Pixel Scroll 1/16/20 Maybe My Flubber Car Only Needed One Coat Of Anti-Gravity Paint After I Redid The Suspension Using Cavorite

I think the title is going to be longer than today’s Scroll. It’sbeen a busy day!

(1) YOUR EYEBALLS HAVE BEEN SPARED. Foz Meadows saw it soyou don’t have to — “TomHooper’s Cats: A Study In Vogon Poetry”.

I’m not putting a spoiler tag on this. It’s fucking Cats. Get a grip.

I saw Cats today. Voluntarily. On purpose. It’s important you know that I wasn’t coerced in any way, nor was the friend who accompanied me. Of our own free will, being of sound mind and body, we exchanged real human money for the experience of seeing Tom Hooper’s Cats on the big screen, in the company of other real human strangers. Not that our session was packed – aside from the two of us, there were only five other people in attendance, all older to middle-aged women – but the two ladies sitting near us not only cried during Jennifer Hudson’s bifurcated rendition of Memory (more of which shortly), but applauded during the credits. Their happy reactions, audible in the theatre’s yawning silence, added a further layer of unreality to what was already a surreal and vaguely disturbing experience, but once we emerged in the aftermath, stunned and blinking like newborn animals, their enjoyment helped us cobble together a theory about who, exactly, Cats is for – if such a film can truly be said to be for anyone….

(2) CHATTERJEE Q&A. Joseph Hurtgen recently interviewed Indian sffauthor Rimi Chatterjee for Rapid Transmission. Born in Belfast, UnitedKingdom and now teaching and writing in India, “Chatterjee offers economic andcultural perspectives that Westerners need to hear,” says Hurtgen. “The wonderof science fiction is that science and human conflict are universal languages.By embracing non-Western culture and non-Western SF, we discover more aboutourselves.” “RimiChatterjee: Love and Knowledge and Yellow Karma”.

RT: I read recently that William Gibson will look at the news, realize the book he’s working on is already outdated, and then revise accordingly. One particularly arresting intervention was the destruction of the World Trade centers, which he decided to include in his book Pattern Recognition–published 2003, though he was writing it in 2001. Does the pace of our 24-hour news cycle with its grim depiction of a world headed to WWIII and continent wide fires ever cause you to revise your stories?

RC: Mostly it’s the other way round: the universe treads on my heels. For instance a lot of the story of Bitch Wars is set in Malaysia in a fictional place called KL City (which has a slum called Climate Town where climate refugees or Climies live). So I was researching the 1MDB scandal for background, and the next day I open YouTube and Hasan Minhaj has done an episode of Patriot Act on Jho Low, Goldman Sachs and the whole sorry mess. I’m like: dude o_O.

(3) PEACOCK STREAMING. “All Your Favorite Stars Are Coming to NBC’s StreamingService Soon”GQ fills you in. We’ll excerpt the part that’sgenre —

…The other series that’s based on an established IP also has a very loyal, even more niche audience is The Adventure Zone. Based on a podcast of the same name from the McElroy Brothers, who also host the comedy podcast My Brother, My Brother, and Me, The Adventure Zone is a comedy fantasy adventure using the rules of Dungeons & Dragons. There is already a comic book adaptation of the series.

The Adventure Zone is a side-splitting and heart-filled fantasy animated comedy series that follows an unlikely, poorly equipped trio and their beleaguered Dungeon Master as they reluctantly embark on a quest to save their world,” reads the official synopsis.

(4) BETTER THAN A BOOK BOMB. In the Hindustan Times:“Bookstorefails to sell books, Neil Gaiman seeks Twitter’s help. This is how theyoblige”.  

Two days back, on January 15, Petersfield Bookshop took to Twitter to share an image and a sad incident. “Not a single book sold today… ?0.00… We think this maybe the first time ever,” the store wrote. “We know its miserable out but if you’d like to help us out please find our Abebooks offering below, all at 25% off at the moment,” they added. Along with the post, they also shared pictures of the empty bookstore.

The bookstore’s tweet captured people’s attention when fantasy and science fiction author Neil Gaiman retweeted it. In the caption, he urged Twitter to come together and do something good. “In these dark days it’s wonderful to see Twitter doing something good!” wrote Gaiman.

People answered the call and orders came flooding in from different corners of the world. In fact, the store ended up receiving ?1,000 worth of orders overnight with many waiting to purchase more. The store also shared a tweet to give an update on the situation.

(5) FAST START. BBC welcomes us to “Meetthe NASA intern who discovered a new planet on his third day”. And notjust a planet, but one orbiting two stars, as in Star Wars.

As far as impressing your potential new boss goes, discovering a planet on day three of your internship at NASA is up there.

That’s what happened to 17-year-old Wolf Cukier while helping out at the space agency in the United States.

He was checking images from its super-strength satellite when he noticed something strange.

It turned out to be a new planet, 1,300 light years away from Earth. News just confirmed by NASA.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • January 16, 1963 Walt Disney’s Son Of Flubber premiered. Yes, it’s SF. Comedy SF we grant you but SF none-the-less.?Sequel to the Disney science fiction comedy film The Absent-Minded Professor, it starred ?Fred MacMurray of My Three Sons fame. It was directed by Robert Stevenson. A colorized version would be released in 1997. ?It was a box office success earning back three times what it cost to produce, but critics didn’t like nearly as much as they liked?The Absent-Minded Professor. Reviewers currently at?Rotten Tomatoes give it a 86% rating.?
  • January 16, 1995 ?— Star Trek: Voyager premiered on UPN. ?It would last for seven years and one hundred and seventy-two episodes, making it the longest running Trek series to date. Starring a very large cast that all of all you know by heart by now. It’s interesting that it would never make the final Hugo ballot for Best Dramatic Presentation, the only Trek show to date not to so. It rates very high at Rotten Tomatoes, garnering a mid-seventies rating from critics and viewers alike.?
  • January 16, 2015 — On Syfy, the Twelve Monkeys series debuted. It was by created by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, and it riffs loosely off Gilliam’s film and the original French short film Gilliam based his film on, La Jetée . We are not going to detail the cast as the four-season run lasting forty-seven episodes saw significant cast changes. Reception for the most part, excepting Gilliam, was positive. Ratings at Rotten Tomatoes are over 90% but we caution that less than a hundred individuals have expressed their opinion during its four-year run.?

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 16, 1887 John Hamilton. He’s no doubt remembered best for his role as Perry White in the Fifties Adventures of Superman series. He also was in the Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe serial as Professor Gordon, and I see he played G.F. Hillman in the Forties Captain America serial film.?(Died 1958.)
  • Born January 16, 1905 Festus Pragnell. Ok, he’s here not because he had all that a distinguished a career as a writer or illustrator, but because of the charming story one fan left us of his encounter with him which you can read here. Festus himself wrote but three novels (The Green Man of Kilsona, The Green Man of Graypec, and The Terror from Timorkal), plus the wrote a series of stories about Don Hargreaves’ adventures on Mars. Be prepared to pay dearly if you want to read him as he’s not made it into the digital age and exists mostly in the original Amazing Stories only. (Died 1977.)
  • Born January 16, 1948 John Carpenter, 72. My favorite films by him??Big Trouble in Little China and?Escape from New York. ?His gems include the Halloween franchise, The Thing, Starman?(simply wonderful), ?The Philadelphia Experiment,?Ghosts of Mars and many other films. What do you consider him to have done that you like, or don’t like fir that matter? I’m not fond of Escape from L.A. as I keep comparing to the stellar popcorn film that the previous Escape film is.
  • Born January 16, 1970 Garth Ennis, 50. Comic writer who’s no doubt best known for Preacher which he did with illustrator Steve Dillon, and his stellar nine-year run on the Punisher franchise. I’m very fond of his work on Judge Dredd which is extensive, and his time spent scripting Etrigan the Demon For DC back in the mid Nineties.?
  • Born January 16, 1974 Kate Moss, 46. Yes she’s done SF. To be precise Black Adder which we discussed a bit earlier. She played Maid Marian in “Blackadder Back & Forth” in which as IMDB puts it “At a New Millennium Eve party, Blackadder and Baldrick test their new time machine and ping pong through history encountering famous characters and changing events rather alarmingly.” You can watch it here.
  • Born January 16, 1976 Eva Habermann, ?44. She is best known for playing the role of Zev Bellringer on Lexx. She was succeeded in her role by Xenia Seeberg. Ok, I’ll confess that I’ve never seen the series which I know exists in both R and not so R versions. Who here has seen it in either form? She was also?Ens. Johanna Pressler in?Star Command, a pilot that wasn’t to be a series that was written by Melinda Snodgrass. And she had a role in the?Code Name: Eternity series as Dr. Rosalind Steiner.

