts invented knowing,” the philosopher’s parable recounts the rise, reign, and ultimate extinction of this sapient species, whose career is described as only a “minute” in the history of the universe. “After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die,” Nietzsche writes.
Nietzsche’s grift soon becomes transparent, of course: We are the “clever beasts” in the story, and the point of the parable is to force the reader to imagine our species from a God’s-eye view, to expose “how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature.” The parable concludes on a nakedly nihilistic note: “When it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened,” Nietzsche observes. “For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life.”
Understandably, most readers focus on the wildly pessimistic penultimate sentence, where Nietzsche announces humanity’s cosmic insignificance. However, it is the last sentence, which expressly explains why nothing will have happened, that holds the key to the parable’s meaning. For Nietzsche, the extinction of the “clever beasts” is meaningless not because their existence is intrinsically worthless, but because they fail to pursue any “mission” that would give their collective existence purpose. They do not set themselves a goal as a species….
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 6, 1874 — Charles Fort. Writer and researcher who specialized in anomalous phenomena. The term fortean is sometimes used to characterize such phenomena. No, not genre as such, but certainly an influence on many a writer. The Dover publication, The Complete Books of Charles Fort, that collects together The Book of The Damned Lo!, Wild Talents and New Lands has a foreword by Damon Knight. When it was originally published as The Books of Charles Fort L. Sprague de Camp reviewed it in Astounding Science-Fiction in the August 1941 issue. (Died 1932.)
- Born August 6, 1877 — John Ulrich Giesy. He was one of the early writers in the Sword and Planet genre, with his Jason Croft series. He collaborated with Junius B. Smith on many of his stories though not these which others would call them scientific romances. He wrote a large number of stories featuring the occult detective Abdul Omar aka Semi-Dual and those were written with Smith. (Died 1947.)
- Born August 6, 1926 — Janet Asimov. Author of some half dozen novels and a fair amount of short fiction on her own, mostly as J.O. Jeppson; co-author with Isaac of the Norby Chronicles. Her Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing, came out thirteen years ago. (Died 2019.)
- Born August 6, 1934 — Piers Anthony, 89. Ok I’ll admit that I’m not at all familiar with him as comic fantasy isn’t my usual go-to reading though I’ve some of the Xanth series a long time ago. I know he’s popular so I’m going to ask y’all which of his novels would be a great introduction to him. Go ahead and tell which novels I should read.
- Born August 6, 1956 — Ian R. MacLeod, 67. Another author I need to read more of. I’ve read the first two in what’s called the Aether Universe series, The Light Ages and The House of Storms, but there are other novels I’m intrigued by, including Song of Time and The Great Wheel. He’s won some impressive Awards including three Sidewise Awards for The Summer Isles (short and long forms) and for Wake Up and Dream novel. He also won a World Fantasy Award for “The Chop Shop” short story.
- Born August 6, 1972 — Paolo Bacigalupi, 51. I remember the book group I was part of some years ago having a spirited debate over The Windup Girl (which won a Hugo at Aussiecon 4 and a Nebula as well) over the believability of the central character. I think he did a better job with characters in his next novels, Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities, but he’s really not about characters anyways.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro reveals the post-apocalyptic cat world.
- Herman shows another law enforcement-vs.-flying saucer encounter with a surprise ending.
- Brewster Rockit thinks he’s surprising a colleague with his discovery of another way to read text.
- Tom Gauld on classic novels improved by AI:
(10) THE MAN FROM UNCLE WITH THE GOLDEN GUN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. On the official blog of artist J.J. Lendle, The Poster Project, is an amazing gallery of tributes to current movies and shows on posters done in myriad styles drawn from the decades of Hollywood history. Here’s a very recent example.
(11) FREE READ. Sunday Morning Transport’s editors hope their free August story, Eugenia Triantafyllou‘s “Always Be Returning,” will “transport all our readers to mythical and strikingly heartfelt shores.” “Always Be Returning”. To receive new posts and support our authors’ work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
(12) HE DIDN’T TAKE HIS SHOT. “Star Trek’s new musical episode happened because of Lin-Manuel Miranda” at The Digital Fix.
… It was initially going to be Star Trek Picard that was possibly going to have a musical episode. Executive producer of both Picard and Strange New Worlds Akiva Goldsman says that another exec-producer, Michael Chabon knows Lin-Manuel Miranda. “We were like, ‘Call him! call him!’” but “[Lin-Manuel] didn’t call him back. And that was the end of that musical. But it did seem like such a good idea. As soon as Henry and I got together to make [Strange New Worlds], I kept peppering him with, ‘We should do a musical,’ and Henry, of course, had done musicals before.”…
(13) 10,000 MILES I ROAMED, JUST TO MAKE THIS DOCK MY HOME. Most of these new-species-named-for-something-genre are pointlessly precious, but I admit this one made me laugh: “New Fish Species Named After The Lord of the Rings” at Comicbook.com.
The world of The Lord of the Rings has inspired countless adaptations and fan works — and now, it has officially influenced the world of fish. According to a new study in the Ichthyology & Herpetology journal, scientists have discovered a brand-new species of suckermouth catfish along West Africa’s Niger River, which shares some similarities with the franchise’s fictional Hobbits. In particular, the fish are seen as “diminutive travelers” who were separated a great distance from their fellow catfish, much like the Hobbits are in J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories. As a result, the brown and white fish has now officially been named Chiloglanis frodobagginsi, a reference to protagonist Frodo Baggins…
(14) VIDEO OF BACK IN THE DAY. Brian Keene joins three more living legends — Ellen Datlow, Linda Addison, and Steve Rasnic Tem — for “Back in the Day (part 2)”.
Brian Keene speaks with panelists about what has changed in publishing and horror fiction over the years… and what hasn’t
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Steven French, Ben Bird Person, Kathy Sullivan, Peer, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]