Pixel Scroll 10/22/21 I Must Not Scroll, Scroll Is The Pixel-Killer

(1) MCINTYRE FILM ADAPTATION COMING TO THEATERS. Moviegoers at last will be able to see the film based on the late Vonda McIntyre’s 1997 Nebula-winning novel The Moon and the Sun: “A Fantasy Blockbuster Shot In 2014 Is Finally Being Released” reports Looper. It arrives in theaters in January.

The Moon and The Sun actors Kaya Scodelario and Pierce Brosnan.

… However, one fantasy blockbuster’s release problems predate the worldwide pandemic by over half a decade. It’s a film that has been mysteriously missing ever since its production finished in 2014. That film was originally known as “The Moon and the Sun,” before it dropped off the radar ahead of its planned 2015 release date. The vanishing movie is based on the 1997 Nebula Award-winning novel of the same name by Vonda N. McIntyre (via Deadline). The family-friendly fantasy epic features Pierce Bronson in a lead role, and — had the film arrived on schedule — it would have been the realization of nearly two decades worth of effort to get the story to the big screen.

Obviously, “The Moon and the Sun” didn’t make its release date and lost the attention of both the media and moviegoers as it went into a lengthy post-production limbo. However, it seems that the film, which has been rebranded and renamed, is finally ready for a wide release and will be headed to theaters in early 2022. Here is everything fans need to know about “The King’s Daughter,” and why they’ve had to wait nearly six years to finally see it….

McIntyre got to see production shooting in France (“Vonda Visits Versailles”). A print reportedly was shown during her GoH slot at Sasquan in 2015.

(2) SAND THROUGH THE HOURGLASS. Alissa Wilkinson dissects “Dune’s expansive, enduring appeal” at Vox.

Harkonnens. Messiahs. Deadly, insect-like hunter-seekers. A secretive all-women order of spies, nuns, scientists, and theologians that’s bending history to its will. A spice harvested from an arid desert that enables space travel. ’Thopters. Interstellar war. Giant sand worms.

The world of Dune is a wild one, a tale spun by Frank Herbert in the tumultuous 1960s that mixes fear of authoritarian rule and environmental collapse with fascism, racism, and hallucinatory imagery. The 1965 novel, which eventually garnered widespread acclaim, was followed by a universe of sequels for its rabidly devoted fans. The trappings of its imagined, distant-future world feel wondrous, unfamiliar, and strange.

Or they would, if we hadn’t been steeped in Dune fever for so many years, even prior to the recent arrival of Denis Villeneuve’s extraordinary and resolutely abstruse film adaptation. Even the most Dune-averse person can hardly avoid the long tail of Herbert’s saga, whether they realize it or not.

The story has been referenced by pop stars like Lady Gaga, who made a sly nod to Dune in the “Telephone” music video, and Grimes, whose debut studio album, Geidi Primes, is a concept album based on Dune. Fatboy Slim’s song “Weapon of Choice,” the one with the music video starring Christopher Walken, is one big reference to the book (“Walk without rhythm / It won’t attract the worm”). Video games like Fallout and World of Warcraft contain references to Dune, as do plenty of TV shows from Scooby-Doo to Rick & Morty to SpongeBob SquarePants. There’s a crater on the moon officially named Dune, and some of the features on Saturn’s moon Titan have been named for planets from the series….

(3) A HOUSE DIVIDED. In the Washington Post, Michael Dirda offers his assessment of the book and film of DUNE and recalls his meeting with Frank Herbert in 1984. “’Dune’ has long divided the science fiction world. The new film won’t change that.”

… Unlike “Star Wars,” though, Villeneuve’s “Dune” isn’t a sparky, upbeat space opera. It’s more like a Wagnerian music-drama, a somber story built around intimations of doom and orchestrated with a soundtrack of pounding drums and high-pitched wailings and ululations. It is, however, packed with eye-popping visual spectacle, notably speedy little aircraft that resemble mechanical dragonflies and enormous space cruisers as sleek as any on the cover of an old issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. Like Herbert’s book, the film is also deliberately majestic in its pacing and virtually without humor. Life is real, life is earnest and nobody has much fun. Instead, characters nobly pontificate or murmur gnomically about whether the young hero, Paul Atreides, is or isn’t the Kwisatz Haderach, the promised warrior prophet who will lead the tough and fiercely independent Fremen to victory over their brutal oppressors. Their cruelest enemy, the consummately evil Baron Harkonnen, symbolically dwells in darkness, surrounding himself with swirling smoke and completely hairless attendants. He is a grotesque vision of rampant, unbridled capitalism….

