The National Recording Registry announced its 2023 inductees on April 12 and two items of genre interest made the list. Each year the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the National Recording Preservation Board, selects 25 titles that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old.
Among the 2023 selections are a video game music theme, and a recording of Carl Sagan’s impressions about a famous NASA photo.
Super Mario Bros. theme — Koji Kondo, composer (1985)
Perhaps the most recognizable video game theme in history, Koji Kondo’s main motif for the 1985 Nintendo classic, Super Mario Bros., helped establish the game’s legendary status and proved that the five-channel Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) sound chip was capable of vast musical complexity and creativity. Inspired in part by the music of Japanese jazz fusion band, T-Square, the game’s main theme, or “Ground Theme,” is a jaunty, Latin-influenced melody that provides the perfect accompaniment to Mario and Luigi’s side scrolling hijinks. Kondo’s score laid the groundwork for an entire generation of chiptune musicians and has been performed by orchestras around the globe, befitting its status as one of the most beloved musical compositions of the last 40 years.
“Pale Blue Dot” — Carl Sagan (1994)
Few people understood astronomy, planetary science and astrophysics like Carl Sagan, and even fewer could communicate it in a way that makes us think and feel a deeper connection with the universe. In 1990, as the space probe Voyager 1 was finishing its final mission, Sagan asked NASA to take a photo of Earth in a wide shot across the great span of space. The photo and concept resulted in Sagan’s 1994 book, “Pale Blue Dot,” and reminds us of the humility of being the only known species in the solar system and beyond. Reading the words is one thing, but hearing the recording, in Sagan’s own voice, really paints the perspective on how vast the universe is and the responsibility of our existence. As Sagan so eloquently speaks, “It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
Speaking generally, the class of 2023’s best-known choices include Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Mariah Carey’s perennial No. 1 Christmas hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, Queen Latifah’s “All Hail the Queen”, and Daddy Yankee’s reggaeton explosion “Gasolina”.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said, “The National Recording Registry preserves our history through recorded sound and reflects our nation’s diverse culture. The national library is proud to help ensure these recordings are preserved for generations to come, and we welcome the public’s input on what songs, speeches, podcasts or recorded sounds we should preserve next. We received more than 1,100 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry.”
The new additions bring the number of titles on the National Recording Registry to 625, representing a small portion of the national library’s vast recorded sound collection of nearly 4 million items.
KOJI KONDO. The LOC press release notes that few musicians have had their work become so internationally recognized for decades yet remain so relatively unknown as Koji Kondo, the man who composed the music for the Super Mario Bros. video games in the 1980s. Still today, Kondo is credited for original Nintendo music in the new “Super Mario Bros. Movie” out this month.
Kondo, born and raised in Japan, was a college senior in Osaka, interested in the piano and sound design, when he saw a recruiting flyer from Nintendo on a university bulletin board. He answered the ad, and the rest is video game history. His main, or “Ground Theme,” for the 1985 game is a jaunty, Latin-influenced melody that’s instantly recognizable around the world today.
“The amount of data that we could use for music and sound effects was extremely small, so I really had to be very innovative and make full use of the musical and programming ingenuity that we had at the time,” he said through an interpreter in a recent interview. “I used all sorts of genres that matched what was happening on screen. We had jingles to encourage players to try again after getting a ‘game over,’ fanfares to congratulate them for reaching goals, and pieces that sped up when the time remaining grew short.”
Now 61 and still working for Nintendo, he’s seen his “Mario” music used in films and played by orchestras. He’s designed the world of sound for dozens of other video games. He did, however, have an inkling that they were onto something at the beginning. “I also had a feeling that this game might be something that could turn into a series and continue for a long time,” he said.
“Having this music preserved alongside so many other classic songs is such a great honor,” he said. “It’s actually a little bit difficult to believe.”
Complete List of National Recording Registry 2023 Selections
“The Very First Mariachi Recordings” — Cuarteto Coculense (1908-1909)
“St. Louis Blues” — Handy’s Memphis Blues Band (1922)
“Sugar Foot Stomp” — Fletcher Henderson (1926)
Dorothy Thompson: Commentary and Analysis of the European Situation for NBC Radio (Aug. 23-Sept. 6, 1939)
“Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around” — The Fairfield Four (1947)
“Sherry” — The Four Seasons (1962)
“What the World Needs Now is Love” — Jackie DeShannon (1965)
“Wang Dang Doodle” — Koko Taylor (1966)
“Ode to Billie Joe” — Bobbie Gentry (1967)
“Déjà Vu” — Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970)
“Imagine” — John Lennon (1971)
“Stairway to Heaven” — Led Zeppelin (1971)
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” — John Denver (1971)
“Margaritaville” — Jimmy Buffett (1977)
“Flashdance…What a Feeling” — Irene Cara (1983)
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — Eurythmics (1983)
“Synchronicity” — The Police (1983)
“Like a Virgin” — Madonna (1984)
“Black Codes (From the Underground)” — Wynton Marsalis (1985)
Super Mario Bros. theme — Koji Kondo, composer (1985)
“All Hail the Queen” — Queen Latifah (1989)
“All I Want for Christmas is You” — Mariah Carey (1994)
“Pale Blue Dot” — Carl Sagan (1994)
“Gasolina” — Daddy Yankee (2004)
“Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra” — Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer (2012)
[Thanks to N. for the story. Based on a press release.]
