Pixel Scroll 6/15/23 Where Do Pixels Come From? They Are Born Of Scrolls. Where Do Scrolls Originate? Go Ask Mike

(1) BLACK MIRROR CREATOR. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show yesterday was devoted to Charlie Brooker. You can download the episode here.

Brooker in SF terms is best known for being the writer behind the Black Mirror whose first two seasons were on Britain’s publicly-owned but self-financed Channel 4 before it migrated behind Netflix’s pay wall. (Netflix could afford the show a bigger budget.)

Charlie Brooker is one of the most influential satirists working today. Having started out as a cartoonist, his razor sharp writing on culture and the media made his TV columns for The Guardian, begun in 2000, essential reading for many. It wasn’t long until his acerbic and frequently absurd world view found a home on BBC Four in the form of the TV review show, Screenwipe. He’s also behind acclaimed comedies like Nathan Barley. But he’s found global fame with the series Black Mirror, which has entered the lexicon for a singular form of technology-enhanced dread. In the week that the new season launches, Charlie Brooker joins</I> The Media Show <I>to look back at his career.

(2) WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION. The 2023 winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction is Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead, which despite the thrilling sound of its title is a non-genre work.

(3) 2023 KAYMAR AWARDS. The National Fantasy Fan Federation has named Will Mayo and Justin E. A. Busch the winners of the 2023 Kaymar Awards. Each is a posthumous award, a first for the N3F.

The Kaymar Award recipient is selected by a committee consisting of previous winners who are still in the N3F, from nominations submitted by members.

The award, unlike many other awards in fandom, can be awarded only once. It is not given for talent or for popularity, but for work — work for the benefit of the club and its members. The award is a memorial to K. Martin Carlson [1904-1986], who originated, maintained, and financed it for 25 years. Carlson was a long-time N3F member who held many positions in the club, including club Historian. He went by the fan name of Kaymar.

(4) ELIO. Here’s a teaser for next year’s Pixar release, Elio.

Disney and Pixar’s 28th feature film is “Elio”. Jameela Jamil and Brad Garrett join previously announced America Ferrera and Yonas Kibreab in the intergalactic misadventure that is scheduled to take off next spring—March 1, 2024.   For centuries, people have called out to the universe looking for answers—in Disney and Pixar’s all-new movie “Elio,” the universe calls back! The original feature film introduces Elio, an underdog with an active imagination who finds himself inadvertently beamed up to the Communiverse, an interplanetary organization with representatives from galaxies far and wide. Mistakenly identified as Earth’s ambassador to the rest of the universe, and completely unprepared for that kind of pressure, Elio must form new bonds with eccentric alien lifeforms, survive a series of formidable trials and somehow discover who he is truly meant to be. 

(5) UPLIFTER. Steven Barnes showed Facebook readers his latest recognition, The Uplifter Ghost of Honor Award.

(6) ANOTHER COMPANION. “Doctor Who’ Casts BAFTA-Winner Lenny Rush As Morris” reports Deadline.

Lenny Rush, the BAFTA-winning star of BBC comedy Am I Being Unreasonable?, has joined the iconic sci-fi series as Time Lord companion Morris. No further details were given about his role.

Rush, 14, won Best Male Performance for Daisy May Cooper’s Am I Being Unreasonable? last month. He has previously appeared in shows including A Christmas Carol and Dodger.

Showrunner Russell T Davies said: “This is what Doctor Who‘s all about, brand new talent from the next generation, and no one’s more talented than Lenny. He joins the TARDIS team just in time for the Doctor’s greatest nightmare, so hold on tight.”

(7) IT’S A GAS. [Item by Steven French.] “Blending science and the supernatural, high art and gothic horror, Hamad Butt made work that was literally dangerous, in one case sparking fears of a gas leak. He is one of the stars of Tate Britain’s rehang”. “’Dicing with death’: the lethal, terrifying art of Hamad Butt – and the evacuation it once caused” in the Guardian.

But where’s the genre interest, you ask? The work being showcased at the art gallery is Transmission which features a circle of glass books displaying etchings of John Wyndham’s triffids.

…One particularly exciting addition is the little-known Pakistani-born artist Hamad Butt, whose striking 1990 installation Transmission has been given a whole room.

Created at the height of the Aids epidemic in Europe and the US, Transmission evokes multiple terrors. Donning safety goggles at the entrance, you encounter a darkened space with nine open glass books, lit by UV lamps, arranged in a circle on the floor as if for some cabalistic ritual. Through the eerie glow, an etching looms on each book of a triffid, the giant carnivorous plants that overrun Earth after a blinding meteor shower in John Wyndham’s 1951 sci-fi novel The Day of the Triffids. On the wall, nine cryptic statements pronounce things like: “We have the eruption of the Triffid that obscures sex with death” and “We have the blindness of fear and the books of fear”. The piece explores fears of the foreign invader, of deadly desire (through the distinctly phallic-looking triffid), of literal blindness as well as blind faith, the open tomes recalling a madrasa or a witch’s coven….

(8) ROBERT GOTTLIEB (1931-2023). Robert Gottlieb, an influential editor who worked at Simon & Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf and The New Yorker during his career, died June 14 reports the New York Times. He was 92. He edited many successful books “by, among many others, John le Carré, Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Joseph Heller, Doris Lessing and Chaim Potok; science fiction by Michael Crichton and Ray Bradbury; histories by Antonia Fraser and Barbara Tuchman; memoirs by former President Bill Clinton and Katharine Graham, the former publisher of The Washington Post; and works by Jessica Mitford and Anthony Burgess.”

(9) MEMORY LANE.

2001[Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

If memory serves me right, the first thing that I read by  Kelly Link was something in an early issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet that she and Gavin Grant sent to Green Man of Small Beer Press for review.

They also edited the last four years of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror that Datlow and Windling founded. Same anthology, different tastes under their editorship. 

Our Beginning this Scroll comes from the Nebula-winning “Louise’s Ghost” novelette which is in the Stranger Things Happen collection which is where it was originally published twenty-two years ago. The entire collection being her writing is wonderful. 

And now for her Beginning here…

Two women and a small child meet in a restaurant. The restaurant is nice—there are windows everywhere. The women have been here before. It’s all that light that makes the food taste so good. The small child—a girl dressed all in green, hairy green sweater, green T-shirt, green corduroys and dirty sneakers with green-black laces—sniffs. She’s a small child but she has a big nose. She might be smelling the food that people are eating. She might be smelling the warm light that lies on top of everything. 

Hit

None of her greens match except of course they are all green.

“Louise,” one woman says to the other.

