[Editor’s note: be sure to read the comments on this post for more novellas and more Filer reviews.]
TL;DR: Here’s what I thought of the 2020 Novellas. What did you think?
I’m a huge reader of novels, but not that big on short fiction. But the last few years, I’ve done a personal project to read and review as many Novellas as I could (presuming that the story Synopsis had some appeal for me). I ended up reading:
31 of the novellas published in 2015,
35 of the novellas published in 2016,
50 of the novellas published in 2017,
38 of the novellas published in 2018,
57 of the 2019 novellas,
and this year I was waiting for access to a few novellas from my library, so I was reading others, and thus my final total crept up to 59!
I really felt as though this enabled me to do Hugo nominations for the Novella category in an informed way, and a lot of Filers got involved with their own comments. So I’m doing it again this year.
It is not at all uncommon for me to choose to read a book despite not feeling that the jacket copy makes the book sound as though it is something I would like – and to discover that I really like or love the work anyway. On the other hand, It is not at all uncommon for me to choose to read a book which sounds as though it will be up my alley and to discover that, actually, the book doesn’t really do much for me.
Thus, my opinions on the following novellas vary wildly: stories I thought I would love but didn’t, stories I didn’t expect to love but did, and stories which aligned with my expectations – whether high or low.
Bear in mind that while I enjoy both, I tend to prefer Science Fiction over Fantasy – and that while I enjoy suspense and thrillers, I have very little appreciation for Horror (and to be honest, I think Lovecraft is way overrated). What’s more, I apparently had a defective childhood, and I do not share a lot of peoples’ appreciation for fairytale retellings and portal fantasies. My personal assessments are therefore not intended to be the final word on these stories, but merely a jumping-off point for Filer discussion.
Novellas are listed in two sections below. The first section, those with cover art, are the ones I have read, and they include mini-reviews by me. These are in approximate order from most-favorite to least-favorite (but bear in mind that after around the first dozen listed, there was not a large degree of difference in preference among most of the remainder, with the exception of a handful at the bottom). The second section is those novellas I haven’t read, in alphabetical order by title.
I’ve included plot summaries, and where I could find them, links to either excerpts or the full stories which can be read online for free. Some short novels which fall between 40,000 and 48,000 words (within the Hugo Novella category tolerance) have been included, and in a couple of cases, novelettes which were long enough to be in the Hugo Novella tolerance were also included.
Please feel free to post comments about 2020 novellas which you’ve read, as well. And if I’ve missed your File 770 comment about a novella, or an excerpt for a novella, please point me to it!
If you see something that looks like gibberish, it is text that has been ROT-13’ed to avoid spoilers. (Please be sure to rot-13 any spoilers.)
“An Astounding 90 Years of Analog Science Fiction and Fact: The Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium,” takes place on Thursday, December 12. Held in conjunction with City Tech College in Brooklyn, this daylong symposium is free and open to the public. It convenes at 285 Jay Street, Room A105 and runs from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The event will feature papers from distinguished academics, readings from Phoebe Barton, Leah Cypess, Alison Wilgus, Frank Wu, Jay Werkheiser, and a keynote speech from Michael Flynn. Stanley Schmidt, Trevor Quachri, and Emily Hockaday will also participate on an editorial panel. Copies of the official 90th anniversary issue will be given away. The full program for the day can be found here.
Tech will provide breakfast and lunch, so they ask interested parties to please
RSVP (even tentatively) for headcount. RSVP here.
He evolved his style over several issues of Moon Knight, then started putting it into comic book covers. Marvel offered him the chance to be the artist on X-Men — but he turned it down.
“Because, I told them, I want to do some experimentation. I want to just push and see what’s possible. So I don’t want to take Marvel’s flagship characters and drive them into the ditch,” Sienkiewicz said.
But he found a way in sideways. X-Men writer Chris Claremont came to him and asked if he wanted to work on X-Men spinoff New Mutants, and with more free range, he took the assignment as part of his quest to help change the perception of what comics are.
