Disney Film To Be Dubbed Into Sami

By Ahrvid Engholm: Disney’s coming Frozen 2 will be dubbed into Sami language! It’s an animated fantasy film for children, and such movies are often dubbed in Sweden, because most children can’t read subtitles. (Animation Magazine: “‘Frozen 2’ Will Get Sámi Language Version”.) Frozen 2 is said ro be based on Sami culture. (I haven’t seen it or the first Frozen film.)

The traditionally reindeer herding Sami people are, sort of, the Indians of Scandinavia. They are some 65 000-100 000 — the span due to how to define belonging to the group — shared between Sweden, Norway and Finland (plus a couple of thousand in Russia) in the North. (Wikipedia entry: Sámi people.)

Today most are integrated into the regular society but about 6,500 of the Sami are still into reindeer herding. Smoked reindeer meat is considered a delicacy and can usually be found in supermarkets all over Sweden, and some is also exported. (Sorry, all of you who are thinking of Santa’s reindeers… We eat them.)

One snag with dubbing this film is that there are several Sami dialects (a Finno-Ugric branch on the language tree, not related to Indo-European languages) not always intelligible bewteen speakers, but North Sami is the biggest dialect so I supposed that’s what they’ll use. Some Sami languages are near extinction, now spoken by just 20 people… See Sámi languages. It’s the first time I think a major film is dubbed into Sami! (But there have been regular feature films shot in Sami before.)

As I googled around I stumbled upon the debate around the Frozen films – KnowYourMeme –  “Disney’s Frozen Whitewashing Controversy”:

 A “debate /that/ has come to include accusations against Disney of “whitewashing” the Sámi, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. The controversy began on Tumblr, and is largely driven by social justice bloggers who accuse the movie of racism, and fans of the film who are outraged by these accusations.”

I haven’t dug deeper into this, but anyone interested can probably find more info.

A trailer for Frozen 2:

More resources:

Disney’s Aladdin on Stage

By Martin Morse Wooster: If you’re wondering why there are so many musicals based on movies, blame the New York Times.

This winter I read Razzle Dazzle, a very entertaining oral history of Broadway between 1900-1990 by Michael Riedel.[1]  According to Riedel, when Beauty and the Beast was released, Times critic Frank Rich said the film was “the best Broadway musical” released that year.  The suits at Disney headquarters read Rich’s review and thought to themselves, “Hmmm!  Turning our movies into musical theater!  What a really good idea!” And so the Disney Theatrical Group was born.

Aladdin is the second Disney musical I’ve seen, after The Little Mermaid.  But while The Little Mermaid was the theatrical equivalent of AAA baseball, Aladdin was the national tour that played at the Kennedy Center Opera House, a 3,000-seat venue.

I knew this was an upscale evening when I stopped to buy a CD and refrigerator magnet.  Disney wouldn’t sell me a CD: I could only buy it as part of a package that included a program that was very pretty but that I really didn’t want to buy.

But the store was full of schwag!  Had I wanted to, I could have gotten the official Aladdin fleece blanket, the lamp, the dolls, the teddy bear, the expensive dolls… I didn’t see anyone buy any of this stuff, but they wouldn’t make it if people weren’t buying it.

As for the musical, the score is by Alan Menken, who’s written scores for a DVD shelf full of Disney musicals.  His first collaborator was Howard Ashman, who wrote the lyrics for Beauty and The Beast and The Little Mermaid (and, pre-Disney, Little Shop of Horrors).  But Ashman died of AIDS in 1991 while Aladdin was in development, so Sir Tim Rice was brought in as lyricist.  To my mind, Sir Tim is a lesser lyricist than Ashman, but he wrote the lyrics for “A Whole New World,” which is the greatest Disney power ballad of all time and which won an Oscar.

For the stage version of Aladdin, which premiered in 2014, Chad Beguelin was brought in for a new book and some new songs.  In the stage version, Howard Ashman wrote the lyrics for five songs, Sir Tim Rice wrote two, Chad Beguelin wrote four, and the rest were collaborations.

Having bought the CD/program, here are some secrets from it.  Remember the great Max Fleischer cartoon where Popeye met Aladdin and the genie?  That’s the genesis of this musical.  You’re supposed to detect traces of Fats Waller and Cab Calloway in the score.

