(1) NEW BLACK SFF INITIATIVE. The Chicago Tribune reports — “Chicago collective puts black characters in fantasy, horror and sci-fi films”.
When Chris Adams was a teen growing up in the Far South Side’s Roseland area, he would often imagine himself living in space and existing alongside alien creatures such as those in “Star Wars.”
Or he would picture an alternate reality, where black people were served by robots and lived in houses filled with futuristic devices or battled enormous, prehistoric monsters.
“I’ve (long) been a big fan of fantasy films and horror and sci-fi,” he said. “But black people are underrepresented in those genres. When we are there, we’re the first to die.”
Hoping to bring fresh voices and perspectives to film, Adams recently launched a project with a collective of Chicago filmmakers that concentrates on producing short movies.
Rather than giving voice to the typical stories of violence, grief or family drama, these filmmakers want to showcase fantasy, horror and science fiction films with black characters as the focus.
Their effort comes at a time when there is an increasing appetite for films and television shows that present black lives from nuanced and nonstereotypical perspectives.
Still, Adams and his Paradigm Grey project are unusual because the independent films center on black characters but have very little to do with the realities African-Americans experience. All five of the filmmakers and production crews involved in the group hail from the Chicago region and shoot their projects here, yet they avoid narratives centered on poverty, joblessness, drug abuse, corruption or other topics often central to storylines involving black characters.
With their combined reputations, they hope to take their films from underground to a wider audience, Adams said.
“Nearly everyone who joined on to this project were frustrated with the current state of filming,” he said. “The actors were sick of playing drug dealers, prostitutes, gangbangers and the typical roles you see us in. We all wanted a chance to do something completely imaginative. So this project was like a breath of fresh air.”
(2) PULPFEST PROGRAM POSTED. PulpFest has announced its planned program for the convention to be held July 26 – 29, 2018 in Pittsburgh. Joe Lansdale will be PulpFest Guest of Honor. They’ll be honoring the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I. They’ll also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Science Fiction Grand Master Philip José Farmer.
(3) NOMINATE FOR MUNSEY AWARD. Nominations for PulpFest’s 2018 Munsey Award are being accepted through May 1, 2018. Full details here.
All members of the pulp community are welcome to nominate someone for this year’s award. If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy to receive this prestigious award, please let us know.
All members of the pulp community — excepting past winners of the Munsey, Rusty, or Lamont Awards — are eligible. Your nomination can be sent to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach Mike at 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542. You will need to provide the person’s name and an explanation describing why that person should be honored.
The award recipient will be chosen by a vote of all living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners. The 2018 Munsey Award will be presented on Saturday evening, July 28,
(4) DECEMBER’S CHILDREN. (And Everybody’s): Jason lists the big hits of this month’s short web fiction in the “Summation of Online Fiction: December 2017” from Featured Futures.
Thinking about this month’s noted stories, I’m reminded of the rational Isaac Asimov’s comments on how numerology “works” because you can find patterns in anything. In this 12th month (1+2=3), threes and twos (and thus ones) are a recurring motif. This month, I recommend three SF stories (two of which come from Compelling – though the one from Nature really can’t be missed) and three fantasy stories (two of which come from Grievous Angel) and honorably mention three fantasy stories (two of which come from Uncanny). Which is, again, three sets: two of recommendations and just one of honorable mentions. Meaningless, but I’ll admit it is a weird coincidence. These nine tales were chosen, not from 32 stories of 123K words, but from forty December webzine stories of 162K words.
(5) GRAFTON OBIT. Sue Grafton, famed for her alphabet-titled mystery series about private eye Kinsey Millhone, died December 28 at the age of 77.
The first, A is for Alibi, was published in 1982 and the last, Y is for Yesterday, was published in August.
“As far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y,” her daughter said in a statement posted to Facebook.
Arg. Her series. She had one book to go. Oh, man. As an author, I… that's the fucking worst.
— Kameron Hurley (@KameronHurley) December 29, 2017
(6) COMICS SECTION.
- John King Tarpinian saw the ghost of a mashup yet to come in Ziggy.
(7) APEX SUBMISSION WINDOW OPENS. Apex Book Company will be holding open novel and novella submissions from January 1st to January 31st, 2018. Guidelines and information here.
We will consider novellas in length of 30,000 to 40,000 words and novels in length up to 120,000 words, and are particularly looking for novels that fit within the dark sci-fi category. Dark fantasy and horror submissions are also welcome.
A literary agent is not required for submission. We may take up to three months or more to review your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay. We will only accept one submission per author.
(8) LIKE LEGO AND EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE. Io9’s Andrew Liszewski says “You Can Beam Whatever You Want From My Wallet for These Custom Star Trek: TNG Minifigures”.
The eight-figure set isn’t officially produced by Lego, but each of the minifigures—including Wesley Crusher, Lt. Commander Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Cmdr. William Riker, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Counselor Deanna Troi, Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge, and Lieutenant Worf—are 100 percent compatible with your existing plastic brick collections.
(9) SOME BOOKSTORES DOOMED. A New York Times article about bookstore chains that have been forced to the brink or given up — “Bookstore Chains, Long in Decline, Are Undergoing a Final Shakeout”.
Here is one way to measure the upheaval in bookselling: Replacing Book World as the fourth-largest chain, Publishers Weekly says, will be a company that had no physical presence a few years ago. That would be Amazon, which having conquered the virtual world has opened or announced 15 bookshops, including at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.
In a famous passage in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” a novel that Book World used to sell, a character is asked how he went bust. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
That more or less mirrors what happened to Book World and other bookstore chains.
(10) TWO HEARTS AND THIRTEEN LIONS. That’s fun – Camestros Felapton, in “Today’s Infographic: Doctor Where”, plots out the birthplaces of Doctor Who actors.
(11) IT’S ABOUT TIME. Fabrice Mathieu shared “STAR WARS 4.7: Skywalker vs Starkiller,”his new Star Wars Mashup, successor to “Darth by Darthwest” and “Raiders of the Lost Darth”.
Young Jedi Luke Skywalker and his trusty companion R2-D2 pilot their battle worn X-wing fighter into a massive black hole, propelling them 30 years into the future. They find themselves engaged in the mighty rebel attack against the New Order’s fierce machine known as the Starkiller Base.
[Thanks to Standback, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Jason, Francis Hamit, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Jason Sizemore, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Giant Panda.]