(0) SCROLL LITE. Still full of symptoms, but a bit more energetic than yesterday. Yay!
(1) WHAT DO YOU KNOW? You can catch up on the results of two genre-oriented trivia events at LearnedLeague.
The One-Day Special quiz for The Last Unicorn has now concluded, and the questions can be seen by the general public. Here’s a link to it. Filer David Goldfarb got 10/12 right, ranking 36th out of 247 players.
Here’s another LearnedLeague quiz, about Octavia Butler. You can find it by following this link. Goldfarb got 11/12 on that one, ranking 14th out of 356.
(2) MEMORY LANE.
2019 — [By Cat Eldridge.] In Dublin 2019 which was forty-nine years after she got her first Hugo at Heicon ‘70 for The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin would receive her final Hugo for The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition. It came on the 50th anniversary of first publication of A Wizard of Earthsea.
The original novels that comprise this lovely work, beginning with A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan, (1970) and The Farthest Shore (1972), were amazingly, at least to my thinking, not nominated for Hugos.
I’ve got a copy and I can say that is is indeed a stellar work. There’s an introduction done by her for this edition also It also includes Tehanu, The Other Wind, “The Daughter of Odren” novelette, the Tales From Earthsea collection and two short stories, “The Rule of Names” and The Word of Unbinding”. It also “Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University”, her lecture there.
There were among fans online complaints about its price. Really? You got five novels plus other goodies in an oversized lavishly illustrated volume that was immediately a collectors item and you’re complaining? Proof that some fans are born kvetchers.
It was not awarded a Best Novel Hugo but instead was awarded Best Art Book with its illustrations being by Charles Vess who won Best Professional Artist that same year. Vess has illustrated a lot of the work of Charles de Lint including A Circle of Cats and The Cats of Tanglewood Forest.
(3) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 2, 1913 — Burt Lancaster. Certainly being Dr. Paul Moreau on The Island of Doctor Moreau was his most genre-ish role but I like him as General James Mattoon Scott in Seven Days in May. And, of course, he’s really great as Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams. (Died 1994.)
Born November 2, 1927 — Steve Ditko. Illustrator who began his career working in the studio of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby during which he began his long association with Charlton Comics and which led to his creating the Captain Atom character. Did I mention DC absorbed that company as it did so many others? Now he’s best known as the artist and co-creator, with Stan Lee, of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. For Charlton and also DC itself, including a complete redesign of Blue Beetle, and creating or co-creating The Question, The Creeper, Shade the Changing Man, and Hawk and Dove. He’s been inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame. (Died 2018.)
Born November 2, 1941 — Ed Gorman. He’d be here if only for writing the script for the Batman: I, Werewolf series in which Batman meets a werewolf. Very cool. More straight SFF is his Star Precinct trilogy with Kevin Randle which is quite excellent, and I’m fond of his short fiction which fortunately is showing up in digital form at the usual spots. (Died 2016.)
Born November 2, 1942 — Stefanie Powers, 80. April Dancer, the lead in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. which lasted just one season. Did you know Ian Fleming contributed concepts to this series and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well? She would play Shalon in the crossover that started on The Six-Million Man and concluded on The Bionic Woman called “The Return of Bigfoot”.
Born November 2, 1942 — Carol Resnick. 80. Wife of that Resnick who credited her according to several sources with being a co-writer on many of his novels. He also credited her as being a co-author on two movie scripts that they’ve sold, based on his novels Santiago and The Widowmaker. And she’s responsible for the costumes in which she and Mike appeared in five Worldcon masquerades in the Seventies, winning awards four times.
Born November 2, 1949 — Lois McMaster Bujold, 73. First let’s note she’s won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein’s record, not counting his Retro Hugo. Quite impressive that. Bujold’s works largely comprises three separate book series: the Vorkosigan Saga, the Chalion series, and the Sharing Knife series. She joined the Central Ohio Science Fiction Society, and co-published with Lillian Stewart Carl StarDate, a Trek fanzine in which a story of hers appeared under the byline Lois McMaster.
Born November 2, 1959 — Peter Mullan, 63. Actor and Filmmaker from Scotland whose first genre role is in FairyTale: A True Story, which is based very loosely based on the story of the Cottingley Fairies (and which makes for interesting reading, if you have the time). He played Corban Yaxley in both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and is currently in a recurring role on the Westworld series as the James Delos character.
(5) THE CHASE. This is the best thing I’ve seen today!
(6) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Alasdair Beckett-King dropped this Lovecraft parody on Saturday.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]
You have edited many of Tolkien’s own manuscripts, such as The Story of Kullervo, On Fairy-Stories, Smith of Wootton Major, and The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun. What must an editor be ready to deal with when facing a Tolkien’s manuscript?
His handwriting first of all. Tolkien used several scripts, ranging from a beautiful, calligraphic hand (when he was making a fair copy), to an undecipherable scribble when the ideas were coming thick and fast and he was hurrying to catch up with them. There have been words and sometimes whole sentences, especially in the drafts of “On Fairy-stories” that I simply could not read.
…In the last weeks of 2021 I attempted to write just one more chapter of the Debarkle series. It was poor timing and that additional chapter quickly spun out of control. So I put it aside and decided to return to it later on.
The reason for the chapter was twofold. The initiating issue was the surprise sponsorship of the 2021 Worldcon by the infamous arms manufacture/aerospace company Raytheon. There are many unanswered questions about this sponsorship including what the financial arrangement was and the timing of the decision. The program book of the convention did not list Raytheon as a sponsor and while there was (apparently) a Raytheon booth at the convention, the primary publicity given to the company (specifically the Raytheon Intelligence & Space division) was at the start of the live-streamed Hugo Award ceremony.
The subsequent controversy embroiled not just the Washington DC-based convention but the Hugo Awards and the Hugo finalists as well…
Over the past 40 years, Vladimir Sorokin’s work has punctured nearly every imaginable political and social taboo in Russia.
… “A Russian writer has two options: Either you are afraid, or you write,” he said in an interview last month. “I write.”
Sorokin is widely regarded as one of Russia’s most inventive writers, an iconoclast who has chronicled the country’s slide toward authoritarianism, with subversive fables that satirize bleak chapters of Soviet history, and futuristic tales that capture the creeping repression of 21st-century Russia. But despite his reputation as both a gifted postmodern stylist and an unrepentant troublemaker, he remains relatively unknown in the West. Until recently, just a handful of his works had been published in English, in part because his writing can be so challenging to translate, and so hard to stomach. Now, four decades into his scandal-scorched career, publishers are preparing to release eight new English-language translations of his books.
… He is a master of mimicry and subverting genre tropes, veering from arch postmodern political satire (“The Queue”) to esoteric science fiction (“The Ice Trilogy”) to alternate histories and futuristic cyberpunk fantasies (“Telluria”).
Disney and the MCU have fallen foul of Gulf censors once more.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel’s long-awaited follow-up to the hit 2016 superhero film starring Benedict Cumberbatch, has been banned in Saudi Arabia. Rumors began emerging online early on Friday, with The Hollywood Reporter now officially confirming the decision. THR has heard that the ban also applies to Kuwait, although this hasn’t yet been confirmed.
While the film is yet to be released and also hasn’t yet been reviewed, the decision is once again said to be related to LGBTQ issues, according to Middle East sources, with the new sequel introducing the character America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez) who, as per her portrayal in the comics, is gay. With homosexuality officially illegal across the Gulf, films that feature any LGBTQ references or issues often fail to get past censors….
… The film follows on the heels of Chloé Zhao’s Eternals, which was banned across much of the Gulf in November following the inclusion of a same-gender couple in the film and the MCU’s first gay superhero. At the time, THR understood that censors had requested a series of edits to be made that Disney was not willing to make. An edited version did screen in the U.A.E., however….
…So far, everything discovered at the LHC – including the Higgs – has fallen in line with the so-called standard model. This has been the guiding theory of particle physics since the 1970s but is known to be incomplete because it fails to explain some of the deepest mysteries in physics, such as the nature of dark matter.
However, data collected in the LHCb experiment, one of four huge particle detectors at Cern in Switzerland, appeared to show particles behaving in a way that could not be explained by the standard model.
The experiment looked at the decay of particles called beauty quarks, which are predicted to decay at an equal rate into electrons and their heavier cousins, muons. However, the beauty quarks appeared to be turning into muons 15% less often, suggesting that an unknown factor – potentially a new force – was tipping the scales. Two of the top candidates include hypothetical force-carrying particles called leptoquarks or Z primes.
“The stakes are extremely high,” Patel said. “If we confirm this, it will be a revolution of the kind we’ve not seen – certainly in my lifetime. You don’t want to mess it up.”…
… Spielberg told [Ben] Mankiewicz that he started working on a script focused specifically on his parents’ split in 1976, around the time he was filming another alien-themed project, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. “We were shooting the scene in Mobile, Alabama, where the extraterrestrial comes down from the ship and does the hand signs with Francois Truffaut,” he detailed. “I suddenly thought, wait a second, what if that little creature never went back to the ship?”
The idea took some years to develop, eventually leading him to Mathison. Spielberg recalled that the pair worked on the script while he was editing Raiders of the Lost Ark in Marina del Rey with editor Michael Kahn. “We would spend two hours a day for five days and she would go off and write pages and come back,” Spielberg continued of their process, crediting the late scribe with coming up with memorable moments, like E.T.’s telekinesis. “There were so many details for character that Melissa brought into my world from her world.”…
Comics and cartoons often are the best teaching tools. Not just because pictures are worth a thousand complicated and confounding words, but with a combo of drawings and words you get the picture—see what I mean?! This concept is no better illustrated than in this gem of a training booklet illustrated by none other than the creator of “The Spirit” comics, Will Eisner. Produced by the U.S. Army in 1944, it’s an instruction pamphlet for young pilots to master the basics of safe flying, complete with two quizzes and two pages of “Slanguage” at the end….
