Today’s lower court decision in Hachette v. Internet Archive is a blow to all libraries and the communities we serve. This decision impacts libraries across the US who rely on controlled digital lending to connect their patrons with books online. It hurts authors by saying that unfair licensing models are the only way their books can be read online. And it holds back access to information in the digital age, harming all readers, everywhere.
But it’s not over—we will keep fighting for the traditional right of libraries to own, lend, and preserve books. We will be appealing the judgment and encourage everyone to come together as a community to support libraries against this attack by corporate publishers….
Statement from Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle: “Libraries are more than the customer service departments for corporate database products. For democracy to thrive at global scale, libraries must be able to sustain their historic role in society—owning, preserving, and lending books.
This ruling is a blow for libraries, readers, and authors and we plan to appeal it.”
…On the serious side, [Geoffrey Bache] Smith persuaded Tolkien to become a poet and was therefore truly instrumental in turning him into the author we know. Smith sent Tolkien a letter from deepest danger in the trenches of the Great War to declare himself a ‘wild and whole-hearted admirer’ of the first Middle-earth writings, and to urge him to publish them. One of the many ironies of that world war is that although Tolkien could find no publisher for his own poetry, he was able to edit Smith’s poems for publication (A Spring Harvest, 1918). You see, Smith had been killed on the Somme battlefield in 1916, and (as Dr Stuart Lee made clear in his conference paper) there was a demand for good poetry by dead soldiers….
…I do not ordinarily share petitions of any kind, and I was reluctant to even share this one.
But, silence equals agreement, so I can’t be silent.
The petition asks the 2023 Worldcon Committee to withdraw their invitation to be a Guest of Honor at the convention to Russian author, Sergei Lukyanenko.
Now, ordinarily, I am against the withdrawal of any invitation. I am skeptical of any campaign anywhere to withdraw an honor, whether it is perceived as deserved or not. That is a situation where everybody looks bad, and I have expressed that thought several times in the past few years, even where I might have neither affection nor respect for the individual in the bullseye.
But there are circumstances where any kind of honor is so out of the question that voices must be raised.
Sergei Lukyanenko has made it clear that he endorses the war crimes that Russia has committed against Ukraine and is willing to endorse further war crimes.
That is so far beyond the normal range of fannish squabbles that I am horrified that the 2023 Worldcon committee has to even think twice on this….
About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post about a job offer scam in which fraudsters impersonated Acorn TV.
The scammers’ M.O.: they messaged writers on Twitter and Instagram, claiming to offer an opportunity to write stories for Acorn TV and earn an improbably large amount of money. If writers expressed interest (and why wouldn’t they), a two-part “texting interview” on Telegram followed, at the end of which the writer was offered a job agreement and description. Although I never heard from anyone who accepted, the presumed goal was to steal personal details, such as Social Security numbers and bank account information.
The same scammers are at it again. This time, they’re impersonating Minno, a Christian streaming service for kids….
(6) WHAT I SAY THREE TIMES IS TRUE. Karen Myers has advice about ways to help readers keep up with the story in “Failures of Memory” at Mad Genius Club.
…There’s no prize to be won by taxing the memory of your suffering readers — they won’t thank you for it. Make it easy on ’em, and you’ll have them in your hand for all the emotional and other effects you want to have, based on what you’ve told them.
Now, this takes some subtlety. The setting of the reminders has to feel natural rather than repetitive, worked casually into the general flow…
(7) FUTURE TENSE. Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination continue their series of short stories about how technology and science will change our lives: “The Preschool,” by Jonathan Parks-Ramage.
Amanda sat at her desk, picking at the same $30 Little Gem salad she ordered daily, suffering a small burning sensation in her gut that was triggered either by acid reflux or the dying embers of her rapidly expiring conscience. Of course, it was standard procedure for her husband to demand that the security firm Dark Metal surveil potential new hires for any of his multibillion-dollar companies, but this was the first time Amanda had been involved in contracting the private intelligence agency herself. Seedlings is your venture, Reid had promised her, even though he’d named himself CEO. I want you to take the lead on this. Amanda was COO of Seedlings and reported to her husband, who dismissed Amanda’s concerns about the legal ramifications of their actions. Worrying about the law was something poor people did, Reid insisted. Besides, she’d never seen Reid do anything that nefarious with this type of information. He was a nice guy. Really….
… Unlike time travel, cybernetics (which refers to the integration of our biology with machines) is one science fiction theme that is part of our experiential reality. We can already control machines with our thoughts—but only with simple commands, like those needed to move a wheelchair or play Pong. Cybernetic devices available today include (but are not limited to) pacemakers, cochlear implants, retinal prostheses, deep brain stimulators, and prosthetic limbs. Current brain-computer interface—or BCI—technologies have enabled us to use computers to decode information from our brains, such as what we have seen or heard, what we intend to say, and what we would like a prosthetic limb to do. With the continual integration of these technologies into our lives, 20th-century sci-fi writers would be surprised at how quickly humans are taking the evolutionary leap from primate to cyborg….
There is an actual Batcave in Los Angeles, where all the old Batmen live. I can’t tell you where: I signed an NDA. But in the most unlikely neighbourhood, in the most obscure location, lies a giant warehouse where Warner Bros keeps a century’s worth of treasures, including the best vehicles from its Batman films going back to 1989.
On a tour of this warehouse, which Warner Bros calls, with a slightly villainous air, the “Corporate Archive”, I saw nine Batmobiles, in a row, gleaming. Each one is a functioning vehicle with an engine, not just an elaborate prop. The most expensive cost close to $1m. It has wing-shaped treads on the tires, so it leaves little bats in its wake.
… Warner Bros, one of the original big five studios from Hollywood’s Golden Age, turns 100 on 4 April 2023, and as part of its centennial celebrations it’s letting reporters inside its secret treasure house. (You can search for the archive on Google: it’s not there.) Warner Bros has produced film or TV classics in every decade – from The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and 42nd Street, to 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the Looney Tunes and Friends. The corporate archive is where its most infamous props, costumes and set pieces go to die – or rather, to achieve eternal life, watched over in chilled rooms by a team of dedicated archivists….
(9) MEMORY LANE.
2014 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Charles de Lint’s Seven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale is part of his Appalachian stories. It was published by Little, Brown in 2014 as a sequel to The Cats of Tanglewood Forest with illustrations by Charles Vess. It was later done in a limited diction by Subterranean Press with illustrations by again by Charles Vess, this time in black in white. Both are wonderful.
The series started off in A Circle of Cats, a sparkling affair of a children’s book. Two of the characters in these books will show up in Medicine Road.
I’m writing this under a Vess signed limited edition print of fifty for the cover art for A Circle of Cats.
Though Canadian, de Lint does a very nice job of capturing the feel of the Appalachian region. I know he’s a very good friend of Vess who lives in the Appalachian region, so I expect that at least part of his knowledge comes from him.
I’ve read all of the works, no surprise as I love his fiction deeply. I think as books that they are more warm, more comfortable than anything else he’s done. And there’s nothing wrong with that sort of genre fiction once in a while, is there?
And now our Beginning…
There’s those that call it ginseng, but ’round here we just call it ’sang. Don’t know which is right. All I know for sure is that bees and ’sang don’t mix, leastways not in these hills.
Their rivalry’s got something to do with sweetness and light and wildflower pollen set against dark rooty things that live deep in the forest dirt. That’s why bee spirits’ll lead the ’sang poachers to those hidden ’sang beds. It’s an unkindness you’d expect more from the Mean Fairy—you know, the way he shows up at parties after the work’s all done.
‘Course there’s spirits in the hills. How could there not be? You think we’re alone in this world? We have us a very peopled woods, and I’ve seen all kinds in my time, big and small.
The Father of Cats haunts these hills. Most times he’s this big old panther, sleek and black, but the Kickaha say he can look like a handsome, black-haired man, the fancy takes him. I only ever saw him as a panther. Seeing yourself a panther is unusual enough, though I suppose it’s something anybody who spends enough time in these woods can eventually claim. But I heard him talk.
Don’t you smile. I don’t tell lies.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 25, 1916 — Jean Rogers. Rogers is best remembered for playing Dale Arden in the science fiction serials Flash Gordon and Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars, both released in the Thirties. Kage Baker would’ve have loved them as she was a great fan of such cinema and wrote a series of essays for Tor.com that turned into Ancient Rockets: Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen. (Died 1991.)
Born March 25, 1920 — Patrick Troughton. The Second Doctor of who I’ll confess I’m not the most ardent fan of. The Fourth Doctor is my Doctor. Troughton had a long genre resume starting with Hamlet and Treasure Island early on before proceeding to such works as Scars of Dracula and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell later on. Telly-wise, I see him on R.U.R. Radius playing a robot, on a Fifties Robin Hood show being that character, and on The Feathered Serpent. This is children’s series set in pre-Columbian Mexico and starring Patrick Troughton as the scheming High Priest Nasca. H’h. (Died 1987.)
Born March 25, 1939 — D. C. Fontana. Though best known for her work on the first Trek series, she was a story editor and associate producer on the animated series as well. During the 70s, she was staff for such series as Six Million Dollar Man, Logan’s Run and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. She later wrote for the fanfic Star Trek: New Voyages series. (Died 2019.)
Born March 25, 1942 — Jacqueline Lichtenberg, 81. She was nominated at the second DisCon for Best Fan Writer, the year Susan Wood won, and Neffy (National Fantasy Fan Federation Speculative Fiction Award) for Fan of the Year thirty-four years later. She’s written a number of Trek works and more fiction in the Sime/Gen ‘verse. If you’re so interested in the latter, she’s extremely well stocked at the usual suspects.
Born March 25, 1947 — Paul Levinson, 76. “The Copyright Case” novelette would garner him a much deserved Compuserve group HOMer Award. It was the first work in a series of novels and short stories featuring the fascinating NYPD forensic detective Dr. Phil D’Amato who first appeared in Levinson’s “The Chronology Protection Case” novelette. You can purchase it from the usual digital sources.
Born March 25, 1950 — Robert O’Reilly, 73. Best known I’d say for his appearance in the Trek franchise for a decade in his recurring role on Next Gen and DS9 as Chancellor Gowron, the leader of the Klingon Empire. He made one further appearance in the Trek verse as Kago-Darr in the Enterprise “Bounty” episode. Other genre series he appeared in include Fantasy Island, Knight Rider, Incredible Hulk, MacGyver, Max Headroom and the first version of The Flash. I’ll let y’all tell me what your favorite films with him are.
