(1) F&SF. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s May-June 2023 cover art is by Maurizio Manzieri.
(2) INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE. The International Booker Prize 2023 Shortlist of 6 works was released on April 18. The one longlisted item of genre interest has survived to make the shortlist, Cheon Myeong-Kwan’s Whale. The winner will be announced May 23. Publishing Perspectives breaks down the amount of the prize.
…The focus of this Booker is translation, and its £50,000 prize (US$60,734) is to be split into £25,000 (US$30,367) for the author and £25,000 for the translator—or divided equally between multiple translators. There also is a purse of £5,000 (US$6,072) for each of the shortlisted titles: £2,500 (US$3,036) for the author and £2,500 for the translator or, again, divided equally between multiple translators….
(3) DIGGING OUT FROM THE MUDSLIDE. Yesterday Larry Correia posted “A Letter To Epic Fantasy Readers: I Know Rothfuss And Martin Hurt You, But It’s Time To Get Over It And Move On” [Internet Archive], a cruel rant blaming a couple of well-known fantasy writers for allegedly crushing the nascent careers of other fantasy novelists by failing to finish their series and creating reader resistance to new writers’ series. (Then, finding he had mud left over, he deposited some on a third author who has an unfinished sf series.)
Today Mark Lawrence decided a few things needed to be said in response in a blog post, “Faith and blame”, which concludes:
i) Authors who delay a book in a series, be it for 10 years, or 50, or forever, are not lazy sacks of shit.
ii) The high profile authors who have delayed may be cited in some cases as a reason for readers not picking up a newly published book 1 — but I feel the reasons behind that reluctance are far deeper and considerably wider than two or three writers, however well known. Some portion of the reason (I do not say blame) may reside with them, but I think this would be happening even if book 3, 4, & 6 had turned up a year or two after their predecessors.
iii) It’s easy to give the reason for this problem a face – someone to call an apathetic sack of shit. It’s human nature to want a simple answer and a person to blame. But it’s more complicated than that.
Readers – have faith in your writers, that faith will be overwhelmingly rewarded. And when it’s not – the only thing that author has done is disappointed you, not tanked the entire publishing industry.
(4) DON’T LOOK FOR THIS BOOK ON THE RIVER. “Lydia Davis refuses to sell her next book on Amazon” – the author explains why to the Guardian.
Prize-winning author Lydia Davis’ new collection of short stories will not be sold on Amazon, with the author saying she does not “believe corporations should have as much control over our lives as they do”.
Our Strangers will be published by Canongate on 5 October, and is the seventh collection of fiction from Davis, who won the Man Booker international prize in 2013, when the award chose a winner based on a body of work, rather than a single book.
Due to be published just before Bookshop Day on 7 October, Our Strangers will only be sold in physical bookshops, Bookshop.org and selected online independent retailers.
Davis said: “We value small businesses, yet we give too much of our business to the large and the powerful – and often, increasingly, we have hardly any choice.
“I am all the more pleased, now, that Canongate, with its long history of independence and its high standards, will be publishing Our Strangers and doing so in a way that puts my book on the shelves of booksellers who are so much more likely to care about it.”…
(5) GROWING PROSPECT OF WRITERS STRIKE. Leaders of the Writers Guild of America secured a strong showing of support from members. “Writers strike looms after members vote to shut down film and TV production” reports CNN Business.
…The vote announced Monday afternoon showed 97.9% of participating union members voting to approve a potential strike.
If a strike happens, it would be the first in the industry since 2007, and it would bring production on many shows and films to a halt. The 2007 strike lasted 100 days.
The Writers Guild of America, the union that represents the writers, says it needs to make substantial changes to the way that writers are compensated because of the shift to streaming services from traditional films and cable and broadcast networks….
(6) AFRICANFUTURISM. Nnedi Okorafor did her own cover reveal yesterday. Preorder here.
(7) PICARD. NPR’s “Pop Culture Happy Hour” panelists respond as “’Picard’ boldly goes into the history books”. Beware spoilers.
[ERIC] DEGGANS: Well, you know, I wrote a review before the show debuted. I love, love, love this. And the reason I love this is because I’ve always felt that Paramount Plus’ new “Trek” series have erred by being so careful about trying to blaze their own path and tone down the references to past “Trek” stuff. And I understand that, especially with “Discovery,” the very first series to step out, they wanted to blaze a new trail. But there is a reason why this franchise has survived for nearly 60 years.
