(1) CLARKE CENTER. Here are two of the most interesting videos posted by
The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination in the past several months.
- Freeman Dyson and Gregory Benford: Forseeing the Next 35 Years—Where Will We Be in 2054?
35 years after George Orwell wrote the prescient novel 1984, Isaac Asimov looked ahead another 35 years to 2019 to predict the future of nuclear war, computerization, and the utilization of space. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego were honored to welcome two living luminaries in the fields of physics and futurism—Freeman Dyson and Gregory Benford (Ph.D. ’67)—to peer ahead another 35 years, to 2054, and share their insights into what may be in store for us.
- An Evening with Cixin Liu and John Scalzi at the Clarke Center
Cixin Liu, China’s most beloved science fiction writer—and one of the most important voices of the 21st century—joins celebrated American science fiction writer John Scalzi at the Clarke Center to discuss their work and the power of speculative worldbuilding.
(2) COOKIE MONSTERS? Food & Wine squees “‘Game of Thrones’ Oreos Are Coming…”
If Game of Thrones Oreos are just normal Oreos in a GoT package, hopefully it’s not a sign of things to come. The final season of Game of Thrones is one of the most highly-anticipated seasons of television ever, not just because it’s the final season, but also because it’s slated to reveal details of the sixth book in the series which fans have been waiting for nearly eight years. Expectations are ridiculously high — meaning HBO better deliver something better than the television equivalent of regular Oreos, even if regular Oreos are delicious.
(3) REASONS TO ATTEND THE NEBULAS. SFWA gives you ten of them. Thread starts here.
(4) APOLOGY. FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction’s Executive Editors Troy Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders have issued “An Apology” for publishing two collections of stories from FIYAH without first obtaining the rights to reprint them.
We messed up.
Earlier in the month, we released two collected volumes of fiction and poetry: our FIYAH Year One collection and our FIYAH Year Two collection. We were very excited to get these collected editions out to the public, and in our haste, we did not secure the rights to collect or republish those stories. By doing this, we have disrespected our authors and their work, and not acted in service to our stated mission of empowering Black writers.
We deeply apologize to our contributors and to our readers for this oversight. Unfortunately, several copies of the collected volumes have already been purchased before we were informed about our mistake. We can’t take those purchased issues back, so here’s what we will do instead:
* We have removed the collected issues from Amazon
* We sent an apology to contributors taking full responsibility for our error
* We are splitting the proceeds from the already purchased copies of the collection among all of our Year One and Year Two contributors.
We know that this doesn’t begin to cover the damage we’ve done to authors, but we will continue to improve our accountability measures and internal processes. We are also going to be seeking legal counsel to help us make sure that our contracts are fair to both us and our contributors.
Again, we are so sorry that this happened. We promise to do much better going forth.
(5) WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN. Denmark’s Fantasticon 2019 has adopted Afrofuturism as its theme. They’ve got some great guests. The convention’s publicity poster is shown below:
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born February 25, 1909 — Edgar Pangborn. For the first twenty years of his career, he wrote myriad stories for the pulp magazines, but always under pseudonyms. It wasn’t until the Fifties that he published in his own name in Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Ursula Le Guin has credited him with her is was possible to write humanly emotional stories in an SF setting. (Died 1976.)
- Born February 25, 1917 — Anthony Burgess. I know I’ve seen and read A Clockwork Orange many, many years ago. I think I even took a University class on it as well. Scary book, weird film. I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with the Enderby series having not encountered them before now. Opinions please. (Died 1993.)
- Born February 25, 1964 — Lee Evans, 55. He’s in The History of Mr Polly as Alfred Polly which is based on a 1910 comic novel by H. G. Wells. No, not genre, but sort of adjacent genre as some of you are fondly saying.
- Born February 25, 1968 — A. M. Dellamonica, 51. A Canadian writer who has published over forty rather brilliant short since the Eighties. Her first novel, Indigo Springs, came out just a decade ago but she now has five novels published with her latest being The Nature of a Pirate. Her story, “Cooking Creole” can be heard here at Podcastle 562. It was in Mojo: Conjure Stories, edited by Nalo Hopkinson.
- Born February 25, 1971 — Sean Astin,48. His genre roles include Samwise Gamgee in Rings trilogy (, Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, and Bob Newby in the second season of Stranger Things. He also shows up in Justice League: War and in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis filmsvoicing both aspects of Shazam, a difficult role to pull off. He prises that role on the Justice League Action series.
- Born February 25, 1973 — Anson Mount, 46. He was Black Bolt in Marvel’s Inhumans series. He now has a recurring role as Captain Christopher Pike on the current season of Discovery. I see he was in Visions, a horror film, and has had appearances on Lost, Dollhouse and Smallville.
