Cats Sleep on SFF: Grand Master of SF H. W. Franke

Nina Horvath’s beloved cat May returns to File 770 for the third time. Her first appearance was here in 2018, and she returned a few months later presenting some fantasy beer. Now, years later, she is sleeping next to books of H.W. Franke. Says Nina —

I am Austrian and a keen science-fiction fan, H.W. was certainly the most influential Austrian science-fiction author. He was an academic jack of all trades. He was a great person and really deserved the title of the “European Grand Master of Science-Fiction” and all other awards he got!

He passed away this year after a long life spent well on this earth, teaching, working, exploring, doing art – but we will remember him for his science-fiction stories!

Photos of your felines (or whatever you’ve got!) resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com

Cats Sleep on SFF: Supernova

Nina Horvath says:

May did it again, this time using a bunch of books as a bed. This was the time when I finally came up with the thought of tidying up my sofa …

Some books you see:

Photos of other felines resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com

2018 Kurd Laßwitz Preis

The winners of the 2018 Kurd Laßwitz Preis have been posted.

The award is given for works written in or translated into the German language and published during the previous year. Created in 1981, it is named after German author Kurd Laßwitz.

This news comes courtesy of Europa SF’s Nina Horvath who did the relevant German-to-English category translations.

The awards will be presented September 22 at ElsterCon in Leipzig, Germany.

Best German Science-Fiction Novel

  • Michael Marrak, Der Kanon mechanischer Seelen (AMRÛN)

[The name of the publishing houses are in brackets and written in capitals.]

Best German Short Prosa

  • Uwe Hermann, Das Internet der Dinge in: Carsten Könneker : Spektrum der Wissenschaft 6/2017, (SPEKTRUM DER WISSENSCHAFT VERLAGSGESELLSCHAFT)

Best Foreign Science-Fiction Book (translated into German):

  • Nnedi Okorafor, Das Buch des Phönix (The Book of Phoenix) (CROSS CULT)

Best Translation

  • Claudia Kern für die Übersetzung von Connie Willis, Dunkelheit / Licht (Blackout / All Clear), (CROSS CULT)

Best Radioplay

  • Paradise Revisited by Bodo Traber
    (Director: Bodo Traber; Composition: André Abshagen), WDR 2.11.17

Best Cover Art or Illustration

  • Lothar Bauer for the cover of Axel Kruse, Luna Incognita (ATLANTIS)

Special Award for Extraordinary Achievements

  • Thomas Le Blanc for founding and maintaining the Phantastische Bibliothek Wetzlar. (This is a library of speculative fiction.)

Update 06/12/2018: Corrected Short Prosa winner per comment.

2018 Kurd Laßwitz Preis Shortlist

The finalists for the 2018 Kurd Laßwitz Preis have been posted.

The award is named after German author Kurd Laßwitz and was first given in 1981. It is given to works written in or translated into the German language and published during the previous year.

This news comes courtesy of Europa SF’s Nina Horvath who did the relevant German-to-English category translations.

The award winners will be announced September 22 at ElsterCon in Leipzig, Germany.

Best German Science-Fiction Novel

  • Dirk van den Boom, Die Welten der Skiir (CROSS CULT)
  • Andreas Brandhorst, Das Erwachen (PIPER)
  • Uwe Hermann, Versuchsreihe 13 – Die Epidemie (ATLANTIS)
  • Claudia Kern, Divided States of America (CROSS CULT)
  • Marc-Uwe Kling, QualityLand (ULLSTEIN)
  • Jens Lubbadeh, Neanderthal (HEYNE)
  • Michael Marrak, Der Kanon mechanischer Seelen (AMRÛN)
  • Kai Meyer, Die Krone der Sterne (FISCHER TOR)
  • Matthias Oden, Junktown (HEYNE)
  • Uwe Post, Walpar Tonnraffir und die Ursuppe mit extra Chili (ATLANTIS)
  • Doron Rabinovici, Die Außerirdischen (SUHRKAMP)

[The name of the publishing houses are in bracklets and written in capitals.]

