(1) THE VOICE OF THE FUTURE. Wil Wheaton has been picked to narrate How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates.
Even Wheaton is impressed.
Did I mention that Bill Gates allegedly chose me, personally? Because holy h*ck he did. He chose me. Personally. Out of everyone in the world who does my job, he picked me. That kinda blows my mind.
(2) WORLDCON HOTEL. DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon, posted their biweekly hotel update: “2/28 Hotel Update”.
We have retained legal counsel in Delaware, which is the location of the Wardman Park bankruptcy proceedings. We are working with our legal counsel to move closer to a resolution, and we hope to provide you more concrete information as the process progresses.
- Justice Society: World War II – Official Exclusive Wonder Woman vs Nazis Clip
In this exclusive sneak peek at Warner Bros. Animation’s latest DC animated movie, Justice Society: World War 2, Wonder Woman faces off with a group of Nazi soldiers. The new film finds modern-day Barry Allen – prior to the formation of the Justice League – discovering he can run even faster than he imagined, and that milestone results in his first encounter with the Speed Force. The Flash is promptly launched into the midst of a raging battle – primarily between Nazis and a team of Golden Age DC Super Heroes known as The Justice Society of America. Led by Wonder Woman, the group includes Hourman, Black Canary, Hawkman, Steve Trevor and the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. The Flash quickly volunteers to assist his fellow heroes in tipping the scales of war in their favor, while the team tries to figure out how to send him home. But it won’t be easy as complications and emotions run deep in this time-skipping World War II thriller. Justice Society: World War II will be available to purchase on Digital starting April 27, 2021, and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray on May 11, 2021.
- The Flash: Season 7 Premiere – Official Exclusive Clip
In this exclusive clip from the long-awaited Season 7 premiere of The Flash, Barry races against the clock to stop Mirror Master and rescue Iris before his speed permanently runs out. “All’s Well That Ends Wells” will premiere on The CW on Tuesday, March 2.
(4) I, WITNESS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Isaac Asimov’s autobiography In Joy Still Felt, published in 1980, offers his explanation of fanzines and fandom in 1955. (I’ve omitted the details of the fan feud he was involved in.)
Fan magazines are produced by fans and exist, literally, in the hundreds. All but a very few are evanescent and exist for only a few issues before the time and the costs become insupportable.
I have no theoretical objection to write an occasional piece for love, but I have always steered clear of the fan magazines. There are so many that to write for one will mark you down as a target for the others and you will be nibbled to death…
…Though I had been an almost lifelong reader of science fiction, though I had written letters to magazines, though I had even involved myself with the Futurians, I had never immersed myself in what was called ‘fandom.’
I had no experience whatsoever with the ferocious single-mindedness with which this handful of people lived their science fiction. They interpreted literally among us the catchphrase that ‘Fandom is a way of life.’
What ever these enthusiasts could earn in their work they invested in their collections, or in their fan magazines. Their time was entirely devoted to their correspondence and to their meetings. Often, in fact, their fan activities crowded out the basis on which it was all founded–for they were so busy being fans of science fiction, they lacked the time to read science fiction.
Fans knew each other, loved each other, hated each other, formed cliques and threatened lawsuits, and, in short, formed a small subculture to which everything else in the world seemed alien and of no account.
News spread through fandom at the speed of light, even though it might never so much touch the world outside Any controversy involving fandom or the fan world elicited a joyful response at once as a vast number of fans (well, dozens anyway) plunged into the fray–on either side, it didn’t matter which.
(5) OLD BIRDBATH. And speaking of Fifties fandom…I Remember Me and Other Narratives – Walt Willis in Mimosa compiled by Rich Lynch is now available at Fanac.org. Includes this passage about a 1954 exchange between Willis and then-fanzine-editor Harlan Ellison.
….I did, however, get a letter from Harlan Ellison, about a phone call he made to me, an enterprise which was slightly handicapped by the fact that I didn’t have a phone at the time. He got my father’s house, which was a block away, and my sister didn’t come and get me because it was raining.