Born March 25, 1958 — Amy Pascal, 65. She gets Birthday honors for being responsible for bringing Hugo Award winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse to the screen. She also produced Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far from Home. She is producing the forthcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, and the Spider-Man: No Way Home as well.
Born March 25, 1964 — Kate DiCamillo, 59. She is just being one of six people to win two Newbery Medals, noting the wonderfulness of The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & Ulysses. The first I’ve encountered, the tale of a swords mouse in making, the latter I’ve not. Her Mercy Watson series is about the adventures of a fictional pig, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Pearls Before Swine reveals something that was powerful enough to kill one character’s romance.
Shoe shows a writer attempting what could be called a kind of reverse engineering.
(12) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] The March 21 episode of Jeopardy! had a whole category in the Double Jeopardy round called “Books: The Future is Now”. The contestants took the category bottom-to-top, so that’s how I’ll give them to you.
$2000: He saw 2024 as a hellish wasteland in his 1969 short story, “A Boy & His Dog”
Nobody was able to respond “Harlan Ellison”.
$1600: Later editions of this author’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” moved the story from 1992 to 2021
William Shatner recalled how he managed to land the role of Captain James T. Kirk on the original 1966 Star Trek series.
During the actor’s keynote interview at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League asked Shatner about how he got his career-changing gig.
“Talent,” Shatner initially deadpanned, to audience applause, but then he told the story.
As all Trek fans know, Jeffrey Hunter was cast in the NBC show’s first attempt at a Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” as Captain Christopher Pike. “Jeffrey Hunter, good-looking guy, he was quite a name,” Shatner says. “They presented the pilot to NBC and then there’s that moment when the gods — and, in this case, NBC executives — decide to buy or not to buy. To buy, or not to buy, that is the question! They said, ‘No, we’re not going to buy it, because we don’t like it. But we like the idea. So rewrite, recast and we’ll give you the money to do it.’ I’ve never heard of that happening before or since.” (To be fair, it’s actually happened many times since.)
“So they went around looking for a new captain,” Shatner continued. “I was in New York doing some work. They called me and said, ‘Would you come and see the pilot?’ With the idea of me being the captain. And I watched the pilot [and thought], ‘Oh my God, that’s really good. Why didn’t they buy it?’ Yet [the actors] were a little ponderous. Like, [soberly] ‘Helmsman, turn to the Starboard.’ You’ve been out five years in the middle of space, wouldn’t you say, [casually] ‘Hey, George, turn left’? ‘There’s a meteor coming!’… ‘Well, get out of the way!’ So I added a little lightness. Then it sold. And that’s the answer.”…
Airlines and airports opposed measures to combat global warming caused by jet vapour trails that evidence suggests account for more than half of the aviation industry’s climate impact, new documents reveal.
The industry argued in government submissions that the science was not “robust” enough to justify reduction targets for these non-CO2 emissions. Scientists say the climate impact of vapour trails, or contrails, has been known for more than two decades, with one accusing the industry of a “typical climate denialist strategy”.
While carbon emissions from jet engines contribute to global heating, research suggests the contrails formed when water vapour and soot particles form into ice crystals have an even greater impact. These human-made clouds trap heat in the atmosphere that would otherwise escape into space.
… Milan Klöwer, a climate scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said airlines were adopting a “typical climate denialist strategy” by overstating the level of uncertainty about non-CO2 effects. He said: “Even in the best case, they roughly double the effect of CO2 emissions on the climate.”…
Using a new catalog of high-resolution satellite imagery, James Garvin and his colleagues identified large rings around three impact craters and one probable one that are 1 million years old or younger. To Garvin, the rings imply the craters are tens of kilometers wider, and record far more violent events, than researchers had thought.
If Garvin is right—no sure bet—each impact resulted in an explosion some 10 times more violent than the largest nuclear bomb in history, enough to blow part of the planet’s atmosphere into space. Although not as destructive as the impact that killed off the dinosaurs, the strikes would have perturbed the global climate and caused local extinctions.
It’s an extraordinary claim, as Garvin himself admits. “We haven’t proven anything,” he says. Without fieldwork to back up the conclusions, impact researchers are wary of the circles Garvin and his colleagues have drawn on maps—especially because they defy other estimates of impact rates. “I’m skeptical,” says Bill Bottke, a planetary dynamicist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “I want to see a lot more before I believe it.”
Because water and wind quickly erase most impact craters on Earth, researchers estimate impact rates by tallying crater sizes and ages on the Moon. They also study the size of asteroids in orbit near Earth—potential future impactors. Based on those two methods, researchers estimate that an asteroid or comet 1 kilometer wide or larger hits the planet every 600,000 to 700,000 years.
The new study, however, suggests that in the past million years alone, four kilometer-size objects pummeled the continents—and, given that two-thirds of the planet is covered by water, that could mean up to a dozen struck Earth in total, Bottke says. Anna Łosiak, a crater researcher at the Polish Academy of Sciences, doubts the ringlike features identified by Garvin’s team are truly crater rims. If they somehow are, she says, “that would be very scary because it would mean we really don’t understand what’s going on at all—and that there are a lot of space rocks that may come and make a mess.”…
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Rich Horton, Steven French, David Goldfarb, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Randall M.]
By Borys Sydiuk: Fans have worked hard and are now positioned to host a Thought for Ukraine on Saturday at Boskone in room 467 from 1200 to 1400.
We are grateful for fellow fans support giving their time to share a thought for us and think about Ukraine and hold us in their hearts.
Fans have struggled with war and it has been a hardship, we await the air raid sirens still in fear and I often think of my fan friends in peril and bravely fighting.
Fans are welcome to enjoy a warming cup of tea and some biscuits and share a contemplative moment for fellow fans in Ukraine. Sara Felix has brilliantly prepared beautiful Tiara kit that celebrates the Ukraine colors that you can put together, and we welcome the national colors being worn and your warm thoughts.
At the Boskone art show, data artist Phoenix is now selling prints of her Soviet Space Dogs data visualization art to raise funds for Shelter Friend, a Ukrainian non-profit organization and rehabilitation centre for the homeless animals in Dnipro city, who are dealing with an influx of abandoned dogs due to the current conflict. (https://www.phoenixdataart.com)
Your thoughts are important to us, and as we come close to the anniversary of the invasion, such an evil repugnant act.
By Borys Sydiuk: We are grateful for fellow fans support at this time, as we approach a year since the abhorrent invasion of our beautiful country. Fans have struggled with war and it has been a hardship, we await the air raid sirens still in fear and I often think of my fan friends in peril and bravely fighting.
At Boskone 60 in USA this year on Saturday the 18th of February at 1200, fans will gather on the 4th floor to have a thoughtful moment for Ukraine.
Room to be confirmed.
Fans are welcome to enjoy a warming cup of tea and some biscuits and share a contemplative moment for fellow fans in Ukraine. Sara Felix has brilliantly prepared a beautiful Tiara kit that celebrates the Ukraine colors that you can put together, and we welcome the national colors being worn and your warm thoughts.
At the Boskone art show, data artist Phoenix will be selling prints of her Soviet Space Dogs: Data Visualization Art to raise funds for Shelter Friend, a Ukrainian non-profit organization and rehabilitation centre for the homeless animals in Dnipro city, who are dealing with an influx of abandoned dogs due to the current conflict. (https://www.phoenixdataart.com)
Your thoughts are important to us, and as we come close to the anniversary of the invasion, such an evil repugnant act, I would like to mention those I am often thinking of, old fan friends who are fighting now.
Kindrat, a fan since the Soviet time, a member of one of the clubs I organized (Pereval, 1988). He moved from Kyiv to Lviv, and after the war started he joined territorial defense, and now he is actually at the front line. Danila is another fan who I have known since the Eighties, he was a publisher and book seller and joined the army in the first days of the war. Olexander Surkov was a career officer with the Ukrainian Army, but is a Fan, writer, blogger, he rejoined twice, in 2014 and then rejoined in 2022 with this invasion. I think of them often, and welcome you all to think of Ukraine.
Fans engage and work hard here to support the effort, like Olena Glushchenko, fan and Lit-Teracon convention organizer who organized a whole project Varta to support the Ukrainian army, and one project is “One book for a soldier” to collect books and send them to the front line for Ukrainian soldiers for the times in between fighting.
The war is a theme of Art and Creativity, as well as Comics, and Art, Murals and support, we have seen a series of incredible art on our stamps,
People writing about the issues they care about is what keeps this community going. It’s a gift and privilege for me to be continually allowed to publish so many entertaining posts rich in creativity, humor, and shared adventures. Thanks to all of you who contributed to File 770 in 2022!
…Thinking about Jules Verne, with the new TV version of Around the World in Eighty Days about to start, I just bought the Wesleyan edition of Five Weeks in a Balloon, translated by Frederick Paul Walter – after researching what the good modern translations of Verne are. Verne has been abysmally translated into English over the years, but there’s been a push to correct that….
… It was on FaceBook where I first saw friends’ posting about Opening Ceremonies. According to what was posted, some of the musical selections performed by students from the Duke Ellington School spotlighted the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday.
My immediate reaction was that this was not an appropriate part of Opening Ceremonies, especially since, as far as I know, the religious aspect of the performance was not contained in the descriptions in any convention publication. The online description of Opening Ceremonies says, in its entirety: “Welcome to the convention. We will present the First Fandom and Big Heart awards, as well as remarks from the Chair.” The December 9, 2021, news release about the choir’s participation did not mention that there would be a religious component to the performance….
Whew! We made it. We made it to Issue 100 of the Grantville Gazette. This is an incredible feat by a large group of stakeholders. Thank you, everyone.
I don’t think Eric Flint had any idea what he’d created when he sent Jim Baen the manuscript for 1632. In the intervening two-plus decades, the book he intended to be a one-shot novel has grown like the marshmallow man in Ghostbusters to encompass books from two publishing houses, a magazine (this one, that you are holding in your metaphorical hands) and allowed over 165 new authors to see their first published story in print. The Ring of Fire Universe, or the 1632 Universe, has more than twelve million words published….
This message was written by a fan in Moscow 48 hours ago. It is unsigned but was relayed by a trustworthy source who confirms the writer is happy for it to be published by File 770. It’s a fan’s perspective, a voice we may not hear much….