A collection of newly rediscovered short stories by Terry Pratchett, originally written under a pseudonym, are to be published later this year.
The 20 tales in A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories were written by Pratchett in the 1970s and 1980s for a regional newspaper, mostly under the pseudonym Patrick Kearns. They have never been previously attributed to Pratchett, who died in 2015 aged 66, eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The collection was bought by Pratchett’s longtime publisher Transworld for a six-figure sum, and will be published on 5 October.
The discovery of the stories is down to a group of Pratchett’s fans. One of the longer stories in the collection, The Quest for the Keys, had been framed on Pratchett fan Chris Lawrence’s wall for more than 40 years. When he alerted the Pratchett estate to its existence, the rest of the stories were unearthed by fans Pat and Jan Harkin, who went through decades’ worth of old newspapers to rediscover the lost treasures.
… None of the stories are set in Pratchett’s Discworld – the first book of which, The Colour of Magic, was released in 1983 – but according to the publisher they “hint at the world Sir Terry would go on to create”.
Readers, said the publisher, could expect to “meet characters ranging from cavemen to gnomes, wizards to ghosts, and read about time-travel tourism, the haunting of council offices and a visitor from another planet”….
The latest book I have been knocked flat and wowed by (they come less frequently with age, so read fast, young people) is On Strike Against God by Joanna Russ. She being one of the crown gems of science fiction, you’d expect it to be genre. But it’s not. It’s mainstream. It’s subtitled A Lesbian Love Story. And if you had to fit it into a subgenre, it would be Feminist Fiction.
Strike three, you’d think, for a guy who’s rapidly heading toward the category of Dead White Male. But no, Joanna managed the near-miraculous feat of writing prose that was simultaneously white-hot with anger and laugh-out-loud funny….
The person who made it possible is Nintendo’s game director, Shigeru Miyamoto. He’s the creator of some of the most influential and bestselling games in the industry. In addition to Mario Brothers, you got Donkey Kong and the Legend of Zelda. He joined Nintendo straight out of art school in 1977 and says a lot of his inspiration comes from his childhood experiences in nature. I sat down with Miyamoto to learn more about why his characters and games have had such a lasting impact.
When it comes to Mario, what do you think accounts for his ability to just be in the hearts of so many people?
SHIGERU MIYAMOTO: (Through interpreter) You know, before, when I was asked this question, I thought that it’s perhaps because the game sold well. And a lot of people have this experience of playing this game and playing it over and over, that it becomes commonplace for them. But now I feel that it’s a little bit different in that Mario is kind of like a – your avatar or the person that represents you in this world. And that experience is, you know, because it’s been around for so long, an experience that can be shared multi-generations, you know? A father and their children can share that experience….
The idea of editing Shakespeare to eliminate doubles entrendres and naughty words to fit in with 19th-century social mores now seems preposterous, although presumably his publishers—Messrs. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown—thought it was a pretty good idea at the time.
Their 1818 The Family Shakespeare offered the assurance that “Nothing is added to the original text but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud by a family.” Thomas Bowdler’s work on this gave rise to the term bowdlerize, meaning “to remove matter considered indelicate or otherwise objectionable,” per Merriam-Webster.
Doubtless, the Roald Dahl Story Company and Messrs. Bertelsmann, PRH, and Puffin also thought it was a pretty good idea to subject the works of Roald Dahl to the same sort of treatment for the same sort of reasons.
I’ve had a few brushes with attempts to change or stifle books.
The obvious case was Peter Wright’s tedious Spycatcher, for which Mrs. Thatcher, in a rare case of support for publishers’ profits, appointed herself marketing director for the book by trying to have it throttled.
She forgot that the United Kingdom was only able to ban books in its jurisdiction. At Heinemann, we happily imported books from Australia to satisfy the demand she had created. We even hired tele-sales people to call British booksellers to drum up orders. Phone calls from Australia were expensive, so we found traveling Australians living in London to make the calls.
