Crime Fiction Awards – No Fooling


Congratulations to Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Michael Bracken who are among the 2024 Derringer Awards finalists unveiled by The Short Mystery Fiction Society on April 1.


  • SLEEP ROUGH by Brandon Barrows (Shotgun Honey, September 19, 2023)
  • THE REFEREE by C. W. Blackwell (Shotgun Honey, October 12, 2023)
  • TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN by Serena Jayne (Shotgun Honey, January 9, 2023)
  • TEDDY’S FAVORITE THING by Paul Ryan O’Connor (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Sept/Oct 2023)
  • SUPPLY CHAINS by Andrew Welsh-Huggins (Black Cat Weekly #89)


  • DENIM MINING by Michael Bracken (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2023)
  • DOGS OF WAR by Michael Bracken & Stacy Woodson (Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir Volume Four, Down & Out Books)
  • LAST DAY AT THE JACKRABBIT by John Floyd (The Strand, May 2023)
  • I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS by Josh Pachter (Mystery Magazine, July 2023)
  • JUDGE NOT by Twist Phelan (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2023)
  • A TAIL OF JUSTICE by Shannon Taft (Black Cat Weekly #114)


  • HARD RAIN ON BEACH STREET by C. W. Blackwell (Killin’ Time in San Diego, Down & Out Books)
  • REVERSION by Marcelle Dubé (Mystery Magazine, April 2023)
  • BACK TO HELL HOUSE by Nick Kolakowski (Vautrin, Fall 2023)
  • TROUBLED WATER by donalee Moulton (Black Cat Weekly #75)
  • IT’S NOT EVEN PAST by Anna Scotti (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Sept/Oct 2023)
  • GOOD DEED FOR THE DAY by Bonnar Spring (Wolfsbane: Best New England Crime Stories, Crime Spell Books)
  • IGNATIUS RUM-AND-COLA by Andrew Welsh-Huggins (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb 2023)


  • VENGEANCE WEAPON by James R. Benn (The Refusal Camp: Stories by James R. Benn, Soho Press)
  • MRS. HYDE by David Dean (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, March/April 2023)
  • THE CASE OF THE BOGUS CINDERELLAS by Jacqueline Freimor (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, July/Aug 2023)
  • MADAM TOMAHAWK by Nick Kolakowski (A Grifter’s Song, Down & Out Books, 2023)
  • CATHERINE THE GREAT by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (WMG 2023 Holiday Spectacular Calendar of Stories)


High contrast image of a bloody crime scene with knife and evidence markers on the floor

A sinister story involving a Scottish recipe for ‘stovies’ and a grisly tale about the strange sheep of Greshornish have been chosen as the winning and runner-up stories in The Glencairn Glass crime short story competition this year.

Over 140 stories were entered into the 2023/24 competition and the winner and runner-up were selected by a panel of three judges including Callum McSorley, a Glasgow based writer whose debut novel Squeaky Clean won this year’s Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year. He was joined by Kate Foster; the Edinburgh based national newspaper journalist and author, whose debut novel The Maiden won this year’s Bloody Scotland’s Debut Prize. The third judge was Glencairn Crystal’s marketing director and experienced crime writer Gordon Brown.


  • “A Recipe For Stovies” by Philip Wilson


  • “The Strange Sheep of Greshornish” by Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

The first prize of £1,000 goes to Philip Wilson and runner up Elisabeth Ingram Wallace receives £500. Both writers also receive a set of six bespoke engraved Glencairn Glasses. The winning story will be published in the May issue of Scottish Field Magazine (on shelf from 5th April) and the runner up story will then be published on Scottish Field Magazine’s website; Both stories will also be available to read on the Glencairn Glass website:

Pixel Scroll 3/19/24 Ocean’s Elevenses

(1) GAIMAN COLLECTION AUCTION RESULTS. March 15 was “The Day Neil Gaiman Swapped His Original Comic Art, Comic Books and Collectibles for More Than $1 Million”.

[He offered] 125 prized pieces from his collection — everything from original comic artwork to signed books, a Coraline puppet used in the film to limited-edition sculptures, handmade Christmas stories given as gifts, to the awards he received. It was a day well spent: The completely sold-out Neil Gaiman Collection Comics & Comic Art Signature ® Auction, which drew more than 1,200 bidders worldwide, realized $1,029,392.