And yes, the genie is black.

 As for the plot—well, come on, you know the plot.  Disney released the Aladdin remake last month![2]  The smarter question is:  what are you getting on stage that you aren’t getting in a movie theatre?

Well, the book has quite a lot of snark in it.  Beguelin does indeed rhyme “awful” with “falafel.”  And if you want more Mediterranean food jokes, there were some for hummus and baba ganoush.

And there’s dancing!  Lots and lots of dancing!  Aladdin has three sidekicks, and boy do they dance!  They make a “Dancing With The Stars” joke in Aladdin, except here it’s “Dancing With The Scimitars,” and yes, they dance with scimitar swords.

But what made Aladdin work was the sets and the direction.  Casey Nicholaw directed; he got a Tony for this show and another Tony for The Book of Mormon.  The set designer was Bob Crowley, who has done a lot of work for the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Britain.

Every time I saw one of Crowley’s brightly colored sets, I told myself, “This is cool.”  And the flying carpet was very cool.

As for the performers, two stood out.  Korey Lee Blossey was the genie I saw; he’s actually the understudy but was fully prepared for the demanding part and even did a cartwheel on stage just to prove he could.  Jonathan Weir played the villain Jafar; he’s done a lot of work in Chicago and has a great voice.  He reminded me of Jonathan Harris in “Lost in Space.”

Washington Post theatre critic Nelson Pressley called Aladdin a “Big Gulp XL” of a musical, and when I watched it, I felt the same way I feel when the free Cherry Coke kicks in after a Saturday afternoon at the movies. Aladdin wasn’t great art, but a very well made, high-quality entertainment with plenty of first-rate singing, dancing, and jokes. 

Finally, a word about Disney.  A Financial Times article recently referred to Disney as “the apex predator” of entertainment, but the reason they got to the top is because they hire first-rate talent and give them a chance to show their excellence.  Yes, Disney has stinkers (OK, I saw Cars 3) but more often than not their productions work.

I suspect Frozen will be the nest Disney Theatrical Group production to come to Washington.  I can’t wait to see it.


[1] The best bit of ancient gossip in Razzle Dazzle is about David Belasco, who was the lion of Broadway in 1910 but is only remembered because he wrote the plays Puccini turned into Madama Butterfly and The Girl of the Golden West.  According to Riedel, Belasco liked wandering around wearing a priest’s vestments.  No one knows why, but one likely reason is that Belasco thought the vestments would attract women.

[2] Yes, I saw the new Aladdin.  It’s good, but The Lion King is much better.

New Picard Trailer Unveiled at SDCC

An extended Star Trek: Picard trailer debuted today at San Diego Comic-Con during the “Star Trek: Universe” panel in Hall H.

Joining Patrick Stewart as Picard, and the show’s new cast members, were other familiar faces.

Brent Spiner’s Data appears — his familiar face neatly stored in a drawer (?!). I’m glad to say he shows up by the end in one piece. Jeri Ryan’s 7 of 9 has lines. There’s even a split-second view of a Borg cube.

Also, Star Trek: Discovery season two favorites Ethan Peck (Spock) and Rebecca Romijn (Number One) announced that they, along with Captain Christopher Pike, played by Anson Mount, will be returning to the Star Trek franchise with three U.S.S. Enterprise-focused Star Trek: Short Treks.

The new Picard trailer is already being dissected for hints about the directions the story will take:

Editors Lynne & Michael Thomas Kickstarting Year Six of Their Uncanny Magazine

Uncanny Staff: Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Chimedum Ohaegbu, Michi Trota, Angel Cruz, Caroline M. Yoachim, Erika Ensign, Steven Schapansky, and Joy Piedmont

Uncanny Magazine’s Hugo-winning editors Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are launching a Kickstarter for Year Six of their – also Hugo Award-winning — professional online sff magazine: “Uncanny Magazine Year 6: Raise the Roof, Raise the Rates!”

