The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) today announced that Robin McKinley has been named the 39th Damon Knight Grand Master for her contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy.
The SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award recognizes “lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.” It is named after author Damon Knight, SFWA’s founder and the organization’s 13th Grand Master. McKinley joins 38 writers who’ve been granted the title.
Robin McKinley is one of the leading writers of the modern fairy-tale retelling genre, and indeed, her debut Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, could be said to have started the fairy-tale retelling trend. She is also celebrated for her original fantasy novels. Her 1982 book The Blue Sword received the Newbery Honor, and its 1984 prequel The Hero and the Crown was awarded the Newbery Medal. School Library Journal said, “Her work has impacted not just the Newbery canon, but the fantasy genre, too.” Her 1985 anthology Imaginary Lands won the World Fantasy Award, and Water, the 2002 collection she co-wrote with Peter Dickinson, was later nominated as well.
Sunshine (2003), a dark sensual vampire fairy tale that Neil Gaiman called “A gripping, funny, page-turning, pretty much perfect work of magical literature,” won the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature and was named to NPR’s “Top 100 Science-Fiction Fantasy Books” list and Tor.com’s list of “Best SFF Novels of the Decade.” Spindle’s End, McKinley’s Sleeping Beauty retelling, was named to Time Magazine’s “100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time” in 2020.
For her full bibliography, including multiple additional award nominations, and McKinley’s biography in her own words, please visit the SFWA website.
“I read McKinley’s Deerskin in my late-twenties and it turned my world upside-down,” says SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy. “From there I went on to read everything McKinley has written. With every story, each book, she haunts, delights, and enlightens me. Naming an author who’s been such a profound influence on me as both a reader and a writer as SFWA’s newest Grand Master is one of the greatest privileges of my life.”
On being named a SFWA Grand Master, McKinley shares, “I am astonished, amazed, delighted & dumbfounded. Thank you very much.”
The 39th Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master award will be presented to McKinley at the 58th Nebula Awards ceremony, which will take place during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference. Further details about next year’s conference will be released soon.
ROBIN MCKINLEY BIOGRAPHY
Robin McKinley usually says she’s from Maine because it’s simpler. That’s where her family settled after her father retired from the Navy. When she left to go to college she was never, ever coming back. She spent years in Boston and New York City and remains very fond of both cities. But she found herself inexplicably buying a little house in Maine and came to the astonished conclusion that she was settling down there.
Which is when Peter Dickinson happened, because that’s how these things go. He had this complicated idea about a transatlantic commute, which she knew both of them would hate. She’d grown up moving on every year or two, she still knew how to do it. Also, she’d fallen in love with Peter’s big English garden almost as hard as she’d fallen in love with him. She said, I’ll emigrate, but you have to marry me. So that’s what they did. She planted a lot of roses in that garden.
She spent nearly 30 years in Hampshire, but after Peter died it felt less and less like home. When she’d emigrated, their area was still mostly countryside and little towns, but it had been relentlessly turning into a posh London suburb. She was moaning to one of her stepsons about this and he said, here’s a mad idea, why don’t you move up here?
Here being Scotland.
She now lives on the top of a hill overlooking a small Scottish town to the ocean. Thanks to the patient stepson and his wife, who hauled her up here and installed her in their spare room while she found and renovated her new house. This was rather more of an adventure than expected. The wiring, for example, dated from the 1950s. But when they tore out the 60-year-old fitted carpet, there was the original Victorian wood and tile flooring, and behind the plasterboard most of the original hearths were still there too. We will pass swiftly over the interesting experience of moving in before there was either a working kitchen or bathroom. Also the Flying Piano—I’m not joking about the hill—when all 96 tons of my gear came up from storage in Hampshire, and had to be hoicked in somehow.
And then, of course, there was COVID.
