(1) FUND OGHENECHOVWE DONALD EKPEKI’S TRIP TO CHICON 8. Jason Sanford has set up a GoFundMe that will “Send Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki to Worldcon”. Donate at the link.
This year Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki became the first African writer to win the Nebula Award for Best Novelette for his story “O2 Arena ,” with that story also making him the first African writer to be a finalist for the Hugo Award in the same category. In addition, he became the first person from Africa to be a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Editor, Short Form, for his work on the groundbreaking anthology Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction.
This fundraiser is to allow Ekpeki to travel from Nigeria to attend Chicon 8, the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Chicago. In addition to allowing Ekpeki to attend the Worldcon where he is a finalist for two Hugo Awards, the fundraiser will also enable him to work on building in-person connections at Worldcon between genre fans and professionals from Africa and around the world….
(2) 2024 NASFIC BID. The Buffalo in 2024 NASFiC bid chair Wayne Brown answered File 770’s question about who is on the committee. Says Brown:
We have a small group right now but are looking to add more committee members. Right now the committee consists of:
- Wayne Brown (chair)
- Alex Von Thorn
- Debi Chowdhury
- Marah Searle-Kovacevic
- David Ennis
(3) UP ABOVE THE WORLD SO HIGH. Astronaut Chris Hadfield is one of the shortlisted authors for the 2022 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize worth £10,000.
- The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield (Quercus)
- Where Blood Runs Cold by Giles Kristian (Bantam Press, Transworld Publishers)
- The Vacation by John Marrs (Pan, Pan Macmillan)
- The Plant Hunter by T.L. Mogford (Welbeck Publishing Group)
- Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo (Virago, Little, Brown Book Group)
- Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook (Mantle, Pan Macmillan)
The judges discuss their definition of adventure here.The winner of the 2022 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize will be announced at an online ceremony on September 21.
(4) JUBILEE COVERAGE. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The weekend has been a blast. If you get a chance catch the “Jubilee Platinum Party at the Palace.” [Note: Can only be viewed in the UK. But there are many short video clips on The Royal Family Channel.]
The next day we had a parade through central London and even the Daleks were well behaved.
(5) PULP FOREVER. Cora Buhlert has an essay about Harald Harst, a forgotten German pulp detective of the Weimar Republic era, in The Drink Tank #439 on page 10:
So-called dime novels or penny dreadfuls are a child of the industrial revolution, when the invention of the rotary printing press made it possible to publish cheap literature for the masses. The dime novel was born in the mid-nineteenth century and in the United States gave way to pulp magazines at the turn of the twentieth century. But in Germany, the dime novel never died….
(6) HE’S BACK. Netflix announced The Sandman will begin airing August 5.
There is another world that waits for all of us when we close our eyes and sleep — a place called the Dreaming, where The Sandman, Master of Dreams (Tom Sturridge), gives shape to all of our deepest fears and fantasies. But when Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever. To restore order, Dream must journey across different worlds and timelines to mend the mistakes he’s made during his vast existence, revisiting old friends and foes, and meeting new entities — both cosmic and human — along the way. Based on the beloved award-winning DC comic series written by Neil Gaiman, THE SANDMAN is a rich, character-driven blend of myth and dark fantasy woven together over the course of ten epic chapters following Dream’s many adventures.
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1980 – [By Cat Eldridge.] It’s been forty-two years since this film came out and I can’t remember if I’ve seen it. It certainly sounds familiar but that doesn’t mean anything. So let’s get to it.
It was both directed and written by William Sachs who previously had done Secrets of the Gods (re-released in theatres as The Force Beyond in 1977) and The Incredible Melting Man. It was produced by Marilyn Jacobs Tenser who had absolutely no genre background though she did produce Superchick and The Pom Pom Girls.
The cast consisted of Stephen Macht, Avery Schreiber. James David, Hinton Lionel and Mark Smith. And one more individual — Dorothy Stratten. Now let’s be honest, Dorothy Stratten was Galaxina. Literally. And as she was a Playboy Playmate, she was the only draw for this R-rated SF film which also had a triple breasted alien in it a decade before Total Recall had its triple-breasted Mars whore.
As Jeffrey Anderson said in his review, “Unfortunately, the actual movie isn’t much. Stratten in fact plays a robot and doesn’t do or say much for at least the first half of the movie; and, despite her Playboy status, she keeps her clothes on. Then we’ve got the rest of the movie to deal with: it’s a lazy attempt to spoof the popular sci-fi movies of the day, including Star Wars, Alien, and many others, but the jokes are little more than references and they simply don’t work.”
It was made in less than three weeks on a shoestring budget of about five million and the box office was somewhat less than that. It was never released outside of the States.
