[Ron Zukowski, who co-chaired the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta, died December 19. In 2014 he received the Hank Reinhardt Award given to honor an outstanding Georgia writer, artist, or fan. He was part of the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company for many years.]
By Michelle Leigh Rogers: Now that I have had a chance to digest the awful news, I do have a few things to say about one of my dearest friends, Ronald Raymond Zukowski. Anyone may use this material in news stories or obituaries if it is appropriate.
Ron was of Polish extraction. He had some family in the Chicago area. His own family lived for a while in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. His father moved to Atlanta to work for Delta Air Lines as an airplane mechanic.
I also need to mention something about his age. I have seen quotes of his being 72 or 73. My memory says that he was born in December 1950. That would make his death day his 71st birthday. If someone has more reliable information, I will be glad to hear it.
Some people may not know that Ron was in the Army. He did not have to go to Vietnam, even though it was in that era. He worked as a range officer and as a journalist, and also did some time in the reserves after his active duty.
Ron Zukowski had probably the worst case of ADHD I have ever seen. It definitely limited his ability to function in the world. The worst part was that it was an invisible disability. When a person has multiple sclerosis or a missing limb, people give them credit for the disability. But few people give credit for ADHD. Many of them just assume there is something wrong with the person.
I believe that had he not had the ADHD, Ron would have been quite successful as a journalist or a software developer. Even with it, he was able to work in computer tech support.
He could be irritable at times. But if you were dealing with that level of ADHD, you might be irritable, too. I understood where he was coming from.
Ron did not give himself credit for being as intelligent as he was. I tried to tell him but he did not believe me. He was a keen observer of the human condition. He was also one of the relatively few sports fans in science fiction fandom. He and I could always talk about the woes of Atlanta sports teams.
Ron also did not get nearly as much credit as he deserved for managing the Atlanta end of ConFederation (the World SF Convention of 1986). This does not minimize anyone else’s crucial contributions. But Ron was in there as much as possible keeping things going. I still remember the times when we were typing up the proposed hotel contract on his Apple IIe computer in his basement. I do not know where he found that printer. It seemed to run not in characters per second but in seconds per character. But we eventually got the document printed and ready to use.
We must also mention Ron’s strong Christian faith. It consoled him through all of his troubles. He started as Roman Catholic but eventually moved to the Anglican Catholic denomination. I asked him once why he “swam the Tiber.” He said he got tired of priests who could talk about liberation theology all day long but could not say a proper Mass.
I will miss Ron terribly. Even though we came from very different backgrounds, we had a lot in common. I know that his troubles have ended and that he is in a better place now. Ad astra, Ron.
…In the midst of these difficult times, we want to assure everyone that we are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We’re working hard to ascertain every contingency that may have an impact on WFC 2021. We will make modifications to our plans accordingly to keep our membership safe. We sincerely hope there will be progress in controlling and conquering the virus long before our convention, and we are quite confident we will be able to hold an in person convention. We look forward to welcoming you all to Montréal. Please feel free to contact us at any time with your concerns or questions….
(3) 2024 WORLDCON BID NEWS. The UK in 2024 bid committee aired this video update during the virtual Eastercon:
(4) SLF PODCAST LAUNCHES. The Speculative Literature Foundation has started a new podcast, “Mohanraj and Rosenbaum Are Humans”, hosted by Mary Anne Mohanraj and Benjamin Rosenbaum.
Join two old friends as they talk about science fiction, community, the writing life, teaching, parenting, and a whole lot more. Does Ben really think you should let your kids touch the stove, and did he really burn his son’s homework? Why did he write a novel with no men or women in it? What exactly did a young Mary Anne do to appall her aunts in college, and how did it lead circuitously to her founding science fiction’s longest-running webzine? Mohanraj and Rosenbaum… Are Humans? Yes, yes they are.
Episodes of the Spring 2021 season are being released on Mondays and Thursdays, starting March 22. They’re available on major podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, etc. Or tune into the “Mohanraj and Rosenbaum Are Humans” website. Episodes available so far are –
Mohanraj is the author of A Feast of Serendib, Bodies in Motion, The Stars Change, and twelve other titles. Mohanraj founded Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine Strange Horizons, and serves as Executive Director of both DesiLit (desilit.org) and the Speculative Literature Foundation (speclit.org). Rosenbaum’s short stories have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, Locus, BSFA, and World Fantasy Awards. He designed the Ennie-nominated Jewish historical fantasy tabletop roleplaying game Dream Apart, and serves on the board of Basel’s liberal Jewish congregation, Migwan. He lives in Switzerland with his wife Esther and a gradually emptying nest of children. His first SF novel, The Unravelling, is forthcoming from Erewhon Books.
(5) DC PROJECTS SHELVED. Two DC movies, Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and James Wan’s Aquaman spinoff The Trench, are “not moving forward” Warner Bros. and DC told The Hollywood Reporter.
…New Gods, which DuVernay has been developing as a directing vehicle with acclaimed comic book writer Tom King since 2018, would have brought to the screen the comic book characters created by the late and legendary artist Jack Kirby. DuVernay, however, remains in the DC fold and is currently working on the DC series Naomi for The CW.
The Trench, meanwhile, was to have been a horror-tinged project spinning out of Aquaman and focused on the group of deadly amphibious creatures seen in the $1 billion-grossing 2018 film. Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald had written the script, which Wan was developing as a producer with collaborator Peter Safran. Wan, too, remains in the DC fold as he is prepping to shoot Aquaman 2 for the studio later this year….
I believe that Good’s and Anselm’s arguments have something in common, which is that, in both cases, a lot of the work is being done by the initial definitions. These definitions seem superficially reasonable, which is why they are generally accepted at face value, but they deserve closer examination. I think that the more we scrutinize the implicit assumptions of Good’s argument, the less plausible the idea of an intelligence explosion becomes.
