The UK’s Royal Mail today shared images of the eight Special Stamps they are issuing to celebrate Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, marking the 40th anniversary of The Colour of Magic, first book in the series. The stamps can be pre-ordered now, and will be available for general purchase on August 10.
The stamps feature Rincewind, The Librarian, Granny Weatherwax, Sam Vimes, and Great A’Tuin, as well as specially commissioned artworks of Death and Mort, Tiffany Aching and Moist von Lipwig, all by artist Paul Kidby, who was Pratchett’s preferred illustrator for the Discworld. (Click for larger image.)
A Terry Pratchett’s Discworld First Day Cover featuring all eight new stamps cancelled with the alternative postmark that will be available for order from August 10.
Also offered is a presentation pack with explanatory text and a set of the stamps.
…The 12 stamps in the main set are all original illustrations and have been created exclusively for Royal Mail by renowned British comic book artist Mike McKone. They feature: Professor X; Kitty Pryde; Angel; Colossus; Jubilee; Cyclops; Wolverine; Jean Grey; Iceman, Storm; Beast; and Rogue….
An additional set of five stamps are included in a miniature sheet, exclusively illustrated by artist Lee Garbett, and feature some of the mutant enemies faced by the X-Men: Juggernaut; Mystique; Magneto; Emma Frost; and Sabretooth….
(2) AURORA AWARDS. Members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association will be able to make 2023 Aurora Award nominations from March 4-April 22. According to Garth Spencer in Obdurate Eye #25, due to a lack of eligible movies or TV shows, or works in the Best Fan Organizational category, CSFFA is no longer giving out an award for movies or TV shows, and works that were in the Best Fan Organizational category are now in the Best Fan Related Work category. CSFFA have redefined the Best Artist category as the Best Cover Art/Interior Illustration category. Rather than nominating an artist, CSFFA members will nominate each work that an artist has published in the past year. [Via Obdurate Eye #25.]
You won’t find Von Goom’s Gambit described in any chess textbook.
… Because the character of Von Goom exists only in a short story. Von Goom’s Gambit by Victor Contoski was originally published in 1966, in Chess Review, before being reprinted a handful of times. One of those was in a slim volume of science fiction stories that somehow found its way into the reading room of my primary school.
…I remember being captivated by it.
Part of that was down to the idea of the Gambit itself. Out of all the possible arrangements of pieces on a chessboard, Von Goom had chanced upon one so alien to the logic of the human mind – so abhorrent – that it could wound and kill. Following that initial heart attack, Von Goom’s opponents in the story meet various terrible fates. One breaks down in tears at the sight of the board before him. Another is violently sick. A third is driven insane, while members of the watching crowd are turned to stone.
As a ten year old – obviously – I loved this a great deal….
(4) OCTOTHORPE. Episode 78 of the Octothorpe podcast is “Sqrrl Grrl”. (Or should that be the Ctthrp podcast?)
John Coxon is chuckling, Alison Scott is conversing, and Liz Batty is critical. We discuss the COVID policy from the 2023 Eastercon, Conversation, as well as discussing the latest news from the Chengdu Worldcon.
(5) ERASED FROM THE LANDSCAPE BUT NOT FROM HISTORY. The New York hotel where the 1967 Worldcon was held, then known as the Statler-Hilton, is in the midst of being demolished. The New York Times ran a full profile about its history, and about one person who tried to keep the historic structure from being torn down: “The Hotel Pennsylvania’s Great Disappearing Act”.
Bit by bit, floor by floor, the building that once rose 22 stories over Penn Station is shrinking before the city’s very eyes. The black netting draped over its ever-diminishing brick is like a magician’s handkerchief; once removed, it will reveal — nothing.
Behold: The Great Disappearing Act of the Hotel Pennsylvania.
This isn’t — or wasn’t — just any building. This was once the largest hotel on earth, with 2,200 rooms, shops, restaurants, its own newspaper, and a telephone number immortalized by the bandleader Glenn Miller with a 1940 song “Pennsylvania 6-5000,”…
You can find many of Jay Kay Klein’s photos taken at the 1967 convention on Calisphere.
(6) VALMA BROWN (1950-2023). Australian fan Valma Brown, a Melbourne fanzine editor married to Leigh Edmonds, died March 2. Edmonds announced her death on Facebook with the note, “It was sudden so there will be an inquest.” She and Leigh were Fan Guests of Honor at SunCon, the 1991 Australian National Convention. She ran unsuccessfully for GUFF in 1987.
(7) MEMORY LANE.
2019 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Elizabeth Bear’s Ancestral Night which was published by Saga Press four years ago this week is a novel that I fell in love the first time I read it. Now I’ll admit that I’m a long-term fan of her work going back to Hammered, the first in herJenny Casey trilogy. I think she’s a brilliant writer and a wonderful person. And yes I’ve sent her chocolate. Actually she’s reviewed chocolate for Green Man.
The book is a stellar blend of characters, humans who are almost more than human, aliens that are truly alien, an silicon intelligence who is fully realised, a ship as the primary setting that doesn’t feel cliched and a story that’s fascinating. And it feels friendly I think is the best word. It’s so richly detailed that I notice something new every time I listen to it.
And yes I’m hoping there’s a third novel set in this universe.
And here is the Beginning for Ancestral Night…
THE BOAT DIDN’T HAVE A name. He wasn’t deemed significant enough to need a name by the authorities and registries that govern such things. He had a registration number—657-2929-04, Human/ Terra—and he had a class, salvage tug, but he didn’t have a name.
We called him Singer. If Singer had an opinion on the issue, he’d never registered it—but he never complained. Singer was the shipmind as well as the ship—or at least, he inhabited the ship’s virtual spaces the same way we inhabited the physical ones—but my partner Connla and I didn’t own him. You can’t own a sentience in civilized space.
Singer was a sliver of a thing suspended electromagnetically at the center of a quicksilver loop as thin in cross section as an old-fashioned wedding band, but a hundred and fifty meters across the diameter and ten meters from edge to edge. In any meaningful gravity, the ring would have crumpled and sagged like a curl of wax arched over the candleflame. But here in space, reinforced with electromagnetic supports, it spanned the horizon of the viewport in a clean arc.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 2, 1933 — Leo Dillon. With his wife Diane, they were illustrators of children’s books and many a paperback book and magazine cover. Over fifty years, they were the creators of more than a hundred genre covers. They won the Hugo for Best Professional Artist at Noreascon (1971) after being nominated twice before at Heicon ‘70 and St. Louiscon. The Art of Leo & Diane Dillon written by Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon and Byron Preiss would be nominated for a Best Related Non-Fiction Hugo at Chicon IV. They would win a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Some of my favorites? The first cover for Pavane. The Ace cover of The Left Hand of Darkness. And one for a deluxe edition of The Last Unicorn. (Died 2012.)
Born March 2, 1939 — jan howard finder. I’m not going to be able to do him justice here. He was a SF writer, filker, cosplayer, and of course fan. He was nicknamed The Wombat as a sign of affection and ConFrancisco (1993 Worldcon) was only one of at least eight cons that he was fan guest of honor at. Finder was even tuckerized when Anne McCaffrey named a character for him. (Died 2013.)
Born March 2, 1943 — Peter Straub. Horror writer who won the World Fantasy Award for Koko and the August Derleth Award for Floating Dragon. He’s co-authored several novels with Stephen King, The Talisman which itself won a World Fantasy Award, and Black House. Both The Throat and In the Night Room won Bram Stoker Awards as did 5 Stories, a short collection by him. Ok you know that I’m rarely impressed by Awards, but fuck this is impressive! (Died 2022.)
Born March 2, 1960 — Peter Hamilton, 63. I read and quite enjoyed his Night’s Dawn Trilogy when it came out and I’m fairly sure that I’ve read Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained as they sound familiar. (Too much genre fiction read over the years to remember everything…) What else have y’all read by him?
Born March 2, 1966 — Ann Leckie, 57. Ancillary Justice won the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the Nebula Award, Kitschies Award Golden Tentacle, Locus Award for Best First Novel, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the BSFA Award. Quite amazing. Her sequels Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy did not win awards but are no less impressive.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Dick Tracy seems to have started a crossover involving a Nero Wolfe character.
And Tom Gauld has been busy, too:
(10) FOR AMAZON PRIME MEMBERS. [Item by Dann.] Amazon just announced the First Reads books for Amazon Prime members. The genre title for March is House of Gold by C.T. Rwizi. He is the author of the outstanding Scarlett Odyssey series that concluded in 2022.
First Reads books are free to all Amazon Prime members. It is how I encountered C.T.’s first book Scarlett Odyssey a few years back. He is, in my opinion, a talented and overlooked author. House of Gold can be pre-ordered (free for Amazon Prime members) for delivery on April 1, 2023.
Pesky lunar dust is an annoying obstacle for astronauts landing on the Moon—it sticks to pretty much everything. New research from Washington State University may have cracked the code for keeping space suits dust-free, in which pressurized liquid nitrogen was used to literally blow the dust from surfaces.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has spotted a small Solar System rock by chance during a calibration run…
…[the body is a] roughly 15-kilometre-wide object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The photos were taken to measure how one of the telescope’s infrared cameras would respond. While analysing the data, the researchers spotted what looked like a much smaller asteroid, which they estimated to be 100–230 metres across.
If confirmed by subsequent observations, this would be one of the smallest objects ever seen in space — and JWST detected it at a distance of more than 130 million kilometres
Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă surprised his Cabinet on Wednesday by introducing them to a new member — run completely on artificial intelligence.
Ciucă introduced the new “honorary adviser” called Ion to the rest of his ministers in a demonstration, with a face and words appearing on a digital screen, responding to the prime minister’s prompts along with a computerized voice.
Ion was developed by Romanian researchers and will use artificial intelligence to “quickly and automatically capture the opinions and desires” submitted by Romanian citizens, Ciucă said.
“We are talking about the first government adviser to use artificial intelligence,” both nationally and internationally, he said.
Romanians will be able to send their ideas through an accompanying website (ion.gov.ro) as well as on social media and some in-person locations. Ion will then synthesize their contributions for the government to consider, according to the coordinator of the research team, Nicu Sebe. Users won’t, however, receive a response from Ion itself….
