Pixel Scroll 3/20/22 The Cardinality Of The Reals

(1) AN ORDERLY ILLUSION. The Daily Californian’s Logan Roscoe, in “Bureaucratizing science fiction”, analyzes the use of architectural design in New Weird visuals.

…When playing Controlthe player fights interdimensional enemies, but in every background, they see an attempt at subjecting the supernatural to a distinctly human authority. When watching “Loki,” the watcher is baffled by the mysteries of time travel and elusive authoritarians, but in every background, they see an attempt at condensing those mysteries into something understood. When watching “Legion,” the viewer is captivated by sights such as an interview room positioned upside down, dangling above an entire city; but in every background, they see a need for such an interview room — characters lost and scrambling for ways to understand the phenomena that make every cell in their bodies scream in discomfort. In all of these pieces of media, the humans try to colonize the unknown before it colonizes them….

(2) THERE’S KNOW PLACE LIKE HOME. Jennifer Bernstein studies the reasons for “Edith Wharton’s Ghosts” in the Boston Review.

… This disposition of unease followed her into adulthood. She married Edward Robbins Wharton (Teddy) in 1885; the two traveled extensively until Teddy’s depression anchored him to The Mount, a melancholy that seems to have bled into Edith’s psyche. Wharton lived some happy years there, famously writing in bed with her little dogs, but gradually became disillusioned with the house she had once loved, even coming to find it sinister and threatening. Her marriage deteriorated; after verbal abuse and violent episodes of hysteria on Teddy’s part and infidelity by both parties, Edith moved to Paris, and Teddy sold the house without her consent in 1911. They divorced two years later. Wharton would never again live in the United States.

So the symbol of her self-invention became something Wharton hated and feared. Amidst her marital and emotional turmoil, did Wharton really believe The Mount was haunted? Subsequent occupants shared her suspicions; some reported hearing strange noises and seeing spectral figures. The estate, now open to the public as a house museum, offers a popular ghost tour, promising the chance to see apparitions of past denizens, caretakers, groundskeepers, and tragic suicides.

But the question of Wharton’s own beliefs is perhaps the wrong one to ask. In the preface to Ghosts, Wharton adumbrates her view that belief in the supernatural is not an act of the intellect. Rather, it is “in the warm darkness of the pre-natal fluid far below our conscious reason that the faculty dwells with which we apprehend the ghosts we may not be endowed with the gift of seeing.” …

(3) SUN SETS ON YURI’S NIGHT. “Space Conference Censors Name of First Human in Space Because He Was Russian” says Futurism in a disapproving article.

Whipping themselves into a Freedom Fries-esque fit of censoriousness, a space industry conference has removed the name of celebrated Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to travel into space, from an event.

The nonprofit Space Foundation announced  in a now-deleted note that “in light of current world events” it would be changing the name of a fundraiser from “Yuri’s Night” to “A Celebration of Space: Discover What’s Next” at its Space Symposium conference.

“The focus of this fundraising event remains the same — to celebrate human achievements in space while inspiring the next generation to reach for the stars,” the deleted update notes.

… Erasing the name of the first person to ever fly to space while supposedly celebrating “human achievements in space” is bad enough.

But doing so in line with the milquetoast trend of disavowing all things Russian, including famous composers and food products, amid the country’s current invasion of Ukraine is just outrageous….

(4) ESSAY: GINJER BUCHANAN [Item by Cat Eldridge]

I have come to honor one of our most excellent Editors ever. She was the Editor-in-Chief at Ace Books and Roc Books where she stayed for a stellar thirty years before retiring. Prior to that, she was consulting editor for the Star Trek tie-ins at Pocket Books and an outside reader for the Science Fiction Book Club. And yes, she was active in fandom from an early age which included being a founding member of the Western Pennsylvania Science Fiction Association or WOOPSPA or as it was affectionately known as she noted in a Locus interview.

Berkley president and publisher Leslie Gelbman upon her retirement said  of her:  “During her thirty years with Ace and Roc, Ginjer was essential in growing our science fiction and fantasy list and launching the careers of several bestselling authors. Her love for the genre and books in general and dedication to her authors is unparalleled, and she’s a key reason Ace/Roc is one of the preeminent science fiction-fantasy publishers.”

