The winners will be officially announced during the Baen Traveling Roadshow at Dragon Con, which is scheduled for August 31-September 1, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Each entry is limited to an original short story in the English language of no more than 8,000 words, and only one entry per author. Complete guidelines here. Entries will be judged by Baen editors
The GRAND PRIZE winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at industry-standard rates for professional story submittals. The author will also receive an engraved award and a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books.
SECOND place winner will receive a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books.
THIRD place winner will receive a prize package containing $300 of free Baen Books.
Finalists will be announced no later than July 1, 2023
Winners will be notified no later than July 21, 2023.
Since its beginning the contest has received thousands of entries of fantasy stories from all over the globe.
(2) THE STARS MY QUESTIONATION. LearnedLeague has another SF-related quiz, this one written (“smithed” in LL parlance) by Filer Frasher Sherman. “Invasions From Outer Space: Film and TV” can be found here.
David Goldfarb says 1778 people played the quiz, which is a pretty good turnout for a One-Day.
(3) CALLS FOR HELP. Here are two GoFundMes for SFF writers who need help with medical expenses:
…However, this past week, the doctors found some worrying signs of endometrial cancer and have recommended a full hysterectomy, in addition to the other procedures. The recovery time required and the need to do reconstructive surgery means that I don’t expect to be able to work again for another 6 months to a year.
I was let go from my job when I had my surgery. Since then, my sister’s has been covering all our household expenses but we now find ourselves in a difficult situation.
…My medical costs are mounting with a minimum of two surgeries planned for the next six months and potentially as many as four. The results of my biopsy on November 25, will determine the next phase of my treatment. We’re already in debt and have liquidated our insurance policies to try to keep afloat.
So we’re asking for your help….
James A. Moore: “The Hits Keep Coming”. The appeal at the link contains the grim details, as related by its organizer, Christopher Golden.
…There will be time and many costs involved, but this GoFundMe is really meant only as a bridge to help Jim get to wherever they will end up next. It’s hard to fathom how anyone could endure a string of events like this, but Jim endures. Please help if you can, and if you can’t donate anything, please share with anyone you think will be able to do so….
Erewhon—established in 2018, which boasts a lineup of authors including C. L. Polk, E. Lily Yu, Benjamin Rosenbaum, and Cassandra Khaw—is now an imprint of Kensington. The acquisition includes Erewhon’s backlist as well as their titles coming out through 2024. Editorial oversight will continue under Erewhon Publisher Sarah Guan, with the rest of the Erewhon team also joining Kensington. Starting in 2023, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will begin distributing all of their books….
Erewhon was founded by Liz Gorinsky, who left in March to “pursue other projects”.
The Aliens Are Here: Extraterrestrial Visitors in American Cinema and Television looks at how movies and TV have portrayed Earth’s encounters with beings from other worlds. Each chapter takes a different topic — alien invaders, aliens as refugees, alien/Terran love stories, UFO abduction films, genre mashups — and looks at related films, themes and tropes. Then I spotlight one to three movies or TV shows relevant to the chapter topic. The alien monsters chapter, for instance, has The Thing From Another World, The Thing and The Andromeda Strain.
… As every historian, pro or amateur, knows, history repeats itself. That is, events happen in a cyclical pattern, over and over, in varying lengths of time. The story of history is a reminder even when we think that we’re learning from experience, that learning never seems to stick for more than a generation or two before dissipating into mist. Or, as I like to put it, history repeats itself because it knows we’re not listening. And it will get louder and louder until we do.
Which for the political scientist and pundit may be depressing as hell, but for the historical novelist it’s a candy store just waiting to be plundered. All that wild, wonderful detail you literally couldn’t make up without someone calling hijinks, actually happened….
(7) BAEN SALE. Baen Books’ Veteran’s Day November Ebook Sale is on. Click through for a list of Baen authors with military service and the titles of their ebooks being offered at a $1 discount. Sale ends November 30, 2022. Available wherever Baen Ebooks are sold.
(8) MEMORY LANE.
1934 — [By Cat Eldridge.] Ngaio Marsh’s A Man Lay Dead
I truly love country house mysteries. I truly do. There’s A. E. Milne’s The Red House Murder and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas as novels and Gosford Park and Knives Out as the modern exemplars of it in films. And here we have a woman born and raised far from Britain, in New Zealand to be precise, with a country house murder.
Ngaio Marsh was born in 1895 Christchurch, New Zealand where she lived until 1928, when she went to London with friends on whom he would base the Lamprey family in the Surfeit of Lampreys novel, her tenth novel to feature Roderick Alleyn. Then after she spent time in both countries.
So let’s us talk about A Man Lay Dead which as I said is a country house murder. It is the first novel to feature Roderick Alleyn, and was first published in 1934 by Geoffrey Bles in London.
The plot concerns a murder committed during a detective game of murder at a weekend party in a country house. But she hasn’t really developed the character of Alleyn yet so another character is focused on.
WE ARE GOING TO TELL A STORY HERE, SO BEWARE!
A small group of guests at Sir Hubert Handesley’s estate including a man about town, several of his nieces, an art expert, a gossip reporter, and pay attention as Marsh makes sure you notice him, a butler of Russian ancestry.
The murder mystery game in which one of the guests is of course chosen to be the murderer and someone to be murdered by him or her. At the time of the murderer’s choice, he tells the victim they’re dead.
At that point, the lights go out, a loud bell rings, and then everyone comes back to together for yet more drinks and to piece together who did it. It is all intended to be a good hearted diversion, except that the corpse is very, very real.
Alleyn has his holiday with Troy to investigate a murder connected to a stolen chalice in the area, but he’s called when this murder occurs at uncle’s estate.
NO MORE STORY TO BE TOLD, SO COME BACK AND I’LL POUR VINTAGE BRANDY
Marsh had being reading a short story by Christie or Sayers, she forgots which, and wondered if she could write a mystery novel set in the Murder Game which was popular at English weekend parties. So she bought some composition books and set down to write.
Marsh regretted this novel immensely once she’d refined her writing skills in years to come. Joanne Drayton noted in Ngaio Marsh: Her life in crime that she would “cringe at the thought of her first novel with its barely plausible story line, shallow characterization and confined setting”.
It would later be adapted for the Inspector Alleyn Mysteries series, the Angela North character here was replaced by Agatha Troy who appears in later novels as Alleyn’s romantic interest and eventual wife.
It, like almost everything Marsh did, is of course available from the usual suspects.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 3, 1921 — Charles Bronson. He didn’t do a lot of genre acting but I’ve got him in One Step Beyond as Yank Dawson in “The Last Round” and he’s in The Twilight Zone in “Two” as The Man opposite Elizabeth Montgomery as The Women. He was also in Master of The World which is based on the Verne novel Robur the Conqueror and its sequel Master of the World. (Died 2003.)