(15) LAST MONTH ON THE SCREEN. Here is what people were watching in February – according to JustWatch.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Edge of Tomorrow
The Twilight Zone
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jurassic World Dominion
*Based on JustWatch popularity score. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org
Actor Leonard Nimoy who portrayed the now-famous Spock talks with KGW about his new role. The first episode of Star Trek aired on September 8, 1967. Nimoy explains that Spock is a man born of alien and human descent who has complete control over his emotions; a unique look at a character beloved by millions now.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Dann, Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) YOU’RE A GOOD HOMAGE (TO) CHARLIE BROWN. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Celebrating Charles Schultz’s 100th birthday on November 26, numerous comic strips included Peanuts characters/references — many on the 26th, some (at least one) during the week leading up to Saturday.
“Schulz, who died in 2000, spoke in 1990 about his iconic Peanuts comic strip. Plus, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead talks about pianist Vince Guaraldi, who created the music for A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
And the US Post Office’s 20-stamp sheet of Charles M. Schulz Stamps with Peanuts characters (10 designs, 2 of each), issued September 30 2022, might finally be available at your local Post Office
The busybody elitist gatekeepers at Apple, Google and the FDA have censored my revolutionary ¡TIMMR social media app on the spurious grounds that it is “so toxic it may an engender a civilisation collapse”, which is just a fancy elitist way to say that it has TOO MUCH FREEDOM for our tech overlords….
Octavia Bright talks to highly-acclaimed Argentinian author Mariana Enríquez. about her unsettling new novel which addresses the horrors of her country’s past through the prism of family, heritage and the occult.
And how are a new wave of women writers subverting traditional forms of horror fiction? Claire Kohda discusses the connections between mixed-race experiences and vampires, and Irish writer Sophie White explains why women have always had an affinity with the often male-dominated genre.
(5) FOND FAREWELL. Director Kevin Smith shares a tribute to the late Kevin Conroy.
Kevin Smith shares a few personal anecdotes about the recently departed voice of Batman himself, Kevin Conroy.
(6) MEMORY LANE.
1987 — [By Cat Eldridge.]Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Haven”
Stop this petty bickering, all of you! Especially you, Mother! — Deanna Troi
Could you please continue the petty bickering? I find it most intriguing. — Data
So let’s talk about the First Lady of Star Trek and her final role which begins in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Haven,” broadcast thirty-five years ago this weekend in syndication.
It would introduce us to the magnificent and yes more than occasionally overbearing presence of Lwaxana Troi, mother of Ship’s Counsellor Deanna Troi. Not that they overused her as she only appeared about once per season for the rest of the run. It just seemed she was there more often.
SPOILER ALERT. REALLY I DO MEAN IT. GO DRINK SOME RIGELLIAN BRANDY LIKE GUL MARAK FAVORS.
Deanna’s been summoned by her mother to get married as she was betrothed to a human when she was just a wee Betazoid. Now we know that won’t happen, but oh it’s so delicious to watch why. It doesn’t go off in the end.
Meanwhile Lwaxana, being ever so on the prowl, has set her sights on seducing Jean-Luc, who is appalled by the idea to say the very least. Not as we’ve seen that he doesn’t mind a great romp. Just not with her. Isn’t there a mud bath scene with her, Worf and others later on in the series?
Meanwhile a race long extinct is engaged in hostile action against Haven. Or his Picard says, “Captain’s log, supplemental. It has been believed the Tarellian race was extinct, an assumption contradicted now by the sight of one of their vessels approaching Haven.”
That ship is carrying a deadly plague and, to make matters even complicated, is linked to Deanna’s intended in some psychic link. (I love when SF shows go into fantasy realms.) The marriage is off when he decides to help the alien race find a way overcome their plague.
All’s well that ends well.
FINISHED YOUR RIGELLIAN BRANDY? GOOD, YOU CAN COME BACK NOW.
Lwaxana Troi will make six appearances on New Generation and, surprisingly, she’ll show up on Deep Space Nine where poor Odo gets to fend off her advances. She does three episodes there. Don’t get me wrong, she does form meaningful friendships in the course of these nine episodes including with Jean-Luc.
Fiction writers had a great deal of fun with the character, such as in Peter David’s Q-in-Law where Lwaxana formed a romantic attachment to Q.
All in all, a most excellent, if somewhat silly episode. The First Lady of Star Trek was magnificent here.
As always, I’ll note it’s streaming on Paramount +.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 28, 1944 — Rita Mae Brown. 78. Author of the Sister Jane mysteries which features foxes, hounds and cats as characters with their own unique voices which in my mind makes them genre novels. Not to mention her creation of Sneaky Pie Brown who “is a New York Times best-selling writer and cat who co-authors the Mrs. Murphy series of mystery novels with her owner, Rita Mae Brown.” And who she has an entire series devoted to. Just don’t get me going on the unfortunate conservative politics of the latter Sister Jane mysteries.
Born November 28, 1946 — Joe Dante, 76. Director and Producer. Warning, this is a personal list of works he directed that I’ve really, really enjoyed – starting off with The Howling, then adding in the Saturn-nominated Innerspace, both of the Saturn-nominated Gremlins films (though I think only the first is a masterpiece, which is why that Saturn nom got him a trophy), Small Soldiers, and The Hole (2009). For television work, he’s directed episodes for quite a number of series, but the only one I can say I recall and was impressed by was his Legends of Tomorrow “Night of the Hawk” episode. As Producer, I see he’s responsible for The Phantom (proving that everyone has a horrible day), the Jeremiah series, and an upcoming horror film called Camp Cold Brook.
Born November 28, 1950 — Ed Harris, 72. Actor, Director, and Producer with a lengthy genre resume whose first role was in the Michael Crichton-directed version of Robin Cook’s Coma, but whose most famous genre role, depending on your flavor of fandom, might be his Oscar-nominated turn as Flight Director Gene Kranz in the Hugo finalist Apollo 13 (which earned him a sly voice cameo as Mission Control in Gravity), his Saturn-winning lead role as The Man in Black in the TV series Westworld, his Saturn-nominated performance as an undersea explorer in the Hugo finalist The Abyss, or his Oscar- and Saturn-nominated part as the exploitative genius of The Truman Show. (JJ)
Born November 28, 1952 — S. Epatha Merkerson, 70. Actor who has spent around 25 years in main roles in Dick Wolf’s Law & Order and Chicago procedural dramas, but who managed to sneak in genre roles in the films Jacob’s Ladder, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Slipstream, and a main role in the short-lived 1990s cyborg police series Mann & Machine.
Born November 28, 1961 — Alfonso Cuarón, 61. Writer, Director, and Producer from Mexico who has directed three impressive genre films: the Hugo finalists Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men (based on P. D. James’ 1992 novel of the same name) and the Hugo Award-winning Gravity, for which he also won an Oscar. He also produced the Hugo-winning Pan’s Labyrinth, and is the creator of Believe, a TV series about a young girl born with special supernatural abilities she can not control, which lasted thirteen episodes. The Possibility of Hope, a documentary short film which he directed, looks at different matters of the world such as immigration, global warming and capitalism through the eyes of scientists and philosophers. (JJ)
Born November 28, 1962 — Mark Hodder, 60. Best known for his Burton & Swinburne alternate Victorian steampunk novels starting off with The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack that deservedly garnered a Philip K. Dick Award. He also wrote A Red Sun Also Rises which recreates sort of Victorian London on a far distant alien world. Emphasis on sort of. And then there’s Consulting Detective Macalister Fogg which appears to be his riff off of Sherlock Holmes only decidedly weirder.
Born November 28, 1987 — Karen Gillan, 35. Amy Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor. Nebula in the Guardians of The Galaxy and in later MCU films, Ruby Roundhouse in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Two episodes of Who she was in did win Hugos, “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang” at Renovation and “The Doctor’s Wife” at Chicon 7.
…Until now, the contents of the letter have remained a mystery as it was composed of about 120 encrypted symbols and some French passages.
Pierrot gave all the symbols a name and loaded the makeshift alphabet into Python, a programming language, but it could not unlock the mysterious language.
Pierrot and her team — which included French cryptographers Pierrick Gaudry and Paul Zimmermann and historian Camille Desenclos — set to work for months wading through the strange script invented by Emperor Charles, identifying decoy letters and getting slow and steady eureka moments.
The team has not yet issued a complete translation, but the themes identified have revealed an invaluable insight into the thinking of a giant figure at a turning point in Europe’s history.
The holidays are magic. And, when the toy shop owner needs help, the village discovers that Caring Makes Magic, too.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Cora Buhlert, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Maytree.]
(1) THE GULF BETWEEN. [Item by Jim Janney.] Pat Bagley’s editorial cartoon in today’s Salt Lake Tribune references a famous cover from the October 1953 Astounding. (Note how it’s signed “With apologies to Frank Kelly Freas.”)
(2) KEEP CALM. No matter what you may have heard – like in an email from the World Fantasy Convention committee itself – the WFC 2022 Covid policy remains the same.
– Attending members must be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be required upon check-in at the convention.
– Masks will be required in all public places. Masks must be worn properly, covering the nose and mouth. If a member appears at any WFC 2022 event without a mask, they will be asked to put one on. If they refuse, their membership will be revoked, their badge confiscated, and they will be required to leave the convention.
– Safe social distances will be observed at all times.
– We will have hand sanitizer easily accessible throughout the convention.
If you are not fully vaccinated for any reason, please do not purchase an attending membership. We invite you to purchase a virtual membership and participate in the convention remotely.
James Van Pelt addressed on Facebook that a similar policy at the recent MileHiCon was not always followed by panelists, with the attendant social pressure on those who would rather it be followed.
(3) YOU DON’T NEED A WEATHERMAN TO KNOW WHICH WAY THE WINDROSE. Can it be that John C. Wright thieved a diagram created by Camestros Felapton without giving credit? Survey says – “Bow wow!” However, according to Camestros, “It’s nice to be appreciated”.