 “Louise,” the other woman says. 

They kiss.

The maitre d’ comes up to them. He says to the first woman, “Louise, how nice to see you. And look at Anna! You’re so big. Last time I saw you, you were so small. This small.” He holds his index finger and his thumb together as if pinching salt. He looks at the other woman. 

Louise says, “This is my friend, Louise. My best friend. Since Girl Scout camp. Louise.” The maitre d’ smiles. “Yes, Louise. 

Of course. How could I forget?

Louise sits across from Louise. Anna sits between them. She has a notebook full of green paper, and a green crayon. She’s drawing something, only it’s difficult to see what, exactly. Maybe it’s a house. 

Louise says, “Sorry about you know who. Teacher’s day. The sitter canceled at the last minute. And I had such a lot to tell you, too! About you know, number eight. Oh boy, I think I’m in love. Well, not in love.” 

She is sitting opposite a window, and all that rich soft light falls on her. She looks creamy with happiness, as if she’s carved out of butter. The light loves Louise, the other Louise thinks. Of course it loves Louise. Who doesn’t?

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 15, 1942 Sondra Marshak, 81. Author of multiple Trek novels including The Price of the Phoenix and The Fate of the Phoenix, both co-written with Myrna Culbreath. She also wrote, again with Myrna Culbreath, Shatner: Where No Man …: The Authorized Biography of William Shatner which of course naturally lists Shatner as the third co-author. Finally she’s co-writer with Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and television producer Joan Winston of Star Trek Lives!
  • Born June 15, 1947 David S Garnett, 76. Not to be confused with the David Garnett without an S. Author of the Bikini Planet novels (StargonautsBikini Planet and Space Wasters) which should be taken as seriously as the names suggests. Revived with the blessing of Michael Moorcock a new version of New Worlds as an anthology. Last work was writing Warhammer novels.
  • Born June 15, 1960 William Snow, 63. He is best remembered as Lord John Roxton on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. (Yes, that’s its official title.) He also had the lead as David Grief on the Australian series Tales of the South Seas which had Rachel Blakey from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World as Isabelle Reed. It was definitely genre. 
  • Born June 15, 1960 Sabrina Vourvoulias, 63. Thai-born author, an American citizen from birth brought up in Guatemala, but here since her teens. Her novel, Ink, deals with immigrants who are tattooed with biometric implants that are used to keep track of them no matter where they are. I’m assuming that the “Skin in the Game” story which appeared first on Tor.com is set in the future. Fair guess that “The Ways of Walls and Words” which also appeared on Tor.com is also set there.
  • Born June 15, 1963 Mark Morris, 60. English author known for his horror novels, although he has also written several novels based on Doctor Who and Torchwood. Given his horror background, these tend to be darker than many similar novels are, I recommend Forever Autumn and Bay of the Dead if you like a good chill. 
  • Born June 15, 1973 Neil Patrick Harris, 50. His first genre role was not Carl Jenkins in Starship Troopers, but rather Billy Johnson in Purple People Eater, an SF comedy best forgotten I suspect. Post-Starship Troopers, I’ve got him voicing Barry Allen / The Flash in Justice League: The New Frontier and Dick Grayson / Nightwing in Batman: Under the Red Hood. He also voiced Peter Parker and his superhero alias in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series. Finally he’s Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events which he also produces. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Eek! reveals something about smartphones and the undead.

(12) SIMULTANEOUS TIMES. Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, CA has released episode 64 of its monthly science fiction podcast Simultaneous Times. The stories featured in this episode are:

  • “The Runner” by Jonathan Nevair (with music by Phog Masheeen)
  • “The Last AI Editor on Planet Earth” by Toshiya Kamei (with music by Patrick Urn)

(13) DOES SOMEBODY OWE YOU $7.70? From the New York Times: “Google Might Owe You Money. Here’s How to Get It.” “As part of a legal settlement, Google agreed to pay $23 million to users who clicked on a search link from 2006 to 2013. Individual payments are estimated to be less than $8.”

Anyone who clicked on a Google search result link from October 2006 to September 2013 is entitled to a piece — however small — of a $23 million settlement that the tech giant has agreed to pay to resolve a class-action lawsuit.

The settlement’s administrators set up a website for people to submit claims. According to the site, the estimated individual payout stands at $7.70. But that figure can fluctuate based on the number of people who make valid claims.

Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., agreed to the settlement in August. The consolidated class-action lawsuit filed in 2013 accused the company of “storing and intentionally, systematically and repeatedly divulging” users’ search queries and histories to third-party websites and companies….

(14) ROCKS AROUND THE CLOCK. Smithsonian Magazine can help you find “Seven Ways to Explore Space Without Leaving Earth”.

…Just up the road from the Cinder Hills is Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, another astronaut training site. In the early 1970s, commander Gene Cernan and geologist Jack Schmitt trained here before Apollo 17. The mission for this final lunar landing was to find evidence of volcanism on the moon. The two astronauts used the jagged Bonito lava flow, along with surrounding cinder fields and cones, to test equipment and practice geological survey techniques.

In December 1972, Cernan and Schmitt landed in a valley of the Taurus mountain range in the Sea of Serenity. Satellite imagery had suggested these lunar highlands might be volcanic in nature. The pair’s first extravehicular activity—as astronauts call such trips outside their spacecraft—turned up mostly breccias, conglomerate rocks created by the meteorite impacts that actually formed most lunar mountains. But halfway through their second excursion, Schmitt became ecstatic when he spotted something unusual: orange soil. Analysis back on Earth proved the mission a success. They had found remnants of volcanic glass. The eventual theory was that billions of years ago, the moon was a magmatically turbulent place, where lava explosively burst from the low-gravity surface to great heights before raining down as tiny grains of orange glass.

Today, the 3,138-acre Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument offers an excellent way to experience the Arizona landscape that once simulated the lunar environment. A series of short trails allow you to explore some of the volcanic processes that Artemis astronauts may search for when they return to the moon in coming years….

(15) QUANTUM COMPUTER HITS THE MARK. “IBM quantum computer passes calculation milestone”Nature explains the significance.

‘Benchmark’ experiment suggests quantum computers could have useful real-world applications within two years.

“Four years ago, physicists at Google claimed their quantum computer could outperform classical machines — although only at a niche calculation with no practical applications. Now their counterparts at IBM say they have evidence that quantum computers will soon beat ordinary ones at useful tasks, such as calculating properties of materials or the interactions of elementary particles.”…

(16) WHAT IS A SAFE DISTANCE FROM A SUPERNOVA? [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] You know me… I do worry so.  So much so that it is a wonder I get any sleep.