(4) DUNE VS. TATTOOINE. On This Day in Science Fiction delivers an assessment of this week’s cinematic history by comparing two sf epics with grit in “Stardate 10.22.2021.B: 2021’s ‘Dune’ Needed More Spice”.

… Paul means little to me.  Luke?  I get Luke.  I want to be Luke.  I’ll fly the Death Star trench with him, and I’ll gladly join him on Dagobah for secret Jedi training, or I’d even stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a blazing lightsaber battle with Emperor Palpatine if Luke asked me to.
 
But … Paul?
 
He’s Christlike … so what does he need me for?
 
Now, categorically, none of this lessens the strengths of what director Villeneuve accomplishes visually.  Clearly, he’s immersed himself in these worlds, and he’s spared no investor’s expense to bring them to life on the screen.  He’s taken the wide, open, endless desert seas of Arrakis and made them visual poetry – certainly real enough for fans of this franchise to enjoy again and again, much like Marvel fans flock to their superhero yarns for endless repeats.  He’s given breath to the political machinations of a galaxy that really only existed before in Herbert’s series of books in such a way that I’m sure folks will be reminded of Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings and HBO’s Game Of Thrones adaptations.  These ships and vehicles are unlike anything many have ever seen before, and I’m convinced these production designs will become influential in the years and decades ahead for other filmmakers who want to tackle similar challenges with the kind of scale employed here….

(5) A CHALLENGE FACED BY INTERNATIONAL WRITERS. Jason Sanford has posted a public Genre Grapevine column on his Patreon about the issues that international authors in Africa, parts of Asia and Latin America, etc… face to get paid for their work:  “Genre Grapevine Special Report: A Truly Global SF/F Genre Must Recognize the Financial Barriers Faced by Many International Authors and Creatives”.

…3. A fear that many people in the U.S.A., Canada and Europe don’t understand the financial barriers faced by those in other countries and that the hassles of arranging payments could cause some international authors and creatives to not have their works considered for publication in the first place.

That last point is a critical one to emerge from my interviews with more than a dozen authors, artists and creative people in countries such as Colombia, Australia, India, Nigeria, Brazil, South Korea, and Mexico, all of whom have experienced issues with receiving payments.

None of the people I spoke with knew of a single technical solution to the problems they’ve encountered with receiving payments. Instead, they spoke of worries about how the editors, publishers, and clients they’ve worked with in the U.S.A., Canada and Europe perceive these difficulties in receiving payments. It’s likely even their fellow authors and creatives in the U.S.A., Canada and Europe don’t generally understand these concerns.

In fact, most of the people I interviewed asked to remain anonymous because they feared harm to their career if they spoke publicly about the issue….

(6) REMEMBERING TRAGIC ACCIDENT VICTIM. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] Everybody is talking about Alec Baldwin, but the Guardian has a profile/obituary of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer Baldwin accidentally shot. Some of the films she worked on were genre. Plus, I think she deserves to be remembered as more than just a footnote: “Halyna Hutchins profile: a talented and passionate cinematographer”.

Halyna Hutchins was a talented and passionate cinematographer who was clearly enjoying her job as director of photography on Alec Baldwin’s latest cowboy movie.

Over the past three weeks, she posted photos on her Instagram account from the film’s rugged set in the foothills of New Mexico. They included vivid sunsets and a cast and crew picture in which Hutchins is standing next to Baldwin against the backdrop a log cabin.

There is also a short video clip taken on Wednesday in which Hutchins – wearing a grey scarf and wide-brimmed hat – sets off on horseback with colleagues. “One of the perks of shooting a western is you get to ride horses on your day off,” she wrote….

(7) FRIGHTENING ADVICE. Will Maclean shares some tips in writing scary ghost stories: “How to write scary ghost stories” at Writers Online.

The first and most important thing to remember when writing a ghost story is the difference between scariness and creepiness. You will need to deploy both moods, so it’s well worth giving the matter some thought.

