2018

WOW. I did not think things could get crazier than the previous year, but it did. The good news is that the fight goes against nonsense goes on. Whether next year will be a return to sanity, who knows. Let us hope.

Some great people left us. They include Delores O’Riordan, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jack Ketchum, John Mahoney, Mickey Jones, Billy Graham, David Ogden Stiers, Kate Wilhem, Stephen Hawking, Steven Bochco, Isao Takahata, Milos Forman, R. Lee Emery, Harry Anderson, Michael Anderson, Margot Kidder, Tom Wolfe, Alan Bean, Gardner Dozois, Harlan Ellison, Steve Ditko, Neil Simon, John McCain, Marie Severin, Jacqueline Pearce, Burt Reynolds, Gary Kurtz, Marty Balin, Jamal Koshoggi, Celeste Yarnall, Paul Allen, Kitty O’Neil, Sandra Locke, Stan Lee, Douglas Rain, Roy Clark, William Goldman, Gloria Katz, Fred Patten, Penny Marshall, and the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

It was a good year for the Hugos. N.K. Jemisin is the first person too win three novel Hugos in a row for the same series. Rebecca Roanhorse won the John W. Campbell Award and Best Short story Hugo. Mike Glyer and File 770 have recused themselves forever from the fan awards after winning the Best Fanzine Hugo.

Worldcon 76 was fun. It had rough months in planning but it came together. Spider Robinson was finally a Worldcon Guest of Honor. There was a great program of panels and music. The 1943 Retro Hugos were a combination of radio play and dance. The con tried to encourage diversity and new voices and succeeded.

Sadly, I did not work at AFO 2018. I attended and a went to panels on politics in Anime, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, the history of magna artist group Clamp, cosplay, and Robotech. There was also some great Anime Music Videos shown. I need to plan for next year since it will be the 20th AFO.

I did one day of Megacon since it conflicted with the Fringe Festival. I saw Jeff Goldblum and Catherine Tate and a panel on cover art from Marvel. One highlight was seeing someone cosplay Amos Burton from The Expanse.

Spooky Empire was heavily focused on The X-Files. I saw a Q&A with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

Necronomicon was great. I ran a dealers table for the fourth year in a row.  After a tight race my team won trivia again. I was a judge at the Costume Contest. It was fun though I had a rare head ache.

It was a good year for genre films. One even got the Oscar, I’ll discuss that later. The Killing of a Scared Deer was a disturbing film which questions what is the difference between justice and revenge and is it necessary. The Black Panther broke records and barriers. Wakanda Forever! Avengers: Infinity War brings us a big story and a cliffhanger where the fate of life kind hangs in the balance. Ant-Man and the Wasp was a fun romp. Aquaman was a good telling of the Hero’s Journey through the Kingdoms of Atlantis inspired by the work of Peter David and Geoff Johns. Solo: A Star Wars Story told us the origin of our favorite rogue. Sorry to Bother You looks at the modern workplace and takes it to Science Fiction-y twist. I finally saw the hilarious Tusk. Ava DuVernay took us the strange worlds of A Wrinkle in Time. It was beautifully confusing but powerful. Summer of 84 was borderline SF Thriller with a look to the past. Ghost Stories was a great horror anthology with a mind-bending ending. Sweden gives us a complex story of woman with a hidden past in Border. How To Talk To Girls At Parties, based on Neil Gaiman’s story, took us to the punk 70s with some interesting visitors.  The world’s greatest nanny came back to straighten things out in Marry Poppins Returns. We continue the exploration of magical history in The Crimes of Grindelwald which goes to scary places. Annihilation was journey to the unknown and it looked like Florida.  Deadpool 2 gaves another chater in the dark comedy superhero story. Spielberg brought the world of OASIS to life in Ready Player One.  Mute was trip to a future love with crooked doctors and one searching for love. Tom Baker hit the big screens in a special showing of the omnibus edition of Genesis of the Daleks. Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorehead showed you can do a good SF film on a limited budget with Resolution, Spring, and The Endless.

For the first time in the history of the Academy a Science Fiction film won. A Shape of Water is a love story wrapped in a harsh look at the bad old days. The imagery and story are incredible and powerful. The were other notable films recognized from last year. The Post reminded us of the power of the press. The Phantom Thread told a love story before the coming of the mod era in Britain. Call Me By Your Name took us to Tuscany for a love story. Fantastic Woman made one angry and told a story of love. Faces and Places followed two great artists making art on the French countryside.

