Pemmi-Con chairs Linda Ross-Mansfield and Robbie Bourget will take questions about reasons for fans to attend the 2023 NASFiC from Fan Fund representatives Fran Skene (CUFF), Erin Underwood (DUFF), and Mike Lowrey.. (TAFF) in a free Zoom session on March 4.
Pemmi-Con, the 2023 NASFiC, will be held July 20-23 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
CUFF (Canadian Unity Fan Fund) is Canada’s fan fund. A fan delegate representing British/European fandom will be attending Pemmi-Con, courtesy of TAFF (Trans Atlantic Fan Fund). DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) is the other ocean-crossing fan fund: DUFF brings a fan from Australia/ New Zealand to North America.
By Rich Lynch: It’s been 30 years since the passing of my friend Roger Weddall. I doubt very many of you reading this had ever met him and I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if most of you haven’t even heard of him. Thirty years is a long time and the demographics of fandom has changed a lot. So let me tell you a little bit about him.
To begin with, Roger was very much an actifan during the 1980s and very early 1990s. He was a member of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club but his fan activities extended far beyond the borders of Australia. Back then the Internet was not the prime means, as it is today, for fans separated by large distances to interact with each other. Instead, we communicated with each other mostly by letters and through fanzines which were distributed the old-school way: by surface mail. And that’s how I met him.
Back then, my wife Nicki and I were publishing a general interest fanzine, Mimosa, and had been sending it out as trade for other fanzines we’d receive in the mail. One of them was the MSFC fanzine Thyme, of which Roger was co-editor. And it was a very pleasant surprise for us to receive a long letter from him, in the first part of 1987, that commented favorably on our second issue. A lot of back-and-forth correspondence followed and a burgeoning friendship developed.
It wasn’t until 1992 that Nicki and I finally got to meet him in person. That year Roger had been elected the 1992 representative of the Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF) and came to the United States for the Worldcon, Magicon, which was held in Orlando, Florida. But the weekend before that he attended a small fan get-together, the Jophan Family Reunion, in Birmingham, Alabama. And it was there that we learned that he was seriously ill with lymphoma. He’d intended to include a stop in Maryland to stay with us as part of his DUFF trip but the disease had caused him to change his plans so that he could return to Australia immediately after the Worldcon to continue his chemotherapy treatments.
Roger had assured us that the disease was controllable – had been controlled, in fact – and that he fully intended to return to North America in 1993 to continue his DUFF excursion. But that turned out to be far too optimistic. When we said good-bye to each other at the conclusion of Magicon, Nicki and I had been hopeful that we’d see him again but fearful that we wouldn’t. And a very few months later, on the night of December 3rd, we received the long-distance telephone call we were dreading would happen, the news of Roger’s death.
Nicki and I were fortunate that in the relatively short time we knew Roger we managed to accumulate many memories of and about him that we’ve continued to treasure: Roger had an unpredictable side where he would do memorable things from out of the blue from time to time, like his ‘telephone call from the future’ to us one New Year’s Eve (he was on the other side of the International Date Line, where the new year had already arrived). We also knew Roger as someone who would gladly go out of his way to do something for you that he knew you wanted; several times we’d received letters from him where the envelope had been almost completely covered with different postage stamps – all because he knew that Nicki (at that time) collected Australian postage stamps.
One other thing about Roger was his hyperactiveness during the Jophan Family Reunion and at Magicon the following week. From what I observed, hardly anybody had the stamina to keep up with him. And that’s the way I remember him most – full of life and enthusiasm. Roger was that special kind of person who could brighten up your day whenever he wrote or called and the world has been a less friendly place without him. To say that I’ve been missing him these past three decades is a huge understatement.
I’ll end this remembrance by describing something that happened during the Jophan Family Reunion, a little anecdote that really shows off Roger’s personality. Roger had been hosted by our mutual friend Charlotte Proctor during his stay in Birmingham and on the final evening of the convention Nicki and me, Roger, and Charlotte went out to dinner at a shopping mall restaurant. Afterwards, just as we were all back in her car and ready to leave, Charlotte suddenly remembered that she’d meant to bring the baked potato from her meal back home for her husband Jerry to eat later. She’d been ready to just forget the whole thing, but Roger said, “Wait! I’ll get it for you!” Charlotte drove to the restaurant entrance and, as the three of us hummed the theme music from Mission: Impossible, Roger raced into the side entrance of the restaurant then, a moment later, came running back out again triumphantly holding up the foil-wrapped potato. He threw himself into the car and we sped off. It was all done so slickly that the restaurant staff didn’t even realize that they had been victimized by The Great Potato Caper. It was truly a moment that fan historians of the future will marvel at.
I’m sorry that most of you reading this never got a chance to meet Roger Weddall. I know you would have liked him.
Fan Fund activities at Chicon 8 brought in a total of $4,649.64 reports Geri Sullivan, a past administrator of the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund.
Fan funds enable a well-known fan to attend a major science fiction convention in another country or region.
The Live Auction brought in $2,160 with fans bidding on flash fiction by Michael Swanwick, dill chips from TAFF delegate Fia Karlsson, a hand-beaded/hand-knit lace shawl from Esther MacCallum-Stewart, and an original poem by Jane Yolen as well as one by Jo Walton. Also going under the hammer were Tuckerizations by Mary Robinette Kowal, Cat Valente, and Steven Barnes in collaboration with Larry Niven.