The part of us concerned with pure scariness is indescribably ancient, concerned only with fight or flight, with survival. As such, we are only truly, properly terrified when we’re confronted with those same primal terrors that threatened us a million years ago – being alone, being watched, being hunted or chased or otherwise pursued, with deadly intent… that small stock of evergreen human nightmares is where the pure, visceral scares will always come from….

(8) ANATOMY OF A SUBGENRE. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] Bill Ward has an article about the intersection of cosmic horror and sword and sorcery at Goodman Games, who are a remarkably good source of SFF related articles: “The Cosmic Horror of Sword & Sorcery”.

… The bones of sword & sorcery lie close to the skin, and one sure blade-stroke is enough to lay them bare for all to see. There is plot-driven pulp action there, at the core, but supporting that is a foundation of swashbuckling historical adventure, and expectations of encounters of the picaresque and the exotic kind. To be sure we can also see the unsentimentality of the hardboiled, the individualism of the American experience, and a surprising dose of literary realism for a genre concerned with fantastic monsters, haunted crypts, and vampiric blades….

(9) FOUNDATION REVIEW. Camestros Felapton weighs in on “Foundation Episode 6”. As he says, spoilers follow.

The show has been taking its time by introducing the background and a broader plot about the fall of the Galactic Empire. However, if the pace was slow it was still moving. Episode 6 was a case of the show spinning its wheels without really going anywhere. There are some good bits but what momentum the story had in the previous episodes got caught up in dithering. Spoilers follow….

(10) YAKKO, WAKKO AND DOT. Hulu dropped this trailer for season 2 of Animaniacs yesterday.

“We’re so meta the shark jumped us!”

(11) SAME MOTIVE AS EVER, GETTING PAID. The Digital Antiquarian’s article about “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” begins with an expansive biography of author Harlan Ellison before turning to the game based on one of his stories.

… Ellison’s attitude toward computers in general was no more nuanced. Asked what he thought about computer entertainment in 1987, he pronounced the phrase “an oxymoron.” Thus it came as quite a surprise to everyone five years later when it was announced that Harlan Ellison had agreed to collaborate on a computer game.

The source of the announcement was a Southern California publisher and developer called Cyberdreams, which had been founded by Pat Ketchum and Rolf Klug in 1990. Ketchum was a grizzled veteran of the home-computer wars, having entered the market with the founding of his first software publisher DataSoft on June 12, 1980. After a couple of years of spinning their wheels, DataSoft found traction when they released a product called Text Wizard, for a time the most popular word processor for Atari’s 8-bit home-computer line. (Its teenage programmer had started on the path to making it when he began experimenting with ways to subtly expand margins and increase line spacings in order to make his two-page school papers look like three…)

(12) ANGEL OBIT. Legacy.com covers the career of the late “Jack Angel (1930–2021), voice actor in ‘Super Friends,’ ‘Transformers’” – who I remember listening to on KFI at the beginning of his career.

Angel got his start in the entertainment industry as a radio disc jockey in California. He worked in radio for almost 20 years before beginning his voice acting career on the popular Saturday morning cartoon “Super Friends.” Angel provided the voices of Hawkman, the Flash, and Super Samurai. He went on to perform in beloved cartoons including “The Smurfs,” “Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo,” and “Spider-Man.” In 1985, Angel began voicing a number of characters for “The Transformers,” including Ramjet, Smokescreen, and Omega Supreme. He was the voice of Wetsuit in “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” and Dr. Zachary Darrett in “Pole Position” as well as providing a number of voices in “Voltron: Defender of the Universe.” Angel also worked in animated feature films, providing voices for many movies including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “A Bug’s Life,” “The Iron Giant,” “Spirited Away,” and “Monsters Inc.” Angel was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea.

(13) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • 2006 – On this evening in 2006, Torchwood first aired on BBC Three before moving to BBC Two and finally to the level BBC One. A spin-off of Doctor Who which returned the previous year after a long hiatus, it was created by Russell T. Davies, the first Showrunner for the new Doctor Who. Its principal cast was John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd, Burn Gorman and Naoko Mori. Over five years, it would run for four series and forty-one episodes. I personally liked the first two series much better than the last two series. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a most excellent seventy-four percent rating. Both BBC and Big Finish have continued the series in audio dramas. 

