By Lis Carey: Police Detective Lt. Terence Marshall, of the Los Angeles Police Department, is home with his wife, Leona, feeding their new baby, while she asks about his day. Nothing interesting, he tells her. One dead drifter, though, shot dead in a very cheap hotel. A couple of odd things, though. He had $300 on him, that wasn’t stolen, and an unusual rosary, with what seems to be the wrong number of beads.
It’s a puzzle.
It’s a bigger, more important puzzle, when they discover the dead man also has the private phone number of Hilary Foulkes, heir and literary executor of the late giant of science fiction, Fowler Foulkes, author the adventures of Dr. Derringer. Derringer has outlived Fowler, or would, if not for the fact that Hilary Foulkes charges extremely high fees for any use of Derringer’s name, image, or adventures. He’s killed many literary projects, original adventures, quotes of memorable lines as chapter headers, even audio records for the National Library for the Blind. A lot of people really hate Hilary Foulkes.
And Hilary Foulkes reports that he has been getting threats and has experienced actual attempts on his life — so far, not successful or even there impressive, but still, attempts on his life.
Soon Marshall is investigating a locked-room attempted murder, questioning a selection of potential suspects from the Mañana Literary Society, the informal social circle of the science fiction writers living in and around Los Angeles at the time. For dedicated science fiction fans, this adds some extra fun, because these writers are mostly thinly disguised major sf writers of the period. However, if you’re only here for the mystery, you won’t notice, and it won’t distract from the story. This is a solid mystery, well plotted, and the characters, sf writers or not, are developed and interesting.
One of the suspects is a friend of Marshall’s; one very helpful amateur detective is Sister Ursula of the Order of St. Mary of Bethany, who has a keen, observant mind, and useful background knowledge about the strange rosary, which turns out to be quite relevant. With the story not only set in 1942, but written then, one could be concerned about the women characters. However, Boucher doesn’t fall into the trap of much of both the sf and mystery fiction of the period. The women are described physically as you’d expect, tall and bosomy, but they’re smart and capable, though they don’t always make it obvious.
(1) DEEP DISH READING SERIES. The
Speculative Literature Foundation will be hosting the Deep Dish Reading Series
Thursday, October 3 at 7pm at Volumes Bookcafe (1474 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622). This event is
being done in partnership with the Plurality University Network as part of
their Many Tomorrows Festival.
Transcending boundaries of space, time, and imagination, we will gather together in Chicago speculative fiction authors from various communities, each with their own unique vision of the world. This event is co-sponsored by SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) (www.sfwa.org) and Chicago Nerd Social Club (www.chicagonerds.org).
The event’s Featured Readers will be Silvia
Moreno-Garcia, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, and Scott Huggins, with Rapid-Fire Readers
Sue Burke, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Jeremy John, and Anaea Lay. Deep Dish readings are open to the public and all are
welcome, free of charge.
(2) COUPLE OF AMAZON TRIBUTARIES DRYING UP. The Digital
Reader reports a pair of changes will soon be made to Amazon’s marketing strategies.
The retailer sent out an email today, informing authors and others who have run contests that the service is being wound down over the next couple months. The option to start a new giveaway contest will end on 10 October, and Amazon will end all current contests on 17 October.
…Launched in 2013, Kindle Matchbook was a program where authors and publishers had the option of creating ebook+print bundles that combine a Kindle ebook with a print book sold by Amazon. The ebook could be given away for free, or sold for $1.99 or $0.99.
If you’ve never heard of this program, you’re not alone. Aside from the stories about the publishing industry losing its shit when Amazon launched Kindle Matchbook, it has gotten almost no media attention.
Most authors have never heard of it, and the ones that do have books in the program report that there was little interest from readers.
(3) BREAKING A RULE. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett assembles an entertaining array of authors reproving critics in “Taking Care When Biting the Bear”. Keith Roberts lights up a pseudonymous reviewer, while James Blish is racked by Anthony Boucher and Isaac Asimov.
It has often been said, and rightly so, that there is little value in an author complaining about what others say about their work. No matter how wrong-headed an author might think such opinions, in the normal course of events complaining about them rarely does the author much good. The problem for any author who feels slighted is that we all form opinions about everything we experience and few of us will happily accept being told our opinions are worthless. Thus when an author uses the argument ‘that X did not understand what I was trying to do’ most of us feel our hackles raise in empathy with the critic.
