Mike and Christine Mignola are the 2021 recipients of the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award Comic-Con International announced on June 8. The official presentation will be part of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Ceremony on July 25. Bob Clampett’s daughter, Ruth Clampett, will make the presentation.
The Mignolas have been selected for their fundraising contributions to Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen. Online auction sales of Mike’s sketches of characters from popular culture have raised over $420,000 for the charity. In addition, Dark Horse has published a collection of the sketches, Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook, which is expected to increase the overall charity contribution to half a million dollars.
Comics writer/artist Mike Mignola is best known as the creator of the Hellboy series of comics and its spinoffs, including B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson, and Abe Sapien. From April to December 2020, Mignola auctioned his sketches of such characters as Kermit the Frog, the Jolly Green Giant, and Astro Boy as well as DC and Marvel superheroes and villains and his own characters.
The Mignolas’ chosen charity, World Central Kitchen, was founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés. WCK uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. It has created a new model for disaster response through its work helping devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems. WCK has served more than 50 million fresh meals to people affected by natural disasters and other crises around the world in countries including The Bahamas, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mozambique, Venezuela, and the United States.
Comic-Con’s Humanitarian Award is given in the name of famed animator Bob Clampett, who created the TV series Beany and Cecil, designed such popular characters as Porky Pig and Tweety Bird, and directed 84 classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Clampett was a regular guest a Comic-Con in the 1970s and early 1980s. After his death in 1984, the award was created to honor those people in comics and the popular arts who have worked to help others. Each year’s recipients are chosen by the Comic-Con committee.
Image and Fantagraphics received the most nominations: Image with 17 (plus 11 shared) and Fantagraphics with 18. Leading the pack for Image is Department of Truth, up for Best Continuing Series, Best New Series, Best Writer (James Tynion IV), and Best Lettering (Aditya Bidikar). Decorum garnered nominations for Best Limited Series, Best Writer (Jonathan Hickman), and Best Cover Artist (Mike Huddleston), while Gideon Falls is nominated for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (Jeff Lemire), and Best Coloring (Dave Stewart). Image projects with 2 nominations include Bitter Root (Best Continuing Series, Best Penciller/Inker for Sanford Greene), Pulp (Best Graphic Album–New, Best Writer for Ed Brubaker), Middlewest (Best Penciller/Inker for Jorge Corona and Best Coloring for Jean-Francois Beaulieu), and Stillwater (Best Continuing Series and Best Cover Artist for Ramôn K. Peréz)
The 2021 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of comics retailer Marco Davanzo (Alakazam Comics, Irvine, CA), Comic-Con Board member Shelley Fruchey, librarian Pamela Jackson (San Diego State University), comics creator/publisher Keithan Jones (The Power Knights, KID Comics), educator Alonso Nuñez (Little Fish Comic Book Studio), and comics scholar Jim Thompson (Comic Book Historians).
The judges added one new category this year, Best Graphic Memoir. In previous years, autobiographical works had been included in the Best Reality-Based Work category. But this year’s judges found there to be so many high-quality reality-based works, including numerous memoirs, that the new category was required.
All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 30. The results of the voting will be announced in July in a virtual ceremony as part of Comic-Con@Home.
2021 WILL EISNER COMIC INDUSTRY AWARD NOMINEES
BEST SHORT STORY
“Garden Boys” by Henry McCausland, in Now #8 (Fantagraphics)
Michael Allred, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)
Marco Chechetto, Daredevil (Marvel)
Jorge Corona, Middlewest (Image)
Bertrand Gatignol, Pistouvi (Magnetic Press)
Mitch Gerads/Evan “Doc” Shaner, Strange Adventures (DC Black Label)
Sanford Greene, Bitter Root (Image)
BEST PAINTER/MULTIMEDIA ARTIST (INTERIOR ART)
Benjamin Adam, Soon (Europe Comics)
Alice Chemama, The Zolas (Europe Comics)
Jared Cullum, Kodi (Top Shelf)
Decur, When You Look Up (Enchanted Lion Books)
Antonio Lapone, Gentlemind (Europe Comics)
Anand RK/John Pearson, Blue in Green (Image)
BEST COVER ARTIST
Jamal Campbell, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (BOOM! Studios); Far Sector (DC)
Simone Di Meo, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead (BOOM! Studio)
Mike Huddleston, Decorum (Image)
Dave Johnson, Butcher of Paris (Dark Horse)
Peach Momoko, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19, Mighty Morphin #2, Something Is Killing the Children #12, Power Rangers #1 (BOOM! Studios); DIE!namite, Vampirella (Dynamite); The Crow: Lethe (IDW); Marvel Variants (Marvel
Dave Stewart, Promethee 13:13 (comiXology); Black Hammer (Dark Horse); Gideon Falls (Image); Spider-Man #4-#5 (Marvel)
Matt Wilson, Undiscovered Country (Image); Fire Power (Image/Skybound); Thor (Marvel)
Mike Allred, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)
Deron Bennett, Bear, The Sacrifice of Darkness (Archaia); King of Nowhere, Something Is Killing the Children, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead (BOOM! Studios); Far Sector, Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red,Martian Manhunter (DC); Excellence (Image/Skybound); A Dark Interlude, Dark One, Relics of Youth, Resonant,Shadow Service, Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth (Vault); Ping Pong (VIZ Media)
Aditya Bidikar, Barbalien: Red Planet, Grafity’s Wall Expanded Edition (Dark Horse); John Constantine, Hellblazer (DC); A Map to the Sun (First Second); The Department of Truth, Lost Soldiers (Image); Giga, The Picture of Everything Else (Vault)
Clayton Cowles, Aquaman, Batman, Batman and the Outsiders, Strange Adventures, Superman: Man of Tomorrow,Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC); Adventureman, Bitter Root, Bog Bodies, Die (Image); Reaver (Image/Skybound); Morbius,X Of Swords (Marvel)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (IDW)
Rus Wooton, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth (DC); Decorum, Monstress (Image); Die!Die!Die!, Fire Power,Oblivion Song, Outcast, Stillwater (Image/Skybound)
Comic-Con International has announced six individuals who will automatically be inducted to the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame Nominees for 2021. These inductees include two deceased comics artists: Argentinean Alberto Breccia, best known for drawing Mort Cinder, and cartoonist Stan Goldberg(known for his Marvel color designs and his decades at Archie Comics); two pioneers of the comics medium: editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast, creator of the donkey symbol for the Democratic Party and the elephant symbol for the Republican Party, and Swiss illustrator Rodolphe Töpffer, creator in the early 1800s of “picture stories” that preceded today’s comic strips; and two living legends: editor/publisher Françoise Mouly, founder of RAW Books and of TOON! Books, as well as art director for TheNew Yorker, and Golden Age artist Lily Renée Phillips, best known for work at Fiction House, who turns 100 on May 12.
The judges have also chosen 16 nominees from whom voters will select 4 to be inducted in the Hall of Fame this summer. These nominees are Ruth Atkinson, Dave Cockrum, Kevin Eastman, Neil Gaiman, Max Gaines, Justin Green, Moto Hagio, Don Heck, Klaus Janson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Hank Ketcham, Scott McCloud, Grant Morrison, Alex Niño, P. Craig Russell, and Gaspar Saladino.
Here are brief bios for the automatic inductees:
Breccia (1919–1993) was an Argentinean artist who worked from the 1940s through the 1980s. Starting out in commercial illustration for magazines, juvenile tales, and genre stories, His first major character, a detective named Sherlock Time, appeared in the late 1950s and was written by Héctor German Oesterheld, who would become a long-time collaborator. Their “masterpiece” is considered Mort Cinder, produced from 1962 to 1964. Breccia worked with and was influenced by Hugo Pratt and was made a member of the “Venice Group” that Pratt and other European artists created. One of Breccia’s last works was a series called Perramus, a critique of life under dictatorship, that was begun when Argentina was still under the control of the dictatorship that was very likely responsible for the disappearance of Oesterheld. This act of artistic courage led to an award from Amnesty International in 1989.
Stan Goldberg (1932–2014) started his career in 1949 at the age of 16 as a staff artist for Timely (now Marvel), where he was in charge of the color department. Goldberg continued to color Marvel comics until 1969, creating the color designs for many Silver Age characters, including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and The Hulk. He also drew such Marvel titles as Millie the Model and Patsy Walker. After leaving Marvel he drew some of DC’s teen titles, including Date with Debbie, Swing with Scooter, and Binky, and began a 40-year career at Archie Comics, with his work appearing in such titles as Archie and Me, Betty and Me, Everything’s Archie, Life with Archie, Archie’s Pals n Gals, Laugh, Pep, and Sabrina The Teenage Witch. From 1975 to 1980 Goldberg drew the Archie Sunday newspaper strip.
Editor and publisher Francoise Mouly founded Raw Books and Graphics in 1978. With her husband Art Spiegelman she launched Raw magazine in 1980, which is perhaps best known for serializing Spiegelman’s award-winning Maus. A lavishly produced oversize anthology, Raw published work by Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Kim Deitch, Ben Katchor, Richard McGuire, Lorenzo Mattotti, Gary Panter, Joost Swarte, Jacques Tardi, and Chris Ware, to name but a few. When Mouly became art director at The New Yorker in 1993, she brought a large number of cartoonists and artists to the periodical’s interiors and covers. In 2008 she launched TOON Books, an imprint devoted to books for young readers done by cartoonists.
Lily Renée Phillips
Lily Renée Wilhelm Peters Phillips was the star artist for comics publisher Fiction House, where she worked from 1943 until 1948. She drew such strips as Werewolf Hunter, Jane Martin, Senorita Rio, and The Lost World. She was known for her striking covers and “good girl” art. She later drew Abbott & Costello Comics with her husband at the time, Eric Peters, and Borden’s Elsie the Cow comics. She left comics in the 1950s; she is still living and was a guest at Comic-Con in 2007. She turns 100 on May 12.
Editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840–1902) is often considered to be the “Father of the American Cartoon.” He started out as an illustrator in 1856 while still a teenager and became a staff illustrator for Harper’s Weekly in 1860. His cartoons advocated the abolition of slavery, opposed racial segregation, and deplored the violence of the Ku Klux Klan. In the 1870s he used his cartoons to crusade against New York City’s political boss William Tweed, and he devised the Tammany tiger for this crusade. He popularized the elephant to symbolize the Republican Party and the donkey as the symbol for the Democratic Party, and he created the “modern” image of Santa Claus.
Swiss artist Rodolphe Töpffer (1799–1846) is known for his histoires en images, picture stories that are considered predecessors to modern comic strips. His works included Histoire de M. Jabot (1833), Monsieur Crépin (1837), Monsieur Pencil (1840), and Le Docteur Festus (1846). These works were distinctively different from a painting, a political cartoon, or an illustrated novel. The images followed clear narrative sequences over a course of many pages, rather than just a series of unrelated events. Both text and images were closely intertwined. Originally ,he drew his comics purely for his own and friends’ amusement. One of his friends, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, liked them so much (especially the Faust parody) that he encouraged Töpffer to publish his littérature en estampes (“graphic literature”). His stories were printed in various magazines and translated into German, Dutch, English, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish.
The 2021 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of comics retailer Marco Davanzo (Alakazam Comics, Irvine, CA), Comic-Con Board Member Shelley Fruchey, librarian Pamela Jackson (San Diego State University), comics creator/publisher Keithan Jones (The Power Knights, KID Comics), educator Alonso Nuñez (Little Fish Comic Book Studio), and comics scholar Jim Thompson (Comic Book Historians).
The Eisner Hall of Fame trophies will be presented in a virtual awards ceremony to be held during Comic-Con@Home in July.
The San Diego Convention Center hosted about 135,000 visitors two years ago for Comic-Con, the four-day celebration of comic books and pop culture.
…But even when state restrictions lift, experts acknowledge, it may be a year or more before California convention centers host the kind of mega-crowds that flocked to Comic-Con, NAMM and E3 in past years.
“We anticipate that shows will be smaller starting off and getting back up to speed hopefully next year,” said Ellen Schwartz, general manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center. “As we get into the last quarter of this calendar year and start the new year, we’re hopeful that the business will come back to closer to where it was before the pandemic.”
Among the reasons for the smaller events: State officials say COVID-19 protocols for large-scale indoor events will still require testing or vaccination verifications, which could exclude some would-be attendees. The state has yet to release details of those requirements.
Also, surveys show that many business travelers still don’t feel safe meeting face to face indoors with thousands of strangers. Some elements of future events are likely to be conducted via streaming video, accommodating virus-cautious attendees who want to stay home.
Rachel “Kiko” Guntermann, a professional costume maker who previously attended five or six conventions a year, including Comic-Con, said she would not feel safe returning to a large convention even though she has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Conventions were a center of my life for a while, and now the idea of being in a vendor hall with that many people makes me want to dry heave,” she said….
(2) FRANKENSTAMP AND FRIENDS. A set of Classic Science Fiction stamps will be issued by Great Britain’s Royal Mail on April 15. Preorders are being taken now.
A collection of six Special Stamps celebrating the imagination and artistic legacy of classic science fiction.
The issue coincides with the 75th anniversary of the death of HG Wells and the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Day of the Triffids.
Each stamp features a unique interpretation by a different artist illustrating a seminal work by a classic British science fiction author
Two First Class, two £1.70 and two £2.55 stamps presented as three horizontal se-tenant pairs.
A. T. Greenblatt’s short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, Fireside, Lightspeed, and other magazines. She won the 2019 Nebula Award for Best Short Story for “Give the Family My Love,” and is also on the current Nebula Awards ballot for her novelette “Burn or The Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super.” She was also a Nebula finalist for 2018. She has also been a Theodore Sturgeon Award finalist as well as a Parsec Award finalist. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise and Clarion West workshops, and has been an editorial assistant at the flash fiction magazines Every Day Fiction and Flash Fiction Online.
