April Showers Crime Fiction Awards Roundup


The Crime Writers of Canada have announced the 2024 shortlist for their annual Awards of Excellence.

Winners will be announced on the Crime Writers of Canada website on May 29.

The Peter Robinson Award for Best Crime Novel

sponsored by Rakuten Kobo, with a $1000 prize

  • Robyn Harding, The Drowning Woman, Grand Central Publishing
  • Shari Lapena, Everyone Here is Lying, Doubleday Canada
  • Scott Thornley, Middlemen, House of Anansi Press
  • Sam Wiebe, Sunset and Jericho, Harbour Publishing
  • Loreth Anne White, The Maid’s Diary, Montlake

Best Crime First Novel

sponsored by Melodie Campbell, with a $1000 prize

  • Jann Arden, The Bittlemores, Random House Canada
  • Lisa Brideau, Adrift, Sourcebooks
  • Charlotte Morganti, The End Game, Halfdan Press
  • Amanda Peters, The Berry Pickers, Harper Perennial
  • Steve Urszenyi, Perfect Shot, Minotaur

The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada

sponsored by Charlotte Engel and Crime Writers of Canada, with a $500 prize

  • Gail Anderson-Dargatz, The Almost Widow, Harper Avenue/HarperCollins
  • Renee Lehnen, Elmington, Storeyline Press
  • Cyndi MacMillan, Cruel Light, Crooked Lane
  • Joan Thomas, Wild Hope, Harper Perennial/HarperCollins
  • Melissa Yi, Shapes of Wrath, Windtree Press

The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery

sponsored by Jane Doe, with a $500 prize

  • Gail Bowen, The Legacy, ECW Press
  • Vicki Delany, Steeped in Malice, Kensington Books
  • Vicki Delany, The Game is a FootnoteCrooked Lane Books
  • Nita Prose, The Mystery Guest, Viking
  • Iona Whishaw, To Track a TraitorTouchWood Editions

Best Crime Short Story

  • M.H. Callway, Wisteria Cottage, Wildside Press (for Malice Domestic)
  • Marcelle Dubé, Reversion, Mystery Magazine
  • Mary Keenan The Canadians (Killin’ Time in San Diego), Down & Out Books
  • donalee Moulton, Troubled Water, Black Cat Weekly (Wildside Press)
  • Zandra Renwick, American Night, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

The Best French Language Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction)

  • Jean-Philippe Bernié, La punition, Glénat Québec
  • Chrystine Brouillet, Le mois des morts, Éditions Druide
  • Catherine Lafrance, Le dernier souffle est le plus lourd, Éditions Druide
  • André Marois, La sainte paix, Héliotrope
  • Jean-Jacques Pelletier, Rien, Alire

Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book

sponsored by Shaftesbury Films with a $500 prize (Fiction and Nonfiction)

  • Kelley Armstrong, Someone is Always Watching, Tundra Books
  • Cherie Dimaline, Funeral Songs for Dying Girls, Tundra Books
  • Rachelle Delaney, The Big Sting, Tundra Books
  • Clara Kumagai, Catfish Rolling, Penguin Teen Canada
  • Kevin Sands, Champions of the Fox, Puffin Canada

The Brass Knuckles Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book

sponsored by David Reid Simpson Law Firm (Hamilton), with a $300 prize

  • Josef Lewkowicz and Michael Calvin, The Survivor: How I Survived Six Concentration Camps and Became a Nazi Hunter, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
  • Michael Lista, The Human Scale, Véhicule Press
  • David Rabinovitch, Jukebox Empire, Rowman & Littlefield
  • Bill Waiser and Jennie Hansen, Cheated, ECW Press
  • Carolyn Whitzman, Clara at the Door with a Revolver, UBC Press, On Point Press

Best Unpublished Crime Novel manuscript written by an unpublished author

  • Tom Blackwell, The Patient
  • Craig H. Bowlsby, Requiem for a Lotus
  • Sheilla Jones and James Burns, Murder on Richmond Road: An Enquiry Bureau Mystery
  • Nora Sellers, The Forest Beyond
  • William Wodhams, Thirty Feet Under

2024 Grand Master Award

  • Maureen Jennings

Established in 2014, the Grand Master (GM) Award recognizes a Canadian crime writer with a substantial body of work that has garnered national and international recognition.

Maureen Jennings, a long-time Crime Writers of Canada member, is a prolific author of non-fiction, short stories and book series featuring Christine Morris, Detective Murdoch, and D.I. Tom Tyler. The Detective William Murdoch television series, set in Victorian era Toronto, was optioned in 2003 by Shaftesbury Films. Murdoch Mysteries are shown in over 120 countries and feature innovative crime-solving techniques, social justice subplots and surprise guest appearances.