[From Ellison’s letter] “To say I’m merely angry or hurt would be a gross understatement. I’m completely devastated. You sent me ‘Mike Hammer at the Philcon,’ and I sent it out to be illustrated. Sure, it took me a year to get to it, but I was suspended with college work. Now when I have it on stencil and run off and announced as in the next issue with illos by Nasman Peterson, I pick up Mari Wolf’s column and see Space Times has already pubbed it. I’m really in a mess with the thing, and personally I think it was both poor taste on your part and a gross injustice not to at least write and tell me what had happened, before you sent a carbon to anyone else…”
I replied as follows. “Dear Harlan, Come now, old Birdbath. In the first place, how do you expect me to know you wanted the MS if you didn’t even acknowledge it? You wrote several times asking me to do something for you, but when I did send it there wasn’t another peep out of you. In fact, you folded your fanzine, retired from fandom, and changed your address. Not that I thought all this was on account of the MS, but in the absence of any acknowledgement or mention of it in any of your blurbs except the last one, how was I to know you were going to publish it?… Chuck Harris was staying with me at the time. The mail had just arrived, he had got five letters and there were none for me, and he was pulling my leg about my fan status having declined. Then my sister came round with the news that there had been a phone call from a Mr. Ellison of Ohio. Thanks, pal. All the best. Walter.”
This was at a time when transatlantic phone calls were almost unheard of in fandom. My recollection is that Chuck asked me, did I often get phone calls from American fans, and I said, “Only when it’s something important.”
(6) STRONACH INTERVIEWS LUCAS. In “An interview with Casey Lucas, moments before the avalanche hits” at The Spinoff, Alexander Stronach interviews the person he’s been friends with the longest, a Wellington science fiction and fantasy writer on the brink of world domination. (Alexander Stronach is Sasha Stronach, 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Winner for Best Novel, and Casey Lucas is the winner of the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Short Story.)
…Casey Lucas is a Swiss army knife. Casey Lucas is six feet tall and extremely bisexual. Casey Lucas is back from the dead (again). Casey Lucas is – finally, after years of dedication and hard work – on the cusp of very big things.
In the last year she’s won one of New Zealand’s highest honours for science fiction and fantasy writing, she’s worked on the wildly popular games Mini Metro and Mini Motorways, she’s run a workshop at Clarion West (possibly the most prestigious SF/F workshop in the world), she’s edited 30 graphic novels, she’s been hired to work on the next block of collectible card game Magic: the Gathering, and now her post-apocalyptic fungal fantasy web serial Into the Mire has picked up a prestigious international agent and is poised to go out to publishers.
Casey Lucas is, for lack of a better word, utterly singular, and today I’m getting deep in the weeds with her about success, trauma, M*A*S*H, and the impossible vastness of stone.
Alex Stronach: So you’re an “overnight success” now. What’s the spell look like? Who do I gotta kill?
Casey Lucas: Success in publishing is like an avalanche. You only see the snow rushing at you, but it took millions of exhausting years and lots of earthquakes for that mountain to yank itself up out of the sea, and you don’t get the avalanche without a mountain for it to roll down….
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
February 28, 1993 — On this date in 1993, Journey to the Center of the Earth first aired on NBC. It was intended as the pilot for a series but that never happened. It’s based on the novel of the same by Jules Verne. It is one of at least seven adaptations of the Verne novel to date so far. It was by William Dear from the screenplay by David Evans and William Gunter. It starred David Dundara, Farrah Forke, Tim Russ, Jeffrey Nordling and John Neville. No, it was not well received by the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes where it has a rating of just eighteen percent. And Screen Rant dubbed it the worst adaptation of the novel ever done.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born February 28, 1820 – Sir John Tenniel. Had he only illustrated Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, it would have been enough for us. He also illustrated an edition of the Ingoldsby Legends – so well known in the U.K. that Dorothy L. Sayers has Lord Peter Wimsey quoting them as late as Five Red Herrings (1931) and The Nine Tailors (1934). JT drew 2,300 cartoons for Punch. His knighthood (1893) was the first ever given to an illustrator. (Died 1914) [JH]
- Born February 28, 1875 – Maurice Renard. Pioneering SF writer (d’accord, honors to Rosny aîné). MR’s Dr. Lerne (1908) was a great Mad Scientist. The Blue Peril is a decade earlier than The Book of the Damned and, I dare say it, kinder. The Man Who Wanted to Be Invisible doesn’t “ruin” The Invisible Man – MR dedicated Le docteur Lerne to Wells – but faces, you should pardon the expression, the optics. Half a dozen novels, ninety shorter stories. (Died 1939) [JH]
