(1) STACKING THE DECK ON GOOGLE. Kelly Jensen does a thorough analysis of “How To Own A News Cycle: Book Censorship News” in a Substack article. A very interesting read. It begins:
One of the checks I make in doing the weekly censorship news research is ensuring that the news comes from a reliable source. This is out of accuracy, of course, as much as it is also about media literacy. As it stands, right-wing “activists” are doing a bang up job of creating a fake controversy, pushing it through the media, keeping their names in the mouths of those outlets, then reaping (fake) benefits from the outrage cycle. Case in point: a news story that popped up earlier this month about the National Education Association and the books they were recommending their teacher members to read over the summer….
(2) COMPANIONS AGAIN. “Doctor Who classic companions Tegan & Nyssa reunite in emotional clip” – Radio Times sets the frame.
After making her return to Doctor Who in last year’s special The Power of the Doctor, Tegan is back once again in a new clip, and while last time she was seen palling around with Ace, this time there’s another companion reunion on the cards….
… It’s Nyssa! The pair embrace and Nyssa reveals that she was looking for Tegan, having “hitched a ride” in the TARDIS from Terminus, where the pair last saw one another….
In the clip, as the pair get reacquainted, Nyssa tells Tegan the Doctor wants to see her, to which she asks: “Which one? Scarf or celery, or woman?”
The duo reminisce about the past, with Nyssa saying she’s missed their interactions and Tegan saying she wishes she’d realised how lucky she was.
(3) HER MILEAGE VARIED. Because NASFiC isn’t in the USA, Cheryl Morgan can attend it. That didn’t mean it was easy to get there – her travel saga from the UK to Winnipeg was by way of Switzerland. As she says in “Pemmi-Con – Day 1”, “I am in Canada, by the skin of my teeth. I am getting too old for travel nightmares….”
(4) FULL COURT PRESS ENDS. It’s been four years since Ryan Kopf made news here, time enough for his litigation against Nerd & Tie blogger Trae Dorn to reach its conclusion – a judge granting Dorn’s motion to dismiss for “failure to prosecute” due to Kopf’s inactivity. A roundup of the legal saga is now a podcast: “Ryan Kopf v. Nerd & Tie – The Full Story”.
Ryan Kopf has been suing Nerd & Tie owner Trae Dorn in one form or another for over seven years. With the conclusion of the Illinois suit against Trae Dorn and former Nerd & Tie contributor Pher Sturz earlier this month, we thought we should sit down and talk about what’s happened over those years. We discuss the full timeline of events, what Trae was actually accused of saying, and how things affected us.
(5) KAIJU, KONG, AND COMPANY. “DC’s Justice League Is Crossing Over With The MonsterVerse’s Godzilla And Kong In A Cool Way” – Yahoo! has a preview.
A seven-issue comic book series called Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong was announced at San Diego Comic-Con, with DC and Legendary producing it in partnership with Toho Entertainment. Writer Brian Buccellato is teaming with artists Christian Duce and Luis Guerrero for the project, and Drew Johnson, Jim Lee and Scott Williams, Rafael Albuquerque, Francesco Mattina and Dan Mora and Alan Quah are all tackling cover art. Take a look at the first piece of officially-released Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong artwork below.
(6) A DOCTOR IN WAITING. [Item by Steven French.] Mark Gatiss always gives great interview! He tells the Guardian “‘I’d be the first naturist Doctor. That would scare away the Daleks’”.
…HG Wells invented great swathes of science fiction: the time machine, alien invasion. Nigel Kneale, my other great hero, had a similarly prophetic vision, peeking around corners at what might happen. It’s speculative fiction but the broad strokes are staggeringly accurate. It’s interesting to look back at old sci-fi and fantastic fiction to see if what they were wrestling with remains relevant. The possibilities of technology throw up an awful lot of new terrors that are exciting to play with, because you look at the dark underside. Like the internet, information has never been more accessible, but people have never been more stupid. That’s the title of my autobiography!…
(7) BILL LAUBENHEIMER DIES. Bay Area fan Bill Laubenheimer died July 19 while attending the Winnipeg NASFiC. Kevin Standlee, who saw him at the con on Wednesday, reports “Apparently, he fell ill (I don’t know why) and was taken to hospital, where he died later that evening.”
The International Costumers Guild had an immediate report.
We are saddened to report that Bill Laubenheimer, the husband of Carole Parker passed away last night while attending Pemmicon, the Nasfic being held this weekend in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Bill was an experienced software architect and expert in software patents. In fandom Bill was known for their love of filking, writing songs focused on programming. Bill was the LepreCon 32 Music GoH.
