(1) WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION. One of the three longlisted works of genre interest has survived to make the 2023 Women’s Prize shortlist which was announced today.
Pod by Laline Paull is that book:
Ea has always felt like an outsider. She suffers from a type of deafness that means she cannot master the spinning rituals that unite her pod of spinner dolphins. When tragedy strikes her family and Ea feels she is partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave.
As Ea ventures into the vast, she discovers dangers everywhere, from lurking predators to strange objects floating in the water. But just as she is coming to terms with her solitude, a chance encounter with a group of arrogant bottlenoses will irrevocably alter the course of her life.
In her terrifying, propulsive novel, Laline Paull explores the true meaning of family, belonging, sacrifice – the harmony and tragedy of the pod – within an ocean that is no longer the sanctuary it once was, and which reflects a world all too recognisable to our own.
The complete shortlist follows:
- Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
- Pod by Laline Paull
- Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
- Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
- The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
- Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
The winner of the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on June 14.
(2) UPDATE FOR TRAVELERS TO CHINA. “China Drops Covid P.C.R. Test Rule for Inbound Travelers” reports the New York Times, but “It was not clear, however, whether travelers would still be required to take antigen tests.”
China said on Tuesday that it would no longer require travelers entering the country to show a negative P.C.R. test for the coronavirus, another step toward reopening after a long period of pandemic-era isolation.
But it was not clear whether testing requirements would be abolished altogether. A spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry said only that, beginning on Saturday, people going to China “can” take an antigen test to “replace” the previously mandated P.C.R. test within 48 hours before boarding their flight.
Airlines will not check test results before boarding, the spokeswoman, Mao Ning, added at a regularly scheduled news briefing. She did not say whether others, such as immigration officials, would check.
Notices by Chinese embassies overseas said that travelers arriving in China would still need to fill out a health declaration form, and that customs officials would conduct unspecified spot checks.
For three years, China imposed the world’s strictest coronavirus restrictions, requiring lockdowns and regular mass testing in the name of “zero Covid.” Then the government abruptly abandoned those rules in December as the economy sagged, the virus spread widely and protests broke out across the country. Beijing has since declared that it is open to the world, and tried to woo foreign businesspeople and diplomats….
(3) BLACK MIRROR. The trailer for Black Mirror: Season 6 has dropped.
You’ve been wondering. You’ve been waiting. You’ve been warned. The sixth season of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror is BACK. The most unpredictable, unclassifiable and unexpected season yet is arriving in June on NETFLIX.
(4) MIXED BAG IN NINTH CIRCUIT RULING. “Apple Largely Prevails in Appeal of Epic Games’ App Store Suit” but they didn’t sweep the board says the New York Times. “A Ninth Circuit panel did agree with Epic that Apple was violating California law by barring app developers from directing customers to outside payment methods.”
A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that Apple does not have a monopoly in the mobile games market, siding with a lower court’s 2021 ruling that largely gave the tech giant a victory in a lawsuit brought by Epic Games.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2 to 1 that Apple’s tight control of its App Store did not violate federal antitrust law. Some app developers have said the multibillion-dollar business’s strict policies stifle competition and eat into their profits.
“There is a lively and important debate about the role played in our economy and democracy by online transaction platforms with market power,” the judges wrote in their 91-page decision, which largely maintained the status quo. “Our job as a federal Court of Appeals, however, is not to resolve that debate — nor could we even attempt to do so.”
While siding with Apple on a majority of Epic’s claims, the judges also agreed with the lower court that Apple was violating California’s Unfair Competition Law by prohibiting app developers from directing their customers to payment methods outside the App Store, which charges a 30 percent fee. Apple suggested that it could further appeal that ruling….
(5) KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. AND LEFTS. Moid Moidelhoff gets Cory Doctorow to explain what a “copy left troll” is in “The Big Interview” at Media Death Cult.
(6) E.T. ORIGINAL SCENE TO RETURN. “Steven Spielberg: ‘No film should be revised’ based on modern sensitivity”, quoted in the Guardian.
