(1) IN OPINIONS YET TO COME. Brooke Bolander is the latest sff author to pen a futuristic op-ed for the New York Times.
As Tor.com puts it –
Asking “Who Should Live in Flooded Old New York?” Bolander imagines a time in which it’s illegal to live in the flooded remains of NYC, with the only residents being those who are too poor to move elsewhere. In this future, Mr. Rogers’ theme song has turned into an “old folk song,” and “draconian federal regulations” punish those remaining, while millionaires running illegal tourism schemes in the city get off scot-free.
(2) WHAT TOR LEARNED FROM LIBRARY SALES EMBARGO. Jason Sanford’s analysis, “Does library ebook lending hurt book sales? Tor Books experiment reveals answers, may lead to new ebook lending terms”, is a free post at his Patreon page.
Sanford interviewed Fritz Foy, president and publisher of Tom Doherty Associates, the unit of Macmillan that includes Tor, who shared “an unprecedented look at their embargo test….”
…To discover if library ebook lending was indeed hurting sales, Macmillan used their Minotaur imprint as a control group and Tor Books as an experimental group. The two groups have books which sold in similar patterns along with authors and book series which drove steady sales from year to year.
For the experiment Tor prohibited ebook sales to libraries until four months after a book’s release. After that date libraries could purchase the Tor ebooks. The control group Minotaur instituted no such restriction. (As a side-note, Foy said the there was never a plan to do a six-month embargo on ebook sales to libraries, as reported in that Good e-Reader article.)
Foy was surprised by the experiment’s stark results.
“All but one title we compared (in the Tor experiment group) had higher sales after the four month embargo on ebook sales to libraries,” he said. “And the only title where we didn’t see this happen had bad reviews. And when you looked at the control group, sales remained the same.”
(3) LOTR DIRECTOR. “‘The Lord Of The Rings’: J.A. Bayona To Direct Amazon Series” – Deadline has the story.
Amazon Studios’ high-profile The Lord of the Rings TV series has made a key hire. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona has been tapped to direct the first two episodes of the big-scope fantasy drama, following in the footsteps of Peter Jackson, who directed the feature adaptations of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novels.
…Bayona’s first feature film, critically acclaimed thriller The Orphanage, executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, premiered to a 10-minute standing ovation at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and later won seven Goya Awards in Spain, including best new director.
Bayona most recently directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide last year. He also directed the features The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and A Monster Calls, starring Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones, as well as the first two episodes of Showtime’s hit series Penny Dreadful.
(4) LOTR LOCATION. And where will the series be filmed? Probably where you’d have predicted it would if you never heard about the plan for Scotland. Yahoo! Movies reports “Scotland loses out on lucrative ‘Lord of the Rings’ shoot over ‘Brexit uncertainty’, claims new report”.
Amazon’s $1.5 billion (£1.19bn) Lord of the Rings series looks set to begin filming in New Zealand this month, after producers reportedly got cold feet about shooting in Scotland.
The NZ Herald reports that a “huge” part of the series, said to be the most expensive TV show ever made, will be produced in Auckland, specifically at the Kumeu Film Studios and Auckland Film Studios, with an official announcement coming this month. The report states that pre-production on the Amazon show has been based at the two studios for the last year.
Producers were also said to be considering Scotland as a production base, but New Zealand’s public-service radio broadcaster Radio New Zealand (Radio NZ), claims “the tumultuous Brexit situation hindered Scotland’s pitch”.
(5) RESNICK RETURNS TO FB. Mike Resnick gave Facebook readers a medical update about his frightening health news:
Sorry to be absent for a month. 4 weeks ago I was walking from one room to the next when I collapsed. Carol called the ambulance, and 2 days later I woke up in the hospital minus my large intestine. Just got home last night.
I don’t like growing old.
(6) TIDHAR PICKS BUNDLED. Storybundle announced the The 2019 World SF Bundle, curated by Lavie Tidhar:
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
- Afro SF V3 by Ivor W. Hartmann
- The Apex Book of World SF 5 by Cristina Jurado and Lavie Tidhar
- Nexhuman by Francesco Verso
- Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!
- Escape from Baghdad! by Saad Z. Hossain
- After the Flare by Deji Bryce Olukotun
- The Thousand Year Beach by TOBI Hirotaka
- Slipping by Lauren Beukes
- Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson
- The Vanishing Kind by Lavie Tidhar
This bundle is available only for a limited time.
