By SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie: Well, that was the Sci-Fi-London film fest done and dusted for another year. So now’s the time for the reckoning….
Many film fests assemble a small panel of experts to ascertain their fest’s “best film”. They also ask the audience for their view. Sci-Fi London (SFL) do it differently, while they too ask the audience, they do not assemble a panel of experts as, since the organizers themselves select the programme, they already know the films and are quite capable of deciding which is the best, thank you very much. So, no panel of experts for good old SFL.
Here then are the best feature films and best shorts as decided by the marvelous SFL folk and also best as determined by the cinematically literate SF fans who attend the festival and give it meaning.
The SFL Organiser Best Feature was Once Upon A Time In The Future: 2121. The Earth’s surface has become uninhabitable due to the climate crisis and famine. Family units exist in underground homes run by a strict authoritarian regime. Population numbers are closely controlled and the old must be euthanised to make way for new lives…
The SFL Audience Best Feature was The Bystanders. Ever wonder why the animal excreta happens to you despite your best efforts…? Well, it might just be the “bystanders” screwing with your life because they are bored…! Bystanders are invisible immortals supposed to act like guardian angels. Each Bystander is tasked with watching a human, but they have been recruited from the human world and are mostly bitter people with no friends; a bunch of misfits and loners…
Into this comes new recruit Pete. He is being shown the ropes by his world-weary tutor Frank, who is mostly irritated by their subjects, and for fun suggests they swap their charges.
This is a superb sci-fi satire of modern life. Imagine the 1954 Phil Dick short story “Adjustment Team”, that was made into the film the The Adjustment Bureau, as an Ealing comedy.
The SFL Organiser Best Short was Sylvie Made It. Ever been rude to customer service? Let me tell you, working in a call centre is literally hell…
The Sci-Fi London people say: “This short film (23 minutes from Belgium) reminded us of the best Twilight Zone stories. It cleverly sets up a world we can feel very familiar with, and taps into so many frustrations we have all experienced. A brilliant performance by Isabelle Anciaux, and tight direction (Adrien Orville), this is a wonderful short film.”
The SFL Audience Best Feature was a tie – I do love it when that happens as we get a double shout out – with the shorts Lost In The Sky and Dark Cell.
Sweden’s Lost In The Sky’s screening at the fest was its UK premiere. Just 12 minutes long, it concerns a rescue robot who dreams of becoming a hero, but in his search for survivors he makes a dark discovery, leaving him with a devastating choice…
The screening at SFL of France’s Dark Cell was also a UK premiere. This 25 minute long offering sees two convicts in an orbital prison doing what they usually do, which is not much. Then two panicked guards, armed to the teeth, burst into their cell…
I could not find a trailer for Lost In The Sky, but then it is difficult to trail a short-short. However, here is the one for Dark Cell.
You can find Sci-Fi London here. Its YouTube channel is here.
….What you don’t know is what happens when they mess up Harrison Ford’s eggs. The plates come, two Farmer’s Breakfasts. Mine’s good: over easy. As Ford cuts into his first poached egg, I’m asking, “So would you say the character of Indiana Jones has some of your own boyhood—”
He lays down his fork and knife. His shoulders droop in defeat.
The egg white is rubbery, the yolk chalky. He looks up at me.
“You couldn’t have been clearer,” I say.
The waiter, seeing a problem, scurries over, eager and recoiling at the same time. Ford just looks up at the poor guy, not with anger but with something worse: disappointment. It’s not a mean look. It’s a look that says, “We can do better, friend.”
The waiter is smiling and trying to speak, and he looks as if he might cry. “Are they . . . not soft?” He slinks away. Ford tries to refocus….
…Since these revised mini-Indy movies are appearing on Disney+ for the first time, we picked out the six most important episodes you might want to watch as you count down to “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” … though it must be said that every episode is worth your time…
Their list begins with —
My First Adventure
Exactly as the title says, “My First Adventure” is the first adventure of the young Henry Jones, Jr. It begins with a nine-year-old Indy living at Princeton with his parents when his life gets turned upside down when he has to accompany them on a journey around the world. The family heads to Oxford first, where Indy picks up his tutor, Ms. Seymour. They find themselves in Egypt and Indiana Jones helps T.E. Lawrence (yes, the “Lawrence of Arabia”) solve a murder mystery. Then, they travel to Africa, where Indy learns a lot about colonialism, slavery, and languages. It’s a good taste of what the younger side of Indy’s adventures will hold for audiences and an essential introduction to the series.
