2021 Bram Stoker Awards

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) announced the Bram Stoker Award® winners for the 2021 calendar year on May 14 at StokerCon 2022 in Denver.

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVEL

  • Jones, Stephen Graham – My Heart Is a Chainsaw (Gallery/Saga Press)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A FIRST NOVEL

  • Piper, Hailey – Queen of Teeth (Strangehouse Books)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Manzetti, Alessandro (author) and Cardoselli, Stefano (artist) – The Inhabitant of the Lake (Independent Legions Publishing)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • Waters, Erica – The River Has Teeth (HarperTeen)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN LONG FICTION

  • Strand, Jeff – “Twentieth Anniversary Screening” (Slice and Dice) (Independently published)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN SHORT FICTION

  • Murray, Lee – “Permanent Damage” (Attack From the ’80s) (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A FICTION COLLECTION

  • Files, Gemma – In That Endlessness, Our End (Grimscribe Press)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A SCREENPLAY

  • Flanagan, Mike; Flanagan, James; and Howard, Jeff – Midnight Mass, Season 1, Episode 6: “Book VI: Acts of the Apostles” (Intrepid Pictures)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A POETRY COLLECTION

  • Sng, Christina; Yuriko Smith, Angela; Murray, Lee; and Flynn, Geneve – Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. (Yuriko Publishing)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN AN ANTHOLOGY

  • Datlow, Ellen – When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson (Titan Books) 

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN NON-FICTION

  • Knost, Michael – Writers Workshop of Horror 2 (Hydra Publications)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN SHORT NON-FICTION

  • Yuriko Smith, Angela – “Horror Writers: Architects of Hope” (The Sirens Call, Halloween 2021, Issue 55) (Sirens Call Publications)

Also recognized during tonight’s ceremony were these previously announced HWA service and specialty award winners.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

  • Jo Fletcher
  • Nancy Holder
  • Koji Suzuki

SPECIALTY PRESS

  • Valancourt Books

THE RICHARD LAYMON PRESIDENT’S AWARD

  • Sumiko Saulson

THE SILVER HAMMER AWARD

  • Kevin J. Wetmore

MENTOR OF THE YEAR

  • Michael Knost

Pixel Scroll 5/14/22 Scroll Me A Pixel I’ll Be Back For Breakfast

(1) BRAM STOKER LOSERS UNITE. Scott Edelman has famously lost many Bram Stoker Awards – and he has the card to prove it. He invites tonight’s unlucky nominees to become card-carrying members of this group.  

Tonight’s Bram Stoker awards ceremony means — there will be winners — but also losers. If any of the new Never Winner losers created tonight would like this Susan Lucci of the HWA to mail you one of my “It is an honor to be nominated” cards — ask, and one will be sent your way!

However — if you’re a previous Never Winner in Denver tonight who already owns of one of these cards and should lose yet again — please track down Lee Murray, whom I have deputized to punch you a new hole. Good … luck?

(2) LIVE LONG ENOUGH, YOU’LL PROSPER. Somtow Sucharitkul tells Facebook readers why a recent Star Trek episode rang a bell. BEWARE SPOILERS.

SPOILER COMING – But For What Exactly?

The Enterprise discovers that a comet is hurtling toward a planet that doesn’t have warp drive and whose civilization they cannot interfere with because of the prime directive. Presently, they discover that the comet is alive, and has some kind of intelligence. The only way to save the planet is to find a way to communicate with the comet, and it turns out that the key is to sing to it a folk song from someone’s homeworld….

Yes, this is the plot of the new episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, but it’s also the plot of my 2001 Star Trek Novel, “Do Comets Dream?” which is itself vaguely adapted from a tale told in my Inquestor series, “The Comet That Cried for Its Mother”, originally published in AMAZING….

(3) IT’S A MASSACRE. “Everything on Broadcast TV Just Got Canceled” Vanity Fair declared yesterday. It will feel like that if you watched sff on CW.

In the ever-changing television landscape, this past Thursday was a particularly tough time to be a broadcast television show. Per TV Guide, 17 broadcast television shows were officially given the axe by their respective networks yesterday. “It’s the Red Wedding at WBTV/CW today,” tweeted showrunner Julie Plec, whose CW shows Legacies and Roswell, New Mexico were both among the carnage. “Much more to say, but not today. Loads of gratitude coming for fans and cast and crew in future tweets. But today, we mourn.” 

The CW was hit particularly hard, with nine shows getting chopped in all. Along with Legacies and Roswell, New Mexico, the teen-focused network said goodbye to Dynasty after five seasons, In The Dark after four seasons, and Batwoman after three seasons. The network is currently up for sale, which may explain why it was particularly ruthless with its cancellations and downsizing its slate from 19 original scripted series to 11 original scripted series ahead of next fall….

(4) WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE? James Wallace Harris reprints and analyzes Alfred Bester’s vintage analysis of the genre in “Blows Against The Empire: Alfred Bester’s 1953 Critique of Science Fiction” at Classics of Science Fiction (a 2020 post).

…Bester is looking back over what many have called the Golden Age of Science Fiction and burning it down with his blaster. I wish I could find the fan reaction to this essay from back in the 1950s, but Google only returns seven results. And for those who aren’t familiar with the name Alfred Bester, he wrote two books in the 1950s that became classics: The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man. At the time Bester had a reputation for being a writing stylist and innovator. So getting a dressing down from one of our own must have been painful.

I wonder what I would have thought if I read and understood this essay in 1962 when I first began reading science fiction. Science fiction wasn’t popular then like it is today. Science fiction was one step up from comic books, and you were called retarded (their word back then) by your peers if you read comics. I remembered also being called a geek and zero for reading SF. Back then those terms were the social kiss of death. I had two buddies that read science fiction in high school and I remember being very hurt by George’s mother when she sat is down one day and gave us a serious talk about evils of reading science fiction. George’s mother was a sophisticated, well-educated, widely traveled woman, and I was always impressed with her thoughts, so it really hurt when she tried to convince us we were reading trash. She implied reading SF was a sign we were emotionally and intellectually immature. We thought we were Slans…

(5) OPPOSING BOOK BANS. “More than 25 Organizations Join ALA’s ‘Unite Against Book Bans’ Campaign”. Among them are the Authors Guild and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The American Library Association this week announced that more than 25 major organizations, including a host of publishers and author and bookseller groups, have joined its Unite Against Book Bans campaign, an effort to help communities defend the freedom to read. The ALA launched the campaign in April to raise awareness about the surge in book bans and other legislation targeting the work of schools and libraries, with support from the Steve and Loree Potash Family Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

“Our partners and supporters are critical in moving the needle to ultimately bring an end to book bans,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It’s time that policymakers understand the severity of this issue. ALA is taking the steps necessary to protect individuals’ access to information, but we can’t do this alone.”…

“Three-quarters of the 1,100 plus books currently banned in public schools in the United States have been written by authors of color, LGBTQ authors, or other traditionally marginalized voices,” said Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger, in a statement.

(6) NAMING CONVENTIONS. He has a point –

(7) PERSONAL TAXONOMY. Joe Vasicek, often quoted here in the Sad Puppy days of 2015, shares what he calls “an interesting personal discovery” at One Thousand And One Parsecs.

…I just made a very interesting personal discovery, gleaned from the data on my reading of the Hugo and Nebula winning books. Of the 110 novels that have won either award, I have now read all but 16 of them, which is enough data to get some representative results.

One of the best predictors that I will DNF a book is whether the author is a childless woman. Of the 18 books written by childless women, I have DNFed all but three of them (Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh, which I read years ago and would probably DNF today, and Network Effect by Martha Wells, which is a genuinely entertaining read, and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke, which I haven’t read yet). For childless men, it’s a little bit more of a crapshoot: of the 31 books written by childless men, I’ve DNFed 16 of them and read 11, but only 6 of those are books I thought were worth owning.

Conversely, one of the best predictors that I will enjoy a book is whether the author is a mother. Of the 20 books written by mothers, I have DNFed only 6 of them and read 8, all of which I think are worth owning. Of the six remaining books that I haven’t read yet, I will almost certainly finish four of them, and may finish all six. The only book by an author I haven’t already read and enjoyed is The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, which I am currently reading and will probably finish next week…

(8) LIGHT MY FIRE. “Firestarter (2022) vs. Firestarter (1984): Which Stephen King adaptation burns brightest?” – Clark Collis supplies his answer at Entertainment Weekly. The summaries of each film make good reading, too.

… The 1984 film stars Barrymore as Charlie McGee, a young girl with pyrokinetic powers who is fleeing from a sinister government organization called “The Shop” with her father Andy, played by David Keith. Andy has been training Charlie to use her powers properly by getting her to turn bread into toast with her mind but it is the unfortunate Shop agents who get browned as Barrymore’s character periodically sets them ablaze. The supporting cast is notable for a few reasons. Oscar-winners Art Carney and Louise Fletcher play a couple who befriend Charlie and Andy, while Martin Sheen portrays the head of the Shop just a year after his performance in David Cronenberg’s adaptation of King’s The Dead Zone. Finally, another Academy Award-winner, George C. Scott, is inexplicably cast as the seemingly First Nation assassin John Rainbird, who has a fondness for punching his targets’ noses into their brains and an unhealthy interest in our heroine…

(9) TOM SWIFT. Edge Media Network supplies an intro as “First Trailer Drops for New CW Series ‘Tom Swift’ Featuring a Black Gay Lead Character”.

…”Tian Richards already made his debut as Tom Swift on one of the best episodes of ‘Nancy Drew’ yet, but get ready to see him in a whole new light on his own show,” EW said.

As previously reported at EDGE, being gay was a prominent part of the character’s depiction when he made a guest appearance on “Nancy Drew.” Sparks flew between Tom Swift and “Nancy Drew” regular character Nick (Tunji Kasim), leading to an onscreen kiss….

(10) WHEN I USE A WORD. At Tor.com, CD Covington’s series on sff linguistics finally tackles the 500-lb gorilla: “On Tolkien, Translation, Linguistics, and the Languages of Middle-earth”.

Since I started this column in 2019, I’ve been avoiding one famous—possibly even the most famous—example of using linguistics in SFF literature: the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s not because I don’t like Lord of the Rings—quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just such an obvious topic, and one which people have devoted decades of scholarship to exploring. Hell, my Old English prof has published academic scholarship on the topic, in addition to teaching a Maymester class on the languages of Middle-earth. But I suppose it’s time to dedicate a column to the book that first made me think language was cool and to the man who wrote it.

(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

2010 [By Cat Eldridge.] I’m starting this essay by acknowledging that everyone has their favorite Robin Hood. My all-time favorite is the one in the Robin of Sherwood series, Robin of Loxley as played by Michael Praed. And yes, I acknowledge that the second Robin, Robert of Huntingdon as performed by Jason Connery was quite excellent too. Richard Carpenter did himself proud with this series. 

But I’m here tonight to talk about one of my favorite Robin Hood films (the other being Robin and Marian.) Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood premiered in the States on this date twelve years ago. It was written by Brian Helgeland who had done mostly horror films before this but was also the screenwriter of the beloved A Knight’s Tale. He along with Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris were responsible for the story.

It was produced by Ridley Scott, Brian Grazer and Russell Crowe. Yes the actor who played Robin Hood here helped produce it. So let’s turn to casting. 

I think Crowe made an outstanding Robin Longstride and Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley was a great casting move. Other interesting casting here includes Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley and William Hurt as William Marshal. This was not a cast of unknowns. I thought Matthew Macfadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham was interesting as the actor usually had much lighter roles. Mark Addy as Friar Tuck was well cast. 

It was a very expensive undertaking costing at least two hundred million and it took in least three hundred and twenty-five million, so it likely just broke even.

And what was the opinion of critics at the time? Well it was decidedly mixed with Deborah Ross of UK’s Spectator on the side of the dissenters: “Scott decided, I think, to get away from the whole campy thing in tights business and wanted to make this ‘real’. So there is sweat and dirt and rats at the cheese and even bad teeth, which is fair enough, but it is also joyless.” 

But Richard Klein of Shadows on the Wall liked it: “Ridley Scott and his usual Oscar-winning crewmates turn the familiar old English legend it into a robust, thumping epic. The pacing is a bit uneven, but it keeps us thoroughly engaged.”

Let’s finish off with Jeffrey Westhoff of the Northwest Herald:  “Robin Hood doesn’t become the swashbuckling bandit of Sherwood until the final moments, when the tag “And so the legend begins” appears. You may walk away liking this Robin Hood well enough, but wishing you had seen the sequel.” 

