And speaking of special visual effects…
The trailer was just released today.
And speaking of special visual effects…
The trailer was just released today.
What if J. Pierpont Morgan got Teddy Roosevelt pregnant? What if Commodore Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie were adventursome unicorns? Then Wall Street Journal readers could enjoy thematic fan fiction every bit as pedestrian as the fan-written works already receiving the Journal’s attention.
The success of Fifty Shades of Grey has been paralleled by endless articles about its fan-fic roots. These typically dwell on Kirk and Spock being amorous and Harry Potter’s remarkable lack of chastity, and end with the traditional question: why aren’t these writers being sued?
The Wall Street Journal only departs from the usual pattern because Orson Scott Card tells them he is about to do something completely unexpected:
After spending years fending off fan fiction, and occasionally sending out “cease and desist” letters through his lawyer to block potential copyright violations, science-fiction novelist Orson Scott Card has started courting fan writers. Mr. Card, author of the best-selling “Ender’s Game” series, is planning to host a contest for “Ender’s Game” fan fiction this fall. Fans will be able to submit their work to his Web site. The winning stories will be published as an anthology that will become part of the official “canon” of the “Ender’s Game” series.
“Every piece of fan fiction is an ad for my book,” Mr. Card says. “What kind of idiot would I be to want that to disappear?”
Update 06/20/2012: Fixed spelling of gray. Or was it grey…
I met him in San Diego a few years ago. He was being pushed along in a wheelchair, surrounded by people who were in glory to see him, and hear his voice. We were at Comic-Con, marooned among booths selling ray guns and comic books and maps of Martian worlds. Every third person who walked by wore a cape.
“All this,” I said, pointing around us, “is your fault.” I had to shout to be heard. His hearing wasn’t good.
He laughed — it was one hell of a laugh — and nodded and said, “You know, some of it probably is.”
(At the same link are quotes from Ursula K. Le Guin, Daniel Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Mort Castle, Gordon Van Gelder, Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Bear, Kim Stanley Robinson, David Morrell, Greg Bear, R. A. Salvatore, Lev Grossman.)
Ray Bradbury dies: Appreciation for an author who will ‘live forever’
But he always remained, in the hearts of many, America’s greatest science fiction writer, eventually being honored by a special Pulitzer Prize for his lifetime achievement. In truth, though, Bradbury’s fantasy, horror and science fiction did more than merely entertain. In all his work, he explored loneliness and the troubled human heart and our deep-seated fear of otherness. In that regard, he became what he always wanted to be — a great storyteller, sometimes even a mythmaker, a true American classic. Live forever, Mr. Bradbury.
Orson Scott Card
Thoughts on Ray Bradbury
Five years later, a young woman who lived across the street had to wear eyepatches for several days, making her effectively blind. I went over to her house to help her pass the time. I brought that hardcover of I Sing the Body Electric. I read to her.
That was when I realized that Bradbury’s stories were not meant to be read silently. Your lips have to move, your voice has to produce those words, the cadences of his language have to rise out of your own throat.
What counted in the Whitman quote Bradbury used for his title was not the word “electric.” Not even “body.” It was “sing.”
The girl I was reading to married me. Talk about a book changing your life! (She assures me that it was me, not Bradbury, she fell in love with.)
Time Magazine / Techland
Ray Bradbury Didn’t Love All Tech, but He Loved What Mattered Most
In the 1940s, when a young Ray Bradbury began a series of stories that would eventually become The Martian Chronicles, man had yet to even send a satellite into space. Since then, six U.S.-launched landers have touched down on Mars, with a seventh, Curiosity, due to land in 60 days.
The first images sent back by Viking 1 in 1976 confirmed what scientists already knew — nothing like the advanced Martian societies of Bradbury’s imagination existed on the planet. Still, scientists are hopeful that we’ll find signs of past life; more importantly, many of them were inspired to explore Mars in the first place thanks to works like The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man.
One of those people was Ashley Stroupe. She first read his work as a 10-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Today she holds a job with the charmingly prosaic title of “Mars Rover Driver.”
Interesting that the various media websites that include photos show him after he became famous, such as at the White House or at mainstream author events. But of course there are no photos of him at the many SF conventions that he attended, because back then he was just some dumb sci-fi geek/nerd.
Note: I published Bradbury’s 1986 Atlanta World SF Convention Guest of Honor speech, in the December 1986 issue of my Science Fiction Chronicle; I taped his speech and had it transcribed. AFAIK, this was the only place it appeared in print.
Bradbury Transits Mars – click on link, and if necessary, search June 7, 2012.
World Book Night annually celebrates reading and books and next April 23 thousands of people in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland will go through their communities giving out free World Book Night paperbacks.
World Book Night began last year in the U.K. and will be expanded to additional countries in years to come.
