I Am Going To Mouse My Shot: Hamilton Flick Comes to Disney+ on July 3

By Daniel Dern: “‘Hamilton’ Coming To Disney+ On July 3, Bypassing 2021 Theatrical Release”NPR spreads the news —

Cue the Hamilton quotes: Soon the room where it happens will be your living room! Shout it to the rooftops that the Broadway sensation Hamilton will be available for home viewing this summer! Look around, look around to see how lucky we are to be alive in a world where Hamilton is coming to Disney+ on July 3, more than 15 months ahead of schedule!

What will be the effects when Hamilton joins the Disneyverse?

1, Does this mean Alex H has a chance to be a Jedi, and use the force to avoid being shot to death?

2, Will Hawkeye miss his shot?

3, Will the Avengers, or at least Spider-Man, get involved in the Rev War? Will Tony Stark pal around with Ben Franklin?

4, Will Paul Revere ride on Dumbo instead of his horse?

5, Will the Schuyler sisters get Frozen freeze-powers?

Is this enough to justify signing up for Disney+?

Good question — but realistically, either the free trial or a month’s worth should do it. It’s not like Hamilton is going to be a 12-episode season…unless they do the Hamilton/Star Wars/Avengers Crossover, where Luke gets to sing about not missing his shot, etc. Or Force Ghosts doing “What’d I Miss?”

Or Darth Vr doing a rousing “You’ll Be Back.”

(Dern shifts to his web browser briefly…)

Hmmm, having just written the above, I web-searched (I use DuckDuckGo) on “Hamilton Star Wars Parody” and, no surprise, the Internet has been on top of this for several years, e.g. “The Hamilton/Star Wars Parody You Knew Was Coming is Here (Sept 2018)” at Making Star Wars and “Happy ‘Star Wars’ Day! Watch this amazing ‘Hamilton’ parody about a galaxy far, far away” at the Washington Post includes a video with Lin-Manuel Miranda and J.J. Abrams live doing Miranda’s “Jabba” Cantina song:

“Luke the Son of Anakin,” whose lyrics were written by comedian Nick Jack Pappas, tells the Skywalker saga to a tune from the smash musical about the ten-dollar founding father. It parodies the show’s opening number with a spoiler-heavy summary of Luke’s journey from space farm boy to Jedi knight and finally to lost recluse in the latest installment of the series.

Hux [Hamilton Parody] (Aug 2016)

Luke Skywalker Hamilton (Dec 2015)

Darth Vader sings You’ll Be Back [Hamilton Parody] (Feb 2017)

Star Wars / Hamilton Awakens – The Musical (Sept 2016)

And, I’m sure, there’s more.

Premio Italia 2020 Shortlist

Congratulations to China Miéville, Ian McEwan, N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, and Sam J. Miller whose works in Italian translation are finalists in the International sf novel category of the  2020 Premio Italia.

The winners will be announced on June 13 during Fantàsia 2020 a San Marino.

Illustrazione o copertina / Illustration or Cover

  • Annalisa Antonini, La città dell’orca, Zona 42
  • Franco Brambilla, Locandina Stranimondi 2019, Stranimondi
  • Ivo Torello, Hypnos 10, Edizioni Hypnos
  • Ksenja Laginja, Cacciatore di Sirene, Kipple Officina Libraria
  • Luca Oleastri, Simbiosi, Simbiosi, Edizioni Scudo, 2019
  • Maurizio Manzieri, Locandina Cartoons on the Bay 2019, Rai Com

Curatore / Editor

  • Andrea Vaccaro
  • Giorgio Raffaelli
  • Giulia Abbate e Elena di Fazio
  • Luigi Petruzzelli
  • Silvio Sosio

Traduttore / Translator

  • Elena Furlan
  • Lia Tomasich
  • Martina Testa
  • Paola Cartoceti
  • Silvia Castoldi

Collana / Collection

  • Avatar, Kipple Officina Libraria
  • Future Fiction, Future Fiction
  • Futuro presente, Delos Digital
  • Heroic Fantasy Italia, Delos Digital
  • Sci-Fi Collection, Tabula fati

Rivista professionale / Professional magazine

  • Andromeda (Lost Tales), Letterelettriche
  • Dimensione Cosmica, Tabula Fati
  • Hypnos, Edizioni Hypnos
  • Il buio, Watson
  • Robot, Delos Books
  • Studi Lovecraftiani, Dagon Press

Rivista o sito web non professionale / Fanzine or fan web site

Saggio / Essay

  • Carmine Treanni, Sulla Luna. A 50 anni dallo sbarco, un viaggio tra scienza e fantascienza, Cento Autori
  • Giovanni Agnoloni, Tolkien: la Luce e l’Ombra, Kipple Officina Libraria
  • Giulia Abbate, Franco Ricciardiello, Manuale di scrittura di fantascienza, Odoya
  • Giulia Iannuzzi, Un laboratorio di fantastici libri, Solfanelli
  • Luca Ortino, Guida alla percezione del tempo, Odoya

Romanzo di autore italiano – Fantascienza / Science fiction novel

  • Davide Del Popolo Riolo, Übermensch, Delos Digital
  • Elisa Emiliani, Cenere, Zona 42
  • Francesca Cavallero, Le ombre di Morjegrad, Mondadori
  • Francesco Verso, I Camminatori: Vol. 2 – No/Mad/Land, Future Fiction
  • Paolo Aresi, Korolev. La luce di Eris, Delos Digital

Romanzo di autore italiano – Fantasy / Fantasy novel

  • Giulia Massini, La terra sul filo di seta, Tabula fati
  • Livio Gambarini, Eternal War 3: Sangue sul Giglio, Acheron Books
  • Luca Mazza, Black Hills, Moscabianca Edizioni
  • Marco Cardone, Italian Way of Cooking 2: Pizza mostri e mandolino, Acheron Books
  • Milena Debenedetti, Il popolo spezzato, Delos Digital