Scotland was one of my better ideas. And it’s funny, because it’s also a kind of full circle. My first bio for Greenwillow Books, years and years and years ago, said that I wanted to live in a castle in Scotland. I was very young then and didn’t realise how uncomfortable Scottish castles are. This is a standard double-fronted Scottish Victorian house and very comfortable indeed. Especially with Genghis, my German wire-haired pointer (GWHP) keeping my back warm as I sit at my computer. My last dog died during the first, worst lockdown and it was more awful than I can tell you. Approximately the last breed in the world that I wanted anything to do with was a GWHP—they’re 90-mph perpetual-motion machines and have an insane prey drive—but he needed a home and I needed a dog. Two years later and you diss GWHPs at your peril. Actually, not, I will fall down laughing and agree with whatever you say.
I’m also finally working again. I hope to have a final -ish draft of a new book somewhat thrashed into shape maybe by the end of this year? Maybe? I am wildly, inexpressibly glad to be writing again. And I’m planting roses in my new garden. But I still miss Peter.
After we announced Mercedes Lackey as SFWA’s next Grand Master on 11/4, stances that Ms. Lackey had taken on writing trans characters resurfaced online. One was from a reader Q&A conducted in 2003, and another was from a 2017 Quora response on her feelings towards using chosen pronouns at the time.
We recognize that these comments have caused harm to the trans community. Last year, we said, “We have a responsibility to admit our failings and to continually commit to dismantling [..] oppressive and harmful systems, both within this organization and ourselves.”
SFWA cannot apologize on Ms. Lackey’s behalf, but we can acknowledge our contribution to this hurtful situation and stand with those in the trans and nonbinary communities. With that in mind, we asked Ms. Lackey if she would make clear her current feelings on these issues.
Here are links to her statement, released today on her social media channels:
Before all else: trans women are women, and trans men are men. This is something I fiercely believe, and will always support.
I have made awkward statements that have caused pain or distress. My desire is, and has always been, to support the trans community and be the best ally I can. I regret that I communicated poorly and fell short of the mark.
I’m affirming here that I do, and always will, support trans rights and trans people. An individual’s pronouns are every bit as valid—and far more important—than the dictates of copy-editors in the commercial publishing industry. I wish I’d listened to you and fought for those pronouns when copy editors changed them.
I have never felt that I had the ability to write trans point-of-view characters well, and I expressed that badly in the past. Trans characters in fiction are more than just their gender, and their stories should show the richness of their whole lives in full. I am grateful for the many authors who are doing that well today. They are inspiring.
I will do everything in my power to continue to grow and learn, as I feel we all should. I have learned a lot from patient friends and fans. I apologize for hurting people.
Lackey also tweeted the statement as a thread on Twitter that starts here.
SFWA’s release ends: “The current and past presidents of SFWA named Ms. Lackey as our next Grand Master because they believe the body of her work has contributed greatly to the science fiction and fantasy genres. We invite you to reach out to us with your feedback on how we can improve the award to be more inclusive of all communities we serve.”
Mercedes Lackey has been named the 38th Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for her contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy.
The SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award recognizes “lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.” It is named after author Damon Knight, SFWA’s founder and the organization’s 13th Grand Master. Mercedes Lackey joins 37 writers who’ve been granted the title, including other luminaries such as Nalo Hopkinson, Peter S. Beagle, Connie Willis, Ursula K. LeGuin, Ray Bradbury, Anne McCaffrey, and Joe Haldeman.
Embracing science fiction at the early age of ten or eleven, Lackey immersed herself in the works of James H. Schmitz and Andre Norton. An interest in fan fiction strongly encouraged her writing and her first sale was to Friends of Darkover. Her first novel was Arrows of the Queen, first published in 1987. Best known for her Valdemar series, which spans thousands of years and characters, Lackey has written and published over 140 books and short stories through her 34-year professional career.
SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy had the following to say about the organization’s newest Grand Master: “From the time I read my first Mercedes Lackey book as a young woman, her stories have illuminated my imagination and brought joy to my life. With multi-layered fantasy worlds, canny magical systems, and characters who step off the page as living, breathing people, Lackey’s books have made an enormous impact on the genre. She gave me warrior women I could believe in, magic-wielding queer heroes, and characters who suffered, then overcame their physical and emotional traumas. Lackey continues to have a lasting influence on my own work and I’m beyond thrilled to see her honored as SFWA’s newest Grand Master.”
In addition to her writing, Lackey has also contributed to the science fiction and fantasy filking community through songwriting, which earned her five Pegasus Awards. She was also part of The Stellar Guild, a project conceived by the late Mike Resnick, which paired well-known authors with lesser known creatives in an effort to boost their visibility.
An online video gamer, craftsperson, ball-jointed doll collector, radar-enthusiast during tornado season, and raptor rehabilitationist, Lackey’s journeys into all of these hobbies have influenced her most popular works.
The 38th Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master award will be presented to Lackey during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference and the 57th Nebula Awards, May 19–22, 2022. The conference will be SFWA’s first hybrid event, taking place in person in Los Angeles, and aboard the virtual Airship Nebula online.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) honors one living writer each year with the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.
The recent deaths of two distinguished sf writers have drawn attention to the award. The late Ben Bova is someone Gregory Benford wished would have gotten it. James Gunn, who passed away last week, deservedly did get it. And he is also now the fifth Grand Master to die in the past four years (preceded by Brian Aldiss, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, and Gene Wolfe.)
What writers are File 770 readers hoping SFWA will honor in years to come? Give your ideas in a comment.
To start the discussion rolling I asked four writers who they think deserves priority.
Gregory Benford sent a list of five:
Ursula Vernon says:
Oh lord…my choices might be rather idiosyncratic! But I’d want Terri Windling, Robin McKinley, Diane Duane, Barbara Hambly and Ellen Kushner to all be considered. Terri Windling would probably be top of my list.
Past SFWA President Cat Rambo, who led the selection process during her years in office, sent this overview:
The biggest thing stopping Bova being a candidate — and the reason a lot of my picks didn’t fly — is that there’s been a lot of past “the rule is they can’t be dead” stuff. This leads to some weirdness (IMO), including people factoring in how healthy candidates are. To me it has to be someone who shaped the genre — my picks were Peter Beagle, C.J. Cherryh, Jane Yolen, and Bill Gibson, and I think all of them have a substantial and unquestionable legacy and influence on the field.
I’d love to see the award revamped, and be something that could go to multiple people, living and dead, each year, along the lines of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. I know top of my list would be Octavia Butler, and there’s some other now-gone folks that I would also put above Bova, although he is certainly worthy.
That last thought about expanding eligibility resonates with Nisi Shawl ’s SFWA Grand Master Wishlist:
I’m surely not the first to name Octavia E. Butler as a priority for the honor of SFWA Grand Master. I mean. I mean come on. She was a MacArthur Fellowship-certified genius who demonstrably changed the field. She was gracious, kind, and charming in person and ruthlessly gorgeous in her prose. She was a tireless worker, a dreamer, a sincere advocate for emerging authors such as myself, and the moment for us to honor her is fast approaching. Or maybe it’s already here.
My other two picks for most-likely-to-make-Grand Master are known primarily for their short stories, a form I feel has gotten much shorter shrift than it deserves.
Nebula-winner Eileen Gunn is a short story writer supreme. Wisewoman and wise-ass, Eileen is generous with that most precious of authorial treasures, her time. She teaches, she critiques, she analyzes, she sets forth on pioneering journeys to the heart of speculation and leaves shining footsteps for us to follow.
And Ted F. Chiang (ask Ellen Klages what the “f” stands for) is a careful, precise giant in this field. His stories are exquisite and true to the core. Long may he live! Long may he reign as Grand Master—and soon!
Nalo Hopkinson has been named the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) for her contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy.
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award recognizes “lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.” Hopkinson joins the Grand Master ranks alongside such legends as C. J. Cherryh, Peter S. Beagle, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, and Joe Haldeman. The award will be presented at the 56th Annual Nebula Conference and Awards Ceremony, held online the weekend of June 4–6, 2021.
