There are two categories: Short poems of 11–49 lines (101–499 words for prose poems) and Long poems of 50–299 lines (500–1999 words for prose poems)
The selected poems appear in the 2023 Rhysling Anthology which can be purchasedhere.
“Harold and the Blood-Red Crayon” by Jennifer Crow, Star*Line 45.1
“In Stock Images of the Future, Everything is White” by Terese Mason Pierre, Uncanny 46
“Bitch Moon” by Sarah Grey, Nightmare Magazine 118
“First Contact” by Lisa Timpf, Eye to the Telescope 44
“The Gargoyle Watches the Rains End” by Amelia Gorman, The Gargoylicon: Imaginings and Images of the Gargoyle in Literature and Art, ed. Frank Coffman (Mind’s Eye Publications)
Short Poem Honorable Mentions
“Field Notes from the Anthropocene” by Priya Chand, Nightmare Magazine 116
“Near the end, your mother tells you she’s been seeing someone” by Shannon Connor Winward, SFPA Poetry Contest
“Dinner Plans with Baba Yaga” by Stephanie M. Wytovich, Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga, ed. Lindy Ryan (Black Spot Books)
LONG POEM CATEGORY
“Machine (r)Evolution” by Colleen Anderson, Radon Journal 2
“The Bone Tree” by Rebecca Buchanan, Not a Princess, but (Yes) There was a Pea, and Other Fairy Tales to Foment Revolution (Jackanapes Press)
“Igbo Landing II” by Akua Lezli Hope, Black Fire—This Time, ed. Kim McMillon (Aquarius Press)
Long Poem Honorable Mentions
“Herbaceous Citadel” by Avra Margariti, The Fairy Tale Magazine, January 4
“Living in Rubble” by Gerri Leen, Eccentric Orbits 3, ed. Wendy Van Camp (Dimensionfold Publishing)
“The Thing About Stars” by Avra Magariti, The Saint of Witches (Weasel Press)
PRESENTING THE SHORT POEM WINNERS
Shy and nocturnal, Jennifer Crow has never been photographed in the wild, but it’s rumored that she lives near a waterfall in western New York. Her work has appeared in a number of print and electronic venues, including Uncanny Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Wondrous Real and Analog Science Fiction. Curious readers can catch up with her on Bluesky @writerjencrow.bsky.social.
Terese Mason Pierre is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Uncanny, Star*Line, and Fantasy Magazine, among others. Her poetry has been nominated for the bpNichol Chapbook Award, the Aurora Award, and the Ignyte Award. She is one of ten winners of the Writers’ Trust Journey Prize, and was named a Writers’ Trust Rising Star. Terese is the co-Editor-in-Chief of Augur Magazine and the author of chapbooks, Surface Area (Anstruther Press, 2019) and Manifest (Gap Riot Press, 2020). Terese lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
Sarah Grey’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in Lightspeed, Nightmare, Uncanny,Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, and elsewhere. She has degrees in Art History, Medieval Studies, and law, speaks multiple languages poorly, and enjoys world travel and roller skating. She lives in California with her family and an excessive quantity of cats.
Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. Her speculative poetry has appeared in New Myths, Star*Line, Triangulation: Seven-Day Weekend, Polar Borealis, and other venues. Her collection of speculative haibun poetry, In Days to Come, is available from Hiraeth Publishing. You can find out more about Lisa’s writing projects at http://lisatimpf.blogspot.com/.
Amelia Gorman spends her free time exploring forests and fostering dogs. Read her fiction in Nightscript 6 and Cellar Door. Read her poetry in Dreams & Nightmares and Vastarien. Her chapbook, the Elgin-winning Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota, is available from Interstellar Flight Press. Her microchapbook, The Worm Sonnets (2023), is available from The Quarter Press.
PRESENTING THE LONG POEM WINNERS
Colleen Anderson lives in Vancouver, BC and has a BFA in writing. A multiple award nominee, her work has been widely published in seven countries, in such places as Lucent Dreaming, HWA Poetry Showcases, and the award-winning Shadow Atlas and Water: Sirens, Selkies & Sea Monsters. “Machine (r)Evolution” is part of Tenebrous Press’s 2023 Brave New Weird. She is author of two poetry collections, I Dreamed a World, and the just released The Lore of Inscrutable Dreams. She served as a 2023 HWA Poetry Showcase judge and co-taught a poetry workshop through Crystal Lake. www.colleenanderson.wordpress.com
Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer and is a regular contributor to ev0ke: witchcraft*paganism*lifestyle. She has published short stories, novelettes, and poems in a wide variety of venues, most speculative in nature. When she is not writing, she is baking chocolate chip cookies and avoiding yard work. A complete list of her publications can be found at Eternal Haunted Summer.
Akua Lezli Hope, a Grand Master of Fantastic Poetry (SFPA), is a paraplegic creator & wisdom seeker who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, metal, & wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music, sculpture, adornments & peace. She wrote her first speculative poems in the 6th grade and has been in print since 1974 with nearly 500 poems published. Her collections include Embouchure: Poems on Jazz and Other Musics (Writer’s Digest book award winner), Them Gone, & Otherwheres: Speculative Poetry (2021 Elgin Award winner). A Cave Canem fellow, her honors include the NEA, two NYFA fellowships, Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association award & multiple Best of the Net, Rhysling, Dwarf Star & Pushcart Prize nominations. She won a 2022 New York State Council on the Arts grant to create Afrofuturist, speculative, pastoral poetry. She created the Speculative Sundays Poetry Reading series. She edited the record-breaking sea-themed issue of Eye To The Telescope #42 & NOMBONO: An Anthology of Speculative Poetry by BIPOC Creators, the history-making first of its kind (Sundress Publications, 2021). Her short fiction is included in the ground-breaking speculative anthology Dark Matter, and in the new, celebrated, Africa Risen anthology (Tor 2022,) among others. She founded a paratransit nfp in her small town that needs a vehicle. She exhibits her artwork regularly, practices her soprano saxophone, and dreams of access and freedom in the ancestral land of the Seneca.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) members have honored Akua Lezli Hope and Mary Soon Lee as their 2022 Grand Masters. Two Grand Masters were selected due to a tie vote by the membership.
