Nominees for the 54th Seiun Awards, the Japanese speculative fiction award honoring the best works of the previous calendar year, were announced April 13, alongside the opening of voting for attendees of Sci-con2023, the 61st Japan Science Fiction Convention, to be held in August at the Urawa Community Center in Saitama. The winners will be announced on August 5.
Thanks to N. for making the translations into English.
Thanks to N. for providing the translations, who credits Terrie Hashmoto with tips and some of the translations. All titles are in English, with Romanji in the Long Work and Short Story categories. English titles, in the event of no existing English title, are translated.
BEST JAPANESE LONG WORK
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut (Tsuki to Raika to Nosferatu), by Keisuke Makino (Gagaga Bunko, 10/19, 7 volumes)
Man Kind, by Taiyo Fujii (S-F Magazine, serialization ended in August 2021 issue)
BEST JAPANESE SHORT STORY
“How to Defeat Science Fiction Writers” (SF Sakka no Taoshikata), by Satoshi Ogawa (Anomalous Papers, Kyosuke Higuchi, ed. Hayakawa, 10/19)
BEST TRANSLATED LONG WORK
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir (translated by Kazuko Onoda)
BEST TRANSLATED SHORT STORY
“The One With the Interstellar Group Consciousnesses” by James Alan Gardner (translated by Chiori Sada)
“The new movie version, which spanned almost 15 years since 2007, has finally come to an end. Starting from the TV series, it has been about 25 years. Many people did not live to see the end, and the conclusion of the event literally embodied the curse of Eva. We would like to pay tribute not only to the movie as a stand-alone product, but also to the completion of the series over the years.”
TWEETED ACCEPTANCE REMARKS
Best Long Work [Tie]:
“Man Kind,” which ended its serialization last year, has been selected for the 53rd Nebula Award in the Novel category. Thank you to all of you who have been following my long serialization.
The “Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut” series has won the “Nebula Award, Japanese Novel Category”! (Simultaneously awarded with Mr. Taiyo Fujii) We are very grateful for this wonderful honor and for all of you who supported us. Thank you so much!
Best Dramatic Presentation: Here is the award for Godzilla.
“Godzilla Singular Point” has won the 53rd Nebula Award in the media category! Director Atsushi Takahashi took the stage at today’s award ceremony at the 59th Japan Science Fiction Convention F-CON.
Please enjoy #Godzilla SP on Blu-ray & DVD and Netflix!
“Zettai Karen Children” won the Nebula Award in the comic category. Thank you! Finally, I was recognized as a science fiction writer! From now on, it is now safe to call myself a “science fiction writer!” (How about that?)
“#GAKKEN’s Illustrated Book: Super Sentai” won the Nebula Award!
We are very honored to announce that we have won the 53rd #Nebula Award for Nonfiction! Thank you very much for this very prestigious award! We would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who recommended and voted for this book!
“Research into a treatment for kidney disease in cats made the news and raised more than 200 million yen. The reason for this event was that it drew attention to the theme of animal physiology, a topic that is close to our hearts, and that it was a reminder of the high impact of “buzz” on the Internet.” (English article)
“The new movie version, which spanned almost 15 years since 2007, has finally come to an end. Starting from the TV series, it has been about 25 years. Many people did not live to see the end, and the conclusion of the event literally embodied the curse of Eva. We would like to pay tribute not only to the movie as a stand-alone product, but also to the completion of the series over the years.”
“While the whole world was suffering from the new coronavirus, the Freedom was built in Shanghai, China in April, and the Nu Gundam was built in Fukuoka, Japan in December. The construction of two mobile suits (Freedom is not a Gundam) in one year was unprecedented and the first time in history. It could be said to be a modern version of the construction of the Great Buddha to pray for the dispersal of Corona.” (English article)
“Although private citizens have used public organizations for space travel in the past, it is significant that they have successfully completed a manned spaceflight mission that will lead to private space travel in the future.”
I knew we’d bought the right house in Tallahassee when, two years ago, a raccoon rang our doorbell at four in the morning. Granted, the doorbell glows blue at night and, for some reason, is at waist height. But, still, this seemed like something that belonged in the Guinness Book of World Records for urban wildlife.
Dear reader, I hope you understand that we did not answer the door and it was only from the muddy pawprints we saw when we ventured out at a more reasonable hour…that we understood who had visited us….
John Plotz (JP): You have said that science fiction is the realism of our times. How do people hear that statement today? Do they just hear the word COVID and automatically start thinking about dystopia?
Kim Stanley Robinson (KSR): People sometimes think that science fiction is about predicting the future, but that isn’t true. Since predicting the future is impossible, that would be a high bar for science fiction to have to get over. It would always be failing. And in that sense it always is failing. But science fiction is more of a modeling exercise, or a way of thinking.
