(1) RIP MICHAEL TOMAN. South Pasadena librarian Michael Toman, who decided to become one of the rare people who pitch in every day with ideas for the Scroll, died earlier this week. How he will be missed! He was found dead at home on Saturday by a friend, writer William F. Wu, who checked after people hadn’t heard from him for days. Wu and Toman have been friends since they met in 1974 while Wu was attending Clarion at Michigan State, and Toman was visiting after having attended the year before.
I appreciated the pipeline he had to Clarion workshop news — and it turns out that his fellow Clarion ’73 alums included another frequent contributor here, Daniel Dern, as well as authors Alan Brennert, Darryl Schweitzer Jeff Duntemann and Stuart Stinson, among others.
(2) HOW TO GET WESTIN HVP COLLECTION. Best Fan Writer Hugo finalists Örjan Westin has made available online their collected 2022 Micro SF/F stories which appear in the Hugo Voter Packet.
Right. I write stories that are short enough to fit a tweet (up to 280 characters), and I post them to Twitter and other social media platforms under the moniker MicroSFF. There is no set schedule, nor, usually, much deliberation; I get an idea, I write a thing, I post it.
A tight-knit community of young-adult writers who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has yielded smashes like “Twilight.” But religious doctrine can clash with creative freedoms.
Daniel P. Dern briefly notes: “The list includes not just Orson Scott Card (as I expected) but also several major, major authors who I hadn’t realized were Mormons.”
…In the late 1990s, at least a decade before Amazon’s e-reader first came on to the market in 2007, the author and humorist made a series of notes uncannily predicting the rise of electronic books.
But Adams, who died in 2001, did not live to see his musings, spread over three A4 pages, become reality. He wrote: “Lots of resistance to the idea of ebooks from the public. Particularly all those people who 10 years ago said they couldn’t see any point typing on a computer.
“I believe this resistance will gradually disappear as the electronic book itself improves and becomes smaller, lighter, simpler, cheaper, in other words more like a book.”
Doctor Who, The Traitors and BBC One all took home trophies at this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival Awards….
In the only award voted for by the public, the scene in Doctor Who that saw Jodie Whittaker regenerate into David Tennant – from the episode The Power of the Doctor – was crowned TV Moment of the Year….
(5) THEY KEPT WATCHING THE SKIES. An amazing overview of how different cultures drew constellations. “Figures in the Sky” at Visual Cinnamon.
… Let’s compare 28 different “sky cultures” to see differences and similarities in the shapes they’ve seen in the night sky. Ranging from the so-called “Modern” or Western constellations, to Chinese, Maori and even a few shapes from historical cultures such as the Aztecs.
Take the star Betelgeuse. This red supergiant is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. In proper darkness, you can even see that it shines in a distinctly red color. It’s part of one of the easiest to distinguish modern constellations known as Orion, named after a gigantic, supernaturally strong hunter from Greek mythology.
The visualization below shows how Betelgeuse has been used by 17 cultures (out of the 28) to form constellations, each represented by a different color. …
Marilyn Lovell, whose stoic comportment during the touch-and-go Apollo 13 flight accident gave the world hope that all would turn out well, died on August 27 in Lake Forest, Illinois, at 93. Her husband of 71 years, Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell, was at her side.
Her husband named a small mountain on the moon Mount Marilyn in her honor during his Apollo 8 moon flight in 1968.
Marilyn Lillie Lovell was born on July 11, 1930, in Milwaukee, WI. She was the youngest of five children. She graduated from Milwaukee’s Juneau High School, where she met her future husband, James A Lovell, Jr.
…In the Apollo 13 film, Tom Hanks played Capt. Lovell. Kathleen Quinlan played Mrs. Lovell and was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar. Marilyn Lovell was later a part of several Apollo 13 documentaries….
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 3, 1810 — Theodor von Holst. He was the first artist to illustrate Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in 1831. The interior illustrations consist of a frontispiece shown here, title page and engraved illustrations. To my knowledge, this is his only genre work. (Died 1844.)
Born September 3, 1934 — Les Martin, 89. One of those media tie-in writers that I find fascinating. He’s written the vast majority of the X-Files Young Readers series, plus a trio of novels in the X-Files Young Adult series. He’s also written two Indiana Jones YA novels, and novelizations of Blade Runner and The Shadow.
Born September 3, 1943 — Mick Farren. Punk musician who was the singer with the proto-punk band the Deviants. He also wrote lyrics for Hawkwind. (Can we consider them genre?) His most well-known genre work was the The Renquist Quartet about an immortal vampire. The Renquist Quartet is available at the usual suspects. Not at all genre, he wrote The Black Leather Jacket which details the history of the that jacket over a seventy-year span up to the mid-eighties, taking in all aspects of its cultural, political and social impact. (Died 2013.)
Born September 3, 1954 — Stephen Gregg. Editor and publisher of Eternity Science Fiction which ran from 1972 to 1975 and again for a year starting in 1979. It had early work by Glen Cook, Ed Bryant, Barry N Malzberg, Andrew J Offutt and Roger Zelazny. (Died 2005.)
Born September 3, 1969 — John Picacio, 54. Illustrator who in 2005 won both the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist and the Chesley Award for Best Paperback Cover for James Tiptree Jr.’s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. He’s also won eight other Chesley Awards. He was the winner of the Best Professional Artist Hugo in 2012, 2013, and 2020. And I’m very fond of this cover that he did for A Canticle for Leibowitz which was published by Eos seventeen years ago.
Born September 3, 1971 — D. Harlan Wilson, 52. Author of Modern Masters of Science Fiction: J.G. Ballard, Cultographies: They Live (a study of John Carpenter) and Technologized Desire: Selfhood & the Body in Postcapitalist Science Fiction. No, I’ve no idea what the last book is about. And I’m absolutely sure that I don’t want to.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
Bizarro once again lives up to its name with this visit to a specialized museum.
Eek! shows a set of superhero costumes that didn’t make the cut.
(9) NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE. More information from Buckaroo Banzai fandom. Yesterday we ran the link to World Watch One August 2023, which includes interviews with Carl Lumbly, Dr. Damon Hines, and Billy Vera. The group that publishes the online magazine also has a Facebook page. And they host a Buckaroo Banzi FAQ website as well.
…Sarah: I find the colors of the cover and the painting so freaky, and I could not tell you why. They just caused this weird, low-level hum that’s really just full of dread in my heart.
Amory: But for Sarah, a self-proclaimed “gloom” and “fancier of […] magics both macabre and melancholy” as her blog proclaims… a painting that can induce a low level hum of DREAD in your heart? That’s a pretty exciting thing! Sarah wanted to include this piece in her forthcoming book, “The Art of Fantasy.” But…
Sarah: I couldn’t even remember what it was from….
(11) A BRIDGE NOT TOO FAR. [Item by Brick Barrientos.] It’s not speculative fiction related but really worth reading. Like the Wrinkle in Time artwork story it’s a great detective story of why a pedestrian bridge was built in the Twin Cities. “The Mystery of the Bloomfield Bridge” at TylerVigen.com
This pedestrian bridge crosses I-494 just west of the Minneapolis Airport. It connects Bloomington to Richfield. I drive under it often and I wondered: why is it there? It’s not in an area that is particularly walkable, and it doesn’t connect any establishments that obviously need to be connected. So why was it built?
I often have curious thoughts like this, but I dismiss most of them because if I answered all of them I would get nothing else done. But one day I was walking out of a Taco Bell and found myself at the base of the bridge….
Since NECA announced they were picking up the Universal Monsters characters in their 7″ action figure line, I have been anticipating one in particular. While I’m a huge fan of the entire stable of characters, having spent my childhood watching them every Saturday afternoon on Sir Graves Ghastly, there was one that has always been at the top of the pack – the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
It isn’t because this was the best film they produced. Frankenstein was far superior, and Dracula was a better overall movie as well. But CFTBL had something they did not – one of the top three best ‘man in a rubber suit’ creature designs of all time.
The suit was designed by Milicent Patrick, an animator for Disney who also created the terrific Metaluna Mutant and Moleman. She was fired from her role as a designer by Bud Westmore after the Creature started to gain notoriety, because he had taken sole credit for the Creature design and wanted to keep it that way.
As is the norm with this series, I assmue there is both a color and black and white version. I’m looking at the color tonight, as I’ve usually (though not exclusively) stuck with the color versions. I also haven’t seen the black and white yet anywhere. There was also a Glow in the Dark release, put out as a SDCC exclusive.
Expect to pay around $38, depending on the retailer….
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Brick Barrientos, Daniel Dern, Dan Berger, Steven French, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]
(1) CULTIVATING HYBRIDS. Paul Kraus’ article on “Hybrid Conventions” begins with a statement of philosophy wrapped in the definitions of major terms. Then Kraus lists what’s needed to make a hybrid convention successful.
When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, all of the Sci-Fi conventions I volunteer with had to cancel or switch to an online format. Since the Pandemic has stabilized, it is not over, we have just learned more or less how to live with it, conventions have gone back to in-person events. But, we realized that there is a demand for online Sci-Fi convention activities. There are people who cannot attend in-person for a variety of very good reasons, from health and age related to cost and time. There is a market for online Sci-Fi convention activities.
A couple notes on terminology before I go on. Many people refer to these online activities as ‘virtual‘, as in ‘virtual convention’, ‘virtual panel’, ‘virtual attendees’. I realized this is disrespectful to those involved. The people are not ‘virtual’, so they are not ‘virtual attendees’, they are real people who are online or remote attendees. I avoid the use of the term ‘virtual’ for this reason.
The other term I want to define is ‘hybrid‘. I have heard that term used to describe a whole variety of things related to in-person and online activities. In my view a true ‘hybrid activity’, be it a convention, panel discussion, reading, or anything else is an activity with both an in-person component and an online component where the goal is for the experience to be as similar as possible between the in-person and online activity. So a ‘hybrid panel discussion’ would support both in-person panelists as well as online panelists on an equal footing, the audience would also consist of both in-person and online people on an equal footing. Hybrid is not running a couple online tracks of programming at the same time as an in-person convention. Hybrid is not streaming a couple tracks of programming (or events) from an in-person convention. Hybrid is about creating, to the best of our ability, the same experience for people whether they are in-person or online.
You will notice that I use the term ‘activity‘ in many places below where you might think I should be using ‘convention’. I do this on purpose as a convention may be in-person but still have aspects or activities that are hybrid.
Should All Conventions Be Hybrid?
The answer to this an an unequivocal no! There are many different factors that should determine whether a convention should attempt to be hybrid. Beyond the obvious factors of staffing (hybrid does require more staff with different skill sets) there are factors such as cost (can the convention get good enough Internet at their hotel / facility at a cost they can afford) and impact on in-person attendance (will an online offering draw from the in-person attendance and the convention risks missing a hotel block commitment). Each convention is unique and needs to examine their individual situation to decide if they can successfully be hybrid. Some may think they can, and try for a year or two, only to decide they cannot. Others my know themselves well enough to know they cannot do a good job with a hybrid convention. Others may decide to not hold a hybrid activity but to hold, at different times, both an in-person activity as well as an online activity. I expect that a small percentage of SciFi conventions will be able to successful transition to being a hybrid convention. This is OK. Every convention needs to do what they can do well, without overtaxing staff….
“It’s surprising because it’s such a large fragment,” she said. “And it makes you wonder what was going on at the time, if maybe a marine weather event dislodged it and brought it ashore….
(4) NERDS IN TRANSLATION. 2023 Best Fanzine finalist Nerds of a Feather has launched a GoFundMe appeal to pay for translating their Hugo Voter Packet selections into Chinese, understandably titled “Help translate Nerds of a Feather into Chinese!” (It’s already online, in English, here.) Co-editor Joe Sherry says:
We’re hoping to be able translate as much of our voter’s packet into Chinese but apparently hiring a translator costs money (and time) and we’ve got a short novel worth of content in our voter’s packet.
Every dollar raised goes to translation with the goal of having the packet done by the beginning of September. We have a translator lined up to start early August. If for some reason we raise more than we need, we’ll donate the extra to charity.
MAUREEN KINCAID SPELLER [1959-2022] was a reviewer, critic and lifelong science fiction fan. Active in SF fandom from the early 1980s, Maureen started reviewing for the BSFA magazine Vector in 1986. She served on the jury of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, chaired the Tiptree Award and taught the SF Foundation Critical Masterclass in 2016. Her criticism has appeared in a wide variety of venues, and her extended critical analysis of the 2012 BSFA and Clarke Awards was shortlisted for the BSFA Award for Best Related Work.
In 1999 she was nominated for a Hugo in the Best Fan Writer category. Her passionate advocacy of new critical voices saw her appointed Senior Reviews Editor of the groundbreaking speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons in 2015.
Editor Nina Allan says, “When Maureen fell ill in the spring of 2022, my first reaction, like that of many, was one of profound shock. Her untimely death has robbed us all, not only of her presence, but of the work she was yet to do. Maureen had long spoken of her desire to put together a collection of her criticism, and the original intention for this volume was that she would personally be involved in the selection and curation of her favourite pieces. Time was sadly against us, but the desire to preserve Maureen’s work, to have it readily available to audiences old and new, has never felt more urgent. A Traveller in Time is by no means a complete collection – there is lots more out there to discover – but my hope is that it presents a faithful snapshot of Maureen as she was in life: spirited, passionate, knowledgeable and endlessly curious.”
(6) HE KNOWS OPPENHEIMER. Christopher Nolan’s summer blockbuster Oppenheimer will be released this week and Robert J. Sawyer is primed to give expert commentary to members of the media, having done two years of full-time research before writing his 2020 novel The Oppenheimer Alternative. He shared that knowledge in a File 770 interview, and other experts agree he knows what he’s talking about:
Martin Sherwin, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (the basis for Christopher Nolan’s biopic Oppenheimer), says “Oppenheimer fans will be intrigued by Sawyer’s novel.”
