*PLEASE NOTE* The StoryBundle release has been delayed by one day to MIDNIGHT July 27 Eastern Time.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) has released its newest fantasy StoryBundle, “Take No Prisoners,” for a limited time only, July 26–August 17, 2023. This StoryBundle offers a large selection of ebooks from independent and small press fantasy authors, and can be purchased at https://storybundle.com/sfwa.
The “Take No Prisoners”StoryBundle features 13 novels with plenty of adventure, magic, unlikely heroes, and otherworldly creatures to keep you immersed in different worlds for days. Highlights include The Stones of Resurrection, Book 1 in Tameri Etherton’s Song of the Swords romantic fantasy series, Nebula Award-nominated Metropolitan by Walter Jon Williams, and She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much by fantasy powerhouse S.R. Cronin.
SFWA StoryBundles are collections of ebooks offered at a discounted price and curated by the SFWA Independent Authors Committee. The committee had the pleasure of sorting through a hundred excellent books as they narrowed the selection down to these thirteen special stories.
Readers decide what price they want to pay. For $5 (or more, if they’re feeling generous), they’ll get the core bundle of four books in any ebook format available—WORLDWIDE!
Shadows of Insurrection by Vanessa McClaren-Wray
The Ring and the Flag by William L. Hahn
She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much by S.R. Cronin
Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn by Danielle Ackley-McPhail & Day Al-Mohamed
If they’re willing to spend $20, they get all four of the core books, plus these NINE additional books, for a total of thirteen.
A Lonely Magic by S.J. Wynde
Duster by Adam Stemple
In Veritas by C.J. Lavigne
Metropolitan by Walter Jon Williams
No Demons But Us by A.S. Etaski
Sasharia en Garde by Sherwood Smith
The Runemaster Homicide by Dan Jolley
The Stones of Resurrection by Tameri Etherton
Thorfinn and the Witch’s Curse by Jay Veleso Batista
Once August 17 passes, this particular collection will never be available again. Readers will gain a rich collection of fantasy and can opt to donate part of their purchase price to support SFWA’s ongoing work to promote and support speculative fiction genres and writers across the globe.
(1) F&SF. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s May-June 2023 cover art is by Maurizio Manzieri.
(2) INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE. The International Booker Prize 2023 Shortlist of 6 works was released on April 18. The one longlisted item of genre interest has survived to make the shortlist, Cheon Myeong-Kwan’s Whale. The winner will be announced May 23. Publishing Perspectives breaks down the amount of the prize.
…The focus of this Booker is translation, and its £50,000 prize (US$60,734) is to be split into £25,000 (US$30,367) for the author and £25,000 for the translator—or divided equally between multiple translators. There also is a purse of £5,000 (US$6,072) for each of the shortlisted titles: £2,500 (US$3,036) for the author and £2,500 for the translator or, again, divided equally between multiple translators….
Today Mark Lawrence decided a few things needed to be said in response in a blog post, “Faith and blame”, which concludes:
i) Authors who delay a book in a series, be it for 10 years, or 50, or forever, are not lazy sacks of shit.
ii) The high profile authors who have delayed may be cited in some cases as a reason for readers not picking up a newly published book 1 — but I feel the reasons behind that reluctance are far deeper and considerably wider than two or three writers, however well known. Some portion of the reason (I do not say blame) may reside with them, but I think this would be happening even if book 3, 4, & 6 had turned up a year or two after their predecessors.
iii) It’s easy to give the reason for this problem a face – someone to call an apathetic sack of shit. It’s human nature to want a simple answer and a person to blame. But it’s more complicated than that.
Readers – have faith in your writers, that faith will be overwhelmingly rewarded. And when it’s not – the only thing that author has done is disappointed you, not tanked the entire publishing industry.
Prize-winning author Lydia Davis’ new collection of short stories will not be sold on Amazon, with the author saying she does not “believe corporations should have as much control over our lives as they do”.
Our Strangers will be published by Canongate on 5 October, and is the seventh collection of fiction from Davis, who won the Man Booker international prize in 2013, when the award chose a winner based on a body of work, rather than a single book.
Due to be published just before Bookshop Day on 7 October, Our Strangers will only be sold in physical bookshops, Bookshop.org and selected online independent retailers.
Davis said: “We value small businesses, yet we give too much of our business to the large and the powerful – and often, increasingly, we have hardly any choice.
“I am all the more pleased, now, that Canongate, with its long history of independence and its high standards, will be publishing Our Strangers and doing so in a way that puts my book on the shelves of booksellers who are so much more likely to care about it.”…
…The vote announced Monday afternoon showed 97.9% of participating union members voting to approve a potential strike.
If a strike happens, it would be the first in the industry since 2007, and it would bring production on many shows and films to a halt. The 2007 strike lasted 100 days.
The Writers Guild of America, the union that represents the writers, says it needs to make substantial changes to the way that writers are compensated because of the shift to streaming services from traditional films and cable and broadcast networks….
(6) AFRICANFUTURISM. Nnedi Okorafor did her own cover reveal yesterday. Preorder here.
[ERIC] DEGGANS: Well, you know, I wrote a review before the show debuted. I love, love, love this. And the reason I love this is because I’ve always felt that Paramount Plus’ new “Trek” series have erred by being so careful about trying to blaze their own path and tone down the references to past “Trek” stuff. And I understand that, especially with “Discovery,” the very first series to step out, they wanted to blaze a new trail. But there is a reason why this franchise has survived for nearly 60 years.
To have – especially “Star Trek: Picard,” in its first two seasons, really suffered from not being willing to look back and acknowledge the reason why people love Jean-Luc Picard in the first place. So it is just so great to see this series emerge as this love letter to not just “The Next Generation” but all those Trek series that kind of debuted in that 1990s, early 2000s era. So “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” – there’s all kinds of Easter eggs and references that, if you don’t know the shows, you don’t need to worry about. But if you do know the shows, it is just so much fun and so much extra pleasure to watch this unfold.
One might not imagine that one of the writers of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon” would be behind one of 2023’s most anticipated, high-concept sci-fi shows, but that’s exactly the situation we find ourselves in. Hailing from Tara Hernandez, “Mrs. Davis” debuts on Peacock later this month, with Damon Lindelof, of “Lost” and “The Leftovers” fame, serving as co-creator on the series alongside her….
I’ve not seen a ton of the show, admittedly, but this feels like the kind of thing where, especially because I know Damon got into some of this with “Lost” years ago where they just were chasing their tails, so how long would you ideally see this going? Is this a one season show? Is it a four season show? Do you have a rough idea of where you guys would like it to go?
Yeah, I think we really, and just my personal tastes, I really love a great season of television. I love a story that’s introduced. I love a nice conclusion on it. I think we had to know where we were ending up. We pitched the show, when we pitched it, it was very important to have the landing place.
That is nice to hear.
Yes. It has a landing place. We had to know what the North Star was, especially in a show that can feel like, “Is this going to go off the rails? Are they just going to be chasing their tails?” Just my personal preference about storytelling, whether that comes from really loving feature films or just loving a hero’s journey that’s a really closed-loop narrative, I think the world of “Mrs. Davis” is such that it has legs, but I think it is a great eight episodes. If that’s what it is, it’s just a really nice story. And people will be satisfied.
(9) GET YOUR RED HOT CAT BOOKS. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has curated The 2023 Cattitude Bundle for StoryBundle and it’s available for the next three weeks.
My cats have gotten out of control. During the lockdown, I promoted a series of projects using my co-workers as a hook. The only co-workers I had at the time were the the cats who boss me around: The Mighty Cheeps, and his buddy Gavin, a.k.a The Boys.
I’d post a picture of them on Facebook, write a funny or wry bit about their terrible office behavior, and end with a bit of promotion.
Little did I realize that the demand for the antics of the staff at Promotion Central would become the highlight of my Facebook page. I’ve learned if I don’t include a photo of the Boys, or our new(ish) third cat, Angel, no one reads the posts. Those cats are more popular than I am.
It shouldn’t surprise me. Cats and the internet go together like chocolate and peanut butter. You can live with either one, but once someone combined them, well, there’s no separating them. Ever.
Of course, we’re going to take advantage of that. Cats and the internet becomes cats in ebooks. Since cats in books have always gone hand in glove (have you ever met a bookstore dog?), it seems only natural to put cat books into a StoryBundle.
The best thing about cat books? It’s easy to find good ones because all of the best writers live with cats….
Here’s the deal:
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in .epub format—WORLDWIDE.
Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Familiarity – A Winston & Ruby Collection by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
A Cat of a Different Color by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith
October Snow by Bonnie Elizabeth
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $20, you get all four of the regular books, plus six more books for a total of 10!
The Captain’s Cat by Stefon Mears (StoryBundle Exclusive)
Haunted Witch by T. Thorn Coyle
The Intergalactic Veterinarian of the Year! by Ron Collins & Jeff Collins (StoryBundle Exclusive)
Death by Polka by Robert Jeschonek
Single Witch’s Survival Guide by Mindy Klasky
Road of No Return by Annie Reed (StoryBundle Exclusive)
(10) NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER. “Oh please, no. Just no. And you may quote me,” says Cat Eldridge. The Hollywood Reporter says “Galaxy Quest TV Series in the Works at Paramount+”. The article also chronicles several failed attempts to adapt it for TV in the previous decade.
Galaxy Quest is going from a fictional series to an actual TV series.
Paramount+ is teaming with its studio counterpart, Paramount Television Studios, for a live-action adaptation of the 1999 cult favorite sci-fi spoof. Sources say the project is in the early development stages and a search is underway for a writer to pair with Mark Johnson, the Breaking Bad alum who exec produced the film and is returning for the scripted update. Johnson and his Gran Via Productions banner are the only execs currently attached to the project….
… Honestly, I have mixed feelings about a spinoff series from one of my all-time favorite movies. On the one hand, I love and cherish every character and every line of dialogue in Galaxy Quest. On the other, how do you improve on perfection? As Enrico Colantoni, who played Thermion leader Mathesar, told io9 in 2014, “To make something up, just because we love those characters, and turn it into a sequel—then it becomes the awful sequel.”…
(11) MEMORY LANE.
2015 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
I’m trying to remember what the first work of Holly Black’s that I read, so I went to ISFDB and researched her work. It appears it’s Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale which I read some twenty years ago. Fascinating novel.
Now, without doing the no-no of spoilers, The Darkest Part of The Forest is the work of a much more mature writer. Her grasp of what makes a character worth our time to be invested in is really improved a lot as has her ability to actually write an interesting story.
The Darkest Part of The Forest was published by Little, Brown eight years ago. It was nominated for aMythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.
The Darkest Part of The Forest is, I think, deliciously dark as you can see in The Beginning which you can read here. Beware apparently young boys with pointed ears in glass coffins…
Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.
As far as Hazel Evans knew, from what her parents said to her and from what their parents said to them, he’d always been there. And no matter what anyone did, he never, ever woke up.
He didn’t wake up during the long summers, when Hazel and her brother, Ben, stretched out on the full length of the coffin, staring down through the crystalline panes, fogging them up with their breath, and scheming glorious schemes. He didn’t wake up when tourists came to gape or debunkers came to swear he wasn’t real. He didn’t wake up on autumn weekends, when girls danced right on top of him, gyrating to the tinny sounds coming from nearby iPod speakers, didn’t notice when Leonie Wallace lifted her beer high over her head, as if she were saluting the whole haunted forest. He didn’t so much as stir when Ben’s best friend, Jack Gordon, wrote IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS in Sharpie along one side—or when Lloyd Lindblad took a sledgehammer and actually tried. No matter how many parties had been held around the horned boy—generations of parties, so that the grass sparkled with decades of broken bottles in green and amber, so that the bushes shone with crushed aluminum cans in silver and gold and rust—and no matter what happened at those parties, nothing could wake the boy inside the glass coffin.
When they were little, Ben and Hazel made him flower crowns and told him stories about how they would rescue him. Back then, they were going to save everyone who needed saving in Fairfold. Once Hazel got older, though, she mostly visited the coffin only at night, in crowds, but she still felt something tighten in her chest when she looked down at the boy’s strange and beautiful face.