She won a Hugo at Loncon 3 for Best Editor, Long Form and was nominated for the same at Nippon 2007, Denvention 3, Anticipation, Aussiecon 4 and Renovation.

She won the Nebula Solstice Award in 2013, and the same year saw her garner the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction. She was nominated in 2006 for a World Fantasy Award for a Special Award, Professional for her work Ace Books but alas did not win. 

She was the Toastmaster at the World Fantasy Convention in 1989, and a Guest of Honor at ArmadilloCon in 1988, Foolscap in 2000 and at OryCon in 2008. Ginjer Buchanan was also a Guest of Honor at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon. And she will be a GOH at World Fantasy Con in New Orleans in 2022.

And yes, she’s written fiction. Her sole novel is a Highlander series tie-in, White Silence. She’s also penned three short pieces of fiction, “The End of Summer by The Great Sea” in the Alternate Kennedys anthology,  Cathachresis” in the More Whatdunits anthology, and “If Horses Were Wishes …“ in the By Any Other Fame anthology. The first two are edited by Mike Resnick alone, the last by Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg. 

Being a serious Firefly fan, she has an essay, “Who Killed Firefly?” in the Jane Espenson edited Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly collection. Being a fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, she penned “The Journey of Jonathan Levenson: From Scenery to Sacrifice” which was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Watcher’s Guide, Volume 3 edited by Paul Ruditis. 

Oh, and she has one published poem, “Four Views of Necon” published in Cemetery Dance’s The Big Book of Necon anthology edited by Bob Booth.

All in all, an amazing individual who has contributed in oh so many ways to our community, so let’s toast her now as she so richly deserves to be. 

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 20, 1932 Jack Cady. He won the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker Award, an impressive feat indeed. McDowell’s Ghost gives a fresh spin on the trope of seeing seeing a War Between The States ghost, and The Night We Buried Road Dog is another ghost story set in early Sixties Montana. Underland Press printed all of his superb short fiction into two volumes, Phantoms: Collected Writings, Volume 1 and Fathoms: Collected Writings, Volume. He had a Hugo nomination at ConAdian for his novella The Night We Buried Road Dog”. (Died 2004.)
  • Born March 20, 1948 Pamela Sargent, 74. She has three exemplary series of which I think the Seed trilogy, a unique take on intergenerational colony ships, is the one I like the best. The other two series, the Venus trilogy about a women determined to terraform that world at all costs is quite good, and there is the Watchstar trilogywhich I know nothing about. Nor have I read any of her one-off novels, so please do tell me about them. Her “Danny Goes to Mars” novelette won a Nebula and was nominated for the same at ConFrancisco. She was given the Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award. 
  • Born March 20, 1948 John de Lancie, 74. Best known for his role as Q in the Trek multiverse, though I was more fond of him as Janos Barton in Legend which stars Richard Dean Anderson (if you’ve not seen it, go now and watch it).  He was also Jack O’Neill’s enemy Frank Simmons in Stargate SG-1. He has an impressive number of one-offs on genre shows including The Six Million Dollar ManBattlestar Galactica (1978 version), The New Twilight ZoneMacGyverMission: Impossible (the Australian edition which is quite excellent), Get Smart, Again!Batman: The Animated Series, and I’m going to stop there. He’s currently reprising Q in the second season of Picard
  • Born March 20, 1950 William Hurt. He made his first film appearance as a troubled scientist in Ken Russell’s Altered States, an making film indeed. He’s next up as Doug Tate in Alice, a Woody Allen film. Breaking his run of weird roles, he shows in Lost in Space as Professor John Robinson. Dark City and the phenomenal role of  Inspector Frank Bumstead followed for him. He was in A.I. Artificial Intelligence as Professor Allen Hobby and performed the character of William Marshal in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. Up next was horror film Hellgate and his role as Warren Mills,and Jebediah from Winter’s Tale. His final, to date that is, is in Avengers: Infinity War as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Two series roles of notes, the first being in the SyFy Frank Herbert’s Dune as Duke Leto I Atreides. Confession: the digitised blue eyes bugged me so much that I couldn’t watch it. His other role worth noting is Hrothgar in Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands. (Died 2022.)
  • Born March 20, 1955 Nina Kiriki Hoffman, 67. Her first novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones, won the Bram Stoker Award for first novel. In addition, her short story “Trophy Wives” won a Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Other novels include The Silent Strength of Stones (a sequel to Thread), A Fistful of Sky, and A Stir of Bones. All are amazingly excellent. Most of her work has a strong sense of regionalism being set in either California or the Pacific Northwest. 
  • Born March 20, 1962 Stephen Sommers, 60. He’s responsible for two of my very favorite pulpish films, The Mummy and The Mummy Returns which he directed and wrote. He also did the same for Van Helsing, and the live action version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. No, I’ve not seen it, so how is it? Not that he’s perfect as he did all four of the Scorpion King films…
  • Born March 20, 1970 Cathy DeBuono, 52. If you were observant, you noticed her as M’Pella, a dabo girl who worked in Quark’s on Deep Space 9 during the last three seasons for an amazing fifty two episodes. She also worked on the series as a stand-in, photo double, and body double for Terry Farrell. She received no on-screen credits until her final appearance in “The Dogs of War” episode
Cathy DeBuono
  • Born March 20, 1979 Freema Agyeman, 43. Best known for playing Martha Jones in Doctor Who, companion to the Tenth Doctor. She reprised that role briefly in Torchwood. She voiced her character on The Infinite Quest, an animated Doctor Who serial. Currently she’s on Sense8 as Amanita Caplan. And some seventeen years ago, she was involved in a live production of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld’s Lords and Ladies held in Rollright Stone Circle Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. It was presented out of doors in the centre of two stone circles. She’s continued her Martha Jones role in the Big Finish audio productions. 