(8) SPECIALSHROOMS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] At first glance, it doeskinda sound like mushrooms were involved. A very special kind ofmushrooms. 

Futurism: “NASA Wants to Grow a Moon Base Out of Mushrooms”

NASA scientists are exploring a peculiar strategy for building a Moon base and other off-world structures: growing them onsite out of living mushrooms.

The space agency first considered the possibility of fungal space habitats in 2018, but now scientists are conducting tests to determine how well mycelia fungus might grow in Martian soil, Space.com reports. If the research pans out, it would allow future astronauts to construct off-world settlements without needing to carry expensive, heavy building materials with them all the way from Earth — a game-changer in the plan to colonize space….

PS: Technically the structures would not be built outof living mushrooms… The shrooms would take nutrients from the Lunar (orMartian) soil, then the biomass would be heat treated to convert it intobuilding material.

(9) THE THIGH BONE CONNECTS TO THE INTERNET BONE. Slate’s“Future Tense” features “TheEthical Dilemmas Surrounding 3D-Printed Human Bones”.

Ten years ago, it wasn’t possible for most people to use 3D technology to print authentic copies of human bones. Today, using a 3D printer and digital scans of actual bones, it is possible to create unlimited numbers of replica bones—each curve and break and tiny imperfection intact—relatively inexpensively. The technology is increasingly allowing researchers to build repositories of bone data, which they can use to improve medical procedures, map how humans have evolved, and even help show a courtroom how someone died.

But the proliferation of faux bones also poses an ethical dilemma—and one that, prior to the advent of accessible 3D printing, was mostly limited to museum collections containing skeletons of dubious provenance. Laws governing how real human remains of any kind may be obtained and used for research, after all—as well as whether individuals can buy and sell such remains— are already uneven worldwide. Add to that the new ability to traffic in digital data representing these remains, and the ethical minefield becomes infinitely more fraught. “When someone downloads these skulls and reconstructs them,” says Ericka L’Abbé, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, “it becomes their data, their property.”

(10) FUTURE HISTORY HAPPENS. James Davis Nicoll got Tor.comreaders excited about “5Thrilling Tales of Deadly Nuclear Reactors”. Or maybe it was him nukingHeinlein.

“Blowups Happen” is set in Robert A. Heinlein’s Future History. Rising demand for energy justifies the construction of a cutting-edge nuclear reactor. There is little leeway between normal operation and atomic explodageddon, which puts a lot of pressure on the power plant’s operators. A work environment that requires flawless performances—lest a moment’s inattention blow a state off the map—results in significant mental health challenges for the workforce. How to keep the workers focused on their task without breaking them in the process?

This story dates from what we might think of as the Folsom point era of nuclear energy… No, wait, that’s unfair to Folsom points, which are sophisticated hi-tech, really. This was the era when the atomic version of fire-hardened spear points was still on the drawing board. Hence Heinlein can be forgiven for getting essentially every detail about nuclear power wrong. What wasn’t clear to me was how a power plant composed of pure atomic explodium got licensed in the first place. Perhaps it was because this nonchalant attitude towards safety infuses the whole of the Future History. Just ask Rhysling.

(11) CLOSE DOWN. “Twitter apologises for letting ads target neo-Nazis andbigots”.

Twitter has apologised for allowing adverts to be micro-targeted at certain users such as neo-Nazis, homophobes and other hate groups.

The BBC discovered the issue and that prompted the tech firm to act.

Our investigation found it possible to target users who had shown an interest in keywords including “transphobic”, “white supremacists” and “anti-gay”.

Twitter allows ads to be directed at users who have posted about or searched for specific topics.

But the firm has now said it is sorry for failing to exclude discriminatory terms.

Anti-hate charities had raised concerns that the US tech company’s advertising platform could have been used to spread intolerance.

(12) WHO’S NOT BOND. “JamesBond: Barbara Broccoli says character ‘will remain male'” – BBC isshaken but not stirred.

The producer of the James Bond films has ruled out making the character female after Daniel Craig’s departure.

No Time To Die, which will be released in April, marks Craig’s final outing as 007, and his replacement has not yet been announced.

“James Bond can be of any colour, but he is male,” producer Barbara Broccoli told Variety.

“I believe we should be creating new characters for women – strong female characters.

“I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”

The forthcoming Bond film will see actress Lashana Lynch play a female 00 agent after Craig’s Bond has left active service.

Lynch was seen in character for the first time in the trailer, reigniting the conversation about whether James Bond himself could be re-cast as a woman for the next film.

Broccoli oversees the franchise with her half-brother Michael G Wilson. “For better or worse, we are the custodians of this character,” she said. “We take that responsibility seriously.”

(13) NOT SO PRIMITIVE. We keep finding we underestimated past versions of humans;now the BBC reports that “Neanderthals‘dived in the ocean’ for shellfish”

New data suggests that our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals may have been diving under the ocean for clams.

It adds to mounting evidence that the old picture of these anciClam shells that wash up on beaches can be distinguished from those that are still live when they’re gathered.ent people as brutish and unimaginative is wrong.

Until now, there had been little clear evidence that Neanderthals were swimmers.

But a team of researchers who analysed shells from a cave in Italy said that some must have been gathered from the seafloor by Neanderthals.

The findings have been published in the journal Plos One.

The Neanderthals living at Grotta dei Moscerini in the Latium region around 90,000 years ago were shaping the clam shells into sharp tools.

Paolo Villa, from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and colleagues, analysed 171 such tools, which all came from a local species of mollusc called the smooth clam (Callista chione). The tools were excavated by archaeologists at the end of the 1940s.

Clam shells that wash up on beaches can be distinguished from those that are still live when they’re gathered.

[Thanks to Contrarius, John King Tarpinian, Nina, Martin MorseWooster, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, N., and JJ for some ofthese stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day DanielDern.]

Superman Comic Strip Debuted

By Cat Eldridge: On this day in 1939, the Supermancomic strip appeared for readers for the very first time.  Let metell about it as it’s a fascinating story. It began on this date, and aseparate Sunday strip was added on November 5, 1939. Both of the strips rancontinuously without an interruption until May 1966. In 1941, the McClureSyndicate which controlled its distribution had placed the strip in hundreds ofnewspapers. The Syndicate says that some three hundred papers with twentymillion readers had access to the strip at its peak.

Setting aside the numbers,let’s turn to who created it. Joe Shuster was the initial artist but within afew years, he had turned over those duties to his bullpen including Paul Cassidy,Leo Neowik and JerrySiegel who were among the first and Bill Finger would be the last to doit before it ceased in the Sixties. 

Siegel wrote them beforehe was drafted in 1943. Whitney Ellsworth, who had begun working on the stripin 1941, did them for four years. Jack Schiff began his writing on the strip in1942 and worked on the strip off and on until 1962. Alvin Schwartz firststarted writing on it in 1944, and he continued on the strip more or less until1958. Finger and Sebel finished off writing it in the last several years.

The strip had a number offirsts including the telephone booth costume change, the appearanceof a bald Lex Luthor, and the appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk. 

