By Cath Jackel: Three stalwart filers met this morning!
Left to right: Cath Jackel, Danny Sichel, Heather Rose Jones
[Photo credit: Marlys Schneider]
By Cath Jackel: Three stalwart filers met this morning!
Left to right: Cath Jackel, Danny Sichel, Heather Rose Jones
[Photo credit: Marlys Schneider]
By Cath Jackel: Filers from Saskatoon, Chicago, Florida, and more met for coffee this morning.
Left to right in the back: Danny Sichel, Larry R, Cath Jackel, Tommy Kucera, Chris Gerrib
Front: Juan Sanmiguel, Heather Rose Jones, Kathryn Sullivan
(Everyone in the group gave permission to share this photo.)
There will be another Meetup on Sunday.
[Photo by Pat Russell.]
By Cath Jackel: I’m at the con and have had a chance to look around. Programming starts at 10 am. There will be Filer meetups on Saturday and Sunday morning at NINE a.m. Location will be the Japanese garden/plaza south of the Delta hotel. Go out the front door of the hotel, turn left, and walk half a block. There isn’t seating, but the Carlton Street side has raised concrete planters we can perch on.
BYO drinks and snacks. The Delta has a main floor coffee shop that opens at 7 a.m. both mornings. On Saturday, the Bagelsmith, on 185 Carlton on the way to the plaza, opens at 9 a.m. Their breakfast sandwich is pretty good.
I have red hair and will be wearing a bright blue batik shirt. Looking forward to meeting you!
(1) BOTS LOVE FILE 770. The Washington Post invited readers to “See the websites that make AI bots like ChatGPT sound so smart”. They analyzed one of the large data sets that may be used in training AI, and also have made it publicly searchable. Their stats show File 770 is a leading contributor to the cause of educating AI, ranked 3,445th. Uh, yay?
…Tech companies have grown secretive about what they feed the AI. So The Washington Post set out to analyze one of these data sets to fully reveal the types of proprietary, personal, and often offensive websites that go into an AI’s training data.
To look inside this black box, we analyzed Google’s C4 data set, a massive snapshot of the contents of 15 million websites that have been used to instruct some high-profile English-language AIs, called large language models, including Google’s T5 and Facebook’s LLaMA. (OpenAI does not disclose what datasets it uses to train the models backing its popular chatbot, ChatGPT)…
Is your website training AI?
A web crawl may sound like a copy of the entire internet, but it’s just a snapshot, capturing content from a sampling of webpages at a particular moment in time. C4 began as a scrape performed in April 2019by the nonprofit CommonCrawl, a popular resource for AI models. CommonCrawl told The Post that it tries to prioritize the most important and reputable sites, but does not try to avoid licensed or copyrighted content….
We then ranked the remaining 10 million websites based on how many “tokens” appeared from each in the data set. Tokens are small bits of text used to process disorganized information — typically a word or phrase.
As shown in the rather scrofulous screencap below, file770.com is ranked 3,445th with 2.5 million tokens, which is 0.002% of the tokens in the set examined by the Washington Post.
(2) HUGO VOTING DEADLINE APPROACHES. 2023 Hugo nominations are closing on April 30, at 23:59 Hawaiian Time. Eligible voters can access the ballot here.
(3) AUTHOR ASKS SCHOLASTIC TO “BE BRAVER”. “Kelly Yang Speaks Up Against Scholastic Censorship” at The Mary Sue.
… One of the 663 authors and counting who signed an open letter to Scholastic’s Education Solutions Division is author Kelly Yang. She is one of many best-selling Scholastic authors horrified by this response to accelerating fascism. In a vulnerable video, Yang shared her thoughts about these actions. She also broke down what it feels like to be targeted by this censorship and bigotry. Sometimes, in person….