(6) COLLECTOR’S ITEM. The New York Post listens to the register ringing as “First-ever Marvel comic nabs whopping $2.4M at auction”.

A particularly prized copy of the first-ever Marvel comic book fetched more than $2.4 million in an online auction, the auctioneer said Friday.

Known as the Marvel Comics #1 “pay copy,” it’s “arguably one of the top three comic books in the world of comics collecting,” said Vincent Zurzolo, chief operating officer of ComicConnect. The New York-based auctioneer sold the book Thursday night for a bit under $2,427,800.

The buyer’s name has not been disclosed. He is “an extremely passionate comic book collector and investor” who also collects other items, Zurzolo said.

Published in 1939, Marvel Comics #1 introduced characters including Sub-Mariner and the original Human Torch, a precursor of the character of the same name that was later a member of Marvel’s Fantastic Four. The book launched what became the Marvel universe of comics, movies, TV shows and video games….

(7) WEAVER OF TANGLED WEBS. Spider-Man: No Way Home special effects supervisor Kelly Port discusses what he did on the film in this video from Vanity Fair that dropped Friday. “How ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Visual Effects Were Made”.

(8) ROBOSMACKDOWN. “‘More Than Robots’ Review: An International Battle” in the New York Times.

… Despite the movie’s title, robots are, in fact, the subject and spectacle of this lighthearted film.

Working in groups over the course of several weeks, young inventors participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition to create industrial-size robots that are complex enough to move automatically, shoot projectiles and even climb. The organization that runs the competition was founded by the inventor Dean Kamen, who wanted to host an event that would develop the skills of young engineers. (The international reach of the competition drew powerful patrons: When the organizers of the tournament present the season’s challenge, they acknowledge that the competition is sponsored by Lucasfilm.)

The documentary follows four teams in early 2020 as they prepare for regional competitions in Japan, Mexico and California. The most memorable scenes come from the two teams in Los Angeles, each led by their teachers Fazlul and Fatima, who are also a married couple. Despite the apparent differences in funding between the two schools, both mentors encourage their students to build robots that stand up to the hard knocks of engineering battles….

(9) ANIME NEWS. A trailer for a new Netflix anime series “Tekken: Bloodline”

(10) WHAT’S MISSING. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In this video, Patrick WIlliens, self-proclaimed Batman nerd. wonders what happened to Robin in most of the versions of Batman released this century.  He notes that Batman co-creator Bill Finger created Robin to be Watson to Batman’s Holmes and give Batman someone to talk to, and thinks that having an age-appropirate Batman (not 13 and not an adult) would make Batman more human and less broody and obsessed. “Why Are Batman Movies Afraid Of Robin?”