Each issue contains new and classic speculative fiction, fiction podcasts, poetry, essays, art, and interviews. Uncanny Magazine is raising funds via Kickstarter to cover some of its operational and production costs for the sixth year, with an initial goal of $18,700. plus added stretch goals of raising contributor and staff pay rates. The Kickstarter will run through August 14, 2019.

On day one they raised $9,558 of their initial $18,700 goal.

Uncanny features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, and provocative nonfiction, with a deep investment in our diverse SF/F culture. We publish intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and vision, from writers from every conceivable background. With the hard work of the best staff and contributors in the world, Uncanny Magazine has delivered everything as promised (or is in the middle of delivery) with our Year One, Two, Three, Four, and Five Kickstarters. This year, the magazine has been recognized as a Hugo and Locus Award finalist, and three stories plus the editors-in-chief have been recognized as Hugo Award finalists,” Lynne says.

“We couldn’t have done all of this without the amazing support of our Kickstarter community, who we call the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps after our logo mascot. This is also their magazine; their support makes it possible for us to make all of this amazing content available for free on our website. Quite a few science fiction magazines have closed recently, but we would like to continue. We still feel Uncanny‘s mission is important. And hopefully, we will meet the stretch goals and be able to pay our phenomenal contributors and staff a little bit more,” Michael adds.

For Year Six, Uncanny has solicited original short fiction from Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award-winning and nominated authors and bestselling authors including: Elizabeth Bear, Aliette de Bodard, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Tina Connolly, Paul Cornell, A. T.  Greenblatt, Cassandra Khaw, Ken Liu, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, and Ursula Vernon. There will also be numerous slots for unsolicited submissions.

Uncanny Magazine Year Six plans to showcase original essays by Meg Elison, Hillary Monahan, Brandon O’Brien, Malka Older, Ada Palmer, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Fran Wilde, plus poetry by Betsy Aoki, Leah Bobet, Beth Cato, Ada Hoffmann, Annie Neugebauer, D.A. Xiaolin Spires, and Hal Y. Zhang.

And if they get the support, after they hit the initial target here’s what comes next:

Year Six Stretch Goals:

  • $19,700- Original cover art from Galen Dara
  • $22,000- Original cover art from Nilah Magruder
  • $25,000- Original cover art from Kirbi Fagan
  • $26,000- Increase Essay Pay Rate to $75 per essay
  • $27,000- Increase Poetry Pay Rate to $40 per poem
  • $30,000- Increase Original Short Story Pay Rate to $.09 per word
  • $31,000- Increase Reprint Short Story Pay Rate to $.02 per word
  • $34,000- Increase Staff Payments 

Uncanny Magazine issues are published as eBooks (MOBI, PDF, EPUB) bimonthly on the first Tuesday of that month through all of the major online eBook stores. Each issue contains 5-6 new short stories, a reprinted story, 4 poems, 4 nonfiction essays, and 2 interviews, at minimum.

Material from half an issue is posted for free on Uncanny’s website (built by Clockpunk Studios) once per month, appearing on the second Tuesday of every month (uncannymagazine.com). Uncanny also produces a monthly podcast with a story, poem, and original interview. Subscribers and backers will receive the entire double issue a month before online readers.

Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds

By Daniel Dern: Based on a chat with a friend who’s been watching classic sf movies this week but didn’t know about this version, which I’ve done brief lookups on for your edification and time-sinking… the War of the Worlds rock opera!

I remember hearing it back when it was a record album… “The chances of anything coming from Mars/are a million to one/a million to one.” (go to ~6 minutes of the YouTube audio URL, below…)

Somewhere I’ve got the 1996 CD which I obviously haven’t listened to in a bunch of years…

Here’s the general info, bunches of interesting stuff further down, via Wikipedia — “Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds” — including that there’s been a stage/tour live version with its own history-filled wbsite and a digitally remastered CD (2009) that advertised its featured players “Include the Late Richard Burton, the Late Phil Lynott and the Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward, Whose ‘Forever Autumn’ from this Album Became the Biggest Hit Single of his Solo Career.”

Listening/watching: I’m seeing most, tho not all, tracks (of the album/CD, there’s various versions across cassette, LP, re-issues, etc.). For example, not the first track.