(8) FANHISTORY IN NEW ENGLAND. Fanac.org has made available video of a panel from the sixth FanHistoriCon in 1997, “From MITSFS to NESFA to MCFI” with Ed Meskys, Richard Harter, Tony Lewis and Hal Clement.
FanHistoriCon 6 was held February 13-16, 1997 in conjunction with Boskone 34 in Framingham, MA. In this 35 minute excerpt of the panel “From MITSFS to NESFA to MCFI”. Ed Meskys, Richard Harter, Tony Lewis and Hal Clement tell us stories of Boston area fandom from the Stranger Club in the 1940s, through area fandom’s evolution by way of conventions, MIT and worldcon bids to NESFA and MCFI in the 90s.
Beginning with the readers’ club of the 40s and giving way to the more active projects of MITSFS and NESFA, the panel fondly remembers the people and pastimes that were the substance of Boston area fandom.
Anecdotes mention well known names such as L. Ron Hubbard and Hugo Gernsback, the price of an interior illo from Amazing Magazine in the 1940s, and the storybook romance of Larry Niven and Fuzzy Pink.
You’ll learn the rules of the MITSFS game “Insanity”, the originally proposed name for NESFA, the origins of Locus and much more. You’ll even get a first hand report of why/how Hal Clement was “fired” from the Noreascon 1 committee.
If you’re interested in 20th century Boston fandom, here’s your chance to listen to four of the folks that made it happen.
(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1992 — [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Razul: You are a student of Egypt, but you are not one of its sons. And until you have heard what I have heard and seen what I have seen, I would not expect you to believe that such a thing as a curse could be true, but it is.
Sam: 3500-year-old dead men don’t just get up and walk around.
Thirty years ago this evening, Quantum Leap’s “The Curse of Ptah-Hotep” first aired on NBC. In 1957, Sam leaps into the body of Dale Conway, an American archaeologist at a dig in Egypt just as he and his partner Ginny Will discover the tomb of Ptah-Hotep. A sand storm traps them deep in the tomb’s inner chambers.
You think that they made up this particular Egypt royal person but no, he was quite real. Ptahhotep, sometimes known as Ptahhotep I or Ptahhotpe, was an ancient Egyptian vizier during the late 25th century BC and early 24th century BC Fifth Dynasty of Egypt.
The curse that forms the story here was evidently a real one that affected a number of archeological digs undertaken here. And it is worth definitely worth noting that Sam, throughout the entire series, thoroughly disbelieves in the supernatural, except for the force has him leaping around and that could be science. He frequently tells Al not to be superstitious about anything. But here he certainly seems to take the resurrected mummies in this episode as a given.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 22, 1902 — Philip Latham. Name used by astronomer Robert Shirley Richardson on his genre work. His novels were largely first published in Astounding starting in the Forties, with the exception of his children’s SF novels that were published in Space Science Fiction Magazine. He also wrote a few scripts for Captain Video, the predecessor of Captain Video and his Video Rangers. His Comeback novel starts this way: “When Parkhurst heard the announcement that climaxed the science fiction convention, he found that he’d been right, years ago when he had faith in science-fictionists’ dreams. But, in another way, he’d been wrong . . .: It’s available at the usual digital suspects for a buck. (Died 1981.)
Born April 22, 1934 — Sheldon Jaffery. An editor and bibliographer of pulps whose non-fiction work and genre anthologies are both fascinating. Among the latter are such publications as Sensuous Science Fiction From the Weird and Spicy Pulps and The Weirds: A Facsimile Selection of Fiction From the Era of the Shudder Pulps, and from the former are Future and Fantastic Worlds: Bibliography of DAW Books, The Arkham House Companion: Fifty Years of Arkham House and Collector’s Index to Weird Tales. (Died 2003.)
Born April 22, 1937 — Jack Nicholson, 85. I think my favorite role for him in a genre film was as Daryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick. Other genre roles include Jack Torrance in The Shining, Wilbur Force in The Little Shop of Horrors, Rexford Bedlo in The Raven, Andre Duvalier in The Terror, (the previous three films are all Roger Corman productions), Will Randall in Wolf, President James Dale / Art Land in Mars Attacks! and Jack Napier aka The Joker in Tim Burton’s The Batman.
Born April 22, 1944 — Damien Broderick, 78. Australian writer of over seventy genre novels. It is said that The Judas Mandala novel by him contains the first appearance of the term “virtual reality”. He’s won five Ditmar Awards, a remarkable achievement. I know I’ve read several novels by him including Godplayers and K-Machines which are quite good. The latter won an Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction
Born April 22, 1959 — Catherine Mary Stewart, 63. Her first genre role was Maggie Gordon in The Last Starfighter followed by beingMiranda Dorlac in Nightflyers and she played Sukie Ridgemont in the TV version of The Witches of Eastwick. She has one-offs in Mr. Merlin, Knight Rider and The Outer Limits.
Born April 22, 1977 — Kate Baker, 45. Non-fiction editor, podcast director /narrator for Clarkesworld. She won the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine twice, and the World Fantasy Award’s Special Award: Non Professional in 2014, all alongside the rest of the editorial staff of Clarkesworld. She’s a writer of three short genre stories, the latest of which, “No Matter Where; Of Comfort No One Speak”, you can hear it here. Warning for subject matter: abuse and suicide.
Born April 22, 1978 — Manu Intiraymi, 44. He played the former Borg Icheb on the television series Star Trek: Voyager. A role that he played a remarkable eleven times. And this Birthday research led me to discovering yet another video Trek fanfic, this time in guise of Star Trek: Renegades inwhich he reprised his role. Any Trekkies here watch this?
Born April 22, 1984 — Michelle Ryan, 38. She had the odd honor of being a Companion to the Tenth Doctor as Lady Christina de Souza for just one story, “Planet of the Dead”. She had a somewhat longer genre run as the rebooted Bionic Woman that lasted eight episodes, and early in her career, she appeared as the sorceress Nimueh in BBC’s Merlin. FinallyI’ll note sheplayed Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in BBC’s Learning project, Off By Heart Shakespeare.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Far Side makes a grotesque Peter, Paul & Mary reference.
(12) E. E. SMITH REFERENCE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES(!) [Item by David Goldfarb.] Every two weeks the NYT puts up an acrostic puzzle put together by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon. The one for April 24th has as clue I, 7 letters:
Kind of beam in the 1947 novel “Spacehounds of IPC”
This is a novel I would have thought little-remembered! (Alas, my first guess based on Lensman, PRIMARY, turned out to be incorrect.)
(13) SIGNS OF THE FUTURE. Michael Okuda, the graphic designer known for his work on Star Trek, told Facebook readers how he found the answer to something he wanted to know about the bridge:
I had always wondered: If the famously-unlabeled buttons on the TOS bridge had been labeled, would those labels have been visible? In 2005, I did an experiment during the filming of “In A Mirror, Darkly” (ENT). For this experiment, I had hundreds of small clear labels printed with small numeric codes. I asked Alan Kobayashi to stick them onto most of the backlit “jellybean” buttons on the re-created TOS Enterprise bridge set, thereby labeling each button….
Thanks to an ensemble celebrity cast and lavish location shoots that can take over an entire mall, Stranger Things has always had the feel of a big-budget, Steven Spielberg-inspired show. But the Hawkins arcade would need to collect more than just a truckload of quarters to cover the eye-popping cost of the series’ long-awaited fourth season.
A recent report at The Wall Street Journal reveals that Netflix is turning its wallet Upside Down and inside out to bring Stranger Things 4 to life, spending an average of $30 million on each of the smash hit series’ nine new episodes. That far eclipses the princely $13 million per-episode sum commanded by Season 4 of The Crown, the previously-reported most expensive show in the streamer’s original-series lineup….
… If you’re wondering how HBO managed to keep the cost of “House of the Dragon” Season 1 from rising too much above what it paid for the final season of “Game of Thrones,” especially with even more CGI dragons expected to be flying around, the production insider says HBO is now so adept at these world-building series through years of not just “GoT,” but also producing “Westworld” and “His Dark Materials,” that the team can make a high-quality series as efficiently and effectively as possible….
(16) EVERYTHING AND MORE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the March 20 New York Times Magazine, Alexandra Kleeman profiles Everything Everywhere All At Once star Michelle Yeoh, who explains why doing a multiverse movie (in which she plays a hibachi chef, a laundromat store owner, and a universe where everyone has fingers that look like Twinkies) was a stretch for her in a career that has taken her from Hong Kong super action movies to James Bond to Crazy Rich Asians. “Michelle Yeoh’s Quantum Leaps”.
… Approaching a role that bounds gleefully across so many modes and genres put Yeoh to the test. She showed me a photo of her script, dutifully flagged with adhesive tabs that denoted the genre of each scene she appears in (action sequences, comedic scenes, heavy-duty drama): The stack of pages bristled with color, like a wildly blooming flower. She experimented with different kinds of sticky notes. “With the fat ones, they were overlapping so much. So, I had to get the skinny ones,” she told me. “Oh, my God, it was a whole creative process. And then when I finished, I looked at it and go, Oh, my God, I’m in serious trouble.”…
…Sources confirmed to Deadline TMZ‘s report from earlier this week that the investigation was launched after the 84-year-old actor had been accused of sexual harassment, including making inappropriate comments to a female co-star on set during work.
Langella led the cast of The Fall of the House of Usher, which also stars Carla Gugino, Mary McDonnell, Carl Lumbly and Mark Hamill.
