(1) DIAL Q FOR MOCKERY. It may be April 1 but calling 323-634-5667 gets you the message: “Star Trek Picard Easter Egg: Real Phone Number Lets You Call Q” reports Gizmodo.
Which, of course actually works. Turns out, calling the number and not being fictional rogue geneticist Adam Soong however, just gets Q mocking you for trying to call the mighty, incomprehensible society that is the Q Continuum. Check out our recording of the phone message below:
If you can’t hear the message, here’s a transcript:
“Hello! You have reached the Q Continuum. We are unable to get to the phone right now, because we are busy living in a plane of existence your feeble, mortal mind cannot possibly comprehend.
“Furthermore, it’s pointless to leave a message, because we of course already knew that you would call, and we simply do not care. Have a nice day.”
(2) A FOOLISH CONSISTENCY. Daniel Dern sent this link with the caution – “Note, (Stardate) April 1, 2022.” “Timekettle New Cross-Species Translator Supports Klingon and Dog&Cat”.
The Timekettle team has launched cross-species language translation through its self-developed translation engine on April 1st, 2022. It is now possible to chat with aliens from the Klingon Empire, as well as with your pets via Woof or Meow.
Dern also suggested trying it on this: “GreenEggsAndHam” at the Klingon Language Wiki.
(3) PRESSED DOWN, SHAKEN TOGETHER, AND RUNNING OVER. What was Brandon Sanderson’s final take? According to CNBC, “Author’s record-breaking Kickstarter campaign closes at $41.7 million”.
Brandon Sanderson asked Kickstarter fans for $1 million to self-publish four novels he wrote during the pandemic. Thirty days later, his campaign has topped $41.7 million from more than 185,000 backers and is the most-funded Kickstarter in the crowdfunding site’s history.
Sanderson’s campaign surpassed the previous record holder in just three days, topping the $20.3 million in funds that smartwatch company Pebble Technology generated in 2015.
With the project successfully funded, Kickstarter will take a 5% fee from the funds collected, or more than $2 million….
(4) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to pig out on pork BBQ with Paul Witcover in episode 168 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.
Paul Witcover‘s first novel, Waking Beauty (1997) was short-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. He’s also written five other novels: Tumbling After (2005), Dracula: Asylum (2006), The Emperor of All Things (2013) and its sequel, The Watchman of Eternity (2015), plus most recently, Lincolnstein, just out from PS Publishing.
His 2004 novella “Left of the Dial” was nominated for a Nebula Award, and his 2009 novella “Everland” was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His short fiction has appeared in Twilight Zone magazine, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, Night Cry, and other venues. A collection of his short fiction, Everland and Other Stories, appeared from PS Publishing in 2009, and was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. He’s been a frequent reviewer for Realms of Fantasy, Locus, New York Review of Science Fiction, and elsewhere. He teaches fiction at UCLA Extension and at Southern New Hampshire University, where he is the Dean of the Online MFA program.
We discussed the reason the pandemic resulted in some of the best years of his freelance career, the way he thrives as a writer when dealing with the boundaries of historical fiction, why his new novel Lincolnstein is “exactly what you think it is,” how he writes in yesterday’s vernacular without perpetuating yesterday’s stereotypes, what can and can’t be taught about writing, the reasons he felt lucky to have attended Clarion with Lucius Shepard, the effect reading slush at Asimov’s and Twilight Zone magazines had on his own fiction, what Algis Budrys told him that hit him like a brick, and much more.
(5) PATREON EXPLAINS IT TO JDA. Jon Del Arroz, who as usual says he didn’t do nothin’, asked Patreon to explain why they killed his account. They answered and he has posted their response letter — which mentions that “our guidelines apply equally to off-platform activity.” It would be ironic if Patreon bounced him for the racist and misogynistic tweets and YouTube videos he posts which those platforms permit to go undisciplined despite their own community guidelines.
(6) AGING ORANGE. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Check out BBC Radio 4’s Front Row arts programme. Last night’s episode includes an item on A Clockwork Orange, it being the 60th anniversary of the novel. It was very interesting. Apparently there was an unpublished sequel which was basically having a message that art does not spread violence though society. Front Row – “A Clockwork Orange, the National Poetry Competition winner announced, Slow Horses and Coppelia reviewed”.
(7) WESTWARD HO. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Tom Faber reviews Horizon Forbidden West.