There a few things I hope to see get Oscar nominations. Stan and Ollie looked at the last tour of one of the great comedy teams of all time. Won’t You Be My Neighbor told the story of the life and beliefs of Fred Rogers and how they affect the world. RBG told the story of how one woman made the world a fairer place for everyone and continues to do so. Cold War is a complicated love story set in during a dark era. I am looking forward to seeing The Favorite, Eighth Grade, Vice, and Green Book.

Ocean’s Eight, though not genre, was a fun heist film with the most talented actresses currently in Hollywood. Elisabeth Salander blazed her way and met her nemesis in The Girl in the Spider Web. Michael Moore gave his take on the last year in Fahrenheit 11/9. We learned about a piece of technology and its place in history in Powerglove. The antics of the old Soviet leaders were taken to high farce in The Death of Stalin. We learned about a man and hist art in Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End.  

I caught on some films like Crimson Peak, Once Upon A Time in America, SistersThe VanishingGrizzly Man, and Bottle Rocket. Of the last film, it was meh. I also re-watched The Manchurian Candidate and The Dark Crystal.

Anime continued to be strong at the theater. In My Hero Academia: Two Worlds our young heroes have a Diehard-like adventure. The Night is Short , Walk on Girl is a fun trip on wonderful night. Hosada takes us back to childhood and family-life through time in Mirai. In honor of Takahata, I saw Pom Poko in the theaters. We see the genius of Miyazaki in action in the documentary Never Ending Man. I also saw Satoshi Kon’s classic Perfect Blue. Thanks to Fathom and companies like Funimation for bringing anime to theaters.

The Incredibles 2 is the animated film to beat this year. The world needs heroes and the come back in force. I took a trip on The Yellow Submarine.  It was cool to see various Spider-People, their supporting cast and villains in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. I hope to see Ralph Breaks the Internet soon.

Mostly stayed with the same shows this year Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELDGotham, and Iron Fist were still interesting messes. Luke Cage and Daredevil had great seasons pushing their characters. Sad to see the shows leaving Netflix. I left The Walking Dead after the defeat of Negan and I have no regrets.  Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events covered the next couple of books and gave us a new villain in the form of Esme Squalor. There was a scene with Violet on an operating table that was terrifying. Once Upon a Time was OK but it seemed like the creators should have done a new show since they wrapped up the show last year. Doctor Who came back with a new Doctor and companions. It was a fun series with a good mix of historical and more SF adventures. My favorite was “Kerblam!”. Sadly, it will be a year before new Doctor Who. The resistance was building in The Man in the High Castle. Maniac took us to a different future and interesting virtual world were our protagonist have to face their demons. Black Mirror had a Choose Your Adventure episode set in 1984. The Haunting of Hill House had a family fight a powerful force.  The Expanse covered Caliban’s War and Abaddon’s Gate. The Magicians restored magic. Dark took us a trip to past and maybe the future. Alternate Carbon mixed SF with Noir and has some great ideas.

I saw a good chunk of The Ancient Magus Bride, a beautiful show I need to finish. I did a retro watch of Vision of Escaflowne. Another beautiful fantasy anime I need to finish. Lupin III faced the modern age in Lupin III Part V.  We follow Giorno Giovanni and his stand using friends in Italy in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. Chio School Road covers the adventures of a young gamer and her walk to school. Toonami brought dubs of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Mob: Psycho 100, and Megalbox. Toonami also brought first run dubs of Attack on Titan, FLCL: Progressive, and FLCL: Alternative.

I did not read much in new comics outside of Saga. I did love Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing is Monsters. It is compelling story of a young girl coming of age in 1960s. I am eagerly awaiting part 2. I did check out Saladin Ahmed’s Black Bolt: Hard Time. I also read all the great finalist on the Hugo ballot.

Malka Older concluded her completed her Centenal Cycle and gives a hope in a world where traditional institutions are in jeopardy. Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes gave a locked room mystery in space. Islandia described a country that never was. This was interesting, but long. Felicia Day told us Your Never Weird on the Internet [Almost] and she was right. We went to a family dispute in Ann Leckie’s Provenance. Yoon Ha Lee continued unconventional warfare in The Raven Stratagem. I started to follow the adventures of Murderbot in Martha Wells’ All Systems Red. I also read the next 2 novella in the series. Sir Phillip Pullman went back to the early days of the Dark Matter world in The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage. Teens in Nigeria continue their adventure in Dr. Nnendi Okorafor’s Akata Warrior. An unlikely trio bond in Sarah Rees Brennan In Other Lands. A girl must face the English Civil War with only her wits and her ability to be possessed by ghosts in Frances Hardinge’s A Skinful of Shadows. Another girl goes on a fantastic trip in T. Kingfisher’s Summer in Orcus. A boy must face his demons and hunger in Sam J. Miller’s The Art of Starving. Gwenda Bond continued to tell the stories of a young Lois Lane in Double Down and Triple Threat. We followed the adventures of the great women of Victorian literature in Theodora Goss’ The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and European Travel for the Monstrous Woman. John Kessel had Mary Bennet face Frankenstein and his monster in Pride and Prometheus. Catherynne M. Valente tested humanity’s worthiness through a song contest in Space Opera.  Alec Nevela-Lee gave us tour in SF’s history in Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Queen l has the Lunar colony assisting a revolution on Earth.

