(1) BIGGER ON THE INSIDE. Linden A. Lewis advises writers “How to Create a Novel from a Short Story” at the Odyssey Writing Workshop blog.
Step 2: Expand the world based on feedback
Short stories are short because there aren’t a lot of characters to interact with or places to go or things to do; otherwise, they’d be too long. Since long was my goal, I let myself daydream about the world around the spaceship. Who were these warriors? Who were they at war with? What was their culture, and how did it conflict with their enemy’s? Why did this priestess’ religion forbid speech?
I came up with anything—and many things that didn’t make it into even the first draft—to fill out the world. I didn’t limit myself at all. I added more characters and gave existing characters more goals based on more detailed backgrounds. I wrote what I now call the Worldbuilding Bible, a 30-page document of information on science, locations, and the histories of the two societies in humanity’s far future. And when I finally started writing the novel, I had a ton of characters on the board who would be sure to create conflict.
(2) ABOUT THE OTHERWISE AWARD. Keffy R.M. Kehrli explores his complex reaction to the decision to rename the Tiptree Award. Thread starts here.
(3) BOUNDARIES IN COSPLAY. Trae Dorn’s Nerd & Tie post “Dear Congoers of the World: Why Do I Have to Tell You Not to Do Blackface?” mainly focuses on the title issue, but ends with this corollary:
…And look — yes, you can cosplay characters of other races. Most anime characters are asian, and no one’s asking white cosplayers to stop playing those characters. Heck, a white cosplayer can cosplay a black character. The important thing is you just don’t alter your skin color. That’s all you have to do. And if you don’t think you can accurately cosplay a character without doing so, maybe don’t cosplay that character. Or, y’know, just be okay without being perfectly “accurate.” Cosplay exists within a real world context, and maybe you should make sure you think about that context before suiting up.
Is that what I should be getting out of the wider discussion, that if I chose to dress as Black Panther without tinting my skin, everyone should be find with that? I wonder what Filers think.
(4) WE CONTROL THE HORIZONTAL. It’s 1964 and at the end of the first month of the new fall TV season four Outer Limits episodes have aired. Natalie Devitt tells Galactic Journey readers why she’s a little worried about the show: “[October 14, 1964] Back in Session? (The Outer Limits, Season 2, Episodes 1-4)”.
The second season of The Outer Limits is now underway! As someone who is pretty devoted to her favorite shows, I anticipated the return of the science fiction anthology show with excitement. But something seems different. Could it be the result of the departure of producer Joseph Stefano, who contributed his creative vision and a number of scripts? Maybe changes in the show’s budget, time slot or its music? Read on, and tell me if you share my concern.
(5) WORKING. At Plagiarism Today, Jonathan Bailey uses Voyager to illustrate legal and ethical issues: “Copyright in Pop Culture: Star Trek: Voyager”.
…Last week I shared an article about Copyright and Artificial Intelligence looking at the complications that artificial intelligence is bringing to copyright and the challenges we may face when machines, not people, are creating the bulk of our works.
However, as a serious Star Trek fan, I realized that the conversation wouldn’t be complete without an examination of episode 20 of season 7 of Star Trek: Voyager, entitled Author, Author. The episode involves an artificial intelligence writing a creative work and then having to fight to retain control over it as his infringers believe he doesn’t qualify copyright protection.
It’s a rare mix of science fiction, legal wrangling and debates over humanity that could only come from the latter episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. However, as we slide into more and more autonomous artificial intelligence, it may not be long before we have our own story like this one to ponder.
(6) BLOOM OBIT. Critic Harold Bloom died October 14. The New York Times obituary is here — “Harold Bloom, Critic Who Championed Western Canon, Dies at 89”. I mention him primarily because his eye-opening description of how many ways you can trace artists’ influence on one another – the similarities between their works being merely one possibility – had a big impact on Diana Glyer’s first Inklings book.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- October 14, 1926 — A. A. Milne’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh, was published in the UK.
- October 14, 1977 — Starship Invasions premiered. Released as Project Genocide in the UK, it starred Robert Vaughn and Christopher Lee. It scored 39% on Rotten Tomatoes.
- October 14, 2011 — The Thing, the prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing went into general release in the US. It was a financial and critical flop with rating at Rotten Tomatoes of 35%.