It gets just a fifty eight percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 14, 1929 Kay Elliot. The actress who shows up in “I, Mudd” as the android form of Harry Mudd’s wife Stella Mudd. SPOILER ALERT (I promised our OGH I’d put these in. It’s possible someone here hasn’t seen “I, Mudd”.) Need I say she ends getting the upper hand in the end? She also had appearences in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as Miss Prendergast in “The It’s All Greek to Me Affair” episode and multiple roles on Bewitched. That’s it, but she died young. (Died 1982.)
  • Born May 14, 1933 Siân Phillips, 89. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in David Lynch’s Dune, Cassiopeia in Clash of The Titans, Grandmother in A Christmas Carol, Charal in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, and The Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass. And I’m about to see her on Silent Witness.
  • Born May 14, 1935 Peter J. Reed. A Vonnegut specialist with a long track history starting with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; The Vonnegut Chronicles: Interviews and Essays that he wrote with Marc Leeds; Kurt Vonnegut: Images and Representations again with Leeds again. He also wrote a handful of essays such as “Hurting ’til It Laughs: The Painful-Comic Science Fiction Stories of Kurt Vonnegut” and “Kurt Vonnegut’s Bitter Fool: Kilgore Trout”. (Died 2018.)
  • Born May 14, 1944 George Lucas, 78. For better and worse, he created the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are fine, the others suck royally in my opinion. Later Star Wars films are meh though I adore the original trilogy. And let’s not forget THX 1138. So you ask, what are my favorite works that he was involved in? LabyrinthRaiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back and Willow. Yes Willow. Oh, and The Young Indiana Jones series which I really, really loved. 
  • Born May 14, 1945 Francesca Annis, 77. Lady Jessica in David Lynch’s Dune, Lady Macbeth in Roman Polanski’s Macbeth. I know only two roles, but what a pair of roles they were! She also appeared in Krull as The Widow of The Web but I’ll be damned if I can remember her in that role. 
  • Born May 14, 1952 Kathleen Ann Goonan. Her Nanotech Quartet is most excellent, particularly the first novel, Queen City Jazz. Her only Award was given for In War Times which garnered a John W. Campbell Memorial Award. She’s wrote an interesting essay on the relationship between sf and music, “Science Fiction and All That Jazz”. (Died 2021.)
  • Born May 14, 1952 Robert Zemeckis, 70. He’s responsible for some of my favorite films including the Back to the Future trilogy, The Muppet Christmas CarolThe WitchesWho Framed Roger Rabbit and the savagely funny in a twisted sort of way Death Becomes Her. So what’s your favorite films that’s he had a hand in? 
  • Born May 14, 1955 Rob Tapert, 67. I’d say he’s best known for co-creating Xena: Warrior Princess. He also produced and/or wrote several other television series including Hercules: The Legendary JourneysM.A.N.T.I.S. and American Gothic. Tapert also co-created the prequel series Young Hercules which I loved. He’s married to actress Lucy Lawless.

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • Let Nick Mamatas introduce Tom Gauld’s strip for today’s Guardian.
  • Next, here’s Gauld’s latest comic for New Scientist.

(14) CLUES OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Keith Roysdon remembers newspaper crime comic strips (remember Steve Roper and Mike Nomad?) “Black and White and Noir All Over: A Brief History of Vintage Newspaper Crime Comic Strips” at CrimeReads.

Who could have known that newspaper comic strips and crime stories, including noir, were a match made in heaven?

Newspaper comic strips are an artistic genre that’s largely forgotten now. The strips that remain are for the most part humor strips like “Garfield.” A handful of dramatic strips are still published.

But serial dramatic strips were once a staple of the newspaper comics page. Many of them were soap opera-ish strips like “Mary Worth” and “Apartment 3-G.” To say that drama strips were slow moving is an understatement. I wish I could remember who joked that they came back to read “Apartment 3-G” after decades away and the caption read, “Later that afternoon …”

But that deliberate pace – well, maybe not quite that deliberate – was perfect for teasing out a good crime storyline. And crime and noir look awesome in black and white newsprint.

(15) MUSIC WITHOUT THE SPHERES. “Peace is Still Weirder Than War” asserts Laurie Penny in a very entertaining essay about Eurovision. Admittedly, nothing to do with sff except a brief reference to Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera at the end.

…Britain is a lot worse at Eurovision than you’d think. We’ve spent half a century distracting the world from our post imperial decline by flinging out wild handfuls of pop music and self deprecating humour, so we really ought to be able to deploy them here. Sadly, we’re scuppered every time by our even more fundamental fear of looking daft in front of the French.

We’ve made worse choices for the same reason.

But reasons are not excuses, and the land of Monty Python, David Bowie and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band should be able to do better than another basic bearded guitar boy. We do have the best tv commentary by miles, after Graham Norton seamlessly accepted the baton from the great Terry Wogan, proving once again that Britain’s comfort zone is making fun of other people.  Yes. Hi.

…For related reasons, Ukraine are likely to win this year. Russia can sulk all they like, just like they did when Ukraine stood down from Eurovision in 2015with the reasonable excuse that they were busy being invaded by Russia. in 2016, Ukraine was back, and it won, narrowly beating Russia, whose entry looked like someone repurposed a rave club as a re-education camp without redecorating. Not only did Ukraine win, it won with a song called ‘1944’, about the Soviet genocide of the Crimean Tartars. Russia has not forgotten this. State Television spent a long time denouncing Eurovision as a degenerate spectacle of homosexuality, which did as much good as denouncing bears for defecating in the woods.

But Russia has never really been any good at Eurovision. This year they’re not even going, partly because the Kremlin has no interest in any competition it can’t cheat at, but mostly because they got banned. It’s hard to get banned from Eurovision, but invading a neighboring country and massacring tens of thousands of people will do the trick….

(16) STOP, NOW, WHAT’S THAT SOUND? ScreenRant suggests “10 ‘Subtly’ Scary Horror Movies (For Horror Fans Sick Of Jump Scares)”. A Bradbury adaptation leads the list!

Sometimes the unknown or the unnatural can be much more terrifying than any masked slasher with a chainsaw.

….It’s not so much that these films rely on someone hiding in the shadows and yelling boo, but rather the audience knows something is wrong but can’t identify what. While jump scares and other such tactics might be sparsely employed, the real horror in these movies comes from both knowing and not knowing what might be in store.

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

Sometimes, the scariest movies are the ones where nobody dies, and Disney’s Something Wicked This Way Comes is a brilliant example. Based on the book by Ray Bradbury, the film tells the story of what happens when a mysterious carnival lurks into town one windy October.

Led by the mysterious Mr. Dark, Cooger and Dark’s Shadow Show has the uncanny ability to grant anyone’s wishes and make their dreams come true. But like with most things Disney, all magic comes at a price. When two boys and the local librarian are able to see through the illusions, a slow-burning battle with the freakshow for the souls of the town takes place.

(17) THE HUNDREDTH SHADE. Paul Weimer reviews “Gregory A. Wilson’s Grayshade” at A Green Man Review.

… We meet Grayshade in the midst of an assassination that doesn’t go quite to plan, and a relatively atypical assassination target at that – the outwardly flighty socialite wife of a political powerful man, which in itself seems odd to Grayshade. We come to Grayshade at a point in his career where he is extremely experienced and very good at what he does. This is no “coming of age” novel where we follow the assassin through his first mission; rather this is someone who has past adventures and missions behind him, which grounds him for when things do not go according to his expectations. Things spiral out from the assassination not going right, to the point where Grayshade starts to question his purpose, his role, and the entire Order.

This makes a lot of the novel about information control and dissemination, which in turn reminds me of Wilson’s gamemastering….

(18) BAD BACK TO THE FUTURE. At Galactic Journey, Jessica Holmes gives us an recap of the latest (in 1967!) episode of Doctor Who. “[May 14, 1967] Ben And Polly To The Departure Gate (Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones [Part 2])”.

…We left things off with the Doctor having a sudden attack of a bad back, and things only get worse, with Spencer disabling Jamie and Samantha within moments of the episode’s opening.

Now would be a good time to finish them off, you’d think, but instead he sets up some sort of death ray to kill them… eventually. The thing moves so slowly the trio would probably have time for a round of golf before the ray fries them. Though mostly paralysed, Samantha conveniently has enough control of her faculties to get her mirror from her bag and hand it to Jamie, who uses it to reflect the beam and blow up the death ray machine.

With the machine destroyed, their partial paralysis wears off, which doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to me. I thought it was the freezing pen that paralysed them? And I’m still not sure what that device on the Doctor’s back did to him…

(19) AND YOU ARE THERE. This fossil is in a way a snapshot: “How the dinosaurs died: New evidence In PBS documentary” – the Washington Post digs into the story.

…The ground started shaking with intense vibrations while water in the nearby sea sloshed about in response. The sky filled with burning embers, which drifted down and set fire to the lush primordial forest.

Thescelosaurus panicked and looked to flee — but it was too late. Everything changed in a heartbeat as a 30-foot-high wave of mud and debris came racing up the seaway from the south, sweeping away life and limb in the process. The dinosaur was caught in the destructive deluge, its leg ripped off at the hip by the devastating surge.

That moment — 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period, when an earth-shattering asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs — is frozen in time today through a stunning fossil found last year at the Tanis dig site in North Dakota. This perfectly preserved leg clearly shows the skin, muscle and bones of the three-toed Thescelosaurus.

While the details of the death scenario described above are embellished, they’re based on remarkable new findings and accounts by Robert DePalma, lead paleontologist at Tanis.

“We’re never going to say with 100 percent certainty that this leg came from an animal that died on that day,” the scientist said. “The thing we can do is determine the likelihood that it died the day the meteor struck. When we look at the preservation of the leg and the skin around the articulated bones, we’re talking on the day of impact or right before. There was no advanced decay.”…

(20) DRAWN WITHOUT DRAWERS. CBR.com remembers: “Star Wars: Why George Lucas Had to Fight for Chewbacca Not to Wear Shorts”.

…So he wanted McQuarrie to go beyond humanoid and try to do more of an animal design for Chewbacca. Lucas’ recall led him to a recent issue of Analog Magazine, which had a short novel in it by a pre-Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin called “And Seven Times Never Kill a Man.” Artist John Schoenherr had designed some characters for Martin’s story and they made it to the cover of the magazine…

Lucas sent the drawings to McQuarrie and basically said, “Draw Chewbacca like that” and so that’s what McQuarrie did…

The problem with having basically a giant dog as a character is that dogs, well, you know, don’t have pants. McQuarrie kept coming up with some designs with the character in pants and Lucas kept saying no and that carried over to when the film started production. Lucas’ specific vision of what Chewbacca would look like required him to not have pants and that was a bit of a strange thing for the studio executives at the time.

During the DVD commentary for the 2004 release of Star Wars on DVD, Mark Hamill recalled what Lucas had to go through with regard to Chewbacca’s lack of clothes. “I remember the memos from 20th Century Fox. Can you put a pair of lederhosen on the Wookiee?’ All they could think of was, ‘This character has no pants on!’ This went back and forth. They did sketches of him in culottes and baggy shorts.”…

(21) BEING SNARKY. Would Lewis Carroll readers with an unassigned two hours or so available be interested in the opportunity to watch this complete production? “The Hunting of the Snark” posted by Official London Theatre.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

2021 Bram Stoker Awards Ballot

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) today announced the Bram Stoker Award® Nominees for the 2021 calendar year.

The Bram Stoker Award winners are presently scheduled to be announced on May 14 at StokerCon 2022 in Denver.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Castro, V. – The Queen of the Cicadas (Flame Tree Press)
  • Hendrix, Grady – The Final Girl Support Group (Berkley)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – My Heart Is a Chainsaw (Gallery/Saga Press)
  • Pelayo, Cynthia – Children of Chicago (Agora Books)
  • Wendig, Chuck – The Book of Accidents (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Martinez, S. Alessandro – Helminth (Omnium Gatherum)
  • McQueen, LaTanya – When the Reckoning Comes (Harper Perennial)
  • Miles, Terry – Rabbits (Del Rey)
  • Piper, Hailey – Queen of Teeth (Strangehouse Books)
  • Quigley, Lisa – The Forest (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)
  • Willson, Nicole – Tidepool (The Parliament House)

*Due to a tie in fifth place, there are six nominees in this category.