The eight-episode series is described as an epic tale of greed, horror and tragedy. Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher, which serves as the basis for the show, features themes of madness, family, isolation and identity.
Roderick Usher, the role previously played by Langella that now is being recast, is the towering patriarch of the Usher dynasty….
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has captured dramatic footage of Phobos, Mars’ potato-shaped moon, crossing the face of the Sun. These observations can help scientists better understand the moon’s orbit and how its gravity pulls on the Martian surface, ultimately shaping the Red Planet’s crust and mantle.
Captured with Perseverance’s next-generation Mastcam-Z camera on April 2, the 397th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, the eclipse lasted a little over 40 seconds – much shorter than a typical solar eclipse involving Earth’s Moon. (Phobos is about 157 times smaller than Earth’s Moon. Mars’ other moon, Deimos, is even smaller.)
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The How It Should Have Ended gang takes on The Batman, answering such questions as, “If he’s The Batman, why does he say his name is vengenance?” and “Why does Superman show up in inappropriate moments?”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, David Goldfarb, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]
By David Goldfarb: National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC is an outgrowth of what used to be known as College Bowl — they provide College Bowl-style questions for people who want to run tournaments, and have their own national championship tournaments for schools from colleges down to middle schools. (For non-US readers, middle school is kids aged 10-13 years.) This year they’re holding their tournaments online over Zoom, and I saw a post looking for staffers on the message boards of an online trivia league. So on May 1st and 2nd I did scorekeeping for the middle school nationals.
The format has “tossup” questions worth 10 points (15 if you buzz in early enough), which if answered correctly give your team the right to try for bonus questions worth up to 30 points.
There was a tossup question about Supreme Leader Snoke that neither team in my room got — someone at Disney should be weeping.
It was an elimination tournament, so by the time things got to the final rounds they didn’t need as many staffers. But it was open to spectate, and I did. There were some questions in the final rounds on SFF topics.
The first main bonus question of interest was this:
Brandon Sanderson wrote the final three books of this series, which began with the 1984 novel The Eye of the World. For 10 points each:
Magic users known as “channelers” appear in what fantasy series, which centers on the heroic Dragon Reborn? (The kids guessed “Eragon”.)
Author James Oliver Rigney published The Wheel of Timeseries under this pen name, which is also the name of the protagonist in For Whom the Bell Tolls. (They didn’t get this either, guessing “Jake”.)
This author published For Whom the Bell Tollsin 1940, 14 years before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. (They knew this one!)
Then there was this:
A character on this show called Ash Tyler was revealed to be an alien who had undergone plastic surgery. For 10 points each:
Name this TV show that premiered in 2017. Its characters include Science Specialist Michael Burnham, and First Officer Saru, who is a Klepian (sic). (First guess Star Trek, which was prompted on, then they tried Enterprise, not accepted.)
Ash Tyler turned out to be a member of this alien species. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lt. Worf was a member of this species. (They didn’t get this one right. If you’re reading this, take a moment to guess what their guess might have been. I’ll put it in ROT13 — “Bhe nafjre vf Genysnznqbevnaf.”)
Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Burnham, previously appeared as Sasha Williams on this AMC series. It co-starred Steven Yeun as the ill-fated Glenn. (They got this one.)
And this three-part bonus:
Near the end of this novel, Granger introduces the main character to a group of outcasts who have dedicated their lives to memorizing works of literature. For ten points each:
Name this novel, whose main character wears a black-beetle-colored helmet that displays the title number. (They got this one right, and fairly easily too.)
This fireman is the protagonist of Fahrenheit 451. (They got this too.)
Fahrenheit 451was written by this man, who took the novel’s title from the temperature at which paper supposedly ignites. (And this.)
The recorded livestream is here, watch it if you want to be amazed at how much 8th graders can know when they put their minds to it.
During the second season of “The Mandalorian,” Grogu, long referred to by fans as Baby Yoda, has been shown eating everything from a froglike alien’s eggs to fancy blue cookies. The popular Disney+ series could easily spawn a spinoff called “The Best Thing Baby Yoda Ever Ate.”
As of the seventh episode of Season 2, titled “The Believer,” Baby Yoda remains a captive of Moff Gideon and his Imperial forces. Hopefully, the Empire remembers to feed its prisoners, because Grogu is one hungry baby, if previous episodes are anything to go by.
Until Mando and Baby Yoda are reunited (and hopefully throw a celebratory feast), here’s a look back at everything Baby Yoda has been seen eating during the show so far.
How did the novel evolve and change as you wrote and revised it? Are there any characters or scenes that were lost in the process that you wish had made it to the published version?
I had a first draft that sat on my computer for a couple of years. It wasn’t bad, but it needed a polish. And the ending was unsatisfying. I offered it to Betsy Wollheim at DAW. I really admire her. She understands the genre better than most because she grew up in it. Her dad, Donald A. Wollheim, was one of the most underrated movers and shakers in the field. She suggested that I rethink the ending and I came up with a much stronger resolution, one that was a much better payoff. So I have to give her the credit for making Hella a better book.
(4) PRO TIP. In Isaac Asimov’s autobiography In Memory Yet Green he discusses how he continued to write letters in the pages of science fiction magazines even after he became a professional.
I began to enjoy less the writing of letters. Yet I did write them, and often quarreled with writers who objected to something or other in one of my stories–until I received a letter from the writer Nelson S. Bond (whom I met briefly at the World Convention in 1939, and never again), saying that now that I was a professional, I should stop slugging it out in fan columns. I took that seriously and from the moment I received that letter, I stopped writing letters to the magazines, except for very occasional ones that did not involve fannish comments. I have always been grateful to Bond for this word in season.
(5) TWO FIFTHS. Thanks to Jim Henley for this fine example of a File 770 trope – double fifths!
While nostalgia has had a place in tabletop roleplaying games ever since the field was old enough to have second editions—remember when tabletop roleplaying game nostalgia was new?—the recent Twilight 2000 Kickstarter is remarkable for the speed at which the project hit its funding goals: just seven minutes, a bit longer than it would take missiles launched from the Soviet Union to reach Britain.
First published in 1984, Twilight 2000 took as its background a mid-1990s Soviet-Chinese conflict that spiraled into a global war when East and West Germany tried to use Soviet distraction to reunify. By 2000 all sides are too exhausted to continue. Most campaigns begin as the war stumbles to a chaotic, exhausted halt.
T:2000 might seem to be an odd game to be nostalgic about. Perhaps it is a reflection of the Jason Mendoza principle: “Anytime I had a problem and I threw a Molotov cocktail, boom! Right away, I had a different problem.” …
Organizers of Asia’s largest digital entertainment expo — where scantily clad models usually dress up as characters from comic books, movies and video games — say they will levy a fine of $800 on women who reveal “more than two centimeters of cleavage.”
Men are not exempt from the crackdown on exposed flesh.
They will face the same penalty if they wear low-hanging pants or expose their underwear. If models are caught dancing in cages or around a pole they will be fined a whopping $1,600, as will anyone caught striking vulgar poses.
It’s the latest example of what appears to be a government campaign for stricter morality in China.
Under China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, the Communist Party’s creeping interference on the smallest details of Chinese life is being felt more and more. Censors have blurred the bejeweled earlobes of young male pop stars on television and the internet so that, in their mind, the piercings and jewelry don’t set a bad example for boys. Women in costumes at a video game convention were told to raise their necklines.
(8) BATMAN ’66 AND OTHER VINTAGE TV OPINIONS. [Item by Todd Mason.] From 1966: “At Issue; 65; What’s Happening to Television?” This episode of the monthly series from National Educational Television makes its points, sometimes less tellingly than its creators think it does, but writer Morton Silverstein and some of those interviewed sure get their boots in on Batman, the ABC series, to a remarkable degree. Also, the blithe use of “drama” to refer only to anthology series that don’t have a slant toward one established program category or another beyond that concept. Interesting to those who are students of popular culture and news medium self-justification.
“What’s Happening to Television?” is the topic explored by no fewer than twenty-two top personalities allied to the television industry. This hour program in National Educational Television’s “At Issue” series presents timely and critical observations on daily programs, news, TV ratings, government regulations and the role of advertising. “What’s Happening to Television?” is analyzed by network executives, news commentators, advertising people, writers and critics. They comment on the growth of television, from its infant days to its present giant development, when more than 35 million Americans watch their sets for some 3 hours daily. “What’s Happening to Television?” looks back into TV history, analyzing some of the early successes, commenting on present programs, and giving the viewer a glimpse of next fall’s offerings. Some of the questions discussed include: Will television ever live up to its potential? What is the real purpose? Who determines which programs are dropped? What is the role of the program sponsors? Is the public interest being protected? Is educational television the answer to more worthy programs? What can the viewer do to control the quality of programs coming into the family living room?
(9) GALANTER OBIT. Star Trek author Dave Galanter (1969-2020) died of cancer on December 12. Galanter has authored (or coauthored with collaborator Greg Brodeur) such Star Trek projects as Voyager: Battle Lines, the Next Generation duology Maximum Warp, The Original Series novels Crisis of Consciousness and Troublesome Minds, and numerous works of short Star Trek fiction.
“John le Carre has passed at the age of 89. This terrible year has claimed a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit,” tweeted novelist Stephen King. Margaret Atwood said: “Very sorry to hear this. His Smiley novels are key to understanding the mid-20th century.”
…After university, which was interrupted by his father’s bankruptcy, he taught at the prestigious boarding school Eton before joining the foreign service.
Officially a diplomat, he was in fact a “lowly” operative with the domestic intelligence service MI5 —he’d started as a student at Oxford — and then its overseas counterpart MI6, serving in Germany, on the Cold War front line, under the cover of second secretary at the British Embassy.