Akua Lezli Hope
Akua Lezli Hope, a creator and wisdom seeker, has been in print since 1974 with over 450 poems published. She wrote her first speculative poems in the sixth grade and was a member of the SFPA in the 80s, appearing in Star*Line and Asimov’s back then. Her collections include Embouchure: Poems on Jazz and Other Musics (Writer’s Digest book award winner), Them Gone (Sundress Publications 2018) , Otherwheres: Speculative Poetry (2021 Elgin Award winner), & Stratospherics (micro-chapbook of scifaiku @Quarantine Public Library). A Cave Canem fellow, her honors include the National Endowment for the Arts, two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association award & multiple Rhysling & Pushcart Prize nominations. She won a 2022 New York State Council on the Arts grant to create Afrofuturist, speculative, pastoral poetry.
She created Speculative Sundays, an online poetry reading series. She edited the record-breaking sea-themed issue of Eye To The Telescope #42 (www.eyetothetelescope.com) & NOMBONO: An Anthology of Speculative Poetry by BIPOC Creators, the history-making first of its kind (www.sundresspublications.com/e-anthologies/nombono Sundress Publications, 2021). Her work has also been published in numerous literary magazines and national anthologies, including: Africa Risen (Tor, 2022), Black Fire This Time (2022), The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The 100 Best African American Poems; Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora; Asimov’s Science Fiction; Gyroscope Review, Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality & the Arts, Strange Horizons, Star*Line, SciFaikuest, Eye to the Telescope, The New Verse News, Breath & Shadow, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop, The Cossack Review, Silver Blade Magazine, Stone Canoe, Panoply, Penumbra, About Place and Three Coyotes, among many others.
From Grand Master Akua Lezli Hope: “I am deeply honored and affirmed by this fabulous recognition. My first literature was speculative poetry as I learned and sang Mother Goose nursery rhymes, hand clap and jump rope chants. In elementary school I read Animal Farm, Brave New World, 1984, and Alice in Wonderful. Jabberwocky cracked open a world of language’s possibilities to me. I wrote my first speculative poems in the sixth grade and for my 50th high school reunion, our literary magazine was shared and there were two of my science fiction short stores, both beginning with speculative poems.
“Speculative poetry, like its sibling speculative fiction, serves not only the imagination but the soul. It enables us to articulate the ineffable, to capture elusive as well as re/present the many issues, both transcendent and mundane that we struggle to understand and resolve. As a young poet, I was charged to SERVE VERSE and this award is a sweet acknowledgment on this journey. A lifetime member, I am so glad that the SFPA exists to support this work and grateful for the many volunteers who sustain and support this creative community. Thank you, dear poet mages, sages, magicians and technicians.”
Mary Soon Lee
Mary Soon Lee is a gifted fantasy and science fiction author of both stories and poetry. She has won the Elgin, Rhysling and Dwarf Star Awards as well as twice winning the AnLab Readers’ Award. Her has appeared in many speculative publications including Analog, Asimov’s, Daily Science Fiction, F&SF, Fireside, New Myths Penumbric, Rune, Star*Line, and Strange Horizons, Uncanny, as well as Science, among others. Her writing continues to raise the bar for poetry.
Winner of the 2021 Elgin Award, her stunning collection, The Sign of the Dragon is an epic fantasy told in poetry. She says “Of all the things I’ve written, it’s the one that matters most to me. It began with a single poem about a boy chosen by a dragon to be king. I meant the poem to be a standalone piece, but the boy stayed with me, and I returned and wrote more, and more, and more poems about him. Over three hundred poems in the end.” About her deft and lovely, Elemental Haiku “Lee has a magisterial ability to impart facts clearly, concisely and engagingly. In these short poems she succeeds in conveying the distinctive characteristics of each element, their inter-relationships, their applications and their role in history, be it on a human, planetary or cosmic scale.”
Her work has earned numerous awards throughout her career, such as her 2022 short Rhysling win for “Confessions of a Spaceport AI. Her work is always engaging and evocative. She has a dry wit about the messiness of transcendence, evolution, one more day. Her approach is always skillfully certain, but kindly even gentle, as you are plunged into the essence of being and not being, strife and peace. She is a prolific, talented, and insightful poet.
From Grand Master Mary Soon Lee: “I’m at a loss for words, which is awkward for a writer! I’m very grateful to everyone who voted and to everyone who has encouraged me as a poet, and I am very very honored by this award — all the more so as I am receiving it in the company of Akua Lezli Hope, whom I greatly admire.
“I would like to say something profound about what poetry, especially speculative poetry, means to me. I would like to do so, but I was diagnosed with cancer in August and, while the prognosis is hopeful, I am several months into chemotherapy and not yet past the hump of surgery and radiation.
“So I will simply say, with feeling, *thank* you.”
