(1) THIS WEEK. My mother has been hospitalized since last Friday. While her main medical problem is abating, it’s still not clear to me what will happen next. She’ll be 97 next week, which makes the outcome hard to predict. I’ve been with her four or five hours a day, then coming home and working on the daily roundup. If something develops and I want to spend more time there, I will put up a placeholder Scroll for the day.
(2) CAINE PRIZE WINNER. “A Soul of Small Places” by Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo is the 2023 winner of The Caine Prize for African Writing. The story appeared in Africa Risen edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Z. Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.
(4) COIN OF THE REALM. Todd Allen has launched a Kickstarter for the audiobook of The Dragon Who Dabbled in Crypto.
Something wanted the podcaster dead.
An attempt to blow the whistle on a cryptocurrency scam drew a response: a botched assassination by supernatural means. Management brought in a consultant to “fix” the problem, but a trail of scorch marks from incinerated bodies leads into a web of demonic financial crimes, purloined precious metals and eSports game fixing. What is the secret of the “Schatzhorde des Drachen” coin and will it lead Mister Lewis into the lair of… The Dragon Who Dabbled in Crypto?
[No actual dragons were harmed in the writing of this book. Egos, on the other hand…]
And Todd hopes you want to ask:
How did I come up with “The Dragon Who Dabbled in Digital?”
I typically lampoon the tech world or business world as a subtext for the Hardboiled Magic books. When I was looking around for something worth poking at the things that were bubbling to the surface were questionable behavior across the crypto world and the Gamestop stock shorting incident was still a meme until itself, if I could get a little punny. When you bring memes into stock trading, the lines between that and crypto start to blur when you look at meme-based cryptocurrency like Dogecoin, so I felt confident putting those two things side by side in the plot.
And since Dumb Money came out as I was finalizing the release schedule, I’m apparently not the only person who was thinking in this general ballpark
The working title for quite awhile was “Dragoncoin,” and then I got to the point where I had finalize a name for the cryptocurrency the scam in the title would be based around. Would you believe most of the good crypto names are already taken. I retreated to German and named it “Schatzhorde des Drachen” or Dragon’s Treasure Hoard.
As I was thinking about names for the book, Dragoncoin is just way too close to some actual coins, I was bouncing around “Dragon” and “cryptocurrency” and “The Dragon Who Dabbled in Crypto” popped out when I was thinking about some of the more verbose titles I’ve seen lately.
Todd Allen and narrator Erik Braa “The King of Voice” put together a promotional video.
(5) CHENGDU WORLDCON ROUNDUP. [By Ersatz Culture.]
- Various con merchandise on sale
Mostly badges, but there’s also a pillow, fridge magnets, ornaments and brooches. I’ve struggled to navigate the Taobao shop page, because it keeps wanting me to log in whenever I click on anything.
Weibo announcement: https://weibo.com/7634468344/Nm11GjBkX
Taobao store page: https://shop58985787.taobao.com/
- Summary of the ticket/event schedule situation
Here’s a long Weibo post from SF Light Year aka commenter Adaoli, summarizing the current state of play. A precis of the numbered points is (via Google Translate, and my summarizing skills, so there’s plenty of scope for error here):
- The 5-day in-person tickets that were priced at 320 yuan (approx $44 USD) were discontinued (over a week ago).
- Single day passes – reportedly costing 128 yuan (approx $18 USD) – have been promised, but are not yet available. Holders of these tickets will not be able to attend the opening, closing or Hugo ceremonies.
- Supporters of the Chengdu bid at DisCon III will also have to apply via the lottery to attend any of those ceremonies
- People who already bought the 5-day in-person tickets also have to apply via the lottery to attend those ceremonies. It won’t be possible to attend all the ceremonies.
- Foreigners don’t have to apply via the lottery, if they’ve previously applied to the “1/100 Light Second Plan”. That said, if the “3000km travel distance” mentioned is strictly enforced, I think that might exclude people travelling from places like Korea, Thailand or the west of Japan?
- Hugo Finalists also don’t have to apply for the lottery, although I think they need to have had contact with someone from the organizing staff.
- Ditto Guests of Honour.
- Apparently announcements of the schedule are/were expected during China’s National Day Holiday, but that ended a few hours ago as I type this, and I don’t think anything has been announced. However, the “Golden Week” holiday period runs until Saturday 7th, so it’s possible that’s the timeframe those announcements are expected in?
- Three-Body Problem immersive experience
Here are a couple of posts to the Xiaohongshu social network, and a news report, showing a Three-Body Problem branded attraction that has just – I think – opened in Chengdu. The images in the first linked post are actually short videos, although I could only get them to play in the app; I tried the website in a couple of different browsers, and they only appeared as static images.