In 2016 I was going to write a post about John C. Wright’s near incomprehensible scheme for categorising ideologies on two axes (original Wright post archived here). However, vanity and vainglorious aspiration required me to furnish the post with a better graphic. Having laboured on the graphic I realised I had very little to say, leaving the post as little more than my drawing of Wright’s windrose: https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/john-c-wrights-windrose-of-political-heresy/
Now Mr Wright recently reposted his essay on his scheme, and as with his previous essay, there was a graphic to accompany it…which looks more than a little familiar…
(4) THE HOUSE OF COMMONS NEEDS YOU. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] AI is sort of SFnal. Do any Filers have knowledge of AI and wish to contribute to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the “Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI)”? The call for evidence is here. The deadline is November 25. HAL lives! (but does not give 42 as the answer.)
MPs to examine regulating AI in new inquiry
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee launches an inquiry into the governance of artificial intelligence (AI). In July, the UK Government set out its emerging thinking on how it would regulate the use of AI. It is expected to publish proposals in a White Paper later this year, which the Committee would examine in its inquiry.
Used to spot patterns in large datasets, make predictions, and automate processes, AI’s role in the UK economy and society is growing. However, there are concerns around its use. MPs will examine the potential impacts of biased algorithms in the public and private sectors. A lack of transparency on how AI is applied and how automated decisions can be challenged will also be investigated.
In the inquiry, MPs will explore how risks posed to the public by the improper use of AI should be addressed, and how the Government can ensure AI is used in an ethical and responsible way. The Committee seeks evidence on the current governance of AI, whether the Government’s proposed approach is the right one, and how their plans compare with other countries.
After introducing barcodes to our regular sticker stamps in February, Royal Mail has now given us 100 days to use up our old stamps. Come February 2023, only those barcoded will be valid. To swap out any remaining oldies, we will have to fill out a request form and send it, for free, to a depot in Edinburgh.
The ironic loop-the-loop of freeposting postage to receive same-value postage in the post – in order to, in the beleaguered company’s own words, “connect physical stamps to the digital world” – is not lost on me. It’s more than curmudgeonly irritation, though, I feel bewildered. Why does one stamp having the ability to play you Shaun the Sheep videos mean that all those other beauties have to go? Does the Royal Mail not realise how great, how quietly subversive, how steadfast its one defining product has been all these years?…
(6) SWEDISH SHORTS SFF COMPETITION. [Item by Ahrvid Engholm.] The Result of the 23rd Fantastiknovelltävlingen (approx “Fantastic Short Story Competition”; Fantastic as in Fantastic Literatur, often here called Fantastik.) I translate the story titles, but skip the 6 “honorary mentions”:
1st prize “Fyrmästarens dotter” by Camilla Linde (999 kr) [“Daughter of the Lighthouse Keeper”]
2nd prize “En glimt av oändlighet” by Sunna Andersson (600 kr) [“A Glimpse of Eternity”]
We are very excited to announce author Leigh Bardugo as our next honoree to immortalize her handprints and signature in the Vroman’s Author Walk of Fame! We are so thrilled to honor Leigh with this dedication and to celebrate all of her wonderful books.
Join us on Saturday, November 19th at noon for the dedication. After the dedication please stay for a special conversation between Leigh Bardugo and Sarah Enni, discussing Leigh’s life and career.
We realize that not everyone will get the best view of the dedication ceremony so we will be broadcasting this morning event on Instagram Live. Keep watch for more details and follow up on Instagram! @vromansbookstore
(8) WHERE WOLF? THERE HOME DEPOT. In the Washington Post, Maura Judkis talks to buyers of the 9-1/2 foot audioanimatronic werewolf available at Home Depot for $399. She talked to one anonymous furry who thinks the werewolf is a furry icon. “The Home Depot werewolf is getting howls of approval”.
… She saw him and she had to buy him: A beefy, sinewy wolfman with massive hands (paws?), glowing eyes and, under his shredded buffalo-check shirt, six-pack abs. Best of all, and unlike his skeletal brethren, he talks and moves: With a growl, he opens his mouth to reveal a row of sharp fangs, tilts his head back and … aroooooooooo!
Rush bought the $399 werewolf on “Orange Friday,” which is what the most dedicated of Halloween decorators call the day Home Depot makes its Halloween decorations available online for purchase. This year, that day was July 15, when normal people are, well, what’s normal anymore?…
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1951 — [By Cat Eldridge.] One of the finest works that Bradbury crafted was The Illustrated Man. It was published seventy-one years ago by Doubleday & Company and consists of eighteen stories, of which ISFDB claims three are original to here.
Let’s note that the British edition, published a year later by Hart-Davis, omits “The Rocket Man”, “The Fire Balloons, “The Exiles” and “The Concrete Mixer” and adds “Usher I” from The Martian Chronicles and “The Playground”.
The unrelated stories are weaved together by the framing story of “The Illustrated Man” involving a now wandering member of a carnival freak show with an almost completely tattooed body, save one spot, whom the unnamed narrator and a few other people meet. (My assumption there.) The man’s tattoos, supposedly created by a time-traveling woman, are individually animated, and each tells a different story.
The stories would be adapted elsewhere. Some of the stories, including “The Veldt”, “The Fox and the Forest” (changed to “To the Future”), “Marionettes, Inc.”, and “Zero Hour” were also dramatized for the Fifties X Minus One radio series.
The Ray Bradbury Theater series used “The Concrete Mixer”, “The Long Rain”, “Marionettes Inc.” “The Veldt”, “Zero Hour” whereas “The Fox and the Forest” was adapted for Out of the Unknown series.
Seventeen years after it was published, it would debut as a film. The screenplay was by Howard B. Kreitsek who adapted three of the stories from the collection, “The Veldt”, “The Long Rain” and “The Last Night of the World”, the last one a good choice I think to end the film.
SPOILERS NOW AS WE CONSIDER A BEGINNING AND A POSSIBLE END
The prologue tells of how The Illustrated Man came to be so after he encountered a mysterious woman named Felicia. Our film narrator encounters our The Illustrated Man and watches the three stories play out as animated stories.
The plot comes to a terrifying conclusion when one of the people accompanying The Illustrated Man on his journey looks at the only blank patch of skin on his body and sees an image of his own murder at his hand of The Illustrated Man then attempts to kill The Illustrated Man and then flees into the night, pursued by a still-living Illustrated Man, with the audience left undetermined as to his fate of either.
NOW BACK TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING
Jack Smight, the film director, decided that the carnival sideshow freak who appeared in the collection’s prologue and epilogue made the best primary narrative device.
As for The Illustrated Man, he cast Rod Steiger, whom he had known since the Fifties.
It failed horribly at the Box Office and critics hated it.
It was nominated for a Hugo at the Heicon ’70 Worldcon held in Heidelberg, Germany but did not win.
I will let our writer have the last word here: “Rod was very good in it, but it wasn’t a good film, the script was terrible.”
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 29, 1906 — Fredric Brown. Author of Martians, Go Home which was made into a movie of the same name. He received compensation and credit from NBC as their Trek episode “Arena” had more than a passing similarity to his novelette which was nominated for a Retro Hugo at CoNZealand. (Died 1972.)
Born October 29, 1928 — Benjamin F. Chapman, Jr. He played the Gill-man on the land takes in Creature from the Black Lagoon. (Ricou Browning did the water takes.) His only other genre appearance was in Jungle Moon Men, a Johnny Weissmuller film. (Died 2008.)
Born October 29, 1928 — Jack Donner. He’s no doubt best known for his role of Romulan Subcommander Tal in the Trek episode “The Enterprise Incident”. He would later return as a Vulcan priest in the “Kir’Shara” and “Home” episodes on Enterprise. He’d also show up in other genre shows including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission Impossible (eleven episodes which is the most by any guest star) and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. (Died 2019.)
Born October 29, 1935 — Sheila Finch, 87. She is best remembered for her stories about the Guild of Xenolinguists, which aptly enough are collected in The Guild of Xenolinguists. She first used the term her 1986 Triad novel, and it would later be used to describe the character Uhura in the rebooted Trek film. Her Reading the Bones novella, part of the Guild of Xenolinguists series, would win a Nebula. These books are available at the usual suspects.
Born October 29, 1941 — Hal W. Hall, 81. Bibliographer responsible for the Science Fiction Book Review Index (1970 – 1985) and the Science Fiction Research Index (1981 – 1922). He also did a number of reviews including three of H. Beam Piper’s Fuzzy books showing he had excellent taste in fiction.
Born October 29, 1954 — Paul Di Filippo, 68. He is, I’d say, an acquired taste. I like him. I’d suggest as a first reading if you don’t know him The Steampunk Trilogy and go from there. His “A Year in the Linear City” novella was nominated at Torcon 3 for Best Novella, and won the 2003 World Fantasy Award and the 2003 Theodore Sturgeon Award. Oh, and he’s one of our stellar reviewers having reviewed at one time or another for Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Science Fiction Eye, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Interzone, Nova Express and Science Fiction Weekly.
Born October 29, 1954 — Kathleen O’Neal Gear, 68. Archaeologist and writer. I highly recommend the three Anasazi Mysteries that she co-wrote with W. Michael Gear. She’s a historian of note so she’s done a lot of interesting work in that area such as Viking Warrior Women: Did ‘Shieldmaidens’ like Lagertha Really Exist? And should you decide you want to keep buffalo, she’s the expert on doing so. Really. Truly, she is.
Born October 29, 1971 — Winona Ryder, 51. Beetlejuice, of course, but also Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not to mention Alien Resurrection and Star Trek. Which brings me to Being John Malkovich which might be the coolest genre film of all time.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Junk Drawerhas an amusing twist on a familiar bit of horror pedantry.
Non Sequitur shows the very first “trick or treat” trial run.
(12) READ SJUNNESON STORY. Arizon State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination has posted the final Us in Flux story for 2022. This is the latest in their series of short fiction and virtual events about reimagining and reorganizing communities in the face of transformative change.
The story is “The Island,” by Elsa Sjunneson, about the ability-disability continuum, journalism, and creating adaptable communities.
Deadline reports the studio is developing a new potential series codenamed Vision Quest, which will star Paul Bettany returning to the role of Vision. The show will reportedly follow Vision as he attempts to “regain his memory and humanity.” This would focus on the White Vision character who ended the first season of WandaVision on the loose in the world after regaining enough of his memories following a face-off with Wanda’s version of Vision (yeah, it’s a bit confusing).