Best German Short Prosa

  • Uwe Hermann, Das Internet der Dinge in: Carsten Könneker : Spektrum der Wissenschaft 6/2017, (SPEKTRUM DER WISSENSCHAFT VERLAGSGESELLSCHAFT)
  • Uwe Hermann, Der Raum zwischen den Worten in: René Moreau / Olaf Kemmler / Fabian To-maschek : Exodus 36, (EXODUS VERLAG)
  • Oliver Koch, Ans Tageslicht in: Peggy Weber-Gehrke : Meuterei auf Titan, (MODERN PHANTASTIK)
  • Nikolaj Kohler, Protoplasma mit Hut in: Ellen Norten : Das Alien tanzt Kasatschok, (P.MACHINERY)
  • Frank Lauenroth, Omega 4 in: Peggy Weber-Gehrke : Meuterei auf Titan, (MODERN PHANTASTIK)
  • Jacqueline Montemurri, Störfallin: Peggy Weber-Gehrke : Meuterei auf Titan, (MODERN PHANTASTIK)
  • Monika Niehaus, Ein halbes Dutzend Eier in: Ellen Norten : Das Alien tanzt Kasatschok, (P.MACHINERY)
  • Melanie Vogltanz, PET in: Nadine Muriel / Stefan Cernohuby : Das Dimensionstor, (AMRÛN)
  • Ernst Wegbreiter [= Angela & Karlheinz Steinmüller + Erik Simon], Die größte Reise in: Angela Steinmüller / Karlheinz Steinmüller / Erik Simon, Leichter als Vakuum, (MEMORAN-DA)

Best Foreign Science-Fiction Book (translated into German):

  • Pierre Bordage, Die Sphären (Les dames blanches) (HEYNE)
  • Omar El Akkad, American War (American War) (S. FISCHER)
  • Maja Lunde, Die Geschichte der Bienen (Bienes historie) ( BTB)
  • Ian McDonald, Luna (Luna) (Luna + Wolfsmond) (HEYNE)
  • Nnedi Okorafor, Das Buch des Phönix (The Book of Phoenix) (CROSS CULT)
  • Jeff VanderMeer, Borne (Borne) (ANTJE KUNSTMANN)
  • Connie Willis, Dunkelheit / Licht (Blackout / All Clear) (CROSS CULT)

Best Translation

  • Frank Böhmert for the translation of Daryl Gregory, Afterparty (Afterparty) (FISCHER TOR)
  • Michael Kellner for the translation of Jeff VanderMeer, Borne (Borne) (ANTJE KUNSTMANN)
  • Bernhard Kempen for the translation of Ann Leckie, Imperial Radch Trilogie (Imperial Radch Trilogy) (HEYNE)
  • Bernhard Kempen for the translation of von John Scalzi, Kollaps (The Collapsing Empire) (FISCHER TOR)
  • Claudia Kern für die Übersetzung von Connie Willis, Dunkelheit / Licht (Blackout / All Clear), (CROSS CULT)
  • Pia Oberacker-Pilick for the translation of Vlad Hernández, Krieg der Schrecken (La guerra contra los Langostas) (SAPHIR IM STAHL)
  • Helga Parmiter for the translation of Peter Newman, Vagant (The Vagrant) (CROSS CULT)
  • Helga Parmiter for the translation of Linda Nagata, Funkstille (Going Dark) (CROSS CULT)
  • Gerd Rottenecker & Susanne Gerold for the translation of Anthony O’Neill, Dark Side (The Dark Side) (KNAUR)
  • Peter Torberg for the translation of China Miéville, Dieser Volkszähler (This Census-Taker) (LIEBESKIND)

Best Radioplay

  • Die Prometheus-Protokolle by Thomas Feuerstein
    (Director: Nehle Dick; Composition: Peter Szely), ORF 12.11.17
  • Der Wald by Martin Heindel
    (Director: Martin Heindel), WDR 30.3.17
  • Paradise Revisited by Bodo Traber
    (Director: Bodo Traber; Composition: André Abshagen), WDR 2.11.17