Carole is still at Pemmicon and is bravely fulfilling her convention obligations while also grieving and going through the necessary bureaucracy to send Bill home.
The Pemmi-Con newzine, Mooseletter-1, also mourned his passing:
Bill Laubenheimer We are deeply saddened to hear that Bill Laubenheimer passed away suddenly, in Winnipeg for Pemmi-Con. Bill had a brilliant creative mind, and a gentle and cheerful soul. He will be much missed. Condolences to Carole Parker and their many friends.
(8) MEMORY LANE.
2019 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
So let’s talk about Kameron Hurley who’s the writer of our Beginning this Scroll.
For eight years, she wrote a column for Locus about the craft and business of fiction writing, a cool thing indeed. And speaking of non-fiction, her The Geek Feminist Revolution essay collection was nominated for a Hugo for Best Related Work; it includes “We Have Always Fought” which won a Hugo Award for Best Related Work.
As much as her two trilogies are impressive, and make no mistake as they are that, it is her two one-off novels that are truly fantastic — The Stars Are Legion and The Light Brigade are of the some of the best military fiction that has ever been done.
So our Beginning is from the latter which was published by Saga Press four years ago with the cover illustration by Eve Ventrue.
And here is the Beginning for The Light Brigade.
They said the war would turn us into light.
I wanted to be counted among the heroes who gave us this better world. That’s what I told the recruiter. That’s what I told my first squad leader. It’s what I told every CO, and there were . . . a couple. And that’s what I’d tell myself, when I was alone in the dark, cut off from my platoon, the sky full of blistering red fire, too hot to send an evac unit, and a new kid was squealing and dying on the field.
But it’s not true.
I signed up because of what they did to São Paulo. I signed up because of the Blink. All my heroes stayed on the path of light, no matter how dark it got. Even bleeding-heart socialist drones who play paladin can take an oath of vengeance to justify violence. I did.
The enemy had eaten my family and the life I once knew; a past I now remember in jerky stutter-stops, like an old satellite image interrupted by a hurricane. I wanted to be the light: the savior, the hero, sure. But more than that, I wanted the enemy obliterated.
How many other corporate soldiers signed up for money, or voting rights, or to clear a debt, or to afford good housing, or to qualify for a job in one of the big towers?
I believed my reasons were nobler.
When I signed up after São Paulo, me and my friends were shocked that the recruiting center wasn’t packed. Where were all the patriots? Didn’t they know what the aliens had done? I thought all those people who didn’t sign up were cowards. While you were all upgrading your immersives and masturbating to some new game, we were fighting the real threat. We were the good guys.
You were cowardly little shits.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 21, 1911 — Marshall McLuhan. He coined the expressions the medium is the message and global village, and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. I read The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects a long time ago. Somehow it seemed terribly quaint. (Died 1980.)
- Born July 21, 1921 — James Cooke Brown. He’s the creator of Loglan. Oh, and he did write SF. The Troika Incident written in 1970 features a global data net. That, and two short pieces of fiction, are the sum total of his of genre writings. The Troika Incident is available from Kindle but not from iBooks. (Died 2000.)
- Born July 21, 1929 — John Woodvine, 94. First role in our realm is as Macbeth at Mermaid Theatre back in the early Sixties. Shortly thereafter, he’s Badger in Toad of Toad Hall at the Comedy Theatre before being The Marshal in the Fourth Doctor story, “The Armageddon Factor”. He’s in An American Werewolf in London as Dr. J. S. Hirsch, and he had a recurring role in The Tripods as Master West. He did show up on The Avengers several times, each time as a different character, and he was Singri Rhamin for the episodes of Danger Man.
- Born July 21, 1933 — John Gardner. Novelist, critic, teacher, medievalist, among other things. His student Jeffrey Ford described Gardner’s knowledge of literature as ‘encyclopedic,’ with no regard whatever for genre boundaries. He considered Stanislaw Lem the greatest living writer, disliked Tolkien’s poetry (an assessment I agree with) but thought The Lord of the Rings ‘one of the truly great works of the human spirit’. Most of his best works are fantasy: most famously Grendel, but also Freddy’s Book, Mickelson’s Ghosts, the short story collection The King’s Indian, and his posthumously-published short story, “Julius Caesar and the Werewolf”. His book The Art of Fiction is well worth reading for anyone interested in fiction, as a writer or a reader. (Died 1982.) (PhilRM)
- Born July 21, 1948 — G. B. Trudeau, 75. Ok we decided when I first put this Birthday up that there’s enough content including not quite human characters to be genre, but he did an amazing series on the Apple Newton when it came out. A Doonesbury Retrospective series is up to six volumes and is available from the usual suspects at very reasonable prices.