Born November 3, 1931 — Monica Vitti. She’s best remembered in the English-language movie-going world for her performance as the lead agent in Modesty Blaise. It‘s rather loosely based upon the Modesty Blaise strip by Peter O’Donnell, who co-wrote the original story upon which Evan Jones based his screenplay. (Died 2022.)
Born November 3, 1933 — Ken Berry. He’s receiving Birthday Honors for Disney’s The Cat from Outer Space in which he was Dr. Frank Wilson. No, the cat wasn’t Goose. Nice idea though. And he played seven different roles on the original Fantasy Island. Also, like pretty much everyone else. he was a guest performer on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. I know it’s not genre, I just find that amusing. (Died 2018.)
Born November 3, 1933 — Jeremy Brett. Still my favorite Holmes of all time. He played him in four Granada TV series from 1984 to 1994 in a total of 41 episodes. One source said he was cast as Bond at one point, but turned the part down, feeling that playing 007 would harm his career. Lazenby was cast instead. I can’t actually say it’s fact, but it is a great story. (Died 1995.)
Born November 3, 1933 — Aneta Corsaut. If you saw The Blob, the original Fifties version, she was Jane Martin. Her only other genre film work was as an uncredited tourist mother in Blazing Saddles. And unless I’m mistaken, she had no other genre series work at all though she was popular in Westerns. She is best remembered for playing Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show. (Died 1995.)
Born November 3, 1952 — Eileen Wilks, 70. Her principal genre series is the World of Lupi, a FBI procedural intertwined with shapeshifters, dragons and the multiverse. Highly entertaining, sometimes considered romance novels though I don’t consider them so. The audiobooks are amazing as well! I re- listened to several of them recently and the steel booted Suck Fairy saw her boots rust away.
Born November 3, 1956 — Kevin Murphy, 66. Best known as the voice and puppeteer of Tom Servo for nine years on the Mystery Science Theater 3000. He was also the writer for the show for eleven years. I’m surprised the series was never nominated for a Hugo in the Long Form or Shot Form. Does it not qualify?
Born November 3, 1963 — Brian Henson, 59. Can we all agree that The Happytime Murders should never have been done? Wash it out of your consciousness with Muppet Treasure Island or perhaps The Muppet Christmas Carol. If you want something darker, he was a puppeteer on The Witches, and the chief puppeteer on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And he voices Hoggle in Labyrinth.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Tom Gauld extols the advantages of shopping at a haunted bookshop.
Black Panther 2 is imminent, but in many ways the extraordinary Neptune Frost is the real Afrofuturist deal: a transgressive socialist Wakanda with an exoskeleton of punk geopolitics bolted on. As well as a denunciation of the western techno-centric order, it’s a musical lesson in conscious collaboration between the developed and developing world that Hollywood could learn from – instead of just piggybacking on African aesthetics. Filmed in Rwanda but set in Burundi, the story was developed by US musician Saul Williams – drawing on material from his recent albums – and his Rwandan wife Anisia Uzeyman; they share the directorial credit…
By Christmas, 50 hardly used FV103 Spartan armoured personnel carriers (APCs), until recently the property of the British army, and currently in warehouses in secret locations across the UK, will arrive on the frontline in Ukraine’s war with Russia in time for the toughest winter conditions.
The transfer, the largest of such APCs to Ukraine, is not due to British munificence nor to procurement by the Ukrainian ministry of defence.
It is instead just the latest example of the extraordinary scale and indeed speed of the crowdfunding campaigns that have been powering the Ukrainian military since the early days of the war.
The fundraising appeal for the armoured vehicles – tagline “Grab them all” – had only been launched on Wednesday by the Serhiy Prytula charity foundation, named after its founder, a popular comedian and TV presenter with a sizeable online following….
(13) JEOPARDY! Unlike tonight’s Jeopardy! contestants, Andrew Porter recognized what the right response should be.
Final Jeopardy: Novel Locales
Answer: This place from a 1933 novel lies in the valley of the Blue Moon, below a peak called Karakal.
Wrong questions: What is the Big Valley?; What is Brigadoon?; What is Xanadu?
…From the earliest animations, where they were nothing more than silent presence, to the more modern takes, where they have plenty of sasses to share, these felines are more than the fond memories they give their fans. Most people likely have a fictional cat that they remember, and going back to watch the series they’re from can bring nostalgia and a ton of laughs….
(15) DON’T LET IT HANG YOU UP. Rory Cellan Jones explains how cell phones can for the first time take pictures in this 2001 clip from the BBC that dropped today.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: Stardew Valley,” Fandom Games says this game is so soothing “it’s like Animal Crossing went to therapy.” But the game offers an escape by “having adventures you could never have in real life: owning your own home, forming meaningful relationships, and finding satisfaction in your work.” But if you’re tired of doing chores, head to the underground caves where you can slay demons and dinosaurs!
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Cora Buhlert, David Goldfarb, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title debit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
Entries in the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award writing contest are being accepted through February 1, 2023. The submission window opened October 1. See rules and specifications at the site.
Judging will be by Baen Books editors and authors, including Toni Weisskopf and William Ledbetter.
Ten finalists will be announced no later than March 8, 2023.
The GRAND PRIZE winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submittals, currently .08/word. The author will also receive an engraved award, free entry into the 2023 International Space Development Conference, a year’s membership in the National Space Society.
The annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award contest began in 2014. The award honors stories that best exemplify the spirit of adventure, imagination, and great storytelling in a work of short fiction containing an element of the fantastic, whether epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, contemporary fantasy, or historical fantasy. The stories are judged anonymously.
The Grand Prize and Second and Third Place Winners were announced during the Baen Travelling Roadshow at this year’s Dragon Con. They were first posted on the Baen website on September 15.
Author of the Grand Prize story receives an award trophy, a prize box filled with Baen merchandise, and paid professional rates for first publication rights. The winning story also will be featured on Baen.com main webpage.
A consequence of Eric Flint’s death on July 17 is that his publishing businesses will have to shut down. His wife, Lucille Robbins, made the announcement today on the Ring of Fire Press website.
Our Fellow Members of the Ring of Fire Press Family,
It has taken the staff and the family to both assess and absorb the sad passing of our friend and mentor, Eric Flint. In the wake of his passing, we have looked at the financial realities of the publisher 1632, Inc. as a company and its future without Eric as the visionary and driving force behind the press.
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that the publisher 1632, Inc. must cease all operations and release all staff and consultants. This is not what we wanted or expected to happen but, unfortunately the publisher 1632, Inc. is not sustainable.
Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press will be working with each of their authors to revert their creative rights. A caretaker volunteer will be reaching out to authors in order to help facilitate the transfer and answer any questions you have.
We here at 1632, Inc. are so very sorry things have come to this.
