Thanks to Kenn Bates who shot these photos of the Rotsler Award exhibit at the recent Loscon 47. (Click for a larger image.)
Richard Man took these photos of the Rotsler Award display at this weekend’s Loscon. We may infer from it that the 2021 award winner is Tim Kirk. Congratulations!
Note: I was a Rotsler Award judge from 1998-2020, dropping off the panel earlier this year.
By John Hertz: The Rotsler Award for 2020 has been given to Alan White of Las Vegas.
The annual Award, begun in 1998 after the death of Bill Rotsler and in his memory, is for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community. It is decided by a three-judge panel and carries an honorarium of US$300. Rotsler was, among much else, one of the great fanartists.
Alan White has contributed to these publications since the 1970s – mainly the periodicals by and for fans that fans call fanzines (coined by Russell Chauvenet in the 1940s), also fannish conventions’ fliers, program and souvenir books, and other such companions.
When this drawing
was used to decorate Matters Passed On to This Year’s Business Meeting in the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (“L.A.con II”) Program Book, White was already well known.
appeared earlier in Scientifriction 9 (1977).
As other media became available, he used them. Here is his cover for File 770 138 (2001).
Caricatured at left are (top to bottom) Mike Glyer, Bruce Pelz, Larry Niven.
Here is another drawing of about the same date which appeared some years later – as happens in Fanzineland – in Vanamonde 1403 (weekly; 2020).
Here is an even more elaborate cover for File 770 155 (2009).
Here is a recent image from This Here 35 (2020).
Fanart comes in many forms. Good artists choose what will best suit what they wish to do – line drawings or computer-aided compositions, monochrome or color. White is very good.
The Rotsler Award is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc., a nonprofit California corporation (yes, that’s what the initials spell, in this case pronounced “skiffy”). The current judges are Mike Glyer, John Hertz, and Sue Mason.
(1) TAKING NOTES. I’d love to see more panel reports of this kind.
(2) FAN FUNDS AUCTION. Alison Scott announced that today’s CoNZealand Fan Funds auction raised 2190$NZD for GUFF, TAFF, DUFF and FFANZ.
(3) YOU GOT YOUR POLITICS IN MY FICTION! This happened to a CoNZealand panel participant yesterday.
Schluessel also reports getting dinged for having a Black Lives Matter background. Which is pretty bizarre, because there’s a Black Lives Matter banner in CoNZealand’s virtual Exhibit Hall, as seen in the screencap below. However, Schluessel says “CoNZealand has extended me a full apology, which I have accepted.”
(4) ROTSLER AWARD EXHIBIT. CoNZealand’s virtual exhibit hall includes many things, such as the Rotsler Award exhibit (membership required to access) with artwork from each year’s award winner. Click the link, select “Boldy Go,” select Exhibits, and once there, click on Displays. The Rotsler link is last on the bottom right.
(5) PLEASE UNSIGN THEM. When she saw her sff group’s name listed as a signer of the Open Letter to WSFS about the Saudi Arabia Worldcon bid, Fran Dowd, “Sofa” of the Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy society posted a denial on the group’s Facebook page.
I’d like to put it on record that I have no idea how this group appeared as a signatory to the Jeddah letter. Whatever our personal feelings might be, I would not expect anyone to sign such a statement on our behalf without consultation at the least.
I have spent this morning, when I would actually rather be at the current Worldcon, trying to spread the word. Apologies have been given to the NZ Chairs and to Kevin Standlee. Given the spread of social media, getting a retraction would be meaningless.
I apologise to any members of the group who have been dragged into this. If it is of any help, please point people to this statement.
Signed by me in my capacity as Chair When We Need One.
(6) RETRO SPLASHDOWN. Cora Buhlert takes stock of yesterday’s awards. Did they stick the landing? “Some Thoughts on the 1945 Retro Hugo Winners”.
The 1945 Retro Hugo for Best Novelette goes to “City” by Clifford D. Simak. This isn’t a huge surprise, because the City cycle is well regarded, still in print and Clifford D. Simak was one of the best writers of the Golden Age. “City” is a pretty good story, too, though not the best City story of 1944 or even the best City novelette, because “Census”, which didn’t make the ballot, is better.
That said, this was not the category I wanted to see Simak win. In fact, I was hoping that C.L. Moore, either with or without Henry Kuttner, would win Best Novelette, because both “No Woman Born” (which finished second) and “The Children’s Hour” (which finished unfairly in sixth place) are great stories.
Though I’m glad that “Arena” by Fredric Brown was its “Genocide is good” message didn’t win, because I feared that it might.
(7) MORE OR LESS RETRO-HUGOS? Charles Stross thinks pausing the Retro-Hugos for about a quarter century might address some of the competing values now in conflict. Thread starts here.
Alasdair Stuart laments the Campbell and Lovecraft Retro wins. Thread starts here.
(8) PERSERVERANCE IS ON ITS WAY. “Nasa Mars rover: Perseverance robot launches to detect life on Red Plane” – BBC story includes video.
The US space agency’s Perseverance robot has left Earth on a mission to try to detect life on Mars.
The one-tonne, six-wheeled rover was launched out of Florida by an Atlas rocket on a path to intercept the Red Planet in February next year.
When it lands, the Nasa robot will also gather rock and soil samples to be sent home later this decade.
Perseverance is the third mission despatched to Mars inside 11 days, after launches by the UAE and China.
Lift-off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station occurred at 07:50 local time (12:50 BST; 11:50 GMT).
Nasa made this mission one of its absolute priorities when the coronavirus crisis struck, establishing special work practices to ensure Perseverance met its launch deadline.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a challenge, it’s very stressful, but look – the teams made it happen and I’ll tell you, we could not be more proud of what this integrated team was able to pull off here, so it’s very, very exciting,” Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters.