Right now, when I’m sitting at my desktop and writing this text, a cannonade nearby doesn’t stop. The previous night was scary in Kyiv. Evidently, Russians are going to start demolishing Ukrainian capital like they are doing with Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Mariupol.
The Ukrainian SFF Community joined the efforts to isolate Russia, the nazi-country of the 21st century, to force them to stop the war. The boycott by American authors we asked for is also doing the job. Many leading writers and artists of the great United States already joined the campaign.
We appealed to SFWA to also join the campaign, and here is what they replied…
Fortunately, comic-carrying newspapers are, of course, all (also or only) online these days, but even then, some require subscriptions (fair enough), and to get all the ones you want. For example, online, the Washington Post, has about 90, while the Boston Globe is just shy of a paltry one-score-and-ten. And (at least in Firefox), they don’t seem to be visible in all-on-one-page mode, much less customize-a-page-of.
So, for several years now, I’ve been going to the source — two “syndicates” that sell/redistribute many popular strips to newspapers….
There’s been a lot of excitement about Squid Game. Everybody’s talking about how clever, original, and utterly skiffy it is. I watched it, too, eagerly and faithfully. But I wasn’t as surprised by it as some. I expected it to be good. I’ve been watching Korean video for ten years, and have only grown more addicted every year. And yet I just can’t convince many people to watch it with me….
Let me tell you about my favorite building in Washington, D.C. It’s the staid old Arts and Industries Building, the second-oldest of all the Smithsonian Institution buildings, which dates back to the very early 1880s and owes its existence to the Smithsonian’s then urgent need for a place where parts of its collection could go on public display….
When we last left the Heinleins (“What the Heinleins Told the 1940 Census”), a woman answering the door at 8777 Lookout Mountain – Leslyn Heinlein, presumably — had just finished telling the 1940 census taker a breathtaking raft of misinformation. Including that her name was Sigred, her husband’s was Richard, that the couple had been born in Germany, and they had a young son named Rolf.
Ten years have passed since then, and the archives of the 1950 U.S. Census were opened to the public on April 1. There’s a new Mrs. Heinlein – Virginia. The 8777 Lookout Mountain house in L.A. has been sold. They’re living in Colorado Springs. What did the Heinleins tell the census taker this time?…
“In the future, there was a nuclear war. And because of all the radiation, cats developed the ability to shoot lasers out of their mouths.”
On this dubious premise, Laser Cats was founded. By its seventh and final episode, the great action stars and directors of the day had contributed their considerable talents to this highly entertaining, yet frankly ridiculous enterprise. From James Cameron to Lindsey Lohan, Josh Brolin to Steve Martin, Laser Cats attracted the best in the business.
Being part of Saturday Night Live undoubtedly helped….
The Emeka Walter Dinjos Memorial Award For Disability In Speculative Fiction aims to award disability in speculative fiction in two ways. One, by awarding a writer of speculative fiction for their representation or portrayal of disability in a world of speculative fiction, whatever their health status; and two, by awarding a disabled writer for a work of speculative fiction in general, whatever the focus of the work may be….
Robert Osband, Florida fan, really loves space. All his life he has been learning about spaceflight. And reading stories about spaceflight, in science fiction.
So after NASA’s Apollo program was over, the company that made Apollo space suits held a garage sale, and Ozzie showed up. He bought a “training liner” from ILC Dover, a coverall-like portion of a pressure suit, with rings at the wrists and neck to attach gloves and helmet.
And another time, in 1976, when one of his favorite authors, Robert A. Heinlein, was going to be Guest of Honor at a World Science Fiction Convention, Mr. Osband journeyed to Kansas City.
In his suitcase was his copy of Heinlein’s Have Space Suit, Will Travel—a novel about a teenager who wins a secondhand space suit in a contest—and his ILC Dover suit.
Because if you wanted to get your copy of Have Space Suit, Will Travel autographed, and you happened to own a secondhand space suit, it would be a shame NOT to wear it, right?…
… I’m sure that our first face-to-face meeting was in 1979, when my job in industry took me from Chattanooga all the way out to Los Angeles for some much-needed training in electrochemistry. I didn’t really know anybody in L.A. fandom back then but I did know the address of the LASFS clubhouse, so on my next-to-last evening in town I dropped in on a meeting. And it was there that I found Bruce mostly surrounded by other fans while they all expounded on fandom as it existed back then and what it might be like a few years down the road. It was like a jazz jam session, but all words and no music. I settled back into the periphery, enjoying all the back-and-forth, and when there eventually came a lull in the conversations I took the opportunity to introduce myself. And then Bruce said something to me that I found very surprising: “Dick Lynch! I’ve heard of you!”…
It was back in 2014 that a student filmmaker at Stephen F. Austin State University, Ricky Kennedy, created an extraordinary short movie titled The History of Time Travel. Exploration of “what ifs” is central to good storytelling in the science fiction genre and this little production is one of the better examples of how to do it the right way.
… It is through Joy and Cassimer’s eyes we experience S.A. Tholin’s Iron Truth, a finalist of the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition. If there was ever a case of the cream rising to the top this book is one….
In T. A. Bruno’s In the Orbit of Sirens, a Self-Published Science Fiction Competition finalist, the remnants of the human race have fled the solar system ahead of an alien culture that is assimilating everyone in reach. Loaded aboard a vast colony ship they’re headed for a distant refuge, prepared to pioneer a new world, but unprepared to meet new threats there to human survival that are as great as the ones they left behind.
On the morning of Carmen Grey’s sixth birthday an armed team arrives to take her from her parents and remove her to the underground facility where Clairvoyants — like her — are held captive and trained for years to access their abilities. So begins Monster of the Dark by K. T. Belt, a finalist in the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition….
G.M. Nair begins Duckett and Dyer: Dicks for Hire by making a surprising choice. His introductory scene explicitly reveals to readers the true nature of the mysterious events that the protagonists themselves uncover only very slowly throughout the first half of the book. The introduction might even be the penultimate scene in the book — which would make sense in a story that is partly about time travel loops. Good idea or bad idea?…
… What sounds like Firefly also describes the SPSFC finalist novel Captain Wu: Starship Nameless #1, a space opera by authors Patrice Fitzgerald and Jack Lyster. I love Firefly so it wasn’t a big leap to climb aboard this vessel….
…. It would be exceptionally embarrassing for a Worldcon to have to explain why a finalist would have won the Hugo except for — oops! — this bit of outdated fine print. The best course of action is to eliminate that fine print before such a circumstance arises….
The social media of the 30th century doesn’t seem so different: teenagers anonymously perform acts of civil disobedience and vandalism to score points and raise their ranking in an internet app. That’s where Aster Vale leads a secret life as the Wildflower, a street artist and tagger, in A Star Named Vega by Benjamin J. Roberts, a Self-Published Science Fiction competition finalist…..
R F Kuang’s Babel is an audacious and unrelenting look at colonialism, seen through the lens of an alternate 19th century Britain where translation is the key to magic. Kuang’s novel is as sharp and perceptive as it is well written, deep, and bears reflection upon, after reading, for today’s world….
Paul Weimer went to donate some books at Don Blyly’s new location for Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s bookstores. While he was inside Paul shot these photographs of the bookshelves being stocked and other work in progress.
… Another contributor to the Afrofuturist tradition is Nicole Mitchell, a noted avant-jazz composer and flutist. She chose to take on Octavia Butler’s most challenging works, the Xenogenesis Trilogy, and create the Xenogenesis Suite, a collection of dark and disturbing compositions that reflect the trilogy’s turbulent and complicated spirit….
Anna carefully arranged the necessary objects around her desktop computer into a pentagon: sharpened pencils, a legal pad, a half-empty coffee cup, and a copy of Science Without Sorcery, with the chair at the fifth point. This done, she intoned the spell that would open the channel to her muse for long enough to write the final pages of her work-in-progress. Then she could get ready for the convention….
… In the last five years, the [Hugo Awards Study Committee] [HASC] has changed precisely two words of the Constitution. (Since you asked: adding the words “or Comic” to the title of the “Best Graphic Story” category.) The HASC’s defenders will complain that we had two years of pandemic, and that the committee switched to Discord rather than email only this year, and that there are lots of proposals this year. But the fact remains that so far the practical impact has been slower than I imagined when I first proposed the Committee…..
In Michaele Jordan’s overview, she comments on the novellas by Aliette de Bodard, Becky Chambers, Alix E. Harrow, Seanan McGuire, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Catherynne M. Valente that are up for the 2022 Hugo.
… Once we had a lot of science fiction, little fantasy; lately we’ve had a lot of fantasy; so Powers’ writing fantasy does not seem particularly defiant.
His fantasy has generally been — to use a word which may provoke defiance — rigorous. Supernatural phenomena occur, may be predicted, aroused, avoided, as meticulously — a word whose root means fear — as we in our world start an automobile engine or put up an umbrella. Some say this has made his writing distinctive….
The day of reckoning is here for E Pluribus Hugo. The change in the way Hugo Awards nominations are counted was passed in 2015 and ratified in 2016 to counter how Sad and Rabid Puppies’ slates dictated most of finalists on the Hugo ballots in those years. It came with a 2022 sunset clause attached, and E Pluribus Hugo must be re-ratified this year in order to remain part of the WSFS Constitution….
… His name is Joel Nydahl, and back about the time of that Chicon he was a 14-year-old neofan who lived with his parents on a farm near Marquette, Michigan. He was an avid science fiction reader and at some point in 1952 decided to publish a fanzine. It was a good one….
… Abigail Kamara, younger cousin of police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, has been left largely unsupervised while he’s off in the sticks on a case. This leaves Abigail making her own decisions when she notices that kids roughly her age are disappearing–but not staying missing long enough for the police to care….
Friends, let me tell you about one of my favorite TV shows. But I must admit to you up front that it’s not SF/F. Extraordinary Attorney Woo is, as I assume you’ve deduced from the title, a lawyer show. But it’s a KOREAN lawyer show, which should indicate that is NOT run of the mill….
… The Phantom Empire, a twelve-chapter Mascot serial, was originally released in February, 1935. A strange concoction for a serial, it is at once science fiction film, a Western, and strangely enough, a musical. It was the first real science fiction sound serial and its popularity soon inspired other serials about fantastic worlds….