(3) ANOTHER FIRST FOR EKPEKI. Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is the first Black winner of the Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers Award editor Sheila Williams told him today. Part of the reason, she adds, is that they published Octavia Butler’s stories, which won major awards, before the Asimov’s SF Readers Award was created.
(4) IT’S REAL! I’M ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN OF IT! [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Prepare for a barrage of proclamations that this is a real ET message, and the government is just covering things up by pretending it’s a test. Pfffft!
For decades, a dedicated international band of researchers has searched the skies in the hopes of finding some sign that humanity is not alone in the universe. They’re engaged in SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. So far, the hunt for an alien signal has turned up only falsepositives. But that hasn’t stopped anyone from speculating abouthow people might respond to a real communication attempt. Now, Daniela de Paulis, an artist in residence at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, is simulating just such an alien message to see how humans react and whether they can figure out how to decipher it.
Her group’s project, A Sign in Space, began last week by transmitting a mysterious radio signal from the Trace Gas Orbiter, a European Space Agency craft that’s orbiting Mars. Participating astronomers at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, the Allen Telescope Array in California, and the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station in Italy received the signal, removed the telemetry data, and posted the remaining encoded message on the project’s website for anyone to download. Now it’s up to the people of Earth to crack the code, interpret the message, and—de Paulis hopes—make some art. She and her colleagues are leading a series of online workshops to encourage people to discuss the concept of alien communication, including an event she hosted yesterday at which people shared thoughts and artwork inspired by the project so far….
(5) THE MAN FROM GONDOR. A classic fanfic is now available on the ConChord website, The Tenth Nazgul Affair by William Baker Glass, with illustrations by Richard Paul Glass. Barry Gold has made it available in HTML and EPUB formats.
Napoleon and Illya are engaged in a firefight with several T.H.R.U.S.H. agents when Illya is struck by lightning and ends up in Middle Earth. He helps King Elessar Telcontar (aka Strider) fight off Shelob and one extra Nazgul that somehow survived the destruction of the One Ring.
(6) SOMETHING NICE TO SAY ABOUT AI. Rob Hansen says he’s recently begun using A.I. for extrapolated reconstruction of old photos and sent links to work done on pictures of Forties LASFS members. Bill Burns found the online site to do this and produced this enhanced Tigrina image. Then Hansen followed with Art Joquel and Sam Russell.
Rob adds, “These are extrapolations rather than reconstructions, of course, but I think the results are pretty remarkable. Using A.I. for good; who’da thunk it?”
(7) EARLIEST RAY. Phil Nichols has launched a “Chronological Bradbury!” sequence with the latest episode of his Bradbury 100 podcast.
The idea is to work through Ray Bradbury’s fiction output in the order of publication, discussing each item as we go.
In this first “Chronological Bradbury”, I start right at the beginning, with a discussion of Ray’s earliest published works, which appeared in amateur magazines in 1938.
Harry wasn’t a bad person. You just couldn’t take him too seriously, that’s all. Whatever Harry said, whatever Harry did, whatever Harry put down as his meta-ethic, this week, on his Areteprofile, be it the ends justify the means or the greatest happiness for the greatest number or do what thou wilt be the whole of the law,Harry never meant a word. Harry changed his meta-ethic more often than he changed his clothes….
…There’s debate over whether the trolley problem is really the right framing to interrogate ethical choices (specifically whether decisions made in the simulation really reflect what you would choose in real life), and the experiment itself has also been criticized for both its setup and assumptions. But the Moral Machine does provide a fascinating example of an algorithm that observes your ability to make decisions in a handful of tense driving situations, and then spits out a bulleted list of your preferences for saving babies over dogs, and how that compares with the rest of the world (or at least the rest of the people who have taken the test)….
The event is the fourth and final in the series for the Applied Sci-Fi Project, which seeks to understand the influence of science fiction on technology and the people who build it, and to study the ways that sci-fi storytelling can a tool for innovation and foresight.
We’ll be joined by our opening speaker, science fiction and nonfiction author Annalee Newitz (The Terraformers, Four Lost Cities) and four special guests: sci-fi author and futurist Tobias Buckell (Arctic Rising, “Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance”); policy expert, foresight consultant and sci-fi author August Cole (Ghost Fleet, Burn-In); anthropologist Amy Johnson, who researches the use of speculative futures techniques at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center; and Tory Stephens, climate fiction editor at Grist Magazine. The panel will be moderated by CSI’s managing editor Joey Eschrich, who will also share his perspective on CSI’s own “Future of X” book anthologies, contests, and other projects.
