2024 TAFF Race Begins

The official ballot for the 2024 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund race has been released. Fans have can vote online or by mail using a printable form; access both choices at the link.

Ballots must reach the administrators by 11:59 p.m. British/Irish time (UTC+1; 3:59 p.m. Pacific, UTC-7) on Tuesday April 2, 2024.

The two candidates are Vanessa Applegate and Sarah Gulde. The winner will travel to the Glasgow 2024 Worldcon in Scotland. Here are their platforms:

Vanessa Applegate

Vanessa Applegate has been around fandom for more than twenty years, mostly attending and occasionally running logistics for cons in Northern California. Mostly, she arts, has had art in various zines, co-edited The Drink Tank for a year, was nominated for the Hugo for her work on Journey Planet, and has been known to throw on a costume from time to timeVanessa lives among the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her husband, a pair of clingy cats, and two miniature fans-in-training. You will know her by her hair flowers!

European nominators: John Coxon, Alyssa Wales North American nominators: Francesca Myman, Dave O’Neill, Chuck Serface

Sarah Gulde

This isn’t my first time standing for TAFF … maybe the third time’s the charm? But the nice thing about throwing your hat in the TAFF ring is that even when you lose, you make some great new friends along the way! (Hi friends I made along the way!)

I’m a two-time Hugo Finalist, and 2024 will be the 10th anniversary of my first Worldcon (Loncon 3). I’ve kept in touch with folks I met there, but I would love to attend Glasgow 2024 as the TAFF delegate and make even more fannish friends across the pond!

European nominators: Johan Anglemark, James Bacon North American nominators: Chris Garcia, Seanan McGuire, Kevin Roche

The administrators’ latest newsletter is also out today. Download it here: Taffluorescence 2.

Pixel Scroll 12/26/23 Warning – Spindizzy Recall! Your City May Auto-Return Abruptly!

(1) TO THE NASFIC AND BEYOND. A chapter of Sandra Bond’s Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund trip saga appears in the new issue of Geri Sullivan’s fanzine Idea 13. Says S&ra, “It contains my report on Pemmi-Con with detailed thoughts on What Went Wrong With It And Why.”

Day thirteen of TAFF, unlucky for some. Sandra Bond – already befuddled by her travels and overwhelmed by the generosity of North American fans – has left Minneapolis and has hitched a lift with Minnesota fans Curt Gibson and Alice Ableman in Curt’s mom’s SUV, riding north for NASFiC. No, you haven’t missed any previous instalments; they will be published elsewhere, in due course, and eventually a complete version will follow. I’m starting with this chapter, partly because Geri is publishing it and chapter 1 will largely be about her as my first host, and partly in order to air some issues arising from Pemmi-Con while the iron, so to speak, is hot….

Here’s a taste of those hot iron issues. Think of it as what the 2023 Worldcon experience would have looked like if Chengdu had not wrested it away from Winnipeg.

… (The programme as a whole showed every sign of having been thrown together by robots with no human eyes; for instance, the registration field had a space for you to enter your “organization.” I had put “TAFF”, which was fine, but Tanya Huff had foolishly essayed a little joke by putting “I am not at all organized” in that field, and was rewarded by having that phrase appended to her name on every single programme item featuring her. Others were flagged as variations on “n/a” or “–”, or found themselves billed as representing the organisation of “Myself” (Rich Horton) or “Julie E. Czerneda” (go on, guess). And Nisi Shawl – a fucking guest of honor, and consequently on many programme items – was accompanied on every occasion by the tag “I believe you already have my bio and photo.” Apparently they didn’t, since her “photo” was the generic one used for people who hadn’t supplied any.)…

(2) WHEN NEEDS MUST. The BBC interviewed a fan who remembers “When Tom Baker popped in to watch Doctor Who”. The experience wasn’t quite like when Dustin Hoffman needed to see “Wapner” in Rain Man, but was not entirely unlike it, either.

The time is November 1976, and the space is the Nuneaton branch of Radio Rentals, the old TV stockist that was once a familiar high street fixture. Pauline Bennett remembers being on shift there when a “very smart chap” walks in with a strange request.

“He came in about five o’clock and said he and Tom Baker needed to watch the Doctor Who episode that was going to be on shortly,” she said.

Titular star Baker had been travelling back from the show’s exhibition in Blackpool with BBC manager Terry Sampson when the pair were delayed by fog.

They had turned off the motorway heading for the town, hoping to persuade someone to let them watch the show, the first to feature filming at an outside location, she explained….

(3) FREE AT LAST. Jennifer Jenkins, Director, Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, tells us what we can look forward to on “Public Domain Day 2024” at the Duke University School of Law blog.

On January 1, 2024, thousands of copyrighted works from 1928 will enter the US public domain, along with sound recordings from 1923. They will be free for all to copy, share, and build upon. This year’s highlights include Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence and The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht, Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman and Cole Porter’s Let’s Do It, and a trove of sound recordings from 1923. And, of course, 2024 marks the long-awaited arrival of Steamboat Willie – featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse – into the public domain. That story is so fascinating, so rich in irony, so rife with misinformation about what you will be able to do with Mickey and Minnie now that they are in the public domain that it deserved its own article, “Mickey, Disney, and the Public Domain: a 95-year Love Triangle.” Why is it a love triangle? What rights does Disney still have? How is trademark law involved? Read all about it here. …

(4) NO WAITING FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN HERE. In “’Gale: Stay Away From Oz’ Offers a Horror Take on ‘The Wizard of Oz’”, The Mary Sue reminds everyone this 30-minute short already was released in September.

…In 2023, The Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum entered the public domain. That means anyone can take those characters or the world of Oz and reimagine them in brand-new stories. The independent short horror film Gale: Stay Away From Oz does just that. According to IMDBGale‘s official summary is “Long gone are the days of emerald cities and yellow brick roads. In this dark re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale is now an elderly woman, broken by years of paranormal entanglement with a mystical realm.” Emily Gale, the granddaughter of Dorothy, reconnects with her grandmother and the mystical realm that haunts her.

Unlike Winnie the Pooh, which also got the horror treatment, the original stories of Dorothy already lend themselves to the horror genre. Who hasn’t watched Return to Oz and felt terrified? With Gale: Stay Away From Oz, it seems like the curse of Oz haunts any of Dorothy’s descendants, which makes for an even creepier connection. So when is Gale: Stay Away From Oz coming out and where can you watch it?…

(5) AT THE NIMOY. “Mr. Spock’s Widow Puts on a Show” – and The New Yorker profiles her.

The other day, Susan Bay Nimoy—actress, writer, director, philanthropist, and widow of Leonard—stood at the entrance of a historic Art Deco theatre in Westwood, which she had helped to restore and convert to a live-performance space. On the marquee, lit bulbs spelled out the theatre’s new name: the Nimoy.

“There’s a lot of history,” Bay Nimoy, an exuberant eighty-year-old, said. “I called Jane Fonda and asked if she would come to the press opening, because her mother, Frances, funded the theatre.” More history: during the Second World War, newsreels played at the theatre; “Dr. Strangelove” had its first L.A. screening there, in 1964. Two decades later, when Disney managed the theatre, “Three Men and a Baby” was the opening film. Leonard was the director; Bay Nimoy accompanied him to the première. “It was certainly in the eighties, because I wore a black suit with big shoulder pads, with a lot of jewelled things on them,” she said….

… “Leonard and I came from very poor backgrounds. His father was a barber. My dad was an accountant,” Bay Nimoy said. The couple invested their Hollywood earnings in California real estate and contemporary art. “Leonard was not a fancy person,” she went on. When they met, she said, “I was driving a Honda.” Their goal was to give their children—he had two, she had one—a buffer, and no more. “They will not be gabillionaires, but they have a leg up,” she said. “And the rest we’re giving away.” They built a Jewish day school (their rabbi asked them to), a new theatre at Griffith Observatory (Leonard loved outer space), and a theatre for Symphony Space, in New York (where Leonard used to perform short stories)….

(6) NOTHING YOU HAVEN’T THOUGHT OF YOURSELF. Maris Kreizman tells New York Times Readers “Let’s Rescue Book Lovers From This Online Hellscape”.  

… In an ideal world — one in which it wasn’t owned by Amazon — Goodreads would have the functionality of a site like Letterboxd, the social network for movie fans. Letterboxd has called itself “Goodreads for movies” but it has far surpassed that initial tag line, having figured out how to create a smooth and intuitive user experience, provide a pleasant and inviting community and earn revenue from both optional paid memberships and advertisers, including studios that produce the films being discussed. Meanwhile, publishers still rely on Goodreads to find potential readers, but targeted advertising has grown both less affordable and less effective.

So how to fix it? It starts with people: Goodreads desperately needs more human moderation to monitor the goings-on. Obviously, part of any healthy discussion is the ability to express displeasure — those one-star reviews, ideally accompanied by well-argued rationales, are sacrosanct — but Goodreads has enabled the weaponization of displeasure.

It’s not just fledgling authors being pummeled. Earlier this year, Elizabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” decided to withdraw a forthcoming novel, “The Snow Forest,” after Goodreads users bombarded its page with one-star reviews objecting primarily to the fact that the novel (which no one had yet read) was set in Russia and would be published at a time when Russia and Ukraine were at war. There is most likely no way to eliminate personal attacks entirely from the site — or from the internet, for that matter — but having more human beings on hand to mitigate the damage would certainly improve the experience.