… I find myself explaining the changes to membership in the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) and the conditions for attending the World Science Fiction Convention that were ratified this year in Chicago (and thus are now in effect, because this was the second vote on the changes)…
Chicon 8’s Chicago Worldcon Community Fund (CWCF) program offered both memberships and financial stipends. It was established with the goal of helping defray the expenses of attending Chicon 8 for the following groups of people:
Non-white fans or program participants • LGBTQIA+ fans or program participants • Local Chicago area fans of limited means…
As environmental problems caused by industrialisation and post-industrialisation continue to increase, the public is looking for ecological solutions. As pandemics, economic crises, and wars plague our society in different ways, thoughts turn to the good old times. But were they really all that good? People are escaping increasingly into fantastical stories in order to find a quantum of solace. But at what point was there a utopia in our society. If so, at what or whose cost did it exist? Whether or not we ever experience living in a utopia, the idea of finally finding one drives us to continue seeking ideal living conditions….
… Capclave appeared to be equally star-crossed in its next iteration. It was held over the weekend of October 18-20, 2002, and once again the attendees were brought closer together by an event taking place in the outside world. The word had spread quickly through all the Saturday night room parties: “There’s been another shooting.” Another victim of the D.C. Sniper….
… In Fairy Tale, his newest novel, Stephen King delivers a, cough, grimm contemporary story, explicitly incorporating horror in the, cough, spirit of Lovecraft (King also explicitly namedrops, in the text, August Derleth, and Henry Kuttner), in which high-schooler Charlie Reade becomes involved in things — and challenges — that, as the book and plot progress, stray beyond the mundane….
The idea of an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories about the Beatles seems like a natural. I’ve been told the two editors, each unbeknownst to the other, both presented the idea to the publisher around the same time…
The Science Museum (that’s the world famous one in Kensington, London) has just launched a new exhibit on what Carl Sagan once mused (though not mentioned in the exhibit itself) science fiction and science’s ‘dance’. SF2 Concatenation reprographic supremo Tony Bailey and I were invited by the Museum to have a look on the exhibition’s first day. (The exhibition runs to Star Wars day 2023, May the Fourth.) Having braved Dalek extermination at the Museum’s entrance, we made our way to the exhibition’s foyer – decorated with adverts to travel to Gallifrey – to board our shuttle….
I was at the 2022 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival in Rockville, MD today. If you’re wondering why the festival is there, that’s where Fitzgerald and his wife are buried. Now, I’d never read any of Fitzgerald`s writing, so I spent the evening before reading the first three chapters of The Great Gatsby (copyright having expired last year, it’s online). So far, I’ve yet to find anyone in it that I want to spend any time with, including the narrator.
However, the reason I attended was to see Kim Stanley Robinson, who was the special guest at the Festival. The end of the morning’s big event was a conversation between Stan and Richard Powers. Then there was lunch, and a keynote speaker, then Stan introducing Powers to receive an award from the society that throws the annual Festival….
…As a child, I kept a notebook filled with my favorite quotes. (How did I not know I was going to be an author?) The first quote? “Not all who wander are lost.” There was everything from 90s rom com lines to Wordsworth poems in that notebook, but Tolkien filled the most pages….
There is a fundamental implausibility to easy manned interstellar (or even interplanetary) space travel that nonetheless remains a seductive idea even in our wiser and more cynical and weary 21st century. …
Alif is a young man, a “gray hat” hacker, selling his skills to provide cybersecurity to anyone who needs that protection from the government. He lives in an unnamed city-state in the Middle East, referred to throughout simply as the City. He’s nonideological; he’ll sell his services to Islamists, communists, anyone….
Journalist, author, genre historian (and fan, certainly, from the 1940s and on!) Bertil Falk is acclaimed for performing the “impossible” task of translating Finnegans Wake to Swedish, the modernist classic by James Joyce, under the title Finnegans likvaka….
The protagonist of the first short novel in this omnibus — which is in fact Eye of Cat — is William Blackhorse Singer, a Navajo born in the 20th century, and still alive, and fit and healthy, almost two centuries later….
One fine Monday morning, Peter Grant is summoned to Baker Street Station on the London Underground, to assess whether there was anything “odd,” i.e., involving magic, about the death of a young man on the tracks….
…If you’re not a fan, then there’s a real chance you have no idea how much range animé encompasses. And I’m not even talking about the entire range of kid shows, sit-coms and drama. (I’m aware there may be limits to your tolerance. I’m talking about the range within SF/F. Let’s consider just three examples….
While I subscribe to the practice that, as a rule, reviews and review-like write-ups, if not intended as a piece of critical/criticism, should stick to books the reviewer feels are worth the readers reading, sometimes (I) want to, like Jerry Pournelle’s “We makes these mistakes and do this stuff so you dont have to” techno-wrangling Chaos Manor columns, give a maybe-not-your-cup-of-paint-remover head’s-up. This is one of those….
It’s been 30 years since the passing of my friend Roger Weddall. I doubt very many of you reading this had ever met him and I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if most of you haven’t even heard of him. Thirty years is a long time and the demographics of fandom has changed a lot. So let me tell you a little bit about him….
I expect a lot of File 770’s readers watched, as we did, as the Orion capsule returned to Terra. I’m older than some of you, and it’s been decades since I watched a capsule re-entry and landing in the ocean. What had me in tears is that finally, after fifty years, we’re planning to go back… and stay….
Poul Anderson began writing his own “future history” in the 1950s, with its starting point being that there would be a limited nuclear war at some point in the 1950s. From that point would develop a secret effort to build a new social structure that could permanently prevent war….
…As with Avatar, Avatar: The Way of Water is a visual feast. Unlike the first film, there aren’t long sweeping pans lingering over beautiful, otherworldly vistas. The “beautiful” and the “otherworldly” are still there, but we’re seeing them incorporated into the action and storytelling….
… When I was growing up, children like myself were taught, no, more like indoctrinated, to think the United States was the BEST place to grow up, that our country was ALWAYS in the right and that our institutions were, for the most part, unassailable and impervious to criticism from anyone, especially foreigners.
I grew up in Ohio in the 1960’s and despite what I was being taught in a parochial Catholic grade school (at great expense, I might add, by my hard-working parents), certain things I was experiencing did not add up. News of the violence and casualties during the Vietnam War was inescapable. I remember watching the evening network news broadcasts and being horrified by the number of people (on all sides of the conflict) being wounded or killed on a daily basis.
As the years went on, it became harder to reconcile all of the violence, terrorism, public assassinations and the racism I was experiencing with the education I was receiving. The Pentagon Papers and the Watergate break-ins coincided with my high school years and the beginnings of my political awakening.
When I look back on those formative days of my life, I see myself as a small child, set out upon a sea of prejudice and whiteness, in a boat of hetero-normaltity, destination unknown….
… After I introduced myself to Mr. Weir and Mr. Bell, I said, “You and I have something in common.”
“Oh really? What’s that?”
“You and I are the only 2022 Hugo Award nominees within a hundred-mile radius of this bookstore.” (I stated that because I know that our fellow nominee, Jason Sanford, lives in Columbus, Ohio, hence the reference to the mileage.)…
Despite some very harsh comments from Dmitry Rogozin, the director general of Roscosmos, threatening that “If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe?” spacefarers seem to have a different perspective and understanding of the importance of international cooperation, respect and solidarity. This appears to have been demonstrated today when three cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station….
Forty-five years ago or thereabouts, on February 26, 1977, the first ‘prog’ of 2000AD was released by IPC magazines. The second issue dated March 5 a week later saw the debut of Judge Dredd. Since then, Rogue Trooper, Nemesis the Warlock, Halo Jones, Sláine, Judge Anderson, Strontium Dog, Roxy and Skizz, The ABC Warriors, Bad Company and Proteus Vex are just some of the characters and stories that have emanated from the comic that was started by Pat Mills and John Wagner. Some have gone on to be in computer games, especially as the comic was purchased by Rebellion developments in 2000, and Judge Dredd has been brought to the silver screen twice.
Addictive and enjoyable stories of the fantastic, written and drawn by some of the greatest comic creators of the latter part of the 20th century, they often related to the current, utilizing Science Fiction to obscure issues about violence or subversiveness, but reflecting metaphorically about the now of the time….
Traditionally, the start of a new year is a time when film critics begin assembling their lists of the best films, actors, writers, composers, and directors of the past year. What follows, then, while honoring that long-held tradition, is a comprehensive compilation and deeply personal look at the finest film scores of the past nearly one hundred years….
The frenzy of joyous controversy swirling over director Adam McKay’s new film Don’t Look Up has stirred a healthy, if frenetic debate over the meaning and symbology of this bonkers dramedy. On its surface a cautionary satire about the impending destruction of the planet, Don’t Look Up is a deceptively simplistic tale of moronic leadership refusing to accept a grim, unpleasant reality smacking it in its face.
What follows is truly one of the most personally heartfelt, poignant, and heartbreaking remembrances that I’ve ever felt compelled to write.
Veronica Carlson was a dear, close, cherished friend for over thirty years. I learned just now that this dear sweet soul passed away today. I am shocked and saddened beyond words. May God rest her beautiful soul.
After interviewing William Shatner for the British magazine L’Incroyable Cinema during the torrid Summer of 1969 at “The Playhouse In The Park,” just outside of Philadelphia, while Star Trek was still in the final days of its original network run on NBC, my old friend Allan Asherman, who joined my brother Erwin and I for this once-in-a-lifetime meeting with Captain James Tiberius Kirk, astutely commented that I had now met and befriended all three of our legendary boyhood “Captains,” which included Jim Kirk (William Shatner), Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers (Larry “Buster” Crabbe), and Buzz Corry (Edward Kemmer), Commander of the Space Patrol….
… The first of the most important music modernists, however, in the post war era and “Silver Age” of film composers was Elmer Bernstein who would, had he lived, be turning one hundred years old on April 4th, 2022. Although he would subsequently prove himself as able as classic “Golden Age” composers of writing traditional big screen symphonic scores, with his gloriously triumphant music for Cecil B De Mille’s 1956 extravaganza, The Ten Commandments….
… She was just four days into her maiden voyage from Southhampton to New York City when this “Unsinkable” vessel met disaster and finality, sailing into history, unspeakable tragedy, and maritime immortality. May God Rest Her Eternal Soul … the souls of the men, women, and children who sailed and perished during those nightmarish hours, and to all those who go courageously “Down to The Sea in Ships.” This horrifying remembrance remains among the most profoundly significant of my own seventy-six years….