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1998 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
Tricia Sullivan is the writer responsible for our Beginning this time.
A US-born author who moved to the United Kingdom in 1995. Four years later, she won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novel Dreaming in Smoke which is where we get this Beginning. To date, it’s her one Award won.
She writes SF under her own name and fantasy as Valery Leith. She is a very prolific novelist, writing thirteen novels over a period of twenty-two years.
She’s written a double handful of fiction. Interestingly she stopped getting published six years ago. And she stopped updating her blog seven years ago. There’s a story there, isn’t there?
Dreaming in Smoke is a Meredith Moment at the usual suspects.
So here’s our Beginning…
my man’s gone now
The night Kalypso Deed vowed to stop Dreaming was the same night a four-dimensional snake with a Canadian accent, eleven heads and attitude employed a Diriangen function to rip out all her veins, then swiftly crocheted them into a harp that could only play a medley of Miles Davis tunes transposed (to their detriment) into the key of G. As she contemplated the loss of all blood supply to her vital organs it seemed to her that no amount of Picasso’s Blue, bonus alcohol rations, or access privileges to the penis of Tehar the witch doctor could compensate for having to ride shotgun to Azamat Marcsson on one of his statistical sprees with the AI Ganesh. She intended to tell him so–as soon as she could find her lungs. Ganesh was murmuring through her interface.
KALYPSO, IT’S GETTING TOO LOOSE AND KINKY IN HERE.
‘Did you hear that, Azamat? Keep it off my wave!’ she sent, annoyed at being reduced to verbing. She simply didn’t have the resources to image him, for by now the snake had decomposed into a flight of simian, transgressive bees, which were in the process of liquefying her perception of left and right. Everything seen through her right eye became negative and sideways. The alarming part was that it didn’t seem to make any difference.
Marcsson’s response came back as a series of pyrotechnical arrays, which, loosely translated, meant, ‘Relax. It’s only math.’
I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR ABACUS, said Ganesh. KALYPSO, GET YOUR DOZE UNDER CONTROL OR I WILL.
The AI had a point. Kalypso mustered her wits and started cutting sensory intake to the Dreamer, feeling a little defensive about Miles Davis. Maybe she shouldn’t have been listening to the jazz Archives; maybe if she’d endured the boredom of monitoring the feeds between Ganesh and Marcsson she could have cut off the sudden explosion of parameters in the Dream the instant it began. But she had been shotgunning Marcsson for a long time, and he had always been safe. Marcsson had been Dreaming since before Kalypso was even born–he knew what he was doing with the AI, which could take data and weave them into Marcsson’s sensory awareness while he floated in a state of semi-conscious, lucid thought. He could immerse himself in literalized math through Dreams that improved a hundred-fold on the raw visions that humanity had experienced in its sleep for eons. He could be secure in his own safety because he had technique.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 1, 1914 — George Sayer. His Jack: C. S. Lewis and His Times won a Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inkling Studies and is considered one of the best looks at that author. He also wrote the liner notes for the J. R. R. Tolkien Soundbook, a Cadmeon release of Christopher Tolkien reading from excerpts from The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. (Died 2005.)
Born June 1, 1926 — Andy Griffith. His most notable SFF genre credit is as Harry Broderick on the late Seventies Salvage I which lasted for two short seasons. Actually that was it, other than a one-off on The Bionic Woman. It’s streaming for free on Crackle whatever the Frelling that is. (Died 2012.)
Born June 1, 1928 — Janet Grahame Johnstone, and Anne Grahame Johnstone.British twin sisters who were children’s book illustrators best remembered for their prolific artwork and for illustrating Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians. They were always more popular with the public than they were with the critics who consider them twee. (Janet died 1979. Anne died 1988.)
Born June 1, 1940 — René Auberjonois. Odo on DS9. He’s shown up on a number of genre productions including Wonder Woman, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, The Bionic Woman, Batman Forever, King Kong, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Enterprise, Stargate SG-1 and Warehouse 13. He’s lent both his voice and likeness to gaming productions, and has done voice work for the animated Green Lantern and Justice League series. He directed eight episodes of DS9. And he wrote a lot of novels, none of which I’ve read. Has anyone here read any of them? (Died 2019.)