Fortifying the guard rails wouldn’t be that difficult. Currently Goodreads uses volunteer librarians who add new books to the site’s database in their free time. Hiring these people (and scores more like them) and paying them a living wage would empower Goodreads’s representatives to communicate with publishers, large and small, to facilitate posting books to the site when, and only when, a book has actually been written and edited and is ready to be shared with the world….

(7) CURING YOUR WHO HANGOVER. In the unlikely event that you need somebody to explain the Doctor Who Christmas Special to you, The Hollywood Reporter has volunteered. “’Doctor Who’ Christmas Special “The Church on Ruby Road,” Explained”. For everyone else, beware spoilers. The following excerpt is a little spoilery though not prohibitively so, I thought.

…Initially, Mrs. Flood would appear to be just a normal neighbor. Nothing unusual about her, until we see her sitting down to enjoy the TARDIS dematerializing. Something that most humans would balk at.

However, not for Mrs. Flood. In fact, at the end of the episode, she says to her understandably shocked neighbor (who also witnessed The Doctor’s ship disappearing), “Never seen a TARDIS before?”

And, if this wasn’t enough, she looks directly down the camera and winks. Mrs. Flood is clearly someone to be reckoned with, and undoubtedly will make a return. But is she a familiar character in the Whoniverse? (Time Lords change their appearance quite regularly.) Or, is this a new friend/foe for The Doctor? Names have often hinted at deeper connections and meanings in Doctor Who (see Melody Pond and River Song, for example) — is there a clue here?

Mrs. Flood is played by Anita Dobson, who will be known to many in the U.K. as she made a name for herself as alcoholic landlady Angie Watts in the BBC’s long-running soap, Eastenders. An accomplished stage actress, Dobson is also married to Brian May, guitarist for rock outfit Queen (who’ve had a number of songs feature memorably in Doctor Who, such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Don’t Stop Me Now”)….

(8) IT ONLY GETS WORSE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Did you get new clothes for Christmas? Then beware Jólakötturinn, the gigantic Yule Cat, which will chase you down and eat you if you don’t wear those clothes! “Meet the Yule Cat, an Icelandic folklore beast who eats children” on NPR.

… That’s right. A child’s worst nightmare — new clothes under the tree — could only be outdone by a somehow worse nightmare, being devoured by a ferocious feline that hunts down children caught not wearing their new clothes.

The tale of Jólakötturinn, which translates to Yule Cat, is an Icelandic Christmas classic dating back to at least 1932, according to the Icelandic Folklore website, a research project managed by the University of Iceland….

(9) THE COMPUTER SAYS ‘CHEESE!’ “A.I. Is the Future of Photography. Does That Mean Photography Is Dead?” wonders Gideon Jacobs in an opinion piece for the New York Times.

John Szarkowski, the legendary curator at the MoMA, once described photography as “the act of pointing.” And for the nearly 200 years since its inception, photography has consisted of capturing a visual perspective from the physical world using light — first with light-sensitive plates, then film, then digital sensors. When digital cameras became widely available, many photographers lamented the move away from analog technology but basically Szarkowski’s definition still held: Photography consists of pointing, as a reaction to something that exists in the world.

With advent of A.I. image generators, however, this definition feels obsolete.

Generative A.I. tools can produce photorealistic images, typically in response to written prompts. These images are available for purchase from major stock photography agencies, alongside traditional photos. They routinely go viral before being debunked. They even occasionally win prestigious photography prizes. All if which has reignited a two-centuries-old debate: What exactly qualifies as a photograph?

… Artists, writers and theorists have long remarked on our very human tendency to project slippery ideas about truth onto two dimensional surfaces. In 1921, Franz Kafka was told about a miraculous machine that could automatically take one’s portrait, a “mechanical Know-Thyself.” He offered up his own name for the apparatus: “The Mistake-Thyself.” Kafka was ahead of his time — in Susan Sontag’s 1977 essay “In Plato’s Cave,” she wrote, “Although there is a sense in which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as paintings and drawings are.” Each photograph, she argued, is inevitably the product of countless decisions informed, consciously or not, by the photographer’s predilections and biases, as well as the limits and parameters of the technology.

So when I hear some people calling the arrival of A.I. an extinction-level event for photography, I often think of the French painter Paul Delaroche who, legend has it, declared painting “dead” after seeing a daguerreotype, one of the first photographic inventions. Painting did not die; it just evolved into a different kind of artistry, freed from the obligations of verisimilitude….

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born December 26, Elisha Cook, Jr. (Died 1995.) His first major role was the psychopathic killer Wilmer Cook in the 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon. Yeah there are two versions, I’ve never seen the earlier version. Anyone here seen it? 

Now as for genre roles, his first was a Boris Korloff film, Voodoo Island, in which he was Martin Schuyler. Adam West is here in his first film role, uncredited.

His next horror film with Vincent Price, House on Haunted Hill, in which he was Watson Pritchard, is interesting because exterior shots of the house were filmed at the historic Ennis House in Los Feliz, California, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1924.

Here’s a curious one for you. The Haunted Palace is a horror film starring Vincent Price Lon Chaney Jr. in which he’s Micah Smith / Peter Smith. The film was marketed as based on a Poe title but only the title is from him – the plot is from Lovecraft’s “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” novella.

I saw Rosemary’s Baby once in which he played Mr. Nicklas. That was more than enough, thank you.  Hey, he’s in the original The Night Stalker movie as Mickey Crawford. Neat. And next up is being Gordon “Weasel” Phillips in Salem’s Lot, a scary film indeed.

Most memorable series appearance? As Samuel T. Cogley, Esq in Star Trek’s “Court Martial” episode of course. He also made a Wild, Wild West appearance as Gideon McCoy in “The Night of the Bars of Hell”, the new Twilight Zone in “Welcome to Winfield” as Weldon, The Bionic Woman in “Once a Thief” as Inky and in ALF in “We’re So Sorry, Uncle Albert” as Uncle Albert.  Oh, and his first television appearance was on the Adventures of Superman in “Semi-Private Eye” as Homer Garrity.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) EJECT! Arturo Serrano declares “Rebel Moon is the most Snyder that Snyder has ever been” at Nerds of a Feather. And that’s not a good thing.

One could summarize Rebel Moon as “the Zack Snyder of Star Wars,” which would sound mean-spirited if it weren’t its literal description. Conceived originally as Snyder’s pitch for Lucasfilm and eventually rescued by Netflix, Rebel Moon files off the Star Wars serial numbers just enough to prevent lawsuits from the Mouse. As you would expect, it tells the story of a loosely assembled team of impromptu freedom fighters who rise up against a brutal interstellar empire. A tale as old as time, and one that Lucasfilm has kept profitable for nine movies and I forget how many TV shows. But Snyder’s version of this formula, stripped of its identifiable markers for legal reasons, becomes a nameless, featureless collection of plot beats and cool poses. If there was ever a time when the infamous itch for canceling everything at Netflix could be used for good, it’s now. There’s no need for a Rebel Moon Part 2, or for all the multimedia spinoffs Snyder is reportedly preparing. This is not the galaxy you’re looking for….

(13) TO HELL AND MAYBE BACK. Disney+ has started airing the new series based on Rick Riordan’s YA fictionalization of Greek myth: “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Quest Begins in New Clip” from Comicbook.com.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is gearing up to kick off its quest. The serialized adaptation of Rick Riordan‘s best-selling novels made its surprise debut on December 19th, dropping its first two episodes six hours ahead of schedule in the Tuesday primetime slot. This came with the announcement that all future episodes of Percy Jackson would get the primetime treatment, as the rest of Season 1 will premiere at 9 PM ET. The last fans saw, Percy (Walker Scobell) was officially claimed by his father, Poseidon, and given the news that he must lead a cross-country quest to retrieve Zeus’s (Lance Reddick) stolen master bolt. The belief is that Hades (Jay Duplass) stole it out of jealousy and is keeping it in the Underworld….

(14) STRANGE NEW WORLDS. We hear from the Guardian “How the James Webb telescope is ‘set to find strange and bizarre worlds’”.

There is a distant world where quartz crystals float above a searing hot, puffy atmosphere. Vaporised sand grains, not water droplets, form the clouds that fill the sky on Wasp-107b, a planet 1,300 light years from Earth.

Then there is GJ1214, the sauna planet. With a mass eight times that of Earth, it orbits its parent star at a distance that is one-seventieth of the gap between Earth and the sun and seems to be coated in a thick dense atmosphere containing vast amounts of steam.

Or there are the giant, Jupiter-sized planets of the Orion Nebula which have been discovered free-floating in space, rogue worlds that appear to be unconnected to any parent star – to the bafflement of astronomers….

(15) A YEAR’S WORTH OF SCREEN TIME. Gizmodo picks out the “40 Most Memorable Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Movie Moments of 2023”. Here’s one example:

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: Jarnathan Arrives

This is the moment you knew Honor Among Thieves absolutely got Dungeons & Dragons. It’s an incredible set-up to a gag that builds over the opening scenes, establishing the roguish humor of our heroes, throwing a loving curveball to an esoteric D&D race, and of course giving us the most perfect ass-pull of a character name that feels like a Dungeon Master made it up for an NPC on the spot mid-improv. Oh Jarnathan, indeed.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Our Pros bring Wednesday Addams to the Strictly Ballroom” from the BBC.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Jeff Warner, Kathy Sullivan, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Steven French  for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

TAFF Begins Taking Nominations for 2024 Race on 12/1

Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund administrators will accept nominations beginning December 1 for the 2024 race to choose a delegate to travel from North America to Europe.

