(1) WHAT’S IN THE HUGO VOTER PACKET? Ersatz Culture has assembled an infographic listing the existing 2023 Hugo Award Voter Packet Contents, with plans to update it as more content becomes available. Here’s an example, the Best Novel category.
(2) HOW TO ACCESS THE HUGO VOTER PACKET. Jed Hartman has basic guidance as well as a Chrome-specific workaround in “How to download this year’s Hugo Packet” at Loren Ipsum. From the introduction:
Disclaimer: I’m not involved with this year’s Hugo Awards or Packet, and I don’t know anything about what’s going on behind the scenes; I’m just a Worldcon member who wants to read the works in the Packet.
Part of the Hugo Packet is now available, for members of this year’s Worldcon. (If you’re not a member, you need to buy a membership before you can download the Packet. Details about how to buy a membership are beyond the scope of this guide.)
- Unfortunately, there are three issues that may make it difficult for some people to download and read the ebooks in the Packet:
- The site is currently set up in such a way that you may see a security warning when you visit it.
- It’s not obvious how to find the ebooks on the site, and clicking the download links doesn’t work.
The Packet doesn’t include Kindle files as such….
(3) WHICH SFF MAGAZINE IS TOPS? Eric Schwitzgebel does his annual update ranking the “Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines 2023” at The Splintered Mind. [Via Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.] Tor.com is number one.
… (2.) I gave each magazine one point for each story nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, or World Fantasy Award in the past ten years; one point for each story appearance in any of the Dozois, Horton, Strahan, Clarke, Adams, or Tidhar “year’s best” anthologies; and half a point for each story appearing in the short story or novelette category of the annual Locus Recommended list….
(4) FILLER UP. The Guardian’s Tim Dowling tells how he convinced his family (well, part of it) that “I am talking to the coffee machine. And yes, it’s listening”.
I have never attempted this trick in front of anyone – until now. It is the greatest day of my life…
(5) NO SURPRISE HERE. “Intelligence Agencies Warn Foreign Spies Are Targeting U.S. Space Companies” – the New York Times has the story.
Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies are targeting American private space companies, attempting to steal critical technologies and preparing cyberattacks aimed at degrading U.S. satellite capabilities during a conflict or emergency, according to a new warning by American intelligence agencies.
The National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the F.B.I. and the Air Force issued a new advisory to American companies Friday morning. The broad warning to industry said that foreign intelligence services could be targeting space firms, their employees and the contractors that serve those companies.
Space companies’ data and intellectual property could be at risk from attempts to break into computer networks, moles placed inside companies and foreign infiltration of the supply chain, officials said.
“Foreign intelligence entities recognize the importance of the commercial space industry to the U.S. economy and national security, including the growing dependence of critical infrastructure on space-based assets,” the Counterintelligence Center warning said. “They see U.S. space-related innovation and assets as potential threats as well as valuable opportunities to acquire vital technologies and expertise.”
While the United States still builds and launches multimillion dollar reconnaissance and communications satellite, much of American innovation in space is being done by commercial companies, including those that conduct launches and others that build and field satellites.
Intelligence agencies are increasingly dependent on the private-sector space industry, and U.S. officials are worried about the interest Chinese and Russian spy services have shown in those companies, based on recent F.B.I. investigations and intelligence collection on foreign intelligence plans. American officials believe innovations by SpaceX, Blue Origin and other private companies have given the United States a huge advantage in space, one that is envied by foreign adversaries….
(6) TUTTLE’S PICKS. Lisa Tuttle delivers “The best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror – reviews roundup” in the Guardian. Selections this time are Bridge by Lauren Beukes; The Kindness by John Ajvide Lindqvist; Mister Magic by Kiersten White; Pink Slime by Fernanda Trías; The Finery by Rachel Grosvenor
Bridge by Lauren Beukes (Michael Joseph, £18.99)
“Reality is not real,” Bridge’s mother, Jo, used to tell her. Was that a delusion caused by the brain tumour that killed her? But after Jo’s death, Bridge finds evidence that her mother had discovered a way to access other realities, close to our own, and she becomes obsessed with finding one in which Jo is still alive. The latest from the author of The Shining Girls is an addictive page-turner that draws on not only theoretical quantum physics, but research into neuroscience, altered states and parasitology for a fascinating, compelling story and an original take on the many worlds theory.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 19, 1921 — Gene Roddenberry. Oh, you know who he is. But did you know he wrote a lot of scripts for Have Gun – Will Travel? Indeed his script for the show, “Helen of Abajinian” would win the Writer’s Guild of America award for Best Teleplay in 1958. And yes, he would share a Hugo for Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever” episode which was awarded at Baycon. (Died 1991.)
- Born August 19, 1928 — Richard N. Farmer. Author of Islandia Revisited: A Sequel By Other Hands which he claims to be a sequel to Austin Tappan Wright’s Islandia. No, it wasn’t at all authorized. There are authorized sequels to Islandia, three of them, all written by Mark Saxton, the man who edited the original Islandia manuscript. They are, in this order, The Islar, Islandia Today – A Narrative of Lang III, The Two Kingdoms and Havoc in Islandia. Sylvia Wright, Wright’s daughter and the executrix of the estate, died shortly before the third Saxton book was completed. Mark Saxton himself died in 1988, so it’s not really likely that we will see any additional Islandia novels. (Died 1987.)