It’s still early, with a writers room reportedly opening for the project next week, but it’s reportedly possible that Elizabeth Olsen could also return as Wanda Maximoff. As fans know, Wanda was last seen buried under a temple in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness….
(15) PLAYING MARS LIKE A DRUM. [SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] This week’s Science journal has “A seismic meteor strike on Mars”. “A meteor impact and its subsequent seismic waves has revealed the crustal structure of Mars.”
A large meteorite impact on Mars, as recorded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) InSight Mars lander and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and present analysis of the detected surface waves produced by the meteorite impact. Kim et al. also present an updated crustal model of Mars that provides a better understanding of the formation and composition of the martian crust and extends the current knowledge of the geodynamic evolution of Mars.
First primary research paper here. Second paper here here.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is Ryan George’s latest BUT my computer is wonky in that the sound is off so I don’t know what he says! I am sure he has a field day because I saw Black Adam and it’s a stinker. Spoiler alert!
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Jim Janney, Ahrvid Engholm, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]
In a recent interview that I was recording for my and Robert Lanza’s forthcoming novel, Observer, the interviewer asked, “What qualities do you think an aspiring writer must have?” This is something to which I have given a lot of thought because I am often asked it by attendees at Taos Toolbox. I think there are four necessary qualities: talent, persistence, flexibility, and luck….
(2) DAW ACQUIRES TWO JOHN WISWELL FANTASY NOVELS. Katie Hoffman, Senior Editor at DAW Books, has acquired World rights to two fantasy novels by Nebula Award-winning author John Wiswell, represented by Hannah Bowman at Liza Dawson Associates.
Wiswell’s debut novel, scheduled for Spring 2024, is Someone You Can Build A Nest In. Pitched as Gideon The Ninth meets Circe, this highly-anticipated fantasy is a creepy, charming monster-slaying sapphic romance—from the perspective of the monster, a shapeshifter named Shesheshen who falls in love with a human.
At the core of this dark fantasy is a heartwarming, cozy rom-com. While a chilling tale of generational harm and the struggle of surviving in a hostile world, Someone You Can Build A Nest In also stubbornly offers that possibility that, through surprising connections, we may still discover new definitions of love and relearn our own value. Acquiring editor Katie Hoffman says, “It feeds a growing delight I’ve seen in blending the gruesome and the whimsical, the bloody and the quaint.”
Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she’s fallen in love. Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who usually resides as an amorphous lump in the swamp of a ruined manor, unless impolite monster hunters invade intent on murdering her. Through a chance encounter, she meets a different kind of human, warm-hearted Homily, who mistakes Shesheshen as a human in turn. Shesheshen is loath to deceive, but just as she’s about to confess her true identity, Homily reveals she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give them both a chance at happiness, she must figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with the love of her life.
Someone You Can Build A Nest In will be published by DAW Books in Spring 2024.
(4) MOORCOCK Q&A. Goodman Games’ interview with Michael Moorcock is now online on their YouTube channel:
A special episode of Sanctum Secorum Live with guest Michael Moorcock. In honor of the forthcoming release of the newest book in the Elric saga, The Citadel of Forgotten Myths.
(5) RHYMES WITH “PLAYED WELL”. John Hertz sends this tribute to the late Bob Madle.
Mighty, he was mild,
All our worlds open to him.
Doors that he had made
Let designers, dreamers through.
Each imagination gained.
An acrostic in unrhymed 5-7-5-7-7- syllable lines.
(6) ANGELA LANSBURY (1925-2022). Actress Angela Lansbury died October 11 at the age of 96. Best known to the TV-watching generation as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote, she earlier gained fame with three Oscar nominated roles in Gaslight (1944), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
On Broadway she won several Tony Awards, including one for her turn in Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 musical play Sweeney Todd.
She appeared in the Disney hit Bedknobs and Broomsticks in 1971, and later featured in other children’s films, providing the voice for Mrs Potts in the animated Beauty and the Beast; and more recently Mary Poppins Returns.
Spock:Consider. Chuft Captain has been attacked by an herbivorous pacifist, an eater of leaves and roots, one who traditionally does not fight. And the ultimate insult, I left him alive. Chuft Captain’s honor is at stake. He must seek personal revenge before he can call for help.
Sulu:That gives us some time. You did plan it that way?
Spock: Of course.
Star Trek: the Animated Series’ “The Slaver Weapon”
So we all know that Star Trek: the Animated Series followed the first series and debuted on September 8, 1973. It would end that run a mere twenty-two episodes later on October 12, 1974.
Did I like the series? I think that two aspects of it were done really, really well. The voice cast was stellar, with almost all of the original cast save Walter Koenig voicing their characters. It is said, but this is only rumor, originally Filmation was only going to pay for three actors, that being Shatner, Nimoy, and Doohan.
Nimoy however said that he wouldn’t take part unless the rest of the original cast was included. However the studio stuck to its guns as to how many it would budget for and Walter Koenig was dropped because of what he wanted. However Nimoy did get him some writing gigs for the show.
The other was the stories. Being animated gave them a wider artistic frame to work with than the original show had and they used that to their creative benefit. An example of this was Niven merging his Known Space story, “The Soft Weapon” into the Trek universe. It was wonderful and it was great to see the Kzin visualized.
(Everything here was novelized by Alan Dean Foster. He first adapted three episodes per book, but later editions saw the half-hour scripts expanded into full, novel-length stories.)
I think the animation was at best weak. It looked flat, one dimensional. The characters as if they really weren’t quite there. I’ve never been a fan of Filmation.
I just rewatched that episode on Paramount +. The print is stellar and the voices are great. The animation was, as I thought it was, less than great. Watching characters move is painful to say the least as they don’t walk so as much glide across the screen.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 12, 1875 — Aleister Crowley. Mystic. Charlatan possibly. Genre writer? You decide. But I’ve no doubt that he had a great influence upon the genre as I’m betting many of you can note works in which he figures. One of the earliest such cases is Land of Mist, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which was published in 1926. (Died 1947.)
Born October 12, 1903 — Josephine Hutchinson. She was Elsa von Frankenstein with Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff in Son of Frankenstein. She was in “I Sing the Body Electric”, The Twilight Zone episode written by Bradbury that he later turned into a short story. (Died 1998.)
Born October 12, 1904 — Lester Dent. Pulp-fiction author who was best known as the creator and main author of the series of novels chronicling Doc Savage. Of the one hundred and eighty-one Doc Savage novels published by Street and Smith, one hundred and seventy-nine were credited to Kenneth Robeson; and all but twenty were written by Dent. (Died 1959.)
Born October 12, 1916 — Lock Martin. His claim to fame was that he was one of the tallest humans that ever lived. At seven feet and seven inches (though this was disputed by some who shouldn’t have), he was also quite stocky. He had the distinction of playing Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still. He was also in The Incredible Shrinking Man as a giant, but his scenes were deleted. And he shows up in Invaders from Mars as the Mutant carrying David to the Intelligence though he goes uncredited in the film. (Died 1959.)
Born October 12, 1924 — Randy Stuart. She’s best remembered as Louise Carey, the wife of Scott Carey, in The Incredible Shrinking Man. She was also Frances Hiller in “Anniversary of a Murder” on One Step Beyond which conceived as a companion series to TheTwilight Zone. (Died 1996.)
Born October 12, 1943 — Linda Shaye, 79 . She’s been an actress for over forty years and has appeared in over ninety films, mostly horror. Among them is A Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters, Insidious, Dead End, 2001 Maniacs and its sequel 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again, Amityville: A New Generation, Ouija, and its prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil. She even appeared in the first and only true version of The Running Man as a Propaganda Officer.
Born October 12, 1942 — Daliah Lavi. She’s in Casino Royale as The Detainer, a secret agent. In the same year, she was in Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon as Madelaine. She was Purificata in The Demon, an Italian horror film. If you’re into German popular music, you might recognize her as she was successful there in Seventies and Eighties. (Died 2017.)
Born October 12, 1965 — Dan Abnett, 57. His earlier work was actually on Doctor Who Magazine, but I’ll single out his co-writing Guardians of the Galaxy #1–6 with Andy Lanning, The Authority: Rule Britannia which is an exceptional piece of work by any standardsand his Border Princes novel he did in the Torchwood universe as great looks at him as a writer.
Born October 12, 1968 — Hugh Jackman, 54. Obviously Wolverine in the Marvel film franchise including the next Deadpool film. He’s also been the lead character in Van Helsing as well as voicing him in the animated prequel Van Helsing: The London Assignment. One of his most charming roles was voicing The Easter Bunny in The Rise of The Guardians which I really, really liked. And he played Robert Angier in The Prestige based off the novel written by the real Christopher Priest. Not the fake one.
An Post, the postal service in the Republic of Ireland, has launched a new digital stamp.
Customers will receive a 12-digit unique code via the company’s app which they can write onto their envelope where the traditional stamp would go.
An Post’s letter sorting technology will recognise the code as a live stamp when it is being processed for delivery.
The digital stamp costs €2 (£1.76) compared with €1.25 (£1.10) for a normal one.
Garrett Bridgeman, managing mirector for An Post Commerce, said: “Here we have a product that works for everyone; busy individuals who are time-poor and want to purchase stamps at a time and place that works for them; or last-minute senders, as well as SMEs and business owners who need to post at irregular hours and may not have stamps to hand.”
Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) laid off 82 scripted, unscripted, and animation employees on Tuesday, and will not fill 43 more vacant positions. The 125 positions represented 26% of the companies workforce across those units.
However, the layoffs, which were generally expected, don’t tell the whole story of what’s going on at Warner Bros. Discovery’s animation units. In fact, there was an even more consequential announcement yesterday that fundamentally alters the structure of Cartoon Network Studios going forward and will have a far-reaching impact on the projects that it produces. The company calls it part of its “strategic realignment.”
(11) GAINING AN EDGE. Michael Harrington interviews Oliver Brackenbury, editor of New Edge Sword and Sorcery Magazine at Black Gate.
What are your thoughts on “inclusion” in the New Edge Movement?
