(1) WRITERS STRIKE REPORTEDLY NEARS END. CNN reports“WGA strike: Writers Guild and Hollywood studios in ‘final phase’ of negotiations”.
The striking writers and Hollywood studios are in the “final phase” of negotiations and hope to strike a deal to end the historic work stoppage that has paralyzed the entertainment industry by the end of the weekend, two people familiar with the matter told CNN.
The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers spent Saturday negotiating for the fourth consecutive day.
The big four studio bosses — Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav, Disney chief Bob Iger, Netflix co-chief Ted Sarandos, and NBCUniversal studio chairman Donna Langley — were no longer in the Sherman Oaks room by Saturday afternoon, one person said, signaling nearly all the major issues had been resolved. The person stressed, while not directly in the room, the studio chiefs remained wholly engaged in the process….
(2) INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS, HINTS AND ALLEGATIONS. “New Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Teaser Hints at Return of Rose Tyler & Twelfth Doctor” at CBR.com.
As Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary draws closer, the BBC has started to post even more promotional images on social media ahead of the specials’ release, and the latest teaser may be a clue that both Rose Tyler and the Twelfth Doctor are coming back….
… On Sept. 17, the official X (formerly Twitter) account for Doctor Who shared a cryptic image that featured the Doctor’s TARDIS at the end of a long and narrow corridor. The walls are covered with posters hung by employers who are looking to hire workers for their businesses, and one poster clearly reads Henrik’s, the very department store chain Rose Tyler works at in the New Who’s first episode “Rose.” Fans are now saying that this Easter egg could easily mean that Piper will be returning to Doctor Who after all, at least for a cameo appearance in the anniversary episodes….
Another poster, situated right above the Henrik’s one, contains a reference to Glasgow, which some Doctor Who fans are ready to take in as an indication that Capaldi is coming back as well….
… Neither Capaldi nor Piper are confirmed to be part of the cast for Doctor Who‘s 60th-anniversary specials yet, but viewers believe that these Easter eggs offer strong evidence that they will be making cameo appearances. The show is known to be very careful and selective with the promo images and other teasers shared publicly, so there’s definitely hope that the former stars, who were both in Doctor Who‘s 50th-anniversary episode in 2013, will be making fans happy this November once more….
(3) DOCTOR WHO CLIP. And here’s a trailer for the “Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials”.
Destiny isn’t done with them just yet… The Doctor and Donna return for three special episodes
(4) LONGTIME PULP COLLECTOR. Joe Kloc introduces readers to Gary Lovisi in “The Golden Fleece” at Harper’s Magazine.
…Gary, I learned, was Gary Lovisi, a retired postal worker living in South Brooklyn who, since 1986, has edited and self-published more than one hundred issues of Paperback Parade, a near-quarterly journal in which he interviews midcentury noir and sci-fi writers, revisits the “girl-fight covers” of the “sleaze era,” and eulogizes longtime pulp book dealers as they pass on. I got Gary’s number through Gryphon Books, the publishing house through which he put out three issues last year, though he stopped updating its website nearly a decade ago….
… He went on to explain: they were talking about the first issue of Golden Fleece Historical Adventure, a pulp magazine created by Sun Publications in Chicago in 1938. Apart from its two stories by Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, and its two covers by Margaret Brundage, an early master of the damsel-in-distress motif, it is an unremarkable periodical that folded after nine issues. It’s possible that Gary would not have given it a second glance if not for the circumstances under which they came across it: “It was maybe twenty years ago,” he began.
He and Lucille were at a flea market in Brimfield, Massachusetts, when swirling black rain clouds gathered overhead. The storm broke, and they ducked under a tent in which a man was selling items recovered from a house fire. Gary noticed a pile of burnt books on a folding table and started digging through them. He brushed one off, revealing the first issue of Golden Fleece Historical Adventure. Somehow, it had survived the fire unharmed, the only book to do so. He showed it to the vendor, who couldn’t make sense of it. Gary paid the man five dollars and drove back to Gerritsen Beach. He placed the book on a shelf in the basement and forgot about it for a decade. Then, in the fall of 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall. The water rose, filling subway tunnels, submerging thousands of vehicles, and killing more than one hundred people. Gary and Lucille’s basement flooded to the ceiling. Tens of thousands of their books were destroyed. Days later, as a city sanitation worker was hauling the remains of the waterlogged collection out to a garbage truck, Gary noticed that two books had swelled and fused together. He pulled the paperbacks apart to discover, wedged between them, in pristine condition, his Golden Fleece.
