(1) URSULA VERNON’S HUGO ACCEPTANCE SPEECH. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon’s pen name) won the Best Novel Hugo today. Arley Sorg delivered her acceptance remarks and by popular demand she has published them in a free Patreon post titled “The Light At The End Of The Frog”.
… There are a lot of serious and heavy things I could say right now, and probably I should. But other people have said them better and more movingly than I ever will. So instead I want to share something wonderful and disgusting and maybe a little inspiring with you.
There is a species of water beetle that regularly gets swallowed whole by frogs. And while there’s a lot of things you can do to keep from being eaten, once you’re inside a frog, your options are severely limited….
(2) MEDICAL UPDATE. RiverFlow, co-editor of this year’s Hugo-winning fanzine Zero Gravity Newspaper, was hospitalized today reports Nimozi Natsuco in a File 770 comment here. More details at the link.
(3) CHENGDU WORLDCON PHOTO GALLERIES ACCESS. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] Adaoli/SF Light Year sent me a clean version of the QR codes for the official photo galleries.
(4) GET SEATTLE 2025 PR 0. Seattle 2025 is now officially seated after yesterday’s site selection vote. Their Guests of Honor will be Martha Wells, Donato Giancola, Bridget Landry, and Alexander James Adams with Hosts K. Tempest Bradford and Nisi Shawl. Download Seattle Worldcon 2025 Progress Report 0 at the link. The chair told followers in a message:
My name is Kathy Bond, Chair of this Worldcon, and I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Seattle will have the honor of hosting you all for the 83rd World Science Fiction Convention. I love Seattle, especially when it rains, and I cannot wait to share with you all of the rich, vibrant, creative life in the people and places of this city. I hope that you will be able to join us in person or virtually if a trip to Seattle is not in the cards.
Worldcon cannot take place without every member of this community. All of the plans and dreams that have led us here to this moment would not have been possible without the volunteers who helped sit at tables, who talked to each other and you about Seattle, and without the financial support of buying pre-support memberships. Every tiny act of volunteerism built this bid and helped us win. And, we still need those acts of volunteerism. Come join our community of makers, doers, and shapers for a few hours during the convention or throughout this planning process.
My vision for this Worldcon is to bring our Pacific Northwest community and our Worldcon community together to learn from each other, to create with each other, and to build with each other the type of inclusive community that our best genre fiction inspires us to build. Building Yesterday’s Future For Everyone is an acknowledgement that we have not successfully built the future we have aspired to but that we can still be inspired by the optimism of the past to keep building. We remember our yesterdays; we work for our better futures….
The convention’s website is here: Seattle Worldcon 2025 – Building Yesterday’s Future–For Everyone.
(5) BULGACON 2023. [Item by Valentin D. Ivanov.] Bulgacon is the annual national Bulgarian SFF convention. The 2023 edition took place in Plovdiv from September 22-24 with help from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture. The event gathered some international participation including Alex Schvartsman, Andreas Eschbach, Francesco Verso, Nina Horvath, Peter Watts and Wole Talabi, among others.
A bilingual Bulgarian/English booklet with the program and the list of panelists can be seen in PDF format here at the convention website.
(6) SUSAN C. PETREY FUND CLOSING. The Clarion Foundation has issued its own farewell on the heels of the October 18 announcement by Paul Wrigley and Debbie Cross.
The Clarion Foundation wishes to honor the impact of the Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund as it winds down after 43 years of support. Thanks to Paul Wrigley and Debbie Cross, and their tireless fundraising efforts through the Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc, the Petrey scholarship stands as the oldest ongoing scholarship supporting Clarion students, and has demonstrated the critical importance of scholarship support in making the Workshop possible. Over the years it has awarded 71 scholarships to Clarion and Clarion West students.
The fund was created in honor of Susan C. Petrey, an American fantasy writer of short fiction who was early in her career when she passed. Her work would later go on to be posthumously nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo Award. Thanks to Paul and Debbie, her legacy and community spirit have endured.
The Petrey Scholarship is particularly appreciated for its demonstration of the ways that communities built around a special person or a targeted cause — in this case, both — can have philanthropic impact beyond what the original donors might have imagined. Along with Paul and Debbie, we sincerely thank all of the fund supporters, and look forward to building more such communities in the coming years and decades.