[Brackenbury] This resurgence of New Edge Sword & Sorcery as a term to rally behind, back in the spring of this year, started from that all too familiar conversational space of “How do we get more people into this genre?” Well, if you want more people getting into this thing we love, then you need to include more people!
You can’t hope to expand an audience without reaching outside that audience, while doing your best to make the scene welcoming for everyone. For example, don’t scratch your head wondering why more women don’t read and write in the genre when you’re reluctant to call out sexism in the scene, or perhaps simply aren’t directly reaching out to women, merely hoping they’ll show up. You can replace “women” and “sexism” in this example with just about every intersection of identity that isn’t my fellow white, cishet, neurotypical, able-bodied fellas (or “white guys,” for brevity’s sake).
Nothing wrong with my fellow white guys, I don’t want them to go away, or have anything taken away from them. I just think inclusion is vital if S&S is to have a third wave of mass appeal, akin or even superior to what it enjoyed in the second wave of the 60’s through early 80’s. Call out hatred and harassment, give people a head’s up when they go back to read certain classics, and just, ya know, be cool, man.
A larger, more diverse scene benefits absolutely everyone. With a greater variety of people, we’ll get to enjoy a greater number & variety of stories, artistic works, and viewpoints!
(13) SPIRITED TRAILER. Nothing says more about the holidays than it’s time for Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds to bash each other on Apple TV!
Happy Birthday, Hugh. This year, I’m giving you the gift of being much worse than you at singing and dancing. But at least there’s Will and Octavia!
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Cora Buhlert, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
(1) AKO CAINE PRIZE. Kenyan writer Idza Luhumyo has been awarded the 2022 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “Five Years Next Sunday”, published in Disruption (Catalyst Press and Short Story Day Africa, 2021). The story is about “a young woman with the unique power to call the rain in her hair. Feared by her family and community, a chance encounter with a foreigner changes her fortunes, but there are duplicitous designs upon her most prized and vulnerable possession.”
Okey Ndibe, Chair of the 2022 AKO Caine Prize Judging Panel, announced the winner at an award ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Luhumyo’s story was described by Ndibe as ‘an incandescent story – its exquisite language wedded to the deeply moving drama of a protagonist whose mystical office invites animus at every turn.’
Judging the Prize alongside Ndibe this year were French-Guinean author and academic Elisa Diallo; South African literary curator and co-founder of The Cheeky Natives Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane; UK-based Nigerian visual artist Ade ‘Àsìkò’ Okelarin; Kenyan co-founder of the Book Bunk Angela Wachuka.
Luhumyo takes the £10,000 prize, beating 267 eligible entries in a record year of submissions. She will be published in the 2022 AKO Caine Prize anthology later this year by Cassava Republic Press. She is the fifth Kenyan writer to win the award after Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Yvonne Owuor (2003), Okwiri Oduor (2014) and Makena Onjerika (2018).
(2) AUCTION RESULTS. The “Hollywood Legends” event organized by Julien’s Auctions rang up some big numbers for these items of genre interest:
…Other top sellers included the red, white and blue shield handled by Chris Evans’ Captain America in the 2012 superhero blockbuster “The Avengers,” which went for $200,000.
A Stormtrooper helmet used in 1977′s original “Star Wars” movie sold for $192,000, while a hammer wielded by Chris Hemsworth’s titular superhero in 2013′s “Thor: The Dark World” made $51,200….
(4) ALONG CAME JONES. Stephen Jones, the British editor, had some things to say about pronouns yesterday that have since been taken private (or offline), therefore cannot be quoted here. However, some of the knock-on discussion he had about them was screencapped.
Hillary Monahan doesn’t name the person they light into in this thread, but everybody knew who it was. Thread starts here.
The Midnight Society thought the situation called for a satire. Thread starts here.
The social media discussion also reminded people of some of Jones’ history, such as:
…Eugen Bacon: As an African-Australian author who is black, female, migrant and a single mother, I have struggled with identity and being ‘different’. I think, as humans, intrinsically, we want to belong, to be integral to the worlds we live in.
‘Other’ is anyone who looks different, feels different, thinks different, acts different, lives different, owns different (possessions), is perceived different—there’s a whole spectrum of othering, which is what makes the theme of Other Terrors very relatable and easy to respond to. More so in the safe space that speculative fiction offers for engaging with difference, even in acts of subversive activism….
(6) WESTERCON 74 EVENTS ONLINE. [Item by Kevin Standlee.] All of Westercon 74’s Events — anything that happened in the Main Hall or on the Main Stage of the Tonopah Convention Center, as distinct from Programming that happened in function rooms of the TCC or the other convention buildings — are now online on a newly-minted Westercon 74 YouTube channel in the Events playlist:
This includes, in the order that they happened:
Friday: Opening Ceremony
Saturday: Match Game SF
Sunday: Westercon Business Meeting, Committee of the Whole on Site Selection, Kuma’s Korner Stuffed friends gathering
Monday: Closing Ceremony
In addition, the channel includes separate recordings of the opening and closing title videos that we played during the opening and closing ceremonies.
Programming will post those online and hybrid items that we recorded to a separate playlist on this channel when they are able to do so. The head of online/hybrid programming, Michelle Weisblat-Dane, came down with COVID-19 immediately after the convention, which has slowed production.
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1965 – [By Cat Eldridge.] Forty-seven years ago, The Tenth Victim premiered in Ireland. An international co-production between Italy and France, it is based on Robert Sheckley’s 1953 short story “Seventh Victim” which was nominated for a Retro Hugo at Noreascon 4. No, I’ve no idea why it became the Tenth Victim.
It was directed and co-written by Elio Petri who had spent five years trying to get this filmed. In filming it, he made some major changes. Sheckley told his story from the point of view of a man hunting his seventh target, a woman, whereas in the movie she is the hunter. And as most reviewers note, the film is largely a chase story. It’s been a very long time since I read it so I don’t know how much it deviates from the original text.
The French-Italian production was fairly expensive to make at a cool million. That’s ten million now. Absolutely no idea what they spent that much money on making what was a chase film. Very expensive cars? Crates of champagne? Caviar?
The movie company insists that it lost money, some ten million. They needed to have drank a lot less champagne.
Coming full cycle, there’s a Sheckley novelization of the film. Algis Budrys in his June 1966 Galaxy Science Fiction review said it was “a reasonably good chase novel”.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 19, 1883 — Max Fleischer. Animator, film director and producer. He brought such animated characters as Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman to the screen and was responsible for a number of technological innovations including the Rotoscope and Stereoptical Processes. You can see Betty’s first screen appearance here in the 1930 Cartoon, “Dizzy Dishes”. (Died 1972.)
Born July 19, 1904 — Groff Conklin. He edited forty anthologies of science fiction, one of mystery stories. His book review column, “Galaxy’s Five-Star Shelf”, was a core feature in Galaxy Science Fiction from its premiere issue in October 1950 until the October 1955 issue. He was nominated at NyCon II for a Best Book Reviewer Hugo, and at Millennium Philcon, he was nominated for a Retro Hugo for Best Professional Editor. (Died 1968.)
Born July 19, 1927 — Richard E. Geis. I met him at least once when I was living out there in Oregon. Interesting person. He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twice; and whose science fiction fanzine Science Fiction Review won Hugo Awards for Best Fanzine four times. The Alien Critic won the Best Fanzine Hugo (once in a tie with Algol), and once by himself. And yes, I enjoyed reading the Science Fiction Review. I’ve not any of his handful of genre novels, and certainly haven’t encountered his soft-core porn of which there’s a lot. (Died 2013.)
Born July 19, 1938 — Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, 84. He and Fred Hoyle developed the Hoyle–Narlikar theory, which Stephen Hawking would prove is incompatible with an expanding universe. He would write two genre novels, The Return of The Vaman (translated from Marathi) and The Message from Aristarchus. His autobiography is My Tale of Four Cities: An Autobiography.
Born July 19, 1950 — Richard Pini, 72. He’s half of the husband-and-wife team responsible for creating the well-known Elfquest series of comics, graphic novels and prose works. They are also known as WaRP (as in Warp Graphics). It’s worth noting that characters based on works by the Pinis appear in the first issue of Ghost Rider.
Born July 19, 1963 — Garth Nix, 59. Writer of children’s and young adult fantasy novels, to wit the Keys to the Kingdom, Old Kingdom, and Seventh Tower series. The Ragwitch which I read quite some time ago is quite excellent and being a one-off can give you a good taste of him without committing to a series.
Born July 19, 1969 — Kelly Link, 53. First, let me note that along with Ellen Datlow, she and her husband Gavin Grant were responsible for the last five volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. They all did an absolutely magnificent job. All of her collections, Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners and Get in Trouble are astonishingly good. And she’s much honored having three Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award, an Otherwise Award, a Sturgeon Award and received a MacArthur Genius Grant. She was a finalist for a 2016 Pulitzer Prize. And Hugos. She won a Hugo at Interaction for her “Faery Handbag” novellette, her “Magic for Beginners” novella was nominated at L.A. Con IV, and finally Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet was nominated at Nippon 2007 for Best Semi-Prozine (her husband Gavin Grant was also nominated).
Fantasy literature is arguably the single oldest genre in all of storytelling. Contemporary fantasy has its roots, overtly or not, in world mythology and folklore, which in turn have their roots in oral traditions that extend back beyond recorded history. Old!
But today we’re interested in new fantasy. Gathered below are the most popular fantasy books of the past three years, as determined by reader shelvings and reviews. All books listed here were published in 2019 or later, in the U.S., and for fantasy series with multiple titles (Armentrout! Butcher! Maas!) we’ve listed the first series book published in that time period.
(10) FUTURE ERIC FLINT TITLES COMING FROM BAEN. [Item by Andrew Porter.] Toni Weisskopf wrote to me, “His last email to me was the delivery of revision of THE TRANSYLVANIAN DECISION; that’s already on the schedule. There’s a few more, which I expect collaborators will finish. Credit will vary, depending on how much input Eric had already given.”
(11) FUNDRAISER FOR FLINT FAMILY. The GoFundMe set up for Eric Flint’s wife Lucille – “Eric Flint” – has already made its $10,000 goal, having raised $11,627 at this writing.