Gregory Benford, physicist at University of California Irvine, says: “The feel and detail of the Manhattan Project figures is deep and well done. I knew many of these physicists, and Sawyer nails them accurately.”
Perimeter Institute physicist Lee Smolin, the author of The Trouble with Physics, agrees: “I know the history of this period well and I’m one or two degrees of separation from many of these people. Sawyer’s portrayals ring true to me. I loved it!”
For interviews, please contact publicist Mickey Mikkelson:[email protected] or 403-464-6925.
Amid the “Oppenheimer” anticipation, another bomb has been dropped: Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” will be adapted as a stage production on the West End.
“We have always been reluctant to let anyone adapt any of Stanley’s work, and we never have. It was so important to him that it wasn’t changed from how he finished it,” Christiane told the BBC. “But we could not resist authorizing this project: the time is right, the people doing it are fantastic, and ‘Strangelove’ should be brought to a new and younger audience. I am sure Stanley would have approved it too.”…
(7) BEN KINGSLEY PHONES HOME. Jules opens August 11.
Jules follows Milton (Kingsley) who lives a quiet life of routine in a small western Pennsylvania town, but finds his day upended when a UFO and its extra-terrestrial passenger crash land in his backyard. Before long, Milton develops a close relationship with the extra-terrestrial he calls “Jules.” Things become complicated when two neighbors (Harris and Curtin) discover Jules and the government quickly closes in. What follows is a funny, wildly inventive ride as the three neighbors find meaning and connection later in life – thanks to this unlikely stranger.
(8) ALLAN SCOTT (1952-2023). UK author Allan Scott died July 17 reports Andrew Porter. The SF Encyclopedianotes his first pro genre publication was “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in Peter Davison’s Book of Alien Monsters (1982). He co-authored books The Ice King (1986) with Michael Scott Rohan, and also the fantasy novel A Spell of Empire: The Horns of Tartarus (1992) On his own, Scott wrote The Dragon in the Stone (1991).
(9) MEMORY LANE.
2007 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
Michael Chabon is the source of our Beginning. A fantastic writer, I’m going to also single out his work as writer and showrunner on Picard, and he has been working on a series adaptation of Kavalier and Clay for at least four years.
So the novel that is the source of our Beginning is The Yiddish Policeman’s Union which Mike says it is very good. It was published sixteen years ago by Harper Collins.
It won a Hugo at Devention 3 and a Sidewise Award along with being nominated for a John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
So let’s see how this novel begin…
Nine months Landsman’s been flopping at the Hotel Zamenhof without any of his fellow residents managing to get themselves murdered. Now somebody has put a bullet in the brain of the occupant of 208, a yid who was calling himself Emanuel Lasker.
“He didn’t answer the phone, he wouldn’t open his door,” says Tenenboym the night manager when he comes to roust Landsman. Landsman lives in 505, with a view of the neon sign on the hotel across Max Nordau Street. That one is called the Blackpool, a word that figures in Landsman’s nightmares. “I had to let myself into his room.
The night manager is a former U.S. Marine who kicked a heroin habit of his own back in the sixties, after coming home from the shambles of the Cuban war. He takes a motherly interest in the user population of the Zamenhof. He extends credit to them and sees that they are left alone when that is what they need.
“Did you touch anything in the room?” Landsman says.
Tenenboym says, “Only the cash and jewelry.”
Landsman puts on his trousers and shoes and hitches up his suspenders. Then he and Tenenboym turn to look at the doorknob, where a necktie hangs, red with a fat maroon stripe, already knotted to save time. Landsman has eight hours to go until his next shift. Eight rat hours, sucking at his bottle, in his glass tank lined with wood shavings. Landsman sighs and goes for the tie. He slides it over his head and pushes up the knot to his collar. He puts on his jacket, feels for the wallet and shield in the breast pocket, pats the sholem he wears in a holster under his arm, a chopped Smith & Wesson Model 39….
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 17, 1889 — Erle Stanley Gardner. Though best remembered for the Perry Mason detective stories, he did write a handful of SF stories, all of which are collected in The Human Zero: The Science Fiction Stories of Erle Stanley Gardner. They were originally published in Argosy from 1928 to 1932: “The Human Zero”, “Monkey Eyes”, “New Worlds”, “Rain Magic”, “A Year in a Day”, “The Man with Pin-Point Eyes” and “The Sky’s the Limit”. It is not available from the usual digital suspects but Amazon has copies of the original Morrow 1981 hardcover edition at reasonable prices. (Died 1970.)
Born July 17, 1944 — Thomas A. Easton, 79. SF critic and author who wrote the book review column in Analog from 1979 – 2009. His Organic Future series is quite entertaining and I’m reasonably certain I read Sparrowhawk when it was serialized in Analog.
Born July 17, 1954 — J. Michael Straczynski, 69. Best known rather obviously for creating and writing most of Babylon 5 and its short-lived sequel Crusade. He’s also responsible for as well as the Jeremiah and Sense8 series. On the comics side, he’s written The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor and Fantastic Four. Over at DC, he did the Superman: Earth One trilogy of graphic novels, and has also written Superman, Wonder Woman, and Before Watchmen titles. There’s an animated Babylon 5 film soon, but the fate of the rebooted series, who knows?
Born July 17, 1965 — Alex Winter, 58. Bill in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its sequels Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and Bill & Ted Face the Music. And though I didn’t realize it, he was Marko in The Lost Boys. He directed two Ben 10 films, Ben 10: Race Against Time and Ben 10: Alien Swarm. He also directed Stephen Hawking + Zoe Saldana: Quantum is Calling, a short film that has cast members Keanu Reeves, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Paul Rudd.
Born July 17, 1967 — Kelly Robson, 56. I just got done reading her brilliant “Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach”. Her collection Alias Space and Other Stories has all of her short fiction up to 2020, so go feast up upon them. These and the “High Times in the Low Parliament” and “A Human Stain” novellas are to be had the usual suspects.
Born July 17, 1976 — Brian K. Vaughan, 47. Wow. Author of Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, Runaways, Saga, Y: The Last Man, and his newest affair, Paper Girls. And yes, he’s won Hugo Awards. You could spend an entire summer just reading those series. In his spare time, he was a writer, story editor and producer of the television series Lost during seasons three through five. And was the showrunner and executive producer of the Under the Dome series.
(11) DOCTOROW WRITE-IN FOR CLARION. In support of Clarion’s summer fundraising drive they’re hosting a series of Write-Ins, or hour-long writing sprints, with favorite SFFH authors and Clarion alums. These events will be free to any who are interested.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 7/18 we kick things off with the inimitable CORY DOCTOROW!
Join Cory and a group of your peers this Tuesday, July 18th 5PM PDT (8PM EDT), for a Write-In! We’ll engage in some timed writing sprints and, if we’re lucky, we’ll get a brief update on Cory’s WIP, “The Bezzle.”
Participation is FREE! Just register by 3PM PDT on Tuesday. Click the link to register.
(12) BY ALL MEANS. Last week Neil Gaiman was asked whether people should go see movies while the writers and actors are striking. His answer went viral.
(13) FROM TOY STORE TO SCREEN. JustWatch compiled a list of top 10 films based on toys, and compared the popularity of these productions finding out that the clear leader is the Toy Story franchise. Four movies of the series made the list, collecting a total of 35.6%. Its close competitor turned out to be Transformers franchise, with Transformers taking first place, followed by Bumblebee in 6th, and Transformers: The Last Knight in last place.
The following graphic contains the top 10 Barbie movies, with Barbie’s first ever movie: Barbie in the Nutcracker taking up third place and surpassing Barbie: Princess Charm School by only 1%. Barbie of Swan Lake and Barbie as Rapunzel go head to head, landing at 5th and 6th place with a difference of only 0.1%
Fast-moving animals – especially small ones, creatures that fly and top ocean predators – perceive time more quickly than others. That is, they can process more frames per second than slow-moving animals lower in the food chain, such as starfish, according to a comparison of more than 100 species.
“We already know that different animals perceive time differently from us,” says Kevin Healy at the University of Galway in Ireland, who presented the results at a meeting of the British Ecological Society on 20 December. But he wanted to find out, “If you’re a predator, do you have faster eyes than if you’re an herbivore?”
He and his colleagues began by reviewing previously published research on the flicker fusion test, a common measure of the rate at which animals perceive the passage of time. During the test, researchers increase the frequency of a flashing light until an animal sees it as a continuous glow, indicated by the reaction of light receptors in the animal’s retina.
“It’s kind of like measuring the frame rate of your eyes,” says Healy. Humans, for example, can detect light flickers at speeds up to 65 flashes per second. That means they can perceive changes in their environment 65 times per second….
Step back into the pitch meeting and revisit the completely factual accurate conversation that led to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! Complete with commentary from Ryan George who is now several years older!
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Paul Weimer, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) BE UPSTANDING. The space shuttle Endeavour will be rehoused in a new building that will allow it to be displayed upright in its original launch position, mated to the orange external tank and two booster rockets: “Space shuttle Endeavour preps for move to new museum” reports the LA Times.
After more than a decade on display at the California Science Center, the space shuttle Endeavour will begin the final trek to its permanent home at a new Los Angeles building in the coming months.
To get ready for the grand move, the state-run museum announced Thursday that crews will begin the installation of the base of the shuttle’s full stack on July 20. Workers will use a 300-ton crane to lower the bottom sections of the twin solid rocket boosters, which are 10,000 pounds apiece and roughly 9 feet tall, to the freshly built lowest section of the partly constructed $400-million Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.
It’ll be the first of many delicate maneuvers conducted over roughly six months (if the weather cooperates). Eventually, all half-million pounds of the full stack — including the shuttle Endeavour and a giant orange external tank — will rest on the base of the solid rocket boosters, bolted to the ground by eight supersized, superalloy fasteners that are 9 feet long and weigh 500 to 600 pounds….
Wheeeeeee we’re Hugo finalists again! Huge congratulations to Alison Scott and España Sheriff who are finalists in Best Fan Artist, huge congratulations to John Coxon who’s a finalist with Journey Planet in Best Fanzine, and of course congratulations to transatlantic besties and cocky cake-makers Hugo, Girl! We also discuss the Locus and the BSFA Awards, plus (of course) picks.
(3) MEET RIVERFLOW. Chinese fan RiverFlow, a two-time 2023 Hugo finalist, tweeted this self-introduction:
I have been nominated for a few things in my life. I’ve even won a few. But I have not won way more often than I have. Based on my experience, the “I won!” thing is awesome for a short time, but where that euphoria fades quickly, the genuine honor of “I was nominated!” lasts forever. With that in mind, I looked at the other nominees this morning, and … I think it’s very unlikely I’ll be making space for a Hugo statue in my house. But that’s okay! I got to reach out to my TNG family today and tell them about it, and everyone who replied made me feel the love and pride that I imagine kids feel from parents who love them unconditionally.
If Still Just A Geek wins in its category, it’s going to be awesome. I’m not going to lie: I think it would be pretty great if I got to have a Hugo in my house, next to my Tabletop trophies. But if it doesn’t, the excitement, joy, and gratitude I feel that my story even made the finalists this year will never go away, and I get to have that whether I get the statue or not.
(5) COMPLETE LISTS OF HUGO FINALISTS. The Chengdu Worldcon Hugo Administrator limited the number of names they would place on the ballot announcement. As a result, several finalists have tweeted links to the complete lists of people they believe should be included.
(7) CLARION CROWDFUNDING. The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop at UC San Diego is in the midst of a 2023 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to support the next generation of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers. They have raised over $5,500 of their $20,000 with over three weeks remaining.
Would you be interested in these perks on offer to donors?
Want to have your name in a new Cory Doctorow novel?
Talk worldbuilding with Sue Burke?
Get a signed proof of Kim Stanley Robinson’s story “UCSD and Permaculture”?
Or name a scholarship to support making attending Clarion possible for a student next year? (Donation = $1,000)
All these — and t-shirts! — are on offer through the Clarion Workshop IndieGogo campaign.
(8) ROGERS: THE MUSICAL. [Item by Daniel Dern.] I’d lost track that info about this was already scrolled — Item 7 in the June 30 Scroll — but it doesn’t look like there were any links to the actual show.
Here’s the five-and-a-half-minute trailer, from Marvel’s D23 Ex (watching the full thing once was enough for me, and it’s not the same without seeing Clint “Hawkeye” Barton in the audience shaking his head…
And here’s two of many links to the full 37-minute show. (The first one seems to have more close-ups, but “features” some MST3K back of somebody’s head mid-left…):
Rogers: The Musical | Full Show, Disney California Adventure Park
Full Show: Rogers: The Musical | Disney California Adventure
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1963 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
This Scroll, Mike picked a work by Clifford Simak who I knew thot y’all know, so I see no need to introduce him to you. I will say that he was one of the first genre writers that I read deeply of.
I’m fairly sure the first work by him that I read was City, a work that remains my favorite by him. But tonight we’re here to talk about Way Station, the source of the Beginning the Mike choose, another favorite of mine.
It was published by Doubleday in 1963 with the cover at by Ronald Fratell. It would win a Hugo at Pacificon II for the original publication as Here Gather the Stars in Galaxy’s June and August 1963 issues.
And now let us turn to the Beginning…
The noise was ended now. The smoke drifted like thin, gray wisps of fog above the tortured earth and the shattered fences and the peach trees that had been whittled into toothpicks by the cannon fire. For a moment silence, if not peace, fell upon those few square miles of ground where just a while before men had screamed and torn at one another in the frenzy of old hate and had contended in an ancient striving and then had fallen apart, exhausted.
For endless time, it seemed, there had been belching thunder rolling from horizon to horizon and the gouted earth that had spouted in the sky and the screams of horses and the hoarse bellowing of men; the whistling of metal and the thud when the whistle ended; the flash of searing fire and the brightness of the steel; the bravery of the colors snapping in the battle wind.
Then it all had ended and there was a silence.
