We’re told a full press release may be coming. Meanwhile, here’s a preview trailer from March 2023.
(2) GOLDMAN FUND APPLICATIONS FOR PALESTINIANS ATTENDING WORLDCON ARE OPEN. Dream Foundry has opened applications for grants from the Goldman Fund Applications for Palestinian creatives and fans seeking to attend the 2024 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow. The application window runs from July 31 – November 5, 2023 although applications outside this window may be considered for any remaining funds.
This is the Goldman Fund’s inaugural year. Offered through Dream Foundry’s Con or Bust program, the fund has a total of ￡8,000 per year for five years, and will assist citizens of Palestine and self-identified members of the Palestinian diaspora with expenses incurred from travel to and attendance at the annual WorldCon. The fund was created by Farah Mendlesohn in memory of her mother, Carole Goldman.
Con or Bust is a grant-making program that provides greater access for creators and fans of color to science fiction conventions, events, and professional development opportunities. Since its relaunch as a Dream Foundry program in 2023 it has provided direct support to fifteen individuals, and hosted multiple networking and support events. Dream Foundry is actively accepting donations and endowments to expand this program.
To find more information or apply for support from the Goldman Fund visit Con-or-Bust.
(3) JUNK BOOKS GONE AFTER FRIEDMAN RAISES ISSUE. “Amazon removes books ‘generated by AI’ for sale under author’s name” reports the Guardian.
Five books for sale on Amazon were removed after author Jane Friedman complained that the titles were falsely listed as being written by her. The books, which Friedman believes were written by AI, were also listed on the Amazon-owned reviews site Goodreads….
…The books were “if not wholly generated by AI, then at least mostly generated by AI”, Friedman said. She began looking for ways to get the titles taken down immediately and submitted a claim form to Amazon. Yet according to Friedman, as she had not trademarked her name, Amazon told her it would not remove the books.
However, the books had been taken down from both Amazon and Goodreads by Tuesday, which Friedman suspects is due to her speaking out about the issue on social media. “Unless Amazon puts some sort of policy in place to prevent anyone from just uploading whatever book they want and applying whatever name they want, this will continue, it’s not going to end with me,” said Friedman. “They have no procedure for reporting this sort of activity where someone’s trying to profit off someone’s name.” On her blog, she called on the sites to “create a way to verify authorship”….
…When asked about Friedman’s case, an Amazon spokesperson told the Guardian: “We have clear content guidelines governing which books can be listed for sale and promptly investigate any book when a concern is raised. We welcome author feedback and work directly with authors to address any issues raised. We invest heavily to provide a trustworthy shopping experience and to protect customers and authors from misuse of our services.”
(4) PAY THE WRITER. Alan Dean Foster discusses revenue issues that writers are striking over in “Alan Dean Foster: The BFG Interview” at Book and Film Globe.
The writers’ and actors’ strike going on now in Hollywood raises urgent issues. The evolution of film distribution has got writers and actors concerned about their rights to “residuals,” i.e., present and future earnings from adaptations and streaming of their creative work. Do you see this as pretty much the crux of your dispute with Disney over Star Wars revenues?
Alan Dean Foster: The great majority of performers who make any kind of reasonable living do so because of their residuals. Yes, my dispute with Disney involved royalties (author’s residuals, if you will).
But the current issues are much greater. A good example is the use of CGI to allow the producers of the remake of Willy Wonka to cast Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa, thus shutting out all true Little People from casting. If such continues, every one of them will be out of work.
It’s one thing to use CGI to resurrect a deceased actor to reprise a role, quite another to replace an actor with CGI. This will only get worse as the technology gets better. Actors know this, and it is something they are fighting against.
(5) PUBLISHERS BALKING. Publishers Weekly finds book publishers are resisting a request they believe would “make them ‘complicit’ in an act of censorship” — “As New Law Looms, Follett Asks Publishers to Help ‘Rate’ Their Own Books for Sale in Texas”.
…But with the law’s September 1 effective date bearing down, Follett School Solutions, the nation’s largest distributor of books to schools, does see a path forward in Texas—and that path apparently includes asking publishers to help rate their own books.
“Without having a 3rd party yet for the required ratings (Sexually Relevant and Sexually Explicit), our goal is to get as robust of a collection of purchasable content ready on September 1st and continue building as titles are rated,” reads the text of a memo from Follett officials addressed to Publishing Partners, which was shared anonymously with PW. “However, this is quite a workload. Follett is asking you to provide us with a simple spreadsheet helping us to identify titles which fall into two categories: either NO Questionable Content or Possible SR or SE Content (which we would send to a 3rd party for rating). Again, our goal is to get as many of your titles [available] on September 1st as possible.”
