Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Women Other Women Don’t See | Adventures Fantastic

Source: The Women Other Women Don’t See | Adventures Fantastic


Women have ALWAYS been part of Science Fiction and Fantasy, contrary to the very strange narrative that complains that they are being excluded. This article talks about how far back they have been involved – and it is awesome in it’s depth.

The Tribble with Memories

This came in the mail today.

A bit of a backstory here. I remember telling Kate Paulk (and probably the Huns and whoever else got the baby pic mails) while Brandon was still in the hospital that we were trying to come up with a stuffed toy for him. Aff had suggested a tribble, before the little dinosaur nickname had stuck (that’s how early this was!) and I mentioned wanting to order one from Thinkgeek.

Rhys and I lost our baby boy to SUIDs (as far as we know so far) nearly two months ago; and he was only two and a half months old. So I mentioned to Kate (…vaguely. I have a hazy memory) that it would be nice if the tribbles came back in stock so I could ‘send’ one along with Brandon on his cremation. (Don’t worry; he had a teddy bear from his paternal grandparents, and a little stegosaurus cuddly from Mummy and Daddy.) Kate passed this on to the folks who wanted to do something for us / the kids / Brandon; and one of the folks from the Facebook discussions said he’d try to find one in Sydneycon, and swore he’d get one for me if he did.

Well, Aussies are awesome and stubborn folk and while he didn’t find one in Sydneycon, he did find one eventually and sent it. Purrsistence is not futile!

Thank you, Tim, for the Genetically Altered Tribble, hereby named Genni. It will ride on top of Emily the Emu as she perches next to Brandon’s urn. Thank you for caring so much for my boy, and for making me smile today. You are wonderful! People like you are blessings, and I am grateful to have, in this small way, met you.


On something different

I just heard about the latest odd kerfuffle about the latest Avengers movie via Twitter, with complaints about Disney supposedly not having figures of Black Widow. I don’t live in America, and it’s been a while since I went into the toy section of a department store. Christmas, I think, in fact, when we went shopping for the kids.

I’m not going to talk about that though, but the mention of figures reminded me about something I haven’t done but was planning to do:

Write about one of my hobbies, which is collecting figures (and the related hobby, artbooks from Japan, and artbooks in general.) I originally planned this as an exercise in writing, and since it’s a good idea as well as to keep my mind occupied (instead of constantly missing my baby boys who are now angels), I figure (ha!) I’ll make it as something of a review. I’ll do that next time. For now I’ll just talk about these, because I got distracted by a Skype call between my siblings and mum and myself.

Since the chatter about Black Widow is what kicked it off, here’s my figure of Black Widow, based off of Yamashita Shun’ya’s artwork. (Fantastic artist, by the way; go look.) Released by Kotobukiya, you can purchase them via Amazon (I prefer to buy via a Japanese store; because the shipping is cheaper for me.)

In retrospect, she looks a bit like Scarlett Johansson.

Here’s another one done by him; Kitty Pryde! I had to jump on this one because Kitty was one of my teenhood favourite characters.

This one of Deadpool was a surprise; the figure displayed in the place I buy them from had a sword, or a hand gesture (It’s not flipping the bird and I can’t remember what it’s called – forefinger and pinky raised).

Unwrapping the figure when it arrived, there was a little whiteboard and a whiteboard marker. It was funnier, so I put that in his hand instead of the other katana. Because it’s Deadpool XD

I have him on a shelf, looking like he’ll pounce on Briareos.

Unlike most other figures, Deadpool is held in place by magnets; and his base is a metal plate. Out of curiosity, I stuck him on the magnetic whiteboard to the right of me.

Starting to read the packet

I’ve decided to go after the short stuff first. That means short stories, novellettes, and novellas, fan writers, related works.

I could probably do the artist ones easily. I’m familiar with Julie Dillon’s work; she’s a regular contributor to ImagineFX magazine.

What I’ll probably do is print out a copy of the ballot to use as a scratch paper/list and tick them off as I go.

I think it’s super awesome to get two full anthologies (Thanks, Baen, Castalia House for your generosity) and Kevin J. Anderson’s book and The Goblin Emperor. I’ll also get  a chance to read The Three Body Problem since I’ve been hearing a lot about that. I’ve got Skin Game, and Rat Queens, as we’ve bought those books previously.

I did get to read the Samurai short story and thought it a fantastic read!

More when I’ve gotten properly caffeinated.

The Hugo Award Voting Packet is out

YES! The book packet for the Hugo Awards is out!

You can still pay and register to vote, if I am not mistaken. If you are interested, register here!

Downloading my packet now. Thanks to Book for the heads up via Twitter!