Meanwhile, Lucille Robbins, Eric Flint’s widow and heir, in conjunction with Baen Books announced the forthcoming titles from Eric Flint, which have already been delivered and are on the schedule for Baen Books:
1637: The Transylvanian Decision by Eric Flint & Robert Waters—hardcover
1638: The Siberian Enterprise by Eric Flint, Paula Goodlett & Gorg Huff–hardcover
There will also be a number of previously contracted-for projects that Eric Flint had already provided input on, and which will be published as by his collaborator “with Eric Flint.” These include sequels to his science fiction novels with David Carrico and Ryk E. Spoor as well as a number of 1632/Ring of Fire series novels, including novels with Jody Lynn Nye, Griffin Barber, and Charles E. Gannon.
The announcement said in conclusion that, moving forward, any projects not already under contract by Baen Books will need to be approved by Lucille Robbins, who will be working with Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf and several of Flint’s collaborators to make sure his intentions for the series are kept. Proposals can be directed to Weisskopf at [email protected]
I’ve been having a brutal time getting online all afternoon. And having suitably paranoid thoughts that my internet provider knows I spent the morning trying to replace its service (only to discover the company that had been sending me its advertising doesn’t actually cover my address), and is punishing me for my disloyalty. Therefore I have prepared this placeholder which I will load if I can get online long enough to do so. And I will add the rest of the birthdays later, since I assume at some point things will start working again
(1) BAEN WRITERS REMEMBER ERIC FLINT. On the Baen Free Radio Hour, Griffin Barber hosts and participates in a roundtable remembrance of the late Eric Flint, featuring David Weber, Charles E. Gannon, Kevin Ikenberry, and Bjorn Hasseler.
(2) PAUL COKER (1929-2022). MAD Magazine artist Paul Coker died July 23. Coker’s first appearance in Mad was in 1961; he has since gone on to illustrate over 375 articles for the magazine. In 1968, he illustrated the Mad paperback MAD for Better or Verse; written by Frank Jacobs, the first of eight all-new paperbacks drawn by Coker. In 2002, the magazine also published a collection of “Horrifying Cliches,” the long-running feature that featured Coker art. Coker also was a production designer on more than a dozen Rankin/Bass specials and shorts, including Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town.
(3) MEMORY LANE.
2011 – [By Cat Eldridge.] Just twelve years ago on this date, a rare beast slouched forth. Cowboys & Aliens was an SF Western film which was directed by Jon Favreau with the cast Daniel Craig as the memory fogged cowboy and Harrison Ford as a wealthy landowner, and Olivia Wilde as a mysterious traveller. Yes, they got top billing.
It was based off the rather excellent graphic novel created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley, with art by Dennis Calero and Lucian Lima. It’s available from the usual suspects as a Meredith moment as it only seven dollars. Do be very careful what you download as there’s a not so choice bit of erotica called Cowboys & Aliens as well. Really. Truly. There is.
The screenplay by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby from the story by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby and Steve Oedekerk. Notes about the film by Orci and Kurtzman says they thought it has a strong Trek and a Indy Jones feel.
Before Universal Studios picked up the option, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Studios, Fox Family Films, Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney Entertainment, and Paramount Pictures passed out on it. Mind you Universal Studios didn’t take all the financial risk here as they formed a complex consortium of DreamWorks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Relativity Media, Imagine Entertainment, K/O Paper, Products Fairview Entertainment and Platinum Studios.
Oh I’d loved to have seen the profit sharing paperwork there! Not that there weren’t any as it made just ten million over its production costs of one hundred and sixty four million. With publicity costs, it definitely lost money.
SPOILERS! BEWARE! GO AWAY!
A mysterious men with no memories wearing alien tech. Corpses that come back to life. Aliens kidnapping locals for nefarious reasons. Well to mine gold. Huh? A lot of this could fit into The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. episode if you tried. Sorry it just felt that way to me watching it.
It ends happily, more or less, for almost everyone still living with the townsfolk using the gold after after the Aliens have been killed off to rebuild the flatten town, and the Mysterious Stranger, no not the Olivia Wilde character, but the character with the alien tech allowed to leave town.
IT’S SAFE TO COME BACK NOW. REALLY IT IS.
It’s not bad but I’ll note the mixing of genres didn’t please many critics. As the Salon reviewer said it was “a mediocre western clumsily welded to a mediocre alien shoot-’em-up”. And Slant concluded that “Cowboys & Aliens mashes up genres with a staunch dedication to getting everything wrong, making sure that each scene is more inane than the one that preceded it.”
It has a forty-three rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 29, 1915 — Kay Dick. Author of two genre novels, The Mandrake Root and At Close of Eve, plus a collection, The Uncertain Element: An Anthology of Fanta. She is known in Britain for campaigning successfully for the introduction of the Public Lending Right which pays royalties to authors when their books are borrowed from public libraries. There should be a statue of her for that. She’s not available in digital or print currently. (Died 2001.)
Born July 29, 1927 — Jean E. Karl. She founded Atheneum Children’s Books, and she edited the beginning of Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea sequence and Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence. As an author, she wrote three genre novels, Strange Tomorrow, Beloved Benjamin Is Waiting and But We Are Not of Earth, and a reasonable amount of short fiction, all of which is In the Clordian Sweep series. Nine of those stories are in The Turning Point collection. The Turning Point collection is available from the usual suspects. (Died 2000.)
Born July 29, — Curtis C. Smith. Editor of Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, plus two genre biographies, Olaf Stapledon: A Bibliography with co-author Harvey J. Satty, and Welcome to the Revolution: The Literary Legacy of Mack Reynolds. Not active since the mid Eighties as near as I can tell. Clute in EoSF notes “The brief biographical sections are generally accurate; the critical pieces vary in quality, with some excellent short essays by a wide range of authors; but the bibliographies are flawed by a murkily inconsistent methodology (perhaps due to the series’ house style), and are error-strewn.” (Died 2014.)
Born July 29, 1941 — David Warner. Being Lysander in that A Midsummer Night’s Dream was his first genre role. I’m going to do just highlights after that as he’s got far too extensive a genre history to list everything. So he’s been A Most Delightful Evil in Time Bandits, Jack the Ripper in Time After Time, Ed Dillinger / Sark in Tron, Father in The Company of Wolves, Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, The Creature in Frankenstein, voice of Ra’s al Ghul on Batman: The Animated Series and Abraham Van Helsing on Penny Dreadful. (Died 2022.)
Born July 29, 1888 — Farnsworth Wright. Editor of Weird Tales, editing an amazing 179 issues from November 1924–March 1940. Mike Ashley in EoSF says, “Wright developed WT from a relatively routine horror pulp magazine to create what has become a legend.” His own genre fiction is generally considered undistinguished. He also edited during the Thirties, Oriental Stories and The Magic Carpet. The work available digitally is a poem, “After Two Nights of the Ear-ache”. He was nominated at Loncon 3 for a Best Editor Retro Hugo. (Died 1940.)
