(1) HUGO NOMINATIONS 101. For the benefit of people who haven’t had a lot of experience with the Hugos, Tarvalon has written “Demystifying the Hugo Award Nomination Process” at Reddit’s r/fantasy forum. And an interesting dialog between Tarvalon and Django Wexler continues in the comments.
… But because this is exactly the kind of nerd I am, I want to spend a little bit more time talking about the E Pluribus Hugo scoring system and its practical effects on crafting a nominating ballot. If you don’t care about the details, just nominate some things and let the math do what it does. If you’re curious, read on. And if you’re curious about the practical effects but not the voting mechanics, skip the next couple paragraphs and pick back up in the following section….
You’ll have to let us know how convincing you find Tarvalon’s ideas about how to do the most to help your favorites. (Another hat Tarvalon wears is being a judge in the Self-Published Science Fiction Book Competition.)
(2) VIEW THE ROSWELL AWARD CEREMONY. There will be a virtual celebration of the 2023 Roswell Award and New Suns Climate Fiction Award honorees on Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific. Free; Register here.
Free; Registration Required In an epic performance honoring planet Earth’s emerging sci-fi writers, celebrity guests deliver dramatic original short story readings! The Roswell Award and New Suns Climate Fiction Award: Virtual Readings & Honors recognizes outstanding new works of science fiction by emerging writers from across the United States and worldwide, including the winner of this year’s climate themed sci-fi story. This lively show will feature dramatic readings by celebrity guests (to be announced) from some of today’s hottest sci-fi and fantasy shows and movies. Following the readings, the authors will be honored for their writing.
(3) IT WILL HAVE TO DO. “John Scalzi says he has no other skills than writing” while answering the LA Times’ “Very Important Questions.”
Science fiction author John Scalzi stopped by the Los Angeles Times photo and video studio at the Festival of Books to tell us what his favorite kaiju is and answer other very important questions.
(4) NEWEST ADDITION TO TAFF EBOOKS. Jacq Monahan’s report of her 2012 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund trip, Same Planet Different World, is now a free download at the TAFF Ebooks page. (Though don’t let that discourage you from making a little donation to the fund while you’re clicking.) Here’s an excerpt from Jacq’s arrival at Heathrow where she discovered that customs officials’ idea of “humor” is universal.
…Instead he motioned me toward a chair and said we’d have to have a little interview because it was a different matter if I was going to be paid in some capacity to be in the UK. He started writing something down, and I started thinking in desperate expletives.
I learned later from someone in the know that if I was to be employed in the UK I had to have a “silver thing” in the back of my passport that showed I had the proper permission. It’s always good to know the technical term.
Once I understood that my words misled the agent (because his questions had misled me (she maintains) I interjected hastily, “No, no! I’m not working. I won a fan fund!” I then braced for the worst. How could I explain TAFF to a mundane? And a mundane official? And a mundane official with the keys to my British kingdom? I’d had a hard enough time trying to explain the fan fund to anyone, family or non-fan friend, employer – anyone. And now, here was bureaucracy standing firmly between me and clotted cream.
To my surprise he stopped writing and crossed out what he had already written. He believed me! I couldn’t believe me, my good luck, that is. But then, a warning. “I want you to know that I’ll be attending that convention, and if I see you working in any capacity, I’ll have you arrested!” I trotted away as quickly as possible and found a restroom. Relief was palpable in a few ways, and I used the plastic toothbrush to restore a smile….
(5) RESEARCHING FAN HISTORY. Fanac.org has made the videos available of its two-part “Researching Science Fiction FanHistory” Zoom panel.
- Researching Science Fiction FanHistory (Pt1 of 2) – Rob Hansen, Andy Hooper, Mark Olson & Joe Siclari
The first fan history was written by Jack Speer in 1939, and the most recent is the crowd-sourced Fancyclopedia.org, updated as of yesterday. The fan historians on our panel each focus in a very different way on fan history…Rob Hansen, author of “Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK”, brings a UK centered perspective to global fandom, and Andy Hooper has deeply researched the first World Science Fiction convention, both publishing in the traditional way.
