Pixel Scroll 5/15/22 The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is Long, But It Scrolls Toward Pixels

(1) TIME IS FLEETING. The SFWA Silent Auction ends tomorrow at noon. Organizer Jason Sanford says, “In particular you and your File 770 readers might get a kick out of seeing the original Munchkin card in the auction, which I think is amazing and is shown in the press release. Also, the auction has up for bid original, first edition hardback copies of Green Hills of Earth and Revolt in 2100 by Robert A. Heinlein from the early 1950s — both of which are signed by Heinlein! I’m a little frustrated that more people haven’t noticed these two rare, signed copies of his books from the Golden Age of SF.”

Specifically, these are the links to the two books Jason pointed out: Green Hills of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein, an autographed Shasta hardcover first edition (1951; no jacket); and Revolt in 2100 by Robert A. Heinlein an autographed Shasta hardcover first edition (1953; no jacket). Both books include a chart of Heinlein’s Future History on a flyleaf.

(2) BRITISH FANTASY AWARDS SEEK NOMINATIONS. The British Fantasy Society is taking nominations for the British Fantasy Awards 2022. You can vote in the BFAs if you are any of the following: A member of the British Fantasy Society; An attendee at FantasyCon 2021; or A ticket-holder for FantasyCon 2022. The voting form is here. Voting will remain open until Sunday May 29, 2022.

Voters may list up to three titles in each category. A crowdsourced list of suggestions has been created here. You may vote for titles not on the suggestions list. Further guidance on the eligibility criteria for each category can be found here.

The four titles or names with the highest number of recommendations in each category will make the shortlist.

(3) ALERT THE MEDIA. “David Tennant and Catherine Tate returning to Doctor Who in 2023” reports Radio Times.

After plenty of rumours and red herrings, the BBC has confirmed the shock news that former Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate are returning to the long-running sci-fi drama, over 12 years after they originally handed in their TARDIS keys and just a week after Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa was announced as the new star of the series (taking over from current Doctor Jodie Whittaker).

As the time-travelling Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble, the pair presided over a popular and critically-acclaimed era for Doctor Who still fondly remembered by fans. And now, according to the BBC, they are set to reunite with screenwriter Russell T Davies to film new “scenes that are due to air in 2023”, coinciding with Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

…It could be that these scenes are little more than a cameo, or they could be a major comeback. For now, they’re keeping it all a bit mysterious….

(4) NEXT, THE GOOD NEWS. Yesterday’s Scroll ran an item about what was getting axed at CW. Today Variety has published “UPFRONTS 2022: The Full List of New Broadcast Series Orders”, which it will continually update. Here are examples of what different companies are planning to air next season.

KRAPOPOLIS (Fox Entertainment)

Logline: Animated comedy set in mythical ancient Greece, the series centers on a flawed family of humans, gods and monsters that tries to run one of the world’s first cities without killing each other.

QUANTUM LEAP (Universal Television)

A sequel to the original 1989-1993 time-traveling NBC fantasy drama picks up 30 years after Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now a new team has been assembled to restart the project in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.

GOTHAM KNIGHTS (Warner Bros. Television)

Logline: In the wake of Bruce Wayne’s murder, his rebellious adopted son forges an unlikely alliance with the children of Batman’s enemies when they are all framed for killing the Caped Crusader.

THE WINCHESTERS (Warner Bros. Television/CBS Studios)

Logline: This prequel to “Supernatural” tells the untold love story of how John and Mary Winchester met and put it all on the line to not only save their love, but the entire world.

(5) ANOTHER INTERPRETATION. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Nilanjana Roy discusses feminist retellings of classic myths.

In her debut novel Kaikeyi published this month, Chicago-based writer Vaishnavi Patel dramatically reframes a story from the great Hindu epic The Ramayana, of Queen Kaikeyo who demands that her husband King Dashrath exile her stepson, the young man-god Rama. ‘I wanted to discover what might have caused a celebrated warrior and beloved queen to tear her family apart,’ Patel writes in her introduction.

Like Patel, many are interested in questioning the framing of mythical women as both villains and heroes.  Korean-American writer Axie Oh writes a less submissive protagonist into the legend of Shim Cheong in her young-adult book, The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea. In Oh’s version Mina, a village girl, takes the place of Shim Cheong, the dutiful daughter in the legend who sacrifices herself to the sea gods–but her role in the story is a more active one.  ‘My fate is not yours to decide,’ she says.  ‘My fate belongs to me.’

(6) GENRE STAR GILLAN WEDS. “Karen Gillan marries American boyfriend in closely guarded ceremony at castle in Argyll” – the Daily Record has the story.

Avengers star Karen Gillan has wed her American boyfriend in a closely guarded ceremony at a castle in Argyll.

The Inverness-born star tied the knot this afternoon with American comedian Nick Kocher, 36, after jetting back to Scotland for her nuptials.

Some of the A-list guests at the wedding in Castle Toward in Dunoon included fellow action star Robert Downey Jnr and Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts, who were spotted in the town earlier today.

Steven Moffat, who was executive producer of Doctor Who when Karen was Matt Smith’s Tardis companion, was also a guest for her big day.

The 34-year-old, who had kept her engagement to the Saturday Night Live scriptwriter a secret, had chartered a yacht, The Spirit of Fortitude, to take family and friends to the 3.30pm ceremony….

(7) SFF FILLS THE 1953 MAGAZINE STANDS. [Item by Mlex.] James Wallace Harris of the Auxiliary Memory blog & SF Signal, posted a bibliographic essay on the year 1953 for science fiction short stories. “The 1953 SF&F Magazine Boom” at Classics of Science Fiction.

Science fiction in 1953 spoke to a generation and it’s fascinating to think about why. The number of science fiction readers before WWII was so small that it didn’t register in pop culture. The war brought rockets, atomic bombs, computers, and nuclear power. The late 1940s brought UFOs – the flying saucer craze. The 1950s began with science fiction movies and television shows. By 1953, science fiction was a fad bigger than the hula-hoop would ever be, we just never thought of it that way. I do wonder if the fad will ever collapse, but I see no sign it will.

He also posted a related cover gallery of magazine issues from that year at the Internet Archive: “1953 SFF Magazine Covers”.

(8) READING ALOUD. Space Cowboy Books presents the 51st episode of the Simultaneous Times podcast. Stories featured in this episode:

“The Jellyfish from Nullarbor” by Eric Farrell; music by RedBlueBlackSilver; read by Jean-Paul Garnier

“Apotheosis” by Joshua Green; music by Phog Masheeen; read by Jean-Paul Garnier

Theme music by Dain Luscombe

(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

2006 [By Cat Eldridge.] Sixteen years on this date, one of the most unusual strips to come into existence did so in the form of Mark Tatulli’s Liō. It was very easy to market globally as it had almost no dialogue except that spoken by other people in the parodies that I’ll mention in a minute as Liō and the other characters don’t speak at all, and there were no balloons or captions at all again giving it a global appeal. 

Liō, who lives with his father and various monsters, i.e. Ishmael a giant squid and Fido a spider, various animals like Cybil a white cat (of course there’s a cat here, a very pushy feline indeed), aliens, lab creations, and even Liō’s hunchbacked assistant.  Why there’s even Archie, Liō’s psychopathic ventriloquist’s dummy. Liō’s mother is deceased. Though why she’s deceased is never stated. Definitely not your nuclear family here.

An important aspect of the strip is that will riff off other strips, and lots of them: BlondieBloom CountyCalvin and HobbesCathyGarfieldOpusPeanuts, even Pearls Before Swine (not one of my favorite strips I will readily admit) will become fodder for parody by this strip.  That’s where the only dialogue is spoken. 

Currently  the strip which runs daily globally in more than two hundred and fifty papers. 

Tatulli on the Mr. Media podcast back a decade or so said “It’s really a basic concept. It’s just Liō who lives with his father, and that’s basically it, and whatever I come up with. I set no parameters because I didn’t want to lock myself in. I mean, having no dialogue means that there is going to be no dialogue-driven gags, so I have to leave myself as open as possible to any kind of thing, so anything basically can happen.” 

There a transcript of that podcast here as the audio quality of that interview is, as the interviewer admits, rather awful. He got better after that first interview by him. 

In multiple interviews, Tatulli has said the two major contemporary influences on his style are Gahan Wilson and Charles Addams.