Born July 29, 1956 — Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, 66. Author of the India set magical realist The Brotherhood of the Conch series. She also has three one-off novels, The Palace of Illusions, The Mistress of Spices, and her latest, The Forest of Enchantments. Her website is here.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) CALL FOR ATTITUDE CHANGE. Robert Zubrin and two associates discuss the search for life on Mars in the New Atlantis. “How to Search for Life on Mars” – “First, stop refusing to look.”
… The search for life ought to be the great passion animating Mars exploration. But it has not been a goal for NASA. In fact, NASA’s public relations department frequently claims that the agency’s Mars exploration program is meant to “seek signs of life.” They say this because they know that it is what the public is — rightly — interested in. Unfortunately, the claim just isn’t true. NASA’s Mars robotic exploration program is actually focused on geological research, while its planned human Mars exploration program — inasmuch as it exists at all — is not being designed to properly support scientific exploration of any kind.
The last time our space agency conducted experiments to identify signs of living microbes on the planet was in 1976. The 2012 Curiosity rover was meant only to find out “if Mars was ever able to support microbial life,” and the 2021 Perseverance mission was to collect geological samples for later retrieval and perhaps find signs of ancient life — neither aimed at finding living things on the planet today….
(2) DREAMHAVEN MURAL. A bit of criminal activity almost stalled today’s plans to keep painting the DreamHaven Books mural. First they announced.
Things were going so well with the mural but now someone came in the middle of the night and stole the scaffolding.
UN-FUCK! We found the scaffolding. Some asshole wheeled it off behind a nearby building. A neighbor saw it happen and knew vaguely where it had been taken. We already had new scaffolding being delivered and I was planning to spend the night to ensure it stayed in place. I’m still staying tonight. Mark is doing Cheech Wizard right now and Little Nemo and backgrounds tomorrow.
…Though the publishing industry would never condone book banning, a subtler form of repression is taking place in the literary world, restricting intellectual and artistic expression from behind closed doors, and often defending these restrictions with thoughtful-sounding rationales. As many top editors and publishing executives admit off the record, a real strain of self-censorship has emerged that many otherwise liberal-minded editors, agents and authors feel compelled to take part in.
Over the course of his long career, John Sargent, who was chief executive of Macmillan until last year and is widely respected in the industry for his staunch defense of freedom of expression, witnessed the growing forces of censorship — outside the industry, with overt book-banning efforts on the political right, but also within the industry, through self-censorship and fear of public outcry from those on the far left.
“It’s happening on both sides,” Sargent told me recently. “It’s just a different mechanism. On the right, it’s going through institutions and school boards, and on the left, it’s using social media as a tool of activism. It’s aggressively protesting to increase the pain threshold, until there’s censorship going the other way.”
In the face of those pressures, publishers have adopted a defensive crouch, taking pre-emptive measures to avoid controversy and criticism. Now, many books the left might object to never make it to bookshelves because a softer form of banishment happens earlier in the publishing process: scuttling a project for ideological reasons before a deal is signed, or defusing or eliminating “sensitive” material in the course of editing….
…What is often missed in the early drafting of characters is the up-close observation necessary to fully render their emotional expression, which in turn accentuates their uniqueness. One way we can develop our characters is to consider the individuality and expression of a character’s eyebrows.
Eyebrows can be an important window into a character’s interior world. When we scrutinize with words the detail of movement and expression individual to each person, we create an orchestration, a living symphony of movement and energy, indicative of a living world. To do this takes attention, rumination, and concentrated focus on the people we’re writing….
(5) IN THE PIPELINE. Andrew Porter shared this list of titles from the late Eric Flint that have already been delivered and are on the schedule for Baen, which he received from Toni Weisskopf.
July 2022 1812: The Rivers of War-first Baen publication, trade pb
August 2022 The Crossing by Kevin Ikenberry-hardcover (not by Eric, but an Assiti Shards novel)
September 2022 To End in Fire by David Weber & Eric Flint-mass market reprint 1637: Dr. Gribbleflotz and the Soul of Stoner by Kerryn Offord & Rick Boatwright-mass market reprint
November 2022 1637: The Transylvanian Decision by Eric Flint & Robert Waters-hardcover
January 2023 Grantville Gazette IX-mass market reprint
April 2023 1637: The Coast of Chaos by Eric Flint et al.-mass market reprint
September 2023 1638: The Siberian Enterprise by Eric Flint, Paula Goodlett & Gorg Huff-hardcover
Since the Space Force was established in 2019, there has been the lingering question of what, exactly, it does.
One would certainly hope that the branch would be heavily involved in a theoretical battle between aliens and dragons in space. The occurrence of which, apparently, one helpful citizen was trying to warn the Space Force about last week.
At Patrick Space Force Base, Corey Johnson, 29, was arrested for trying to enter the installation. The reason? According to what he told arresting officers, he was there on behalf of the President to alert the Space Force that there were “US aliens fighting with Chinese dragons.”…
(7) THE ULTIMATE SPACE RACE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The space battle between the U.S. and the USSR is explained by Ambient Press in less than three minutes!
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
2022 – [By Cat Eldridge.]Green Lantern: Beware My Power (2022). I forgot that had preordered this animated DC film some months ago until I got an email a few hours ago that it was available for download. I’m a big fan of Green Lantern and very much enjoyed the animated series and abhorred the live film (I made maybe twenty minutes into it before giving up), so I figured that I’d like it based on the trailer that I watched on iTunes.
So I downloaded it to my iPad and started watching it. It’s the forty eighth film in the DC Animated Movie Universe influenced predominantly by The New 52 which rebooted the DC Universe. No, I’ve seen all of them by any means!
The animation style is a clean, adult style affair and the language is too with an occasional “shit” allowed. It’s a strong PG-13 and you can see the trailer trail here.
John Stewart is a black marine sniper, voiced here by Aldis Hodge (playing Hawkman in Black Adam) who is given a Lantern Ring by a dying member of the Lantern Corps. He’s not at all happy about that as he’s forsworn violence, and doesn’t have a clue what the Lanterns are. Furthermore the mission here isn’t really explained at all, and I’ve avoiding spoilers, so he and Green Arrow plus Hawkgirl figure out things as they go along.
It was directed by Wamester from a stellar screenplay by E. J. Altbacker and John Semper. The former was involved with the Green Lantern: The Animated Series; the latter wrote for a Cyborg series.
I highly recommend it.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 26, 1894 — Aldous Huxley. Brave New World is fascinating. I knew I had it assigned and sort of discussed in a High School class and at least one Uni class a very long time ago. So what else is genre by him and worth reading? I see his Time Must Have a Stop novel was on the longlist at CoNZealand. (Died 1963.)
Born July 26, 1928 — Stanley Kubrick. I’m reasonably sure 2001: A Space Odyssey was the first film I saw by him but Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was the one that impressed me the most. A Clockwork Orange was just too damn depressing. And I’m not a horror fan as such so I never saw The Shining. Barry Lyndon is great but it’s not genre by any means. (Died 1999.)