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Ahmed, Saladin (author) and Kivelä, Sami (artist) – Abbott 1973 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Garcia, Kami (author); Suayan, Mico (artist); Badower, Jason (artist); and Mayhew, Mike (artist) – Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity (DC Comics)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro (author) and Cardoselli, Stefano (artist) – The Inhabitant of the Lake (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Morrison, Grant (author); Child, Alex (author); and Franquiz, Naomi (artist) – Proctor Valley Road (BOOM! Studios)
  • Panosian, Dan (author) and Ignazzi, Marianna (artist) – An Unkindness of Ravens (BOOM! Studios)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Blake, Kendare – All These Bodies (Quill Tree Books)
  • Boyle, R.L. – The Book of the Baku (Titan Books)
  • Lewis, Jessica – Bad Witch Burning (Delacorte Press)
  • Sutherland, Krystal – House of Hollow (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Waters, Erica – The River Has Teeth (HarperTeen)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Castro, V. – Goddess of Filth (Creature Publishing, LLC)
  • Khaw, Cassandra – Nothing But Blackened Teeth (Tor Nightfire)
  • LaRocca, Eric – Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (Weirdpunk Books)
  • Piper, Hailey – “Recitation of the First Feeding” (Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy) (The Seventh Terrace)
  • Strand, Jeff – “Twentieth Anniversary Screening” (Slice and Dice) (Independently published)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Gyzander, Carol – “The Yellow Crown” (Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign) (Hippocampus Press)
  • Murray, Lee – “Permanent Damage” (Attack From the ’80s) (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “A Gathering at the Mountain” (The Bad Book) (Bleeding Edge Books)
  • Taborska, Anna -“Two Shakes Of A Dead Lamb’s Tail”(Terror Tales of the Scottish Lowlands) (Telos Publishing)
  • Ward, Kyla Lee – “A Whisper in the Death Pit” (Weirdbook #44) (Wildside Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Files, Gemma – In That Endlessness, Our End (Grimscribe Press)
  • Fracassi, Philip – Beneath a Pale Sky (Lethe Press)
  • Maberry, Jonathan – Empty Graves: Tales of the Living Dead (WordFire Press LLC)
  • Tuttle, Lisa – The Dead Hours of Night (Valancourt Books)
  • Wise, A.C. – The Ghost Sequences (Undertow Publications)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Chaisson, C. Henry; Antosca, Nick; and Cooper, Scott – Antlers (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Dong-hyuk, Hwang – Squid Game, Season 1, Episode 1: “Red Light, Green Light” (Siren Pictures) 
  • Flanagan, Mike; Flanagan, James; and Howard, Jeff – Midnight Mass, Season 1, Episode 6: “Book VI: Acts of the Apostles” (Intrepid Pictures)
  • Graziadei, Phil and Janiak, Leigh – Fear Street: Part One – 1994 (Chernin Entertainment)
  • Peele, Jordan; Rosenfeld, Win; and DaCosta, Nia – Candyman (Universal Pictures)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Lansdale, Joe R. – Apache Witch and Other Poetic Observations (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • McHugh, Jessica – Strange Nests (Apokrupha)
  • Simon, Marge and Turzillo, Mary – Victims (Weasel Press)
  • Sng, Christina; Yuriko Smith, Angela; Murray, Lee; and Flynn, Geneve – Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. (Yuriko Publishing)
  • Snyder, Lucy A. – Exposed Nerves (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Chambers, James – Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign (Hippocampus Press)
  • Datlow, Ellen – When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson (Titan Books) 
  • French, Aaron J. and Landry, Jess – There is No Death, There are No Dead (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World (Dark Moon Books)
  • Johnson, Eugene – Attack From the ’80s (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Knost, Michael – Writers Workshop of Horror 2 (Hydra Publications)
  • Olson, Danel – 9/11 Gothic: Decrypting Ghosts and Trauma in New York City’s Terrorism Novels (Lexington Books)
  • Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew and Hansen, Regina M. – Giving the Devil His Due: Satan and  Cinema (Fordham University Press)
  • Wetmore Jr., Kevin J. – Eaters of the Dead: Myths and Realities of Cannibal Monsters (Reaktion Books)
  • Woofter, Kristopher – Shirley Jackson: A Companion (Peter Lang Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

  • Ognjanovi?, Dejan – “The Three Paradigms of Horror” (Vastarien Vol. 4, Issue 2) (Grimscribe Press)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “One and Done” (Were Tales: A Shapeshifter Anthology) (Brigids Gate Press)
  • Verona, Emily Ruth – “A Horror Fan’s Guide to Surviving Womanhood” (thefinalgirls.co.uk)
  • Wetmore Jr., Kevin J. – “Devil’s Advocates: The Conjuring” (Auteur Publishing/Liverpool University Press)
  • Yuriko Smith, Angela – “Horror Writers: Architects of Hope” (The Sirens Call, Halloween 2021, Issue 55) (Sirens Call Publications)

[Via Ellen Datlow.]

Pixel Scroll 1/28/22 In Restless Dreams I Scrolled Alone Narrow Files Of Pixelstone

(1) RELOAD THE CANON. Wealth of Geeks says these are the “60 Sci-Fi Books That All Science Fiction Fans Must Read”. I’ve read 30 of them. A bunch of things on the list are titles of series with three or more volumes. In other cases, only the first book in a series is named, like Foundation and Three-Body Problem. But as Asimov himself once wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of petty minds.” Their list is broken down into categories. Here’s one example —

The Best Sci-Fi Books for Younger Readers

Take adventures through time and space, no matter your age!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Murry children and Calvin O’Keefe crosses universes and space-time to try to find their missing father. Their tale is a mind-bending adventure of good vs. evil.

His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass/The Subtle Knife/The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass/Northern Lights begins this sweeping saga of two children, one born in a parallel universe, one born in our own. In Lyra’s world, people’s souls exist in animal form, called daemons. Her father and mother represent warring factions determined to control all universes. Filled with talking animals, witches, airships, and strange creatures, His Dark Materials packs an emotional punch.

The Apothecary Series by Maile Meloy

Set in the 1950s, The Apothecary starts this highly entertaining, thrilling adventure series in which American Janie Scott meets Benjamin Burrows, the son of an apothecary. After Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, the teenagers uncover a terrifying plot that could result in humanity’s end. They use potions with magical effects to try and stop the impending doom.

The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) by Sayantani DasGupta

The first of the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series, book one begins with Kiranmala discovering her parents are missing, and there is a demon in her kitchen! Two princes recruited her and sent to another dimension, where she must battle the Serpent King and the Rakkhoshi Queen to rescue her parents and save the Earth.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

This delightful middle-grade novel recounts a discarded robot named Roz and her search for love and acceptance.

(2) STUDYING D&D. Sign up to hear Professor Esther MacCallum-Stewart (also Bid Chair, Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon) talk about the game – “‘How do you want to do this?’, Dungeons & Dragons at 50” – on February 28.

The lecture is free to attend and will be online. I will be discussing how and why Dungeons & Dragons is experiencing such a massive revival at the moment. I’ll trace some of its history, as well as discussing how Twitch streaming and Actual Play games have contributed to making the game a spectator event as well as helping it become an easier, friendly experience to play. 

I’ve been writing and researching games for all of my academic career, and playing for even longer. I’m proud of games becoming a more recognised art form and topic of critical debate. And I’m really excited to be talking about this in the lecture! 

Register here – “Inaugural Professorial Lecture – Professor Esther MacCallum-Stewart Tickets | Eventbrite”.

(3) CLAIMING SPACE. The Smithsonian’s Afrofuturism conference is running January 27-29 – the “Claiming Space Symposium”. All events are free but registration is required. (However, videos are being posted afterwards at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum YouTube channel.)

The Smithsonian Afrofuturism Series is a collaboration between the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Museum of African Art. 

Smithsonian scholarship and collections address the topics of futurism and Afrofuturism from many angles. Each of the three collaborating museums brings a perspective on the topic including:

  • The prevalence of Afrofuturism in science fiction and how visions of the future affect space exploration and today’s technological landscape
  • How technology is used to enact or enforce existing power dynamics, or to resist those structures
  • How the sources and impact of Afrofuturism are rooted in Africa’s and the African Diaspora’s arts and history as well as their global influences

Not limited to fictional depictions of the future, this collaboration will examine what the future looks like today and how that future addresses issues like postcolonialism, climate change, and urbanization.

(4) SCANNERS LIVE IN VAIN. Camestros Felapton adds another artifact to The Museum of Right-Wing Gadgets & Sundry Devices: “The M of RWG&SD Exhibit 3: The :CueCat”.

…OK, so I can’t actually blame Covid-19 on the CueCat (or “:CueCat” — the initial colon was part of its name). However, this weird computer peripheral did manage to anticipate many of the curses that would fall upon us in the new century. The basic idea of a device that would enable users to scan printed material as a way of accessing websites/online information is one that has become ubiquitous via QR codes and smartphones. Of course, nobody particularly likes QR codes (aside from marketers) and it has taken a worldwide disaster with 5 million+ people dead for their use to become part of everyday life and only then because of public health orders….

(5) PLAYING ALL THE ANGLES. An introduction to the 19th century classic Flatland in “Aspiring to a Higher Plane” at The Public Domain Review.

Edwin Abbott Abbott, who became Headmaster of the City of London School at the early age of 26, was renowned as a teacher, writer, theologian, Shakespearean scholar, and classicist. He was a religious reformer, a tireless educator, and an advocate of social democracy and improved education for women. Yet his main claim to fame today is none of these: a strange little book, the first and almost the only one of its genre: mathematical fantasy. Abbott called it Flatland, and published it in 1884 under the pseudonym A. Square.

On the surface — and the setting, the imaginary world of Flatland, is a surface, an infinite Euclidean plane — the book is a straightforward narrative about geometrically shaped beings that live in a two-dimensional world. A. Square, an ordinary sort of chap, undergoes a mystical experience: a visitation by the mysterious Sphere from the Third Dimension, who carries him to new worlds and new geometries. Inspired by evangelical zeal, he strives to convince his fellow citizens that the world is not limited to the two dimensions accessible to their senses, falls foul of the religious authorities, and ends up in jail.

(6) LIFE IMITATES ART. “An uplifting pandemic drama? How Station Eleven pulled off the impossible” – the Guardian explains.

…The book, which was a bestseller in 2014, was discovered anew as the real-life pandemic made us seek out stories to help process the emergent threat. (See the spike in streams of Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion; the return of Camus.) Its author, Emily St John Mandel, is often declared to have “predicted” the future, a claim she resists.

“There are tiers of how much it blew your mind,” says Station Eleven star Mackenzie Davis by phone from Los Angeles. “Talking about a virus making its way round the world from Asia to Europe to Chicago, and then halting production to let that actual event happen – it was really quite chilling.”

If the collapse of fact and fiction was coincidental to the book, it is inherent to the show – and the source of its substantial pathos. Premiering in the UK this week but recently concluded in the US, it has been hailed as a rare uplifting story of the pandemic. Its creator, Patrick Somerville (who also wrote revered post-apocalyptic drama The Leftovers), describes it as: “a post-apocalyptic show about joy”….

(7) CANNED GOODS. Evolution List assembled clips to show the “Evolution of Iron Man in MCU Movies & TV 1978 – 2021”.

Iron Man in MCU Movies & TV Evolution is a list video that includes all Iron Man in MCU Movies & TV changes through the years from 1978 to 2021!

(8) MEMORY LANE.

2007 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Fifteen years ago, Patricia McKillip’s Solstice Wood, the sort of sequel to Winter Rose which can be read independently of that novel, wins the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Other nominated works that year were Susanna Clarke’s The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Peter S. Beagle’s The Line Between, Susan Palwick’s The Necessary Beggar, Kevin Donahue’s The Stolen Child and Tim Powers’ Three Days to Never. It was the year before she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the same organization. Lest you ask, yes, it is my favorite novel by her. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 28, 1910 Arnold Moss. Anton Karidian a.k.a. Kodos the Executioner in the most excellent “The Conscience of the King” episode of Trek. It wasn’t his only SFF role as he’d show up in Tales of TomorrowThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.The Alfred Hitchcock HourTime Tunnel and Fantasy Island. (Died 1989.)
  • Born January 28, 1920 Lewis Wilson. Genre-wise, he’s remembered  for being the first actor to play Batman on screen in the 1943 Batman, a 15-chapter theatrical serial from Columbia Pictures. His only other major role was as Walt Jameson is the Forties serial Craig Kennedy, Criminologist. (Died 2000.)
  • Born January 28, 1929 Parke Godwin. I’ve read a number of his novels and I fondly remember in particular Sherwood and Robin and the King. If you’ve not read his excellent Firelord series, I do recommend you do so. So who has read his Beowulf series? (Died 2013.)
  • Born January 28, 1944 Susan Howard, 78. Mara, the Klingon woman, on “The Day of The Dove” episode of Star Trek. Was she the first Klingon woman? She also showed up on TarzanThe Flying NunI Dream of JeanieLand of GiantsThe ImmortalThe Fantastic Journey and Mission: Impossible.
  • Born January 28, 1959 Frank Darabont, 63. Early on, he  was mostly a screenwriter for horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream WarriorsThe Blob and The Fly II, all minor horror films. As a director, he’s much better known because he’s done The Green MileThe Shawshank Redemption and The Mist.  He also developed and executive-produced the first season of The Walking Dead. And he wrote Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that I like a lot. 
  • Born January 28, 1973 Carrie Vaughn, 49. Author of the Kitty Norville series. She’s also been writing extensively in the Wild Cards as well. And she’s got a relatively new SF series, The Bannerless Saga which has two novels so far, Bannerless which won the Philip K. Dick Award, and The Wild Dead. Sounds interesting. She has had two Hugo nominations, the first at Renovation for her “Amaryllis “ short story, the second at Worldcon 75 for another short story, “That Game We Played During the War”. 
  • Born January 28, 1985 Tom Hopper, 37. His principal genre role was on the BBC Meriln series as Sir Percival. He also shows up in Doctor Who playing Jeff during the “The Eleventh Hour” episode which would be during the time of the Eleventh Doctor. He’s also Luther Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy which is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. 
  • Born January 28, 1998 Ariel Winter, 24. Voice actress whose has shown up in such productions as Mr. Peabody & Sherman as Penny Peterson, Horton Hears a Who!DC Showcase: Green Arrow as Princess Perdita and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as Carrie Kelly (Robin). She’s got several one-off live performances on genre series, The Haunting Hour: The Series and Ghost Whisperer

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Scott Johnson captures the pause between heroics:

(11) MAN NAME CHUCK UP FOR AWARD NAME BRAM. Chuck Tingle shared his excitement about making the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award.

(12) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. “Quantum Computing Threatens Everything — Could it be Worse Than the Apocalypse?”MSN.com thinks this would make a good nightmare.

What is a quantum computer?

A quantum computer is a machine that uses the laws of quantum theory to solve problems made harder by Moore’s law (the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years). One example is factoring large numbers. Traditional computers are limited to logical circuits with several tens of transistors, while the number of transistors in a quantum processor may be on the order of one to two million. Meaning, these computers will have exponential power, solving problems that traditional computation can’t even identify or create solutions for.

