Pixel Scroll 1/17/24 Send Pixels, Scrolls And Files, The Fifth Has Hit The Fan

(1) SEATTLE 2025 WORLDCON MEMBERSHIP RATES RISE TOMORROW. At least for a few more hours the cost of a WSFS Membership + Attending Membership Supplement for an adult over the age of 25 is $175. The other permutations are explained at the Memberships – Seattle Worldcon 2025 page.

Mark Roth-Whitworth sent a few editorial comments along with the foregoing reminder:

I just got our memberships for Seattle in ’25. Ouch. This far out, $175 each, and I think it goes up after tomorrow.

Was the same demographic going as did back in the Sixties and Seventies, it would be a *lot* smaller. Most of us were working class. Hell, my late wife and I together maybe made the median income, or maybe just under. In 1993 it would have been hard to pay for this.

Forget the graying of fandom, how about the economic stratification of fandom? Where are the folks who are making a living working construction, or flipping burgers, or barista, or drive a cab, or working in a thousand other jobs that we need, but make crap wages? Or people on SSI or other welfare?

I know I ghosted a con or two in my mid-twenties, when I just did not have the money. I don’t know a lot of folks who go to other than their local cons, and work them to afford it.

Have we become elite?

(2) EMMY AWARDS. Genre TV was shut out at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony which aired on January 15. The complete list of winners – largely repeated wins by Succession, The Bear, and Beef — is here.

(3) HISTORIC MOMENTS IN TELEVISION. There are, however, plenty of genre highlights in the Television Academy’s anniversary list of 75 “Top TV Moments”.

Arguably the first one on the list is genre, because fans voted the Hugo Award to TV coverage of the Apollo 11 mission. Beyond that, you have to wait ‘til way down the list before there’s another.  

1. The Moon Landing. After Apollo 11 landed on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong proclaims “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. 1969.

40. The Twilight Zone. “Time Enough at Last” After a nuclear catastrophe, loner Harry Bemis (Burgess Meredith) is left with all the time in the world to read his beloved books, only to shatter his glasses, leaving him virtually blind. 1950.

50. Star Trek – Kirk and Uhura kiss, 1968

51. Game of Thrones — “The Rains of Castamere” At Robb’s (Richard Madden) wedding, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) reveals chain mail under Bolton’s (Michael McElhatton) clothes just as Robb’s wife is murdered, Robb is shot with arrows, and his men’s throats are cut.

And there are several more beyond that, from The Last of Us, Lost, another from Game of Thrones, and the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan.

(4) DEEP IMPACT. Animation World Network’s Kevin Geiger anticipates “The Impact of AI on Hollywood in 2024: 12 Predictions”. Short version: AI will take away a bunch of existing jobs. Here’s an excerpt of what he forsees.

4. Deepfake filmmaking has become the new paradigm.

The continued evolution of deepfake technology enables filmmakers of all resource levels to create younger versions of living actors or bring deceased actors back to the screen. This has already been used to tell stories that span different periods. While the technology offers exciting creative opportunities, it raises significant ethical concerns regarding consent and the potential misuse of digital likenesses. Seeing is no longer believing.

5. Rise of the AI-driven extras and stunt doubles.

The use of AI-generated virtual extras and stunt doubles will be a game-changer in reducing production costs and logistical complexities, particularly in scenes requiring large crowds or dangerous stunts. However, the application of AI technology will accelerate the reduced employment opportunities for human extras and stunt performers.

6. The visual effects industry becomes more director-driven.

AI’s ability to produce sophisticated visual effects quickly and cost-effectively is set to enhance the visual storytelling in films. The prospect of generating visual effects via “prompting” (otherwise known as “directing”) will make VFX more director-driven, and encourage greater creative expression and experimentation. The number of “technical directors” required on a film will be reduced: a benefit to major studios and indie producers, but a threat to hired guns.

7. AI-assisted editing is now the default starting point.

AI-assisted editing is revolutionizing work reels and post-production by autonomously selecting takes, suggesting edits, and assembling rough cuts. This can significantly speed up the editing process and reduce costs, but over-reliance on AI could reduce the editor’s creative control, lead

(5) AAFCA AWARDS. The 15th Annual African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Award Winners include Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

Best Drama: Origin
Best Comedy: American Fiction
Best Musical: The Color Purple
Best Director: Ava DuVernay (Origin)
Best Screenplay: American Fiction
Best Actor: Colman Domingo (Rustin)
Best Actress: Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (Origin)
Best Supporting Actor: Sterling K. Brown (American Fiction)
Best Supporting Actress: *TIE* Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers), Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple)
Best Ensemble: The Color Purple
Breakout Performance: Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Emerging Filmmaker: Cord Jefferson (American Fiction)
Best Independent Feature: A Thousand and One
Best Animated Feature: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Best Documentary: Stamped From The Beginning
Best Music: The Color Purple
Best International Film: Io Capitano
Best Short Film: The After

(6) EKPEKI Q&A. Paul Semel interviews “’The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction 2022’ Co-Editor Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki”.

While other Best Of type anthologies only consider short stories, The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction 2022 also includes poems. I recently interviewed Stephen Kotowych, the editor of Year’s Best Canadian Fantasy And Science Fiction: Volume One, which also includes poetry. Is there something going on in the speculative realm where poetry is becoming more popular or respected?

Speculative poetry is such a wide and important form that we decided to include this year to make the book separate from last year’s. Hopefully, it’s something that matches up with the vibrancy the speculative poetry world exudes [and this is a] chance to showcase some of that speculative poetry vibrancy going on

(7) THE METERS OF MIDDLE-EARTH. And CBR.com studies “How The Lord of the Rings Made Poetry Exciting”.

…The characters of The Lord of the Rings used poetry as a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions. Shortly after leaving the Shire, the hobbits were overwhelmed with uncertainty and weariness about the journey ahead. To raise their spirits, Frodo recited “The Road goes ever on and on,” a poem that Bilbo had taught him. In Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf and Bilbo both sang sections of this same poem. As the hobbits rested at Weathertop, poetry again assuaged their worries. In the chapter “A Knife in the Dark” from Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the RingAragorn “began to tell them tales to keep their minds from fear.” These tales came in the form of poems, such as the song of Beren and Lúthien….

(8) FREE READ. Entries in the Quantum Shorts flash fiction contest are available to read at the link. The shortlist will be announced in March.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born January 17, 1931 James Earl Jones, 93. This Scroll you’re getting James Earl Jones, most notably known in our circles as the voice of a certain Sith Lord whose voice he did up to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but he’s got much more, and sometimes surprisingly diverse career here. So let’s see what he’s done…

His film debut was as Lieutenant Lothar Zogg, the B-52’s bombardier  in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

In 1969, Jones participated in making short films for what became Sesame Street. These were combined with animated segments, then were shown to groups of children to see if the format appealed to children. As cited by production notes included in the Sesame Street: Old School 1969–1974 DVD, the short that had the greatest impact with test audiences was one showing a bald-headed Jones counting slowly to ten. And yes, it was shown on the show when it aired.

I truly love him in Conan the Barbarian as Thulsa Doom, an antagonist for the character Kull of Atlantis. Thulsa Doom was created by Robert E. Howard in the “Delcardes’ Cat” story. Neat character for him, I’d say. 

He’s in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold withthe name of Umslopogaas, a fearless warrior and old friend of Allan Quatermain. I looked him up in the original novel, Allan Quatermain. Please don’t make me do that again. Really. Don’t. 

Ahhh, Field of Dreams: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it.” Great role. To say more would involve spoilers, right? 

He voices Mufusa, the lion murdered by his brother in The Lion King and its sequel, who death does not stop from being present. Really present. Extraordinary performing by him. 

Did you know that he narrated Stallone’s Judge Dredd? Well he did. He was uncredited at time but as is with these things, it didn’t stay a secret permanently, did it? 

He had series appearances on Faerie Tale Theatre (as, and I simply love it, Genie of the Lamp, Genie of the Ring), Highway to HeavenShelley Duvall’s Bedtime StoriesPicket FencesLois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, (he was the uncredited narrator of 3rd Rock from the Sun (maybe he’s the nameless narrator for all of the multiverse?), Touched by an Angel in which he’s the Angel of Angels, cool name, Stargate SG-1 , Merlin and finally as himself on The Big Bang Theory.

He hosted Long Ago and Far Away, a children’s series that lasted thirty-five episodes with each of them based on a folk or fairy tale. Stop motion animation, live actors and traditional animation were all used.

That’s it, folks.

Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones and Jim Parsons in a scene from Big Bang Theory.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) PAYDAY FOR COMIC OWNER. “Rare copy of The Amazing Spider-Man No 1 sells for more than £1m” – the Guardian wanted you to know. And weep if you ever owned a copy in your youth.

A rare copy of the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man has sold for more than £1m.

The comic, published in March 1963, reached a record-setting $1.38m (£1.1m) at auction. It is one of only two copies of The Amazing Spider-Man No 1 rated “near mint/mint” by comic book grading service Certified Guaranty Company (CGC).

“It was obvious this Spider-Man was an opportunity not likely to come around, and the final price reflected that,” said Barry Sandoval, vice president at Heritage Auctions, the company that ran the auction, according to Fine Books magazine.

The copy sold for nearly three times as much as a CGC-rated “near mint” version sold in July last year for $520,380 (£410,184)….

(12) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. The lede is the most interesting part of Variety’s article “When Superman and Batman Copyrights Expire in a Decade, Will It Be Kryptonite for DC?”.

About a decade ago, Zack Snyder developed a storyline for the DC Extended Universe that involved Bruce Wayne impregnating Lois Lane.

The subplot in which Batman cuckolds Superman was poised to unfold in “Justice League,” with Batman dying in the sequel and Lois raising their spawn with Superman. Snyder’s vision for Wonder Woman was equally unorthodox, with visuals featuring a superheroine who brandished the decapitated heads of her conquered enemies like an ISIS jihadi.

Warner Bros. and DC Studios — which hold a firm grip on their intellectual property — rejected Snyder’s ideas, which were deemed “super creepy,” according to a source familiar with the back and forth. (DC declined to comment for this story. A representative for Snyder did not respond to a request for comment.) But in the next decade, artists and rival studios won’t need permission to create their own take on the characters.

A sad fact of Hollywood is that while superheroes never truly die, all copyrights do. On Jan. 1, Disney lost control of “Steamboat Willie,” and within 24 hours two horror-comedies starring Mickey Mouse were announced. The DC characters are the next major expirations looming on the horizon. Superman and Lois Lane will enter the public domain in 2034, followed by Batman in 2035, the Joker in 2036 and Wonder Woman in 2037….

(13) FIREFLY ON THE CHEAP. SYFY Wire admires “How Serenity Slashed Its Budget from $100 Million to $39 Million” and was able to get greenlighted.

…In a 2005 interview with the Los Angeles Times, the effects crew and film’s creators opened up about the ways they shaved tens of millions off the film’s cost. Basically, they shot it like a TV show, creating only what was necessary and meticulously storyboarding things out so no resources were wasted.

One of the movie’s most ambitious set pieces, a wild chase scene early in the film, was projected to be one of the costliest segments in the film. So instead of trying to build out a massive CGI chase, they built a trailer with a cantilevered arm big enough to hold the on-screen hovercraft and actors. Then they just shot the scene on Templin Highway around Santa Clarita. For the Reaver vehicle chasing the crew, they hacked an old pick-up truck together with some CGI overlays for final effects. In the end, a scene expected to take 30 days was finished up in five.

To create the spaceship models in the space-set scenes, they used a common cost-cutting approach called “kit bashing,” where you combine several different ship models and kits and mix them all together to create something new. It’s a cheap alternative to full-on spaceship design, and it saved time and money for plenty of those space scenes.

They even had to rebuild the Serenity ship itself for sets, using old blueprints and DVD screen grabs for reference, a process they knocked out in a brief 14 weeks and under budget. All the explosions and pyrotechnics in the film were also done on a tight schedule, filmed across three nights at Mystery Mesa near Valencia. Traditionally, that level of sci-fi action pyro work for a blockbuster movie would’ve taken around two weeks….

(14) KLINGONS DON’T DRINK MERLOT. TrekMovie.com invites as to watch as “Paul Giamatti Auditions For Star Trek, Recreates His Iconic ‘Merlot’ Moment In Klingon”.

Danish movie journalist and friend of TrekMovie Johan Albrechtsen has once again used a non-Star Trek promotional junket to recreate a Star Trek moment. As Paul Giamatti was promoting his award-winning role in The Holdovers Albrechtsen brought up the actor’s previously expressed interest in playing a Klingon in Star Trek. And he persuaded the Giamatti to recreate his famous “I am not drinking any f###ing Merlot!” moment from the 2004 wine-themed film Sideways, but this time in Klingon. The moment was then edited to create a new Star Trek “audition tape” with Giamatti as a Klingon captain, cut into a scene from The Next Generation….

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Kathy Sullivan, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

Pixel Scroll 9/30/23 Pixels Are Those Which, When You Stop Believing In Them, Don’t Scroll Away

(1) MEDICAL UPDATE. Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki told Facebook readers he had a health emergency this week:  

Was very sick day before yesterday. Had a health emergency, was fighting for my life all the previous night and that morning after being checked into the accident and emergency wards. Near died several times. Been discharged from the hospital now and I am on the mend. Had to incur several expenses in the process though. So I am in need of and welcome any assistance, towards sorting out my medical bills and other expenses I needed to survive the ordeal, towards the tune of about $500 dollars. If you want to chip, you can send something to this Paypal address and it’ll get to me. [email protected]

(2) RECORDS BREAK UNDER THE HAMMER. “Two Books Break Book Sales Records At Christie’s Auction — Here Are The Most Expensive Books Ever Sold” reports Forbes.

A pair of books by Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle once owned by English musician Charlie Watts broke individual records for the beloved authors at Christie’s auction house in London Thursday, months after an 800-year-old copy of the Bible earned the title of the most expensive book ever sold.

The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie sold for $63,968, breaking her personal record of a $50,641 copy of The ABC Murders, which sold two years ago.

The $226,555 sale of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle on Thursday set a new world auction record for a printed book by the renowned Sherlock Holmes creator, previously set at $201,600 when a copy of The Sign of Four sold in 2022. …

(3) MUSEUM PIECE. “The Oldest Living Torrent Is 20 Years Old”Hackaday blows out the candles.

Twenty years ago, in a world dominated by dial-up connections and a fledgling World Wide Web, a group of New Zealand friends embarked on a journey. Their mission? To bring to life a Matrix fan film shot on a shoestring budget. The result was The Fanimatrix, a 16-minute amateur film just popular enough to have its own Wikipedia page.

As reported by TorrentFreak, the humble film would unknowingly become a crucial part of torrent history. It now stands as the world’s oldest active torrent, with an uptime now spanning a full 20 years. It has become a symbol of how peer-to-peer technology democratized distribution in a fast-changing world.

In the early 2000s, sharing large files across the internet was a mindbogglingly difficult problem to solve. In the Southern Hemisphere in particular, home internet connections were often 56 kbit dialup modems at best. Most email services limited attachments to 2 MB at most. Services like MegaUpload weren’t on the scene yet, and platforms like YouTube and Facebook were yet to materialize. 

(4) “HE DISTINCTLTY SAID ‘TO BLAVE’…” “LIAR!” “Patrick Stewart Shares the ‘Original’ Ending to Picard, Hopes for a Follow-up Film” at IGN. Beware spoilers.

…Stewart revealed that as the years passed since his appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002, the lines between the actor and Picard had become blurred.

“If I have found true love, shouldn’t he?” he asked.

Stewart married his wife, Sunny Ozell, back in 2013, and had since decided it was time for Picard to find love, too. The final scene they came up with would have confirmed this… but it still left a little to the imagination.

“The writers came up with a lovely scene,” he revealed. “It is dusk at Jean-Luc’s vineyard. His back is to us as he takes in the view, his dog at his side. Then, off-screen, a woman’s loving voice is heard: ‘Jean-Luc? Supper’s ready!’”

Who was that voice? That never would have been confirmed. However, Stewart’s real wife Sunny would have made her Star Trek debut.

(5) OBAMA’S FEEDBACK TO FILMMAKER. Variety tells movie fans that “Barack Obama Sent Script Notes to Sam Esmail for ‘Leave the World Behind’”.

Netflix’s upcoming disaster movie “Leave the World Behind,” based on the 2020 novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam, marks the first fictional movie from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions company. Barack included the novel on his 2021 summer reading list and was personally invested in perfecting the film adaptation, so much so that he sent script notes to writer-director Sam Esmail (best known as the creator of “Mr. Robot” and “Homecoming”).

“Leave the World Behind” stars Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke as a couple vacationing in Long Island when a world-threatening disaster takes place. Mahershala Ali plays the owner of the home the couple is renting. The owner shows up seeking refugee from the disaster with his daughter (Myha’la Herrold), forcing the two families to trust each other as the world potentially comes to an end.

“In the original drafts of the script, I definitely pushed things a lot farther than they were in the film, and President Obama, having the experience he does have, was able to ground me a little bit on how things might unfold in reality,” Esmail recently told Vanity Fair about the script notes he received from the former President. “I am writing what I think is fiction, for the most part, I’m trying to keep it as true to life as possible, but I’m exaggerating and dramatizing. And to hear an ex-president say you’re off by a few details…I thought I was off by a lot! The fact that he said that scared the fuck out of me.”

Per Vanity Fair: “The filmmaker was more reassured when the Obamas suggested some of his potential plot points were too bleak or unlikely. Most of the former commander in chief’s notes, however, stemmed from what he’d observed about human nature, particularly the way fissures form between people who might otherwise find common cause.”…

(6) BOOK-INSPIRED KIDS SPACE. “Publisher L’École des Loisirs Opens New ‘House of Stories’ for Kids” at Publishing Perspectives.

