(1) OSCARS IN MEMORIAM VIDEO. The 95th Oscars In Memoriam tribute aired last night included Albert Brenner, Robbie Coltrane, Kirstie Alley, Gregory Jein, Christopher Tucker, Nichelle Nichols, Clayton Pinney, Angela Lansbury, Wolfgang Petersen, Carl Bell, James Caan, and Raquel Welch, and doubtless many more who worked on genre films at some time in their careers.
(2) THEY’LL MEET AGAIN. “Ke Huy Quan, Harrison Ford get Indiana Jones reunion at Oscars”. “Indy and Short Round were together again on Hollywood’s biggest night. How could you not cry?” asks Entertainment Weekly. Photos at the link.
… Meanwhile, both Quan and Ford are set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the near future, with Quan playing an as-yet-undisclosed role in Loki season 2 and Ford taking over the role of General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts. That means there’s a possibility viewers could see them together on screen again.
“It would be freakin’ awesome if we get to do one scene together,” Quan told EW about the possibility….
(3) LE GUIN REVISIONS. Speaking of changing the texts of authors who are late: Theo Downes-Le Guin explains “Why I Decided to Update the Language in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Children’s Books” at Literary Hub.
In a 1973 letter to the editor of The Horn Book Magazine, my mother, Ursula K. Le Guin, took Roald Dahl’s books to task. While acknowledging her own “feelings of unease” about Dahl’s work, she remarked that “…kids are very tough. What they find for themselves they should be able to read for themselves.” I had this in mind as I read about wording changes in new editions of Dahl.
As Ursula’s literary executor, I recently faced a similar decision. My mother, known for her young adult and adult novels, also wrote several children’s books. A multigenerational fan base has kept her Catwings books in print in the US since the 1980s. I was excited to move the books to a new publisher last year.
As we began work on the new editions, I received an unexpected note from the editor: “I’m writing to propose several minor changes to the language… to remove words that now have a different connotation than when the books were originally published.” The words in question were “lame,” “queer,” “dumb,” and “stupid,” a total of seven instances across three books.
… After deep breaths, and with Ursula’s own revisionism in mind, I contacted a disability rights attorney, a youth literature consultant, a racial educator, and some kids. My advisory group leaned toward change but was not in consensus. I genuinely didn’t know what my mother would have decided. But she left me a clue: a note over her desk asking, “Is it true? Is it necessary or at least useful? Is it compassionate or at least unharmful?”…
(4) SMALL WONDER POSTS STORIES. The Small Wonders Magazine: Year One Kickstarter has reached the half-funded point (of their $16,500 goal). Therefore, this week they’re releasing new pieces on the schedule they will follow when the flash fiction and poetry magazine commences publishing.
Monday they published Wendy Nikel’s new story, “The Watching Astronaut”. Wednesday they will publish “The Empress Chides the Hermit,” a new poem from Ali Trotta, and Friday they will release Charles Payseur’s “A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting.”
(5) HORROR WRITER’S GENESIS. With “Women in Horror: Interview with Jo Kaplan”, the Horror Writers Association blog continues its theme for March.
What inspired you to start writing?
When I was a child of the ‘90s, I was obsessed with the Goosebumps books—and before I even really knew how to write, I wanted to make my own stories emulating them. So, at about six years old, I would create my own versions of Goosebumps by coming up with a title for a story, drawing a cover, and then scribbling over a bunch of paper in imitation of writing. Then I would staple it all together into a book and “read” it to people—but since it was just scribbles, I would make up the story anew each time. I guess this was my proto-writing phase, because the itch to tell stories has never left me.
(6) ATWOOD ON BBC RADIO. This weekend’s Open Book on BBC Radio 4 features Margret Atwood.
She has a new collection of shorts out that includes an article she did for Inque magazine imagining her interviews George Orwell. She also spoke to the importance of writers supporting young reader as without young readers there will be no old readers.
Johny Pitts talks to the giant of contemporary literature Margaret Atwood about returning to short fiction following the death of her husband Graeme, imagining the future and what she would say to George Orwell.
(7) RACHEL POLLACK. There was a premature report in social media that Rachel Pollack had died, however, she was still alive today. Carrie Loveland posted this status on Facebook and asked that it be shared.
…Spoke to Rachel Pollack’s wife, Judith Zoe Matoff, just now and she asked me to please post on her behalf that RACHEL IS STILL ALIVE. I think Neil Gaiman’s social media post yesterday caused some confusion and some people have misinterpreted it. Zoe said that she is “transitioning,” but she is still alive in home hospice….
(8) SUZY MCKEE CHARNAS. The passing of author Suzy McKee Charnas in January was reported by media at the time. However, you might be interested in the extended obituary notice published today in “Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 13, 2023”.