And yes, it’s still in existence and offending people as this strip from late last year will demonstrate.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 15, 1856 L. Frank Baum. I adore The Wizard of Oz film and I’m betting you know that it only covers about half of the novel which is a very splendid read indeed. I’ll confess that I never read the numerous latter volumes in the Oz franchise, nor have I read anything else by him. Nor have I seen any of the later adaptations of the Oz fiction. What’s the rest of his fiction like?  There is, by the way, an amazing amount of fanfic out here involving Oz and some of it is slash which is a really, really scary idea. (Died 1919.)
  • Born May 15, 1877 William Bowen. His most notable work was The Old Tobacco Shop, a fantasy novel that was one runner-up for the inaugural Newbery Medal in 1922. He also had a long running children’s series with a young girl named Merrimeg whom a narrator told her adventures with all sorts of folkloric beings. (Died 1937.)
  • Born May 15, 1926 Anthony Shaffer. His genre screenplays were Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man. Though definitely not genre, he wrote the screenplays for a number of most excellent mysteries including the Agatha Christie-based  Evil Under the Sun,Death on the Nile, and Murder on the Orient Express. (Died 2001.)
  • Born May 15, 1948 Brian Eno, 74. Worth noting if only for A Multimedia Album Based on the Complete Text of Robert Sheckley’s In a Land of Clear Colors, though all of his albums have a vague SF feeling  to them such as Music for Civic Recovery CentreJanuary 07003: Bell Studies for the Clock of  The Long Now and Everything That Happens Will Happen Today which could be the name of Culture mind ships. Huh. I wonder if his music will show up in the proposed Culture series?
  • Born May 15, 1955 Lee Horsley, 67. A performer who’s spent a lot of his career in genre undertakings starting with The Sword and the Sorcerer (and its 2010 sequel Tales of an Ancient Empire), horror films Nightmare ManThe Corpse Had a Familiar Face and Dismembered and even a bit of SF in Showdown at Area 51. Not sure where The Face of Fear falls as it has a cop with psychic powers and a serial killer.
  • Born May 15, 1960 Rob Bowman, 62. Producer of such series as Alien NationM.A.N.T.I.S.Quantum LeapNext Generation, and The X-Files. He has directed these films: The X-FilesReign of Fire and Elektra. He directed one or several episodes of far too many genres series to list here.  
  • Born May 15, 1966 Greg Wise, 56. I’m including him solely for being in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. It is a film-within-a-film, featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing themselves as egotistical actors during the making of a screen adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s 18th century metafictional novel Tristram Shandy. Not genre (maybe) but damn fun. 
  • Born May 15, 1971 Samantha Hunt, 51. If you read nothing else by her, do read The Invention of Everything,  a might be look at the last days in the life of Nikola Tesla. It’s mostly set within the New Yorker Hotel, a great concept. I’m avoiding spoilers naturally. She’s written two other genre novels, Mr. Splitfoot and The Seas, plus a handful of stories. 

(11) BUILDING THE GENRE BRICK BY BRICK. “Lego’s next batch of official unofficial sets go on sale May 17th, and you’ll want to be quick” The Verge tells collectors. (This is the link to the sale: Designer Program 2021 Invitational at BrickLink.) The quotes below were written by the designers.

…A from-the-ground-up rebuild of the original “Bulwark” gunship design of the Space Troopers project, the spaceship you see here is chock full of the developments of a decade’s worth of building, yet remains sturdy and with a chunky simplicity that reminds me of what I’d have loved to play with as a boy. From the rear’s double cargo doors ready to discharge rovers, troops, or scientists on an expedition, to the inner hatch and gunner’s console with its cramped ladder allowing access to the cockpit, the hold is packed with scenes ripe for customization and exploration. Crew bunks and a tiny galley round out the hull, and the off-center cockpit rises up between a sensor array and two massive engines that can rotate up or down for flight.

The sliding cargo doors aren’t just there for show; a sturdy mechanism just behind the wings allows you to attach the two included modules or design your own, dropping them off on some distant planet or opening the doors to allow for use in-flight. Two crimson hardsuits in the classic Space Troopers red are more than just my concession to the strictures of the brick—they’re my homage to the classic sci-fi writers whose tales of adventure on far-off planets and dropships swooping from the sky have shaped my life. Deploying on two rails from a module that locks into place in the dropship’s rear, the suits are chunky, bedecked with pistons and thrusters, and, most importantly, fit a minifigure snugly inside to allow for armored adventures….

…I think around this time I also watched some The Big Bang Theory episodes. During one of these nights I “designed” an observatory made from LEGO bricks in my mind. I really love science and space, and I have never seen an observatory as an official LEGO set. That’s when I thought about building an observatory in real bricks. But I didn’t want to use an IP because that would only be interesting for people who has a connection to the place. I wanted to create a playable observatory that has a unique design. I imagined a building on the top of a mountain and what it would look like. And that’s why I called it “Mountain View.”…

…The Steam Powered Science (previously known as the Exploratorium) is a Steam-Punk themed research facility whose mission is to delve into the mysteries of the universe. One half of the facility is dedicated to researching celestial motion while the other is dedicated to traversing the ocean’s depths. The set was designed as part of the Flight Works Series, a group of Steam-Punk themed submissions on LEGO Ideas….

(12) CHARGE IT! Are Colin Kuskie and Phil Nichols really going to advocate for that most controversial of critics’ notions? To find out you will need to listen to episode 17 of Science Fiction 101, “Canon to the left of me, canon to the right”.

Colin and Phil return, buoyed by the news that Science Fiction 101 has risen to number 6 in Feedspot’s league table of Best UK Sci-Fi Podcasts!

Our main discussion topic the contentious issue of the “canon” of science fiction, triggered by a blog post by Dr Shaun Duke. We also have a movie quiz, and the usual round-up of past/present/future SF.

(13) STRANGE NEW TREK PARAPHERNALIA. TrekCore is pleased to report that after a long wait “QMx Finally Beams Down USS ENTERPRISE Delta Badges”.

More than three years after their initial announcement, QMx has finally brought their Star Trek: Discovery-era USS Enterprise Starfleet delta badges into Earth orbit — just in time for the debut of Captain Pike’s own series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Originally announced all the way back in February 2019, the metal Starfleet badges were showcased at that year’s Toy Fair expo in New York City… only to shuffle off the horizon, as they’d gone “on hold” by the early part of the next year (as a QMx representative told us at Toy Fair 2020), likely waiting for the then-in-the-works Captain Pike series to be announced to the public….

(14) INGENUITY BEGINNING TO AGE OUT. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter on Mars showed its first sign of approaching old age when it failed to wake on time to “phone home.” After far outlasting its planned life, the approach of winter with shorter days and more dust in the air is beginning to play havoc with its ability to keep a charge on its batteries overnight. “Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Went Silent, Leaving Anxious NASA Team in the Dark” at Gizmodo.

Late last week, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter managed to reestablish its connection with the Perseverance rover following a brief communications disruption. The space agency says the looming winter is likely responsible and is making adjustments as a result.

On Thursday, Ingenuity—mercifully—sent a signal to Perseverance after the intrepid helicopter missed a scheduled communications session. It marked the first time since the pair landed together on Mars in February 2021 that Ingenuity has missed an appointment, according to NASA.

The team behind the mission believes that Ingenuity had entered into a low-power state to conserve energy, and it did so in response to the charge of its six lithium-ion batteries dropping below a critical threshold. This was likely due to the approaching winter, when more dust appears in the Martian atmosphere and the temperatures get colder. The dust blocks the amount of sunlight that reaches the helicopter’s solar array, which charges its batteries….

(15) BABY TALK. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Baby Yoda showed up on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” to promote Obi-Wan Kenobi and discuss his questionable new friends.  But don’t ask him about Baby Groot or he’ll get really angry! “Baby Yoda on His Spiritual Awakening”.

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

British Fantasy Awards 2021

The winners of the 2021 British Fantasy Awards were announced at FantasyCon on September 26.

