The Spotted Owl Award was established in 1995 and is given to the best mystery novel of the year by an author who lives in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, British Columbia, Canada, Idaho, Oregon or Washington.)
Many crime fiction award announcements have been posted in the past few weeks.
The winner of the 2021 Spotted Owl Award was announced on March 25. The award is for a mystery published during the previous calendar year by an author whose primary residence is Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho or the Province of British Columbia. The complete list of finalists is here.
WINNER: The Last Agent, by Robert Dugoni (Thomas & Mercer)
Dugoni has won the Spotted Owl twice before—in 2020 for The Eighth Sister, and in 2017 for The 7th Canon.
The 2020 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, awarded by the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, honor three women writers. The winners receive a financial award of $2,500 and a trip to New Orleans to accept their prizes at a ceremony at the 2021 Bouchercon.
•Murder in Old Bombay, by Nev March (Minotaur) •The Mountains Wild, by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Minotaur) •Three Hours in Paris, by Cara Black (Soho Crime) •When These Mountains Burn, by David Joy (Putnam) •Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco)
•The Creak on the Stairs, by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir (Orenda) •Summer of Reckoning, by Marion Brunet (Bitter Lemon Press) •The Wreckage, by Robin Morgan-Bentley (Trapeze) •The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (Viking) •City of Spies, by Mara Timon (Zaffre) •The Man on the Street, by Trevor Wood (Quercus)
Audible Sounds of Crime Award
•The Sentinel, by Lee Child and Andrew Child, read by Jeff Harding (Transworld) •The Guest List, by Lucy Foley, read by Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Chloe Massey, Sarah Ovens, Rich Keeble, and Jot Davies (HarperFiction) •Troubled Blood, by Robert Galbraith, read by Robert Glenister (Little, Brown) •Moonflower Murders, by Anthony Horowitz, read by Lesley Manville and Allan Corduner (Penguin Random House Audio) •Find Them Dead, by Peter James, read by Daniel Weyman (Pan) •The Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewell, read by Rebekah Staton (Penguin Random House Audio) •Buried, by Lynda La Plante, read by Alex Hassell and Annie Aldington (Zaffre) •The Catch, by T.M. Logan, read by Philip Stevens (Zaffre) •The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman, read by Lesley Manville (Viking) •A Song for the Dark Times, by Ian Rankin, read by James Macpherson (Orion)
Courtesy of sponsor Audible UK, the winning author and audiobook reader(s) share the £1,000 prize equally and each receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.
H.R.F. Keating Award
•Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, by Mark Aldridge (HarperCollins) •Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club, edited by Martin Edwards (Collins Crime Club) •Cover Me: The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965, by Colin Larkin (Telos) •Conan Doyle’s Wide World, by Andrew Lycett (Tauris Parke) •The Reacher Guy, by Heather Martin (Little, Brown) •H.R.F. Keating: A Life of Crime, by Sheila Mitchell (Level Best) •Southern Cross Crime: The Pocket Essential Guide to the Crime Fiction, Film & TV of Australia and New Zealand, by Craig Sisterson (Oldcastle) •The Red Hand: Stories, Reflections and the Last Appearance of Jack Irish, by Peter Temple (Riverrun)
Last Laugh Award
•False Value, by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz) •Bryant & May: Oranges and Lemons, by Christopher Fowler (Doubleday) •The Postscript Murders, by Elly Griffiths (Quercus) • Squeeze Me, by Carl Hiaasen (Little, Brown) •The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (Viking) •The Corpse in the Garden of Perfect Brightness, by Malcolm Pryce (Bloomsbury) •Ride or Die, by Khurrum Rahman (HQ) •Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace, by Olga Wojtas (Contraband)
•The Hunted, by Gabriel Bergmoser (Faber) •The Split, by Sharon Bolton (Trapeze) •Little Boy Lost, by J.P. Carter (Avon) •Fifty-Fifty, by Steve Cavanagh (Orion) •Fair Warning, by Michael Connelly (Orion) •A Private Cathedral, by James Lee Burke (Orion) •A Song for the Dark Times, by Ian Rankin (Orion) •The Dead Line, by Holly Watt (Raven)
Best Crime Novel for Children (Ages 8-12)
•Mission Shark Bytes, by Sophie Deen (Walker) •A Girl Called Justice: The Smugglers’ Secret, by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Children’s Books) •Nightshade, by Anthony Horowitz (Walker) •My Headteacher Is an Evil Genius, by Jack Noel (Walker) •Anisha, Accidental Detective, by Serena Patel (Usborne) •School’s Cancelled, by Serena Patel (Usborne) •The Night Bus Hero, by Onjali Q. Rauf for (Orion Children’s Books) •The Pencil Case, by Dave Shelton (David Fickling)
Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (Ages 12-16)
•Hideous Beauty, by William Hussey (Usborne) •The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, by Lauren James (Walker) •Devil Darling Spy, by Matt Killeen (Usborne) •Eight Pieces of Silva, by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder Children’s Books) •Deadfall, by Simon Lelic (Hodder Children’s Books) •Hacking, Heists & Flaming Arrows, by Robert Muchamore (Hot Key) •Burn, by Patrick Ness (Walker) •The Case of the Missing Marquess, by Nancy Springer (Hot Key)
The Short Mystery Society unveiled the finalists for its 2021 Derringer Awards on April 3,
Blackwell, C.W. “Memories of Fire.” Pulp Modern
Blakey, James. “Outsourcing.” Shotgun Honey
Mangeot, Robert. “Over Before It Started.” Murder Mondays
Mathews, Bobby. “Quitman County Ambush.” Bristol Noir
Richardson, Travis. “War Words.” Punk Noir
Elwood, Elizabeth. “The Homicidal Understudy.” Ellen Hart Presents Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Theatrical
Freimor, Jacqueline. “That Which is True.” EQMM: July/August 2020
Jones, Eleanor Cawood. “The Great Bedbug Incident and the Invitation of Doom.” Chesapeake Crimes: Invitation to Murder.
Keeline, Kim. “The Crossing.” Crossing Borders
Woodson, Stacy. “River.” The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell
Chen, Sarah M. “Hotelin’.”Shotgun Honey: Volume #4: Recoil
Mangeot, Robert. “Lord, Spare the Bottom Feeders.” AHMM: March/April: 2020
Walker, Joseph S. “Chasing Diamonds.” EQMM: September/October 2020
Walker, Joseph S. “Etta at the End of the World.” AHMM: May/June 2020
Woodson, Stacy. “Mary Poppins Didn’t Have Tattoos.” EQMM: July/August 2020
Cohen, Jeff. “The Question of the Befuddled Judge.” AHMM: May/June: 2020
Malliet, G.M. “A Murder at Morehead Mews.” EQMM: July/August 2020
Taylor, Art. “The Boy Detective and the Summer of ’74.” AHMM: January/February 2020
… We compiled the six art book finalists below to give you an idea of what’s competing for the venerable award in August, along with some information about them from Amazon….
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, $36 on Amazon: Illustrated by Charles Vess, Written by Ursula K. Le Guin. “Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved A Wizard of Earthsea, this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles includes over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin’s vision of her classic saga.”
“Bringing a unicorn here is not an easy or inexpensive endeavor. You have to be the right sort of girl.”
The right sort of girl.
The backbone of Brie Larson’s offbeat directorial debut, the comedy Unicorn Store, is the idea of what it means to be the right sort of girl. Larson plays Kit, a woman pushing 30 who lives with her parents and favors an aesthetic heavy on rainbows, glitter and — yes — unicorns. And after she receives a couple of mysterious magical letters, she finds herself in the company of a man who calls himself The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson). He’s the one who says these words, who tells her that she’s in line for a unicorn of her own. But she has to earn it. She has to be stable. She has to make a home for it. She has to be an adult, ironically, to be the right companion for a unicorn.
An independent group set up to oversee Google’s artificial intelligence efforts, has been shut down less than a fortnight after it was launched.
The Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) was due to look at the ethics around AI, machine learning and facial recognition.
One member resigned and there were calls for another to be removed.
The debacle raises questions about whether firms should set up such bodies.
Google told the BBC: “It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted.
“So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics.”
There had been an outcry over the appointment of Kay Coles James, who is president of conservative thinktank The Heritage Foundation. Thousands of Google employees signed a petition calling for her removal, over what they described as “anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant” comments.
(4) HEY RUBE. Steve
Davidson complains that he can’t evaluate what technical changes make Archive
of Our Own eligible in the 2019 Hugo category for which it was nominated, then,
disregarding the argument he just made, asks why AO3 wasn’t nominated in
another category that isn’t designed to recognize technical changes: “The
Hugo Awards Best Related Work Category and the AO3 Nomination” at Amazing Stories.
In terms of AO3, since I can’t see the “change”, how am I to judge the substantiability? Maybe, in my mind, it isn’t transformative enough to warrant a vote. But I can’t make that judgement because I have no reference. I do not have the opportunity to weigh in on the Hugo Administrator’s choices.
