Speaking of Seeger

By John Hertz:  Having happened to enlighten Our Gracious Host about Pete Seeger’s “Wimoweh” (1957) and the Tokens’ hit “The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)” (1961), “wimoweh” a mis-hearing of Zulu “uyimbube” (“you’re a lion”), I thought further about how Paul Weimer heard it.

Weimer was this year’s Down Under Fan Fund delegate, and having been there and back again is now the North America Administrator for DUFF.

I was ecstatic to learn in August he’d promptly published his trip report.

After some commotion I got a copy from him, not by “downloading” but a realio trulio paper copy which I without citizenship in Electronicland could read.  It was 300 pages, printed on one side only, to a great extent photographs (very beautiful, some of them) without labels, through which I searched agonizingly. So much for Michelangelo.

However the fact remains that I still haven’t published my own report from 2010, though I did send a note here.

Thus by way of applause we might sing:

Going down under, the Fan Fund Down Under,
Paul Weimer went tonight.

A Weimer went, a Weimer went,
A Weimer went, a Weimer went.

’Cross the ocean, the peaceful ocean,
Paul Weimer went tonight.
’Cross the ocean, the quiet ocean,
Paul Weimer went tonight.

A Weimer went, a Weimer went,
A Weimer went, a Weimer went.

“Three hundred pages!” the no-’Net man rages;
Paul Weimer’s back tonight.

A Weimer went, a Weimer went,
A Weimer went, a Weimer went.

Who’s from down under, who’s next from down under?
Paul Weimer went last time.
Who’ll go to Worldcon, the San Jose Worldcon?
Paul Weimer went last time.

                                            

Alas, though none of us three knew it, Mitch Margo (1947-2017), who was 14 when as one of the Tokens he recorded “The Lion”, had died on November 24th, age 70.  R.I.P.

Hey Amazon, How About Doing These Lord of the Rings TV Shows?


By Daniel Dern: According to a November 13 press release, Amazon.com will be doing one or more TV shows to based on Lord of the Rings and possibly other of J.R.R. Tolkien’s published and unpublished works — and thanks to an anonymous email from PalantirLeaks, I’ve got the inside scoop on their plans…which I’m (shhhh!) sharing with you.

As you’ll see, the Big A has an ambitious potential line-up — enough for its own cable channel — going beyond the obvious series and mini-series to the gamut of TV possibilities.

(Note/disclaimer, I’m not the only person having fun with this announcement — I’d noticed some likely headlines before I wrote most of my piece, but carefully avoided reading any of those stories… although I’m not finding them now, just this — “Hobbit star Orlando Bloom promises elven spin-off movie”.

I also deliberately avoided what’s probably the most obvious LoTR spin-off suggestion as too obvious not to have been made decades ago, and as a quick web search shows, there’s no shortage of hits for “Mordor She Wrote”…)

TALL AND SMALL (Cop show) Think “She’s an Entwive, he’s a Halfing,” as our protoganists find, fight, and solve crimes and mysteries/dunnits by an assortment of Men, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, et cetera (creating opportunities for lots of fun guest stars, including, permissions permitting, Marvel’s Groot). Originally titled “Little, Big” until somebody pointed out that’s already the title of one of John Crowley’s science fiction books science fiction books.

MAKE ‘SHROOMS FOR DADDY. (Cooking) Hobbit-hosted, featuring festive fungi feasts. Sponsored by Farmer Maggot, who tries to interrupt with shaggy-warg stories about rascally hobbits trying to steal his mushers at night, plus PSAs flagging the visual differences between safe versus poisonous (or otherwise dubious) ‘shrooms.

HAPPY, HUNGRY HOBBITS! (For kids; possibly animated.) Follow Frodo, Samwise, Merry, Pippin and others when they were rascally young hobbitlings, and their hilarious hijinks as they search for elevenses, experiment with Gandalf’s fireworks, and more. Watch Frodo get in, and escape from, trouble by “borrowing” his Uncle Bilbo’s magic disappearing ring.

CLOAKS AND STAFFS U. (Angsty series) Gandalf, Galadriel, Saruman, Radagast when they were at wizarding school, learning their craft — and practicing through pranking each other.