“On behalf of the Clarion Foundation board and all the many recipients of this important scholarship over the years, we want to express our deepest appreciation to Debbie, Paul, and the OFSCI,” said Clarion Foundation President Karen J. Fowler. “Your generosity over so many years has been simply extraordinary. I don’t know how we can begin to thank you. I feel all the end-of-an-era sadness, but a sadness overwhelmed with gratitude.”
Former recipients of the Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund are welcome to share the importance of their scholarship to their Clarion experience and we will pass them along.
(7) BEST OMENS. “Neil Gaiman: ‘In your 60s, any sex is good sex. It’s like: Oh my gosh, I can still do this thing’” – so he told an interviewer from the Guardian. Here are some other things he had to say.
Which book are you ashamed not to have read?
I’ve never read Proust.
What was the last lie you told?
I don’t tell lies any more, because my memory is going.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Really fancy sushi.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 21, 1904 — Edmond Hamilton. One of the prolific writers for Weird Tales from the late 20s to the late 40s, writing nearly eighty stories. (Lovecraft and Howard were the other key writers.) Sources say that through the late 1920s and early 1930s Hamilton wrote for all of the SF pulp magazines then publishing. His story “The Island of Unreason” (Wonder Stories, May 1933) won the first Jules Verne Prize as the best SF story of the year. This was the very first SF prize awarded by a vote of fans, which one source holds to be a precursor of the Hugo Awards. From the early 40s to the late 60s, he worked for DC, in stories about Superman and Batman. He created the Space Ranger character with Gardner Fox and Bob Brown. On December 31, 1946, Hamilton married fellow science fiction author and screenwriter Leigh Brackett. Now there is another story as well. (Died 1977.)
- Born October 21, 1914 — Martin Gardner. He was one of leading authorities on Lewis Carroll. The Annotated Alice, which incorporated the text of Carroll’s two Alice books, is still a bestseller. He was considered the doyen (your word to learn today) of American puzzlers. And, to make him even more impressive, in 1999 Magic magazine named Gardner one of the “100 Most Influential Magicians of the Twentieth Century”. Cool! (Died 2010.)
- Born October 21, 1929 — Ursula K. Le Guin. Writer, Artist, Editor, Poet, and Translator. She called herself a “Narrative American”. And she most emphatically did not consider herself to be a genre writer – instead preferring to be known as an “American novelist”. Oh, she wrote genre fiction with quite some brilliance, be it the Earthsea sequence, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, or Always Coming Home. Her upbringing as the daughter of two academics, one who was an anthropologist and the other who had a graduate degree in psychology, with a home library full of SF, showed in her writing. She wrote reviews and forewards for others’ books, gave academic talks, and did translations as well. Without counting reader’s choice awards, her works received more than 100 nominations for pretty much every genre award in existence, winning most of them at least once; she is one of a very small group of people who have won both Hugo and Nebula Awards in all four fiction length categories. She was Guest of Honor at several conventions, including the 1975 Worldcon; was the second woman to be named SFWA Grand Master; was given a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement; and was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In later years, she took up internet blogging with great delight, writing essays and poems, and posting pictures and stories of her cat Pard; these were compiled into a non-fiction collection, No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, which won a posthumous Hugo for Best Related Work. Her last Hugo was at Dublin 2019 for The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition which was illustrated by Charles Vess. (Died 2018.)
- Born October 21, 1971 — Hal Duncan, 52. Computer Programmer and Writer from Scotland whose first novel, Vellum: The Book of All Hours, won a Spectrum Award and received nominations for World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Kurd Laßwitz, Prix Imaginaire, and Locus Best First Novel Awards, as well as winning a Tahtivaeltaja Award for best science fiction novel published in Finnish. His collection Scruffians! and his non-fiction work Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions were also both finalists for British Fantasy Awards. An outspoken advocate and blogger for LGBTQ rights, he was a contributor to Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project.
- Born October 21, 1974 — Chris Garcia, 49. He’s editor of The Drink Tank and several other fanzines. He won a Hugo Award at Renovation with co-editor James Bacon for The Drink Tank after being nominated from 2010 to 2013. He was nominated for the Best Fan Writer Hugo three years straight starting in 2010. His acceptance speech for the Hugo at Renovation was itself nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Hugo at Chicon 7. I can’t begin to list all his feats and honors here.
(9) FLASH GORDON COMING BACK. Michael Cavna reveals that the “’Flash Gordon’ comic strip is returning after a 20-year break’ in the Washington Post.
He might be nearing 90, but one relentlessly athletic adventurer is poised for a pop-culture reappreciation.
