(1) HUGO VOTER PACKET. Joe Yao of the Chengdu Worldcon committee fielded a question online about the packet.
First, he pointed out that one is coming, as noted in this brief reference in a July 10 story on the Chengdu website:
The Hugo Awards Subcommittee of the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon will also provide paper ballots and Hugo Packet for each category of the finalists.
Then he shared this status report:
And here I would like to update the process of the Hugo Packet. We asked all the finalists to submit their works to the packet no later than July 25 (today), and we are still collecting works from them. Our goal is to release the packet for members to download by end of July.
(2) TURNOVER ON BUFFALO NASFIC COMMITTEE. Immediately following Buffalo’s confirmation as site of the 2024 NASFiC in the site selection vote last weekend, chair Wayne Brown released a new committee list. It was the first time that two significant members of the bid heard about changes that affect them.
Alex von Thorn told Facebook readers:
Marah Searle-Kovacevic has been removed as vice-chair of the #BuffaloNASFiC2024 convention. I have also been effectively demoted from Finance division head to “Treasurer” (so that I would not be doing budget, planning, or registration). As of Tuesday, when we found out by way of an org chart posted to Discord, we are no longer working on the convention.
…Marah feels like the pattern of disrespect and mistakes has been building for a while and she doesn’t think the chair wants our participation other than in tertiary roles. I’m annoyed and frustrated but that is secondary. Marah’s leadership and track record of accomplishment is indispensable and irreplaceable. As a Buffalo native and resident for more than thirty years, and with decades of experience working on WSFS conventions, she is knowledgeable and motivated to work on a WSFS conveniton in Buffalo; unfortunately it doesn’t seem that this will be it. The chair doesn’t value experience; he has said explicitly he wants no connection to or involvement with the SMOF community of experienced conrunners. He only respects people he knows personally and only wants input from people who agree with him. That’s not me, it’s not the job of a treasurer, and although she’s better at finding reconciliation and consensus, ultimately it’s not her either.
…The sticking point for Marah is that she doesn’t like being fired via an org chart update…
(3) WHO’S ACCEPTING THE CHENGDU OFFER. Chris Barkley will be going.
I will try to spot other names as they surface, although this is coming up at precisely the moment “X” (formerly Twitter) has provoked a lot of writers to focus their efforts on other platforms making it less easy to search for announcements.
(4) WHO’S DECLINING THE CHENGDU OFFER. Gideon Marcus told File 770 readers that no one from Galactic Journey will utilize the offer.
“Full disclosure: I’m not going, would not go, and cannot go. But one of our team is.”
Strike that. After consideration, and impressed by the actions of fellow nominees who have declined invitations because of Chengdu’s problematic GoH choice, we have decided there will be no Galactic Journey representative at Chengdu.
The Hugos, of course, belong to all of us, so we’ll still be voting.
(5) MEDICAL UPDATE. Congratulations to Adam-Troy Castro who announced on Facebook today, “There is ‘no cancer.’ I will need regular checkups for a while, plus maintenance of my port, but it is gone, gone, gone.”
(6) FULL DISCLOSURE: THEY’RE COMMERCIALS. “’Alf’ reboot: Ryan Reynolds revives character with sponsored content” reports USA Today.
Ryan Reynolds is indulging his love for ’80s nostalgia, and it’s out of this world.
Reynolds is rebooting Alf, the furry brown alien of the eponymous sci-fi comedy from the 1980s, with a series of sponsored content shorts on his Maximum Effort Channel. The “Deadpool” star previewed some of the extraterrestrial hilarity in a trailer montage posted Monday.
In the video, Alf can be seen discussing and using various products with their human friend Eric, including mobile network operator Mint Mobile, doorbell camera brand Ring and television streamer Fubo.
The Maximum Effort Channel, which launched in June as part of a deal with Fubo, acquired the rights to the “Alf” sitcom and will incorporate branded segments called “Maximum Moments” into reruns of the original series….
