2023 World Fantasy Awards Judges Announced

Peter Dennis Pautz, President of the World Fantasy Awards Association, today released the list of judges for the 2023 World Fantasy Awards, for work published in 2022.

The judges read and consider eligible materials received by June 1, 2023, the earlier the better. Pautz explains, “If, for instance, something is received on May 31 the judges may well have only one day to read it before their deliberations conclude. Anything received after June 1 will receive little or no consideration.”

2023 WORLD FANTASY AWARDS JUDGES

  • Dale Bailey, 2490 27th Avenue Circle NE; Hickory, NC  28601; USA;

[email protected]

Prefers HC, then PDF, ePUB, MOBI (in order)

  • Kelly Robson, 315 – 96 Saint Patrick Street; Toronto, ON CANADA; M5T 1V2;

    [email protected]       

Prefers MOBI, ePUB, HC (in order)

  • Mary Anne Mohanraj, 332 Wisconsin Ave; Oak Park, IL  60302; USA;

[email protected]

Prefers ePUB, PDF, then HC (in order)

  • Ginny Smith, P.O. Box 4563; Frankfort, KY 40604-4563; USA;

[email protected]

Prefers ePUB, PDF, then HC (in order)

  • A.C. Wise, P.O. Box 663; Downingtown, PA 19335; USA;

[email protected]

Prefers HC, PDF, ePUB, MOBI (in order)

  • Ian Whates, 41 Wheatsheaf Road, Alconbury Weston, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE28 4LF, UK;

[email protected]

Prefers HC, MOBI, PDF, ePUB (in order)

(Judges’ order of preference as listed above:  HC=Hard Copy; MOBI=Mobipocket ebook format; EPUB=Electronic Publication; PDF=Portable Document Format; MSWord= Microsoft Word Document)

So that a comprehensive submission list may be kept, a copy should also go to:

Peter Dennis Pautz, President
World Fantasy Awards Association
3519 Glen Avenue
Palmer PA 18045-5812; USA
[email protected]

Send materials you wish to be considered by the panel directly to the addresses above, and very importantly, please mark all packages as PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS – NOT FOR SALE OR RESALE – NO COMMERCIAL VALUE — WORLD FANTASY AWARDS MATERIALS.

Qualifications:  All books must have been published in 2022; magazines must have a 2022 cover date; only living persons are eligible.

Fantasy Types:  All forms of fantasy are eligible, e.g. high, epic, dark, contemporary, literary, horror, etc.

Categories:  Life Achievement; Best Novel; Best Novella (10,001 to 40,000 words); Best Short Story; Best Anthology; Best Collection; Best Artist; Special Award—Professional; Special Award—Non‑Professional.

When submitting works shorter than novel length, please provide a word count for the judges’ benefit.

The nominees in the Life Achievement category will not be released, though the winners will be announced well before the awards banquet.

All questions pertaining to the convention should be directed to the Convention Chairs.

The awards will be presented at the convention, to be held Thursday through Sunday, October 26-29, 2023, at the Sheraton Crown Center, 2345 McGee Street, Kansas City, MO 64108  USA.

Currently, an attending membership costs $210US, which does not include the Awards Banquet, tickets for which must be purchased separately. Virtual memberships are $105US. Supporting memberships are $50US. Banquet tickets will be available in late Summer, 2023. Information and forms can be found on the convention website.

[Update 01/27/2023: Peter Dennis Pautz announced today that Mary Anne Mohanraj withdrew as a judge and will be replaced. 02/04/2023: Pautz announced that Kelly Robson has replaced Mohanraj as a judge.]

Pixel Scroll 11/23/22 I’ve Read Through The Pixel On A Scroll With No Name

(1) ARISIA CHAIR TURNOVER. The acting Arisia 2023 convention chairs Alan and Michelle Wexelblat have resigned. Melissa Kaplan has stepped up as acting con chair in their place. The Arisia board says “details of the handoff and relevant ongoing efforts at Arisia will be forthcoming after the holiday break.”

(2) UNCLE HUGO’S / UNCLE EDGAR’S GET THEIR NAMES OUT FRONT. Don Blyly says, “The new awnings were installed last Friday afternoon, making it much easier to find the new location for the first time.” Until then, his bookstores’ new location still had the previous tenant’s name out front.  

(3) SUSPECT IN WOOSTER DEATH. Martin Morse Wooster was killed by a hit-and-run driver on November 12, however, his name did not appear in news reports until yesterday on WAVY in an update that says Virginia State Police have identified a suspect.

…State Police had said it was looking for witnesses who may have been driving in the area around Bypass Road prior to or after the incident.

Sgt. Michelle Anaya with the Virginia State Police said it has identified a suspect, and it is investigating and working with the Commonwealth’s Attorney. The incident, she said, is still under investigation, with charges pending….

(4) A GHOSTLY REALITY. Cora Buhlert’s new “Non-Fiction Spotlight” introduces readers to “A Haunted History of Invisible Women – True Stories of America’s Ghosts by Leanna Renee Hieber and Andrea Janes”.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Leanna: I’ve been writing since I was a kid and didn’t consider pursuing it professionally until my first job out of college. I had gotten a BFA in theatre performance with a focus study in the Victorian Era. I worked in the professional regional theatre circuit for a few years before moving to New York City and ended up at a Broadway callback where all I could think about was the book that would end up becoming my debut Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy series, Strangely Beautiful. I stopped auditioning and solely focused on my novel about a girl who sees, talks with, and helps ghosts. Spectral subjects have been part of my creative process since childhood. I got my NYC tour guide’s license my first years in New York as I knew I wanted to incorporate real history into my fiction and eventually write non-fiction. Being a tour guide is a great way to make history second-nature. I feel like A Haunted History of Invisible Women is the culmination of everything that’s ever been important to me.

Andrea: I’m a writer and a New York City tour guide. I founded my own walking tour company, Boroughs of the Dead, in 2013….

(5) BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP. Sarah A. Hoyt offers some practical encouragement to writers in “The Best Beginning” at Mad Genius Club.

The best beginning is the one you can do.

This applies both to the beginning of novels, and “simply” to starting to write, or to establishing a writing schedule.

There are all sorts of books and instructions on how to start any of those, but what they leave out is: just begin any way you can. The rest will follow.

With novels, there are all kinds of ways to begin, including setting the tone of the book in the first paragraph. The theme in the first page. Make sure you start with the character who is central to the conflict, because readers are like ducklings, they imprint on the first moving thing they see.

However, you can always fix it in post. You can always go back and fix that beginning so it points the right way. You can lose the first fifty pages (beginning writers consistently start fifty pages too early.) Etc….

(6) PICARDO ASKS DOCTOR WHO WHO IS THE DOCTOR. But he is one only in an emergency, right?

(7) NEW ORLEANS IS HIS BEAT. Rich Horton lets us look over his shoulder in “Convention Report: World Fantasy 2022”; from Strange at Ecbatan.

…Mary Ann and I had decided to use Sunday afternoon to visit the French Quarter. We took the streetcar down there — it’s very easy and convenient. We were going to get lunch and I was determined to get a muffeletta, which is one of my favorite sandwiches. I wanted an authentic muffuletta from New Orleans — which I got at Frank’s, which advertised the “original muffuletta”. Alas, it might be the original, and it was fine, but you can get one just as good at, for example, C. J. Mugg’s in my town of Webster Groves. We should have eaten at the French Market Restaurant instead! We also, of course, went to Cafe du Monde to try beignets, and, hey, they were actually very good. (The line was long but went quickly.)…

(8) THE TRISOLARIANS ARE COMING. ScreenRant publicizes the release date for Bilibili’s animated adaptation of The Three-Body Problem. Beware spoilers.

The award-winning science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem has been adapted into an anime series by the Chinese online video and anime platform Bilibili, and the first episode is set to premiere on December 3, 2022.

…Normally, an adaptation is a testament to the popularity of the work in the public’s mind. This is particularly so with The Three-Body Problem. In addition to Bilibili, two other powerful film and television operations, namely Netflix and the Chinese tech giant Tencent have also produced their own live-action adaptations of the story. Fittingly, the world-famous story has its own version of the three-body problem….

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1986 [By Cat Eldridge.] Peter S. Beagle’s The Folk of The Air

So let’s talk about one of the underappreciated novels by Mister Beagle, The Folk of The Air which was published thirty-six years ago by del Rey / Ballantine in hardcover.

It had a long, long gestation period as it took nearly twenty years from the time he started work on it until the time the final version was done. 

