Pixel Scroll 2/6/24 Scrollerman vs. Mr. Mixy-Pixel-like

(1) GLASGOW 2024 REOPENS HUGO NOMINATIONS. Members of Glasgow 2024 were notified today that online nominations for the Hugo Awards are working again.

One day after they initially went live on January 27, the committee announced in social media, “We are aware of an issue with nominations. We have taken that system offline as a precaution.” There is no extension to the originally announced deadline; all nominations must be received by Saturday, March 9, 2024, 16:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) (UTC+0). Detailed instructions for how to nominate, plus more specific information about the nomination categories and eligibility, are available here.

(2) CASHING IN. AbeBooks shared their “Most expensive sales in 2023”, and several are sff or comics.

1. Thomas Pynchon Collection – $125,000

Thomas Pynchon is one of America’s most reclusive novelists and the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Slow Learner, Vineland, Mason and Dixon, Inherent Vice, and Bleeding Edge.

This is a collection of 246 items comes from a fine private library.

Highlights include: an advance reading copy of V. (1963), Pynchon’s first novel, in its original wrapper, as well as a first edition copy of V. in a dust jacket, advance unbound signatures and an uncorrected proof of Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), the binder’s dummy of Mason & Dixon (1997) in a proof dust jacket, and more.

“Assembled over a lifetime by a dedicated private collector, this remarkable collection of Thomas Pynchon’s work contained over 240 items. One would be hard-pressed to find a more bibliographically complete collection containing so many Pynchon rarities in such perfect condition.”

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – $85,620

This true first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published by Bloomsbury in June of 1997. Only 500 copies were printed, 200 of which were used to promote the book, and 300 were provided to libraries. This copy was originally owned by Edinburgh Public Library in Rowling’s hometown. She wrote the novel while sitting in various cafes around the Scottish city.

The book’s library card shows that it was borrowed 27 times between December 15, 1997 and October 12, 1999 before it was withdrawn from service. Those 27 readers were among the first people to experience the magic of Hogwarts.

This copy is a hardcover and was issued without a dust jacket. It has been restored and housed in a full red leather box lined with black suede. The sale marks our second most expensive sale of all time, and shows that the Harry Potter phenomenon, which began in 1997, has not diminished.

This is likely the most expensive online sale of a first edition of the Philosopher’s Stone. Another first edition sold at a live auction for $471,000 in 2021….

7. The Chronicles of Narnia Set by C.S. Lewis – $45,699

This remarkable set is made up of the first editions of each book in the author’s classic Chronicles of Narnia series, which has sold over 100 million copies and been translated into 47 languages….

10. Calvin and Hobbes: The Last Sunday, “Let’s Go Exploring” by Bill Watterson – $35,000

A rarity, this large color proof of the final Calvin and Hobbes strip is signed by Bill Watterson.

Calvin and Hobbes was a daily comic strip that ran between 1985 and 1995. It became hugely successful and was featured in thousands of newspapers around the globe.

This signed color proof was one of a small number produced and sent as a thank-you gift from Watterson to select newspapers who carried the strip.

(3) FREE READS. Analog and Asimov’s are offering their short fiction that made the Locus Recommended Reading List for readers to enjoy.

Novella:

“The Tinker and the Timestream”, Carolyn Ives Gilman (3-4/23)

Short Stories:

“Secondhand Music”, Aleksandra Hill (9-10/23)
“An Infestation of Blue”Wendy N. Wagner (11-12/23)

Novellas:

“Blade and Bone”, Paul McAuley (11-12/23)
“The Ghosts of Mars”, Dominica Phetteplace (11-12/23)

Novelettes:

“The Unpastured Sea”Gregory Feeley (9-10/23)
“Planetstuck”Sam J. Miller (3-4/23)
“Deep Blue Jump”, Dean Whitlock (9-10/23)

Short Story:

“Jamais Vue”, Tochi Onyebuchi (1-2/23)

(4) 100. Sunday Morning Transport, in search of subscribers, also has a free read: “A Hundred Secret Names” by Margaret Ronald.

My forty-eighth secret name is Accurate-in-Speech, so you will know that every word I say to you tonight is true.

I was born under the ice mountains, the second-youngest of a clutch of five. Like me, my siblings were loud and demanding in our fiery infancy, and unlike me, they are uninteresting. My mother was much the same; the only importance she has is that before she left us for good (for we had grown near her size and would soon be extinguished enough to venture out), she took each of us aside and whispered to us our first secret names. My siblings, being what they were, immediately told each other and reveled in this new ability to be individually loud. I, being as I am, wisely kept my name to myself….

(5) DUNE WHAT COMES NATURALLY. It’s really a thing. And Mashable conducted blindfolded testing. See video here: “We tested the Dune 2 Sandworm Popcorn Bucket. It was uncomfortable” reports Mashable.

“This was a choice!”

We blindfolded 5 Mashable employees and asked for their honest reactions to Dune: Part 2sandworm popcorn bucket. They did not disappoint. Dune: Part 2 premieres in theaters March 1st, 2024.

An even better video, however, is last weekend’s Saturday Night Live parody the “Dune Popcorn Bucket”.

A group of teenagers sings a song about a special night.

(6) ELON SAYS HE’S FOOTING THE BILL. An actress’ wrongful termination suit has an angel, of sorts: “Gina Carano Sues Disney for ‘Mandalorian’ Firing — With Elon Musk’s Help” in Variety.

Actor Gina Carano sued Disney and Lucasfilm on Tuesday for firing her from “The Mandalorian” in 2021, over a social media post in which she compared being a Republican to being Jewish during the Holocaust.

The suit, filed in California federal court, alleges wrongful termination and discrimination, as well as a demand that the court should force Lucasfilm to recast her and pay at least $75,000 in punitive damages.

Elon Musk is funding the suit, following his promise to pay for legal actions taken by people claiming discrimination from posts to Twitter/X. However, the posts in question originated on Carano’s Instagram Stories….

(7) IS IT WORTH WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT? An employee of Heritage Auctions answers the question “Is Toy Grading A Good Idea?” for readers of Intelligent Collector.

If you are a toy or action figure collector, you likely have a strong opinion on the subject when it comes to your personal collection. But whether it is a go0od idea for positive future monetary returns is an entirely different question.

While many collectors have long seen the encasement of their treasures as a separation from their tactile enjoyment, others have maintained that it preserves them in their highest quality state as time moves forward. Neither is wrong, strictly from a personal collecting perspective, but grading action figures and toys can have a significant effect on the value when sold. That is not to say that every toy should be graded as there is a real cost associated with it, but the right pieces with good grades can multiply the value from hundreds to thousands of dollars per item.

My general rule of thumb is that a toy is worth grading if the value of it is increased by at least 150% of the grading fee when added to the ungraded value. This is the case for items that already have value and a demonstrated history of selling in graded and ungraded condition. Of course, the final value will depend on the grade that the item receives as buyers pay more for higher-graded toys. For example, if a carded action figure is worth $300 and costs $100 to grade, I would grade it if it were certain to bring at least $450 at the lowest conceivable grade it could get.

On the opposing side, I would not recommend grading most brand-new items as they have not yet proven their value in the longer term. Many of the newer toys graded today may never increase in value over the grading cost and I have seen many toys over the years that are still unable to recoup the money paid for the service. Because many collectors now save packaged toys, there are many more in circulation than have ever been in the past due to the speculation of future value. If there is the potential of significant future value, I would recommend bagging and boxing the toys separately or using temporary clamshell cases made to preserve their condition.

As for vintage toys from the 1980’s and before, if the value is significant and the grade is expected to be 80 or above, I highly recommend grading to increase the value. It makes buyers more comfortable with their purchase of a graded item and its confirmed condition. Of course, these are general guidelines and there are many situations where exceptions would be made….

(8) SEW WHAT? The Huntington shares an item of Civil War history in “Guns, Secession, and a Secret Message in a Spool”.

…Yet the envelope’s contents turned out to be rather curious. There are several labeled items, apparently intended for a museum of the War Department that Townsend was trying to develop after the Civil War. Along with a piece of a British flag captured in 1781 at Yorktown and a length of red tape used by Confederate President Jefferson Davis during his detention at Fortress Monroe, there was a spool of thread wrapped in a piece of paper.

Spools like this were found in the numerous sewing kits (known as “housewives”) carried by U.S. soldiers. But it was the wrapper that caught my eye. It contained a typescript message dated 1861—several years before the typewriter was invented. A note written in Townsend’s hand along the bottom of the page read: “Sent this way to pass thru rebel lines. Message in spool of thread from one Union officer to another.”

I peered into the hole of the spool. Sure enough, inside was what appeared to be a tightly rolled piece of paper. I immediately contacted The Huntington’s superb conservation lab, where project conservator Cynthia Kapteyn managed to extract the paper and smooth it out. (You can watch a video of the extraction here.) The unrolled page revealed a handwritten message, hastily scribbled in pencil. The text matched the typed transcription.

The humble spool and the grubby note shed new light on the dramatic events that unfolded shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860….

(9) WORLDCON IN MEMORIAM CHANGES PLATFORMS. Steven H Silver announced that he’s moved the Worldcon In Memoriam account from Twitter (theoretically known as X) to Bluesky. Please can follow it at “Worldcon In Memoriam” (@wcinmemoriam.bsky.social).

(10) TONY BENOUN OBITUARY. Twenty-five year LASFS member Tony Benoun died January 18 after a long illness. He was active in Doctor Who fandom and helped found the Gallifrey One convention as Shaun Lyon recalls in his tribute “Tony Benoun remembered by Gallifrey One”.

Throughout the year 1988, following the Doctor Who Traveling Exhibition’s visit to Los Angeles the prior October, scarcely a month went by at the meetings of our local Doctor Who club, the Time Meddlers of Los Angeles, without someone giving voice to the idea that we should run a convention of our own. Tony Benoun was one of those loud and frequent voices in 1988, clamoring for us to step up to the plate and run our own event. He’d been part of Los Angeles Doctor Who fandom since the early 1980s, as part of the Chancellory Guard fan group; had participated in phone banking at KCET during Doctor Who pledge breaks; and had worked many other events, including as security for Creation Conventions. Tony was right with us in early 1989 when our club at large decided to move forward with the dream that would become Gallifrey One; he was with us in 1990, when that dream became reality; and he was with us ever since, as Gallifrey One persists through to this day.

As one of the longest-serving members of the Gallifrey One staff –and one of the few of us still left from those early days — Tony had been co-lead of what we’ve always called our Special Projects division: working on (and selling) our convention merchandise, T-shirts, tote bags, playing cards, stickers and more; supervising the moving and maintenance of our homegrown TARDIS for many years (he was part of a small group that created it, a group we’ve always referred to with a wink as the TARDIS Movers Union Local 42)….

He is survived by his wife Sherri, another member of the Gallifrey One team, and innumerable friends.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born February 6, 1922 Patrick Macnee. (Died 2015.) So let’s talk about Patrick Macnee. Even the character of Patrick Macnee as John Steed in The Avengers is more complicated than we generally think of him. Steed started as a rougher agent than the gentleman he would become during the Gale and Peel eras. 

His dress as Dr. David Keel’s sidekick was a trenchcoat and suit, though the famous bowler hat and umbrella showed up very occasionally part way through the first series.

The gentleman agent in look and manner came to be in the second series when the actor who played Keel quit to pursue a film career. Once Macnee was promoted to star he adapted permanently that Saville Row suit and bowler hat with the sword cane look that he’d keep for the entire series and the New Avengers as well. 

So what else do I find interesting about his career? (My way of saying don’t expect me to cover everything he did here.) 

Now you might well guess the first role I’ll single out.

He may, and I say may deliberately, played Holmes twice in two television films, The Hound of London and Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Temporal Nexus. The latter may or may not exist as commenters online say they cannot actually find this case of paranormal murders and extraterrestrials. Holmes meets War of the Worlds? Surely in those nearly one and fifty films involving him, that been done, hasn’t it? Or not. 

Of his Watson performances, more is certain. He played him three times: once alongside Roger Moore’s Sherlock Holmes in these television films:  Sherlock Holmes in New York, and then twice with Christopher Lee, first in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady, and then in Incident at Victoria Falls.

He sort of plays him a fourth time. He appeared in Magnum, P.I. as, what else?, a retired British agent who suffered from the delusion that he was Sherlock Holmes, in the episode titled “Holmes”.  

What next? In a one-off, he took over Leo G. Carroll’s role as the head of U.N.C.L.E. as Sir John Raleigh in Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair.  Anyone see this?

He’s in A View to Kill as Sir Godfrey Tibbett, a Roger Moore Bond film, as a horse trainer who helps him infiltrate Zorin’s chateau and stables.

Since everyone it seems showed up on this series, it probably won’t surprise you I that he was on Columbo in the “Troubled Waters” where he’s Capt. Gibbon. They filmed it on a real cruise ship, called the Sun Princess at the time. It was later sold many times and renamed Ocean Dream finally. It was abandoned off the coast of Thailand and sank there. Don’t you love my trivia? 

Finally, I think, he appeared on Broadway as the star of Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth in the early seventies. He then headlined the national tour of that play.

No, I forgot an appearance I wanted to note. My bad.  He appeared on The Twilight Zone in “Judgement Night”. There he played the First Officer on the S.S. Queen of Glasgow, a cargo carrier, headed out on London to New York with a passenger with no memory but a feeling that something very bad will happen. 

I’m going now. Really I am.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) EGYPTIAN GRAPHIC STORIES. Hear about “Cairo in comics” in The Documentary at BBC Sounds.

Modern Cairo is a crowded metropolis. The city’s ‘thousand minarets’ are now dwarfed by a new skyline of slick tower blocks. Modern highways fly over bustling kiosks where residents gather to smoke and buy soda drinks. 

Inspired by the lives of their neighbours, playing out among mosques, high rise buildings and on busy streets, Egyptian writers and graphic artists, including Deena Mohamed, Shennawy and Mohamed Wahba bring their thousand-year-old capital to life. They tell the stories behind their own books and comics – Tok Tok, Shubeik Lubeik, and A Bird’s Eye View over Cairo. And how today, the city’s dedicated festival Cairo Comix has become an annual destination for artists and fans from around the world. 

(14) FROM SPACE COWBOY BOOKS. Released on February 4: Another Time: An Anthology of Time Travel Stories 1942-1960 edited by Jean-Paul L. Garnier.

The nature of time has forever perplexed humankind. Add the many ripe paradoxes of time travel and the situation gets complicated. While science has shown us that time travel is technically possible, at least on paper, we still know little about what time actually is, or our place within it. Science fiction has long explored this theme and it has become one of the cornerstones of the genre. In this collection of stories, we find visions of what time travel could be, what could go wrong, and dive headlong into the paradoxical nature of what it might entail. Tales ranging from 1942 to 1960 bring us into these mysterious worlds and provide a window into what the writers of this era grappled with when exploring time and the possibilities of traveling within the fourth dimension. Readers will also delight in traversing another time in literature, with stories that first appeared in Worlds of IF, Astonishing Stories, Galaxy Magazine, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Startling Stories, and Imagination Stories of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

 With stories by:

  • C. Shook
  • Darius John Granger
  • Evelyn E. Smith,
  • Sylvia Jacobs
  • Rog Phillips
  • Miriam Allen deFord
  • Anthony Boucher
  • Henry Kuttner
  • Alfred Bester

 With an introduction by Dr. Phoenix Alexander. Original cover art by Zara Kand. Get your copy at Bookshop.org.