Among many troubling concerns is the end of the world.  Now, I have to admit liking the end of the world: it is great fun, but with the firm proviso that is that it is firmly in science fiction.  The real deal is the thing that gets me.

So Matt O’Dowd (he’s a physicist but don’t let that put you off) in this week’s PBS Space Time is sort of re-assuring (only sort of) as to one way the world might end… being caught in the blast of a supernova…

(Best make a calming cup of tea before viewing.)

The deaths of massive stars results in one of the most beautiful and violent events in the universe: the supernova. They are so luminous we can see them here on Earth and historical records show that we can even see them into the day. But supernovas release deadly and violent radiation that could destroy our atmosphere. So how far away do these supernova have to be for humanity to be safe? And when will the next supernova occur…

Nobody panic…

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

Pixel Scroll 4/26/23 Looks At Pages Filled With Men Of Space, Who From Earth Have Fled

(1) WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION. One of the three longlisted works of genre interest has survived to make the 2023 Women’s Prize shortlist which was announced today.

Pod by Laline Paull is that book:

Ea has always felt like an outsider. She suffers from a type of deafness that means she cannot master the spinning rituals that unite her pod of spinner dolphins. When tragedy strikes her family and Ea feels she is partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave.

As Ea ventures into the vast, she discovers dangers everywhere, from lurking predators to strange objects floating in the water. But just as she is coming to terms with her solitude, a chance encounter with a group of arrogant bottlenoses will irrevocably alter the course of her life.

In her terrifying, propulsive novel, Laline Paull explores the true meaning of family, belonging, sacrifice – the harmony and tragedy of the pod – within an ocean that is no longer the sanctuary it once was, and which reflects a world all too recognisable to our own.

The complete shortlist follows:

The winner of the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on June 14.

(2) UPDATE FOR TRAVELERS TO CHINA. “China Drops Covid P.C.R. Test Rule for Inbound Travelers” reports the New York Times, but “It was not clear, however, whether travelers would still be required to take antigen tests.”

China said on Tuesday that it would no longer require travelers entering the country to show a negative P.C.R. test for the coronavirus, another step toward reopening after a long period of pandemic-era isolation.

But it was not clear whether testing requirements would be abolished altogether. A spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry said only that, beginning on Saturday, people going to China “can” take an antigen test to “replace” the previously mandated P.C.R. test within 48 hours before boarding their flight.

Airlines will not check test results before boarding, the spokeswoman, Mao Ning, added at a regularly scheduled news briefing. She did not say whether others, such as immigration officials, would check.

Notices by Chinese embassies overseas said that travelers arriving in China would still need to fill out a health declaration form, and that customs officials would conduct unspecified spot checks.

For three years, China imposed the world’s strictest coronavirus restrictions, requiring lockdowns and regular mass testing in the name of “zero Covid.” Then the government abruptly abandoned those rules in December as the economy sagged, the virus spread widely and protests broke out across the country. Beijing has since declared that it is open to the world, and tried to woo foreign businesspeople and diplomats….

(3) BLACK MIRROR. The trailer for Black Mirror: Season 6 has dropped.

You’ve been wondering. You’ve been waiting. You’ve been warned. The sixth season of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror is BACK. The most unpredictable, unclassifiable and unexpected season yet is arriving in June on NETFLIX.

(4) MIXED BAG IN NINTH CIRCUIT RULING. “Apple Largely Prevails in Appeal of Epic Games’ App Store Suit” but they didn’t sweep the board says the New York Times. “A Ninth Circuit panel did agree with Epic that Apple was violating California law by barring app developers from directing customers to outside payment methods.”

A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that Apple does not have a monopoly in the mobile games market, siding with a lower court’s 2021 ruling that largely gave the tech giant a victory in a lawsuit brought by Epic Games.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2 to 1 that Apple’s tight control of its App Store did not violate federal antitrust law. Some app developers have said the multibillion-dollar business’s strict policies stifle competition and eat into their profits.

“There is a lively and important debate about the role played in our economy and democracy by online transaction platforms with market power,” the judges wrote in their 91-page decision, which largely maintained the status quo. “Our job as a federal Court of Appeals, however, is not to resolve that debate — nor could we even attempt to do so.”

While siding with Apple on a majority of Epic’s claims, the judges also agreed with the lower court that Apple was violating California’s Unfair Competition Law by prohibiting app developers from directing their customers to payment methods outside the App Store, which charges a 30 percent fee. Apple suggested that it could further appeal that ruling….

(5) KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. AND LEFTS. Moid Moidelhoff gets Cory Doctorow to explain what a “copy left troll” is in “The Big Interview” at Media Death Cult.

(6) E.T. ORIGINAL SCENE TO RETURN. “Steven Spielberg: ‘No film should be revised’ based on modern sensitivity”, quoted in the Guardian.

Steven Spielberg has criticised the idea that older films should be re-edited to appease modern sensibilities.

Speaking at Time’s 100 Summit in New York City, the 76-year-old film-maker expressed regret over taking out guns from a later release of his 1982 sci-fi blockbuster ET: The Extra Terrestrial. In the 20th anniversary edition, agents saw their firearms replaced with walkie-talkies.

“That was a mistake,” he said on stage. “I never should have done that. ET is a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily, or being forced to peer through.”

In 2011, Spielberg had already explained that the guns would be returning for the 30th anniversary release, explaining that he was “disappointed” in himself….

(7) LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. You may be surprised to hear the reason why CBR.com thinks “Hulu’s Futurama Revival Is Too Important to Fail”.

Futurama fans are eagerly waiting for the Hulu revival because the show has become a sci-fi staple. The series’ engagement with the hypothetical nature of science fiction makes it stand out. There’s an explorative spirit that concentrates more on the “what-if” and “imagine that” aspects and is more interested in the realm of possibility than world-building or even keeping its own continuityFuturama‘s ability to carry the torch for old science fiction programs like The Twilight ZoneLost in Space and Star Trek: The Original Series makes the show critical to the genre’s survival.

Over multiple episodes — and multiple cancellations — Futurama acknowledged the gone-by era of sci-fi. The show became one of the last bastions of true speculative fiction by including “The Scary Door,” Futurama‘s answer to Rod Serling and his conjectural narration, as well as other homages. Moreover, the installments containing these parodies often utilized retrofuturistic motifs typical of the golden age of science fiction, keeping it alive for a new generation….

(8) BELAFONTE PROFILE. [Item by Steven French.] In the Guardian’s obituary for Harry Belafonte: “Bans, bigots and surreal sci-fi love triangles: Harry Belafonte’s staggering screen career”.