The winner will attend the 2024 Worldcon in Glasgow, being held August 8-12, and visit fans in the UK and elsewhere.

Glasgow 2024 has confirmed that they will provide free membership and board to the winning fan. Past TAFF winner Geri Sullivan has been appointed Fan Fund Liaison by the convention committee.

Sandra Bond, incoming European TAFF administrator, says that nominations will close on January 7, 2024. Then the ballot forms will then be circulated throughout fandom and voting will continue until April 2. Votes must be accompanied by a minimum payment of £3 (GBP), €3 (EUR), or $4 (USD), and any fan may vote who’s been active in fandom since April 2022 or earlier.

To stand for TAFF a fan needs to do the following:

  • Get three nominators from North America, and two nominators from Europe;
  • Submit a bond of (UK) £10, (US) $20, or (EU) €12;
  • Provide a platform to go on the ballot, of 101 words or fewer, saying why folks should vote for you.
  • Send those things to a TAFF Administrator by email or post.

Read more TAFF news in the new issue of Taffluorescence.


European Administrator: Sandra Bond, 1B Chestnut House, Mucklestone Rd, Loggerheads, Market Drayton TF9 1DA, UK

North American administrator: Michael Lowrey, 1847 N. 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA EU

TAFF email: [email protected]  

NA TAFF email: [email protected]

EU TAFF PayPal: [email protected]

NA TAFF PayPal: [email protected]

Website: taff.org.uk

Remembering Fans Who Were Activists in Real World Politics and the Counter Culture

Stirred to action by a particularly stupid and dismissive media generalization about science fiction fans, Rob Hansen has prepared this collection of brief biographies and essays that tell — both in his words and in their own — the stories of fans who have made some impact on the mundane world: Beyond Fandom: Fans, Culture & Politics in the 20th Century.

…In this volume you’ll meet fans who fought in the Spanish Civil War and World War II, and others who were jailed for their pacifist beliefs; fans who marched against the bomb in two separate decades a generation apart, and fans who published the first music fanzines. You’ll meet the fan who became a famous movie critic, the fans who became famous rock stars, learn of the part various fans played in increasing LGBT visibility, and discover who got beaten up by cops and arrested during the Stonewall riots. One fan even became a government minister….

The 72,000-word book is available in multiple electronic formats from the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund’s website, where they also hope you’ll make a little donation to the fund. Find it here. (A paperback edition will follow soon.)

The coverage is not only beyond fandom, but beyond the traditional SF-inspired careers in writing, editing, publishing or Big Science, as is evident from chapter titles in the Table of Contents:

Foreword
1. The Anti-Fascist
2. The Pacifists
3. The Warriors
4. The Lesbian Pioneer
5. The Voice of America
6. The Futurists
7. The Painters
8. The Record Company
9. The Folkzines
10. The Aldermaston Marcher
11. The Political Prisoner
12. The Beat Generation
13. The Film Critic
14. The Film Director Swami
15. The King of Greenwich Village
16. The Friend the Beatles Wrote For
17. The Nazi Occupation Movie
18. The Playwright
19. The Kings of Pornography
20. The CIA Pilot
21. The Counterculture
22. The Musicians
23. The Music Mogul
24. The Punk Promoter
25. The Senior Civil Servants
26. The Anti-Nuclear Activists
27. The Government Minister
28. The Trans Icon
29. The Pope’s Astronomer
30. The Professor of Law
Afterword
Appendix: As Others See Us

The cover shows UK fan Norman Shorrock posing with a BBC camera at the 1957 London Worldcon, in a photo taken by Peter West.

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 11/17/23 Walking My Sloth Named Thoth

(1) A TAFF GUIDE TO BEER. [Item by Geri Sullivan.] A TAFF Guide to Beer is now available in print on Amazon in the US and UK!

Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer published A TAFF Guide to Beer during the 2019 Eastbound TAFF race. It celebrates the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund and the ways in which in brings together and fosters connections between science fiction fans from across Europe and North America, seen through the lens of beer. It features contributions from over 3 dozen TAFF delegates as well as the 4 candidates in the 2019 race. We printed copies then, and it’s been available on Dave Langford’s splendid TAFF ebook page pretty much ever since.

When I started working on Idea #13 (being published shortly, a mere 23 years since Idea #12), Pat Virzi advised me to publish another, small project on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) since the first book you publish with them often takes a long time for them to process. 

Claire and Mark gave the go-ahead. I faffed around for longer than I like to admit, but finally figured out how to make room for the bar code on the back cover, and sent off for a proof copy. It arrived Tuesday. After I clicked the “publish” button, the fanzine spent a few days in KDP’s review process, but it’s now available for $10 or £8. TAFF will receive just over $1/£1 for each copy sold.

Note: KDP says it takes up to 3 days Amazon.com to show it in stock and up to 5 days in other marketplaces. These links are working for me tonight; you’re welcome to share them with fans who might be interested: 

And several other countries, too. 

(2) BOOKS FOR CREDENTIALS. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The Harvard Book Store was expecting a shipment of books. A pallet of boxes marked ‘haddock filets’ arrived instead — Warehouse workers panicked, but it was only a red herring.

The Boston Globe story is paywalled, so here’s an excerpt:

…Sitting before [the bookstore’s warehouse manager] were dozens of green-and-white cardboard packages that read, “FROZEN FISH” and “HADDOCK” in big block letters…but it turns out that the store’s regular distributor…simply had extra boxes lying around… [that] happened to be for a Florida-based seafood wholesaler called Beaver Street Fisheries, Inc.

The bookstore did an Instagram caption contest; entries included “Available in hardcover, paperback, and filet.”

(3) THIEVES LIKE US. “Lost Doctor Who episodes found – but owner is reluctant to hand them to BBC” reports the Guardian.

For Doctor Who-lovers they are the missing crown jewels: lost episodes of the first series of the TV sci-fi drama, shown in the 1960s. But now film recordings of not just one, but two of the early BBC adventures, both featuring the first doctor, William Hartnell, has been found in Britain by amateur sleuths.

The episodes, one featuring the Daleks, would offer viewers a chance to travel back in time without the use of a Tardis. But the Observer has learned that the owners of the rare, rediscovered footage are not prepared to hand it over to the BBC, even as the clock ticks down to the 60th anniversary of the show’s launch this month.

Veteran film collector John Franklin believes the answer is for the BBC to announce an immediate general amnesty on missing film footage.

This would reassure British amateur collectors that their private archives will not be confiscated if they come forward and that they will be safe from prosecution for having stored stolen BBC property, something several fear….

(4) EARLY JOANNA RUSS. “’It’s Not Shrill, It’s Ultrasonic’: Queer SF Pioneer Joanna Russ’s Feminist Awakening” at Library of America.

…“We started with the assumption that the woman’s problem is not a woman’s problem; it is a social problem,” [Sheila] Tobias wrote. “There is something wrong with a society that cannot find ways to make it possible for married women, single women, intelligent women, educated or uneducated, or welfare women, to achieve their full measure of reward.” Some two thousand people attended discussions on abortion, contraception, childcare, race, and sexuality. It was one of the first conferences in the United States to address sexism in an academic setting….

(5) HAND Q&A. “Elizabeth Hand on Playwriting, Haunted Houses, and Shirley Jackson” at CrimeReads.

[ELIZABETH HAND]: I just love haunted house stories. And The Haunting of Hill House is kind of the haunted house story, certainly for Americans. For me, it was just a matter of really following the template that [Jackson] created. Laurence sent me scans of the drawings that she had made, like the house plans for Hill House, some of which I think are reprinted in the Franklin bio. But I had them in like a bigger format. And so that was really cool—to see how she envisioned that space. And I had read the book multiple times over the years, and I reread it more than once when preparing to write this book [A Haunting on the Hill]. And during one of those three readings, I just went through with a highlighter to highlight all the references to doors and windows of the halls and just… spaces within it, because I thought, if I get anything wrong, people are going to call me on it! If I have the red room at the wrong end of the hallway, you know, no one’s going to let me get away with it!

(6) INVEST WISELY. Cat Rambo advises writers about “Making the Most of Your Con Budget” at the SFWA Blog.

…Decide who you want to connect with by a) looking at the guest or membership list, which is usually available online, b) joining/following the convention’s social media accounts to see who’s posting there, and c) asking among your friends, including online groups you belong to.

If the convention is non-genre-specific, find out what kind of presence your genre will have. What teachers or mentors are attending that you would like to meet? What agents are appearing and what genres do they represent? (You may need to go to their agencies’ websites to find this out.)

Look over the convention’s website and promotional materials to determine what the event’s strengths are—what does it offer that isn’t always available, such as a chance to pitch to multiple agents, or the Nebula Conference Mentorship Program that pairs newer conference attendees with experienced Nebula-goers?

Using all of the above, set your goals for the event….

(7) UNMANNERLY VISITORS. Recommended: “’The Earthlings’ by Matthew Olzmann” at Academy of American Poets.

(8) SHADES OF TRALFAMADORE. Sophie Kemp assures us “Kurt Vonnegut’s House Is Not Haunted” in The Paris Review.

… And as for me, I do not remember when I first registered that Kurt Vonnegut lived in Alplaus, a small hamlet in Schenectady County, named after the Dutch expression aal plaats, which means “a place of eels.” (There were no eels that I am aware of.) I think it was in high school. I think my hair was cut short. I think it was when I was a virgin. I think it was when I got a job as a bookseller at the Open Door on Jay. I think I was probably sixteen….