We can’t tear down the existing economic framework and replace it with a better one without first telling a persuasive story about how the economy actually works. And few people in the world are more compelling storytellers than science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson.
In his speculative near-future novel The Ministry for the Future, Stan explains complicated economic theories better than most economists. He joins Nick and Goldy for a fascinating conversation about the role of economics in both climate change fiction and climate change reality.
Kim Stanley Robinson is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed New York 2140 and The Ministry for the Future.
A brief excerpt from the transcript:
David Goldstein: Well, this raises a question. This book was recommended to me by a number of people. Ostensibly, I thought it was about climate change. But really, it’s a book about economics. I’m wondering, was that your intention when you started the book, or did the economics come out in the writing?
Kim Stanley Robinson: Oh, I knew it was going to be there from the start. As I mentioned, I wrote New York 2140 in probably 2016. It’s a description of New York after sea level rises something like 50 vertical feet, so Lower Manhattan is underwater and is a supervenience, and it’s all about the financialization essentially. It’s not quite a metaphor for our current meltdowns, but it has a lot about the present, as well as the ostensible year of 2140.
So I had been working on it then, and I’d been working on the economics of climate change this whole 21st century. My Washington DC trilogy, set in DC in the near future during climate change, had a economic strand in it, but it wasn’t strong enough. It was more of, what would the federal government do, or the National Science Foundation? But, it became more and more obvious that, although we have various technical solutions to climate change, we don’t have a good way to pay for installing those technological changes, nor do we have a good way of assessing the actual economics of what we’re doing on Earth.
In other words, the gross world product, gross domestic product, whatever you want to call it, the highest rate of return profit itself, these are all crappy, cheesy, short rate, cheating rating systems that the world was run by. So, I needed to keep hammering away at it. Ministry for the Future is just the last of a long series of projects where economics take center stage because it’s crucial.
Burny Mattinson, who worked as an animator, director, producer and story artist during a 70-year career as the longest-serving “castmember” in the history of The Walt Disney Co., has died. He was 87.
Mattinson died after a short illness on Monday at a Canoga Park assisted living facility in Los Angeles, the studio announced. He was due to receive his 70th anniversary service award — the studio’s first ever — on June 4.
Mattinson was working full time at Walt Disney Animation Studios as a story consultant and mentor at the time of his death….
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1962 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Tonight’s Beginning comes to us direct from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, the title poem to the collection of the same name. Written by Tolkien as if they were poems written and enjoyed by hobbits, one of the writers being Sam Gamgee.
Two of the poems which feature Tom Bombadil, a character encountered by Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings. And three of the poems appear in the Trilogy. Only one of the poems, “Bombadil Goes Boating”, was written specifically for The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.
Published first by George Allen & Unwin in 1962, it was illustrated by Pauline Baynes, both the cover and all of the interior art as well.
And now here’s our first poetic Beginning…
Old Tom Bombadil was a merry fellow; bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow, green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather; he wore in his tall hat a swan-wing feather.
He lived up under Hill, where the Withywindle ran from a grassy well down into the dingle. Old Tom in summertime walked about the meadows gathering the buttercups, running after shadows, tickling the bumblebees that buzzed among the flowers, sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.
There his beard dangled long down into the water: up came Goldberry, the River-woman’s daughter; pulled Tom’s hanging hair. In he went a-wallowing under the water-lilies, bubbling and a-swallowing. ‘Hey, Tom Bombadil! Whither are you going?’ said fair Goldberry. ‘Bubbles you are blowing, frightening the finny fish and the brown water-rat, startling the dabchicks, and drowning your feather-hat!’
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 27, 1851 — James Churchward. He is remembered for claiming he discovered a lost continent named Mu in the Pacific Ocean. Mu shows up in Lovecraft’s “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”, and “Out of the Aeons” which he co-wrote with Hazel Heald. It also appears in Philip K. Dick’s Confessions of a Crap Artist. (Died 1936.)
Born February 27, 1902 — John Steinbeck. Yes, John Steinbeck. ISFDB lists one novel, The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication, Plus a bevy of short fiction such as “The Wedding of King”, “The Affair at 7 Rue de M—“ and “The Death of Merlin”. I’ll admit that I didn’t know these existed. So, has anyone read these? (Died 1968.)
Born February 27, 1938 — T.A. Waters. A professional magician and magic author. He appears not terribly well disguised as Sir Thomas Leseaux, an expert on theoretical magic as a character in Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy fantasy series and in Michael Kurland’s The Unicorn Girl in which he also appears as Tom Waters. He himself wrote The Probability Pad which is a sequel to The Unicorn Girl. Together with Chester Anderson’s earlier The Butterfly Kid , they make up Greenwich Village trilogy. (Died 1998.)
