(1) TOP HORROR AUTHORS OFFER FREE CONVENTION. “Christopher Golden’s House of Last Resort Weekend” will be held January 18-21 in Portsmouth, NH. Admission is FREE with weekend hotel room reservation.
Spend a weekend with your favorite scary authors in a unique, intimate setting! This one-time-only event features Christopher Golden, Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Victor LaValle, Owen King, Gretchen Felker-Martin, Eric LaRocca, V. Castro, Cynthia Pelayo, Ronald Malfi and many more.
If you’d like to join us at the convention hotel, see below and book your room at a discounted rate. Whether or not you will be staying with us, please click [on the link above] to register for the event.
(2) CHENGDU ADDS TO HUGO VOTER PACKET. Ersatz Culture reports the two missing voter packet categories – Fanzine and Fan Writer — have been added to the downloads on the Worldcon site.
(3) CHENGDU SCIENCE FICTION MUSEUM CONSTRUCTION VIDEO. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] This link to another video of the Chengdu Worldcon venue shows the current under-construction state of the interior. The post on Xiaohongshu rather than Weibo, an Instagram-like site. The date of the video is not apparent from a machine-translation of the post. There is untranslated Chinese text in the video which may say more.
There’s also a very short video posted to Weibo by 云上深夜快递 — which seems to be a Chengdu TV and radio station — about the “sky tunnel” that leads to the convention center. They highlight that the roof has some sort of lighting effect to look like the night sky, although it doesn’t really come across in the video. It looks like the tunnel is for vehicles only, not pedestrians.
The Starry Sky Tunnel simulates the “starry sky” through decorative lights on the top of the tunnel, such as swimming in the vast Milky Way, the starry sea and the brilliant universe in the dome will provide citizens with a beautiful immersive landscape experience. The reporter saw at the scene that at present, the lights and streamers in the tunnel have entered the final commissioning and acceptance work. After the tunnel is officially opened to traffic, it will further narrow the distance between the main urban area of Pidu and the main venue of the science fiction convention
(4) NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS FICTION LONGLIST. The 2023 National Book Award Fiction Longlist includes one work of genre interest, Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
- Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Pantheon)
- Temple Folk by Aaliyah Bilal (S&S)
- Ponyboy by Eliot Duncan (Norton)
- This Other Eden by Paul Harding (Norton)
- Loot by Tania James (Knopf)
- Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips (Knopf)
- A Council of Dolls by Mona Susan Power (Mariner)
- The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen (Holt)
- Blackouts by Justin Torres (FSG)
- Holler, Child by LaToya Watkins (Tiny Reparations)
(5) CORN EXCHANGE HOSTS A COMIC-CON. James Bacon reviews “NICE 2023 – an amazing comic con!” for Downthetubes.net.
There’s a lovely welcoming atmosphere at NICE in Bedford and I got that feeling of regret… Why did I not go to this amazing comic con in previous years? NICE is, actually, really blooming… er, nice!
The promise of a good weekend began in a nearby bar as fans, professionals and dealers gathered on Friday for the weekend. There was great chat, laughter and the meeting of old friends, and the opportunity to meet new people. It’s been a few years for some, and this was evident, but also it was friendly – and I got the chance to meet established writers and artists for the first time.
This spirit continued to the queue outside the cracking venue in the heart of Bedford, the Corn Exchange, a traditional hall that was filled with tables, all about comics. There were quite a number of dealers selling a lot of comics: a great variety from 50p and £1 boxes, to key Silver Age and some really lovely to see Golden Age comics.
The range of writers and artists was just impressive….
(6) SIMULTANEOUS TIMES. Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, CA has released episode 67 of Simultaneous Times, a monthly science fiction podcast. This one is done in collaboration with Radon Journal. Theme music by Dain Luscombe,
Stories featured in this episode:
- “Hello This is Automatic Antigrief” by Jenna Hanchey; with music by Fall Precauxions; read by Zara Kand
- “Lost in Transcription” by Abigail Guerrero; with music by Phog Masheeen; read by Mark Soden Jr., Pedro Iniguez, Jean-Paul Garnier, and Zara Kand.
(7) ROBERT BLOCH WEBSITE. Robertbloch.net announced its Non-Fiction page has been significantly expanded to now include interviews, introductions/forewords/etc., and more.
(8) BEWARE SPOILER. Watch out, the spoiler is in the headline:“DC Comics Blue Beetle Ted Kord Has Died Four Times — Does It Matter Anymore?” at CBR.com
Writer Josh Trujillo just blindsided fans in the newest Blue Beetle comic series by killing off the fan-favorite second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, when the mysterious new supervillain ‘Blood Scarab’ made his debut and impaled the hero in his lab. As shocking as this is, Ted Kord is no stranger to death.
Each time a superhero dies, it matters a little less. Ted Kord has died numerous times in DC Comics. While Kord’s latest demise is obviously meant to bring some emotional weight to the new Blue Beetle series, it’s hard for it to really matter after Maxwell Lord killed him in 2006. Comic book deaths are always associated with diminishing returns. When a supposedly carefree hero like Blue Beetle has died so many times, it makes it hard for fans to care….
(9) IT WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD! ALLEGEDLY. The Hollywood Reporter unpacks the “Monsters of California Trailer: Aliens Exist in Tom DeLonge Film”.
Monsters of California centers on Dallas (Samson) and his outcast group of high school friends attempting to shed light on a paranormal conspiracy in Southern California that the political powers that be have kept under wraps….
“They don’t want you to know anything,” Kind says ominously in the footage. “This is going to shatter any idea you have about reality.”