Hopkinson’s first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, was published as the winner of the Warner Aspect First Novel Contest in 1998 and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1999. She has published five additional novels, including the Andre Norton Award–winning Sister Mine, and three collections of her short fiction.
Hopkinson has also proven herself an adept editor, guest-editing an issue of Lightspeed Magazine and editing five anthologies, including Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction and So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy. Hopkinson has also won the British Fantasy Award, the Aurora Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and the Sunburst Award. She has taught at Clarion East, Clarion West, and Clarion South and is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal adds:
I have loved Nalo Hopkinson’s work since 1999 when I discovered her through the short story “Precious” in a Datlow/Windling anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon. Each new piece continues to delight me and stretch me as a reader and makes me bolder as a writer.
Naming Nalo as Grand Master recognizes not only her phenomenal writing but also her work as an educator who has shaped so many of the rising stars of modern SFF.
Kowal, LeVar Burton, and many more sff authors and editors tell why the honor is deserved in this SFWA video:
… That’s the part that worries me, as artificial intelligence applications may be able to leverage the data to manipulate Cory and other people—just as technology, PR, and marketing companies try to do in our lives today.
“There’s never been a culture that had a mythos of apocalypse in which the apocalypse was a multi-causal, longterm event.” William Gibson speaks in the whisper-soft drawl of a man who for a long time now has never had to speak up in order to be heard. Though a certain edge had crept into our conversation by this point, watching him stretch out on the leather chaise longue of this hotel library (“my second home,” he calls it, as we make our way up from the lobby), it struck me that few people are able to seem at once so apprehensive and yet so intensely relaxed about the prospect of the end of the world as we know it.
“But if we are in fact facing an apocalypse,” he continues, getting now into the swing of this particular riff, “that’s the sort we’re facing. And I think that that may be what makes it so difficult for us to get our heads around what’s happening to us.”
…Though Claremont accepts the thesis that Dark Phoenix is, in many ways, in tune with the femme fatale trope, he’s not sure it’s totally apt.
“I’m not sure I would consider her a femme fatale. That actually is more Mystique’s side of the ledger,” Claremont said, referring to the blue-skinned, shape-changing mutant villain he’d introduce a bit later in his run. But the writer cannot deny the influence he and initial X-Men series artist Dave Cockrum had in reshaping Jean Grey—moving her from soft-spoken B-list heroine to full-on goddess.
“The fun with Jean for example was that when I first took over X-Men, Jean was a relatively two-and-a-half-dimensional character,” Claremont said. “What you had there was essentially unchanged from what [X-Men co-creator] Stan Lee had introduced years before. And we wanted to, I think, rough things up a tad but in the process, explore her more.”
(5) SAY CHEESE. In the Washington Post, Lela Nargi reports on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Unified Geologic Map Of The Moon, in which the survey combined maps made during the Apollo missions with subsequent satellite photo missions to create “the definitive blueprint of the moon’s surface geology.” “A new map shows the moon as it’s never been seen”.
…The USGS, which released the map in April, makes a lot of maps of Earth. It is also the “only institution in the world that creates standardized maps for surfaces that are not on Earth,” says USGS research geologist James Skinner. That includes Mars and other planets and moons in our solar system.
The new moon map took more than 50 years to make. It started with six original maps collected from the Apollo missions to the moon in the 1960s and ’70s. The maps did a good job of showing the basic layout of the moon.
New technology has made it possible to create an updated map and “turn it into information scientists can use,” says Skinner.
Recently, we discussed science fiction stories about naturally occurring rogue worlds; there is, of course, another sort of wandering planet. That would be the deliberately-impelled variety, featured in stories in which ambitious travellers take an entire world along with them. This approach has many obvious advantages, not the least of which is that it greatly simplifies pre-flight packing….