The dangers of a quantum computer

In the near future, quantum computers will be so advanced that they will have the capability to simulate very complicated systems. This could be used for simulations in physics, aerospace engineering, cybersecurity and much more. However, once this computer is built, it has the potential to unravel data encryption protocols. It could also potentially compromise air gaps due to its ability to scan vast distances for nearby networked devices or applications that are open. This means that it can become even simpler for external hackers. They may already have access to your computer or computer system via other avenues, like vulnerabilities in web browsers. They could find it much easier because you’re not locking up all the doors….

(13) WITH A DINO BY YOUR SIDE. The Bristol Board shows off James Gurney’s beautiful poster for “New Book Week”. (Item submitted there by Kurt Busiek.)

(14) TRUE GRIT. “British men play board game ‘Dune’ for 85 hours to break Guinness record” reports UPI.

A quartet of British men broke a Guinness World Record by playing a board game for more than 85 hours.

Lea Poole, Dale Poole, Adam Bircher and Luke de Witt Vine, members of the Herefordshire Boardgamers group, played 79 rounds of the board game Dune, based on the same Frank Herbert novel as the 2021 film of the same name, for a total time of over 85 hours.

The previous record was 80 hours, set by four men in the Netherlands in 2017, and Guinness World Records told the British team they would have to best the record by at least 5 hours to be considered for official recognition.

The gamers were allowed five minutes of break time for each hour played, and they allowed the break times to accumulate so they could get a small amount of sleep. They said they had 21 minutes of break time unused when they finished their record attempt….

(15) UNSPECIAL DELIVERY. The Guardian keeps track as “Out-of-control SpaceX rocket on collision course with moon”.

SpaceX rocket is on a collision course with the moon after spending almost seven years hurtling through space, experts say.

The booster was originally launched from Florida in February 2015 as part of an interplanetary mission to send a space weather satellite on a million-mile journey.

But after completing a long burn of its engines and sending the NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory on its way to the Lagrange point – a gravity-neutral position four times further than the moon and in direct line with the sun – the rocket’s second stage became derelict….

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, wrote that the impact was due on 4 March but was “not a big deal”.

Nevertheless, space enthusiasts believe the impact could provide valuable data.

Berger believes the event will allow for observation of subsurface material ejected by the rocket’s strike, while Gray says he is “rooting for a lunar impact”.

“We already know what happens when junk hits the Earth; there’s not much to learn from that,” he said.

(16) INTENTIONAL LANDINGS. The Hakuto-R lander could be part of the international lunar hit parade: “Japanese Company Joins March Back to the Moon in 2022”.

A Japanese company is pushing ahead with plans to launch a private moon lander by the end of 2022, a year packed with other moonshot ambitions and rehearsals that could foretell how soon humans get back to the lunar surface.

If the plans hold, the company, ispace, which is based in Tokyo, would accomplish the first intact landing by a Japanese spacecraft on the moon. And by the time it arrives, it may find other new visitors that already started exploring the moon’s regolith this year from Russia and the United States. (Yutu-2, a Chinese rover, is currently the lone robotic mission on the moon.)

Other missions in 2022 plan to orbit the moon, particularly the NASA Artemis-1 mission, a crucial uncrewed test of the American hardware that is to carry astronauts back to the moon. South Korea could also launch its first lunar orbiter later this year.

But other countries that had hoped to make it to the moon in 2022 have fallen behind. India was planning to make its second robotic moon landing attempt this year. But its Chandrayaan-3 mission was delayed to mid-2023, said K. Sivan, who completed his term as the chairman of the country’s space agency this month. Russia, on the other hand, remains confident that its Luna-25 lander will lift off this summer.

The M1 moon lander built by ispace is the size of a small hot tub. It is in the final stages of assembly in Germany at the facilities of Ariane Group, the company’s European partner, which built the rocket that recently launched the James Webb Space Telescope.

If structural tests go as planned in April, M1 will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a launch on one of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets….

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Hawkeye Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George says that in this show a dog attacks a villain because “the man’s a bad guy and the dog’s a good dog.”  The dog gets rewarded with a pizza but we don’t see the doggy diarrhea that takes place when a dog snarfs up a lot of cheese.  Also, Hawkeye knows LARPers, who help him by “Making some costumes, tampering with police evidence, and risking their jobs and lives.”

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chris Barkley, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman, for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Janney.]

2021 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot Announced

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has released the Preliminary Ballot for the 2021 Bram Stoker Awards®.

This is not the list of finalists, nor are they called nominees: it is the list which HWA members will choose from when they vote to determine the finalists.

The Final Ballot (Bram Stoker Award® Nominees for the 2021 calendar year) will be announced on or around February 23, 2022.

The Bram Stoker Award winners are presently scheduled to be announced on May 14 at StokerCon 2022 in Denver.

The 2021 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot 

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Castro, V. – The Queen of the Cicadas (Flame Tree Press)
  • Demchuk, David – Red X (Strange Light)
  • Hendrix, Grady – The Final Girl Support Group (Berkley)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – My Heart Is a Chainsaw (Gallery/Saga Press)
  • Knight, EV – Children of Demeter (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • McLeod Chapman, Clay – Whisper Down the Lane (Quirk Books)
  • Pelayo, Cynthia – Children of Chicago (Agora Books)
  • Starling, Caitlin – The Death of Jane Lawrence (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Stred, Steve – Incarnate (Black Void Publishing)
  • Wendig, Chuck – The Book of Accidents (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Desiree, Amanda – Smithy (Inkshares)
  • Fox, VK – Indie Saint (Aethon Books)
  • Jones, C.B. – The Rules of the Road (Ionosphere Press)
  • Martinez, S. Alessandro – Helminth (Omnium Gatherum)
  • McQueen, LaTanya – When the Reckoning Comes (Harper Perennial)
  • Miles, Terry – Rabbits (Del Rey)
  • Moreno, Gus – This Thing Between Us (MCD x FSG Originals)
  • Piper, Hailey – Queen of Teeth (Strangehouse Books)
  • Quigley, Lisa – The Forest (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)
  • Willson, Nicole – Tidepool (The Parliament House)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Ahmed, Saladin (author) and Kivelä, Sami (artist) – Abbott 1973 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Garcia, Kami (author); Suayan, Mico (artist); Badower, Jason (artist); and Mayhew, Mike (artist) – Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity (DC Comics)
  • Leong, Sloane (author) and Bowles, Anna (artist) – Graveneye (TKO Studios)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro (author) and Cardoselli, Stefano (artist) – The Inhabitant of the Lake (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • McCurdy, Bowen (author/artist) and Musto, Kaitlyn (author) – Specter Inspectors (BOOM! Box)
  • Morrison, Grant (author); Child, Alex (author); and Franquiz, Naomi (artist) – Proctor Valley Road (BOOM! Studios)
  • Moyer, Rich (author/artist) – Ham Helsing Vampire Hunter (Crown Books for Young Readers) 
  • Panosian, Dan (author) and Ignazzi, Marianna (artist) – An Unkindness of Ravens (BOOM! Studios)
  • Scott, Cavan (author) and Howell, Corin (artist) – Shadow Service: Dark Arts (Vault Comics)
  • Szym, Adam (author/artist) – A Cordial Invitation (Self-published)  

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Ames, Alison – To Break a Covenant (Page Street Kids)
  • Blake, Kendare – All These Bodies (Quill Tree Books)
  • Boyle, R.L. – The Book of the Baku (Titan Books)
  • Craig, Erin A. – Small Favors (Delacorte Press)
  • Gould, Courtney – The Dead and the Dark (Wednesday Books) 
  • Lewis, Jessica – Bad Witch Burning (Delacorte Press)
  • Marshall, Kate Alice – Our Last Echoes (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • Polydoros, Aden – The City Beautiful (Inkyard Press)
  • Sutherland, Krystal – House of Hollow (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Waters, Erica – The River Has Teeth (HarperTeen)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Asman, Brian – Man, Fuck This House (Mutated Media)
  • Castro, V. – Goddess of Filth (Creature Publishing, LLC)
  • Deady, Tom – Of Men and Monsters (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Jeffery, Ross – Only The Stains Remain (Cemetery Gates Media)
  • Khaw, Cassandra – Nothing But Blackened Teeth (Tor Nightfire)
  • LaRocca, Eric – Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (Weirdpunk Books)
  • Marrs, Chris and O’Neill, Gene – “Entangled Soul” (Entangled Soul and Other Stories) (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Piper, Hailey – “Recitation of the First Feeding” (Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy) (The Seventh Terrace)
  • Strand, Jeff – “Twentieth Anniversary Screening” (Slice and Dice) (Independently published)
  • Tingle, Chuck – Straight (Self-published)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Gwilym, Douglas – “Year Six” (LampLight Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1) (Apokrupha)
  • Gyzander, Carol – “The Yellow Crown” (Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign) (Hippocampus Press)
  • Joseph, R.J. – “I Just Want to Be Free” (Paranormal Contact: A Quiet Horror Confessional) (Cemetery Gates Media)
  • Joseph, R.J. – “Soulmates” (Dark Dispatch Issue #2: Deadly Love) (Dark Dispatch)
  • Murray, Lee – “Permanent Damage” (Attack From the ’80s) (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “A Gathering at the Mountain” (The Bad Book) (Bleeding Edge Books)
  • Oreto, Frank J. – “The Care and Feeding of Household Gods” (Beyond the Veil) (Flame Tree Press)
  • Taborska, Anna -“Two Shakes Of A Dead Lamb’s Tail”(Terror Tales of the Scottish Lowlands) (Telos Publishing)
  • Ward, Kyla Lee – “A Whisper in the Death Pit” (Weirdbook #44) (Wildside Press)
  • Yates, Pauline – “The Best Medicine” (Midnight Echo Issue 16) (AHWA)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Bailey, Michael – Psychotropic Dragon (Written Backwards)
  • Baxter, Alan – The Gulp (13th Dragon Books)
  • Files, Gemma – In That Endlessness, Our End (Grimscribe Press)
  • Fracassi, Philip – Beneath a Pale Sky (Lethe Press)
  • Landry, Jess – The Mother Wound (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Maberry, Jonathan – Empty Graves: Tales of the Living Dead (WordFire Press LLC)
  • McCarthy, J.A.W. – Sometimes We’re Cruel and Other Stories (Cemetery Gates Media)
  • Tuttle, Lisa – The Dead Hours of Night (Valancourt Books)
  • Wise, A.C. – The Ghost Sequences (Undertow Publications)
  • Yap, Isabel – Never Have I Ever (Small Beer Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Bailey-Bond, Prano and Fletcher, Anthony – Censor (Silver Salt Films)
  • Carolyn, Axelle – The Manor (Amazon Studios)
  • Chaisson, C. Henry; Antosca, Nick; and Cooper, Scott – Antlers (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Charles, Kathy; Steensland, Mark; and Stevens, Travis – Jakob’s Wife (AMP International)
  • Cushing, Aric and Thomas, Logan – There’s No Such Thing as Vampires (Ascent Releasing)
  • Dong-hyuk, Hwang – Squid Game, Season 1, Episode 1: “Red Light, Green Light” (Siren Pictures) 
  • Flanagan, Mike; Flanagan, James; and Howard, Jeff – Midnight Mass, Season 1, Episode 6: “Book VI: Acts of the Apostles” (Intrepid Pictures)
  • Graziadei, Phil and Janiak, Leigh – Fear Street: Part One – 1994 (Chernin Entertainment)
  • Peele, Jordan; Rosenfeld, Win; and DaCosta, Nia – Candyman (Universal Pictures)
  • Pisanthanakun, Banjong – The Medium (GDH 559)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Garza, Alexander P. – notsleepyyet (Weasel Press)
  • Lansdale, Joe R. – Apache Witch and Other Poetic Observations (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Dancing with Maria’s Ghost (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • McHugh, Jessica – Strange Nests (Apokrupha)
  • O’Brien, Brandon – Can You Sign My Tentacle? (Interstellar Flight Press)
  • Simon, Marge and Turzillo, Mary – Victims (Weasel Press)
  • Sng, Christina; Yuriko Smith, Angela; Murray, Lee; and Flynn, Geneve – Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. (Yuriko Publishing)
  • Snyder, Lucy A. – Exposed Nerves (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Walrath, Holly Lyn – The Smallest of Bones (CLASH Books)
  • Wolfe, Jezzy – Monstrum Poetica (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Chambers, James – Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign (Hippocampus Press)
  • Cluff, Michael and Becker, Willow – Humans are the Problem: A Monster’s Anthology (Weird Little Worlds)
  • Datlow, Ellen – When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson (Titan Books) 
  • French, Aaron J. and Landry, Jess – There is No Death, There are No Dead (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World (Dark Moon Books)
  • HOWL Society – Howls From Hell (HOWL Society Press)
  • Johnson, Eugene – Attack From the ’80s (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Schlossberg, Josh – The Jewish Book of Horror (Denver Horror Collective) 
  • Showers, Brian J. – Uncertainties: Volume V (Swan River Press)
  • Thomas, Ben – Tales from Omnipark (House Blackwood)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Abbott, Stacey and Jowett, Lorna – Global TV Horror (University of Wales Press)
  • Decker, Lindsey – Transnationalism and Genre Hybridity in New British Horror Cinema (University of Wales Press)
  • Falvey, Eddie; Hickinbottom, Joe; and Wroot, Jonathan – New Blood: Critical Approaches to Contemporary Horror (University of Wales Press)
  • Olson, Danel – 9/11 Gothic: Decrypting Ghosts and Trauma in New York City’s Terrorism Novels (Lexington Books)
  • Knost, Michael – Writers Workshop of Horror 2 (Hydra Publications)
  • Lester, Catherine – Horror Films for Children: Fear and Pleasure in American Cinema (Bloomsbury Academic)
  • Potts, Jim – Defending a Serial Killer: The Right to Counsel (Vesuvian Books)
  • Wetmore Jr., Kevin J. – Eaters of the Dead: Myths and Realities of Cannibal Monsters (Reaktion Books)
  • Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew and Hansen, Regina M. – Giving the Devil His Due: Satan and Cinema (Fordham University Press)
  • Woofter, Kristopher – Shirley Jackson: A Companion (Peter Lang Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