… They asked if we wanted to see inside. The thing about the house, they told us, is that it was not haunted, because ghosts are not real, but also a copy of Player Piano, sitting face out on a bookshelf, kept falling on the head of one of their kids and as a result the family had this inside joke about it being Kurt’s ghost. Obviously, I wanted to see the haunted bookshelf so they showed me the haunted bookshelf. It looked pretty normal. Also facing out was a stuffed animal gnome holding a coffee cup that said “Best Mom,” and a book about raising chickens. I cannot stress enough that the house of Kurt Vonnegut is now just a completely normal house where people live and is full of completely normal things that appear in completely normal houses. Which to me makes a lot of sense. Vonnegut in my opinion is a charming and scrappy weirdo. He is not the kind of person you think of as living on some kind of grand estate…. 

(9) THE FIRE THIS TIME. [Item by Dann.] Author and lecturer, Virginia Postrel, found herself aghast at a repeated misrepresentation of the myth of Prometheus.  The tale of Prometheus was presented as a cautionary tale about the risks of innovation and technology.  She responds by pointing out that Prometheus was a defender who loved humanity in “The Myth of Prometheus Is Not a Cautionary Tale”

…No. No. No. No.

Prometheus is punished for loving humankind. He stole fire to thwart Zeus’ plans to eliminate humanity and create a new subordinate species. He is a benefactor who sacrifices himself for our good. His punishment is an indicator not of the dangers of fire but of the tyranny of Zeus.

…The Greeks honored Prometheus. They celebrated technē. They appreciated the gifts of civilization.

The ancient myth of Prometheus is not a cautionary tale. It is a reminder that technē raises human beings above brutes. It is a myth founded in gratitude.

She points out that a similar anti-technology reading of Frankenstein is also flawed.

(10) ABANDON TWITTER ALL YE WHO EXIT HERE. Not at all trying to be a completist, but here are a few more authors who are leaving X.

Scott Edelman also wants Filers to know that he bailed from Twitter – except he did it two months ago.

Several advertisers are also applying the brakes. “Disney, Apple, Lionsgate Suspend X/Twitter Ads; White House Condemns Musk Post” according to Deadline.

Deadline has confirmed that Disney is the latest company to suspend its advertising on X/Twitter in the wake of owner Elon Musk‘s amplification of an anti-semitic post two days ago. Read more below.

…More companies are suspending advertising on X/Twitter in the wake of reports that the site has let spots run next to pro-Nazi content.

Apple has decided to pause advertising on the platform, according to a report from Axios, citing sources at the company. An Apple spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

A spokesperson for Lionsgate also confirmed a Bloomberg report that it, too, was suspending advertising on the platform.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 17, 1915 Raymond F. Jones. Writer who is best remembered for his novel This Island Earth, which was made into a movie which was then skewered in Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie. However, he produced a significant number of science fiction novels and short stories which were published in magazines such as Thrilling Wonder Stories, Astounding Stories, and Galaxy, including “Rat Race” and “Correspondence Course”, which respectively earned Hugo and Retro Hugo nominations. (Died 1994.)
  • Born November 17, 1932 Dennis McHaney. Writer and Critic. Pulp writers in particular seem to attract scholars, both amateur and professional. Robert E. Howard was not an exception. So I give you this individual who, between 1974 and 2008, published The Howard Review and The Robert E. Howard Newsletter. Oh, but that was hardly all he did, as he created reference works such as The Fiction of Robert E. Howard – A Pocket Checklist, Robert E. Howard in Oriental Stories, Magic Carpet and The Souk, and The Fiction of Robert E. Howard: A Quick Reference Guide. A listing of his essays and other works would take an entire page. It has intriguing entries such as Frazetta Trading CardsThe Short, Sweet Life and Slow Agonizing Death of a Fan’s Magazine, and The Films of Steve Reeves. Fascinating… (Died 2011.)
  • Born November 17, 1936 John Trimble, 87. Husband of Bjo Trimble. He has assisted her in almost all of her SF work, including Project Art Show. They were GoHs at ConJose. He’s a member of LASFS. He’s been involved in far too many fanzines and APAs to list here, some of which I’d loved to have read such as “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”,  a fanzine done in support of the Save Star Trek campaign which was edited by him and Bojo. You can read one of their late Fifties fanzines, which I choose because of its title, “Some Important Information Concerning Unicorn Productions”, here.
  • Born November 17, 1966 Ed Brubaker, 57. Comic book writer and artist. Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives I’d consider his first genre work. Later work for DC and Marvel included The AuthorityBatmanCaptain AmericaDaredevilCatwoman and the Uncanny X-Men. If I may single out but one series, it’d be the one he did with writer Greg Rucka which was the Gotham Central series. It’s Gotham largely without Batman but with the villains so GPD has to deal with them by themselves. Grim and well done. In 2016, he joined the writing staff for the Westworld series where he co-wrote the episode “Dissonance Theory” with Jonathan Nolan.
  • Born November 17, 1983 Christopher Paolini, 40. He is the author of the most excellent Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books EragonEldestBrisingr, and Inheritance. Several years ago, The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, the first book in a series called Tales of Alagaësia, was published. A film version of the first novel came out sometime ago but I’ve not seen it. His SF Fractulverse series, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, and Fractal Noise, is quite well crafted.

(12) WHO FAN FROM THE BEGINNING. “Russell T Davies on secrets, sex and falling for Doctor Who: ‘Something clicked in my head: I love you’” in the Guardian.

…The turning point came at the age of 11 – a huge change for me and for the show. I went to comprehensive school; the Doctor became Tom Baker. I have a crucial memory of TV Comic’s weekly Doctor Who strip printing a gorgeous piece of artwork (drawn, I now know, by Gerry Haylock) showing Tom Baker in full hat, scarf and toothy grin. And something clicked in my head. Something clicked and has stayed clicked ever since. A simple thought which said: I love you.

It’s easy to draw a link between gayness and fandom. So easy, maybe it’s true. Because as those teenage years advanced, two things synced up. I was gay and went silent, watching all the parties and fancying boys at a remove instead of getting drunk on cider, scared of giving myself away. At exactly the same time, I watched TV fiercely. Both things became closeted. Doctor Who became the other love that dares not speak its name.

It lasts, the closet. Many years later, in my late 20s, when I’d moved to Manchester and worked in TV and went to Canal Street every weekend, I copped off with a nice lad who saw a book about Doctor Who on my shelf and said: “I was in that! I was a soldier in The Caves of Androzani.” And I lied, I lied to a man I’d just had sex with, I said: “No, that book’s from work, it’s someone else’s, I don’t really know what it is.” Sorry, soldier.

I wonder now why I fell in love so hard. Though can anyone ever answer that? Some of the secret exists in what the Doctor is not. He/she/they have never had a job or a boss or even parents, they never pay tax, never do homework. They never have to go home at night. Maybe you fall in love with the show when you’re a kid because the Doctor’s a big kid, too. I could never love Star Trek in the same way because they’re the navy; when I survive to the year 2266, they won’t allow me on board. I’ll be scrubbing the floor below decks, at best. But Doctor Who’s greatest idea is that the Tardis can land anywhere. I’d walk home from school wishing I could turn the corner and see that blue box and run inside to escape everything. I don’t think that wish has quite gone….

(13) WELL, HARDLY EVER. Black Nerd Problems’ Mikkel Snyder says, “To Watch ‘Pantheon,’ I Wouldn’t Ever Promote Piracy…”

… The central point of all of this is that studios are much more concerned with not paying residuals, and you know what, in the capitalist hellscape that we exist in, I can pretend that I can understand. However, as someone who loves media in all of its forms and is a proponent of media preservation, it’s exceedingly frustrating that works of art that I could see as seminal are subject to the whims of razor thin profit margins. And I’m willing to pay to get access to this media. I immediately purchased all four seasons of Infinity Train in a desperate bid to get access to one of my favorite animated series of 2020 and 2021. Even now, I’m aware that if Prime wanted to they could wipe my entire library, and I would have next to no recourse.

But let’s flash forward to early October when thanks to a friend, I caught wind that for some reason, the second season of Pantheon was in fact airing exclusively on Prime Australia and New Zealand and had no discernable release in the States.

Now, I wouldn’t ever promote piracy. Piracy hurts hard working creatives. It denies them of any direct revenue that is generated from purchases or views, and the only thing potentially worse is completely removing any evidence that it ever existed and preventing any legitimate means of acquisition…or you know, something like that.

And it would be a real shame if the second season of a phenomenal science fiction series that may or may not conclude its story as there is no way in hell a third season is ever going to exist. And it would be completely wild if access to the episodes would be entirely dependent on the random whims of a random Prime ANZ executive. But at least *someone* would get to watch it. And at least it would be online….

(14) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter enjoyed this wrong reply on tonight’s episode of Jeopardy!

Final Jeopardy: Literary Characters

Answer: In his first appearance in 1902, he was described as “betwixt-and-between” a boy & a bird.

Wrong question: Who is Batman?

Right question: Who is Peter Pan?

(15) UPDATE TO THE ROBERT BLOCH OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Two updates to the Psycho page at the Robert Bloch Official Website.

  • A link to a video showing Psycho (film) locations and how they look today.
  • A nice behind-the-scenes shot with Hitchcock in front of the Bates home.

(16) KEEP CALM, ZACK FANS. “Both of Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon films will get their own R-rated director’s cut” says Entertainment Weekly.