(1) FUND FOR PETER DAVID. A GoFundMe has been started on behalf of writer Peter David, who has many health problems and faces mounting bills. “Peter David Fund”.
I’m fundraising for author Peter David and his family. He’s had some compounded health problems, and the bills are piling up! On top of kidney failure, and the steep medical bills incurred from that, he just had another series of strokes AND a mild heart attack.
As we wish him a swift recovery, and send our love and support to his wife Kathleen and his family, let’s also pitch in and help with their medical bills and living expenses.
Please give what you can to relieve some of the immense stress that this family is going through right now.
On behalf of Peter, Kathleen, and the whole family, thank you!
The appeal had brought in $51,725 from 1100+ donors at the time this was written.
The past few months have been among the most tumultuous in Arisia’s long history. After the loss of our conchair Jodie Lawhorne, two people stepped up to complete his work. In late October we learned about a serious incident involving one of our volunteers that was reported but never written down many years ago. The individual was put through our current more robust incident response protocol and was subsequently banned from all future participation in Arisia. We also learned that the acting con chairs had had knowledge of this and despite that, had consulted with this individual about volunteering for Arisia 2023. Between that information, and increasing levels of unrelated personal stress on those acting con chairs, it was determined that it was best for all parties for them to step down. Where that left us was 7 weeks out from a convention with no one in charge. I reached out to the e-board and offered to fill in the gap.
So hi, my name is Melissa Kaplan and I’ll be your acting con chair for the next 6.5 weeks….
(3) WILLIS X 2. Dave Langford and Rob Hansen have assembled TAWF Times Two: The 1962 Trip Reportsby Walt and Madeleine Willis into a book and made it available in multiple formats at the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund’s website, where they hope you’ll make a little donation to the fund if you please.
The Tenth Anniversary Willis Fund (TAWF) was organized to bring Walt Willis – this time with his wife Madeleine – to the 1962 Chicago Worldcon, ten years after the fan initiative that brought Walt alone to the 1952 Worldcon also held in Chicago. Both wrote trip reports: Walt’s was serialized in various fanzines and eventually collected as Twice Upon a Time in the monumental Warhoon #28 (1980) edited by Richard Bergeron. Madeleine’s instalments of The DisTAWF Side appeared in The SpeleoBem edited by Bruce Pelz, and have never until now been collected.
For this ebook, Rob Hansen has digitized Madeleine’s chapters, expanded them with comments and corrections from others (plus an unpublished letter from Walt and another from Madeleine) and written a new Foreword covering both reports. David Langford had the easier task of extracting Twice Upon a Time from Warhoon #28, unscrambling dates, correcting typos and restoring a fragment of lost text. Scans of all the original fanzine appearances at Fanac.org were a great help to both of us.
Released as an Ansible Editions ebook for the TAFF site on 1 December 2022. Cover photo of the Willises in 1957 from the collection of Norman Shorrock, probably taken by Peter West. Over 87,000 words.
When a Broadway show closes, the next stop for the hundreds of costumes, setpieces and props is often … the dumpster.
“The producers often stop paying rent in a storage unit somewhere, which is heartbreaking,” said Julie Boardman, one of the founders of the Museum of Broadway, which opened in Times Square this month.
Boardman, 40, a Broadway producer whose shows include “Funny Girl” and “Company,” and Diane Nicoletti, the founder of a marketing agency, are looking to reroute those items to their museum, a dream five years in the making.
“We see it as an experiential, interactive museum that tells the story of Broadway through costumes, props and artifacts,” Nicoletti, 40, said of the four-floor, 26,000-square-foot space on West 45th Street, next to the Lyceum Theater….
‘Phantom of the Opera’ Chandelier Installation
Each of the 13,917 glistening crystals in this piece, which were fashioned by the German artist Ulli Böhmelmann into hanging strands, is meant to represent one performance the Broadway production of “The Phantom of the Opera” will have played from its opening on Jan. 26, 1988, through its closing night performance. Though the final show was originally set for Feb. 18, 2023, the production announced Tuesday that it had been pushed to April 16 amid strong ticket sales (Böhmelmann plans to add the necessary crystals).
‘Avenue Q’ Puppets
In the early days of the 2003 Broadway production of the puppet-filled musical comedy “Avenue Q,” the show’s low budget meant the puppeteers had to put their charges through quick changes. The show initially had only three Princeton puppets — but he had eight costumes — meaning the puppets took a beating from changing clothes multiple times eight shows a week. “Eventually, they had a puppet for every costume,” McDonald said.
Gershwin Theater Set Model
This scale model, which is just over five feet wide, was designed by Edward Pierce, the associate scenic designer of the original Broadway production of “Wicked,” and took four people seven weeks to build. It includes more than 300 individual characters — and another 300 seated audience members in the auditorium. (See if you can find the Easter egg: a small model of the set model, with the designers — who look like the actual designers — showing the director a future design for “Wicked.”)
The world’s first literature is speculative poetry.
We told each other stories and encoded them in the form of verse. The earliest written literature is poetry – The Story of Gilgamesh, The Iliad and Odyssey, The Ramayana and Mahabharata, Beowulf and other npoem myths, verse histories and tellings in cultures across and around the world.
I had an epiphany about speculative poetry.
It was there from the start, in my womb and my heart….
(6) PROBABLY AN ANNIVERSARY. “Hitchhiker’s at 42” and 3 Quarks Daily is celebrating. Because something to do with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy happened forty-two years ago. Didn’t it?