MATHOM ROAD SHOW. Treasure or junk? Antiquing and garage/yard selling Middle Earth’s stuff.

RIDDLE US THIS (Game show) Smeagol Gollum hosts the ever-popular riddle game show, where the loser may be eaten, or at least web-wrapped by Shelob.

THE AMAZING WRAITHES. Which team will make it from the Last Lonely House to Mount Doom before the one of the Nine get them? All bets are off, in this exciting — and thrill-filled — competition.

DANCING WITH THE ELVES. (Competition) Judging includes who looks the most embarrassing by comparison.

GIMLI SHELTER. Dwarves show how to protect your home (hole, village, castle, etc.) against orcs, wargs, and flaming dragons.

THE B-FELLOWS. (Either reality show or fiction, TBD) Sure, we know about the Fellowship of the Nine… now follow the travails of the team(s) that didn’t make the cut, who bravely (but not always eptly) set themselves up as Decoy Fellowships.

HOW I MET YOUR MITHRIL (Middle Earth Geographic documentary) A look at the geography, minerals, fauna and non-sentient flora of Middle Earth, from pipeweed and athelas through why some of the mountain ranges improbably have corners (see
https://www.tor.com/2017/08/01/tolkiens-map-and-the-messed-up-mountains-of-middle-earth/). Narrated and led by Ranger ‘arry Aragon, with stunning aerial views courtesy of Eagles with head and body cams.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-SAM (live-action). Heh, turns out Shelob wasn’t just a humongous spider, she was also radioactive… as Samwise found out when he returned to the Shire and found himself sticking to walls, shooting webbing from his fingers, being strong as an Oliphant, and wanting to eat insects. Hilarity and hijinks ensue.
So set those DVRs, that’s what we’re Tolkein about!

AbeBooks Top SFF Sales in 2017 To Date

Every quarter collectibles bookseller AbeBooks posts its top 10 high ticket sales. While there wasn’t a notable genre sale in the first three months of the year, John Wyndham and Aldous Huxley have been making the cash registers ring since then.

The top 10 sales for April-June included:

  1. Chocky by John Wyndham – $11,443

A science fiction story about an alien, first published as a novella in 1963 in Amazing Stories. This copy was a scarce 1968 signed first edition of the book format published by Michael Joseph, and in near fine condition. The BBC adapted Wyndham’s story for radio in 1967. Chocky was Wyndham’s last published story during his lifetime – he died in March 1969. British author Wyndham is best known for his novels, The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids.

  1. = Letters from Aldous Huxley to Goddard Lieberson – $7,500

An exchange of letters between Huxley and Lieberson, president of Columbia Records from 1956 to 1971. Thirteen of the letters are either typed or autograph letters, signed, from Huxley, and the last two are autograph letters from Huxley’s second wife, Laura. Sixteen carbon copies of Lieberson’s typed letters to Huxley are also included. The letters span a significant portion of the end of Huxley’s life, from 1952 to 1963. Lieberson initially wrote to Huxley asking if he would like to be part of a series of recordings of authors reading their work, which already included Truman Capote. Huxley invited Lieberson to his house, in order to listen to some previous recordings, and the two became friends.

  1. = Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – $7,500

A first edition, first printing of Huxley’s most famous book in its dustjacket, published in 1932. Huxley’s New World was set in London in 2540 and predicts a variety of technologies concerning reproduction, learning, psychology, and conditioning. The author does not offer a positive view of the future.

And “AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of July, August & September 2017” featured these sff works:

  1. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – $13,844

A 1951 UK first edition of this classic science fiction novel featuring killer plants wreaking havoc, published by Michael Joseph and in near fine condition complete with its dust jacket. Inscribed by Wyndham. The book belonged to Jim Burch was a science fiction fan and co-organizer of the 1951 Science Fiction Convention in London.

Note: An article about the London convention and a photo of Burch can be found at Rob Hansen’s website.

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – $8,800

The 1969 edition illustrated by Salvador Dali. Limited to 2500 copies, this is # 2,386. Twelve surreal illustrations with original woodcuts and an original etching by Dali. Copies of this prized book regularly appear on this list. We recommend Princeton’s 2015 reprint if you don’t have thousands to spare.

