The unofficial pending results were Tonopah 82, Phoenix 51, Write-ins 1. That’s 134 votes with preference, so 67 votes (a majority) were needed to win. In addition, there were 6 No Preference (abstention) votes that do not count toward the total for the purpose of determining a majority.
The Tonopah bid leadership team is Kevin Standlee, Lisa Hayes, and Kuma Bear. The guests of honor have not yet been posted online (if, indeed, they have been announced). The bid website is here.
What if the space race had never ended? Watch an official first look at For All Mankind, an Apple Original drama series coming this Fall to Apple TV+. Get notified when Apple TV+ premieres on the Apple TV app: http://apple.co/_AppleTVPlus For All Mankind is created by Emmy® Award winner Ronald D. Moore (Outlander, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica), Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi. Told through the lives of NASA astronauts, engineers and their families, For All Mankind presents an aspirational world where NASA and the space program remained a priority and a focal point of our hopes and dreams.
(2) TRACING THE MCU. In “+” at the Los Angeles Review of Books,
University of Southern California cinema professor J.D. Connor has an
exhaustive and highly quotable analysis of the MCU.
…Still, Feige has been utterly judicious about when and how to push. Over the years, fans (and others) have pushed for a less white, less male MCU, and Feige (and others) have managed to create an underdiscourse, in which the limits of the MCU’s representational efforts stem not from his convictions but rather from constraints placed on his own fandom by longtime Marvel head Ike Perlmutter and conservative forces on what was called the “Marvel Creative Committee.” Feige was able to get Perlmutter and the committee out of his way in 2015, and the next four films out of the pipeline would be developed, written, shot, and edited without their input. It’s no surprise that those four films happen to be the “boldest Marvel has ever made”:Guardians 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.
Here the crucial installment is Black Panther, which seemed to prove that the whole machine could just as easily work based on African diaspora superheroes, with departments largely headed by women of color. Black Panther offers a vision of merit deferred. In place of lamentations about the empty pipeline, here was a movie that suggested, convincingly, that the representational revolution was at hand and only required Hollywood certification. The industry was clearly ready to endorse that vision of incremental revolution, giving Oscars to both Ruth E. Carter (Costume) and Hannah Beachler (Production Design). Those two, along with an award for Black Panther’s score, were the MCU’s first wins.
This story — from foundation and expansion to confidence and representation — has been emerging within the MCU. At the end of Endgame, Tony Stark is dead, Steve Rogers is old, and Thor has a new home among the more ridiculous and sentimental Guardians of the Galaxy. Replacing the foundational three white dudes are Captain Marvel, a new Captain America, and Black Panther….
(3) IRON MANTLE. The Spider-Man: Far From Home Chinese Trailer inspires a SYFY Wire writer to
theorize about the MCU’s future —
…The world is definitely asking “who is going to be the next Iron Man?” Captain America has promoted Falcon. Who’s taking up Iron Man’s robotic mantle? With Spidey debuting multiple new suits in the film (and in the trailer, where fans can see the black stealth suit swing), this could be Peter Parker’s time to shine as the MCU moves into a new Phase.
Two hours wasted: that’s how I feel after watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This bloated production starts out as an enjoyably tacky monster movie but doesn’t know when to quit. Every pseudo-scientific explanation (and there are plenty) has a counter-explanation in order to keep the story going…and every apparent climax leads to another climax. There’s even a post-credits scene, as if we needed one. We don’t….
(5) THAT CAT KNOWS WHAT HE’S ABOUT. So perhaps it’s just as
well that Camestros Felapton was duped into seeing the Elton John biopic
instead — Rocketcat.
[Timothy the Talking Cat] You see? You see? I totally tricked you. [Camestros Felapton] Hmmm [Tim] You thought we were going to go and see Godzilla but we actually went to see Rocketman. [CF] That’s OK. I enjoyed the film. [Tim] But admit that I totally tricked you….
(6) RETRO SPECIAL EFFECTS. Lots of sff GIFs here, beginning
with a load of flying saucer movie clips, at Raiders of the Lost Tumblr.
(7) MORE AURORA AWARDS NEWS. Voting for the Aurora Awards will begin on August 3, 2019. Click here to visit the public ballot page.
The Aurora Voters Package will be available for CSFFA members to download later this month.
Both the voters package and the ballot close at 11:59 pm EDT on September 14, 2018.
Looks like George R. R. Martin is taking his epic world-building skills to Meow Wolf, the Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment collective behind the House of Eternal Return and other next-gen immersive and interactive exhibitions. The Game of Thrones creator has been named new Chief World Builder and will bring his “unparalleled storytelling skills to the multiverse” of Meow Wolf by working with key members of the collective to “advise on building narrative and mind-bending ideas” that will yield “ambitious immersive installations.”
This isn’t Martin’s first time working with Meow Wolf. The Santa Fe resident helped secure the local bowling alley that is now the House of Eternal Return attraction and entertainment complex. The attraction displays a multidimensional mystery house of secret passages and surreal tableaus featuring Meow Wolf’s artists, architects, and designers, as well as a learning center, cafe, music venue, bar, and outdoor dining scene.
(9) COME HOME. Disney
dropped a new trailer for The Lion King that features Beyonce.
British actor Paul Darrow, best known for his role as Kerr Avon in sci-fi BBC TV series Blake’s 7, has died at the age of 78 following a short illness.
Most recently, Darrow voiced soundbites for independent radio stations Jack FM and Union Jack, where he was known as the “Voice of Jack”.
The character of Avon was second-in-command on Blake’s 7, which ran for four series between 1978 and 1981.
Darrow shared a flat with John Hurt and Ian McShane while studying at Rada.
While best-known for his Blake’s 7 role, he appeared in more than 200 television shows, including Doctor Who, The Saint, Z Cars, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 3, 1905 — Norman A. Daniels. Writer working initially in pulp magazines, later on radio and television. He created the Black Bat pulp hero and wrote for such series as The Avengers, The Phantom Detective and The Shadow. He has three non-series novels, The Lady Is a Witch, Spy Slave and Voodoo Lady. To my surprise, iBooks and Kindle has a Black Bat Omnibus available! In addition, iBooks has the radio show. (Died 1995.)
Born June 3, 1931 — John Norman. 86. Gor, need I say more? I could say both extremely sexist and badly written but that goes without saying. They are to this day both extremely popular being akin to earlier pulp novels, though argue the earlier pulp novels by and large were more intelligent than these are. Not content to have one such series, he wrote the Telnarian Histories which also has female slaves. No, not one of my favourite authors.
Born June 3, 1946 — Penelope Wilton, 73. She played the recurring role of Harriet Jones in Doctor Who, an unusual thing for the show as they developed a story for the character. She was also played Homily in The Borrowers, Barbara in Shaun of the Dead, The Queen in Roald Dahl’s The BFG, Beatrix Potter in The Tale of Beatrix Potter, The White Queen in Through the Looking-Glass and Gertrude in in Hamlet at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
Born June 3, 1950 — Melissa Mathison. Screenwriter who worked with Spielberg on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Twilight Zone: The Movie and BFG, the latter being the last script she did before dying of cancer. She also did The Indian in the Cupboard which wasdirected by Frank Oz. (Died 2015.)
