(1) TERMINATOR TERMINATED? The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner tracks a major development in copyright litigation: “Real-Life ‘Terminator’: Major Studios Face Sweeping Loss of Iconic ’80s Film Franchise Rights”.
Since its 1984 bow, The Terminator has spawned five sequels grossing $1.8 billion globally. The latest, Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov. 1), again will have the future messing with the past. And that plot extends into real life as Gale Anne Hurd, the original’s writer, has moved to terminate a copyright grant made 35 years ago, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
As a result, per records filed at the U.S. Copyright Office, David Ellison’s Skydance Media — which acquired the rights from his sister, Megan Ellison, who bought them for $20 million in 2011 at an auction — could lose rights to make Terminator movies starting in November 2020.
Terminator isn’t an anomaly, it’s a preview of what’s to come. In the late 1970s, Congress amended the law to allow authors to grab back rights from studios after waiting a few decades. Until now, the termination provision has largely been exploited by musicians, not screenwriters. But records show a flurry of termination notices in the past year — under law, they can come 35 years after publication — which threatens to unsettle who owns the ability to make sequels and reboots of iconic films from the mid- to late-’80s.
More works that could change hands: Gary K. Wolf is looking to terminate Disney’s rights to the book that became Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The heirs of Beetlejuice screenwriter Michael McDowell aim to do the same for the script to the 1998 Warner Bros. film. The family of novelist Roderick Thorp is terminating Fox’s grip on Nothing Lasts Forever, aka Die Hard. Other works subject to termination include Predator and Nightmare on Elm Street, with authors like Stephen King and David Mamet also on the warpath.
Why now is probably best explained by the statutory clock (termination notices must be sent at precise time during the copyright term), though a judge’s decision last year confirming the validity of a termination notice sent by Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller certainly raised awareness among authors. (The producer of that film is appealing on grounds that Miller’s script was penned as a work-for-hire with no termination rights.)
(2) URRPP! I thought this kind of thing only happened in space opera — ScienceFiction.com reports an entire fantasy universe has been eaten alive: “Floo The Coup: J.K.Rowling’s ‘Pottermore’ Site Moves to ‘Wizarding World’”
Harry Potter fans have some adjusting to do, as it was recently announced that J.K. Rowling’s ‘Pottermore’ site would be shutting down, and moving over to the new ‘Wizarding World’ site, claiming that with new site enhancements and expansions, Pottermore could not longer sustain the needs of the fans of ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ and WizardingWorld.com would be an upgrade. Check out the full news release from the website itself below:
Engorgio Pottermore… We’re moving to WizardingWorld.com – our new, bigger home for all of the magic you love. Here’s everything you need to know….
(3) SHOULD CLARKE’S NAME STAY ON AN AWARD? Jason Sanford’s post “Yes, Arthur C. Clarke was likely a pedophile” reviews two decades of press coverage about the issue. His closing lines are:
Now that we’re finally examining the issues around people like John W. Campbell, James Tiptree Jr., and Marion Zimmer Bradley, we should do the same for Clarke. Especially since a major genre award is named for him.
None of this changes how important Clarke’s stories were to my development as a writer or his impact on the field of science fiction. This doesn’t mean you can’t still love his books.
But the SF/F genre simply can’t ignore this issue any longer.
(4) HYPE OR WISE PRECAUTION? “The NYPD Will Be Stationed At All NY City Theaters Screening ‘Joker’ This Weekend” – ScienceFiction.com supplies the details:
…In New York City, the police department is taking a “precautionary measure” by positioning uniformed officers at every theater in the city that is screening ‘Joker’. These officers will not be stalking up and down the aisles. In fact, they won’t be in the theaters at all. They will simply be patrolling in front of the theaters. It should be stressed that there have been no “credible threats” made that anyone is planning to shoot up screenings of ‘Joker’, but just in case…
(5) FAN-FIC. Julie Beck investigates “What Fan Fiction Teaches That the Classroom Doesn’t” at The Atlantic.
N. K. Jemisin, the only author to win the prestigious Hugo Award for best science-fiction or fantasy novel three years in a row, partly credits fan fiction for her ability to draw in readers.