We discussed the writing workshop-induced panic which caused her to begin writing her latest Nebula Award-nominated story, how the Viable Paradise workshop helped kick her writing up a notch, why she prefers Batman to Superman, the importance of revisions, critique groups, and community, what’s to be learned from rereading one’s older work, why she’s a total pantser, her love of Roald Dahl, something she wishes she’d known earlier about the endings of stories, how much of writing is being able to keep secrets and not explode, and much more.
(4) 2021 SFPA POETRY CONTEST AND JUDGE ANNOUNCED. The 2021 Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) Speculative Poetry Contest will be open for entries from June 1 through August 31, with Sheree Renée Thomas serving as guest judge of the contest. Full guidelines here.
Sheree Renée Thomas is an award-winning fiction writer, poet, and editor. Her work is inspired by myth and folklore, natural science and Mississippi Delta conjure. Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future (Third Man Books) is her first all prose collection. She is also the author of two multigenre/hybrid collections, Sleeping Under the Tree of LIfe and Shotgun Lullabies (Aqueduct Press) and edited the World Fantasy-winning groundbreaking black speculative fiction Dark Matter anthologies (Hachette/Grand Central).
Sheree is the associate editor of the historic Black arts literary journal, Obsidian: Literature & the Arts in the African Diaspora and editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
The 2021 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest is open to all poets, including non-SFPA-members. Prizes will be awarded for best unpublished poem in three categories: Dwarf (poems 1–10 lines [prose poems 0–100 words]); Short (11–49 lines [prose poems 101–499 words]); Long (50 lines and more [prose 500 words and up]). Line count does not include title or stanza breaks. All sub-genres of speculative poetry allowed in any form.
Prizes in each category (Dwarf, Short, Long) will be $150 First Prize, $75 Second Prize, $25 Third Prize. Publication on the SFPA website for first through third places. Winners will be announced and posted on the site October 1.
Wrath James White is a former World Class Heavyweight Kickboxer, a professional Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts trainer, distance runner, performance artist, and former street brawler, who is now known for creating some of the most disturbing works of fiction in print. His books include The Resurrectionist, Succulent Prey, and The Teratologist with Edward Lee.
(6) PLUCKED OFF THE SLUSHPILE. [Item by rcade.] Though many novelists would tell the story of how they first became published as a heroic triumph of talent and perseverance over rejection and adversity, the science fiction author Stephen Palmer credits something else entirely in a new interview with SFFWorld: “Interview with Stephen Palmer”.
My route to publication was the one too few people talk about – pure chance. Random luck is a far larger player in getting published than most people realize, partly because writers don’t want to believe they have little or no agency in their own success, and partly because the odds against success are so huge nobody wants to face them. I was plucked off the slush pile because I sent in the right novel at the right time. Tim Holman remembered it when he and Colin Murray were seeking new British writers, and he contacted me. But it could have been so different. In December 1993 me and my then wife were about to move house, and for reasons too unpleasant to detail here we weren’t going to leave a forwarding address. A few days before we departed a letter popped through the letterbox. It was from Tim Holman, writing back to me a full year after I’d sent him an extract of Memory Seed, telling me he wanted to read more. If I’d moved a week earlier I might not be an author now…
Palmer’s debut novel Memory Seed is being republished by Infinity Plus. He got the rights back from Orbit for that book and Glass nine years ago but the original files were lost. He bought copies, removed the pages and did the OCR scanning himself.
This has been one of the longest running legal battles in anime and I never thought I would see it resolved in my lifetime….
As to the details of what this agreement entails, this is what the official press statement has to say:
“Tokyo based BIGWEST CO.,LTD. and Los Angeles based Harmony Gold U.S.A. announced an agreement regarding the worldwide rights for the legendary Macross and Robotech franchises. This expansive agreement signed by both companies on March 1, 2021, ends two decades of disagreements and will allow Bigwest and Harmony Gold to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential of both the Macross and Robotech franchises worldwide. The landmark agreement immediately permits worldwide distribution of most of the Macross films and television sequels worldwide, and also confirms that Bigwest will not oppose the Japanese release of an anticipated upcoming live-action Robotech film. The agreement also recognizes Harmony Gold’s longstanding exclusive license with Tatsunoko for the use of the 41 Macross characters and mecha in the Robotech television series and related merchandise throughout the world excluding Japan. Moving forward, both parties will cooperate on distribution regarding future Macross and Robotech projects for the benefit of both franchises.”
French police say they are building a case against an international gang of toy thieves specialising in stealing Lego – and they have warned specialist shops and even parents to be aware of a global trade in the bricks.
The alert comes after officers arrested three people – a woman and two men – in the process of stealing boxes of Lego from a toy shop in Yvelines, outside Paris, last June. Under questioning, the suspects, all from Poland, reportedly admitted they were part of a team specialising in stealing Lego sought by collectors.
“The Lego community isn’t just made up of children,” one investigator told Le Parisien newspaper. “There are numerous adults who play with it; there are swaps and sales on the internet. We’ve also had people complaining their homes have been broken into and Lego stolen.”
Van Ijken cited a Cafe Corner Lego set that cost €150 when it was released to shops in 2007 selling in its original box for €2,500 last year.
Lego looting appears to be a global business, according to reports in the US, Canada and Australia, where numerous thefts have been reported over the last five years. In 2005, San Diego police arrested a group of women found to have €200,000 worth of Lego.
(9) THE UNKINDEST CUT. [Item by rcade.] The acclaimed weird fiction author Jeff VanderMeer is sickened by the actions of one of his new neighbors in Tallahassee, Florida:
Someone bought a house a few streets down and just cut down 30 mature pine trees — in the spring. I wonder if they know there’s little they could do in their lives to make up for the wildlife they just slaughtered. I know we’ll be getting survivors in the yard for weeks to come.
I’m planting two sycamores and some river birch, mayhaw next week and then also seeking out some of the pine saplings to protect them. We have 8 mature pines in the yard and not a damn one is getting cut down. …
Developers are trying to eat this city alive and we have, purportedly 55% canopy, although I imagine it’s a lower percentage after the predation of the past few years.
A Florida law enacted in 2019 made it much harder for cities and counties to stop property owners from removing trees. Tallahassee and the surrounding county have 78 miles of roads shaded by oak, hickory, sweet gum and pine trees and the city’s tree canopy coverage is among the largest in the U.S.
[From the Introduction] A scroll through Jeff VanderMeer’s Twitter account yields all manner of birds, flowers, trees, bird feeders, backyard wildlife, and the occasional portrait of his housecat, Neo. By and large, it seems such joyous, benevolent content that it’s surprising it comes from the same hands as one of the most subversive, experimental, apocalyptic, and politically daring fiction writers at work in America today.
…Another of his passions involves his ongoing project of “rewilding” his half-acre yard on the edge of Tallahassee. In order to combat natural-habitat destruction, VanderMeer has reintroduced native plants and trees to encourage the return of local wildlife. The fruits of VanderMeer’s tweets spring directly from the myriad animals, insects, organisms, and flowering flora that have returned to his homegrown micro nature-preserve. (“Right now, during migration season,” he reports, “we have about 300 yellow-rumped warblers in the yard and another 400 pine siskins, along with ruby-crowned kinglets, Baltimore orioles, orange-crowned warblers, hermit thrushes, cedar waxwings, etc.”) Will VanderMeer save our planet? Can it even be saved at this point? These are the real mysteries of our era….
MACHADO: It’s a bit like watching this pandemic unfold. We’re botching it all up, and you can’t help but feel like it doesn’t have to be this way. Do you think you’re a cynic about wildlife and the climate crisis?
VANDERMEER: I think that fixing the climate crisis should be more ingrained in our discussions and it’s not. Even in fiction, I see a lot of green-tech solutions that are totally divorced from actually dealing with what’s going on in the landscape. The other day I saw that Elon Musk had gone from chastising the oil industry to being like, “We need to mine for our SpaceX platform so that we have energy for our rockets.” Those are the kinds of things that get to me. One reason I push so hard for wildlife and for habitat is that I just don’t think we can make it through without them. We can’t just green-tech our way into some kind of solution. We have to change how we actually interact. And I do think we can all make small changes in how we do things that can really help us. In that way, I’m not cynical. People ask about hope all the time, which in a very absurdist way cracks me up because there’s always this question of, “Is it too late?” And it’s like,
“Well, what are you going to do if it’s too late? You really have no choice but to try to do the best things possible to get out of this.” Next cheery question!
We received some truly incredible stories from 60 different countries this season.
Make sure to save the date for May 22 if you want to experience exciting new sci-fi stories, chat with competition participants from around the world, and hear our celebrity guest readers!
(12) HUMMEL OBIT. The Washington Post has an obituary for Joye Hummel by Harrison Smith. Hummel was hired by William Moulton Marston as a secretary and then went on to write Wonder Woman scripts until 1947. Historians credit her as being the first woman to write scripts for Wonder Woman. She died April 5. “Joye Hummel, first woman hired to write Wonder Woman comics, dies at 97”.
In March 1944, shortly before Joye Hummel graduated from the Katharine Gibbs secretarial school in Manhattan, she was invited to meet with one of her instructors, a charismatic psychologist who had been impressed by her essays on a take-home test.
Over tea at the Harvard Club, professor William Moulton Marston offered her a job — not in the classroom or psych lab, but in the office of his 43rd Street art studio. He wanted Ms. Hummel to help him write scripts for Wonder Woman, the Amazonian superhero he had created three years earlier and endowed with a magic lasso, indestructible bracelets, an eye-catching red bustier and a feminist sensibility.Ms. Hummel, then 19, had never read Wonder Woman; she had never even read a comic book. But Marston needed an assistant. His character, brought to life on the page by artist H.G. Peter, was appearing in four comic books and was about to star in a syndicated newspaper strip. He was looking for someone young who could write slang and who, perhaps most importantly, shared his philosophy and vision for the character. “You understand that I want women to feel they have the right to go out, to study, to find something they love to do and get out in the world and do it,” Ms. Hummel recalled his saying. She was “astonished and delighted” by the job offer, according to historian Jill Lepore’s book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” and soon began writing for the comic. “I always did have a big imagination,” she said.
Ms. Hummel worked as a Wonder Woman ghostwriter for the next three years, long before any woman was publicly credited as a writer for the series. As invisible to readers as Wonder Woman’s transparent jet plane, she was increasingly recognized after Lepore interviewed her in 2014. Four years later, she received the Bill Finger Award, given to overlooked or underappreciated comic book writers at the Eisner Awards….
(13) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
April 9, 1955 — On this date in 1955, Science Fiction Theatre first aired in syndication. It was produced by Ivan Tors and Maurice Ziv. It ran for seventy eight episodes over two years and was hosted by Truman Bradley who was the announcer for Red Skelton’s program. The first episode “Beyond” had the story of a test pilot travelling at much faster than the speed of sound who bails out and tells his superiors that another craft was about to collide with his. It starred William Lundigan, Ellen Drew and Bruce Bennett. You can watch it here.
(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born April 9, 1906 – Victor Vasarely. Grandfather of op art, like this, and this (Supernovae, 1961). Here is The Space Merchants using some of VV’s Folklore Planetario for the cover. (Died 1997) [JH]
Born April 9, 1911 — George O. Smith. His early prolific writings on Astounding Science Fiction in the 1940s ended when Campbell’s wife left him for Smith whom she married. Later stories were on Thrilling Wonder Stories, Galaxy, Super Science Stories and Fantastic to name but four such outlets. He was given First Fandom Hall of Fame Award just before he passed on. Interestingly his novels are available from the usual digital sources but his short stories are not. (Died 1981.) (CE)
Born April 9, 1913 — George F. Lowther. He was writer, producer, director in the earliest days of radio and television. He wrote scripts for both Captain Video and His Video Rangers and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. You can see “The Birth of The Galaxy” which he scripted for the first show here as it is in the public domain. (Died 1975.) (CE)
Born April 9, 1915 – Charles Burbee. One of our best fanwriters, of the brilliant but biting type (if you like that, as well as admiring it, you can change but to and). Fanzine, Burblings; co-edited Shangri L’Affaires awhile. Fan Guest of Honor at Westercon 27. You can see The Incompleat Burbee here (part 1) and here (part 2). Burbeeisms still circulate, like AKICIF (All Knowledge Is Contained In Fanzines) – sometimes without his mocking tone, a neglect he would have mocked. (Died 1996) [JH]
Born April 9, 1937 – Barrington Bayley. A dozen novels, fourscore shorter stories, some under other names (“Michael Barrington” for work with Michael Moorcock). Two collections. Interviewed in Interzone, Vector; on the cover of V223 for a Mark Greener article. (Died 2008) [JH]
Born April 9, 1937 — Marty Krofft, 84. Along with Sid, his brother, are a Canadian sibling team of television creators and puppeteers. Through Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, they have made numerous series including the superb H.R. Pufnstuf which I still remember fondly all these years later not to forget Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Land of the Lost and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. (CE)
Born April 9, 1949 — Stephen Hickman, 72. Illustrator who has done over three hundred and fifty genre covers such as Manly Wade Wellman’s John the Balladeer and Nancy Springer’s Rowan Hood, Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest. His most widely known effort is his space fantasy postage stamps done for the U.S. Postal Service which won a Hugo for Best Original Art Work at ConAndian in 1994. (CE)
Born April 9, 1954 — Dennis Quaid, 67. I’m reasonably sure that he first genre role was in Dreamscape as Alex Gardner followed immediately by the superb role of Willis Davidge in Enemy Mine followed by completing a trifecta with Innerspace and the character of Lt. Tuck Pendleton. And then there’s the sweet film of Dragonheart and him as Bowen. Anyone hear of The Day After Tomorrow in which he was Jack Hall? I hadn’t a clue about it. (CE)
Born April 9, 1972 — Neve McIntosh, 49. During time of the Eleventh Doctor, She plays Alaya and Restac, two Silurian reptilian sisters who have been disturbed under the earth, one captured by humans and the other demanding vengeance. Her second appearance on Doctor Who is Madame Vastra in “A Good Man Goes to War”. Also a Silurian, she’s a Victorian crime fighter. She’s back in the 2012 Christmas special, and in the episodes “The Crimson Horror” and “The Name of the Doctor”. She’s Madame Vastra, who along with her wife, Jenny Flint, and Strax, a former Sontaran warrior, who together form a private investigator team. Big Finish gave them their own line of audio adventures. (CE)
Born April 9, 1980 – Jill Hathaway, age 41. Two novels. Teaches high-school English, bless her. Has read Cat’s Cradle, Tender Is the Night, Native Son. [JH]
Born April 9, 1981 – Vincent Chong, age 40. Two hundred twenty covers, sixty interiors. Artbook Altered Visions. Here is Shine.Here is the Gollancz ed’n of Dangerous Visions. Here is G’s Left Hand of Darkness.Here is Ghost Story. [JH]
Born April 9, 1990 – Megan Bannen, age 31. Two novels, one just last year. “An avid coffee drinker and mediocre ukulele player…. in her spare time, she collects graduate degrees from Kansas colleges and universities.” Or so she says. [JH]
Grant Snider’s “Hopscotch” is not genre. You might like it anyway – we did!
