(1) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites everyone to “Down drunken noodles with George R. R. Martin in Episode 43 of Eating the Fantastic”.
Some of might know him from the superhero short stories such as “Manta Ray Meets the Executioner” he was publishing in the ’60s in one of the greatest fanzines of all time, Star Studded Comics (which is where, as a young teen, I first encountered him), or as the creator and editor of the long-running Wild Cards series of mosaic, multi-author novels, some may know him better from such award-winning short fiction as “Sandkings” and “The Pear-Shaped Man,” or novels like Fevre Dream and The Armageddon Rag, while still others might know him best from his TV work … like … you know … The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast—and don’t forget Max Headroom!
We discussed why he was annoyed Marvel Comics printed his letters but DC never did, the reason Gardner Dozois was responsible for his first science fiction short story sale, how the rock ‘n’ roll novel Armageddon Rag got him a job on the rebooted Twilight Zone, what he learned from the arc of Stephen R. Donaldson’s career, how losing the John W. Campbell Memorial Award got him his first editing gig, why he almost became a realtor, the time Harlan Ellison convinced him to apply to be the editor of Analog, and more. PLUS: Hear a snippet from an interview I did back in 1993 in which he makes an amusing admission about “a fantasy novel I’ve been working on off and on for awhile.”
(2) GOODBYE AND HELLO. Bence Pintér has sadly announced the closure of the Hungarian sf site Mandiner.sci-fi after two years of operation.
He is making up for it by writing a blog that will be partly in English, Spekulatív Zóna. Here’s the first post in English.
The rise of speculative fiction is a global phenomenon, but all of the important stuff are happening in English. Dealing with this topic, as a news editor, I followed the news in English and provided the news in Hungarian to the readers of mSF. But this was a one way road. In this blog I am mostly planning to write about the new releases in US and UK in English, while I also feel the need to talk to you about good Hungarian speculative books in English, because nobody else seems to be doing that. I want to channel what is happening in this tiny part of Central European fandom.
I have been reading in English for exactly a decade now. The first English book I read was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, because I could not wait until the Hungarian translation’s publication in a few months (I bought the translated version as well, of course.) Ever since my fianceé at the time, now my wife, bought me a Kindle from the US in 2012, I have been reading methodically in English, eyeing for the new releases as well as genre classics which were not published in Hungary. (There are a lot of them.) Now, that mSF is gone and I can choose to read what I want, I plan to read even more in English. And to write about them. New releases, and also authors, sub-genres and the topics I have always wanted to examine more profoundly.
(3) SUMMER TV. Glenn Garvin, in “Vampires and Spies Dominate Frothy Fun Television Choices” at Reason.com, reviews Midnight, Texas.
It’s the time of the television year, safely past the May upfronts where all of next season’s advertising is sold and just before the big promotional push for the fall shows begins, when all the TV bosses flee for a few weeks to Malibu or the Hamptons or wherever it is that wealthy, imperious swine go to exchange tips on the most satisfying ways to whip the household help. And while the cat’s away, the junior programmers will play, unleashing hordes of vampires, spies and what-have-you who would never see the airwaves if the grownups were around.
The result is usually shows that are kind of fun if not necessarily any good. Which is a pretty fair summary of the week’s premieres: NBC’s pleasingly trashy spook opera Midnight, Texas; and the CNN spy documentary Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies, which is either a carefully coded revelation about American espionage or mammothly incompetent documentary filmmaking, take your pick.
Midnight, Texas, is based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris, who authored the vampire novels that became HBO’s epic True Blood. But if you’re expecting a True Blood clone, you’re going to be wildly disappointed; the two series of books are completely different.
(4) MUSK. More Elon Musk blue-skying: “Elon Musk Says He Has ‘Verbal’ OK To Build N.Y.-D.C. Hyperloop”.
A plan to build an ultrafast Hyperloop tube train has been given “verbal [government] approval” to connect large cities on the East Coast, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says. He adds that the system would whisk passengers from New York to Washington, D.C., in 29 minutes.