She hadn’t saved him, and she hadn’t saved Fairfold, either. “Hey, Hazel,” Leonie called, dancing to one side to make room in case Hazel wanted to join her atop the horned boy’s casket. Doris Alvaro was already up there, still in her cheerleader outfit from the game their school lost earlier that night, shining chestnut ponytail whipping through the air. They both looked flushed with alcohol and good cheer.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 19, 1907 — Alan Wheatley. Best remembered for being the Sheriff of Nottingham in The Adventures of Robin Hood, with Richard Greene playing Robin Hood. In 1951, he had played Sherlock Holmes in the first TV series about him, but no recordings of it are known to exist. And he was in Two First Doctor stories as Temmosus, “The Escape” and “The Ambush” where he was the person killed on screen by Daleks. (Died 1991.)
Born April 19, 1925 — Hugh O’Brian. He was Harry Chamberlain in Rocketship X-M. (It was nominated in the 1951 Retro Hugo Awards given at The Millennium Philcon but lost out to Destination Moon.) He would later play Hugh Lockwood in Probe, not the Asimov Probe, the pilot for the sf TV series Search. His only other genre appearance I think was playing five different roles on Fantasy Island. Though I’m absolutely sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong (smile). (Died 2016.)
Born April 19, 1935 — Herman Zimmerman, 88. He was the art director and production designer who worked between 1987 and 2005 for the Trek franchise. Excepting Voyager, in that era he worked on all other live-action productions including the first season of Next Gen, the entire runs of Deep Space Nine and Enterprise, as well as six Trek films. As Memory Alpha notes, “Together with Rick Sternbach he designed the space station Deep Space 9, with John Eaves the USS Enterprise-B and the USS Enterprise-E. His most recognizable work though, have been his (co-)designs for nearly all of the standing sets, those of the bridge, Main Engineering (co-designed with Andrew Probert) and Ten Forward for the USS Enterprise-D in particular.” Not surprisingly, he co-wrote the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual with Rick Sternbach and Doug Drexler.
Born April 19, 1936 — Tom Purdom, 87. There’s very little on him on the web, so I’ll let Michael Swanwick speak for him in the introduction to his Lovers & Fighters, Starships & Dragons collection: “How highly do I regard Tom’s fiction? So highly that I wrote the introduction to the collection — and I hate writing introductions. They’re a lot of work. But these stories deserve enormous praise, so I was glad to do it.” He’s written five novels and has either one or two collections of his stories. He’s deeply stocked at the usual digital suspects.
Born April 19, 1946 — Tim Curry, 77. Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, of course, but it’s not his first genre appearance. He’d appeared a year earlier at the Scottish Opera in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Puck. And yes, I know that he appeared in the live show which was at the Chelsea Classic Cinema and other venues before the film was done. Other genre appearances include playing Darkness in Legend, an outstanding Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, a most excellent genre film, Farley Claymore in The Shadow (great role), another superb performance playing Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as The Player, Gomez Addams in Addams Family Reunion, and Trymon in TV’s Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Darkness. And others too numerous to list.
Born April 19, 1952 — Mark Rogers. He’s probably best known for writing and illustrating the Adventures of Samurai Cat series, a most excellent affair. His debut fantasy novel Zorachus was followed by The Nightmare of God sequel. His novella “The Runestone” was adapted as a film of the same name. And his art is collected in Nothing But a Smile: The Pinup Art of Mark Rogers and The Art of Fantasy. (Died 2014.)
Born April 19, 1967 — Steven H Silver, 56. Fan and publisher, author, and editor. He has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times and Best Fanzine seven times. In 1995 he founded the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and has served as a judge ever since. He has published the fanzine, Argentus, edited several issues of the Hugo-nominated Journey Planet. His debut novel After Hastings came out in 2020.
Born April 19, 1978 — K. Tempest Bradford, 45. She was a non-fiction and managing editor with Fantasy Magazine for several years, and has edited fiction for Fortean Bureau, Peridot Books and Sybil’s Garage. She’s written a lot of short fiction and her first YA novel, Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion. She was a finalist for three Ignyte Awards, the Ember Award for unsung contributions to genre, and twice for the Community Award for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre. With Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward she shared a 2020 Locus Special Award to Writing the Other for Inclusivity and Representation Education.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
Brewster Rockit is appropriate for today …and tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that and…
But what is the bestselling comic of all time? Well, that depends on how you define comic.
Are we talking about single issues, or “floppies?” And if so, are we talking about the sales of one issue, or the series as a whole? Does that include collected editions and reprints? How do you account for changes in the retail market, from newsstands to specialty shops to digital, and the different reporting (or lack thereof) of each? How do you take into account the cultural changes since the ’40s, when over 90% of children read comics, compared to today’s globalized, media-saturated world? Should you account for the differences in population between America (331.9 million potential readers) versus Japan (125.7 million) versus, say, Finland (5.5 million)? Isn’t it apples and oranges to compare One Piece to X-Men to Peanuts, anyway?…
When it comes to the best selling single issue, the list begins at number five –
5. BATMAN: THE 10 CENT ADVENTURE BY GREG RUCKA AND RICK BURCHETT (MARCH 2002)
Most of the comics on this list are stunts of some sort, and selling a comic for literally just a dime in 2002 absolutely qualifies (most comics were $2.25 then). It’s actually a good story, kicking off the excellent Bruce Wayne: Murderer? plot line, but it was that nostalgic price point that sold 702,126 copies.
Along with books, maps are a popular item to find at the antiquarian book fair. The book featured above is one of the most sought-after celestial atlases in existence. Produced by Dutch cartographer Andreas Cellarius in 1661, Harmonia Macrocosmica is priced at a whopping $395,000.
Considered Cellarius’s magnum opus, this map was made to illustrate competing theories of celestial mechanics, or how the solar system worked. The universe’s heavenly bodies are depicted in vibrant colors throughout 29 extremely detailed, hand-colored, double-page engraved plates in the book. The images take theories put forth by great thinkers and scientists like Ptolemy, Tycho Brahe, Nicolaus Copernicus, as well as lesser-known figures such as Aratus of Soli, and present them in an accessible way through images.
…Soon enough, Powell was recalling the spookiest things he’d seen in his years at the store. He described coworkers who’d heard or glimpsed figures moving around the corners, and instances where people watched books fly off shelves for seemingly no reason.
“That corner is where books fall off sometimes, in sci-fi, for some reason,” he said.
As we passed the portal, a hidden nook where my partner and I had signed up to sleep, we realized it was both secluded in the back corner of the store with books on U.S. history and located closest to the “haunted” shelves that books fall off of. We quickly decided we wouldn’t be sleeping there….
(17) THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Deep in a disused mind in Sardinia, scientists are assembling an experiment to find out just how much nothing weighs. Using an exquisitely sensitive balance beam and interferometric techniques cribbed from gravity wave detectors, they plan to switch on and off the Casimir effect using small temperature variations and measure the resulting change in the number of virtual particles that can exist between metal plates. If all goes well, they will have established a tight constraint on the energy of the vacuum. “How Much Does ‘Nothing’ Weigh?” at Scientific American.
It does something to you when you drive in here for the first time,” Enrico Calloni says as our car bumps down into the tunnel of a mine on the Italian island of Sardinia. After the intense heat aboveground, the contrast is stark. Within seconds, damp, cool air enters the car as it makes its way into the depths. “I hope you’re not claustrophobic.” This narrow tunnel, which leads us in almost complete darkness to a depth of 110 meters underground, isn’t for everyone. But it’s the ideal site for the project we are about to see—the Archimedes experiment, named after a phenomenon first described by the ancient Greek scientist, which aims to weigh “nothing.”…
…Geologically, Sardinia is one of the quietest places in Europe. The island, along with its neighbor Corsica, is located on a particularly secure block of Earth’s crust that is among the most stable areas of the Mediterranean, with very few earthquakes in its entire recorded history and only one (offshore) event that ever reached the relatively mild category of magnitude 5. Physicists chose this geologically uneventful place because the Archimedes experiment requires extreme isolation from the outside environment. It involves a high-precision experimental setup designed to investigate the worst theoretical prediction in the history of physics—the amount of energy in the empty space that fills the universe….
… Researchers can calculate the energy of the vacuum in two ways. From a cosmological perspective, they can use Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity to calculate how much energy is needed to explain the fact that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. They can also work from the bottom up, using quantum field theory to predict the value based on the masses of all the “virtual particles” that can briefly arise and then disappear in “empty” space (more on this later). These two methods produce numbers that differ by more than 120 orders of magnitude (1 followed by 120 zeros). It’s an embarrassingly absurd discrepancy that has important implications for our understanding of the expansion of the universe—and even its ultimate fate. To figure out where the error lies, scientists are hauling a two-meter-tall cylindrical vacuum chamber and other equipment down into an old Sardinian mine where they will attempt to create their own vacuum and weigh the nothing inside….
(18) NOBODY SURVIVES THE FLAME TRENCH. [Item by Mike Kennedy.]On this past Monday’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Josh Groban talked about his visit to NASA, where, among other things, he received a tour of the “flame trench.”
Fellow space enthusiasts Stephen Colbert and Josh Groban geek out over the details of Groban’s trip to NASA’s Artemis mission launch pad. Check out Groban’s latest role as the lead in “Sweeney Todd,” playing now at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Gordon Van Gelder, Rich Lynch, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]
Attempted book bans and restrictions at school and public libraries continue to surge, setting a record in 2022, according to a new report from the American Library Association released Thursday.
More than 1,200 challenges were compiled by the association in 2022, nearly double the then-record total from 2021 and by far the most since the ALA began keeping data 20 years ago.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who directs the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “The last two years have been exhausting, frightening, outrage inducing.”
Thursday’s report not only documents the growing number of challenges, but also their changing nature. A few years ago, complaints usually arose with parents and other community members and referred to an individual book. Now, the requests are often for multiple removals, and organized by national groups such as the conservative Moms for Liberty, which has a mission of “unifying, educating and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”
Last year, more than 2,500 different books were objected to, compared to 1,858 in 2021 and just 566 in 2019. In numerous cases, hundreds of books were challenged in a single complaint. The ALA bases its findings on media accounts and voluntary reporting from libraries and acknowledges that the numbers might be far higher….
… Science fiction, fantasy and horror were born in the pulps and short fiction has long been the beating heart of the genre. However, the focus of attention is increasingly moving towards novels and series. So why do you think SFF short fiction is important and worthy of attention?
I think that the reason SFF short fiction is so important is that it is constantly evolving and keeping up with what is happening in the world. Short fiction can be written, edited, and published long before a novel outline is finished. There is something immediate and satisfying about short fiction that does not exist in longer works of SFF. A great short story can be devoured in a single sitting, giving the reader a complete narrative arc in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. Whole worlds can be created, inhabited, and destroyed on a single bus ride. There’s something about that that always attracted me to short fiction….
She also has a new “Fancast Spotlight” about the “Chrononauts” podcast hosted by JM, Gretchen, and Nate.
Tell us about your podcast or channel.
JM: Chrononauts is a podcast that delves into the history of science fiction literature, and seeks to discuss more obscure works in tandem with or in relation to more well-known stories and writers. In the beginning, I don’t think we had a very precise vision of what we wanted to do, besides: “Hey, let’s talk about some cool sci-fi books! And maybe we can proceed sort of chronologically through the genre’s history!” As time has gone on I think we’ve gotten a more firm handle on this, but also adopted a somewhat relaxed approach, so that while we are still, roughly speaking, moving forward chronologically, we are also taking many tangential side-steps, and are open to including newer works “out of sequence” as it were, particularly if they match up thematically with something from the past. Since I’ve always been into hunting down obscure treasures, I think one of my goals, from the beginning, was always to highlight things that were lesser-known, either because they simply didn’t get as much promotion or, in some cases, had no exposure in the English-speaking world….
…What I remember most about reading in childhood was falling in love with characters and stories; I adored Judy Blume’s Margaret and Beverly Cleary’s Ralph S. Mouse. In New York, where I was in public elementary school in the early ’80s, we did have state assessments that tested reading level and comprehension, but the focus was on reading as many books as possible and engaging emotionally with them as a way to develop the requisite skills. Now the focus on reading analytically seems to be squashing that organic enjoyment. Critical reading is an important skill, especially for a generation bombarded with information, much of it unreliable or deceptive. But this hyperfocus on analysis comes at a steep price: The love of books and storytelling is being lost.