In the memo, Follett officials acknowledge that Texas has yet to provide detailed “guidelines” for how to rate books for sexual content. “But every title we can deem ‘OK’ to provide to them on September 1 for sale will be of benefit,” the memo states.
However, with their pending federal lawsuit seeking to block the new Texas law from taking effect, publishers and other industry stakeholders are balking at Follett’s request to help the vendor rate their titles. Though all of the Big Five publishers declined to comment directly on the Follett memo for this story, multiple publishers confirmed its details. One publishing executive told PW on background that they understand the bind Follett faces in Texas with the new law but that complying with the request to rate their books would make them “complicit” in an act of censorship. And in a statement, one publisher, Hachette, went on record to broadly reject the idea of rating its books.
(7) ARTHUR SCHMIDT (1937-2023). Film editor Arthur Schmidt died August 9 at the age of 86. Deadline led with his many genre credits:
Arthur Schmidt, the film editor whose decades-long collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis on classics such as Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Cast Away, Contact and all three Back to the Future films won him two Oscars, has died, Deadline has confirmed. He was 86.
Schmidt’s two Best Film Editing Oscars came for Roger Rabbit (1988) and Forrest Gump (1994). His other collaborations with Zemeckis included Death Becomes Her (1992) and What Lies Beneath (2000)….
(8) MEMORY LANE
2007 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
Ian McDonald is the author of our Beginning this Scroll. He’s one of my favorite writers with Desolation Road and its sequel, Ares Express, being the works of his I’ve read the most times.
Up next is River of Gods. It’s wonderful. Our Green Man reviewer said of it, “You can hold whole universes in your hand, between the covers.”
Then there’s The Dervish House, the best Istanbul set SF novel ever. Really it is. It may not be our Istanbul, but it is a great SF Istanbul.
Now we come to our Beginning from Brasyl, which was published by Pyr sixteen years ago with a cover illustration by Stephan Martiniere. It won a BSFA, and was nominated for a Hugo at Denvention 3 as well as a Campbell Memorial, Nebula, Quill Awards and the Warwick Prize for Writing.
And now for our Beginning…
MAY 17–19, 2006
Marcelina watched them take the car on Rua Sacopã. It was a C-Class Mercedes, a drug dealer’s car, done up to the tits by the Pimp My Ride: Brasileiro design crew with wheel trim and tail and blue lighting that ran up and down the subframe. Subwoofers the size of suitcases. The design boys had done a good job; it looked a fistful more than the four thousand reis Marcelina had paid at the city car pound.
One time they passed it: three guys in basketball shorts and vests and caps. The first time is the looking time. A second time, this time the checking time, pretending to be interested in the trim and the rosary and Flamengo key-fob hanging from the mirror (sweet touch) and was it CD multichanger or a hardpoint for MP3?
Go, my sons, you know you want it, thought Marcelina in the back of the chase car in a driveway two hundred meters up hill. It’s all there for you, I made it that way, how can you resist?
The third time, that is the taking time. They gave it ten minutes’ safety, ten minutes in which Marcelina sat over the monitor fearing would they come back would someone else get there first? No, here they were swinging down the hill, big pretty boys long-limbed and loose, and they were good, very good. She hardly saw them try the door, but there was no mistaking the look of surprise on their faces when it swung open. Yes, it is unlocked. And yes, the keys are in it. And they were in: door closed, engine started, lights on. ‘We’re on!’
Marcelina Hoffman shouted to her driver and was immediately flung against the monitor as the SUV took off. God and Mary they were hard on it, screaming the engine as they ripped out onto the Avenida Epitácio Pessoa. ‘All cars all cars!’
Marcelina shouted into her talkback as the Cherokee swayed into the traffic. ‘We have a lift we have a lift! Heading north for the Rebouças Tunnel.’ She poked the driver, an AP who had confessed a love for car rallying, hard in the shoulder. ‘Keep him in sight, but don’t scare him.’ The monitor was blank. She banged it. ‘What is wrong with this thing?’ The screen filled with pictures, feed from the Mercedes’ lipstick-cams. ‘I need real-time time-code up on this.’ Don’t let them find the cameras, Marcelina prayed to Nossa Senhora da Valiosa Producão, her divine patroness. Three guys, the one in the black and gold driving, the one in the Nike vest, and the one with no shirt at all and a patchy little knot of wiry hair right between his nipples. Sirens dopplered past; Marcelina looked up from her monitor to see a police car turn across four lanes of traffic on the lagoon avenue and accelerate past her. ‘Get me audio.’
