The second issue of Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly from Arnie and Cathy Fenner is available. “The introduction explains our tardiness,” notes Arnie. Copies are being sold through Bud Plant, Stuart Ng, Dreamhaven Books, and Forbidden Planet NYC.
Jeffrey Catherine Jones is the featured artist in an all new 39-page examination. George Pratt, Todd Adams and model Carol Zaloom share their memories and we are treated to page after page of paintings and new details of Jones’ life and work.
Also: Fantastic art painter Ed Binkley is interviewed and featured on the cover. His work is stunning.
Donato Giancola explains how inspiration shows up for him, with wonderful examples from Lord of the Rings paintings. Gregory Manchess shares insights and pointers. Sara Frazetta shares memories of her grandfather Frank Frazetta. Art Director Irene Gallo offers tips to illustrators in a 20-questions feature. Arnie writes poignant memoriams for James Bama, Neal Adams, Ken Kelly, George Perez, Tim Sale and Marshall Arisman—“six masterful members of our art community who left us in 2022.”
Arnie had a serious health issue which was the cause for this issue being delayed (it IS called Spectrum Quarterly). He touches on that in his typically insightful and thoughtful editorial, and reveals the next Spectrum Annual Volume 28 will be out in 2023 after a hiatus since Volume 27.
Carol Zaloom modeled for Jeffrey Jones herself but more importantly, she was a close friend with Joners’ most famous muse and model Sandi Zinaman (1952-2015). She figures in many paintings and this includes photos of her modeling for Jones. She was the inspiration for the voluptuous heroine of the Idyl series.
(1) SPECTRUM FANTASTIC ART QUARTERLY. Cathy and Arnie Fenner have finished the first volume: “Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly *Update*” at Muddy Colors. It will be released December 20. Meantime, Arnie explains they are still at work on changes to the Spectrum competition and annual:
Remember awhile back when I mentioned that Cathy and I were planning to do a quarterly Spectrum bookazine? Guess what: the first volume is done. And what do I mean by “bookazine?” Well, I guess it’s something of a marriage of design, editorial, and graphics in a format that reads like a magazine but sits happily with the books on your shelf. It’s not exactly a new concept: if you hop in the way-back machine and take a look at Herb Lubalin’s Avant Garde or at Ralph Ginzburg’s hardcover Eros (which was also designed by Lubalin) you’ll see just how neat the idea is.
So while we’ve been figuring out all the minutia that goes into reorganizing the Spectrum competition and annual (and, lemme tell you, there are some cool discussions going on…if we can only figure out the logistics) and preparing to open #28 for entries, we put our heads together with some friends and decided to create the Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly to stay engaged with the community while the competition/book gets rebuilt—and have some fun in the process. And “fun” is the key word here: as we mention in the introduction to Vol 1, it’s sort of a throw-back to my days publishing fanzines (or “semiprozines” or “boutique magazines” or whatever you want to call them), that are produced out of love with making a buck, though important, secondary. SFAQ is a 12?x12?, perfect-bound, full-color softcover; it’s about and for fantastic artists of all sensibilities—and that includes illustrators, gallery painters, sculptors, art directors, calligraphers, comics artists, and more—and for everyone interested in the people and history of our field. Is it perfect? Nope. Did we probably make some dumb mistakes or let some typos slip by us? Undoubtedly. But it was most certainly fun to put together and we’ve got all kinds of ideas for features and designs percolating in our noggins—all ideas that work better for a “bookazine” rather than a traditional magazine or book, if you know what I mean. If it works, it works; if it doesn’t, we’ll at least have had a good time trying.
Anyway, Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly Vol. 1 will be released (according to the printer) December 20th—yes, this year. Merry Christmas! If you’re interested, here’s where you can order your copy. It’ll probably still be a week or so before they have them listed, but…you heard it here first.
(4) TURNAROUND. Neon Hemlock Press launched a Kickstarter to fund the anthology Luminiscent Machinations: Queer Tales of Monumental Inventionedited by Rhiannon Rasmussen and dave ring, “a speculative anthology exploring the limits of machinery, the fragility and power of queer bodies, and mecha in all their forms.” Social media controversy has arisen because one of the contributors to the anthology is Neon Yang, who criticized Isabel Fall’s “Helicopter Story” (originally titled “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter.”) Some defenders of Isabel Fall are condemning Yang’s promotion of their own queer mech story.
“When the story was first published, we knew nothing about Isabel Fall’s identity, and there was a smattering of strange behavior around the comments and who was linking to it that led people to suspect right-wing trolls were involved in this,” says science fiction author Neon Yang. They were publicly critical of the story on Twitter….
Publisher Neon Hemlock has made this statement:
Meanwhile, Neon Yang’s Twitter account is labeled “temporarily restricted” with a message that says, “You’re seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account. Do you still want to view it?” although one can still click through the warning and access it.
Doris V. Sutherland’s post “On Neon Yang’s Toxic Reputation” reviews the original 2020 controversy in some detail, searching for an explanation why Yang is experiencing this backlash:
…Yet, despite the flimsiness of the accusation, Neon Yang retains a reputation as the person who did the most to bring down Isabel Fall. As far as I can tell, the misconception can be traced back to the aforementioned Vox article, in which Yang is the only person quoted as justifying the backlash against the story. Nowhere does the article state, or even imply, that Yang was the main aggressor; yet nonetheless, it seems to have established Yang as the face of the anti-Fall movement….
Those that live by the censor’s scissors are liable to end up being snipped at themselves. There is, perhaps, a degree of karma in a person who rolled along with the erasure of Isabel Fall’s story — simply because it made some of the readers uncomfortable — being placed in a position where their own presence in an anthology is deemed uncomfortable, to the extent where at least one collaborator has decided to pull out….
(5) ALL HAIL. AudioFile Magazine’s latest “Behind the Mic Podcast” interviews Ray Porter, who narrated the Project Hail Mary audiobook.