SPOILERS ARE HERE NOW. I SUGGEST MULLED WINE WOULD BE APPROPRIATE TO DRINK WHILE I DISCUSS THIS NOVEL? 

Joe Farrell, a musician who’s whiled away most of his post-college time in a sort of hippie style, travelling the country and avoiding any possibility of settling down, has returned at last to his Bay Area hometown of Avicenna, Beagle’s fictional version of Oakland.

Everything has changed — his closest friend is living with a woman who has immense magical powers in a house that keeps changing itself; another acquaintance is involved up with the League of Archaic Pleasures, a group that has taken to itself the events and manners of medieval chivalry, sometimes way, way too seriously; and he sees a teenage witch successfully summon back a centuries-old demon.

That Demon could tear asunder all that exists now and only his closest friend’s girlfriend can stop him but she’s gone walkout into a room in their house that nobody can find.

DID YOU LIKE THE MULLED WINE? I THINK THAT IT IS MOST EXCELLENT. 

I think it’s a most splendid novel, though Peter has reservations about it as he told me once that he considered revising it. He never said what about it that he’d change, just that he thought it could use some more work. Even SFReviews.net reported that saying “Beagle has never been fully satisfied with The Folk of the Air, and is currently reported to be working on a revision to be retitled Avicenna.” Mind you his Editor and closest friend tells me that she never heard of this existing either. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 23, 1908 Nelson S. Bond. Writer, Editor, Critic, and Member of First Fandom who also wrote for radio, television, and the stage, but whose published fiction work was mainly in the pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. He’s remembered today mainly for his Lancelot Biggs series and for his Meg the Priestess tales, which introduced one of the first strong female characters in SF back in 1939. As a fan, he attended the very first Worldcon, and he famously advised Isaac Asimov, who kept arguing with fans about his works in the letter columns of magazines, “You’re a writer now, Isaac. Let the readers have their opinions.” He was named a Nebula Author Emeritus by SFWA in 1998. (Died 2006.) (JJ) 
  • Born November 23, 1951 David Rappaport. I remember him best as Randall, the leader of the gang of comically inept dwarves in Time Bandits who steal the map to the Universe. I’m reasonably sure that it’s the only thing he’ll be remembered for of a genre nature having looked up his other works and found them to be decidedly minor in nature. Most of them such as The Bride, a low budget horror film, were artistic and commercial disasters. It is said that his death by suicide in 1990 is one of the reasons cited by Gilliam for there not being a sequel to Time Bandits.  Well, now there is as Apple TB with the cooperation of Gilliam, there will Time Bandits series that Taika Waititi will co-write with Gilliam and direct, since it’ll shield in New Zealand. (Died 1990.)
  • Born November 23, 1966 Michelle Gomez, 56. Best known genre role is Missy, a female version of The Master on Doctor Who from 2014 to 2017, for which she was nominated for the 2016 BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress. I admit having grown up with Roger Delgado as The Master so later performers playing this role took a bit of getting used but she made a fine one. She is also Mary Wardwell in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. She plays Talia Bauerin in Highlander: The Raven which apparently is a very short-live spinoff from the Highlander series. And she shows up in the Gotham series for two episodes simply as The Lady. She is now playing Madame Rouge on the Doom Patrol.
  • Born November 23, 1992 Miley Cyrus. She’s had three genre appearances, each ten years apart. She was in Big Fish as the eight-year-old Ruthie, she was the voice of Penny in Bolt and she voiced Mainframe on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And there’s the matter of A Very Murray Christmas which is at least genre adjacent…

(11) SEEN THIS IN YOUR DICTIONARY? FilmSchoolRejects introduces a video about “The Existential Comforts of Cyberpunk”.

…There isn’t a succinct definition of cyberpunk. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1960s and the New Wave sci-fi movement, with writers like J.G. Ballard, William Gibson, and Harlan Ellison. As a sci-fi sub-genre, cyberpunk is keenly interested in speculative technology and urban dystopias; which together provide fertile breeding grounds for vice, drugs, nefarious corporations, corruption, and social upheaval.

…I can think of a lot of ways to describe how cyberpunk worlds make me feel (sad, artificial, and lonely spring to mind). But “comforting” isn’t one of them. The following video essay argues that, if you tilt your head the right way, cyberpunk cities offer a kind of relief. Somewhere, on the other side of all that existential anxiety and angst … there’s a sense of bliss and relief. Amidst all the urban bustle and the sea of cables, you don’t mean a thing. Thank god….

(12) FAKING IT IS MAKING IT. Is artificial intelligence equal to the challenge of writing about Timothy the Talking Cat? Find out in Camestros Felapton’s post “AI-generated writing”.

…I’ve experimented with MidJourney to make images but how is the world of AI-generated text going? I’m trying out the LEX, a cross between a Google docs wordprocessor and an AI text generator….

(13) FIRST FIVE. Joe Stech of Compelling Science Fiction is ready to tell you his picks for the top science fiction short stories published in August.

These are the top 5 out of the 26 stories I read. August was a lighter month than July because some of the bimonthlies aren’t out in August…

“Polly and (Not) Charles Conquer the Solar System” by Carrie Vaughn is the winner.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. While Camille DeAngelis was in LA for a screening of Bones and All, the film adaptation of her vegan subtext cannibal novel, she and Henry Lien made this video about why they love being vegan and how Henry has a magical fridge: “Henry Lien and the Narnia Fridge”.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Patrick McGuire, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

Pixel Scroll 10/29/22 If Pixels Waltz, Do Scrolls Pirouette?

(1) THE GULF BETWEEN. [Item by Jim Janney.] Pat Bagley’s editorial cartoon in today’s Salt Lake Tribune references a famous cover from the October 1953 Astounding. (Note how it’s signed “With apologies to Frank Kelly Freas.”)

(2) KEEP CALM. No matter what you may have heard – like in an email from the World Fantasy Convention committee itself – the WFC 2022 Covid policy remains the same.

The convention’s website adds these details: “COVID-19 Policy”.

Our safety protocols for WFC 2022 are as follows:

– Attending members must be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be required upon check-in at the convention.

– Masks will be required in all public places. Masks must be worn properly, covering the nose and mouth. If a member appears at any WFC 2022 event without a mask, they will be asked to put one on. If they refuse, their membership will be revoked, their badge confiscated, and they will be required to leave the convention.

– Safe social distances will be observed at all times.

– We will have hand sanitizer easily accessible throughout the convention.

If you are not fully vaccinated for any reason, please do not purchase an attending membership. We invite you to purchase a virtual membership and participate in the convention remotely.

James Van Pelt addressed on Facebook that a similar policy at the recent MileHiCon was not always followed by panelists, with the attendant social pressure on those who would rather it be followed.

(3) YOU DON’T NEED A WEATHERMAN TO KNOW WHICH WAY THE WINDROSE. Can it be that John C. Wright thieved a diagram created by Camestros Felapton without giving credit? Survey says – “Bow wow!” However, according to Camestros, “It’s nice to be appreciated”.

In 2016 I was going to write a post about John C. Wright’s near incomprehensible scheme for categorising ideologies on two axes (original Wright post archived here). However, vanity and vainglorious aspiration required me to furnish the post with a better graphic. Having laboured on the graphic I realised I had very little to say, leaving the post as little more than my drawing of Wright’s windrose: https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/john-c-wrights-windrose-of-political-heresy/

Now Mr Wright recently reposted his essay on his scheme, and as with his previous essay, there was a graphic to accompany it…which looks more than a little familiar…

(4) THE HOUSE OF COMMONS NEEDS YOU. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.]  AI is sort of SFnal.  Do any Filers have knowledge of AI and wish to contribute to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the “Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI)”? The call for evidence is here. The deadline is November 25. HAL lives! (but does not give 42 as the answer.)

MPs to examine regulating AI in new inquiry

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee launches an inquiry into the governance of artificial intelligence (AI). In July, the UK Government set out its emerging thinking on how it would regulate the use of AI. It is expected to publish proposals in a White Paper later this year, which the Committee would examine in its inquiry.

Used to spot patterns in large datasets, make predictions, and automate processes, AI’s role in the UK economy and society is growing. However, there are concerns around its use. MPs will examine the potential impacts of biased algorithms in the public and private sectors. A lack of transparency on how AI is applied and how automated decisions can be challenged will also be investigated.