Antologia / Anthology

  • Carmine Treanni, Altri futuri, Delos Digital
  • Franco Forte, Strani mondi, Urania Millemondi – Mondadori
  • Giulia Abbate, Elena Di Fazio, Italia futura presente, Delos Digital
  • Marco Passarello, Fanta-scienza, Delos Digital
  • Silvia Treves, M. Caterina Mortillaro, DiverGender, Delos Digital

Racconto di autore italiano su pubblicazione professionale / Story by an Italian Author in a Professional Publication

  • Alessandro Vietti, Essere ovale, Strani Mondi, Urania Millemondi – Mondadori
  • Claudio Chillemi, L’universo muto, Robotica.it, Delos Digital
  • Dario Tonani, Picadura, Strani Mondi, Urania Millemondi – Mondadori
  • Lukha B. Kremo, Ipersfera, Strani Mondi, Urania Millemondi – Mondadori
  • Maico Morellini, Fatum, Strani Mondi, Urania Millemondi – Mondadori

Racconto di autore italiano su pubblicazione amatoriale / Story by an Italian Author in an Amateur Publication

  • Giorgio Sangiorgi, Luna spot, Altrimondi https://www.altrimondi.org/luna-spot/
  • Giovanni De Matteo, Red Dust, Club Ghost https://www.clubghost.it/portale/2019/05/16/red-dust-di-giovanni-de-matteo/
  • Lorenzo Davia, Az-Zindis, Hyperborea https://hyperborea.live/2019/12/03/i-racconti-di-satrampa-zeiros-az-zinds-di-lorenzo-davia/
  • Nicola Catellani, Il posto più felice sulla Luna, N.A.S.F. 15: Spazio/Luna
  • Tea C. Blanc, Centuria, Cose da Altrimondi https://www.altrimondi.org/centuria-di-tea-c-blanc/

Articolo su pubblicazione professionale / Article in a Professional Publication

  • Carmine Treanni, Distopia, il mondo che non vorremmo, Delos Science Fiction, Delos Books
  • Giulia Abbate, Elena Di Fazio, Antologie al femminile: è discriminazione?, Robot, Delos Books
  • Maico Morellini, I nove rapimenti alieni più famosi della storia, Mondofox.it, Fox
  • Michele Tetro, Tra le pagine della Luna-Viaggi spaziali e allunaggi nella letteratura, La Luna nell’immaginario, Odoya
  • Silvio Sosio, L’età dell’oro della fantascienza italiana, Strani Mondi, Urania Millemondi – Mondadori

Articolo su pubblicazione amatoriale / Article in an Amateur Publication

  • Giovanni De Matteo, Di cosa parlate quando parlate di fantascienza?, Holonomikon https://holonomikon.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/di-cosa-parlate-quando-parlate-di-fantascienza/
  • Giulia Abbate e Elena Di Fazio, La tesi dell’apostolo cattivo: il nuovo adattamento di Evangelion e il traduttore camaleonte, Lezioni sul domani https://lezionisuldomani.wordpress.com/2019/06/25/la-tesi-dellapostolo-cattivo-il-nuovo-adattamento-di-evangelion-e-il-traduttore-camaleonte/
  • Linda De Santi, Totalitarismi, ruoli di genere e maternità: uno sguardo alla narrativa distopica delle donne, Next Station http://www.next-station.org/fe-art-d.php?_i=259
  • Nick Parisi, Professione traduttore: Tradurre fantascienza in Italia nel 2019, Nocturnia https://wwwwelcometonocturnia.blogspot.com/2019/11/professione-traduttore-tradurre.html
  • Tea C. Blanc, Crepax, le copertine fantascientifiche gi Galaxy, Giornale Pop https://www.giornalepop.it/galaxy-di-crepax/

Romanzo internazionale / International sf novel

  • China Miéville, L’uomo del censimento, [The Census-Taker] Zona 42
  • Ian McEwan, Macchine come me, [Machines Like Me] Einaudi
  • N.K. Jemisin, La quinta stagione, [The Fifth Season] Mondadori
  • Nnedi Okorafor, Binti, [Binti] Mondadori
  • Sam J. Miller, La città dell’orca, [Blackfish City] Zona 42

Fumetto di autore italiano / Comic by an Italian Author

  • Andrea Frittella, Borgata Gordiani, Edizioni Bd
  • Bepi Vigna, Giez, Il passato è una terra straniera, Nathan Never – Bonelli
  • Bepi Vigna, Sergio Giardo, Romina Denti, Nathan Never Stazione Spaziale Internazionale, Bonelli
  • Carlo Recagno, Antonio Sforza, L’Uomo che scoprì il segreto di Leonardo, Storie da Altrove – Sergio Bonelli Editore
  • Carlo Recagno, Stefano Santoro, Giovanni Romanini, L’Uomo dal Rinascimento, Speciale Martin Mystere – Sergio Bonelli Editore

Fumetto di autore internazionale / Comic by an International Author

  • Cullen Bunn, Peter Milligan, Adan Gorham, Robert Gill, Punk Mambo, Star Comics

Film fantastico (premio non ufficiale) / Fantastic Film (unofficial prize)

  • Alita: Angelo della battaglia
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • I Am Mother
  • Joker
  • Star Wars: L’ascesa di Skywalker

Serie televisiva (premio non ufficiale) / TV Series (unofficial prize)

  • Good Omens
  • Love, Death & Robots
  • Stranger Things
  • The Boys
  • The Expanse

[Via Locus Online.]

All In Color For A Zorkmid – (More) Free (Or Cheap) Digital Versions of Comic Books!