Born June 3, 1958 — Suzie Plakson, 61. She played four characters on Trek series: a Vulcan, Doctor Selar, in “The Schizoid Man” (Next Gen); the half-Klingon/half-human Ambassador K’Ehleyr in “The Emissary” and “Reunion” (Next Gen); the Lady Q in “The Q and the Grey” (Voyager); and an Andorian, Tarah, in “Cease Fire” (Enterprise). She also voiced Amazonia in the “Amazon Women in the Mood” episode of Futurama. Really. Truly.
Born June 3, 1964 — James Purefoy, 55. His most recent genre performance was as Laurens Bancroft in Altered Carbon. His most impressive was as Solomon Kane in the film of that name. He was also in A Knight’s Tale as Edward, the Black Prince of Wales/Sir Thomas Colville. He dropped out of being V in V for Vendetta some six weeks into shooting but some early scenes of the masked V are of him.
Born June 3, 1973 — Patrick Rothfuss, 46. He is best known for the Kingkiller Chronicle series, which won him several awards, including the 2007 Quill Award for his first novel, The Name of the Wind. Before The Name of the Wind was released, an excerpt from the novel was released as a short story titled “The Road to Levinshir” and it won the Writers of the Future contest in 2002.
(12) THE FUNGI THEY HAD. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Over
the weekend, RadioLab rebroadcast a fascinating September 2016 podcast, From Tree To Shining Tree, discussing the various ways
that trees intercommunicate, along with the discovery of an intense fungi-based
underground network (hence my item title).
…Possibly the reason that light sails took a while to become popular tropes is that the scientifically-clued-in authors who would have been aware of the light sail possibility would also have known just how minuscule light sail accelerations would be. They might also have realized that it would be computationally challenging to predict light sail trajectories and arrival times. One-g-forever rockets may be implausible, but at least working how long it takes them to get from Planet A to Planet B is straightforward. Doing the same for a vehicle dependent on small variable forces over a long, long time would be challenging.
Still, sailing ships in space are fun, so it’s not surprising that some authors have featured them in their fiction. Here are some of my favourites…
(14) IRONMAN ONE. The Space Review salutes the 50th
anniversary of Marooned, the movie adaptation of Martin Caidin’s book,
In this 50th anniversary year of the first Apollo lunar landing missions, we can reflect not only on those missions but also on movies, including the reality-based, technically-oriented space movies of that era, that can educate as well as entertain and inspire. One of those is Marooned, the story of three NASA astronauts stranded in low Earth orbit aboard their Apollo spacecraft, call-sign Ironman One—all letters, no numbers, and painted right on the command module (CM), a practice NASA had abandoned by 1965. They were the first crew of Ironman, the world’s first space station, the renovated upper stage of a Saturn rocket as planned for the Apollo Applications Program, predecessor of Skylab….
Japanese anime hit factory Studio Ghibli is to open a theme park in 2022 in cooperation with the local Aichi Prefecture government and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper company.
Plans for the “Ghibli Park,” which will occupy 494 acres (200 hectares) in Nagakute City, Aichi, were first announced around this time in 2017, when the local government said it was looking for other commercial partners.
…According to the three companies, three areas — Youth Hill, partly based on Howl’s Moving Castle; Dondoko Forest, based on My Neighbor Totoro; and a Great Ghibli Warehouse — are set to open in fall 2022. A Mononoke Village, based on Princess Mononoke, and a Valley of the Witch area, themed on both Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, are set to open a year later
…The IHOB campaign got the brand more than 42 billion media impressions worldwide, and immediately quadrupled the company’s burger sales. Now a year later, with burger sales still humming along at double their pre-IHOB numbers, the brand is trying to once again to catch advertising lightning in a (butter pecan) bottle.
Last week, the diner chain announced that it would have an announcement today, relating to its name, aiming once again for the same social-media chatter that debated its burgers last time around. A lot of those people last year scolded IHOP for venturing beyond pancakes. Now the brand is having a bit of fun with that idea–and the definition of a pancake.
“This year we listened to the internet and are sticking to what we do best, which is pancakes,” says IHOP CMO Brad Haley. “We’re just now calling our steak burgers pancakes. We contacted some of the people who told us to stick to pancakes last year for this year’s campaign, so the trolls have teed up the new campaign quite nicely.”
In this tale of a family with dark secrets and divinatory gifts, Lambda Literary Award winner Rebecca Podos ponders the inevitable question: If you can read the future that lies ahead, do you also have the power to change it?
When Ruby Chernyavsky hit her teen years, she had a premonition — a vision of the moments leading up to her death. Knowing her “Time” was something she always expected, since all of the women in her family forsee their own, but what none of them know is that Ruby’s days are numbered. Her Time is her 18th birthday, so in a little over a year, she’ll be dead….
A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.
They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen – which could now fetch £1m at auction.
The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.
The Edinburgh family’s grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.
He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.
They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby’s auction house in London.
The Lewis Chessmen are among the biggest draws at the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
They are seen as an “important symbol of European civilisation” and have also seeped into popular culture, inspiring everything from children’s show Noggin The Nog to part of the plot in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.
(19) TOTALLY TONOPAH. Kevin Standlee promotes the Tonopah
in 2021 Westercon bid in an interview about the
Tonopah in 2021 chair Kevin Standlee interviews Mizpah Hotel supervisor Rae Graham and her wife (and Mizpah Club staffer) Kayla Brosius about the Mizpah Hotel, what they think about how Tonopah would welcome a Westercon, and how they think the convention would fit with the hotel.
The bid’s webpage also has a lot of new
information about hotels and restaurants in Tonopah. Standlee says, “A new
hotel just opened up adding another 60 rooms to the town, including more
handicapped-accessible/roll-in-shower rooms, for example.”
Standlee and Lisa Hayes took a lot of photos while they were in Tonopah, now added to their Flickr album — including pictures of the unexpected late-May snow. Kevin admits:
I’d be very surprised by snow in July, but they schedule their big annual town-wide event for Memorial Day because it should neither be snowy or hot, and they instead got four inches of snow on their rodeo. Fortunately, it mostly all melted by the next morning.
[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John Hertz, Kevin Standlee, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]
(1) NEBULA LIVESTREAM. You
can see it on SFWA’s YouTube channel at 8:00 p.m. Pacific.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are presenting the 2018 Nebula Awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing, live from the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA.
The Starship Enterprise has travelled far and wide throughout the galaxy, encountering countless civilizations — and now it is sitting in a garage in eastern Toronto.
…Bill Doern, a 51-year-old who runs a boutique public relations and marketing firm in Toronto, watched reruns of the original Star Trek television series as a boy. His favourite character is Spock. His favourite captain is Picard. When his wife was pregnant with their first child, he hoped to name the boy Mr. Sulu (they ended up naming him Elijah).
Mr. Doern is, in other words, about as much of a Trekkie as a Trekkie can be.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day, he was driving home from doing some grocery shopping when he saw a scale replica of the Enterprise NCC-1701-A, last seen in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, released in 1991, on a neighbour’s front lawn.
Mr. Doern stopped to get a picture of the ship, which is about as big as a small car. As he was snapping a pic, the homeowner came out with a “For sale” sign.
