By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 1508): Robert Lichtman (1942-2022) left for After-Fandom on the day I came home from Westercon LXXIV. May his memory be for a blessing.
He missed his 80th birthday by two months. He hadn’t been to many Westercons recently, either, although he was Fan Guest of Honor at Westercon LV — whose ringmaster, Bruce Pelz, had died two months earlier. He was at Westercon XXXIV; so was Pete Stampfel, who’d played with the Fugs and the Holy Modal Rounders (and later married Betsy Wollheim); people kept telling Lichtman how much they liked the Fugs or the Rounders, so he cut his hair.
Now that he can take no more part in affairs of this world, I can offend his modesty — ow! what was that?? — by telling you his name meant illuminator.
He was a shining star of fanwriting. His letters of comment won eight FAAn (Fannish Activity Achievement) Awards. His loved and acclaimed — not always the same, alas — fanzine Trap Door won five. In the 2020 FAAn Awards he won Lifetime Achievement.
He wrote one of the Nat’l Fantasy Fan Federation’s seven fandbooks (fan + handbook; pointers from veterans for newcomers), The Amateur Press Associations in Science-Fiction Fandom. He edited a collection Ah! Sweet Laney! (F.T. Laney, famous for Ah! Sweet Idiocy!); another, of Walt Willis’ “Fanorama” columns from Nebula; a fanthology Some of the Best from “Quandry” (Lee Hoffman’s loved and acclaimed fanzine); and Fanthology 92, Fanthology ’93,Fanthology 1994. He got Jack Speer’s 1939 history Up to Now onto <efanzines.com>.
He was Secretary-Treasurer of FAPA (Fantasy Am. Press Ass’n, our oldest, founded 1937) from 1986 until his death, no small achievement; if I hadn’t just called him a shining star, enough to make him a pillar. David Bratman said, “As sometime Vice President of FAPA, and as emergency editor after Official Editor Seth Goldberg died in 1997, I … found Robert Lichtman as Secretary-Treasurer an absolute rock of reliability.”
His SAPSzine (Spectator Am. Press Society, acronym deliberate; our second oldest) was Door Knob. His FAPAzine was King Biscuit Time. He had others there and elsewhere.
He was elected the 1989 TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) delegate.
He found us in 1958 through Bob Bloch’s fanzine review column in Imagination. By then he was living in Southern California. That year he published his first fanzine, called (what else?) PSI-PHI, co-edited with Arv Underman. He joined the LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Soc., oldest SF club in the world; pronounced as if rhyming with a Spanglish “más fuss”), to which, wherever he is now, he still belongs, since Death will not release you. Later he moved to the San Francisco Bay area; to the Farm, a 1,700-acre commune in Tennessee; to San Francisco Bay again; he married twice, by his first wife four sons, Carol Carr his second as he was hers.
I don’t know the fate of his fanzine collection. I hope it was directed soundly. The tragedy of Harry Warner’s arrangements I learned of too late. Bruce Pelz disposed of his collection while he was alive. Jay Kay Klein’s photographs I believe are safe.
Although the moment seems much longer ago — time flies when you’re having fun — and of course time flies like an arrow — fruit flies like a banana — Pogo fans know about timing gnats (see I Go Pogo no. 20, 1960) — Trap Door 23 has my reminiscence “I Thought I Had a Pumpkin Bomb”. Not counting that, it’s a good issue. The electronic may see it here. Earlier TD reprinted (Trap Door 18) from Van 232 my appreciation of Bill Rotsler, another giant, with Bashō’s poem “A cicada shell / it sang itself / entirely away.”
Westercon, the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, on the N. Amer. continent west of the 104th W. Meridian or in Hawaii. Originally faan was a pejorative form of fan; the extra a, or more of them e.g. faaan, denoted excess; enough of this lingered in 1975, when Moshe Feder and Arnie Katz started the F Awards, that the name showed a self-depreciation thought suitable; the Awards were given 1975-1980, then 1994 to date; since their revival they have been associated with the annual fanziners’ con Corflu (corflu = mimeograph correction fluid, once indispensable). Release, a decades-old LASFS catch-phrase; the electronic may see here. Worldcon, the World Science Fiction Convention.
(1) HWA ELECTIONS UPCOMING. The Horror Writers Association will be holding elections for President, Secretary, and three Trustee positions in September.
John Edward Lawson is running unopposed for President, and Becky Spratford is the lone candidate for Secretary.
The candidates for the three Trustee positions are Marc L. Abbott, Linda Addison, James Chambers, Ellen Datlow, Anthony Gambol, Sèphera Girón, Douglas Gwilym, Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito, Eugene Johnson, Stephen Mark Rainey, David Rose, Lindy Ryan, and John F.D. Taff.
The candidates’ statements are here. The elected officers will hold their respective offices for terms of two years, beginning on November 1 and ending on October 31.
(2) KEENE HEALTH UPDATE. Horror writer Brian Keene is positive for Covid-19 – and has symptoms — so he alerted Facebook readers who might have come in contact with him at last weekend’s Scares That Care Charity Weekend VIII.
For those who had me sign their books or take a selfie with them this past weekend: I have just tested positive for Covid-19. As you saw, I was pretty militant about keeping my mask on, so I hopefully didn’t spread it. But you deserve a heads up, regardless. My symptoms are more than mild but less than severe. Will be quarantining at home.
(3) LITERARY CONTACT TRACING. David Agranoff, host of the DickHeads Podcast, says the evidence suggests Philip K. Dick based a Ubik character in part on Robert Lichtman. Thread starts here.
The WGA said today that it has prevailed in a huge “self-dealing” arbitration against Netflix that it says will result in hundreds of writers on more than 100 Netflix theatrical films receiving an additional $42 million in unpaid residuals. The WGA West and the WGA East say they now are pursuing about $13.5 million in interest that Netflix reportedly owes writers for late payment of these residuals.
In a notification to their members, the guilds said that their victory stems from “an important arbitration over Netflix’s underpayment of the writer’s residuals for the theatrical motion picture Bird Box. Netflix argued the WGA should accept a substandard formula the company negotiated with DGA and SAG-AFTRA. After a hearing, however, an arbitrator determined differently — that the license fee should have been greater than the gross budget of the film. He ordered Netflix to pay the writer a total of $850,000 in residuals along with full interest of $350,000.”
“As a direct result of this ruling,” the WGA added, “216 writers on 139 other Netflix theatrical films are receiving an additional $42 million in unpaid residuals. The guild is now pursuing approximately $13.5 million in interest Netflix also owes writers for late payment of these residuals.”
The meaning of self-dealing and its consequences were explained by the guilds in their message to members:
“When a theatrical is licensed or released in any other market – like streaming or television or home video – residuals must be paid on revenues earned in those markets. The typical residual for the credited writer is 1.2% of the license fee paid to the producer for the right to exhibit that film.
“If the license is between related parties – for example, when Netflix is both the producer and the distributor of the film — the MBA requires that the company impute a license fee based on arm’s length transactions between unrelated parties of comparable pictures — for example, a Sony film licensed to Netflix. This critical definition, negotiated as part of the resolution of our strike in 2008, protects against the undervaluation of license fees through self-dealing.
“Rather than follow the established MBA definition for related party transactions (which exists in the DGA and SAG-AFTRA agreements with the AMPTP as well), Netflix negotiated new deals with the DGA and SAG-AFTRA that allow Netflix to pay residuals on significantly less than the cost of the film. Netflix then tried to force the WGA to take this ‘pattern’ deal. Since it was clear the new formula negotiated by the other Guilds undervalued these ‘imputed’ license fees, the Guild instead took the dispute to arbitration.
“During the arbitration, the Guild showed that when Netflix licensed comparable theatrical films from third party producers it almost always paid a license fee that exceeded the budget. The industry refers to this model as ‘cost-plus.’ The Guild argued that Netflix must apply this cost-plus model to its own films and impute license fees in excess of the budget for the purpose of paying residuals. The arbitrator agreed and ruled that the license fee should be 111% of the gross budget of the film.”
…Songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear were the minds behind the popular adaptation of the hit television series. They staged a live concert of “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC earlier this week, selling out the venue.
Netflix originally hailed the concept when it debuted as a free online homage. But when that expanded into a profitable business, things became sticky.
“Defendants Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear and their companies (“Barlow & Bear”) have taken valuable intellectual property from the Netflix original series Bridgerton to build an international brand for themselves,” the lawsuit stated. “Bridgerton reflects the creative work and hard- earned success of hundreds of artists and Netflix employees. Netflix owns the exclusive right to create Bridgerton songs, musicals, or any other derivative works based on Bridgerton. Barlow & Bear cannot take that right—made valuable by others’ hard work—for themselves, without permission. Yet that is exactly what they have done.”…
Launched in 2022, the ADCI (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) Literary Prize seeks to encourage greater positive representation of disability in literature.
Founded by author Penny Batchelor and publisher Clare Christian together with the Society of Authors, the prize is generously sponsored by Arts Council England, ALCS, the Drusilla Harvey Memorial Fund, the Hawthornden Literary Retreat, and the Professional Writing Academy.
