(1) WORLDS OF IF REVIVAL. The title that won three straight Hugos in the Sixties under the editorship of Frederik Pohl, Worlds of If, then folded in 1974, is making a comeback here.
The classic science fiction magazine Worlds of IF will live again starting February 2024. The magazine will be relaunched with Justin Sloane of Starship Sloane as editor-in-chief and publisher, Jean-Paul L. Garnier of Space Cowboy Books filling the role of deputy-editor-in-chief, and Dr. Daniel Pomarède as science editor. The inaugural issue will be available both in print and free download PDF, with works from multiple generations of SFF authors, artists, and poets. Leading up to the release, the website will feature teasers including interviews with notable SFF authors and fans, audio adaptations of classic tales from the original IF, and articles about SFF and beyond. In the tradition of IF, the editors plan on experimenting with new forms and styles of SF, showcasing new authors, interacting with fandom, and bringing fun and weird science fiction to readers.
Visit Starship Sloane Publishing’s homesite for a free webzine reissue of the April 1955 Worlds of IF, featuring novelettes by James E. Gunn and Fox B. Holden, with a short story by Philip K. Dick. Learn more and find bonus content here.
(2) TOLKIEN STUDIES NEWS. David Bratman of Tolkien Studies today announced his co-editor, Verlyn Flieger, is ending her run with the journal. Her place will be taken by Yvette Kisor, Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
After 22 years as co-Editor of Tolkien Studies, Verlyn Flieger will be retiring to take up the position of Editor Emerita. One of the co-founders of the journal, Verlyn has co-edited 20 volumes of the journal. Highlights include editing previously unknown material by Tolkien, some of his scholarly works that had become very difficult to access, and many of the most insightful and original articles published on Tolkien in the past two decades. It is impossible to list even a fraction of the contributions Verlyn has made to every single aspect of the journal’s operations, so we are reduced to saying the obvious: without Verlyn, there would be no Tolkien Studies. We will miss her terribly (though we expect to be drawing upon her wisdom on a regular basis). Volume 20, to be published later this year, will be the last issue she will have co-edited.
Tolkien Studies is delighted to announce that, beginning with Volume 21, Yvette Kisor, Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey, will be taking up the position of co-Editor. The co-editor of Tolkien and Alterity, Yvette is well known to the international community of Tolkien scholars both for her publications on Tolkien, including “‘The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun’: Sexuality, Imagery, and Desire in Tolkien’s Works,” in Tolkien Studies 18 (2021), and her work organizing the influential “Tolkien at Kalamazoo” sessions at the International Congresses on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University. A medievalist by training, Prof. Kisor has also published extensively on Old and Middle English literature. We are extremely pleased that she will be joining the journal’s editorial team.
(3) UNCANNY HUGO ACCEPTANCE SPEECH. Best Semiprozine Hugo winner Uncanny Magazine hasposted the video with the team’s acceptance remarks.
(4) ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDALS LONGLISTS. The Longlist for 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction is now available on the awards’ website.
Forty-five books (21 fiction, 24 nonfiction) have been selected for the longlist for the 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. The list is now available on the awards’ website. The six-title shortlist—three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals—will be chosen from longlist titles and announced on November 14, 2023. The two medal winners will be announced by 2024 selection committee chair Aryssa Damron at the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Book and Media Awards livestreaming event, held during LibLearnX in Baltimore on Saturday, January 20, at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. A celebratory event, including presentations by the winners and a featured speaker, will take place in June 2024 at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference in San Diego.
The fiction longlist contains the following works of genre interest. Several are novels, while others are story collections in which one or more of the stories have a genre component.
- Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Chain-Gang All-Stars (Pantheon)
- Blaché, Sin and Helen Macdonald. Prophet (Grove)
- Brinkley, Jamel. Witness (Farrar)
- Huang, S. L. The Water Outlaws (Tordotcom)
- Labatut, Benjamin. The MANIAC (Penguin)
- Norris, Kelsey. House Gone Quiet (Scribner)
- Qian, Cleo. Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go (Tin House)
(5) ASKING FOR FLASH FICTION NEBULA. A letter being circulated for signatures calls for SFWA to create a Nebula Award for Flash Fiction. The letter says in part:
… Flash fiction, short-short fiction, drabbles, dribbles, and other forms of very short prose stories have long had a place in genre fiction. Over the years, there have been many respected genre publications devoted exclusively to flash, while other publications recognize it as a distinct category. Despite this, works of flash rarely appear on the SFWA Nebula final ballot, and even fewer works of this length have won.