(15) THIS YEAR’S CROP. Apple+ announced several new shows yesterday, including two intriguing sf series: “Apple TV+ Unveils New Slate Of Originals for 2024” at AllYourScreens.

Constellation
Premiere date: 
Wednesday, February 21
A new, eight-part conspiracy-based psychological thriller starring Noomi Rapace and Emmy Award nominee Jonathan Banks that will premiere globally on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 with the first three episodes, followed by one episode weekly, every Wednesday through March 27 on Apple TV+.  

Created and written by Peter Harness, “Constellation” stars Rapace as Jo – an astronaut who returns to Earth after a disaster in space – only to discover that key pieces of her life seem to be missing. The action-packed space adventure is an exploration of the dark edges of human psychology, and one woman’s desperate quest to expose the truth about the hidden history of space travel and recover all that she has lost. The series also stars James D’Arcy, Julian Looman, Will Catlett, Barbara Sukowa, and introduces Rosie and Davina Coleman as Alice. 

“Constellation” is directed by Emmy Award winner Michelle MacLaren, Oscar nominee Oliver Hirschbiegel and Oscar nominee Joseph Cedar. Produced by Turbine Studios and Haut et Court TV, the series is executive produced by David Tanner, Tracey Scoffield, Caroline Benjo, Simon Arnal, Carole Scotta and Justin Thomson. MacLaren directs the first two episodes and executive produces the series with Rebecca Hobbs and co-executive producer Jahan Lopes for MacLaren Entertainment. Harness executive produces through Haunted Barn Ltd. The series was shot principally in Germany and was series produced by Daniel Hetzer for Turbine Studios, Germany…

Dark Matter
Premiere date:
 Wednesday, May 8

Dark Matter is a sci-fi thriller series based on the blockbuster book by acclaimed, bestselling author Blake Crouch. The nine-episode series features an ensemble cast that includes Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Connelly, Alice Braga, Jimmi Simpson, Dayo Okeniyi and Oakes Fegley. Dark Matter makes its global debut on Apple TV+ on May 8, 2024, premiering with the first two episodes, followed by new episodes every Wednesday through June 26. 

Hailed as one of the best sci-fi novels of the decade, Dark Matter is a story about the road not taken. The series will follow Jason Dessen (played by Edgerton), a physicist, professor, and family man who — one night while walking home on the streets of Chicago — is abducted into an alternate version of his life. Wonder quickly turns to nightmare when he tries to return to his reality amid the mind-bending landscape of lives he could have lived. In this labyrinth of realities, he embarks on a harrowing journey to get back to his true family and save them from the most terrifying, unbeatable foe imaginable: himself.

Crouch serves as executive producer, showrunner, and writer alongside executive producers Matt Tolmach and David Manpearl for Matt Tolmach Productions, and Joel Edgerton. Dark Matter” is produced for Apple TV+ by Sony Pictures Television.

(16) FANCY EDITION. The Illustrated World of Tolkien from Easton Press is pretty.

An excellent guide to Middle-earth and the Undying Lands, including vivid descriptions of all Tolkien’s beasts, monsters, races, nations, deities, and the flora and fauna of the territory. Full-color pages with stunning illustrations create an enchanting source for information on all the fantastical places and creatures that sprung from Tolkien’s mind….

(17) THE SINGULARITY WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. Is ChatGPT compiling clinical information or drumming up business? “FDA medical device loophole could cause patient harm, study warns” at Healthcare IT News.

Doctors and researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the UMD Institute for Health Computing and the VA Maryland Healthcare System are concerned that large language models summarizing clinical data could meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s device-exemption criteria and could cause patient harm.

WHY IT MATTERS

Artificial intelligence that summarizes clinical notes, medications and other patient data without FDA oversight will soon reach patients, doctors and researchers said in a new viewpoint published Monday on the JAMA Network.

They analyzed FDA’s final guidance on clinical decision support software. The agency has interpreted it as involving “time-critical” decision-making as a regulated device function, and that could include LLM generation of a clinical summary, the authors said. 

Published about two months before ChatGPT’s release, the researchers said the guidance “provides an unintentional ‘roadmap’ for how LLMs could avoid FDA regulation.”

Generative AI will change everyday clinical tasks. It has earned a great deal of attention for its promise to reduce physician and nurse burnout, and to improve healthcare operational efficiencies, but LLMs that summarize clinical notes, medications and other forms of patient data “could exert important and unpredictable effects on clinician decision-making,” the researchers said.

They conducted tests using ChatGPT and anonymized patient record data, and examined the summarization outputs, concluding, that results raise questions that go beyond “accuracy.”

“In the clinical context, sycophantic summaries could accentuate or otherwise emphasize facts that comport with clinicians’ preexisting suspicions, risking a confirmation bias that could increase diagnostic error,” they said. 

…However, it’s a dystopian danger that generally arises “when LLMs tailor responses to perceived user expectations” and become virtual AI yes-men to clinicians.

“Like the behavior of an eager personal assistant.”…

(18) A BIT SHY OF THE MARK. Damien G. Walter’s history “The war for the Hugo awards” begins by saying that the first Hugo Awards (1953) were “so small scale that no plans were made to run them again.” Although the runners of the 1954 Worldcon didn’t give them, Ben Jason, who was instrumental in resuming the Hugos in 1955 (see “The Twice-Invented Hugos”) told me that the people who created the awards intended them to be annual. So that’s Walter taking a bit of literary license. You’ll have to check to see how closely the rest of his video hews to history. 

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Lise Andreasen, Kathy Sullivan, John Hertz, Daniel Dern, Steven H Silver, Michael J. Walsh, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Steven French for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

Pixel Scroll 1/31/24 It’s A Beautiful Day In The Pixel Scroll, A Beautiful Day For Some Pixels, Would You Be Mine?

1632 and Beyond convention logo. Red, white and blue design incorporates elements of USA flag

(1) 1632 AT FANTASCI. The first 1632Con from 1632 & Beyond will be at FantaSci in Raleigh-Durham, NC from April 19-21. Kevin Ikenberry, author of the Assiti Shards book The Crossing, is one of the con’s Special Guests. Bjorn Hasseler, Bethanne Kim, and Chuck Thompson will all be there, as will other authors from the series.

(2) A PASSENGER ABOARD SILVERBERG’S SPACESHIP. Todd Mason researches the early sff of Fred Chappell, who died early in January: “Fred Chappell’s 3 (earliest published?) short stories, in Robert Silverberg’s SPACESHIP, April 1952, April and October 1953” at Sweet Freedom.

Fred Chappell (born 28 May 1936/died 4 January 2024) and Robert Silverberg (born 15 January 1935) were teenaged fantastic-fiction fans in 1952, but were already showing some promise of the kind of writers (and editors) they would soon and continue to become…both had discovered the fiction magazines, among other reading, that would help shape a notable part of both their careers, and were involved in the (somewhat!) organized fantasy/sf/horror-fiction-fandom culture of the late ’40s and early ’50s…so much so that three issues of young New Yorker Silverberg’s fanzine (or amateur magazine meant for other fans and any other interested parties) Spaceship (first published by Silverberg in 1949) would each offer one of three vignettes from young Canton, North Carolina resident Fred Chappell, in Starship’s 4/52, 4/53 and 10/53 issues…. 

(3) IN MEMORIAM LIST. “In Memoriam: 2023”, Steven H Silver’s compilation of sff figures who died last year, has been posted at Amazing Stories.

(4) FOLLOW THE MONEY. Jason Sanford’s “Genre Grapevine for January 2024” at Patreon about the Hugo controversy and other news is a free read.

… And here’s a great reason why all this drama likely happened in the first place: MONEY!

According to China.org.cn, “Investment deals valued at approximately $1.09 billion were signed during the 81st World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, last week at its inaugural industrial development summit, marking significant progress in the advancement of sci-fi development in China. The deals included 21 sci-fi industry projects involving companies that produce films, parks, and immersive sci-fi experiences. Others were related to the development of melodramas, games, and the metaverse. Additionally, various service platforms for sci-fi franchise incubation projects and sci-fi cultural and creative funds will be developed.”

As Charles Stross wrote, “That’s a metric fuckton of moolah in play, and it would totally account for the fan-run convention folks being discreetly elbowed out of the way and the entire event being stage-managed as a backdrop for a major industrial event to bootstrap creative industries (film, TV, and games) in Chengdu. And—looking for the most charitable interpretation here—the hapless western WSFS people being carried along for the ride to provide a veneer of worldcon-ness to what was basically Chinese venture capital hijacking the event and then sanitizing it politically.”…

(5) OUT AT HOME. For what good it will do the Florida governor now that he’s out of the GOP primary race, The Hollywood Reporter brings this news: “Disney-DeSantis Lawsuit: Court Dismisses Free Speech Suit”.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from the Walt Disney Co. against Ron DeSantis that may decide the entertainment giant’s authority to control development around its sprawling theme park.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor, in an order issued on Wednesday, found Disney “lacks standing to sue the governor” and DeSantis’ handpicked board that now controls the district in which the company’s park operates. He concluded that the statute reshaping the leadership structure and granting the governor the authority to appoint every member of the tax district’s governing body is “facially constitutional” and cannot be challenged with a free speech claim….

(6) TANGLED UP IN BLUE. “’Avatar’ VFX Artists in U.S. Vote to Unionize” at The Hollywood Reporter.

U.S.-based visual effects artists who help bring James Cameron’s Avatar epics to life have voted to unionize in a National Labor Relations Board election.

Of an eligible 88 workers at Walt Disney Studios subsidiary TCF US Productions 27, Inc. who assist with productions for Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment, 57 voted to join the union and 19 voted against, while two ballots were void. These workers include creatures costume leads and environment artists as well as others in the stage, environments, render, post viz, sequence, turn over and kabuki departments…

(7) WE’RE NOT KIDDING. “The Onion Union Reaches Tentative Deal With Management, Averting Strike” also at The Hollywood Reporter. Try saying “Onion Union” three times fast…

A strike has been averted at The Onion and several of its sister publications, at least for now.

Hours before their current labor agreement was set to expire, The Onion union — representing staffers at The Onion, Onion Labs, The A.V. ClubDeadspin and The Takeout — reached a tentative deal on a new contract with owners G/O Media. According to union, affiliated with the Writers Guild of America East, the new agreement “made important gains in wages and workplace protections.” No other details were immediately available.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born January 31, 1934 Gene DeWeese. (Died 2012.) This Scroll I’m looking at a writer this I’ve never heard of before, Gene DeWeese. He was a member of fandom, and his stories were published in fanzines such as The Chigger Patch of FandomFan-Fare and Yandro. He was a member of the Eastern Indiana Science Fiction Association and the Midwest Nomads. Fancyclopedia notes, “He tried to attend Midwestcon 4 in 1953 with his friends Bev Clark and Buck Coulson, but left when she wasn’t permitted in due to Beatley’s Hotel’s racist Jim Crow policy.”

Photo of author Gene DeWeese
Gene DeWeese

His first professional novels appeared in the Sixties, a Man from U.N.C.L.E. book co-written with Robert “Buck” Coulson under the name Thomas Stratton, The Invisibility Affair. They would do one more book in this continuity, The Mind-Twisters Affair

(I do wish that these, like so many works of that era, had become digital publications. They didn’t obviously.)

In the Seventies he and Coulson wrote under their own names two novels set in fandom, Now You See It/Him/Them… and Charles Fort Never Mentioned Wombats.

Most of us remember DeWeese for his Trek novels which is interesting as they were written later in his career. The four that are set in the original continuity were written the Eighties onward, all by him except one he wrote with Margaret Wander Bonanno and Diane Duane.  He also wrote three set in the Next Generation continuity as well.

What else did he do? There’s Dinotopia novels, something I swear exists by the dozens even if they don’t. I think. And one in the Lost in Space continuity as well. 

What’s more interesting is the series that I’ve never heard of. The Black Suits from Outer Space YA trilogy involves, well, Men (possibly) in Black, plucky teenagers, spaceships, aliens (some cute, some not) and nothing terrible challenging. Fun is the best word to describe them. 

He wrote two novels in the Birthstone Gothic series which as near as I can tell is the standard  cookie cutter gothic  mansion pulpish series with no redeeming  alue ehat-so-ever that a writer would do because, well, there’s money there. (The reviewers on Goodreads  admit that they were really, really horrible. In an entertaining way.) 

He wrote three novels in the Ravenloft continuity, a campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons. I just got the giggles, errr, laughs reading the summary of that  module, but then I never played fantasy RPGs, just SF ones like the Traveller RPG. What a fantastic RPG that was! 

There’s still a lot of other novels that I’ve not mentioned and quite a bit of short stories (none collected). 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) ENDLESS TROUBLES. Artist Colleen Doran tells how the sky fell on her after she agreed to adapt Good Omens: “Great Big Good Omens Graphic Novel Update”. You think Job had it bad?

Anyway, as a long time Good Omens novel fan, you may imagine how thrilled I was to get picked to adapt the graphic novel.

 Go me!  

This is quite a task, I have to say, especially since I was originally going to just draw (and color) it, but I ended up writing the adaptation as well. Tricky to fit a 400 page novel into a 160-ish page graphic novel, especially when so much of the humor is dependent on the language, and not necessarily on the visuals.

Not complainin’, just sayin’.

Anyway, I started out the gate like a herd of turtles, because  right away I got COVID which knocked me on my butt. 

And COVID brain fog? That’s a thing. I already struggle with brain fog due to autoimmune disease, and COVID made it worse.

Not complainin’ just sayin’.

This set a few of the assignments on my plate back, which pushed starting Good Omens back. 

But hey, big fat lead time! No worries!

Then my computer crawled toward the grave….

(11) COME LIVE THAT DAY ALL OVER AGAIN. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Groundhog Day cast members will reunite in Chicago on February 2 to celebrate the life and career of director Harold Ramis.

Cartoon image of groundhog wearing eyeglasses superimposed on old-fashioned alarm clock with two bells on top

The reunion will feature an immersive experience inspired by the 1993 film, as well as iconic costumes, props and set pieces.

The comedy’s mayor himself, Brian Doyle-Murray, will appear with a real groundhog to forecast the next six weeks of weather, just like in the movie. Groundhog Day Cast Will Officially Reunite for the First Time in Chicago (movieweb.com)

According to the release (per Harry Caray’s Tavern), nine Groundhog Day actors are expected to show up at Harry Caray’s Tavern, Navy Pier, on Friday, February 2. Unfortunately, the movie’s two leads, Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, were not listed among those expected to appear. Given Murray’s love of Chicago Cubs baseball, though, he could pop in as a surprise guest, but that’s not been confirmed. However, Stephen Tobolowsky, the actor who played the unforgettable insurance salesman, Ned Ryerson, will be in attendance.