(16) PRINCE PHILIP RIP. The Cartoon Museum in London noted the passing of its Patron HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh has been Patron of The Cartoon Museum in London for over 20 years. In 1949 he and the young Princess Elizabeth attended the Royal Society of Arts and listened to a speech by the great British cartoonist H. M. Bateman, calling for a national museum of cartoons.
He has given the museum continuous support and with his great love of humour he admired the genre of British cartooning. In 1994 he opened the museum’s exhibition on Giles, who drew for the Daily and Sunday Express from 1943 – 1991. The Duke of Edinburgh owned several Giles cartoons in his private collection; Giles was his favourite cartoonist – he admired his social observations, gentle humour, and depictions of the Royal Family.
The monarchy have been a persistent (and easy) target of cartoonists and caricaturists for 300 years, from Gillray and Beerbohm to Scarfe, Bell, Rowson and Peter Brookes – but the Duke of Edinburgh could always see the funny side in any situation, and took humorous depictions of himself in his stride. In 2002 Prince Philip opened an exhibition of cartoons on the Kings and Queens (300 Years of Cartoons about the Monarchy), and in 2006 he opened London’s first museum of cartoons.
The Cartoon Museum, its Trustees, Staff, and the cartooning community are saddened to hear Prince Philip has passed away, and send their deepest condolences to H. M. The Queen and his family.
Star Trek is bolding coming back to the big screen… two years from now. Paramount Pictures confirmed Friday that a brand-new Trek film will hit theaters on June 8, 2023. While the project is currently untitled and plot details are non-existent, we suspect this is the movie currently being written by The Walking Dead alum, Kalinda Vasquez.
…Written and illustrated by the Locke & Key creative team of writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez, with the blessing of The Sandman co-creator Neil Gaiman, Hell and Gone is set in 1927, during the opening sequence of The Sandman in which Morpheus, the King of Dreams, is held captive by the human sorcerer Roderick Burgess. Mary Locke, an ancestor of the Locke children who populate the main Locke & Key story, reaches out to Burgess to see if his occult society can help her save her brother’s soul from hell….
GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ: I started buying Sandman from the newspaper stand near my house once they started selling the Spanish edition here in Chile. They started publishing from the eighth issue, in which they introduce Death, and from then on they did the entire run. I remember reading that very first issue and was immediately hooked by the storytelling. And then when we get into the Doll’s House story line, I immediately realized it was going to be something really big and cool, and I ended up collecting the entire series. At the time I was reading Sandman, I was just daydreaming about eventually making a comic book myself, but living in such a small country where we don’t have a huge publishing industry, especially back then, it felt impossible.
(19) UNSOUND EFFECTS. “2021 Oscar-Nominated Short: “Yes-People'” on YouTube is an Icelandic animated film, directed by Gisli Darri Hallsdottir, that is an nominee for best short animated film, and is presented by The New Yorker.
“Yes-People” follows several Icelanders as they navigate minor daily conflicts—on their way to work, or to school, or while grocery shopping.
…The gastroliths were found in Jurassic-aged mudstones in a rock formation called the Morisson. A rainbow of pinks and reds, the Morisson formation brims with dinosaur fossils, including those of sauropods, such as Barosaurus and Diplodocus, as well as meat-eaters such as Allosaurus.
But the rocks, which are similar to gastroliths dug up elsewhere, were found on their own without any dinosaur remnants. To get a clue as to how they had ended up in modern-day Wyoming, the team crushed the rocks to retrieve and date the zircon crystals contained inside, a bit like studying ancient fingerprints.
“What we found was that the zircon ages inside these gastroliths have distinct age spectra that matched what the ages were in the rocks in southern Wisconsin,” said Malone, now a doctoral student studying geology at the University of Texas at Austin. “We used that to hypothesize that these rocks were ingested somewhere in southern Wisconsin and then transported to Wyoming in the belly of a dinosaur.
“There hasn’t really been a study like this before that suggests long-distance dinosaur migration using this technique, so it was a really exciting moment for us.”
A fossil of a skunk-like mammal that lived during the age of dinosaurs has been discovered in Chilean Patagonia, adding further proof to recent evidence that mammals roamed that part of South America a lot earlier than previously thought.
A part of the creature’s fossilized jawbone with five teeth attached were discovered close to the famous Torres del Paine national park.
Christened Orretherium tzen, meaning ‘Beast of Five Teeth’ in an amalgam of Greek and a local indigenous language, the animal is thought to have lived between 72 and 74 million years ago during the Upper Cretaceous period, at the end of the Mesozoic era, and been a herbivore…
(22) JUST IN TIME. The sixth season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow premieres Sunday, May 2.
The Legends continue their new mission to protect the timeline from temporal aberrations – unusual changes to history that spawn potentially catastrophic consequences. When Nate, the grandson of J.S.A. member Commander Steel, unexpectedly finds himself with powers, he must overcome his own insecurities and find the hero within himself. Ultimately, the Legends will clash with foes both past and present, to save the world from a mysterious new threat.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Michael J. Walsh, Frank Olynyk, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, rcade, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, James Bacon, Scott Edelman, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg Hullender, with an assist from rcade.]
…With the creation of our Community Safety team, we have an opportunity to lead on an evolving topic in society at large. That’s why we’ve been actively monitoring this conversation over the last week, including working with members of Wookieepedia’s administration knowing that there are a lot of opinions involved here.
This is a final decision and Fandom staff will not be participating in a debate here or elsewhere right now. We will be discussing the topic of content related to the transgender community in greater detail with the Fandom community at large in the near future. We are committed to working with our community, internal teams, and outside experts to build a comprehensive framework to help guide our communities on how to properly create content relating to both fictional characters and real-life individuals who do not fit into outmoded definitions of identity and gender. Our goal is to provide an educational and growth framework for those who do not have real-life experience in these topics but want to learn more about creating inclusive content.
Our communities often spend much time debating the nuance of canon or the particulars of a given content policy, but we must also be willing to engage in challenging conversations about the nuance of external factors surrounding these topics. To that end, when wiki content is talking about real human beings with real needs, they must be respected.
…Our first thought was this is obviously a job for Superman, or someone nearly as strong like Thor, Wonder Woman or even the Incredible Hulk.
“Global supply chain blockage make Hulk mad! Hulk smash!” is how we imagine that would play out.
Not so fast, says our friendly neighborhood physics professor.
In addition to being an expert in stuff like amorphous semiconductors, University of Minnesota professor James Kakalios has pondered the physical properties of the superpowerful in his book, “The Physics of Superheroes.”
Kakalios explained that a 1,300-foot-long ship is designed to have its weight supported by water under the length of its hull. So a brute force effort by a single superhero could be counterproductive.
“Tanker ships are not meant to be picked up,” Kakalios said. “Even if supported under its center of mass, there would be enormous twisting forces, called torques, that would snap the vessel in half.”
Kakalios suggested that a better superhero for the job would be DC Comics’ Aquaman or Marvel Comics’ Namor the Sub-Mariner….
(3) FUTURE TENSE. Released this week, the latest in the monthly series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives: “The Trolley Solution” by Shiv Ramdas, about a college professor pitted against a machine. This is the third and final entry in their recent series about the future of learning.
From the moment the text message arrived with an aggressive ping, Ahmed knew something was amiss. Oh, it read innocuously enough, just the one line from Niyati asking if they could have a chat, but he knew better. It was still two weeks before his meeting with the tenure committee, which made it unexpected. Plus, it was Those Words. Whenever someone said that they wanted to have a chat, what they actually meant was that they had something to say to you that they knew you wouldn’t like one bit….
Imagine a university without any teachers, just peer learners, open-access resources, and an office space full of high-speed internet-enabled computers, accessible to anyone between 18–30 years of age, regardless of any prior learning. That university is called 42. It does not have any academic instructors; the teachers are the self-starting students who have their eyes set on a job in Big Tech. Aided only by a problem-based learning curriculum, students gain a certificate of completion about three to five years after starting out. They are guaranteed internships in some of the world’s most prestigious firms and have set their sights on launching their careers as coders. 42’s philosophy is steeped in peer-to-peer learning, where human learners themselves spearhead the learning process….
(4) RELEASING A BOOK DURING THE PANDEMIC. Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore presents S.B. Divya, C.L. Clark, Arkady Martine, and Premee Mohamed in conversation on Friday, April 9, 2021 – 2:00 p.m. (Pacific). Register here.
S.B. Divya is a lover of science, math, fiction, and the Oxford comma. She enjoys subverting expectations and breaking stereotypes whenever she can. Divya is the Hugo and Nebula–nominated author of Runtime and co-editor of Escape Pod, with Mur Lafferty. Machinehood is her debut novel from Saga Press.
C.L. Clark graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, FIYAH, PodCastle and Uncanny.
Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. Under both names, she writes about border politics, rhetoric, propaganda, and the edges of the world.
Premee Mohamed is a scientist and writer with degrees in molecular genetics and environmental science, but hopes that readers of her fiction will not hold that against her. Her short speculative fiction has been published in a variety of venues.
(5) SPY QUEEN. Francis Hamit is on the third segment of today’s Matthews and Friends podcast talking about his alternative history spy novel, The Queen of Washington. Hamit says, “I go into how I do research, so that may interest some people.” Here is the link: “Matthews and Friends” (3-29-21).
(6) @EATONVERSE IS BACK. Andrew Lippert announced that the official twitter of the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at UC Riverside is returning to active status. “It will primarily be used to share items and documents from the collections that spark interest or are discovered while processing and working with the collections.” Here’s one of their latest tweets:
(7) STARTING THE NEXT CENTURY. Bradbury 101, produced by Phil Nichols, is a sequel to last year’s audio podcast series, Bradbury 100, which celebrated the centenary year of Bradbury. Here’s what Episode 04 is about —
THE ILLUSTRATED MAN is Ray Bradbury’s 1951 short story collection. As a follow-up to the previous year’s THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, it secured Bradbury’s reputation as a science fiction writer of quality – and at the same time saddled him with the label “science fiction writer” even though most of his fiction after this point was NOT science fiction.
For more than 50 years, even though eras when the franchise was in a lull, Star Trek fandom has been vibrant and strong. Upon his 90th birthday, and turning himself into artificial intelligence, original Star Trekseries star William Shatner reflected on why Gene Roddenberry’s vision has so firmly stood the test of time and why it seems to resonate even more strongly today. Shatner was blunt with the situation we find ourselves in during an appearance on PeopleTV‘s Couch Surfing, stating that “We’re on the verge of extinction. We are poisoning ourselves out of life, and the Earth will survive and this little cancer, mankind, that’s growing all around her will die off the way a body gets a temperature and kills the germs off. Mother Earth will get rid of us because we’re a pestilence. But we don’t have to be. And we can join with the rest of life that makes it here on Earth with equanimity.”
The Museum of Science, Boston, one of the world’s largest science centers and one of Boston’s most popular attractions, in collaboration with the family of Leonard Nimoy, legendary actor of the historic television series, Star Trek, today, announced the development of a monument honoring the Boston native to be located at the Museum of Science.
The 20-foot, illuminated, stainless steel monument, designed by artist David Phillps, will be shaped in the famous “Live Long and Prosper” hand gesture that the actor’s character Mister Spock was known for. It will be located in front of the Museum, at Science Park, welcoming visitors and Star Trek fans from around the world.
March 29, 1968 –On this date in 1968, Star Trek’s “Assignment: Earth” first aired as part of the second season. Guest starring Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and Terri Garr as Roberta Lincoln, our crew which has time-travelled to 1968 Earth for historical research encounters an interstellar agent and Isis, his cat, who are planning to intervene in Earth history. It was intended as a pilot for an Assignment: Earth series that Gene Roddenberry planned but that never happened.