Born February 27, 1944 — Ken Grimwood. Another writer who died way too young, damn it. Writer of several impressive genre novels including Breakthrough and Replay which I’ve read and Into the Deep and Elise which are listed in ISFDB but which I’m not familiar with. Who’s read them? (Died 2003.)
Born February 27, 1957 — Frank Miller, 66. He’s both an artist and writer so I’m not going to untangle which is which here. What’s good by him? Oh, I love The Dark Knight Returns, both the original comic series and the animated film, though the same is not true of Sin City where I prefer the original series much more. Hmmm… What else? His runs on Daredevil and Electra of course. That should do.
Born February 27, 1950 — Michaela Roessner, 73. She won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer for Walkabout Woman. Her The Stars Dispose duology is quite excellent. Alas, none of her fiction is available digitally.
Born February 27, 1960 — Jeff Smith, 63. Creator and illustrator of Bone, the now complete series that he readily admits that “a notable influence being Walt Kelly’s Pogo”. Smith also worked for DC on a Captain Marvel series titled Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil. He’s won a very impressive eleven Harvey Awards and ten Eisner Awards! Kindle, though not Apple Books, has the complete Bone for a very reasonable twenty dollars.
Born February 27, 1966 — Peter Swirski, 57. He’s a academic specialist on the late SF writer and philosopher Stanislaw Lem. As such, he’s written the usual treatises on him with such titles as Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future, Lemography: Stanislaw Lem in the Eyes of the World and From Literature to Biterature: Lem, Turing, Darwin, and Explorations in Computer Literature, Philosophy of Mind, and Cultural Evolution.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Bob the Angry Flower tries to join Blake’s 7.
(10) THE 700 CLUB. In May, Marvel Comics will mark the 700th issue of Fantastic Four with a giant-sized wraparound connecting cover by artist Scott Koblish that will adorn both May’s Fantastic Four #7 and June’s Fantastic Four #8. This massive piece features over 700 characters, each one having appeared in a prior issue of the comic — the Fantastic Four’s fellow super heroes, past members, loyal allies, and of course, their iconic villains. For more information, visit Marvel.com. (Click for larger image.)
…. The composer finished recording the score for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” on Feb. 10 and, while he suggested last summer that the final Harrison Ford adventure would be the last of his 100-plus film scores, that’s not quite the truth.
“I might have meant that at the moment,” he says with a smile, “but you never want to say no unequivocally. If Steven or another director should come along with something that is so moving that you want to drop the phone and rush to the piano and have it all come out — should that happen, with the appropriate energy needed to do it, I wouldn’t rule out a situation like that.”
Recording for the final “Indiana Jones” film – and three of the previous editions, starting with 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” were Oscar-nominated for their music – began last June 28, and has continued off and on since then.
“It’s certainly got to be an hour and a half of music, maybe more,” Williams estimates. “But I’m quite happy with it. There’s a lot of new material. The old material works very well as a touchstone of memory, but I had great fun, and I have a theme that I’ve written for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the wonderful actress.” She plays Helena Shaw, reportedly Indy’s goddaughter….
Just announced – KIOXIA is participating in HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 program, the first in-space commercial edge computing and AI-enabled system to run on the International Space Station.
Spaceborne Computer-2 is part of a mission to significantly advance computing and reduce dependency on communications as space exploration continues to expand. For example, astronauts can achieve increased autonomy by processing data directly on the ISS, eliminating the need to send raw data to Earth to be processed, analyzed and sent back to space….
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, James Reynolds, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]
(1) SUPPORT THE CLARION “GHOST CLASS”. The pandemic forced the Clarion Writers’ Workshop to be postponed to 2022 – with the result that the “ghost class” accepted for 2020 has had to wait two years to attend. Clarion has been working on getting them additional scholarship support, including a generous grant from the SFWA Givers Fund. However, the Ghost Class is also launching a team fundraiser to support members of their class who have additional needs. The Indiegogo to “Help 18 sci-fi & fantasy writers go to Clarion” has raised $1,360 of its $19,000 goal with 28 days remaining.
A message from the Ghost Class: Getting accepted to Clarion in 2020 was a dream come true for each of us. Then…2020 happened. Over the past two years, we’ve lost jobs, changed careers, had babies, cared for and lost loved ones, and moved between states, countries — even continents. We’ve also gotten to know each other online, supporting each other through all the rejections and acceptances and “unprecedented times.”
Now Clarion is finally back on, and we’re determined to make sure all of us can afford to go. Instead of running our own individual fundraisers, we decided to combine forces and try to raise an extra $1000 each toward tuition for all 18 of us. Those of us who don’t need as much will donate back to a pool for those who need a little more. And if we raise more than we need, we might even be able to help fund future Clarion attendees.