But silence was an alien note that held no right upon this field or day, and it was broken by the whimper and the pain, the cry for water, and the prayer for death—the crying and the calling and the whimpering that would go on for hours beneath the summer sun. Later the huddled shapes would grow quiet and still and there would be an odor that would sicken all who passed, and the graves would be shallow graves.
There was wheat that never would be harvested, trees that would not bloom when spring came round again, and on the slope of land that ran up to the ridge the words unspoken and the deeds undone and the sodden bundles that cried aloud the emptiness and the waste of death.
There were proud names that were the prouder now, but now no more than names to echo down the ages—the Iron Brigade, the 5th New Hampshire, the 1st Minnesota, the 2nd Massachusetts, the 16th Maine.
And there was Enoch Wallace
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 7, 1907 — Robert Heinlein. Let’s have Paul Weimer tell about his favorite Heinlein works: “If I had to pick one favorite Heinlein novel, and that’s a tough road to hoe, I am going to go with the novel I’ve re-read the most and it’s probably not going to be the one you think. It’s Glory Road. Yes, Glory Road. The back matter once the quest is done can be overcooked, but Heinlein had a keen eye for epic fantasy quests, the good and the bad, long before the rise of Tolkien clones. It was an early Heinlein for me, and the novel has stuck with me since, with a number of audio re-reads. I survived a boring drive across the flatness of the Great Plains by listening to the adventures of Oscar Gordon.” // If I had to pick one Heinlein story, I have a strong fondness for All You Zombies, which encapsulates all the potential paradoxes of time travel in a way that has been done at greater length, but not, I’d argue, with better effect. (The movie Predestination with Ethan Hawke is pretty darned good by the way). Oh, and my favorite book ABOUT Heinlein is Farah Mendelsohn’s The Pleasant Profession of Robert Heinlein. (Died 1988.)
Born July 7, 1919 — Jon Pertwee. The Third Doctor and one that I’ll admit I like a lot. He returned to the role of the Doctor in The Five Doctors and the charity special Dimensions in Time for Children in Need. He also portrayed the Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure. After a four-year-run here, he was the lead on Worzel Gummidge where he was, errr, a scarecrow. And I must note that one of his first roles was as The Judge in the film of Toad of Toad Hall by A. A. Milne. (Died 1996.)
Born July 7, 1946 — Lisa Seagram. I’m noting her here because she was in the Batman episode “Louie, the Lilac” as Lila in which Milton Berle played the title character. She also had one-offs in both The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., plus My Favorite Martian and Bewitched. (Died 2019.)
Born July 7, 1931 — David Eddings. Prolific and great, with his wife Leigh, they authored several best-selling epic fantasy novel series, including The Belgariad, The Malloreon and The Dreamers to name but three of their series. He’s written but one non-series novel, The Redemption of Althalus. (Died 2009.)
Born July 7, 1959 — Billy Campbell, 64. There are some films so good in my memory that even the Suck Fairy can’t spoil them and The Rocketeer in which he played stunt pilot Cliff Secord is one of them. (IDW did a hardcover edition called Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures which Amazon has it for a mere twenty bucks! And the ePub is available from the usual suspects for a mere five dollars and ninety nine cents.) Yes, he did other work of genre interest including the main role of Jordan Collier on The 4400, Quincey Morris on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Captain Thadiun Okona in “The Outrageous Okona” episode of Next Gen, the Maine Dr. Alan Farragut on Helix and he’s currently voicing Okona once again on Prodigy.
Born July 7, 1968 — Jeff VanderMeer, 55. Ok I’ll admit that I’m ambivalent about the Southern Reach Trilogy and am not sure if it’s brilliant or not though it is I’ll say quite disturbing. (Haven’t seen the film and have no desire to so.) I will say the pirate anthology he and his wife Anne did, Fast Ships, Black Sails, is quite tasty reading. Now let’s see what the Hugos would hold for him. At Noreascon 4 for The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases which I truly, madly love, he got a Hugo. He along with his Ann picked up at Anticipation up one for Best Semiprozine: for Weird Tales. It would be nominated the next year at Aussiecon 4 but Clarkesworld would win as it would the Renovation losing out again to Clarkesworld. The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature which he co-edited with S. J. Chambers was nominated at Chicon 7. Another Best Related Work was nominated at Loncon 3, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. Finally the film Annihilation based off the Southern Reach trilogy was nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo at Dublin 2019.
Born July 7, 1987 — V.E. Schwab, 36. I’m very pleased with her A Darker Shade of Magic which explores magicians in a parallel universe London. It’s part of her Shades of Magic series. Highly recommended. Her Cassidy Blake series is also good provided you’re a Potter fan because she makes a lot of references to that series.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Arlo and Janis know there’s always someone ready to jump in and correct the details. Just like in the comments here!
(12) THE VOID CAPTAINS. Mark and Evelyn Leeper today reminded people of the history of their prolific fanzine in today’s issue, the 2278thMT VOID:
The MT VOID started as a zine for the newly formed Science Fiction Club at Bell Labs in Holmdel in August 1978, but we have always been the editors (and primary writers). It has been weekly for decades, and has continued even after we retired and the Science Fiction Club dissolved. The current issue is #2278, making it (I’m pretty sure) the perzine with the most issues ever, and at 45 years, one of the longest running.
In July 1981, our area was split off and moved to Lincroft. At that point we thought we needed to spin off a new club, so we started re-numbering the MT VOID (not yet called that) at that point. Hence the volume roll-over in July. Eventually we ended up remerging the clubs and newsletters, but kept the new numbering.
At some point in the 1980s we also renamed the club as the “Mt. Holz Science Fiction Club”. “Mt. Holz” came from the inter-company mail designations for the three New Jersey locations of AT&T et al where we once had meetings: MT Middletown HO Holmdel LZ Lincroft
As the work environment changed, meetings eventually ended, but the MT VOID kept rolling along. We retained the “Mt. Holz” name in the heading until last year, when we decided it was misleading to pretend there was an actual club behind this. [-mrl/ecl]
In 2019, Greta Gerwig became the latest in a line of writers, directors, and producers to make a pilgrimage to a toy workshop in El Segundo, California. Touring the facility, the Mattel Design Center, has become a rite of passage for Hollywood types who are considering transforming one of the company’s products into a movie—a list that now includes such names as J. J. Abrams (Hot Wheels) and Vin Diesel (Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots). The building has hundreds of workspaces for artists, model-makers, and project managers, and it houses elaborate museum-style exhibitions that document the company’s history and core products. These displays can help a toy designer find inspiration; they can also offer a “brand immersion”—a crash course in a Mattel property slated for adaptation. When a V.I.P. visits, Richard Dickson, a tall, bespectacled man who is the company’s chief operating officer, plays the role of Willy Wonka. He’ll show off the sixty-five-year-old machines that are still used to affix fake hair to Barbies; he’ll invite you to inspect life-size, road-ready replicas of Hot Wheels cars. The center even boasts a giant rendering of Castle Grayskull, the fearsome ancestral home of He-Man. “The brand immersion is the everything moment,” Dickson told me. “I have met with some of the greatest artists, truly, in the world. . . . And, if you don’t walk out drinking the Kool-Aid, then it was a great playdate, but maybe we don’t continue playing.”
The actress Margot Robbie, who had toured the center in 2018, wanted to continue playing. She’d signed up for a Barbie movie, and had approached Gerwig about writing the script. She saw in Gerwig’s filmography the right combination of intelligence and heart: “You watch something like ‘Little Women,’ and the dialogue is very, very clever—it’s talking about some big things—but it’s also extremely emotional.” The project wasn’t an obvious fit for someone whose screenplays included the subtle dramas “Lady Bird” and “Frances Ha,” and Gerwig wavered for more than a year. At one point, Dickson called her when she was mixing “Little Women” in New York. “I don’t have a ton of friends in corporate America,” she told me, over Zoom. “But he was very excited. It was sweet.” She finally agreed to come to El Segundo…
…The book makes no apologies and shows no respect for genre boundaries. With a chatty, out-going narrator, multiple sections about the trials of clearing out the home of a hoarder, friendly neighbours and a welcoming coffee shop, the story has many elements associated with, dare I say, “cosy” fiction. The latter sections head more into the realm of portal-fantasy. However, these elements are simply flesh hung upon the bones of the horror of thoughts that overwhelm you….
…Harrison Ford roasted Conan O’Brien on a recent episode of the “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” podcast after the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” icon discovered O’Brien had “Han Solo” written down in his notes for the interview. The two men were playfully arguing about Ford’s ancestry, which led O’Brien to consult some info he had jotted down prior to the interview.
“I refer you to this piece of paper right here,” O’Brien said. “That says, ‘Born and raised in Chicago to an Irish German father—’”
Ford leaned over to take a look at O’Brien’s notes and then interrupted the host when he realized they included a reminder that Ford played Han Solo in the “Star Wars” franchise. Along with Indiana Jones, Han Solo is Ford’s most iconic character.
“Well if that’s a quality of your research, and I imagine it is because right there it says ‘Harrison Ford’ and then you had to write ‘Han Solo,’” Ford said. “You can’t fucking remember that?”
“No I can’t. I can’t remember Han Solo,” O’Brien hilariously fired back. “I wrote it down because I heard that you were in some of the ‘Star Wars’ films, and this was news to me because I’ve seen those films and I don’t exactly think that you ‘pop.’”
O’Brien continued, “I’m sorry. But I mean, I remember Chewbacca, I remember the bad guy with the black helmet and then… there’s some people.”
Ford took matters into his own hands, asking O’Brien, “How come you’re not still on television?”…
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Kathy Sullivan, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]
…The strike affects roughly 15,000 cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen and front-desk agents at hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including the JW Marriott in the L.A. Live entertainment district and luxury destinations like the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica….
Anime Expo is held at the LA Convention Center, however, many attendees stay in nearby hotels.
…Attendees of Anime Expo — the largest anime convention in North America, which kicked off Saturday — passed the striking workers on the way to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Some waved in support…
(2) BISHOP MEDICAL UPDATE. Michael Bishop told Facebook readers his medical battle is nearing the end.
…Earlier this week I consigned myself to hospice care, with the advice and consent of my family. I did so to escape the maddening anxiety-producing roller-coaster of contemporary medical care.
This doesn’t mean that I am at death’s door, only that I recognize the inevitability of its opening for me in the (relatively) near future. I hope, for example, to last at least as long as our hospice-pent (albeit at home) former president Jimmy Carter. But there are no guarantees.
I wish you all well and hope to create at least one more Fairwood Press title, with the help of my nearly lifelong friend, Michael Hutchins, something like “Stolen Faces and Other, Briefer Science Fiction Tales.” Blessings on you all.
(3) FLYNN MEDICAL UPDATE. Author Michael Flynn is in a hospital ICU with a bad infection his daughter, Sara, told Facebook readers.
… “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” the final adventure to star Harrison Ford as the swashbuckling explorer, added $70 million at the international box office for a global start of $130 million. That’s worse than “The Flash,” which misfired with $75 million internationally and $139 million globally and cost $100 million less to make.
In terms of its domestic debut, the latest “Indiana Jones” didn’t come close to matching its predecessor, 2008’s “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which opened 15 years ago to $100 million. Audiences and critics were lukewarm on “Dial of Destiny,” which earned a “B+” CinemaScore and holds a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes….
There’s an old, old show-business maxim that encourages performers to leave their audiences wanting more. Apparently that concept is unknown to many of today’s movers and shakers.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has everything money can buy and then some. If one hair-raising, high-speed chase through narrow city streets is good, two should be better. How about three? The motto seems to be “more is more” as the film piles on set-piece after set-piece in a full-throttle attempt to exhaust us in the audience.
What began as an homage to the Saturday matinee serials that George Lucas grew up watching on TV (a generation after they were made in the 1940s) has wound up as a bloated vehicle for the still-charismatic Harrison Ford….
(6) CLARION WORKSHOP FUNDRAISER. The Clarion Workshop 2023 Fundraiser is live today. “Clarion SF & Fantasy Writers Workshop ’23 Campaign”. They want to raise at least $20,000in order to bridge the gap in funding for operational costs and for student scholarships.
(7) MEMORY LANE.
2022 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
We all know who T. Kingfisher is, the author of our Beginning this Scroll, so let’s just wish her a speedy and successful recovery from her illness.
I’d pick something that I particularly liked by her but I’ve really, really liked everything I’ve read by her. She’s brilliant, really she is. Having said that, may I say that A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking was particularly stellar? Five Awards ? Nice.
Our Beginning this time is that of What Moves The Dead, the first book of the two novel Sworn Soldier series. It was published by Tor Nightfire by 2022 with the cover illustrated by Christina Mrozik. It won a Locus Award for Best Horror Novel, and picked up a Goodreads nomination.
So now we come to our Beginning this time…
The mushroom’s gills were the deep-red color of severed muscle, the almost-violet shade that contrasts so dreadfully with the pale pink of viscera. I had seen it any number of times in dead deer and dying soldiers, but it startled me to see it here.
Perhaps it would not have been so unsettling if the mushrooms had not looked so much like flesh. The caps were clammy, swollen beige, puffed up against the dark-red gills. They grew out of the gaps in the stones of the tarn like tumors growing from diseased skin. I had a strong urge to step back from them, and an even stronger urge to poke them with a stick.
I felt vaguely guilty about pausing in my trip to dismount and look at mushrooms, but I was tired. More importantly, my horse was tired. Madeline’s letter had taken over a week to reach me, and no matter how urgently worded it had been, five minutes more or less would not matter.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 2, 1908 — Rip Van Ronkel. Screenwriter who won a Retro Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation at Millennium Philcon for Destination Moon. He also produced the earlier Destination Space movie for television, and wrote the screenplay for The Bamboo Saucer. I’ve not seen the latter but I’ll admit it sounds, errr, odd. Audience reviewers at Rotten really don’t like it giving an eighteen percent rating. (Died 1965.)