- Born February 25, 1994 — Urvashi Rautela, 25. An Indian film actress and model who appears in Bollywood films. She has a Birthday here because she appears in Porobashinee, the first SF film in Bangladesh. Here’s an archived link to the film’s home page.
(7) THE POWER OF COMMUNITY. A sweet story in the Washington Post: “A bookstore owner was in the hospital. So his competitors came and kept his shop open.”
Hearing that your husband needs immediate open-heart surgery is terrifying, especially when he’s been healthy his whole life.
When Jennifer Powell heard the sudden news about her husband, Seth Marko, 43, she spun into action. First, she found care for their 3-year-old daughter, Josephine, so she could be at the hospital for her husband’s 10-hour surgery.
Then Powell’s mind went to their “second kid” — the Book Catapult — the small independent bookstore the couple owns and runs in San Diego. Their only employee had the swine flu and would be out for at least a week.
Powell, 40, closed the store to be with her husband in the hospital. She didn’t know for how long….
(8) BATTING AVERAGE. This bookstore had a little visitor. Thread starts here.
(9) SFF IN TRANSLATION. In the Washington Post, Paul Di Filippo reviews Roberto Bolaño’s The Spirit of Science Fiction, which was translated by Natasha Wimmer: “Roberto Bolaño’s popularity surged after his death. What does a ‘new’ book do for his legacy?”
Alternately confused and clearsighted, utopian and nihilistic, Jan and Remo live the archetypal bohemian life in Mexico City, occupying squalid digs and barely getting by. Jan is 17 and more visionary and less practical than Remo, 21. Jan seldom leaves their apartment, preferring to spend his time writing letters to American science-fiction authors: James Tiptree, Jr., Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Silverberg, Philip Jose Farmer. Remo brings in some paltry cash as a journalist…
…Jan’s passion for pulp is front and center, bringing to mind Kurt Vonnegut’s SF-loving protagonist Eliot Rosewater. Jan’s letters to his sf heroes are basically a plea to be recognized, a demand that this medium–at the time seen, rightly or wrongly, as a quintessentially Anglo domain–open its gates to other cultures, other countries. Jan’s solidarity with his distant American mentors and their visions is al one-way. He adores them, but they do not know he exists, The ache to remedy this unrequited love affair is palpable.
(10) ABOUT THOSE NEBULAS. At Nerds of a Feather “Adri and Joe Talk About Books: 2018 Nebula Award Finalists”, and shed light on the new Best Game Writing category.
[Joe Sherry]: The point of that is that I look at the game writing category and think “I’ve heard of God of War, didn’t realize Bandersnatch was actually a *game* and have no idea what the three Choice of Games finalists are”. It turns out they are fully text based, 150,000+ word interactive adventures that can be played on browser or your phone. I’ll probably pick up one of them and see how I like it (likely the Kate Heartfied, because her Nebula finalist novella Alice Payne Arrives is bloody fantastic.)
I was surprised to see Bandersnatch a finalist for “game writing”, though. I don’t want to get sued, but I’ve thought of it more akin to the Choose Your Own Adventure books many of us grew up on. Despite the branching path narrative, those were books. Not games. Now, part of why I think of Bandersnatch just as a movie is the medium in which it is presented. Streaming on Netflix equals television or movie in my brain. Branching narrative paths doesn’t change that for me. I haven’t watched Bandersnatch, so I’m staying very high level with what I’m willing to read about it, but I know Abigail Nussbaum has compared Bandersnatch more to a game than a movie and obviously she’s not alone in that opinion if it’s up for the Game Writing Nebula. But much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books, you’re watching the movie and then occasionally making choices. You’re not “playing” the game.
(11) SIDEBAR. Jon Del Arroz, in “Despite The Alt-Left Trolling, My Lawsuit Against Worldcon is Going Forward” [Internet Archive link], says this is why Worldcon 76’s Anti-SLAPP motion failed.
The judge threw out their argument, because it was absurd. It also didn’t even address the “racist bully” defamatory claim they made. It’s sad to watch because anything, I’ve been the victim of racism from the extreme left science fiction establishment. It’s my opinion that this predominantly white group targets me in particular because I’m a minority that won’t toe the line. There’s a lot of psychology to this I’ll have to go into at another time, but a lot of the way the left acts treats minorities like we’re inferior (or, racism as it’s commonly referred to) and we can’t make decisions for ourselves. I oppose this and all forms of racism and it’s a large reason as to why I speak out.
Their entire case appears to be that I’m mean online (which doesn’t impact a convention at all), and therefore should be banned, which has nothing to do with their defamatory statement regarding racism. Our response on that front said there were plenty of extreme leftists who are mean online, they were invited, clearly showing the double standard they enacted against me because of right wing politics. When we reach The Unruh Act appeal process, this will be important.
The last line implies he plans to appeal one or more rulings that went against him. We’ll see.
