(1) PLAY ALONG AT HOME. [Item by Dann.] One of those question/surveys was running around on X the other day. This one seemed a bit more interesting to me. Filers might find this an interesting game to play as well.
Omitting collected works, who are the top 5 authors in your library by number of books on your shelves?
Stephen King ~15
E.E. Knight ~12
Christopher Nuttall 11
Dave Duncan 11
Miles Cameron 9
I included both physical and ebooks in my count. Most of my Stephen King and E.E. Knight books were physical, so I don’t have an accurate count close to hand.
After considering it a little longer, I would probably have to include Piers Anthony on the list. I owned a whole stack of his books before I figured out that some of his content was a little…erm…troubling. And I wouldn’t want to drop Miles Cameron off of the list in favor of Piers.
If shared universes with multiple authors are included, then Dragonlance would easily make it into the top five. Sorry, Miles. That one would bump you off.
What are your top 5 authors of books you own?
(2) EYEWITNESS TO THE ENDEAVOUR AWARD. Thanks to Ruth Sachter for sharing this photo of Sara A. Mueller accepting the Endeavour Award at OryCon on November 10.
(3) THE SHAPE OF WESTERCON TO COME. Kevin Standlee has written up two very different proposals for dealing with “The Future of Westercon” – one is a clean death, the other continues the con in a changed format.
As I hope most people following me know, Westercon has fallen on hard times. While Tonopah was successful and fun for most of the 158 people who attended, it was affected by COVID and by BayCon moving its dates onto the 4th of July Weekend, apparently just ignoring that Tonopah’s Westercon existing. The 2021 SeaTac and 2023 Anaheim Westercons dissolved, handing in their franchises to LASFS (which owns the Westercon service mark), and LASFS held both Westercons 73 and 75 in conjunction with Loscon. We once again this year have no bids filed to host the two-years-hence Westercon, although anyone could show up before the voting ends on the Friday evening of Loscon 49/Westercon 75. Assuming that doesn’t happen, the Westercon 75 Business Meeting at Loscon 49 will have to decide what to do about site selection. However, I tend to think that before that, the meeting needs to give some thought to the future of Westercon.
It appears to me that there are two scenarios: Retire Westercon or make some changes to given a chance to restart, perhaps in a different form. I therefore have prepared a Google doc with two scenarios. You should be able to read this document without needing a Google account.
Scenario 1 is to Retire Westercon, and is simply a motion to repeal the Westercon bylaws.
Scenario 2 makes five separate changes to the Westercon Bylaws to disconnect it from the US Independence Day Weekend (even loosely), removes the Westercon zone restrictions (but retains the 104°W longitude eastern boundary in North America), and changes all of the hard-coded dates to dates relative to the date of the administering Westercon. This would at least allow in theory Westercon to be awarded to various conventions in Western North America who wanted to host it, or also allow “independent” Westercons to be organized.
(4) ZOOMING INTO FANHISTORY. Fanac.org has announced four upcoming Fan History Zoom sessions coordinated by webmaster Edie Stern. The first session on the list is:
Fred Lerner, Christina Lake, Amy Thomson and Tom Whitmore
December 9, 2023 – 2PM EST, 11AM PST and 7PM London GMT
Since the first FAPA mailing in 1937, APAs have been a part of fannish life. There are topic specific apas, local apas, general interest apas, convention committee apas, letter substitutes and doubtless many more. Our panelists, all long time APA members, talk about their experiences with APA life: Why did you join the APA(s)? Did you APA live up to your expectations and why? Tell us about the APAs you’ve been part of, and tell us what makes them unique. (You can tell us about APAs you weren’t part of too!) Talk about the way the members of the APA related to each other, and the nature of that community. Compare the experience of an online community like LiveJournal or Facebook with your APA experience. The Cult was called the “13 Nastiest Bastards in Fandom”. Was it? What feels different about womens’ APAs? Are APAs now obsolete? Would you join a new APA today?