The independent L’École des Loisirs, one of the largest children’s publishers in the country, is starting off the school year with a new space called La Maison des Histoires (House of Stories) in which children seven and younger can discover and consolidate their knowledge of L’École des Loisirs’ books.

The 58-year-old publishing house owns Chantelivre, a children’s bookshop nestled among luxury boutiques in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. Last winter, the 400-square-meter shop (4,305 square feet) underwent a renovation which included installing the 150-square-meter (1,614 square feet) Maison des Histoires just behind the bookshop in a former storage area. Its soft launch was held in May, before it closed for the summer holidays.

La Maison des Histoires has nine themed spaces, all based on books published by L’École des Loisirs. Co-founder and associate director Camille Kiejman came up with the idea, inspired by museums she’d see dedicated to children’s books in Nordic markets, such as Junibacken in Stockholm.

(7) ADDED TO THE OFFICIAL ROBERT BLOCH WEBSITE. “A Conversation with Robert Bloch” is the latest addition to the Bloch tribute website.

Happy to present excerpts (with kind permission) from David J. Schow’s 1991 interview with Bloch at the first World Horror Convention in 1991.This interview first appeared in Cemetery Dance magazine, #31.

DJS: How long have you been going to these things, Bob?

BOB: 1946 was the first year; and I arrived after Ackerman left. That was the PacifiCon, held in Los Angeles—kicking and screaming—and it had a small attendance, as I recall, but that attendance included A.E. Van Vogt, Leigh Brackett, Ray Bradbury, and others too humorous to mention.

FORREST J ACKERMAN (from audience): Remember the story you told, Bob, about the “three great sales” that made it possible for you to come to the convention?

BOB: Oh, yes—my typewriter, my hat, and my overcoat. That was also the first convention I traveled to, and from then on, I was hooked. I discovered it was a very practical thing to go from convention to convention, because it’s difficult to hit a moving target….

(8) MICHAEL F. FLYNN (1947-2023). Author Michael F. Flynn’s daughter Sara announced on Facebook that he died on September 30.

I’m sorry to tell you that my father passed away this morning. He was sleeping peacefully in the childhood home that he loved, the home his father built. We will share more details when we have them. Thank you.

He was honored with the Robert A. Heinlein Award for his career work in 2003. His short story “House of Dreams” won the 1998 Theodore Sturgeon Award, while his book In the Country of the Blind won the 1991 Compton Crook Award for best first novel and a 1991 Prometheus Award.

Flynn’s alternate history story “Quaestiones Super Caelo et Mundo ”  picked up the 2008 Sidewise Award – Short Form.  Although he never won a Hugo, one of his seven nominees was the novel Eifelheim which in Japanese translation received a 2011 Seiun Award.

His fame rests on all these works, however, for personal reasons I am partial to the book he co-authored with Niven and Pournelle, Fallen Angels, another of his Seiun Award winners (1998), which Tuckerized or otherwise based its characters on about 130 fans. You can guess who one of those fans was…

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 30, 1924 Elinor Busby, 99. In 1960, she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for Best Fanzine editing at Pittcon for Cry of the Nameless along with F. M. Busby, Burnett Toskey and Wally Weber. She was awarded a Fan Activity Achievement Award for fan achievements, presented at Corflu in 2013. She was on the committee of Seacon. Busby is noted in Heinlein’s Friday, and her husband is likewise in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
  • Born September 30, 1933 Jonathan Gash, 90.  Look I loved the Lovejoy series, both the novels themselves and the series starring Ian McShane but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how ISFDB lists them as being genre. Him being an antiques divvy didn’t make it fantasy, does it? He did write The Year of the Woman which is a fantasy with a ghost as a central figure in it.
  • Born September 30, 1946 Dan O’Bannon. Screenwriter, director, visual effects supervisor, and actor.  He wrote the Alien script, directed The Return of the Living Dead, provided special computer effects on Star Wars, writer of two segments of Heavy MetalSoft Landing and B-17, co-writer with Ronald Shusett and  Gary Goldman of the first Total Recall. That’s not complete listing by any stretch! (Died 2009.)
  • Born September 30, 1947 Michael B. Wagner. Though best remembered for his work on Hill Street Blues and deservedly so, he’s co-created with Isaac Asimov, produced and wrote several episodes for the one-season ABC series Probe. He provided the story for two episodes of Next Generation, “Bobby Trap” and “Evolution” and wrote another, “Survivor”. (Died 1992.)
  • Born September 30, 1950 Laura Esquivel, 73. Mexican author of Como agua para chocolateLike Water for Chocolate in English. Magic realism and cooking with more than a small soupçon of eroticism. Seriously the film is amazing as is the book. ISFDB says she’s also written La ley del amor (The Law of Love) which I’ve not read. 
  • Born September 30, 1951 — Simon Hawke, 72. His first major SF series was Timewars which I need not tell you what it’s about. He’s since written a lot of fiction off media properties including off Battlestar GalacticaFriday the 13th, Star Trek, Predator 2 and Dungeons & DragonsHe does have a mystery series, Shakespeare & Smythe, involving, well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?
  • Born September 30, 1953 S. M. Stirling, 70. My favorite work by him is The Peshawar Lancers. The audiobook version is quite stellar. Other than that, I’ll admit that I’ve not read deep on him beyond In the Courts of the Crimson Kings and The Sky Prople.
  • Born September 30, 1960 Nicola Griffith, 63. Writer, Essayist and Teacher. Her first novel was Ammonite which won the Tiptree and Lambda Awards and was a finalist for the Clarke and BSFA Awards, followed by The Blue PlaceStay, and Always, which are linked novels in the Ammonite universe featuring the character Aud Torvingen. In total, SFE has won the Washington State Book Award, Nebula Award, James Tiptree, Jr. Award, World Fantasy Award and six Lambda Literary Awards. Her novel Slow River won Nebula and Lambda Awards. With Stephen Pagel, she has edited three Bending the Landscape anthologies in each of the three genres FantasyScience Fiction, and Horror, the first of which won a World Fantasy Award. She latest novel is Spear which just came out. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in March 1993. She lives with her wife, author Kelley Eskridge, in Seattle.
  • Born September 30, 1972 Sheree Renée Thomas, 51. Writer, Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems and Sleeping Under the Tree of Life; Editor, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora which won a World Fantasy Award, and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones which also won a World Fantasy Award. She’s also written a variety of poems and essays including “Dear Octavia, Octavia E. Butler, Ms. Butler, Mother of Changes”. In 2020, Thomas was named editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) OFFBEAT HEROES AND VILLAINS. “DC Announces New Visual Encyclopedia With Foreword By James Gunn”Comicbook.com has details.

From his work on The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker to his current job co-running DC StudiosJames Gunn has helped highlight some of the weirdest and best characters of DC’s comic canon. As Gunn announced in a tweet on Tuesday, he will play a new role in spotlighting the DCU’s heroes and villains with the help of a new official book. The book, titled Strange and Unsung All-Stars of the DC Multiverse: A Visual Encyclopedia, will be a visual encyclopedia written by Nubia and the Amazons and Wakanda comic writer Stephanie Williams. The book will also feature a foreword by Gunn himself, and is now available to preorder ahead of a November 7th release date.

“Many know I have a special fondness for the wilder corners of DC comics – the forgotten or outlandish characters who I grew up laughing with or at but who in every case fired up my imagination & my love of outcasts & oddballs,” Gunn’s tweet reads. “Now there’s finally a book for folks like me (yes, including a forward BY me), 240 pages of guilty goodness, with Arm-Fall Off Boy, Colonel Computron, the Mod Gorilla Boss, and so, so many more.”

(12) FREE ONLINE GARY PHILLIPS Q&A. Space Cowboy Books of Joshua Tree, CA will host an “Online Reading & Interview with Gary Phillips” on Tuesday October 10 at 6:00 p.m. Pacific.

Award-winning author, screenwriter, and editor Gary Phillips gathers his most thrilling, outlandish, and madcap pulp fiction in an 17-story collection that straddles the line between bizarro, science fiction, noir, and superhero classics. Aztec vampires, astral projecting killers, oxygen stealing bombs, undercover space rangers, aliens occupying Los Angeles, right wing specters haunting the ’hood, masked vigilantes and mad scientists in their underground lairs plotting world domination populate the stories in this rip-snorting collection. In these pages grindhouse melds with blaxploitation along with strong doses of B movie hardcore drive-in fare. Phillips, editor of the Anthony Award-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, and author of One-Shot Harry, and Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem, said this about pulp. “The most common definition of pulp is it’s fast-paced, a story containing out there characters and a wild plot. There is that. But certainly, as we’ve now arrived at the era of retro-pulp, these stories have elements of characterization…not just action but a glimpse behind the steely eyes of these doers of incredible deeds.” As an added bonus, Phillips resurrects Phantasmo, a Golden Age comics character created by Black artist-writer E.C. Stoner in an all-new outing of ethereal doings.

Get your copy of The Unvarnished here.

Register for free here.

(13) HIGH FIDELITY. “Police Showed Up During ‘Saw X’ Editing After Neighbors Reported ‘Someone’s Being Tortured to Death in Here’: ‘I’m Just Working on a Movie!’” at Variety.

Just how grisly is one “Saw X” scene? Apparently enough to get the cops called on the film’s editor, Steve Forn. In an interview with NME, director Kevin Greutert revealed that police showed up to Forn’s editing suite in North Hollywood after neighbors reported noises of someone being tortured to death. Forn was in the middle of editing a scene depicting the “eye vacuum trap,” in which a character must escape Jigsaw’s game or lose his eyesight. A lot of screaming ensues.

“There was a knock at the door,” Greutert said. “We have the doorbell [camera] video of the police walking up, [Forn answering the door] and the police saying, ‘The neighbors [have been] calling and saying someone’s being tortured to death in here.’ And he was like, ‘Actually, I’m just working on a movie…You can come in and see it if you want?’”

“The cops started laughing!” the director continued. “They said, ‘We want to but, you know, you’re all right.’ It must have been a pretty realistic performance! It’s a pretty funny story…Plus Steve is such a mild mannered guy. I can only imagine the look on his face when he realized what was happening!”

Mike Kennedy couldn’t decide which headline he liked best. Here are the other candidates:

  • Sound Scares
  • Audible Aggravation
  • Noise Complaint 
  • Noisy Neighbor 
  • Saw Sound
  • Sawing Legs
  • Torture Tones
  • Eyes on the Prise

(14) BABYLON THREE TWENTY-TWO. “3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet is world’s first trigonometry table”Upworthy explains.

…Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles’ sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

Mansfield and his team are, understandably, incredibly proud. What they discovered is that the tablet is actually an ancient trigonometry table.

Mansfield said:

“The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius.”…

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Isaac Arthur’s latest has a titular Heinlein riff… “Have Space Suit – Will Travel”.

Space is often called the final frontier, a place of billions and billions of worlds awaiting explorers and pioneers. But what will those journeys be like, and what gear will people need for them, and perhaps most importantly of all, what sort of people will make those travels?

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Lise Andreasen, Rich Lynch, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

Pixel Scroll 9/15/23 I Can Scroll Up Pixels From The Vasty Deep

(1) TOP HORROR AUTHORS OFFER FREE CONVENTION. “Christopher Golden’s House of Last Resort Weekend” will be held January 18-21 in Portsmouth, NH. Admission is FREE with weekend hotel room reservation.

Spend a weekend with your favorite scary authors in a unique, intimate setting! This one-time-only event features Christopher Golden, Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Victor LaValle, Owen King, Gretchen Felker-Martin, Eric LaRocca, V. Castro, Cynthia Pelayo, Ronald Malfi and many more.

If you’d like to join us at the convention hotel, see below and book your room at a discounted rate. Whether or not you will be staying with us, please click [on the link above] to register for the event.

(2) CHENGDU ADDS TO HUGO VOTER PACKET. Ersatz Culture reports the two missing voter packet categories – Fanzine and Fan Writer — have been added to the downloads on the Worldcon site.

(3) CHENGDU SCIENCE FICTION MUSEUM CONSTRUCTION VIDEO. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] This link to another video of the Chengdu Worldcon venue shows the current under-construction state of the interior. The post on Xiaohongshu rather than Weibo, an Instagram-like site. The date of the video is not apparent from a machine-translation of the post. There is untranslated Chinese text in the video which may say more.

There’s also a very short video posted to Weibo by 云上深夜快递 — which seems to be a Chengdu TV and radio station — about the “sky tunnel” that leads to the convention center. They highlight that the roof has some sort of lighting effect to look like the night sky, although it doesn’t really come across in the video.  It looks like the tunnel is for vehicles only, not pedestrians.  

The Starry Sky Tunnel simulates the “starry sky” through decorative lights on the top of the tunnel, such as swimming in the vast Milky Way, the starry sea and the brilliant universe in the dome will provide citizens with a beautiful immersive landscape experience. The reporter saw at the scene that at present, the lights and streamers in the tunnel have entered the final commissioning and acceptance work. After the tunnel is officially opened to traffic, it will further narrow the distance between the main urban area of Pidu and the main venue of the science fiction convention

(4) NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS FICTION LONGLIST. The 2023 National Book Award Fiction Longlist includes one work of genre interest, Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.

(5) CORN EXCHANGE HOSTS A COMIC-CON. James Bacon reviews “NICE 2023 – an amazing comic con!” for Downthetubes.net.

There’s a lovely welcoming atmosphere at NICE in Bedford and I got that feeling of regret… Why did I not go to this amazing comic con in previous years? NICE is, actually, really blooming… er, nice!

The promise of a good weekend began in a nearby bar as fans, professionals and dealers gathered on Friday for the weekend. There was great chat, laughter and the meeting of old friends, and the opportunity to meet new people. It’s been a few years for some, and this was evident, but also it was friendly – and I got the chance to meet established writers and artists for the first time. 

This spirit continued to the queue outside the cracking venue in the heart of Bedford, the Corn Exchange, a traditional hall that was filled with tables, all about comics. There were quite a number of dealers selling a lot of comics: a great variety from 50p and £1 boxes, to key Silver Age and some really lovely to see Golden Age comics. 

The range of writers and artists was just impressive….

(6) SIMULTANEOUS TIMES. Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, CA has released episode 67 of Simultaneous Times, a monthly science fiction podcast. This one is done in collaboration with Radon Journal. Theme music by Dain Luscombe,

Stories featured in this episode:

  • “Hello This is Automatic Antigrief” by Jenna Hanchey; with music by Fall Precauxions; read by Zara Kand
  • “Lost in Transcription” by Abigail Guerrero; with music by Phog Masheeen; read by Mark Soden Jr., Pedro Iniguez, Jean-Paul Garnier, and Zara Kand.

(7) ROBERT BLOCH WEBSITE. Robertbloch.net announced its Non-Fiction page has been significantly expanded to now include interviews, introductions/forewords/etc., and more.

(8) BEWARE SPOILER. Watch out, the spoiler is in the headline:“DC Comics Blue Beetle Ted Kord Has Died Four Times — Does It Matter Anymore?” at CBR.com

Writer Josh Trujillo just blindsided fans in the newest Blue Beetle comic series by killing off the fan-favorite second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, when the mysterious new supervillain ‘Blood Scarab’ made his debut and impaled the hero in his lab. As shocking as this is, Ted Kord is no stranger to death.

Each time a superhero dies, it matters a little less. Ted Kord has died numerous times in DC Comics. While Kord’s latest demise is obviously meant to bring some emotional weight to the new Blue Beetle series, it’s hard for it to really matter after Maxwell Lord killed him in 2006. Comic book deaths are always associated with diminishing returns. When a supposedly carefree hero like Blue Beetle has died so many times, it makes it hard for fans to care….

(9) IT WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD! ALLEGEDLY. The Hollywood Reporter unpacks the “Monsters of California Trailer: Aliens Exist in Tom DeLonge Film”.

DeLonge, the Blink-182 rocker and noted champion of UFO research, helmed and co-wrote the film that Screen Media launches theatrically and on-demand Oct. 6….

Monsters of California centers on Dallas (Samson) and his outcast group of high school friends attempting to shed light on a paranormal conspiracy in Southern California that the political powers that be have kept under wraps….

“They don’t want you to know anything,” Kind says ominously in the footage. “This is going to shatter any idea you have about reality.”