Best Cover Art or Illustration

  • Lothar Bauer for the cover of Axel Kruse, Luna Incognita (ATLANTIS)
  • Dirk Berger for the cover of Klaus Bollhöfener , phantastisch! 67 (ATLANTIS)
  • Thomas Hofmann for the cover of Angela Steinmüller / Karlheinz Steinmüller / Erik Simon, Die Wurmloch-Odyssee (MEMORANDA)
  • Michael Marrak für das Titelbild und die Illustrationen zu Michael Marrak, Der Kanon mechanischer Seelen (AMRÛN)
  • Greg Ruth for the cover of Nnedi Okorafor, Das Buch des Phönix (CROSS CULT)
  • Meike Schultchen for the cover of René Moreau / Olaf Kemmler / Fabian Tomaschek , Exodus 36 (EXODUS VERLAG)
  • Andreas Schwietzke for the cover of Michael Haitel , Andromeda Nachrichten 257 (SFCD)
  • Andreas Schwietzke for the cover of Michael Haitel , Andromeda Nach-richten 259 (SFCD)
  • Julian Tapprich for the cover of Sebastian Guhr, Die Verbesserung unserer Träume (LUFTSCHACHT)
  • Jens Maria Weber for the cover and the illustrations of Kai Meyer, Die Krone der Sterne (FISCHER TOR)

Special Award for Extraordinary Achievements

  • Bernd Behr for being the editor of the SF-stories in the c’t-Magazine
  • The DortCon Team (Arno and Gabriele Behrend, Torsten Frantz, Utz Benscheid, Irma Leu, Michael and Astrid Ehrt, Lars Adler and Thomas Recktenwald) for organizing the DortCons with the Eurocon 2017 as highlight.
  • Mike Hillenbrand and his team for planning and organizing the Phantastika (a convention) in Oberhausen
  • Thomas Le Blanc for founding and maintaining the Phantastische Bibliothek Wetzlar. (This is a library on speculative fiction.)
  • Uschi Zietsch and Gerald Jambor for 30 years of the the publishing house Fabylon.

Pixel Scroll 10/31/16 The Scroll Has Already Started. It’s Too Late For The Pixels To Vote

(1) HARTWELL LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. Kathryn Cramer posted the speech she prepared for Gordon Van Gelder to deliver accepting David G. Hartwell’s posthumous World Fantasy Life Achievement Award.

First of all, to the board, we are sorry David missed the meeting this morning. Almost nothing could stop him from showing up bright and early on the Sunday morning of World Fantasy to preside over the board meeting.

Not late nights, high fevers, the birth of his children.

This convention—and these awards—were very important to David. For him they were about the conversations we have about our genre and what the genre can do for the world. It makes us proud to think of you all in this room thinking about and talking about the fantasy and horror genres and what excites you about them.

Take a moment, in his honor, and look around the room at the people you have connected with here.

This is what he wanted for you.

This Life Achievement award honors a life well-lived. Thank you all.

(2) ROBERTA POURNELLE SUFFERS STROKE. Jerry Pournelle announced some “Bad News at Chaos Manor”.

Sunday morning – this morning although it’s after midnight now so maybe I mean yesterday morning – I discovered that Roberta had suffered a stroke during the night. I called 911. The firemen responded almost instantly.

We spent the day first at the St. Joseph’s Emergency Room (where the firemen took me after my stroke), then at the Kaiser Emergency Room where she was taken by ambulance arranged by Kaiser, then finally in the Kaiser main hospital. Alex was with me for essentially the entire time. My second son, Frank, who lives in Palm Springs, drove up as soon as he could. Our youngest son, Richard, flew in from DC and just got here.

Roberta appears to be about where I was after my stroke. She can’t really talk yet, but she’s aware of what’s going on around her. We’re trying to arrange rehab at Holy Cross where I was retaught how to swallow, walk, and do all the other things people do.

I’m trying to be calm, but I’m scared stiff.

(3) MARATHON WOMAN. Pat Cadigan’s window isn’t closing this year but she remembers when that was the medical prediction — “Late 2016 Already – Where Does The Time Go”.

…This is not silly wish-fulfilment fantasy optimism on my part. At the worldcon in Kansas City, a few of us fellow-travellers in Cancerland did a panel about living with cancer. One beautiful lady has stage-four lung cancer. You’d never know it, though, because she’s doing great––clinical trials pay off. In fact, over thirty years ago, my Aunt Loretta (one of my mothers) agreed to be in a clinical trial for a breast cancer drug. That drug is Tamoxifen. On her behalf, you’re welcome.