Another thing I’ve been saying for a long time is something slightly different: We’re in a science fiction novel now, which we are all cowriting together. What do I mean? That we’re all science fiction writers because of a mental habit everybody has that has nothing to do with the genre. Instead, it has to do with planning and decision making, and how people feel about their life projects. For example, you have hopes and then you plan to fulfill them by doing things in the present: that’s utopian thinking. Meanwhile, you have middle-of-the-night fears that everything is falling apart, that it’s not going to work. And that’s dystopian thinking.
So there’s nothing special going on in science fiction thinking. It’s something that we’re all doing all the time.
And world civilization right now is teetering on the brink: it could go well, but it also could go badly. That’s a felt reality for everybody. So in that sense also, science fiction is the realism of our time. Utopia and dystopia are both possible, and both staring us in the face.
(3) THE TRANSOM IS OPEN. The Dark Magazine is accepting submissions. Do you have what editors Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Michael Kelly, and Sean Wallace are looking for?
(4) DUNE TRAILER. Warner Bros. has dropped the main trailer for Dune, set for an October 22 release. Here’s the story they’re telling:
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
(5) PATTEN IN HUMBLE BUNDLE. The late Fred Patten’s essay collection Watching Anime, Reading Manga is part of Humble Bundle’s new Japanese Culture bundle: Humble Book Bundle: Japanese Culture & Language by Stone Bridge Press. The entire 26-item bundle includes four books about anime and manga. Pay at least $18 to get all of them, pay less to get fewer items, or pay extra to give more to publishers, Humble, and charity.
Discover the rich history and culture of Japan!
There are thousands of years of rich history and culture to be found in Japan, and Stone Bridge Press wants to help you discover plenty of it with books like Crazy for Kanji: A Student’s Guide to the Wonderful World of Japanese Characters, Family Crests of Japan, and Japaneseness: A Guide to Values and Virtues. Plus, your purchase helps support the Book Industry Charitable Foundation and a charity of your choice!
(6) 2021 SEIUN AWARDS. Locus Online’s 2021 Seiun Awards post has translations into English of all the titles up for Best Japanese Novel and Best Japanese Story, as well as the correct English titles of the works nominated for Best Translated Novel and Best Translated Story (i.e. of works into the Japanese language.) And I don’t! So hie thee hence.
AE: How much or little do current events impact your writing?
RCS: Looking back, it strikes me that “The Next Frontier” was born of a desire to live in a world with greater cooperation between nations on important projects requiring global efforts. I took international cooperation much more for granted in the 1990s and 2000s than I do now.
(8) MEMORIES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the July 17 Financial Times, Henry Mance interviews Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife, Lady Madeleine Lloyd Webber.
‘Do we mention the other lowest of the low moments?’ says Madeleine. “The Cats film. I’ve never seen Andrew so upset.’ He had sold the rights and was sidelined. ‘I’ve never known anything so ghastly. It was disgraceful, the whole process,” he (Andrew Lloyd Webber) says. ‘I wrote a letter to the head of Universal Pictures, Donna Langley, which I didn’t even get (a response to) and I said, ‘this will be a car crash beyond belief if you don’t listen to me.’
He blames the director Tom Hooper. ‘You’ve got to have somebody who understands the rhythm of music…I had right of approval over some of the musical elements. But they really rode roughshod over everything.’ Things were so bad that he had to console himself by buying a Havanese puppy.
…Cora is an amazingly prolific and eclectic writer. So prolific that Jon joked about her owning “Asimov’s Typewriter” and we suddenly had a new imaginary episode of Warehouse 13 in our heads. So eclectic that no matter your tastes there’s a good chance that she’s written something that you’d enjoy. If you like stories about galactic empires like Foundation, she’s written two full series you might like, In Love and War and Shattered Empire. She’s also a two-time Hugo Finalist for Best Fan Writer.
(10) MARS IN CULTURE. “Exploring the Red Planet through History and Culture” with Nick Smith (past President of LASFS) is hosted by the Pasadena Museum of History. The free virtual presentation* is available for viewing Thursday, July 22 through Sunday, July 25.
The planet Mars has long been connected to humankind through religions, literature, and science. Join Nick Smith, guest curator of PMH’s 2018 exhibition Dreaming the Universe, to explore our fascination with Earth’s neighboring planet, and discover some of the many ways Mars is part of our culture.
*Pre-recorded presentation from Spring ArtNight 2021.
(11) HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARNIE KATZ. Alan White posted a photo on Facebook of his wife, DeDee, presenting Arnie Katz, 76, with a fanboy cake.
(12) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
2016 – Five years ago on this date, Star Trek Beyond premiered. The third film in the rebooted series, and the thirteenth Trek film so far released. It directed by Justin Lin from the script from Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. It was produced by J. J. Abrams, Roberto Orci Lindsey Weber and Justin Lin. It starred cast of Chris Pine, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin (one of his last roles before his death) and Idris Elba. Almost unanimously critics loved it and audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an excellent rating of eighty percent. It however was a box office failure losing money as it debuted in a crowded market that had the likes of Jason Bourne and Suicide Squad.