This disregard for story starts as early as elementary school. Take this requirement from the third-grade English-language-arts Common Core standard, used widely across the U.S.: “Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.” There is a fun, easy way to introduce this concept: reading Peggy Parish’s classic, Amelia Bedelia, in which the eponymous maid follows commands such as “Draw the drapes when the sun comes in” by drawing a picture of the curtains. But here’s how one educator experienced in writing Common Core–aligned curricula proposes this be taught: First, teachers introduce the concepts of nonliteral and figurative language. Then, kids read a single paragraph from Amelia Bedelia and answer written questions.
For anyone who knows children, this is the opposite of engaging: The best way to present an abstract idea to kids is by hooking them on a story. “Nonliteral language” becomes a whole lot more interesting and comprehensible, especially to an 8-year-old, when they’ve gotten to laugh at Amelia’s antics first. The process of meeting a character and following them through a series of conflicts is the fun part of reading. Jumping into a paragraph in the middle of a book is about as appealing for most kids as cleaning their room….
The Forever stamp shows the titular grandmother with her magic pasta pot. “Strega Nona,” published in 1975, is a Caldecott Honor book and was voted one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” by the School Library Journal.
(6) IN PASSING. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] Three deaths in the sff field to report.
Eric Brown, science fiction, mystery and children’s book writer as well as the Guardian’s SFF reviewer, has died aged 62. The Guardian’s tribute is at the link.
So the Beginning this Scroll is not one of the more upbeat ones we’ve done to date as it of Keith Roberts’ Pavane.
The ending of this novel, yes the ending, a novellette, “Pavane: The Signaller”, came out in Impulse: The New Science Fantasy in their March 1966 issue. The complete stories that are Pavane would first be printed by Hart-Davis in 1968. Why the ending first? I’ve no idea, but perhaps one of you knows why.
So I’ll just say that Pavane is a brilliant telling of an alternative England that mercifully never happened. So without further commentary, here’s the perfect Beginning that the author gave it…
On a warm July evening of the year 1588, in the royal palace of Greenwich, London, a woman lay dying, an assassin’s bullets lodged in abdomen and chest. Her face was lined, her teeth blackened, and death lent her no dignity; but her last breath started echoes that ran out to shake a hemisphere. For the Faery Queen, Elizabeth the First, paramount ruler of England, was no more …
The rage of the English knew no bounds. A word, a whisper was enough; a half-wit youth, torn by the mob, calling on the blessing of the Pope. … The English Catholics, bled white by fines, still mourning the Queen of Scots, still remembering the gory Rising of the North, were faced with fresh pogroms. Unwillingly, in self-defence, they took up arms against their countrymen as the flame lit by the Walsingham massacres ran across the land, mingling with the light of warning beacons the sullen glare of the auto-da-fé.
The news spread; To Paris, to Rome, to the strange fastness of the Escorial, where Philip II still brooded on his Enterprise of England. The word of a land torn and divided against itself reached the great ships of the Armada, threshing up past the Lizard to link with Parma’s army of invasion on the Flemish coast. For a day while Medina-Sidonia paced the decks of the San Martin, the fate of half the world hung in balance. Then his decision was made; and one by one the galleons and carracks, the galleys and the lumbering urcas turned north toward the land. Toward Hastings and the ancient battleground of Santlache, where history had been made once centuries before. The turmoil that ensued saw Philip ensconced as ruler of England; in France the followers of Guise, heartened by the victories across the Channel, finally deposed the weakened House of Valois. The War of the Three Henrys ended with the Holy League triumphant, and the Church restored once more to her ancient power.
To the victor, the spoils. With the authority of the Catholic Church assured, the rising nation of Great Britain deployed her forces in the service of the Popes, smashing the Protestants of the Netherlands, destroying the power of the German city-states in the long-drawn-out Lutheran Wars. The Newworlders of the North American continent remained under the rule of Spain; Cook planted in Australasia the cobalt flag of the Throne of Peter.
In England herself, across a land half ancient and half modern, split as in primitive times by barriers of language, class, and race, the castles of mediaevalism still glowered; mile on mile of unfelled woodland harboured creatures of another age. To some the years that passed were years of fulfillment, of the final flowering of God’s Design; to others they were a new Dark Age, haunted by things dead and others best forgotten; bears and catamounts, dire wolves and Fairies.
Over all, the long arm of the Popes reached out to punish and reward; the Church Militant remained supreme. But by the middle of the twentieth century widespread mutterings were making themselves heard. Rebellion was once more in the air…
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 23, 1904 — H. Beam Piper. I am reasonably sure that the first thing I read and enjoyed by him was Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen followed by Little Fuzzy and related works which are damn fun reading. Has anyone here read Scalzi’s Fuzzy novel? And how’s his Federation series? Not a Hugo to be had by Piper, amazingly, but Little Fuzzy was nominated at the first Discon when The Man in the High Castle won. (Died 1964.)
Born March 23, 1934 — Neil Barron. Certainly best known for Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction which actually is still a damn fine read which is unusual for this sort of material. If memory thirty years on serves me right, his Fantasy Literature and Horror Literature guides were quite good too. (Died 2010.)
Born March 23, 1937 — Carl Yoke, 86. One of those academics that I stumbled upon when I was looking for information on Zelazny. His 1979 study of him, Roger Zelazny, is quite excellent, as is his essay, “Roger Zelazny’s Bold New Mythologies” which is in Tom Staicar’s Critical Encounters II: Writers and Themes in Science Fiction. He also wrote “What a Piece of Work is a Man: Mechanical Gods in the Fiction of Roger Zelazny” which you’ll find in Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yoke does have four genre stories to his credit.
Born March 23, 1947 — Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, 76. Though her only award was a Nebula for The Healer’s War, I remember her best for a three book series called The Songkiller Saga which was wonderful and the Acorna series that she did with Anne McCaffrey which they co-wrote all but two as the first two were written by McCaffrey and Margaret Ball. She wrote a tribute to McCaffrey, “The Dragon Lady’s Songs”, that appeared in Dragonwriter.
Born March 23, 1952 — Kim Stanley Robinson, 71. If the Mars Trilogy was the only work that he’d written, he’d rank among the best genre writers ever. But then he went and wrote the outstanding Three Californias Trilogy. I won’t say everything he writes I consider top-flight, the Science in the Capital series just didn’t appeal to me. His best one-off novels I think are without argument (ha!) The Years of Rice and Salt and New York 2140. I should note he has won myriad Awards including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, BSFA Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award. And the Heinlein Society gave him their Robert A. Heinlein Award for his entire body of work!
Born March 23, 1959 — Maureen Kincaid Speller. British reviewer and essayist who has been nominated for Hugos for Best Semiprozine and Best Fan Writer. She had an extensive career with her writing showing up in Matrix, Steam Engine Time, The Gate and Vector (all of which she either edited or co-edited), Barbed Wire Kisses, Fire & Hemlock, Local Fanomena, Red Shift, Interzone and The BSFA Review. A brief collection by BSFA, And Another Thing … A Collection of Reviews and Criticism by Maureen Kincaid Speller, leave room for an additional collection. OGH’s obituary writeup is here. (Died 2022.)
Born March 23, 1958 — John Whitbourn, 65. Writer of a number novels and short stories focusing on an alternative history set in a Catholic universe. It reminds me a bit of Keith Robert’s Pavane but much more detailed. A Dangerous Energy in which Elizabeth I never ascends the throne leads off his series. If that’s not to your taste, Frankenstein’s Legion’s is a sheer delight of Steampunk riffing off Mary Shelley‘s tale. He’s available at the usual digital suspects.
[GdM] The expression of characters’ sexuality is something you have always written about that feels open and honest. Has the way you approached sex scenes and sensuality changed between the first novel and now, and if so, how?
Answer: When I started writing the series my plan was to have every kiss, every caress so amazing that we wouldn’t need to ever complete the act. What actually happened was that I built up the anticipation higher and higher so when it came to the point where Anita was finally ready to have full blown sex I had to live up to all the amazing foreplay. I was incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of doing it on paper, but I’d written crime scenes and fight scenes with extreme violence in them and not hesitated. The fact that sex between two people that cared about each other bothered me more than writing violent murder made me question my priorities. Was sex really worse than violence? No, no it wasn’t, but in America we’re conditioned that it is, and once I realized where the bias came from I was determined not to be trapped by it. I promised myself that every sex scene would be as well written and unflinching as my murder scenes had been. I think I’ve kept that promise to myself and to my readers.
Are you still sending your subscribers a poem a day? To produce the poem a day, are you influenced by the news, world happenings, or something beautiful you saw while about in your daily life?
JY: All of the above, plus lines from favorite poems, newspaper clippings, something someone asked, or watching out my window and seeing squirrels and foxes and bobcats and bears and….it’s an old New England farmhouse with a lot of out buildings and farmland! Lots happening there every day.
… Sword-and-sorcery is a subgenre of influence, to varying degrees. The various “Clonans”—Brak, Thongor, Kothar, and their ilk—bear the obvious influence of Robert E. Howard’s famous creation. Michael Moorcock read and was influenced by Howard, but with Elric created a protagonist wholly different than Conan or Kull—civilized, decadent, his strength dependent on a cocktail of drugs.
We also consume and enjoy derivative products. I like my Kothar books—they’re fun (no, they’re not, they’re terrible—DMR), and sometimes they’re just what I need (no, they’re not, they’re terrible!—DMR). The Clonans sold, but creatively arrested the subgenre in the ‘60s and ‘70s. S&S became so narrowly focused and artistically stultified that it suffered a collapse in the early 1980s.
It’s important we recognize true innovators and mavericks. And offer venues and support creators that strive for originality.
Today the issue of originality vs. derivative work has risen to greater prominence and debate with the rise of AI. Now our art is threatened not by derivative authors, but by machines capable of turning it out in choking quantities….
(12) BEAGLE VISITS GLENDALE. Here’s a beautiful photo of author Peter S. Beagle, taken by Krystal Rains, while Beagle was signing at the LA Vintage Paperback Show in Glendale on Sunday.
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, Krystal Rains, Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern – folding more references together than the ingredients in a Scalzi burrito.]
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) has released its newest StoryBundle, “Space is Big. Really Big.,” for a limited time only, March 1–March 23, 2023. This StoryBundle offers a large selection of ebooks from independent and small press science fiction authors, and can be purchased at https://storybundle.com/space.
The “Space is Big. Really Big.” StoryBundle features 15 novels set in the vastness of space. Join us for tales of rogue AIs, pirates, ship-to-ship battles, and galactic politics all set in the biggest of tableaus: space. Perhaps the only thing bigger are the stories that take place within it.
SFWA StoryBundles are collections of ebooks offered at a discounted price and curated by the SFWA Indie Authors Committee. The committee sorted through nearly a hundred excellent submissions for this bundle, and the competition was very tough.
Readers decide what price they want to pay. For $5 (or more, if they’re feeling generous), they get the core bundle of four books in any ebook format available—WORLDWIDE!
Hammer and Crucible by Cameron Cooper
The Empyrean by Katherine Franklin
Shadows of Mars by I.O. Adler
Hometown Space Pirate by C. G. Harris
If they pay at least $20, they get all 4 of the core books, plus 11 more, for a total of 15. As a bonus, 2 of the books are newly packaged with their entire series, bringing your total number of books to 18 for the same low price!
Redshift Rendezvous by John E. Stith
Redspace Rising by Brian Trent
Memory and Metaphor by Andrea Monticue
The Signal Out of Space by Mike Jack Stoumbos
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
Rattle Man by E.H. Gaskins
The Sounding Dark by Jo Graham
Brain for Rent (Hardly Used) by D.M Pruden
The Venusian Job by Ryan McFadden
Skylark in the Fog by Helyna L. Clove
Goodbye to the Sun by Jonathan Nevair
Once March 23 passes,this particular collection will never be available again. Readers will gain a rich collection of science fiction and can opt to donate part of their purchase price to support SFWA’s ongoing work to promote and support speculative fiction genres and writers.