(7) JAMES WHITE AWARD. The judges for the 2019 James White Award will be Justina Robson, Chris Beckett and Donna Scott.
The competition is open to original, unpublished short stories of not more than 6,000 words by non-professional writers. The award, established in 2000, offers non-professional writers the opportunity to have their work published in Interzone, the UK’s leading sf magazine. The deadline for submissions was June 28. The winner will be announced in August.
(8) JUMANJI. The next sequel will be in theaters at Christmas.
In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- July 3, 1958 — Fiend Without A Face premiered.
- July 3, 1985 – Back to the Future was released.
- July 3, 1996 – Independence Day debuted in theaters.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 3, 1898 — E. Hoffmann Price. He’s most readily remembered as being a Weird Tales writer, one of a group that included Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. He did a few collaborations, one of which was with H. P. Lovecraft, “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”. Another work, “The Infidel’s Daughter”, a satire on the Ku Klux Klan, also angered many Southern readers. (Died 1998.)
- Born July 3, 1926 — William Rotsler. An artist, cartoonist, pornographer and SF author. Well, that is his bio. Rotsler was a four-time Hugo Award winner for Best Fan Artist and one-time Nebula Award nominee. He also won a “Retro-Hugo” for his work in 1946 and was runner-up for 1951. He responsible for giving Uhura her first name, created “Rotsler’s Rules for Costuming”, popularized the idea fans wore propeller beanies and well, being amazing sounding. (Died 1997.)
- Born July 3, 1927 — Tim O’Connor. He was Dr. Elias Huer in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century for much of its run. Other genre appearances were on The Six Million Dollar Man, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Wonder Woman, Knight Rider, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Burning Zone. (Died 2018.)
- Born July 3, 1927 — Ken Russell. Altered States is his best known SF film but he’s also done The Devils, an historical horror film, and Alice in Russialand. Russell had a cameo in the film adaptation of Brian Aldiss’s novel Brothers of the Head by the directors of Lost in La Mancha. And, of course, he’s responsible for The Who’s Tommy. (Died 2012.)
- Born July 3, 1937 — Tom Stoppard, 82. Screenplay writer, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead which is adjacent genre if not actually genre. Also scripted of course Brazil which he co-authored with Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeow. He also did the final Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade final rewrite of Jeffrey Boam’s rewrite of Menno Meyjes’s screenplay. And finally Shakespeare in Love which he co-authored with Marc Norman.
- Born July 3, 1943 — Kurtwood Smith, 76. Clarence Boddicker in Robocop, Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and voiced Kanjar Ro in Green Lantern: First Flight. He’s got series appearances on Blue Thunder, The Terrible Thunderlizards, The X-Files, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Men in Black: The Series, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, Judtice League, Batman Beyond, Green Lantern and Beware the Batman. His last role was as Vernon Masters as the superb Agent Carter.
- Born July 3, 1962 — Tom Cruise, 57. I’m reasonably sure his first genre role was as Jack in Legend. Next up was Lestat de Lioncourt in Interview with the Vampire followed by being Ethan Hunt in the first of many Mission Impossible films. Then he was John Anderton in the abysmal Minority Report followed by Ray Ferrier in the even far more abysmal War of The Worlds. I’ve not seen him as Maj. William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow so I’ve no idea how good he or the film is. Alas then Nick Morton in, oh god, The Mummy.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Rhymes With Orange visits the old superheroes home.
(12) IT DON’T PAY TO BE IGNORANT. Not on Jeopardy! as Andrew Porter witnessed tonight:
In the category American Writers, the answer was, “In a story by this sci-fi master, ‘I Sing the Body Electric!’ is the title of a pamphlet for a robot grandmother.”
Wrong questions: “Who is Isaac Asimov?” and “Who is Robert Heinlein?”
(13) AURORA AWARDS. The 2019 Aurora Awards Voter Package is online, available to members of the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association.
The purpose of the Aurora Awards Voter Package is simple. Before you vote for the Aurora Awards this year, we want you to be able to read as much of the nominated work as possible, so you can make and informed decision about what is the best of the year. Please note: the package is only available while voting is open. Remember voting ends September 14, 2019 at 11:59:59 EDT!
The electronic versions of these Aurora Award nominated works are made available to you through the generosity of the nominees and publishers. We are grateful for their participation and willingness to share with CSFFA members. If you like what you read, please support the creators by purchasing their works, which are available in bookstores and online.
