Long live the king. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, in theaters February 16.
Long live the king. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, in theaters February 16.
Have you ever wanted the great power and responsibility of drawing Spider-Man? Do you look at the pages of Black Panther and wish you could draw a Wakandan king? How often have you been tempted to break the fourth wall and draw Gwenpool?
Now fans can learn how to draw like a super hero with How To Draw Variant Covers by Chip Zdarsky (Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Howard The Duck, Star-Lord.) First appearing on the back of a blank variant cover on Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1, HOW TO DRAW VARIANTS will debut on the covers of select Marvel comics this fall. Each custom cover features a step-by-step process for drawing one of Marvel’s iconic characters – along with some helpful “Zdarsky Advice” for good measure.
“I don’t really know how to draw so this whole thing feels quite irresponsible,” said Chip Zdarsky, who must know how to draw. Right?
“I don’t know about everybody out there in Mighty Marveldom, but when I first started collecting comics, one of my hobbies was trying to draw my favorite Marvel heroes and villains,” said editor Devin Lewis. “Carrying on the grand tradition of the classic HOW TO DRAW COMICS THE MARVEL is this series of HOW-TO Variants by Chip Zdarsky, one of the most… unique?… voices in comics today. In addition to giving REALLY ACCURATE instructions about how to draw each of these characters, Chip’s bringing his brand of humor to each and every piece, and we can promise that whether you’re a Marvel fan old or new, at least ONE of these ‘em will give you a chuckle!”
Marvel will publish HOW TO DRAW VARIANTS for these titles this fall —
(1) TWEETS OF GENIUS. The winner of the internet today begins here –
@ChuckWendig yo, can you help me out
— Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) July 28, 2017
(2) NEXT CHIANG ADAPTATION. A Ted Chiang story will be the basis for this new AMC show: “AMC is developing a sci-fi show from the writers behind Arrival”.
During the Television Critics Association press tour, AMC announced a slate of eight new shows that it’s putting into development, according to Deadline, which includes a project based on a story by Ted Chiang, whose novella Story of Your Life was the basis for Denis Villeneuve’s movie Arrival.
Liking What You See is being developed by Arrival’s screenwriter, Eric Heisserer, with Chiang as a consultant. It’ll be based on Liking What You See: A Documentary, which Chiang published in his collection, Stories of Your Life and Others in 2002. The story is set in the near future where members of a community called Saybrook undergo a procedure called calliagnosia, which prevents them from perceiving beauty. The story plays out like a documentary, and its characters discuss the pros and cons of this procedure in a media-saturated world.
(3) ALTSPACEVR CROAKS. A social media pioneer ran out of money, as they do – The Verge has the story: “The most famous VR social network is abruptly shutting down”.
AltspaceVR, the virtual reality social network that has hosted everything from stand-up comedy to presidential debate-watching parties, is shutting down next week. The community announced “with heavy hearts” last night that AltspaceVR would be closing August 3rd at 10pm ET, after “unforeseen financial difficulty.”
Spokesperson Gerard Gottheil provided more detail in an email to The Verge and other outlets. “We had a supportive group of investors that last gave us money in 2015. It looked like we had a deal for our next round of funding, and it fell through,” he said. “Some combination of this deal falling through and the general slowness of VR market growth made most of our investors reluctant to fund us further. We’ve been out fundraising but have run out of time and money.”
Currently, AltSpaceVR has around 35,000 active monthly users, who spend an average of around 35 minutes a day on the free platform.
(4) FUTURE FORESEEN. UploadVR says “Here’s A Look Back at How Sci-Fi Literature Predicted the Rise of Modern Virtual Reality”. Sure, but did sci-fi predict it would go broke?
With the introduction of top-end devices such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive as well as the simple ones such as Google Cardboard, Virtual Reality is the next digital frontier. While it’s a world that can now be practically realized, it’s not a new idea: Science Fiction has long been imagining virtual worlds within imagined ones.
From the early 1950s, authors had begun to experiment with stories involving simulated worlds. Ray Bradbury’s 1951 story The Veldt dealt with a pair of children and a virtual nursery, while Fredric Pohl’s 1955 short story The Tunnel Under the World told the story of a man who relived the same day over and over, only to discover that he was trapped in a cruel marketing simulation…..
(5) FAMOUS SF SERIES CONTINUES. C.J. Cherryh announced in a public Facebook post that she and Jane Fancher are currently completing a new Alliance-Union book (titled Alliance Rising). It is set early in the universe’s timeline. At the moment, the book is being edited by Fancher and Cherryh has finished her edit.
