Shards

A group of five friends rent a cabin in the woods—the next day only four are alive. What happened and why is something the survivors are desperate to unravel.     Dawn came and they were still alive. All except for Marcie. Only at the end, they supposed she hadn’t really been Marcie anymore. She was the only one who didn’t come to the cabin as part of a couple. Later on, the others—Chad and Annabelle, Mark and Donna—would all privately wonder if Marcie had been targeted the moment she walked through the door. If she’d been singled out for being single. It seemed such an absurd notion, but after the night they spent at the cabin, their lives seemed to exist in a series of absurd notions, one following directly after another. The grief counsellors and psychiatrists told them this was a perfectly normal response to the trauma they had endured. That this was the way the human mind functioned when confronted with such terrifying and inexplicable events. The only way to move on was to accept the things that didn’t make any sense. Which, to Chad and Annabelle and Mark and Donna, seemed like the most absurd notion of...
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Pixel Scroll 1/26/21 When I Know Every Button On Galactus’ Planoform

(1) ANOTHER YP PROJECT. James Davis Nicoll has set his Young People Read Old SFF panelists to work on a new series – “Young People Read Old Hugo Finalists.” And he’s looking for more contributors — …This time I will exposing my youthful volunteers to the Hugo Finalists of Yore, specifically the finalists for Best Short Story, starting with a story from 19561! The Hugo Awards reward the best SFF of their time, as chosen by the members of WorldCons through the centuries. How much fun we will have discovering how effectively Hugo finalists have kept their luster! If you are 30 years of age or younger and you would like to take part in this phase of Young People Read Old SFF, please send email to jdnicoll at panix dot com. If you are already a contributor to Young People, you are welcome to keep contributing regardless of age issues. After all, I let me post. (2) GOOD TO THE LAST DRAGON. A trailer has dropped for Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5. “Raya and the Last Dragon” takes us on an exciting, epic journey to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together long ago in...
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Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Goes Live

Jesse Sheidlower has unveiled the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction “a comprehensive quotation-based dictionary of the language of science fiction.” The HD/SF traces the history of the words it covers, with illustrative quotations showing how and when the word was used. In some cases, the quotations also capture the fannish humor of the times. Consider “fugghead” (click for larger image) — The HD/SF is an offshoot of a project begun by the Oxford English Dictionary and is being run with OED approval, though it is no longer formally affiliated with it. The site is edited by Jesse Sheidlower. (The OED’s project previously yielded the 2008 Hugo-winner Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction edited by Jeff Prucher.) Sheidlower is an adjunct assistant professor in the Writing program at Columbia University, the Past President of the American Dialect Society, and formerly was an editor for Random House Dictionaries and the Oxford English Dictionary; 
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Schrödinger’s Vox

Schrödinger’s Vox is a thought experiment that illustrates an apparent paradox of social media access. In the thought experiment, a hypothetical Vox Day may be considered simultaneously both active and banned from his YouTube account. Vox Day/Theodore Beale was expelled from SFWA in 2013 and followers of his blog supplied the numbers that allowed his Rabid Puppies slates to dominate the Hugo Awards ballots of 2015 and 2016. He identifies himself as an original Gamergater. His blog appeals to the many causes of the alt-right, and to followers of “the God Emperor Trump.” On January 25 Vox Day posted “Google Wants To Fight” [Internet Archive link] displaying a copy of a notice Google sent him saying his channel has been removed from YouTube. Hi Vox Day, We have reviewed your content and found severe or repeated violations of our Community Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your channel from YouTube. We know this is probably very upsetting news, but it’s our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all. If we think a channel severely violates our policies, we take it down to protect other users on the platform – but if you believe we’ve made the wrong call, you can appeal this...
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SFWA’s Kate Wilhelm Solstice Awards Go to Ben Bova, Rachel Caine, and Jarvis Sheffield