Narrator Ray Porter joins AudioFile’s Michele Cobb to tell listeners about his experience narrating PROJECT HAIL MARY, Andy Weir’s newest sci-fi bestseller. PROJECT HAIL MARY is one of AudioFile’s 2021 Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Audiobooks, and it’s a thrilling interstellar adventure. Ray gives Michele an inside glimpse into preparing the many voices deployed in this space opera and tells her what has stayed with him about bringing it to life. Read the full review of the audiobook at audiofilemagazine.com. Published by Audible, Inc. Curious listeners can take a peek into Ray’s recording studio in his narrator video on PROJECT HAIL MARY.
The episode starts with Commander Cliff Alister McLane (Dietmar Schönherr) receiving his latest orders from General Wamsler (Benno Sterzenbach). It’s yet another routine mission (and we all know how well those tend to go for the Orion 8): Collect space dust in order to investigate the panspermia theory, which causes Wamsler’s aide Spring-Brauner (Thomas Reiner) to drone on and on about the panspermia theory, i.e. the theory that life did not originate on Earth, but is distributed through the universe via spores hitching a ride with space dust, asteroids, meteorites, etc… The theory is the brainchild of Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius, who also developed the theory of a global greenhouse caused by industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which played a role in the Orion episode “The Battle for the Sun”. One of the writers is apparently a fan….
(7) KGB SCHEDULE CHANGE. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in New York has changed the lineup for their December 15 event.
This month, Mercurio D. Rivera will be reading with David Leo Rice. N.K. Jemisin will be reading for them in February.
David Leo Rice’s info was part of the original announcement. The brief bio for Mercurio D. Rivera follows.
Mercurio D. Rivera
Mercurio D. Rivera’s short fiction has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and has won the annual readers’ award for Asimov’s and Interzone magazines, respectively. His work has also appeared in venues such as Analog, Lightspeed, io9, Nature, Black Static, and numerous anthologies and Year’s Best collections.
His new novel Wergen: The Alien Love War tells stories of unrequited love set against the backdrop of humanity’s complicated relationship with enigmatic aliens afflicted with a biochemical infatuation for humanity. His story “Beyond the Tattered Veil of Stars,” was recently podcast by Dust Studios, and features Gillian Jacobs (Community) and Justin Kirk (Weeds).
The readings are Wednesday, December 15 starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern in the KGB Bar. (Address at the link.)
… “I met some of my greatest friends at the Dickens Fair,” says Tooles, who went on to join the event’s volunteer cast, taking on bigger roles and more responsibility each year.
Her history with the tight-knit fair community is what makes the past two years so heartbreaking for Tooles, who is one of a small number of Black cast members at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. What started as a goodwill effort to help rectify what is seen as the event’s failure to protect its volunteers and guests from racist and sexist behavior has turned ugly. Now, more than 200 cast members and thousands of guests have pledged to boycott this year’s fair, which is set to return to the Cow Palace on Saturday, Dec. 4, in a scaled-down, drive-through experience for the next three weekends.
“I want people to recognize what their values are and decide if the Dickens Fair aligns with them,” says Tooles, founder of an affinity group for the fair’s Black performers called Londoners of the African Diaspora, or LoAD….
1979 — [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Forty-two years ago on this date, Star Trek: The Motion Picture had an exclusive premiere in Washington, D.C. It is directed by Robert Wise from the screenplay by Harold Livingston which in turn is based on the story by Alan Dean Foster and I’m surprised he didn’t novelize it. You know who was in the movie so I won’t detail the cast here. Reception was decidedly mixed though Roger Ebert called it “a good time”. The box office was exceedingly good as it made one hundred forty million against forty million in production costs. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a so-so rating of just forty-two percent. It was nominated for a Hugo at Noreascon Two, the year that Alien was chosen as the Best Film.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 6, 1893 — Sylvia Townsend Warner. Do yourself a favor and look up a bio of her as she’s a fascinating person. This site is a good place to do that. Her first novel, Lolly Willowes or, The Loving Huntsman, is definitely genre. ISFDB lists four genre collections by her, but Kingdoms of Elfin and Lolly Willowes are available on the usual suspects. (Died 1973.)
Born December 6, 1911 — Ejler Jakobsson, Finnish-born Editor who worked on Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories butbriefly as they were shut down due to paper shortages. When Super Science Stories was revived in 1949, Jakobsson was named editor until it ceased publication two years later. Twenty years later, he took over Galaxy and If, succeeding Frederik Pohl. His first credited publications were The Octopus and The Scorpion in 1939, co-edited with his wife, Edith Jakobsson. (Died 1984.)
Born December 6, 1918 — William P. McGivern. Once in a while, I run across an author I’ve never heard of. So it is with McGivern. He was a prolific writer of SFF stories for twenty years starting from the early Forties. ISFDB only lists one genre novel by him, The Seeing, that he wrote with his wife Maureen McGivern. The digital has been good for him with the usual suspects having pretty much everything by him that he did except oddly enough the long out of print The Seeing. (Died 1982.)
Born December 6, 1923 — Wally Cox. Ok, who can resist the voice of the Underdog series which ran from 1964 to1967? I certainly can’t. He was in Babes in Toyland, The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, Lost in Space, Get Smart, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Quarantined, Night Gallery and Once Upon a Mattress. (Died 1974.)
Born December 6, 1953 — Tom Hulce, 68. Oscar-nominated screen and stage actor and producer. His first genre role was in a highly-praised performance as the lead in the American Playhouse broadcast of The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket, about a young boy who discovers that he can fly. Although the bulk of his career has been in the theater, his most notable genre film role was as Henry Clerval in Kenneth Branagh’s Saturn-nominated Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He was nominated for an Annie Award for his voice performance of Quasimodo in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and appeared in the films Stranger than Fiction and Jumper.