YouTube has both the full album, and the show movie:

Album:

Video:

The video (possibly a different version?) is (also) available (free) through HooplaDigital.com (they partner with libraries, you use your lib card to get your free H/D account, good for 6-12 (varies per library) borrows per month… note, Hoopla has a decent amount of graphic novels, along with Hamilton and other stuff. (Android and iOS apps can download for offline consumption.)

Uncanny Magazine Issue 29 Launches 7/2

The 29th issue Uncanny Magazine will be available on July 2.

Hugo Award-winning Publishers/Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are proud to present the 29th issue of their 2016, 2017, and 2018 Hugo Award-winning online science fiction and fantasy magazine. As always, it features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture, along with an award-winning monthly podcast featuring a story, poem, and interview from that issue. Stories from Uncanny Magazine have been finalists or winners of Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

All of Uncanny Magazine’s content will be available in eBook versions on the day of release from Weightless Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo. Subscriptions are always available through Amazon Kindle and Weightless Books. The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on August 6. 

Uncanny Magazine Issue 29 Table of Contents

Cover:

  • Skyward Bound by Julie Dillon

Editorial:

  • “The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas

Fiction:

  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker (7/2)
  • “Big Box” by Greg van Eekhout (7/2)
  • “Compassionate Simulation” by Rachel Swirsky and P. H. Lee (7/2)
  • “On the Impurity of Dragon-kind” by Marie Brennan (8/6)
  • “How the Trick is Done” by A.C. Wise (8/6)
  • “The Migration Suite: A Study in C Sharp Minor” by Maurice Broaddus (8/6)

Reprint:

  • “A Champion of Nigh-Space” by Tim Pratt (8/6)

Essays:

  • “Was Trials of Mana Worth Growing Up For?” by Aidan Moher (7/2)
  • “The Gang’s All Here: Writing Lessons from The Good Place” By Tansy Rayner Roberts (7/2)
  • “The Better Place” by Karlyn Ruth Meyer (7/2)
  • “Beware the Lifeboat” by Marissa Lingen (8/6)
  • “Sir Elsa of Tortall, Knight of the Realm” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (8/6)

Poetry:

  • “capturing the mood” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires (7/2)
  • “Sing” by Alexandra Seidel (7/2)
  • “If Love Is Real, So Are Fairies” by Cynthia So (8/6)
  • “Buruburu” by Betsy Aoki (8/6)

Interviews:

  • Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews Greg van Eekhout (7/2)
  • Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews Maurice Broaddus (8/6)

Podcasts:

Uncanny Magazine Podcast 29A (7/2)

  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker, as read by Erika Ensign
  • “capturing the mood” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires, as read by Joy Piedmont
  • Sarah Pinsker Interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas

Uncanny Magazine Podcast 29B (8/6)

  • “How the Trick is Done” by A.C. Wise, as read by Erika Ensign
  • “If Love Is Real, So Are Fairies” by Cynthia So, as read by Joy Piedmont
  • A.C. Wise Interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas

Fantastic Fiction at KGB Readings Series Ties in to Keith R.A. DeCandido and Chuck Wendig

By Mark Blackman: On the damp, almost-almost summer evening of Wednesday, June 19th, the monthly Fantastic Fiction Readings Series hosted authors Keith R.A. DeCandido and Chuck Wendig at its venue, the aptly-named Red Room at the 2nd floor KGB Bar in Manhattan’s East Village.

The event opened, as customary, with Series co-host Matthew Kressel’s exhortation to support the Bar by buying a drink and tipping the bartenders who help hydrate, and announcing upcoming readers:

  • July 17: Cadwell Turnbull, Theodora Goss
  • August 21:  Lara Elena Donnelly, Paul Witcover
  • September 18:  Sarah Beth Durst, Sarah Pinsker
  • October 16:  Nicole Kornher-Stace, Barbara Krasnoff

(All dates are the third Wednesday of the month. Details and lineup well into 2019 and the dawn of 2020 are available at the Series website.) He concluded by introducing the evening’s first reader, Keith R.A. DeCandido (who is used to his name being misspelled or mispronounced).

