(1) HOME ON THE CIMMERIAN RANGE. Horror author Stephen Graham Jones shares his love for the Conan stories and how he identifies both with Conan and with his creator Robert E. Howard in “My Life With Conan the Barbarian” in Texas Monthly.
… But Conan the Barbarian.
Imagine you’re a Blackfeet kid growing up in the windswept pastures twenty miles east of Midland, with no other Blackfeet around. Like Conan the Wanderer, -the Adventurer, -the Outcast, I was out in the trackless wastelands, far from civilization. The way I saw it, we’d come up the same. Conan’s homeland of Cimmeria was high and lonely? From our back porch in West Texas, I couldn’t see a single light. Cimmeria was packed with formative dangers? Every third step I took, I found myself entangled in barbed wire or jumping back from a rattlesnake. And when I mapped Cimmeria—the land Conan spent decades away from—onto my world, it could have been Montana, where the Blackfeet are….
(2) NAMING POLICY. At the FANDOM-run Wookieepedia editors are voting on an “Amendment to naming policy for real-world transgender individuals”.
For about the last decade or so, the naming policy for real-world people on Wookieepedia has been “Articles for real-world people, such as actors and authors, shall be titled according to their actual credited name in a Star Wars work, whether that be an abbreviation/stage name or pseudonym,” with a handful of exceptions.
In recent years, it’s become apparent that this policy is inadequate for transgender individuals and an additional exception needs to be made so that their articles are titled according to their chosen name, whether or not they return to Star Wars after coming out, as a matter of respect. As our society evolves, so too must Wookieepedia.
To that end, I propose the following addition to the naming policy, to be added alongside the three existing exceptions:
“If a real-world person is transgender and has changed their name since working on Star Wars, their article may be titled by their chosen name and the credited name turned into a redirect.”
Here’s some of the discussion from supporters.
(3) KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH KICKSTARTER ENDING. [Item by rcade.] Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith have a current KickStarter project ending on Wednesday to fund Rusch’s first new work in 20 years in the world of The Fey: “The Return of the Fey by Dean Wesley Smith” — Kickstarter.
The project, which has rocketed past its funding goal by raising over $25,000 from 400 backers, is for a new novella of undetermined title. A $30 pledge receives all seven The Fey novels as ebooks along with the new work. A $250 pledge takes home the book Lessons from Writing of The Fey and a class taught by Rusch about “the writing and publishing of a major epic fantasy series, and all the good stuff and mistakes along the way.”
The Fey series comprises seven books — a five- and two-book series that each tell complete stories. On the Kickstarter funding page, Smith dishes on the frustrating publication history of The Fey:
Bantam put Kris under contract for seven books in total. The first five were called The Fey Series, the next two were the Black King and Black Queen Series.
They were two separate stories set in the world of The Fey. And the readership continued to grow until the year 1999, with the 5th book just published and the 6th book ready to come out. All four of the first books were in multiple printings. But Bantam Publishing, for reasons no one ever said, let the 4th book go out of print. And kept it out of print, even with an intense demand for it. Not kidding.
By the time the 7th book came out in late 2000, the 4th book in its original mass market paperback edition was selling for hundreds and hundreds of dollars in collector’s markets because fans just wanted to read it.
Rusch regained the rights from Bantam and the novels are published today by WMG Publishing. They even publish book 4!
(4) THE ASKING PRICE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Isaac Asimov says in his autobiography In Joy Still Felt that in 1961 he was invited by the MIT Science Fiction Society to give a talk. They asked what his fee was and he decided to charge them a hundred dollars. After the talk, they took him to dinner at Joseph’s, “one of Boston’s posh eating places…it was very expensive and I had never eaten there.”
My conscience smote me. They were being very nice to me after I soaked them for a hundred dollars.
I said, deeply troubled, ‘Where the heck do you kids get the money to pay speakers?’ because I gather my talk was one of four for the year.
I expected them to say they gave up lunches or sold pencils on the corner, and I was quite prepared to force the hundred dollars back on them.
But one of them said, cheerfully, ‘We show first-run movies and collect lots of proceeds.’
‘Lots of proceeds?’
‘Sure. Up to five or six thousand dollars for the year.’
I mentally divided that by four and said, ‘That means you must pay some of the speakers more than a hundred dollars.’
