(1) VOTING OPENS IN SFWA ELECTION AND REFERENDUMS. Full SFWA members have until April 11 to vote in this year’s SFWA Board of Directors election and respond to two referendums on whether English-language translations and speculative poetry should be allowed to count toward SFWA membership eligibility.
Candidates for President: Jeffe Kennedy*
Candidates for Secretary: Jasmine Gower*
Candidates for Director-At-Large (three  positions open): Phoebe Barton, Chelsea Mueller, Anthony Eichenlaub, Christine Taylor-Butler*
Oghenechovwe Ekpeki is also running for SFWA Director-at-Large, as a write-in.
* = currently serving on the Board
REFERENDUMS. Genre writers of poetry and translators of fiction cannot currently use those portions of their paid work as part of their catalog when applying to join SFWA or to upgrade their membership classification. Two resolutions dealing with those qualifications are up for a vote:
(I) Paid SFF and related genre poetry sales shall be considered for the purposes of determining eligibility for membership in SFWA.
(II) Payment for SFF and related genre translation work shall be considered for the purposes of determining eligibility for membership in SFWA by the translator.
(2) WELL, I’M BACK. The Chengdu Worldcon’s English language website is operational again after being down for several days. Naturally it never occurred to the committee to announce the outage before it began, or explain it while it was happening. They told Facebook readers today:
Our official website of 2023 Chengdu Worldcon has come back after upgrades. Please visit the previous address to checkyour membership status, purchase new memberships and to participate in the 2023 Hugo Awards nomination. For any inquiry, please contact us at：
Thanks for your patience and have a good weekend ahead!
(3) HOUR OF POWER. Well, maybe forty-two minutes anyway. BBC Radio 4 Front Row on Thursday included coverage of the Naomi Alderman novel The Power – a topical item as it has just been made into a TV series. “Front Row, Ria Zmitrowicz on The Power, The ENO’s The Dead City and God’s Creatures reviewed”.
The trailer for The Power is online.
The Power, is an emotionally-driven global thriller, based on Naomi Alderman’s international award-winning novel. The world of The Power is our world, but for one twist of nature. Suddenly, and without warning, teenage girls develop the power to electrocute people at will. The Power follows a cast of remarkable characters from London to Seattle, Nigeria to Eastern Europe, as the Power evolves from a tingle in teenagers’ collarbones to a complete reversal of the power balance of the world.
(4) WRONG ENOUGH TO WIN. [Item by ErsatzCulture.] The April 1 edition of the BBC quiz show Pointless Celebrities (which should be available online to UK iPlayer users here) opened with a question asking the contestants to complete the names of a set of science fiction novels.
For anyone unfamiliar with Pointless, it’s roughly an inverted Family Fortunes/Feud, where surveys have been done of 100 members of the public, but here contestants have to pick the least popular answers. If a completely incorrect answer is put forward, that’s scored as 100 points. The eight contestants are split into four teams of two, and in the opening round, one member of each team has to choose one of 7 questions to answer, and then the other members of each team have to choose from a second set of 7 questions. The aim is to come out of that round with the lowest total score, with the team having the highest score being eliminated.
All but one contestant went for a correct answer – the offender being Children of Dune. Whilst it’s not surprising to me that the Vonnegut and Cixin Liu novels aren’t well-known to the general public, I was surprised to see how low the James, Haig and St. John Mandel works scored.
There is a series of screencaps from this part of the game in Ersatz Culture’s post at Mastodon, “An episode of Pointless Celebr…”
(5) FLAME ON! Carriesthewind’s Tumblr is the source of the rant “The IA’s ‘Open Library’ is Not a Library,…” quoted by Seanan McGuire at Seanan’s Tumblr.
…Yesterday’s district court ruling DID NOT CHANGE ANY SUBSTANTIVE COPYRIGHT LAW IN THE U.S. I cannot emphasize that enough. Regardless of whatever you think of the ruling, it was applying already existing law to the facts.
This is because the Internet Archive’s “Open Library” absolutely violates existing copyright law. It just does! They broke the law, they had plenty of notice they were breaking the law and harming authors (more on that below) and just think the law shouldn’t apply because they don’t like it.
The Internet Archive’s “Open Library” is not a library….
