The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are questioning whether their in-person Nebula Conference can continue into the future. The organization discussed the problems facing them in a press release issued May 4.
With just over a week left until our 2023 Nebula Conference, the SFWA Events Team and our many incredible volunteers have been busy putting the final touches on our first hybrid event since 2019.
With this pivot, the organization has faced many unique challenges including the much higher costs of holding the in-person component. In the planning stages for 2023, the SFWA Board and team did everything they could to minimize the financial impact and burden on both our attendees and the organization when researching venue and dates. Teams looked at many different hotels, considering accessibility, price, and location. Negotiations went on for weeks, with our team trying to bring down the costs as much as we could across the event. It was clear from the beginning that properties were only focused on recouping their own losses during lockdown which forced us to walk away from a few ongoing negotiations.
Like many conferences making their way back into in-person spaces, there are incredible challenges to face. From the current cost-of-living crisis, lower attendance numbers, difficult hotel negotiations and relationships, to the higher cost of travel and expenditures on everything from supplies to audio/visual requirements to every bite of food.
And it’s not happening to just us. We’ve received many reports from beloved genre conventions that we are not alone in all of these challenges.
With that said, SFWA is absorbing the majority of costs this year and only passed on what we absolutely could not carry in the form of registration fees. SFWA has never made a profit from our conference but has always used all income from ticket sales and sponsorships to fund future Nebula Conference events. As a non-profit, our goal is to make the Nebula Conference budget neutral each year. The organization has been successful in doing so right up until now. The SFWA Board understands the stark reality that despite the organization subsidizing a portion of the costs this year, the ticket price is still unreachable for many attendees wishing to attend in person.
SFWA is committed to making our professional development, career knowledge, networking conference and awards sustainable, attainable, and equitable and going forward, we will be discussing how we can serve all SFF genre writers in the future with our events and programs. Within that conversation, however, there is a very real danger that in its current form, this may be the last time we can do anything like this.
Because there is absolutely nothing left in our funds to pass on to future events.
SFWA is a 501c3 public benefit charity focused on genre writers across the globe. We depend on donations (both monetary and time) to fund our programs and services which help support worldwide communities. We’re not going to be able to do this again without your help and support.
A donation to SFWA goes a long way and you can donate here: sfwa.org/donate
Similarly, we’re always looking for more volunteers to help keep things running and your time and expertise is just as valuable as any money you can give. If you are interested in helping the organization continue to fulfill its mission, please email [email protected].
In-Person Scholarships Now Available
Addressing our current predicament on affordability, the SFWA Board has dedicated some in-person scholarships to those who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend the in-person conference this year. This scholarship is open now to SFF genre writers who wish to attend the SFWA Nebula Conference on May 12-14th.
The scholarship will contain one complimentary conference registration and a three-night hotel stay at the Sheraton Anaheim beginning Friday May 12 and checking out on Monday, May 15. There are an extremely limited amount of these scholarships available, and the deadline to apply will be midnight on Tuesday May 9 PT. We will be choosing our scholarship winners via a lottery.
Please help us spread the word. If you’re chosen, and if you can get here, we’ll give you a badge and a place to dream.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) is once again offering more than 100 scholarships for members of underserved communities for online registrations for the hybrid 2023 Nebula Conference.
To support efforts such as funding conference scholarships and other programs that promote and advance SFF creators and the genres, SFWA is also offering several conference sponsorship tiers for interested parties.
The 2023 Nebula Conference is rapidly approaching, taking place May 12–14, 2023. The conference is geared toward aspiring and professional storytellers in the speculative fiction genres and offers a professional development weekend full of panels, networking opportunities, and chances to learn from and interact with experts in related fields.
The 2023 Nebula Conference: May 12–14, 2023. Registration prices:
NEBULA SCHOLARSHIPS. Scholarship applications for the Nebula Conference must be completed on this form by April 21, 11:59pm Pacific Time.
Here are the categories of scholarships we’re offering and the number available for each.
Scholarship for Black and/or Indigenous Creators: This scholarship is open to Black and/or Indigenous creators in the United States and abroad. (quantity: 25)
Scholarship for AAPI Creators: This scholarship is available to Asian creators, Asian American creators, and creators from the Pacific Islands. (quantity: 25)
Scholarships for Hispanic/Latinx Creators: This scholarship is available to creators with backgrounds in Spanish-speaking and/or Latin American cultures. (quantity: 25)
Scholarship for Writers Based Outside of the U.S.: This scholarship is available to creators who live outside the United States. (quantity: 25)
Scholarship for Members of the LGBTQIA+ Community: This scholarship is available to creators who identify as LGBTQIA+. (quantity: 25)
From the applicant pool, the scholarship recipients will be selected by lottery. This scholarship will be available for our online conference only, which will give access to the streamed/online conference events over the conference weekend and all future online events for a full year.
Support of underserved communities isn’t possible without help. Donations are welcome at sfwa.org/donate to help support this very worthy cause. Questions about scholarships can be sent to[email protected].
NEBULA SPONSORSHIPS. Conference sponsorships are an important way SFWA funds essential outreach, like the Nebula scholarships, to the diverse voices within the global science fiction and fantasy publishing community. The cost of funding a scholarship significantly rises for in-person conferences and SFWA needs help to make them possible for future years.
Are you looking to increase the visibility of your latest book release? Interested in getting your brand in front of hundreds of conference attendees both in-person and around the world online? SFWA has a sponsorship option for you!