… Some proponents of an intelligence explosion argue that it’s possible to increase a system’s intelligence without fully understanding how the system works. They imply that intelligent systems, such as the human brain or an A.I. program, have one or more hidden “intelligence knobs,” and that we only need to be smart enough to find the knobs. I’m not sure that we currently have many good candidates for these knobs, so it’s hard to evaluate the reasonableness of this idea. Perhaps the most commonly suggested way to “turn up” artificial intelligence is to increase the speed of the hardware on which a program runs. Some have said that, once we create software that is as intelligent as a human being, running the software on a faster computer will effectively create superhuman intelligence. Would this lead to an intelligence explosion?…
(7) BLACK WIDOW SPINNING YOUR WAY. “We have unfinished business” is the keynote of Marvel Studios’ Black Widowtrailer dropped today. The movie comes to theaters or Disney+ with Premier Access on July 9.
(8) PENNY FRIERSON OBIT. Penny Frierson (1941-2021), co-chair of the 1986 Atlanta Worldcon, has died reports Guy H. Lillian III, who received the news through Charlotte Proctor.
Frierson joined fandom in 1968. She chaired DeepSouthCon 15 in Birmingham, AL in 1977 and helped found the Birmingham Science Fiction Club in 1978.
Penny also was a member of the Southern Fandom Press Alliance. She won the Rebel Award in 1986.
She was married to Meade Frierson III, who predeceased her in 2001.
(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
April 3, 1953 — In London sixty-eight years ago, The War Of The Worlds based on the H.G. wells novel had its very first theatrical showing. It was the recipient of a 1954 Retro-Hugo Award at Noreascon 4 in 2004. It was produced by George Pal, and directed by Byron Haskin. It starred Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. It was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant in 2011 by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born April 3, 1783 — Washington Irving. Best remembered for his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, both of which appear in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. collection. The latter in particular has been endlessly reworked downed the centuries into genre fiction including the recent Sleepy Hollow series. (Died 1859.) (CE)
Born April 3, 1905 – Noel Loomis. Two novels, three dozen shorter stories for us (five at Project Gutenberg); also detective fiction; Westerns (including film, television) and related nonfiction: two Spur Awards, President of Western Writers of America. Also printing; he edited this. (Died 1969) [JH]
Born April 3, 1927 — Donald M. Grant. He was responsible for the creation of several genre small press publishers. He co-founded Grant-Hadley Enterprises in 1945, Buffalo Book Company in 1946, Centaur Press in 1970 and Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in 1964. Between 1976 and 2003, he won five World Fantasy Awards and a Balrog Award as well. (Died 2009.) (CE)
Born April 3, 1928 – Colin Kapp. A dozen novels, three dozen shorter stories; perhaps best known for the Unorthodox Engineers: collection recently republished for Kindle. CK was an engineer himself, though art doesn’t always work that way. Guest of Honour at Eastercon 31. (Died 2007) [JH]
Born April 3, 1929 — Ernest Callenbach. Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston was rejected by every major publisher so Callenbach initially self-published it. Ecotopia Emerging is a prequel and sequel as well was published later. Yes, I read both. As such fiction goes, they’re just ok. If you can find a copy, Christopher Swan’s YV 88: An Eco-Fiction of Tomorrow which depicts the rewilded Yosemite Valley is a much more interesting read. (Died 2012.) (CE)
Born April 3, 1936 — Reginald Hill. Now this surprised me. He’s the author of the most excellent Dalziel and Pascoe copper series centered on profane, often piggish Andrew Dalziel, and his long suffering, more by the book partner Peter Pascoe solving traditional Yorkshire crimes. Well there’s a SF mystery in there set in 2010, many years after the other Dalziel and Pascoe stories, and involves them investigating the first Luna murder. I’ll need to read this one. There’s another with Peter Pascoe as a future European Pan Police Commissioner. (Died 2012.) (CE)
Born April 3, 1946 — Lyn McConchie, 75. New Zealand author who has written three sequels in the Beast Master series that Andre Norton created and four novels in Norton’s Witch World as well. She has written a lot of Holmesian fiction, so I’ll just recommend her collection of short stories, Sherlock Holmes: Familar Crimes: New Tales of The Great Detective. She’s deeply stocked at the usual digital suspects. (CE)
Born April 3, 1950 – Mark Linneman, age 61. Helpful reliable fan often found where such are needed and even the non-monetary compensation we can grant is scant, e.g. tallying Worldcon Site Selection ballots, which ML has done four times I can think of. Often seen at Midwestcons, SMOFcons (Secret Masters Of Fandom, as Bruce Pelz said a joke-nonjoke-joke; con for studying, trying to improve, SF cons and like that). North America agent for Aussiecon 4 the 68th Worldcon. Guest of Honor at Concave 33. [JH]
Born April 3, 1950 – Tony Parker, age 71. Co-chaired TropiCon VIII-IX (with wife Judy Bemis). Guest of Honor at Concave 16 (with JB). Thoughtful and even (sorry, Tony) wise. [JH]
Born April 3, 1958 – Vanna Bonta. One novel, three collections of poetry. Voice actress in Beauty and the Beast (1991). She, her husband, and the zero-gravity suit she invented were in The Universe (2008); she designed a pressure-release device for high-combustion engines in NASA (U.S. Nat’l Aeronautics & Space Adm’n) and Northrop Grumman’s Lunar Lander Challenge. Among twelve thousand haiku submitted to NASA for inclusion with the Mars explorer MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere & Volatile EvolutioN), hers made the top five: “Thirty-six million / miles of whispering welcome. / Mars, you called us home.” You’ll see its alliteration; do attend to its ambiguity. (Died 2014) [JH]
Born April 3, 1958 — Alec Baldwin, 63. I’ve no idea how many times I’ve seen him in Beetlejuice as Adam Maitland since it’s one of my favorite films, period. Despite those who don’t like The Shadow and him in his dual role of Lamont Cranston and The Shadow, I’m quite fond of it. Let’s just skip past any mention of The Cat in the Hat… Ahhhh Rise of the Guardians where he voices Nicholas St. North is quite fantastic. Another go to, feel good film for me. He’s Alan Hunley in some of the Mission: Impossible franchise, a series I think I’ve only seen the first two films of. And here’s a weird one — the US. run of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends replaced the U.K. narrator, some minor musician no one had ever heard of by the name of Ringo Starr, with him. (CE)