By Daniel Dern: “Temporarily Free Comics,” Item 12 in yesterday’s Scroll, notes that Dark Horse is providing free access to some of their digital issues.

Want more/others? Here ya go!

ComiXology has hundreds — possibly close to a thousand — of comic issues available.

Via the web site, go to the “Free” link in the Quick Links bar on the right.

Via the app (I’m using the iOS app, FWIW), click on the Down-Arrow-In-A-Box at the upper left of the “Discover” page (if this doesn’t come up automatically, go to the bottom bar of the page to click on Discover.)

I don’t know if you need do sign in, but an account is free. (The main point of the app is to let you buy digital comics.)

For access to lots more — over 25,000, from not just DC and Marvel but also Dark Horse, Dynamite and many other publishers — sign up for ComiXology Unlimited, $5.99/month. (And the free trial is 60 days – just be sure to cancel in time if you don’t want to continue.)

HOOPLA!

Hoopla Digital, which allows a set (by your library) number of borrows per month, has also added “Unlimited Bonus Borrows” that don’t count against your monthly quota — included dozens of comics and book-collections-of-comics. (So, for example, the Omnibus versions of Garth Ennis’ The Boys, which each aggregate two of the original book-collection volumes, mean you could read the full series in six “borrows”… and since they’re in the “Unlimited Bonus Borrows,” you’d still have a lot of borrows left for the month. Lots of comics — from DC, Marvel, and others (and e-books, music and video) for all ages and interests! And you can download to mobile devices for off-line enjoyment.

Hoopla access is free; you sign up using your library card (assuming your library has signed up with Hoopla, since the library pays for each time you borrow.)

MARVEL!

Marvel Comics “GET STARTED WITH FREE ISSUES” says they have a bunch of free issues here. And Marvel Unlimited — $9.99/month or $69/year, with access to 27,000+ comics, has added free access to several dozen Marvel comics.

According to Marvel, “To access Marvel Unlimited’s free comics offering, download or update the Marvel Unlimited app for iOS or Android at the respective Apple and Google Play app stores, and click ‘Free Comics’ on the landing screen. No payment information or trial subscriptions will be required for the selection of free comics…Customers on the Marvel Comics App and webstore as well as comiXology will also have free access to these stories for a limited time.” (Although where these are on ComiXology is not, so far, obvious to yours truly.)

DC!

As for DC, I can’t at the moment tell if they offer anything free directly (as opposed to via ComiXology, Hoopla, etc.). DC’s DCUniverse.com site/app, $74.99/year (7-day free trial), gives you access to not just 25,000+ comics, but also lots of DC/Warner videos, TV episodes, movies and more — including DC’s live-action Doom Patrol (1 season) and Titans (2 seasons).

Other!

Want more free or cheep comics? Don’t forget other public library apps
like OverDrive, Freeding, and Libby… and the freebies/cheapies in Kindle
Unlimited and Amazon Prime Reading.

Nebula Award Winner Sam J. Miller To Judge 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards

Sam J. Miller. Photo credit: Kalyaní-Aindrí Sanchez

Nebula Award-winning author Sam J. Miller has been announced as the judge for the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards. The awards are presented annually at Dartmouth College to honor and support works in speculative fiction.

Miller is the author of the Nebula-winning The Art of Starving. Miller’s second novel Blackfish City—a shortlist selection of the 2019 Neukom Awards—tells the story of life set in a floating Arctic city where rising seas have caused dramatic geopolitical changes. His most recent book, Destroy All Monsters, was published in 2019.

“The imagined futures of some of the best speculative fiction have always felt uncomfortably close,” said Dan Rockmore, director of Dartmouth’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science and creator of the award program. “We are excited to have Sam Miller, one of the most imaginative writers of our day, guide us through this year’s awards under circumstances that seem like they were pulled from the pages of a spec fic book.”

The Neukom awards program presents prizes in two book categories: one for a debut author, and another in an open author category. There is also a separate award for playwriting. Miller will serve as a judge for the book awards.

“We’re living in weird and terrifying times that rival the best speculative fiction in their outlandishness,” said Miller, a recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award. “My peers and heroes in the genre community are rising to the challenge by writing magnificent books that not only capture the true horror of how we’re destroying the world, but the hope and power we have to save it. We’ve seen some astonishing novels come out in the past year, and I’m excited to help celebrate some of them as part of the Neukom Awards.”

Each Neukom award comes with a $5,000 honorarium given as a part of Dartmouth programming. The literary awards will be presented during a panel scheduled for fall of 2020. The playwriting award also includes the opportunity to develop and perform the script, first as a part of the summer VoxFest program and then later with the local Northern Stage theatre group.

The short list of books for this year’s awards will be made public in May. The list will be decided by Rockmore, along with Dartmouth colleagues Eric SchallerTarek El-Ariss, and Peter Orner, as well as The Santa Fe Institute’s Jessica Flack. The awards will be announced in June.

Additional information on the awards may be found on the Neukom Institute website here.

[Based on a press release.]

Fanziners Too Convene

Illo created by Teddy Harvia and Brad Foster for Corflu Heatwave publications.

By John Hertz:  The only current annual fanziners’ convention I know of is Corflu.  Another called Ditto having run two decades, not always annually, fell asleep.  An attempt at another called Toner lasted, if memory serves, two years.

Corflu is mimeograph correction fluid, once indispensable.  The Mimeograph was a 19th Century invention for making inexpensive copies by forcing ink through stencils held on a rotating drum.  In the United States, “Mimeograph” was a registered trademark of A.B. Dick Co., but was allowed to become generic.