Born December 6, 1957 — Arabella Weir, 64. A performer with two Who appearances, the first being as Billis in “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”, a superb Eleventh Doctor story, before being The Doctor Herself in “Exile”, a Big Audio production. She’s had one-offs on genre and genre adjacent series such as Shades of Darkness, Genie in the House, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) and even a genre adjacent Midsomer Murders.
Born December 6, 1962 — Colin Salmon, 59. Definitely best known for his role as Charles Robinson in the Bond films Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. He played Dr. Moon in “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”, Tenth Doctor stories, and was Walter Steele on Arrow. He most recently played General Zod on Krypton He was, alas, Ben in that clunker of films, Mortal Engines.
Born December 6, 1969 — Torri Higginson, 52. I had forgotten that she had a role in the TekWar movies and series as Beth Kittridge. I like that series a lot. Of course, she portrayed Dr. Elizabeth Weir in one episode of Stargate SG-1 and the entire Stargate Atlantis series. Her most recent genre roles was as Dr. Michelle Kessler in Inhuman Condition, where she plays a therapist who focuses on supernatural patients, and Commander Delaney Truffault in the Dark Matter series.
The second half of Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Kevin Smith’s continuation of the original cartoon from the 1980s, just became available and I opted to watch that over the new Hawkeye show (which I will watch eventually) and Star Trek Discovery (which is apparently available in Europe now, though I still haven’t figured out how), because I enjoyed the first half a lot more than I expected. Besides, part 1 ended on one hell of a cliffhanger, so of course I wanted to know how Teela, Andra, Duncan and the rest of gang are going to get out of that one….
(13) RECOMMENDEDKICKSTARTERS. Cora Buhlert also sent links to a pair of Kickstarters worthy of attention:
Blazing Blade of Frankenstein 1, a comic featuring Frankenstein’s monster as a wandering sword and sorcery hero, is also looking for funding. I had never heard of these people before, but the concept is simply too cool to ignore: “Blazing Blade of Frankenstein #1 by FRIED Comics”.
(14) THE CLASS OF 2021. The New York Times is there when “NASA Introduces Class of 10 New Astronaut Candidates”. Their names: Nichole Ayers, Christopher Williams, Luke Delaney, Jessica Wittner, Anil Menon, Marcos Berríos, Jack Hathaway, Christina Birch, Deniz Burnham and Andre Douglas.
NASA on Monday inaugurated 10 new astronaut candidates who could walk on the moon within the next decade, or carry out research on the International Space Station.
The new astronaut candidate class is NASA’s 23rd since 1959, when seven astronauts were picked by the military for Project Mercury, the first American human spaceflight program. The latest astronaut candidate group comes as NASA prepares for its most daunting challenges in space since Americans landed on the moon during the Apollo program of the 1960s and ’70s. The agency’s growing focus is on Artemis, its program to return astronauts to the moon….
The builders of Stonehenge ate sweet treats including foraged fruit and nuts, English Heritage has revealed.
Previously it was thought they had consumed pork, beef and dairy.
But excavations of the Durrington Walls settlement, inhabited by the builders of the monument in about 2,500 BC, suggest they collected and cooked hazelnuts, sloes and crab apples too.
Researchers said evidence of charred plant remains suggest they might have followed recipes to preserve the food….
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Cora Buhlert, Meredith, Bill, Olav Rokne, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn. Update: The excerpts of Doris V. Sutherland’s comments were added a couple hours after the Scroll was posted.]
Cathy and Arnie Fenner have announced that although Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art #27 has just been released by Fleskes Publications and this is traditionally the time of year when the Call For Entries for Spectrum 28 would normally open for submissions, they are postponing the submission window until 2021.
They explained in a press release:
But as we all know, 2020 has not been a normal year for anyone…and we’re not out of it yet. As announced previously, after seven great years as editor and publisher John Fleskes decided to step away from Spectrum to pursue other projects and interests; as we began work on transitioning the competition and book back to our leadership, the pandemic simultaneously began to spread around the globe. Needless to say, since March of 2020 COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone emotionally—particularly to those that have lost family or friends to the virus—thrown a monkey wrench into logistics and planning, shuttered businesses, cost millions of jobs, and had an enormously negative financial impact on the world. And that of course all translates to a negative impact on the publishing and entertainment industries, on the arts community, on the readers and fans—on literally everyone who make Spectrum possible. Factor in social, civil, and political upheavals and it’s safe to say that everybody has struggled or been hurt or in some way experienced unhappiness in 2020 and it would be tone-deaf for us to pretend otherwise.
With all that in mind, we believe the responsible thing for us to do is to delay opening Spectrum 28 for submissions until after the first of the year. A revised website is in the works as well as updates to the social media platforms. Though we know everyone has come to expect the Call For Entries to roll around at the same time each year like clockwork, we’ve actually been talking with our Advisory Board for some weeks about changing the dates (among other things) as a way to better serve the arts community going forward: there will be more announcements forthcoming, including our Call For Entries poster artist and jury.
…To paraphrase Mark Twain, any reports of Spectrum’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Watch for the announcement and we’ll hope to see everyone’s work when Spectrum 28 opens for entries. If you have any questions or concerns, ask us: we’re not going anywhere.
Chinese film authorities issued a new document outlining policy measures to boost the country’s production of science fiction movies.
Entitled “Several Opinions on Promoting the Development of Science Fiction Films,” the document highlights how the sci-fi genre fits into the ruling Communist Party’s broader ideological and technological goals. It was released earlier this month by China’s National Film Administration and the China Association for Science and Technology, a professional organization.
The document focuses on domestically developing pro-China science fiction film content and high-tech production capability. It comes in the wake of the country’s first VFX-heavy sci-fi blockbuster hit, “The Wandering Earth,” which remains the third highest grossing film of all time in the territory with a local box office of $691 million.
