This week’s word for Wednesday is the noun illywacker, Australian slang of unknown origin. An illywacker is a small-time confidence artist. There is a verb-form, to perform a confidence trick, which is to “whack the illy,” that is back-formed from the noun.


Mystery and Menancholy of a Street by Giorgio Chiricos


Cosplay at Marvel’s convention.

Helen Montgomery and Dave McCarty bat around the idea of Codes of Conduct at conventions, boiling it down to one question; is your CoC meant to be a shield or a weapon?

Books and Writing:

Barnes and Noble reviews Invisible Planets, a Chinese science fiction anthology edited by Ken Liu.

Vulture hosts a round table with six novelists who set their works in the 1980s. It isn’t genre, but it’s interesting. Since for me the 1980s was a dystopia, maybe there is a genre influence after all.

Is JRR Tolkien responsible for all the giant spiders we see in fantasy and horror? Probably not, really, but this is still an interesting essay from

It’s National Novel Writing Month, affectionately nicknamed NaNoWriMo. Along with everything else you are doing in November, you can churn out the “zero draft” of a 50,000 word novel. The good news is that many, many people will be doing it with you. Mental Floss lists 14 novels that were started during NaNoWriMo. If you are interested in more general info, here is the program’s website, and they accept donations.

The University of Maine has endowed a five-year Stephen King Chair in Literature. (Thanks to Locus Online for this story.)

Also from File 770; Daw is reissuing Tanith Lee’s FLAT EARTH series. Many of us here at FanLit love Lee, and this is probably her most accessible series. I hope the first one is out in time for Christmas!

Kate Elliott published a post in which she thinks about the “savage other.” Valuable stuff for folks interested in worldbuilding; worthwhile reading for everybody.

Movies and TV:

No, it is not too early to see a trailer for the Wonder Woman movie, due out in June, 2017.

Analee Newitz reviews Doctor Strange. She doesn’t dodge the casting controversy in her review. The casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One drew a lot of attention and not the kind the studio wanted. There’s a good news/bad news aspect; the role was whitewashed (a non-Asian cast in a traditionally Asian role) but also genderswapped (the Ancient One is usually male). The fact that she was awesome in the role just makes it more complicated for me. At the Mary Sue, Jessica Lachenal discusses how she thinks Marvel got this one wrong.

Tilda Swinton also had some thoughts that she shared with Screen Rant back in September.

Here is an article about the ways Doctor Strange changes and enhances the Marvel movie-verse. (May contain spoilers for the film.)


The Red Tower by Giorgio Chiricos

On November 12, Gene Roddenberry will be inducted into the New Mexico Museum of Space History’s Hall of Fame. “Mr. Roddenberry was chosen because of his vision of what space exploration could be, his commitment to promoting the future of space exploration and his work that inspired people worldwide to believe in the reality of the ‘final frontier’” said Christopher Orwoll, the museum’s executive director. (Thanks to File 770.)


There is still some good Halloween stuff out there. In this clip, the Silver Surfer takes his life in his hands by skating the streets of New York. Here’s a link to the article.

San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum found itself without a home last year, after its rent was set to double. Thanks to the help of the city’s NonProfit Displacement Mitigation Fund, it has found a new home on Fisherman’s Wharf. Definitely a happy ending for an institution, and another example of how the housing bubble is affecting San Franciscans.  (Thanks to File 770 for this story too.)

Celestial Objects (Okay, okay, it’s Space):

If the skies are clear you will get to see the biggest (most super?) “supermoon” since 1948 on Monday, November 14. A supermoon occurs when the moon is full at the point of its elliptical orbit that puts it closest to earth. This full moon will appear to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the usual full moon. That might be bright enough to read by!

Mars One, a company that plans to help colonize Mars is merging with a largely unsuccessful mobile-device payment company, so it can trade on stock exchanges. This is actually happening (as in, it’s happening in the relatively non-fictional world) but doesn’t it sound like William Gibson made it up?


Snowball fight, anyone? These are mostly ice, so they would hurt. Atlas Obscura reports on this usual phenomenon.


Giorgio de Chiricos was born on July 10, 1888, in Greece. His mother ws Genoan and his father’s family was from Sicily. Chiricos founded a “school” of painting called Metaphysical, which influenced the surrealists. You can his work here and here.



  • Marion Deeds

    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.