A portion of the auction’s proceeds will benefit The Hero Initiative, which provides medical and monetary assistance to veteran comics creators, writers and artists needing a helping hand. Some proceeds will also go to the Authors League Fund, which assists professional authors, journalists, critics, poets and dramatists in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income or other misfortunes.

Gaiman will also share some of the proceeds with the artists who made his imagination tangible enough to put on Bristol board.

“I love the idea of benefitting charities that look after authors who’ve fallen on hard times, that look after the artists and writers and creators of comics who’ve had hard times,” Gaiman told the packed auction gallery Thursday morning. “And I like the idea of normalizing the idea that we who do have art we bought for $50 a page or $100 a page that now sells for tens of thousands of dollars a page get into the idea of giving something back to the artists who originally drew it. That seems to me an important thing to do.”

This single page of art alone went for $132,000: “Dave Gibbons and John Higgins Watchmen #7 Story Page 16 Original Art”.

… Not far behind was the only piece of Sandman-related artwork Gaiman had ever purchased: Jean Giraud’s 1994 painting of Death of the Endless, sister of the titular Sandman whose epic tale spans the universe’s origin through the present day. This painting by the man called Moebius sparked a bidding war that drove its final price to $96,000. That was also the amount realized for John Totleben’s cover of Miracleman No. 16, the last issue written by Moore before Gaiman took the reins.

One of the auction’s most sought-after, fought-over pieces was among its smallest: an on-screen, camera-used puppet of Coraline in her orange polka-dot pajamas accompanied by her ever-present companion, The Cat — “fully posable actors,” as Gaiman explained. He told the audience that Coraline “has been in my bedroom in a glass case since 2009, and I had more qualms about letting her go than I did anything else in this entire auction. She’s there. She smiles at me. She’s special.”

It was so special that a bidding war broke out over Coraline, who eventually went to a new home for $72,000….

(2) KGB. Ellen Datlow has posted photos from the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading on March 13, 2024 where Moses Ose Utomi and Richard Butner read.

(3) EVIDENCE THAT SCHOOL TOSSED BOOKS WHICH WERE OBJECTED TO BY STAFF OR PARENTS. “Publishers Issue Letter to NYC DOE Over Discarded Books”Publishers Weekly has details.

Candlewick Press, Charlesbridge Press, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Sourcebooks, and the organization Authors Against Book Bans have issued a letter to the New York City Department of Education over reports that hundreds of books were discarded by a Staten Island elementary school on ideological grounds.

On March 11, Gothamist reported that hundreds of new books featuring characters of color and LGBTQ themes were found near the garbage at PS 55. Some of the books, pictured in the report, were marked by sticky notes that marked certain titles “not approved,” with reasons such as “Boy questions gender,” “teenage girls having a crush on another girl in class,” and “Witchcraft? Human skulls.”

The discarded books included copies of My Two Border Towns by David Bowle, illustrated by Erika Meza; Kenzy Kickstarts a Team (The Derby Daredevils #1) by Kit Rosewater, illustrated by Sophie Escabasse; Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald Smith; We Are Still Here: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac; and Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd, illustrated by Christian Robinson.

Gothamist reporter Jessica Gold found that no formal challenge to the books had been raised through official channels and that “the removal of the books resulted from an objection raised by staff or parents.” The NYC DOE has reportedly announced it is conducting an investigation into the incident.

In response, a coalition of publishers whose books were discarded teamed with Authors Against Book Bans to pen a letter to New York City’s DOE over the report about the book removal, stating, “If true, such action amounts to unlawful censorship and violates authors’ and students’ First Amendment rights.”…

(4) SENDAK FELLOWS. “2024 Sendak Fellows Announced”Publishers Weekly has the names.

The Maurice Sendak Foundation has announced this year’s Sendak Fellows: Charlotte Ager, Rocío Araya, and Cozbi A. Cabrera.

The four-week fellowship will take place May 13 through June 9 at Milkwood Farm in South Kortright, N.Y., and comes with a prize of $5,000. During the residency, artists will focus on a project of their choosing, meet with visiting artists and professionals in the field, and explore Sendak’s house and archives in Ridgefield, Conn.

Originally from the Isle of Wight, Ager is a freelance illustrator based in London. Her clients have included the New York Times, Google Design, Penguin Random House, and Flying Eye Books. Araya is an illustrator from Bilbao, Spain, currently living in France. Rocío’s first English-language translation of her book Head in the Clouds will be published by Elsewhere Editions in 2024. And Cabrera is the author-illustrator of Me & Mama, which received a Coretta Scott King Honor and Caldecott Honor, and My Hair Is a Garden.

