(0) Today’s Scroll will be lean because I’ve spent my hours writing about the 2023 Hugo Award Stats Final report posted today on the official Hugo Awards website. My analysis is here: “2023 Hugo Nomination Report Has Unexplained Ineligibility Rulings; Also Reveals Who Declined”.
(2) NEIL GAIMAN. And here’s what he had to say on Bluesky about a couple of those ineligibility rulings.
(3) DIFFERENCE ENGINEER. [Item by Steven French.] “Play about computing pioneer Ada Lovelace wins Women’s prize for playwriting” reports the Guardian.
A play about the reincarnation of the Victorian computing pioneer Ada Lovelace has won this year’s Women’s prize for playwriting.
Intelligence, by Sarah Grochala, follows Lovelace’s attempts to forge a career for herself as a serious scientist in 1840s London and being continually obstructed by men.
But in an unexpected twist of fate, Lovelace finds herself repeatedly reincarnated and gets the chance to try for fame again, first as Grace Hopper (creator of COBOL) in 1940s America, and then as Steve Jobs in 1980s Silicon Valley. Eventually, confronted with the destruction of all her work by a shady tech billionaire, she realises that it is the very nature of intelligence that she should be fighting for….
(4) APPEAL TO CONSERVE PRATCHETT COVER ARTIST’S WORK. The Guardian tells that “Family of Discworld illustrator seek wealthy patron to conserve legacy of ‘one of the great artists of our time’”.
Josh Kirby’s art has adorned hundreds of book covers – perhaps most notably dozens of Terry Pratchett novels, especially the bestselling Discworld series.
His body of work is far more wide-ranging, though – Kirby’s paintings have graced the covers of volumes by Ray Bradbury, Ian Fleming, HG Wells, Jack Kerouac, Herman Melville and Neil Gaiman, and he’s done posters for movies including the Star Wars franchise.
Now the family of the artist, who died in 2001, is looking for a philanthropist of the arts to keep the vast collection of original paintings together and make sure Kirby’s original artworks are preserved for posterity in one or more museums or galleries.
(5) MORE ON ROGER PERKINS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The British SF fan recently sadly died. He was introduced to fandom through the ‘City Illiterates’, the Phil Strick SF class at the Sandford Institute in 1971 before moving to the City of London Institute of Literature (City Lit – hence the ‘City Illiterates’). His first convention was Chessmancon in 1972 after which he was an Eastercon and Novacon regular. He then became part of the BECCON (Basildon Essex Centre/Crest CONvention) team that ran series of biennial SE England regional conventions (1981, ’83 and ’85) conventions before running the BECCON ’87 Eastercon (Britain’s national convention) in Birmingham (which saw the launch of SF2 Concatenation as an annual print zine as one of a couple of the convention’s spin-offs). Roger was BECCON’s treasurer for all four conventions. He went on to be a member of the 1989 Contrivance Eastercon. In their bid to host that year’s Eastercon, they held a fan vote on two sites: one on mainland Britain and one on the Jersey Channel Isles. The vote for Jersey was decisive but nonetheless caused the usual ire of fandom’s vocal minority who claimed that as the Channel Isles were not part of Britain (it is a UK protectorate), they should not host the British national convention. Nonetheless, that convention was such a success that it prompted others to put on the 1993 joint Eastercon-Eurocon in the same venue a couple of years later. Roger gafiated shortly after moving from NE London to Wales where he had a boat called Chrestomancy.
(6) WHO COMPANION SHOWN THE TARDIS DOOR. Deadline says after her first season “’Doctor Who’ Star Millie Gibson Dropped; Varada Sethu Joins BBC Show”.
The Daily Mirror’s Nicola Methven, who is well-sourced on Doctor Who, said Gibson would be replaced by Andor star Varada Sethu in Gatwa’s second season as the Time Lord.
The BBC and Bad Wolf did not respond to a request for comment. The story has not been denied and appeared to be confirmed by Gatwa on Instagram (see below)….
…The Mirror said the decision was made by Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies and Gibson will not appear in the 2024 Christmas special after her first full season, which premieres in May.
