On this date in 1839, Sir John Herschel took the first glass plate photograph. Herschel, a botanist and astronomer, also experimented with photography and is credited with inventing the cyanotype process that is now used in blue-printing. The British say that he also coined the phrase “photography,” but the French dispute that.
Also on this date in 1543, Mary Stuart, who was nine months old, was crowned “Queen of Scots,” in Stirling, Scotland. This was arguably the most successful moment in her career as a queen.
The University of Oregon Center for the Study of Women in Society is offering the Ursula K LeGuin Fellowship. The application period ends October 1, 2015. The selected fellow gets funds to travel to Portland to study LeGuin’s papers and the documents of other influential writers such as James Tiptree Jr, Kate Wilhelm, Jessica Amanda Salmonson and Damon Knight. (Via Locus.)
The Chesley Awards for excellence in art, awarded by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) were announced during Sasquan. Hugo-Award-winning Julie Dillon, whose art we are highlighting today, won in several categories. The full list of winners can be seen here.
The Parsec Awards which celebrate excellence in podcasts, were given out at DragonCon. Also at DragonCon, Baen Books announced that Michael T. Williamson’s story “Soft Casualty” had been voted best MilSF story by readers of Baen’s anthology The Year’s Best Military and Space Opera.
George R.R. Martin took to his blog to provide some interesting history of awards in the speculative fiction field. I like the photographs! I love Martin’s tone, which mingles mild amusement with affection. (h/t to Kate Lechler.)
In the wake of the Great Hugo Debate of 2015, several fans and groups have opened up arena to discuss work worthy of nomination in 2016. The self-styled “Sad Puppies 4” made their announcement and unveiled this year’s SP logo. (Note, their headline may be NSFW.) David Gerrold has created a Facebook Group called SCOFF, “Secret Cabal of Fannish Fans — a secret cabal for the rest of us!” And Ken Marable is pledging to provide links to reviews and recommendations of eligible work.
Lev Grossman got to visit the set of the proposed adaptation of his book The Magicians, and he tweeted about it.
IO9 gives us a delightful short film. I guarantee you have never seen these familiar mythological characters, Cyclops, Medusa and the Minotaur, quite like this. It’s charming.
Holly Black has signed a 3-book deal with Hot Key books. Her YA trilogy will follow an orphaned human girl who is taken to the land of the fairies. The series is called THE FOLK OF THE AIR and Book One, The Cruel Prince is due out in 2018 (via SF Signal).
Black Gate has an interesting essay on Cixin Liu and the gamble Tor took by acquiring his (Hugo award winning) book.
Art critic Jonathon Jones wrote an essay stating proudly that he had never read a book by Sir Terry Pratchett, and implied he never would. He said he had “flicked through one” once and realized it was nothing but a pot-boiler. Why should he bother reading them? Damien Walter and Sam Jordison immediately turned up to tell him exactly why. Then The Guardian opened the issue up to its readers.
Also from The Guardian, President Barack Obama will award novelist Stephen King (Hey, Jonathon, ya read anything by this guy?) the National Medal of Arts, on September 10. This award is also controversial, with famous literary curmudgeon Harold Bloom weighing in. Other writers who will be recognized with the National Humanities Medal include Jhumpa Lahari, Annie Dillard and Larry McMurtry. (h/t to Ryan for this one.)
Robert Jackson Bennett blogs about his upcoming book City of Blades. As sad as I am that I will have to wait until January, 2016, I’m also happy, because there will probably be new Hugo rules in effect by then and he’ll have a better chance of making it onto the ballot.
At Book Press Cafe, Ursula LeGuin continues her online seminar on writing. This week’s questions about are backstory. The questions are good, and LeGuin’s answers are priceless.
How well can you judge a book by its cover? Judgey lets you try. You judge based on the cover and the game compares your rating to a Goodreads average. (Note, this worked well in Firefox and Internet Explorer but I had some trouble with Google Chrome.) (Thanks, Ryan.)
The University of Iowa has embarked on a mission to digitize a huge collection of fanzines before they fall apart. As the article points out, “The things that make a fanzine a fanzine make them difficult to preserve.” (Inexpensive paper with a high acid content, for instance.)
Here is an interview/how-to from Andrew Ainsworth, who created and fabricated the first Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet. (Via File 770.)
Suvudu checks in with John Marco,Brian Stavely and Mazarkis Williams for a status report on current projects.
The NASA New Horizons team began the gargantuan down-linking project with the New Horizons craft. They expect the full download to take nearly a year, but they promise we’ll see data before then.
I always thought Stonehenge was big, but wait… there’s more.
We have some active Giveaways still: Seth Dickinson, Best Book Read, Expanded Universe and our interview with Hilary Badger.
You’ve seen Julie Dillon’s work on book covers from Tor, Simon and Schuster and Oxford University Press. On her website, check out her portfolio. Dillon has some nice astrological pictures and Tarot-based work as well as her cover art and illustations. Her website tells us that she got a BFA from California State University Sacramento. On her site she links to a couple of interviews she has given.
It’s interesting that The Guardian opened up the Pratchett debate to their readers — and I wonder if Mr Jones will change his mind?
His piece was *so* loaded, and *so* gleefully snobby that I think he was trolling for reaction. I don’t know about him as a writer — a good journalist would read the most highly recommended book, but he’s not a journalist, is he?
I agree, Marion. This wasn’t an opinion so much as a cry for attention.
The Guardian must be gleefully raking in the attention this has gathered from angry fans.
I liked Jordison’s response, though.
His response was excellent.