… “Suzy, to me, was a lot like David Bowie,” said Jane Lindskold, a science fiction and fantasy writer who knew Charnas from a writers’ group in Albuquerque, N.Mex. “She followed her own muse. She could have just written only vampire books, but she did what she wanted to do.”…
(9) SANDRA LEVY OBITUARY. Longtime Windycon attendee and volunteer Sandy Levy died this morning from ALS Steven H Silver reported on Facebook.
Sandy was also involved in Capricon and the two most recent Chicons, as well as other conventions.
In 2019, when Sandy retired from her job as a librarian at the University of Chicago, a commemorative book of articles was published in her honor. [“In Honor of Sandra Levy: festschrift”.]
The Chicon 8 Facebook page invited people to post their memories. Chair Helen Montgomery wrote:
Sandy was one of the best people. She had been involved with Chicago fandom for a very long time. She was on the Bid Committees for both Chicon 7 and Chicon 8. She was so generous with her time and such an important part of our team. Many of you would have spoken to her at our fan tables or parties.
She loved working the Info Desk – everyone got to stop by and say hi to her, and she loved welcoming new fans to the community at conventions. She was Chicon 8’s pre-con Info Desk person, responding to many of your emailed questions until her ALS reached the point where she could no longer do so.
She was not able to attend Chicon 8, but I (Helen) got to go see her two weeks later. We hung out in the garden of her apartment building, and I was able to present her Hero of the Convention medal to her in person, and I am so glad I could do that.
She was a warm, funny, smart, and joyous person. I/We have no words to express how much she will be missed.
(10) MEMORY LANE.
2016 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Our Beginning this Scroll is Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station which was published seven years ago by Tachyon. It won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award as well as the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award and the Xingyun Award.
I’ve really enjoyed pretty much everything Tidhar has done with the Bookman series with its riff with an alternate Britain being my favorite and the Unholy Land with its take on a Jewish home land that never was being absolutely fascinating.
Central Station, without giving away anything that’s not in the Beginning, is well-worth your time to read if you like SF set in a believable future that’s both familiar and alien at the same time.
Oh, and it has a sequel in Neom which is also published by Tachyon. It too is brilliantly executed.
So now our Beginning…
I came first to Central Station on a day in winter. African refugees sat on the green, expressionless. They were waiting, but for what, I didn’t know. Outside a butchery, two Filipino children played at being airplanes: arms spread wide they zoomed and circled, firing from imaginary under-wing machine guns. Behind the butcher’s counter, a Filipino man was hitting a ribcage with his cleaver, separating meat and bones into individual chops. A little farther from it stood the Rosh Ha’ir shawarma stand, twice blown up by suicide bombers in the past but open for business as usual. The smell of lamb fat and cumin wafted across the noisy street and made me hungry.
Traffic lights blinked green, yellow, and red. Across the road a furniture store sprawled out onto the pavement in a profusion of garish sofas and chairs. A small gaggle of junkies sat on the burnt foundations of what had been the old bus station, chatting. I wore dark shades. The sun was high in the sky and though it was cold it was a Mediterranean winter, bright and at that moment dry.
I walked down the Neve Sha’anan pedestrian street. I found shelter in a small shebeen, a few wooden tables and chairs, a small counter serving Maccabee Beer and little else. A Nigerian man behind the counter regarded me without expression. I asked for a beer. I sat down and brought out my notebook and a pen and stared at the page.
Central Station, Tel Aviv. The present. Or a present. Another attack on Gaza, elections coming up, down south in the Arava desert they were building a massive separation wall to stop the refugees from coming in. The refugees were in Tel Aviv now, centred around the old bus station neighbourhood in the south of the city, some quarter million of them and the economic migrants here on sufferance, the Thai and Filipinos and Chinese. I sipped my beer. It was bad. I stared at the page. Rain fell.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born March 13, 1931 — Richard Lawrence Purtill. He’s here as the author of Murdercon, a 1982 novel where a murder is discovered at a SF Convention. I’ve not heard of it but was wondering if y’all had heard of this work. (Died 2016.)
- Born March 13, 1950 — William H. Macy Jr., 73. I’ll start his Birthday note by recalling that he was in the superb Pleasantville as George Parker. He’s shown up in a lot of genre works including but limited to Somewhere in Time, Evolver, The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, The Night of the Headless Horseman, Jurassic Park III, Sahara and The Tale of Despereaux.
- Born March 13, 1951 — William F. Wu, 72. Nominated for two Hugos, the first being at L.A. Con II for his short story, “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium”; the second two years later at ConFederation for another short story, “Hong’s Bluff”. The former work was adapted into a Twilight Zone episode of the same name. He’s contributed more than once to the Wild Card universe, the latest being a story in the most excellent Texas Hold’Em anthology five years back. Though definitely not genre in general, The Yellow Peril: Chinese Americans in American Fiction, 1850-1940 is decidedly worth reading.