- October 14, 2008 — Journey To The Center Of The Earth premiered on home video. It starred Greg Evigan of TekWar fame and Dedee Pfeiffer. It rated 29% at Rotten Tomatoes.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 14, 1927 — Roger Moore. Bond in seven films 1973 to 1985, a long run indeed. And he played Simon Templar in The Saint from for most of the Sixties. Let’s not forget that he was in the Curse of the Pink Panther as Chief Insp. Jacques Clouseau! (Died 2017.)
- Born October 14, 1946 — Katy Manning, 73. She was Jo Grant, companion to the Third Doctor. She also appeared with the Eleventh Doctor on the Sarah Jane Adventures in a two-part story entitled “Death of the Doctor”. She appears as herself in the The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.
- Born October 14, 1949 — Crispin Burnham, 70. And then there are those who just disappear. There’s nothing to show him active after 1998 when the final part of his People of The Monolith was publishedin Cthulhu Cultus #13 . Prior to that, he edited Dark Messenger Reader / Eldritch Tales from 1975 to 1995, and wrote a handful of what I’ll assume is Cthulhuan fiction. No surprisingly, he’s not to be on iBooks or Kindle.
- Born October 14, 1953 — Richard Christian Matheson, 66. Son of the Richard Matheson that you’re thinking of. A very prolific horror writer, mostly of short stories, he’s also no slouch at script writing as he’s written for Amazing Stories, Masters of Horror, The Powers of Matthew Star, Splatter, Tales from the Crypt, Knight Rider (the original series) and The Incredible Hulk. Wiki claims he wrote for Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber but IMDB shows no series or show. Kindles and iBooks have a goodly number of story collections available.
- Born October 14, 1953 — Greg Evigan, 66. TekWar, one of Shatner’s better ideas, starred him as Jake Cardigan. I really liked it. Yes, Shatner was in it.
- Born October 14, 1956 — Arleen Sorkin, 63. To my ears, still the best Harley Quinn as she voiced her on the Batman: The Animated Series.
- Born October 14, 1956 — Martin Millar, 63. Among his accomplishments was the novelization of the Tank Girl film. Apparently it’s even weirder than the film was! He won the World Fantasy Award for best novel with his book Thraxas, and the entire Thraxas series which are released under the name Martin Scott are a lot of not-too-serious pulpish fun.
- Born October 14, 1963 — Lori Petty, 55. Rebecca Buck – “Tank Girl” in that film. She was also Dr. Lean Carli in Cryptic, and Dr. Sykes in Dead Awake. She had one-offs in The Hunger, Twilight Zone, Star Trek: Voyager, Brimstone, Freddy’s Nightmares and Alien Nation, and voiced Livewire in the DCU animated shows.
- Born October 14, 1968 — Robert C. Cooper, 51. He was an executive producer of all the Stargate series. He also co-created both Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe with Brad Wright. Cooper has written and produced many episodes of Stargate series as well as directed a number of episodes. I’m really impressed!
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Frank and Ernest find an important use for books.
(10) PRESENT AT THE CREATION. In coming up wth “Marvel: The 10 Most Important Stan Lee Creations Ever”, CBR.com had a lot to choose from.
8. THE INCREDIBLE HULK
In 1962, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created a superhero based more on the classic Universal Horror monster ideals. While someone like The Thing looks like a monster, he still maintained his intelligence and was a true hero. However, Hulk was like a mixture of Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf-Man.
As a matter of fact, early versions of The Hulk had him only changing at night like the Wolf-Man. Hulk was a monster that the world feared but someone who was a hero at the end of the day — despite the collateral damage he caused. He was so popular that it was Hulk that gave Marvel one of their earliest live-action TV shows.
(11) HONK IF YOU LOVE GAMING. Adri Joy performs the desirable writer’s magic trick of transmuting time wasted playing video games into an accumulation of valuable research in “WE RANK ‘EM: Villagers from Untitled Goose Game (House House)” at Nerds of a Feather.
Having sunk a significant amount of time into the goose uprising – learning the ways of the village, its routines, and what happens to all the items I’ve been throwing down the well – I have decided, rather than undertaking a review, to resurrect a hallowed Nerds of a Feather institution: the We Rank ‘Em post. I now bring my extensive goose game expertise to bear on the objective ranking of the villagers of goose game, from my omniscient perspective as the objective arbiter of their destinies. This ranking has been cross checked using the most advanced scientific principles available to game character analysts today, and was also compiled while I was hungry and therefore very motivated to put down the most straightforward, no-nonsense reasoning I could so as to get on with the more important business of reheating leftover noodles and maybe making a mug cake. With these factors in mind, I present to you: the definitive ranking of untitled goose game villagers….