…To make strong movies, the document claims, the number one priority is to “thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought.” Based on the Chinese president’s past pronouncements on film work, filmmakers should follow the “correct direction” for the development of sci-fi movies. This includes creating films that “highlight Chinese values, inherit Chinese culture and aesthetics, cultivate contemporary Chinese innovation” as well as “disseminate scientific thought” and “raise the spirit of scientists.” Chinese sci-fi films should thus portray China in a positive light as a technologically advanced nation.
…Nevertheless, China’s lack of strong sci-fi is primarily due to a lack of innovative ideas and scripts, the document said. The country should focus on generating strong sci-fi scripts through talent incubators and prizes, and by urging film festivals to set up specific sci-fi film departments. The adaptation of sci-fi literature, animation and games should be encouraged to stimulate the production of new original content.
Elementary and middle school students should be made to watch “excellent sci-fi movies,” while universities should be urged to “strengthen the training of sci-fi related talent.”
…I have been accused of being a writer. I’m not. My 1962 writing instructor was right when he told me, “You can’t write. You’re wasting your time. You’ll never be a writer.”
He was right. I’m not a writer.
I’m a storyteller.
A story is — pay attention now, this is the good stuff — a story is about a person with a problem.
Let me repeat that. A STORY IS ABOUT A PERSON WITH A PROBLEM.
This is why stories are the essential part of human intelligence. Because all human beings have problems. We either defeat them or they defeat us.
But either way, we end up with a story about the problem.
The essential definition of a story is this: “Here’s a problem. Here’s what didn’t work. Here’s what did work. And here’s what I learned.” It’s that last phrase that’s important. The problem is an access to the lesson. Even if the problem didn’t get solved, the lesson is still critical. And if there is no lesson to be learned, then it wasn’t a real problem, just some stuff to be handled. (“I have to do the dishes,” isn’t a problem. Just do the damn dishes.)…
On June 22, Charles Brownstein resigned from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund after serving as executive director for 18 years. The exit came following pressure from comic industry professionals as details of his alleged assault of creator Taki Soma 15 years earlier re-emerged online. More than a month after his departure, the CBLDF is attempting to rebuild both itself and trust from the comic book community.
In 2005, Soma reported to police that Brownstein assaulted her during the Mid-Ohio Con convention, with details becoming public the following year. In 2006, Brownstein admitted to the assault, calling it “a stupid, drunken prank, of which I’m ashamed” in a public statement, although he kept his position inside the CBLDF following an independent third party investigation.
… “Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen a response from the fund that would make me feel comfortable supporting them after Brownstein’s departure,” Batman writer James Tynion IV told The Hollywood Reporter. “I want to see who they put forward as the voice of the fund, and see what kind of work they’re open to doing to make a better community. Until they do that, I’ll be a skeptical observer, and my money will keep going to the [another comic book non-profit] Hero Initiative, where I can see measurably good work being done.”
Harrow County artist Tyler Crook is also skeptical about the continued viability of the organization.
“I’m very glad to see Brownstein gone, but I won’t be supporting them until after we see what changes they make to reform the organization,” said Crook, adding that Brownstein remaining with the organization for so many years despite his alleged behavior identified structural problems that need to be addressed. “Right now, I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about the CBLDF’s ability to change. I think our industry might be better served with a new, organization built on stronger foundations and with a stronger moral compass.”
Trexler will oversee and update the CBLDF’s operations and its mission. He will also be charged with restoring the organization’s credibility and stature in the comics community after the departure of Brownstein, who held the executive director position at CBLDF for 18 years.
“The original mission of CBLDF is one I passionately support as a longtime member of the comics community,” Trexler said in a statement. “This is a time of evolution for the organization, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
Before joining the CBLDF, Trexler was associate director of the Fashion Law Institute. He is a member of the ethics committee at Kering Americas, and has served on the board of the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art. Trexler is also a lifelong comics fan as well as a lawyer, and has provided legal analysis on a variety of issues surrounding the comics industry….
A story arc about a giant tardigrade in “Star Trek: Discovery” didn’t infringe a copyright in an unreleased video game that also featured a giant tardigrade, the Second Circuit affirmed Monday.
Many elements of the work that CBS Broadcasting Corp. and Netflix Corp. allegedly infringed covered uncopyrightable scientific facts and ideas about tardigrades, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said.
Anas Osama Ibrahim Abdin owns a copyright in the “distillation” of the concept for his video game “Tardigrades,” a compilation of images, descriptions, and illustrations detailing the game’s characters and backstory. It features a space-station botanist who travels through space after being absorbed into a giant tardigrade, based on the real-life microscopic creature that can endure extreme heat, cold, pressure, and radiation.
Three episodes in the first season of CBS’ “Star Trek: Discovery” also involve a space encounter with a massive tardigrade-like creature, and Abdin sued CBS for copyright infringement in Manhattan federal court. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed Abdin’s claims in September.
The Second Circuit affirmed that CBS and Netflix—which is licensed to air “Discovery” outside of the U.S.—didn’t infringe because the works aren’t substantially similar. Abdin’s use of tardigrades largely wasn’t copyrightable, the court said.
“Abdin’s space-traveling tardigrade is an unprotectable idea because it is a generalized expression of a scientific fact—namely, the known ability of a tardigrade to survive in space,” the court said. “By permitting Abdin to exclusively own the idea of a space-traveling tardigrade, this Court would improperly withdraw that idea from the public domain and stifle creativity naturally flowing from the scientific fact that tardigrades can survive the vacuum of space.”…
(6) WELL WORTH YOUR TIME. [Based on notes from John Hertz.] Roberta Pournelle left our stage on August 3, 2020.
There was no public church service and no public interment. Her remains were laid to rest at Forest Lawn on August 14th, as it happens not far from OGH’s father’s.
