(1) HUGO NOMINATING DEADLINE 4/30. The deadline for submitting nominations to the 2023 Hugo Awards is tomorrow, April 30 at 11:59 p.m. Hawaiian time.
Eligible voters can submit or make change to their selections up until the deadline. Submit nominations here. The committee says:
The nomination traffic is often heavy in the final moments of the process, which can sometimes slow down the process. Please nominate in advance of the deadline to make sure your selections are counted appropriately.
If you have any problems in accessing the website or other questions about the nomination, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
(2) WFA SHORT ON ANTHOLOGIES. Ellen Datlow has a word for fantasy publishers:
The deadline for consideration is June 1 – and note: that’s when judging ends. As Peter Dennis Pautz has said, “If, for instance, something is received on May 31 the judges may well have only one day to read it before their deliberations conclude. Anything received after June 1 will receive little or no consideration.”
(3) A LOOK IN THE MIRROR. “Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre: ‘The Story of Keldor (In His Own Words)’” | Cora Buhlert
This story was inspired by getting a new toy in the mail, namely the Masters of the Universe Origins He-Skeletor figure. So who is He-Skeletor? Well, best let him tell his story himself.
“I am Keldor, Prince of Eternia and defender of the secrets of Castle Grayskull…”
“…and this is Panthor, my fearless friend.”
“And yes, I know you think you know how this story goes, but trust me, you don’t.”
(4) STAND BY TO READ. Publisher Weekly stokes the hype machine for Chuck Tingle’s horror novel Camp Damascus, coming from Tor Books: “Chuck Tingle Goes Mainstream…ish”.
…To a niche corner of the internet, Tingle has since achieved superstardom due to his delightfully outrageous book covers. All sport stock image collages and titles that take on a Mad Libs quality, generally beginning “Pounded in the Butt by….” Tingle then fills in the blank with whatever supernatural creature, sentient object, or personified concept strikes his fancy. (Pounded by President Bigfoot is on the tame end of the spectrum; things get more high-concept in Pounded in the Butt by My Own Butt, which realizes its conceit through some unexpectedly intricate sci-fi worldbuilding.)
These covers have earned Tingle the nickname My Favorite Author I’ve Never Read, but he hopes that Camp Damascus will make this moniker obsolete. Asked about his decision to traditionally publish, Tingle cites the opportunity to grow his readership: “I am constantly striving to prove love to a broader audience.”…
… Camp Damascus is never sleep-with-the-lights-on scary, but it conjures a menacing atmosphere. Though the book is crawling with demons, it’s the humans that truly terrify. This was intentional.“Writing horror for any marginalized group,” Tingle says, “you have to recognize that what is happening in the dang world—without any supernatural elements—is already traumatic.”…
(5) NEXT TRIBUTES. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes in theaters November 17, 2023.
THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.
(6) THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE. The New York Times makes a strike sound almost inevitable: “Hollywood, Both Frantic and Calm, Braces for Writers’ Strike”.
Writers scrambling to finish scripts. Rival late-night-show hosts and producers convening group calls to discuss contingency plans. Union officials and screenwriters gathering in conference rooms to design picket signs with slogans like “The Future of Writing Is at Stake!”
With a Hollywood strike looming, there has been a frantic sprint throughout the entertainment world before 11,500 TV and movie writers potentially walk out as soon as next week.
The possibility of a television and movie writers’ strike — will they, won’t they, how could they? — has been the top conversation topic in the industry for weeks. And in recent days, there has been a notable shift: People have stopped asking one another whether a strike would take place and started to talk about duration. How long was the last one? (100 days in 2007-8.) How long was the longest one? (153 days in 1988.)
“It’s the first topic that comes up in every meeting, every phone call, and everyone claims to have their own inside source about how long a strike will go on and whether the directors and actors will also go out, which would truly be a disaster,” said Laura Lewis, the founder of Rebelle Media, a production and financing company behind shows like “Tell Me Lies” on Hulu and independent movies like “Mr. Malcolm’s List.”
Unions representing screenwriters have been negotiating with Hollywood’s biggest studios for a new contract to replace the one that expires on Monday. The contracts for directors and actors expire on June 30….
