(1) WRITER LOSES EYE TO GUN VIOLENCE; FUNDRAISER STARTED. Sff author Jessie Kwak of Portland, OR was severely injured in a drive-by shooting last weekend while leaving the Mississippi Street Fair. “Author shot in eye near Mississippi Street Fair in Portland: ‘My left eye exploded'” at KGW8.
Jessie Kwak spent most of Saturday among hundreds of others enjoying the Mississippi Street Fair in North Portland. For the science fiction author, it was a special chance for her to sell her books at a booth, along with her friend and fellow author, Mark. Just after 8 p.m., the pair walked to Mark’s car, which was parked at North Kerby Avenue and North Failing Street. As they prepared to drive away, they heard gunfire.
“It was just kind of like, pop, pop, pop, pop, like somebody set off a string of fireworks,” Kwak said. “The windshield exploded and my left eye exploded and I realized that wasn’t fireworks, and so I ducked down.”
Mark drove Kwak, 40, to Legacy Emanuel Hospital about four miles away. Kwak’s husband, Robert Kittilson, took photographs of his wife’s injured face, which was covered in blood. The photos are difficult to look at, but the couple hopes those who see them will see the impact of gun violence for what it is, not just a statistic to ignore
There’s a GoFundMe to help with medical bills and loss of freelance income. “Help Jessie recover from a traumatic eye injury”. The appeal has raised almost $8,000 of the $20,000 goal in the first 24 hours.
Hi, I’m Jessie, a self-made freelance writer and author. On Saturday, July 15th, I was selling books at a local street fair with another author friend. As we were leaving, someone in the car ahead of us started firing their gun into the street nearby. A bullet ricocheted into our windshield, and glass and bullet fragments hit my face and entered my left eye. I was rushed to the hospital immediately, but it was clear that the bullet had done severe damage to the eye.
On Sunday, July 16th, I went under for a 5-hour surgery to reconstruct my left eye. Doctors said it was in pieces and had to be put back together like a puzzle. The CT scan revealed that bullet fragments were embedded deep in my eye and had damaged the retina. Another surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, July 19th to remove the bullet fragments and if possible repair the retina.
It will take time to learn to live with one eye, and as a freelancer, I won’t be able to work as I recover. And no work means no income.
This fundraiser is to help pay for medical treatment, lost income and clients, and for future legal expenses.
I have been watching as gun violence has been increasing in our country, and in retrospect, I know that I am very very lucky. Many families don’t get a second chance to hug their loved ones tight.
I want to take this opportunity to show you the real person behind the statistic, and that this was not a freak accident, but the result of a systemic issue we are facing here in the United States.
(2) HUMMINGBIRD PRIZE. The winner of the 2023 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize has been announced.
Winner: ‘Field’s Nocturne No. 10 in E Major’ by Matt Lumbard
Sonny wakes to the smell of coffee and the sight of his Grampa slipping suspenders over his shoulders, looking at the woodstove and muttering: “It’ll burn itself out.”
The editors also picked their own winner, by sff author Chip Houser.
Editors’ Choice: ‘Separate Worlds’ by Chip Houser
The first time the earth tolls, we’re all in our separate worlds doing what we do.
(3) AWARDS META. Daniel Dern suggests the Award Award, featuring categories like the “Most ingenious nomination process”. What others would you suggest?
(4) BACK IN THE TOY BOX. Masters of the Universe has been returned to development hell says Variety: “’Masters of the Universe’ Movie Dead at Netflix”. What will Cora think?
…Set on the planet Eternia, “Masters of the Universe” largely focuses on the conflict between He-Man, a blonde muscle god, and his devious nemesis Skeletor. The characters formed a much-loved 1980s animated series, which developed a cross-generational fan base during its syndicated runs. For the latest film iteration, the budget came in at over $200 million with cameras set to roll this February, sources said. Last spring, however, Netflix was confronted with a stunning stock drop that saw the powerful streamer shed $50 billion in value after investors became concerned about the company’s subscriber losses.