… It is true that Seth MacFarlane, the veteran satirist who both created and stars in the science fiction series, originally envisioned [The Orville] as a semi-comedic tribute to Gene Roddenberry’s venerable Star Trek. However, the show grew more dramatic in its second season on Fox, while it became obvious that MacFarlane wished to grow outside the satirical box and expand his dimensional horizons and ambitions….
… I was born in the closing weeks of 1945, and grasped at my tentative surroundings with uncertain hands. It wasn’t until 1950 when I was four years old that my father purchased a strange magical box that would transform and define my life. The box sat in our living room and waited to come alive. Three letters seemed to identify its persona and bring definition to its existence. Its name appeared to be RCA, and its identity was known as television….
He was a kindly, gentle soul who lived among us for a seeming eternity. But even eternity is finite. He was justifiably numbered among the most influential writers of the twentieth century. Among the limitless vistas of science fiction and fantasy he was, perhaps, second only in literary significance to H.G. Wells who briefly shared the last century with him. Ray Bradbury was, above all else, the poet laureate of speculative fiction….
On June 11, 1982, America and the world received the joyous gift of one of the screen’s most beloved fantasy film classics and, during that memorable Summer, a young aspiring television film critic reviewed a new film from director Steven Spielberg called E.T….
…Before I realized it, tables and chairs were being moved and I felt the hands of paramedics lifting me to the floor of the restaurant. Les was attempting to perform CPR on me, and I was drifting off into unconciousness. I awoke to find myself in an ambulance with assorted paramedics pounding my chest, while attempting to verbally communicate with me. I was aware of their presence, but found myself unable to speak….
After nearly dying a little more than a decade ago during and just after major open heart surgery, I fulfilled one of the major dreams of my life…meeting the man who would become my last living life long hero. I’d adored him as far back as 1959 when first hearing the dramatic strains of the theme from Checkmate on CBS Television. That feeling solidified a year later in 1960 with the rich, sweet strains of ABC Television’s Alcoa Premiere, hosted by Fred Astaire, followed by Wide Country on NBC….
…When Jack Warner was casting the film version of the smash hit, he considered performers such as Cary Grant, James Cagney, or Frank Sinatra for the lead. Meredith Willson, the show’s composer, however, demanded that Robert Preston star in the movie version of his play, or he’d withdraw the contracts and licensing. The film version of The Music Man, produced for Warner Brothers, and starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, opened to rave reviews on movie screens across the country in 1962. Robert Preston, like Rex Harrison in Lerner and Lowe’s My Fair Lady, had proven that older, seasoned film stars could propel both Broadway and big screen musicals to enormous artistic success….
On the evening of May 14, 1998, following the airing over NBC Television of the series finale of Seinfeld, the world and I received the terrible news of the passing of the most beloved entertainer of the twentieth century. It has been twenty-four years since he left this mortal realm, but the joy, the music, and the memories are as fresh and as vital today as when they were born….
Very exciting news. The long awaited CD soundtrack release of 12 O’Clock High is now available for purchase through La-La Land Records and is a major restoration of precious original tracks from Quinn Martin’s beloved television series….
That terrible day in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 remains one of the most significantly traumatic days of my life. I was just seventeen years old. I was nearing the end of my high school classes at Northeast High School in Philadelphia when word started spreading through the hallways and corridors that JFK had been shot. I listened in disbelief, praying that it wasn’t true … but it was….
I recently watched a somber new three part documentary by film maker Ken Burns that is among the most sobering, heartbreaking, and horrifying indictments of humanity that I have ever encountered. It was extremely difficult to watch but, as an American Jew, I remain struck by the similarities between the rise in Fascism in the early nineteen thirties, leading to the beginnings of Nazism in Germany, and the attempted decimation of the Jewish people in Europe and throughout the world, with the repellant echoes of both racial and religious intolerance, and the mounting hatred and suspicion of the Jewish communities and population residing presently in my own country of birth, these United States….
I’ve read with interest some of the recent discussions concerning the measure of Hugo Friedhofer’s importance as a composer, and it set my memory sailing back to another time in a musical galaxy long ago and far away. I have always considered Maestro Friedhofer among the most important, if underrated, composers of Hollywood’s golden era….
…Steven Spielberg’s reverent semi-autobiographical story of youthful dreams and aspirations is, for me, the finest, most emotionally enriching film of the year, filled with photographic memories, and indelible recollections shared both by myself and by the film maker….
My friend Adam Spector tells me that when Ernest Lehman was asked to write the script for North by Northwest, he tried to turn out the most “Hotchcocky” script he could, with all of Hitchcock’s obsessions in one great motion picture.
Moonfall is the most “Emmerichian” film Roland Emmerich is made. Like his earlier films, it has flatulent melodrama interlaced with completely daft science. But everything here is much more intense than his earlier work. But the only sense of wonder you’ll get from this film is wondering why the script got greenlit….
… Having a long career in Hollywood is a lot harder than in other forms of publishing; you’ve got to have the relentless drive to pursue your vision and keep making sales. To an outsider, what is astonishing about J. Michael Straczynski’s career is that it has had a third act and may well be in the middle of a fourth. His career could have faded after Babylon 5. The roars that greeted him at the 1996 Los Angeles Worldcon (where, it seemed, every conversation had to include the words, “Where’s JMS?”) would have faded and he could have scratched out a living signing autographs at media conventions….
When I read in the Financial Times about how Britain’s National Theatre was adapting Sir Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage, the first volume of his Book of Dust trilogy, I told myself, “That’s a play for me! I’ll just fly over to London and see it! OGH is made of money, and he’ll happily pay my expenses!”
Fortunately, I didn’t have to go to London, because the theatre came to me, with a screening of the National Theatre Live production playing at the American Film Institute. So, I spent a pleasant Saturday afternoon seeing it….
… Stories matter more in the theatre than in film because far more of a play is in our imagination than in a film. Stripped of CGI and rewrites by multiple people, what plays offer at their best is one person’s offering us something where, if it works, we tell ourselves, “Yes, that was a good evening in the theatre,” and if it doesn’t, we gnash our teeth and feel miserable until we get home…
As Anton Ego told us in Ratatouille, the goal of a critic today is to be the first person to offer praise to a rising artist. It’s not the tenth novel that deserves our attention but the first or second. In the theatre, the people who need the most attention are the ones who are being established, not the ones that build on earlier successes.
So I’m happy to report that Matthew Aldwin McGee, author, star, and chief puppeteer of Under the Sea with Dredgie McGee is a talented guy who has a great deal of potential. You should be watching him….
I once read an article about a guy who was determined to live life in 1912. He lived in a shack in the woods, bought a lot of old clothes, a Victrola, and a slew of old books and magazines. I don’t remember how he made a living, but the article made clear that he was happy….
By Borys Sydiuk: Friends, on behalf of the Ukrainian Fandom I would like to thank everyone who supports us at this time.
We have been hurt by those who bring politics to Worldcon, who use their platform to hate. Using any platform is inappropriate, using Worldcon is inconceivable.
The support for Ukraine is invaluable, and luckily the entire civilized World stands for Ukraine against what we see as global evil Putin’s Russian Federation incarnates.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom represents one of the most progressive parts of humanity, a passion that welcomes all, and we have standards, codes of conduct and live to learn. Fandom stands not only for celebration of imagination, thought and reflection, commentary and critique but through our organizations, a democratic, welcome inclusive approach.
Fans cherish human rights.
World Science Fiction Conventions, Worldcon, although initially an American event, has seen fans working to make it a true international conference and festival in the 21st century.
Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, China welcome the Worldcon for the first time. Uganda, Egypt, Israel and other countries are seeking the same. They will all be challenged by voters on their strength of human rights, and safety of all fans.
We hope Chinese fans have a wonderful Worldcon next year.
I dreamt to bring international Science Fiction events to Ukraine, and took part in the success team to bring European Science Fiction Convention, Eurocon, to Kyiv, twice – in 2006 and 2013. But you hardly know that Kyiv fandom was crazy enough to dream about Worldcon in Kyiv back in 1990.
We even formed a bid committee and were going to present our bid for Worldcon in Orlando in 1992. We failed to announce our bid for some reason. Well, that was a nice try and wonderful dream. But the dream is not over.
The war will end sooner or later and peace will return to Ukraine, and someday we will host a Worldcon, trust me, it will be the greatest experience you will ever have.
Unfortunately, we have not come to Chicon 8 in person, and we really miss this wonderful event. We are members, we are with you, you are with us.
We have taken an advert in the souvenir book, reminding everyone of our plight. Thank you to those who helped.
We asked fans to distribute ribbons. They are yellow ones and blue ones.
Today we have two motions, resolutions in front of the WSFS business meetings. Thank you for allowing there be a process, which has welcomed us, even those who disagree would allow us to speak.
We have two resolutions, non binding sentiments that are recorded.
Short Title: Solidarity with Ukraine
Resolved, that it is the spirit of the Business Meeting to offer solidarity with Ukrainian Fans, recognizing that Ukraine has been invaded by fascists. We encourage all to boycott those who would platform or champion the illegal invasion. The Business Meeting looks forward to a return of freedom and fandom to Ukraine.
Ukraine is an ancient and wonderful land. Ukrainians are kind and welcoming people. Ukraine is a young country. Our fandom is growing, our love of literature, science fiction and space fight strong, our conventions pleasant. We ask for solidarity.
Fans who allow the platform or champion of the illegal invasion, should know that this is not right. Fandom is about friendship. Not a space for fascists to gloat or goad. We have asked for a clear message, it supports a civilized and democratic approach to this matter.
Short Title: Sergey Lukianenko
Resolved, that it is the spirit of the Business Meeting to show solidarity with Ukrainian fans and to condemn Worldcon 2023’s Guest of Honour, Sergey Lukianenko’s appalling utterances, calling Ukrainians Nazis and encouraging an illegal invasion of Ukraine. This is utterly unacceptable. Lukianenko should neither be platformed nor celebrated, and we ask the Chengdu 2023 committee, fans and members to refuse Sergei Lukianenko as your guest. it is shameful that he is honored by Worldcon.
We hope that Chinese Fans have a wonderful Worldcon in Chengdu.
We are sad that we are forced to use this democratic process, to seek support against those who would politicize Worldcon, those who would champion the invasion of Ukraine, who in any other year would be in breach of codes of conduct.