However, Yang correctly insists that they have to push past this. She says in the video:
“As one of your top authors, I’m asking you to have more courage. You cannot be quietly self-censoring. Whatever pressure you may be facing, know that your authors are facing even more pressure. And we’re still out here writing these books. Risking our lives. Bleeding to make you millions. Trying to write the books for the next generation that will hopefully improve the world.”
She continued discussing the importance of representation and capturing the moment children live in.
“Let me tell you, it’s not easy. I am not a giant corporation. I am an individual. Every day people attack me personally. They write me emails, they come into my comments and my DMs. I had a guy show up at an event and whisper in my ear how much he loves seeing my books get banned. And yet, everyday I keep going. You know why? Because I am brave.
“Despite getting paid pennies on the dollar, we authors are brave. The librarians—they are brave. The educators—they are brave. I need you to be braver.
“You cannot choose which books to include in your Fairs and Clubs for kids nationwide and edit lines out because you’re scared of DeSantis. If you want to carry Maggie’s book, you gotta carry all of her book. If you want to carry Kelly Yang, you’ve gotta carry all of Kelly Yang—not some stripped-down version.
“I need you to not cave to political pressure and be on the right side of history. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because you can afford it with your 90% market share of the school distribution channel. If you’re going to be deciding children’s book for the entire nation, your taste have to reflect the entire nation. And because I know it’s what Dick Robinson would have wanted.
“I love you Scholastic. You’ve done a lot of good for a lot of kids, but how you play you next move will determine how you’re remembered. The world is watching. I am watching. I hope you do the right thing.”
(4) NOT JUST ANY USED BOOKS. Plenty of sff among AbeBooks “Most expensive sales from January to March 2023”. Two Harry Potter books lead the list, with the biggest sale being a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for $85,620. Further down is a PKD first edition.
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick – $17,195
A true first edition with an unrestored original dust jacket
One of the most famous novels by Philip K. Dick, this book was the basis for the movie Blade Runner. This copy of a true first edition is special because of the condition of the book and the dust jacket and its vibrant, unfaded colors.
The novel is about a bounty hunter who tracks tracks down escaped androids in a post-apocalyptic future. This book belongs to our list of 50 must-read science fiction books.
Recently, another copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was sold. That book came with an original letter, typed and signed by the author, along with a humorous self-review of another of his own novels, The Divine Invasion.
(5) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to share crispy spinach with Sheree Renée Thomas in Episode 196 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.
Over on Facebook, someone in the group devoted to Capclave — a con where I’ve harvested many conversations for you — mentioned Thomas was scheduled to speak at Maryland’s Rockville Memorial Library. When I checked the details and saw the venue was only a 90-minute drive away, I reached out to see whether she’d have time in her schedule to grab lunch — and luckily she did. So early the same day as her presentation titled “Afrofuturism & Diversity in Sci-Fi,” I scooped her up from her hotel and took her over to Commonwealth Indian Restaurant, where I’ve had many wonderful meals. Here’s how the event organizers described Thomas and her career —
New York Times bestselling, two-time World Fantasy Award-winning author and editor Sheree Renée Thomas has been a 2022 Hugo Award Finalist, and her collection, Nine Bar Blues, is a Locus, Igynte, and World Fantasy Finalist. She edited the groundbreaking Dark Matter anthologies that introduced a century of Black speculative fiction, including W.E.B. Du Bois’s science fiction stories. Thomas wrote Marvel’s Black Panther: Panther’s Rage novel (October 2022), adapted from the legendary comics, collaborated with Janelle Monáe on The Memory Librarian, and is the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, founded in 1949 and Obsidian, founded in 1975. In 2022 she co-curated Carnegie Hall’s historic, citywide Afrofuturism Festival.
We discussed how to prevent being an editor interfere with being a writer (and vice versa), the way a serendipitous encounter with Octavia Butler’s Kindred caused her to take her own writing more seriously and a copy of Black Enterprise magazine spurred her to move to New York, how her family’s relationship with Isaac Hayes nourished her creative dreams, the advice she gives young writers about the difference between the fantasy and reality of a writer’s life, how realizing the books she thought were out there weren’t launched her editing career, the rewards and challenges of taking over as editor for a 75-year old magazine, why she reads cover letters last, and much more.