How can you help? 1. Donate to our fundraiser. Every small amount helps! 2. Share our fundraiser page to all your social media accounts today. (Now is the perfect time to help us build momentum!) 3. Order one of our perks. We’re offering editing services, story feedback, workshops, artwork, and more on the fundraiser page, check them out!
Those of us who’ve run successful fundraisers like this before know how important it is to get early momentum from contributors like you, so thank you, truly, from the bottom of our ghostly hearts!
– The 20202021 2022 Clarion UCSD Ghost Class
(2) RENDEZVOUS ALONG THE WAY. Janelle Monáe will be joined by several of her collaborators at the stops on her upcoming book tour for The Memory Librarian from HarperCollins. They include Sheree Renée Thomas and Alaya Dawn Johnson.
In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, futurist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe and an esteemed cohort of collaborating writers bring to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of her critically acclaimed album, exploring how different threads of liberation — queerness, race, gender plurality and love—become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape … and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.
(3) RUSSIA RETALIATES AGAINST SANCTIONS. The Kidscreen headline says “Russia strikes at Peppa Pig in copyright battle” but as Craig Miller explains on Facebook, “[The article] spells out a Russian counter to all of the international economic sanctions being put in place because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian government has declared that trademarks, copyrights, and patents from countries they have deemed ‘unfriendly’ can be ignored and Russian companies and people can steal and bootleg all they want.”
Peppa Pig has gotten caught up in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the development could have implications for other entertainment IPs.
eOne’s billion-dollar franchise has found itself at the heart of a Russian retaliatory strategy against economic sanctions. A Russian court has dismissed a case that eOne brought last year against a local entrepreneur who allegedly used the Peppa Pig trademark without permission. And the government has now doubled down on the ruling with its own decree allowing patented inventions and designs to be used without permission or compensation.
The decree opens the door to copyright infringement of brands from many territories that Russia has deemed to be unfriendly in recent weeks, including Australia, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, the US, Japan and Switzerland. However, it’s likely that Russian companies will use the new rule change to stock up on devices, technologies and (in the case of the entertainment industry) kids content, which could be in short supply amid all the sanctions, according to a statement from Chicago-based law firm Baker McKenzie.…
The second book in our series, Sticking it to the Man, originally included material on radical science fiction but the length of the book completely blew out and our publisher insisted we shorten it. It was at this point that my co-editor, Iain McIntyre, and I realised we had the makings of a third book – on radical science and speculative fiction. We pitched the idea to our publisher, and they were very receptive. With the high/low culture, hardback/paperback, literary/pulp distinctions particularly blurred with sci-fi, and a huge range of authors and works to choose from, we certainly had no trouble finding enough material for book-length treatment of the subject. Indeed, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds could have been twice as long, and we still would not have been able to cover everything.
Lee, 33, had signed up for Ukraine’s territorial defence force in the first days of the war.
A resident of Irpin, he appeared in several films and his voice featured in the Ukrainian versions of The Lion King and The Hobbit….
Pavlo Li, as the actor was formally known, was born in Crimea in 1988 and had recently begun presenting a show on Dom TV, a Ukrainian channel originally aimed at audiences in the eastern areas seized by Russian-backed separatists in 2014.
(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1994 — [Item by Cat Eldridge] Thirty-eight years ago the Robocop series was first broadcast on this date in the United Kingdom. (It would be four days more before it was broadcast in the States.) Stripped largely of the violence and cynicism of the film that it was based on, it was intended to appeal to children and young adults.
Here Richard Eden is Murphy / RoboCop. And given its target audience, playing a prominent role is Sarah Campbell as Gadget, an eight year-old girl. Certain characters in the film are rejiggered into new characters, i.e. Anne Lewis becomes Lisa Madigan.
It lasted but twenty-two episodes over one season. Cancellation was actually announced part way into the season.
So how was reception for it? The Variety review at the time said of it at that time that the, “Series has a good chance of succeeding because, on the basis of the opener, it’s brave enough to amuse instead of intimidate. There’s a lesson there.” And the Houston Chronicle like it quite a bit saying it “works well as a mass-market show. … It offers action, as opposed to violence. And its ironic humor, though not as hard-edged as the movies’, has a sly, subversive bent.” Finally word goes to the Boston Globe: “This is a far campier and cartoonier RoboCop than the original. Even when the wit is blunt, the writing is snappy; and the acting is just broad enough to poke a little fun at itself.”