Born July 2, 1914 — Hannes Bok. He’s a writer, artist and illustrator who created nearly one hundred and fifty covers for various detective, fantasy and sf fiction magazines. He shared one of the inaugural 1953 Hugo Awards for science fiction achievement for Best Cover Artist with Ed Emshwiller. He also wrote a handful of novels, the best known being The Sorcerer’s Ship, The Blue Flamingo and Beyond the Golden Stair. (Died 1964.)
Born July 2, 1931 — Robert Ito, 92. Though you’ll best remember him as being in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as Professor Hikita, his first genre role was actually an uncredited role in Get Smart!, the first of a lot of genre roles including, but not limited to, Women of the Prehistoric Planet, Soylent Green, Roller Ball, The Terminal Man, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: The Next Generation and more voice work than I can possibly list here though he had a long recurring role as The Mandarin on Iron Man.
Born July 2, 1949 — Craig Shaw Gardner, 74. Comic fantasy author whose work is, depending on your viewpoint, very good or very bad. For me, he’s always great. I adore his Ballad of Wuntvor sequence and highly recommend all three novels, A Difficulty with Dwarves, An Excess of Enchantments and A Disagreement with Death. Likewise, his pun filled Arabian Nights sequence will either be to your liking or really not. I think it’s worth it just for Scheherazade’s Night Out.
Born July 2, 1948 — Saul Rubinek, 75. Primarily of interest for being on Warehouse 13 as Artie Nielsen, but he does show rather often else on genre series and films including going on Eureka, Masters of Horror, Person of Interest, Beauty & the Beast, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Memory Run and Death Ship are seeming to be his only only genre films.
Born July 2, 1950 — Stephen R. Lawhead, 73. I personally think that The Pendragon Cycle is by far his best work though the King Raven Trilogy with its revisionist take on Robin Hood is intriguing. And I read the first two of the Bright Empires series which very much worth reading.
Born July 2, 1956 — Kay Kenyon, 67. Writer of the truly awesome The Entire and the Rose series which I enjoyed immensely as a listening experience a few years back. I’ve not read her Dark Talents series, so opinions please. And she was nominated for three Endeavour Awards which is very impressive.
Born July 2, 1970 — Yancy Butler, 53. Detective Sara Pezzini on the Witchblade series which would’ve been awesome with current CGI, but sucked then. She was later Avedon Hammond in Ravager, Captain Kate Roebuck in Doomsday Man, Angie D’Amico in Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, Reba in Lake Placid 3 and Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, Officer Hart in Hansel & Gretel Get Baked (also known as Black Forest: Hansel and Gretel and the 420 Witch) (given the latter, a career low for her) and Alexis Hamilton in Death Race 2050. Series work other than Witchblade was a recurring role as Sgt. Eve Edison in Mann & Machine inher first genre role.
…From dragons and ogres to yetis, sharks, and even aliens, DreamWorks Animation continues to connect with global audiences by turning monsters to heroes that viewers young, old, and even real-life heroes themselves can look up to. And while many studios are looking for ways to do things differently in animation, the team behind the new 3DCG DreamWorks feature Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, which releases in U.S. theaters today, June 30, continues to live by the age-old saying, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
“I love to think that when people think of Krakens, they’ll think of Ruby,” says Ruby Gillman producer Kelly Cooney Cilella, also known for serving as a production supervisor on Shrek The Third, as well as a production manager on Puss in Boots and Trolls. “Finding Ruby’s design specifically as a giant Kraken was probably one of the biggest challenges of the movie because she’s a sea monster and yet we wanted her to feel aspirational. We wanted her to feel feminine. We wanted her to be something that a little girl could look at, and go, ‘I want to be that.’ It took some iteration.”
The heartfelt action comedy follows sweet, shy, and awkward 16-year-old Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) who is just trying to fit in at her high school and keep her crush on the school skater boy (Jaboukie Young-White, Ralph Breaks the Internet) a secret. Suddenly, she discovers that she’s part of a legendary royal lineage of mythical sea Krakens and that her destiny, in the depths of the oceans, is bigger than she ever dreamed.
While growing 300 feet tall with glowing in bioluminescence and laser eye powers goes entirely against Ruby’s mission of staying ordinary and out of the limelight, she realizes she’ll need her powers to stand up to the school’s beautiful, popular new girl, Chelsea (Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek) who also happens to be a mean-girl mermaid….
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH. It’s entirely likely to have been used before, but I’m telling you after today’s Hugo debacle I’m ready for it.]
(1) MEDICAL UPDATE. Ursula Vernon told Filers the latest in a comment today:
Thanks, all! Just catching up—it’s been quite a week, but at least there’s now a treatment plan in place. I’m gonna live, just gonna be a gnarly few months. (I will be a bald wombat soon, but my husband points out that he watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture repeatedly in his youth, and not because of the acting.)
She went into more detail on Twitter. Thread starts here.
(2) APPEAL TO SUPPORT STRIKING WGA WRITERS. At Daily Kos, Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier ask readers to “Help a writer in need” – them! (Familiar names because years ago they used to participate in Loscon programming.)
The Writers’ Guild’s strike is entering its 50th day. My wife and I are members, and this is starting to hurt in the pocketbook. Right now, for example, a major studio owes us $150,000 but because of the standard “Act of God”-type clause, payment will be deferred until after the strike is over. Fortunately, like most older writers, we have learned not to rely entirely of the largesses of Hollywood. We have our own small press, BLACK COAT PRESS, established in 2003 — coincidentally the year I joined Daily Kos.
Black Coat Press publishes English-language translations of French science fiction, fantasy and mysteries (dare I add, award-winning translations), as well as a line of translated French comics. If you buy 5 books, you get a 40% “bookstore” discount. Most of our books are priced around $20, and most are also available as ebooks (specify if you prefer EPUB or PDF files) for around $5.
Needless to say, we support the strike, but I fear this may well be one of toughest fight we ever faced as a Guild. (I’ll be happy to discuss why I think so in the comments.) So purchasing book(s) from us would come as a great help at this time. And frankly, we have published many truly ground-breaking books in the fields of SF and fantasy. (See this article published in The Fantasy Hive for example.)
Visit our website. If you can afford it (and only if!, please consider buying some books from us. Thank you very, very much in advance.
(3) GOFUNDME BRINGS NEEDED HELP. David Gerrold has thanked contributors to his GoFundMe (“Help Move David Gerrold’s Family To Vermont”) which has raised over $31,000 in a week. He says, “We’re still a little short of the target, but two of the bigger problems can now be handled. If the universe doesn’t throw any more crap at us, we’re going to be okay.”
Small events can be some of the most rewarding experiences for an author. Signings, readings, classes, and panels offer an opportunity to connect directly with readers. They also offer some unique challenges when planning for safety….
Think about safety. Is safety a pressing concern? Are you experiencing harassment, or is another attending author the target of harassment? If you have experienced harassment, are there indicators that someone will attend one of your events? Have they made direct threats?
Are there other aspects of the venue, like location or time, that increase the need to think about safety?
The ICFA virtual conference coordinator position I occupied has been made a board position, & I’m now officially a member of the board of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA)
At the link you can read the letter ICFA sent him.
(6) PUNCH, BROTHERS, PUNCH WITH CARE. From last October, but it’s news to me! “The Lensman Cometh” by Steve J. Wright. It begins —
(To the tune of “The Gasman Cometh” by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, to whom I apologize unreservedly.)
‘Twas on a Monday morning that the Lensman came to call, Boskonians had dropped a bunch of Eich all round the hall. He pulled out his DeLameter and swiftly saved the day, But then there came Imperials dressed in tones of white and gray.
(Oh, and they all have mooks for the hero guy to punch…)
(7) CLARION INSTRUCTOR READING SERIES. Each summer the Clarion Workshop’s visiting instructors give public readings at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Here is the 2023 schedule of events:
Andy Duncan – June 28th, 7pm
ANDY DUNCAN returns this summer for his third stint as a Clarion Workshop instructor! His honors include a Nebula Award, a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, three World Fantasy Awards, and awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Science Fiction Research Association. His latest collection is AN AGENT OF UTOPIA, from Small Beer Press; he narrates nine stories on the Recorded Books audio edition. His non-fiction project WEIRD WESTERN MARYLAND is ongoing. A former board member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, he tweets @Beluthahatchie and lives in Maryland’s mountains, where he’s a tenured English professor at Frostburg State University.
Alaya Dawn Johnson – July 5th, 7pm
ALAYA DAWN JOHNSON is the author of RACING THE DARK, THE SUMMER PRINCE, which was long listed for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and LOVE IS THE DRUG, which won the prestigious Nebula (Andre Norton) Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy. In a return to adult fiction, TROUBLE THE SAINTS, was published by Tor in 2020 and won the World Fantasy Award. In the past decade, her award-winning short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY 2015, FERAL YOUTH, THREE SIDES OF A HEART and ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS. In Mexico, where she has made her home since 2014, Johnson has recently received her master’s degree with honors in Mesoamerican Studies from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Tochi Onyebuchi — July 12th, 7pm
TOCHI ONYEBUCHI is the author of GOLIATH. His previous fiction includes RIOT BABY, a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and NAACP Image Awards and winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction, the Ignyte Award for Best Novella, and the World Fantasy Award; the Beasts Made of Night series; and the War Girls series. His short fiction has appeared in THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION, and elsewhere. His non-fiction includes the book (S)KINFOLK and has appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES, NPR, and the HARVARD JOURNAL OF AFRICAN AMERICAN PUBLIC POLICY, among other places. He has earned degrees from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
Anjali Sachdeva — July 19th, 7pm
ANJALI SACHDEVA’s short story collection, ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD, was the winner of the 2019 Chautauqua Prize. It was named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Refinery 29, and BookRiot, longlisted for the Story Prize, and chosen as the 2018 Fiction Book of the Year by the Reading Women podcast. Her fiction has been published in MCSWEENEY’S, LIGHTSPEED, and THE BEST AMERICAN NONREQUIRED READING, among other publications, and featured on the LeVar Burton Reads podcast. Sachdeva worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was Director of Educational Programs. She is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Investing in Professional Artists grant from the Heinz Endowments and the Pittsburgh Foundation. She currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, and in the low-residency MFA program at Randolph College.
Rae Carson & C.C. Finlay — July 26th, 7pm
In January 2015, CHARLES COLEMAN FINLAY (C.C. Finlay) became the ninth editor of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION. He is also the author of the Traitor to the Crown historical fantasy trilogy, which began with THE PATRIOT WITCH, and a stand-alone fantasy novel, THE PRODIGAL TROLL. He’s published more than forty stories since 2001, many of which have been reprinted in volumes of the YEAR’S BEST FANTASY, YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION, BEST NEW HORROR, and other anthologies. Some of his short stories have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, Sidewise, and Sturgeon awards, and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. In addition to Clarion, he has instructed at the Clarion Young Authors workshop, the Alpha Writers Workshop, and the Odyssey Online Workshop.
RAE CARSON’s debut novel, THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, was published in 2011, and was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Award and the Andre Norton Award, and it was the winner of the Ohioana Book Award for Young Adult Literature. It was also selected as 2012 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults by Young Adult Library Services Association. The Fire and Thorns Trilogy was a NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, as was her Gold Seer Trilogy. Beginning in 2017, she has written several tie-in stories for the Star Wars universe, including the novelization of STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. In 2021, she released her most recent novel, Any Sign of Life. In addition to her novels, her short fiction has been nominated for Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards.
… Yet even should the convention be held in a fantastic gothic cathedral it would be bad without the people. And in this regard Konflikt presented itself from the best angle. I was very happy for how the socializing worked. Everything started the day before with a precon party in Williams Pub. The pub also became the palce to visit on every subsequent evening. It was not very big but every day I managed to find a place to sit. In most occasions I was starting at a “Polish table” which later was turning into more international one. Thanks to that I not only enjoyed the company of well known friends but also met some new people.
I was also very glad for the interactions I had at the con itself. I talked with friends who helped me to run the Glasgow 2024 table and with those who were around. The con was also occasion to refresh some of the friendships with people I met before at Swecon in 2016 (and a few times later). Obviously I also had the chance to talk to complete strangers who are not strangers any more….
(9) GRANT CONAN MCCORMICK (1955-2023). Kentucky fan and past publisher of FOSFAX Grant McCormick died June 19 Joseph T. Major told Facebook readers. Major also quoted this tribute to Grant from Carolyn Clowes:
“I’ve never known anyone like Grant. He was a huge intellect and a gentle spirit. I never heard him feel sorry for himself or be angry or rude to anyone. He was generous and sweet and smart as a whip. He always tried to make the best of his circumstances, and he had a wonderfully wicked sense of humor. I am so glad I knew him. We all loved Grant, and we’ll miss him forever.”
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1958 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
I really, really love Robert Sheckley. There was of Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains written with Harry Harrison, along with The Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming series with Roger Zelazny. Yes he liked writing with others. Though he did write The Tenth Victim by himself, a fine novel indeed.
His only Hugo nomination was at Detention for Immortality, Inc., the source of our Beginning this time. No, Retros don’t count here. It was published as Immortality Delivered by Aviation Books sixty-five years ago with cover art by Ric Binkley, and serialized by Galaxy Magazine the same year as “Time Killer”.
Now our Beginning…
Afterwards, Thomas Blaine thought about the manner of his dying and wished it had been more interesting. Why couldn’t his death have come while he was battling a typhoon, meeting a tiger’s charge, or climbing a windswept mountain? Why had his death been so tame, so commonplace, so ordinary?
But an enterprising death, he realized, would have been out of character for him. Undoubtedly he was meant to die in just the quick, common, messy, painless way he did. And all his life must have gone into the forming and shaping of that death—a vague indication in childhood, a fair promise in his college years, an implacable certainty at the age of thirty-two.