He used abstract expressionism, doing art that was more about the feeling than about being exactly true to reality. He describes his own work as being drawn well enough to look like what it’s supposed to, but that he’s more interested in what the people and the story feel like.
(2) PLAGIARIZED STORY? Pro-paying short story outlet Daily Science Fiction has published a story apparently plagiarized from another online source. Today’s story “No Time For Guilt Now” [Internet
Archive link] credited
to Abdullahi Lawal, is a copy of Avra Margariti’s “Ephemera” [Internet
Archive link] which ran in The Arcanist earlier
this year. (Wayback Machine links to the respective pages are provided in case
either original gets taken down.)
Several readers took notice in comments on DSF’s Facebook page. DSF has yet to respond either there or on its own website.
The Arcanist tweeted this reaction:
Update: Daily Science Fiction’s Jonathan Laden subsequently took down the story and posted this statement: “Apologies”.
A reader (and contributor) let us know that today’s story was evidently plagiarized from another story published by another site on the internet.
Sometimes a movie taps up a brand to design a shoe for a specific outfit and scene, which is how Reebok came to birth the Alien Stomper. A basic model of a basketball shoe provided the foundation for the sneaker that was worn by those operating the yellow Power Loader. A close-up reveals the Reebok logo in a moment of product placement. The sneaker saves Ripley in the climatic airlock sequence; which informed how the shoe was constructed, as designer Tuan Le explains — it needed to slip off with ease. On the 40th anniversary of Aliens, Reebok released a limited run of this iconic model.
The Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium celebrates “An Astounding 90 Years of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.” Bringing together SF writers, scholars, and fans, the conversations today will reflect on the past, comment on the present, and contemplate the future of Analog SF. Linked to these discussions is the role of SF in a college of technology that recognizes the importance of the genre through its Science Fiction class and support for the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, an archival holding of over 600-linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and scholarship. Together, we will explore these connections.
(5) UNEXPECTED CONNECTION. [Item by Rob Thornton.] Ursula K. Le Guin is the only science fiction author that
is discussed in Harold Bloom’s last book,The American Canon: Literary Genius
from Emerson to Pynchon, which is a collection of essays about significant
authors in America. According to Max Rubin, president and publisher of the
Library of America, Le Guin and Bloom knew each other. “He “lived and breathed literature”—Library of America
remembers Harold Bloom, 1930–2019”.
“Poetry…was always more important to Bloom than prose. Later in life he came to a real appreciation for the poetry of Ursula K. Le Guin and enjoyed a friendship with her via email.”
…This may sound far-flung from our own reality, but as the opening credits tell us, the film is set in Los Angeles, November 2019. In that sense, Blade Runner is no longer science fiction. It’s a contemporary thriller. The question is: in the 37 years between Blade Runner’s release and its setting – our present – how close have we come to the future presented in the movie?
…However, beyond particular components, Blade Runner arguably gets something much more fundamental right, which is the world’s socio-political outlook in 2019 – and that isn’t particularly welcome, according to Michi Trota, who is a media critic and the non-fiction editor of the science-fiction periodical, Uncanny Magazine.
“It’s disappointing, to say the least, that what Blade Runner ‘predicted’ accurately is a dystopian landscape shaped by corporate influence and interests, mass industrialisation’s detrimental effect on the environment, the police state, and the whims of the rich and powerful resulting in chaos and violence, suffered by the socially marginalised.”
In the movie the replicants have a fail-safe programmed into them – a lifespan of just four years – to prevent a further revolution. Trota believes there is “something prescient in the replicants’ frustration and rage at their shortened lifespans, resulting from corporate greed and indifference, that’s echoed in the current state of US healthcare and globalised exploitation of workers.” She adds: “I’d have vastly preferred the flying cars instead.”
(7) JOIN SLF. The Speculative Literature Foundation has
a fundraiser for its operating needs, a reading series, and a major project
THE PORTOLAN PROJECT. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal for 2020 — to develop the Portolan Project, an open-source creative writing resource — sort of a Khan Academy for fiction.
