(1) NEBULA MUSIC. The 56th Annual Nebula Award winners post is at the link. Below, you can watch host Aydrea Walden’s fantastic song referencing all 40 finalists, then hear the great acceptance speeches:
(2) DEBARKLE. Camestros Felapton’s history of the Puppy slates and how they illuminate right wing politics has reached the announcement of the 2015 Hugo finalists, which were overwhelmingly Puppy: “Debarkle Chapter 39: April — Part 1, the Finalists”.
…In the headline Best Novel category, the combined Sad and Rabid Puppy slates had won three of the five finalist positions but would have won four out of five if Correia had not withdrawn. The Sad Puppy nominated Baen book Trial by Fire by Charles E. Gannon and the Rabid Puppy nominated Baen book The Chaplain’s War by Brad Torgersen both fell a few votes short of being a finalist. The addition of Correia’s withdrawal meant that despite everything, once again no Baen novels were Hugo finalists. In an added irony, one of the two Tor published novels in the finalists was the Sad/Rabid Puppy nominated The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson.
In the next chapters, we will look at some of the immediate and later reactions to the Puppy sweep of the finalists. However, in this chapter, I want to concentrate on the shifting nature of the finalists.
In the days that followed many of the people co-opted by Torgersen and Day as nominees for their slates discussed their inclusion. Matthew David Surridge, a writer at The Black Gate fanzine and a nominee on both the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates for Best Fan Writer, explained that he had declined a nomination.
… Surridge had discovered accidentally that he was on the slates in February but thinking that it was unlikely that he’d be a finalist, he had ignored them. When contacted by the Hugo administrators, he declined. Surridge declining meant that Laura Mixon, author of the report on Requires Hate, became a finalist, which also meant that Best Fan Writer had one non-Puppy nominated finalist.
(3) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman gets to break a 428-day streak with Karen Osborne in Episode 146 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.
Up until my meal with writer Karen Osborne on which you’ll be eavesdropping this episode, it had been 428 days since I’d last seen an unmasked face other than my wife or son. (Except on Zoom, that is.) Due to COVID-19, I hadn’t been able to pull off that kind face-to-face chatting and chewing since Episode 117, recorded in March 2020 with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Dirda. I’m more thrilled that I can possibly convey to begin the slow crawl back to a new normal.
Karen Osborne was a Nebula Award finalist last year for her short story “The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power.” Her fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Fireside, Escape Pod, Robot Dinosaurs, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Her debut novel, Architects of Memory, the first book of The Memory War series, was published in September 2020 by Tor Books, and its sequel, Engines of Oblivion, was published this past February. She’s the emcee for the Charm City Spec reading series, has won a filmmaking award for taping a Klingon wedding, and most importantly, accompanied me on the theremin during my late-night ukulele singalong when I was Guest of Honor a few years back at the Baltimore World Fantasy Convention.
We discussed her biggest surprise after signing with an agent for her first novel, how she was able to celebrate the launch of that debut book and a Nebula nomination during the COVID-19 lockdown, what you need to keep in your head to never go wrong about a character’s motivations, how the Viable Paradise writing workshop taught her to lean in on her weird, the favorite line she’s ever written, how she wrote fanfic of her own characters to better understand them, why she doesn’t want her daughter to read her second novel until she’s 13, the way Star Trek: The Next Generation changed her life, how the Clarion workshop taught her to let go of caring what other people think of her writing, what Levar Burton means to her childhood, and much more.
(4) NOW FOR ANOTHER MUSICAL NUMBER. Nerdist says the promise is finally fulfilled: “Starlight’s Ballad from THE BOYS Season 2 Gets Full Music Video”.
Season two of The Boys put star Erin Moriarty’s musical chops on display. The first episode of the bunch set the action at the funeral of deceased Seven fixture Translucent; the emotional, and highly publicized event gave Moriarty’s character Starlight a chance to sing her heart out. However, viewers of the Amazon Prime series only got a snippet of the ballad, titled “Never Truly Vanished.” Creative forces behind the program always intended to release a longer version by way of a formal music video.
Showrunner Eric Kripke made mention of these plans to CinemaBlend back in September, just after the season had dropped online. As with so many other productions, constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic waylaid said plans. But now that things are a bit safer in the macro, the The Boys team has come together to give us the music video once promised. Take a gander below at Starlight’s rendition of “Never Truly Vanished.”
(5) SORTED. Patrick Susmilch at Hard Drive says “Progress: We Finally Have a Female Orson Scott Card” – and it’s J.K. Rowling.
Young adult fiction fans are rejoicing as the literature world finally has a female equivalent to Orson Scott Card now that J.K. Rowling’s recent series of anti-trans tweets and a 3,600 word essay have given them an opportunity to be disappointed by a female author’s hatred.