“Millie Gibson has all but left now and there’s a brand new companion, which is really exciting,” a source told the Mirror. “Russell is keeping things moving and isn’t letting the grass grow, that’s for sure.”
On Sethu, a BBC source added: “Varada is a real gem, Russell was just blown away by her talent. The cast and crew have really warmed to her and he’s sure the fans will too.”…
Here’s the Wikipedia on Varada Sethu.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.
[Written by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 20, 1948 — Nancy Kress, 76. Another one of my favorite writers. Okay, I do like a lot of female writers. I also have a fair number who get chocolate. A coincidence? You decide.
She has won two Hugos, the first for her “Beggars in Spain” novella — later a novel as well, both are excellent in their own way. Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine published it first in April 1991 in three parts. Avon than, after expanded it, adding three additional parts to the novel, published it two years. There followed Beggars and Choosers, and Beggars Ride. They make up the Sleepless series.
She’s a prolific writer. The Probability Universe trilogy, or a trilogy so far, with an Earth wrecked by ecology disaster coupled with a stargate and an alien artifact of possible immense power is fascinating.
The Crossfire twofer reminds a bit of something Anderson might do if he was writing today with a colony finding that it’s sharing a world with an alien race. It’s excellent but then she’s a very, very good writer always.
Under the pen name Anna Kendell, she wrote a trilogy of present day thrillers in a series called Robert Cavanaugh Genetic. Bit awkward I think but it gets some point across.
Not to be outdone there, that name went all out fantasy in Soulvine Moor Chronicles Series where a man cross over to the land of the dead. It was set in imagined medieval times.
We’re back to her name and her fascination with genetics, so t Nebula Award-winning novella, the Yesterday’s Kin series, this purely SF looks the limits of human genetics.
Now for her short stories, oh my, I think she wrote, though I can’t count accurate that high, close to a hundred stories. So which collection is the best to get a reason sampling of these stories? That’s easy —the Subterranean Press’ massive 560 page The Best of Nancy Kress.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- The Far Side has a writer in crisis.
- Tom Gauld has gone revisionist.
(9) £1 MILLION COMICS. “First-edition Superman and Spider-Man comics sell for more than £3million” at Wales Online.
Heritage Auctions in Dallas, US, has sold a number of comics. A Superman> no. 1 went for £2,006,269 (US$2.34 million). The first Amazing Spider-Man from 1963 in mint condition fetched £1,086,990 (US$1.38 m) which is reportedly nearly three times the previous record for that title. Finally, an All-Star Comics no.8, which saw Wonder Woman’s debut, was sold for £1,182.166 (US$1.5m).
(10) MISSED CLOSE ENCOUNTER. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] I was disappointed to learn that I missed a close encounter with a UFO in central London this week: I was just several miles away and had I looked over the roof tops I would have seen it in the distance! “Massive Samsung drone show with colourful whirring lights ‘mistaken for UFO’ – and passerbys cry ‘call the Men In Black’” in The Sun.
The huge UFO seemed to have made it through the Moonbase interceptor shield, and evaded Sky Diver. Over 100 feet across (police laser range finders put it at 100 cubits exactly), the UFO shone with many lights, some of which were presumably navigation landing lights.
The craft hovered and rotated for eight minutes before appearing to land on the River Thames.
So why did it pick Canary Wharf, London’s second financial centre and overflow from the city’s ‘Square Mile’? Well, for us Brit Cit locals, who are used to seeing SHADO mobiles rumbling through green belt woodland, the prevailing view is that that location was picked to avoid the said SHADO mobiles as these are too bulky to operate in the city. (Besides, think of the damage a mobile cannon could do to the area’s opulent buildings.)
Of course, it wasn’t long before SHADO released its cover story. The UFO was composed of a hundred drones flying in formation to mark Samsung’s launch of its new AI powered Galaxy S smartphone. Believe that if you must.
The truth is up there.
(11) FOR YOUR BETROTHED. Manly Brands has plans for your wedding ceremony – give your spouse a selection from the “Lord of the Rings™ Ring Collection”. Others not shown include The Gollum and The Ringwraith. Fully endorsed by marriage counselors and divorce attorneys!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]