(9) SPEAK UP, MARS. NPR tells how “Microphone Aboard NASA’s Rover Aims To Pick Up Sounds From Mars”.
…BRENDAN BYRNE, BYLINE: When the Perseverance rover lands on Mars in February, it will unpack a suite of scientific experiments to help uncover ancient signs of life on the red planet – high-tech cameras, spectrometers, sensors and…
ROGER WIENS: This is the voice of Roger Wiens speaking to you through the Mars microphone on SuperCam.
BYRNE: Roger Wiens is the principal investigator of the rover SuperCam, a slew of instruments, including a camera, laser and spectrometer, that will examine the rocks and soil of Mars for organic compounds, a hint that there might be further evidence of past life. Tucked away inside the SuperCam is the Mars microphone.
WIENS: And so it is there to listen to anything interesting, first of all, on Mars. And so we should hear wind sounds. We should hear sounds of the rover. We might hear things that we never expected to hear. And so that’s going to be interesting to find out.
BYRNE: The mic will also listen as Perseverance’s onboard laser blasts nearby rocks.
ADDIE DOVE: You might think we’re going to hear, like, pew pew, but we probably won’t.
BYRNE: University of Central Florida planetary scientist Addie Dove says the sounds of Martian rock blasts will help scientists determine if they might contain organic material, evidence of life on Mars. But it will actually sound more like this.
(SOUNDBITE OF ROCK BLASTS)
(10) JOSE SARAMAGO NEWS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the July 24 Financial Times, Sarah Hemming discusses a new adaptation of Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago’s sf novel Blindness at the Donmar Warehouse in London (donmarwarehouse.com). Donmar’s director, Michael Longhurst says the production will be a hybrid of theatre and “sound installation” that will let the theatre hold four shows a day. I can’t tell from the review how much actual theatre there is in the production. The only Donmar production I’ve seen was an all-female Julius Caesar on PBS that had an impressive performance by Dame Harriet Walter as Brutus.
Lockdown has emphasised the importance of sound for many of us from that early experience of hearing birdsong in unusually quiet city centres, to a keener awareness, prompted by physical separation, of the way we listen. And several online drama offerings, such as Simon McBurney’s The Encounter and Sound&Fury’s wartime meditation Charlie Ward At Home, have used sophisticated recording to steep their homebound audiences in other worlds and prompt reflection.
Blindness, in a sense, builds on that (there will be a digital download for those unable to get to the theatre). So why attend in person? Longhurst suggests the very act of being in a space will change the quality of listening–and reflect the way we have all had individual journeys through the collective experience of lockdown. And while this is a one-off piece about a society in an epidemic, created for an industry in a pandemic, that physical presence marks a move towards full performance.
(11) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
- July 1987 — Emma Bull’s War for The Oaks was published by Ace Books. This urban fantasy would get its own trailer courtesy of Will Shetterly who financed it instead of running for Governor. You’ll no doubt recognize many of the performers here. Decades later, it was scheduled to have a hardcover edition from Tor Books but it got canceled after the books were printed. And the music in War for The Oaks would later be done by Cats Laughing, a band that includes Emma Bull and other members of Minneapolis fandom.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born July 30, 1800 – Aleksandr Veltman. Order of St. Vladimir (bravery) while in the Russian army, eventually Director of the Museum of Armaments. Poetry praised by Pushkin, second wife’s novel praised by Gorky. The Wanderer in an imaginary journey parodies travel notes. Koshchei the Deathless parodies historical adventures. The Year 3448 is supposedly by Martin Zadek (who also finds his way into Pushkin and Zamyatin). The Forebears of Kalimeros has time-travel (by riding a hippogriff; “Kalimeros”, a nudge at Napoleon, is the Greek equivalent of Buonaparte) to meet Alexander and Aristotle. Tolstoy and Dostoevskyapplauded AV too. (Died 1870) [JH]
- Born July 30, 1873 – Curtis Senf. Four dozen covers and hundreds of interiors for Weird Tales, after which what the Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists modestly calls “a more lucrative career as a commercial artist in the Chicago advertising industry”. Here is the Oct 27 WT; here is the Jan 30; here is the Mar 32. (Died 1949) [JH]
- Born July 30, 1911 — Reginald Bretnor. Author of many genre short stories involving Ferdinand Feghoot, a comical figure indeed. It looks like all of these are available in digital form on iBooks and Kindle. He was a consummate SJW. He translated Les Chats, the first known book about cats which was written by Augustin Paradis de Moncrif in 1727. He also wrote myriad articles about cats, was of course a companion to cats, and considered himself to have a psychic connection to cats. Of course most of us do. (Did 1992.) (CE)
- Born July 30, 1927 — Victor Wong. I remember him best as the Chinese sorcerer Egg Shen in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. He was also The Old Man in The Golden Child, Walter Chang in Tremors, Dr. Wong in the “China Moon” episode of the Beauty and the Beast series and Lee Tzin-Soong in the “Fox Spirit” episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy. (Died 2001.) (CE)
- Born July 30, 1947 – John Stith, 73. Eight novels, a dozen shorter stories, translated into French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian. Wrote about John Kennedy (i.e. our JK; indeed John R.; 1945-2009) in 1992 (for the limited ed’n of “Nova in a Bottle” bound with “Encore”), interviewed by him in 1993 (SF Chronicle 164). Did his own cover for a reprinting of Death Tolls. [JH]
- Born July 30, 1948 — Carel Struycken, 72. I remember him best as the gong ringing Mr. Holm on Next Gen, companion to Deanna Troi’s mother. He was also Lurch in The Addams Family, Addams Family Values and the Addams Family Reunion. He’s listed as being Fidel in The Witches of Eastwick but I’ll be damned if I remembered his role in that film. And he’s in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor which I’ve never seen… (CE)