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 14, 1918 — Mildred Clingerman. Most of her stories were published in the Fifties in F&SF when Boucher was Editor. Boucher included “The Wild Wood” by her in the seventh volume of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction and dedicated the book to her, calling her the “most serendipitous of discoveries.” A Cupful of Space and The Clingerman Files, neither available as a digital publication, contain all of her stories. (Died 1997.)
Born March 14, 1941 — Wolfgang Petersen, 81. Usually Birthdays are reserved for individuals with longer genre records but he’s responsible as director for two of my favorite films, Enemy Mine and The NeverEnding Story. He also produced The Bicentennial Man. If you look carefully, you’ll see him in The NeverEnding Story as the man who drops milk in one scene.
Born March 14, 1946 — Diana G. Gallagher. She won a Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist along with Brad W. Foster at Noreascon 3 after being a nominee at Nolacon II the previous year. She won it under the name Diana Gallagher Wu while married to William F. Wu whose Birthday we did yesterday. She was also an author filker and author who wrote books for children and young adults based on Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and various Trek series. Her best-known filksong was “A Reconsideration of Anatomical Docking Maneuvers in a Zero Gravity Environment.” (Died 2021.)
Born March 14, 1961 — Penny Johnson Jerald, 62. She played Kasidy Yates, the love of Ben Sisko, on Deep Space Nine. She’s now playing Dr. Claire Finn on Orville, just one of many Trek cast member that you’ll find there. And she provided the voice of President Amanda Waller on the most excellent Justice League: Gods & Monsters.
Born March 14, 1964 — Julia Ecklar, 58. She’s the Astounding Award–winning author for The Kobayashi Maru which is available in English and German ebook editions. She’s also a filk musician who recorded numerous albums in the Off Centaur label in the early 1980s, including Horse-Tamer’s Daughter, Minus Ten and Counting, and Genesis. She was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 1996.
Born March 14, 1957 — Tad Williams, 65. Author of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, Otherland series, and Shadowmarch series as well as the most excellent Tailchaser’s Song and The War of the Flowers.
Born March 14, 1971 — Rebecca Roanhorse, 51. Her “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™“ which was first published in the August 2017 of Apex Magazine won a Hugo as best short story at Worldcon 76. (It won a Nebula as well.) She also won the Astounding Award for the same work for Best New Writer. She has five novels to date, including Trail of Lightning which was nominated for a Hugo at Dublin 2019, and Black Sun, being nominated for a Hugo at DisCon III.
Born March 14, 1974 — Grace Park, 48. Boomer on the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. She’s been on a fair amount of genre over the years with her first acting role being the Virtual Avatar in the “Bits of Love” episode of Outer Limits. After that, she shows up on Secret Agent Man, This Immortal, The Outer Limits again, Star Gate SG-1, Andromeda, and oddly enough Battlestar Galactica in a number roles other than her main one. I’m sure one of you can explain the latter. I confess that I’ve not watched it.
(9) COFFEE BREAK’S OVER. [Item by Olav Rokne.] To be honest, the headline of this spoof article is better than the content, but it’s worth sharing if only for this line: “After a very long week in theatres, there’s only one question on people’s minds, who is going to play Batman next?” “Batman has been out for a week, isn’t it time for a reboot?” at The Beaverton.
The “Boba Fett” series is rad, but what about the other bounty hunters we saw momentarily in “The Empire Strikes Back”? Like this guy, who looks like the costume budget ran out and so they just wrapped a towel around his head. Doesn’t he deserve his own streaming series or something?…
Ukrainian artist Vlad Legostaev is teaming up with Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville for two connecting Time Before Time covers—the proceeds for which will go toward supporting Ukrainian Red Cross relief efforts.
“With Time Before Time we always ask great exciting artists to provide B covers for the series. We recently asked the hugely talented Vlad Legostaev to provide a wonderful connecting cover for an exciting 2-part story by Rory McConville and Ron Salas,” said Shalvey. “Unfortunately since then, Vlad’s home country has suffered true horrors, so, with Vlad’s permission, we decided to use his art to try to raise money for those suffering in Ukraine. So now, the proceeds from Vlad’s B cover for Time Before Time #13 and 14 will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross. We hope Vlad’s art can help his homeland, in some small way.”
In the Time Before Time series, to escape a world with no future, many turn to the Syndicate—a criminal organization that, for the right price, will smuggle you back in time to the promise of a better yesterday.
Time Before Time #13 and Time Before Time #14 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, June 8 and Wednesday, July 6, respectively:
Time Before Time #13 Cover B by Legostaev – Diamond Code APR220254
Time Before Time #14 Cover B by Legostaev – Diamond Code JAN229189
(12) SADDLE UP. Are you a fan of Western fiction and nonfiction? The Western Writers of America have announced the 2022 Spur Award winners. The complete list is at the link.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden is getting his fourth Spur Award in three years, and bestselling novelists Michael Punke and C.J. Box are also 2022 winners. Presentations to winners and finalists are scheduled for June 22-25 during WWA’s convention in Great Falls, Mont….