(6) FANFIC AUTHOR SUES TOLKIEN AND AMAZON. Is he delusional or does he have a case? “Lord of the Rings Fanfic Writer Sues Amazon, Tolkien Estate For $250M” – Kotaku has the story.
Some guy is currently suing Tolkien and Amazon to the tune of $250 million. That alone takes serious bravery. But what’s notable about this lawsuit is the reason he’s suing: Copyright infringement over his Lord of the Rings fanfic. Specifically, he’s arguing that Amazon lifted elements of his fan-fiction for its own Tolkien adaptation TV series, The Rings of Power.
Demetrious Polychron wrote a book, a work of fan-fiction set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, called The Fellowship of the King, which he copyrighted in 2017 and which later were published and made available for sale, including on Amazon. According to PC Gamer, Polychron sent a letter to the Tolkien Estate asking for a manuscript review. That’s right: This man asked J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson Simon to sign off on his fanfic. Unsurprisingly, he did not get a response.
In September of 2022, the month that Polychron published The Fellowship of the King, Amazon also began airing its extremely expensive Lord of the Rings spin-off series, The Rings of Power. …Now, Polychron is arguing that the Amazon TV show lifts elements from his novel.
According to RadarOnline, which has seen documents pertaining to the suit, Polychron alleges that characters and storylines he created for his book “compose as much as one-half of the 8-episode series,” and that in some cases the show “copied exact language” from his book. [Also, “In other instances, Defendants copied images that match the book cover and descriptions as created in the book as authored by Polychron,” the suit read.]
However, the claims seem spurious. For instance, the lawsuit purportedly points to the fact that both his book and the show feature a hobbit named Elanor, with the Elanor in his book being the daughter of Samwise Gamgee, while the Elanor featured in The Rings of Power is a Harfoot. Images purporting to be the lawsuit circulating online include a host of other circumstantial connections or similarities to back up Polychron’s argument that the writers of Rings of Power lifted ideas from his fanfic for their own story.
… While no one believes that Polychron will win against the Tolkien Estate, there are concerns that the lawsuit might negatively impact the legality of fanworks in general. Hopefully, fanfic writers will be fine as long as they’re not trying to extort Tolkien’s grandson.
(6) MEMORY LANE.
2015 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
So let’s have a conversation about Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall which was published by PS Publishing eight years ago.
There’s some spoilers here so skip to the Beginning if you’d rather not hear them.
A British folk band are told by their manager to record their new album, so they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with let us say an interesting past. There they hope to create the album that will make their reputation.
The novel, a short one at that, is told entirely in a series of interviews decades later by the surviving musicians, along with their friends, lovers and the band’s manager by a documentary filmmaker who gets them to talk about something that happened when they were there. (No, I’m not going to say what happened.) Should they be believed? Maybe, maybe not. What is the truth after all those years have passed anyways?
I think it’s a brilliant way to approach this story.
I’ll say no more and direct you now to the Beginning…
“I was the one who found the house. A friend of my sister-in-law knew the owners; they were living in Barcelona that summer and the place was to let. Not cheaply, either. But I knew how badly everyone needed to get away after the whole horrible situation with Arianna, and this seemed as good a bolt-hole as any. These days the new owners have had to put up a fence to keep away the curious. Everyone knows what the place looks like because of the album cover, and now you can just Google the name and get directions down to the last millimeter.
But back then, Wylding Hall was a mere dot on the ordnance survey map. You couldn’t have found it with a compass. Most people go there now because of what happened while the band was living there and recording that first album. We have some ideas about what actually went on, of course, but the fans, they can only speculate. Which is always good for business.