$1,432.64 Dublin/Glasgow suite (Comic & book sales, bar tips, & Tammy’s Tastings Ukraine); with thanks to CoNZealand
$ 303.00 Yard Sale
$ 584.00 Silent Auction
$ 170.00 Other donations ($2 given to Lynelle, DUFF 50th Party, Jeanne Mealy, Comic sales to Greg Ketter)
Geri Sullivan says: “Not only did we do remarkably well overall, 31% of the proceeds came from the utterly splendid support of the Dublin/Glasgow suite. A healthy but undetermined amount of that came from the sale of a box of Ben Yalow’s comics and copies of Mad Magazine from the 1960s-1980s while several hundred dollars clearly came from the tip jar and Tammy’s Tastings Ukraine cocktail event. Huge thanks to James Bacon for carrying on and expanding the support started at DisCon III, and to CoNZealand as well as Dublin and Glasgow. Those daily great big, gronking wads of money were amazing!”
The distributions to participating fan funds worked out to:
$1,132.66 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund
$1,245.39 Down Under Fan Fund
$1,086.62 GUFF (Get Up-and-over Fan Fund or the Going Under Fan Fund)
$1,172.95 FFANZ (Fan Fund of Australia and New Zealand)
$12.02 PayPal Fees
We are making AMAZING progress on our work to #SaveWisCon, thanks to your help!
We have now raised just over $32,000 in donations of which $30,000 will be matched, for a total of $62,000 raised to support WisCon! This is absolutely incredible, and we are so grateful for everyone who contributed and helped spread the word.
70 people have completed our Volunteer Interest Form to help out with pre-con volunteering. Thank you all!
We’ve gained 252 new email newsletter subscribers since November, which is helping us make sure everyone gets the latest con news and updates. Not getting the newsletter? You can sign up here.
We have a total of 418 registrations (in-person and online). Our goal is 1,000! Please registerand tell your friends about WisCon, too.
PLUS we are receiving a total of $5,500 in grants from:
We deeply appreciate their support and encourage everyone to learn more about these excellent organizations.
Thanks to your donations and these grants, we’re at roughly $67,000 in total funds raised!
Is this the end of #SaveWisCon fundraising? Are we just done now, forever?
Well…probably not, y’all, for a couple of reasons…
The two main reasons are: (1) It’s “basically impossible” for them to book enough rooms to meet their contract so they will owe a big penalty. That’s an effect of the pandemic and people’s assessment of the risk of in-person events. (2) They have sold only a fraction of the 500 online memberships that are an expected revenue source.
…Audible/ACX’s New Tax Reporting Policy: What Authors Should Know
As of January 1, 2021, authors who publish their own audiobooks on ACX and use ACX producers must now declare the producers’ portion of the royalties as income and then deduct those payments as business expenses when they file their taxes. This is because Audible/ACX now reports all of the net earnings from ACX audiobooks on the authors’ 1099-MISC forms, including the earnings it paid over to producers, as the authors’ royalty earning. It has also stopped issuing 1099-MISCs to producers and instead now issues 1099-Ks to producers that meet the income threshold.
With these new accounting practices, Audible/ACX is treating the payments it makes to voice actors, audiobook producers, and studio pros (collectively referred to as Producers in the agreements) as part of the royalties payable to the authors (referred to as Rights Holders in the agreements)—on the notion that it is the authors, not Audible/ACX, who hire the Producers and owe the Producers a share of their own royalties as compensation for recording the book. The new structure makes clear that Audible/ACX is limiting its role to that of a third-party payment settlement service, even though it makes the Producers’ services available to their authors, sets the terms of that engagement (a 50/50 royalty split), and is the one to send payment to the Producers….
(3) MOURNING STAR. [Item by Andrew Porter.] Last night’s episode of Young Sheldon starts with the momentous news, related by the young version of Sheldon Cooper, that Isaac Asimov has died. (Which happened in 1992.) His parents are monumentally dismissive, but others not as much. I can honestly state that more Asimov works are mentioned there than on any other TV show, ever.
All I can say is, hilarity ensues!
It’s Series 5, Episode 18, “Babies, Lies and a resplendent Cannoli,” with the description on my TV, “Sheldon copes with the death of a hero; Missy wants to babysit; Georgie struggles with a big secret.”
Likely available On Demand.
(4) THE ANSWER IS 47. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Sarah Hemming reviews The 47th, a Shakespearean pastiche by Mike Bartlett about the 2024 presidential election which is playing at the Old Vic Theatre (oldvictheatre.com) through May 28. (I reviewed Bartlett’s previous near-future Shakespearean pastiche, King Charles III, here in 2017 “King Charles III”: A Review”.)
(5) RINGO AWARDS 2022 NOMINATIONS OPEN. The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards return for their sixth year on Saturday, October 29, 2022 as part of The Baltimore Comic-Con. The Ringo Awards include fan participation in the nomination process along with a jury of comics professionals. Fans are welcome to nominate until June 30 at the website here.
Fan and Pro Nominations: Fan and pro-jury voting are tallied independently, and the combined nomination ballot is compiled by the Ringo Awards Committee. The top two fan choices become nominees, and the jury’s selections fill the remaining three slots for five total nominees per category. Ties may result in more than five nominees in a single category. Nominees will be listed on the ballot alphabetically. Nomination ballot voting is open to the public (fans and pros) between April 15, 2022 and June 30, 2022.