But what really got Carriesthewind steamed was a line in IA’s statement about the decision “The Fight Continues” which says — “It hurts authors by saying that unfair licensing models are the only way their books can be read online.” That provoked this response:
…How DARE you cloak your theft in the real struggles authors face with unfair licensing models. How DARE you pretend you are on the side of authors when you are stealing their works, and they have made it quite clear that they would like you to stop, please. And how DARE you frame it in this “for exposure” bullcrap that ignores the real struggles that authors have to eat, to get healthcare, to get any sort of fair pay and wages for their work, and instead pretend that all authors should care about is whether or not their books can be read online….
(6) COURT REJECTS A BOOK BAN. [Item by Jennifer Hawthorne.] CNN is reporting: “Judge orders books removed from Texas public libraries due to LGBTQ and racial content must be replaced within 24 hours”. Although no SFF titles are specifically mentioned in the article as having been targeted for the bans, there is a statement that the library cut off access to thousands of digital titles because they weren’t able to restrict access to two of the books they wanted to ban unless they banned access to the ALL the digital titles — so that’s what they did (!@#@!) and I’m sure that impacted access to a lot of SFF digital titles. Also I figure that the Filers are interested in book banning/unbanning just as a general topic.
A federal judge in Texas ruled that at least 12 books removed from public libraries by Llano County officials, many because of their LGBTQ and racial content, must be placed back onto shelves within 24 hours, according to an order filed Thursday.
Seven residents sued county officials in April 2022, claiming their First and 14th Amendment rights were violated when books deemed inappropriate by some people in the community and Republican lawmakers were removed from public libraries or access was restricted.
The lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio claimed county officials removed books from the shelves of the three-branch public library system “because they disagree with the ideas within them” and terminated access to thousands of digital books because they could not ban two specific titles….
(7) STEAMY IN SEATTLE. Clarion West is promoting “Steamy in Seattle, a Paranormal Romance Tea Party”, an in-person event also being streamed online. Takes place May 5 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. Pacific. Buy admission for the in-person experience at the link above, or register for the free online version.
Meet authors Gail Carriger and Piper J. Drake as they discuss the paranormal romance genre and their own work in steampunk, shapeshifter romance, and romantic thrillers! Grab a steaming cup of tea and some delicious treats prepared by the Seattle Central College culinary students, or tune in via livestream.
Location: One World Restaurant on Seattle Central College campus (Capitol Hill neighborhood) and streaming worldwide!
(8) MEMORY LANE.
1958 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
The Muppet Show used to have a segment called “Pigs in Space.” Well this Social Justice Credential counterpart called “Cats in Space”, with a dollop of ever so cute kittens added in, appeared long before Heinlein’s Pixel came into being.
Our Beginning this Scroll is of Ruthven Todd’s Space Cat and the Kittens. It was published sixty-five years ago by Scribner’s. It’s the fourth, and last, of a children’s books series involving Flyball, a cat who, yes, lives in space.
The preceding books which, like this one are illustrated by Paul Galdone, are Space Cat, Space Cat Visits Venus and Space Cat Meets Mars. Without giving anything away, let me just say that there will be a lot of cats, not a few kittens and a considerable comical situations as the series goes on.
They are available in both hardcover and from the usual suspects.
Yes there are spoilers here, so go away if you don’t want to read them as this Beginning tells us about how these cats… Oh that would be giving something away, wouldn’t it?
And here it is…
They were in and out of everything. When you thought you had cornered one of the red and gray bundles flashing among the crates in the storeroom, you would suddenly become aware that you had been attacked from behind by another. With its sharp claws unsheathed it was scrambling up your back.
Still, everyone on the Moon not only put up with them but liked them. This was only right, for their parents were the most famous cats in the whole of space. Flyball, their father, had not only been the first cat to leave Earth for the Moon, but he had also been the first cat on Venus and on Mars.
On Mars he had found his wife. Moofa was the last of the Martian fishing cats. Red as any firetruck, with darker stripes that ran from her head to her tail, she had lived on the fish that she caught in the Martian canals.
Now Moofa and Flyball had these two kittens—Marty and Tailspin. Marty was the older brother by a few minutes and was as proud of it as if he had arranged it himself.
At first glance the kittens, showing both their father’s gray and their mother’s red, looked exactly alike. Then a second look showed that Tailspin had a pure gray tip to his tail while Marty’s tail was red all the way.
The kittens had been born on the Moon and both Moofa and Flyball agreed that it was an ideal place for kittens, even though there were neither mice nor birds for them to chase.
On the Moon they were almost as light as feathers and could jump the most tremendous distances. Still, they found, it was just as hard to catch one’s tail on the Moon as it was on Earth. They knew about Earth, for they had visited it on the shuttle-rockets which went back and forth all the time.