… After 54 years of speculative fiction journalism, we are in danger of losing Locus Magazine. With the rising costs of physical publishing, the mass exodus toward digital, and the rising costs of living, the margins at Locus narrow from month to month. And if no one takes action, we could lose this resource in less than a year.
Contributing reviewers return to publishing reviews for free. The six full-time staff members lose their salaries and benefits. Our community loses the Locus Awards and the honor of the Recommended Reading List. We lose a breadth of speculative journalism including short story and book reviews, spotlights, interviews, acquisition announcements, cover reveals, press releases, articles, essays for, by, and about people in speculative fiction.
I won’t pretend I had a Locus subscription when I got this news. To the contrary, I thought I had time. I thought that was something you acquired when you were farther along in your career. But it’s become clear that if we don’t start contributing to speculative fiction institutions, they might not be here when we think we’re ready for them and they definitely won’t be around for the generations of writers behind mine.
In the same way that readership and fundraising are the lifeblood of so many magazines we aspire to and love to read as fiction readers and writers, this journalistic institution needs you and I to help it keep its pages open. It is an archive of science fiction past and present, and Locus needs us to help it carry us into the future.
Due to the glorious future Twitter is being dragged kicking and screaming into thanks to the inspired leadership of Elon Musk, suupergenius, UI thought it was time to give the ol’ blog a bit of attention again. Not that I haven’t been blogging semi-regularly, but whereas a decade ago I’d hit a post a day fairly regularly, the past couple of years I’ve lucky to get into double digits in a given month. Mostly focused on anime too, as for political and other writing Twitter was just too handy. But if Twitter is going away, will blogs make a comeback?…
The Magical Mysteries StoryBundle features ten fantasy books that have protagonists shaking their heads and wondering how the heck they got into this, whether “this” is discovering a dragon in a coal mine or that they’ve found themselves in a nightmarish game of chess. Join us for tales of burgeoning magic, portal fantasies, strange creatures and … you guessed it: characters who have no idea what’s going on.
SFWA StoryBundles are collections of ebooks curated by the SFWA Indie Authors Committee and offered at a discounted price. Readers decide what price they want to pay. For $5 (or more, if they’re feeling generous), they get the core bundle of four books in any ebook format available—WORLDWIDE!
The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle
Jester by Geoff Hart
Dragon Dreams by Chris A. Jackson
Ritual of the Ancients by Roan Rosser
If they pay at least $20, they get all four of the core books, plus six more books, for a total of ten!
The Sister Paradox by Jack Campbell
Sorrow and Joy by D.R. Perry
Revise The World by Brenda W. Clough
The Year’s Midnight by Rachel Neumeier
Pawn’s Gambit by Darin Kennedy
Spindled by Shanna Swendson
Readers will gain a rich library of fantasy ebooks and can opt to donate part of their purchase price to support SFWA’s ongoing work to promote and support speculative fiction genres and writers.
BookTok, the nickname for TikTok videos in which books are discussed, analysed, cried about and turned into “aesthetic” moodboards, began as a small group of the app’s users who wanted a place to talk about books. It has since grown into a hugely influential community that has the power to pluck authors out of relative obscurity and propel them into the bestsellers charts.
Earlier this month it was named FutureBook Person of the Year, an accolade which recognises digital innovation and excellence across the book trade. According to James Stafford, Head of Partnerships and Community at TikTok, BookTok is a community of “creative people around the world with a shared passion for literature”. Publishers, creators and writers have generally agreed that this corner of the platform has had an overwhelmingly positive effect, having led to huge increases in book sales and the discovery of new writers. The Bookseller even recently called it “the last safe place on the internet”….
(5) IMAGINARY PAPERS. The ASU Center for Science and the Imagination has published the latest issue of Imaginary Papers, their quarterly newsletter on science fiction worldbuilding, futures thinking, and imagination.
The issue features an essay by the artist, researcher, and critic Zoyander Street on the 2017 BBC utopian film Carnage, and another on Adolfo Bioy Casares’ 1940 novel The Invention of Morel, by writer, podcaster, and lawyer Jason Tashea, who works on the future of criminal justice. There’s also a brief writeup of Vice Motherboard’s anthology Terraform: Watch/Worlds/Burn.
The year is 2067. A diverse polycule of androgynous young people, wearing what appears to be glittering eye makeup, walk hand in hand through a sunny field, glass pyramids shining on the horizon. Comedian Simon Amstell narrates: “Though we rarely think about it, Britain is now raising the most peaceful and happy humans ever. Violence has been defeated with compassion, depression cured with intimacy.”
Carnage is a feature-length mockumentary written and directed by Amstell, and published on the BBC’s iPlayer in March 2017. In its utopian future, British people now live in harmony with nature and do not eat meat or animal products. Audiences are invited to reflect on Britain’s history of “carnism,” a term adopted to refer to the archaic practice of eating animals and animal-derived products. Their history is our present, so the film is a darkly comic appraisal of intergenerational trauma in the making. Characters represent the perspectives of different generations: millennial seniors undergo group therapy to process their shame at having participated in a system of abuse, while the generation reaching adulthood in the 2060s tries to make sense of the atrocities committed by their parents and grandparents….
(6) MEMORY LANE.
1951 — [By Cat Eldridge.]Strangers on a Train
Seventy-one years ago, Strangers on a Train premiered. It’s a classic film noir which was produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
It was based on the Strangers on a Train novel by Patricia Highsmith that she had written just the previous year. Hitchcock secured the rights to the novel for only $7,500 since it was her first novel. As per his practice, he kept his name out of the negotiations to keep the purchase price low. Naturally she was quite angry when she later discovered who bought the rights for such a pitiful amount.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE SPOILERS, MAY I SUGGEST YOU GO TO THE BAR NOW?
On a train, two strangers meet and swap the idea of murders — Bruno, who is actually a psychopath, suggests he kill Guy’s wife Miriam and Guy kill Bruno’s hated father. Each will murder a stranger, with no apparent motive, so neither will be suspected. The perfect murders. Or so they think oh so smugly.
Apparently they vary out the murders, or do they? Miriam shows up alive, Guy actually has no attention of killing Bruno’s father which leads to, of all things a fight between them on carnival wheel that mortally wounds .Bruno
I’ve no idea why the psychopath didn’t kill his victim, nor does Hitchcock give us a clue.
Sometime later, another stranger on a train attempts to strike up conversation with Guy in the same way as had Bruno with Guy, about Anne, the daughter of the US Senator he wants to marry (which is why he wants to kill his still alive wife — don’t think about that too long) but Guy turns and walks away from him.
ENJOY YOUR DRINK IN THE BAR? COME ON BACK.
Hitchcock hated the leads, Farley Granger as Guy Haines, Ruth Roman as Anne Morton and Robert Walker as Bruno, as the Studio which paid for the production would be the one that choose the performers. He openly scorned Ruth Roman throughout the production saying she was “lacking in sex appeal”.
(Warner Bros. wanted their own stars, already under contract, cast wherever possible. All studios did this because it was considerably cheaper than hiring freelancers. Hitchcock of course thought money was no object and bitterly complained.)
Though critics at the time were at best lukewarm, audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes are giving it a ninety eight percent rating. And it did great at the box office — the production costs were just one point six million dollars and it made seven million in its initial run. Very impressive.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 15, 1877 — William Hope Hodgson. By far, his best known character is Thomas Carnacki, featured in several of his most famous stories and at least partly based upon Algernon Blackwood’s occult detective John Silence. (Simon R. Green will make use of him in his Ghost Finders series.) Two of his later novels, The House on the Borderland and The Night Land would be lavishly praised by H.P. Lovecraft. While serving as a Lieutenant in the army, he was killed by the direct impact of an artillery shell at the Fourth Battle of Ypres in April 1918. (Died 1918.)
Born November 15, 1879 — Lewis Stone. He was Lord John Roxton in The Lost World which premiered here in 1925 making it one of the earliest cinematic adaptations of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel. If you define Treasure Island as genre, that’s his only other genre role where he’s Captain Smollett. (Died 1953.)
Born November 15, 1929 — Ed Asner. Genre work includes roles on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Invaders, The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, Shelley Duvall’s Tall Tales & Legends, Batman: The Animated Series and I’ll stop there as the list goes on for quite awhile. (Died 2021.)
Born November 15, 1933 — Theodore Roszak. Winner of the Tiptree Award for The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein (1995), and the rather excellent Flicker which is well worth reading. Flicker is available at the usual suspects, and his only other available fiction is his Japanese folktales. Odd. (Died 2011.)
Born November 15, 1934 — Joanna Barnes. Genre work includes roles on Planet of the Apes TV series and Fantasy Island. (Died 2022.)
Born November 15, 1942 — Ruth Berman, 80. She’s a writer of mostly speculative poetry. In 2003, she won the Rhysling Award for Best Short Poem for “Potherb Gardening”, and in 2016 for “Time Travel Vocabulary Problems”. She was the winner of the 2006 Dwarf Stars Award for her poem “Knowledge Of”. She’s also written one YA fantasy novel, Bradamant’s quest. In 1973, she was a finalist for the first Astounding Award for Best New Writer. She edited the Dunkiton Press genre zine for a decade or so. She was nominated for Best Fan Writer Hugo at Baycon (1968). Impressive indeed.
Born November 15, 1972 — Jonny Lee Miller, 50. British actor and director who played Sherlock Holmes on the exemplary Elementary series, but his first genre role was as a nine year-old with the Fifth Doctor story, “Kinda”. While he’s had a fairly steady stage, film, and TV career across the pond since then, it’s only in the last decade that he’s become well-known in the States – unless, like JJ, you remember that twenty-three years ago he appeared in a technothriller called Hackers, with another unknown young actor named Angelina Jolie (to whom he ended up married, until they separated eighteen months months later). Other genre appearances include a trio of vampire films, Dracula 2000, Dark Shadows, and Byzantium, the live-action Æon Flux movie, and the lead in the pseudo-fantasy TV series Eli Stone. (JJ)
It’s been a little more than a year since news of a potential reboot of Babylon 5 surfaced over at The CW. Since then things have stalled in a big way, and remained stalled as The CW goes through major changes after its purchase by Nexstar Media Group. So, what does all that upheaval mean for our chances at more B5? According to creator J. Michael Straczynski, it means we wait, and it’s as simple as that….
EVER WANTED TO BE THE PROTAGONIST OF A STRANGER THINGS ADVENTURE?
Your chance has arrived. Stranger Things: The Experience throws you headfirst into your favorite show —join Eleven, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Max, and Will for a very special episode starring… you! Venture inside Hawkins Lab for a 45 mins. immersive experience featuring a brand-new Stranger Things storyline, then explore an 80’s-themed Mix-Tape medley with food & drinks, special merchandise, photo ops, and much more.
(10) THEIR COPYEDITOR MUST BE MY COUSIN. [Item by Daniel Dern.] From a tech PR email pitch:
Subject: Hackers using stenography for malware attacks – expert source
Daniel Dern adds, “They did get the term correct within the text – ‘steganography’ – and their response to my politely noting the hiccup, was as I expected, ‘Damn autocorrect!’”
(11) A GAME THAT TEACHES BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION. Nature Kin is a collaborative card game to help young people and families cultivate ecological literacy. The game puts players in charge of an open space where they and their friends race to find a home for 28 different native plants, animals, and insects.
Patrick Coleman (assistant director, Clarke Center) created the game with the help of his two young daughters, who adore the abundant nature we have in San Diego County: one of the top ten biodiversity hotspots in the country.
Also, for every set purchased during the Indiegogo campaign, they will donate one set to a young person through a school or community outreach program, doubling your impact, and donate $5 to Project Wildlife (part of the San Diego Humane Society), a wildlife rehabilitation program that gives injured, orphaned, and sick wild animals a second chance at life.
(12) LOCAL STONES. Here’s a flyby comparison of all the moons of Uranus and Neptune – except the flyby is set above a familiar cityscape for real impact. I never knew how many moons look more like potatoes than billiard balls.