Mark Olson and Joe Siclari are part of the FANAC Fan History project – Mark is chief editor of the crowd-sourced online Fancyclopedia.org, and Joe is the chairman behind the Fan History project, and in particular the driving force behind FANACs digital archive (FANAC.org)…
In this Part 1 video, the panelists talk about how they became interested in fandom and fan history in particular, and the different approaches they have taken to recording and interpreting fan history. You’ll hear about the creation of the first timeline of UK fan history, the nude figure with a dagger in each hand, and the tenuous but possible connection of fandom to the Zodiac killer. Perhaps most engrossing are the stories of contacts from non-fans, relatives of fans long gone. Some of these have no real understanding of what fandom was and is, but are seeking to learn about their relatives. There’s even an anecdote about Warren Fitzgerald, the African-American fan who was the founding president of the Scienceers, the first first regularly meeting sf fan club which was started in 1929.
Researching Science Fiction FanHistory (Pt2 of 2) – Rob Hansen, Andy Hooper, Mark Olson & Joe Siclari
In this Part 2 video, discussion ranges from academia to our panelists’ investigative techniques. When the primary resources are fanzines, researchers deal with first person accounts where “accuracy is not their primary virtue”, although how different that is from other histories is questionable. Unsurprisingly, panelists share stories and findings, more sometimes with each other than the audience. Spoiler alert: John W. Campbell’s mother was not an identical twin!…Particularly interesting is a segment on the place of anecdote in fan history, and for those interested in learning more, there’s a “starter list” of readings. Audience Q&A forms the last portion of the recording, and with many of the audience experts in their own right, the questions (and answers) are first-rate.
I’m surprised to learn from a line in the announcement – “There’s even an anecdote about Warren Fitzgerald, the African-American fan who was the founding president of the Scienceers” – that the panel might be unaware of the extensive research some fans have done to put to the test Fitzgerald’s specific identification as an African-American. After I made the same assertion three years ago we had quite a donnybrook in the comments of the December 11, 2020 Scroll, and heard from people who have done a lot of research on Ancestry, through the census, etc.
(6) WHAT’S UP WITH THE SOCIETY FOR CREATIVE ANACHRONISM? If you find the prospect of reading 42 pages of legal analysis about SCA kerfuffles irresistible, then “A Tale of 6 Sanctions” is for you. I did, of course, read it. Your mileage may vary. This is the introduction to the paper’s author:
In the SCA I am Aeron Harper, OL, OD, premier Society A&S Deputy for Historical Combat, and other awards and titles. My name is still on the society’s A&S rules for historical combat study, and on a number of kingdom’s C&T rules.
Mundanely, I am David Biggs, Attorney, U.S. Diplomat, and foreign policy advisor for the U.S. State Department. My day job includes interpreting, defining, and applying U.S. policies, which often involves ensuring they don’t contradict U.S. law. It also includes negotiating and implementing international agreements with foreign countries on behalf of the United States. I graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, and was an editor on the Minnesota Law Review. All that to say, I know a little bit about researching, writing, interpreting, and applying laws and rules….
(7) HERE’S HOW IT PLAYS IN PEORIA. Public TV station WCBU is “Exploring the lost world of TV sci-fi in the 50s”.
“Twilight Zone” is often viewed as the first television series to showcase fantasy on the small screen. The Rod Serling program that ran from 1959 to 1964 is an oft-repeated TV classic with many memorable episodes but it wasn’t the first show to bring science fiction to television viewers.
“Captain Video and His Video Rangers” became the world’s first science fiction TV series when it went on the air in 1949 on the now defunct DuMont Television Network, said Alan Morton, author of “The Golden Age of Telefantasy,” a guide to sci-fi, fantasy and horror TV shows of the 1940s and 1950s.
Television was in its infancy in the 1950s with many of the earliest shows (like “Captain Video”) transmitted live. Most of these early sci-fi programs were aimed at kids, said Morton, citing entries such as “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” (1950-55), “Space Patrol” (1950-55), “Captain Z-Ro” (1951-56) and “Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers” (aired from 1953 to 1954 with a young Cliff Robertson as Ranger Rod Brown)….
(8) HARRY BELAFONTE (1927-2023). Singer Harry Belafonte died April 25 at the age of 96. His sff credis including guesting on The Muppets, and appearing in the Fifties doomsday film The World, the Flesh and the Devil, and the Nineties alternate America movie White Man’s Burden.
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1989 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Pat Murphy’s The City, Not Long After is a magical novel, one of those works that I reread regularly.
Published thirty-four years ago by Doubleday, it’s set in San Francisco and much of the wonderfulness of the novel is indeed its setting (no spoiler there I’d say). Though the characters are interesting as well.
It was nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.
And now our Beginning…
THE EARLY MORNING BREEZE BLEW through the vegetable garden in Union Square, shaking the leaves of the bean plants and the lacy carrot tops. The city of San Francisco was asleep. The city was dreaming.