Here are this year’s options:
Gold Sponsor: Support our Suite Refreshments Two of the most popular hangouts during the conference are the hospitality suite and volunteer suite. As a Gold Sponsor, your logo will adorn the doors of each suite! Your logo will also be on all Nebula Award and conference email communication to SFWA members and conference attendees and will appear in the commemorative program book! — $5,000
Silver Sponsor: Support Receptions Forever link your logo in the minds of reception attendees with their own celebration as a Silver Sponsor! Your logo will be proudly displayed at the in-person Nebula Finalist Reception, the Past Presidents Meetup, and the Mentor Meetup. It will also be included on all Nebula Award and conference email communication to SFWA members and conference attendees and appear in the commemorative program book! — $2,500
Bronze Sponsor: As one of our Bronze Sponsors, your logo will be on all Nebula Award and conference email communication to SFWA members and conference attendees and will also appear in the commemorative program book! — $750
Sponsor a Private Party: Be the envy of everyone at the Nebulas by hosting a private party. Your logo will be a highlight of the party listing announcement and be displayed in the private room where the party will take place. — $2,000
*additional costs dependent on cocktail/menu selection.
Sponsor a Panel for our Virtual Attendees: The Nebula Airship is primed for takeoff, and as a virtual panel sponsor your logo will grace the background of the onliner panel of your choice. — $350
Congratulate a Nebula Finalist! Being a SFWA Nebula Finalist is a career milestone and the awards evening will be filled with excitement and nerves. Send your well wishes and congratulations to any finalist you wish by filling out a form, which will be available soon at store.sfwa.org! Your note will be delivered to the finalist’s chair before the ceremony begins, providing them with good vibes to last through the evening! —$50
If you’re interested in any of our sponsorship opportunities, email [email protected] for details. Sharing the opportunities for sponsorships and scholarships with publishers, agents, and other industry friends is highly encouraged.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) announced today that acclaimed performer and designer Cheryl Platz will serve as toastmaster for the 58th Annual Nebula Awards® Ceremony. The ceremony will take place in Anaheim, CA, on Sunday, May 14, 2023. This year marks the return of the ceremony to an in-person event and continues SFWA’s tradition of inviting the global science fiction and fantasy community to take part by livestreaming the festivities.
Cheryl Platz is a world-renowned designer, author, game developer, speaker, and actress best known for her work on cutting-edge products from Alexa to Azure, from Disney Parks to The Sims, and her work on multiple Internet TV shows. Her first book, Design Beyond Devices: Creating Multimodal, Cross-Device Experiences, was published by Rosenfeld Media in 2020. For folks new to design, she describes her book as “the design manual for folks who aspire to design the starship bridge of their dreams.”
In her current role as Director of User Experience for the Player Platform at Riot Games, Platz leads a team working to build a coherent cross-device experience for millions of players. Her past game development experience includes production, game design, and game writing on a variety of titles, from The Sims Makin’ Magic, The Sims 2, and The Urbz to the Chronicles of Narnia and Disney Friends.
Platz’s acting career includes credits on Internet shows such as Shadowrun: Corporate SINs, voice-over credits for The Sims 2 (DS) and BATTLETECH (2018) among others, and over 15 years of professional improv comedy performances with Unexpected Productions, Seattle Experimental Theater, and NERDprov. She also owns design education firm Ideaplatz, LLC and has delivered keynotes, workshops, and consulting services on 5 continents and in over a dozen countries.
SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy shared, “We are proud to welcome Cheryl Platz as our 2023 Toastmaster. Platz shares our love of game writing and exploring new worlds — from the page to the movie screen and onto our consoles. We can’t wait to see her on the stage of the Airship Nebula on the next stage of its journey.”
“Science fiction and fantasy have always been a huge part of my life,” remarked Platz, “from growing up with Star Trek to surviving college with Discworld and dreaming of alternative futures with today’s Lady Astronaut books. It is a tremendous honor to combine my own experience in writing, games, hosting, and improv to help bring this year’s triumphant re-launch of the live Nebulas experience to life not just for in-person audiences, but for live audiences around the world. I look forward to guiding you all on our away mission as the Airship Nebula docks for the first time in years this May for a memorable planetary visit.”
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) has opened registration for the 2023 Nebula Conference, which will be taking place both online and in-person at the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort, in Anaheim, CA from May 12-14, 2023.
Registrations may be purchased at this link. Registration for the online portion of the conference is $150.00and includes access to broadcasts of many of the weekend’s panels and the subsequent archive, mentorship opportunities, the Nebula Awards ceremony, a conference Discord, and entry to SFWA’s ongoing Nebula Conference events beginning May 1, 2023.
In-person conference registration begins at $349.00, which includes access to the online conference. Due to limited space and seating, they anticipate the conference and banquet to sell out, so are encouraging people to buy their tickets early. Participants may attend panels and the awards ceremony in-person, take part in mentorships and receptions, and visit the SFWA hospitality suite.
For Anaheim attendees, banquet tickets for the Nebula Awards banquet can be purchased for an additional $125.00. This three-course celebration dinner held before the Nebula Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 13, 2023 is a fantastic opportunity to mingle with old friends and meet new peers. Conference attendees who wish to attend the ceremony without purchasing a ticket to the banquet may do so on a space-available basis. The ceremony will also stream live online for the public.