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 22, 1926 — Bernhardt J. Hurwood. Author of The Man from T.O.M.C.A.T series which is more or less soft porn. He also did the Pulp series, the Invisibles series. He also had a deep and abiding fascination with the supernatural, publishing myriad non-fiction works on it including Passport to the Supernatural: An Occult Compendium from All Ages and Many Lands, Vampires, Werewolves and Ghouls and Monsters and Nightmares. (Died 1987.)
Born July 22, 1932 — Tom Robbins, 89. Author of such novels as Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Another Roadside Attraction. ISFDB lists everything he’s done as genre and who am I to argue with them on this occasion at least? Well I will. Now Jitterbug Perfume, that’s definitely genre! Cowgirls Get the Blues got made into a rather excellent film by Gus Van Sant and stars Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, and Keanu Reeves. Interesting note: Still Life with Woodpecker made the long list at one point for the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel.
Born July 22, 1940 — Alex Trebek. Remembered as the genial long term Host of Jeopardy!, he was but one genre credit to his name. It’s as a Man in Black who Agent Mulder says looks incredibly like himself in the “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”. I actually think it’s only his acting role. (Died 2020.)
Born July 22, 1941 — George Clinton, 70. Founder and leader of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic, who incorporated science-fictional themes in his music throughout his career, perhaps most notably with his 1975 hit album, Mothership Connection, which was a huge influence on afrofuturism. (Xtifr)
Born July 22, 1941 — Vaughn Bode. Winner of Best Fan Artist Hugo at St. Louiscon. (He was nominated for Best Professional Artist as well but that honor went to Jack Gaughan.) He has been credited as an influence on Bakshi’s Wizards and Lord of the Rings. Currently there at least three collections of his artwork, Deadbone Erotica, Cheech Wizard and Cheech Wizard‘s Book of Me in print.(Died 1975.)
Born July 22, 1962 — Rena Owen, 59. New Zealand native who appeared as Taun We in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as Nee Alavar. She also has minor roles in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Crow: Wicked Prayer, The Iron Man and The Last Witch Hunter. She had a lead role in Siren, a series about merfolk that lasted for three seasons and thirty six episodes. Set in the state of Washington, it was, no surprise, filmed in British Columbia.
Born July 22, 1964 — Bonnie Langford, 57. She was a computer programmer from the 20th century who was a Companion of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors. She also appeared in the thirtieth anniversary special Dimensions in Time. If you’re really generous in defining genre, she was in Wombling Free as Felicity Kim Frogmorton. Other than that, Who was all she did for our end of the universe.
Born July 22, 1972 — Colin Ferguson, 49. Best known for being Sheriff Jack Carter on Eureka. Damn I miss that series which amazingly won no Hugos. (I just discovered the series is on the Peacock streaming service which I subscribe to so I’m going to watch it again!) He’s also been in Are You Afraid of the Dark, The Hunger, The X-Files, The Outer Limits, the Eureka “Hide and Seek” webisodes (anyone seen these?) and The Vampire Diaries.
(14) COMICS SECTION.
At The Far Side, farmers have another visit from those darned saucer-flying kleptomaniacs.
Marvel’s Vice President of film production, Victoria Alonso, recently gave us the news of the studio’s grand ambitions for expanding into the world of animation…and she’s not stopping there….
According to Variety, Alonso confirmed that both Hawkeye and Ms. Marvel will be appearing on Disney+ for subscribers before the year is out….
Hawkeye sees the return of Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton. Similar to Black Widow, however, a younger star in Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop will also be co-starring and appears set to take the reins from the much more established bow-wielding Avenger. And don’t forget, Florence Pugh’s Yelena is also set as a recurring character in the series, making the connections between the two productions even more apparent.
Ms. Marvel, meanwhile, will serve as the debut for Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and strengthen ties between Disney+ and the Captain Marvel movies. Brie Larson is sure to be a mainstay in the MCU for years and years to come, of course, so this will likely resemble some Miles Morales and Peter Parker mentor/mentee storylines rather than a straightforward passing of the torch.
(16) REVIVING SWORD & SORCERY. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] Brian Murphy, who’s written a non-fiction book about sword and sorcery, which was on my Hugo ballot this year and which won the Robert E. Howard Foundation Award, muses about what sword and sorcery needs to experience a revival: “What sword-and-sorcery needs” at The Silver Key.
3. A cohesive community, perhaps organized around a fanzine. Guys like Jason Ray Carney are building this right now, with the likes of Whetstone, an amateur magazine that also has a Discord group. I belong to several good Facebook groups, and there are some reasonably well-trafficked Reddit groups and the like. You’ve got the Swords of REH Proboards and a few other hangouts for the diehards. But it all feels very disparate. Sword-and-sorcery lacks a common gathering space and watering hole, like Amra used to serve. Leo Grin’s now defunct Cimmerian journal is the type of publication I’m thinking of.