… I was hardly an “only child,” and I’m not merely referring to my wonderful brothers. Roberta taught in schools where most would not. She taught kids who were guilty of being poor, or black, or Latinx, or homeless. or abused, or dyslexic, or otherwise illiterate and/or desperate. Kids with “form,” kids with little future; kids who were pregnant or fathers or incarcerated for crimes real or imagined and precious little hope of anger management. The kids nobody wanted. The kids dismissed as “juvvies.” The kids about whom precious few truly, actually, cared.
Advised to leave, advised to cease, advised that her talents lay elsewhere, she taught on. She was there….
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
August 18, 1950 — Destination Moon, produced by Geotge Pal, premiered in the United Kingdom. It would be voted a Retro Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation at the Millennium Philcon. It was directed by Irving Pichel from the screenplay by Alford Van Ronkel and Robert A. Heinlein and James O’Hanlon. It’s based off Robert A. Heinlein‘s Rocketship Galileo novel. It starred John Archer, Warner Anderson, Erin O’Brien-Moore, Tom Powers and Dick Wesson. Mainstream critics usually didn’t like but Asimov said In Memory Yet Green that it was “the first intelligent science-fiction movie made.” Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a mediocre 48% rating. It is not in the public domain but the trailers are and here is one for you.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born August 18, 1929 — Joan Taylor. Her first genre role was Earth vs. the Flying Saucers as Carol Marvin, and she followed that with 20 Million Miles to Earth as Marisa Leonardo. Her last genre role was as Carol Gordon in Men into Space, a late Fifties series about a USAF attempt to explore and develop outer space. She retired from acting in the early Sixties. (Died 2012.) (CE)
Born August 18, 1931 — Grant Williams. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Scott Carey in The Incredible Shrinking Man though he did have the role of the psychopathic killer in Robert Bloch’s The Couch. Of course, he shows up in Outer Limits where he plays Major Douglas McKinnon in “The Brain of Colonel Barham”. And he’s Major Kurt Mason in The Doomsday Machine. (Died 1985.) (CE)
Born August 18, 1931 – Seymour Chwast, 89. French ed’n of Doctor Dolittle; Odyssey; Canterbury Tales; Divine Comedy; three dozen more. Here is We. Here is Analog 6 (anthology). Here is Lord Tyger. Much outside our field too; see here, here, here, and this archive. Saint Gaudin Award, Art Directors Hall of Fame, American Inst. Graphic Arts Medal, honorary doctorate from Parsons. [JH]
Born August 18, 1934 — Michael de Larrabeiti. He is best known for writing The Borrible Trilogy which is noted by several sources online as being an influence by writers in the New Weird movement. Ok folks, I’ve not read so please explain how The Borrible Trilogy influences that literary movement as it doesn’t seem like there’s any connection. (Died 2008.) (CE)
Born August 18, 1935 — Brian Aldiss. He’s well known as an anthologist and SF writer with Space, Time and Nathaniel, a collection of short stories being his first genre publication. I’ll single out Space Opera and other such anthologies as my favourite works by him. His “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” is the basis for A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Much honoured, he’s was named a Grand Master by SFWA and inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He also has received two Hugo Awards, one Nebula Award, and one John W. Campbell Memorial Award. (Died 2017.) (CE)
Born August 18, 1943 –Richard Bober, 77. Three dozen covers. Here is Lake of the Long Sun (in Polish). Here is Shards of Empire. Here is the 2003 Chesley Awards Retrospective (at left, top to bottom, images by Bober, Ledet, Eggleton, Bonestell). Gallery, Feb 98 Realms of Fantasy. [JH]
Born August 18, 1947 – Paul Skelton, 73. Long-active fanziner, in his own zines (sometimes with wife Cas Skelton) and letters of comment to others’. Five FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement) Awards, four for Best Correspondent and one for life achievement thereat. [JH]
Born August 18, 1949 –Takeshi Shudô. Known for Magical Princess Minky Momo (television animé), Pokémon (pocket monsters; TV, film, novels), and Eternal Filena (serialized light novel, then OVA – original video animation, made for home release without prior theater or television showing – then role-playing video game). For Pokémon, coined Team Rocket’s motto. Won Best Screenplay at first Japan Animé Awards. Memorial exhibit at Suginami Animation Museum, Tokyo, 2011. (Died 2010) [JH]
Born August 18, 1950 — Mary Doria Russell, 70. The Sparrow series, The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God, are awesome. The Sparrow won the Arthur C. Clarke, BSFA, and Tiptree Awards, and it was the reason she won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Though not genre, Doc and its sequel Epitaph are mysteries using the historic character of Doc Holliday. (CE)
Born August 18, 1966 – Alison Goodman, 54. Seven novels, five shorter stories. Translated into ten languages. Part of “Time Travel, Time Scapes, and Timescape” in NY Rev. of SF with Benford, Blackford, Broderick, McMullen, Townsend. Two Aurealis Awards. Website here. [JH]
Born August 18, 1981 – Bridget (“B.R.”) Collins, 39. Seven novels. Bradford Boase Award. Blog is called jugjugjug “because ‘jug jug jug’ is supposed to be the noise a nightingale makes (the way ‘tu-whit tu-whoo’ is supposed to be an owl).” Website shows bookshelves with The Complete Sherlock Holmes and The Sot-Weed Factor. [JH]
(10) FACE THE MUSIC. Stephen Colbert repurposed the last Avengers movie trailer:
(11) CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE. David Langford’s contribution didn’t make it into the CoNZealand edition of Worldcon Order Of Fan-Editors (W.O.O.F.) for whatever reason, so he posted it on his own site: Cloud Chamber #164.
…But some decades ago, wanting more solitude, I bought the house across the street and made THAT my writer’s retreat. No longer would I write all day in my red flannel bathrobe; now I would have to dress and put on shoes and walk all the way across the street to write. But that worked for a while.