To have – especially “Star Trek: Picard,” in its first two seasons, really suffered from not being willing to look back and acknowledge the reason why people love Jean-Luc Picard in the first place. So it is just so great to see this series emerge as this love letter to not just “The Next Generation” but all those Trek series that kind of debuted in that 1990s, early 2000s era. So “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” – there’s all kinds of Easter eggs and references that, if you don’t know the shows, you don’t need to worry about. But if you do know the shows, it is just so much fun and so much extra pleasure to watch this unfold.
(8) GET READY FOR “MRS. DAVIS”. “Mrs. Davis Co-Creator Tara Hernandez On Crafting Peacock’s Wild New Sci-Fi Series” at Slashfilm.
One might not imagine that one of the writers of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon” would be behind one of 2023’s most anticipated, high-concept sci-fi shows, but that’s exactly the situation we find ourselves in. Hailing from Tara Hernandez, “Mrs. Davis” debuts on Peacock later this month, with Damon Lindelof, of “Lost” and “The Leftovers” fame, serving as co-creator on the series alongside her….
I’ve not seen a ton of the show, admittedly, but this feels like the kind of thing where, especially because I know Damon got into some of this with “Lost” years ago where they just were chasing their tails, so how long would you ideally see this going? Is this a one season show? Is it a four season show? Do you have a rough idea of where you guys would like it to go?
Yeah, I think we really, and just my personal tastes, I really love a great season of television. I love a story that’s introduced. I love a nice conclusion on it. I think we had to know where we were ending up. We pitched the show, when we pitched it, it was very important to have the landing place.
That is nice to hear.
Yes. It has a landing place. We had to know what the North Star was, especially in a show that can feel like, “Is this going to go off the rails? Are they just going to be chasing their tails?” Just my personal preference about storytelling, whether that comes from really loving feature films or just loving a hero’s journey that’s a really closed-loop narrative, I think the world of “Mrs. Davis” is such that it has legs, but I think it is a great eight episodes. If that’s what it is, it’s just a really nice story. And people will be satisfied.
(9) GET YOUR RED HOT CAT BOOKS. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has curated The 2023 Cattitude Bundle for StoryBundle and it’s available for the next three weeks.
My cats have gotten out of control. During the lockdown, I promoted a series of projects using my co-workers as a hook. The only co-workers I had at the time were the the cats who boss me around: The Mighty Cheeps, and his buddy Gavin, a.k.a The Boys.
I’d post a picture of them on Facebook, write a funny or wry bit about their terrible office behavior, and end with a bit of promotion.
Little did I realize that the demand for the antics of the staff at Promotion Central would become the highlight of my Facebook page. I’ve learned if I don’t include a photo of the Boys, or our new(ish) third cat, Angel, no one reads the posts. Those cats are more popular than I am.
It shouldn’t surprise me. Cats and the internet go together like chocolate and peanut butter. You can live with either one, but once someone combined them, well, there’s no separating them. Ever.
Of course, we’re going to take advantage of that. Cats and the internet becomes cats in ebooks. Since cats in books have always gone hand in glove (have you ever met a bookstore dog?), it seems only natural to put cat books into a StoryBundle.
The best thing about cat books? It’s easy to find good ones because all of the best writers live with cats….
Here’s the deal:
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in .epub format—WORLDWIDE.
- Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian
- Familiarity – A Winston & Ruby Collection by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- A Cat of a Different Color by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith
- October Snow by Bonnie Elizabeth
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $20, you get all four of the regular books, plus six more books for a total of 10!
- The Captain’s Cat by Stefon Mears (StoryBundle Exclusive)
- Haunted Witch by T. Thorn Coyle
- The Intergalactic Veterinarian of the Year! by Ron Collins & Jeff Collins (StoryBundle Exclusive)
- Death by Polka by Robert Jeschonek
- Single Witch’s Survival Guide by Mindy Klasky
- Road of No Return by Annie Reed (StoryBundle Exclusive)
(10) NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER. “Oh please, no. Just no. And you may quote me,” says Cat Eldridge. The Hollywood Reporter says “Galaxy Quest TV Series in the Works at Paramount+”. The article also chronicles several failed attempts to adapt it for TV in the previous decade.
Galaxy Quest is going from a fictional series to an actual TV series.