Born July 26, 1945 — Helen Mirren, 77. She first graces our presences as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She next shows up in a genre role as Alice Rage in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, Peter Sellars’s last film. She’s an ever so delicious Morgana in Excalibur and then leaps into the future as Tanya Kirbuk in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. She voices the evil lead role in The Snow Queen, and likewise is Deep Thought in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Born July 26, 1945 — M. John Harrison, 77. Winner of the Otherwise Award. TheViriconium sequence, I hesitate to call it a series, starting with The Pastel City, is some of the most elegant fantasy I’ve read. And I see he’s a SJW as he’s written the Tag, the Cat series which I need to take a look at again. He’s also been a major critic for the past thirty years reviewing fiction and nonfiction for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times. He’s lightly stocked at the usual suspects though TheViriconium sequence is there at a very reasonable price. And his short stories are excellent, so may I recommend Settling the World: Selected Stories 1970-2020?
Born July 26, 1954 — Lawrence Watt-Evans, 68. Ok I’ll admit as I’ve said before that I’ve not read “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers” which won him a short fiction Hugo at Conspiracy ’87. It also was nominated for a Nebula and won an Asimov’s Reader’s Poll that year. It’d be his only Hugo. So I’m curious what Hugo voters saw in it. Yes, I’ve read him — his War Surplus series is quite excellent.
Born July 26, 1978 — Eve Myles, 44. She’s a a Welsh actress from Ystradgynlais, convenient as she played Gwen Cooper on Torchwood which was set in and shot in Cardiff. She previously played the servant girl Gwyneth in the Doctor Who episode “The Unquiet Dead” during the Ninth Doctor’s time.
(10) BOOK TRAILER.Giant Island by World Fantasy Award Lifetime Achievement winner Jane Yolen and award-winning fantasy illustrator Doug Keith will be released in August.
Two children explore the caves and coves of the tiny and oddly-named Giant Island. Under Grandpa’s watchful eye, Ava, Mason, and dog Cooper finally fathom that the island is much more than it seems: the craggy rocks, windswept trees, and unusual grotto are all parts of a submerged giant. Yolen’s text charms with hints of age-old magic and pays tribute to mystery, curiosity, and friendship. Keith’s wondrous watercolor paintings invite young readers to pore over the pages to discover the clues to this “huge” secret. Giant Island is a delightful, intergenerational and interspecies adventure for all ages.
In the near future, Earth has established diplomatic relations with aliens known as Logi, sort-of-but-not-quite humanoids who cannot speak in sound and use telepathy instead. To facilitate the daily business of politics, some humans are trained in specialized schools to understand Logi telepathy and translate into human speech. Each Logi visitor is thus paired with a human interpreter who accompanies them at their official appearances and handles their routine communication with Earth governments.
The catch? The Logi language does funny things to the human brain. After a few minutes of hosting alien thoughts in your head, you start feeling drunk. Too much talking in one day, and you might pass out.
So when our protagonist Lydia, the interpreter assigned to the Logi cultural attaché, wakes up from a massive blackout to find her boss murdered on his sofa, she has to quickly decide whom to trust and whom to suspect, because this is a future where impressions are everything, and the wording of a message can have rippling effects on public opinion.
(12) GAMING FOR THE HIGHEST STAKES.SPARK stands for Solar Prime Augmented Reality Park, a destination for gamers in Pat Daily’s debut novel.
In his mother’s last letter, she wrote, “Find me. Save me.” And Will Kwan had heard those words before. He’d heard them in a video game. Solar Prime Augmented Reality Park, or SPARK, is a theme park for gamers: a sprawling virtual reality complex with quests and games that appeal to all ages. But beneath the surface, SPARK harbors many a secret. When sixteen-year-old Will has to escape the foster system, SPARK is his destination. “Find me. Save me.” What had his mother meant? At SPARK, he runs headlong into the force of nature known as Feral Daughter, another runaway who has chosen to make SPARK her home and her life. As their friendship grows, Will begins to walk a path that will unveil not only the secrets of SPARK, but also a whole new perception of his world. So when terrorists threaten his new home and new friend, Will cannot stand idly by. Can Will finally get his closure? Or will SPARK be destroyed, along with the new life he has built?
Pat Daily is an engineer and former Air Force test pilot who worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. When not writing or trying to bring new airplane designs to life, Pat can be found gaming online. He is a fan of role-playing games – particularly open worlds with engaging storylines where actions have consequences.
The proposed T. rex reclassification struck the paleontology community like an asteroid, igniting passionate debates. On Monday, another team of paleontologists published the first peer-reviewed counterattack.
“The evidence was not convincing and had to be responded to because T. rex research goes well beyond science and into the public sphere,” said Thomas Carr, a paleontologist at Carthage College in Wisconsin and an author of the new rebuttal. “It would have been unreasonable to leave the public thinking that the multiple species hypothesis was fact.”
The earlier team of researchers have anticipated the rebuttal, which was published in the journal Evolutionary Biology. Gregory Paul, one of the authors of the original study, is working on another paper and says many of the rebuttal’s claims are outlandish…..
A respected Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species,” citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife…
(15) ONCE AGAIN, WHERE DOES IT RAIN? [Item by Danny Sichel.] Last month, psycholinguist Anne Cutler died, and renewed attention was given to her 1994 paper The perception of rhythm in language, which at two and a half pages long is the greatest scientific paper ever written.
When the World Wide Web made its public debut in the early nineteen-nineties, it fascinated many and struck some as revolutionary, but the idea of watching a film online would still have sounded like sheer fantasy. Yet on May 23rd, 1993, reported the New York Times‘ John Markoff, “a small audience scattered among a few dozen computer laboratories gathered” to “watch the first movie to be transmitted on the Internet — the global computer network that connects millions of scientists and academic researchers and hitherto has been a medium for swapping research notes and an occasional still image.”
That explanation speaks volumes about how life online was perceived by the average New York Times reader three decades ago. But it was hardly the average New York Times reader who tuned into the internet’s very first film screening, whose feature presentation was Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees. Completed in 1991 by artist David Blair, this hybrid fiction and essay-film offered to its viewers what Times critic Stephen Holden called “a multi-generational family saga as it might be imagined by a cyberpunk novelist…
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers: Ms. Marvel,” the Screen Junkies say that Ms. Marvel is not only the first Pakistani superhero in the MCU, but also the first MCU superhero from New Jersey. But while she faces “yet another poorly developed Marvel villain and two hunky guys competing for her attention, she is also the first mutant in the MCU since they re-acquired the X-Men, “Come for the origin of the X-Men–stay for the origin of Pakistan!”
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Danny Sichel, Francis Hamit, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]
(1) NETFLIX GOES UPSIDE DOWN. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Apparently, fans of Stranger Things are night owls. When the final two episodes of ST Season 4 were released—at about 03:00 Eastern today—the Netflix streaming site was hammered hard enough to experience scattered but significant outages. “Netflix Down: Streaming Service Outage After Stranger Things 4 Release” reports Variety.