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Keith, whom I know from way, way back and who is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his fiction writing career, is perhaps best known for his media tie-in work across “33 different universes, from Alien to Zorro” (one of his releases this year is Alien: Isolation, based on the classic movie series), which earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and even inspired one fan to cosplay him. His original work includes a fantasy police procedural series – the latest is Mermaid Precinct – and A Furnace Sealed, launching a new urban fantasy series set in the Bronx (a borough sorely neglected by urban fantasy, he feels), where he currently lives. He read from Chapter 5 of the latter novel.

Brom Gold, MD, is, in his other profession, a courser, an agent for the Wardena, who is in charge of all magic in the area, monitoring and, where necessary, restricting it. While facing the pseudo-Haitian Madame Verité (“Mrs. Truth”), he discovers that something is interfering with spells. (We meanwhile learn that “unicorns are nasty” and, in detail, how difficult it is to drive and park in the Bronx, even on Sunday.)

After an intermission, Series co-host Ellen Datlow took the podium and introduced the second reader of the night.

Chuck Wendig was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His body of work includes the bestselling Star Wars: Aftermath, (like DeCandido, he is no stranger to media tie-in novels), the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, and Wanderers (coming in July); he has also written comics, games, films and more, and served as the co-writer of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He is also known for his blog, terribleminds.com, and books about writing, such as Damn Fine Story.

Chuck Wendig

His offering was the opening of Wanderers. In the wake of Comet Sakomoto (which became as famous as Halley’s and Hale-Bopp), a plague of sleepwalkers (more than a dozin’, sorry) have joined together and cross the country, accompanied by followers. Shana is the sister of Nessie, one of the sleepwalkers.

The familiar bookstore was not set up at the back of the room (therefore they don’t get a plug here), but DeCandido had copies of some of his books available.

Prior to the readings, as is customary, Datlow wended through the audience, snapping away; her photos of the event may be seen at the Series website, http://www.kgbfantasticfiction.org/.

Ted White, Mystery Writer

By Ted White: As you may or may not know, I’ve written some SF in recent years, having several stories in F&SF and Analog.  But one story, which I wrote in 2013, remained unsold for several years, until Gordon Van Gelder asked to see it again.  He’d rejected it from F&SF soon after I’d written it, but he remembered it (always a good sign), and wanted to see it for an anthology he was putting together.  And he bought it for his book, Welcome To Dystopia, published last year.

The book got good reviews (Gordon passes them all on to us), and my story, “Burning Down the House,” was even singled out (favorably) in several.  But it’s a fat book, and my story starts in the 200s, page-wise, so I was expecting nothing more.

I was wrong.  Recently I received an email with the heading “CONGRATULATIONS” from Otto Penzler.  Otto is a Major Force in the mystery field, and owns The Mysterious Press.  He informed me that my story “has been selected for inclusion in the 23rd edition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s The Best American Mystery Stories 2019.”

I have no idea why anyone searching for the best mystery stories of the year would have been reading a dystopian SF anthology, but I’m grateful it happened, and pleased that my story stood out and was selected.  (I take it as a credit for writing a vivid story, which can be read, I guess, as a mystery story as well as SF.)

The book will be out this fall, and once again my story will be in the 200s — pages 282 through 303 (I’ve seen proofs), and I’m quietly proud.

I always wanted to be a mystery writer….


New York Times best-selling author of ten genre-bending novels Jonathan Lethem helms this collection of the year’s best mystery short fiction.  Publisher: Mariner Books (October 1, 2019)

A Tor Moment at Book Expo

Harriet McDougal and Tom Doherty at Book Expo. Photo taken and (c) by Andrew Porter.

Above, Tom Doherty and Harriet McDougal toast the October publication of Robert Jordan’s Warrior of the Altaii.

“Tom Doherty bought the book decades ago,” notes Andrew Porter, who took the photo. “Harriet McDougal is not only an editor at Tor, she is Robert Jordan’s widow.”

Publishers Weekly explains in “BookExpo 2019: A Robert Jordan Book Debuts, Four Decades Late”.

…The title was first acquired by Tom Doherty in 1979, but not published at that time. Then, when Jordan’s second book, The Fallon Blood, was published the following year (under the name of Reagon O’Neal), the two books appeared to be so different in style and content that the publisher held it. Jordan’s career took off, and the book was never published.