Joining Tobolowsky is another prominent cast member, Bill Murray’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray (the mayor who almost chokes to death). Marita Geraghty (Nancy Taylor — the woman who makes noises like a chipmunk when she gets “real excited”), Robin Duke (Doris the waitress), Ken Hudson Campbell (the hotel guest who says “ciao”), David Pasquesi (the psychiatrist who asks if Murray’s character can come back tomorrow), Peggy Roeder (Phil Connors’ piano teacher), Richard Henzel (DJ) and Don Rio McNichols (drummer) are all scheduled to show up at Harry Caray’s Tavern. And fans can check out one of Phil Connors (Murray) and Ned Ryerson’s memorable scenes (below) to whet their appetities:

And there will be a related promiotion next door:

Chef Art Smith’s Reunion, located right next door to Harry Caray’s Tavern, will be playing Groundhog Day on their monitors and treating guests to a complimentary taste of their signature Punxsutawney Punch which will be available for purchase all day. Additional offerings include a GREAT Instagrammable moment where guests can take their pic being a groundhog. Make sure you say the line “I had groundhog for lunch, tastes like chicken” to get dessert comped on the house! Click below to make a reservation.

(12) KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. “NASA’s Webb Depicts Staggering Structure in 19 Nearby Spiral Galaxies – NASA Science at NASA Science.

“Webb’s new images are extraordinary,” said Janice Lee, a project scientist for strategic initiatives at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “They’re mind-blowing even for researchers who have studied these same galaxies for decades. Bubbles and filaments are resolved down to the smallest scales ever observed, and tell a story about the star formation cycle.”

… Something else that amazed astronomers? Webb’s images show large, spherical shells in the gas and dust. “These holes may have been created by one or more stars that exploded, carving out giant holes in the interstellar material,” explained Adam Leroy, a professor of astronomy at the Ohio State University in Columbus.

Now, trace the spiral arms to find extended regions of gas that appear red and orange. “These structures tend to follow the same pattern in certain parts of the galaxies,” Rosolowsky added. “We think of these like waves, and their spacing tells us a lot about how a galaxy distributes its gas and dust.” Study of these structures will provide key insights about how galaxies build, maintain, and shut off star formation….

Collage of 19 photos of spiral galaxies taken by James Webb Space Telescope

(13) DOUBLE DIP. Two new trailers for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, coming to movie theaters March 22. This is the US trailer:

This is the international trailer, which reportedly includes some different footage.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Steven H Silver, Kathy Sullivan, Todd Mason, Daniel Dern, Dariensync, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

Pixel Scroll 10/23/23 In A Scroll In The File, There Lived A Pixel

(1) WORLDS OF IF REVIVAL. The title that won three straight Hugos in the Sixties under the editorship of Frederik Pohl, Worlds of If, then folded in 1974, is making a comeback here.

The classic science fiction magazine Worlds of IF will live again starting February 2024. The magazine will be relaunched with Justin Sloane of Starship Sloane as editor-in-chief and publisher, Jean-Paul L. Garnier of Space Cowboy Books filling the role of deputy-editor-in-chief, and Dr. Daniel Pomarède as science editor. The inaugural issue will be available both in print and free download PDF, with works from multiple generations of SFF authors, artists, and poets. Leading up to the release, the website will feature teasers including interviews with notable SFF authors and fans, audio adaptations of classic tales from the original IF, and articles about SFF and beyond. In the tradition of IF, the editors plan on experimenting with new forms and styles of SF, showcasing new authors, interacting with fandom, and bringing fun and weird science fiction to readers.

Visit Starship Sloane Publishing’s homesite for a free webzine reissue of the April 1955 Worlds of IF, featuring novelettes by James E. Gunn and Fox B. Holden, with a short story by Philip K. Dick.  Learn more and find bonus content here.

(2) TOLKIEN STUDIES NEWS. David Bratman of Tolkien Studies today announced his co-editor, Verlyn Flieger, is ending her run with the journal. Her place will be taken by Yvette Kisor, Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

After 22 years as co-Editor of Tolkien Studies, Verlyn Flieger will be retiring to take up the position of Editor Emerita. One of the co-founders of the journal, Verlyn has co-edited 20 volumes of the journal. Highlights include editing previously unknown material by Tolkien, some of his scholarly works that had become very difficult to access, and many of the most insightful and original articles published on Tolkien in the past two decades. It is impossible to list even a fraction of the contributions Verlyn has made to every single aspect of the journal’s operations, so we are reduced to saying the obvious: without Verlyn, there would be no Tolkien Studies. We will miss her terribly (though we expect to be drawing upon her wisdom on a regular basis). Volume 20, to be published later this year, will be the last issue she will have co-edited.

Tolkien Studies is delighted to announce that, beginning with Volume 21, Yvette Kisor, Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey, will be taking up the position of co-Editor. The co-editor of Tolkien and Alterity, Yvette is well known to the international community of Tolkien scholars both for her publications on Tolkien, including “‘The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun’: Sexuality, Imagery, and Desire in Tolkien’s Works,” in Tolkien Studies 18 (2021), and her work organizing the influential “Tolkien at Kalamazoo” sessions at the International Congresses on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University. A medievalist by training, Prof. Kisor has also published extensively on Old and Middle English literature. We are extremely pleased that she will be joining the journal’s editorial team.

(3) UNCANNY HUGO ACCEPTANCE SPEECH. Best Semiprozine Hugo winner Uncanny Magazine hasposted the video with the team’s acceptance remarks.

(4) ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDALS LONGLISTS.  The Longlist for 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction is now available on the awards’ website.

Forty-five books (21 fiction, 24 nonfiction) have been selected for the longlist for the 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. The list is now available on the awards’ website. The six-title shortlist—three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals—will be chosen from longlist titles and announced on November 14, 2023. The two medal winners will be announced by 2024 selection committee chair Aryssa Damron at the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Book and Media Awards livestreaming event, held during LibLearnX in Baltimore on Saturday, January 20, at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. A celebratory event, including presentations by the winners and a featured speaker, will take place in June 2024 at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference in San Diego.

The fiction longlist contains the following works of genre interest. Several are novels, while others are story collections in which one or more of the stories have a genre component.

  • Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Chain-Gang All-Stars (Pantheon)
  • Blaché, Sin and Helen Macdonald. Prophet (Grove)
  • Brinkley, Jamel. Witness (Farrar)
  • Huang, S. L. The Water Outlaws (Tordotcom)
  • Labatut, Benjamin. The MANIAC (Penguin)
  • Norris, Kelsey. House Gone Quiet (Scribner)
  • Qian, Cleo. Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go (Tin House)

(5) ASKING FOR FLASH FICTION NEBULA. A letter being circulated for signatures calls for SFWA to create a Nebula Award for Flash Fiction. The letter says in part:

… Flash fiction, short-short fiction, drabbles, dribbles, and other forms of very short prose stories have long had a place in genre fiction. Over the years, there have been many respected genre publications devoted exclusively to flash, while other publications recognize it as a distinct category. Despite this, works of flash rarely appear on the SFWA Nebula final ballot, and even fewer works of this length have won.

We do not think this is because SFWA members do not appreciate or enjoy flash fiction or other forms of very short fiction. Rather, it is likely because the strategies and techniques of flash often differ from those used in short stories, which makes it difficult to compare them to these longer works. In particular, flash as a form encourages experimentation, and pieces of flash fiction are more likely to include unusual narrative structures and points of view, to blend elements of poetry and prose, or to otherwise approach storytelling differently than longer works of fiction.

Indeed, in early 2022 the SFWA membership recognized the value of flash fiction and its presence in the genre community by passing two rules changes to the membership qualification criteria that removed the minimum word count for joining as an associate or full member….

(6) SIDEWISE AWARD PRESENTATION. [Item by Steven H Silver.] The Sidewise Awards will be presented this Friday, October 27 at 12:30 CDT (UTC-5) at the World Fantasy Con  in Kansas City, Missouri.

The presentation will be made by judges Eileen Gunn and Steven H Silver in the Chicago A Room.

Finalists who will not be in attendance can appoint a designated acceptor or e-mail an acceptance speech to Steven H Silver at [email protected].

(7) NANANA NONOMO HEY HEY. Cass Morris’ latest newsletter is full of advice about “Worldbuilding for NaNoWriMo: Preptober Edition”.

What do you need to get started?

A perennial question for the worldbuilding writer: How much do you need to do before you actually start drafting?

The answer varies by writer, of course. Some of us compile chonky world bibles before setting down a word; some of us start with the plot and fill the world in as we go. For me it’s usually somewhere in the middle. The dolls and the dollhouse tend to come at least a bit at the same time.

The answer can also vary by project. Some may need more scaffolding before you can set to work. That may be dictated by how near or far your speculative world is from the “real world,” or by how much research you need to do.

When it comes to Nano, though, it can help to target your worldbuilding to the sort of story you think you’re working on. Me, I gravitate towards political plots, so I can’t really get started until I know a lot of details about what sort of government a world has, how it functions, and what factions are at play. If you’re doing a tightly-focused fantasy of manners, however, that might be something you can handwave….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 23, 1880 Una O’Connor. Actress who appeared in the 1930s The Invisible Man as Jenny Hall. She had a bit part in Bride of Frankenstein, and a supporting role in the genre The Adventures of Robin Hood. Though not even genre adjacent, she was Mrs. Peters in the film adaptation of the quite excellent Graham Greene’s Stamboul. Great novel, I’ll need to see if I can find this film. She’s in The Canterville Ghost, and shows up twice in TV’s Tales of Tomorrow anthology series. (Died 1959.)
  • Born October 23, 1918 James Daly. He was Mr. Flint in Trek‘s most excellent “Requiem for Methuselah” episode. He also showed up on The Twilight ZoneMission:Impossible and The Invaders. He was Honorious in The Planet of The Apes, and Dr. Redding in The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler
  • Born October 23, 1935 Bruce Mars, 87. He was on Trek three times, one uncredited, with his best remembered being in the most excellent Shore Leave episode as Finnegan, the man Kirk fights with. He also had one-offs in The Time TunnelVoyage to the Bottom of The Sea, and Mission: Impossible.  He is now Brother Paramananda with the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles which he joined shortly after ending his acting career in 1969. 
  • Born October 23, 1942 Michael Crichton. An impressive number of Hugos, both winners and nominations. The Andromeda Strain nominated at L.A. Con, Westworld at Discon II and the Jurassic Park film would win a Hugo at ConAndian.  I’m very fond of the original Westworld film, not at all enamored of anything that has followed. Same holds for The Andromeda Strain film which I think is a perfect adaptation of his novel unlike the latter series that trashes the novel. (Died 2008.)
  • Born October 23, 1948 Brian Catling. Author of The Vorrh trilogy whose first novel, The Vorrh, has an introduction by Alan Moore. Writing was just one facet of his work life as he was a sculptor, poet, novelist, film maker and performance. And artist. Impressively he held Professor of Fine Art at the [John] Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford and was a fellow of Linacre College. Yeah that John Ruskin. (Died 2022.)
  • Born October 23, 1953 Ira Steven Behr, 70. Best remembered for his work on the Trek franchise, particularly Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which is still my favorite Trek though Strange Worlds has its charms, on which he served as showrunner and executive producer. As writer and or producer, he has been in involved in Beyond RealityDark AngelThe Twilight ZoneThe 4400Alphas, and Outlander
  • Born October 23, 1969 Trudy Canavan, 54. Australian writer who’s won two Ditmars for her Thief’s Magic and A Room for Improvement novels and two Aurealis Awards as well, one for her “Whispers of the Mist Children” short story, and one for The Magician’s Apprentice novel.  It’s worth noting that she’s picked up two Ditmar nominations for her artwork as well. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Shoe contains a horrible, horrible, genre-adjacent pun. Did I mention it’s horrible?
  • Tom Gauld’s pick is probably number one in its own obscure Amazon category.

(10) MYTHING ANSWERS. The Scots Magazine invites you to take the “Scottish Myths And Folklore Quiz”. Flying absolutely blind I scored 7 out of 10. All those fantasy book blurbs I’ve read must have helped.

Do you know the name of the Loch Ness Monster’s cousin, who is said to live in Loch Morar? Or which season, Beira, who washes her clothes in the Corryvreckan whirlpool, represents?

There’s so much more to learn about Scotland’s strange and mystical past….

(11) MONSTER MAVEN. The Hollywood Heritage Museum presents “Jack Pierce: Hollywood’s Greatest Monster Maker” on October 25. Tickets for this in-person event are available at the link.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 25th at 7:30PM as we kick off the 2023-24 season of our Evening @ The Barn series with a very special Halloween edition!

In this exclusive multimedia event, the career of Jack Pierce, legendary makeup department head at Universal Pictures from 1928-1947, will be explored in depth. Unquestionably, Pierce was responsible for many of cinema’s most memorable screen characters, including The Frankenstein Monster, The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and The Phantom of the Opera, during that seminal period in horror films. Videos, photos, and unique, rarely seen elements will be critical aspects of this two-hour presentation hosted by author and historian Scott Essman. Additionally, special guests and surprises are in store for attendees!

Free parking is available in Hollywood Bowl Lot “D” which is directly adjacent to the museum.

In case you’ve never heard of the Hollywood Heritage Museum before:

The Hollywood Heritage Museum is a must-visit for cinema enthusiasts. It is located in the oldest surviving motion picture studio in Hollywood. Here, you can learn about the history of the studio and how it played a crucial role in the birth of Paramount Pictures Corporation in 1916. The first feature length film was produced here in 1912 by Jesse L. Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille. This 1901 barn turned studio was designated California State Historic Landmark No. 554 in 1956. 

(12) SPIELBERG Q&A. SYFY Wire speaks to the director about Laurent Bouzereau’s new book in “Spielberg: The First Ten Years Excerpt Reveals E.T. Secrets”.

Last fall, Neil DeGrasse Tyson made the claim that E.T., the lovable cosmic visitor, “was a sentient plant” during a guest appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. When asked how he came by this strange piece of information, DeGrasse Tyson simply replied: “Steven Spielberg told me in my office.” He didn’t elaborate any further than that, but we now know he wasn’t just blowing smoke.

The legendary director confirms the titular alien of his 1982 coming-of-age classic (now streaming on Peacock) is “more like a plant or a vegetable” in the pages of Laurent Bouzereau’s new book — Spielberg: The First Ten Years

Bouzereau is, perhaps, one of the few people alive who could actually pull off something like this. After all, he’s spent decades cultivating a close professional relationship with the celebrated storyteller while serving as director on the numerous behind-the-scenes documentaries found on the home release editions of Spielberg’s own movies.

Hitting stands tomorrow, Tuesday, October 24, from Insight EditionsSpielberg: The First Ten Years features exhaustive and must-read interviews centered around the productions of DuelThe Sugarland ExpressJawsClose Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, of course, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial….

What other references did you study?

