(1) YOU’VE GOT MAIL. The LA Times profiles a published collection of stars’ correspondence: “‘Letters From Hollywood’ opens mail from Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford and more”. The image shows Bela Lugosi’s thank-you after being cast in Dracula.
…Neither realized how difficult it would be to find, acquire and get permission to use the letters.
They searched archives at UCLA, AFI, the academy, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Library at Boston University. They reached out to auction houses and families with personal collections.
Lang even hired private detective David Gurvitz to track down relatives for permission to publish the letters. “The copyright was with the writer, not the receiver,” he said.
(2) WE ASKED FOR IT. Saturday’s Scroll
works hard for a
living linked to The Guardian’s list of best books of the 21st
Century, leading some of us to ask what a journalist would have picked in 1919
as the best books of the early 20th Century. The legendary Kyra took up the
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Five Children and It
The Phoenix and the Carpet
The Scarlet Pimpernel
I Am A Cat
The House of Mirth
The Story of the Amulet
The Enchanted Castle
A Room With a View
Anne of Green Gables
The Man Who Was Thursday
The Wind in the Willows
The Secret Garden
The Valley of Fear
(3) YE OLDE DAYS. Fanac.org just scanned and posted 9 of the 12 issues of my genzine Scientifriction published between 1974 and 1983. I recommend Dave Locke’s column “Beyond the Shift Key” in issue #11 (1979) as perfectly illustrating the kind of faneditorial diplomacy I am known for and alluded to in comments yesterday…. and provoked Dave to yank my chain —
“What is your shtick this time” [Mike] queried me. “If I ask for fanhumor, what are you going to give me? Will you pretend to write a pain story while actually telling everyone why you think science fiction writers should be individually certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture?”
“I’ve never believed that SF writers should – “
He waved his hand again. “It was just an example,” he said. “And if I show a preference for something that will bring in a little discussion, what then?” He looked at me in a severe manner. “Will you draw a framework to support the philosophy that fandom has many direct parallels with the practice of cannibalism, and somehow use it to talk about the time you fell out of a rollercoaster into the cotton candy concession?”…
(4) DRINK TANK. Or if you prefer a really fresh fanzine, there’s The Drink Tank 413 – “Dublin 2019” edited by Chris Garcia and Alissa McKersie. Cover by Vanessa Applegate.
We take a look at the Dublin WorldCon through the eyes of Chairman James Bacon, Hugo nominee Chuck Serface, all-arounf good guy Fred Moulton, the photos of Jim Fitzpatrick, and a MASSIVE trip report by Chris! Cover is by Vanessa Applegate!
(5) INSIDE BASEBALL. Dorothy Grant raises a good question about fictional realism in “How long does recovery take?” at Mad Genus Club.
…In Science Fiction and Fantasy, we often employ handwavium – healing spells, regen(eration), nannites, divine favour, what have you. And that’s excellent, when needs must, the plot drives, and it’s worldbuilt in. (Who wouldn’t go to the clinic if they could?)
…Actually, that last sentence is an interesting source of complications. Who wouldn’t? Why would they be unable to get there, or to use it? What’s it like to be a person with more consequences for every risk than those around you, and how does that change their plans? As Brandon Sanderson put it in his Second Law of Magic, “Limitations are more interesting than powers.”
(6) MAIL EARLY FOR HALLOWEEN. The US Postal Service will release its Spooky Silhouettes stamp issue on October 11.
The Spooky Silhouettes stamps feature digital illustrations with Halloween motifs rendered as black silhouettes in eerily backlit windows. The images include a cat with an arched back beneath a raven perched on a bare tree branch, all against a yellowish-green background; two ghosts against an orange background; a spider and a web against a red background; and three bats against a purple background.
(7) COSMONAUT OBIT. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] Siegmund Jähn, the first German person in space, has died aged 82. Because he was from East Germany and went into space with the Soviets, his contributions to space explorations were sadly ignored in West Germany until the unification. I had never even heard of Siegmund Jähn until the 1990s, even though I shared the usual SFF geek’s interest in all things space.