Kate Wilhelm’s Solstice Award (2008). The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) announced today that Ben Bova, Rachel Caine, and Jarvis Sheffield will be honored with the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award at the 56th Annual SFWA Nebula Awards®. Bova and Caine are posthumous honorees, having died in 2020. The Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award is given by SFWA for distinguished contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community. Bova, Caine, and Sheffield join the ranks of previous Solstice Award winners, including Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree, Jr., and Carl Sagan. The awards will be presented at the 56th Nebula Awards®, the weekend of June 4–6, 2021. Ben Bova Ben Bova A prolific and award-winning author, Ben Bova took over the editorial chair for Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact following the death of John W. Campbell and helmed the magazine for seven years. He established Omni Magazine in 1978, where he served as editorial director and provided a new market for short science fiction. Bova’s work ranged beyond the genre; he is the only SFWA president who also served as president of the National Space Society. Bova is a recipient of the Solstice Award for his long history of editorial work, including his efforts to...
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The 2021 Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award Recipients: Ben Bova, Rachel Caine, and Jarvis Sheffield

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) is pleased to announce that the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award will be presented to Ben Bova, Rachel Caine, and Jarvis Sheffield at the 56th Annual SFWA Nebula Awards®. The Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award is given by SFWA for distinguished contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community. Bova, Caine, and Sheffield join the ranks of previous Solstice Award winners, including Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree, Jr., and Carl Sagan. The awards will be presented at the 56th Nebula Awards, the weekend of June 4–6, 2021. Ben Bova A prolific and award-winning author, Ben Bova took over the editorial chair for Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact following the death of John W. Campbell and helmed the magazine for seven years. He established Omni Magazine in 1978, where he served as editorial director and provided a new market for short science fiction. Bova’s work ranged beyond the genre; he is the only SFWA president who also served as president of the National Space Society. Bova is a recipient of the Solstice Award for his long history of editorial work, including his efforts to nurture new authors and to advance the use of science in...
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DisCon III Opens 2021 Hugo Nominations

DisCon III has announced that nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 Hugo Awards, the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer (formerly known as the John W. Campbell Award), recognizing work from 2020. Voting remains open until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PDT) March 19, 2021. The Hugo Awards were first presented in 1953 and have been awarded annually since 1955. Members of the Worldcon vote on them for the given year, while the sitting Worldcon is responsible for administering them. DisCon III has also decided to use its power under the constitution of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) to create a special committee category for the 2021 Hugo Awards: Best Video Game. All CoNZealand members, and DisCon III members who registered before 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PST) December 31, 2020, are eligible to nominate. If you’re eligible to nominate, you should have previously received an email from DisCon III. Please check your inbox, spam folder, and automatic filters such as the Promotions tab in Gmail. If you haven’t received an email, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance. To access the nomination portal, please visit www.discon3.org and select ‘Members Area’ under ‘Membership.’ Then,...
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“Cities That Think Like Planets”: On Writing Sustainable Cities in Science Fiction

by Arkady Martine (This article originally appeared in The SFWA Bulletin #215.)   On the dining-room table which has become my desk during the endless time-is-a-flat-circle of this pandemic, is a book called Cities that Think Like Planets, by Marina Alberti. It has a subtitle – complexity, resilience, and innovation in hybrid ecosystems – and the existence of that subtitle, as well as its nature, make it clear what sort of book it is: an audacious theoretical-academic approach to urban planning and city-building in a warming, climate-change-threatened world. Alberti’s work in this book is itself fascinating: she imagines a conceptual origin point for cities which identifies them foremost as “coupled human-natural systems.” A city that is simultaneously ‘natural’ and ‘human’; an ecology of cities that considers them as not only dwelling-places, or concentrations of economies of scale, or even ideal locations for defense or control of trade – but also as interlaced, autonomous, fractally-complex systems. It is a book about city-systems as ecological actors, for good or ill. At times, when I am reading it, it seems to suggest to me the idea of cities as living organisms, as pervasive and interconnected and independent of any human being as the ancient networks...
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Pixel Scroll 1/25/221B Baker Street