“It’s invincible,” said Gary….
(5) BANNED BOOKS WEEKS CHAIR. “LeVar Burton to Lead 2023 Banned Books Week as Honorary Chair”.
Beloved reading advocate, writer, and television and film star LeVar Burton will lead this year’s Banned Books Week, which takes place October 1–7, 2023. Burton is the first actor to serve as honorary chair of Banned Books Week, an annual weeklong event that highlights the value of free and open access to information and brings together the entire book community in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.
Recognizable for his groundbreaking roles in the landmark television series Roots and the Star Trek franchise, Burton’s work as a literacy advocate has inspired generations. Many in the book community can trace their love of reading and advocacy for the right to read to Burton’s treasured PBS children’s series Reading Rainbow. Burton has continued to inspire readers with the enormously popular LeVar Burton Reads podcast. A long-time champion for reading and access to books, Burton executive produced The Right to Read. This award-winning 2023 documentary film positions the literacy crisis in America as a civil rights issue.
“Books bring us together. They teach us about the world and each other. The ability to read and access books is a fundamental right and a necessity for life-long success,” says Burton. “But books are under attack. They’re being removed from libraries and schools. Shelves have been emptied because of a small number of people and their misguided efforts toward censorship. Public advocacy campaigns like Banned Books Week are essential to helping people understand the scope of book censorship and what they can do to fight it. I’m honored to lead Banned Books Week 2023.”
Burton will headline a live virtual conversation with Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels about censorship and advocacy at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 4. The event will stream live on Instagram (@banned_books_week). Visit BannedBooksWeek.org for more details….
(6) THEY, THE JURY. Niall Harrison touts the Sturgeon Award shortlist as the place to look for the best short sff. “The Year’s Best Is Dead, Long Live the Year’s Best: On the 2023 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award Finalists” at LA Review of Books.
…We might, then, turn our attention to awards, of which there is still an abundance. The invaluable Science Fiction Awards Database tracks the short lists and results of over 100 different awards, and a few dozen include short fiction categories. Through their short lists, they provide a kind of crowdsourced year’s best survey, not least because most of them are decided by some form of popular vote. This includes probably the two best-known SF awards—the Nebulas, which are voted on each year by members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), and the Hugos, which are voted on by members of that year’s World Science Fiction Convention—and is one reason why, historically, it has been so useful to have both awards and anthologies.
Popular votes and editorial selection have different strengths and weaknesses, and one particular weakness of popular votes has become more noticeable in recent years. There has always been a degree of overlap between the Hugo and Nebula nominees, but in an era of more short stories than any one person can reasonably read, there is an incentive to read the stories that are most easily accessible and that other people are already talking about, leading to reinforcing cycles of attention. As a result, it is now the norm for at least half of the short fiction nominees for these two awards to be the same, and for them to come from a relatively small group of online magazines—and even allowing for Sturgeon’s sometimes-useful generalization, in a healthy ecosystem, you’d like more differentiation than that.
All of this is a long way around to justifying the ostensible subject of this essay: now is a particularly good time to pay more attention to the short story awards that are casting a broader net than the Hugos and the Nebulas themselves, and one that I find consistently interesting is the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. …
(7) MASTER BALLARD. Tom McCarthy justifies the distinction in his article “J. G. Ballard’s Brilliant, Not ‘Good’ Writing” in The Paris Review.