We do not think this is because SFWA members do not appreciate or enjoy flash fiction or other forms of very short fiction. Rather, it is likely because the strategies and techniques of flash often differ from those used in short stories, which makes it difficult to compare them to these longer works. In particular, flash as a form encourages experimentation, and pieces of flash fiction are more likely to include unusual narrative structures and points of view, to blend elements of poetry and prose, or to otherwise approach storytelling differently than longer works of fiction.
Indeed, in early 2022 the SFWA membership recognized the value of flash fiction and its presence in the genre community by passing two rules changes to the membership qualification criteria that removed the minimum word count for joining as an associate or full member….
(6) SIDEWISE AWARD PRESENTATION. [Item by Steven H Silver.] The Sidewise Awards will be presented this Friday, October 27 at 12:30 CDT (UTC-5) at the World Fantasy Con in Kansas City, Missouri.
The presentation will be made by judges Eileen Gunn and Steven H Silver in the Chicago A Room.
Finalists who will not be in attendance can appoint a designated acceptor or e-mail an acceptance speech to Steven H Silver at [email protected].
(7) NANANA NONOMO HEY HEY. Cass Morris’ latest newsletter is full of advice about “Worldbuilding for NaNoWriMo: Preptober Edition”.
What do you need to get started?
A perennial question for the worldbuilding writer: How much do you need to do before you actually start drafting?
The answer varies by writer, of course. Some of us compile chonky world bibles before setting down a word; some of us start with the plot and fill the world in as we go. For me it’s usually somewhere in the middle. The dolls and the dollhouse tend to come at least a bit at the same time.
The answer can also vary by project. Some may need more scaffolding before you can set to work. That may be dictated by how near or far your speculative world is from the “real world,” or by how much research you need to do.
When it comes to Nano, though, it can help to target your worldbuilding to the sort of story you think you’re working on. Me, I gravitate towards political plots, so I can’t really get started until I know a lot of details about what sort of government a world has, how it functions, and what factions are at play. If you’re doing a tightly-focused fantasy of manners, however, that might be something you can handwave….
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 23, 1880 — Una O’Connor. Actress who appeared in the 1930s The Invisible Man as Jenny Hall. She had a bit part in Bride of Frankenstein, and a supporting role in the genre The Adventures of Robin Hood. Though not even genre adjacent, she was Mrs. Peters in the film adaptation of the quite excellent Graham Greene’s Stamboul. Great novel, I’ll need to see if I can find this film. She’s in The Canterville Ghost, and shows up twice in TV’s Tales of Tomorrow anthology series. (Died 1959.)
- Born October 23, 1918 — James Daly. He was Mr. Flint in Trek‘s most excellent “Requiem for Methuselah” episode. He also showed up on The Twilight Zone, Mission:Impossible and The Invaders. He was Honorious in The Planet of The Apes, and Dr. Redding in The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler.
- Born October 23, 1935 — Bruce Mars, 87. He was on Trek three times, one uncredited, with his best remembered being in the most excellent Shore Leave episode as Finnegan, the man Kirk fights with. He also had one-offs in The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of The Sea, and Mission: Impossible. He is now Brother Paramananda with the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles which he joined shortly after ending his acting career in 1969.
- Born October 23, 1942 — Michael Crichton. An impressive number of Hugos, both winners and nominations. The Andromeda Strain nominated at L.A. Con, Westworld at Discon II and the Jurassic Park film would win a Hugo at ConAndian. I’m very fond of the original Westworld film, not at all enamored of anything that has followed. Same holds for The Andromeda Strain film which I think is a perfect adaptation of his novel unlike the latter series that trashes the novel. (Died 2008.)
- Born October 23, 1948 — Brian Catling. Author of The Vorrh trilogy whose first novel, The Vorrh, has an introduction by Alan Moore. Writing was just one facet of his work life as he was a sculptor, poet, novelist, film maker and performance. And artist. Impressively he held Professor of Fine Art at the [John] Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford and was a fellow of Linacre College. Yeah that John Ruskin. (Died 2022.)
- Born October 23, 1953 — Ira Steven Behr, 70. Best remembered for his work on the Trek franchise, particularly Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which is still my favorite Trek though Strange Worlds has its charms, on which he served as showrunner and executive producer. As writer and or producer, he has been in involved in Beyond Reality, Dark Angel, The Twilight Zone, The 4400, Alphas, and Outlander.