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1950 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
C.M. Kornbluth, a member of the Futurians, provides us with our Beginning this Scroll. He participated in the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, the oldest APA in existence. And he’s a member of the First Fandom Hall of Fame.
He got nominated for six Hugos of which he won but one at Torcon II for “The Meeting” short story. It was only his Award win until a Retro Hugo for “The Little Black Bag” novelette at The Millennium Philcon.
Well he did garner a Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for The Syndic but I’ll admit I’ve mixed feeling about those Awards. Just me I’ll admit but I’m quite sure about libertarian futurists and their criteria for these Awards.
So “The Little Black Bag” which is our Beginning first appeared in the July 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. The cover art is a still from the Destination Moon film.
The story is in Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 which was edited by Robert Silverberg and is available from the usual suspects.
And now for our Beginning…
Old Dr. Full felt the winter in his bones as he limped down the alley. It was the alley and the back door he had chosen rather than the sidewalk and the front door because of the brown paper bag under his arm. He knew perfectly well that the flat-faced, stringy-haired women of his street and their gap-toothed, sour-smelling husbands did not notice if he brought a bottle of cheap wine to his room. They all but lived on the stuff themselves, varied with whiskey when pay checks were boosted by overtime. But Dr. Full, unlike them, was ashamed. A complicated disaster occurred as he limped down the littered alley. One of the neighborhood dogs–a mean little black one he knew and hated, with its teeth always bared and always snarling with menace–hurled at his legs through a hole in the board fence that lined his path. Dr. Full flinched, then swung his leg in what was to have been a satisfying kick to the animal’s gaunt ribs. But the winter in his bones weighed down the leg. His foot failed to clear a half-buried brick, and he sat down abruptly, cursing. When he smelled unbottled wine and realized his brown paper package had slipped from under his arm and smashed, his curses died on his lips. The snarling black dog was circling him at a yard’s distance, tensely stalking, but he ignored it in the greater disaster.
With stiff fingers as he sat on the filth of the alley, Dr. Full unfolded the brown paper bag’s top, which had been crimped over, grocer-wise. The early autumnal dusk had come; he could not see plainly what was left. He lifted out the jug-handled top of his half gallon, and some fragments, and then the bottom of the bottle. Dr. Full was far too occupied to exult as he noted that there was a good pint left. He had a problem, and emotions could be deferred until the fitting time.
The dog closed in, its snarl rising in pitch. He set down the bottom of the bottle and pelted the dog with the curved triangular glass fragments of its top. One of them connected, and the dog ducked back through the fence, howling. Dr. Full then placed a razor-like edge of the half-gallon bottle’s foundation to his lips and drank from it as though it were a giant’s cup. Twice he had to put it down to rest his arms, but in one minute he had swallowed the pint of wine.
He thought of rising to his feet and walking through the alley to his room, but a flood of well-being drowned the notion. It was, after all, inexpressibly pleasant to sit there and feel the frost-hardened mud of the alley turn soft, or seem to, and to feel the winter evaporating from his bones under a warmth which spread from his stomach through his limbs.
A three-year-old girl in a cut-down winter coat squeezed through the same hole in the board fence from which the black dog had sprung its ambush. Gravely she toddled up to Dr. Full and inspected him with her dirty forefinger in her mouth. Dr. Full’s happiness had been providentially made complete; he had been supplied with an audience.
“Ah, my dear,” he said hoarsely. And then: “Preposserous accusation. ‘If that’s what you call evidence,’ I should have told them, ‘you better stick to your doctoring.’ I should have told them: ‘I was here before your County Medical Society. And the License Commissioner never proved a thing on me. So, gennulmen, doesn’t it stand to reason? I appeal to you as fellow memmers of a great profession–“‘
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 26, 1883 — Edwin Balmer. Together with author Philip Wylie, he penned When Worlds Collide and After Worlds Collide. The first was made into the 1951 movie by George Pal. He also wrote several detective novels and collaborated with William MacHarg on The Achievements of Luther Trant, an early collection of detective short stories. The latter are not genre, despite being listed as ISFDB as I’ve read them. (Died 1959.)