The one-line pitch is that you’re a hunter-gatherer fighting robot dinosaurs across a post-apocalyptic US. With such a fun hook, nobody needed Horizon Zero Dawn to have a good story, yet its narrative proved unexpectedly compelling. The game takes place a thousand years after rampaging machines have wiped out most of humanity. Survivors have clustered into tribal communities who view relics of technology as objects of either suspicion or religious reverence. The dramas of warring clans are narrated alongside the tale of how our world came to ruin. Guerillas struck gold with flame-haired heroine Aloy, who balances grit and tenderness as one of the most memorable new characters of its console generation…
…Forbidden West is the first truly eye-popping flex of the PS5’s muscles, with graphics so beautiful that I have often found myself halting the adventure just to gawp at the landscape, whether dust clouds careening across the desert or forest leaves quivering in the breeze. The robot enemies are ingenious works of biomechanical clockwork, shaped like snakes, hippos, ferrets, rams, and pterodactyls, with electric cables for sinew and gleaming steel for ligaments.
(8) CLARION WEST CLASSES. Registration for Clarion West’s Spring online classes and workshops is now open. Full information and ticket prices at the links.
- “Spotting Issues in Your Publishing Contract with Ken Liu” April 27, 4:00 p.m. Pacific.
This workshop aims to give you practical tools for evaluating publishing contracts. While it’s impossible to teach you everything there is to know about the legal side of publishing in a single class, it is possible to gain a general understanding of the rights involved and the practical mindset needed to protect your interests.
After a brief lecture on common publishing contractual terms, instructor Ken Liu (a lawyer and an author) will lead participants in interactive exercises to spot potential issues in language taken from actual contracts. Whether you’re looking at your first pro short story sale or an offer to adapt your novel into a TV show, the exercises in this class will help you.
Depending on the contracts used in the exercises, topics covered may include publishing rights (print, web, electronic, audio, etc.), performance rights, foreign language rights, media rights (gaming, film, and TV), royalties, advances, taxes, indemnification, etc. There will also be a Q&A period to address specific questions from participants.
This class is provided for educational purposes only, and none of the content should be construed as professional legal, tax, or financial advice.
- “Writing Transgender and Nonbinary Characters with Milo Todd” April 24, 11:00 a.m. Pacific.
With demand for transgender and nonbinary narratives on the rise, more cisgender (non-trans/nonbinary) people are adding trans and nonbinary characters to their stories. But what can you do to make sure you’re providing accurate representation? In this session, we will explore the “Three Es” of writing a trans/nonbinary character, the best craft approaches for each, and their potential pitfalls. We’ll also go over (in)appropriate reasons to write a trans/nonbinary narrative, general dos, and don’ts, and an overview of the experiences most often used incorrectly in stories.
- “Funny Business: Writing Humorous Speculative Fiction with Shiv Ramdas” First of three sessions April 12 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific.
This class for intermediate to advanced writers focused on craft to help you flex your funny muscles (since bones don’t flex). We’ll cover new ways to look at your funny fiction, techniques, exercises, the odd hack and trick- and culminate in a small mini-workshop where we’ll go over a piece you worked on!
This class meets three times: April 12, 16 and May 10, 2022, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Pacific.
- “Authors and Libraries: Being Awesome Together with Robin Bradford” April 21 4:00 p.m. Pacific.
This class will give an overview of the tools libraries use to discover materials and what makes a title more likely to be ordered for a library’s collection. We will also discuss the challenges and opportunities librarians face in acquiring materials and how authors can position themselves to be in a library’s line of sight when it comes to getting their books included in library collections.
We’ll cover physical materials (books and audiobooks) as well as the prickly digital (ebooks and audiobooks) library landscape.
Finally, we’ll also cover a little bit about doing library programs, like readings and classes.
Attendees will come away with a better understanding of how libraries locate and purchase materials and the limitations and differences between the library and the consumer markets.
- “Persisting as a Short Story Writer with A. T. Greenblatt” April 10 1:00 p.m. Pacific.
You know it’s possible to be a successful short story writer with a full-time job, family, and hobbies. The question is, How? How do you get beyond the slush pile? How do you find the time to write when you have a million other obligations? This class will cover how to level up your craft as a short story writer and how to find the time, motivation, and persistence to stick with it while living a full life.
Suitable for writers at all stages of their careers, this class will emphasize self-compassion and give you ideas for how to level up your stories!