BEST NEWCOMER (THE SYDNEY J. BOUNDS AWARD)

Jurors: Mohsin Siddiqui, Rhian Bowley, Shellie Horst, Tom Lloyd, Sammy Smith

  • Kathleen Jennings, for Flyaway (Tordotcom)

BEST FILM / TELEVISION PRODUCTION

Jurors: Rachel Pattinson, Martyn Sullivan, Amit Khaira, Sarah Pinborough, Arabella Sophia

  • The Boys: What I Know (Season 2, episode 8)

BEST NON-FICTION

Jurors: David G Wilson, Trudy Lynn, Susan Maxwell, Jessica Lévai, Kevin McVeigh

  • Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre, ed. Alison Peirse (Rutgers University Press)

BEST ARTIST

Jurors: Paul Yates, Kayden Weir, Alex Gushurst-Moore, Tatiana Dengo Villalobos

  • Daniele Serra

BEST COMIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL

Jurors: Rebecca Gault, Alicia Fitton, Edward Partridge, Michele Howe, Hannah Barton

  • DIE Vol. 2: Split the Party, Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans (Image Comics)

BEST MAGAZINE / PERIODICAL

Jurors: Samuel Poots, Vanessa Jae, Adri Joy, Devin Martin, Kate Coe

  • Strange Horizons

BEST INDEPENDENT PRESS

Jurors: Rowena Andrews, Anna Slevin, Ann Landmann, Cheyenne Heckermann, Amy Brennan

  • Luna Press Publishing

BEST AUDIO

Jurors: Jackson Eflin, Kat Kourbeti, Tam Moules, Arden Fitzroy, Pete Sutton

  • The Magnus Archives, Rusty Quill

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Jurors: Abbi Shaw, Lauren McClelland, Caroline Oakley, Emma Varney, Ginger Lee Thomason

  • Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, ed. Zelda Knight & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Aurelia Leo)

BEST SHORT FICTION

Jurors: Laura Braswell, Danny Boland, Steve J Shaw, Allyson Bird, Alia McKellar

  • Infinite Tea in the Demara Café, Ida Keogh (in “London Centric: Tales of Future London, Newcon Press)

BEST COLLECTION

Jurors: Raquel Alemán Cruz, Chris White, Carrianne Dillon, Aaron S. Jones, Hannah Zurcher

  • The Watcher in the Woods, Charlotte Bond (Black Shuck Books)

BEST NOVELLA

Jurors: Timy Takács, Phillip Irving, Ellis Saxey, Kshoni Gunputh, Alasdair Stuart

  • Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)

BEST HORROR NOVEL (THE AUGUST DERLETH AWARD)

Jurors: Rhian Drinkwater, Judith Schofield, Fabienne Schwizer, Ben Appleby-Dean, Ai Jiang

  • Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Jo Fletcher Books)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL (THE ROBERT HOLDSTOCK AWARD)

Jurors: Aoife Roantree, Steven Poore, Sue York, S.D. Howarth, Kate Towner

  • The Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow (Orbit)

KARL EDWARD WAGNER AWARD

  • Alasdair Stuart

British Fantasy Awards 2021 Shortlists

The shortlists for the 2021 British Fantasy Awards have been released, along with the names of the jurors who will decide the winners, which will be announced at FantasyCon in September.

BEST NEWCOMER (THE SYDNEY J. BOUNDS AWARD)

Jurors: Mohsin Siddiqui, Rhian Bowley, Shellie Horst, Tom Lloyd, Sammy Smith

  • Tiffani Angus, for Threading the Labyrinth (Unsung Stories)
  • Dan Coxon, for Green Fingers & Only the Broken Remain (Black Shuck Books)
  • Sean Hogan, for England’s Screaming & Three Mothers, One Father (Black Shuck Books)
  • Kathleen Jennings, for Flyaway (Tordotcom)
  • Simon Jimenez, for The Vanished Birds (Titan)
  • Rym Kechacha, for Dark River (Unsung Stories)

BEST FILM / TELEVISION PRODUCTION

Jurors: Rachel Pattinson, Martyn Sullivan, Amit Khaira, Sarah Pinborough, Arabella Sophia

  • Birds of Prey
  • The Boys: What I Know (Season 2, episode 8)
  • The Haunting of Bly Manor: The Romance of Certain Old Clothes (Season 1, episode 8)
  • The Invisible Man
  • The Lighthouse
  • Saint Maud

BEST NON-FICTION

Jurors: David G Wilson, Trudy Lynn, Susan Maxwell, Jessica Lévai, Kevin McVeigh

  • The Full Lid, Alasdair Stuart, ed. Marguerite Kenner
  • It’s the End of the World: But What Are We Really Afraid Of?, Adam Roberts (Elliot & Thompson)
  • Notes from the Borderland, Lynda E. Rucker (in “Black Static”, TTA Press)
  • Ties that Bind: Love in Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Francesca T Barbini (Luna Press Publishing)
  • The Unstable Realities of Christopher Priest, Paul Kincaid (Gylphi Limited)
  • Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre, ed. Alison Peirse (Rutgers University Press)

BEST ARTIST

Jurors: Paul Yates, Kayden Weir, Alex Gushurst-Moore, Tatiana Dengo Villalobos

  • Warwick Fraser-Coombe
  • David Rix
  • Vincent Sammy
  • Daniele Serra

BEST COMIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL

Jurors: Rebecca Gault, Alicia Fitton, Edward Partridge, Michele Howe, Hannah Barton

  • The Daughters of Ys, Jo Rioux & M.T. Andersen (First Second)
  • DIE Vol. 2: Split the Party, Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans (Image Comics)
  • John Constantine: Hellblazer, Vol. 1: Marks of Woe, Simon Spurrier & Aaron Campbell (DC Comics)
  • The Magic Fish, Trung Le Nguyen (Random House Graphic)
  • Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious, Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmell (Titan)
  • Venus in the Blind Spot, Junji Ito (VIZ Media LLC)

BEST MAGAZINE / PERIODICAL

Jurors: Samuel Poots, Vanessa Jae, Adri Joy, Devin Martin, Kate Coe

  • Black Static
  • The Dark
  • FIYAH
  • Ginger Nuts of Horror
  • Shoreline of Infinity
  • Strange Horizons

BEST INDEPENDENT PRESS

Jurors: Rowena Andrews, Anna Slevin, Ann Landmann, Cheyenne Heckermann, Amy Brennan

  • Black Shuck Books
  • Flame Tree Press
  • Luna Press Publishing
  • Unsung Stories

BEST AUDIO

Jurors: Jackson Eflin, Kat Kourbeti, Tam Moules, Arden Fitzroy, Pete Sutton

  • Breaking the Glass Slipper, Megan Leigh, Lucy Hounson & Charlotte Bond
  • The Magnus Archives, Rusty Quill
  • PodCastle, Escape Artists
  • PseudoPod, Escape Artists
  • The Sandman, Dirk Maggs & Neil Gaiman (Audible Originals)
  • Stellar Firma, Rusty Quill

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Jurors: Abbi Shaw, Lauren McClelland, Caroline Oakley, Emma Varney, Ginger Lee Thomason

  • After Sundown, ed. Mark Morris (Flame Tree Press)
  • Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, ed. Lee Murray & Genevieve Flynn (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, ed. Zelda Knight & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Aurelia Leo)
  • Shadows & Tall Trees, Vol. 8, ed. Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)

BEST SHORT FICTION

Jurors: Laura Braswell, Danny Boland, Steve J Shaw, Allyson Bird, Alia McKellar

  • 8-Bit Free Will, John Wiswell (in PodCastle 654, Escape Artists)
  • Daylight Robbery, Anna Taborska (in “Bloody Britain”, Shadow Publishing)
  • Infinite Tea in the Demara Café, Ida Keogh (in “London Centric: Tales of Future London, Newcon Press)
  • We Do Like to be Beside, Pete Sutton (in “Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 2”, Alchemy Press)

BEST COLLECTION

Jurors: Raquel Alemán Cruz, Chris White, Carrianne Dillon, Aaron S. Jones, Hannah Zurcher

  • Bloody Britain, Anna Taborska (Shadow Publishing)
  • Only the Broken Remain, Dan Coxon (Black Shuck Books)
  • The Watcher in the Woods, Charlotte Bond (Black Shuck Books)
  • We All Hear Stories in the Dark, Robert Shearman (PS Publishing)

BEST NOVELLA

Jurors: Timy Takács, Phillip Irving, Ellis Saxey, Kshoni Gunputh, Alasdair Stuart

  • The Flame and the Flood, Shona Kinsella (Fox Spirit)
  • Honeybones, Georgina Bruce (TTA Press)
  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, Zen Cho (Tordotcom)
  • Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • A Song for the End, Kit Power (Horrific Tales Publishing)
  • Triggernometry, Stark Holborn (Rattleback Books)

BEST HORROR NOVEL (THE AUGUST DERLETH AWARD)

Jurors: Rhian Drinkwater, Judith Schofield, Fabienne Schwizer, Ben Appleby-Dean, Ai Jiang

  • Beneath the Rising, Premee Mohamed (Rebellion)
  • The Hollow Places, T. Kingfisher (Titan)
  • Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones (Titan)
  • Plain Bad Heroines, Emily Danforth (The Borough Press)
  • Survivor Song, Paul Tremblay (Titan)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL (THE ROBERT HOLDSTOCK AWARD)

Jurors: Aoife Roantree, Steven Poore, Sue York, S.D. Howarth, Kate Towner

  • The Bone Shard Daughter, Andrea Stewart (Orbit)
  • By Force Alone, Lavie Tidhar (Tor Books)
  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Dark River, Rym Kechacha (Unsung Stories)
  • The Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow (Orbit)
  • Threading the Labyrinth, Tiffani Angus (Unsung Stories)

British Fantasy Awards 2020

The 2020 British Fantasy Awards winners were announced February 22, as selected by the listed jurors.

