(1) WRITER PROMOTIONAL TOOLS MAY BE INTERRUPTED. K. Tempest Bradford draws attention to this news:
(2) HERE’S YOUR CHANCE. Publishers Weekly has put out a “Call for Info: SF, Fantasy & Horror (Adult) “ seeking pitches on sffh themes.
Deadline: Feb. 17. Issue: Apr. 17. For this feature, we’d like to speak with authors about creating non-human characters and cultures—aliens, monsters, A.I., and more. We’re also interested in romantic fantasy, Gothic horror, and class conscious, “eat the rich,” near-future SF. Pitches on other SFFH themes are welcome; please limit these to standalone titles and first-in-series books. Pub dates: Apr.–Sept. Adult books and new titles only, please; no reprints. Submission deadline: Feb. 17. Visit publishersweekly.com/ SFFHspring23 to submit your titles
(3) NOT JUST ANY BOT. Martha Wells guests on the If This Goes On (Don’t Panic) podcast. The next Murderbot book, System Collapse, will be released November 14. See the cover here.
In this episode, Alan and Diane chat with author, Martha Wells, about Neurodiversity, writing action scenes, the origins of ART (the sentient spaceship), developing humor in writing, and Martha’s new book.
(4) HARD SCIENCE. Jack Dann will be giving a talk for the Tucson Hard-Science SF Channel about the craft of writing, which will include what he calls “The Keys to the Kingdom” and “Writing As Cartography”. He says, “Basically, this will be a craft-based Jack Dann schmooze session relating to the insane joys and anxieties of becoming a writer and (Heaven forfend!) being a writer.” You’ll be able to find it here on YouTube on February 4 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
(5) OCTOTHORPE. In episode 76, the Octothorpe crew ask “Does It Matter What We Think?”
John Coxon is watching movies, Alison Scott is making games, and Liz Batty isn’t picky. The three of us celebrate Groundhog Day by talking about the Chengdu Worldcon again, and again, and again…
(6) WITNESSES TO FANHISTORY. Fanac.org has several more “FanHistory Project Zoom Sessions” scheduled in the months to come. Everyone who wants access should write to [email protected] to be put on the attendance list.
Schedule for Future sessions
- February 11, 2023 – 4PM EST, 1PM PST, 9PM GMT London, Sunday the 12th at 8AM in Melbourne, AU – New York Fandom in the 70s with Moshe Feder, Andy Porter, Steve Rosenstein and Jerry Kaufman
- March 18, 2023 – 4PM EDT, 3PM CDT, 1PM PDT, 8PM London, March 19 at 7AM in Melbourne, AU – Feminism in 1970s Fandom, with Janice Bogstad, Jeanne Gomoll, and Lucy Huntzinger
- April 22, 2023 – 7PM EDT, 4PM PDT, April 23 at 12AM in London, 9AM in Melbourne AU – Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track Part 2, with Leigh Edmonds and Perry Middlemiss
(7) EVERGREEN. Gary Farber pointed out the timeless timeliness of John Scalzi’s 2017 post “The Brain Eater” which deals with writers whose careers hit a flat trajectory and makes them easy to convince that somebody (not them) is to blame.
(8) BEGIN AS YOU INTEND TO GO ALONG. Slashfilm recommends these as “The 14 Greatest Opening Scenes In Sci-Fi Movies”. This favorite is on the list – but not as the final entry.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone choose the intro to “The Terminator” over the opening battle in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”? After all, “T2” has that famous shot of the T-800 stomping a human skull, better VFX, more action, and a smoldering, scarred John Connor (Michael Edwards) watching over it all. Is the original’s first scene really better than that?
The answer, of course, is yes, and it all comes down to tone. Sure, the “T2” scene is fun, and it does a decent job of introducing the myth of John Connor. However, at the end of the day it’s little more than an action scene. By contrast, the “Terminator” opening is exactly as bleak as the concept of the Future War demands. There’s no epic battle here, no heroic stand against the machines — only the charred rubble of Los Angeles, a sea of skulls, and a single, desperate soldier fleeing from the lights of the HK-tanks. More extermination than war, this scene establishes the rest of the movie’s hopeless tone.
The opening of “The Terminator” is then rounded off by what must surely be the greatest piece of expository text in the history of cinema: “The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. Their war to exterminate mankind had raged for decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Tonight …” How’s that for setting the scene?
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1952 — [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Our next Beginnings comes from Lis Carey who says C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has the “best opening line ever” and she thinks “the rest of the paragraph lives up to it, but I’m not moving right now”. Fortunately it was easy to retrieve from Kindle.
This is the novel’s seventy-first anniversary as it was published in the United Kingdom by Geoffrey Bles in 1952. It is the third of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
Like the other novels, it was illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and her work has been retained in many later editions.
THERE WAS A BOY CALLED EUSTACE Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. His parents called him Eustace Clarence and masters called him Scrubb. I can’t tell you how his friends spoke to him, for he had none. He didn’t call his Father and Mother “Father” and “Mother,” but Harold and Alberta. They were very up-to-date and advanced people. They were vegetarians, non-smokers and teetotalers and wore a special kind of underclothes. In their house there was very little furniture and very few clothes on beds and the windows were always open. Eustace Clarence liked animals, especially beetles, if they were dead and pinned on a card. He liked books if they were books of information and had pictures of grain elevators or of fat foreign children doing exercises in model schools.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born February 2, 1933 — Tony Jay. Ok I mostly remember him as Paracelsus in the superb Beauty and the Beast series even it turns out he was only in a handful of episodes. Other genre endeavors include, and this is lest OGH strangle me only the Choice Bits, included voicing The Supreme Being In Time Bandits, an appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Third Minister Campio In “Cost of Living”, being in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (and yes I loved the series) as Judge Silot Gato in “Brisco for the Defense” and Dougie Milford In Twin Peaks. (Died 2006.)