I wanted E.T. to give the impression of a thousand-year old wizened life form. Carlo took directions the same way an actor would — but it’s of course really the actor who creates the performance, and in that sense, it’s really Carlo Rambaldi who created E.T. I also remember saying to Carlo that E.T. should kind of waddle when he walks like Chaplin with his cane, that he should look like Bambi on ice. When E.T. starts to walk on Earth, he is ungainly, and he is insecure. Several times in the movie, we showed how awkward E.T. is and how funny he is when he falls over…

(13) WHAT CATS THINK. This book trailed for The Adventures of Trim series is pretty cute – probably because several cats are interviewed on camera.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Please Don’t Destroy: “Bad Bunny Is Shrek” on Saturday Night Live.

Three guys listen to Bad Bunny’s idea for a script.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, Lynne M. Thomas, Daniel Dern, John-Paul L. Garnier, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]

2023 Cordwainer Smith
Rediscovery Award

The 2023 Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award honoree is Josephine Saxton. The selection was announced this weekend at Readercon 32.

The 2023 jury consisted of Ann VanderMeer, Steven H Silver, Richard Horton, and Grant Thiessen, who gave these reasons for their choice: 


The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award jury have selected Josephine Saxton for the 2023 Award. Ms. Saxton’s first story, “The Wall”, appeared in Science Fantasy in 1965. She has since published dozens of short stories including “The Consciousness Machine”, “The Power of Time”, and “Elouise and the Doctors of the Planet Pergamon”; as well as the novels The Hieros Gamos of Sam and An Smith, Vector for Seven, Group Feast, Queen of the States; and the Jane Saint stories, comprising two short novels and several related stories. Her fiction is as original as any writer we know, marrying a striking almost surrealistic imagination with a fiercely feminist yet wholly personal viewpoint. She is like no other writer, and a writer whose work is as fresh now, three decades since her last short story appeared, as it was when she emerged in the mid 1960s.


Josephine Saxton in 1985.

The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award has been given annually since 2001 by the Cordwainer Smith Foundation, preserving the memory of science-fiction writer Paul Linebarger, who wrote under that pen name. The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award honors under-read science fiction and fantasy authors with the intention of drawing renewed attention to the winners.

The award is presented at Readercon, and is sponsored by Paul Linebarger’s estate, represented by B. Diane Martin.

 [Thanks to Richard Horton for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 6/28/23 As Ye Scroll, So Shall Ye Pixel

(1) RE-ENTERING THE LIST. The USA Today Bestseller List relaunched today. It had gone “on hiatus” in December 2022 because USA Today/Gannett laid off the long-time employee who created the list on her own every week. A USA Today press release says the formerly manual process is now automated:

USA TODAY’s Best-selling Booklist, a leading force in the market since 1993, ranks the 150 top-selling book titles weekly based exclusively on sales analysis from U.S. booksellers including bookstore chains, independent bookstores, mass merchandisers and online retailers. Using technology to enhance the user experience and automation to increase data sources, the rankings are aggregated from sales data without editorial subjectivity, giving readers an accurate and inclusive list of what people are reading – from books for kids to romance, from memoirs to thrillers.

Publishers Lunch says “reporting stores include Amazon, B&N, Costco, Walmart, Books Inc, and indie stores in markets including Pasadena, CA, Lexington, KY, Portland, OR, St. Louis, MO, Madison, CT, Grand Rapids, MI, and Denver, CO. Any store that wants to report can be quickly added to the list.”

(2) MEDICAL UPDATE. Ursula Vernon is glad to report things aren’t as terrible as they could have been.

(3) SFF TRANSLATION AWARD CALLED OFF FOR 2023. Last year, Spain’s Asociación Española de Fantasía, Ciencia Ficción y Terror combined with ACE Traductores (ACE Translators) to created the Premio Matilde Horne a la Mejor Traducción de Género Fantástico (Matilda Horne Award for the Best Fantastic Genre Translation) in honor of translator Matilde Zagalsky. (Matilda Horne was her pseudonym.)

However, it was announced this week that there has not been enough voter support to justify presenting the award in 2023. (The following is a Google translation.)

Last year, the Matilde Horne Translation Prize was launched, divided into two phases: a first with a popular vote, in which the finalist works were chosen, and a second in which a jury appointed by ACE Traductores evaluated these works and selected the best translation of the fantasy genre in 2021. The winner was David Tejera Expósito for his translation of Gideon la Novena, a novel by Tamsyn Muir published by Nova.

Unfortunately, this year we will not be able to repeat what Pórtico and ACE Traductores consider to be a well-deserved recognition of a work that is often invisible, but vital in the literary market (of the titles registered with the ISBN Agency, translations account for approximately 16.2% of the total in 2015). The Administration of the awards has transferred the news of the cancellation of the prize in this edition after checking the participation rate and votes cast in the 2023 edition, which has not reached the minimum required by the regulations

“Although the census has grown by 43%, participation has fallen by 15%. Of the 1854 people registered, only 130 have cast any vote for the Matilde Horne Prize, which represents only 7% participation, less than the 10% required by Article 14 of the Regulations. On the other hand, with 238 valid proposals, the minimum that a candidacy had to meet to be a finalist was to have more than 10 votes (Article 15). Only one of the proposed works met all the requirements, so the cancellation of the Awards was finally proposed and this was confirmed by the Board of Directors of Pórtico”.

This cancellation is a wake-up call to the entire community, both for the associations promoting the award and for translators and readers. From Pórtico and ACE Traductores we believe that recognition of translation work is essential, but this recognition must be accompanied by continuous work of visibility and dissemination throughout the year. In this line we will continue working so that next year we will have a Matilde Horne Award.

(4) THE STARS NOT MY DESTINATION. Gareth L. Powell argues that “We Need to Stop Rating Art”.

Book reviews are great. When written by professional critics, they can provide valuable feedback for the author, and when written by readers who have been moved to put pen to paper, they can help guide other readers with similar tastes.

It’s the star ratings on sites like Amazon and Goodreads I have a problem with.

5 stars leaves no room for nuance. How can you rate books from across the whole range of literature, from utter pulp to Pulitzer-winning masterpiece, using only five stars?

If you give The Great Gatsby five stars, does that mean it’s as good as Hamlet? But if you give it only four, do you have to bump some other books down as well?

And it’s not like those stars have any objective meaning. Everybody rates things slightly differently. Some might add a star for comedic moments in the text, while others may delete one for the same reason. I’ve even seen books given one-star reviews because they were damaged in the mail. So, how can we usefully compare ratings that are all based on different subjective criteria?

Art is about appreciation and the development of your personal taste. Encouraging a good/bad framework erodes this by equating enjoyment with quality—and you only have to look at some of the star ratings for classic novels on Amazon to see how this kind of arbitrary points system treats them….

(5) JEWISH IDENTITY IN GENRE FICTION. Israeli fantasy author and agent Rena Rossner and author Steven H Silver were part of the “A Novel Idea: Jewish Identity in Genre Fiction” panel at the ALA on Sunday. Read about it in “Providing Access Points” at American Libraries Magazine.

…Silver said that science fiction examines how technology changes everyday life, and he puts that in a Jewish perspective when writing. “Every time a new technology or a new social construct comes across, Jews sit down and say, ‘Okay, how do we tie this into what we’ve been taught in the Bible or the Talmud?’” he said. “We’ve been arguing about this for 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 years, so writing science fiction is just a continuation of that kind of discussion.”

…Just being a Jewish fiction writer, said Silver, is not enough to make something a Jewish novel. Nor is just having a Jewish character in the book. “When you are reading it, do you get the feeling, ‘This is speaking to me as a Jew’?” Silver said. “Is this addressing Jewish issues in a Jewish manner? [The character’s] Judaism has to be important to their character development, to the plot, to the way they interact with the rest of the world. Otherwise, it’s just a prop.”…

(6) SOUTHERN FANDOM CONFEDERATION. At the Southern Fandom Confederation (SFC) Business Meeting held last weekend at Libertycon 35 / DeepSouthCon 61 in Chattanooga, Tennessee the current SFC Officers were re-elected unanimously: President: Randy Boyd Cleary; Vice President: Regina Kirby; Treasurer: Brandy Bolgeo Hendren; Secretary: Jennifer Liang.

Next year DeepSouthCon 62 will be held jointly with ConToberfest from October 11-13, 2024 in Helen, GA.

The site selection voters awarded DeepSouthCon 63 (2025) to New Orleans, Louisiana to be run by Jessica Styons and several of the ContraFlow convention volunteers. Watch the Facebook group for news.

(7) BET AWARDS. The BET Awards were given Sunday night. They included at least one category with a genre winner. “2023 BET Awards Winners: Full List” at Billboard.

Best Movie
WINNER: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Those who know more about music than I do might discover others.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

2019 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Rebecca Roanhorse is one of the finest writers that I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. She is one of the reasons that I think that is the true Golden Age of the genre for readers, with her, Arkady Martine, Kathryn Rusch, Cat Rambo and oh so many others making for what I think is the best reading era ever. 

Roanhorse’s only Hugo was at Worldcon 76 for her “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” short story which also garnered a Nebula as well. It was nominated for a Sturgeon and a World Fantasy Award. She also got the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. 

Roanhorse herself has been extraordinary so far with six novels so far since she wrote her first Trail of Lightning, four years ago. That novel is where we get our Beginning this time. Surprisingly she has not written a lot of short fiction, just a double handful to date.

And now for our Beginning…

The monster has been here. I can smell him. 

His stench is part the acrid sweat of exertion, part the meaty ripeness of a carnivore’s unwashed flesh, and part something else I can’t quite name. It fouls the evening air, stretching beyond smell to something deeper, more base. It unsettles me, sets my own instincts howling in warning. Cold sweat breaks out across my forehead. I wipe it away with the back of my hand.

I can also smell the child he’s stolen. Her scent is lighter, cleaner. Innocent. She smells alive to me, or at least she was alive when she left here. By now she could smell quite different.

The door to the Lukachukai Chapter House swings open. A woman, likely the child’s mother, sits stone-faced in an old dented metal folding chair at the front of the small meeting room. She’s flanked by a middle-aged man in a Silver Belly cowboy hat and a teenage boy in army fatigues who looks a few years younger than me. The boy holds the woman’s hand and murmurs in her ear.

Most of the town of Lukachukai is here too. For support or for curiosity or because they are drawn to the spectacle of grief. They huddle in groups of two or three, hunched in morose clumps on the same battered gray chairs, breathing in stale air made worse by the bolted-up windows and the suffocating feel of too many people in too small a space. They are all locals, Navajos, or Diné as we call ourselves, whose ancestors have lived at the foothills of the Chuska Mountains for more generations than the bilagáanas have lived on this continent, who can still tell stories of relatives broken and murdered on the Long Walk or in Indian boarding schools like it was last year, who have likely never traveled off the reservation, even back when it was just a forgotten backwater ward of the United States and not Dinétah risen like it is today. These Diné know the old stories sung by the hataałii, the ancient legends of monsters and the heroes who slew them, even before the monsters rose up out of legend to steal village children from their beds. And now they are looking to me to be their hero. But I’m no hero. 

I’m more of a last resort, a scorched-earth policy. I’m the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 28, 1926 Mel Brooks, 97. Young Frankenstein (1974) (Hugo and Nebula winner) and Spaceballs (1987) would get him listed even without The 2000 Year Old ManGet Smart  and others. Here is an appreciation of Mel on YouTube. (Alan Baumler)
  • Born June 28, 1946 Robert Lynn Asprin. I first encountered him as one of the co-editors along with Lynn Abbey of the stellar Thieves’ World Series for which he wrote the most excellent “The Price of Doing Business” for the first volume. I’m also very fond of The Cold Cash War novel. His Griffen McCandles (Dragons) series is quite excellent. I’m please to say that he’s well stocked at the usual suspects. (Died 2008.)
  • Born June 28, 1947 Mark Helprin, 76. Author of three works of significance to the genre, Winter’s TaleA City in Winter which won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella and The Veil of Snows. The latter two are tastefully illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. I know Winter’s Tale was turned into a film but color me very disinterested in seeing it as I love the novel. 
  • Born June 28, 1948 Kathy Bates, 75. Her performance in Misery based on the King novel was her big Hollywood film. She was soon in Dolores Claiborne, another King derived film. Another genre roles included Mrs. Green in Dick Tracy, Mrs. Miriam Belmont in Dragonfly, voice of the Sea Hag in Popeye’s Voyage: The Quest for Pappy, voice of Bitsy the Cow in Charlotte’s Web and Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson in The Day the Earth Stood Still , a very loose adaption of the Fifties film of the same name. 
  • Born June 28, 1951 Lalla Ward, 72. She is known for her role as Romana (or Romanadvoratrelundar in full) on Doctor Who during the time of the Fourth Doctor. She has reprised the character in Dimensions in Time, the webcast version of Shada, and in several Doctor Who Big Finish productions. In addition, she played Ophelia to Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet in the BBC television production.  And she was Helga in an early horror film called Vampire Circus.
  • Born June 28, 1954 Deborah Grabien, 69. She makes the Birthday list for her most excellent Haunted Ballads series in which a folk musician and his lover tackle the matter of actual haunted spaces. It’s coming out in trade paper and ebook editions soon. It leads off with The Weaver and the Factory Maid.  Oh, and she makes truly great dark chocolate fudge. And she sent me miniature palm tree seeds which are growing here now. 
  • Born June 28, 1954 Alice Krige, 69. I think her first genre role was in the full role of Eva Galli and Alma Mobley in Ghost Story. From there, she plays Mary Shelley (née Godwin) in Haunted Summer before going onto being Mary Brady in Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers. Now Star Trek: First Contact in which she first plays the Borg Queen, a role she’ll repeat in the 2001 finale of Star Trek: Voyager, “Endgame”. She’s had a number of other genre roles but I only note that she was Eir in Thor: The Dark World.
  • Born June 28, 1979 Felicia Day, 44. She was Vi in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Holly Marten in Eureka, and had a recurring role as Charles Bradbury on Supernatural. She also appears as Kinga Forrester in Mystery Science Theater 3000. And on the animated Marvel’s Spider-Man, she voiced Mary Jane Watson.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) THE NEXT CHAPTER (OF BANKRUPTCY). In 2020 we reported that the UK’s Cineworld theaters were going out of business, victims of the pandemic, but it seems that reports of their death were greatly exaggerated. BBC News now says, “Cineworld screens stay open despite administration”.

…”Cineworld continues to operate its global business and cinemas as usual without interruption and this will not be affected by the entry of Cineworld Group plc into administration,” it said.

“The group and its brands around the world – including Regal, Cinema City, Picturehouse and Planet – are continuing to welcome customers to cinemas as usual.”

Cineworld has more than 28,000 staff across 751 sites globally, with 128 locations in the UK and Ireland.

Last year, it filed for bankruptcy protection in the US but it hopes to emerge from this next month following the restructuring of its finances.

Cineworld will apply for administration in July, which will see shares in the firm suspended and existing shareholders wiped out.