Open to authors with a disability and/or chronic illness, the prize will call for entries of novels which include a disabled or chronically ill character or characters. The winner will receive £1,000 and two runners-up £500 each.
It’s time to settle in for another lunch during the Washington, D.C. pop culture festival Awesome Con. Last episode, you eavesdropped on my meal with Patrick O’Leary, and this time around you get to take a seat at the table with Sam J. Miller.
You first heard me chat and chew with Sam 5-1/2 years ago in Episode 24, and when I noted he’d be at the con to promote his debut short story collection Boys, Beasts & Men, I knew it was time for us to catch up.
So much has changed since I last shared him with you in late 2016! His first novel, The Art of Starving, was published the following year and was a finalist for the 2018 Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and won the 2018 Andre Norton Award. Blackfish City, published in 2018, won the 2019 John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and was named a best book of the year by Vulture, the Washington Post, and Barnes & Noble, as well as a must-read for Entertainment Weekly and O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. His second young adult novel, Destroy All Monsters, was published by HarperTeen in 2019, and his second adult novel, The Blade Between, was published by Ecco Press in 2020.
We discussed the 1,500 short story submissions he made between 2002 and 2012 (as well as the one story which was rejected 99 times), the peculiar importance of the missing comma from the title of his new collection Boys, Beasts & Men, his technique for reading collections written by others, why the Clarion Writing Workshop was transformative, how Samuel R. Delany gave him permission, the way his novels and short stories exist in a shared universe, the impossibility of predicting posthumous fame, the superpower he developed via decades of obscurity, the differing ideas of what writers block means, and much more.
(8) A DATE IN THE SF CALENDAR. From Ray Bradbury‘s “There Will Come Soft Rains”.
The crash. The attic smashing into kitchen and parlor. The parlor into cellar, cellar into sub-cellar. Deep freeze, armchair, film tapes, circuits, beds, and all like skeletons thrown in a cluttered mound deep under. Smoke and silence. A great quantity of smoke. Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam: “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is…”
(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1966 – [By Cat Eldridge.]Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. is the Amicus film that premiered fifty-six years ago this evening. It was directed by Gordon Flemyng as written by Milton Subotsky, based off Terry Nation’s The Dalek Invasion of Earth for the TV show. It was the second such film done, the first being Dr. Who and the Daleks which was was based off Terry Nation’s The Daleks. It was not canon, nor has it been retroactively declared canon by the BBC.
Peter Cushing as Dr. Who and Roberta Tovey was Susan, his granddaughter. Bernard Cribbins appeared here as Tom Campbell. He appeared four times in the actual series. Despite this, the BBC explicitly note that that these films were not related to the series, nor any events here should reflect upon the series. Odd given that there was a Doctor Who there and his granddaughter, there was a TARDIS, there was Daleks and so forth.
Nation was paid five hundred pounds for three scripts with third being called The Chase but the second film drew so poorly that The Chase never got produced.
And if you watched this one, you’ll have noticed the curious matter of the Doctor not being on-screen much of time. Cushing was seriously ill during shooting so they had to rewrite the script to remove much of his lines.
Part of the funding came from a cereal company. The breakfast cereal Sugar Puffs to be precise and, their signs and products can be seen at various points in the film. Sugar Puffs ran a competition on its cereal packets to for its fans win a Dalek film prop, was allowed to feature the Daleks in its TV advertisements.
The overall critical response at the time was that both films suffered greatly in comparison to the series itself. A typical comment was this one from The Times: “[T]he cast, headed by the long-suffering, much ill-used Peter Cushing, seem able, unsurprisingly, to drum up no conviction whatever in anything they are called to do.” It’s worth noting that was really made on the cheap by the BBC costing only three hundred thousand pounds.
Tom Baker later criticized both films saying “There have been two Doctor Who films in the past, both rather poor… There are many dangers in transporting a television series onto the big screen… a lot of things that you could get away with on the small screen wouldn’t wash in the cinema.”
It holds a poor rating of fifty-four percent among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
I have not seen either film. I’m curious to hear from those of you who have seen them as to what you think of them.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 5, 1891 — Donald Kerr. Happy Hapgood in 1938’s Flash Gordon’s Trip To Mars which certainly is one of the earliest such films. His only other genre appearances were in the Abbott and Costello films such as Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man in uncredited roles. (Died 1977.)
Born August 5, 1929 — Don Matheson. Best remembered for being Mark Wilson in Land of the Giants. He also had roles in Lost in Space (where he played in an alien in one episode and an android in another episode), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, an Alice in Wonderland film and Dragonflight. (Died 2014.)
Born August 5, 1948 — Larry Elmore, 74. His list of work includes illustrations for Dungeons & Dragons, Dragonlance, and his own comic strip series SnarfQuest. He is author of the book Reflections of Myth. He was nominated for Best Professional Artist at MidAmericCon II, has the Phoenix Award and has five Chesley Award nominations.
Born August 5, 1966 — James Gunn, 56. Director, producer and screenwriter whose first film as director was Slither. Very silly film. He’s responsible for both Guardians of The Galaxy films, plus the forthcoming one. He executive produced both of the recent Avengers films, and he’s directing and writing the next Suicide Squad film. I am far fonder of the Guardians of The Galaxy films than I am of the Avengers films.
Born August 5, 1972 — Paolo Bacigalupi, 49. I remember the book group I was part of some years ago having a spirited debate over The Windup Girl (which won a Hugo at Aussiecon 4 in a tie with China Miéville’s The City & The City and a Nebula as well) over the believability of the central character. I think he did a better job with characters in his next novels, Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities, but he’s really not about characters anyways but ideas. The Tangled Lands, a collection of his short works, won a World Fantasy Award. His novelette, “The People of Sand and Slag” got nominated at Interaction; “The Calorie Man” novelette at L.A. Con IV; “Yellow Card Man” novellette at Nippon 2007; and “The Gambler” novellette at Anticipation.
Born August 5, 1975 — Iddo Goldberg, 47. Israel-born actor. Freddie Thorne in the Peaky Blinders series , Isaac Walton in supernatural Salem series and Bennett Knox in Snowpiercer series. He also had a recurring role on Westworld as Sebastian. And under a lot of costuming, he played the Red Tornado in an episode, “Red Faced” of Supergirl.
Born August 5, 1980 — JoSelle Vanderhooft, 42. Former Green Man reviewer with a single novel so far, Ebenezer, and several collections, Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories and Steam-Powered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories which the former were nominated for a Lambda Award. She also co-edited with Steve Berman, Heiresses of Russ 2011: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction.
Jim Lee’s designs for the X-Men are burned into the minds of X-Fans like the Phoenix Force itself—whether you devoured comics, fell in love with the animated series, or, perhaps, just collected some of the iconic trading cards of the era. If you’re the latter, then we’ve got some very good news.
io9 has your exclusive look inside The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards: The Complete Series, Abrams ComicArts’ 30th anniversary celebration of Jim Lee’s iconic 105 Uncanny X-Men trading card set. Featuring an introduction by Bob Budiansky and a foreword by Ed Piskor, the book collects the backs and fronts of every card in the classic series, as well as insight from Marvel creators in interviews conducted by Budiansky, the original writer and editor on the trading card series…..
It’s coming up on two years since my father died at age 91. I miss him terribly, of course, but his death left me with a personal struggle I had not anticipated.
While you might understandably think his death left a void in my life, it did quite the opposite.
His death left me with so … much … stuff. He’d lived in the same house for more than 30 years, and even though he’d engaged in some half-hearted Swedish death cleaning — a decluttering aimed at easing burdens on one’s survivors – what he did, mostly, was just put things in boxes. Boxes I had to open to figure out what they contained after he died….
… I want to keep all of it, but I also want to pile it up and torch it.
Last week, I was bemoaning this dilemma when Anton, my future son-in-law, said, “Yeah, all the kipple.”
I thought it might be a Yiddish or German word, but Anton told me it was coined by the great science fiction writer Philip K. Dick in his 1968 dystopian novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” For those who need a plot refresher – or have not seen the 1982 movie “Blade Runner,” which was based on the novel – the story takes place in the future, after Earth has been mostly destroyed by a nuclear global conflict, World War Terminus. Most animal life has been extinguished. The population has emigrated to “off-world colonies.”
The word is used by the book’s protagonist, Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter assigned to kill some uncannily human-like robots who have escaped involuntary servitude on Mars and returned to Earth.
“Kipple,” Deckard explains in the book, “is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homepage. [Dick’s incredibly prescient vision of a digital newspaper.] When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it.”….
A French scientist has apologized after tweeting a photo of a slice of chorizo, claiming it was an image of a distant star taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Étienne Klein, a celebrated physicist and director at France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, shared the image of the spicy Spanish sausage on Twitter last week, praising the “level of detail” it provided.
…Klein admitted later in a series of follow-up tweets that the image was, in fact, a close-up of a slice of chorizo taken against a black background.