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 2, 1950 — Rocketship X-M premiered. The film was produced and directed by Kurt Neumann. The screenplay was by Orville H. Hampton, Kurt Neumann and Dalton Trumbo (of Johnny Got His Gun fame). It starred Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery, Jr., Hugh O’Brian, and Morris Ankrum. It was shot on a budget of ninety-four thousand dollars. It was nominated for the 1951 Retro Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation at the Millennium Philcon when Destination Moon won that Award. Fandom holds it in higher esteem than audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes do who give it a 16% rating! Oh, and it was the first SF film to use a theremin in the soundtrack.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born June 2, 1857 – Karl Gjellerup. In The Pilgrim Kamanita, the Pilgrimmeets a strange monk who he does not know is Gautama Buddha. In The World-Roamers, characters re-experience happenings of former eons. In The Holiest Animal, the snake that killed Cleopatra, Odysseus’ dog, Jesus’ donkey, and others, meeting after death, choose as the holiest animal the Buddha’s horse – but he has vanished without a trace, to Nirvana. Nobel Prize in Literature. Translated into Dutch, English, German, Polish, Swedish, Thai. (Died 1919) [JH]
Born June 2, 1899 – Lotte Reiniger. Pioneer of silhouette animation. Animated intertitles and wooden rats for Paul Wegener’s Pied Piper of Hamelin (1918); a falcon for Fritz Lang’s Nibelungen (Part 1 – Siegfried, 1924). Her own Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) is the oldest known surviving feature-length animated film. Doctor Dolittle and His Animals, 1928. Her early version of a mutiplane camera preceded Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks by a decade. Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Fed’l Republic of Germany, 1979. (Died 1981) [JH]
Born June 2, 1915 – Lester del Rey. Fan, pro, short-order cook. Used many names, not least of which was Ramon Felipe San Juan Mario Silvio Enrico Smith Heathcourt-Brace Sierra y Alvarez-del-Rey de los Verdes. Two dozen novels alone and with others; a hundred shorter stories (see the 2-vol. Selected Short Stories); half a dozen non-fiction books; Skylark Award, SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) Grand Master; translated into Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish; reviews for Analog, features editor for Galaxy; SF editor for Ballantine; with Judy-Lynn del Rey and after her death, Del Rey Books. (Died 1993) [JH]
Born June 2, 1921 — Virginia Kidd. Literary agent, writer and editor, who worked mostly in SF and related fields. She represented R.A. Lafferty, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Judith Merril, and Gene Wolfe. She was married to James Blish, and she published a handful of genre short fiction. Wolfe modeled Ann Schindler, a character in Castleview, in large part on Kidd. (Died 2003.) (CE)
Born June 2, 1929 — Norton Juster, 91. Author of The Phantom Tollbooth, he met Jules Feiffer who illustrates when he was taking his trash out. There is of course the superb film that followed. And let’s not forget The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, a work well worth an evening spent reading. (CE)
Born June 2, 1937 — Sally Kellerman, 83. She makes the list for being Dr. Elizabeth Dehner in the superb episode of Trek “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. She also had one-offs on the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Invaders, and The Ray Bradbury Theater. She played Natasha Fatale in Boris and Natasha: The Movie. (CE)
Born June 2, 1948 – Leigh Edmonds. Founder of ANZAPA (Australia – New Zealand Amateur Press Ass’n). Melbourne SF Club Achievement Award. First DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate, publishedEmu Tracks Over America. First A-NZ Administrator of GUFF (Get-Up-and-over Fan Fund, or Going Under Fan Fund, in alternate years). Helped organize 10th Australian natcon (i.e. national convention); Fan Guest of Honour (with Valma Brown) at 30th. Two Ditmars for Best Fanzine, three for Best Fanwriter. [JH]
