(1) HUGO ARCHAEOLOGY. Rich Horton continues his project to fill in the blanks with “Hugo Nomination Recommendations, 1956” at Strange at Ecbatan.
Potential Hugo Awards for 1955 Stories (1956 Hugos)
I admit now — this has become a project for me, to go through most years of the 1950s and figure out what my choices for potential Hugo nominations for fiction might be. I think the years from 1952 to 1957 are interesting years to study, because for a variety of reasons, the Hugo nominations for those years are either unknown, nonexistent, or inconsistent. This is due to three factors — the Hugos were just getting started, and so in some years there were no Hugos, or no fiction Hugos. The Hugo rules were wildly inconsistent, especially as to time of eligibility, so the Hugos (and the nomination list, in the one year it is known) might have first appeared in the year of the Worldcon, the year prior (as is now standard) or even before then. That all adds up to some years with no Hugos, and some with multiple. 1959 was the first year in which the rules were codified as to year of elibigility (the calendar year before the Worldcon) and as to beginning with a list of nominees for the voter to choose from.
(2) WILL THERE BE AN SJV IN 2022? SFFANZ News says this year’s Sir Julius Vogel Award is in jeopardy: “Postponement of one-day event and extension of SJV Award voting”.
…The SFFANZ board has decided to extend voting in this year’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards until June 30 as insufficient votes have been received to date. If there are still insufficient votes received at that time, no awards will be presented this year. The board feels such action is necessary to protect the value and prestige of the awards….
(3) CLARION UPDATES. The Clarion Ghost Class fundraiser closed after having successfully raised $8,366. Why the “Ghost Class”? Here is the explanation that was posted with the Indiegogo appeal.
In 2020, we were all accepted to the prestigious six-week Clarion Writing Workshop in San Diego. It was a dream come true for each of us. Then, the pandemic happened. Clarion UCSD was cancelled — two years in a row. In that time, we’ve changed and lost jobs, cared for and lost family members, graduated and had to start paying back student loans, moved across states, countries, oceans. We’ve even created at least two entirely new human beings. And because Clarion brought us together that fateful spring day in 2020, we’ve become friends online through all of it.
And now, finally, Clarion UCSD is back on! We couldn’t be more excited. But all that life stuff over the past two years means some of us need extra help to get there….
The 2022 Clarion Write-a-Thon is now open for sign-ups.
What is a write-a-thon, anyway? Think charity walk-a-thon, where volunteers walk as far as they can in return for pledges. In the Write-a-Thon, our volunteers write instead of walking. Sponsors make donations or pledges to show support for the writer and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego.
This year’s Write-a-thon runs from June 19 to July 30. Their goal is to raise $15,000 for student scholarships and workshop operations.
(4) THE RIGHT QUESTION. LeVar Burton chats with The Ringer on why he didn’t get hired by Jeopardy! and the current state of his “Trivial Pursuit” game show project. “LeVar Burton on ‘Jeopardy!’: ‘It Really Wasn’t What They Said It Was’”.
I saw you mentioned a while back when you were trying out for the Jeopardy! job that one of the aspects that inspired you was this feeling that it would be particularly significant for a Black man to take on a public role like that, in a position like the host of Jeopardy! or presumably of the National Spelling Bee. I was hoping you could expand on that a little more.
It’s significant socially and sociologically. Absolutely. Because based on the history of this country, having a Black man occupy that acknowledged position of intellectual standard and ability is huge. It’s huge for the country to acknowledge because this country has spent so much time not acknowledging the worth and value of Black people and people of color and marginalized people when it comes to these very high-profile positions in our society. That’s why it was significant to me on a macro level. On a micro level, I thought I was right for the [Jeopardy!] job.
(5) HEAD OUT ON THE HIGHWAY. MeTV suspects these are “8 things you might not know about the awesome 1966 Batmobile”.
…One thing all fans of the Caped Crusader can agree on — the 1966 Batmobile is perfection. Today, the Dark Knight of movies rumbles around in a tank. The two-seater that was seen in the Batman television series, on the other hand, had the curves of a classic sports car. Adam West’s Batmobile evoked the finned cruisers of the ’50s, the hot-rods of the ’60s and the potential Jetsons-like future of automobiles. It still had all the nifty gadgets, too, of course.
There is a reason this remains the most immediately recognizable Batmobile. But some things might surprise you about its history. To the Bat-poles!
1. It was not the first Batmobile — not even the first made in the Sixties.
Batman’s Hollywood history dates back to the theatrical serials of the 1940s. In his big-screen debut in 1943, Batman motored around in a black 1939 Cadillac Series 75 convertible. A 1949 Mercury served as the Dynamic Duo’s mode of transport in 1948’s Batman and Robin. Those were regular automobiles, not a “Batmobile.” However, there was a true “Batmobile” in the Sixties — three years before Batman premiered. Forrest Robinson of New Hampshire built a fantastic touring version of “Batman’s Batmobile” from a 1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. All Star Dairy Products used it to promote its line of Batman ice cream treats.
