(1) BLACK MIRROR CREATOR. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show yesterday was devoted to Charlie Brooker. You can download the episode here.
Brooker in SF terms is best known for being the writer behind the Black Mirror whose first two seasons were on Britain’s publicly-owned but self-financed Channel 4 before it migrated behind Netflix’s pay wall. (Netflix could afford the show a bigger budget.)
Charlie Brooker is one of the most influential satirists working today. Having started out as a cartoonist, his razor sharp writing on culture and the media made his TV columns for The Guardian, begun in 2000, essential reading for many. It wasn’t long until his acerbic and frequently absurd world view found a home on BBC Four in the form of the TV review show, Screenwipe. He’s also behind acclaimed comedies like Nathan Barley. But he’s found global fame with the series Black Mirror, which has entered the lexicon for a singular form of technology-enhanced dread. In the week that the new season launches, Charlie Brooker joins</I> The Media Show <I>to look back at his career.
(2) WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION. The 2023 winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction is Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead, which despite the thrilling sound of its title is a non-genre work.
(3) 2023 KAYMAR AWARDS. The National Fantasy Fan Federation has named Will Mayo and Justin E. A. Busch the winners of the 2023 Kaymar Awards. Each is a posthumous award, a first for the N3F.
The Kaymar Award recipient is selected by a committee consisting of previous winners who are still in the N3F, from nominations submitted by members.
The award, unlike many other awards in fandom, can be awarded only once. It is not given for talent or for popularity, but for work — work for the benefit of the club and its members. The award is a memorial to K. Martin Carlson [1904-1986], who originated, maintained, and financed it for 25 years. Carlson was a long-time N3F member who held many positions in the club, including club Historian. He went by the fan name of Kaymar.
(4) ELIO. Here’s a teaser for next year’s Pixar release, Elio.
Disney and Pixar’s 28th feature film is “Elio”. Jameela Jamil and Brad Garrett join previously announced America Ferrera and Yonas Kibreab in the intergalactic misadventure that is scheduled to take off next spring—March 1, 2024. For centuries, people have called out to the universe looking for answers—in Disney and Pixar’s all-new movie “Elio,” the universe calls back! The original feature film introduces Elio, an underdog with an active imagination who finds himself inadvertently beamed up to the Communiverse, an interplanetary organization with representatives from galaxies far and wide. Mistakenly identified as Earth’s ambassador to the rest of the universe, and completely unprepared for that kind of pressure, Elio must form new bonds with eccentric alien lifeforms, survive a series of formidable trials and somehow discover who he is truly meant to be.
(5) UPLIFTER. Steven Barnes showed Facebook readers his latest recognition, The Uplifter Ghost of Honor Award.
(6) ANOTHER COMPANION. “Doctor Who’ Casts BAFTA-Winner Lenny Rush As Morris” reports Deadline.
Rush, 14, won Best Male Performance for Daisy May Cooper’s Am I Being Unreasonable? last month. He has previously appeared in shows including A Christmas Carol and Dodger.
Showrunner Russell T Davies said: “This is what Doctor Who‘s all about, brand new talent from the next generation, and no one’s more talented than Lenny. He joins the TARDIS team just in time for the Doctor’s greatest nightmare, so hold on tight.”
(7) IT’S A GAS. [Item by Steven French.] “Blending science and the supernatural, high art and gothic horror, Hamad Butt made work that was literally dangerous, in one case sparking fears of a gas leak. He is one of the stars of Tate Britain’s rehang”. “’Dicing with death’: the lethal, terrifying art of Hamad Butt – and the evacuation it once caused” in the Guardian.
But where’s the genre interest, you ask? The work being showcased at the art gallery is Transmission which features a circle of glass books displaying etchings of John Wyndham’s triffids.
…One particularly exciting addition is the little-known Pakistani-born artist Hamad Butt, whose striking 1990 installation Transmission has been given a whole room.
Created at the height of the Aids epidemic in Europe and the US, Transmission evokes multiple terrors. Donning safety goggles at the entrance, you encounter a darkened space with nine open glass books, lit by UV lamps, arranged in a circle on the floor as if for some cabalistic ritual. Through the eerie glow, an etching looms on each book of a triffid, the giant carnivorous plants that overrun Earth after a blinding meteor shower in John Wyndham’s 1951 sci-fi novel The Day of the Triffids. On the wall, nine cryptic statements pronounce things like: “We have the eruption of the Triffid that obscures sex with death” and “We have the blindness of fear and the books of fear”. The piece explores fears of the foreign invader, of deadly desire (through the distinctly phallic-looking triffid), of literal blindness as well as blind faith, the open tomes recalling a madrasa or a witch’s coven….