Born April 3, 1962 — James R. Black, 59. I’d like to say he’s best known for his leading role as Agent Michael Hailey on The Burning Zone but since it was short-lived and I’m not sure anyone actually watched it on UPN that might be stretching reality a bit. If you like great popcorn viewing, The Burning Zone is certainly worth seeing. Prior to his run on that series, he’s got a number of one-offs including Babylon 5, Deep Space 9, The Sentinel, Space: Above and Beyond with his first genre role being Doctor Death in Zombie Cop. (CE)
Born April 3, 1989 – Elaine Vilar Madruga, age 32. Two novels, fifty shorter stories, some in English: last year “Elsinore Revolution”, see the Jan/Feb Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; her poem “The Apocalypse According to My Name” in Spanish and English, see the Spring Star*Line; four more. [JH]
He’s been dissolved at the bottom of the ocean, frozen solid in an iceberg, blown up in a volcano, disintegrated in an atomic meltdown, and killed by missiles on the Brooklyn Bridge, but thanks to the millions of fans who love him, Godzilla will never die. Japan’s biggest star returns again in “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the latest entry in the Big G’s ever-expanding filmography. Pitted against his hairy rival for the second time in history, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the fourth movie in Legendary Pictures popular MonsterVerse saga, which launched in 2014 with Gareth Edwards’ stylish reboot.
Like many long-running franchises, the Godzilla series has gone through a number of distinct phrases since its introduction. The first phrase, which covers the 15 titles released between 1954 and 1975, is commonly known by fans as the Showa era. These kaiju films (kaiju is the Japanese term for giant monster) are marked by their dramatic shift in tone, from the somber and haunting original classic to the wonderfully ludicrous “Godzilla vs. Hedorah.”
The second phase is often referred to as the Heisei era, and it includes the seven titles released between 1984 and 1995. These Godzilla films feature a greater sense of narrative continuity, and they ask complex philosophical questions about science and humanity. The third phase is the Millennium era, which covers the six titles released between 1999 and 2004. The majority of these Godzilla films are self-contained stories, much like an anthology series. There have also been a number of standalone reboots, both Japanese and American, that put their own unique spin on the character.
To help you program the ultimate monster marathon, here’s our Godzilla movie ranking, listed from wretched worst to bestial best. Long live the lizard king!
The study examined astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days about the International Space Station, and endurance swimmer Benoît Lecomte. Swimming for extended periods of time is a useful model for time spent in orbit. Lecomte trained over five hours a day for five months preparing to swim the Pacific Ocean.
Both Kelly and Lecomte showed signs of heart atrophy and lost mass in the organ — 19 to 27 percent loss in Kelly.
One of the things we’ve learned over many years of study, is that the heart is remarkably plastic. So the heart adapts to the load that’s placed on it. …
In spaceflight, one of the things that happens, is you no longer have to pump blood uphill, because you’re not pumping against gravity….
(15) WITCHER WRAP. Netflix dropped a behind-the-scenes trailer for season 2 of The Witcher.
15 locations, 89 cast members, and 1,200 crew members later, The Witcher has officially wrapped production on Season 2! Here’s a look behind-the-scenes at some of the excitement among the cast and crew – led by showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich.
Researchers have demonstrated just how easy it is to trick the mind into remembering something that didn’t happen. They also used two very simple techniques to reverse those false memories, in a feat that paves the way for a deeper understanding of how memory works….
“When people describe a memory, they will say that they are ‘absolutely certain’ of it. But this certainty can be an illusion. We suffer from the illusion of believing that our memories are accurate and pure,” Lisa Son, professor of Psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University, told Gizmodo. “This is despite the fact that we, in fact, forget all the time.”
Indeed, our minds are able to fabricate memories of entire events just by piecing together bits of stories, photographs, and anecdotes somebody else shares. These so-called false memories have been a hot topic of research for a while now, and there’s growing evidence that they could be a widespread phenomenon, according to a 2016 analysis of the field.
Building off of that, Oeberst’s lab recently implanted false memories in 52 people by using suggestive interviewing techniques. First, they had the participants’ parents privately answer a questionnaire and come up with some real childhood memories and two plausible, but fake, ones—all negative in nature, such as how their pet died or when they lost their toy. Then they had researchers ask the participants to recall these made-up events in a detailed manner, including specifics about what happened. For example, “Your parents told us that when you were 12 years old during a holiday in Italy with your family you got lost. Can you tell me more about it?”
The test subjects met their interviewer three times, once every two weeks, and by the third session most participants believed these anecdotes were true, and over half (56%) developed and recollected actual false memories—a significantly higher percentage than most studies in this area of research….
… After tests in NASA laboratories had initially stirred up hope that the so-called EmDrive could represent a revolutionary, fuel-free alternative to space propulsion, the sobering final reports on the results of intensive tests and analyzes of three EmDrive variants by physicists at the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden) are now available. Grenzwissenschaft-Aktuell.de (GreWi) has exclusively interviewed the head of studies Prof. Dr. Martin Tajmar about the results….
…A total of 12 humans have stepped foot on the lunar surface, all of whom were part of the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972, according to NASA. The footage that was beamed back to Earth showed how challenging (and, apparently, fun) it was to walk — or more accurately, bounce — around in the moon’s low gravity, which is one-sixth the gravity of Earth.
