(1) Nicole Dieker at The Billfold says “Joss Whedon Made More Money With ‘Dr. Horrible’ Than ‘The Avengers,’ Unbelievably”.
Okay. Let’s compare two scenarios.
1) You decide to write, direct, and produce a 45-minute web musical. You fund the musical’s production out of your own pocket. It is free to watch online.
2) Marvel hires you to write and direct a summer blockbuster that becomes the third highest grossing film of all time.
Which one should make you more money? As Vulture reports, it’s not the one you think:
Joss Whedon shared an eye-opening fact during Saturday night’s reunion of the “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” team: He’s made more money from his independently financed 2008 Internet musical than he did from writing and directing Marvel’s first blockbuster “Avengers” movie.
Many of your works delve into areas that require great technical expertise, for example genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Yet, as far as I can tell, before your writing exploded, you transitioned from being an educator to working in advertising. What do you read to develop the knowledge base required for your books?
I wish I had a scientific education! Had I known when I was young that I would turn into an SF writer, I would have chosen differently. Instead, I hold a Masters in English. To write about genetic engineering, I research on-line, attend lectures, and pester actual scientists with questions. My best friend is a doctor; she goes over my work to check that I have not said anything egregiously moronic.
A career such as yours has many turning points, some striven for, others that blind-side the recipient for better or for worse. Would you care to provide two or three of the more pivotal moments?
The first turning point for me came with the writing of the novella “Beggars in Spain,” which won both the Hugo and the Nebula and which would never have been written without a jolt from writer Bruce Sterling. At a critique workshop we both attended, he pointed out that my story was weak because the society I’d created had no believable economic underpinnings. He said this colorfully and at length. After licking my wounds for a few weeks, I thought, “Damn it, he’s right!” In the next thing I wrote, “Beggars in Spain,” I seriously tried to address economic issues: Who controls the resources? What finances are behind what ventures? Why? With what success? My story about people not needing to sleep, which I’d actually been trying to compose for years, finally came alive.
(3) He grew up to be the leading fantasy cover artist – here is some of his earliest work. Frank Frazetta’s Adventures of the Snowman reviewed by Steven Paul Leiva for New York Journal of Books.
Frazetta is probably the most widely known—and revered—illustrator of science fiction and fantasy subjects, having gained much fame and a large following for his paperback book covers, putting the image into the imaginative worlds of Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and Conan the Barbarian, among others. Several generations of young minds looking for escape into fantastic realms of adventure where landscapes were often dark and danger-filled, men were perfect specimens of well-muscled heroes, and women were beyond beautiful as their “attributes” were beyond belief, will never regret having made the trip. But earlier in his career Frazetta worked in comics and comic books, even ghosting for Al Capp on his Lil’ Abner strip.
And at the age of 12 1/2, stuck in his bedroom on a snowy day, and inspired by a snowman in his backyard being battered by a winter wind, Frazetta created the Snow Man. This wasn’t a gentle character associated with winter wonderlands and Christmas, but rather a righteous fighter against the evil Axis, which America and its allies were fighting in the Second World War. A few years later, at the still young age of 15, Frazetta created at least two Snow Man comic stories, one of which was published in Tally-Ho Comics, and the other that makes up this current book.
(4) Larry Correia pulls back the curtain on another corner of the writing business in “Ask Correia #17: Velocity, Releases, Rankings, and Remainders”.
So if you turn over constantly, stores tend to like you, and will order more. The more shelf space they give you, the more new people are likely to see your stuff. Success breeds success.
Here is an example. A bookstore orders 3 copies of your first novel. If all of them sell in the first week, then the bookstore is probably going to reorder 3 more. Then when your second novel comes out, they’ll look at their prior sales, and instead of ordering 3, they’ll order 6. Do this for decades, and it is why new James Patterson or Dean Koontz novels are delivered to your local book stores on pallets.
But if those 3 copies of your first novel sat on the shelf for months before selling, then the store probably didn’t bother to restock when it finally does sell. They may or may not order 3 copies of your second, but either way they’re not super excited about you.