Born June 1, 1947 — Jonathan Pryce, 76. I remember him best as the unnamed bureaucrat in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He’s had a long career in genre works including Brazil, Something Wicked This Way Comes as Mr. Dark himself, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as Governor Weatherby Swann, The Brothers Grimm, in the G.I. Joe films as the U.S. President and most recently in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote as Don Quixote.
Born June 1, 1950 — Michael McDowell. Screenwriter and novelist whose most well-known work is the screenplay for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. He also did work on Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas though he’s not listed as the scriptwriter. He wrote eleven scripts for Tales from the Darkside, more than anyone else. And he wrote a lot of horror which Stephen King likes quite a bit. (Died 1999.)
Born June 1, 1965 — Tim Eldred, 58. Author and illustrator of Grease Monkey, a most excellent humorous take on space operas and uplifting species. As an illustrator alone, he was involved in Daniel Quinn’s superb The Man Who Grew Young
Born June 1, 1966 — David Dean Oberhelman. Mike has an appreciation of him here. The Intersection of Fantasy and Native America: From H.P. Lovecraft to Leslie Marmon Silko which he co-wrote withAmy H. Sturgis was published by The Mythopoeic Press. ISFDB lists just one genre essay by him, “From Iberian to Ibran and Catholic to Quintarian”, printed in Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. (Died 2018.)
(12) COMICS SECTION.
Poorly Drawn Lines’ Astronaut Bill shows friendship is the best. (And if you go to the link, preceding this date are four or five really great cartoons about various other characters.)
(13) MARRIAGE IS WHAT BRINGS US TOGETHER. Actor Alex Kingston remembers her time on Doctor Who as the Doctor’s enigmatic time-travelling wife in “Alex Kingston on 15 Years of River Song”, a feature in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine. This excerpt appears at the link.
“I spoke to Steven [Moffat] on the phone and he said, ‘I’ve got this idea and I need to know if you’re available for it, because if you’re not I can’t write this.’ I let him know when I was available and he told me the outline, but I had to swear not to tell anyone. I’m very good at keeping secrets. Matt, Karen and Arthur had guessed I knew something and tried to persuade me to tell them, but I wouldn’t! Even when we had the script for that episode, the reveal wasn’t in it. They kept those pages out so the crew didn’t know. The actors were given the single pages – I’m not even sure when. And even on shooting day, the pages weren’t there and it was only then, at the last minute, that the crew saw the reveal. They managed to keep the secret and avoid any leaks at all. That takes a lot of doing.”
The season climaxed with THE WEDDING OF RIVER SONG (2011), a game-changer that, despite its title, left the status of the relationship between the Doctor and River up to the viewer’s interpretation. “I still get people going, ‘You’re not really married to him because he was a Teselecta!’” Alex laughs, referring to the shape-shifting craft that had taken on the Eleventh Doctor’s form. “I’m like, ‘Thank you very much, I was married to him. I’m his wife!’”
…The problem with all of these items is that they are quick to purchase, but take a long time to use. You can add a game to your Steam collection in minutes, but chances are most will take you 20 hours or more to play. (Howlongtobeat.com says Tears of the Kingdom takes 52 hours for the main story alone.)
How many more games will you impulse-buy before you’ve finished that one? How many skeins of yarn will you snap up (they were on sale! And so soft!) before you’ve finished the sweater you’re currently knitting? It’s the same problem as the TBR pile, really. And I promise, there is a solution…
…The key to his reading of Orwell is what happened to him in Spain. Though married to Eileen only six months before, he was determined to fight for the Republican cause (“Good chaps, the Spaniards, can’t let them down”) and on his return became far more politically engaged: “at last [I] really believe in Socialism, which I never did before”. But he’d seen bullying and infighting too. For the rest of his life and in his two great novels, this was the war he fought, on behalf of a wholesome, English, sweetly C of E brand of socialism, as opposed to Stalinist totalitarianism….
(16) STRIKES HINDER SCI-FI LONDON. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Sci-Fi-London film fest is now go… But sadly rails strikes made its opening day Wednesday difficult for fans to attend except by bus. Rail strike also on Saturday. Nonetheless hoping to make Sunday’s two sessions of shorts and there’s a free cyber tech exhibition and demonstration there too…. 2023-Hackstock.