While picketing companies that deal with employers involved in labor disputes — known as a secondary boycott — is illegal under labor law, the board ruled that the use of oversized rats, which are typically portrayed as ominous creatures with red eyes and fangs, is not a picket but a permissible effort to persuade bystanders.
Union officials had stationed the rat in question, a 12-foot-tall specimen, close to the entrance of a trade show in Elkhart, Ind., in 2018, along with two banners. One banner accused a company showcasing products there, Lippert Components, of “harboring rat contractors” — that is, doing business with contractors that do not use union labor.
Lippert argued that the rat’s use was illegal coercion because the creature was menacing and was intended to discourage people from entering the trade show. But the board found that the rat was a protected form of expression.
“Courts have consistently deemed banners and inflatable rats to fall within the realm of protected speech, rather than that of intimidation and the like,” the ruling said.
The rise of the rodents, often known as “Scabby the Rat,” dates to the early 1990s, when an Illinois-based company began manufacturing them for local unions intent on drawing attention to what they considered suspect practices, such as using nonunion labor. The company later began making other inflatable totems, like fat cats and greedy pigs, for the same purpose….
Everybody knows that Mark Hamill is in Star Wars, unless you only know him from the credits of Batman: The Animated Series and have just had your mind blown, but did you know that he’s also in a lot of Star Wars movies? Like, almost all of them? Okay, yeah, you probably knew that as well, but we’re not talking about Luke Skywalker. We’re talking about an untold number of droids and aliens and other puppets who shared the distinct pleasure of having Mark Hamill’s voice come out of their mouth holes….
(21) CHAIR PAIR. In Episode 57 of the Two Chairs Talking podcast, “From a skewed perspective”, just out, David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss discuss the nominees for Best Novella at this year’s Hugo Awards, then talk about some more recent reading.
It’s one of the great mysteries of the early space age. How did Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom, after a near-perfect flight on just the second U.S. space mission, inadvertently “blow” the escape hatch prematurely on his Liberty Bell 7 capsule, causing it to fill with water and sink in the Atlantic? In fact, did Grissom blow the hatch? Or was some technical glitch to blame?
Grissom himself insisted he hadn’t accidentally triggered the explosive bolts designed to open the hatch during his ocean recovery. His NASA colleagues, by and large, believed him. Years later, Apollo flight director Gene Kranz told historians Francis French and Colin Burgess, “If Gus says he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it.”…
(23) OUT ON A LIMB. Do you know Lego has come out with a LEGO Bonsai Tree and a Lego flower arrangement for Lego lovers who aren’t good at dealing with plants? But they better be good at assembling Legos – this item has 878 pieces!
(24) FROM PITCH MEETING. This video from Ryan George has him playing Chim Ontario, a seven-time Oscar winner who specializes in crotch composition because “you have to specialize in something.” His eighteen-hour days don’t leave him time for relationships or children, but he sold one of his Oscars on eBay and got a nice sleeping bag! — “THE Movie Special Effects Tutorial | Pro Tips by Pitch Meeting”.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Cora Buhlert, Bruce D. Arthurs, David K.M. Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jamoche.]
When adults turned to Zoom for pandemic-era happy hours, kids filled the social void with Roblox. In 2020, Roblox Corporation’s free-to-play game—which allows users to construct original, three-dimensional online worlds—grew its daily user base 85% to more than 32.6 million. Players can do everything from delivering pizzas to exploring ancient Rome to shelling out real money for virtual Robux to outfit their blocky avatars. (As in many online communities, some have faced harassment.) “Futurists and science-fiction writers have been imagining the Metaverse for decades,” says CEO David Baszucki, referring to the concept of a persistent, shared, 3-D virtual space. Roblox is making it a reality.
(2) ANOTHER CONVENTION CASUALTY. Jo Walton’s Scintillation con — planned for October 2021 in Montreal — is canceled. Current plans are to hope for 2022. “2021 is also cancelled”.
There will be no Scintillation in 2021. There’s no word about the border opening. Vaccinations are happening, but unevenly, and it’s not possible to get any guidance as to whether it will be legal to have events in Quebec in October. We thought about pushing it back, but then it runs into both World Fantasy (still planned to be in Montreal, still planned to be at least partly in person) and winter. The hotel are very reluctant to commit, and keeping the whole thing as a possibility was making us anxious, and of course the closer it gets the harder it is for people to commit. The worst result would be having a con and losing money so we can’t do it other years. So I decided we’d be better to just cancel again, and have the best Scintillation ever in 2022….
(3) 2021 SEIUN AWARDS FINALISTS. Locus Online’s 2021 Seiun Awards Nominees post has translations into English of all the titles up for Best Japanese Novel and Best Japanese Story, as well as the correct English titles of the works nominated for Best Translated Novel and Best Translated Story (i.e. of works into the Japanese language.) And I don’t! So hie thee hence.