Bob Tucker with a mimeograph in the 1940s. Collection of Toni Weisskopf

Gestetner-brand machines appeared a few years later.  With Roneo-brand machines you could change drums to change the color of ink.  Rex Rotary was another brand.  I’m not sure how widely mimeograph or mimeo was used as a generic term outside the U.S.

Many thought this the Grade A technology for fanzine publication until cheap photocopying arrived.  Corflu was essential so as to cure misteaks.

Spirit duplication, which always sounded to me like something out of a fantasy story, was a 1920s tech.  Writing on a master sheet pressed the master against a second, inked sheet; the master, duly inked on its back side, and attached to a drum, was rolled over a wick holding an alcohol-based solvent that transferred ink onto paper.

The Ditto brand was best known; another was Heyer.  You could correct errors with skillful use of a razor blade, or an X-Acto knife, and rewriting (or even retyping).

Each of these had various advantages, disadvantages, and know-how.  Generally mimeo could reproduce more copies, spirit duplication was cheaper.

Toner is the powdery ink used in laser printers and many photocopiers.

As Paul Skelton recently quoted from Marshall McLuhan in Raucous Caucus 7, when technology becomes obsolete it reshapes into an art form.  Actually McLuhan also said obsolescence isn’t an ending, it’s a beginning.  Speaking for myself I’m big on Right tool for right task.

Corflu XXXVII was March 13-15, 2020, at College Station, Texas, U.S.A. (some cons get names; this one was “Corflu Heatwave”).  Corflu XXXVIII is scheduled for March 26-28, 2021, at Bristol, England, U.K. (“Corflu Concorde”).  Seldom able to attend in person, I’ve been a faithful Supporting Member, and happily recommend membership in either kind.

If you’re electronic you can start here; or you can always write to me, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A.

Pixel Scroll 3/19/20 Using The Robotic Arm To Push The Mole

(1) JEMISIN EVENT CONVERTED TO LIVESTREAM. N.K. Jemisin’s in-person appearance at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination has been converted to a virtual event, due to steps being taken to protect the health of the UC San Diego community and slow the spread of COVID-19. Use the Eventbrite link to secure access.

N.K. Jemisin’s in-person event for The City We Became has, unfortunately, had to be canceled, but we are pleased to be able to offer you access to an exclusive virtual event streamed live. You’ll get a chance to hear about The City We Became and ask Jemisin questions. Only ticket-holders will have access-plus, you will still receive a copy of the book, with an option to sign up for a signed bookplate from Orbit during the event.

The virtual event will take place at the same time as the original event, 7pm on Friday, April 3rd. Tickets are still available through Eventbrite. If you have already purchased a ticket and would like to request a refund, you may do so through Eventbrite. However we hope you choose to join us in celebrating The City We Became! All ticket purchases help support the author, Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, the publisher, and this thing we call human imagination.

And you have to buy the magazine to see this next Jemisin-related item. Kevin Hogan reports: “I was surprised but pleased to see a one-page The Making of the Book segment in Entertainment Weekly (April 2020, issue # 1586, page 90) on N.K. Jemisin and her upcoming novel, The City We Became. It’s always nice to see genre covered in ‘popular media’-type publications.”

(2) BALTICON NEWS. Dale S. Arnold, the Balticon 54 Hotel Liaison, asks for understanding about how reservation cancellations were sent by the hotel before the con could notify its members.

We sent a letter to the Balticon hotel asking for their opinion as to if they would be able to host Balticon this year and if they could not do so we would need to cancel the event.

The hotel management determined that it was very unlikely they would be able to host Balticon 54 and at a staff meeting on the morning of 03/18/2020 the general manager told his staff to send us an email explaining that it was unlikely they would be able to host Balticon and to cancel reservations once we confirmed we had told our people. Apparently, the head of reservations did not hear the part about waiting for us to send out notice and took immediate action by using an automated cancellation program.

Cancellations from the reservations department went out several hours before the email to us from the general manager letting us know they could not host Balticon 54 and would not attempt to collect cancellation fees and that they hope to see us next year was sent. A follow up email with apology for sending the cancellations before we told the hotel we had announced the cancellation of Balticon has already been received from the hotel. Given the stress many people are under during this pandemic I hope we can all forgive the hotel reservations department jumping the gun by a day or so.

A message concerning membership refunds (and roll-overs if you want to Balticon 55) and dealers tables refunds  etc. with the process to let us know what you want to do will be sent out soon.

(3) THE MAN WHO LEARNS BETTER. “Heinlein’s Juveniles, Pt. 1” is a fine article by Sourdough Jackson in the latest DASFAx clubzine. Click here – then scroll down to the March (202003) issue. Starts on page 2.

…When discussing the juveniles, I’ll be taking them two books per column. The first pair are Rocket Ship Galileo(1947) and Space Cadet (1948), both products of a troubled time in the author’s life—a typhoon was blowing his marriage toward the rocks, and the prospects for his writing career weren’t much better. Among his attempts to claw off that marital and literary lee shore was a projected series of books for boys: The Young Atomic Engineers. He thought to begin with a blockbuster—a trip to the Moon.

(4) MONSTROUS DISCOVERIES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the March 16 Financial Times, Simon Ings reviews “Monsters of The Deep,” a show about giant aquatic creatures that will be at Britain’s National Maritime Museum through January.

Back in 1893, the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley wrote in The Times:  ‘There is not an a priori reason that I know of why snake-bodied reptiles, from fifty feet long and upwards, should not disport themselves to our seas as they did those of the cretaceous epoch, which, geologically speaking, is a mere yesterday.’

Palaentologist Darren Naish, who is lead curator of the Falmouth exhibition,, is willing to entertain Huxley’s theory.  “His was the right attitude at the time, because the life of the deep oceans was only just being discovered. (Monsters of the Deep makes much of the ground-breaking research led by HMS Challenger, which between 1872 and 1876 discovered 4,700 species of marine life.) Large fossil dinosaurs and early whales, and amazing gigantic living animals, had been discovered only relatively recently,’ Naish pints out.’The whale shark, the world’s biggest fish, was a mid 19th century discovery.