‘Of course,’ said the spokesman, apparently unaware of the enormity of what he was saying. ‘Wernher von Braun, who was the speaker before you, got fourteen hundred dollars.
I stared at him for quite a while, and then he said, ‘Was he fourteen times as good as I was?’
‘No. You were much better.’
Asimov says he subsequently went to several MITSFS picnics, which concluded with a trip to the school’s observatory, which is at the top of a big hill. Asimov dutifully climbed the hill every year, even though he didn’t like to exercise.
(5) THE WORLDCON YOU DESERVE. Seanan McGuire shared this dream with Twitter. The commenters took the idea and ran with it. Thread starts here.
(7) BOOK WITHDRAWN, AUTHOR APOLOGIZES. Publisher Scholastic has made the decision to pull Dav Pilkey’s 2010 graphic novel The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future due to its perpetuation of “passive racism.” “From Scholastic Regarding The Adventures of Ook and Gluk”.
On Monday, March 22, 2021, with the full support of Dav Pilkey, Scholastic halted distribution of the 2010 book The Adventures of Ook and Gluk. Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism. We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake. Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.
Throughout our 100 year history, we have learned that trust must be won every day by total vigilance. It is our duty and privilege to publish books with powerful and positive representations of our diverse society, and we will continue to strengthen our review processes as we seek to support all young readers.
Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series, shared an apology that was posted on YouTube.
About ten years ago I created a book about a group of friends who save the world using Kung Fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution. But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery. I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people….
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
- March 28, 2003 — On this day in 2003, Tremors: The Series premiered on Syfy. It followed three Tremors films and starred Michael Gross, Gladise Jimenez, Marcia Strassman and Victor Brown. Created by Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson who brought us the entire Tremors franchise, it lasted but thirteen episodes. It was followed by Tremors 4: The Legend Begins whichstars Michael Gross as Hiram Gummer, the great-grandfather of the character Burt Gummer.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born March 28, 1483 – Raphael. (In Italian, more fully Rafaello Sanzio da Urbino.) Painter and architect; with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, one of the masters of the High Renaissance. Here is his Portrait of a Young Woman with a Unicorn on the cover of the Mar 05 Asimov’s. Here is The Triumph of Galatea. Part of The School at Athens is on the cover of The Philosopher Kings. (Died 1520) [JH]
- Born March 28, 1918 – Robert Stanley. A dozen covers for us. Here is Universe. Here is our next-door neighbor Rocket to the Morgue. Here is When Worlds Collide. Also Argosy, Dime Detective, Thrilling Western, publishers e.g. Bantam, Dell, Popular Library, Pyramid. (Died 1996) [JH]
- Born March 28, 1922 — A. Bertram Chandler. Did you ever hear of popcorn literature? Well the Australian-tinged space opera that was the universe of John Grimes was such. A very good starter place is the Baen Books omnibus of To The Galactic Rim which contains three novels and seven stories. Oh, and I’ve revisited both to see if the Suck Fairy had dropped by. She hadn’t. (Died 1984.) (CE)
- Born March 28, 1930 – Barbara Ninde Byfield. Wrote and illustrated five novels for us; also The Glass Harmonica – nonfiction; there was one at the Millennium Philcon, 59th Worldcon. (Died 1988) [JH]
- Born March 28, 1932 — Ron Soble. He played Wyatt Earp in the Trek episode, “ Spectre of The Gun”. During his career, he showed up on a hunger of genre series that included Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Shazam, Planet of The Apes, Fantasy Island, Salvage 1 and Knight Rider. His last genre role, weirdly enough, was playing Pablo Paccasio in Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills. (Died 2002.) (CE)
- Born March 28, 1944 — Ellen R. Weil. Wife of Gary K. Wolfe. She wrote a number of works with him including the non-fiction study, Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. They wrote a fascinating essay, “The Annihilation of Time: Science Fiction; Consumed by Shadows: Ellison and Hollywood,” which can be found in Harlan Ellison: Critical Insights. (CE)
- Born March 28, 1946 — Julia Jarman, 75. Author of a children’s book series I like a lot, of which I’ll single out Time-Travelling Cat And The Egyptian Goddess, The Time-Travelling Cat and the Tudor Treasure and The Time-Travelling cat and the Viking Terror as the ones I like the best. There’s more in that series but those are my favorites. (CE)