For years after Zack Snyder departed Justice League in the midst of production, the filmmaker’s most passionate fans repeatedly pleaded their case: #ReleasetheSnyderCut. Eventually, they succeeded. In 2021, Warner Bros. brought the director back to their DC superhero roster one last time to complete Zack Snyder’s Justice League

That experience taught Snyder and his wife/producing partner Deborah that there is a significant subset of people who will always be interested in seeing his pure, uncut artistic vision. They took that lesson with them as they set out building their own new cinematic universe in the form of the two-part sci-fi epic Rebel Moon (which you can read all about in EW’s new cover story). 

Rebel Moon Part One: A Child of Fire hits Netflix on Dec. 22, but that won’t be the only version of the film. At some undisclosed point in the future, a longer R-rated version will be added to the streaming platform, and the same will be true for next year’s Rebel Moon Part Two: The Scargiver. But unlike the messy years-long experience with DC, these “director’s cuts” were planned from the beginning. During an hourlong Zoom interview with EW on Halloween about the making of the new films, Snyder said that Netflix producers brought up the idea very early on in the process….

(17) HISTORY FROM ANOTHER PLANET. StarWars.com reminds everyone about “The Origins of Life Day”.

Before you and your family gather your glowing orbs, don your ankle-length red smocks, and gather at the sacred tree to recite hallowed Shyriiwook verses in celebration of Life Day, let’s look back at the holiday’s origins. Not from within the Star Wars setting, mind you; rather, let’s examine its real-world history and evolution from an obscure TV source to an annual fan tradition.

The root of Life Day is found in The Star Wars Holiday Speciala star-studded 1978 prime time broadcast that aired on CBS once on November 17, 1978. After that broadcast, it was never to be (officially) seen again in the US and instead was relegated to bizarre cultural curiosity in the years that followed. The intent of the Holiday Special was to keep Star Wars in the public eye during the long three-year stretch between movies with new entertainment, using a tried-and-true television format of the 1970s: the variety special….

(18) STARSHIP HELD FOR QUICK FIX. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] SpaceX has announced it will delay the planned second launch of its “Starship“ rocket until Saturday to replace a failed or questionable grid fin actuator. The rocket has been unstacked at the launchpad to provide access for replacing the part. The four grid fins provide guidance/attitude control when returning the super heavy booster to a controlled landing. (In this case, a “land”ing in the ocean.) “SpaceX delays launch of its giant Starship rocket to swap out a part” at Ars Technica.

The launch of SpaceX’s second full-size Starship rocket from South Texas is now scheduled for Saturday, a day later than previously planned, according to company founder Elon Musk.

This 24-hour delay will allow time for SpaceX technicians at the company’s launch facility, known as Starbase, to replace a component on the rocket’s stainless steel Super Heavy booster. There is a 20-minute launch window on Saturday, opening at 7 am CST (13:00 UTC), shortly after sunrise in South Texas.

A delay at this point is unsurprising. Starship is a complex launch vehicle with a sum of 39 methane-burning engines, each producing roughly a half-million pounds of thrust, powering its booster stage and upper stage. And this is only the second test flight of SpaceX’s new full-scale, nearly 400-foot-tall (121-meter) rocket, the largest launch vehicle ever built…

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Steven French, Dann, Scott Edelman, Geri Sullivan, Rich Lynch, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Another String on Walt’s Harp

Irish fan Walt Willis was a beloved writer and a prolific one. Rounding up all his work and publishing it in collections has taken years. Now David Langford has finished the job with the latest addition to TAFF’s library of free downloads. Perhaps.  

Langford says The Harp Remembered is “A perhaps final ebook volume of Walt Willis’s fanwriting, including everything from the monumental Willis compilation Warhoon #28 that’s not already available in TAFF ebooks, plus much further material – some of it never before collected.”

The 181,000-word book is available in multiple electronic formats from the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund’s website, where they also hope you’ll make a little donation to the fund. Find it here.

From Warhoon there are extracts from Walt’s first fanzine Slant (here with several extras), the long autobiographical sequence of fannish reminiscences “I Remember Me”, several standalone articles, and the “Epilogue” chronicling Walt’s increasing distraction from fandom by his work as a senior civil servant in Northern Ireland during a resurgence of the Troubles. But he was to return….

In addition, The Harp Remembered contains the legendary Irish Fandom Christmas Cards (each in fact a mini-fanzine) and a mass of previously uncollected articles and compilations of fanzine columns other than the famous “The Harp That Once or Twice” (separately collected in its own TAFF ebook): “The Outpost”, “Plinth”, “The Perforated Finger”, “The Prying Fan” (as revived for Pulp) and “The Warier Bard”. The main text ends with a tasty selection of shorter items and extracts, from one-liners to one-pagers. Also included as an Appendix are appreciations by Ken Bulmer and Vince Clarke, and a corrected and expanded version of the Willis bibliography from Warhoon #28.

Cover artwork by Atom (Arthur Thomson) for Cry of the Nameless #171, December 1963, edited by F.M. Busby, Elinor Busby and Wally Weber.

[Based on a press release.]

Let Rob Hansen Be Your Guide to the 1965 Worldcon in London

You can learn all about the con and the kerfuffles in Rob Hansen’s 1965: The Second UK Worldconthe latest addition to TAFF’s library of free downloads. 

The 61,500-word book, compiled from contemporaneous participants’ own words, is available in multiple electronic formats from the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund’s website, where they also hope you’ll make a little donation to the fund. Find it here.

Rob Hansen has compiled this history of the 1965 London Worldcon from contemporary fanzine and magazine accounts, so that once again the complex story emerges from the participants’ own words, together with Rob’s explanatory notes and commentary.

Coverage includes the fan politics and intrigue which didn’t stop with the winning of the 1965 bid for London and featured some dirty tricks; excerpts from convention publications and fanzine reports of major speeches and panels; a banquet menu including “crottled greeps”; and what would have been an epic verbal battle between John W. Campbell and Michael Moorcock if the latter hadn’t been so hungover that John Brunner had to do most of the talking.

From Rob Hansen’s Foreword

LONCON II was organised by SFCoL, the Science Fiction Club of London, the last UK Worldcon to be run by such a small group of fans. But who exactly were the members of SFCoL, what was the group all about, and why were they also known as the Scottish Fan Club of London? You’ll find answers to these and other questions in this volume, as well as discovering what Operation Andy Capp was, why there was so much drama around the drama award, which noted writer demanded whisky from inside a Dalek, and why the Rolling Stones didn’t perform at the convention.

The formidable Ella Parker was the convention chairman (yes, that was her title) and only the fourth woman to chair or co-chair one of the twenty-three Worldcons to date; the first was Julian May in 1952.

Ansible Editions David Langford is conducting an experiment this time around, at Rob’s suggestion. They are releasing the free ebook (donations to TAFF encouraged) and the trade paperback (all proceeds to TAFF) simultaneously.

The various paperbacks issued on behalf of TAFF have so far raised over £550 for the fund.

Langford also draws our attention to this special point of File 770 interest: “What Rob calls the Hugo Hullabaloo resulting from the initial decision not to give a Hugo for dramatic presentation, which duly outraged Harlan Ellison. Who at one stage issued a Statement (quoted by Rob) with many numbered points including two 5) and two 11). Yes, years before Vox Day was born, Harlan invented the tradition of the First and Second Fifth….”

Pixel Scroll 7/5/23 “I’m Scrolling As Fast As I Can,” Said Tom Swiftly

(1) SHEILA GILBERT RETIRES. DAW editor Sheila Gilbert retired on June 30. Author Julie Czerneda paid tribute on Facebook.

After 53 years in publishing, my long-time fiction editor, Sheila Gilbert, retires today. We are family and always will be. As an author, what I’ve been able to put forth in story owes everything to Sheila. For her support, her “sure, write that” enthusiam no matter what I came up with, and above all, her many many insightful, invaluable comments and catches to make everything better.

As a friend, I look forward visits and adventures–and to hearing what she has to say about the next book. As a fan. Who could ask for more? Please join me in congratulating someone who has filled our shelves and hearts–and can finally ignore deadlines!!!

Sheila Gilbert and Betsy Wollheim at the 1995 World SF Convention. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

(2) SO MAYBE KEEPING EPH WAS A GOOD IDEA. Ersatz Culture has been studying the withdrawn list of 2023 Hugo finalists and comparing it with the recommendations Science Fiction World posted in Chinese social media in April.

(3) SAVOYARDLY. [Item by Daniel Dern.] I saw Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny last night (first time in a movie theater since the beginning of Covid) with a friend, and, when Sallah began singing from G&S/Pinafore’s “He Is An Englishman” I quietly noted to him “Gilbert and Sullivan, Pinafore” (just in case he wasn’t familiar enough to spot it). He said “There’s a G&S song bit in every Indiana Jones movie.”

Ten or twenty minutes of web search later, I’m not yet convinced.

I’m finding cites for three G&S songs in only two Indiana Jones flicks — Raiders, and Dial — all from HMS Pinafore, all, I think, sung by Sallah. (No, I’m not prepared to rewatch the other three, just for this.)

Here’s what I found (including the usual lagniappe).

Songs that search hits confirm:

  • “He Is An Englishman”
  • “I Am The Monarch of The Sea”
  • “A British Tar”

(One search hit mistakenly ID’s the lyric from “Englishman” as part of “British Tar”)

Here’s some links (not finding one for Dial/Destiny):

Includes Sallah singing from “I Am The Monarch of The Sea”, and from “A British Tar”: “When Captain Picard and Indiana Jones met Gilbert and Sullivan” at Flickchart.