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 9, 1899 — P.L. Travers. Yes, she’s genre. A flying nanny is certainly fantasy. Did you know there are total of eight books? I’m sure I’ve seen the film but it’s been so long that I remember ‘nought about it another than her flying and the animated penguins. Tell me that I’m actually remembering that were animated penguins in it and it’s not my brain trauma adding them to it… (Died 1996.)
- Born August 9, 1914 — Tove Jansson. Swedish speaking Finnish artist who wrote the Moomin books for children, starting in 1945 with Småtrollen och den stora översvämninge (The Moomins and the Great Flood). Over the next decades, there would be a total of nineteen books. Moominvalley, the animated series, played on Netflix. And Terry Pratchett in “My family and other Moomins: Rhianna Pratchett on her father’s love for Tove Jansson” credited her for him becoming a fiction writer. (Died 2001.)
- Born August 9, 1927 — Daniel Keyes. Flowers for Algernon was a novel that I read in my teens. Two of my teachers, a married couple if memory serves me right this long on, decided that SF was to be the assigned texts for that school year and that was one of them. I don’t now remember if I liked it or not (A Clockwork Orange was another text they assigned and that I remember) and rewriting this I remembered that I did see Charly. He has three other genre novels, none that I’ve heard of. (Died 2014.)
- Born August 9, 1947 — John Varley, 76. One of those authors that I’ve been meaning to read more of. I read both The Ophiuchi Hotline and Titan, the first novels respectively in his Eight Worlds and the Gaea Trilogy series, but didn’t go further. (See books, too many to read.) If you’ve read beyond the first novels, how are they as series? Worth pursuing now? He was nominated for quite a few Hugos with wins coming at Heicon ‘70 for “The Persistence of Vision” novella, Chicon IV for “The Pusher” short story and at Aussiecon Two for “Press Enter ” short story.
- Born August 9, 1949 — Jonathan Kellerman, 74. Author of two novels in the Jacob Lev series (co-authored with Jesse Kellerman), The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. I’ve read the first — it was quite excellent with superb characters and an original premise. Not for the squeamish mind you.
- Born August 9, 1954 — Victor Koman, 69. Three-time winner of the Prometheus Award, his short stories have appeared in such publications as The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Galaxy and Fred Olen Ray’s Weird Menace. Kings of The High Frontier which won of those Prometheus Awards also was on the long list for a Nebula.
(10) CRITICS RECOGNIZE MS. MARVEL. Comicbook.com celebrates as “Ms. Marvel Wins Television Critics Association Award”.
Ms. Marvel has won a Television Critics Association award. On Monday, it was announced that the Disney+ series had won the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Family Programming. This was a new category for 2023 and saw the series up against fellow Disney+ programs American Born Chinese, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and The Mysterious Benedict Society, Disney Channel’s Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Apple TV+’s Jane, Hulu’s Love, Victor, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, and Paramount+’s Star Trek: Prodigy….
(11) DIMINISHED RETURNS. CBR analyses why the viewers stayed away from “Doctor Who’s Lowest Rated Episodes, According To IMDb”. For example:
#12 “Sleep No More” – Series 9, Episode 9
IMDb Rating: 5.8
In “Sleep No More,” the accomplished Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald find themselves in the mysteriously silent Le Verrier space station. With the help of a military rescue team led by Nagata, the Doctor and his companion try to discover what happened with the station’s personnel.
The episode utilizes a found footage style to tell the story, with one of the characters interrupting certain sections to explain what the audience is about to see or has just experienced. This gimmick, though interesting on paper, seems to do nothing but over-complicate the plot as it goes along. Furthermore, many fans found the main enemy of “Sleep No More” to be ridiculous and childish, which immediately hurt the episode as a whole.
(12) TRAILBLAZER. Sharon Lee gave a speech at Colby College in February 2010, including a career retrospective. Listen to an audio recording here.
(13) CATMAN. “Mark Twain Liked Cats Better Than People” says the Smithsonian. Don’t you?
…Twain owned up to 19 cats at one time, writes Livius Drusus for Mental Floss, “all of whom he loved and respected far beyond whatever he may have felt about people. His cats all bore fantastical titles, among them: Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal and Pestilence, writes Drusus.
Twain also wrote cats into his fiction. “Cats make cameos in some of his most famous works,” writes the National Portrait Gallery. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a cat named Peter features, but he was one of many, writes the gallery….
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Jessica Eanes, Danny Sichel, Hampus Eckerman, Sharon Lee, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]