Illustration by Salvador Dali in 1969 edition of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Down One at the Dep’t of Terminology

By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1256)  While in Chicago for law school I lived on the Near North Side.  This was not meant as a defection from Hyde Park my childhood home, just closer to school.  Going to Antioch instead of the University of Chicago for a baccalaureate had already made me a Black Sheep, and then Northwestern U. law school instead of U. Chicago compounded the – but that’s another story.

Anyhow, nearby was a multi-level something, with an open core, turned into shops.  One was Fong’s Bakery, run by a Chinese woman named Fong Chu (Fong being the surname, placed first Chinese style).  She sold perhaps two dozen Chinese bakery goods, helpfully labeled in Chinese and English.  I brought friends there.

Among the goodies – or baddies– were po-luo pao, pineapple buns (another way of writing spells that word bao, like Peking and Beijing for the Chinese capital).

The buns had no pineapple in them.  This perplexed my friends.  “Where,” my friends asked poor Ms. Fong, “is the pineapple?”

Just as perplexed she answered, more politely than I paraphrase here, “Pineapple?  What pineapple?  Why should there be pineapple?”  This could go on awhile.

Eventually it emerged that they were called pineapple buns – indeed how they’re known to Chinese – not because they contained pineapple, because they looked like pineapples.  The tops are brown and cross-hatched.

Long an amateur terminologist, I was training to be a professional terminologist.  The Pineapple Bun adventure stayed in mind.

In Whittier the other day I was admiring the Lou Henry Hoover fountain at Beverly and Norwalk Boulevards.  She (1929-1933) was the wife of President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964; in office 1929-1933), whom she met in their undergraduate days at Stanford; she went with him to China in 1899 and became fluent in Mandarin; she had many ties to this California town.  Across the street was a Starbucks shop.  A sign there said “Try our new octopus cookies.”

I asked “Are they made with real octopus?”

“No, they’re just shaped like an octopus.”

Clang!

The Worst Movie Golden Bracket: The Finalizeling

By Hampus Eckerman: I have counted the number of votes for the different movies nominated by the filers. Now it is time to finalize the list before the bracket begins.

Please take a look at the list below and add your nominations (I’m keeping the old ones in a spreadsheet, so you can’t make duplicates). Note that for some of the nominated movies, there were several movies with the same titles. I have then picked the year I thought most likely. If you want to correct me there, please do so.

In a few cases, the movie did not exist at all because there had been a mix-up in the title. I have then used the magic google search and found movies with names that are very close and added those to the list instead. I hope they are the correct ones.

So without much further ado, here is the current list. Let the nominations continue.


Five votes:

  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Four votes:

  • The Black Hole (1979)
  • The Food of the Gods (1976)
  • Mazes and Monsters (1982)
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
  • Reptilicus (1961)
  • The Room (2003)
  • The Thing with Two Heads (1972)
  • Troll 2 (1990)
  • Zardoz (1974)

Three votes:

  • Attack of the Mushroom People (1963)
  • Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
  • Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)
  • Eegah (1962)
  • Glen or Glenda (1953)
  • Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
  • The Master of Disguise (2002)
  • Prometheus (2012)
  • Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
  • Star Wars: Episod II – Klonerna anfaller (2002)
  • Teenagers From Outer Space (1959)
  • The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)
  • Waterworld (1995)

Two votes:

  • A Knight’s Tale (2001)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Battlefield Earth (2000)
  • The Creeping Terror (1964)
  • Ghost In The Shell (2017)
  • The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)
  • Godzilla (1998)
  • The Guns of El Chupacabra (1997)
  • The Happening (2008)
  • Howard The Duck (1986)
  • The Human Tornado (1976)
  • The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964)
  • Ishtar (1987)
  • Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)
  • Monster a Go-Go! (1965)
  • Reefer Madness (1936)
  • Robot Monster (1953)
  • Roller Blade (1985)
  • Samurai Cop (1991)
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
  • Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973)
  • The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)
  • Son of the Mask (2005)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  • Starcrash (1979)
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
  • They Saved Hitler’s Brain (1968)
  • Toys (1992)
  • Transformers (2007)
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Vamp (1986)
  • The Wicker Man (2006)