My name is Debbie and my sister, Lucille Robbins, just lost her beloved husband of 21 years, Eric Flint. For the last six months Eric has been fighting the fight of his life, but unfortunately his body could no longer sustain the battle and he succumbed to the infections that robbed him of the final years of life. Eric had so many plans, right up to the end. He wanted to live and to keep writing and to keep reaching out to everyone in the Science Fiction community, but here we are. Unfortunately Eric has not been able to write while he has been sick and Lucille lost many hours of work taking care of Eric. As you know writers have to keep writing to make money and right now Lucille and family could use some help financially with the costs of memorial services. Any donation will be greatly appreciated.
(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers: Hulk v. Thor (1988)” the Screen Junkies narrator notes, “no one wanted this. You’ve got to trust us.” The movie isn’t even called “Hulk v. Thor,” it’s “The Incredible Hulk Returns,” the first of three made-for-TV Hulk movies. This ripe piece of ’80s cheese has Bruce Banner hiding out as “Bruce Banyon” when he isn’t turning into Lou Ferrigno and “gruntflexing.” But Hulk DOES fight Thor. They even dance around a sparkly machine while fighting. And Thor has a drinking problem. “I’m thirsty,” Thor says in the laboratory. “Is there nothing to drink in this alchemist’s den?”
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Daniel Dern, Kevin Standlee, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
The U.S. Postal Service today announced additions to the 2022 stamp program, including a stamp that celebrates the James Webb Space Telescope, and a sheet of stamps of various Peanuts characters to commemorate the centennial of Charles M. Schulz’ birth.
Shown below are preliminary designs. Issue dates and locations will be announced later.
James Webb Space Telescope
Celebrate NASA’s remarkable James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most complex telescope ever deployed in space—capable of peering directly into the early cosmos and studying every phase of cosmic history. Launched on Dec. 25, 2021, Webb now orbits the Sun about a million miles away from Earth.
The image on the stamp is an artist’s digitally created depiction of the telescope against a dazzling starscape. The selvage photograph of a star and distant space was taken by Webb early in its mission, brilliantly confirming the perfect alignment of the telescope’s 18 mirror segments.
Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp using existing art by James Vaughan and an image provided by NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute.
Charles M. Schulz
U.S. Postal Service Reveals More Stamps for 2022. Peanuts, Holidays and Space Exploration Featured.
New stamps salute the centennial of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000) whose “Peanuts” characters are some of the best known and most beloved in all of American culture. For five decades, Schulz alone wrote and drew nearly 18,000 strips, the last one published the day after he died. Each character reflects Schulz’s rich imagination and great humanity. His resonant stories found humor in life’s painful realities including rejection, insecurity and unrequited love.
In a celebratory mode, characters from “Peanuts” adorn 10 designs on this pane of 20 stamps and form a frame around a 1987 photograph of Schulz.
Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps from Schulz’s artwork and an existing photograph by Douglas Kirkland.
What if there was no one new Doctor? With a quick narrative device to produce an unstable regeneration, you could have a new high-profile Doctor every week. Suddenly it’s possible to hire Hugh Grant, Judi Dench or Riz Ahmed at the Tardis controls, when you only need to persuade them to do a few weeks’ filming – rather than a three-series commitment. Plus, you get all the publicity of the reveal of a new Doctor, over and over again.
(2) LET’S YOU AND HIM FIGHT. Rosemary Jenkinson is missing the old verbal slapfights between literary writers: “A Room with a Feud” in The Critic Magazine. Well, we still have plenty in genre, but if they stopped would you miss them?
Oh, where to find the fabulous spats that used to enliven every writers’ circle? It’s no coincidence that the drab rise of cancel culture has contributed to the demise of colourful literary disagreements. In my own case, my publisher, Doire Press, rescinded their offer to publish my debut novel after I wrote an article contending that Northern Irish authors should focus on contemporary matters rather than the Troubles. As the Sunday Independent rightly questioned in the aftermath, “Is the Irish literary world really so fragile and full of itself that it can’t cope with the odd dose of healthy impertinence?”
Many of the writing greats enhanced their reputations with a critical bon mot. As the poet and critic Dorothy Parker vaunted, “The first thing I do every morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue,”…
…Naturally, no one wants to see hatchet jobs on writers, but one can’t help wondering where the entertainment is in a bland anodyne literary world. Many writers don’t have the robust constitution to engage in the art of the literary skirmish, but the difficulty for the few who do is that those they write about are likely to claim victim status….
(3) SAWYER HEALTH UPDATE. Robert J. Sawyer told Facebook followers in a public post today that he tested positive for Covid-19, but has “no symptoms to speak of.” Best wishes for him to continue feeling well.
…”Russian warship, f***k you…!” was the response to demands to surrender given to Russian naval forces by Ukrainian border guards stationed on Snake Island early in the war. The Ukrainian marine who uttered the phrase, Roman Grybov, was present at a ceremony issuing the postage stamp along with the illustrator….
Acclaimed screenwriter Damon Lindelof learns that several members of his family tree died in the Bialystok ghetto during the Holocaust on Tuesday night’s episode of the celebrity genealogy show “Finding Your Roots.”
With help from the archives at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, the “Finding Your Roots” team found six pages of testimony detailing the fate of a branch of Lindelof’s family.
Lindelof, who created HBO’s 2019 “Watchmen” series and co-created “Lost,” reads from the show’s compiled pages about his family tree, repeating “circumstances of death: ghetto Bialystok” after several relatives: his great-granduncle — the brother of his great-grandmother — and his wife and their four children.
I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories. As a kid, I loved horror movies and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and H. P. Lovecraft; later on, I discovered movies like The Innocents (based on Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw) and The Haunting (adapted from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House). As a ghost historian and editor, I’ve discovered dozens of brilliant tales from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; these are stories that remain relevant, entertaining, and frightening….
Future Tense is asking Sec. Pete Buttigieg what role imagination plays in managing a federal department as sprawling and impactful as the Department of Transportation. We’re also asking three of our accomplished Future Tense Fiction authors to talk about how they see their work inspiring visions of futures that might come to pass.
Tochi Onyebuchi, @TochiTrueStory; Author, How to Pay Reparations: A Documentary, Future Tense Fiction Author, Goliath
Moderators: Paul Butler, President, New America; Ed Finn, @zonal; Founding Director, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University
(8) MORE ABOUT CHRISTINE ASHBY. [Item by David Grigg.] Christine Ashby, long-time Australian fan, died at home on Tuesday 29 March 2022. She was 70 years of age. She is survived by her husband Derrick Ashby.
Christine was a member of the Monash University SF Association, alongside such well-known names as John Foyster and Carey Handfield. After graduating as a lawyer she began work as a solicitor and developed considerable expertise in legal costings.
She was involved in organising and running several Melbourne SF conventions in the 1970s and 80s and was the Guest of Honour at Q-Con in Brisbane in 1973. She and Derrick were members of ANZAPA for many years.
Christine was Treasurer of two Worldcons: Aussiecon in 1975 and Aussiecon Two in 1985.
Outside of fandom, Christine served for several years on the board of the Paraplegics and Quadriplegics Association of Victoria and for a short while was its Chairperson.
(9) MEMORY LANE.
2007 — [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.] Fifteen years ago, a special citation went to Ray Bradbury from the Pulitzer Board for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.
But the Pulitzer Board doesn’t give out such an Award without picking a specific work and this is the full language of their announcement:
Bradbury came of age as a writer before the postwar ascendancy of the paperback book as a publishing medium. Instead, during the Golden Age of Science Fiction, short stories published in pulp magazines like Astounding Science-Fiction, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Amazing Stories stood at the forefront of the field. As such, many of his novels are actually “fixups”—a term coined by SF legend A.E. van Vogt to describe novels assembled from previously published short stories that were buttressed with new interlinking material.
Culled from Bradbury’s late 1940s output, The Martian Chronicles is a sweeping account of the colonization of Mars amid nuclear war on Earth. Its literary structure (patterned after Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio) earned plaudits from such notable critics like Christopher Isherwood, who read the book after a fortuitous encounter with the younger writer (and fellow Angeleno) at a bookstore. In his review, Isherwood deemed Bradbury “a very great and unusual talent,” a tastemaking assessment that charted the course of the rest of his career.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 16, 1905 — Charles G. Finney. Writer and Editor. It’s rare that I pick writers whose main accomplishment is one work which has defined them, but his one such work is, well, phenomenal. His first novel and most famous work, The Circus of Dr. Lao, was a Hugo finalist at Loncon II and won one of the inaugural National Book Awards, the Most Original Book of 1935; it is most decidedly fantasy. Ray Bradbury liked the novel so much that he included it as the headline story in his anthology The Circus of Dr. Laoand Other Improbable Stories; it is said that the carnival in his Something Wicked This Way Comes is modelled upon The Circus of Dr. Lao. (Died 1984.)
Born April 16, 1917 — William “Billy” Benedict. Singled out for birthday honors as he was Whitey Murphy in Adventures of Captain Marvel. Yes, that Captain Marvel. Back in 1942, it was a 12-chapter black-and-white movie serial from Republic Pictures based off the Fawcett Comics strip. You can watch the first chapter, “Curse of The Scorpion,” here. (Died 1999.)
Born April 16, 1921 — Peter Ustinov. I’ve done his Birthday in the past and profiled his extensive genre work there but I’m going to limit this write-up to just one role he did. In half a dozen films, he played Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot, first in Death on the Nile and then in Evil Under the Sun, Thirteen at Dinner (a television film), Dead Man’s Folly (another television movie), Murder in Three Acts (yet another television movie), and finally in Appointment with Death. An impressive take on that role indeed! (Died 2004.)
Born April 16, 1922 — Kingsley Amis. So have you read The Green Man? I’m still not convinced that anything actually happened, or that rather everything including the hauntings were really in Maurice Allington’s decayed brain. I’m not seeing that he did much else for genre work other outside of The Anti-Death League and The Alteration but he did write Colonel Sun: A James Bond Adventure under the pseudonym of Robert Markham and his New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction which was published in the late Fifties sounds fascinating as he shares his views on the genre and makes some predictions as there’ll never be a SF series on the boob tube despite there already being so. (Died 1995.)