Jemisin started writing fan fiction, in which authors imagine new stories based on preexisting fictional works, while in grad school for counseling. “I was miserable and lonely. I didn’t have a lot of friends, or stress relief,” she told me. “Around then was when I became internetted, and one of the first communities I discovered was a fan-fic community.” Through talking with other authors and writing her own stories about Dragon Ball Z (among other things), she found friends, got feedback, and, as she put it, “blew the cobwebs off writing abilities I hadn’t used since college.”
For instance, this writing helped her hone her ability to hold readers’ interest. “Fan fiction tends to have a built-in hook because it’s written in a world you’re a fan of; you’re predisposed to like it,” she said. “You have to find a way to make it not just the world that people are tuning in to read, so they are interested in your story.” To this day, Jemisin said, she still writes fan fiction, and treats it as a way to try out new genres and skills, such as using the second person, which she does in the Broken Earth trilogy, which earned her the three Hugos.
(6) DACRE STOKER TO APPEAR. The Rancho Mirage Writers Festival (January 29-31, 2020) has a lineup of writers including Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, and Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grand-nephew.
(7) ANGRY ROBOT PUBLISHES SHORT FICTION. Angry Robot’s “first foray into short-form fiction” will be released October 8.
The first novelette being produced by Angry Robot, Duchamp Versus Einstein, which is releasing in a few weeks’ time on the 8th October. This science fiction tale depicts a surreal chess match between two of the twentieth century’s greatest minds that could change the course of history. Within its 100 pages, several questions are posed – is science greater than art? Or is art an extension of science? And if this epic game could ever take place, would you be Team Einstein or Team Duchamp?
(8) HOLMES IS FRAMED. In “18 Best Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novels To Read Now: 2019 Edition” at Mystery Tribune there’s news of graphc novels where Holmes battles the Phantom of the Opera and Harry Houdini, as well as Sherlock Frankenstein and adaptations of the BBC Sherlock series.
(9) THE FUTURE IS NOW. Andrew Liptak’s October book list is now on Polygon. At the front of the line is –
Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow edited by Kirsten Berg, Torie Bosch, Joey Eschrich, Edd Finn, Andres Martinez, and Juliet Ulman
Over the last couple of years, some of the best short science fiction has emerged from a joint project between Slate, New America, and Arizona University. The Future Tense brings together some of the best science fiction authors writing right now, and this book collects a number of those stories in one volume. Authors here include the likes of Charlie Jane Anders, Paolo Bacigalupi, Madeline Ashby, Hannu Rajaniemi, Annalee Newitz, Nnedi Okorafor, and more. This is an essential book for those wanting cutting-edge fiction about our near future. Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review, saying that it’s full of “Provocative, challenging stories that project the tech innovations of today onto the moral framework of tomorrow.”
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- October 2, 1950 — Peanuts comic debuted.
- October 2, 1959 — Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone aired its first episode, “Where Is Everybody?”. Starring cast for this episode is Earl Holliman, James Gregory and Garry Walberg.
- October 2, 2000 — Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda took flight in television syndication. Starring Kevin Sorbo, it would run for five seasons. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry is listed as executive-producer.
- October 2, 2009 — Stargate Universe debuted. The third series in the Stargate series franchise, it lasted two seasons and forty episodes before ending on a sort of cliffhanger. Robert Carlye, the lead in the Hamish Macbeth series, was Nicholas Rush here.
- October 2, 2016 — HBO aired the much more adult Westworld as created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Based on the nearly fifty year old film of the same name which was a Michael Crichton endeavour, it counts J. J. Abrams among its executive-producers. It’s still going strong.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 2, 1897 — Bud Abbott. Abbott and Costello did genre films, to wit Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars just to list a few of them. (Died 1974.)
- Born October 2, 1906 — Willy Ley. He was a science writer who designed the rocket used with Fritz Lang’s 1929 film Die Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon). It was so accurate that in 1937 that the Gestapo confiscated not only all models of the spaceship but also all foreign prints of the picture. The crater Ley on the far side of the Moon is named in his honor. (Died 1969.)