Third: we’ve already determined that websites can qualify under the Best Fanzine category and we can read right in the definition of Best Related Work that works qualify for that category “provided that they do not qualify for another category”.
Why doesn’t a website featuring fanfic qualify for the Best Fanzine category? Call me a rube, but I can hardly think of a better category for a collection of fanfic than Best Fanzine. In fact, I seem to recall that a bunch of highly regarded professional authors published their fanfic in…fanzines. (The printed kind that some of you may not be familiar with.)
Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. It’s a wordless depiction of an immigration experience. The protagonist doesn’t share a language with anyone in his new country; their language is gibberish to him and gibberish to the reader. Any item we might recognize is rendered in such a way as to make it foreign to the reader as well, so we experience the confusion that the man feels: strange fruit, strange animals, strange monuments. Tan’s illustrations tell the immigrant’s story a thousand times better than words could have.
Book you’ve bought for the cover:
Saga Press is reissuing three Molly Gloss novels over the next few months (Outside the Gates,Dazzle of DayandWild Life) followed by her first collection, Unforeseen. I already had two of the books, but I’ve preordered all four of these both for her prose and the gorgeously stark matching covers by Jeffrey Alan Love.
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
April 6, 1967 — Star Trek’s “City on the Edge of Forever”, written by Harlan Ellison, first aired.
April 6, 1968 — 2001: A Space Odyssey was released.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 6, 1905 — Thomas P. Kelley. Writer of Thirties pulp novels that were serialised first in Weird Tales (The Last Pharaoh, A Million Years in the Future and I Found Cleopatra), Uncanny Tales (The Talking Heads) and Eerie Tales (The Weird Queen). (Died 1982.)
Born April 6, 1918 — Kaaren Verne. She appeared in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon as Charlotte Eberli. The film btw was very much fanfic bearing little resemblance to the original premise of Holmes. She also appeared in The Twilight Zone, Kraft Suspense Theatre and Fireside Theatre (freelance writers such as Rod Serling were a script source for the latter). (Died 1967.)
Born April 6, 1935 — Douglas Hill. Prolific writer of short novels for both adults and younger of a sword and sorcery bent even when within an SF setting. Best known series include The Last Legionary, Demon Stalker and Huntsman. He served for a short period as assistant editor of the New Worlds magazine under Michael Moorcock. (Died 2007.)
Born April 6, 1937 — Billy Dee Williams, 82. He is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, first appearing in The Empire Strikes Back. Other genre appearances include being Harvey Dent in Batman and voicing Two Face In The Lego Batman Movie.
Born April 6, 1947 — John Ratzenberger, 72. In-house voice actor for Pixar whose roles have included Hamm in the Toy Story franchise, The Abominable Snowman in the Monsters, Inc. franchise, The Underminer in The Incredibles franchise, and Mack in the Cars franchise. He made minor live appearances in Superman and Superman II.
Born April 6, 1948 — Larry Todd, 71. Writer and cartoonist, best known for the decidedly adult Dr. Atomic strips that originally appeared in the underground newspaper The Sunday Paper and his other work in underground comics, often with a SF bent. In our circles, Galaxy Science Fiction, Amazing Science Fiction and Imagination magazines being three of his venues. He also did some writing for If magazine. He also did, and it’s really weird art, the cover art and interior illustrations for Harlan Ellison’s Chocolate Alphabet.
Born April 6, 1981 — Eliza Coupe, 38. Tiger, one three main roles in Future Man, a web series where a video game apparently is actually real and deadly. She also had a recurring role on Quantico as Hannah Wyland, a series I swear is edging into genre. She was also in Monster Mash (also known as Monster Mash: The Movie and Frankenstein Sings), based on the Bobby “Boris” Pickett song “Monster Mash” and other sources.
(8) SPOTTED OWL. Mike
Lawson has won
the Spotted Owl Award for his mystery House
Witness. The Spotted Owl Award is handed out by a group called Friends
of Mystery, based in Portland, Oregon. Eligible are mysteries written by
authors from the Pacific Northwest. The finalists were —
I got to meet and hang out with author Fonda Lee at the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop a few years back. Recently, Lee was at Barnes and Noble and observed:
“This is what modern fantasy writers are up against. In my local B&N, most authors are lucky to find a copy of their book, super lucky if it’s face out. There are 3.5 shelves for Tolkien. 1.5 for Jordan. Here’s who we compete against for shelf space: not each other, but dead guys.” (Source)
Her Tweets got a lot of attention, leading to an article by John Trent at Bounding Into Comics that derides Lee and accuses her, among other things, of criticizing Tolkien. Not that Lee ever did this. Her second Tweet in that thread said, “Before you @ me about the importance of classics, I love LOTR too, okay?” One might almost suspect Trent’s comment, “Lee isn’t the first person to criticize Tolkien,” of being an attempt to stir up shit.