Superman: The CompleteComic Strips 1939-1966 is anunofficial name for the strips now in exquisite hardcover collections publishedby The Library of American Comics. 

Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020)

Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien and the last of the Inklings, died January 15 at the age of 95 the New York Times reports.

For nearly 50 years after his father passed away in 1973, Christophercontinued to edit and publish his father’s unfinished manuscripts, givingJ.R.R. Tolkien’s literary output the benefit of two lifetimes’ work. Christopherassembled from pieces the epic Middle-Earth predecessor to Lord of the Rings,melding them into The Silmarillion (1977). Inall, he edited or oversaw the publication of two dozen editions of his father’sworks, many of which became international best sellers.

Alongthe way he produced 12 volumes of The History of Middle-earth, acompilation of drafts, fragments, rewrites, marginal notes and other writings thatshowed the evolution of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium.

Christopher is also credited with creating the acclaimed 1954 map of Middle-earth.

DuringWorld War II, when Christopher was serving with the Royal Air Force in SouthAfrica, his father mailed him parts of The Lord of the Rings for commentand editing.

After the war he studied English at Trinity College,Oxford, taking his BA in1949 and his B.Litta few years later. He becamea lecturer in Old and Middle English as well as Old Icelandic at the Universityof Oxford. 

In 1945, he became the youngest member of the Inklings, a circle of Oxford writers and scholars started in the Thirties by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others, who met weekly in Lewis’s college rooms. Christopher was told in a letter from his father that the Inklings proposed to consider him “a permanent member, with right of entry and what not quite independent of my presence or otherwise.”

Dr. Diana Glyer, author of twobooks about the Inklings, including TheCompany They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community, mournedhis passing:

I must refer now to all the Inklings in past tense; the last of them has died. I met Christopher Tolkien, talked with him, corresponded from time to time. I have devoted my life to studying the Inklings. Today, they have slipped from solid, real, and tangible into the past, beyond reach. I no longer have the privilege of studying what is, only what was. Everything has changed.

J.R.R. Tolkien biographer John Garth ended his Facebook announcementof Christopher’s death with this fitting quote from the end of Lord of theRings:

“Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

Christopher is survived by his secondwife, Baillie, his sister Priscilla, and three children, Simon,Adam and Rachel.

Glasgow 2024 Weekend Meeting

[The Glasgow 2024 team had their initial team meetings and social gatherings in Glasgow this past weekend, and James Bacon has sent us a thorough write-up.]

By James Bacon: It was lovely to be back inGlasgow, amongst fans, looking at the Scottish Exhibition Campus (formerly theSECC) and being welcomed and to the city which held two Worldconspreviously. 

It issuch a wonderful city and I was impressed to find that there are now tours ofGlasgow Central Station going underground, overground and so forth in properhard hats (glasgowcentraltours.co.uk).I paused to look around the Central Hotel which has changed so much since theMoscow 2017 bid with their incredible amount of vodkas tempting fans to supporttheir efforts in 1995. The view from the bar in the hotel which has hostedEastercons, Albacon of course, and those parties in 1995 looking out over thebusy station is lovely. 

Imade my way to the new Forbidden Planet, in its new premises on Sauchiehall St,it is very large, and I was stunned by how many new comics they stocked. It wasa vast amount. The shop is spread over two floors, and I was pleasantly engagedby some staff, which was helpful. Also on my list to get to were Thistle Books,Caledonia Books, the Voltaire & Rousseau Bookshop  and City Comics.All four not far north from the area of the SEC. 

The walk from the city to the SEC has changed, The Anderston‘bridge to nowhere’  Footbridge which I spent a lot of time contemplatingin 1995, in its unexpected glory leading to the sky, and of course the IainBanks Espedair Street reference. The area around the SEC has developed mightilyalso, The RadisonRed hotel, now one of six hotels in the immediate area (and two more are beingbuilt.) has a fabulous interior. All of the 174rooms and public spaces have wallpaper designed by legendary Glasgow comicartist Frank Quitely, depicting scenes in a beautiful style. 

EstherMacCallum-Stewart had announced at Novacon in 2015 that a team wereinvestigating Worldcon venues in the UK, concurrently with the practical visitsand analysis, presentations at Eastercon Smofcons and Novacons, fans were asked— Where would they like to go? — and Glasgow was overwhelmingly the mostpopular choice of city. The selection process came to fruition in 2019 when itwas announced at Eastercon that the SEC was the venue that the team would lookto bid for the 2024 Worldcon. At Dublin 2019 Lewis Hou and the Science Ceilidh(https://www.scienceceilidh.com/) had stolen the show, and it was a bold move to bring over the band fromScotland, which along with their parties and continual table work, saw over 600people pre-supporting the Glasgow 2024 bid. 

Itwas nice to walk into the SEC, to contemplate the venue. Mike, it’s a feckinglifetime ago since I was an Area Head here in Glasgow, at a Worldcon, but it isa great venue and it feels so nice to be here. The SEC welcomed the bid andhosted these meetings. Signage throughout the venue was adorned with the 2024Logo and Space Field, both by Sara Felix. 

Wewere joined by Jennifer Roddie of the SEC and Aileen Crawford of the GlasgowConvention Bureau. Aileen has worked with us on the previous Worldcons atGlasgow and as there have been several changes to the venue since it was lastused it was a good opportunity for everyone to see it for the first time or with fresh eyes.

Thetour was lovely but there have been many changes, technology is now much moreprevalent, the area on the mezzanine has been developed into a meeting academy,with what was a restaurant now a very nice 400-seater room and soft furnishingsin the common area. Space is of course a fair question. Worldcons are popular.London, Helsinki, and Dublin have demonstrated that there is more interest fromfans.

It istoo early to make assumptions of what exactly space will be used for, but whatis interesting is that Mark Meenan had already spent considerable time on thematter, thinking about new programme space, and shared the concept of having a1,500-seater Second Stage in Hall 2, a 400-seater programme space in Hall1 and the addition of M1 with its 400 seats and taking ideas that worked well,such as the giant Gaming Marquee that held the successful gaming at Loncon 3.With eight hotels now in the immediate vicinity, there are also so many moreoptions on smaller workshop type spaces, and of course the Armadillo, which hashad a refresh since I was last in it, will be used the full five days. I admitI found all this very exciting… and we even found a throne for Esther.

Thevision for the convention was then worked through, teams using word associationand short tasks to come up with ideas and thoughts, which were presented back.Marguerite Smith did a very good job of getting everyone thinking andcontemplating what they want and hope for and with a quick and energisedapproach we were soon vectoring in on tangible elements and tasks. Timeline,budget, and recruitment were all important items on the agenda for the weekend,and Marguerite took the lead and managed the 20+ people present. 

MegMacDonald and Matt Calvert were announced as the leads for the Bid Promotionsteam, beautifully choreographed just in time to question the task-based ideasthat came from the Promotions Brainstorming sessions, again managed byMarguerite, but here the new leads got to engage directly and explore new ideasand established strategies. 

Welcomingnew fans was something that was recognised as being very important, and it wasnot lost on me that in 2013, some seven years ago, Esther walked in to a Loncon3 staff meeting a new volunteer herself, and was in charge of multiple areas bythe time the convention occurred, went on to be a successful Division Head forDublin and is now Bid Chair. Although Esther did go to Conspiracy in 1987,possibly by accident. Marguerite was part of the Valley Forge NASFiC bid, andin early 2016 joined the Dublin team as a volunteer, was soon promoted toDeputy Division head and then onto DH for promotions. Other fans in the room,who had only volunteered for Dublin were now looking at more senior roles. Itwas amazing to think that one of the participants in the room, had been ayoungster at YAFA* in 2005 and was now making a very important contribution.The doors are open, and fans are coming in. There were also Albacon, Eastercon,Satellite, Worldcon staff and chairs all adding experience as well as thosebringing skills from outside fandom to the conversations. 

