(1) LUKYANENKO NOT AT WORLDCON. There’s no sign of the Chengdu Worldcon’s Russian GoH Sergey Lukyanenko in social media coverage of the con. And the latest posts to his blog on his official website (devoted to anti-Israel remarks, and a report that his wife rescued a migrating woodcock in the backyard) suggest he’s at home. Although he made two other professional visits to the Far East earlier in 2023 he hasn’t mentioned Chengdu on his blog this year.
(2) 2023 HUGO BASE. This year’s Hugo base was debuted at the Chengdu Worldcon Opening Ceremonies by Hugo Administrator Dave McCarty. Here’s a screencap from the video. There are much better closeup photos of the base at his Facebook page.
The member guidebook for the 2023 Chengdu World Science Fiction Convention is available online. The guidebook consists of the welcome message from the co-chairs, an introduction to the main venue, notes for participants, an introduction to theme activities, a brief introduction of Chengdu, and an appendix.
(4) UYGHURS REMEMBERED. Andrew Gillsmith moderated a pre-Worldcon panel for the “World Uyghur Congress” which can be viewed on X.
(5) CHENGDU WORLDCON ROUNDUP. [Item by Ersatz Culture.]
Unofficial (?) Bilibili video of the opening ceremony
I don’t think that opening ceremony video is complete; there was a section at the end where a bunch of the VIPs came up on stage to declare the con open. Most of that is in this 2-minute video, but it also has bits chopped out for some reason.
Some people also struggled to get access to the video stream of the opening ceremony; hopefully whatever glitch or capacity issue caused that will be resolved soon.
Various arrivals photographed at the airport
Donald Eastlake, Kevin Standlee, Chris M. Barkley and Nicholas Whyte are amongst several Western fandom figures pictured in this Xiaohongshu photo gallery.
Longer fannish reports on Weibo
(Note: in the last couple of weeks or so, Weibo has added a “Translate content” link to posts, similar to what you get for foreign language tweets on Twitter. However, for long-form posts like these, it tends to time out, so you might instead want to use any translation tools built into browsers such as Chrome to read the following links.)
For those not keen on the more commercial or “mainstream” stuff in some of the prior links, Best Fan Writer and Fanzine finalist RiverFlow has a long Weibo post going over his activities today, which included meeting various fans and pros, and being on a panel about university SF societies.
English language promo video from Chengdu Museum
This 6-minute English language video is for the most part covers things that are more likely to appeal to general tourists, but is framed within a time-travel story featuring the Kormo mascot, and ends with the SF museum.
Xiaohongshu videos and photo galleries
As is to be expected with the con now underway, there are loads of these out there, and there’s a lot of repetition of material. These are a fairly arbitrary selection of the ones that showed up in search results:
- Various panels, with a nice text summary of the poster’s impressions if you push it through browser translation tools
- Photos of the booth selling the con merchandise that was covered in yesterday’s Scroll
- A couple of short clip compilation videos of attendees approaching the venue and going inside (1), (2)
- Another compilation from inside the con, with a few cosplayers to be seen
- Photos of the booth for 8 Light Minutes Culture, who are the publisher handling the Chinese versions of Doctor Who novels and Galaxy’s Edge magazine
- Lots of ribbons
- A short video compiling some of the smaller exhibits, mecha, spaceships and the like
- Miscellaneous photo galleries (1), (2)
(6) LE GUIN VIDEOS. Available for viewing on Literary Hub, The Journey That Matters is a series of six short videos from Arwen Curry, the director and producer of Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, a Hugo Award-nominated 2018 feature documentary about the iconic author. Here are the fifth and sixth installments.
In the fifth of the series, Theo Downes-Le Guin introduces “Where I Write,” an intimate peek into Ursula’s study and her writing process.
…Recently I viewed an online video titled “I Tried Ursula K. Le Guin’s Writing Schedule,” one of many such links. The production was snappy and well-intentioned, but the writer-presenter lost me when she described preparation of a “fancy breakfast.” The fried egg, tomato, and rocket sandwich bore no resemblance to mornings in my childhood home. Note to content creators: if you geek out on someone’s routine, do your research. Ursula wrote an entire essay about how to properly soft-boil an egg. That’s what she ate for breakfast. Not fancy.
In the final installment of the series, Julie Phillips reflects on “He’s My First Reader,” in which Ursula and her husband, Charles, discuss how their division of household labor helped Ursula thrive.
…When Ursula Kroeber met and fell in love with Charles Le Guin, their meeting, on a ship bound for France, seemed to her almost magically improbable. “Obviously this sort of thing doesn’t happen,” she wrote him six weeks after they met. “I mean, conceivably you might exist, but you would never sit at Table 30 at 2nd sitting for dinner in tourist class on the Queen Mary on Sept 23rd 1953; I ask you, now would you?”