The trailer shows Dallas working to use his father’s clandestine research to help shed light on the family’s mysterious past. “I’m literally about to find out what happened to Dad after all these years,” he exclaims. “I’m this close.”…
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 15, 1890 — Agatha Christie, or to give her full name of Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller). I’m here to praise her for my favorite work by here which is Murder on The Orient Express but anything involving the fussy little Belgian detective is worth reading. The best use of her in genre fiction is the Tenth Doctor story, “The Unicorn and The Wasp” with her involved in a Manor House mystery. (Died 1976.)
- Born September 15, 1940 — Norman Spinrad, 83. I’ll admit that the only novel I’ve read by him is Bug Jack Barron which I really do like. My bad. And I was fascinated to learn he wrote the script for Trek’s “The Doomsday Machine” episode which is an amazing story. So how is that he’s never won a Hugo?
- Born September 15, 1943 — John M. Faucette. He published five novels and one short story. He left seven unpublished novels in various states of completion at his death. Two of his novels; Crown of Infinity and Age of Ruin, were published in the Ace Doubles series. None of his works are in print in digital or paper format currently including his Black Science Fiction anthology which he as an African-American SF writer was very proud of. (Died 2003.)
- Born September 15, 1946 — Howard Waldrop, 77. I think that the The Texas-Israeli War: 1999 which he wrote with Jake Saunders is my favorite work by him. His short fiction such as “The Ugly Chickens” which won The World Fantasy and Nebula Awards is most excellent. A generous selection of his short fiction and novellas are available at the usual suspects.
- Born September 15, 1952 — Loren D. Estleman, 71. You’ll have noticed that I’ve an expansive definition of genre and so I’m including a trilogy of novels by this writer who’s better known for his mainstream mysteries featuring Amos Walker. These are set in the Sherlock Holmes Metaverse, and are Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. I think it was Titan Book that maybe a decade ago republished a lot of these Holmesian pastiches of which there are more than I want to think about. ISFDB lists two other novels by him as genre, Journey of the Dead and The Eagle and the Viper.
- Born September 15, 1956 — Elton T. Elliott, 67. Editor, publisher, reviewer. His solo fiction debut was “Lighting Candles on the River Styx” in Amazing (March 1991). His early novel-length work appeared in the 1980s in collaboration with Richard E. Geis under the pseudonym Richard Elliott. He edited Science Fiction Review from 1990 to 1992 which, yes, I remember reading at the time.
- Born September 15, 1962 — Jane Lindskold, 61. My first encounter with her was the Zelazny novel she finished, Donnerjack. It’sexcellent though how much is Zelazny is open to vigorous debate. Of her own novels, I recommend The Buried Pyramid, Child of a Rainless Year and Asphodel as being very good.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- The Far Side might be described as saying “we come in peace”, but not loudly enough.
(12) EXCEPTIONAL COLLECTIBLES. Scott Edelman is auctioning off some rarities to fund new equipment for his Eating the Fantastic podcast. One of them is his personal DC Comics baseball jacket circa 1980, the back of which is decorated with the iconic bullet icon from that period. Scott says, “I’ve never seen one on the secondary market.” Here’’s the direct link. Another dozen or so items up there can be seen at his eBay store link.
(13) THIS JUST IN 55 YEARS AGO. CBR.com tells “How Lord of the Rings Inspired Led Zeppelin”.
…Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968 with Robert Plant as the lead singer and lyricist. Plant was also a known Lord of the Rings fan. Thanks to his influence as a songwriter, many of Led Zeppelin’s songs had themes of mythology and mysticism, which are prominent within The Lord of the Rings series. Over time, the band’s songs began to reflect more of Plant’s life and experiences, such as lost romance and political protests. In a few select songs, Plant weaves his interest in Lord of the Rings with details of his life as a treat for the series’ fans among the Led Zeppelin audience. Some of LOTR‘s key moments and iconic characters lend themselves well to Led Zeppelin’s unique and otherworldly storytelling….
Here’s one example:
The song Ramble On was released in 1969 on the album Led Zeppelin II. The song mentions Gollum and Sauron hiding in Mordor and stealing Plant’s girl.
Mine’s a tale that can’t be told, my freedom I hold dear
How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air
‘Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair
But Gollum and the Evil One crept up and slipped away with her
Ultimately, this song is about a man finding his perfect girl and traveling the world to find her. However, some fans have theorized that this song is actually about Aragorn having to choose between staying with Arwen or searching for Gollum before Sauron finds him. Others theorize the song references Frodo’s journey to destroy the One Ring; the girl in the song is the Ring. Plant was quoted in an interview as embarrassed by the LOTR reference since Mordor has no beautiful women, and Gollum wouldn’t even be interested in them if they were.
(14) POP QUIZ. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Apocalyptic fiction is an established trope of SF. So arguably of interest to us know-it-all fans is Nature’s challenge, “Do you really know the way the world is heading? Take this quiz on plans to save humanity.”
The United Nations has ambitious aims to end poverty and clean up the planet by 2030. See whether you know how the world is faring…
(15) AI: WHO CARES? [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The BBC Global News Podcast (updated several times a day) has created a special episode on Artificial Intelligence with opinions and analysis from different perspectives including the public. “Special Edition – Artificial Intelligence – who cares?“
What is AI? What can it do and what are its current limitations? A tool for good – or should we be worried? Will we lose our jobs? Are we ready to be cared for by machines? Our Tech Editor, Zoe Kleinman, and a panel of international experts explore AI’s impact on healthcare, the environment, the law and the arts in a special edition recorded at Science Gallery London.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Here’s the final trailer for The Creator, coming to theaters September 29.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Rich Lynch, Lise Andreasen, Scott Edelman, Ersatz Culture, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dan’l Danehy-Oakes.]