Itwas good fun there was a dynamism and energy to the weekend that was reallynice. Esther has sought out and found fans who are so excited with the prospectof a Glasgow Worldcon and keen to help and it was good to be brought togetherto chat and catch up. 

Bothevenings, drinking and chatting took place. The bar was rammed on Saturday, andBowmore 12 year old proved very popular.  A cracking good weekend. I’ll beback up for a comic book swap meet event in March and then Satellite 7 in May.(https://seven.satellitex.org.uk/)

*YoungAdult Fun Activities at Interaction the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon.

Clarkesworld’s Statement About Fall Story

Neil Clarke, Publisher of Clarkesworld, today posted in “About the Story by Isabel Fall” an extended statement dealing with the response to the work, especially on Twitter. (See overview: “Clarkesworld Removes Isabel Fall Story”.)

The concluding paragraphs are:

…Going forward, we will bear these lessons in mind, and hopefully we will become better at fulfilling our responsibilities to our authors, and to our readers.

In the meantime I offer my sincere apologies to those who were hurt by the story or the ensuing storms. While our lives have likely been quite different, I do understand what it is like to be bullied and harassed for an extended period of time. I can empathize, even if I can’t fully understand life in your shoes.

I have also privately apologized to Isabel. She has chosen to sign over her payment for this story to Trans Lifeline, “a non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis—for the trans community, by the trans community.” They have been a vital resource for her and inspired by her actions, I have decided to match the gift.

Through the course of these events, I’ve encountered many deeply personal stories from readers and authors. I’d like to thank those people for sharing and providing many of us with further opportunities to learn from their experiences. Aside from getting to know Isabel, that has been the high point of this experience. I wish you all the best and appreciate you taking the time to share….

Wandering Through the Public Domain #26

A regular exploration of public domain genre work availablethrough ProjectGutenberg, Internet Archive,and Librivox.

By Colleen McMahon:

Itook a hiatus for the holiday season but I’m back and ready to dig into somemore of the public domain treasures out there for fans of old-time sciencefiction, fantasy, and horror.

Sincethe new Robert Downey Jr. version of Dolittle is coming out this week, Ithought it might be a good time to take a look at Hugh Lofting, the originatorof the Dr. Dolittle character and stories.

HughLofting(1886-1947) didn’t set out to be a writer. Born in Berkshire, England, hestudied civil engineering at MIT and London Polytechnic and spent several yearstraveling the world doing engineering work. When World War I began, he enlistedand served in France for several years before being wounded and invalided out.

Thecharacter of Doctor Dolittle, a Victorian physician who can talk to animals andministers to them instead of humans, originated in the trenches during the war.Lofting later explained that his actual experiences were either too horrible ortoo dull to include in letters home to his children, so he began writingstories about Dolittle and illustrating them with pen-and-ink line drawingsinstead.

Hecollected those stories into his first book, The Story of Doctor Dolittle,which was published in 1920 to immediate acclaim. He wrote seven more Dolittlebooks between 1920 and 1928, when he tried to end the series by sending DoctorDolittle off planet in Doctor Dolittle in the Moon

Populardemand led him to write four more Dolittle books in the 1930s and 1940s, andtwo additional collections were published posthumously in the 1950s. He alsowrote several works for children that were not in the Dolittle series, and abook-length anti-war poem called Victory for the Slain, published in1942.

Thefirst few Doctor Dolittle books are in the public domain now and are availableat Project Gutenberg:

DoctorDolittle’s Circus waspublished in 1924 and thus entered the public domain in the United States onJanuary 1 of this year. It will likely be released by Project Gutenberg in thenext few months.

Anon-Dolittle picture book, The Story ofMrs. Tubbs, wasalso published in 1923 and is on Internet Archive.

Librivox has multiple versions of TheStory of Doctor Dolittle and The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle,including dramatic readings (where different volunteers voice the variouscharacters) of both. Two versions of Doctor Dolittle’s Post Office are inprogress, a solo version and a dramatic reading, and will be released in thenext few months.

ClarkAshton Smith(1893-1961) came up in the birthday lists this week. He’s best remembered nowas a fiction writer — one of the “Big Three” of the early years of WeirdTales (the other two being H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard), but hebegan his writing career as a poet.

ProjectGutenberg has two volumes of poetry by Clark Ashton Smith:

Ebonyand Crystalcontains a long blank-verse poem called “The Hashish Eater, or the Apocalypseof Evil”. This poem caught Lovecraft’s attention and his fan letter to Smithinitiated years of correspondence and collaboration. 

Thispoem and nineteen other works are included in a recent Librivox release, Lovecraft’sInfluences and Favorites. The compilation was inspired by Lovecraft’s 1927 essay,“Supernatural Horror in Literature”, and collects the stories and poemsLovecraft mentions, from Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” to “Seaton’s Aunt”by Walter de la Mare.

RonGoulart(1933- ) shares his birthday with Clark Ashton Smith, and is represented atProject Gutenberg by three short stories:

Noneof these have been recorded for Librivox yet.

RecentLibrivox releases:

  • TheClockwork Man by E.V.Odle (1890-1942)

    In the future, people will be fitted with clockwork devices in theirheads which, among other things, allows them to travel through time. Well,it seems one of these devices has frizzed-out, and a Clockwork man appearsin the middle of a cricket match in 1923. The Clockwork Man by E.V. Odleis believed to be the first instance of a human-machine cyborg appearingin literature.

  • The Kingof Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany (1878-1957)

    This is a 1924 fantasy novel by Anglo-Irish writer Lord Dunsany, whichbecame public domain in January 2020. It is widely recognized as one ofthe most acclaimed works in all of fantasy literature. Highly influentialupon the fantasy genre as a whole, the novel was particularly formative inthe subgenres of “fairytale fantasy” and “highfantasy”. And yet, it deals always with the truth: the power of love,the allure of nature, the yearning for contentment, the desire for fame,the quest for immortality, and the lure and the fear of magic. Arthur C.Clarke said this novel helped cement Dunsany as “one of the greatestwriters of this century”.

  • Crossings:A Fairy Play by Walterde la Mare (1873-1956)

    Under the terms of a will, the Wildersham children have to relocatefrom the family house in the city to “Crossings” in the country,and to spend the first fortnight alone fending for themselves in thehouse. The children encounter interesting country neighbors, includingghosts and fairies. Or are they dreaming? Walter De La Mare was a poet,and we have a number of his poems available at Librivox. This is his onlyplay.

  • ThePhantom Death and Other Stories by William Clark Russell (1844-1911)

    This is a book of remarkable nautical ghost and horror stories writtenby William Clark Russell in 1893. The stories are for the most part set onships and bring the reader on board for ghostly nights, wonderful sights,and strange occurrences.

Pixel Scroll 1/15/20 This Pixel Has Been Approved For Scrolling Before All Audiences

(1) BIG CHOICES. “TheBig Idea: Kameron Hurley” at Whatever.

…When I began writing my Worldbreaker Saga back in 2012, which begins with the novel The Mirror Empire, I too was obsessed with this idea of two choices: the light and the dark. I was writing fantasy, after all! While my protagonists might be morally messy early on, I always knew I was headed for a showdown where they had two choices: good or evil. Genocidal or self-sacrificing.

But it was a false choice.

And it literally took me years to realize this.

At some level I must have understood I was setting up a false choice as I finished the second volume, Empire Ascendant, and began the grueling process of tying everything up in the third and final book, The Broken Heavens. Emotionally, I was rebelling against my own embrace of these false choices, because no matter how many times I tried to get myself to write the ending I had in mind at the beginning of the series, it just never felt… right.

(2) BASE RUMORS. CoNZealand has extended the deadline forentering the Hugo base design competition until January 31.

If you were thinking of entering the competition to design bases for the 2020 Hugo Awards and 1945 Retro Hugos, you’re in luck. The deadline for entries has been extended until 31st January 2020 (from the original deadline of 17th January).

Read more about the design contest.