Born April 16, 1922 — John Christopher. Author of The Tripods, an alien invasion series which was adapted into both a excellent radio and a superb television series. He wrote a lot of genre fiction including the Fireball series in which Rome never fell, and The Death of Grass which I mention because it was one of the many YA post-apocalyptic novels that he wrote in the Fifties and Sixties that sold extremely well in the U.K. The film version would be nominated for a Hugo at Noreascon I, a year where No Award was given. (Died 2012.)
Born April 16, 1962 — Kathryn Cramer, 60. Writer, editor, literary critic. She co-founded The New York Review of Science Fiction in 1988 with David G. Hartwell and others, and was its co-editor until 1991 and again since 1996. She edited with her husband David G. Hartwell Year’s Best Fantasy one through nine, and Year’s Best SF seven through seventeen with him as well. They did a number of anthologies of which I’ll single out The Hard SF Renaissance and The Space Opera Renaissance as particularly superb. She has a most excellent website Kathryncramer.com.
Born April 16, 1975 — Sean Maher, 47. Doctor Simon Tam In the Firefly ‘verse. And Dick Grayson (Nightwing) in a staggering number of animated DCU films, to wit Son of Batman, Batman vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Batman: Hush and Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans. He showed up on Arrow as Shrapnel in the “Blast Radius” and “Suicide Squad” episodes. He also had a one-off on Warehouse 13 as Sheldon in the “Mild Mannered” episode.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
The Flying McCoys illustrates a problem caused by something you can easily understand Superman wouldn’t know he was doing.
(12) A FAN FUND AUCTION OF YESTERYEAR. Fanac.org’s video time machine has returned from 1976 with a clip from the first MidAmeriCon.
MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Kansas City in 1976. In this very short video excerpt from the Fan Funds Auction at Big Mac, auctioneer Rusty Hevelin shows just how far fans will go to be supportive of the Fan Funds. In this clip, it’s not books or vegemite up for bid, but currency. The second item is the one to watch, with Rusty skillfully extracting bids from the crowd. You’ll also see fellow auctioneer jan howard finder making a brief appearance…
This video is brought to you by the FANAC Fan History Project, with video from the Video Archeology project (coordinated by Geri Sullivan, with technical work by David Dyer-Bennet).
… Was it strange to go from being the only child on the set of Temple of Doom to being constantly around other young actors while making The Goonies?
It was weird, because coming off of Indiana Jones … I got all the attention versus being on a set with six other kids, and honestly they were all hams! [Laughs] They really knew what they were doing. So I found myself constantly having to fight for attention. But that was very familiar to me, because I grew up in a big family and that’s what my home was like. I got some great friendships out of that movie, including Jeff Cohen, aka Chunk. He’s my entertainment lawyer and we’re great friends, as I am with Sean [Astin] and Corey [Feldman]. We’re Goonies for life…
(14) NOSFERATU. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Nigel Andrews reflects on the centennial of F.W. Murnau’s great horror film Nosferatu.
The film’s poetry of terror comes from real locations, mostly shot in daytime. Cityscapes: the unforgettable, hollowed-out tenement building (filmed in Lübeck) in which the vampire finds his last-act townhouse. Nature: dark monuments and bristling forests. castles: the stone arches and beetling walls of Nosferatu’s Carpathian home. Those arches become a master touch. In shot after shot, Max Shreck’s hideous Count, dressd to kill and made up likewise, emerges from the inverted U of dark tunnels or from frame-fitting Gothic doorways, like a creature serially birthed or rebirthed from vertical coffin-wombs.
Schreck was a distinguished stage actor made out for the movie. The nightmarishly thin body (for which he dieted), with long arms and extended fingers,is crowned with a rat-toothed bat-eared head, bald and cadaverously thin. The dark, hollowed eyes are a premonitory rhyme with the Lübeck buildings. The frock coat is like a sartorial shroud, which seems sewn straight on to the skin. Sometimes he wears a skewy turban-style nightcap: a touch of bleak farce among the grand guignol.
The lunar dust that sold today is a rare exception to the rule, a quirk due in part to a combination of fraud, mistaken identity, and a series of legal disputes….
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Jurassic World Dominion, two generations of cast members unite for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by Oscar-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill.
From Jurassic World architect and director Colin Trevorrow, Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. Dinosaurs now live—and hunt—alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, David Grigg, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
… This story is gritty as all hell. Focusing largely on Hicks and Bishop after being “rescued” with Ripley and Newt in the Sulaco where they ended up at the conclusion of Aliens, this version of Alien 3 goes from “Ehhh, things might be ok.” to “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” to “Oh yeah, everything is totally screwed.”
We see a whole lot of evolution in the Xenomorphs in this story. Their adaptation and speedy evolution is both terrifying and, for franchise fans, fascinating given the total lore that already exists. These bugs are a total game changer when it comes to their propagation and swarm-like spread….
The U.S. Postal Service will celebrate Message Monsters with the most playful, customizable Forever stamp design ever. The four monster illustrations on this pane of 20 stamps invite interactivity with dozens of self-adhesive accessories on the selvage. The monster-ific accoutrements include cartoony voice balloons and thought bubbles with exclamations and salutations, hats and crowns, hearts, stars, crazy daisies and other fun flair.
Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the pane with original artwork by Elise Gravel, author and illustrator of popular children’s books.
In 1958, a monster magazine intended to be a one-off hit the newsstands – and sold out! This specialty mag was Famous Monsters of Filmland, and would go on to become the longest published, and one of the most influential entertainment periodicals, ever! Throughout the 1960s, publisher James Warren and editor Forrest J Ackerman’s FM did something no other magazine of the era had. It turned the spotlight from the stars in front of the camera to the artists behind the camera. The people who actually made the movie magic that captured the imagination of audiences. Basil Gogos’ vivid cover paintings became the freaky face of and “gateway” to the magazine. A magazine that was a vessel for the exciting, creative world kids dreamed of being a part of. Gogos created hallmarks of the “big bang,” that inspired legendary careers. A Basil Gogos FM cover painting is impossible to find…until now.
Basil Gogos’ (1929-2017) paintings brought black and white monsters to vivid, colorful life….
…Most markets send form-letter rejections. These are typical and acceptable; other options take work, and more work per submission means slower responses. Vague rejection language like “it didn’t work for us” is common, and means exactly what it says. Form rejections can be brief, but the market’s staff should be aware of the emotional impact of words, and write a letter that feels supportive rather than dismissive.
Some markets use “tiered forms,” which means they have a handful of different form letters, and the choice reflects something about the staff’s reaction to your submission….
(5) PRESERVING FANHISTORY. The latest FANAC.org newsletter was distributed today. When it’s online the link will be here — F. A. N. A. C. Inc. (fanac.org). An excerpt:
Behind the Scenes or How the Sausage is Made: Finding Anne Steul: Anne Steul is not a familiar name to most of us. In June, Rob Hansen sent us a scan of Fantum 1, edited by Anne Steul, who he remarked had also organized the first German SF con with some help from Jim and Greg Benford. That led to an expansion of Anne Steul’s Fancyclopedia article, followed by more biographical data on her from Rob Hansen. We asked Thomas Recktenwald if he could tell us more. Thomas provided insight into why she left fandom, and a link to Rainer Eisfield’s book, Zwischen Barsoon und Peenemunde(Between Barsoom and Peenemunde) that had 10 pages on Anne Steul, and German fandom of the time, including bibliographic data and a photo. Next, Joe asked Jim and Greg Benford for additional info and Greg forwarded a few 2013 issues of CounterClock, a fanzine from Wolf von Witting published in Italy, that had articles on early German fandom. So now we have expanded our knowledge, added her Fantum, and added to the Fancyclopedia entry. And that’s how the Fan History sausage is made. As a result, Thomas Recktenwald is helping us add information about German fandom to Fancyclopedia. Thomas is a long-time contributor to The Fan History Project having provided many photos, fanzines and recordings.
(6) DON’T IT JUST FRY YOUR SHORTS? [Item by Rob Thornton.] Here’s another “SF written by a mainstream writer” example. French guy writes a novel about “what if the Incas invaded Europe in the 16th century” and it is getting all the attention, including media deals. “How a French Novelist Turns the Tables on History” in the New York Times. (Registration required.)
…It’s an imaginary scenario — of the Incas of Peru invading 16th-century Europe, not the other way around, which is what happened in 1532 — that haunted and inspired Binet.
“There’s something melancholic in my book,” he said in an interview at his home last month, “because it offers the conquered a revenge that they never really had.”
The reality for the Incas, like many other Indigenous populations, was that they were killed and exploited, Binet added. “That’s what both fascinates and horrifies me: You can think what you like of the past but you can’t change it.”
Binet, 49, has made his name writing historical novels that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction. His debut “HHhH,” which was translated into 34 languages (including English in 2012), melded history, fiction and autobiography to explore the events surrounding the assassination of the Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. He followed it up in 2015 with “The Seventh Function of Language,” a murder mystery set in the 1980s that poked fun at the posturing of Parisian intellectuals. The French magazine L’Express called it “the most insolent novel of the year.”…
(7) TGIFF FILM FESTIVAL.[Item by Darius Luca Hupov.] The second edition of “The Galactic Imaginarium” Film Festival will take place in hybrid format at location, in Romania and online (TGI Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival), from September 15-19, 2021.
The festival will screen 66 short and feature films, in 4 categories: Science Fiction, Fantasy/Fantastic, Comedy/Parody (SFF) and Animation (SFF). The public will see the films at the local drive-in cinema (due to the pandemic restrictions) and online, at the festival streaming platform. Also, the program of the festival (panels, debates, presentations, workshops, contests, etc.) will be present online, on ZOOM and the Discord channel of the Festival (https://discord.gg/hgDjxCMT).
In the program you can meet our Special Guests:
Josh Malerman, the New York TImes best selling author of Bird Box and Goblin
Naomi Kritzer (won the Hugo Award, Lodestar Award, Edgar Award, and Minnesota Book Award)
John Wiswell, a Nebula winner, and a World Fantasy and Hugo finalist
Representatives from Seed&Spark, Mogul Productions, Storycom…
And many, many more. You can find more details and get an online General Access Ticket here.
