(1) WON’T BE THE FIRST TIME. The organizers anticipate some accepters will make some political statements from the stage of the National Book Awards ceremony on November 15: “Israel-Hamas War Sows Disruption at the National Book Awards” in the New York Times.
As the cultural fallout from the war in the Middle East continues, several finalists for the National Book Award plan to call for a cease-fire in Gaza during the ceremony on Wednesday. Two sponsors have decided not to attend the ceremony after learning authors were planning a political statement.
“I don’t want to look back on this time,” said Aaliyah Bilal, a finalist in the fiction category and one of the authors planing to speak out, “and say that I was silent while people were suffering.”
Rumors that authors would take a stand regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict during the ceremony were flying in the days leading up to the event, but it was unclear what the statement would include, leaving several sponsors concerned.
One of the sponsors that withdrew after learning that some authors were planning a political statement was Zibby Media. Zibby Owens, the company’s founder, wrote in an essay published on Substack that her company had withdrawn because she was afraid the remarks at the ceremony would take a stance against Israel, noting that “we simply can’t be a part of anything that promotes discrimination, in this case of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Another sponsor, Book of the Month, has also decided not to attend. In a statement, the organization said it continued to support the event.
On Tuesday, the National Book Foundation sent a message to all the sponsors and those who purchased tickets, alerting them to the likelihood that winners were planning to issue political statements from the podium. The letter said that one group had decided to withdraw its sponsorship altogether….
(2) PROTESTORS AT GILLER PRIZE CEREMONY. Last night’s Giller Prize ceremony in Toronto was interrupted twice by protestors: “Three people charged in Giller Prize protest” at CP24.
Toronto police say three people are facing charges after a surprise protest which hijacked a gala for the Scotiabank Giller Prize – one of the biggest nights in Canadian literature.
The glitzy awards ceremony was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville Monday night.
The $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize went to Montreal native Sarah Bernstein for her novel, “Study for Obedience.”
Just as the prize was being announced, a protester posing as a photographer interrupted the ceremony – which was being broadcast live on CBC – with antiwar slogans.
A video of the incident posted to social media shows a woman yelling at the room while several others held up signs accusing Scotiabank of “genocide” for investment in an arm’s company that deals with Israel.
Publishers Lunch reports a Scotiabank asset investment fund holds a five percent stake (worth roughly $500 million) in Elbit Systems, the “largest non-government-owned defense company in Israel.”
(3) NANOWRIMO CONCERN. This report about the NaNoWriMo Youth Forums says the Board of Directors had to step in because of allegations against a moderator. The following is an excerpt from a thread which begins here.
And this tweet links to a 5-minute Rebecca Thorne Tik-Tok video commentary on the situation where she says “Now is the time to change your password, your email, and check your kids if they’ve been on these forums”.
(4) 2024 GRAMMY BALLOT INCLUDES SFF NOTABLES. The “2024 GRAMMY Nominations” were released on November 10, with nearly one hundred categories. William Shatner stands alone in his category, but the next four are almost entirely filled by musical works of genre interest.
68. Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording
Boldly Go: Reflections On A Life Of Awe And Wonder
69. Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Award to the principal artist(s) and/or ‘in studio’ producer(s) of a majority of the tracks on the album. In the absence of both, award to the one or two individuals proactively responsible for the concept and musical direction of the album and for the selection of artists, songs and producers, as applicable. Award also goes to appropriately credited music supervisor(s).
(Daisy Jones & The Six)
Barbie The Album
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From And Inspired By
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3: Awesome Mix, Vol. 3
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Weird Al Yankovic
70. Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media (Includes Film And Television)
Award to Composer(s) for an original score created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current legitimate motion picture, television show or series, or other visual media.
Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, composers
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Ludwig Göransson, composer
John Williams, composer
Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny
John Williams, composer
Ludwig Göransson, composer
71. Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media
Award to Composer(s) for an original score created specifically for, or as a companion to, video games and other interactive media.
Call Of Duty®: Modern Warfare II
Sarah Schachner, composer
God Of War Ragnarök
Bear McCreary, composer
Peter Murray, J Scott Rakozy & Chuck E. Myers “Sea”, composers
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Stephen Barton & Gordy Haab, composers
Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical
Jess Serro, Tripod & Austin Wintory, composers
72. Best Song Written For Visual Media
A Songwriter(s) award. For a song (melody & lyrics) written specifically for a motion picture, television, video games or other visual media, and released for the first time during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.)
Barbie World [From “Barbie The Album”]
Naija Gaston, Ephrem Louis Lopez Jr. & Onika Maraj, songwriters (Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice Featuring Aqua)
Dance The Night [From “Barbie The Album”]
Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Dua Lipa)
I’m Just Ken [From “Barbie The Album”]
Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Ryan Gosling)
Lift Me Up [From “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From And Inspired By”]
Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson, Robyn Fenty & Temilade Openiyi, songwriters (Rihanna)
What Was I Made For? [From “Barbie The Album”]
Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
(5) LEARNEDLEAGUE. [Item by David Goldfarb.] The last day of the current LearnedLeague off-season featured a fun quiz on invented religions in a wide range of SF and fantasy. I got 9/12. You can find the questions here: “Fictional Theology”.
(6) SACRIFICIAL RAMMING SPEED. While you may have missed the latest NCIS television spinoff (I certainly did), Camestros Felapton confesses “I watched NCIS Sydney”.
…The choice of city is obvious from the opening shots which take in the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House before taking us to the naval base near Woolloomooloo. You really can’t go wrong with filming Sydney Harbour, it is genuinely photogenic and really does have visiting naval vessels in it. Apparently, the real NCIS does have an Australian sub-office but it is in Perth, which is a lovely city but lacks the kind of recognisable landmarks that invading aliens or kaiju like to destroy….
(7) IT TURNS OUT MOUNT DOOM IS FREEWAY CLOSE TO POMPEII. In Italy, where the right wing is trying to appropriate Tolkienesque icons and themes, Politico takes readers “Inside Giorgia Meloni’s Hobbit fantasy world”.
Introducing soon-to-be Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at her final election campaign rally last year, the compère lifted a line from a battle speech in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings: “The day of defeat will come, but not today.”
Meloni has made it no secret that the fantasy epic is her favorite literary work. As a young activist she dressed up as a hobbit; after she became a minister, she posed next to a statue of Gandalf for a magazine photoshoot….
…The Ministry of Culture is funding an exhibition in Rome marking 50 years since the author’s death at a cost of €250,000, according to an official, who said the ministry hopes to recoup the funds from ticket sales. Meloni herself will open the show on November 15 at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art before it moves to other Italian cities.
Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano announced the show to the youth wing of Meloni’s party in July as “a gift.”
On Wednesday, presenting the exhibition, Sangiuliano said the show was “not by accident but deliberate and desired.” In response to a question by POLITICO, he insisted that Meloni had not requested the show but “only found out later.”
In the 1970s the far right would organize “Hobbit camp” festivals; Meloni has recalled that her friends were nicknamed Frodo, Gandalf and Hobbit, after central characters from the books.
She has quoted liberally from Tolkien throughout her career, from one of her first political speeches as a youth leader in 2002, to her autobiography in 2022. In 2015 she called on followers to combat that “sly enemy that Tolkien called the rings of power,” referring to the global financial elite….
(8) A BIG IMPROVEMENT. Christopher Nieman’s cover for The New Yorker shows robots are here to help us. (Click on item to see all panels.)
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born November 14, 1907 — Astrid Lindgren. Creator of the Pippi Longstocking series and, at least in the States, lesser known Emil i Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children series as well. In January 2017, she was calculated to be the world’s eighteenth most-translated author, and the fourth-most translated children’s writer after Enid Blyton, H. C. Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. There have been at least forty video adaptations of her works over the decades mostly in Swedish but Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter was an animated series in Japan recently. (Died 2002.)