Friends of Mystery logo

The winner of the 2024 Spotted Owl Award was announced on March 28 by the Friends of Mystery. 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 winner is:

  • Breakneck by Marc Cameron

The runners-up were:

2. Dana Stabenow for Not the Ones Dead
3. Dana Haynes for The Saint of Thieves
4. Sam Wiebe for Sunset and Jericho
5. Jon Talton for The Nurse Murders
6. James Bryne for Deadlock
7. Haris Orkin for License to Die
8. Frank Zafiro for Hope Dies Last
9 (tie). Orlando Davidson for Baseline Road and J.A. Jance for Collateral Damage


The winners of the 2022 and 2023 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. This year the prize winners Douaihy and Rothchild participated at the 2024 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.

2022 Pinckley Prize for Debut Fiction

  • Sascha Rothchild for Blood Sugar

2023 Pinckley Prize for Debut Fiction

  •   Margot Douaihy for Scorched Grace

2023 Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work

  •   Alafair Burke

Memorial Day Crime Fiction Awards Roundup


The Crime Writers of Canada have announced the winners of their annual Awards of Excellence.

sponsored by Rakuten Kobo, with a $1000 prize

  • Anthony Bidulka, Going to Beautiful, Stonehouse Publishing

sponsored by Melodie Campbell, with a $1000 prize

  • Sam Shelstad, Citizens of Light, TouchWood Editions

sponsored by Charlotte Engel and CWC, with a $500 prize

  • Joanne Jackson, A Snake in the Raspberry Patch, Stonehouse Publishing

sponsored by Jane Doe, with a $500 prize

  • Thomas King, Deep House, HarperCollins Canada

sponsored by Mystery Magazine, with a $200 prize

  • Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, The Man Who Went Down Under, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines

sponsored by Mystery Magazine, with a $300 prize

  • Craig H. Bowlsby, The Girl Who Was Only Three Quarters Dead, Mystery Magazine


  • Richard Ste-Marie, Monsieur Hämmerli, Éditions Alire


sponsored by Shaftesbury, with a $500 prize

  • Jo Treggiari, Heartbreak Homes, Nimbus Publishing Limited

sponsored by David Reid Simpson Law Firm, Hamilton, with a $300 prize

  • Rosemary Sullivan, The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, HarperCollins Canada

sponsored by ECW Press, with a $500 prize

  • Mary Keenan, Snowed


The winner of the 2023 Spotted Owl Award was announced on May 8. 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 winner is:

  • What She Found, by Robert Dugoni

The other finalists were:

  • The Silent Sisters, by Robert Dugoni
  • Something to Hide, by Elizabeth George
  • The Lost Kings, by Tyrell Johnson
  • Cold Snap, by Marc Cameron
  • Murder at Black Oaks, by Phillip Margolin
  • Hell and Gone, by Sam Wiebe
  • Tom Clancy’s Red Winter, by Marc Cameron
  • Nothing to Lose, by J.A. Jance
  • Notes on an Execution, by Danya Kukafka

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for these stories.]

Crime Fiction News May 2022

Here’s another round of crime fiction award winners and finalists.


The 2022 CrimeFest Award winners were revealed at CrimeFest in Bristol, UK.


In association with headline sponsor, the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award is for crime novels by previously unpublished authors bring vital fresh blood to the genre.

  • Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden, (Simon & Schuster)


The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook available for download from audible.co.uk, Britain’s largest provider of downloadable audiobooks.

  • The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman – read by Lesley Manville (Penguin Random House Audio)


The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction eBook

  • Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperCollins)


The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction. The award is named after H.R.F. ‘Harry’ Keating, one of Britain’s most esteemed crime novelists.

  • Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks by Patricia Highsmith (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)


The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel.

  • Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville, John Murray Press)


This award is for the best crime fiction novel for children (aged 8-12)

  • Twitch by M.G. Leonard,(Walker Books)


This award is for the best crime fiction novel for young adults (aged 12-16).

  • Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Rock the Boat)


  • Shetland (season 6), based on the books by Ann Cleeves. Produced by Silverprint Pictures, part of ITV Studios; shown on BBC1.

Here’s also a report about the 2022 CrimeFest in Bristol by Martin Edwards, “CrimeFest 2022 – a wonderful weekend” at Do You Write Under Your Own Name?


The winner of the 2022 Harald Morgensen Prisen for the best Danish crime novel has also been announced: “Årets bedste danske spændingsroman”.

  • Mørket under isen by Morten Hesseldahl


The winner of the 2022 Spotted Owl Award has been announced: has been announced.

  • No Witness by Warren Easley (Poisoned Pen Press)

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.) 

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the links.]

More 2021 Crime Fiction Awards and Shortlists

Many crime fiction award announcements have been posted in the past few weeks.

Friends of Mystery logo


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.

Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work

  • C.S. Harris  

Pinckley Prize for Debut Fiction

  • Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is the winner of the

Pinckley Prize for True Crime Writing

  • Emma Copley Eisenberg  


The shortlist for the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, which is handed out by the International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch), has been announced. The award is given to a book, originally published in the English language in the United States or Canada, “that best represents the conception of literary excellence in crime writing.”

The finalists are:

 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)


CrimeFest, a crime fiction con in Bristol UK, has announced the finalists for their various awards.

Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award

 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)

eDunnit Award

 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 
  • Thornton, Brian.  “Suicide Blonde.” Suicide Blonde:Three Novellas 
  • Wilson, Matthew. “The Wretched Strangers.” EQMM: January/February 2020

A vote of the SMFS membership will determine the winner in each category. 

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 4/6/19 A Scroll Without A Pixel Is Like A Walrus Without An Antenna

(1) HUGO CONTENDING ART BOOKS. The Daily Beast gives a rundown — “These Are 2019’s Hugo Awards Art Book Finalists”.

… 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.”

(2) LARSON & JACKSON TOGETHER AGAIN. NPR’s Linda Holmes says “Brie Larson’s Directorial Debut Glitters With The Charming ‘Unicorn Store'”.

“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.

(3) NICE TRY? BBC reports “Google’s ethics board shut down”.

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.)

(5) BOOKS SHE LOVES. Shelf Awareness brings you “Reading with… Sarah Pinsker”:

Book you’re an evangelist for:

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.


  • April 6, 1967Star Trek’s “City on the Edge of Forever”, written by Harlan Ellison, first aired.
  • April 6, 19682001: A Space Odyssey was released.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 6, 1905 Thomas P. Kelley. Writer of Thirties pulp novels that were serialised first in Weird Tales (The Last PharaohA 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 ZoneKraft 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 FictionAmazing 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 —

  • Baron Birtcher – Fistful Of Rain
  • Robert Dugoni – A Steep Price
  • Warren Easley – Moving Targets
  • G.M. Ford – Soul Survivor
  • Elizabeth George – The Punishment She Deserves
  • Stephen Holgate – Madagascar
  • Mike Lawson – House Witness – winner
  • Martin Limon – The Line
  • John Straley – Baby’s First Felony
  • Jon Talton – The Bomb Shelter

(9) CARTER BROWN. The winner of the inaugural Carter Brown Mystery Writing Award has also been announced:

  • Alibi for a Dead Man by Wilson Toney

The award is named in honor of the prolific Australian author Alan Geoffrey Yates (aka Carter Brown).

(10) MARKETPLACE. Here’s a service someone should start:

(11) WATCH OUT FOR THOSE BOUNDERS. Jim C. Hines referees “Bounding Into Comics vs. Fonda Lee” and finds it’s definitely not a fight by the Marquis of Queensbury rules.

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….

(12) THE BREW THAT IS TRUE. “How Artificial Intelligence Is Used To Make Beer”.—Forbes has the story.

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.

(13) SJWC RETRACTION. Yesterday’s NPR-headline Pixel was quickly corrected: “All Right. Some Cats Do Fetch”.

A tongue-in-cheek NPR.org headline comparing the fetching abilities of cats and dogs revealed a truth known by countless cat owners: Some cats do fetch.

“Cats Don’t Fetch, But Know Their Names As Well As Dogs, Researchers Say,” the original headline proclaimed. This didn’t sit well with some readers.

“In what world do cats not fetch?” Kate Haffey commented on Facebook.

“Artemis knows her name and fetches,” Brandi Whitson said on Twitter. “She’s obsessed.” …

(14) HAPPINESS IS… And while we’re pushing your buttons, read this article in the Portland (ME) Press-Herald “Dog owners are much happier than cat owners, survey finds”.

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.

Like happiness.

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.

(15) HISTORIC GADGET. “Heath Robinson: WW2 codebreaking machine reconstructed” – BBC has the story. For any Filers not in on the joke: the US equivalent to Heath Robinson is Rube Goldberg — but this machine worked.

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 agree.

Remember when Netflix used to be a DVD-by-mail company? Well, for 2.7 million subscribers in the US, it still is.

The familiar red envelopes have been arriving in customers’ mailboxes since 1998 and helped earn the company a healthy $212 million profit last year.

Why are so many people still using this old-school service in the age of streaming? There are a number of reasons.

(17) FIRE IN THE HOLE. NPR watches as “Japan (Very Carefully) Drops Plastic Explosives Onto An Asteroid”.

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.

(18) CLASSIC APOLLO 11 PUBLICITY RESOURCE. In honor of the flight’s 50th anniversary, David Meerman Scott has scanned in his collection of Apollo 11 press kits:

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.

(19) STAR TREK FAN FILM. Gizmodo/io9 is drawing your attention to a fan film (“Temporal Anomaly is a Star Trek Fan Film Half a Decade in the Making”). The film appears as two parts, each from 24–27 minutes each.

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.

[Thanks to 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 Williams.]