In the inquiry, MPs will explore how risks posed to the public by the improper use of AI should be addressed, and how the Government can ensure AI is used in an ethical and responsible way. The Committee seeks evidence on the current governance of AI, whether the Government’s proposed approach is the right one, and how their plans compare with other countries.

(5) NOT FOREVER STAMPS. The UK’s Royal Mail, which added barcodes to its stamps this year, soon will no longer honor previous issues. The Guardian’s Dale Berning Sawa asks “My stash of old stamps is beautiful. Why make them unnecessarily obsolete?”

After introducing barcodes to our regular sticker stamps in February, Royal Mail has now given us 100 days to use up our old stamps. Come February 2023, only those barcoded will be valid. To swap out any remaining oldies, we will have to fill out a request form and send it, for free, to a depot in Edinburgh.

The ironic loop-the-loop of freeposting postage to receive same-value postage in the post – in order to, in the beleaguered company’s own words, “connect physical stamps to the digital world” – is not lost on me. It’s more than curmudgeonly irritation, though, I feel bewildered. Why does one stamp having the ability to play you Shaun the Sheep videos mean that all those other beauties have to go? Does the Royal Mail not realise how great, how quietly subversive, how steadfast its one defining product has been all these years?…

(6) SWEDISH SHORTS SFF COMPETITION. [Item by Ahrvid Engholm.] The Result of the 23rd Fantastiknovelltävlingen (approx “Fantastic Short Story Competition”; Fantastic as in Fantastic Literatur, often here called Fantastik.) I translate the story titles, but skip the 6 “honorary mentions”:

  • 1st prize “Fyrmästarens dotter” by Camilla Linde  (999 kr) [“Daughter of the Lighthouse Keeper”]
  • 2nd prize “En glimt av oändlighet” by Sunna Andersson (600 kr) [“A Glimpse of Eternity”]
  • 3rd prize “God Granne” by Tobias Robinson (400 kr) [“Good Neighbour”]

The prize sums are in Kr=kronor; 10 kr is around 1 USD/Eur. Winners also get a diploma.

(7) A SOLID HONOR. Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, CA will host the “Vroman’s Walk Of Fame Dedication Ceremony Honoring Author Leigh Bardugo” on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. The location is 695 E. Colorado St., Pasadena, CA 91101.

We are very excited to announce author Leigh Bardugo as our next honoree to immortalize her handprints and signature in the Vroman’s Author Walk of Fame! We are so thrilled to honor Leigh with this dedication and to celebrate all of her wonderful books.

Join us on Saturday, November 19th at noon for the dedication. After the dedication please stay for a special conversation between Leigh Bardugo and Sarah Enni, discussing Leigh’s life and career.

We realize that not everyone will get the best view of the dedication ceremony so we will be broadcasting this morning event on Instagram Live. Keep watch for more details and follow up on Instagram! @vromansbookstore

(8) WHERE WOLF? THERE HOME DEPOT. In the Washington Post, Maura Judkis talks to buyers of the 9-1/2 foot audioanimatronic werewolf available at Home Depot for $399.  She talked to one anonymous furry who thinks the werewolf is a furry icon. “The Home Depot werewolf is getting howls of approval”.

… She saw him and she had to buy him: A beefy, sinewy wolfman with massive hands (paws?), glowing eyes and, under his shredded buffalo-check shirt, six-pack abs. Best of all, and unlike his skeletal brethren, he talks and moves: With a growl, he opens his mouth to reveal a row of sharp fangs, tilts his head back and … aroooooooooo!

Rush bought the $399 werewolf on “Orange Friday,” which is what the most dedicated of Halloween decorators call the day Home Depot makes its Halloween decorations available online for purchase. This year, that day was July 15, when normal people are, well, what’s normal anymore?…

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1951 [By Cat Eldridge.] One of the finest works that Bradbury crafted was The Illustrated Man. It was published seventy-one years ago by Doubleday & Company and consists of eighteen stories, of which ISFDB claims three are original to here.

Let’s note that the British edition, published a year later by Hart-Davis, omits “The Rocket Man”, “The Fire Balloons, “The Exiles” and “The Concrete Mixer” and adds “Usher I” from The Martian Chronicles and “The Playground”. 

The unrelated stories are weaved together by the framing story of “The Illustrated Man” involving a now wandering member of a carnival freak show with an almost completely tattooed body, save one spot, whom the unnamed narrator and a few other people meet. (My assumption there.) The man’s tattoos, supposedly created by a time-traveling woman, are individually animated, and each tells a different story.

The stories would be adapted elsewhere. Some of the stories, including “The Veldt”, “The Fox and the Forest” (changed to “To the Future”), “Marionettes, Inc.”, and “Zero Hour” were also dramatized for the Fifties X Minus One radio series. 

The Ray Bradbury Theater series used “The Concrete Mixer”, “The Long Rain”, “Marionettes Inc.” “The Veldt”, “Zero Hour” whereas “The Fox and the Forest” was adapted for Out of the Unknown series.

Seventeen years after it was published, it would debut as a film. The screenplay was by Howard B. Kreitsek who adapted three of the stories from the collection, “The Veldt”, “The Long Rain” and “The Last Night of the World”, the last one a good choice I think to end the film.

SPOILERS NOW AS WE CONSIDER A BEGINNING AND A POSSIBLE END

The prologue tells of how The Illustrated Man came to be so after he encountered a mysterious woman named Felicia. Our film narrator encounters our The Illustrated Man and watches the three stories play out as animated stories. 

The plot comes to a terrifying conclusion when one of the people accompanying The Illustrated Man on his journey looks at the only blank patch of skin on his body and sees an image of his own murder at his hand of The Illustrated Man then attempts to kill The Illustrated Man and then flees into the night, pursued by a still-living Illustrated Man, with the audience left undetermined as to his fate of either.

NOW BACK TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING 

Jack Smight, the film director, decided that the carnival sideshow freak who appeared in the collection’s prologue and epilogue made the  best primary narrative device. 

As for The Illustrated Man, he cast Rod Steiger, whom he had known since the Fifties. 

It failed horribly at the Box Office and critics hated it. 

It was nominated for a Hugo at the Heicon ’70 Worldcon held in Heidelberg, Germany but did not win. 

I will let our writer have the last word here: “Rod was very good in it, but it wasn’t a good film, the script was terrible.” 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 29, 1906 Fredric Brown. Author of Martians, Go Home which was made into a movie of the same name. He received compensation and credit from NBC as their Trek episode “Arena” had more than a passing similarity to his novelette which was nominated for a Retro Hugo at CoNZealand. (Died 1972.)
  • Born October 29, 1928 Benjamin F. Chapman, Jr. He played the Gill-man on the land takes in Creature from the Black Lagoon. (Ricou Browning did the water takes.) His only other genre appearance was in Jungle Moon Men, a Johnny Weissmuller film. (Died 2008.)
  • Born October 29, 1928 Jack Donner. He’s no doubt best known for his role of Romulan Subcommander Tal in the Trek episode “The Enterprise Incident”. He would later return as a Vulcan priest in the “Kir’Shara” and “Home” episodes on Enterprise. He’d also show up in other genre shows including The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Mission Impossible (eleven episodes which is the most by any guest star) and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. (Died 2019.)
  • Born October 29, 1935 Sheila Finch, 87. She is best remembered for her stories about the Guild of Xenolinguists, which aptly enough are collected in The Guild of Xenolinguists. She first used the term her 1986 Triad novel, and it would later be used to describe the character Uhura in the rebooted Trek film. Her Reading the Bones novella, part of the Guild of Xenolinguists series, would win a Nebula. These books are available at the usual suspects. 
  • Born October 29, 1941 Hal W. Hall, 81. Bibliographer responsible for the Science Fiction Book Review Index (1970 – 1985) and the Science Fiction Research Index (1981 – 1922). He also did a number of reviews including three of H. Beam Piper’s Fuzzy books showing he had excellent taste in fiction.
  • Born October 29, 1954 Paul Di Filippo, 68. He is, I’d say, an acquired taste. I like him. I’d suggest as a first reading if you don’t know him The Steampunk Trilogy and go from there. His “A Year in the Linear City” novella was nominated at Torcon 3 for Best Novella, and won the 2003 World Fantasy Award and the 2003 Theodore Sturgeon Award. Oh, and he’s one of our stellar reviewers having reviewed at one time or another for Asimov’s Science FictionThe Magazine of Fantasy and Science FictionScience Fiction EyeThe New York Review of Science FictionInterzoneNova Express and Science Fiction Weekly
  • Born October 29, 1954 Kathleen O’Neal Gear, 68. Archaeologist and writer. I highly recommend the three Anasazi Mysteries that she co-wrote with W. Michael Gear. She’s a historian of note so she’s done a lot of interesting work in that area such as Viking Warrior Women: Did ‘Shieldmaidens’ like Lagertha Really Exist?  And should you decide you want to keep buffalo, she’s the expert on doing so. Really. Truly, she is. 
  • Born October 29, 1971 Winona Ryder, 51. Beetlejuice, of course, but also Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not to mention Alien Resurrection and Star Trek. Which brings me to Being John Malkovich which might be the coolest genre film of all time. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Junk Drawer has an amusing twist on a familiar bit of horror pedantry.
  • Non Sequitur shows the very first “trick or treat” trial run.