Read more about the Hugo Awards.

(3) SCREAM QUIETLY. Paramount dropped atrailer for A Quiet Place II.

Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

(4) THEY HAVE ISSUES. Daily Grail spotlights fantasyhistory in “HiddenJewels in ‘The Garden of Orchids’: The Esoteric Content of an Early FantasyMagazine”.

For a long time Weird Tales (probably best known for short stories by H.P. Lovecraft, Robert. E. Howard, and later Ray Bradbury) was seen as the first fantastical magazine, publishing science fiction, weird fiction and horror. That history has been revised over the past few years. Der Orchideengarten (in English, The Garden of Orchids) was a Munich-based magazine first published in 1919, predating the better known American magazine by several years, and is now acknowledged as the first fantasy magazine (archived digitally here).

Only published until 1921 Der Orchideengarten is somewhat overshadowed by its better known, and more mainstream, Munich-based contemporaries, Jugend and Simplissicimus, yet the breadth of stories and unsettling art is worth looking at.

(5) WOLFMAN. One of the many cameos in CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths “Part 5” was the real Marv Wolfman, who co-wrote the original Crisis on Infinite Earths mini-series which was published by DC Comics in 1985-1986. CBR.com has the dialog, from when Marv, playing a fan, stops Supergirl and The Flash to ask for their autographs.

“Wait, you know both of us?” Kara asks. “And it’s normal to see us together?” Barry adds.

“Well, normally, you’d also have Green Arrow and a Legend or two,” Wolfman explains. “Last year, even Batwoman joined in.” He points to the folder. “Would you make that out to Marv? Thank you!”

“You’re welcome,” Barry says as he scribbles. “Marv, as far as you know, how long have Supergirl and I and all the rest of us been working together on this Earth?”

“Uh, since forever!” Wolfman answers.

(6) LAST TRUMP. The LA Times’ Mark Swed reviews anopera: “KingArthur meets Trump and Superman in Long Beach “.

…Meanwhile, Long Beach Opera, as ever priding itself with radically rethinking repertory, has done a full refashioning of the first great “King Arthur” opera (there aren’t many, but Chausson’s “Le Roi Arthus” is a neglected beauty). Arthur here becomes the comic book delusional fantasy of a pudgy, narcissistic, emigrant-phobic politico requiring psychiatric treatment.

…Arthur King is a patient at Camelot O’Neil, a behavioral residence mental health unit. His sexy nurse is Gwen E. Veer. His buddy is another patient, Lance E. Lott. Doc Oswald runs the dubious joint.

Mitisek then takes apart the opera, adapting Purcell’s music to fit new circumstances and a completely new theatrical structure. His cutup rearranges, revises, reorders and reduces Purcell’s score. The occasional Dryden line is retained, but much of the sung text is new. Five acts become a single uninterrupted one under two hours.

Our schlumpy, Trumpian Arthur thinks he can save the world from aliens. He can be ridiculously pompous, Drydenesque even. He can also be sympathetically vulnerable.

(7) MAISEL MASHUP. Marvel’sMrs. Maisel: Rachel Brosnahan Enters theMarvel Universe on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • January 15, 2010 — Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold‘s?The Lovely Bones novel premiered. ?It starred starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, and Saoirse Ronan. The screenplay was by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson. Although Ronan and Tucci were praised for their performances, it received mixed reviews from critics. It has a 32% rating at Rotten Tomatoes by reviewers.
  • January 15, 2008 File 770 blog makes its first post. Happy birthday to us!

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 15, 1879 Ernest ?Thesiger. He’s here because of his performance as Doctor Septimus Pretorius in James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein. He had a major role in Hitchcock’s not completed and now lost Number 13 (or Mrs. Peabody) which is even genre adjacent. He was also in The Ghoul which was an early Boris Karloff film. And he continued to show up in SFF films such as The Ghosts of Berkeley Square where he was Dr. Cruickshank of Psychical Research Society. (Died 1961.)
  • Born January 15, 1913 Lloyd Bridges. Though I’m reasonably sure?Secret Agent X-9, a?1945 serial, isn’t genre,?I’m listing it anyways because I’m impressed with it — it was based on a?comic strip by Dashiell Hammett, Leslie Charteris and others. He’s the Pilot?Col. Floyd Graham in?Rocketship X-M,?Dr. Doug Standish In Around the World Under the Sea, Aramis in?The Fifth Musketeer, Clifford Sterling in?Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and?Grandfather in?Peter and the Wolf. His television appearances are too many to list here. (Died 1998.)
  • Born January 15, 1926 Maria Schell. German actress who had roles in Superman and The Martian Chronicles. I’m reasonably sure that the Village of The Damned was her only other SFF film appearance.? (Died 2005.)
  • Born January 15, 1927 Phyllis Coates, 93. Lois Lane on The Adventures of Superman series for the first season. She’s also in Superman and the Mole Men which preceded the series. And she was in Fifties horror film Teenage Frankenstein. Wiki claims she had an appearance on Lois & Clark but IMDB does not show one.?
  • Born January 15, 1928 Joanne Linville, 92. Best remembered I’d say for being the unnamed Romulnan Commander Spock gets involved with on “The Enterprise Incident”. (Vulcan’s Heart?by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz, calls her Liviana Charvanek.) ?She also starred in the Twilight Zone‘s “The Passersby” episode, and she starred in “I Kiss Your Shadow” which was the final episode of the Bus Stop series. The episode was based on the short story by Robert Bloch who wrote the script for it. This story is in The Early Fears Collection.?
  • Born January 15, 1935 Robert Silverberg, 85. ?I know the first thing I read by him was?The Stochastic Man?a very long time ago. After that I’ve read all of the?Majipoor series which is quite enjoyable, and I know I’ve read a lot of his short fiction down the years.?So what should I have read by him that I haven’t??
  • Born January 15, 1944 Christopher Stasheff. A unique blending I’d say of fantasy and SF with a large if sometimes excessive dollop of humor. His best-known novels are his?Warlock in Spite of Himself series which I’ve read some of years ago. Who here has read has?Starship Troupers series? It sounds potentially interesting.?(Died 2018.)
  • Born January 15, 1945 Ron Bounds, 75. One of the founders of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society in the Sixties. He co-chaired Discon 2, was a member of both the Baltimore in ’67 and Washington in ’77 bid committees.? He chaired Loscon 2.? He published the?Quinine, a one-shot APA. He was President of the Great Wall of China SF, Marching & Chop Suey Society which is both a cool name and a great undertaking as well.

(10) BINTI FOR TV. Author Nnedi Okorafor will co-write thescript alongside Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Watchmen) for Media Res.ShelfAwareness reports –

Hulu has given a script order for an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning?Binti?trilogy. The?Hollywood Reporter?noted that Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Watchmen,?PEN15,?The Morning Show) will co-write the script with Okorafor. The studio is Media Res, the banner launched by former HBO drama head Michael Ellenberg, who will executive produce alongside Osei-Kuffour and Okorafor.

(11) GENERAL WITHOUT TROOPS. NPR finds it’s lonelya the top:“Commander Sworn In As First Member Of New Space Force”.

The first newly created branch of the U.S. armed forces in more than seven decades now has its first official member.

Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond was sworn in Tuesday as chief of Space Operations. It’s the top post in what since late last month is the Pentagon’s seventh military branch, the United States Space Force.

…But at the moment, there are no Space Force troops to command. Most of the 16,000 officers, airmen and civilians who Pentagon officials expect to comprise the new service branch in the next few months would likely be Air Force personnel drawn from the U.S. Space Command, which is to be the Space Force’s operational component.

(12) LIVE LONG AND PROSPER. “Secretsof ‘1,000-year-old trees’ unlocked” – BBC shares the key.

Scientists have discovered the secret of how the ginkgo tree can live for more than 1,000 years.

A study found the tree makes protective chemicals that fend off diseases and drought.