…On October 18, the London Design Museum will launch their “Moving to Mars” exhibition, which considers both the science and design behind what going to Mars will look like for humankind. The exhibit is divided into three aesthetically pleasing exhibitions – one on Mars in popular culture, one on what life and living conditions will be like on Mars, and one on what the future of Mars could look like. Guests are then invited to make their own conclusions about how and when humans should make the leap to the red planet. Because it’s a design museum, the curators have collected more than 150 Mars-related objects and commissioned an interior design firm to create a multi-sensory experience. Guests will be able to walk through a prototype of a Martian habitat and study the clothing that will need to blend style and functionality with heavy-duty protection and technical performance. The exhibit will run until February 23, 2020. It’s best to buy your tickets in advance and is recommended for children 8 and older.
My nation (which may not be yours) is in the midst of another election. On the one hand, it’s a glorious celebration of our right to choose who runs the nation for the next four years. On the other hand, many of us view with dismay the endless election—thirty-six full days of bloviation and punditry!—and the sinking feeling that it is all an exercise in deciding which of our colourful array of parties is least objectionable. Still, even if it feels like one is being asked to choose between the Spanish Influenza and Yersinia pestis, it is important to remember one take-home lesson from Herman Kahn’s On Thermonuclear War: even undesirable outcomes can be ranked in order of preference. The Spanish flu is bad. The Black Death is worse.
All of which led me to consider how elections have figured in speculative fiction novels.
(6) HARLEY QUINN. The first Birds of Prey trailer
has dropped. In theaters February 7, 2020
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
October 1, 1957 — The Brain From Planet Arous premiered. Starring John Agar, Joyce Meadows, and Robert Fuller, it was made on a budget of $ 58,000. It went into appeared in wide distribution in 1958 as a double feature with Teenage Monster.
October 1, 1998 — Futuresport aired on ABC. Starring Dean Cain, Vanessa Williams, and Wesley Snipes, it polled 23% at Rotten Tomatoes.
October 1, 2001 — The Mutant Xseries first aired. It lasted for three seasons and sixty episodes. John Shea who was Luthor in the 1990s Lois & Clark was a cast member.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 1, 1896 — Abraham Sofaer. The Thasian in “The Charlie X” episode of the original Trek. He’s also been on The Man from U.N.C.L.E in “The Brain-Killer Affair” as Mr. Gabhail Samoy, head of U.N.C.L.E. operations in Calcutta, and also had one-offs on Twilight Zone, Boris Karloff’s Thriller, Time Tunnel, I Dream of Jeannie, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Lost in Space. (Died 1988.)
Born October 1, 1914 — Donald Wollheim. Founding member of the Futurians, Wollheim organized what was later deemed the first American science fiction convention, when a group from New York met with a group from Philadelphia on October 22, 1936 in Philadelphia. As an editor, he published Le Guin’s first two novels as an Ace Double. And would someone please explain to me how he published an unauthorized paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings? (Died 1990.)
Born October 1, 1930 — Richard Harris. One of the Dumbledores in the Potter film franchise. He also played King Arthur in Camelot, Richard the Lion Hearted in Robin and Marian, Gulliver in Gulliver’s Travels, James Parker in Tarzan, the Ape Man and he voiced Opal in Kaena: The Prophecy. His acting in Tarzan, the Ape Man him a nominee for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor. Anyone seen that film? (Died 2002.)
Born October 1, 1935 — Dame Julie Andrews, DBE, 84. Mary Poppins! I could stop there but I won’t. (Hee.) she had a scene cut in which was a maid in The Return of the Pink Panther, and she’s uncredited as the singing voice of Ainsley Jarvis in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Yet again she’s uncreated in a Panther film, this time as chairwoman in Trail of the Pink Panther. She voices Queen Lillian in Sherk 2, Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After. And she’s the voice of Karathen in Aquaman.
Born October 1, 1944 — Rick Katze, 75. A Boston fan and member of NESFA and MCFI. He’s chaired three Boskones, and worked many Worldcons. Quoting Fancyclopedia 3: “A lawyer professionally, he was counsel to the Connie Bailout Committee and negotiated the purchase of Connie’s unpaid non-fannish debt at about sixty cents on the dollar.” He’s an active editor for the NESFA Press, including the six-volume Best of Poul Anderson series.