…But perhaps Belafonte’s strangest but most distinctive role came in the 1959 post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy The World, The Flesh and The Devil in which he is Burton, the mining engineer trapped miles below the surface of the earth after a calamitous cave-in. But he has escaped the effects of an atomic catastrophe and when he finally scrambles to the surface, Burton finds that he is apparently the only human left alive – except for one white woman and one white man, with whom he finally has a surreal but gripping contest for the woman’s affections.’…

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1984[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Lucius Shepard’s “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule” is a remarkable work of fiction. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in their December 1984 issue.

Some twenty-five years ago, our writer created a fascinating world, a world separated from our own, as he said, “by the thinnest margin of possibility.” 

Spoilers are coming next. Really they are. Just skip the following paragraph. 

There, in the mythical Carbonales Valley, he found the setting for “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule”, the classic account of an artist—Meric Cattanay—and his decades long effort to paint—and kill—a dormant, not quite dead dragon measuring 6,000 feet from end to end. The story was nominated for multiple awards and is now known as one of its author’s most outstanding works.

Now you can come back as we are now have the Beginning of this story…

Other than the Sichi Collection, Cattanay’s only surviving works are to be found in the Municipal Gallery at Regensburg, a group of eight oils-on-canvas, most notable among them being Woman with Oranges. These paintings constitute his portion of a student exhibition hung some weeks after he had left the city of his birth and traveled south to Teocinte, there to present his proposal to the city fathers; it is unlikely he ever learned of the disposition of his work, and even more unlikely that he was aware of the general critical indifference with which it was received. Perhaps the most interesting of the group to modern scholars, the most indicative as to Cattanay’s later preoccupations, is the Self-Portrait, painted at the age of twenty-eight, a year before his departure. 

The majority of the canvas is a richly varnished black in which the vague shapes of floorboards are presented, barely visible. Two irregular slashes of gold cross the blackness, and within these we can see a section of the artist’s thin features and the shoulder panel of his shirt. The perspective given is that we are looking down at the artist, perhaps through a tear in the roof, and that he is looking up at us, squinting into the light, his mouth distorted by a grimace born of intense concentration. On first viewing the painting, I was struck by the atmosphere of tension that radiated from it. It seemed I was spying upon a man imprisoned within a shadow having two golden bars, tormented by the possibilities of light beyond the walls. And though this may be the reaction of the art historian, not the less knowledgeable and therefore more trustworthy response of the gallery-goer, it also seemed that this imprisonment was self-imposed, that he could have easily escaped his confine; but that he had realized a feeling of stricture was an essential fuel to his ambition, and so had chained himself to this arduous and thoroughly unreasonable chore of perception…

—FROM MERIC CATTANAY: THE POLITICS OF CONCEPTION BY READE HOLLAND, PH.D.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 26, 1564 William Shakespeare. World’s greatest playwright and perhaps one of our earliest fantasy writers was born today. Possibly. Or just baptized today. Opinions differ. Siri says just April 1564. Smart girl, she is. What I do know is that the supernatural is a commonplace thing in his plays from ghosts to fairies. So which fantasy-tinged work by him do you like the best? I go for “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. (Died 1616.)
  • Born April 26, 1912 A. E. van Vogt.  What I liked particularly was SlanThe Voyage of the Space Beagle and The Weapon Makers.  I am fascinated by the wiki page that claimed Damon Knight took a strong dislike to his writing whereas Philip K. Dick and Paul Di Filippo defended him strongly. What do y’all think of him? And is that claim true? And the Science Fiction Writers of America named him their 14th Grand Master in 1995. No Hugos (his best work was published before the award was created) and only one Retro Hugo at MidAmericaCon for Slan though he’s had myriad Retro Hugo nominations. He picked up a SFWA Grand Master Award (1995), and was inducted to the SF Hall of Fame (1996). (Died 2000.)
  • Born April 26, 1914 H. L. Gold. Best known for launching Galaxy Science Fiction in 1950, which was soon followed by its companion magazine, Beyond Fantasy Fiction which lasted but several years. He was not a prolific writer having published but two novels, None but Lucifer with L. Sprague de Camp and A Matter of Form, plus a generous number of short stories. None but Lucifer didn’t see printing in novel form until 2002. (Died 1996.)
  • Born April 26, 1943 Bill Warren. American film historian, critic, and one of the leading authorities on science fiction, horror, and fantasy films. He co-wrote the script for the murder mystery Fandom is a Way of Death set at the 42nd World Science Fiction Convention which was hosted by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society which he and his wife Beverly were very much involved in. His 1968 short story “Death Is a Lonely Place” would be printed in the first issue of the magazine Worlds of Fantasy. During the Seventies, he also wrote scripts for Warren Publishing’s black-and-white comic books CreepyEerie, and Vampirella. His film reference guide Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties would be revised and expanded several times. (Died 2016.)
  • Born April 26, 1948 Marta Randall, 75. First woman president of SFWA.  With Robert Silverberg, Randall edited two volumes of the New Dimensions series, the eleventh and twelfth volumesI’ve not read her novels but I do remember the New Dimensions series fondly. 
  • Born April 26, 1955 Brad W. Foster, 68. From 1987 to 1991 he was a regular contributing illustrator to the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. In 2008 he began producing illustrations for the newsletter Ansible, creating a full color version for the on-line edition, and a different black-and-white version for the print edition. He won an amazing eight Hugo Awards for Best Fan Artist! 
  • Born April 26, 1978 Marie Bilodeau, 45. Canadian writer nominated for an amazing fifteen Aurora Awards. She’s won two, one with Derek Künsken as the 2019 co-chair of Can-Con, and another the next year with him for again hosting that Con. Who here has read her fiction?

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) TEAM EFFORT. Ryan Breadine offers “Collaboration Tips For Comic Writers” at the SFWA Blog.

… When presenting a script to your illustrator, you want to make sure you tell them any specifics on how your characters look. If your artist doesn’t have anything to work with, they may struggle to develop the designs.

You don’t have to draw to have image references! Go onto Pinterest and search for something simple like ‘girl with braids’ – you’ll get a lot of different results and can pick something close to what you’re thinking of.

References are also important if you’ve got an idea of how a certain scene should be laid out. While words are great, everyone has a completely different interpretation of them, so having a picture on the Word document next to the script’s scene can make a huge difference. Character expressions, designs, scene layouts, and color schemes all benefit hugely from a united vision, and as the writer, you can help that along. You can usually find something close to what you’re looking for online, but don’t be afraid to do a five-second sketch or take a photo of yourself in a pose! It might even earn you a laugh from the artist.

