(1) HEAD OF THE CLASS. From Variety: “’Doctor Who’ Spinoff ‘Class’ Taps Katherine Kelly to Lead Ensemble Cast”.
Kelly will play a teacher at Coal Hill School, an institution that has been part of the “Doctor Who” universe since its inception in 1963. Students will be played by newbies Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins and Vivian Oparah.
Filming on “Class” begins this week. There’s no word yet on a target premiere date for the BBC Three/BBC America series created by Patrick Ness. “Doctor Who” and “Class” exec producer Steven Moffat likened the series to a British version of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
(2) ROLL CALL. Sci-Fi Storm completes the roster – “BBC announces the Class of Class”.
Joining Kelly as students at the school are Greg Austin (Mr. Selfridge), Fady Elsayed (My Brother the Devil), Sophie Hopkins (The Meeting Place) and newcomer Vivian Oparah.
With the focus on the young adult audience, each of the students is described as having “hidden secrets and desires. They are facing their own worst fears, navigating a life of friends, parents, school work, sex, sorrow — and possibly the end of existence.”
(3) TWO MINUTE WARNING. Tickets for next year’s Gallifrey One, the Doctor Who-themed convention in LA, go on sale April 16.
As we prepare for Gallifrey One 2017 ticket sales to start, please remember: tickets to Gallifrey One 2016 sold out in less than two minutes. We mention this because we want to emphasize very strongly that you should be prepared to be ready to purchase your tickets shortly before the time announced above….
2017 Ticket Prices
Prices for tickets to our 2017 Gallifrey One convention are as follows:
$95.00 Adult Full Weekend
$50.00 Teen Full Weekend (Ages 12-16)
$20.00 Child Full Weekend (Ages 3-11)
…Please note that we have elected to discontinue single-day tickets for 2017 in order to adequately support our entire attendee base with a complete weekend full of programming. All tickets will allow entry into the 2017 convention at any time throughout the weekend, and attendee badges can be picked up from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning.
(4) SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALL RIGHT FOR FIGHTIN’. Wall Street Journal’s “Speakeasy” blog covers Peter Dinklage’s appearance on Saturday Night Live.
There was the expected “GoT” parody (video above), which had Dinklage hosting an “HBO First Look” special on the upcoming sixth season. The gag here – other than Kate McKinnon‘s serviceable impression of Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) – was that there was a quite a bit of truth to Daenerys’s dragons being the show’s scene-stealers. As it turns out, the dragons’ camera-hogging is the result of Bobby Moynihan‘s obnoxious motion-capture actor.
Moynihan also showed up as the brains behind “GoT” – author George R.R. Martin – during Dinklage’s monologue.
NBC has video clips from the episode, including the Game of Thrones sneak peek.
(5) DRAFTING. Rachel Swirsky explores “The difference between draft 1 and draft 12ish of ‘Love Is Never Still’” with sample text and numerous bullet point comments.
I thought it might be interesting to look at a passage from my most recent story, “Love Is Never Still,” as it existed in the first and last drafts. By the time I actually publish a story, I’ve often forgotten what the first draft looked like exactly.
(6) RECOMMENDATION. Mark-kitteh wanted to point out Becky Chambers’ 2014 short story “Chrysalis” at Pornokitsch. Make it so!
(7) PRE-TRIP REPORT. John Scalzi tells Whatever readers “What I’m Doing in Los Angeles Next Weekend”. He’s coming to LA for the LA Times’ Festival of Books, with other appearances on his schedule — one of the more out-of-the-ordinary is:
7 PM, Nerdmelt Showroom, 7522 Sunset Ave, Los Angeles: I’m one of the featured performers at The Objectively Hottest Authors On Earth LIVE!, which is being presented in association with the Festival of Books. During the show, hosted by artist and comedian Sara Benincasa, I, Maris Kreizman, Cecil Castellucci and Isaac Fitzgerald will be saying and/or doing funny things, and being interviewed by Sara. It’s going to be fantastic. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and if you want to show up, don’t wait — the room is, uh, not huge, as I understand it. I can’t say what anyone else has planned but I will be reading an recently-written funny piece that hasn’t been published anywhere yet (although I’ve read it in a couple of places and it killed), so the only place you’ll be able to enjoy it is live, and the only place I’m planning to read it live in the foreseeable future is here, at the Nerdmelt Showroom.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- April 4, 1930 — American Rocket Society founded
- April 4, 1975 — Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
- April 4, 1983 — The space shuttle Challenger lifted off on its inaugural mission.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- April 4, 1965 – Robert Downey Jr.
(10) THE MARGIN IS THE CUTTING EDGE. That seems to be Noah Berlatsky’s bottom line in his post, “Why Cutting-Edge Sci-Fi Is Often Penned By Marginalized Writers” at The Establishment. I wish he hadn’t spent half his wordage attacking somebody else’s paradigm, and just kept strengthening his case with more of the kind of enlightening analysis he provided about Delany and Le Guin.
“Great science fiction explores the philosophical possibilities of science’s impact on reality,” sci-fi writer James Wallace Harris declares at SF Signal. You take real science, you add brilliant philosophy, and you’ve got sci-fi. Right?