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)

Jury: Martha Bradley, Stewart Hotston, Hazel Impey, Edward Partridge, Abbi Shaw

  • The Bone Ships – RJ Barker (Orbit)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

Jury: Ben Appleby-Dean, Gabino Iglesias, Siobhan O’Brien Holmes, Ross Warren, Susan York

  • The Reddening – Adam Nevill (Ritual Limited)

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award)

Jury: Barbara Barrett, Danny Hussain, Steven Poore, Natalie Ross, João F Silva

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, for The Water Dancer (Penguin)

Best Novella

Jury: Rachel Aitken, Abigail Baumbach, Steve Howarth, Gagandeep Kaur, Mark West

  • Ormeshadow – Priya Sharma (Tordotcom)

Best Short Fiction

Jury: G.V. Anderson, Charlotte Bhaskar, Niamh Brown, Peter Haynes, Devin Martin

  • The Pain-Eater’s Daughter – Laura Mauro (Undertow)

Best Anthology

Jury: Rosemarie Cawkwell, Elaine Gallagher, Peter Green, Ian Hunter, Caroline Mersey, 

  • New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction for People of Color, ed. Nisi Shawl (Solaris)

Best Collection

Jury: Samantha Martin, Henrietta Rose-Inned, Kyle Tam, Heather Valentine, Neil Williamson

  • Sing Your Sadness Deep – Laura Mauro (Undertow)

Best Non-Fiction

Jury: Lee Fletcher, Kat Kourbeti, Kevin McVeigh, Samuel Poots, Kelly Richards

  • The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games – Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (New York University Press)

Best Independent Press

Jury: Dave Brzeski, Adri Joy, Kate Macdonald, Eleanor Pender, Alasdair Stuart

  • Rebellion Publishing

Best Magazine / Periodical

Jury: Phoebe Barton, Louise Carey, Charles Christian, Lila Garrott, Yilin Wang

  • Fiyah

Best Audio

Jury: Eunice Hung, Catherine Mann, Nemo Martin, Tam Moules, Lucy Whiteley

  • PodCastle

Best Comic / Graphic Novel

Jury: Hannah Barton, Jay Faulkner, Sarah Hale, Christopher Napier, Jessica Steiner

  • DIE – Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans (Image)

Best Artist

Jury: Amy Brennan, Amber Culley, Ana Miljani?, Babs Nienhuis, Christie Walsh

  • Ben Baldwin

Best Film / Television Production

Jury: Ifeanyi Barbara Chidi, Jackie Fallis, James T Harding, Katherine Inskip, Aaron Jones

  • Us – Jordan Peele (Monkeypaw Productions et al.)

Karl Edward Wagner Special Award

  • Craig Lockley for his long, long service to the BFS

British Fantasy Awards 2020 Shortlists

The shortlists for the 2020 British Fantasy Awards have been released by Katherine Fowler, BFA Administrator, along with the names of the jurors who will decide the winners.

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)

Jury: Martha Bradley, Stewart Hotston, Hazel Impey, Edward Partridge, Abbi Shaw

  • The Bone Ships – RJ Barker (Orbit)
  • The Migration – Helen Marshall (Titan)
  • The Poison Song – Jen Williams (Headline)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E Harrow (Orbit)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

Jury: Ben Appleby-Dean, Gabino Iglesias, Siobhan O’Brien Holmes, Ross Warren, Susan York

  • The Institute – Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Migration – Helen Marshall (Titan)
  • Mistletoe – Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • The Plague Stones – James Brogden (Titan)
  • The Reddening – Adam Nevill (Ritual Limited)
  • The Twisted Ones – T. Kingfisher (Titan)

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award)

Jury: Barbara Barrett, Danny Hussain, Steven Poore, Natalie Ross, João F Silva

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, for The Water Dancer (Penguin)
  • Alix E Harrow, for The Ten Thousand Doors of January (Orbit)
  • Penny Jones, for Suffer Little Children (Black Shuck Books)
  • Tamsyn Muir, for Gideon the Ninth (Tordotcom)
  • Nina Oram, for The Joining (Luna Press)

Best Novella

Jury: Rachel Aitken, Abigail Baumbach, Steve Howarth, Gagandeep Kaur, Mark West

  • The Ascent to Godhood – Neon Yang (Tordotcom)
  • Butcher’s Table – Nathan Ballingrud (Gallery / Saga Press)
  • The Deep – Rivers Solomon (Gallery / Saga Press)
  • Ormeshadow – Priya Sharma (Tordotcom)
  • Ragged Alice – Gareth L Powell (Tordotcom)
  • The Survival of Molly Southbourne – Tade Thompson (Tordotcom)

Best Short Fiction

Jury: G.V. Anderson, Charlotte Bhaskar, Niamh Brown, Peter Haynes, Devin Martin

  • Dendrochronology – Penny Jones (Hersham Horror)
  • I Say, I Say, I Say – Robert Shearman (The Shadow Booth)
  • The Pain-Eater’s Daughter – Laura Mauro (Undertow)
  • Tomorrow, When I Was Young – Julie Travis (Eibonvale Press)

Best Anthology

Jury: Rosemarie Cawkwell, Elaine Gallagher, Peter Green, Ian Hunter, Caroline Mersey, 

  • A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods, ed. Jennifer Brozek (Pulse Publishing)
  • The Big Book of Classic Fantasy, ed. Ann & Jeff VanderMeer (Vintage)
  • New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction for People of Color, ed. Nisi Shawl (Solaris)
  • Once Upon a Parsec: The Book of Alien Fairy Tales, ed. David Gullen (NewCon)
  • Wonderland, ed. Marie O’Regan & Paul Kane (Titan)
  • The Woods, ed. Phil Sloman (Hersham Horror)

Best Collection

Jury: Samantha Martin, Henrietta Rose-Inned, Kyle Tam, Heather Valentine, Neil Williamson

  • The Boughs Withered When I Told Them My Dreams – Maura McHugh (NewCon)
  • Growing Things – Paul Tremblay (Titan)
  • This House of Wounds – Georgina Bruce (Undertow)
  • Of Wars, And Memories, And Starlight – Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)
  • Sing Your Sadness Deep – Laura Mauro (Undertow)

Best Non-Fiction

Jury: Lee Fletcher, Kat Kourbeti, Kevin McVeigh, Samuel Poots, Kelly Richards

  • Coffinmaker’s Blues: Collected Writings on Terror – Stephen Volk (PS Publishing)
  • The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games – Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (New York University Press)
  • The Full Lid – Alasdair Stuart
  • Joanna Russ (Modern Masters of SF) – Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press)
  • Notes from the Borderland – Lynda E Rucker, for Black Static (TTA Press)
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein – Farah Mendlesohn (Unbound)

Best Independent Press

Jury: Dave Brzeski, Adri Joy, Kate Macdonald, Eleanor Pender, Alasdair Stuart

  • Aqueduct Press
  • Black Shuck Books
  • Luna Press 
  • NewCon Press
  • Rebellion Publishing
  • Undertow Publications

Best Magazine / Periodical

Jury: Phoebe Barton, Louise Carey, Charles Christian, Lila Garrott, Yilin Wang

  • Black Static
  • The Dark
  • F&SF
  • Fiyah
  • Gingernuts of Horror
  • Shoreline of Infinity

Best Audio

Jury: Eunice Hung, Catherine Mann, Nemo Martin, Tam Moules, Lucy Whiteley

  • Breaking the Glass Slipper
  • PodCastle
  • PseudoPod
  • Speculative Spaces

Best Comic / Graphic Novel

Jury: Hannah Barton, Jay Faulkner, Sarah Hale, Christopher Napier, Jessica Steiner