(1) PAY TO CO$PLAY? [Item by Dann.] The Japanese government is considering a change in that nation’s copyright laws to cover professional cosplayers.  The change would require professional cosplayers to pay the creators of various characters for permission to dress up as those characters. The intent of the proposed law is to leave amateur cosplayers alone.  However, there are concerns that amateur cosplayers that share images of themselves in costume via social media (i.e. Instagram, etc.) could run afoul of the law as it currently being considered. Kotaku has the story — “The Japanese Government Could Change Cosplay Forever”. …As writer and translator Matt Alt points out, the Japanese government is currently considering changing the country’s copyright laws, so that professional cosplayers would pay for use of characters. Cosplay can be big business. Japan’s most successful professional cosplay Enako (pictured) has made over $90,000 a month from public appearances, merchandise, photobooks, chat sessions, and endorsements. Other cosplayers also earn cash for selling photos or clips of them dressed as famous characters. Creators don’t currently get a cut, and the amendment would change this. Moreover, it’s suggested that a standardized set of rules would help avoid any trouble with creators. According to Kyodo News, Japanese copyright law is unclear...
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2021 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominations

Mystery Writers of America today announced the nominees for the 2021 EdgarAllan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2020. The 75th Annual Edgar® Awards will be celebrated on April 29, 2021. BEST NOVEL Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Penguin Random House – RandomHouse)Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney (Poisoned Pen Press)Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin Random House – Pamela Dorman Books)These Women by Ivy Pochoda (HarperCollins Publishers – Ecco)The Missing American by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)The Distant Dead by Heather Young (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow) BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March (Minotaur Books)Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (Simon & Schuster – Gallery Books)Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (HarperCollins Publishers – Ecco)Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (Penguin Random House – Berkley) BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman (Blackstone Publishing)Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)The Keeper by Jessica Moor (Penguin...
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ALA Announces 2021 Youth Media Award Winners

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, digital media, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits taking place virtually from Chicago, Illinois. Congratulations to Rebecca Roanhorse, TJ Klune, Stephen Graham Jones, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Quan Berry whose novels received Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences. Also of genre interest, the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award went to Legendborn, written by Tracy Deonn, and one of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Silver Medalists is Miriam at the River, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Khoa Le. A William C. Morris Award finalist was Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard by Echo Brown. A list of all the 2021 award winners follows: John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature: When You Trap a Tiger, written by Tae Keller (Random House Children’s Books) Newbery Honor Books All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, written by Christina Soontornvat and published by Candlewick Press;BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom, written by...
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Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask: A Column of Unsolicited Opinions #57

Cover by Luigi-is-number-one at www.deviantart.com We NEED To Talk About Worldcon (and the Hugo Awards, too)… By Chris M. Barkley: This coming June, I will be celebrating my forty-fifth anniversary in science fiction fandom. I have attended over two hundred conventions since 1976, including twenty-nine World Science Fiction conventions. I not only went to those Worldcons, I also had the pleasure of serving at a majority of them in some capacity, as a volunteer, staff member, office head or, in one instance at Chicon 2000, as a hotel liaison and a member of the Chair’s Staff. Needless to say, I have witnessed or participated in a number of remarkable, bizarre and historic incidents during my tenure working at Worldcons. I not only know how the sausage was made, I helped make it as well. Having been privy to what goes into producing a Worldcon, I have looked on in despair at the recent developments regarding this year’s Worldcon convention, DisCon III. The squabbling and outrage over the costs of the Hugo Award Pre-Ceremony Reception and the listing of nominees on the award might have gone as just business as usual if it hadn’t directly lead to the resignation of Co-Chair Colette...
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Pixel Scroll 1/24/21 Big Pixel in Little Scroll

(1) CHALLENGER COIN. On January 28, the 35th anniversary of the Challenger shuttle disaster, the U.S. Mint will release the Christa McAuliffe 2021 Proof Silver Dollar and Christa McAuliffe 2021 Uncirculated Silver Dollar. [H/t to Guy Lillian III.]  In 2021, the United States Mint will mint silver dollars with proof and uncirculated finishes to commemorate the life of Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher selected in 1985 to be the first participant in NASA’s Teacher in Space Program. On January 28, 1986, McAuliffe and six astronauts were tragically killed during the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Her memory and dedication live on. Surcharges in the amount of $10 for each silver dollar sold are authorized to be paid to the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to engage and inspire young people—through mentor-based programs—to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. FIRST is dedicated to carrying on the legacy of Christa McAuliffe by inspiring students and creating a new generation of dreamers and innovators. ObverseFeatures a portrait of Christa McAuliffe with a hopeful gaze. Inscriptions are “CHRISTA McAULIFFE,” “2021,” “LIBERTY,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” ReverseDepicts Christa McAuliffe as a teacher, smiling as she points forward and...
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Smell Like A Superhero