… To document the broader cultural impact of Hitchhiker’s, we’ve asked a number of public figures in science, the arts, the humanities, and government to reflect on how the book changed their own understanding of life, the universe, and everything.
“The Hitchhiker series taught me to laugh at the absurd, to mock self-proclaimed genius, to put off searching for the meaning of life in favor of play, and to oppose time travel on the ground that proper tense usage would become too difficult. It also prepared me to understand that some Albany politicians are like Vogons, insofar as neither are above corruption in the same way that the ocean is not above the sky. And it made 42 my favorite number.” –Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and host of Stay Tuned and Doing Justice…
(7) FREE READ. Congratulations to Cora Buhlert, who has a new short story “Legacy of Steel” in the November 2022 issue of Swords and Sorcery Magazine. The other stories in the issue are “Sun in Shadow” by Sandra Unerman and “You Stand Before the Black Tower” by Nathaniel Webb.
…I have had some new arrivals recently, including at long last King Randor, which opens up a lot of possibilities for stories involving the royal family of Eternia.
One thing that is remarkably consistent over all versions of Masters of the Universe from the early mini-comics via the Filmation cartoon of the 1980s, the 2002 cartoon, the various comics, Masters of the Universe: Revelation all the way to the Netflix CGI show is that Prince Adam has a strained relationship with his father King Randor. Cause Randor always finds something to criticise about his son and heir. Adam is too lazy, too irresponsible, not princely enough, not interested enough in affairs of state, not heroic enough, too foolhardy and he also missed dinner or an official reception, because he was off saving Eternia….
…While stretching my hands into claws, I hunt my memory. Have I ever felt talons grow from my fingertips? Do I know the twinge of lupine hair breaking my burning, blossoming skin? How does the paradigm of meaning-making shift when I find I can smell more keenly than I can see? In all these years, have I come closer to knowing?
You might suggest I use writing to account for these questions. Documenting my thoughts about them in a field journal—“May 26: I think I smelled a pig at one mile today.” Nope. I’ve no werewolf archive. There are a few poems, sure; yet they skin the lycanthrope to cover and do some other thing. Those poems, they are not telling you what I am telling you: that I have meant to be a werewolf, and that this has been, I’m afraid, a quiet, lifelong ambition, a discipline I’ve maintained longer and to less purpose, it would seem, than nearly all else….
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1998 — [By Cat Eldridge.] Hobbit holes (New Zealand)
Stop me before this gets novella length!
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. — The Hobbit
Only one of the movie sets in New Zealand survives and charmingly enough it’s the village where the hobbits resided. It was used for both trilogies and quite unsurprisingly is now a place with guided tours being offered every day.
Jackson spotted it during a search by air for suitable locations using one of his airplanes, or so the story is now told, and thought it looked like a slice of England. Furthermore Alan Lee commented to him that the location’s terrain “looked as though Hobbits had already begun excavations” there.
It became Hobbiton and the Shire with the facades of quite a few hobbit holes and associated gardens, a double arch bridge, hedges, and a mill. They erected an immense oak above Bag End that had been growing nearby and which was cut down and recreated in fibreglass on site complete with artificial leaves.
When I mean facades, I really mean just that. It’s not possible to go inside the as there is nothing inside them, just retaining walls and beyond that dirt. I’m guessing that the site is going to need expensive ongoing maintenance if it is going to survive long term.
Bag End is the exception as they designed it so a little bit of interior has been designed to seen and the door will open so you can peek in.
About those hobbit holes. No, the interior scenes for Bag End weren’t not shot here. (Of course they’d make lousy film sets, wouldn’t they? You can’t get cameras in there.) The interior of Bag End was shot in a studio in Wellington. Ok, there are actually two Bag Ends as Ian McKelllen explains on his charming look at these:
Hobbits must appear smaller than the other characters in the film. When I, as Gandalf, meet Bilbo or Frodo at home, I bump my head on the rafters. (Tolkien didn’t think to mention it!) So there is a small Bag End set with small props to match.
As Ian Holm and Elijah Wood would be too big within it, they have “scale doubles” who are of a matching size with the scenery and its miniature furniture. In the small set Bilbo and Frodo are played by Kiran Shah (Legend) who is in hobbit proportion to my Gandalf.
And of course there has to be a big Bag End, where the scale is human-sized and all the objects of the small set are duplicated but bigger. There the “hero actors” can play the hobbits but the camera expects a gigantic Gandalf and gets him in Paul Webster (a 7’4″ Wellingtonian) who substitutes for me.
So we’ve got a village full of hobbit hole facades that all look very charming as you can see here and you’ve got the rather amazing effect of creating the illusion of a hobbit hole interior that we can all think is real. I certainly did when I watched the first Hobbit film. I may not have cared for the film itself, but oh my the scenery and the depiction of Bag End was stellar!
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 30, 1835 — Mark Twain. It’s been decades since I read it but I still know I loved A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. His other genre work is The Mysterious Stranger in which Satan might be visiting us went unpublished in his lifetime and it’s only relatively recently published with the University of California Press editions of all his completed and uncompleted versions in one volume that a reader can see what he intended. (Died 1910.)