An effective attempt, it seems. Lee has been barraged by Tolkien Defenders over on Twitter….
There are many ways artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can make our world more productive and effective. There are even breweries that are using AI to enhance beer production. Is this brilliant or unbelievable? While it’s admittedly too soon to tell, using data to inform brewmasters’ decisions and the possibility of personalized brews makes AI-brewed beer definitely intriguing.
The well-respected survey that’s been a barometer of American politics, culture and behavior for more than four decades finally got around to the question that has bedeviled many a household.
Dog or cat?
In 2018, the General Social Survey for the first time included a battery of questions on pet ownership. The findings not only quantified the nation’s pet population – nearly 6 in 10 households have at least one -they made it possible to see how pet ownership overlaps with all sorts of factors of interest to social scientists.
For starters, there is little difference between pet owners and non-owners when it comes to happiness, the survey shows. The two groups are statistically indistinguishable on the likelihood of identifying as “very happy” (a little over 30 percent) or “not too happy” (in the mid-teens).
But when you break the data down by pet type – cats, dogs or both – a stunning divide emerges: Dog owners are about twice as likely as cat owners to say they’re very happy, with people owning both falling somewhere in between.
A World War Two codebreaking machine has been reconstructed after a seven-year project so it can run in public for the first time.
The Heath Robinson has been restored at The National Museum of Computing in Milton Keynes by a team of six.
The machine was an early attempt to automate code-cracking and, due to its complexity, was named after the illustrator W Heath Robinson.
Phil Hayes, of the museum, said the work was “quite an achievement”.
He said it completed using a hand-drawn circuit diagram along with replica circuits based on 1940s technology.
(16) OLD HABITS
DIE HARD. CNN wondered why “Why
2.7 million Americans still get Netflix DVDs in the mail”. They came
up with six reasons. In the process, they made Cat Eldridge’s day: “Years ago I had an argument with a
techie who insisted that new technologies always drive out old technologies. I
said that’s simply not true. And here’s proof of that.” Cat and Bruce Sterling
Early Friday morning, Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft detonated an explosive device over a small asteroid. The goal was to create a fresh crater that will later be studied by the spacecraft.
Researchers watched from mission control in Sagamihara, Japan, and clapped politely as Hayabusa2 released an experiment known as the Small Carry-on Impactor. The device consisted of a copper disk packed with HMX high-explosive. Once the mothership had safely moved out of the line of fire, the impactor apparently detonated, firing the disk into the side of the asteroid. A camera released by Hayabusa2 appeared to catch the moment of impact, which sent a stream of ejecta into space.
…”These particular asteroids are the precursors to what Earth was made from,” Connolly says. Ryugu is rich in carbon, and minerals on its surface contain water and so-called prebiotic compounds that could have started life on this planet.
“Ryugu is a time capsule,” says Connolly.
This is not Hayabusa2’s first attack. In February, the spacecraft physically touched down on Ryugu and fired a small pellet into its surface. The dust kicked up by that opening shot was collected and eventually will provide researchers with detailed information about the asteroid’s makeup.
But to really understand Ryugu, researchers also want to know what’s down there, and that’s why they created Friday’s crater. In a few weeks, after the dust has settled, the little spacecraft will survey the blast site to see what lies beneath. It may even land a second time to collect subsurface samples.
Press kits prepared by the public relations staff at the major contractors for the Apollo 11 mission provided valuable additional information not found in NASA issued news releases. Reporters and editors from media outlets including television and newspapers had access to such documents from dozens of manufacturers while working on stories about the first lunar landing.
First conceived and pitched to Kickstarter backers in
2013, Temporal Anomaly is an ambitious fan project set in the Star
Trek universe, a nearly hour-long fan film created by Power543 Fan Films.
(20) DISCOVERY. The Popcast analyzes The Borg Paradox.
If you thought the last Paradox was good, you’re going to love this one. The Borg are here and Resistance is Futile!
(21) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Stephen Cunnane, in “Gary the
Gargoyle: Short and Breakdown” on Vimeo,
offers a short fiilm about a gargoyle and an analysis of how the creatures in
the film were designed.
JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Cora Buhlert, Conrarius, John King Tarpinian,
Bill, rcade, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and
Andrew Porter. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip