(1) NAACP IMAGE AWARDS. The 2023 NAACP Image Awards fiction winner was one of the non-genre nominees.
OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – FICTION
- WINNER: Take My Hand – Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Penguin Random House)
- Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction – Sheree Renée Thomas (Macmillan)
- Light Skin Gone to Waste – Toni Ann Johnson (University of Georgia Press)
- The Keeper – Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes (Abrams Books)
- You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty – Akwaeke Emezi (Simon & Schuster)
(2) EKPEKI INTERVIEW. Media Death Cult’s Moid Moidelhoff conducted “An Interview with Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki”.
Ekpeki is a Nigerian speculative fiction author, editor and publisher, spotlighting the talents and awareness of African writers.
(3) STEP RIGHT UP. “What Is It That Makes Used Bookstores So Wonderful?” asks Keith Roysdon at CrimeReads.
…My favorite store of all the others besides Powell’s [in Portland, OR] was a used bookstore in my hometown of Muncie, Indiana, Al Maynard’s Used Book Headquarters. It was located on the second floor of a deteriorating downtown building and was the kind of inaccessible place that wouldn’t be allowed now, and rightly so. The bookstore was at the top of a long flight of stairs and Maynard, who was famed for being cantankerous, had posted a hand-lettered sign at the top of the stairs. It read something like, “There are 23 steps behind you. Shoplifters will miss most of them on the way down.”
Maynard had accumulated a wealth of books that, in my mind, was a midwestern version of the Library of Alexandria: the wooden shelves lining all the walls were filled with hardbacks, paperbacks, scholarly works, old magazines – probably every edition of National Geographic – and pulp magazines from the first half of the 20th century….
(4) WHICH VERSION WILL WIN? “Roald Dahl publisher announces unaltered 16-book ‘classics collection’” reports the Guardian. The market will decide.
A collection of Roald Dahl’s books with unaltered text is to be published after a row over changes made to novels including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches.
Dahl’s publisher Puffin, the children’s imprint of Penguin Random House, was criticised this week after the Telegraph reported that it had hired sensitivity readers to go over the beloved author’s books and language deemed to be offensive would be removed from new editions. In response, Puffin has decided to release Dahl’s works in their original versions with its new texts.
The Classic Collection will “sit alongside the newly released Puffin Roald Dahl books for young readers”, the publisher said in a statement, adding that the the latter series of books “are designed for children who may be navigating written content independently for the first time”….
(5) BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Should Puffin executives be alert for hungry amphibians headed their way? According to the Guardian, “Roald Dahl threatened publisher with ‘enormous crocodile’ if they changed his words”.
One of Roald Dahl’s best-known characters was the Enormous Crocodile, “a horrid greedy grumptious brute” who “wants to eat something juicy and delicious”.
Now a conversation the author had 40 years ago has come to light, revealing that he was so appalled by the idea that publishers might one day censor his work that he threatened to send the crocodile “to gobble them up”.
The conversation took place in 1982 at Dahl’s home in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, where he was talking to the artist Francis Bacon.
“I’ve warned my publishers that if they later on so much as change a single comma in one of my books, they will never see another word from me. Never! Ever!” he said.
With his typically evocative language, he added: “When I am gone, if that happens, then I’ll wish mighty Thor knocks very hard on their heads with his Mjolnir. Or I will send along the ‘enormous crocodile’ to gobble them up.”
(6) MEMORIES OF THE ZONE. Listverse hopes to surprise readers with “10 Things You Might Not Know about The Twilight Zone” – or at least maybe forgot they knew, like this one:
10 The Iconic Theme Song Was Not Introduced Until the Second Season
Even people who have not seen The Twilight Zone are familiar with the catchy “dee-dee-dee-dee” of the theme song. However, this song was not actually used during the airing of the first season of the show. The original theme was written by Bernard Herrmann, known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock on films such as Psycho (1960), and while it was fittingly creepy, it didn’t pack much of a punch.
CBS was on the search for a new theme, and Lud Gluskin, the show’s director of music, hired Marius Constant, who usually composed ballet scores, to give it a go. Constant came up with two pieces of music, “Milieu No. 2” and “Étrange No. 3,” which Gluskin then joined together to create the new title theme. The song became integral to the identity of the show. Although the theme has been revamped in the various iterations of The Twilight Zone, the memorable four-note guitar riff is always present
(7) DELIGHTFUL DOZEN. SlashFilm says these are “The 12 Coolest Spaceships In Sci-Fi Movie History” – although John King Tarpinian complains that “They left out the Winnebago.”
The Event Horizon
Sometimes, of course, a spacecraft can be overtly villainous, and none are as depraved as the Event Horizon. Early on in Paul W.S. Anderson’s 1997 sci-fi horror “Event Horizon,” the eponymous ship appears to be just that: a faster-than-light spaceship that disappeared, and then reappeared, under mysterious circumstances. Later, after everything starts to get a bit eye-gougey, it turns out that the Event Horizon gained sentience after briefly crossing over into another dimension, essentially becoming the science fiction equivalent of the Overlook Hotel….
(8) MEMORY LANE.
1970 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Our Beginning tonight is Ringworld which was published by Ballantine Books in 1970.
Ok, there is definitely sexism lurking within Larry Niven’s Ringworld, and despite winning a Hugo at the first Noreascon is considered to have been visited by the Suck Fairy by many of you as discussed here when I essayed it earlier.
But this feature is about the Beginnings and oh my Ringworld has one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to read as it introduces us to our protagonist in a way that makes us like him.