“I’m used to seeing tears on a reader’s face when I explain that the author of Ender’s Game believes that homosexuality is caused by child abuse,” said librarian Jennifer Kinsley, “but it’s a huge step forward to have to explain to young fans that their favorite female author believes that only women menstruate and that trans women are secretly trying to molest them in gender-neutral bathrooms.”…
(6) CENTER NAMES FELLOWS. Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination has announced its inaugural class of Applied Imagination Fellows, “who will work over the next year on projects to catalyze transformative change and advance visions of inclusive futures in partnership with communities around the world.”
Congratulations to Regina Kanyu Wang who is one of them:
So excited and honored to be part of the cohort! I am an imagination fellow of CSI@ASU this year!
I will create a series of video interviews with female science fiction authors, editors and fans, as well as scientists and entrepreneurs, from across China, both to foreground the creative vitality of women imagining and creating the future and to explore how these creators promote nondualistic thinking in their work, as a way to reframe conflicts and imagine a more inclusive, harmonious future. This will also be part of my PhD project at CoFUTURES, UiO.
(7) THE 50K FURSUIT. Here is an interesting confluence of fandom, tech and venture capital: “$50,000 FURSUIT: crypto-fueled bidding smashes auction record at The Dealers Den” – Dogpatch Press has the story.
The new all-time fursuit auction record is worth a nice car or some people’s yearly income. (Highest commission is a different number.) It’s been 3 years since the last record by MixedCandy: A look at furry business with a $17,017 record fursuit auction price, July 2018.
Shifting winds of tech and business helped make this possible; it has to do with porn, politics, and payment providers. We’ll get into that… but I’m sure that wasn’t on the mind of Zuri Studios and Sabi, the owner/maker based in the Czech Republic with a fluffalicious folio of “god tier fursuits“.
Sabi just found out there’s no business like sew business.
…Tripling the record since 2018 gets steaming hot takes on social media. How can any suit be worth so much?
Like any painting or original object, it’s because something’s rare and someone’s willing to pay. (Try offering less for this one!) The price isn’t just the worth of one costume; it’s for years of school and practice, growing clients and a business, and developing networks for knowledge, trade and materials. Fursuits aren’t art to hang on the wall, they’re eye candy you hug at cons. When live events thrive, it makes a market. But you don’t have to fight for this fursuit when there’s makers for many budgets, who share free DIY maker knowledge. Just remember it isn’t a get-rich business, one fursuit isn’t a goldmine, the market isn’t cornered, and it’s not a payday for a big corporation. There’s more room for makers to be pro-fans when one can get such a big reward.
But how does that kind of purchasing power come from furries?…
(8) HWA PRIDE. Horror Writers Association starts its Pride Month thematic posts with “A Point of Pride: Interview with Greg Herren”.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
Horror is one of the few forms of art—regardless of form, whether it’s the written word or a visual medium—that can evoke a visceral reaction from the audience—physical, emotional, intellectual—and I’ve always thought that was impressive.
I’ve always loved being scared (which is weird, now that I think about it). When I was a kid, my grandmother introduced me to crime and suspense movies, and she also loved what she called (and I still call them this in my head) “scary movies”—I don’t think she ever called them horror—and I also loved the haunted houses at amusement parks. I’ve always, as long as I can remember, been partial to ghost stories more than anything else….
(9) APPROVAL RATING. [Item by Rich Horton.] I stumbled into a Twitter thread about yesterday’s episode of Mythic Quest, which showed C. W. Longbottom working for “Amazing Tales” in 1972, and winning a Nebula for “Best Debut Novel” (!) in 1973 for a novel he wrote that Isaac Asimov basically rewrote … And the Nebula they used was a misprinted Nebula made in 2005 that they got from Steven Silver! Thread starts here. (Mythic Quest is an uneven show, but when it’s on, it can be wonderful!)
(10) KRAFT OBIT. David Anthony Kraft, who worked on The Defenders, Captain America and Man-Wolf early in his career, died of complications of the coronavirus on May 19. The New York Times tribute is here: “David Anthony Kraft, Comic Book Writer and Chronicler, Dies at 68”.
…Growing up as a boy in small-town North Dakota, David Anthony Kraft escaped into the world of comic books. He read issues of The Incredible Hulk hidden in his textbooks at school. He trudged through snow during brutal winters to buy the latest adventure of Thor.
When he was 12, he decided to write his own comics, so he installed a desk and a lamp in a closet at home. His stepmother soon found him scribbling away.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“I’m writing,” he said. “This is my office.”
“What makes you think you can be a writer?”
“I will be a writer. And I’m going to work for Marvel.”
At least in his retelling, so began the real-life superhero origin story of David Anthony Kraft.