Charles felt the same, though he didn’t recognize true love quite as quickly as she. “I thought she was awfully snooty and shy the first meals; and she thought that I was British and very reserved. But after those first misapprehensions were displaced, we have scarcely been apart at all the last month,” he wrote his parents. “How do I tell you all this without it seeming silly or impossible? It is neither—not impossible because it has happened; not silly because it is too deep and too wonderful. Ursula and I are going to be married.”…
(7) GOOD DUDES. Charlie Jane Anders nominates “12 Male Role Models From Science Fiction and Fantasy” at Happy Dancing.
Lately I feel like everyone is talking about masculinity and what it means to be a good dude. The other day, I was on a panel at the Pride on the Page book festival with Jacob Tobia (Sissy) who was saying that we’ve spent decades expanding gender roles for women in mainstream society — women won the right to wear pants in the workplace (for now) — but meanwhile, most men remain trapped, unable to express healthy emotions or process all of their trauma.
As someone who was so successful at being a man that I actually graduated, I want to help!
So it’s a really good thing that science fiction and fantasy offer us so many excellent examples of guys who are secure in their masculinity and ready to do the right thing, even when it’s tough….
Take for example —
11) Henry Deacon (Eureka)
In a “town full of geniuses,” Henry Deacon might just be the smartest of them all — but when this underrated show begins, he’s working as a mechanic because he has ethical objections to the work that Global Dynamics is doing. Henry isn’t just the guy who steps in and fixes things when all the out-of-control science goes off the rails, he’s also the town’s moral center. (And eventually, he becomes its mayor.) Emmy-winning actor Joe Morton, who plays Henry, also plays a resourceful, kind alien refugee in the movie The Brother From Another Planet.
(8) LARA PARKER (1938-2023). Actress Lara Parker, age 28 when she was cast as Dark Shadows’ beautiful and evil witch Angelique Bouchard Collins, died October 12. She was 84. The Deadline tribute also mentions her writing career:
…In her later years, Parker turned to writing and teaching — her novels include Angelique’s Descent (1998), The Salem Branch (2006), Wolf Moon Rising (2013) and Heiress of Collinwood (2016). The books proved popular among Dark Shadows‘ still-devoted, conventions-attending fan base, as well as devotees of romance and horror genre novels.
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1992 — [Written by Cat Eldridge from a suggestion by Mike Glyer.]
So let’s talk about Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book which is where our Beginning is from this Scroll.
It’s a novel in her series about Oxford time-traveling historians, which consists of Fire Watch, Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump and Blackout/All Clear.
It was published thirty-one years ago by Bantam Spectra with the cover art being by Tim Jacobus.
The series has an extraordinary history when it comes to awards. Fire Watch started off with a Best Novelette Hugo at ConStellation, along with winning a Nebula and being nominated for Balrog. Next up was a BSFA nomination for this novel followed by a Hugo win (a tie with with Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep) at ConFrancisco and a Nebula as well as picking up Clarke and Mythopoeic nominations.
To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last won a Hugo at Aussiecon Three and also picked a Nebula nomination too.
Blackout/All Clear got a Hugo at Renovation and Nebula, plus a Campbell Memorial nomination.
So now that we’ve got those out of the way, let’s turned to the Beginning….
Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.
“Am I too late?” he said, yanking them off and squinting at Mary.
“Shut the door,” she said. “I can’t hear you over the sound of those ghastly carols.”
Dunworthy closed the door, but it didn’t completely shut out the sound of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” wafting in from the quad. “Am I too late?” he said again.
Mary shook her head. “All you’ve missed is Gilchrist’s speech.” She leaned back in her chair to let Dunworthy squeeze past her into the narrow observation area. She had taken off her coat and wool hat and set them on the only other chair, along with a large shopping bag full of parcels. Her gray hair was in disarray, as if she had tried to fluff it up after taking her hat off. “A very long speech about Mediaeval’s maiden voyage in time,” she said, “and the college of Brasenose taking its rightful place as the jewel in history’s crown. Is it still raining?”
“Yes,” he said, wiping his spectacles on his muffler. He hooked the wire rims over his ears and went up to the thin-glass partition to look at the net. In the center of the laboratory was a smashed-up wagon surrounded by overturned trunks and wooden boxes. Above them hung the protective shields of the net, draped like a gauzy parachute.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 18, 1917 — Reynold Brown. Artist responsible for many SF film posters. His first poster was Creature from the Black Lagoon with other notable ones being Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Mothra vs. Godzilla. (Died 1991.)
- Born October 18, 1925 — Walter Harris. He wrote a New Avengers novel, To Catch a Rat, and novelized Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Werewolf of London. ISFDB lists four more genre novels by him, The Mistress of Downing Street, The Day I Died, The Fifth Horseman and Salvia. (Died 2019.)
- Born October 18, 1944 — Katherine Kurtz, 78. Known for the Deryni series which started with Deryni Rising in 1970, and the most recent, The King’s Deryni, the final volume of The Childe Morgan Trilogy, was published several years back. As medieval historical fantasy goes, they’re damn great.