(5) NOT QUITE INFINITE COMBINATIONS. Den of Geek says “It’s Official: TV Shows Have Run Out of Titles”. (Fanzines have run into the same problem – how else to explain “File 770”?)

Back when it was all fields around here, TV show titles were in abundance. In the days when television used to be hand-stretched and sun-dried and made at a gentlemanly pace by artisanal methods, there were titles galore. Worzel GummidgeStarsky and HutchLast of the Summer Wine. Distinct and descriptive titles milled around drinking holes, and all writers had to do was toss in a lasso and drag out a Sapphire & Steel or a Knight Rider.

But thanks to streaming, nowadays TV is made in windowless factories and injected with antibiotics and e-numbers. There can never be enough. Every streamer requires a chunky flow of television shows they can release all on the same day, not tell anybody about, and quickly delete for tax purposes before anybody watches them. And the first casualty (aside from the livelihoods of the writers, directors, crew, cast and the collective human spirit)? The titles.

The problem is, the glut has dried up the supply. Abstract nouns. Character names. Place names. Common phrases. “Fun” puns. Creepy lines from nursery rhymes for psychological thrillers. Every combination of words in the English language has already been used to name a TV show. ITV got lucky with Mr Bates Vs the Post Office, but it’s hardly a long-term solution.

Neither is it a uniquely new problem, but it is getting worse. Time was that two competing TV shows with the same title would be released a good many years apart, by which point, who could really remember the first one? When HBO brought out android interplanetary sci-fi Raised by Wolves in 2020, it was several years after the Channel 4 comedy Raised by Wolves set on a Wolverhampton council estate, and fairly difficult to confuse the two….

(6) DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME? “George Lucas Backs Bob Iger in Disney Proxy Fight with Nelson Peltz: ‘Creating Magic Is Not for Amateurs’” – a quote in The Hollywood Reporter.

… The Star Wars and Indiana Jones filmmaker is weighing in on The Walt Disney Company’s ongoing proxy fight with activist investors, and he is throwing his support firmly behind CEO Bob Iger and Disney’s board.

“Creating magic is not for amateurs. When I sold Lucasfilm just over a decade ago, I was delighted to become a Disney shareholder because of my long-time admiration for its iconic brand and Bob Iger’s leadership,” Lucas said in a statement Tuesday. “When Bob recently returned to the company during a difficult time, I was relieved. No one knows Disney better. I remain a significant shareholder because I have full faith and confidence in the power of Disney and Bob’s track record of driving long-term value. I have voted all of my shares for Disney’s 12 directors and urge other shareholders to do the same.”…

… Disney is facing a proxy fight against two activists: The corporate raider Nelson Peltz, and Blackwells Capital. Notably, Peltz has billions of dollars in shares pledged by Ike Perlmutter, who, like Lucas, sold his company (Marvel) to Disney and became a major shareholder. Perlmutter remained with Disney until being laid off last year….

(7) ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE YOUR LYIN’ EYES? Meanwhile, Variety reports Disney’s Star Wars cash register has rung up another sale: “’The Acolyte’ Trailer: New Star Wars Show Gets First Look on Disney+”.  

…Disney has released the trailer for its newest “Star Wars” series “The Acolyte,” which is set to stream on Disney+ June 4.

The series takes place 100 years before the franchise’s prequel trilogy during the High Republic era of the “Star Wars” universe, which is the furthest back in the timeline “Star Wars” has gone in a live-action production. An official logline for the series reveals, “An investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Amandla Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems.”…


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born March 19, 1928 Patrick McGoohan. (Died 2009.) I don’t how times I’ve seen the opening of The Prisoner series as it’s been separately shown from the episodes online pretty much since The Prisoner series first aired. Not sure in what context I watching it but that it was. It was, without doubt, one of the the best openings I’ve seen.

Then there was the series. Weird, thrilling, mysterious. Eminently watchable over and over and over again. Was it SF? Or was it a spy series set in the very near future? Who knew? And then there was Number Six, the never named intelligence agent played by Patrick McGoohan. He seemed destined to play this role.

He was an American-born Irish actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. Now it turns out that The Prisoner was his creation. He was also one of the writers – there were five in fact — and he was one of four directors. In other words, he had his hand in every facet of the series and its sixteen episodes. 

Before he was that unnamed intelligence agent he was, and I’m not at all convinced that McGoohan meant this to be a coincidence, secret agent John Drake in the Danger Man espionage series. I’ve seen a few episodes, it’s well crafted.  