It takes two people of similar style (check) and egos both strong enough and pliable enough (check) to see something you thought brilliant as fluid and changeable. In a profession as solitary as writing can be, it’s downright fun to sit down for a brainstorming session on the shared story. We’re already thinking about ‘next…’
(6) PRESTO. Camestros Felapton’s latest hilarious invention is the “Genre Shifter”.
Turns a single paragraph into different genres via the miracle of science!
(7) MORE MEMORIES OF JORDIN KARE. Bill Higgins of Fermilab recalls the science panels he did with Jordin Kare in their personas Fizz and Fuse.
— Bill Higgins (@MrBeamJockey) July 20, 2017
— Bill Higgins (@MrBeamJockey) July 20, 2017
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
(10) COMIC SECTION R.I.P. The July 24 Financial Times has an article on D C Thomson, the Scottish publisher of “The Beano,” Briitain’s oldest comic (founded 1938), as they try to invent apps and short animations for tablets to keep kids interested an avoid the fate of another DC Thomson comic, “The Dandy” which died in 2012 after its circulation fell from 2 million in the 1950s to 7,500. (“The Dandy” was supposed to move online, but hasn’t.)
(11) TIME TRAVEL. If you weren’t present in 1962 when Galactic Journey held its second tele-conference, thank goodness you have the means to go back in time whenever you want to watch Gideon Marcus and company present their predictions for the 1962 Hugo Science Fiction Awards.
(12) CONFEDERATE. The Hollywood Reporter’s Lesley Goldberg, in “HBO’s Casey Bloys Defends Slave Drama From ‘Game of Thrones’ Creators: ‘It’s a Risk Worth Taking'”, says that Bloys spoke at the Television Critics Association press tour and said Confederate was “weapons-grade material” but “If you can get it right, there is real opportunity to advance the racial discussion in America.”
If you can draw a line between what we’re seeing in the country today with voter suppression, mass incarceration, lack of access to public education and healthcare and draw the line to our past and shared history, that’s an important line to draw and a conversation worth having. [The producers] acknowledge this has a high degree of difficulty. It’s a risk worth taking.
(13) LATE SHOW. JJ admires these reviews by James Reid and wishes they’d been posted earlier so they could have been included in our roundup here. “I thought that the Campbell was the best eval (possibly the only one) for that category I’ve seen.”
Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, writen by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze
Wakanda is beset by internal strife, and it’s king is overwhelmed.
How does a good king rule when they’ve failed their kingdom, and how do they fight a rebellion that philosophically might be right? Wakanda has been devastated by war, their elite warriors have become vigilantes and rebels, and a woman flames fear in the populous and drives them to rebellion using mystical powers. What is most interesting in this book is the sympathy that Coates shows those rising up, rather than assume that because Black Panther tries to be a good ruler he should rule, it looks at the consequences of his actions, and the role of kings. As a book, Black Panther lacks in neither action nor thought, but unfortunately, as merely the first volume in a longer arc never has a chance to answer the questions it poses. This is a series that demands further reading, but as a volume is all set up.
As art, the landscapes and cities are evocative, creating a technocratic eden in the jungle. In contrast the characters are highly stylised and angular, better in motion than standing still.
A good introduction to what promises to be a well thought out look at leadership and governance combined with superhero action.
(14) COVER STORY. Shorpy is back with another old newsstand photo from around November 1938. For this one you don’t even need to squint to see the science fictional goodies. Bill says he sees these stories:
The Astounding has stories by Hubbard and Simak, and a letter from Asimov. The Amazing Stories has “I Robot” by Eando Binder. The Weird Tales has a Kull poem by REH, and stories by August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner. The Startling Stories has a novel (“The Black Flame”) by Stanley Weinbaum. The Argosy has a reprinted installment of “The Ship of Ishtar” by Merritt. The issue of Adventure Comics contains stories and art by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Siegel and Shuster, and Sheldon Moldoff.
Although I think for some of these identifications, Bill must be using x-ray vision.
(15) I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM. We all scream… No, this isn’t a horror story, it’s a lyric: “Scoop! This Woman Tastes Ice Cream For A Living”.
Fast Company: How did you land that job, really?
Molly Hammel: It was a competitive process with dozens of applicants, but I’m not sure exactly how many people applied for this job.
One thing that really helped me stand out during the interview process was that I was on the dairy judging team in college. To participate in the team, I went through extensive training on how to judge dairy products (ice cream included). I came in second overall in the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest in 2014 so that definitely helped as well. During my interviews, I also mentioned that I made up silly songs and walked around the office singing to get panelists to attend panels at my last internship. A couple of associates mentioned my songs to me after I was hired, so I think that helped me stand out.
(16) TIPPING THE SCALES. Only one can win! “Finalists to gather for Miss Mermaid United Kingdom pageant”.