Born October 1, 1948 — Michael Ashley, 71. Way, way too prolific to cover in any detail so I’ll single out a few of his endeavours. The first, his magnificent The History of the Science Fiction Magazine, 1926 – 1965; the second being the companion series, The Time Machines: The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1990. This not to slight anything he is done such as The Gernsback Days: A Study in the Evolution of Modern Science Fiction from 1911 to 1936.
Born October 1, 1953 — John Ridley, 66. Author of Those Who Walk in Darkness and What Fire Cannot Burn novels. Both excellent though high on the violence cringe scale. Writer on the Static Shock and Justice League series. Writer, The Authority : human on the inside graphic novel. And apparently the writer for Team Knight Rider, a female version of Knight Rider that last one season in the Nineties.
Born October 1, 1989 — Brie Larson, 30. Captain Marvel in the Marvel film universe. She’s also been in Kong: Skull Island as Mason Weaver, and plays Kit in the Unicorn Store which she also directed and produced. Her first genre role was Rachael in the “Into the Fire” of Touched by an Angel series; she also appeared as Krista Eisenburg in the “Slam” episode of Ghost Whisperer.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Where are they now? Grimmy answers the question for one rainbow vaulter.
(10) AT A GLANCE. Camestros Felapton in “Cat
Psychology” provides a handy chart of facial expressions so you can tell what
your cat is thinking – provided yours thinks the same way as Timothy the
(11) WRONG ON JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter watch a contestant
lose money with this response on tonight’s episode of Jeopardy!
…Turnbull’s narrative is measured, calm, until it isn’t, a thundercloud too easily written off until it looms above you. The central, external conflict remains taut and ever-present, even as Turnbull explores the deeply individual experiences of each character with an awareness and love of place rooted in his own history there.
Scientists from Sweden are using DNA in the environment to track Alaskan polar bears.
The technique which uses DNA from traces of cells left behind by the bears has been described as game changing for polar bear research.
It’s less intrusive than other techniques and could help give a clearer picture of population sizes.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) comes from traces of biological tissue such as skin and mucus in the surroundings.
Scientists and now conservationists are increasingly using such samples to sequence genetic information and identify which species are present in a particular habitat.
It’s often used to test for invasive species or as evidence of which animals might need more protection.
In another application of the technique, geneticist Dr Micaela Hellström from the Aquabiota laboratory in Sweden worked with WWF Alaska and the Department of Wildlife Management in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow) to collect snow from the pawprints of polar bears.
They tested the technique on polar bears in parks in Sweden and Finland.
“We realised that for the first time we could reach the nuclear DNA within the cells. The material outside the cell can tell what species you are and there are 1,000 or 2,000 copies. But the DNA in the nucleus which identifies an individual has only two copies, so it’s an enormous challenge to get out enough from these snowsteps,” she said.
Virtual reality could be used to help military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who have struggled with mainstream treatment.
It involves patients walking on a treadmill in front of a screen which projects images depicting the type of trauma experienced.
A two-year trial found some patients could see almost a 40% improvement in their symptoms.
One veteran said it had given him the “biggest impact” out of any treatment.
(17) NOT IN HAWKINS ANYMORE? Netflix has
greenlighted a fourth season of Stranger Things. The announcement took
the form of this video:
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Olav Rokne, Mike Kennedy, Chip
Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of
these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna
(3) LAUGHTER ON THE RIGHT. Meanwhile, today’s post at According
To Hoyt comes from guest blogger Frank J. Fleming who offers “Frank
Tips for Writing Satire”.
…Just make sure you’re making fun of someone your audience doesn’t like, because if you make fun of someone they do like, that’s what you call “bad satire.” And then you’re going to get mobbed and probably doxxed. A good strategy for that is to own multiple houses.
Ha, you idiots; I wasn’t even at that house you doxxed! That was a burner home!
(4) THE ROCKET RETURNS. The Mysterious Bookshop is offering
a new edition of Anthony Boucher’s legendary 1942 novel Rocket
to the Morgue, which features characters based on his science fiction
writing contemporaries. New introduction by F. Paul Wilson.