However, research from NASA has since suggested that it is possible for humans to maneuver much faster on the moon than the Apollo astronauts did. Theoretically, walking the circumference of the moon could be done faster than previously predicted.
Picking up the pace
During the Apollo missions, astronauts bounced around the surface at a casual 1.4 mph (2.2 km/h), according to NASA. This slow speed was mainly due to their clunky, pressurized spacesuits that were not designed with mobility in mind. If the “moonwalkers” had sported sleeker suits, they might have found it a lot easier to move and, as a result, picked up the pace.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Persona 5 Strikers” on YouTube, Fandom Games says that this game combines the happy joys of teenagers vacationing in Japan with the thrill of ‘spending 80 hours slaughtering one billion people,” a combination that’s like “peanut butter and methamphetamines.”
[Thanks to Alan Baumler, Cat Eldridge, Guy H. Lillian III, JJ, John Hertz, Lorien Gray, Rob Thornton, JeffWarner, Andrew Porter, rcade, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, James Davis Nicoll, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
(1) BRADBURY’S 1986 WORLDCON GOH SPEECH AND OTHER TREATS. History site Fanac.org has two segments of video highlights from the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta.
ConFederation, the 44th World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Atlanta, GA in 1986, with Ray Bradbury and Terry Carr as Guests of Honor. Hosted by Eve Ackerman, this is “ConFederation (1986) Worldcon – Best of Confederation w/ Ray Bradbury Guest of Honor speech – Part 1” and includes candid scenes around the convention, an excerpt of a (very funny) performance on the recent history of SF, a little filk, and a little programming. Best of all are long excerpts from the Guest of Honor speeches. Terry Carr talks about his fannish past, and after that there are 20+ minutes of Ray Bradbury’s captivating Guest of Honor speech. Ray touches on fandom, Ray Harryhausen, John Houston, EPCOT Center and more, ending with a stirring affirmation. This is an outstanding talk by Ray Bradbury.” Thanks to Ron Zukowski, co-chair of ConFederation for permission to put this online.
In Cake Literary’s upcoming middle grade novel Last Gate of the Emperor—from co-authors Kwame Mbalia (Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky) and Prince Joel Makonnen—a young boy living in a technologically dense near-future grapples with the reality that while the world’s arguably become a more advanced and developed place, its bounty still isn’t exactly available to everyone.
(3) TARDIS MUST DODGE THE SUPER BOWL. The pandemic has forced Los Angeles Doctor Who convention Gallifrey One to call off its 2021 edition. The postponement to 2022 was announced today. The exact date in 2022 remains open, as the NFL has committed to play the Super Bowl in February in LA’s new stadium and has not fixed its own date yet.
It is with deep sadness that today we must announce that we are officially postponing the 2021 Gallifrey One convention to the first quarter of 2022, due to the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
Gallifrey One has run successfully every year since our first event in 1990, and we’ve never intended to take a year off. But these are extraordinary times: infection rates are climbing, there are unknown factors regarding safety and community exposure, and there have been ongoing edicts from local and county officials in our area prohibiting all mass gatherings, so this news should come as no surprise to anyone. There is simply no way we can continue planning our event for next February with the same goals in mind, given that it’s very likely our lives won’t return to any semblance of normalcy until after a vaccine is proven effective and is widely circulated to the general population… which according to the medical community won’t be happening until at least sometime in the middle of next year.
(4) MIND IF I SMOKE? A satellite has traced smoke from the US wildfires over Northern Europe reports the German-language site Wetteronline. Here is a computer translation to English:
….For days, the smoke has been billowing over the skies of the US West Coast. In San Francisco, the sky turned into a deep red in the middle of the day. The column of smoke from a fire in California reached a record height of 17 kilometers. So far up, the particles with the jet stream can shift particularly quickly to the east, which has now happened.
A NASA satellite analysis shows how particles were transported from the west coast, first over North America and then across the Atlantic with a low pressure area. According to an analysis by the European Meteorological Satellite organization, the particles reached Central Europe on Friday.
(5) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
September 12, 1993 — seaQuest DSV premiered on NBC. Created by Rockne S. O’Bannon who was also responsible for Defiance and Farscape, it counted Steven Spielberg among its legion of executive producers. The actual producers were Steve Beers, Gregg Fienberg and Oscar L. Costo. The cast was large and included Roy Scheider, Jonathan Brandis, Stephanie Beacham, Don Franklin and Michael Ironside. It lasted three seasons and fifty-seven episodes but it never had great ratings and was canceled. Three novels were written during the first season, two by Diane Duane and David Bischoff. There were also comics, action figures, replica badges and even t-shirts but a seaQuest DSV never made it out of the prototype stage alas.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Bon September 12, 1897 — Walter B. Gibson. Writer and professional magician who’s best known for his creating and being the first and main writer of the pulp character The Shadow. Using the pen-name Maxwell Grant, he wrote 285 of the 325 Shadow stories published by Street & Smith in The Shadow magazine of the Thirties and Forties. He also wrote a Batman prose story which appeared in Detective Comics #500 and was drawn by Thomas Yeates. (Died 1985.) (CE)
Born September 12, 1917 – Han Suyin. (Han is the family name.) She never liked Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (H. King dir. 1955; she is portrayed by Jennifer Jones) which she felt distorted her novel. The Enchantress, her last, is ours; eight others; eight memoirs; seven historical studies including two of Mao and one of Chou (or as mainland China now prefers, Zhou). (Died 2012) [JH]
Bon September 12, 1921 — Stanislaw Lem. He’s best known for Solaris, which has been made into a film three times. The latest film made off a work of his is the 2018 His Master’s Voice. Both iBooks and Kindle have generous collections of his translated into English works at quite reasonable prices. (Died 2006.) (CE)