- Born February 2, 1940 — Thomas Disch. Camp Concentration, The Genocides, 334 and On Wings of Song are among the best New Wave novels ever done. He was a superb poet as well, though I don’t think any of it was germane to our community. He won the Related Book Hugo for The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of at Aussiecon 3, a critical but loving look on the impact of SF on our culture, and was nominated for a number of other Hugos for his short fiction. (Died 2008.)
- Born February 2, 1944 — Geoffrey Hughes. He played Popplewick aka The Valeyard in the Fifth Doctor story, “The Trial of The Time Lord”. Intriguingly he was also the voice of Paul McCartney in Yellow Submarine which surely is genre. And he as Harper in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’s “Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave” episode. (Died 2012.)
- Born February 2, 1947 — Farrah Fawcett. She has a reasonably good SFF resume and she‘s been in Logan’s Run as Holly 13, and Saturn 3 as Alex. (Does anyone like that film?) She was also Mary Ann Pringle in Myra Breckinridge which might I suppose be considered at least genre adjacent. Or not. Series wise, she shows up on I Dream of Jeanie as Cindy Tina, has three different roles on The Six Million Man, and was Miss Preem Lila on two episodes of The Flying Nun. Well, she does fly. (Died 2009.)
- Born February 2, 1949 — Jack McGee, 74. Ok so how many of us remember him as Doc Kreuger on the Space Rangers series? Six episodes all told. Not as short as The Nightmare Cafe I grant you but pretty short. I’ve also got him as Bronto Crane Examiner in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, as a Deputy in Stardust, Mike Lutz in seaQuest, Doug Perren in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a Police Officer Person of Interest, to name some of his genre roles.
- Born February 2, 1949 — Brent Spiner, 74. Data on more Trek shows and films than I’ll bother listing here. I’ll leave it up to all of you to list your favorite moments of him as Data. He also played Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, a role he reprised in Independence Day: Resurgence. He also played Dr. Arik Soong/Lt. Commander Data in four episodes of Enterprise. Over the years, he’s had roles in Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Tales from the Darkside, Gargoyles, Young Justice, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Warehouse 13 and had a lead role in the thirteen-episode run of Threshold.
- Born February 2, 1986 — Gemma Arterton, 37. She’s best known for playing Io in Clash of the Titans, Princess Tamina in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, and as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. She also voiced Clover in the current Watership Down series. Really? Strawberry Fields? That original to the Fleming novel?
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- The Week has a sardonic cartoon about the green comet.
- Ad[email protected] celebrates the totem animal of February 2 with a pun.
(12) BUTTERWORTH POETRY COLLECTION. Tomorrow, February 3, Space Cowboy Books launches Michael Butterworth Complete Poems 1965-2020.
For more than fifty years Michael Butterworth, better known for his work as a writer, editor and publisher, has also been a quiet unobtrusive voice in poetry, with roots lying both in the small press poetry journals of the sixties and seventies and in New Wave of Science Fiction. His work is distinguished as much for the restless intelligence, wit and intimacy of his voice as a determination, shown in many of these poems, to paint metaphorical pictures of the perils we face due to our poor regard for the fragile biosphere in which we live. In other poems, he finds, within the events of an ordinary life, scope for the transcendent, and in still others his use of nonsense and absurdity playfully captures the moment, puncturing the illusions of the self. Across his work, elements are reiterated but endlessly transfigured –
The effect is at once familiar and yet profound, in language that has the confessional qualities and simplicity of early influences such as Sylvia Plath and the Beats, and the later influence of Zen poets such as Ryōkan. Occasionally the writing is startlingly radical – a reminder of the poet’s beginnings in the New Wave.
A collection such as this one from Space Cowboy Books is overdue, and Complete Poems: 1965-2020 brings to more deserving attention a less heard voice in modern poetry.
(13) PENNYWORTH DROPPED. “’Pennyworth’ Canceled After Three Seasons at HBO Max” reports Variety.
…The third season, officially titled “Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler,” was the first season of the show to originate on HBO Max. The series originally debuted on Epix in 2019, with Season 2 airing on that channel in two chunks in 2020 and 2021. Season 3 launched on HBO Max in October 2022.
“While HBO Max is not moving forward with another season of ‘Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler,’ we are very thankful to creator Bruno Heller and executive producers Matthew Patnick, Danny Cannon and John Stephens, along with Warner Bros. Television, for their brilliant, unique, gripping depiction of the origin of Alfred Pennyworth, one of the most iconic characters in the Batman world,” an HBO Max spokesperson said in a statement….
(14) I LOVE YOU. Entertainment Weekly made sure we heard that the “Valentine’s Day 2023 New Star Wars Funko Pops Have Arrived”. Use them when “I know” isn’t a sufficient answer.
… Whether this will be your first time buying Valentine’s Day-specific Star Wars Funko Pops or if you started collecting the special holiday Funko Pops last year and are looking to build up your collection, these figures are the perfect way to add a pop of romantic hues and swoon-worthy sci-fi charm to any room. There’s a Kylo Ren, Rey, BB-8, and Princess Leia figure, and each figure is entirely red, white, and pink and costs around $13….
(15) RANSOM TRILOGY DISCUSSED. The Pints with Jack podcast presents “’After Hours’ with Dr. Diana Glyer”.
Dr. Glyer returns to the show to speak in more detail about the book she edited, A Compass for Deep Heaven: Navigating the C. S. Lewis Ransom Trilogy.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Joe Siclari, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day by Andrew (not Werdna).]