- Born October 23, 1969 — Trudy Canavan, 54. Australian writer who’s won two Ditmars for her Thief’s Magic and A Room for Improvement novels and two Aurealis Awards as well, one for her “Whispers of the Mist Children” short story, and one for The Magician’s Apprentice novel. It’s worth noting that she’s picked up two Ditmar nominations for her artwork as well.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Shoe contains a horrible, horrible, genre-adjacent pun. Did I mention it’s horrible?
- Tom Gauld’s pick is probably number one in its own obscure Amazon category.
(10) MYTHING ANSWERS. The Scots Magazine invites you to take the “Scottish Myths And Folklore Quiz”. Flying absolutely blind I scored 7 out of 10. All those fantasy book blurbs I’ve read must have helped.
Do you know the name of the Loch Ness Monster’s cousin, who is said to live in Loch Morar? Or which season, Beira, who washes her clothes in the Corryvreckan whirlpool, represents?
There’s so much more to learn about Scotland’s strange and mystical past….
(11) MONSTER MAVEN. The Hollywood Heritage Museum presents “Jack Pierce: Hollywood’s Greatest Monster Maker” on October 25. Tickets for this in-person event are available at the link.
Please join us on Wednesday, October 25th at 7:30PM as we kick off the 2023-24 season of our Evening @ The Barn series with a very special Halloween edition!
In this exclusive multimedia event, the career of Jack Pierce, legendary makeup department head at Universal Pictures from 1928-1947, will be explored in depth. Unquestionably, Pierce was responsible for many of cinema’s most memorable screen characters, including The Frankenstein Monster, The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and The Phantom of the Opera, during that seminal period in horror films. Videos, photos, and unique, rarely seen elements will be critical aspects of this two-hour presentation hosted by author and historian Scott Essman. Additionally, special guests and surprises are in store for attendees!
Free parking is available in Hollywood Bowl Lot “D” which is directly adjacent to the museum.
In case you’ve never heard of the Hollywood Heritage Museum before:
The Hollywood Heritage Museum is a must-visit for cinema enthusiasts. It is located in the oldest surviving motion picture studio in Hollywood. Here, you can learn about the history of the studio and how it played a crucial role in the birth of Paramount Pictures Corporation in 1916. The first feature length film was produced here in 1912 by Jesse L. Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille. This 1901 barn turned studio was designated California State Historic Landmark No. 554 in 1956.
(12) SPIELBERG Q&A. SYFY Wire speaks to the director about Laurent Bouzereau’s new book in “Spielberg: The First Ten Years Excerpt Reveals E.T. Secrets”.
Last fall, Neil DeGrasse Tyson made the claim that E.T., the lovable cosmic visitor, “was a sentient plant” during a guest appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. When asked how he came by this strange piece of information, DeGrasse Tyson simply replied: “Steven Spielberg told me in my office.” He didn’t elaborate any further than that, but we now know he wasn’t just blowing smoke.
The legendary director confirms the titular alien of his 1982 coming-of-age classic (now streaming on Peacock) is “more like a plant or a vegetable” in the pages of Laurent Bouzereau’s new book — Spielberg: The First Ten Years.
Bouzereau is, perhaps, one of the few people alive who could actually pull off something like this. After all, he’s spent decades cultivating a close professional relationship with the celebrated storyteller while serving as director on the numerous behind-the-scenes documentaries found on the home release editions of Spielberg’s own movies.
Hitting stands tomorrow, Tuesday, October 24, from Insight Editions, Spielberg: The First Ten Years features exhaustive and must-read interviews centered around the productions of Duel, The Sugarland Express, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, of course, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial….
What other references did you study?
I wanted E.T. to give the impression of a thousand-year old wizened life form. Carlo took directions the same way an actor would — but it’s of course really the actor who creates the performance, and in that sense, it’s really Carlo Rambaldi who created E.T. I also remember saying to Carlo that E.T. should kind of waddle when he walks like Chaplin with his cane, that he should look like Bambi on ice. When E.T. starts to walk on Earth, he is ungainly, and he is insecure. Several times in the movie, we showed how awkward E.T. is and how funny he is when he falls over…
(13) WHAT CATS THINK. This book trailed for The Adventures of Trim series is pretty cute – probably because several cats are interviewed on camera.
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Please Don’t Destroy: “Bad Bunny Is Shrek” on Saturday Night Live.
Three guys listen to Bad Bunny’s idea for a script.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, Lynne M. Thomas, Daniel Dern, John-Paul L. Garnier, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]