In the Saint Francis Hotel, just off the Square, Danny-boy was dreaming of the color blue. With a paint roller on a long pole, he painted the sky. He had been at work for many hours. At least half of the expanse above him was smeared with paint of a thousand different shades: royal blue, navy, turquoise, baby blue, teal, the fragile hue of robins’ eggs, the treacherous blue-gray of the ocean at dusk. Toward the horizon, where Danny-boy’s roller had not yet reached, the blues faded to misty gray. But overhead, luminous colors swirled and flowed like the water in a river.
In the middle of the changing pattern, two patches of blue-gray coalesced. Bright eyes watched Danny-boy from the center of the sky. Dark blue shadows defined the angles of a face, the curves of a woman’s body. As Danny-boy stared upward, a young woman stepped out of the sky, looking more than a little confused.
The city slept, and its dreams drifted through the minds of its inhabitants, twisting and changing their thoughts.
“The man who called himself The Machine dozed on a narrow cot at the back of his workshop. In his dream, he was constructing an angel from objects he had gathered. The angel’s bones were pipes from the plumbing of an old Victorian mansion; its muscles were masses of copper wire, torn from the cables that ran beneath the city streets. On the angel’s massive wings, thousands of polished bottlecaps overlapped, making a pattern of scallops like the scales on a fish.
The Machine welded the last bottlecap to the wing and stepped back to admire his work. As he gazed up at the angel, he realized suddenly that his creation was not complete. Its chest was hollow: it had no heart.
“He heard footsteps and glanced behind him. A woman was walking toward him, carrying something in her cupped hands. He could not see what she carried, but he could hear the steady pounding of a heartbeat, keeping time with her footsteps.
“Dawn broke in the city: gray light shone on the gray stone buildings that surrounded the Civic Center Plaza. The statues on the facade of the public library showed signs of neglect. Over the years, pigeons had adorned the statues’ heads with streaks of white and deposited a clutter of feathers and broken nests at their feet.
In a tree that grew in the Plaza, a gray-muzzled monkey, one of the oldest of the troop that lived in the city, dreamed of the Himalayas. Icicles hanging from the eaves of a temple roof melted in the morning sun. Drops of falling water struck a bell, and the metal rang with a musical note. The water trickled away, whispering and crackling softly as it melted a path through the snow. The monkey stirred in its sleep. Changes were coming.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 25, 1897 — Fletcher Pratt. Pratt is best known for his collaborations with de Camp, the most well-known of which is the Harold Shea series which is collected as The Complete Enchanter. His solo fantasy novels The Well of the Unicorn and The Blue Star are also superb. Pratt established the literary dining club known as the Trap Door Spiders in 1944. The club would later fictionalized as the Black Widowers in a series of mystery stories by Asimov. Pratt would be fictionalized in one story, “To the Barest”, as the Widowers’ founder, Ralph Ottur. (Died 1956.)
- Born April 25, 1907 — Michael Harrison. English writer of both detective and sff fiction. He wrote pastiches of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin. His most remembered work is In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes, The London of Sherlock Holmes and The World of Sherlock Holmes. He was also a noted Sherlock Holmes scholar, being a member of both the Baker Street Irregulars of New York, and the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. He wrote three genre novels — The Bride of Frankenstein, Higher Things and The Brain. (Died 1991.)
- Born April 25, 1915 — Mort Weisinger. Comic book editor best known for editing Superman during the Silver Age of comic books. He also served as story editor for the Adventures of Superman series. Before that he was one of the earliest active sf fans, working on fanzines like The Planet (1931) and The Time Traveller (1932) and attending the New York area fan club known as The Scienceers. (Died 1978.)
- Born April 25, 1925 — Richard Deming. Ok, I think that all of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. novellas, or in this case the Girl from U.N.C.L.E. novellas, in the digest-sized Man from U.N.C.L.E. Magazine, were listed under the house name of Robert Hart Davis. Deming was only one of a very long list of writers (I know of Richard Curtis, Richard Deming, I. G. Edmonds, John Jakes, Frank Belknap Long, Dennis Lynds, Talmage Powell, Bill Pronzini, Charles Ventura and Harry Whittington) that were the writers who penned novellas in the twin U.N.C.L.E. series. (Died 1983.)
- Born April 25, 1929 — Robert A. Collins. Scholar of science fiction who founded the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. Editor of the Fantasy Newsletter & Fantasy Review from 1978 to 1987, and editor of the IAFA Newsletterfrom 1988 to 1993. Editor, The Scope of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the First International Conference on the Fantastic in Literature and Film and Modes of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Twelfth Annual International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. (Died 2009.)
