(1) STUMBLING OUT OF THE STARTING GATE. When the Montréal in 2027 Worldcon bid launched two days ago, one of its Presupport levels included an offer that sparked debate about whether it violated the WSFS Constitution’s site selection rules:
Today that language has been removed:
Mike Scott explained the problem on Facebook:
WSFS constitution 4.3. Non-natural persons can only cast site selection ballots for No Preference. Montreal in 2027 buying you a WSFS membership in Seattle is fine, and you can still vote in site selection yourself, because you’re a natural person. But if you delegate Montreal in 2027 to cast a ballot on your behalf, that ballot must be counted as No Preference, because Montreal in 2027 is not a natural person. The constitution doesn’t say that ballots must be cast on behalf of a natural person, it says they must be cast by a natural person.
Other people have always been allowed to deliver ballots properly executed by a voter. Here, the committee had said they would execute these ballots for others. In that case, the ballots would have to be counted as No Preference.
(2) TEL AVIV IN 2027 WEBSITE. The announcement of competition from Montréal has led to a wider awareness that the WorldCon 2027 in Tel aviv bidders launched a new website last October.
The TLV2027 bid committee boasts a team of highly experienced individuals. Guy Kovel, the Bid Chair, has a track record of convention operations. Gadi Evron, with a history of organizing events since 1996, handled logistics and events at prestigious conventions like Dublin 2019 and CoNZealand. Other members, including Einat Citron, Naama Friedman, Dror Raif Nesher, and Tal Goldman, bring expertise in programming, logistics, volunteer management, and event operations.
The front page also carries this statement about the situation in Israel:
We want to update you on the current situation with our bid committee. Firstly, we’re relieved to share that all the members of our committee are safe, even though some of us have been called to service during these challenging times.
We’re all deeply devastated by the recent attacks, but we remain steadfast in our belief that things will stabilize, and ultimately, peace will prevail. Our commitment to our shared goals remains unshaken, and we’ll continue to work diligently to bring our vision to life.
Thank you for your unwavering support, and together, we’ll navigate through these trying times and look forward to a brighter future.
(3) ROMANTASY ON THE RADIO. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] This week’s Open Book on BBC’s Radio 4 looked at the sub-genre of “Romantasy”. This is a hugely growing book genre in Britain the past couple of years that has had to overcome some snobbery with clear overlaps – depending on the book – with epic fantasy, military fantasy, etc…
‘Romantasy’ – combining fantasy and racy romance, it’s the hot new genre sought after by publishers and readers alike, and dominated by female authors and readers. To discuss it’s huge growth in popularity, Johny is joined by: Saara El-Arifi – bestselling author of Faebound, the first in a three part trilogy, which went straight to number one on release last month; Natasha Bardon – publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy for Harper Voyager, of romantasy-focussed imprint Magpie Books, and of the upcoming ‘spicy’ romantasy list, the Midnight Collection; and by Katie Fraser – journalist for The Bookseller who writes about SFF.
You can download it from here: “Open Book, Madeleine Grey”.
(4) TAKE THE TOUR. Congratulations to Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni on their store opening! And thanks for the Vortex Books & Comics Opening Day video tour. (I see Brian starts right off in the true outlaw spirit by ignoring the crossing signal!)
Authors Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni have opened a bookstore in Columbia, Pennsylvania — focusing on horror, science-fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and other speculative fiction genres, as well as comic books and magazines. Brian gives you a tour on opening day.
(5) MYRIAD MEN OF TIN. G. W. Thomas rounds up an enormous number of examples of robots in Seventies comics in “Bronze Age Robots! 1970s” at Dark Worlds Quarterly.
…The 1970s divides neatly in two with Star Wars at the center. The 1980s would see Science Fiction explode in all media as Star Wars proved that fans wanted space opera again, even if they hadn’t known it. For robot fans in America there was the coming of the Japanese style giant robots. And more toy-based products like ROM the Spaceknight.
(6) OMEGA AWARDS DEADLINE. February 13 is the last day to submit entries for The Tomorrow Prize and The Green Feather Award.