One of the most ugly supporters of the idea to demolish Ukraine and massacre Ukrainians is Sergei Lukianenko, a leading SF young adult author in Russia. He was born in Kazakhstan, his literary success made him the most influential SF writer in ex-USSR fandom. He always wanted the USSR back, he always hated independent Ukraine. He declares there is no such a country Ukraine and no such a nation Ukrainians. Ukraine and Ukrainians should be liquidated.
That a Worldcon Guest of Honor says such a thing is reprehensible.
Why is no action taken, why no code of conduct, why does Worldcon bestow honor on a human who would wish such horror on others, is it more politics.
Ukraine, a land that suffered from Nazism, whose current legitimate president is Jewish is accused to be a Nazi country by the Worldcon Guest of Honor.
We have asked for the World Science Fiction society to speak with us, to say that this is shameful, and wrong and to ask, not tell, but ask politely, democratically and state that when a Guest of Honor goes wrong, fans, members and committee take responsibility and refuse them.
No one wishes this badness on the Chengdu committee, yet we must clearly show that this behaviour is unacceptable and especially in this Guest of Honor.
Silence is not acceptable. Thank you for your support.
After the business meeting we will do what fans do, and enjoy a sociable moment, a toast to Ukraine.
We are grateful to Tammy Coxen for hosting her Tammy’s Tastings (*).
We are grateful to Phoenix for their artistic representation of the canine space endeavours, helping to raise funds through art for Ukrainian charity of merit.
We appreciate that James Bacon, Erin Underwood, Chris Garcia, Kelly Buehler, Frank Kalisz, Mike Glyer, Ian Stockdale, Dave Farmer, and Chuck Serface have cosigned the resolutions. Thank you to them.
Many others support us. Thank you.
As fans, we can dream of welcoming you all to our sovereign nation, to host you all here in better times here, we hope still hope for a Worodcon here and we wish you a wonderful time in Chicago.
We are virtually with you as you are with us. We are all human beings standing against the modern Mordor called Russia by mistake. And we will definitely win.
(1) GAIMAN AND DORAN. The Guardian has made the full video of the livestream event with Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran available online now, introducing their new graphic novel Chivalry from Dark Horse Comics. In comic shops now, in bookstores next week.
(2) AS TIME GOES BY. Rachel Birenbaum, author of a time travel novel, discusses why time travel stories remain an important part of sf. “On Time Travel and Metafiction” at CrimeReads.
…Every iteration begins with rules. The author has to create their universe and dictate how long time travel lasts, how it’s done, how it might affect the protagonist physically, and more. Most tales send people hurtling forwards or backwards with orders not to affect anything but their target. While all the rules are different, the reason behind time travel is almost always the same: regret….
Looking to get in shape but need some extra motivation? A new gamified exercise program challenges players to log workouts in the real world as they virtually follow The Lord of the Rings characters Frodo and Sam from The Shire to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.
The Conqueror Virtual Challenges has teamed up with Warner Bros. for a new series of five virtual challenges based on The Lord of the Rings movies. Anyone can take part in exercises of varying lengths, with the ultimate goal of making it all the way to Mordor to destroy the ring.
The Conqueror Challenges app has been updated with a Middle-earth map that has five challenges to unlock: The Shire, The Fellowship, Mines of Moria, The Eye of Sauron, and the Mordor. Participants can run, cycle, swim, or walk to reach the set distance, and each stop has stories and postcards detailing Frodo and Sam’s journey. The distances are listed below….
“I think I can confidently say I’m done showrunning Doctor Who,” Steven Moffat (who was in charge of Doctor Who from 2010 to 2017) told RadioTimes.com at the Radio Times Covers Party.
“Everyone can stop worrying. I did it for six seasons on the trot. And I cannot imagine going back into doing that. I cannot. I simply cannot picture it.”
He added: “I loved the show. I don’t want anyone to think I didn’t love the show. And I loved every second I spent on it, although some of them were hellish. But I’ve done that. I have done it and I did it a lot.
“So no offence and no disrespect and certainly no disdaining of wonderful memories. But no, I will not be showrunning Doctor Who again.”
(5) AN APPEAL TO AUTHORS.[Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Russia has been using SF/F fiction for a few years now to promote propaganda against Ukraine.
Even back in 2006 at the Eurocon in Ukraine it was possible to see how Russian publishing dominated over Ukrainian in that country. However, since then Russian propaganda against Ukraine has appeared in fiction including fantasy.
For example Eduard Limonov in Kyiv Kaput has written an alternate universe history of Ukraine that ends up predicting events in the future.
Chytomo – the Ukrainian publishing news site – has created a pie chart of Russian publishers and the number of such propaganda books they publish.
Western writers may wish to note — once all this ghastly business is over — who these publishers are and avoid them translating western works. The chart is here.
Since 2009, Russia has been actively publishing books on the war between Russia and Ukraine in the «fantasy» genre, as well as «historical» and nonfiction literature about the «collapse of the Ukraine project» and mocking the independence of the «non-existent» Ukrainian people, «artificial» Ukrainian language.
These books can be easily found on the Internet for purchase and in services for open access books. In addition, children’s books began to offer more and more poems about the «great Russian army» that was coming to free everyone.
The import of books from Russia was limited in 2017 due to their aggressive content. Only books with anti-Ukrainian printed materials were restricted, such as publications aimed at eliminating Ukraine’s independence, promoting violence, inciting ethnic, racial, religious animosity, carrying out terrorist attacks, and violating human rights and freedoms. The State Committee of television and radio broadcasting of Ukraine was entrusted with the functions of examination and issuance of permits.
The State Committee of television and radio broadcasting of Ukraine processed more than 45,000 applications during this period: issued 39,416 permits to import publishing products, 5,275 refusals and revoked 2,227 previously issued permits.
Among the publications not allowed on the territory of Ukraine, many publications belong to authors who have been included in the lists of persons who pose a threat to national security — in particular, Zakhar Prilepin, Alexander Dugin and Alexander Tamonikov. The latter is «famous» because the list of anti-Ukrainian publications includes 20 of his works at once, not just with propaganda elements, but those whose sole purpose is to incite hatred against Ukraine and Ukrainians.
(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1978 — [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Much to my surprise, forty-four years ago a series called Quark aired as mid-season replacement on NBC. Why surprises me is that it only lasted eight episodes. I swear I remember it lasting longer than that.
It was created by Buck Henry, co-creator of Get Smart. It was co-produced by David Gerber who had been responsible for the series version of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (try not to hold that against him) and Mace Neufield who after being a talent agent for such acts as The Captain and Tennille became responsible for The Omen as the producer.
The cast was Richard Benjamin, Tim Thomerson Richard Kelton Tricia Barnstable, Cyb Barnstable, Conrad Janis, Alan Caillou and Bobby Porter. The Barnstable twins got a lot of press, mostly for the fact that they didn’t wear much and really, really could not act. They previously appeared as the Doublemint Twins often with identical canines. I kid you not.
Ok, so how is the reception? Oh you have to ask? Seriously? One reviewer summed it up this way: “Only lasting eight episodes, it is eight episodes too many. The idea of spoofing science fiction is a given and there are only a handful that get it right, but this is a spectacularly awful show.” And another said succinctly that “A viewer seeking something a little different may find the series entertaining, but low expectations are a must.”
It has no rating at Rotten Tomatoes. It might be streaming on Crackle and Philo, two services that I’ve never heard of.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 7, 1909 — Ray Quigley. Here solely for the three covers that he did for Weird Tales in the Forties. He didn’t do a lot of pulp work that I can find but these three are amazing. He did the December 1938 cover with the Dracula like figure here, the September 1940 cover with the nightmarish skull-faced Bombers here, and finally, the May 1942 cover with the really scary living ship here. The latter issue had Henry Kuttner, Robert Bloch and Dorothy Quick listed on the cover! (Died 1998.)
Born April 7, 1915 — Henry Kuttner. While he was working for the d’Orsay agency, he found Leigh Brackett’s early manuscripts in the slush pile; it was under his guidance that she sold her first story to Campbell at Astounding Stories. His own work was done in close collaboration with C. L. Moore, his wife, and much of they would publish was under pseudonyms. During the Forties, he also contributed numerous scripts to the Green Lantern series. He’s won two Retro Hugos, the first at Worldcon 76 (2018) for “The Twonky” short story, the second at Dublin 2019 for “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”. (Died 1958.)
Born April 7, 1928 — James White. Certainly the Sector General series which ran to twelve books and ran over thirty years of publication was his best known work. I’ve no idea how many or even which ones that I read but I’m certain that it was quite a few as I really, really loved this series. I’m not sure what else by him I’ve read but I’m equally sure there were other novels down the years. He was a 1996 Worldcon guest of honor at L.A.con III. It appears that only a handful of his novels are available from the usual suspects. (Died 1999.)
Born April 7, 1939 — Francis Ford Coppola, 83. Director / Writer / Producer. THX 1138 was produced by him and directed by George Lucas in his feature film directorial debut in 1971. Saw it late at night after some serious drug ingestion with a redhead who was seriously into Morrison — strange experience that was. Other genre works of his include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a episode of Faerie Tale Theatre entitled “Rip Van Winkle”, Twixt (a horror film that I’m betting almost no one here has heard of), Captain EO which featured Michael Jackson, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers2.
Born April 7, 1945 — Susan Petrey. Another who died far, far too young. Only three of her stories were published during her lifetime. More of her work appeared in the Gifts of Blood collection published after her death. She was nominated, also posthumously, for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and her story ”Spidersong” was nominated for the Hugo Award at Denvention Two. The Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund annually awards scholarships to both the Clarion & Clarion West workshops and also supports an instructor at Clarion West as a Petrey Fellow. (Died 1980.)
Born April 7, 1946 — Stan Winston. He’s best known for his work in Aliens, the Terminator franchise, the first three Jurassic Park films, the first two Predator films, Batman Returns and Iron Man. (He also did the Inspector Gadget film which I still haven’t seem.) He was unusual in having expertise in makeup, puppets and practical effects, and was just starting to get in digital effects as well upon the time of his passing. I think we sum up his talent by noting that his four Oscars include a pair he won for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup for his work on Terminator 2: Judgment Day. (Died 2008.)