(7) MISSED CONNECTION. Dark Worlds Quarterly’s G.W. Thomas profiles “Albert dePina, Space Opera Specialist”. DePina, like Ray Bradbury, got a lift from Henry Hasse – so it’s surprising that although this article does mention Bradbury, it does not note that Hasse also co-authored Bradbury’s first sale.
Albert dePina was a name blazoned across the covers of Planet Stories in 1944. He was never a prolific writer, not a professional in terms of volume. But dePina was a fan. Writing with Henry Hasse, he produced ten stories over ten years, 1943 to 1953. (Robert) Albert dePina died in 1957. (He is not to be confused with the comics creator, Alberto dePina 1907-2002). Sadly, there is little solid information on him….
(8) PUTTING A LIGHT ON INJUSTICE. Among Cora Buhlert’s most recent “Non-Fiction Spotlights” is one about “The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum by Glen Cadigan”.
Tell us about your book.
The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum is a cradle to grave biography of the comic book artist best known for co-creating the All New, All Different X-Men for Marvel, and before that, for revitalizing the Legion of Super-Heroes at DC. It tells the story of how he went from an enthusiastic fan and aspiring pro in the ’60s to the driving force behind the X-Men reboot in the ’70s to a down-on-his luck-creator in the early 2000s, fighting for his life in a veteran’s hospital while Marvel was making millions off his creations as he made nothing.
It’s a story about justice and injustice, both on the page and off.
(9) CARRIE FISHER WILL BE ADDED TO WALK OF FAME. Actress Carrie Fisher will be honored posthumously by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 4th, Star Wars Day. The star, in the category of Motion Pictures, be unveiled near the historic El Capitan Theatre at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard at 11:30 a.m.
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1953 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Our Beginning tonight is short but oh-so- sweet. It is from Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man which was published by Shasta Publishers in 1953.
As you know, the version printed in Galaxy in January, February and March won a Hugo at Philcon II.
The novel is dedicated to Galaxy’s editor, H. L. Gold, who made suggestions during its writing.
Yes, it’s one of my favorite novels, both to read and to listen to. Gerard Doylle narrates the novel and does a fantastic job of doing so.
Without further notes, here’s our Beginning…
IN THE ENDLESS UNIVERSE there is nothing new, nothing different. What may appear exceptional to the minute mind of man may be inevitable to the infinite Eye of God. This strange second in a life, that unusual event, those remarkable coincidences of environment, opportunity, and encounter… all may be reproduced over and over on the planet of a sun whose galaxy revolves once in two hundred million years and has revolved nine times already.
There are and have been worlds and cultures without end, each nursing the proud illusion that it is unique in space and time. There have been men without number suffering from the same megalomania; men who imagined themselves unique, irreplaceable, irreproducible. There will be more… more plus infinity. This is the story of such a time and such a man…
THE DEMOLISHED MAN.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 29, 1887 — H. Bedford-Jones. Pulp writer of whom only maybe ten percent of his twelve hundred stories could be considered genre but some such as the Jack Solomon novels, say John Solomon, Argonaut and John Solomon’s Biggest Game are definitely genre. Like many of the early pulp writers, he used a number of pen names, to wit Michael Gallister, Allan Hawkwood, Gordon Keyne, H. E. Twinells and L. B. Williams. Wildside Press published in 2006 a collection of his short stories, The House of Skulls and Other Tales from the Pulps. (Died 1949.)
- Born April 29, 1908 — Jack Williamson. By the end of his long career in sff he had won eight lifetime achievement / grand master honors, and been inducted to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. I’ll frankly admit that he’s one of those authors that I know I’ve read a fair amount by can’t really recall any specific titles as I didn’t collect him either in hard copy or digitally. A quick bit of research suggests the Legion of Space series was what I liked best when I was reading him. Aussiecon Two awarded him a Hugo for Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction (1985), and Millennium Philcon saw him get one for his “Ultimate Earth” novella (2000), which also won the Nebula. (Died 2006.)
- Born April 29, 1923 — Irvin Kershner. Director and producer of such genre works as the Amazing Stories and seaQuest DSV series, Never Say Never Again, RoboCop 2 and The Empire Strikes Back. By the way, several of the sources I used in compiling this Birthday claimed that was the best Star Wars film. (Died 2010.)
