(1) CHICON 8 MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS. Chicon 8 drew 3,574 warm bodies (494 at door). Another 947 watched at least one hour of virtual programming. There were ~6,500 total members of all types. (Numbers via KevinStandlee.)
(2) WORLDCON MASQUERADE PHOTOS. Chicon 8 posted a rich gallery of photos: “Masquerade! Astounding Faces on Parade!” Includes notes on the award winners, including Best in Show, Arwen’s Lament presented by Rae Lundquist and company. (Which also won “Excellence in Workmanship for Hobbit Feet”.)
(3) CLOSING CEREMONIES. Thanks to Kevin Standlee who encouraged me to run any of his posts and photos.
The 2023 Chengdu Worldcon leadership:
The Chengdu Worldcon committee singing to the Closing Ceremonies audience.
(4) HE WAS A WALKING WORLDCON HIGHLIGHT. Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki shared some general comments about being able to achieve his trip to Chicon 8, and the Hugo acceptance speech he didn’t get to give. Lots of photos, too! Thread starts here. (Full text of the speech is on Facebook.)
And there’s a photo of another heartwarming moment on Lezli Robyn’s Facebook page here of Ekpeki being “gifted an iPad and keyboard, for all the future masterpieces he will write.” Robyn added in comments, “It was not from us! But I was the messenger/organizer.” So I don’t know who gave it to him.
(5) CONGRATULATIONS, HUGO WINNER. When Cora Buhlert sent these photos of her Hugo outfit last night she was about to practice her speech again. Now we know – the extra rehearsal was worth it!
(6) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. Lincoln Michel contests a recent meme: “No, Most Books Don’t Sell Only a Dozen Copies”. After dissecting the premises of how sales are measured, Michel offers some conclusions.
…In terms of the dozen copies statistic, I can’t evaluate it because it is unclear what it’s referring to. Fifty-eight thousand books is more books than PRH publishes in a given year, but far less than their entire backlist. Is 58k all new books published with an ISBN, including self-published books? Is it something else? I really don’t know and none of the publishing professionals I follow seem to know either. (Editing to add: Jane Friedman, who posted this number originally on Instagram, noted there was no source given in testimony. Friedman gives her own guess in the comments.)
In my experience, and with the data I’ve seen, most traditionally published novels that you see on bookstore shelves or reviewed in newspapers sell several hundred to a few thousand copies across formats. Many sell much more of course. I’ve seen some flops that sold only a couple hundred. And of course not all traditionally published novels appear in bookstores or reviewed in newspapers. Is it possible someone has published a Big 5 novel that sold only 12 copies over its lifetime? I suppose. But I don’t think it’s 5% much less 50%!…
(7) SHARED UNIVERSE. Wole Talabi tells Guardian readers: “Out of this world: why we created the first collaborative African fantasy universe”. (See the list of members of the Sauúti Collective at the link.)
Creative writing can be a lonely business. As writers, we inhabit whole worlds and characters that live only in our heads for days or years, as we deposit them on the page. This is particularly true for speculative fiction – an umbrella genre of stories that involve supernatural or futuristic elements, or settings that are not the real world.
This creative loneliness is why I’ve always admired the concept of a “shared world” – a fictional setting with its own set of rules where multiple authors can create stories. Some examples are Thieves’ World, edited by Robert Lynn Asprin, or George RR Martin’s Wild Cards (which spawned dozens of books, comics and games, and was optioned for film and TV).
Because writers use the same settings, characters and concepts of the shared world in a connected way, they are in conversation with each other, as a community in the act of creation.
As a speculative fiction author from Africa, where recognition for the genre is growing and community is an important part of the culture, I’ve long wanted to be able to do this with my contemporaries – create together. Not only with other African authors but with the greater African diaspora.
That’s why, working with Fabrice Guerrier, a Haitian-American author and founder of Syllble, a production house based in Los Angeles, and the Nigeria-based magazine Brittle Paper, I sought out a group of like-minded volunteer authors from five African countries to form the Sauúti Collective.
Together we have created Sauúti – a unique shared world for and by Africans and the African diaspora….
(8) MEMORY LANE.
1967 – [By Cat Eldridge.] Alan Garner’s The Owl Service (1967)
It all begins with the scratching in the ceiling. From the moment Alison discovers the dinner service in the attic, with its curious pattern of floral owls, a chain of events is set in progress that is to affect everybody’s lives. — Alan Garner’s The Own Service
Yes, I do have favorite novels as you already know and Alan Garner’s The Owl Service which came out fifty-five years ago is one of them. I think of it as an Autumnal work so it being September, I decided to take a look at it. So here we are.
The Owl Service is supposedly a young adult novel, however, it is much, much more than that. Set in modern Wales, it is an adaptation of the story of the Welsh myth concerning the woman Blodeuwed who becomes an owl — equally made of feathers and claws. It was, as Garner has said, an “expression of that myth”.