Rational optimism notwithstanding, however, I still remember how the last months of 2016 were projected to be the last months of my life and…well, I can’t help gloating. Who am I gloating at? Cancer, of course. Who else?

These days, I’m thinking not so much in terms of a singing horse as I am the story about the two people in the forest being chased by a bear. One of them stops and puts on fancy running shoes. The other person says, ‘Do you really think you can outrun a bear?’ And the first person says, ‘No, I only have to outrun you.’

I picture me and cancer being chased by a bear called Annihilation. It’s going to get one of us first, and I’m hoping thanks to current clinical trials and the latest developments in immunotherapy, that will be cancer, not me. All I have to do is last long enough. All I have to do is outrun cancer.

(4) TOLKIEN GETS AWARD. The Tolkien Society reports Christopher Tolkien has been awarded the Bodley Medal, given by the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to literature, culture, science, and communication.

Tolkien Society chair Shaun Gunner said: “Christopher Tolkien is a very worthy recipient of the Bodley Medal not only for his own work but for the decades of tireless dedication he has shown in editing his father’s texts. From The Silmarillion to next year’s Beren and Lúthien, Christopher has opened up new vistas of Middle-earth that otherwise might never have seen the light of day. This award is a testament to Christopher’s quiet scholarship as an editor, and a symbol of the continuing significance of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium.”

Christopher Tolkien said: “Although I have never looked for anything remotely of such a kind, I find it especially welcome to receive the Bodley Medal in that it affirms the unique significance of my father’s creation and accords a worthy place in the Republic of Letters to Tolkien scholarship. It gives me particular pleasure that the award comes from and is conceived by the Bodleian, where a great part of my father’s manuscripts lie and where I have happy memories of the great library itself.”

(5) HARASSMENT AT WFC. Jason Sanford revealed the committee was called upon to handle a harassment issue at this weekend’s World Fantasy Con.

Lucy A. Snyder also wrote a public Facebook post.

So I just returned from WFC, where some women experienced harassment: street harassment from rando men that convention organizers had no control over, and at-con harassment courtesy of a local fan who has a documented history of bad behavior (the convention organizers appeared to take the harassment report seriously and appeared to handle it as per their policy, but I question why they’d sell a membership to someone who is known to be a problem.)…

Snyder added in a comment:

I know he harassed at least one woman, because she told me and I escorted her to con ops so she could make the report. In the instance I know about, he did it in front of a male witness (who filed a corroborating report), so I strongly suspect there were other instances that I don’t know about and/or didn’t get reported.


  • Born October 31 1930 – British fandom. That is fanhistorian Rob Hansen’s pick for the date it all began. Click to see the newspaper report of the meeting from the Ilford Recorder.

On Monday October 27th, 1930, the Ilford Science Literary Circle held its inaugural meeting at 32 Thorold Road (which a check of contemporary electoral rolls shows to have been the home of George & Mary Dew), the first ever meeting of our first ever SF fan group. If British fandom has a birthday, this is it. Here is Gillings’ report on the outcome of the event. More details of how many were present and the like would have been useful, but Gillings’ primary intent is to proselytise:…

(7) ESFS AWARDS NOMINEES. At Europa SF, Nina Horvath has listed the 2016 nominees for 14 annual awards presented by the European Science Fiction Society.

I’m not excerpting any of the information here because a lot of the names include special characters that just turn into question marks on WordPress.  Boo!

(8) SERIES OF INTEREST. Ed Zitron profiles the late, lamented show beloved by many fans: “Person Of Interest Was Anti-Prestige TV And Too Smart For Primetime”.

First, let me tell you what Person of Interest is. Person of Interest is the inverse of Game of Thrones. For every shock death from the HBO’s version of George R.R. Martin’s book series, it had Kevin Chapman getting maced by a model and beaten up with a handbag. For every Game of Thrones setpiece that sent 49 bloggers into an ejaculatory frenzy over the ambiguous motives and bloodlines of royals, Person of Interest had a scene where Jim Caviezel kicks seven shades of shit out of the cardboard archetype of a bad person. It’s weird watching Jesus throttle people, but you know what, we’re all going to Hell anyway.