(9) HE WAS AN INFLUENCE ON BRADBURY. [Item by Alan Baumler.] Loren Eisley was a prolific science writer, and at least one sf writer liked him. About his book The Star Thrower Ray Bradbury wrote, “The book will be read and cherished in the year 2001. It will go to the Moon and Mars with future generations. Loren Eiseley’s work changed my life.” In “Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,059”, Erik Loomis traces the author’s life for readers of Lawyers, Guns & Money.
…As Ray Bradbury said of Eiseley, “he is every writer’s writer, and every human’s human.” This is a great description and his combination of interest in science, human origins, evolutionary theory, and what it means to be a human being continued to lead to best sellers. He quickly moved on his popularity to become the leading interpreter of science in the United States. Darwin’s Century followed in 1958. I haven’t read that one. I have read his 1960 book The Firmament of Time. This was an attempt to give people hope to live with science in an era of such astounding advances that it threatened human beings, particularly nuclear science….
(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1995 — [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Twenty-seven years ago this evening on BBC One, the Bugs series first aired. The series was created by Brian Eastman and producer Stuart Doughty with input from writer and producer Brian Clemens who is best known for his work on The Avengers which is why he considered this “an Avengers for the 1990s”. No idea if that was true having not seen it.
It lasted, despite almost being cancelled at the end of series three, for four series and forty episodes. It had an immense, and I do mean that, cast including Jaye Griffiths who was on Silent Witness early on (I’m watching all twenty-one series of it right now), Craig McLalachlan who was the lead in The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Jesse Birdsall who played Fraser Black in the very popular soap opera Hollyoaks and Steve Houghton who’s Gregg Blake in the London Burning series.
So how was it? I couldn’t find any contemporary reviews, but this later review suggests that it was a mixed bag: “Bugs is a mid-1990s British techno-espionage TV series, intended to be The Avengers (1960s) for a new decade. Wikipedia has the facts. Absolutely laden with Hollywood Science tropes, and quite prone to So Bad, It’s Good.” Another review noted that, “The show does have a cult following in the UK and in 2005 was released on DVD. The main cast have also spoken very highly of the show and the work they did on it, expressing that Bugs was deliberately ahead of its time and set a bench mark for other shows to come.”
JustWatch says it is not streaming anywhere at the current time.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 1, 1883 — Lon Chaney. Actor, director, makeup artist and screenwriter. Best remembered I’d say for the Twenties silent horror films The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera in which he did his own makeup. He developed pneumonia in late 1929 and he was diagnosed with bronchial lung cancer which he died from. (Died 1930.)
- Born April 1, 1917 — Sydney Newman. Head of Drama at BBC, he was responsible for both The Avengers and Doctor Who happening. It’s worth noting that Newman’s initial set-up for The Avengers was much grittier than it became in the later years. (Died 1997.)
- Born April 1, 1925 — Ernest Kinoy. He was a scriptwriter for such stories as “The Martian Death March” to Dimension X and X Minus One as well as adapting stories by Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick for the both series. He also wrote an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” for NBC’s Presents: Short Story. (Died 2014.)
- Born April 1, 1926 — Anne McCaffrey. I read both the original trilogy and what’s called the Harper Hall trilogy oh so many years ago when dragons were something I was intensely interested in. I enjoyed them immensely but haven’t revisited them so I don’t know what the Suck Fairy would make of them. I confess that I had no idea she’d written so much other genre fiction! And I recounted her Hugo awards history in the March 7 Pixel Scroll (item #9). (Died 2011.)
- Born April 1, 1930 — Grace Lee Whitney. Yeoman Janice Rand on Star Trek. She would reach the rank of Lt. Commander in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Folks, I just noticed that IMDB says she was only on eight episodes of Trek, all in the first fifteen that aired. It seemed like a lot more at the time. She also appeared in in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. By the last film, she was promoted to being a Lt. Commander in rank. Her last appearance was in Star Trek: Voyager’s “Flashback” along with Hikaru Sulu. Oh, and she was in two video fanfics, Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. (Died 2015.)
- Born April 1, 1942 — Samuel R. Delany, 80. There’s no short list of recommended works for him as everything he’s done is brilliant. That said I think I’d start off suggesting a reading first of Babel- 17 and Dhalgren followed by the Return to Nevèrÿon series. His two Hugo wins were at Heicon ’70 for the short story “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” as published in New Worlds, December 1968, and at Noreascon 3 (1989) in the Best Non-Fiction Work category for The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965. I will do a full look at his awards and all of his Hugo nominations in an essay shortly.