After his tweet about the plan set off intense interest, Musk added a clarification, stating, “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly.”
Chip Hitchcock observes, “I remember this idea in Scientific American over 50 years ago, and in L. Neil Smith 40 years ago — but we still don’t have cheap tunneling as in Oath of Fealty (30 years ago).”
(5) CONFLICTING DIAGNOSES. Peter Davison puts his foot in his mouth over the new Doctor: “Two former Doctors clash over Jodie Whittaker casting”.
Peter Davison, who played the Doctor from 1981 to 1984, said he “liked the idea” of a male Doctor and that he felt “a bit sad” the character might no longer be “a role model for boys”.
His comments were promptly dubbed “rubbish” by his successor Colin Baker.
“You don’t have to be of a gender to be a role model,” said the actor, who portrayed the Doctor from 1984 to 1986.
“Can’t you be a role model as people?”
(6) COMIC-CON IN THE NEWS. BBC wrap-up of the first day of SDCC: “What happened on the first day of Comic-Con?”
- The cast of Kingsman: The Golden Circle tweeted a picture of themselves on stage after they discussed the new film and showed footage of the action spy comedy.
- Halle Berry stole the show though after she appeared to down half a pint of whiskey on stage.
- But there was disappointment from fans that 20th Century Fox’s presentation didn’t include anything about the eagerly anticipated Deadpool 2 – especially as the first film was launched at Comic-Con in 2015….
(7) THEY ARE THERE. Galactic Journey covers a 1962 sci-fi movie release in real time: “[July 21, 1962] The Human Soul In A Robot’s Hand (Movie Review: The Creation of the Humanoids)”
The complex range of anger, fear, acceptance and love that characterize the relationship humans have with robotic life is hardly new ground for science fiction. You have stories that explore societies controlled by artificial intelligence like in Jack Williamson’s With Folded Hands, stories in which robotic life works in service to their human superiors in accordance with Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, and stories that span every possible combination.
The newest addition to the science fiction sub-genre dealing with the evolution of humanity and its integration with robots came out this month in the form of the movie The Creation of the Humanoids. Following its premier in Los Angeles on July 3rd, this intriguing film made its way into theaters across America, including the theater in my city. It suffers from several weaknesses, but more than makes up for them with solid dialogue, interesting characters and a plot that makes the audience think.
[July 21, 1962] The Human Soul In A Robot's Hand (Movie review: <i>The Creation of the Humanoids</i>)
— Galactic Journey (@journeygalactic) July 21, 2017
(8) TODAY’S DAY
Junk Food Day
How to Celebrate Junk Food Day
Celebrate this wonderful day by eating any sweet or salty treats you want! Bake cupcakes, make cookies, heat up some popcorn, buy some of your favorite candies. Invite friends over and have them bring in their favorites and make a junk food buffet and spend the rest of the day watching movies. You can always go get some fast food for fun. Take a cheat day from your diet and have dessert for dinner.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
- July 21, 2007 – The seventh and final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is released.
- July 21, 2011 — NASA’s space shuttle program completes its final, and 135th, mission, when the shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL
- Born July 21 – Geri Sullivan
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY ROBOT
- Born July 21, 1951 — Perennial funnyman Robin Williams. In 1999’s Bicentennial Man he starred as a robot trying to grow more and more human as he pursued and acquired emotions.
(12) AIRPLANE FOOD. Fans have had all kinds of experiences eating airplane meals. But only culinary historian (and sf writer) Richard Foss can take you back to the dawn of dining in the skies: “What Airplane Food Looked Like Through the Decades”.
Travel + Leisure spoke to culinary historian and author of “Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies,” Richard Foss, to delve into the fascinating history of in-flight food and how much it’s changed over the decades.
During the 1920s, there was a great deal of focus on the weight you could have onboard, with passengers often getting weighed before boarding, Foss said.
Engines were also feeble at this time, and since there was not as much freedom to divert energy from the engine to other sources, like heat, cold food was the norm.
Selections typically included cold fried chicken, fruit salads, and elegantly composed sandwiches, served in wicker baskets on the lightest chinawear servers could find, according to Foss.