Soon enough, he sold a piece to Amazing Stories. In his teens, he wrote tales for pulpy horror comics. He developed a correspondence with Marvel’s offices in New York, and he kept asking about job openings. When he was 22, they asked him to try out for a junior staff position, and he drove to the city on his motorcycle, arriving at Marvel’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters in 1974.
Mr. Kraft became one of Marvel’s writers during the 1970s and ’80s. He was known for his work on The Defenders and on titles like Captain America and Man-Wolf. He wrote nearly the entire run of The Savage She-Hulk….
(11) MEMORY LANE.
- 1971 — Fifty years ago at Noreascon I, the Hugo for Best Short Story went to Theodore Sturgeon for “Slow Sculpture”. It was published in Galaxy, February 1970. Other nominated works were “Continued on Next Rock” by R. A. Lafferty (Orbit #7, 1970) “Jean Duprès” by Gordon R. Dickson (Nova #1, 1970) “In the Queue” by Keith Laumer [Orbit #7, 1970] “Brillo” by Ben Bova and Harlan Ellison (Analog, August 1970). It is available from the usual suspects in his Slow Sculpture collection at a very reasonable price.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born June 5, 1844 — L. T. Meade. Author of series aimed generally at girls but who wrote several genre series as well, to wit Stories of the Sanctuary Club, The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings and The Sorceress of the Strand. All of these were co-written by Robert Eustace. Meade and Eustace also created the occult detective and palmist Diana Marburg in “The Oracle of Maddox Street” found initially in Pearson’s Magazine in 1902. (Died 1924.) (CE)
- Born June 5, 1928 — Robert Lansing. He was secret agent Gary Seven in the “Assignment: Earth” episode of Trek. The episode was a backdoor pilot for a Roddenberry series that would have starred him and Teri Garr, but the series never happened. He of course appeared on other genre series such as the Twilight Zone, Journey to the Unknown, Thriller and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (Died 1994.) (CE)
- Born June 5, 1899 – Boris Artzybasheff. Prolific graphic artist in and out of our field; two hundred covers for Time (one was Craig Rice – pen name of Georgiana Craig – first mystery-fiction writer shown there, 28 Jan 46). Here is his cover for The Circus of Dr. Lao – he did its interiors too; here is The Incomplete Enchanter. Here is a commercial illustration, “Steel”; here is Buckminster Fuller. Don’t miss Artzybasheff in Vincent Di Fate’s Infinite Worlds. Book of his artwork, As I See (rev. 2008). (Died 1965) [JH]
- Born June 5, 1908 – John Fearn. British author of SF, crime fiction, Westerns; fairground assistant, cinema projectionist; wrote under two dozen names. Two hundred books in our field, two hundred eighty shorter stories. Guest of Honour at Eastercon 2. (Died 1960) [JH]
- Born June 5, 1931 – Barbara Paul, age 90. She says, “I did not grow up reading science fiction…. I was one of those smug mundanes who thought ‘sci-fi’ was all death-rays and aluminum-foil spacesuits and Robby the Robot. (Well, maybe sci-fi is, but not SF.) It wasn’t until my son, eleven at the time, handed me a book of short stories by Robert Sheckley that I began to realize what I’d been missing.” For us, six novels (I’m counting Liars and Tyrants and People who Turn Blue, which depends upon a psychic character), a dozen and a half shorter stories; more of other kinds e.g. detectives. [JH]
- Born June 5, 1946 — John Bach, 75. Einstein on Farscape (though he was deliberately uncredited for most of the series), the Gondorian Ranger Madril in the second and third movies of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Also a British body guard on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. And he was the body double for shooting Saruman in place of Christopher Lee, who was unable to fly to New Zealand for principal photography on The Hobbit film series. (CE)
- Born June 5, 1953 — Kathleen Kennedy, 68. Film producer responsible for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, her first film, and later produced the Jurassic Park franchise. She’s been involved in over sixty films, I’d say of which at least half are genre, starting with Raiders of the Lost Ark as an associate to Steven Spielberg. Amblin Films with her husband and Spielberg has produced many of the genre’s best loved films. (CE)
- Born June 5, 1960 – Margo Lanagan, age 61. A dozen novels, six dozen shorter stories, in our field; among the two dozen contributors to “Celebrating 50 Years of Locus” in Locus 687. Four Ditmars, six Aurealis awards, three World Fantasy awards. Recent collection, Stray Bats. [JH]
- Born June 5, 1964 – P.J. Haarsma, age 57. Author, photographer. Co-founder of Kids Need to Read. Four Rings of Orbis books, two Spectrum comics (with Alan Tudyk, Sarah Stone) in that world, and an electronic role-playing game. Crowd-funded $3.2 million to start Con Man (television). Redbear Films commercial production. [JH]
- Born June 5, 1976 — Lauren Beukes, 45. South African writer and scriptwriter. Moxyland, her first novel, is a cyberpunk novel set in a future Cape Town. Zoo City, a hardboiled thriller with fantasy elements is set in a re-imagined Johannesburg. It won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and a Kitschies Red Tentacle for best novel. And The Shining Girls would win her an August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel. Afterland, her latest genre novel, was on the long list for a NOMMO. (CE)
- Born June 5, 1980 – Timo Kümmel, age 41. One novel, five dozen covers, twoscore interiors. Here is The Time Machine of Charlemagne. Here is Hello Summer, Goodbye. Here is Exodus 33. Here is The Eternity Project. Here is phantastisch! 81. [JH]
(13) COMICS SECTION.