- Born April 1, 1953 — Barry Sonnenfeld, 69. Director of The Addams Family and its sequel Addams Family Values (both of which I really like), the Men in Black trilogy and Wild Wild West. He also executive-produced Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which I’ve not seen, and did the same for Men in Black: International, the recent not terribly well-received continuation of that franchise.
- Born April 1, 1963 — James Robinson, 59. Writer, both comics and film. Some of his best known comics are the series centered on the Justice Society of America, in particular the Starman character he co-created with Tony Harris. His Starman series is without doubt some of the finest work ever done in the comics field. His screenwriting is a mixed bag. Remember The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Well, that’s him. He’s much, much better on the animated Son of Batman film. And I’ll admit that James Robinson’s Complete WildC.A.T.s is a sort of guilty pleasure.
(12) IT CAUGHT ON IN A FLASH. Cora Buhlert has a new story out. A flash story called “Rescue Unwanted,” it appears as part of the flash fiction Friday series of Wyngraf Magazine of Cozy Fantasy: “Cozy Flash: ‘Rescue Unwanted’”.
After a lengthy and laborious climb, Sir Clarenbald the Bold finally reached the summit of the Crag of Doom. The cave of the dragon lay before him, its mouth a dark void in the grey rock….
(13) WHERE IT’S AT. The Movie District has mapped out the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) Filming Locations” with a combination of stills from the movie and contemporary Google Maps images. This is pretty damn interesting to me because I used to live two blocks from a few of the places in Sierra Madre.
(14) RAZZIES REVERSED. “Razzie Awards Backtrack, Rescind Bruce Willis Award – and Shelley Duvall Nomination as Well” – The Wrap explains why.
The Razzie Awards have reversed their decision to stand by their “Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in 2021” award. “After much thought and consideration, the Razzies have made the decision to rescind the Razzie Award given to Bruce Willis, due to his recently disclosed diagnosis,” a statement by co-founders John Wilson and Mo Murphy says.
“If someone’s medical condition is a factor in their decision making and/or their performance, we acknowledge that it is not appropriate to give them a Razzie.” Willis’ family announced on Wednesday that the actor had been diagnosed with the cognitive disorder aphasia and was stepping away from acting.
The Razzie Awards came under fire on Wednesday for refusing to rescind the special award for Willis, and for making an inflammatory Tweet. “The Razzies are truly sorry for #BruceWillis diagnosed condition,” the parody awards ceremony wrote on Twitter. “Perhaps this explains why he wanted to go out with a bang in 2021. Our best wishes to Bruce and family.”
In addition, the organization took the opportunity to rescind another previous nomination – Worst Actress for Shelley Duvall in “The Shining.”
“As we recently mentioned in a Vulture Interview, extenuating circumstances also apply to Shelley Duvall in ‘The Shining.’ We have since discovered that Duvall’s performance was impacted by Stanley Kubrick’s treatment of her throughout the production. We would like to take this opportunity to rescind that nomination as well.”…
(15) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter says tonight’s Jeopardy! contestants struck out on this one.
Category: Books and Authors
Answer: In “The Story of” this man, his friends include Too-Too, an owl, Chee-Chee, a monkey, & Dab-Dab, a duck.
No one could ask, “Who is Doctor Dolittle?”
(16) JUSTWATCH – TOP 10’S IN MARCH. JustWatch says these were the “Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies and TV Shows in the US in March 2022”.
|1||Spider-Man: No Way Home||Severance|
|3||The Adam Project||Upload|
|4||After Yang||Resident Alien|
|5||Spider-Man: Far From Home||Doctor Who|
|6||Spider-Man: Homecoming||Raised by Wolves|
|7||Venom: Let There Be Carnage||Snowpiercer|
|8||Spider-Man||Star Trek: The Next Generation|
|10||The Matrix Resurrections||Battlestar Galactica|
*Based on JustWatch popularity score. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Hancock Pitch Meeting” Ryan George explains that Hancock has a scene where one character destroys her house to prevent her husband from knowing she has super powers. But the producer is troubled by another scene where Hancock becomes enraged and violent after he is taunted. “How could that happen?” the producer asks. “That’s just not in Will Smith’s character!”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Alan Baumler, Scott Edelman, Michael J. Walsh, Dennis Howard, Dan Bloch, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]