Interesting note: The uncredited human form of Isis was portrayed by actress, dancer, and contortionist April Tatro, not Victoria Verti, actress (in Rosemary’s Baby under the name of Angela Dorian) and Playboy Playmate of the previous year, as would become part of Trek lore.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born March 29, 1914 – Roy Hunt. Program Book for Denvention I the 3rd Worldcon. Here is his cover. Here is the Pacificon I Combozine (4th Worldcon). Here is a cover for The Gorgon, used on five issues 1947-1948. Here is an illustration for “The Ghost” (Van Vogt, 1948). Here is vol. 1 no. 2 of Fantasy Book. Here is the LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Soc.) coat of arms, which he designed. Here is the Dec 59 New Frontiers. (Died 1986) [JH]
Born March 29, 1926 – Tom Adams. Two short stories, eight covers, five interiors for us; much else, poetry prints, light shows e.g The Jimi Hendrix Experience, covers for Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie; a copy of AC’s Death in the Clouds with TA’s cover appears in the Dr. Who episode “The Unicorn and the Wasp” (10th Doctor). Here is Needle in a Timestack. Here is Patron of the Arts. (Died 2019) [JH]
Born March 29, 1930 — John Astin, 91. He is best known for playing as Gomez Addams in Addams Family, reprising it on the Halloween withthe New Addams Family film and the Addams Family animated series. A memorable later role would be as Professor Wickwire in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and I’d like to single out his delightfully weird appearance on The Wild Wild West as Count Nikolai Sazanov in “The Night of the Tartar” episode. (CE)
Born March 29, 1943 — Eric Idle, 78. Monty Python is genre, isn’t it? If not, I know that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Yellowbeard, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Quest for Camelot, Shrek the Third and Nearly Departed, an updated version of Topper, which he all had a hand in certainly are. And it turns out he’s written a witty SF novel, The Road to Mars: A Post-Modern Novel, which involves an Android, comedy and interplanetary travel. (CE)
Born March 29, 1944 – Linn Prentis. Began working as an agent for Virginia Kidd, then her own agency with offices in Washington State and New York. Among her clients, Kage Baker, Patricia Briggs, Rick Bowes, A.M. Dellamonica, James Morrow. Prentis Literary continues. (Died 2016 – on December 24th, alas) [JH]
Born March 29, 1947 — Patricia Anthony. Flanders is one damn scary novel. A ghost story set in WW I it spooked me for nights after I read it and I don’t spook easily. Highly recommended. James Cameron purchased the movie rights to her Brother Termite novel and John Sayles wrote a script, but the movie has not been produced. (Died 2013.) (CE)
Born March 29, 1956 — Mary Gentle, 65. Her trilogy of Rats and Gargoyles, The Architecture of Desire and Left to His Own Devices is a stunning work of alternate history with magic replacing science. I also highly recommend her Grunts! novel. Gamers particularly will love it. She has a cyberpunk novel, Left To His Own Devices, but I’ve not read it. Who here has read it? I’m surprised that she hasn’t been nominated for any Hugo Awards according to ISFDB database. (CE)
Born March 29, 1957 — Elizabeth Hand, 64. Not even going to attempt to summarize her brilliant career. I will say that my fav works by her are Wylding Hall, Illyria and Mortal Love. We did do an entire edition at Green Man on her and I need to update it to the present site. It’s got a neat conversation with her on what her favorite foods are. (CE)
Born March 29, 1963 – Michelle Mitchell-Foust, Ph.D., age 58. Two poetry books; two anthologies (with Tony Barnstone), Poems Dead and Undead and Poems Human and Inhuman (also called Monster Verse). Elixir Press Poetry Prize, Columbia University Poetry Prize, Missouri Arts Council Biennial Award. [JH]
Born March 29, 1968 — Lucy Lawless, 53. Xena in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Cylon model Number Three D’Anna Biers on that Battlestar Galactica series. She also played Countess Palatine Ingrid von Marburg, the last of a line of Germanic witches on the Salem series. Her most recent genre role as Ruby Knowby, one of the Dark Ones, on the Ash vs Evil Dead series. Though not genre, she was Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, its prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and its sequel Spartacus: Vengeance. (CE)
Born March 29, 1978 – Nerine Dorman, age 43. Four novels for us, a score of shorter stories; half a dozen anthologies. Won a Nommo and a Sanlam Gold. Has read The Count of Monte Cristo, The Master and Margarita, The Big Time, The Stars My Destination, Double Star, Who? [JH]
Born March 29, 1990 – Kiran Millwood Hargrave, age 31. Poet, playwright, novelist. Three novels for us. Waterstone Children’s Book Prize, British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year, Blackwell Children’s Book of the Year. First novel for adults opened at No. 1 on The Times (i.e. of London) Bestseller Chart. “Our parents took us everywhere – Jordan, India, China…. India is particularly special to me as my mum is from there.” From The Girl of Ink & Stars: ‘A myth is something that happened so long ago that people like to pretend it’s not real, even when it is.’ [JH]
(13) COMICS SECTION.
Frank and Ernest discover robots with ethical problems – according to their designers.
San Diego Comic-Con will return this year with an in-person convention during Thanksgiving weekend.
The pop culture event will host a “Comic-Con Special Edition” at the San Diego Convention Center from November 26-28. The announcement comes less than a month after Comic-Con International announced a virtual event would be held this summer due to uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic and the risk of large-scale gatherings. The three-day Comic-Con@Home virtual event is set for July 23-25.
“It is our hope that by Fall conditions will permit larger public gatherings,” an announcement for the event said. “Comic-Con Special Edition will be the first in-person convention produced by the organization since Comic-Con 2019, and the first since the onset of the global pandemic COVID-19. The Fall event will allow the organization to highlight all the great elements that make Comic-Con such a popular event each year, as well as generate much needed revenue not only for the organization but also for local businesses and the community.”
…The announcement for an in-person Thanksgiving weekend event received immediate criticism across social media, with many noting the pandemic impacted the ability for many to be with their families during the holidays last year.
“So they scheduled #SDCC on the same weekend as the first chance most families will (hopefully) be fully able to celebrate Thanksgiving in two years. See you in 2022!” Charles Soule, writer and author for Daredevil and She-Hulk, shared on Twitter.
“Sure. Make it during the one non-denominational fall holiday weekend in U.S., w/ always peak airfare prices. And I’m sure A-list celebs will LOVE doing this. Black Friday, indeed,” author Tara Bennett wrote.
Linda Ge, who writes for CW’s new series Kung Fu, also tweeted “Does Comic-Con realize that most people didn’t get to spend last Thanksgiving with their families because of the pandemic? #SDCC”
(15) C3PO, R2D2, AND BBQ€590. This summer you could be “grilling from another galaxy” with the Star Wars-inspired Galaxy Grill for a mere 590 Euros.
Amaze your friends with a real space vehicle – they will definitely join the dark side with you.
(16) TECH SKEPTIC. In the Washington Post, Dalvin Brown says the likelihood you will have a robot with legs helping you in your home is very small, because robots are expensive, heavy (what happens if a robot falls on you?) and robots with humanlike hands are really expensive. “Robots don’t know much about the world they’re operating in, so a robot needs a great deal of education to learn where things are in your house.” “For all the hype, robots are limited in what they can do in your home”.
… But how likely is it that you’ll ever be able to own a true robotic butler?
Robots are indeed getting more complex. As AI continues to advance, it allows machines to figure out more complex problems and reliably chat with humans. Still, robotics and AI firms say you’ll have to wait quite some time before you’re able to own anything remotely similar to Rosey the Robot from “The Jetsons.”
In fact, companies are having a hard time commercializing anything more complex than a Roomba — which has been vacuuming houses for 20 years.
… Right now, robots are doing well in factories where there’s plenty of space, no small kids around and employees wearing protective gear. They’re really good at completing a single repetitive task, like screwing on a wheel.
But imagine introducing machinery with legs and lifting capabilities into your home where things can and do go wrong. What if it falls on someone, or a software update causes it to go haywire? It’s funny on “The Jetsons,” but it wouldn’t be so comical if your grandmother were on the receiving end….
(17) RYAN GEORGE. In “Godzilla Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George says the producer is happy that the son of Bryan Cranston’s character is named Ford because “selling your son’s name as advertising space is tight!” (The producer’s three sons are Ben, Jerry, and Outback Steakhouse.)
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Filers will remember when OwlKitty entered the Lord of The Rings. But in “Godzilla v. Cat (OwlKitty Parody)” on YouTube, OwlKitty takes on Godzilla!
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Chris R., JJ, Cat Eldridge, David K. M. Klaus, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, David Doering, Andrew Porter, Joey Eschrich, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]
The story’s protagonist, Mull, has found himself living in a once spectacular tesseract house—an architect’s grandiose solution to L.A.’s housing crisis—which has collapsed yet is still habitable. The structure keeps shifting and Mull struggles to find his way around. A corridor he used one day may have vanished the next. When did you first imagine this building? Do you see it as a three-dimensional space in your mind’s eye? Do you know it better than Mull? Or as well as Mull?
The idea of a tesseract as building comes from Robert Heinlein’s famous 1941 short story, “—And He Built a Crooked House—” (an influence my story wears on the sleeve of its title). It was one of my favorite stories growing up, and, for a lot of readers my age, it might be as responsible for the introduction of the idea of a tesseract as Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” It’s also an L.A. story, and Heinlein was a resident when he wrote it. The house in the story is across the street from his own address, if I’m remembering right.
That people in Los Angeles live outside right now, in tents and under overpasses, is such a cruel and overwhelming reality that it may be atrocious to make reference to it in passing (though it probably isn’t better to leave it unmentioned at all, which is what happens constantly). I’ll try saying simply that I sometimes find it easiest to let certain realities express themselves in my thinking when I give them a surreal or allegorical expression.
(2) MORE COMMENTS ON BAEN’S BAR AND DISINVITING WEISSKOPF. Here are three recent posts that go beyond rehashing others’ opinions.
LawDog: “Freedom of Speech by LawDog”, a guest post on According to Hoyt, is a non-lawyer’s defense of Baen’s Bar hosting the sort of comments called out in Jason Sanford’s article.
…This, however, isn’t where the deplatformers come from (I’m looking at you folks taking a thunder run at Baen’s Bar in particular), they’ve decided that “Incitement to Violence” isn’t Free Speech, as they clutch their pearls.
Lawdog briefs a Supreme Court case, then proceeds —
“How,” I hear you ask, “Does this pertain to Baen’s Bar?”
Simple. If someone has been yacking about doing violence unto the Fed.gov for ten or fifteen years … it’s pretty safe to say that lawlessness is not “imminent”, and thus fails the Brandenburg test. That speech, distasteful though you may find it, is protected Free Speech.
And what is speech protected from? Protected from suppression by the government. So the government can’t prevent Baen’s Bar from hosting, for example, Tom Kratman’s advice about a Trumpian militia.
However, the pertinent question is do fans want to honor a figure in the sff field that hosts this speech? Lawdog’s cite does not bridge that divide.
Ben Sheffield takes a 360-dgree look at the topic in “Baenposting” at Coagulopath.
… That’s the main issue under consideration: are these “threats” on Baen’s Bar any more substantial or interesting than symbolic posturing, like a Twitter leftist with a guillotine avatar saying “eat the rich”? I don’t think they are.
So the expose has problems, and avenues of counterattack. But the reaction from the forum’s defenders has largely been to shoot themselves in the foot.
Baen’s publisher Toni Weisskopf had a hard row to hoe. If she deletes the mentioned posts and bans the offenders, her users will perceive this as a craven surrender to a bully’s demands. But if she ignores the expose, it will be spun as a further endorsement of violence.
She tried to have it both ways, temporarily closing the forum pending an investigation while refusing to condemn the violent threats. “We take these allegations seriously, and consequently have put the Bar on hiatus while we investigate. But we will not commit censorship of lawful speech.” She might have hoped that the scandal would blow over in a week, and she could reopen the Bar without doing anything. This approach blew up in her face, and caused her to lose her Guest of Honor spot at the 2021 Worldcon.
As I’ve said, you can’t win with forums. In chess, zugzwang is when you’re forced to make a bad move, because there’s no other way. Jason Sanford put her in zugzwang on February 15. There was no way she could have responded without suffering reputational damage, either from the SF community at large or from her own fans.
The smart thing to do, of course, would have been to never allow posts like that on Baen’s Bar to begin with.
But moderation is tricky, particularly with regards to powerful, respected users who are also personal friends. Forums founded on an ethos of “everything goes!” are generally moderated as little as possible, and this establishes precedent that’s hard to break. Like a roof with a hole in it, “everything goes” only seems fine until it starts raining. Moderation is almost always necessary, regardless of your friends’ feelings.
I’ve seen some attempted defenses of Baen’s Bar, and they’re not impressive….
Linda Bushyager, who in the Seventies edited the fannish newzine of record (Karass) before passing the torch to File 770, told Facebook readers that Toni Weisskopf didn’t deserve this outcome:
… I went to Discon’s website to read what they had to say about their decision. Basically the committee said because some users of Baen Books discussion had said violent or nasty or non PC or whatever comments, Toni, as the main editor at Baen would be disinvited. Note, Toni never made those comments, but I guess did not criticize them or ban them. However after complaints Toni did close down the “offensive” forum.
So it’s like you rent a room in your house to someone (a stranger) who turns out to be a robber, or Nazi, or racist, or whatever — well now let’s ban you too for whatever they said or did. Or maybe I belong to some club or organization or political party and someone else in this group said abhorrent stuff and I didn’t immediately withdraw from that group, so ban me from whatever honor you were going to give me, even if I disagree with those spoken views. Etc. There are many examples one could imagine. Am I responsible for everything not only my relatives and friends may say or do, but for acquaintances and people I work with or casually ride an elevator with? Where is the line?