Netflix’s streaming service was unavailable for a brief period early Friday after the highly anticipated release of the final two episodes of “Stranger Things 4.”
According to global uptime-monitoring site Downdetector.com, user reports of problems with Netflix spiked around 3 a.m. ET — when “Stranger Things 4” Volume 2 went live. Complaints about errors with Netflix peaked at nearly 13,000 at the top of the hour, before the situation seemed to be resolved within a half hour.
“Stranger Things 4” already has set the record as the No. 1 English-language series on the service in its first four weeks of release, as reported by Netflix based on total hours watched. The two episodes in Season 4 Volume 2 clock in at nearly four hours of runtime total: Episode 8 is 85 minutes and Episode 9 is 150 minutes.
(2) BOB MADLE DOING FINE AT 102. [Item by Curt Phillips.] I just got off the phone with Bob Madle and thought I’d give you an update. He sounds great, and his daughter Jane told me that Bob’s health is excellent. Neither of them ever caught Covid, and Bob spends a lot of time enjoying beer and baseball. He is, as you might guess, an Oakland A’s fan. He’s been following that team since the 1930’s when they were the Philadelphia Athletics. We spent 45 min or so discussing sf magazines, and Bob’s memory is as solid as a rock. He recalled pulp trivia from 90 years ago as if it happened yesterday. So, 102 years old and going strong. A fannish immortal in every way!
(3) STEPHENSON PROFILE. In the Washington Post, Theo Zenou interviews Neal Stephenson on the 30th anniversary of Snow Crash. The interview focuses on Stephenson’s role in tech projects, including founding (with Bitcoin Foundation co-chair Peter Vessenes), Lamina1, “a start-up that will use blockchain technology to build an ‘open metaverse.’” Zenou explains that Stephenson has been involved part-time with tech his entire life, and became employee #1 of Blue Origin after he and Jeff Bezos went to a screening of October Sky in 1999. “Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’ predicted metaverse and hyperinflation”.
…Stephenson’s vision for Lamina1 (meaning “layer one” in Latin) is to empower the creators of these experiences. He explained, “We want to create a structure of smart contracts and other utilities that will make it easier for people who want to build Metaverse applications to do that in the first place, and then to get compensated if it turns out that people like and want to pay for the experiences they’re creating.”…
“You had one job, Corporal, one job. Protect Prince Adam, with your life, if necessary. And you failed. I swear, if something happens to Adam, you will be scrubbing toilets for the rest of your life.”
“Don’t be so hard on the Corporal, Teela. It wasn’t his fault.”
“I know. I should have gone with Adam. Oh Father, what if something happens to him?”
“We’ll find Adam and save him. I promise.”
Meanwhile, in the dungeons of Snake Mountain…
(5) HAVE AN IDEA FOR A SPACE FORCE STORY? C. Stuart Hardwick is editing an anthology for Baen, Real Stories of the US Space Force, and has put out a Call For Submissions. See full details at the link.
The US Space Force has a PR problem. Several, in fact. It was not Donald Trump’s idea. It did not steal its iconography from Star Trek. It is not just a lunatic scheme to expand the military-industrial complex by sending battleships into space. Yet judging from social media, many think all these things and more.
Space has become critical not only to the military but to the economy and all aspects of daily life, and as we stand at the dawn of a new age of space commerce, that’s only going to intensify, and several nations have already developed capabilities to deny, degrade, and disrupt access to and utilization of space–based assets, whether to degrade US Military capability or as a direct economic attack.
Like it or not, the militarization of space started long ago, threats are already up there, and wherever people and their interests go next, so too will go conflict, intrigue, heroes and villains, everything that comprises good stories….
WHAT WE WANT
Stories that grab us from the start and stay with us for days. Scientifically plausible drama about people facing interesting challenges related to the US Space Force or more generally, the policing and defense of near-Earth space and related issues, now or in the foreseeable future (the next century or so).
Stories don’t have to take place in space, involve the actual US Space Force, or be hard sci-fi, but they should help illustrate in some way how space technology shapes modern civilization in critical, often overlooked ways, how it is now or soon may come under threat, and how it might be defended now and into the future. See this page for ideas and background.
Minicon 10 (1975) – History of the MFS – Poul Anderson, Gordon Dickson, Clifford Simak, Bob Tucker & more:
Minicon 10 was held April 18-20, 1975 in Minneapolis. This panel discussion, orchestrated by Gordy Dickson, majors in history and anecdotes of the 1940s Minneapolis Fantasy Society (MFS). Particpants: Kenny Gray, Poul Anderson, Oliver Saari, Gordon Dickson, Grace Riger, Bob Tucker, and Clifford Simak. A high percentage of the MFS members went on to sell professionally to the magazines.
The panel begins with the flowering of MFS after Clifford Simak moved to town, to anecdotes about late night hero-saving plot sessions to the true identity of Squanchfoot (hint: Simak’s City was dedicated to him).
You’ll hear about the softball games in which many Saaris participated, the origin of Twonk’s disease, how Poul became an MFS member and more.
There’s silly story writing, an imitation Red Boggs, and a mass induction into the MFS. For those that live(d) in Minneapolis, and for those that didn’t, this recording provides an affectionate look at the early MFS…Many thanks to Geri Sullivan and the Video Archeology project for providing the recording.
… For this post, I’m just talking about the last part: how long it takes to publish a book once you sell it to a traditional publisher. Often, unpublished and self-published authors are baffled at turn around time for books. This discourse was most recently kicked off by a tweet asking authors how they would feel if a publisher offered to publish their book yet it would take 2 years and they’d have to cut 10,000 words. The replies were filled with a lot of unpublished authors saying “that’s way too long!” and/or “that’s way too many words to cut!” and then a lot of published authors saying “uh, this is completely standard in publishing?”
…To be very clear, getting published by a good publisher in no way guarantees you’ll get much attention or sell many copies. Yet if you want any chance of getting those things, your publisher needs a lot of time to pitch your book to distributors and bookstores and to do all of the publicity and marketing.
This—the general publicity, marketing, and distribution—is where much of the publishing time disappears. And it’s the kind of stuff you might not realize if you aren’t a traditionally published author. Things like major bookstore orders (including Amazon) are set long before a book is published. Anticipated book lists and “buzz” begins well in advance, sometimes before books are even finished being written. Review copies get sent to reviewers months before books are published, so that reviews can appear when the book does. And so on and so forth.
In addition to the distribution, marketing, and publicity there are other important steps if you want a professional book, especially editing (big scale stuff), copyediting (line level stuff), proofreading (typos). There are many other steps here too such as getting blurbs and getting cover art but thankfully many of these can be done concurrently with the other steps timewise….