Born June 2, 1959 – Lloyd Penney. Thirty years on Ad Astra con committees (Toronto); Chair 1993 & 1994. “Royal Canadian Mounted Starfleet” (with Yvonne Penney & others – and song) in Chicon IV Masquerade (40th Worldcon). Also with Yvonne, Chairs of SMOFcon VI (Secret Masters Of Fandom, as Bruce Pelz said “a joke-nonjoke-joke”; con-runners’ con); CUFF (Canadian Unity Fan Fund) delegates, published Penneys Up the River; Fan Guests of Honor, Loscon XXXIV. Prolific loccer (loc or LoC = letter of comment, the blood of fanzines); 5 FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement) Awards. [JH]
Born June 2, 1963 – Katsuya Kondô.Manga artist, character designer, animator, animation director. His character designs are considered the epitome of the Studio Ghibli style. Known for Kiki’s Delivery Service; Ocean Waves (both Ghibli); Jade Cocoon (PlayStation game); D’arc (2-vol. manga about Joan of Arc; with Ken’ichi Sakemi). Recently, character design for Ronya, the Robber’s Daughter (Ghibli, 2014). [JH]
Born June 2, 1972 — Wentworth Miller, 48. I’m including him here today as he plays Captain Cold on the Legends of Tomorrow which might one of the best SF series currently being aired. His first genre role was on Buffy and other than a stint on the Dinotopia miniseries, this role is his entire genre undertaking along with being on Flash. (CE)
Born June 2, 1973 – Carlos Acosta. Cuban director of Birmingham Royal Ballet; before that, 17 years at The Royal Ballet, many other companies. Prix Benois de la Danse. Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to ballet. Besides dancing in many fantasies (Afternoon of a Faun, Apollo, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake) – and finding time for a wife and three children – he’s written a magic-realism novel, Pig’s Foot. Memoir, No Way Home. [JH]
(9) A POEM FOR THE DAY. By John Hertz:
May didn’t do it.
A month whose name’s almost young
Dealt him out to us.
Lively-minded, he connects
Energizing give and take.
An acrostic (read down the first letters) in 5-7-5-7-7-syllable lines.
… And, throughout it all, I have been endlessly supported by my agent, Eleanor Wood of Spectrum Literary Agency. We first met face-to-face at the Nebula weekend in New York City in 1989. The morning after _Falling Free_ won my first Nebula Award, we shook hands over a hotel breakfast in a deal I trust neither of us has had cause to regret. Though I don’t think either of us realized how long it would last, three decades and counting.
(13) HARE GROWTH. A new collection of shorts on HBO Max, Looney Tunes Cartoons, captures the look and feel of the originals. The New York Times article may be paywalled; here are the key points and cartoon link.
In “Dynamite Dance,” Elmer Fudd comes at Bugs Bunny with a scythe, prompting the hare to jam a stick of lit dynamite in Elmer’s mouth.
Over the course of the short animated video, the explosives get bigger and more plentiful, as Bugs jams dynamite in Elmer’s ears, atop his bald head, and down his pants. The relentless assault moves from rowboat to unicycle to biplane, each blast timed to the spirited melody of Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours.”
The short has the look, feel and unabashed mayhem of a classic “Looney Tunes” cartoon, circa the early 1940s. But “Dynamite Dance” is of much more recent vintage, one of scores of episodes created by a new crop of WarnerBros. animators over the past two years.
…“I always thought, ‘What if Warner Bros. had never stopped making “Looney Tunes” cartoons?’” said Peter Browngardt, the series executive producer and showrunner. “As much as we possibly could, we treated the production in that way.”
…The creators of the new series hope to do justice to the directors, animators and voice artists of the so-called Termite Terrace, a pest-ridden animation facility on Sunset Boulevard where many of the franchise’s most beloved characters were born.
“There was something about the energy of those early cartoons,” Browngardt said. “And those five directors: Frank Tashlin, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery before he left for MGM, Chuck Jones, and Friz Freleng. They literally invented a language of cinema.”
Facebook is facing an unusually public backlash from its employees over the company’s handling of President Trump’s inflammatory posts about protests in the police killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis.