- Born July 30, 1961 — Laurence Fishburne, 59. In The Matrix films. His voice work as Thrax in Osmosis Jones on the other hand is outstanding as is his role as Bill Foster in Ant-Man. (CE)
- Born July 30, 1966 — Jess Nevins, 54. Author of the superlative Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victorian and the equally great Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which is far better than the film ever could be. I didn’t know he was an author ‘til now but he has two genre novels, The Road to Prester John and The Datong Incident. (CE)
- Born July 30, 1967 – Ann Brashares, 53. Famous for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (that’s the U.S. meaning of “pants”, in this case a magical pair of blue jeans), a NY Times Best-Seller, and its sequels, films, companions. Two more novels for us, one other. Indies Choice Book Award, Quill Award. Philosophy major (yay!) at Barnard, 1989. [JH]
- Born July 30, 1971 – Kristie Cook, 49. Nine novels, a dozen shorter stories (some with co-authors; publishes Havenwood Falls shared-world stories, some wholly by others). Loves cheese, chocolate, coffee, husband, sons, motorcycle. “No, I’m not crazy. I’m just a writer.” [JH]
- Born July 30, 1974 – Jacek Dukaj, 46. Ten novels, half a dozen shorter stories, translated into Bulgarian, Czech, English (he’s a Pole), German, Hungarian, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Slovak. Six Zajdel Awards. EU Prize for Literature. Another writer with a Philosophy degree, from Jagiellonian University even. His Culture.pl page (in English) is here. [JH]
- Born July 30, 1975 — Cherie Priest, 45. Her southern gothic Eden Moore series is kickass good and Clockwork Universe series isa refreshing take on steampunk which has been turned into full cast audiobooks by GraphicAudio. I’ve not read Cheshire Red Reports novels so have no idea how they are. Anyone read these? (CE)
(13) NOW WITH MORE MASK. Ray’s playing it safe, I see. Incidentally, the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum is accepting RSVP’s here for entry during RBEM’s Ray Bradbury Centennial Celebration on August 22, 2020.
(14) OOPS. Marc Zicree has issued a video “Apology to the Science Fiction Writers of America,” for using their membership list to publicize Space Command.
(15) A DISSATISFIED CUSTOMER. And not only that, we line up for the opportunity!
(16) BACURAU. The Criterior Channel’s August lineup includes Bacurau on August 20, an exclusive streaming premiere, featuring an interview with directors Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles.
(17) SHELFISHNESS. The Washington Post’s Michael Dirda finds it’s not that easy: “In turbulent times, culling my book collection gave me the illusion of control. Then the dilemmas began multiplying.”
… After all, who doesn’t periodically yearn to flee the nightmarish world we now live in? A persistent feeling of helplessness, frustration, anger and mild despair has emerged as the “New Normal” — which is one reason my recent reviews and essays tend to emphasize escapism, often into books from the past. A similar impulse lies behind the pruning of my basement hoard. Going through my many boxes, I am no longer the plaything of forces beyond my control. I have, to use a vogue term, agency. I alone decide which books to keep, which to let go.
However, making these decisions has turned out to be harder than I expected.
Here’s an example of what I mean. I’m fond of a slightly overwritten travel book called “A Time of Gifts” by English writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. It recounts in striking detail a walk across half of Europe undertaken by the young Leigh Fermor in 1933. Somehow, I possess four copies of this minor classic: a Penguin paperback that I read and marked up, an elegant Folio Society edition bought at the Friends of the Montgomery County Library bookstore, a later issue of the original John Murray hardback, and a first American edition in a very good dust jacket acquired for a bargain price at the Second Story Books warehouse. Given the space-saving principle of eliminating duplicates, I should keep just one copy. Which one?
(18) WIZARDS OF THE COST. NPR finds that “In The Pandemic Era, This ‘Gathering’ Has Lost Some Of Its Magic”.
You draw seven cards. You look at your hand. It would be perfect if you had that one card.
Too bad it costs $50. And your local game store is closed anyway.
Depending on where you lie on the nerd spectrum, you may or may not have heard of Magic: The Gathering. It’s a trading card game that’s been in production for almost three decades. Even if you haven’t heard of it or played it, you probably know someone who has. It’s one of the most popular trading card games of all time, and that isn’t an exaggeration; there are millions of Magic: The Gathering players worldwide.
…Before COVID-19 hit the Magic community, players packed into local game stores to sling spells and blow off steam. Now, as players move toward the online versions, there are additional financial hurdles to clear.
There’s a reason it’s called Magic: The Gathering. Most of the fun comes from squaring off against other players, catching the clandestine tells of your opponent as they draw powerful spells. Game stores across the country offer opportunities to play; they host tournaments, stock up on new cards and teach new wizards how to play.
But even if veteran players and shop owners welcome new Planeswalkers with open arms, how accessible is Magic: The Gathering?
Players can craft a variety of decks, and if they’re playing the more common formats of the game, a deck can cost anywhere from about $275 to $834 or more. Not only are full decks expensive, but so are individual cards. The card Thoughtseize, for instance, has a current value of around $25 per copy. If a deck contains four copies of a single card (the maximum), just that one card would bring the price of a deck up by $100. And there are much more expensive cards on the market.
…There is an online version of the game, but Magic Online isn’t cheap either. And while it isn’t as expensive as its cardboard counterpart, a player still has to buy new digital versions of physical cards they already own. On top of that, a Magic Online account costs $10 just to set up. And while a Magic veteran might jump at the opportunity to play online, a new player may feel less inclined to pay the fee when there are other online deck-building games, like Hearthstone, that are free to try.