[Warning, reading this may spoil the show. But really, you could read an entire synopsis and the show would still be fantastic.]

Caviezel’s John Reese is a former CIA agent that you’re introduced to as a piss-stained, beardy hooch-swigging hobo sitting on a subway train. In one of the most satisfying scenes in TV history, a group of rich dickheads yell at him on the train and attempt to take his booze, which he clings to with an iron grip. He then proceeds to beat them up with his somehow-not-atrophied CIA skills before grabbing one around the throat and giving him the deep, angry stare of a man who uses his pants as a toilet and just wanted to enjoy his train booze in peace.

It’s a great introduction to the show in its purest sense. Peel back the layers of intrigue, spywork and social commentary, and you’ll still find a TV show that brings back the pure joy of seeing people you don’t like getting beaten up. There are no pretenses to prestige here.

(9) HE SCORES, HE WINS! James Davis Nicoll has the numbers to prove a point.

The following review sources managed to review as many works by persons of colour in 2015 as I did in Oct 2016.

Interzone 7

The following review sources failed to review as many works by persons of colour in 2015 as I did in Oct 2016. Note that the Big Three are listed.

F&SF 5
Analog 3
Asimov’s 3
Foundation 1
Rising Shadows 1

(10) SAY CHEESE! NPR reports “NASA’S New ‘Intruder Alert’ System Spots An Incoming Asteroid”.

NASA pays for several telescopes around the planet to scan the skies on a nightly basis, looking for these objects. “The NASA surveys are finding something like at least five asteroids every night,” says astronomer Paul Chodas of JPL.

But then the trick is to figure out which new objects might hit Earth.

“When a telescope first finds a moving object, all you know is it’s just a dot, moving on the sky,” says Chodas. “You have no information about how far away it is. “The more telescopes you get pointed at an object, the more data you get, and the more you’re sure you are how big it is and which way it’s headed. But sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to make those observations.

“Objects can come close to the Earth shortly after discovery, sometimes one day, two days, even hours in some cases,” says JPL’s Davide Farnocchia. “The main goal of Scout is to speed up the confirmation process.”

(11) WHEN GENIUSES PLAY WITH SHARP OBJECTS. Here what NASA’s JPL brings to jack o’lantern design:

Carving pumpkins may not be rocket science – but that hasn’t stopped Nasa engineers.

Scientists at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab held their annual contest to create the best pumpkin this week.

Entries included a gourd inspired by Star Wars villain Darth Vader, and two pumpkins dressed as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton being hit by a meteor.

Motors, robotics and lights all featured heavily.

(12) COSTUMES FOR WHEELCHAIRS. About half a dozen photos here illustrating how wheelchairs are converted to vehicles of kids’ dreams.

Halloween is big business and when you use a wheelchair you want your outfit to pack a punch when you go trick-or-treating.

In America, Ryan Weimer and his wife Lana, have tapped into that market by providing children with the 3D costumes of their imaginations.

Costing between $2,000 and $4,000 each, a team of volunteers spend about 120 hours building the costumes which range from aeroplanes to dragons.


(13) HALLOWEEN TREE. Ray Bradbury tells how the “Halloween Tree” novel and animated film came about.

(14) RAY’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY. John King Tarpinian visited Ray Bradbury’s grave today, bringing some gifts and decorations.

Every Halloween I pay a visit to the Westwood Cemetery where Ray Bradbury is at rest.  I had the custom trick or treat bag made and filled it with Clark Bars, Ray’s favorite.  The little pumpkin shaped stone I luckily found yesterday from a bead shop I was dragged to by a visiting out of town friend.  The pumpkins were brought by one of Ray’s theatrical actors, Robert Kerr.



(15) BOO PLATE SPECIAL. Someone’s Cthulhu license plate attracted a crowd at World Fantasy Con.

(16) SILLY SYMPHONY. And here’s your musical accompaniment of the day:

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, James Davis Nicoll, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

TAFF Looking for Candidates

The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF)  was created in 1953 for the purpose of providing funds to bring well-known and popular science fiction fans familiar to those on both sides of the ocean across the Atlantic.