- Born October 2, 1909 — Alex Raymond. Cartoonist, generally only known for creating Flash Gordon for King Features in 1934. The strip was has been adapted into many media, from a series of movie serials in the Thirties and Forties to a Seventies TV series and the Eighties feature film not to be confused with the American-Canadian tv series of the same vintage. Radio serials, myriad films, comic books, novels — any medium that exists has seen Flash Gordon fiction. There are at least fifteen authorized strips and a number of bootleg strips as well. Needless to say there are bootleg films and serials too. (Died 1956.)
- Born October 2, 1911 — John Finney. Author of The Body Snatchers and Time and Again, two truly great novels. Of course there’s also the awesome Fifties Invasion of the Body Snatchers film too. (Died 1995.)
- Born October 2, 1931 — Edmund Crispin. He’s well remembered and definitely still read for his most excellent Gervase Fen mystery series. It turns out that he was the editor of the Best SF anthology series that ran off and on between 1955 and 1972. Writers such as Kuttner, Moore, Blish, Bradbury and Von Vogt had stories there. These anthologies alas are not available digitally or in hard copy. (Died 1978.)
- Born October 2, 1944 — Vernor Vinge, 75. Winner of five Hugo Awards, none for what I consider his best series which is the Realtime/Bobble series. I’m also very fond of his short fiction, much of which is collected in The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, though the eighteen years worth of his work remain uncollected.
- Born October 2, 1948 — Avery Brooks, 71. Obviously he’s got his Birthday Honor for being Benjamin Sisko on Deep Space Nine, but I’m going to note his superb work also as Hawk on Spenser: For Hire and its spinoff A Man Called Hawk. He retired from video acting sixteen years ago but is an active tenured Theatre professor at Rutgers.
- Born October 2, 1948 — Persis Khambatta. Indian model and actress who played Lieutenant Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She made mostly low-budget films, some genre (Warrior of the Lost World, She-Wolves of the Wasteland) and even showed up in the pilot of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. She died of a massive attack at the age of 49. (Died 1998.)
- Born October 2, 1950 — Ian McNeice, 69. Prime Minister Churchill / Emperor Winston Churchill on Doctor Who in “The Beast Below,” “Victory of the Daleks,” “The Pandorica Opens,” and “The Wedding of River Song,” all Eleventh Doctor stories. He was an absolutely perfect Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Frank Herbert’s Dune and Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune series. And he voiced Kwaltz in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
- Born October 2, 1951 — Sting, 68. Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in the Dune film. Far, far too old for the character who was supposed to be sixteen years old. He worked as a Heroic Officer in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. And he’s Martin Taylor in the horrific Brimstone & Treacle.
- Born October 2, 1953 — Walter Jon Williams, 66. The last thing I read by him was his most excellent Dagmar Shaw series which I highly recommend. I also like his Metropolitan novels, be that Sf or fantasy, as well as his Hardwired series. What else by him is worth my time?
- Born October 2, 1972 — Graham Sleight, 47. Editor of Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction between 2007 and 2011, and was a Locus reviewer 2005 to 2012. He is the Managing Editor of the 3rd edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and was so when the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Related Work was given to it. He oft times writes about Doctor Who. He co-edited (along with Simon Bradshaw and Antony Keen) The Unsilent Library, a book of essays about the Russell T Davies era. His other Doctor Who work, The Doctor’s Monsters: Meanings of the Monstrous in Doctor Who, is now available in a trade paperback edition.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- Foxtrot recommends Dungeons & Dragons to motivate your studying.
(13) SOUNDS FAMILIAR. Nobody would tease someone about this, would they? “Harry Potter and the famous name”.
“It’s probably a good thing overall, a light-hearted conversation starter,” says Harry Potter.
Far from being a wizard, Harry is a neuroscientist from the University of Manchester.
When he responded to a question on Twitter asking, “What piece of pop culture has ruined your first name?” he didn’t expect the reaction he got.
“I take your ‘first name’ and raise you my full name,” has conjured up more than 267,000 likes and 33,000 retweets.
…At work Harry’s research looks at how a woman’s immune system during pregnancy affects the development of a baby’s nervous system later in life.
But some people online have suggested some other academic papers he might have written had he branched out of his field of research.