The Nebula Conference is the premier professional development conference for aspiring and established members of the science fiction and fantasy industries. It includes content geared toward creators working in games, comics, prose, poetry, and other mediums of storytelling, which reflects the diversifying and expanding membership in the organization.
Purchase conference registrations at this link. Hotel reservations must be made separately, and information on how to reserve a room at conference rates is available at that webpage, along with SFWA policies for harassment, COVID-19, and code of conduct. For questions, please contact [email protected]
SFWA removed Mercedes Lackey from this weekend’s Nebula Conference less than 24 hours after celebrating her selection as a Grand Master during the Nebula Awards ceremony. The reason given is that she “used a racial slur” while on a panel.
Dear Nebula Conference Participants and SFWA Members,
We learned yesterday that while participating in the “Romancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy” panel, Mercedes Lackey used a racial slur. First, we apologize to our attendees and the other panelists who were subjected to that slur. We’ve disabled access to the panel to avoid any additional harm being caused.
Second, we are immediately removing Mercedes Lackey from the conference and the additional panels she was scheduled for, in accordance with SFWA’s Moderation Policy. The use of a racial slur violates the instruction to “Respect all cultures and communities. Do not make derogatory or offensive statements even as a joke.” That applies to everyone in a SFWA space, at all levels of their career.
Third, we will be discussing with the other panelists for “Romancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy” how they would prefer we proceed when they are able and comfortable in doing so. We will be offering to edit out the offensive portion of the panel or hold the panel again at a later date, inviting back the other three panelists and moderator to again take part. We will respect their wishes on how to handle this issue while also sharing the invaluable expertise they offered during the discussion.
Thank you to our conference attendees and panelists who reported the use of the slur. We appreciate being alerted to it right away, so we could investigate and come to this decision as swiftly as possible.
The SFWA Board of Directors
The circumstances and the specific slur are discussed by Jen Brown in a Twitter thread that starts here.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) invites the speculative fiction community to view the 57th Annual Nebula Awards® Ceremony livestream on May 21 at 5pm Pacific Time (PT). Programming topics for the Nebula Conference, which runs May 20–22, are also now available.
Award presenters will join virtually from across the galaxy, including many past Nebula Award winners among them, and former and current SFWA Board members: Martha Wells, DaVaun Saunders, Greg Kasavin, John Scalzi, Amal El-Mohtar, Steven H Silver, Henry Lien, A. T. Greenblatt, C.L. Polk, and SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy and Vice President Tobias S. Buckell.
The 2022 Nebula Conference Online, also taking place this weekend, has now released its schedule of 50+ programming topics, which can be viewed here. This professional development conference for aspiring and established members of the science fiction and fantasy industries includes content geared toward creators working in games, comics, prose, poetry, and other mediums of storytelling.
Registrations will be available for purchase throughout the conference. They include a year of access to the panels that will take place live this weekend, a standing invitation to SFWA’s Weekly Writing Dates, and opportunities to network and socialize with other members of the community during the conference itself and at special events throughout the year.
Connie Willis and Neil Gaiman will be the toastmasters for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s 57th Annual Nebula Awards®. The Nebula Awards Ceremony will be livestreamed free to the public online on May 21, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific on SFWA’s social media platforms.
In addition to her long history as a celebrated toastmaster for award ceremonies in the science fiction and fantasy genres, Connie Willis was named the 2012 SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master and a recipient of the 2021 Kevin O’Donnell, Jr., Service to SFWA Award. Willis is the author of Doomsday Book, Crosstalk, and Passage, among many other fictional works, and the upcoming novel The Road to Roswell. She has won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards. In 2009, Willis was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Being a toastmaster is her favorite thing besides bulldogs, romantic comedies, Oxford, and Randy Rainbow videos.
Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author and creator of books, graphic novels, short stories, films, and television for all ages, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The View from the Cheap Seats, and The Sandman comic series. His fiction has received many awards and honours, including the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards. Several of his novels have been adapted for film and television, winning an Oscar nomination for Coraline, an Emmy nomination for American Gods, and Good Omens won the Hugo and Ray Bradbury awards, for the adaptation of the novel he wrote with the late Sir Terry Pratchett. His books have been translated into forty languages world-wide. In 2017, Gaiman became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Originally from England, he now divides his time between Scotland, where Good Omens and Anansi Boys are filmed, and the United States, where he is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.
This year’s Nebula Awards winners will be announced during the ceremony, which will stream for free on SFWA’s social media platforms. (See the list of finalists here.) Celebrating the past year’s most outstanding fictional works, the Nebula Awards Ceremony will be a highlight of the 2022 Nebula Conference Online. Aspiring and professional storytellers in the speculative fiction genres may benefit from attending the entire professional development weekend full of panels, networking opportunities, and chances to learn from and interact with experts in related fields, including the 38th SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master, Mercedes Lackey.
The 2022 Nebula Conference Online takes place May 20–22. The cost of registration is $150. Register here: events.sfwa.org
President Jeffe Kennedy says, “I’m delighted that Connie and Neil have so graciously taken time from their busy schedules to lend their voices and dynamic presences to the Nebula Awards ceremony. I’ve caught a glimpse in my crystal ball of what they’re up to and I can’t wait for everyone to join in the fun!”
