(1) ARISIA CHAIR TURNOVER. The acting Arisia 2023 convention chairs Alan and Michelle Wexelblat have resigned. Melissa Kaplan has stepped up as acting con chair in their place. The Arisia board says “details of the handoff and relevant ongoing efforts at Arisia will be forthcoming after the holiday break.”
(2) UNCLE HUGO’S / UNCLE EDGAR’S GET THEIR NAMES OUT FRONT. Don Blyly says, “The new awnings were installed last Friday afternoon, making it much easier to find the new location for the first time.” Until then, his bookstores’ new location still had the previous tenant’s name out front.
(3) SUSPECT IN WOOSTER DEATH. Martin Morse Wooster was killed by a hit-and-run driver on November 12, however, his name did not appear in news reports until yesterday on WAVY in an update that says Virginia State Police have identified a suspect.
…State Police had said it was looking for witnesses who may have been driving in the area around Bypass Road prior to or after the incident.
Sgt. Michelle Anaya with the Virginia State Police said it has identified a suspect, and it is investigating and working with the Commonwealth’s Attorney. The incident, she said, is still under investigation, with charges pending….
(4) A GHOSTLY REALITY. Cora Buhlert’s new “Non-Fiction Spotlight” introduces readers to “A Haunted History of Invisible Women – True Stories of America’s Ghosts by Leanna Renee Hieber and Andrea Janes”.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Leanna: I’ve been writing since I was a kid and didn’t consider pursuing it professionally until my first job out of college. I had gotten a BFA in theatre performance with a focus study in the Victorian Era. I worked in the professional regional theatre circuit for a few years before moving to New York City and ended up at a Broadway callback where all I could think about was the book that would end up becoming my debut Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy series, Strangely Beautiful. I stopped auditioning and solely focused on my novel about a girl who sees, talks with, and helps ghosts. Spectral subjects have been part of my creative process since childhood. I got my NYC tour guide’s license my first years in New York as I knew I wanted to incorporate real history into my fiction and eventually write non-fiction. Being a tour guide is a great way to make history second-nature. I feel like A Haunted History of Invisible Women is the culmination of everything that’s ever been important to me.
Andrea: I’m a writer and a New York City tour guide. I founded my own walking tour company, Boroughs of the Dead, in 2013….
(5) BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP. Sarah A. Hoyt offers some practical encouragement to writers in “The Best Beginning” at Mad Genius Club.
The best beginning is the one you can do.
This applies both to the beginning of novels, and “simply” to starting to write, or to establishing a writing schedule.
There are all sorts of books and instructions on how to start any of those, but what they leave out is: just begin any way you can. The rest will follow.
With novels, there are all kinds of ways to begin, including setting the tone of the book in the first paragraph. The theme in the first page. Make sure you start with the character who is central to the conflict, because readers are like ducklings, they imprint on the first moving thing they see.
However, you can always fix it in post. You can always go back and fix that beginning so it points the right way. You can lose the first fifty pages (beginning writers consistently start fifty pages too early.) Etc….
(6) PICARDO ASKS DOCTOR WHO WHO IS THE DOCTOR. But he is one only in an emergency, right?
(7) NEW ORLEANS IS HIS BEAT. Rich Horton lets us look over his shoulder in “Convention Report: World Fantasy 2022”; from Strange at Ecbatan.
…Mary Ann and I had decided to use Sunday afternoon to visit the French Quarter. We took the streetcar down there — it’s very easy and convenient. We were going to get lunch and I was determined to get a muffeletta, which is one of my favorite sandwiches. I wanted an authentic muffuletta from New Orleans — which I got at Frank’s, which advertised the “original muffuletta”. Alas, it might be the original, and it was fine, but you can get one just as good at, for example, C. J. Mugg’s in my town of Webster Groves. We should have eaten at the French Market Restaurant instead! We also, of course, went to Cafe du Monde to try beignets, and, hey, they were actually very good. (The line was long but went quickly.)…
(8) THE TRISOLARIANS ARE COMING. ScreenRant publicizes the release date for Bilibili’s animated adaptation of The Three-Body Problem. Beware spoilers.
The award-winning science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem has been adapted into an anime series by the Chinese online video and anime platform Bilibili, and the first episode is set to premiere on December 3, 2022.
…Normally, an adaptation is a testament to the popularity of the work in the public’s mind. This is particularly so with The Three-Body Problem. In addition to Bilibili, two other powerful film and television operations, namely Netflix and the Chinese tech giant Tencent have also produced their own live-action adaptations of the story. Fittingly, the world-famous story has its own version of the three-body problem….
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1986 — [By Cat Eldridge.] Peter S. Beagle’s The Folk of The Air
So let’s talk about one of the underappreciated novels by Mister Beagle, The Folk of The Air which was published thirty-six years ago by del Rey / Ballantine in hardcover.
It had a long, long gestation period as it took nearly twenty years from the time he started work on it until the time the final version was done.
SPOILERS ARE HERE NOW. I SUGGEST MULLED WINE WOULD BE APPROPRIATE TO DRINK WHILE I DISCUSS THIS NOVEL?