We’ve begun interviewing masters of the field (including so far George R.R. Martin, Nalo Hopkinson, Kate Elliott), on aspects of craft. We’re building out a free website to host those interviews, along with syllabi, lesson plans, individual lectures and assignments on aspects of craft (plot and structure, language and style, setting and world building, etc.), the writing business, and the writers’ life.
We’re also interviewing emerging writers from across the planet, developing a better understanding of the international speculative fiction landscape, and the challenges and opportunities for writers in both independent and traditional publishing. We have academics helping us build a searchable database of speculative literature, to make it much easier to find stories that are relevant to you and your own work.
November 12, 1995 — The rebooted Invaders premiered on Fox. Directed by Paul Shapiro, it starred Scott Bakula, Elizabeth Peña, DeLane Matthews, Richard Thomas and Terence Knox. Invaders Roy Thinnes very briefly appeared as David Vincent. The two ninety minute episodes were intended as a pilot for a series that never happened.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 12, 1917 — Dahlov Ipcar. Though primarily an artist and you really should go visit her website, she wrote three amazing young adult novels between 1969 and 1978 which are The Warlock of Night, The Queen of Spells and A Dark Horn Blowing. She lived but thirty miles north of here and I was privileged to meet her a few times. Lovely lady! (Died 2017.)
Born November 12, 1922 — Kim Hunter. She portrayed the chimpanzee Zira in the Planet of the Apes films For the first three outings. Her first genre role was also her first film role, as Mary Gibson in the early Forties movie The Seventh Victim. She’s June in A Matter of Life and Death, and Amanda Hollins in The Kindred. She has one-offs on Project U.F.O., Night Gallery, Mission Impossible and even appeared on The Evil Touch, an Australian horror anthology series. (Died 2002.)
Born November 12, 1929 — Michael Ende. German author best known for The Neverending Story which is far better than the film. Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves is a charming if strange novel worth your time. The rest of his children’s literature has been translated from German into English mostly by small specialist presses down the years. Unlike TheNeverending Story and Momo, which I’ve encountered, I’ve not read any of these. (Died 1995.)
Born November 12, 1943 — Julie Ege. A Bond Girl On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as Helen, the Scandinavian girl. She also appeared in Hammer ‘s Creatures the World Forgot and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. And in The Mutations which got released under the alternative title of The Freakmaker. She had a role in De Dwaze Lotgevallen Von Sherlock Jones which got dubbed into English as The Crazy Adventures of Sherlock Jones. (Died 2008.)
Born November 12, 1943 — Wallace Shawn, 76. Probably best remembered as the Ferengi Grand Nagus Zek on Deep Space Nine, a role he only played seven times. He was also Vizzini in the beloved Princess Bride, and he played Dr. Elliott Coleye in the My Favorite Martian film.
Born November 12, 1945 — Michael Bishop, 74. David Pringle included his Who Made Stevie Crye? novel in Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels, An English-Language Selection, 1946-1987, high praise indeed. Though slightly dated feeling now, I’m fond of his Urban Nucleus of Atlanta series. And Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas is simply amazing.
Born November 12, 1952 — Max Grodénchik, 67. He’s best known for his role as Rom, a recurring character on Deep Space Nine. He has a long genre history with appearances in The Rocketeer, Here Come The Munsters, Rumpelstiltskin, Star Trek: Insurrection (scenes as a Trill were deleted alas), Tales from The Crypt, Sliders, Wienerland, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Bruce Almighty.
Born November 12, 1982 — Anne Hathaway, 37. She starred as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment in The Dark Knight trilogy. More impressive she was The White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, and she was Agent 99 in the remake of Get Smart! No, not as good as the original but fun none-the-less.
(10) EUPHEMISMS FOR DOLLARS. The Publishers Lunch news
service shared an intriguing bit of intelligence with potential contributors.
A handy key to our Lunch deal categories. While all reports are always welcome, those that include a category will generally receive a higher listing when it comes time to put them all together.
One of our collections staff takes you through the process of lowering, disassembling, and transporting large artifacts like the Douglas DC-3. These artifact moves are part of the multi-year renovation project at the National Air and Space Museum in DC to transform the museum from the inside out.