The awards will be presented at SF60, the 60th Japan SF Convention, scheduled for August 21-22, 2021 in Takamatsu city, Kagawa prefecture.
(4) ACTOR NOEL CLARKE FACES HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS. BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, has suspended British actor and producer Noel Clarke following allegations of sexual misconduct reports CNN. He’s known to sff fans for playing Mickey Smith in 15 episodes of Doctor Who, and appearing in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
The body told CNN in a statement on Friday that it had made the decision to suspend Clarke’s membership, along with his recent award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, “in light of the allegations of serious misconduct” leveled against him in the Guardian newspaper.
“BAFTA has taken the decision to suspend his membership and the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award immediately and until further notice,” it added.
The suspension comes just weeks after Clarke was given the award — one of the academy’s most prestigious honors — at its annual ceremony on April 10.
According to the Guardian, claims of sexual harassment and bullying were made against Clarke by 20 women, all of whom knew him in a professional capacity between 2004 and 2019.
… The ISFDB’s roots can be found in USENET, a now archaic decentralized worldwide distributed discussion system intended to be sufficiently robust enough that in the event of a global thermonuclear war, surviving users would still be able to exchange angry barbs about the latest Robert A. Heinlein novel even as deadly fallout collected in deep drifts around the furious posters. By its nature, however, USENET posts tend to be ephemeral. Thus, in the mid-1990s, Al von Ruff and the entity known as Ahasuerus created the web-based ISFDB….
(6) 124C41+. SF2 Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie sent another update about prospects for UK fan groups resuming in-person meetings in the foreseeable future.
I have almost finished downloading five months of Nature PDFs that accrued during my “digital lockdown”, fortunately I had paper subscriptions so I was kept up-to-date during this time. Next is Science, BMJ, etc. And I’ve not yet looked at the backlog e-mails December 2020 to March ’21…
As lockdown over here in Brit Cit eases, our local Northumberland Heath DA8 Science Fiction Group is hoping for a members-only meet in June before resuming regular open meetings. Before then a few of us may though have a garden gathering as under CoVID rules, before late May, six are allowed to gather outside. (We hope Buffy the dog doesn’t count as one of the six: she slays vampires you know.)
Whether or not our SF group will have a larger barbecue this summer remains to be seen.
As for larger UK meetings, such as the Birmingham SF Group or the London SF Circle, getting to these will involve public transport and that may put off some. We will see. For now, the London SF Circle is virtual.
Fortunately, over here, both the weekly rates of infection and fatalities seem to be in steady decline, for which we have the vaccines to thank. (All hail the UK Science Base, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.)
Trusting things are going well for you over in the rebel colonies? News from some places elsewhere is depressing. Hopefully we can speed up vaccinating the world.
(7) DOWN FOR THE COUNT. Dream Foundry has made Cassie Alexander’s seminar “Injuries in Fiction and Writing About Other Medical Topics” available on their YouTube channel.
Have you ever needed to incapacitate a character and gotten stuck wondering what was real versus what was functional for your project? As an author and RN, Cassie understands the way we need to sometimes bend things for fiction — but also the thrill of making fiction as truthful as possible. The first half of the talk will include an overview of such topics as: blows to the head, strokes, burns, gunshots/arrowshots, what’s “life support,” infectious processes, heart attacks, etc., and the second half of the talk will be audience questions about their WIPs.
…Of course, without Tolkien’s cooperation, the book never materialized—though I have to say I’m sorry. I personally would love to read what was, judging by the above, sure to be Auden’s half-catty, half-worshipful book on Tolkien. We’ll all just have to imagine it, I suppose.
Blame Doctor Who. When they arrived in 1963, the Time Lord and his chums didn’t merely create a franchise that would dominate British TV for more than 50 years – they spawned an entire universe of tonally imitative series set in space. From Blake’s 7 and Space Island One to Star Cops and Outcasts, UK TV schedules have been littered with these curiosities. With their rattling sets, iffy costumes and eccentric English charm, we might fondly call such shows “Mibs”, or Mostly Indoors British Sci-fi.
Another may be on the way in the form of Sky One’s space-prison drama Intergalactic, which begins tonight. While they differ in their specifics, these programmes share a love of big themes delivered on tight budgets. They’re also more liked than initial critical reception tends to suggest.
It stems from a paradox at the heart of the genre. For audiences, a futuristic setting conjures visions of spectacle, elaborate costumes and faraway locations, all augmented with cutting edge technology and special effects. In Hollywood, sci-fi has long pushed the envelope of what is possible in filmmaking. For TV producers on a tight leash, however, mostly indoor sci-fis have a different quality. When outside movement is limited by an infinite hostile void, you can film the whole thing in a tiny studio. Viewers get big ideas. You get great value. Everyone wins.