To attend, please send a note to [email protected]
The following three sessions will be:
- January 20, 2024 – 2PM EST, 11AM PST and 7PM London GMT – An Interview with Joe Green
- February 17, 2024 – 7PM EST, 11 AM Feb 18 Melbourne AEDT – Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track Part 2, with Leigh Edmonds and Perry Middlemiss
- March 16, 2024 – 3PM EDT, 2PM CDT, 7PM London (GMT) – The Women Fen Don’t See – Claire Brialey, Kate Heffner, and Leah Zeldes Smith
(5) WHEN SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN. Deadline has the quotes: “’Coyote vs Acme’ Composer Slams Warner Bros Over Pic’s Axing; Director ‘Devastated’”.
Price, who won an original score Oscar for Warner Bros. tentpole Gravity in 2014 took to X to say “Had a lot of fun scoring Coyote Vs Acme. As no-one will be able to hear it now, due to bizarre anti-art studio financial shenanigans I will never understand, here is a bit of behind the scenes footage of our “Meep Meep” Roadrunner choir, with apologies to Tchaikovsky…
(6) PICK SIX. Guardian critic Lisa Tuttle’s “The best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror – reviews roundup” is devoted to The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub; Mothtown by Caroline Hardaker; Saturnalia by Stephanie Feldman; Writing the Future, edited by Dan Coxon and Richard V Hirst; and She’s a Killer by Kirsten McDougall.
(7) GOLDSMITHS PRIZE. The winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize is Benjamin Myers’ Cuddy, a novel that incorporates poetry, prose, play, diary and real historical accounts, to retell the story of the hermit St. Cuthbert, the unofficial patron saint of the North of England. The Goldsmiths Prize “celebrates fiction at its most novel.”
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born November 12, 1917 — Dahlov Ipcar. Though primarily an artist and you really should go visit her website, she wrote three amazing young adult novels between 1969 and 1978 which are The Warlock of Night, The Queen of Spells and A Dark Horn Blowing. She lived but thirty miles north of here and I was privileged to meet her a few times. Lovely lady! (Died 2017.)
- Born November 12, 1929 — Michael Ende. German author best known for The Neverending Story which is far better than the film. Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves is a charming if strange novel worth your time. The rest of his children’s literature has been translated from German into English mostly by small specialist presses down the years. Unlike The Neverending Story and Momo, which I’ve encountered, I’ve not read any of these. (Died 1995.)
- Born November 12, 1943 — Wallace Shawn, 80. Probably best remembered as the ferengi Grand Nagus Zek on Deep Space Nine, a role he only played seven times. He was also Vizzini in the beloved Princess Bride, and he played Dr. Elliott Coleye in the My Favorite Martian film. He also was the voice of Rex in the Toy Story franchise. SFE notes that all of his plays were at least loosely genre and one of them, “The Fever”, was filmed. So yes, he’s a writer as well.
- Born November 12, 1945 — Michael Bishop, 78 . David Pringle included his Who Made Stevie Crye? novel in Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels, An English-Language Selection, 1946-1987, high praise indeed. Though slightly dated feeling now, I’m fond of his Urban Nucleus of Atlanta series. And Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas is simply amazing.
- Born November 12, 1964 — Eric Nylund, 59. His best work I think is Jack Potter/Signal sequence of Signal to Noise and A Signal Shattered, though the Gods Quintet in my humble opinion tries but fails to venture into Amber Chronicles greatness.
- Born November 12, 1976 — Richelle Mead, 47. Best known for her Georgina Kincaid series, the Vampire Academy franchise and its spin-off series Bloodlines, and the Dark Swan series. I’ve only read Succubus Blues by her but it’s a truly great read and I recommend it strongly. Spirit Bound won a Good Reads Award.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- PHD Comics is a Star Wars crossover.
(10) THERE WAS A PLAN, IT JUST DIDN’T WORK. Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro’s article “Box Office: The Marvels $47M Lowest for MCU – What Went Wrong” has a long list of things that broke down, and this is one item on it:
…No, The Marvels meltdown isn’t about superhero fatigue. It’s about Disney’s overexposure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brand on Disney+, and those moth holes are beginning to show: Keep what’s meant for the cinema in cinemas, and keep what’s meant for in-homes in the home. Meaning, this whole crossover streaming-into-film master plan isn’t working, nor is it really connected in a jaw-dropping way, and with Ms. Marvel not being one of the OTT services better series (ala WandaVision and Loki season one), there’s a whole quad of fans who either didn’t catch Ms Marvel, or who were too turned off by it that they sure as heck don’t want to see The Marvels.