In 2018, Magic’s publisher Wizards of the Coast released a free, digital version of the game called Magic: The Gathering Arena. It’s a more kid-friendly online option for new Planeswalkers, but it still has the same Magic charm for older players. Arena does include in-game purchases, but players can obtain better cards by grinding out a lot of games instead of spending extra money. And while Arena can be a great way to introduce a new player to the online format, if they don’t want to empty their wallets, they’ll have to get used to losing for a while.
[Thanks to John Hertz, N., Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Jeffrey Smith, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
By John Hertz: Here are Kenn Bates’ photos from Loscon XLVI —
- The exhibit of Rotsler Award winners through 2018;
- The exhibit (in the Art Show) of the 2019 winner Alison Scott (follow the link to learn about the Award too);
- A close-up of her plaque, sent to her later;
- The exhibit about Leonardo da Vinci which had been at this year’s Worldcon in honor of his 500th centenary, our genius neighbor;
- And a close-up of the top of the Leonardo exhibit.
Thanks to Kenn for his photos. Thanks to Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink for her graphics-wizard help with these exhibits.
By John Hertz: Alison Scott has received the 2019 Rotsler Award for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community.
The Award, established at the death of Bill Rotsler, has been given since 1998. It carries an honorarium of US$300.
Rotsler did everything and knew everyone. He sculpted with stainless-steel rods and went house-hunting with Marilyn Monroe. He drew on paper, mimeograph stencils, food, body parts.
The SF community’s highest achievement award is the Hugo Award, named for SF pioneer Hugo Gernsback, voted annually in several categories by members of the World Science Fiction Convention.
Rotsler won the Best-Fanartist Hugo five times, in 1975 and 1979, 1996 (when he also won a Retrospective Hugo for 1946) and 1997, a remarkable span. His cartoons were deft, his serious drawing fine, his fluency downright breathtaking.
Scott gained renown as layout wizard and cover artist for the much-loved – no, it’s British, better not say that – highly-regarded fanzine PLOKTA, “the journal of superfluous technology”, PLOKTA being an acronym for Press Lots Of Keys To Abort.
PLOKTA won the Best-Fanzine Hugo in 2005 and 2006. Scott won the United Kingdom’s Nova Award as Best Fanartist in ’05, ’07, and ’08. The Plokta cabal attended the 67th Worldcon (“Anticipation”, Montreal) and produced its newsletter Voyageur.
Scott chaired her national convention the Eastercon (held Easter weekend) in 1995 (“Confabulation”, 46th Eastercon, London) and 2018 (“Follycon”, 69th Eastercon, Harrogate). She will be Fan Guest of Honour in 2020 (“Concentric”, 71st Eastercon, Birmingham).
These admirable distinctions are only mentioned as noteworthy. They do not of course qualify or disqualify her for the Rotsler Award, which is a cat that walks by itself.
Here are front and back covers Scott did for an issue of Beam (then by Nic Farey and Jim Trash, currently by Farey and Ulrika O’Brien),
and a front cover for PLOKTA.
The Concentric materials so far released say she is irrepressible. Brits are understated.
The Rotsler winner is announced each year at Loscon, held at Los Angeles during the United States Thanksgiving-holiday weekend. Loscon XLVI, 29 November – 1 December 2019, will have a display of Scott’s work in the Art Show, and elsewhere of all Rotsler winners to date. A display of all Rotsler winners can usually be seen at the Worldcon; for “Dublin 2019”, the 77th Worldcon, look here.
Loscon is sponsored by the non-profit L.A. Science Fantasy Society, oldest SF club in the world. The Rotsler is sponsored by the non-profit Southern California Institute for Fan Interests. The current Rotsler judges are Mike Glyer, John Hertz (since 2003), and Sue Mason (since 2015).
More examples of Alison Scott’s artwork follow the jump.Continue reading
Thanks to Tad Daley for this fine series of photos of the Rotsler Award exhibit at Dublin 2019. The rest of them follow the jump.
The Rotsler Award is for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community. The current judges are Sue Mason, Mike Glyer, and John Hertz. It’s named for Bill Rotsler (1926-1997), a long-time wonder-worker. The annual award is ordinarily announced at Loscon.
See exhibit photos below.Continue reading
The 2018 Rotsler Award has been given to Ken Fletcher.
The award, established in 1998 and named for the talented, prolific artist Bill Rotsler (1926-1997), is for long-time artistic achievement in amateur publications of the science fiction community. The winner receives a plaque and an honorarium of US$300.
Fletcher’s drawings have been part of Rune and many other amateur publications for decades. By 1976, when he co-founded Vootie, “the Fanzine of the Funny-Animal Liberation Front,” he had long been known particularly for anthropomorphic cartoons.
He has drawn on spirit-duplicator masters, mimeograph stencils, and in today’s digital media, sometimes with fantastic settings, or remarkable because the setting is all that is not fantastic, like his invented Spontoon Island where it always seems to be 1937.
In 1966, Fletcher co-founded the Minnesota Science Fiction Society (Minn-StF). In 1979 Fletcher and his wife Linda Lounsbury were the Down Under Fan Fund delegates. They attended the Australia national SF convention, held that year in Sydney. Upon their return they presented a slide-show at cons in North America.
Science Fiction Five-Yearly, a fanzine published on time for sixty years, carried the long-running serial !Nissassa by Nalrah Nosille (backward only in that sense), with recent chapters illustrated by Fletcher.
Some of Fletcher’s work can now be seen in a gallery at DeviantArt
The Rotsler winner is announced each year at Loscon, held during the United States Thanksgiving-holiday weekend. Loscon XLV, 23-25 November 2018 at the Los Angeles International Airport Marriott Hotel, had a display in the Art Show of work by every Rotsler winner.