“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, cognitive bias seem to find plenty to enjoy… Beware of it. According to contemporary cosmology, no object related to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere else other than on Earth”
After facing a backlash from members of the online community for the prank, he wrote: “In view of certain comments, I feel obliged to specify that this tweet showing an alleged picture of Proxima Centauri was a joke. Let’s learn to be wary of the arguments from positions of authority as much as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”…
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [By Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Ms. Marvel Pitch Meeting,” the writer explains that Kamala Khan begins as a big fan of Captain Marvel and has all of our stuff. “I like it when we can sell fictional merch,” the producer explains. He also likes a scene where Ms. Marvel suddenly has time travel and goes back to 1942 to save her grandmother’s life, because I think it’s a good idea for a character to be born.”
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Bill, John A Arkansawyer, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chris S.]
Acclaimed fanzine fan Robert Lichtman died July 6 at the age of 79. He was an 18-time FAAn Award winner — six for his fanzine Trap Door, 10 for his letters of comment, and twice scored “Number one fan face”. Trap Door also was a two-time Hugo finalist. (Issues 21-34 can be downloaded from eFanzines.com.)
Lichtman was born in Cleveland in 1942. His family moved to Southern California in 1951, and he lived there until 1965, except for a six-month period in 1961 spent living in (mostly) Ray Nelson’s attic in the Bay Area.
He discovered fandom in 1958 when he encountered Robert Bloch’s fanzine review column in an issue of William Hamling’s Imagination. That same year he produced his first genzine, PSI-PHI, coedited with Arv Underman.
After discovering fandom, he joined LASFS. He even became one of the international members of the short-lived Young Science Fiction Readers Group (YSFRG) formed in 1960 for the British Science Fiction Association’s under-25 members.
Upon graduation from university, he returned to the Bay Area, settling in San Francisco just in time for the beginnings of what he called “the Hippie Era.”
Now and then I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t discovered fandom at 15. My parents wanted me to become a banker, a concept that made me want to throw up. (I came sorta close 1965-68, when I worked for credit rating agency Dun and Bradstreet as a “credit analyst.”) I didn’t meet my previous wife, the mother of my four sons, via fandom (through Stephen Gaskin’s Monday Night Class, instead, when I was being a semi-hippie living near but not in Haight-Ashbury) — but having them in my life, and so supportive, I count as a happy blessing. Before her, there was Margo Newkom, whose name might be familiar to some of you. She was a “Berkeley fringefan,” and also very funny and smart (and beautiful). We never married, but we had some good years together.
In 2000 he married his second wife Carol Carr; she died in 2021.
In the Seventies Lichtman and his girlfriend (soon to be his wife, and six months pregnant) followed friends to live on The Farm, a 1,700-acre commune in Tennessee. Although he was largely inactive in fandom throughout that decade its myths returned to mind now and then. Lichtman wrote, “Sometimes we would get together and laugh about how we’d more or less ended up in ‘the love camp in the Ozarks’ of which the notorious Claude Degler wrote over half a century ago — though we were on the Highland Rim, not in the Ozarks. Close enough, we thought.”
He stayed there until the summer of 1980 when — after the end of his marriage — he moved to Glen Ellen, California and began working with Paul Williams (the one who began Crawdaddy) on his Entwhistle Books publishing venture. Lichtman had experience doing sales and promotion for the Farm’s publishing wing, The Book Publishing Company. Through Williams he started seeing issues of Dan Steffan and Ted White’s fannish fanzine Pong. Lichtman wrote a letter of comment to it, and soon found himself back in fandom.
In 1983 he started publishing Trap Door. Beginning in 1986 he took up the office of Secretary-Treasurer of FAPA, fandom’s oldest amateur press association (founded in 1937). By the end of the decade he was once again such an integral member of fandom that he was voted the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate of 1989 and attended the UK Eastercon. (Some of his extensive notes towards a trip report are here.)
Prior to the advent of the internet he regularly edited collections of hard-to-come by fanwriting and made them available . These included a collection of F. T. Laney’s fan writing titled Ah! Sweet Laney!, a fanthology drawing from Lee Hoffman’s fanzine Quandry titled Some of the Best from Quandry, and a collection of Walt Willis’s “Fanorama” columns (from Nebula, the British SF magazine) titled Fanorama.
He also edited Fanthology 92, Fanthology ’93 and Fanthology 1994, which were published by others.
When the internet finally caught up to him, he produced a PDF edition of Jack Speer’s Up To Now, a history of fandom as of 1939, (available on eFanzines.com).
Lichtman was a pillar of Corflu, the annual fanzine fans convention, where he was often honored. In addition to all the FAAn Awards he won there, in 1992 he was named Past President of Fan Writers of America (fwa), and he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Corflu in 2020.
Writer Carol Carr died September 1 of cancer. She was 82.
Her short story “Look, You Think You’ve Got Troubles,” which first appeared in Damon Knight’s Orbit 5 (1969), has since been reprinted more than a dozen times, including in Jack Dann’s memorable Wandering Stars collection (1974).
Karen Haber said in Introduction to Carol Carr: The Collected Writings (2013), “She’s sold every piece of fiction that she’s written. She’s appeared in the highly respected Omni magazine, scooped up by its fiction editor Ellen Datlow, and twice in Damon Knight’s anthology series, Orbit.”
Carr’s other stories are “Inside” (1970), “Some Are Born Cats” (1973, with Terry Carr), “Wally a Deux” (1973), “Tooth Fairy” (1984), and “First Contact, Sort Of” (1995, with Karen Haber).
She was born Carol Newmark in Brooklyn, NY. For a short time she was married to Jack Stuart. She was married to Terry Carr from 1961 until his death in 1987. She is survived by Robert Lichtman, whom she married in 2000.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.][Update 09/03/2021: Corrected date of death per Robert Lichtman, from date originally announced by Robert Silverback and DisCon III.]
Author Adrienne Martini knows just a little about this: she ran for local office, and then chronicled the experience in her 2020 memoir Somebody’s Gotta Do It. Now she’s here to talk a little bit about that experience, and why it’s something you might consider thinking about as well.
The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College is accepting play submissions for the 2021 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.
The fourth annual Neukom Award for Playwriting will consider full-length plays and other full-length works for the theater that address the question “What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?”
Playwrights with either traditional or experimental theater pieces, including multimedia productions, are encouraged to submit works to the award program.
The award includes a $5,000 honorarium and support for a two-stage development process with table readings at local arts festivals. Works that have already received a full production are not eligible for the competition.
The deadline for all submissions is January 15, 2021. The awards will be announced in the spring of 2021.
This book is set in an imagined futuristic New York, which oddly enough has remained stuck in an eternal 1960s. There’s still a vibrant hippie community in Greenwich Village. Youngsters from across square America travel to New York to discover themselves; there they are mentored (or at least observed) by old hands like Chester Anderson and his close friend Michael Kurland. This Greenwich Village is populated by nonconformists as eccentric as they are kind-hearted—for the most part.
The most notable exception is shameless grifter Laszlo Scott. For once, Scott’s most recent pharmaceutical offering is entirely authentic: his “Reality Pills” can make dreams real. The aliens supplying Scott have a malign intent: they may not want to actively unleash the heat rays, but they are counting on human nightmares to exterminate us all, leaving the world ripe for alien appropriation. Standing between humanity and certain doom: sixteen Greenwich Village potheads and hipsters. Two of whom are missing….
…We couldn’t have made it ten years without all of you. And we can’t wait to see what the next ten years brings. Let’s close out this year of sadness and insanity with the best December this world has ever seen. Let’s give the gift of reading and share the love of fantasy, together!
U.S. book publishing’s biggest trade show is being “retired,” show organizer ReedPop announced today. BookExpo, along with BookCon and Unbound, will not be held in 2021 after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
ReedPop, the pop culture event–focused subdivision of Reed Exhibitions, said that, given the “continued uncertainty surrounding in-person events at this time,” the company has decided “that the best way forward is to retire the current iteration of events as they explore new ways to meet the community’s needs through a fusion of in-person and virtual events.”
In order to try to hold the event earlier this year, Reed moved the date from its usual spot at New York City’s Javits Center in late May to late July, but as the coronavirus continued to make larger meetings impossible, Reed cancelled the live conference and held six days of free virtual programming from May 26-31, the original dates of BookExpo and BookCon.
…Reed Exhibitions’ convention business has been hammered by Covid-19. Through the first nine months of 2020, revenue was down 70%, parent company RELX reported. It expects full year revenue of £330m-£360 million and after a range of cost-lowering initiatives—including layoffs—total costs for the year are expected to be £530m-£540 million, excluding one-off costs related to restructuring and cancellations. Total Reed Exhibitions revenue in 2019 was £1.3 billion.
…We at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council work hard to bring people together from around the world, to cultivate a sense of community through exciting and unique programming, and to foster camaraderie among kindred souls. We strive to provide a welcoming home here in Providence for all members of the vibrant and diverse Weird community, and we’re proud of our success over the past eight years.
NecronomiCon 2019, our biggest event yet, saw over 2,000 folks gather in Providence to share their passion for the Weird. And our retail store continues to garner rave reviews as a “must-visit” and “treasure” for its unique selection and helpful staff. These are just a few ways that our organization enriches our city and the global Weird fiction community.
Today, on this Giving Tuesday, we’re asking for your help.
The Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council is a nonprofit organization. We manage to do what we do with minimal staff – just two paid employees that help run our storefront in Providence. The rest of our operation relies on a squad of dedicated volunteers — of which I am one, squeezing in work for the organization between the tasks of my real job….