At least a dozen employees, some in senior positions, have openly condemned Facebook’s lack of action on the president’s posts and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s defense of that decision. Some employees staged a virtual walkout Monday.
“Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind,” tweeted Ryan Freitas, director of product design for Facebook’s news feed.
“I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up,” tweeted Jason Toff, director of product management. “The majority of coworkers I’ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard.”
(15) GOING DOWN. NPR presents excerpts of the resetting of Orpheus and Eurydice (and Tony winner for Best Musical of 2019): “Hadestown: Tiny Desk Concert” — long audio/video.
You can probably guess that we recorded the original Broadway cast of Hadestown before the coronavirus pandemic made live theater (live anything) an untenable risk. The reminders are everywhere — in the way 16 performers bunch up behind the desk, singing formidably in close proximity as a large crowd gathers just off camera — that this took place in the Before-Times. To be specific, on March 2.
We’d actually been trying to put this show together since the spring of 2019, when Hadestown was a freshly Tony-nominated hit musical. We hit several delays along the way due to scheduling issues, only to end up rushing in an attempt to record while playwright Anaïs Mitchell — who wrote both the musical and the 2010 folk opera on which it’s based — was eight months pregnant.
Thankfully, we captured something truly glorious — a five-song distillation of a robust and impeccably staged Broadway production. A raucous full-cast tone-setter, “Way Down Hadestown” lets Hermes (André De Shields, in a role that won him a Tony) and Persephone (Kimberly Marable, filling in for Amber Gray) set the scene before a medley of “Come Home With Me” and “Wedding Song” finds Orpheus (Reeve Carney) and Eurydice (Eva Noblezada) meeting and falling in love. “When the Chips Are Down” showcases the three Fates — spirits who often drive the characters’ motivations — as played by Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer and Kay Trinidad. And in “Flowers,” Eurydice looks back with regret and resignation on her decision to leave Orpheus for the promise of Hadestown.
MGH, King’s College London researchers use crowdsourced data from app to monitor symptoms in 2.6 million, study how the disease spreads
Though fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19 infection, a recent study in which 2.6 million people used a smartphone app to log their symptoms daily showed that the most oddball pair of indicators — loss of smell and taste — was also the best predictor, and one that scientists said should be included in screening guidelines.
…The scientists adapted a smartphone app that had been created by corporate partner ZOE, a health science company, for research on how to personalize diet to address chronic disease. The new program, a free download from the Apple or Google app stores, collects demographic and health background information and then asks how the participant is feeling. If they’re feeling well, that’s the end of the daily entry. If they’re not it asks further questions about symptoms.
Neil Gaiman, author of “Coraline”: “I think this period of time is going to be a fertile time for storytellers for decades and, I hope, centuries to come.
Lois Lowry, author of “The Giver”: “We’re at the part of the book where the reader is feeling a terrible sense of suspense.”
Nnedi Okorafor, author of “The Shadow Speaker”: “One thing I’ve felt since all of this has happened, is this idea of … oh my gosh, it’s finally happening.”
Max Brooks, author of “World War Z”: “Those big crises that affect us all have to be solved by all of us … it may not be some alpha male with a big gun or some clairvoyant wizard or someone with magical powers.”
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Darrah Chavey, Joey Eschrich,Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, and Andre Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joseph Hurtgen.]
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) announced the winners of the 55th Annual Nebula Awards in a livestreamed ceremony on May 30.
The Nebula Awards, given annually, recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the previous year. They are selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.