…It should come as no surprise then that a joint team comprised of members of MIT’s Media Lab (Artificial Intelligence Division) and Hanson Robotics was recently formed to address the need for Fanbots – electronic replacements for geeks and nerds.
“This project actually began in Hollywood”, said Dr. Calvin, Chief Administrator for the project. “Studio heads approached us a few years ago and asked us to blue-sky a response to the negativity that was surrounding, among other things, Disney’s evisceration of the Star Wars extended universe, not to mention Paramount’s problems with Star Trek fan films, the on-going complaints about Fox’s cancellation of Firefly, the regular eruption of re-make hysteria, the encroachment of real world politics into entertainment.”
Calvin went on to explain that the studios were expressing grave concern over the reliability of fans, and concern over the increasing sense of “ownership” fans were expressing regarding favored properties. One director stated that he was “sick and tired of being told what prior works he had stolen his ideas from; another expressed dismay over fan’s insistence that some degree of logicality accompany the plots of entirely fictional characters; marketing division heads complained about the complete and utter unreliability of fan audiences who seemed to select favorites and stinkers in an entirely arbitrary and fickle manner.”…
Three years before he died last year, the brilliant caricaturist, illustrator, animator and comic strip artist, Robert Grossman completed his as-of-then unpublished magnum opus, a decade long passion titled Life On The Moon: A Completely Illustrated Novel (Yoe Books). Grossman prided himself on illustrating “the un-illustratable” — an historical graphic novel based on the “Great Moon Hoax,” the most successful fake news story ever published.
Robert Grossman and the Moon
In 1835, The New York Sun published a series of six articles declaring the discovery of life–and advanced civilization–on the moon, which the newspaper attributed to the famous contemporary astronomer Sir John Herschel. According to the Sun, the lunar inhabitants included unicorns, bison, bipedal tail-less beavers, and intelligent humanoids with bat-like wings.
…Nor is the contagion confined to American authors. Last month John Boyne, best known for the Holocaust novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, received such a barrage of abuse prior to the publication of his latest book, My Brother’s Name Is Jessica, which features a transgender central character, that he was briefly forced off Twitter. Critics labelled the book ‘transphobic’, suggesting that because Boyne is not transgender the story ‘lacked authenticity’ and its title ‘misgendered’ the fictional protagonist.
At almost the same moment that Boyne was deleting his Twitter account, Lincolnshire-based Zoe Marriott, a prolific writer of YA fiction, was also being hounded on the site over her new fantasy novel, The Hand, the Eye and the Heart, because it’s set in ‘fairy-tale China’. One prominent YA blogger warned: ‘White authors need to stay the hell away from the stories of people of color.’ Curiously, said blogger’s day job involves manning the tills at Foyles, one of London’s most revered bookshops — pity the poor sod who dares trouble her for a copy of Othello, or Tolkien for that matter. The father of fantasy fiction has come in for criticism for his portrayal of orcs in The Lord of the Rings. Some feel his work is ‘racialized’. And what’s a sensitive young bookseller to do if a young customer requests a C.S. Lewis, whose Narnia books were branded ‘blatantly racist’ and misogynistic by fellow fantasy author Philip Pullman? Pullman has since been labelled ‘transphobic’ himself after tweeting in October that he was ‘finding the trans argument impossible to follow’.
…Though the rule in question specifically targets the promotion or display of “fictitious Nazis or Nazi-like organizations,” Anime NYC has been highly inconsistent in its application of the rule. Tanya the Evil, a series specifically noted in the rules, features allusions to aspects of World War II (such as the appearance of the World War II-era MP40 submachine guns or a character based on Werner Von Braun) but is entirely set in a fictional country based heavily on World War I-era Europe.
Furthermore, in a move deemed hypocritical by some fans, the close professional partnership between LeftField Media and Crunchyroll led to Anime NYC promoting a special screening of The Saga of Tanya the Evil – the Movie:…
… The show did indeed take a turn for the worse, but the reasons for that downturn goes way deeper than the usual suspects that have been identified (new and inferior writers, shortened season, too many plot holes). It’s not that these are incorrect, but they’re just superficial shifts. In fact, the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don’t really know how to tell sociological stories.
At its best, GOT was a beast as rare as a friendly dragon in King’s Landing: it was sociological and institutional storytelling in a medium dominated by the psychological and the individual. This structural storytelling era of the show lasted through the seasons when it was based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, who seemed to specialize in having characters evolve in response to the broader institutional settings, incentives and norms that surround them.
After the show ran ahead of the novels, however, it was taken over by powerful Hollywood showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Some fans and critics have been assuming that the duo changed the narrative to fit Hollywood tropes or to speed things up, but that’s unlikely. In fact, they probably stuck to the narrative points that were given to them, if only in outline form, by the original author. What they did is something different, but in many ways more fundamental: Benioff and Weiss steer the narrative lane away from the sociological and shifted to the psychological. That’s the main, and often only, way Hollywood and most television writers tell stories….
We’re pleased to see that an inter-city bus carrier has begun to sell tickets for intercity bus service Reno-Tonopah-Las Vegas-Phoenix, starting July 3, 2019. This should give people traveling to Tonopah by air to Reno or Las Vegas an additional way of getting to Tonopah without having to rent a vehicle or group with other people doing so.
Due to attempted vandalism, Social Justice Warriors may not travel on Streamliner. Social Justice Warriors include:
Persons self-proclaiming to be “Social Justice Warriors” or “SJWs”.
Persons supporting California regulations prohibiting or restricting Streamliner operations.
Persons supporting boycotts, sabotage, agitation, protests, and terrorism against Streamliner.
(9) SMITH OBIT. Artist Dennis Neal Smith, chair of the first WesterCon in San Diego in 1966, has died reports Greg Bear.
Fond farewell to Dennis Neal Smith, famous for many things, and scholar of many things, who inspired Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” with his richly textured illustrations, and who illustrated my first story collection for Arkham House, as well as Joanna Russ’ collection.
Jackie Estrada says Smith died of
But his biggest claim to fame was his artwork. Harlan Ellison based several of his short stories on drawings by Dennis, including “Bright Eyes,” “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” and “Delusions for a Dragonslayer.” He also did the art for the first progress report for the 1972 San Diego Comic-Con and served on the committee back then.
The 1966 San Diego Westercon hotel
inspired Poul Anderson to write the immortal filk “Bouncing Potatoes”.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY
May 18, 1962 — The Twilight Zone aired “I Sing The Body Electric,” based
on a story by Ray Bradbury.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 18, 1930 — Fred Saberhagen. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read the entirety of his Berserker series. Some are outstanding, some less so. Of his Dracula sequence, the only one I think read is The Holmes-Dracula File which is superb. And I know I’ve read most of the Swords tales as they came out. (Died 2007.)
Born May 18, 1934 — Elizabeth Rogers. Trek geeking time. She had two roles in the series. She provided the uncredited voice for “The Companion” in the “Metamorphosis” episode. She also portrayed Lt. Palmer, a communications officer who took the place of Uhura, in “The Doomsday Machine”, “The Way to Eden”, and the very last episode of the series, “Turnabout Intruder”. She also had appearances on Time Tunnel, Land of The Giants, Bewitched, The Swarm and Something Evil. (Died 2004.)
