(1) NICHOLAS WHYTE TAKES UP 2024 HUGO ADMINISTRATOR DUTIES. Following the resignation of Kat Jones, Glasgow 2024 WSFS Division Head Nicholas Whyte announced this news in “The Hugos and me” at From the Heart of Europe:
I have now been appointed Hugo Administrator for Glasgow 2024: A Worldcon for our Futures, double-hatted with the role of Division Head for WSFS. (If the website hasn’t already been updated, it will be soon.) This is my comment on recent events, and my own commitment to future action.
I was not involved with organising the Chengdu Worldcon in any way, though it was a close call. Shortly before the Chengdu bid won the Site Selection vote in 2021, I was invited to become one of the Co-chairs of the convention if the bid won. (I have no idea if Ben Yalow was already on board at that stage.) I declined on the grounds that I really did not have time, but agreed to become a senior adviser, and was listed as such on their org chart presented in DC.
However, I was dismayed by Chengdu Worldcon’s choice of fascist writer Sergei Lukanyenko as a guest of honour, and by a general lack of communication. By summer 2022 I had heard very little from Chengdu Worldcon and it had become clear that they were not very interested in my advice, so I resigned as an advisor and heard no more from them for several months….
More follows about his trip to the Chengdu Worldcon. And about his past experience administering the 2017 and 2019 Hugos, and as part of the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Hugo teams.
(2) GLYER’S APOLOGY TO SHEPHERD. I apologize to Shepherd for comparing him to Vox Day in item #15 of the February 22 Scroll. It was unwarranted and wrong for me to do. I have now deleted the Vox Day quotes and replaced them with this:
“I apologize for drawing a comparison between Shepherd and Vox Day in the item that formerly appeared in this space. I was wrong to give into the impulse, which vented at Shepherd my emotional reaction to all the Hugo stuff I’ve had to write news about for the last month, something he has nothing to do with. (But if you want to ask why, then, is item #14 still here — Shepherd intended the needle, and I felt it. Ouch.)”
I also have corrected Shepherd’s name in item #14. The apology is repeated here in today’s Scroll because not many people are going to see the changes made in a three-day-old post.
(3) SHARON LEE UPDATE. Author Sharon Lee, who lost her husband Steve Miller earlier this week, answers four questions on her readers’ and friends’ minds in “Sunday in the new world”. Here’s an excerpt (questions 3 and 4 at the link).
So! The first question — Will I be continuing the Liaden series?
Yes, it is my intention to continue writing in the Liaden Universe®, at least to the point of finishing out the remaining three books contracted with Baen. There will be some changes in how things go forward, which are inevitable, given Circumstances. Trade Lanes is off the table, at least for now. It is possible that it will never be written, but — I’m new at this, so let’s just not say “never” and instead say “we’ll see.”
I’m about 1/3 of the way through the book following Ribbon Dance, and have Extensive Notes for the book after that. The sequel is due at Baen in September. The deadline may have to be renegotiated; I don’t know that yet — see “new at this,” above — and I’ll have to talk with Madames the Agent and the Publisher.
Question the Second: How am I doing?
I have no idea. I have moments of relative peace — work is going to be a refuge, I can already see that — moments of immobilizing terror, and breathtaking pain. I’m assuming these things are standard, but I’ve never lost my best friend, spouse, and creative partner before.
The cats have been a comfort, piling on whenever I land in a place and stay still long enough.
Local friends have also been keeping an eye on me, to the extent that I allow it; it’s hard to ask for help, and I’m not Steve, who loved people and made connections the way the rest of us breathe. I’m a more … private person, a fact that it will do us all good to remember, going forward. If I’m testy, sarcastic, or clueless — recall that I’ve always been that way, and that Steve always did the heavy interpersonal lifting.
(4) GWENDA BOND & JOHN SCALZI AT JOSEPH BETH BOOKSELLERS. [Item by Chris Barkley.] On Saturday evening, Ohio-based New York Times bestselling sf author John Scalzi interviewed Kentucky-based New York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio.
For more than an hour, Mr. Scalzi quizzed Ms. Bond on what inspired her to write her latest novel, The Frame Up.
This new novel chronicles the adventures of Dani Poissant, an especially talented art thief who been approached for a special job. The problem? The crew hates her for turning in their former leader, her mother…
Be assured, it will be a magical journey for all involved and in more ways than one.
Mr. Scalzi also sold a few books as well.
(5) AGENT OF CHANGE. Victoria Strauss has advice for “Coping With Scams: Suggestions for Changing Your Mindset” at Writer Beware.