European TAFF administrator Nina Horvath announced at Europa SF they are seeking candidates for the next race:

The next candidate will be from Europe and will hopefully attend MidAmericon II in Kansas City in August 2016. The nomination period is open now and will end on midnight (GMT), on the 11th of December. The chairs of the next two Worldcons have agreed to provide accommodation and membership for their conventions and we humbly thank them for doing so. This now means that we are asking you, the fannish community, to find some really great TAFF candidates for the next race.

Talk to us (Jim, Curt and myself) about potential candidates (or if you want to stand yourself!) and we’ll help you organize nominators and TAFF platforms or answer any questions about the TAFF.

Our e-mails:

  • Jim Mowatt: jim[at]
  • Curt Phillips: absarka_prime[at]
  • Nina Horvath: nina[at]

To repeat, the deadline to file as a TAFF candidate is December 11. Rules and resources available here.

Pixel Scroll 10/25 The Shapeshifting Starship Captain Who Shouted “Fromage!” At The Heart Of The World

(1) Watch out for bi-Klingual train conductors!

A Trek-referencing TV commercial is nominated for a national award in Austria reports Nina Horvath at Europa SF.

What is it all about? Two men dressed up as Klingons go by underground railway (yes, it is the underground railway, although it goes above-ground in this scene) in Vienna, when they find out that a ticket controller is around. As they haven´t bought a ticket, they decide to confuse the ticket controller (by the way a pretty blonde woman) with Klingon language. But she also replies to them in Klingon and seems to know enough about Klingon culture, to call them “dishonourable worms”. What follows is an advertisement for the “Volkshochschule Wien”, a school where adults can take several courses, e.g. on languages. (Probably also Klingon …?)

Public voting for the winner continues until November 3 here (German language website).

(2) Richard C. White, in “World Building 101: The Village” at Black Gate, vents about cliché adventurers who return to the local village to spend their newfound treasure.

If you’re like me, that scene sounds awfully familiar. It’s appeared too often in bad fantasy stories, bad fantasy movies, and WAY too many role playing games. “But Rich,” you say, “the party has to have somewhere to spend their treasure. Otherwise, there’s no point in giving it out?”

And my response is, “You’re absolutely right, but for the wrong reasons.” Let me explain what I mean. (Good, otherwise this would be a darn short blog entry – Editor).

The biggest problem is, that scene above should be taking place in a large town or at least a small city. A medieval (or pseudo-medieval) village is not going to have jewelers or places to sell magic items (if you’re doing that kind of fantasy). The tavern is not going to have a bevy of barmaids and taverns do not traditionally sell food — that’s what the inn was for (if there even was an inn). And why in heaven’s name would you have a village that close to a dungeon populated by evil creatures anyway? Most sensible villagers would have packed up and moved to safer places years ago (if they hadn’t all been killed in their sleep by the monsters). No, this village in the scenario above seems to have only one purpose — to provide adventurers with a place to stay while they’re off looting the local dungeon de jure. Not only is that not realistic — it’s boring.

(3) A New Yorker profile of Guillermo del Toro from 2011 begins with a LASFS connection —

[Forrest J] Ackerman founded a cult magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and, more lucratively, became an agent for horror and science-fiction writers. He crammed an eighteen-room house in Los Feliz with genre memorabilia, including a vampire cape worn by Bela Lugosi and a model of the pteranodon that tried to abscond with Fay Wray in “King Kong.” Ackerman eventually sold off his collection to pay medical bills, and in 2008 he died. He had no children.

But he had an heir. In 1971, Guillermo del Toro, the film director, was a seven-year-old misfit in Guadalajara, Mexico. He liked to troll the city sewers and dissolve slugs with salt. One day, in the magazine aisle of a supermarket, he came upon a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland. He bought it, and was so determined to decode Ackerman’s pun-strewed prose—the letters section was called Fang Mail—that he quickly became bilingual.