Guilt by association.
All in all a sad day for Science Fiction fandom, as I see it — especially where in years past we were known for being tolerant to people who were different and who may have had different views. And when we found fans who had abhorrent ideas or said awful things, we tried to understand where they were coming from and tried to be tolerant and sympathetic where possible in an effort to understand and change minds, not just rebuke bad behavior thoughtlessly….
(3) COMIC-CON@HOME AGAIN. Comic-Con International has cancelled this spring’s WonderCon, and once more will run both it and the San Diego Comic-Con as virtual events: “Statement Regarding Comic-Con 2021”
As you may be aware, due to concern for public health and safety, San Diego Comic Convention had to cancel both of its in-person events in 2020 and recently announced that our spring 2021 show, WonderCon in Anaheim, will also be canceled. In its place, WonderCon@Home will once again be held as a free online event on March 26 and 27, 2021.
It is the policy of the organization to continue to closely monitor information from local and national healthcare officials as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. Never could we have imagined what the world experienced in 2020 and continues to experience today. While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person event of the magnitude of Comic-Con. For this reason, we have made the challenging decision to postpone Comic-Con 2021 as an in-person gathering until our 2022 dates, and once again hold this year’s celebration as the free online Comic-Con@Home. Unfortunately, the challenges of this past year and the multiple postponements of our two largest events have left us with limited financial resources, so this year the online experience will be reduced to a three-day event, spanning July 23-25, 2021.
Despite a decline in the number of new Covid-19 cases and the increasing rate of vaccinations, we cannot be certain there will be no threat come October. Last year, a major surge of the disease began just as the workshop would have been taking place. The new variants of the virus represent a wild card. No one is more disappointed with this outcome than we are, but we will not take risks with the safety of our students, instructors, and staff.
(5) TACKLING THE GENDER DIVIDE IN WANDAVISION. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Writing at the DailyDot, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor on Twitter) examines how differing standards for male and female magic users in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are indicative of existing prejudices about men and women. It’s an illuminating article about how often in comics (and superhero movies) a woman’s superpower is undercut by her own helplessness. “What ‘WandaVision’ and ‘Doctor Strange’ say about magical gender roles”. BEWARE SPOILERS.
…While Wanda Maximoff’s role is all about emotional upheaval and uncontrolled outbursts of power, her male counterpart (and future co-star) Doctor Strange develops his magic through rigorous academic training….
(6) FLASH FICTION CONTEST. Queer Sci Fi opened its annual Flash Contest today, and will be accepting entries through April 30. Full details at the link. (Via Locus Online.)
Every year, QSF holds a flash fiction contest to create an amazing new anthology of queer speculative fiction stories. We ask authors to do the nearly-impossible – to submit a sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror LGBTIQA story that has no more than 300 words.
The theme for 2021 is “Ink”…
We’ll be accepting works from across the queer spectrum, and would love to see more entries including lesbian, trans, bi, intersex and ace protagonists, as well as gay men. We also welcome diversity in ability (physical and mental) and in race. We had our most diverse set of entries yet in 2020 – let’s keep up the trend!
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
March 1, 1997 –On this day in 1997, the Crime Traveller series premiered on BBC. It was produced by Carnival Films for the BBC. The premise being of time travel for the purpose of solving crimes. It was created by Anthony Horowitz, and starred Michael and Chloë Annett. It would last but eight episodes being caught in the change of guard in the BBC Head of Drama position. You can watch the first episode here.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born March 1, 1885 — Lionel Atwill. He had the lead roles in Thirties horror films Doctor X, The Vampire Bat, Murders in the Zoo and Mystery of the Wax Museum but his most-remembered role was the one-armed Inspector Krogh in Son of Frankenstein which Kenneth Mars parodied in Young Frankenstein. He would appear in four subsequent Universal Frankenstein films. (Died 1946.) (CE)
Born March 1, 1915 – Wyman Guin. One novel, eight shorter stories. Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award. Some have praised his focus on the human implications of enduring the future, but I’ve always loved “Volpla”. (Died 1989) [JH]
Born March 1, 1918 — Roger Delgado. The first Master in the Doctor Who series. The role was written especially for him. He would appear only with the Third Doctor as he died in car crash in Turkey. Other genre appearances were Quatermass II, Danger Man, The Mummy’s Shroud and First Man into Space. (Died 1973.) (CE)
Born March 1, 1923 — Andrew Faulds. He’s best remembered as Phalerus in Jason and the Argonauts in which he was in the skeleton fight scene that featured model work by Ray Harryhausen. He appeared in a number of other genre films including The Trollenberg Terror, The Flesh and the Fiends and Blood of the Vampire. He had one-offs on Danger Man and One Step Beyond. Oh, and his first acting gig was as Lysander in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. (Died 2000.) (CE)
Born March 1, 1946 — Lana Wood, 75. She’s best remembered as Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds Are Forever. She was in The Wild Wild West as Vixen O’Shaughnessy in “The Night of the Firebrand” and Averi Trent in “The Night of the Plague” episodes. She was in both up the CBS televised Captain America films playing Yolanda, and she was still active in the genre as little three years ago playing a character named Implicit in Subconscious Reality. Be very suspicious that all the Amazon reviews of the later are five stars. (CE)
Born March 1, 1950 — David Pringle, 71. Pringle served as the editor of Foundation during the Eighties which In turned spawned Interzone during that time. The Glasgow Worldcon committee gave Pringle a Special Award for his work on Interzone. With Malcolm Edwards and Ian Watson, he also edited Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction from the late Seventies through the mid Eighties. Besides his various guides to the genre such as The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy, I see early on that he did a lot of work on J.G. Ballard such as Earth Is the Alien Planet: J. G. Ballard’s Four-Dimensional Nightmare and J. G. Ballard: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography. (CE)
Born March 1, 1952 — Steve Barnes, 69. I remember him best from the Dream Park series with Larry Niven but the Insh’Allah series is quite stellar as is the Heorot series that he did with Niven. His only award to date is an Endeavour Award for Lion’s Blood. (CE)
Born March 1, 1954 — Ron Howard, 67. Director of Cocoon and Willow. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And opinions are I believe are definitely divided on Solo: A Star Wars Story. As a producer only, he’s responsible for Cowboys & Aliens and The Dark Tower. (CE)
Born March 1, 1954 – Maureen Garrett, age 67. Known as a fanartist – she did the Nine of Wands in Bruce Pelz’ Fantasy Showcase Tarot Deck (see the whole deck here [PDF]; after BP’s introduction the suits are Cups, Pentacles, Swords, Wands, then the Trumps; yes, that’s the model for her card, named elsewhere in these birthday notes), contributed to Rune, moderated “What Is an Artist’s Life Really Like?” at ConFrancisco the 51st Worldcon – she was also Director of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm. [JH]
Born March 1, 1955 – Tracy Barrett, Ph.D., age 66. Six novels for us, two dozen all told. The Song of Orpheus, seventeen Greek myths we’re little acquainted with, has been called nonfiction, but I dunno. Anna of Byzantium is her novel of Anna Comnena (1083-1153; wrote The Alexiad, hello Joe Major). Taught at Vanderbilt thirty years. Likes Dickens’ Bleak House (as do I), “anything by Jane Austen, James Thurber, George Eliot.” [JH]
Born March 1, 1962 – Dave Weingart, age 59. Variously active fan, celebrated as a filker. InterfilkGuest at Consonance 2001. Official Filk Waif at FilKONtario 12. Music Guest of Honor at Apollocon 2010. Featured Filker at 8Pi-con. Filklore Award. [JH]
Born March 1, 1968 – Dorian Vallejo, age 53. Five dozen covers, a few interiors. Here is the Jul 91 Asimov’s. Here is The California Voodoo Game. Here is Lone Star. Here is Smoke and Mirrors. Jack Gaughan Award. Son of Boris, which some say irks him; his Website has “Born into an artistic family” and nothing of us; but like any artist he gets to do what he thinks best. [JH]
Born March 1, 1987 – Maxmilian Meinzold, age 34. Thirty covers, a few interiors. Here is The Silmarillion (in German). Here is The King of Camelot (in German; tr. of The Once and Future King). Here is The Hidden Oracle. Here is Zealand (spelled Seeland in German; subtitle, “hitch-hiking to the Strudel Throat”; yes, in English it’s too bad there’s an r). [JH]
(9) COMICS SECTION.
In today’s episode of Spaceman Spiff at Calvin and Hobbes, Spiff finds a huge monster camouflaged as a mountain range.
…. And that brings us to another theme of the series, and this book in particular (right in the title, Transgressions of Power). For, you see, Della and Tagaret do want to break down those adamantine boundaries of Caste. They see, even if darkly and imperfectly (and Wade does a great job in making them fallible and human in it) that the caste system is really the root of the problems of the crumbling civilization and if there is any hope for the Varin, from the Grobal on down, it will take crossing those boundaries…in making transgressions, if you will. In keeping with that, not only do we see Tagaret and Della’s efforts, but we get an emphasis on a dreaded and whispered thing that can happen to the Grobal—to “Fall” down to another caste. This is shown as a dangerous and one possibility for Adon to escape the pressures on him, and while it is a societal safety valve, it is treated as a fate almost worse than death. It is also a Chehkov’s Gun that the author effectively fires in the conclusion, as well….
(11) THE EVOLUTION OF MARIO. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the February 24 Financial Times, gaming columnist Tom Faber looks at the success of Nintendo character Mario.
Nintendo’s influential designer Shigeru Miyamoto came up with the blueprint for Mario when he was developing 1981’s Donkey Kong, in which a hero called Jumpman dodges obstacles to reach the top of a construction site where a gorilla is holding his girlfriend hostage. Mario’s characteristics were determined by technical limitations and accidents: his red and blue overalls were selected to contrast with a black background while his large nose and moustache were an effort to infuse personality into a character comprised of a handful of pixels. According tto company lore, his name was inspired by Mario Segale, the irate landlord of Nintendo of America’s warehouse.
Mario was first cast as a carpenter, then as a plumber for Mario Bros., which featured him and his twin brother Luigi fighting off monsters which oozed up from the sewers of New York. Soon a polish formula was established, with nefarious king Bowser, hapless Princess Peach and a cast of surrounding characters drawn in broad brushstrokes. Powers included mushrooms that made Mario grow or shrink, or items that turned him into a bee, a ghost, a flying squirrel, and, in the new release Super Mario 3d World, a cat. Mario appeared in educational games, a low-budget cartoon and an execrable 1993 live-action film–though an upcoming animated movie, co-produced by the studio behind the Minions films, might be better.
Daniel Greenberg, a member of MSCHF, claims there’s a serious side to Spot’s Rampage though. “Anytime you see a TikTok or a dance it’s like, ‘Oh God, Spot is so happy,’” Greenberg says. “But if we actually talk candidly about what it’s going to be used for in the real world, you could say it’s police, you could say it’s military.”
Needless to say, Boston Dynamics isn’t very happy. The company tweeted on Friday: “We condemn the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm, or intimidation. Our mission is to create and deliver surprisingly capable robots that inspire, delight and positively impact society.”
Perry adds that it is a particular concern because the company is trying to sell its robots. “It’s not just a moral point, it’s also a commercial point for us,” he says.
Because the robot periodically checks in with Boston Dynamics servers, it would theoretically be possible to disable the Spot that MSCHF is using. “We’re wrestling with that,” Perry adds. The MSCHF crew claim to have a workaround ready just in case.
(14) VIDEOS OF THE DAY. Fanac.org has made videos of the 1989 Worldcon Masquerade available on YouTube.
Norascon 3, the 47th Worldcon, was held in Boston, MA. In this recording, costumers make their appearance on the big stage, and showcase the physical results of their imaginations and their skills. The costumers range from Novices to Journeymen to Masters, and the themes from silly and playful to very serious. Note: Some sections have been muted due to copyright laws. There’s more to come in part 2.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Olav Rokne, Michael J. Walsh, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Darrah Chavey, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Olav Rokne.]
The “Comic-Con Museum Long-Range Comprehensive Plan Reveal” shows what visitors can expect when the San Diego facility opens in 2021. The museum is located in the area of Balboa Park known as the South Palisades, where Comic-Con took over the Hall of Champions in the Federal Building in 2017.
Features outlined in the Plan include:
25,000 square feet of space for rotating exhibits
A year-round schedule of programs such as panels, meet-and-greets, experiential cinema, watch parties,
eSports, cosplay shows, and more that will also involve integrating the ideas and creative energy of Comic-Con fans through fan sourcing
A café with a changing menu of dishes and beverages that are creatively inspired by the themes of the rotating exhibit and program offerings
A gift shop with comics and graphic novels, branded souvenirs, art, apparel, and other collectibles
A 4K video theater and presentation space
Although set to open in summer of 2021, the full renovations shown in the video below may not be completed until 2024.
(1) CAN VIRTUAL CONS BE MADE BETTER? In “What Lessons Can Future Conventions Learn From Virtual San Diego Comic-Con?”, Io9 staffers Beth Elderkin, Jill Pantozzi, Cheryl Eddy, James Whitbrook, Charles Pulliam-Moore, and Germain Lussier assess what didn’t work about SDCC 2020, “from a lack of support for the artists and vendors who would usually be on the show floor, to the lack of fan involvement, to how to create a sense of energy that the convention’s swath of ‘family Zoom call’ style pre-recorded panels were lacking.”
(2) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. HBO showed its Lovecraft Country trailer to San Diego Comic-Con’s @Home audience.