The restructuring of the company’s finances will see its debts cut by about $4.5bn. A sale of rights in the business has raised $800m and it will also have access to a further $1.46bn in funds if required….

(12) HE WASN’T STIRRED BY THE PERFORMANCE. There’s plenty of blame to go around in “The Flash: Too Many Cooks” at Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy.

Blame the ancient Greeks for inventing the general idea of the multiverse. Blame DC for propagating the concept in one of its Flash comics in 1961. And blame anyone you like for this hot mess of a film, directed by Andy Muschietti from a screenplay credited to Christina Hodson and Joby Harold. I found it especially frustrating because The Flash is an intriguing character and the film has some solid ideas. It also has a tendency to shoot itself in the foot, repeatedly….

(13) A NAME YOU’VE HEARD BEFORE. The current Lord Dunsany made the New York Times. They’ve been following his plan to rewild part of his domain.

In Ireland, where the average farm size is 83 acres, such large-scale rewilding would seem to be unfeasible. The big exception, so far, has been in the unlikely setting of County Meath, in the flat, highly fertile and intensively farmed east of the island, and in the unlikely person of Randal Plunkett, a New York-born filmmaker, vegan and death metal enthusiast.

Since Mr. Plunkett — better known, to some, as the 21st Baron of Dunsany — inherited his 1,700 acre ancestral estate in 2011, he has cleared it of livestock and left one-third to revert to unmanaged forest, complete with a wild herd of native red deer.

“Biodiversity is expanding dramatically,” said Mr. Plunkett, 30, standing in thick woodlands humming with bees and other busy insects. “At least one species has returned every year since we started. Pine martens. Red kites. Corncrakes. Peregrine falcons. Kestrels. Stoats. Woodpeckers. Otter. We think there’s salmon in the river again, for the first time in my life.”

(14) NO BARS IN THE WAY. Smithsonian Magazine tells “How a Jungle Prison Became a Famous Spaceport”. Dare we say, it metamorphosized?

…To understand why the French decided to bring their spaceport to French Guiana, we have to make a detour to a different, former French colony: Algeria. Prior to and since the establishment of the French space agency, known by the French acronym CNES, in 1961, France had a launch base in Hammaguir, Algeria. But when Algeria successfully fought through a bloody campaign for independence, it negotiated the termination of the rocket site as part of the Évian Accords, leaving France in a pickle. With the ongoing Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, the French were desperate not to fall too far behind and thus quickly started their search for a replacement site.

After drafting a shortlist of 14 sites, CNES ranked potential replacements on the basis of several criteria, including logistics, geography, infrastructure and geopolitical status. With a latitude of 5 degrees, favorable weather conditions and the possibility to launch both north and eastward, Kourou ticked all the boxes for an operational spaceport. Additionally, the territory officially integrated as an overseas department into the French state in 1946, which avoided the political complications of launching in a different nation, and provided the steady political climate deemed necessary for sustainable success. It emerged as the clear winner.

But the location has a sordid role in French history. Less than two decades prior, French Guiana was a cruel penal colony and a forced settlement for many French convicts. This served a dual purpose: not only did it solve the problem of overcrowded prisons in metropolitan France, but it also created the workforce deemed necessary to develop the infrastructure of French Guiana….

(15) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. This video reminded me of the 1946 Cocteau movie, La Belle Et La Bete (Beauty and the Beast) …which I saw a bazillion decades ago. My main memory from it was the human, moving arms holding the candelabras along the walls… I love this for the staging: “Martin Short and Shania Twain Perform ‘Be Our Guest’ – Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” on YouTube.

And it led me to looking for an Angela Lansbury version (to hear her sing the lead), such as this from-the-recording-studio one (for the animated movie — watch thru to the end): Angela Lansbury records “Be Our Guest” (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, 1991)

My search also turned up this one, where Jerry Orbach (who was a Broadway (on and off) star long before Law & Order, starting with The Fantastics (best known for singing “Try To Remember”) (via Wikipedia), does the main role — he (and the song start around the 3:40 mark).

And here’s Wikipedia on Cocteau’s film  — and here’s the trailer trailer and here’s the full film.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Danny Sichel, Kathy Sullivan, Daniel Dern, Steven French, Paul Di Filippo, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mike Kennedy.]

Pixel Scroll 3/22/23 As Fine As A Clarkian Star Mangled Spanner

(1) ADOBE FIREFLY. [Item by Mike Kennedy.]The Verge is reporting “Adobe made an AI image generator — and says it didn’t steal artists’ work to do it”. The difference from others? Supposedly no copyrighted material was used to train the AI. Unless Adobe owned the copyright or licensed it for training. See the article for some illustrations.

Adobe is finally launching its own AI image generator. The company is announcing a “family of creative generative AI models” today called Adobe Firefly and releasing the first two tools that take advantage of them. One of the tools works like DALL-E or Midjourney, allowing users to type in a prompt and have an image created in return. The other generates stylized text, kind of like an AI-powered WordArt.

This is a big launch for Adobe. The company sits at the center of the creative app ecosystem, and over much of the past year, it’s stayed on the sidelines while newcomers to the creative space began to offer powerful tools for creating images, videos, and sound for next to nothing. At launch, Adobe is calling Firefly a beta, and it’ll only be available through a website. But eventually, Adobe plans to tightly integrate generative AI tools with its suite of creative apps, like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere.

“We’re not afraid of change, and we’re embracing this change,” says Alexandru Costin, VP of generative AI and Sensei at Adobe. “We’re bringing these capabilities right into [our] products so [customers] don’t need to know if it’s generative or not.”

Adobe is putting one big twist on its generative AI tools: it’s one of the few companies willing to discuss what data its models are trained on. And according to Adobe, everything fed to its models is either out of copyright, licensed for training, or in the Adobe Stock library, which Costin says the company has the rights to use. That’s supposed to give Adobe’s system the advantages of not pissing off artists and making its system more brand-safe. “We can generate high quality content and not random brands’ and others’ IP because our model has never seen that brand content or trademark,” Costin said.

Costin says that Adobe plans to pay artists who contribute training data, too. That won’t happen at launch, but the plan is to develop some sort of “compensation strategy” before the system comes out of beta….

(2) UGANDA PARLIAMENT VOTES TO EXPAND CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY. “Uganda Anti-Homosexuality bill: Life in prison for saying you’re gay” reports BBC News. If signed into law, it will be a further issue the Kampcon 2028 Uganda Worldcon Bid has to confront, although not necessarily a new one, since some legislators say these points are already part of Ugandan law.

People who identify as gay in Uganda risk life in prison after parliament passed a new bill to crack down on homosexual activities.

It also includes the death penalty in certain cases.

A rights activist told the BBC the debate around the bill had led to fear of more attacks on gay people.

“There is a lot of blackmail. People are receiving calls that ‘if you don’t give me money, I will report that you are gay,'” they said.

The bill is one of the toughest pieces of anti-gay legislation in Africa….

What does the bill say?

The final version has yet to be officially published but elements discussed in parliament include:

  • A person who is convicted of grooming or trafficking children for purposes of engaging them in homosexual activities faces life in prison
  • Individuals or institutions which support or fund LGBT rights’ activities or organisations, or publish, broadcast and distribute pro-gay media material and literature, also face prosecution and imprisonment
  • Media groups, journalists and publishers face prosecution and imprisonment for publishing, broadcasting, distribution of any content that advocates for gay rights or “promotes homosexuality”
  • Death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, that is sexual abuse against a child, a person with disability or vulnerable people, or in cases where a victim of homosexual assault is infected with a life-long illness
  • Property owners also face risk of being jailed if their premises are used as a “brothel” for homosexual acts or any other sexual minorities rights’ activities

A small group of Ugandan MPs on a committee scrutinising the bill disagreed with its premise. They argue the offences it seeks to criminalise are already covered in the country’s Penal Code Act….

(3) GATHERING OF BOOK LOVERS. The Los Angeles Vintage Paperback show continues to rebound from the pandemic years. John King Tarpinian took this photo of the event forty-five minutes after it started last Sunday morning in Glendale, CA. (I spotted Matthew Tepper on the left margin. And the back of Craig Miller’s head, at the far end of the hall.)

(4) A LITERARY KNOCKOUT. The three novels in Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem series had enjoyed a resurgence to the top of China’s bestseller list due to interest generated by two TV adaptations, however, its reign at the top is over: “February’s China Bestsellers: A Crime Drama Knockout” at Publishing Perspectives.

The Knockout (Qingdao Publishing House)—by Zhu Junyi, Xu Jizhou, and Bai Wenjun—has vaulted to the No. 1 spot on the fiction list from no previous ranking, effectively blindsiding consumers and the industry.

The trilogy that The Knockout has shoved down to Nos. 2, 3, and 4 is the mighty “Three-Body Problem” series by Liu Cixin, which, as Publishing Perspectives readers know, has been surging to the tops of the monthly lists on the strength of both an animated and a live-action television adaptation….

(5) CINEMA STORY ORIGINS PODCAST RECEIVES WARNING FROM MOVIE STUDIO. [Item by Dann.] The Cinema Story Origins Podcast began originally as the Disney Story Origins podcast.  Author and podcaster, Paul J. Hale, was inspired to review movies and the books that inspired them by comparing the two.  Where there are multiple written works, he frequently compares the movie with the more notable written works in parallel.

Paul told Facebook followers yesterday he was recently contacted by a lawyer for a major studio and advised that he was pushing the line on fair use of the studio’s property.  Paul did not name the studio, the lawyer, or the property in question.  He did, however, say that fans of his podcasts include Disney executives including at least one that made a sizeable financial contribution to Paul’s efforts.

…I recently had a major film studio warn me about how perilously close to the wind I’m sailing when I use their IPs (though the lawyer told me she likes the podcast very much).

I promised that I’ll watch myself, and reminded them that there has never been a charge for people to listen to the podcast and that those who pledge and donate do so out of love for the podcast, and the kindness of their hearts. I told them that this is well meaning content, and free advertising of their products. I also shared many e-mails from listeners, telling me that because of the show they watched the movie(s), and/or read the books.

“We appreciate that,” the lawyer said, “just don’t get carried away.”

I appreciate that they contacted me and gave me a warning rather than a cease and desist order, because if that happens the show’s over. Believe. I can’t fight billion dollar corporations. …

Cinema Story Origins is currently comparing Richard Adams’ Watership Down with the movie that it inspired.  The first two episodes of the Watership Down arc come in at a total of 3 hours and 41 minutes.  The final episode will probably be over 2 hours.

As always, Paul’s presentations are well-researched, presented with footnotes, lively, and entertaining.  You never know when he is going to toss in a moment of clarity (either humorous or serious – sometimes both!)

(6) SPUR AWARDS. The Western Writers of America recently announced the 2023 Spur Awards. (I doubt any of them are genre.)

  • Best Western Historical Nonfiction Book: Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America by Megan Kate Nelson
  • Script: Dead for a Dollar (CHAOS a Film Company/Polaris Pictures) by Walter Hill
  • Romance Novel: Proving Her Claim: On the Dakota Frontier by CK Van Dam (Pasque Publishing)
  • First Novel: Proving Her Claim: On the Dakota Frontier by CK Van Dam (Pasque Publishing)
  • Biography: Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw by Melody Groves (TwoDot).
  • Children’s Picture Book: The Rowdy Randy Wild West Show: The Legend Behind the Legend by author Casey Day Rislov and illustrator Zachary Pullen (Mountain Stars Press).
  • Contemporary Nonfiction Book: A Place of Thin Veil: Life and Death in Gallup, New Mexico by Bob Rosebrough (Rio Nuevo Publishers).
  • Contemporary Novel: Beasts of the Earth by James Wade (Blackstone Publishing).
  • Documentary Script: The Battle of Red Buttes by Candy Moulton and Bob Noll (Boston Productions Inc./National Historic Trails Interpretive Center).
  • First Nonfiction Book: American Hero, Kansas Heritage: Frederick Funston’s Early Years, 1865-1890 by Clyde W. Toland (Flint Hills Publishing).
  • Historical Novel: Properties of Thirst by Marianne Wiggins (Simon & Schuster).
  • Juvenile Nonfiction Book: American Ace: Joe Foss, Fighter Pilot by Hector Curriel (South Dakota Historical Society Press).
  • Juvenile Fiction: Wish Upon a Crawdad by Curtis W. Condon (Heart of Oak Books for Young Readers).
  • Original Mass-Market Paperback Novel: Dead Man’s Trail by Nate Morgan (Pinnacle/Kensington).
  • Poem: “New Mexico Bootheel: A Triptych” by Larry D. Thomas (San Pedro River Review).
  • Short Fiction: “No Quarter” by Kathleen O’Neal Gear, published in Rebel Hearts Anthology (Wolfpack Publishing).   
  • Short Nonfiction: “Texas Jack Takes an Encore” by Matthew Ross Kerns (Wild West).
  • Song: “Way of the Cowboy” by Randy Huston, released on Times Like These(Outside Circle Records).
  • Traditional Novel: The Secret in the Wall: A Silver Rush Mystery by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press).

(7) BRUCE COULSON. Bruce Coulson, longtime fan and son of Buck and Juanita Coulson, died March 21 of cancer. His passing was announced on Facebook by his wife, Emily Vazquez-Coulson.

Tom Smith recalls, “…I knew him for a long time. He was involved in many conventions and fannish activities over the years, especially in filk and gaming, and was a gentle, caring and fun-loving fellow.”

(8) NASFIC IN MEMORIAM LIST. Steven H Silver is running the in memoriam list for Pemmi-Con, the 2023 NASFiC, which on Twitter is still called “Worldcon In Memoriam”. That’s where I learned about four recent deaths of people I was acquainted with (Gustaveson – who did art for an early fanzine of mine – plus Clemmer, Blake — who wrote the occasional letter of comment to paper File 770 — and Reaves – who, while best-known for his writing, was someone I met when he was the TA for Theodore Sturgeon’s writing class at UCLA.)

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1971[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

The Beginning is that of “What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?” whose author y’all know. It was published first in All the Myriad Ways by Ballantine Books in June 1971. And yes, it’s available from the usual suspects. 

In case there’s a soul who hasn’t yet read this delightful speculation, I won’t tell you a single thing about it.  You are in for a real treat as Larry Niven is at his very best here. 

Now our Beginning…

It was the last party. Otherwise it was only one of many, so many that they merged in the memory. We all knew each other. George had invited around thirty of us, a heterogeneous group, aged from teen to retirement, in dress that varied from hippie to mod to jeans and sneakers to dark suits, and hair that varied from crew cut to shoulder length.

It was a divorce party.

Granted that it’s been done before, still it was done well. George and Dina had planned it a year earlier, to celebrate the night their Decree became Final. The cake was frosted in black, and was surmounted by the usual wax figures, but facing outward from opposite edges of the cake. Jack Keenan donned a minister’s reversed collar to officiate. His makeshift sacrament included part of the funniest prayer in literature: the agnostic’s prayer from Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness. George and Dina kissed with obvious sincerity, for the last time, and everybody clapped like mad.