(5) AGAINST THE LAW. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Six Great Novels About Crime That Aren’t Quite Crime Novels” on CrimeReads, Mat Osman looks at six novels, two of which, China Mieville’s The City & The City and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, are Hugo winners.  He also writes about Michel Faber’s Under The Skin, noting the novel is a “very different beast” than the filmed version.

The joy of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is the way it lures you in with the most comforting of literary tropes. It’s a hard-bitten detective story about a boozy, lovelorn policeman with a seemingly unsolvable case. There are hard-drinking cops. There are underworld kingpins. There are unspoken codes of honor. So far, so Raymond Chandler. But under the surface another kind of book is flexing its muscles. It’s a what-if novel in which the post-WWII Jewish homeland is Alaska rather than Israel and the Messiah may (or may not) be on his way. It’s a setting that lets Chabon riff on his favored themes. Tall tales are told, language is toyed with (the Alaskan Jews call themselves The Frozen Chosen) and it builds to a denouement as vast as it is unexpected.

(6) BABY YODA ON THE COVER. That made me 1000% more interested. On sale May 26 from Titan Comics, Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Art & Imagery–Collector’s Edition Vol.1.

This deluxe edition collects the stunning artwork from the first four chapters of the Disney+ smash hit, highlighting the characters, creatures, allies, enemies and environments of this all-new Star Wars story.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • March 19, 1990 Repo Men premiered. It was directed by Miguel Sapochnik. It starred Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber and Alice Braga. It was based on Eric Garcia’s The Repossession Mambo who co-wrote the screenplay with Garrett Lerner. It wasn’t well-received by critics at the time, nor does the audience over at Rotten Tomatoes care for it giving it a 21% rating.
  • March 19, 1999 Farscape premiered on Syfy. The series was conceived by Rockne S. O’Bannon and produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment.  The Jim Henson Company was responsible for the various alien make-up and prosthetics, and two regular characters, Rygel and Pilot were completely Creature Shop creations. Filmed in Australia, it would would last for four seasons ending in The Peacekeeper Wars.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 19, 1821 Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS. He was a geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist when that term wasn’t a curse word, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. And the translator of an unexpurgated translation of One Thousand and One Nights. Along with Vikram and the Vampire or Tales of Hindu Devilry. Mind you, he was also the publisher of both Kama Sutra and The Perfume Garden. (Died 1890.)
  • Born March 19, 1919 Patricia Laffan. She was the alien Nyah in Devil Girl from Mars, a Fifties pulp film which you can see here. (Died 2014.)
  • Born March 19, 1926 Joe L. Hensley. He was a First Fandom Dinosaur which is to say he was  active in fandom prior to July 4, 1939 and he received the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award. He is also a published genre author with ”And Not Quite Human” in the September 1953 issue of Beyond Fantasy Fiction being his first published work, and The Black Roads being his only genre novel. It does not appear that his genre works are available in digital editions. (Died 2007.)
  • Born March 19, 1928 Patrick McGoohan. Creator, along with George Markstein, of The Prisoner series with him playing the main role of Number Six. I’ve watched it at least several times down the years. It never gets any clearer but it’s always interesting and always weird.  Other genre credits do not include Danger Man but does comprise a short list of The Phantom where he played The Phantom’s father, Treasure Planet where he voiced Billy Bones and Journey into Darkness where he was The Host. (Died 2009.)
  • Born March 19, 1936 Ursula Andress, 84. I’msure I’ve seen all of the original Bond films though I’ll be damned I remember where or when I saw them. Which is my way of leading up to saying that I don’t remember her in her roles as either as Honey Ryder in the very first Bond film, Dr. No, or as as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. Bond girls aren’t that memorable to me it seems. Hmmm… let’s see if she’s done any other genre work… well her first was The Tenth Victim based on Sheckley’s 1953 short story “Seventh Victim”. She also appeared in L’Infermiera, oops wrong genre, The Mountain of the Cannibal GodThe Fifth MusketeerClash of the Titans where she played of course Aphrodite, on the Manimal series, The Love Boat series and the two Fantaghirò films. 
  • Born March 19, 1945 Jim Turner. Turner was editor for Arkham House after the death of August Derleth, founder of that press. After leaving Arkham House for reasons that are not at all clear, he founded Golden Gryphon Press which published really lovely books until it went out of existence. Too bad their original website doesn’t exist anymore, but you can still view captures at the Wayback Machine. (Died 1999.)
  • Born March 19, 1955 Bruce Willis, 65. So do any of the Die Hard franchise count as genre? So even setting them aside, he has a very long  genre list, to wit Death Becomes Her (bit of macabre fun), 12 Monkeys (weird shit), The Fifth Element (damn great), Armageddon (eight tentacles down),  Looper (most excellent), The Sixth Sense (not at all bad), Sin City (typical Miller overkill) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (yet more Miller overkill). 
  • Born March 19, 1964 Marjorie Monaghan, 56. JoJo on all six episodes of Space Rangers. My brain keeps insisting it lasted much, much longer. She also was on Babylon 5 as the Mars Resistance leader during the Earth Alliance Civil War, where she was known as Number One. She’s also appeared on Quantum Leap, in the cyberpunk Nemesis film, in The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy film, on Andromeda series, and on The Great War of Magellan film. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON COMICS MARKETING. “Image Comics Publisher Asks for Retailer Relief Amid Coronavirus Pandemic”. The Hollywood Reporter explains the new returns strategy adopted by the publisher of Saga, The Walking Dead, Monstress and many other famous titles.