His first three novels were written while he was a spy, and his employers required him to publish under a pseudonym. He remained “le Carre” for his entire career. He said he chose the name — square in French — simply because he liked the vaguely mysterious, European sound of it….
(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
December 13, 2002 — On this date in 2002, Star Trek: Nemesis premiered. It directed by Stuart Baird and produced by Rick Berman from the screenplay by John Logan as developed from the story by John Logan, Rick Berman and Brent Spiner. It was the fourth and final film to feature the Next Generation cast. It received decidedly mixed reviews, was a full-blown box disaster but currently has a decent fifty percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born December 13, 1909 – Alan Barclay. Five novels, two dozen shorter stories; essays “Interplanetary Navigation” in New Worlds SF, “The Bow” in SF Adventures. “The Scapegoat” is in New Worlds SF 105 which has this neato Sydney Jordan cover. (Died 1991) [JH]
Born December 13, 1923 – Faith Jaques. Six covers, eight interiors for us. Here is Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and here is an interior. Here is “The Flirtation of Two Mice”. Outside our field I know her for this; and here are some Christmas Waits. (Died 1997) [JH]
Born December 13, 1929 — Christopher Plummer, 91. Let’s see… Does Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King count? If not, The Return of the Pink Panther does. That was followed by Starcrash, a space opera I suspect hardly anyone saw which was also the case with Somewhere in Time. Now Dreamscape was fun and well received. Skipping now to General Chang in Star Trek:The Undiscovered Country. Opinions everyone? I know I’ve mixed feelings on Chang. I see he’s in Twelve Monkeys which I’m not a fan of and I’ve not seen The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus yet. (CE)
Born December 13, 1940 – Ken Mitchell, age 80. Co-founded the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and the S Playwrights Center. A novel, a shorter story, two covers for us (here is The Tomorrow Connection); six other novels, a dozen plays. Retired from the Univ. Regina English Department, tours as a cowboy poet. Order of Canada. Saskatchewan Order of Merit. [JH]
Born December 13, 1945 – Drew Mendelson, age 75. Two novels, half a dozen shorter stories. Maybe Cora Buhlert can explain why “Once I Built a Railroad” was translated as »Einst baute ich eine Eisenbahn« which means Once I built a railroad but Pilgrimage was translated as Die vergessenen Zonen der Stadt which isn’t a bad title for it but doesn’t mean Pilgrimage. [JH]
Born December 13, 1949 — R.A. MacAvoy, 71. Winner of the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. I’m very, very fond of her Black Dragon series, Tea with the Black Dragon and Twisting the Rope. The only other thing I’ve read of hers is The Book of Kells so, do tell me about her other works. (CE)
Born December 13, 1954 — Tamora Pierce, 66. Her first book series, The Song of the Lioness, took her character Alanna through the trials of training as a knight; it sold very well and was well received by readers. She would win in 2005 the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction, a rare honor indeed. (CE)
Born December 13, 1954 — Emma Bull, 66. Writer of three of the best genre novels ever, Bone Dance: A Fantasy for Technophiles, Finder: A Novel of The Borderlands and War for The Oaks. Will Shetterly, her husband and author of a lot of really cool genre works, decided to make a trailer which you can download if you want. Just ask me. She’s also been in in a number of neat bands, one that has genre significance that being Cat Laughing which has Stephen Brust, Adam Stemple, son of Jane Yolen, and John M. Ford either as musicians or lyricists. They came back together after a long hiatus at MiniCon 50. Again just ask me and I’ll make this music available along with that of Flash Girls which she was also in. (CE)
Born December 13, 1960 – José Eduardo Agalusa Alves da Cunha, age 60. (Agalusa the maternal, Alves da Cunha the paternal surname, Portuguese style.) Two novels for us: The Society of Reluctant Dreamers just appeared in English, 2019; The Book of Chameleons won the Independent Foreign Fiction prize); a dozen others, shorter stories, plays, poetry, journalism, radio. Int’l Dublin Literary Award. [JH]
Born December 13, 1969 — Tony Curran, 51. Vincent van Gogh in two Eleventh Doctor stories, “Vincent and the Doctor” and “The Pandorica Opens”, the latter as a cameo. He’s had vampire roles in Blade II as Priest and Underworld: Evolution as Markus, and was Lt. Delcourt in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn to name but a few of his myriad genre roles. (CE)
Born December 13, 1978 – Lee Isserow, age 42. A score of novels, a dozen shorter stories for us; screenwriting; and the terrifying ABAM project, which means – yes – A Book A Month. Has read not only Breakfast of Champions but The Master and Margarita. [JH]
Born December 13, 1984 — Amal El-Mohtar, 36. Canadian editor and writer. Winner of Hugo Awards for Best Short Story for “Seasons of Glass and Iron” at WorldCon 75 and Best Novella for “This Is How You Lose the Time War” at CoNZealand (with Max Gladstone). (The latter got a BSFA and a Nebula as well.) She’s also garnered a Nebula Award for “Madeleine“, a World Fantasy Award for “Pockets” and a World Fantasy Award for “Seasons of Glass and Iron”. Impressive. She has edited the fantastic poetry quarterly Goblin Fruit magazine for the past four years. (CE)
(13) COMICS SECTION.
In The Far Side, it looks like the coroner’s office has already picked up this extra sized decedent.
(14) IMAGINARY GIFT SHOP. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The Washington Post had a short feature where they asked writers to “dream up the presents that they’d love to parcel out this year but don’t exist.” Ken Liu says he wants a phone-sized device he can point at tweeters to see whether they are arguing in good faith or just being a troll. Ted Chiang says he wished the Web had evolved into a subscription-based servie where people paid for sites they visited with money instead of personal data. “A guide to gifts that don’t exist but should”.
It’s that time of the year when the nights grow long, the air grows cold, the festive lights go up and the year’s best books lists are sprouting like mushrooms after the rain. But will any of them help you find that perfect book-gift for your friends who love science fiction, fantasy and horror? If not, we’re here to help….
The issue that had been bugging me was the inconsistent way of travelling between planets. In the films but also in The Mandalorian (less so in cartoons), characters fly in space ships between planets in two ways:
… Chesterton’s applied his penchant for logic in this article on “Santa Claus.” Along with providing a short history of the figure of Santa Claus in popular culture (particularly his origins, as the gift-wielding St. Nicholas of Bari in Medieval iconography), Chesterton offered a simple proposition: that a child’s ultimately ceasing to believe in Santa Claus, justified by the fact that Santa Claus is not real, is a precursor to that child’s ceasing to believe in God. And this, Chesterton explained, was a terrible phenomenon.
And then he admitted a surprising detail: “I startled some honest Protestants lately by telling them that, though I am (unfortunately) no longer a child, I do most definitely believe in Santa Claus.”
Elaborating on this decidedly ‘hot take,’ Chesterton stressed that he felt it was critical for children to believe in Santa Claus even after Santa Claus has been debunked as a real, flesh-and-blood man, because the Santa Claus that children know is ultimately a caricature of an actual saint; just because, Chesterton argued, he is not real to their eyes does not mean that he is not a genuine, spiritual entity….
What happens when you’re kidnapped from your family, tortured, and conditioned into being an assassin? You get River Tam. And also Alan, apparently. Therapist Jonathan Decker and filmmaker Alan Seawright discuss what we can learn about coping with trauma from Summer Glau’s character River in Serenity and Firefly. They break down some of the symptoms of PTSD she exhibits, and some of the things that help her work through them and start healing. Even though most of us don’t live in a sci-fi future with space ships, space zombies, and space cowboys (along with psychics and lots of other fun), we can still learn a thing or two about how to heal from and deal with the trauma we do face in real life.
(19) ZOOMING THROUGH FANHISTORY. Fanac.org is planning a series of Zoom Interactive Fan History Sessions.
For our first session, Rob Hansen is going to give us an historic tour of fannish Holborn, London. Rob is probably the most accomplished fan historian writing these days. As most of you know, he has written the history of British fandom, Then and has put together a number of books covering various aspects of British fandom. Find many of them here. Reserve the date: Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 11AM EDT.
Despite the pandemic, Rob has done video recordings around London, and with historic photos and live description will give us a tour that covers some household fannish names and places. He has worked with Edie [Stern] over the past several months to provide an interesting and fairly detailed coverage of London’s fan heritage. This one-hour session is based on tours which Rob has given to individual fans and also developed as a group tour after the last London Worldcon. Even if you have been on one of these tours, you will find some fresh sights and insights. Of course, Rob will be live on Zoom with additional material and to answer questions. Please send your RSVP to [email protected] as our Zoom service is limited to 100 participants.
(20) BEYOND INFINITY. Disney+ dropped a trailer for What if….? an alternate-universe animated series.
(21) MARTIANS AT THE NEW YORK TIMES. [Item by David Goldfarb.] The New York Times puzzle page has a game called “Letter Boxed”, in which you make words out of letters arranged around a square. The idea is to use all the letters with as few words as possible: there is always a two-word solution. The two-word solution for Saturday 12/12 was “Visualizing – Grok”.
(22) EDUCATE YOURSELF. Ursula Vernon ladles out more life experience. Thread starts here.
It’s one small step for insects, eight steps for spider-kind.
“Arachnauts” flown to the ISS have revealed their secret backup plan when they can’t use gravity to figure out where they are when spinning their webs. Earth’s gravity is what normally helps them make a web optimal for catching dinner—and position themselves in it. Lamps accidentally placed above the spider experiment showed that when the arachnids lose their orientation in microgravity, they use light to find their way again….