- Born February 28, 1913 — John Coleman Burroughs. An illustrator known for his illustrations of the works of his father, Edgar Rice Burroughs. At age 23, he was given the chance to illustrate his father’s book, The Oakdale Affair and the Rider which was published in 1937. He went on to illustrate all of his father’s books published during the author’s lifetime — a total of over 125 illustrations. He also illustrated the John Carter Sunday newspaper strip, a David Innes of Pellucidar comic book feature and myriad Big Little Book covers. I remember the latter books — they were always to be found about the house during my childhood. (Died 1979.) (CE)
- Born February 28, 1928 — Walter Tevis. Author of The Man Who Fell to Earth which became the basis of the film of the same name starring David Bowie. There’s apparently a series planned off it. He also two other SF novels, The Steps of The Sun and Mockingbird. All of his work is available from the usual digital sources. (Died 1984.) (CE)
- Born February 28, 1942 — Terry Jones. Member of Monty Python who was considered the originator of the program’s structure in which sketches flowed from one to the next without the use of punchlines. He made his directorial debut with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-directed with Gilliam, and also directed Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. He also wrote an early draft of Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, though little of that draft remains in the final version. (Died 2020.) (CE)
- Born February 28, 1946 – Leanne Frahm, age 75. Two Ditmars as Best Fanwriter; two others, and an Aurealis, for fiction. Seen in SF Commentary (and The Metaphysical Review); Souvenir Book for Aussiecon Three the 57th Worldcon – the year Greg Benford said “Certainly, thank you. Are you inviting me to be Fan Guest of Honor or Pro Guest of Honor?” Two dozen short stories (one with Terry Carr! anthologized in Stellar 7; another in TC’s Universe 13). [JH]
- Born February 28, 1948 – Donna Jo Napoli, Ph.D., age 73. Fourscore novels – opinions may differ on what under “children’s” we should count. Writes for us when not too busy as a linguist, she’s a professor at Swarthmore. Arabian Nights, Egyptian, Greek, Norse tales for National Geographic. Golden Kite Award, Sydney Taylor Award, Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver Awards. Bimodal videobooks which hearing parents can read – I don’t know what else to call it – to deaf children. [JH]
- Born February 28, 1957 — John Barnes, 64. I read and really liked the four novels in his Thousand Cultures series which are a sort of updated Heinleinian take on the spread of humanity across the Galaxy. What else by him do y’all like? He’s decently stocked by the usual digital suspects. (CE)
- Born February 28, 1977 — Chris Wooding, 44. If you read nothing else by him, do read the four novel series that is the steampunkish Tales of the Ketty Jay. Simply wonderful. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray plays off the Cthulhu Mythos that certain folk don’t think exist and does a damn fine job of doing so. (CE)
- Born February 28, 1977 – J.T. Petty, age 44. Four novels, as many shorter stories, for us; others too. Motion pictures, videogames. Interviewed in Lightspeed. [JH]
- Born February 28, 1980 – Gareth Worthington, Ph.D., age 41. Endocrinologist who’s given us six novels. Studied Jeet Kune Do, which as I understand is the best ever if you happen to be Bruce Lee – no blame, great sages keep telling us It’s simple, see? Has read Moby-Dick and A Brief History of Time. [JH]
(9) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.
Dr. Seuss is credited with inventing the word “nerd,” which first appeared in ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ in 1950. Source: Parade Magazine
(10) VOICE FROM THE PAST. NPR reprised a 2000 interview with the author — “Stephen King: The ‘Craft’ Of Writing Horror Stories”.
In an interview on Fresh Air, King described his life-changing accident to Terry Gross but said it didn’t change the way he approached his writing….
On the nurses who took care of him
“You know, they’d all read Misery, and they worked for an outfit called the Bangor Area Visiting Nurses. These are nurses who go into the home and give home care. And I think one of them told me toward the end of the period, where I needed full-time nursing, that they had all read it, and they had all been called into the office by their superior and told in no uncertain terms, ‘You don’t make any Misery jokes.'”
Includes an excerpt from King’s book On Writing with this quote:
…Asteroid Miners (which wasn’t the title, but that’s close enough) was an important book in my life as a reader. Almost everyone can remember losing his or her virginity, and most writers can remember the first book he/she put down thinking: I can do better than this. Hell, I am doing better than this!
What could be more encouraging to the struggling writer than to realize his/her work is unquestionably better than that of someone who actually got paid for his/her stuff?