Spokane, Washington, 18 May 2015

A digital file of many of the Hugo Award nominees is now available for members of Sasquan to download at This free download is supplied by the creators and publishers of works that are nominated for the awards. It is free to all current Supporting, Attending and Young Adult members of Sasquan, and those who become members before 31 July 2015. Its purpose is to allow those who are voting on the Hugo Awards to be able to make an informed choice among the nominated works.

All of the short fiction and graphic novels are included in their entirety (((assuming Zombie Nation comes through!))). The packet contains the full text of three of the novels: The Dark between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, amd The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Skin Game by Jim Butcher and Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie are represented by extensive excerpts. One of the five finalists in the Related Work category is represented by an excerpt: Letters from Gardner, by Lou Antonelli. There is some material in each of the other categories except the Dramatic Presentations, but not everyone wanted us to include their work in this packet.

Voting on the Hugo Awards is open to all Supporting, Attending or Young Adult members of Sasquan. More information about voting and a ballot may be found at In order to vote, you will have to enter your membership number and Hugo PIN at Sasquan membership and registration information is available at

Interesting little surprises

I run into interesting people online – hell, my hubby is a person I met on the Megatokyo Story Discussions forum and Aff is my former clan leader now housemate. This is probably why most of my friends are online too.

Naturally, interesting stories come up and this is one of them. A discussion about Star Wars over at According to Hoyt lead to this delightful anecdote by Xenophon (who kindly allowed me to repost his story here.) Enjoy!

The first Star Wars film (episode IV) was a really interesting phenomenon in H’wood, not least because NOBODY (including the studio, director, producer, etc.) expected it to be a huge hit.

When SW was in production I was in High School living in Santa Monica, CA. Across the street from us lived a budding young producer who’d heard about SW through the grape vine. The buzz at the time was “It’s an old-school SciFi adventure film, with a twist. The big difference is that the milieu is lived in: beat-up, run down, dirty, and USED.”

Our neighbor **really** wanted to visit the special effects team working on the film. He figured out that the sfx team would really want to meet “the father of computer graphics” (a.k.a., my Dad). So he got my Dad’s permission to parlay Dad’s reputation into a visit for himself, my Dad, and me. Dad’s other “payment” for the use of his reputation was that we got our neighbor’s tickets to see SW at the theater belonging to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. No lines to wait in, and the best projection and sound systems in the industry at the time. At the time we made this deal, nobody expected SW to be a huge hit, so we had no idea what a big deal those tickets would be after the movie came out.

According to our neighbor, the reason he was so eager to visit the sfx team was that he’d heard that they were producing amazing results on a budget that he described as “half a shoe-string.” He really wanted to learn about how they were doing it.

We spent most of a school-day visiting the sfx guys. They too described the “big difference” from what had been done before as being the “run-down and dirty” look. Absolutely NO ONE claimed that anything about the *story* was special or different.

There was virtually NO CGI, as that was far too expensive for their budget. Instead, it was almost all old-school model building, etc. They did only one thing that they described as “high tech.” The fly-through of the surface of the Death Star (and the trench) was done by putting a camera on a computer-controlled arm, and moving it (extremely carefully!) past and through a BIG model of the DS surface and trench, doing stop-motion photograpy as they went. In this context, “BIG” means about 15 feet by 40 feet or so. The arm was an industrial robot arm they’d leased for the purpose, controlled by a PDP-11 (also leased). Apparently they were the first in H’wood to use this technique. The precision and flexibility of the computerized arm let them mount a video camera so they could preview the results and tweak the camera motions to the director’s satisfaction — all before shooting even a single frame of actual film. It also meant that late changes to the exact path of the camera required shooting *only* the specific frames that changed. Prior techniques required re-shooting the entire sequence.

They told us that the model-work for the DS surface was put together out of square modules about one foot on a side, fastened side-by-side on a grid. They had remarkably few different modules — four or five, IIRC (certainly a single-digit number) — and disguised this in part by rotating the modules so they’d be in different orientations to the camera. And yes, the sides of the trench were exactly the same modules, placed vertically. If you look closely, you can see that the trench is exactly one module deep and one module wide. This modular structure mattered because they needed nearly 1000 modules for the DS surface; about 75% in use at any time, the rest as replacement parts when they broke something.

We also saw some very amusing saved video camera footage in which mistakes in programming the arm caused the camera to run into gun towers. Or the wall of the trench. Or the floor of the trench. Including a few where they said things like (paraphrasing here) “and the point where we lose the video here is where the robot arm destroyed the video camera by shoving it through the 2×6 framing that holds up the bottom corner of the trench.” Oops! Apparently this represented another significant savings: destroying consumer-grade video cameras was WAAAY cheaper than destroying high-end film cameras and lenses.