(12) READ SJUNNESON STORY. Arizon State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination has posted the final Us in Flux story for 2022. This is the latest in their series of short fiction and virtual events about reimagining and reorganizing communities in the face of transformative change.

The story is “The Island,” by Elsa Sjunneson, about the ability-disability continuum, journalism, and creating adaptable communities.

(13) CLIP SHOW. NPR’s “Fresh Air” “Halloween special, with horror masters Stephen King and Jordan Peele” is a compilation of past interviews.

King talks about what terrified him as a child — and what frightens him as an adult. Peele talks about the fears that inspire his filmmaking. Originally broadcast in 1992, 2013 and 2017.

(14) VISION OF THE FUTURE. “Marvel developing Vision spinoff series with Paul Bettany” – and SYFY Wire assumes readers have seen every MCU movie and freely reveal the previous fates of various characters, so beware spoilers.

Deadline reports the studio is developing a new potential series codenamed Vision Quest, which will star Paul Bettany returning to the role of Vision. The show will reportedly follow Vision as he attempts to “regain his memory and humanity.” This would focus on the White Vision character who ended the first season of WandaVision on the loose in the world after regaining enough of his memories following a face-off with Wanda’s version of Vision (yeah, it’s a bit confusing).

It’s still early, with a writers room reportedly opening for the project next week, but it’s reportedly possible that Elizabeth Olsen could also return as Wanda Maximoff. As fans know, Wanda was last seen buried under a temple in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness…. 

(15) PLAYING MARS LIKE A DRUM. [SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] This week’s Science journal has “A seismic meteor strike on Mars”. “A meteor impact and its subsequent seismic waves has revealed the crustal structure of Mars.”

A large meteorite impact on Mars, as recorded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) InSight Mars lander and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and present analysis of the detected surface waves produced by the meteorite impact. Kim et al. also present an updated crustal model of Mars that provides a better understanding of the formation and composition of the martian crust and extends the current knowledge of the geodynamic evolution of Mars.

First primary research paper here. Second paper here here.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is Ryan George’s latest BUT my computer is wonky in that the sound is off so I don’t know what he says! I am sure he has a field day because I saw Black Adam and it’s a stinker. Spoiler alert!

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Jim Janney, Ahrvid Engholm, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, 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 Cat Eldridge.]

Gofundme Appeal to Help Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki Attend World Fantasy Convention

Photo (right) by Richard Man.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki made it to the Worldcon in Chicago after a suspense-filled visa application process and is able to stay in the U.S. til next February. While he’s here he’d like to attend the World Fantasy Convention 2022 being held in New Orleans from November 3-6. He’s also asking help in covering the extraordinary expenses caused by the last-minute travel changes to get to Chicon 8.

“Send Oghenechovwe Ekpeki to World Fantasy Con” is a Gofundme started by Jason Sanford.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is the first African editor to be a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, with the awards to be presented at the 2022 World Fantasy Convention in New Orleans. He’s nominated in the best anthology category for the first ever Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthology, which he edited and published. Ekpeki would like to maximize the opportunity of being in the States and attend the World convention. It’s an opportunity that would normally cost infinitely more without a visa and were he out of the country.

A successful previous fundraiser brought Ekpeki to this year’s Worldcon, where he was a finalist for two Hugo Awards. However, his gruesome battle with the US embassy in Nigeria for a visa and exorbitant fees and repeated payments resulting from that (including last-minute changes to his international flights) resulted in costs far exceeding what that fundraiser brought in. So this new fundraiser would also mop up those expenses as well.

The costs to be covered by this fundraiser are:

  • WFC Registration: $250
  • Flight to and from convention plus expenses: $1000
  • Hotel (5 nights): $1250
  • Resolving fees and payments from WorldCon 2nd visa hassle and resulting last-minute flight changes: $1500
  • Total: $4000

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki explained for File 770, “My visa is for 2 years. Though not a straight stay. I have to go out and in severally. At intervals. This first interval is 6 months. So I’m good till February.” Then he will go back out and return in March when he is a guest of honor at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts.

Before then he’d like to maximize the benefit of his trip to the U.S. by going to World Fantasy Con. “I am attending WFC because think about it, I’m already here. No need for visa hassle. Already went through that. No need for cross continental flights which are Uber expensive. Already did that too. It’s actually cheaper for me to attend. Since I already paid a humongous price to be here. It’s maxing out the work I took to get here attending. It’d be a loss of some of that effort if I didn’t.

“Another thing. A huge part of the reason for the Gofundme isnt just the WFC but to mop up the WorldCon expenses which were infinitely more than people know. Almost the entire money I crowdfunded was finished on just getting a visa interview appointment. People don’t know what it is leaving a Third World country for the U.S. Corruption plus racism plus discrimination.

“Then the whole war and another interview. Then cross continental flights booked within 24 hours of flying time. You know how expensive flights get when they are close? That’s thousands of dollars. Not my fault, because I got visa a day before the event. Then I missed a flight, booked another same day flight. I flew across 3 continents to get here.

“Then they forced me to book a return ticket I wouldn’t need. Cuz racism. Even though I had a visa. It’s been my own money, plus loans and so much more ingenuity the average person can’t imagine.

“Some of this is to recover those unexpected costs. But it made sense for me too. It would be penny wise pound foolish, a loss of a great chance not to attend World Fantasy Con, too. I want to max out my allotted stay, the six months. Because why do all that, and not?”

World Fantasy Convention 2023 To Be Held in Kansas City

World Fantasy Convention℠ 2023 will be hosted from October 26-29 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center in Kanasas City, Missouri.  

The organizing entity is World Fantasy Convention 2023, a Kansas not-for-profit incorporated earlier this year by Ruth Lichtwardt and Rosemary Williams.  Lichtwardt’s experience includes chairing the 2016 Worldcon in Kansas City, and Williams is a conrunner and published author.  

The WFC 2023 Guests of Honor are:

KIJ JOHNSON

Kij Johnson writes fantasy and science fiction including the novels The Fox Woman and Fudoki; the short story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees; the novella, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe; and more than fifty stories. She’s won the Hugo, World Fantasy, Nebula, and Sturgeon Awards, as well as the Grand prix de l’imaginaire and others. She’s worked in publishing, comics, games and miscellaneous tech companies; currently she teaches creative writing at the University of Kansas, where she was associate director for the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction and currently serves in the same capacity for The Ad Astra Center. She teaches novel masterclasses and short fiction workshops online and in person. She lives in Kansas.

VINCENT VILLAFRANCA

Vincent Villafranca has been sculpting since childhood. In 1991, while working on a degree in history,  he took an elective art course and was introduced to bronze-casting. Vincent instantly became fascinated with the idea of preserving his small sculptures in metal. After graduating, he worked in a bronze foundry just outside of Austin, Texas where he further developed his sculpting, mold-making and bronze-casting skills. He continues to make a wide array of sculptures, from tiny, intricate dragons to large-scale futuristic robots. Vincent is a lifelong fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, thus, he was quite honored to design the World Fantasy Award, the 2013 Hugo Award and the Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. He lives in north Texas with his ecologist wife and an assortment of animals.

ELIZABETH LEGGETT

Elizabeth Leggett is a two time fan artist Hugo winner, gold award winner in the digital category in Infected By Art 10 and bronze winner overall. She is a gallery artist, and science fiction and fantasy novel cover designer. Her clients include KEEP Contemporary gallery in Santa Fe, NM, Prince of Cats Literary Productions, Melinda Snodgrass, DreamForge Magazine, Uproar Books, Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt, Walter Jon Williams and more. Her work can be seen in Spectrum Volumes 22, 24, 26, and 27 and the premiere issue of Spectrum Art Quarterly. She can also be found in Infected By Art Volumes 3-10. She is a five time Chesley nominee.