Born April 7, 1951 — Yvonne Gilbert, 71. Though best remembered for her controversial cover design of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s 1983 single “Relax”, she did a number of great genre covers including Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea for Bantam in 1991 and Beagle’s A Dance for Emiliafor Roc in 2000. (CE)
…Thus, while Jemisin has become a leading figure, her influence and prestige have come through two decades of unrelenting commitment to sophisticated world-building, culturally rich, character-driven literary prose, and a remarkable capacity for experimental writing. This concentration of character-voice combined with a disciplined approach to speculative world-building appears in some of Jemisin’s best writing in How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?
The true Jemisin fan is going to be particularly thrilled to participate in some of her short story experiments that later become novels or full series. “The Narcomancer” has a tinge of a melancholy sweetness, a story of conscience and vocational risk that becomes part of the Dreamblood series (which I haven’t read yet). “Stone Hunger” was exciting for me to read, for I was privileged to see how Jemisin began to conceptualize the extremely complex character make-up of The Broken Earth Trilogy–and how deeply implicated the characters are in that universe with the speculative world itself. And “The City Born Great” has all the terrifying brilliance and bracing goodness of The City We Became–an experiment in allegorical fiction that I have argued (here and here) is more successful in this short story than in the full novel….
Three Liaden Universe® titles to be released by Baen in 2023 Scout’s Progress will be reissued in a new mass market/ebook edition March 2023 Salvage Right* will be published in Summer 2023 Trade Lanes** will be published in Fall 2023
Liaden Universe® Constellations audiobook editions Tantor Media will be releasing the first four Liaden Universe® Constellations, starting in June. Go to this link, and click on the individual titles to preorder.
Trade Lanes audiobook edition We are in contact with our publisher and hope to have news regarding the Trade Lanes audiobook edition soon. As soon as we have it, you’ll have it. Promise
_________________ *Salvage Right is set on Tinsori Light after the events described in Neogenesis. The cast of characters includes, but is not limited to: Jen Sin yos’Phelium, Seignur Veeoni, Tocohl Lorlin, Lorith, Tolly Jones, Hazenthull nor’Phelium, Theo Waitley
**Fair Trade is the third book following the adventures of Jethri Gobelyn ven’Deelin, who made his first, admittedly awkward, bow in Balance of Trade; his second, somewhat more nuanced, in Trade Secret.
(10) ON STAGE AT CALTECH. A musical adaptation of Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon will be performed by Theater Arts at Caltech (TACIT) in Pasadena’s Ramo Auditorium on six times next week – see full details at the link.
From the Earth to the Moon
From the writers of the record-breaking Caltech musical Boldly Go! comes a fresh new science fiction musical based on the Jules Verne classic written in 1865. Gauntlets are thrown, headlines made, duels waged, and alliances put to the test in this dynamic imagining of spaceflight in the late nineteenth century directed by Brian Brophy.
…TACIT, as Theater Arts at Caltech is familiarly known, typically prepares and performs two or three plays each academic year. Recent productions include She Kills Monsters, Avenue Q,Rent, Company and many original projects.
Members of the Caltech community have the opportunity to learn all aspects of the theatrical craft—acting, stage crew, set construction, wardrobe, light and sound operation, properties, house management, and publicity—and to work with professionals in areas of theater design: set, light, sound, costume, and music. This is a hands-on approach, not classroom theory. It also provides an appreciation of the theatrical literature and exposure to the literature of many languages (in translation).
When he asked for “a teapot in the shape of an avocado,” typing those words into a largely empty computer screen, the system created 10 distinct images of a dark green avocado teapot, some with pits and some without. “DALL-E is good at avocados,” Mr. Nichol said….
A collaboration of hundreds of scientists have precisely measured the mass of the W boson, an elementary particle responsible for the weak nuclear force. The researchers found, to their surprise, that the boson is more massive than predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics, the working theory that describes several of the fundamental forces in the universe….
Sir David will review the discoveries, many that will be getting their first public viewing.
Along with that leg, there are fish that breathed in impact debris as it rained down from the sky.
We see a fossil turtle that was skewered by a wooden stake; the remains of small mammals and the burrows they made; skin from a horned triceratops; the embryo of a flying pterosaur inside its egg; and what appears to be a fragment from the asteroid impactor itself….
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Ryan George, in “Morbius Pitch Meeting,” a spoiler-filled episode, says that Dr. Michael Morbius drinks vampire bat blood which causes him to bulk up “like a Calvin Klein underwear model.” But the producer tells the screenwriter to add many more references to Spider-Man, Vulture, and other Marvel characters because “we’re in the MCU now” at Sony.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cleo Campion, Daniel Dern, Borys Sydiuk, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]
Ukranian fan Borys Sydiuk has released the text of a letter to the European Science Fiction Society (ESFS) board asking for an emergency general meeting to be run online “to review the questions about formal[ly] excluding Russia and Belarus from the list of ESFS members until the war is over taking into consideration the principle of zero-tolerance of any aggression [that] European nations follow.”
ESFS, founded in 1972, is an international organization of fans and professionals that promotes sff, administers the ESFS Awards, and determines the site of the Eurocon.
The Ukranian sff community in its letter also demands that ESFS Awards nominations submitted by Russia and Belarus be investigated to determine whether any of their nominees support the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Those who do must be disqualified. Then, any remaining nominees from Russia and Belarus may not be identified with those countries but must be identified as nominees of ESFS or another sponsoring nation, following the Olympic Games’ example for handling entrants from banned countries.
If an emergency meeting cannot be held, the letter calls for these points to be discussed at the first session of the ESFS meeting at Eurocon 2022, which will be held next week concurrently with LuxCon from April 7-10 in Dudelange, Luxembourg.
If the ESFS does not adopt these proposals, the Ukrainian sff community will officially quit ESFS, withdraw its 2022 ESFS Awards nominations, and not take part in any further ESFS activities until the war is over.
The complete text of the letter follows. (The English rendering may have been produced by Google Translate.)
For immediate release
To ESFS board
The algorithm we expected from the board and GM of ESFS
1. Call an EGM (emergency general meeting to be run online) to review the questions about formal excluding Russia and Belarus from the list of ESFS members until the war is over taking into consideration the principle of zero-tolerance of any aggression European nations follow.
2. Nominations accepted from Russia and Belarus to be subject to investigation if any of the nominees supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If so it should lead to immediate disqualification of such nominees.
3. Accepted and non-disqualified nominations should go under ESFS nominations or a sponsoring country, not Russia or Belarus using Olympic principle – Olympic flag, sponsoring country flag, not embargoed country flag.
4. These should be voted during the EGM.
5. If EGM is not possible, pp 1 to 4 should be discussed at the first at the scheduled first ESFS General business meeting in Luxembourg.
6. In the case Russia and Belarus remain in ESFS member list and/or Russian and Belarusian nominations will go as Russian and Belarusian, not under ESFS or a sponsoring country title, after EGM or the first General business meeting in Luxembourg, Ukraine officially quits ESFS and withdraws all Ukrainian nominations for ESFS 2022 Awards. In this case Ukrainian delegates or their proxy representatives will not take part in the second business meeting, ESFS Award voting and any further ESFS activities until the war is over.
(1) TWIGGING TO IT. The Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid is running a community craft project at Reclamation, the 2022 Eastercon. “The Fantastic Tree of Life”. Full plan with ideas about various types of crafts and how to get them to the team can be found at the link. Reclamation 2022 is April 15-18.
The Tree of Life is a symbol found in many cultures and religions around the world. Showing variously the connection between Earth and Sky, the connection between all living things or the cycle of the seasons, there can be many different ways it is depicted. What would the tree look like if it were created by a bunch of SFF fans?
Our goal is to create a wall-hanging of a Tree of Life with all kinds of fantastic lifeforms on it. We will prepare a background cloth with the basic elements on it – earth/grass and sky and the outline of a tree. One of the defining features of the type of Tree of Life we’re envisioning is that it shows all kinds of different leaves, flowers and fruits on the same tree at the same time, often with added animals as well. So, we’re asking you to create something SFF-inspired for the tree – with sources as varied as fairy-tales and space opera, and to be honest, life on this here planet is often strange enough to qualify as well. I’m envisioning something highly stylized and drawing on naive and medieval art rather than realism.
So, what exactly do we want, and what should it be created from? We’re taking the name of Reclamation seriously and are going to reclaim and reuse all the bits and pieces lying around from previous projects – leftover yarn, felt and leather scraps, pretty paper. For example, I’ve been collecting gift wrapping paper that I found too pretty to throw out, as well as a bunch of small pieces that were left over from when I was wrapping the gifts. Those make great sources for origami and other paper crafts!
(2) KICK CANCER’S BUTT. Author John Barnes’ wife has pancreatic cancer and the family needs financial help. A GoFundMe has been launched.
Whether you’ve worked with her as a teacher or tutor, collaborated with her as an artist, or simply known her as a neighbor or friend, there’s one thing everyone notices about Diane Talbot – she’s dedicated her life to helping others. Now, let’s all step up to help her!
(3) FALLING OFF THE EDGE? [Item by Cora Buhlert.] The Hugo Book Club Blog is delving into the potential issue with the Hugo Award’s 25 percent rule and how some categories are in danger of not being awarded at all, because not enough people vote in them: “The 25 per cent solution”. They suggest how the rule could be revised.
… This rule also comes from a time in which there was far more parity between the number of votes in various categories. In 1980 (the first year that we have full voting statistics on the Hugos for), the category which received the fewest votes was Best Fan Writer. In that year, 884 out of 1,788 Hugo voters voted for Fan Writer, giving that category a participation rate of 49 per cent.
Four decades later, the number of people voting in the Fan Writer category has not substantially changed, but the numbers voting in the prose fiction categories has drastically increased. Thus, the percentage of voters engaged with this category has decreased. This means that these Hugo Award categories are being endangered not due to declining interest in those categories when counted by number of voters, but rather by the enthusiasm and growth of other categories.
Fundamentally, the decision about whether or not the Best Editor – Long Form award is worth running should not be contingent on how many people voted in the Best Dramatic Presentation category….
(4) BORYS IN A BIT OF FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Ukranian fan Borys Sydiuk (immediate family and couple of elderly dependents) is in a bit of financial difficulty. He is in Kyiv but normal means of earning a living have stopped because some idiot keeps chucking shells and missiles at the city.
If anyone wishes to send him a few quid then Borys Sydiuk’s PayPal is [email protected] Small amounts gratefully received. This is not for a huge medical bill or some grand project, but some cash for living basics. (The economy in Ukraine has gone very peculiar.)