Flash Gordon, the intergalactic space warrior who predates Superman and Batman as an iconic American action-comic hero sprung from Depression-era pages — as well as a Hollywood screen star who inspired George Lucas’s Star Wars — is returning to newspapers.
King Features Syndicate, whichintroduced the character in 1934, will relaunch the comic strip “Flash Gordon” beginning Sunday after a two-decade absence — featuring a new look and a new artist. (The Sunday and daily strips will be available online and in print.)…
…Guiding the new enterprise will be Dan Schkade, an Eisner-nominated cartoonist in his early 30s best known for his work on such comics as “Will Eisner’s The Spirit Returns,” “Lavender Jack” and “Saint John.”
Schkade won a competitivetryout earlier this year to script and draw the strip, shortly before King announced a licensing deal with Mad Cave Studios, which will begin publishing other original “Flash Gordon” narratives, graphic novels and comic reprints beginning next year.
(10) TED CHIANG ON AI. “Writers respond to techno-optimism about AI: ‘It’s mostly nonsense’” at GeekWire.
How will “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto,” venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s paean to economic growth and artificial intelligence, play to a wider audience? The reviews are in from two award-winning writers who are familiar with the impact of generative AI on creative professions.
Chiang, a longtime Seattle-area resident, is best-known as the author of “Story of Your Life,” the novella that was adapted for the Oscar-nominated 2016 movie “Arrival.” But he’s also won acclaim as a commentator on AI’s effects for The New Yorker and other publications. Last month, Time magazine included Chiang among the 100 most influential people in AI.
The other writer on the SIFF Cinema stage was Eric Heisserer, the screenwriter who turned Chiang’s story into the script for “Arrival.” Heisserer witnessed the debate over generative AI and the future of work up close as a member of the negotiating committee for the Writers Guild of America during its recent strike against Hollywood studios.
Both Chiang and Heisserer say AI is too often unjustly portrayed as a high-tech panacea. That claim came through loud and clear in Andreessen’s manifesto, which called AI a “universal problem solver.”
“Technology can solve certain problems, but I think the biggest problems that we face are not problems that have technological solutions,” Chiang said in response. “Climate change probably does not have a technological solution. Wealth inequality does not have a technological solution. Most of these are problems of political will. … And so Marc Andreessen’s manifesto is a prime example of ignoring all of these other realities.”
Chiang took issue with Andreessen’s view that growth is always good. “Growth is untenable on a finite planet, so at some point, we are going to have to think about some alternative to a growth economy, some kind of stable state, because the laws of physics are going to put a stop to growth at some point,” he said.
He also called attention to Andreessen’s track record as a tech commentator. “He was all in on crypto,” Chiang said. “He is all in on the metaverse. Anyone who was so enthusiastic about those things … I think we need to keep that in mind when gauging their credibility about anything they recommend now.”…
(11) RED PILL REVIEW. [Item by Steven French.] For those who happen to be in or near Manchester, U.K.: “Free Your Mind review – Danny Boyle’s Matrix reboot is a thrilling shock to the system” in the Guardian.
…The show is a 2023 take on the 1999 film The Matrix, which fits with the current 90s nostalgia (those skintight PVC trousers will take you right back) but is also alarmingly prescient in its story of humans being usurped by intelligent machines as we enable the march of AI, ever more in thrall to the algorithm….
… Are the Matrix’s hero, Neo (Corey Owens), and his journey a bit lost among all this? Well, yes. With 50 dancers on stage, Free Your Mind is built from large-scale set pieces. Choreographer Kenrick “H2O” Sandy is a master at orchestrating tightly drilled ranks of battle-ready glitching bodies and short, sharp shocks of metrical movement. Although when Sandy himself appears as Morpheus, he reminds us one dancer is sometimes enough. A magisterial performer, he is molten and he is rock….
(12) BLAST FROM THE PAST. “Mysterious fast radio burst traveled 8 billion years to reach Earth” reports CNN.
Astronomers have detected a mysterious blast of radio waves that have taken 8 billion years to reach Earth. The fast radio burst is one of the most distant and energetic ever observed.
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves with unknown origins. The first FRB was discovered in 2007, and since then, hundreds of these quick, cosmic flashes have been detected coming from distant points across the universe.
The burst, named FRB 20220610A, lasted less than a millisecond, but in that fraction of a moment, it released the equivalent of our sun’s energetic emissions over the course of 30 years, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science….
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Valentin D. Ivanov, Nathan Hillstrom, Frank Catalano, Steven French, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]