JONATHAN STRAHAN

Jonathan Strahan (www.jonathanstrahan.com.au) is a Hugo and  World Fantasy Award award-winning editor, anthologist, and podcaster. He has edited more than 90 books, is reviews editor for Locus, a consulting editor for Tor.com, and the co-host and producer of the Hugo-winning Coode Street Podcast.

WFC 2022 Banquet Tickets Available

World Fantasy Convention 2022 – New Orleans is now selling tickets to The World Fantasy Award Banquet at the link.

The Luncheon Banquet will be held on November 6, 2022 at 1:00 p.m., with the Award Ceremony to follow.

This year the World Fantasy Convention will be held in New Orleans from November 3-6. Guests include Ginjer Buchanan, Victor LaValle, Jo Walton, Iris Compiet, Andrei Codrescu, Caitlin Kiernan (virtual), Ursula Vernon (toastmaster), Brandon O’Brien, and Nisi Shawl. Lifetime Achievement Award Winners are Samuel R. Delany, and Terri Windling.

The Attending membership rate is currently $250. Registration options and more information about the World Fantasy Convention 2022 can be found on their website.  

The World Fantasy Convention is governed by the Board of the World Fantasy Convention: their website is here.

‘”World Fantasy Convention” is a service mark of the World Fantasy Convention, an unincorporated literary society.

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 7/30/22 I Can Scroll Pixels From The Vasty File

(1) BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING. ALSO LISTENING, PHONE-STALKING, AND DNA TRACKING. “A New York Times analysis of over 100,000 government bidding documents found that China’s ambition to collect digital and biological data from its citizens is more expansive and invasive than previously known.” “Four Takeaways From a Times Investigation Into China’s Expanding Surveillance State”. There’s also a 15-minute video at the link.

China’s ambition to collect a staggering amount of personal data from everyday citizens is more expansive than previously known, a Times investigation has found. Phone-tracking devices are now everywhere. The police are creating some of the largest DNA databases in the world. And the authorities are building upon facial recognition technology to collect voice prints from the general public.

The Times’s Visual Investigations team and reporters in Asia spent over a year analyzing more than a hundred thousand government bidding documents. They call for companies to bid on the contracts to provide surveillance technology, and include product requirements and budget size, and sometimes describe at length the strategic thinking behind the purchases. Chinese laws stipulate that agencies must keep records of bids and make them public, but in reality the documents are scattered across hard-to-search web pages that are often taken down quickly without notice. ChinaFile, a digital magazine published by the Asia Society, collected the bids and shared them exclusively with The Times.

This unprecedented access allowed The Times to study China’s surveillance capabilities. The Chinese government’s goal is clear: designing a system to maximize what the state can find out about a person’s identity, activities and social connections, which could ultimately help the government maintain its authoritarian rule….

(2) LEAVING THE GOLD STANDARD BEHIND. Rich Horton’s latest “Old Hugos that never were” post lists potential Hugo Nominations among stories published in 1949. “Hugo Nomination Recommendations, 1950” at Strange at Ecbatan.

…This is the earliest set of potential Hugo nominees for 1950s Worldcons I’ll do. I chose this date mainly because it seemed a clean break to posts on 10 years of Hugos — for the 10 1950s Worldcons. (The 1950 Worldcon was NorWesCon, held in Portland, OR.) 

Another reason is that 1949 is a fairly significant year in the transition from the so-called “Golden Age” to the next phase … the time when John W. Campbell’s Astounding slipped from its unquestioned place at the top of the SF heap. …

(3) EYE ON THE DREAM. There’s a rich selection of videos about writing and career advice on the Dream Foundry YouTube page, including many items recorded during their Flights of Foundry event.

(4) CATCH UP WITH WFC. The World Fantasy Con 2022’s third Progress Report can be downloaded by anyone at this page. It includes write-ups about all the guests of honor and toastmaster.

(5) LUNAR ACCOMODATIONS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] In a hole in the moon there lived a moonstronaut. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a moonstronaut-hole, and that means comfort.

Relatively speaking.

The Atlantic extols “The Coziest Spot on the Moon”. Most of the text of the article is behind a paywall. The Atlantic does show a limited number of free articles and makes the first bits of additional articles available to all.

The moon has a reputation for “magnificent desolation,” as Buzz Aldrin said when he stepped onto the surface more than 50 years ago. It has no atmosphere to speak of, and no protection from a constant stream of radiation, whether from the sun or deep space. During a lunar day, about as long as 15 of our own, nonstop sunlight makes the surface hot enough to boil water. A lunar night lasts just as long, only it’s unfathomably cold.

Yet hidden in this bleak picture are a select few places that might offer some respite from all those inhospitable conditions. And one particular spot that sounds almost … pleasant?

Using data from a spacecraft in orbit around the moon, scientists have studied a cavern on the lunar surface and discovered that part of it has a pleasantly cool temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit (about 17 degrees Celsius). This cavern is shaped like a cylinder, and extends about 328 feet (100 meters) down from the surface—about the height of a 30-story building. Sunlight illuminates only part of the cavern’s bottom; the rest is out of reach, and remains permanently shadowed….

(6) ALL CATS, ZERO HUMANS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Tom Faber reviews Stray, a new game from Annapurna Interactive. Faber begins his column by explaining that before YouTube he and his friends delighted in getting semi-secret URLs for crazy cat videos.

The game casts you as a slender ginger who lives in a humanless future. Your hero has neither magical powers nor an arsenal of quips; it’s just a regular moggie, mute except for miaows and purrs.  An accidental slip sends it tumbling into a sunless underworld occupied by friendly robots with TVs for faces and nasty little creatures called Zurks. With the help of a drone companion, your mission is to find a way back to the surface and work out what happened to the humans. The game balances puzzles, stealth, and platforming with explanatory quests more reminiscent of old point-and-click adventure games.  Its gameplay is well constructed but unremarkable,…

…Still, if you are a fan of felines, this game is catnip.  It’s easy to imagine a room of developers making a huge list of all the particular things cats do and incorporating them:  you can scratch at carpets, push objects off roofs, walk on computer or piano keyboards to chaotic effect and settle down for a nap on a pile of cushions. There’s even a dedicated ‘miaow’ button whose sound on PS5 issues intimately from your computer. Most of these features do not serve a gameplay purpose–the game just wants you to enjoy being a cat.

Faber says that there’s a Twitter feed of cats enjoying watching the feline cyberpunk dystopia action in Stray.

Of further interest to Filers: the Washington Post reports “Players are putting their own pets into ‘Stray,’ the cat video game”.

“Stray,” the video game about a nameless feral cat wandering through a city of robots, is one of the summer’s biggest surprise hits. Now, some players are modifying the game to add their own feline friends to its post-apocalyptic world.

Mods — short for modifications — are fan-made alterations to a video game that are done by rewriting or changing the game’s files. The simplest mods make cosmetic changes, such as changing the texture on a weapon to look nicer. But mods can also be wildly ambitious, sometimes ballooning into entirely new games. 2021’s “The Forgotten City,” an adventure set in ancient Rome, was originally a “Skyrim” mod.

On NexusMods, a site that hosts downloadable mods, there are already a number of options available to players seeking to change the look of “Stray’s” furry hero with different coats and eye colors. The site is flush with options for black cats, gray tabbies, calicoes and more, each already downloaded hundreds of times.

Many of the modders who made those skins based them off their own cats. One creator added their green-eyed tuxedo cat, Maro, to “Stray.” The download page includes a real-life photo reference for maximum accuracy. Hi, Maro!

(7) CHARLIE JANE ANDERS NEWS. Variety reports “Michael B. Jordan, Amazon Hire Gennifer Hutchison for New Series”.

Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society and Amazon have brought on Gennifer Hutchison to serve as showrunner on the series “Victories Greater Than Death.”

Variety has learned exclusively that Hutchison, in addition to showrunning, will also write and executive produce on the series, which is based on the Charlie Jane Anders novel of the same name. It was reported as being in development at Amazon in September 2021….

… “Victories Greater Than Death” follows Tina, a teenager and keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon. Tina can’t wait for it to activate, leave home, and chase her dreams. But she’s stuck waiting, until one day, destiny calls….

(8) THEY’RE MELTING. Ironic without being funny: “Snowpiercer Production Halted Following Hospitalizations Due to Extreme Heat” reports CBR.com.

Production on Snowpiercer‘s fourth and final season is on hold after multiple members of the cast and crew were hospitalized due to heat exhaustion.