Final Ballot Voting: After processing by the Ringo Awards Committee and Jury, the Final Ballots are targeted to be available to comic creative professionals for voting on August 31, 2022 and will be due by September 28, 2022 for final tallying. Presentation of the winners will occur at the Baltimore Comic-Con on the evening of Saturday, October 29, 2022.
In an effort to provide the VIVIAN Task Force the time needed to thoroughly examine the 2021 VIVIAN contest, the RWA Board has approved the task force’s recommendation to postpone the 2022 VIVIAN Contest. This postponement will give the task force time to conduct a thorough analysis of the inaugural contest and make recommendations for changes to be implemented for the 2023 contest period. Under normal circumstances, our contest period begins in October with marketing and advertising campaigns followed by the recruitment and training of judges and accepting contest entries. However, the Board recognizes that the VIVIAN Task Force needs more than a couple of weeks to break down all aspects of the contest to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses outside of those revealed this year.
Veteran actor Frank Langella has been fired from Mike Flanagan’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” following a Netflix investigation that found Langella acted inappropriately on set, a source close to the production confirmed to TheWrap on Wednesday evening.
Netflix had no comment on the situation and a rep for Flanagan did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
TMZ reported on Tuesday that Netflix was looking into allegations that the 84-year-old had been accused of sexual harassment, including making inappropriate comments to a female co-star on the set of the limited series….
(8) OH GIVE ME A HOME, WHERE THE PORTAL HAS COME. A new sf western begins today on Amazon Prime: Outer Range.
Outer Range centers on Royal Abbott (Josh Brolin), a rancher fighting for his land and family, who discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming’s wilderness. A thrilling fable with hints of wry humor and supernatural mystery, Outer Range examines how we grapple with the unknown. At the onset of the series, the Abbotts are coping with the disappearance of daughter-in-law Rebecca. They are pushed further to the brink when the Tillersons (the gaudy owners of the neighboring profit-driven ranch) make a play for their land. An untimely death in the community sets off a chain of tension-filled events, and seemingly small-town, soil-bound troubles come to a head with the arrival of a mysterious black void in the Abbotts’ west pasture. Wild revelations unfold as Royal fights to protect his family; through his eyes, we begin to see how time contains secrets held in the past and unsettling mysteries foreshadowed.
(9) CHRISTINE ASHBY OBIT. Australian fan Christine Ashby, the 1976 Down Under Fan Fund delegate, died at her home on March 29. She was 70 years of age. In 1976 DUFF she attended that year’s Worldcon, MidAmeriCon. Her trip report, The Flight of the Kangaroo, was published about a decade later.
(10) ESSAY: JO WALTON’S SMALL CHANGE TRILOGY. [By Cat Eldridge,] Doing alternate history right is always hard work, but Jo Walton’s the Small Change books consisting of Farthing, Ha’penny and Half a Crown get it perfectly spot on. Set as you know in Britain that settled for an uneasy peace with Hitler’s Germany, they are mysteries, one of my favorite genres. And these are among my all-time favorite mysteries of this sort.
The audiobooks are fascinating as befitting that there being shifting narrators with Peter Carmichael whose presence in all three novels is voiced by John Keating, and Bianco Amato voicing David Kahn’s wife in Farthing, but Viola Lark being played by Heather O’Neil in Ha’penny and yet a third female narrator, Elvira, is brought to life by Terry Donnelly in Half a Crown.
Now I’m fascinated by what awards they won (and didn’t) and what they got nominated for. It would win but one award, the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel for Ha’Penny which is I find a bit odd indeed given there’s nothing libertarian about that novel.
Now Half a Crown wracked an impressive number of nominations: the Sidewise Award for Best Long Form Alternate History, Locus for Best SF Novel, Sunburst award for a Canadian novel, and this time deservedly so given the themes of the final novel a Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel.
Farthing had picked up nominations for a Sidewise, a Nebula, Campbell Memorial, Quill where Ha’Penny only picked a Sidewise and Lambda.
Not a single Hugo nomination which really, really surprised me.
There is one short story set in this series, “Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction” which you can read in her Starlings colllection that Tachyon published. It is is a fantastic collection of her stories, poems and cool stuff!
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 15, 1918 — Denis McLoughlin. No, he didn’t do any genre work that you’d know of. (And I’m not interested in it anyways. This is not about a genre artist.) His greatest fame came from work doing hard-boiled detective book covers produced for the London publishing house of Boardman Books spanning a career that lasted nearly eight decades with other work as well. And oh what covers they were! Here’s is his cover for Adam Knight’s Stone Cold Blonde, and this is Henry Kanes’…Until You’re Dead. Finally let’s look at his cover for Fredric Brown’s We All Killed Grandma. He was in perfect health when he took a revolver from his extensive collection of weapons and committed suicide. No note was left behind. (Died 2002.)
Born April 15, 1922 — Michael Ansara. Commander Kang in Trek’s “The Day of The Dove” as well as a lot of other genre work including a recurring role as Kane on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, multiple roles on I Dream of Jeannie andmyriad voicings of Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze in the Batman series. (Died 2013.)