- More images of the con venue
I suspect these have long lost their novelty, but if not, here are some new aerial shots — https://weibo.com/1649289953/NlqFZcgzH?refer_flag=1001030103_
(6) LOST AND FOUND CAUSES. [Item by Bill.] An interesting thread about recent Russian propaganda novels in service of generating support for Putin and the invasion of the Ukraine, including a uniquely Russian strain of Alternate History. Thread starts here.
Here are a few excerpts from the 52-tweet thread.
(7) SCARIER THAN PUMPKIN SPICE. Variety gives us the “Best Halloween Movies Ever, Ranked”. Here’s one I wasn’t expecting —
13. Casper (1995)
This sweet film centers its biggest reveal around a tween Halloween party. A father and daughter (played by Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci) move into a haunted mansion to rid the pad of its poltergeist tenants (Casper and his three uncles, the Ghostly Trio). After lots of spirited capers and calamities, the true story behind Casper the friendly ghost is revealed. But the record scratch moment is truly when Casper is transformed into a human boy in the form of 90’s Tiger Beat sensation, Devon Sawa. The new boy surprises Ricci at the party and whisks her into the air for a floating dance that ends with a kiss as the human boy then returns to his original ghostly shape. It’s charming, it’s innocent and his presence scares all the other kids away. — M.W.
If you think you can guess what’s #1 on the list, you are probably right.
(8) KICKIN’ IT GUNDAM STYLE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] For only $3 million (give or take, depending on the ¥/$ exchange rate) you could be running the controls inside your own Mobile Suit Gundam-inspired robot. Start-up Tsubame Industries plans to build 5 of the 3.5 ton, nearly 15-foot tall, bots. “Japan startup develops ‘Gundam’-like robot with $3 mln price tag” at Reuters.
… Called ARCHAX after the avian dinosaur archaeopteryx, the robot has cockpit monitors that receive images from cameras hooked up to the exterior so that the pilot can manoeuvre the arms and hands with joysticks from inside its torso….
“I wanted to create something that says, ‘This is Japan’.”
Yoshida plans to build and sell five of the machines for the well-heeled robot fan, but hopes the robot could one day be used for disaster relief or in the space industry….
(9) SAUNDERS TRIBUTE. The Washington Post’s Michael de Adder wrote a piece about colleague Charles R. Saunders, who died in 2020. Saunders was an African-American author and journalist, a pioneer of the “sword and soul” literary genre with his Imaro novels.
(10) ED YOUNG (1931-2023). Ed Tse-chun Young, children’s book illustrator and author died September 29 at the age of 91. Young illustrated more than 100 children’s books, including Jane Yolen’s The Emperor and the Kite, which received a Caldecott Honor in 1968. The annual award from the American Library Association recognizes the previous year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children”. He also wrote and illustrated Lon Po Po, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1991, and Seven Blind Mice, which received a 1993 Caldecott Honor.
For his lifetime contribution as a children’s illustrator, he was U.S. nominee in both 1992 and 2000 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition available to creators of children’s books. In 2016, Young was honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Eric Carle Museum and the Society of Illustrators.
(11) DOUG BERRY OBIT. Bay Area fan Doug Berry died on September 30. Kevin Standlee said, “While he wasn’t a high flyer known much outside of certain SF Bay Area fan circles, he was a nice person who had a hard life, and he and his wife Kirsten (who is fighting cancer herself) were friends of Lisa and mine. They worked on the newsletter staff at Worldcon 76 in San Jose, and were active members of the local fandom.”
Dave Gallagher told Facebook readers, “Doug had medical issues that did not keep him from a job that he loved as a school crossing guard with the Santa Clara Police Department. He was also a rabid San Francisco Giants fan. His health took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago and was hospitalized.”
He also was a former game writer and served in the Army. He did this self-introduction video on his YouTube channel.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 2, 1909 — Alex Raymond. Cartoonist, generally only known for creating Flash Gordon for King Features in 1934. The strip has been adapted into many media, from a series of movie serials in the Thirties and Forties to a Seventies TV series and the Eighties feature film not to be confused with the American-Canadian tv series of the same vintage. Radio serials, myriad films, comic books, novels — any medium that exists has seen Flash Gordon fiction. And more action figures than I care to think about. Here’s a review of one of the better ones. There are at least fifteen authorized strips and a number of bootleg strips as well. Needless to say there are bootleg films and serials too. (Died 1956.)
- Born October 2, 1911 — Jack Finney. Author of many novels but only a limited number of them genre, to wit The Body Snatchers, Time and Again and From Time to Time. He would publish About Time, a short story collection which has the time stories, “The Third Level” and “I Love Galesburg in the Springtime”. The film version of The Body Snatchers was nominated for a Hugo at Seacon ‘79. He has a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. (Died 1995.)