(1) LESSING’S LETTERS. [Item by Jeffrey Smith.] In between her biographies of Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree and the in-progress one of Ursula Le Guin, Julie Phillips has written a study of motherhood and creativity, The Baby on the Fire Escape. Slate has published this excerpt on Doris Lessing. “Doris Lessing and motherhood: Why the novelist left her first two kids.”
… Yet is also occurs to her that the problem is structural, and possibly generational. Her English grandmother had had a nanny, and her grandchildren, she predicted, would have affordable day care. It was her contemporaries who were so disappointed: promised career success, stuck with babies. “I haven’t yet met a woman who isn’t bitterly rebellious,” she wrote, “wanting children, but resenting them because of the way we are cribbed cabined and confined.”
I found her in the letters not trying to get away from John and Jean, but arguing to spend more time with them, an uphill battle against her first husband. The problem was that under Rhodesian law, a woman who left her marriage lost all rights to her children. At the time of the letters, Wisdom was just starting to allow her to visit them again, after a full year in which he had kept them from her….
(2) STEVE VERTLIEB MEDICAL UPDATE. A Facebook friend of Steve Vertlieb’s reports that Steve made it through his heart operation. Good news!
(3) NEBULA CONFERENCE SCHOLARSHIPS: TIME IS RUNNING OUT. Only a few hours remain for people to apply for 2022 Nebula Scholarships – the deadline is May 1, 11:59 p.m. Pacific.
SFWA will once again be offering up to 200 scholarships for members of underserved communities to attend the conference! If you or someone you know may benefit from these scholarships, please apply or share the link. Scholarship applications must be completed on the form below by May 1, 11:59pm Pacific Time.
Here are the categories of scholarships we’re offering and the number available for each.
Scholarship for Black and/or Indigenous Creators: This scholarship is open to Black and/or Indigenous creators in the United States and abroad. (quantity: 80)
Scholarship for AAPI Creators: This scholarship is available to Asian creators, Asian American creators, and creators from the Pacific Islands. (quantity: 30)
Scholarships for Hispanic/Latinx Creators: This scholarship is available to creators with backgrounds in Spanish-speaking and/or Latin American cultures. (quantity: 40)
Scholarship for Writers Based Outside of the U.S.: This scholarship is available to creators who live outside the United States. (quantity: 50)
Scholarship for Ukrainian Creators: This scholarship is for creators displaced or otherwise affected by the war in Ukraine. (quantity: case-by-case)
From the applicant pool, the scholarship recipients will be selected by lottery.
(4) SFRA ONLINE CONFERENCE. The Science Fiction Research Association is registering people for its online SFRA 2022 Conference. The theme is “Futures From The Margins.”
There is no cost to attend the conference, and you need not be an SFRA member to attend. Register here.
(5) IAFA ONLINE CONFERENCE. The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts will hold an online conference — “The Global Fantastic” – from October 7-9, 2022. The Call for Papers is at the link.
The Guest of Honor is Tananarive Due, the winner of the American Book Award for The Living Blood (2001). The Guest Scholar is Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay (University of Oslo), an internationally recognized scholar of global fantastic and the leader of the prestigious European Research Council grant “CoFutures: Pathways to Possible Presents.”
One aspect of the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine that hasn’t received much attention is how a science fiction novel appears to have heavily influenced Vladimir Putin’s decision to start this war….
Short background: Wizard rock developed as the musical branch of Harry Potter fandom. A lot of the bands used and uses the schtick of presenting themselves and singing from the viewpoint of one of the characters in the Harry Potter stories. The Moaning Myrtles used the ghost of Moaning Myrtle and her toilet in a very creative way within that tradition.
…What goes on “inside” Oliver’s mind? What is it like to be our cat? Those two moments in our everyday interactions seem to map out two opposing possibilities. When he nuzzles me and settles between my legs it is hard not to see Oliver as a being imbued with a rich emotional life and the awareness that comes with those feelings. William James saw emotions as intuitions of bodily states, and as Mark Solms points out, they would be useless unless they were experienced. But when Oliver springs into action he seems to be identical with his acts, living in a pure responsiveness without reflexive awareness.
These happen to be the only two possibilities that Descartes could imagine. He argued that humans were ensouled, self-aware beings capable of both thought and the passions, but “beasts” were merely animate bodies. …
(9) MEMORY LANE.
[By Cat Eldridge.] Robert Heinlein’s Rocket Ship Galileo: A Fan Letter (1947)
Seventy-five years ago this year, one of my favorite Robert Heinlein novels came out. Rocket Ship Galileo, the first of the Heinlein juveniles, a long and successful series that was published by Scribner’s. Heinlein originally envisioned the novel as the first of a series of books called “Young Rocket Engineers”.
Now it almost didn’t exist as a novel. Publishers, all save one, rejected the idea, judging that going to the moon was “too far out” in the late Forties, as Heinlein tells the tale in the paperback edition of Expanded Universe. Fortunately Scribner’s decided differently and we got to read the story.
I loved this novel, as I did all of the juveniles he did, for both the characters and the settings appealed to the young me. Without doubt the novels I remember the fondest all these decades on are first Rolling Stones, which I still find absolutely fascinating, followed by Space Cadet, Have Space Suit—Will Travel and Starman Jones.
I still think that these juveniles are his finest writing. Indeed I can even make a rather great argument that Rolling Stones is his best novel. I know it didn’t win a Hugo (although it was eligible for the first ones, having been published after August 1952) but damn it, it was the funnest to read of all his novels by far and that as to count for a lot, doesn’t it?