In his version, three teenagers visiting a Welsh estate find themselves re-enacting the story by the two boys both being bitter rivals for the girl who came with them to the estate. They awaken the legend by finding a dinner service with an owl pattern, hence the title of the novel.
It is a novel filled with myth come to life with characters, both the children and the adults, being fully realized. It wasn’t his first novel as he’d written three novels previously (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath and Elidor) but of all works he’s done, it’s my favorite still. It’s not his most complex, that honor goes to Boneland which is a sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath.
The Owl Service was made into a Granada Television series in 1969. If you live in the U.K., it’s available on DVD. It was BBC Radio 4 series in 2000.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 5, 1914 — Stuart Freeborn. If you’ve seen Yoda, and of course you have, this is the man who designed it, partly based on his own face. Besides being the makeup supervisor and creature design on the original Star Wars trilogy, he did makeup on The Omen, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey and all four of the Christopher Reeve-fronted Superman films. (Died 2013.)
- Born September 5, 1936 — Rhae Andrece and Alyce Andrece. They played twin androids in I, Mudd, a classic Trek episode. (And really their only significant role.) Both appeared as policewomen in “Nora Clavicle and the Ladies’ Crime Club” on Batman. That’s their only genre other appearance. They appeared together in the same seven shows. (Died 2009 and 2005, respectively.)
- Born September 5, 1939 — George Lazenby, 83. He is best remembered for being James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Genre wise, he also played Jor-El on Superboy and was a Bond like character named JB in the Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. film.
- Born September 5, 1940 — Raquel Welch, 82. Fantastic Voyage was her first genre film, and her second was One Million Years B.C. (well, it wasn’t exactly a documentary) where she starred in a leather bikini, both released in 1966. She was charming in The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers. She has one-offs in Bewitched, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Muppet Show, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child and Mork & Mindy.
- Born September 5, 1946 — Freddie Mercury. Now you know who he was and you’re saying that you don’t remember any genre roles by him. Well there weren’t alas. Oh, Queen had one magnificent role in the 1980 Flash Gordon film starring Sam J. Jones, a film that has a seventy percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. But I digress as only cats can do. (Prrrr.) Queen provided the musical score featuring orchestral sections by Howard Blake. Most of Blake’s score was not used. Freddie also composed the music for the first Highlander film. And Freddie was a very serious SJW. He cared for at least ten cats throughout his life, including Delilah, Dorothy, Goliath, Jerry, Lily, Miko, Oscar, Romeo, Tiffany and Tom. He was adamantly against the inbreeding of cats and all of them except for Lily and Tiffany, both given to him as gifts, were adopted from the Blue Cross. (Died 1991.)
- Born September 5, 1964 — Stephen Greenhorn, 58. Scriptwriter who has written two episodes for Doctor Who: “The Lazarus Experiment” and “The Doctor’s Daughter”, both Tenth Doctor stories. He wrote one episode of Around the World in 80 Days, reuniting him with David Tennant. He also wrote Marchlands, a supernatural series with Doctor Who’s Alex Kingston
- Born September 5, 1973 — Rose McGowan, 49. Best known as Paige Matthews on Charmed. She played two different roles in the Grindhouse franchise, Cherry Darling in Planet Terror and Pam in Death Proof. She was Miss Kitty in Monkeybone, a very weird film indeed.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Breaking Cat News has genre-adjacent fashion advice.
(11) ARCANE. Boing Boing points out that “Arcane is the first streaming show to win the Emmy for best animated program”.
…The aforementioned Arcane from Netflix was the talk of the town last year, earning heaps of praise from fans and critics. Now the series can add Emmy award winner to its growing list of accolades. The win marks the first time an animated show from a streaming service snagged the award….
(12) KERFUFFLES OF POWER. Stuart Heritage of the Guardian wouldn’t want you to miss any: “The backlash to rule them all? Every controversy about The Rings of Power so far”. What, only six?
It’s hard to know exactly what to make of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power so far, for several reasons. The series has veered wildly in quality, with its second episode a vast improvement on its stunning but directionless pilot. It’s hard, too, to crosscheck with the source material, given that the entire shebang is cobbled together from a bunch of Tolkien’s appendices.
But the main reason why it’s difficult to form a consensus is the internet. Even more so than usual, it is being especially internetty about The Rings of Power, churning up no end of controversies about it in service to the discourse. Here’s a quick compendium of what we’ve all endured so far….
(13) HUGO LOSERS TROPHY. Camestros Felapton had an artificial intelligence art program help him gin up a trophy for those who didn’t win last night. Image at the link. “For those who need it today”.
(14) PHOTOS FROM JAMES BACON’S PRESENTATION AT CHICON 8. Including the badge ribbons distributed to support Ukraine fandom.