Actually, no. Harris’ article has been widely pilloried on social media because, in his tour of “cutting-edge science fiction,” he managed to make a list without citing a single piece of work by a woman or person of color. But what’s been less discussed is that his omissions are tied closely to the fact that his definition of cutting-edge science fiction is ludicrously limited.
(11) POC TOC. People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, funded by a Kickstarter appeal, will be another special issue of Lightspeed, guest-edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Kristine Ong Muslim, in partnership with section editors Nisi Shawl, Berit Ellingsen, Grace Dillon, and Sunil Patel, who are assembling a lineup of fiction, essays, and nonfiction from people of color.
The list of original short stories and flash fiction has been announced in the latest backer project update.
Original Short Stories/Novelettes (edited by Nalo Hopkinson & Kristine Ong Muslim)
- A Good Home — Karin Lowachee
- Firebird — Isha Karki
- Fifty Shades of Grays — Steven Barnes
- Depot 256 — Lisa Allen-Agostini
- Digital Medicine — Brian K. Hudson
- The Red Thread — Sofia Samatar
- Salto Mortal — Nick T. Chan
- Omoshango — Dayo Ntwari
- Wilson’s Singularity — Terence Taylor
- As Long As It Takes to Make the World — Gabriela Santiago
Original Flash Fiction (edited by Berit Ellingsen)
- Binaries — S.B. Divya
- Other Metamorphoses — Fabio Fernandes
- An Offertory to Our Drowned Gods — Teresa Naval
- Morning Cravings — Nin Harris
- Breathe Deep, Breathe Free — Jennifer Marie Brissett
- The Peacemaker — T.S. Bazelli
- Chocolate Milkshake Number 314 — Caroline M. Yoachim
- A Handful Of Dal — Naru Dames Sundar
- Hiranyagarbha — Kevin Jared Hosein
- Four And Twenty Blackbirds — JY Yang
The appeal also funded horror and fantasy special issues, for which submissions are now being taken.
- POC Destroy Horror! will publish in October, as a special issue of Nightmare Magazine, from guest editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia. The submissions portal for the issue is now open, so if you’re a POC writer, and you’d like to write something, by all means please do so and submit your story! Submissions are open now and close May 15, 2016. Just visit submissions.johnjosephadams.com/poc-destroy-horror to read the guidelines and to submit.
- POC Destroy Fantasy! will publish in December, as a special issue of Fantasy Magazine, from guest editor Daniel José Older. The submissions portal for the issue will be open May 1 – June 15. Visit submissions.johnjosephadams.com/poc-destroy-fantasy to read the guidelines.
(12) KEY TO CHARACTERIZATION. “Why Character Agency is So Important” by Jadah McCoy at Fantasy Book Critic.
What the frick frack does character “agency” really even mean in relation to the wonderful world of book writin’? Character agency is such an integral part of writing believable characters, and it’s something that many people don’t really notice at all when reading.
Chuck Wendig puts it eloquently by saying, “Character agency is…a demonstration of the character’s ability to make decisions and affect the story. This character has motivations all her own. She is active more than she is reactive.”
In other words, the story responds to the character’s actions, not the other way around. Too many times I’ve sat in bed screaming at a character for their stupidity, for their inability to control anything around them, including themselves. Too many times these characters have done the Incredibly Stupid Thing because only the Incredibly Stupid Thing would move the plot forward, and it’s only at the expense of that character’s credibility. Just because isn’t good enough.
When decisions are taken away from the character, they become merely a pawn in a contrived chess game—one where all the moves are already planned out, and no matter where the pawn goes, the results will end up the same.
Characters are living things, like you and I. They think, they speak, they love and hate, they have desires and ideas, and they rebel (and often I can’t even control mine, they just commandeer whatever attempted plot I had penned out). They are three dimensional. They are people on paper, and people have reasons for what they choose to do. They have thought processes, which sometimes they care to share and sometimes they don’t (not even with their own author).
(13) SEQUELS. “They’re Coming Back” is the title of a TV commercial for Independence Day: Resurgence, coming to theaters June 24.
Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.
(14) REMAKES. While you’re waiting for the Independence Day sequel, you can practice throwing stones at mere remakes. CheatSheet pontificates on “8 of the Worst Sci-Fi Movie Remakes Ever”.
Since science fiction typically rely on special effects more than most other types of films, it would seem that older films in this genre would generally benefit from being updated with the latest moviemaking technologies. Unfortunately, it seems that in many cases any improvement that a remake offers in the area of special effects is canceled out by bad scripts or poor casting decisions. For this reason, there are many science fiction films that are several decades old, but still manage to hold up better than remakes that were made only a few years ago.
It’s a tough audience! #7 is Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes remake.
(15) FUTURE TECH. “The future if literature was to be believed” – an infographic from the Red Candy blog.
Literature has always been a vehicle for predictions about future technology, which turns out to become a reality. Who knows you might well see some of these items in the near future!
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Bonnie McDaniel, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peter J.]