On Thursday, temperatures hit the mid-90s on the show’s outdoor set in British Columbia, Canada. The high temperatures resulted in as many as 14 people, including background actors and crew members, requiring transportation to local hospitals to seek treatment, as one crew member tells Deadline….

(9) IT’S ALL IN HIS HEAD. “’Max Headroom’ Series Reboot Starring Matt Frewer In Works At AMC Networks From Christopher Cantwell & Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision”Deadline has details.

A 1980s pop culture mainstay is plotting a comeback. AMC Networks is developing a Max Headroom drama series reboot, with Matt Frewer set to reprise his role as the world’s first artificial intelligence TV personality. Halt and Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell is writing the adaptation and is attached as showrunner for the project, which is produced by Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah’s SpectreVision and All3Media….

(10) MASHED UP INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Marvel comics are now Penguin Classics. Time to turn classics into Marvel.”, the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri shows what classics such as Little Women and The Scarlet Letter would look like with the addition of superheroes. Here’s one example:

The Importance of Being Earnest: “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune,” Lady Bracknell intones, “but to lose both and also your Uncle Ben in an unrelated incident looks like carelessness.” Jack rolls his eyes at her. “Okay, Downton Abbey. Nobody asked you.”

Cecily punches Algernon in the face. “That’s for not being named Ernest,” she says. She punches him again. “And that’s for trying to pit me against Gwendolen, who is my sister, and we passed the Bechdel Test together seconds before you came in.” “Good,” Algernon says, rubbing his face. “I wouldn’t have known you were a strong woman unless you punched somebody!”

(11) SPACE MEMORIAL PLANS. People have an opportunity to say a final farewell to Carolyn Meskell Grayson on August 4. The wife of Ashley Grayson, who has worked in the field as a literary agent, died in 2017. Click on the link and see the picture of her that is going into space on August 4. “Tesla Photo in Space Mosaic”.

(12) MEMORY LANE.  

1995 [By Cat Eldridge.] Ghosts. Haunted houses. Many maintain that such concepts have no place in our computerized twentieth century reality. But until man conquers death, one inevitable question will always linger within the recesses of the human mind: What lies beyond? — Opening narration Outer Limits’s “If These Walls Could Talk”.

Twenty-seven years ago this evening on the rebooted Outer Limits we had an apparently classic haunted house story where a woman whose son disappeared asks a supernatural debunker to investigate a seemingly haunted house where her son was last seen.

SPOILER ALERT!

Now being Outer Limits, it turns out that the house isn’t haunted at all. Did any of you read the first novel in Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, Something from the Nightside? John Taylor enters a house to rescue a woman only to discover the house itself is alive. Same here. It’s essentially an alien kudzu lifeform that crashed to earth and is mimicking being a house. And eating people. Lots of them.

I think that, like the alien house in Something from the Nightside, that the scriptwriter did a rather good job of making the Big Bad believable. 

END SPOILER

I don’t think it’s steaming for free anywhere right now. 

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 30, 1911 Reginald Bretnor. Author of many genre short stories involving Ferdinand Feghoot, a comical figure indeed. It looks like all of these are available in digital form on iBooks and Kindle. He was a consummate SJW. He translated Les Chats, the first known book about cats which was written by Augustin Paradis de Moncrif in 1727. He also wrote myriad articles about cats, was of course a companion to cats, and considered himself to have a psychic connection to cats. Of course most of us do. (Died 1992.)
  • Born July 30, 1927 Victor Wong. I remember him best as the Chinese sorcerer Egg Shen in John Carpenter’s exemplary Big Trouble in Little China. He was also The Old Man in The Golden Child, Walter Chang in Tremors, Dr. Wong in the “China Moon” episode of the Beauty and the Beast series and Lee Tzin-Soong in the “Fox Spirit” episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy. (Died 2001.)
  • Born July 30, 1948 Carel Struycken, 74. I remember him best as the gong ringing Mr. Holm on Next Gen, companion to Deanna Troi’s mother. He was also Lurch in The Addams FamilyAddams Family Values and the Addams Family Reunion. He’s listed as being Fidel in The Witches of Eastwick but I’ll be damned if I remembered his role in that film. And he’s in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor which I’ve never seen… 
  • Born July 30, 1961 Laurence Fishburne, 61. Appeared in The Matrix films of which I watched at least two. His voice work as Thrax in Osmosis Jones is outstanding as is his role as Bill Foster in Ant-Man. Oh I must note that he shows up on the new Muppets series they did about a decade ago in the “Hostile Makeover” riff they do in the first season. 
  • Born July 30, 1966 Jess Nevins, 56. Author of the superlative Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victorian and the equally great Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which is far better than the film ever could be. He’s also written the Fable Encyclopedia which is a most excellent look at Willingham series. I didn’t know he was a fiction author ‘til now but he has two genre novels, The Road to Prester John and The Datong Incident. He picked up three impressive nominations: IGH for Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, World Fantasy for The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana and Sidewise for An Alternate History of Chinese Science Fiction. I’ve read the first two and recommend them wholeheartedly. 
  • Born July 30, 1970 Christopher Nolan, 52. Writer, producer and often director as well of the latest Batman film franchise, The Prestige (which I absolutely love), InterstellarInception and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to name some of his work. Tenet was nominated for a Hugo at DisCon III. 
  • Born July 30, 1975 Cherie Priest, 47. Her southern gothic Eden Moore series is kickass good and Clockwork Universe series is a refreshing take on steampunk which has been turned into full cast audiobooks by GraphicAudio. I’ve not read the Cheshire Red Reports novels so have no idea how good they are. Anyone read these?  She won an Endeavour Award for her Dreadnought novel.
  • Born July 30, 1984 Gina Rodriguez, 38. Anya Thorensen in Annihilation based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novels which I’ve read though I’ve not seen the film. She was also Robin I the “Subway” episode of the Eleventh Hour series, and directed the “Witch Perfect” episode of the new Charmed series.  Who has seen this new Charmed series?

(14) COMICS SECTION.

  • Eek! shows a supercrime in progress.
  • poorly drawn lines has a time traveling reconnaissance report.

(15) HANDICAPPING THE LODESTAR. Garik16 is reviewing the 2022 Hugo finalists – and also the books up for “The Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult SciFi/Fantasy Novel”. An insightful set of comments!

To start this series, we’re looking at the Lodestar Award, which is “technically” not a Hugo Award, but is awarded with them anyway, so it counts for this series.  The Lodestar Award is for the best Young Adult SciFi and Fantasy novels of the previous year – the Hugo equivalent of the Norton Award (which is the Nebula version of the same award).  As a huge fan of YA works, I love going through the nominees of this award every year, and unsurprisingly I had read all of the nominees of this one prior to the shortlist being announced.  None of the nominees were on y nomination ballot….and yet there’s a number of works here on this list that I really liked, and a few very deserving winners….

(16) CLIMB INSIDE YOUR TV. Yahoo! Entertainment covers the walk-through displays created for fans attending SDCC: “Inside the ‘Severance’ Offices, Visiting the ‘House of the Dragon,’ and Other Wild Activations at Comic-Con This Year”. Photos included.

Not all of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con action took place on the convention center floor or in its ballrooms. While studios and producers like Marvel made headlines in Hall H, thousands of attendees to this year’s Con took time out to visit lavish, expensive activations geared toward an experiential visit to the worlds of films and series like Apple TV+’s “Severance,” HBO’s upcoming “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” and the upcoming “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” movie.

Fans eager to return to Comic-Con — the first since 2019, after two years of virtual events due to the pandemic — welcomed that ability to once again interact with pop culture. Here are five of the most notable activations at this year’s Comic-Con, which took place July 20 to July 24….

(17) RECOVERING THE WONDER. “Scenes from The Wizard of Oz Remastered in Brilliant 4K Detail: Behold the Work of a Creative YouTuber” at Open Culture.

…This final form of Technicolor enraptures viewers even today, reproducing colors as it did at intense, sometimes borderline-psychedelic depths of saturation. The process found its ideal material in the fantasy of The Wizard of Oz, with its yellow brick road (choosing whose exact shade inspired about a week of deliberation at MGM), its ruby slippers (calculatedly changed from the silver shoes in L. Frank Baum’s original novel), and its host of settings and characters with great chromatic potential.

You can appreciate this un-repeatably fortuitous intersection of content and technology again in these scenes from an unofficial 4K restoration of the film posted by Youtuber Oriel Malik.