Loscon is sponsored by the non-profit L.A. Science Fantasy Society, oldest SF club in the world. The Rotsler is sponsored by the non-profit Southern California Institute for Fan Interests. The current Rotsler judges are Mike Glyer, John Hertz (since 2003), and Sue Mason (since 2015).
Rotsler Award Exhibit at Loscon 45 — Photos by Kenn Bates
By John Hertz: Andrew Porter shot these fine photos of the Rotsler Award exhibit at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention.
Some Worldcons have nicknames. This year’s Worldcon was just “Worldcon 76” .
In fact I know people whose nickname is “Nick”. Maybe you do too.
The Rotsler is for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community. The current judges are Sue Mason, Mike Glyer, and me. It’s named for Bill Rotsler (1926-1997), a long-time wonder-worker. It’s ordinarily announced at Loscon.
We try to put up an exhibit at the Worldcon showing sample work by all the winners to date. The exhibits have been curated by me, recently with first-rate layout and electronics help from Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink.
In building the exhibit I try to choose images that are both representative of the artist, and visually interesting for themselves. If you happen to know the context, or some of the in-jokes, that might be more fun, but (if I do it right) you needn’t. The exhibit is designed (I hope) so you can look at it as you go by, or stop and study.
You’ll see from Brother Porter’s photos that winners each have a section, with their name and year at the top. Also there’s a section about fanzines, and one about Brother Rotsler and the Award. Many of the images appeared in fanzines. There are a few other things, like cards from Bruce Pelz’ Fantasy Showcase Tarot Deck.
The Award is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, a California non-profit corporation (yes, its initials spell SCIFI – pronounced “skiffy”) – and, because this is fandom, where every day is Anything Can Happen Day, SCIFI the sponsor of the Award is not the sponsor of Loscon where it’s announced. We are large, we contain multitudes.
Some but by no means all fanart (which, like “fanwriting”, I make one word; a loudspeaker is not the same as a speaker who is loud, a boyfriend or girlfriend is not the same as a boy or girl who is a friend) can be found in Electronicland; if you live there, Bill Burns’ Website eFanzines.com is worth a look. As to the rest, seek and ye shall find. If you have nothing better to do (and if you have, do that), you can always write to me, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A.
Photos taken by and (c) Andrew Porter. Click for larger view.
(1) KURT ERICHSEN’S RETIREMENT MAKES THE NEWS. The Toledo Blade has published a superb article about fanartist Kurt Erichsen, who is retiring from his day job as vice president of water quality planning for Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments after a 34-year career. I learned all kinds of things I never knew about his work on getting the Ottawa river cleaned up, and was pleased to see they also covered some of the fannish things I did know about the 2002 Rotsler Award winner —
Mr. Erichsen’s passion for environmental planning wasn’t his first calling in life, though. He was fascinated with drawing since he was young. He might have pursued a career as an illustrator if his parents hadn’t convinced him otherwise, but he never gave up his passion for drawing.
From 1980 to 2008, he produced a comic strip called “Murphy’s Manor.” It focused on the lives of gay men living in the fictional town of Black Swamp, Ohio. That series and others he produced, including “The Sparkle Spinsters” and “GLIB Talk,” appeared in as many as 70 publications marketed to homosexuals, resulting in awards from the Gay/?Lesbian Press Association.
“I was trying to be entertaining while making a point,” Mr. Erichsen said.
Mr. Erichsen also has produced artwork for fans of science fiction fanzines and conventions.
(2) COMES THE MILLENNIUM. Congratulations to James Davis Nicoll, who sent a link to his review of Elizabeth Hand’s Winterlong – captioned “And Rain Keeps Falling Like Helpless Tears” – with the note that it is his 1000th review.
Elizabeth Hand’s 1990 debut novel Winterlong is the first volume in her Winterlong Trilogy.
Nuclear war and germ warfare have left Washington a shadow of its once glorious past. A handful of administrators, descended from self-appointed curators, control the relics of America’s lost past, defending the remnants from the diseased, mutated, and simply unlucky inhabitants of the surrounding sea of ruins….
(3) VERSE AS SWORD AND SHIELD. Middle-Earth Reflections’ new post “On the songs of power” discusses how they work in The Silmarillion.
Among many powerful notions in the world of Arda few are more potent than music and language. Music is the essential element of Arda, its heart and soul, as the world was created and shaped by the majestic Music of the Ainur. And it was the word of Ilúvatar — Eä! — that brought the created vision to life.
The power of words in Middle-earth cannot be overestimated. If used masterfully, with subtlety and skill they can inspire others to do incredible things. It is especially prominent when words are put into verse: songs can become something a lot more potent than mere poetic recitals. I have already spoken about the songs of challenge in The Silmarillion: sung in the situations of dire need and despair, they bring hope and salvation against all the odds. A special place in the story is occupied by the songs of power. They are very effective verses able to create or destroy, be used as a weapon or for defence.
It is by means of a song that Yavanna brings to life the Two Trees of Valinor and, later, the last fruit and flower from them used for creating the Sun and the Moon after the Trees’ destruction. Finrod duels with Sauron on the songs of power. Lúthien sings an equally powerful song to make Tol-in-Gaurhoth tremble and be heard by Beren trapped in Sauron’s dungeons.
(4) HANDMAID’S TALE. Hulu previews the second season.
Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 returns April 25.
(5) ATWOOD’S FEMINISM. Margaret Atwood answers her own question, “Am I a bad feminist?”, in an op-ed at the Toronto Globe and Mail.
So let us suppose that my Good Feminist accusers, and the Bad Feminist that is me, agree on the above points. Where do we diverge? And how did I get into such hot water with the Good Feminists?