It is available as a Meredith moment from the usual suspects. Spider Robinson narrates the audio version.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 1, 1905 — Edna Mayne Hull. Wife of A.E. van Vogt who began writing genre fiction after their marriage in 1939. Her initial sale, “The Flight That Failed”, appeared in the November 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction under chosen author credit of “E.M. Hull” though eventually she used her own name. She has but one novel of her own, Planets for Sale, and one with her husband, The Winged Man, and only a dozen stories, one with A.E. Van Vogt & James H. Schmitz. Alibris.com has copies of both of those books, no else does. (Died 1975.)
Born May 1, 1923 — Ralph Senensky, 99. Director of six Trek episodes including “Obsession” and “Is There in Truth No Beauty?“ which are two of my favorite episodes. He also directed episodes of The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, The Twilight Zone (“Printer’s Devil”), Night Gallery and Planet of the Apes.
Born May 1, 1924 — Terry Southern. Screenwriter and author of greatest interest for adaptating Peter George’s original novel, Two Hours to Doom (as by Peter Bryant) into the screenplay of Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a movie directed (and in part written) by Stanley Kubrick. He was also involved in scripting Barbarella. Though uncredited, he did work on the script of Casino Royale as well. (Died 1995.)
Born May 1, 1946 — Joanna Lumley, 76. She was no Emma Peel, but she was definitely more than a bit appealing (pun fully intended) in the New Avengers as Purdey. All twenty-six episodes are out on DVD. Her next genre outing was In Sapphire & Steel whichstarred David McCallum as Steel and her as Sapphire. If you skip forward nearly near twenty years, you’ll find her playing the The Thirteenth Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death, part of a Comic Relief special. Yes, she played the first version of a female Thirteenth Doctor.
Born May 1, 1952 — Andy Sawyer, 70. Member of fandom who managed the Science Fiction Foundation library in Liverpool for 25 years up to last year. For his work and commitment to the SF community, the Science Fiction Research Association awarded him their Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service. The paper he wrote that I want to get and read is “The Shadows out of Time: H. P. Lovecraftian Echoes in Babylon 5” as I’ve always thought The Shadows were Lovecraftian! And his APA list is impressive: &, Another Earth Matrix, Paperback Inferno and Acnestis.
Born May 1, 1955 — J. R. Pournelle, 67. Some years ago, I got an email from a J. R. Pournelle about an SF novel they wanted Green Man to review. I of course thought it was that Pournelle. No, it was his daughter, Jennifer. And that’s how I came to find out there was a third Motie novel called, errrr, Moties. It’s much better than The Gripping Hand. I have no idea where you can get it and my copy alas disappeared when that MacBook died a fatal death several years back. I don’t see listed anywhere at the usual suspects.
Born May 1, 1956 — Phil Foglio, 66. Writer, artist, and publisher. Foglio co-won with his wife Kaja the first Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story at Anticipation for the absolutely stunning Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, and the next two in the category at Aussiecon 4 and Renovation. Having won these three years running, they removed themselves from further competition. If you haven’t read them, you’re in for treat as they’re quite amazing.
Born May 1, 1957 — Steve Meretzky, 65. He co-designed the early Eighties version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video game with the full participation of Douglas Adams. ESF also says that he also did a space opera themed game, Planetfall and its sequel A Mind Forever Voyaging in the Eighties. He did the definitely more erotic Leather Goddesses of Phobos as well. Well, erotic by the standards of the Eighties.
I thought I’d paw through the “sci-fi” section of my collection and share ten of my favorites. Keep in mind that these are personalfavorites; I was careful not to title the post “Top 10 Sci-fi Movies of All Time” (there is no more surefire way to spark a virtual bare-knuckled fracas). Anyway, here are 10 off-world adventures awaiting you now…
On the list is –
The Day the Earth Caught Fire– This cerebral mix of conspiracy a-go-go and sci-fi (from 1961) was written and directed by Val Guest. Simultaneous nuclear testing by the U.S. and Soviets triggers an alarmingly rapid shift in the Earth’s climate. As London’s weather turns more tropical by the hour, a Daily Express reporter (Peter Stenning) begins to suspect that the British government is not being 100% forthcoming on the possible fate of the world. Along the way, Stenning has some steamy scenes with his love interest (sexy Janet Munro). The film is more noteworthy for its smart, snappy patter than its run-of-the-mill special effects, but delivers a compelling narrative. Co-starring veteran scene-stealer Leo McKern.
…Sherd 737, according to the archeologists, contained traces of a unique explosive mix composed of plant oils, animal fats, nitrates, and sulfur. It suggests that Crusader knights had invented their own blend of explosive chemicals.
“It shows that the explosive weapons described by the Crusaders were a local invention,” said Carney Matheson, a molecular archaeologist at Griffith University, in an email to Insider.
“This shows for the first time a whole different mixture for the ingredients of an ancient explosive which is consistent with the historical Arab texts,” Matheson continued….
…In this case, though, humans are the aliens. The wreckage was found to be from another Martian spacecraft; it is a part that detached during the landing of the Perseverance rover back in February 2021.
The photos of the wreckage, while fascinating on their own merit, will actually help scientists plan more landings on the surface of Mars in the future.
According to NASA, Martian landings are “fast-paced and stressful”. A vehicle entering Mars’ atmosphere can spiral into the planet at nearly 12,500 mph and wrestle with high temperatures and intense gravitational forces. Being able to study the wreckage that remains might allow scientists to make changes that allow for smoother landings in the future….