The top mermaids in Great Britain will gather this weekend to determine who will earn the title of Miss Mermaid U.K.
Women from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were invited to compete in regional pageants and the finalists will gather at Billing Aquadrome in Northampton on Saturday.
The winner will be adorned with a special crown and receive the opportunity to compete in the Miss Mermaid International final in Egypt in November.
Participants in the pageant are required to be females between 18 and 32-years-old who live in the U.K. and have strong swimming skills.
(17) SHAKE IT FAR, FAR AWAY. Eclectic Method has created Star Wars video you can dance to, using only sounds from the 8 Star Wars Movies, no added sugars or samples.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Bill, Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, and Cat Rambo for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]
Curated by Carl Slaughter: (1) ScreenPrism identifies disturbing social issues in the Planet of the Apes franchise
(2) Planet of the Apes interviews
(3) Black Panther family portrait. “A combination of The Godfather and James Bond.”
(4) Must see TV: The Avengers, hosted by Joan Collins
(5) Discovery will maintain Star Trek continuity
(6) “These Boots Are Made for Walking”
(7) Wonder Woman music
(8) Electric cellist Tina Guo does Game of Thrones and Wonder Woman.
(9) Adrianne Palicki as the bad girl in the Aquaman pilot.
(10) James Cameron on Terminator 2 in 3D.
(11) 10 actors who could be the next Joker
(12) Kit Harington spoofs several Game of Thrones auditions.
(1) FIRST RULE OF GAME WRITING. Creators are interviewed in NPR’s feature “Amid Board Game Boom, Designers Roll The Dice On Odd Ideas – Even Exploding Cows”.
When you play a game, you have to learn some rules, right? Well, same goes for designing a game. And here’s one rule: No idea is too wacky.
Take a game called Unexploded Cow, for instance.
“That’s a game where you’ve discovered two problems with a common solution,” says the game’s co-creator, James Ernest. “There’s mad cows in England and unexploded bombs in the French countryside, and you’re going to bring them together and solve everybody’s problems by blowing up a bunch of cows. ”
Using cows with a debilitating brain disease to get rid of leftover bombs — for most people, that’s just an absurd joke. But Ernest designs board games for a living. He and a colleague took that weird idea and came up with a card game. Each player manages a herd of sick cows and tries to make money blowing them up.
That game, Unexploded Cow, is now one of the most popular he’s created….
Are these guys SFWAns in the making?
(2) GET IN THE GAME. Cat Rambo lists “What SFWA Offers Game Writers” at her blog.
In light of recent discussions, I wanted to jot down a few things that come to mind when what I think about SFWA has to offer game writers, because there’s actually quite a bit.
- Access to SFWA promotional resources includes a number of venues quite suitable for publicizing games. Our curated Kickstarter page, the New Release Newsletter (which can easily be expanded to include games), the SFWA blog, SFWA’s presences on Facebook and Twitter. It’d be easy to make the Featured Book section a Featured Work section to go with Authors section on the SFWA website.
- Even the book-specific promotional features, such as the NetGalley program, may be of use to game writers who are doing books or stories as well, as is often the case.
- SFWA has been working at relationships with a number of companies that will be of interest to game writers. Our Outreach Committee has monthly checkins with representatives at Amazon, Audible, Draft to Digital, Kickstarter, Kobo, Patreon, and more….
(3) MORE SFWA ADVICE. Russell Galen offers his accumulated experience in “Ten Thoughts About The Business Side of Writing”.
- Get a written agreement for every transaction, even with people you love and trust. I am still trying to solve feuds stemming from oral agreements for tiny properties that wound up becoming movie/TV franchises.
- Don’t ever think, “I don’t want to bother my agent with this trivial matter.” It’s not just that it might be a bigger matter than you realize, but even if it stays small, it may still have to be cleaned up some day. Your agent would rather do the work now than have to deal with a bigger problem later.
(4) NOW ONLINE. Suvudu delivers “SDCC 2016: Chuck Wendig Talks ‘Life Debt’, Snap Wexley, and Writing in the Present”.
SUV: You favorite a third-person present tense which is quite different from the other books in the Star Wars fiction line. Why did you go with that? What are some of the advantages of using this?
CW: On a simple level, what’s great is that Young Adult books tend to take a present tense viewpoint to telling stories. Sometimes first-person, sometimes third-person, but a lot of young adult fiction is written in present tense. For me, a person who likes to write in that already, the great thing is that we’re speaking to young readers and to older readers who are willing to be drawn into the cinematic component. Star Wars begins as film and moves on to TV. To have the books feel exciting in that kind of action-adventure thing, present tense keeps you in the moment. I always say that past tense is like looking at a painting on a wall in a museum, but present tense is like watching the painter paint it. It’s like watching Bob Ross: You see him painting on his half-hour show. You really don’t know what’s going to happen. I love that feeling: What’s he going to paint here? Is that an ocean? Is that a rock? There’s also a component where you think he’s going to mess the painting up completely but by the end he pools it all out. To me, present tense is like watching the painter paint. When you look at the Star Wars crawls, they’re written in third-person, present tense. I want to capture that: I do think that it’s very cinematic, and that’s why we went with it.