Is there a science fiction movie character you want to smell like? Forget Swamp Thing, c’mon, he’s not in Fragrance X’s catalog. Otherwise, there’s no end of superhero and genre branded colognes you can buy. First, here’s a whiff of justice — BATMAN COLOGNE Batman Cologne by Marmol & Son, Based on the classic Justice League character, Batman, this heroic scent for boys and men incorporates fresh spicy notes for an aromatic blend. Lavender, bergamot and black pepper open this fragrance. The middle notes contain cardamom, geranium and patchouli, and closing notes include musk and vanilla. SUPERMAN COLOGNE Superman Cologne by Cep, Embrace your inner strength with Superman, the aromatic green fragrance for men of all ages. Ideal for wearing throughout the year, this energetic scent has the power to carry you through the day and well into the night. The similarities with its namesake don’t end there, though, because this aroma’s sillage has a commanding presence in any room. The top notes of this powerhouse of a fragrance are sorbet, lemon, ginger and ozonic notes. Within its super heart beat’s the notes of blood grapefruit, nutmeg and green notes. The dynamic powers of aromatic Egyptian musk and amber support the upper layers of...
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Celebrate Black History Month With Extraordinary Covers By Ernanda Souza

Marvel Comics will honor Black History Month with a series of variant covers depicting their most prominent Black heroes. Today, Marvel revealed the additional covers that will make up February’s collection. A celebration of the legacy of Black heroes in Marvel Comics’ storytelling, these beautiful pieces of art will feature depictions of Storm, Black Panther, Miles Morales, Falcon, War Machine, Blade, Ironheart, and the new Valkyrie who recently appeared in King In Black: Return Of The Valkyries #1. These characters will be brought to life in the distinct style of rising star artist Ernanda Souza in her Marvel Comics debut.  “First of all, I have to say that working for Marvel is a huge dream come true. I grew up watching Marvel movies and TV shows—especially the X-Men animated series in the ’90s—and playing the whole Arcade franchise games. And to be honest, I never thought I would ever do work with them, but I’m glad to say I did,” Souza said. “As an Afro/Latin artist, it’s a big honor for me to start with the company and work on some of the characters I like and who represent the Black community. Representation with respect is always a good thing, there...
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Pixel Scroll 1/23/21 I Will Scroll No Pixel Before Its Time

(1) LISTEN TO THE PICNIC. Podside Picnic is the place hosts Podside Pete, Karlo Rodriguez and Connor Southard engage with and discuss science fiction, fantasy and horror media. In addition to their Patreon subscriber content, they also feature interviews with SFF authors that are available to non-subscribers at Podside Picnic on Soundcloud – sample links below. Podside Picnic is a show mostly about science fiction and fantasy, but more importantly, it’s about two guys exploring stories. Pete is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy fan with 40 years of ravenous reading under his belt. Connor is a writer and recovering literary snob on a mission to learn about science fiction, fantasy, and all the genres in between. We like the phrase “literature of the fantastic” to encompass what most interests us, but our interests morph as we continue this journey and learn from each other and from our audience and guests. Much of our focus is on what’s long been called “genre fiction,” especially science fiction and fantasy, but curiosity is more important to us than marketing lingo. We believe the future of storytelling lies in crossing traditional boundaries.  In which Pete and Connor are joined by a living legend of science fiction, Peter Watts. We...
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Missy #1 Launches in April