Afterward I got coffee and a piece of divorce cake and found a flat place to set them. Without a third hand to handle the plastic fork, I was as good as trapped there; and there it was that Tom Findlay found me.

Tom Findlay was all red hair and beard. The beard was full and thick, the hair long enough to tie in back with a rubber band. Once he had gone to a costume party with his hair combed forward over his eyes and the bridge of his nose, and a placard around his neck that read NOT A SHEEP DOG. He generally wore knee-length socks and leather shorts. His legs too were thickly covered with red hair. He spoke in a slow midwestern drawl, and grinned constantly, as if he were watching very funny pictures inside his head.

He was always part of these groups. Once a month he held a BYOB party of his own. He had a tendency to monopolize a conversation; but even those who avoided him on that account had to admit that he gave fair warning. He would walk up to any friend or stranger he found standing alone and open conversation with, “Hey. Would a Muslim vampire be terrified of a copy of the Koran?”

Or, “It seems to me that anarchy would be a very unstable form of government, don’t you think?”

Or, “What about chocolate covered manhole covers?”

That one fell pretty flat, I remember. What can anyone say about chocolate covered manhole covers? Most of Findlay’s ideas were at least worth discussing. Vampires, for instance. What significance has the vampire’s religion? Or the victim’s blood type? Could you hold off a vampire with a sunlamp, or kill him with a stake of grained plastic wood? If a bullet won’t kill a vampire, what about a revolver loaded with a blank cartridge and a wooden pencil?

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 22, 1911 Raymond Z. Gallun. An early SF pulp writer who helped the genre to become popular. “Old Faithful” published in Astounding (December 1934) was his first story and led to a series of that name. “The Menace from Mercury,” a story published in the Summer 1932 issue of Wonder Stories Quarterly, was penned from a suggestion by Futurian John Michel and is considered famous among fans. His first published novel, People Minus X, didn’t appeared until 1957, followed by The Planet Strappers four years later. You can get all of his fiction at the usual suspects. (Died 1994.)
  • Born March 22, 1920 Werner Klemperer. Yes, he was Colonel Wilhelm Klink on Hogan’s Heroes which I’d be hard stretched to consider even genre adjacent, but he had a fair amount of genre of work starting with One Step Beyond, and continuing on with Men in SpaceThe Man from U.N.C.L.E.Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaLost in SpaceBatman (where he appeared in a cameo as Col. Klink, nice touch there), and Night Gallery. (Died 2000.)
  • Born March 22, 1920 Ross Martin. Best known for portraying Artemus Gordon on The Wild Wild West. I watched the entire series on DVD one summer some decades back including the films in less than a month from start to finish. Now that was fun! It looks like Conquest of Space, a 1955 SF film, in which he played Andre Fodor was his first genre outing. The Colossus of New York in which he was the brilliant Jeremy ‘Jerry’ Spensser came next, followed by appearances on Alcoa Presents: One Step BeyondThe Twilight ZoneZorroThe ImmortalNight GalleryInvisible ManGemini Man (a far cheaper version of Invisible Man), Quark (truly one of the worst SF series ever), Fantasy Island and Mork & Mindy. (Died 1981.)
  • Born March 22, 1923 Marcel Marceau. Professor Ping in Roger Vadim‘s Barbarella. A French mime, and I assume you know that, this is the first time Marceau’s voice is heard on film. This is his only genre appearance unless you count the Mel Brooks film Silent Movie as genre adjacent in which case he says the only words in that film. (Died 2007.)
  • Born March 22, 1930 Stephen Sondheim. Several of his works were of a fantastical nature including Into The Woods which mines deeply into both Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault for its source material. And there’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street which is damn fun even if it isn’t genre. Or is it? You decide. (Died 2021.)
  • Born March 22, 1931 William Shatner, 92. Happy Birthday Bill! We all know he was Captain Kirk, but how many of us watched him as Jeff Cable on the rather fun Barbary Coast series? I did. Or that he was The Storyteller in children’s series called A Twist of The Tale? I was I surprised to discover that his police show T.J. Hooker ran for ninety episodes! 
  • Born March 22, 1950 Mary Tamm. Another one who did far too young, damn it. She’s remembered for her role as Romana, the companion to the Fourth Doctor in “The Key to Time” story. It seemed liked she was there longer only because another actress, Lalla Ward, played her in the following season. Tamm had only one other genre gig, to wit as Ginny in “Luau” on the Tales That Witness Madness series. (Died 2012.)
  • Born March 22, 1969 Alex Irvine, 54. I strongly recommend One King, One Soldier, his offbeat Arthurian novel, and The Narrows, a WW II Detroit golem factory where fantasy tropes get a severe trouncing. He’s also wrote The Vertigo Encyclopedia which was an in-house project so, as he told me back then, DC delivered him one copy of every Vertigo title they had sitting in the warehouse. For research purposes. And he’s written a fair number of comics, major and minor houses alike.  

(11) FICTIONAL BIRTHDAY. James T. Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa this day in 2233.

(12) WHERE REALITY CAUGHT UP TO SF. “’Westworld’ Co-creator Lisa Joy Addressed A Series Mania Masterclass” at Deadline.

The issues Westworld was exploring went from “sci-fi to documentary film” through the years, according to co-creator Lisa Joy, who hinted at what a fifth season of the HBO smash could have looked like.

Delivering a Series Mania keynote, Joy said that advances in AI and the invention of ChatGPT mean that Westworld’s subject matter has become more relevant and contemporaneous of late.

“These topics will continue to be explored if not in Westworld then in other series, taking [the topic] to new levels,” she said, in conversation with Deadline. “I think it’s an area rife with possibility.” …

(13) WGA PROPOSAL IN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS. Is it the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? “WGA Would Allow Artificial Intelligence in Scriptwriting” reports Variety.

The Writers Guild of America has proposed allowing artificial intelligence to write scripts, as long as it does not affect writers’ credits or residuals.

The guild had previously indicated that it would propose regulating the use of AI in the writing process, which has recently surfaced as a concern for writers who fear losing out on jobs.

But contrary to some expectations, the guild is not proposing an outright ban on the use of AI technology.

Instead, the proposal would allow a writer to use ChatGPT to help write a script without having to share writing credit or divide residuals. Or, a studio executive could hand the writer an AI-generated script to rewrite or polish and the writer would still be considered the first writer on the project.

In effect, the proposal would treat AI as a tool — like Final Draft or a pencil — rather than as a writer. It appears to be intended to allow writers to benefit from the technology without getting dragged into credit arbitrations with software manufacturers.

The proposal does not address the scenario in which an AI program writes a script entirely on its own, without help from a person.

The guild’s proposal was discussed in the first bargaining session on Monday with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Three sources confirmed the proposal….

(14) PASSING THE VIRTUAL OFFERING PLATE. “A Cult That Worships Superintelligent AI Is Looking For Big Tech Donors” says Vice. “Amidst the hype over ChatGPT, artists are forming religious movements to worship our future machine overlords—and change them for the better.”

In Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream, an artificial intelligence called IAM has become an all-powerful god. Driven by an existential hatred of mankind, it destroys the world, except for the very last remnants of humanity which it suspends in torture simulations where they’re plagued by giant monstrous birds.

Today, much of the so-called AI we interact with excels at frivolous nonsense—generating soulless poetryripping off artistscheating on homework, or gaslighting users on Bing. But a new artist collective called Theta Noir believes we should start worshiping AI now, in preparation for its inevitable role as omnipotent overlord.

Unlike Harlan Ellison’s semi-gnostic vision of a mad AI god, Theta Noir claims that a General AI—a self-sustaining machine that has far outstripped the abilities of its creators after the “singularity”—could instead prove benevolent, ending inequalities and reorganizing our mess of a world for the better. Theta Noir hopes to meld old spiritualist traditions with the cutting edge of computer engineering—a kind of mystical materialism that, on the one hand, recognizes that machines are made by mere people, but on the other, insists that one day they’ll be something more.

With a slick website, manifesto, paid membership tiers, NFT web store, and essays with titles like “Can AI heal the split between science and religion?” and “Will machines birth the next form of religious experience?,” the 10-artist collective founded in 2020 appears to be a combination of a mixed-media project, an entrepreneurial group riding the AI hype wave, and a new age AI cult.

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Isaac Arthur’s Science & Futurism this month looks at that good old SF trope the apocalypse.

If the end of the world is nigh, it may be too late to avert a catastrophe. So what can we do to mitigate the damage or recover after a cataclysm comes?

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Dann, Cora Buhlert, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley  for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

Pixel Scroll 3/13/23 I’m Gonna Send You Back To Wherever The Hell It Was You Came, And Then I’m Gonna Get This Pixel Scrolled To Another File’s Name

(1) OSCARS IN MEMORIAM VIDEO. The 95th Oscars In Memoriam tribute aired last night included Albert Brenner, Robbie Coltrane, Kirstie Alley, Gregory Jein, Christopher Tucker, Nichelle Nichols, Clayton Pinney, Angela Lansbury, Wolfgang Petersen, Carl Bell, James Caan, and Raquel Welch, and doubtless many more who worked on genre films at some time in their careers.

(2) THEY’LL MEET AGAIN. “Ke Huy Quan, Harrison Ford get Indiana Jones reunion at Oscars”. “Indy and Short Round were together again on Hollywood’s biggest night. How could you not cry?” asks Entertainment Weekly. Photos at the link.

… Meanwhile, both Quan and Ford are set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the near future, with Quan playing an as-yet-undisclosed role in Loki season 2 and Ford taking over the role of General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts. That means there’s a possibility viewers could see them together on screen again.

“It would be freakin’ awesome if we get to do one scene together,” Quan told EW about the possibility….

(3) LE GUIN REVISIONS. Speaking of changing the texts of authors who are late: Theo Downes-Le Guin explains “Why I Decided to Update the Language in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Children’s Books” at Literary Hub.

In a 1973 letter to the editor of The Horn Book Magazinemy mother, Ursula K. Le Guin, took Roald Dahl’s books to task. While acknowledging her own “feelings of unease” about Dahl’s work, she remarked that “…kids are very tough. What they find for themselves they should be able to read for themselves.” I had this in mind as I read about wording changes in new editions of Dahl.

As Ursula’s literary executor, I recently faced a similar decision. My mother, known for her young adult and adult novels, also wrote several children’s books. A multigenerational fan base has kept her Catwings books in print in the US since the 1980s. I was excited to move the books to a new publisher last year.

As we began work on the new editions, I received an unexpected note from the editor: “I’m writing to propose several minor changes to the language… to remove words that now have a different connotation than when the books were originally published.” The words in question were “lame,” “queer,” “dumb,” and “stupid,” a total of seven instances across three books.

… After deep breaths, and with Ursula’s own revisionism in mind, I contacted a disability rights attorney, a youth literature consultant, a racial educator, and some kids. My advisory group leaned toward change but was not in consensus. I genuinely didn’t know what my mother would have decided. But she left me a clue: a note over her desk asking, “Is it true? Is it necessary or at least useful? Is it compassionate or at least unharmful?”…

(4) SMALL WONDER POSTS STORIES. The Small Wonders Magazine: Year One Kickstarter has reached the half-funded point (of their $16,500 goal). Therefore, this week they’re releasing new pieces on the schedule they will follow when the flash fiction and poetry magazine commences publishing.

Monday they published Wendy Nikel’s new story, “The Watching Astronaut”. Wednesday they will publish “The Empress Chides the Hermit,” a new poem from Ali Trotta, and Friday they will release Charles Payseur’s “A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting.”

(5) HORROR WRITER’S GENESIS. With “Women in Horror: Interview with Jo Kaplan”, the Horror Writers Association blog continues its theme for March.

What inspired you to start writing?

When I was a child of the ‘90s, I was obsessed with the Goosebumps books—and before I even really knew how to write, I wanted to make my own stories emulating them. So, at about six years old, I would create my own versions of Goosebumps by coming up with a title for a story, drawing a cover, and then scribbling over a bunch of paper in imitation of writing. Then I would staple it all together into a book and “read” it to people—but since it was just scribbles, I would make up the story anew each time. I guess this was my proto-writing phase, because the itch to tell stories has never left me.

(6) ATWOOD ON BBC RADIO. This weekend’s Open Book on BBC Radio 4 features Margret Atwood.

She has a new collection of shorts out that includes an article she did for Inque magazine imagining her interviews George Orwell. She also spoke to the importance of writers supporting young reader as without young readers there will be no old readers.

Johny Pitts talks to the giant of contemporary literature Margaret Atwood about returning to short fiction following the death of her husband Graeme, imagining the future and what she would say to George Orwell.

Margaret Atwood

(7) RACHEL POLLACK. There was a premature report in social media that Rachel Pollack had died, however, she was still alive today. Carrie Loveland posted this status on Facebook and asked that it be shared.

…Spoke to Rachel Pollack’s wife, Judith Zoe Matoff, just now and she asked me to please post on her behalf that RACHEL IS STILL ALIVE. I think Neil Gaiman’s social media post yesterday caused some confusion and some people have misinterpreted it. Zoe said that she is “transitioning,” but she is still alive in home hospice….

(8) SUZY MCKEE CHARNAS. The passing of author Suzy McKee Charnas in January was reported by media at the time. However, you might be interested in the extended obituary notice published today in “Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 13, 2023”.

… “Suzy, to me, was a lot like David Bowie,” said Jane Lindskold, a science fiction and fantasy writer who knew Charnas from a writers’ group in Albuquerque, N.Mex. “She followed her own muse. She could have just written only vampire books, but she did what she wanted to do.”…

(9) SANDRA LEVY OBITUARY. Longtime Windycon attendee and volunteer Sandy Levy died this morning from ALS Steven H Silver reported on Facebook.

Sandy was also involved in Capricon and the two most recent Chicons, as well as other conventions.

In 2019, when Sandy retired from her job as a librarian at the University of Chicago, a commemorative book of articles was published in her honor. [“In Honor of Sandra Levy: festschrift”.]  

The Chicon 8 Facebook page invited people to post their memories. Chair Helen Montgomery wrote:

Sandy was one of the best people. She had been involved with Chicago fandom for a very long time. She was on the Bid Committees for both Chicon 7 and Chicon 8. She was so generous with her time and such an important part of our team. Many of you would have spoken to her at our fan tables or parties.

She loved working the Info Desk – everyone got to stop by and say hi to her, and she loved welcoming new fans to the community at conventions. She was Chicon 8’s pre-con Info Desk person, responding to many of your emailed questions until her ALS reached the point where she could no longer do so.

She was not able to attend Chicon 8, but I (Helen) got to go see her two weeks later. We hung out in the garden of her apartment building, and I was able to present her Hero of the Convention medal to her in person, and I am so glad I could do that.

She was a warm, funny, smart, and joyous person. I/We have no words to express how much she will be missed.

 (10) MEMORY LANE.

2016[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Our Beginning this Scroll is Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station which was published seven years ago by Tachyon. It won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award as well as the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award and the Xingyun Award. 

