(0) My brother, his wife, and I unexpectedly spent the day binge-watching The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix, so I am staying over another night. Therefore this will be a short-short Scroll assembled on his Mac tablet. Looks like I have figured out what I need to do despite the unfamiliar software. (He uses the Brave browser – tell me, does my text always look so bleached out to you?)
(1) MORE MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE HUGO REPORT.
The New York Times — “Some Authors Were Left Out of Awards Held in China. Leaked Emails Show Why.” is paywalled. But this gift link will get you in – thanks to Susan.
What did the leaked emails reveal?
The exclusion of popular authors of Chinese descent led to speculation that the awards’ administrators had weeded out those whose political views might prove controversial in China. Those suspicions were confirmed recently, when emails leaked by Diane Lacey, a member of last year’s Hugo administration team, were published in a report by Chris M. Barkley, a science fiction fan and journalist, and Jason Sanford, a journalist and science fiction writer.
The email correspondence published in the report showed that Dave McCarty, one of the Hugo administrators, had advised other members to vet the finalists and “highlight anything of a sensitive political nature” in China, including works that focused “on China, Taiwan, Tibet or other topics that may be an issue in China.” Such works, he added, might not be safe to put on the ballot.
“This really just cut to the core of the awards,” Sanford said. “For a genre that believes so deeply in free speech to willingly take part in doing research on political issues of awards finalists, knowing that it’s going to be used to eliminate some of those finalists, it’s outrageous.”…
The Hill – Chris Barkley tells me, “The Hill is a conservative news site that’s KNOWN for its lightweight coverage on cultural issues. And here’s a prime example. I would not even bother posting this piece of fluff…” I disobeyed: “Neil Gaiman, Paul Weimer among writers excluded from Hugo Awards over fear of offending China”. (Besides, I’ll bet Paul likes the idea of being named in a headline along with Neil Gaiman, even though he said it annoys him that his name is misspelled in the URL)
(2) HOW HE MET MRS. WEIRD AL. [Item by Dann] Craig Ferguson recently hosted “Weird Al” Yankovic on his JOY podcast. (There’s also a full transcript at the link.) Within the wide-ranging discussion, Al revealed that he was introduced to his wife by Art Barnes.
Al was on the Doctor Demento Show when he met Art. They got on pretty well and Art invited Al to his place in the Hollywood hills.
Looking around the place, Al sees a ton of Lost in Space memorability. He thinks to himself that Art is really into Lost in Space. And there was a ton of Will Robinson/Billy Mumy collectibles. Art must have been a superfan!
Art Barnes was half of the musical team known as Barnes & Barnes. One of their most known songs was “Fish Heads”.
Of course, Art Barnes was actually Billy Mumy himself. That should make the whole superfan of Will Robinson thing a bit less creepy.
Billy set Al up on several blind dates. But one time, he told Al that he had to date this woman from 20th Century Fox. Billy told Al that Al had to marry her.
And that’s how things worked out.
The rest of the podcast was pretty good.
(3) MEMORY LANE.
February 17, 1912 — Andre Norton. (Died 2005.) I always think of Andre Norton with some fondness. She always write things that as an individual that I just liked. Warning: this is not complete listing by any stretch of the imagination.
The title of her first novel, The Prince Commands, being sundry adventures of Michael Karl, sometime crown prince & pretender to the throne of Morvania, could have easily been that of a fantasy novel or a mainstream swashbuckler novel. Well, it’s the latter — ninety years old this year, it’s still quite readable.
She was twice nominated for the Hugo Award, at Pacificon II for Witch World, a favorite of mind, and then again at NyCon 3 for her “Wizard’s World” novelette which appeared in the June 1967 issue of If.
Her first fantasy novel, Huon of The Horn, the 13th-century story of Huon, Duke of Bordeaux, and adds in Oberon, to create one delightful tale.
Her first SF novel, Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D, was published at the same time over seventy-five years ago. I’ve not read it, so opinions please. Star Rangers which followed I’ve read and I did like that novel.