Danger Man (retitled Secret Agent in the United States for the revived series) was a British television series broadcast between 1960 and 1962, and again between 1964 and 1968. (A neat bit of history here: Ian Fleming was brought in to work on series development, but left before that was complete. Apparently he didn’t like the way the secret service was to be portrayed.) 

After The Prisoner, McGoohan’s next genre endeavor was as the narrator of Journey into Darkness is a British television horror film stitching together two episodes derived from late sixties anthology television series Journey to the Unknown.

We are now leaving genre and headed for, well the Colombo series. Why so? Because he was good friends with Peter Falk and directed five episodes of the series, four of which he appeared in, winning two Emmys in the process. McGoohan was involved with the series in some way from 1974 to 2000. 

He was said that his first appearance on Columbo was probably his favorite American role. He had top billing as Col. Lyle C. Rum, fired from a military academy, in “By Dawn’s Early Light”, one of the  Colombo films that preceded the series.

His daughter Catherine McGoohan appeared with him in the episode “Ashes To Ashes” The other two Columbo episodes in which he appeared are “Identity Crisis” and “Agenda For Murder”.  

Yes, he reprised his role as Number Six for The Simpsons in “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes”.  Homer Simpson fakes a news story to make his website more popular, and he wakes up in a prison that is a holiday resort. As Number Five, he meets Number Six. 

McGoohan’s last movie role was as the voice of Billy Bones in the animated Treasure Planet.

He received the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for The Prisoner.


(10) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] On last night’s Jeopardy! episode, the Double Jeopardy round had a category, “Horrors!”

$1200: This horror master turned director to translate his own novella “The Hellhound Heart” to the screen as “Hellraiser”

Yogesh Raut knew this was Clive Barker.

$1600: H.P. Lovecraft wrote that the “U”s in the name of this “hellish entity” should sound “about like that in ‘full’ “

Ben Chan stumbled over the pronunciation a bit but gave “Cthulhu”.

$2000 – Daily Double. Yogesh: “I’ve wanted to say this ever since I was a child. Alex, I’ll make it a true Daily Double.” His bet: $15,200.

The title of this 1962 Ray Bradbury novel is a Shakespeare line that rhymes with “By the pricking of my thumbs”.

Very unsurprisingly, Yogesh got this right, parlaying this into a runaway win for the round.

$800: His Christmas ghost story “The Haunted Man” sold 18,000 copies on its first day of publication in 1848

Yogesh picked it as Dickens.

$400: Catriona Ward’s “The Last House on Needless Street” is partly narrated by Olivia, one of these animals, & that can’t be good luck

Troy Meyer tried, “What is a pig?”

Yogesh said, “What’s a cat?” and on prompting added “black” and was scored right.

Catriona Ward squeed about being a clue.

(11) GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. “Researchers Name Ancient Species of Giant Turtle After a Universe-Vomiting Stephen King Character”IGN unravels the references.

Researchers have named a newly discovered species of giant prehistoric turtle after a universe-creating character that features in Stephen King’s novel It, alongside the Dark Tower series of books.

The monstrous armoured reptile was thought to have lived between 40,000 to 9,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene period, during which time it may have lived alongside and potentially been hunted as a source of food by early humans in the Amazon….

…The fossil’s gigantic proportions lead the scientists to name the species Peltocephalus Maturinin reference to the fictional, god-like turtle Maturin, which vomited out the universe that serves as the setting for Stephen King’s novel It. The benevolent turtle also appears as one of the guardians of the beams featured in King’s eight-part Dark Tower book series, which, like It, has been adapted into a live-action movie, though perhaps the less said about that the better.

As noted in the paper published in the scientific journal Biology Letters – and by the author himself on X after reading the news – King’s character was itself named in reference to the fictional doctor Stephen Maturin, who, in the course of Patrick O’Brian’s seagoing novel H.M.S. Surprise, names a giant tortoise….

(12) LIFE IS SHORT, ART IS LONG. ShortCon2024, “the Premiere Conference for Short Crime Fiction Writers”, takes place Saturday, June 22, and Michael Bracken and Brendan DuBois – familiar around here – are among the presenters.

Join acclaimed crime fiction professionals for an immersive, one-day event and learn how to write short crime fiction, get your stories published, and develop and sustain a long-term career writing short. 

(13) THUMBS UP. Camestros Felapton gives us his eyewitness account in “Review: Zombie the Musical”.