(12) POLITICAL CARTOON. When Vietnamese officials saw this scene, they got very animated: “Vietnam pulls Abominable film over South China Sea map”.
Vietnam has banned the new DreamWorks film Abominable from cinemas because of a scene involving a map illustrating China’s claims in the South China Sea.
Abominable, about a Chinese girl who discovers a yeti on her roof, is a joint China-DreamWorks production.
The map shows China’s unilaterally declared “nine-dash line”, which carves out a huge area in the sea that Vietnam lays claim to.
China and Vietnam have been locked in a recent standoff in the region.
The latest dispute started in July when China conducted an energy survey in waters controlled by Vietnam.
(13) SPYING LESSONS. Well isn’t that a surprise. “China’s Study the Great Nation app ‘enables spying via back door'”.
The Chinese Communist Party has gained the ability to spy on more than 100 million citizens via a heavily promoted official app, a report suggests.
Analysis of the Study the Great Nation app found hidden elements that could help monitor use and copy data, said phone security experts Cure 53.
The app gives the government “super-user” access, the security firm said.
The Chinese government denied the app had the monitoring functions listed by the cyber investigators.
Released in February, Study the Great Nation has become the most downloaded free program in China, thanks to persuasive demands by Chinese authorities that citizens download and install it.
The app pushes out official news and images and encourages people to earn points by reading articles, commenting on them and playing quizzes about China and its leader, Xi Jinping.
Use of the app is mandatory among party officials and civil servants and it is tied to wages in some workplaces.
(14) FLYING STEEPLEJACK. “Robotic inspectors developed to fix wind farms”.
Fully autonomous robots that are able to inspect damaged wind farms have been developed by Scots scientists.
Unlike most drones, they don’t require a human operator and could end the need for technicians to abseil down turbines to carry out repairs.
The multi-million pound project is showing how the bots can walk, dive, fly and even think for themselves.
…Aerial drones are already used offshore to inspect hard-to-reach structures.
But this one goes further: it can manoeuvre to attach itself to vertical surfaces and has a robotic arm.
A drone like this could fly to a wind turbine, not just to inspect it but to deploy a sensor or even carry out a repair.
(15) PAPERING THE VAPERS. Pirated Thoughts reports on a battle of the behemoths: “Disney Looks to Extinguish E Cig Named ‘Jedi’”.
The Force is strong in this trademark opposition. Disney is fighting a multi-million dollar tobacco company’s attempt to register the trademark JEDI in association with its line of e-cigarettes.
The word “Jedi” has no other meaning that being associated with the Star Wars franchise as it was coined by George Lucas and the mark first appeared in the 1977 film, Star Wars: A New Hope. Since this time, Lucasfilm has used the mark continuously in its movies, television shows, video games, and on merchandise. Lucasfilm even owns 22 registered ore pending trademarks for the JEDI mark. There can be no doubt but that when you hear the JEDI mark you automatically associate it with the Star Wars franchise.
Godfrey Phillips India Limited is an India-based tobacco company with reported annual revenue of $640 million. That’s a lot of cancer bucks….
(16) ASSISTED SPEECH. Well, it’s the Sun, so the dramatic headline obscures the more likely factual claims of the story: “Terminally-ill scientist with motor neurone disease ‘transforms into world’s first full cyborg’”.
- A laryngectomy has separated Peter’s oesophagus and trachea. The operation prevents the risk of him swallowing and choking on saliva, but removes his voicebox.
- Though he’ll no longer be able to speak with his biological voice, he’s instead banked his voice on a computer, meaning his new voice will be able to speak emotively – and in other languages if he wants.
- Scientists have also designed a face avatar, which he can use to show expressions if he loses muscle control.
- An electric wheelchair enables him to be upright, sitting or laid down.
- He is fed through a tube and has a catheter and colostomy bag attached so he doesn’t need to eat or use the toilet.
(17) DOGWATCH. Snoopy in Space is coming November 1 to the Apple TV app with an Apple TV+ subscription.
Blast off with Snoopy as he fulfills his dream to become a NASA astronaut. Joined by Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang, Snoopy takes command of the International Space Station and explores the moon and beyond.
[Thanks to Daniel Dern, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]