The article includes a graphic of a real paper titled “Fantastic yeasts and where to find them”.
(14) SHORE THING. “Tsunamis linked to spread of deadly fungal disease” – BBC has the story.
A major earthquake in Alaska in 1964 triggered tsunamis that washed ashore a deadly tropical fungus, scientists say.
Researchers believe it then evolved to survive in the coasts and forest of the Pacific Northwest.
More than 300 people have been infected with the pneumonia-like cryptococcosis since the first case was discovered in the region in 1999, about 10% fatally.
If true the theory, published in the journal mBio, has implications for other areas hit by tsunamis.
(15) THOUGHT EXPERIMENT. BBC says science is learning “How to weigh a whale without a scale”. Which is important, because whales don’t have scales.
How do you weigh the largest animals on the planet?
Until now it has only been possible to weigh whales once they have washed up dead on beaches.
Now scientists have solved the conundrum, with the help of aerial photographs taken by drones.
Their model accurately calculated the body volume and mass of wild southern right whales. Already being used to assess the survival of calves, it has many potential uses in conservation.
Body mass is a key factor in the success of whales as a group, determining their energy uses, food requirements and growth rates.
Yet most of what we know about the body size of whales comes from old whaling literature or from animals that end up stranded on the beach or caught in fishing gear.
“It is very difficult to measure a whale on a scale – I mean you have to kill it to do it and that’s exactly what we’re avoiding here,” said study researcher Fredrik Christiansen from the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark.
(16) HALLOWEEN SUPPLIES. While out shopping, John King Tarpinian encountered Audrey’s offspring:
(17) VERY SLOW FACT CHECKING. Somebody has far too much time on their hands: “The Signature Dish in Disney’s ‘Ratatouille’ Wasn’t Actually Ratatouille” at MyRecipes.
In the climactic scene of the 2007 Disney film Ratatouille—during which the movie’s main characters, Remy the rat and Linguine the human chef, attempt to impress an important culinary critic—Remy and his animal pals diligently prepare a mouthwatering dish of sauce and vegetables that reminds the tough food commentator of his mother’s homemade meals. The delectable-looking animated spread is presented in the film as ratatouille, a Provençal recipe that originated from Nice, France. But while we can’t fault Disney for the use of a clever pun, the beautifully arranged vegetarian dish shown during the movie isn’t, in all technicality, ratatouille. Rather, it’s a variation on another, very similar Provençal dish: tian.
(18) ABOUT A MASTER OF MODERN SF. Hear a “Special Report: D. Harlan Wilson on J.G. Ballard” in this podcast at The Projection Booth.
D. Harlan Wilson discusses his book from the University of Illinois Press, J.G. Ballard. Part of the Masters of Modern Science Fiction series, Prof. Wilson provides a look at Ballard’s literary career as well as some of the adaptations of his work for the cinema.
(19) TRICK OR TREAT? Delish tells you “How To Order An Oogie Boogie Frappuccino Off The Starbucks Secret Menu”. That is, if you still want to after reading the description.
If you haven’t noticed, fall seems to be when Starbucks fans let their freak flags fly and come up with all sorts of amazing Halloween-inspired creations. Recently, we had the Jack Skellington Frappuccino, but now another Nightmare Before Christmas character is getting his (its?) time to shine with the Oogie Boogie Frappuccino.
If you’re not familiar with the film, Oogie Boogie is described as a “burlap sack filled with insects, spiders and a snake for a tongue,” which…same.
(20) ATTENTION CHURRO LOVERS. Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge attraction features thematic food: “Disney World is launching new ‘Star Wars’ treats for the opening of ‘Galaxy’s Edge’ including lightsaber churros”.
Disney is launching “Star Wars” treats for the opening of “Galaxy’s Edge,” a new 14-acre immersive “land” based on the “Star Wars” universe and located within Hollywood Studios in Disney World.
The offerings at the Florida park include dishes such as churros that look like lightsabers, Millennium Falcon-shaped Chocolate Pops, and Chewbacca-inspired cupcakes.
(21) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Dead End” on Vimeo is a cartoon by Victoria Vincent about a depressed high school guidance counselor.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Darrah Chavey, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]