The second-largest radio telescope in the world is no more.
The Arecibo Observatory’s 1,000-foot-diameter telescope collapsed at 8 a.m. Tuesday in Puerto Rico. The telescope’s 900-ton platform, which was suspended 450 feet in the air to send and receive radio waves, crashed into its disk below, pulling down with it the tops of three support towers.
(8) WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Nicholas Barber, in the BBC story “How a Spider-Man musical became a theatrical disaster”, notes that Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark had its first preview ten years ago. Barber discusses the many reasons why this musical became one of Broadway’s biggest money-losers, including many failures of its special effects and the fact that composers Bono and the Edge had never heard a Broadway musical when they accepted the assignment to write the score and had to be sent an emergency care package of CDs with songs on them so they would know what to do.
It’s been 10 years since one of the most momentous nights of Glen Berger’s life. He was already an established off-Broadway playwright and children’s television writer, but on 28 November 2010, a musical he had scripted had its first preview at the Foxwoods Theatre in New York – and it was shaping up to be an international smash.
The musical was Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Its friendly neighbourhood title character had been a beloved pop-cultural icon for five decades, and had just featured in three Hollywood blockbusters. The songs were written by rock’n’roll royalty, U2’s Bono and The Edge. And the director was Julie Taymor, who had masterminded the record-breaking stage adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King. Turn Off the Dark couldn’t go far wrong with a pedigree like that. Could it?
Which is not to say that Berger wasn’t nervous. Speaking to BBC Culture from his home in upstate New York, he remembers how strange it felt to be unveiling something he and his collaborators had been devising together for years. “We were opening the door,” he says, “either to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory or some sort of slaughterhouse.” The show relied on complicated aerial stunts in which the performers were suspended from wires, and so the first preview was bound to keep stopping and starting as technical hitches were addressed….
(9) HEADHUNTER THWARTED. TMZ, in the story “Darth Vader’s Original ‘Star Wars’ Helmet Stolen” says that Frank Hebert (note spelling) allegedly broke into Bad Robot Productions and left with a shopping cart full of Star Wars stuff, including an original Darth Vader helmet, but all the stolen stuff was returned.
…Law enforcement sources tell us … 38-year-old Frank Hebert was arrested Monday night after he allegedly broke into the Bad Robot Productions building in Santa Monica and made off with ‘Star Wars’ movie memorabilia … including Darth’s helmet.
We’re told cops responded to the scene and were told by security personnel that Hebert had been captured on surveillance video illegally entering the building through the rooftop, and casually walked out with a shopping cart full of stuff.
Our sources say cops quickly found a guy pushing a cart down the street not too far away, which we’re told was full of ‘Star Wars’ stuff — as in, original props used in the actual movies.
The video is a way for Ward and the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew to raise awareness for a good cause: lending a financial hand to entertainment workers whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic-related shutdowns across the industry. Through the associated #fundthebat social media campaign, fans can chip in a little moolah to bolster the Motion Picture Television Fund’s Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The clip links to a GoFundMe page where anyone can donate — regardless of which side they’re on in the Marvel-versus-DC debate.
The fund says it’s using “every dollar” contributed through the campaign to “support the thousands of out of work carpenters, hair stylists, drivers, make up artists, painters, set dressers, electricians, editors, grips, camera people, actors, writers and directors who created the shows and movies that have kept you entertained during this difficult time.”
(11) FANZINE FAN OBIT. Ansible® 401 released today relayed this notice from Robert Lichtman:
Miriam Dyches Carr Knight Lloyd, US fan active in the 1950s and 1960s with fanzines including various ‘Goojie Publications’ titles as Dyches or Carr, Klein Bottle and later issues of Fanac with her first husband Terry Carr, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Poughkeepsie with her second husband Frank Knight, died on 23 October.
(12) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
December 1, 1995 — The Adventures of Captain Zoom In Outer Space premiered on television. Directed by Max Tads from a script by Brian Levant, Rick Copp, and David A. Goodman, it starred Daniel Riordan, Ron Perlman, Nichelle Nichols, Liz Vassey and Gia Carides. It follows the adventures of Fifties actor Ty Farrell who plays the title character in a Captain Video-like program, The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space. Although you’ll find references on the net for a series having been made and for fans having seen it, there wasn’t such a series. Only the TV movie. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a rating of, well, they don’t have a rating for it.
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born December 1, 1886 — Rex Stout. ISFDB says his Nero Wolfe’s “The Affair of the Twisted Scarf” which was also published as “Disguise for Murder”” and also “Poison à la Carte” are SF. Now I’ve read each of them quite some years back but I don’t recall anything in them that makes them genre. Now I adore Nero Wolfe but never even thought of these novels as being genre adjacent. (Died 1975.) (CE)
Born December 1, 1942 — John Crowley, 78. I’m tempted to say he’s a frelling literary genius and stop there but I won’t. Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and World Fantasy Award winning Little, Big is brilliant but if anything his crow centric novel of Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr which received the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award makes that novel look like child’s play in comparison. Did you know he wrote a novella called The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines? Or Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land, which contains an entire imaginary novel by the poet? (CE)
Born December 1, 1964 — Jo Walton, 56. She’s won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and the World Fantasy award for her novel Tooth and Claw in which dragons got positively and delightfully Victorian. Even if they eat each other. Her Small Change trilogy may be the finest WW II novels I’ve read bar none, and her Sulien series is an excellent retelling of the Arthurian myth. Among Others which won a Hugo and Nebula is she says about the “coming-of-age experience of having books instead of people for friends and solace”. I can relate to that as I imagine many here can too. (CE)
Born December 1, 1964 — Alisa Kwitney, 56. Daughter of Robert Sheckley and Ziva Kwitney. Editor, Vertigo Books. Contributing author, The Dreaming: Beyond The Shores of Night, set in Gaiman’s Sandman multiverse, scriptwriter for the Vertigo Visions: The Phantom Stranger graphic novel and editor of Vertigo Visions: Artwork from the Cutting Edge of Comics Currently an editor at Brain Mill Press. (CE)
Born December 1, 1965 — Bill Willingham, 55. Best known I’d say for his long running Fable series though personally I think his best work was Proposition Player. He got his start in the late 1970s to early 1980s as a staff artist for TSR games where he was the cover artist for the AD&D Player Character Record Sheets and a lot of games I don’t recognize not being a gamer at that time. I do recognize his superb 1980s comic book series Elementals, and he later write the equally excellent Shadowpact for DC. I was always ambivalent about the Jack of Shadows series that he spun off of Fables. His House of Mystery was rather good as well. (CE)
Born December 1, 1971 — Emily Mortimer, 49. She was the voice of Sophie in the English language version of Howl’s Moving Castle, and Jane Banks in Mary Poppins Returns. She was the voice of Lisette in the superb Hugo animated film, and was Nicole Durant in The Pink Panther. (CE)
…Based on the four-film franchise and Marvel comic-book series, Dinklage’s Toxic Avenger will reportedly retain the character’s origin story (hapless underdog pushed into toxic waste and reborn with superpowers, naturally) while exploring “environmental themes” with a take on “the superhero genre in the vein of Deadpool.” Because God help superhero movies if we force Toxie into a gritty reboot, too.
Here’s a wild one from the TOT gang. In this episode, three men man a rocket and go to Mars where they will mine for rare minerals and ore to take back to Earth to cash in. But, things don’t go as planned…
(16) MONOLITHS: EASY COME, EASY GO. The Utah monolith and its Romanian imitator vanished less mysteriously than they arrived, in that the people who took them down are at least known to someone.
“On the night of November 27, 2020, at about 8:30pm– our team removed the Utah Monolith,” [Andy] Lewis wrote, in a Facebook post. “We will not be including any other information, answers, or insight at this time.”
The mayor of the Romanian town where the local monolith was planted seems to know more than he’s saying:
…The mayor had hoped that the structure could potentially become a tourist attraction for Piatra Neamt, a picturesque mountainous town with a population of around 100,000. But he offers up a more sobering theory as to why the monolith disappeared in a matter of days.
“Whoever placed the monolith would have suffered legal consequences because we can’t allow structures without legal authorisation,” he said.
“It’s quite a mystery that this came up in a week that I had a chat with some local investors who don’t obey construction laws — it’s absolutely a bizarre coincidence,” he added.
(17) SJW CREDENTIAL COMMUTE. [Item by JJ.] Alexander Perrin’s “Short Trip” is an interactive cat adventure on a trolley line. Better with the sound on. Use right/left arrows to move faster/slower forward/backward. if you stop at the tram stops, cats will get on and off. The details are best enjoyed if you don’t run it at full speed
(18) ON THE ROAD WITH J.G. BALLARD. “Crash! (1971) by J. G. Ballard” on YouTube is a short film, originally broadcast by the BBC in 1971, in which J.G. Ballard drives a car and obsesses about crashes.