(7) THE NEW NUMBER TWO. This list is presented as an infographic: “The 15 BEST Science Fiction Books of ALL TIME” at Daily Infographic. Number 1 is Dune. But number 2 is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
(8) THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIEND. The New York Times tells how “Video Games Are Mourning the Old, Weird, Clunky Internet”.
Surfing the web in the 1990s and early 2000s was a slower endeavor, and fewer people had access to the technology. But it is still easy to reminisce about the days when it felt like a public marketplace, with a good chance that someone out there had made a blog or GeoCities site about the niche topic you found interesting.
Those robust online forums have since been flattened into algorithmic social media feeds or hidden on messaging apps, a shift mourned by several video games with a shared fondness for bygone internet eras.
Games like last year’s Videoverse, 2019’s Hypnospace Outlaw and the upcoming Darkweb Streamer use chat interfaces akin to AIM or MSN, as well as fake websites that greet people with MIDI songs and text written in bold fonts. Each experience has its own nostalgic lens but is a snapshot of lost expression, creativity and independence.
Chantal Ryan, an anthropologist and the lead developer of Darkweb Streamer, a horror simulation game that merges the perils of modern streaming with the ’90s internet, bemoaned how high-quality independent services were often cannibalized by corporate interests. She pointed to sites like Goodreads and AbeBooks, both bought by Amazon.
“It reminds me of forest clearing,” said Ryan, who studied at the University of Adelaide. “You have this habitat with sustainable ecosystems, and communities of beings living harmoniously. And then the bulldozer comes in and destroys literally everything in its path with no regard to who’s being affected.”…
(9) ELIZABETH (WARREN) ADAMS OBITUARY. Norwescon social media has announced that Elizabeth (Warren) Adams, affectionately known as The Dragon Lady, died on February 9. She was the chair of Norwescons 11, 12, and 14, and ran legendary hospitality rooms at the con. She also was a past editor of Westwind, the NWSFS clubzine, and was very active with PSST (Puget Sound Star Trekkers).
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.
[Written by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 12, 1950 — Michael Ironside, 73. The role I remember Michael Ironside most for was as Lieutenant Jean Rasczak in Starship Troopers. There wasn’t much great about that film but I thought that he made much of that character.
Do I need to say that I’m not covering everything he’s done of a genre nature? Well most of you get that. Really you do. So let’s see what I find interesting.
Scanners is one weird film. It really is. And he was in it as Darryl Revok, the Big Baddie, a role he perfectly played.
Next he got cast as the main antagonist in another of my favorite SF films, this time as Overdog McNab in Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. Who comes with these names?
Then there was Total Recall where he was Agent Richter, the ruthless enforcer of Cohaagen, the source of everything corrupt on Mars. Great role that fit his gruff voice and frankly even gruffer looks absolutely perfectly.
One of his major ongoing roles was in the V franchise, first as Ham Tyle, a recurring role in V: The Final Battle, and then playing the same character in all episodes of V: The Series.
Now we come to my favorite of his roles, in one one of my favorite series, seaQuest 2032, where he was Captain Oliver Hudson. Great series and an absolute fantastic performance by him! Pity it got cancelled after thirteen episodes.
Finally he has one voice acting role I loved. In the DC universe, he was Darkseid, the absolute rule of Apokolis. He voiced him primarily on Superman: The Animated Series, but also on the Justice League series as well, and to my surprise on the HBO Harley Quinn series as well.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- The Argyle Sweater mashes up a nursery rhyme and online shopping.
- Existential Comics stages a humorous confrontation between a student and teacher of the magical arts. Sort of Clarke’s Law in reverse.
(12) A LITTLE RAY OF SUNSHINE. Nic Farey, in This Here 72, thinks that the most noteworthy feature of the 2023 Hugo stats embarrassment (“Even a WorldThing avoider such as meself cannot have failed to clock the latest brouhaha (causing much haha round here, to be sure)”) is the opportunity it affords to declare his own report of the voting figures for this year’s FAAn awards will be immediately available — while predicting coverage of the FAAns he anticipates winning will be exploited to take attention away from the Hugos’ disgrace.