Bon September 12, 1922 — John Chambers. He’s best known for designing Spock’s pointed ears, and for the prosthetic make-up work on the Planet of the Apes franchise. Some of those character creations, including Cornelius and Dr. Zaius from the Planet of the Apes series, are on display at the Science Fiction Museum. He worked on the Munsters, Outer Limits, Lost in Space, Mission mpossible, Night Gallery and I Spy along with uncredited (at the time) prosthetic makeup work on Blade Runner. (Died 2001.) (CE)
Bon September 12, 1940 — John Clute, 80. Critic, one of the founders of Interzone (which I avidly read in digital form) and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (with Peter Nicholls) that I use every day for these Birthdays, and of the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (with John Grant) as well as writing the Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction. All of these publications won Hugo Awards for Best Non-Fiction.and I’d be remiss not to single out for praise The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror which is simply a superb work.(CE)
Bon September 12, 1942 — Charles L. Grant. A writer who said he was best at what he called “dark fantasy” and “quiet horror.” Nightmare Seasons, a collection of novellas, won a World Fantasy Award, while the “A Crowd of Shadows” short garnered a Nebula as did “A Glow of Candles, a Unicorn’s Eye” novella. And “Temperature Days on Hawthorne Street” story would become the Tales from the Darkside episode “The Milkman Cometh”. The usual digital suspects have decent but not outstanding selections of his works including a few works of Oxrun Station, his core horror series. (Died 2006.) (CE)
Born September 12, 1942 – Marge Simon, 78. Edited Star*Line 1991-2011. Three Rhyslings, second woman to be named a Grand Master; two Elgins, one Dwarf Star, three Stokers, one Lord Ruthven. One novel, seven dozen shorter stories, four hundred fifty poems, a hundred twenty covers (see here, here), three hundred interiors (see here, here). Various co-authors including husband Bruce Boston. [JH]
Born September 12, 1946 – Don Brautigam. Eighty covers; here is Michaelmas; here is the Feb 83 Asimov’s; here is Virtual Light. (Died 2008) [JH]
Born September 12, 1957 – Deb Vanasse, 63. No Returns (with Gail Giles) for us, three other novels; six picture books, two nonfiction, about Alaska, where DV lived for thirty-six years. A Distant Enemy a Junior Literary Guild selection; it and Out of the Wilderness in John Gillespie’s Best Books for Young Teen Readers. DV and Andromeda Romano-Lax founded the 49 Alaska Writing Center. [JH]
Born September 12, 1958 – Jean-Pierre Normand, 62. Seven dozen covers, seventy interiors. Here is Solaris 100. Here is the Apr 04 Analog. Here is the Anticipation (67th Worldcon) Souvenir Book. Here is Orbiter. Here is Polar Borealis 6. Artbook Science Fiction Illustrations. [JH]
Bon September 12, 1962 — Mary Kay Adams, 58. She was Na’Toth, a Narn who was the aide to G’Kar in the second season of Babylon 5, and she would show up as the Klingon Grilka in the episodes “The House of Quark” and “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places” in Deep Space Nine. (CE)
Born September 12, 1989 – Jorge Jacinto, 31. Seven covers for us; much else. Here is Beneath Ceaseless Skies 112. Here is Le monde du fleuve. Here is Bücherköning. Here is his card for Invoke Prejudice. He’s Portuguese, so here is a a port and here is a ship. Website here. [JH]
(7) SFF-INSPIRED MUSIC. Bandcamp, which is a site for selling music from independent musicians and labels, has highlighted nine Asian electronic musicians who have been inspired by speculative fiction.
Electronic music has historically had an uneasy relationship with narrative. While rock was elbowing its way into the category of “serious music” with the concept album, house and techno preferred to emphasize the kinesthetic utility of organized sound. Early producers often avoided the album format entirely, focusing instead on 12’’ singles that could be easily slotted into DJ sets, prioritizing emotional resonance over cerebral stimulation.
One notable exception, however, is electronic music’s association with speculative fiction, the system of literary genres that imagine alternate futures and realities. From the mystic Alvin Toffler-inspired futurism of techno progenitor Cybotron to the cli-fi storyline that underpins Grimes’ most recent album, there’s a rich tradition of computer-made music meditating on the technology that made it. Considering that electronic music almost by definition sounds futuristic, it’s perhaps unsurprising that its creators are so often interested in what that future will look like.
This tradition is being made richer by the recent explosion of electronic music created by East and Southeast Asian artists. Forward-thinking labels like CHINABOT and Do Hits have established brilliant rosters of producers either living in or hailing from Asia, all of whom are putting their own stamp on the genre’s decades-long dialogue with speculative fiction. In contrast to their more Eurocentric peers, these artists often incorporate components of Asian folklore and spirituality into their work, which are as likely to feature guzheng or suona samples as they are drum machines and synthesizers….
Lots of people are saying, “Hell no,” to the “Facebook Unblock Challenge,” this widely spread meme that insists we should unblock all the people we barred from our Facebook activities and then apologize to them.
The thing is, people seem to be treating this as if it’s merely someone’s piss-poor Utopian idea.
No. It is not that. It is worse.
It is trolling.
It is a stone attempt, possibly connected with the election, to gaslight those of us who didn’t want racists or trolls or abusive pieces of shit in our lives
…Well over a hundred people who I quite rightly decided, for one reason or another, I didn’t need on my page. And that is not all that many. I cited the number to Stonekettle’s Jim Wright once and he told me that it was downright adorable.
I’ll tell you what “Unblock and Apologize” is all about. It is an attempt — possibly Russian — to get good people to self-gaslight, to wonder if they were truly fair in all those cases where they had to dropkick people, to delete their asshole filters and to endure all that bullshit ALL OVER AGAIN. There is a reason it is taking place before the election. It is so the piece of shit you barely remember, who you blocked for advocating genocide, or something of equal vileness, can have access to you again. It is an attempt to break you.
This is not just a stupid idea. This is a disinformation campaign.