  • Clasen, Mathias – “Fear Not!” (Aeon)
  • Cowen, David E. – “Introduction” (Victims) (Weasel Press)
  • Ward, Kyla Lee – “Vampire Poetry” (Penumbra No. 2 (2021)) (Hippocampus Press)
  • Diak, Nicholas – “Cullzathro Fhtagn! Magnifying the Carnivalesque in Lovecraft Through the Comic Book Series Vinegar Teeth” (Academia Letters)
  • Ognjanovi?, Dejan – “The Three Paradigms of Horror” (Vastarien Vol. 4, Issue 2) (Grimscribe Press)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “One and Done” (Were Tales: A Shapeshifter Anthology) (Brigids Gate Press)
  • Tamásfi, László – “The Devil Flew Away” (Dracula’s Death)(Strangers from Nowhere)    
  • Verona, Emily Ruth – “A Horror Fan’s Guide to Surviving Womanhood” (thefinalgirls.co.uk)  
  • Wetmore, Kevin J. – “Devil’s Advocates: The Conjuring” (Auteur Publishing/Liverpool University Press)
  • Yuriko Smith, Angela – “Horror Writers: Architects of Hope” (The Sirens Call, Halloween 2021, Issue 55) (Sirens Call Publications)

Pixel Scroll 1/6/22 Don’t File In The Subspace Ether, Don’t Scroll In Pixel Rain

(1) TO QUIT, OR NOT TO QUIT. Four-time Bram Stoker Award winner Tim Waggoner reaches out to those who are thinking about giving up professional writing in “You Can’t Fire Me!” at Writing in the Dark. He comes up with five reasons for quitting, but fourteen for not quitting.

…Don’t worry. I’m not planning on quitting anytime soon. I still have four books that I’ve contracted to write, and I’ve always said that I need to write the same way I need to breathe. I don’t think I could quit if I wanted to. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about quitting sometimes. Hell, I’ve probably thought about it, to one degree of seriousness or another, hundreds of times over the years.

Quitting is viewed as one of the worst things you can do in American culture. It’s giving up, showing weakness, proving you don’t have what it takes to keep going, to keep fighting. But quitting writing – for whatever length of time – isn’t necessarily bad. As a matter of fact, it could be exactly what you need.

Why You Should Quit Writing (or at Least Take a Break)

1)      You’re not enjoying yourself. Writing isn’t always fun and games, of course. There’s a lot of hard work involved, not just in terms of craft but in terms of developing psychological resilience (to rejections, bad reviews, poor sales, etc.) But somewhere along the way, you should be getting some satisfaction from the process, and if you aren’t, why do it? Writing might not always make you happy, but in the end, it should leave you feeling fulfilled….

Why You Shouldn’t Quit Writing

1)      Your work is valued (by someone, somewhere). Maybe you don’t have a zillion readers and aren’t getting rich from your writing, but someone out there will read it and enjoy it. It might even change their lives in ways you’ll never know. Your art is a contribution to the world, and the world is a better place because your work is in it.

(2) DREAMHAVEN HIT AGAIN. DreamHaven Books, the Minneapolis bookstore run by Greg Ketter that has already suffered so much from crime, has been broken into again. Ketter told Facebook readers “I’m not sure how much more I can take of this. Another fucking break-in at the store. Broke a window, glass everywhere. Took boxes of comics. Annoying and expensive.”

DreamHaven has been repeatedly victimized. The store was vandalized during the May 2020 riots, with glass broken, bookcases turned over, and a failed attempt to set the place afire. Then, in November 2020, Ketter and an employee were attacked and robbed when they were closing for the night.

(3) STOKER AWARDS ADD CATEGORY. The Horror Writers Association announced a “New Bram Stoker Awards® Category: Superior Achievement in Middle-Grade Novel” which will be given for the first time in 2023.

For purposes of this Award, Middle-Grade novels are defined as novels (see clause IVe) intended for the age group 8-13 with word length beginning at 25,000 words. A Middle-Grade novel that is deemed to be a ‘First Novel’ according to Rule IVf may qualify for consideration in the ‘First Novel’ category (see Rule IVr) if the author insists in writing that the work be considered for ‘First Novel’ rather than ‘Middle-Grade’ novel; otherwise, said novel will remain in the ‘Middle-Grade’ novel category. The work may not be considered for both the ‘First Novel’ and ‘Middle-Grade’ novel categories concurrently.

Works published in 2022 will be the first year eligible for the award and will be presented at the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony in 2023.

(4) HELIOSPHERE MOVES DATES. HELIOsphere 2022 now will be taking place March 25 – 27 at the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ the committee announced today on Facebook. “This is due to an unfortunate but understandable double-booking by our hotel,” the committee explained. And, “Because of the date change, Seanan McGuire and Chuck Gannon will unfortunately be unable to come this year, but we hope that they will be able to join us in the future. We are looking forward to Guests of Honor Peter David and Kathleen O’Shea David, and may have some other surprises in store, too.”

(5) WHY 2023 SITE SELECTION SHOULD RESHAPE 2022 HUGO ELECTORATE. All the fans who bought supporting memberships in DisCon III so they would be eligible to vote for Chengdu in 2023 also acquired the right to cast nominating ballots for the 2022 Hugo Awards, creating an opportunity that the Hugo Book Club Blog discusses in “Hugos Unlike Any Previous”.

The 2022 Hugo Awards seem likely to be unlike any previous Hugos, because the Hugo-nominating constituency will be unlike any previous.

As far as we are aware, there has yet to be a Worldcon in which the largest single contingent of the membership came from anywhere other than the United States. Likewise, as far as we can determine, there has yet to be a Hugo Awards at which the plurality of votes came from anywhere other than the United States.

… The vast majority of these memberships were bought by people who have never previously participated in voting on the Hugo Awards, as this will be their first Worldcon memberships. And excitingly, they will be eligible to nominate works for the Hugos in 2022. Given that there are usually little more than 1,000 nominating ballots cast in a given year, these supporting members of Discon III could have an enormous influence on what makes the ballot at the Chicago Worldcon. We encourage them to nominate…. 

(6) DALEK AT THE FRONT DOOR. “The Doctor Who treasure trove in a Northumberland village cellar” is what the Guardian calls Neil Cole’s Museum of Classic Sci-Fi.

At first glance the Northumberland village of Allendale, with its pub and post office and random parking, is like hundreds of sleepy, charming villages across the UK. It’s the Dalek that suggests something out of the ordinary.

Behind the Dalek is a four-storey Georgian townhouse. In the cellar of the house is a remarkable and unlikely collection of more than 200 costumes, props and artwork telling classic sci-fi stories of Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Marvel and many more.

Together they make up the collection of one of Britain’s most eccentric small museums, one of many to be effectively forced into hibernation because of the pandemic.

Most are run on a shoestring. Not all of them will reopen. But Neil Cole, a teacher and creator of the Museum of Classic Sci-Fi, is cheerfully optimistic about the future.

“The closure has allowed me to restructure the museum and create more space,” he says. “In a way it has been useful because it has given me time I don’t normally get.

“I’ve made the best of it. I don’t have a lot of money but I have got a lot of energy and I do everything myself.”…

(7) BUSTED. Margaret Atwood was one of the authors targeted in this phishing scheme. “F.B.I. Arrests Man Accused of Stealing Unpublished Book Manuscripts” reports the New York Times.

They were perplexing thefts, lacking a clear motive or payoff, and they happened in the genteel, not particularly lucrative world of publishing: Someone was stealing unpublished book manuscripts.

The thefts and attempted thefts occurred primarily over email, by a fraudster impersonating publishing professionals and targeting authors, editors, agents and literary scouts who might have drafts of novels and other books.

The mystery may now be solved. On Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Filippo Bernardini, a 29-year-old rights coordinator for Simon & Schuster UK, saying that he “impersonated, defrauded, and attempted to defraud, hundreds of individuals” over five or more years, obtaining hundreds of unpublished manuscripts in the process.

…According to the indictment, to get his hands on the manuscripts, Mr. Bernardini would send out emails impersonating real people working in the publishing industry — a specific editor, for example — by using fake email addresses. He would employ slightly tweaked domain names like penguinrandornhouse.com instead of penguinrandomhouse.com, — putting an “rn” in place of an “m.” The indictment said he had registered more than 160 fraudulent internet domains that impersonated publishing professionals and companies.

Mr. Bernardini also targeted a New York City-based literary scouting company. He set up impostor login pages that prompted his victims to enter their usernames and passwords, which gave him broad access to the scouting company’s database.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

2008 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Fourteen years ago at Denvention 3, where Will McCarthy was the Toastmaster, Stardust won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. The other nominated works that year were Heroes, season 1, Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixEnchanted and The Golden Compass. It followed wins for American Gods for Best Novel at  ConJosé, “Coraline” for Best Novella at TorCon 3, “A Study in Emerald” for Best Short Story at Noreascon 4. It would hardly be his last Hugo but that’s a story for another time, isn’t it? Stardust, the novel, was not nominated for a Hugo but it did win a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.

There’s a superb audio narrative of Neil reading Stardust that I must wholeheartedly recommend. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 6, 1895 Tom Fadden. He’s on the Birthday Honors List for the original  Invasion of the Body Snatchers where his character was one of the first victims to yield to the invaders. It wasn’t his first SFF role as some thirty years before that role, he would make his Broadway debut as Peter Jekyll in The Wonderful Visit based off the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells, who also co-wrote the play. The last note of his that I’ll not was that one of his first television roles was Eben Kent, the man who adopts Kal-El on the first episode of The Adventures of Superman series. (Died 1980.)
  • Born January 6, 1905 Eric Frank Russell. He won the first Hugo Award for Best Short Story at Clevention in 1955 for “Allamagoosa,” published in the May 1955 issue of Astounding Science FictionSinister Barrier, his first novel, appeared in Unknown in 1939, the first novel to appear there. Most of his work has not made to the digital realm yet. What’s you favorite work by him? (Died 1978.)
  • Born January 6, 1954 Anthony Minghella. He adapted his Jim Henson’s The Storyteller scripts into story form which were published in his Jim Henson’s The Storyteller collection. They’re quite excellent actually. (Died 2008.)
  • Born January 6, 1955 Rowan Atkinson, 67. An unlikely Birthday perhaps except for that he was the lead in Doctor Who and The Curse of Fatal Death which I know did not give him the dubious distinction of the shortest lived Doctor as that goes another actor though who I’ve not a clue. Other genre appearances were scant I think (clause inserted for the nit pickers here) though he did play Nigel Small-Fawcett in Never Say Never Again and Mr. Stringer in The Witches which I really like even if the author hates.  
  • Born January 6, 1958 Wayne Barlowe, 64. Artist whose Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials from the late Seventies I still remember fondly. It was nominated at Noreascon 2 for a Hugo but came in third with Peter Nichol’s Science Fiction Encyclopedia garnering the Award that year.  His background paintings have been used in Galaxy QuestBabylon 5John Carter and Pacific Rim to name but a few films. 
  • Born January 6, 1959 Ahrvid Engholm, 63. Swedish conrunning and fanzine fan who worked on many Nasacons as well as on Swecons. Founder of the long running Baltcon. He has many fanzines including Vheckans Avfentyr, Fanytt, Multum Est and others. He was a member of Lund Fantasy Fan Society in the University of Lund.
  • Born January 6, 1960 Andrea Thompson, 62. I’ll not mention her memorable scene on Arli$$ as it’s not genre though it was worth seeing. Her best genre work was as the telepath Talia Winters on Babylon 5. Her first genre role was in Nightmare Weekend which I’ll say was definitely a schlock film. Next up was playing a monster in the short lived Monsters anthology series. She had an one-off on Quantum Leap before landing the Talia Winters gig. Then came Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys. Really. Truly. Her last genre role to date appears to be in the Heroes: Destiny web series. 
  • Born January 6, 1969 Aron Eisenberg. Nog on Deep Space 9. Way after DS9, he’d show up in Renegades, a might-be Trek series loaded with Trek alumni including Nichelle Nichols, Robert Beltran,  Koenig and Terry Farrell. It lasted two episodes. (Died 2019.)

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Off the Mark finds an alternate-world Willie Wonka whose movie is going to be very short.

(11) SPOILER WARNING. Radio Times asks, “Doctor Who: Is Yaz’s gay awakening too little too late?”