(14) EN ROUTE. John Hertz, while packing for his journey to Spikecon, paused to quote from the classics:
Farewell my friends, farewell my foes;
To distant planets Freddy goes;
To face grave perils he intends.
Farewell my foes, goodbye my friends.
(15) MORE BOOKS I HAVEN’T READ. At Tor.com, Gabriella Tutino publicized a list compiled by Reddit User einsiboy, creator of the TopRedditBooks site: “Here are the 100 Most Discussed Fantasy Books on Reddit”. The Reddit link is here. I’ve only read 19 of these – what a disgrace!
(16) JDA REAPPLIES TO SFWA. Mary Robinette Kowal took office as SFWA’s new President at the start of the month. Jon Del Arroz says his latest application for membership is already in her inbox: “A New Dawn For SFWA!” [Internet Archive link].
Things are changing at SFWA as my friend Mary Robinette Kowal has been installed as president, after I endorsed her candidacy early on.
…As she has featured my books on her blog not once, but twice, I know that Ms. Kowal’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is important to her, and she will be doing everything she can to change the perception that SFWA is a place where Conservatives and Christians are not welcome to be called professional authors.
As such, I have reapplied to SFWA as of yesterday, and let Ms. Kowal know, so we can begin the long journey of working together to ensure equality for Conservative and Christian authors. I’ve offered my services as an ambassador to the community, so she will directly be able to hear the grievances of such authors who have been treated as second class citizens — dare I say, 3/5ths of a professional author — for so long now within the science fiction community.
(17) VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE INTERNET. Shades of Cryptonomicon. Futurism.com thinks that the “Russian Sub That Caught Fire Possibly Sent to Cut Internet Cables”.
Fire Down Below
On Monday, a Russian submarine caught fire during a mission, killing 14 sailors on board.
But the public didn’t find out about the incident until the next day, when Russia finally released a statement about the accident — though two days after the event, the nation still wouldn’t say exactly what kind of sub caught fire or whether it was nuclear-powered.
A possible reason for Russia’s caginess? Multiple sources are now claiming the sub was an AS-12 “Losharik,” a nuclear-powered submarine some speculate was designed to cut the undersea cables that deliver internet to the world.
(18) FOUR FOR THE FOURTH. For the holiday, James Davis Nicoll has lined up “4 SF Works Featuring a Far-Future U.S.A.” at Tor.com.
In Joe and Jack C. Haldeman’s There Is No Darkness, English is an obscure language, spoken only on backwater worlds and a few places on Earth. We don’t know exactly when the book takes place, as year zero has been set to the founding of the (future) Confederacion. We are told the year is A.C. 354.
What we see of a future Texas suggests that it’s still as recognizably American as Justinian’s Constantinople would have been recognizably Roman. While the region seems a bit down at heel, it’s also one of the more optimistic takes on a future America.
(19) SCALZI GIVEAWAY. Or maybe Christmas will come early and you can read this:
(20) IF IT E-QUACKS LIKE A DUCK. Thomas has found a place where “Robots Replace Ducks in Rice Paddy Fields”.
Aigamo is a Japanese farming method that uses ducks to keep unwanted plants and parasites out of rice paddy fields. This duck crossbreed is able to keep the paddy clear without the use of herbicides or pesticides, and the fowls’ waste actually works as a pretty good fertilizer.
The method was first introduced in the 16th century but soon fell out of favor. It wasn’t reintroduced as a natural farming method until 1985 and it quickly became popular across the country as well as in China, Iran, France, and other countries.
About 15 ducks can keep a 1,000-square-meter area clear of insects, worms, and weeds, and they even enrich the water with oxygen by constantly stirring up the soil. But as humans are prone to do, an engineer from Nissan Motor, needed to build a better mousetrap, although this one may not have too many beating down a path to his door.
Created as a side project, the Aigamo Robot looks less like its namesake and more like a white, floating Roomba with eyes. While the ducks can be trained to patrol specific areas, the robot employs Wi-Fi and GPS to help the robot stir up the soil and keep bugs at bay, though no word yet on how much ground it can cover in a single day.
(21) SPIDER TO THE FLIER. Have you seen “United–Fly Like a Superhero” on YouTube? The Spider-Man version of the United Airlines safety video? Too bad it’s not as much fun as the Air New Zealand hobbit videos.
(22) STRANGE VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “9 Ways To Draw A Person” on Vimeo, Sasha Svirsky offers a strange video that doesn’t actually tell you how to draw a person.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Jason Sanford, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Daniel Dern, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Greg Hullender, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]