Here is an English language obituary: “A life for space: Sigmund Jähn, Germany’s first cosmonaut, dies aged 82”
Siegmund Jähn was also the first and likely only person to officiate at a wedding in space. During his spaceflight in 1978, Jähn took along a doll of Sandmännchen (Little Sandman), star of a popular East German children’s program (though West German kids loved it, too, and I had a Little Sandman doll as a kid, courtesy of my Great Aunt Metel from East Germany). It just happened that his Soviet colleague Valeri Bykovski had also brought along a toy, a doll named Masha from some Russian children’s program. And on a lark, Jähn married the two dolls aboard Soyuz 31. The doll wedding was apparently filmed, though the footage was never broadcast, because East German television objected to Little Sandman getting married.
(8) EISENBERG OBIT. CNN reports “‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ actor Aron Eisenberg dies at age 50”. He played Nog, a character who appeared in 40 episodes.
In addition to “Deep Space Nine,” Eisenberg also had roles in the TV movie “Amityville: The Evil Escapes” and the features “The Horror Show,” “Playroom” and “Beverly Hills Brats,” all in the late 1980s.
(9) TODAY’S DAY.
- September 22 — Hobbit Day sponsored by the American Tolkien Society. “Tolkien Week is observed as the calendar week containing September 22, which is always observed as Hobbit Day. Tolkien Week 2019 will begin Sunday, September 22 and end Saturday, September 28.”
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- September 22, 1968 — Irwin Allen’s Land of the Giants aired “The Crash”, the first episode of the series. Starring Gary Conway and Don Matheson, it would last two seasons.
- September 22, 1973 — The Canadian-produced series The Starlost aired its first episode. The program was originally conceived by Harlan Ellison, who changed his credit to “Cordwainer Bird” and ran away from it as fast as he could.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 22, 1917 — Samuel A. Peeples. Memory Alpha says that he’s the person that gave Roddenberry the catch phrase he used to sell Trek to the network: “[As] fellow writer Harlan Ellison has credited him with the creation of one of the most famous catch phrases in Star Trek-lore, ‘[Gene Roddenberry] got “Wagon Train to the stars” from Sam Peeples. That’s what Gene said to me. They were at dinner and Sam Peeples, of course, was a fount of ideas, and Gene said something or other about wanting to do a space show and Sam said, “Yeah? Why don’t you do Wagon Train to the stars?”’” (Died 1997.)
- Born September 22, 1952 — Paul Kincaid, 67. A British science fiction critic. He stepped down as chairman of the Arthur C. Clarke Award in April 2006 after twenty years. He is the co-editor with Andrew M. Butler of The Arthur C. Clarke Award: A Critical Anthology. He’s also written A Very British Genre: A Short History of British Fantasy and Science Fiction and What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction.
- Born September 22, 1954 — Shari Belafonte, 65. Daughter of Harry Belafonte, I first spotted her on Beyond Reality, a Canadian series that showed up when I was living in upstate Vermont. You most likely saw her as Elizabeth Trent in Babylon 5: Thirdspace as that’s her most well-known genre performance.
- Born September 22, 1982 — Billie Piper, 37. Rose Tyler, companion to the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. She later starred as Brona Croft/Lily in the Penny Dreadful series. Not really genre, but she‘s in the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North where she’s Sally Lockhart, a Victorian orphan turned detective.
- Born September 22, 1971 — Elizabeth Bear, 48. I’ve enjoyed many of her novels down the years including Ancestral Nights. I’m also fond of her very early SF in the form of the Hammered, Scardown and Worldwired novels. And now you get you get to hear the very first time she read one of her stories, “The Chains That Refuse” as she let us put it up on Green Man.
- Born September 22, 1981 — Maria Ashley Eckstein, 38. She’s voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars Forces of Destiny. She also voices Dagger on the Ultimate Spider-Man series. Did we mention she’s 38? Not 27 or 37? 38!
- Born September 22, 1985 — Tatiana Maslany, 34. Performer of the multiple clones role in Orphan Black. Show won the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form in 2015 for its “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” episode. She’s currently voicing in Aja & Queen Coranda in 3Below: Tales of Arcadia.
- Born September 22, 2001 — Ghreat Revelation of Ghughle, age (if that’s really applicable) 17. As Fancyclopedia 3 puts it, “Ghughle is a new and obscure fannish ghod whose Ghreat Revelation occurred to Steven H Silver on September 22, 2001 at a SMOFCon planning meeting. Within five minutes, the first schism happened when Erik Olson insisted on spelling the ghod’s name “Ghugle.” The Ghospel of Ghughle first appeared in Argentus 2 (2002).