…It’s easy to see why such a last-minute development could be seen as tokenistic – a way of keeping Queer fans happy without having to depict an actual romance between the pair, because there simply won’t be enough time now. But could it be that a romantic attraction between Yaz and the Doctor was never planned by writer Chris Chibnall, and that it just emerged from natural chemistry between the actors? And if so, is that such a crime?…

(12) LOOKING BACK. In “Doctor Who spin-off writer on what made Sarah Jane show a ‘big hit’”, Phil Ford shares a key reason with Radio Times.

Premiering in 2007 and running for five series before wrapping up in 2011, The Sarah Jane Adventures (SJA) was created by Doctor Who’s then-showrunner, the fan favourite Russell T Davies. From the second series onwards, Phil Ford was the head writer and co-producer on the Elisabeth Sladen-starring show.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com for our RT Rewind retrospective on The Sarah Jane Adventures, Ford summed up the show’s broad appeal like so: “Russell always was of the opinion there was really no story that you couldn’t tell kids, as long as you told it in the in the correct way.”

“We never really pulled our punches so much on The Sarah Jane Adventures,” Ford added, “and I think that’s one of the things that made it such a big hit with kids and with their parents as well.” Essentially, then, the show’s ability to tell bold stories in an unfiltered way – even stories with hard-hitting, real-life topics – gave the series a resonance that appealed across numerous age groups.

Ford elaborated on that point with a specific example from one of his episodes: “In The Eye of the Gorgon [Ford’s first script for the series], a lot of it is about a woman who has dementia. I remember, very early on, Russell talking about the responsibility that we had, because there would be kids who would have grandparents who were going through the same thing.

“We didn’t want to magically take that away from her through the sci-fi story: it was important to Russell and to us that we were true to the condition. We didn’t want to tell kids, ‘It’s okay, because your grandparents who are suffering awful conditions could be magically made well again’. Telling mature stories and finding the truth was something that we tried to do all the way through.”…

(13) NAME YOUR PRICE FOR DE CAMP COLLECTION. The Publisher’s Pick free ebook program this month is offering The Best of L. Sprague de Camp. “The cart will show the suggested price of $1.99. You may change it to any price including $0.00”

A science fiction collection by one of the all-time greats of science fiction, L. Sprague de Camp. These stories and poems exemplify de Camp’s unique outlook on life and mankind and are told with a quiet but sharp irony that became his trademark. Bold, inventive and humorous, this collection is a must for fans of the writer.

(14) OCTOTHORPE. In episode 48 of the Octothorpe podcast “The Things You Nominate Are All Extremely Unpopular”

John Coxon and Alison Scott are watching cutting-edge TV, and Liz Batty is hungry. We discuss the @HugoAwards, talk about how (not to) get sponsorship for your event, and discuss some upcoming NASFiC bids in the wake of the @chengduworldcon.

The Octothorpe crew also sent along a faux advertising slogan saying “Sponsored by Tyrell: More Human than Human” with the shield of the Tyrell Corporation.

(15) DECLAN FINN. White Ops, a new novel by Dragon Award nominee Declan Finn, will be released January 18 from Richard Paolinelli’s Tuscany Bay Books.

The Pharmakoi rampaged across dozens of star systems, taking on the toughest races in the Galaxy in their campaign of conquest. But they are only the beginning.

Sean Patrick Ryan sees that another race is behind the Pharmakoi expansion; a race that wants to test our galaxy for weakness, and who needs to be eliminated from within. To fight the enemy in the shadows, Sean will put together a strike team to light up the darkness— with nukes if necessary.

They will get the job done at any cost.

Declan Finn is a NYC-based author of thrillers, urban fantasy, and sff. White Ops is available as an ebook from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Two more books in the series are on the way: Politics Kills on February 15, and Main Street D.O.A. on March 15.

[Based on a press release sent to File 770, which is happy to honor Finn and Paolinelli’s request to help launch this book.]

(16) FRIENDLY GHOST. Darcy Bell tells about “The House That Was Haunted By Benevolent Ghosts” at CrimeReads. Here is the middle of her anecdote.

…Though the renovation wasn’t finished, they invited friends for a weekend. They half hoped, half didn’t hope, that they would all hear the music, so at least they would have witnesses. But no music sounded, no one heard anything.

Until the next Saturday night, when they were alone . This time it was a man singing “Nessun Dorma,” from Turnadot.

Nessun dorma, said the husband, means: No one can sleep.

The husband wanted to tell someone, he even suggested hiring one of those people who get rid of poltergeists. They could just ask…The wife refused. She worried that if anyone knew she was hallucinating,  they’d think she wasn’t fit to be a mother. She didn’t tell her doctor. They didn’t tell the contractor why they wanted extra insulation between their bedroom and the attic, and anyway, it didn’t muffle the music….

(17) RUSSIAN SPACE MISSIONS THIS YEAR. Nature’s list of “Science events 2022 to watch out for” includes a Russian Luna lander and also Russian–European ExoMars mission with UK Rosalind Franklin rover atop Russian Kazachok platform.

Another epic space journey to watch will be the joint Russian–European ExoMars mission, which is scheduled to blast off in September. It will carry the European Space Agency’s Rosalind Franklin rover to Mars, where it will search for signs of past life. The launch was originally scheduled for 2020, but has been delayed, partly because of issues with the parachutes needed to touch down safely.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chris Barkley, Ian Randal Strock, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

Pixel Scroll 5/23/21 Looking Up Out Of An Inkwell

(1) BANDFORMER ROBOT. Daði Freyr’s (Daði & Gagnamagnið) song “10 Years” finished fourth in the 2021 Eurovision contest. The official video is entertainingly science fictional.

(2) POWELL BOOKS. Emily Inkpen was able to have “A Conversation with Gareth L. Powell”, creator of Silversands, The Recollection, and the trilogies; Ack Ack Macaque and Embers of War.

I know that for the Japanese translation of Embers of War, the title of the book was changed, can you tell us what it’s known as in Japan?

[GLP] The Japanese title translates as “Warship Girl,” which puts the emphasis firmly on the character of the sentient starship Trouble Dog.

Deciding on a title for a book can be difficult. The Japanese title switches the emphasis from the wider political context of the book, to one of the main characters. Do you think this will change the way people in Japan approach the book?

[GLP] I’m not sure. The Japanese cover has a very cool manga-style illustration of Trouble Dog’s human persona, so coupled with the title change, I think the publishers are very much positioning her as the main character/selling point. She’s young but hooked into this powerful weapon, and I think in that way perhaps they see her in the same sort of light as the main characters in Ghost in the Machine or Akira.

(3) FUTURE CRIMES. Jed S. Rakoff questions the rationale of being “Sentenced by Algorithm” at The New York Review. (Complete article is behind a paywall.)

Is it fair for a judge to increase a defendant’s prison time on the basis of an algorithmic score that predicts the likelihood that he will commit future crimes? Many states now say yes, even when the algorithms they use for this purpose have a high error rate, a secret design, and a demonstrable racial bias. The former federal judge Katherine Forrest, in her short but incisive When Machines Can Be Judge, Jury, and Executioner, says this is both unfair and irrational.

One might think that the very notion of a defendant having his prison time determined not just by the crime of which he was convicted, but also by a prediction that he will commit other crimes in the future, would be troubling on its face. Such “incapacitation”—depriving the defendant of the capacity to commit future crimes—is usually defended on the grounds that it protects the public and is justifiable as long as the sentence is still within the limits set by the legislature for the crime. But the reality is that the defendant is receiving enhanced punishment for crimes he hasn’t committed, and that seems wrong.

Nonetheless, Congress and state legislatures have long treated incapacitation as a legitimate goal of sentencing. For example, the primary federal statute setting forth the “factors to be considered in imposing a sentence” (18 U.S.C. sec. 3553, enacted in 1984) provides, among other things, that “the court, in determining the particular sentence to be imposed, shall consider…the need for the sentence imposed…to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant.”

How is the likelihood of “further crimes of the defendant” to be determined?

(4) THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY. Mohammad Reza Kamali delves into “The Tale of the annotated map and Tolkien’s hidden riddles – Part Four”.

To find out whether Europe or anywhere else was really the source of inspiration for Tolkien’s work, we need to have documented evidence. The most famous evidence from Tolkien’s writings about comparing our earth to Middle-earth is his famous Letter 294:

The action of the story takes place in the North-west of ‘Middle-earth’, equivalent in latitude to coastlands of Europe and the north shores of the Mediterranean… If Hobbiton and Rivendell are taken (as intended) to be about the latitude of Oxford, then Minas Tirith, 600 miles south, is at about the latitude of Florence. The Mouths of Anduin and the ancient city of Pelargir are at about the latitude of ancient Troy.

But as we saw in detail in part 1 of this article series, Tolkien’s note on the annotated map that was discovered fairly recently helps us understand he is not saying in Letter 294 that he was inspired by Europe itself in creating his Middle-earth map, but that he was using well-known European locations to illustrate the position and dimensions of Middle-earth.

We have talked many times about Letter 294 in my article series because has long been considered the greatest enemy of my research, which considers Tolkienian influences further east than Europe. Because of this letter, for years my research has been quickly dismissed almost as a joke, and few took it seriously. But when the annotated map notes were found, the situation suddenly changed. Let’s look at the situation afresh….

(5) LONE STARS. In the Washington Post, Matt Hurwitz has a preview of Solos, a near-future original anthology series on Amazon Prime which has one performer (including Anthony Mackie and Dame Helen Mirren) in every episode. “In ‘Solos,’ Helen Mirren, Anthony Mackie and Constance Wu are part of an impressive cast. Here’s why it needed ‘true masters of the craft.’”

“My dad always used to say, ‘If you talk to yourself, that’s fine, but if you answer yourself, it’s a problem,’?” recalls actor Anthony Mackie. In Amazon Prime’s “Solos,” however, he kind of does just that.

In fact, most of his esteemed colleagues — including Oscar winners Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Anne Hathaway, along with Constance Wu, Dan Stevens, Nicole Beharie and Uzo Aduba — do as well. Each of the show’s seven episodesfeatures, with slight exception, a single actor. Going it alone.

….As a sci-fi fan, Weil gave each “Solos” tale a futuristic bent. “Just a few minutes in the future, though. Sometimes we need a little bit of distance to appreciate the experiences and emotions we’re feeling today,” he says. “What if there was an A.I. that could replace your loved one who passes away? What if, in the future, there was a fertility drug that could ensure 100 percent success? What if, in the future, we had smart homes that were a participant in our own lives?”

The concept gave him and his co-writers a chance to take some of those occasional character ideas that don’t always have a place and give them their day. “All writers have ideas we scribble on the back of a bar napkin, or that we log in on our computer at 2 a.m. and don’t know how they’re going to fit in something we’re working on,” he says. “This was a moment to pluck those characters from obscurity and give them life, a moment onstage.”…

Vogue also profiles Helen Mirren and her character’s Dior wardrobe.

(6) STOKER CEREMONY. You can hear the deeply touching speeches and acceptance remarks while viewing yesterday’s online 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® Ceremony at YouTube.

(7) GET YOUR CARD PUNCHED. Scott Edelman followed last night’s ceremony with an induction of his own.

Another Bram Stoker awards ceremony means — there are new winners — but also new losers. Some of them who like me are in the Never Winner category said they’re looking forward to having me give a new punch to their “It is an honor to be nominated” cards when we meet next year in Denver. But if there are any *new* Never Winner losers out there who’d like this Susan Lucci of the HWA to mail you one — just ask!

(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.