People might not be able to flock to San Diego Comic Con this year in person, but the virtual convention, Comic-Con@Home, has been running all weekend, with countless panels, sneak peeks, and teasers and trailers for upcoming TV shows—but not many films, because let’s be honest: it’s not looking so good for major theatrical film releases in the fall. On Thursday alone, we got the full trailer for Bill and Ted Face the Music, a teaser for the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost horror comedy Truth Seekers, and the first trailer for S2 of HBO’s His Dark Materials. Rather than continue to cover each individually, we decided to compile the remaining trailers of interest into a single roundup post.
(4) A CAUTIONARY TALE. Linda D. Addison offers her experience with Covid-19 as a warning in this public Facebook post.
I’m sharing what my life has been like since June 8 because I’ve seen too many people not taking Covid-19 serious. This virus is real. If sharing this wakes even one person up, it’s worth it.
I’ve been as safe as possible, going to the supermarket every two weeks for supplies, wearing a mask, sanitizing everything, however, 7 weeks ago I got very sick for 9 days with symptoms of mild coronavirus, talked to my doctor and stayed in self isolation for more than 2 weeks. I was fortunate that my temp never went high enough or my breathing bad enough that I had to go to the hospital. Since then, I’ve lived with continued cough, fatigue, shortness of breath (using inhaler from doctor helps).
This is happening to many people in recovery (look up Covid Long Haulers). So I’m sleeping a lot, healing will come, but this is so new there’s not much the medical field can do at this point. I’m ok. My friend, Jill, lives around the corner and has been helping by dropping off stuff.
PLEASE, wear a mask (if not for yourself, for anyone who crosses your path)!
…The wait for more Avatar has become something of a running joke, so much so that a Twitter thread I started when it was already a running jokeis now well into its sixth year. The first sequel was originally announced almost a decade ago, in October 2010, with a projected release date of December 2014. Since then, its opening date has, at regular intervals, been moved back one year at a time — except once, in 2017, when it moved back two years. But the film has also morphed from a two-sequel series into a four-sequel series, with a lingering sense that the mountain was being made bigger as a way of justifying the length of the climb.
(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
July 27, 1997 — Stargate SG-1 premiered on Showtime where it would run for its first five seasons. The show which was created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner. It’s based rather loosely off the Stargate film. The initial core cast was Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge. It would run for a decade with the last five years being on Sci Fi. Two spinoff series, Stargate Atlantis which would run five seasons, and Stargate Universe which would last two seasons. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a stellar 91% rating. (CE)
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born July 27, 1870 – Hilaire Belloc. Orator, poet,correspondent,sailor, satirist, soldier, activist. Cautionary Tales for Children includes “Jim, who ran away from his nurse, and was eaten by a lion” and “Rebecca, who slammed doors for fun and perished miserably”; 1907 readers would quickly recognize the parody. A hundred fifty books; we can claim half a dozen novels (illustrated by G.K.Chesterton!), as many shorter stories. (Died 1953) [JH]
Born July 27, 1874 — Frank Shannon. He’s best remembered now as the scientist Dr. Alexis Zarkov in the three Flash Gordon serials starring Buster Crabbe between 1936 and 1940. The serials themselves were Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe. (Died 1959.) (CE)
Born July 27, 1891 – Ruth Plumly Thompson. Following Frank Baum’s death, she wrote two dozen Oz books. Three other novels, six dozen shorter stories, ten dozen poems. Also wrote for The Smart Set, The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Jack and Jill. Many regard her as a worthy successor. (Died 1976) [JH]
Born July 27, 1908 – W.I. Van der Poel, Jr. Art director for Galaxy 1950-1960. A score of covers – but not, it seems, appearing there. He is however on this famous 1952 Emshwiller cover – see the key here. Look at The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag. (Died 1987) [JH]
Born July 27, 1927 – Mel Hunter. A hundred book and magazine covers, eight dozen interiors. Here is the May 53 Galaxy. Here is The End of Eternity. Here is Double Star – the Great Lorenzo at right. Here is the Jun 58 If. Here is the Mar 61 F & SF. (Died 2004) [JH]
Born July 27, 1938 — Gary Gygax. Game designer and author best-known for co-creating Dungeons & Dragons with Dave Arneson. In addition to the almost-beyond-counting gaming modules he wrote, he wrote the Greyhawk Adventure series and the Dangerous Journeys novels. (Died 2008.) (CE)
Born July 27, 1939 — Sydney J. van Scyoc, 81. Her first published story was “Shatter the Wall” in Galaxy in 1962. She continued to write short stories throughout the Sixties and Seventies, and published Saltflower, her first novel in the early Seventies. Over the next twenty years, she published a dozen novels and likewise number of short stories. For all practice purposes, she’s not available in digital format. (CE)
Born July 27, 1948 — Juliet Marillier, 72. She’s a New Zealand born and Western Australian resident fantasy writer focusing entirely on historical fantasy. She has a number of series including Blackthorn & Grim which at two volumes is a good introduction to her, and Sevenwaters which at seven volumes is a serious reading commitment. She’s a regular contributor to the fiction writing blog, Writer Unboxed.
Born July 27, 1949 – Cora Lee Healy, 71. Fanartist, has done some pro work. Here is a cover for Algol. Here is “Starward”. Here is another astronomical. She has been in Energumen and Granfalloon; she did the Ace of Cups in the Fantasy Showcase Tarot Deck (see this review by a Tarot collector; although the reviewer says the Deck is out of print; copies can still be obtained; if all else fails, ask me, John Hertz, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057). [JH]
Born July 27, 1950 — Simon Jones, 70. He’s well known for his portrayals of Arthur Dent, protagonist of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He first portrayed the character on radio for the BBC and again on television for BBC Two. Jones also featured in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film in a cameo role. He’s in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Brazil and 12 Monkeys as well. (CE)
Born July 27, 1952 – Bud Webster. Our Gracious Host has done better than I could. (Died 2016) [JH]
Born July 27, 1958 – Kate Elliott, 62. Two dozen novels (some under another name), a dozen shorter stories; interviewed in Apex, Lightspeed, Locus, Mindsparks. “The Sword of Heaven [in two parts, An Earthly Crown and His Conquering Sword] I call my Mozart novel because of the speed it flowed out of me…. my Beethoven novel The Law of Becoming was like hacking through the jungle into unknown country…. Being a parent has made me a better writer.” Unconquerable Sun just released this month. Mills College woman. [JH]
Born July 27, 1968 — Farah Mendlesohn, 52. She’s an historian and prolific writer on genre literature, and an active fan. Best works by her? I really like her newest work on Heinlein which I’m reading now, The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein which is up for a Hugo next week. Her work Diana Wynne Jones: Children’s Literature and the Fantastic Tradition is a fascinating read. And I highly recommend her Rhetorics of Fantasy as we don’t get many good theoretical looks at fantasy. (CE)
Born July 27, 1979 – Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, 41. Three dozen short stories; poems; essays, reviews, interviews, in Analog, Clarkesworld, Foundation, NY Review of SF, Strange Horizons. Anthology (with Robert Silverberg), When the Blue Shift Comes. Traveler of Worlds, conversations with Silverberg. Good moderator of the Asimov centenary panel at Loscon 46.
Born July 27, 1984 – Hao Jingfang, Ph.D., 36. Vagabonds just appeared in English and Spanish this year. A score of shorter stories; Best-Novelette Hugo for “Folding Beijing”, first won by a Chinese woman. Translated into English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish. Interviewed in Lightspeed, Monde chinois (in French). [JH]
“We wanted to tap into the zany energy of the 1940s stuff,” added supervising producer Alex Kirwan. “That was our favorite era of the shorts and we just wanted more of that. We didn’t want to set out to reinvent it and we didn’t want to set out to put new sensibilities on it … What we love about the shorts is that they’re wonderful slapstick humor and we just wanted to get back to [that] and be really true to the way they paired the characters and the way they built comedy dynamics.”
(10) WATCH ALEX ROSS AT WORK. Over the last two months, Marvel has revealed 28 “Timeless” variant covers created by Alex Ross, which will begin to hit local comic shops in September. See Ross craft his iconic painted covers, and see how his timeless imagery was made into a magnificent mural in Marvel’s NYC offices in this video.
Daredevil actor Peter Shinkoda says his storyline was cut after a Marvel executive said “nobody cares about” Asian characters.
Shinkoda played Nobu in the Marvel Netflix series, which was cancelled at the end of 2018.
But he says his character’s “back story was dropped” on orders from former Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb.
“I’m kind of reluctant to say this, but… I’m going to take this moment,” Shinkoda said during a virtual talk.
“Jeph Loeb told the writers’ room not to write for Nobu and Gao – and this was reiterated many times by many of the writers and show runners – that nobody cares about Chinese people and Asian people,” he alleged.
The Canadian actor, who was taking part in a #SaveDaredevil roundtable discussion with actors from the show, said a storyline about Nobu’s journey to America ended up being dropped.
A small chunk of Mars will be heading home when the US space agency launches its latest rover mission on Thursday.
Nasa’s Perseverance robot will carry with it a meteorite that originated on the Red Planet and which, until now, has been lodged in the collection of London’s Natural History Museum (NHM).
The rock’s known properties will act as a calibration target to benchmark the workings of a rover instrument.
It will give added confidence to any discoveries the robot might make.
This will be particularly important if Perseverance stumbles across something that hints at the presence of past life on the planet – one of the mission’s great quests.
“This little rock’s got quite a life story,” explained Prof Caroline Smith, head of Earth sciences collections at the NHM and a member of the Perseverance science team.
“It formed about 450 million years ago, got blasted off Mars by an asteroid or comet roughly 600,000-700,000 years ago, and then landed on Earth; we don’t know precisely when but perhaps 1,000 years ago. And now it’s going back to Mars,” she told BBC News.
It’s not uncommon for lottery winners to want to avoid the spotlight, right? But showing up dressed as Darth Vader to collect your check is a new one. It happened in a galaxy not so far away, in May Pen, Jamaica, when a man claimed his $95 million prize in a dark lord of the Sith costume.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Pitch Meeting” on ScreenRant, Ryan George explains that Saruman is spinning Gandalf around, he “forces Gandalf to learn breakdancing against his will.”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Mlex, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
(1) BRADBURY CENTENARY PODCAST. Phil Nichols’ BRADBURY 100 podcast starts today! His guest on episode 1 is author Steven Paul Leiva.
I first met Steve at Ray Bradbury’s 90th birthday party in 2010, which was held in Glendale’s Mystery & Imagination Bookshop. For many years Ray would gather friends and fans here for book signings and talks. Up the stairs of the bookshop was a wall signed by various authors and celebrities who had visited. Steve and I searched for his previous signing, and we also found the spot where Ray Bradbury had signed several years earlier.
… The board room doors opened. Mike Willmoth, our board mentor, walked into the hallway, stuck out his hand to me and said, “Congratulations.” Tears sprang to my eyes. And they were not tears of joy! We’d done it. And now, we had to do it!…
(3) ZOMBIE SOCIAL DISTANCING. “Zombies and Coronavirus: Planning For The Next Big Outbreak” on YouTube is a panel from Comic-Con featuring Max Brooks, who says Americans born after World War II “don’t have the muscle memory and gut fear of germs” which left them ill-prepared for the pandemic.
(4) PURITY OF ESSENCE. Charles Stross is not prepared to trust Worldcon site selection voters, you see. They might do anything. Like vote for another Worldcon in the U.S.
… From TOS onward, Barrett became a vital part of Star Trek, lending her voice to Star Trek: The Animated Series, appearing in the original Star Trek movies, and guest-starring in Star Trek: The Next GenerationandStar Trek: Deep Space Nine. Majel Barrett is a true example of Star Trek royalty, and the following is every live-action role she played in the franchise, as well as how ubiquitous her voice has been to nearly every incarnation of Star Trek.
(6) NIPPON INTO SPACE. The Diamond Bay Radio podcast has a new interview on the history of Japanese Rocketry and space programs with Subo Wijeyeratne (PhD in History of Science, Harvard): “Japanese Rocketry”.
They also discuss Subo’s science fiction anthology, Tales from the the Stone Lotus, and his unpublished novel, Triangulum.
Clein … consulted for Pixar and Steve Jobs on Toy Story (1995); for Tim Burton on Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman Returns (1992) and Ed Wood (1994); and for other filmmakers including … Wes Craven. He also… wrote the press notes for Star Wars (1977)….
Ronald L. Graham, who gained renown with wide-ranging theorems in a field known as discrete mathematics that have found uses in diverse areas, ranging from making telephone and computer networks more efficient to explaining the dynamics of juggling, died on July 6 at his home in the La Jolla section of San Diego. He was 84.
The cause was bronchiectasis, a chronic lung condition, according to a statement from the University of California, San Diego, where Dr. Graham was an emeritus professor.
“He created a lot of mathematics and some really pretty cool stuff,” said Peter Winkler, a mathematician at Dartmouth College. “This occurred over many years, and so it’s only now that we get to sort of look back and see all the stuff that he did.”
One thing he did was develop methods for worst-case analysis in scheduling theory — that is, whether the order in which actions are scheduled wastes time. On another front, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Fan Chung, an emeritus mathematician at the University of California, San Diego, he developed the idea of quasi-random graphs, which applied numerical preciseness in describing the random-like structure of networks.
Dr. Graham’s research was detailed in about 400 papers, but he never fit the stereotype of a nerdy mathematician. Soft-spoken but garrulous, he leavened his talks on high-level equations with silly jokes and sight gags. He was also an expert trampoline gymnast and juggler, a side pursuit — he was elected president of the International Jugglers’ Association in 1972 — that in his hands also lent itself to mathematical analysis. At one point Dr. Graham and three other juggling mathematicians proved an equation for the number of possible ball-juggling patterns before a pattern repeats.