All known moons of the planets Uranus and Neptune, arranged in order of size. Uranus has 27 moons discovered so far and Neptune has 14. Some moons are known with Triton, Miranda or Titania, but there are many more smaller moons that are little known.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Joey Eschrich, Rich Lynch, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]
(1) ASKING ABOUT BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACES IN SF. Prof. Brendan Allison has a question, and File 770 has volunteered to try and crowdsource the answer:
I am an academic researcher in the field of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). I’m writing a book chapter about BCIs in science fiction, called BCI-fi. Among other academic pursuits, I’m looking for the first reference to an artificial brain interface. It must involve a device. I’m just writing you as a way to research this question.
The earliest reference so far was the first X-Men comic in 1963. Professor X can “interface” with psychic power – which doesn’t count – but also uses a brain interface to bolster that ability. Frankenstein does use a device to stimulate the brain, but that’s arguably not an interface.
In this two-part event, we will have prominent speakers within the BCI-fi community to discuss their contributions to BCI-fi, their favorite examples of BCI-fi including movies, books, and podcasts, and next steps to develop, foster, or publicize “good” BCI-fi. We will be joined by Dr. Brendan Allison (UCSD), Andy Weir (author of The Martian), Dr. Eric Leuthardt (Washington University in St. Louis), Stephen Hou (host of Neurratives podcast), Dr. Richard Ramchurn (University of Nottingham), Dr. Jane Huggins (University of Michigan) and Dr. Robert Hampson (Wake Forest University).
Many argue that the perfect length for speculative fiction is the novella, or short novel. Some believe that this is long enough to tell a successful story while not longer than needed. It is said that this length allows for character development and change, and perhaps multiple plot lines, while short enough to be taut and not meander or bog down.
I don’t know if it’s true that the novella is the perfect length for speculative fiction, but it is certainly true that many great works of speculative fiction are novella length, whether works such as “The Times Machine” by H. G. Wells right up to modern fiction such as “A Spindle Splintered” by Alix E. Harrow….
(3) SFWA SF STORYBUNDLE SUBMISSION CALL. The Independent Authors Committee of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) is open for submissions for their science fiction StoryBundle to be released next spring. Submissions will be accepted through October 31, 2022, at 11:59pm Eastern Time. The theme for the call is Space is Big. Really Big. They are looking for space opera and “other books that span large swaths of space.” Full guidelines for this submission call can be found here.
StoryBundles are curated collections of books offered at a discounted price. Proceeds go to the participating authors and StoryBundle, and a small cut is donated to SFWA.
This is a great chance for independent and small press authors to gain more exposure and sell more books! Submissions of indie and traditionally published novels will be accepted, though publishers must give permission in writing. You do not need to be a SFWA member to apply!
We welcome full-length science fiction novels of over 40,000 words. We ask that authors submit only one novel, and do not submit a novel that has appeared in any previous StoryBundle (SFWA or otherwise.) Please only submit novels that will be for sale by March 1, 2023. You must have full rights to enter your novel in the StoryBundle, and the novel must not be in Amazon’s KDP Select at the time that the StoryBundle is offered. Participants will be notified by December 1, 2022, so that any books enrolled in KDP will have time to be brought out of exclusivity before the bundle is released on or about March 1, 2023.
(4) FUNDRAISING FOR THE THOMASES. The Gofundme for “Lynne and Michael Thomas”, who are facing the loss of their 19-year-old daughter Caitlin to medical complications from Aicardi Syndrome, had raised $58,486 when checked earlier today. Jim C. Hines, who set up the appeal, explained what it’s for:
…I’ve spoken a bit with Michael. It sounds like the medical costs of Caitlin’s treatment are covered. End-of-life costs are another matter.
The goal of this fundraiser is to cover those end-of-life expenses, and to hopefully provide a financial cushion to allow the Thomases to spend their remaining time with Caitlin – and when the time comes, to grieve – without also having to worry about money. All donations will go directly to Michael and Lynne (with the exception of GoFundMe’s processing fee)….
…A successful previous fundraiser brought Ekpeki to this year’s Worldcon, where he was a finalist for two Hugo Awards. However, his gruesome battle with the US embassy in Nigeria for a visa and exorbitant fees and repeated payments resulting from that (including last-minute changes to his international flights) resulted in costs far exceeding what that fundraiser brought in. So this new fundraiser would also mop up those expenses as well….
What kind of a reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you?
I was not able to read until I was age 8. Mother tutored me with phonics, and I quickly went from no reading to reading above my age level. My favorite books when I was in fourth grade were “Black Beauty,” “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and a children’s book about famous inventors. I really related to Black Beauty’s pain when he was forced to pull a heavy carriage with his head held up by a bearing rein. The inventor book appealed to me because I loved to tinker with my kites to make them fly better.
What genres do you especially enjoy reading and which do you avoid?
I avoid romance novels. The books I really enjoy are either about animals or science fiction. I loved “Merle’s Door,” by Ted Kerasote. Many dogs today live really restricted lives and they have no normal dog social life. Another favorite is “The Soul of the Octopus,” by Sy Montgomery. It really made me think about consciousness. When I received a review copy of “A Dog’s Purpose,” by W. Bruce Cameron, I could not put it down. In the science fiction genre, I am a fan of Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov.
(7) PICK SIX. How long has this variation been around? A spinoff from Nerds of a Feather’s “Six Books” interview series is “6 Games With Aidan Moher”.
1. What game are you currently playing?
Appropriately, I’m splitting my time between a couple of JRPGs—one current, one retro.
On the big screen downstairs I’m about 60 hours into Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and still mildly obsessed. I really love a lot of creator Tetsuya Takahashi’s older games—especially Xenogears, which I just finished replaying—but bounced hard off Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so I was a little hesitant when they announced the third game. It’s exceeded all of my expectations, though, and is probably my favourite game in the series now—an improvement on the second game in pretty much every way. Vast world, memorable characters, and Takahashi’s typical zany JRPG plot is a drool-worth combination.
Upstairs in my CRT corner, I’m playing Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64 for the first time. I’ve enjoyed many other games in the series—including Sticker Star, which has a bad reputation—but the original slipped past me for a variety of reasons. It’s wild to go back to the very beginning and see all of the series’s trademarks right there, fully formed, polished, and perfectly enjoyable 20 years later. It’s genuinely funny, the combat is simple but engaging thanks to its timing-based mechanics, and it’s got some of the best graphics on the system.
(8) WAS THE ZODIAC KILLER A FAN? [Item by Susan de Guardiola.] There’s a new theory that the Zodiac killer was a fan, Paul Doerr.
The news reports on this are the first time I’ve ever seen fanzines, filk, D&D, SCA, Renfaires, etc. paired with a Zodiac killer theory.
The evidence is circumstantial, but there’s an awful lot of it.
… As he studied Zodiac’s cryptic letters, Kobek brought a writerly attention to bear. He zeroed in on the killer’s habit of quoting forgotten bits of cultural ephemera (the well-known call-outs to The Mikado and to the 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” as well as a telling reference to an obscure 1950s comic book, identified by an anonymous online researcher, Tahoe27, several years back). Running other apparent quotations through Google Books and the Internet Archive, Kobek formed a picture of the killer as a fan of pulp novels, comics, and other nerdy touchstones. Kobek knew a bit about the early years of the sci-fi and fantasy fandoms, how these nascent communities had begun taking shape around an array of obscure self-published zines. On a hunch, he did a quick web search of “fanzines” and “Vallejo.”…
Paul Haynes has published a long Twitter thread about Kobek’s evidence, now collected in three parts at Threadreader: Part I; Part II; Part III.
I don’t know if anyone who knew Paul Doerr is still around.
(9) THE CORFLU AUCTION IS NOW LIVE! The catalog for the Corflu Pangloss auction is now online at Corflu.org and eFanzines.com. Anyone can bid on those 80 lots, including non-members – the catalog has instruction on how to bid. See the Pangloss Fanzine Auction Catalog and Bid Sheet at the links.
Corflu has a long tradition of raising funds to support the convention by selling and auctioning off vintage science fiction fanzines before, during and sometimes after the convention. As Corflu is a convention devoted to fanzines and the fans who create them, it has always been a natural place to buy, sell or trade zines, and the live auction has often raised very impressive sums.
For the 39th issue of the convention, taking place October 21st to 23rd, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, we have taken a new approach… By creating this catalog of auction items and publishing it some weeks in advance of the convention, we hope to allow fans not attending Corflu Pangloss to participate. Anyone interested in buying is invited to send their bids by email to [email protected] by midnight, Pacific daylight time on October 22nd, 2022.
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1992 – [By Cat Eldridge.] “Relics” was the one hundred and thirtieth episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I found it to be one of the more fascinating episodes that series did and I’ll tell why in a minute, but first let’s talk about the usual details.
Ronald Dowl Moore was the writer of this episode and he was best known fleshing out the Klingons. He also wrote the series finale here, “All Good Things…” which won the Hugo Award at Intersection. And yes, he’s done a lot more Great Things than that but I have an understanding with OGH that I’ll try to keep things reasonably brief.
So why do I like it? Look there’s a Dyson Sphere being depicted as far as I know for the very first time on a video series! Y’all know what that is so you know why I’m so excited by this.
And then there’s the matter of the idea of the Enterprise in responding to a distress signal having the singular honor of rescuing Capt. Montgomery Scott!
So how do the two connect?
Well, the Enterprise, responding to a distress call discovers a Dyson sphere where they the distress call to the USS Jenolan, a Federation transport ship that has been missing for seventy-five years, which they find crashed on the sphere’s outer shell. And in the transporter buffer field, jury rigged to keep working, are two signals, two patterns, one degraded to be saved, the other that of Doohan.
He bonds with Geordie which is fortunate as together they need to figure out how to get the Enterprise out of that damn Sphere. Afterwards he’s feeling like a relic but Picard cheers him up. As the Enterprise returns to its mission, the crew of the ship give Scott a shuttlecraft “on extended loan” to do whatever he wanted.
I thought the writers did a nice job of making him a believable character, much more to be honest than the original series often did. And critics agreed as they’ve consistently voted this to be one of the best episodes of the series.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 10, 1927 — Dana Elcar. Most of you will remember him as Peter Thornton on MacGyver, but he has a long genre history including Russ in Condorman which was inspired by Robert Sheckley’s The Game of X. He also played Sheriff George Paterson in Dark Shadows, and showed up in 2010 as Dimitri Moisevitch. (Died 2005.)
Born October 10, 1924 — Edward Wood Jr. Though known for Plan 9 from Outer Space, he did a lot of other bad genre films including Night of the Monster and Bride of The Ghouls. (Died 1978.)
Born October 10, 1929 — Robin Hardy. Wicker Man is the film he’s known for though he followed that up with The Wicker Tree, an adaptation of his Cowboys for Christ novel. Anyone seen it? (Died 2016.)
Born October 10, 1931 — Victor Pemberton. Writer of the script for the “Fury from the Deep”, a Second Doctor story in which he created the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. He had appeared as an actor in the series, in a non-speaking role as a scientist in “The Moonbase” story. In 1976, he wrote the BBC audio drama Doctor Who and the Pescatons which I remember hearing. Quite good it was. (Died 2017.)
Born October 10, 1931 — Jack Jardine. A long-time L.A. fan who was present at many West Coast cons and who shared the dais on panels with some of the major names in SF. Under the pen name Larry Maddock he wrote science fiction and mystery stories in the Fifties and Sixties. File 770 has more here. (Died 2009.)
Born October 10, 1941 — Peter Coyote, 81. He actually did two genre films in 1982 with the first being Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann in which he appeared as Porter Reese and the second being E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which he’s Keys, the Agent hunting E.T. down. Sphere in which he’s Captain Harold C. Barnes is his next SF outing followed by The 4400 and FlashForward series being his next major genre involvements.
Born October 10, 1947 — Laura Brodian Freas Beraha, 75. While married to Kelly Freas, she wrote Frank Kelly Freas: As He Sees It with him along with quite a few essays such as “On the Painting of Beautiful Women or Ayesha, She Who Must Be Obeyed” and “Some of My Best Critics are Friends – or Vice Versa“. She’s credited solely for the cover art for the 1993 Easton Press interior art for The Left Hand of Darkness according to ISFDB.
Born October 10, 1966 — Bai Ling, 56. She’s Miss West in Wild West West and the Mysterious Woman in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, she has a major role as Guanyin in The Monkey King which aired on Syfy.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
Annie has turned the “little orphan” into a time traveler!