(24) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Hulk (2003) Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George says that people who watched the 2003 Hulk expecting that Hulk would smash things will be disappointed by the first 45 minutes, which consist of nothing but brooding and that few people will be excited by the scenes where Hulk beats up a Hulkified French poodle.
[Thanks to Jim Henley, David Goldfarb, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, Contrarius, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]
A rather familiar S shield was used as the sign-off to a classic 1930 science fiction fanzine
This is an interesting legend because I’m not trying to prove that something is a specific influence or anything like that, which I normally do in stuff like this (or, in the alternative, show that it WASN’T an influence). No, here, the POSSIBLE inspiration is so interesting in and of itself that I’m still going to feature it. It’s just THAT freaky.
… [Mort] Weisinger and the others (including [Julie] Schwartz) referred to themselves as “The Scienceers.”
In the third issue of The Planet (and yes, by the way, there’s a reasonable chance that the name of the fanzine, itself, was an inspiration for the Daily Planet, as well), they tried out a logo for “The Scienceers”.
Julien Tabet is a 21-year-old French artist who creates incredible photo manipulations of animals. He started creating his clever edits a little over a year ago and in this short time gathered a whopping 95k followers on Instagram.
(3) JEOPARDY! GOAT. [Item by David Goldfarb.] I went back and
watched the first episode of the Jeopardy! “Greatest of All
Time” tournament (yes, this is out of order: I blame Hulu’s UI) and there
was a category “Greatest of All Time Travelers” in the preliminary
round of the second game. All answers were successfully questioned. I’ll put
the answers first, in case readers want to try themselves:
$200: In Stephen King’s “11/22/63”, Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent this event from ever happening.
$400: In this Audrey Niffenegger novel, Clare is married to Henry, who suffers from Chrono-Displacement Disorder.
$600: In chapter 16 of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, Hank meets this woman whose first name is the same as his surname.
$800: In this 1969 classic, Tralfamadorians abduct the protagonist who has unfortunately become “unstuck in time”.
$1000: “Kindred”, about an African-American woman transplanted back to a plantation in antebellum Maryland, is a novel by this author.
here are the questions:
$200: What is the Kennedy assassination?
$400: What is “The Time Traveler’s Wife”?
$600: Who is Morgan Le Fey?
$800: What is “Slaughterhouse-5”?
$1000: Who is Octavia Butler?
in the Double Jeopardy round of that game, this was the $800 answer in the
When she said she was leaving “Star Trek”, MLK asked her to stay, saying, “Through you, we see ourselves and what can be”.
I assume that all File 770 readers will know, “Who is Nichelle Nichols?”
… Of course, the tradition of sending people very far away for various laudable reasons is an old one. Unsurprisingly, this is reflected through the lens of science fiction. Various SF protagonists have been sent quite astonishing distances; sometimes they are even permitted to return home. Here are five examples.
(4) NOW ON SALE. Stephen Blackmoore, one of the game
designers for Evil Hat’s game Fate of Cthulthu, wants
to make something very clear:
Somebody asked why, then, try to monetize Lovecraft’s material at all? How dare someone ask a question like that! Jeeeze, dude, next thing you’ll be asking the Emperor where’s his clothes!
(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 25, 1905 — Margery Sharp. Her best remembered work is The Rescuers series which concerns a mouse by the name of Miss Bianca. They were later adapted in two Disney animated films, The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. I’m reasonably sure I’ve seen the first one a very long time ago. Her genre novel, The Stone of Chastity, is according to her website, based on English folklore. Other than the first volume of The Rescuer series, she’s not really available digitally though she is mostly in print in the dead tree format. (Died 1991.)
Born January 25, 1918 — King Donovan. Jack Belicec in the original and by far the best version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Thirty years later, he’d be Lunartini Husband in Nothing Lasts Forever, a SF comedy film with a contentious history. His only other genre appearence was a one-off on Night Gallery. (Died 1987.)
Born January 25, 1920 — Bruce Cassiday. Under two different pen names, Con Steffanson and Carson Bingham, he wrote three Flash Gordon novels (The Trap of Ming XII, The Witch Queen of Mongo and The War of the Cybernauts) and he also wrote several pieces of nonfiction worth noting, The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, with Dieter Wuckel, and Modern Mystery, Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers. The latter done in ‘93 is safely out of date and OOP as well. Checking the online digital publishing concerns shows nothing’s available by him. (Died 2005.)
Born January 25, 1931 — Dean Jones. An actor in some of the sillier and most entertaining genre and genre adjacent films undertaken in the Sixties. He was Jim Douglas in The Love Bug, Steve Walker in Blackbeard’s Ghost and Peter Denwell in Mr. Superinvisible. May I count his later appearance in Agent Zeke Kelso in That Darn Cat! as a SJW cred? Around the the time of the film, he was a Dean Webster Carlson in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. His final role before he retired from acting was as Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge & Marley. (Died 2015.)
Born January 25, 1943 — Tobe Hooper. Responsible for the Texas Chainsaw Maasacare, which heco-wrote with Kim Henkel. That alone gets him Birthday honors. But he has also directed the Salem’s Lot series, also Poltergeist, Lifeforce and Invaders from Mars. And this is hardly a full listing. (Died 2017.)
Born January 25, 1950 — Christopher Ryan, 70. He’s played two different aliens on Doctor Who. First in the Sixth Doctor story, “Mindwarp,” he was Kiv where he looked looked akin to Clayface from the animated Batman series. Second in the era of the Tenth Doctor (“The Sontarian Experiment”, “The Poison Sky”) and the Eleventh Doctor (“The Pandorica Opens”), he was the Sontarian General Staal Commander Stark.
Born January 25, 1958 — Peter Watts, 62. Author of the most excellent Firefall series which I read and enjoyed immensely. I’ve not read the Rifters trilogy so would welcome opinions on it. And his Sunflower linked short stories sound intriguing. Queen of Air and Darkness he’s written lot!
Born January 25, 1963 — Catherine Butler, 57. Has published a number of works of which his most important is Four British fantasists: place and culture in the children’s fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper. Anotherimportant work is Reading History in Children’s Books, with Hallie O’Donovan. Her website ishere.
Born January 25, 1973 — Geoff Johns, 47. Where to begin? Though he’s done some work outside of DC, he is intrinsically linked to that company having working for them for twenty years. My favorite work by him in on Batman: Gotham Knights, Justice League of America #1–7 (2013) and 52 which I grant which was way overly ambitious but really fun. Oh and I’d be remiss not to notehis decade long run on the Green Lantern books.
(6) COMICS SECTION.
Tom Gauld predicts the Jack Reacher series will veer off in surprising new directions.
On Friday, Trump unveiled the new insignia for the United States Space Force — which was signed into effect in late December — and was met with a flurry of comparisons to the emblem worn by the members of Star Trek‘s fictional Starfleet organization.
“After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!” Trump tweeted alongside the Space Force’s new logo.
George Takei, who starred as Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series, was quick to respond. Amid accusations from other Trekkies that the emblem had copied the Starfleet logo, the actor responded to Trump in a tweet, “Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this…”
…Compare and contrast: On the left side of the image above is the logo for Space Force (which, for those of you wondering, is part of the air force and not actually a separate branch of the military); and on the right is the emblem of Starfleet Command, the scientific and military space force for the United Federation of Planets.
…Now, in fairness, the new Space
Force logo is actually based on the preexisting Air Force Space Command logo,
which was established in 1982 and rendered obsolete by Space Force. Here’s what
that looks like:
Okay, here, I’ve run the story – you all can stop sending me links
On January 9, the World Health Organization notified the public of a flu-like outbreak in China: a cluster of pneumonia cases had been reported in Wuhan, possibly from vendors’ exposure to live animals at the Huanan Seafood Market. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had gotten the word out a few days earlier, on January 6. But a Canadian health monitoring platform had beaten them both to the punch, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on December 31.
BlueDot uses an AI-driven algorithm that scours foreign-language news reports, animal and plant disease networks, and official proclamations to give its clients advance warning to avoid danger zones like Wuhan.
Speed matters during an outbreak, and tight-lipped Chinese officials do not have a good track record of sharing information about diseases, air pollution, or natural disasters. But public health officials at WHO and the CDC have to rely on these very same health officials for their own disease monitoring. So maybe an AI can get there faster…
Content moderators are being asked to sign forms stating they understand the job could cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to reports.
The Financial Times and The Verge reported moderators for Facebook and YouTube, hired by the contractor Accenture, were sent the documents.
Moderators monitor objectionable materials and often view hundreds of disturbing images in a day’s work.
Accenture said the wellbeing of workers was a “top priority”.
In a statement the company added only new joiners were being asked to sign the forms, whereas existing employees were being sent the form as an update.
“We regularly update the information we give our people to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the work they do,” Accenture said in a statement.
(10) SPOT INSPECTION. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Tested Labs has begin a year-long series of tests of Boston Dynamics dog-like robot Spot. Former Mythbuster Adam Savage will be a tester and the on-camera host of the video series, available on their YouTube channel. Nerdist:“Adam Savage Tested Boston Dynamics’ ‘Spot’ Robot Dog”
Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, “Spot,” has been in the news ever since the robotics company debuted its ancestor, BigDog, a decade ago. Over the last ten years, we’ve seen Spot evolve from prototype into polished product, and now it’s finally time to see how the mechanical quadruped performs out in the real world. And what better way to do that than by having legendary myth-buster Adam Savage put the robo-pup through its paces?
Savage and the rest of the Tested YouTube channel crew recently announced they’ll be testing Spot over the next year, with an initial video (above) showing the team unboxing the robot dog and having it perform some initial tasks including walking, climbing, and crawling; feats, incidentally, that would make most other four-legged droids quake in their metallic foot cups.