After Gary Gygax inviting her to play Dungeons & Dragons in his Greyhawk world, she wrote two novels based in two setting, Quag Keep and Return to Quag Keep. They’re fun, not very serious, but definitely fun.
And than there Catseye in which a man finds work in a pet shop where there’s ex-spacer owner, and xeno-animals who might be stranger than he knows.
Her final novel that she actually wrote was the rather excellent Three Hands for Scorpio. Tor, which never passed after a chance to make another a dollar or two, or even a lot more, had Jean Rabe write two more crediting her as co-author, Dragon Mage and Taste of Magic.
No, I’ve not forgotten her Awards. She won an Ohioan, given for lterature by writers from Ohio and about Ohio, for Sword in Sheath, a Gandalf, Grandmaster of Fantasy; an Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction; a Nebula, a Grand Master Award; a World Fantasy Award, Special Convention Award; First Fandom Hall of Fame Award; a Workd Fantasy Award Award Award for Lifetime Achievement; and three Sir Julius Vogels with Lyn McConchie — Beast Master’s Circus, Beast Master’s Ark and The Duke’s Ballad.
I take my leave now. I need to see Catseye was ever made into audiobook as it’d make a delightful listening experience.
(4) COMICS SECTION.
- Arlo and Janis have crossover problems.
- Wallace the Brave demonstrates how easy it is to lapse into childhood obsessions.
- Carpe Diem has the woes of a second job.
(5) SIGNAL BOOST. New Zealand fans are far from alone in experiencing the problems described in “A message from the current committee of Continuity 2024” ay SFFANZ.
For the past three years a small but hardy bunch of fans have tried to revitalise conventions in New Zealand in the wake of the pandemic and CoNZealand. The former has made conventions difficult to host, and the latter made those who’d run events want to hide in a corner going wibble.
Sadly, that’s meant that a very small number of people, who are also members of the SFFANZ board, have been left holding the baby that is Continuity 2024. We’ve asked for assistance from fandom at large, and whilst a few volunteers put their hands up, they suddenly lost interest or ability to help when we had our first meeting. Now we who are left are running out of steam, and wondering if we have the spirit and time to continue. We want conventions in New Zealand to continue as we see value in them. We want to gather with friends to discuss our passion for the genre. But we can’t do it alone.
For the past three years we’ve hosted a revitalising fandom discussion, which has been robust, but every year the same thing happens. People want, want, want, but there’s no give, give, give.
At a recent fannish gathering, a number of fen asked what plans were for Continuity 2024, when bookings could be made etc. Not one person offered to put their hand up to help or run anything. It seemed to that people wanted to be entertained rather than to participate. Oh, and we have to make the event as long as possible (meaning we need to find more information/panels/events to entertain people) so that it makes it worthwhile to attend, otherwise they won’t. And, not unnaturally given the times, everyone expects that events will be both in person and online making the effort involved greater again.
There are many conflicting issues going on here, we realise. Fandom, as a group, is not getting any younger. We all have lives, and things we want to do, but unless more of us put in an effort to keep momentum in conventions alive, then SF cons in New Zealand will go the way of the dodo.
We do have some ideas, such as holding a SMOFcon South, a con-running event, alongside a day where we celebrate fandom in New Zealand, but this idea is in its infancy. We’ve got a date, a venue, ideas for guests, events, and of course the Sir Julius Vogel Awards to host. But we need ideas, fresh ones, to assist us to get this plan across the line. And we need more people to volunteer to make that happen.
We will be hosting a meeting on February 25 at 10am to discuss where we go from here with Continuity 2024. I invite you to register here for the zoho meeting. If we don’t get sufficient interest, we will be turning Continuity 2024 into a one-day event again, and that will be it. We won’t try again.
Fandom is what you put into it. It requires active engagement and participation to make it thrive and grow. This is where you come in, yes YOU.
We hope to see you on the 25th.
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Elusis, JJ, Paul Weimer, Dann, Susan, Kathy Sullivan, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH.]