(1) TALES OF LONG LONG AGO. Ethan Mills knows it’s “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Getting Ready for Star Wars!”
In watching The Empire Strikes Back, I was reminded of this post from several months back: “The Dress: Episode V – Han Solo’s Jacket.” It turns out the science fiction fans have their own version of that dress that destroyed the internet in February of 2015. In the Hoth scenes, there is some dispute about whether Han’s jacket is brown or navy blue. On my TV last night it looked brown to me, but now in this picture it looks navy blue. Go figure.
(2) THE LIST’S AFOOT. Miriam Burstein has posted a list of the interesting things she read this year, “My Year in Books” at The Little Professor. Sf is among the many genres she covers. Holmes pastiches are another.
Most self-sabotaging novel: Dan Simmons’ Sherlock Holmes pastiche The Fifth Heart, whose characters are awfully insistent that the Holmes stories aren’t very good.
Really, you can stop now: The Sherlock Holmes pastiche industry, which is not improving in quality as it goes along.
…Well, perhaps except for you: Robert Ryan’s Watson series is quite enjoyable.
(3) VINTAGE LINES. “Here’s What the 1977 Star Wars Line Looked Like In Los Angeles” from LAist.
Lines were forming to see Star Wars films right in the very beginning, when the first installment of what would become a massive franchise hit screens in 1977.
They also have a compilation video of news reports about Star Wars lines as the series progressed.
(4) SLOW-PACED COURTSHIP. And how long did people wait in line for the opening of The Force Awakens in Hollywood? Here’s a clue: local fan Obishawn (Shawn Crosby) officiated at a Star Wars wedding today by the entrance of the Chinese theater in Hollywood…
(5) PUNCHBOWL FLOATER. Guess who will cheer Stephen L. Miller’s “Star Wars: Revenge of the Social Justice Warriors” at National Review Online? It’s about PC types who are prepared to bash the new Star Wars film and finding little to bash.
With the long-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening tomorrow, news outlets and social media have been abuzz with the expectations of a new generation of fans. But with The Force Awakens as the first of the films to be released in the age of social justice, the question must be asked: At a time when the slightest violation of PC orthodoxy can set off a deluge of listicles, cable-news segments, and general media outrage, can Star Wars survive such an onslaught launched from the Social Justice Media’s veritable Sarlacc Pit — more commonly referred to as Twitter?
(6) CONCESSIONS LAST STAND. Washington Post writer Drew Harwell, in “The business of ‘Star Wars’ comes with a huge catch”, tells how movie theaters are responding to Disney’s giant slice of the revenue pie by offering Star Wars-related swag and snacks (Marcus Theaters in the Midwest offers the “Wookiee Smash Burger” for only $12.59).
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” may become the highest-grossing premiere in history, but it comes with a huge catch. Disney is demanding movie theaters hand over a much bigger cut of box-office revenue than usual, carving into cineplexes’ profits at a time when they need all the help they can get.
So theaters have gotten creative about the moneymakers they control. One small theater chain, Studio Movie Grill, is offering a daily “Star Wars”-themed brunch, including cinnamon-and-sugar Princess Leia Buns, a Tuscan Raider Quesadilla and cocktails such as a $9 tequila Yoda-Rita, with lime wedges hooked on the rim to mimic the Jedi master’s ears.
(7) ESCAPED PATIENT. The Onion found (invented?) the one fan who brings a fair and balanced approach to the movie — “Fan Just Going To Keep Open Mind About Whether New ‘Star Wars’ Best Or Worst Movie Ever”.
(8) ODYSSEY WORKSHOP. “Odyssey Writers Workshop Application Period Opens” – see details at the SFWA Blog or the Odyssey website.
Odyssey is for writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work. The six-week program combines an advanced curriculum with extensive writing and in-depth feedback on student manuscripts. The director and primary instructor, Jeanne Cavelos, was nominated for the World Fantasy Award this year for her work teaching and running Odyssey. Top authors, editors, and agents have served as guest lecturers, including George R. R. Martin, Jane Yolen, Robert J. Sawyer, Nancy Kress, Ben Bova, Holly Black, Catherynne M. Valente, and Dan Simmons.