In the aftermath of the sell-off, Netflix film head Scott Stuber and chief content officer Bela Bajaria tried to reassure the industry that they still had money to spend amid their Wall Street woes. However, sources close to “Masters of the Universe” said after that point the streamer refused to shell out more than $150 million to see up-and-comer Allen (“American Horror Story,” “A Haunting in Venice”) pick up He-Man’s sword. A source familiar with Netflix said the stock drop was irrelevant to budget issues on “Masters,” noting that its content spend has been flat at $17 billion for two years, despite market fluctuation….
(5) WE PAUSE FOR A COMMERCIAL MESSAGE. Meanwhile, the Mark Twain House & Museum is adding a dose of grumpiness to the Masters of the Universe mix by hosting the virtual event “The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood”. Register here – choose your own price, minimum $2.50 (free to Twain House members).
Brian “Box” Brown unravels how marketing that targeted children in the 1980s has shaped adults in the present. The He-Man Effect shows how corporate manipulation brought muscular, accessory-stuffed action figures to dizzying heights in the eighties and beyond. Bringing beloved brands like He-Man, Transformers, My Little Pony, and even Mickey Mouse himself into the spotlight, this graphic history exposes a world with no rules and no concern for results beyond profit.
(6) CHARLES E. NOAD OBITUARY. David Bratman has written a tribute to the late Charles E. Noad at Kalimac’s corner. It begins:
Charles was a mainstay of the Tolkien Society, the UK-based organization, and an absolute monument for Tolkien studies for all that he didn’t write very much. Besides doing bibliographical work for the TS, his most valuable contribution was as proofreader for most of the posthumous Tolkien volumes, in the History of Middle-earth series and elsewhere. At this his ability to catch glitches was unsurpassed. He could quite literally tell whether a period (the full stop at the end of a sentence) was in italics or not. As a support to Christopher Tolkien, the editor of these volumes, he was more than invaluable….
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1998 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
A work by S. M. Stirling provides our Beginning this Scroll. Now I’ll admit that I am not that familiar with him which is not to say that there aren’t works by him that I do like deeply such as The Peshawar Lancers and The Lords of Creation series which consists of The Sky People and In the Courts of the Crimson Kings. The latter is extraordinary work.
He has been nominated for many awards, winning the Lord Ruthven Award which is given for significant contributions to the field of horror literature for his A Taint the Blood novel, and a Dragon Award for the Black Chamber novel in the Best Alternate History Novel category. It was nominated for a Sunburst was awarded to a Canadian novel in previous year.
Mike choose Island in the Sea of Time, the first novel in the Nantucket series, published by Roc Books twenty-five years ago.
And now for the Beginning…
March, 1998 A.D.
Ian Arnstein stepped off the ferry gangway and hefted his bags. Nantucket on a foggy March evening was chilly enough to make him thankful he’d worn the heavier overcoat; Southern Californian habits could betray you, here on the coast of New England. Thirty-odd miles off the coast. The summer houses built out over the water were still shuttered, and most of the shops were closed—tourist season wouldn’t really start until Daffodil Weekend in late April, when the population began to climb from seven thousand to sixty. He was a tourist of sorts himself, even though he came here regularly; to the locals he was still a “coof,” of course, or “from away,” to use a less old-fashioned term. Everybody whose ancestors hadn’t arrived in the seventeenth century was a coof, to the core of old-time inhabitants, a “wash-ashore” even if he’d lived here for years. This was the sort of place where they talked about “going to America” when they took the ferry to the mainland.
He trudged past Easy Street, which wasn’t, and turned onto Broad, which wasn’t either, up to the whaling magnate’s mansion that he stayed in every year. It had been converted to an inn back in the 1850s, when the magnate’s wife insisted on moving to Boston for the social life. Few buildings downtown were much more recent than that. The collapse of the whaling industry during the Civil War era had frozen Nantucket in time, down to the huge American elms along Main Street and the cobblestone alleys. The British travel writer Jan Morris had called it the most beautiful small town in the world, mellow brick and shingle in Federal or neoclassical style. A ferociously restrictive building code kept it that way, a place where Longfellow and Whittier would have felt at home and Melville would have taken a few minutes to notice the differences.