As the comics industry reacts to the social isolation response to the coronavirus, Image Comics publisher and CEO Eric Stephenson has released an open letter about what his company — the third-largest publisher in the U.S. market — is doing to lessen pressure on retailers struggling with reduced traffic to stores and enforced closures. He is also asking other publishers to follow suit.

In normal times, comic book stores must estimate how many issues of each comic they will sell, and pay upfront for inventory from publishers. However, as the coronavirus has dramatically shifted how many customers are coming into shops, Stephenson said Image will allow comic book stores to return orders for the next 60 days. 

(11) THE WAY THROUGH. Elizabeth Bear, in her latest newsletter, looks for the tunnel that has the light at the end of it: “Adapt, improvise, overcome. And some strategies for coping with that cabinet full of shelf-stable STUFF.”

One of the precepts of emergency response is the title of this email: Adapt, improvise, overcome. It’s a phrase that gets mentioned several times in Machine, and I found myself thinking of it last night as I chatted with friends in various corners of the internet about the economic repercussions of the current xombie apocalypse. I see a lot of fear, and a lot of people saying “If we have to do this quarantine bullshit for 18 months the economy will never recover.”

A problem here is that we’ve been taught (by entertainment) to think of massive catastrophes as The End Of The World because that makes a better story. And I don’t want to minimize the grief and suffering that we endure in a catastrophe, be it a hurricane or an earthquake or a war or a pandemic. That is real.

But it’s also true that we adapt….

(12) AS CHAYKIN SEES IT. “Graphic Content: At The Intersection Of Comics And Crime With Howard Chaykin” is a fascinating profile by CrimeReads’ Alex Segura.

….Like the best crime fiction, Chaykin’s work is well versed in the morally ambiguous protagonist, as opposed to the steel-jawed, superheroic superman.

“My work more often than not betrays that hero with a wound thing, with a protagonist who is far from morally sound—and informs my interest in telling stories without a hero who does the right thing, that right thing as defined by an audience trained to love this romantic vision of the world,” Chaykin said. “And don’t get me started with the “rich guy who had a bad day when he was eight and turns to wage war on crime” model, either.”

(13) COME TIME TRAVEL WITH ME. Galactic Journey’s Gideon Marcus will be doing a “Come Time Travel with Me” show on March 27. Sign up online.

It’s been a pretty difficult set of weeks lately.  In addition to normal life grinding to a halt, conventions and gatherings have been canceled.  Galactic Journey was scheduled to present at a number of venues over the next several months.  That’s all fallen by the wayside.

But!

Thanks to the miracle of TELSTAR, SYNCOM, and RELAY, Galactic Journey can still perform for you, coming to you Live, Coast to Coast, in the comfort of your own living rooms!

That’s right — we are reviving Galactic Journey’s “Come Time Travel with Me” show, an hour-long (more or less) trip back in time exactly 55 years.

We’ll be covering science fiction, the Space Race, the recent civil rights march in Alabama, fashion, politics — you name it.  And we mean YOU.  After our introduction, it’ll be your questions that guide the course of the program.  And the best questions will win a prize!

So come join us, March 27, 1965 (2020) at 6PM PDT.  All you need is a screen and an hour.  We’ll provide the rest.

See you there!

(14) IT FEELS SO GOOD WHEN I STOP. “At long last, NASA’s probe finally digs in on Mars” – the PopSci version.

NASA unsticks its Martian digging probe by whacking it with a shovel.

Every day, the InSight lander’s suite of instruments sends back data proving that the Red Planet isn’t really dead. Marsquakes rumble the seismometer. Swirling vortices register on onboard pressure sensor. And temperature sensors help track the weather and changing of the seasons.

Despite the lander’s successes, however, one gauge has met with resistance from the Martian environment while trying to carry out its mission. Something has stopped InSight’s 15-inch digging probe, dubbed “the mole” for its burrowing prowess. Instead of diving deep into the Martian sand where it could take the planet’s temperature, it’s been stuck half-buried. An intercontinental team of MacGyvers has spent a year devising successively daring plans to get the mole digging again, but still it flounders on the surface. Now their final gambit—directly pushing the mole into the soil—has shown tentative signs of success, NASA announced Friday on Twitter.

The goal of the mole, which is the measurement probe of InSight’s Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (or HP3), is to track the temperature variations of Mars itself. This heat comes from Mars’s core, which, like Earth’s core, remains warm from the planet’s birth. By measuring it, researchers hope to learn about Mars’s formation—but from the rod-shaped mole’s current position they can get readings only of the surface temperature. Mission planners hope to ideally reach 15 feet underground to escape the warming and cooling from the Martian seasons that would interfere with reading the planet’s true temperature.

“I always thought, ‘let’s ask Mark Watney [the fictional protagonist of the book The Martian] to just go over there and just push a little bit on the mole,’” said Tilman Spohn, the HP3’s principle investigator.

But without any Martian explorers to lend a hand, Spohn and his colleagues on the “anomaly response team” have had to improvise with the only tool available—a small shovel-like “scoop” on the end of InSight’s robotic arm. Over the last year they’ve tried to punch down the walls of the hole around the mole, to fill in the hole with nearby sand, and to give the mole more purchase by pinning it against the side of the hole with the scoop. But to no avail.

(15) UNDER DEADLINE. Nature reports “How China is planning to go to Mars amid the coronavirus outbreak”.

China’s first journey to Mars is one of the most anticipated space missions of the year. But with parts of the country in some form of lockdown because of the coronavirus, the mission teams have had to find creative ways to continue their work. Researchers involved in the mission remain tight-lipped about its key aspects, but several reports from Chinese state media say that the outbreak will not affect the July launch — the only window for another two years…

(16) BEHIND THE SCENES. “We Spent 24 Hours Searching for the Elusive ‘Butthole Cut’ of Cats”. You probably don’t really need the Vanity Fair article – you intuited the whole story immediately.