No, the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes do not like it, giving it just a twenty-three percent rating.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born June 6, 1918 — Richard Crane. In the Fifties, he would be cast in two of the series that largely defined the look and feel of televised SF for a decade. First, he was the dashing lead in Rocky Jones, Space Ranger which lasted for thirty-nine thrilling episodes; second, he’s Dick Preston in nine of the twelve episodes of the wonderfully titled Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe. He was also the lead in the fifteen-chapter serial Mysterious Island which was a very loose adaption of the Jules Verne novel. He died far too young died of a heart attack at the age of fifty. (Died 1969.)
- Born June 6, 1931 — Joan Marshall. She played Lt. Areel Shaw in Star Trek‘s “Court Martial”, a rather excellent affair. Her other major genre other was as Wilma in The Twilight Zone‘s “Dead Man’s Shoes”. She also had roles in Men in Space, The Outer Limits, The Munsters and I-Spy. The Munsters appearance was in My Fair Munster, the Unaired Pilot as Phoebe Munster. (Died 1992.)
- Born June 6, 1936 — Levi Stubbs. Remember the voice of Audrey in The Little Shop of Horrors film? (It was nominated for a Hugo at Conspiracy ’87 the year Aliens won.) Well that was this individual who was the lead vocalist of the Four Tops. Cool, very cool. On the film soundtrack, he performs “Feed Me (Git It)”, “Suppertime” and “Mean Green Mother From Outer Space”. (Died 2008.)
- Born June 6, 1947 — Robert Englund, 75. I think his best performance was as Blackie on the very short-lived Nightmare Cafe. Short-lived as in just six episodes. Of course most will remember him playing Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. He actually appeared in a couple of now forgotten horror films, Dead & Buried and Galaxy of Terror, before landing that role. And he’s continued to do myriad horror films down to the years ranging from CHUD to Strippers vs Werewolves. (Really. Truly. He did.) Versatile man, our Robert. So versatile in fact that he’s on Stranger Things as Victor Creel in a recurring role.
- Born June 6, 1951 — Geraldine McCaughrean, 71. Fifteen years ago, she wrote Peter Pan in Scarlet, the official sequel to Peter Pan commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital, the holder of Peter Pan’s copyright which J.M. Barrie granted them. So has anyone here read it? By the way, she’s extremely prolific having now written over one hundred and eighty books!
- Born June 6, 1959 — Amanda Pays, 63. I first encountered her as Thero Jones on Max Headroom, a series I think should be considered one of the best SF series ever made. She appeared as Dawn in the Spacejacked film. She also had a guest role as Phoebe Green in the episode “Fire” of The X-Files, and was cast as Christina “Tina” McGee in The Flash of the 1990 series, and she has a recurring role on the present Flash series as the same character.
- Born June 6, 1963 — Jason Isaacs, 59. Captain Gabriel Lorca, the commanding officer of the USS Discovery in the first season of Discovery and also provided the voice of The Inquisitor, Sentinel, in Star Wars Rebels, and Admiral Zhao in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Oh, and the role of Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise.
- Born June 6, 1964 — Jay Lake. Another one who died far too young. If you read nothing else by him, read his brilliant Mainspring Universe series. Though his Green Universe is also extremely entertaining. He won an Astounding Award for Best New Writer and an Endeavour Award for Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection which collects a lot of his most excellent short fiction. He has two Hugo nominations, one at Noreascon 4 for his “Into the Gardens of Sweet Night” novelette and one at LoneStarCon3 for his “The Stars Do Not Lie” novella. (Died 2014.)
(9) BERLIN IN 1967. Cora Buhlert’s new Galactic Journey article chronicles the point where the peace and love 1960s turned violent in West Germany, namely the protests against the visit of the Shah of Iran to West Berlin and the murder of Benno Ohnesorg in 1967: “[June 6, 1967] Blood in the Streets of West Berlin: The Shah Visit and the Shooting of Benno Ohnesorg”. Content warning for police violence in words and pictures as well as a photo of a body.
… On June 2, the Shah and his wife were due to visit West Berlin. Therefore, the student parliament of the Free University organised a panel discussion about the Iranian regime on the day before. Among those invited to speak at the meeting was Bahman Nirumand. The Iranian embassy in West Germany was incensed and demanded that the panel discussion be cancelled. However, the chancellor of the Free University refused, citing the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. This is not the first time that the Iranian government has tried to suppress criticism in West Germany, by the way. They have also repeatedly invoked a lese-majeste law dating from the days of the Second German Empire (which ended fifty years ago) in order to have unfavourable news articles retracted….
(10) ARTIST KELLY REMEMBERED. Brian Murphy offers a tribute to the late Ken Kelly at DMR Books: “Remembering Ken Kelly: Master of Light and Dark, and the Imagination”.
… I have a hard time writing about artists because their images speak so much louder and more potently than words. Just spend a minute looking at the covers of the Berkley Medallion Conans, and your tribute to Kelly’s passing is paid. Maybe you are lucky enough to have copies with the foldout posters intact. Kelly’s iconic images of Conan alone make him an S&S immortal, and of course they only scratch the surface of his epic 50 year career….