Chances it will still look a little different depending on your illustrator’s style, but that can be a great thing! References are important, but you also have to be open to the artist’s ideas. Welcome input; this is a collaboration with another person who likely has fantastic ideas and perspectives of their own….

(13) MARVEL’S WHAT IF? Marvel launches new line of What If? stories in July. For more information, visit Marvel.com.

  • WHAT IF LOKI WIELDED MJOLNIR?

In WHAT IF…? DARK: LOKI #1, Walter Simonson returns to the world of THOR alongside artist Scot Eaton…but this time, Loki’s in charge! A tale of one of Asgard’s worst days – and one of Loki’s best.

  •  WHAT IF GWEN STACY DIDN’T DIE ON THE BRIDGE THAT DAY, BUT SPIDER-MAN DID?

Spider-Legend Gerry Conway returns to his most famous Spider-Story for WHAT IF…? DARK: SPIDER-GWEN #1 along with co-writer Jody Houser and artist Ramon Bachs! ‘Nuff said!

  •  WHAT IF BEN GRIMM BECAME VENOM?

When Ben Grimm returns to Earth after his exploration of space post-SECRET WARS, he finds that the Fantastic Four has trapped a helpless Klyntar symbiote in Reed’s lab! But is that symbiote really helpless? Or is it truly one of the most dangerous symbiotes in the galaxy? Witness the birth of a brand-new VENOM in WHAT IF…? DARK: VENOM #1 by writer Stephanie Phillips and artist Jethro Morales!

  •  WHAT IF MOON KNIGHT DID NOT SURVIVE HIS BATTLE WITH BUSHMAN?

When Khonshu’s avatar is slain, a different god empowers their own surprising new champion. From the darkness, emerges a new force to light the way…Luminary! But will her quest for revenge against Moon Knight’s killer result in her own downfall? Find out in WHAT IF…? DARK: MOON KNIGHT #1  by writer Erica Schultz and artist Edgar Salazar!

 (14) TWO OPPOSABLE THUMBS UP. At Galactic Journey, Fiona Moore, Victoria Silverwolf, and Jason Sacks discuss the latest (in 1968!) milestone in sf cinema, 2001. Two of them give it five stars out of five, the other just three: “[April 26, 1968] 2001: A Space Odyssey: Three Views”. Fiona Moore starts off  —

People who don’t like trippy, confusing endings for their movies are in for a bad time of it these days. The ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey at least makes more sense than the ending of The Prisoner (the filming of which series overlapped with 2001 at Borehamwood Studios, meaning Alexis Kanner had to share his dressing room with a leopard). The question is, does this make it a better piece of SF visual art?…

And Jason Sacks starts his segment by telling how thrilled he is to see another sf movie with apes —

loved Planet of the Apes. Just two weeks ago in the pages of this very magazine, I praised the film’s restrained story, its tremendous special effects, its lovely cinematography and its spectacular use of music. Heck, I thought POTA was perhaps the finest science fiction movie in years. It’s a thrilling, delightful sci fi masterpiece.

But 2001, man, wow, it’s transcendent….

(15) “EVERYTHING CHANGES”. The Witcher Season 3 begins on June 29 on Netflix. From The Hollywood Reporter:

…Netflix also released this description of the season three, which is based on author Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series and game adaptations: “As monarchs, mages and beasts of the Continent compete to capture her, Geralt takes Ciri (Freya Allan) into hiding, determined to protect his newly-reunited family against those who threaten to destroy it. Entrusted with Ciri’s magical training, Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) leads them to the protected fortress of Aretuza, where they hope to uncover more about the girl’s untapped powers; instead, they discover they’ve landed in a battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and treachery. They must fight back, put everything on the line — or risk losing each other forever.”…

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Steven French, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

Pixel Scroll 3/8/23 Scrolling to Filezantium

(1) NEBULA FINALIST UPDATE. Rebecca Gomez Farrell, SFWA Communications Director, today distributed a corrected Nebula Finalist press release.

SFWA makes every effort to include all appropriate contributors to Nebula Award finalist works before our initial announcement. However, due to the short turnaround time between the certification and the subsequent finalist announcement, we’ve had to make some corrections to our original release. Please see the updated list below for corrections to Journeys through the Radiant Citadel and Vampire: The Masquerade – Sins of the Sires, and additional finalists for Andor: “One Way Out” and Horizon Forbidden West. Please celebrate all of our finalists with us once again.

These updates have been inserted into File 770’s post “SFWA Announces the 58th Nebula Awards Finalists”.

(2) WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM. Here’s one more reason not to believe everything you read. R.L. Stine says he did not participate in changes made to books in his Goosebumps series.

(3) WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION LONGLIST. The longlist for the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction includes three works of genre interest: Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo; Pod by Laline Paull; and Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes. The complete list is at the link.

The judging panel will issue a shortlist of six novels on April 26. The winner of the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on June 14.

(4) FREE READ FROM FUTURE TENSE. “Intangible Variation” by Meg Charlton is the latest in the monthly series of stories released by Future Tense Fiction about how technology and science will change our lives.

In a response essay, Heather Tal Murphy, a  journalist who has covered biomedical technology for Slate and the New York Times, advises readers about “The Trap to Avoid if You Ever Meet a Stranger Who Shares Your DNA”.

(5) FANAC.ORG HITS 20,000 FANZINES. Fanhistory website FANAC.org recently passed a substantial milestone.

FANAC.org now has more than 20,000 fanzines digitally archived on the site. With zines ranging from 1930 to this week, we are continuing to enrich the available catalog of original materials related to science fiction and science fiction fandom. With a number like that, it’s no surprise that we count more than 500 contributors listed at https://fanac.org/FANAC_Inc/fancont.html

Don’t forget – We have added some navigation tools to access our ever-growing archive. The Fanzines drop-down button on FANAC.org allows you to find zines by Title, by Editor, by Date, by Country and more. There’s a special list of newszines if you’re looking for those, and we are building a listing of major APAs. If there are other organizational principles you’d like to see in a nav tool, please let us know at [email protected].

(6) SCANNERS DON’T LIVE IN VAIN. The Fanac.org team will continue to add to its holdings during upcoming visits to Ireland and the UK.

FANAC will have a scanning station at Corflu Craic in Belfast at the end of March, and we hope to have one at Conversation 2023, the Birmingham Eastercon being held the following week. If you are planning to attend either of these, please bring fanzines for us to scan. If you can, write to let us know so we can plan ahead.