Born November 30, 1893 — E. Everett Evans. Writer, Editor, Conrunner, and Member of First Fandom who started out with fan writing, but eventually became a published genre author as well. He helped to found the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) and served as its president and editor of its publication. Food for Demons was a chapbook compilation of his fantasy tales, though he was generally not considered to be a good fiction writer. Fandom’s Big Heart Award, which was founded by Forrest J Ackerman in 1959, was named for him for its first 40 years. In 2018, Bob Tucker’s fanzine Le Zombie, of which he had co-edited two issues, won a Retro Hugo Award. (Died 1958.) (JJ)
Born November 30, 1906 — John Dickson Carr. Author of the Gideon Fell detective stories, some of which were decidedly genre adjacent and The Lost Gallows is apparently genre. The Burning Court with Fell is on this list as are his vampire mythos backstoried novels, Three Coffins and He Who Whispers. And I really should note his Sir Henry Merrivale character has at one genre outing in Reader is Warned. The usual suspects have a more than decent stock of his offerings. (Died 1977.)
Born November 30, 1950 — Chris Claremont, 72. Writer in the comic realm. Best known for his astounding twenty year run on the Uncanny X-Men starting in 1976. During his tenure at Marvel, he co-created at least forty characters. Looking at his bibliography, I see that he did Sovereign Seven as a creator own series with DC publishing it. And then there’s the matter of Lucas providing the notes for The Chronicles of the Shadow War trilogy to follow the Willow film and then contracting our writer to make them exist. Anyone ever encountered these?
Born November 30, 1952 — Debra Doyle. Writer, Filker, and Fan. Her novel Knight’s Wyrd, co-written with her husband and collaborator James D. Macdonald, won a Mythopoeic Award for Children’s Literature. Most of their co-written works are fantasy, but their Mageworlds series also crosses into space opera territory. As filker Malkin Grey, she and Pergyn Wyndryder won a Pegasus Award for Best Historical Song. She was an instructor at the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop, and has been Guest of Honor at several conventions. (Died 2020.) (JJ)
Born November 30, 1955 — Kevin Conroy. Frell, another great one lost too soon. Without doubt, best known for voicing Batman onBatman: The Animated Series and many other DCU series. On Justice League Action, the other characters often noting his stoic personality. I’ve not seen it, but on Batwoman, he plays Bruce Wayne in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two” episode. (Died 2022.)
Born November 30, 1952 — Jill Eastlake, 70. IT Manager, Costumer, Conrunner, and Fan who is known for her elaborate and fantastical costume designs; her costume group won “Best in Show” at the 2004 Worldcon. A member of fandom for more than 50 years, she belonged to her high school’s SF club, then became an early member of NESFA, the Boston-area fan club, and served as its president for 4 years. She has served on the committees for numerous Worldcons and regional conventions, co-chaired a Costume-Con, and chaired two Boskones. She was the Hugo Award ceremony coordinator for the 1992 Worldcon, and has run the Masquerade for numerous conventions. Her extensive contributions were honored when she was named a Fellow of NESFA in 1976, and in 2011 the International Costumer’s Guild presented her with their Lifetime Achievement Award. She and her fan husband Don (who is irrationally fond of running WSFS Business Meetings) were Fan Guests of Honor at Rivercon.
Born November 30, 1957 — Martin Morse Wooster. He discovered fandom in 1974 when he heard about “a big sci-fi con” in downtown Washington where admission was $10 at the door. He had ten bucks, and so attended Discon II at 16. A year later, he discovered fanzines through Don Miller, and discovered he liked writing book reviews. He started contributing to File 770 in 1978 and continued for the rest of his life. He was one of twelve founders of the Potomac River Science Fiction Society, which split from the Washington Science Fiction Association in 1975, and regularly attends PRSFS meetings to discuss books. Lost his life to a hit-and-run driver on November 12. (Died 2022.) (JJ)
Passengers on board a United Airlines commercial jet flying over Florida’s Cape Canaveral were able to spot an amazingly rare sight in the distance: a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, far below….
Bill Mumy has worked with some of the most celebrated filmmakers in Hollywood history – but not all of his experiences were out of this world.
The former child star, who made his mark in the ‘60s series “Lost in Space,” has recently written a memoir titled “Danger, Will Robinson: The Full Mumy.” In it, he details his rise to stardom and the numerous encounters he had with TV and film icons along the way – including Alfred Hitchcock.
Mumy worked with the filmmaker in the TV series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” for the episode “Bang! You’re Dead!”. It was filmed in the summer of 1961 when Mumy was 7 years old….
Wolves infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii are far more likely to become pack leaders than uninfected wolves and are also more likely to disperse from the pack they’re born into, a study published November 24 in Communications Biology reports. The finding points to a possible connection between the infamous parasite and wolf population health.
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a “mind control” parasite that can infect any warm-blooded animal, the paper states. The protozoan can only reproduce sexually in the guts of cats, and often spreads through contact with infected feline feces. Infection with T. gondii causes hosts to accrue permanent brain cysts and also induces toxoplasmosis, a disease that can embolden some host species, causing infected animals to seek out more situations in which they can transmit the parasite. Mice infected with T. gondiilose their fear of cat urine, for example, making them more likely to be killed and eaten by a cat, enabling the parasite to reproduce once again…
…The film, which was released in 1982, was written by Melissa Matheson, whom Ford was dating at the time. During a 2012 reunion for the film, actor Henry Thomas, who played the main character, Elliott, told Entertainment Weekly that he was just excited at the prospect of meeting Ford.
“When I met Steven, the first thing out of my mouth was I think, ‘I love Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ and my hero was Harrison Ford,” Thomas said. “I basically was just excited to meet Steven in hopes that I would meet Harrison.”