Now our Beginning…
In the nighttime heart of Beirut, in one of a row of general-address transfer booths, Louis Wu flicked into reality.
His foot-length queue was as white and shiny as artificial snow. His skin and depilated scalp were chrome yellow; the irises of his eyes were gold; his robe was royal blue with a golden steroptic dragon superimposed. In the instant he appeared, he was smiling widely, showing pearly, perfect, perfectly standard teeth. Smiling and waving. But the smile was already fading, and in a moment it was gone, and the sag of his face was like a rubber mask melting. Louis Wu showed his age.
For a few moments, he watched Beirut stream past him: the people flickering into the booths from unknown places; the crowds flowing past him on foot, now that the slidewalks had been turned off for the night. Then the clocks began to strike twenty-three. Louis Wu straightened his shoulders and stepped out to join the world. In Resht, where his party was still going full blast, it was already the morning after his birthday.
Here in Beirut it was an hour earlier. In a balmy outdoor restaurant Louis bought rounds of raki and encouraged the singing of songs in Arabic and Interworld. He left before midnight for Budapest.
Had they realized yet that he had walked out on his own party? They would assume that a woman had gone with him, that he would be back in a couple of hours. But Louis Wu had gone alone, jumping ahead of the midnight line, hotly pursued by the new day. Twenty-four hours was not long enough for a man’s two hundredth birthday.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born February 25, 1906 — Mary Chase. Journalist, playwright and children’s novelist. She’s best remembered for the Broadway playwright who penned Harvey which was later adapted for the film that starred James Stewart. Her only other genre work was the children’s story, “The Wicked, Wicked Ladies In the Haunted House”. The latter is available at the usual digital publishers but Harvey isn’t. You can get Harvey as an audiobook. (Died 1981.)
- Born February 25, 1909 — Edgar Pangborn. For the first twenty years of his career, he wrote myriad stories for the pulp magazines, but always under pseudonyms. It wasn’t until the Fifties that he published in his own name in Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Ursula Le Guin has credited him with showing her it was possible to write humanly emotional stories in an SF setting. A Mirror for Observers is his best known work. (Died 1976.)
- Born February 25, 1913 — Gert Fröbe. Goldfinger in the Bond film of that name. He also the Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Professor Van Bulow in Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon and Colonel Manfred von Holstein in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, a film that’s at least genre adjacent. (Died 1988.)
- Born February 25, 1917 — Anthony Burgess. I know I’ve seen and read A Clockwork Orange many, many years ago. I think I even took a University class on it as well. Scary book, weird film. I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with the Enderby series having not encountered them before now. Opinions please. (Died 1993.)
- Born February 25, 1922 — Robert Bonfils. Illustrator, known for his covers for pulp paperback covers, many of an erotic nature. I’ve not heard of him but ISFDB lists quite a few genre works that are, errr, graced by his work. Sex is certainly his dominant theme as can be seen in the covers of Go-Go SADISTO, Orgy of the Dead and Roburta the Conqueress. (Died 2018.)
- Born February 25, 1968 — A. M. Dellamonica, 55. A Canadian writer who has published over forty rather brilliant short stories since the Eighties. Their first novel, Indigo Springs, came out just a decade ago but they now has five novels published with their latest being The Nature of a Pirate. Her story, “Cooking Creole” can be heard here at Podcastle 562. It was in Mojo: Conjure Stories, edited by Nalo Hopkinson.
- Born February 25, 1973 — Anson Mount, 50. He is now Captain Christopher Pike on Strange Worlds, a role he first played on Discovery. He was Black Bolt in Marvel’s Inhumans series. I see he was in Visions, a horror film, and has had appearances on Lost, Dollhouse and Smallville.
(10) GRINCH REDUX. “Dr. Seuss’ ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas!’ gets a sequel” – Yahoo! has details.
Dr. Seuss fans might find their hearts growing three sizes this coming holiday season with the release of a sequel to the 1957 classic children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
The new book picks up one year after the original, and like the first, teaches a valuable lesson about the true spirit of the holiday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Random House Children’s Books announced Thursday.
The sequel entitled “How the Grinch Lost Christmas!” is not based on a newly discovered manuscript by Seuss — whose real name was Theodor Geisel — but was written and illustrated by an author and artist with previous experience in the Dr. Seuss universe.
“One of the most asked questions we receive from Seuss fans of all ages is ‘What do you think happened to the Grinch after he stole Christmas?” said Alice Jonaitis, executive editor at Random House Children’s Books, in a statement….
(11) SUPER SIGNATURE. You have until March 3 to bid on this “George Reeves Signed Photo as Superman” at Nate D. Sanders Auctions. Minimum bid $2,500.
George Reeves signed photo as the original Superman, with bold handwriting. Reeves inscribes the photo, ”From one Judo man to another / George Reeves” for the famed martial artist Bruce Tegner, who worked with Reeves on stunts for ”Adventures of Superman”.
(12) THE PRINCESS SHORTCUT. “Disney Movies With Quicker Endings Are Pretty Funny” – Pupperish has a gallery of “how it should have ended”-style scenes from Disney animations.
(13) MARKETING ADVICE. Video of a Flights of Foundry presentation, “Marketing, A Necessary Habit” with Sarah Faxon, was recently uploaded.
Are you struggling with marketing, or not sure where to start? In this talk, Sarah Faxon discusses organizational tools available to help keep marketing organized, how to find the target audience, and how to create a marketing habit.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]