The trailer shows Dallas working to use his father’s clandestine research to help shed light on the family’s mysterious past. “I’m literally about to find out what happened to Dad after all these years,” he exclaims. “I’m this close.”…

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 15, 1890 Agatha Christie, or to give her full name of Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller). I’m here to praise her for my favorite work by here which is Murder on The Orient Express but anything involving the fussy little Belgian detective is worth reading. The best use of her in genre fiction is the Tenth Doctor story, “The Unicorn and The Wasp” with her involved in a Manor House mystery. (Died 1976.)
  • Born September 15, 1940 Norman Spinrad, 83. I’ll admit that the only novel I’ve read by him is Bug Jack Barron which I really do like. My bad. And I was fascinated to learn he wrote the script for Trek’s “The Doomsday Machine” episode which is an amazing story. So how is that he’s never won a Hugo? 
  • Born September 15, 1943 John M. Faucette. He published five novels and one short story. He left seven unpublished novels in various states of completion at his death. Two of his novels; Crown of Infinity and Age of Ruin, were published in the Ace Doubles series. None of his works are in print in digital or paper format currently including his Black Science Fiction anthology which he as an African-American SF writer was very proud of. (Died 2003.)
  • Born September 15, 1946 Howard Waldrop, 77. I think that the The Texas-Israeli War: 1999 which he wrote with Jake Saunders is my favorite work by him. His short fiction such as “The Ugly Chickens” which won The World Fantasy and Nebula Awards is most excellent. A generous selection of his short fiction and novellas are available at the usual suspects.
  • Born September 15, 1952 Loren D. Estleman, 71. You’ll have noticed that I’ve an expansive definition of genre and so I’m including a trilogy of novels by this writer who’s better known for his mainstream mysteries featuring Amos Walker. These are set in the Sherlock Holmes Metaverse, and are Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. I think it was Titan Book that maybe a decade ago republished a lot of these Holmesian pastiches of which there are more than I want to think about. ISFDB lists two other novels by him as genre, Journey of the Dead and The Eagle and the Viper.
  • Born September 15, 1956 Elton T. Elliott, 67. Editor, publisher, reviewer. His solo fiction debut was “Lighting Candles on the River Styx” in Amazing (March 1991). His early novel-length work appeared in the 1980s in collaboration with Richard E. Geis under the pseudonym Richard Elliott. He edited Science Fiction Review from 1990 to 1992 which, yes, I remember reading at the time. 
  • Born September 15, 1962 Jane Lindskold, 61. My first encounter with her was the Zelazny novel she finished, Donnerjack. It’sexcellent though how much is Zelazny is open to vigorous debate. Of her own novels, I recommend The Buried Pyramid, Child of a Rainless Year and Asphodel as being very good. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Far Side might be described as saying “we come in peace”, but not loudly enough.

(12) EXCEPTIONAL COLLECTIBLES. Scott Edelman is auctioning off some rarities to fund new equipment for his Eating the Fantastic podcast. One of them is his personal DC Comics baseball jacket circa 1980, the back of which is decorated with the iconic bullet icon from that period. Scott says, “I’ve never seen one on the secondary market.” Here’’s the direct link. Another dozen or so items up there can be seen at his eBay store link.

(13) THIS JUST IN 55 YEARS AGO. CBR.com tells “How Lord of the Rings Inspired Led Zeppelin”.

…Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968 with Robert Plant as the lead singer and lyricist. Plant was also a known Lord of the Rings fan. Thanks to his influence as a songwriter, many of Led Zeppelin’s songs had themes of mythology and mysticism, which are prominent within The Lord of the Rings series. Over time, the band’s songs began to reflect more of Plant’s life and experiences, such as lost romance and political protests. In a few select songs, Plant weaves his interest in Lord of the Rings with details of his life as a treat for the series’ fans among the Led Zeppelin audience. Some of LOTR‘s key moments and iconic characters lend themselves well to Led Zeppelin’s unique and otherworldly storytelling….

Here’s one example:

The song Ramble On was released in 1969 on the album Led Zeppelin II. The song mentions Gollum and Sauron hiding in Mordor and stealing Plant’s girl.

Mine’s a tale that can’t be told, my freedom I hold dear

How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air

‘Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair

But Gollum and the Evil One crept up and slipped away with her

Ultimately, this song is about a man finding his perfect girl and traveling the world to find her. However, some fans have theorized that this song is actually about Aragorn having to choose between staying with Arwen or searching for Gollum before Sauron finds him. Others theorize the song references Frodo’s journey to destroy the One Ring; the girl in the song is the Ring. Plant was quoted in an interview as embarrassed by the LOTR reference since Mordor has no beautiful women, and Gollum wouldn’t even be interested in them if they were.

(14) POP QUIZ. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Apocalyptic fiction is an established trope of SF. So arguably of interest to us know-it-all fans is Nature’s challenge, “Do you really know the way the world is heading? Take this quiz on plans to save humanity.”

The United Nations has ambitious aims to end poverty and clean up the planet by 2030. See whether you know how the world is faring…

(15) AI: WHO CARES? [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The BBC Global News Podcast (updated several times a day) has created a special episode on Artificial Intelligence with opinions and analysis from different perspectives including the public. “Special Edition – Artificial Intelligence – who cares?“

What is AI? What can it do and what are its current limitations? A tool for good – or should we be worried? Will we lose our jobs? Are we ready to be cared for by machines? Our Tech Editor, Zoe Kleinman, and a panel of international experts explore AI’s impact on healthcare, the environment, the law and the arts in a special edition recorded at Science Gallery London.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Here’s the final trailer for The Creator, coming to theaters September 29.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Rich Lynch, Lise Andreasen, Scott Edelman, Ersatz Culture, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dan’l Danehy-Oakes.]

Pixel Scroll 6/7/23 Pixels Sleep On Scrolls

(1) MARKOWITZ AWARD WINNERS. Naseem Jamnia and Maya Salameh are the winners of the 2023 Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers. Naseem Jamnia is a widely-recognized sff writer. See Lambda Literary’s interview here: “Four Questions with Naseem Jamnia”.

The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. The award includes a cash prize of $1,500. This year, the award goes to Naseem Jamnia and Maya Salameh.

Naseem Jamnia (they/them) is the Locus-nominated author of The Bruising of Qilwa, a novella introducing their queernormative, Persian-inspired world, which was shortlisted for the IAFA’s Crawford award. Named the inaugural Samuel R. Delany Fellow, they’ve also received fellowships from Lambda Literary and the Otherwise Award, and their nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, New Orleans Review, Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup newsletter, and other venues. They are the managing editor of Sword & Kettle Press, a tiny independent publishing house of feminist speculative writing, and their debut middle grade horror, Sleepaway, is out in 2025 from Aladdin. Find out more and sign up for their newsletter at naseemwrites.com, or follow them on social @jamsternazzy.

How has access to queer literature/queer stories impacted your life as a queer person and shaped you as a queer writer?

When I was growing up, the closest I saw my gender portrayed in stories was with the “girl disguises herself as a boy to do the thing” trope, a la Mulan and Tamora Pierce’s Alanna books. I had to resort to fanfiction to explore queerness in terms of sexuality (and even then, rarely or never saw a portrayal of someone on the asexual spectrum). Much of my own writing growing up explored these issues inadvertently and vaguely, as I did not know what I was exploring at the time. However, once terms like “nonbinary” or understanding of transness outside a binary entered the public lexicon in the last 10-ish years, the wealth of queer literature we’ve seen explicitly including various identities has made a world of difference, helping me to understand and embrace my own various identities, which has since allowed me to live as my truest self. With this clearer understanding, I’ve taken the lack of what I saw growing up to turn into what I wish I had seen and where I wish we can go in the future. I’m grateful so many queer books exist now for kids and adults alike to explore the multiplicity of queer experiences….

(2) REUBEN FINALISTS INCLUDE TWO SFF ARTISTS. [Item by Dariensync.] Girl Genius creator Phil Foglio and frequent Neil Gaiman collaborator Colleen Doran have both been nominated for Reuben Awards by the National Cartoonist Society. Foglio for Online Comics: Long Form for Girl Genius, Doran for Best Graphic Novel for her adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry. “Finalists Announced For 2022 NCS Divisional Awards For The 77th Annual Reubens”.

(3) STARS ON MARS. You can watch the first aired episode of Stars on Mars on the FOX website. William Shatner serves as Mission Control.

Here’s an excerpt. “Celebrities Try To Fix A Fallen Satellite Tower”.

(4) NOT AS SPECIAL EFFECTS? Oh no, some of them were very special. Ranker came up with a list of“11 Classic Fantasy Movies Made Before CGI”.

Many fans feel that modern fantasy movies began in 2001 with the one-two punch of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Both having been produced after the CGI revolution of the 1990s, they applied the full power of the latest visual effects techniques to bring two beloved fantasy book series vividly to life.

But fantasy films go back a lot further than 2001. Since the dawn of movies, imaginative filmmakers have striven to use the medium’s unique capabilities to bring to life visions that cannot exist in reality. Long before computers were rendering T. rexes and Orc armies, special-effects crews had already amassed a huge bag of tricks to put fantastical stories on the screen, including stop-motion, bluescreen, forced perspective, puppets, and giant props.

Three of the four most highly-rated films have effects by Ray Harryahausen. Number one is –

Jason and the Argonauts

A retelling of the myth of the Golden Fleece, 1963’s Jason and the Argonauts was one of the peaks of Ray Harryhausen’s special effects career. Numerous striking effects appear throughout the film, but the show-stopper is the epic battle where Jason and his men confront an army of magically animated skeletons.

Harryhausen recalled the incredibly painstaking work that went into the sequence:

I had three men fighting seven skeletons, and each skeleton had five appendages to move in each separate frame of film. This meant at least 35 animation movements, each synchronized to the actor’s movements. Some days I was producing just 13 or 14 frames a day, or to put it another way, less than one second of screen time per day, and in the end the whole sequence took a record four and a half months to capture on film.

(5) YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST. At Galactic Journey, John Boston reviews the issue of Amazing which scored the coup of publishing an excerpt from Delany’s Nova, the novel Campbell declined to serialize in Analog: “[June 6, 1968] The Stalemate Continues (July 1968 Amazing)”.

Once more, all but one item of fiction are reprints, though this issue’s exception is more considerable than some: House A-Fire, by Samuel R. Delany, described as a short novel (at 33 pages!) on the cover and contents page, though editor Harrison acknowledges in the letter column that it is actually an excerpt from Delany’s new novel Nova, forthcoming from Doubleday.  Delany’s name is misspelled on the cover and contents page and in Harrison’s editorial, spelled correctly on the story’s title page and in the letter column.  Are you getting tired of all this nit-picking?  So am I.  But the persistent sloppiness of this magazine continues to irritate….

(6) LIAGUNO Q&A. One of the Horror Writers Association “A Point of Pride” blog posts is an “Interview with Vince A. Liaguno”.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

I’m less certain that I chose horror; I think horror chose me. Truthfully, from as far back as I can remember, I was drawn to all things dark. As a kid, my earliest recollections of being terrified were watching made-for-TV movies from the 70s like Don’t Be Afraid of the DarkGargoyles, and Trilogy of Terror. I can still remember damn near pissing myself when that little Zuni fetish doll from the latter chased poor Karen Black around her apartment! (laughs)

As I got a little older, my Dad would take me to the movies as part of our weekend “buddy days”. They were usually Irwin Allen disaster flicks or movies with a lot of car chases, but then a little film called Jaws was released. I was eight years old and can still feel the knot in my stomach the first time I heard those opening notes of John Williams’ now-legendary score. I think I only made it up to the point that the ill-fated skinny-dipping Chrissie gets slammed into the buoy before I pleaded with my Dad to leave. It would take three subsequent tries before I could make it through the entire film, each time making it a little further into the film before my ever-patient father heard the desperation of the “Please, Daddy…can we leave now?” in my voice. Jaws was a rite of passage for me; it was the first time I needed to summon and sustain any sense of real bravery. When I finally saw those end credits, it was a mark of accomplishment… a hint of manhood, if you will.

1978 was a game changer for me—the cusp of adolescence and the release of John Carpenter’s Halloween. If Jaws hooked me, Halloween reeled me in and cemented what would become a lifelong adoration of both slasher films and a certain actress named Jamie Lee Curtis.

(7) MEMORY LANE.

2005[Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

I won’t say that Haruki Murakami is author that I’m at familiar as he isn’t. Kafka on the Shore is the English translation of the original Japanese publication which is this, 海辺のカフカ. 

Alfred Knopf published the first English language edition eighteen years ago.

It would win a World Fantasy Award. 

It is an available from the usual suspects. 

And now for our Beginning…

So you’re all set for money, then?” the boy named Crow asks in his typical sluggish voice. The kind of voice like when you’ve just woken up and your mouth still feels heavy and dull. But he’s just pretending. He’s totally awake. As always. 

I nod.

 “How much?” 

I review the numbers in my head. “Close to thirty-five hundred in cash, plus some money I can get from an ATM. I know it’s not a lot, but it should be enough. For the time being.”

 “Not bad,” the boy named Crow says. “For the time being.

I give him another nod. “I’m guessing this isn’t Christmas money from Santa Claus.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I reply. 

Crow smirks and looks around.

“I imagine you’ve started by rifling drawers, am I right?” 

I don’t say anything. 

He knows whose money we’re talking about, so there’s no need for any long-winded interrogations. 

He’s just giving me a hard time.

“No matter,” Crow says. “You really need this money and you’re going to get it—beg, borrow, or steal. It’s your father’s money, so who cares, right? Get your hands on that much and you should be able to make it. For the time being. But what’s the plan after it’s all gone? Money isn’t like mushrooms in a forest—it doesn’t just pop up on its own, you know. You’ll need to eat, a place to sleep. One day you’re going to run out.”

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 7, 1944 Mildred Downey Broxon, 79. Author of three novels and some short stories, heavy on Nordic-German mythology.  The Demon of Scattery was co-written with Poul Anderson. There are no digital books available for her and her printed editions are out of print now. I see no sign that her short fiction has been collected into a volume to date.
  • Born June 7, 1952 Liam Neeson,  71. He first shows up in genre films as Gawain in Excalibur and as Kegan in Krull. He plays Martin Brogan in High Spirits, a film I enjoy immensely. Next up is the title role in Darkman, a film I’ve watched myriad times. He’s Dr. David Marrow in The Haunting which I’d contend is loosely off of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Now we get him as Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. Followed unfortunately by his horrid take as Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins and as a cameo in the The Dark Knight RisesNow he voiced Aslan with amazing dignity in The Chronicles of Narnia franchise and voiced Zeus as well in the Titans franchise. 
  • Born June 7, 1954 Louise Erdrich, 69. Writer of novels, poetry, and children’s books featuring Native American characters and settings. She is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Her genre work includes according to ISFDB the Ojibwe series of The Antelope Wife which won a World Fantasy Award and The Painted Drum, plus stand-alone novels of The Crown of Columbus (co-written with her husband Michael Dorris) and Future Home of the Living God.
  • Born June 7, 1968 Sarah Parish, 55. In “The Runaway Bride“, a Tenth Doctor story, she got to play, with the assistance of extensive CGI, one of the nastiest Who villains to date, The Empress of the Racnoss, an oversized vicious spider with a human face. Great episode. It’s our introduction to Donna Noble, his Companion for quite some time to come. In a much lighter role, she played Pasiphaë on BBC’s Atlantis series.
  • Born June 7, 1969 Anthony Simcoe, 54. Ka D’Argo in Farscape, one of the best SF series ever done. If you don’t watch anything else, just watch the finale, The Peacekeeper Wars as it’s fairly self contained. Farscape is the SF he did. If you can find a copy, Matt Bacon’s No Strings Attached: The Inside Story of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is a wonderful look at the creation of the creatures on the show including D’Argo facial appendages. 
  • Born June 7, 1972 Karl Urban, 51. He’s in the second and third installments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy as Éomer. He is McCoy in the Trek reboot franchise, Cupid on Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, John Kennex on Almost Human, Vaako in the Riddick film franchise, and Judge Dredd in Dredd. For the record, I liked both Dredd films for varied reasons.
  • Born June 7, 1974 David Filoni, 49. Creator and an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels, a most awesome series, for all four seasons, and was supervising director and a writer on another excellent series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (I like the animated series far better than the live action films.) He makes his live acting debut in The Mandalorian playing Trapper Wolf, an X-Wing pilot, in “The Prisoner” episode. It’s also worth noting that he his first job was directing episodes during the first season of animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Born June 7, 1979 Anna Torv, 44. She’s best known for her role as FBI agent Olivia Dunham on Fringe. She also played an ITU nurse in Frankenstein, a modern adaptation of that novel. She voiced the lead of Nariko in the animated Heavenly Sword film based off the game of the same name. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Argyle Sweater reveals an astronomical feature apparently known only to Federation navigators.

(10) HAMMER AND CHISEL. The Tom Brevoort Experience reproduces some of the 1938 letters between Detective Comics Inc. (DC) and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. The issue? Money, naturally. “The Selling of Superman: Correspondence between Jack Liebowitz and Jerry Siegel”.

…Above you see the first page of a letter sent by Jack Liebowitz to Jerry Siegel on September 28, 1938. For context, as this point, ACTION COMICS #5 had been published and the character of Superman was heating up. The McClure Newspaper Syndicate, which had been noncommittal about their interest in developing Superman as a newspaper strip, suddenly showed new signs of life, which had caused Siegel to write to Detective Comics and request that they return all rights but first publication to Superman to Siegel and Shuster. As you can imagine, Jack Liebowitz and his boss Harry Donenfeld weren’t having any part of that….

(11) VISITING SPACE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] This $50 Lego set was inspired by a group of “space travel posters” created by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA. In turn, those were inspired in part by classic travel posters from the golden age of luxury travel. “Retro NASA Space Tourism Posters made from LEGO Bricks are a Space Nerd Must-Have” at Yanko Design.

Here are the four LEGO “posters”.

Here are examples of NASA’s space travel posters.

(12) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] On Monday’s episode, a clue from Single Jeopardy and one from Double Jeopardy.

In the first round, the category was “Task: Force”, and the $400 clue:

This term for a fictional energy barrier has been traced back to the 1931 sci-fi story “Islands of Space”

Returning champion Jared Watson knew it was a force field.

In the second round, “Movie Continents” for $2000:

Antarctica: a shape-shifting alien menaces helicopter pilot Kurt Russell

Harrison Seidel identified “The Thing”.

On Tuesday’s episode, “Books and Authors” had this at the $2000 level:

Her novel “Kindred” tells of Dana, a young Black woman who is transported from the 1970s back in time to the pre-Civil War South

Jared Watson (who gave the Vulcan sign during the intro, and made the A in Jared into a little Star Trek glyph) responded correctly.

(13) FREE FLASH SF EVENT. Space Cowboys Books of Joshua Tree, CA is hosting a “Flash Science Fiction Night Online Event” on Tuesday June 27 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Pacific. Register for free here.