  • 2000AD, ed. Matt Smith (Rebellion)
  • Basketful of Heads #1 – Joe Hill (DC)
  • B.P.R.D. The Devil You Know, Vol. 3: Ragna Rok – Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, Laurence Campbell et al. (Dark Horse)
  • DCeased #1-6 – Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudiano et al. (DC)
  • DIE – Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans (Image)
  • The Ozone Diary – Pentti Otsamo & Tero Mielonen (Luna Press)

Best Artist

Jury: Amy Brennan, Amber Culley, Ana Miljani?, Babs Nienhuis, Christie Walsh

  • Ben Baldwin
  • Vince Haig
  • Jackie Morris
  • David Rix

Best Film / Television Production

Jury: Ifeanyi Barbara Chidi, Jackie Fallis, James T Harding, Katherine Inskip, Aaron Jones

  • Game of Thrones: The Long Night – David Benioff & DB Weiss (HBO / Sky Atlantic)
  • Us – Jordan Peele (Monkeypaw Productions et al.)
  • Watchmen: It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice – Damon Lindelof (HBO / Sky Atlantic)
  • The Witcher: Rare Species – Haily Hall (Netflix)

[Thanks to James Davis Nicoll for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 8/8/20 You Unlock This Scroll With The Key Of Pixelation

(1) JURY SUMMONS. Two groups are recruiting jurors for their annual awards.

The British Fantasy Society’s call is here.

If you are interested in being a juror for this year’s awards, please register your interest here We are especially interested in hearing from those historically under represented on juries; and you do not need to be a member of the BFS to fulfil this role.

Both forms will remain open until Wednesday 16th August.
Any questions, please get in touch at bfsawards@britishfantasysociety.org

A few days ago they were concerned about the balance of applicants:

The Aurealis Awards also are looking – “Aurealis Awards 2020 – Call for Judges”. Full requirements at the link.

We are seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2020 Aurealis Awards. Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the Australian speculative fiction community, from diverse professions and backgrounds, including academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category (good time management skills and an ability to work in a team in an online environment are also essential).

(2) ULTIMA RATIO REGUM. Camestros Felapton continues to work out what canon means to sff readers, and if it’s useful in “Types of canon/key texts”.

… I think within discussions of canon there is a sense of books whose role it is to edify the reader, the books that will make you (somehow) a better reader. I’m sceptical that any books really fit that criteria and even more sceptical that we can find a common set of such books. However, there are clearly books that themselves provoke further books and as such books that get referenced in later works and later works that can be seen as response to earlier works. Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers being an obvious example of such a work. This is canon as a kind of feedback loop of significance — the books that are themselves critiques of Troopers lend significance to Troopers as a book. You don’t have to have read Starship Troopers to enjoy Kameron Hurley’s Light Brigade but having some familiarity with Heinlein’s book adds an element to Hurley’s book.

(3) HEATED WORDS. As someone wrote on Twitter: “The phrase ‘You couldn’t make Blazing Saddles today’ takes on an entirely new meaning.” CBR.com has the story: “Blazing Saddles Is Being Remade as an Animated Samurai Movie About Cats and Dogs” .

Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles is considered a film classic, even though it’s stirred up some controversy over the years. Now the film is being retold in an entirely new medium, as well as an entirely new genre.

The Los Angeles film company Align is helping develop an animated film titled Blazing Samurai. The film takes the basic premise of Blazing Saddles and transplants it to the Samurai era. The story follows a dog named Hank who dreams of becoming a Samurai. When he becomes in charge of protecting Kakamucho, he learns that the town is populated entirely by cats.

(4) A GOLDEN AGE. Galactic Journey does a rundown on the 1964-1965 television season: “[AUGUST 8, 1965] NAVIGATING THE WASTELAND #2 (1964-65 IN (GOOD) TELEVISION)”. I was 12 around then so no wonder I remember this as the Golden Age of TV. The Traveler obviously has a later bedtime than I did that year, because I never got to watch his favorite, Burke’s Law —

Three years ago, I reported on the state of television in the wake of former FCC-chief Newton Minow’s pronouncement that television was a ‘vast wastelend.’  Since then, I have remained a devoted fan of the small screen, if not completely addicted to ‘the boob tube.’  Indeed, the Young Traveler and I have our weekly favorites we do not miss if we can at all help it.

And so, as we sail through the sea of summer reruns, gleefully anticipating the Fall line-up, I take delight in awarding the Galactic Stars of Television for the 1964-65 season.

Burke’s Law 1963-65

Amos Burke is what would have happened if Bruce Wayne’s parents had never been shot – he’s a Beverly Hills playboy millionaire who also happens to be the dapper Captain of Homicide for the L.A. Police Department.  In each episode, Amos, with the aide of grizzled Sergeant Hart and youthful Detective Tilson (and occasionally the doe-eyed Sergeant Ames), solves a murder mystery…..

If The Traveler hadn’t waxed rhapsodically about this show – and I’m not sure whether he thinks it fits the blog’s sff theme or just thinks it’s good – then it wouldn’t have seemed such a glaring oversight to end the post pointing out Harlan Ellison wrote a script for the lamentable Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, without mentioning Ellison also wrote four scripts for 1964 episodes of his beloved Burke’s Law series.

(5) SINCE 1984. Jane Johnson looks back on “A life in publishing”.

I realised this morning that it’s 36 years to the day when I started to work in publishing, as an editorial secretary at George Allen & Unwin Publishers, in Ruskin House on Museum Street. What follows really is the trajectory of modern publishing in microcosm.

My skillset was not ideal: I loved books, especially the works of JRR Tolkien and came with a first class English degree, a Masters in Scandinavian Studies (Old Icelandic) and absolutely no secretarial abilities at all. But I had worked for a year at Foyles and another as a boardmarker/cashier at Ladbrokes, and so had proved I could work hard and not be snooty about getting my hands dirty; and that I was numerate and understood the concept of gambling, which my new boss assured me was the essence of publishing. These were the times of Telex machines and manual typewriters, which were just giving way to electronic typewriters (my nightmare) but David was remarkably patient with my Tippexed letters, blackened carbon copies and non-existent shorthand, and within a year had promoted me away from my disaster zone to become an editor. Paperbacks were a fairly new concept: hardbacks were the prestige edition.

(6) IMPROVEMENT NOT NEEDED. In a post on Facebook, David Gerrold tells how a book is being unfairly belittled.

There is currently a backlash against The Giving Tree, and some people are circulating an alternate ending.

Hey! I have an idea. I have an alternate ending for Winnie The Pooh. Pooh is a bear. He decides he likes bacon. He eats Piglet. Much more realistic, right?

No, look. Shel Silverstein knew what he was doing when he wrote The Giving Tree.

It doesn’t need an alternate ending — specifically not one that’s preachy, badly written, doesn’t really fit, and is intended to cast the original in a bad light….

(7) TAKING THE MINUTES. In “Six Novels That Bring Together Mystery And Time Travel” on CrimeReads, Julia McElwain recommends novels by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Lauren Beukes as time travel novels mystery readers might like.

Depending upon how it’s done, it can add to the tension—a race against time as our characters try to return to their own era—or it can allow readers to explore the past through modern eyes. In my own In Time mystery series, I’ve enjoyed the fish-out-of-water sensation that my main character—a modern-day woman and brilliant FBI agent—experiences after being tossed back to the Regency period in England. As women then were second-class citizens without the ability to even vote, not only does she have to deal with personal obstacles, but she also cannot tap into her usual arsenal of forensic tools to solve crimes.

Whether time travel is being used to wrap a mystery in an extra, innovative layer or is allowing readers to view humanity and history through a different lens, the theme is brilliantly done in the books that I’ve listed below….

(8) ALLEN OBIT. A software pioneer has died: “Frances Allen, Who Helped Hardware Understand Software, Dies at 88” in the New York Times.

Frances Allen, a computer scientist and researcher who helped create the fundamental ideas that allow practically anyone to build fast, efficient and useful software for computers, smartphones and websites, died on Tuesday, her 88th birthday, in Schenectady, N.Y.

Her death, in a nursing home, was confirmed by her great-nephew Ryan McKee, who said the cause was Alzheimer’s disease.

In the mid-1960s, after developing software for an early supercomputer at the National Security Agency, Ms. Allen returned to her work at IBM, then the world’s leading computer company. At an IBM lab in the Hudson River Valley town of Yorktown Heights, just north of New York City, she and her fellow researchers spent the next four decades refining a key component of modern computing: the “compiler,” the software technology that takes in programs written by humans and turns them into something computers can understand.