Mostly, it’s the music, of course. Twenty years ago, there was that millennium survey where Wylding Hall topped out at Number Seven, ahead of Definitely Maybe, which shocked everybody except for me. Then “Oaken Ashes” got used in that advert for, what was it? Some mobile company. So now there’s the great Windhollow Faire backlash.
And inexplicable—even better, inexplicable and terrible—things are always good for the music business, right? Cynical but true.
“Apart from when I drove out in the mobile unit and we laid down those rough tracks, I was only there a few times. You know, check in and see how the rehearsal process was going, make sure everyone’s instruments were in one piece, and they were getting their vitamins. And there’s no point now in keeping anything off the record, right? We all knew what was going on down there, which in those days was mostly hash and acid.
And of course, everyone was so young. Julian was eighteen. So was Will. Ashton and Jon were, what? Nineteen, maybe twenty. Lesley had just turned seventeen. I was the elder statesman at all of twenty-three.
“Ah, those were golden days. You’re going to say I’m tearing up here in front of the camera, aren’t you? I don’t give a fuck. They were golden boys and girls, that was a golden summer, and we had the Summer King.
And we all know what happens to the Summer King. That girl from the album cover, she’d be the only one knows what really went on. But we can’t ask her, can we?
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
(8) COMICS SECTION.
(9) MISSY RETURNS IN TITAN COMICS’ DOCTOR WHO: DOOM’S DAY. Titan comics will launch a two-issue Doctor Who comic series on July 5 as part of the multi-platform story Doom’s Day. The comic will feature fan-favorite character Missy on the trail of new character Doom, who makes her comic book debut.
Doom’s Day is a standalone transmedia series across multiple platforms and will allow Doctor Who fans to follow Doom, the Universe’s greatest assassin, as she travels through all of time and space in pursuit of the Doctor to save her from her ever-approaching Death. She only has 24 hours and a vortex manipulator to save herself before her fate is sealed forever.
Available in comic stores and on digital devices at release, Titan’s Doctor Who: Doom’s Day #1 comic is an adventure starring Doom in her comic book debut – using her vortex manipulator, she’ll do anything to find the tempestuous time traveller, the Doctor, including cavorting with the maleficent MISSY. Every hour a new adventure, every hour closer to death…
Doctor Who: Doom’s Day #1 is written by Eisner-nominated Jody Houser (Stranger Things, Star Wars, Spider-Man) with art by Roberta Ingranata (Witchblade). The comic debuts with two covers for fans to collect: from celebrated artist Pasquale Qualano, and a photo cover variant.
(10) FIRST LEAF ON THE TREE. Heritage Auctions has an extensive “Star Trek Trading Card Collector’s Guide” which begins by discussing the 1967 Leaf Card set.
…. The first Star Trek trading cards were produced 1967, released one year after the series debuted. These were manufactured and distributed by Leaf Brands Division, WR Grace & Co of Chicago. This was a limited-scale run with sources saying it had a small geographical distribution within the Ohio and Illinois areas. The trading cards didn’t get too far before there were controversies on whether Leaf had licenses to distribute Star Trek cards in the first place. As soon as the licensing problems came to light, all cards that hadn’t been distributed were destroyed and all others were recalled if they had not been sold yet. In the set, there were 72 base cards. They had black and white pictures on the front. The pictures were randomly chosen from episodes and, in some cases, taken from behind the scenes or from publicity shots. The text on the back typically didn’t match up to the picture on the front and were written haphazardly. These cards were printed on layered card stock and measured at 2 ?” x 3 7/16”. The popularity grew, and with this new craze came many unauthorized reprints.
Dan Kremer Imports in Europe reprinted the 1967 Leaf cards without any rights to do so. They were considered counterfeit and were of terrible quality. Most of these are easily recognizable due to the blurry picture quality, and the pictures were cropped from the original, so the outer edges of the images are missing. Also, the cut on the card was not precise and was slightly smaller than the original. The cards were printed on non-gloss-coated single-layer card stock.