Join us online for an evening of short science fiction readings (1000 words or less) with Shacklebound Books authors Marisca Pichette, Eric Fomley, and Jenna Hanchey. Flash Science Fiction Nights run 30 minutes or less, and are a fun and great way to learn about new authors from around the world.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. With a new Transformers movie coming out, How It Should Have Ended decided to remaster its episode “How Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Should Have Ended”.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, David Goldfarb, Dariensync, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

Pixel Scroll 6/3/23 A File Forever Pixeling Through Strange Scrolls Of Thought, Alone

(1) MARVEL VS DC: CONTEST OF THE CHAMPIONS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4 has just broadcast a documentary (just under half-hour) on DC and Marvel Comics. Most of it fans will already know, but there are some things in there folk might not! For example, I never knew that at one time, DC copied Marvel’s grittier art style despite internal management misgivings. You can access it here.

Marvel and DC, the two titans of America superhero comics, have been locked in cosmic battle for over six decades – raging across publishing, radio, TV, movies, gaming and animation.

It’s one of the greatest rivalries in the history of pop culture, ferociously debated by generations of readers, fans and industry creatives alike.

While both companies are now worth billions, this wasn’t always the case.

This feature goes back to their early comic book roots, where DC comics and young upstart Marvel both had offices in 1960s Manhattan – and yet differed widely in their approach to the genre, posing very distinct ideas of what our superheroes should be – and as a result, what it means to be human. Do we want to look up to the skies or do we really want to see a reflection of ourselves? Are our heroes other, outsiders like gods – or are they basically people like us, who gain strange powers but keep their flaws? Readers had a choice.

The creative rivalry between Marvel and DC comics has always been more than a question of sales or market share. It is a fascinating culture clash of ideals, morals and even politics. It has constituted one of the greatest post-war, pop-culture wars of our times.

(2) TAFF EBOOK. Rob Hansen’s British SF Conventions Volume 1: 1937-1951 was released June 1 as a free downloadable ebook on the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund website. If you enjoy it, a donation to TAFF is welcome.

The cover photo from the London Festivention (1951) shows the editors of six of the seven fanzines then being published in the UK. From left to right: Mike Tealby (Wonder), Derek Pickles (Phantasmagoria), Fred Robinson (Straight Up), Walt Willis (Slant), Bob Foster (Sludge), Vince Clarke and Ken Bulmer (Science Fantasy News).

From Rob Hansen’s Foreword

Surprisingly, there were five conventions organized, announced, and held in the UK during World War Two despite travel under wartime conditions being a difficult and sometimes dangerous affair. For example, the train taking Cardiff fan Terry Overton to one of those conventions pulled out of the station during an air raid as bombs rained down on his (and my) home city. The NORCONs were only cons in the most basic of senses but 1944’s Eastercon was the most ambitious convention the UK had ever seen, as you will discover.

Hansen’s already published book 1957: The First UK Worldcon  fits into this sequence as volume 3.

(3) DRIVE-IN TRIVIA. MeTV asks “Can you complete the titles of these vintage ‘monster’ movies?” It wasn’t easy but I managed to miss two of these softballs.

What would the landscape of horror be like without the famous monsters? For decades, audiences have screamed, laughed and even sometimes jeered at the creatures lurching across the screen. Some nightmares are done so well that they haunt you for years. Others look so cheap and tacky that they become famous for how terrible they look.

We’ve collected a dungeon full of classic horror and sci-fi flicks with “monster” in the title. You may recognize some of these movies from Svengoolie! See if you can complete their full, frightful names.

(4) IT MIGHT BE FILK. John Hertz took inspiration from a recent G&S-themed Scroll title (Pixel Scroll 6/1/23 Three Little Muad’Dibs From Sand Are We) to supply the verse:

Three Muad’Dibs who, all unwary,
Come from Atreides’ seminary,
Free from the Wallach IX tutelary,
Three Muad’Dubs from sand.

Everything is a source of fun.
Paul isn’t safe, his solitude’s done,
Dune is a joke that’s just begun.
Three Muad’Dibs from sand.

Three Muad-’Dibs from sand are we,
Pert as a *pop-hop* well can be,
Filled to the brim with melange glee,
Three Muad’Dibs from sand.

(5) CUE THE CHORUS. Meanwhile another poet soon will be represented in space: “Poem bound for Jupiter’s moon Europa ties Earth to the watery world” reports Axios.

U.S. poet laureate Ada Limón on Thursday revealed her poem that will fly to Jupiter’s moon Europa aboard NASA’s Europa Clipper mission.

The big picture: The mission follows in the tradition of others — like NASA’s Voyagers — that have sent pieces of art representing humanity into the cosmos.

What’s happening: The poem uses water as a thread that binds Earth — and all of its humans — to Europa, a moon with an ocean beneath its icy shell.

  • “We are creatures of constant awe, curious at beauty, at leaf and blossom, at grief and pleasure, sun and shadow,” Limón writes. “And it is not darkness that unites us, not the cold distance of space, but the offering of water, each drop of rain.”
  • The poem is going to be engraved in Limón’s handwriting and affixed to the spacecraft, expected to launch in October 2024.

(6) MEMORY LANE.

1987[Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Lawrence Watt-Evans’ “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers” story is where our Beginning comes from this Scroll. Though Mike of course selected it, I too have read it with great delight.

So the story won a Hugo at Nolacon II, and had a Nebula nomination as well.

It was published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in their July 1987 issue. 

I’m going to praise him for having up-to-date social media and for dropping out of Twitter. Check out the links to those sites from his ISFDB page 

So here’s the first chapter of that story….

Hamburgers Harry’s was a nice place–probably still is. I haven’t been back lately. It’s a couple of miles off I-79, a few exits north of Charleston, near a place called Sutton. Used to do a pretty fair business until they finished building the Interstate out from Charleston and made it worthwhile for some fast-food joints to move in right next to the cloverleaf; nobody wanted to drive the extra miles to Harry’s after that. Folks used to wonder how old Harry stayed in business, as a matter of fact, but he did all right even without the Interstate trade. I found that out when I worked there. 

Why did I work there, instead of at one of the fast-food joints? Because my folks lived in a little house just around the corner from Harry’s, out in the middle of nowhere – not in Sutton itself, just out there on the road. Wasn’t anything around except our house and Harry’s place. He lived out back of his restaurant. That was about the only thing I could walk to in under an hour, and I didn’t have a car.

This was when I was sixteen. I needed a job, because my dad was out of work again and if I was gonna do anything I needed my own money. Mom didn’t mind my using her car – so long as it came back with a full tank of gas and I didn’t keep it too long. That was the rule. So I needed some work, and Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers was the only thing within walking distance. Harry said he had all the help he needed–two cooks and two people working the counter, besides himself. The others worked days, two to a shift, and Harry did the late night stretch all by himself. I hung out there a little, since I didn’t have anywhere else, and it looked like pretty easy work – there was hardly any business, and those guys mostly sat around telling dirty jokes. So I figured it was perfect. 

Harry, though, said that he didn’t need any help. 

I figured that was probably true, but I wasn’t going to let logic keep me out of driving my mother’s car. I did some serious begging, and after I’d made his life miserable for a week or two Harry said he’d take a chance and give me a shot, working the graveyard shift, midnight to eight A.M., as his counterman, busboy, and janitor all in one.

I talked him down to 7:30, so I could still get to school, and we had us a deal. I didn’t care about school so much myself, but my parents wanted me to go, and it was a good place to see my friends, y’know? Meet girls and so on. 

So I started working at Harry’s, nights. I showed up at midnight the first night, and Harry gave me an apron and a little hat, like something from a diner in an old movie, same as he wore himself. I was supposed to wait tables and clean up, not cook, so I don’t know why he wanted me to wear them, but he gave them to me, and I needed the bucks, so I put them on and pretended I didn’t notice that the apron was all stiff with grease and smelled like something nasty had died on it a few weeks back. And Harry–he’s a funny old guy, always looked fiftyish, as far back as I can remember. Never young, but never getting really old, either, y’know? Some people do that, they just seem to go on forever. Anyway, he showed me where everything was in the kitchen and back room, told me to keep busy cleaning up whatever looked like it wanted cleaning, and told me, over and over again, like he was really worried that I was going to cause trouble, “Don’t bother the customers. Just take their orders, bring them their food, and don’t bother them. You got that?”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 3, 1901 Maurice Evans. Ahhh the amazing work of make-up. Under the make-up that was Dr. Zaius in Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes was this actor. Though this was his most well-known genre role, it wasn’t his only ones — he was in a Thirties Scrooge as poor man, on Bewitched as Maurice, Samantha’s father, on Batman as The Puzzler in “The Puzzles are Coming” and “The Duo Is Slumming”, in Rosemary’s Baby as Hutch, and finally in Terror in the Wax Museum as Inspector Daniels. Oh, and he showed up on Columbo as Raymond in “The Forgotten Lady”. No, not genre — but I love that series! (Died 1989.)
  • Born June 3, 1905 Malcolm Reiss. It’s uncertain if he ever published any genre fiction but he’s an important figure in the history of our community as he edited in the Thirties through the Fifties, Jungle StoriesPlanet StoriesTops in Science Fiction and Two Complete Science-Adventure Books. Fletcher Pratt, Ross Rocklynne, Leigh Brackett and Fredric Brown are but a few of the writers published in those magazines. (Died 1975.)
  • Born June 3, 1905 Norman A. Daniels. Writer working initially in pulp magazines, later on radio and television. He created the Black Bat pulp hero and wrote for such series as The AvengersThe Phantom Detective and The Shadow. He has three non-series novels, The Lady Is a WitchSpy Slave and Voodoo Lady. To my surprise, iBooks and Kindle has a Black Bat Omnibus available! In addition, iBooks has the radio show.  (Died 1995.)
  • Born June 3, 1947 John Dykstra, 76. He was one of the founders of Industrial Light & Magic. That means he’s responsible for the original visuals for lightsabers, the space battles between X-wings and TIE fighters, and much of the other Star Wars effects. Can’t list everything he later worked on, so I’ll single out his work on Battlestar Galactica, the sfx for Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, the visual effects on X-Men: First Class, and visual effects supervisor on Doolittle.
  • Born June 3, 1950 Melissa Mathison. Screenwriter who worked with Spielberg on  E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialTwilight Zone: The Movie and the charming BFG, the latter being the last script she did before dying of cancer. She also did absolutely splendid The Indian in the Cupboard which was directed by Frank Oz. (Died 2015.)
  • Born June 3, 1958 Suzie Plakson, 65. She played four characters on the Trek franchise: a Vulcan, Doctor Selar, in “The Schizoid Man”(Next Gen); the half-Klingon/half-human Ambassador K’Ehleyr in “The Emissary” and “Reunion” (Next Gen); the Lady Q in “The Q and the Grey” (Voyager); and an Andorian, Tarah, in “Cease Fire” (Enterprise).  She also voiced Amazonia in the “Amazon Women in the Mood” episode of Futurama. Really. Truly. By the way, her first genre role was in the My Stepmother Is an Alien film as Tenley. She also showed up in the Beauty and the Beast series as Susan in the “In the Forests of the Night” episode.
  • Born June 3, 1949 Michael McQuay. He wrote two novels in Asimov’s Robot City series, Suspicion and Isaac Asimov’s Robot City (with Michael P. Kube-McDowell) and Richter 10 with Arthur C. Clarke. The Mathew Swain sequence neatly blends SF and noir detective tropes – very good popcorn reading. His novelization of Escape from New York is superb. (Died 1995.)
  • Born June 3, 1964 James Purefoy, 59. His most recent genre performance was as Laurens Bancroft in Altered Carbon. His most impressive was as Solomon Kane in the film of that name. He was also in A Knight’s Tale as Edward, the Black Prince of Wales/Sir Thomas Colville. He dropped out of being V in V for Vendetta some six weeks into shooting but some early scenes of the masked V are of him. And let’s not forget that he’s Hap Collins in the Sundance series Hap and Leonard which was steaming on Amazon Prime before the idiots there pulled it. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Macanudo is there when puberty comes to 2001.

(9) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] Friday’s episode of Jeopardy! had a category in the first round called “Their Middle Initial”, where each clue gave us a person’s given name and surname and asked for…oh, you guessed.

The $1000 level was:

Of sci-fi and fantasy author Ursula Le Guin

One of the contestants did in fact know it.

(10) SPACE CHOW. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Nope, it’s not Rice-A-Roni. But, this San Francisco firm is competing in the Deep Space Food Challenge, sponsored by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. The goal is to find ways to meet the food needs of astronauts on long-term space missions, such as one to Mars. Making the food interesting (as well as nutritious) is important from a psychological standpoint. “Does this look appetizing? If you go to Mars, it may be your meal” at CNN Business.

As part of a NASA competition called the Deep Space Food Challenge, a San Francisco based design firm shows CNN its ideas for tasty treats astronauts can grow themselves and even grill while on a long flight to Mars.

(11) JUSTWATCH. Here is the sff that JustWatch found people had on their screens in May.

(12) DINO SKINNER ARRESTED. “Vandal Causes $250,000 in Damage to ‘Jurassic Park’ Exhibition, Police Say” – the New York Times has the story.

A newly opened dinosaur exhibition in Atlanta based on the blockbuster series of “Jurassic Park” movies has been temporarily shut down after an intruder broke in and caused $250,000 in damage, the police said. One man is in custody.

On Monday, officers from the Atlanta Police Department responded to a burglary call at Jurassic World: The Exhibition, where a manager said he discovered several exhibits had been damaged, according to a police report.

The exhibition, which has made stops in North America, officially opened Friday at Pullman Yards, a large entertainment venue east of downtown Atlanta. The show promises to immerse audiences in scenes inspired by the films and features life-size dinosaur models.

Officials for the exhibition said security footage showed four suspects before they entered the property on Sunday night. One suspect was later seen “sitting on top of one of the dinosaurs ripping off the skin covering,” the report said….

… Michael Mattox, the executive vice president of Animax Designs, the company in Nashville that constructed the dinosaurs, told Fox5Atlanta last week that it took 18 months to design and build them.

About 140 artists, engineers and other creative people were involved in the production of the dinosaurs, he said.

(13) STEEL MAGNOLIAS.  “Japan will put a wooden satellite into orbit next year” reports TechSpot.

Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan have determined that wood from magnolia trees could be the ideal construction material for a satellite due to launch into space next year.

Test results from a recent experiment aboard the International Space Station among three wood specimens revealed magnolia to be the most versatile. The samples, which were exposed to the harsh conditions of space for 10 months, returned to Earth this past January.

Analysis showed magnolia experienced no decomposition or damage like cracking, peeling, or warping. Furthermore, there was no change in the mass of the wood samples before and after their exposure in space….

(14) STARLINER STANDS DOWN. “Boeing finds two serious problems with Starliner just weeks before launch” reports Ars Technica. People are surprised this kind of problem was discovered so late in the process.  

A Boeing official said Thursday that the company was “standing down” from an attempt to launch the Starliner spacecraft on July 21 to focus on recently discovered issues with the vehicle.

Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for Starliner, said two spacecraft problems were discovered before Memorial Day weekend and that the company spent the holiday investigating them. After internal discussions that included Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun, the company decided to delay the test flight that would carry NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the International Space Station.

“Safety is always our top priority, and that drives this decision,” Nappi said during a teleconference with reporters.

Two issues

The issues seem rather serious to have been discovered weeks before Starliner was due to launch on an Atlas V rocket. The first involves “soft links” in the lines that run from Starliner to its parachutes. Boeing discovered that these were not as strong as previously believed.

During a normal flight, these substandard links would not be an issue. But Starliner’s parachute system is designed to land a crew safely in case one of the three parachutes fails. However, due to the lower failure load limit with these soft links, if one parachute fails, it’s possible the lines between the spacecraft and its remaining two parachutes would snap due to the extra strain.

(15) UFO STUDY. The May 31 public meeting by the NASA team tasked with studying UAPs (UFOs) is archived on YouTube. “NASA’s UFO study team holds a public meeting”. Over 3.5 hours of talks, charts, stats, etc. 

Other coverage includes “NASA reveals findings on unidentified objects” at CNN Business and “UFOs: Five revelations from Nasa’s public meeting” at BBC News.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, David Langford, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

Pixel Scroll 5/3/23 Don’t Ring That Pixel, It’ll Only Make The Scrolling Trickier

(1) NEXT ON BABYLON 5. “The secret Babylon 5 project is… an animated movie”. The Verge does a roundup of what is known about the project based on J. Michael Straczynski’s tweets today, plus a little bit from his Patreon page. More details are coming next week, including a release date.

Meanwhile, the Babylon 5 reimagining live action show that’s been in development remains “on hold pending WGA issues” Straczynski said on Facebook last week.

(2) FAN WINS MINN STATE LITERARY AWARD. Congratulations to Minn-Stf member Karen E. Cooper on receiving the 2023 Emilie Buchwald Award for Minnesota Nonfiction, part of the Minnesota Book Awards. Cooper’s winning book is When Minnehaha Flowed with Whiskey: A Spirited History of the Falls.

From the 1880s until at least 1912, Minnehaha Falls was a scene of surprising mayhem. The waterfall was privately owned from the 1850s through 1889, and entrepreneurs made money from hotels and concessions. Even after the area became a city park, shady operators set up at its borders and corrupt police ran “security.” Drinking, carousing, sideshows, dances that attracted unescorted women, and general rowdiness reigned—to the dismay of the neighbors. By 1900, social reformers began to redeem Minnehaha Park. During the struggle for control, the self-indulgent goings-on there became more public and harder to ignore.

(3) LIKE SAND THROUGH THE HOURGLASS. The trailer for Dune: Part Two dropped today.