(10) LIGHTING UP THE TV. Netflix dropped a trailer for the second half of Season 5 of Lucifer.
It’s time to meet your new maker! Lucifer is back with eight thrilling new episodes. Season 5 Part 2 premieres May 28th.
Born April 30, 1839 – Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. (Personal name last, Japanese-style.) Possibly the last great Japanese woodblock artist. Some of his work is fantasy. Here is the cover of Higashi ed., Kaiki [“fantastic”], Uncanny Tales from Japan vol. 1 (showing Minamoto no YorimitsuCuts at the Earth Spider). Here is Midnight Moon at Mount Yoshino (Lady Iga no Tsubone confronting the ghost of Sadaki no Kiyotaka, see here). (Died 1892) [JH]
Born April 30, 1926 — Cloris Leachman. I’ve got her first in the genre in Young Frankenstein as Frau Blücher. (Strange film.) She does her obligatory mouse role when she voices Euterpe in The Mouse and His Child. Next up is being The Lord’s Secretary in The Muppet Movie. (Always a fun time.) Hmmm… she’s Millie Crown in Shadow Play, a horror film that I don’t plan on seeing. Not my cup of tea. Lots of voice work from there out and I will only note her as Mrs. Tensedge in The Iron Giant, a great film indeed. She in the live action and I assume disgusting Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse as Ms. Fielder. (Died 2021.) (CE)
Born April 30, 1934 – Baird Searles. Book reviewer for Asimov’s. Film reviewer for Amazing and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Co-wrote A Reader’s Guide to Science Fiction and A Reader’s Guide to Fantasy; Films of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Co-founded the SF Shop, New York. Drama and Literature director at Radio Station WBAI; weekly program “Of Unicorns and Universes”; 100-minute reading of “The Council of Elrond”, pronunciations verified with Tolkien by telephone; complete (serialized) reading of Last and First Men. (Died 1993) [JH]
Born April 30, 1938 — Larry Niven, 83. One of my favorite authors to read, be it the Gil Hamilton the Arm stories, Ringworld, Protector, The Mote in God’s Eye with Jerry Pournelle (The Gripping Hand alas didn’t work for me at all), or the the Rainbow Mars stories which I love in the audiobook version. What’s your favorite Niven story? And yes, I did look up his Hugos. “Neutron Star” was his first at NyCon followed by Ringworld at Noreascon 1 and in turn by “Inconstant Moon” (lovely story) the following year at L.A. Con I, “The Hole Man” (which I don’t remember reading) at Aussiecon 1 and finally “The Borderland of Sol” novelette at MidAmericaCon. He’s not won a Hugo since 1976 which I admit surprised me. (CE)
Born April 30, 1947 – Melinda Murdock, age 74. Ten novels, one shorter story, three covers. Here is Timegate; here is A Sea of Troubles. [JH]
Born April 30, 1959 – Bill Congreve, age 62. Two dozen short stories. Three Ditmars. Book reviewer for Aurealis. Edited four Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy (three with Michelle Marquardt), four more anthologies. Small press, MirrorDanse Books. Favourite (he’s Australian) meal: tabouli, roast chicken, Guinness, and Street’s Blue Ribbon ice cream. [JH]
Born April 30, 1960 – P.C. Cast, age 61. Three dozen novels, nine shorter stories, some edited by daughter Kristin Cast. In high school fell in love with mythology and Quarter Horses. Served in the Air Force, taught high school herself. NY Times and USA Today best-selling author. Prism, Holt Medallion, Laurel Wreath, Oklahoma Book awards. Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. [JH]
Born April 30, 1968 — Adam Stemple, 53. Son of Jane Yolen. One-time vocalist of Boiled in Lead. With Yolen, he’s written the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tales, Pay the Piper and Troll Bridge which are worth reading, plus the Seelie Wars trilogy which I’ve not read. He’s also written two Singer of Souls urban fantasies which I remember as engaging. (CE)
Born April 30, 1968 – David Goldfarb, 53. Worked part-time at The Other Change of Hobbit, when it was in its first location in Berkeley. Has been Tuckerized by Jo Walton in Ha’Penny and Half a Crown, and by Mark Waid in the comic book Legion of Super-Heroes. At ConJosé co-accepted Jo’s Astounding (then-Campbell) Award. He’s five-for-five in Mark and Priscilla Olson’s “Trivia for Chocolate” game at Worldcons he’s attended. He competed in “Win Tom Whitmore’s Books” at Denvention 3 and beat Tom and won a rare Bujold hardcover from him. [OGH]
Born April 30, 1973 — Naomi Novik, 48. She wrote the Temeraire series which runs to nine novels so far. Her first book, His Majesty’s Dragon, won the Astounding Award. She most deservedly won the Nebula Award for Best Novel for Uprooted which is a most excellent read. I’ve not yet read her Spinning Silver novel which won a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, so opinions are welcome. (CE)
Born April 30, 1973 – Jeanine Hall Gailey, age 48. Ten dozen poems; five collections. Co-edited Dwarf Stars 11 (annual anthology, DS Award finalists, SF Poetry Ass’n; poems of at most 10 lines). Two top prizes from Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Memorial Fund (2007, 2011). Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. Elgin Award. Moon City Poetry Award. [JH]
Born April 30, 1982 — Kirsten Dunst, 38. Her first genre role was as Claudio in Interview with the Vampire. Later genre roles include Judy Shepherd in Jumanji, voicing Christy Fimple in Small Soldiers, voicing Becky Thatcher in The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man franchise, voicing Kaena in Kaena: The Prophecy, and showing up on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Hedrilin in the “Dark Page” episode. She would have been nine years old in that episode! (CE)
Born April 30, 1985 — Gal Gadot, 36. Wonder Woman of course in the DC film universe. Other genre work, well, other than voicing Shank on Ralph Breaks the Internet, there really isn’t any. (CE)
(13) COMICS SECTION.