Please remember two things: First, to scan each issue, we carefully take each issue apart and then re-staple it. Second, we do not put fanzines online without permission from editors who are still around. Keep that in mind when you bring them. If you can provide contact information for the editor, we’ll try to reach them later. In the meantime, we will keep them archived until the editors can be reached. If you’re not sure, drop a note to [email protected].

 Of course, please check the site first to see if the issues are already online. We’re hoping to get some quality Irish/UK/European zines that we haven’t had access to in the past.

(7) THE ULTIMATE WAKE-UP. William Alexander shares “An Alchemist’s Guide to Cuban Coffee” at Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup. Includes a fine photo of the author with his cat.

Every kind of espresso-maker looks like an anachronistic piece of lab equipment, because that’s exactly what it is. Some of the countertop varieties are steampunkish wonders from alternate versions of the present. Others were sent from the distant future to gather samples and develop new vaccines. The best thing to use for brewing cafecito—also known as Café Cubano, the Elixir of Life, and the Fountain of Youth—is the humble stovetop moka pot created by the engineer, alchemist, and time-traveler Alfonso Bialetti in the distant past (though he didn’t bother to patent his invention until 1933).

Go find yourself a moka pot. You may have to trade for it. Don’t give up your name….

(8) I’M FEELING BETTER. NPR tells “How Barnes & Noble turned a page, expanding for the first time in years”.

The ghost of Barnes & Noble past meets the spirit of Barnes & Noble future in a single shopping center in a suburb of Baltimore.

The new store in Pikesville, Md., separated by half a parking lot from its shuttered predecessor, is part of an unlikely plot twist: Barnes & Noble is staging its largest expansion in over a decade.

After years on the brink of extinction, the book chain is planning to open some 30 new stores this year. Many are returning the retailer to areas it previously abandoned. In a few, Barnes & Noble is even taking over former Amazon bookshops.

The retailer hopes this will turn a new leaf. Barnes & Noble sales have been rising, and last year grew more than 4%, according to Shannon DeVito, director of books.

(9) BUY IT ALL AT ONCE. Did we mention there is an Everything Everywhere All at Once Shop run by A24 films? There really is. For example, this is an item you can buy for a mere $36.

(10) FILMED ON LOCATION AT THE ISS. Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos has released a trailer for The Challenge, the Russian film shot aboard the International Space Station. Presumably the actual trailer is in the Russian language. The CNN video at the link includes tiny snippets from it: “Video: Trailer for ‘The Challenge,’ the Russian film shot in space, released”

“The Challenge” is the first feature film to send a professional film crew into space and stars Russian actress Yulia Peresild and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy.

(11) BERT I. GORDON (1922-2023). A director of genre films known for their “cheesy” special effects, Bert I. Gordon died March 8 from complications after a fall. The Hollywood Reporter recalls his many credits in tough-loving detail. Here’s an excerpt:

Bert I. Gordon, the sci-fi director who aimed to terrify drive-in denizens of the 1950s and ’60s with low-budget films featuring colossal creatures, shrinking humans and radioactive monsters, has died. He was 100. …

…Highlights (lowlights?) on his B-movie résumé include The Cyclops (1957), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Beginning of the End (1957), Earth vs. the Spider (1958), Attack of the Puppet People (1958), Tormented (1960), The Boy and the Pirates (1960) and Picture Mommy Dead (1966).

In the ’70s, Gordon directed Vince Edwards and Chuck Connors in The Police Connection (1973) and wrote and directed How to Succeed With Sex (1970), Necromancy (1972), The Food of the Gods (1976) and, starring Joan Collins in the muck, Empire of the Ants (1977)….

Don Ameche, Martha Hyer and Zsa Zsa Gabor manipulated minds in Picture Mommy Dead (Hedy Lamarr had dropped out after a shoplifting arrest); Peter Graves battled giant grasshoppers in Beginning of the End; Basil Rathbone practiced mean wizardry in 1962’s The Magic Sword; and youngsters Beau Bridges and Ron Howard handled mysterious goo in 1965’s Village of the Giants, which featured a performance by The Beau Brummels. …

Mystery Science Theater 3000 revived interest in his work in their own way. Gordon didn’t like that they made fun of it…

(12) ED FURY (1928-2023). Model and actor Ed Fury, especially known for his physique and work in sword-and-sandal epics, died February 24 at the age of 94. Deadline’s recitation of his work onscreen includes —

…At first appearing uncredited (he was the King of Venus in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, Olympic Team Member in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Actor In The Play in The Country Girl and Cowboy in the Saloon in Bus Stop) he landed his first featured and credited role in 1960’s Italian release Colossus and the Amazon Queen, a rare comedic take on the sword-and-sandal genre starring Rod Taylor.

The following year Fury found his signature role as the title character in Ursus, a pseudo-mythological fantasy adventure later released to U.S. television as Ursus, Son of Hercules, though the character had no relation to Hercules. Fury reprised the role in 1961’s Ursus in the Valley of the Lions and, in 1963, Ursus in the Land of Fire….

(13) MEMORY LANE.

2008[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

This Scroll, we have the Beginning of A. Lee Martinez’s The Automatic Detective which was published by Tor in 2008. Its great story of a war robot that’s not trying to be a private detective on a society that doesn’t really want him to be there at all. 

Martinez manages here, much to his credit, to pull off the conceit that this robot is in the keeping of classical detectives like those created by Chandler and Hammett. If you got the proper frame of mind, it really does work.

I thought it would be a neat series but it was a one-off for the author. Oh well.

And now we get introduced to our detective in this Beginning…

The Learned Council had an official name for Empire City. 

Technotopia. 

Yeah, it wasn’t a real word, but that was kind of the point. The Council loved to reinvent things, improve them, make them new and snazzy. Of course Empire had a lot of unofficial nicknames as well. 

Mutantburg. Robotville. The Big Gray Haze. The City That Never Functions. But Technotopia was the official party line, along with the motto “Building Tomorrow’s Town. Today.” I guess it all depended on what you thought the future should look like. If you were looking for a bright and shiny metropolis where all of civilization’s problems had been solved through the wise and fortuitous applications of equal parts science, wisdom, and compassion, then I guess you’d be out of luck. But if your ideal tomorrow was a sprawling, impersonal city with rampant pollution, unchecked mutation, and dangerous and unreliable weird science, then I guess you would be right at home. 