Legendary science fiction author Fowler Faulkes may be dead, but his creation, the iconic Dr. Derringer, lives on in popular culture. Or, at least, the character would live on if not for Faulkes’s predatory and greedy heir Hilary, who, during his time as the inflexible guardian of the estate, has created countless enemies in the relatively small community of writers of the genre. So when he is stabbed nearly to death in a room with only one door, which nobody was seen entering or exiting, Foulkes suspects a writer. Fearing that the assailant will return, he asks for police protection, and when more potentially-fatal encounters follow, it becomes clear to Detective Terry Marshall and his assistant, the inquisitive nun, Sister Ursula, that death awaits Mr. Foulkes around every corner. Now, they’ll have to work overtime to thwart the would-be murderer?a task that requires a deep dive into the strange, idiosyncratic world of science fiction in its early days.
With characters based heavily on Anthony Boucher’s friends at the Manana Literary Society, including Robert Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and Jack Parsons, Rocket to the Morgue is both a classic locked room mystery and an enduring portrait of a real-life writing community. Reprinted for the first time in over thirty years, the book is a must-read for fans of mysteries and science fiction alike.
“Issues of immigration, issues of identity, all these things, they’re not new, and they’ve been there for a long time,” she says.
Okorafor talks and writes from experience. The graphic novel introduces Future through an extended scene at LaGuardia, where she queues up for screening along with aliens of all shapes and sizes, as well as a little white girl who yanks on her locks. At the checkpoint, she is pulled aside for a second screening by a security guard who asks invasive questions about whether the baby in her belly is human. The confrontation is ripped straight from an incident in 2009, when a TSA officer at LaGuardia took Okorafor to a private room to squeeze each of her four-and-a-half-foot locks for hidden contraband. Preoccupied with her hair, the officer missed the bottle of pepper spray that Okorafor had forgotten to remove from her bag. In LaGuardia, that misdirection allows the character to carry the alien through, undetected.
As an author, Okorafor travels a lot, and it’s become clear to her that airport and border crossings are more about control than safety.
“It’s the space between, a place of contention, a place of displacement, a place of fear, a place of identity,” she says. “It’s where you become very aware of all the things that you are and what they mean, in the context of where you are. And depending on who you are, that place can feel very hot or it can feel very chill.”
As you know, I do not use my connection to you on the web page or Facebook/Twitter to move outside the subjects of books, reading and writing. I am going to break that rule now.
For three years, I have kept quiet about Donald Trump and his effort to be President of the U.S. I am not a political activist. I am a writer of fantasy adventure books, and while I have opinions about politics and people involved in politics, I pretty much keep them to myself. My writing speaks for me. My writing is my voice to the larger world. But a few weeks back I listened to a young journalist speak about the importance of standing up for what you believe if you love your country. He said that if you had a platform, you had an obligation to use it. He said if you have a voice, you needed to use it. He said, finally, that writers need to write about what matters – in some form, in some way, at some time…
Brooks speaks out at length.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 23, 1888 — Raymond Chandler. He of the hard boiled detective genre is listed by ISFDB as doing some stories of a genre nature, to be exact ”The Bronze Door”, “The King In Yellow”, “Professor Bingo’s Snuff” and “English Summer: A Gothic Romance”. I’ve neither heard it nor read these. So who here has? “The King In Yellow” is in the Raymond Chandler megapack I just downloaded from iBooks so I will read it soon. (Died 1959.)
Born July 23, 1910 — Kendell Foster Crossen. He was the creator and writer of stories in the Forties about the Green Lama and the Milo March detective and spy novels. Though the latter is not genre, the former is as the Green Lama had supernatural powers. In the Fifties he began writing SF for Thrilling Wonder Stories, including the Manning Draco stories about an intergalactic insurance investigator, four of which are collected in Once Upon a Star: A Novel of the Future. None of his SF is on iBooks or Kindle alas. (Died 1981.)
Born July 23, 1914 — Virgil Finlay. Castle of Frankenstein calls him “part of the pulp magazine history … one of the foremost contributors of original and imaginative art work for the most memorable science fiction and fantasy publications of our time.” His best-known covers are for Amazing Stories and Weird Tales. “Roads,” a novella by Seabury Quinn, published in the January 1938 Weird Tales, and featuring a cover and interior illustrations by him, was originally published in a extremely limited numbers by Arkham House in 1948. It’s now available on iBooks though not Kindle. (Died 1971.)