The clip shows two different Vulcan-ear options for actor James Frain in his role as Spock’s father, Sarek. We also get a look at how Kelpien faces are made.
The clip comes from Creature Comforts: Season Two, a behind-the-scenes feature that takes fans into the design process behind the characters, from make-up to making molds. It includes a one-on-one discussion with makeup artist James McKinnon and Mary Chieffo (L’Rell).
The film’s original trailer dropped in April, and led to a deluge of mockery and fan backlash on social media for the way Sonic looked. The reaction was so negative it led to the film’s director Jeff Fowler announcing that his team would rethink Sonic’s design, all of which led to a three-month delay to the release date.
(14) TRAILER TIME. Pixar In Real Life
is a hidden-camera show on Disney+ that watches what happens when people meet
live versions of Pixar animated characters on the street.
…As a friend, I frequently break the first rule of fiction: I’m all tell, no show. I’m not going to remember your kid’s birthday, or even yours, despite Facebook’s helpful nudges. When you’re in a crisis, I won’t know the right questions to ask. I blame my Southern parents for placing so many topics in the forbidden zone. I grew up being told it was rude to discuss age, income, health, feelings. I often think that’s why I became a reporter.
I have a list in my head of all the friends I let down. It’s not long, but it’s longer than I’d like, and it’s probably longer than I know. Most of those friends have forgiven me, but I never lose sight of my failures. It’s like a stain on a busily-patterned rug; once you know where to look, your eye goes there every time. I know where to look. I am aware of my misdeeds. Every friend who has ever called me out on being a bad friend had me dead to rights.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” on Vimeo is a surreal film about
a rationalist scientist who discovers religion in a surreal manner.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, JJ, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Edmund Schluessel, Rob Thornton,Andrew, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) HELP IS ON THE WAY. Jimmy Kimmel Live plugs the “Game of Thrones Hotline for Confused
There is a lot going on in “Game of Thrones,” and it can be difficult to keep track of what’s what and who’s who. But fortunately help is on the way. Cast members Sophie Turner, Lena Headey, John Bradley, Joe Dempsie, Maisie Williams, Kristian Nairn, Iwan Rheon & Liam Cunningham host a new hotline to assist their confused fans.
…So in this light, in the context of authors who actively avoid a novel of theirs being described as ‘science fiction’, and given the latest instance of Ian McEwan distancing himself from said label, I’d like to humbly offer a way in which one can tell if it’s an SF novel or not. “Whether a novel is science fiction—or not—depends on who the author is and who reviews it”.
As an advertising professional who has spent almost 20 years in the marketing business and who knows a thing or three about positioning and target audiences, this is perhaps the best description that I think we can arrive at. But where does this leave the reader?
It is up to the individual reader to decide whether he/she/they would rather go by convenient labels than follow interests or read what he/she/they would like to. As a reader – and not just of SF – I am in agreement with the author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, the writer David Mitchell who says that genre snobbery is a bizarre act of self-mutilation because, “It’s convenient to have a science fiction and fantasy section, it’s convenient to have a mainstream literary fiction section, but these should only be guides, they shouldn’t be demarcated territories where one type of reader belongs and another type of reader does not belong…What a shame. All those great books that you’re cutting yourself off from.”
(4) WEIMER DOUBLE-HEADER. Paul
Weimer told Facebook readers:
If you thought “Self, I want to hear @PrinceJvstin on a podcast”, today is YOUR day.
Hello, Rangers! We’re back with everyone’s favorite Space Nancy Drew in Komarr! This time Stina, Paul, and Trish sit around the campfire to talk about women’s agency, budding relationships, whether or not Miles is “dad” material, how good intentions can go horribly, horribly wrong, the politics of isolationism, and more!