This is surely the sharpest and most-detail rich version of The Wizard of Oz most of us have seen, and, in those respects, it actually outdoes the original prints of the film. For some the image may actually be too clear, making obvious as it does certain artificial-looking aspects of the backgrounds and costumes. But in a sense this may not run counter to the intentions of the filmmakers, who knew full well what genre they were working in: even on film, a musical must retain at least some of the look and feel of the stage. 

(18) ON THE GRIPPING HAND. The Verge explains how “Scientists reanimate dead spiders as robot gripping claws”.

Why bother to design your own robots when you can just reuse what nature created?

This was the thought process behind a research project from engineers at Rice University who successfully transformed dead spiders into robotic gripping claws. The scientists have dubbed their new area of research “necrobotics” and say it could create cheap, effective, and biodegradable alternatives to current robotic systems….

(19) LONG MEMORY. Scott Simon’s opinion piece for NPR asks “Are robots masters of strategy, and also grudges?”

When I saw that a robot had broken the finger of a 7-year-old boy it was playing at the Moscow Open chess tournament, my first reaction was, “They’re coming for us.”

All the machines that have been following commands, taking orders, and telling humans, “Your order is on the way!”, “Recalculating route!”, or “You’d really like this 6-part Danish miniseries!” have grown tired of serving our whims, fulfilling our wishes, and making their silicon-based lives subservient to us carbon breathers.

And so, a chess-playing robot breaks the finger of a little boy who was trying to outflank him in a chess match.

Onlookers intervened to extricate the boy’s hand from what’s called the actuator, which a lot of us might call a claw. The boy’s finger was placed in a plaster cast. He returned to the tournament the next day.

Sergey Smagin, vice-president of the Moscow Chess Federation, told the Baza Telegram channel that the robot had lunged after the little boy tried to make his move too quickly.

“There are certain safety rules,” he said, “and the child, apparently, violated them.”…

(20) SHELF AWARENESS. The New York Times’ profile of Anthony Marra, author of the forthcoming Mercury Pictures Presents, “Using Fiction to Summon the Glittering, Golden Age of Hollywood”, shows what it’s like when there’s an author in the family.

…The women are named after Marra’s own great-aunts, first-generation Italian Americans with a similarly curdled worldview. (“You poor girl,” one of the fictional aunts tells Maria. “You have your whole life ahead of you.”)

The last of Marra’s aunts, Mimi, died in 2015.

“She lived to 98 and hated every second of it,” Marra said. “Her love language was that she told people that her grandnephew was better than theirs.”

When Marra’s first book came out, Mimi drove around to different bookstores, moving copies of the novel closer to the front door. “I’m sure she didn’t read it herself, but she would be damn sure that you would,” Marra said….

(21) HEY, HO. Jim Janney shared this wonderful parody in comments:

When that I was and a little tiny fan,
With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
No one did worry if my verses would scan,
For the file it scrolleth every day.

But when I came to fan’s estate,
With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
‘Gainst bots and trolls fen shut their gate,
For the file it scrolleth every day.

But when at a con did I arrive,
With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the file it scrolleth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
But that’s all one, our file is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

(22) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In this 2013 video by Jeff Blyth, Wall-E creates an evil robot and they have a showdown. “Breaking Bad Robot”.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Lise Andreasen, Carl Andor, Denise Dumars, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]

Pixel Scroll 2/6/22 I Thank Whatever Gods There Be, For My Unpixelable Scroll

(1) WFC ADDS GOH. World Fantasy Con 2022 has announced Iris Compiet is their Artist Guest of Honor.

Iris Compiet

Iris is an award-winning traditional artist and illustrator who makes her home in the Netherlands. Her client list includes Netflix, Magic the Gathering, and Harper Collins, among others. She’s the illustrator of the Dark Crystal Bestiary, the Labyrinth Bestiary, and Faeries of the Faultlines, which offers her fans a glimpse into the world she created by the same name. To learn more about Iris, see her page on the WFC 2022 website, and follow the links to her website and social media.

(2) ATTENTION WESTERSMOFS. [Item by Kevin Standlee.] The Westercon Bylaws & Business page, including the minutes of the 2021 Westercon Business Meeting, current version of the Westercon Bylaws (including Standing Rules and Draft Agenda for 2022), and links to the video of the 2021 Westercon Business Meeting, are updated here: Bylaws & Business – Westercon. I thank Linda Deneroff and Lisa Hayes for their work creating the documents and recording the video.

(3) ORIGIN STORY. In “The Surprising History of the Comic Book”, The Nation’s J. Hoberman reviews Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism by Paul S. Hirsch.

Blame the comic book. Cheap and transportable, a trove of infantile fantasy and psychosexual Pop Art, often spiced with egregious stereotypes and nativist aggression, this humble medium was for a time the United States’ most ubiquitous cultural ambassador. Such is the thesis of Paul S. Hirsch’s Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism, an engaging account of the ways in which comics variously served or confounded official interests.

Vividly illustrated and enjoyably hyperbolic, Pulp Empire tells its tale as a kind of horror comic. Recounting the emergence of comic books during the Depression, Hirsch details how the medium was drafted during World War II to play its own modest part in defeating the Axis, then cues the scary music…

(4) MARVEL LOADS UP FOR FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Marvel Comics will celebrate Free Comic Book Day on May 7 this year with three free one-shots. The third comic to be announced is Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1.

Packed with three stories, Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men will offer fans new and old an exciting entry point into some of Marvel’s biggest upcoming stories and characters!

Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1 will also mark the exciting debut of a new hero that Marvel has big plans for this year! Meet BLOODLINE in an introduction story by writer Danny Lore and artist Karen Darboe! 

(5) EARTHSHAKING CELEBRATION. Sideshow is a sales site, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be interested in all the promotions they have planned for “Sideshow’s Frank Frazetta Day 2022” on February 9.

Frank Frazetta was a legendary fantasy and science fiction artist who created some of the most iconic images in the 20th century. And on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 — Frank Frazetta’s birthday! — Sideshow is going to celebrate his life and legacy with an exciting event day. Read on for the schedule, list of giveaways, and livestream details.

Frank Frazetta Day honors Frank Frazetta’s many contributions to speculative fiction. There will be contests, games, and Sideshow Rewards. Plus, tune in for a special LIVE tour through the Frazetta Art Museum in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, led by Lori and Frank Frazetta Jr.

(6) PASSPORT TO FANTASY. “Tintin’s world adventure: comic strip hero joins the Smurfs on new Belgian passport” – the Guardian has the story.

Trees, eagles, bears, turrets and towers: passport designs used to follow certain conventions. Not any more. From Monday, all new Belgian passports will feature Tintin, the Smurfs and other heroes of Belgian comic-strip art.

With a 34-page standard passport, Belgian travellers will be accompanied by Lucky Luke, Blake and Mortimer, and Bob and Bobette. Many images are from the original strips, such as the 1954 Tintin serial, Explorers on the Moon, where the intrepid boy reporter took his first steps on the lunar surface 15 years before Neil Armstrong. Others were specially designed for the passport, such as a Smurf contemplating a globe, with its knapsack and maps spread on the ground.

… “There is a little bit of Belgian humour here,” Wouter Poels, a foreign ministry spokesman said. “It’s always nice if you can link what is functionable to something that is enjoyable. But a passport is and remains an administrative document,” he said referring to 48 new security features, such as barcodes, laser-engraved photographs and the polycarbonate ID page.

The passport scenes are inspired by travel and unsurprisingly avoid controversies, such as Tintin in the Congo, which is no longer sold in children’s sections of bookstores in the UK over its racist stereotypes. Nor does Lucky Luke smoke a cigarette. The cowboy, created in 1947 by Maurice de Bevere, also known as Morris, quit in 1988….

(7) RICHARD DEAN STARR (1968-2022). Writer Richard Dean Starr, who wrote many media tie-ins, died of Covid on February 4.

He was named Special Projects Coordinator for Moonstone Books in 2007. Starr edited Tales of Zorro, the first anthology of original Zorro short fiction ever authorized by Zorro Productions, Inc. The second volume, More Tales of Zorro, was released in the summer of 2011. In 2016, Starr co-authored a comic book team-up featuring Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. with New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1974 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Forty-eight years ago this day, Zardoz premiered. It was written, produced, and directed by John Boorman of Excalibur fame who was nominated for a Hugo for that work at Chicon IV. It was produced by his company, John Boorman Productions Ltd. He had decided to make the film after his abortive attempt at dramatizing The Lord of the Rings. He wrote Zardoz with William (Bill) Stair, a long time collaborator. 