1981 Reprint is easily recognized by the mark on the back stating “1981 Reprint” where the “Leaf Brands” was originally. These were also printed on a very bright white stock of paper. The images are very crisp, and the cut is precise, with the cards being the exact size of the originals. There are 2 versions of these reprints. One of the versions has a red toned print of Kirk & Spock on the backs, while the other version has a black and white print of Kirk & Spock on the backs.
Though they were unauthorized reprints, these cards are still sought after by some as being part of history….
(11) JEOPARDY! David Goldfarb has the play-by-play from the Neal Stephenson item on Jeopardy!
Category: Modern Words
Neal Stephenson coined this word in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash”; it was later shortened by a company to become its new name
Returning champion Devin Loman: “What is powder?”
Emma Hill Kepron tried: “What is uber?”
Sam Claussen’s response: “What is avalanche?”
(12) SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES. “SpaceX’s Starship Kicked Up a Dust Cloud, Leaving Texans With a Mess” according to the New York Times.
As the most powerful rocket ever built blasted from its launchpad in Boca Chica, Texas, on Thursday, the liftoff rocked the earth and kicked up a billowing cloud of dust and debris, shaking homes and raining down brown grime for miles.
In Port Isabel, a city about six miles northwest where at least one window shattered, residents were alarmed.
“It was truly terrifying,” said Sharon Almaguer, who, at the time of the launch, was at home with her 80-year-old mother. During previous launches, Ms. Almaguer said she had experienced some shaking inside the brick house, but “this was on a completely different level.”
Meanwhile, SpaceX’s Starship exploded minutes after liftoff and before reaching orbit. Near the launch site, the residents of Port Isabel, known for its towering lighthouse and less than 10 miles from the border with Mexico, were left to deal with the mess.
Virtually everywhere in the city “ended up with a covering of a rather thick, granular, sand grain that just landed on everything,” Valerie Bates, a Port Isabel spokeswoman, said in an interview. Images posted to social media showed residents’ cars covered in brown debris.
A window shattered at a fitness gym, its owner, Luis Alanis, said. Mr. Alanis, who was at home at the time of the launch, said he felt “rumbling, kind of like a mini earthquake.” He estimated that the window would cost about $300 to fix.
Closer to the launch site, large pieces of debris were recorded flying through the air and smashing into an unoccupied car. Louis Balderas, the founder of LabPadre, which films SpaceX’s launches, said that while it was common to see some debris, smoke and dust, the impact of Thursday’s liftoff was unlike anything he had ever seen….
(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Isaac Arthur analyzes the possibility of “Life on Giant Moons”.
We often contemplate life on alien planets, but might giant moons orbiting distant immense worlds be a better candidate for where extraterrestrial life might be found?
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Kathy Sullivan, David Goldfarb, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lou.]
File 770 usually has a tiny uptick of Twitter followers every month, and I happened to notice that what was tracking +19 a few days ago is now +6. Since I don’t think I did anything new to make people irate during the week I am going to guess it’s not about me and instead reflects the followers who have terminated their Twitter accounts because Elon Musk took over the service.
I’ve seen many Twitter users in the sff community discuss what course they should take once Musk assumed control because at times he has signaled there will be a radical change (for the worse) in content moderation and a weakening of rules enforcement. Some wrote they were thinking about leaving. I read a few announcements by others just before they did terminate their accounts. Their decisions are to some degree a protest, and an obviously more quantifiable one than the subtle changes that will be registered in other users who, although unhappy with developments, keep their accounts but filter more severely what they post, or simply post less.
I wondered if there was data that could be used to infer how many people have taken the step of actually quitting the service.