Here’s lyrics to “For He Is an Englishman” which may help show why it’s (subtly?) funny.

And here’s performances/fragments, including “Englishman” from not just Star Trek but also (in the same link) The Simpsons, and West Wing along with Batman (Adam West – from the 1960’s TV series) singing “I’m Called Little Buttercup”; Animaniacs; Family Guy; Car 54; some Alan Sherman parodies: “H.M.S. Pinafore – The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company”.

(It feels like the above compilation link’s been in an item before… if nothing else, I recommend the Simpsons, West Wing, and Car 54 ones there.)

(4) MEDICAL UPDATE. Ursula Vernon tells her news like nobody else.

(5) FLYNN UPDATE. Meantime, Michael Flynn’s daughter told Facebook readers that Flynn “is on a step-down unit, meaning on a regular medical floor and out of ICU.”

(6) TAFF NEWS. The latest Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund newsletter has 2023 delegate Sandra Bond’s travel plans and other information: TAFFest 3. Says Bond:

…Since being announced as the delegate-elect in April, I have been privileged to receive invitations and offers of hospitality from all over North America. It very soon became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to accept anything like all of them; well, perhaps if I spent a year over there, but I’m not sure who would object more violently to that, the TAFF administrators or the immigration officials.

I know, I know – we should all have this problem.

In considering my route, I’ve worked on the basis that TAFF is in part a reward and in part an ambassadorship; in other words, that I may feel at liberty to do a certain amount of sightseeing, but that I also have a duty to make myself available at the conventions I’ll be attending, and at any other fannish events at which I may find myself. Don’t feel bad for me – this will be a pleasure as much as a duty….

(7) THIRD EYE. “Felicia Day Launches Sci-Fi Audible Series Starring Neil Gaiman, Sean Astin and More”CBR.com has the story.

Felicia Day is launching a new science-fiction comedy audio series titled Third Eye, featuring renowned author Neil Gaiman as The Narrator.

Created in partnership with Audible Inc.Third Eye promises an abundance of iconic geek and gaming culture, with Easter eggs cleverly woven throughout the series. Written by Day, the story follows Laurel, a wizard who once failed in her battle against Tybus The Terrible (Christopher Judge) and is still grappling with the repercussions a decade later, despite being a “Chosen One.” Along the way, Laurel uncovers shocking secrets while encountering old adversaries.

Day stars as Laurel, a heroine forced to overcome her tattered reputation and self-loathing to save her friends.

Despite its dark premise, Third Eye will take listeners on an entertaining comedic journey with a host of unique characters like Kate Chen (Lily Pichu), a quirky teenager determined to learn about the supernatural world. Frank Fletcher (Sean Astin) is a cranky, stubborn vampire. Robigus (Wil Wheaton) is the local San Francisco enforcer for Tybus and a constant thorn in the side for Laurel. Sybil (London Hughes) is an exiled Faerie princess in her 20s who is best described as a hot mess. Neil Gaiman headlines the all-star cast as The Narrator….

(8) THE STARS WILL COME OUT FOR BRADBURY. The Library of America is hosting a free online panel, “The Enduring Genius of Ray Bradbury”, on Wednesday, July 19 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Register at the link.

In The Martian ChroniclesThe Illustrated ManFahrenheit 451, and other visionary works melding science fiction, horror, fantasy, and high literature, Ray Bradbury electrified readers and inspired generations of genre-bending younger writers. Acclaimed authors Connie Willis and Kelly Link join LOA Bradbury editor Jonathan R. Eller and SF expert Gary K. Wolfe for a conversation about this American original’s towering legacy.

There will be a brief Q&A at the end of the program; you will be able to type a question and submit it to the event moderator.

(9) MEMORY LANE.

2010 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Cherie Priest is one of those writers that everyone really should read at lest once. When she was living in Chattanooga, she created her Eden Moore series which is set there and strongly recommend. The final of the three novels, Not Flesh Nor Feathers, was nominated for an Endeavour Award. 

The other series that I really like of her is Clockwork Century Universe. Steampunk at its very, very best. Mike decided the third book of the seven that were done, Dreadnought, would be our Beginning.

It was published by Tor thirteen years ago, and it would win the Endeavour Award which given to a genre book written by a Pacific Northwest author or authors. The cover art is by Jon Foster. 

And now for the Beginning…

Down in the laundry room with the bloody-wet floors and the ceiling-high stacks of sheets, wraps, and blankets, Vinita Lynch was elbows-deep in a vat full of dirty pillowcases because she’d promised—she’d sworn on her mother’s life—that she’d find a certain windup pocket watch belonging to Private Hugh Morton before the device was plunged into a tub of simmering soapy water and surely destroyed for good. 

Why the private had stashed it in a pillowcase wasn’t much of a mystery: even in an upstanding place like the Robertson Hospital, small and shiny valuables went missing from personal stashes with unsettling regularity. And him forgetting about it was no great leap either: the shot he took in the forehead had been a lucky one because he’d survived it, but it left him addled at times—and this morning at breakfast had been one of those times. At the first bell announcing morning food, against the strict orders of Captain Sally he’d sat up and bolted into the mess hall, which existed only in that bullet-buffeted brain of his. In the time it took for him to be captured and redirected to his cot, where the meal would come to him, thank you very kindly, if only he’d be patient enough to receive it, the junior nursing staff had come through and stripped the bedding of all and sundry.

None of them had noticed the watch, but it would’ve been easy to miss. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 5, 1941 Garry Kilworth, 82. The Ragthorn, a novella co-authored with Robert Holdstock, won the World Fantasy Award. It’s an excellent read and it makes me wish I’d read other fiction by him. Anyone familiar with his work? 
  • Born July 5, 1946 Joyce Ballou Gregorian Hampshire. A fascinating woman who was way too short-lived due to a long illness with cancer. She was an SF writer, an expert on Oriental rugs, and a horse breeder. She wrote the Tredana trilogy, an alternative world fantasy. She collaborated with her father, Arthur T. Gregorian, and her nephew, Douglas Christian, on a book on Armenian oriental rugs. (Died 1991.)
  • Born July 5, 1948 Nancy Springer, 75. May I recommend her Tales of Rowan Hood series of which her Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest is a most splendid revisionist telling of that legend? And her Enola Holmes Mysteries are a nice riffing off of the Holmsiean mythos. She won an Otherwise Award for her Larque on the Wing novel, and her latest, The Oddling Prince, came out several years ago on Tachyon. 
  • Born July 5, 1957 Jody Lynn Nye, 66. She’s best known for collaborating with Robert Asprin on the ever so excellent MythAdventures series.  Since his death, she has continued that series and she is now also writing sequels to his Griffen McCandle series as well. She’s got a space opera series, The Imperium, out which sounds intriguing. Her latest two novels are both written with Travis Taylor, Moon Beam and Moon Tracks
  • Born July 5, 1962 Marc Gascoigne, 61. Winner of the World Fantasy Special Award—Professional for his Angry Robot press, and later he won the British Fantasy Award in the category Best Independent Press, again for Angry Robot. If you’re a gamer, you’ll be impressed by knowing that he co-wrote Games Workshop’s original Judge Dredd RPG, and wrote the original Shadowrun source book.
  • Born July 5, 1963 Alma Alexander, 60. Author of three SF series including the Changer of Days which is rather good. I’m including her here for her AbductiCon novel which is is set in a Con and involves both what goes on at that Con and the aliens that are involved. 
  • Born July 5, 1964 Ronald D. Moore, 59. Screenwriter and producer who’s best remembered for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation where he fleshed out the Klingon race and culture, on the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, and Outlander. He’s the creator and writer of For All Mankind. He was one of the folks who won a Hugo at Intersection for the Next Generation’s “All Good Things…” and among the group nominated for one at LoneStarCon 2 for First Contact. His latest Hugo was won at Interaction for Battlestar Galactica’s “33”.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro has some fun with a twisted book title.  

(12) ANIMATION WILL SCREEN AT COMIC-CON. “Venture Bros, Babylon 5 & More Set to Screen at SDCC 2023” reports Bleeding Cool.

Even though Hall H might be found a bit lacking, this year’s San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) still has a lot to offer inside and outside the San Diego Convention Center. And when we’re talking about animation, we’re learning that Warner Bros. Discovery’s Warner Bros. Entertainment is looking to make an impact in some very big ways. So what can folks look forward to? How do screenings, Q&A sessions, and more sound? We thought you’d approve. As for what you should be keeping an eye out for, there are going to be four panels focusing on the following animated films: Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon HeartMetalocalypse: Army of the DoomstarDC’s Justice League: Warworld, and Babylon 5: The Road Home….

(13) EYES ON STREAMING. Here are JustWatch’s top 10 movie and TV streaming lists for June 2023.

(14) U CAN HAZ FLYING CAR. [Item by Mike Kennedy.]USA Today reports “The first flying car, ‘Model A,’ approved by the FAA and it’s 100% electric”.

  • All electric
  • VTOL
  • FAA preliminary approval, but not yet road approved by NHTSA
  • When it is road approved, it’ll be a “Low Speed Vehicle” limited to 25 mph
  • $300,000
  • See linked article for video (all of which may be digitally rendered)
  • Linked article also has a bunch of pics (again, likely digitally rendered)

Under experimental status, the first flying car has officially been cleared for take off.