(17) JAWS: THE OVERBITE. Check out the WTF! photo of a Goblin Shark at the National Geographic.
Swishing through the deep sea, a goblin shark notices a small, yummy-looking squid. The animal inches toward its prey. But as the fish closes in, the snack starts to dart away. So the shark thrusts its jaw three inches out of its mouth! (The jaw is connected to three-inch-long flaps of skin that can unfold from its snout.) The predator then grabs the squid in its teeth. After scarfing down the meal, the shark fits its jaw back into its mouth and swims off….
…This photo is part of my Fake Holidays series. At the beginning of the project, more than 15 years ago, I went to Lara Beach in Antalya, Turkey, where there is one luxury five-star hotel after another, all along the coastline. On the other side of the road were the tents of the workers who had built the hotels. Luxury hotels are like little ghettoes. You take your plane and your taxi, then you are in the middle of an isolated luxury area.
The Kremlin Palace hotel, where this photo was taken, has an exact copy of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow. I have been to Moscow and seen the original church, which is a focal point – all tourists take a picture there. But here in Turkey, there is a swimming pool in front of the cathedral. I was fascinated. There were many Russian tourists.
I saw a weird guy, an astronaut, walking around the pool. “What’s happening here?” I asked. It turned out the hotel had a huge room with costumes for the entertainers who perform for the tourists. Superman was one of them. I found him by the pool and immediately asked to take his picture. I took about three shots. I chose the photo point, in front of the church with the pool between us, then asked Superman to jump. It was a very childish approach, perhaps, but he did it. The way he jumped was perfect. I felt in the moment: “That’s the picture.”…
…The new super-plume was spied by the James Webb Space Telescope. Previous observations had tracked vapour emissions extending for hundreds of kilometres, but this geyser is on a different scale.
The European Space Agency (Esa) calculated the rate at which the water was gushing out at about 300 litres per second. This would be sufficient to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in just a few hours, Esa said.
Webb was able to map the plume’s properties using its extremely sensitive Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument.
The instrument showed how much of the ejected vapour (about 30%) feeds a fuzzy torus of water co-located with one of Saturn’s famous rings – its so-called E-ring.
“The temperature on the surface of Enceladus is minus 200 degrees Celsius. It’s freezing cold,” commented Prof Catherine Heymans, Astronomer Royal for Scotland.
“But at the core of the moon, we think it’s hot enough to heat up this water. And that’s what’s causing these plumes to come out.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Barry Gold, Lise Andreasen, Joey Eschrich, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) HUGO NOMINATING DEADLINE 4/30. The deadline for submitting nominations to the 2023 Hugo Awards is tomorrow, April 30 at 11:59 p.m. Hawaiian time.
Eligible voters can submit or make change to their selections up until the deadline. Submit nominations here. The committee says:
The nomination traffic is often heavy in the final moments of the process, which can sometimes slow down the process. Please nominate in advance of the deadline to make sure your selections are counted appropriately.
If you have any problems in accessing the website or other questions about the nomination, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
(2) WFA SHORT ON ANTHOLOGIES. Ellen Datlow has a word for fantasy publishers:
The deadline for consideration is June 1 – and note: that’s when judging ends. As Peter Dennis Pautz has said, “If, for instance, something is received on May 31 the judges may well have only one day to read it before their deliberations conclude. Anything received after June 1 will receive little or no consideration.”
…To a niche corner of the internet, Tingle has since achieved superstardom due to his delightfully outrageous book covers. All sport stock image collages and titles that take on a Mad Libs quality, generally beginning “Pounded in the Butt by….” Tingle then fills in the blank with whatever supernatural creature, sentient object, or personified concept strikes his fancy. (Pounded by President Bigfoot is on the tame end of the spectrum; things get more high-concept in Pounded in the Butt by My Own Butt, which realizes its conceit through some unexpectedly intricate sci-fi worldbuilding.)
These covers have earned Tingle the nickname My Favorite Author I’ve Never Read, but he hopes that Camp Damascus will make this moniker obsolete. Asked about his decision to traditionally publish, Tingle cites the opportunity to grow his readership: “I am constantly striving to prove love to a broader audience.”…
… Camp Damascus is never sleep-with-the-lights-on scary, but it conjures a menacing atmosphere. Though the book is crawling with demons, it’s the humans that truly terrify. This was intentional.“Writing horror for any marginalized group,” Tingle says, “you have to recognize that what is happening in the dang world—without any supernatural elements—is already traumatic.”…
THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.