Mind you, it probably smells a lot better these days. Must have reeked something fierce when the harborfront was lined with whale-oil renderies. It had its own memories for him, now. Still painful, but life was like that. People died, marriages too, and you went on.
He hurried up Broad Street and hefted his bags up the brick stairs to the white neoclassical doors with their overhead fanlights flanked by white wooden pillars. The desk was just within, but the tantalizing smells came from downstairs. The whalers were long gone, but they still served a mean seafood dinner in the basement restaurant at the John Cofflin House.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 19, 1883 — Max Fleischer. Animator, film director and producer. He brought such animated characters as Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman to the screen and was responsible for a number of technological innovations including the Rotoscope and Stereoptical Processes. You can see Betty’s first screen appearance here in the 1930 Cartoon, “Dizzy Dishes”. (Died 1972.)
- Born July 19, 1924 — Pat Hingle. He portrayed Jim Gordon in the Burton Batman film franchise. Genre wise, he had roles in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Carol for Another Christmas, Mission: Impossible, The Invaders, Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo, Amazing Stories and The Land Before Time. He would reprise his Gordon role in the Batman OnStar commercials. (Died 2009.)
- Born July 19, 1927 — Richard E. Geis. I met him at least once when I was living out there in Oregon. Interesting person. He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twice; and whose science fiction fanzine Science Fiction Review won Hugo Awards for Best Fanzine four times. The Alien Critic won the Best Fanzine Hugo (once in a tie with Algol), and once by himself. And yes, I enjoyed reading the Science Fiction Review. I’ve not read any of his handful of genre novels, and certainly haven’t encountered his soft-core porn of which there’s a lot. (Died 2013.)
- Born July 19, 1950 — Richard Pini, 73. He’s half of the husband-and-wife team responsible for creating the well-known Elfquest series of comics, graphic novels and prose works. They are also known as WaRP (as in Warp Graphics). It’s worth noting that characters based on works by the Pinis appear in Ghost Rider (vol.1 issue 14).
- Born July 19, 1957 — John Pelan. Committed (more or less) the act of opening serial small publishing houses in succession with the first being Axolotl Press in the mid-Eighties where he’d published the likes of de Lint and Powers (before selling it to Pulphouse Publishing) followed by Darkside Press, Silver Salamander Press and finally co-founding Midnight House. All have been inactive for quite awhile now and he’d been editing such anthologies as Tales of Terror and Torment: Stories from the Pulps, Volume 1 for other presses though even that has not happened for some years as near as I can tell. As a writer, he had more than thirty published stories and he had won both a Stoker for The Darker Side: Generations of Horror anthology and an International Horror Guild Award for his Darkside: Horror for the Next Millennium anthology. (Died 2021.)
- Born July 19, 1969 — Kelly Link, 54. First, let me note that along with Ellen Datlow, she and her husband Gavin Grant were responsible for the last five volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. They all did an absolutely magnificent job. All of her collections, Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners and Get in Trouble are astonishingly good. And she’s much honored having three Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award, an Otherwise Award, a Sturgeon Award and received a MacArthur Genius Grant. She was a finalist for a 2016 Pulitzer Prize. And Hugos. She won a Hugo at Interaction for her “Faery Handbag” novellette, her “Magic for Beginners” novella was nominated at L.A. Con IV, and finally Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet was nominated at Nippon 2007 for Best Semi-Prozine (her husband Gavin Grant was also nominated).
- Born July 19, 1976 — Benedict Cumberbatch, 47. Confession time: I really didn’t care for him in the Sherlock series, nor did I think his Khan In Star Trek Into Darkness was all that interesting but his Stephen Strange In Doctor Strange was excellent. He did do a superb job of voicing Smaug inThe Hobbit and his Grinch voicing in that film was also superb. I understand he’s the voice of Satan in Good Omens…
(9) WIZARDS IN TRAINING. This is a pretty cute set of bookends (and middle!) “The Journey To HOGWARTS Illuminated Bookend Collection Featuring A Detailed HOGWARTS Express On Its Journey Back To HOGWARTS Castle” from the Bradford Exchange.