Steven Spielberg has criticised the idea that older films should be re-edited to appease modern sensibilities.
Speaking at Time’s 100 Summit in New York City, the 76-year-old film-maker expressed regret over taking out guns from a later release of his 1982 sci-fi blockbuster ET: The Extra Terrestrial. In the 20th anniversary edition, agents saw their firearms replaced with walkie-talkies.
“That was a mistake,” he said on stage. “I never should have done that. ET is a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily, or being forced to peer through.”
In 2011, Spielberg had already explained that the guns would be returning for the 30th anniversary release, explaining that he was “disappointed” in himself….
(7) LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. You may be surprised to hear the reason why CBR.com thinks “Hulu’s Futurama Revival Is Too Important to Fail”.
Futurama fans are eagerly waiting for the Hulu revival because the show has become a sci-fi staple. The series’ engagement with the hypothetical nature of science fiction makes it stand out. There’s an explorative spirit that concentrates more on the “what-if” and “imagine that” aspects and is more interested in the realm of possibility than world-building or even keeping its own continuity. Futurama‘s ability to carry the torch for old science fiction programs like The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space and Star Trek: The Original Series makes the show critical to the genre’s survival.
Over multiple episodes — and multiple cancellations — Futurama acknowledged the gone-by era of sci-fi. The show became one of the last bastions of true speculative fiction by including “The Scary Door,” Futurama‘s answer to Rod Serling and his conjectural narration, as well as other homages. Moreover, the installments containing these parodies often utilized retrofuturistic motifs typical of the golden age of science fiction, keeping it alive for a new generation….
(8) BELAFONTE PROFILE. [Item by Steven French.] In the Guardian’s obituary for Harry Belafonte: “Bans, bigots and surreal sci-fi love triangles: Harry Belafonte’s staggering screen career”.
…But perhaps Belafonte’s strangest but most distinctive role came in the 1959 post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy The World, The Flesh and The Devil in which he is Burton, the mining engineer trapped miles below the surface of the earth after a calamitous cave-in. But he has escaped the effects of an atomic catastrophe and when he finally scrambles to the surface, Burton finds that he is apparently the only human left alive – except for one white woman and one white man, with whom he finally has a surreal but gripping contest for the woman’s affections.’…
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1984 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Lucius Shepard’s “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule” is a remarkable work of fiction. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in their December 1984 issue.
Some twenty-five years ago, our writer created a fascinating world, a world separated from our own, as he said, “by the thinnest margin of possibility.”
Spoilers are coming next. Really they are. Just skip the following paragraph.
There, in the mythical Carbonales Valley, he found the setting for “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule”, the classic account of an artist—Meric Cattanay—and his decades long effort to paint—and kill—a dormant, not quite dead dragon measuring 6,000 feet from end to end. The story was nominated for multiple awards and is now known as one of its author’s most outstanding works.
Now you can come back as we are now have the Beginning of this story…
Other than the Sichi Collection, Cattanay’s only surviving works are to be found in the Municipal Gallery at Regensburg, a group of eight oils-on-canvas, most notable among them being Woman with Oranges. These paintings constitute his portion of a student exhibition hung some weeks after he had left the city of his birth and traveled south to Teocinte, there to present his proposal to the city fathers; it is unlikely he ever learned of the disposition of his work, and even more unlikely that he was aware of the general critical indifference with which it was received. Perhaps the most interesting of the group to modern scholars, the most indicative as to Cattanay’s later preoccupations, is the Self-Portrait, painted at the age of twenty-eight, a year before his departure.