A Song for a New Day, Sarah Pinsker (Berkley)
This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga)
Carpe Glitter, Cat Rambo (Meerkat)
“Give the Family My Love”, A.T. Greenblatt (Clarkesworld 2/19)
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
Riverland, Fran Wilde (Amulet)
The Outer Worlds, Leonard Boyarsky, Megan Starks, Kate Dollarhyde, Chris L’Etoile (Obsidian Entertainment)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Good Omens: “Hard Times”, Neil Gaiman (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios)
Other awards presented:
Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
Lois McMaster Bujold
Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service Award
Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award
Presenters joined virtually from around the country, including Sam Weller, Sarah Pinsker, Rebecca Roanhorse, Lillian Stewart Carl, Greg Bear, George R.R. Martin, Jeffe Kennedy, LeVar Burton, Sarah Gailey, Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, and Charlie Jane Anders. Additionally, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun addressed the festivities with a message for the Nebula audience.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) has
named Lois McMaster Bujold the 36th Damon Knight Grand Master for her
contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an
engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her
early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two
grown children. Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion
series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen
Books features the perennially bestselling Vorkosigan Saga. Her work has
been translated into over twenty languages and has won seven Hugo Awards and
three Nebula Awards.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal commented:
Lois McMaster Bujold has had an undeniable influence on the field of science- fiction and fantasy. From the the Vorkosigan Saga, to the Chalion series and the Sharing Knife series, she finds new ways to explore the genre, mixing and matching everything from regency to science fiction. With dozens of books in multiple languages, while continuing to write, she is one of the most prolific authors working today. Importantly, she also serves as a role model for many writers, including me. In A Civil Campaign, she wrote, “Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.” There is no doubt about Lois McMaster Bujold’s honor and becoming SFWA’s newest Grand Master only underlines her sterling reputation.
Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award will be presented along with the
Nebula Awards® during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 28-31
and features seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of
writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. During that weekend, a
mass autograph session will also take place at the Warner Center Marriott
Woodland Hills and is open to the public.
Nebula Awards®, presented annually, recognize the best works of science fiction
and fantasy published in the United States as selected by members of the
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards® were
presented in 1966.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) has named William Gibson the 35th Damon Knight Grand Master for his contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award recognizes “lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.” Gibson joins the Grand Master ranks alongside such legends as C. J. Cherryh, Peter S. Beagle, Ursula K. Le Guin, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Joe Haldeman. The award will be presented at the 54th Annual Nebula Conference and Awards Ceremony in Woodland Hills, CA, May 16th-19th, 2019.
Gibson is known for his cyberpunk novels Neuromancer, Virtual Light, and Mona Lisa Overdrive, and co-wrote the steampunk novel The Difference Engine with Bruce Sterling. Gibson’s writing, through novels such as Pattern Recognition and The Peripheral, continues to break new ground and stimulate conversation about the cyberworld. The influence of Gibson’s writing has not only been felt within the science fiction community, but has expanded to other forms of art, as seen in the music of Billy Idol and Warren Zevon and the Matrix films, as well as throughout computer culture.
SFWA PRESIDENT, CAT RAMBO
William Gibson coined the word cyberspace in his story “Burning Chrome,” expanding on that concept two years later in the novel Neuromancer. He forged a body of work that has played a major part in the coalescing of the cyberpunk movement, influencing dozens of writers of cinema, fiction, and games, among other creatives. Not content to be one of the definitive writers in only one subgenre, he then went on to help engender steampunk with Bruce Sterling in their collaborative work, The Difference Engine. Gibson continues to produce taut, evocative works that reflect the despair and hope of the 21st century. To be a SFWA Grand Master is to be a speculative fiction writer that has shaped the genre and make it what it is today. Gibson fills that role abundantly.??
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award will be presented along with the Nebula Awards during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 16th-19th and features seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. On May 18th, a mass autograph session will take place at the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills and is open to the public.
The Nebula Awards, presented annually, recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the United States as selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.
The Nebula Awards include four fiction awards, a game writing award, the Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. SFWA also administers the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award, the Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) presented the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, PA on May 19.
The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
“A Human Stain”, Kelly Robson (Tor.com 1/4/17)
“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM”, Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex 8/17)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Get Out (Written by Jordan Peele)
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award
John C. “Bud” Sparhawk
Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award
SFWA Damon Knight Grand Master
Peter S. Beagle
Here are tweeted photos of the award recipients or accepters.
(Sam J. Miller accepted the Best Novel award for N.K. Jemisin)