Born April 15, 1926 — Jerry Grandenetti. In my opinion, his greatest work was as the illustrator who helped defined the look of The Spirit that Will Eisner created. He also worked at DC, mostly on war comics of which there apparently way more than I knew (All-American Men of War, G.I. Combat, Our Army at War, Our Fighting Forces and Star Spangled War Stories) though he did work on the House of Mystery and Strange Adventures series as well. (Died 2010.)
Born April 15, 1933 — Elizabeth Montgomery. She’s best remembered as Samantha Stephens on Bewitched. Other genre roles included being Lili in One Step Beyond’s “The Death Waltz” which you can watch here. She also had one-offs in The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and voicing a Barmaid in the “Showdown” episode of Batman: The Animated Series. (Died 1995.)
Born April 15, 1959 — Emma Thompson, 63. Professor Sybill Trelawney, Harry Potter franchise. Men in Black 3 and Men in Black: International as Agent O, I am Legend, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle as Polynesia, the extraordinary Tony Kushner derived HBO series Angels in America, Beauty and the Beast as Mrs. Potts, the castle’s motherly head housekeeper who has been transformed into a teapot, Brave, Beautiful Creatures and Treasure Planet voicing Captain Amelia.
Born April 15, 1974 — Jim C. Hines, 48. [Item by Paul Weimer.] Writer, and blogger. Jim C. Hines’ first published novel was Goblin Quest, the tale of a nearsighted goblin runt and his pet fire-spider. Jim went on to write the Princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. He’s also the author of the Magic ex Libris books, my personal favorite, which follow the adventures of a magic-wielding librarian from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who happens to have the same pet fire-spider lifted from the Goblin novels as his best friend. He has two novels in his Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series. Jim’s novels usually have the fun and humor dials set on medium to high. Jim is also an active blogger on a variety of topics and won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer at Chicon 7.
Born April 15, 1997 — Maisie Williams, 25. She made her professional acting debut as Arya Stark of Winterfell in Game of Thrones. She was Ashildr, an immortal Viking woman of unique skills, the principal character of “The Girl Who Died”, “The Woman Who Lived”, “Face the Raven” and “Hell Bent” during the time of Twelfth Doctor. She was also Lucy in the Netflix SF iBoy. She is set to star as Wolfsbane in the forthcoming Marvel film New Mutants, due for release sometime, well who knows, as it keeps getting delayed.
… There are a lot of hobbits in “Lord of the Rings.” So many, in fact, that we’ve decided to round them all up into a good ol’ worst-to-best ranking. After all, what good is this iconic race of hole-dwellers if we can’t subjectively compare them to each other? Here are all of the hobbits who play at least a minor role in the story, ranked by a general conglomeration of heroics, accomplishments, humor, toughness, and overall importance to Tolkien’s world….
16. Ted Sandyman is a pathetic excuse for a Hobbit
…While he plays a similar part in the book, Sandyman’s role is a bit bigger on-page. He’s in a lengthy scene in “The Fellowship of the Ring” where he verbally spars with Sam, rebutting his romantic notions of the world. Then he reappears at the end of “The Return of the King,” where it’s revealed that he’s gone over to the dark side, helping Saruman’s minions overrun the Shire and turn it into an industrialized police state….
Ted Sandyman is eventually put in his place, but during his time in the story he proves to be nothing more than a troublemaking bully who runs at the first site of trouble. To the bottom of the list he goes…
(13) WE’RE DOOMED, DOOMED! [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] An analysis announced by Nature this week reveals that even if all the agreed actions from last November’s COP26 UN climate change summit were implemented global temperatures could not be kept below the target 1.5°C warming.
The researchers say that to meet this target we are going to have to actively remove carbon dioxide from the air.
Since 2009, there has been a growing body of research pointing in the same direction, of which this Nature paper is but the latest.
Quantifications of the pledges before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) suggested a less than 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius…
Limiting warming not only to ‘just below’ but to ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius urgently requires policies and actions to bring about steep emission reductions this decade, aligned with mid-century global net-zero CO2 emissions.
(14) REPEAT AFTER ME. If you have eight minutes to spare you can watch a “Giant ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Supercut” with every appearance of the Vulcan phrase in every Star Trek series. Nerdist gives a rundown —
…This montage (which we first saw at Laughing Squid) includes all the times someone said that phrase, from the franchise’s first days to right now. Characters first told others to “live long and prosper” on the original cast’s show, animated series, and movies. Since then Star Trek characters in The Next Generation, First Contact, Voyager, Enterprise, Lower Decks, and Prodigy have said the phrase, too.
(Uh, can we go back and edit one into Deep Space Nine? Now that we know zero characters ever said the Vulcan salute, it seems weird, right?)
(15) MIXED MEDIA. Daniel Greene’s “Best of the Year 2021” rankings are unusual in that he includes written as well as filmed media, so there’s some nice shout-outs for several notable SF/Fantasy printed works in here.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The How It Should Have Ended gang takes on the Snyder cut in this video, which dropped Thursday. “How The Snyder Cut Should Have Ended”.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Jennifer Hawthorne, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Irwin Hirsh, Joyce Scrivner, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Smith.]
DUFF co-administrator Paul Weimer reports 60 ballots were cast. One of the ballots did not contain any voting information and the donation was just counted as a donation to the fund. Erin won an outright majority on the first round, with 37 first place votes.
