(1) RIP MICHAEL TOMAN. South Pasadena librarian Michael Toman, who decided to become one of the rare people who pitch in every day with ideas for the Scroll, died earlier this week. How he will be missed! He was found dead at home on Saturday by a friend, writer William F. Wu, who checked after people hadn’t heard from him for days. Wu and Toman have been friends since they met in 1974 while Wu was attending Clarion at Michigan State, and Toman was visiting after having attended the year before.
I appreciated the pipeline he had to Clarion workshop news — and it turns out that his fellow Clarion ’73 alums included another frequent contributor here, Daniel Dern, as well as authors Alan Brennert, Darryl Schweitzer Jeff Duntemann and Stuart Stinson, among others.
(2) HOW TO GET WESTIN HVP COLLECTION. Best Fan Writer Hugo finalists Örjan Westin has made available online their collected 2022 Micro SF/F stories which appear in the Hugo Voter Packet.
Right. I write stories that are short enough to fit a tweet (up to 280 characters), and I post them to Twitter and other social media platforms under the moniker MicroSFF. There is no set schedule, nor, usually, much deliberation; I get an idea, I write a thing, I post it.
(3a) NYT ON MORMON YA WRITERS. As seen in the Sunday New York Times Style Section (mostly likely paywalled): “An Unexpected Hotbed of Y.A. Authors: Utah”
A tight-knit community of young-adult writers who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has yielded smashes like “Twilight.” But religious doctrine can clash with creative freedoms.
Daniel P. Dern briefly notes: “The list includes not just Orson Scott Card (as I expected) but also several major, major authors who I hadn’t realized were Mormons.”
(3b) THE ANSWER. “Revealed: how Hitchhiker’s Guide author predicted rise of ebooks 30 years ago” in the Guardian. I don’t suppose he was the only one, however, it is interesting to see what he thought about the idea.
…In the late 1990s, at least a decade before Amazon’s e-reader first came on to the market in 2007, the author and humorist made a series of notes uncannily predicting the rise of electronic books.
But Adams, who died in 2001, did not live to see his musings, spread over three A4 pages, become reality. He wrote: “Lots of resistance to the idea of ebooks from the public. Particularly all those people who 10 years ago said they couldn’t see any point typing on a computer.
“I believe this resistance will gradually disappear as the electronic book itself improves and becomes smaller, lighter, simpler, cheaper, in other words more like a book.”
Adams’s notes are presented in their original handwritten form in a new book, 42: The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams….
(4) TALKIN’ ABOUT MY REGENERATION. “Doctor Who regeneration wins TV Moment of the Year at Edinburgh TV Awards’ and Radio Times has the story. (Complete list of winners at the link.)
Doctor Who, The Traitors and BBC One all took home trophies at this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival Awards….
In the only award voted for by the public, the scene in Doctor Who that saw Jodie Whittaker regenerate into David Tennant – from the episode The Power of the Doctor – was crowned TV Moment of the Year….
(5) THEY KEPT WATCHING THE SKIES. An amazing overview of how different cultures drew constellations. “Figures in the Sky” at Visual Cinnamon.
… Let’s compare 28 different “sky cultures” to see differences and similarities in the shapes they’ve seen in the night sky. Ranging from the so-called “Modern” or Western constellations, to Chinese, Maori and even a few shapes from historical cultures such as the Aztecs.
Take the star Betelgeuse. This red supergiant is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. In proper darkness, you can even see that it shines in a distinctly red color. It’s part of one of the easiest to distinguish modern constellations known as Orion, named after a gigantic, supernaturally strong hunter from Greek mythology.
The visualization below shows how Betelgeuse has been used by 17 cultures (out of the 28) to form constellations, each represented by a different color. …
(6) MARILYN LOVELL. Marilyn Lovell died September 2 at the age of 93 reports Deadline: “Marilyn Lovell Dies: Apollo 13 Commander’s Wife Was Symbol Of Courage During Accident”.
Marilyn Lovell, whose stoic comportment during the touch-and-go Apollo 13 flight accident gave the world hope that all would turn out well, died on August 27 in Lake Forest, Illinois, at 93. Her husband of 71 years, Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell, was at her side.
Her husband named a small mountain on the moon Mount Marilyn in her honor during his Apollo 8 moon flight in 1968.
Marilyn Lillie Lovell was born on July 11, 1930, in Milwaukee, WI. She was the youngest of five children. She graduated from Milwaukee’s Juneau High School, where she met her future husband, James A Lovell, Jr.
…In the Apollo 13 film, Tom Hanks played Capt. Lovell. Kathleen Quinlan played Mrs. Lovell and was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar. Marilyn Lovell was later a part of several Apollo 13 documentaries….
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 3, 1810 — Theodor von Holst. He was the first artist to illustrate Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in 1831. The interior illustrations consist of a frontispiece shown here, title page and engraved illustrations. To my knowledge, this is his only genre work. (Died 1844.)
- Born September 3, 1934 — Les Martin, 89. One of those media tie-in writers that I find fascinating. He’s written the vast majority of the X-Files Young Readers series, plus a trio of novels in the X-Files Young Adult series. He’s also written two Indiana Jones YA novels, and novelizations of Blade Runner and The Shadow.