Born May 18, 1946 — Andreas Katsulas. I knew him as Ambassador G’Kar on Babylon 5 but had forgottenhe played played the Romulan Commander Tomalak on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His first genre role on television was playing Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and he had a recurring role in Max Headroom as Mr. Bartlett. He alsohad appearances on Alien Nation, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, Millennium, Star Trek: Enterprise and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. (Died 2006.)
Born May 18, 1948 — R-Laurraine Tutihasi, 71. She’s a member of LASFS and the N3F. She publishes Feline Mewsings for FAPA. Not surprisingly, she’s had a number of SJW credentials in her life and her website gives honour to them here.
Born May 18, 1949 — Rick Wakeman, 70. English musician who did a number of genre themed recordings including Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Nineteen Eighty-four.
Born May 18, 1952 — Diane Duane, 67. She’s known for the the Young Wizards YA series though I’d like to single her out for her lesser known Feline Wizards series where SJW creds maintain the gates that wizards use for travel throughout the multiverse.
Born May 18, 1958 — Jonathan Maberry, 61. The only thing I’ve read by him is a number of works in the Joe Ledger Series which has a high body count and an even higher improbability index. I see that he’s done scripts for Dark Horse, IDW and Marvel early on. And that he’s responsible for Captain America: Hail Hydra.
Born May 18, 1969 — Ty Franck, 50. Half of the writing team along with Daniel Abraham that s James Corey, author of the Expanse series. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen behind by a volume or two as there’s just too many good series out there too keep up with all of them, damn it!
(12) SCARES THAT CARE.[Item by
Dann.] Episode 219 of The Horror Show with Brian Keene
included an announcement of the 3rd Horror Show telethon to benefit the Scares That Care charity. The
first telethon in 2017 raised over $10,000, last year’s telethon raised over
$20,000. Both events took place in Pennsylvania and heavily featured
guests living on the east coast of the United States.
This year’s event will take place on September 27-28
at Dark Delicacies
located at 822 N. Hollywood Way located in Burbank, CA. This is a new
location for the bookstore that bills itself as the “Home of Horror”.
One feature of holding this year’s event in California
is the ability to draw on the talented people in the horror genre that live and
work on the west coast of the United States.
Unlike the first two telethons, this year’s event will
take place in a location with less room for live viewing. It is hoped
that attendees will circulate in and out of the viewing area that patrons of
the store will still be able to shop.
The telethon will be broadcast live via one of the
streaming services. Online fundraising will be performed via the Scares That Care website.
Fans wanting to participate in a Scares That Care event
on the east coast can attend the “Scares
That Care Weekend from August 1 to August 4 in Williamsburg, VA.
…The sword, Valofax, is a giant sentient blade that is the embodiment of all swords and knives throughout the universe. It changes the life of a small family: Grandfather Emmett Quinlan, his son, and his son’s wife and young daughter. The story takes us from Texas to Hell and finally to the far-off home of Valofax, whose creator wants the sword back even as his planet dies all around him….
Does that mean it’s supposed to be a long distance between Texas and Hell?
If you plunked down your $2 for a Worldcon membership (Pacificon II in San Francisco this year), then you probably sent in your nominations for the Hugo Awards, honoring the best works of 1963. Last month, you got the finalists ballot. Maybe, like me, you were surprised….
What do you think accounts for the recent boom in speculative fiction?
There’s been a trend over the last 20 years of “mainstream” literary authors dipping into speculative fiction — Margaret Atwood, John Updike. (But) we’re living in a time where everything is a little more science fictional. Technology has transformed lives in a short time, things like smartphones, medical technologies. A third thing is that speculative fiction is finally opening out and including authors who had previously been kept out of the genre: people of color, women, queer people, transgendered people, disabled people. That, I think, leads to an explosion of creativity and a ton of really interesting stories.
(18) NEBULA CONFERENCE VIDEOS.
SFWA has posted several panel discussions from this weekend’s event.
Shifting To Games. With Phoebe Barton, Kate Dollarhyde, Darusha Wehm, Natalia Theodoridou, and Kate Heartfield.
Now What? Emerging writers discuss life after their debut. With Rebecca Roanhorse, Peng Shepherd, Mike Chen, R.R. Virdi and R.F. Kuang
How do the writers of 2019 incorporate modern themes while writing in past settings? With Susan Forest, Connie Willis, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Kate Heartfield
(19) STAR WARS PITCH.ScreenRant lets you step inside the pitch meeting that led to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope!
Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip
Hitchcock, Jim Caughran, Dann, Nancy Sauer, Martin Morse Wooster, and Mike
Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Niall McAuley.]
The former business manager for Stan Lee has been charged with multiple counts of elder abuse related to the late Marvel icon.
Keya Morgan was charged with multiple counts related to elder abuse, including alleged false imprisonment, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Superior Court told The Hollywood Reporter.
…Last summer, legal representatives for Lee filed for a restraining order against Morgan, which was granted.
… Morgan, who has long been involved in the pop culture memorabilia scene, was one of the subjects of the investigation.
Last month, Morgan pleaded no contest to filing a false police report. He must stay away from Lee’s family and residence, along with completing 100 hours of community service, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.
(3) NYT BOOK REVIEW ON MCEWAN. The New York Times Book Review’s Tina Gordon
reluctantly reports on the speculative fiction
community’s response to Ian McEwan’s novel and his dismissal of the genre in
The sci-fi community began calling out McEwan’s genre snobbery on Twitter and in opinion pieces. ‘It is as absurd for McEwan to claim he’s not writing sci-fi as it is for him to imply that sci-fi is incapable of approaching these themes interestingly,” said one ‘Alternative history and nonhuman consciousness are established sci-fi motifs.’ Another wrote, ‘Anyone is entitled to try out ideas. What you can’t do is write a detective story and think ‘the butler did it’ is a world-first clever twist.’
As [NYT Book Review’s] Dwight Garner noted in his review of Machines Like Me ‘people are touchy about genre.’ Kurt Vonnegut famously complained that he was ‘a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled ‘science fiction’ … and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.’ And Harlan Ellison once said, ‘Call me a science fiction writer. I’ll come to your house and I’ll nail your pet’s head to a coffee table. I’ll hit you so hard your ancestors will die.’
…This immensely valuable and entertaining volume — purportedly the first of several — captures for posterity a chronologically delimited slice of the subculture of science-fiction fandom — currently dying or healthy; vanished or extant? — in such a manner that even those folks who have no prior inkling of the subculture — assuming they possess a modicum of curiosity and intelligence — should still be able to completely grok the subject matter and derive amusement and pleasure and wisdom from this richly annotated compilation….
… So just be aware that, for the most part, you will not get rehashed literary battles of the day as fought in the pages of these zines, but rather insights into the amateur press people and their publications themselves….
(5) TRAILER TIME. Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is in theaters
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is a fantasy adventure that picks up several years after “Maleficent,” in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora. The film continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.
(6) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott
Edelman says, “Dare to eat donuts with a dozen horrific creators during the ’StokerCon
Donut Spooktacular’” on his Eating
the Fantastic podcast.
