AMAZING NEWS: 01/03/2021

Anyone else been following the debacle of the Cyberpunk 2077 game rollout?  These folks think the sub-genre needs a reboot.

Daniel Kimmel, one of SF’s own film reviewers offers his take on Wonder Woman 1984.  (Daniel and I frequently disagree on our reception of films, but this time we agree.)

Polar Borealis opens for submissions

For those 85 and older (a distressing number of Fans are), Covid has a mortality rate of 20%

New Release:  Chris Nuttall announces Fighting for the Crown (Ark Royal XVI)

No to Chengdu in 2023:  China jails citizen journalist for reporting on Wuhan Outbreak

Folklorists Hate Joseph Campbell – or at least his “mono-myth”.  Great criticisms are leveled against this literary theory (some of them make sense!) and one wonders:  if academia thoroughly rejects the theory in the face of culturally diverse examples that don’t fit, will George Lucas return his honorary degree?

The NYTimes exhaustively recreates the murder of Breonna Taylor;  lacking video for much of the encounter, ballistic and official statements are used to digitally reconstruct events.

A profile of Jean Giraud, otherwise probably known to you as Moebius, the French SF artist.

Small towns are losing their health care workers to Pandemic politics

As Trekkies (use of that term may annoy some Trekkers:  get over it) argue canon and the fitness of shows both old, new and forthcoming, this essay attempts to defend the first Trek motion picture.  (Yeah, no.  It was barely good enough to get another attempt, with a lower budget, greenlit.)  (And note:  all the bald-headed aliens left that show to take refuge on Babylon 5.)

Early Fans had to work harder.  (Funny, I wrote something very similar on Facebook just days before this article.  Great minds obviously think alike.)  Mini Editorial:  Yes, we did.  And the generations of Fans that came before my era had to work harder at being a Fan than I did.  A tenet of Fandom is “pay it forward”:  build something of lasting value and then pass it on for the advantage of the next gen.  Now, rather than being outcasts constantly swimming upstream against the mundane world, Fans find themselves at the center of popular culture.  This lack of adversity may not be a good thing for Fandom as Fandom.  Sure it’s nice not to get looked at cross-eyed when you mention your interest to a mundane (equally nice not to hear the inevitable “oh, so you’re into all that UFO stuff?” question too, let alone having your books stolen or getting beat up on the school bus for being a nerd), but the sense of belonging to something special gets lost as well.

Jeff VanderMeer offers some advice on environmentally friendly yard restoration.

The Pleiades star cluster may have inspired the earliest stories.

No, they’re not cats, but these shelter dogs picking out their own Christmas presents makes you unconcerned about that.

Economy Destroying Asteroid Not Nearing Earth!  16 Psyche is a rare nickel-iron asteroid (which will also contain rarer metals such as platinum, gold and iridium) that is potentially worth about ten Quintillion dollars ($10,000,000,000,000,000,000)

Boston Bots Get Down!  Boston Robotics offers a song and dance number featuring – robots

Speaking of ‘bots, DarkWorlds Quarterly offers this roundup of anthologies featuring, ummm, robots.

You know how buttered bread always falls butter side down?  How about the fact that cats always land on their feet?  Why has no one ever thought of combining the two until now?

Zeppelins revolutionize shipping, and spawn an era of air piracy in this video

Cool idea:  Homeless Huts.  No, wait, that should be Huts FOR the homeless.  Instead of tents.  Or piano boxes.

Poul Anderson once wrote a story about a beer-powered spaceship.  Now the Japanese space program is taking that one step farther by working out a way to use the cask as well:  Satellites made from wood.

David Brin has been very vocal on Facebook recently.  Here’s an interview with some background.

Addicted to gaming?  Read this.

We learned some stuff about or species’ origins this year.  Here’s a roundup

Hawking says our species’ epitaph will be something like “But for Greed and Stupidity…”

RIP Anton Strout.  A memorial fund has been established.

Data is being mined over at the SF Awards Database and has revealed the Top SF/F/H Stories (based on a bunch of criteria you can read about and agree or disagree with).

More Brin (told ya):  Some thoughts on the Proxima Signal

Meet Kathy Lueders, NASA’s first ever female Chief of Human Spaceflight.

Now this is cool (especially for authors who like to create complex alien societies with “ways different from out own”):  College Student decodes Incan knots

This is BIG – if we’ll just listen.  Finland teaches critical thinking throughout its educational system, starting with fairytales and the very young.

Paul Levinson proves his detractors wrong with this review pan

A gallery of V-Con Program Book Covers

Most of Orwell’s works are now out of copyright.  The implications are…interesting.

SpaceX is Proposing Capturing its boosters with a giant net (instead of landing on its legs), potentially making turn-around as short as an hour.  (I’m waiting for the catapult chair launch system for short trips to low-Earth orbit.)

No, I never sent Jeff VanderMeer dried squid in the mail.  I did send him a picture of a slime mold once.  VanderMeer discusses the great freshwater squid debacle.

December Ansible.

Here’s the REAL Star Trek alternate timeline

BookBub featuring works by Ben Bova.

From Over the Transom

Through the Portal

Human beings are social creatures. I think the current crisis has helped us to realize our need for one another having been forced to distance ourselves even from our loved ones. Fortunately our species has learned to communicate in other ways. Of course nothing can replace the personal touch, the hug, the handshake, the pat on the back. I do not like to think that this style of living will be normal, ever. It’s not. But for the time being, we have something that can keep us connected.

The written word.

And our imagination!

Today I’ve joined with other authors who love to take their imagination, and their writing to different worlds through portal travel.

We’re doing a group promo on selected books, including Ian’s Realm, for your enjoyment. Link your minds and your imaginations with ours in this hour of seclusion and let’s have fun and travel to places we’ve never been!

Remember all of Ian’s Realm is on sale for the entire month

Excerpt from Ian’s Realm Saga, Part I

As Ian drew closer to the vessel and waited in line, he examined the craftsmanship of the boat. It was a work of art. Its fine embellishment reminded him of his father’s artistry. A low boat with a tall mast, the sails had been tied and tucked; the tiller attached to the rudder was carved into a dragon-head. The oak planks of the keel were fastened together with wooden pegs. It was clean, waxed smooth, and smelled like the ocean.

“Step up here, boy,” one of the crew called to him. Ian moved his cart forward.

“You’re new,” the man said.

He was a weathered fellow. Ian couldn’t tell if he was old, or if it was just his rough skin that made him look that way. He had a gray beard and wore a black cap that shaded his face, so all Ian could see of his eyes were two sparkly blue dots. Several men that were with him threw fish into Ian’s cart.

“I was taken prisoner last night,” Ian told him.

“Prisoner?” the man grunted. “Well, I’ve never heard that one before. Prisoner are you?” He laughed. “And where do you come from?”

“My father and I traveled from the south west, but we aren’t from this country. We aren’t from here at all. We’re from…” Ian hesitated, not sure whether he should give his story or not. After a moment’s pause he gave in. What worse thing could happen to him that hasn’t already? “We’re from another world.”

The man chuckled. “Are you now? And is your father a prisoner too?”

Ian studied the man’s eyes and wondered if there was the slightest chance that these sailors could help him. “I don’t know what happened to my father. All I know is someone hit me on the head and brought me here.” At least Ian could prove that story what with the big white bandage wrapped around his head.

The man nodded. “Well, they must have hit you pretty hard if you’re believing you’re from another world. Go on now, your cart’s full.”


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