Paramount+ is teaming with its studio counterpart, Paramount Television Studios, for a live-action adaptation of the 1999 cult favorite sci-fi spoof. Sources say the project is in the early development stages and a search is underway for a writer to pair with Mark Johnson, the Breaking Bad alum who exec produced the film and is returning for the scripted update. Johnson and his Gran Via Productions banner are the only execs currently attached to the project….
Ars Technica’s Jennifer Ouelette also has doubts that this is a good idea: “That Galaxy Quest TV series might finally be happening and we have mixed feelings”.
… Honestly, I have mixed feelings about a spinoff series from one of my all-time favorite movies. On the one hand, I love and cherish every character and every line of dialogue in Galaxy Quest. On the other, how do you improve on perfection? As Enrico Colantoni, who played Thermion leader Mathesar, told io9 in 2014, “To make something up, just because we love those characters, and turn it into a sequel—then it becomes the awful sequel.”…
(11) MEMORY LANE.
2015 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
I’m trying to remember what the first work of Holly Black’s that I read, so I went to ISFDB and researched her work. It appears it’s Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale which I read some twenty years ago. Fascinating novel.
Now, without doing the no-no of spoilers, The Darkest Part of The Forest is the work of a much more mature writer. Her grasp of what makes a character worth our time to be invested in is really improved a lot as has her ability to actually write an interesting story.
The Darkest Part of The Forest was published by Little, Brown eight years ago. It was nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.
The Darkest Part of The Forest is, I think, deliciously dark as you can see in The Beginning which you can read here. Beware apparently young boys with pointed ears in glass coffins…
Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.
As far as Hazel Evans knew, from what her parents said to her and from what their parents said to them, he’d always been there. And no matter what anyone did, he never, ever woke up.
He didn’t wake up during the long summers, when Hazel and her brother, Ben, stretched out on the full length of the coffin, staring down through the crystalline panes, fogging them up with their breath, and scheming glorious schemes. He didn’t wake up when tourists came to gape or debunkers came to swear he wasn’t real. He didn’t wake up on autumn weekends, when girls danced right on top of him, gyrating to the tinny sounds coming from nearby iPod speakers, didn’t notice when Leonie Wallace lifted her beer high over her head, as if she were saluting the whole haunted forest. He didn’t so much as stir when Ben’s best friend, Jack Gordon, wrote IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS in Sharpie along one side—or when Lloyd Lindblad took a sledgehammer and actually tried. No matter how many parties had been held around the horned boy—generations of parties, so that the grass sparkled with decades of broken bottles in green and amber, so that the bushes shone with crushed aluminum cans in silver and gold and rust—and no matter what happened at those parties, nothing could wake the boy inside the glass coffin.
When they were little, Ben and Hazel made him flower crowns and told him stories about how they would rescue him. Back then, they were going to save everyone who needed saving in Fairfold. Once Hazel got older, though, she mostly visited the coffin only at night, in crowds, but she still felt something tighten in her chest when she looked down at the boy’s strange and beautiful face.
She hadn’t saved him, and she hadn’t saved Fairfold, either. “Hey, Hazel,” Leonie called, dancing to one side to make room in case Hazel wanted to join her atop the horned boy’s casket. Doris Alvaro was already up there, still in her cheerleader outfit from the game their school lost earlier that night, shining chestnut ponytail whipping through the air. They both looked flushed with alcohol and good cheer.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 19, 1907 — Alan Wheatley. Best remembered for being the Sheriff of Nottingham in The Adventures of Robin Hood, with Richard Greene playing Robin Hood. In 1951, he had played Sherlock Holmes in the first TV series about him, but no recordings of it are known to exist. And he was in Two First Doctor stories as Temmosus, “The Escape” and “The Ambush” where he was the person killed on screen by Daleks. (Died 1991.)
- Born April 19, 1925 — Hugh O’Brian. He was Harry Chamberlain in Rocketship X-M. (It was nominated in the 1951 Retro Hugo Awards given at The Millennium Philcon but lost out to Destination Moon.) He would later play Hugh Lockwood in Probe, not the Asimov Probe, the pilot for the sf TV series Search. His only other genre appearance I think was playing five different roles on Fantasy Island. Though I’m absolutely sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong (smile). (Died 2016.)