“Dune: Part Two” will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

(4) TONY AWARDS 2023. The 2023 Tony Award nominations are out. There are a few productions of genre interest like Into the Woods with cast members among the nominees, however the list is mostly not sff. The complete roster is at the link.

(5) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Paul Tremblay & John Langan on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of The Pallbearers Club, Growing Things, Disappearance at Devil’s RockA Head Full of Ghosts, and the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. His novel The Cabin at the End of the World was adapted as the major motion picture Knock at the Cabin. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles TimesNew York Times, and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his family.

John Langan

John Langan is the author of two novels and five collections of fiction. For his work, he has received the Bram Stoker and the This Is Horror awards. He is one of the founding members of the Shirley Jackson awards, and serves on its Board of Advisors. He lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with his family and worries about bears roaming the woods behind the house. His latest book is Corpsemouth and Other Autobiographies.

Where: KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003 (Just off 2nd Ave, upstairs).

(6) THE SEX LIVES OF TRALFAMADORIANS. [Item by Steven French.] In an interesting and helpful article in Aeon, entitled “Sex Is Real” (but with the important sub-title: ‘Yes, there are just two biological sexes. No, this doesn’t mean every living thing is either one or the other’), philosopher of biology Paul Griffiths tackles the Tralfamadorians:

… imagine if there was a whole species … where three different kinds of gametes combined to make a new individual – a sperm, an egg and a third, mitochondrial gamete. This species would have three biological sexes. Something like this has actually been observed in slime moulds, an amoeba that can, but need not, get its mitochondria from a third ‘parent’. The novelist Kurt Vonnegut imagined an even more complex system in Slaughterhouse-Five (1969): ‘There were five sexes on Tralfamadore, each of them performing a step necessary in the creation of a new individual.’ But the first question a biologist would ask is: why haven’t these organisms been replaced by mutants that dispense with some of the sexes? Having even two sexes imposes many extra costs – the simplest is just finding a mate – and these costs increase as the number of sexes required for mating rises. Mutants with fewer sexes would leave more offspring and would rapidly replace the existing Tralfamadorians. Something like this likely explains why two-sex systems predominate on Earth….

(7) VECTOR NEEDS EDITORS. Jo Lindsay Walton and Polina Levontin will be standing down as editors of the British Science Fiction Association’s magazine Vector after one more issue (#298, late 2023), and the BSFA is inviting applications for new editors: “Vector: be part of a new editorial team!”

(8) MEMORY LANE.

2011[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Let’s talk about David Langford for a minute. Y’all know this wonderful individual already, so I need not go into depth on who he is, though I’d be very remiss not to mention that he has the most Hugo Awards in hand with twenty-nine so far. 

Many of those came about from his work as a fan journalist on his essential-reading Ansible newsletter which he has described as The SF Private Eye. The name Ansible you likely know is taken from Le Guin’s communication device.

That he borrowed the name from a fictional device is a fact that lends itself to the lead-in for the Beginning excerpted in this Scroll. It’s from Langford’s story in Fables from the Fountain, edited by Iain Whates, a collection which paid homage to Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from The White Hart.

Fables from the Fountain centers on The Fountain, a traditional London pub situated in Holborn, sited just off Chancery Lane, where Michael, our landlord, serves only superb ales, ably assisted by barmaids Sally and Bogna.  It is a place where a group of friends – scientists, writers and, yes, genre fans — meet regularly on a Tuesday night to tell true stories, and some well, maybe not so true. 

Our story, “The Pocklington Poltergeist”, was published by NewCon Press as part of this collection twelve years ago. Dean Harkness did the cover art. 

They are, I must say, quite fun tales that keep nicely in the spirit of Clarke’s own. Available at the usual suspects, or in a more traditional paper edition.

And let’s us step into The Fountain for our Beginning…

A buzz of expectation could be felt in the back bar of the Fountain that Tuesday evening, and Michael the landlord hoped aloud that this didn’t mean funny business. No one needed to be told what he meant. The previous meeting had gone with a bang, not to mention a repeated flash, crackle and puff of purple vapour when anyone stepped in the wrong place. Whatever that noisy stuff was, it got on your shoes and followed you even into the sanctuary of the toilet.

“Nitrogen tri-iodide,” said Dalton reminiscently. “Contact explosive. A venerable student tradition. It’s amazing how each new year discovers the formula, as though it were a programmed instinct.”

“They read science fiction,” Ploom suggested. “Robert Heinlein gives a fairly detailed recipe in Farnham’s Freehold.”

“Not his best,” said Dalton. “And not the best procedure either. Solid iodine crystals are far, far more effective than the usual alcoholic solution. I speak purely theoretically, of course.”

At the bar, Professor Mackintosh made reassuring noises. “The only upheaval we’re expecting is a celebrity visitor, Michael. A demi-celebrity, at any rate. Have you heard of Dagon Smythe “the psychic investigator – a real-life Carnacki the Ghost-Finder? Colin Wilson wrote a whole book about him once.”

Next to the Professor, Dr Steve spluttered something into his beer. It could have been: “That charlatan.”

“Now, now,” murmured Mackintosh. “Guests are always received politely. We even managed to be civil to Uri Geller.”

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 3, 1896 Dodie Smith. English children’s novelist and playwright, best remembered for The Hundred and One Dalmatians which of course became the animated film of the same name and thirty years later was remade by Disney as a live action film. (Saw the first a long time ago, never saw the latter.) Though The Starlight Barking, the sequel, was optioned, by Disney, neither sequel film (101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure and 102 Dalmatians) is based on it. Elizabeth Hand in her review column in F&SF praised it as one of the very best fantasies (“… Dodie Smith’s sophisticated canine society in The Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Starlight Barking…”) she read. (Died 1990.)
  • Born May 3, 1928 Jeanne Bal.  Ebony In Trek’s “The Man Trap” episode, she played Nancy Crater, a former lover of Leonard McCoy, who would be a victim of the lethal shape-shifting alien which craves salt. This was the series’ first-aired episode that replaced “The Cage” which the Network really didn’t like. She also had one-offs in Thriller and I-Spy. (Died 1996.)
  • Born May 3, 1939 Dennis O’Neil. Writer and editor, mostly for Marvel Comics and DC Comics from the Sixties through the Nineties, and was the Group Editor for the Batman family of titles until his retirement which makes him there when Ed Brubaker’s amazing Gotham Central came out. He himself has written Wonder Woman and Green Arrow in both cases introducing some rather controversial storytelling ideas. He also did a rather brilliant DC Comics Shadow series with Michael Kaluta as the artist. (Died 2020.)
  • Born May 3, 1949 Ron Canada, 74. He’s one of those actors who manages to show up across the Trek verse, in this case on episodes of Next GenerationDeep Space Nine and Voyager. He also showed up in the David Hasselhoff vanity project Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD as Gabe Jones, and had further one-offs on The X-FilesStar Gate SG-1ElementaryGrimm and The Strain. He had a recurring role on the now canceled Orville series as Admiral Tucker.
  • Born May 3, 1958 Bill Sienkiewicz, 65. Comic artist especially known for his work for Marvel Comics’ Elektra, Moon Knight and New Mutants. His work on the Elektra: Assassin! six-issue series which written by Frank Miller is stellar. Finally his work with Andy Helfer on The Shadow series is superb.
  • Born May 3, 1965 Michael Marshall Smith, 58. His first published story, “The Man Who Drew Cats”, won the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. Not stopping there, His first novel, Only Forward, won the August Derleth Award for Best Novel and the Philip K. Dick Award. He has six British Fantasy Awards in total, very impressive indeed. 
  • Born May 3, 1969 Daryl Mallett, 54. By now you know that I’ve a deep fascination with the nonfiction documentation of our community. This author has done a number of works doing just that including several I’d love to see including Reginald’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards: A Comprehensive Guide to the Awards and Their Winners written with Robert Reginald. He’s also written some short fiction including one story with Forrest J Ackerman that bears the charming title of “A Typical Terran’s Thought When Spoken to by an Alien from the Planet Quarn in Its Native Language“.  He’s even been an actor as well appearing in several Next Gen episodes (“Encounter at Farpoint” and “Hide and Q”) and The Undiscovered Country as well, all uncredited. He also appeared in Doctor Who and The Legends Of Time, a fan film which you can see here if you wish to.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Frazzis built around a culture wars malaprop. (Or at least a misunderstanding.)

(11) EXECUTIVE ACTION. “Jim Lee Re-Ups at DC, Promoted to President”The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

Jim Lee, the superstar artist-turned-publisher of DC, has added the title president to his growing list of executive designations.

Lee, re-upping his deal with DC, has been promoted to president as well as publisher and CCO of the comic book company, which is part of Warner Bros. Discovery.

The executive will continue to report to Pam Lifford, president of global brands, franchises and experiences at Warner Bros. Discovery, who announced the promotion Wednesday.

Lee, per the company, will continue in his primary role as publisher at DC, where he leads the creative teams. He will also continue to lead the creative efforts to integrate DC’s publishing portfolio of characters and stories across all media, supporting the brands and studios of WBD…

(12) I’VE HEARD THIS TUNE BEFORE. [Item by Dan Bloch.] Did Spider Robinson nail it or what? (Cf. “Melancholy Elephants”) “The Ed Sheeran lawsuit is a threat to Western civilization. Really.” says Elizabeth Nelson in an opinion piece for the Washington Post.

Spider Robinson’s 1983 Hugo-winning short story “Melancholy Elephants” is about a woman fighting a bill in congress which would extend copyright into perpetuity, because it would ultimately stifle humanity’s artistic creativity.  (“Senator, if I try to hoard the fruits of my husband’s genius, I may cripple my race.”)

The Post article talks about musician Ed Sheeran currently being sued by a songwriter’s estate which claims that “a similar but not identical chord progression used by both songs as a principal motif” is copyrighted.  The author says the effects of the estate winning would be horrible: “If artists must pay a tax for employing the most common modes and tones of composition, the process of grinding popular music down to a consensus-driven pay window for tech entrepreneurs and corporate opportunists will have reached its apotheosis.”

The two are eerily similar.

(13) BIG GULP. The good part is you won’t be around by the time this happens to the earth: “Sun-like star swallowed entire planet, MIT and Harvard astronomers say” at CBS News.

For the first time, scientists have caught a star in the act of swallowing a planet – not just a nibble or bite, but one big gulp.

Astronomers on Wednesday reported their observations of what appeared to be a gas giant around the size of Jupiter or bigger being eaten by its star. The sun-like star had been puffing up with old age for eons and finally got so big that it engulfed the close-orbiting planet.

It’s a gloomy preview of what will happen to Earth when our sun morphs into a red giant and gobbles the four inner planets.

“If it’s any consolation, this will happen in about 5 billion years,” said co-author Morgan MacLeod of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics….

The source article is “An infrared transient from a star engulfing a planet” in Nature.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Jeanne Gomoll and Scott Custis replaced their garage floor/slab with new concrete. But before that could happen, workers had to lift up the garage and move it out of the way. This timelapse video of their project is quite something.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, N., Steven French, Jo Lindsay Walton, Dan Bloch, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

Pixel Scroll 10/16/22 I Can Scroll Clearly Now The Pixel’s Come, I Can See All Comments Now In This Thread, Gone Are The Strange Trolls That Spoiled My View, It’s Going To Be Bright, Bright, Bright Pixelly Scroll

(1) WISCON HANGS IN THE BALANCE. WisCon not only is trying to recruit people for leadership, their blog says the fate of their 2023 event depends on whether the positons are filled by November 30. “Co-Chair and Online Con Leads needed to have in-person, online events in 2023”.

…Last week Stephanie [Sarac] announced she would be stepping down as co-chair for WisCon 46 in 2023. Please join us in thanking Stephanie for all the hard work she did on the post-con survey, Guest of Honor nominations, and department outreach/coordination as co-chair. We’re really grateful for her willingness to jump into things after having only attended WisCon one time!

…In the interest of transparency, we want to let you all know that if the open Co-Chair position isn’t filled by end of November, the in-person con will be cancelled.  It is possible we may still do an Online-only con in that scenario, but that depends on a number of other variables.  If we’re able to fill the Co-Chair position but aren’t able to recruit Online Con Department lead(s), the con will be in-person only (we won’t be able to have online or hybrid programming). In either scenario of in-person and/or online con not being able to happen, we will use that time to build up departments, train up leads and chairs, fundraise, and put ourselves in the best possible position for a full event the following year.

(2) THE NEXT FANAC.ORG ZOOM. Fanac.org will host an interview with Maggie Thompson titled “Before, During and After the Origins of Comics Fandom,” with interviewer Dr. Chris Couch on Sunday October 30 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.  To attend the Zoom session, send a request to Edie Stern, the FANAC webmaster at [email protected].

A list of past sessions, which are all available on FANAC’s Fan History YouTube channel, go to https://fanac.org/zoom.html.

(3) SIMPLE ANSWER. Dorothy Grant has sound answers to the question “What do you have to read in order to write in a genre?” at Mad Genius Club. Similar to what Larry Niven says, that a writer must read widely in order to “stock the shelves” of the imagination.

This question was posed elsewhere, and responses were quick to make fun of mandatory reading, and of “Reading The Classics”. I, on the other hand, propose a different answer.

There is no have to. Do I look like your abuela? But here is what you should do, in order to improve:

Read widely. Read deeply. Read the critically-acclaimed successes. Read the high-selling works the critics declaimed as Trash or Merely Pulp….

(4) EYES LOCKED ON. Joachim Boaz considers TV in “Future Media Short Story Review: Ray Bradbury’s ‘Almost the End of the World’ (1957)” at Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations.

…Ray Bradbury conjures a strange new world without television….

.. Ray Bradbury’s “Almost the End of the World” first appeared in The Reporter (December 26, 1957). It later appeared in his short story collection The Day It Rained Forever (1959). If you have an Internet Archive account, you can read it online here.

In multiple earlier reviews in this series, I’ve laid out television’s transformative and speedy infiltration of the American consciousness and daily activities over the course of the 1950s. Multiple Bradbury stories critique this new world. The lovely and crystalline “The Pedestrian” (1951) imagined a future night city in which its denizens are transfixed by their TV scenes. The city, observed by the solitary one-time writer Leonard Mead, is as silent as “a wintry, windless Arizona country” (90). “Almost the End of the World” (1957) ruminates on the effects on American society if a cosmic event severs the viewer from the succor of the screen….

(5) BILL AT 91. “William Shatner talks growing older, living life without regrets” in a Yahoo! interview about his new memoir, Boldly Go.

You write in your book about when you first told your parents that you wanted to be an actor. Did they live long enough to see your success?

[When I told them], they looked at me like, “Who are you? Where did you come from? What’s acting again? Isn’t that what a minstrel does?” [Laughs] I think my father must have thought, because he came from Europe to Montreal when he was about 9 or 10 … that his son wanted to be on a horse and wagon roaming across the country.

My father was around when Star Trek began [in 1966]. He died in 1968. I don’t how much of a success I was then, but I was making a living. My mother lived until a few years ago, so she saw that success. The success part wasn’t as [important to them] as long as I could make a living. And that varied as time went on, and as more and more children arrived. The definition of what a living was increased.

(6) CHAN DAVIS APPRECIATION.  [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Alan Wald, H. Chandler Davis Collegate Professor at the University of Michigan, remembers the sf writer Chan Davis, who died last month at 96. “H. Chandler Davis Was a Lifelong Radical and a Moral Touchstone for the Left” at Jacobin.

Chandler Davis (born Horace Chandler Davis and called “Chan” by his friends) was an internationally esteemed mathematician, a minor science fiction writer of note, and among the most celebrated political prisoners in the United States during the years of the high Cold War.

Dismissed from the University of Michigan (U-M) in 1954 for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on First Amendment grounds, he served six months in Danbury Federal Correctional Institution in Connecticut, then faced an academic blacklist that drove him to pursue a career in Canada.

The death of this endlessly resilient, lifelong radical at the age of ninety-six on September 24 in Toronto seems like the passing of an emissary from a world of the socialist Left that no longer exists. Despite errors of political judgment, which Chan was the first to acknowledge, he was for many of us a moral touchstone in our own decades of political upheaval and unpredictability….

(7) MEMORY LANE.

1959 [By Cat Eldridge.] The Twilight Zone’s “Mr. Denton On Doomsday” (1959)

Portrait of a town drunk named Al Denton. This is a man who’s begun his dying early—a long, agonizing route through a maze of bottles. Al Denton, who would probably give an arm or a leg or a part of his soul to have another chance, to be able to rise up and shake the dirt from his body and the bad dreams that infest his consciousness. In the parlance of the times, this is a peddler, a rather fanciful-looking little man in a black frock coat. And this is the third principal character of our story. Its function: perhaps to give Mr. Al Denton his second chance. — Opening narration

Rod Serling was, if I must say so, bloody brilliant. And “Mr. Denton On Doomsday”, just the third episode of this series, shows this. (If you’ve not seen it of late, the series it is airing on Paramount +.) A Western, it’s also really look at how a man, two in fact can be redeemed.

SPOILERS LIKE WHISKEY IN A FICTIONAL WESTERN BAR FLOW NOW, SO GO AWAY!

Denton, our lead here played  by Dan Duryea, was once known as the quickest draw in town, but riddled with increasing guilt over the dead in his gun fights, one just a teenager, he became drunk and the derision of everyone in this Western town.

(There’s an animated Jonah Hex where this very storyline comes up. It’s called DC Showcase: Jonah Hex and Jonah, when the way-too-young male draws on him, hits with his rifle and knocks him quite unconscious. Right now, I think the only place you can see that is HBO Max.) 