(10) THE LAST TAKEOFF OF JONNY QUEST. StrucciMovies makes a case that “Adult Swim just cancelled the best show on television.” CONTENT WARNING.
“What if a raunchy parody of Jonny Quest and other old school adventure cartoons grew into one of the richest, funniest, and most human shows on television? What if two pop culture geniuses and their tiny crew spent 17 years and seven seasons crafting a show that quickly grew tired of making fun of its world and instead chose to invest in it with layered mythology, complex characters, and fascinating mysteries? What if the crude animation of the early seasons evolved into quietly beautiful work, showcasing stunning action, brilliant character designs, and a downright cinematic framing? The Venture Bros. was the quiet miracle of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim line-up, an always-evolving magic trick that was never content to sit still. A silly cartoon that learned to let its characters, and stakes, matter.”
(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. A tribute to the late Diana Rigg.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cora Buhlert, N., Rob Thornton, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
Now that we have raised our entire budget, our NEH grant will be released. That means we’ll be able to stop fundraising and start production right away….
That also means everyone will get Ursula’s list of What to Read in 2016! I can’t wait to see what’s on there.
With 48 hours left in the campaign, pledges are still trickling in. Rest assured, we’ll use every dime toward making the film more worthy of its subject. As we move forward over these next months, I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
According to the Big Finish website, the stories will see the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble travel to a spaceport, discover a deadly weapon called the Time Reaver and find deadly iPads at the London Technology museum. In other words, some classic action from for the returning characters.
(3) INGENIOUS FELAPTON. Camestros Felapton asks: Can you identify the titles of these 2015 novels from a combination of emojis? (Repeated here for the benefit of anyone who didn’t see it in last night’s comments.) Note — there may be a problem with this transcription — it shows up okay in the draft, but the preview is all question marks. We’ll see….
(4) YOU WILL BELIEVE A BOOK CAN FLY. Rob Boffard thinks launching a book is a literal act. He celebrated his new book by sending a recording of himself doing a reading into suborbit — “Sci-Fi Novel ‘Zero-G’ Soars to Edge of Space”
A new sci-fi novel launched on a truly fitting mission last month, as documented in a new video: Rob Boffard’s “Zero-G” cruised to the upper stratosphere for a very unusual author reading at the edge of space.
The book ascended via weather balloon on Jan. 18 from the town of Ross on Wye in southern England. Once the rig got high up in the sky, an audio recording of Boffard reading the prologue and the first chapter began to play loudly. Boffard’s crew documented the process in an extended video, as well as through tweets as it all happened.
When J.K. Rowling was writing The Tragic Tale of Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, do you think she realized that she was actually writing a very scary version of Peter Pan? I had a minor brain explosion last week while rereading The Deathly Hallows, and the more I think about it, the more adamant I become…
…wanna go down a weird rabbit hole with me?
Sure, it’s not an exact parallel, but there are plenty of uncanny similarities that remind me of Peter Pan when I think of Albus Dumbledore’s youth. Before I go trying to explain my train of thought, let me first give you my cast of characters—
Grindelwald: Peter Pan
Albus: Wendy Darling
Aberforth: John Darling
Ariana: Michael Darling
Here’s the piece of Rowling’s text that put me in mind of Pan in the first place:
…and there on the window ledge sat perched, like a giant bird, a young man with golden hair. In the split second that the lantern’s light illuminated him, Harry saw the delight upon his handsome face, then the intruder shot a Stunning Spell from his wand and jumped neatly backward out of the window with a crow of laughter.
To sum up, here are some real world examples. My client provides editing and mentoring services for writers. I prepare and sign her tax return, which includes her writing business. I will have bartered tax return preparation income and a deduction for her editing services. My client has bartered editing income and a deduction for her tax return being prepared. While tax return preparation usually goes on Schedule A as an itemized deduction, it may be deducted directly against a business, if that’s the reason my client has her tax return prepared and signed by a paid preparer. The transaction offsets for both of us, it’s a wash. Assuming the amount is under $600, neither of us issues the other a Form 1099-MISC….
In summary, barter transactions are reportable. Transactions that wash are less of an issue than transactions that don’t. The above examples demonstrate that bartering might or might not result in net taxable income for either or both parties. Sometimes it’s clear how the transaction should be treated and sometimes it’s not.
(7) SPACE TO THINK. Tor.com has 10 of Kyle Cassidy’s photos of sf authors’ writing spaces. The lens used to shoot Samuel Delany’s work area makes it look like the International Space Station. Most of the others look like the comfortable living rooms of affluent people – no shots of people with laptops on borrowed tables at Starbucks – with the exception of Joe Haldeman who is writing in the dark by the light of a lantern.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 2, 1933 — The movie King Kong premiered in New York.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL
Born March 2, 1949 — Gates McFadden. Cheryl Gates McFadden is an American actress and choreographer. She is best known for playing Dr. Beverly Crusher in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and in the four subsequent films.
Two years later, again with Josh, I visited Worldcon ’86 in Atlanta. For a teenager from North London, even cocooned within the convention hotels, this visit to the American South was an eye-opener…. the view from the front seat revealed a shifting cultural landscape you didn’t see on TV. Sidewalks were invisibly colour coded, black one side, white the other. Worldcon’s name that year, ConFederation, also shows how far we’ve come — you’d have to be a sad puppy to think that name was appropriate now.
I was there for the full five days. There were five of us saving money and shift-sleeping in a room for two, but I used that room for little more than storage and showering. I did the first three days on three hours sleep, giving myself the luxury of seven hours over the final two — a sleeping pattern I could get away with only as an adolescent (or, a few years later, as a new parent). Worldcon was big even back then. It was non-stop sessions, parties, caffeine, bumping into American gods like Frederick Pohl, faux phaser fights in hallways between Klingons and Starfleet (pick a side, go on pick a side…), talking to people you didn’t know, making friends that you did actually keep in touch with for a couple of years, even without cyberspace assistance of email and social media.
