(1) AFROPANTHEOLOGY. Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki today announced his new imprint, genre, and debut collection with Joshua Uchenna Omenga — Between Dystopias: The Road to Afropantheology. The book’s release date is October 24, 2023 and it can be preordered at Arc Manor Books. The cover is by Cyrielle Prückner.
Afropantheology is a portmanteau of Afro and Pantheology. Pantheology is the study of gods, religions, and the bodies of knowledge associated with them. Afropantheology, thus, is the study of African (and African-descended) religions, gods, and the bodies of knowledge associated with them. It captures the gamut of African works which, though having fantasy elements, are additionally imbued with the African spiritual realities.
African literary scholars and storytellers have long grappled with the incompatibility of stories of African mysticism with the extant literary labels which seem to erase or dismiss essential aspects of African mysticism in their definitions. Between Dystopias: The Road to Afropantheology takes a stab at this age-old problem that cuts across the continent’s non-monolithic literature rooted in religion and culture. Afropantheology encapsulates the essence and value of African mysticism and dystopia through its award winning and original stories that cut across forms—essays, short stories, novelettes and novellas. It acknowledges the continent’s history in its inexorable journey through time’s spiral, from its origins to the present and into the future. ‘Mother’s Love, Father’s Place’, captures a ‘dark’ moment in the history of certain parts of Africa where the culture forbade the birthing of twins. 02 Arena, on the hand, is a contemporary ‘dystopic’ reality. The Witching Hour reflects the apprentice system in the voodoo practice still extant in many parts of Africa. ‘The Deification of Igodo’ is a tale of creation of deities from among the ancestors in African cosmology. ‘A Dance with the Ancestors’ tells of the interconnection between the world of the living and the world of the dead. And ‘Land of the Awaiting Birth’ is a mystic tale of the link between the born and the unborn in African cosmology.
Ekpeki says the collection will be published by a collaboration of Caezik Books of ARC Manor Books his new Pantheology imprint, “OD Ekpeki Presents”. The imprint logo is by Wilson Ofiavwe.
(2) CONAN BCE (BEFORE COPYRIGHT ERA) AND AFTER. Chuck Dixon’s The Siege Of The Black Citadel is an unauthorized Conan graphic novel published in February by Vox Day’s Castalia House. The original stories published during Robert E. Howard’s lifetime are in public domain in Europe, and Vox Day expressed confidence he will not run afoul of the rights connected with the work of L. Sprague de Camp and others.
This is going to be considered competition with the new authorized Conan novel recently released by Titan Books, S. M. Stirling’s Conan – Blood of the Serpent: The All-New Chronicles of the Worlds Greatest Barbarian Hero, although one reviewer calls it “a 304-page prologue to Robert E. Howard’s Red Nails” which is included in this very volume (rounding out the total page count to 417).
(3) MAGAZINES AND AMAZON. “Genre Grapevine Special Report: Amazon’s Ending of Kindle Newsstand Could Severely Impact SF/F Magazines” is a public post by Jason Sanford on Patreon. He says, “This is a major issue of SF/F magazines in the coming year or two.”
…The reason for the alarm is that over the last decade, Kindle subscriptions have become a significant part of the overall circulation for a large number of science fiction and fantasy magazines. Essentially, people like the convenience and ease of buying and reading e-books and expect the same from their magazine subscriptions.
By ending the Kindle Newsstand program, Amazon would no longer allow people on their platform to subscribe directly to magazines. Instead, Amazon announced it would allow certain magazines to remain on the platform through their Kindle Unlimited program.
As Rajiv Moté said, this means Amazon would be “moving e-magazines to a Spotify model, just like music. You pay the sales platform, not the producers.”…
(4) 2022 ENDEAVOUR AWARD OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS. The Endeavour Award for science fiction or fantasy is now open for 2022 submissions.
Since 1999, The Endeavour Award has recognized science fiction or fantasy works of 40,000 words or more, or single-author collections of short fiction. The author(s) must have been living [maintaining legal or physical residence] in the Pacific Northwest [Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, The Yukon, and British Columbia] when the publisher accepted the book, and must affirm that they wrote the majority of the book while living in the Pacific Northwest. The books must have been published in the United States or in Canada with a copyright date in 2022.
In addition to recognition and a handsome physical award, the winner also receives a cash prize of $1,000.
We require submitted books in electronic form (5 copies if they are copy protected), which will be shared with our preliminary readers. We can also accept NetGalley links. No physical copies will be accepted.
The entry form can be downloaded here: https://osfci.org/endeavour/entryform.pdf.
The preliminary readers will use a grading system to select a list of finalists. A trio of judges to be announced will select a winner from these finalists.
Please send completed entry forms and submissions to Jim Kling at [email protected]. Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2023.
For more information, visit the award website at https://osfci.org/endeavour/. General questions can be directed to Marilyn Holt at [email protected] or Jim Kling at [email protected].