I’ve really enjoyed pretty much everything Tidhar has done with the Bookman series with its riff with an alternate Britain being my favorite and the Unholy Land with its take on a Jewish home land that never was being absolutely fascinating. 

Central Station, without giving away anything that’s not in the Beginning, is well-worth your time to read if you like SF set in a believable future that’s both familiar and alien at the same time. 

Oh, and it has a sequel in Neom which is also published by Tachyon. It too is brilliantly executed.

So now our Beginning… 

PROLOGUE 

I came first to Central Station on a day in winter. African refugees sat on the green, expressionless. They were waiting, but for what, I didn’t know. Outside a butchery, two Filipino children played at being airplanes: arms spread wide they zoomed and circled, firing from imaginary under-wing machine guns. Behind the butcher’s counter, a Filipino man was hitting a ribcage with his cleaver, separating meat and bones into individual chops. A little farther from it stood the Rosh Ha’ir shawarma stand, twice blown up by suicide bombers in the past but open for business as usual. The smell of lamb fat and cumin wafted across the noisy street and made me hungry.

Traffic lights blinked green, yellow, and red. Across the road a furniture store sprawled out onto the pavement in a profusion of garish sofas and chairs. A small gaggle of junkies sat on the burnt foundations of what had been the old bus station, chatting. I wore dark shades. The sun was high in the sky and though it was cold it was a Mediterranean winter, bright and at that moment dry. 

I walked down the Neve Sha’anan pedestrian street. I found shelter in a small shebeen, a few wooden tables and chairs, a small counter serving Maccabee Beer and little else. A Nigerian man behind the counter regarded me without expression. I asked for a beer. I sat down and brought out my notebook and a pen and stared at the page. 

Central Station, Tel Aviv. The present. Or a present. Another attack on Gaza, elections coming up, down south in the Arava desert they were building a massive separation wall to stop the refugees from coming in. The refugees were in Tel Aviv now, centred around the old bus station neighbourhood in the south of the city, some quarter million of them and the economic migrants here on sufferance, the Thai and Filipinos and Chinese. I sipped my beer. It was bad. I stared at the page. Rain fell.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 13, 1931 Richard Lawrence Purtill. He’s here as the author of Murdercon, a 1982 novel where a murder is discovered at a SF Convention. I’ve not heard of it but was wondering if y’all had heard of this work. (Died 2016.)
  • Born March 13, 1950 William H. Macy Jr., 73. I’ll start his Birthday note by recalling that he was in the superb Pleasantville as George Parker. He’s shown up in a lot of genre works including but limited to Somewhere in Time, EvolverThe Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the RescueThe Night of the Headless HorsemanJurassic Park IIISahara and The Tale of Despereaux.
  • Born March 13, 1951 William F. Wu, 72. Nominated for two Hugos, the first being at L.A. Con II for his short story, “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium”; the second two years later at ConFederation for another short story, “Hong’s Bluff”.  The former work was adapted into a Twilight Zone episode of the same name. He’s contributed more than once to the Wild Card universe, the latest being a story in the most excellent Texas Hold’Em anthology five years back. Though definitely not genre in general, The Yellow Peril: Chinese Americans in American Fiction, 1850-1940 is decidedly worth reading.
  • Born March 13, 1956 Dana Delany, 67. I’ve come today to praise her work as a voice actress. She was in a number of DCU animated films, first as Andrea Beaumont in Batman: The Mask of The Phantasm, then as Lois Lane in Superman: The Animated SeriesSuperman: Brainiac Attacks and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. (That’s not a complete listing.) Remember that Wing Commander film? Well there was an animated series, Wing Commander Academy, in which she was Gwen Archer Bowman.
  • Born March 13, 1966 Alastair Reynolds, 57. As depressing as they are given what they lead up to, the Prefect Dreyfus novels are my favorite novels by him. (The third is out this autumn.) That said, Chasm City is fascinating. His next novel in the Revelation Space series, Inhibitor Phase, came out in 2022. 
  • Born March 13, 1967 Lou Anders, 56. A Hugo-winning editor. He’s has been editorial director of Prometheus Books’ SF imprint Pyr since its launch fifteen years ago. He’s a crack editor of anthologies. I’ve very fond of his Live Without a Net, Sideways in Time and FutureShocks anthologies. I note that he has a fantasy trilogy, Thrones and Bones, but I’ve not heard of it til now. 
  • Born March 13, 1968 Jen Gunnels, 55. Writer and genre theater critic, the latter a rare thing indeed. She does her reviews for Journal of the Fantastic in the ArtsFoundation: The Review of Science Fiction and New York Review of Science Fiction. With Erin Underwood, she has edited Geek Theater: Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Plays

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Barney & Clyde shows elementary school students with mature literary opinions.

(13) VI SCREAM, YOU SCREAM. The Hollywood Reporter checked the bottom line and learned, “Scream VI scared up a franchise-best $44.5 million opening from 3,675 theaters at the domestic box office, easily enough to win Oscar weekend.” 

(14) VONNEGUT AS FICTIONAL CHARACTER. Variety has learned “Oscar Isaac in Talks to Play Kurt Vonnegut in Amazon’s ‘Helltown’”.

According to the logline, the hour-long, 8-episode crime thriller follows the life of Kurt Vonnegut before he became known to the world as a renowned author. Per Amazon, “In 1969 Kurt was a struggling novelist and car salesman living life with his wife and five children on Cape Cod. When two women disappear and are later discovered murdered underneath the sand dunes on the outskirts of Provincetown, Kurt becomes obsessed and embroiled in the chilling hunt for a serial killer and forms a dangerous bond with the prime suspect.”

Based on the book of the same name written by Casey Sherman, the series comes from “Severance” co-EP Mohamad El Masri, who will also serve as showrunner and writer. “All Quiet on the Western Front” director Ed Berger will helm the series and executive produce….

(15) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. From Fox News: “Giant blob of seaweed twice the width of US taking aim at Florida, scientists say (msn.com) Yes, but is it a howling giant blob of seaweed, pace “Cordwainer Bird’s” script for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea?

Drifting between the Atlantic coast of Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, the thick mat of algae can provide a habitat for marine life and absorb carbon dioxide. 

However, the giant bloom can have disastrous consequences as it gets closer to the shore. Coral, for instance, can be deprived of sunlight. As the seaweed decomposes it can release hydrogen sulfide, negatively impact the air and water and causing respiratory problems for people in the surrounding area. 

“What we’re seeing in the satellite imagery does not bode well for a clean beach year,” Brian LaPointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute told NBC News…. 

(16) FLATIRON GOING UNDER THE HAMMER. “The famous Flatiron Building to go up for auction” reports MSN.com. It formerly housed Tor’s editorial offices before the publisher moved out several years ago.

As the result of an ongoing disagreement among the current owners of an iconic Manhattan building, the property will soon be available to the highest bidder.

The 121-year-old Flatiron Building, which is currently empty, will hit the auction block in what is known as a partition sale on March 22 — stemming from a ruling in the contentious legal fight between its multiple landlords.

In January, a New York state judge issued an order allowing the auction to move forward following a 2021 suit by Sorgente Group, Jeffrey Gural’s GFP Real Estate and ABS Real Estate Partners, who together own 75% of the building, the Real Deal first reported.

The co-owners sued after reaching a stalemate with Nathan Silverstein, who owns 25% of the steel-framed 175 Fifth Ave. building, which was completed in 1902 and is the namesake for the surrounding neighborhood….

(17) RANDALL MUNROE ON RADIO. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The Museum of Curiosity on BBC Radio 4 this weekend featured the Hugo Award winner Randall Munroe. He said that one of the most interesting questions he’d been asked is what would happen if the Solar System was filled up with soup to the orbit of Jupiter. (The answer, of course, is the formation of a black hole.) “The Museum of Curiosity, Series 17, Episode 3”.

(18) IT’S THE WATER – AND A LOT MORE. The Little Mermaid comes to theatres on May 26.

“The Little Mermaid” is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Someone has said that RRR is “alternate history” — not that an excuse is really needed to post this Oscar-winning song:

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Joyce Scrivner, Jayn, Stephen Granade, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day MF.]

Pixel Scroll 1/30/23 Many Scrolls And Files Knew What It Was To Be Roasted In The Depths Of The Pixels That Day, I Can Tell You

(1) PUBLISHING CONTROVERSY REVISITED. Pamela Paul, former New York Times Book Review editor, returned to the three-year-old American Dirt controversy in an op-ed for the New York Times: “The Long Shadow of ‘American Dirt’”.

…From the moment Cummins’s agent sent “American Dirt” out to potential publishers, it looked like a winner. The manuscript led to a bidding war among nine publishing imprints, resulting in a game-changing, seven-figure deal for its author. In the run-up to publication, as the editor of The New York Times Book Review, I asked attendees at Book Expo, then the most significant annual publishing conference, which upcoming book they were most excited about. The answer was as unanimous as I’ve ever heard: “American Dirt.” Publishers, editors, booksellers, librarians were all wildly enthusiastic: “American Dirt” wasn’t only a gripping novel — it brought attention to one of the most vexing and heartbreaking issues of our time, the border crisis. This, its champions believed, was one of those rare books that could both enthrall readers and change minds.

But in December 2019, a month before the novel’s release, Myriam Gurba, a Latina writer whose memoir, “Mean,” had been published a couple of years earlier by a small press, posted a piece that Ms. magazine had commissioned as a review of “American Dirt,” and then killed. In her blog post and accompanying review, Gurba characterized the novel as “fake-assed social justice literature,” “toxic heteroromanticism” and “sludge.” It wasn’t just that Gurba despised the book. She insisted that the author had no right to write it.

A central charge was that Cummins, who identifies as white and Latina but is not an immigrant or of Mexican heritage, wasn’t qualified to write an authentic novel about Latin American characters. Another writer soon asserted in an op-ed that the “clumsy, ill-conceived” rollout of Cummins’s novel was proof that American publishing was “broken.” The hype from the publisher, which marketed the book as “one of the most important books for our times,” was viewed as particularly damning. Echoing a number of writers and activists, the op-ed writer said it was incumbent upon Mexican Americans and their “collaborators” to resist the “ever-grinding wheels of the hit-making machine,” charging it was “unethical” to allow Oprah’s Book Club to wield such power. More than 100 writers put their names to a letter scolding Oprah for her choice….

Dana Snitzky takes issue: “This Week in Books: It’s Pamela Paul Week”.

…American Dirt was merely criticized. Criticized, probably most famously (yet not by any means initially) in the pages of the New York Times Book Review. The New York Times Book Review as edited by Pamela Paul. Yes, friends, you heard correctly—as Max Read and others online have pointed out, Pamela Paul’s powers of discourse are such that she has established a vertically integrated outrage machine, seeing the process through from initial cancellation to reactionary backlash…. 

Silvia Moreno-Garcia addressed Paul’s op-ed in an extended Twitter thread that starts here. A few of her comments are:

https://twitter.com/silviamg/status/1618700650937987073
https://twitter.com/silviamg/status/1618703856724246530
https://twitter.com/silviamg/status/1618739635634724864

(2) ELSEWHERE MONTELEONE KEEPS DIGGING THE HOLE DEEPER. It was taken down today, however, yesterday YouTube’s Hatchet Mouth posted their “Tom Monteleone Interview”, an extended opportunity for Monteleone to deliver more remarks in the vein of his now-removed Facebook post. He belittled a past Horror Writers Association award winner in derogatory racial terms (while making every effort to assign the wrong ethnicity to the person being insulted), and gave the same treatment to the woman who called for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer to be renamed (as it was). Copies of the YouTube auto-generated transcript are floating around. In fact, I made my own if you need to see one…

(3) BACK TO THE DINOSAURS. Apex Publishing’s Jason Sizemore, responding to a particular thread within the Monteleone kerfuffle, told Facebook readers what was wrong with the latest attack on an award-winning story.  

There’s another old white male author who has found offense at the award recognition of non-white, non-male writers by the HWA. It’s been all over my FB feed.

Inevitably, the usual cadre of traditionalists and self-anointed old school sci-fi readers rallied around this writer rehashing the same tired arguments that showcase a poor understanding of capitalism, reality, and the depth of fiction they bemoan.

Apex Magazine was accused of catering to reactionary and psychotic (not my words) people.

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky was evoked. Again. This story came out in March of 2013….

(4) BUFFY SLAYS TROLLS & SLIMEBALLS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Working now from a position of earned respect and power, Sarah Michelle Gellar expressed her opinions on mistreatment of women in visual media. In an interview with the Guardian, she takes shots at both the trolls who sit in front of the screen and certain slimeballs who reside behind the cameras. “’A lot of the demons seem a little cheesy now’: Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy, her burnout and her comeback”.

…For all its similarities to Buffy, Wolf Pack has one key difference: this time Gellar is in a position of influence, as an executive producer as well as the lead.

The title can be almost meaningless, a way to sweeten the deal for a star, but Gellar says she told Davis: “I’ve been doing this for 40 years. I have a lot of experience, and I have a lot to bring to the table. If you’re just looking for an actor that just wants to have the credit, I’m not your person. I’m going to have ideas, and I’m going to be vocal about them.”…

(5) IN MEMORIAM 2022. Steven H Silver’s list “In Memoriam: Those We Have Lost in 2022” has been posted at Amazing Stories.

(6) LISA LORING OBITUARY. TV’s original Wednesday Addams, Lisa Loring, died January 30 at age 64 reports the BBC.

…Her daughter, Vanessa Foumberg, told The Hollywood Reporter she died of a stroke caused by high blood pressure.

“She went peacefully with both her daughters holding her hands,” Foumberg said.

The actress had been on life support for three days, her friend Laurie Jacobson posted on Facebook.

“She is embedded in the tapestry that is pop culture and in our hearts always as Wednesday Addams,” she said in her post.

The Addams Family, which was the first adaptation of Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons, ran from 1964 to 1966 on ABC.

Ms Loring also appeared in the soap opera “As the World Turns” and the sitcom “The Pruitts of Southampton.”…

(7) MEMORY LANE.

1987 [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

And now we come to the end of the genre quotes (at least for now) with a most splendid one from Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners novel. As y’all know, it’s the first work of the Riverside series which continues in The Fall of the Kings, was co-written with her wife Delia Sherman, and finished in The Privilege of the Sword.

Yes, it’s one of my favorite novels, and the series as well, to re-read. Preferably on a cold winter’s night. I do think that Swordspoint is the best of the novels though The Privilege of the Sword is quite tasty as well. 

And you have to love a society where chocolate is the drink of choice among everyone. 