(19) PARTY POOPERS. Maria Temming reports in the Washington Post that researchers at the University of Georgia, the Florida Institute of Technology, and the Colorado School of Mines have tried growing crops on Martian soil and discovered “Farming on Mars will be a lot harder than ‘The Martian’ made it seem” thanks fo the soil’s high scidity and the presence of the potent microbe killer calcium perchlorate in high quantities.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Demon’s Souls” on YouTube, Fandom Games says Sony revised the 1990’s game Demon’s Souls without consulting the original developers, which meant that “Sony treats the Demon’s Souls IP like Gollum treats the One Ring.”
[Thanks to JJ, John Hertz, James Davis Nicoll, Paul Di Flippo, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, David Doering, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day David Goldfarb.]
(1) 1990 SOUVENIR BOOK. To help promote the planned Reunicon 2020 to commemorate the 30th
anniversary of ConFiction 1990, Kees Van Toorn and friends have uploaded the Souvenir
Book of ConFiction 1990 on their
website in flipbook format.
(3) ANOTHER BITE OF THE APPLE. Magical mysteries unfold in Ghostwriter, coming
November 1 to the Apple TV app with an Apple TV+ subscription.
According to TVLine, the upcoming reboot will center around four friends who discover a ghost in their neighborhood’s bookstore. This ghost seems to be decidedly less helpful than the Ghostwriter of the ‘90s; instead of helping the friends solve mysteries, he “releases” fictional characters from books into the real world. TVLine adds that each episode will highlight a particular book or novel.
…Kafka’s language does not arouse suspicion, but it should. He describes the goings on with great precision, objectively noting peculiar elements, odd turns of events, strange settings and physical characteristics as a scientist might describe what he sees through a microscope, giving nothing special place, offering no opinion or emotional reaction, as though everything that takes place is equally worthy of notation. Random, apparently peripheral elements get the same attention as the most dramatic happenings. The supervising inspector arranges objects around a candle that sits on a night table he is using as a desk. He places his index fingers side by side as though comparing their length. Three men Josef K. does not seem to know examine a framed picture on a wall. But these are not clues, for K. or for us. They are disconnected observations that lead nowhere, that add up to nothing.
The disconnect between Kafka’s language and what is being described is what unsettles. Shocking, bizarre, and funny moments are described in the most mundane and unemotional language. Kafka has no reaction to anything himself and gives no clues how we should react. His almost pedantic detail and dry tone cast things in an oddly familiar light.
(5) LE GUIN AND MUSIC. [Item by Rob Thornton.] At the Electric Literature website, writer and
editor Tobias Carroll wonders “Why Has Ursula K. Le Guin Inspired So Many Musicians?” He
discusses how musicians are not only mentioning her works in song titles
and lyrics, they are also grappling with the themes from Le Guin’s stories in
their works. Bands such as Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House, heavy metal
bands Keep of Kalessin and Ragana, and San Francisco darkwave act Cold Beat are
“[Cold Beat songwriter] spoke about the potential of science fiction to offer a glimpse of a better world. ‘When we broaden our vocabulary and learn more, there’s a lot out there to discover,’ she said. ‘I think it’s inspiring, especially when we’re getting down. It’s really healthy to remember that there’s a lot more out there.’ It’s the same kind of thought experiment that one might see in an Ursula K. Le Guin essay or story?—?albeit in the process of being transfigured into a catchy and propulsive song. And while Le Guin’s own foray into music hasn’t necessarily spawned a legion of sound-alikes, the fact that she felt compelled to create such a work suggests that she left room in her writings for music—a gateway that this group of musicians has passed through, creating memorable work as they go. “‘
To prove Carroll’s point, there are other bands
who have somehow made Le Guin a part of their music, including Ekumen (a
hardcore punk band from New Orleans), Spanish Kalte Sonne (a post-metal band
from Spain with an album named Ekumen), Fogweaver (Earthsea-inspired dungeon
synth act from Colorado), and Street Eaters (punk band from San Francisco)
(6) A GOOD OMEN FOR BUYERS. AudioFile applauds
Michael Sheen’s narration of Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth (Book
of Dust, volume 2) here.
Michael Sheen throws himself wholeheartedly into narrating this sequel to LA BELLE SAUVAGE, and listeners will be rapt. Lyra is now 20, and she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, are uneasy with each other in ways they never have been before. This central conflict is the catalyst for a series of journeys and is just one of many, many threads that Pullman will presumably pick up again in the final volume in the Book of Dust trilogy. For the ever-expanding international cast of characters, Sheen conjures a multitude of accents and delivers rapid-fire conversations between them. He’s in step with the text at every turn; when situations become fraught or dangerous, Sheen ramps up the tension exquisitely…
If you’re going to reveal your life story, it’s good to have a friend and fellow “Babylon 5” cast member perform it. Peter Jurasik, known to “Babylon 5” fans as the sleazy alien Londo Mollari, narrates the startling life of the series creator, J. Michael Straczynski, and his victories over a monstrous father, an abusive family, and, seemingly, an entire world out to destroy him. Jurasik soberly recounts his friend’s life, a fascinating, almost unbelievable, tale of courage and determination.
Google has angered a privacy expert by repeatedly identifying him as a “dwarf character actor” famous for playing a winged monkey in The Wizard of Oz.
Pat Walshe told BBC News he had had the issue resolved twice, only to discover last week it had happened again.
The issue involves his photo being run next to text from another source about a dead American who had the same name.
He now aims to make an official complaint to data privacy watchdogs. Google has once again fixed the flaw.
(10) METCALF OBIT. Longtime fan Norm Metcalf (1937-2019) died September 21, within a few months after he was hospitalized for injuries sustained in a fall.
Robert Lichtman remembers:
I knew him via the science fiction fan subculture, where he published a fanzine, New Frontiers, that saw four issues (1959-1964) with noteworthy contributors including Poul Anderson, Anthony Boucher, Stanton Coblentz, L. Sprague de Camp, August Derleth and Wilson Tucker. He was a longtime member of several amateur publishing associations — the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA) 1963-1969 and 1973 to the present, and the Spectator Amateur Press Society (SAPS) 1961-1967 and 1987 to the present — and published a variety of titles for their mailing distributions. He also researched and edited a reference, The Index of Science Fiction Magazines 1951-1965, which was published in 1968. Norm was a serious student of science fiction.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY.
October 3, 1961 — A For Andromeda aired “The Message”, the premier episode. Written by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot, this UK series was broadcast in seven episodes. As was the practice at the time, the BBC’s copies of the serial were trashed after broadcast and most of the serial still remains missing.
October 3, 2000 — The Dark Angel series first aired. Starring Jessica Alba, it would run for two seasons. It was executive produced by James Cameron, Charles H. Eglee andRené Echevarria.
October 3, 2008 — Star Wars: The Clone Wars debuted on the Cartoon Network. created by George Lucas and produced by Lucasfilm Animation, the series is was renewed for a seventy season to air in 2020.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 3, 1874 — Charles Middleton. He is no doubt best remembered for his role as the Emperor Ming the Merciless in the three Flash Gordon serials made between 1936 and 1940 which may been the only genre production he appeared in. (Died 1949.)
Born October 3, 1927 — Don Bensen. Best-known for his novel And Having Writ… which is not in print in form digitally or in hard copy — damn it. Indeed, nothing by him is. Huh. (Died 1997.)
Born October 3, 1931 — Ray Nelson, 88. SF writer best known for his short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” which was the basis of John Carpenter’s They Live. He later collaborated with Philip K. Dick on The Ganymede Takeover. In the 1940s Nelson appropriated the propeller beanie as a symbol of science fiction fandom. His fannish cartoons were recognized with the Rotsler Award in 2003. He was inducted to the First Fandom Hall of Fame this year.
Born October 3, 1935 — Madlyn Rhue. She on Trek’s “Space Seed” as Lt. Marla McGivers, Khan Noonien Singh’s (Ricardo Montalbán) love interest. Other genre appearances included being on the original Fantasy Island as Lillie Langtry in “Legends,” and Maria in the “Firefall” episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. (Died 2003.)
Born October 3, 1944 — Katharine Kerr, 75. Ok I’m going to confess that I’ve not read her Deverry series so please tell me how they are. Usually I do read such Celtic tinged series so I don’t know how I missed them.
Born October 3, 1964 — Clive Owen, 55. First role I saw him in was the title role of Stephen Crane in the Chancer series. Not genre, but fascinating none the less. He’s been King Arthur in film of the same name where Keira Knightley was Guinevere. He’s also was in Sin City as Dwight McCarthy, and in The Pink Panther (though weirdly uncredited) as Nigel Boswell/Agent 006. I’ll also single him out for being Commander Arun Filitt in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Born October 3, 1973 — Lena Headey, 46. Many of you will know her as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, but I liked her sociopathic Madeline “Ma-Ma” Madrigal on Dredd better. She was also Angelika in The Brothers Grimm, a film I’m sure I’ve seen but remember nothing about.
The Grinch is one of our all-time favorite Christmas movies, so this cookie dough is a holiday miracle. The dough bakes into scrumptious, bright green sugar cookies made for a tall glass of milk. In theme with the story we all know and love, the Grinch cookie dough features an adorable red candy heart that brings the Dr. Seuss character to life. It’s the perfect thing to bake with the kiddos (or just yourself) this year.