And some of whom I would meet again at Conspiracy in Brighton at the same Metropole hotel I’d visited in 1984. Tom and I were there for the weekend…
This Worldcon was smaller and less grand than the one in Atlanta, with a 1980s British seaside-town twist. But it still dwarfed 1984 Eastercon. There were writers I’d seen at SeaCon and in Atlanta, there were guests of honour (including Jim Burns), there were up-and-coming writers (a certain Iain Banks, with and without the M, comes to mind), there was Hawkwind (Tom’s kind of thing, but thanks I’ll pass), there were parties (in the hotel and on the beach) and more.
And then I took a break from cons and fandom. Quite a long break. A fairy-tale sleep whose spell was broken in part by Josh (yup, same one, after all these years) and BristolCon. And in good time for Loncon, Worldcon 2014….
Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis wasn’t exactly a beautiful animal: The crustacean-like Cambrian creature had a long, segmented body and an unholy number of legs that it used to scuttle across the ocean floor. But scientists are oohing and ahhing over the ugly arthropod anyway, and for good reason. The nervous system of one 520 million-year-old specimen shows some of the best and most well-preserved nerves ever seen in an animal of that era.
The famed filmmaker says he wasn’t told that his money was being managed by troubled hedge fund manager Buddy Fletcher.
Roger Corman and his wife Julie Corman, together responsible for hundreds of films and the mentoring of some of Hollywood’s biggest directors and actors, have filed a lawsuit that says they put money in an investment fund managed by George Soros before the money was moved and they ended up losing up to $60 million.
According to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, the administrator of the Soros fund was the Citco Group. The Cormans’ primary contact there was Ermanno Unternaehrer.
In 1996, Unternaehrer convinced the Cormans to put money in a fund managed by Citco, instead of with Soros, alleges the complaint. The Cormans say they were told that “the Citco fund was a safe, secure place to invest their moneys, and that Citco would administer and manage the fund to ensure continued high performance.”
For the next six years, things seemed fine. In 2002, Unternaehrer is said to have recommended that a vehicle named “Pasig, Ltd” be set up in the British Virgin Islands for tax reasons. Corman says he initially was a director of the newly incorporated company, but a few months later, upon advice, Corman says he resigned, becoming only a signatory on the account. By 2008, the lawsuit says that there was $73 million under Citco’s “complete control” and management fell to Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher.
Fast radio bursts from deep space have never been seen to repeat — until now.
Ten blasts of radio waves recorded last May and June all come from the same direction, researchers report online March 2 in Nature. So did a signal detected in 2012, say Laura Spitler, an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, and colleagues. All 11 signals were detected at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, last a few milliseconds and, except for one, all appear to originate in other galaxies (SN: 8/9/14, p. 22). For the repeater, each of the signals encountered the same amount of intergalactic plasma, meaning they traveled the same distance. That shared feature makes an ironclad case for a common source, says Duncan Lorimer, an astrophysicist at West Virginia University in Morgantown and co-discoverer of the first FRB, reported in 2007. The question now is what fraction of sources repeat, he says. There may be multiple classes of FRBs, with some recurring and some not, each triggered by something different.
If you’re not familiar with the Hero Initiative, they’re one of our favorite organizations here at ComicsAlliance — a nonprofit set up to create a “financial safety net” for comic book creators in need, helping with medical bills and living expenses. It’s one thing to know that they’re doing good things in the world, but Heath’s comic, showing both the help provided during his surgery and the simple pleasure of a bottle of wine, really shows just how much good they’re doing.
J.K. Rowling just confirmed that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Harry Potter prequel currently in production with Warner Bros., won’t just be one movie. It will be THREE.
She made the announcement on Twitter, in response to a tweet from a fan who’d heard that the stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, would also be a movie. It won’t. But that’s okay, because now we’ve got three prequels to look forward to
Stenciled on many of the deactivated facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the evocative phrase “abandoned in place” indicates the structures that have been deserted. Some structures, too solid for any known method of demolition, stand empty and unused in the wake of the early period of US space exploration. Now Roland Miller’s color photographs document the NASA, Air Force, and Army facilities across the nation that once played a crucial role in the space race.
Rapidly succumbing to the elements and demolition, most of the blockhouses, launch towers, tunnels, test stands, and control rooms featured in Abandoned in Place are located at secure military or NASA facilities with little or no public access. Some have been repurposed, but over half of the facilities photographed no longer exist. The haunting images collected here impart artistic insight while preserving an important period in history.
(18) A UK MARKET. Unsung Stories is an independent publisher of “intelligent genre fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror and importantly those works that blur the boundaries between genres.”
They have recently launched a new digital line of short works and novellas, Unsung Signals.
Unsung Signals features mid-length fiction, stories too long for magazines or journals but too short for traditional book-length publication. We believe stories should be as long as they need to be. We’re giving the writers the freedom to write the way they want without the need to pad or trim unnecessarily, to give a home to work that would otherwise be left unpublished, or altered to fit a format.
Here are a few details about their market for short stories —
How long is short?
We will consider stories up to 3000 words (preferred length is under 2000 words though).
Payment and Rights:
We pay £25 per story. For this we get first electronic rights exclusive for three months, with non-exclusive archival rights. We’ll pay within 30 days of publication via PayPal.
The long-awaited sequel to the beloved 2003 hit Finding Nemo puts the focus this time on the forgetful fish Dory, voiced again by Ellen DeGeneres. Taking place six months after the original underwater adventure, the sequel sends Dory on a quest to find her long-lost family, with the help of Marlin (voiced again by Albert Brooks), Crush (voiced by returning director Andrew Stanton) and several other returning ocean creatures
[Thanks to JJ, and John King Tarpinian, Gregory N. Hullender, Gary Budden, and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
Everyone seems to find something appealing in the catalog, and not what one might expect. There have been three bids on a brick from the home of Edgar Allan Poe that Bradbury owned, the latest for $1,183.