(5) SUPERHEROES TO WHO? “Optimism vs Cynicism in Superhero Narratives by Paige Orwin” at SFFWorld.
Now, there are deconstructions of the genre that take a more cynical view, of course, and it’s possible to tell dark superhero tales where those with power lose their way and take advantage of those around them. Marvel’s superheroes are perhaps more prone to making mistakes, while DC’s might be more prone to growing remote from the concerns of the people they protect, but the end result tends to be similar: things get worse, innocents get hurt, much anguish is had, humanity seeks desperately for someone else to take on the new menace and it’s all terribly bleak…
…but, eventually, things pretty much always get better. It helps that evil is fundamentally punchable, once you figure out who/what needs punching and where the head is. It helps that violence is so often the best answer.
(6) COMIC RELIEF. This photo appears in the middle of a huge gallery of cosplayers from San Diego Comic-Con.
(7) OUTFITS FOR YOUR SJW CREDENTIAL. However, Chip Hitchcock is skeptical about the cosplaying cats featured in an NPR story — “For These Cosplayers, Geek Costumes Are The Cat’s Pajamas”
Nak, 13, and Fawkes, 6, have been cosplaying for a little more than a year. They’ve been ambitious. Their social media pages show off more than 50 geeky costumes: Alien, Star Trek, Fallout and Game of Thrones each make an appearance. During the year they’ve been active, they’ve gained a sizable following with nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter and 18,500 on Instagram.
Oh, and just one little thing: Nak and Fawkes are, well, cats.
Chip says, “Nobody discusses what this does to the cats’ psyches. I’m just amazed the cats put up with it; if I tried that with my part-Coon foundling (14+ pounds) I’d draw back a bloody stump.”
(8) EATING THE FANTASTIC. In Episode 14 of Scott Edelman’s podcast he is joined by Fran Wilde, the Nebula Award-winning and Compton Crook Award-winning author of Updraft, plus the host of the Cooking the Books podcast, which has a writers + food focus just like his.
(9) FROM THE EARTH TO…? Ken Murphy at The Space Review lists dozens of “Stories of cislunar suspense: Literary adventures on the near frontier (part 2)”.
Part 1, last week, examined literature from the 1950s through the 1980s.
The movement of the Baby Boomer generation into positions of power that began in the 1980s took full flower in the 1990s. This marked a significant shift (but not a real change) in the status quo, and there began the generation of much more ‘product for the marketplace’. Lots of Shuttle stories as we worked through the trauma of Challenger, but also solar power satellite and space station stories. Gen X coded the World Wide Web, while their bosses day-traded their way to enormous prosperity (oh…wait…), and the Millennials were digging Bill Nye the Science Guy. The Soviet Union didn’t so much collapse as dissolve into a new form of corruption and warlord-led tribalism, and this left writers looking for new enemies, from corporate baddies to Asians with cryptic agendas. The Space Shuttle was ramping up its tempo of flights, boldly going where it had gone so many times before, along with operations of Mir and the genesis of ISS.
Fallen Angels, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Michael Flynn (1991): in a future where technology is blamed for the world’s ecological ills, those trapped in orbit in the post-space age must struggle to survive. When a scoop ship is shot down, the race is on by the Fen to rescue the crew and return them to orbit. Don’t know Fen? Then this book is probably not for you. But if you’re a devotee of the science fiction writers cons then this book is entirely for you. [GoodReads: 3.49/1,937] …
(10) FIFTH ITERATION. David C. Handley tells why “Pokémon GO Signals New Social Media Paradigm” at SciFi4Me.
There’s just one issue with the current model for social media: it’s purely virtual. The social component has been lost. That means that apart from location data and images and people becoming connected (“friended” or “followed”) or disconnected (“unfriended” or “kicked to the curb”), there’s no way of determining interactions in the real world. The difficulty has always been to integrate physical reality and virtual reality.
Enter augmented reality. Although not a new concept (it’s been used for heads-up displays (HUD) for fighter jets since the 1970s), the smartphone has given it new applications. In Korea a few years back, for example, people could hold a phone camera up and landmarks would be marked on the screen.