- Born April 19, 1935 — Herman Zimmerman, 88. He was the art director and production designer who worked between 1987 and 2005 for the Trek franchise. Excepting Voyager, in that era he worked on all other live-action productions including the first season of Next Gen, the entire runs of Deep Space Nine and Enterprise, as well as six Trek films. As Memory Alpha notes, “Together with Rick Sternbach he designed the space station Deep Space 9, with John Eaves the USS Enterprise-B and the USS Enterprise-E. His most recognizable work though, have been his (co-)designs for nearly all of the standing sets, those of the bridge, Main Engineering (co-designed with Andrew Probert) and Ten Forward for the USS Enterprise-D in particular.” Not surprisingly, he co-wrote the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual with Rick Sternbach and Doug Drexler.
- Born April 19, 1936 — Tom Purdom, 87. There’s very little on him on the web, so I’ll let Michael Swanwick speak for him in the introduction to his Lovers & Fighters, Starships & Dragons collection: “How highly do I regard Tom’s fiction? So highly that I wrote the introduction to the collection — and I hate writing introductions. They’re a lot of work. But these stories deserve enormous praise, so I was glad to do it.” He’s written five novels and has either one or two collections of his stories. He’s deeply stocked at the usual digital suspects.
- Born April 19, 1946 — Tim Curry, 77. Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, of course, but it’s not his first genre appearance. He’d appeared a year earlier at the Scottish Opera in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Puck. And yes, I know that he appeared in the live show which was at the Chelsea Classic Cinema and other venues before the film was done. Other genre appearances include playing Darkness in Legend, an outstanding Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, a most excellent genre film, Farley Claymore in The Shadow (great role), another superb performance playing Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as The Player, Gomez Addams in Addams Family Reunion, and Trymon in TV’s Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Darkness. And others too numerous to list.
- Born April 19, 1952 — Mark Rogers. He’s probably best known for writing and illustrating the Adventures of Samurai Cat series, a most excellent affair. His debut fantasy novel Zorachus was followed by The Nightmare of God sequel. His novella “The Runestone” was adapted as a film of the same name. And his art is collected in Nothing But a Smile: The Pinup Art of Mark Rogers and The Art of Fantasy. (Died 2014.)
- Born April 19, 1967 — Steven H Silver, 56. Fan and publisher, author, and editor. He has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times and Best Fanzine seven times. In 1995 he founded the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and has served as a judge ever since. He has published the fanzine, Argentus, edited several issues of the Hugo-nominated Journey Planet. His debut novel After Hastings came out in 2020.
- Born April 19, 1978 — K. Tempest Bradford, 45. She was a non-fiction and managing editor with Fantasy Magazine for several years, and has edited fiction for Fortean Bureau, Peridot Books and Sybil’s Garage. She’s written a lot of short fiction and her first YA novel, Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion. She was a finalist for three Ignyte Awards, the Ember Award for unsung contributions to genre, and twice for the Community Award for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre. With Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward she shared a 2020 Locus Special Award to Writing the Other for Inclusivity and Representation Education.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
- Brewster Rockit is appropriate for today …and tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that and…
- Lise Andreasen provided this translation of the caption on Danish publication Politiken’s cartoon “Dagens tegning: Fremtiden var bedre i gamle dage”:
The future used to be better.
The future before.
The future now.
(14) BIG GREEN NUMBERS. Book Riot wants to discuss “The Bestselling Comics of All Time” – however, they don’t want the answer to be too easy.
But what is the bestselling comic of all time? Well, that depends on how you define comic.
Are we talking about single issues, or “floppies?” And if so, are we talking about the sales of one issue, or the series as a whole? Does that include collected editions and reprints? How do you account for changes in the retail market, from newsstands to specialty shops to digital, and the different reporting (or lack thereof) of each? How do you take into account the cultural changes since the ’40s, when over 90% of children read comics, compared to today’s globalized, media-saturated world? Should you account for the differences in population between America (331.9 million potential readers) versus Japan (125.7 million) versus, say, Finland (5.5 million)? Isn’t it apples and oranges to compare One Piece to X-Men to Peanuts, anyway?…
When it comes to the best selling single issue, the list begins at number five –
5. BATMAN: THE 10 CENT ADVENTURE BY GREG RUCKA AND RICK BURCHETT (MARCH 2002)
Most of the comics on this list are stunts of some sort, and selling a comic for literally just a dime in 2002 absolutely qualifies (most comics were $2.25 then). It’s actually a good story, kicking off the excellent Bruce Wayne: Murderer? plot line, but it was that nostalgic price point that sold 702,126 copies.