(5) INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE. The International Booker Prize 2023 Longlist of 13 works was released today. There appears to be one item of genre interest, Cheon Myeong-Kwan’s Whale. The shortlist will come out on April 18 and 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….
(6) GETTING THERE. “The Lucas Museum Finds Your Lack of Faith Disturbing” japes the New York Times.
It was chased out of Chicago by preservationists, only to become the object of a bidding war between Los Angeles and San Francisco. When George Lucas finally decided to build his $1 billion museum in Los Angeles, its arrival was jeered by some critics who saw it not as a civic gift but a vanity project. The museum is “a terrible idea,” wrote Christopher Knight, the art critic for The Los Angeles Times.
Since then, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has been beset by more delays: it is not expected to open until 2025, seven years after ground was first broken on a parking lot across the street from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a promised 2021 opening.
But even in the haze of construction, a seemingly endless swirl of workers, cranes and girders, the enormous scope of the project is coming into focus as its futuristic new home rises in Exposition Park: a grand homage to one of the nation’s best-known filmmakers, and a massive repository for his eclectic collection of 100,000 paintings, photographs, book illustrations and comic book drawings.
Its huge expanse of curving gray metal hovers over the landscape like a low-flying spaceship, or perhaps the unfinished Death Star being built in “Return of the Jedi,” a fitting tribute to its namesake and patron, who created the Star Wars franchise. It stands five stories high, with enough gallery space to fill one-and-a-half football fields, and it takes 15 minutes to walk across its sprawling campus….
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1933 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Lester Dent’s best remembered work was of course Doc Savage, but it was not the only pulp work that he did. Ninety years ago, he created his scientific detective Lynn Lash who headquarters was in a New York skyscraper where he took on those science fiction threats the police were unable to handle. This in large part led to Dent’s greatest character, Doc Savage.
Hell in Boxes: The Exploits of Lynn Lash and Foster Fade gathers up the six stories that he wrote with these characters. Our Beginning is that of the first story, “The Sinister Ray”. It is available from the usual suspects.
And now our Beginning…
A WOMAN screamed—piercing shrieks torn between hoarse gasps of indrawn breath.
“My eyes! My eyes!”
A taxi driver howled, jerked his hands from his wheel to his eyes.
His cab, wild, bucked over the curb, rooted across the crowded sidewalk.
The motorman of a street car westbound on Forty-second Street doubled his arms across his face, tumbled sidewise off his stool. His car, no hand on airbrake, rolled against the lights into the Sixth Avenue junction. Automobiles piled against it like driftwood. The street car rocked on its trucks, stopped.
A man bawled out in horrible agony. More screams! More crashes! Sound became a roar in the brick and glass canyon of Forty-second Street.
The Sinister Ray had been let loose on the city!
Men, women, ran blindly, plunging into each other, colliding with whatever was in their path. Some lay on the walks, quivering, hands clawing at their eyes. On the Sixth Avenue “L” station, waiting patrons reeled about, pain-drunk, tearing at their eyes.
A few fell off the platforms among the electrified rails. Near the south end of the station, a man leaped wildly over the rail to the hard paving thirty feet below.
Wild hysteria, bedlam was rampant.
Several blocks distant from that mad corner of Forty-second Street and Sixth Avenue, in his laboratory on the sixth floor of a swanky Park Avenue apartment building, Lynn Lash abruptly laid his pencil on a sheet of paper weighted to his desk top by a glass retort and a microscope. He swung back in his deeply upholstered chair, rubbed his eyes gently with the backs of his thumbs.
“Strange I should suddenly start seeing spots in front of my eyes,” he muttered. “Never felt better in my life.”
A breeze coming in through the open laboratory windows from Park Avenue faintly stirred the petals of the gardenia in his lapel. In the reception room, he could faintly hear the telephone buzzer as it whizzed out, then the click of the receiver being lifted by Rickey Dean, his secretary.
Rickey, her voice as throaty as that of a boy, said: “Hello…. Nix! No can do. He’s busy.”
The metallic gnashings the receiver made at her carried into the laboratory.
“What of it?” she clipped. “You’re Detective Captain Sam Casey and you’ve got something important in your hair—and what of it? That don’t cut any ice.”
The receiver rattled at her again. There was a thump as she jerked it down on the Lester Dent desk.
“All right, all right, all right! Nobody but a pup of a cop would call a lady them things!”
She opened the laboratory door, came through, closed the door, but kept her right hand on the knob. She was a small girl with a boyish form, chewing gum. “Sam Casey on the phone,” she said. “He wants to talk at you.”
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born March 14, 1869 — Algernon Blackwood. Writer of some of the best of the best horror and ghost stories ever done according to the research I just did. Most critics including Joshi say his two best stories are “The Willows” and “The Wendigo”. The novel that gets recommended is The Centaur. If you’re interested in reading him, he’s readily available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 1951.)