- Born July 26, 1928 — Stanley Kubrick. I’m reasonably sure 2001: A Space Odyssey was the first film I saw by him but Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was the one that impressed me the most. A Clockwork Orange was just damn depressing. And I’m not a horror fan as such so I never saw The Shining. Barry Lyndon is great but it’s not genre by any means. (Died 1999.)
- Born July 26, 1945 — M. John Harrison, 78. Winner of the Otherwise Award. The Viriconium sequence, I hesitate to call it a series, starting with The Pastel City, is some of the most elegant fantasy I’ve read. And I see he’s a SJW as he’s written the Tag, the Cat series which I need to take a look at again. He’s also been a major critic for the past thirty years reviewing fiction and nonfiction for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times. He’s lightly stocked at the usual suspects though the Viriconium sequence is there at a very reasonable price. And his short stories are excellent, so may I recommend Settling the World: Selected Stories 1970-2020?
- Born July 26, 1945 — Helen Mirren, 78. She first graces our presences as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She next shows up in a genre role as Alice Rage in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, Peter Sellers’ last film. She’s Morgana in Excalibur and then leaps into the future as Tanya Kirbuk in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. She voices the evil lead role in The Snow Queen, and likewise is Deep Thought in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
- Born July 26, 1954 — Lawrence Watt-Evans, 69. Ok I’ve now read “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers” which won him a short fiction Hugo at Nolasco II. It also was nominated for a Nebula and won an Asimov’s Reader’s Poll that year. It’d be his only Hugo. Yes, I’ve read him other fiction by him as well — his War Surplus series is quite excellent.
- Born July 26, 1957 — Nana Visitor, 66. Kira Nerys on Deep Space Nine which for my money is the best of the Trek series to date and I’m including the present series in that assessment. After DS9 ended, Visitor had a recurring role as villain Dr. Elizabeth Renfro on Dark Angel. In 1987, Visitor appeared as Ellen Dolan in a never developed series pilot for Will Eisner’s The Spirit with Sam J. Jones as The Spirit. And she had a brief role in Torchwood: Miracle Day.
- Born July 26, 1971 — Mary Anne Mohanraj, 52. Writer and editor. Founder of Strange Horizons. She has one genre novel, The Stars That Change, six works published in the Wild Cards Universe, and many piece of short fiction. She also an anthology, Without A Map, co-edited with Nnedi Okorafor.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Luann finds it hard to explain a distinction that’s important to writers.
(10) UHURA’S SCRIPTS AND THE WITCH’S HAT. “Paul Allen estate donates thousands of rare music, film and sci-fi artifacts to Seattle’s MoPOP” – GeekWire has details.
Thousands of one-of-a-kind artifacts from Paul Allen’s collection, spanning decades of cultural relevance, are headed to Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, the institution he helped found 23 years ago….
- Handwritten lyrics by David Bowie for “Starman” from the early 1970s.
- Motorcycle jacket worn by Prince in his 1984 film “Purple Rain.”
- A collection of Nichelle Nichols’ (Lt. Nyota Uhura) hand-annotated scripts from the “Star Trek” television and film series (1965-1998).
- The iconic hat worn by Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”
- A full-size flying “Spinner” vehicle from the 1982 film Blade Runner.
…Several dozen artifacts from the bequest are currently on display in MoPOP exhibits, including “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction;” “Fantasy: Worlds of Myth & Magic”; “Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film”; “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses.” The artifacts will also be incorporated into future exhibitions and loaned to other museums and institutions worldwide….
(11) OHIOANA WINNER. “The Kaiju Preservation Society is a 2023 Ohioana Book Award Winner” announced John Scalzi on Whatever. He also posted this graphic of the other category winners.
(12) A GAME? “Seen at CVS…” says Daniel Dern.
(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Ryan George takes us inside the “Interstellar Pitch Meeting”.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Rich Horton, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]