(5) SAYING FOR THE DAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie,] “Science Fiction can only be created by a free mind.” Igor Likhovoi, Ukraine’ s Minister for Culture & Tourism in 2006 at the 2006 Eurocon.
(6) RATHBONE FOLIO PRIZE. The Rathbones Folio Prize 2022 winner is a non-genre novel by Irish novelist Colm Tóibín, The Magician (Viking), a “haunting, intimate portrait of the exiled German Nobel winner Thomas Mann.” He will receive a £30,000 prize,
(7) RICHARD LABONTÉ(1949-2022). Canadian fan, writer and editor Richard Labonté died March 20.
In 1967 he started ACUSFOOS, A Carleton University Speculative Fiction Organization, Of Sorts. He was the one who introduced Susan Wood to fandom as she later recalled: “Too late, I realized that that shy, mild-mannered, clean-shaven, white-shirted young gentleman in the corner of our newspaper office, who did all the work and never spoke to anyone, was the infamous Richard Labonte, Secret Master of Canadian Fandom. I was enslaved…” He soon was part of the community around Susan and Mike Glicksohn’s Hugo-winning fanzine Energumen. He even was once a department head of the National Fantasy Fan Federation, in charge of Round Robins.
In later years Labonté became well-known professionally as the editor or co-editor of numerous anthologies of LGBT literature and won the Lambda Literary Award three times.
Daniel Lynn Alvarez paid tribute to him on Facebook.
(8) MEMORY LANE.
1976 – [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Forty-six years ago at MidAmeriCon where Ken Keller was the Chair and Robert A. Heinlein (pro) and George Barr (fan) were the Guests, A Boy And His Dog won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. (Also, a pre-release cut was shown at the 1974 Worldcon.)
It was directed by L.Q. Jones who also wrote the screenplay which was based on the novella by Harlan Ellison. A novella nominated for a Hugo at Heicon ’70 – a category won that year by “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones“.
The cast was Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Alvy Moore and Jason Robards. It’s a small ensemble but it fit the story.
So how was the reception for it at the time? Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times mostly liked it: “The movie’s about eccentrics (especially the dog, who turns out to be very eccentric), and Jones seems to have a feel for that: The movie doesn’t look or sound like most s-f tours of alternative futures. It’s got a unique . . . well, I was about to say charm, but the movie’s last scene doesn’t quite let me get away with that.”
The New York Times in an unsigned review (apparently no one wanted to take credit for the review) wasn’t as kind: “’A Boy and His Dog,’ a fantasy about the world after a future holocaust, is, more or less, a beginner’s movie. It has some good ideas and some terrible ones. The good ideas are marred by awkwardness; the terrible ideas are redeemed somewhat by being, at least, unpredictable.”
Despite costing only four hundred thousand to produce, it was a box office disaster. It has, not unsurprisingly, become a cult film. You can watch it on Amazon Prime and a lot of other streaming services as well. Though not quite a Meredith moment, it is available to purchase on Amazon and iTunes.
It has an excellent sixty-three percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 23, 1904 — H. Beam Piper. Was there ever a more fun writer to read? I am reasonably sure that the first thing I read and enjoyed by him was Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen followed by Little Fuzzy and related works which are as I said damn fun reading. Has anyone here read Scalzi’s Fuzzy novel? Not a Hugo to be had by Piper, amazingly, but Little Fuzzy was nominated at the first Discon when The Man in the High Castle won. (Died 1964.)
Born March 23, 1934 — Neil Barron. Certainly best known for Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction, actually still a damn fine read, which is unusual for this sort of material which can tend towards being rather dry. (It picked up a Hugo nomination at NolaCon II.) If memory thirty years on serves me right, his Fantasy Literature and Horror Literature guides were quite good too. He did win an International Horror Guild Award for Fantasy and Horror: A Critical and Historical Guide to Literature, Illustration, Film, TV, Radio, and the Internet . (Died 2010.)
Born March 23, 1937 — Carl Yoke, 85. One of those academics that I stumbled upon when I was looking for information on Zelazny. His 1979 study of him, Roger Zelazny, is quite excellent, as is his essay, “Roger Zelazny’s Bold New Mythologies” which is in Tom Staicar’s Critical Encounters II: Writers and Themes in Science Fiction. He also wrote “What a Piece of Work is a Man: Mechanical Gods in the Fiction of Roger Zelazny” which you’ll find in Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yoke does have two genre stories to his credit, they’re called The Michael Holland Stories.
Born March 23, 1947 — Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, 75. Though her only award was a Nebula for The Healer’s War, I remember her best for a three book series called The Songkiller Saga which was wonderful and the Acorna series that she did with Anne McCaffrey which they co-wrote all but two as the first two were written by McCaffrey and Margaret Ball. She wrote a tribute to McCaffrey, “The Dragon Lady’s Songs”, that appeared in Dragonwriter.
Born March 23, 1952 — Kim Stanley Robinson, 70. If the Mars trilogy was the only work that he’d written, he’d rank among the best genre writers ever. But then he went and wrote the outstanding Three Californias Trilogy. I won’t say I have liked everything he writes, the Science in the Capital series just didn’t appeal to me. His best one-off novels I think are without argument (ha!) The Years of Rice and Salt and New York 2140. I should note he has won myriad awards including the Hugo Award for Best Novel for the two in the Mars trilogy at ConAdian and LoneStarCon 2 (the first novel got nominated at ConFrancisco but did not win), BSFA Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award. And the Heinlein Society gave him their Robert A. Heinlein Award for his entire body of work!
Born March 23, 1958 — John Whitbourn, 64. Writer of a number novels and short stories focusing on an alternative history set in a Catholic universe. It reminds me a bit of Keith Robert’s Pavane but much more detailed. A Dangerous Energy in which Elizabeth I never ascends the throne leads off his series. If that’s not to your taste, Frankenstein’s Legion’s is a sheer delight of Steampunk riffing off Mary Shelley‘s tale. He’s available at the usual digital suspects.
Born March 23, 1959 — Maureen Kincaid Speller, 63. Former editor of Matrix, and former Administrator of the British Science Fiction Association. Senior Reviews Editor at Strange Horizons and Assistant Editor at Foundation. Also reviews for Interzone and Vector among others; a collection of her reviews appeared as And Another Thing … (2011, chapbook). Co-editor (with husband Paul Kincaid) of The Best of Vector Vo.1 (2015). Fanzines include Steam Engine Time (with Bruce Gillespie and Paul Kincaid) and Snufkin’s Bum. Founder of Acnestis apa. Four-times judge of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, has also served as a judge of the Otherwise Award (formerly known as the James Tiptree Jr. Award) and the Rotsler Award. TAFF delegate in 1998. Joint Fan Guest of Honour at Eastercon 1996 (Evolution) with Paul Kincaid. Winner of the Nova Award for Best Fanwriter 1998. [Birthday done by by Ziv Wities.]
Born March 23, 1977 — Joanna Page, 45. It’s not the longest of genre resumes but it’s an interesting one. First she’s Ann Crook in From Hell from the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. Next up is appearing in yet another version of The Lost World. (I think that there’s a legal contract requiring one be made every so often.) And finally she’s Queen Elizabeth I in The Day of The Doctor.
Between 1951 and 1954, EC Comics adapted 28 classic Ray Bradbury stories into comics form, scripted by Al Feldstein and interpreted and illustrated by all of EC’s top artists: Johnny Craig, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Will Elder, George Evans, Frank Frazetta, Graham Ingels, Jack Kamen, Bernard Krigstein, Joe Orlando, John Severin, Angelo Torres, Al Williamson, and Wallace Wood. This special companion collection to our EC Comics Library series features all 28 stories with stunning art reproduced in generously oversized coffee table dimensions!
… The Spine of Night is set in a world that seems to be going through an historical period roughly analogous to our late medieval/early Renaissance era of colonialism and discovery, when better armed conquistadors with better weapons and fewer scruples conquer the native occupants of a swampy land. However, the indigenous people, who go about mostly naked all the time, have magical blue flower power, in the literal shape of a botanical tech that shamanistic priestess Tzod (voiced by Lucy Lawless) can control with her mind and do cool stuff with, like making lethal blue flames…
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Cora Buhlert, Jerry Kaufman, Ziv Wities, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, 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 Rob Thornton.]
[Introduction: Boris Sydiuk, an internationally-known Ukranian fan, asked SFWA to join a global boycott of Russian books and publishers from events around the world. (See Publishers Weekly for the text of such a call by members of the Ukrainian Book Institute, the Lviv International Book Forum, and PEN Ukraine.) SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy, quoted below, replied that the Board has decided SFWA cannot participate. Sydiuk has written a guest post expressing his disappointment.]
By Borys Sydiuk: Right now, when I’m sitting at my desktop and writing this text, a cannonade nearby doesn’t stop. The previous night was scary in Kyiv. Evidently, Russians are going to start demolishing Ukrainian capital like they are doing with Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Mariupol.
The Ukrainian SFF Community joined the efforts to isolate Russia, the nazi-country of the 21st century, to force them to stop the war. The boycott by American authors we asked for is also doing the job. Many leading writers and artists of the great United States already joined the campaign.
We appealed to SFWA to also join the campaign, and here is what they replied:
“The SFWA Board of Directors met this last week to discuss and carefully review your missive. SFWA’s mission is to support, advocate for, and educate creators in the science fiction and fantasy genres across the world. We do this regardless of the actions of their governments. Because our mission is tied to our incorporation and status as a charitable organization, we cannot participate or support any kind of boycott.”
Can you imagine? They stay aside with popcorn watching how the greatest evil of modern time is trying to destroy a new democratic country, to genocide a European nation, to realize the “Final solution of Ukrainian question”.
That is easy to appeal to status, constitution, and so on just to abstain. It is so comfortable — to abstain, sit in a shell thinking the evil will not come. But the evil will come, the evil will knock to your shell and you will abstain when the evil will be killing you. So nice!
Dear American and foreign authors, members of SFWA, do you think the board of SFWA made the right decision? Do you think you are ok to belong to an organization that is so toothless, trying to remain soft and fluffy?
Tonight Russians targeted living houses in Kyiv, they expanded to put on fire as many Ukrainian cities as they can trying to break us, trying to wipe out democracy and freedom, and bring the totalitarianism of 1984 and Animal Farm to our home, and then to yours. Abstaining today means you support the Russians in this way. Sigh.