- Born March 14, 1918 — Mildred Clingerman. Most of her stories were published in the Fifties in F&SF when Boucher was Editor. Boucher included “The Wild Wood” by her in the seventh volume of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction and dedicated the book to her, calling her the “most serendipitous of discoveries.” A Cupful of Space and The Clingerman Files, neither available as a digital publication, contain all of her stories. (Died 1997.)
- Born March 14, 1946 — Diana G. Gallagher. She won a Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist along with Brad W. Foster at Noreascon 3 after being a nominee at Nolacon II the previous year. She won it under the name Diana Gallagher Wu while married to William F. Wu whose Birthday we did yesterday. She was also an author filker and author who wrote books for children and young adults based on Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and various Trek series. Her best-known filksong was “A Reconsideration of Anatomical Docking Maneuvers in a Zero Gravity Environment.” (Died 2021.)
- Born March 14, 1957 — Tad Williams, 66. Author of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, Otherland series, and Shadowmarch series as well as the most excellent Tailchaser’s Song and The War of the Flowers. I’ve heard good things about his latest novel, Into The Narrowdark which came out last year.
- Born March 14, 1961 — Penny Johnson Jerald, 62. She played Kasidy Yates, the love of Ben Sisko, on Deep Space Nine. She’s played Dr. Claire Finn on the cancelled Orville, just one of many Trek cast member that you’ll find there. And she provided the voice of President Amanda Waller on the most excellent Justice League: Gods & Monsters.
- Born March 14, 1964 — Julia Ecklar, 59. She’s the Astounding Award–winning author of The Kobayashi Maru which is available in English and German ebook editions. She’s also a filk musician who recorded numerous albums in the Off Centaur label in the early 1980s, including Horse-Tamer’s Daughter, Minus Ten and Counting, and Genesis. She was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 1996.
- Born March 14, 1971 — Rebecca Roanhorse, 52. Her “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” which was first published in the August 2017 issue of Apex Magazine won a Hugo as best short story at Worldcon 76. (It won a Nebula as well.) She also won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. She has six novels to date, including Trail of Lightning which was nominated for a Hugo at Dublin 2019, and Black Sun, being nominated for a Hugo at DisCon III.
- Born March 14, 1974 — Grace Park, 49. Boomer on the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. She’s been on a fair amount of genre over the years with her first acting role being the Virtual Avatar in the “Bits of Love” episode of Outer Limits. After that, she shows up on Secret Agent Man, This Immortal, The Outer Limits again, Star Gate SG-1, Andromeda, and oddly enough Battlestar Galactica in a number roles other than her main one. I’m sure one of you can explain the latter. I confess that I’ve not watched it.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Barney & Clyde shows a classroom that needs a copy of Fahrenheit 451. You can guess what the problem is.
- Tom Gauld tweeted his two latest cartoons.
(10) PI DAY. John King Tarpinian remembers celebrating the date at the House of Pies near the office, once upon a time.
(11) DISNEY THEME PARK CHARACTERS DISPLAYED AT SXSW 2023. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The article shows three different ways Disney is working on to interact with theme park characters. There’s a “life” sized Tinker Bell in a lantern, who appears to be played by an off-stage actress using some sort of 3-D projection system. There’s a full-size Hulk character (that needs work on the appearance side) powered by a person inside working an exoskeleton suit. And there’s a fully robotic character still in very early development stages. “Disney Unveils Unreal New Hulk, Tinker Bell, And Prototype Robot Theme Park Characters” at Slashfilm.
… The first new innovation D’Amaro demonstrated for the crowd was a brand new, unbelievably authentic way to interact with a beloved character, namely Tinker Bell from “Peter Pan.” While Tink has had a presence at the parks for years, this latest version of the magical pixie is true-to-size and can interact with people in a very real way. Much like the lightsaber I mentioned above, what myself and the crowd on hand witnessed is remarkably close to the real thing….
The Tinkerbell demo doesn’t give that good a view – see it at the link. Meanwhile, here’s a view of the lightsaber mentioned in another Slashfilm article: “I Saw A ‘Real’ Star Wars Lightsaber In Person And It Blew My Mind”.
(12) THE GODS THEMSELVES. In “’American Born Chinese’ Teaser: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan Reunite”, Variety gives us every reason to look.
It’s a big night for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the Oscars, but stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan are already looking to the future with “American Born Chinese.” The two actors reunite in the first teaser for the action-comedy series. Released Sunday morning by Disney+, the footage caps off with the announcement of a May 24 premiere date for the series.
The series is adapted from cartoonist Gene Luen Yang’s acclaimed 2006 graphic novel, which tells the story of Jin Wang (Ben Wang), a child of Chinese immigrants who’s struggling with growing up in a predominantly white suburb. When he meets a new Taiwanese classmate, the two become fast friends, but Jin is pulled into the battles of Chinese mythological gods.
(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Mrs. Davis comes to Peacock on April 20.
“Mrs. Davis” is the world’s most powerful Artificial Intelligence. Simone is the nun devoted to destroying Her. Who ya got?
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Anne Marble, Jim Kling, Jason Sanford, Olav Rokne, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]