A stranger offers him redemption. But he knows gunslingers come from miles around to seek him out and, inevitably, kill him. Or so he fervently hopes. The stranger named Fate (HA!) offers him and another gunfighter each a bottle of the potion. 

They fight, do not kill each other, but wound their shooting hand, thus ending their days as gunslingers. 

Fate tips his hat to Denton and rides quietly out of town.

DRINK UP, I’M DONE WITH SPOILERS. REALLY, I AM.

Martin Landau who played Dan Hotaling (the younger gunslinger) here would return to play Major Ivan Kuchenko in “The Jeopardy Room” which I’ve already essayed. He would also appear in two more Twilight Zone episodes, “The Beacon” and “One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty”. 

The harmonica music you hear in the background is an old Russian folksong known as “Stenka Razin”.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 16, 1924 David Armstrong. He appeared in two Trek episodes, “A Taste of Armageddon” as a guard to the Eminiar, uncredited of course, and as Kartan in “Operation – Annihilate!” and, though having a name, also uncredited according to Memory Alpha. He also had an amazing twenty-two appearances on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. where he was only credited when he showed as Thrushman, which must have been some sort of inside joke. Genre roles were common for him — I SpyGet Smart!The InvadersThe Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and Kolchak were all where he showed up. (Died 2016.)
  • Born October 16, 1925 Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury. She first shows up in a genre work as Sibyl Vane in The Picture of Dorian Gray. A few years later, she’s Queen Anne of France in The Three Musketeers. Somewhat later, she’s Miss Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. She voices Mommy Fortuna in The Last Unicorn, and is Granny in A Company of Wolves which won the BSFA Award for Best Film and is based off Angela Carter’s A Company of Wolves. And yes, she’s in Mary Poppins Returns as The Balloon Lady. (Died 2022.)
  • Born October 16, 1926 Joe Sinnott. He worked primarily as an inker. He is best remembered for his work on the Fantastic Four from the Sixties to into the Eighties, with it being first over the pencils of Jack Kirby. He worked, mostly as a freelancer, some sixty years at Marvel, where he had long runs on The AvengersThe Defenders and Thor. And yes, he deserved many an Award  — the Alley Award, the  Inkpot Award, the Will Eisner Hall of Fame, the Inkwell Awards Hall of Fame and finally the Retro Inkwell Awards Favorite Inker. (Died 2020.)
  • Born October 16, 1947 Guy Siner, 75. Apparently he’s one of only 32 actors to appear in both the Star Trek and Doctor Who franchises. He appeared in the “Genesis of the Daleks”, a Fourth Doctor story, and on Enterprise in the “Silent Enemy” episode. Interestingly he shows up on Babylon 5 as well in “Rumors, Bargains and Lies”.  And that might place him in very select acting company indeed.
  • Born October 16, 1958 Tim Robbins, 64. I think his finest role was as Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham, but his first genre role was Phil Blumburtt in Howard the Duck. He played Erik in Erik the Viking, and is in The Shawshank Redemption as Andy Dufresne. He’s Woodrow “Woody” Blake in Mission to Mars. He was Harlan Ogilvy in War of the Worlds followed by being Senator Robert Hammond in Green Lantern
  • Born October 16, 1965 Joseph Mallozzi, 57. He is most noted for his work on the Stargate series. He joined the Stargate production team at the start of Stargate SG-1’s fourth season in 2000. He was a writer and executive producer for all three Stargate series. He also co-created the Dark Matter comic book series with Paul Mullie that became a Syfy series. 
  • Born October 16, 1973 Eva Röse, 49. Most likely best known for her role as the android Niska in Season 1 of the Swedish Real Humans upon which AMC’s Humans was based. She also was one of the voice cast for the animated Creepschool series, and was Jasmie on The Befallen, a supernatural series that lasted one season there. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

Tom Gauld blends literary analysis with psychoanalysis.

(10) THE GHOSTS OF COMICS PAST. “When DC Seriously Tried to Prove Bob Kane Wasn’t Actually Drawing Batman” – a “Comic Legend” history piece by Brian Cronin.

COMIC LEGEND:

Mort Weisinger tried to prove that Bob Kane wasn’t actually drawing his Batman comics when Kane added Lew Sayre Schwartz as his ghost in 1948

STATUS:

True

A while back, I wrote about the peculiar situation when it came to Bob Kane’s ghosts on the Batman comic books heading into the 1960s. The majority of the artwork being done for Batman comic books throughout the 1950s and 1960s was by “Bob Kane,” but obviously, for that much artwork to be produced, no one believed that Bob Kane was doing it all himself. As it turned out, by the mid-1950s, Kane wasn’t doing it at ALL, with Sheldon Moldoff doing ALL of the work that was credited to Kane…

(11) AN EARLY FILER. [Noted by John Hertz.]

Plutarch grappled with … the import of the word E’i inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. In Greek it can mean “Five”; it can mean “If”: but above all it means “Thou Art”.

M.A. Screech, intr. to Montaigne’s Apology for Raymond Sebond p. xxix (1993)

(12) GETTING WHAT THEY DESERVE? Molly Odintz reviews books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Stephen Graham Jones at CrimeReads: “These Books Prove We’re Living In a Golden Age of Horror”.

…There are several converging factors for the rise in horror. First, we can’t underestimate the impact of Jordan Peele or the film Midsommar on the trends of social horror and folk horror, respectively. We apparently now wish to not only watch what we want to read, but read what we want to watch. Second, horror fiction, like crime fiction, is a vastly more diverse landscape than just a few years ago, and a genre that I’d previously stereotyped as full of fear of the other (sorry, Stephen King!) is now distinguished by sympathy for the other. Third, we’ve all gotten far more interested in haunted houses since we became forced to spend every waking hour in them. And fourth, people have simply gotten worse, and it is correspondingly more satisfying to watch them die (hence the return of the slasher)….

(13) ALSO ON CRIMEREADS. Michael Gonzales looks at the 1968 sf film Wild In The Streets. “Rock & Roll Apocalypse: ‘Wild in the Streets’”.

…It was during one of my Saturday night movie marathons that I first saw the politically charged sci-fi satire Wild in the Streets (1968), a flick about a bugged-out alternative America guided by an insane pop star named Max Frost, his band mates The Troops and the millions of fans. Twenty-two-year-old Max despised anyone over 30, and throughout the film worked hard to get rid of mature adults who were “stiff with age.” Played with crazed charisma by method actor Christopher Jones, a southern mumbler who critics compared to James Dean, Max Frost began his mission by partnering with a youngish (thirty-seven years old) congressman who helped him by getting the voting age lowered to fourteen…. 

(14) EYE OPENER. This must be my Mercedes Lackey moment, because our printing “Bulgaria” when it should have been “Croatia” is something I would have thought was more like an easily fixed mistake. Evidently it’s much worse.

(15) LIZARDS IN THE WILD. Check out the rather funny cosplay encounter at “EV Grieve: Saturday’s parting shot”.

A tail of two cities today near Union Square … photo by Derek Berg

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Ryan George discovers that it’s really hard for people in 2022 to explain to the world in 1996 what the metaverse is like. “Time Traveler Discovers The Metaverse – THE FUTURE IS DUMB”.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Michael “Orange Mike” Lowrey, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]

Pixel Scroll 4/6/22 This Is The Hour When Moonstruck Faneds Know What Pixels Scroll In Yuggoth

(1) PRESSING ON. Apex Book Company is seeking $6,200 to publish a print compilation anthology of all the original genre short fiction that appeared in their digital publication, Apex Magazine, during the 2021 calendar year. Their Kickstarter project, “Apex Magazine 2021 Compilation Anthology by Apex Publications”, at this writing has raised $2,376. The appeal runs through April 22.

Apex Magazine had an exceptional 2021. Seven of the zine’s stories made the Locus Magazine Suggested Reading List. The zine placed a story on the Nebula finalist list and won a Stabby Award. In October 2021, we published an issue dedicated to Indigenous authors. In December 2021, we dedicated an issue to international authors.

The anthology will include 48 stories from a diverse group of new and established writers and will feature the Apex Magazine Readers’ Choice Award-winning artwork “Entropic Garden” by Marcela Bolívar on the cover.

(2) SFWA STORYBUNDLE. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has released its newest StoryBundle, Magic Awakens, for a limited time only, from April 6 to April 28. This StoryBundle offers a large selection of ebooks from independent and small press fantasy writers, and can be purchased at https://storybundle.com/fantasy.

If a smooth sea never made a skilled mariner, then a tranquil world never forged a powerful hero: Meet fourteen budding sorceresses, wizards, and magic wielders of all ages and types as they face horrible threats that force them to confront their nascent abilities and to strengthen their powers and themselves. Then join each character on their own thrilling adventure once the Magic Awakens!

SFWA StoryBundles are curated collections of ebooks offered at a steeply discounted price. Readers who purchase Magic Awakens will gain a rich collection of fantasy fiction and can opt to donate part of their purchase price to support SFWA’s ongoing work to promote and support speculative fiction genres and writers.

Readers may choose what price they want to pay for the initial four books, starting at $5. Spending $20 unlocks ten more books that they can receive with their purchase. Once April 28 passes, this particular collection will never be available again! Further details about how StoryBundle operates are available at https://storybundle.com/faq

(3) CSI SPARKLE SALON. The second episode of the Science Fiction Sparkle Salon has been released by the Center for Science and the Imagination. It features sff authors Malka Older, Annalee Newitz, Arkady Martine, Amal El-Mohtar, and Karen Lord, and scientist Katie Mack, discussing a wide range of topics

(4) IN OUR OWN WORDS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] This week’s episode of Word of Mouth on BBC Radio 4 discusses the lexicography of SF and SF fandom.  Being interviewed is not Jeff Prucher, of the stonkingly brilliant Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, but Jesse Sheidlower of the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction. You can access the programme on BBC Sounds – “Word of Mouth – The Language of Sci-Fi”.

Jessie Sheidlower

(5) PRESENTING THE BILL. “Canada Introduces Bill Requiring Online Giants to Share Revenues With Publishers” reports the New York Times.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require companies like the parents of Google and Facebook to pay Canadian media outlets for allowing links to news content on their platforms.

Canadian publishers, many of which are struggling financially, have long pushed the government for such a measure, arguing that the advertising revenue that previously was the foundation of their businesses has overwhelmingly migrated to global online giants.

That pressure increased after Australia passed a similar measure in 2021 and Europe revised its copyright laws to compensate publishers.

“The news sector in Canada is in crisis,” Pablo Rodriguez, the minister of Canadian heritage, said at a news conference. “This contributes to the heightened public mistrust and the rise of harmful disinformation in our society.”

Mr. Rodriguez said that 450 media outlets in Canada closed between 2008 and last year….

(6) ASHCANS TO AUCTION. Heritage Auction’s Intelligent Collector give the background as “Historic DC Comics Prototypes Soar to Auction”. (Images at the link.)

Thirty-seven years ago, Gary Colabuono saw his first ashcan. “And I did not know what they were,” he says now, decades after he began collecting, preserving and promoting these cheaply made, stapled-together black-and-white mock-ups made to secure a comic book title’s trademark and meant to be tossed into the trash.

In time, Colabuono became the expert on these lost rarities from the earliest days of the comic-book industry. Now, four of his ashcans – including one of two surviving Superman Comics ashcans from 1939 – head to market for the first time during Heritage Auctions’ history-making April 7-10 Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction….

(7) THE MASTER’S VOICE. Alan Moore gives an introduction to a BBC writing course which seems the British equivalent of a Masterclass course. “Introducing – Alan Moore – Storytelling – BBC Maestro”.

Step into the world of Alan Moore’s incredible imagination and learn from the mastermind behind comics like From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Swamp Thing, and novels including the modern literary classic Jerusalem. Learn about Alan Moore’s writing process and how he combines character, story, language and world-building to create the tales that have won him fans the world over. Ideal for aspiring fiction writers, this online course includes downloadable course notes to guide you on your own creative journey.

(8) AT BREAK OF DON. Eleanor Morton does hilarious impressions of the two Inklings in “JRR Tolkien tells CS Lewis about his new character”.

(9) NEHEMIAH PERSOFF (1919-2022). A prolific actor with over 200 screen and TV credits, Nehemiah Persoff died April 5 at the age of 102.

His first genre role was playing Ali Baba in an episode of Shirley Temple’s Storybook (1958). He worked constantly, with many appearances in other sff TV series: The Twilight Zone (“Judgment Night”; 1959), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Off to See the Wizard (voice), The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, Land of the Giants, The Magical World of Disney, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Invisible Man, Wonder Woman, Logan’s Run, The Bionic Woman, Supertrain, Battlestar Galactica, Fantasy Island, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he voiced Papa Mousekewitz in 1986’s An American Tail and two video sequels.  

Steve Vertlieb wrote about his visit with Persoff in 2019 for File 770.

(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1922 [Item by Cat Eldridge.]

To John Vine Milne

My dear Father,
Like all really nice people, you have a weakness for detective
stories, and feel that there are not enough of them. So, after
all that you have done for me, the least that I can do for you
is to write you one. Here it is: with more gratitude and
affection than I can well put down here.

— A. A. Milne in his preface to The Red House Mystery

A century ago today, A.A. Milne’s The Red House Mystery was published by Methuen in the United Kingdom. This is his only mystery and it’s a most splendid Manor House mystery, one of the best ever written if I must so myself which I will.  Milne tells the story of the mysterious death of Robert Ablett inside the house of his brother, Mark Ablett, while there was a party taking place. It’s a whodunit that’s wonderfully told.

That was written prior to Winnie the Pooh and was an immediate success with the reading public and critics alike. Alexander Woollcott of the New Yorker at the time called it “one of the three best mystery stories of all time” though he himself would later be judged harshly by Raymond Chandler who also disliked British mysteries in general. (Ahhh feuds among critics. Lovely things they are.)  It has stood nicely the test of time and is still considered a splendid mystery.

It is now in the public domain so you can find it at the usual suspects for free though there are also copies being sold by publishers as well. Audible has four versions of the novel including a full cast production.  I really should listen to that version. 

If you interested in acquiring a first British edition, dig deep into your bank account as that will set you back, assuming that edition is on the market, at least thirteen thousand dollars currently.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 6, 1926 Gil Kane. Artist who created the modern look and feel of Green Lantern and the Atom for DC, and co-created Iron Fist with Roy Thomas for Marvel. I’m going to single him out for his work on the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets in the Sixties and Seventies which you can find on the revamped and stripped-down DC Universe app. (Died 2000.)
  • Born April 6, 1935 Douglas Hill. Canadian author, editor and reviewer. For a year, he was assistant editor of Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds magazine. I’m going to admit that I know more of him as a decidedly and to be admired Leftist reviewer than I do as writer, indeed he held the same post of Literary Editor at the socialist weekly Tribune as Orwell earlier did. Who here is familiar with fiction? He was quite prolific indeed. (Died 2007.)
  • Born April 6, 1937 Billy Dee Williams, 85. He is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, first appearing in The Empire Strikes Back. Other genre appearances include being Harvey Dent in Batman and voicing Two Face In The Lego Batman Movie. He also co-wrote with Rob MacGregor two SF novels, PSI/Net and Just/In Time which are available from the usual suspects.
  • Born April 6, 1938 Roy Thinnes, 84. Best remembered for his role of David Vincent in The Invaders. He was also in The Horror at 37,000 FeetThe Norliss TapesSatan’s School for GirlsBattlestar GalacticaDark Shadows (recurring role as Roger Colins) and Poltergeist: The Legacy
  • Born April 6, 1942 Anita Pallenberg. It’s not a long genre resume but she was in Barbarella as, I kid you not, Black Queen, Great Tyrant of Sogo, the chief villainess. Over forty years later, she had a minor role as Diana in a Grade B film 4:44 Last Day on Earth. Now I’m going to expand this Birthday by crediting her as the muse of the Rolling Stones which is surely genre adjacent, isn’t it? She was the lover of Brian Jones, and later, from 1967 to 1980, the partner of Keith Richards, with whom she had three children. Of course she appeared in that documentary about the Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil. (Died 2017.)
  • Born April 6, 1944 Judith McConnell, 78. Here for being in Star Trek’s “Wolf in the Fold” as Yeoman Tankris. Need I say what happened to her? Well you’d be wrong as she survived. (I looked it up to be sure as the body count was high.) She also during this time appeared on Get Smart in “The King Lives” as Princess Marta, and she’d much later be in Sliders for several episodes. 
  • Born April 6, 1977 Karin Tidbeck, 45. Their first work in English, Jagannath, a short story collection, made the shortlist for the Otherwise Award and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. The short story “Augusta Prima”, originally written in Swedish, was translated by the author into English and won a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award in the Short Form category. 

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro really should be more impressed with The Mildly Surprising Spider-Man.

(13) SHINY. Could these be “The 15 Greatest Covers In All Of Comics”? Buzzfeed thinks so.

Mainly featuring heroes and villains in colorful costumes, comic book covers have succeeded in catching readers’ attention, but these covers are truly the best of the best. These are the 15 Greatest Covers in All of Comics.

(14) SKILL TREE. The latest episode of CSI Skill Tree series on video games, storytelling, worldbuiding, and futures thinking is now live, with SF author Ken Liu and video game designer Liz Fiacco discussing the 2020 game Cloud Gardens, a 2020 game about using plants to overgrow and transform abandoned post-industrial landscapes. This episode is presented in collaboration with Orion Magazine, a quarterly publication working at the convergence of ecology, art, and social justice. All nine Skill Tree episodes are available to view at this playlist.

(15) MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCES. NPR advocates for George O’Connor’s version of the Greek gods: “A graphic novel series for kids that doesn’t leave out gender fluidity”.