This summer’s workshop runs from JUNE 6 to JULY 15, 2016. Class meets for over four hours each morning, five days a week. That time is split between workshopping and lectures. While feedback reveals the weaknesses in students’ manuscripts, lectures teach the techniques necessary to strengthen them. In-depth lectures provide advanced insights into the elements of fiction writing. Students spend about eight hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work.
The program is held on the beautiful campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH….
The workshop’s Writer-in-Residence will be Mary Robinette Kowal. Lecturers include Meagan Spooner, Patricia Bray, N. K. Jemisin, Deborah DeNicola, and Scott H. Andrews.
(9) DANIEL CHAPTER THREE. The third installment of Daniel’s Castalia House blog series “Safe Space as Rape Room: Science Fiction Culture and Childhood’s End” is a series of nonsequitur sophistries constructed for the purpose of smearing John Scalzi.
(10) ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL. Today John Scalzi was not only using his Twitter trolls for cannon fodder but for artistic inspiration. At least I think that’s art….
Now some more of these dude's friends are trying to pile on, MANLY STYLE. It's adorable! I just want to pinch their manly cheeks!
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) December 17, 2015
— Tom Lommel (@tomlommel) December 17, 2015
(11) THE SATANIC VERSUS. “’Star Wars’-themed church service to highlight ‘parallels’” at MSNBC.
Members of the congregation at Berlin’s Zions Church will be greeted with the theme music from the blockbuster series and can expect to hear about “the juxtaposition of good and bad, light and dark” during the one-hour event, church minister Eva-Maria Menard told NBC News.
Short excerpts from trailers and the George Lucas movies will be shown on a screen below the pulpit.
Vicar Ulrike Garve said that the service will expose “the theological motives and parallels in the Star Wars episodes.”
Garve and colleague Lucas Ludewig plan to highlight Romans 12:21 from the Bible, which states: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(12) DICKINSON OBIT. The SF Site News obituary for British author Peter Dickinson (1927-2015) who died December 16 notes that his novel The Ropemaker won the Mythopoeic Award for Children’s Literature in 2002, and he was twice nominated for the World Fantasy Award. Dickinson was married to author Robin McKinley. More at the post.
(13) CHECKING IN. In the first 10 days, the “We Are ALL SF Con 2016 Startup” Indiegogo appeal has raised $230 to help launch a fan convention inspired by the motto coined by Lou J. Berger and Quincy J. Allen. They need $9,000.
The operational leadership is Spence Smith, convention chair, and Suzy Thommarson, assistant convention chair. Advisors are Pat and Doug Booze of Norwescon, Shawn Marier of Norwescon and Anglicon, and Chris Nilsson, of Anglicon and Rustycon. “Plus we occasionally pick the brains of some of the old time Worldcon con runners,” adds Karen Junker.
They plan to hold the event November 4-6 in Ocean Shores, WA.
(14) JOVIAN AWARDS. SF Site News lists several pros who announced on Facebook that they received Jovian Awards — each of whom posted a photo of the award and wrote that they didn’t know who it came from.
Neither The Jovian Award website nor The Jovian Award Facebook page sheds any light on the presenters. What the winners who revealed themselves have in common is that they were Hugo nominees who finished second to No Award.
Hell of a nice looking award, though.
(15) LUKE I AM YOUR FENDER. Jay Leno’s Garage had a visit from Hot Wheels’ real-life Darth Vader car, “which is what you get when you morph Vader’s helmet and other components into a car.”
(16) POSTERS. New Batman v. Superman posters.
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) December 16, 2015
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) December 16, 2015
(17) ANNOYING COMMERCIAL. James H. Burns asks —
Am I the only one who hates the Geico Peter Pan ad? I generally really like the company’s spots, and I realize that in some interpretations, Peter can be a real wiseguy… I wondered why this bugged me so much, and I think it’s two reasons: One, I just don’t like seeing Pan being such a twerp… But more importantly, the second worse thing about being Peter would have to be watching your mortal friends pass on… (There is, however, a pretty neat Tink here!)
[Thanks to Steven H Silver, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and Alan Baumler for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
Update 12/19/2015: Corrected name of city to Ocean Shore, after having the typo carefully explained to me (the subtler attempts having gone over my head.)