However, with ConZealand being a virtual Worldcon this year and Corvid-19, Erin will not be traveling to New Zealand this year, but hopes to travel to Australasia in the DUFF tradition in 2021, health and world events permitting.
Down Under Fan Fund
co-administrator Paul Weimer has announced the 2020 DUFF ballot is live.
There are four candidates to become the fund’s delegate to CoNZealand, the 78th
Worldcon, 2020, in Wellington, New Zealand – Richard Auffrey, Shaun Duke, James
Davis Nicoll, and Erin Underwood.
The voting process is DUFF’s fundraiser, and votes need to be accompanied by a minimum contribution of at least $5 in US, Australian, Canadian, or New Zealand currency.
Vote by emailing a copy of the ballot to both the Administrators. Pay using PayPal or by Credit Card to Paul. Full voting instructions and payment options are in the PDF ballot which is online here.
The voting deadline
is March 27, 20202 at 11:59 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.).
The candidates’ platforms
and nominators are:
Send the Passionate Foodie to New Zealand!
I’ve attended SFF conventions for 40 years, including 2 World Cons. Each year, I read 250+ books, including many genre novels, highlighting my favorites each year in my blog. In addition, I’ve previously interviewed numberous SFF authors for my Alcohol, Authors and Accolades series. I’m also the author of the Tipsy Sensei series, supernatural thrillers about a Sake expert encountering creatures from Japanese folklore. In addition, I’ve been a role-player for 40 years, usually as a Game Master, covering a diverse blend of games. It would be an honor to represent U.S. fandom.
(Nominators: North America: Fred Kiesche, Paul Moore, Ed Tisdale; Australasia: Gillian Polack, Dan Rabarts)
I’m a host for the two-time Hugo Finalist podcast, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, and a global SF enthusiast. In 2014, I created the World SF Tour to celebrate non-US SF/F through interviews and discussions; at each of the three international Worldcons I have attended (London, Helsinki, and Dublin), I have recorded podcasts to highlight SF/F from around the world. If selected as the DUFF delegate, I will continue that mission by more deeply exploring fandom and SF/F in New Zealand and Australia at ConZealand. I’ve got a handheld recorder, a geeky mind, and a hankering for ocean crossings!
(Nominators: North America: David Annadale, Beverly Bambury, Jen Zink; Australasia: Joyce Chng, Elizabeth Fitzgerald)
James Davis Nicoll
I would like to stand as a candidate for the 2020 DUFF. I have been an avid reader of speculative fiction for almost sixty years. I have attended cons, written thousands of reviews, served on diverse award juries, and provided the world with valuable safety hints . If I am selected, I vow to embrace tradition and attempt to produce a humorous journal in the tradition of Walt Willis’ The Harp Stateside.
1: Persons concerned about sending me to a geologically active nation like New Zealand can rest assured that the Hawaii incident was probably a fluke.
2: With footnotes.
(Nominators: North America: Sean Fagan, Mike Glyer, David Goldfarb; AU/NZ: Jo Van Ekeren, Elaine Walker)
I’m a con runner and fan editor/writer from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, whose passion for science, fandom, and SF/F drives me to bring new voices to publications and convention programs. While I’ve worked pre-con for many Worldcons, I could only afford attending a few conventions that I helped to create. I’d love to attend ConZealand, sharing my passion for SF/F with New Zealand and Australian fans, while also learning from those communities. I’m editing a special edition of the fanzine, Journey Planet, highlighting New Zealand and ConZealand, and will promote fandom and DUFF through blogging, social media, and a summary report.
(Nominators: North America: Janice Gelb, Nancy Holder, Jim Kelly, Australasia: David McDonald, Garth Nix)
[Update 01/20/2020: Made changes to correspond with revised ballot.]
Paul Weimer and Marlee Jane Ward, Administrators of DUFF, the
Down Under Fan Fund, are seeking
candidates for the 2020 race. The winner will travel from North America to
ConZealand, the Worldcon in Wellington New Zealand and become the North
American Administrator of the Fund.
Nominations are open until January 17. The candidates
will be announced soon after.
To get on the ballot a fan needs three North American and two
Australasian nominators (who will each need to independently confirm their
nominations to the administrators via email), a platform of no more than 100
words, a bond of US$20/CAN$25 [The bond can be sent by PayPal to [email protected]
] and a guarantee to attend the 2020 Worldcon in New Zealand if you
Jack’s an old friend I see far too infrequently ever since he moved to Australia. I was privileged to publish a story of his in Science Fiction Age back in the ’90s, but that’s the least of his accomplishments. His first novel, The Man Who Melted, was nominated for a 1984 Nebula Award, and since then he’s gone on to win a Nebula Award, two World Fantasy Awards, three Ditmar Awards, and the Peter McNamara Award for Excellence. His short story collections include Timetipping, Jubilee: the Essential Jack Dann, and Visitations. His 1998 anthology Dreaming Down-Under (co-edited with his wife Janeen Webb) is a groundbreaking work in Australian science fiction.
He’s also created some amazing stories in collaboration with the likes of Michael Swanwick, Gardner Dozois, Barry Malzberg, and others, and since you know from listening to Eating the Fantastic that collaboration completely baffles me, we dove into a discussion of that as well.