- Born October 2, 1919 — Edward Wellen. Mostly remembered for the most excellent mysteries he wrote in great number that showed up in the Alfred Hitchcock Magazine and other outlets. He’s here because he wrote an ongoing column in Galaxy called Spoofs with first one in July entitled “Origins of Galactic Slang”. It was followed by similar Galactic Origins well call them for lack of a better term spoofs over the following decade. He wrote a fair amount of short fiction, all if it quite good, most, if not all, is collected in two digital Golden Age Metapacks. (Died 2011.)
- Born October 2, 1921 — Edmund Crispin. He’s well remembered and definitely still read for his most excellent Gervase Fen mystery series. It turns out that he was the editor of the Best SF anthology series that ran off and on between 1955 and 1972. Writers such as Kuttner, Moore, Blish, Bradbury and Von Vogt had stories there. These anthologies alas are not available digitally or in hard copy except in gently or not so gently remaindered copies. Buyer beware. (Died 1978.)
- Born October 2, 1944 — Vernor Vinge, 79. Winner of five Hugo Awards, none for what I consider his best series which is the Realtime/Bobble series. I’m also very fond of his short fiction, much of which is collected in The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, though the eighteen years’ worth of his work since remain uncollected.
- Born October 2, 1954 — Diane Carey, 69. A major contributor to the Trek multiverse of novel. I mean really, really major contributor. I learned there are lines of Trek novels that I never knew existed. She uses three pen names (Lydia Gregory, Diane Carey, and D. L. Carey) which helps when you’re pumping out a lot of product. She has novels in the Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise franchises. So nothing surprising there you say. Then under Diane Carey, she has the New Earth series and there’s at least three other series which extrapolate off the existing series. She also did a novel about Kirk as a cadet at Starfleet Academy.
- Born October 2, 1972 — Graham Sleight, 51. Editor of Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction between 2007 and 2011, and was a Locus reviewer 2005 to 2012. He is the Managing Editor of the 3rd edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and was so when the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Related Work was given to it. He oft times writes about Doctor Who. He co-edited (along with Simon Bradshaw and Antony Keen) The Unsilent Library, a book of essays about the Russell T Davies era. His other Doctor Who work, The Doctor’s Monsters: Meanings of the Monstrous in Doctor Who, is now available in a trade paperback edition.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
- Off the Mark has a pretty good zombie joke.
(14) ALT RIGHT FOOD FIGHT. Camestros Felapton’s “Yet more scuttlebutt” is all about butts being shown, belonging to brawling authors Larry Correia, Jon Del Arroz, and Vox Day. If you can never get enough of that, uh, why?
It’s over ten years since the first Sad Puppy campaign, its over six years since this blog began covering Jon Del Arroz and yet the storm keeps rumbling. Adding to the Correia v Arroz fight is, of course, Vox Day. Unlike JDA, Day does exercise some diplomatic phrasing before joining the fray… However, Day feels he must defend JDA…
(15) SPACE FOR SURPRISES. Explore the eerie depths of the cosmos on Halloween in the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater. The American Museum of Natural History in New York is offering an in-person event “Spooky Space: Planetarium Tour of the Universe” on October 31 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Ticket info at the link.
Prepare to be spellbound by hauntingly spectacular views of monstrous stars, devilish supernova explosions, and frightful collisions that await you in the eerie depths of the cosmos!
Join Jackie Faherty, senior scientist in the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics, for a spooky tour of our universe. As you settle into the darkness of the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater, the universe’s most spine-tingling phenomena will be unveiled before your eyes, leaving you in awe of the cosmic mysteries and eerie enigmas.
(16) MUSIC OF THE SPHERE. Chris Barkley asks, “Could this be Hugo-worthy in the Best Related category? Stay tuned.” “U2’s Sphere Opening Night Lives Up to the Hyperbole: Concert Review” in Variety.
This is pretty much the antithesis of any accepted, traditional rock ‘n’ roll orthodoxy. It is also the natural human reaction to just about any or all of “U2:UV Live at Sphere Las Vegas,” the greatest-show-on-earth that opened Friday night in an enormous dome just off the Strip. The just-over-two-hour show marks the apotheosis of a bigger-is-better ethos that has regularly occurred throughout the band’s career, and which they are not about to give up now that they’re in their 60s for any back-to-basics false modesty. The group that has spent so much of its recording output urging you to think about God, and other only slightly less weighty matters, is in Sin City mostly to make you say: “Oh my God.” And we can vouch that we were hearing that utterance, from people above, below and around us, in a kind of reactive, quadrophonic effect that nearly matched Sphere’s vaunted 22nd-century sound system….
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Moid over at Media Death Cult has recreated that scene from Everything, Everywhere, All At Once…
It’s the Moideverse…
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, Todd Allen, James Reynolds, Kevin Standlee, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]