Putting Ballard on a master’s course list, as I’ve done a couple of times, provokes a reaction that’s both funny and illuminating. Asked to read Crash or The Atrocity Exhibition, the more vociferous students invariably express their revulsion, while the more reflective ones voice their frustration that, although the ideas might be compelling, the prose “isn’t good.” This is especially the case with students who’ve been exposed to creative writing classes: they complain that the books are so full of repetition they become machinic or monotonous; also that they lack solid, integrated characters with whom they can identify, instead endlessly breaking open any given plot or mise-en-scène to other external or even unconnected scenes, contexts, and histories, resulting in a kind of schizoid narrative space that’s full of everyone and no one.
This second group, of course, is absolutely right in its analysis; what’s funny (and, if I can teach them anything, reversible) about their judgment is that it is these very elements (repetition, machinism, schizoid hypermnesia) that make Ballard’s work so brilliant. Not only are his rhythmic cycles, in which phrases and images return in orders and arrangements that mutate and reconfigure themselves as though following some algorithm that remains beyond our grasp, at once incantatory, hallucinatory, and the very model and essence of poetry; but, mirroring the way that information, advertising, propaganda, public (and private) dialogue, and even consciousness itself run in reiterative loops and circuits, constitute a realism far exceeding that of the misnamed literary genre. If his personae are split, multiplied, dispersed, this is because they are true subjects of a networked and fragmented hypermodernity—ones for whom identification, if it is to amount to anything more than a consoling fiction, must come through man’s recognition of himself (as Georges Bataille put it) not in the degrading chains of logic but instead, with rage and ecstatic torment, in the virulence of his own phantasms….
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 23, 1908 — Wilmar House Shiras. Her story “In Hiding” was submitted in 1948 to Astounding Science Fiction, where it was published. She published two sequels in the magazine: “Opening Doors”, and “New Foundations”. The three stories would become the first three chapters in the novel, Children of the Atom. Other than a handful of short fiction, I think it’s her only work. (Died 1990.)
- Born September 23, 1920 — Richard Wilson. Not a writer of much genre fiction at all. His really major contribution to fandom and to Syracuse University where he worked as the director of the Syracuse University News Bureau was in successfully recruiting the donation of papers from many prominent science fiction writers to the Syracuse University’s George Arents Research Library. The list of those writers includes Piers Anthony, Hal Clement, Keith Laumer, Larry Niven and Frederik Pohl. And, of course, himself. It has been called the “most important collection of science fiction manuscripts and papers in the world.” (Died 1987.)
- Born September 23, 1928 — John S Glasby.English writer who wrote a truly amazing amount of pulp fiction of both a SF and fantasy under quite a few pen names that included John Adams, R. L. Bowers, Berl Cameron, Max Chartair, Randall Conway, Ray Cosmic, John Crawford, J. B. Dexter, John Glasby, J. S. Glasby, Michael Hamilton, J. J. Hansby, Marston Johns, Victor La Salle, Peter Laynham, H. K. Lennard, Paul Lorraine, John C. Maxwell, A. J. Merak, H. J. Merak, R. J. Merak, John Morton, John E. Muller, Rand Le Page, J. L. Powers and Karl Zeigfried. It is thought but not confirmed that he produced more than three hundred novels and a lot of short stories in a twenty year period that started in the early Fifties. (Died 2011.)
- Born September 23, 1948 — Leslie Kay Swigart, 75. Obsessions can be fascinating and hers was detailing the writings of Harlan Ellison. Between 1975 and 1991, she published Harlan Ellison: A Bibliographical Checklist plus wrote shorter works such as “Harlan Ellison: An F&SF Checklist“, “Harlan Ellison: A Nonfiction Checklist” and “Harlan Ellison: A Book and Fiction Checklist”. Her George R. R. Martin: A RRetrospective Fiction Checklist can be found in the Dreamsongs: GRRM: A RRetrospective collection.
- Born September 23, 1959 — Frank Cottrell-Boyce, 64. Definitely not here for his sequels to Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. (Horrors!) He is here for such writing endeavors as Goodbye Christopher Robin, his Doctor Who stories, “In the Forest of the Night” and “Smile”, both Twelfth Doctor affairs, and the animated Captain Star series in which he voiced Captain Jim Star. The series sounds like the absolute antithesis of classic Trek.