We stepped out to The Chowder House, which has been in operation since 1985, but has a history which goes all the way back to 1920, when Darcy’s Irish Pub opened — and over the decades expanded into a row of family-owned restaurants. It was a comfortable spot, with good food, and the perfect place for us to catch up after far too long apart.
We discussed the novel he and Gardner Dozois always planned to write but never did, how a botched appendectomy at age 20 which left him with only a 5% chance of survival inspired one of his most famous stories, why he quit law school the day after he sold a story to Damon Knight’s Orbit series, the bad writing advice he gave Joe Haldeman early on we’re glad got ignored, the secrets to successful collaborations, the time Ellen Datlow acted as referee on a story he wrote with Michael Swanwick, how it felt thanks to his novel The Man Who Melted to be a meme before we began living in a world of memes, why he’s drawn to writing historical novels which require such a tremendous amount of research, the time he was asked to channel the erotica of Anaïs Nin, the gift he got from his father that taught him to take joy in every moment — and much more.
(2) RSR LAUNCHES IMPROVEMENT. Rocket Stack Rank announces
“New Filtering and Simplified Highlighting” in an
article that analyzes the most awards won, award nominations earned, and inclusion
in year’s best TOC for short fiction from 2015-2018 by using the new filtering
features added to RSR.
You can now filter stories in a table to show only the ones recognized with SF/F awards, year’s best anthologies, or prolific reviewers. Click the “Show:” drop-down list in the table header and choose one of the options (see image on the right). This is an easy way to dis-aggregate scores to see which stories received the most recognition by each type of recommendation for readers who favor one type over a combined score of all three.
(3) THE DELTA QUADRANT PRIMARY. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Senator Cory Booker is trying to acquire the votes of undecided Trekkies by showing off his nerd cred. The 50-year-old challenger for the Democratic nomination spoke to the New York Times today about his love for all things Star Trek, and how the show has influenced his politics: “How ‘Star Trek’ Pushed Cory Booker to Make It So”.
What did your father see in Trek?
It was hope.
“Star Trek” was more than just an escape. It was a portal to say the future is going to be different. It’s incredibly hopeful and a belief that we’re going to get beyond a lot of these lines. We’re going to unite as humanity. It’ll be a place where your virtue guides you, the highest of human aspirations. I think there’s something about that he found really powerful.
Do you think you took it in differently as a person of color?
I took it in through that lens because I really believe that was the lens that compelled my father. My dad loved UFOs. When that television series “Project Blue Book” came out, that was another thing. He was fascinated by the universe and excited about it.
This idea that we as humans, where we are right now, are literally just not even at the foothills yet of the mountains of discovery that are out there. He was a man of infinite hope. “Star Trek” gave him that. It showed him that we are going to overcome so much of the stuff that rips at humanity now.
In July, the author Xiaolu Guo was expecting the delivery of a book that would not be published until September: Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments,” the highly anticipated follow-up to “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Guo was getting her copy so early because she is a judge for this year’s Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award. There was just one problem, Guo said in an interview on Tuesday: When the courier turned up, she was late getting home from the airport. The courier refused to give the book to her brother and sister-in-law, who were visiting from China.
Guo missed the courier’s visit the next day, too, as she was out running errands. By the time she finally got the book, she was furious, she said.
“For me, it was quite over the top, the whole security issue,” Guo added, laughing.
The secrecy around Atwood’s new novel, which is on the Booker Prize shortlist that was announced this week, has complicated the judging process this year. The prize’s organizer had to sign a nondisclosure agreement on behalf of all the judges, said Peter Florence, the chairman of the judging panel.
Secrecy agreements were not required for the 150 other novels that judges read to create an initial list of books in the running that was announced at the end of July. They then reread and argued over those thirteen titles to choose the final six.
At the shortlist announcement on Tuesday, all six books were piled on a table in front of the judges, among them Salman Rushdie’s “Quichotte” and Lucy Ellmann’s “Ducks, Newburyport.” But the copy of “The Testaments” was actually a dummy.
“That’s not the real Atwood, by the way, in case anyone’s thinking of stealing it,” Gaby Wood, the prize’s literary director, told reporters.
The collected edition of ‘Avengers: The Children’s Crusade’ has come under fire for featuring a kiss between two male characters.
In an unexpected move, Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella has announced that the translated edition of the Marvel comic book series Avengers: The Children’s Crusade would be removed from the literary festival Riocentro Bienal do Livro so as to protect the city’s children from what he described as “sexual content for minors.”
The so-called sexual content in question is an on-panel kiss between two male characters, Wiccan and Hulkling, who are in committed relationship. Both characters are clothed in the scene.
“The issue concerning Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge-themed soda bottles has recently been brought to our attention by the general public, as these items could reasonably be seen by some as replica hand grenades. We appreciate the concerns being raised, because replica explosives are not permitted in either carry-on or checked bags. We have completed our review, and instructed our officers to treat these as an oversized liquid. Because these bottles contain liquids larger than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters), they should be put in checked baggage or emptied to be brought on as carry-on item. TSA officers will maintain the discretion to prohibit any item through the screening checkpoint if they believe it poses a security threat.”
It’s 1962 in Milan and a former fashion model, Angela Guissana, is looking for material for a small publishing house she and her sister Luciana have opened. She studies the reading tastes of the local commuters and concludes that thrillers—such as those featuring criminal mastermind Fantomas—are in.