The next Marvel extravaganza, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness isn’t even in cinemas yet but fans have already spotted a litany of mistakes in a short teaser scene released online this week.
A clip from the mind-bending new superhero film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, was exclusively released by IMBD earlier this week and shows the Sorcerer Supreme battling the creature known as Gargantos on a New York City street.
The clip is just over a minute long and although it is fun, in the typical Marvel way, eagle-eyed viewers have spotted a huge error in the director, Sam Raimi’s film.
If you concentrate on Cumberbatch, you notice a man carrying a briefcase running past him in terror, trying to get away from Gargantos. However, that man doesn’t just run past Cumberbatch once but runs past him four times.
(15) LINE UP, SIGN UP, AND REENLIST TODAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] I think this is a recruiting video for ILM that shows all the opportunities people have at the company to use their creativity. It dropped earlier this week. “Inside ILM: To be a Generalist”.
At Industrial Light & Magic, Generalists possess a high degree of proficiency across multiple disciplines including modeling, lighting, texturing, shading/look development, FX, matte painting, animation, shot composition, and rendering. Take a deep dive into what makes the team unique, then head to jobs.jobvite.com/lucascompanies/jobs/ilm to apply today.
Apple today released a brief teaser trailer for an upcoming “Behind the Mac” film featuring Skywalker Sound, the sound effects division of Lucasfilm known for the Star Wars franchise and many other high-profile movies.
The full film will be released on Apple’s YouTube channel on May 4, Star Wars Day, and will examine how artists at Skywalker Sound use Macs and other tools to generate the sounds featured in the iconic films.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cliff, Cora Buhlert, Jason Sanford, Chris Barkley, Karl-Johan Norén, Jeffrey Smith, Alan Baumler, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cliff.]
(1) TIME TO PANIC. Nominations for the 2022 Hugo Awards, Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and Astounding Award for Best New Writer close at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7), today, March 15, 2022.
If this was a cooking show, the judges would be yelling, “You should be plating!”
Or you could just panic.
(2) REGISTER FOR NEBULA CONFERENCE. The 2022 SFWA Nebula Conference registration is now open. The online event runs May 20-22.
We know that many of you have been eagerly awaiting the opening of registration for this year’s Nebula Conference, tamping down the anxious space bats fluttering in your stomachs as you waited for news. We are pleased to announce that registration is now open!
Registration Price: $150.00 for One Year of Access Starting May 1st!
This year’s conference is fully online, and filled with all the panels and networking opportunities that we can possibly fit into a three-day weekend! The 2022 Nebula Conference Online will once again host the SFWA Nebula Awards Ceremony.
(3) A SPLASH AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL. Chris Barkley is excited that someone on the Chengdu Worldcon committee acknowledged his message “about the current status of the Committee on whether or not your group will be able to fulfill their duties in administering the 2023 World Science Fiction Convention.”
This morning, at 9:58 am EDT, I received the following response from that account:
Chengdu Worldcon 2023:
“Hi Chris, thank you for the message and concern over the status of our committee. Since we are fully committed to run a most successful convention, we are working hard with locals for the best possible services for our members, including a very affordable membership package. The plan will be announced soon. Sorry for this delayed reply.”
(4) GAMES HUGO SUPPORT SITE GROWS. Ira Alexandre, proponent of a permanent Best Game or Interactive Work Hugo category, has updated the “Games Hugo – FAQ”. They’ve also written a series of tweets defending watching “playthrough” videos as an alternative way for voters to inform themselves rather than playing the games. Thread starts here. (See also “Games Hugo – Playthroughs”)
And if you don’t agree, well —
The category definition itself has been updated to prevent the possibility of conventions being considered in the category.
In 2013, Marvel Comics introduced Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teenager from New Jersey who idolizes Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. By 2014, Kamala had superhuman abilities, her own solo series and her own superhero moniker — Ms. Marvel — making her the first Muslim superhero to headline a Marvel comic.
Nine years later, Kamala is making history once again in “Ms. Marvel,” the latest Disney Plus series from Marvel Studios that debuted its first trailer on Tuesday. The series will debut on June 8….
I had no intention of watching HBO Max’s Peacemaker. The whole concept seemed to me indicative of the cynicism and blatant manipulation that characterize this most recent chapter in the lifecycle of the superhero-industrial complex. Superheroes are now the leading product of the increasingly consolidated entertainment empires vying for our money, and each of those empires is now promoting its own streaming platform. Ergo, each superhero property has to function as a launching platform for a spin-off show, be it ever so esoteric and hard to justify artistically. Did you think that The Batman‘s take on the Penguin was weird and over-emphasized, a waste of Colin Farrell under a distracting fat suit in a role that could have been played by any character actor in Hollywood? Well, just sit tight for The Penguin, coming to HBO Max in 2023!
It would be one thing if these shows were bad and easily ignorable. But the same self-correcting mechanism that allows Marvel to keep chugging as the biggest pop culture juggernaut in existence despite the failure of individual movies is clearly informing the production of these shows, which repeatedly forestall the “who asked for this?” reaction with top-notch casting, stratospheric production values, and (up to a certain point) good writing….
(8) MORNING IN THE METAVERSE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Tom Faber discusses the sf origins of the metaverse.