Writers scrambling to finish scripts. Rival late-night-show hosts and producers convening group calls to discuss contingency plans. Union officials and screenwriters gathering in conference rooms to design picket signs with slogans like “The Future of Writing Is at Stake!”
With a Hollywood strike looming, there has been a frantic sprint throughout the entertainment world before 11,500 TV and movie writers potentially walk out as soon as next week.
The possibility of a television and movie writers’ strike — will they, won’t they, how could they? — has been the top conversation topic in the industry for weeks. And in recent days, there has been a notable shift: People have stopped asking one another whether a strike would take place and started to talk about duration. How long was the last one? (100 days in 2007-8.) How long was the longest one? (153 days in 1988.)
“It’s the first topic that comes up in every meeting, every phone call, and everyone claims to have their own inside source about how long a strike will go on and whether the directors and actors will also go out, which would truly be a disaster,” said Laura Lewis, the founder of Rebelle Media, a production and financing company behind shows like “Tell Me Lies” on Hulu and independent movies like “Mr. Malcolm’s List.”
Unions representing screenwriters have been negotiating with Hollywood’s biggest studios for a new contract to replace the one that expires on Monday. The contracts for directors and actors expire on June 30….
(7) MISSED CONNECTION. Dark Worlds Quarterly’s G.W. Thomas profiles “Albert dePina, Space Opera Specialist”. DePina, like Ray Bradbury, got a lift from Henry Hasse – so it’s surprising that although this article does mention Bradbury, it does not note that Hasse also co-authored Bradbury’s first sale.
Albert dePina was a name blazoned across the covers of Planet Stories in 1944. He was never a prolific writer, not a professional in terms of volume. But dePina was a fan. Writing with Henry Hasse, he produced ten stories over ten years, 1943 to 1953. (Robert) Albert dePina died in 1957. (He is not to be confused with the comics creator, Alberto dePina 1907-2002). Sadly, there is little solid information on him….
The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum is a cradle to grave biography of the comic book artist best known for co-creating the All New, All Different X-Men for Marvel, and before that, for revitalizing the Legion of Super-Heroes at DC. It tells the story of how he went from an enthusiastic fan and aspiring pro in the ’60s to the driving force behind the X-Men reboot in the ’70s to a down-on-his luck-creator in the early 2000s, fighting for his life in a veteran’s hospital while Marvel was making millions off his creations as he made nothing.
It’s a story about justice and injustice, both on the page and off.
(9) CARRIE FISHER WILL BE ADDED TO WALK OF FAME. Actress Carrie Fisher will be honored posthumously by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 4th, Star Wars Day. The star, in the category of Motion Pictures, be unveiled near the historic El Capitan Theatre at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard at 11:30 a.m.
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1953 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Our Beginning tonight is short but oh-so- sweet. It is from Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man which was published by Shasta Publishers in 1953.
As you know, the version printed in Galaxy in January, February and March won a Hugo at Philcon II.
The novel is dedicated to Galaxy’s editor, H. L. Gold, who made suggestions during its writing.
Yes, it’s one of my favorite novels, both to read and to listen to. Gerard Doylle narrates the novel and does a fantastic job of doing so.
Without further notes, here’s our Beginning…
IN THE ENDLESS UNIVERSE there is nothing new, nothing different. What may appear exceptional to the minute mind of man may be inevitable to the infinite Eye of God. This strange second in a life, that unusual event, those remarkable coincidences of environment, opportunity, and encounter… all may be reproduced over and over on the planet of a sun whose galaxy revolves once in two hundred million years and has revolved nine times already.
There are and have been worlds and cultures without end, each nursing the proud illusion that it is unique in space and time. There have been men without number suffering from the same megalomania; men who imagined themselves unique, irreplaceable, irreproducible. There will be more… more plus infinity. This is the story of such a time and such a man…
THE DEMOLISHED MAN.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 29, 1887 — H. Bedford-Jones. Pulp writer of whom only maybe ten percent of his twelve hundred stories could be considered genre but some such as the Jack Solomon novels, say John Solomon, Argonaut and John Solomon’s Biggest Game are definitely genre. Like many of the early pulp writers, he used a number of pen names, to wit Michael Gallister, Allan Hawkwood, Gordon Keyne, H. E. Twinells and L. B. Williams. Wildside Press published in 2006 a collection of his short stories, The House of Skulls and Other Tales from the Pulps. (Died 1949.)