The low-rated, Nancy Drew spinoff only launched on May 31 and has aired six episodes to date. The series, which features a predominantly Black cast, started off as an unconventional backdoor pilot, with only Tian Richards (as Tom) getting an introduction on Nancy Drew last season. The rest of the characters were cast after the project was picked up to series in August.
We hear CBS Studios, which is behind Tom Swift, is trying to extend the options on the cast, which expire today, and plans to shop the series elsewhere.
The CW brass have said that they like the show creatively. The cancellation is said to be performance-based as Tom Swift is among the CW’s least watched series on linear, with 535K viewers in Live+7, as well as on streaming….
The Mike Schur-created drama based on the 1989 Kevin Costner-starring baseball-focused film was picked up straight to series in August 2021 but will not stream on the platform, according to a source with knowledge.
Universal Television, where Schur’s Fremulon shingle holds an overall deal, is in the process of talking to interested buyers.
Schur is the creator of NBC’s The Good Place, along with serving as the co-creator of Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Rutherford Falls. Among other credits, he is an executive producer on HBO Max’s Emmy-winning Hacks and Freevee’s upcoming Primo….
(10) 124C41+. Holden Karnosky’s article “The Track Record of Futurists Seems … Fine” at Cold Takes tries to find another way of testing whether it would be a waste of time to put artificial intelligence to work as futurists. One idea was to look at the futures posited by some famous sf writers.
…The idea is something like: “Even if we can’t identify a particular weakness in arguments about key future events, perhaps we should be skeptical of our own ability to say anything meaningful at all about the long-run future. Hence, perhaps we should forget about theories of the future and focus on reducing suffering today, generally increasing humanity’s capabilities, etc.”
But are people generally bad at predicting future events? Including thoughtful people who are trying reasonably hard to be right? If we look back at prominent futurists’ predictions, what’s the actual track record? How bad is the situation?
…Recently, I worked with Gavin Leech and Misha Yagudin at Arb Research to take another crack at this. I tried to keep things simpler than with past attempts – to look at a few past futurists who (a) had predicted things “kind of like” advances in AI (rather than e.g. predicting trends in world population); (b) probably were reasonably thoughtful about it; but (c) are very clearly not “just selected on those who are famous because they got things right.” So, I asked Arb to look at predictions made by the “Big Three” science fiction writers of the mid-20th century: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein.
These are people who thought a lot about science and the future, and made lots of predictions about future technologies – but they’re famous for how entertaining their fiction was at the time, not how good their nonfiction predictions look in hindsight. I selected them by vaguely remembering that “the Big Three of science fiction” is a thing people say sometimes, googling it, and going with who came up – no hunting around for lots of sci-fi authors and picking the best or worst.2
Alan Baumler kept score while reading the article:
One (Asimov) who looks quite impressive – plenty of misses, but a 50% hit rate on such nonobvious predictions seems pretty great.
One (Heinlein) who looks pretty unserious and inaccurate.
One (Clarke) who’s a bit hard to judge but seems pretty solid overall (around half of his predictions look to be right, and they tend to be pretty nonobvious).
(11) MEMORY LANE.
1972 – [By Cat Eldridge.] Yes, I know I wrote up Bewitched earlier this year. Or at least I think II did. I do lose track after a while. At any rate, tonight we’ve come to eulogize its ending fifty years ago on this evening. The show aired from September 17, 1964 to July 1, 1972 on ABC for two hundred and fifty-four episodes — seventy-four in black-and-white for the first two years, 1964 to 1966) and one hundred eighty in color for the final three years, 1966 to 1972.
I cannot say that I’ve watched all of the series, but I’ve watched a fair amount of it and it will unashamedly admit that I really do like it. It’s not a complicated series, nor a particularly deep series, but it’s both fun and charming, and it is inoffensive.
So why did Bewitched come to an end? Was it the ratings? That certainly was part of that problem as by by the end of the next-to-last season the ratings for it had noticeably dropped and the show did not even rank in the list of the top thirty programs. But that wasn’t the actual reason it got cancelled.
That was down to Elizabeth Montgomery who had grown tired of the series and wanted to move on to new roles. Well, they didn’t happen. The only thing she was on Password, a game show where she was a celebrity contestant for nearly ninety episodes.
She died at aged sixty-two of an untimely diagnosed cancer.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 1, 1934 — Jean Marsh, 88. She was married to Jon Pertwee but it was before either were involved in Whovian affairs. She first appeared alongside The First Doctor in “The Crusade” as Lady Joanna, the sister of Richard I (The Lionheart). She returned later that year as companion Sara Kingdom in “The Daleks’ Master Plan”. And she’d return yet again during the time of the Seventh Doctor in “Battlefield” as Morgana Le Fay. She’s also in Unearthly Stranger, Dark Places, Return to Oz, Willow as Queen Bavmorda and The Changeling.
Born July 1, 1935 — David Prowse. The physical embodiment of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Ok, it’s been a very long time since I saw Casino Royale but what was Frankenstein’s Creation doing there, the character he played in his first ever role? That he then played the role in The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, Hammer Films a few years later surprises me not. He shows up in Gilliam’s Jabberwocky according to IMDB as Red Herring and Black Knights (and no I’ve no idea what that means). Finally he’s the executioner in The People That Time Forgot, a film that’s very loosely based off of several Burroughs novels. (Died 2020.)
Born July 1, 1942 — Genevieve Bujold, 80. We would have had a rather different look on Voyager if things had played out as the producers wished, for Bujold was their first choice to play Janeway. She quit after a day and a half of shooting, with the public reason being she was unaccustomed to the hectic pace of television filming. What the real reason was we will never know.
Born July 1, 1952 — Dan Aykroyd, 70. Though best known as Dr. Raymond Stantz in the original Ghostbusters films (which he wrote with Harold Raimis though he himself came up with the Ghostbusters concept), Ackroyd actually showed up in his first genre role a year earlier in Twilight Zone: The Movie as Passenger / Ambulance Driver. He’s reprised his role in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. And he was the narrator of the Hotel Paranormal series that just ended.
Born July 1, 1955 — Robby the Robot, aged, well, 67. Yes, this is this official birthday of the robot in Forbidden Planet, which debuted a year later. Over the years he would also be seen is such films and series as The Invisible Boy,Invasion of the Neptune Men, The Twilight Zone, Lost In Space, The Addams Family,Wonder Woman and Gremlins. He was in a 2006 commercial for AT&T. Well very, very briefly.
Born July 1, 1964 — Charles Coleman Finlay, 58. The Traitor to the Crown series is his best known work. His first story, “Footnotes”, was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction where many of his stories have since been published. Editor for six years of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction until February of last year. At the World Fantasy Awards in 2021 he received the Special Award – Professional for editing The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
Born July 1, 1981 — Genevieve Valentine, 41. Author of the superb Persona novel and also she scripted a Catwoman series, working with artists Garry Brown and David Messina. Her first novel, Mechanique: A tale of the Circus Tresaulti, won the Crawford Award for a first fantasy novel. She scripted a run of Xena: Warrior Princess, and scripted Batman & Robin Eternal as well.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
Non Sequitur shows what would happen if Hollywood added “improvements” to Noah’s Ark. (Which, of course, they’ve already done, but play along with the joke.)