Born July 23, 1923 — Cyril M. Kornbluth. I certainly read and liked The Space Merchants and The Syndic which are the two I remember reading these years on. Given his very early death, he wrote an impressive amount of fiction, particularly short fiction. Wildside Press has all of his fiction available on iBooks and Kindle in a single publication. (Died 1958.)
Born July 23, 1947 — Gardner Dozois. He was the founding editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies (and was editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction for twenty years, getting multiple Hugo and Locus Awards for those works. His writing won the Nebula Award for best short story twice, once for “The Peacemaker”, and again for “Morning Child”. Being Gardner Dozois: An Interview by Michael Swanwick covers everything he wrote to that date. (Died 2018.)
Born July 23, 1956 — Kate Thompson, 63. Author of the New Policeman trilogy which I highly recommend. Though written for children, you’ll find it quite readable. And her Down Among the Gods is a unique take on a Greek myths made intimate.
Born July 23, 1970 — Charisma Carpenter, 49. She’s best remembered as Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. She was also Kyra on Charmed and Kendall Casablancas on Veronica Mars. She was Sydney Hart in Mail Order Monster and Beth Sullivan in the direct to video Josh Kirby… Time Warrior! Franchise.
Born July 23, 1982 — Tom Mison, 37. Ichabod Crane, the lead on Sleepy Hollow. Ok did anyone here actually watch it? I had the best of intentions but never caught it. The only time I saw him was he showed up on Bones in a cross-over episode. He’s The Mime in the forthcoming Watchmen series
Born July 23, 1989 — Daniel Radcliffe, 30. Harry Potter of course. (Loved the films, didn’t read the novels.) Also, Victor Frankenstein’s assistant Igor in Victor Frankenstein, Ignatius Perrish in Horns, a horror film, and Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic in London.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
The Argyle Sweater has a novel idea – at least, Rich Horton says, “I’d read the novel in which the Salem witches did this!”
Exactly 110 years ago this Thursday, French inventor Louis Blériot became the first person to fly an airplane across the English Channel, the body of water separating the United Kingdom and France.
To honor the achievement, another French inventor plans to make his own cross-Channel trip this week — but he’ll attempt to do so while riding a flying hoverboard that looks strangely similar to the one used by Spider-Man villain the Green Goblin.
The trip will require a mid-Channel refueling,
though inventor Franky Zapata is said to be considering doing
this while hovering above a ship rather than landing on one so he can claim a
non-stop flight. In an interview with The Guardian,
Zapata (who recently overflew this year’s Bastille Day parade) laid out
his plans to make the attempt to cross from Calais to Dover. Contrasting the
Bastille Day flight to the Channel crossing, he is quoted as saying, “I used 3%
of the machine’s capabilities [on Bastille Day] and I’ll need 99% for the
Channel. It won’t be easy at all and I reckon I’ve a 30% chance of
Things I have in common with my biological half-brother Rick that I don’t share with my adopted family:
Candy. We stopped by the store and I grabbed an Almond Joy, because I like to keep an emergency snack around my hotel room in case of sudden hunger. Apparently this is also Rick’s preferred candy bar.
Tattoos. My adopted family did not approve of them. Everyone in my biological family has them; I personally have six. At one point Rick and I were cruising around Hollywood looking for a tattoo parlor to give us matching brother-sister ink, but we couldn’t find anybody good so abandoned that idea for now.
Fearlessness. I flew down on one of those small commuter jets, and Katrina asked if it was scary, and I didn’t know what to say. I have a twisted scariness threshold and so does Rick. We both enjoy terrifying experiences like horror films and we both confessed we’d love to see a ghost or monster or alien or sasquatch or chupacabra or other similar frightening thing. He’s more outdoorsy and used to do crazy things involving motorcycles and championship fights. I’m the inside type and get my kicks from litigation deadlines and murdering my fellow video game players (and writing action-adventure stories, that too). We are a clan of warriors and although we occasionally ripple with anxiety, we also tend to have rock steady nerves….
Nasa has outlined more details of its plans for a landing craft that will take humans to the lunar surface.
The plans call for an initial version of the lander to be built for landing on the Moon by 2024; it would then be followed by an enhanced version.
The news comes as work was completed on the Orion spacecraft that will fly around the Moon in 2021.