The Earth, the kittens thought, was rather a dull place. A jump that on the Moon would carry them across a room, on Earth was only an ordinary little pounce.
So please name other SF where cats are characters in the story.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 1, 1875 — Edgar Wallace. Creator of King Kong, he also wrote SF including Planetoid 127, one of the first parallel Earth stories, and The Green Rust, a bioterrorism novel which was made into a silent film called The Green Terror. Critics as diverse as Orwell, Sayers and Penzler have expressed their rather vehement distaste for him. Kindle has an impressive number of works available. (Died 1932.)
- Born April 1, 1883 — Lon Chaney. Actor, director, makeup artist and screenwriter. Best remembered I’d say for the Twenties silent horror films The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera in which he did his own makeup. He developed pneumonia in late 1929 and he was diagnosed with bronchial lung cancer which he died from. (Died 1930.)
- Born April 1, 1926 — Anne McCaffrey. I read both the original trilogy and what’s called the Harper Hall trilogy oh so many years ago when dragons were something I was intensely interested in. I enjoyed them immensely but haven’t revisited them so I don’t know what the Suck Fairy would make of them. I confess that I had no idea she’d written so much other genre fiction! And I recounted her Hugo awards history in the March 7 Pixel Scroll (item #9). (Died 2011.)
- Born April 1, 1930 — Grace Lee Whitney. Yeoman Janice Rand on Star Trek. She would reach the rank of Lt. Commander in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Folks, I just noticed that IMDB says she was only on eight episodes of Trek, all in the first fifteen that aired. It seemed like a lot more at the time. She also appeared in in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. By the last film, she was promoted to being a Lt. Commander in rank. Her last appearance was in Star Trek: Voyager’s “Flashback” along with Hikaru Sulu. Oh, and she was in two video fanfics, Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. (Died 2015.)
- Born April 1, 1942 — Samuel R. Delany, 81. There’s no short list of recommended works for him as everything he’s done is brilliant. That said I think I’d start off suggesting a reading first of Babel- 17 and Dhalgren followed by the Return to Nevèrÿon series. His two Hugo wins were at Heicon ’70 for the short story “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” as published in New Worlds, December 1968, and at Noreascon 3 (1989) in the Best Non-Fiction Work category for The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965. I will do a full look at his awards and all of his Hugo nominations in an essay shortly.
- Born April 1, 1960 — Michael Praed, 63. Robin of Loxley on Robin of Sherwood which no doubt is one of the finest genre series ever done of a fantasy nature. He also played Phileas Fogg on The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, an amazing series that never got released on DVD. It has spawned a lively fanfic following since it was cancelled with names such as Spicy Airship Stories which I admit I’m going to go read.
- Born April 1, 1963 — James Robinson, 60. Writer, both comics and film. Some of his best known comics are the series centered on the Justice Society of America, in particular the Starman character he co-created with Tony Harris. His Starman series is without doubt some of the finest work ever done in the comics field. His screenwriting is a mixed bag. Remember The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Well, that’s him. He’s much, much better on the animated Son of Batman film. And I’ll admit that James Robinson’s Complete WildC.A.T.s is a sort of guilty pleasure.
- Born April 1, 1970 — Brad Meltzer, 53. I’m singling him for his work as a writer at DC including the still controversial Identity Crisis miniseries and his superb story in the Green Arrow series from issues 16 to 21 starting in 2002. He and artist Gene Ha received an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue (or One-Shot) for their work on issue #11 of Justice League of America series.
(10) KELLY LINK INTERVIEW. Electric Literature declares, “Kelly Link Makes Fairy Tales Even Weirder Than You Remember”.
Chelsea Davis: Rules—often arbitrary, always ominous—shape many fairy tales, and most of the stories in White Cat. Don’t let anyone enter the front door; don’t visit your lover unless it’s snowing; and (my favorite) don’t hunker down for the night in a home that doesn’t have a corpse inside. How do explicit rules activate or shape a story?
Kelly Link: I love thinking about rules! I’m deeply interested in the relationship that we have with them as members of a family, or a social group, or a culture. They mark out the territory in which we (or our characters) live our lives. When thinking about imaginary people, a useful approach is to consider what rules they live by, which rules they break, and the consequences or freedoms that occur as a result.
When I was a kid, I was fascinated and horrified by all sorts of rules: Don’t wear white after Labor Day! Wear pantyhose with skirts. Never wear navy and black together. Don’t take candy from a stranger.