Del Toro was a playfully morbid child. One of his first toys, which he still owns, was a plush werewolf that he sewed together with the help of a great-aunt. In a tape recording made when he was five, he can be heard requesting a Christmas present of a mandrake root, for the purpose of black magic…

(4) The Martian remains in first place at box office, however, several other genre movies failed on their opening weekend.

Four new films, including Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter, crowded into theaters this weekend and were swiftly pulverized and left for dead.

And John King Tarpinian says he saw only seven people in the audience at a showing of Bill Murray vehicle Rock The Kasbah.

(5) On Reddit — Author Becky Chambers will be joining us in SF Book Club to discuss The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet on October 28!

Details are yet to be fully worked out, but will look something like the rest: she’ll come in the morning to post a thread where we can ask questions, then come back in the afternoon/evening to answer the posted questions and interact with folks for a while.

(6) David K.M. Klaus questions the taste of using a formation of stormtroopers on the Great Wall of China to promote the next Star Wars film.

Yeah, this is cute — except that it looks just like the mass exercise and marching China used to have and North Korea still does — and “Imperial Stormtroopers”, had they existed, would have been used to rout the students and destroy the statues of the Goddess of Democracy in Tianamen Square in 1989.

Today “Tank Man” blocks the path of an AT-AT walker.

Thanks, Disney! Unfrozen, conventionally-buried-at-Forest-Lawn Unca Walt is a veritable whirligig in his grave right now.

(7) John Hertz responds to the notice in the October 23 Scroll about the passing of Harriett Klausner:

Of more immediate interest to us, Klausner was a pillar of Barry Hunter’s reviewzine Baryon, which came in the mail (Ned Brooks R.I.P.) for years.  She read and wrote fluently and much, and wherever I formed an opinion of my own, well; she had few companions, perhaps no equals.  I don’t believe I’ve seen a later issue than B 129 in 2014, but that if accurate is hardly conclusive in Fanzineland.

(8) I received this link to “The 40 Most Awesome Supergirl Covers” at Comic Book Resources with the admonition “For Historical Reference ONLY.” I’d say the covers are pretty tame – it’s CBR’s own Supergirl header that tends toward the cliché.

supergirl cover

(9) Tufts University political scientist Daniel W. Drezner looked at the Star Wars trailers and concluded that the rebels were “guilty of poor post-war planning” in “’Star Wars, Episode VII’: The Rebel Alliance’s catastrophic success”.

The evidence is right there in this trailer and the previous two. The desert planet of Jakku does not seem to have benefited all that much from the three-decades-old Rebel victory. Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey, appears to be a scavenger, and the planet is just littered with Imperial wreckage. If that hasn’t been cleaned up after 30 years, it’s a good sign that the Rebel Alliance has failed at statebuilding.

He also wonders why they didn’t revive the Senate or let the people know that Darth Vader switched sides minutes before he died.

(10) Time to move to Canada? Netflix will stream Star Wars: The Force Awakens there in 2016.

Fortuitously for Netflix Canada subs, the company’s deal with Disney started with 2015 releases after the previous agreements for the pay-TV window with Corus Entertainment and Bell Canada expired. A Netflix rep confirmed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is slated to come to the service in the country; under the terms of the deal, that will occur approximately eight months after the movie leaves theaters.

(11) Political scientists should also be looking at the world’s newest nation – it’s in a remote corner of Utah.

There is a four-acre piece of land in northwestern Box Elder County that very few people know about. Even fewer people recognize it as what it’s meant to be — its own country.

A decade ago, Zaq Landsberg, a man from New York, bought the land online with a unique goal in mind.

“The conceptual goal is I want it to become a real country,” Landsberg said. “I mean, that goal is not going to happen. It’s impossible, but going through the motions, (I’m) trying to make that happen.”

The area is known to Landsberg as the Republic of Zaqistan, and he is its president….

Zaqistan has its own flag, a border patrol gate, a supply bunker, a robot sentry that guards the land and even official passports.

“Zaqistan works the best, I think, when it’s wedged up against the real world, and when the passports circulate,” Landsberg said.

The passports look and feel real. You can even get them stamped when entering and exiting his land.


One Man?s Sovereign Nation

(12) What, wait, what? William Shatner was The Chairman on the original Iron Chef USA?