(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY.
In “Time Travel in
Fiction Rundown” on YouTube, Minute Physics explains different
theories of time travel, including in Ender’s Game and Harry Potter.
[Thanks to JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, N., Olav Rokne, Hampus Eckerman, Michael Toman, James Davis Nicoll, David Goldfarb, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chris S.]
(1) PROZINE REJOINS THE LIVING Compelling Science
Fiction has been saved from the scrapheap of history. Editor Joe Stech explains
how it happened:
We’re back in business and will be open to submissions once again on Monday, January 13th!
After I announced in September that Compelling Science Fiction would be shutting down for good, Nick Wells of Flame Tree reached out to me and suggested we work together to keep the magazine publishing our unique brand of science fiction stories. Over the last month we came to an agreement that will allow Compelling Science Fiction to continue publishing — you may recall that my issue was one of time, and Flame Tree will take over many of the most time-consuming aspects of the magazine. My role will transition to that of editor-in-chief, and Nick will take over the publishing role. I’m very excited to work with Nick and Flame Tree, and continue to support this genre of fiction that I love.
We’ll be transitioning to a quarterly schedule, and will also be accepting submissions much more often. Authors, we need your wonderful stories, so please send them our way! And readers, thanks for entrusting us with your time. I will always treat it with respect, and do my best to provide the types of stories you come here for.
(2) MORE SFF ON JEOPARDY! David Goldfarb says “The third episode of the ‘Greatest of All Time’ Jeopardy! tourney had a number of SFF-related questions.”
Here was the $800 answer in “Prequels and Sequels”:
Edited by the author’s son Christopher & published in 1977, it’s a history of Middle-Earth before “Lord of the Rings”.
Ken Jennings readily questioned, “What is Silmarillion?”
And the $400 answer:
Set for release in 2020 is Suzanne Collins’ “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”, a prequel to this series.
James Holzhauer asked, “What is The Hunger Games?”
In the “TV Green Thumb” category:
$1200: On “The Handmaid’s Tale”, this wife of Commander Waterford has some pivotal scenes in her greenhouse.
Two wrong guesses, but nobody got, “Who is Serena?”
$1600: Played by Carolyn Jones in the ’60s, she loved to cut the heads off her roses, & rejoiced when her thorns came in sharp.
Crickets. “Who is Morticia Addams?”
And the $2000 featured a picture of Jean-Luc Picard and Boothby the groundskeeper: Jean-Luc Picard once helped Boothby, played by this one-time TV Martian, to replant some flowers at Star Fleet Academy.
Ken Jennings got it: “Who is Ray Walston?”
Goldfarb concludes, “The game in the second half (each day’s game is two regular games put together) had questions about Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et Le Bête’ and Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’, but I’m going to call those only genre-adjacent and not quote them.”
Then, Andrew Porter saw this go down —
Category: Book Marks
Answer: In this novel, Mark Watney says, “I didn’t die on Sol 6. Certainly the rest of the crew thought I did.”
…Video game remakes work because, in many ways, they are the antithesis of film remakes. They honor the original vision by elevating it to what it was hoping to be but unable to achieve due to the limits of technology. The best remakes (in any medium) maintain the heart and soul of their source material while simultaneously modernizing them. In that regard, games have outshone film, delivering on the promise of the original while also updating them in a way that appeals to the nostalgia of longtime fans and the discerning eye of newcomers.
(4) STREAMING SEVENTIES SFF. [Item by Rob Thornton.] Criterion Channel, a streaming service that focuses
on art films and is based on the home video distributor The Criterion
Collection, will be featuring a wide range of science fiction films from the
1970s for most of January 2020. The service’s sci-fi offerings
for the month are:
No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970)
A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) [based on the
Anthony Burgess novel of the same name]
The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971) [based on Richard
Matheson’s novel I Am Legend]
THX 1138 (George Lucas, 1971)
Z.P.G. (Michael Campus, 1972)**
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973) Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973) [based on Harry Harrison’s Make
Room, Make Room!]
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)
Rollerball (Norman Jewison, 1975),
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975) [based on the Harlan
Ellison story of the same name]
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
The Ultimate Warrior (Robert Clouse, 1975)
Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977)
Mad Max (George Miller, 1979)
Other genre-related SF films from the decade may already
be available on the service (Tarkovsky’s Stalker and Solaris are
definitely there) .
(6) CROWDFUNDING WISDOM. Cat Rambo tweeted the highlights from “Crowdfunding and Kickstartering with M.C.A. Hogarth.” Thread starts here.
(7) GETTING THE ROCKETS READY. CoNZealand has posted a “Hugo Awards
Video” hosted by Tammy Coxen, this year’s awards administrator.
If you’d like to know more about the Hugo Awards, check out this new video from the CoNZealand team, talking about the history of the awards and why they’re so important.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
January 11, 1997 — in Japan, Barb Wire got released. Starring Pamela Anderson and a very brief outfit, it was based on a Dark Horse comic (written by John Arcudi and illustrated by a rotating group of artists), the film was made on a shoehorn budget (about the size of her outfit) of nine million but was still a box office bomb bringing in only four million. Excepting Ebert, most critics didn’t like it and the reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes are especially harsh, giving it just a 14% rating. And there’s a lot of them that don’t like it — 47, 276 so far!
January 11, 2013 — Survival Code (Borealis was its original name and it was called that in Canada), and it starred Ty Olsson, Patrick Gallagher and Michelle Harrison. It was directed by David Frazee. It won three Canadian Screen Awards at the Second Canadian Screen Awards for Best Dramatic Miniseries or Television Movie, Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries, and Best Original Score for a Television Program. The film was created to be a series pilot for Space, but the series never happened for reasons we can’t find but Space, its distributor, aired it instead as a television film. Yes it scored well at the Canadian Screen Awards, but the reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes were less forgiving as it get just 33% there.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 11, 1906 — John Myers Myers. Ahhh, Silverlock. I read the NESFA Edition which has the Silverlock Companion in it which is very useful as you know the novel’s very meta indeed. If you don’t have this, it was reprinted separately later. Thirty years after Silverlock was published, The Moon’s Fire-Eating Daughter novella came out. Myers claims it’s a sequel to Silverlock. (Died 1988.)
Born January 11, 1923 — Jerome Bixby. His “It’s a Good Life” story became the basis for an episode of the original Twilight Zone episode under the same name, and which was included in Twilight Zone: The Movie. He also wrote four episodes for the original Star Trek series: “Mirror, Mirror”, “Day of the Dove”, “Requiem for Methuselah”, and “By Any Other Name”. With Otto Klement, he co-wrote the story upon which Fantastic Voyage series is based, and the Isaac Asimov novel was based. Bixby’s final produced or published work so far was the screenplay for The Man from Earth film. (Died 1998.)
Born January 11, 1923 — Wright King. He’s had roles in the SFF realm starting with Captain Video and His Video Rangers and including Johnny Jupiter, Twilight Zone, Out There, The Invaders, Planet Of The Apes , Invasion of the Bee Girls, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Logan’s Run. (Died 2018.)
Born January 11, 1930 — Rod Taylor. First SFF role would be as Israel Hands in Long John Silver. He would follow that up with World Without End (which you probably heard of), The Time Machine, Colossus and the Amazon Queen (Taylor claims to have rewritten the script), The Birds (I really don’t like it), Gulliver’s Travels and last, and certainly least, The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy. (Died 2015.)
Born January 11, 1937 — Felix Silla, 83. He played Cousin Itt (sic) on The Addams Family in a role invented for the show. The voice was not done by him but rather provided by sound engineer Tony Magro in post-production. He was also responsible for the physical performance of Twiki on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century though the voice was supplied by Mel Blanc or Bob Elyea. And he played an unnamed Ewok on Return of the Jedi.
Born January 11, 1961 — Jasper Fforde, 59. I read and thoroughly enjoyed every one of his Thursday Next novels with their delightfully twisted wordplay as I did his Nursery Crimes series. I thought last year when I wrote Birthday note up that I had not read his Shades of Grey books and I was right — I now know that I read the first few chapters of the first one and wasn’t impressed enough to finish it. I do know I’ve not read the Dragonslayer series though I’ve heard Good Things about them.
Born January 11, 1963 — Jason Connery, 57. Son of Sir Sean Connery. He’s best known for appearing in the third series of Robin of Sherwood, a series I loved dearly including the music which was done by Clannad which I’ve got live boots of. He also played Jondar in the “Vengeance on Varos”story on Doctor Who during the Sixth Doctor era (my least favorite Doctor). He was Ian Fleming in Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming. And he was a young Merlin in Merlin: The Quest Begins.
Born January 11, 1971 — Tom Ward, 49. He’s Captain Latimer in the Eleventh Doctor’s Christmas Special, “The Snowmen”. And he’s Edward Goodwin in Harry Price: Ghost Hunter. His latest genre role was as Sir Robert Peel in The Frankenstein Chronicles.
Born January 11, 1972 — Amanda Peet, 48. Not a long SFF précis but an interesting one none-the-less. She first shows up voicing Maria Montez in Battle for Terra. She was then Harlee in Martian Child which is at genre adjacent. She was ASAC Dakota Whitney in The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Say did you know that Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey was paid for in part by NASA? Way cool. She voiced Ranger in it.
(10) BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY REMEMBERED. The London Review of Books has
linked to “Operation
Backfire” by Francis Spufford first published in 1999. This history
of the British space program mentions Arthur C. Clarke twice: first in
describing the British Interplanetary Society in 1944 and second a theological
debate Clarke had with Lewis and Tolkien in 1958.