Regular listeners to Eating the Fantastic know that once a year, instead of serving up the usual well-researched one-on-one conversations which make up most of this podcast’s ear candy, I opt for total anarchy, plopping myself down in a heavily trafficked area of a con with a dozen donuts and chatting with anybody who’s game to trade talk for sugar and grease. It’s totally spontaneous, as I never know to whom I’ll speak until they pass by and their eyes light up at the sight of a free donut.
Late Saturday night, I sat down with an assorted dozen from The Donut Conspiracy in Grand Rapids accompanied by the usual sign explaining the setup, and found no shortage of willing guests.
Join us as Michael Bailey describes his novel inspired by a fire which turned his home to ashes in seven minutes, Geoffrey A. Landis shares about the Sherlock Holmes/Jack the Ripper horror story he published in the science fiction magazine Analog, Brian Keene explains why he chose last weekend to finally reappear at an HWA event, Wile E. Young tells why he thinks of the Road Runner whenever a story gets rejected, Anton Cancre reveals which guest that weekend earned most of his squee, and Wesley Southard offers his schtick for selling books when stuck behind a dealers table at a con.
Plus Erik T. Johnson gives an unexpected (but perfectly logical) answer when asked about one of the perks of StokerCon, Patrick Freivald looks back on how his horror career began via a collaboration with his twin brother, Josh Malerman recounts how he replaced readings with full blown Bird Box interactive performances and how an audience of 85-year-olds reacted, Asher Ellis shares how the Stonecoast MFA program made him a better writer, Kennikki Jones-Jones discusses her Final Frame award-winning short film Knock Knock, Eugene Johnson celebrates his Bram Stoker Award win that night for It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life, and much, much more!
(7) DAY OBIT. Her
recordings showed up in episodes of Quantum
Leap and The Simpsons. Steve
Vertlieb writes about “Remembering Doris Day, the ‘Girl Next Door’” who died
Remembering the wondrously youthful, eternally vivacious Doris Day whose infinite flirtation with joy, music, and film ended this morning with her passing at age 97. She will forever remain timeless in our hearts and memories. She was truly everyone’s favorite “girl next door.” While famously private in her personal life, I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful response from her several years ago when I wrote her of my life long affection for her. It is reproduced here with love, reverence, and respect. Doris Day will forever remain an integral component of my precarious youth, and coming of age. Rest Well, Doris. I shall always love you.
While well-known to the Baby Boomer generation for his comedic work on McHale’s Navy and The Carol Burnett Show, Conway also endeared himself to Millennials and Generation Z, even if they don’t know him by sight. That’s because he voiced the character of Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob, the sailor’s uniform-wearing super-sidekick to Mermaid Man, who was played by Conway’s McHale’s Navy co-star, Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012).
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 14, 1933 — Siân Phillips, 86. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in Dune, Cassiopeia in Clash of The Titans, and Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Born May 14, 1944 — George Lucas, 75. He created the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchise. (Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are fine. Several Star Wars films are.) and let’s not forget THX 1138.
Born May 14, 1945 — Francesca Annis, 74. Lady Jessica in Dune, Lady Macbeth in Roman Polanski’s Macbeth.
Born May 14, 1945 — Rob Tapert, 74. I’d say he’s best known for co-creating Xena: Warrior Princess. He also produced and/or wrote several other television series including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, M.A.N.T.I.S. and American Gothic. Tapert also co-created the prequel series Young Hercules which I loved. He’s married to actress Lucy Lawless.
Born May 14, 1952 — Robert Zemeckis, 67. So he’s responsible for some of my favorite films including the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Death Becomes Her. What’s your favorite films that’s he had a hand In?
Born May 14, 1952 — Kathleen Ann Goonan, 67. Her Nanotech Quartet is most particularly the first novel, Queen City Jazz. She’s written an interesting essay on the relationship between sf and music, “Science Fiction and All That Jazz”.
Born May 14, 1961 — Tim Roth, 58. Guildenstern In Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Gary ‘Hutch’ Hutchens in Twin Peaks, plus several one-offs in such genre series as Tales from the Crypt and Theatre Night.
Born May 14, 1965 — Eoin Colfer, 54. He is best known for being the author of the Artemis Fowl series. He wrote the sixth novel of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, entitled And Another Thing…
(10) TONOPAH BID. Kevin
Standlee says his proposed 2021 Westercon won’t have guests of honor and will
have light programming, so he really needs to answer the question “Why Tonopah?”, which he does in this post on the SFSFC
Relaxed: We are currently planning a relatively light schedule of programming, giving our members an expanded opportunity to socialize and to explore the community. Rather than running the members off their feet rushing from item to item and constantly protesting that they seem to need to be in three places at once, we want our members to enjoy themselves without running themselves ragged.
(11) RELATED REVIEWS. Steve
J. Wright has completed his Best Related Work Hugo Finalist reviews
On the night of Jan. 16, Liz O’Sullivan sent a letter she’d been working on for weeks. It was directed at her boss, Matt Zeiler, the founder and CEO of Clarifai, a tech company. “The moment before I hit send and then afterwards, my heart, I could just feel it racing,” she says.
The letter asked: Is our technology going to be used to build weapons?
With little government oversight of the tech industry in the U.S., it’s tech workers themselves who increasingly are raising these ethical questions.
O’Sullivan often describes technology as magic. She’s 34 — from the generation that saw the birth of high-speed Internet, Facebook, Venmo and Uber. “There are companies out there doing things that really look like magic,” she says. “They feel like magic.”
Her story began two years ago, when she started working at Clarifai. She says one of her jobs was to explain the company’s product to customers. It’s visual recognition technology, used by websites to identify nudity and inappropriate content. And doctors use it to spot diseases.
Clarifai was a startup, founded by Zeiler, a young superstar of the tech world. But shortly after O’Sullivan joined, Clarifai got a big break — a government contract, reportedly for millions of dollars.
It was all very secretive. At first, the people assigned to work on the project were in a windowless room, with the glass doors covered.
O’Sullivan would walk by and wonder: What are they doing in there?
An American explorer has found plastic waste on the seafloor while breaking the record for the deepest ever dive.
Victor Vescovo descended nearly 11km (seven miles) to the deepest place in the ocean – the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench.
He spent four hours exploring the bottom of the trench in his submersible, built to withstand the immense pressure of the deep.
He found sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.
It is the third time humans have reached the ocean’s extreme depths.
(15) GOOGLE U. During
an exchange about JDA’s lawsuit, Steve Davidson told Adam Rakunas “I went to
the same law school you did,” So Rakunas replied, “Remember
our school’s fight song?”
We’re gonna fill up those search boxes We’re gonna write out those search strings! We’re the Fightin’ Queries of Internet U And we look up all the things!
Oh, we don’t have accreditation And no one gets degrees But that doesn’t stop us from sounding off Go, go, go, Fightin’ Queries!
Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Rob Thornton, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter,
Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel
…This handsome, earnest, yet overstuffed and poorly paced film deviates frequently from the historical record. Most seriously, it ignores Tolkien’s devout Christian faith: there is no indication that he served Mass daily as a boy or ever even entered a Catholic church. His punch-ups with Wiseman and drunken night-time profanities are, in comparison, unimportant inventions.
But departures from reality are inevitable in dramatisations, and enumerating them can quickly devolve into captiousness. What’s more relevant is whether the artistic licence results in a successful story. One expects a biopic to sit somewhat loose to the facts, yet one hopes it will also hold the attention and make one care about the characters, however far from real life they may diverge.