Then camePokémon GO.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know by know that Pokémon GO has become … um … big. Really big. No, I mean huge! And it knows no limits. Players of all ages are collecting ’em all. And they’re changing the face of social media by combining the social with the media.
There are two ways that the game has, well, changed the game. The first is the reintroduction of social interaction. Not only do the catching and training of Pokémon cause interaction between players, but the competition and even the very act of searching for the virtual creatures has created peaceful gatherings that have had the feel of makeshift parties. People are meeting new people and making friends, something that was generally absent from the old flash mobs.
(11) NOMINATED NOVEL. Lisa Goldstein began her review of Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass with seven things she disliked.
1. Butcher seems to go his own carefree way with many words, heedless of any actual dictionary definitions. So, for example, the characters in this world live in huge circular towers far above the ground, which he calls “spires” — but spires are tapered or pointed, not cylindrical. One of the types of airships that sail between the towers is called a “windlass,” which is actually a “device for raising or hauling objects.” (Yeah, I had to look that one up.) There are neighborhoods in the spires called spirals, which — as you’ve probably guessed by now — consist of streets in perfectly straight lines.
2. Both female leads are forthright, plucky, and kick-ass, to the point where I started confusing one with the other. One is rich and small and the other one isn’t and isn’t, and that’s about the only difference I could find between them….
But all is not lost….
(12) GETTING READY TO VOTE. Lis Carey continues her progression through the Hugo-nominated short fiction at Lis Carey’s Library.
(13) MORE THAN YOU CAN SHAKE A STICK AT. JJ posted a bumper crop of short reviews in comments today.
(14) BUT WHO GETS TO SIT IN THE CHAIR? Five captains all in one place.
Five captains all in one place. pic.twitter.com/ME5gXR5E5z
— Michael Pryor (@michaeljpryor) July 24, 2016
(15) BLACK PANTHER. The Guardian reports “’Bad feminist’ Roxane Gay to write new Marvel Black Panther series”.
“It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way,” Gay told the New York Times. But “the opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe – there’s no saying no to that.”
Her story, she promised, would be “pretty intimate. There’s going to be all kinds of action, but I’m also really excited to show Ayo and Aneka’s relationship, build on that love story, and also introduce some other members of the Dora Milaje … I love being able to focus on women who are fierce enough to fight but still tender enough to love.”
The recruitment of Gay is part of Marvel’s drive to diversify its offering, both in terms of creators and characters. “So. I am writing a comic book series for Marvel,” Gay tweeted, announcing the news. “Black women are also doing the covers and art … And no. It doesn’t make sense that I am the first, in 2016. But I won’t be the last.” She also tweeted that it was likely to come out in November.
(16) MAN WITH A PLAN. At writing.ie, “Outline Planning Permission: Part 1” by our own Nigel Quinlan.
This summer will be the summer of me learning to PLAN.
No plan survives first contact with your neurons.
Planing is defined in the dictionary as… I dunno, I haven’t a dictionary handy.
Already we’re off to a disastrous start, highlighting my failings as a planner. Had I planned ahead properly then the dictionary would be in reach. I would have overcome my laziness and inertia and fetched a dictionary from a nearby shelf. I would not have forgotten that I am typing this on a computer connected to the internet which has dictionaries in it. I’m a complete mess.
The ultimate aim of this exercise will be to have two proposals to slide onto the desk of my publisher and turn their eyes to pound signs. One will be for a big scary fantasy MG novel, the other will be for a series of MG books utilising ideas I cut from Cloak. Neither of these may be viable or publishable, but I am going to learn how to plan them and present them.
Nigel adds, “Part 2 should be up next week. I wrote it a few weeks ago and I look back now at few-weeks-ago-me and think, you poor sweet summer child.”
(17) WORKING ON THE FIVE W’S. Now fans know where, but not when — “Mystery Science 3000 Revival to Premiere on Netflix”.
Revealed during a panel at SDCC 2016, as reported by THR, the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K) will be broadcast by streaming giant Netflix, with a tentative start date set for (in a reference to the series’ original theme song) “the not-too-distant future.”
Francis Hamit has won the Screenplay category at the 11th Annual Hollywood Book Festival for his soon-to-be-produced script “Christopher Marlowe”. The Elizabethan-era thriller about the poet, playwright and spy has been in development for over six years and is based upon Hamit’s stage play “MARLOWE: An Elizabethan Tragedy”, which was originally presented in Los Angeles in 1988.
It will be directed by Michael John Donahue, DGA, and produced by Gary Kurtz. Negotiations for cast and financing are ongoing.
(19) SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDERS. The Nate Sanders firm completed another auction on July 21.