(9) ROËVES OBIT. Actor Maurice Roëves, who appeared in two iconic genre TV series (details below) has died aged 83 reports The Guardian.
…Handsome, with piercing eyes and a granite jawline, he played tough guys, steely villains or stalwart military figures with directness, authenticity and spiky energy.
He also had the rare distinction of appearing in both Doctor Who and the Star Trek franchise: in the former he brought genuine grit to his turn as a murderous gun runner in The Caves of Androzani (1984), frequently voted the best story in the show’s long history. His alien Romulan in Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of his many forays into American television, which also included a stint on the soap Days of Our Lives (1985-86) and parts in Baywatch (1992), Cheers (1993) and Murder, She Wrote (1994).
(10) BOOK ANNIVERSARY.
July 25, 2009 — Robert Holdstock’s Avilion would be published. Set in his Ryhope Wood series, it was nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. It would be the final work from this author as he died in-hospital at the age of sixty-one from an E. coli infection on November 29, 2009. He would be honored with The Karl Edward Wagner Award from the British Fantasy Society the following year. And they would rename their British Fantasy Award for best novel in his honor the next year.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born July 25, 1870 – Maxfield Parrish. Two dozen covers for us, as many interiors if you count uses after he died; far more beyond, maybe higher numbers if we reach: I’m willing to leave out Ecstasy (see here); the medium matters for The Lantern Bearers (see here) – you don’t get the fantastic effect without glazing, on canvas it’s just globes – yes, I know it was done for Collier’s; but what about The Pied Piper (see here)? or Humpty Dumpty (see here)? and he illustrated The Arabian Nights (see here). He was a master of make-believe. He weighed whimsy; he was not ridden by, but rode, reality. (Died 1966) [JH]
Born July 25, 1907 — Cyril Luckham. He played the White Guardian first in the Fourth Doctor story, “The Ribos Opperation”, part one and then twice more in the two-part Fifth Doctor story, “Enlightment”. He was also Dr. Moe in the Fifties pulp film Stranger from Venus, and also showed up in The Omega Factor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Tales of The Unexpected. (Died 1989.) (CE)
Born July 25, 1910 — Kendell Foster Crossen. He was the creator and writer of the Green Lama stories about a Buddhist crime fighter whose powers were activated upon the recitation of the Tibetan chant om mani padme hum. He also wrote Manning Draco series, an intergalactic insurance investigator, four of which are can be found in Once Upon a Star: A Novel of the Future. Kindle has a really deep catalog of his genre work. (Died 1981.) (CE)
Born July 25, 1922 — Evelyn E. Smith. She has the delightful bio being of a writer of sf and mysteries, as well as a compiler of crossword puzzles. During the 1950s, she published both short stories and novelettes in Galaxy Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her SF novels include The Perfect Planet and The Copy Shop. A look at iBooks and Kindle shows a twelve story Wildside Press collection but none of her novels. (Died 2000.) (CE)
Born July 25, 1932 – Paul Weitz. Naval aviator, 7,700 hrs flying time, five Air Medals. Piloted the first crewed Skylab. Commanded the maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Challenger; its primary payload was the first Tracking & Data Relay Satellite, revolutionizing low-Earth-orbit communications. NASA Distinguished Service Medal. Fellow, Amer. Astronautical Society. (Died 2017) [JH]
Born July 25, 1948 — Brian Stableford, 72. I am reasonably sure that I read and enjoyed all of the Hooded Swan series a long time ago which I see has been since been collected as Swan Songs: The Complete Hooded Swan Collection. And I’ve certainly read a fair amount of his short fiction down the years. (CE)
Born July 25, 1971 — Chloë Annett, 49. She played Holly Turner in the Crime Traveller series and Kristine Kochanski in the Red Dwarf series. She was in the “Klingons vs. Vulcans” episode of the Space Cadets sort of game show. (CE)
Born July 25, 1973 — Mur Lafferty, 47. Podcaster and writer. Co-editor of the Escape Pod podcast with Divya Breed, her second time around. She is also the host and creator of the podcast I Should Be Writing which won a Parsec Award for Best Writing Podcast. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Escape Artists short fiction magazine Mothership Zeta. And then there’s the Ditch Diggers podcast she started with Matt Wallace which is supposed to show the brutal, honest side of writing. For that, It won the Hugo Award for Best Fancast in 2018, having been a finalist the year before. Fiction wise, I loved both The Shambling Guide to New York City and A Ghost Train to New Orleans with I think the second being a better novel. (CE)
Born July 25, 1950 – Cortney Skinner, 70. A score of covers (some with Tom Kidd) for us, seven dozen interiors; more for others. Here is the Jul 79 Galileo. Here is the Mar-Apr 91 Aboriginal. Here is The Hogben Chronicles. Here is a bookworm (sculpture, from his Website). Here, a cover for a Sherlock Holmes book. [JH]
Born July 25 – Dick Smith. DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate (with wife Leah Zeldes Smith). Active in various apas (amateur press associations) including our first and greatest, FAPA (Fantasy Am. Pr. Ass’n); earned the Vorzimer Award in The Cult. Fanzine, STET. Collects copying devices, e.g. letterpresses, hectographs. To balance this he is a computer consultant; Fred Pohl dedicated All the Lives He Led to him. [JH]
Born July 25, 1967 – Ann Totusek, 53. Chaired Minicon 51-52, Duckon, DemiCon. Served on the Super-Con-Duck-Tivity Board, i.e. giving the Golden Duck awards. Chief of Hospitality and of Volunteers at Demicons. Chief of Hospitality at Minicon’s Golden Anniversary; at Chicon 7 (70th Worldcon), and thus of the after-Hugos reception at Renovation (71st). Worked in Operations, one of our most thankless and demanding tasks, at Interaction (63rd Worldcon), Anticipation (67th), Loncon 3 (72nd), some Eastercons (U.K. nat’l convention). Has been Minn-Stf (from Hugo Gernsback’s word scientifiction) president. Taught making sugar-cube castles at Minicon 55. When I asked her “What else should I tell them?” she said “Tell them Ann says Wear a mask.” She should; she’s an R.N. Stood for TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) this year, platform “Vote for Mike [“Orange Mike” Lowrey, the other candidate],” which we did. [JH]
Born July 25, 1977 – Shana Muldoon Zappa, 43. Actress, designer; married Frank Zappa’s son Ahmet; they in the family tradition named their daughter Halo Violetta Zappa, their son Arrow d’Oro Leon Zappa. SMZ and AZ invented Star Darlings (Disney); 14 novels about them so far, four on the Scholastic 100. [JH]
(13) SDCC AT HOME. Comic-Con@Home 2020’s item with the cast of The New Mutants can be viewed on YouTube and comes recommended by John King Tarpinian.
Writer/Director Josh Boone and the cast of Twentieth Century Studios and Marvel Entertainment’s The New Mutants, including Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga discuss the upcoming original horror-thriller moderated by Ira Madison III.
Like the elements that she discovered — polonium and radium — Marie Curie was “unruly,” says actor Rosamund Pike. Pike plays the famous scientist in the new biopic Radioactive.
The film, streaming on Amazon Prime, is about the power of science and how it can be harnessed in both positive and destructive ways. Curie’s discoveries led to medical breakthroughs, but they were also weaponized — into bombs and poison.
“[Director] Marjane Satrapi and I both had a vision of her as quite an ‘unruly element’ that does not behave as it should …” Pike explains. She and her fellow filmmakers were “interested in really pushing how challenging we could make her, how much we could make her not conform to traditional standards of femininity.” Interview Highlights On starring in a movie about science in the midst of a global pandemic
I’m very excited because I think there’s been a huge rise in people’s interest in science. And I think people are suddenly very, very curious as to who scientists really are. Who are these people who suddenly hold life in their hands? On what she learned about Marie Curie preparing for the film
She was really little more than a name that I recognized, if I’m perfectly honest. … I started having chemistry lessons … which was exciting as a female in film. Historically, a lot of my preparation has been involved, getting myself physically fit. And it was a really refreshing change to be having to get myself mentally fit.
Universal Orlando announced on Friday that it’s canceling its annual Halloween Horror Nights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Horror Nights 30 was supposed to take place from September 10 through November 1. Large gatherings aren’t a good idea at this time, and Halloween enthusiasts are bummed. There was a time—back in the spring—when people imagined that we could be emerging from this nightmare by now. Many people had hope, back then, that popular Halloween gatherings were going to unfold this year as they have in the past, but with people wearing masks for the most ironic but necessary reason ever.
However, it’s time to give in to the notion that Halloween (along with probably all large gatherings for the rest of the year) is canceled….
[Thanks to John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Mlex, and Andrew Porter for these my joints. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
Alas, no one was paying attention to Youtube’s ContentID copyright bot yesterday until after it shut down a couple officially sponsored livestreams from San Diego Comic-con. The first to get the boot was a Star Trek panel, and then a couple hours later Cartoon Network’s panel was also cut off.
Here’s why this is newsworthy: Both of these panels were blocked by Youtube the networks were streaming content that belonged to the networks.
The panel included the cast and producers of Discovery doing a read-through of the first act of the season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2.” The “enhanced” read-through included sound effects, effects shots, and storyboard images meant to bolster the actors as they delivered lines from their living rooms and home offices.
Even if the presentation didn’t look like a real episode of Discovery to the home viewer, it apparently sounded close enough: after the Star Trek Universe virtual panel began viewers began to lose access to the stream. In place of the video, YouTube displayed a content ID warning reading: “Video unavailable: This video contains content from CBS CID, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”
After being blacked out for about 20 minutes, the panel was restored, and the recording of the virtual panel has no gaps in playback.
The Digital Reader reminded everyone:
This is not the first time that livestreams have been blocked when they were legally using content; I am reminded of the Worldcon awards dinner livestream that was shut down because someone played a Doctor Who clip. The video had been provided by the BBC (the show had won an award that year) but apparently no one told Ustream’s bot.
…Now in its sixth year, the Dragon Con hosted Dragon Awards has proven to be the defining “must” list for the greatest in genre novels, media, comics, and games. While the world is locked inside, members and fans have turned to past award winners to build their reading lists.
We reached out to eight winners and asked them to talk about their award-winning novels, their other works, the Dragon Awards ceremony, and what they have coming up that they would like to share….
… This is your chance say as much as you want right now to tell all the fans what they should know about you as a person and author, your work, and your career.
…Harry Turtledove: It’s all L. Sprague de Camp’s fault. I found his Lest Darkness Fall in a secondhand bookstore when I was about 15, and started trying to find out how much he was making up (very little) and how much was real (most). And so, after flunking out of Caltech the end of my freshman year (calculus was much tougher than I was), I wound up studying Byzantine history at UCLA. I got my PhD in 1977. If I hadn’t found that book then, I wouldn’t have written most of what I’ve written. I would have written something–I already had the bug–but it wouldn’t be alternate history. I wouldn’t be married to my wife; I met her when I was teaching at UCLA while my professor had a guest appointment in Greece. I wouldn’t have the kids and grandkids I have. I wouldn’t be living where I’m living. Other than that, it didn’t change my life a bit. Imagining me without reading Lest Darkness Fall is alternate history on the micro-historical level.
(3) FAN RESOURCES. Congratulations to Fanac.org for reaching new milestones in preserving fanhistory.
FANAC by the Numbers. Numbers can be misleading, but they do give us some idea of the progress we are making in documenting our fan history. As of today, we have 11,526 fanzine issues consisting of more than 179,423 pages. This is up from the 10,000 fanzine issues and 150,000 pages reported in our April update. Our YouTube channel is now at 621 subscribers, and 90,356 views, up from last time’s 500 and 75,000. Fancyclopedia 3 has exceeded 32,000 items.
(4) TIED UP AT THE DOCK. Next year’s JoCo Cruise, technically a Jonathan Coulton fan cruise but really a week-long ocean cruise of all sorts of nerdery, science fiction fandom, and boardgaming, has been postponed a year to March 5-12, 2022. John Scalzi, a regular participant, also wrote a post about the announcement.
“Librarians, publishers, authors, all of us should be working together during this pandemic to help teachers, parents, and especially students,” Kahle implored. “I call on the executives of Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House to come together with us to help solve the challenging problems of access to knowledge during this pandemic, and to please drop this needless lawsuit.”
Kahle’s remarks came as part of a panel, which featured a range of speakers explaining and defending the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the legal theory under which the Internet Archive has scanned and is making available for borrowing a library of some 1.4 million mostly 20th century books….
(6) GEEK PARTNERSHIP SOCIETY FUNDRAISER. At least four Minneapolis-St. Paul conventions call the Geek Partnership Society’s office space home, and a host of other groups use it, too (listed below). The facility may not be able to afford to stay open, and after three weeks the GPS GoFundMe has raised only $13,010 of its $40,000 goal.
Geek Partnership Society may not be able to honor the terms of its lease and could face permanent closure if funds cannot be raised by end of July, 2020.
Please act now to support our facility, our community programs, and the resources we strive to provide to all geeks in the Twin Cities.
So, what happened?
-Clubs and individuals canceled their rentals of GPS’s venue spaces as people complied with sheltering orders and tried to maintain social distance.
-GPS Charity Auction events that we rely on for income were canceled as local conventions were canceled or postponed.
-Some of our large annual contributors are also having financial difficulties. because their conventions were postponed/cancelled for 2020.
What needs to happen now?
We need your help to keep GPS running through the end of the year. This will provide the time needed to plan a more flexible revenue model going into 2021. Our goal is to raise $40,000.