The majority of the canvas is a richly varnished black in which the vague shapes of floorboards are presented, barely visible. Two irregular slashes of gold cross the blackness, and within these we can see a section of the artist’s thin features and the shoulder panel of his shirt. The perspective given is that we are looking down at the artist, perhaps through a tear in the roof, and that he is looking up at us, squinting into the light, his mouth distorted by a grimace born of intense concentration. On first viewing the painting, I was struck by the atmosphere of tension that radiated from it. It seemed I was spying upon a man imprisoned within a shadow having two golden bars, tormented by the possibilities of light beyond the walls. And though this may be the reaction of the art historian, not the less knowledgeable and therefore more trustworthy response of the gallery-goer, it also seemed that this imprisonment was self-imposed, that he could have easily escaped his confine; but that he had realized a feeling of stricture was an essential fuel to his ambition, and so had chained himself to this arduous and thoroughly unreasonable chore of perception…
—FROM MERIC CATTANAY: THE POLITICS OF CONCEPTION BY READE HOLLAND, PH.D.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 26, 1564 — William Shakespeare. World’s greatest playwright and perhaps one of our earliest fantasy writers was born today. Possibly. Or just baptized today. Opinions differ. Siri says just April 1564. Smart girl, she is. What I do know is that the supernatural is a commonplace thing in his plays from ghosts to fairies. So which fantasy-tinged work by him do you like the best? I go for “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. (Died 1616.)
- Born April 26, 1912 — A. E. van Vogt. What I liked particularly was Slan, The Voyage of the Space Beagle and The Weapon Makers. I am fascinated by the wiki page that claimed Damon Knight took a strong dislike to his writing whereas Philip K. Dick and Paul Di Filippo defended him strongly. What do y’all think of him? And is that claim true? And the Science Fiction Writers of America named him their 14th Grand Master in 1995. No Hugos (his best work was published before the award was created) and only one Retro Hugo at MidAmericaCon for Slan though he’s had myriad Retro Hugo nominations. He picked up a SFWA Grand Master Award (1995), and was inducted to the SF Hall of Fame (1996). (Died 2000.)
- Born April 26, 1914 — H. L. Gold. Best known for launching Galaxy Science Fiction in 1950, which was soon followed by its companion magazine, Beyond Fantasy Fiction which lasted but several years. He was not a prolific writer having published but two novels, None but Lucifer with L. Sprague de Camp and A Matter of Form, plus a generous number of short stories. None but Lucifer didn’t see printing in novel form until 2002. (Died 1996.)
- Born April 26, 1943 — Bill Warren. American film historian, critic, and one of the leading authorities on science fiction, horror, and fantasy films. He co-wrote the script for the murder mystery Fandom is a Way of Death set at the 42nd World Science Fiction Convention which was hosted by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society which he and his wife Beverly were very much involved in. His 1968 short story “Death Is a Lonely Place” would be printed in the first issue of the magazine Worlds of Fantasy. During the Seventies, he also wrote scripts for Warren Publishing’s black-and-white comic books Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. His film reference guide Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties would be revised and expanded several times. (Died 2016.)
- Born April 26, 1948 — Marta Randall, 75. First woman president of SFWA. With Robert Silverberg, Randall edited two volumes of the New Dimensions series, the eleventh and twelfth volumes. I’ve not read her novels but I do remember the New Dimensions series fondly.
- Born April 26, 1955 — Brad W. Foster, 68. From 1987 to 1991 he was a regular contributing illustrator to the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. In 2008 he began producing illustrations for the newsletter Ansible, creating a full color version for the on-line edition, and a different black-and-white version for the print edition. He won an amazing eight Hugo Awards for Best Fan Artist!
- Born April 26, 1978 — Marie Bilodeau, 45. Canadian writer nominated for an amazing fifteen Aurora Awards. She’s won two, one with Derek Künsken as the 2019 co-chair of Can-Con, and another the next year with him for again hosting that Con. Who here has read her fiction?
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Frank and Ernest try using AI to write the strip.
(12) TEAM EFFORT. Ryan Breadine offers “Collaboration Tips For Comic Writers” at the SFWA Blog.
… When presenting a script to your illustrator, you want to make sure you tell them any specifics on how your characters look. If your artist doesn’t have anything to work with, they may struggle to develop the designs.
You don’t have to draw to have image references! Go onto Pinterest and search for something simple like ‘girl with braids’ – you’ll get a lot of different results and can pick something close to what you’re thinking of.