… The show starts off with the hapless cast rehearsing their production of “It’s a Musical! (The Musical!)” with requisite sailors singing about the wonders of New York. In reality, the cast is a mix of a not-so-bright leading man whose acting career is magically failing upwards, a leading woman sick of playing two-dimensional characters, an ageing actress whose career is effectively over and a perpetual understudy with genuine talent but no chance of ever becoming a professional. Outside it is Sydney 1999 and people are worried about Y2K and excited about the Olympics coming in 2000. The tone is set with broad parodies about musicals and the sexism of the theatre industry (especially circa the 1990s).

The world of musicals begins breaking down when the leading man quits and the news on the radio warns of a rapidly spreading infection. Will there even be an audience for their opening night?…

Here’s a “sneak preview” from last fall.

[Thanks to Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Kathy Sullivan, David Goldfarb, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Pixel Scroll 3/4/24 We Had Scrolls, We Had Puns, We Were Yeeted In The Sun

(1) FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES: NO MORE LEO AWARDS. The day after we reported the 2024 shortlist, Furry Book Review pulled the plug on the Leo Awards. Here’s why:

They’ll be missed – there wasn’t a cuter award in the field!

(2) RECOGNITION IN TEXAS. Congratulations to Michael Bracken on being inducted to the Texas Institute of Letters. The honor society was established in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievement. Bracken, who long ago published the fanzine Knights of the Paper Spaceship, has since forged a distinguished career as a crime fiction author. His stories have been finalists for the Anthony, Edgar, Derringer and Shamus Awards.

(3) KEEPING UP WITH SOCIAL MEDIA. In this highly amusing video Andrea Stewart says, “I swear I see the same six discussions going around online, in perpetuity.”

(4) ONE FAN’S EFFORT TO PROMOTE WORKS ABOUT CHINESE SF. Ersatz Culture’s list – “My personal recommendations of Chinese SF-related works published in 2023” – gives fans something to start with. It begins with these notes and caveats:

  • Any of these recommendations that tagged with * is either someone I’ve corresponded or worked with, or a project which I’ve worked on, or contributed to, and so I can’t claim that those are unbiased recommendations.
  • Links are generally to Chinese language pages/sites unless otherwise stated. An exception are Twitter links, which will generally be comprised of English language posts.
  • My Chinese language skills are way too poor to be able to read the majority of real-world content without either a lot of effort or (far more likely) resorting to machine translation. As such, any writing that is particularly clever in a literary way is likely to pass completely over my head; I’m evaluating stuff on a very basic level. (This is why the writing I cover here is more on the news/factual side than criticism/reviews.)
  • Further to the previous point, my dependence on machine translation means that my understanding of materials that I only possess in a physical form – i.e. all the non-fiction works I list – is at a very shallow and surface level; not much better than “I liked looking at all the pretty pictures”, to be brutally frank. As such, feel perfectly free to discount any of my observations on those grounds alone.
  • This document only covers work published in 2023.

(5) VIOLENCE AND CHANGE. The Beeb remembers “The ‘banned’ Star Trek episode that promised a united Ireland”. There’s a reason viewers in Ireland might not.

When sci-fi writer Melinda M Snodgrass sat down to write Star Trek episode The High Ground, she had little idea of the unexpected ripples of controversy it would still be making more than three decades later.

“We became aware of it later… and there isn’t much you can do about it,” she says, speaking to the BBC from her home in New Mexico. “Writing for television is like laying track for a train that’s about 300 feet behind you. You really don’t have time to stop.”

While the series has legions of followers steeped in its lore, that one particular episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation has lived long and prospered in infamy.

It comes down to a scene in which the android character Data, played by actor Brent Spiner, talks about the “Irish unification of 2024” as an example of violence successfully achieving a political aim.

Originally shown in the US in 1990, there was so much concern over the exchange that the episode was not broadcast on the BBC or Irish public broadcaster RTÉ…

(6) NEW EDGE SWORD & SORCERY BACKERKIT CROWDFUNDER FOR ISSUES 3&4. New Edge Sword & Sorcery is crowdfunding its next two issues via “New Edge Sword & Sorcery 2024” at BackerKit. They’ve achieved their basic goal, now Editor Oliver Brackenbury says, “All our stretch goals from now on are pay raises for our contributors!” The campaign ends March 16.