…My standard advice for how to cope with the prevalence of scams is to educate yourself: learn as much as possible about publishing and self-publishing–and do it before you start trying to snag an agent, or querying publishers, or assessing self-publishing platforms and service providers. The more you know about how things should work, the easier it will be to recognize bad practice when you encounter it. (The Writer Beware website is a good place to start.)
But it’s not just about being prepared with adequate knowledge. Mindset is also important: your default assumptions about, and responses to, the people and situations you encounter along your publication journey. Such expectations can help you, or they can hinder you–like my writer friend, whose bad experiences caused them to conclude, falsely, that no one can be trusted….
(6) MINORITY REPORT THE STAGE PLAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BBC’s Radio 4 Front Row the other day devoted over a third of the programme to a new stage play adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story Minority Report.
The new adaptation shifts the action to Brit Cit London and the play features special effects and illusions to convey the future tech and mind games. The show’s director said that when the Tom Cruise film (2002, Hugo short-listed in case you forgot) came out it was all pretty much science fiction. However, he opines, with recent advances in artificial intelligence and neurobiology it seems more plausible.
You can access the programme here. You will need to jump to about halfway through.
Minority report, the Sci-Fi classic by Philip K Dick, has already been adapted for film and television and now it’s a stage play that employs an innovative mix of technology, stagecraft and live performance. As it opens at the Nottingham Playhouse, Mark Burman talks to some of the creatives involved.
See also the Nottingham Playhouse website, “Minority Report”, the source of these photos.
(7) KENNETH MITCHELL (1974-2024). “Kenneth Mitchell, Star Trek and Captain Marvel actor, dies aged 49” — the Guardian pays tribute.
Canadian actor Kenneth Mitchell, known for roles in Star Trek: Discovery and the Marvel film Captain Marvel, has died following complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
Mitchell, who was 49-years-old, died on Saturday, according to a statement released by his verified Instagram account.
“With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Kenneth Alexander Mitchell, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, son and dear friend to many,” the statement said.
“For five and a half years Ken faced a series of awful challenges from ALS. And in truest Ken fashion, he managed to rise above each one with grace and commitment to living a full and joyous life in each moment,” it added….
The Hollywood Reporter adds these details:
…Mitchell played four characters across three seasons of Paramount’s Star Trek: Discovery: Kol, Kol-Sha, Tenavik and Aurellio. He also portrayed a young Captain Marvel’s father in a flashback in Marvel’s Captain Marvel and World War II flyer Deke Slayton in ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club….
(8) BRIAN STABLEFORD (1948-2024). British academic and critic Brian Stableford, author of over 70 novels, died February 24 at the age of 75. His Wikipedia article includes a long list of work by this prolific writer and editor.
He graduated with a degree in biology from the University of York in 1969 before going on to do postgraduate research in biology and later in sociology. In 1979 he received a PhD with a doctoral thesis on The Sociology of Science Fiction.
The Science Fiction Encyclopedia says he began his writing career in his teens, collaborating with a schoolfriend, Craig A Mackintosh (writing together as Brian Craig), on his first published story, “Beyond Time’s Aegis” for Science Fantasy #78 in 1965; much expanded, it was eventually published in book form as Firefly: A Novel of the Far Future (1994).
He won the IAFA Distinguished Scholarship Award in 1987, the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to sff scholarship in 1999, and a SF&F Translations special award in 2011. He won a 1985 Eaton Award for best critical book with Scientific Romance in Britain: 1890-1950. His article “How Should a Science Fiction Story End?” (The New York Review of Science Fiction #78 Feb 1995) received SFRA’s Pioneer Award in 1996.
His book The Empire of Fear won a 1989 Lord Ruthven award for fiction about vampires. His short fiction “The Hunger and Ecstasy of Vampires” won a BSFA Award in 1996.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.
[Written by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 25, 1971 — Sean Astin, 53. Let’s talk about Sean Astin who played Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of The Rings films. I’ll admit that he was one of my favorite hobbits in the trilogy and Sean did a sterling job of bringing his character to life here, didn’t he? I’ll also admit that I’d completely forgotten that he wasn’t in The Hobbit as in I tend to think that the hobbits that were there are all in the trilogy.
Before The Lord of The Rings, he showed in his first film playing Mikey Walsh in The Goonies. No, not genre (remember My Birthday Write-up, my rules what gets included here) but a really fine YA treasure hunt adventure in which everyone has fun. Well not everyone.