Bizarro shows cops tracing a witch’s missing sibling. You’ll probably solve this disappearance before they do.
(14) IN CHARACTER. Keith Houston, in “Miscellany #90: The Grawlix” on his blog Shady Characters explains that the bunch of random typography in comics used to portray obscenity is called “The Grawlix” and was invented by Mort Walker for Beetle Bailey in the 1950s.
…But here’s the thing. A grawlix is not a collection of typographic characters — at least not the way that Walker defined it. In Lexicon, he writes:
“A variety of acceptable curse words are at the cartoonist’s disposal. He may throw in a new one from time to time, but the real meat of the epithet must always contain plenty of jarns, quimps, nittles, and grawlixes[.]”…
… After more than a year of shutdowns and delays, cantinas and gangster hideouts throughout the galaxy are finally opening their doors to more and more clientele. We haven’t felt this giddy and hopeful since Vader tossed Palpatine into the reactor of the Death Star. It’s only fitting that Star Wars Day 2021 should ring in a new era of optimism. After all, the entire franchise is rooted in the concept of sparking hope in dark times.
So, cash in those galactic credits and clear your schedule for Tuesday, May 4, because we’ve got your guide on how to party like it’s the days of the Old Republic. (Be sure to check back in with SYFY WIRE as more May the 4th goodies are revealed over the next week.)…
(16) URSA PASSES ORSON. In the Washington Post, Brittany Shammas says that a negative review of Citizen Kane from the Chicago Tribune has been unearthed, which makes Paddington 2 the highest ranking film on Rotten Tomatoes with uniformly positive reviews. “Rotten Tomatoes downgrades Citizen Kane’s perfect score”.
… A thousand memes and jokes were born of the news that the talking-bear sequel’s score of “100 percent Fresh” had bested the “99 percent Fresh” now assigned to the film widely hailed as the greatest ever made.
“please don’t misinterpret the adjusted Rotten Tomatoes rankings to mean that ‘Paddington 2 is now the best movie of all time.’ Paddington 2 *already was* the best movie of all time,” quipped David Ehrlich, a senior film critic at Indie Wire. “thank you.”…
Amazon has released a trailer for the upcoming sci-fi thriller “The Tomorrow War,” debuting this summer.
The movie, out July 2, stars Chris Pratt as Dan Forester, a high school teacher who is recruited by a group of time travelers to fight a war in the future. As an alien species threatens life on Earth, the only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to travel to the year 2051 and help save the planet. Dan teams up with his estranged father, played by J.K. Simmons, and a brilliant scientist, played by Yvonne Strahovski, to rewrite the fate of mankind.
Actor Jeff Goldblum is joining the cast of a fan-made Dungeons & Dragons podcast called Dark Dice, created and written by Fool and Scholar Productions. The high-concept audio drama starts out as a traditional session of D&D, complete with dice and a Dungeon Master. Sequences are then cut, condensed, and performed with additional voice acting, original music, and sound effects. Episodes featuring the Jurassic Park actor will begin airing for free on May 12. The announcement was made Wednesday by Deadline.
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter was scheduled to embark on its most daring flight yet on Thursday. But it failed to lift off, so NASA plans to try again on Friday.
Ingenuity made history when it flew for the first time on April 19 – a 10-foot hover that marked the first controlled, powered flight ever conducted on another planet. Since then, the 4-pound drone has completed two more flights, venturing farther and flying faster each time.
Ingenuity was in good shape after its last flight, in which it traveled roughly 330 feet out and back. It was set to attempt an even more ambitious adventure on Thursday: a 117-second flight in which the little drone was supposed to reach a record speed of 3.5 meters per second. The plan was for the helicopter to climb 16 feet into the air, fly south for about 436 feet, and snap photos of the Martian surface along the way. It was then supposed to hover for more photos, turn around, and fly back to its original spot for landing.
But Ingenuity’s rotor blades didn’t lift it up at all.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. I’m sure I can’t explain Captain Yajima but it’s pretty amusing.