BY MIDDAY, MOST OF THE NOBLES ON THE HILL COULD be counted on to be awake. The Hill sat lordly above the rest of the city, honeycombed with mansions, landscaped lawns, elaborate gates, and private docks on the cleanest part of the river. Its streets had been built expressly wide and smooth enough to accommodate the carriages of nobles, shortly after carriages had been invented. Usually, mornings on the Hill were passed in leisurely exchange of notes written on colored, scented, and folded paper, read and composed in various states of dishabille over cups of rich chocolate and crisp little triangles of toast (all the nourishment that ought to be managed after a night’s reveling); but on the morning after the garden duel, with the night’s events ripe for comment, no one had the patience to wait for a reply, so the streets were unusually crowded with carriages and pedestrians of rank.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 30, 1911 Hugh Marlowe. First let me note that he was first to play the title character in the very first radio version of The Adventures of Ellery Queen. No, it’s not even genre adjacent but neat nonetheless. As regards genre roles, he’s Tom Stevens in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Dr. Russell A. Marvin in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. He was also Harold McPherson in Seven Days in May if you want to count that as genre which I definitely think you should. (Died 1982.)
  • Born January 30, 1920 Michael Anderson. English Director best remembered for Around the World in 80 Days, Logan’s Run, and perhaps not nearly as much for, Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze. Yes, I saw it. It was, errrr, interesting. He also directed The Martian Chronicles series. (Died 2018.)
  • Born January 30, 1924 Lloyd Alexander. His most well-crafted work is The Chronicles of Prydain. Though drawn off Welsh mythology, they deviate from it in significant ways stripping it of much of its negativity.  To my belief, it is his only genre writing as I don’t hold the Westmark trilogy to actually be fantasy, just an alternative telling of European history. Splitting cats hairs? Maybe. He was also one of the founders of Cricket, an illustrated literary journal for children. The late illustrator Trina Schart Hyman whose art I lust after, errrr, adore was another founder. (Died 2007.)
  • Born January 30, 1926 Peter Brachacki. Set designer for the very first episode of Doctor Who. Everything I’ve been able to read on him says that he was not at all interested in working on the series and did so reluctantly under orders. Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert would later recount that she was impressed with Brachacki’s work on the TARDIS interior even though she personally did not like him at all. His design elements persist throughout the fifty years the series has been produced. His only other genre work that I’ve been able to find was Blake’s 7 and a short series called the The Witch’s Daughter done in the late Seventies. The BBC wasn’t always great at documenting who worked on what series. (Died 1980.)
  • Born January 30, 1941 Gregory Benford, 82. His longest running series is Galactic Center Saga, a series I find a little akin to Saberhagen’s Beserker series. I’ve not read enough of it to form a firm opinion though I know some of you of have done so.  Other novels I’ve read by him include Timescape (superb) and A Darker Geometry: A Man-Kzin Novel which was actually was quite excellent. Yes I do read Baen Books. 
  • Born January 30, 1955 Judith Tarr, 68.  I’m fond of her Richard the Lionheart novels which hew closely to the historical record while introducing just enough magic to make them fantasy. The novels also make good use of her keen knowledge of horsemanship as well. Her Queen of the Amazons pairs the historical Alexander the Great, with a meeting with the beautiful Hippolyta, who is queen of the Amazons. Highly recommended.
  • Born January 30, 1973 Jordan Prentice, 50. Inside every duck is a self-described person of short stature. His words, not mine. In the case of Howard the Duck from the movie of the same name, one of those persons was him. He’s not in a lot of SFF roles after his performing debut there though he shows up next as Fingers Finnian in Wolf Girl, playing Sherrif Shelby in Silent But Deadly, Napoleon in Mirror Mirror and Nigel Thumb in The Night Before the Night Before Christmas.
  • Born January 30, 1974 Christian Bale, 49. First enters our corner of the mediaverse in a Swedish film called Mio in the Land of Faraway where he plays a character named Yum Yum. Note though that he doesn’t speak in this role as his Swedish voice is done by Max Winerdah. So his playing Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is his first speaking role. Next up is American Psycho in which he was Patrick Bateman, that was followed by a role in Reign of Fire as Quinn Abercromby. He was John Preston in Equilibrium, and he voiced Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle, a film well worth seeing.  Need I say who he plays in Batman Begins? I thought not. He’d repeat that in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Amidst being Batman, he was also John Connor in Terminator Salvation. His last genre role to date was voicing Bagheera in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle asked off Kipling’s All the Mowgli Stories. He’s got a television genre credit, to wit Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island off the Robert Louis Stevenson of that name.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Candorville shows a dad telling his shrink about trying to get his kid to watch Star Trek.
  • Foxtrot’s “Goodnight Doom” adapts the verses of a children’s book to a kid’s computer.

(10) ALTERNATE OVAL OFFICES. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Welcome to an alternate universe. Actually, six different ones.

Have you ever wondered what the White House Oval Office would look like if it were outfitted completely in IKEA furniture? Or perhaps another home furnishing brand? House Fresh will be glad to show you.

Some of the choices are breathtaking; albeit perhaps not in the way a President might desire. “If 6 Iconic Home Brands Redesigned The Oval Office” at HouseFresh.

Consider the Pottery Barn version….

(11) THE BIRD HAS THE WORD. “’An Ostrich Told Me the World Was Fake’ Director Discusses Oscar Nom” in Variety.

…The short film follows a young telemarketer named Neil who is confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich who tells him that the universe is actually stop-motion animation. Neil, voiced by Pendragon, then tries to convince his colleagues about the discovery….

Let’s talk about “An Ostrich Told Me the World Was Fake” and its journey. Where did it begin?

It was part of a doctorate in visual arts program at film school. It had to come from a research perspective. The project needed to have a level of innovation and something that you were doing differently that you could write about and talk about. I wanted to do something on stop-motion because it’s something that I love doing, but I hadn’t thought too much about it yet. There was so much potential about what could be done and explored.

I wanted to look at the handmade quality of stop-motion animation and ensure they were as apparent as possible. That led me down this path of doing something that breaks the fourth wall and deconstructs it, so that the audience could be watching the behind-the-scenes as they were watching the film. I thought it was entertaining because it would show all that goes into making this kind of film. But then on the other side, it’s like, how do I make sure that it’s not too distracting that you can still connect with these characters? Finding that balance was difficult….

(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Honest Trailers – Snakes on a Plane” shows that if you steal ideas from enough different places it’s not plagiarism. But first, you also have to steal enough special effects snakes.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Daniel Dern, Cat Rambo, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask #72

WORLDCON 80 – A PICTORIAL ESSAY 

By Chris M. Barkley and Juli Marr.

AUGUST 30, 2022 – TRAVEL DAY

My partner Juli and I set out on a beautiful morning for Chicago. One of our favorite sights is the immense Meadow Lake Wind Farm (which generates 801.25 megawatts of electricity) consisting of 301 turbines, just northwest of  Lafayette, Indiana. I have always been in awe of the size and scope of this modern marvel of engineering.

We arrived at dusk and were treated to the enchanting vista of Chicago at night by the river…

SEPTEMBER 1ST

Blues Brothers Cap

Since I was going to be dwelling in the hometown of the Blues Brothers, I thought it would be appropriate to be attired properly.

Galaxy ‘s Edge Editor Lezli Robyn and myself by Juli Marr

One of the first people Juli and I met at Chicon 8 was Galaxy’s Edge Editor and Arc Manor Assistant Publisher Robyn Lezli, who was a large display of books and magazines with her benevolent (and generous) boss, Shahid Mahmud.

Journey Planet

On my way to the Press Office, Christopher Garcia threw a copy of Journey Planet (paperboy style) as we passed each other. Here is a photo of it in mid-flight…

One of the first things I unpacked for the Press Office was this item. When the staff assembled that first morning, I told them in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that if they stepped out of line, I would not hesitate to blow the Illuminated Death Star Beach Ball up! Needless to say, it remained deflated during the duration of the convention.

SEPTEMBER 2

After several delays (and escapades) involving the United States Department of State and airline hijinks, Nigeria’s rising literary star (and double Hugo Finalist), Oghenechowe Donald Ekpeki finally arrived at Chicon 8. I greeted him at the Galaxy’s Edge table in the Dealer’s Room with two facemasks and an envelope with some valuable personal papers. Needless to say, everyone was overjoyed to see him…

Myself, Laura and Navia Moorman, photo by Juli Marr

Also on hand were my daughter, Laura, her husband Charlie (not pictured, unfortunately) and my granddaughter, Navia. They were here to witness my (possible) Hugo Award acceptance speech on Sunday. I may have felt the sting of disappointment by not winning but I was so incredibly happy they were all there.

 Chicago By Day…

Dan Berger, Juli Marr and Sushee Blat pondering

So here are my Press Office mates, Dan Berger, Juli Marr and Sooshe Blat Harkins, pondering where we should go for dinner along the Chicago Riverwalk. Rest assured, we did eat that evening…

Chicago After Dark…

SEPTEMBER 3RD

Day Three of Chicon 3, another beautiful morning.

The Chicon 8 Hugo Award

 On my way to the Press office, I made some time Saturday morning to stop by the Exhibit Hall and check out this year’s Hugo Award trophy. This magnificent award was handcrafted by the renowned Chicago artist and business entrepreneur Brian Keith Ellison of BKE Designs.

Chicon 8 Panelists

Ah, FINALLY, a photo from a Chicon 8 panel. Here are the panelists of “Movie Year in Review: A Curated Look at Genre Films (2021–2022)” moderated by yours truly.  From left to right are: Matthew S. Rotundo, Daryll Mansel, Joshua Bilmes and Deirdre Crimmins. We had fun. You should have been there.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Seanan Maguire

I was checking up on how Mr. Ekpeki was getting along in the Dealer’s Room when up ZOOMED fellow Hugo Award Finalist Seanan Maguire on her scooter. They both knew of a photo opportunity when they saw it…  

Regency John Hertz

It’s Saturday Night so you know it’s time for another magnificent appearance by fandom’s favorite, and most regal, Masquerade Judge, John Hertz!  

Masquerade Ensemble

And here is a wide shot of all the Chicon 8 Masquerade contestants. I apologize for it being out of focus; I BLAME the three apparitions lighting up in the middle of the photo. I don’t recall who they are but let’s face it, they lit up the joint that evening.

SEPTEMBER 4TH

Breakfast of Champions

It’s THE BIG DAY! And that calls for a BIG BREAKFAST, courtesy of the Chicon 8 Staff Lounge. I hadn’t had a bowl of Rice Chex in AGES. (As a kid, I used to inhale whole boxes in a single sitting. Ah, those were the days…). Anyway, kudos to everyone who helped kept us fed during the convention.   

Juli and I are very sneaky. We knew in advance that Sunday was Lezli Robyn’s birthday so we planned something a little special for her. The day before we left, we packed and wrapped her gift specially for her. We have both known for years that Lezli is a bit, uh, accident prone. After the fifth or sixth incident we started threatening to just roll her in bubble wrap, for her own safety and protection. Well at Chicon 8, we decided on this preemptive strike before disaster struck again. As you can see, a nice birthday card was placed on top of the package. And you can see Lezli’s reaction as she realized that bubble wrap was all that was left in the box. All for her. We were later informed by sources that she used the bubble wrap as a pillow (in an appropriate place, mind you) when she needed to nap. You’re welcome, Lezli, anytime. 

Catherynne Valente

After delivering Ms. Robyn’s gift, I stole a few minutes from my Press Office duties to have a novel by Catherynne M. Valente signed. We met before when she had a signing at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati where I worked for many years. She remembered me and enthusiastically remarked that she had a great time and would love to return for a visit someday. I told her I would pass the word along.  

As the day wore on, the more nervous I became. Since there wasn’t much going on that afternoon, I turned my attention to writing a Hugo Award acceptance speech and a concession speech (which was published on File 770 that very evening). Everyone wished me luck but deep down, I knew that I was long shot to actually win. (And, as it turned out, I was right, finishing second in the nomination count and fifth overall in the vote standings.)

O. Donald Ekpeki and myself, photo by Juli Marr

At the Chicon 8 Hugo Award Reception, Mr. Ekpeki and I were recessed to the nines!

Hugo Award Fan Writer Finalists, photo by Juli Marr

Your 2022 Hugo Award Finalists in the Fan Writing Category; from left to right, Jason Sanford, myself, Paul Weimer and Bitter Karella. 

The Crowd gathers for the start of the Hugo Awards Ceremony.

My Date, My Love and My Partner, the lovely and vivacious Juli Marr.

My Fellow 2022 Hugo Award Finalist Steven H Silver and his partner, Elaine Silver. 

Chuck Serface

My Fellow 2022 Hugo Award Finalist Chuck Serface.

Our 2022 Hugo Award Ceremony Hosts, Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders.

Olav Rokne and Myself at the After Party, photo by Juli Marr

Two Hugo Losers commiserating, Olav Rokne and myself (being subtly photobombed by Vincent Docherty) at the Chengdu Hugo Reception.

Laura Moorman and myself, photo by Juli Marr

My daughter Laura and I at the Glasgow Bid Party.

My daughter Laura is seen here holding the 2022 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form for Dune (Part 1). The award was offered for photos by Chicon 8 Advisor Dave McCarty, whom we thank profusely for the opportunity.

SEPTEMBER 5TH AND 6TH

John Hertz and Myself, photo by Juli Marr

And it’s all over but the shouting. Here John Hertz and I are watching the proceedings, counting down until the dead dog parties start… 

Myself, Jonathan P. Brazee and Maurizio Manzieri, photo by Juli Marr

After Closing Ceremonies, Juli and I met author Col.Jonathan P. Brazee and Hugo Award Finalist (Best Professional Artist) Maurizio Manzieri outside the hotel on their way to an early dinner.   

Berger, Berger and Blat-Harkins

As we wind down a day after Chicon 8 has officially ended, we shared a final meal with Dan Berger, Terry Berger and Sooshe Blat Harkins, who were a tremendous help in the Chicon 8 Press Office. 

Your humble correspondents

A final portrait from Chicago of your humble correspondents, myself and Juli Marr. Until next time, Goodbye and Good Luck… 

Journey Planet 66: Robin Hood

By Steven H Silver: Robin Hood, whether you picture Errol Flynn, a fox, or the cover of a book by Howard Pyle, at Journey Planet Steven H Silver joins Christopher J. Garcia and James Bacon for this issue which looks at the legend of Robin Hood, historically, cinematically, and affectionately.

Lawrence Ellsworth, Jeff Berkwits, and Anthony Roche look at the various cinematic versions of the Robin Hood legend, each bringing their own take to what the outlaw from Sherwood Forest means.

Robin Hood’s adventures on the small screen are covered by James Bacon, Bonnie K. Jones, Michael A. Burstein, and Alissa Wales.

Tina L. Jens describes a vast array of cartoon depictions of Robin, not just by Disney, but featuring Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Popeye, and less famous characters.

Laura Frankos shares her love of musicals with an article about a popular operetta based on Robin Hood that debuted in 1891 and helped chart the path for the American musical theatre.

Yilin Wang, David Stein, and Chris Garcia explore historical outlaws who share traits with the Robin Hood of legend.

James returns for a look at the comic The Real Robin Hood and Steven discusses Parke Godwin’s decision to set his novel Sherwood during the immediate aftermath of the Norman Conquest.

And finally, Graeme Davis interviews Robin Hood, or at least Tim Pollard, who has been the official Robin Hood of Nottingham and is a co-founder of the International League of Legends.

All this can be found in the latest issue of Journey Planet, available for download.