I laid the subject before John Scalzi and asked if he’d experienced a fluctuation in his large Twitter following this week. He had:
I was at 204.2K this time last week; I’m down to 202k today, so I’ve seen a drop of about 1%. When I noted that, other people also anecdotally noted similar percentage drops. My expectation is that the drops may be skewed by general political affiliation and/or antipathy to Musk, either as a person or with regard to his stated aims for the service. 1% is not a large number overall — I’ve had larger drops before when Twitter cleared out some bot accounts — but the question is whether these drops will stabilize, as they’ve done in the past, or continue as Musk continues to bumble along. If I drop below 200k, and especially if that happens by the end of this month, I will consider that not great news for Twitter’s general direction.
(Thanks to John for permission to quote his reply.)
That people are actually terminating their accounts speaks to their determination to separate themselves from the future of Twitter. Because there are easier alternatives, like just abandoning the account. Think how common that phenomenon is anywhere in social media where accounts are free. Therefore, the wave of departures from Twitter this week indicates an intentional message, and we will watch to see whether it is the start of a trend.
By Hampus Eckerman: There is a Jazz Festival running in the Millennium Park which makes it an impractical place to have a meetup. There are fences and cops everywhere.
Instead, we will move the meetup closer. We meet at Friday, 13:00 just outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, by the statue of a horse.
I will bring hot water in thermoses and also instant coffee, tea, cups and some cookies and Swedish candy.
You are all welcome!
The editors of this year’s Best Fanzine Hugo winner Nerds of a Feather have opted to remove themselves from contention for the 2022 Hugos. But they will compete again in 2023.
They explained the decision in a post:
In 2021, Nerds of a Feather. Flock Together won the Hugo Award for Best Fanzine. It was our fifth nomination and first win in the category. However, we will not win our second this year – continuing an emergent tradition in this category started by our friends at Lady Business (and continued by 2020 winners The Book Smugglers), we are recusing ourselves from consideration for this year’s award.
Why, you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple: Fanzine is more than just an award category – it’s a community. Over the years we’ve gotten to know our competitors for the award as peers, colleagues and friends. Really, “competitor” is a wrong term, because we aren’t fighting over readers; rather, we all benefit from the community’s growth and the conversations that emerge from that growth. We hope that other fanzines will benefit from the publicity and excitement that comes with being on the ballot, and have their own shot at taking home the big rocket. And while there’s no guarantee we would win in 2022, we really just want to stand and cheer for our friends this year.
(We’ll compete again in 2023.)
Although several Hugo categories have perennial nominees, the Best Fanzine category is unusual for the number of times winning editors have taken themselves out of contention for the following year.
Charlie Brown withdrew Locus for 1979 while making his speech accepting the 1978 Hugo. At that time fanzines from which the editors earned their living were still eligible in the category and when another such fanzine, Science Fiction Review, won in 1979 Charlie was left to wonder what had been the point. Locus went on to win the Fanzine Hugo for the next four years, and beginning in 1984 when the Semiprozine category was created, win that Hugo for another nine straight years.
Dividing the category in 1984 opened the way for File 770 to win twice, then I withdrew for 1986. And later I recused twice more, in 1996 and 2017.
Lady Business won the 2017 Best Fanzine Hugo, then they withdrew for 2018. After winning in 2018, File 770 permanently withdrew from eligibility. Lady Business returned to win the Hugo in 2019.
There have been similar examples in other fan Hugo categories. In the Best Fan Artists category, Frank Wu, after winning three out of the four previous Hugos, took himself out of contention for 2008. And although John Scalzi was not nominated in 2009 after winning in 2008, he had been prepared to decline if he made the ballot and has since encouraged voters to “pass up the chance” to nominate him. But the Best Fanzine category, where it has now happened at least seven times, supplies by far the most examples. (And who’s to say I’ve remembered all of them?)
(1) PLEASE STAND BY. File 770 was repeatedly offline for hours today. According to my ISP’s customer support, their outage report said “that the host machine the VPS is on became unresponsive and needed to be restarted.” That fix took effect about midday locally.