Ford eventually agreed to shoot a cameo scene with Thomas, playing an uptight school principal who would scold Elliott after the famous frog escape scene, in which Elliott would also kiss a girl in his class. Spielberg also spoke about the cameo in an interview with EW: “He did the scene where E.T. is home levitating all of the stuff for his communicator up the stairs. Elliott is in the principal’s office after the frog incident. We don’t ever see Harrison’s face. We just hear his voice, see his body.”…
(16) VIDEO OF A PREVIOUS DAY. A short clip from Futurama illustrates why, “In the end, it was not guns or bombs that defeated the aliens, but that humblest of all God’s creatures, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.”
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Standback, Rich Lynch, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rick Moen.]
The award is named for SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin, and is presented in two categories, Chapbook and Book. Works published in 2019 and 2020 were eligible for this year’s awards.
Winner: Otherwheres by Akua Lezli Hope (ArtFarm Press, 2020)
Second place:Twelve by Andrea Blythe (Interstellar Flight Press, 2020)
Third place: Manifest by Terese Mason Pierre (Gap Riot Press, 2020)
FULL-LENGTH BOOK AWARD WINNERS
Winner:The Sign of the Dragon by Mary Soon Lee (JABberwocky Literary Agency, 2020)
Second place:A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2020)
Third place (tie):
Mary Shelley Makes a Monster by Octavia Cade (Aqueduct Press, 2019)
A Route Obscure and Lonely by LindaAnn LoSchiavo (The Wapshott Press, 2020)
There were 19 chapbooks nominated and 64 full-length books; 62 SFPA members voted.
2021 Elgin Chair Jordan Hirsch writes speculative fiction and poetry in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Her work has appeared with Apparition Literary Magazine, The Dread Machine, Daily Science Fiction, and other venues.
Pasadena’s Lineage Performing Arts Center shares its take on Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day” in a free online presentation Friday, May 28, starting at 7 p.m.
This community-created dance and theatre piece reimagines Bradbury’s sci-fi short story through the lens of Pasadena’s experience through the pandemic. “All Summer in a Day” director, Lineage’s founder Hilary Thomas, conducted virtual workshops and classes over the last year, where she collected writings from PUSD students, Pasadena community members, and contributors from across the country, on their experience during the pandemic.
The show weaves together live actors performing the community’s text, accompanied by dancers from the Lineage Dance Company.
In a parallel to the trying times of the past year, “All Summer in a Day” tells the story of Margot, a young girl living on Venus, where it’s been raining for seven years straight. Margot alone holds out hope for a break in the clouds. Lineage’s community members have reimagined the story’s ending, drawing on the hope they feel as Pasadena slowly begins to heal from the pandemic.
(2) BUILDING BEYOND. K. O’Keefe Thomas and Rem Wigmore join Sarah Gailey’s “Building Beyond: Invasive Economics” to play with the writing prompt: “The ecosystem that is the global economy has fallen victim to an incredibly invasive species.” Gailey sums up their three attempts —
All of these possibilities are just beginnings. Rem’s weasels are the start of an incredibly creative and fun linguistic romp. K’s lichenous growth is the entry point for a story about how people might be compelled to build a utopia. My parasitoid wasps are the beginning of a tale of forgetting; if the wasps begin to mutate, what else might they devour?
In the 1940s, the British Interplanetary Society—a fantastic club of space geeks that included Arthur C. Clarke—drafted up detailed plans for space missions of all kinds, including a trip to the moon. After World War II ended, BIS member Harry Ross pushed ahead on a lunar spacesuit design and drafted artist Ralph Smith to create fantastic illustrations of concept. Sixty years later, the UK’s National Space Centre museum commissioned historical costume and model maker Stephen Wisdom to bring the spacesuit into the real world… using only materials that were available in the 1940s….
…Every writer should have at hand a bio, short for biography. This biography can take many forms depending on where you are in your journey. Most often requested in the third person, it includes your name, perhaps where you’re from or where you currently live, perhaps your degrees, your awards, and your publications. I strongly suggest that you write a long one, maybe two pages, and then a one-page one, and then 100 word and a 50-word one. The publication will specify the kind they want and the length of bio they want. More and more request them upon submitting. I’ve been asked for 50-word bios, 100-word bios, and, more rarely, 150-word bios. You must think of this well before the time of request or submittal, and have it at the ready because the moment that it is required is rarely a moment that you want to think of the cleverest and most authentic way to present yourself. I recommend that you review this annually and that you update it. Read it aloud, get a friend to vet it….
(5) TRUE WRIT. [Item by Lise Andreasen.] Hejsa! Podcast time! Episode 88 of the Literature and History podcast is about “Ancient Greek Sci-fi”. In roughly the 160s CE, the Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote A True History, one of history’s earliest surviving novels, with strong tinges of what we’d call science fiction.
…The novel that we’re about to read in this episode is a wild and entertaining chunk of prose, and an exuberant mockery of what Lucian holds to be poor history writing. And so before we open Lucian’s novel, we should get a couple of things related to works of ancient history fresh in our minds. Because while the novel we’re about to read together is a zany and fun adventure story, it also has a serious agenda. At the heart of this agenda is criticizing history as it existed in the second century. History, in the mid-100s CE, when Lucian was hunched over his desk, writing his works, was not like modern, academically peer-reviewed history. The historians who come up in Lucian’s works – ancient Greek figures like Thucydides and Xenophon and especially Herodotus – these writers, to varying extents, took artistic license when they wrote their books, leavening the facts available to them with fiction to alternately fill in gaps and to make things more engrossing and exciting for their readers. To put it simply, Lucian’s problem with history as a discipline was that it erred too far on the side of exaggerations and outright fabrications….