Because of the Hugos There Podcast, I decided to fill in some gaps in my Hugo Novel reading.  Orson Scott Card looked at alien and human relations in Speaker for the Dead. Roger Zelazny told a series of stories of human’s taking the guise of deities from mainly Eastern religions in Lord of Light. Mark Vorkosigian finds a place for himself in Mirror Dance.

One of the worse things that happened this year was something personal. If you know me, you will know. If you see me in person, you can ask. I hope it gets resolved soon.

One of the best things that happened this year was Sunday Night Vinyl coming back to the radio. Please check it out and support of you can.

I plan to check out some novelettes and short fiction in the Lady Business recommendation spread sheet.

I tried to ride my bike 10 miles a day. I had mixed results but I am determined to keep trying. I try to shoot for 240 miles a month.

I did more fan writing this year and I hope to keep it up. As always, I will work on balancing fan writing, reading, media watching, and con work.

To see what have I been reading check here. Note after February the site will be here. Hopefully I will make some corrections and update in the coming week.

As always, thanks to those who made the year as fun as it was.  This I list would be long and I would forget someone.

Can 2019 be as crazy 2018? We can only go forward and hope. Let us all look out for each other. Take care.

New year 2019 Pic

(Picture by Derek Demeter)

 

 

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San Jose Day 10, Worldcon 76 Day 5

It was a slow but interesting day. I decided to relax and not do Stroll with the Stars. I went to the Fanzine Lounge to setup and chill. The only program item I went to was Chris Gracia discussing Computer History (picture below).

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Then I did some last minute shopping, talk to people, and helped out Ceclia Tan find the autograph line. Then it was Closing Ceremonies. Con Chair Kevin Roche (featured picture) thanked the guests and attendees. I and others donated  98 units of blood at the con. There was a new Mark Slater film to promote Dublin in Worldcon. James Bacon read statement from the head of the Irish government, encouraging the fans to come to Ireland. The ceremony ended with Irish music.

I bumped into the team that performed A Wretched Hive of Scummy Villainy that includes Radio Free Skaro podcaster Warren Frey. I had a Mexican dinner with them. I checked out the Bay Area SF Association meeting and saw an old friend at the Dead Dog Party.

Then I headed to get ready for the trip home.

San Jose Day 9, Worldcon 76 Day 4

I was getting signatures and getting ready for the Hugos most of the day. Sadly Pat and I missed the day’s Stroll with the Stars.

I did go the following program items.

  • Christian Service
  • In Memoriam
  • Pierre and Sandy Pettinger Guest of Honor Interview (pictured)

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I got signatures from Spider Robinson, John Scalzi, Frank Hayes, and George R.R. Martin, Pierre and Sandy  Pettinger.

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Then I changed for the Hugos. John Picacio ran a tight show with no skits but fun was spliced in. One big surprise was having Felicia Day present the new YA Award.

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N.K. Jemisin became the first writer to win 3 back to back Hugos for Novel and in the same series. She gave a tremendous speech that you can see online.

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After the ceremony, I got my traditional picture with the help of Erika Ensign (@HollyGoDarkly) of Uncanny Magazine. Then I checked the Hugo stats before heading out.

Today we will be shutting down the Worldcon.

San Jose Day 8, Worldcon 76 Day 3

Busy day.

I went with Patty to the Stroll with the Stars. We walked around a nearby park and had some nice chats with people in the group.IMG_3846

Some panels are getting packed. Early arrival became a necessity for 2 of the ones I was going to. It all worked out. Panels I attended were as follows:

  • 25 Years of Babylon 5
  • In Memoriam: Harlan Ellison
  • Interview: Guest of Honor Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (featured picture)

I got a picture holding the Retro Hugo. The Hugo is for Robert A. Heinlein’s Beyond This Horizon.

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There were a lot of Hall Costumes. I posted them in the Facebook pages: Florida Cosplayers and Cheap-ass Costuming. Here is one great costume.

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Then it was off to Masquerade. I worked as a Den Mom with Anne Davenport (pictured left), a Master Costumer from Florida. We had a den of 8 and they were “Sticking to the Rules” and “3 Fates”.  The Best in Show was “Citizens of the Emerald City” (pictured right).