He has a lead role in Toy Soldiers, a film I still have an odd fond spot for, as William “Billy” Tepper. Damn I liked those toy soldiers. I even had some of the action figures a long time ago.
He was Stuart Conway in a film named after a time travel device called Slipstream that was stolen by a group of bank robbers. Might be interesting to see.
He voiced Shazam in a pair of animated DC films, Justice League: War and Justice League: Atlantis, almost proving there are too many DC animated films. Oops, they did prove that amply as there’s another one, a Lego one he did.
In the Department of Films That I Never Knew Existed Off Novels I Never Knew Were Written is Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, which proves how prolific he was or how bad my memory is, at any rate Sean is Twoflower here.
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz is a 2012 series of a decade ago apparently covered The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Ozma of Oz, The Road to Oz and The Magic of Oz. Somewhere in there, he was Frack Muckadoo, a servant of Princess Langwidere.
I think the last thing I’ll mention is that he showed up in a brief recurring role on The Big Bang Theory as Dr. Greg Pemberton, one of a team of Fermi-Lab physicists who accidentally confirmed the Super-Asymmetry paper published by Sheldon and Amy. Wasn’t that an amazingly fantastic series?
Yes, there’s other kibbles and bits which I’m sure you’ll point out, but I need tea now.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro brings the litigious spirit to fairy tale land.
(11) AUCTION. Propstore’s “Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction: Los Angeles 2024” runs March 12-14. Lots of stuff you’ll recognize in their online catalog. Here’s one example:
(12) THE 1982 LAWS OF ROBOTICS. “Isaac Asimov Predicts the Future in 1982: Computers Will Be ‘at the Center of Everything;’ Robots Will Take Human Jobs” at Open Culture.
…As for “the computer age,” asks Jim Lehrer; “have we crested on that one as well”? Asimov knew full well that the computer would be “at the center of everything.” Just as had happened with television over the previous generation, “computers are going to be necessary in the house to do a great many things, some in the way of entertainment, some in the way of making life a little easier, and everyone will want it.” There were many, even then, who could feel real excitement at the prospect of such a future. But what of robots, which, as even Asimov knew, would come to “replace human beings?”
“It’s not that they kill them, but they kill their jobs,” he explains, and those who lose the old jobs may not be equipped to take on any of the new ones. “We are going to have to accept an important role — society as a whole — in making sure that the transition period from the pre-robotic technology to the post-robotic technology is as painless as possible. We have to make sure that people aren’t treated as though they’re used up dishrags, that they have to be allowed to live and retain their self-respect.” Today, the technology of the moment is artificial intelligence, which the news media haven’t hesitated to pay near-obsessive attention to. (I’m traveling in Japan at the moment, and saw just such a broadcast on my hotel TV this morning.) Would that they still had an Asimov to discuss it with a level-headed, far-sighted perspective….
(13) THERE’S A LEGO SALE, STEP ON IT! “A rare LEGO piece found at PA Goodwill set to sell for over $18K” reports Yahoo!
Bidding on a rare 14-karat gold LEGO piece has come to a close and the item sold for much more than expected.
The piece called the Bionicle Golden Kanohi Hau Mask, which sold for $18,101, was found by workers at a warehouse in DuBois, Pennsylvania, and is believed to be only one of 30 that exist. In 2001, some were gifted to LEGO employees, while the rest were awarded through a contest.
When the rare LEGO was found no one really knew what it was, the item was posted on shopgoodwill.com for just $14.95. Little did they know what someone would pay for it.
“The final bid was $18,101. The second-highest bid was $18,100,” said Chad Smith, Vice President of E-commerce and Technology for Goodwill Industries of North Central PA….
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “’Borderlands’ Trailer Sees Cate Blanchett Hunt For Treasure On Scorned Planet”. Deadline sets the frame:
…[The] Borderlands movie follows Lilith (Blanchett), an infamous outlaw with a mysterious past, who reluctantly returns to her home planet of Pandora to find the missing daughter of the universe’s most powerful S.O.B., Atlas (Edgar Ramirez).
Lilith forms an alliance with an unexpected team – Roland (Kevin Hart), a former elite mercenary, now desperate for redemption; Tiny Tina (Ariana Greenblatt), a feral pre-teen demolitionist; Tina’s musclebound, rhetorically challenged protector, Krieg; Tannis (Jamie Lee Curtis), the scientist with a tenuous grip on sanity; and Claptrap (Jack Black), a persistently wiseass robot. These unlikely heroes must then battle alien monsters and dangerous bandits to find and protect the missing girl, who may hold the key to unimaginable power….
[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lis Carey.]