  • May 22, 1957 — On this day in 1957, Quatermass 2 premiered In the U.K. It was produced by Anthony Hinds, and directed by Val Guest. It’s a sequel to The Quatermass Xperiment. Screenplay was by Nigel Kneale and Val Guest.  It stars Brian Donlevy, John Longden, Sid James, Bryan Forbes, Vera Day, and William Franklyn. Like the first film, some critics thought it was a lot of fun, some were less than impressed. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a respectable sixty percent rating. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born May 23, 1915 – Oliver Butterworth.  Four decades a Professor of English at Hartford College; staged a yearly Shakespeare’s Birthday party.  Six children’s books: we can claim The Enormous Egg which won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, two more.  The egg was enormous because it had to hatch a triceratops, eventually named Uncle Beazley.  Egg was made into a play, produced on television by NBC Children’s Theater.  (Died 1990) [JH]
  • Born May 23, 1915 – William Timmins.  A run of 46 Astounding covers including for The World of Null-A, six more; here’s his last; fifty interiors. Outside our field, All AcesThe Boy Scout HandbookCluesDime SportsFamily CircleLibertyThe ShadowWestern Storyoilswatercolors.  (Died 1985) [JH]
  • Born May 23, 1921 — James Blish. What was his best work? Cities in FlightA Case of Conscience? I’d argue it was one of those works. Certainly it wasn’t the Trek pieces of fiction though he certainly pumped them out with nearly ninety all told if I’m reading ISFDB right. And I hadn’t realized that he wrote one series, the Pantropy series, under a pen name (Arthur Merlyn). (Died 1975.) (CE)
  • Born May 23, 1934 – Phil Castora.  Quiet and unassuming fan, joined us in 1951 at Pittsburgh, then Washington, D.C., then Los Angeles where I met him.  Quiet, that is, unless something struck him as really funny, when he would collapse laughing, rolling on the floor and startling the cat.  I was like that in law school.  His letters to File 770 in paper days were gems, as Our Gracious Host has told us.  And OGH should know; he too served as LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Soc.) Secretary.  Luckily PC left a memoir, Who Knows What Ether Lurks in the Minds of Fen?  (Died 2009) [JH]
  • Born May 23, 1935 – Isidore Haiblum.  City College of New York with honors.  Eighteen novels, a good number; thirteen are ours, a good number for those of us among whom eighteen is a good number.  Roger Zelazny called Interworld a mix of hard-boiled and zany, and he should know.  Faster Than a Speeding Bullet (with Stuart Silver) about Golden Age radio.  Interviewed Isaac Bashevis Singer in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine.  (Died 2012) [JH]
  • Born May 23, 1941 – Brenda Seabrooke, age 80.  Six novels for us.  “Believably weaves the supernatural elements into the story,” said one reviewer.  Here is the Dutch edition of The Vampire in My Bathtub.  [JH]
  • Born May 23, 1967 — Sean Williams, 54. Australian author who has been the recipient of a lot of Ditmar and Aurealis Awards. And I mean a lot. Most of his work has been co-authored with Shane Nix (such as Emergence and Orphans series, Star Wars: New Jedi Order novels) but I’d recommend The Books of the Cataclysm series wrote solely by him as it’s most excellent. He’s deeply stocked at the usual digital suspects. (CE)
  • Born May 23, 1974 – Sarah Beth Durst, age 47.  A score of fantasies.  Alex Award from American Lib’y Ass’n.  Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.  Drink, Slay, Love made into a Lifetime movie.  About The Reluctant Queen, here’s her Big Idea.  [JH]
  • Born May 23, 1979 — Brian James Freeman, 42. Horror author. Novels to date are Blue November StormsThis Painted Darkness and Black Fire (as James Kidman). He’s also done The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book (superbly done) which he co-authored with Bev Vincent and which is illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne. He publishes limited edition books here. (CE)
  • Born May 23, 1986 — Ryan Coogler, 35, Co-writer with Joe Robert Cole of Black Panther which he also was Director for as he will be for Black Panther 2. Producer, Space Jam 2 (pre-production) producer of the forthcoming Wankanda series on Disney+. (CE)

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Ziggy makes a cartoon from an idea that goes back to the early days of television.

(11) THIS IS NOT THE BBC. Get a few more giggles from the pages of fandom’s antiquity while you listen to this recording of the broadcast spoof “1960 TAFF RACE: ELECTION NIGHT” at Rob Hansen’s THEN site.

Relive the excitement of the 1960 election courtesy of the Liverpool group as results for candidates Mal Ashworth, Eric Bentcliffe, and Sandy Sanderson pour in from across the country.

**********

Script by John Roles and Stan Nuttall.

Cast: Marjorie Dendon, Eddie Jones, Pat Milnes (formerly Doolan), Stan, Norman and Ina Shorrock, Norman Weedall, John Roles and Stan Nuttall.

(12) FASHION STATEMENT. In case you ever wondered, here are “All of Batgirl’s Costumes, Ranked” by Nerdist’s Eric Diaz.

Batgirl is finally getting her own feature film, coming to us from the Bad Boys for Life directing duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Barbara Gordon is one of DC Comics’ most famous heroes, and it’s about time she got her due. But just which costume is the heroine going to use when protecting Gotham City on screen?

Since 1967, Batgirl has worn several variations of her world-famous costume. Both in the comic book pages, and in other media. We’re sure her live-action suit will take inspiration from her entire wardrobe spanning the last five decades. And we’re here to rank them all, from least favorite to greatest…

In last place –

11. DC Super Hero Girls (2015)

The DC Super Hero Girls cartoon and toyline came out in 2015 and successfully sold the concept of DC heroines to young girls. All of their costumes were reinvented. Some more successfully than others. In the initial concept, Batgirl loses her famous cowl and cape, and replaces them with a hoodie and mini bat wings. It’s totally cute, but loses too many essential elements of the original costume’s silhouette. So for that reason, it comes in last.

(13) AUCTION SURPRISE. “Handwritten example of famous Einstein equation fetches $1.2 million” reports the Los Angeles Times.

A letter from Albert Einstein in which he writes out his famous E = mc2 equation has sold at auction for more than $1.2 million, about three times more than it was expected to get, Boston-based RR Auction said Friday.

Archivists at the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem say there are only three other known examples of Einstein writing the world-changing equation in his own hand.

This fourth example, the only one in a private collection, became public only recently, according to RR Auction, which had expected it to sell for about $400,000.

“It’s an important letter from both a holographic and a physics point of view,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, calling the equation the most famous in the world.

The equation — energy equals mass times the speed of light squared — changed physics by demonstrating that time was not absolute and that mass and energy were equivalent.

The one-page letter, written in German to Polish American physicist Ludwik Silberstein, is dated Oct. 26, 1946. Silberstein was a well-known critic and challenger to some of Einstein’s theories.

“Your question can be answered from the E = mc2 formula, without any erudition,” Einstein wrote in the letter on Princeton University letterhead, according to a translation provided by RR Auction.

(14) SECRET INGREDIENTS? “$100 Disneyland sandwich ranks as one of the world’s most expensive” – the Orange County Register may let you read the story if you do it very fast before the paywall crashes down. Maybe it’s a test of your superhero qualifications to eat this sandwich. (Even then, you’ll need Tony Stark to float you a loan.)

The new $99.99 Quantum-sized Pym-ini Sandwich coming to the Pym Test Kitchen when Avengers Campus debuts June 4 at Disney California Adventure ranks among the world’s most expensive sandwiches.

What’s in the sandwich? For that price, it better come with super powers and side of immortality.

(15) BOOK LOVE. Lela E. Buis does a “Review of ‘Little Free Library’ by Naomi Kritzer”, a 2021 Hugo finalist.  

…So, this is absorbing and really entertaining. Most of the story is made up of Meigan’s loving preparation and stocking of the library (attractive for book lovers), and the increasingly strange results as her books disappear and the odd gifts and correspondence begin to appear in their place….

(16) VIRGIN TEST FLIGHT. “Virgin Galactic rocket ship ascends from New Mexico” – a local CBS affiliate has the story.

Virgin Galactic on Saturday made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle, as the company forges toward offering tourist flights to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.

High above the desert in a cloudless sky, the VSS Unity ignited its rocket to hurtle the ship and two pilots toward space. A live feed by NASASpaceFlight.com showed the ship accelerating upward and confirmed a landing later via radar.

Virgin Galactic announced that its VSS Unity shuttle accelerated to three times the speed of sound and reached an altitude of just over 55 miles (89 kilometers) above sea level before making its gliding return through the atmosphere.

… Virgin Galactic has reached space twice before. The first time was from California in December 2018.

The flights are designed to reach an altitude of at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) as the rocket motor is turned off and the crew prepares to reenter the atmosphere and glide to a landing.

As part of the return trip, a feathering system slows and stabilizes the craft as it re-enters the atmosphere.

New Mexico taxpayers have invested over $200 million in the Spaceport America hangar and launch facility, near Truth or Consequences, after Branson and then-Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, pitched the plan for the facility, with Virgin Galactic as the anchor tenant.

(17) DON’T GET LOST. “Europe plans sat-nav and telecoms network at the Moon”BBC has the plan.

The European Space Agency is proposing a precise navigation system at the Moon, much like the sat-nav technology we have here on Earth.

It would enable spacecraft and astronauts to know exactly where they are when moving around the lunar body and to land with precision.

The initiative, known as Moonlight, would also incorporate a telecommunications function.

A large flotilla of lunar missions will be launched this decade.

Chief among them will be the US space agency-led successor to Apollo. Called Project Artemis, this will put crews on the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Netflix’s anime division dropped a trailer for Trese, based on an acclaimed Flilipino comic series.

 [Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jeffrey Jones with an assist from Anna Nimmhaus.]

The 2020 Bram Stoker Awards

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award winners were announced May 22 during Virtual StokerCon 2021’s livestream ceremony. Emceed by Jonathan Maberry, it drew over 300 viewers.

One of the event’s many highlights was the giving of three Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Awards: to Carol J. Clover, Jewell Gomez, and Marge Simons.

2020 BRAM STOKER AWARDS

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Jones, Stephen Graham – The Only Good Indians (Gallery/Saga Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Knight, EV – The Fourth Whore (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Holder, Nancy (author), Di Francia, Chiara (artist), and Woo, Amelia (artist) – Mary Shelley Presents (Kymera Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Cesare, Adam – Clown in a Cornfield (HarperTeen)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Jones, Stephen Graham – Night of the Mannequins (Tor.com)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Malerman, Josh – “One Last Transformation” (Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors) (Written Backwards)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Murray, Lee – Grotesque: Monster Stories (Things in the Well)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Whannell, Leigh – The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick Productions)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Sng, Christina – A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Murray, Lee and Flynn, Geneve – Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Omnium Gatherum Media)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Waggoner, Tim – Writing in the Dark (Guide Dog Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

  • Waggoner, Tim – “Speaking of Horror” (The Writer)

HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION SPECIALTY AND SERVICE AWARDS

Horror Writers Association Specialty Award for Publishing

The award recognizes a publisher outside the mainstream New York City publishing community that specializes in dark-themed fiction.

  • Crystal Lake Publishing

Horror Writers Association Mentor of the Year

HWA presents the award “in recognition of a member who distinguishes herself in helping mentees, while serving in the HWA’s Mentor Program.”

  • Angela Yuiko Smith

Horror Writers Association Silver Hammer Award

HWA presents the Silver Hammer Award in recognition of extraordinary volunteerism by a member who dedicates valuable time and effort to the organization. The award is determined by HWA’s Board of Trustees.

  • Carina Bissett
  • Brian W. Matthews

Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • Carol J. Clover
  • Jewell Gomez
  • Marge Simons

Richard Laymon President’s Award

Named in honor of Richard Laymon, who died in 2001 while serving as the HWA’s President. It is given by the HWA’s sitting President to a volunteer who has served HWA in an especially exemplary manner and has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization.

  • Becky Spratford

The 2020 Bram Stoker Awards
Final Ballot

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) posted the finalists for the 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® on February 22.

The Bram Stoker Award winners will be announced in May during the Virtual StokerCon 2021 event.

The 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Jones, Stephen Graham – The Only Good Indians (Gallery/Saga Press)
  • Katsu, Alma – The Deep (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Keisling, Todd – Devil’s Creek (Silver Shamrock Publishing)
  • Malerman, Josh – Malorie (Del Rey)
  • Moreno-Garcia, Silvia – Mexican Gothic (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Hall, Polly – The Taxidermist’s Lover (CamCat Publishing, LLC)
  • Harrison, Rachel – The Return (Berkley)
  • Jeffery, Ross – Tome (The Writing Collective)
  • Knight, EV – The Fourth Whore (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Reed Petty, Kate – True Story (Viking)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Archer, Steven (author/artist) – The Masque of the Red Death (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Brody, Jennifer (author) and Rivera, Jules (artist) – Spectre Deep 6 (Turner)
  • Douek, Rich (author) and Cormack, Alex (artist) – Road of Bones (IDW Publishing)
  • Holder, Nancy (author), Di Francia, Chiara (artist), and Woo, Amelia (artist) – Mary Shelley Presents (Kymera Press)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro (author) and Cardoselli, Stefano (artist/author) – Her Life Matters: (Or Brooklyn Frankenstein) (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Niles, Steve (author), Simeone, Salvatore (author), and Kudranski, Szymon (artist) – Lonesome Days, Savage Nights (TKO Studios)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Cesare, Adam – Clown in a Cornfield (HarperTeen)
  • Kraus, Daniel – Bent Heavens (Henry Holt and Company/Macmillan)
  • Snyman, Monique – The Bone Carver (Vesuvian Books)
  • Thomas, Aiden – Cemetery Boys (Swoon Reads/Macmillan)
  • Waters, Erica – Ghost Wood Song (HarperTeen)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Iglesias, Gabino – Beyond the Reef (Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror) (Wicked Run Press)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – Night of the Mannequins (Tor.com)
  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Invention of Ghosts (Nightscape Press)
  • Landry, Jess – I Will Find You, Even in the Dark (Dim Shores Presents Volume 1) (Dim Shores)
  • Pinsker, Sarah – Two Truths and a Lie (Tor.com)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Arcuri, Meghan – “Am I Missing the Sunlight?” (Borderlands 7) (Borderlands Press)
  • Fawver, Kurt – “Introduction to the Horror Story, Day 1” (Nightmare Magazine Nov. 2020 (Issue 98))
  • Malerman, Josh – “One Last Transformation” (Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors) (Written Backwards)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “The Thing I Found Along a Dirt Patch Road” (Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4: Recoil) (Down and Out Books)
  • Ward, Kyla Lee – “Should Fire Remember the Fuel?” (Oz is Burning) (B Cubed Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Koja, Kathe – Velocities: Stories (Meerkat Press)
  • Langan, John – Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies (Word Horde)
  • Lillie, Patricia – The Cuckoo Girls (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Murray, Lee – Grotesque: Monster Stories (Things in the Well)
  • Taborska, Anna – Bloody Britain (Shadow Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Amaris, Scarlett and Stanley, Richard – Color Out of Space (SpectreVision)
  • Green, Misha – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 1: “Sundown” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
  • Green, Misha and Ofordire, Ihuoma – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 8: “Jig-a-Bobo” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
  • LaManna, Angela – The Haunting of Bly Manor, Season 1, Episode 5: “The Altar of the Dead” (Intrepid Pictures, Amblin Television, Paramount Television Studios)
  • Whannell, Leigh – The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick Productions)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Whitechapel Rhapsody: Dark Poems (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • McHugh, Jessica – A Complex Accident of Life (Apokrupha)
  • Pelayo, Cynthia – Into the Forest and All the Way Through (Burial Day Books)
  • Sng, Christina – A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Tantlinger, Sara – Cradleland of Parasites (Rooster Republic Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Bailey, Michael and Murano, Doug – Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors (Written Backwards)
  • Murray, Lee and Flynn, Geneve – Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Kolesnik, Samantha – Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror (Grindhouse Press)
  • Tantlinger, Sara – Not All Monsters: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women of Horror (Rooster Republic Press)
  • Yardley, Mercedes M. – Arterial Bloom (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Florence, Kelly and Hafdahl, Meg – The Science of Women in Horror: The Special Effects, Stunts, and True Stories Behind Your Favorite Fright Films (Skyhorse)
  • Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – 1000 Women in Horror (BearManor Media)
  • Keene, Brian – End of the Road (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Peirse, Alison – Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre (Rutgers University Press)
  • Waggoner, Tim – Writing in the Dark (Guide Dog Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Wetmore, Jr. Kevin J. – The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaption (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

  • Jackson Joseph, Rhonda – “The Beloved Haunting of Hill House: An Examination of Monstrous Motherhood” (The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation) (McFarland)
  • Pelayo, Cynthia – “I Need to Believe” (Southwest Review Volume 105.3)
  • Robinson, Kelly – “Lost, Found, and Finally Unbound: The Strange History of the 1910 Edison Frankenstein” (Rue Morgue Magazine, June 2020)
  • Sng, Christina – “Final Girl: A Life in Horror” (Interstellar Flight Magazine, October 2020)
  • Waggoner, Tim – “Speaking of Horror” (The Writer)

2020 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot Announced

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has released the Preliminary Ballot for the 2020 Bram Stoker Awards®.