The direct link to the audio is here. I am a faithful subscriber to the podcast, and I highly recommend it.
…It has thus been only for two or three decades that South Korea has had a thriving science fiction and fantasy cultural scene, which first began to develop on the internet. Without a full appreciation of this history, critics inside and outside South Korea often wonder at the little exposure that the country has had to Western science fiction culture.
All this meant that, during my formative years, the inspiration for my writing came from mainstream literature on the one hand and from the fantastic and speculative world of manhwa on the other. I like to think that I learned from Herman Hesse how to express a literary vision and from manhwa artist Kim Jin how to appropriate Korean history and myths for my own storytelling. Plus, I have always been a big fan of Agatha Christie’s detective fiction.
With the exception of Hesse, the below list includes my favorite works of science fiction…
(7) TRAILING LIVES. Infinite with Mark Wahlberg will be streaming June 10 on Paramount+.
For Evan McCauley (Mark Wahlberg), skills he has never learned and memories of places he has never visited haunt his daily life. Self-medicated and on the brink of a mental breakdown, Evan is sought by a secret group that call themselves “Infinites,” revealing to him that his memories may be real—but they are from multiple past lives.
(8) MEMORY LANE.
2001 — Twenty years ago at the Millennium Philcon, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire wins the Hugo for Best Novel. Other nominated works were A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer, The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod and Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born May 28, 1847 – Bithia Croker. Irish horsewoman who hunted with the Kildare; married, moved to British India, wrote for a distraction during the hot season. Forty-two novels (17 set in India, 1 Burma, 7 Ireland); we can claim Beyond the Pale and her seven collections of shorter stories. (Died 1920) [JH]
Born May 28, 1908 — Ian Fleming. Author of the James Bond series which is at least genre adjacent if not actually genre in some cases such as Moonraker. The film series was much more genre than the source material. Then there’s the delightful Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car. The film version was produced by Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, who had already made five James Bond films. (Died 1964.) (CE)
Born May 28, 1919 – Don Day. Editor of The Fanscient (and of its parody, Fan-Scent; you can see both here). Perhaps the greatest early bibliographer of SF, in The Fanscient and also his Index to the Science Fiction Magazines 1926-1950 (hardbound, sold thousands of copies). Chaired NorWesCon the 8th Worldcon. (Died 1979) [JH]
Born May 28, 1930 – Frank Drake, age 91. Astronomer and astrophysicist. Nat’l Academy of Sciences, American Acad. of Arts & Sciences. Co-designed the Pioneer Plaques; supervised the Voyager Golden Records; thus our neighbor. Lapidarist. Raises orchids. [JH]
Born May 28, 1951 — Sherwood Smith, 70. YA writer best known for her Wren series. She’s also co-authored The Change Series with Rachel Manija Brown. She also co-authored two novels with Andre Norton, Derelict for Trade and A Mind for Trade. (CE)
Born May 28, 1954 – Kees van Toorn, age 67. Chaired ConFiction the 48th Worldcon, at the Hague. Served on con committees in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., the U.S. Perry Rhodan translator. Semiprozine Orbit for a dozen years. Contributed to APA-L from overseas. Two European SF Awards. Guest of Honor at Beneluxcon 7 & 17. Here is a Website about his Worldcon and now-canceled reunion plans. [JH]
Born May 28, 1954 – Betsy Mitchell, age 67. Long fruitful career at Baen, Bantam, Warner, Del Rey, editing 150 titles, several becoming NY Times Best Sellers; now, Betsy Mitchell Editorial Services. Guest of Honor at Archon 14, 4th Street Fantasy Con (1992), Armadillocon 22, Boskone 41, Ad Astra 25, Loscon 40. [JH]
Born May 28, 1977 — Ursula Vernon, 44. She is best known for her Hugo Award-winning graphic novel Digger which was a webcomic from 2003 to 2011. Vernon is also the creator of The Biting Pear of Salamanca, a digital work of art which became an internet meme in the form of the LOL WUT pear.
Born May 28, 1984 — Max Gladstone, 37. His debut novel, Three Parts Dead, is part of the Craft Sequence series, and his shared Bookburners serial is most excellent. This Is How You Lose the Time War (co-written with Amal El-Mohtar) won a Hugo Award for Best Novella at CoNZealand. (CE)
Born May 28, 1985 — Carey Mulligan, 36. She’s here because she shows up in a very scary Tenth Doctor story, “Blink”, in which she plays Sally Sparrow. Genre adjacent, she was in Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Sittaford Mystery as Violet Willett. (Christie gets a shout-out in another Tenth Doctor story, “The Unicorn and the Wasp”.) (CE)
Born May 28, 1986 – Laura Dockrill, age 35. Author, illustrator, poet (performance name “Dockers MC”). Two novels, a short story, a collection of retold fairy (I confess mistyping it “fiery”) tales for us; a dozen other books. When The Guardian asked her about the dress she was photographed in, she said “I call it Fantastic Disgusting Amazing Dress because it is fantastic, disgusting and amazing.” [JH]
Now, thanks to SMUJones Video Collection (via Boing Boing), one of the earliest Stan Lee on-camera appearances has resurfaced. And it’s amazing how different 1966 Stan Lee looked from how we all think of him today. Also amazing is how prescient he was about Marvel’s potential in other media. You can watch the two-part video in full right here…
From 1984 to roughly 1987, the Super Powers Collection was a DC Comics line of action figures from Kenner Toys, home of Star Wars. It featured the DC heroes in their most iconic incarnations, with classic villains getting cool new modern upgrades. Aside from the figures, there was also a metric ton of merchandise. And the long-running Super Friends cartoon also got a Super Powers makeover. While the stories for Super Powers were simplistic by modern standards, their colorful aesthetic and emphasis on fun adventure and pure heroism feel exactly like what the DCEU needs today. But before we get into how Super Powers can inspire the future, let’s take a deep dive into its history….