Cover by David Busian Titan Comics announced that this April they will launch a brand-new series in the Doctor Who comics line featuring one of the Doctor’s darkest nemeses in Missy #1. Following on from the huge success of the Doctor Who Comic crossover adventures, starring the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors as they battled iconic villains like the Weeping Angels, Skithra, Sea Devils and Autons, this new story sees the series expand its horizons even further with the first appearance of the Twelfth Doctor’s arch-rival Missy (as played on TV by Michelle Gomez).  MISSY wages war on the Doctor, but this time she’s not alone! Can the combined brilliance of the Third and Twelfth Doctor avert her deadly scheme, or will she get her hands on a secret weapon capable of wreaking havoc on the universe? This special story, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Master’s first appearance, will feature more Doctors and Masters than ever before. This new series will also see the return of the critically acclaimed creative team behind the Doctor Who comics with Eisner-nominated writer Jody Houser (Stranger Things, Spider-Man), illustrator Roberta Ingranata (Witchblade), and colorist Enrica Angiolini (Warhammer 40,000). For writer Jody Houser, this upcoming arc has been a long time coming: “I...
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Pixel Scroll 1/22/21 Enzyme Summer

(1) KEEP YOUR EYE ON THAT PALANTIR. An insurrectionist wants a federal District Court to force the U.S. to adopt an interim government from the history of Middle-Earth: “Paul Davis Cites ‘Lord of the Rings’ in Lawsuit, Declares ‘Gondor Has No King’” – the case is briefed by Law and Crime. Paul M. Davis, the Texas lawyer who was fired from his in-house counsel job after he recorded himself among a mob at the U.S. Capitol Complex on Jan. 6, has filed legal documents which set a new floor for legal embarrassment in U.S. jurisprudence. The documents employ a series of awkward references to — and ideas from — the temporary government of the Kingdom of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings. Davis’s lawsuit bombastically attempts to assert that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president and that a rightful heir to that office will someday return. Until then, the case foolishly argues that a federal judge might be able to appoint a group of “stewards” from the cabinet of former President Donald Trump to run most of the government from the White House. That should occur, the lawsuit lawlessly speculates, after the Secret Service escorts Biden and his wife out of the executive residence at the order of...
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Marvel Heroes Reborn Teaser Art

Marvel has been teasing “Heroes Reborn” and plans to release more information next week. Meanwhile, they’ve gotten fans’ attention with this fascinating collection of artwork by Carlos Pacheco, with inks by Rafael Fontirez or Mariano Taibo (Coulson Teaser and Peter Parker Teaser) and colors by Matt Milla.
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Virtual Cons This Wknd + Schedule Changes — Jan 22

Here is a list of all the cons that have been affected by COVID-19. We will keep this updated as we know more. Added events are listed in Blue. NOTE We are currently updating the cancelled list to show the most recent cancellations, 2021 cancellations, and cons with no new dates yet. All new dates are being updated on our master calendar. These are the virtual events taking place this weekend. MAGfest – National Harbor, MD Jan 21-24 Ohayo Con – Columbus, OH Jan 22-24 ChattaCon – Chattanooga, TN Jan 22-24   NEW DATES Ai-Kon – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada VIRTUAL Feb 27Alaska ComiCon – Fairbanks, AK Jul 31-Aug 1ANIME Impluse – Los Angeles, CA Jan16-17 May 1-2Anime Pasadena – Pasadena, CA Nov 28-29 Apr 24-25AnimeJapan – Tokyo, Japan VIRTUAL Mar 27-28Anthro New England – Boston, MA VIRTUAL Feb 25-28AnthroCon – Pittsburgh, PA Jul 1-4Astronomicon – Detroit, MI Feb 12-15 Aug 20-22The Atlanta Comic Convention – Atlanta, GA Dec 9 Feb 28Atlanta Game Fest – Atlanta, GA Jun 3-6 AVCon – Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Jan 9-10 Jul 23-25Awesome Con DC – Washington, D.C. Dec 11-13 Aug 22-25BlizzCon – Anaheim, CA VIRTUAL Feb 19-21Boskone – Boston, MA VIRTUAL Feb 12-14C2E2 – Chicago, IL Dec 10-12 2021Capricon –...
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