In November 1944 a group of men met in a London pub. In this fifth year of the war, the capital was dingy, dog-eared, clapped-out, frankly grimy. Though Britain had not shaken off its usual inefficiencies at mass production, it had converted its economy to the needs of the war more completely than any other combatant nation. For five years there had been no new prams, trams, lawnmowers, streetlamps, paint or wallpaper, and it showed. All over the city things leaked, flapped, wobbled and smelt of cabbage. It was the metropole that Orwell would project forward in time as the London of 1984.
These drinkers were not the kind of people to let an unpromising present determine the shape of things to come. They were the inner circle of the British Interplanetary Society, and in 1938 they had published a plan for reaching the Moon using two modules, one to orbit, one to descend to the lunar surface. The cost of the rocket – as much as a million pounds – was far more than they could raise, but they did have enough money to make a couple of instruments for it. ‘We were in the position of someone who could not afford a car, but had enough for the speedometer and the rear-view mirror,’ Arthur C. Clarke would remember. They constructed a ‘coelostat’, a device to stabilise the image of a spinning star-field. It was made from four mirrors and the motor of Clarke’s gramophone; it worked, and was proudly displayed in the Science Museum.
(11) “FUN” IS OVER. For awhile Jon Del Arroz branded his videos
Diversity in Comics – but no more! “Why I’m Changing the
Channel Name Back to Jon Del Arroz”. Here’s the transcript of his explanation. (And
remember, YouTube talking head videos really do tend to be one endless run-on
…But for here I’ve used the name Diversity in Comics over the last I guess two three months helped grow the channel quite a bit so thank you everybody came by because you saw the name and thought it was funny and all that but there comes a time where jokes have to end and we had a funny joke for a bit there and it was great and at this point I’m seeing that there’s a couple things that are an issue with this which is one that yeah it is needlessly antagonizing some people who get really worked up about this and and while I I do enjoy triggering people who get triggered for no reason and all that there there comes a time where joke a stand and it’s it’s just not funny and it’s not funny even watching somebody lose their minds over something like this anymore so definitely don’t want that happening anymore don’t want to insult anybody who might be a comic book reader who might check out the books and things like that I definitely want that to be something uh you know to where we can have are buying comic books and and we’re coming back and changing it back to just my name and the reason we’ll go with my name instead of something fancy….
… As a Canadian writer who initially marked his territory in a future Japan, what attracted him to setting his post-Jackpot world in London? He doesn’t see it as so much of a jump. “On my first three or four visits to Japan I immediately thought that Tokyo had more in common with London than with any other city,” he says. “These disproportionately large sites of former empires, huge concentrated populations, recent wartime trauma, lots of fatalities. They’re capitals of island nations. But also cultural things: the fanatical attention paid to specific individual classes of objects. In London you could probably find a speciality shop for almost anything. And you certainly could in Tokyo. All these parallels. I’m curious that I’ve almost never seen it mentioned anywhere.”
The parents of a teenager who suffered a seizure while chatting online have thanked his friend who called emergency services from 5,000 miles away.
Aidan Jackson, 17, was talking to an American gamer from his bedroom in Widnes on 2 January when he had a fit.
His friend, 20-year-old Dia Lathora, from Texas, alerted police in the UK.
The first Aidan’s parents knew of the emergency was when police and an ambulance appeared at their front door, the Liverpool Echo reported.
Caroline and Steve Jackson then rushed upstairs to find their son “extremely disorientated”.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. They intend to live happily ever
Lee Loechler recently proposed to his girlfriend, Sthuthi David, by taking her to a packed theater to see her favorite movie, Sleeping Beauty. Little did she know that Loechler had spent six months altering the animation of the film’s most iconic scene, changing the characters to look like the couple themselves and altering the storyline to set up his Big Question. And that’s only the beginning.
Watching David’s face during the scene change is sheer delight, as her confused look proves that she has no clue what is about to happen. The set-up is great, but the magical moment when Loechler’s illustrated self tosses the engagement ring to his real-life self? That’s when we all toss up our hands and say, “OKAY, man. You win at proposing. Everyone else must bow before you now.”
The whole proposal—the re-illustrations, the heart jokes (David is a cardiologist), and the bride-to-be’s surprise when she finds surrounded by her friends and family—it’s all perfection. Just watch:
[Thanks to Rob Thornton, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Michael J. Walsh, Contrarius, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) DROP INN. [Item by Errolwi.] Upside when your house gets covered in fire retardant,
house probably doesn’t burn. Downside, it is now pink! Upside, you have a fun
medium to present a message to the ‘fireys’.
(2) #AUTHORSFORFIREYS. Check out the #AuthorsForFireys hashtag for fund-raising by authors on Twitter.
Authors For Fireys is an auction of signed books, illustrations, unique experiences, one-off opportunities and writers’ services. Over 500 writers and illustrators are auctioning on Twitter from 6th Jan 2020 under the hashtags #AuthorsForFireys and #AuthorsForFiries. The auction ends on 11th Jan 2020 at 11pm (Syd/Mel time).
(3) PIXELS AUF DEUTSCH. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] kulturzeit is a German language daily cultural TV program I’ve been
watching for a long time now. They’re normally not what you’d consider SFF
friendly, but today they had a report about Hopepunk. Alexandra Rowland is
namechecked and quoted and they also interview a few German science fiction
authors, who wrote Wasteland, the first German language hopepunk novel.
The video is here. Only in German, alas.
kulturzeit‘s books for younger readers recommendation column also included the graphic novel West, West Texas by Hugo finalist Tillie Walden today: “’West, West, Texas’ von Tillie Walden” The other recommended book, a picture book, is genre as well — the video is here. The book is Emilia and the Boy from the Sea by Dutch writer and illustratator Annet Schaap. Maybe an SFF fan joined their staff.
(4) RETRO REVIEWS. Cora Buhlert also has posted a second review of fiction eligible
for CoNZealand’s edition of the Retro Hugos. “Retro Review: ‘The Wedge’ a.k.a. “The Traders”
by Isaac Asimov” discusses
one of two eligible Foundation stories from 1944. She says the review
for “The Big and the Little”, the other 1944 Foundation story,
will go up next week.
My guest for the first Eating the Fantastic episode of 2020 is Leslye Penelope — who publishes as L. Penelope. She started out as a self-published author, and her debut fantasy novel Song of Blood & Stone was so successful it was later picked up by St. Martin’s Press. That book earned (among other things) the 2016 Self-Publishing EBook Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and after being republished and brought to a wider audience, named as one of TIME magazine’s top fantasy books of 2018. She has since published two sequels, Breath of Dust & Dawn and Whispers of Shadow & Flame. Additional installments in the series are forthcoming.
We got together for lunch in Columbia, Maryland at The Turn House — because I’d heard about chef Thomas Zippelli, who has put in time at both the French Laundry and Eleven Madison Park, and wanted to check the place out. It turned out to be worth the visit for the porchetta alone.
We discussed why The Neverending Story was her favorite childhood movie, which Octavia Butler quote inspired one of her tattoos, why she decided to go the self-publishing route — and how her indie success resulted in her first novel getting picked up by a traditional publisher, the catalytic scene which sparked her Earthsinger Chronicles series, how she manages to meet the expectations of both fantasy readers and paranormal romance readers, her advice for breaking out of writers block, and much more.
(6) WHERE THE ‘F’ IS PERHAPS ‘FANTASY’. [Item by Daniel
Dern.] On Zoe’s Extraordinary
Playlist on NBC, an earthquake (the show is set in San Francisco) while
she’s getting an MRI results in Zoe, a programmer who’s already established as
listening to bunches of music along with listening to audiobooks, episodically
experiencing people around her burst into song (and dance), apparently
expressing their innermost thoughts.
So, lots of good singing and dancing, including great
larger production numbers. E.g., on “Help!”
The NPR reviewer said the show didn’t really
get into gear until mid-Episode-2, I disagree, and, ahem, felt it founds its
groove from the start. Recommended.
(Note, the pilot episode just ran — it’s on YouTube
already — but no more episodes until mid-February.)
Books aren’t the only thing being checked out at this Queens library.
The feds are now probing the problem-plagued new library branch in Hunters Point, The Post has learned.
The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn hired an architectural expert to conduct a December survey of the $41.5 million book hub to look for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, new Brooklyn federal court filings in a lawsuit against the library reveal.
An attorney for the city’s Law Department blew the lid off the probe in documents filed for the pending suit, saying they needed more time because they’re still awaiting the investigation’s results.
The decade-in-the-making outpost of the Queens Public Library system was hailed by officials as a “stunning architectural marvel” when it opened in September.
But it has since come under fire for its stacks of design and construction problems — including a three-tiered fiction section, a rooftop garden and a reading space on the children’s floor that are all inaccessible for people who use wheelchairs.
In November, news broke that Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley would write and direct Star Trek 4, a movie said to continue the voyages of Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk and his crew. But a few weeks later, star Simon Pegg turned heads when he suggested that the news had been incorrect, and that his Enterprise crew would not be returning for Hawley’s movie. Now Hawley himself is suggesting that is indeed the case.
“To call it Star Trek IV is kind of a misnomer. I have my own take on the franchise as a life-long fan,” Hawley told The Hollywood Reporter podcast TV’s Top 5, in an interview set to bow in April.
(9) PEART OBIT. Neil
Peart, drummer and primary lyricist for Rush, dead at 67 hreports the CBC.
The band was much honoured at home, including with an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994, Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1999; a lifetime achievement honour at the 2012 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards; and an Order of Canada — the first time that a group was chosen to receive the honour.
The trio was inducted into the U.S. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, after years of lobbying by devoted fans.