(14) DROP A DIME, YOU CAN CALL ME ANYTIME. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd weighs in on the government’s UFO report: “E.T., Phone Me!”
…Who on Earth wanted a “Friends” reunion, and why in heaven’s name doesn’t anyone from the Biden White House return my calls?
We must consider the terrestrials in our midst who seem very extraterrestrial. Mitch McConnell and Marjorie Taylor Greene are in no strict sense earthlings.
And yet not since Michael Rennie’s Klaatu and his all-powerful robot, Gort, landed their flying saucer on the Mall in the 1951 movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still” has the capital been so riveted by the possibility of aliens hovering.
Carbon-based life-forms are eagerly awaiting a report by intelligence officials about aerial phenomena lighting up the skies in recent years, mysterious objects witnessed and recorded by Navy pilots.
After reading The New York Times story on what the report will say, Luis Elizondo, who once ran the Pentagon’s secret program on U.F.O.s, tweeted, “If The New York Times reporting is accurate, the objects being witnessed by pilots around the world are far more advanced than any earthly technologies known to our intelligence services.”
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that a government that couldn’t get it together to prevent a primitive mob from attacking the seat of government on Jan. 6 can’t figure out a series of close encounters.
Could it be that we are not the center of the universe? The truth, if it’s out there, certainly isn’t in the report.
As Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper wrote in The Times, intelligence officials said they have found no evidence that the mysterious sightings are alien spacecraft. But they have also found no evidence that they’re not.
(15) THE LEADER. If your eyeballs haven’t been abused enough already, Jon Del Arroz takes his victory lap on Vox Day’s blog: “JDA defeats Worldcon” [Internet Archive link].
… I followed Vox’s lead and decided to fight it with everything I had. We filed suit for defamation and have been engaged in a long court battle for nearly 4 years. Finally, WorldCon opted to settle and wrote me a formal, public apology and gave us financial compensation…
(16) FINE BY FEYNMAN. Priyamvada Natarajan reviews three science books for The New York Review of Books in “All Things Great and Small”.
…Three new books examine our current understanding of matter’s origin and qualities, and chronicle our continuing quest to probe beyond atoms. Neutron Stars: The Quest to Understand the Zombies of the Cosmos by Katia Moskvitch, a science writer, explores recent research into the super-dense remains of stars ten times more massive than our Sun, whose precise material composition has eluded us. The astrophysicist Katie Mack’s The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) shows how the contents of our universe—matter and energy—determine its destiny and, ultimately, its demise. In Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality, the physicist Frank Wilczek, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004, addresses new discoveries that are leading to a reassessment of the atomic hypothesis. He explains how notions of matter have changed over the past decades from “all things are made of atoms” to “all things are made of elementary particles”—the expanding list of which includes quarks, gluons, muons, and the recently discovered Higgs boson….
(17) HISTORIC PLAQUE. Via Alison Scott:
(18) A WHIFF OF THINGTIME. Atlas Obscura traces “How a Giant, Stinky, Delightful Corpse Flower Got to an Abandoned Gas Station” and interviews its keeper.
…Many of us doted on houseplants, but probably not the way that Solomon Leyva did. Leyva lives in Alameda, California, an island just west of Oakland, where he raises and sells cacti, succulents, and rare plants. One of Leyva’s pandemic-era pals was a titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), a gargantuan plant better known as the corpse flower on account of the unmistakably unsavory stench of its blooms. The plant usually shows off like this only once every several years—and when it does, its glorious fringe wilts after just a day or two. So, when Leyva’s titan arum bloomed in May, he lugged it onto a wagon and rolled it to a patch of asphalt in front of an abandoned gas station, so human neighbors could come say hello….
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Omori,” which comes with a spoiler warning, Fandom Games argues that Omori’s creators succeeded in creating one of the most depressing video games ever, with “a fairly simple story that stretched out to 20 hours.”
[Thanks to JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Scott Edelman, Peer, Rich Horton, Patch O’Furr, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]