(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 22, 1919 Doris Lessing. The five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives certainly established her genre creds. I personally would add her Cat Tales, three volumes of stories and nonfiction (Particularly Cats, Rufus the Survivor and The Old Age of El Magnifico) to your reading list.  (Died 2013.)
  • Born October 22, 1938 Derek Jacobi, 83. He played a rather nicely nasty Master in “Utopia”, a Tenth Doctor story. He’s played Metatron on Good Omens. And he was Magisterial Emissary in The Golden Compass. I’ll single out that he’s played Macbeth at Barbican Theatre in London as part of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre ensemble.
  • Born October 22, 1938 Christopher Lloyd, 83. He has starred as Commander Kruge in The Search for Spock, Emmett “Doc” Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, Judge Doom in the most excellent Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and played a wonderful Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and the Addams Family Values. (Though I admit didn’t spot him in that makeup.) Let’s not forget that he was in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as John Bigbooté, and he played Dr. Cletus Poffenberger in a recurring role on Tremors.
  • Born October 22, 1939 Suzy McKee Charnas, 82. I’d say The Holdfast Chronicles are her best work to date. “Boobs” won the Best Story Hugo at ConFiction. Her Beauty and the Opéra or The Phantom Beast novelette was a nominee at LoneStarCon 2. She’s also won the Otherwise, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature, Nebula, Gaylactic Spectrum, and Lambda Literary Awards. Any of you read her Sorcery Hall series? 
  • Born October 22, 1943 Jim Baen. Editor of Galaxy and If for three years. In late 1999, he started Webscriptions, now called Baen Ebooks, which is considered to be the first profitable e-book service. He also was the editor of Destinies and New Destinies which I remember fondly.  He was nominated for Best Editor Hugo five times between 1975 and 1981 but never won. At Nippon 2007, he’d be nominated for Best Editor, Long Form. (Died 2006.)
  • Born October 22, 1952 Jeff Goldblum, 69. The Wiki page gushes over him for being in Jurassic Park and Independence Day (as well as their sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Independence Day: Resurgence), but neglects my favorite film with him in it, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, not to mention the  Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake he was in. Well, I do really like Independence Day. Though not even genre adjacent, he’s got a nice run on Law and Order: Criminal Intent as Zack Nichols.
  • Born October 22, 1954 Graham Joyce. Selecting his best novel is a futile exercise as everything is fantastically good but I’ll single out Some Kind of Fairy Tale and The Tooth Fairy as the ones I found the most interesting reads. No Hugos not even a short list nomination but he’s won quite a few BFAs and one WFA for The Facts of Life novel. (Died 2014.)

(15) TANANARIVE DUE PROFILE. “Afrofuturist and horror writer Tananarive Due: ‘Invite more Black creators to the table’”. So she tells interviewer Roxane Gay at Inverse.

RG: You have this seemingly idyllic upbringing with both of your parents, loving family, surrounded by books. How do you develop an interest in writing horror?

TD: That’s also my mother. She was a huge horror fan. It’s only in recent years really since her loss, ironically, which has been the biggest trauma of my life that I’m thinking, “Ah, I wonder if her love of horror had a lot to do with the trauma she suffered, first growing up under Jim Crow then being subjected to state violence as a civil rights activist?” That monster on a screen, whether it’s Frankenstein or the Wolf Man, can represent the real-life trauma you have to stand up to. And you watch characters stand up to it even when they don’t understand it, even when they don’t know how to fight it.

(16) VONNEGUT ON FILM. Thom Dunn gets us ready to “Watch the trailer for the new Kurt Vonnegut documentary ‘Unstuck In Time’” at Boing Boing.

The upcoming documentary Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time looks pretty interesting if you (like me) are a fan of the late author. Filmmaker Robert Weide first approached Vonnegut in 1988 to propose the idea of a documentary, and they filmed on and off until Vonnegut’s death in 2007. As a result, the movie not only documents Vonnegut’s life and career, but also the evolution of the relationship between the two men. 

(17) SOURCES OF DUNE. Haris Durrani analyzes Herbert’s drawing on Islam in “The Muslimness of Dune: A Close Reading of ‘Appendix II: The Religion of Dune’” at Tor.com.