(5) KNOWING CAMPBELL. Stanley
Schmidt’s guest editorial for Analog“John and
Me” takes off from the “The Astounding John W. Campbell, Jr.” panel at
last year’s Worldcon moderated by Alec Nevala-Lee. Schmidt’s views of Campbell’s
work are very different than those of fellow panelist Robert Silverberg, and he
says in closing —
…As for what kind of editing John was doing in his last years, my experience indicates that he was still doing the kinds of things he was famous for, and still doing them very well. It’s unfortunate that some of his personal idiosyncrasies drove away some of his best writers, but that’s a separate question from the quality of his work. Maybe I was fortunate that I didn’t know him personally before I started writing for him, or I might have found it harder, too—though I hope I wouldn’t have let my disagreements with him, even on big issues, make me reject him entirely as a person. I did disagree with his editorials more often in those years than I had earlier, but as far as I knew he was just doing the professional argument-baiting he had always done. Even if I had known that he really held beliefs that I found highly objectionable, I doubt that I would have found that adequate reason to sever all contact with him and his work. A lot of people hold misguided beliefs, but my experience, I think, is a good example of how it’s possible to work productively with somebody, and respect some of his qualities, even while sharply disagreeing with some of his views. Maybe that’s a lesson that a whole lot of people need to relearn about now.
(6) SLF READINGS. The Speculative
Literature Foundation’s Deep Dish Reading Series in Chicago resumes on May 9.
(7) DOC WEIR AWARD. The Doc Weir Award is voted on by attendees at the Eastercon and is presented to a fan who has worked hard behind the scenes at conventions or in fandom and deserves recognition. As Fandom.com explains —
The award consists of a silver cup (which must be returned the following year) and a certificate (if someone remembers to create one!)
The cup is engraved with the names of the previous winners, and in fine fannish tradition, it is up to each year’s winner to have their own name engraved at their own cost!
Jamie Scott is the
Bill Burns of eFanzines has more
info on the Doc Weir Award, and a list of all winners from 1963 to 2018 here.
(8) 71ST EASTERCON. Next
year’s UK Eastercon, called Concentric, will be in Birmingham at the Hilton
I’m Eneasz Brodski. I produce the Methods of Rationality podcast. It began as me, in my bedroom, with a lot of enthusiasm and a handheld mic after a few hours of research. As of this writing it’s been 6.5 years since I started. I’ve spent over 10,000 hours working on this podcast, I’ve produced over ninety hours of audio fiction spread across 185 episodes, totaling almost 4.5 million downloads. I’ve been a finalist for the Parsec Awards three times. I’ve never done professional audio work, but I have some idea of how to get an amateur podcast going.
…News of Wolfe’s passing spread on the internet on Monday morning, as the first images of the fire at Notre-Dame also started circulating. Many Wolfe fans were struck by the coincidence. “Gene Wolfe is dead and Notre-Dame is engulfed in flames,” the writer Michael Swanwick tweeted. “This is the Devil’s own day.” Swanwick’s grief is understandable. Yet Wolfe himself might offer more consoling counsel. Death and life, his work often showed, are not so much opposites but partners, with the passing of the old being the precondition for the birth of the new. Cathedrals can burn but they can also be rebuilt, and in fact all cathedrals are in a constant state of maintenance and repair….
(11) MARTIN BÖTTCHER OBIT. German film composer Martin Böttcher
(1927–2019) died April 19. Cora Buhlert pays tribute — “In Memoriam Martin Böttcher”.
…But Böttcher’s most famous film score would be the one he composed for Horst Wendlandt’s other series, the Winnetou movies of the 1960s, based on Karl May’s adventure novels. Ironically, Martin Böttcher himself had never read a single Winnetou novel, which must make him one of the very few Germans of his generation who did not read Karl May. When someone asked him why he didn’t read the novels, Böttcher answered, “I’ve seen every single Winnetou movie dozens of times. I know how the story goes. I don’t need to read it.”
Born April 22, 1916 — Virginia Heinlein. Editor of Grumbles from the Grave. Also allowed Tramp Royale to be published after her husband’s death. And for some reason allowed longer versions of previously published works Stranger in a Strange Land, The Puppet Masters, and Red Planet to be published. Anyone read these? Used bookstores here frequently had copies of Stranger in a Strange Land so buyers didn’t hold on to it… (Died 2003.)