Things started getting busier, though. So busy that I needed a full-time assistant. Then the office house had someone else in it, not just me and my characters. And then I hired a second assistant, and a third, and… there was more mail, more email, more phone calls (we put in a new phone system), more people coming by. By now I am up to five assistants… and somewhere in there I also acquired a movie theatre, a bookstore, a charitable foundation, investments, a business manager… and…
Despite all the help, I was drowning till I found the mountain cabin.
My life up here is very boring, it must be said. Truth be told, I hardly can be said to have a life. I have one assistant with me at all times (minions, I call them). The assistants do two-week shifts, and have to stay in quarantine at home before starting a shift. Everyone morning I wake up and go straight to the computer, where my minion brings me coffee (I am utterly useless and incoherent without my morning coffee) and juice, and sometimes a light breakfast. Then I start to write. Sometimes I stay at it until dark. Other days I break off in late afternoon to answer emails or return urgent phone calls….
… The Communications Manager will lead SFWA’s communications initiatives to produce high-quality content to engage both SFWA members and potential members within the SF/F community, as well as expand the organization’s brand recognition.
… SFWA Executive Director Kate Baker said, “Because of the nebulous nature of the organization, and because our members are located around the world, having a steady and engaging presence via social media is more important than ever. I am thrilled that Rebecca has joined the organization to help shape our messaging, to build upon the excellent work done by past volunteers, and to promote not only the organization and its members, but communicate what is important to all SF/F writers, wherever they may be. Please join us in welcoming Rebecca to the team!”
“Since joining in 2012,” said Gomez Farrell, “my fiction career has benefited greatly from the events and services SFWA offers its members, but most importantly, from the community we share. I’m thrilled to lend my skills in new media communication to fostering more of that community for my fellow members.”
(14) SPECTRUM. The new Spectrum Advisory board was announced on Muddy Colors. Arnie Fenner listed the names with short bios at the link.
….it’s Cathy’s and my pleasure today to present in alphabetical order our new Spectrum Advisory board!
… Talk about a Dream Team!
And what exactly does the Spectrum Advisory Board do? Well, they have two primary jobs: the first is to nominate, debate, and ultimately select each year’s Grand Master honoree. (I wrote about the criteria for the Grand Master Award in a previous Muddy Colors post for anyone that’s curious.) It’s a big responsibility, for sure, but the Board’s second job is even more difficult and crucial:
Job #2 is to help us not be stupid.
Cathy and I started Spectrum because of a sincere love for fantastic art in whatever guise it takes and a desire to help creators receive the recognition and respect we felt they deserved. Spectrum quickly became a welcoming home, a community, and a family, for all artists regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, politics, or ethnicity, a celebration of diversity and imagination. Though we’re moving a little slower and our energy isn’t what it once was, that love and that purpose are as strong in us today as they were when we first began 27 years ago. But time and technology march on and nothing survives in a vacuum: with so many changes and challenges, with so many societal minefields to traverse, we count on our Advisory Board to help us avoid the avoidable mistakes (as best anyone can) and better serve the community as a whole….
(15) STAND UP, EMPTY POCKETS. The “Stand Still. Stay Silent. – Book 3” Kickstarter appeal invites donors to “Help us print the third book of Minna Sundberg’s award-winning Nordic fantasy and adventure webcomic Stand Still. Stay Silent.” There being a lot of people wanting to lock down a copy of the book, they have raised $198,054 of their $35,000 goal with 26 days to go.
An underfunded, questionably selected, rag-tag team of explorers are assembled and launched into the unknown in a search for information and relics of the Old World – hopefully valuable relics. Stand Still. Stay Silent. follows six people (and a cat) on a journey filled with adventure, camaraderie and Nordic mythology. Who knows what they might find on their journey… and what they might lose.
(16) CATCHING UP. Nnedi Okorafor’s new book was released today – just in time for one feline’s appreciation.
Nearly two decades years after the release of The Fellowship of the Ring, fans are still discovering new things in Peter Jackson‘s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. There’s a lot of material to cover, with the three lengthy theatrical releases further extended in their home video editions. Which is why it’s so surprising that, all these years later, people keep spotting one particular detail for the first time.
We’re talking about Gandalf’s pipe, specifically where he keeps it…
For four years, researchers painted fake eyes on hundreds of cattle butts for the sake of science. What seems like a silly prank, the “eye-cow technique” proved lifesaving for the animals as it made predators rethink their attack, choosing another meal instead.
The scientists say their method is a more humane and “ecologically sound” alternative to lethal control and fencing used to separate cattle from carnivores. The team even theorizes the technique could be used to prevent human-wildlife conflicts and reduce criminal activity, according to a news release. A study was published Aug. 7 in the journal Communications Biology.
“The eye-cow technique is one of a number of tools that can prevent carnivore-livestock conflict—no single tool is likely to be a silver bullet. Indeed we need to do much better than a silver bullet if we are to ensure the successful coexistence of livestock and large carnivores,” study co-author Dr. Neil Jordan, a researcher with the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, said in the news release.
“But we’re hoping this simple, low-cost, non-lethal approach could reduce the costs of coexistence for those farmers bearing the brunt,” he added.
Eye patterns can be found — naturally — on butterflies, fish, molluscs, amphibians and birds to scare predators away. Images of eyes have even been shown to reduce bike theft in people, a 2012 study showed. But no mammals are known to possess eye-shaped patterns on their coats.
So, in the Okavango Delta of Botswana in Southern Africa, where livestock and lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs and wild dogs coexist, such a deceptive tactic could save animals from their death sentence, the researchers thought.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Trailers: The Old Guard” on YouTube, the Screen Junkies take on the latest film from Netflix designed to “make you look up from your phone for two minutes so it counts as a view.” The film featured Charlize Theron leading a group of “illumi-hotties” who, although they’re thousands of years old, haven’t come up with a cool catchphrase.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, Chip Hitchcock, John Hertz, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Bill Higgins, Hampus Eckerman, Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W. (I had to come back and use the other half of Kip’s 2018 verse.)]
