WWWednesday: May 8, 2019

Red Rhododendrons at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. Photo by Marion Deeds, 2019

Red rhododendrons at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. Photo by Marion Deeds, 2019


SpikeCon, scheduled for July 4-7, 2019, will be held in Utah. This year’s convention will be a blend of NASFIC and WesterCon. NASFIC is the North American convention that is held in any years that WorldCon is not held in the USA.


The finalists for the Shirley Jackson Awards have been announced.

I did not know there was a Woman’s Award, but there is, and Madeline Miller’s Circe made the finalist list, along with Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. The Women’s Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world. The list of finalists is here.

Books and Writing:

Water lilly pond at the entrance to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. Photo by Marion Deeds, 2019

Water lilly pond at the entrance to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. Photo by Marion Deeds, 2019

This is self-promotion; an anthology featuring stories about families and magic has a Kickstarter campaign. It is 75% funded already. I will have a story in the book.The author interviews are interesting and fun, and I’m this week’s interviewee.

After writer Ian McEwan made remarks disparaging SFF in a recent interview, fans reacted with indignation. Now, in this interview, he says he feels misunderstood and cites many SF writers he has read. I’m not convinced. (Thanks to File 770.)

The extensive Locus archive is now a special collection at the library of Duke University. Charles Brown, founder of Locus, not only collected entire runs of pulp magazines and first editions, but maintained correspondence with many writers of the golden age and the new wave. The collection is comprehensive and well-curated.

Jeopardy! watchers are spellbound by the latest winner, James Holtzhauer. In this brief interview with Publishers’ Weekly, Holtzhauer shares one prong of his strategy: using children’s books as a way to gather information.

Last week held Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you). In its honor Tor.com provided a list of Star Wars books you can’t miss.

At IO9, Charles Pulliam-Moore unpacks what happens when mutants stand in for under-represented groups solely as metaphors, using recent events in Uncanny Ex-Men as an example.

TV and Movies:

I am embargoing discussion of Avengers: Endgame until next week, except to talk about the box office; it is now the second-highest grossing movie, behind Avatar.

Benedict Cumberbatch waived his fee (of several million pounds) to do some work on a documentary film about the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, who lived with neurone disease.

Michael Livingston, a medieval history professor, offers a critique of the Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell as strategy… and then as riveting television.

Science and Tech:

Cue the James Bond music. (c) The Economist, 2019

Cue the James Bond music. (c) The Economist, 2019

I chose the U.K. Guardian story about the conditioned beluga whale who may be a Russian spy because its title is the funniest. The best graphic, however, must be the one from The Economist, which tips its hat to the classic James Bond film openings. This is more spy-novel than SF, but seems to fit in the column anyway.

The Windows version of Solitaire was inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. In other news, there is a World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Vista on the path to the forest garden. Photo by Marion Deeds, 2019

Vista on the path to the forest garden. Photo by Marion Deeds, 2019


Why yes, I did bombard you with vacation pictures (except for the whale). For those of you planning a trip to northern coastal California, consider adding the village of Mendocino to your visit, and check out the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden.

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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. Taking a look at the linked article about McEwan…and I find myself a tad confused as to why he should think “the traditional examinations of moral dilemmas that the literary novel has always prided itself upon” have not been a part of SFF? I was under the impression that being a ” means of examining colossal social change, but also of [examining] the moral dilemmas that new technologies are going to make us confront” was what SF was all about? Particularly since’new wave’ became prevalent back in the 1960’s. It’s not just ray guns and dragons. Perhaps he needs to read more. ;)

  2. Thank you for the link to Michael Livingston’s analysis of the Battle of Winterfell. I have read several such and enjoyed them all thoroughly! (The tactical analysis by ‘Angry Staff Officer’ on WIRED in particular was entertaining) Military history and analysis has long appealed to me and I find this delightful. It strikes me the ‘battle-as-it-should-have-been’ would have played just as well as what was shown. Exciting stuff.

  3. I always tell my students that children’s books should be their second stop when doing research after reading a broad, shallow outline on the topic, a la Wikipedia. I’ve lost track of the number of children’s books I’ve used for researching my own essays

    • Working at the bookstore, I actually find out about lesser-known historical topics when I’m shelving in the Children’s section. They are a great resource.