In November of 2016, I signed – as a matter of principle, as I have signed many petitions – an Open Letter called UBC Accountable, which calls for holding the University of British Columbia accountable for its failed process in its treatment of one of its former employees, Steven Galloway, the former chair of the department of creative writing, as well as its treatment of those who became ancillary complainants in the case. Specifically, several years ago, the university went public in national media before there was an inquiry, and even before the accused was allowed to know the details of the accusation. Before he could find them out, he had to sign a confidentiality agreement. The public – including me – was left with the impression that this man was a violent serial rapist, and everyone was free to attack him publicly, since under the agreement he had signed, he couldn’t say anything to defend himself. A barrage of invective followed.
But then, after an inquiry by a judge that went on for months, with multiple witnesses and interviews, the judge said there had been no sexual assault, according to a statement released by Mr. Galloway through his lawyer. The employee got fired anyway. Everyone was surprised, including me. His faculty association launched a grievance, which is continuing, and until it is over, the public still cannot have access to the judge’s report or her reasoning from the evidence presented. The not-guilty verdict displeased some people. They continued to attack. It was at this point that details of UBC’s flawed process began to circulate, and the UBC Accountable letter came into being.
A fair-minded person would now withhold judgment as to guilt until the report and the evidence are available for us to see. We are grownups: We can make up our own minds, one way or the other. The signatories of the UBC Accountable letter have always taken this position. My critics have not, because they have already made up their minds. Are these Good Feminists fair-minded people? If not, they are just feeding into the very old narrative that holds women to be incapable of fairness or of considered judgment, and they are giving the opponents of women yet another reason to deny them positions of decision-making in the world.
… The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system. All too frequently, women and other sexual-abuse complainants couldn’t get a fair hearing through institutions – including corporate structures – so they used a new tool: the internet. Stars fell from the skies. This has been very effective, and has been seen as a massive wake-up call. But what next? The legal system can be fixed, or our society could dispose of it. Institutions, corporations and workplaces can houseclean, or they can expect more stars to fall, and also a lot of asteroids.
If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers? It won’t be the Bad Feminists like me. We are acceptable neither to Right nor to Left. In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated. Fiction writers are particularly suspect because they write about human beings, and people are morally ambiguous. The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity.
(6) VENUS IF YOU WILL. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler reports on the wealth of information collected by the latest (in 1963) Venus probe — “[January 15, 1963] Venus’ true face (Scientific Results of Mariner 2)”.
Getting there is half the fun
Before I talk about Mariner’s encounter with Venus, it’s important to discuss what the spacecraft discovered on the way there. After all, it was a 185 million mile trip, most of it in interplanetary space charted but once before by Pioneer 5. And boy, did Mariner learn a lot!
For instance, it has finally been confirmed that the sun does blow a steady stream of charged particles in a gale known as the “Solar Wind.” The particles get trapped in Earth’s magnetic field and cause, among other things, our beautiful aurorae.
Mariner also measured the interplanetary magnetic field, which is really the sun’s magnetic field. It varies with the 27-day solar rotation, and if we had more data, I suspect the overall map of the field would look like a spiral.
Why is all this important? Well, aside from giving us an idea of the kind of “space weather” future probes and astronauts will have to deal with, these observations of the sun’s effect on space give us a window as to what’s going on inside the sun to generate these effects.
One last bit: along the way, Mariner measured the density of “cosmic dust,” little physical particles in space. It appears that there’s a lot of it around the Earth, perhaps trapped by our magnetic field, and not a lot in space. It may be that the solar wind sweeps the realm between the planets clean….
(7) LAST JEDI DOES NOT IMPRESS CHINESE. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “China Box Office: ‘Jumanji’ Clobbers Competition With $40M, ‘Last Jedi’ Crashes and Burns”.
Dwane Johnson’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle roared into China over the weekend, racking up a strong $40 million.
The Sony tentpole finally toppled runaway Chinese hit The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes, which earned $25.3 million in its third frame, bringing its local total to $272 million. Globally, Jumanji, also starring Kevin Hart, has earned $667 million.
Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, meanwhile, didn’t even put up a fight. Only in its second weekend on Chinese screens, The Last Jedi pulled in a paltry $2.4 million — a 92 percent decline from its disappointing $28.7 million debut, according to data from EntGroup.
The Star Wars franchise, never popular in China, appears to be on a precipitous decline in the Middle Kingdom, the world’s second-largest film territory.
…The global picture is far better, of course: As of Sunday, Last Jedi had a worldwide haul of $1.264 billion, making it the biggest film of 2017.
Looper attempts to explain the disappointing numbers –
(8) BINTI ARC CONCLUDES. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog points out how “Binti: The Night Masquerade Is the Epic Climax to a Deeply Personal Saga”.
Each of the previous two books in Dr. Nnedi Okorafor’s coming-of-age story saw Binti faced with tremendous change and exposed her to new truths that widened her world, and made it smaller. She’s taken on attributes of the (sometimes) murderous and very alien Meduse, and come to understand there’s more to the seemingly uncivilized desert people of her homeland than she’d ever imagined. The Night Masquerade is the conclusion of her journey, and the title refers to a spectre of change that appears to significant people at times of great crisis. It’s wonderfully evocative of the climactic nature of the story, and Binti will face a great deal more turmoil before hers is done.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born January 15, 1935 – Robert Silverberg
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Mike Kennedy says Pearls Before Swine showed him an excellent reason (or three) to keep the closet closed
- John King Tarpinian discovered the consequences of making a Flintstones reference in B.C.
- Mike Kennedy learned news happens whether you know it or not in this installment of Nonsequitur.
- The Flying McCoys explore what would happen to Batman if a certain supervillain lived up to his name.