Backing this campaign is a way to be a part of genre history: JIREL OF JOIRY will be returning with her first new story in 85 years! Jirel was the first Sword & Sorcery heroine, created by legendary Weird Tales regular, C.L. Moore. Like Alice in Wonderland with a big f***ing sword, Jirel had compelling adventures in bizarre dream-logic realms, balancing a rich emotional life with terrifying struggles against dark forces! Predating Red Sonja, she & Moore were a direct influence on Robert E. Howard’s writing, as well as so many who came after.

Alas, Moore only wrote a handful of Jirel tales – which are still collected, published, and read to this day. So it’s a good thing that when backers of the campaign helped it hit 100% funding in just under three days, they helped make sure a new story will be published! Authorized by the estate of C.L. Moore, “Jirel and the Mirror of Truth” has been written by the magnificent MOLLY TANZER (editor of Swords v. Cthulhu, author of Creatures of Charm and Hunger, and so much more).

Seventeen other authors are spread across the two new issues this campaign is funding, including names like Harry Turtledove, Premee Mohamed, and Thomas Ha. Even Michael Moorcock returns with an obscure Elric reprint not included in the recent Saga collection!

(7) APPLY FOR DIANA JONES AWARD EMERGING DESIGNER PROGRAM. Submissions are open for the Diana Jones Award Emerging Designer Program through April 2. This program focuses on amplifying the voices of up-and-coming tabletop/hobby game designers with a focus on creators from marginalized communities. The complete guidelines are here. Submit using the form at the link.

The Emerging Designer Program provides both access and support to those designers that have historically been excluded from the larger industry conversations. While we recognize this program is only a first step in that process, our organization is committed to pushing forward, learning from mistakes, and improving the industry we love.

Designers who are selected as finalists receive a free badge and hotel room at Gen Con, up to $2,000 travel reimbursement for both domestic and international travel, a $75 per day food stipend, a $2,000 honorarium for presenting their work, and a prize package of game design resources. They’re also showcased as a Diana Jones Award Emerging Designer at Gen Con.

Eligible designers should have released their first professional or commercial publication (including free, self-published, PWYW, and PDF releases) no more than three years before the selection year. A designer selected for 2024’s Diana Jones Award Emerging Designer Program should not have first published before 2021, for example. We interpret “hobby game designer” broadly, to include both narrative and game mechanics design. 

(8) CREATORS VISITING THE CLASSROOM. “Are author visits worth it?” Totally, says Colby Sharp.

…On Friday, author/illustrator Philip Stead visited our school. He did three presentations, so that each one of our students and teachers could hang out with him.

His presentations were captivating. I was on the edge of my seat for 65 minutes.

Phil showed them his books, his process, his studio. He answered questions. He read them one of his books.

All the things we have come to expect from an author visit….

(9) THUFIR, WE HARDLY KNEW YE. “Dune 2 director says cutting one character from the sequel was the ‘most painful choice’” at GamesRadar+.

Like all page-to-screen adaptations, Dune: Part Two makes a few changes from the novel it’s based on. For director Denis Villeneuve, though, one change in particular was the most difficult to enact: the omission of Thufir Hawat. 

“One of the most painful choices for me on this one was Thufir Hawat,” Villeneuve told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s a character I absolutely love, but I decided right at the beginning that I was making a Bene Gesserit adaptation. That meant that Mentats are not as present as they should be, but it’s the nature of the adaptation.”Thufir Hawat is a Mentat, AKA a human whose mind has been trained to have the same power as a supercomputer. Played by Stephen McKinley Henderson in Dune: Part One, he works for House Atreides and is a mentor for Paul (Timothée Chalamet), but was blackmailed into working for House Harkonnen after they orchestrated the murder of Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) – Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) poisons him and will only administer doses of the antidote if he complies….

(10) OUR EYEWITNESS. Camestros Felapton popped out to the theater and came home to write “Review: Dune Part 2”. He sounds worried about revealing spoilers, so be warned. Now it’s not like you don’t know the story, however, you haven’t seen what they do in the film.

…Dune Part 2 is nearly three hours long and if anything, the script has simplified the plot of the second half of the novel. The net effect is a film that appears to rush by in a stream of compelling images to the extent that it feels like a much shorter film. The space created by the simpler plot and expansive running time is filled with dramatic sequences that relish in the setting and the events of the story. Above all, the film taps into the sense of weirdness and immersion into another imagined culture that makes the book so beloved.