…But now, across the water on South Padre Island, the county has spent about $31 million building new pavilions and an amphitheater that would host concerts and weddings and make a prime viewing area for rocket launches. Local officials hope for a future where residents and tourists line the beach, the way they have for years along Florida’s Space Coast, cheering rockets as they tear through the sky.
“It’s exciting,” said Sofia Benavides, a county commissioner who represents Boca Chica. “I’m 69 years old and have never been to a rocket launch. For my children and grandchildren, it’s great that this is happening in their backyard.”
Not everyone is cheering, though.
A handful of residents who live next door to SpaceX’s facilities recently received letters from SpaceX, which said the company’s footprint in the area was going to be bigger and more disruptive than originally imagined. As a result, it was seeking to purchase their properties at three times the value determined by an appraiser hired by SpaceX. The deal was nonnegotiable, the letter said, and the company wanted an answer within two weeks, although some have received extensions.
Called Boca Chica Village, the area is made up of about 30 homes within walking distance of the Gulf of Mexico, occupied mostly seasonally. Many are boarded up. A few have weeds as high as the mailboxes….
(16) SNUBS. Travis
M. Andrews’ “The
Missing Oscars” in the Washington
Post is about actors he thinks should have won Oscars but didn’t.
About a third of the people he picked were in sf or fantasy films, including
Harrison Ford in Blade Runner, Michael Keaton for Beetlejuice,
and Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix. (Most of the actors he
picked in sf and fantasy films were men.)
John Lithgow for “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” (1984)
Lithgow’s primary strength as an actor is range. Look at his portrayal of long-standing, slow-burning dedication in “Love is Strange,” or his take on an alien trying to understand humanity in “3rd Rock From the Sun,” or as a hardline preacher who can’t tolerate dancing in “Footloose.” At times he’s also, to use a colloquialism, realllllllly gone for it, like when he portrayed a man with multiple personalities in “Raising Cain.” That role bordered on parody, but his most extravagant performance was parody, as Lord John Whorfin/Dr. Emilio Lizardo in Earl Mac Rauch’s and W.D. Richter’s sci-fi sendup. To play the mad intergalactic doctor, Lithgow lifted an Italian accent from an MGM tailor and changed his walk to that of an “old crab, because my alien metabolism is supposed to be messed up,” he later explained. The bizarre result is a deeply committed performance that’s wildly over-the-top and a singular, hilarious character.
(17) AI. Nature’s review ofStuart Russell’s
latest book examines how artificial intelligence could spin out of control: “Raging
robots, hapless humans: the AI dystopia.” Full
review article here (open access).
In Human Compatible, his new book on artificial intelligence (AI), Stuart Russell confronts full on what he calls “the problem of control”. That is, the possibility that general-purpose AI will ultimately eclipse the intellectual capacities of its creators, to irreversible dystopian effect.
The control problem is not new. Novelist Samuel Butler’s 1872 science-fiction classic Erewhon, for instance, features concerns about robotic superhuman intelligences that enslave their anthropoid architects, rendering them “affectionate machine-tickling aphids”. But, by 1950, Norbert Wiener, the inventor of cybernetics, was writing (in The Human Use of Human Beings) that the danger to society “is not from the machine itself but from what man makes of it”. Russell’s book in effect hangs on this tension: whether the problem is controlling the creature, or the creator. In a sense, that has been at the core of AI from its inception…
(18) APOLLO’S CREED. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the September 28 Financial Times (behind
a paywall), Arwa Haider profiles the London Video Game Orchestra, a 65-piece
orchestra that will perform Assassin’s Creed Symphony at the Eventim
Apollo in London on October 5. Haider interviewed the founder of MGP
Live, concert producer Massimo Goletta.
In an era when the entertainment industry is obsessed with ‘immersive’ events, video game concerts also present the possibility of grand spectacle on a globalized scale, such as MGP Live’s tours of classic gaming soundtracks, Its current show Assassin’s Creed Symphony, based on the historic action-adventure series (and co-developed with its creators, Ubisoft) premiered in Paris over the summer and elicited a six-minute standing ovation at the Palais des Congrès. It is now embarking on an autumn tour of the US and Europe, with a full international tour planned next year. The company works with local musicians, rather than transporting an 80-piece instrumental and choral line-up from country to country….
…Video game concerts may in fact offer a financially savvy form of ‘future-proofing’ for traditional orchestras. A recent GlobalData reported estimated that video games could be a $300bn industry by 2025.And with each passing year and the library of games growing, the bigger the repertoire MGP Live will have to draw on. The Assassin’s Creed Symphony draws on a series that spans more than a decade, and blends what Goletta describes as ‘the epic beauty and drama of the themes.’ He enthuses, ‘There are parallels with Beethoven and Bach, then elements of world music–along with the nostalgic effect.”
The London Video Game Orchestra’s website is here.
An investigation into a stuntwoman’s death on the Vancouver set of Deadpool 2 has attributed her fatal motorcycle accident to a series of safety errors.
Government agency WorkSafeBC said the film’s makers should have ensured Joi Harris was wearing a helmet.
It also said barriers should have been in place to stop her “leaving the set perimeter” on 14 August 2017.
20th Century Fox, which made the 2018 film, said it “respectfully disagree[d] with some of the report’s findings”.
“Safety is our top priority, and while we respectfully disagree with some of the report’s findings, Fox thoroughly reviewed its stunt safety protocols immediately following the tragic accident and has revised and implemented enhanced safety procedures and enforcement,” it said in a statement.
Professional road racer Harris was killed while doubling for actress Zazie Beetz in the comic book-inspired sequel.
Over 50 years ago, on the night of 4 October, strange lights appeared over the sky of a small Canadian fishing village.
Witnesses watched as the lights flashed and then dived towards the dark waters off the coast of Nova Scotia.
Now, what some believe to have been a UFO sighting has been commemorated by the Royal Canadian Mint.
The mint has released a collector’s coin that tells the story of a “unique and mysterious event”.
The scene on the glow-in-the-dark coin depicts a specific moment described by various eyewitnesses.
After seeing four strange flashing lights in the offshore night sky, they spotted an object 60-feet in length flying low, which dropped down at a 45 degree angle.
The coin comes with a flashlight that when used brings out the lights of the UFO, the stars in the night sky, and a haze over the water reported by locals.
FIXER UPPER. Girl on the Third Floor is due out October 25, streaming, or
limited theatrical release.
At the heart of the film is Don Koch (CM Punk), a man who is failing as a husband. For years he has skated by on charm and charisma, until it nearly landed him in jail. He now views fixing up an old house as a chance to make up for past mistakes. Meanwhile, his wife, Liz Koch, is concerned about the renovation timeline as they have a baby on the way. With all this pressure it’s no wonder Don responds to the flirtations of an attractive stranger. As Don tears the house apart, it begins to tear him apart as well, revealing the rot behind the drywall.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Rob Thornton, SF
Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian,
Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes
to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little.]
(1) PAIN FOR PLEASURE. The sheer, greedy click-seeking that fuels this kerfuffle is being paid for by the pain of the targeted family, as Foz Meadows makes clear in “A Personal Note”.
And it is an insult, regardless of Freer’s claims that he’s only saying what anyone might think. It is also uniquely hurtful – and again, I say this with no expectation that Freer himself cares for my feelings. Manifestly, he does not, and will doubtless rejoice to know that he’s upset me. Nonetheless, I am upset. I’ve tried to pretend that I’m not, but I am, and having admitted as much to myself, I feel no shame in admitting it here. Before all this, I’d never heard of Freer at all, and while I’m aware that the public nature of my life online means that I am, in a sense, accessible to strangers, there’s a great deal of difference between having someone object to my writing, and having them construct malicious falsehoods about my personal life.
In the past few days, at least one person has asked me if I’m really sure that Toby isn’t Camestros; that maybe he’s doing it all behind my back. Freer, Torgersen and Antonelli have laughed at the idea that, if Camestros isn’t Toby, then surely I must be grateful for their alerting me to the presence of a stalker-impersonator – as though they aren’t the ones rifling through my marriage in pursuit of a link that is not, was never, there.
In this exhibit, the Society will feature highlights from his fan-favorite Hellboy series, as well as other spin-off titles including work from B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, and Witchfinder. The Society is also pleased to feature samples from his award-winning comic books including the Eisner Award winner The Amazing Screw-On Head (Dark Horse Comics) as well as Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire (Bantam Spectra), co-written by best-selling author Christopher Golden. This special exhibit will include an array of comic pages, covers, and rarely seen original paintings by Mignola.
An opening reception for the exhibit will take place on Tuesday, March 6th, beginning at 6:30PM.
In addition, Mike Mignola will be a Guest of Honor at this year’s MoCCA Arts Festival. This 2-day multimedia event, Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon and animation festival, draws over 8,000 attendees each year. Held on April 7 and 8, the Fest will include speaking engagements, book signings, and parties. Further scheduling for Mignola’s appearances including a panel talk and book signings will be available in future announcements.
(3) CONDENSED CREAM OF 2016. If they’re short stories, does that mean they don’t fluff up your Mt. TBR pile quite as much as book recommendations? Greg Hullender notes Rocket Stack Rank is continuing its 2016 catch-up posts:
Here’s our next-to-last article about 2016 short fiction. This one focuses on which publications were most likely to run stories that earned recommendations/awards/spots in year’s-best anthologies.