The date, April 23, coincides with UNESCO’s World Book Day, selected due to the anniversary of Cervantes’ death, as well as Shakespeare’s birth and death.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien finished atop of NPR’s Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy survey. Over 60,000 voters participated. Coming in second and third were Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
Orson Scott Card suffered a mild stroke on January 1, and Hatrack River, the official Orson Scott Card website, says he’s already trying to resume work:
He is now back home, retraining his brain so that the fingers of his left hand strike the keys he’s aiming for. He will not be responding to most emails because his typing time must be devoted to finishing his fiction. But he is grateful for your good wishes and he promises not to die with any series unfinished.
For the foreseeable future, OSC will not make any public appearances or undertake any travel. Since his speech is unimpaired, he will still conduct radio and recorded interviews.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]
How remarkable. It took this column by John Sutherland in the London Evening Standard to open my eyes to the existence of mundane slash fiction. But he mentions one example that intersects with sf in a surprising way:
Things get trickier in that subgenre of fanfic called Real Person Slash. Go to fictioncircus.com and you’ll find a gladiatorial “slash contest” between (imaginary) JD Salinger and American science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card. It’s libellous but creepily fascinating.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]
Ten developments of interest to fans:
(1) Hear, hear! SFFaudio asks an excellent question: Where are are the Charles Stross audiobooks?
Seriously, the guy is super talented. There have only been three commercially released Charlie Stross audiobooks (all from Infinivox). The were terrific, but they’re not enough.
If Saturn’s Children and Halting State were available as audiobooks they’d shoot up to the top of my listening stack.
(2) The Los Angeles Times says a new Mark Twain collection is on the way, with no love for Jane Austen:
“Who Is Mark Twain?” is due to hit shelves next month. It’s the first collection of Mark Twain’s unpublished short works and will include both fiction and nonfiction. In one essay, he wonders if Jane Austen’s intent is to “make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters?”
(3) Coming soon: a new Card trilogy:
Simon Pulse senior editor Anica Rissi has acquired world English rights to the first three books in a new fantasy series by Orson Scott Card written specifically for a YA audience; Barbara Bova of the Barbara Bova Literary Agency made the sale.
(4) Do you study Google Analytics’ map of the hits on your blog? The other day File 770 got a hit from Gabarone, Botswana, the locale of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. Spammers beware! Precious Ramotswe reads my blog.
(5) The Virginia legislature has declared June 27, 2009 to be Will F. Jenkins Day. Steven H. Silver is soliciting reminiscences about Murray Leinster/Will F. Jenkins, or pieces talking about how he/his writing has influenced writers and fans, for a memory book that will be presented to Jenkins’ family. Written pieces or photos of Jenkins/Leinster for inclusion should be sent to Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 31.
(6) Alexis Gilliland’s website is up and running. Lee Gilliland announces, “We are slowly adding cartoons (we have an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 total to post) and we also now have a forum.” It’s quite nicely designed.
(7) The fastest growing category in the iTunes App Store is: books. O’Reilly Radar explains:
Granted releasing an e-book for the iPhone is a lot easier than writing a gaming application using the iPhone SDK. Roughly 6 out 10 of the Books on the app store sell for 99 cents or less, and 1 in 20 are free.
(8) Laurraine Tutihasi’s Feline Mewsings #35 can now be downloaded at http://homepage.mac.com/laurraine/Felinemewsings/index.html.
(9) Have you already heard about the Dalek found in an English pond?
I got the shock of my life when a Dalek head bobbed up right in front of me. It must have been down there for some time because it was covered in mould and water weed, and had quite a bit of damage. One of the dome lights was smashed, but the eye-stalk was intact and the head and neck stayed in one piece as I carefully lifted it out.
(10) Guy Gavriel Kay’s piece for the Toronto Globe and Mail tries to make sense of readers’ intrusive demands on writers who blog:
These days, writers invite personal involvement and intensity from their readers. In direct proportion to the way in which they share their personalities (or for- consumption personalities), their everyday lives, their football teams and word counts, their partners and children and cats, it encourages in readers a sense of personal connection and access, and thus an entitlement to comment, complain, recommend cat food, feel betrayed, shriek invective, issue demands: ‘George, lose weight, dammit!’”
[Thanks to Francis Hamit, Andrew Porter, Steven Silver, David Klaus and John Mansfield for the links included in this story.]
What a fascinating exercise in imagination is Victor Godinez’ speculation about the nation’s next Chief Technology Officer for the Dallas Morning News:
Or, if you want to cast an even wider net, consider serious science fiction writers like John Scalzi, Orson Scott Card or Jerry Pournelle, guys who think big, know how to communicate and are beholden to no one.
Why not pick all three? Then help balance the Federal budget by selling Vince McMahon the rights to broadcast their meetings?
[Via Chaos Manor mail.]
In “The Ornery American: Orson Scott Card,” School Library Journal,
Orson Scott Card is charming, thoughtful, and polite. So why is he rubbing people the wrong way?
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link, via the Middle