Off the Markshows “parts is parts” isn’t true if you’re Frankenstein.
But the stage wasn’t the only place catching fans’ attention as the four-day event rolled on at the Javitz Convention Center: Down on the ground, the guests themselves kept the cosplay fit tight, lining the halls with creatively killer takes on Mysterio, Red Skull, Buzz Lightyear, Predator, and tons more….
Catalyst features an incredible cast of characters with complicated, overlapping histories. One of these characters is a stage magician who performs illusory tricks in a world where “real” magic is very present. What made you decide to bring these two contrasting approaches to magic central to this character’s identity?
Thank you for that compliment! Catalyst actually went through several serious revision drafts, and originally Mavrin (my street magician) was much more skeptical and almost willfully dismissive of “real” magic. When I added magic-bestowing squid gods (the Aspects) literally in orbit around Aelda, that level of skepticism didn’t make as much sense – so instead, it became obstinance. Mavrin has a lot of issues with the Aspects and their worshippers, so becoming an illusionist is part of how he distances himself from both. “I can make my own magic, I don’t need you!” is probably percolating in his subconscious somewhere (even though he’s fifty and not, like fifteen). But thankfully, he can only stay obstinate and grumpy for so long….
There’s danger in hosting a big social gathering. People you haven’t seen in years can still make your throat tighten. Various combinations of acquaintances can be in good terms with you but be mortal enemies to each other. You dread the thought of who may knock at the door next. Your pulse quickens and your survival instinct rings alarms urging you to flee. Once the tension reaches critical mass, too much honesty will rip someone’s heart. The exchange of bitter words becomes a series of rounds of mutual eviscerations. Arguments get heated until someone loses their head. A friend’s careless remark under too much alcohol may lead to you never seeing them again. At any moment, the air can get so heavy that some of those present will suddenly depart from your life.
In Wolf at the Door, by Canadian author Joel McKay, these emotions that tear people to pieces are materialized into tooth and claw….
…This is the great solar tower of Ashalim, one of the tallest structures in Israel and, until recently, the tallest solar power plant in the world.
“It’s like a sun,” said Eli Baliti, a shopkeeper in the nearest village. “A second sun.”
To backers, the tower is an impressive feat of engineering, testament to Israeli solar innovation. To critics, it is an expensive folly, dependent on technology that had become outmoded by the time it was operational.
…The tower is more than 800 feet high, one of the tallest structures in Israel. It’s visible even from space.
To some, it’s reminiscent of something out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
“It’s the eye of Sauron,” said Uriya Suued, an engineer who lived in Ashalim until September.
Other times, the tower seems more like a gawky, gentle giant, awkwardly standing on the edge of a group photo. You can even forget it’s there — until you spot it hovering, almost comically, behind a garden wall or incongruously, even apologetically, over the swimmers in the village’s outdoor pool.
“A lighthouse without the sea,” said Ben Malka, who runs the pool….
(17) DEMONIC IMPRESSION. Netflix dropped a trailer for Wendell & Wild, the new film written by Henry Selick and Jordan Peele and directed by Henry Selick.
(18) GIBSON ADAPTATION. This trailer for The Peripheral Season 1 on Prime Video was unveiled at New York Comic Con. “On October 21, the future holds the key to saving the past.”
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Pitch Meeting: Don’t Worry Darling,” Ryan George, in a spoiler-packed episode, explains that Don’t Worry Darling “feels like a “go to the theatre film” and not something you stay home and stream. But it’s “a string of random occurrences for about 90 minutes with little or no information revealed.” And then in the third act we learn the film is “like The Matrix with 10,000 times less kung fu.”
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, SFWA, Jerry Kaufman, Susan de Guardiola, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) has released its newest StoryBundle, Renegades of Tomorrow, for a limited time only, from August 24 to September 14, 2022. This StoryBundle offers a large selection of ebooks from independent and small press fantasy writers, and can be purchased at https://storybundle.com/scifi.
The Renegades of Tomorrow StoryBundle features thirteen reluctant heroes of all types as they face an unjust system and find they can’t leave well enough alone. There are tales of steampunk adventure, sci-fi espionage, underworld intrigue, and entire galaxies standing on the brink of war in this exciting and varied look at the difference one person can make when they dare to say, “Not on my watch.”
SFWA StoryBundles are collections of ebooks curated by the SFWA Indie Authors Committee and offered at a steeply discounted price. Readers decide what price they want to pay. For $5 (or more, if they’re feeling generous), they get the core bundle of four books in any ebook format available—WORLDWIDE!
ACHE by Kelvin Myers
Petra by Matthew S. Rotundo
The Diamond Device by M. H. Thaung
Glitch Rain by Alex Livingston with two related bonus short stories!
If they pay at least $20, they get all four of the core books, plus NINE more books, for a total of thirteen!
The Paradise Factory by Jim Keen
The Hands We’re Given by O. E. Tearmann
Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields
Double Edged by Jessie Kwak
Centricity by Nathaniel Henderson
Situation Normal by Leonard Richardson
The Ascension Machine by Rob Edwards
Blue On Black by Carole Cummings
Ternary by Kristin L. Stamper
Once September 14 passes, this particular collection will never be available again. Readers will gain a rich collection of science fiction and can opt to donate part of their purchase price to support SFWA’s ongoing work to promote and support speculative fiction genres and writers.
SFWA’s Independent Authors Committee is open for submissions for their next fantasy StoryBundle to be released this fall. Submissions will be accepted through May 30, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.
The committee cites this as a chance for independent and small press authors to gain more exposure and sell more books. They welcome submissions of indie and traditionally published novels, from SFWA members and nonmembers, as well as from small press publishers, if the publishers give permission in writing. Full guidelines for this submission call can be found here.
The overarching theme for the call is “What Am I Doing Here?” The SFWA Independent Authors Committee seeks fantasy stories of characters lost, stranded, abandoned, shipwrecked, or stuck on the wrong side of a portal. As always, the Committee is open to unique interpretations of the theme, such as tales of lost memories or of being lost in time. This StoryBundle will be offered in November 2022.
The Independent Authors Committee will select participants from the entries they receive, and “the exact composition and titles of any individual SFWA StoryBundle is subject to adjustment as we accommodate the best selections. Therefore, we encourage authors not to self-reject if their novel has any fit at all with our theme.”
StoryBundles are curated collections of books offered at a discounted price. Readers select what price they’d like to pay for an initial four books and can unlock the entire collection by contributing $20. Proceeds go to the participating authors and StoryBundle, and a small cut is donated to SFWA.
Welcome are full-length fantasy novels of over 40,000 words that are either clearly stand-alone stories or the first in a series. Authors are asked to submit only one novel, and do not submit a novel that has appeared in any previous StoryBundle (SFWA or otherwise.) Only submit novels that will be for sale by October 2022. The author must have full rights to enter their novel in the StoryBundle, and the novel must not be in Amazon’s KDP Select at the time that the StoryBundle is offered.
The full submission guidelines, including instructions on how to submit, are here.
(1) PRESSING ON. Apex Book Company is seeking $6,200 to publish a print compilation anthology of all the original genre short fiction that appeared in their digital publication, Apex Magazine, during the 2021 calendar year. Their Kickstarter project, “Apex Magazine 2021 Compilation Anthology by Apex Publications”, at this writing has raised $2,376. The appeal runs through April 22.
Apex Magazine had an exceptional 2021. Seven of the zine’s stories made the Locus Magazine Suggested Reading List. The zine placed a story on the Nebula finalist list and won a Stabby Award. In October 2021, we published an issue dedicated to Indigenous authors. In December 2021, we dedicated an issue to international authors.
The anthology will include 48 stories from a diverse group of new and established writers and will feature the Apex Magazine Readers’ Choice Award-winning artwork “Entropic Garden” by Marcela Bolívar on the cover.
(2) SFWA STORYBUNDLE. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has released its newest StoryBundle, Magic Awakens, for a limited time only, from April 6 to April 28. This StoryBundle offers a large selection of ebooks from independent and small press fantasy writers, and can be purchased at https://storybundle.com/fantasy.
If a smooth sea never made a skilled mariner, then a tranquil world never forged a powerful hero: Meet fourteen budding sorceresses, wizards, and magic wielders of all ages and types as they face horrible threats that force them to confront their nascent abilities and to strengthen their powers and themselves. Then join each character on their own thrilling adventure once the Magic Awakens!
SFWA StoryBundles are curated collections of ebooks offered at a steeply discounted price. Readers who purchase Magic Awakens will gain a rich collection of fantasy fiction and can opt to donate part of their purchase price to support SFWA’s ongoing work to promote and support speculative fiction genres and writers.
Readers may choose what price they want to pay for the initial four books, starting at $5. Spending $20 unlocks ten more books that they can receive with their purchase. Once April 28 passes, this particular collection will never be available again! Further details about how StoryBundle operates are available at https://storybundle.com/faq.
(3) CSI SPARKLE SALON. The second episode of the Science Fiction Sparkle Salon has been released by the Center for Science and the Imagination. It features sff authors Malka Older, Annalee Newitz, Arkady Martine, Amal El-Mohtar, and Karen Lord, and scientist Katie Mack, discussing a wide range of topics
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require companies like the parents of Google and Facebook to pay Canadian media outlets for allowing links to news content on their platforms.
Canadian publishers, many of which are struggling financially, have long pushed the government for such a measure, arguing that the advertising revenue that previously was the foundation of their businesses has overwhelmingly migrated to global online giants.
“The news sector in Canada is in crisis,” Pablo Rodriguez, the minister of Canadian heritage, said at a news conference. “This contributes to the heightened public mistrust and the rise of harmful disinformation in our society.”
Mr. Rodriguez said that 450 media outlets in Canada closed between 2008 and last year….
Thirty-seven years ago, Gary Colabuono saw his first ashcan. “And I did not know what they were,” he says now, decades after he began collecting, preserving and promoting these cheaply made, stapled-together black-and-white mock-ups made to secure a comic book title’s trademark and meant to be tossed into the trash.
Step into the world of Alan Moore’s incredible imagination and learn from the mastermind behind comics like From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Swamp Thing, and novels including the modern literary classic Jerusalem. Learn about Alan Moore’s writing process and how he combines character, story, language and world-building to create the tales that have won him fans the world over. Ideal for aspiring fiction writers, this online course includes downloadable course notes to guide you on your own creative journey.
(9) NEHEMIAH PERSOFF (1919-2022). A prolific actor with over 200 screen and TV credits, Nehemiah Persoff died April 5 at the age of 102.
His first genre role was playing Ali Baba in an episode of Shirley Temple’s Storybook (1958). He worked constantly, with many appearances in other sff TV series: The Twilight Zone (“Judgment Night”; 1959), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Off to See the Wizard (voice), The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, Land of the Giants, The Magical World of Disney, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Invisible Man, Wonder Woman, Logan’s Run, The Bionic Woman, Supertrain, Battlestar Galactica, Fantasy Island, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he voiced Papa Mousekewitz in 1986’s An American Tail and two video sequels.
My dear Father, Like all really nice people, you have a weakness for detective stories, and feel that there are not enough of them. So, after all that you have done for me, the least that I can do for you is to write you one. Here it is: with more gratitude and affection than I can well put down here.
— A. A. Milne in his preface to The Red House Mystery
A century ago today, A.A. Milne’s The Red House Mystery was published by Methuen in the United Kingdom. This is his only mystery and it’s a most splendid Manor House mystery, one of the best ever written if I must so myself which I will. Milne tells the story of the mysterious death of Robert Ablett inside the house of his brother, Mark Ablett, while there was a party taking place. It’s a whodunit that’s wonderfully told.
That was written prior to Winnie the Pooh and was an immediate success with the reading public and critics alike. Alexander Woollcott of the New Yorker at the time called it “one of the three best mystery stories of all time” though he himself would later be judged harshly by Raymond Chandler who also disliked British mysteries in general. (Ahhh feuds among critics. Lovely things they are.) It has stood nicely the test of time and is still considered a splendid mystery.
It is now in the public domain so you can find it at the usual suspects for free though there are also copies being sold by publishers as well. Audible has four versions of the novel including a full cast production. I really should listen to that version.