(8) ROBERT GOTTLIEB (1931-2023). Robert Gottlieb, an influential editor who worked at Simon & Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf and The New Yorker during his career, died June 14 reports the New York Times. He was 92. He edited many successful books “by, among many others, John le Carré, Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Joseph Heller, Doris Lessing and Chaim Potok; science fiction by Michael Crichton and Ray Bradbury; histories by Antonia Fraser and Barbara Tuchman; memoirs by former President Bill Clinton and Katharine Graham, the former publisher of The Washington Post; and works by Jessica Mitford and Anthony Burgess.”
(9) MEMORY LANE.
2001 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
If memory serves me right, the first thing that I read by Kelly Link was something in an early issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet that she and Gavin Grant sent to Green Man of Small Beer Press for review.
They also edited the last four years of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror that Datlow and Windling founded. Same anthology, different tastes under their editorship.
Our Beginning this Scroll comes from the Nebula-winning “Louise’s Ghost” novelette which is in the Stranger Things Happen collection which is where it was originally published twenty-two years ago. The entire collection being her writing is wonderful.
And now for her Beginning here…
Two women and a small child meet in a restaurant. The restaurant is nice—there are windows everywhere. The women have been here before. It’s all that light that makes the food taste so good. The small child—a girl dressed all in green, hairy green sweater, green T-shirt, green corduroys and dirty sneakers with green-black laces—sniffs. She’s a small child but she has a big nose. She might be smelling the food that people are eating. She might be smelling the warm light that lies on top of everything.
None of her greens match except of course they are all green.
“Louise,” one woman says to the other.
“Louise,” the other woman says.
The maitre d’ comes up to them. He says to the first woman, “Louise, how nice to see you. And look at Anna! You’re so big. Last time I saw you, you were so small. This small.” He holds his index finger and his thumb together as if pinching salt. He looks at the other woman.
Louise says, “This is my friend, Louise. My best friend. Since Girl Scout camp. Louise.” The maitre d’ smiles. “Yes, Louise.
Of course. How could I forget?
Louise sits across from Louise. Anna sits between them. She has a notebook full of green paper, and a green crayon. She’s drawing something, only it’s difficult to see what, exactly. Maybe it’s a house.
Louise says, “Sorry about you know who. Teacher’s day. The sitter canceled at the last minute. And I had such a lot to tell you, too! About you know, number eight. Oh boy, I think I’m in love. Well, not in love.”
She is sitting opposite a window, and all that rich soft light falls on her. She looks creamy with happiness, as if she’s carved out of butter. The light loves Louise, the other Louise thinks. Of course it loves Louise. Who doesn’t?
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born June 15, 1942 — Sondra Marshak, 81. Author of multiple Trek novels including The Price of the Phoenix and The Fate of the Phoenix, both co-written with Myrna Culbreath. She also wrote, again with Myrna Culbreath, Shatner: Where No Man …: The Authorized Biography of William Shatner which of course naturally lists Shatner as the third co-author. Finally she’s co-writer with Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and television producer Joan Winston of Star Trek Lives!
- Born June 15, 1947 — David S Garnett, 76. Not to be confused with the David Garnett without an S. Author of the Bikini Planet novels (Stargonauts, Bikini Planet and Space Wasters) which should be taken as seriously as the names suggests. Revived with the blessing of Michael Moorcock a new version of New Worlds as an anthology. Last work was writing Warhammer novels.
- Born June 15, 1960 — William Snow, 63. He is best remembered as Lord John Roxton on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. (Yes, that’s its official title.) He also had the lead as David Grief on the Australian series Tales of the South Seas which had Rachel Blakey from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World as Isabelle Reed. It was definitely genre.
- Born June 15, 1960 — Sabrina Vourvoulias, 63. Thai-born author, an American citizen from birth brought up in Guatemala, but here since her teens. Her novel, Ink, deals with immigrants who are tattooed with biometric implants that are used to keep track of them no matter where they are. I’m assuming that the “Skin in the Game” story which appeared first on Tor.com is set in the future. Fair guess that “The Ways of Walls and Words” which also appeared on Tor.com is also set there.
- Born June 15, 1963 — Mark Morris, 60. English author known for his horror novels, although he has also written several novels based on Doctor Who and Torchwood. Given his horror background, these tend to be darker than many similar novels are, I recommend Forever Autumn and Bay of the Dead if you like a good chill.