The two tables of publication coverage are actually a very compact representation of almost all the raw data for this and the final article, which will focus on the sources of recommendations (i.e. awards, reviewers, and year’s-best anthologies).
(4) EXPANDED UNIVERSE: At Featured Futures, Jason recaps the first month of the new year, discussing some new zines and some (old) news in the January Summation.
Covering January short fiction was exciting (and busy), as Featured Futures added Analog, Ares, Asimov’s, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, F&SF, and Galaxy’s Edge to its roster, resulting in significantly more stories read than usual (86 of 455K words) and a similarly larger than usual recommended/mentioned list. In webzine news, and speaking of Galaxy’s Edge, I was going to add coverage of it as a print zine but, coincidentally, it returned to webzine status, once again making all its fiction available on the web. The categorized “List of Professional SF/F/H Magazines” (which doubles as a list of the markets Featured Futures covers as well as being a sort of index of reviews) has been updated to reflect this.
(5) TOWARDS CANONISATION. The advocates of sainthood for J.R.R. Tolkien are calling for support of preliminary events, as well as the planned Tolkien Canonisaton Conference:
Please pray for the following intentions and dates for the upcoming Tolkien year in the lead up to the Tolkien Canonisation Conference in September 2018 in Oxford:…
Saturday 17th March – St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh Fundraiser 2018: raising funds for the Tolkien Canonisation Conference.
Friday April 13th – (provisional) Lecture on the Theology of the Body and J. R. R. Tolkien in London.
Saturday 1st September – Sunday 2nd September 2018 : Tolkien Canonisation Conference in Oxford.
(6) CHANGE AT TOR BOOKS. Publisher’s Lunch reports —
Liz Gorinsky is leaving her position as a senior editor at Tor Books on February 2. She will continue to handle some of her authors as a consulting editor at Tor and edit short fiction at Tor.com.
Gorinsky tweeted –
Don't worry, though! I still love editing SF&F, and my first two freelance gigs will stay close to home: I'll be working with @catvalente and @analeen on their next novels from @torbooks as a consulting editor, and hunting for great short fiction to publish at @tordotcom. (2/2)
Liz Gorinsky has been my editor for a number of years, & my friend longer than that. I’m very glad we’ll still be working on my next book together, & she’ll be freelancing, but man, it’s hard for me to imagine Tor w/out her. She’s been with them as long as I’ve been in the field
(8) STORY SCRAPING AT LOCUS. Locus Online miraculously noticed the 2018 Darrell Award finalists today, one day after File 770 reported the story. Since Mark Kelly stopped doing the news posting there, Locus Online has become especially active scraping stories from File 770 without acknowledging where they got them. A little “hat tip” would be appropriate and appreciated.
(9) SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL PLANET. It’s time for any book blogger, podcaster, or “booktuber” to nominate for the 2017 Planetary Awards. Click on the link to learn how to participate. The nomination deadline is February 14th, 11:59PM US Pacific time.
The Puppy-influenced Planetary Awards were given for the first time two years ago. The inaugural awards for 2015 work were posted in May 2016 –
Best Novel: Torchship by Karl Gallagher
Best Short Story: “Something in the Water” by C.S. Boyack
The awards for 2016 work were posted in May 2017 –
Best Novel: Swan Knight’s Son by John C. Wright
Best Short Story: “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom
The awards are administered by the Planetary Defense Commander, whose identity is findable with a little effort, but there’s no harm in having a handle, right Lou Antonelli? (Wait, maybe I should ask somebody else…)
He was drafted into the Army Air Corps during World War II, but within the world of Walker, even that sometimes turned comically absurd. He spent time at Camp Crowder, which he said inspired “Beetle Bailey’s” Camp Swampy. “I signed up to go into psychiatry,” he told me in 2013 of the Army’s specialized training program, “and I ended up studying engineering. It was typical Army reasoning.”
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
January 29, 1845 — Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” is published on this day in the New York Evening Mirror.
January 29, 1964 — Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb premiered.
Worldcon 76 San Jose advises us that they will open nominations for the 2018 Hugo Awards and 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards within the next few days. They have been working with Worldcon 75 Helsinki and Worldcon 2018 Dublin to coordinate the combined membership information from all three Worldcons, and to do so within the limitations of the three countries’ data-protection laws. When testing of the online nomination form is complete, Worldcon 76 San Jose will release it on the Worldcon 76 web site and make an announcement. We’ll also announce the start of nominations here on The Hugo Awards web site. Paper ballots will also be distributed with Worldcon 76 Progress Report 2, which we understand is going to press in a few days and should mail to members of Worldcon 76 in February. Besides the online form, a PDF of the paper form will be available from Worldcon 76’s web site when it is ready for release.
The two fan writers I want to promote the most this year are a couple I mentioned last year as well: John Boston and John O’Neill. John Boston’s most publicly available recent stuff is at Galactic Journey, where he reviews issues of Amazing from 55 years ago, month by month. (It will be noted, perhaps, that I also review issues of Amazing from the same period, at Black Gate.) John’s work there is linked by this tag: http://galacticjourney.org/tag/john-boston/.
As for John O’Neill, of course his central contribution is as editor of Black Gate, for which he writes a great deal of the content, often about “vintage” books he’s found on Ebay or at conventions, and also about upcoming fantasy books….
As I did last year, I plan to nominate Black Gate, Galactic Journey, and Rocket Stack Rank for the Best Fanzine Hugo. I’m particularly partial in this context to Black Gate, primarily of course because I have been a contributor since the print days (issue #2 and most of the subsequent issues)….
I heartily agree with Horton’s interest in finding other fan publications than File 770 to put up for the Hugo (though he does have kind words for this site). It seemed a good opportunity to say so here.
(14) REAR VIEW MIRROR. Meanwhile, DB makes a start on the “Retro-Hugos for 1942” with a canvass of his favorite writers.
…Now for Lord Dunsany. In 1942 Dunsany published five stories, all very brief, and about a dozen poems, mostly in Punch. Most of the poems are hopeful gazes towards military victory, and a couple of them introduce the allegorical figure of Liberty, so they could technically be considered fantasy.
None of the stories are SF or fantasy, though the only one of them that’s worth reading could possibly squeeze in by courtesy. It’s a Jorkens story reprinted in The Fourth Book of Jorkens (1947), where it’s the shortest piece in the book. Jorkens is Dunsany’s long-running clubman character who’s prone to making outrageous claims or telling absurd stories which nobody can disprove. In this brief tale, “On the Other Side of the Sun,” that topic comes up – “I wonder what’s there?” – and Jorkens astonishes all by stating, “I have been there.” His regular patsy, Terbut, demands “When, may I ask?” At Jorkens’ reply, “Six months ago,” any red-blooded SF reader should know instantly how the story is going to end, but the penny doesn’t drop for the hapless Terbut until after he makes a large bet that Jorkens is lying…
(15) RETRO FANZINES. While Fanac.org marshals digital copies of 1942 fanzines in support of Worldcon 76’s Retro-Hugos, Robert Lichtman and Bill Burns have tracked down additional fanzines published in 1942 by Bob Tucker available elsewhere online – specifically, at the Internet Archive, which has scans of Tucker’s zine Le Zombie. Four 1942 are issues listed.
The Last Jedi Adds Some More Material (But Not Onscreen)
The Source: An official announcement from Lucasfilm
Probability of Accuracy: It’s totally legit.
The Real Deal: So apparently, there was more to Star Wars: The Last Jedi than appeared onscreen—but fortunately for fans, it’s not going to remain a secret. Writer/director Rian Johnson is working with novelist Jason Fry to create all-new scenes for the book’s forthcoming novelization, as well as rescuing deleted scenes from the cutting room floor, to firmly place them in the canon. Amongst the things audiences didn’t see in theaters but will read about: Han Solo’s funeral. Prepare your tissues for March 6; you’ll get to read all about it then.
She tells the BBC a lot of her stories originate from thought experiments, and her latest novel imagines “a dark possibility for the future” where robots have replaced human’s jobs.
(18) THE MARKETPLACE OF THE INTERNET. Kim Huett sent a link to “Boring Talks #02 – Book Pricing Algorithms” with a comment: “Those of you into buying books online (assuming some of you indeed are) might like to listen to the following cautionary tale brought to us by BBC radio. It will confirm everything you ever suspected about the practise…”
A book for $1.7 million? To a computer, it made sense. Sort of. Tracy King explains.
But what about the poker industry? Surely there must be an AI capable of playing poker at high levels. The answer is yes, there is. This infographic will show you how the poker’s AI developed throughout the history, as well as where it is now. You can find a lot of interesting stats and information in this infographic, but if you are interested in reading more about poker related stuff, visit our website.
Strava says it has 27 million users around the world, including people who own widely available fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as people who directly subscribe to its mobile app. The map is not live — rather, it shows a pattern of accumulated activity between 2015 and September 2017.
Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity.
In war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria, the heat map becomes almost entirely dark — except for scattered pinpricks of activity. Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites — presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.