- Born July 21, 1951 — Robin Williams. Suicides depress me. I remember a bootleg tape of a performance of him and George Carlin in their cocaine fueled days. No, not even genre adjacent but damn brilliant. Such manic energy. Genre wise, he was brilliant in most everything he did, be it Mork & Mindy, Hook which I adore, The Fisher King, Bicentennial Man or Jumanji. (Died 2014.)
- Born July 21, 1976 — Jaime Murray, 47. If you watch genre television, you’ve most likely seen her as she’s been Helena G. Wells in the Warehouse 13, Stahma Tarr in Defiance, Fiona/the Black Fairy In Once Upon a Time, Antoinette in The Originals, and Nyssa al Ghul in Gotham. Film wise, she was Livinia in The Devil’s Playground and Gerri Dandridge in Fright Night 2: New Blood.
(10) IN COMICS TO COME. Marvel Comics teased two super secret Rob Liefeld projects at San Diego Comic-Con. Besides the titles in the lower left corners, the file of the first piece of art is named “Major X” and the second is “Cable”.
(11) SFF-THEMED PROSTETHICS. [Item by Bruce D. Arthurs.] Came across a mention of The Alternative Limb Project, which makes prosthetic limbs that are also works of art. Some really lovely (and often fantastic/science-fictional) examples in their gallery here.
The one that might be of most interest to F770’s audience is the “Gadget Arm”, described thusly: “With a nod to the Swiss Army Knife we created a vintage styled arm stiched in leather with various gadgets including: secret compartment, torch, laser, matches, telescopic magnet, watch, compass and knives.”
There’s also a clear plastic limb that reminds me of “Demon With A Glass Hand”.
(12) THE BOOKS MADE FROM THE EPISODES. We don’t know the plots yet, of course, however, Radio Times says “Doctor Who 60th anniversary special novelisations confirmed”.
(13) THE EARLY RETURNS. “’Horrifying!’: Movie critic reacts to AI-generated films” in a BBC News video.
Filmmakers are using AI to generate short films and adverts. But are they any good?
Movie critic Rhianna Dhillon and BBC technology correspondent Marc Cieslak watch and react to four examples.
(14) WARPSPEED WATCHES. The “5 best futuristic, spaceship-inspired watches of tomorrow: from Kickstarter-funded Argon SpaceOne and MB&F’s HM8 Mark 2 to Urwerk’s UR-112, a brand loved by Michael Jordan and Robert Downey Jr” at South China Morning Post.
1. Argon SpaceOne
…This would easily have been the most affordable spaceship-inspired watch “manufactured on Earth” on this list – in mid-May, prices sat at €1,500 for the stainless steel version and €1,900 for blue titanium. But punters may have to wait as the Argon SpaceOne page on Kickstarter is currently down and unavailable, allegedly due to an intellectual property dispute….
3. Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat Back to Black
In the world of avant garde watch design, Urwerk is one of the great names. Since its inception in 1997, not a single one of the brand’s releases tell time in the traditional two- or three-handed way. Heavily leaning into exposed mechanics and sci-fi design language, Urwerk boasts Michael Jordan and Robert Downey Jr. (he was Iron Man after all) among its dedicated owner base.
(15) POIROT IN VENICE. Nerdtropolis introduces us to “A Haunting In Venice”, the next Hercule Poirot adaptation featuring Kenneth Branagh.
A new trailer for “A Haunting in Venice” by 20th Century Studios is here. This upcoming supernatural thriller, directed by Oscar winner Kenneth Branagh, is based on Agatha Christie’s novel “Hallowe’en Party.” Branagh also stars as the famous detective Hercule Poirot…
Set in eerie, post-World War II Venice on All Hallows’ Eve, and is a terrifying mystery featuring the return of the celebrated sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Now retired and living in self-imposed exile in the world’s most glamorous city, Poirot reluctantly attends a séance at a decaying, haunted palazzo. When one of the guests is murdered, the detective is thrust into a sinister world of shadows and secrets.
(16) IF IT’S GOOD, IT’S A MARVEL. The trailer for Marvel Studios’ The Marvels.
Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. But unintended consequences see Carol shouldering the burden of a destabilized universe. When her duties send her to an anomalous wormhole linked to a Kree revolutionary, her powers become entangled with that of Jersey City super-fan, Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel, and Carol’s estranged niece, now S.A.B.E.R. astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau. Together, this unlikely trio must team-up and learn to work in concert to save the universe as “The Marvels.”
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Steve French, Bruce D. Arthurs, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]