Joe Farrell, a musician who’s whiled away most of his post-college time in a sort of hippie style, travelling the country and avoiding any possibility of settling down, has returned at last to his Bay Area hometown of Avicenna, Beagle’s fictional version of Oakland.
Everything has changed — his closest friend is living with a woman who has immense magical powers in a house that keeps changing itself; another acquaintance is involved up with the League of Archaic Pleasures, a group that has taken to itself the events and manners of medieval chivalry, sometimes way, way too seriously; and he sees a teenage witch successfully summon back a centuries-old demon.
That Demon could tear asunder all that exists now and only his closest friend’s girlfriend can stop him but she’s gone walkout into a room in their house that nobody can find.
DID YOU LIKE THE MULLED WINE? I THINK THAT IT IS MOST EXCELLENT.
I think it’s a most splendid novel, though Peter has reservations about it as he told me once that he considered revising it. He never said what about it that he’d change, just that he thought it could use some more work. Even SFReviews.net reported that saying “Beagle has never been fully satisfied with The Folk of the Air, and is currently reported to be working on a revision to be retitled Avicenna.” Mind you his Editor and closest friend tells me that she never heard of this existing either.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born November 23, 1908 — Nelson S. Bond. Writer, Editor, Critic, and Member of First Fandom who also wrote for radio, television, and the stage, but whose published fiction work was mainly in the pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. He’s remembered today mainly for his Lancelot Biggs series and for his Meg the Priestess tales, which introduced one of the first strong female characters in SF back in 1939. As a fan, he attended the very first Worldcon, and he famously advised Isaac Asimov, who kept arguing with fans about his works in the letter columns of magazines, “You’re a writer now, Isaac. Let the readers have their opinions.” He was named a Nebula Author Emeritus by SFWA in 1998. (Died 2006.) (JJ)
- Born November 23, 1951 — David Rappaport. I remember him best as Randall, the leader of the gang of comically inept dwarves in Time Bandits who steal the map to the Universe. I’m reasonably sure that it’s the only thing he’ll be remembered for of a genre nature having looked up his other works and found them to be decidedly minor in nature. Most of them such as The Bride, a low budget horror film, were artistic and commercial disasters. It is said that his death by suicide in 1990 is one of the reasons cited by Gilliam for there not being a sequel to Time Bandits. Well, now there is as Apple TB with the cooperation of Gilliam, there will Time Bandits series that Taika Waititi will co-write with Gilliam and direct, since it’ll shield in New Zealand. (Died 1990.)
- Born November 23, 1966 — Michelle Gomez, 56. Best known genre role is Missy, a female version of The Master on Doctor Who from 2014 to 2017, for which she was nominated for the 2016 BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress. I admit having grown up with Roger Delgado as The Master so later performers playing this role took a bit of getting used but she made a fine one. She is also Mary Wardwell in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. She plays Talia Bauerin in Highlander: The Raven which apparently is a very short-live spinoff from the Highlander series. And she shows up in the Gotham series for two episodes simply as The Lady. She is now playing Madame Rouge on the Doom Patrol.
- Born November 23, 1992 — Miley Cyrus. She’s had three genre appearances, each ten years apart. She was in Big Fish as the eight-year-old Ruthie, she was the voice of Penny in Bolt and she voiced Mainframe on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And there’s the matter of A Very Murray Christmas which is at least genre adjacent…
(11) SEEN THIS IN YOUR DICTIONARY? FilmSchoolRejects introduces a video about “The Existential Comforts of Cyberpunk”.
…There isn’t a succinct definition of cyberpunk. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1960s and the New Wave sci-fi movement, with writers like J.G. Ballard, William Gibson, and Harlan Ellison. As a sci-fi sub-genre, cyberpunk is keenly interested in speculative technology and urban dystopias; which together provide fertile breeding grounds for vice, drugs, nefarious corporations, corruption, and social upheaval.
…I can think of a lot of ways to describe how cyberpunk worlds make me feel (sad, artificial, and lonely spring to mind). But “comforting” isn’t one of them. The following video essay argues that, if you tilt your head the right way, cyberpunk cities offer a kind of relief. Somewhere, on the other side of all that existential anxiety and angst … there’s a sense of bliss and relief. Amidst all the urban bustle and the sea of cables, you don’t mean a thing. Thank god….
(12) FAKING IT IS MAKING IT. Is artificial intelligence equal to the challenge of writing about Timothy the Talking Cat? Find out in Camestros Felapton’s post “AI-generated writing”.
…I’ve experimented with MidJourney to make images but how is the world of AI-generated text going? I’m trying out the LEX, a cross between a Google docs wordprocessor and an AI text generator….
(13) FIRST FIVE. Joe Stech of Compelling Science Fiction is ready to tell you his picks for the top science fiction short stories published in August.
These are the top 5 out of the 26 stories I read. August was a lighter month than July because some of the bimonthlies aren’t out in August…
“Polly and (Not) Charles Conquer the Solar System” by Carrie Vaughn is the winner.
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. While Camille DeAngelis was in LA for a screening of Bones and All, the film adaptation of her vegan subtext cannibal novel, she and Henry Lien made this video about why they love being vegan and how Henry has a magical fridge: “Henry Lien and the Narnia Fridge”.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Patrick McGuire, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]