Name’s Mack Megaton. I’m a bot. Or automated citizen, as the Learned Council liked to phrase it. There were three classes of robot in Empire. You had your drones: low sophistication models geared toward mundane tasks. Then there were the autos: humanoid models designed for more complex work. Then you had your bots: autos and drones that qualified for citizenship. I hadn’t quite reached bot status yet, but so far my probation had been going smoothly, and I was only forty-six months, six days, four hours, and twenty-two minutes from crossing that objective. I occupied a more vague class between auto and citizen. I couldn’t vote, couldn’t hold public office, and if the Learned Council decided to issue a recall, there wasn’t much I could do about it. 

I was barely two years old and weighed a compact seven hundred and sixteen pounds. That’s light when you’re seven feet tall and made entirely of metal. I could punch through concrete and bend steel. I could not, however, tie a bow tie. My programming was state of the art: adaptive, intuitive, evolutionary. I wasn’t programmed knowing how to drive a cab, and I got along just fine doing that. I wasn’t designed to play poker, and I was a decent card sharp, though it’s easier to bluff when you have a featureless faceplate. But my artificial intelligence couldn’t wrap its binary digits around the ins and outs of getting a bow tie on. My hands didn’t help any. They weren’t designed for delicate work, more like sledgehammers with fingers. But the Bluestar Cab Company insisted all its drivers wear bow ties. Real, honest-to-God bow ties. No clip-ons. That’s what got me involved in the mess. 

A bot’s got bills to pay. Bill, really. I used to be juiced by a small atomic power core. That was gone now. The Learned Council removed it as part of the terms of my probation. But I still consumed a lot of electricity in a day, and it didn’t come cheap. Not in Empire. There was barely enough to go around in this town. To get my fair share to keep up and running costs plenty. It was fortunate that I didn’t have many other expenses or I’d have never been able to support myself driving a cab. As it was, I usually had to operate at half-power. Used to feel sluggish doing that, but I’d gotten adjusted to it.

(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 8, 1859 Kenneth GrahameThe Wind in the Willows, of course. Did you know A.A. Milne dramatized it for the stage in 1930? Oh, and he did write one other fantasy, The Reluctant Dragon. (Died 1932.)
  • Born March 8, 1921 Alan Hale Jr. The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island which most likely isn’t genre but he did show up in such films as Captain Kidd and the Slave GirlThe Fifth Musketeer and The Giant Spider Invasion which is most decidedly SF if of a pulpish variety. Series wise, I see he was on The Wild Wild West and Fantasy Island. (Died 1990.)
  • Born March 8, 1922 John Burke. He was active in Fandom in the Thirties, with work in The FantastThe Futurian and The Satellite. He went pro by the late Thirties in a number of pulp zines. If you read nothing else by him, I recommend his late in life series The Adventures of Dr. Caspian and Bronwen, well-crafted horror. Ash-Tree Press collected much of his superb short fiction in We’ve Been Waiting for You And Other Tales of Unease. (Died 2011.)
  • Born March 8, 1931 Paddi Edwards. She’s here for two very different roles. First is for being the voice of Gozer in the Ghostbusters film. Second is having the lead role of Anya on “The Dauphin” of The Next Generation. The casting agents at Disney liked her so she had the role of Flotsam & Jetsam in The Little Mermaid franchise. (Died 1999.)
  • Born March 8, 1932 Jim Webbert.  First active in fandom at the 1950 NorWesCon. He was member of the committee for Seacon, the 1961 Worldcon in Seattle. And he involved in the charmingly named LepreCons. His wife Doreen Webbert is still with us. (Died 2021.)
  • Born March 8, 1934 Kurt Mahr. One of the first writers of the Perry Rhodan series, considered the largest SF series of the world. He also edited a Perry Rhodan magazine, wrote Perry Rhodan chapbooks and yes wrote many, many short stories about Perry Rhodan.  He did write several other SF series. Ok what’s the appeal of Perry Rhodan? He runs through SF as a genre but I’ve not read anything concerning him. (Died 1993.)
  • Born March 8, 1939 Peter Nicholls. Writer and editor. Creator and co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction with John Clute. His other publications were Science Fiction at LargeThe Science in Science Fiction edited by Nicholls and written by him and David Langford, and Fantastic Cinema. He became the first Administrator of the United Kingdom-based Science Fiction Foundation. He was editor of its journal, Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction, from 1974 to 1978. (Died 2018.)
  • Born March 8, 1976 Freddie Prinze Jr., 47. I’m fairly sure his first genre role was in Wing Commander as Lt. Christopher Blair followed by the animated Mass Effect: Paragon Lost in which he voiced Lieutenant James Vega. Speaking of animated endeavors, I’ve got him in Kim Possible: A Sitch In Time voicing Future Jim / Future Tim followed by being in all in all four seasons of the animated Star Wars Rebels as Kanan Jarrus. And that’s a series which I highly recommend as it may well be the best Star Wars fiction ever done. 

(15) KUCZKA CENTENARY. [Item by Bence Pintér.] Péter Kuczka, the founder of Galaktika, the principal SF magazine of Hungary in the Communist years, was born 100 years ago. For this anniversary Petőfi Literary Museum posted some never before seen photos of him, e.g. with Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison. View them here on Facebook.

Péter Kuczka, poet, writer, editor-in-chief of the magazine Galaktika, founder member of Digitális Irodalmi Akadémia (DIA) was born a hundred years ago. He started his writing career in the second half of the 1940s. He wrote his poem cycle Nyírségi Napló in 1953. Between 1953 and ’56, he was a precursor to the revolution. He was banned from publishing after 1956, so his attention turned to science-fantastic literature. From 1969 he edited the Cosmos Fantastic Books series and from 1972 to 1995 he became the editor-in-chief of the Galactics anthology and magazine. He was awarded with numerous awards and awards for his outstanding editorial and organizer work in the field of sci-fi literature….

(16) ALL’S QUIET ON THE STAR WARS FRONT. It’s getting crowded in development hell, although not all of these projects have been lucky enough to return to the underworld: “’Star Wars’: Kevin Feige, Patty Jenkins Movies Shelved” and Variety sorts it all out.

…In December 2020, Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy announced that “Wonder Woman” helmer Patty Jenkins would direct the next “Star Wars” movie, the one-off adventure “Rogue Squadron.” But in September 2022, Disney pulled the title from its scheduled December 2023 release, and sources with knowledge of the production say it is no longer in active development at the studio. (A rep for Lucasfilm did not respond to a request for comment. In December, Jenkins said in a statement that she was still developing “Rogue Squadron,” but “I don’t know if it will happen or not.”)

Meanwhile, Variety has learned that a possible “Star Wars” feature produced by Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige is also no longer in active development at Lucasfilm.