Born April 22, 1934 — Sheldon Jaffery. Bibliographer who was a fan of Weird Tales, Arkham House books, pulps, and pretty much anything in that area. Among his publications are Collector’s Index to Weird Tales (co-written with Fred Cook), Future and Fantastic Worlds: A Bibliographical Retrospective of DAW Books (1972-1987) and Horrors and Unpleasantries: A Bibliographical History and Collector’s Price Guide to Arkham House. He also edited three anthologies which Bowling Green Press printed, to wit Sensuous Science Fiction from the Weird and Spicy Pulps, Selected Tales of Grim and Grue from the Horror Pulps and The Weirds: A Facsimile Selection of Fiction From the Era of the Shudder Pulps. (Died 2003.)
Born April 22, 1937 — Jack Nicholson, 82. I think my favorite role for him in a genre film was as Daryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick. Other genre roles include Jack Torrance in The Shining, Wilbur Force in The Little Shop of Horrors, Rexford Bedlo in The Raven, Andre Duvalier in The Terror, (previous three films are Roger Corman productions), Will Randall in Wolf, President James Dale / Art Land in Mars Attacks! and Jack Napier aka The Joker in Tim Burton’s The Batman. I watched the last one, was not impressed.
Born April 22, 1946 — John Waters, 73. Yes, he did horror films, lots of them. Shall we list them? There’s Multiple Maniacs, Suburban Gothic, Excision, Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat and Seed of Chucky. The latter described as a “supernatural black comedy horror film” on Wiki. He also narrates Of Dolls and Murder, a documentary film about a collection of dollhouse crime scenes created in the Forties and society’s collective fascination with death.
Born April 22, 1950 — Robert Elswit, 69. Cinematographer. An early short film he worked on was a 1982 TV adaptation of the Ray Bradbury short story “All Summer in a Day.” He began his career as a visual effects camera operator working on films like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Empire Strikes Back, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He worked on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
Born April 22, 1959 — Brian Taves, 60. Author of The Jules Verne Encyclopedia and Hollywood Presents Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction on Screen. He also wrote Talbot Mundy, Philosopher of Adventure: A Critical Biography. Mundy is the author of the Jimgrim / Ramsden stories, a fantasy series.
Born April 22, 1966 — Jeffrey Dean Morgan,53. He’s best known for his roles as Dr. Edward Marcase in The Burning Zone, John Winchester on Supernatural, the Comedian in Watchmen, Negan on The Walking Dead and Harvey Russell in Rampage. He also played Jeb Turnbull in Jonah Hex. And was Thomas Wayne in Batman v. Superman though he was uncredited for it.
Born April 22, 1984 — Michelle Ryan, 35. She appeared as the evil sorceress Nimueh in Merlin, and as Lady Christina de Souza in the Doctor Who episode “Planet of the Dead” in the era of the Tenth Doctor. She was also in the comedy film Cockneys vs Zombies as Katy,and played Elanor in Andron. And yes, they rebooted the Bionic Woman series in which she played the lead character Jaime Sommers. It lasted nine episodes. Points to who remembers the original actress without looking her up.
There’s at least one inexpensive TV-bundling service: Philo TV. At $16 a month for three simultaneous streams of 45 popular channels, it’s a steal. But, if you can live with commercials, there are at least 10 good free streaming services to try.
(16) COMMEMORATIVES. These
BrexitStamps are over a year old – but news to me!
(17) NAVIGATING BY THE PUPPY CONSTELLATION. Lou Antonelli has launched a semiprozine for original sff, Sirius Science Fiction, which offers $25 for each original story upon publication.
WHO WE ARE
Sirius Science Fiction is an on-line web site dedicated to publishing original speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, alternate history and horror. We like stories with a sense of wonder and excitement.
In a time when mainstream speculative fiction has been overrun by political correctness and identity politics, we offer a venue free of pretension and ideological litmus tests.
Sirius Science Fiction publishes one original short story a week, plus occasional reprints. Original stories are posted every Friday.