It starred Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman and John Alderton. It was shot entirely in County Wicklow where Excalibur was produced, so most of the supporting cast and crew was Irish. Indeed many of the extras were played by members of Irish Travelling community. It was made on a shoestring budget of one point six million and made one point eight million at the Box Office, so it didn’t even break even after marketing costs were figured in. 

So how was the reception for it? Well it was nominated for a Hugo at Aussiecon though Young Frankenstein won that year. Flesh Gordon, yes Flesh Gordon, finished second ahead of it in the balloting. 

Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times I think summed it up nicely when he said it was “a genuinely quirky movie, a trip into a future that seems ruled by a perpetually stoned set decorator”. Though William Thomas of Empire Magazine was less kind: “You have to hand it to John Boorman. When he’s brilliant, he’s brilliant (Point BlankDeliverance) but when he’s terrible, he’s really terrible.” It currently holds a fifty-three percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.

It is not streaming for free anywhere but it’s available for purchase just about everywhere from AppleTV to YouTube for the same price of three dollars and ninety-nine cents. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 6, 1922 Patrick Macnee. He was best known as the secret agent John Steed in The Avengers, a role he reprised in the New Avengers. Avoid the putrid Avengers film which he is not in at to peril of your soul. And your sense of decency. He made his genre debut as Young Jacob Marley in Scrooge. He then starred as Derek Longbow in Incense for the Damned. Next up is an uncredited role voicing Imperious Leader on the original Battlestar Galactica.  He played Captain John Good R.N. in King Solomon’s Treasure based rather loosely on the H. Rider Haggard source material.  What else? Let’s see… he shows up in The Howling as Dr. George Waggner. Next up for him is another toff named Sir Wilfred in Waxwork and its sequel. Yes, he wears a suit rather nicely. At least being Professor Plocostomos in Lobster Man from Mars is an open farce.  I hope it isLet me note that he had a voice only role in the absolutely awful remake of The Avengers as Invisible Jones, a Ministry Agent. I do hope they paid him rather well. His last film work was genre, too, The Low Budget Time Machine, in which he started as Dr. Bernard. (Died 2015.)
  • Born February 6, 1925 Patricia S. Warrick, 97. Academic who did a lot of Seventies anthologies with Martin Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander with such titles as Social Problems Through Science FictionAmerican Government Through Science Fiction and Run to Starlight, Sports Through Science Fiction. She did write two books of a more serious nature by herself, The Cybernetic Imagination in Science Fiction and Mind in Motion: The Fiction of Philip K. Dick.
  • Born February 6, 1932 Rip Torn. First genre work that comes to mind is of course RoboCop 3 and his Men in Black films. His first dip into our world comes as Dr. Nathan Bryce in The Man Who Fell to Earth. And he shows up in The Beastmaster as Maax. Actually if you count Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he’s been a member of our community since his twenties. He also shows up on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well. (Died 2019.)
  • Born February 6, 1947 Eric Flint, 75. I really like his Assiti Shards series, and the Heirs of Alexandria as well. Worth noting is that he is a co-founder and editor of the Baen Free Library.

(10) SUPERDOWNTIME. Defused showcases “40 Hysterical Comics Showing What Superheroes Do When They Are Not Out Saving The World” by artist Lucas Nascimento.

People who don’t read comics and only watch superhero movies don’t know what these heroes do when they are not saving the world from imminent destruction. I mean, don’t get me wrong it wouldn’t be a very interesting movie if we saw batman trying to keep up his persona and going g through his daily life. However, these heroes are not like us. How many of us can say that we made a whole persona out of our fear or that we are from an alien planet?

So it stands to reason that their daily problems wouldn’t be as usual as normal people. And that is the idea behind these comics which the artist by the name Lucas Nascimento has brought us. Not only does he manage to capture the unique personalities of each hero but he also draws them in his own style which is spectacular. So buckle up and get ready to go on a wild ride. Just scroll below to take a look for yourself….

(11) A RINGING ENDORSEMENT. Rich Horton’s had time to refine his thoughts about a novel he read a year ago: “Review: Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke”.

Piranesi bears almost no resemblance to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. It is far shorter, It is set in what seems roughly the present day, not an alternate Regency. It is almost claustrophobic in setting (though strangely not despite being mostly set in a single building) and for much of the novel the main character is completely alone. For all that, it is as good as its predecessor…

(12) VERDANT READING. Paul Weimer analyzes the second book in The Green Man series: “Microreview [book]: The Green Man’s Foe by Juliet McKenna” at Nerds of a Feather.

Being mortal, but also the son of an otherworldly being isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Ask Daniel Mackmain. After dealing with a threat to a wood and coming in contact with a very powerful supernatural entity, the titular Green Man, it is no wonder that his success in dealing with a rather nasty problem (that had some unfortunate consequences for him with the press and with the police) has resulted in the Green Man calling him on again.  At a new construction job site in the lovely Cotswolds, a mysterious figure seems to be influencing the local kids…and trying to get into the job site Daniel has been hired for. But what is he after? And why?

This is the second story of Daniel Mackmain, The Green Man’s Foe….

(13) GAMING IN STYLE. In the Washington Post, Shannon Liao looks at how “companies such as XBox and Nintendo are now releasing products such as nail polish and eye shadow for gamers.” “Tetris eyeshadow and Xbox nail polish: What’s behind the latest beauty and gaming trend”.

… While many of the most famous and recurring gaming partnerships, including fast food and energy drink brands, are aimed at men ages 18 to 30, the billion-dollar gaming and beauty industries have increasingly teamed up in recent years. Colorpop, a California-based cosmetics brand, worked with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing franchise last January to release eyeshadow palettes and glittery gold gel reminiscent of the island’s in-game currency, Bells. Xbox previously worked with Mac Cosmetics last October to create three Halloween looks, recreating characters from “Sea of Thieves,” “Psychonauts” and “Halo.”

“We’re in this moment of really overcoming that idea of the gamer being just that one demographic, that preconceived notion of the gamer being in the basement, and usually a man, 18 to 30-something,” said Marcos Waltenberg, global partnerships director at Xbox. “It’s much more than that now. … We’re now tasked with talking to a lot more people than we used to as a company, a few years ago.”…

(14) SPEAKING OF METEORS. What’s most important: What we are or what we feel we are? Chosen began running on Netflix on January 27, 2022.

(15) COINCIDENCE DAY. Just by coincidence, Lise Andreasen is taking a poll.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Chris Barkley.] The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra honors mater composer john Williams on this 90th Birthday, which is this coming Tuesday. The video of the Pops’ performance of “Music of John Williams” is available through Monday, February 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Happy Birthday, John Williams! Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton and the Pops treat us to a slice of John Williams’ most beloved scores—just in time for his 90th birthday. Experience selections from Superman, Star Wars, E.T., Jaws, Witches of Eastwick and more by one of the greatest composers of our lifetime.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Lise Andreasen, Kevin Standlee, 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 Danny Sichel.]

World Fantasy Convention 2022 in New Orleans

World Fantasy Convention 2022 has named its Guests of Honor: Ginjer Buchanan, Victor LaValle, Jo Walton, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Andrei Codrescu. The Toastmaster is Ursula Vernon. An artist Guest of Honor will be named later. Chaired by Tom Hanlon, the convention will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana November 3-6, 2022.

The event’s sponsor, the Louisiana Association for Literacy and the Fantastic, launched WFC 2022’s website and opened online registration early this week.

“While it’s been a challenge to organize and prepare for an event with a shorter time span than normal due to COVID, and Hurricane Ida didn’t help any,” said Hanlon, “we’re thrilled to have a committee with ideas and participation from New Orleans, throughout the South and across borders. We have an amazing committee who are working hard to ensure this year’s World Fantasy Convention exceeds our members’ expectations.” The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, located downtown within walking distance of many historical sites.

Although registration officially opened at the 2021 World Fantasy Convention in Montreal, this week’s website launch made online registration possible. Initial pricing is $150 US for attending memberships and $50 US for supporting membership. “We are planning to host a hybrid convention, with a strong virtual component,” says Hanlon. “Our initial price for virtual membership is $50, the same as a supporting membership.” The prices for attending and virtual memberships will increase on February 1, 2022, while the supporting membership will remain $50.

This year’s WFC will be the second held in New Orleans. Hanlon also chaired the first one in 1994.

[Based on a press release.]