More and More To Evermore

By David Doering: I had a chance to walk around the fantasy-themed Evermore Park on construction here in Utah. The park is scheduled to debut later this year (I could see work continuing feverishly on the site even though it was Saturday). I wish I could share more pictures, but I can’t. But in a word, though, this place will be AWESOME.

No, really. I toured the site with its creator, Ken Bretschneider, He describes Evermore as “an Experience Park.” (Ken created The Void, a super-popular VR attraction at Disneyland, so he knows about how to immerse people in a new world.) To get you there, Evermore has not just period gardens, buildings and a 1/2 scale railroad. It will have exotic animals, creatures, and character players to make this like a live-action role-playing adventure. (And these themes change with the seasons!)

It’s weird, finding a latter-day Disneyland right here in little old Pleasant Grove, Utah. In the “creative studio”, I saw dozens of characters and creatures, costumes and constructs filling the place and a cast of great artists making them. It was also packed to the gunwales with antiques to add authenticity to the buildings.

it’s clear in talking with Ken hat he is absolutely focused on the details. He points out leatherwork with tiny engravings and detailed, handcrafted etchings in armor–all of which you might just miss in a casual glance. But not Ken. The antiques from Europe, the marble sculptures and stained glass are there all to ensure those buildings are as real as the originals.

I was thrilled–this is no budget spook alley for fright night–no way. This is an over $20 million dollar fan destination that can’t get here soon enough for me.

  • Ken looking like Walt Disney building Disneyland.

  • Showing off his passion for detail on various drawings.

  • Ken explaining creatures to fan Michael Johnson. See how intense and focused he is?

  • Here Ken describes an early version of Evermore.

  • Where the village and train will be…shortly.

  • What will this be??

  • Hundreds of mature trees are going in.

  • Dozens of period houses and buildings

And here’s more coverage in the Evermore Vlog:

Evermore Park: a place of exploration, wonder, and discovery. Evermore is not a theme park, nor is it an event, discovery, theatrical, or thrill park. It is a blend of all of these and more. Evermore is an Experience Park. It’s designed to immerse guests into a world of adventure where they can live in an incredible story, and even build their own.

 

Somtow’s Star Wars Concert

Somtow Sucharitkul will conduct the Siam Sinfonietta in The Ultimate Star Wars Symphony Concert with music from all nine already-released Star Wars films on March 15 in Bangkok at the Cultural Center, Thailand’s prestige auditorium. Author Alan Dean Foster will make a special guest appearance, and Thailand’s local 501st Legion  garrison will provide Storm Troopers,

Somtow and the Siam Sinfonietta will perform all the favorites – the Imperial March, Duel of the Fates, The Jedi Steps, Luke and Leia, the Cantina Band – and music from all eight main sequence Star Wars movies using the full-scale John Williams Signature Series scores, with full symphony and chorus, plus excerpts from the Rogue One score by Michael Giacchino.

Special guest Alan Dean Foster, author of The Force Awakens and ghost writer of the first Star Wars novelization, will provide narration during the concert.

The concert is a fundraiser for Siam Sinfonietta’s April tour to Carnegie Hall, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Thai-American relations.

Conductor Somtow Sucharitkul was in the audience at the Uptown Theater in Washington DC at the very opening show in 1977. The next year, he sold his first science fiction story to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. In 1981, Somtow was with Gary Kurtz, producer of The Empire Strikes Back, at the Hugo Awards ceremony when Empire won for Best Dramatic Presentation and Somtow won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Marvel and DC Roundup

Compiled by Carl Slaughter:

MARVEL

(1) Dark Phoenix  –  first photo — “X-Men: Dark Phoenix heats up EW’s First Look Issue”.

This Phoenix has risen… again. On Nov. 2, 2018, Dark Phoenix will arrive in theaters and finally deliver the storyline X-Men fans have wanted for years. Simon Kinberg previously attempted to tell the iconic Jean Grey tale — about the telepath’s battle with demons in her own mind — with his screenplay for 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, but studio pressure squeezed her story into a reductive subplot. Kinberg, making his directorial debut, felt in his gut that this was the story that he needed to tell once Bryan Singer, who directed the previous two sequels, stepped aside. “[The film] was so clear in my head, emotionally and visually, that it would have killed me to hand this to somebody else to direct,” Kinberg says

(2) ScreenRant “15 Things Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Wants You To Forget About”.

As Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs its fifth season, there are certainly some loose hanging threads left behind by previous seasons. But some of those loose ends go all the way back to season one, which means that those are probably plots and characters the series just wishes fans would forget.

However, fans are notoriously good at remembering many smaller details of their favorite shows. That means we still have a lot of questions about what happened to those hanging plot threads that sort of got tossed to the wayside. It’s bad enough that two characters, Bobbi and Lance got forced to leave the show for Marvel’s Most Wanted, a series that never made it to air. But it’s also even worst that never really said goodbye to Agent Grant Ward after he became a good guy in the Framework. And it’s just sad that Ian Quinn is still out there somewhere doing bad Hydra things. Also, there were a lot of Daisy LMDs running around: surely they’re still out there somewhere ready to create chaos?

Perhaps some of these questions will get answered in season five. But most of these will probably keep hanging in the ether as questions that will never get answered.

(3) CinemaBlend reports another round with Peggy Carter — “Check Out Hayley Atwell’s Return As Peggy Carter For Marvel’s Avengers: Secret Wars”.

Ever since Agent Carter left the air, fans of both the character and actress Hayley Atwell have been hoping Marvel would bring Peggy Carter back into the action on a more consistent basis. While the world continues to speculate on whether or not the actress will appear in Avengers: Infinity War, Atwell fans can definitely witness her return as Peggy in animated form on a new episode of Marvel’s Avengers: Secret Wars.

(4) WhatCulture: Predicting the fate of every Avenger in Infinity War

(5) ScreenRant says Marvel has the rights to 7000 characters:

Marvel Studios may not own the film rights to the X-Men or Fantastic Four, but they have thousands of other characters that could one day come to theaters. The story of Marvel Studios’ film and TV rights is a long and complex one, but the comics giant has been slowly regaining them over the years. By now, most of Marvel’s heroes and villains are under their roof save Fox’s ownership of various X-Men and Fantastic Four characters. There’s also Sony’s Spider-Man pantheon, though that’s become a bit of a gray area due to recent events.

Despite some major characters not being able to show up in the MCU, Marvel Studios has done a masterful job of elevating a roster of heroes and villains to household names. And given their working relationship with both Sony and Fox, a uniting of the entire Marvel Universe doesn’t seem unlikely. In the meantime, however, Marvel are gearing up for a team-up film like no other in Avengers: Infinity War. It’s sequel, Avengers 4, will then wrap up the current iteration of the MCU—and kick off a new era of films.

(6) “35 Avengers Characters Unite For Vanity Fair Infinity War Cover”Click through to see.

DC

(1) WhatCulture: 5 ways Justice League ruined its best characters

(2) Grunge: Why DC changed the way its characters look

(3) Cosmonaut  Variety Hour tells the problem with DC superheroes

(4) ScreenRant says The DC Movie Universe is Worse Without Zack Snyder

For those who felt that Zack Snyder was always the problem, not simply for his tone, but his entire method of storytelling, Justice League seemed the perfect chance to prove it. Considering the reactions to Justice League‘s ‘Frankenstein-ed’ identity (and some woeful CG mishaps), the problem was never that simple. And for the fans demanding Snyder’s version of Justice League be released, the movie that was supposed to jumpstart DC using Snyder’s successes has crushed it into the dust.

(5) ScreenRant opines about 8 Villains The Arrowverse Failed At Adapting (And 7 They Nailed)

The Arrowverse, which began with Arrow almost 6 years ago and has grown with The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and most recently Supergirl, has already seen a number of very successful crossovers and though its cast of characters is immense, it actually follows through on the promise of individual programs’ events having consequences throughout the universe.

Having said that, some of the villains they’ve attempted to adapt from the comics have been less than stellar. While it’s understandable that over multiple series some villainous interpretations are bound to fall short, there have been surprise successes as well

(6) ScreenRant says Arrow needs more female characters:.