This mission, called Artemis-1, will pave the way for the first attempt to land since 1972.
The presolicitation notice to industry calls for proposals on an initial lander design capable of carrying two people down to the Moon’s South Pole in 2024.
Companies will then be given the option to develop an enhanced lander capable of carrying four astronauts to the lunar surface. It would also be able to stay for longer, including through the two-week lunar night.
This lander would support Nasa’s plans for a “sustainable” return to the Moon that would eventually involve the construction of an outpost on the surface.
…On the Midway’s deck sits a white Sea King helicopter painted with the famous 66 squadron number and painted on the nose of the helicopter are the silhouettes of five Apollo capsules. But walk around to the other side of the helicopter and you’ll see the number “68” painted on the other side.
If you head about 800 kilometers to the northwest, to Pier Three at the former Alameda Naval Air Station and go aboard the USS Hornet Museum, on her aft flight deck you will see another Sea King, also painted with a large “66” on the side of her fuselage. The Sea King on display on the Hornet was used in the movie Apollo 13, which is why it retains its markings from the helicopter carrier Iwo Jima, which was the recovery ship for that mission. The helicopter was obtained from the Navy and restored off-site before being hoisted aboard the Hornet. The museum has several other helicopters that are painted like the recovery aircraft for the American space program, including a Piesecki HUP-25 Retriever of the type used to ferry John Glenn from the USS Noa to the carrier USS Randolph following his Friendship 7 orbital flight in 1962, and a UH-34 Seahorse of the type used for the Gemini and Apollo recoveries.
The real Helo 66, the one in the Apollo 11 documentary and all of those famous Apollo era photographs, crashed into the ocean off the coast of San Diego in 1975. That helicopter, BuNo 152711, was lost in a tragic accident during training to hunt Soviet submarines.
The Republic of Ireland’s postal service has apologised for spelling “the moon” wrong in Irish on its new commemorative stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing.
The postal service, known as An Post, launched the stamps last week.
Four astronauts are featured on the stamps with Irish ancestry.
The Irish word for moon is “gealach”. But the stamp accidently spelled it “gaelach”, which means being Gaelic, Irish or relating to the Scottish Highlands.
Instead of reading “The 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing”, it now reads “50th Anniversary of the First Landing on the Irish”.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge,
Martin Morse Wooster, rcade, Mike Kennedy, Rich Horton, Carl Slaughter,
Contrarius, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
Imagine somebody wrote a novel about the cat and the fiddle, and the cow that jumped over the moon. In fact, imagine somebody wrote a trilogy of novels, starring the luna leaping cow. Then imagine that Netflix turned the first novel into a 10 hour premium tv series, with Joel Kinnman?—?swiftly becoming this generation’s Christopher Lambert?—?as the cow.
If you’re really into the cat, fiddle and cow genre, if you’re MEGA excited by animals leaping over celestial bodies, you’ll be happy.
For everybody else, the experience of watching Altered Carbon is going to be about as enjoyable as 10 hours of kids nonsense poetry. You might have some patience for the first hour, but by episode 3 the audience will be desperate to jump ship.
According to The Illustrated Book Of Science Fiction Lists (edited by Mike Ashley for Virgin Books in 1982) E.C. (Ted) Tubb has 45 pseudonyms credited to him, Robert Silverberg is well behind with 25, Henry Kuttner further back yet with 18, while Cyril Korthbluth trails with a mere 13.
I suspect that in this, the future world of today, the question the above information raises is not why so many pseudonyms but why any at all? I know that when I were a lad it was a given that authors used pseudonyms all the time while we, their audience, didn’t but nowadays it seems to be very much the opposite. So yes, I can understand why the above numbers might seem inexplicable to many of you.
So why were authors fond of pseudonyms once upon a time? Luckily for us editor, author, and co-founder of The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Anthony Boucher, decided to offer some explanation in Rhodomagnetic Digest #2, published by George Blumenson in August 1949 for The Elves’, Gnomes’ & Little Men’s Science-Fiction Chowder & Marching Society. Boucher was certainly qualified to write on this topic since his real name was William Anthony Parker White….
(3) KICKSTARTER. Hampus Eckerman says “I’ve always regretted I was out of cash when the Swedish edition was made. I’ll back this one for sure.” — “The Keyring RPG”.