(11) NAVIGATING TREK NOVELS. The Trek Collective has “Star Trek novel updates: First Coda blurbs, details of next DS9 novel, and audiobook covers”. A forthcoming trilogy is supposed to tie everything together.
More Star Trek novel news! Following the recent reveal of the 2021 line-up of Star Trek novels, Simon and Schuster have now updated their Online Catalog with blurbs for the books coming towards the end of the year, including the first details of the Coda trilogy. Continue below for all the details.
The Coda trilogy is set to tie-up the reality of the Star Trek litverse which has been told over the last couple of decades, but was alas shunted into an alternate timeline by the new canon events of Picard. All three of the new blurbs start with the following intro, which confirms we are getting one last enormous TNG/DS9/Titan/Aventine crossover:
… Temporal Apocalypse!! Blimey. Who is the mysterious old friend, what is the nature of the disaster, how will this all mesh the litverse with the canon reality? I cannot wait to find out!
If you have no idea what the litverse is, check out the Almighty Star Trek Lit-Verse Reading Order Flowchart, compiled by Thrawn and I. You’ve got a few months to get caught up on the dozens of books leading up to this epic closing trilogy (though of course if you’re not caught up I’m sure the authors will make sure it’s entirely accessible to new readers too).
(12) THE CHART. Indeed, the “Almighty Star Trek Lit-Verse Reading Order Flowchart” deserves an item to itself – you should see it! This is the proposed reading order for Star Trek books created by Thrawn and 8of5 for the period between the end of DS9 (1999) and Star Trek: Picard. (There are, of course, a zillion other Trek books outside this timeframe.)
If you’re a bit lost navigating the sometimes complex web of interconnectivity between the various Star Trek novels in the post-finale continuity, this is the resource you need. TrekBBS user Thrawn found a most elegant solution, with his brilliant Star Trek Lit-Verse Reading Order Flowchart. Now (as of 2020) on the version six, Thrawn and I guide you through the world of Star Trek fiction.
Whether you’re a fan of TNG, DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise the chart below will show how they spin off into New Frontier, Titan, IKS Gorkon, Vanguard, or Seekers, and crossover into Destiny, Typhon Pact, The Fall, Mirror Universe, and more; letting you chart your own path through the Trek-litverse. Once you’ve got to grips with the flow chart you might also find some of my lists a useful reference too.
(13) BLACK SWAN? StarTrek.com analyzes “How The Search For Spock Changed the Way Star Trek Got Made”.
There are several pivotal turning points in the production history of Star Trek. Pinning down the most important ones is tricky — is filming of “The Cage” more impactful than casting the second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before?” What about the writing approach in Season 3 of The Next Generation? Which events truly define how Star Trek was made and why? Among the likely candidates, the moment when Leonard Nimoy took over directorial duties for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock tends to be overlooked. One June 1, 1984, The Search For Spock was released, becoming the very first Trek production crafted by one of the actors. And the way Star Trek was created behind-the-scenes would never be the same.
(14) URBAN LEGENDS. “Mars City design: 6 sci-fi cities that will blow your mind” from Inverse.
6. BRADBURY CITY – MARS TRILOGY
There are several fictional cities in Kim Stanely Robinson’s seminal SF books about the settlement of Mars — Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars — so it’s hard to pick just one. But, if you have to choose only one Martian metropolis from his books, Bradbury City is the way to go.
Named for Ray Bradbury, who wrote The Martian Chronicles, Robinson’s Bradbury City is designed to recreate a city in Illinois. Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois. The Martian Chronicles features several unlikely Martian cities, some made by humans, some made by Martians. But, in almost all cases, like in “Night Meeting,” these towns and cities often have gas stations and pickup trucks.
(15) YOUTUBER. Dom Noble reviews “Raybearer ~ An African Inspired Fantasy Novel”.
(16) IT HAPPENED TO HIM, TOO? “Kevin Feige Panicking After Mom Throws Out $3.6 Billion Worth Of Superhero Crap” in The Onion. (Too short to excerpt – but I don’t need to talk anyone into reading The Onion, do I?
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “The Underground Comix Movement” on YouTube is an introduction to the great independent comix creators of the late 1960s, including S. Clay Wilson, Peter Bagge, and Gilbert Shelton.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Ben Bird Person, John Hertz, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Rich Lynch, Michael J. Walsh, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Jennifer Hawthorne, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]