…Dionysos: The New God is the last of O’Connor’s Olympians, a series of graphic novels he’s been writing and illustrating for the last 12 years. Each book retells the ancient Greek myths through the lens of one of the gods or goddesses, from Athena, goddess of wisdom, to Hephaistos, god of the forge.

O’Connor’s illustrations are bursting with action, humor and lots of details. He researched the ancient myths in order to get as close as possible to the original stories. That means his gods and goddesses are fierce, but also voluptuous, mischievous and even snarky. To him, the Olympians are a family of distinct individuals. “There’s certain personality traits that come to the fore,” he said….

(16) WILSON HONORED AT BOOKFEST. Author and musician Shane Wilson won two book awards at The BookFest this past weekend for his novel, The Smoke in His Eyes. The book placed second in Contemporary Fiction and third in Coming-of-Age Literary Fiction.

The Bookfest Awards honors authors who create outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction. Books are judged in categories based on genre, theme, and aesthetics. Books published in the past five years are eligible. Entries will be vetted by an initial team, then the final places will be determined by an elite team of experts in the literary and entertainment world.

Here’s what The Smoke in His Eyes is about:

When TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses are overrun with intense hallucinations. Over the years, his visions increase in frequency and intensity, but he hides them from those he is closest to, including his best friend and musical partner, Lila, who challenges TJ to reject formulaic creation in order to create something beautiful and unique. But when Lila signs a record deal, TJ feels left behind and alone with his art and his visions.

That’s when TJ meets an artist named Muna. In his eyes and visions, Muna is made of smoke, and as this magical woman helps him learn how to manage his visions and how to translate what he sees and hears into music and lyrics, she begins to disappear. His journey into Muna’s past is a journey to discover where inspiration originates and what happens to an artist when that inspiration is gone.

Available at Amazon.com.

(17) FOR TEN YEARS WE’VE BEEN ON OUR OWN. Paul Weimer praises a sequel in “Microreview [book]: Azura Ghost by Essa Hansen” at Nerds of a Feather.

….Now, ten years later, Caiden and the Azura are legends, a one man, one ship, and one young Nophek crew doing good across the multiverse, staying ahead of the forces of Unity led by Abriss Centre, and dreading what will happen if her equally dangerous brother escapes his imprisonment. It’s getting harder for Caiden to escape Abriss’ traps, especially when Abriss has a trump card up her sleeve, one guaranteed to slow down Caiden enough to capture him and his remarkable ship…his long lost sister.

Welcome to Azura Ghost, the second Graven book from Essa Hansen….

(18) NAVIGATING THE BLOAT. Meanwhile, Arturo Serrano says the sequel he read suffers from a common series-book problem: “Review: Until the Last of Me by Sylvain Neuvel” at Nerds of a Feather.

In the first novel of this series, A History of What Comes Next (which I reviewed for this blog last year), we learned that the progress of science on this planet has always been secretly guided by the Kibsu, a humanlike species of superstrong, supersmart aliens whose genetic line split at some point in antiquity, with the female line dedicated to developing mathematics and teaching it to humans, and the male line sworn to hunting down their female counterparts as punishment for some supposed treason no one remembers anymore. For centuries, these aliens have been spreading both knowledge and death as each lineage pursues their mission while hiding in plain sight among us. The title of the series is Take them to the stars, but in that first novel the full meaning is revealed as Take them to the stars before we come and kill them all.

The newly released continuation, Until the Last of Me, displays the hallmark signs of Middle Book Syndrome: the plot gets a bit repetitive in the early chapters, feels a bit directionless toward the middle, and is suddenly hijacked at the end by the need to put all the pieces in position for the upcoming final confrontation….

(19) FOCUS ON WOMEN CHARACTERS. Minnesota author J. Lynn Else told an Authority Magazine interviewer this week:

Gowing up in the 80s and 90s, while a big fan of sci fi and fantasy, there weren’t a lot of female characters to identify with. The females typically lacked depth, didn’t have a lot of agency, or simply were there as a romantic interest. As I started developing my fantasy trilogy, I wanted to create a cast of female characters who were all different. They made jokes, made mistakes, got angry, got frustrated, weren’t always the ‘bookish smart’ one. I wrote because I wanted greater depth of characters for young girls reading these genres so that they could picture themselves in these worlds without having to be ultrasmart or beautiful or aggressively assertive…

Now through Inklings Publishing, she’s authored Descendants of Avalon (2018), Lost Daughters of Avalon (2019), and Prophecy of Avalon (2021). Her short story “The Girl from the Haunted Woods,” won second place in the “Journey into the Fantastical” Anthology contest.

Here’s the précis about Lost Daughters of Avalon (Awakenings Book 2):

After not hearing anything from their knights in Avalon for weeks, the horrible Questing Beast breaks through into the world and attacks Genie, Beth, Mei, and Whit. Their magic stirs to stop the monster, but Beth’s attempts fail. Help from Avalon arrives just in time to remove the curse and reveal a woman inside the beast who claims to be Genie’s biological mother.The four friends learn their knights had gone missing, along with one of Avalon’s queens, Viviane. An ancient evil runs amok in Avalon and the people blame the four friends, claiming they released Merlin to destroy their world. To clear their name and rescue their knights, the four friends must once again risk the dangers of Avalon. Genie, Beth, Mei, and Whit must pull together and learn to combine their powers of air, water, earth, and fire to rebalance the world they might have thrown into chaos. If they fail, the worlds of Avalon and Earth could destabilize and end life as they know it.

Available at Amazon.com and  Amazon.ca.

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.]  In “Honest Game Trailers: Stranger of Paradise:  Final Fantasy Origin,” Fandom Games says that in this Final Fantasy spinoff you play Jack, “a character so edgy that he makes Jared Leto’s Joker seem like a birthday clown.”  Jack’s the sort of character who responds to a demon saying, “I am” and interrupts him to say, “I don’t care who you are,” and starts punching the creature out.  In fact, this game is so edgy that “it’s like a Monster energy drink come to life.”

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Joey Eschrich, Jason Sizemore, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]

Pixel Scroll 2/1/22 Pixelled In The Scroll By A Chuck Tingle Pixel Scroll Title

(1) MAKING MAUS AVAILABLE. Shelf Awareness says one Tennessee bookseller is crowdfunding the means for local students to read Maus in the wake of a school board decision: “Tenn. Comic Shop’s Maus Fundraiser Garners $90K”.

After the McMinn County Board of Education in Tennessee voted to ban Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, about the Holocaust, from its eighth-grade curriculum last week, Nirvana Comics in Knoxville, Tenn., started a GoFundMe campaign to provide students with free copies of the graphic novel.

… The [Jewish Telegraphic Agency] reported that Penguin Random House negotiated a deal to sell 500 additional copies of Maus to Nirvana at a reduced price to give away to students. Actor Wil Wheaton shared Nirvana’s story on social media, and “that’s when it really, really exploded,” Davis said. 

The GoFundMe campaign opened on January 28 with a goal of $20,000; as of this morning it had raised more than $90,000, from more than 2,800 donors. Although Nirvana Comics initially had planned to provide copies to local students, they will now donate copies to students anywhere in the U.S.

Students can request a copy of Maus from the store on Facebook or Instagram.

(2) AFROFUTURISM IN LEGO. CNN Style invites you to “Meet the Ghanaian Canadian Lego sculptor building a Black universe”. (The Official LEGO Shop also has a feature on the same artist in “Celebrate Black Creators”.)

…In his “Building Black: Civilizations” series, Nimako reimagines medieval sub-Saharan African narratives. His “Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE” piece, which is made up of around 100,000 Lego bricks and can be found in the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, is named after the capital city of a medieval Ghanaian kingdom. The artist explores medieval West Africa and reimagines what it would look like 1,000 years in the future.

Nimako hopes for an “inclusive future” that acknowledges the history of anti-Black racism and how “utterly disruptive” it is, and recognizes the role of Afrofuturism in allowing people to “envision a better world.”

“My wife always says, ‘all movements of resistance are rooted in that imagination.’ You have to imagine the freedom, the emancipation. You have to imagine this struggle being over. You have to project that in order to rise up, in order to resist. What else are you resisting for, if not for that Promised Land?” he said. “Even art is a form of resistance and it’s been used as a form of resistance for a very long time.”…

(3) BEST PUNISH THE WORLDCON HUGO. What do you think about “An Anti-Raytheon Protest Vote at This Year’s Hugos?” Doris V. Sutherland is working to make it happen.

…Before I should go on, I should mention that the practice of nominating short, emotive pieces like acceptance speeches or angry blog posts in Best Related Work — thereby taking spots that could have gone to longer works which took time, effort and research to construct and will better stand the test of time — is itself controversial. My views are conflicted. I would generally agree with this stance (my personal solution would be to split Best Related Work into long-form and short-form categories) but I have considerably stronger feelings about the deal with Raytheon. So, while I would like to see this Best Protest Vote practice to end, I don’t beleive that 2022 is the right year for it to end. I would like to see a Hugo ballot this year that includes an uncompromising renunciation of last year’s Raytheon sponsorship….

(4) LASFS HISTORY ZOOM. Fanac.org’s “Spring History Zoom” schedule is now up here. The first session is “Death Does Not Release You – LASFS Through the Years” with Craig Miller (M), Tim Kirk, Ken Rudolph and Bobbi Armbruster, on February 26, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. To RSVP, or find out more about the series, please send a note to [email protected].

LASFS is unique – in its history and impact on fandom. LASFS has a clubhouse, a long list of professional writers that have been members, and has had an incredibly active fan group over the decades. Los Angeles area fandom has produced innumerable fanzines, six Los Angeles Worldcons (and many other conventions). Join us for a session with our real world AND fannishly accomplished participants – convention runners (including a Worldcon chair), a noted fan and professional artist, and a fanzine editor, all past or present LASFS members – in conversation about Los Angeles fandom from the inside.

(5) A READY PLAYER. On Twitter, Ira Alexandre is ramping up the campaign to get the Worldcon to add a Best Video Game category. They foreshadow “a full-length, more detailed explanation” forthcoming on Lady Business. Thread starts here.

(6) PIECES OF EIGHT. Cora Buhlert posted a new Fancast Spotlight today, this time for Octothorpe, which is created by John Coxon, Alison Scott, and Liz Batty: “Fancast Spotlight: Octothorpe”

Alison: I have been wanting to do a podcast ever since the very beginning of podcasts, but it turns out that if you want to do a podcast, you have to find someone who’s daft enough to do the editing for you. Because otherwise podcasts don’t happen, do they? So if you want to run your own podcast the core thing you need is somebody who’s up for doing the editing.

Liz: I didn’t have any desire to be on a podcast, or to start a podcast, or really to do any work around a podcast. But John had asked me “Do you want to do a podcast?” and I said, “Maybe?” And then there was a coronavirus, and now I literally have nothing else that I need to be doing on a Sunday afternoon, so let’s do a podcast! And I am just constantly amazed that we have made it almost 50 episodes, and there appear to be at least ten people actually listening.

(7) KANE ADAPTATION ANNOUNCED.  [Item by Cora Buhlert.] According to The Hollywood Reporter, there is an adaptation of Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane novels and stories in the works: “Action Fantasy ‘Kane’ Adaptation in the Works From Vertigo”. Personally, I’d be happy if there was a decent print edition of the Kane novels and stories available again. Also, my inner pedant bristles at calling the Kane stories epic fantasy, because they’re sword and sorcery.

Kane is very able for producers Roy Lee, Andrew Trapani and Steven Schneider.

The trio has secured the adaptation rights to the long-sought-after series of Kane fantasy novels and short stories by cult fantasy author Karl Edward Wagner.

…Kane’s adventures take place in a visceral world steeped in ancient history, with bloody conflicts and dark mysteries. Wagner wove gothic horror elements into this pre-medieval landscape, taking Kane on fantastic sagas involving war, romance, triumph and tragedy.

(8) ONE READER’S APPROACH. Tika Viteri tells “How I’m Decolonizing My Sci-Fi Reading” at Book Riot.

… One of the ways I am working to decolonize my science fiction reading is to diversify it. White cisgender male authors are vastly over-represented in science fiction, and they come from the dominant gender and race of the English-speaking world, whether they are consciously buying into the narrative or not. A good way to mitigate that narrative is to read it from different perspectives, and those perspectives are usually written by authors who are either non-white and/or not male.

If you haven’t yet read the Binti trilogy of novellas by Nnedi Okorafor, it is an excellent place to start. As an author, she specifically identifies with Africanfuturism, which is a genre (along with Afrofuturism) that has been regularly blowing my mind since I was introduced to it. Our heroine, Binti, has been accepted at a prestigious university off-planet, but her journey is interrupted when her ship is attacked and she is the only survivor. The series handles interspecies biases, what it means to broker peace, and what happens when the fate of worlds rests on the shoulders of one young woman. Reviews are full of phrases like “ground-breaking” and “unique,” and I wholeheartedly agree….

Another of Viteri’s recent articles for Book Riot is “Literary Scandals: Who Was the Real-Life Dracula?”

… [Bram] Stoker famously kept to himself, editing his public image ruthlessly. In contrast to [Oscar] Wilde, and perhaps in reaction to what he perceived to be Wilde’s recklessness regarding his sexual exploits, he retreated farther and farther into the closet, going so far as to say in 1912 that all homosexuals should be locked up — a group that definitely, in retrospect, included himself.

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1971 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Fifty-one years ago at Noreascon where Robert Silverberg was Toastmaster and Clifford D. Simak (pro) and Harry Warner, Jr. (fan) were Guests of Honor with Tony Lewis as the Chair, Larry Niven won the Hugo for Best Novel for Ringworld. It was published by Ballantine Books in October of 1970. 

Other nominated workers were  Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero, Robert Silverberg’s Tower of Glass, Wilson Tucker‘s The Year of the Quiet Sun and Hal Clement’s Star Light

It would also win the Locus, Nebula and Ditmar Awards. Locus would later include Ringworld on its list of All-Time Best SF Novels before 1990.

Algis Budrys found it in his Galaxy Bookshelf column to be “excellent and entertaining, woven together very skillfully and proceeding at a pretty smooth pace.” 

It would spawn three sequel novels with The Ringworld Engineers nominated for a Hugo at Denvention Two which was the year Joan D. Vinge’s The Snow Queen won and a prequel series, Fleet of Worlds which was co-written with Edward M. Lerner. (I really like the latter.) One film and three series have been announced down the decades but none to date have been produced. Indeed Amazon announced this as a series along with Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Greg Rucka’s Lazarus five years ago but none got developed. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 1, 1884 Yevgeny Zamyatin. Author of We, a dystopian novel. He also translated into into Russian a number of H.G. Wells works and some critics think We is at least part a polemic against the overly optimistic scientific socialism of Wells. The Wiki writer for the Yevgeny Zamyatin page claims that We directly inspired Nineteen Eighty-FourThe Dispossessed and Brave New World. No idea if this passes the straight face test. What do y’all think of this claim? (Died 1937.)
  • Born February 1, 1908 George Pal. Producer of Destination Moon (Retro Hugo at Millennium Philcon), When Worlds CollideThe War of the Worlds (which I love), Conquest of SpaceThe Time MachineAtlantis, the Lost ContinentTom ThumbThe Time MachineAtlantis, the Lost ContinentThe Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm7 Faces of Dr. Lao (another I love)and his last film being Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze which is not so great. Can we hold a George Pal film fest, pretty please? (Died 1980.)
  • Born February 1, 1942 Terry Jones. Member of Monty Python who was considered the originator of the program’s structure in which sketches flowed from one to the next without the use of punchlines. He made his directorial debut with Monty Python and the Holy Grail whichwas nominated for a Hugo at MidAmeriCon, which he co-directed with Gilliam, and also directed Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. He also wrote an early draft of Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, though little of that draft remains in the final version. Let’s not forget Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book by Brian Froud and him which won a Hugo at Intersection for Best Original Art Work. (Died 2020.)
  • Born February 1, 1942 Bibi Besch. Best remembered for portraying Dr. Carol Marcus on The Wrath of Khan. Genre wise, she’s also been in The Pack (horror), Meteor (SF), The Beast Within (more horror), Date with an Angel (romantic fantasy) and Tremors. She died much, much too young following a long battle with breast cancer. (Died 1996.)
  • Born February 1, 1946 Elisabeth Sladen. Certainly best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who. She was a regular cast member from 1973 to 1976, alongside the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), and reprised her role down the years, both on the series and on its spin-offs, K-9 and Company (truly awfully done including K-9 himself) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (not bad at all). It’s not her actual first SF appearance, that honor goes to her being a character called  Sarah Collins in an episode of the Doomwatch series called “Say Knife, Fat Man”. The creators behind this series had created the cybermen concept for Doctor Who. (Died 2011.)
  • Born February 1, 1954 Bill Mumy, 68. He’s had a much longer career in the genre than even I knew. And I probably overlooked something. His first genre roles were at age seven on Twilight Zone, two episodes in the same season (Billy Bayles In “Long Distance Call” and Anthony Fremont in “Its A Good Life”). He makes make it a trifecta appearing a few years later again as Young Pip Phillips in “In Praise of Pip”.  Next for him he played an orphaned boy in an episode of Bewitched called “A Vision of Sugar Plums” and then Custer In “Whatever Became of Baby Custer?” on I Dream of Jeannie, a show he revisited a few years as Darrin the Boy in “Junior Executive”. Ahhh his most famous role is up next as Will Robinson in Lost in Space. It’s got to be thirty years since I’ve seen it but I still remember and like it quite a bit. He manages to show up next on The Munsters as Googie Miller in “Come Back Little Googie” and in Twilight Zone: The Movie In one of the bits as Tim. I saw the film but don’t remember him.He’s got a bunch of DC Comics and Marvel roles as well — Young General Fleming in Captain America, Roger Braintree on The Flash series and Tommy Puck on Superboy. He’s Lennier, one of the most fascinating and annoying characters in all of the Babylon 5 Universe. Enough said. I hadn’t realized it it but he showed up on Deep Space Nine as Kellin in the “The Siege of AR-558” episode. Lastly, and before our gracious Host starts grinding his teeth at the length of this Birthday entry, I see he’s got a cameo as Dr. Z. Smith in the new Lost in Space series. 
  • Born February 1, 1965 Brandon Lee. Lee started his career with a supporting role in Kung Fu: The Movie, but is obviously known for his breakthrough and fatal acting role as Eric Draven in The Crow, based on James O’Barr’s series. Y’ll know what happened to him so I’ll not go into that here except to say that’s it’s still happening and damn well shouldn’t be happening, should it? (Died 1993.)