There were about 36 entries in the Masquerade and the event was hosted by Christopher Garcia. I got to chat with Warren Frye, host of Radio Free Skaro, as he was helping an entry. There was also a presentation of the Seiun Award after the Junior division.

It was late after judging and I went back to the hotel with Patty.

Today the 2018 Hugos.

San Jose Day 7, Worldcon 76 Day 2

Patty and I started the day with Stroll with the Stars. We walked around downtown San Jose, into the Farmer’s Market. I got talk to Petrea Mitchell about anime. I dropped of my contribution to the WOOF (a collection of fanzines to be correlated at Worldcon). I eat two bagels with orange juice and headed to the blood drive organized by the Heinlein Society.

I was surprised they had to prick me for the hemocrit test. Back home the use a new device that goes on your finger that apparent covers a lot of the vitals.

Then it was off to the con. I did the following panels

  • Latinx
  • Spider Robinson Guest of Honour (he’s Canadian) Interview
  • In Memoriam: Gardner Dozois
  • Asexuality in Fandom
  • Music of the Past, Present, and Future (featuring Spider Robinson (pictured), Fred Hayes, Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff, Avalon Rising)

I checked out Keith Kato’s Chili Party and the Harold Harrigan’s Memorial Party. At the former there was this Hall Costume.
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I also bought a copy of John Scalzi’s Don’t Live for Your Obituary. While looking for the book, I got to talk to Nick Mamatas about Japanese SF books. I then went to vote for Worldcon and NASFiC site selection.

There some challenges with the new recorder, I think I worked it out.

Today more panels, and Masquerade.

San Jose Day 6, Worldcon 76 Day 1

The day got off to an interesting start. I tried to sell 2 memberships when registration opened up. I had no luck in the first hour and then I had to go to a Best Buy. I got a new camera and a digital audio recorder. I rode about 6 miles on one of the city rental bikes (sponsored by Ford). The bike was good and had a great gear shift. No problems with San Jose traffic. I got back and by stroke of luck, I was able to sell the memberships, though there was some confusion with the transfer.

I got to the Fanzine Lounge and pulled my first shift. It was great place to see people and I could chill, charge my phone, and read fanzines.

The programming I did as follows:

  • International Fandom
  • Opening Ceremonies
  • Retro Hugos
  • 80s Dance DJed by John Scalzi

I joined my friend Patty Russel at Opening Ceremonies. Opening ceremonies was designed by Rev. Randy Smith and including a local sitting dance troop. Con Chair Kevin Roche came out in space suit to the opening music of Planet of the Apes (picture on the left)He changed to a very pretty suit and introduced the guests (with Spider Robinson). Guests came out of a monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Notable was John Picacio reading a statement condemning the current Administrations anti immigration policies with many Latinx members of the con on stage with him (see below center) and the presentation of the First Fandom Awards.

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The Retro Hugos had a narrative of 1943 scientists listening to music from 4 decades into the future. During the playing of the music of 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s the audience could dance to the tunes. After the awards, the 80 dance DJed by John Scalzi (left) went to full swing. This including a visit from the Heathers from Heathers (see below center).

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I stayed till the end of the dance and then headed back to the hotel.

Today Blood Drive, Spider Robinson GOH speech and more.

San Jose Day 5 Worldcon 76 Day 0

Today was the Silicon Valley Tour arranged by convention. It was a trip to Computer History Museum, the Google store and Android statues, the Facebook sign, and the HP garage.

The Computer History Museum was fun because Hugo Winner and passionate fan editor Christopher Garcia gave us a tour. Chris is a curator at the museum and did a fabulous job of showing us 2000 years of computing and the impact of software (separate exhibit). There were a lot of personal memories including two computer games I played, Infocom’s The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Ultima II (a game where you are in a medieval world but could use a phaser (that was the word they used), time travel, fly an airplane and a spaceship). The former was given to Chris by Douglas Adams at the request of Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

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Then we went to the Google and Facebook complex for photo ops. Both campuses offer free bike sharing programs. I tried both bikes. Both were good bikes. The only difference was that Google had a single gear while Facebook’s bike was a three speed. Then we went to see the garage where HP started and the a drive by to Steve Jobs house (a nice place with pretty landscaping).

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Then back to register at the con. I bumped into many people, helped Filthy Pierre with his flyer stands (which are beautiful pieces of work), and assembled Asian style lanterns for the Fanzine Lounge. I later went to check out the festive Christmas in 2020 party for a bit. On the way out, I lucked out on some great pizza left over from the Heinlein Society meeting.

My camera went weird last evening but got better today. I may have to replace it today.

Today Worldcon begins. I will be at one panel, Opening Ceremonies, and the Retro Hugos.