(1) Ernie Hudson has filmed a cameo for the new Ghostbusters. All was forgiven sometime after gave this interview (quoted on The Mary Sue)….
Back in October of last year, Hudson told The Telegraph, “If it has nothing to do with the other two movies, and it’s all female, then why are you calling it Ghostbusters? I love females. I hope that if they go that way at least they’ll be funny, and if they’re not funny at least hopefully it’ll be sexy. I love the idea of including women, I think that’s great. But all-female I think would be a bad idea. I don’t think the fans want to see that.”.
— Ernie Hudson (@Ernie_Hudson) September 20, 2015
(2) Mashable has the story – Astronauts on the International Space Station got an advance screening of The Martian.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) September 20, 2015
Duncan Long asked, “Isn’t this a little like showing The Poseidon Adventure on a cruise ship?”
(3) Lincoln Michel in “Is It Time for Literary Magazines to Rethink the Slush” on Electric Literature.
Last month, I got entangled in a long twitter conversation about submission fees. The author Nick Mamatas took issue with The Offing magazine—an exciting new offshoot of the LA Review of Books focusing on promoting marginalized writers—deciding to charge a $3 fee for submissions. You can read Mamatas’s storify plus this follow-up blog post to see his side of things. Here’s a defense of fees from Nathaniel Tower for the other side. In general, the literary world is far too shy about talking about money, and publishing can be quite closed to marginalized voices who can’t afford unpaid internships, reading fees, and other entry barriers. This is a conversation we need to have.
Overall, I agree with Mamatas that there’s an ethical issue in charging submission fees. We never instituted them at Electric Literature for Recommended Reading, Gigantic, or any other magazine I’ve worked on. Plenty of journals barely take any work from the slush, but even a magazine that only publishes slush is likely only taking 1-2% of submissions. So the majority of unpublished writers are funding the minority of published, which isn’t a great foundation. Imagine if every worker had to pay to get a job interview? (Or, since most magazines don’t pay, maybe the analogy is paying to get an unpaid internship.) The defense of submission fees is that the fee is pretty small, perhaps only as costly as snail mail postage. But $3 adds up quickly. I’ve often heard the average story gets rejected twenty times before an acceptance. 21 x 3 = $63. The Offing pays $20-50, meaning you’d expect to lose between 13 and 43 bucks per story. Literary writers can’t expect to make much money from quiet short stories about cancer and obscure poems about birds, but surely we don’t need to actively lose money to get published!
I’d like to note here that The Offing is hardly the only magazine to charge a fee. Missouri Review, Sonora Review, Crazyhorse and so many others charge that when I asked about this on Twitter, I was told it would be easier to make a list of those who don’t. And the fact that The Offing pays $20-50 already puts them ahead of the vast majority of lit mags who pay nothing at all…
Could it be that The Singularity is not engaged in some kind of literary war crime but, in comparison to other magazines that don’t pay contributors, deserves to be commended for not charging a submission fee? (Rocks incoming in 5…4…3…)
(4) Yoon Ha Lee in “Outlining a Novel” —
[First 3 of 8 points.]
- I use parts of Randy Ingermanson’s snowflake method for writing a novel. If you haven’t looked at this (I’ve mentioned it several times in the past), it’s worth a look–it probably takes only a few hours to figure out whether or not it’s something that’ll work for you.
The parts I use are the first few steps:
– The one-sentence summary of the novel. I want to nail the core conflict and the protagonist. Ingermanson suggests fewer than 15 words. I use that as a rough guideline–sometimes I have to go a little over because the plot needs some sf/f setting setup. But not much over.
– One-paragraph summary. You can use three-act structure or similar if you like that. Ingermanson suggests “three disasters plus an ending.” It’s not a bad starting place.
– One-page summary. At this point I’m just expanding things out. I sometimes skip this step.
- I write down an unsorted list of elements and events that I want to make sure to include. Key scenes, particular relationships, cool tech toys, whatever.
- Determination of POVs. Mostly I base this on:
– Characters who are going to have growth arcs.
– Coverage of plot events.
– Information control. For example, some characters can’t be POVs because they spoil the entire damn book to the reader.
There are other considerations that come into play sometimes but they tend to be edge cases.
(5) Michael Cavna of the Comic Riffs blog on the Washington Post reports women swept the Small Press Expo’s Ignatz Awards given for outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning.
I JUST want to know, cartoonist C. Spike Trotman joked, how she’s going to get those three bricks through airport security.
Trotman, as emcee of the Small Press Expo’s Ignatz Awards ceremony Saturday night, was quickly finding the funny as Sophia Foster-Dimino hit the brick trifecta, picking up three trophies — which are an inspired nod to George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat” — and leading the field for the esteemed indie award.
The night felt like a coronation for Foster-Dimino, who dazzled voters with her “Sex Fantasy” comic and was selected best Promising New Talent. At the lectern, the cartoonist looked genuinely moved by the moment. And how better to build a young career than brick by brick?
Sophie Goldstein also picked up multiple awards; her work “The Oven” was voted Outstanding Comic and Outstanding Graphic Novel. When Goldstein kept her remarks brief upon her second win, she warmly joked that she was following Foster-Dimino’s humbled lead.
And just two years after every presenter at the Ignatz ceremony was a woman, now, at this year’s event, every winner was a woman.
— Michael Cavna (@comicriffs) September 19, 2015
(6) Don’t miss out on the current membership rate for the Helsinki Worldcon!
— Worldcon 75 (@worldcon75) September 20, 2015
(7) On Startalk Radio Neil deGrasse Tyson holds A Conversation with Edward Snowden (Part 1)
In this week’s episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson chats with whistleblower Edward Snowden via robotic telepresence from Moscow. The two card-carrying members of the geek community discuss Isaac Newton, the difference between education and learning, and even how knowledge is created. They also dive into the Periodic Table and chemistry, before moving on to the more expected subjects of data compression, encryption and privacy. You’ll learn about the relationship between private contractors, the CIA, and the NSA, for whom Edward began working at only 16 years old. Edward explains why metadata tells the government much more about individuals than they claim, and why there’s a distinction between the voluntary disclosure of information and the involuntary subversion of individual intent. Part 1 ends with a conversation about Ben Franklin, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the CIA’s oath of service, and government Standard Form 312, which is the agreement Snowden violated.
(8) David Gerrold wrote on Facebook
I’ve had the name “Noah Ward” registered as an official pseudonym with the Writers’ Guild since the late 70s. (I’ve actually used it twice.)
In the planning for the Hugo award ceremony, one of the gags in the script was that if No Award won, I would accept the trophy as “Noah Ward.” Tananarive would protest, and I would whip out the letter from the Writers’ Guild to demonstrate the official-ness of my pen name. Tananarive would then explain the difference between No and Noah and I would grumpily give up the trophy.
If a second category came in as No Award, I was prepared to do “You like me, you really like me.”
As it became clear that we might be looking at as many as 5 categories with No Award and that the voters seemed to be heading toward a massive smackdown of the slates, that joke had to be jettisoned.
In retrospect, that was the right choice. No Award in any category is an uncomfortable moment, even if that’s the result you voted for. So any attempt to add a joke to the moment would have been in very bad taste. And as much as I love a tasteless joke, this wasn’t the place for it.
It was fun to think about, it was the kind of gallows humor that people indulge in to release energy and frustration, but when it came down to the final moments, it was obvious that it wouldn’t play.
Even when explained by somebody who thought the asterisks were a good idea, it’s impossible to see why it was a hard choice to cut this gag….
[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 would-be contributing editor of the day Nigel.]