”Peanuts” comic strip hand-drawn by its creator Charles Schulz, from 9 April 1958. The strip comments on a subject that we think is a modern phenomena, the fact that children can’t concentrate for a long period of time. Here, Schroeder reads that from a book, and Charlie Brown proves its point by watching TV, drawing, playing baseball and paddle ball in the course of four frames. Strip measures 28.75” x 7”. United Feature Syndicate label appears on third frame. Inscribed by Schulz to ”Elizabeth Vaughn and her sixth grade pupils – Charles M Schulz”. Some toning and a light paper backing affixed to verso, overall very good condition.
[Thanks to Nigel Quinlan, Martin Morse Wooster, Dawn Incognito, Cat Eldridge, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]
(1) KIRK AND WOZ. “Silicon Valley Comic Con: William Shatner holds court on inaugural con’s first night” in the San Jose Mercury News.
Shatner was the big attraction for the first night of the pop culture and technology festival at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. He held court for an hour before hundreds of fans who packed into the convention center’s grand ballroom. And right in the front row was the Comic Con’s No. 1 fan, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Shatner misidentified Woz as the inventor of the iPhone (but for Kirk, we can forgive anything right?), but gave the genius behind Apple proper credit for starting up Silicon Valley Comic Con. “I’m going to embarrass Mr. Wozniak a little, but I want him to ask the first question,” Shatner said from the stage.
Woz obliged, walking up to one of the standing microphones like any fan would. Clearly on the spot, Woz initially asked Shatner to recite some poetry (he didn’t) and that led to a fascinating back-and-forth about the nature of science vs. science fiction.
Woz said when he was a kid he dreamed of being a starship captain like the one Shatner played on “Star Trek,” but his engineering background made him too grounded in reality. Shatner would have none of it. “You have two feet on the ground but your head is in the sky. You’re a pole, an electrical conduit,” Shatner said. “What do you think of that?”
“Humor is the ultimate creativity,” Wozniak said, “and you’ve got it.”
…But he wasn’t the only star in downtown San Jose on Friday. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony right before the doors opened, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Vice Mayor Rose Herrera were flanked by Woz, “Back to the Future” star Christopher Lloyd and comic book legend Stan Lee. Nichelle Nichols, who co-starred with Shatner as Lt. Uhura on “Star Trek,” arrived later for an autograph and photo session with fans.
Other stars expected during the convention — which continues through Sunday — include Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Nathan Fillion, Peter Mayhew, Jeremy Renner and “Deadpool” director Tim Miller.
(2) TIP US A TUNE. And the other day Mark Parisi’s cartoon Off the Mark zapped Shatner’s singing.
(3) NOTHING TO DISAGREE WITH. Crystal Huff said —
I loved @seananmcguire before she Tuckerized me in a book, but let's be clear: now she can practically do no wrong. ?
— Crystal Huff (@crystalvisits) March 18, 2016
(4) WINTER IS HERE. Sarah A. Hoyt shares the view from inside the Sad Puppies 4 control room in “The Gang’ll Know I Died Standing Pat” at According to Hoyt. Then she moves on to explain, as if to a child, how something Brad Torgersen himself labeled a “slate” was not (in addition, mislabels Torgersen’s edition “IV” rather than 3).
Over the last few days, since Kate published the list of Sad Puppies recommends, we’ve been inundated both in email and in social media by people requesting, clamoring and whining to be removed from the list. The eructations from these special snow flakes vary in levels of self-delusion and insanity and at least one was very polite.
The prize MUST go to Damien Walter of Grauniad fame for tweeting that he hopes Kate Paulk has deep pockets, to withstand all the lawsuits resultant from putting people on the list without asking their permission.
…. Speaking of which, all of you, even the polite ones, who send me purple prose about how badly Brad Torgersen ran Sad Puppies IV and how he created an evil slate also make me doubt your mental capacity. Seriously, guys? A slate? If you’d bothered to look at the numbers and had a minimum of arithmetic ability (did you also sleep through it in first grade, while dreaming of little Damien’s slights and grievances? — Seriously, he really should pull his socks up) you’d have realized the only real slate was “no award.” Sad puppies nominations and votes were not only not lockstep but all over the place. Because, you know, they were reading what was suggested and making up their own minds, instead of — like the other side — taking marching orders from their betters who told them to not even read and just vote no-award.
(5) PERSISTENCE OF REVISION. Nicki at The Liberty Zone asserts this is “Why the Puppies are Sad”.
You want to know why the Sad Puppies campaign still exists? Do you want to know why fans continue to nominate authors they consider to be worthy of a Hugo Award even though the elitist Puppy Kickers made damn sure everyone knew that no award would be given to any worthy author or editor if they were nominated by the “wrong” people?
Here’s one reason.