Still, no matter how commonplace, one’s death is the most interesting event of one’s life. Blaine thought about his with intense curiosity. He had to know about those minutes, those last precious seconds when his own particular death lay waiting for him on a dark New Jersey highway. Had there been some warning sign, some portent? What had he done, or not done? What had he been thinking? Those final seconds were crucial to him. How, exactly, had he died.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 21, 1932 — Lalo Schifrin, 91. Argentina-American pianist and composer of the music for the original Mission: Impossible series along with The Four Musketeers (1974 version), The Amityville Horror, The Mask of Sheba, The Hellstrom Chronicle, THX 1138, The Cat from Outer Space and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to select some of his work.
Born June 21, 1938 — Ron Ely, 85. Doc Savage in Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, a film I saw a long time ago and remember little about. He was also, fittingly enough, Tarzan in that NBC late Sixties series. Somewhere Philip Jose Farmer is linking the two characters… Other notable genre roles included being a retired Superman from an alternate reality in a two-part episode “The Road to Hell” of the Superboy series, and playing five different characters on the original Fantasy Island which may or may not be a record.
Born June 21, 1947 — Michael Gross, 76. Ok, I’ll admit that I’ve a fondness for the Tremors franchise in which he plays the extremely well-armed graboid hunter Burt Gummer. Other than the Tremors franchise, he hasn’t done a lot of genre work as I see just an episode of The Outer Limits where he was Professor Stan Hurst in “Inconstant Moon” (a Niven story) and voicing a few Batman Beyond and Batman: The Animated Series characters.
Born June 21, 1940 — Mariette Hartley, 83. She’s remembered by us for the classic Trek episode “All Our Yesterdays”, though, as OGH noted in an earlier Scroll, probably best known to the public for her Polaroid commercials with James Garner. She also had a role as psychologist Dr. Carolyn Fields in “Married”, an episode of The Incredible Hulk.
Born June 21, 1964 — David Morrissey, 59. His most well-known role is playing The Governor on The Walking Dead (which is a series that I’ve not seen and have no interest of seeing as I don’t do zombies) but I saw his brilliant performance as Jackson Lake, the man who believed he was The Doctor in “The Next Doctor”, a Tenth Doctor adventure which was an amazing story. He was also Theseus in Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Greek Myths, and played Tyador Borlú in the BBC adaption of China Mieville’s The City & The City. I’ll admit that I’m not at all ambivalent about seeing it as I’ve listened to the novel at least a half dozen times and have my own mental image of what it should be. He has also shows up in Good Omens as Captain Vincent.
Born June 21, 1965 — Steve Niles, 58. Writer best- known for works such as 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre, Simon Dark and Batman: Gotham County Line. I’ve read his Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories and the graphic novel — great bit of horror! Sam Raimi adapted 30 Days of Night into a film.
Born June 21, 1969 — Christa Faust, 54. It does not appear that she’s written any original fiction save one novel with Poppy Z. Brite called Triads but she’s certainly had a lot of media tie-in work including novels set in the Final Destination, Friday the Thirteenth, Fringe, Gabriel Hunt, Nightmare on Elm Street, Supernatural and Twilight Zone universes. Did you know there’s an entire ecology of novels, fan fiction, a game, comics, even an encyclopedia guide, September’s Notebook — The Bishop Paradox made around Fringe? I hadn’t until I was researching her. One of the perks of doing this.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
Thatababy’s joke “reminded me of one of Our Wombat’s books” says Kathy Sullivan.
Marvel’s Secret Invasionis already causing a commotion on social media, though not for reasons that the studio may have hoped.
The series, which debuted on Wednesday with just one episode, has touched a sore spot after director Ali Selim confirmed to Polygon that the opening credits were generated by artificial intelligence. Designed by Method Studios, Selim said he thought that the idea of using AI for the opening credits fit into the themes of the show.
“When we reached out to the AI vendors, that was part of it — it just came right out of the shape-shifting, Skrull world identity, you know? Who did this? Who is this?” he said, adding that he doesn’t “really understand” how the artificial intelligence works, though it piqued his interest.
… What has emerged is a buoyant and good-humoured LGBTQ+ parable, set in a kind of retro-futurist kingdom, super-modern and hi-tech in every way but with a medieval-style queen and a court of knights who have competed hard for the honour of the title “sir”. One of these is Ballister Boldheart (voiced by Riz Ahmed), a lowborn person of colour in love with fellow knight Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin (Eugene Lee Yang), and Ballister is about to be officially dubbed in a gigantic stadium ceremony halfway between the Hunger Games and the Super Bowl….
… Looking at synchrony between bands of brain waves is one way of understanding what’s going on between interacting brains. Another is to look at the activity of specific neurons. “Ultimately our brains are not a soup of averages. They consist of individual neurons that do different things, and they may do opposite things,” U.C.L.A.’s Hong says. Hong and his colleagues were among the first to go looking for this level of detail and study interacting brains neuron by neuron. What they found revealed even more complexity.
Like Yartsev, Hong first doubted that the interbrain synchrony he and his team observed in animals—in their case, mice—was real. He hadn’t yet read the literature on synchrony in humans and told Lyle Kingsbury—at the time a student of Hong’s and the lead scientist on the research and now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University—that there must be something wrong. There wasn’t. Using a technology called microendoscopic calcium imaging, which measures changes in induced fluorescence in individual neurons, they looked at hundreds of neurons at the same time. In pairs of interacting mice, they established that synchrony appeared during an ongoing social interaction. Further, synchrony in mouse brains arose from separate populations of cells in the prefrontal cortex, which Hong calls “self cells” and “other cells.” The former encodes one’s own behavior, the latter the behavior of another individual. “The sum of activity of both self and other cells is similar to or correlated with the sum of activity in the other brain,” Hong says.
What they are seeing goes well beyond previous research on so-called mirror neurons, which represent both the self and another. (When I watch you throw a ball, it activates a set of mirror neurons in my brain that would also be activated if I were doing the same thing myself.) In contrast, the self and other cells Hong and Kingsbury discovered encode only the behavior of one individual or the other. All three kinds of cells—mirror, self and other—were present and aligning in the mouse brains….
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Mark, Danny Sichel, Kathy Sullivan, Steven French, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
The six faculty members will be Andy Duncan, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Tochi Onyebuchi, Anjali Sachdeva, and Rae Carson.
The workshop will be held at UC San Diego from June 25, 2023 – August 5, 2023. Applications open on December 1 to join the class of 2023.
Andy Duncan returns this summer for his third stint as a Clarion Workshop instructor! His honors include a Nebula Award, a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, three World Fantasy Awards, and awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Science Fiction Research Association. His latest collection is An Agent of Utopia, from Small Beer Press; he narrates nine stories on the Recorded Books audio edition. His non-fiction project Weird Western Maryland is ongoing. A former board member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, he tweets @Beluthahatchie and lives in Maryland’s mountains, where he’s a tenured English professor at Frostburg State University.
Alaya Dawn Johnson is the author of Racing the Dark, The Summer Prince, which was long listed for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and Love Is the Drug, which won the prestigious Nebula (Andre Norton) Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy. In a return to adult fiction, Trouble the Saints, was published by Tor in 2020. In the past decade, her award-winning short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, Feral Youth, Three Sides of a Heart and Zombies vs. Unicorns. In Mexico City where she has made her home since 2014, Johnson has recently received her master’s degree with honors in Mesoamerican Studies from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of Goliath. His previous fiction includes Riot Baby, a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and NAACP Image Awards and winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction, the Ignyte Award for Best Novella, and the World Fantasy Award; the Beasts Made of Night series; and the War Girls series. His short fiction has appeared in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, and elsewhere. His non-fiction includes the book (S)kinfolk and has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, and the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, among other places. He has earned degrees from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
Anjali Sachdeva’s short story collection, All the Names They Used for God, was the winner of the 2019 Chautauqua Prize. It was named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Refinery 29, and BookRiot, longlisted for the Story Prize, and chosen as the 2018 Fiction Book of the Year by the Reading Women podcast. Her fiction has been published in McSweeney’s, Lightspeed, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among other publications, and featured on the LeVar Burton Reads podcast. Sachdeva worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was Director of Educational Programs. She is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Investing in Professional Artists grant from the Heinz Endowments and the Pittsburgh Foundation. She currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, and in the low-residency MFA program at Randolph College.
Charles Coleman Finlay is another welcome return, joining us for his third summer as a Clarion instructor. In January 2015, C.C. Finlay became the ninth editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He is also the author of the Traitor to the Crown historical fantasy trilogy, which began with The Patriot Witch, and a stand-alone fantasy novel, The Prodigal Troll. He’s published more than forty stories since 2001, many of which have been reprinted in volumes of the Year’s Best Fantasy, Year’s Best Science Fiction, Best New Horror, and other anthologies. Some of his short stories have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, Sidewise, and Sturgeon awards, and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. In addition to Clarion, he has instructed at the Clarion Young Authors workshop, the Alpha Writers Workshop, and the Odyssey Online Workshop.
Rae Carson joins for a second summer as an instructor of the Clarion Workshop. Her debut novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, was published in 2011, and was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Award and the Andre Norton Award, and it was the winner of the Ohioana Book Award for Young Adult Literature. It was also selected as 2012 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults by Young Adult Library Services Association. The Fire and Thorns Trilogy was a New York Times bestseller, as was her Gold Seer Trilogy. Beginning in 2017, she has written several tie-in stories for the Star Wars universe, including the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In 2021, she released her most recent novel, Any Sign of Life. In addition to her novels, her short fiction has been nominated for Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards.
Bogdan Belyaev was working from home when the air raid sirens went off. They hadn’t been heard in the city of Lviv since World War II, but it was February 24, and Russia had just invaded Ukraine. “When we heard that missiles were attacking and that our [internet] connection was dropping from parts of our country, we got into shelter,” says Belyaev. That meant him, his wife, and their dog and two cats huddling in the center of their building. “It’s a ‘shelter,’ really in quotes because it was actually our bathroom,” he says. “There is a rule of two walls. You need to be behind two walls. The first wall is taking the impact, and the second one is stopping the small shrapnel.” But for Belyaev, work carried on because he needed it to. People on the other side of the world were relying on him, and the project was the culmination of a passion he’d had since childhood: Star Wars.
Belyaev is a 29-year-old synthetic-speech artist at the Ukrainian start-up Respeecher, which uses archival recordings and a proprietary A.I. algorithm to create new dialogue with the voices of performers from long ago. The company worked with Lucasfilm to generate the voice of a young Luke Skywalker for Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett, and the recent Obi-Wan Kenobi series tasked them with making Darth Vader sound like James Earl Jones’s dark side villain from 45 years ago, now that Jones’s voice has altered with age and he has stepped back from the role. Belyaev was rushing to finish his work as Putin’s troops came across the border. “If everything went bad, we would never make these conversions delivered to Skywalker Sound,” he says. “So I decided to push this data right on the 24th of February.”
Respeecher employees in Kyiv also soldiered on while hunkered down. Dmytro Bielievtsov, the company’s cofounder and CTO, got online in a theater where tabletops, books, and more had been stacked in front of windows in case of blasts. Programmers “training” the A.I. to replicate Jones’s voice and editors piecing together the output worked from corridors in the interior of their apartments. One took refuge in an ancient brick “basement” no bigger than a crawl space.
Back at Skywalker Sound in Northern California, Matthew Wood was the supervising sound editor on the receiving end of the transmissions from Ukraine. He says that they hired Respeecher because the vocal performances that the start-up generates have an often elusive human touch. “Certainly my main concern was their well-being,” says Wood, who is a 32-year veteran of Lucasfilm. “There are always alternatives that we could pursue that wouldn’t be as good as what they would give us. We never wanted to put them in any kind of additional danger to stay in the office to do something.”…
(2) THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE. Charles Payseur takes up the “Fan vs. Pro” debate about contenders for the fan Hugos at Quick Sip Reviews: “Quick Sips 09/23/2022”
… “What kind of fan work should be recognized by the Hugo Awards?” If you answer “the kind of fan work that is underappreciated and deserves recognition” then I’m sorry, that’s not what a popular vote award is going to give you by definition. Already appreciated fans, fanzines, fancasts, and fan artists are going to have the advantage because by virtue of having fans of their own, they’ll get more votes. If you want awards that will seek to award people doing thankless and vital work, you’re going to need a juried award (both steps, too, because even a juried first stage, popular vote second stage is going to probably favor already popular fans).
And I could propose that we get together and create The Fannies (bwahahahaha), but that again is avoiding the question again. “What kind of fan work should be recognized by the Hugo Awards?” Like with all the other categories, the answer is that we should recognize the fan work that was the most popular in a given year. Yes, platform will effect that a lot. Money will effect that a lot. But unless we’re going to seek to correct for wealth, access, and privilege across all the Hugo categories, singling out the fan awards without reckoning with the current shape and state of SFF fandoms is pointless at best. Might as well just say with your whole voice that you don’t think specific finalists or winners DESERVE the recognition. At which point everyone can see what it is you’re really doing….
BD: What led you to first consider launching an imprint?
BK: J.F. Gonzalez and I had often talked about doing this, but we were both of a generation where making this sort of transition was seen as crazy talk. So we never did. But even after he died, the idea was there in the back of my brain, gnawing and gnawing. And I started watching authors younger than me, whom I admire, and the success they were having making the plunge. Two of them are thriller writer Robert Swartwood and horror/sci-fi writer Stephen Kozeniewski. They were who finally convinced me to make the move. Rob got me to see that with the size of my audience and fan base, it was ridiculous not to do this.
For the entirety of my career, other companies — big and small — have had partial ownership of my rights and my intellectual properties. And these days, IP is king. These corporations aren’t paying for books or films or comics or video games. They’re paying for IP. I want to fully own my IP again. Now, obviously, I’m not talking about the properties I’ve worked on for others — stuff like Aliens, Doctor Who, The X-Files and all of the Marvel and DC Comics stuff. That’s somebody else’s IP and I was paid to play with it. But I’ve got over fifty books and over three hundred short stories of my own. Why should somebody else get a cut of those profits and a share of the ownership when the technology and infrastructure exists for me to produce them myself and get them into stores and the hands of readers?