(15) BROWSING FOR DOLLARS. Untapped New York ranks the “10 Most Surprising Finds at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair”. The treasures include Billie Holiday’s bar tab, and something a bit closer to being of genre interest —
9. A 17th-Century Celestial Atlas
Along with books, maps are a popular item to find at the antiquarian book fair. The book featured above is one of the most sought-after celestial atlases in existence. Produced by Dutch cartographer Andreas Cellarius in 1661, Harmonia Macrocosmica is priced at a whopping $395,000.
Considered Cellarius’s magnum opus, this map was made to illustrate competing theories of celestial mechanics, or how the solar system worked. The universe’s heavenly bodies are depicted in vibrant colors throughout 29 extremely detailed, hand-colored, double-page engraved plates in the book. The images take theories put forth by great thinkers and scientists like Ptolemy, Tycho Brahe, Nicolaus Copernicus, as well as lesser-known figures such as Aratus of Soli, and present them in an accessible way through images.
(16) BOOKSTORE SLEEPOVER. Zoos and museums have hosted them – now a downtown LA bookstore: “I spent the night at the Last Bookstore. Things got spooky” in the LA Times. The owner tried to make it a bit of a paranormal experience.
…Soon enough, Powell was recalling the spookiest things he’d seen in his years at the store. He described coworkers who’d heard or glimpsed figures moving around the corners, and instances where people watched books fly off shelves for seemingly no reason.
“That corner is where books fall off sometimes, in sci-fi, for some reason,” he said.
As we passed the portal, a hidden nook where my partner and I had signed up to sleep, we realized it was both secluded in the back corner of the store with books on U.S. history and located closest to the “haunted” shelves that books fall off of. We quickly decided we wouldn’t be sleeping there….
(17) THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Deep in a disused mind in Sardinia, scientists are assembling an experiment to find out just how much nothing weighs. Using an exquisitely sensitive balance beam and interferometric techniques cribbed from gravity wave detectors, they plan to switch on and off the Casimir effect using small temperature variations and measure the resulting change in the number of virtual particles that can exist between metal plates. If all goes well, they will have established a tight constraint on the energy of the vacuum. “How Much Does ‘Nothing’ Weigh?” at Scientific American.
It does something to you when you drive in here for the first time,” Enrico Calloni says as our car bumps down into the tunnel of a mine on the Italian island of Sardinia. After the intense heat aboveground, the contrast is stark. Within seconds, damp, cool air enters the car as it makes its way into the depths. “I hope you’re not claustrophobic.” This narrow tunnel, which leads us in almost complete darkness to a depth of 110 meters underground, isn’t for everyone. But it’s the ideal site for the project we are about to see—the Archimedes experiment, named after a phenomenon first described by the ancient Greek scientist, which aims to weigh “nothing.”…
…Geologically, Sardinia is one of the quietest places in Europe. The island, along with its neighbor Corsica, is located on a particularly secure block of Earth’s crust that is among the most stable areas of the Mediterranean, with very few earthquakes in its entire recorded history and only one (offshore) event that ever reached the relatively mild category of magnitude 5. Physicists chose this geologically uneventful place because the Archimedes experiment requires extreme isolation from the outside environment. It involves a high-precision experimental setup designed to investigate the worst theoretical prediction in the history of physics—the amount of energy in the empty space that fills the universe….
… Researchers can calculate the energy of the vacuum in two ways. From a cosmological perspective, they can use Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity to calculate how much energy is needed to explain the fact that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. They can also work from the bottom up, using quantum field theory to predict the value based on the masses of all the “virtual particles” that can briefly arise and then disappear in “empty” space (more on this later). These two methods produce numbers that differ by more than 120 orders of magnitude (1 followed by 120 zeros). It’s an embarrassingly absurd discrepancy that has important implications for our understanding of the expansion of the universe—and even its ultimate fate. To figure out where the error lies, scientists are hauling a two-meter-tall cylindrical vacuum chamber and other equipment down into an old Sardinian mine where they will attempt to create their own vacuum and weigh the nothing inside….
(18) NOBODY SURVIVES THE FLAME TRENCH. [Item by Mike Kennedy.]On this past Monday’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Josh Groban talked about his visit to NASA, where, among other things, he received a tour of the “flame trench.”
Fellow space enthusiasts Stephen Colbert and Josh Groban geek out over the details of Groban’s trip to NASA’s Artemis mission launch pad. Check out Groban’s latest role as the lead in “Sweeney Todd,” playing now at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Gordon Van Gelder, Rich Lynch, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]