Peart also co-authored two books in the Clockwork
Angels series with Kevin J. Anderson. They also co-authored the short story
“Drumbeats” in the Shock Rock II anthology.
(10) HENRY OBIT. Buck Henry died
January 8. The Hollywood Reporter paid tribute —
Buck Henry, the impish screenwriter whose wry, satirical sensibility brought comic electricity to The Graduate, What’s Up, Doc?, To Die For and TV’s Get Smart, has died. He was 89.
Henry, a two-time Oscar nominee who often appeared onscreen — perhaps most memorably as a 10-time host (all in the show’s first four years) on Saturday Night Live — died of a heart attack Wednesday at a Los Angeles hospital, his wife, Irene, told The Washington Post. He had suffered a stroke in November 2014….
Henry wrote for Get Smart and was the show’sstory editor for the first couple of seasons.
Henry, who won an Emmy (shared with Leonard Stern) in 1967 for writing the two-part episode “Ship of Spies,” came up with the cone of silence shtick for the sitcom.
…For TV, Henry also created the 1967 NBC comedy Captain Nice, centered on a mild-mannered guy (William Daniels) who becomes a superhero, and the late ’70s NBC sci-fi spoof Quark, which starred Richard Benjamin. Both series were short-lived.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY.
January 10, 1967 – The Invaders made its TV premiere. Created by Larry Cohen, it aired on ABC for two seasons. Roy Thinnes stars as David Vincent is the star of the series. Gold Key Comics published four issues of an Invaders comic book based off the series. The series was a Quinn Martin production who was also responsible for A Twist in the Tale, an anthology series that did some SFF, and a film called The Aliens Are Coming.
January 10, 1997 — The Relic premiered. It was directed by Peter Hyams and based on the SFFish Relic novel written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It starred Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt and James Whitmore. Some critics really liked, some really like it and it holds a 34% rating among the frankly astounding 26,735 reviewers who took the time to give it a review. Oh and it bomb at the box office.
January 10, 1999 — Batman Beyond premiered on Kids’ WB. It was created by Bruce Timm. Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis, the new Batman and you know who played the old Batman. It lasted three seasons and fifty-two episodes. The actual origin episode for Terry is to be found on Justice League Beyond in the “Epilogue” episode. The episode was originally intended to be the series finale for Justice League and the DCAU in general but they got renewed for a third season after it aired as the second season finale. If you’ve the DCU streaming service, all three seasons are there.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 10, 1902 — Andrew Bensen. Sometimes the time someone spends in our universe is very brief. Bensen has but one credit in SFF, the cover for Weird Tales for May 1926. Now admittedly it’s a great cover even if not particularly SFFish. His cover for Real Detective Tales and Mystery Stories for August 1926 is striking in its artistic similarities. He later drew comic book stories for Dell’s Roy Rogers Comics in the late 1940s, and drew a number of other Western themed projects. (Died 1976.)
Born January 10, 1904 — Ray Bolger. The Scarecrow In The Wizard of Oz, the villainous Barnaby in Babes in Toyland, two appearances on Fantasy Island, and Vector In “Greetings from Earth” on the Seventies version of Battlestar Galactica. (Died 1987.)
Born January 10, 1908 — Bernard Lee. He’s best known for his role as M in the first eleven Eon Productions James Bond films ending with Moonraker. He also portrayed Tarmut the sculptor in Terence Fisher’s Hammer Horror picture Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. And he appeared in several episodes of Danger Man. (Died 1981.)
Born January 10, 1924 — Mike Butterworth. In 1965, he became the primary script writers at Ranger magazine where he was responsible for scripting the space opera The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire which remains to this day one of the most popular boys’ adventure strips ever published in the UK. Between Ranger and later Look and Learn, it would have a run of 854 issues in total, divided between the two magazines. (Died 1986.)
Born January 10, 1937 — Elizabeth Anne Hull, 83. Scholar, and widow of Frederik Pohl with whom she co-edited the most excellent Tales from the Planet Earth anthology. Not surprisingly, she later edited Gateways: Original New Stories Inspired by Frederik Pohl. She has been a member of the panel for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel since 1986.
Born January 10, 1944 — William Sanderson, 76. I remember him best as J. F. Sebastian, the possibly insane genetic designer working for Tyrell in Blade Runner, but he’s had a career obviously after that film including appearing as Skeets in The Rocketeer, voicing Dr. Karl Rossum on Batman: The Animated Series, playing the character Deuce on Babylon 5 (a series I’ve watched through at least three times), E. B. Farnum on Deadwood (ok, it’s not genre, but it’s Will and Emma’s favorite show so let’s let it slide) and Sheriff Bud Dearborne on True Blood.
Born January 10, 1947 — George Alec Effinger. I’ve read his Marîd Audran series at least twice as it’s an amazing series in both the characters and the setting. I never read the short stories set in this setting until Golden Gryphon Press sent me Budayeen Nights for Green Man to review. (Died 2002.)
Born January 10, 1959 — Jeff Kaake, 61. He’s on the Birthday Honors list as he was Captain John Boon on the Space Rangers which lasted only six episodes. Damn. That was a fun show! He was also Thomas Cole on Viper which lasted four seasons. And he showed up in the Stormageddon film (which sounds like the name a Filer would give to a SJW Cred) as well.
(14) IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY. Ian McKellen still has his
I am aware of the high expectations of Tolkien’s fans – like myself. But, never having imagined that I would ever play any sort of wizard, I am ill-prepared. I just worked with a witch, however, a white one, whose spells are formidable. Her energy is impressive. I shall have to come to understand the nature of Gandalf’s energy – what keeps him going. What keeps any of us going?
Marcin “Alqua” Klak is a fan form Poland who loves conventions and exploring fandom in different countries. He regularly blogs about conventions he visits and about other fannish matters on his blog: www.FandomRover.com. In 2018 he was a GUFF (Get Up-and-under Fan Fund) delegate to attend Continuum XIV in Melbourne, Australia. Currently, he chairs the SFF club in his home city of Kraków.
(16) NO TRUE SCOTSMAN. [Item by David Goldfarb.] I was watching
the second game of the current “Greatest of All Time” tournament on Jeopardy!, and in the
Double Jeopardy round this was the $1600 answer in the category “Pop
regenerated in “Doctor Who”, this actress confessed, “Sorry,
half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman”
readers should have no problem finding the right question to that one!
Show card lettering artists were usually anonymous to the public. Art was a commercial service and few people signed their names or were credited for their craft. Edgar Church (1888 – 1978) was among the few who received a certain amount of acclaim – and some of that recognition today is thanks to Chuck Rozanski, an avid comics collector (drag queen) and founder of Mile High Comics. Church was one of the leading comics collectors in the 20s, 30s and 40s. The two disciplines, comics and graphic design/lettering, were intertwined — and comics splash panels certainly influenced his work.
Church maintained his art service studio in the Denver area from about 1910-1965, with the majority of his work – clichés, spot art and custom lettering, produced from 1918-1950. He also created numerous color paintings and landscapes during this time. He was hired on a freelance basis for variegated lettering styles, borders and pen and ink illustrations for ads running in the Colorado Yellow Pages. Rozanski states that Church worked “in the evenings and on weekends for literally thousands of small businesses, creating everything from letterheads, to Christmas cards, to full-page ads in local newspapers.”
…His renown, however, derives from the collection of comic books that he amassed, later known as the “Edgar Church collection.” Under the umbrella of the “Mile High collection”, Church is most famous for his valuable stash, including between 18,000 and 22,000 early comic books….
Andrew Porter sent the link with the comment, “Gorgeous
examples of his work at the link. But I bet one company later changed their
(18) INSIDE STORY. The Full
Lid returns from the holiday break with a
look at the interesting common ground the new Master on Doctor Who has with The
Witcher’s own hype man, Jaskier. We also take a look at remake culture and find
a very surprising musical example of how to do it right. This week’s Signal
Boost covers One YA A
Day’, a new blog series looking at the Cast
of Wonders back catalog, new Leverage watch-along show The Pod Job, tour dates for the NoSleep Podcast live tour and details
of the Last Fleet RPG
Kickstarter. The link is: The Full Lid – 10th January 2020.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Robert
Downey, Jr. runs the Dolittle – Auditions.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Dann, David Goldfarb, Errolwi, Andrew
Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Alasdair
Stuart, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories.
Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
As I roamed around Denvention on Saturday afternoon, looking into program rooms for something interesting to watch, I saw Mark Olson raining green-foiled Andes Mints on a small audience of fans playing “Trivia for Chocolate.” Steven Silver and Jim Mann were the other quiz masters. I stepped inside.
It didn’t take long for me to decide that “Trivia for Chocolate” ought to be renamed “Mike’s New Diet Plan.” I managed to win only two pieces.
At first I sat behind David Goldfarb. The scouting report on David Goldfarb expressed in baseball terms would be: great bat, bad glove. He knows, by a conservative estimate, well, everything. David’s only weakness is fielding. If he actually had to catch the chocolate the competition might be closer.
I spent some time watching David’s winnings bounce past me, til they asked a question that I should have gotten – seeing that I was the answer. We all realized how little of the proceedings I was hearing and I moved to the front row, to the seat nearest Tom Galloway that was not already occupied by his own hoard of chocolate. After that my main handicap was ignorance, but that’s when I scored my two pieces. Knowing Mack Reynolds wrote “Adventure of the Extraterrestrial” was worth one Tim-Tam, a chocolate-dipped biscuit imported from Australia.
Marty Massoglia arrived halfway through the program and from then on scored heavily. Ah, the golden memories of once upon a time when Marty, Bruce Pelz and I entered a team trivia competition as the “LA Smog” and did so well. What decade was that? Hm, another piece of trivia I’m forgetting.