And, unlike many other plants, its genes are not programmed to trigger inexorable decline when its youth is over.

The ginkgo can be found in parks and gardens across the world, but is on the brink of extinction in the wild.

“The secret is maintaining a really healthy defence system and being a species that does not have a pre-determined senescence (ageing) programme,” said Richard Dixon of the University of North Texas, Denton.

“As ginkgo trees age, they show no evidence of weakening their ability to defend themselves from stresses.”

(13) RIGHT TO THE POINT. James Davis Nicoll tells Tor.com readers about “Five Sword-Wielding Women in SFF”.

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

In Carrie Vaughn’s Steel, fourth-rate fencer Jill Archer tumbles off her boat during a family vacation near Nassau. She hits the water in the 21st century; she is pulled out during the Golden Age of Piracy. Luckily for the teen, Captain Marjory Cooper offers Jill the choice between signing on as a pirate or remaining a prisoner. (Less savoury fates are not on offer.) She chooses piracy, a life that involves a lot more deck swabbing than Basil Rathbone movies would suggest. Jill’s astounding temporal displacement makes her of considerable interest to scallywag pirate Edmund Blane. Jill will need better than fourth-place sword skills to survive Blane and find her way home.

(14) TWO RESNICK TRIBUTES. One of them was a young writer longer ago than the other, but they both admire how Mike Resnick treated them then.

George R.R. Martin: “RIP Mike”.

I don’t recall when I first met Mike, but it was a long, long time ago, back in the 1970s when both of us were still living in Chicago.? I was a young writer and he was a somewhat older, somewhat more established writer.? There were a lot of young writers in the Chicago area in those days, along with three more seasoned pros, Gene Wolfe, Algis Budrys, and Mike.?? What impressed me at the time… and still impresses me, all these years later… was how willing all three of them were to offer their advice, encouragements, and help to aspiring neo-pros like me.?? Each of them in his own way epitomized what this genre and this community were all about back then.? Paying forward, in Heinlein’s phrase.

And no one paid it forward more than Mike Resnick.

Michelle Sagara West: “MikeResnick and me, or Laura Resnick is my sister”.

…Michelle is shy.

People who had met me in real life found this hilar?ious. I?think one of them was certain I?was play-acting. I?wasn’t, of course. I?was terri?fied. I?could stand outside a?door that lead to a?publisher party and hyper?ven?ti?late.

Resnick?—?I?called him Resnick, not Mike; I?don’t remember why?—?under?stood that fear. He talked about being nine?teen and terri?fied at his first conven?tion. And I?knew that if I?went to a?conven?tion that Mike Resnick was at, I’d know at least one person. I’d have one friend.

(15) TO DYE FOR. “Oreo Is Releasing Pink Easter Egg Cookies This Year And They’re Honestly Adorable” – that’s Delish’s opinion, anyway.

From the looks of it, these are actually Golden Oreos that have been dyed pink and made to look like decorated Easter eggs. As @ThreeSnackateers pointed out, these aren’t any fancy flavor, they’re just festive and fun.

And maybe you can wash them down with one of these — “JellyBelly Is Releasing Seltzer And It Comes In 8 Sweet Flavors”.

Just because the name suggests this will be a super sugary drink (based off the beloved jelly beans, of course) doesn’t mean that’s true. These seltzers are going to have zero calories and zero sweeteners and will only use two ingredients.

The cans will begin to stock shelves next week, and the drink comes in eight of the iconic Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors. You can take your pick between French vanilla, lemon lime, orange sherbet, pi?a colada, pink grapefruit, tangerine, very cherry, or watermelon. Each flavor is made only with carbonated water and natural flavors, so you can have a taste of the candy jar with zero of the cals.

(16) HOPING TO LAUNCH. When you’re rich enough, you can get AV Club to treat your singles ad as news: “Rich man taking applications for moon wife”.

Yusaku Maezawa is a Japanese billionaire and the founder of online fashion retailer Zozotown—according to Forbes, as of today, he’s worth $2 billion…

Let me be perfectly clear: the Bachelor references are there for fun, and technically, Maezawa is looking for a female “life partner,” not a moon wife, but other than that, nothing else in this story is a joke. These are facts: Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire, is taking applications from women (aged 20 and up) who want to be his life partner. One of the things that life partner will do with Maezawa is go to the moon, and that’s not just a minor perk or something, it is his major selling point.

(17) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter was tuned in when a Jeopardy! contestant missed another chance:

Answer: This Netflix show is a chilling reworking of Shirley Jackson;s gothic horror tale.

Wrong question: “What is ‘The Lottery.'”

Correct question: What is ‘The Haunting of Hill House’?”

And somebody else took a header over this —

Answer: One of England’s most beloved tunes is the one by Hubert Parry names for this faraway Mideast city.

Bizarrely wrong question: “What is Van Diemon’s Land?”

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In the sci-fi short film ‘Regulation'” on YouTube, Ryan Patch describes a dystopian future where children are forced to wear “happy patches” to fight depression.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster,John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for someof these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JackLint.]

Clarkesworld Removes
Isabel Fall’s Story

Isabel Fall’s short story “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” in the January Clarkesworld, the subject of intense discussion on Twitter this week, was removed from the magazine’s website today at the author’s request.

Editor Neil Clarke tweeted:

The story remains availableto read at the Wayback Machine.

This roundup illustrates the sources of the discussionwithin the sff community, and points to some of the more frequently cross-referencedconversations.

IS THE STORY TRANSPHOBIC?

D Franklin challenges numerous passages as transphobic. Thread starts here.

D Franklin agrees the story should have been pulled. Thread starts here.

Another critic of the story as transphobic makes a detailed casefor that viewpoint here.

Lynn E. O’Connacht communicates that “there’s a pretty big difference between “this story makes me uncomfortable’ and ‘this story caused me harm’”. Thread starts here.

WIDER CONTEXT.

Bogi Takács sheds light on some matters that drive the reception of this story and works by and about other minorities.

First thread starts here.

Second thread starts here.

POSITIVE RESPONSES TO STORY.

Phoebe North supports the story and author in “An Open Letter” at Medium, an autobiographical essay that concludes:

Whatever you decide to do with your story, Isabel, thank you for writing your story. Thank you for making me feel seen and heard. We don’t get a lot of ourselves in fiction. We often only get scraps. This was more than that. A mirror.

Alex Acks says North’s essay “articulates a lot of my own difficult to verbalize feelings” about the story.

Berry Grass believes the story has shortcomings, but aligns more with those who consider it to be thought-provoking. Thread starts here.

CONTROVERSIAL ART.

Carmen Maria Machado wrote a long, thoughtful thread about provocative stories in the context of art and literature, but while I was editing this together she locked her tweets to all but followers so those are not available to quote.

Malcolm F. Cross criticizes the story as having shortcomings as MilSF, too, but marks out more territory on the art vs. harm map. Thread starts here.

Warren Adams-Ockrassa’s thread seems to say that whatever the writer’s goal was, they should have handled it differently. Starts here.

PULLING THE STORY.

Cat Rambo is sorry the story was pulled. Thread starts here.

One of several eye-opening comments on Rambo’s thread:

ROLE OF AN EDITOR.

Setsu U finds the discussion about the story connects with many questions and concerns they are responsible for as an editor. Thread starts here.

ENDNOTES.

Several people have been circulating screenshots of a statement that’s represented as giving background about the story and author. I have neither found the source of the original post, nor confirmation that it is from a Clarkesworld spokesperson, so I am not posting these but you can find a copy here.

Alexandra Erin on why she won’t read the story. Thread starts here.

Cheryl Morgan says she hasn’t read the story, however, offered advice for holding the discussion. Thread starts here. Some of her points are —

There’s extended discussion at Metafilter. As a whole, I thought I learned more just by searching “Clarkesworld” on Twitter.   