(8) N3F’S FRANSON AWARD. Patricia Williams-King’s service to the National Fantasy Fan Federation has been recognized with the Franson Award by N3F President George Phillies:
The Franson Award was originally called the N3F President’s Award. It was renamed in honor of Donald Franson. This award started because past N3F Presidents have wanted to give a show of appreciation to people – even those who may have won the Kaymar Award, which you can only win once. Presidential Statement Patricia Williams-King has faithfully and energetically served the N3F for many years, most recently by maintaining the N3F Round Robin Bureau. Round Robin groups discuss a topic by circulating a papermail letter bundle from one member to the next. If one member of a group gafiates, the group stops functioning. The Bureau Head has the task of restarting groups, so to speak bringing them back to life. Through thick and through thin, in the face of great obstacles, personal and fannish challenges, and other hindrances to smooth operation, Patricia Williams-King gave us an N3F Bureau that largely continued to function. As your President, it is my privilege and honor to give a 2021 Franson Award to Patricia WilliamsKing.
They’re not waiting until next year’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” to open up the multiverse.
In the trailer, Peter Parker accidentally messes up a Doctor Strange spell, creating a rift that brings out elements of previous Spider-Man film eras, which didn’t share much of a timeline… until now…
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1999 – Twenty-two years ago, the Compton Crook Award, Baltcon’s Award for the Best First Novel, went to James Stoddard for The High House. It is the first novel of his Evenmere trilogy that was continued in The False House and which was just completed in 2015 with his Evenmere novel. It had been been published by Warner Aspect the previous year. It would also be nominated for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in the year the illustrated edition of Stardust would garner that Award. It was also nominated for a Locus Best SF Novel Award. If you’ve not read it, Stoddard has let us put the first chapter up at Green Man and you can read it here.
(11) TODAY’S DAY.
Shed a tear.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 24, 1899 — Gaylord Du Bois. He was a writer of comic book stories and comic strips, as well as Big Little Books. He wrote Tarzan for Dell Comics and Gold Key Comics from the Forties to early Seventies.) He was one of the writers for Space Family Robinson which was the basis for the Lost in Space series. (Died 1993.)
Born August 24, 1899 — Jorge Luis Borges. I’m reasonably sure my first encounter with him was at University with the assignment of The Library of Babel. I’m not deeply read in him but I also loved The Book of Imaginary Beings, and though not genre, recommend The Last Interview and Other Conversations for an excellent look at him as a writer. (Died 1985.)
Born August 24, 1932 — William Morgan Sheppard. Best remembered I think as Blank Reg in Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future. Genre wise I’d add him being the Klingon Prison Warden In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Merrit in The Prestige, the rather scary Soul Hunter on Babylon 5 and a Vulcan Science Minister in Star Trek. He appeared in a seventies Broadway production of Sherlock Holmes though I can’t tell you who he played. (Died 2019.)
Born August 24, 1934 — Kenny Baker. Certainly his portrayal of R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise is what he’s best known for but he’s also been in Circus of Horrors, Wombling Free, Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader series, The Elephant Man, Sleeping Beauty, Time Bandits, Willow, Flash Gordon and Labyrinth. Personally I think his best role was as Fidgit in Time Bandits. (Died 2016.)
Born August 24, 1936 — A. S. Byatt, 85. Author of three genre novels, two of which I’m familiar with, Possession: A Romance which became a rather decent film, and winning the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, and one I’ve never heard of, Ragnarok: The End of the Gods, but I’m actually much, much more fond of her short fiction. I’d start with the Little Black Book of Stories and Angels & Insects collections.
Born August 24, 1951 — Tony Amendola, 70. Prolly best known for being the Jaffa master Bra’tac on Stargate SG-1. He’s also had recurring roles as Edouard Kagame of Liber8 on Continuum and on Once Upon a Time as Pinocchio’s creator, Geppetto. His list of one-off genre appearances is extensive and includes Angel, Charmed, Lois & Clark,Space: Above and Beyond, the Crusade spin-off of Babylon 5, X Files, Voyager, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Alias, She-Wolf of London and Kindred: The Embraced. He’s also been a voice actor in gaming with roles in such games as World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, World of Warcraft: Legion and Workd of Final Fantasy. (CE)
Born August 24, 1957 — Stephen Fry, 64. He’s Gordon Deitrich in V for Vendetta, and he’s the Master of Lakedown in The Hobbit franchise. His best role is as Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows though he made an interesting narrator in the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and not to be overlooked is that he’s the narrator for all seven of the Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings. Interestingly when first commissioned, the eleventh episode of Doctor Who’s second series with David Tennant was to be called “The 1920s”. It was based on a script written by Stephen Fry. It was never produced.
Born August 24, 1958 — Lisa A. Barnett. Wife of Melissa Scott. Some of her works were co-authored with her: The Armor of Light, Point of Hopes: A Novel of Astreiant and Point of Dreams: A Novel of Astreiant. They wrote one short story, “The Carmen Miranda Gambit”. (Died 2006.)
(13) D&D. The Kingfisher & Wombat party resume their adventures. Thread starts here.
Reading the nominations for the Hugo Awards for Best Series takes dedication. I have read at least the first three books of every single one of the series and given the series a grade and review based upon that reading. If I have not read the entire series, I have noted it in my review of the series. I would love to talk about these series with you, dear readers, and want to know what you think about them. Which is your favorite? Have you read them all? This year’s nominations are a pile of excellent books, so it’s worth diving in.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that it has successfully demonstrated the operation of a “rotating detonation engine” for the first time in space. The novelty of the technologies in question is that such systems obtain a large amount of thrust by using much less fuel compared to conventional rocket engines, which is quite advantageous for space exploration.
…The rotating detonation engine uses a series of controlled explosions that travel around an annular channel in a continuous loop. This process generates a large amount of super-efficient thrust coming from a much smaller engine using significantly less fuel – which also means sending less weight on a space launch. According to JAXA, it has the potential to be a game-changer for deep space exploration.
The rocket began the test demonstrations after the first stage separated, burning the rotating detonation engine for six seconds, while a second pulse detonation engine operated for two seconds on three occasions. The pulse engine uses detonation waves to combust the fuel and oxidizer mixture.
When the rocket was recovered after the demonstration, it was discovered that the rotary engine produced about 500 Newtons of thrust, which is only a fraction of what conventional rocket engines can achieve in space….
…Two years ago, DeJesus became the first umpire in a regular-season game anywhere to use something called the Automated Ball-Strike System. Most players refer to it as the “robo-umpire.” Major League Baseball had designed the system and was testing it in the Atlantic League, where DeJesus works. The term “robo-umpire” conjures a little R2-D2 positioned behind the plate, beeping for strikes and booping for balls. But, for aesthetic and practical reasons, M.L.B. wanted human umpires to announce the calls, as if playacting their former roles. So DeJesus had his calls fed to him through an earpiece, connected to a modified missile-tracking system. The contraption looked like a large black pizza box with one glowing green eye; it was mounted above the press box. When the first pitch came in, a recorded voice told DeJesus it was a strike. He announced it, and no one in the ballpark said anything.
…Baseball is a game of waiting and talking. For a hundred and fifty years or so, the strike zone—the imaginary box over home plate, seventeen inches wide, and stretching from the batter’s knees to the middle of his chest—has been the game’s animating force. The argument between manager and umpire is where the important disputes over its boundaries are litigated. The first umpires were volunteers who wore top hats, at whom spectators “hurled curses, bottles and all manner of organic and inorganic debris,” according to a paper by the Society for American Baseball Research. “Organic debris” wasn’t defined, but one wonders. A handful of early umpires were killed….
…Starting tomorrow, your Lyft XL ride may send your jaw dropping to the ground when the driver arrives in… the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
From August 25 to 27, Oscar Mayer and Lyft will be offering free Wienermobile trips in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta — which were chosen because they are “the nation’s hottest rideshare cities.” The brand says riders can simply request a Lyft XL and one of Oscar Mayer’s Hotdoggers — the name given to those who drive the Wienermobile — may show up in a 27-foot hot dog on wheels instead. (Assuming it hasn’t been pulled over on the way.)
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In Transformers: Dark of the Moon Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George says in the third Transformers movie, Sam Witwicky may be “smelly, whiny, and stinky,” but he’s easily able to find a new supermodel to be his girlfriend and let him live in her apartment rent-free because he can’t find a job. We also learn that Chernobyl happened because of a secret Transformers battle, which leads the producer to say that “the worst nuclear disaster in history was caused by Hasbro products.”
[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Dann, Rob Thornton, Darius Luca Hupov, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
Its appearance will be celebrated by a First-Day-of-Issue Dedication Ceremony on that date in Portland, Oregon. The outdoor ceremony in the Evan H. Roberts Sculpture Mall of the Portland Art Museum will be held “rain or shine” says the USPS. Those planning to attend in person are asked to RSVP here. Alternatively, people can view a short pre-recorded introduction of the stamp on the Postal Service’s Facebook and Twitter pages, available on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 1 p.m. PST.
The 33rd stamp in the Literary Arts series honors Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018), who “expanded the scope of literature through novels and short stories that increased critical and popular appreciation of science fiction and fantasy.” The stamp features a portrait of Le Guin based on a 2006 photograph. The background shows a scene from her landmark 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, in which an envoy from Earth named Genly Ai escapes from a prison camp across the wintry planet of Gethen with Estraven, a disgraced Gethenian politician.
The artist for the stamp is Donato Giancola, a three-time Hugo winner who also was named a Spectrum Awards Grandmaster in 2019.
The stamp is valid for 3-ounce mail, currently costs 95¢, and a sheet of 20 can be pre-ordered here for $19.
How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark. Collectors can get the first-day-of-issue postmark in two ways.
(1) The Postal Service offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the USA Philatelic catalog and online at usps.com/shop.
(2) The USPS gives customers 120 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office™ or at The Postal Store® website at usps.com/shop. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:
FDOI – Ursula K. Le Guin Stamp USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services 8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300 Kansas City, MO 64144-9900
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by November 27, 2021.