- Born November 14, 1951 — Beth Meacham, 72. In 1984, she became an editor for Tor Books, where she rose to the position of editor-in-chief. After her 1989 move to the west coast, she continued working for Tor as an executive editor until her retirement. She does have one novel, co-written with Tappan King, entitled Nightshade Book One: Terror, Inc. and a handful of short fiction. A Reader’s Guide to Fantasy that she co-wrote wrote with Michael Franklin and Baird Searles was nominated for a Hugo at L.A. Con II. She has been nominated for six Hugos as Best Professional Editor or Best Editor Long Form.
- Born November 14, 1963 — Cat Rambo, 60. All around great person. Past President of SFWA. She was editor of Fantasy Magazine for four years which earned her a 2012 nomination in the World Fantasy Special Award: Non-Professional category. Her novelette Carpe Glitter won a 2020 Nebula, and her short story “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain” was a 2013 Nebula Award finalist. Her impressive fantasy Tabat Quartet quartet begins withBeasts of Tabat, Hearts of Tabat, and Exiles of Tabat, and will soon be completed by Gods of Tabat. She also writes amazing short fiction as well. The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers is her long-standing school for writers that provides her excellent assistance in learning proper writing skills through live and on demand classes about a range of topics. You can get details here. Her latest, Devil’s, was a stellar listen and an outstanding sequel to You Sexy Thing.
- Born November 14, 1969 — Daniel Abraham, 54. Co-author with Ty Franck of The Expanse series which won a Hugo at CoNZealand. Under the pseudonym M. L. N. Hanover, he is the author of the Black Sun’s Daughter urban fantasy series. Abraham collaborated with George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois to write the Hunter’s Run. Abraham also has adapted several of Martin’s works into comic books and graphic novels, such as A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, and has contributed to Wild Cards anthologies. By himself, he picked up a Hugo nomination at Denvention 3 for his “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics” novelette.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Eek! has a grotesque Wolverine joke.
(11) ARMOR MUSEUM EXHIBIT IN HUNTSVILLE. [Item by Marc Criley.] Armor frequently plays a key supporting role in high fantasy and historical fiction set in a certain era.
Pay a visit to the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama to see what really protected those that became the storytellers’ myths and legends. The Age of Armor: Treasures from the Higgins Armory Collection at the Worcester Art Museum on display now until January 14, 2024.
Far from the ungainly exoskeleton we often imagine today, the suit of armor was made to be sleek and stylish—painstakingly engineered, elegantly designed, and treasured as the expression of its owner’s taste, sophistication, and prowess.
(12) DISGRACELAND. “Shock of the old: eight abandoned and appalling theme parks” – the Guardian has a little list. Here’s one example:
Gulliver’s Kingdom, Japan
Given its wholesome location, nestled up against the Aokigahara “suicide forest” and the Aum Shinrikyo cult headquarters in Japan, it’s impossible to imagine why this Jonathan Swift tribute park didn’t catch on. It’s the kind of thing you could threaten your kids with: “Be good, or we’ll go and see the vast, nightmarish statue of a man in a book you’ve never read.” Did they serve Modest Proposal burgers? It’s been demolished now; probably best for the planet’s collective psychological wellbeing.
(13) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. [Item by Steven French.] Well, who hasn’t lost a ring at some time or another …?! “Saturn’s Rings Will Temporarily Disappear From View in 2025” according to Smithsonian Magazine.
… In reality, it all has to do with planetary alignment. Saturn’s rings are so thin that they seemingly vanish when viewed edge-on. And as Earth and Saturn travel around the sun on their respective orbital paths, our planet reaches this particular vantage point like clockwork, roughly every 13 to 16 years.
As Saturn completes its orbit over approximately 29.4 Earth years, it leans at an angle of 26.7 degrees. This means that our view of Saturn toggles between the upper side of its rings when it’s tilted toward us and the lower side when it’s tilted away. We get the special, ringless view of the planet when Earth transitions between each of these perspectives and passes through Saturn’s “ring plane,” essentially, any area of space that’s in line with the edge of its rings.
From that angle, “they reflect very little light and are very difficult to see, making them essentially invisible,” Vahe Peroomian, a physicist and astronomer at the University of Southern California, tells CBS News’ Caitlin O’Kane…
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Anne Marble, Marc Criley, Nicholas Whyte, Steven French, Lise Andreasen, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Mike Kennedy, for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]