I was a preacher’s kid, and aside from all the familiar stuff about virginity, and not taking the Lord’s name in vain, there were weirder, more interesting rules about not eating shellfish, or wearing certain fibers together, or not suffering a witch to live. (Though the two rules about loving your neighbor as yourself, and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you still seem like good practice.)…
(11) EKPEKI GOFUNDME CONTINUES. Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki’s GoFundMe fundraiser for visa processing & legal fees has reached 20 percent of its $17,500 goal.
Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki recently experienced visa complications that left him unable to attend the NAACP Image award ceremony, where he was a nominee for his work co-editing the anthology Africa Risen. These visa issues will also prevent him from attending the 44th Afrofuturism-themed International Conference For The Fantastic In the Arts as a guest of honour or be a visiting fellow at Arizona State University.
Because of these issues, Ekpeki is crowdfunding for a new visa that allows him the range of activities his burgeoning literary career demands.
Specifically, this crowdfunding is for a new visa and the associated legal and application fees. Ekpeki has already connected with a lawyer experienced in this legal area who will assist with the application.
(12) JEOPARDY! David Goldfarb notes that Thursday’s Jeopardy! episode had a category in the Double Jeopardy round called “Quoth the Title”. It hit one SFF trilogy in the middle, at the $1200 level:
Philip Pullman quoted Milton, “Unless the almighty Maker them ordain” these “to create more worlds”.
Returning champion Lisa Srikan tried, “What are men?” Jacob Lang was perhaps influenced by this to respond, “What are children of men?”. Sharon Stone (not that one) declined to guess. This isn’t quite at the level where I would just assume that every Filer would know it: the clue was looking for “His Dark Materials”.
Goldfarb also tuned into Friday’s Jeopardy! episode and enjoyed several more SFF-related clues.
In the first Jeopardy round,
“Hey, Big Spender” for $200:
If you’ve really got all that dough, why don’t you buy Action Comics #1 from 1938, which saw the debut of this otherworldly hero
Jen Petro-Roy responded correctly.
In the Double Jeopardy round,
“Oh, the Literary Places You Don’t Want to Go!”: $1200:
The Sprawl is a rough city with an artificial gray sky in “Mona Lisa Overdrive”, a novel from this cyberpunk master
Jen knew William Gibson.
“Literary Places”: $2000:
The idyllic school Hailsham harbors grotesque deeds in “Never Let Me Go” from this Japanese-born author
Jen messed up the name Kazuo Ishiguro: “Kashiguro” was not accepted. The other two didn’t answer.
“Last Lines of Movies”: $800:
“Oh, no. It wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”
Jen knew it.
“Literary Places”, $400:
Isla Nublar off Costa Rica sets the scene of this 1990 Michael Crichton novel that bioengineers some terror
Brittany Shaw knew this one.
(13) APRIL FOOL’S DAY. The Unofficial Hugo Book Club blog tried its best to keep the holiday alive.
(14) FURTHER APRIL FOOLISHNESS. James Davis Nicoll reviews an essential volume of the science fiction canon in “By Klono’s Silk Unmentionables!”
Time erodes all, including our collective memory. Even what is preserved in print can be subject to caprice; once well-known works can be forgotten. Take, for example, that classic space opera: Thorne Smith’s Lensmen….
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Meanwhile, this trailer for Trolls Band Together is not an April Fool – but maybe it ought to be!
After two films of true friendship and relentless flirting, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are now officially, finally, a couple (#broppy)! As they grow closer, Poppy discovers that Branch has a secret past. He was once part of her favorite boyband phenomenon, BroZone, with his four brothers: Floyd (Golden Globe nominated electropop sensation Troye Sivan), John Dory (Eric André; Sing 2), Spruce (Grammy winner Daveed Diggs; Hamilton) and Clay (Grammy winner Kid Cudi; Don’t Look Up). BroZone disbanded when Branch was still a baby, as did the family, and Branch hasn’t seen his brothers since. But when Branch’s bro Floyd is kidnapped for his musical talents by a pair of nefarious pop-star villains—Velvet (Emmy winner Amy Schumer; Trainwreck) and Veneer (Grammy winner and Tony nominee Andrew Rannells; The Book of Mormon)—Branch and Poppy embark on a harrowing and emotional journey to reunite the other brothers and rescue Floyd from a fate even worse than pop-culture obscurity.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, David Goldfarb, Jennifer Hawthorne, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Danny Sichel, ErsatzCulture, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]