You can blame—or thank—Seth Rogen.

On Tuesday, the actor and writer partook in the ancient theatrical tradition that is trying to understand the baffling, inscrutable movie-musical Cats (recently available on digital). Rogen wrote a long Twitter thread about the experience, marveling at the impossibly small cat shoes worn by several characters and wondering what the hell a “Jellicle” is, anyway. (For the record, that made-up word is a play on how posh Brits pronounce “dear little” cats).

In the process, Rogen also tweet-quoted a post from screenwriter Jack Waz, who claimed to know a visual effects artist who had been tapped to work on Cats back in November. That VFX person’s job? “To remove CGI buttholes that had been inserted a few months before,” Waz wrote. “Which means that, somewhere out there, there exists a butthole cut of Cats.”

(17) AREA 51. “Rise of Skywalker Has An Awesome John Williams Easter Egg You Missed”ScreenRant points the way.

…With The Rise of Skywalker concluding the iconic Skywalker saga and wrapping up Williams’ time in a galaxy far, far away, J.J. Abrams made sure to put Williams in front of the camera in the film. Williams has a minor Rise of Skywalker cameo, appearing in a seedy establishment on Kijimi as the Resistance heroes make their way to meet Babu Frik. Getting the opportunity to see Williams onscreen was thrilling enough for fans, but the scene also includes several nods to his unparalleled career.

The making-of documentary in the Rise of Skywalker home media release has a segment focused on Williams. In it, Abrams reveals each of the props surrounding Williams represents the 51 Oscar nominations Williams received up to that point. Examples include Indiana Jones’ whip from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the barrels from Jaws, and the iron from Home Alone….

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Contrarius, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

Marvel Heroes Embrace Their Dark Side In New Variant Covers

Sometimes it’s good to be bad! For the month of May, Marvel characters are showing off their sinister sides in deliciously evil variant covers. From Spider-Man to Captain America, see Marvel’s most popular heroes reimagined in twisted ways.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #45 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by DOALY

BLACK WIDOW #2 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by OLIVIER VATINE

CAPTAIN AMERICA #22 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by PATCH ZIRCHER with colors by MORRY HOLLOWELL

DOCTOR DOOM #8 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by RYAN BROWN

DEADPOOL #7 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by TONY DANIEL with colors by DAVID CURIEL

DR. STRANGE #6 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by DAVE JOHNSON

POWER PACK #2 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by GURIHIRU

X-FACTOR #2 DARK MARVEL VARIANT by DAVID NAKAYAMA

Wooster Visits Jim Henson Exhibit at University of Maryland

By Martin Morse Wooster: I went to the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center to see a performance of Thais.  Before the opera, I saw “Inspired! Jim Henson at Maryland”, an exhibition at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the center.  The exhibit, with curators from the University of Maryland and the Jim Henson Company, and was funded by the Jane Henson Foundation.  It will be at the library until June.

I thought the exhibit was really well done and anyone interested in Henson’s art will learn from it.  But it’s very small: I took it in in 15 minutes, and I’m a guy who sees and reads everything when he’s at the museum.

Henson went to Maryland because he was a legacy; on exhibit was his father’s master’s thesis, about endosperm in corn.  He started off doing art for Northwestern High School publications, and you can see some of them.

When he was at Maryland in the late 1950s, Henson created all sorts of art.  He created a silkscreen business, and you can see several posters he did.  He also took two courses in fashion illustration to expand his skill set, and some of these illustrations are shown in the exhibit.

But Henson’s first love was puppetry.  His first commercial puppetry assignment was commercials for Wilkins Coffee, which featured two puppets named Wilkins and Wontkins.  He then followed this with “Sam and Friends,” a five-minute puppet show which was the first appearance of Kermit the Frog.

A video in the exhibit shows some of the coffee commercials and two episodes of “Sam and Friends.”  My favorite joke: Wilkins the puppet is shown with four cups of coffee.  Why only four?  “Because I’m taking the fifth.”

Finally, I learned that as part of the Henson family’s philanthropy, they’ve funded fellowships for current Maryland students interested in puppetry, and you can see what today’s puppeteers are doing.

The impression I got of Jim Henson at the University of Maryland was that he was a bright, creative guy who left Maryland with a great deal of potential.  Anyone who likes the Muppets will find “Inspired!” worth seeing.

2020 BAFTA Awards

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts presented the 2020 BAFTA Film Awards on February 2.

Thanks to Joker’s three wins, genre held its head up on an evening otherwise dominated by the film 1917, which won seven awards.

Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor. Joker won for Best Score. And this year BAFTA made its first award for casting, which went to the casting directors of Joker.

Also of interest, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship and actor, director and motion capture pioneer Andy Serkis received the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award.

The full list of winners follows the jump.

Continue reading

2020 Annie Awards Winners

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced the winners of its 47th Annual Annie Awards™ at a ceremony on January 25.

There are 32 categories spanning features, TV/shortform media and VR, recognizing the year’s best in the field of animation.

Love, Death & Robots won four Annies, including Best Editorial – TV/Media for the episode based on John Scalzi’s short “Alternate Histories.”

Klaus, Sergio Pablos’ Santa Claus origin story and the first original animated motion picture out of Netflix, dominated the evening with seven wins.