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Chris Barkley, Will R., Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

World Fantasy Convention 2022 in New Orleans

World Fantasy Convention 2022 has named its Guests of Honor: Ginjer Buchanan, Victor LaValle, Jo Walton, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Andrei Codrescu. The Toastmaster is Ursula Vernon. An artist Guest of Honor will be named later. Chaired by Tom Hanlon, the convention will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana November 3-6, 2022.

The event’s sponsor, the Louisiana Association for Literacy and the Fantastic, launched WFC 2022’s website and opened online registration early this week.

“While it’s been a challenge to organize and prepare for an event with a shorter time span than normal due to COVID, and Hurricane Ida didn’t help any,” said Hanlon, “we’re thrilled to have a committee with ideas and participation from New Orleans, throughout the South and across borders. We have an amazing committee who are working hard to ensure this year’s World Fantasy Convention exceeds our members’ expectations.” The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, located downtown within walking distance of many historical sites.

Although registration officially opened at the 2021 World Fantasy Convention in Montreal, this week’s website launch made online registration possible. Initial pricing is $150 US for attending memberships and $50 US for supporting membership. “We are planning to host a hybrid convention, with a strong virtual component,” says Hanlon. “Our initial price for virtual membership is $50, the same as a supporting membership.” The prices for attending and virtual memberships will increase on February 1, 2022, while the supporting membership will remain $50.

This year’s WFC will be the second held in New Orleans. Hanlon also chaired the first one in 1994.

[Based on a press release.]

Dublin 2019 Photos by Rich Lynch – Friday

A cold truth surfaces…

The Dublin Convention Centre is too small for the size of this convention.  By a lot.  Thursday was chaos in the halls leading into the meeting rooms.  Packed solid with people trying to exit rooms where panels had ended and others who were wanting to get into those same rooms for the next round of panels.  Convention Centre staff became the traffic police in a mostly vain attempt to keep everybody moving.

By Friday the chaos had abated by a bit, but there have still been severe people flow problems.  Overnight each floor of the Convention Centre was taped off into queue lanes, one for each meeting room.  It’ll not quite an airport boarding lounge situation but very similar.  And this created addition confusion until, finally, everybody started to figure it all out.  But this system created lots of delays and there are usually lines of people waiting access for some rooms even after the scheduled panel  starting time.

This has resulted in plenty of people with frayed tempers, from what I’ve observed, but no meltdowns.  At least for now but there are still three days to go. 

One other thing I observed— the traffic police are not to be messed with!  More than one person was firmly directed to clear out of some area where queues would be forming.  Don’t think anybody has dared to jump a line after seeing them in action!

Heicon Memories panel

Panel opened with round of applause for Silverberg when he stated that this is his 66th Worldcon.  He has the record, I think.

Suzanne Tompkins, Ginjer Buchanan, Robert Silverberg, and Mary Burns.

Suzanne Tompkins, Ginjer Buchanan, Robert Silverberg, and Mary Burns.

eFanzines Live!

Bill Burns and Geri Sullivan.  Unsurprisingly, most everybody in the room not only knew about the site, they also were frequent visitors.  And many of us even have Fanzines hosted by the site!

Geri Sullivan and Bill Burns

Keith Kato’s Chili Party

…was held in Oscar Wilde’s House.  There was even a docent tour.

Oscar Wilde

It’s Official: 77th Worldcon Will Be in Dublin

For the first time in history of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) the convention will take place in Dublin, Ireland.

Today, Dublin was confirmed as the 2019 location by site selection voters at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. Worldcon 75 reports 1,227 votes were received.

Dublin 2019 will take place at the Convention Centre Dublin from August 15-19, 2019. The Guests of Honour range from writers to scientists and beyond – Bill and Mary Burns, Diane Duane, Ginjer Buchanan, Ian McDonald, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Steve Jackson.

Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon said:

The whole team are delighted to be bringing the Worldcon to Ireland for the first time. It’s a huge achievement and we are very proud to be able to welcome thousands of fans to this beautiful country that is steeped in storytelling. We have fantastic guests and we will building an exciting programme covering all aspects of science fiction, fantasy and horror in all media, including prose, comics, art, film, cosplay, science, TV to name a few in what will be a fabulous celebration here in Dublin.