However, my home internet service always craps out several times a day, so it’s been a challenge to have access to download material for the Scroll when I could also edit things on the blog. Today’s Scroll, therefore, is a bit shorter than it would be if that time could have been used productively.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled pixels.
(2) THE DAYS DWINDLE DOWN TO A PRECIOUS FEW. DisCon III asks: Have you made your choices for the 2021 Hugo Awards? There’s still time!
The deadline for voting for the Hugo Awards is November 19, 2021, 23:59 Pacific Standard Time (November 20th at 02:59 Eastern Standard Time, 07:59 Greenwich Mean Time, and 20:59 New Zealand Daylight Time).
(3) A TRANS-ATLANTIC PHONE CALL, HURRAH! Bill Burns anticipates he’ll be an on-air expert commentator in the “Cable Across the Sea” episode of the new (USA) History Channel series “The Engineering That Built the World”. He says, “I did a three-hour video studio interview with the production team a couple of months ago.”
The episode is on Cyrus Field and the first Atlantic cables, and the producers also used material from Bill’s website History of the Atlantic Cable & Submarine Telegraphy.
(4) STAND BY TO LAUNCH. Cat Rambo’s book You Sexy Thing comes out from Tor Macmillan on November 16. The elevator pitch is “Farscape meets the Great British Bake-off.”
It’s the story of a band of former mercenaries who’ve opened a restaurant on a space station and are doing well, so well that a critic may be about to bestow a coveted Nikkelin Orb on the restaurant.Then a mysterious package arrives, things start exploding, and they have to steal a ship to escape. But that ship’s intelligent, and it’s not so sure it wants to be stolen.
There’s plenty of places to leave reviews, and if you do it on GoodReads, you can enter the giveaway for a special copy with an enamel pin here.
There are a lot of online events where you can catch up with Cat Rambo this week:
Cat will also be appearing live at Emerald City ComicCon in Seattle and Writers with Drinks in San Francisco in December.
(5) UNIONIZING AMONG BOOKSTORE EMPLOYEES. “Pandemic sparks union activity where it was rare: Bookstores” – the Brooklyn Eagle has the story.
Britta Larson, a shift leader at Half Price Books in Roseville, Minnesota, has been with the store for nearly 12 years but only recently thought about whether she wanted to join a union.
“With the pandemic going on, we all were just weary of the constant dismissals we got when we raised concerns about staffing and workload to upper management,” said Larson, noting that the staff had been reduced when the store shut down for a time and was “stretched extremely thin” once it opened again.
“Before the pandemic, I’d say we would have kind of just thought ‘Things aren’t great’ because it was all we had ever known. The pandemic forced us to do some things differently and we learned from that.”
…“I think COVID-19 was a rude awakening for bookstore workers, and really anyone who works with the public,” says Owen Hill, a buyer at Moe’s Books in Berkeley, California, which unionized earlier this year. “We were given no say regarding safe working conditions, even though we were risking our health by showing up for work. We had to organize in order to be a part of the conversation around worker safety.”…
(6) MAYER OBIT. Petra Mayer, a books editor on NPR’s Culture desk, died unexpectedly November 13 in a Maryland hospital. She was a fan of sf and comics, and not shy about letting her love of the genres into her work. NPR’s obituary makes that clear – here are a few quotes.
…Mayer was a proud nerd with a penchant for science fiction, comics and cats, said fellow books editor Meghan Sullivan.
She shared those passions with readers and listeners through her reviews of sci-fi, fantasy, romance, thrillers and comics, her trusty on-the-scene reporting at Comic-Con, and her contributions to the Book Concierge, NPR’s annual literary-recommendation tool. She brought her zeal to the guest chair on occasional Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast episodes.
Prior to joining the NPR Books team in 2012, she was an associate producer and director for All Things Considered on weekends, and also spent time as a production assistant for Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday.