Pixel Scroll 1/14/20 Who Is Pixel Scroll? You Are File 770

(1) I’M WALKIN’ HERE. “Facebook: Star Wars’ Mark Hamill deletes account overpolitical ads” – BBC has the story.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has deleted his Facebook account, lambasting the company’s political ads policy.

In a tweet, the celebrity accused the firm’s chief Mark Zuckerberg of having valued profit over truthfulness.

It followed its decision to let politicians run adverts that contain lies on the social network.

The firm has said that it does not believe decisions about which political ads run should be left to private companies.

(2) MEAT SUIT. It’s only the second week inJanuary and Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn has already written the headlineof the year: “MeatLoaf Suing Horror Convention Texas Frightmare Weekend”. Oh, I supposeyou want the story, too….

Michael Lee Aday, better known by his stage name “Meat Loaf,” is currently suing horror convention Texas Frightmare Weekend and its venue the Hyatt Regency DFW in Tarrant County, Texas. According to NBC 10:

(3) READ ALL ABOUT IT. SF2 Concatenation’s spring edition is now up.Principal contents include:

Interestingto compare this last with this season’s news page’sSF publishing news.

Plus there are manystandalone SF/FH book and non-fiction SF & science book reviews.

Full details at SF2 Concatenation’sWhat’s New page.

(4) YOU GO, JOHN. A Whatever pop quiz: “Hey,Guess Who Will Be Going to Dragon Con This Year?”

Answer:

Next quiz question: What Dragon Awards category will he bepresenting?

(5) TWEETS OF FLAME. “StephenKing slammed for ‘ignorant’ tweet about not considering ‘diversity’ when votingfor the Oscars”Yahoo! Entertainment has a roundup of King’stweet and the reactions.

Famed writer Stephen King has stirred up controversy after admitting he “would never consider diversity in matters of art,” a remark made in reference to his status as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) voting on Oscar contenders. His remarks come a day after the 2020 Oscar nominations were announced, prompting complaints that women and people of color were largely overlooked. Many critics bemoaned the exclusion of women like Greta Gerwig from the Best Director category, while Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo spoke out about being the only person of color to be nominated across four acting categories.

(6) SIX-PACK. Nerds of a Feather’s Paul Weimer discusses “6 Books with Gareth Hanrahan”.

4. How about a book you’ve changed your mind about – either positively or negatively?

Jeff Vandermeer’s Shriek: An Afterword. I loved the first Ambergris book, City of Saints and Madmen. I picked up Shriek next, and found it utterly incomprehensible and dull. Years later, I got the third book in the sequence, Finch, and loved it. I then gave Shriek another try, and it felt like a completely different book. I was astounded at myself for hating it the first time, and I’ve no idea why I bounced off it so hard.?

(7) CAROL SERLING OBIT. Carol Serling, widow of TwilightZone’s Rod Serling and mother of author Anne Serling diedJanuary 9 reports the Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin.

After the death of her husband, due to complications after heart surgery, Carol worked to keep Rod’s legacy alive.

In 1981, she launched the monthly “The Twilight Zone Magazine” and served as the publication’s editor from 1981 through 1989.?She held the legal rights to Serling’s name and likeness. CBS owns the rights to the television series.

In 1994, two new episodes of the sci-fi television series were aired on CBS based on material found by Carol after Rod’s death and then sold to CBS. They aired in a two-hour special titled “Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics.”

That?same year, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror theme park ride opened at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios (then MGM Studio Theme Park) in Orlando, Florida, and Binghamton High School dedicated its arts program as the Rod Serling School of Fine Arts.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • January 14, 1954 Riders To The Stars premiered. It?was directed by Richard Carlson (who also stars) and Herbert L. Strock (who is uncredited for unknown reasons) and has the additional cast of ?William Lundigan, Martha Hyer, and Herbert Marshall. Riders to the Stars is the second film in Ivan Tors’ Office of Scientific Investigation trilogy, which was preceded by The Magnetic Monster and followed by Gog. All in all, reviewers considered it a quite unremarkable film. It has no rating at Rotten Tomatoes though Amazon reviewers were kind to it. Fortunately you can judge for yourself as the film is here to watch.
  • January 14, 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth premiered.
  • January 14, 1976 The Bionic Woman aired its first episode. A spin-off from The Six Million Dollar Man, it starred Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks. It run just three seasons, half of what the parent show ran. It on ABC, NBC and finally on CBS.?
  • January 14, 1981 Scanners premiered. Directed by David Cronenberg and produced by Claude Héroux, it starred Jennifer O’Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane and Michael Ironside. Reviewers, with the exception of Ebert, generally liked it, and reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a healthy 64% rating.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 14, 1924 Guy Williams. Most remembered as?Professor John Robinson on Lost in Space though some of you may remember?him as?Don Diego de la Vega and his masked alter ego Zorro in the earlier Zorro series.??(Is it genre? You decide.) He filmed two European genre films,?Il tiranno di Siracusa (Damon and Pythias) and Captain Sinbad as well. (Died 1989.)
  • Born January 14, 1943 Beverly Zuk. Ardent fan of Trek: TOS who wrote three Trek fanfics, two of them on specific characters: The Honorable Sacrifice (McCoy) and The Third Verdict (Scotty). Let’s just say that based on her artwork that I found I’d not say these are anything less than R rated in places. She was a founding member of the Trek Mafia though I’m not sure what that was.?(Died 2009.)
  • Born January 14, 1948 Carl Weathers, 72. Most likely best remembered among genre fans as?Al Dillon in Predator, but he has some other SFF creds as well. He was a MP officer in?Close Encounters of the Third Kind, General Skyler in Alien Siege,?Dr. Artimus Snodgrass in the very silly comedy?The Sasquatch Gang and he voiced Combat Carl in Toy Story 4. And no, I’m not forgetting he’s currently playing?Greef Karga on?The Mandalorian series. I still think his best role ever was?Adam Beaudreaux on Street Justice but that’s very not SFF.
  • Born January 14, 1949 Lawrence Kasdan, 71. Director, screenwriter, and producer. He’s best known early on as co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. He also wrote The Art of Return of the Jedi with George Lucas. He’s also one of the writers lately of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story.?
  • Born January 14, 1957 Suzanne Danielle, 63. A Whovian as she showed up as?Agella in “The Destiny if The Daleks,“ a Fourth Doctor story. She was on the?Hammer House of Horror series?in the Carpathian Eagle” episode, and she’s also in Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected multiple times in different roles. To my knowledge, her only other SFF appearance was on the Eighties Flash Gordon film.
  • Born January 14, 1962 Jemma Redgrave, 58. Her first genre role was as?Violette Charbonneau in the?“A Time to Die” episode of Tales of the Unexpected?which was also her first acting role. Later genre roles are scant but include a memorable turn as?Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart on Doctor Who.?
  • Born January 14, 1963 Steven Soderbergh, ?57. Though largely not a SFF person, he’s ventured into our ‘verse on occasion by directing such films as Solaris (which he also wrote), Nightwatch which he was the writer of, ?Contagion?which he directed and The Hunger Games for which he was Second Unit Director. I’m tempted to call Kafka for which he was Director at least genre adjacent…
  • Born January 14, 1964 Mark Addy, 56. He got a long history in genre films showing up first as?Mac MacArthur in Jack Frost ?followed by by the lead in?The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (why did anyone make this?), Roland in?A Knight’s Tale (now that’s a film), Friar Tuck In Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (has anyone seen this?) and voicing?Clyde the Horse in the just released Mary Poppins Returns. Television work includes?Robert Baratheon on Games of Thornes,?Paltraki on a episode on Doctor Who, “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos”, and he was?Hercules on a UK series called Atlantis.?
  • Born January 14, 1990 Grant Gustin, 30. The?actor, known as Barry Allen aka the Flash in the Arrowverse. I’ve got him as a boyfriend on an episode on A Haunting, one of those ghost hunter shows early in his career. Later on, well the Arrowverse has kept him rather busy.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bliss knows what makes zombies laugh.
  • These folks at Close to Home sound like true introverts to me.