… I find the books’ engagement with Islam to transcend linguistic wordplay and obscure intertextuality. After all, Herbert was fascinated by linguistics and believed words shape substantive meaning. The use of “Voice” by the Bene Gesserit, an order of imperialist superhuman female breeders, is a prime example of this, as is the saga’s running obsession with symbols and myths. As these semiotic tools wield tremendous power within the Dune universe, Herbert’s references likewise generate a profound “Muslimness” that goes beyond mere orientalist aesthetics. (This is not to say that the Dune novels are not orientalist in other ways, which I have detailed elsewhere.) Dune does not cheaply plagiarize from Muslim histories, ideas, and practices, but actively engages with them….

(18) NOT THE EXPANSE. Astronomy Picture of the Day: “Lucy Launches to Eight Asteroids.”

(19) VERSATILE AARDVARK. Cat discovered recordings of six episodes of “Cerebus: The Radio Show” at the Internet Archive.

Comic book series created by Canadian cartoonist Dave Sim, which ran from December 1977 until March 2004. The title character of the 300-issue series is an anthropomorphic aardvark who takes on a number of roles throughout the series-barbarian, prime minister and Pope among them. The series stands out for its experimentation in form and content, and for the dexterity of its artwork, especially after background artist Gerhard joined with the 65th issue. As the series progressed, it increasingly became a platform for Sim’s controversial beliefs.

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.]

“A Crewneck for Pete” on Vimeo, directed by Andy Mills, is about how you know it’s fall in New England, when the leaves turn and you drink cider straight from the jug.  But where is Pete going to find a cozy crewneck sweatshirt?

[Thanks to  JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Rob Thornton, Will R., Cora Buhlert, Jason Sanford, Michael J. Walsh, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/22/21 I Must Not Scroll, Scroll Is The Pixel-Killer

  1. (17) Some of that also shows up in Herbert’s “The Godmakers” (which is a fix-up of some shorter works with the same characters).

  2. (9)

    Episode 7 was a case of the show spinning its wheels without really going anywhere

    The Mule’s unpredictable psychic powers led me to type “Episode 7” when I meant Episode 6 but there’s a good chance I’ve anticipated the flaw in Episode 7 as well.

  3. I recently listened to the BBC full cast recording of Dune. I’m very pleased to say that the Suck Fairy had gotten nowhere near it in my estimation.

  4. 2) My main referent for “sands through the hourglass” is the Days of Our Lives opening titles, and so I am now contemplating what a Dune soap opera would look like. While having never actually read Dune. (I really should read Dune, if only so I know what everyone is talking about.)

  5. Kit Harding: Yes, and my father worked at NBC on the technical crew for Days of Our Lives the first week it was on the air, back in Ye Olde Times.

    Go ahead and read Dune — then tell me if you don’t think there’s a lot of soap opera already in its DNA.

  6. (6) glad to see Ms Hutchins get a larger role than “victim”. Awful to see the death toll from supposedly harmless prop guns get larger.

    A very happy birthday to Derek Jacobi, who’s played nearly every Shakespearean male lead with distinction, as well as Cyrano and A. Turing. Sadly, he’s also an anti-Stratfordian, and assisted in that nasty business, “Anonymous”, too.

  7. Msb says A very happy birthday to Derek Jacobi, who’s played nearly every Shakespearean male lead with distinction, as well as Cyrano and A. Turing. Sadly, he’s also an anti-Stratfordian, and assisted in that nasty business, “Anonymous”, too.

    Please explain those last two comments.

    Now listening to Ringworld which all things considering is holding up fairly well. I’ll be listening to Charles de Lint’s Forests of the Heart next which I know the Suck Fairy has not at all visited.

  8. Anti-Stratfordians are folks who believe that Will Shakespeare of Stratford didn’t write the plays attributed to him, despite their reliance on conjecture in the face of material evidence to the contrary.

    Anonymous was a trashy 2011 film by Roland Emmerich that turned the theory into historical fiction masquerading as truth.

    It’s a fringe theory with a tenacious hold on public imagination, but so are a lot of things these days. Be smart: get your shots and read some Shakespeare!