If you interested in acquiring a first British edition, dig deep into your bank account as that will set you back, assuming that edition is on the market, at least thirteen thousand dollars currently.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 6, 1926 — Gil Kane. Artist who created the modern look and feel of Green Lantern and the Atom for DC, and co-created Iron Fist with Roy Thomas for Marvel. I’m going to single him out for his work on the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets in the Sixties and Seventies which you can find on the revamped and stripped-down DC Universe app. (Died 2000.)
Born April 6, 1935 — Douglas Hill. Canadian author, editor and reviewer. For a year, he was assistant editor of Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds magazine. I’m going to admit that I know more of him as a decidedly and to be admired Leftist reviewer than I do as writer, indeed he held the same post of Literary Editor at the socialist weekly Tribune as Orwell earlier did. Who here is familiar with fiction? He was quite prolific indeed. (Died 2007.)
Born April 6, 1937 — Billy Dee Williams, 85. He is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, first appearing in The Empire Strikes Back. Other genre appearances include being Harvey Dent in Batman and voicing Two Face In The Lego Batman Movie. He also co-wrote with Rob MacGregor two SF novels, PSI/Net and Just/In Time which are available from the usual suspects.
Born April 6, 1938 — Roy Thinnes, 84. Best remembered for his role of David Vincent in The Invaders. He was also in The Horror at 37,000 Feet, The Norliss Tapes, Satan’s School for Girls, Battlestar Galactica, Dark Shadows (recurring role as Roger Colins) and Poltergeist: The Legacy.
Born April 6, 1942 — Anita Pallenberg. It’s not a long genre resume but she was in Barbarella as, I kid you not, Black Queen, Great Tyrant of Sogo, the chief villainess. Over forty years later, she had a minor role as Diana in a Grade B film 4:44 Last Day on Earth. Now I’m going to expand this Birthday by crediting her as the muse of the Rolling Stones which is surely genre adjacent, isn’t it? She was the lover of Brian Jones, and later, from 1967 to 1980, the partner of Keith Richards, with whom she had three children. Of course she appeared in that documentary about the Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil. (Died 2017.)
Born April 6, 1944 — Judith McConnell, 78. Here for being in Star Trek’s “Wolf in the Fold” as Yeoman Tankris. Need I say what happened to her? Well you’d be wrong as she survived. (I looked it up to be sure as the body count was high.) She also during this time appeared on Get Smart in “The King Lives” as Princess Marta, and she’d much later be in Sliders for several episodes.
Born April 6, 1977 — Karin Tidbeck, 45. Their first work in English, Jagannath, a short story collection, made the shortlist for the Otherwise Award and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. The short story “Augusta Prima”, originally written in Swedish, was translated by the author into English and won a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award in the Short Form category.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
Bizarro really should be more impressed with The Mildly Surprising Spider-Man.
Mainly featuring heroes and villains in colorful costumes, comic book covers have succeeded in catching readers’ attention, but these covers are truly the best of the best. These are the 15 Greatest Covers in All of Comics.
(14) SKILL TREE. The latest episode of CSI Skill Tree series on video games, storytelling, worldbuiding, and futures thinking is now live, with SF author Ken Liu and video game designer Liz Fiacco discussing the 2020 game Cloud Gardens, a 2020 game about using plants to overgrow and transform abandoned post-industrial landscapes. This episode is presented in collaboration with Orion Magazine, a quarterly publication working at the convergence of ecology, art, and social justice. All nine Skill Tree episodes are available to view at this playlist.
…Dionysos: The New God is the last of O’Connor’s Olympians, a series of graphic novels he’s been writing and illustrating for the last 12 years. Each book retells the ancient Greek myths through the lens of one of the gods or goddesses, from Athena, goddess of wisdom, to Hephaistos, god of the forge.
O’Connor’s illustrations are bursting with action, humor and lots of details. He researched the ancient myths in order to get as close as possible to the original stories. That means his gods and goddesses are fierce, but also voluptuous, mischievous and even snarky. To him, the Olympians are a family of distinct individuals. “There’s certain personality traits that come to the fore,” he said….
(16) WILSON HONORED AT BOOKFEST. Author and musician Shane Wilson won two book awards at The BookFest this past weekend for his novel, The Smoke in His Eyes. The book placed second in Contemporary Fiction and third in Coming-of-Age Literary Fiction.
The Bookfest Awards honors authors who create outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction. Books are judged in categories based on genre, theme, and aesthetics. Books published in the past five years are eligible. Entries will be vetted by an initial team, then the final places will be determined by an elite team of experts in the literary and entertainment world.
Here’s what The Smoke in His Eyes is about:
When TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses are overrun with intense hallucinations. Over the years, his visions increase in frequency and intensity, but he hides them from those he is closest to, including his best friend and musical partner, Lila, who challenges TJ to reject formulaic creation in order to create something beautiful and unique. But when Lila signs a record deal, TJ feels left behind and alone with his art and his visions.
That’s when TJ meets an artist named Muna. In his eyes and visions, Muna is made of smoke, and as this magical woman helps him learn how to manage his visions and how to translate what he sees and hears into music and lyrics, she begins to disappear. His journey into Muna’s past is a journey to discover where inspiration originates and what happens to an artist when that inspiration is gone.
….Now, ten years later, Caiden and the Azura are legends, a one man, one ship, and one young Nophek crew doing good across the multiverse, staying ahead of the forces of Unity led by Abriss Centre, and dreading what will happen if her equally dangerous brother escapes his imprisonment. It’s getting harder for Caiden to escape Abriss’ traps, especially when Abriss has a trump card up her sleeve, one guaranteed to slow down Caiden enough to capture him and his remarkable ship…his long lost sister.
Welcome to Azura Ghost, the second Graven book from Essa Hansen….
In the first novel of this series, A History of What Comes Next (which I reviewed for this blog last year), we learned that the progress of science on this planet has always been secretly guided by the Kibsu, a humanlike species of superstrong, supersmart aliens whose genetic line split at some point in antiquity, with the female line dedicated to developing mathematics and teaching it to humans, and the male line sworn to hunting down their female counterparts as punishment for some supposed treason no one remembers anymore. For centuries, these aliens have been spreading both knowledge and death as each lineage pursues their mission while hiding in plain sight among us. The title of the series is Take them to the stars, but in that first novel the full meaning is revealed as Take them to the stars before we come and kill them all.
The newly released continuation, Until the Last of Me, displays the hallmark signs of Middle Book Syndrome: the plot gets a bit repetitive in the early chapters, feels a bit directionless toward the middle, and is suddenly hijacked at the end by the need to put all the pieces in position for the upcoming final confrontation….
Gowing up in the 80s and 90s, while a big fan of sci fi and fantasy, there weren’t a lot of female characters to identify with. The females typically lacked depth, didn’t have a lot of agency, or simply were there as a romantic interest. As I started developing my fantasy trilogy, I wanted to create a cast of female characters who were all different. They made jokes, made mistakes, got angry, got frustrated, weren’t always the ‘bookish smart’ one. I wrote because I wanted greater depth of characters for young girls reading these genres so that they could picture themselves in these worlds without having to be ultrasmart or beautiful or aggressively assertive…
Now through Inklings Publishing, she’s authored Descendants of Avalon (2018), Lost Daughters of Avalon (2019), and Prophecy of Avalon (2021). Her short story “The Girl from the Haunted Woods,” won second place in the “Journey into the Fantastical” Anthology contest.
Here’s the précis about Lost Daughters of Avalon (Awakenings Book 2):
After not hearing anything from their knights in Avalon for weeks, the horrible Questing Beast breaks through into the world and attacks Genie, Beth, Mei, and Whit. Their magic stirs to stop the monster, but Beth’s attempts fail. Help from Avalon arrives just in time to remove the curse and reveal a woman inside the beast who claims to be Genie’s biological mother.The four friends learn their knights had gone missing, along with one of Avalon’s queens, Viviane. An ancient evil runs amok in Avalon and the people blame the four friends, claiming they released Merlin to destroy their world. To clear their name and rescue their knights, the four friends must once again risk the dangers of Avalon. Genie, Beth, Mei, and Whit must pull together and learn to combine their powers of air, water, earth, and fire to rebalance the world they might have thrown into chaos. If they fail, the worlds of Avalon and Earth could destabilize and end life as they know it.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin,” Fandom Games says that in this Final Fantasy spinoff you play Jack, “a character so edgy that he makes Jared Leto’s Joker seem like a birthday clown.” Jack’s the sort of character who responds to a demon saying, “I am” and interrupts him to say, “I don’t care who you are,” and starts punching the creature out. In fact, this game is so edgy that “it’s like a Monster energy drink come to life.”
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Joey Eschrich, Jason Sizemore, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]
(1) MOPOP INTRODUCES NEW ONLINE COLLECTION VAULT. [Item by Frank Catalano.] Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture is finally putting part of its collection online. This is a very cool development for fans of science fiction as popular culture.
How do I know it’s only a small subset of everything MoPOP has to offer? Back in 2014, I donated more than 50 lobby cards for science fiction and fantasy films to the permanent collection, and only one has appeared in the online vault so far, for Futureworld. (WHY that crappy movie and not ones for 2001, Planet of the Apes, or others? No idea.)
My grandmother taking me to a bridge in my pushchair to watch the steam trains go by. I was 23 months old. I also remember her venting, months later, about the Beatles song “She Loves You” and how their use of the word “yeah” instead of “yes” meant we were now all living in the end times.
Who are your heroes?
As a boy I loved urbane and unflappable literary characters, such as PG Wodehouse’s Rupert Psmith, and indomitable heroes on television – Adam West’s Batman, Adam Adamant, Doctor Who, and the Monkees. When I was a teenager the Stranglers released “No More Heroes” around the same time that David Bowie sang “Heroes”. I listened to them both and thought we are meant to be our own heroes…
“Kij is a fantastic writer and educator. I’m very excited that she is on board to help shape the vision and impact of Ad Astra,” said center Director Chris McKitterick. “She has been a valued colleague for many years and someone I admire for their tenacity of thought, dedication to students, and excellence in craft.”
Johnson is a writer of speculative and experimental short fiction and novels. She has won the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, as well as the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire and others.
In 2013, she gave the inaugural Tolkien Lecture at Oxford University; since then, she has been a guest of honor at conferences and conventions in Sweden, France, and the United States. Johnson has also been a professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas, starting in 2012.
“Science fiction—speculative fiction—offers a unique way of engaging with big ideas. In some ways, it is the dominant storytelling mode of our era,” Johnson said. “To continue my work exploring speculative fiction as a practitioner and educator through the efforts of the Ad Astra Center is particularly gratifying.”
These efforts will include many of the center’s public outreach projects, including conferences, classes, presentations, masterclasses, events, and workshops. Kij will be on hand to offer her expertise and experience in driving these projects.
“Right now, Kij and I are planning some wonderful things,” said McKitterick. “For fans, scholars, and writers of spec fic, there will be a lot to enjoy.”
Writers from George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards and Ellen Kushner’s Tremontaine come together to talk about the challenges and delights of working in a shared universe. Panelists: Ellen Kushner, author of Swordspoint and other fantasy novels, Delia Sherman author of The Porcelain Dove, Walter Jon Williams author of the Privateers and Gentlemen series, and David D. Levine author of Arabella of Mars. Moderated by Mary Anne Mohanraj, SLF Director.
(5) LE GUIN BIO. Publishers Marketplace, behind a paywall, notes that Julie Phillips, author of the Hugo Award-winning James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, is at work on an untitled biography of Ursula K. Le Guin (first revealed in 2016) “which will intimately examine Le Guin’s intellectual and emotional development as a person and writer, her struggles with depression, her visionary politics, and her commitment to literary freedom.”
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Jane Yolen, author of literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books, poems, and stories. This was such a joy of an interview that I wanted to pull out some of my favorite quotes….
(7) OPEN THE POD BAY DOOR HAL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] … And for God’s sake hold onto that rope!
An article in Vanity Fair (partial paywall) tells stories of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey. These include the critical scene where astronaut Dave Bowman (played by Kier Dullea) is attempting to re-enter Discovery One and has to try a hazardous jump through vacuum without a helmet.