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- Pearls Before Swine presents a reductio ad absurdum about sensitivity in publishing.
(13) THE MAESTRO. CBS Sunday Morning interviewed “John Williams on reworking the classics – his own”.
In the hills of western Massachusetts, the mid-summer breeze carries the scent of honeysuckle and the sound of genius. This is Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and of its best-known artist-in-residence, John Williams.
The maestro actually lives in Los Angeles, but he says Tanglewood is where he’s done some of his best work. “Its effect on me is very spiritual and very exciting,” he said. “And I’ve written so much music here, so many film scores in this place. Right here, I come every summer – ‘Star Wars’ films, ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Schindler’s List,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ a great percentage of that work done physically here.”
And what astonishing work it is.
Williams is the most-honored movie composer of all time, with five Academy Awards (so far). And he has 51 Oscar nominations, more than any other living person. Only Walt Disney has more.
“I know you’re a very modest man…” said correspondent Tracy Smith. “But do you ever allow yourself that moment to step back and say, ‘Wow. Look what I’ve done!'”
… Fresh, indeed: Williams has recently reworked some of his movie music for violin, specifically for the instrument of Anne-Sophie Mutter, one of the greatest violinists ever to pick up a bow.
(14) X-FILES IMPACT. “Geena Davis just made children’s TV more feminist”, a piece by Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post about the efforts of the Geena Davis Institute to promote gender equity in Hollywood, has this paragraph quoting the institute’s president, Madeline Di Nonno:
Di Nonno recalls being commissioned by 21st Century Fox in 2017 to validate the ‘Scully effect,’ wherein Gillian Anderson’s character in ‘The X-Files’ inspired girls and young women to go into scientific fields. ‘We found that 63 percent of the women who are working in STEM today attribute it to that character,’ Di Nonno says.
(15) ANCIENT MONUMENT. Gizmodo says the truth is out there – and for a change, not under water: Submerged for Decades, Spanish ‘Stonehenge’ Reemerges After Drought.
Receding water levels in Spain’s Valdecañas Reservoir has exposed a stone monument dating back to between 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.
Unusually warm weather produced drought conditions across much of Europe this past summer, including Spain. The lack of rain, while a headache for farmers and gardeners, has resulted in the complete re-emergence of an ancient megalithic site known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, as reported in The Local.
(16) GLASS BELL AWARD. Here is the official announcement: “VOX Wins Glass Bell Award 2019”. Crime fiction news site SHOTS adds photos and a longer story: “Urgent, Timely’ Feminist Dystopian Debut VOX Wins 2019 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell”.
Debut novelist Christina Dalcher has been awarded The Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2019 for her thought-provoking and suspenseful dystopian thriller VOX, which imagines a near future in which an evangelical sect has taken control of the US and women have been limited to speaking just a hundred words a day.
(17) PASTURES OF PLENTY. A catalog of links to these book reviews can be found at Friday’s Forgotten Books: The name of the reviewer comes first, then the name of what they reviewed.