And I should stress, I have a great relationship with most of my current publishers. But when I reached out to each of them individually and told them this was the direction I wanted to go, they all understood. They get it. This is what’s best for my remaining years, and for my sons.
And that’s what it comes down to, really. My sons. I turn fifty-five this week, and while I’m in relatively good health (despite the misadventures of my first fifty years), I can also hear that mortality clock ticking. I don’t plan on leaving yet, but most of us don’t really get a say in that, you know? Surprises happen. When I’m gone, I don’t want the executor of my literary estate having to chase down royalty checks from twenty different sources, and I don’t want my sons to have to share my intellectual property with a bunch of other people. By bringing everything in house, they’ll have total control over all of that.
(4) CENSORING FOR POWER. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Washington Post, YA sf writer David Levithan, who PEN America rates as the 11th most censored author in the US, says censorship ultimately won’t prevail and supporters of free expression will win. “Standing up to the new censorship”.
… What I’ve come to believe, as I’ve talked to authors and librarians and teachers, is that attacks are less and less about the actual books. We’re being used as targets in a much larger proxy war. The goal of that war isn’t just to curtail intellectual freedom but to eviscerate the public education system in this country. Censors are scorching the earth, without care for how many kids get burned. Racism and homophobia are still very much present, but it’s also a power grab, a money grab. The goal for many is a for-profit, more authoritarian and much less diverse culture, one in which truth is whatever you’re told it is, your identity is determined by its acceptability and the past is a lie that the future is forced to emulate. The politicians who holler and post and draw up their lists of “harmful” books aren’t actually scared of our books. They are using our books to scare people….
(5) AGE OF EMPIRES AGING WELL. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times, Chris Allnutt discusses a tournament for Age Of Empires II, first released in 1999, with a $200,000 prize and how older games still get big prizes at tournaments.
It is, by and large, older titles–those that have had longer to build a competitive scene and tweak their game mechanics–that dominate the most lucrative tournament rosters. Data 2 continues to top the table for e-sports prize money, with about $48 million up for grabs in 2021, eight years after its initial release. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2022) and League Of Legends (2009) earned players $21 million and $8 million respectively. That’s nearly a third of all 2021’s prize money.
As a franchise, Age Of Empires speaks particularly well to the penchant for nostalgia. The series has spawned four games in total, with Age Of Empires IV released last year. But the second game still boasts the higher player count on Steam.
(6) FINAL WRITE-A-THON RESULTS. The Clarion Workshop Write-a-Thon raised $6,713.34 this year. The majority of the funds will go to scholarships for the Clarion Class of 2023. Forty-four writers participated in the Thon this year.
… While [Travis] Baldree wrote Legends & Lattes for his own satisfaction, the book has still gone on to be a genuine hit. Even months later, it’s holding strong in some of Amazon’s most competitive fiction markets. It’s currently the 19th most popular book on the retail giant’s competitive Romantic Fantasy list. It’s also number five in the LGBQT+ Fantasy category.
If there’s one place where its influence has been most deeply felt, however, it’s the realm of “cozy fantasy.”
Inspired directly by Legends & Lattes, enthusiastic readers established the CozyFantasy community on Reddit. Since its inception in May 2022, r/CozyFantasy has added more than 5,000 subscribing members. The community sees hundreds of posts every week from people sharing reviews, looking for recommendations, and eager to chat about their favorite works from the sub-genre.…
(8) PYTHON ALUM PALIN’S NEW BOOK. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times, Sir Michael Palin discusses his newest book, Into Iraq, which also is part of a series that was broadcast on Channel 5 beginning on September 20.
In September 2019 I went into Bart’s Hospital in London for open-heart surgery (during which a mitral valve was repaired and an aortic valve replaced0, but within a few months I was feeling not only better but bolder too, and looking at my atlas again with a renewed confidence. Before I could rush to the nearest airport, however, the world hit the pause button. Airports emptied and the world fell silent…
…On a bright morning, we gathered outside the Rixos hotel in the town of Duhok. “Candle In The Wind’ was playing in the lift as I checked in the previous night, and ‘Hey Jude’ as I sat down to breakfast. Shielded from the road by blast barriers, we were briefed by James Willcox, whose company Untamed Borders socializes n taking people to places most other people don’t want to go. Standing beside him was Peter, ex-army, accompanying us as security and medical escort. No one suggested that he was here because I was so old, but I couldn’t help sensing that he was keeping an eye on me. I, in turn, was determined to pretend I was 29, not 78.
(9) TOM MADDOX HEALTH UPDATE. Tom Maddox’s wife Mary told his Facebook followers he’s had a stroke:
Tom is in the hospital (ICU) after having a severe stroke. He is unconcious and may not wake up the doctors say at present. The doctor told me if he lives he will go to a nursing home for critical care. I am beyond grief stricken and am going everyday to the hospital and he is restless but when I am there he sleeps peacefully.
(10) TOM CHMIELEWSKI (1952-2022). Science fiction writer Tom Chmielewski died in June at the age of 70. The family obituary is here.
He worked in the field of journalism beginning in 1975, and worked at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1987-1997. After leaving the Gazette, he worked as a part-time instructor at WMU; started a monthly publication called Great Lakes Stage, which covered theatre in the Midwest; and served as editor of Trains.com, an online publication based in Milwaukee that covered model railroading, one of his passions.
He was a member of the Clarion workshop class of 1984. He served as Treasurer to the Clarion Foundation from 2016-2022, where he did tremendous work behind-the-scenes for the Foundation, including supporting their Thon fundraiser for numerous years.
He published his first novel Lunar Dust, Martian Sands in 2014 through his company, TEC Publishing, followed by two more novels in his Mars trilogy, Rings of Fire and Ice (2018), and The Silent Siege of Mars (2019). He created and released an audio drama, “Shalbatana Solstice,” a prequel to his first novel, that was later broadcast by the BBC.
Chmielewski is survived by his brothers and sisters-in-law, four nieces and a nephew, and his former wife, Susan Lackey.
Contributions may be made to the Tom Chmielewski Memorial Fund, which is designated for older writers who wish to attend Clarion, set up in his honor by the Clarion Foundation. To make a donation, go to theclarionfoundation.org (if donating online, designate your contribution for Tom’s fund by sending an email to [email protected]. You may also mail a check made out to The Clarion Foundation to 716 Salvatierra St., Stanford, CA 94305-1020.)
(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1987 – [By Cat Eldridge.] Thirty-five years ago, what might indeed be the sweetest damn film ever released premiered today in The Princess Bride. Yes, I’m biased.
Based off the exemplary novel of fourteen years previously by William Goldman who adapted in the film here, I need not detain the story here as I know there’s not a single individual here who’s not familiar with it. If there is anyone here with that hole in their film education, why are you reading this?
It’s streaming on Disney + right now and you can rent it pretty much everywhere. Go and then come back here!
It’s a very sweet love story, it’s a send-up of classic adventure tales, it’s a screwball comedy, it’s a, well, it’s a lot of things done absolutely perfectly. Did I mention sword fights? Well I should.
I fell in love with The Princess Bride when Grandfather played by Peter Falk repeated these lines from the novel: “That’s right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today, I’m gonna read it to you.” A film about a book. Cool!
Yes, they shortened the title of book which was The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, The “Good Parts” Version. But unwieldy for a film. Though a stellar book title indeed.
There are very few films that successfully adapt a book exactly as it written. (Not looking at you the first version of Dune or Starship Troopers.) The only one I’ve seen that did was Like Water for Chocolate off the novel by Laura Esquivel. That Goldman wrote the script obviously was essential and the cast which you know by heart so I’ll not detail here were stellar in their roles certainly made a difference.
Rob Reiner was without doubt the director for it and the interviews with him have indicated his love for the novel.
That it won a Hugo at Nolacon II was I think predestined. I won’t say it magical, no I take that back, in many ways it was magical. And I think that it was by far the best film that year. My opinion, yours of course might well be different.
Only six percent of the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes don’t like it. Ponder that.
Deluxe one-sixth scale figures of the cast members are starting to be released. You can stage your own version of the film.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 25, 1919 — Betty Ballantine. With her husband Ian, she created Bantam Books in 1945 and established Ballantine Books seven years later. They won one special World Fantasy Award for professional work in 1975 and another one shared with Joy Chant et al for The High Kings which is indeed an amazing work. ISFDB lists just one novel for her, The Secret Oceans, which I’ve not read. Who here done so? (Died 2019.)
Born September 25, 1930 — Shel Silverstein. Not sure how he is SFF but ISFDB lists him as such for his Every Thing On It collection and a handful of aptly named poems, and I’m more than thrilled to list him under Birthday Honors. I’m fond of his poetry collection Where the Sidewalk Ends and will also note here A Light in the Attic if only because it’s been on “oh my we must ban it now attempts” all too often. So what do you think is genre by him? (Died 1999.)
Born September 25, 1932 — J. Hunter Holly. Her various book dedications showed she had a strong love of cats. I’ve not encountered her novels but she wrote a fair number of them including ten genre novels plus The Assassination Affair, a novel in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. franchise. Only The Flying Eyes novel by her is available from the usual digital suspects. (Died 1982.)
Born September 25, 1946 — Felicity Kendal, 76. She plays Lady Clemency Eddison in the the Tenth Doctor story, “The Unicorn and The Wasp”, one of my favorite Who tales which I reviewed at Green Man here. She recently played Baroness Ortsey in the new Pennyworth series. And though it’s definitely really not genre, I’m noting her role in Shakespeare-Wallah, story of a family troupe of English actors in India, just because it’s a fascinating story.
Born September 25, 1951 — Mark Hamill, 71. OK, I’ll confess that my favorite role of his is voicing The Joker in the DC Universe. He started doing this way back on Batman: The Animated Series and has even done so on other such series as well. Pure comic evilness! Oh, and did you know he voices Chucky in the new Child’s Play film? Now that’s really, really creepy.
Born September 25, 1952 — Christopher Reeve. Superman in the Superman film franchise. He appeared in the Smallville series as Dr. Swann in the episodes “Rosetta” and “Legacy”. His Muppet Show appearance has him denying to Miss Piggy that he’s Superman though he displayed those superpowers throughout that entire episode. (Died 2004.)
Born September 25, 1977 — Clea DuVall, 45. A long genre history if we include horror (and I most gleefully do) — Little Witches, Sleeping Beauties, Ghosts of Mars and How to Make a Monster. Series appearances include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a main role on Carnivàle as Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya (loved that series), a recurring role as Audrey Hanson on Heroes, and though we didn’t see it, she was in the unsold television pilot for the never to be Virtuality series as Sue Parsons, she had a recurring role in American Horror Story: Asylum as Wendy Peyser, and finally another recurring role in The Handmaid’s Tale as Sylvia.
Born September 25, 1983 — Donald Glover, 39. A cast member of Community as Troy Barnes, a series that is least genre adjacent. His first genre appearance is in The Muppets film as a junior CDE executive. He also appeared in a season 43 episode of Sesame Street as famous musician LMNOP. And then there’s the minor matter of being in Solo: A Star Wars Story as someone called Lando Calrissian, Spider-Man: Homecoming as Aaron Davis and then voicing Simba in The Lion King. Not bad at all.
For about two months in 1970, ITV aired episodes of a bonkers science fiction comedy series based (oh so very loosely) on Miguel de Cervantes’ literary classic Don Quixote. The show, entitled The Adventures of Don Quick, follows an astronaut named Don Quick (Ian Hendry) and his sidekick, Sam Czopanser (Ronald Lacey), who are part of an “Intergalactic Maintenance Squad” that sends them, each episode, to try to “maintain” or otherwise improve alien planets—which usually do not at all need their help, and whose citizens range from bemused to quite irritated by the intrusion.
Fun fact: Angela Carter, the queen of feminist fairy tales herself, was once commissioned by ITV to write the script for an episode of the show, which was (alas!) never produced….
Did you know the character played by Ernie Hudson in NBC’s Quantum Leap revival goes back more than 30 years within the world of the show?
Herbert “Magic” Williams first appeared in the original iteration of the series in the 1990 episode entitled “The Leap Home, Part II,” where Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) travels back to the days of the Vietnam War, leaping into the body of Herbert “Magic” Williams, who served in the same Navy SEALs platoon as Sam’s older brother, Tom.
This will actually be addressed by Williams in the fourth episode of the revamp. “[Magic] does explain, from his point-of-view, that leap,” showrunner and executive producer Martin Gero (Blindspot) teased during a recent interview with TVLine. “Ernie [Hudson] gives this phenomenal monologue. It’s so beautiful. It might be my favorite scene of this first chunk [of episodes]. It’s really, really special.” He also went on to tease an adventure in the Old West — circa the 1870s — come Episode 5. “We’re telling some stories that have not been told about the West, and that is very exciting for us.”
…Poor Enola is still facing down misogynist creeps in this new trailer. After opening her very own detective agency, people are still uncertain of her crime-solving abilities. Cut the girl some slack! Hasn’t she gone through enough? Still, folks beg to be assigned to her older brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill), reliant on his wits instead of hers.
“While I have not a single case, Sherlock’s latest seems to be vexing him,” Enola tells us. Cut to Sherlock playing a sad violin, panicking over his inability to crack the case.
Not only does Enola have a sad big bro to fix, she does have a big case to prove herself as a professional sleuth….
(17) REVISIT AN EIGHTIES OPEN FILK SESSION. Fanac.org has posted video from when Julia Ecklar was the special filk guest at Tropicon 8, held in Dania, Florida, in 1989. This recording captures the second part of an open filk at the convention, and includes 11 songs (of which Julia sings seven).
The singers in order of appearance are: Julia Ecklar, Linda Melnick, Dina Pearlman, C.J. Cherryh, Francine Mullen, and Doug Wu.
This includes much of the conversation between songs, the laughter and the real feel of a 1980s convention filk session.