(15) TAMMY’S TASTING AT CHICON 8. Tammy Coxen serves Ukraine-themed drinks.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Rob Thornton, Nancy Sauer, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
“Top of the Worldcon, Ma!”
Anybody in the U.K. hear of later BBC productions of The Owl Service? Several websites I ran across thought that there had been but I couldn’t find any sign they had existed.
Likewise one site thought there had been a Welsh theatre production but offered no proof of it being staged. It tickles me to think of it being staged in Welsh.
Had a lovely time at Chicon; met a few Filers; was sorry I didn’t get to any of the File770 meetups.
Congrats to Cora and the other winners; condolences to Camestros and the other losers. I sincerely believe that every single nominee (in the categories I’m competent to judge, anyway) was worthy of the Hugo, and they should all hold their heads up high and proclaim with well-deserved pride that they were finalists.
Very happy about WorldCon.
It’s been a rainy, dreary day here, and my promised home care aide never showed.
Cider is cuddling, and telling me, just read, Mom!
Thank you. And I completely agree, every single finalist would have been a worthy winner.
(1) Just after receiving her Former Worldcon Chair ribbon at the Old Pharts Party this evening, Helen said that the 6500 number is exact. When they turned off the registration system, it was exactly 6500. But my first thought was that future versions of the Long List Committee will assume it was an estimate.
(3) Glad you could use them. I got there early enough to be in the fifth row or so, with a good angle on the stage.
@Cat Eldridge The radio adaption of The Owl Service from 2008 has a BBC page: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jq2t. According to that page it was broadcast again in 2013.
3,570 attending exactly ties it with Conadian 1994 for 2nd smallest North American con of the last 40 years. The smallest was last year which took place while the Delta wave was going on. So it’s a sign that Fans are not quite yet ready to have a big con yet, though so much of the rest of the world had decided that it’s a medical fact that pandemics end when you get tired of them.
4 & 5
(8) Paul King: One has to click on “Show More” (tastefully inconspicuous): It was rebroadcast also in 2010 and 2011.
Now the main question is, would BBC 4 really produce two different adaptations mere eight years apart? I managed to find a Programme Index entry for the May 2000 “Afternoon Play” (reprises in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007, though sometimes listed only as “drama set in Wales” 🙂 without even Garner’s name) and judging by “Stars Siriol Jenkins” and “1 hour, 30 minutes” at the 2008 page (which are the ONLY [meta]data the public-service institution sees fit to disclose, compared to the detailed listing in the earlier system. Come on, where’s the world going to?), it appears to be the same.
Hope that helps, Cat – I do love your Memory Lanes.
JVjr says (and I dropped much of what they said Hope that helps, Cat – I do love your Memory Lanes.
It does. I suspected it was the same production but couldn’t prove it was.
And I appreciate the kind words about the Memory Lanes. They’re a lot of fun to do.
Alan Garner is oldest writer to make the [Booker Prize] shortlist
(2) “Astounding Faces on Parade!“ is rather an odd heading for Chicon’s masquerade gallery, considering every face in those photographs was encased in a mask.
(9) Freddie Mercury wrote the theme for Highlander!! (Movie and TV show because no matter what, there can be only one)
8) I read The Owl Service this past year and really enjoyed it.
Kristen McLean from NPD Bookscan chimes into the comments with a breakdown of the original statistics from the DoJ case. From her analysis, the original claims are inaccurate by a wide margin, but those claims do point to an issue where a small number of books are extremely profitable while a large number of books do not sell very well.
She also does a bit of a dive into the slicing and dicing of book sales data. Very interesting.
Money is the root of ALL Evil! Send $20 for more info
Brad Templeton: … so much of the rest of the world had decided that it’s a medical fact that pandemics end when you get tired of them
… which still beats the U.S., where a significant portion of the population continues to insist that there was no pandemic at all… 🙄
@Brad Templeton: … so much of the rest of the world had decided that it’s a medical fact that pandemics end when you get tired of them
@JJ … which still beats the U.S., where a significant portion of the population continues to insist that there was no pandemic at all… ????
Had a surprise phone call, while I was checking out of the hotel, from my once-a-dittohead, now-a-magahat cousin, who left a message saying it’s been a while and he’d love to catch up a bit. With trepidation, I called him back from the train. After some more or less harmless topics, the conversation came around to the pandemic, and he began ranting about how “he’d rather die than live as if he was dead” and how “there’s no excuse for making anyone under 20 wear a mask in any circumstance” and so forth and so on until I got enough of a toe-hold on the airwaves to cut him off.
“[Cousin], I think you’re wrong, I disagree utterly, and I am not enjoying you lecturing me about it. Would you like to talk about literally anything else?”
At which point he made a bunch of “I’ll stop talking about it because I respect you” noises, and things got a little less heated, and then the dining car attendant needed my attention so we hung up.
Which is all a long way of saying: Yup. They’re out there. And they’re not getting better.
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