I’ve been inside about 300 book stores since I started my professional writing career in 2009. I can usually tell how well I’m doing at any particular store even before I talk to any of the employees, just by going by where my books are and seeing how much space they give me on their shelves. A couple of books means that I don’t do well at that store. Five or six books tells me I’m okay. Eight or ten tells me I’m kicking ass in that town. If the books are faced out, that means I’ve got somebody on staff who is a fan (and that is incredibly important).
(5) Steven Murphy commences a kind of nonlethal Death Match with “Them’s Fightin’ Words: Harry Potter V. Ender Wiggin” at ScienceFiction.com
The following is the first of a new series pitting the merits and abilities of similar characters against each other. We open with a disclosure of the personal bias of the author then outline some ground rules and end with an example of how a fight between the two might unfold.
Personal Bias: The popularity of JK Rowling’s series has cemented Harry Potter as the go-to magical youth. He is the modern personification of the fantasy genre. The perfect contrast to Potter would then be the boy who personifies science fiction, Ender Wiggin of Orson Scott Card’s novel ‘Ender’s Game‘. The two characters have a great deal in common–both are children with the fate of their kind resting on their shoulders. I prefer ‘Ender’s Game’ over any single Harry Potter book, but I can’t argue that the Potter series as a whole succeeds on a level that the Ender series of books does not.
Ground Rules: The Goblet of Fire follows Harry into a series of trials that place him in a mindset that parallels Ender’s nicely. For my purposes the version of Harry with the skills and experience gained from this book and those previous will be used. The Ender used will be the one post ‘Ender’s Game’ and before ‘Speaker for the Dead’. This will allow the two characters to be roughly the same age. Ender will not have the assistance of his friend and database intelligence, Jane. The surroundings will compliment Ender in that the arena is the Battle School’s gravity free training room complete with the immobile obstacles called “astroids” for cover. Ender will have a blaster and Harry will have his wand. They enter the arena at opposite gates, neither with a clear view of the opposing gate.
(6) Tom Knighton reviews Chuck Gannon’s Raising Caine:
Like the first in the series, this one starts out somewhat slow. The action tends to be minimal and sporadic, but for good reason. However, the writing is good enough that it will get you through to the moments where the action picks up. Further, none of the other stuff is filler. Almost all feels vital to the story (and I can’t think of anything that comes up that isn’t important later on).
When the story does pick up, it becomes something very special indeed. That’s just Gannon’s gift, however. The previous book, Trial by Fire contained more of the action I prefer just be necessity, and that book was definitely on my list of “special” books.
While I don’t think Raising Caine was quite up to that level, that’s not a slight on this book. The only books I’ve read recently that were on that level included Seveneves and A Long Time Until Now. Both of those are on my Hugo list, and Raising Caine is a contender for one of those slots as well.
(7) The Nerf Nuke fires 80 darts in all directions.
(8) Tom Galloway, past contestant and inveterate Jeopardy! watcher, saw this on the October 12 show —
Heh. Today’s Jeopardy! round was a themed board on Game of Thrones, with categories Winter Is Coming, A Song of “Ice” and “Fire”, You Know Nothing, The North Remembers, Always Pay Your Debts, and wrapping up with Game Of Thrones, of course the only category actually about the work (specifically the tv series).
(9) Sometimes there’s a reason this news is hard to find — “’Lizard men abducted me to the moon for sex,’ woman claims”.
A former U.S. air force radar operator was abducted to the moon by lizard men for nightly sex – and was also forced to stack boxes.
What our reptilian overlords want with these sinister boxes can only be guessed at.
Niara Terela Isley is just one of several witnesses quoted by Alien UFO Sightings in an expose of the U.S. military’s secret moon bases – where reptiles rule, and humans are passed around like sex toys.
(10) James Schardt delivers “A Response to Charles Gannon” at Otherwhere Gazette.
At one point, Mr. Gannon used the term “The Evil Other”. I’m not sure he has grasped the full significance of this label.
Would you talk to a Homophobic Neo-Nazi that tried to hijack a literary award?
How about a racist who married a minority wife and had a child with her to hide his racism? These have actually happened! We know, it was talked about in such serious publications as Salon, Entertainment Weekly, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, and Slate. They had to get their information somewhere. Someone sent this information to them and they should have done due diligence. Otherwise they might not have as much credibility as people thought.