This week, Alef Aeronautics revealed its flying car “Model A” was granted legal permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to test run the vehicle on the road and in the sky − a move needed before it can be released to the public.

Alef is the first company to receive a Special Airworthiness Certification from the FAA, the company said in a news release. The certification limits the locations and purpose for which the vehicle is allowed to fly.

The vehicle will also need to meet National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration safety standards before taking flight….

… The company, founded in 2015 by Dukhovny, Konstantin Kisly, Pavel Markin, Oleg Petrov in Palo Alto, California, has been test driving and flying the car’s prototype since 2019.

The version customers could receive has a driving range of 200 miles and a flight range of 110 miles.

(15) A WUNNERFUL, A WUNNERFUL. “South Korea asks ‘Can robots replace conductors?’, as a mechanical maestro makes its podium debut…” at Classic fM

robot has become the first of its kind to conduct an orchestra in South Korea, in a high-profile concert hall debut last week.

Standing at 1.8 metres tall, the EveR 6 robot led the National Orchestra of Korea in a sold-out performance at the National Theatre of Korea in Seoul on Friday 30 June.

The legless automaton was developed by the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology over a year ago, to test whether ‘robots could replace conductors’. Equipped with two arms housing ‘wrist’ and ‘elbow’ joints, the machine is able to delicately replicate the baton movements of the human maestro.

In a video advertisement for last Friday’s performance, a senior researcher at the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology, Dong-wook Lee, explained: “We got involved in this project to see how far robots can go in more creative fields like the arts, and what the challenges are.”…

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Kathy Sullivan, David Langford, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Pixel Scroll 6/3/23 A File Forever Pixeling Through Strange Scrolls Of Thought, Alone

(1) MARVEL VS DC: CONTEST OF THE CHAMPIONS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4 has just broadcast a documentary (just under half-hour) on DC and Marvel Comics. Most of it fans will already know, but there are some things in there folk might not! For example, I never knew that at one time, DC copied Marvel’s grittier art style despite internal management misgivings. You can access it here.

Marvel and DC, the two titans of America superhero comics, have been locked in cosmic battle for over six decades – raging across publishing, radio, TV, movies, gaming and animation.

It’s one of the greatest rivalries in the history of pop culture, ferociously debated by generations of readers, fans and industry creatives alike.

While both companies are now worth billions, this wasn’t always the case.

This feature goes back to their early comic book roots, where DC comics and young upstart Marvel both had offices in 1960s Manhattan – and yet differed widely in their approach to the genre, posing very distinct ideas of what our superheroes should be – and as a result, what it means to be human. Do we want to look up to the skies or do we really want to see a reflection of ourselves? Are our heroes other, outsiders like gods – or are they basically people like us, who gain strange powers but keep their flaws? Readers had a choice.

The creative rivalry between Marvel and DC comics has always been more than a question of sales or market share. It is a fascinating culture clash of ideals, morals and even politics. It has constituted one of the greatest post-war, pop-culture wars of our times.

(2) TAFF EBOOK. Rob Hansen’s British SF Conventions Volume 1: 1937-1951 was released June 1 as a free downloadable ebook on the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund website. If you enjoy it, a donation to TAFF is welcome.

The cover photo from the London Festivention (1951) shows the editors of six of the seven fanzines then being published in the UK. From left to right: Mike Tealby (Wonder), Derek Pickles (Phantasmagoria), Fred Robinson (Straight Up), Walt Willis (Slant), Bob Foster (Sludge), Vince Clarke and Ken Bulmer (Science Fantasy News).

From Rob Hansen’s Foreword

Surprisingly, there were five conventions organized, announced, and held in the UK during World War Two despite travel under wartime conditions being a difficult and sometimes dangerous affair. For example, the train taking Cardiff fan Terry Overton to one of those conventions pulled out of the station during an air raid as bombs rained down on his (and my) home city. The NORCONs were only cons in the most basic of senses but 1944’s Eastercon was the most ambitious convention the UK had ever seen, as you will discover.

Hansen’s already published book 1957: The First UK Worldcon  fits into this sequence as volume 3.

(3) DRIVE-IN TRIVIA. MeTV asks “Can you complete the titles of these vintage ‘monster’ movies?” It wasn’t easy but I managed to miss two of these softballs.

What would the landscape of horror be like without the famous monsters? For decades, audiences have screamed, laughed and even sometimes jeered at the creatures lurching across the screen. Some nightmares are done so well that they haunt you for years. Others look so cheap and tacky that they become famous for how terrible they look.

We’ve collected a dungeon full of classic horror and sci-fi flicks with “monster” in the title. You may recognize some of these movies from Svengoolie! See if you can complete their full, frightful names.

(4) IT MIGHT BE FILK. John Hertz took inspiration from a recent G&S-themed Scroll title (Pixel Scroll 6/1/23 Three Little Muad’Dibs From Sand Are We) to supply the verse:

Three Muad’Dibs who, all unwary,
Come from Atreides’ seminary,
Free from the Wallach IX tutelary,
Three Muad’Dubs from sand.

Everything is a source of fun.
Paul isn’t safe, his solitude’s done,
Dune is a joke that’s just begun.
Three Muad’Dibs from sand.

Three Muad-’Dibs from sand are we,
Pert as a *pop-hop* well can be,
Filled to the brim with melange glee,
Three Muad’Dibs from sand.

(5) CUE THE CHORUS. Meanwhile another poet soon will be represented in space: “Poem bound for Jupiter’s moon Europa ties Earth to the watery world” reports Axios.

U.S. poet laureate Ada Limón on Thursday revealed her poem that will fly to Jupiter’s moon Europa aboard NASA’s Europa Clipper mission.

The big picture: The mission follows in the tradition of others — like NASA’s Voyagers — that have sent pieces of art representing humanity into the cosmos.

What’s happening: The poem uses water as a thread that binds Earth — and all of its humans — to Europa, a moon with an ocean beneath its icy shell.

  • “We are creatures of constant awe, curious at beauty, at leaf and blossom, at grief and pleasure, sun and shadow,” Limón writes. “And it is not darkness that unites us, not the cold distance of space, but the offering of water, each drop of rain.”
  • The poem is going to be engraved in Limón’s handwriting and affixed to the spacecraft, expected to launch in October 2024.

(6) MEMORY LANE.

1987[Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Lawrence Watt-Evans’ “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers” story is where our Beginning comes from this Scroll. Though Mike of course selected it, I too have read it with great delight.

So the story won a Hugo at Nolacon II, and had a Nebula nomination as well.

It was published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in their July 1987 issue. 

I’m going to praise him for having up-to-date social media and for dropping out of Twitter. Check out the links to those sites from his ISFDB page 

So here’s the first chapter of that story….

Hamburgers Harry’s was a nice place–probably still is. I haven’t been back lately. It’s a couple of miles off I-79, a few exits north of Charleston, near a place called Sutton. Used to do a pretty fair business until they finished building the Interstate out from Charleston and made it worthwhile for some fast-food joints to move in right next to the cloverleaf; nobody wanted to drive the extra miles to Harry’s after that. Folks used to wonder how old Harry stayed in business, as a matter of fact, but he did all right even without the Interstate trade. I found that out when I worked there. 

Why did I work there, instead of at one of the fast-food joints? Because my folks lived in a little house just around the corner from Harry’s, out in the middle of nowhere – not in Sutton itself, just out there on the road. Wasn’t anything around except our house and Harry’s place. He lived out back of his restaurant. That was about the only thing I could walk to in under an hour, and I didn’t have a car.

This was when I was sixteen. I needed a job, because my dad was out of work again and if I was gonna do anything I needed my own money. Mom didn’t mind my using her car – so long as it came back with a full tank of gas and I didn’t keep it too long. That was the rule. So I needed some work, and Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers was the only thing within walking distance. Harry said he had all the help he needed–two cooks and two people working the counter, besides himself. The others worked days, two to a shift, and Harry did the late night stretch all by himself. I hung out there a little, since I didn’t have anywhere else, and it looked like pretty easy work – there was hardly any business, and those guys mostly sat around telling dirty jokes. So I figured it was perfect. 

Harry, though, said that he didn’t need any help. 

I figured that was probably true, but I wasn’t going to let logic keep me out of driving my mother’s car. I did some serious begging, and after I’d made his life miserable for a week or two Harry said he’d take a chance and give me a shot, working the graveyard shift, midnight to eight A.M., as his counterman, busboy, and janitor all in one.

I talked him down to 7:30, so I could still get to school, and we had us a deal. I didn’t care about school so much myself, but my parents wanted me to go, and it was a good place to see my friends, y’know? Meet girls and so on. 