…As for Rian Johnson, the in-demand filmmaker has made no secret that he still wants to make the “Star Wars” movies he first announced in 2017 before the release of his film “The Last Jedi,” and Kennedy has been clear that Lucasfilm still wants him, too. But Johnson’s immediate priorities — continuing his Benoit Blanc movies with Daniel Craig for Netflix and Season 2 of hit Peacock series “Poker Face” with Natasha Lyonne — will keep him occupied for the foreseeable future.

So what “Star Wars” movie could slot into that open December 2025 release date? Sources say “Thor: Love and Thunder” filmmaker Taika Waititi continues to work on his possible “Star Wars” feature, and he would most likely have a part in it as well, similar in prominence to his standout role as an imaginary Adolf Hitler in his Oscar-winning 2019 feature “Jojo Rabbit.” And although Lucasfilm has yet to officially confirm it, sources say the studio is committed to a “Star Wars” movie from director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a two-time Oscar-winning documentarian (“Saving Face,” “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”), who made her live-action narrative debut with two episodes of 2022’s “Ms. Marvel” for Disney+. Damon Lindelof (“Watchmen”) and Justin Britt-Gibson (“Counterpart”) were attached in October to write the script for that movie.

Whether one of those films, or some as-yet-unannounced project, lands at the front of the line has been a fiercely guarded secret at Lucasfilm, but sources say the studio will begin to unveil its plans for the future of “Star Wars” cinema at the Star Wars Celebration convention in London the weekend of April 7…. 

(17) DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ. A discouraging word from fact-checking site PolitiFact: “Is the moon ‘habitable’ for people? Not with its lack of liquid water or breathable atmosphere”.

It’s not time to move to the moon, no matter how out of this world the idea sounds.

Citing an anonymous source, a social media post suggested the moon could be prime real estate. 

“A confidential source claims that the moon is a habitable place and that it is inhabited by more than 250 million humanoid aliens,” read the Feb. 6 Facebook post

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)…

(18) ILK OF MAGNESIUM. BBC Future describes “The giant arcs that may dwarf everything in the cosmos”.

In 2021, British PhD student Alexia Lopez was analysing the light coming from distant quasars when she made a startling discovery.

She detected a giant, almost symmetrical arc of galaxies 9.3 billion light years away in the constellation of Boötes the Herdsman. Spanning a massive 3.3 billion light years across, the structure is a whopping 1/15th the radius of the observable Universe. If we could see it from Earth, it would be the size of 35 full moons displayed across the sky.

Known as the Giant Arc, the structure throws into question some of the basic assumptions about the Universe. According to the standard model of cosmology – the theory on which our understanding of the Universe is based – matter should be more-or-less evenly distributed across space. When scientists view the Universe on very large scales there should be no noticeable irregularities; everything should look the same in every direction.

Yet the Giant Arc isn’t the only example of its kind. These gargantuan structures are now forcing scientists to reassess their theory of how the Universe evolved….

(19) FAILURE TO LAUNCH. We’re still looking forward to the launch of the first 3-D printed rocket. It didn’t happen today after all: “Relativity Space scrubs debut launch attempt of world’s 1st 3D-printed rocket after abort” reports Space.com.

The space startup Relativity Space called off the first-ever flight of its new 3D-printed rocket on Wednesday (March 8) after a last-minute abort and temperature issues during the countdown. 

Relativity Space’s Terran 1 launch vehicle, billed as the world’s first 3D-printed rocket, experienced an automatic abort about 70 seconds before an initial launch try at 2:40 p.m. EST (1940 GMT) at its Florida launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. While the company tried to reset for a second launch attempt on Wednesday, it ultimately had to stand down “due to exceeding launch commit criteria limits” for the fuel temperatures on the rocket’s second stage, officials wrote in a Twitter update(opens in new tab)…. 

(20) A TIME WHOSE IDEA HAS COME. The New York Times thinks “The Moon May Get Its Own Time Zone”. Those sun dials aren’t cutting it.

What time is it on the moon?

Since the dawn of the space age, the answer has been: It depends. For decades, lunar missions have operated on the time of the country that launched them. But with several lunar explorations heading for the launchpad, the European Space Agency has deemed the current system unsustainable.

The solution, the agency said last week, is a lunar time zone.

“ESA is not taking the lead on this discussion, we’re just putting a finger on a problem we need to tackle,” said Brice Dellandrea, an engineer with the ESA. “But this is the kind of topic that needs international coordination and consensus.”

The main objective of establishing a universal timekeeping system for the moon, the ESA said, is to streamline contact among the various countries and entities, public and private, that are coordinating trips to and around the moon….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Bence Pintér, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Jeffrey Smith, Joey Eschrich, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy  for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

2022 Women’s Prize Winner: Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness. Photo credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Ruth Ozeki is the winner of the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel The Book of Form and Emptiness.

After the tragic death of his father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house and sound variously pleasant, angry or sad. Then his mother develops a hoarding problem, and the voices grow more clamorous. When ignoring them doesn’t work, Benny seeks refuge in the silence of a large public library. There he meets a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret; a homeless philosopher- poet who encourages him to find his own voice amongst the many; and his very own Book, who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

As the winner of the prize, which is now in its 27th year, Ruth Ozeki will receive £30,000.

2022 Chair of Judges Mary Ann Sieghart, said: “In an extraordinary year for fiction written by women, and from an incredibly strong shortlist, we were thrilled to choose Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness, which stood out for its sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy. A celebration of the power of books and reading, it tackles big issues of life and death, and is a complete joy to read. Ruth Ozeki is a truly original and masterful storyteller.” 

Asked about her inspiration for writing the novel, Ruth Ozeki said: “As a child, I related to objects as though they were semi-sentient, and even now I think about the stories that things could tell if only they could speak. Do things (trees, pebbles, toaster ovens, nuclear reactors, etc.) speak? Can they teach us about life? About reality? Obviously, the answer is yes, if we could only learn to listen.”

Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi Wins Women’s Prize for Fiction

Piranesi by Susannah Clarke, art by David Mann
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, art by David Mann

British writer Susanna Clarke won the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction on September 8 for her fantasy novel Piranesi.

Clarke was awarded the 30,000-pound ($41,000) award for her second novel, which was published 16 years after her first, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, became a Hugo and World Fantasy Award winner. Piranesi likewise is nominated for both awards this year.

Novelist Bernardine Evaristo, who chaired the Women’s Prize judging panel, said Clarke had “created a world beyond our wildest imagination that also tells us something profound about what it is to be human.”

Clarke was one of two British authors among six finalists for the prize, founded in 1996 and open to female English-language writers from around the world.

This year’s other finalists were

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
  • Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

[Thanks to David Brain for the story.]