A helpful comparison is Richard Attenborough’s Shadowlands, the story of CS Lewis’s late marriage. It’s worthless as an account of actual events, but works brilliantly as a movie: engaging, well-structured, powerful and poignant.
Here, with Lewis’s friend Tolkien, it’s a different story. Incidents come thick and fast, but are strangely uninvolving….
the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to CS Lewis.
(2) A MODEST PROPOSAL. Daniel Dern is
making an offer –
Our dead tree edition of the Sunday New York Times this week (here in the year 2019 – April 28) included a special 12-page section, consisting of (a version of) Ted Chiang’s story, “Better Versions of You,” adapted from his story “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” from Chiang’s new (coming out May 7) collection Exhalation. Illustrations by Daehyun Kim/Moonassi.
According to social media, “The piece is PRINT ONLY.” (My brief searches don’t show otherwise; I’d been looking for it before I found this tweet.)
Once we’re done reading the story, I don’t feel the need to keep it. So I’m happy to pass it along to the first Filer who asks for it, via a comment to this post. (We’ll sort out snail addresses, etc. off-list. If need be, I’ll ask OGH to be the email-address intermediary.)
Beyond possibly the minor cost of mailing it, I’m not asking any $ for it.
OTOH, I’m happy if the recipient will in turn, once it’s arrived, make a modest (say, $10-$25) donation to some sf/fan related fund/fundraiser or other Good Cause (of their choice, e.g., the Gahan Wilson GoFundMe, or some WorldCon-related fundraiser — your choice, I don’t need to know what/who, how much, or whether). But this is an optional follow-through.
(I don’t see Chiang listed in the current ReaderCon Guests list, so you’d be on your own for trying to get it autographed.)
Owner Alan Beatts, also the owner of Borderlands Books — which will remain open on Valencia Street at least for the next year — said that the decision to shutter the cafe was, by and large, voluntary. He attributed the move to a confluence of factors, including staff retention, slumping sales, and his personal desire to focus on the bookstore….
“It’s more of a full circle than you realize,” Starlin says. “I got the assignment to draw Invincible Iron Man #55-56 because the regular penciller on it, George Tuska, had to go in for some elective surgery. So I did the first issue, which I plotted out with Mike Friedrich, and then the second one I worked with this writer Steve Gerber. We did a funny Iron Man issue, and Stan Lee hated it so much he fired both of us.”
The Tonopah Westercon committee is a standing committee of San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. answerable to the corporation’s Board of Directors. Our organizing committee consists of the following people, with others helping on an ad hoc basis.
Chair: Kevin Standlee (Co-chair, 2002 Worldcon, San José CA) Assistant to Chair/Hospitality Lead : Lisa Hayes Treasurer: Bruce Farr (Chair, Westercon 45 (1992), Phoenix AZ) Facilities: Mike Willmoth (Chair, Westercon 62 (2009), Tempe AZ) Website Planning: Cheryl Morgan Travel Coordinator: Sandra Childress
Other Committee Members Without Portfolio: David W. Clark (Chair, 1993 Worldcon, San Francisco CA) Lisa Detusch Harrigan (Chair, Westercon 40 (1987), Oakland CA) Kevin Roche (Co-Chair, Westercon 66 (2013), Sacramento CA and Chair, 2018 Worldcon, San José CA) Andy Trembley (Co-Chair, Westercon 66 (2013), Sacramento CA)
(7) IT’S HISTORY. “And she’s
not only merely dead, she’s really most
sincerely dead.” At Gizmodo/io9,
last Thursday’s Morning Spoilers
column drops the news that “At Least One of the Game of
Thrones Spinoff Series Is Truly Dead” and the creator is
done, at least for now, at HBO. Tidbits for a dozen or so shows are shared in
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Bryan Cogman confirmed that his time with the franchise is over for now—because the spinoff series he was attached to is officially scrubbed…
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 30, 1926 — Cloris Leachman, 93. I’ve got grist in the genre in Young Frankenstein as Frau Blücher. (Strange film.) she does her obligatory mouse role when she voices Euterpe in The Mouse and His Child. Next up is being The Lord’s Secretary in The Muppet Movie. (Always a fun time.) Hmmm… she’s Millie Crown in Shadow Play, a horror film that I don’t plan on seeing. Not my cup of tea. Lots of voice work from there out and I will only note her as Mrs. Tensedge in The Iron Giant, a great film indeed. She in the live action and I assume disgusting Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse as Ms. Fielder.
Born April 30, 1934 — Baird Searles. Best- known for his long running review columns in Asimov’s, Amazing Stories and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. For a time, he managed a genre bookstore in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the Science Fiction Shop, which is no longer in business. With Brian Thomsen, he edited Halflings, Hobbits, Warrows & Weefolk: A Collection of Tales of Heroes Short in Stature, and among other publication that he wrote was the Cliff Notes on Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. (Died 1993.)
Born April 30, 1938 — Larry Niven, 81. One of my favourites author to read, be Ringworld, The Mote in God’s Eye with Jerry Pournelle, or the the Rainbow Mars stories, there’s always good reading there. What’s your favourite Niven story?
Born April 30, 1968 — Adam Stemple, 51. Son of Jane Yolen. One-time vocalist of Boiled in Lead. With Yolen, he’s written the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tales, Pay the Piper and Troll Bridge which are worth reading, plus the Seelie Wars trilogy which I’ve not read. He’s also written two Singer of Souls urban fantasies which I remember as engaging.
Born April 30, 1973 — Naomi Novik, 46. She wrote the Temeraire series which runs nine novels so far. Her first book, His Majesty’s Dragon, won the Compton Crook Award for best first novel in the science fiction and fantasy category. She most deservedly won the Nebula Award for Best Novel for Uprooted which is a most excellent read. I’ve not yet her Spinning Silver, so opinions are welcome.
Born April 30, 1982 — Kirsten Dunst, 37. Her first genre role was as Claudio in Interview with the Vampire. Later genre roles include Judy Shepherd in Jumanji, voicing Christy Fimple in Small Soldiers, voicing Becky Thatcher in The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man franchise, voicing Kaena in Kaena: The Prophecy, and showing up on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Hedrilin in the “Dark Page” episode. She would have been nine years old in that episode!
Born April 30, 1985 — Gal Gadot, 34. Wonder Woman, of course, in the DC film universe. Other genre work, well, other than voicing Shank on Ralph Breaks the Internet, there really isn’t any. She did play Linnet Ridgeway Doyle in the Kenneth Branagh of Murder on the Orient Express which is quite lovely but hardly genre…
(13) BEAUTIFUL BOOK. Look
at the gorgeous endpapers in the Russian edition of Goss’ novel:
(14) CELEBRATING THE RONDO
WINNERS. Steve Vertlieb sends his regards:
I want to take a moment this morning to wish hearty congratulations to all of this year’s most worthy Rondo Award winners. As always, the nominated films, television shows, writers, and artists were strong and worthy contenders, and each winner was deservedly voted the absolute best in his or her field of endeavor. In particular, however, I’d like to pay respect and homage to Veronica Carlson, Caroline Munro, and Martine Beswick whose long overdue recognition by The Rondo Hall of Fame was enthusiastically welcomed, and for my lifelong friend and brother, Wes Shank, whose loss late last Summer shattered us all, and whose entry last night into “The Monster Kid Hall of Fame” was a most fitting tribute to a beloved friend and fan. My personal remembrance of Wes was posted on File 770. Congratulations once again to all of this year’s most deserving Rondo Award winners.