…”She was the best and rarest species of nerd, whose enthusiasm was eager and sincere and open and inviting,” tweeted Glen Weldon, an NPR culture critic and a host of the network’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. “She wanted you to love the stuff she loved, and supplied you hard incontrovertible evidence to support her thesis.”Mayer traced her nerd-dom back to George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, which she happened to read in 1984 when she was 9 years old.
“My dad handed me his old college copy of the book and said, ‘Here, I think you’re ready to read this,’ ” she said in a 2018 “Faces of NPR” interview. “I was hooked, and started reading all the dystopia I could get my hands on, and the rest is history.”…
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1966 — Fifty-five years ago, the Fahrenheit 451 film premiered. Based on Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 novel that has since picked a Retro Hugo at Noreascon 4, it was directed by directed by François Truffaut. The screenplay by Jean-Louis Richard off a story that he wrote with the director. It starred Julie Christie, Anton Diffring, Oskar Werner, and Cyril Cusack. It was produced by Lewis M. Allen who was has previously done The Lord of The Flies. Though critics at the time really, really didn’t like with some claiming that Julie Christie couldn’t act and Truffaut couldn’t direct, Bradbury liked the film mostly and time has shown that both later critics and audiences like it. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a rather good seventy-two percent rating. It wasn’t a box office success making only a million dollars combined in the United States and France against its very small one point five million budget. A reboot was made three years ago, which gets a twenty-three percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
(9) TEA & TENTACLES. In Sunset Distortion: The Pyramid At The End Of The World by Paul Bahou uses his rock band experience to craft an intergalactic adventure.
Lazer is an almost made it, middle-aged guitarist who plays in an 80’s hard rock cover band at a Sunset Strip dive bar. While not quite a rock star, he plays to a packed house nightly. His blissful inertia is disrupted one night however when he is abducted by aliens and given a strange imprint on his hand: A key which will send him on an intergalactic journey in search of an artifact that gives its possessor “infinite life.” With the help of his new friend Streek, a timid floating octopus-creature with an English accent, Lazer will have to survive encounters with monsters, robots, alien pirates, inter-dimensional brain leeches and much more. Will Lazer get back home? What does ‘infinite life’ actually mean? And why does everybody in space speak English? All answers await at the pyramid at the end of the world.
(10) YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE. Here’s an excerpt from Frequently Asked Questions about the Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson discussing “Why we can’t ‘beam ourselves up’ Star Trek-style” from Yahoo!
…Information has to travel through space just like everything else, and the fastest anything can travel in this universe is the speed of light. Really, the speed of light should have been called the “speed of information” or “the universe’s speed limit.” It’s baked into relativity and the very idea of cause and effect, which are at the heart of physics.
Even gravity can’t move faster than light. The Earth doesn’t feel gravity from where the Sun is right now; it feels gravity from where the Sun was eight minutes ago. That’s how long it takes information to travel the ninety-three million miles between here and there. If the Sun disappeared (teleporting off for its own vacation), the Earth would continue in its normal orbit for eight minutes before realizing that the Sun was gone.
So the idea that you can disappear in one place and reappear in another place instantly is pretty much out of the question. Something has to happen in between, and that something can’t move faster than light.
Fortunately, most of us aren’t such sticklers when it comes to the definition of “teleportation.” Most of us will take “almost instantly” or “in the blink of an eye” or even “as fast as the laws of physics will allow” for our teleportation needs. If that’s the case, then there are two options for making a teleportation machine work…
(11) TWO SINGLES, ONE HOMER. That’s how John A Arkansawyer scored this week’s Saturday Night Live. Click through to see History Channel parody “March of the Suitors” or faux Syfy show “Strange Kid Tales” (I kind of like that one). Or watch John’s fave here —
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, John A Arkansawyer, Jim Meadows III, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]
By JJ: Today it’s a Do-It-Yourself Scroll. Please post in comments links to items which you feel would be of interest to Filers.