Rather than hire someone else to forge ahead with their new thriller, she and her sister write the book themselves. To increase its appeal, they present the book as a fumetto, an Italian variation on the comic book format that has recently proven so popular in Europe with Tintin and Tex Willer—also thrillers. They make sure that each volume can fit inside a businessman’s coat pocket.
Thus, the Guissana sisters create Diabolik, which has in the 60 years since its inception, sold more than 150 million copies.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
September 6, 1953 — Hugo awards first presented at Philcon II (the second Philadelphia Worldcon).
September 6, 1956 — Fire Maidens from Outer Space premiered. A group of astronauts lands on a moon of Jupiter only to find it inhabited with sexy maidens. Well, and a hideous monster of course.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 6, 1904 — Groff Conklin. He edited some forty anthologies of genre fiction starting The Best of Science Fiction fromCrown Publishers in 1946 to Seven Trips Through Time and Space on Fawcett Gold in 1968. The contents are fairly a mix of the obscure and well known as Heinlein, Niven, Simak, Dahl, Sturgeon, Lovecraft and Bradbury show up here. (Died 1968.)
Born September 6, 1943 — Roger Waters, 76. Ok, I’m stretching it. Is Pink Floyd genre? The Wall maybe. Or The Division Bell with its themes of communication. Or maybe I just wanted to say Happy Birthday Roger!
Born September 6, 1946 — Hal Haag. Baltimore-area fan who found fandom in the early Eighties and who chaired Balticon 25 and Balticon 35 and worked on Balticon and quite a number of regionals. He Co-founded BWSMOF (Baltimore/Washington SMOFs) along with Inge Heyer from Shore Leave, a regional organization whose purpose it is to discuss running regional conventions of all types. The Baltimore Science Fiction Society put together a very touching memorial site which you can see here. (Died 2006.)
Born September 6, 1953 — Patti Yasutake, 66. Best-known for her portrayal of Nurse Alyssa Ogawa in the Trek universe where she had a recurring role on Next Generation and showed up in Star Trek Generations and Star Trek First Contact. In doing these Birthdays, I consult a number of sites. Several of them declared that her character ended her time as a Doctor. Not true but made for a nice coda on her story.
Born September 6, 1958 — Michael Winslow, 61. Though he might bear as the comically voiced Radar Technicianin Space Balls, I’m more interested that his first genre role of significance was giving voice to Mogwai and the other gremlins in Gremlins, a role he didn’t reprise for the second Gremlins film.
Born September 6, 1972 — China Miéville, 47. My favorite novels by him? The City & The City is the one I’ve re-read the most, followed closely by Kraken. Scariest by him? Oh, that’d King Rat by a long shot. And I’ll admit the dialect he used in Un Lun Dun frustrated me enough that I gave up on it. I’ll hold strongly that the New Crobuzon series doesn’t date as well as some of his other fiction does.
Born September 6, 1972 — Idris Elba, 47. Heimdall in the Thor franchise, as well as the Avengers franchise. First genre role was as Captain Janek in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and later he was in Pacific Rim as Stacker Pentecost. And let’s not forget him as the Big Bad as Krall in Star Trek: Beyond.
Born September 6, 1976 — Robin Atkin Downes, 43. Though he’s made his living being a voice actor in myriad video games and animated series, one of his first acting roles was as the rogue telepath Byron on Babylon 5. He later shows up as the Demon of Illusion in the “Chick Flick” episode of Charmed and he’s got an uncredited though apparently known role as Pockla in the “Dead End” episode of Angel. Ditto for Repo Men as well. He does get as the voice of Edward in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
Born September 6, 1976 –– Naomie Harris, 43. She’s Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall, Spectre and the forthcoming No Time to Die. This was the first time Moneypenny had a first name. She also appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as Tia Dalma. And lastly I’ll note she played Elizabeth Lavenza in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the National Theatre.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Molly Ostertag drew a K&S comic strip for Sam and Frodo. Hampus Eckerman says, “I think a lot of filers might enjoy this little comic.” Thread starts here.
The team that took the first ever image of a black hole has announced plans to capture “razor sharp” full colour video of the one at the centre of our galaxy.
Satellites would be launched to supplement the existing network of eight telescopes to make this movie.
The researchers say the upgraded network will be able to see the supermassive black hole consuming the material around it.
The team has been awarded the Breakthrough Award for Physics.
Prof Heino Falcke, of Radboud University in the Netherlands, who proposed the idea of the so-called Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), told BBC News that the next step was to see a black hole in action.
“Just like planets, a black hole rotates. And because of its incredibly strong gravity, it distorts space and time around it. And so seeing this very weird effect of space itself being rotated is one of the holy grails of astrophysics.”
Tristan Da Cunha is the most remote yet inhabited island in the world. With just 297 people living on the volcanic enclave, it’s more than 1,750 miles away from its nearest coast of South Africa. There are no airports, hotels, or bars and it is only reachable following a six-day boat ride. Yet for all it lacks, the island still has access to the internet. There is virtually nowhere on earth where you can truly escape from technology.
Authors, like me, who write speculatively about tech, are only limited by our imaginations. And that’s why we are fascinated by it, because it offers limitless potential.
Often it is far more of a challenge to create characters and worlds that are overshadowed by tech that goes askew than tech that gets it right.