Born April 29, 1908 — Jack Williamson. By the end of his long career in sff he had won eight lifetime achievement / grand master honors, and been inducted to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. I’ll frankly admit that he’s one of those authors that I know I’ve read a fair amount by can’t really recall any specific titles as I didn’t collect him either in hard copy or digitally. A quick bit of research suggests the Legion of Space series was what I liked best when I was reading him. Aussiecon Two awarded him a Hugo for Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction (1985), and Millennium Philcon saw him get one for his “Ultimate Earth” novella (2000), which also won the Nebula. (Died 2006.)
Born April 29, 1923 — Irvin Kershner. Director and producer of such genre works as the Amazing Stories and seaQuest DSV series, Never Say Never Again, RoboCop 2 and The Empire Strikes Back. By the way, several of the sources I used in compiling this Birthday claimed that was the best Star Wars film. (Died 2010.)
Born April 29, 1943 — Russell M. Griffin. Author of but four novels as he died far too young of a heart attack. The Makeshift God was his first novel, I remember that novel as being a rather excellent dystopian affair, and Century’s End was even bleaker. He wrote but nine stories. He alas has not made into the digital realm yet. (Died 1986.)
Born April 29, 1946 — Humphrey Carpenter. Biographer whose notable output includes J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography; he also did the editing of The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, and is responsible for The Inklings: CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams and their Friends. He also wrote the engaging Mr. Majeika children’s series which is most decidedly genre. (Died 2005.)
Born April 29, 1960 — Robert J. Sawyer, 63. Hominids won the Hugo for Best Novel at Torcon 3, and The Terminal Experiment won a Nebula as well. Completing a hat trick, he won a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan too. Very impressive. And then there’s the FlashForward series which lasted for thirteen episodes that was based on his novel of that name. Interesting series that ended far too soon.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
The Far Side shows why it can be dangerous to work as a scientist.
The Far Side notes there are hazards to working as an artist, too.
Tom Gauld displays a librarian’s idea of good architecture.
(13) CONAN COMICS WRITER INTERVIEWED. The Rogues in the House podcast interviews Jim Zub, writer of the new Conan comics for Titan.
Save for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and—obviously—Star Trek: The Lower Decks, most of the action for Star Trek takes place upon the fabled bridge. Over the course of Star Trek’s over-five decade runtime, there have been more than one fan who has imagined themselves working under lights at their station. You can close your eyes and imagine yourself among a crew of like-minded people sharing in that optimistic hope for the future that the show was known for. Finally, there’s now a way to truly put yourself into the captain’s chair of whatever version of the show was your favoriteand watch through the viewscreen at all the twinkling stars and imagine where you too might boldly go.
One morning last January, film director Kevin Smith awoke in terror, convinced he was losing his mind.
The next day Smith, 52, checked into Arizona’s Sierra Tucson treatment center where he spent the next month in intensive therapy, learning how several childhood traumas had led him to create and hide behind a “larger than life” public persona he calls “the other guy” that eventually usurped his core sense of self.
“It was scary,” he says, speaking about the incident—that he describes as a “complete break from reality”—publicly for the first time in this week’s PEOPLE.
“At that moment, I wouldn’t have been averse to not being around any longer. I called a friend and said, ‘I’m in a weird, dark place. I need to go somewhere and get help.'”…
(16) SCI-FI LONDON FILMS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Sci-Fi London has just announced its initial tranche of films for this year’s fest 31st May to 6th June 2023.
Even if you are not in the London region, you can check out the trailers below and keep an eye out for the DVD.
All the films are recent and a good few are having their UK, some even, World, premiere at the fest.
There will also be six thematic sessions of short films among much else.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] The Dad-at-Arms podcast has a great interview with Netflix producer Ted Biaselli: “Revolution News! Dad-at-Arms Interview: Netflix MOTU Producer Ted Biaselli”. It’s a Masters of the Universe podcast, so the interview focuses on Masters of the Universe: Revelation, but Biaselli worked on a lot of Netflix SFF shows like Wednesday, The Dark Crystal and Castelvania. He also offers some excellent insights into the workflow of an animated TV episode is made and how long it takes. For example, I had no idea that they record the dialogue first and then do the animation, though it makes sense.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Danny Sichel, Lise Andreasen, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]