- Born March 28, 1955 — Reba McEntire, 66. Her first film role was playing Heather Gummer in Tremors. Since then, she’s done voice work as Betsy the Cow in Charlotte’s Web and as Etta in The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave. She also voiced Artemis on the Disney Hercules series. (CE)
- Born March 28, 1958 – Davey Snyder, F.N., age 63. Chaired Boskone 34, co-chaired World Fantasy Con 25. Bibliography for The Neil Gaiman Reader (the 2007 one, “Essays and Explorations”). Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award). [JH]
- Born March 28, 1960 — Chris Barrie, 61. He’s as Lara Croft’s butler Hillary in the most excellent Tomb Raider franchise films. He also shows up on Red Dwarf for twelve series as Arnold Rimmer, a series I’ve never quite grokked. He’s also one of the principal voice actors on Splitting Image which is not quite genre adjacent but oh so fun. (CE)
- Born March 28, 1964 – Gloria Oliver, age 57. Half a dozen novels, as many shorter stories. Sparked by the Gatchaman apa Bird Scramble, attending ConDFW, and her husband. [JH]
- Born March 28, 1983 – Josephine Angelini, age 38. Half a dozen novels. Has read The Once and Future King, As I Lay Dying, Siddhartha, two by Jane Austen, Fagles tr. The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Count of Monte Cristo, Frankenstein. “Dreams are messy and they don’t make sense, but what works for me is to take the feeling that I have from a dream and try to re-create it on the page. If I can get one or two images from a dream to work in a story I feel satisfied.” [JH]
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro finds some stars shouldn’t get wet.
- Off the Mark reveals a delivery mistake with major fairy tale implications.
- Non Sequitur transports a babysitter into an unexpected pulp adventure
(11) SERIAL SUPERHERO. Comic book superhero movies made their debut in theaters 80 years ago today. At least this one did: “Adventures of Captain Marvel”.
(12) NEXT SUPERHERO. The Black Adam movie is slated for a July 29, 2022 release.
(13) ALWAYS WINTER, BUT SOMETIMES CHRISTMAS. In the Washington Post, Shannon Liao says that Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released on March 20, 2020. She interviews people who have played Animal Crossing for over 1,000 years in a year and how the game provided a lot of comfort during the worst part of the pandemic. “Meet the Animal Crossing users who spent up to 2000 hours in game”.
Snow topped trees, ice sculptures and the sound of rushing waterfalls. Susana Liang built out her “Animal Crossing” island complete with a Christmas dinner, various shops, a wedding reception, an igloo campsite, a picnic, a mini version of the Greek island Santorini, elaborate walkways and a cozy home with plenty of Christmas trees.“Winter makes everything covered in snow and it’s all white, so it makes it feel a bit more ethereal and dreamy. It’s one of my favorite seasons in the game,” said Liang, who works in health science in New York and has spent over 2,300 hours playing Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” since a few weeks after the game’s release. It’s always winter on her island. Every time winter is about to end, she time travels back to the beginning of January to stay in the season…
(14) GETTING WARMER. “A Warmer Superconductor Found” reports New Energy and Fuel.
The team at the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry (Mainz, Germany), the University of Chicago (USA), and the Soreq Nuclear Research Center (Yavne, Israel) used a variety of analytical methods to refine the phase diagrams for hydrogen sulfide in the H(3)S form and D(3)S, its deuterium analogue, in relation to pressure and temperature, and to shed additional light on their superconducting properties.
The scientists have now introduced new findings that show the materials become superconducting at the relatively high temperatures of -77 and -107 °C, respectively.
(15) ANDY! ANDY! Yesterday’s photo of Captain Kirk and Edith Keeler on the set in front of an identifiable Mayberry landmark prompted a Filer to point out MeTV’s Star Trek / Andy Griffith Show mash-up commercial.
Kirk and Spock travel to Mayberry! And Barney looks to nip it in the bud. Explore strange new worlds on MeTV!
Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics) talks about the man some call “The King of the Comics” with author Neil Gaiman (American Gods) and TV host and mega-Kirby fan Jonathan Ross. They will attempt to discuss what was special about the work of Jack Kirby and why, long after we lost him, he seems to be more popular than ever.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John Hertz, N., Cora Buhlert, Bill, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Rich Horton, Andrew (Not Werdna), Martin Morse Wooster, Brian Z., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]