Now, those two characters, above, don’t even sound plausible in comic books. But these are not just insults that have been thrown at the Puppies. This is what many of the Science Fiction Establishment actually BELIEVE. With these beliefs, almost any action becomes allowable. What tactic should be disallowed when fighting Evil? Are you going to let a prestigious award go to a Nazi? Someone might think it validated his ideas, then you have more Nazis. Would you pay for a hundred more people to vote to prevent that? Would you tone back your rhetoric for any reason? You certainly wouldn’t apologize for calling them Nazis. That’s what they are. Good grief, we’re talking about Fascists, here! It cost 60 million lives to defeat them last time! Vox Day is sadly mistaken. Social Justice Warriors don’t always lie. When you are fighting for Good, there is no reason to lie. Social Justice Warriors tell the truth as they see it.
Of course, the problem is, the Puppies are not Nazis. Even Theodore Beale, the infamous Vox Day, doesn’t quite reach that level (probably). In the face of this, the Puppies can’t back down. Not won’t, CAN’T! They know. They tried. This is the biggest problem with telling the Puppies to moderate their responses.
(11) Someone was not pleased to see the topic heat up again —
OH SWEET JESUS PEOPLE ARE STILL WHINING ABOUT THE HUGOS JUST FUCKING LET IT GO ALREADY YOU PATHETIC TWITS
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) October 13, 2015
(12) John Scalzi did, however, enjoy explaining his now-famous Nerdcon somersault in the first comment on “My Thoughts on Nerdcon:Stories”.
(13) “A Harry Potter Where Hermione Doesn’t Do Anyone’s Homework For Them” by Mallory Ortberg at The Toast.
“Okay, write that down,” Hermione said to Ron, pushing his essay and a sheet covered in her own writing back to Ron, “and then copy out this conclusion that I’ve written for you.”
“Hermione, you are honestly the most wonderful person I’ve ever met,” said Ron weakly, “and if I’m ever rude to you again –” He broke off suddenly. “This just says DO YOUR OWN GODDAMN WORK in fourteen languages.”
“Fifteen,” said Hermione. “One of them’s invisible.”
(14) Kimberly Potts’ “The Big Bang Theory Recap: What the Filk Is Happening” sets up the next video.
Thankfully, just as so many episodes of Will & Grace were Karen-and-Jack-ed away from the main characters, “The 2003 Approximation” is stolen, or rather saved, by Howard and Raj. In a far more entertaining half of the episode, we’re introduced to the joys of Filk. What, you may ask, is Filk? It’s a genre of music that puts a science-fiction/fantasy spin on folk, and yes, it is a real thing. It’s also the reason that, for at least the next week, many of us will be trying to get the chorus of “Hammer and Whip: The Untold Story of Thor vs. Indiana Jones” out of our heads.
(15) Jurassic World gets the Honest Trailer treatment.
Also not very funny.
On second thought, was there some reason I included this link?
(16) Because it’s a good lead-in to Bryce Dallas Howard’s defense of her Jurassic World character’s shoe preferences?
Her insistence on wearing high-heels throughout the movie, including a memorable scene that sees her outrunning a T-Rex in stilettos, was dismissed as “lazy filmmaking” by Vulture and called “one tiny but maddening detail” that set up the film to “fail” by The Dissolve.
The actress herself disagrees. She explained to Yahoo why her character’s footwear choice is totally “logical” for the movie, seemingly putting the conversation to bed once and for all.
Watch our exclusive interview with Bryce Dallas Howard for the DVD and Blu-ray release of ‘Jurassic World’ on 19 October above.
“[Claire] is ill-equipped to be in the jungle. This person does not belong in the jungle,” reasons Bryce.
“And then when she ends up in the jungle it’s how does this person adapt to being in the jungle?”
“From a logical standpoint I don’t think she would take off her heels,” she adds.
“I don’t think she would choose to be barefoot. I don’t think she would run faster barefoot in the jungle with vines and stones.”
[Thanks to Nick Mamatas, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]