Yet there have been no bids on the plaque given Bradbury when he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Of course, that may be because they want $15,000 for it.)
The Guardian’s Alison Flood wrote an entire article about George Bernard Shaw’s spade, once owned by the man Bradbury called “the greatest playwright of our century.”
Bradbury, a lifelong fan of Shaw’s, was given the spade as a Christmas present. Shaw had used the tool to plant a mulberry tree on his 80th birthday, in 1936. In the lengthy, unpublished poem, titled GBS and the Spade, Bradbury wrote of how, holding it, he could feel the Nobel laureate’s influence:
I hold the dear spade in my hands,
Its vibrant lightnings strike and move along my arms,
The ghost of Shaw climbs up through me
I feel a fiery brambling of chin
I feel my spine
Stand straight as if a lightning bolt had struck
His old voice whispers in my ear, dear boy
Find Troy, go on, dig deep, find Troy, find Troy!
Two honorees were in the spotlight at DragonCon’s awards banquet on August 31.
The award, named for Julius Schwartz, is “bestowed for universal achievement spanning multiple genres.” The recipient is selected each year by a panel of industry professionals. The first one was given in 1998 to Ray Bradbury.
Hank Reinhardt Award
Founded in 1990 as the Georgia Fandom Award, the Reinhardt is given to a Georgia fan who has contributed to the genre. The award was renamed in honor of Hank Reinhardt following his death in 2007. Ron Zukowski co-chaired ConFederation, the 1986 Worldcon held in Atlanta.
[Some of the folks who ran the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta gathered together on June 18 to celebrate the con’s 25th anniversary.]
By M. Lee Rogers: How did the reunion go? As well as could be expected.
A total of 18 people attended, all from the Atlanta area. We had booked two connecting suites at an Embassy Suites hotel on the north side of the metro area. It turned out the two suites were just big enough to hold the throng.
Co-Chairman Ron Zukowski and I went out Friday night for the major supply run. After breakfast Saturday, we went out again for the ice to fill the bathtub with soft drinks. The first person showed up while we were loading the bathtub.
(One oddball fact for running a party: if you can’t find an icepick, an oyster knife works very well as a substitute.)
We had some talk about ConFederation, but most of it was people catching up with each other about almost everything. I managed to put up some posters from the progress reports and bid zines (South on Peachtree).
At supper time, the group headed to a next-door buffet restaurant for supper before breaking up around 9:30 p.m. to head back home. Ron and I stayed at the hotel Saturday night before checking out Sunday morning to head to his church.
We should thank Alice Spivey for making some posters and buttons for the reunion.
All in all, it was a good room party. I wish it could have been bigger, but it was unrealistic to expect people to come from out of town for a small get-together.
One of our Executive Committee members, Avery Davis, expressed some desire to have a party at Renovation. If he wants to throw one, nobody here will object.
Also, Ron Z. wrote a very moving tribute to a fan who died a year ago. Her name was Robin Sanders. He delivered the address at a memorial service recently.
M. Lee Rogers and Ron Zukowski proudly prevent, uh, present the ConFederation 25th Anniversary Celebration!
1. You were an attending or supporting member of ConFederation.
2. You are known to the organizers.
3. Someone known to the organizers can vouch for you.
(The criteria are similar to a fan fund.)
What: A party to celebrate one of Southern SF fandom’s shining moments: the 1986 World Science Fiction Convention held in downtown Atlanta.
When: Saturday June 18, 2011, 12:00 noon to whenever.
Where: Embassy Suites Alpharetta, off Exit 9 of Georgia 400 (Haynes Bridge Road) near North Point Mall.
Why: Why not?!?
How Much: $20 per person. Free for members of ConFederation Executive Committee, SFWA, or ASFA. If cost is a problem, talk to Ron or Mike. Any material surplus will be donated to fan funds–this is a not-for-profit venture.
We realize it’s fairly short notice, but we are trying to work around Dragon*Con and other regional conventions. North Fulton is equally inconvenient to everyone. The area is also accessible via MARTA by train and bus.
The adult beverage situation is BYOB. We will provide as many munchies and soft drinks as we can.
Suites should be available at the hotel. The current rates are around $100 per night. For reservations, call 1-800-EMBASSY.
Please feel free to publicize this event in fandom, but do not publicize it in the local media. It is not open to the general public.
We hope you’ll come celebrate ConFederation with us that Saturday. It should be a fun evening.
It would help if you let us know if you are coming so we can know how many people to plan for. Please RSVP with payment to:
M. L. Rogers
331 Celestial Lane
Hixson, TN 37343-5810
By M. Lee Rogers: Ron Zukowski and M. Lee Rogers hope y’all will mark the date of Saturday June 18 on your calendars for an evening to remember a very special event.
Things are still tentative, but June 18 is the planned date for the ConFederation 25th Anniversary Celebration. The facility and other plans will be announced later, but this will give you as much notice as possible.
The Celebration will be a one-day party for Southern SF fandom and its friends to remember that weekend when we brought the science fiction community to our part of the world. It is not a convention itself. It will be open to members of ConFederation and to those other fans who are known to the organizers. The Celebration is not open to the general public, primarily because it is not trying to be Dragon*Con.
The Celebration will request a small donation but will not turn anyone away for financial hardship. Any material surplus will be donated to fan funds.
Obviously, the organizers will need some help in pulling this shindig together. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at mleerog (at) bellsouth (dot) net.
NOTE: ConFederation was the 44th World Science Fiction Convention held in Atlanta, GA on August 28-September 1, 1986 at the Atlanta Hilton, Hyatt Regency, and Marriott Marquis Hotels. Ray Bradbury was Guest of Honor, Terry Carr was Fan Guest of Honor, and Bob Shaw was Toastmaster.