It tells you a lot about the state of the tech industry that much of its terminology is pilfered from dystopian science fiction novels. Isaac Asimov gave us ‘robotics.’ HG Wells named the atomic bomb, and Neuromancer author William Gibson came up with “cyberspace.” Meanwhile in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson popularised the term ‘avatar’ to refer to the digital embellishment of a human in a shared world he called ‘the Metaverse.’ His vision of how humans might behave in a virtual world was quite prescient. ‘If you’re ugly, you can make your avatar beautiful,’ he wrote. ‘You can look like a gorilla or a dragon or a giant talking penis in the Metaverse.”,,,
…The idea we’re being sold of the metaverse is essentially a video game, and it’s a dreadfully boring one. All the exciting promises that glitter among the metaverse hype–the ability to socialise in digital spaces, engage in virtual economies, or build genuine friendships online–have existed in games for decades. See the sophisticated societies in MMORPGS such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV, or the virtual universe of Fortnite and Roblox. They are more like a ‘true’ metaverse than anything Meta has to offer: virtual worlds where you can customise an avatar, spend digital currency, attend concerts and, in what is becoming a metaverse specialty, tolerate obnoxious branding partnerships with your friends.
JS: The complete and utter collapse of an entirely different novel I was writing and the panic that came from knowing I was going to miss a publication date unless I came up with a new idea, fast. To which my brain said, OK, well, how about big monsters? And I said, YES BIG MONSTERS YES, and then my brain dropped the whole plot into my head.
GR: What was the most challenging part of writing your novel?
JS: Honestly, nothing was challenging about writing this novel. It was a complete and liberating joy from start to finish, and I completed it quickly and easily. I want my next 60 novels at least to be just like this experience. I may be willing to do some unspeakable live sacrifices to achieve this.
(10) LESLIE LONSDALE-COOPER. Publisher and translator Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper has died at the age of 96 reports the Guardian.
…Following a move to Methuen, where she became a rights specialist, she met [Michael] Turner and with him began translating the Tintin stories, a project that continued for three decades. “Translation” in this context meant rendering Hergé’s Brussels slang into English utterances that could be fitted into the speech bubbles of Hergé’s original drawings. Leslie was especially proud of their invented Tintinian oaths, such as “blistering barnacles!”…
(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1973 — [Item by Cat Eldridge] Some affairs are mostly harmless to use. The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy phrase. So it was with The Girl with Something Extra series that debuted forty-nine years ago. That the lead actress was Sally Field tells you how deep the story was intended to be. She was a wife who had ESP, and her husband never quite understood her. It was intended to be cute, really, really cute.
Rounding out the cast was Teri Garr, Henry Jones and Zohra Lampert.
One critic noted that “The plot for The Girl With Something Extra TV show immediately brings to mind another show that ended in March of 1972 after a whopping eight seasons on the air! That series of course was “Bewitched” which also featured a young newlywed couple with the wife having super-human powers that caused many problems for her and her husband.”
The audience apparently didn’t grasp its charms and it was canceled after one season of twenty two half episodes. I believe that it might be streaming on Netflix. (I have four streaming services but not that one. I have Britbox, HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount. That’s quite enough, thank you.)
Lancer Books published a tie-in novel by Paul Farman, The Girl With Something Extra.
I see a signed script is for sale on eBay. Huh.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 15, 1852 — Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory (née Persse). Irish dramatist, folklorist, theatre manager. With William Butler Yeats and Edward Martyn, she created the Irish Literary Theatre and the Abbey Theatre. She produced a number of books of retellings of stories taken from Irish mythology. Gods and Fighting Men, all seven hundred pages strong, is the best look at her work. It’s available at all the usual digital sources. (Died 1932.)
Born March 15, 1911 — Desmond W. Hall. He served as assistant editor of Astounding Stories of Super Science. His writing career is best remembered for his Hawk Carse series which would as Space Hawk: The Greatest of Interplanetary Adventures in the Fifties. These were co-written with Harry Bates, Astounding Editor. Unfortunately, it appears that he never stayed in print, either in paper or digitally. (Died 1982.)
Born March 15, 1920 — Lawrence Sanders. Mystery writer who wrote several thrillers that according to ISFDB had genre elements, such as The Tomorrow File and The Passion of Molly T. Now I’ve not read them so I cannot comment how just on how obvious the genre elements are, but I assume it’s similar to what one finds in a Bond film. One of these novels btw is described on the dust jacket as an “erotic spine tingler”. Huh. (Died 1998.)
Born March 15, 1924 — Walter Gotell. He’s remembered for being General Gogol, head of the KGB, in the Roger Moore Bond films as well as having played the role of Morzeny, in From Russia With Love, one of Connery’s Bond films. He also appeared as Gogol in The Living Daylights, Dalton’s first Bond film. I’m fairly sure that makes him the only actor to be a villain to three different Bonds. (Died 1997.)
Born March 15, 1926 — Rosel George Brown. A talented life cut far too short by cancer. At Detention (1959), she was nominated for the Hugo Award for best new author, but her career was ended when she died of lymphoma at the age of 41. She wrote some twenty stories between 1958 and 1964, with her novels being Sibyl Sue Blue, and its sequel, The Waters of Centaurus about a female detective, plus Earthblood, co-written with Keith Laumer. Sibyl Sue Blue is now available from Kindle. (Died 1967.)