One vote:

  • 2012 (2009)
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
  • Aeon Flux (2005)
  • After Last Season (2009)
  • Against the Dark (2009)
  • Airplane! (1980)
  • Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
  • Alien vs Predator (1993)
  • Alien 3 (1992)
  • All Monsters Attack (1969)
  • Amsterdamned (1998)
  • At Long Last Love (1975)
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)
  • The Avengers (1998)
  • Disco Godfather (1979)
  • The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
  • Beowulf (2007)
  • Beware! The Blob (1972)
  • Birdemic 2: The Resurrection
  • The Black Cauldron (1986)
  • The Black Gestapo (1975)
  • Blade: Trinity (2004)
  • Blubberella (2011)
  • Brain from Planet Arous (1957)
  • The Brood (1979)
  • Caligula (1979)
  • Catwoman (2004)
  • Central Intelligence (2016)
  • Congo (1995)
  • The Creature That Wasn’t Nice /Naked Space (1983)
  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  • Dracula 2000 (2000)
  • Dragon Wars: D-war (2007)
  • Earthsea (2004)
  • Empire of the Ants (1976)
  • Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
  • Fantastic Four (2015)
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
  • The Flame Barrier (1958)
  • Frankenstein Island (1981)
  • Freejack (1992)
  • Fright Night Part 2 (1988)
  • Daikyojû Gappa (1967)
  • The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
  • The Giant Claw (1957)
  • The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
  • Golden Dawn (1930)
  • Gonks Go Beat (1965)
  • Hawk The Slayer (1980)
  • The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)
  • Heaven’s Gate (1980)
  • Hells Come to Frogtown (1988)
  • High Tension (2003)
  • Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party (2016)
  • The Humanoid (1979)
  • The Ice Pirates (1984)
  • The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971)
  • Idle Hands (1999)
  • Independence Day (1996)
  • Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
  • Inspector Gadget (1999)
  • Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961)
  • Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957)
  • It’s Pat (1994)
  • Jabberwocky (1977)
  • Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
  • Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
  • Knowing (2009)
  • Lady Terminator (1989)
  • Leonard Part 6 (1987)
  • Lost Horizon (1973)
  • The Love Guru (2008)
  • MAc and Me (1988)
  • Maid To Order (1987)
  • Maniac (1934)
  • Max Payne (2008)
  • Metallica/Captive Planet (1979)
  • Meteor (1979)
  • Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Mr Magoo (1997)
  • Myra Breckenridge (1970)
  • Naked Gun (1988)
  • Narcosys (2000)
  • The Navy Vs The Night Monster (1966)
  • Night Train to Mundo Fine (1966)
  • Norwood (1970)
  • Oblivion (1994)
  • The Phantom (1996)
  • The Pirate Movie (1982)
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
  • The Prince and Me 3: A Royal Honeymoon (2008)
  • Queen of Outer Space (1958)
  • Queen of The Damned (2002)
  • Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1966)
  • Repo: The Genetic Opera (2008)
  • Rock & Roll Nightmare (1987)
  • The Rollerball (2002)
  • Roller Blade Seven (1991)
  • Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977)
  • Scooby-Doo (2002)
  • Serenity (2005)
  • The Shape Of Things To Come (1979)
  • Shock Treatment (1981)
  • Showgirls (1995)
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)
  • Space Ninja: Swords of the Space Ark (1979)
  • Stealth (2005)
  • Taking Earth (2017)
  • The Three Musketeers (1973)
  • Ultracop 2000 (1992)
  • Ultraviolet (2006)
  • Universal Soldiers (2007)
  • Valerian: City Of A Thousand Planets (2017)
  • Vampire In Brooklyn (1995)
  • Vampires Suck (2010)
  • The Village (2004)
  • Viva Knievel! (1977)
  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (1985)
  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2 (1989)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967)

A Game of Groans

By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 1254):  In college I was a very popular and much-sought-after Poker player.  There’s only one way to be a v.p.a.m.s.a. Poker player.  Eventually I realized I could change this by studying the odds and developing skill, but other things attracted my attention and I left off.  That crowd thought Spade Mariah and Anaconda wild games.  I came to L.A. in time for the great L.A. S-F Society Poker days of Double Jesus, Ha-Ha Herman, and Soft Shoe (where you could shuffle off to bluff a low – which Mike Glicksohn called “one of the finest puns of this or any year”, Van 472).