(12) NEBULA NOMINEE REPLIES. 2019 Nebula nominee Amy (A.K.) DuBoff (A Light in the Dark) responded to Camestros Felapton’s post “Just an additional note on the 20booksto50K Nebula not-a-slate” in a comment:
…Jonathan Brazee cleared the posting of the reading list with SFWA beforehand, so there was nothing underhanded at play. It’s a reading list, and members nominated (or didn’t) the works they read and enjoyed.
Indies have been part of SFWA’s membership for several years now, so it’s not surprising that there is now more representation at awards. I’ve interacted with many SFWA members on the forums and at conventions, so I’m not an unknown in writerly circles. Many authors don’t go indie because we couldn’t get a trad deal; we chose to self-publish because of the flexibility and income potential it affords. I am very excited to be an author during this time with so many possibilities.
Thank you for the opportunity to chime in on the discussion! I’m going to go back to writing my next book now :-).
(13) HOW MANY BOOKS A MONTH. Sharon Lee has some interesting comments about the #CopyPasteCris kerfuffle on Facebook. The best ones follow this excerpt.
…Unfortunately, said “writer” was not very generous to her ghosts, and. . .well, with one thing and another, said “writer’s” books, in said “writer’s” own words were found to “have plagiarism.”
(I love, love, love this quote. It’s, like, her books caught the flu or some other disease that was Completely Outside of the said “writer’s” ability to foresee or prevent. Also, she apparently doesn’t even read her “own” books.)
Anyhow, the Internet of Authors and the Subinternet of Romance Authors went mildly nuts, as is right and proper, and since none of said “writer’s” books appear to “have plagiarism” from our/my work, I’ve merely been a viewer from the sidelines…
(14) PIRACY. Meanwhile, Jeremiah Tolbert received some demoralizing news about other shenanigans on Amazon.
(15) BLACK PANTHER HONORED. BBC reports: “Oscars 2019: Black Panther winners make Academy Awards history”.
Two Black Panther crew members made Oscar history by becoming the first black winners in their categories.
Ruth Carter scooped the costume design trophy, and Hannah Beachler shared the production design prize with Jay Hart.
“This has been a long time coming,” Carter said in her speech. “Marvel may have created the first black superhero but through costume design we turned him into an African king.”
Fellow Oscar winner Halle Berry was one of the first to congratulate her.
(16) PWNED. BBC revealed Trevor Noah’s Oscar night joke:
Trevor Noah used Sunday’s Oscars ceremony as a chance to poke fun at people who think Wakanda, the fictional African homeland of Black Panther, is a real place.
While presenting the film’s nomination for Best Picture, the South African comedian said solemnly:
“Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T’Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase.
“He says: ‘Abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka’, which means: ‘In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.”
But that’s not what that phrase actually means.
The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani says the true translation into English is: “White people don’t know that I’m lying”. His joke, which was of course lost on the Academy Awards’ audience in Hollywood, tickled Xhosa speakers on social media.
(17) TO BE, OR NOT TO BE… [Item by Mike Kennedy.] …super, that is. In a clip from a new documentary, Stan Lee opines on what it take to be a superhero—but others disagree (SYFY Wire: “Exclusive: Stan Lee on Flash Gordon’s superhero status in Life After Flash documentary”).
The new documentary, Life After Flash, casts a wide net in terms of looking at the classic character of Flash Gordon, the 1980 big screen rendition, the questions about a sequel, and the life of its star, Sam J. Jones.
When creator Alex Raymond first published Flash Gordon in 1937, his square-jawed hero was a star polo player. For the film, he was the quarterback of the New York Jets. But in every iteration of the character, he was just a man… with a man’s courage.
In this new exclusive clip, the late Stan Lee discusses whether or not Flash Gordon counts as a ‘superhero,’ since he has no traditional superpowers.
(18) KNOCK IT OFF! Superheroes gotta stick together (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice notwithstanding). SYFY Wire has the story—”Shazam! star Zachary Levi fires back at internet trolls attacking Captain Marvel.” This is the kind of DC/Marvel crossover we could use more of.
Surprising no one in the history of anything ever, there’s an angry contingent of “fans” upset over a Marvel movie with a woman in the leading role coming out. Or, they’re upset that said star of that movie championed and pushed for more diversity in film journalism.
Whatever the reason, these people are throwing a massive online hissy fit, taking to review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes to make Captain Marvel’s “want to see” rating the lowest in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
[…] Whatever the cause for the online trolling, one man (a hero, or quite possibly, a reasonable adult) is telling all these upset dudes: Knock it off!
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Kitbull on Youtube is a Pixar film by Rosana Sullivan about the friendship between a feral cat and an abused pit bull.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Nancy Sauer, Gregory Benford, James Davis Nicoll, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]