The history of the horror genre is routinely told via the careers of male directors such as James Whale, Alfred Hitchcock, George Romero, John Carpenter, and Wes Craven. Author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas‘ just-published book 1000 Women in Horror: 1895-2018, takes a very different approach, showcasing the contributions of women directors and actors as well as those who have toiled, often unsung, in other capacities. “When we think of women in horror, we default to Janet Leigh or Texas Chain Saw Massacre, those really iconic images from horror films,” says Heller-Nicholas, who has previously written books on Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45. “We think of terror as being embodied through women’s bodies — screaming and running. I really wanted to explode that a little bit and say the person at the editing deck might be a woman, the person in the director’s chair might be a woman, the cinematographer might be a woman. If we move outside of the ‘single male genius’ who else is working on this stuff? And it turns out there’s actually some pretty amazing people, and some of them are women. There’s a lot more going on that women embody in horror than screaming. Not that there’s anything wrong with screaming. It’s hard work!”
Heller-Nicholas was inspired to have 1895 be the chronological starting point for her collection of mini-biographies after seeing a film from that year titled The Execution of Mary Stuart. “It’s a very very early example of special effects,” says the writer. “It’s Mary going up to the guillotine and having her head chopped off and her head being picked up, that’s the end of the film. I was first drawn to this because Mary is played by ‘Mrs Robert Thomas.’ I was fascinated by ‘Mrs Robert Thomas.’ Seemingly it’s a woman, but she’s defined through her relationship to a man. But I did some digging around and apparently it was actually played by a man. There was something about it, a little it of playfulness and the idea that gender and identity is slippery even in 1895.”
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
July 24, 1952 — Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom serial premiered. This was a fifteen-chapter black-and-white movie serial from Columbia Pictures, based on the Blackhawk comic book, first published by Quality Comics, but later owned by DC Comics. The latter company would re-use the name in several versions of the group. It was directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet (as Spencer Bennet) Fred F. Sears and produced by Sam Katzman. It was written by George H. Plympton, Royal K. Cole and Sherman L. Lowe. It starred Kirk Alyn, Carol Forman and John Crawford. Despite being very well received, the Blackhawk serial was the last film serial shown on air flights.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born July 24, 1802 – Alexandre Dumas. Published work amounts to over 100,000 pages, translated into a hundred languages, inspiring two hundred motion pictures. Born on Haiti (as it now is); father, a general and the son of a marquis; grandmother, a black slave; Dumas, the name he used, was hers. His Nutcracker, a version of Hoffmann’s, is the basis of Tchaikovsky’s. The Wolf-Leader, an early werewolf novel; The Marriages of Father Olifus, just (2017) re-translated as The Man Who Married a Mermaid; The Count of Monte Cristo, a root of The Stars My Destination. (Died 1870) [JH]
Born July 24, 1878 – Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany. Chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland. Fifty Tales of Pegana with its own history, geography, gods. Ten dozen unlikely tales told by Joseph Jorkins to anyone buying him a whiskey at their club. Clute and Langford say D’s prose has muscular delicacy. In Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise Blaine and D’Invilliers recite D’s poetry. Translated into Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish. (Died 1957) [JH]
Born July 24, 1895 — Robert Graves. Poet, mythologist, historical novelist, critic. Author of, among other works, The White Goddess (a very strange book which Yolen quotes from in The Wild Hunt), two volumes called TheGreek Myths, Seven Days in New Crete which Pringle has on his Best Hundred Fantasy Novels list, and more short fiction than really bears thinking about. (Died 1985.) (CE)
Born July 24, 1916 – John D. MacDonald. While the score of books (I warned you about these puns) featuring salvage consultant Travis McGee and his friend Meyer are favorites of many, JDM is here for three SF novels, five dozen shorter stories, he wrote until the end. Wine of the Dreamers has been translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish; its title if not already meaning something else might name fan activity or SF – or if not unfair to nondrinkers. (Died 1986) [JH]
Born July 24, 1936 — Phyllis Douglas. She also appeared in two episodes of the Trek series in “The Galileo Seven” and “The Way to Eden” and in a two-parter of Batman (“The Joker’s Last Laugh“ and “The Joker’s Epitaph”) where she was Josie. She was in an uncredited role in Atlantis: The Lost Continent, and her very first role was at age two in Gone with The Wind. (Died 2010.) (CE)
Born July 24, 1936 — Mark Goddard, 84. Major Don West, the adversary of Dr. Zachary Smith, on Lost in Space. Other genre appearances were scant. He played an unnamed Detective in the early Eighties Strange Invaders and he showed up on an episode of The Next Step Beyond which investigated supposed hauntings as Larry Hollis in “Sins of Omission”. Oh, and he was an unnamed General in the Lost in Space film. (CE)
Born July 24, 1945 – Gordon Eklund, 75. Some are fans, some are pros, some are both; GE won a Nebula co-authoring with Greg Benford, another: they have written two novels (including If the Stars Are Gods, expanded from the novelette), half a dozen shorter stories, together. Three decades after Stars GE won a FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement) Award as Best Fanwriter. Twenty novels, six dozen shorter stories, translated into Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, including two early Star Trek novels, of which one has a Dyson sphere. Recent collection, Stalking the Sun. [JH]
Born July 24, 1946 – Tom Barber, 74. Three dozen covers for books and magazines, a dozen interiors. Here is the May 79 Galileo. Here is The Men in the Jungle (in German as The Brotherhood of Pain). Here is the Mar 76 Amazing; here is the Mar 19; the magazine itself is well-named. [JH]
Born July 24, 1950 – Bob Fowke, 70. Two dozen covers, a dozen interiors. Here is The Golden Apples of the Sun. Here is Connoisseur’s SF. Here is King Creature, Come. Here is La flamme des cités perdues; not all who wander are lost, but here is The Lost Star. [JH]
Born July 24, 1951 — Lynda Carter, 69. Wonder Woman of course. But also Principal Powers, the headmistress of a school for superheroes in Sky High; Colonel Jessica Weaver in the vampire film Slayer; Moira Sullivan, Chloe Sullivan’s Kryptonite-empowered mother in the “Prodigy” episode of Smallville; and President Olivia Marsdin In Supergirl. (CE)
Born July 24, 1959 – Zdrvaka Evtimova, 61. Author and translator. Nine short stories for us in or translated into English, much more outside our field. Besides Bulgaria and Anglophonia, published in France, Germany, Iran, Japan, Poland, Russia, Spain, Vietnam – two dozen countries. Six Bulgarian awards. Member of the Bulgarian Writers’ Union and the UK Writers’ League. See her here (Contemporary Bulgarian Writers; in English, with a photo, book covers and excerpts, links to online stories in English). [JH]
Born July 24, 1964 — Colleen Doran, 56. Comics artist and writer. She’s done includes Warren Ellis’ Orbiter graphic novel, Wonder Woman, Legion of Superheroes, Teen Titans, “Troll Bridge”:by Neil Gaiman and her space opera series, A Distant Soil. She also did portions of The Sandman, in the “Dream Country” and “A Game of You”. She’s tuckerized Into Sandman as the character Thessaly is based on Doran. (CE)
Born July 24, 1981 — Summer Glau, 39. An impressive run in genre roles as she was River Tam in the Firefly series and of course the Serenity film, followed by these performances: Tess Doerner in The 4400, as Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Bennett Halverson in Dollhouse (is this worth seeing seeing?), Skylar Adams in Alphas and lastly Isabel Rochev who is The Ravager in Arrow. (CE)
(10) COMICS SECTION.
The Far Side shows that somebody needs a manual for first contact. (Fist contact?)
And ever is heard a discouraging word — Dilbert shows it’s tough to be a beginning writer.
Are we having fun with the lockdown yet? Some of you may live, like me, in a region where our pal COVID-19 seems to be under control—or you may be trapped in some dire realm where it is not. Yet, for even those of us who are momentarily spared, respite may prove temporary—it’s always best to stay safe and plan for the possibility of continued isolation. That suggests that it would be prudent to add to your personal Mount Tsundoku, preferably with tomes weighty enough to keep one occupied through weeks of isolation and tedium. Omnibuses could be the very thing! Below are five examples…
Watching the numbers tick up on Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter is a remarkable way to pass the time. The fantasy author initially set out to raise $250,000 (£198,500) to release a 10th anniversary, leather-bound edition of his doorstopper novel, The Way of Kings. In less than 10 minutes, it became the most-funded publishing project of all time when it topped $1m. With 15 days still to go, he’s raised more than $5.6m. All this for a book that was just one of 13 Sanderson wrote before he’d even landed a publishing deal.
Most writers have novels that never see the light of day. But 13? That’s serious dedication. The books were written over a decade while Sanderson was working as a night clerk at a hotel – a job chosen specifically because as long as he stayed awake, his bosses didn’t mind if he wrote between midnight and 5am. But publishers kept telling him that his epic fantasies were too long, that he should try being darker or “more like George RR Martin” (it was the late 90s, and A Song of Ice and Fire was topping bestseller charts). His attempts to write grittier books were terrible, he says, so he became “kind of depressed”….
(14) PRESSED OWN AND OVERFLOWING. Alasdair Stuart’s The Full Lid 24th July 2020opens with a tour of duty with Matt Wallace’s Savage Legion. TheSin Du Jour author has turned in his first epic fantasy novel and it’s fiercely intelligent, uniquely perceptive and exactly what the genre needs.
After that, I take a look at the Marchtrilogy of graphic novels. Covering the life of Rep. John Lewis, they’re engrossing, pragmatic, inspiring and horrific. They’re also by some distance some of the best graphic storytelling I’ve ever read.
Our interstitials this week feature the men of The Witcher doing things. Well, attempting things. Well, in the case of baking, being present while it notionally occurs…
This week’s playout is a unique and wonderful version of The Cure’s The Lovecats by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Enjoy! I did.
The Full Lid is published every Friday at 5pm BST. It’s free, and you can find both sign up links and an archive of the last six months at the link above.
(15) KING REVIEWS BEUKES. [Item by Rob Thornton] In the upcoming issue of the New York Times Book Review, Stephen King has great things to say about Lauren Beukes’ post-apocalyptic novel “Afterland,” which is described by King as “science fiction” at one point and a “neo-noir” at another. Everybody gets into the naming game: “Stephen King on Lauren Beukes’s ‘Splendid’ New Thriller”.
…The flap copy on my advance edition declares that “Afterland” is a “high-concept feminist thriller that Lauren Beukes fans have been waiting for.” It is a thriller, I grant you that, and feminist in the sense that most of the men have been erased by a flu virus that develops into prostate cancer, but Beukes is too wise and story-oriented to wham away at ideas that have been thoroughly explored, sometimes at tedious length, on cable news and social media. She lets her tale do the talking, and the results are quite splendid.
This is your basic neo-noir, coast-to-coast chase novel, and Beukes, who is from South Africa, sees America with the fresh eyes of an outsider. …
When Warner Brothers pulled Christopher Nolan’s $200-million thriller, Tenet, from its release schedule earlier this week, industry analysts expected a domino effect, and Disney announced this afternoon that the first 17 dominos have fallen.
The Mouse House’s live-action remake of Mulan, the last big-budget Hollywood blockbuster scheduled for August, is now “unset,” on the company’s release schedule.
And the studio has pushed back or cancelled the release of another 16 Disney and Fox films, in a ripple-effect that will affect movie releases for years.
One Searchlight film, The Personal History of David Copperfield, is still scheduled for summer, though pushed back two weeks to August 28. But such other Fox films as Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie remake Death on the Nile, and the supernatural thriller film The Empty Man have been delayed to later in the fall, while Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which was to have opened in October, has been postponed indefinitely.
Other films, including Ridley Scott’s historical thriller The Last Duel, and the supernatural horror film Antlers have been moved to 2021.
And in perhaps the most telling shift, three Star Wars pictures and four Avatar sequels, originally scheduled to alternate as Christmas releases starting next year, have all been moved back a full year, meaning the pandemic will affect film releases through Christmas of 2028.
Harvard scientists find that the same cell types that cause goosebumps are responsible for controlling hair growth
If you’ve ever wondered why we get goosebumps, you’re in good company — so did Charles Darwin, who mused about them in his writings on evolution. Goosebumps might protect animals with thick fur from the cold, but we humans don’t seem to benefit from the reaction much — so why has it been preserved during evolution all this time?
In a new study, Harvard University scientists have discovered the reason: the cell types that cause goosebumps are also important for regulating the stem cells that regenerate the hair follicle and hair. Underneath the skin, the muscle that contracts to create goosebumps is necessary to bridge the sympathetic nerve’s connection to hair follicle stem cells. The sympathetic nerve reacts to cold by contracting the muscle and causing goosebumps in the short term, and by driving hair follicle stem cell activation and new hair growth over the long term.
Published in the journal Cell, these findings in mice give researchers a better understanding of how different cell types interact to link stem cell activity with changes in the outside environment.
A global consortium of astrophysicists have created the world’s largest three-dimensional map of the universe, a project 20 years in the making that researchers say helps better explain the history of the cosmos.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a project involving hundreds of scientists at dozens of institutions worldwide, collected decades of data and mapped the universe with telescopes. With these measurements, spanning more than 2 million galaxies and quasars formed over 11 billion years, scientists can now better understand how the universe developed.
“We know both the ancient history of the Universe and its recent expansion history fairly well, but there’s a troublesome gap in the middle 11 billion years,” cosmologist Kyle Dawson of the University of Utah, who led the team that announced the SDSS findings on Sunday.
“For five years, we have worked to fill in that gap, and we are using that information to provide some of the most substantial advances in cosmology in the last decade,” Dawson said in a statement.
[Thanks to Nina Shepardson, Errolwi, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Josh Hesse, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Cally Soukup, James Davis Nicoll, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]