(11) WHAT GOES UP. The BBC talks to “The astronaut fighting to save our home in space”:
The International Space Station (ISS) is humanity’s most expensive structure – and in just six years’ time, it may vanish, plunging into the Pacific Ocean. BBC Future meets the man trying to save it.
… “I’ve been very, very, very, very lucky,” he says, laughing. “Most astronauts are very jealous of me, which is probably why I won’t get to fly in space again!”
Most famously, Foale was on board Mir in June 1997 when an un-crewed Progress supply ship ploughed into the station, smashing a solar panel and breaching the hull. With the master alarm sounding, air leaking, power failing and the station spinning, Foale worked with his two Russian crewmates to prepare their Soyuz escape capsule and close off the damaged module.
By holding his thumb to a station window and examining the movement of stars, Foale used his physics training to estimate the spin rate of the station, so mission control could fire thrusters to bring it back under control.
(12) MUST COME DOWN. Someone hit the center divider on the road, went airborne and crashed into the SECOND floor of a dental business —
A drugged driver crashed his car into the second floor of a Southern California dental office today. pic.twitter.com/Jr6g3nixyK
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 14, 2018
Which inspired this Harry Potter reference from “Typical Girl” —
RONALD WEASLEY! HOW DARE YOU STEAL THAT CAR? I AM ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED! YOUR FATHER'S NOW FACING AN INQUIRY AT WORK, AND ITS ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT! IF YOU PUT ANOTHER TOE OUT OF LINE, WE'LL BRING YOU STRAIGHT HOME! and ginny, dear, congratulations on making it into Gryffindor https://t.co/Xh3S2MqE0o
— Typical Girl (@SoDamnTrue) January 15, 2018
(13) MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. In “Bruce Lee Lightsabers Scene Recreation,” Patrick Nan asks, “What if Bruce Lee fought with lightsabers?”
(14) COMMITMENT. Laura Resnick continues a series about her volunteer work — “Cat Rescue, Part 3: Return to Sender”.
I’m writing a series of blog posts about my volunteer work in cat rescue with Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T.). Part 1 discusses how I got involved and outlines how it works. Part 2 talks about the happy endings that are so rewarding in this work, as well as the sad ones (and also the appallingly infuriating ones) that make some days very hard.
There is another kind of outcome to pet adoption, too. Despite good people trying hard, sometimes things just don’t work out. A cat turns out to be a bad fit for a family, or the family’s life changes in tragic ways that make keeping the cat impossible… and they return them to C.A.T.. This is sad for everyone, but it is absolutely the right thing to do in such circumstances.
I cannot stress this strongly enough: if family decides not to keep a pet, they should return the animal to us (and any responsible rescue group has this same policy). The most important thing to us is that the cat should always be safe. By rescuing the cat, we made a promise that we will never abandon this animal or allow it to return to the condition from which we rescued it, alone and forsaken in the world. Do not break our promise by abandoning the animal we entrusted to you at the time of adoption. Return it to us.
(15) CLASSIC WEIRD. Jared pays tribute to “Jane Gaskell, First Lady of the Weird” in a compelling review article at Pornokitsch. Here’s an excerpt:
The Atlan Series: The Serpent (1963), Atlan (1965), The City (1966), Some Summer Lands (1977)
Note: To keep things complicated, later printings split The Serpent into two volumes (The Serpent and The Dragon)
This series – Gaskell’s epic fantasy saga – is batshit crazy.
It follows Princess Cija, as she meddles in the politics of Atlantis. She goes from princess to prisoner to conqueror to spy to Chosen One to fugitive to back again… It is bonkers, risque and occasionally befuddling.
In a way, the Atlan saga is an even more extreme version of Strange Evil, exacerbated, perhaps, due to its epic length. Cija, like Judith, lacks agency. She is notable because she is desired, rather than possessing any strong desires of her own. She’s passed from hand to hand (to paw), partner to partner. Her bloodline is important, her presence is ‘destined’, but, again, we find in Cjia a distressing subversion of a Chosen One. She is one that has been Chosen, rather than having any control over her fate. This is the Epic Fantasy with the princess-in-the-tower as the first person protagonist, and it can make for harrowing reading: to be the prize and not the hero is, unsurprisingly, kind of dark.
Atlan also has an utterly ridiculous setting – packed with ‘SPACE AGE’ SF, mad science, dragons, monsters, death rays, lizard people, whatever. It feels almost deliberately pulpy, in a way that makes its sneaky-dark message all the more sinister.
Michael Moorcock included the series in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books (1988), and admires – slightly sarcastically – the over-the-top pulpy elements. He refers to the series’ “bewildering status changes” and “breathless peregrinations”, and his summary gleefully points out how silly the whole thing is. But he eventually concludes “Too much? Never! Stirring stuff, all of it.”
Others also (mostly) approve – John Clute describes it with lukewarm praise: “In genre terms the series – sometimes uneasily, but at points with real panache – marries sf and the popular romance; it is full of vigorous and exuberant invention and occasionally overheated prose.” (It is worth noting that late 1960s ‘popular romance’ was pretty bleak stuff – this isn’t a sappy love story, but a harrowing tale of self-actualisation [or… semi-reluctant acceptance].)
(16) ROBOTS V. FAIRIES. SF Bluestocking’s Bridget McKinney isn’t high on this new collection — “Book Review: Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe”.
Robots vs. Fairies is my first reading disappointment of 2018. I loved Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s first anthology, 2016’s The Starlit Wood, so I was very hyped for this one when it was announced. Unfortunately, Robots vs. Fairies is a bit of a sophomore slump for the editing pair, with a theme that feels more questionable the farther one reads into the collection, stories that largely feel a little too written to spec, and not enough that’s new and interesting to recommend it on those scores. It might work as sort of comfort reading for those who find its table of contents—filled with some of the hottest short fiction writers currently working in SFF—appealing, but if you’re looking for exciting, fresh, innovative work, there’s not much of that here.