Supergirlwhich has always been the most female-centric of the CW’s universe, continues to put its female characters front and center. Beyond the superheros and villains, though, Supergirl has also been focusing on female friendships this season. Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Lena (Katie McGrath) continue to develop their relationship, while also bringing newcomer Samantha (Odette Annable) into the fold. Along with Kara’s sister Alex (Chyler Leigh), they form a group that supports each other in a wonderful way. Legends of Tomorrow continues to add new female heroes to the team with Zari (Tala Ashe) bonding (slowly) with Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) while Sara (Caity Lotz) heads up the team as Captain. And The Flash pulled out all the stops in recent weeks to address the friendship between Iris (Candice Patton) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). Finally, Joe’s (Jesse L Martin) new fiancee Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) and Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) girlfriend Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) round out the women of Team Flash.

But where the rest of the Arrowverse is killing it, the one that spawned it all seems to be falling down. Arrow has fewer female main characters than ever, and no female friendships appear this season. What’s gone wrong with the women of Arrow, and how can they get back on track?

Odyssey Writing Workshop Taking Applications

Each year, writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror from all over the world apply to the Odyssey Writing Workshop for fantasy, science fiction, and horror, which this year will be held June 4 to July 13 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Only fifteen are admitted.

Class meets for over four hours each day, five days a week, with time split between lectures and workshopping.  Students spend about eight hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work.

Odyssey is for writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work.

The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular application deadline is APRIL 7.

The workshop is held by the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  Odyssey is funded in part by donations from graduates, grantors and supporters, and in part by student tuition.  Tuition is $2,025, and housing in campus apartments is $892 for a double room and $1,784 for a single.  All applicants receive feedback on their writing sample.

Financial Aid

  • Beginning this year, bestselling author George R. R. Martin is funding a scholarship for an Odyssey student. The Miskatonic Scholarship will be awarded to a promising writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. It will cover full tuition, textbook, and housing. As Martin notes –

We are not looking for Lovecraft pastiches, nor even Cthulhu Mythos stories. References to Arkham, Azathoth, shoggoths, the Necronomicon, and the fungi from Yuggoth are by no means obligatory…though if some candidates choose to include them, that’s fine as well. What we want is the sort of originality that H. P. Lovecraft displayed in his day…. What we want are nightmares new and resonant and profound, comic terrors that will haunt our dreams for years to come.

  • The Parasite Publications Character Awards, sponsored by Odyssey graduate Sara King, provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend.  The awards provide three scholarships in the amounts of $2,025 (full tuition), $500, and $300.
  • Several other scholarships and a work/study position are also available.

Odyssey’s Director and Primary Instructor

Odyssey founder Jeanne Cavelos is a bestselling author and former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work.  She works individually with students, meeting with them over the six weeks to set goals, chart progress, and talk out problems.  She also provides students with detailed, constructive critiques that average over 1,500 words each.  In 2015, Jeanne was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for her work teaching and running Odyssey.

2018 Guest Lecturers

Lecturers for the 2018 workshop include —

  • Elizabeth Hand
  • Theodora Goss
  • E. C. Ambrose
  • Nisi Shawl
  • Meagan Spooner
  • Gary A. Braunbeck
  • Scott H. Andrews, editor/ publisher of Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Here is a video of graduates describing their Odyssey experiences:

Odyssey Graduates

Recent novels by Odyssey graduates include Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; The Thickety: The Last Spell by J. A. White, from HarperCollins; The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, from Saga Press; The Dark Apostle:  Elisha Mancer by E. C. Ambrose, from Baen Books; and Hunted by Meagan Spooner, published by HarperTeen.  Odyssey graduates have had short fiction published in the top magazines in the field:  Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Asimov’s, Tor.com, Weird Tales, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and many more.

[Based on a press release.]

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
News Torrent

  • In November Sharon Lee and Steve Miller released two chapbooks of previously published stories — Cultivar and Heirs to Trouble. These echapbooks with limited paper editions from Amazon, are part of the Adventures in the Liaden® Universe chapbook series.
  • Their holiday story “Block Party”, published on December 15, is a free read on the front page of Ben’s website until January 15.