Dullea did the stunt himself because his face would be to the camera. In fact, his face could have ended up in the camera. The stunt was performed by the expedient of having the actor drop down a vertical shaft toward a camera mounted at the bottom. To control his fall, a rope was tied to him and belayed by a crewmember who had to stop Dullea when a knot tied in the rope reached the crewman’s hands.
… By March the production had moved onto its most elaborate set of all: the Discovery’s work and living area, a centrifuge that rotated to simulate gravity. Kubrick’s production team had taken six months to build an actual centrifuge, with a diameter of 40 feet and a weight of 40 tons. Dressed for its entire 360 degrees, the set could turn forward or backward, at a top rate of three miles an hour, creaking and groaning as it got up to speed. For some scenes the actors had to be strapped in place by hidden harnesses as they spun upside down, with props such as meal trays and video pads glued or bolted in place. Depending on the shot, the set’s entire circumference might be aglow with lights, the actors locked inside and forced to turn on the camera themselves before hitting their marks. In production photos the set resembles a demented and unlikely torture device, a hybrid of jewelry tumbler and blistering heat lamp. With God knows how many megawatts surging through the entire setup, lights frequently exploded while unsecured props and overlooked pieces of equipment plummeted as they reached the top of the arc, narrowly missing actors and crew members. “A portentous spectacle, accompanied by terrifying noises and popping light bulbs,” as Clarke described it….
…Each day started with a brief meditation session where I would clear my mind and say to myself, “All that matters is the characters. Follow their lead, their needs and desires, and everything else about the narrative will unfold naturally.” As after all, in fiction, it truly is the characters who guide the story.
Let them lead and the story-arc will follow.
During my brief meditation, I would ask my characters what they were doing that day, how they were feeling, what they needed, and even if there was anywhere specific they wanted to go. Then I would kindly ask them to show up to set, so I could guide them on a wild and horrific adventure. And during this new ritual, I found something of vast importance—my authentic voice. In August 2020, I had the first draft of The Sommelier complete and for the first time in my life, the entire process felt like a wellspring of creativity and command as I purged my characters’ truth onto the page….
…“I don’t want a kid picking up a book, whether it’s about homosexuality or heterosexuality, and reading about how to hook up sexually in our libraries,” Glenn said.
He also made it clear that his concerns specifically included books with LGBTQ themes, even if they do not describe sex. Those comments, according to legal experts, raise concerns about possible violations of the First Amendment and federal civil rights laws that protect students from discrimination based on their gender and sexuality.
“And I’m going to take it a step further with you,” he said, according to the recording. “There are two genders. There’s male, and there’s female. And I acknowledge that there are men that think they’re women. And there are women that think they’re men. And again, I don’t have any issues with what people want to believe, but there’s no place for it in our libraries.”
Minutes later, after someone asked whether titles on racism were acceptable, Glenn said books on different cultures “are great.”
“Specifically, what we’re getting at, let’s call it what it is, and I’m cutting to the chase on a lot of this,” Glenn said. “It’s the transgender, LGBTQ and the sex — sexuality — in books. That’s what the governor has said that he will prosecute people for, and that’s what we’re pulling out.”
Over the next two weeks, the school district embarked on one of the largest book removals in the country, pulling about 130 titles from library shelves for review. Nearly three-quarters of the removed books featured LGBTQ characters or themes, according to a ProPublica and Texas Tribune analysis. Others dealt with racism, sex ed, abortion and women’s rights.
Two months later, a volunteer review committee voted to permanently ban three of the books and return the others to shelves. But that may not be the end of the process….
(10) MEMORY LANE.
1999 – [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Twenty-three years ago this month, Rainbow Mars was published by Tor. It is my absolutely favorite work by Larry Niven, with Ringworld being my second. It contains six stories, five previously published and the longest, “Rainbow Mars”, written for this collection, plus some other material. It is about Svetz, the cross-reality traveler who keeps encountering beings who really should not exist including those Martians.
The first story, “Get A Horse!” was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in October 1969. That was followed by “Bird in the Hand” in the same magazine, October of the next year. Surprisingly the third story, “Leviathan!” was published in Playboy in August of that year.
(Yes I know Playboy did a lot of SF, it’s just that I wouldn’t have expected this story to show up there. It fits F&SF better in my opinion. Your opinion on that matter of course may differ.)
Then “There’s a Wolf in My Time Machine” was published in October of that year in the fine zine that printed the first two. Finally the last story that got printed at that time, “Death in a Cage” was published in Niven’s The Flight of the Horse collection in September of 1973 which collected these stories as well. (The Flight of the Horse also had “Flash Crowd” which I like a lot and “What Good is a Glass Dagger?” which is fantastic.)
Now we get Rainbow Mars, the novel that finishes out the work this delightfully silly work. Some of Pratchett idea’s from a conversation he had with Niven remain in the final version of Rainbow Mars, mainly the use of Yggdrasil, the world tree. Though there’s Norsemen as well…
There’s two other two short pieces, “The Reference Director Speaks”, in which Niven speaks about his fictional sources for the Mars he creates, and “Svetz’s Time Line” which is self-explanatory.
An afterword, “Svetz and the Beanstalk”, rounds out the work in which Niven talks about the fictional sources for Rainbow Mars as a whole.
The fantastic cover art, which was nominated for a Chelsey Award, is by Bob Eggleton who has won, if my counting skills are right tonight, an impressive nine Hugos, mostly for Best Professional Artist though there was one for Best Related Work for his most excellent Greetings from Earth: The Art of Bob Eggleton.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 24, 1834 — William Morris. Credited with creating the modern fantasy literature genre which may or may not be true, he certainly wrote some of its earlier works, to note his epic poem The Earthly Paradise, The Wood Beyond the World and The Well at the World’s End, plus his entire artistic motif fits nearly within a fantasy literature and artistic design that looks as if it was created by the Fey Themselves. All of his works can be found at the usual digital suspects, often at no cost. (Died 1896.)
Born March 24, 1874 — Harry Houdini. His literary career intersects the genre world in interesting ways. Though it’s not known which ones, many of his works were apparently written by his close friend Walter B. Gibson who as you know is the creator of The Shadow. And one famous story of his, “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs”, was actually ghost written by Lovecraft! ISFDB lists another piece of genre fiction for him, “The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstad”. And IMDB notes that he appeared in The Master Mystery which decidedly genre with robots and death rays. (Died 1926.)
Born March 24, 1930 — Steve McQueen. Another one who died far too young. He got his big break by being the lead, Steve Andrews, in The Blob. Setting aside the two different roles on Alfred Hitchcock Presents which are at least genre adjacent, The Blob is his only genre appearance in his brief life. He died of a damn heart attack. (Died 1980.)
Born March 24, 1946 — Gary K. Wolfe, 76. Monthly reviewer for Locus for twenty-seven years now and yes I enjoy his column a lot. His brief marriage to Ellen R. Weil ended with her tragic early death. They co-wrote Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. Old Earth Books has reprinted many of his reviews done between 1992 and 2006 in Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996. He’s also written several critical looks at the genre, Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy and The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction. The Coode Street Podcast was nominated seven times before winning a Hugo at DicCon III; his Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001 was nominated for Best Related Work at Renovation; and Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996 was nominated for the same at L.A. Con IV. Very impressive indeed.
Born March 24, 1946 — Andrew I. Porter, 76. Editor, publisher, fan. He discovered fandom in 1960 and before the end of the year his first news-related column about upcoming paperbacks was appearing in James V. Taurasi’s Science Fiction Times. Porter has been nominated for the Hugo 26 times in the fanzine and semiprozine categories. His fanzine Algol: The Magazine About Science Fiction, later renamed Starship, won a Hugo for Best Fanzine in 1974, in a tie with Richard E. Geis, who was then doing The Alien Critic. (OGH accepted that Hugo on behalf of Geis. Sorry!) Porter won two more Hugos with Science Fiction Chronicle, the newzine he began publishing monthly in May 1980, and twenty years later sold to DNA Publications. He has won the Big Heart Award, and was Fan Guest of Honor at the 1990 Worldcon. And with John Bangsund, he was responsible for Australia hosting its first Worldcon. (OGH)
Born March 24, 1949 — Tabitha King, 73. Wife of Stephen, mother of that writing brood. I met her but once on the lot of the original Pet Sematary a very long time ago. ISFDB to my surprise lists only two novels she’s written solely by herself, Small World and Wolves at the Door, and one with Michael McDowell, Candles Burning. None of her books are with her husband which surprises me.
… We seek a well-rounded collection that includes a variety of subgenres and a diversity of authors, settings, and characters. We also look for unique takes on our theme, which means you should never self-reject if you think your book only kind-of fits!
Conversely, because readers do not select each book individually in a bundle, we avoid books that preach a strong message or contain content that many readers may find disturbing. Those books have a place! But we prefer not to roll them into our bundles….
“Roberta and Ken Williams were retired for 25 years, mostly living in Mexico, playing golf, and exploring the world on their boat. In 2020 when the Covid pandemic struck, Ken and Roberta were locked down like everyone. Ken was bored and Roberta suggested he write a book about Sierra. The process of writing the book brought back long forgotten memories resulting in Ken deciding to learn Unity and deciding to make a game,” a related FAQ explains.
They didn’t have any interesting in starting another company, and instead were “just looking for something fun to build.” Roberta had the idea to pay homage to the game that inspired Sierra and “changed our lives.”
And so here we are. Colossal Cave 3D Adventure is being built with Unity. It promises a fully immersive 3D experience with over 143 locations to explore, and will release to the Quest 2, PC, and Mac. And true to old school form, there will be a boxed version (with a USB stick in the box), though those details are still being hammered out.
You will be in a 3D maze of twisty passages! A hollow voice is unlikely to cry out, “God stalk!” 🙂 (quips Dern).
(15) INITIAL THOUGHTS. On a different subject, Daniel Dern suggested a too-long Scroll title that is too entertaining to actually discard, so here it is.
If Hans Solo and Chewie started shipping while doing the Kessel Run, we could have T-shirts that were NSFW NFT of a WTF FTL WFH? Nah, NFW.
Actors put on shows during dinner and each floor of the restaurant focuses on a different aspect of a fictional, 1930s British explorers club, from science fiction to the Gothic horror of its namesake characters, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Andrew Porter says, “They used to have a branch in the 50s on 6th Avenue, where I went during a Nebula or Stoker weekend, with Stephen Jones and others, A Long Time Ago…”
… This new chapter of the Eraser series trades Schwarzenegger’s John Kruger character for a different U.S. Marshal named Mason Pollard who “specializes in engineering the fake deaths of witnesses that need to leave no trace of their existence.” As you can see in the trailer, this film once again goes with the premise of the Eraser’s mission being compromised in a serious way, forcing him to go on the run with a key witness that’s in his care….
(18) SPACE-TIME. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The cover on this week’s edition of Nature has an SFnal riff. The cover image shows a view of the Milky Way captured at Nambung National Park in Western Australia. To understand how the Galaxy formed requires precision age dating of the stars that it contains. In this week’s issue, Maosheng Xiang and Hans-Walter Rix of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, present an analysis of the birth dates for nearly 250,000 stars in their subgiant evolutionary phase, when they can serve as precise stellar clocks. The researchers found that the individual ages of the stars ranged from about 1.5 billion to more than 13 billion years old. Tripling the age-dating precision for such a large stellar sample allowed the researchers to infer the sequence of events that initiated our Galaxy’s formation. Using this information, Xiang and Rix were able to determine that the oldest part of our Galaxy’s disk had already begun to form about 13 billion years ago, just 800 million years after the Big Bang, and that the formation of the inner Galactic halo was completed some 2 billion years later.
(19) HE’S BACK. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Ryan Reynolds and Mark Ruffalo team up with a Valued Senior Actor about daylight savings time as they plug The Adam Project.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Batman Returns Pitch Meeting,” Ryan George explains that in this movie Oswald Cobblepot became The Penguin because his parents threw him out the window into a river but penguins saved him, Villain Max Schreck thre Selina Kyle out of a window but cats licked her a lot so she became Catwoman. The producer explains he was personally saved by pigeons but since this si a family blog we won’t discuss what happened to him!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Frank Catalano, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]