(11) STAND BY FOR NEW. “DC is re-writing all of its major events since the ’80s with a stunning reveal in Justice League Incarnate #4”GamesRadar+ broadcasts the warning.

If you’ve read any of the big DC Comics superhero events from 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths to now, everything you know is about to change.

In February 1’s Justice League Incarnate #4, DC’s de facto chief writer Joshua Williamson and co-writer Dennis Culver have re-contextualized the major events in DC multiversal history from the ’80s to now. Although this Justice League Incarnate limited series has been a story unto itself, it continues to move pieces around on DC’s ‘big picture’ chessboard towards another Crisis-level event in the very near future.

Anything more we could say on Justice League Incarnate #4 would be spoilers, so…

(12) THE PANELS THROUGH TOMORROW. Jared Shurin has harnessed the power of modern computing to spew forth the commonest denominators in convention programming since the A-bomb went off. Thread starts here.

(13) MOST POPULAR VIEWS. While we’re waiting for someone to produce Sanctuary Moon, here’s what people are enjoying according to JustWatch.

Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies and TV Shows in the US in January (01.01.-31.01.22)

Rank*MoviesTV shows
1Ghostbusters: AfterlifeStation Eleven
2DuneA Discovery of Witches
3Free GuyResident Alien
4Spider-Man: HomecomingPeacemaker
5Spider-Man: Far From HomeThe Book of Boba Fett
6EternalsArchive 81
7Don’t Look UpGhosts
8The Amazing Spider-ManSnowpiercer
9Spider-ManThe Expanse
10Venom: Let There Be CarnageDoctor Who

*Based on JustWatch popularity score. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org

(14) LOOK OUT BELOW. “Nasa reveals how it will destroy International Space Station at the end of its life” reports MSN.com.

…The plan assumes that lifespan will come to an end in January 2031. But the work to do so could start a year or more in advance, when the International Space Station’s orbit starts to fall towards the Earth.

Because of the ISS’s vast size, it will not burn up in the atmosphere, and so its descent will have to be precisely controlled in order to be safe. Nasa hopes to do so by gradually manoeuvring the spacecraft so that it drops down to Earth.

Those manoeuvres will be done partly by using the propulsion built into the ISS, as well as by the vehicles that visit. Nasa says that it has already examined the visiting vehicles for whether they would be able to provide enough thrust to help with the de-orbit – and found that a number of them do, with work continuing to expand that list further.

Eventually, the track of the space station’s fall will be lined up so that the space station will fall towards what it calls the “South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area”, or SPOUA. That area is known as the “oceanic pole of inaccessibility” since it is the part of Earth furthest from land – and it is so remote that often the closest human beings are the International Space Station’s astronauts as they float overhead.

Nasa will aim for a specific region known as “Point Nemo”, which is not only remote but almost entirely uninhabited….

(15) LOFTY CONCERNS. Here’s something else you don’t want to be under if it drops out of the sky. WIRED’s Rhett Allain is worried about “What Happens If a Space Elevator Breaks”.

…OK, back to the space elevator. If we can’t build a tower from the ground up, we can hang a 36,000-kilometer cable from an object that’s in a geostationary orbit. Boom: That’s the space elevator.

To get this to work, you would need a large mass in orbit—either a space station or a small asteroid. The mass has to be large so that it doesn’t get pulled out of orbit every time something climbs up the cable.

But perhaps now you can see the problem with a space elevator. Who wants to make a 36,000-kilometer-long cable? For a cable that long, even the strongest material, like kevlar, would have to be super thick to prevent it from breaking. Of course, thicker cables means more weight hanging down below, and that means the higher parts of the cable have to be even thicker to support the cable below. It’s a compounding problem that seems essentially impossible. The only hope for the future of space elevator construction is to figure out how to use some super strong and lightweight material like carbon nanotubes. Perhaps we will make this work someday, but that day is not today.

What About a Falling Elevator Cable?

In the first episode of Foundation, some people decide to set off explosives that separate the space elevator’s top station from the rest of the cable. The cable falls to the surface of the planet and does some real damage down there.

What would a falling space elevator cable look like in real life?….

(16) SHIELDS UP! Here’s a clip of what 2021’s Dune would look like with 1984 technology.  Which, if you’re as old as I am, you maybe thought you’d already seen. From the Corridor Crew.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers: The Witcher, Season 2,” the Screen Junkies say that there’s a lot of grunting and deep signs in season 2 of “The Witcher,” but characters are obsessed with how bad they smell (tying into that Old Spice ad!) and much of the series has “a plot line as boring as the phrase ‘elf migration crisis’ would imply.”  The narrator is bothered by the character growth in the show because “I haven’t grown since eighth grade!”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Rob Thornton, Soon Lee, N., Chris Barkley, Daniel Dern, Will R., Brian Z., Cora Buhlert, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

Pixel Scroll 1/20/22 What Is The Use Of A Scroll, Thought Alice, Without Pixels Or Conversation?

DECEASED AT DC. Nerdist plans to be there when “DC Comics Kills the Justice League”. Will you be invited to the funeral?

Twenty-five years ago this year, Superman died at the hands of Doomsday. And the issue in which he died, Superman #75, became iconic. Now, Superman is dying again. And in another 75th issue. But this time, so are Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League. DC Comics has announced that issue #75 of the current Justice League book will be its last. And it will feature almost the entire team dying on a mission. Writer Joshua Williamson (Batman) and artist Rafa Sandoval (The Flash) have the somber duty of laying the world’s greatest heroes to rest.

According to the official description from DC Comics, a new Dark Army, featuring the DCU’s greatest villains, has formed on the edges of the Multiverse. And they pull together the best and most powerful heroes in an epic war to push the darkness back. In the end, the Dark Army kills the Justice League. And with only one survivor left to warn the remaining heroes of Earth about what is coming for them.

(2) VOICE. Morgan Hazelwood kicks off a series of posts about what she learned about writing at the Worldcon. “Finding The Authorial Voice: A DisCon III Panel”. When you’re looking to get published, people sure talk a lot about your ‘voice’. But what exactly is it? And how can you change yours?”  (Also a YouTube video.)

What is Authorial Voice?

It’s a hard thing to define, but the panelists did their best.

  • A thread that is in all your work, so people can identify you as the author, no matter the subject. It’s what makes you sound like you. (Jo Walton/Cass Morris)
  • What unites all your work (JT Greathouse)
  • What sells you to the reader – often why you read an author. New voices on old stories can carry the story (Walter Jon Williams)
  • A forcefulness of writer personality (Usman T. Malik)

(3) OCTOTHORPE. In episode 49 of the Octothorpe podcast, “Not Sufficiently Sassy”, John Coxon is demanding, Alison Scott joined a Discord, and Liz Batty knows a lot about the WSFS Constitution.

We criticize Amazon for the way they treated Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, listen to Hugo, Girl, and chat about the latest Worldcon gossip.

(4) GASBAG FROM HOLLYWOOD. “Tom Cruise movie producers sign Axiom deal for space production studio” says CNBC.

The producers of Tom Cruise’s future space movie on Thursday announced plans to attach a studio to the International Space Station in development by Houston-based company Axiom.

U.K.-based studio Space Entertainment Enterprise, co-founded by producers Elena and Dmitry Lesnevsky, contracted Axiom to build the module. Called SEE-1, the module would be “the world’s ?rst content and entertainment studios and multipurpose arena in space.”

SEE-1 is scheduled to launch in December 2024. It will attach to Axiom’s first module that the company plans to connect to its space station in September 2024….

… The SEE-1 module is an inflatable module, according to Axiom, which will have a diameter of nearly 20 feet. Using inflatable modules is an increasingly popular approach of private companies developing space stations to build large living areas, due to the advantage of launching in a smaller form factor and then expanding to a greater volume once in space.

(5) COZY BUT WEIRD. At CrimeReads, Amanda Flower recommends her favorite paranormal cozy mysteries: “5 Paranormal Cozies to Help You Escape Everyday Reality”.

… I start out my list with an older title, but a personal favorite, A Potion To Die For by Heather Blake. In this novel, Carly Bell Hartwell is the owner of Little Shop of Potions, a magical potion shop specializing in love potions in Hitching Post, Alabama. Carly’s potions are popular in the town. Maybe a little too popular as a soothsayer recently predicted that one of the married couple in Hitching Post was headed for divorce. Now, it seems that every married couple in town wants a love potion from Carly to save their marriage. To make matters worse, Carly finds a dead man in her shop clutching one of her potion bottles in his hands. Now, she is a suspect for a murder that could send her to prison and ruin her business for good….

(6) G.M. FORD OBIT. Mystery novelist and raconteur G.M. Ford died on December 1, 2021, says Shelf Awareness. His agent, Lisa Erbach Vance of the Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency made the announcement. Ford was 76.

Ford’s first novel, Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca?, introduced the irreverent Seattle private eye Leo Waterman and was a finalist for the Anthony, Shamus and Lefty Awards. The Waterman series extended through 11 more books, the most recent of which, Heavy on the Dead, was published in 2019. His work also included the six-book Frank Corso mystery series and several stand-alone novels. His wife, author and photographer Skye Moody, said that “he will live on in his many books and in our broken hearts.”

(7) BOFILL OBIT. Architect Ricardo Bofill died January 14. The New York Times tells why his work might look familiar to sff fans: “Ricardo Bofill, Architect of Otherworldly Buildings, Dies at 82”

…Another, known as Les Espaces d’Abraxas, reinvented and repurposed classical elements in unsettling, otherworldly combinations; it features vast columns made not of stone but of reflective glass. That project was often described as a kind of “Versailles for the people.” But its jarring juxtapositions made it seem dystopian — and it served as the perfect backdrop for Terry Gilliam’s 1985 movie, “Brazil,” and the last of the “Hunger Games” movies.

… He founded his firm, Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, in Barcelona in 1963. In 1975, the firm — and Mr. Bofill — moved to La Fábrica, a 32,000-square-foot former cement factory outside Barcelona, which he spent decades turning into a habitable ruin.

Five years earlier he had proposed a housing project for Madrid called the City in the Space, an endlessly expandable structure with turrets and crenelations and, in some renderings, a crazy quilt of colorful patterns….

… In an unexpected twist, Mr. Bofill’s older buildings found new fans in the 21st century. “Westworld,” the HBO sci-fi series, was shot in part at La Fábrica, and “Squid Game,” the Korean TV juggernaut, featured sets that closely resembled La Muralla Roja.

Those Bofill buildings and others became familiar Instagram backdrops — or in the words of Manuel Clavel Rojo, a Spanish architect and educator, “His buildings became pop icons at the very end of his career.”

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1959 [Item by Cat Eldridge.]  Sixty-three years ago this evening, a new genre anthology series called Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond first aired on ABC where it would run for three years. (If you saw it in syndication, it was called just One Step Beyond.) It was created by Merwin Gerard who previously had done nothing at all of a genre nature. He was associate producer here with it actually being produced by Collier Young. 

Unlike other anthology programs of the time, this series was  presented in the form of docudramas. Mind you, the stories depicted hewed close to known urban legends or were remakes of let’s call them horror films on the light side. Ninety-six half-hour episodes would be filmed during its. When it was cancelled, it was replaced by The Next Step Beyond which ran for one season of twenty-five episodes, fourteen of which were remakes of the first series.

John Newland, the original series host, and Gerard were involved in an attempt in the late Seventies to revive it. It failed miserably lasting but twenty-five episodes. As Newland stated later, “The remakes were a bad idea, we thought we could fool the audience, and we soon learned we couldn’t.” 

They are legally available on YouTube now so you can see the first episode, “The Bride Possessed” here if you desire. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 20, 1884 A. Merritt. His first fantasy story was published in 1917, “Through the Dragon Glass” in the November 14 issue of All-Story Weekly. His SFF career would eventually consist of eight novels and fifteen (I think) short stories. I’m sure that I’ve read The Moon Pool, his novel, and much of that short fiction, but can’t recall the other novels as being read by me. In the realm of the usual suspects, Apple Books is clearly the better place to find his work as they’ve got everything he published whereas Kindle and Kobo are spotty. (Died 1943.)
  • Born January 20, 1920 DeForest Kelley. Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Trek and a number of films that followed plus the animated series. Other genre appearances include voicing Viking 1 in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (his last acting work) and a 1955 episode of Science Fiction Theatre entitled “Y..O..R..D..” being his only ones as he didn’t do SF as he really preferred Westerns. Lots of them. (Died 1999.)
  • Born January 20, 1934 Tom Baker, 88. The Fourth Doctor and still my favorite Doctor. My favorite story? The “Talons of Weng Chiang” with of course the delicious added delight of his companion Leela played by Lousie Jameson. Even the worst of the stories were redeemed by him and his jelly babies. And yes, he turns up briefly in the present era of Who rather delightfully. Before being the Doctor he had a turn as Sherlock Holmes In “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, and though not genre, he played Rasputin early in his career in “Nicholas and Alexandra”! Being a working actor, he shows up in a number of low budget films early on such as The Vault of HorrorThe Golden Voyage of Sinbad,The MutationsThe Curse of King Tut’s Tomb and The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood. And weirdly enough, he’s Halvarth the Elf in a Czech-made Dungeons & Dragons film which has a score of ten percent among audience reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Born January 20, 1958 Kij Johnson, 64. Writer, and associate director of The Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas English Department, which is I must say a cool genre thing to be doing indeed. If you not read her Japanese mythology based The Fox Woman, do so now as it’s superb. The sequel, Fudoki, is just as interesting. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is a novella taking a classic Lovecraftian tale and giving a nice twist. Finally, I’ll recommend her short story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories. She’s well-stocked at the usual digital suspects. Oh, and she has a very cool website — https://kijjohnson.com/.
  • Born January 20, 1981 Izabella Miko, 41. She was in The Clash of Titans as Athena. Why Goddess tell would anyone remake such a perfect film? She also had a recurring role on the very short-lived The Cape series as Raia, and she had a recurring role as Carrie on Deadwood
  • Born January 20, 1983 Svetlana Viktorovna Khodchenkova, 39. I think her only SFF role was in the most excellent Hugh Jackman-led The Wolverine in which she had the dual role of Dr. Green who becomes The Viper. Marvel fans will recognize that this is a new version of the character. But most of her career involves Russian-titled productions so I’m not sure whether any of them are SFF…

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Speed Bump shows the effects of being bitten by a radioactive insect are unpredictable.
  • Whereas Baldo shows one reason why the future is unpredictable.
  • Randall Munroe thinks the process was more complex than we assume.

(11) THINKING AHEAD. Isaac Arthur’s latest video is about the SF trope of telepathy and what if science had a fix?

Telepathy and other psychic abilities have often been investigated by science, but could the future offer humanity such talents, and is science they key to unlocking or creating them?

(12) AVOIDING ACCIDENTS. “Guillermo del Toro Hasn’t Used a Real Gun on Set Since 2007: ‘I Don’t Think It’s Necessary Anymore’” – so he told a Directors Roundtable reports Yahoo! Entertainment.

…After an on-set accident involving a prop gun led to the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” last month, the use of guns on film sets has been a hotly debated topic in Hollywood. Several A-list actors and directors have pledged to stop working on films that use real guns. Guillermo del Toro would join them, but he has not fired a gun on one of his sets in over a decade.

Appearing alongside Jane Campion, Pedro Almodóvar, Kenneth Branagh, Asghar Farhadi, and Reinaldo Marcus Green as part of The Hollywood Reporter’s Director’s Roundtable, del Toro took a strong stance against the use of real guns in filmmaking. The Oscar-winning director said that he has not fired a real gun on set “since 2007 or 2008.” According to del Toro, the decision began as a practical necessity, but later became his preferred approach…

(13) SKIDMARKS IN SPACE. Someone has cleverly spliced together a history of “Star Trek Warp Jumps (1979-2021)”.

One of the hallmarks of Star Trek’s visual aesthetic is the classic jump to warp speed. Audiences were treated to the first version of the warp jump in 1979 with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In this video, we will be doing a survey of how the warp jump effect changed over the years. Note: The Kelvin timeline and other alternate continuities are not included in this overview.

(14) RICH SOIL. “Curiosity rover finds ‘tantalizing’ signs of ancient Mars life”MSN Kids has the story.

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found some interesting organic compounds on the Red Planet that could be signs of ancient Mars life, but it will take a lot more work to test that hypothesis.

Some of the powdered rock samples that Curiosity has collected over the years contain organics rich in a type of carbon that here on Earth is associated with life, researchers report in a new study. 

But Mars is very different from our world, and many Martian processes remain mysterious. So it’s too early to know what generated the intriguing chemicals, study team members stressed….    

(15) THE FOURS BEWITCHOO. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] If you get bored with regular Lego Star Wars, you can play in “mumble mode!”

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chris Barkley, Rob Thornton, Jen Hawthorne, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]