- Born June 15, 1973 — Neil Patrick Harris, 50. His first genre role was not Carl Jenkins in Starship Troopers, but rather Billy Johnson in Purple People Eater, an SF comedy best forgotten I suspect. Post-Starship Troopers, I’ve got him voicing Barry Allen / The Flash in Justice League: The New Frontier and Dick Grayson / Nightwing in Batman: Under the Red Hood. He also voiced Peter Parker and his superhero alias in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series. Finally he’s Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events which he also produces.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Eek! reveals something about smartphones and the undead.
- “The Runner” by Jonathan Nevair (with music by Phog Masheeen)
- “The Last AI Editor on Planet Earth” by Toshiya Kamei (with music by Patrick Urn)
(13) DOES SOMEBODY OWE YOU $7.70? From the New York Times: “Google Might Owe You Money. Here’s How to Get It.” “As part of a legal settlement, Google agreed to pay $23 million to users who clicked on a search link from 2006 to 2013. Individual payments are estimated to be less than $8.”
Anyone who clicked on a Google search result link from October 2006 to September 2013 is entitled to a piece — however small — of a $23 million settlement that the tech giant has agreed to pay to resolve a class-action lawsuit.
The settlement’s administrators set up a website for people to submit claims. According to the site, the estimated individual payout stands at $7.70. But that figure can fluctuate based on the number of people who make valid claims.
Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., agreed to the settlement in August. The consolidated class-action lawsuit filed in 2013 accused the company of “storing and intentionally, systematically and repeatedly divulging” users’ search queries and histories to third-party websites and companies….
(14) ROCKS AROUND THE CLOCK. Smithsonian Magazine can help you find “Seven Ways to Explore Space Without Leaving Earth”.
…Just up the road from the Cinder Hills is Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, another astronaut training site. In the early 1970s, commander Gene Cernan and geologist Jack Schmitt trained here before Apollo 17. The mission for this final lunar landing was to find evidence of volcanism on the moon. The two astronauts used the jagged Bonito lava flow, along with surrounding cinder fields and cones, to test equipment and practice geological survey techniques.
In December 1972, Cernan and Schmitt landed in a valley of the Taurus mountain range in the Sea of Serenity. Satellite imagery had suggested these lunar highlands might be volcanic in nature. The pair’s first extravehicular activity—as astronauts call such trips outside their spacecraft—turned up mostly breccias, conglomerate rocks created by the meteorite impacts that actually formed most lunar mountains. But halfway through their second excursion, Schmitt became ecstatic when he spotted something unusual: orange soil. Analysis back on Earth proved the mission a success. They had found remnants of volcanic glass. The eventual theory was that billions of years ago, the moon was a magmatically turbulent place, where lava explosively burst from the low-gravity surface to great heights before raining down as tiny grains of orange glass.
Today, the 3,138-acre Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument offers an excellent way to experience the Arizona landscape that once simulated the lunar environment. A series of short trails allow you to explore some of the volcanic processes that Artemis astronauts may search for when they return to the moon in coming years….
(15) QUANTUM COMPUTER HITS THE MARK. “IBM quantum computer passes calculation milestone” – Nature explains the significance.
‘Benchmark’ experiment suggests quantum computers could have useful real-world applications within two years.
“Four years ago, physicists at Google claimed their quantum computer could outperform classical machines — although only at a niche calculation with no practical applications. Now their counterparts at IBM say they have evidence that quantum computers will soon beat ordinary ones at useful tasks, such as calculating properties of materials or the interactions of elementary particles.”…
(16) WHAT IS A SAFE DISTANCE FROM A SUPERNOVA? [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] You know me… I do worry so. So much so that it is a wonder I get any sleep.
Among many troubling concerns is the end of the world. Now, I have to admit liking the end of the world: it is great fun, but with the firm proviso that is that it is firmly in science fiction. The real deal is the thing that gets me.
So Matt O’Dowd (he’s a physicist but don’t let that put you off) in this week’s PBS Space Time is sort of re-assuring (only sort of) as to one way the world might end… being caught in the blast of a supernova…
(Best make a calming cup of tea before viewing.)
The deaths of massive stars results in one of the most beautiful and violent events in the universe: the supernova. They are so luminous we can see them here on Earth and historical records show that we can even see them into the day. But supernovas release deadly and violent radiation that could destroy our atmosphere. So how far away do these supernova have to be for humanity to be safe? And when will the next supernova occur…
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Cliff, Steven French, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]