“Speak Easy” by Catherynne M. Valente was submitted for a Sad Puppies 4 nomination in September 2015. Several fans thought it was worthy of the award. Comments included:
“… I liked it a lot and will be nominating it for a Hugo.”
“…There is so much to discover in this little book and it absolutely blew me away”
I would think that any author would be grateful that readers not only bought her work, but read it and enjoyed it enough to recommend it for a prestigious award. I would think the author would be gracious and thank the readers for the honor. One would think that being included in a list of recommendations that this year includes such great and diverse writers as Lois McMaster Bujold, Ann Leckie, Stephen King, Eric Flint, and John Scalzi would be met with gratitude and some dignity.
But apparently, if you’re the wrong kind of thinker, the wrong kind of reader, who has the wrong kind of social justice and political views, Ms. Valente doesn’t want your business. She doesn’t want your praise or recommendation. She doesn’t want your recognition.
For the record, I was not asked and I do not consent to be on the Sad Puppies List. I am furious.
— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) March 18, 2016
(6) REMOVAL APPROVAL. Lee at Lee’s Blog has a similar reaction, in“Sad Puppies 4 recommendations”.
“These kind [sic] of tactics” — yes, it’s just dreadful, isn’t it, that they would allow fans of Alastair Reynolds to publicly recommend his works to fans who might never have heard of him otherwise. Imagine! Just allowing his fans to make recommendations without permission! What’s the world coming to!
“staining your name” — yeah, in the good old days, allowing his fans to recommend his works to the world of fandom — even including wrongfen (gasp!) — would be an offence justifying a duel to the death. *Puke*.
Despite reading fantasy and science fiction my whole life, I really hadn’t been reading new works for probably twenty years. There’s a huge backlog of old “classic” science fiction and fantasy for me to enjoy, and there’s always nonfiction (history and science).
But the Sad Puppies controversy and the orchestrated international campaign of defamation introduced me to a whole world of new authors! The Sad Puppies 4 campaign introduced me to Stand Still Stay Silent, which I love. I mean to check out other works on the recommended list, not because of the Hugo Awards (I have never nominated or voted and never will), but because these works are recommended by other fen.
However, Catherynne Valente and Alastair Reynolds demand to be removed from the list because their fans failed to obtain permission before recommending their works to fandom in general. The Sad Puppies are holding firm: their fans thought their works were worth considering and it’s not up to them to contradict their fans.
But I am not holding firm. They don’t want their fans recommending their work to wrongfen: hey, I’m happy to remove them from my Recommendations to Check Out list and put them on my Not One Thin Dime list.
(7) 180 DEGREES. Chris Gerrib’s conclusion about “Sad Puppies 4” is —
In short, so far this is everything Sad Puppies 3 was not, namely open and transparent.
(8) A HAPPY FELLA. Declan Finn may have disqualified himself as a “sad” puppy with his post “Awesome #SadPuppies News”. Just kidding.
So, I am apparently the most awesome Puppy ever, having three award recommendations in the Hugos, Sad Puppies Bite Back being the #1 Best Related work.
I am UNSTOPPABLE, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH….
Aaaannnnnddddd that was me, gloating. I’m done now.
First of all, I am on the recommendation list in three categories. I will happily accept the recommendations, because I’ll take all the help I can get.
(9) NAMES TO BE CALLED. Kamas Kirian “Over inflated much?” at westfargomusings.
So, a certain author is having kittens over the fact her work ended up on the Sad Puppies IV list. How much of a delusional narcissist are you that you don’t want the wrong people liking what you’ve written? I mean really, if you don’t want people to recommend your writing I suppose they can take you up on that offer and review your work in the context that only the right people dare read it. God forbid it end up on a list that you think is a ‘slate’. For a writer, you don’t seem to know definitions very well. Here, let me help you out on that….
(10) SCOTTO OBIT. Cartoonist Augie Scotto (1927-2016) died March 15 reports the Timely-Atlas Comics blog.
As mentioned above, Augie Scotto’s work appeared in Will Eisner’s PS magazine, the exact tenures unknown to me. The note above that Scotto was Wally Wood’s partner is somewhat apocryphal. In the Bhob Stewart edited Against The Grain (TwoMorrows, 2003), Stewart writes about the Wally Wood studio and AugieScotto
“The studio was often like a Grand Central of artists. They came and went. One night Augie Scotto arrived. Scotto had worked on 1949-53 Western and crime comics before settling in as an artist on Eisner’s PS magazine for many years. We were working our way through a pile of Topps’ Travel Posters, and Scotto was there to assist for a few hours. I was in the back room, and Woody appeared at the door with a big grin. “Bhob, come watch this.” Scotto sat down at a board while Woody, Don and I looked on. He clicked the snaps on his briefcase, pulled out a brush and dipped it in the ink. Silence. Then in a single deft stroke, Scotto moved his hand across the paper. He lifted the brush, leaving a 14″ long, perfectly straight line on the paper. It played like a magic trick, but it was for real. Woody then went back to work, still grinning.”