(11) RARE BOOK THIEVES PLEAD. “Menplead guilty in thefts of rare books from Carnegie Library” reportsPittsburgh’s TribLIVE.

The two men accused of stealing and reselling more than $500,000 worth of rare books, maps and other artifacts from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh reached a plea deal Monday with prosecutors who agreed to drop most of the charges they faced.

…Gregory Priore, 63, of Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood, was the archivist and manager of the library’s William R. Oliver Special Collections Room from 1992 until April 2017.

The room held a collection of rare books, maps and other items worth millions. Priore was accused of stealing the items from the library and selling them to John Schulman, 56, of Squirrel Hill, who owns the Caliban Bookshop in Oakland.

Among the items that were stolen was a 400-year-old Bible printed in London. It was recovered in April 2019 in the Netherlands as part of the criminal investigation.

(12) ATTENTION, FLORIDA MAN. Destiny is calling.

(13) ALIEN DISCOVERY CENTER. [Item by Cliff Ramshaw.] This is giving me a bad case of the VanderMeers….“Scientistsuse stem cells from frogs to build first living robots” in TheGuardian.

Researchers in the US have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that move around under their own steam.

One of the most successful creations has two stumpy legs that propel it along on its “chest”. Another has a hole in the middle that researchers turned into a pouch so it could shimmy around with miniature payloads.

“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”

(14) ELECTION RESULTS. Cosplayer Lai Pin-yu has been elected to the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan.“Taiwanesecosplay candidate, Sunflower Movement activist wins legislative seat”.

When Lai was certain of her win on Saturday, she took to Facebook at 8 p.m. to write: ” Hello friends, I am Lai Pinyu, lawmaker of New Taipei City’s 12th District. Please give me your feedback over the next four years.” In her post, Lai included a photo of herself dressed as Sailor Mars from the “Sailor Moon” Japanese manga series, gaining her 30,000 likes, 2,800 comments, and 2,200 shares within 12 hours.

(15) BACKSTORY. If you think you’ve heard of this bookbefore, there’s a reason why. But now it’s in print and Adri Joy reviews it forNerds of a Feather: “Microreview [Book]: Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao”.

I don’t want to talk about Blood Heir without acknowledging the route this book took to publication. Originally scheduled for release the beginning of 2019, the book was delayed after numerous ARC readers identified significant sensitivity issues with an aspect of the plot and characters. Blood Heir deals in some depth with the concept of indenture, with marginalised characters in the place where the book is set at high risk of being forced to sign work contracts which leave them effectively in slavery. In original ARCs, the story’s depictions of race provoked strong concerns about how the story came across in the context of historic Black slavery in the USA. In response, author Amélie Wen Zhao delayed the book, revisited in the context of her original intent – to explore concepts of indenture with real-world parallels in Asian countries – and has now released the book, as of late November, satisfied that it did so. Having never read the original ARC, I don’t know how much changed before publication, and I should be clear that I’m white and, as a non-American, less likely to pick up cues that would read “chattel slavery” to US audiences – so I’m not going make claims about whether Blood Heir is now “fixed”, other than to note I didn’t pick up anything other than the author’s intended parallels in my own reading. However, from where I stand it feels like Blood Heir’s delayed, revised publication is an example of sensitivity reading going right, albeit late in the process and therefore more loudly and messily than might have occurred if concerns had been raised earlier. People were right to raise concerns. Zhao was right to listen and use those concerns to revisit her intended, ownvoices, message. I hope and suspect the book is stronger for it.

(16) YOUTH MOVEMENT. Victoria Silverwolf shares a discoverywith Galactic Journey readers: “[January 14, 1965] The BigPicture (March 1965 Worlds of Tomorrow]”.

Science fiction writers often have to deal with things on a very large scale. Whether they take readers across vast reaches of space, or into unimaginably far futures, they frequently look at time and the universe through giant telescopes of imagination, enhancing their vision beyond ordinary concerns of here and now.

(This is not to say anything against more intimate kinds of imaginative fiction, in which the everyday world reveals something extraordinary. A microscope can be a useful tool for examining dreams as well.)

A fine example of the kind of tale that paints a portrait of an enormous universe, with a chronology reaching back for eons, appears in the latest issue of Worlds of Tomorrow, from the pen of a new, young writer.

Can you rememberwhen Larry Niven was a “new, young writer”?

(17) OVER THE COUNTER. “The New York Public Library Has Calculated Its MostChecked-Out Books Of All Time” – there are assorted genre items on thelist.

The New York Public Library has been loaning books for a long time — the institution turns 125 this year.

To celebrate, the library dug into its records and calculated a list of the 10 books that have been checked out the most in its history.

The most-wanted book? The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The Caldecott Medal-winning tale of a young boy’s encounter with snow has been checked out 485,583 times from the NYPL since it was published in 1962.

It shares qualities with many of the other most-borrowed titles: The beautifully illustrated book has been around a long time, it’s well-known and well-loved, and it’s available in numerous languages.

(18) HELLO BOOMER. BBC says “Oldestmaterial on Earth discovered”.

Scientists analysing a meteorite have discovered the oldest material known to exist on Earth.

They found dust grains within the space rock – which fell to Earth in the 1960s – that are as much as 7.5 billion years old.

The oldest of the dust grains were formed in stars that roared to life long before our Solar System was born.

A team of researchers has described the result in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When stars die, particles formed within them are flung out into space. These “pre-solar grains” then get incorporated into new stars, planets, moons and meteorites.

“They’re solid samples of stars, real stardust,” said lead author Philipp Heck, a curator at Chicago’s Field Museum and associate professor at the University of Chicago.

(19) VIDEOOF THE DAY. In“I Have A Secret:  Another Bite” on Vimeo, Michael Simeintroduces us to a guy who DOES have room for dessert in a restaurant.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin MorseWooster, Cliff Ramshaw, Mike Kennedy, Alan Baumler, Chip Hitchcock, and AndrewPorter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editorof the day BGrandrath.]

Marvel and Tsuburaya Productions Team Up To Publish Ultraman Comics

A dozen years ago John Hertz and I werediscussing the silly controversy about Nippon 2007’s Hugo Awards base. From allthe griping you’d think the Japanese superhero Ultraman practically dwarfed theHugo rocket.

A lot of fansthought it was perfectly fine for a Japanese Worldcon to honor an icon from itscountry’s sf tradition. But for or against, all fans seemed to take forgranted that the figure of Ultraman was exaggerated. No one ever asked whetherUltraman and the rocket might, in fact, be in proper proportion to one another,or how to find that answer.

Ultraman is supposed tobe 130 feet tall. Just how big do we conceive the Hugo rocket to be? I came upwith an answer in “How Tall Is theHugo?” It turned out the proportions were just fine.

That memory returned when I saw a press release from Marvel Entertainment and Tsuburaya Productions announcing theircollaborative plan for new Ultraman comics and graphic novels in 2020.

Ultraman has been a pop culture classic ever since its introduction in the 1960s, resulting in more than 50 years of stories told on screen and in the pages of manga and comics. Today, Ultraman continues to be a worldwide phenomenon, but fans will always remember the groundbreaking thrill and wonder of the first generation of Ultraman that started it all. Beginning next year, Marvel will expand that iconic era of the Ultras through the lens of Marvel’s art and storytelling.

“As one of the world’s most popular franchises, Ultraman has brought together some of the most passionate fandoms in pop culture today, and we can’t wait to bring his story to even more fans around the globe,” said Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski. “Like Marvel, Ultraman captivated generations by telling spectacular stories grounded in the real world, and it continues to be a beloved classic through its television shows, movies, toys, games, comics, and more. We are so thrilled to introduce new chapters to the Ultraman Multiverse next year.”

Story and creativeteam details will be shared at a later date. Stay tuned at en.tsuburaya-prod.co.jpand Marvel.com for more information and updates