  • The next Liaden Universe novel, Neogenesis hits all the major outlets on January 2 in hardback, ebook, and audio editions. A few dozen signed copies will be available from Uncle Hugos in Minneapolis starting January 2, as well. Neogenesis is the 21st Liaden novel.
  • Sharon Lee & Steve Miller are signing Neogenesis locally come Saturday, January 13, at Childrens Bookcellar, 52 Main St, Waterville, ME 04901 from 1:00 to 3:30.
  • On January 15 their all new echapbook Degrees of Separation will be available from Pinbeam Books and distributed by major ebook venues as well as on paper from Amazon. Degrees of Separation is a prequel to the “Block Party” story currently online at Baen, and is Number 27 in our Adventures in the Liaden Universe chapbook series that started at SRM Publisher in 1995.
  • In March Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will travel from the wilds of Maine via Amtrak to be Author Guests of Honor at MidSouthCon, (March 9-11), in Memphis, TN. Mike Resnick will be toastmaster, Ellen Datlow is Editor GoH.
  • Also, this year’s Liaden novel The Gathering Edge — already available in hardback, ebook, and audio editions —  will be released in mass market paperback July 31, 2018.

[Thanks to Steve MiIler for the story.]

Dozois Releases ToC for 35th Annual Year’s Best SF

Gardner Dozois has named the 38 stories that will appear in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection, due out in July of 2018:

  • THE MOON IS NOT A BATTLEFIELD, Indrapramit Das
  • MY ENGLISH NAME, R.S. Benedict
  • AN EVENING WITH SEVERYN GRIMES, Rich Larson
  • VANGUARD 2.0, Carter Scholz
  • STARLIGHT EXPRESS, Michael Swanwick
  • THE MARTIAN OBELISK, Linda Nagata
  • WE WHO LIVE IN THE HEART, Kelly Robson
  • WINTER TIMESHARE, Ray Nayler
  • DEAR SARAH, Nancy Kress
  • NIGHT PASSAGE, Alastair Reynolds
  • THE DRAGON THAT FLEW OUT OF THE SUN, Aliette de Bodard
  • WAITING OUT THE END OF THE WORLD IN PATTY’S PLACE CAFE, Naomi Krtizer
  • THE HUNGER AFTER YOU’RE FED, James S.A. Corey
  • ASSASSINS, Jack Skillingstead and Burt Courtier
  • THE MARTIAN JOB, Jaine Fenn
  • THE ROAD TO THE SEA, Lavie Tidhar
  • UNCANNY VALLEY, Greg Egan
  • THE WORLDLESS, Indrapramit Das
  • PAN HUMANISM: HOPE AND PRAGMATICS, Jessica Barber and Sara Saab
  • ZIGEUNER, Harry Turtledove
  • THE PROVING GROUND, Alec Nevala-Lee
  • ZEN AND THE ART OF SPACESHIP MAINTENANCE, Tobias Buckell
  • THE INFLUENCE MACHINE, Sean McMullen
  • CANOE, Nancy Kress
  • THE HISTORY OF THE INVASION TOLD IN FIVE DOGS, Kelly Jennings
  • PRIME MEREDIAN, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • TRICERATOPS, Ian McHugh
  • MINES, Eleanor Arnason
  • THERE USED TO BE OLIVE TREES, Rich Larson
  • WHENDING MY WAY BACK HOME, Bill Johnson
  • DEATH ON MARS, Madeline Ashby
  • ELEPHANT ON TABLE, Bruce Sterling
  • NUMBER 39 SKINK, Suzanne Palmer
  • A SERIES OF STEAKS, Vina Jie-Min Prased
  • THE LAST BOAT-BUILDER IN BALLYVOLOON, Finbarr O’Reilley
  • THE RESIDUE OF FIRE, Robert Reed
  • SIDEWALKS, Maureen F. McHugh
  • NEXUS, Michael F. Flynn

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

Last Jedi Video Roundup

Selected by Carl Slaughter:

  • References You Missed In The Last Jedi

  • The Last Jedi Cast Answers the Web’s Most Searched Questions

  • Mark Hamill Hurts

Mark Hamill was so invested in the character of Luke Skywalker and the universe of Star Wars. You can see his enthusiasm in the way he speaks. This was more than a job or a paycheck. He signed on for the sequel trilogy only because he believed George Lucas, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher would be with him to continue their characters’ stories.