References are also important if you’ve got an idea of how a certain scene should be laid out. While words are great, everyone has a completely different interpretation of them, so having a picture on the Word document next to the script’s scene can make a huge difference. Character expressions, designs, scene layouts, and color schemes all benefit hugely from a united vision, and as the writer, you can help that along. You can usually find something close to what you’re looking for online, but don’t be afraid to do a five-second sketch or take a photo of yourself in a pose! It might even earn you a laugh from the artist.
Chances it will still look a little different depending on your illustrator’s style, but that can be a great thing! References are important, but you also have to be open to the artist’s ideas. Welcome input; this is a collaboration with another person who likely has fantastic ideas and perspectives of their own….
(13) MARVEL’S WHAT IF? Marvel launches new line of What If? stories in July. For more information, visit Marvel.com.
- WHAT IF LOKI WIELDED MJOLNIR?
In WHAT IF…? DARK: LOKI #1, Walter Simonson returns to the world of THOR alongside artist Scot Eaton…but this time, Loki’s in charge! A tale of one of Asgard’s worst days – and one of Loki’s best.
- WHAT IF GWEN STACY DIDN’T DIE ON THE BRIDGE THAT DAY, BUT SPIDER-MAN DID?
Spider-Legend Gerry Conway returns to his most famous Spider-Story for WHAT IF…? DARK: SPIDER-GWEN #1 along with co-writer Jody Houser and artist Ramon Bachs! ‘Nuff said!
- WHAT IF BEN GRIMM BECAME VENOM?
When Ben Grimm returns to Earth after his exploration of space post-SECRET WARS, he finds that the Fantastic Four has trapped a helpless Klyntar symbiote in Reed’s lab! But is that symbiote really helpless? Or is it truly one of the most dangerous symbiotes in the galaxy? Witness the birth of a brand-new VENOM in WHAT IF…? DARK: VENOM #1 by writer Stephanie Phillips and artist Jethro Morales!
- WHAT IF MOON KNIGHT DID NOT SURVIVE HIS BATTLE WITH BUSHMAN?
When Khonshu’s avatar is slain, a different god empowers their own surprising new champion. From the darkness, emerges a new force to light the way…Luminary! But will her quest for revenge against Moon Knight’s killer result in her own downfall? Find out in WHAT IF…? DARK: MOON KNIGHT #1 by writer Erica Schultz and artist Edgar Salazar!
(14) TWO OPPOSABLE THUMBS UP. At Galactic Journey, Fiona Moore, Victoria Silverwolf, and Jason Sacks discuss the latest (in 1968!) milestone in sf cinema, 2001. Two of them give it five stars out of five, the other just three: “[April 26, 1968] 2001: A Space Odyssey: Three Views”. Fiona Moore starts off —
People who don’t like trippy, confusing endings for their movies are in for a bad time of it these days. The ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey at least makes more sense than the ending of The Prisoner (the filming of which series overlapped with 2001 at Borehamwood Studios, meaning Alexis Kanner had to share his dressing room with a leopard). The question is, does this make it a better piece of SF visual art?…
And Jason Sacks starts his segment by telling how thrilled he is to see another sf movie with apes —
…I loved Planet of the Apes. Just two weeks ago in the pages of this very magazine, I praised the film’s restrained story, its tremendous special effects, its lovely cinematography and its spectacular use of music. Heck, I thought POTA was perhaps the finest science fiction movie in years. It’s a thrilling, delightful sci fi masterpiece.
But 2001, man, wow, it’s transcendent….
(15) “EVERYTHING CHANGES”. The Witcher Season 3 begins on June 29 on Netflix. From The Hollywood Reporter:
…Netflix also released this description of the season three, which is based on author Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series and game adaptations: “As monarchs, mages and beasts of the Continent compete to capture her, Geralt takes Ciri (Freya Allan) into hiding, determined to protect his newly-reunited family against those who threaten to destroy it. Entrusted with Ciri’s magical training, Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) leads them to the protected fortress of Aretuza, where they hope to uncover more about the girl’s untapped powers; instead, they discover they’ve landed in a battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and treachery. They must fight back, put everything on the line — or risk losing each other forever.”…
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Steven French, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]