One thing I particularly liked was the way Fremen society was expanded upon. The impression of a planet of millions of hidden peoples with a variety of experiences and attitudes but also with a common culture was deftly done. The sietch communities feel like real places built by a complex society that is doing more than just surviving in the harsh environment and amid brutal oppression….

(11) BUCKET LIST. This reminds me of the crowd the last time I went to Dodgers game. Nobody was paying attention to what was happening on the field. “Dune 2 fans distracted by popcorn bucket after finally going to see the film” at Ladbible.

The glow of a mobile phone, the rustling of sweet wrappers and someone asking if they can squeeze past you to nip to the loo are things that can really distract you from the plot while you’re in the cinema.

But bizarrely, it’s the popcorn buckets which are diverting the attention of film fans flocking to watch Dune: Part Two.

Then again, when you see them, you can understand why.

Rather than fighting to get a ticket in a packed out theatre, audiences are instead scrapping over the limited edition container which the classic movie snack comes in.

Focus has fallen on the unique popcorn buckets which have been released as part of the promo for Dune: Part Two, rather than what’s actually going on in the sequel.

(12) NECESSITY! Tiny Time Machine 3: Mother of Invention, the final book in John Stith’s “Tiny Time Machine” series, was released today by Amazing Selects™, an imprint of Amazing Stories.

In Tiny Time Machine 1, Meg and Josh discovered a time machine built into a cell phone and used it to avert a disastrous future. But along the way, Meg’s father, the inventor, was killed.

In Tiny Time Machine 2: Return of the Father, Meg and Josh brought a sarcastic AI, Valex, from the future to help them enhance the tiny time machine so it can open a portal to the past, and did their best to rescue Dad before his ex-partner could harm him.

Now, Meg and Josh are back in a third installment, Their mission: to venture even farther into the past so they can save Meg’s mother before she dies in the hospital mishap that originally triggered Dad’s efforts to build the tiny time machine. Along the way, they must fix the future again and survive a final confrontation with Dad’s ex partner.


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born March 4, 1946 Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. (Died 2021.) Patricia Kennealy-Morrison as she later called herself was hand-fasted to Jim Morrison in a Celtic ceremony in 1970. It would be by no means a traditional relationship and that’s putting it mildly. 

So it shouldn’t surprise you that much of her writing would be Celtic-tinged. The Keltiad, a fantasy series, was set far, far away. I mean really far away, possibly in another galaxy. There are eight novels in the series and one collection of short stories. She intended more works but the publisher dropped it when sales fell off. 

So how are they? Well, maybe I’m not the best judge of literary style as I thought the Potter books were badly written and these I think are equally badly written. Think clichéd SF blended ineptly with Celtic fantasy.  

Now when she decides to write in a more a traditional fantasy vein she is quite fine, as in her Tales of Arthur trilogy which is The Hawk’s Gray Feather, The Oak Above the Kings and The Hedge of Mist. It’s actually pretty good Arthurian fiction. 

Now the last thing I want mention about her is not even genre adjacent. She did two mystery series, the best of which are The Rock & Roll Murders. All but one are set at music events such as Go Ask Malice: Murder at Woodstock and California Screamin’: Murder at Monterey Pop. The era is nicely done by her and the mysteries, well, less evocative than the people and the setting but that’s ok.

The other mystery series, the Rennie Stride Murders, involves and I quote online copy here, “She’s a newspaper reporter whose beat is rock, not a detective, and her best-friend sidekick is a blonde bisexual superstar chick singer.” It’s set in LA during the Sixties and is her deep dive in that music world according to the reviews I came across. 

They have titles, and I’m not kidding, like Daydream BereaverScareway to Heaven and Go Ask Malice. No idea how they are, this is the first time I’ve heard of them. 


  • Popeye – you’ll need to scroll down to read the March 3 strip, which is what we want to feature.
  • Peanuts from 1955 has more about satellites and other dangers.
  • Hi and Lois reveals a child’s-eye view of autographed books.
  • The Far Side shows who else unexpectedly lives on the Yellow Brick Road.

(15) GAIMAN ADAPTATION. At Colleen Doran’s Funny Business the artist explains “The Secret Language of a Page of Chivalry: The Pre-Raphaelite Connection”. Many images at the link.

Adapting Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry is a decades-long dream fulfilled. The story as text can be enjoyed on multiple levels, and so can the art. You look at the pages and see the pretty pictures, but the pictures also have meta-textual meaning. Knowing this secret language adds to the experience….

…For example, Ford Madox Brown’s Work, a painting which took some 13 years to complete, was first exhibited in 1865 with a catalogue explaining all its symbols and elements. There is nothing in that picture that doesn’t mean something.