John Fleskes, the current Director of the Spectrum Fantastic Art competition and editor of the resulting book, has announced he will be stepping down from both positions following the publication of Spectrum #27 in October, 2020. Spectrum Fantastic Art founders Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner will return as Directors and editors beginning with the 28th annual competition in the Fall.
Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art was founded by Cathy and Arnie Fenner in 1994 and is the renowned international symbol of excellence for the field of fantastic art. John Fleskes became Director/Editor/Publisher of the series in 2013.
“Spectrum is an extremely time-consuming, labor-intensive project” says Cathy Fenner, “and John has many books for his Flesk Publications line that he is very passionate about but has been unable to pursue because of the energy and focus Spectrum demands. He also has some deeply personal projects outside of publishing that he needs time and attention to bring to fruition—and there are only so many hours in the day. Arnie and I greatly appreciate all of the excellent work John and his staff have put into Spectrum, SFAL, and the fantastic art community for the past seven-plus years and sincerely wish him the best of luck with all of his future endeavors.”
“It has been an absolute joy to be a part of Spectrum,” shares John. “I still have the same enthusiasm and care for Spectrum and the art community that I have always had. Both Arnie and Cathy Fenner have been wonderful to work with as mentors and friends. I can’t thank them enough for their trust in me and for their support over the years. I consider myself very fortunate to have had this experience. Being able to work with so many creative and amazing people is something that I will forever be grateful for. I’ll continue to be very active in the art world as I focus on a new line of books that I am eager to publish and I’ll be setting the foundation for a new vision that is close to my heart.”
John’s last volume, Spectrum #27 (as well as all previous in-print volumes), will be available through Flesk Publications and to the book trade via distributor Publishers Group West as usual.
The addresses for the Spectrum website and social media pages will remain the same; Spectrum 28 will open for entries in October, 2020 and the book will be available in October, 2021. Further announcements regarding the new Spectrum advisory board, additions to the Spectrum staff, and jurors for #28 will be made at a future date.
Judges Kei Acedera, Wesley Burt, Bobby Chiu, Edward
Kinsella III, and Colin and Kristine Poole debated the merits of hundreds of
pieces of art before finalizing this list on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at the
Flesk Publications offices in Santa Cruz, California.
Established in 1993 by Cathy and Arnie Fenner, the first Spectrum annual appeared in 1994 from Underwood Books;
for over a quarter of a century it has attracted participants from around the
world and has set the standards for excellence in fantasy and science fiction
art. John Fleskes became the Director and Publisher of Spectrum
in 2014 with volume 21.
The recipients will be announced at the Spectrum 26
Awards Ceremony that will be held at the historic Folly Theater in Kansas City,
MO on Saturday, March 30, 2019 . The 2019 Spectrum Grand Master Award honoree
will also be announced during the ceremony.
The Spectrum 23 Awards were presented May 7 at a gala celebration at the historic Society of Illustrators carriage house in New York City. Several hundred artists, patrons, and fans attended the ceremony, which also included an introduction by Spectrum Director John Fleskes and a memorial video commemorating creators that had passed away in the last year.
The awards were sculpted by Kristine Poole with appropriately gold or silver patinas by Colin Poole to illustrate the symbol of the artist’s Muse. The statues are 15″ tall and cast in bronze with either silver or gold accents. The Pooles also designed, sculpted, and presented the second Spectrum Rising Star Award to a young artist fresh in their career.
This year’s blue ribbon jury for Spectrum 23 consisted of Dave Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen, and Terryl Whitlatch and determined Silver and Gold recipients in eight categories. The Spectrum Advisory Board also selected the 2016 Grand Master Honoree.
Nico Delort, The Blessing of Athena
Nico Delort, “The Blessing of Athena”
Joseph Qiu, “24 Hour Movie Marathon”
Bartosz Kosowski, “Discworld”
Colin Poole, “Vishnu’s Third Avatar”
Andrew Thompson, “Glitch”
Rovina Cai, “Tom, Thom”
Rovina Cai, “Tom, Thom”
Karla Ortiz, “Sorcerer of the Wildeeps”
Chris Ayers, “Munchasaurus Rex”
Annie Stegg Gerard, “Renard and the Strawberries”
Donato Giancola, “Vesuvius”
Daren Bader, Tribes of Kai
Daren Bader, “Tribes of Kai, page 41”
Nic Klein, “Drifter”
Gael Bertrand, “Island #4 cover”
Tyler Crook, “Harrow County #1 cover”
Paolo Rivera, “Hellboy 1953”
Vance Kovacs, King Louie’s Court
Vance Kovacs, “King Louie’s Court”
Te Hu, “Journey to West”
Mirko Failoni, “The Mushroom Forest”
Seth Rutledge, “Window View”
Bayard Wu, “Dragon Island”
Forest Rogers, The Morrigan
Forest Rogers, “The Morrigan”
Thomas Kuebler, “Adelpha and Her Sister”
Akihito, “Death Wings”
Patrick Masson, “The Blind Death”
Dug Stanat, “Meeting Master Jones”
Tran Nguyen, Traveling To a Distant Day
Tran Nguyen, “Traveling To a Distant Day”
Chris Seaman, “Family Portraithausen: A Tribute to Ray Harryhausen”
Five finalists for a Silver or a Gold award in each of the eight categories were selected by a jury of David Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen and Terryl Whitlatch.
Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art was founded in 1993 by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner. Creators from around the globe participate in the competition each year. In 2014, John Fleskes became director of the competition and editor of the annual, and Flesk Publications the publisher of the book.
The winners will be announced during the Spectrum 23 Awards Ceremony that will be held at the Society of Illustrators in New York City on Saturday, May 7. The 2016 Spectrum Grand Master Award honoree will also be announced during the ceremony.