A cat lover and space fan is about to make history by launching the remains of a cat named Pikachu into orbit around the Earth.
“Pikachu will have a final send-off like no cat has ever had before,” Steve Munt, Pikachu’s owner, wrote on a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising funds for Pikachu’s space memorial. Thanks to a company called Celestis — which also offers memorial spaceflights for humans — the orange tabby’s cremated remains will hitch a ride to space as a small secondary payload on a satellite launch sometime in the next 18 months, Munt told Space.com.
(16) MICE IN
SPACE. These mice, however, made it to orbit while still alive. Ben
Guarino in “Up
in space, mice found a new way to play” in the Washington Post, says a paper in Scientific Reports discusses what happened to mice that spent a
month in the International Space Station on the NASA Rodent Habitat.
After more than a week in space, young mice began to psrint and glide, as though they were zooming inside invisible hamster wheels. The scientists called this circling behavior, which they hadn’t seen before, ‘racetracking.’ Within a few days, other mice joined the fray. As a group, they ran laps around the habitats, reaching speeds of about a mile an hour. It’s strange to watch.
(17) HEDGEHOGGING THE ROAD. Sonic The Hedgehog is fast enough to create a blue shift.
He’s a whole new speed of hero. Watch the new trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog, in theatres this November
Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chip Hitchcock,
Mike Kennedy, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus
Eckerman and/or Daniel Dern. It’s complicated.]
This latest episode of Eating the Fantastic — recorded at Mezcal Mexican restaurant in Owings Mills — quickly turns nostalgic, because guest Steve Stiles and I were the proverbial ships that passed in the night at mid-‘70s Marvel Comics. My first job there was as the associate editor for the company’s line of British reprint books, which was a department he only started working at the following year, once I’d already moved over to the Bullpen to work on the American originals.
Stiles may be best-known for the post-apocalyptic dinosaur-filled future of Xenozoic Tales, which he drew for eight years, but he’s also appeared in titles such as Death Rattle, Bizarre Sex, and Anarchy Comics for underground publishers like Kitchen Sink and Last Gasp. He’s also done kid-friendly work, though, like The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Royal Roy.
And so much more — like the fanzine art which has made him a 17-time nominee for the Hugo Award, with nominations spread over a 50-year period from 1967 to 2018, an award which he won in 2016.
We discussed what it was like to work at Marvel Comics in the mid-’70s, the ironic reason he no longer owns his Silver Age Marvels, the time he thought he’d gotten the gig to draw Dr. Strange (but really hadn’t), what it was like being taught by the great Burne Hogarth at the School of Visual Arts, his first professional art sale (and why it ended up hanging on Hugh Hefner’s wall), how his famed comic strip The Adventures Of Professor Thintwhistle And His Incredible Aether Flier was born, why he didn’t like being art-directed by Marie Severin, which current comics he keeps up with, what Robert Silverberg said to him when he won his first Hugo Award after 14 tries and 49 years, the phrase he most wants carved onto his gravestone, and much more.
‘Endgame’ will be goodbye to several characters, and as UCLA psychology professor Yalda Uhls notes: “Absolutely that can feel like real grief.”
“God, it seems like a thousand years ago,” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) says in the second trailer for Avengers: Endgame. “I fought my way out of that cave, became Iron Man…”
While it hasn’t quite been a thousand years, the final installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga represents an unprecedented moment in movie history, partly because some of the characters who have been a consistent presence in movie theaters since 2008 might retire, or even die.
And over time, those characters have started to feel like real friends to audiences.
In fantasy stories, like any stories, the stakes matter.
In 2012, writing for the now-defunct fan site SF Signal, Paul Weimer suggested a classification for such tales based on the relative size of what’s at stake, ranging from sagas in which only a city or smaller community is in peril to those where the whole universe hangs in the balance. Wherever a story lands on that scale, one thing remains crucial: The stakes have to feel real.
“Stakes are what the actions or inactions of the protagonist cause to happen, or fail to happen, depending on their success or failure,” Weimer wrote in “Stakes in Fantasy Novels: A Schemata of Classification.” “You can have multiple sets of stakes going on at one time, but you can look at a work of fantasy in terms the largest stakes, and use that to give an overall sense of the scale of the conflict in that book.”
Nollywood screenwriter and director Dimeji Ajibola recently released a 1-minute teaser of his upcoming dystopian movie, Ratnik. Impressed by the visual effects and dystopian locations, local publications waxed lyrical about the film. YNaija!called it “the dystopian action-thriller we deserve in 2019.” Ratnik deserves its early praise; it is an ambitious project and its visual effects are impressive.
For some, a sci-fi Nigerian movie is unheard of, but Ratnik is not the first time a Nollywood sci-fi film will generate this much buzz. Kajola—the last one that did—was an utter disappointment. The debut film of now Nollywood box office king, Niyi Akinmolayan, it was released in 2009 to much fanfare. Akinmolayan was tired of Nollywood filmmakers: “those yeye people that don’t know how to make cool stuff.” Young and naïve, he thought he would change Nollywood forever by making “the greatest Nigerian movie ever. It will be action/sci-fi with lots of effects and we are going to win an Oscar.”
(6) NOT DEAD YET. The Digital Antiquarian studies the
history of Activision in “An Unlikely Savior”.
Activision Blizzard is the largest game publisher in the Western world today, generating a staggering $7.5 billion in revenue every year. Along with the only slightly smaller behemoth Electronic Arts and a few Japanese competitors, Activision for all intents and purposes is the face of gaming as a mainstream, mass-media phenomenon. Even as the gaming intelligentsia looks askance at Activision for their unshakeable fixation on sequels and tried-and-true formulas, the general public just can’t seem to get enough Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush Saga. Likewise, Bobby Kotick, who has sat in the CEO’s chair at Activision for over a quarter of a century now, is as hated by gamers of a certain progressive sensibility as he is loved by the investment community.
But Activision’s story could have — perhaps by all rights should have — gone very differently. When Kotick became CEO, the company was a shambling wreck that hadn’t been consistently profitable in almost a decade. Mismanagement combined with bad luck had driven it to the ragged edge of oblivion. What to a large degree saved Activision and made the world safe for World of Warcraft was, of all things, a defunct maker of text adventures which longtime readers of this ongoing history have gotten to know quite well. The fact that Infocom, the red-headed stepchild a previous Activision CEO had never wanted, is directly responsible for Activision’s continuing existence today is one of the strangest aspects of both companies’ stories….
1) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 2) Metropolis (1927) 3) Nosferatu (1922) 4) The Lost World (1925) 5) Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922) 6) Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924) 7) A Trip to the Moon (1902) 8) The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
(8) FULL LID. Alasdair Stuart sends a link to The Full Lid with this introduction:
This week’s Full Lid features a look at the deeply fantastic zombie coming of age comedy musical Anna and the Apocalypse. Also this week, there’s a review of the first issue of the excellent new fantasy detective comic FairLady and a look at the first month of The SCP Archives, a new podcast bringing stories from the legendary wiki fiction experiment to life. The spotlight is James Davis Nicoll, there’s a photo of my word buckets and a short film from excellent Irish writer director Chris Brosnahan.