Klaus

Best Feature

  • Klaus, Netflix Presents A Production of The Spa Studios and Atresmedia Cine

Best Indie Feature

  • I Lost My Body, Xilam for Netflix

Best Special Production

  • How to Train Your Dragon Homecoming, DreamWorks Animation

Best Short Subject

  • Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days, Ciclope Filmes, National Film Board of Canada, Les Armateurs

Best VR

  • Bonfire, Baobab Studios

Best Commercial

  • The Mystical Journey of Jimmy Page’s ‘59 Telecaster, Nexus Studios

Best TV/Media — Preschool

  • Ask the Storybots, Episode: “Why Do We Have To Recycle?,” JibJab Bros. Studios for Netflix

Best TV/Media — Children

  • Disney Mickey Mouse, Episode: “Carried Away,” Disney TV Animation/Disney Channel

Best TV/Media — General Audience

  • BoJack Horseman, Episode: “The Client,” Tornante Productions, LLC for Netflix

Best Student Film

  • The Fox & the Pigeon, Michelle Chua
Love, Death & Robots

Best FX for TV/Media

Love, Death & Robots, Episode: “The Secret War,” Blur for Netflix

  • FX Artist: Viktor Németh
  • FX Artist: Szabolcs Illés
  • FX Artist: Ádám Sipos
  • FX Artist: Vladimir Zhovna

Best FX for Feature

Frozen 2, Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Benjamin Fiske: Benjamin Fiske
  • Alex Moaveni: Alex Moaveni
  • Jesse Erickson: Jesse Erickson
  • Dimitre Berberov: Dimitre Berberov
  • Kee Nam Suong: Kee Nam Suong

Best Character Animation — TV/Media

His Dark Materials, Episode: “8,” BBC Studios

  • Lead Animator: Aulo Licinio Character: Iroek

Best Character Animation — Animated Feature

Klaus, Netflix Presents A Production of The Spa Studios and Atresmedia Cine

  • Animation Supervisor: Sergio Martins
  • Character: Alva

Best Character Animation — Live Action

Avengers: Endgame, Weta Digital

  • Animation Supervisor: Sidney Kombo-Kintombo

Best Character Animation — Video Game

Unruly Heroes, Magic Design Studios

  • Character Animator: Sebastien Parodi
  • Character: Heroes Kid version, Underworld NPC
  • Lead Animator: Nicolas Leger
    Character: Heroes (Wukong, Kihong, Sandmonk, Sanzang), All enemies (except Underworld levels) and cinematics

Best Character Design — TV/Media

Carmen Sandiego, Episode: “The Chasing Paper Caper,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing and DHX Media for Netflix

  • Character Designer: Keiko Murayama
  • Character: Carmen Sandiego, Paper Star, Player, Shadowsan, Chief, Julia Argent, Chase Devineaux

Best Character Design — Feature

Klaus, Netflix Presents A Production of The Spa Studios and Atresmedia Cine

  • Character Designer: Torsten Schrank
  • Character: All Characters

Best Direction — TV/Media

Disney Mickey Mouse

  • Episode: For Whom the Booth Tolls
  • Disney TV Animation/Disney Channel
  • Director: Alonso Ramirez Ramos

Best Direction — Feature

Klaus, Netflix Presents A Production of The Spa Studios and Atresmedia Cine

  • Director: Sergio Pablos

Best Music — TV/Media

Love, Death & Robots, Episode: “Sonnie’s Edge”

  • Blur for Netflix
  • Composer/Lyricist: Rob Cairns

Best Music — Feature

I Lost My Body, Xilam for Netflix

  • Composer: Dan Levy

Best Production Design — TV/Media

Love, Death & Robots, Episode: “The Witness,” Blur for Netflix

  • Production Design: Alberto Mielgo

Best Production Design — Feature

Klaus, Netflix Presents A Production of The Spa Studios and Atresmedia Cine

  • Production Design: Szymon Biernaki
  • Production Design: Marcin Jakubowski

Best Storyboarding — TV/Media

Carmen Sandiego, Episode: “Becoming Carmen Sandiego: Part 1,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing and DHX Media for Netflix

  • Storyboard Artist: Kenny Park

Best Storyboarding — Feature

Klaus, Netflix Presents A Production of The Spa Studios and Atresmedia Cine

  • Storyboard Artist: Sergio Pablos

Best Voice Acting — TV/Media

Bob’s Burgers, Episode: “Roamin’ Bob-iday,” 20th Century Fox / Bento Box Entertainment

  • Cast: H. Jon Benjamin Character: Bob

Best Voice Acting — Feature

Frozen 2, Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Josh Gad: Josh Gad 
  • Character: Olaf

Best Writing — TV/Media

Tuca & Bertie, Episode: “The Jelly Lakes,” Tornante Productions, LLC for Netflix

  • Writer: Shauna McGarry

Best Writing — Feature

I Lost My Body, Xilam for Netflix

  • Writer: Jérémy Clapin
  • Writer: Guillaume Laurant

Best Editorial — TV/Media

Love, Death & Robots, Episode: “Alternate Histories,” Blur for Netflix

  • Nominee: Bo Juhl
  • Nominee: Stacy Auckland
  • Nominee: Valerian Zamel

Best Editorial — Feature

Klaus, Netflix Presents A Production of The Spa Studios and Atresmedia Cine

  • Nominee: Pablo García Revert

The following juried awards were also presented:

Winsor McCay Award  for their exemplary industry careers —

  • Satoshi Kon (posthumously), Japanese film director, animator, screenwriter and manga artist;
  • Henry Selick, stop motion director, producer and writer who is best known for directing the stop-motion animation films The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline; and
  • Ron Clements & John Musker, animators, animation directors, screenwriters and producers of one of the Walt Disney Animation Studio’s leading director teams.

The June Foray Award —

  • Jeanette Bonds, writer, independent animator, and co-founder and director of GLAS Animation; and

The Ub Iwerks Award

  • Jim Blinn, computer scientist who first became widely known for his work as a computer graphics expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), particularly his work on the pre-encounter animations for the Voyager project.