On a bright Sunday afternoon in early March, the Tamir River in the steppes of Mongola becomes a bowling alley. Two dozen Mongolian herdsmen have gathered to play musun shagai, known as “ice shooting.” Right now, the ice on the river is perfect. Clear and smooth. The players are cheerful and focused.
Their goal? To send a small copper puck called a zakh down a 93-yard stretch of ice and knock over several cow ankle bones, painted red, none bigger than a golf ball, at the other end. Extra points for hitting the biggest target, made of cow skin.
Together, the targets form a line of tiny red dots that are difficult to see, let alone hit. When that happens, players know because the spectators raise a boisterous cheer.
…This competition, originally scheduled for mid-March, was bumped up by two weeks. “The river was already melting,” Gurvantamir said.
In the fictional world of Marvel’s Black Panther, the Afro-futurist utopia of Wakanda has a secret, almost magical resource: a metal called vibranium. Its mythic ability to store energy elevated vibranium to a central role in the fictional nation’s culture and the metal became part of Wakandan technology, fashion and ceremony.
Of course vibranium isn’t real. But one metal has held a similarly mythic role for over 2,000 years in many cultures across the African continent: iron.
African blacksmiths have been crafting agricultural tools, musical instruments, weapons and symbols of power and prestige out of the raw material for ages. “Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths,” a new exhibit at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. showcases Africa’s rich history of ironworking through 225 tools, weapons and adornments from over 100 ethnic groups across Africa.
SpaceX has confirmed that its Crew Dragon capsule suffered an “anomaly” during routine engine tests in Florida.
A US Air Force spokesperson told local press the incident, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, had been contained and no-one had been injured.
An unmanned Crew Dragon successfully flew for the first time last month.
This latest incident, however, could delay plans to launch a manned mission to the International Space Station later this year.
Not since the end of the Space Shuttle programme in 2011 has the US been able to send its own astronauts into orbit. It has had to rely instead on Russia and its Soyuz spacecraft.
(23) A ‘STAN LEE’ MOMENT.
Daniel Dern asks:
Wanna get caught up on the Avengers: Endgame related comics… or just overload your eyeballs and brain in general?
Try a month of the Marvel Unlimited streaming comic service for $4.99 (normall $9.99/month, jumps to that if you don’t cancel). ~ 25,000 digitized Marvel comics (ranging from from-the-beginning-of-time through at-least-six-months-old).
Best on, sigh, a tablet that can view a comic full size, like the non-cheap iPad Pro 12.9. (which is why I bought one a year or so ago).
Even before the lushly designed curtain rises on Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, which opens Sunday night on Broadway (at the Booth Theatre, to Aug. 4), the fluids start shooting forth.
A woman appears and begins to spurt blood from her slashed neck. The blood flies out sporadically, and this looks a little precarious if you are in the front two rows. The woman, inevitably raspy of voice given her injury, muses on the nature of sequels and revenge.
Then the curtain rises on one of the great stage designs of this Broadway season. The sight of hundreds of human bodies immediately confronts the audience….
In this banqueting hall turned charnel house, there is the prosaically named Gary (Nathan Lane), a former clown now turned laborer, here to do some tidying up of bodies before the inauguration of a new leader the next day. “Bit more of them than I was expecting,” he says of the bodies. His voice is Cockney. Lane—orbiting in his brilliant way from shy to showman, naughty schoolboy to moral fulcrum—at first seems like a mischief-maker, bored on the job and up for fun.
The fourth wall stays permeable throughout; the actors stare out at us, puzzled at our applause….
(25) DERAILERS. ScreenRant shares “10 Superhero Deleted Scenes That Could
Have Changed Everything.”
Deleted scenes in movies are fun to watch but they are even more fun to watch when they are from superhero films. Instead of arguing over which Universe you enjoy more, DC or Marvel, sit back and watch these deleted scenes and let us know what you think in the comments below. Let’s take a look at Screen Rant’s video, ten Superhero Deleted Scenes That Could Have Changed Everything. And we have the plot holes from some of your favorite movies including the X-Men series, Marvel’s Iron Man, the Hugh Jackman film Logan, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice plus many more.
JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, World
Weary, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
Winners and accepters at Nebula Awards ceremony: (L to R) Steven Gould, Nancy Kress, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Scott Edelman, Ursula Vernon, Larry Niven, Stanley Schmidt, Usman T Malik, Sam J Miller, and Matthew Kressel. Photo by Ernest Lilley.
This collective shot of winners and accepters of SFWA awards was taken by Ernest Lilley after the Nebula Awards ceremony on June 6. I could use a hand (several hands!) identifying all the people in the photo. [Thanks to everyone for helping to fill in the caption.]
Kathi Overton also gave permission to repost her photos of the ceremony.
Nancy Kress accepts Nebula for “Yesterdays Kin.” Jody Lyn Nye stands at right. Photo by Kathi Overton.
Larry Niven accepts SFWA’s Damon Knight Grand Master Award. Photo by Kathi Overton.
Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) receives her Nebula nominee certificate from SFWA President Steven Gould at a pre-banquet ceremony. Photo by Kathi Overton.
Stanley Schmidt accepts the Solstice Award. Photo by Kathi Overton.
SFWA President-elect Cat Rambo, Event Coordinator Steven H Silver at the podium, Kate Baker, and SFWA President Steven Gould. (And Nick Offerman’s loaner guitar.) Photo by Kathi Overton.
SFWA Grand Masters Larry Niven, Joe Haldeman and Connie Willis. Photo by Kathi Overton.
SFWA will honor Joanna Russ and Stanley Schmidt with its 2015 Solstice Awards, granted in recognition of “the positive impact and influence the recipients and their work have had on the science fiction and fantasy genres.” The awards will be presented at SFWA’s 50th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend in Chicago, May 4-7.
JOANNA RUSS (1937-2011): Besides honoring her contributions as a fiction writer, SFWA is also honoring her roles as mentor, teacher, editor, and critic–indeed one of the co-creators of SF Feminist Criticism specially remembered such works as How To Suppress Women’s Writing.
“How to Suppress Women’s Writing taught me how not to talk about the quality of others work,” notes SFWA President Steven Gould. “I’m pleased that we are honoring Joanna and sad we did not do it while she still lived. In a better world, the Trans Temporal Agency swept her into a future where her back doesn’t hurt and the last thing that beings use to discuss a person’s worth is their gender.”
Russ’s other works included Picnic on Paradise, The Hidden Side of the Moon, Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans and Perverts: Feminist Essays, and The Country You Have Never Seen: Essays and Reviews. She passed in 2011.
STANLEY SCHMIDT: Stan Schmidt edited Analog for 34 years, retiring in 2012. Called the literary heir to John W. Campbell, he introduced many new writers and upheld the profile of “hard” science fiction in the field. He was nominated for the editor Hugo from 1980 through 2006 (its final year), and for the Hugo Award for Best Editor Short Form every year from 2007 (its first year) through 2013, when he was presented with the statue, along with a standing ovation.
“All editors can be compared to racehorse trainers, identifying, nurturing, and pushing writers to achieve their best,” comments Steven Gould. “For over 34 years, Stan has been influencing the shape of modern SF, both in his fiction, and his editorial choices. Because of the huge number of scientists, engineers, and technologists who grew up reading SF, he’s had an effect on this future. I’m very pleased to honor him with the Solstice. Almost as pleased as when he bought my first published story back in 1979 and made me part of his stable.”
Other recent recipients of the Solstice Award are Carl Sagan, Ginjer Buchanan, Octavia Butler, John Clute, Tom Doherty, Terri Windling and Donald A. Wollheim.
Compton Crook Award: Left to right, T. C. McCarthy, 2011 Crook Award winner; James Knapp, Master of Ceremonies; SF Author Mark L. Van Name. Photo by Patti Kinlock.
Robert A. Heinlein Award: Left to right, Ian Randal Strock accepts the award on behalf of winner Stanley Schmidt from SF author and Heinlein Award Chairman Dr. Yoji Kondo. (Dr. Kondo writes as Eric Kotani). Photo by Patti Kinlock.