- Born October 18, 1951 — Jeff Schalles, 72. Minnesota area fan who’s making the Birthday Honors because he was the camera man for Cats Laughing’s A Long Time Gone: Reunion at Minicon 50 concert DVD. Cats Laughing is a band deep in genre as you can read in the Green Man review here.
- Born October 18, 1964 — Charles Stross, 59. I’ve read a lot of him down the years with I think his best being the rejiggered Merchant Princes series especially the recent Empire Games and Dark State novels. Other favored works include the early Laundry Files novels and both of the Halting State novels though the second makes me cringe.
- Born October 18, 1965– Kristen Britain, 58. She is writing the Green Rider series of which Green Rider was nominated for the Crawford Award and Blackveil was nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award. It’s now a dozen novels deep.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- The Far Side — This is mainly about Mrs. Frankenstein’s monster?
- Ziggy is suspicious of his shrink’s credentials.
(12) THAT POPEYE FILM. Daniel Dern (as a longtime fan of the movie) encourages Filers to watch “Popeye – It’s Not THAT Bad – The Insane True Story Behind the Movie”. Interesting enough. One notable item early in: the initial leads casting offer went to Dustin Hoffman (for Popeye) and Gilda Radner (for Olive Oil).
The final selections were Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, both delightfully great… but I would still love to have seen Radner’s take on Ms. Oil, particularly playing opposite Robin Williams.
(13) DOWNLOAD VECTOR’S “CHINESE SF” ISSUE. The British Science Fiction Association opens issues of Vector to the public after about two years. The 2021 issue on Chinese SF is now available to download here.
‘ Vector 293 is a collaboration with guest editors Yen Ooi and Regina Kanyu Wang. Yen Ooi introduces the issue as well as many of its recurring concepts, such as techno-orientalism. Regina Kanyu Wang takes us through the history of women writing SF in China. Artist and curator Angela Chan interviews Beatrice Glow about her work with colonial histories and the ability of science fiction to ‘tell truthful histories and envision just futures together’ through art. The conversation about history, futures, science fiction and art continues in Dan Byrne-Smith’s interview with Gordon Cheung. Chinese SF scholars Mia Chen Ma, Frederike Schneider-Vielsäcker and Mengtian Sun offer glimpses of their recent and ongoing research. Authors Maggie Shen King (An Excess Male) and Chen Qiufan (Waste Tide) interview each other about their recent novels. Feng Zhang introduces us to the SF fandom in China, while Regina Kanuy Wang brings us up to speed with accelerating Chinese SF industry. Dev Agarwal questions the maturity of the Chinese SF blockbuster as can be judged from Shanghai Fortress and The Wandering Earth (both available on Netflix). Virginia L. Conn explores Sinofuturism, while Emily Xueni Jin delves into the implications of translating a growing body of SF work from Chinese into English. We learn about the global perspectives on Chinese SF from an illustrious panel assembled at WorldCon 2019, and about transnational speculative folklore of the Uyghur people from Sandra Unerman. Niall Harrison completes the issue with an illuminating survey of Chinese short SF in the 21st Century.’
(14) CLASSIC SFF ARTIST. Lots and lots of Virgil Finlay art can be viewed at this link: Raiders of the Lost Tumblr (posts tagged Virgil Finlay)
(15) TRAILER PARK. Beacon 23 – a series coming on MGM+. The series, based on a book by Hugh Howey, is set to premiere its first two episodes on MGM+ on Sunday, November 12 at 9:00 p.m. EST/PST.
Aster (Lena Headey) and Halan (Stephan James) are drawn to Beacon 23 and face an onslaught of threats. When an object called The Artifact appears, they begin to unravel its mysteries, and develop a deep bond just in time to face a deadly AI.
(16) ANNULAR ECLIPSE. “What the ‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse looked like to a satellite nearly 1 million miles from Earth” at Popular Science.
The recent “ring of fire” solar eclipse looked stunning across portions of North and South America and we now have a new view of the stellar event. The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite created the image of the eclipse on Saturday October 14, depicting the mostly blue Earth against the darkness of space, with one large patch of the planet in the shadow of the moon.
Launched in 2015, DSCOVR is a joint NASA, NOAA, and U.S. Air Force satellite. It offers a unique perspective since it is close to 1 million miles away from Earth and sits in a gravitationally stable point between the Earth and the sun called Lagrange Point 1. DSCOVR’s primary job is to monitor the solar wind in an effort to improve space weather forecasts.
A special device aboard the satellite called the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) imager took this view of the eclipse from space. According to NASA, the sensor gives scientists frequent views of the Earth. The moon’s shadow, or umbra, is falling across the southeastern coast of Texas, near Corpus Christi….
The official NASA broadcast can be viewed here: “The Ring of Fire: 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse”.
[Thanks to Ersatz Culture, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Lise Andreasen, Daniel Dern, Steven French, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter, for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]