(13) IRON FISTS AT COMIC-CON. During yesterday’s Next Big Thing Panel at Comic-Con International San Diego, Marvel Entertainment unveiled that it is joining forces with comiXology, Amazon’s premier digital comic shopping & reading service, for a line of exclusive digital comics. Available free to comiXology Unlimited subscribers and only available through comiXology and Kindle these comics will be part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content.
Marvel and comiXology’s team-up kicks off with Immortal Iron Fists, a 6-issue bi-weekly series written by Kaare Andrews with art by Afu Chan. Immortal Iron Fists is on sale today for $2.99 on comiXology and Kindle or free to comiXology Unlimited subscribers as part of their subscription. New users to comiXology’s popular subscription service can also access Immortal Iron Fists for free as part of their 30-day free trial. Additional exclusive series will be announced soon.
A unique entry-point that’s perfect for new fans and longtime readers alike, Immortal Iron Fists tells the tale of Pei, a young female monk from K’un-Lun and the youngest person to ever bear the mark of the Iron Fist. While Pei tackles the trials of high school, Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, faces his greatest challenge yet: training the inexperienced Pei. All the while, a growing threat appears that will take more than one pair of Iron Fists to defeat!
(14) COMFORT FOOD. C,J, Cherryh told her Facebook readers about a favorite food.
A confession: I am very fond of roast beef sandwiches with pickle and Miracle Whip. This from childhood. No, it is not a sophisticated taste. I also like bacon sandwiches with Miracle Whip. Mayo for other things. But these are my two favorite sandwiches.
(15) SHAZAM! Marcus Errico of Yahoo! Movies reports “Dwayne Johnson Won’t Be In DC’s SHAZAM! Movie”, which will be directed by David F. Sandberg and released in 2019. (“Shazam!” is the guy formerly known as Captain Marvel.)
News broke at Comic-Con this week that the next hero up in DC’s movie universe is Shazam!, a story about an orphan who gains near-godlike powers. However, in his initial outing, Shazam won’t be facing his greatest foe.
“We haven’t announced any casting yet,” Johns said. “But Dwayne isn’t going to be in this movie. He’s still doing Black Adam, but he won’t be in Shazam!”
Johnson and DC will be developing Black Adam concurrent with Shazam!, with the idea that the two will eventually face off onscreen.
(16) BURNING MEMORY. Tor.com has the picture – “The Firemen Start the Fires in the First Look at HBO’s Fahrenheit 451”.
HBO Films has shared the first official photo from Fahrenheit 451, its forthcoming adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel set in a future where reading is outlawed and books are burned. It’s, appropriately, an action shot of firefighter Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) letting the flames fly on some contraband reading, while his superior Beatty (Michael Shannon) looks on approvingly.
(17) MORE TO PUT ON YOUR THIGHS. Adweek says more food pr0n is on the way — “McDonald’s Apparel Is Here, So Make Room in Your Closet Next to Your KFC and Pizza Hut Swag”. “Wear the fries you’re jogging for.”
The collection is available via the UberEATS app in select countries. And while it’s a limited-edition set, don’t expect to find anything as vainglorious as a burger-shaped meteorite (à la KFC). Items include a World Famous Fries jogging suit, a Big Mac onesie—wonderful for ironic winks back to youth, though unclear whether it has a handy butt flap—and slippers that read “World Famous.”
On July 26 only, fans can score a single McDelivery Collection item on-demand, delivered with their UberEATS orders. Participating cities around the world will be unveiled on July 25 on McDeliveryatMcDonalds.com. And if you’re lucky enough to live in China or Japan, you might even be able to get them in-store!
(18) THE DEFENDERS. Stan Lee & Punisher trailer Seson 1.
(19) THE LOST VERSES. The Big Bang Theory cast sang previously unknown verses of “Soft Kitty” during their appearance at Comic-Con today.
— Natalie Abrams (@NatalieAbrams) July 21, 2017
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, and Bence Pintér for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day John Seavey.]