  9. @Cat Eldridge
    Ok, Jacobi doesn’t believe that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Sadly, he’s not the only fine Shakespearean actor to think so. In addition to expressing that belief, which he has every right to do, he took part in an awful movie called Anonymous that advocated that the Earl of Oxford in fact wrote Shakespeare’s work, as well as the theory that Elizabeth I was the mother as well as the lover of the Earl of Essex (ick). Oxford is the current favorite candidate of the anti-Stratfordians (so called because they say that “the man from Stratford” couldn’t have written the plays and poems), despite having died a decade before Shakespeare’s retirement. But there are literally dozens of other candidates, including, amazingly enough, Elizabeth I, who died around the same time as Oxford. Anti-stratfordianism is a really deep and twisty rabbit hole. A good book about the “authorship controversy” is Michael Shapiro’s Contested Will.

    Question for you as audiobook user: how do you hear the whole thing, without being distracted by something else that you’re seeing or doing? My mind wanders an awful lot if I’m just listening to something.

  10. @Aaron G
    Bingo!
    Also, see the new Macbeth coming out in December, directed by Joel Coen and starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. Reading Shakespeare is good but watching and listening are better.

  11. The Anti-Stratfordians are on a par with those who theorize that the Iliad and Odyssey were not written by Homer but rather by another ancient Greek of the same name.

  12. I’d heard the theories that the Earl of Oxford and Christopher Marlowe “really” were the author of Shakespeare’s plays, but Elizabeth the first?! When would she have had the TIME?

    @MSB True, Shakespeare’s Plays for me work better enacted than read. be it traditional renditions Ian McKellen’s Richard III, the DiCaprio and Winslet Romeo and Juliet, or what have you. The new Macbeth definitely interests me.

    years ago, I watched “Looking for Richard”, done by Pacino, an appreciation of Richard III and really liked it. They filmed short scenes of the play in The Cloisters in NYC, which really really worked well.

  13. Windycon, http://www.windycon.org, is giving away memberships with hotel room bookings, if you book a room by October 25.

    Want to see Carlos Hernandez or Seanan McGuire in person? Come to suburban Chicago November 12-14! Help save a venerable fan-run SF convention that, I promise, is taking Covid precautions VERY seriously!

    Per the press release:

    We all know the last few years have been rough. We had to go virtual with Breezycon last year, and this year we are struggling to provide a safe environment for us to gather. In order to help keep Windycon going, we need to make our room block. We’ve extended our room block deadline to Monday, October 25 but we are still low.

    Because of this shortfall we are offering free registration for the hotel reservations that meet these qualifications

    If you don’t have a room yet and book 2 nights, or more, you will receive a free registration for Windycon 2022. Book 4 or more and get 2 free registrations for Windycon 2022

    If you already have a reservation but extend it for a 3rd night, or more, you will receive a free registration for Windycon 2022. Extend it for 4 and get 2 free registrations for Windycon 2022

    If you have booked your room and it’s for 2 nights we will put your name in a drawing for 10 registrations. Plus, as a reward for already booking early, you will qualify for a $10 reduction of your Windycon registration fee next year.

  14. The “Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare’s plays and poetry” nonsense is both deeply classist and historically ignorant. Among the points of “evidence” is that glovemaker’s son Will Shakespeare didn’t have the education to write about the subject matter he used. But he had a normal middle class education of the day, and at various points he had access to the libraries of the nobility. We know what his sources were because he reproduced the mistakes of his sources. He didn’t have enough education to know they were mistakes.

    Oxford, Marlowe, and yes, Elizabeth I, all did.

    They just don’t want to accept that the relatively lowborn William Shakespeare produced those works of genius that are still treasured four going on five centuries later.

    I judge Jacobi harshly for joining in, but he’s still a great actor whose work as an actor I admire and treasure in its own right.

  15. Agreed, the plays are (even) better on the stage than on the page. I’m eager to see the Coen Macbeth, and also Daniel Craig’s take on Broadway this spring!

  16. One of the unfortunate aspects of the 1632 stories is that anti-Stratfordism is canon (if I recall correctly)

  17. Lis Carey: It’s hard to fight cultural gnostics. One of my favorite examples of what everybody knows ain’t so is in H.L. Mencken’s review of Dr. Louise Pound’s Poetic Origins and the Ballad:

    German folk-song . . . used to be credited to a mysterious native talent in the German yokelry, but scientific investigation reveals that some of the songs regarded as especially characteristic of the folk-soul were actually written by the director of music at the University of Tubingen, Prof. Dr. Friedrich Silcher. . . .