For Ms. Allen, the aim was to do this as efficiently as possible, so programmers could build software in simple and intuitive ways and then have it run quickly and smoothly when deployed on real-world machines.

Together with the researcher John Cocke, she published a series of landmark papers in the late 1960s and ’70s describing this delicate balance between ease of creation and speed of execution. These ideas helped drive the evolution of computer programming — all the way to the present day, when even relative novices can easily build fast and efficient software apps for a world of computers, smartphones and other devices.

In 2006, on the strength of this work, Ms. Allen became the first woman to win the A.M. Turing Award, often called the Nobel Prize of computing.

(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • August 8, 1956 X Minus One aired “The Last Martian.” This is the story of a reporter  seeing if a man’s claim that he is a Martian placed in a human’s body.  George Lefferts was the scriptwriter who adapted the story from the Fredric Brown’s “The Last Martian” short story first published in Galaxy Science Fiction in October 1950.  Mandel Kramer, Elliot Reed, Santos Ortega, Ralph Bell, John McGovern, and Patricia Weil were in the radio cast.  You can listen to it here.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born August 8, 1883 – Paul Stahr, Jr.  Forty covers for Argosy 1925-1934.  Also Collier’sJudgeLife, People’s Home JournalThe Saturday Evening Post; book covers, posters.  Here is the 10 Jan 31 Argosy.  Here is the 25 Aug 34.  Here is The Ship of Ishtar.  Here is a World War I poster.  (Died 1953) [JH]
  • Born August 8, 1919 Dino De Laurentiis. Maker of Dune obviously but less obviously also a lot of other genre including Conan the BarbarianFlash GordonKing KongHalloween II and Halloween IIIDead Zone and The Last Legion. (Died 2010.) (CE)
  • Born August 8, 1930 Terry Nation. Best-known as scriptwriter for Doctor Who and creator of the Daleks. He later created Blake’s 7. He would also write scripts for The Avengers, The Champions andMacGyver. (Died 1997.) (CE) 
  • Born August 8, 1935 Donald P. Bellisario, 85. Genre shows include Tales of the Gold MonkeyAirwolf and of course, that truly amazing show Quantum Leap. Ok, is Tales of the Gold Monkey genre? Well if not SF or fantasy, it’s certainly pulp in the best sense of that term. (CE)
  • Born August 8, 1937 Dustin Hoffman, 83. Ahhh, Captian Hook, the man who got swallowed by the vast crocodile in Hook. Yeah, I like that film a lot. By no means his only genre appearance as he was Mumbles, Caprice’s fast-talking henchman in Dick Tracy (not a film I love), Mr. Edward Magorium in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and the voice of Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda. (CE)
  • Born August 8, 1950 – John D. Berry, 70.  Of New York (Fanoclasts), later Seattle.  “The Club House” 1969-1972 (fanzine reviews) for Amazing.  Pacific Northwest Review of Books (with Loren MacGregor).  Fan Guest of Honor, Norwescon 1, VCON 13, Westercon 63.  DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate.  Designed the souvenir book for 15th World Fantasy Con.  I daren’t say a font of knowledge but indeed he is good with them.  [JH]
  • Born August 8, 1958 – David Egge, 62.  Thirty book and magazine covers, three dozen interiors.  Here is The End of Summer.  Here is The Dorsai Pacifist (in German).  Here is a 1986 cover for The Mote in God’s Eye (in fact Moties don’t have faces, a non-trivial point, but see this anyway).  Here is the Apr 01 Analog.  [JH]
  • Born August 8, 1961 – Tim Szczesuil, F.N., 59.  Chaired Boskones 33, 53.  Five terms as NESFA (New England SF Ass’n) President, four as Treasurer; various committees.  Contributed to APA:NESFA.  For NESFA Press, edited His Share of Glory (C.M. Kornbluth), Strange Days (Gardner Dozois; with Ann Broomhead).  Fellow of NESFA (service award).  [JH]
  • Born August 8, 1971 – Phlippa Ballantine, 49.  First New Zealand author to podcast her novel (Weaver’s Web, 2006; three more; PB since moved to Virginia).  Three novels about the Order, five (with husband Tee Morris) about the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences (Phoenix Rising was a top-10 SF book of the year on Goodreads, sequel The Janus Affair a Locus best-seller and Steampunk Chronicle readers’ choice for fiction), two about the Shifted World; a score of shorter stories.  Website here.  [JH]
  • Born August 8, 1988 – Flavia Bujor, 32.  Children’s novel The Prophecy of the Stones (or “Gems”), written at age 13, translated into 23 languages.  A second is rumored.  [JH]

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Speed Bump shows that the pandemic has reached mythic proportions.
  • Bizarro has a moral.

And Today In Comics History:

  • August 8, 1978: Garfield’s sidekick, Odie, made his comic strip debut.

(12) TUNING UP. CinemaBlend pays tribute to “10 Excellent John Williams Scores In A Steven Spielberg Movie”. On their list is:

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

The 1977 science-fiction epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind helped cement Steven Spielberg as a master of the genre, and the movie’s epic story of humans coming into contact with aliens was only made that more memorable thanks to soaring and sweeping score by John Williams. 

Throughout the entire movie, the score pushes the plot along to the point where the humans finally begin to communicate with the alien mothership, which is another way of inserting Williams’ composition into the picture. The “Play The Five Tones” scene is a miraculous piece of filmmaking and orchestration as it starts rather small and hushed before going into a back and forth between the two species before growing into a grand composition that ultimately ends with a chorus of strings growing in intensity as the aliens reveal themselves to the amazement of the humans.

(13) PRIVATE EYES. NPR tells how “From Desert Battlefields To Coral Reefs, Private Satellites Revolutionize The View”.

As the U.S. military and its allies attacked the last Islamic State holdouts last year, it wasn’t clear how many civilians were still in the besieged desert town of Baghouz, Syria.

So Human Rights Watch asked a private satellite company, Planet, for its regular daily photos and also made a special request for video.

“That live video actually was instrumental in convincing us that there were thousands of civilians trapped in this pocket,” said Josh Lyons of Human Rights Watch. “Therefore the coalition forces absolutely had an obligation to stop, and to avoid bombardment of that pocket at that time.”

Which they did until the civilians fled.

Lyons, who’s based in Geneva, Switzerland, has a job title you wouldn’t expect at a human rights group: director of geospatial analysis. He says satellite imagery is increasingly a crucial component of human rights investigations, bolstering traditional eyewitness accounts, especially in areas where it’s too dangerous to send researchers

…They get those images from a handful of private, commercial satellite companies, like Planet and Maxar.

For the past three years, Planet has done something unprecedented. Its 150 satellites photograph the entire land mass of the earth every day — more than one million images every 24 hours. Pick any place on earth — from your house to the peak of Mt. Everest — and Planet is taking a photograph of it today.

“If you could visualize a string of pearls going around the poles, looking down and capturing imagery of the earth underneath it every single day,” said Rich Leshner, who runs Planet’s Washington office.

Scroll through Planet’s photo gallery and you get a bird’s eye view of the state of the world: idle cruise ships clustered off Coco Cay in the Bahamas, deserted streets around normally bustling sites like the Colosseum in Rome, and the smoke from the relentless fires set by farmers clearing land in the Amazon rainforest.

U.S. government satellites are the size of a bus. Planet’s satellites are the size of a loaf of bread. Planet is in business to make money, and its clients include the U.S. military and big corporations. But it also works with lots of non-profits and other groups it never anticipated.

(14) DAMMIT, BLANET! There is a thesis about a new type of planets, called “Blanets” (BLack Hole plANETS). “New Class of Planet Can Form Around Black Holes, Say Astronomers”Discover has the story.

Supermassive black holes are among the most exciting and puzzling objects in the universe. These are the giant, massive bodies that sit at the heart of most, perhaps all, galaxies. Indeed, they may be the seeds from which all galaxies grow.

Supermassive black holes are at least a hundred thousand times the mass of our sun. They are often surrounded by thick clouds of gas that radiate vast amounts of energy. When this happens, they are called active galactic nuclei. Discovering the properties of these clouds, and their curious central residents, is an ongoing exercise for astrophysicists.