Born March 15, 1939 — Robert Nye. He did what the Encyclopaedia of Fantasy describes as “bawdy, scatological, richly told, sometimes anachronistic reworkings of the traditional material“ with some of his works being Beowulf, Taliesin (which was the name of my last SJW cred), Faust, Merlin and Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works. His Falstaff novel is considered the best take on that character. Some of his works are available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 2016.)
Born March 15, 1943 — David Cronenberg, 79. Not a director whose films are at all for the squeamish. His best films? I’d pick Videodrome, The Fly, Naked Lunch and The Dead Zone. Though I’m tempted to toss Scanners in that list as well. ISFDB says he has one genre novel, Consumed, which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Oh, and he was in the film version of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed. And he’s playing a recurring role in Star Trek: Discovery as Federation agent Kovich.
Born March 15, 1967 — Isa Dick Hackett, born 1967, 55. Producer and writer for Amazon who helped produce The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, and The Adjustment Bureau, all of which are based on works by her father, Philip K. Dick.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
Bizarroshows a long-time household member having a problem with a new arrival.
(14) PRIDE MONTH. Honoring Pride Month, Marvel’s Voices: Pride returns for its second annual showcase of LGBTQI+ characters and creators in June.
Marvel Comics is proud to highlight its commitment to LGBTQI+ representation with stories that spotlight existing stars AND introduce brand-new characters to the Marvel mythology. Ranging from poignant to action-packed, here are some of the tales that fans can look forward to, each one capturing the joy and promise of PRIDE MONTH!
In last year’s MARVEL’S VOICES: PRIDE, Steve Orlando and Luciano Vecchio introduced the dreamy mutant hero SOMNUS, who now stars in the ongoing X-Men series MARAUDERS! New York Times-bestselling, multi-award-winning author Charlie Jane Anders continues this tradition with the debut of another new hero to the Marvel Universe – and it won’t be the last you see of them. Stay tuned for more info!
IRON MAN scribe and lauded TV showrunner Christopher Cantwell takes on Moondragon’s complex legacy for a heart-bending story across space and time.
Shuster and Eisner-winning writer Andrew Wheeler makes his Marvel debut with the Marvel Universe’s real god of love – Hercules! Drawn by PATSY WALKER artist Brittney Williams!
Nebula, World Fantasy, and Locus-award winner Alyssa Wong reunites the Young Avengers fan-favorite artist Stephen Byrne in a story guaranteed to please fans new and old! Byrne will also depict the team in a vibrant variant cover that you can check out now!
Comedy writer Grace Freud (Rick and Morty, the Eric Andre Show) brings her talents to Marvel with a story about the power of responsibility featuring the Marvel Universe’s favorite gay ginger, D-Man! She’s joined by Eisner-nominated artist Scott B. Henderson in his first work for Marvel!
Television writer and podcaster Ira Madison III explores the legacy of Pride in his Marvel debut!
Champions scribe Danny Lore revisits the legacy of two characters long left in the closet in a tale of love and redemption!
…On Fragile Waves is a powerful novel on a very contemporary theme, that if anything has become more powerful, more apposite, since it appears. It is the story of an Afghan family, fleeing the chaos in Afghanistan. At one level, it is purely naturalistic fiction, and very effectively so. But there is a fantastical level as well (or “magical realistic” as many reviews would have it) expressed in two ways — the stories the parents of the main character tell, traditional stories (with variations) … and, more obviously, a dead character who returns to haunt — or inspire — the main character….
(17) HOW MANY LIVES WAS THAT? A trailer has dropped for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the upcoming movie that stars Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek.
DreamWorks Animation presents a new adventure in the Shrek universe as daring outlaw Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for peril and disregard for safety have taken their toll. Puss has burned through eight of his nine lives, though he lost count along the way. Getting those lives back will send Puss in Boots on his grandest quest yet. Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of the notorious PiB as he embarks on an epic journey into the Black Forest to find the mythical Wishing Star and restore his lost lives. But with only one life left, Puss will have to humble himself and ask for help from his former partner and nemesis: the captivating Kitty Soft Paws (Salma Hayek).
…MARTIN: In one of Charroppin’s latest videos, Lizzy co-stars with Leonardo DiCaprio in “Titanic.”…
CHARROPPIN: The hardest of it is not adding the cat, it’s removing Kate Winslet. That process takes about three-quarters of how long it takes to do video.
MARTIN: Lizzy has 6 million social media followers, which is something Charroppin and his wife hope that animal shelters actually benefit from. They adopted Lizzy five years ago.
CHARROPPIN: If there’s one reason to do all of this, it’s to mostly raise awareness that adopting cats is way better than going to get full breed cats. Anything that we can do to help makes it all worth it.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: The Elden Ring,” Fandom Games, in a spoiler-filled episode, notes this new game, designed by George RR Martin, is a world where “every animal, person and plant wants to kill you” and features a dozen different killer swamps. But the narrator thinks the scariest monsters are the crabs and lobsters. “I haven’t been this frightened by seafood since I got food poisoning at Red Lobster!”
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Rich Horton, Chris Barkley, N., Martin Easterbrook, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America informed members yesterday that for the third year in a row the Nebula Conference will be held entirely online. They originally had planned a hybrid conference, with the in-person component in Los Angeles. The event still is scheduled for May 19-22.
The SFWA Board voted to postpone the in-person component until next year because of the continuing challenges and difficulties of managing COVID-19 safety.
Registration for the 2022 voyage of the Airship Nebula will open soon.