But more to the point, Marvel Studios, The Marvels — with its crossover streaming series blah-blah — looks like it was built to be seen in homes, not to get audiences off the couch….
(11) AND YET… No matter what happened to the latest movie, Gizmodo remembers “How Carol Danvers Became Marvel Comics’ Flagship Hero”.
Captain Marvel was dead, to begin with. More than one Captain Marvel, if we want to be perfectly accurate about it. By 2012, the Marvel Comics hero that bore the company name had been relaunched in no fewer than six different series, and seen a total of three separate characters take on the name. More than three decades in, it seemed increasingly that Captain Marvel was the flagship character who just couldn’t manage to hoist a flag—and the Marvel powers that be were determined to change things once and for all.
What followed was a strange saga of missteps, false starts, and roads not taken, that finally landed on one of the most unexpected heroes of all: a neglected, half-appreciated, and similarly unsuccessful character called Carol Danvers. This is the inside story of how an ambitious first-time writer, a bullheaded editor, and a stylish designer created the most unexpected Marvel success of their era.
To understand why Captain Marvel was in need of saving, we need to understand something about why the character existed in the first place. Put indelicately, Captain Marvel was born as a trademark in need of a character. In 1967, Marvel Comics and its owner, a company called Magazine Management, realized that the name Captain Marvel—once held by the venerable Fawcett Comics character now known as Shazam!—had lapsed into disuse over the course of the decade. Fearing that another enterprising publisher would scoop up a name that should, by all rights, be identified with Marvel, a character was hastily rushed out by management fiat. Cobbled together by Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan (the latter of whom hated the character, and claimed no involvement in his conception), the good Captain was an alien spy of the Kree race, creatively named Mar-Vell, who turned traitor to his people to fight as a costumed defender of Earth. In such ways are great ideas born….
(12) BRONTË BIRTHPLACE CROWDFUNDING SUCCESS. “Campaigners save Bradford birthplace of Brontë sisters” reports the Guardian.
Campaigners have saved the birthplace of the Brontë sisters and are now fundraising to turn the building into a cultural and education centre – helped by a man with a link to the literary family.
Nigel West, who traces a family connection to Charlotte Brontë’s husband, made a “significant donation” to the crowdfunding appeal, which aims to transform 72-74 Market Street in Thornton, Bradford, into a tourist destination.
Around a million visitors a year travel to Haworth, to visit the house that writers Charlotte, Anne and Emily shared with their father, church minister Patrick, and their wayward brother, Branwell, and campaigners hope to transform the Thornton house, which went on sale this year, into a similar attraction….
(13) FROM BARBIE TO ASLAN? The Guardian’s Ben Childs wonders “Can Greta Gerwig bring a new kind of magic to Netflix’s Narnia Chronicles?”
You might think Greta Gerwig an unusual choice to take on CS Lewis’s Narnia stories for Netflix. And at first glance, few would argue with you. Beginning her career as an actor in mumblecore movies such as Baghead, Hannah Takes the Stairs and Greenberg before transitioning into indie cinema as a film-maker with Lady Bird, Gerwig became a household name with this year’s $1.4bn-grossing, conservative-baiting, slyly subversive comedy fantasy Barbie, a movie that will be remembered as the most topically adroit cinematic event of 2023, despite ostensibly being about a child’s plastic toy.
So what on earth might Gerwig do with Aslan, Eustace Grubb and Mr Tumnus the faun? Gerwig is down to make at least two from Lewis’s seven-book series for Netflix, and the streamer’s chairman Scott Stuber hinted to Variety this week that the films might be more traditional than we might think. “She grew up in a Christian background,” Stuber said. “The CS Lewis books are very much based in Christianity. And so we just started talking about it. We don’t have IP, so when we had the opportunity [to license] those books or the [Roald Dahl stories] we’ve jumped at it, to have stories that people recognise and the ability to tell those stories.” Stuber said Gerwig was currently working out the “narrative arc” of the films, but implied heavily that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would be a central focus.
This is pretty much expected, but the idea that Gerwig might zero in on the traditional religious imagery, when she’s known for a movie that went against the grain with such impish if warm-hearted attitude, is less predictable….
(14) FAN CONCEPT TRAILER. From Darth Trailer, Andor Season 2.
[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Ruth Sachter, Lise Andreasen, Dann, Steven French, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]