- Born April 25, 1939 — Rex Miller. Horror writer with a hand in many pies, bloody ones at that. (Sorry couldn’t resist.) The Chaingang series featured Daniel Bunkowski, a half-ton killing-machine. Definitely genre. He contributed to some thirty anthologies including Hotter Blood: More Tales of Erotic Horror, Frankenstein: The Monster Wakes, Dick Tracy: The Secret Files and The Crow: Shattered Lives and Broken Dreams. The last are amazingly outstanding. (Died 2004.)
- Born April 25, 1981 — Silvia Moreno-Garcia, 42. She’s the publisher of Innmouths Free Press, an imprint devoted to weird fiction. Not surprisingly, for the Press she co-edited with Paula R. Stiles the Historical Lovecraft and Future Lovecraft anthologies. She won a World Fantasy Award for the She Walks in Shadows anthology, also on Innsmouth Free Press. She was a finalist for the Nebula Award in the Best Novel category for her Gods of Jade and Shadow novel, which won a Sunburst and Ignyte Award. And finally with Lavie Tidhar, she edits the Jewish Mexican Literary Review. Not genre, but sort of genre adjacent. Canadian of Mexican descent.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro shows what the medieval marketplace is calling for.
(12) CLASSIC CARTOONS. StudyFinds ranks the “Best Cartoon Series Of All Time: Top 5 Cartoons Of All Time, According To Editors and Fans”. Looney Tunes is number one.
Cartoons and animated features have been delighting fans since the very beginnings of motion film. As a medium they allow creators to pull an audience into a realm of pure storytelling without limitations. Among all the beloved titles, it can be hard to choose a favorite. So, in the space of the small screen, we endeavor to ask the question, what are best cartoon series of all time?
A lot of nostalgia is associated with popping on your favorite kids’ movie. One recent article describes, “There’s something about watching your favorite animated film and seeing that Magic Kingdom logo that brings back some of the best childhood feelings and memories.” Although some people may automatically associate cartoons with children and humor, the best cartoons move past this stereotype to become a vehicle for storytelling. Slapstick, violence, and impossible situations are all the hallmarks of iconic animated shows….
(13) DUNE 2 TRAILER TEASE. “’Dune: Part Two’ Trailer Shows Timothee Chalamet Riding Giant Sandworm” – Variety saw the trailer at CinemaCon. When it hits YouTube we’ll link to it.
Timothée Chalamet has assumed his rightful place as Muad’Dib, prophet of the Fremen in the first trailer for “Dune: Part Two.”
“In the first movie Paul Atredis is a student…we really see Paul Atreides become a leader here,” Chalamet said at CinemaCon on Tuesday, teasing a first look at the sci-fi epic….
“Dune: Part Two,” which is produced by Legendary and Warner Bros., is set to be released on November 3, 2023. Warner Bros. showed the footage during its presentation to theater owners. It also shared footage and trailers from “Barbie,” “The Flash” and sequels to “Aquaman” and “The Nun.”
(14) READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP. From Nature, “First up-close images of Mars’s little-known moon Deimos”.
Images from the UAE’s Hope mission suggest that the moonlet’s composition is similar to that of the red planet’s surface.
The United Arab Emirates’ space probe Hope has taken the first high-resolution images of the farside of Mars’s moonlet Deimos. The observations add weight to the theory that Deimos formed together with Mars, rather than as an asteroid that was captured in the planet’s orbit, mission scientists say.
(15) MOON MISSION FAILS. Controllers could not regain contact after scheduled touchdown: “Commercial lunar lander presumed lost after historic moon landing attempt” at CNN.
A Japanese lunar lander, carrying a rover developed in the United Arab Emirates, attempted to find its footing on the moon’s surface Tuesday — and potentially mark the world’s first lunar landing for a commercially developed spacecraft. But flight controllers on the ground were not immediately able to regain contact, prompting the company to presume the spacecraft was lost.
The lander, built by Japanese firm Ispace, launched atop a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on December 11. The spacecraft then made a three-month trek to enter orbit around the moon, which lies about 239,000 miles (383,000 kilometers) from Earth, using a low-energy trajectory. Overall, the journey took the lander about 870,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) through space.
Touchdown was expected to occur Tuesday at 12:40 p.m. ET, which is Wednesday at 1:40 a.m. Japan Standard Time….
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, David Langford, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]