- Patricia/Abbott: Beautiful Ruins by Jesse Walter
- Stacy Alesi: The G List: Fiction Reviews 1983-2013
- Angie Barry: New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith
- Brad Bigelow: Angry Man’s Tale by Peter de Polnay
- Paul Bishop: The Cowboy and the Cossack by Clair Huffaker
- Les Blatt: Sealed Room Murder by Rupert Penny; The Case of the Fighting Soldier by Christopher Bush
- Elgin Bleecker: Zero Avenue by Dietrich Kalteis
- Joachim Boaz: Orbit 4, edited by Damon Knight
- John Boston: Amazing: Fact and Science Fiction Stories, October 1964, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli
- Brian Busby: The Silver Poppy by Arthur Stringer
- Joseph J. Corn: “The First Successful Trip of an Airship” by A. I. Root, Gleanings in Bee Culture, 1 January 1905
- Martin Edwards: Dear Laura by Jean Stubbs
- Peter Enfantino: Atlas (proto-Marvel) horror comics, September 1952
- Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: DC war comics, September 1975
- Will Errickson: The Nightrunners by Joe R. Lansdale; Slob by Rex Miller
- José Ignacio Escribano: Murder in the Maze by “J. J. Connington” (Alfred Walter Stewart); Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
- Curtis Evans: Sudden Death by Freeman Wills Crofts
- Olman Feelyus: The Girl from Nowhere by “Rae Foley” (Elinor Denniston); No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase
- Paul Fraser: New Worlds SF, August 1965, edited by Michael Moorcock (Jeremiah Cornelius)
- Barry Gardner: Down in the Zero by Andrew Vachss
- Kathleen George: Scoundrels edited by Gary Phillips
- John Grant: This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith; The Courilof Affair by Irène Némirovsky (translated by Sandra Smith)
- Aubrey Hamilton: The Gourmet Detective by Peter King; The Defendants by John Ellsworth
- Bev Hankins: Thrones, Donations by Dorothy L. Sayers and Joan Paton Walsh; The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North; False Scent by Ngaio Marsh; The Case of the Ill-Gotten Goat by Claudia Bishop
- Rich Horton: Tanith Lee stories; Why Do Birds? and stories by Damon Knight; Wil McCarthy stories; Howard Waldrop stories; Steve Rasnic Tem stories
- Jerry House: The Silent Death by “Maxwell Grant” (Walter B. Gibson); originally in The Shadow Magazine. 1 April 1933, edited by John Nanovic; Thriller Comics Library, 6 November 1956, “Dick Turpin and the Double-Faced Foe” written by Joan Whitford, story illustrations by Ruggero Giovanni
- Kate Jackson: Stairway to an Empty Room and Terror Lurks in Darkness by Dolores Hitchens; Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie and Agatha Christie’s Murder in the Making as edited by John Curran
- Tracy K: More Work for the Undertaker by Margery Allingham
- Colman Keane: Darwin’s Nightmare by Mike Knowles
- George Kelley: The Great SF Stories 13 (1951) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
- Joe Kenney: Omerta by Peter McCurtin; Fire Bomb by “Stuart Jason” (James Dockery)
- Rob Kitchin: Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum (translated by Felicity David); Tightrope by Simon Mawer
- B. V. Lawson: Final Proof by Marie R. Reno
- Evan Lewis: “Waterfront Wildcat” (text story) by Robert Turner, Crash Comics, November 1940
- Steve Lewis: “Small Chances” by Charlaine Harris, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, September/ October 2016, edited by Janet Hutchings; The Wiseman Originals by Ron Goulart; Wedding Treasure by David Wilson
- Mike S. Lind: The Madhouse in Washington Square by David Alexander
- John O’Neill: The Quiet Invasion by Sarah Zettel
- Matt Paust: Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
- James Reasoner: Stampede by “Yukon Miles” (Dan Cushman)
- Richard Robinson: The Man in My Grave by Wilson Tucker
- Sandra Ruttan: Sob Story by Carol Anne Davis
- Gerard Saylor: Locked Doors by Blake Crouch
- Steven H Silver: “The Button Molder” by Fritz Leiber, Whispers magazine, October 1979, edited and published by Stuart David Schiff; SF Commentary edited and published by Bruce Gillespie
- Victoria Silverwolf: Worlds of Tomorrow, September 1964, edited by Frederik Pohl; Counterfeit World aka Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye
- Kevin Tipple: Parker Field by Howard Owen
- “TomCat”: Seeds of Murder by (F.) Van Wyck Mason; “The Case of Murder on D. Hill” aka “D zaka no satsujin-jiken” by “Edogawa Rampo” (Hirai Tar?), first published in Shin-Seinen, January 1925, and as translated by William Varteresian
- Mike Tooney: Old-Time Detection, Summer 2019, edited by Arthur Vidro
- David Vineyard: Prelude to a Certain Midnight by Gerald Kersh
- Bill Wallace: The Day of the Monkey by David Karp; The White People by Arthur Machen; Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties & the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius by Gary Lachman
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Alive at the Autoplex” on Vimeo, Zachary Loren Jones explains how bingewatching “Survivor” can help you survive a cosmic catastrophe!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, Darrah Chavey, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, James Bacon, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chip Hitchcock.]