(9) NEW YORK SLICE. A
heartwarming story about George R.R. Martin. The thread begins here.
Geraldyn “Jerrie” M. Cobb, a noted aviation pioneer and fierce advocate for women flying into space, died March 18 at her home in Florida, her family has revealed. She was 88.
Cobb is perhaps most well-known for her participation in what became known as the “Mercury 13,” a group of 13 women who passed preliminary screening processes in 1960 and 1961 to determine their suitability as astronauts under the guidance of Dr. Randolph Lovelace. Cobb scored in the top 2 percent of all who had taken the battery of tests for candidates previously, including both women and men.
However, the privately funded effort was not officially sanctioned by NASA. A Netflix documentary about the experience, released in 2018, offered a clear verdict for why women were excluded from NASA in the space agency’s early days—”good old-fashioned prejudice,” as one of the participants said.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 19, 1925 — Hugh O’Brian. His only meaningful genre involvement was being Harry Chamberlain in Rocketship X-M in which he was also the voice on the loudspeaker. He’d play the evil Hussein in Son of Ali Baba, and he was Richard Camalier in Doin’ Time on Planet Earth as well. He’d have one-offs appearances on shows such the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and he had five different roles on Fantasy Island. (Died 2016.)
Born April 19, 1933 — W.R. Cole. Author of A Checklist of Science Fiction Anthologies, self-published In 1964. Ok, I’m including him today because I’m puzzled. SFE said of this that ‘Though it has now been superseded and updated by William Contento’s indexes of Anthologies, it is remembered as one the essential pioneering efforts in Bibliography undertaken by sf Fandom.’ Was this really the first time someone compiled an index of anthologies? I seem to remember earlier efforts though I can’t remember precisely who. (Died 2002.)
Born April 19, 1935 — Herman Zimmerman, 83. He was the art director and production designer who worked between 1987 and 2005 for the Trek franchise. Excepting Voyager, he in that era 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, 83. There’s very little on him on the web, so I’ll let Michael Swanwick speak to him: ‘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.
Born April 19, 1946 — Tim Curry, 73. Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show of course is not his first genre appearance as he’d appeared a year earlier at the Scottish Opera in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Puck. (And yes, I adore RHPS.) 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, Farley Claymore in The Shadow (great role), another superb performance playing Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island and in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as The Player.
Born April 19, 1952 — Mark Rogers. He’s probably best known for writing and illustrating the Adventures of Samurai Cat series. 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, 52. Fan and publisher, author, and editor. He has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times and Best Fanzine four times without winning. Ok, is that a record? He’s a longtime contributing editor to SF Site and has written that site’s news page since its beginning. Over twenty years ago, he founded the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and has served as a judge ever since. And he publishes his own fanzine, Argentus.
Born April 19, 1968 — Ashley Judd, 51. Best known genre wise for playing Natalie Prior in the Divergent film franchise. She was also Carly Harris-Thompson in the Tooth Fairy film, and was Ensign Robin Lefler in a few episodes of Next Gen. She played Beverly Paige on several episodes of Twin Peaks as well.
The source code of every Infocom text adventure game has been uploaded to code-sharing repository GitHub, allowing savvy programmers to examine and build upon some of the most beloved works of digital storytelling to date.
There are numerous repositories under the name historicalsource, each for a different game. Titles include, but are not limited to, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall, Shogun, and several Zork games—plus some more unusual inclusions like an incomplete version of Hitchhiker’s sequel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Infocom samplers, and an unreleased adaptation of James Cameron’s The Abyss.
[…] The games were written in the LISP-esque “Zork Implementation Language,” or ZIL, which you could be forgiven for not being intimately familiar with already. Fortunately, Scott also tweeted a link to a helpful manual for the language on archive.org.
(16) YTTERBIUM. A
fashion update from John Scalzi:
Sure, if you have the same color eyes as the Easter Bunny….
There is the possibility that the undead will win and destroy all life on Westeros, yes. But that is preferable to returning to life as chattel. If humanity has such a problem with extinction, maybe it shouldn’t have made life a living hell for so many.
There’s just one problem. The show that became famous for its willingness to kill off seemingly essential figures has grown less and less likely to do so. Even before Jon Snow came back from the dead, viewers had begun to develop a sense of which characters were essential to the series’ endgame, and thus impossible to kill off. You didn’t need Ramsay Bolton or even Littlefinger to tie up the story’s loose ends, but it’s impossible to imagine Dany or Jon getting axed for shock value. There was no chance the High Sparrow would dethrone Cersei for good or that Arya would fail the Faceless Men’s tests. The show’s core characters had acquired what fans call “plot armor,” which meant that any time the odds seemed truly hopeless, when they were backed against a wall and there seemed to be no way out, we knew the question wasn’t if they’d escape but only how.
Hunkered down in their hives and drunk on smoke, Notre Dame’s smallest official residents — some 180,000 bees — somehow managed to survive the inferno that consumed the cathedral’s ancient wooden roof.
Confounding officials who thought they had perished, the bees clung to life, protecting their queen.
“It’s a big day. I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn,” Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant told The Associated Press on Friday.
“Instead of killing them, the CO2 (from smoke) makes them drunk, puts them to sleep,” he explained.
Geant has overseen the bees since 2013, when three hives were installed on the roof of the stone sacristy that joins the south end of the monument. The move was part of a Paris-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers. Hives were also introduced above Paris’ gilded Opera.
(20) FELINE EFFECTS. Epic Cats presents a superpowered
Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, John
A Arkansawyer, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter
for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of
the day Kip Williams.]
Will Kevin Standlee realize his dream to bring Westercon to
Fresh off hosting the 2018 Worldcon, San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. has filed a bid to host the 2021 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (Westercon 74) in Tonopah, Nevada. With Kevin Standlee as the bid chair, and Bruce Farr as treasurer, they propose to hold the con from July 2-5 at the Tonopah Convention Center and nearby hotels.
In case there are any doubts that they mean business, they reassure everyone:
Tonopah is a serious bid. While the town itself is somewhat smaller than the typical Westercon site, the town has expressed its enthusiasm for hosting us, and we think it has the right mix of facilities to accommodate a small but entertaining and affordable Westercon.
We have filed our bid with Westercon 72 (SpikeCon) in Layton, Utah. You can read our complete filing here.
With site selection voting to take place less than three months from now at SpikeCon (Westercon 72), Tonopah isn’t selling “pre-supporting” memberships — but donations are welcomed.
The bid’s web site is here. Not only is there a wealth of detail about the facilities and local attractions, you’ll find your time repaid by the amusing fanwriting. For example, the myriad transportation options include horse rental (price quoted!), or for those driving, an attractive alternative route:
The primary access to Tonopah is by highways US-95 and US-6; however, there are interesting alternative routes and side trips along the way
From Las Vegas and points south: US-95 north, or take the alternative route via US-93 and the Extraterrestrial Highway and stop by the Little A’Le’Inn. (Convention not responsible for alien abductions or misadventures at Area 51.)