… While the crust of our planet is relatively cool, the interior is very warm indeed. Tapping this heat to produce electricity has the potential to provide a practically limitless amount of clean energy to the masses, that is, at least, if we can actually reach it.
Now though, energy company Quaise is hoping to achieve such a feat by combining a megawatt-power gyrotron (which forces atoms to melt together) with the latest state-of-the-art drilling tools to dig deep down into the Earth’s surface and tap this underused source of energy.
The firm hopes to reach depths of over 12 miles and is aiming to produce power within four years….
Universal Studios Hollywood announced its Nintendo-themed land, which is already under construction, will open sometime in 2023. When it does, guests will have the chance to become part of a larger-than-life Nintendo universe.
…Though Universal did not release specific details on which attractions will be in the park, the company did share that the land will feature a “groundbreaking ride and interactive areas,” as well as themed dining and shopping that will make you feel like you’re an actual video game character.
Theme park news site WDWNT has been closely following the construction progress. So far, the only thematic elements visible in construction photos are the iconic green hills Nintendo fans will easily recognize. It’s hard to determine exactly which rides are being built, but the attractions are expected to be similar to those at Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan.
This includes Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, a real-life Mario Kart race that uses augmented reality (in the form of Mario-themed glasses), projection mapping and screen projections to make favorite Mario Kart courses come to life; and Yoshi’s Adventure, a slow-moving ride where guests can fulfill their childhood fantasy of hopping on Yoshi’s back and going for a spin around the Mushroom Kingdom….
[Thanks to John King “Pie Day” Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Olav Rokne, James Bacon, Alan Baumler, Daniel Dern, Craig Miller, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
The Nintendo Direct February 17 edition provided fans with trailers and sneak peeks of video games, especially those that are playable on the Nintendo Switch. Highlight videos follows the jump. (We may be a little late here, and this might be a little too much like a commercial, but remember — it’s always news to somebody!)
(1) WRITER BEWARE. If they can’t resolve a matter privately for an author, SFWA’s Grievance Committee will sometimes turn the matter over to another SFWA arm, Writer Beware. Here’s a write-up by Victoria Strauss of a recent investigation into Sky Warrior Books’ use of termination clauses — “How Publishers Abuse Termination Fees; Sky Warrior Books”.
As it happens, Eve is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She turned the matter over to SFWA’s Grievance Committee, which has a good record of mediating disputes between authors and publishers. Bonham, however, refused to cooperate, doubling down on her denial of wrongdoing and reiterating her her demand for money. She also accused SFWA and Writer Beware of a dastardly conspiracy:
After all, if we are harmed, you will have participated in the further erosion of independent, small presses, and I can’t believe the rumor that SFWA and Writer Beware are cooperating with the Big Five publishing houses’ efforts to destroy the independents once and for all. Although I did find it curious that Writer Beware’s publisher avoid list is populated exclusively with small presses, often based in rural areas, far from the New York in-crowd.
Damn. And we thought we were being so discreet. Seriously, though, I think Eve’s experience illustrates how publishers can use termination fee clauses to retaliate against authors who displease them. The other authors I heard from who complained about nonpayment had their rights reverted without any demand for money. It’s hard not to conclude that Eve was being punished for having the temerity to hire legal assistance. The other takeaway here is the importance of taking contract language seriously.
Thirty plus years ago I was lucky enough to be one of two poor kids on scholarships in my class at a school for rich kids in a small town in California. The other was the renowned science fiction writer John Scalzi. I just noticed this tweet from him as I was watching a welter of reports about what appears to be yet another terror attack in France.
Sometimes feels like a strong correlation between WWII passing from living memory, and autocracy seemingly getting more popular.
I don’t think John was talking about the attack but the US election and elections now across the world. But perhaps he was talking about the whole picture in toto.
Autocracy is government based on fear, domination and insecurity. It is of course billed as the opposite. But it is born of these three horsemen and in turn breeds them. One of the shaping thoughts of the generation of actors and thinkers who emerged from the Second World War was the seared perception that stability, trust, peace and virtuous cycles of all sorts are not natural phenomena or human norms. In fact, they are brittle creations and perhaps abnormal in human affairs. Of course, these beliefs and the ambitions and goals which grew out of them led to their own follies. One can jump from 1945 to 1965 and see the wisdom of this recognition leading the same luminaries to walk into a folly of an entirely different kind. The men who built much of the world we live in today also built a world that was perpetually on the brink of cataclysmic nuclear annihlation. Their creation, let us say with some understatement, had real shortcomings….