…While I have never been to an underwater base, what little I do know about oceans and pressure suggests that several things in the movie don’t add up scientifically. Deep sea diving with minimal gear and body protection seems needlessly dangerous. Similarly, open holes to the water that serve as entrances into both the lab and the unidentified object don’t make sense. There’s an open water propelled human exploration ship that at one point is slower than a diver just swimming alongside it, which led me to question: why have the ship in the first place? And there are moments of beautiful cinematography in the water with the fish and the ocean floor, which made me wish that they had been featured more prominently….
Cosmic dreams (and provocative nightmares) of tantalizing journeys through time and space … infinite, conceptual exploration of the stars … alien creatures … Hammer Films … Universal Pictures … “King Kong” … Ray Harryhausen … Ray Bradbury … George Pal … Robert Bloch … Peter Cushing … Veronica Carlson … Buster Crabbe … John Agar … Frank Capra … John Williams … Miklos Rozsa … Forrest J Ackerman … and Famous “Monsters” of all shapes, sizes, and creeds, both conceived and lovingly chronicled in books, magazines, journals, tabloids, and on line for over half a century, inspired this affectionate, deeply personal, if slightly Monstrous, remembrance of a life in “horror” by a gray haired, unabashedly child like, Monster “Kid.”
Though cryptocurrency mining is becoming less profitable by the day, those who still have the hardware may as well use it. However, it sucks up a lot of energy and dumps a lot of heat, which suspiciously looks like a marijuana grow house, as it turns out.
Earlier this month, police in London were tipped off to a building within the Great Bridge Industrial Estate, Sandwell. Using drone surveillance, police saw a characteristic heat signature and people regularly going in and out. Therefore, when the police raided the location on May 18th, they were expecting a cannabis farm, but that is not what they found.
Upon entry, they saw shelves full of up to 100 application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) cryptocurrency miners rigged with exhaust pipes and a daisy-chained power system. As it turns out, the only illegal part about this is that the computers were spliced into the power network, which had “effectively stolen thousands of pounds of electricity,” as the BBC reports….
…Only the fully vaccinated should be witnessing this. That’s certainly not the case. After waiting the suggested two weeks from my second Moderna shot in late March (a sluggish day that felt like a system reboot), I rejoined the company of filmgoers. It felt vaguely like getting away with something you knew you shouldn’t be doing.
No apologies. The excitement of being back, however tinged by free-floating nervousness, can’t be downplayed. I drank in Andrei Tarkovsky’s elliptical 1975 art film “Mirror” like so many vodka flights, every mysterious windswept field and liquid interlude frizzing my synapses. Amazingly, my tiny Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center audience greeted the end credits with a robust chorus of woos (possibly a first for Tarkovsky). Maybe we were cheering the mere idea of surviving a film together. A theater worker dismissed us row by row; we obeyed like good little schoolchildren.
There’s something performative about returning to the movies right now. The laughing is louder. Perhaps it’s compensation for all the taped-off rows, all the dead space. We’ve become the film ourselves, telegraphing our emotions in ways that only 14 months of mouth-obscured masking can spur. Case in point: Orson Welles’s chatty 1973 documentary “F for Fake” is amusing in a purring, intellectual way, but it’s not the riot that a few superfans at the Paris Theater in Midtown were clearly having.
It helps to bring your own enthusiasm. Otherwise, a mind can wander to the whooshing air-conditioning units, freshly refitted with the required MERV 13 filters and somehow louder than memory serves. Is the ceiling too low? Was that a cough or a chuckle? Don’t let yourself get too distracted, or you’ll be demoted from paying customer to cop.
Remember in Season 2 of The Boys, when Homelander (Antony Starr) took his son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), to the supe-themed restaurant Planet Vought? The pair were still getting adjusted to their father-son dynamic, so at Stormfront’s (Aya Cash) prompting, Homelander takes his son out to the restaurant for some bonding. Of course, Homelander fans ended up making it more traumatic than intended for the poor kid, but weirdly enough, if you are in the Los Angeles area June 4 – 6, you could be one of those fans.
Amazon Studios announced today that they’re unveiling a huge, free The Boys-themed three-day pop-up at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. It’s being billed as a “one-of-a-kind, immersive drive-thru restaurant” celebrating Planet Vought’s (think of it as a super knock-off of Planet Hollywood restaurants) “grand opening” event. Each car-load will get an exclusive 40-minute experience with themed food and a drive-thru environment filled with characters, visuals, and elements from The Boys universe.
“We here at The Boys are thrilled to launch our latest cash-grab, I mean, brand extension: Planet Vought Hollywood,” showrunner Eric Kripke says in a tonally spot-on press release statement. “Guests will experience the thrills of being a real superhero, all while consuming 2000 calories or more. Okay not really, but still, this experience is SO COOL, and will immerse viewers (and frankly, Emmy voters) into the humor and intrigue of the show’s world. And keep an eye out — Butcher and the Boys might swing by.”
[Thanks to JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Cath, Will R., Daniel Dern, Lise Andreasen, Andrew Porter, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]