(11) LOVECRAFT: IT’S COMPLICATED. At Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein, Serbian horror author and scholar Dejan Ognjanović explains what the works of H.P. Lovecraft mean to him: “A Serbian Looks At Lovecraft”.
… In my childhood, in the early 1980s, during my initial investigations into the scarce horror fiction then available in Serbian, Lovecraft was literally unknown. Not a single story by him had been translated by my late teens, i.e. by 1989. Thus my first encounter with him was indirect – it was through the idea of Lovecraft, as re-imagined in an Italian comic series Martin Mystere, the episode “The House at the Edge of the World” (“La Casa ai confini di mundo”, 1982), which I read in the summer of 1986, when I was 13. It was love at first sight: for the first time I encountered the concept of houses haunted not by ghosts or any traditional monster, but by unnamable inter-dimensional entities; it also involved places serving as portals into non-Euclidean spaces, nameless cosmic vistas, alien temples and weird-looking gods/demons…
(12) A SWORD & SORCERY PODCAST. The Rogues in the House podcast talk about their fantasy influences: “Sweet Nostalgia: A Nerd’s Journey”.
The Rogues are once again joined by Flame and Crimson author, Brian Murphy–this time to discuss the works of fiction most near and dear to their roguish hearts.
(13) NO MORE LICENSE TO KILL. “Seven years, 40 editions and 3117 trained witchers later,” the Witcher School live-action role-play events in Poland has shut down: “’Witcher school’ closes after CD Projekt Red pulls license over political ties” reports Indy100.
A ‘Witcher school’ located in Poland has been forced to close after its licence was abruptly pulled by the game’s publisher.
The reasons for which are currently unclear but organisers have claimed that the decision was due to a staff member’s involvement with an ultra-conservative political group, according to Eurogamer.
[CD Projekt Red pulled the license because of a staff member’s involvement with the ultra-conservative Polish Catholic organization Ordo Iuris, which is anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+, and rejects the idea of gender equality.]
The Witcher School ran live-action role-playing (LARP) events in Poland themed around the popular videogame series with 40 editions of the event and over 3000 “Witchers” taking part.
But after 7 years, the publisher of the hit videogame series, CD Projekt Red, officially ended the contract with the school in February 2022 with a three-month notice, effectively ending their use of The Witcher’s characters, setting and storylines.
(14) FUNERAL DIRECTOR. Nicholas Meyer talks with Ethan Alter of Yahoo! Entertainment on the death of Spock in this piece about the 40th anniversary of The Wrath of Khan. “’Wrath of Khan’ director reveals how he killed Spock in the 1982 blockbuster” at Yahoo!
It’s been forty years since Spock put the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the few — or the one — in the final moments of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. With the U.S.S. Enterprise‘s warp drive inoperable thanks to a devastating attack launched by Khan Noonien Singh (Richardo Montalban), Starfleet’s most popular Vulcan officer descends into the starship’s engine room and absorbs a lethal dose of radiation, surviving just long enough to save the day and say goodbye to his closest companion, James T. Kirk. And no matter how many times you’ve seen Wrath of Khan in the four decades since the movie’s June 4, 1982 release, Spock’s passing never fails to trigger tears, whether you’re human, Klingon… or Gorn.
The tears were certainly flowing on the Wrath of Khan set when William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy — who had been part of each other’s lives since the 1966 premiere of the original Star Trek TV series — played what was intended to be their final scene together. In his 2010 memoir, The View From the Bridge, Wrath of Khan director, Nicholas Meyer, described members of the crew weeping as Spock told Kirk: “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”…
(15) WEBB TELESCOPE. Inverse tells us, “We Finally Know When The Webb Telescope’s First Color Images Will Arrive — Here’s What To Expect”
…On Sunday, July 12, the Webb team will release an unconfirmed number of full-color images based on observations by two of Webb’s four science instruments: the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).
The Webb’s two other instruments, the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) and the Fine Guidance Sensor/Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS/NIRISS) don’t capture photo-like images of the universe. Instead, they sort incoming light from distant objects into distinct wavelengths. Scientists can then use these data to measure the temperature and chemical makeup of those objects.
“We will release the scientific data from those observations as well — not just the color JPGs, but also the actual quantitative data — to the astronomical community,” Pontoppidan explains.
What can we expect to see in those first images and data? The Webb team is keeping specific spoilers under wraps, but they’ve offered a few (very broad) hints…
(16) NOSE FOR NEWS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is the first trailer for Disney’s Pinocchio remake, which is not Guillermo del Toro’s version (That’s a Netflix project.)
This reminds me of the version of Pinocchio that sank Roberto Benigni’s career because he stupidly played Pinocchio instead of Geppetto. “Call the vice squad!” warned Washington Post critic Stephen Hunter. “It’s a 50-year-old man wearing jammies!”
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] David Sproxton and Peter Lord, creators of Aardman Animations, explain how stop-motion animation is done in this excerpt from a 1981 episode of Blue Peter.
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cora Buhlert, Jason Sanford, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kaboobie.]