The fact that the probity of the FAAns (and my own alleged “fixing” of them, a libelous statement to be sure) has been questioned starts to be more of a “but look over there…” diversion, don’t it?…
Great suggestion, Nic, except (and I know you’ll be surprised to hear this) even your figleaf won’t be big enough to cover this cockup.
(13) THE QUIET BEFORE…THE QUIET. “’A Quiet Place: Day One’ first look at Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn” at Entertainment Weekly.
The ingenuity of the next A Quiet Place movie lies in the simplicity of its idea: Take the same core premise of the previous entries, but just change the setting. That tweak alone drastically affects the stakes.
John Krasinski’s 2018 horror-thriller introduced the Abbott family, who embraced a life of silence at their rural farmhouse in upstate New York in a terrifying reality overrun by sightless alien monsters that hunt through sound. The story continued in 2021’s A Quiet Place: Part II, but now A Quiet Place: Day One, a prequel film and the franchise’s first spinoff, will see how the citizens of New York City, one of the noisiest metropolitans on the globe, fared when these vicious creatures arrived on Earth….
(14) SFF MOVIE TRAILERS DROPPED DURING SUPER BOWL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Most (if not all) of the movie trailers debuted during the Super Bowl are for genre works. Comicbook.com did a roundup of all the YouTube videos. See them at the link: “2024 Super Bowl: Watch Every New Movie Trailer Released for the Big Game”.
The Super Bowl may technically be about the two best teams in the NFL facing off for football’s ultimate prize, but for many around the country, it represents one of the biggest movie events of the year. Several film studios use the Super Bowl as a platform to advertise some of their biggest movies in the coming year, leading to more than a few awesome trailers arriving online in the same weekend….
(15) BUGS, MISTER RICO! And some other commercials had a genre flavor, too, like this one: “Jeff Goldblum Returns as Brad Bellflower in Apartments.com’s Sci-Fi Super Bowl Ad” at LBBOnline.
Apartments.com returns to the Super Bowl as the universal leader in renting and debuted a never-before-seen 30-second spot, titled ‘Extraterrentials.’ In the new ad, which premiered during the first quarter of Super Bowl LVII, Jeff Goldblum continues his role as Brad Bellflower, visionary leader of Apartments.com, and defuses a tense standoff with some new arrivals on Earth. The campaign rollout spoofs an upcoming Jeff Goldblum sci-fi blockbuster, featuring a clever media strategy and unique creative from agency of record, RPA.
“Leading up to the Super Bowl, Apartments.com leveraged extraterrestrial buzz in culture to generate intrigue and awareness across media channels by leaning into the possibility of a new Goldblum sci-fi film,” said Fred Saint, president, marketplaces at CoStar Group….
(16) DOPPELGÄNGERS3: “Exploring New Futures in Space: A Revolutionary Integration of Neuroscience, Quantum Physics, and Space Exploration” at SETI.org.
The SETI Institute is proud to support a groundbreaking project from London-based filmmaker and SETI Institute Designer of Experiences Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian that combines insights from intergenerational trauma, neuroscience, quantum physics, and space exploration.
Premiering at SXSW 2024, Doppelgängers3 is a feature film and research project that challenges conventional narratives of space colonization by integrating diverse perspectives. Ben Hayoun-Stépanian will present this multidisciplinary endeavor at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2024, highlighting its unique blend of science, culture, and storytelling within the decolonial space and space culture sessions.
The project spotlights the importance of acknowledging collective trauma and its impacts — a burgeoning field in neuropsychology research. By weaving together the stories of three individuals across different geographies, Doppelgängers3imagines a utopian community on the moon that learns from the past and aspires to a future where diversity and plurality are celebrated….
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Dan Monroe at Media Master Design answers the question “What Happened to THE TIME MACHINE?”
[Thanks to Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Dann, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]