Scotto’s comic book career appeared as two brief spurts. He broke in in 1949 at Eastern Color’s New Heroic Comics, Hillman and Cross Publications, on crime and western stories. He also was at Lev Gleason in 1950, Atlas in early 1951 and Charlton in 1953. This early work is completely serviceable and at home in the earthy, gritty crime comics of the era. He then vanishes from the industry and re-emerges in 1968 at Tower Comics penciling Dynamo and then as an inker at DC Comics in the late 1970’s, inking several titles including a post-Jack Kirby story of The New Gods in Adventure Comics in 1978.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
(12) SLINGING MUD FROM ANOTHER WORLD. Two politicians traded insults couched in sci-fi terms reports Boston.com.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t understand why a congressman would call her Darth Vader—she’s always seen herself as more of a Princess Leia.
After Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Missouri republican, called Warren “the Darth Vader of the financial services world” and said they should “find a way to neuter her” during a panel hosted at the American Bankers Association conference, the senator responded with a statement on her campaign site Thursday.
“My first thought was: Really?” Warren wrote. “I’ve always seen myself more as a Princess Leia-type (a senator and Resistance general who, unlike the guys, is never even remotely tempted by the dark side). Clearly the Force is not strong with Congressman Luetkemeyer (maybe he’s a Trekkie).”
(13) HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY. Gregory N. Hullender issued a report on “Rocket Stack Rank at Six Months”. (That’s been long enough for me to change my mind – File 770 is a worse name for a site…)
Our original goal was to read and review all the short fiction in the six major publications in 2015. We accomplished that and also included all the original fiction from ten anthologies.
We hoped that would amount to 50% coverage of the stories in the Locus Recommended Reading List, but it actually came to about 65%.
We set out to offer advice on where to buy copies of back issues of the big three print magazines. We ended up with detailed instructions for several different ways to get electronic copies of back issues, and we even discovered several (legal) ways to borrow back issues without having to buy them.
(14) PEE-WEE INTERVIEW. “Paul Reubens on Pee-wee Herman’s Comeback” at Vogue.
The last time you did this it wasn’t the Internet age. I know in the past you’ve skirted publicity and you’ve valued your privacy, and now we’re in this era when things happen so quickly, in such a big way. How does it feel?
Part of that feels bogus to me, to be honest with you. Gigantic superstars still get married and no one knows about it. I was at a hotel recently, where people were complaining, “Oh, my God, there’s paparazzi every second out here in front!” Then I went, “Can I go out the back door?” And they were like, “Sure.” It’s not impossible. None of it is. I get that there are certain people that get such a high profile that they can’t do anything. I just think almost everything’s possible, really.
Including getting another Pee-wee movie made after 30 years.
Yeah, that’s true!
(15) BUT NOT IF YOU HAVE ANY FRIENDS WHO ARE ENTS. A home styled for a wizard. The Chive has a big photo gallery of the exquisite and artistic woodwork. Asking price? $8.2 million. Hm, come to think of it, a lot of trees got chopped down to make that….
(16) BLACK PANTHER. “An Exclusive Look at ‘Black Panther #1’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates” at The Atlantic.
Despite the difference in style and practice of storytelling, my approach to comic books ultimately differs little from my approach to journalism. In both forms, I am trying to answer a question. In my work for The Atlantic I have, for some time, been asking a particular question: Can a society part with, and triumph over, the very plunder that made it possible? In Black Panther there is a simpler question: Can a good man be a king, and would an advanced society tolerate a monarch? Research is crucial in both cases. The Black Panther I offer pulls from the archives of Marvel and the character’s own long history. But it also pulls from the very real history of society—from the pre-colonial era of Africa, the peasant rebellions that wracked Europe toward the end of the Middle Ages, the American Civil War, the Arab Spring, and the rise of isis.
And this, too, is the fulfillment of the 9-year-old in me. Reading The Amazing Spider-Man comic books as a kid, I didn’t just take in the hero’s latest amazing feat; I wrestled seriously with his celebrated tagline—“With great power comes great responsibility.” Chris Claremont’s The Uncanny X?Men wasn’t just about an ultracool band of rebels. That series sought to grapple with the role of minorities in society—both the inner power and the outward persecution that come with that status. And so it is (I hope) with Black Panther. The questions are what motivate the action. The questions, ultimately, are more necessary than the answers.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, David K.M. Klaus, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chris S.]