I brought some of that visual meta-textual sensibility to Chivalry, (and I’ve written about the symbolism and meanings in the work in other essays.)

I also brought into the work direct Pre-Raphaelite art references….

(16) DUNE WHAT COMES CHRONOLOGICALLY. “’Dune’ Books in Order: How to Read All 26 Novels Chronologically” at Esquire. I can only agree with Cat’s comment: “Twenty six novels? You’ve got to be fucking kidding, aren’t you?”

So you’re fired up about Dune‘s recent big screen adaptations, and while you’re steel reeling from the shock and awe of Dune: Part Two, you’re wanting to dive into the world of Frank Herbert’s beloved science fiction novels. Congratulations! You’ve got an exciting literary journey ahead. And whether you’ve dabbled in Dune lore before or you’re completely new to the wild world of Arrakis, there’s something for everyone in this Titanic-sized series about power, violence, and fate….

(17) WHEN TO QUIT READING. PZ Myers knows there are a lot of books in the series, because he ends his review of Dune 2 at Pharyngula on FreeThoughtBlogs by reposting this infographic. (I don’t know its original source.) [Click for larger image.]

… There’s talk that there may be a third Dune yet to come, which worries me a bit. There are studio executives dreaming of a franchise now, I’m sure of it, but I have to warn them that that is a path destined to lead them into madness and chaos. The sequels are weird, man. Heed Chani and shun the way towards fanaticism and corporate jihad.

Ooh, just saw this summary of the Dune series. I agree with it. I should have stopped with Dune Messiah, years ago.

(18) GET READY FOR BAIRD’S LATEST. Keith Anthony Baird lives in Cumbria, United Kingdom, on the edge of the Lake District National Park. His SIN:THETICA will be released in May; pre-order now at the Kindle Store.

The Sino-Nippon war is over. It is 2113 and Japan is crushed under the might of Chinese-Allied Forces. A former Coalition Corps soldier, US Marine Balaam Hendrix is now a feared bounty hunter known as ‘The Reverend’. In the sprawl of NeuTokyo, on this lawless frontier, he must track down the rogue employee of a notorious crime lord. But, there’s a twist. His target has found protection inside a virtual reality construct and Hendrix must go cyber-side to corner his quarry. The glowing neon signs for SIN:THETICA are everywhere, and promise escape from a dystopian reality. But will it prove the means by which this hunter snares his prey, or will it be the trap he simply can’t survive?

Keith Anthony Baird began writing dark fiction in 2016 as a self-published author. After five years of releasing titles via Amazon and Audible he switched his focus to the traditional publishing route. His dark fantasy novella In the Grimdark Strands of the Spinneret was published via Brigids Gate Press (BGP) in 2022. Two further novellas are to be published in 2024 via BGP: SIN:THETICA (May) and a vampire saga in collaboration with fellow Brit author Beverley Lee, A Light of Little Radiance (November).

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Video Shows ‘Dune’ Fan Effortlessly Riding Homemade Sandworm at Movie Theater” at Complex.

…As seen below, an unidentified individual at an AMC theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma decked themselves out in full-fledged Fremen garb and proceeded to ride a homemade sandworm through the lobby to the presumed delight of fellow Dune-goers.

[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Kathy Sullivan, Daniel Dern, Lise Andreasen, Andrew (not Werdna), Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

40 Years?

By Michael Bracken: Forty years of File 770? Who knew back in the beginning that it could last so long?

I was there, early on, swapping my fanzine (Knights of the Paper Space Ship [later, just Knights]) for yours, but I mostly disappeared from SF (in general) and fandom (specifically) for a great many years. I rediscovered File 770 a few years ago and pop onto the site every so often to see what’s happening.

Much like other fans of my generation, I went pro, but mostly in other genres. I’ve edited a few anthologies, have had a handful of novels and collections published, and have had a shit-ton of short stories published, too. I even picked up a lifetime achievement award for writing short mystery fiction.

But SF? Not so much. Other than reading File 770 now and again and attending a regional SF con nearly every year, I’ve not much contact with the genre where I had my start.

But I do remember those heady days of my teens and early twenties when I was typing stencils, cranking a mimeograph, collating and mailing fanzines, and connecting with writers and artists and fans all over the world. Without the encouragement of and interaction with so many creative people, I might never have realized that my dreams could come true.

Congratulations on reaching 40 years with File 770!