(This attempt to import the popular Japanese series preceded the later, successful Iron Chef America.)

There’s a short clip from an episode on YouTube. Chairman Shatner mugs for the camera starting at about :10.

(13) Ann Leckie fans have reported a great disturbance in the force!

(14) While we’re in the midst of this Ann Leckie festival, take a listen to Comedrinkwithme’s musical rendition of “It All Goes Around”.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Gregory Benford, Will R., Jim Henley, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

TAFF Switches 2016 Race, Now East To West

TAFF logo westTrans-Atlantic Fan Fund administrators Nina Horvath, Curt Phillips and Jim Mowatt, after considering the advantages, have decided to switch direction, running another East/West race for 2016. This means TAFF is currently looking for nominees from Europe to be the TAFF delegate to North America in 2016 and attend MidAmericon II (the Worldcon in Kansas City, August 17-21).

Jim Mowatt explains, “The knock on effect of this decision is that the 2017 race will be West to East so that we can send someone from North America to Helsinki. This would also mean that we are going in the right direction to aim for New Orleans or San Jose in 2018 and Dublin in 2019.

“So onwards we go: to Kansas City and Beyond. It’s TAFF nomination time.”

Memories of Tonight’s Hugo Ceremony

While I was in an elevator leaving the Hugo ceremonies, Frank somebody looked me in the eye and said “How’d you like that. That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it,” in a surly voice. Since he was being rude I told him to get off my case.

But let me answer Frank’s question now. The whole situation is a tragedy. It would have been a worse tragedy if any of these slate nominees had been rewarded with a Hugo. For that reason, yes, the outcome was what I voted for.

That should not detract from the accomplishment of Hugo ceremony hosts David Gerrold and Tananarive Due in pulling off a ceremony that was often funny, rich in creativity, and somber when appropriate (Gerrold was reduced to tears by seeing Nimoy on the in memoriam list).

Things began with a giant grim reaper figure lumbering onstage accompanied by an evil assistant. Three Star Trek redshirts, led by Due, battled with them and the lone survivor, Due, cleared the stage so that a reluctant David Gerrold could follow her out.

Some other highlights were Robert Silverberg’s “blessing of the Hugos” — a reminiscence of the “tension, apprehension and dissension” that plagued the 1968 Worldcon, including intermittent clouds of tear gas drifting up from downtown Berkeley, and to dispel similar tensions in 2015 he ended by taking out a tambourine and performing the Hare Krishna chant sung by street-roaming initiates back then.

Later, Connie Willis took a turn on stage, talking about her experience being bitten by a bat, and a mild concern about possible vampirism. Then she reassured Gerrold and Due about the challenges of emceeing the Hugos, remembering half a dozen things that have actually gone wrong at Worldcons, and suggesting a couple more that haven’t gone wrong yet but could, all of which despite being comedy seemed to leave Gerrold and Due a little more shaky than before she started.

During the introduction, Linda Deneroff of Sasquan’s WSFS Division laid the foundation for Hugo voters exercising the no award option. And it came up several times in the pro categories, as you know, though at the beginning there was a whole string of fan categories which had winners and the night seemed darned near normal for a little while.

TAFF delegate Nina Horvath was the presenter of all the fan categories. Gerrold personally handled most of the categories where there was no winner (though not ONLY those categories, so it wasn’t entirely a tell.) And for the dramatic categories he was assisted by a lifesize Dalek, which provided considerable amusement.

The acceptances were fun, best of which was Pat Cadigan reading Thomas Heuvelt’s speech from a tablet, with her characteristic asides and humorous timing. Campbell winner Wesley Chu obviously enjoyed himself, spontaneously falling to his knees before the bearer of the Campbell tiara so it could be placed on his brow.

Although I had a press seat in the balcony, the house lights were so low I couldn’t see a screen or write a note. Thus the File 770 Hugo coverage was provided by commenters watching the livestream — you all did a hell of a job, and extra credit for finding links to the voting stats and other commentary!

Definitely buying a tablet or something before I tackle another Worldcon though. This hotel computer is so limited — can’t edit or post photos, can’t copy between windows, etc. etc. But I will recharge my Kindle and be back at work in the morning.