So I started working at Harry’s, nights. I showed up at midnight the first night, and Harry gave me an apron and a little hat, like something from a diner in an old movie, same as he wore himself. I was supposed to wait tables and clean up, not cook, so I don’t know why he wanted me to wear them, but he gave them to me, and I needed the bucks, so I put them on and pretended I didn’t notice that the apron was all stiff with grease and smelled like something nasty had died on it a few weeks back. And Harry–he’s a funny old guy, always looked fiftyish, as far back as I can remember. Never young, but never getting really old, either, y’know? Some people do that, they just seem to go on forever. Anyway, he showed me where everything was in the kitchen and back room, told me to keep busy cleaning up whatever looked like it wanted cleaning, and told me, over and over again, like he was really worried that I was going to cause trouble, “Don’t bother the customers. Just take their orders, bring them their food, and don’t bother them. You got that?”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 3, 1901 Maurice Evans. Ahhh the amazing work of make-up. Under the make-up that was Dr. Zaius in Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes was this actor. Though this was his most well-known genre role, it wasn’t his only ones — he was in a Thirties Scrooge as poor man, on Bewitched as Maurice, Samantha’s father, on Batman as The Puzzler in “The Puzzles are Coming” and “The Duo Is Slumming”, in Rosemary’s Baby as Hutch, and finally in Terror in the Wax Museum as Inspector Daniels. Oh, and he showed up on Columbo as Raymond in “The Forgotten Lady”. No, not genre — but I love that series! (Died 1989.)
  • Born June 3, 1905 Malcolm Reiss. It’s uncertain if he ever published any genre fiction but he’s an important figure in the history of our community as he edited in the Thirties through the Fifties, Jungle StoriesPlanet StoriesTops in Science Fiction and Two Complete Science-Adventure Books. Fletcher Pratt, Ross Rocklynne, Leigh Brackett and Fredric Brown are but a few of the writers published in those magazines. (Died 1975.)
  • 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 AvengersThe Phantom Detective and The Shadow. He has three non-series novels, The Lady Is a WitchSpy 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, 1947 John Dykstra, 76. He was one of the founders of Industrial Light & Magic. That means he’s responsible for the original visuals for lightsabers, the space battles between X-wings and TIE fighters, and much of the other Star Wars effects. Can’t list everything he later worked on, so I’ll single out his work on Battlestar Galactica, the sfx for Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, the visual effects on X-Men: First Class, and visual effects supervisor on Doolittle.
  • Born June 3, 1950 Melissa Mathison. Screenwriter who worked with Spielberg on  E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialTwilight Zone: The Movie and the charming BFG, the latter being the last script she did before dying of cancer. She also did absolutely splendid The Indian in the Cupboard which was directed by Frank Oz. (Died 2015.)
  • Born June 3, 1958 Suzie Plakson, 65. She played four characters on the Trek franchise: 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. By the way, her first genre role was in the My Stepmother Is an Alien film as Tenley. She also showed up in the Beauty and the Beast series as Susan in the “In the Forests of the Night” episode.
  • Born June 3, 1949 Michael McQuay. He wrote two novels in Asimov’s Robot City series, Suspicion and Isaac Asimov’s Robot City (with Michael P. Kube-McDowell) and Richter 10 with Arthur C. Clarke. The Mathew Swain sequence neatly blends SF and noir detective tropes – very good popcorn reading. His novelization of Escape from New York is superb. (Died 1995.)
  • Born June 3, 1964 James Purefoy, 59. 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. And let’s not forget that he’s Hap Collins in the Sundance series Hap and Leonard which was steaming on Amazon Prime before the idiots there pulled it. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Macanudo is there when puberty comes to 2001.

(9) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] Friday’s episode of Jeopardy! had a category in the first round called “Their Middle Initial”, where each clue gave us a person’s given name and surname and asked for…oh, you guessed.

The $1000 level was:

Of sci-fi and fantasy author Ursula Le Guin

One of the contestants did in fact know it.

(10) SPACE CHOW. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Nope, it’s not Rice-A-Roni. But, this San Francisco firm is competing in the Deep Space Food Challenge, sponsored by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. The goal is to find ways to meet the food needs of astronauts on long-term space missions, such as one to Mars. Making the food interesting (as well as nutritious) is important from a psychological standpoint. “Does this look appetizing? If you go to Mars, it may be your meal” at CNN Business.

As part of a NASA competition called the Deep Space Food Challenge, a San Francisco based design firm shows CNN its ideas for tasty treats astronauts can grow themselves and even grill while on a long flight to Mars.

(11) JUSTWATCH. Here is the sff that JustWatch found people had on their screens in May.

(12) DINO SKINNER ARRESTED. “Vandal Causes $250,000 in Damage to ‘Jurassic Park’ Exhibition, Police Say” – the New York Times has the story.

A newly opened dinosaur exhibition in Atlanta based on the blockbuster series of “Jurassic Park” movies has been temporarily shut down after an intruder broke in and caused $250,000 in damage, the police said. One man is in custody.

On Monday, officers from the Atlanta Police Department responded to a burglary call at Jurassic World: The Exhibition, where a manager said he discovered several exhibits had been damaged, according to a police report.

The exhibition, which has made stops in North America, officially opened Friday at Pullman Yards, a large entertainment venue east of downtown Atlanta. The show promises to immerse audiences in scenes inspired by the films and features life-size dinosaur models.

Officials for the exhibition said security footage showed four suspects before they entered the property on Sunday night. One suspect was later seen “sitting on top of one of the dinosaurs ripping off the skin covering,” the report said….

… Michael Mattox, the executive vice president of Animax Designs, the company in Nashville that constructed the dinosaurs, told Fox5Atlanta last week that it took 18 months to design and build them.

About 140 artists, engineers and other creative people were involved in the production of the dinosaurs, he said.

(13) STEEL MAGNOLIAS.  “Japan will put a wooden satellite into orbit next year” reports TechSpot.

Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan have determined that wood from magnolia trees could be the ideal construction material for a satellite due to launch into space next year.

Test results from a recent experiment aboard the International Space Station among three wood specimens revealed magnolia to be the most versatile. The samples, which were exposed to the harsh conditions of space for 10 months, returned to Earth this past January.

Analysis showed magnolia experienced no decomposition or damage like cracking, peeling, or warping. Furthermore, there was no change in the mass of the wood samples before and after their exposure in space….

(14) STARLINER STANDS DOWN. “Boeing finds two serious problems with Starliner just weeks before launch” reports Ars Technica. People are surprised this kind of problem was discovered so late in the process.  

A Boeing official said Thursday that the company was “standing down” from an attempt to launch the Starliner spacecraft on July 21 to focus on recently discovered issues with the vehicle.

Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for Starliner, said two spacecraft problems were discovered before Memorial Day weekend and that the company spent the holiday investigating them. After internal discussions that included Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun, the company decided to delay the test flight that would carry NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the International Space Station.

“Safety is always our top priority, and that drives this decision,” Nappi said during a teleconference with reporters.

Two issues

The issues seem rather serious to have been discovered weeks before Starliner was due to launch on an Atlas V rocket. The first involves “soft links” in the lines that run from Starliner to its parachutes. Boeing discovered that these were not as strong as previously believed.

During a normal flight, these substandard links would not be an issue. But Starliner’s parachute system is designed to land a crew safely in case one of the three parachutes fails. However, due to the lower failure load limit with these soft links, if one parachute fails, it’s possible the lines between the spacecraft and its remaining two parachutes would snap due to the extra strain.

(15) UFO STUDY. The May 31 public meeting by the NASA team tasked with studying UAPs (UFOs) is archived on YouTube. “NASA’s UFO study team holds a public meeting”. Over 3.5 hours of talks, charts, stats, etc. 

Other coverage includes “NASA reveals findings on unidentified objects” at CNN Business and “UFOs: Five revelations from Nasa’s public meeting” at BBC News.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, David Langford, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

TAFF Collects Ted White’s Amazing and Fantastic Editorials in Two Volumes

The latest Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund benefit books are two trade paperbacks with Ted White’s editorials and book reviews from Amazing and Fantastic from his time at the helm of both magazines.

These are physical books, not ebooks, and are offered at a fixed price, not as free downloads.

Ted White became active in SF fandom in the Fifties, won the Best Fan Writer Hugo in 1968, and was a guest of honor at the 1985 Worldcon, Aussiecon II. He has written over a dozen sf novels as well as many short stories, and edited a number of U.S magazines, including Amazing Stories and Fantastic from 1969 to 1979.

Ansible Editions is proud to present Ted’s collected editorials and book reviews from his years with both these magazines.

From the Foreword to The Fantastic Editorials by Ted White

I had dreamed, since my early adolescence, of editing my own professional sf magazine (or “prozine”), and my inspiration – at least for my editorial presence in one – was Ray Palmer, during his early Other Worlds editorship, in the early ’50s. What I liked about Palmer was his willingness to talk directly to his readers and to share with them his ideas and aspirations. He put himself into his magazine, not only in his editorials but also in his sometimes long responses to letters in the letter column. I appreciated that. It sucked me in and made me identify with Other Worlds. So I wanted to do that with Fantastic.

From the Introduction to The Amazing Editorials by Mike Ashley

A magazine isn’t the same as a book, leastways, a very good magazine isn’t. The big difference between a good book and a good magazine is that the magazine has a personality. That personality may in part be a product of the contributors but its chiefly created by the editor – and of an editor who loves what they’re doing.

That’s what made Ted White such a good editor. He was at heart a fan – he’d won a Hugo Award as Best Fan Writer in 1968 – and a die-hard fan knows what other fans want, even if at times he has to tell them what they want. Ted was known for his fan columns both before and after his editorship of Amazing Stories and Fantastic and he never fought shy of an argument if he felt he had a valid point. He was no stranger to controversy and he could not avoid being controversial in his role as editor for publisher Sol Cohen, as some of these editorials reveal.

GET THE INSIDE STORY. The above photograph of Ted White is taken from the back cover of his friend Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1965 Penguin UK paperback) – Dick had deliberately sent this picture as a joke. The full story is told in The Amazing Editorials.

ORDER TODAY! In US dollars, The Amazing Editorials paperback is $16.50. The Fantastic Editorials paperback is $16.00 Each is a print on demand book from Lulu.

[Based on a press release.]