(6) TAKE A MOMENT TO REMEMBER. Ray Bradbury died ten years ago today at the age of 91. “All Bradbury, all the time” is one of File 770’s unofficial mottos. You can glean some of the reasons why from these remembrance pieces written immediately following his death.
- Bill Warren: “Ray Bradbury, Professional Writer”
…At the Oakland-Berkeley Worldcon in 1968 (or so), I was sitting in the coffee shop with some friends when we saw Bradbury enter the hotel. He smiled and waved at me — then, to my surprise, made an abrupt turn and came into the coffee shop to talk to me. He said I always knew where the best stuff was going on, so where should he go? We chatted a bit, and he breezed out of the place. My friends stared at me in shock. Ray fucking BRADBURY? Did I know Bradbury THAT well? I said “Evidently so,” but I was quite puzzled myself — yes, I knew him (thru Forry), but I didn’t think I did know him that well. So later I encountered him in a hallway and asked about it. He was ready for me. He said that at an early convention (I figure this was the post-WWII Worldcon in LA), he was with a bunch of friends when Leigh Brackett came up and chatted with him about his work. He was puzzled; they WERE friends, but it seemed out of character for her to approach him like that. So he asked her about it. She said she was trying to encourage his career as a writer, by treating him as a fellow professional — and did it in front of his friends, to give him egoboo. Bradbury said “Now you have to pass it on.”…
- John King Tarpinian: “Quality Time With Ray”
…We’d be at book signings and older men would come up to get Ray to autograph their tattered copy of The Martian Chronicles and say that they were retired from JPL or NASA and became an astrophysicist because they read Ray’s books as a child. People would come up to Ray with tears in their eyes (as I now have) and tell him they became English teachers or librarians because of Ray. He touched people in so many ways….
- Mike Glyer: “A LASFSian Remembers Ray Bradbury”
…He clearly relished an audience, speaking often at libraries, universities and civic events. He spoke at USC during my freshman year, the first time I got his autograph. That was 1970, and Ray had already shaped the basic autobiographical speech that he continued to present til he was 90, about his childhood memories, the art he loved and his successes as a writer. That day he said, “I wanted to become the greatest writer in the world. Aren’t you glad I finally made it?” The audience cheered like mad….
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1998 – [By Cat Eldridge.] Not quite a quarter of a century ago but very close to it, The Truman Show, one of my all-time favorite films, premiered on this date.
It was directed by Peter Weir, the Australian director who previously done the non-genre but really scary Picnic at Hanging Rock. It was produced by committee in the form of Scott Rudin, Andrew Niccol, Edward S. Feldman, and Adam Schroeder.
Unlike the finished product, Niccol’s spec script was more of a SF thriller, with the story set in New York City.
It starred Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor and Ed Harris. I particularly liked the relationship between Carrey and Linney. Actually I loved the film from beginning to end and thought it was perfectly written.
It was costly to make, somewhere over sixty million, but that was OK as it made well over a quarter of a billion in its first run. That’s really impressive, isn’t it?
Critics loved it. Really they did.
Rita Kempley at the Washington Post thoroughly enjoyed it: “’The Truman Show’ is ‘Candid Camera’ run amok, a sugar-spun nightmare of pop paranoia that addresses the end of privacy, the rise of voyeurism and the violation of the individual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. This show-within-the-show makes for a parody all by itself, but it is couched in an even more subversively entertaining satire. One of the smartest, most inventive movies in memory, it manages to be as endearing as it is provocative.”
Peter Travers at the Rolling Stone enjoyed it as well but noted the cruel streak embedded in it: “’Sayonara’ to Seinfeld and hello to The Truman Show, a movie – and a great movie, by the way – about a television series in which the ‘selfishness, self-absorption, immaturity and greed’ that Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer were slammed for in the last episode don’t exist. Except behind the scenes. Jim Carrey has the role of his career as Truman Burbank, the unwitting star of a TV show that has trained 5,000 hidden cameras on him since his birth thirty years ago. Everyone in Truman’s life – parents, lovers, best friend, wife – is an actor. Truman’s seemingly idyllic world on the island of Seahaven is really a giant, dome-encased studio controlled by Christof (Ed Harris), a beret-wearing director who has made his name as a televisionary by invading Truman’s privacy seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Thanks to the global audience that hangs on Truman’s every move, his life is a cruel joke, with Truman the only one not in on it.”
The audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an eighty-nine percent rating.
Did I mention it won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation at Aussiecon Three (1999)? Well it most deservedly did.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born June 5, 1908 — John Russell Fearn. British author and one of the first British writers to appear in American pulp magazines. A prolific author, he published his novels also as Vargo Statten and with various pseudonyms such as Thornton Ayre, Polton Cross, Geoffrey Armstrong and others. As himself, I see his first story as being The Intelligence Gigantic published in Amazing Stories in 1933. His Golden Amazon series of novels ran to over to two dozen titles, and the Clayton Drew Mars Adventure series that only ran to four novels. (Died 1960.)