[Thanks to N., JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Danny Sichel, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day jayn.]
The 2020 Seiun Award winners were announced August 22 by the Japan Science Fiction Convention “F-con”. The presentation ceremony will be held at the convention, now postponed to March 13-14, 2021 because of COVID-19.
The award has nine categories. The English titles and names come from a press release sent on behalf of the Chairperson of “F-con” and are noted as “subject to correction/revision.”
BEST JAPANESE LONG STORY
“Signpost to the Stars”, by ISSUI OGAWA (HAYAKAWA PUBLISHING,INC.)
BEST JAPANESE SHORT STORY
“Mizu No Tsuki (Invisible moon)”, by Hiroe Suga (HAYAKAWA PUBLISHING,INC.)
BEST TRANSLATED LONG STORY
“The Three-Body Problem”, by Liu Cixin translated by Nozomi Ohmori, Toya Tachihara, Sakura Mitsuyoshi and Wan Zai (HAYAKAWA PUBLISHING,INC.)
BEST TRANLATED SHORT STORY
“Uncanny Valley”, by Greg Egan translated by Makoto Yamagishi (HAYAKAWA PUBLISHING,INC.)
BEST MEDIA (TV, CINEMA, VIDEO GAME, ENTERTAINMENT)
“ASTRA LOST IN SPACE”, directed by Masaomi Ando created by Lerche Original comic by Kenta Shinohara
“How many light-years to Babylon?”, by Dowman Sayman (AKITA PUBLISHING CO.,LTD.)
“BATMAN NINJA” by Masato Hisa Characters&Supervision DC COMICS (HERO’S INC.)
BEST NON-FICTION (RELATED WORK)
“NHK’s Hyappun De Meicho (“100 minutes on a famous book”): Sakyo Komatsu Special “Mythology in the Age of Godlessness””, by Tetsuya Miyazaki (NHK Publishing, Inc.)
NON CATEGORY (EVERYTHING THAT FEELS SENSE OF WONDER)
The first-ever image of a black hole, by EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) collaboration
[Thanks to Hirohide (Jack R.) Hirai, International Liaison, Science Fiction Fangroup’s Association of Nippon (SFFAN), for the story.]
The 2020 Seiun Award nominees were announced May 7. The award has nine categories. Below are the items shortlisted in the categories for translated works, and a few other categories of international interest.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, translated by Youko Hosomi (Tokyo Sogensha)
The Paradox Men by Charles L. Harness, translated by Tohru Nakamura (Takeshobo)
Jade City, by Fonda Lee, translated by Mayumi Ohtani (Hayakawa)
The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu, translated by Touya Tachihara, Nozomi Ohmori, Sakura Mitsuyoshi & Chai Wang (Hayakawa)
Only Human, by Sylvain Neuvel, translated by Chiori Sada (Tokyo Sogensha)
A Man Lies Dreaming, by Lavie Tidhar, translated by Shingo Oshino (Takeshobo)
The Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells, translated by Naoya Nakahara (Tokyo Sogensha)
FOREIGN SHORT STORY
“Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” by Ted Chiang, translated by Nozomi Ohomori (Exhalation)
“Omphalos” by Ted Chiang, translated by Nozomi Ohomori (Exhalation)
“Memorials” by Aliette de Bodard, translated by Yutaka Ohshima (The Tea Master and the Detective)
“Bit Players” by Greg Egan, translated by Makoto Yamagishi (Bit Players and Other Stories)
“Uncanny Valley” by Greg Egan, translated by Makoto Yamagishi (Bit Players and Other Stories)
“The Caretaker” by Ken Liu, translated by Mayumi Ohtani (The Reborn and Other Stories)
“The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer, translated by Naoya Nakahara (SF Magazine 2/19)
Annual Japanese SF Masterpiece Selection — For producing many outstanding new artists through the planning and the creation of the Science Fiction Short Award — Tokyo Sogensha Site
Google demonstrates supremacy of quantum computers — Because there is a discussion about the world’s first demonstration and the right or wrong. A milestone event. — Nature
Sid Mead Exhibition — From the beginning to the latest work, a large retrospective exhibition with a large number of original paintings. — Official Site
SF Magazine — For 60 years, leading the Japanese Science Fiction Industry, and in consideration of the timing of the 52nd anniversary of SFM’s founding. — Hayakawa Shobo Site
“Studio Nue’s S-Ef Design Theory. Monthly Model Graphics July 2019 [Intro Special Issue] — This feature brings together the history of studio Nue, which has supported the visual and literature of many sci-fi works through interviews and works. — Dainippon Painting Site
Also congratulations to Jeff VanderMeer whose Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, as translated by Masako Asaga, is a nominee in the Nonfiction category.
The Seiun Awards are ordinarily presented at the Japanese National SF Convention, however, it has been postponed until 2021. The winners usually are announced ahead of time.