 * * * * *

In the same issue, changing the subject as is easy in a fanzine published every week, John gives this 5-7-5-7-7-syllable acrostic.

Mollification
Amazes those who thought they’d
Zeroed out their lives.
Even we who only watch
Doubt no more honey from weeds.

Announcing: The Worst Movie Golden Bracket

By Hampus Eckerman: The Golden Turkey Awards. The Golden Raspberry Award. Awards given to the worst of the worst movies. So this will be The Worst Movie Golden Bracket.

This is about chosing the worst movie ever made. A bad movie is not a boring movie. It is a movie that creates feelings. Astonishment that the movie could ever be made. Fascination over who could create it. Anger over those who participated in it. Enthusiasm over the brilliance needed to make something so bad.

A truly bad movie is the kind where you continue to watch in the same way as at an oncoming train crash.

* * *

The bracket is done in the same way as previous movie brackets. These are the steps of the nomination phase before the brackets begin.

STEP 1: Nomination Phase

I have created a short list of movies considered to be the worst ever made. In the comment section, you will write movies you think should be added to the list. Also write if you want to nominate a movie already listed.

STEP 2: The Finalizing Phase

I will compile all movies mentioned in a separate post. There you will have the possibility to add your nominations to the movies listed (and only those listed at this stage).

STEP 3: The Final List

I will count all nominations and decide which movies has made into the brackets. The list will be published in a separate post. And after that the brackets will begin.


So without much ado, here is my list of truly bad movies.

  • At Long Last Love (1975)
  • Attack of the Mushroom People (1963)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Battlefield Earth (2000)
  • The Black Gestapo (1975)
  • Catwoman (2004)
  • Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)
  • Eegah (1962)
  • Empire of the Ants (1976)
  • Frankenstein Island (1981)
  • The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
  • The Giant Claw (1957)
  • The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)
  • Glen or Glenda (1953)
  • Heaven’s Gate (1980)
  • Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)
  • The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964)
  • Ishtar (1987)
  • Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
  • Leonard Part 6 (1987)
  • Maniac (1934)
  • Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
  • Monster a Go-Go! (1965)
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
  • Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1966)
  • Reefer Madness (1936)
  • Reptilicus (1961)
  • Robot Monster (1953)
  • The Room (2003)
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
  • Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973)
  • Showgirls (1995)
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
  • The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)
  • They Saved Hitler’s Brain (1968)
  • The Thing with Two Heads (1972)
  • Troll 2 (1990)
  • The Food of the Gods (1976)
  • The Wicker Man (2006)

What movies can you add?

Royal Mail Issuing Star Wars: The Last Jedi Stamps

Britain’s Royal Mail will issue a set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi commemorative stamps on October 12.

STAR WARS:THE LAST JEDI, is blasting its way onto cinema screens from 14 December 2017. To celebrate, we’re proud to announce eight new STAR WARS stamps, limited-edition collectibles and gifts, packed with friendly (and not so friendly) characters.

Beautifully illustrated by UK digital artist, Malcolm Tween, some of the stamps feature secret details, revealed only by UV light.

The iconic stamps, first day covers, and related souvenirs can be pre-ordered now.

Sci-Fi Satire Roundup

Curated by Carl Slaughter: (1) A Game of Thrones fan with character insight, writing talent, and a sense of humor gives us a preview of the season 7 finale.

(2) Sneak peek at opening episode of Game of Thrones season 8, with some Trump immigration policy and white supremacists thrown in for fun.  Wall, white, get it?

Dany and Sansa to each other:  “Jon is mine.”
Sansa to Dany:  “He’s your nephew.”
Dany to Sansa:  “He’s your cousin.”

 

(3) We’re not a team, we’re a family.

(4) Superhero equal pay

(5) Sci-fi fan addiction

(6) Welcome to the boys club, welcome to the companions club.