Nico Delort The Blessing of Athena
Bartosz Kosowski Discworld
Colin Poole Vishnu’s Third Avatar
Andrew Thompson Glitch
Joseph Qiu 24 Hour Movie Marathon
Chris Ayers Munchasaurus Rex
Rovina Cai Tom, Thom
Donato Giancola Vesuvius
Karla Ortiz Sorcerer of the Wildeeps
Annie Stegg Gerard Renard and the Strawberries
Daren Bader Tribes of Kai, page 41
Gael Bertrand Island #4 cover
Tyler Crook Harrow County #1 cover
Nic Klein Drifter
Paolo Rivera Hellboy 1953
CONCEPT ART CATEGORY
Mirko Failoni The Mushroom Forest
Te Hu Journey to West
Vance Kovacs King Louie’s Court
Seth Rutledge Window View
Dejian Wu Dragon Island
Akihito Death Wings
Thomas Kuebler Adelpha and Her Sister
Patrick Masson The Blind Death
Forest Rogers The Morrigan
Dug Stanat Meeting Master Jones
Donato Giancola Empathy
Tran Nguyen Traveling To a Distant Day
Greg Ruth Finnegan’s Field
Chris Seaman Family Portraithausen: A Tribute to Ray Harryhausen
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, the artist-focused convention that has been held for the last four years in Kansas City, will be moving to San Francisco in 2016 Spectrum Director John Fleskes announced yesterday. In partnership with the Academy of Art University, the convention will continue growing the public’s awareness of fantasy-themed art while bringing creators from around the world to exhibit and sell their works to collectors and fans in a welcoming atmosphere. The event will be held at the academy’s Jerrold building facility on October 28-30, 2016.
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (SFAL) is an extension of the Spectrum annual, the award-winning book devoted to the year’s best fantastic art.
Beyond the art exhibition, workshops, panels and demonstrations, the long-term plan is for SFAL to expand to serve also as a trade show and job fair. “Whether it’s for film and television, publishing, comics, gaming, advertising or the theater, Spectrum has always been the home for the best and brightest creators of every type of fantastic art,” notes Cathy Fenner. “The show, like the Spectrum annual, makes it easier for art directors to connect directly with both new and established talent. Similarly, gallery owners and patrons are able to meet and form relationships with artists they might not otherwise know about. ‘More eyes equals more opportunities’ has always been our mantra, and the move to California will help that continue.”
John Fleskes, publisher of Flesk Publications and director of Spectrum, assumed the responsibilities of director and editor in 2013 following the retirement of founders Cathy and Arnie Fenner. He has been meeting with Academy of Art University representatives since 2014 in preparation for the move.
Founded in 1929 in San Francisco, the Academy of Art University is one of the country’s most innovative and creative institutions for higher learning. With nearly 18,000 students, it is the largest privately owned art and design school in the United States.
The announcement has been made and we know that there are some that are disappointed that SFAL is moving to San Francisco in 2016 and others who are concerned about the switch to October for the show’s dates.
We don’t talk too much about all the behind-the-scenes stuff in organizing SFAL, but there were a lot of challenges and this year’s show was particularly difficult. It’s really a matter of available dates and venues and it has become increasingly hard in KC to get exhibit space at the same time a theater is available and there are enough hotel rooms for exhibitors and attendees. This year we were forced to change our exhibit space and our dates, which put us opposite the city’s long-running ConQuesT in the same hotel; they were gracious and we worked well together, but we felt like we were intruding on their territory, so to speak. Spring has always been surprisingly crowded for events downtown—we’ve never been able to rent the Music Hall, for example, for the awards ceremony because it’s booked solid with recitals and graduations in May—and with the pending construction of the Hyatt and the completion of the street cars, more and more conventions have been squeezing our dates. The addition of the KCComicon to the city in August along with the annual anime and horror cons—not to mention the World SF Convention in 2016—have made for a crowded genre landscape.
When we learned just before SFAL4 that the organizer of the local Planet Comicon had decided on the sly to move his 2016 show dates from March and secured our traditional dates for the convention center in May, the decision was sort of made for us. Competing for essentially much of the same audience in the same narrow time frame doesn’t make any sense: moving to March in THEIR original spot wasn’t an option for us because of a lack of hotel rooms (the Big 12 Basketball Tournement happens at that time; it didn’t affect the comicon because they draw very few overnight attendees whereas SFAL accounts for over 1000 hotel room nights). Moving to Fall in KC would have brought higher rental prices for a theater and fewer date options (the convention center is a busy place). Because of Planet Comicon’s tactic, the negative financial impact on the city, downtown hotels, restaurants, and businesses will be significant, but…that’s the way things are.
In light of the challenges we faced while organizing the 2015 show, John Fleskes had been exploring the possibility of moving SFAL to California and partnering with the Academy of Art University. Possible dates were explored throughout the lengthy discussions and though we realize that the October slot will conflict with other conventions, big and small, we also ultimately realize that there are conflicts with something somewhere virtually every week of the year. Spring wasn’t an option and October was the only time that worked with the University’s extremely busy schedule—so October it is.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to our KC committee who selflessly pulled together to make the first four SFALs possible: Carl V. Anderson, Amanda Banion, Arlo Burnett, James Fallone, Bunny Muchmore, Lazarus Potter, Jeff Smith, and Shena Wolf are eight big reasons why SFAL was such a positive experience for so many. We’d also like to thank our friends at Liberty Exhibition Services, the staffs at the Midland, Folly, and Alamo Theaters, our liaisons at the Marriott and The Aladdin Holiday Inn Hotel, and particularly John English and his instructors for their tireless support of the show and the hours spent instructing and encouraging young artists during the event. And, of course, we’d like to thank each of you who either exhibited at or attended the Kansas City shows.