- Born June 5, 1928 — Robert Lansing. He was secret agent Gary Seven in the “Assignment: Earth” episode of Trek. The episode was a backdoor pilot for a Roddenberry series that would have starred him and Teri Garr, but the series never happened. There is a novel however and it available from the usual suspects for a quite reasonable price. He of course appeared on other genre series such as the Twilight Zone, Journey to the Unknown, Thriller and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (Died 1994.)
- Born June 5, 1931 — Barbara Paul, 91. Writer of mysteries, some twenty or so, and a handful of genre novels. Her novels feature in-jokes such as her Full Frontal Murder mystery novel which uses names from Blake’s 7. Genre wise, she’s written five SF novels including a Original Series Trek novel, The Three-Minute Universe, which is available at the usual suspects.
- Born June 5, 1946 — John Bach, 76. Einstein on Farscape (though he was deliberately uncredited for most of the series), the Gondorian Ranger Madril in the second and third movies of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Also a British bodyguard on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. And he was the body double for shooting Saruman in place of Christopher Lee, who was unable to fly to New Zealand for principal photography on The Hobbit film series.
- Born June 5, 1960 — Margo Lanagan, 62. Tender Morsels won a World Fantasy Award for best novel, and Sea-Hearts won the same for Best Novella. (She has won four World Fantasy Awards, very impressive. She’s also won a bonnie bunch of other Awards as well.) She’s an alumna of the Clarion West Writers Workshop In 1999 and returned as a teacher in 2011 and 2013.
- Born June 5, 1971 — Susan Lynch, 51. Northern Irish actress whose career in film started off by being a selkie in The Secret of Roan Inish with her next role being an unnamed Paris Vampire in Interview with a Vampire, and she was Liz Stride, a prostitute, in From Hell. Film wise, her last role to date is Aunt Alice in Ready Player One. She’s got one series credit to date playing Angstrom in the Thirteenth Doctor story, “The Ghost Monument”.
- Born June 5, 1976 — Lauren Beukes, 46. South African writer and scriptwriter. Moxyland, her first novel, is a cyberpunk novel set in a future Cape Town. Zoo City, a hardboiled thriller with fantasy elements is set in a re-imagined Johannesburg. It won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and a Kitschies Red Tentacle Award for best novel. (I love the name of the latter award!) And The Shining Girls would win her an August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel. Afterland, her latest genre novel, was on the long list for a NOMMO. Much of short fiction is collected in Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing.
(9) CHIVALRY EXHIBIT. The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco presents “Chivalry: The Art of Colleen Doran”, an exhibition of original artwork from the Dark Horse graphic novel Chivalry as illustrated by Doran and written by Neil Gaiman. It continues through September 18.
This exhibition features Doran’s beautiful cover painting and twenty original pages personally selected by the artist. The graphic novel is an adaptation of a short story written by Gaiman in which an elderly British widow buys what turns out to be the Holy Grail from a second-hand shop. This chance purchase sets her off on an epic adventure when she begins receiving visits from an ancient knight who lures her with ancient relics in hope for winning the cup.
… This exhibition of Doran’s fully-painted original artwork will be on display at the Cartoon Art Museum from April 23 through September 18, 2022, and will be accompanied by a selection of chivalrous artwork from the Cartoon Art Museum’s permanent collection. An online discussion with Colleen Doran is planned for this summer, and details regarding that program will be announced soon.
(10) LASER DEFENSE. “Israel Builds a Laser Weapon to Zap Threats Out of the Sky” reports the New York Times.
After two decades of research and experimentation, Israeli defense officials now say they have a working prototype of a high-powered laser gun that can intercept rockets, mortar shells, drones and anti-tank missiles in flight.
Officials said that the system performed successfully in a recent series of live fire tests in the southern Israeli desert, destroying a rocket, a mortar shell and a drone, and prompting a standing ovation from officials watching the action onscreen.
The government has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the weapon, which Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described this week as a “strategic game changer.” He has pledged “to surround Israel with a laser wall.”
Professionals involved in developing the system say it is still several years away from being fully operational in the field, and experts caution that even then it may initially be of limited use in protecting Israel from heavy incoming rocket fire. Israeli officials have not said whether it would be effective against the precision-guided missiles that Israel says Hezbollah is developing in Lebanon…
(11) NEXT STOP: TIANGONG. “Shenzhou-14 crew launches for new Tiangong Space Station” – CNN has the story.
… This is the third crewed mission during the construction of the space station, which China plans to have fully crewed and operational by December 2022. The first crewed mission, a three-month stay by three other astronauts, was completed in September 2021. The second, Shenzhou-13, saw three astronauts spend six months in space for the first time.
Six months is the standard mission duration for many countries – but it is an important opportunity for Chinese astronauts to become accustomed to a long-term stay in space and help prepare future astronauts to do the same.
Six space missions have been scheduled before the end of the year, including another crewed mission, two laboratory modules and two cargo missions….
(12) BEE PICTURE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Shouldn’t we regard any series with Rowan Atkinson as fandom-adjacent?
(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. The Queen and Paddington Bear get the Platinum Party at the Palace rocking. “Ma’amalade sandwich Your Majesty?”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]