This is not the list of finalists, nor are they called nominees: it is the list which HWA members will choose from when they vote to determine the finalists.

The Final Ballot (Bram Stoker Award® Nominees for the 2020 calendar year) will be announced on February 23, 2021.

The Bram Stoker Award winners are presently scheduled to be announced in May at StokerCon 2021 in Denver.

The 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Davidson, Andy – The Boatman’s Daughter (MCD x FSG Originals)
  • Hurst, Rex – What Hell May Come (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – The Only Good Indians (Gallery/Saga Press)
  • Katsu, Alma – The Deep (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Keisling, Todd – Devil’s Creek (Silver Shamrock Publishing)
  • Kenemore, Scott – Lake of Darkness (Talos)
  • Malerman, Josh – Malorie (Del Rey)
  • Moreno-Garcia, Silvia – Mexican Gothic (Del Rey)
  • Thomas, Jeffrey – The American (JournalStone)
  • Triana, Kristopher – Gone to See the River Man (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Alleyne, C.S. – Belle Vue (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Fram, John – The Bright Lands (Hanover Square Press)
  • Hall, Polly – The Taxidermist’s Lover (CamCat Publishing, LLC)
  • Harrison, Rachel – The Return (Berkley)
  • Jeffery, Ross – Tome (The Writing Collective)
  • Knight, EV – The Fourth Whore (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Kulski, K.P. – Fairest Flesh (Rooster Republic Press)
  • Lyons, Matthew – The Night Will Find Us (Keylight Books)
  • Meijer, Maryse – The Seventh Mansion (FSG Originals)
  • Reed Petty, Kate – True Story (Viking)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Archer, Steven (author/artist) – The Masque of the Red Death (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Brody, Jennifer (author) and Rivera, Jules (artist) – Spectre Deep 6 (Turner)
  • Chapman, Clay McLeod (author), Brown, Garry (artist), and Mooneyham, Chris (artist) – Scream Vol. 1: Curse of Carnage (Marvel)
  • Daniel, Tim (author), Moreci, Michael (author), and Hixson, Joshua (artist) – The Plot (Vault Comics)
  • Douek, Rich (author) and Cormack, Alex (artist) – Road of Bones (IDW Publishing)
  • Holder, Nancy (author), Di Francia, Chiara (artist), and Woo, Amelia (artist) – Mary Shelley Presents (Kymera Press)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro (author) and Cardoselli, Stefano (artist) – Her Life Matters: (Or Brooklyn Frankenstein) (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Nadler, Lonnie (author) and Cha, Jenna (artist) – Black Stars Above (Vault Comics)
  • Niles, Steve (author), Simeone, Salvatore (author), and Kudranski, Szymon (artist) – Lonesome Days, Savage Nights (TKO Studios)
  • Paknadel, Alex (author), Brusco, Giulia (artist), and Vendrell, Nil (artist) – Redfork (TKO Studios)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Cesare, Adam – Clown in a Cornfield (HarperTeen)
  • Charlton, Darren – Wranglestone (Stripes/Little Tiger)
  • Dávila Cardinal, Ann – Category Five (Tor Teen)
  • Kraus, Daniel – Bent Heavens (Henry Holt and Company/Macmillan)
  • Laure, Estelle – Mayhem (Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s)
  • Lutz, Leslie – Fractured Tide (Blink)
  • Parsons, Ash – Girls Save the World in This One (Philomel Books)
  • Snyman, Monique – The Bone Carver (Vesuvian Books)
  • Thomas, Aiden – Cemetery Boys (Swoon Reads/Macmillan)
  • Waters, Erica – Ghost Wood Song (HarperTeen)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Ashley-Smith, J. – The Attic Tragedy (Meerkat Press)
  • Cowen, David E. – Proof of Death and Other Facts (Horror USA – Texas: An Anthology of Horror from the Lone Star State) (Soteira Press)
  • Deady, Tom – Coleridge (Silver Shamrock Publishing)
  • Iglesias, Gabino – Beyond the Reef (Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror) (Wicked Run Press)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – Night of the Mannequins (Tor.com)
  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Invention of Ghosts (Nightscape Press)
  • Landry, Jess – I Will Find You, Even in the Dark (Dim Shores Presents Volume 1) (Dim Shores)
  • Miskowski, S.P. – The Best of Both Worlds (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Parent, Jason – Eight Cylinders (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Pinsker, Sarah – Two Truths and a Lie (Tor.com)
  • Stred, Steve – The Window in the Ground (The Writing Collective)
  • Wise, A.C. – Exhalation #10 (Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles) (Blumhouse Books)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Arcuri, Meghan – “Am I Missing the Sunlight?” (Borderlands 7) (Borderlands Press)
  • Busby, R.A. – “Street View” (Collective Realms Magazine: Issue #002) (Lazy Adventurer Publishing)
  • Compton, Johnny – “FFUNS” (PseudoPod 692)
  • Di Orazio, Paolo – “The Man Who Fell Beyond the Wall” (KDP Amazon)
  • Fawver, Kurt – “Introduction to the Horror Story, Day 1” (Nightmare Magazine Nov. 2020 (Issue 98))
  • Girardi, Jill – “The Ecstasy of Gold” (25 Gates of Hell: A Horror Anthology) (Burwick Anthologies)
  • Girardi, Jill – “The Wet Dream” (The Places We Fear to Tread) (Cemetery Gates Media)
  • Hinkle, Larry – “The Space Between” (Deep Magic, Spring 2020) (Amberlin)
  • Malerman, Josh – “One Last Transformation” (Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors) (Written Backwards)
  • McKnight Hardy, Lucie – “The Birds of Nagasaki” (Uncertainties Volume IV) (Swan River Press)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “The Thing I Found Along a Dirt Patch Road” (Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4: Recoil) (Down and Out Books)
  • Ward, Kyla Lee – “Should Fire Remember the Fuel?” (Oz is Burning) (B Cubed Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Chronister, Kay – Thin Places (Undertow Publications)
  • Koja, Kathe – Velocities: Stories (Meerkat Press)
  • Langan, John – Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies (Word Horde)
  • Lillie, Patricia – The Cuckoo Girls (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • McMahon, Gary – Some Bruising May Occur (JournalStone)
  • Murray, Lee – Grotesque: Monster Stories (Things in the Well)
  • Oliver, Jonathan – The Language of Beasts (Black Shuck Books)
  • Ottone, Robert P. – Her Infernal Name & Other Nightmares (Spooky House Press LLC)
  • Stanton, Max D. – A Season of Loathsome Miracles (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Taborska, Anna – Bloody Britain (Shadow Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Amaris, Scarlett and Stanley, Richard – Color Out of Space (SpectreVision)
  • Cozad, Adam and Duffield, Brian – Underwater (20th Century Fox Film Corporation)
  • Desola, David and Rivero, Pedro – The Platform (Basque Films, Netflix)
  • Finnegan, Lorcan and Shanley, Garret – Vivarium (Lovely Productions, Saban Films)
  • Green, Misha – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 1: “Sundown” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
  • Green, Misha and Ofordire, Ihuoma – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 8: “Jig-a-Bobo” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
  • James, Natalie Erika and White, Christian – Relic (AGBO, Film Constellation, IFC Midnight)
  • LaManna, Angela – The Haunting of Bly Manor, Season 1, Episode 5: “The Altar of the Dead” (Intrepid Pictures, Amblin Television, Paramount Television Studios)
  • Weekes, Remi – His House (Regency Enterprises, BBC Films, Vertigo Entertainment, Starchild Pictures)
  • Whannell, Leigh – The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick Productions)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Borski, Robert – Carpe Noctem (Weird House Press)
  • Brandeis, Gayle – Many Restless Concerns (Black Lawrence Press)
  • Clarke, Cassandra Rose – Sacred Summer (Aqueduct Press)
  • Crum, Amanda – The Day You Learned To Swim (Self-Published)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Whitechapel Rhapsody: Dark Poems (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • McHugh, Jessica – A Complex Accident of Life (Apokrupha)
  • Murray, Ronald J. – Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower (Bizarro Pulp Press)
  • Pelayo, Cynthia – Into the Forest and All the Way Through (Burial Day Books)
  • Sng, Christina – A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Tantlinger, Sara – Cradleland of Parasites (Rooster Republic Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Bailey, Michael and Murano, Doug – Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors (Written Backwards)
  • Cagle, Ryan and Jenkins, James D. – The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Volume 1 (Valancourt Books)
  • Flynn, Geneve and Murray, Lee – Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Givens Kurtz, Nicole – Slay: Stories of the Vampire (Mocha Memoirs Press)
  • Kelly, Michael – Shadows & Tall Trees 8 (Undertow Publications)
  • Kolesnik, Samantha – Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror (Grindhouse Press)
  • Neal, David T. and Scott, Christine M. – The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror (Nosetouch Press)
  • Rector, Jeani and Wild, Dean H. – The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories (HellBound Books Publishing, LLC)
  • Tantlinger, Sara – Not All Monsters: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women of Horror (Rooster Republic Press)
  • Yardley, Mercedes M. – Arterial Bloom (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Florence, Kelly and Hafdahl, Meg – The Science of Women in Horror: The Special Effects, Stunts, and True Stories Behind Your Favorite Fright Films (Skyhorse)
  • Glasby, Matt – The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film (White Lion Publishing)
  • Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – 1000 Women in Horror (BearManor Media)
  • Keene, Brian – End of the Road (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Kerestman, Katherine – Creepy Cat’s Macabre Travels: Prowling Around Haunted Towers, Crumbling Castles, and Ghoulish Graveyards (WordCrafts Press)
  • Peirse, Alison – Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre (Rutgers University Press)
  • Stallings, Courtenay – Laura’s Ghost: Women Speak About Twin Peaks (Fayetteville Mafia Press)
  • Waggoner, Tim – Writing in the Dark (Guide Dog Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew – The Monster Theory Reader (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Wetmore, Jr. Kevin J. – The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaption (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

  • Clasen, Mathias – “Why the World Is a Better Place with Stephen King in It: An Evolutionary Perspective” (Evolutionary Perspectives on Imaginative Culture) (Springer)
  • Clasen, Mathias; Johnson, John; Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, Jens; and Scrivner, Coltan – “Pandemic Practice: Horror Fans and Morbidly Curious Individuals Are More Psychologically Resilient during the Covid-19 Pandemic” (Personality and Individual Differences) (Elsevier)
  • Jackson Joseph, Rhonda – “The Beloved Haunting of Hill House: An Examination of Monstrous Motherhood” (The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation) (McFarland)
  • Pelayo, Cynthia – “I Need to Believe” (Southwest Review Volume 105.3)
  • Renner, Karen J. – “Degeneration through Violence: Stephen King’s Rage” (Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King) (Lexington Books)
  • Robinson, Kelly – “Hell is Other Mushroom People: Societal Decay in Matango” (Scary Monsters Magazine #117)
  • Robinson, Kelly – “Lost, Found, and Finally Unbound: The Strange History of the 1910 Edison Frankenstein” (Rue Morgue Magazine, June 2020)
  • Sng, Christina – “Final Girl: A Life in Horror” (Interstellar Flight Magazine, October 2020)
  • Waggoner, Tim – “Speaking of Horror” (The Writer)
  • Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew – “What is IT? Ambient Dead and Modern Paranoia in It (2017), It Follows (2014), and It Comes at Night (2017)” (Horror Studies v.11, no.2)