One lovely addition is that Linda Melnick signs on one of the songs, as well as sings.
Another bonus – this video includes several songs by Orion’s Belt, which consisted of Dina Pearlman, Francine Mullen and Doug Wu.
Tropicon was a small convention, and you will see some of the author guests in the filk. That’s Tropicon 8 GoH Lynn Abbey sitting next to C.J. Cherryh for example, and Joe Green sitting back against the wall…
Thanks to Eli Goldberg for sound editing on this recording and for the details in the song listing.
Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) are lucky to be living in the idealized community of Victory, the experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. The 1950’s societal optimism espoused by their CEO, Frank (Pine)—equal parts corporate visionary and motivational life coach—anchors every aspect of daily life in the tight-knit desert utopia. While the husbands spend every day inside the Victory Project Headquarters, working on the “development of progressive materials,” their wives—including Frank’s elegant partner, Shelley (Chan)—get to spend their time enjoying the beauty, luxury and debauchery of their community. Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is discretion and unquestioning commitment to the Victory cause. But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice can’t help questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory, and why. Just how much is Alice willing to lose to expose what’s really going on in this paradise? An audacious, twisted and visually stunning psychological thriller, “Don’t Worry Darling” is a powerhouse feature from director Olivia Wilde that boasts intoxicating performances from Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, surrounded by the impressive and pitch-perfect cast.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers: Nope,” the Screen Junkies, in a spoiler-packed episode, says that Jordan Peele is one of the few directors trying to preserve cinema “in a world dominated by corporate IP.” Daniel Kaluuya is “the oldest young man ever” and Nope is “an old-fashioned Black cowboy movie.” But while Peele is geeky enough he has an Akira reference as an Easter egg, much of the film shows “we’re so emotionally stunted that we can only process trauma through old SNL references.”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Daniel Dern, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]
Gary Busey is facing four charges, including two counts of criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree, by the police department of Cherry Hill, N.J. The actor was visiting the town during the weekend of Aug. 12 to Aug. 14 to attend the Monster-Mania Convention at the Doubletree Hotel.
During the time of the convention, Cherry Hill police responded to a report of a sex offense at the Doubletree Hotel. After investigating the incident, detectives charged the 78-year-old actor on four offenses: two counts of criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree, one count of attempting criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree and one disorderly conduct count of harassment. The Cherry Hill Police Department has declined to provide further details regarding the incident at this time.
Monster-Mania is assisting authorities in their investigation into an alleged incident involving attendees and a celebrity guest at its convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey last weekend. Immediately upon receiving a complaint from the attendees, the celebrity guest was removed from the convention and instructed not to return. Monster-Mania also encouraged the attendees to contact the police to file a report.
The safety and well-being of all our attendees is of the utmost importance to Monster-Mania, and the company will not tolerate any behavior that could compromise those values. Monster-Mania will continue to assist the authorities in any and every way possible.
…Part 4. From Iowa to Bread Loaf to Milford to Clarion
I traced this method of workshopping from Iowa to the early years of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and from Bread Loaf to Milford, which was the first writing conference dedicated to SFF. The Milford Writers’ Conference was founded by Damon Knight, Judith Merril, and James Blish in 1956, smack in the middle of Engle’s red-hot zeitgeist. There’s no indication the founders knew any of the politics attached to the expansion of those workshop methods—it’s likely they sourced the format from a colleague and figured this was the way workshopping was done.
Thanks to Engle, it was how workshopping was done. By the 1950s, almost nothing else would have existed to provide another model.
Milford was founded as a conference between peers, not as a program to teach newer writers. A decade later, in 1967, Robin Scott Wilson (who, in what appears to be an unrelated coincidence, used to work for the CIA), came and asked for assistance in starting a more beginner SFF workshop for the college campus on which he taught. He recruited much-needed help from Damon Knight and from Knight’s fellow author and by-then wife Kate Wilhelm.
None of the three had any prior knowledge about how to teach writing, other than by trying to adapt what they had been using at Milford. In Wilhelm’s Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, in which she details the very beginnings of Clarion, she confesses, “Neither Damon nor I had had teaching experience, and we were learning by trial and error what was effective and what was not.” It’s a sentiment echoed by Wilson, the only one of them who was an active professor at the time: “[A] condition of my employment was that I organize a writers’ workshop. I did not know how to do this. I did not know anybody who knew how to do this…”
… Oh, but Clarion’s methods work, an objector might point out, citing the rave reviews or the substantial number of people who credit a workshop on their ramp toward publication.
I don’t think that’s wrong. Clarion’s methods work…for the people they work for. I don’t want us not to have those methods. I want there to be more. More choice, more diversity, to nurture all types of voices and minds and pens.
My intent is not to criticize Wilson and Knight and Wilhelm for experimenting, but to emphasize the opposite—we should experiment more, in our own generation! Fifty years after Clarion’s founders built something new, it’s on us keep moving forward….
Lawyers for the Department of Justice and for Penguin Random House delivered their closing argument on Friday in a case that will determine whether the publisher, the country’s largest, can buy one of its rivals, Simon & Schuster.
The case, which will be decided in the fall by Judge Florence Y. Pan, focused on the effects of consolidation on publishing, an industry that has already been dramatically reshaped by mergers in recent years.
The government sued to stop the deal on antitrust grounds, saying it would diminish competition among the biggest houses and push down advances for some authors. Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House, argued the deal would bring its supply chain and distribution muscle to a longer list of authors, to their benefit, and that the industry is large and varied, made up of many important players beyond the biggest firms. Judge Pan expressed skepticism over several of Penguin Random House’s main arguments.
Beyond the legal debate, the three-week trial offered an unusual glimpse into the world of publishing, offering observers a parade of high-profile publishing executives, agents and authors speaking frankly and on the record about how books are made.
Here is some of what we learned….
What books drive the industry’s profits?
By most measures, publishing is thriving. In any given year, hundreds of publishers in the United States release around 60,000 books. From 2012 to 2019, print book sales grew by more than 20 percent, from nine billion to 11 billion, Mr. Dohle testified. And book sales were strong during the pandemic, rising by another 20 percent from 2019 to 2021, he said.
But the trial highlighted a surprising fact: A minuscule percentage of books generate the vast majority of profits.
During their testimony, Penguin Random House executives said that just 35 percent of books the company publishes are profitable. Among the titles that make money, a very small sliver — just 4 percent — account for 60 percent of those profits.
“That’s how risky our business is,” Mr. Dohle said. “It’s the books that you don’t pay a lot for and become runaway best sellers.”
The trial offered examples of books that publishers paid a relatively small amount for, and that turned out to be a great hit. Sally Kim, the publisher of the Penguin Random House imprint Putnam, said they acquired “Where the Crawdads Sing” for “mid-six figures.” That book has gone on to sell around 15 million copies worldwide.
The issue is industrywide, and has been exacerbated by the rise of online retail, which tends to reinforce the visibility of best sellers. In 2021, fewer than one percent of the 3.2 million titles that BookScan tracked sold more than 5,000 copies.
(4) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1883 – [By Cat Eldridge.] So today is the birthday of Austin Tappan Wright who was born in 1883. He died at the young age of forty-eight as a result of an automobile accident near Santa Fe, New Mexico, on September 18, 1931. During his lifetime, he published just one work of fiction, the “1915?” short story in the Atlantic Monthly for April 1915. In 1981 in the Elsewhere anthology, Mark Arnold and Terri Windling published An Islandian Tale: The Story of Alwina.
Islandian kinds of love are noted by Ursula K. Le Guin in her Always Coming Home novel, though she only mentions three of the four kinds which are ania (desire for marriage and commitment), apia (sexual attraction) and alia (love of place and family land and lineage). The fourth is amia which is love of friends.
Did you know that Islandia wasn’t published when he was alive? His widow edited his forty years long working obsession, err hobby, project that resulted in her twenty-eight hundred page long, well, what we would know as the Islandia novel if it had been published but it wasn’t, and following her own death in 1937, their daughter Sylvia further edited and cut that text drastically. The resulting draft, only a thousand pages long, shorn of Wright’s extensive appendices, was published in 1942, along with a pamphlet by Basil Davenport, An introduction to Islandia; its history, customs, laws, language, and geography, based on the original supplementary material.
It details an extensive Utopian fantasy about an imaginary country he called Islandia located near Antarctica (if I remember correctly) with a complex history, culture and geography, said to be in scope to Tolkien’s writings of Middle-earth. I personally do not think that is valid comparison, but it is certainly a most interesting read though nowhere near as interesting as what Tolkien created.
Now that might have been the end of the fiction based on Wright’s extensive notes and such but along came three authorized sequels by Mark Saxton who most people know for being responsible editing the papers of Austin Wright Tappan into Islandia. With the permission of the daughter, he set his last three novels in that fictional Utopian realm. It is for these that he is now remembered.
The first, The Islar was published in 1969 as a modern-day sequel to the original novel. The two others, The Two Kingdoms and Havoc in Islandia, one published a decade later and one three years after, both take place much earlier in the kingdom’s history. All three were written off of Wright’s extensive background notes.
He planned on more, but the daughter died and the Estate revoked him writing more. He’s since died and no one else has showed interest in writing novels based off these writings.
I also found by Richard N. Farmer, Islandia Revisited: A Sequel By Other Hands which he claims to be a sequel to Islandia. No, it’s not authorized, and I cannot figure why it’s still in existence.
(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 20, 1932 — Anthony Ainley. He was the fourth actor to play the role of the Master, and the first actor to portray the Master as a recurring role since the death of Roger Delgado in 1973. He appeared in eleven stories with the Fourth through Seventh Doctors. It is noted that he enjoyed the role so much that sources note he even stayed in character when not portraying The Master by using both the voice and laugh in social situations. (Died 2004.)
Born August 20, 1943 — Sylvester McCoy, 79. The Seventh Doctor (my second favorite of the classic Who Doctors after Baker) and the last canon Doctor until the modern era of the official BBC Doctors when they revised canon. He also played Radagast in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, he’s The Old Man of Hoy in Sense8 and he voices Aezethril the Wizard in the “Endgame” episode of Thunderbirds Are Go.
Born August 20, 1951 — Greg Bear, 71. Blood Music which won a Nebula Award, and a Hugo Award at L.A. Con II (1984) in its original novelette form is a amazing read. His novels Moving Mars and Darwin’s Radio are also Nebula winners, and he has other short fiction award winners. I’m also very fond of the Songs of Earth and Power duology, The Infinity Concerto and The Serpent Mage, and found his Queen of Angels a fascinating mystery. He’s deeply stocked at the usual suspects.
Born August 20, 1961 — Greg Egan, 61. Australian writer who does exist though he does his damnedest to avoid a digital footprint. His excellent Permutation City won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and “Oceanic” garnered a Best Novella Hugo at Aussiecon Three. I assume he wasn’t there given his stance again attending Worldcons? And He’s won a lot of Ditmar Awards.
Born August 20, 1962 — Sophie Aldred, 60. She’s Ace, the Seventh Doctor’s Companion. (By the way Doctor Who Magazine: Costume Design: Dressing the Doctor from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker is a brilliant read and has a nice look at her costuming.) She’s reprised the role in the Big Finish audio adventures, and she’s recently written Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End where Ace meets the Thirteenth Doctor. born 1962, aged sixty years.
Born August 20, 1963 — Justina Vail Evans, 59. Olga Vukavitch in Seven Days, a series I thought was extremely well-crafted. She shows up in other genre undertakings such as Super Force, Conan, Journey to The Center of The Earth, The Adventures of Superboy, The X-Files, Carnosaur 3: Primal Species, Conan and Highlander: The Series.
(6) COMICS SECTION.
Dinosaur Comics finds the connection between Anne of Green Gables and Back to the Future.
(7) YOU BE THE JUDGE. The Onion’s satirical review of “the seven-volume Chronicles Of Buckeye” says“Underwhelming Fantasy Novel Starts With Map Of Ohio” – a map which includes John Scalzi’s hometown. The review seems to have nothing else to do with him. But do you believe in coincidences?
…True ghost shows were an evening’s worth of entertainment. Usually starting not long before midnight, these shows were staged in a movie theater and combined a magic act (with an emphasis on horror-tinged magic like swords through comely assistants) and a live-action horror skit (Frankenstein’s monster lurching around the stage) and a blackout period (in which phosphorescent-painted “ghosts” were flown on wires over the heads of the audience) and, usually starting at midnight, a screening of a classic or not-so-classic old black-and-white horror film….
(9) BALLET NEWS. [By Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Laura Chapelle reviews a new production of Léo Delibes’s Coppélia (which, remember, is about a doll that comes to life) by the Scottish Ballet (scottishballet.org.uk) in a version by Morgann Runacre-Temple and Jessica Wright “also known as Jess and Morgs.”
Dr Coppelius, once a lonely doll maker, is recast here as a babyfaced tech guru in a turtleneck, founder and chief executive of a company called NuLife. He gets a visit from journalist Swanhlda, who questions him about his ethical negligence. Their conversations happen in voiceover while the dancers attempt, and don’t quite manage, to act them out credibly. Soon enough, Swanhilda finds herself wandering the halls of NuLife, encountering the company’s many lab creatures and, at one point, turning into one. (How? Don’t ask.)…
….It’s lo-fi dramaturgy that trips up this Coppélia. In the 19th-century libretto, Swannhilda had a fiance, Franz, who became obsessed with a doll. Jess and Morgs have contrived an improbable storyline to keep him around: the 21st-century Franz shows up with his journalist girlfriend to her work event, holding her hand throughout. The two open and close the ballet, but their relationship has no context or substance.
(10) CROWLEY’S ADVICE ABOUT READING THIS BOOK. In the Boston Review, John Crowley reviews an sf novel from Denmark — The Employees: A Workplace Novel of the 22nd Century, by Olga Ravn, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken – “Science Fiction as Poetry”.