(10) ARE FANS NO LONGER ALIENATED? “’The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks’ podcast explores internet outrage and its aftermath” at WBUR.
1999’s “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” introduced audiences to a technological marvel: Jar Jar Binks, cinema’s first major motion-captured character. But the comic-relief alien also became the target of one of the internet’s first hate campaigns, with vitriol spilling over to the actor who played Jar Jar as well.
The new podcast “The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks” tells this story and how it informs online discourse today. Here & Now‘s Celeste Headlee speaks to podcast host Dylan Marron, also known for his writing work on “Ted Lasso” and his podcast “Conversations with People Who Hate Me.”
Here’s the direct link to the podcast: “The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks”.
Jar Jar Binks became one of the most polarizing figures in cinematic history when he made his debut in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 1999. He was even named “the most annoying movie character of all time” by Complex Magazine. After the release, Ahmed Best, the man who played Jar Jar, was hit with the full force of the backlash — and it nearly destroyed him. The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks is a six-part journey through the early internet to understand how one of the first-ever online hate campaigns began, and to right what we got so wrong about Jar Jar the first time around.
(11) UP ABOVE THE WORLD SO HIGH. “High altitude balloons spy on dark matter” at Popular Science.
High altitude balloons have drawn a lot of fire lately. In February, the US military shot down a spy balloon potentially operated by the Chinese government and an “unidentified aerial phenomenon” that was later revealed to likely be a hobbyist balloon.
So, when people caught sight of another large balloon in the southern hemisphere in early May, there was concern it could be another spy device. Instead, it represents the future of astronomy: balloon-borne telescopes that peer deep into space without leaving the stratosphere.
“We’re looking up, not down,” says William Jones, a professor of physics at Princeton University and head of NASA’s Super Pressure Balloon Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) team. Launched from Wānaka, New Zealand, on April 15, the nearly 10-foot-tall telescope has already circled the southern hemisphere four times on a football stadium-sized balloon made from polyethylene film. Its three onboard cameras also took stunning images of the Tarantula Nebula and Antennae galaxies to rival those of the Hubble Space Telescope. The findings from SuperBIT could help scientists unravel one of the greatest mysteries of the universe: the nature of dark matter, a theoretically invisible material only known from its gravitational effects on visible objects….
(12) THE SHIPPING NEWS. The Last Voyage of the Demeter has the dirt on Dracula.
Based on a single chilling chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells the terrifying story of the merchant ship Demeter, which was chartered to carry private cargo—fifty unmarked wooden crates—from Carpathia to London. Strange events befall the doomed crew as they attempt to survive the ocean voyage, stalked each night by a merciless presence onboard the ship. When the Demeter finally arrives off the shores of England, it is a charred, derelict wreck. There is no trace of the crew.
(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Fanac.org now hosts the venerable Castle of Terrors made in 1964 by the UK’s Delta Science Fiction Film Group.
This fannish production from Harry Nadler and the Delta SF Film Group gives us a slapstick parody of horror movies, replete with well known British fans of the day. There are angry villagers, damsels in distress, and scary monsters, as well as less well-known horror tropes like food fights in this 20 minute amateur extravaganza. In “Castle of Terrors” you can feel just how much fun Delta Group was having (and get a clear sense of their love for slapstick). Bill Burns, who provided this and other Delta Films tells us “The individual films date from 1963 to 1970, and were made on 8mm silent film to which a magnetic stripe was later added and the sound dubbed on. They were then shown mercilessly at club meetings and Eastercons, and suffered accordingly.” For more about the Delta SF Film Group, see the Fancyclopedia article and see the text of Bill’s talk at Manunicon (2016 Eastercon) here.
[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Daniel Dern, A. P. Howell, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]