- Born April 29, 1943 — Russell M. Griffin. Author of but four novels as he died far too young of a heart attack. The Makeshift God was his first novel, I remember that novel as being a rather excellent dystopian affair, and Century’s End was even bleaker. He wrote but nine stories. He alas has not made into the digital realm yet. (Died 1986.)
- Born April 29, 1946 — Humphrey Carpenter. Biographer whose notable output includes J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography; he also did the editing of The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, and is responsible for The Inklings: CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams and their Friends. He also wrote the engaging Mr. Majeika children’s series which is most decidedly genre. (Died 2005.)
- Born April 29, 1960 — Robert J. Sawyer, 63. Hominids won the Hugo for Best Novel at Torcon 3, and The Terminal Experiment won a Nebula as well. Completing a hat trick, he won a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan too. Very impressive. And then there’s the FlashForward series which lasted for thirteen episodes that was based on his novel of that name. Interesting series that ended far too soon.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- The Far Side shows why it can be dangerous to work as a scientist.
- The Far Side notes there are hazards to working as an artist, too.
- Tom Gauld displays a librarian’s idea of good architecture.
(13) CONAN COMICS WRITER INTERVIEWED. The Rogues in the House podcast interviews Jim Zub, writer of the new Conan comics for Titan.
(14) THEY MADE IT SO. “‘The Bridge Is Yours:’ You Can Now Virtually Visit Every Star Trek Enterprise Bridge” says Gizmodo. (The direct link is: “U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D (2364) – Roddenberry Archive”.)
Save for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and—obviously—Star Trek: The Lower Decks, most of the action for Star Trek takes place upon the fabled bridge. Over the course of Star Trek’s over-five decade runtime, there have been more than one fan who has imagined themselves working under lights at their station. You can close your eyes and imagine yourself among a crew of like-minded people sharing in that optimistic hope for the future that the show was known for. Finally, there’s now a way to truly put yourself into the captain’s chair of whatever version of the show was your favorite and watch through the viewscreen at all the twinkling stars and imagine where you too might boldly go.
To commemorate the end of Star Trek: Picard’s third and final season, on Thursday the Roddenberry Archive created a new web portal that includes dozens and dozens of accurate 3D models of the famed Starship Enterprise alongside an inside look at its bridge….
(15) FRANK TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH. Kevin Smith, director of Dogma, Clerks, Mallrats and many other at least SFF-adjacent movies and showrunner of Masters of the Universe: Revelation, opens up about his struggles with mental health at People: “Kevin Smith Tells PEOPLE About His Recent Mental Health Crisis”.
One morning last January, film director Kevin Smith awoke in terror, convinced he was losing his mind.
The next day Smith, 52, checked into Arizona’s Sierra Tucson treatment center where he spent the next month in intensive therapy, learning how several childhood traumas had led him to create and hide behind a “larger than life” public persona he calls “the other guy” that eventually usurped his core sense of self.
“It was scary,” he says, speaking about the incident—that he describes as a “complete break from reality”—publicly for the first time in this week’s PEOPLE.
“At that moment, I wouldn’t have been averse to not being around any longer. I called a friend and said, ‘I’m in a weird, dark place. I need to go somewhere and get help.'”…
(16) SCI-FI LONDON FILMS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Sci-Fi London has just announced its initial tranche of films for this year’s fest 31st May to 6th June 2023.
Even if you are not in the London region, you can check out the trailers below and keep an eye out for the DVD.
All the films are recent and a good few are having their UK, some even, World, premiere at the fest.
There will also be six thematic sessions of short films among much else.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] The Dad-at-Arms podcast has a great interview with Netflix producer Ted Biaselli: “Revolution News! Dad-at-Arms Interview: Netflix MOTU Producer Ted Biaselli”. It’s a Masters of the Universe podcast, so the interview focuses on Masters of the Universe: Revelation, but Biaselli worked on a lot of Netflix SFF shows like Wednesday, The Dark Crystal and Castelvania. He also offers some excellent insights into the workflow of an animated TV episode is made and how long it takes. For example, I had no idea that they record the dialogue first and then do the animation, though it makes sense.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Danny Sichel, Lise Andreasen, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]