(15) 20/20 HINDSIGHT. I was soon won around to the name changes, but feel a bit jaded to read such confident reassurances from people who a month ago had no more idea than anyone else that this was coming:
…Given the list of winners at the Hugos — which are fan awards and therefore a good marker of what the people who love their SF/F think is important — times have changed dramatically. I see no reason why Ng or anyone else needs to pay homage to Campbell, who is clearly going to be a marginal person in the genre if he’s mentioned at all fifty years from now.
…Many of the stories published in the 1950s gave us those possibilities, but they did so in the trappings of their times. Confusing those trappings with science fiction makes us misunderstand what the genre is truly about. And being nostalgic about the trappings is silly.
The world that gave us those stories has changed, and stories set in outdated realities, even good ones, often don’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t live in that period. There are a lot of times when you need context, which doesn’t mean saying someone is a “product of their times” and skipping over what they did, but looking at other layers in the story (assuming it’s a story that’s worth spending that much time on).
These days the audience for science fiction is much broader than the mythical 13-year-old (white) boys the Golden Age fiction was supposedly aimed at. We have a strong need for science fiction that breaks us out of the misogyny and racism and colonialism on which so much of western culture has been built. And the audience is worldwide, drawing from their own cultures and experiences.
If you believe storytelling is a vital part of being human – and I do – you have to realize that there are a lot of ways to tell a story and a lot of different ideas of who might be the hero.
…This will no doubt start another round of anguished wailing from certain quarters about the erasure of John W. Campbell from the annals of science fiction history. The answer to this is he’s not being erased, he’s merely being reassessed. And the reassessment is: His extensive paper trail of bigotry, reactionary thought and pseudo-scientific nonsense wasn’t a great look at the time — a fact amply detailed by a number of his contemporaries in the field — and it’s even less of a great look now. As a result, his name is being taken off some things it was on before, because it staying on them means those things (and the people administering those things) would then have to carry the freight of, and answer for, his bigotry, reactionary thought and pseudo-scientific nonsense. And they would rather not.
…People aren’t perfect and you take the good and the bad together — but every generation, and every person, gets to decide how to weigh the good and the bad, and to make judgments accordingly. In the early seventies, in the wake of Campbell’s passing, such was Campbell’s reputation in the field of science fiction that he could be memorialized by two separate awards in his name, and apparently nobody batted an eye (or if they did, they didn’t count). Nearly fifty years later and at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, such is Campbell’s reputation in the field of science fiction that Campbell’s name is off one award, and may be off the other soon enough. In another 50 years, Campbell’s reputation in the field may be different again, or may simply be what so many things are after a century, which is, a historical footnote.
(16) SCAVENGER’S FEAST. Meanwhile, Richard Paolinelli is hastening to fill the sudden vacuum of Campbell-named awards by adding one to his personal collection of honors: “New Category Added To The Helicons in 2020” [Now links to toxic original blog].
“The Helicon Society is proud to announce that the 2020 Helicon Awards will also feature the inaugural John W. Campbell Diversity In SF/F Award.
The Society looks forward to honoring the award’s first-ever recipient next spring.”
I don’t know about you folks, but I’m pretty interested in finding out who this will be. Aren’t you?
These antics apparently help Paolinelli sell books. When he inaugurated his Helicon Awards earlier this year, Paolinelli also announced a pair of awards whose namesakes had recently been removed from awards by the American Library Association: the Melvil Dewey Innovation Award and Laura Ingalls Wilder Best New Author Award.
The past and present merger activity of the Milky Way galaxy has recently been put into sharp focus through the analysis of data from the Gaia astrometric satellite.
The emerging picture created is one of persistent disequilibrium, with high merger activity some 10 billion years ago that plausibly created the stellar halo and thick disk (see the figure), followed by a lull during which only lower-mass satellite galaxies were accreted. The Milky Way is now acquiring the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, which is likely sculpting the galaxy’s thin disk….
…The first data release (DR1) from Gaia provided the position on the sky and apparent brightness for over a billion stars. One result stands out from Gaia DR1: the discovery by Belokurov et al. (3) of a population of stars with distinctive motions, which were identified as debris from a massive satellite that merged into the Galaxy a long time ago. These stars are moving on unexpectedly radially biased orbits and they dominate the stellar halo, particularly close to the peak of its chemical abundance distribution.
You might not immediately identify Ontario’s University of Waterloo as a hotbed of speculative fiction writing. The establishment is far better known for its STEM programs, baffled-looking first-year students, the horrifying things in the tunnels, and vast flocks of velociraptor-like geese. So you may be surprised to learn that the University has produced a number of science fiction and fantasy authors over the years
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Eric Wong, Hampus Eckerman, Chip
Hitchcock, SF Cocatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Martin
Morse Wooster, Olav Rokne, Andrew Porter, and Cat Eldridge for some of these
stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel
There will be no 2019 Down Under Fan Fund delegate DUFF administrators Paul Weimer and Marlee Jane Ward have announced.
The 2019 round would have sent a North American fan to Australasia. Since the 2020 Worldcon will be in New Zealand, they have decided all the advantages are with skipping 2019 and selecting a 2020 DUFF delegate to attend the Worldcon in Wellington, and other fannish events and meetings as possible in the spirit and mission of the Down Under Fan Fund.