…Its premises are familiar Science Fiction ones: it centers a great spaceship, called The Six Thousand Ship, built to reach far planets around other suns, discover new beings, and return to Earth with treasure. The wondrous new planet of this book is called New Discovery. The planet’s Earth-like geography—of forests, warm valleys, regular nights and days—belies the fact that it is home to some very unearthly beings—the so-called “objects” that the crew collect to bring home to Earth. But The Employees contains nothing like a conventional narrative, and the reader must piece together most of this on their own. Instead, the focus of the book—and its unusual form—are made clear by Ravn’s subtitle: “A Workplace Novel of the 22nd Century.”…
A newly-discovered crater 250 miles off the coast of West Africa could have been formed by a large asteroid strike.
The probable timing of this potential asteroid strike could make it a “sibling” of the dinosaur-killing Chicxulub asteroid hit.
Researchers hope to investigate the crater to gain more precise clues into the timing of the likely impact.
Scientists have long believed the Chicxulub asteroid smacked Earth near the Gulf of Mexico, causing about a 100-million-megaton blast devastating enough to erase the dinosaurs from Earth. That burst created a short-lived thermal pulse in excess of 10,000 degrees, which is certainly lethal enough to have destroyed nearby life. But the massive asteroid may have had some help from a second “sibling” asteroid, scientists say.
More than five miles in diameter beneath the North Atlantic Ocean, the newly-discovered Nadir Crater lies about 250 miles off the coast of West Africa—and researchers believe that the asteroid that may have caused it about 66 million years ago could have been that dino-killing helper. There are two prevailing theories about this second asteroid, according to a new study, published August 17 in Science Advances: that the asteroid may have been a broken-off piece of the Chicxulub asteroid, or that it was a wholly separate asteroid from an impact cluster….
I am joined by former Guest, Laurel Hightower, as my Guest Co-Host talking to the indomitable Ellen Datlow, Award-Winning Editor of over 100 Anthologies! Ellen takes us through her career in one of the most fascinating conversations I’ve had.
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]
(1) SUPPORT THE CLARION “GHOST CLASS”. The pandemic forced the Clarion Writers’ Workshop to be postponed to 2022 – with the result that the “ghost class” accepted for 2020 has had to wait two years to attend. Clarion has been working on getting them additional scholarship support, including a generous grant from the SFWA Givers Fund. However, the Ghost Class is also launching a team fundraiser to support members of their class who have additional needs. The Indiegogo to “Help 18 sci-fi & fantasy writers go to Clarion” has raised $1,360 of its $19,000 goal with 28 days remaining.
A message from the Ghost Class: Getting accepted to Clarion in 2020 was a dream come true for each of us. Then…2020 happened. Over the past two years, we’ve lost jobs, changed careers, had babies, cared for and lost loved ones, and moved between states, countries — even continents. We’ve also gotten to know each other online, supporting each other through all the rejections and acceptances and “unprecedented times.”
Now Clarion is finally back on, and we’re determined to make sure all of us can afford to go. Instead of running our own individual fundraisers, we decided to combine forces and try to raise an extra $1000 each toward tuition for all 18 of us. Those of us who don’t need as much will donate back to a pool for those who need a little more. And if we raise more than we need, we might even be able to help fund future Clarion attendees.
How can you help? 1. Donate to our fundraiser. Every small amount helps! 2. Share our fundraiser page to all your social media accounts today. (Now is the perfect time to help us build momentum!) 3. Order one of our perks. We’re offering editing services, story feedback, workshops, artwork, and more on the fundraiser page, check them out!
Those of us who’ve run successful fundraisers like this before know how important it is to get early momentum from contributors like you, so thank you, truly, from the bottom of our ghostly hearts!
– The 20202021 2022 Clarion UCSD Ghost Class
(2) RENDEZVOUS ALONG THE WAY. Janelle Monáe will be joined by several of her collaborators at the stops on her upcoming book tour for The Memory Librarian from HarperCollins. They include Sheree Renée Thomas and Alaya Dawn Johnson.
In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, futurist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe and an esteemed cohort of collaborating writers bring to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of her critically acclaimed album, exploring how different threads of liberation — queerness, race, gender plurality and love—become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape … and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.
(3) RUSSIA RETALIATES AGAINST SANCTIONS. The Kidscreen headline says “Russia strikes at Peppa Pig in copyright battle” but as Craig Miller explains on Facebook, “[The article] spells out a Russian counter to all of the international economic sanctions being put in place because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian government has declared that trademarks, copyrights, and patents from countries they have deemed ‘unfriendly’ can be ignored and Russian companies and people can steal and bootleg all they want.”
Peppa Pig has gotten caught up in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the development could have implications for other entertainment IPs.
eOne’s billion-dollar franchise has found itself at the heart of a Russian retaliatory strategy against economic sanctions. A Russian court has dismissed a case that eOne brought last year against a local entrepreneur who allegedly used the Peppa Pig trademark without permission. And the government has now doubled down on the ruling with its own decree allowing patented inventions and designs to be used without permission or compensation.
The decree opens the door to copyright infringement of brands from many territories that Russia has deemed to be unfriendly in recent weeks, including Australia, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, the US, Japan and Switzerland. However, it’s likely that Russian companies will use the new rule change to stock up on devices, technologies and (in the case of the entertainment industry) kids content, which could be in short supply amid all the sanctions, according to a statement from Chicago-based law firm Baker McKenzie.…
The second book in our series, Sticking it to the Man, originally included material on radical science fiction but the length of the book completely blew out and our publisher insisted we shorten it. It was at this point that my co-editor, Iain McIntyre, and I realised we had the makings of a third book – on radical science and speculative fiction. We pitched the idea to our publisher, and they were very receptive. With the high/low culture, hardback/paperback, literary/pulp distinctions particularly blurred with sci-fi, and a huge range of authors and works to choose from, we certainly had no trouble finding enough material for book-length treatment of the subject. Indeed, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds could have been twice as long, and we still would not have been able to cover everything.
Lee, 33, had signed up for Ukraine’s territorial defence force in the first days of the war.
A resident of Irpin, he appeared in several films and his voice featured in the Ukrainian versions of The Lion King and The Hobbit….
Pavlo Li, as the actor was formally known, was born in Crimea in 1988 and had recently begun presenting a show on Dom TV, a Ukrainian channel originally aimed at audiences in the eastern areas seized by Russian-backed separatists in 2014.
(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1994 — [Item by Cat Eldridge] Thirty-eight years ago the Robocop series was first broadcast on this date in the United Kingdom. (It would be four days more before it was broadcast in the States.) Stripped largely of the violence and cynicism of the film that it was based on, it was intended to appeal to children and young adults.
Here Richard Eden is Murphy / RoboCop. And given its target audience, playing a prominent role is Sarah Campbell as Gadget, an eight year-old girl. Certain characters in the film are rejiggered into new characters, i.e. Anne Lewis becomes Lisa Madigan.
It lasted but twenty-two episodes over one season. Cancellation was actually announced part way into the season.
So how was reception for it? The Variety review at the time said of it at that time that the, “Series has a good chance of succeeding because, on the basis of the opener, it’s brave enough to amuse instead of intimidate. There’s a lesson there.” And the Houston Chronicle like it quite a bit saying it “works well as a mass-market show. … It offers action, as opposed to violence. And its ironic humor, though not as hard-edged as the movies’, has a sly, subversive bent.” Finally word goes to the Boston Globe: “This is a far campier and cartoonier RoboCop than the original. Even when the wit is blunt, the writing is snappy; and the acting is just broad enough to poke a little fun at itself.”
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 14, 1918 — Mildred Clingerman. Most of her stories were published in the Fifties in F&SF when Boucher was Editor. Boucher included “The Wild Wood” by her in the seventh volume of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction and dedicated the book to her, calling her the “most serendipitous of discoveries.” A Cupful of Space and The Clingerman Files, neither available as a digital publication, contain all of her stories. (Died 1997.)
Born March 14, 1941 — Wolfgang Petersen, 81. Usually Birthdays are reserved for individuals with longer genre records but he’s responsible as director for two of my favorite films, Enemy Mine and The NeverEnding Story. He also produced The Bicentennial Man. If you look carefully, you’ll see him in The NeverEnding Story as the man who drops milk in one scene.
Born March 14, 1946 — Diana G. Gallagher. She won a Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist along with Brad W. Foster at Noreascon 3 after being a nominee at Nolacon II the previous year. She won it under the name Diana Gallagher Wu while married to William F. Wu whose Birthday we did yesterday. She was also an author filker and author who wrote books for children and young adults based on Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and various Trek series. Her best-known filksong was “A Reconsideration of Anatomical Docking Maneuvers in a Zero Gravity Environment.” (Died 2021.)
Born March 14, 1961 — Penny Johnson Jerald, 62. She played Kasidy Yates, the love of Ben Sisko, on Deep Space Nine. She’s now playing Dr. Claire Finn on Orville, just one of many Trek cast member that you’ll find there. And she provided the voice of President Amanda Waller on the most excellent Justice League: Gods & Monsters.
Born March 14, 1964 — Julia Ecklar, 58. She’s the Astounding Award–winning author for The Kobayashi Maru which is available in English and German ebook editions. She’s also a filk musician who recorded numerous albums in the Off Centaur label in the early 1980s, including Horse-Tamer’s Daughter, Minus Ten and Counting, and Genesis. She was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 1996.
Born March 14, 1957 — Tad Williams, 65. Author of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, Otherland series, and Shadowmarch series as well as the most excellent Tailchaser’s Song and The War of the Flowers.
Born March 14, 1971 — Rebecca Roanhorse, 51. Her “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™“ which was first published in the August 2017 of Apex Magazine won a Hugo as best short story at Worldcon 76. (It won a Nebula as well.) She also won the Astounding Award for the same work for Best New Writer. She has five novels to date, including Trail of Lightning which was nominated for a Hugo at Dublin 2019, and Black Sun, being nominated for a Hugo at DisCon III.
Born March 14, 1974 — Grace Park, 48. Boomer on the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. She’s been on a fair amount of genre over the years with her first acting role being the Virtual Avatar in the “Bits of Love” episode of Outer Limits. After that, she shows up on Secret Agent Man, This Immortal, The Outer Limits again, Star Gate SG-1, Andromeda, and oddly enough Battlestar Galactica in a number roles other than her main one. I’m sure one of you can explain the latter. I confess that I’ve not watched it.
(9) COFFEE BREAK’S OVER. [Item by Olav Rokne.] To be honest, the headline of this spoof article is better than the content, but it’s worth sharing if only for this line: “After a very long week in theatres, there’s only one question on people’s minds, who is going to play Batman next?” “Batman has been out for a week, isn’t it time for a reboot?” at The Beaverton.
The “Boba Fett” series is rad, but what about the other bounty hunters we saw momentarily in “The Empire Strikes Back”? Like this guy, who looks like the costume budget ran out and so they just wrapped a towel around his head. Doesn’t he deserve his own streaming series or something?…
Ukrainian artist Vlad Legostaev is teaming up with Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville for two connecting Time Before Time covers—the proceeds for which will go toward supporting Ukrainian Red Cross relief efforts.
“With Time Before Time we always ask great exciting artists to provide B covers for the series. We recently asked the hugely talented Vlad Legostaev to provide a wonderful connecting cover for an exciting 2-part story by Rory McConville and Ron Salas,” said Shalvey. “Unfortunately since then, Vlad’s home country has suffered true horrors, so, with Vlad’s permission, we decided to use his art to try to raise money for those suffering in Ukraine. So now, the proceeds from Vlad’s B cover for Time Before Time #13 and 14 will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross. We hope Vlad’s art can help his homeland, in some small way.”
In the Time Before Time series, to escape a world with no future, many turn to the Syndicate—a criminal organization that, for the right price, will smuggle you back in time to the promise of a better yesterday.
Time Before Time #13 and Time Before Time #14 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, June 8 and Wednesday, July 6, respectively:
Time Before Time #13 Cover B by Legostaev – Diamond Code APR220254
Time Before Time #14 Cover B by Legostaev – Diamond Code JAN229189
(12) SADDLE UP. Are you a fan of Western fiction and nonfiction? The Western Writers of America have announced the 2022 Spur Award winners. The complete list is at the link.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden is getting his fourth Spur Award in three years, and bestselling novelists Michael Punke and C.J. Box are also 2022 winners. Presentations to winners and finalists are scheduled for June 22-25 during WWA’s convention in Great Falls, Mont….
… While the crust of our planet is relatively cool, the interior is very warm indeed. Tapping this heat to produce electricity has the potential to provide a practically limitless amount of clean energy to the masses, that is, at least, if we can actually reach it.
Now though, energy company Quaise is hoping to achieve such a feat by combining a megawatt-power gyrotron (which forces atoms to melt together) with the latest state-of-the-art drilling tools to dig deep down into the Earth’s surface and tap this underused source of energy.
The firm hopes to reach depths of over 12 miles and is aiming to produce power within four years….
Universal Studios Hollywood announced its Nintendo-themed land, which is already under construction, will open sometime in 2023. When it does, guests will have the chance to become part of a larger-than-life Nintendo universe.
…Though Universal did not release specific details on which attractions will be in the park, the company did share that the land will feature a “groundbreaking ride and interactive areas,” as well as themed dining and shopping that will make you feel like you’re an actual video game character.
Theme park news site WDWNT has been closely following the construction progress. So far, the only thematic elements visible in construction photos are the iconic green hills Nintendo fans will easily recognize. It’s hard to determine exactly which rides are being built, but the attractions are expected to be similar to those at Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan.
This includes Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, a real-life Mario Kart race that uses augmented reality (in the form of Mario-themed glasses), projection mapping and screen projections to make favorite Mario Kart courses come to life; and Yoshi’s Adventure, a slow-moving ride where guests can fulfill their childhood fantasy of hopping on Yoshi’s back and going for a spin around the Mushroom Kingdom….
[Thanks to John King “Pie Day” Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Olav Rokne, James Bacon, Alan Baumler, Daniel Dern, Craig Miller, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]