Not just men, of course, but it made a good headline.
(21) OH NOES! Just think what a career he might have had, if he hadn’t been muted by the Guild!
You should stop silencing by very important voice. I'm the foremost mustachioed SF writer and I'm very good-selling. I'm a millions ranked Amazon author and I'm SFFCguild qualified but the evil founder keeps muting me. #blacklisted
“I’ve done nothing but lie since September,” he said to IndieWire. “I knew, perfectly well, everything before we started. And that meant that every interview was a lie and every conversation I had with my friends… Actually, with quite a lot of my family, was a lie. Anybody on the street was a lie. Anybody in Toronto. So I apologize for all that, but that was the only way to tell the story well.”
In the Mirror Universe of Star Trek, humans aren’t called humans. They’re called “Terrans.” The word “Terran” comes from the root Latin word “terra,” meaning “dry earth,” which is where we get the phrase “terra firma.” But the word “Terran” has been prevalent in science fiction long before it cropped up again on Star Trek: Discovery in 2018. As it turns out “Terran” has a long history of being a dirty word for “human.”
(24) BLACK PANTHER. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther – “Let’s Go” TV spot.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Kim Huett, Martin Morse Wooster, Standback, Jason, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]
Every year before I announce the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature, I first reveal the complete list of submitted books put forward for consideration.
This year we received 113 books from 41 publishers and publishing imprints, the second highest count for submissions after the record-breaking high of 121 submissions received for our 2014 prize.
To be clear, this is not a long list, but rather a complete list of eligible titles received from publishers who must actively submit titles to our judging panel for consideration. In other words, this is where our judges start from every year.
(3) TRINITY REJECTED. The Clarke longlist inspired Damien G. Walter to comment –
There are at least 3 different "science fiction"s on this list, and they have nothing to do with each other. https://t.co/LYCM0IFyqb
In what has to be the craziest news to come along in some time, Sony is looking to merge two of its franchises– ‘Men In Black’ and ’21 Jump Street’. Director James Bobin (‘The Muppets’, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’) is being courted to direct the film, which will star Channing Tatum (Jenko) and Jonah Hill (Schmidt) who will both also produce. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed ’21 Jump Street’ and ’22 Jump Street’ but are occupied directing the Han Solo movie for Disney. The pair will serve as producers, however.
Sony has confirmed that neither Will Smith nor Tommy Lee Jones are being sought for the new film, as the studio hopes to use this installment as a springboard for a new franchise with younger stars.
(5) WHY SQUEEZING TOO HARD DOESN’T WORK. Steve Davidson draws on his intellectual property experience in “Mine! Mine! Mine! ALL Mine!” at Amazing Stories.
Delicately, you want your fans to let you know when you are getting it right and when you are getting it wrong. And if you’re smart, you figure out a way to successfully gauge that response and you use it. If you manage that most of the time, everything is almost always bigger and better and more successful than the last time.
I hear some say “the fans own it!”. Well yes and well no. The fans only own their collective response, but they can make no claim to the property itself. Suppose this P vs A thing totally blows up into open warfare and every Trekker and Trekkie on the entire planet refuses to have anything to do with Star Trek anymore. (Images of mass DVD burnings and the defenestration of action figures.) Paramount* could still create, produce and distribute anything Star Trek they wanted to (and shut down any and every other expression of Trek that isn’t approved), for as long as they wanted to spend the money. Maybe they’ll mine the Chinese audience for several years (decades). Maybe they’ll change the presentation and pick up a whole new audience of fans (Star Trek: Romance).
A few years back, Disney gutted their expanded universe for Star Wars. Part of the reason, I am sure, was to re-exert control over their property. In many respects it was a good way to create a dividing line between things that fans might be allowed to play with and things they weren’t to touch. Individual fans were upset over various decisions made, but it is pretty obvious that the collective response was of acceptance.
(6) DON ANDERSON OBIT. Don Anderson passed away on October 16, 2015. Robert Lichtman says, “In the early 1960s Don was a member of the N3F’s apa. A search of the Eaton’s fanzine listings shows that he published titles such as Plack, Porp and Cry of the Wild Moose. He joined SAPS with its 199th mailing, April 1997, and remained a member until his death, producing 68 issues of Moose Reducks.”
Wally Weber and Robert Lichtman found the family announcement linked here which includes the information, “Donald was a United States Air Force Veteran who proudly served his country during the Korean War and was a retiree of Eastman Kodak Co.”
Gary Hutzel, Emmy Award Winning VFX artist known for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has died at age 60.
Hailing originally from Ann Arbor Michigan, Gary Hutzel left his mechanical engineering studies behind to move to Santa Barbara, CA to pursue a career in the film industry. There he studied photography at the Brooks Institute and subsequently began his motion picture career working as a video camera operator, which sparked his interest in visual effects. His early VFX work was as a freelancer on CBS’s The Twilight Zone, a gig that got him noticed by the team putting together the then Star Trek reboot, The Next Generation.
Hired to work on Trek in 1987, Hutzel lead visual effects for The Next Generation for the first five seasons of its run. After the end of TNG’s fifth season, Hutzel and VFX colleague Robert Legato transferred to the new Star Trek show on the block, Deep Space Nine, which Hutzel worked on for its entire run. One of his most notable contributions to DS9 is his work on the episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” in which Hutzel oversaw the integration of footage from the Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” into the freshly shot DS9 footage.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
March 5, 1954 – Creature from the Black Lagoon has its world premiere.
Waterford Public Library, 4/2/2016, Waterford, CT. Reading at 2:00 PM.
The Library of Congress, 4/8/2016, Washington, DC.
The University of Maryland, 4/8/2016.
Thomas Kang Lecture. I’ll be speaking with Professor Christopher Bolton of Williams College as the headliners: “Silkpunk, Technologized Bodies, and Translation: Cases in Chinese, Japanese and American Popular Culture.”
Arkansas Literary Festival, 4/15-4/17, Little Rock, Arkansas.
(10) BENFORD ON THE ROAD. Gregory Benford sat for a photo while in Nashville for a signing on March 3.
Gregory Benford, award-winning science fiction author, signed titles, hosted by Carter Moody of BookmanBookman. pic.twitter.com/ZK87fIXpwv
The bottom line is that it’s very hard to know what to do with the ‘free’ books a publisher sends you. Sending them out into the world is the natural thing to do – but it’s going to cost you 100s of $$$ and may very well not generate anything like enough sales to justify the cost.
(12) MEH POWER.
I am finally opening my mail. This is getting framed, but for now? All the love for its mysterious creator. pic.twitter.com/05laBR1HZy
The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking.
The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.
I’m panicked. I don’t sleep that night. It was like my worst nightmare is happening. The next morning, I rush to the set and plead my case. And Ivan basically says, “The studio felt that they had Bill Murray, so they wanted to give him more stuff to do.” I go, “Okay, I understand that, but can I even be there when they’re established?” And of course, he said no, there’s nothing to do about it. It was kind of awkward, and it became sort of the elephant in the room.
I see this differently now—and I don’t mean any kind of animosity or anything towards anyone, certainly not towards Ivan or the guys. I was a single dad, and we were struggling to kind of hold on and pay the rent. I still needed to do this job. 30 years later, I look back at the movie and it works very well the way it is. I think the character works with what he has to work with. But I’ve always felt like, “Man, if I could’ve played that original character…”
Robert Lichtman, Secretary-Treasurer of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA), has announced that Art Widner is the organization’s first Lifetime Member, “forever freed of any obligations to pay dues and/or to contribute to the mailings.”
FAPA is fandom’s earliest apa, founded in 1937 by Donald Wollheim and John Michel. (An apa works this way: Members send their printed zines to the OE, who sends back a bundle containing a copy of every contribution. FAPA has a quarterly cycle.)
How did Art Widner qualify for this honor? Lichtman explains –
First, it helps to be 97 years old. And having a longtime membership doesn’t hurt. Art first joined FAPA in September 1940 and left in November 1950. In the Fantasy Amateur for that mailing (the 53rd), it says he was dropped for “dues, activity and square dancing.” (I take the latter as code for “raising a family and having a career.”) He rejoined in May 1979 and has been with us ever since. That’s a total of 46 years, more than half the life of the organization.
This was a surprise for Art, who wrote back —
“Thank U Robert & Happy New Year to all the members. I will try to be worthy of the honor. I want to say ‘humble’ but that’s a tricky one — the moment u say Ur Humble — U arnt. R!”
I couldn’t let a year go by without a new issue of File 770 and, with creative help from Taral, John Hertz and John King Tarpinian, I managed to get one done just before the last page was torn from the calendar.
File 770 #163 [PDF file] boasts Taral’s diplomatic memoir about his brief time as an artist for an sf publisher, a full LoneStarCon 3 report from John Hertz, and Martin Morse Wooster’s account of Readercon 24, the first one since It Happened.
This is an especially good a day to visit to Bill Burns’ eFanzines site. The latest three zines to be posted, besides my own, are Robert Lichtman’s Trap Door #29, Steven H Silver’s Argentus #13 — and Journey Planet #18, guest edited by Helen Montgomery, where anonymous contributors say what they think about the effects of social media on fandom.