Now researchers have a new phenomenon to consider — the idea that planets can form in the massive clouds of dust and gas around supermassive black holes. Last year, Keichi Wada at Kagoshima University in Japan, and a couple of colleagues showed that under certain conditions planets ought to form in these clouds. These black hole planets, or blanets as the team call them, would be quite unlike any conventional planet and raise the possibility of an entirely new class of objects for astronomers to dream about.

(15) DEAD OR ALIVE? In this 2019 article, WIRED considers the possibilities after “A Crashed Israeli Lunar Lander Spilled Tardigrades on the Moon”.

…Half a world away, Nova Spivack watched a livestream of Beresheet’s mission control from a conference room in Los Angeles. As the founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, a nonprofit whose goal is to create “a backup of planet Earth,” Spivack had a lot at stake in the Beresheet mission. The spacecraft was carrying the foundation’s first lunar library, a DVD-sized archive containing 30 million pages of information, human DNA samples, and thousands of tardigrades, those microscopic “water bears” that can survive pretty much any environment—including space.

But when the Israelis confirmed Beresheet had been destroyed, Spivack was faced with a distressing question: Did he just smear the toughest animal in the known universe across the surface of the moon?

…The lunar library on the Beresheet lander consisted of 25 layers of nickel, each only a few microns thick. The first four layers contain roughly 60,000 high-resolution images of book pages, which include language primers, textbooks, and keys to decoding the other 21 layers. Those layers hold nearly all of the English Wikipedia, thousands of classic books, and even the secrets to David Copperfield’s magic tricks.

Spivack had planned to send DNA samples to the moon in future versions of the lunar library, not on this mission. But a few weeks before Spivack had to deliver the lunar library to the Israelis, however, he decided to include some DNA in the payload anyway. Ha and an engineer on Spivack’s team added a thin layer of epoxy resin between each layer of nickel, a synthetic equivalent of the fossilized tree resin that preserves ancient insects. Into the resin they tucked hair follicles and blood samples from Spivack and 24 others that he says represent a diverse genetic cross-section of human ancestry, in addition to some dehydrated tardigrades and samples from major holy sites, like the Bodhi tree in India. A few thousand extra dehydrated tardigrades were sprinkled onto tape that was attached to the lunar library.

(16) THE BARD’S SJW CREDENTIALS. Cats are the theme for Shakespeare & Beyond’s post: “Of the flattering, pampered, reviled, predatory, ‘harmless, necessary’ early modern cat”.

… While many of us today think of cats primarily as pampered pets and cherished internet weirdos, for early modern Europeans cats ran the gamut, from pests and carriers of disease, to indicators of witchcraft and other feminine misbehavior, to objects of affection and partners in play. Shakespeare’s own references to cats display such a variety. Trying to shake Hermia off in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lysander calls her “thou cat, thou burr! vile thing,” (3.2.270), and Macbeth’s First Witch calls out to Graymalkin, a common name for a cat that could also be applied to a “jealous or imperious old woman,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (1.1.9). In other places, he references a cat’s behavior, as when Falstaff insists he is “as vigilant as a  cat to steal cream” (Henry IV, Part 1 4.2.59). The Oxford English Dictionary also credits Shakespeare with the first reference to a cat’s purr, in All’s Well That Ends Well (5.2.19)…

(17) IS THAT PAL OR HAL? Wil Wheaton devotes a blog post to his forthcoming movie: “Wil Wheaton is a very bad friend in trailer for horror-thriller Rent-A-Pal”.

Everything about this movie makes me happy. The cast is superb, the editing and photography and music are gorgeous, and the story is REALLY FUCKING CREEPY.

I can’t wait for y’all to see this when it comes out in September.

The short description of the movie on YouTube says:

Set in 1990, a lonely bachelor named David (Brian Landis Folkins) searches for an escape from the day-to-day drudgery of caring for his aging mother (Kathleen Brady). While seeking a partner through a video dating service, he discovers a strange VHS tape called Rent-A-Pal. Hosted by the charming and charismatic Andy (Wil Wheaton), the tape offers him much-needed company, compassion, and friendship. But, Andy’s friendship comes at a cost, and David desperately struggles to afford the price of admission.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Peer, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

2019 British Fantasy Awards

The winners of the 2019 British Fantasy Awards were announced October 20 at FantasyCon in Glasgow, Scotland.

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)

  • The Bitter Twins, by Jen Williams (Headline)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

  • Little Eve, by Catriona Ward (W&N)

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award)

  • Tasha Suri, for Empire of Sand (Orbit)

Best Novella

  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)

Best Short Fiction

  • “Down Where Sound Comes Blunt” by GV Anderson (F&SF March/April 2018)

Best Anthology

  • Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 5, ed. Robert Shearman & Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)

Best Collection

  • All the Fabulous Beasts, by Priya Sharma (Undertow Publications)

Best Non-Fiction

  • Noises and Sparks, by Ruth EJ Booth (Shoreline of Infinity)

Best Independent Press

  • Unsung Stories

Best Magazine / Periodical

  • Uncanny Magazine

Best Audio

  • Breaking the Glass Slipper (www.breakingtheglassslipper.com)

Best Comic / Graphic Novel

  • Widdershins, Vol. 7, by Kate Ashwin

Best Artist

  • Vince Haig

Best Film / Television Production

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Phil Lord & Rodney Rothman

The Karl Edward Wagner Award (special award for contribution to genre)

  • Ian Whates

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

2019 British Fantasy Awards Shortlist Announced

Following two rounds of nomination and voting from the members of the British Fantasy Society and FantasyCon, The British Fantasy Awards has reached its jury stage.

For 2019, the shortlisted entrants are:

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)

  • The Bitter Twins, by Jen Williams (Headline)
  • Empire of Sand, by Tasha Suri (Orbit)
  • Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • The Green Man’s Heir, by Juliet E McKenna (Wizard’s Tower Press)
  • The Loosening Skin, by Aliya Whiteley (Unsung Stories)
  • Priest of Bones, by Peter McLean (Jo Fletcher Books)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

  • The Cabin at the End of the World, by Paul Tremblay (Titan Books)
  • Little Eve, by Catriona Ward (W&N)
  • The Way of the Worm, by Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)
  • Wolf’s Hill, by Simon Bestwick (Snowbooks)

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award)

  • Tomi Adeyemi, for The Children of Blood and Bone (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Cameron Johnston, for The Traitor God (Angry Robot)
  • RF Kuang, for The Poppy War (HarperVoyager)
  • Tasha Suri, for Empire of Sand (Orbit)
  • Marian Womack, for Lost Objects (Luna Press Publishing)
  • Micah Yongo, for Lost Gods (Angry Robot)

Best Novella

  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • Breakwater, by Simon Bestwick (Tor Books)
  • The Land of Somewhere Safe, by Hal Duncan (NewCon Press)
  • The Last Temptation of Dr Valentine, by John Llewellyn Probert (Black Shuck Books)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)

Best Short Fiction

  • “Down Where Sound Comes Blunt” by GV Anderson (F&SF March/April 2018)
  • “Her Blood the Apples, Her Bones the Trees” by Georgina Bruce (The Silent Garden: A Journal of Esoteric Fabulism)
  • “In the Gallery of Silent Screams” by Carole Johnstone & Chris Kelso (Black Static #65)
  • “A Son of the Sea” by Priya Sharma (All the Fabulous Beasts)
  • “Telling Stories” by Ruth EJ Booth (The Dark #43)
  • “Thumbsucker” by Robert Shearman (New Fears 2)

Best Anthology

  • The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea, ed. Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books)
  • Humanagerie, ed. Sarah Doyle & Allen Ashley (Eibonvale Press)
  • New Fears 2, ed. Mark Morris (Titan Books)
  • This Dreaming Isle, ed. Dan Coxon (Unsung Stories)
  • Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 5, ed. Robert Shearman & Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)

Best Collection

  • All the Fabulous Beasts, by Priya Sharma (Undertow Publications)
  • The Future is Blue, by Catherynne M Valente (Subterranean Press)
  • How Long ‘til Black Future Month?, by NK Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Lost Objects, by Marian Womack (Luna Press Publishing)
  • Octoberland, by Thana Niveau (PS Publishing)
  • Resonance & Revolt, by Rosanne Rabinowitz (Eibonvale Press)

Best Non-Fiction

  • The Evolution of African Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Francesca T Barbini (Luna Press Publishing)
  • The Full Lid, by Alasdair Stuart (alasdairstuart.com/the-full-lid)
  • Ginger Nuts of Horror (www.gingernutsofhorror.com)
  • Les Vampires, by Tim Major (PS Publishing)
  • Noises and Sparks, by Ruth EJ Booth (Shoreline of Infinity)