[New York?]: Allen Glasser, 26 November 1937. Octavo, 6 leaves plus cover sheet, typewritten copy, brad bound. A possibly unique historic record of the meetings of The Scienceers held from 26 April 1930 to 27 September 1930, documenting the birth of THE PLANET, the first true science fiction fan magazine. During the 14 June meeting the suggestion that a club paper be issued was met with unanimous approval, THE PLANET was chosen as the name of the proposed paper, and the editorial staff was elected. Under the editorship of Allen Glasser a total of six monthly issues dated from July 1930 to December 1930 were produced. The first issue, dated July 1930, was distributed to members at the meeting of 19 July, the August issue was distributed at the 2 August meeting, the September issue was distributed at the 30 August meeting, and the October issue was distributed at the 27 September meeting. The history of The Scienceers is presented concisely by former secretary Allen Glasser in his “explanatory note” dated 26 November 1937: “The Scienceers club was founded Dec. 11, 1929, and its first official meeting was held Jan. 4, 1930. From the latter date to April 26, 1930, when the following records begin, no minutes were kept, since meetings had been held at irregular intervals and the future of the club was uncertain. After the reorganization of April 26, The Scienceers held regular weekly meetings until September 27, 1930. Following that date, the club split into two separate groups, both of which disbanded by the end of the year without keeping any further records.” See Moskowitz, The Immortal Storm, p. 10. Paper stock a bit tanned, else fine. (#155718). Price: $450.00
I had to contend with a film crew this morning…filming me not getting the call from the AGNSW. Then I had to go into the AGNSW with film crew knowing I wasn’t the winner. But it was heartening to hear my name mentioned among the final contenders. (I do love Louise’s work though…so I can’t be disgruntled at her win. Well done!)
Louise Hearman’s looming half-figure of Barry Humphries may have scooped the prize, but in a just alternate universe, Nick Stathopoulos’s portrait of Deng Thiak Adut or Marc Etherington’s painting of Ken Done would have been rewarded
Unjustly maligned by some critics for his photorealist style, Stathopoulos’s subject, Deng Thiak Adut – a former Sudanese child solider who came to Australia, graduated law school and now works as a refugee advocate – has the kind of back story that would normally guarantee entry into the prize.
But it is also a commanding picture that contrasts areas of detail such as the face, skin and hair that are rendered photorealistically with a neutral grey background and white shirt. Not only does the picture go against the grain of the faux-expressionist impasto painting that remains popular, but it also demonstrates that the Art Gallery of New South Wales trustees can spot a good picture when they see one.
Sudanese refugee and lawyer Deng Adut came to the attention of Nick Stathopoulos through an advertisement for Western Sydney University, where Adut was a graduate. It movingly documented how he came to Australia following life as a child soldier in Sudan and how he put himself through law school, becoming a formidable refugee advocate and community leader.
Despite his increasingly busy schedule, Adut agreed to sit for Stathopoulos. ‘You really need to have the subject there in front of you to capture that life-spark and commanding presence. Those eyes, those scars, tell a story that no ad could ever convey,’ says the artist.
The portrait took over four months to complete, more time than Stathopoulos has ever spent on any single painting. ‘I’m actually a very traditional practitioner by choice. I’ve spent my entire life developing my style and process. What I do is time-consuming, laborious and painstaking,’ he says.
Born in Paddington, Sydney in 1959, Stathopoulos is a self-taught artist, known for his hyper-realistic style, particularly his paintings of his childhood toy collection. This is his fifth time as an Archibald finalist. He has also been a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize twice. His portrait of Robert Hoge, Ugly, won the People’s Choice Award in the 2014 Salon des Refusés and was a finalist in the 2015 BP Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in London. He is a finalist in the 2016 Shirley Hannan Portrait Prize.
Wanna try it first-hand? For those of you able to make it to San Diego Comic Con, we’ll be at Adult Swim On The Green with HTC Vives in tow!
July 21st-24th from 11am – 6pm Located behind the Convention Center at Convention Way & 5th Ave Pier
Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality smashes together the absolute VR chaos of the award-winning Job Simulator with the ridiculous, all-out, take-no-prisoners comedy of Rick and Morty. And now, for the worldwide, earth-shattering gameplay teaser reveal:
(7) FARINI OBIT. Corrado Farini: Italian film drrector, actor, died 11 July, aged 77. Best known for Baba Yaga (1973, aka The Devil Witch and Kiss Me, Kill Me), which he adapted from Guido Crepax’s comics and had a cameo appearance as a Nazi.
[Thanks to Dawn Incognito, Mark-kitteh, Steve Green, Cat Rambo, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]