 

  • STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI Cast Interviews – Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega

  • Kids Interview The ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Cast With Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill & More

  • Star Wars LAST JEDI Review – Why Are Fans Split? (Finn Subplot Explained!)

  • Star Wars – Obi Wan Spin Off Movie Targets 2020 Release

Season’s Readings: N.K. Jemisin & Christopher Brown Offer Visions of Unhappy New Years at the KGB Bar

By Mark L. Blackman: On the evening of Wednesday, December 20, 2017, in the pause between the end of Chanukah and the arrival of the Winter Solstice, the Fantastic Fiction Readings Series hosted readings by authors N.K. Jemisin and Christopher Brown in the Red Room at the KGB Bar in Manhattan’s East Village, where Christmas wreaths and lights mixed incongruously with red walls and Soviet era-themed décor.  (“On the first day of Marxmas, the Party gave to me …”)

Customarily, as the audience settled in, award-winning editor and the Series’ co-host Ellen Datlow whirled around photographing the crowd (her photos are posted on the Series’ website,  Series’ website; mine accompany this report).  (Contrary to the belief of some, she had not remained in the Bar during the two days since Monday’s launch party there for her new anthology, Mad Hatters and March Hares.)

The event opened with the Series’ other co-host, Matthew Kressel, welcoming the audience, thanking the Bar, exhorting the audience to do likewise by buying a drink, hard or soft (“When you support the Bar, you support the Series”), and announcing upcoming readers:

  • January 17: Joseph Helmreich and Myke Cole
  • February 21: Cassandra Khaw and Peternelle van Arsdale
  • March 21: Chandler Klang Smith and Kelly Robson
  • April 18: Jon Padgett plus a reader to be announced
  • May 16: Tina Connolly and Caroline M. Yoachim

All dates are the third Wednesday of that month and, of course, in 2018.  (Further details may be found on the Series’ website.)  He then introduced the first reader of the evening.

Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown (not to be confused with the R&B singer and Rihanna’s ex) is the author of the 2017 novel Tropic of Kansas, which was recently nominated for the Compton Crook Award, and a World Fantasy Award nominee for the anthology he co-edited, Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic.  His next two novels will lead off a series of speculative legal thrillers (fittingly, he practices technology law) set in the world of Tropic of Kansas.  He read from the beginning of Tropic of Kansas, which, he related, was called by two reviewers “the feel bad novel of the year.”  Set in a near-future dystopia (as opposed to the current one) where a crackdown on terrorism in the wake of a series of attacks, the young protagonist, Sig, is deported from Canada and detained in a prison camp that was formerly the Mall of America, and from which he plans an escape before he can be sent to a labor camp in Detroit.

N. K. Jemisin

After an intermission, Datlow introduced the evening’s second and final reader.  N.K. (the “N” stands for Nora)  Jemisin is the author of the Broken Earth Trilogy, the first two books of which (The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate) received the Hugo Award for Best Novel (making her the first black person to win that Hugo), the Inheritance Trilogy, and the Dreamblood Duology.  She has also won a Locus Award for Best First Novel, and, in addition, her work has been nominated for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, and shortlisted for the Crawford, the Gemmell Morningstar, and the Tiptree Awards.  On top of all that, she writes the Sunday New York Times’ science fiction and fantasy book review column, “Otherworldly.”

In a special treat, and fighting bronchial problems, she shared the revised version of an unpublished short story, at present entitled “Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death.”  Continuing the evening’s dystopian theme (where was the season’s merry jollity?), we were shown a future where the powerful inhabitants of Towers dominate, ruling by fear and dependency, and have genetically tweaked frogs (as in the Plague in the Book of Exodus) into drug-sniffing dragons.  Rural black raiders, however, have co-opted the dragons, diverting them from eating dark-skinned people with what sounded like soul food (this is a serious story, she reminded us).

At the back of the room, copies of Tropic of Kansas and books by Jemisin were for sale from the Word bookstore of Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, NJ.  Much of the audience hung around for a while afterward, then likely headed out for dinner.