- Born September 3, 1943 — Mick Farren. Punk musician who was the singer with the proto-punk band the Deviants. He also wrote lyrics for Hawkwind. (Can we consider them genre?) His most well-known genre work was the The Renquist Quartet about an immortal vampire. The Renquist Quartet is available at the usual suspects. Not at all genre, he wrote The Black Leather Jacket which details the history of the that jacket over a seventy-year span up to the mid-eighties, taking in all aspects of its cultural, political and social impact. (Died 2013.)
- Born September 3, 1954 — Stephen Gregg. Editor and publisher of Eternity Science Fiction which ran from 1972 to 1975 and again for a year starting in 1979. It had early work by Glen Cook, Ed Bryant, Barry N Malzberg, Andrew J Offutt and Roger Zelazny. (Died 2005.)
- Born September 3, 1969 — John Picacio, 54. Illustrator who in 2005 won both the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist and the Chesley Award for Best Paperback Cover for James Tiptree Jr.’s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. He’s also won eight other Chesley Awards. He was the winner of the Best Professional Artist Hugo in 2012, 2013, and 2020. And I’m very fond of this cover that he did for A Canticle for Leibowitz which was published by Eos seventeen years ago.
- Born September 3, 1971 — D. Harlan Wilson, 52. Author of Modern Masters of Science Fiction: J.G. Ballard, Cultographies: They Live (a study of John Carpenter) and Technologized Desire: Selfhood & the Body in Postcapitalist Science Fiction. No, I’ve no idea what the last book is about. And I’m absolutely sure that I don’t want to.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro once again lives up to its name with this visit to a specialized museum.
- Eek! shows a set of superhero costumes that didn’t make the cut.
(9) NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE. More information from Buckaroo Banzai fandom. Yesterday we ran the link to World Watch One August 2023, which includes interviews with Carl Lumbly, Dr. Damon Hines, and Billy Vera. The group that publishes the online magazine also has a Facebook page. And they host a Buckaroo Banzi FAQ website as well.
(10) ART DETECTIVE WORK. [Item by Brick Barrientos.] The mystery of who painted the 1976 cover of A Wrinkle in Time has been solved. Spoiler alert: it’s Richard Bober. However, the detective story is totally worth reading. “Artist: Known — Illustrator for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ gets long-overdue credit” at WBUR.
…Sarah: I find the colors of the cover and the painting so freaky, and I could not tell you why. They just caused this weird, low-level hum that’s really just full of dread in my heart.
Amory: But for Sarah, a self-proclaimed “gloom” and “fancier of […] magics both macabre and melancholy” as her blog proclaims… a painting that can induce a low level hum of DREAD in your heart? That’s a pretty exciting thing! Sarah wanted to include this piece in her forthcoming book, “The Art of Fantasy.” But…
Sarah: I couldn’t even remember what it was from….
Here’s the blog post about the search: “A Mystery That Should Not Exist: Who Is The Cover Artist For This Edition Of A Wrinkle In Time?” at Unquiet Things.
(11) A BRIDGE NOT TOO FAR. [Item by Brick Barrientos.] It’s not speculative fiction related but really worth reading. Like the Wrinkle in Time artwork story it’s a great detective story of why a pedestrian bridge was built in the Twin Cities. “The Mystery of the Bloomfield Bridge” at TylerVigen.com
This pedestrian bridge crosses I-494 just west of the Minneapolis Airport. It connects Bloomington to Richfield. I drive under it often and I wondered: why is it there? It’s not in an area that is particularly walkable, and it doesn’t connect any establishments that obviously need to be connected. So why was it built?
I often have curious thoughts like this, but I dismiss most of them because if I answered all of them I would get nothing else done. But one day I was walking out of a Taco Bell and found myself at the base of the bridge….
(12) CREATURE FEATURED. “Review of Creature from the Black Lagoon” at Captain Toy. Lots of photos at the link.
Since NECA announced they were picking up the Universal Monsters characters in their 7″ action figure line, I have been anticipating one in particular. While I’m a huge fan of the entire stable of characters, having spent my childhood watching them every Saturday afternoon on Sir Graves Ghastly, there was one that has always been at the top of the pack – the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
It isn’t because this was the best film they produced. Frankenstein was far superior, and Dracula was a better overall movie as well. But CFTBL had something they did not – one of the top three best ‘man in a rubber suit’ creature designs of all time.
The suit was designed by Milicent Patrick, an animator for Disney who also created the terrific Metaluna Mutant and Moleman. She was fired from her role as a designer by Bud Westmore after the Creature started to gain notoriety, because he had taken sole credit for the Creature design and wanted to keep it that way.
As is the norm with this series, I assmue there is both a color and black and white version. I’m looking at the color tonight, as I’ve usually (though not exclusively) stuck with the color versions. I also haven’t seen the black and white yet anywhere. There was also a Glow in the Dark release, put out as a SDCC exclusive.
Expect to pay around $38, depending on the retailer….
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Brick Barrientos, Daniel Dern, Dan Berger, Steven French, 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 Tom Becker.]