(17) JDA TODAY. Jon Del Arroz tries to defend against the Jim C. Hines compilation without mentioning the author by name in “The Ever-Changing Narrative And Double Standards Show They’re Disingenuous” (link to the Internet Archive).
In the past couple days, with that Narrative being such bad publicity for the convention because of the double standard they applied over political affiliation, it’s shifted to “he’s mean on the internet!” NYT Bestsellers have been swearing about me on their twitter, lower-selling midlist authors are cheering and congratulating each other over spreading rumors and gossip like this is a high school clique rather than professionals. This strategy is going to backfire as well, because first, being mean on the internet is not a crime. No one has been banned from conventions over being mean on the internet before. And it applies to these folk in a massive double standard way. I don’t go around being nearly as mean or cruel as they are.
(18) MEDIC, I’M HIT! I was bitterly disappointed that Jim C. Hines showed in comments today that he reviewed the evidence with JDA about his doctored “Goodbye Jon” email conversation with me (which actually happened in this order) only to conclude —
The summary: We have several possibilities here.
- Jon is faking his screenshots.
- Mike is lying.
- Jon’s Sent Mail shows a different Sent Time than the email(s) Mike received from him.
(19) CHOPPAGE. At Pedestrian, Ben McLeay reports the latest antics of men’s rights activists – erasing women from The Last Jedi — “MRAs Make 46-Minute Cut Of ‘The Last Jedi’ That Edits Out All The Women”.
It is utterly tragic that MRAs aren’t given the respect they deserve. It’s truly galling that just because their entire worldview was formed around a profound sense of entitlement induced by watching thousands of hours of harem anime, no one takes them seriously. It’s heartbreaking to think that people dismiss them out of hand just because – instead of addressing actual issues like the rates of suicide and depression among men – they focus on dumb shit like editing out all the parts of The Last Jedi that aren’t centred around men.
If that last thing sounded too ridiculous to be true, you have clearly forgotten which time it is that we live in and the corresponding fact that pretty much nothing now is too ridiculous to be true. We live in the most aggressively ridiculous timeline. Accordingly, the self-described “chauvinist cut” of TLJ is very, very real, and exactly as dumb as it sounds.
Uploaded to The Pirate Bay yesterday by an anonymous user, the “The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit” is, according to their own description “basically The Last Jedi minus Girlz Powah and other silly stuff“.
(20) HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM. WIRED delivers a less-than-stunning revelation: “Cantina Talk: The Last Jedi’s Shirtless Kylo Is Proving a Problem for Cosplayers”.
So, About Kylo’s High-Waisted Tights…
Source: The Wall Street Journal, of all places
Probability of Accuracy: They did get a high quality still of shirtless Kylo, so there’s no denying that they know what they’re doing.
The Real Deal: Perhaps the most surprising Last Jedi story to appear in recent weeks is this Wall Street Journal piece about the high-waisted tights Kylo wore in that one super-uncomfortable scene of him Force-communicating with Rey. (Don’t pretend like you know know exactly which one we’re talking about.) For one, it was surprising because it was in the Journal, but also because it focused on how hard Shirtless Buff Kylo Ren was to pull off for cosplayers. The piece even quotes Last Jedi costume designer Michael Kaplan, who said, “The world of Star Wars is not our world… Kylo Ren is not some hipster in hip-hugging jeans. Think Errol Flynn swashbuckling coolness as a point of departure. Hide that navel!” So, now you know. (Also, let’s be honest: Kylo Ren most definitely is some hipster in hip-hugging jeans, even if his wardrobe doesn’t reflect it.)
(21) BLACK PANTHER. Ruth Carter “‘Black Panther’ Costume Designer Talks Tribal-Tech Inspirations” in The Hollywood Reporter.
Ruth Carter has created costumes for some epic films, Amistad, Malcolm X and Selma among them, but nothing prepared her for the size and scope of Black Panther. For the super-stylish superhero film opening Feb. 12, she imagined a new African diaspora with 700 costumes fusing futurism, indigenous dress and high fashion, using research that spanned from the Rose Bowl Flea Market to textile dealers in Accra, Ghana.
The Ryan Coogler-directed film brings to the big screen Marvel Comics’ first black superhero, reinventing the circa 1966 character for today. Black Panther is depicted as T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who rules over the fantastical African country of Wakanda, rich with vibranium, a mythic metal that is woven into the superhero’s sleek black, repeating triangle-pattern suit (designed by Marvel’s Ryan Meinerding), and has allowed the population to make technological advances nearly a century ahead of the rest of the world. The fight for vibranium is at the heart of the story, with T’Challa defending the kingdom against Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger.
Carter worked with five illustrators, 14 designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more. “It was an army,” the costume designer says. On her mood boards were images of African dress from the Maasai, Tuareg, Turkana, Xhosa, Zulu, Suri and Dinka peoples (including a men’s glass bead, animal skin and cowry shell corset from the Metropolitan Museum of Art), as well as piercings and body art, and more abstract examples of drapery and beading. She also examined fashion by avant-garde pleating master Issey Miyake, African-style vintage pieces by Yves Saint Laurent and Donna Karan.
(22) STARTS TOMORROW. CW released a clip from Black Lightning — The Resurrection Scene 2 – a show that premieres January 16.
About BLACK LIGHTNING: Jefferson Pierce is a man wrestling with a secret. Nine years ago, Pierce was gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, which he used to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life and his family on the line, he left his Super Hero days behind. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, James Davis Nicoll, Dann, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John From GR.]