(1) SFWA IN TIMES TO COME. Cat Rambo’s yearly recap of all her activities includes a look ahead for SFWA —
- SFWA’s excellent Executive Director Kate Baker said a few years back, “I want to make the Nebula weekend -the- premiere conference for professional F&SF writers” and I said, “Tell me what you need to do it.” This year’s Nebulas were fantastic; next year’s will be even more, including having Data Guy there to present on the industry, an effort that’s taken a couple of years to get in place.
- The SFWA Storybundle had its first year and was wildly successful, as was the Nebula-focused HumbleBundle. The Storybundle program will grow 150% in size in 2017, which sounds really impressive but just means 3 bundles instead of 2. Plus – SFWA’s Self-Publishing Committee has taken that effort over, so no work for me! (Last year I read a bajillion books for it.)
- A long, slow revamp of Emergency Medical Fund stuff driven by Jennifer Brozek, Oz Drummond, and Bud Sparhawk is coming to its final stages. I just saw the EMF stewards in action: they received an appeal, evaluated it within 24 hours, and within a week, if I am correct, funds had been disbursed. The Grants Committee just wrapped up its 2017 work; next year it’ll have even more money to play with, thanks to the aforementioned Nebula HumbleBundle.
(2) A BIT ICKY. A nine-year-old got a lovely note from the outgoing Doctor Who. BBC has the story: “Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi reassures fan over regeneration”
#PeterCapaldi is my 9 year old son’s fav #DoctorWho and he was dreading his regeneration. And then he got this letter with some words of comfort from the Doctor himself among his Santa presents. Such a kind man. pic.twitter.com/Dki37Wt6Er
— Brian McGilloway (@BrianMcGilloway) December 27, 2017
(3) SIPS. Charles Payseur is back with “Quick Sips – Beneath Ceaseless Skies #241”
With its last issue of the year, Beneath Ceaseless Skies delivers two very dark fantasy stories about expectations and rules, curses and sacrifices. In both characters find themselves playing out roles that have been laid out for them, having to find ways to exist in stifling situations. In both, the main characters must contend with the weight of tradition and expectation. In both, the main characters are faced with strong willed women who want to change things. Who want to break the Rules. And in both stories the main characters have to face what the world is like, what their life might be like, should those Rules shatter. It’s an interesting issue that asks some very difficult questions and reveals some visceral hurts. To the reviews! …
(4) DOG STAR. The Storm Trooper K-9 division –
— Crusoe Dachshund (@Celeb_Dachshund) December 10, 2017
(5) CURTIS OBIT. The actor who famously played a disfigured Star Wars cantina criminal has died reports Yahoo! Entertainment.
Alfie Curtis, the British actor who earned a place in the Star Wars pantheon for playing the menacing Mos Eisley Cantina scofflaw with the “death sentence on 12 systems,” has died, according to the BBC. He was 87. News of Curtis’s death was first reported by the fan site Elite Signatures.
ALFIE CURTIS made the #StarWars Mos Eisley Cantina scene (one of the most memorable I've ever been a part of) even MORE memorable. As horrific as he was on-camera, off-camera he was funny, kind & a real gentleman. Thanks Alf- you'll be missed. #RIP ??- mh pic.twitter.com/laxKvbGmrd
— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2017
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY
- December 27, 1904 — J. M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan premiered in London
- December 27, 1951 — Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere premiered.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY STARGAZER
- Born December 27, 1571 — Johannes Kepler
(8) YOUNG SETH MACFARLANE’S STAR TREK VIDEO. David Klaus sent this video and made these comments about it on Facebook:
I presume this is only an excerpt of a longer fan film Seth MacFarlane made as a teen, a far better film than I could have made when I had thoughts about trying to do when I was a teen many years before this.
His space background is an artist’s conception of gases spiraling into the event horizon of a black hole, pretty cool, along with what appears to be an AMT model of the refit Enterprise. His voice occasional verges into sounding like Shatner’s instead of his own, and he uses sound effects and music from the original series. I’d get a kick out of seeing the whole thing.
(9) NUKE HOBBYIST. He told NPR it’s not that hard, compared to what else is done today in manufacturing: “North Korea Designed A Nuke. So Did This Truck Driver”
To make his models, he drove 1,300 miles to Los Alamos, N.M., the birthplace of the atomic bombs. The museum there has accurate, full-scale replicas of Little Boy and Fat Man that he could work from. As he designed his models, he decided he’d write a brochure to go with them.
“The brochure turned into a 431-page book,” he says.
Coster-Mullen never sold a single model, but he has been adding to his bomb brochure ever since, building up what are basically complete specs for America’s first nuclear weapons. He has traveled the country, and the world, to glean all sorts of supposedly secret details.
“Nobody leaked anything to me,”he says. “I found all this information was hiding in plain sight.”
(10) SOI DISANT DISNEY PRINCESS. She’s willing to take the promotion!
Disney buying Fox has resurged the whole people asking me if there will be a season 2 of Firefly, but all I’m thinking is that this finally makes me a Disney princess sort of ??
— Jewel Staite (@JewelStaite) December 17, 2017
(11) BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Chris Nuttall argues the case for the original — “Classic Battlestar Galactica – The Review” at Amazing Stories.
Battlestar did it’s level best to depict a society that was different from ours, even though it had points in common. Everything from the ranks and uniforms to the games and terminology smacked of an alternate universe, not men and women who could have walked off a modern day aircraft carrier. It wasn’t that far from America, I admit, but it was different – again, unlike the remake. It’s really a pity they didn’t put quite so much thought into their FTL drive concepts, as the exact nature of ‘light-speed’ is never really addressed.
Like most other shows from that era, Battlestar needed a good cast – the special effects could not carry the show by themselves. And Battlestar had some very good characters – Commander Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Tigh and Boomer … and, on the other side, Baltar and Count Iblis. (Notably, Baltar was originally executed by the Cylons after betraying the Twelve Colonies, but he was later brought back because they needed someone as the face of the enemy, a problem the remake sought to solve with ‘skin-jobs.’)
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, David K.M. Klaus, Will R. Cat Eldridge, and Chip Hitchcock. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH.]