The Keyring RPG is a combination of the idea of creating a procedural role-playing game and the discovery of a really cute notepad. Mashing those ideas together gave rise to the Keyring RPG.
From the FAQ —
What is the resolution mechanic in the game?
You have three basic abilities, strength, charisma and mental strength. Each of those abilities have a number of dots. Each dot represent a die. To determine if you succeed, you roll as many die as you have against a set difficulty, and you add the skills to the result of the die roll to improve your results.
I have 2 dots in strength, and I need to climb a wall. The wall has a difficulty of 3. Both of my rolls fail, a one and a two, but I have two dots in the skill problem solving. I add my dots in problem solving to the roll and succeed. From a narrative perspective, I use problem solving to create a sling harness and have my friends haul me up the wall.
Key features (no pun intended):
The Basic Game is very small, only 7 x 3 x 2 centimeters. You can carry it on your keyring.
It features a procedural adventure building system
A full rules set that allows for a lot of flexibility when playing
Five sets of generic maps
They’ve raised $3,795 of their $7,590 goal with 13 days to go.
As Benny walks home in the dark, a Twilight Zone-like fog envelops him and the music takes off on a Twilight Zone-like theme. Before long he runs into a sign reading, “Welcome to Twilight Zone. Population unlimited. [an arrow left] Subconscious 27 Mi./ [an arrow right] Reality 35 Mi.” (It gets a laugh, if only canned.) Benny finally sees his house across the street and goes and rings the bell. Rochester answers but doesn’t recognize Benny. Rochester calls on his employer, “Mr. Zone” (Serling) to deal with the situation, and Serling explains that the town is named after him (“You can call me Twi”), and he is the mayor.
(5) CLARKE CENTER PODCAST. Into The Impossible, a podcast of stories, ideas, and speculations from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, has posted Episode 14, “Alien Contact”:
We’re digging in the vaults to explore ideas of alien contact, with Jill Tarter (SETI Institute) and Jeff VanderMeer (bestselling author of the Southern Reach trilogy). We’ll talk about the Drake Equation, the faulty math of the film Contact, manifest destiny, whether we’re alone, flawed assumptions about the concept of intelligence, what fiction can do to help us think about the very alien-ness of alien contact, and how it may be happening all around us.
Since the early 1960s he has lived in London, as well as spending time in Greece and Spain. A regular contributor to the legendary Pan Book of Horror Stories during the early 1970s, his stories “Fengriffin” and “The Hunter” were filmed as, respectively, —And Now The Screaming Starts! (1973) and Scream of the Wolf (1974), and Arkham House published his novel The Third Grave in 1981 (soon to be reprinted by Valancourt Books). The author of an estimated 300 books or more under various pseudonyms, his powerful zombie novella “Pelican Cay” was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 2001, and David was Guest of Honour at the 2010 World Horror Convention held in Brighton, England. He was always a bigger-than-life character, and I’ll miss him.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
February 4, 1938 — Disney releases Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
February 4, 1950 — The Flying Saucer opened theatrically.
February 4, 1951 — Two Lost Worlds premiered.
February 4, 1995 — Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys appeared in theaters.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
Born February 4, 1914 – George Reeves, 1950s TV’s Superman.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Mike Kennedy says Brewster Rockit is always genre, and this one doubly so.
But on an ongoing basis, now that I have a New York literary agent, I do my best to provide her with as much information as possible about how to best handle a Canadian client. I’m aware that what is normal for me might not be normal for her, so I send her videos and articles.
Yoon Ha Lee, “Extracurricular Activities” (Tor.com, 2/17) – a quite funny, and quite clever, story concerning the earlier life of a very significant character in Lee’s first novel, Ninefox Gambit. Shuos Jedao is an undercover operative for the Heptarchate, assigned to infiltrate a space station controlled by another polity, and to rescue the crew of a merchanter ship that had really been heptarchate spies, including an old classmate….
Welcome back to A Political History of the Future, an irregular series about how contemporary SF and fantasy address current political issues, and how they imagine worlds different than our own in their political, social, and economic functioning. Our first subject, published last fall, is the first novel by io9 co-founder Annalee Newitz, a technothriller about a world in which the ready availability of non-human labor fundamentally changes the meaning of freedom.