- Born September 23, 1956 — Peter David, 67. Did you know that his first assignment for the Philadelphia Bulletin was covering Discon II? I’m reasonably sure the first thing I read by him was Legions of Fire, Book: The Long Night of Centauri Prime but he’s also done a number of comics I’ve read including runs of Captain Marvel , Wolverine and Young Justice.
- Born September 23, 1967 — Justine Larbalestier, 56. Writer, Editor, and Critic. An Australian author of fiction whose novels have won Andre Norton, Carl Brandon, and Aurealis Awards, she is probably best known for her comprehensive scholarly work The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction which was nominated for a Hugo at Torcon 3. Her Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, an anthology of SFF stories and critical essays by women, won The William Atheling Jr. Award.
(9) SMOFCON RATES TO RISE. SMOFcon 40, taking place December 1-3 in Providence, RI, is raising its membership rates on September 30. Register now and save.
Current rates are:
First Smofcon (never attended Smofcon in person) $40
Young Adult (Under 33 Years Old / Born After 1 December 1990) $40
Unwaged / Retired / Hardship $40
Family/Con Suite Only $30
On October 1 the attending rate will rise to $70 and the Virtual/Online membership will rise to $40. All other rates will remain the same. The new rates are good through November 27, when the Attending membership will rise again to at-the-door pricing.
Smofcon 40 also has published a Covid policy at the link. Short version: masks required in program space, recommended but optional in hospitality space. Up-to-date vaccines are recommended but not required. Corsi-Rosenthal boxes will be used to filter air in all spaces.
(10) OVERTHROWN. “Neil DeGrasse Tyson Claims ‘Armageddon’ Has Been Dethroned As Film Violating Most Laws Of Physics” – Deadline names the new “champion”.
Armageddon‘s quarter-century reign as the Hollywood movie running afoul of the most physics laws is over. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson made the revelation during an interview on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show to promote his new book, To Infinity and Beyond, highlighting glaring scientific inaccuracies in another space film, the 2022 Moonfall starring Halle Berry.
“Armageddon, you say, violates more laws of physics per minute than any other film ever made,” Cagle began.
DeGrasse Tyson agreed, adding, “That’s what I thought until I saw Moonfall. It was a pandemic film that came out, you know, Halle Berry, and the moon is approaching Earth, and they learned that it’s hollow and there’s a moon being made out of rocks living inside of it and the Apollo missions were really to visit, to feed the moon being, and I just couldn’t, so I said, “Alright, I thought Armageddon had a secure hold on this crown, but apparently not.”…
(11) NCIS AT 20. Compiled entirely from quotes by showrunners and producers (none of the actors), this oral history will still be of interest to those who like NCIS: “NCIS Oral History: CBS Show Team Talks Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette” in The Hollywood Reporter.
(12) CARBON IN EUROPA MOON OCEAN. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there. Use them together. Use them in peace.
Two research teams have independently used the James Webb Space Telescope to look at Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
In this week’s Science journal, one team reports that carbon dioxide seems to have been transported from the ocean beneath the moon’s ice crust. The second team’s observations seem to corroborate this. Both papers together have caused some in the media to speculate what this means for there being alien life in Europa’s ocean. With Earth.com saying, for instance, that “Alien life on Jupiter’s moon Europa just became a very likely scenario”.
(13) SHBOOM! “Video Shows Rare Bright Fireball on Jupiter, From Amateur Astronomer” at Business Insider.
Jupiter takes a lot of hits for the rest of the solar system, and new footage shows one of the biggest astronomers have ever seen.
About 14 seconds into the video below, you can see a bright flash appear in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere. The flash is from an impact — likely an asteroid or comet slamming into the planet. The video was captured by amateur astronomer Tadao Ohsugi, in Japan, in August. It’s a rare sight….
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Rick Kovalcik, Tammy Coxen, Steven French, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Elisa.]