(14) AMAZON PRIME TEASER TRAILER FOR PAPER GIRLS. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The comic book Paper Girls — which involves time travel among other tropes, so it’s inarguably science fiction — which I may have stumbled on either browsing my library’s “new graphic novels” or during the year-ish I subscribed to ComiXology’s monthly streaming digital comics service, or a mix, is about to be an Amazon Prime series, per this trailer I just saw:
It looks promising, to say the least.
Want to read ’em first? If your public library (or interlibrary loan) doesn’t have them, you can e-borrow/read issues 1-30 free through HooplaDigital.com — either as Volumes 1-6, or in 3 borrows (remember, Hoopla allows a set # borrows/month) by going for the Deluxe Edition Books (10 issues each), as this search shows.
Captain Robert A. Lewis, the co-pilot of the B-29 Superfortress called the Enola Gay, wrote those immortal words shortly after 8:16 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, moments after he and his crewmates dropped the atomic bomb on the citizens of Hiroshima. The course of history changed at that precise moment: A beautiful day exploded into a blinding bright light, a nuclear fireball leveled a city, at least 100,000 died, and a world war neared its end.
And there, high above it all yet so much a part of the devastation below, was Robert Lewis to chronicle every spectacular and awful moment. He was among the dozen Enola Gay crewmen who delivered the 15-kiloton bomb codenamed “Little Boy” to Japan and the only person aboard who kept a detailed account of the top-secret mission that changed the world.
How hard can it really be to decode alien physics and engineering? It’s gotta map to our own physics – I mean, we live in the same universe. We start by noticing that the alien technology seems to use good ol’ fashioned electronics, even if it is insanely complex. We know this because the particle carried by the alien circuitry looks like the electron. We decide this through a process of elimination.
(17) FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE. JustWatch tracked themoviedb.org data to measure “Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies and TV Shows in the US in June.”
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
For All Mankind
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Crimes of the Future
The Man Who Fell to Earth
The Twilight Zone
*Based on JustWatch popularity score. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org
For the past three years, a tiny loaf-of-bread-sized spacecraft with gigantic wings has been sailing on sunbeams in low Earth orbit. LightSail 2 has far exceeded its life expectancy and proven that solar sails can indeed be used to fly spacecraft. But its journey around our planet is sadly coming to an end, as Earth’s atmosphere drags the spacecraft downward where it will eventually burn up in atmospheric flames.
The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 launched in June 2019 and unfurled its 344-square-foot (32-square-meter) solar sail a month later. Just two weeks after spreading its wings, LightSail 2 gained 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of altitude, making this experiment a success….
Located near the UCLA campus on Westwood Boulevard, The Nimoy is a reimagining of the historic Crest Theater as a flexible, state-of-the-art performance space.
Opening in late March 2023, the intimately-scaled venue is named for artist, actor, director and philanthropist Leonard Nimoy. Shawmut Construction has been working steadily to renovate the venue, which will be equipped with new and green technologies to support the creation and presentation of innovative work.
The Nimoy will be a home for artists representing a broad diversity of voices, viewpoints, ideas and creative expressions in music, dance, theater, literary arts, digital media arts and collaborative disciplines. The inaugural season will feature a large slate of amazing shows, including new work by the legendary Kronos Quartet, “live documentarian” filmmaker Sam Green, and a collaboration between two essential musical voices of Los Angeles, Quetzal and Perla Batalla.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [By Martin Morse Wooster.] Alasdair Beckett-King asks, “What if Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson got email from spammers claiming to be “sexy women from Moldova?” “Hot Detectives in Your Area”.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Curt Phillips, Daniel Dern, Alan Baumler, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie. Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]
“Generous Handful of Fresh Unja Berries” by Jessica Federle
“My Mother, Dragonslayer” by Edward Rathke
“On Cultivating A Chosen One” by Christopher Baxter
“Red Lanterns” by Marshall J. Moore
“Shadow and Full Dark” by Chris Cornetto
“To Sleep, Perchance to Wake” by Jonathan Ficke
Started in 2014, this is the ninth annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award contest. The award honors stories that best exemplify the spirit of adventure, imagination, and great storytelling in a work of short fiction containing an element of the fantastic, whether epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, contemporary fantasy, or historical fantasy. The stories are judged anonymously.
The Grand Prize and Second and Third Place Winners will come from among these ten finalists.
Those winners will be announced during the Baen Travelling Roadshow at this year’s Dragon Con. Dragon Con will take place from September 1-5 in Atlanta, GA. The author of the Grand Prize story receives an award trophy, a prize box filled with Baen merchandise, and paid professional rates for first publication rights. The winning story also will be featured on Baen.com main webpage.
Elaine Midcoh of Pembroke Pines, Florida has won the grand prize in the 2022 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award competition with her short story “Man on the Moon.” The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Contest has been held annually since 2007 and is focused on stories of space exploration and discovery, with an optimistic spin on those activities for the human race.
“Man on the Moon” by Elaine Midcoh
Pierre-Alexandre Sicart [title withheld by request*]
“The Rocketship of Her Dreams” by Larry Lang
“Blowout” by Wole Talabi
“The Icy Wasteland at Her Feet” by Deborah L. Davitt
(* Sicart’s title was withheld by request of the author because he’s already submitted the story to another blind contest.)
Midcoh will be honored at the 2022 International Space Development Conference, in Arlington, VA, May 27-29, 2022. In addition to the award, her winning story will be published at Baen.com, paid professional rates, and the author will receive membership in the National Space Society.
“Winning the contest is an honor and opportunity for the winner, not only to be published, but to attend the ISDC, and meet scientists and space advocates from around the world,” said William Ledbetter, contest administrator. “In addition, 2020 and 2021 award winners M.T. Reiten and G. Scott Huggins have been invited to attend as well, given the Covid-19 pandemic meant they could not be honored in person previously.”
This was the first time in the 15-year history of the contest where not only were there more than ten finalists, but two honorable mentions among the winners. Pierre-Alexandre Sicart of Taiwan placed second, while third went to Pennsylvanian Larry Lang for “The Rocketship of Her Dreams.” The two honorable mentions were “Blowout” by Wole Talabi of Malaysia, and “The Icy Wasteland at Her Feet” by Deborah L. Davitt of Texas.
Judges for the award were author and space scientist Les Johnson, and the editorial staff of Baen Books, and entries were judged anonymously.
According to Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf, all of this year’s finalists turned in some incredible stories.
“We were really impressed by the breadth and depth of the submissions this year, it was an honor to read them all,” Weisskopf said. “We began this contest to honor new authors and celebrate space exploration, and all this year’s finalists exemplify the very best of what we want from the contest, and from science fiction.”