The title of Autonomous is a pun, and a thesis statement. “Autonomous”, in our understanding and in the current common usage, refers to machines that can function without human interference–autonomous cars, most commonly. Despite its connotations of freedom, it’s a designation that denotes inhumanity. It isn’t necessary, after all, to specify that a human being is autonomous. In the world of Autonomous, this is no longer the case. Its citizens–human and machine–are distinguished as either autonomous or indentured. So a word that connotes freedom becomes a reminder of how it can cease to be taken for granted, and a usage that connotes inhumanity is transformed in a world in which personhood is a legal state and not a biological one. In both cases, it’s a reminder that the hard-won ideas of liberty and human rights that we take for granted are not set in stone; that core assumptions about how society could and should function can change, in many cases for the worse.
I thought it was fair. I thought I owed the boys some. And Arram is so popular, and gets into so much trouble, that I knew I could do it. Which was an act of hubris on my part that still leaves me breathless. See, I’m kind of notorious for one thing in particular as a writer — I’m pretty straightforward about teenagers and sex. I’ve lost count of the mothers and father’s who’ve come up to me and said, “Thank you for explaining it to them.” The thing was, in my first book, I had a girl disguised as a boy. And when you’re a girl disguised as a boy, going through puberty, the changes in your body become a major part of the plot. So I just stuck with it as I went on. And when I was working on this book, I got to a point and I went, “Oh my god, I can skip it, but that wouldn’t be right.” So I went to my writing partner, Bruce Coville, and first he laughed himself silly at me, but all those embarrassing little questions, he answered them for me. But it was important, it had to be done. I had to be as fair to the guys as I was to the girls. Which is one reason why I’m going back to girls after this is over.
…Ursula was not just a great author to me, she was one of several of my book parents. Growing up as I did with a family who was more interested in drinking and violence, I never got guidance in how to live. Through her books, Ursula taught me that you could deal with a problem by thinking rather than fighting. She taught me that gender differences don’t make one gender superior to the other. And she also helped me understand that we all have shadow parts of ourselves that we fear, but the way to cope with the shadow is to accept it with courage….
A fascinating story of growing up as a gay fan of comic books in the 1960s, building a fifty-year career as an award-winning writer, and interacting with acclaimed comic book legends.
Award-winning writer Bill Schelly relates how comics and fandom saved his life in this engrossing story that begins in the burgeoning comic fandom movement of the 1960s and follows the twists and turns of a career that spanned fifty years. Schelly recounts his struggle to come out at a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness, how the egalitarian nature of fandom offered a safe haven for those who were different, and how his need for creative expression eventually overcame all obstacles. He describes living through the AIDS epidemic, finding the love of his life, and his unorthodox route to becoming a father. He also details his personal encounters with major talents of 1960s comics, such as Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man), Jim Shooter (writer for DC and later editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics), and Julius Schwartz (legendary architect of the Silver Age of comics).
… Note from the author: This is NOT the same book that was published in 2001 under the title Sense of Wonder, A Life in Comic Fandom(which is out of print). This new book contains two parts: the text of the first book, and a sequel of equal length. Part one covers my life up to 1974; part two picks up the story and continues it to 2017.
Before The Last Jedi hit theaters, there were rumors circulating that Finn and Poe would have a relationship in the movie, marking the first openly gay characters in Star Wars. That rumor was obviously proven to be false, but The Last Jedi did feature a brief gay relationship between two other characters that many Star Wars fans did not notice right away and now everybody is freaking out. Rian Johnson has not confirmed the scene yet, but he will more than likely address it since he has talked about nearly every decision he made while making The Last Jedi.
An eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted two Porgs snuggling with each other in the background of a scene on Ahch-To and noticed that both of the creatures were male. Officially, male Porgs are slightly larger and have orange feathers around their eyes, which both of the Porgs in question have. The image of the two gay Porgs has since taken the internet by storm and people are freaking out that they didn’t notice the small detail right away.
only male porgs have orange plumage around their eyes, and both snuggling porgs have those markings. gay porgs, folks. tlj is a gift that keeps on giving pic.twitter.com/yxDO6HJ3iD
(18) PORTMAN ON SNL. Natalie Portman answers Star Wars questions in her Saturday Night Live monologue….
And her Stranger Things 3 preview is hysterical.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Hampus Eckerman, Will R., Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, and Steve Vertlieb for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jenora Feuer.]