- Born August 19, 1930 — D.G. Compton, 93. SWFA Author Emeritus whose The Steel Crocodile was nominated for the Nebula Award. The Unsleeping Eye, The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe in the U.K., was filmed as Death Watch which the Audience Reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes actually like giving it a 60% rating. His two Alec Jordan near-future police stories are superb. Nearly everything he wrote of a genre nature is available from the usual digital suspects save Hot Wireless Sets, Aspirin Tablets, the Sandpaper Sides of Used Matchboxes, and Something That Might Have Been Castor Oil.
- Born August 19, 1938 — Diana Muldaur, 85. She appeared in the original series in two episodes, first in “Return to Tomorrow” as Dr. Ann Mulhall / Thalassa and then in “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” as Dr. Miranda Jones. She, of course, is up again in Next Gen as Dr. Katherine Pulaski. She voiced Dr. Leslie Thompkins in that animated Batman series as well.
- Born August 19, 1940 — Jill St. John, 83. She’s best remembered as Tiffany Case, the Bond girl in Diamonds Are Forever. She was the first American to play a Bond girl. She shows in The Batman in “Smack in the Middle” and “Hi Diddle Riddle” as Molly. And she played Jennifer Holmes in the 1960 film version of The Lost World. Even more fascinatingly she’s one of the uncredited dancers on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In!
- Born August 19, 1950 — Mary Doria Russell, 73. The Sparrow series, The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God, are awesome. The Sparrow won BSFA, Clarke, and Otherwise Awards, and it was the reason she won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
- Born August 19, 1952 — Jonathan Frakes, 71. Best known for his portrayal of Commander William T. Riker in Next Gen and I’m fond of his voicing David Xanatos on the Gargoyles series which had at least five Trek actors doing voice work. Interesting bit of trivia: For a time in the Seventies, he worked for Marvel Comics at Cons as Captain America. He has directed more than seventy television episodes, including episodes of myriad Trek series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Leverage, The Librarians and The Orville.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal does meat cute.
(9) FLASH ARRIVES ON THE SMALL SCREEN. “‘The Flash’ Movie Gets Streaming Premiere Date On Max” reports Deadline.
The film, in which Miller reprised his role as Barry Allen in the superhero’s first stand-alone pic, was highly touted by incoming DC bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran, but it saw a sluggish bow in theaters. It opened to $55.1 million over its first three days domestically, and $64M over the Juneteenth holiday frame. Along with a similarly tepid performance overseas, all those numbers were below expectations for a DC tentpole with a budget of $200M….
…The plot of Christina Hodson’s script: Worlds collide when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, he becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation, and there are no superheroes to turn to. That is, unless Barry can coax a very different Batman out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian… albeit not the one he’s looking for….
(10) IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND THERE LIVED A…? The Case of Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose featuring the voice of Neil Gaiman comes to George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in September. Swing by if you’re in Santa Fe.
In 1935, Hungarian-American para-psychologist Nandor Fodor began his investigation of a strange occurrence on the Isle of Man. An average British family, the Irvings, claimed to have been contacted by a mysterious entity at their farm. A talking mongoose. Named Gef (Pronounced “Jeff”.)
(11) THE FAMILY BUSINESS: MONSTERS. “Godzilla Returns in Apple TV+’s ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ First Look” at Animation World Network.
…In the series, following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters tracks two siblings who follow in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later, where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows. The dramatic saga — spanning three generations — reveals buried secrets and the ways that epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives….
(12) MILLIONS OF ‘EM MISTER RICO! Vulture grades these as being “The 12 Best Bug Movies”. Guess which movie isn’t on the list? (But you’re not surprised, right?)
…Be terrorized by a giant Japanese moth! Fight back against a race of intelligent ants! Travel across the sea in a giant stone fruit! Turn on your porch lights, open your door, and welcome them inside. They’ll get in anyway….
(13) SIX LEGS GOOD? The Vulture article had to come first because Scientific American’s answer to the question “Do Insects Feel Joy and Pain?” would be too hard an act to follow.
…Researchers have since shown that bees and some other insects are capable of intelligent behavior that no one thought possible when I was a student. Bees, for example, can count, grasp concepts of sameness and difference, learn complex tasks by observing others, and know their own individual body dimensions, a capacity associated with consciousness in humans. They also appear to experience both pleasure and pain. In other words, it now looks like at least some species of insects—and maybe all of them—are sentient.
These discoveries raise fascinating questions about the origins of complex cognition. They also have far-reaching ethical implications for how we should treat insects in the laboratory and in the wild.
… The conventional wisdom about insects has been that they are automatons—unthinking, unfeeling creatures whose behavior is entirely hardwired. But in the 1990s researchers began making startling discoveries about insect minds. It’s not just the bees. Some species of wasps recognize their nest mates’ faces and acquire impressive social skills. For example, they can infer the fighting strengths of other wasps relative to their own just by watching other wasps fight among themselves. Ants rescue nest mates buried under rubble, digging away only over trapped (and thus invisible) body parts, inferring the body dimension from those parts that are visible above the surface. Flies immersed in virtual reality display attention and awareness of the passing of time….
(14) AN EVERGREEN. OR MAYBE EVERPURPLE. I couldn’t resist quoting this one. Neither could Alan.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Lise Andreasen, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]