- Born March 13, 1956 — Dana Delany, 67. I’ve come today to praise her work as a voice actress. She was in a number of DCU animated films, first as Andrea Beaumont in Batman: The Mask of The Phantasm, then as Lois Lane in Superman: The Animated Series, Superman: Brainiac Attacks and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. (That’s not a complete listing.) Remember that Wing Commander film? Well there was an animated series, Wing Commander Academy, in which she was Gwen Archer Bowman.
- Born March 13, 1966 — Alastair Reynolds, 57. As depressing as they are given what they lead up to, the Prefect Dreyfus novels are my favorite novels by him. (The third is out this autumn.) That said, Chasm City is fascinating. His next novel in the Revelation Space series, Inhibitor Phase, came out in 2022.
- Born March 13, 1967 — Lou Anders, 56. A Hugo-winning editor. He’s has been editorial director of Prometheus Books’ SF imprint Pyr since its launch fifteen years ago. He’s a crack editor of anthologies. I’ve very fond of his Live Without a Net, Sideways in Time and FutureShocks anthologies. I note that he has a fantasy trilogy, Thrones and Bones, but I’ve not heard of it til now.
- Born March 13, 1968 — Jen Gunnels, 55. Writer and genre theater critic, the latter a rare thing indeed. She does her reviews for Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction and New York Review of Science Fiction. With Erin Underwood, she has edited Geek Theater: Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Plays.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- Barney & Clyde shows elementary school students with mature literary opinions.
(13) VI SCREAM, YOU SCREAM. The Hollywood Reporter checked the bottom line and learned, “Scream VI scared up a franchise-best $44.5 million opening from 3,675 theaters at the domestic box office, easily enough to win Oscar weekend.”
(14) VONNEGUT AS FICTIONAL CHARACTER. Variety has learned “Oscar Isaac in Talks to Play Kurt Vonnegut in Amazon’s ‘Helltown’”.
According to the logline, the hour-long, 8-episode crime thriller follows the life of Kurt Vonnegut before he became known to the world as a renowned author. Per Amazon, “In 1969 Kurt was a struggling novelist and car salesman living life with his wife and five children on Cape Cod. When two women disappear and are later discovered murdered underneath the sand dunes on the outskirts of Provincetown, Kurt becomes obsessed and embroiled in the chilling hunt for a serial killer and forms a dangerous bond with the prime suspect.”
Based on the book of the same name written by Casey Sherman, the series comes from “Severance” co-EP Mohamad El Masri, who will also serve as showrunner and writer. “All Quiet on the Western Front” director Ed Berger will helm the series and executive produce….
(15) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. From Fox News: “Giant blob of seaweed twice the width of US taking aim at Florida, scientists say (msn.com) Yes, but is it a howling giant blob of seaweed, pace “Cordwainer Bird’s” script for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea?
Drifting between the Atlantic coast of Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, the thick mat of algae can provide a habitat for marine life and absorb carbon dioxide.
However, the giant bloom can have disastrous consequences as it gets closer to the shore. Coral, for instance, can be deprived of sunlight. As the seaweed decomposes it can release hydrogen sulfide, negatively impact the air and water and causing respiratory problems for people in the surrounding area.
“What we’re seeing in the satellite imagery does not bode well for a clean beach year,” Brian LaPointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute told NBC News….
(16) FLATIRON GOING UNDER THE HAMMER. “The famous Flatiron Building to go up for auction” reports MSN.com. It formerly housed Tor’s editorial offices before the publisher moved out several years ago.
As the result of an ongoing disagreement among the current owners of an iconic Manhattan building, the property will soon be available to the highest bidder.
The 121-year-old Flatiron Building, which is currently empty, will hit the auction block in what is known as a partition sale on March 22 — stemming from a ruling in the contentious legal fight between its multiple landlords.
In January, a New York state judge issued an order allowing the auction to move forward following a 2021 suit by Sorgente Group, Jeffrey Gural’s GFP Real Estate and ABS Real Estate Partners, who together own 75% of the building, the Real Deal first reported.
The co-owners sued after reaching a stalemate with Nathan Silverstein, who owns 25% of the steel-framed 175 Fifth Ave. building, which was completed in 1902 and is the namesake for the surrounding neighborhood….
(17) RANDALL MUNROE ON RADIO. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The Museum of Curiosity on BBC Radio 4 this weekend featured the Hugo Award winner Randall Munroe. He said that one of the most interesting questions he’d been asked is what would happen if the Solar System was filled up with soup to the orbit of Jupiter. (The answer, of course, is the formation of a black hole.) “The Museum of Curiosity, Series 17, Episode 3”.
(18) IT’S THE WATER – AND A LOT MORE. The Little Mermaid comes to theatres on May 26.
“The Little Mermaid” is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Someone has said that RRR is “alternate history” — not that an excuse is really needed to post this Oscar-winning song:
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Joyce Scrivner, Jayn, Stephen Granade, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day MF.]