Best Independent Press

  • Fox Spirit Books
  • Luna Press Publishing
  • NewCon Press
  • Unsung Stories

Best Magazine / Periodical

  • Black Static
  • Gingernuts of Horror
  • Interzone
  • Shoreline of Infinity
  • Uncanny Magazine

Best Audio

  • Bedtime Stories for the End of the World (endoftheworldpodcast.com)
  • Blood on Satan’s Claw, by Mark Morris (Bafflegab)
  • Breaking the Glass Slipper (www.breakingtheglassslipper.com)
  • PodCastle (podcastle.org)
  • PsuedoPod (pseudopod.org)

Best Comic / Graphic Novel

  • 100 Demon Dialogues, by Lucy Bellwood (Toonhound Studios)
  • B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Vol. 1, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis, Tyler Crook & Dave Stewart (Dark Horse)
  • Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories, Vol. 1, by Mike Mignola and others (Dark Horse)
  • The Prisoner, by Robert S Malan & John Cockshaw (Luna Press Publishing)
  • Saga #49-54, by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Widdershins, Vol. 7, by Kate Ashwin

Best Artist

  • Vince Haig
  • David Rix
  • Daniele Serra
  • Sophie E Tallis

Best Film / Television Production

  • Annihilation, Alex Garland
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
  • Black Panther, Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
  • The Haunting of Hill House, Mike Flanagan
  • Inside No. 9, series 4, Steve Pemberton & Reece Shearsmith
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Phil Lord & Rodney Rothman

List of Jurors for 2019

The winners will be announced October 20, 2019, at FantasyCon in Glasgow, Scotland. Tickets and further information can be found on www.fantasycon.org.

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

2018 British Fantasy Awards

 

The 2018 British Fantasy Award winners have been announced:

Best Anthology

  • New Fears, ed. Mark Morris (Titan Books)

Best Artist

  • Jeffrey Alan Love

Best Audio

  • Anansi Boys (by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Dirk Maggs for Radio 4)

Best Collection

  • Strange Weather, by Joe Hill (Gollancz)

Best Comic / Graphic Novel

  • Monstress, Vol. 2, by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda (Image)

The Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel

  • The Ninth Rain, by Jen Williams (Headline)

Best Film / Television Production

  • Get Out, by Jordan Peele (Universal Pictures)

The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel

  • The Changeling, by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)

Best Independent Press

  • Unsung Stories

Best Magazine / Periodical

  • Shoreline of Infinity, ed. Noel Chidwick

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award)

  • Jeanette Ng, for Under the Pendulum Sun (Angry Robot)

Best Non-Fiction

  • Gender Identity and Sexuality in Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. FT Barbini (Luna Press)

Best Novella

  • Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages (Tor.com)

Best Short Story

  • “Looking for Laika,” by Laura Mauro (in Interzone #273) (TTA Press)

The Karl Edward Wagner Award for special services to the Fantasy genre and/or the British Fantasy Society

  • N.K. Jemisin

Next year’s British Fantasy Awards ceremony will be at Fantasy Con: Cities of Steel in Glasgow on October 20, 2019.

2018 British Fantasy Awards Shortlist

Following two rounds of nomination and voting by members of the British Fantasy Society and FantasyCon, the British Fantasy Awards has reached its jury stage. The 2018 shortlisted entrants are:

Best Anthology

  • 2084, ed. George Sandison (Unsung Stories)
  • Dark Satanic Mills: Great British Horror Book 2, ed. Steve Shaw (Black Shuck Books)
  • Imposter Syndrome, ed. James Everington & Dan Howarth (Dark Minds Press)
  • New Fears, ed. Mark Morris (Titan Books)
  • Pacific Monsters, ed. Margret Helgadottir (Fox Spirit)

Best Artist

  • Ben Baldwin
  • Jeffrey Alan Love
  • Victo Ngai
  • Daniele Sera
  • Sophie E Tallis
  • Sana Takeda

Best Audio

  • Anansi Boys (by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Dirk Maggs for Radio 4)
  • Brave New Words podcast (Ed Fortune and Starburst Magazine)
  • Breaking the Glass Slipper podcast (Lucy Hounsom, Charlotte Bond & Megan Leigh)
  • Ivory Towers (by Richard H Brooks, directed by Karim Kronfli for 11th Hour Audio Productions)
  • PseudoPod podcast (Alasdair Stuart and Escape Artists)
  • Tea & Jeopardy podcast (Emma & Peter Newman)

Best Collection

  • Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
  • Strange Weather, by Joe Hill (Gollancz)
  • Tanith by Choice, by Tanith Lee (Newcon Press)
  • Tender: Stories, by Sofia Samatar (Small Beer Press)
  • You Will Grow Into Them, by Malcolm Devlin (Unsung Stories)

Best Comic / Graphic Novel

  • Bitch Planet Vol 2: President Bitch, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Taki Soma & Valentine de Landro (Image)
  • Grim & Bold, by Joshua Cornah (Kristell Ink)
  • Monstress, Vol. 2, by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Tomorrow, by Jack Lothian & Garry Mac (BHP Comics)
  • The Wicked + The Divine Vol 5: Imperial Phase Part 1, by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (Image)

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)

  • Age of Assassins, by RJ Barker (Orbit)
  • The Court of Broken Knives, by Anna Smith Spark (HarperVoyager)
  • The Ninth Rain, by Jen Williams (Headline)
  • Under the Pendulum Sun, by Jeanette Ng (Angry Robot)

Best Film / Television Production

  • Black Mirror, Series 4, by Charlie Brooker (Netflix)
  • Get Out, by Jordan Peele (Universal Pictures)
  • The Good Place, Season 1, by Michael Schur (Netflix)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi, by Rian Johnson (Lucasfilm)
  • Stranger Things, Season 2, by Matt & Ross Duffer (Netflix)
  • Twin Peaks: the Return, by Mark Frost & David Lynch (Sky Atlantic)
  • Wonder Woman, by Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs (Warner Bros.)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

  • Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough (Harper Collins)
  • The Boy on the Bridge, by MR Carey (Orbit)
  • The Changeling, by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)
  • The Crow Garden, by Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Relics, by Tim Lebbon (Titan Books)

Best Independent Press

  • Fox Spirit
  • Grimbold Books
  • Newcon Press
  • Salt Publishing
  • Unsung Stories

Best Magazine / Periodical

  • Black Static, ed. Andy Cox (TTA Press)
  • Gingernuts of Horror, ed. Jim Mcleod
  • Grimdark Magazine, ed. Adrian Collins
  • Interzone, ed. Andy Cox (TTA Press)
  • Shoreline of Infinity, ed. Noel Chidwick

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award)

  • RJ Barker, for Age of Assassins (Orbit)
  • SA Chakraborty, for The City of Brass (HarperVoyager)
  • Ed McDonald, for Blackwing (Orion)
  • Jeanette Ng, for Under the Pendulum Sun (Angry Robot)
  • Anna Smith Spark, for The Court of Broken Knives (HarperVoyager)

Best Non-Fiction

  • Gender Identity and Sexuality in Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. FT Barbini (Luna Press)
  • Gingernuts of Horror, ed. Jim Mcleod
  • Luminescent Threads, ed. Alexandra Pierce & Mimi Mondal (12th Planet Press)
  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of 70s and 80s Horror Fiction, by Grady Hendrix (Quirk)
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, by Maura McHugh (Electric Dreamhouse Press)

Best Novella

  • Brother’s Ruin, by Emma Newman (Tor.com)
  • Cottingley, by Alison Littlewood (Newcon Press)
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne, by Tade Thompson (Tor.com)
  • Naming the Bones, by Laura Mauro (Dark Minds Press)
  • Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages (Tor.com)
  • A Pocketful of Crows, by Joanne Harris (Gollancz)

Best Short Story

  • “The Anniversary,” by Ruth EJ Booth (in Black Static #61) (TTA Press)
  • “Four Abstracts,” by Nina Allan (in New Fears) (Titan Books)
  • “Illumination,” by Joanne Hall (in Book of Dragons) (Kristell Ink)
  • “The Little Gift,” by Stephen Volk (PS Publishing)
  • “Looking for Laika,” by Laura Mauro (in Interzone #273) (TTA Press)
  • “Shepherd’s Business,” by Stephen Gallagher (in New Fears) (Titan Books)

The Award winners for each category will be announced on 21st October at FantasyCon 2018.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]