The Worldcon is held in a different city every year and usually has around 5,000 attendees from around the globe.  Some of the highlights of the five day event include the Hugo Awards, the Masquerade and programming that runs all five days with over a thousand items including panels, talks, workshops, films, autograph sessions and more.

About the guests:

  • Bill and Mary Burns (New York):  Avid readers who have attended Worldcon since 1967.  Bill was the recipient of the Doc Weir Award in 2003 and both were Fan Guests of Honour at Eastercon LX.
  • Diane Duane (Wicklow): Diane’s first novel was published in 1979 and have sold more than fifty other novels during her career.  She has won numerous awards and has also written extensively for tv and film.
  • Ginjer Buchanan (New York): Ginjer has over fifty years in fandom and over 30 years as professional editor.  She has been nominated for the Best Editor- Long Form Hugo six times and won in 2014.
  • Ian McDonald (Belfast): Is a writer who has over written over 20 novels and numerous short stories.  In addition he has also worked in programme development in Ireland. He has won awards for his short fiction as well as novels.
  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Lurgan Co Armagh): Jocelyn is a Northern Irish astrophysicist who as a postgraduate student discovered the first radio pulsars.
  • Steve Jackson (Texas): Steve is a game designer by trade who owns Steve Jackson Games.  He has received 12 Origin Awards as well as various other honours for game design.

“World Science Fiction Society,” “WSFS,” “World Science Fiction Convention,” “Worldcon,” “NASFiC,” “Hugo Award,” and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.

[Based on a press release.]

2017 Endeavour Award Finalists

Five books written by writers from the Pacific Northwest are finalists for the 19th annual Endeavour Award. The Award comes with an honorarium of $1,000. The winner will be announced November 17 at OryCon in Portland, Oregon.

  • Arabella of Mars by Portland, OR, writer David D. Levine, Tor Books;
  • Dreams of Distant Shores by North Bend, OR, writer Patricia McKillip, Tachyon;
  • Eocene Station by Victoria, BC, writer Dave Duncan, Five Rivers Publishing;
  • Lovecraft Country by Seattle, WA, writer Matt Ruff, Harper; and
  • Waypoint Kangaroo by Portland, OR, writer Curtis Chen, Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press

The Endeavour Award honors a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel or a single-author collection, created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. All entries are read and scored by seven readers randomly selected from a panel of preliminary readers. The five highest scoring books then go to three final judges, who are all professional writers or editors from outside of the Pacific Northwest.

The judges for the 2017 Award are.

  • Ginjer Buchanan

In the early 1970s, Ginjer Buchanan moved from Pittsburgh, PA. to New York City where she made her living as a social worker, while doing freelance editorial work. In 1984, she took a job as an editor at Ace Books. She was promoted several times over the years and in 2007, became Editor-in-Chief, Ace/Roc Books. In April of 2014, she retired. She is now enjoying sleeping late, reading a lot, watching an inordinate amount of television, and polishing the Hugo she won at Loncon, for Best Editor–Long Form.

  • John R. Douglas

John R. Douglas was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States and married fellow fan, Ginjer Buchanan in 1975. In 1978, he stumbled into a job in publishing and spent over twenty years working as an editor for four different major mass market publishers. Although he handled Science Fiction and Fantasy for all of them, he also edited mysteries, thrillers and other genre fiction and many kinds of non-fiction. He has been an editorial freelancer since late 1999 continuing to work with words in many different ways.

  • Andy Duncan

Andy Duncan’s stories have been honored with a Nebula Award, a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. His third collection, An Agent of Utopia: New and Selected Stories, is upcoming from Small Beer Press. A native of Batesburg, S.C., and an alumnus of Clarion West 1994, he teaches writing at Frostburg State University in Maryland.

Award Eligibility for 2018: To be eligible for next year’s Endeavour Award the book — either a novel or a single-author collection of stories — must be either science fiction or fantasy. The majority of the book must have been written, and the book accepted for publication, while the author was living in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, British Columbia, or the Yukon.)

The deadline to enter books published during 2017 is February 15, 2018. Full information on entering the Award is available on the Endeavour Web site. Click on Entry Form in the left-hand column for a fill-in PDF of the form.

The Endeavour Award is sponsored by Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (OSFCI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

[Thanks to Jim Fiscus for the story.]