  18. Mencken falling for a fraud? I’m beside myself.

    The thing about WS is that he was exactly the sort of person who could have written them. Autodidact, assiduous researcher, lover of language, bon vivant, yet a groundling who never neglected the peanut gallery in his plays. I don’t think the fancy pants would have been astute enough to write the “low bits.” It just wouldn’t have occurred to them.

    My favorite WS “conspiracy” is that he was a closeted Catholic.

  19. Msb asks Question for you as audiobook user: how do you hear the whole thing, without being distracted by something else that you’re seeing or doing? My mind wanders an awful lot if I’m just listening to something.

    Background is needed.

    I died eleven times fours years ago after hitting the left side of head falling down the stairs in the old apartment building that I just moved out up two weeks ago. (This place has elevators. Yea!) Ten of those were in cardiac critical care at Maine Medical.

    As a result, I cannot read long passages of text. Really I can’t. I can read short stories and sometimes novellas, but most novels are, well, not doable, I’ve tried but I just can’t remember all if the text no matter how much I want to.

    However my brain has adjusted to being able to focus on taking in spoken narrative quite splendidly and doing it while other takes are underway. I can write reviews, edit text, read articles and even write these notes whiles listening to such novels as Ringworld without missing a single bit of the narrative.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a new novel that I’ve never heard before, or one that I’ve experienced a half dozen times. I do at least eight novels a month that way, sometimes more, plus a handful of shorter works.

  20. @Christian Brunschen–Earth Girls Are Easy was a joy and a delight, and I am never, ever going to check to see if the Suck Fairy has paid it a visit.

  21. I’d heard the theories that the Earl of Oxford and Christopher Marlowe “really” were the author of Shakespeare’s plays, but Elizabeth the first?! When would she have had the TIME?

    Honestly, I’ve always been amazed that all three of them wrote so many of those plays after they were dead.

  22. Yes, and my father worked at NBC on the technical crew for Days of Our Lives the first week it was on the air, back in Ye Olde Times.

    That’s very cool. He was a part of soap history.

    I love soaps from that era and have been watching one that’s available on streaming, The Doctors, with episodes that begin in 1967. It’s wonderfully wheels off.

    They had no time to shoot multiple takes. Sets are tiny. Sometimes actors freeze on their lines and their scene partners have to try to rescue them. Stage directions are heard. Cameras creep into a scene. An actor from the show said the only time they ever reshot something was when a set fell over. Even then every actor kept doing the scene in case it was going to be used.

  23. Elizabeth I was a poet of some talent – but, yeah, it’s unlikely that she was able to write plays after her death, particularly plays like that Scottish one that praised the royal family that succeeded her.

  24. Shakespeare as a covert Catholic shows up in Will in the World. It’s an imaginative biography, to be read with a grain of salt perhaps, but really interesting and fannish in spirit.

  25. Lis Carey says Merely pre-deceasing the writing of the plays is no obstacle to anti-Stratfordians.

    What’s their rationale? That the dates of the plays are not accurate? Or that authors didn’t die when history says they did? Or that Shakespeareans are engaged in a deep State conspiracy to change everything to give him credit that he doesn’t deserve?

  26. @Cat Eldridge–For Marlowe, in particular, the theories that his death in 1593 was staged or otherwise just didn’t happen, and he went undercover, are especially popular. Lack of evidence is not an obstacle.

    Yes, it’s ridiculous, but apparently more believable to some than that the glover’s son, who took advantage of all his opportunities for education, was a literary genius.

  27. @ Lis Carey
    Right as usual. Snobbery I at the root of most anti-Stratfordianism.

    @ Cat Eldridge
    Congratulations on learning to listen through novels. That’s a triumph of determination.

  28. I grew up with books being read aloud in the living room in the evening as a form of family entertainment. So for me, it always seemed just another way to enjoy a book.

    But I spent a lot of time at my aunt and uncle’s, which was a family with a lot of kids, and both my parents grew up in similarly large families, and both grandmothers were all about the family enjoying books together. So I have no real sense how common that was.

  29. Msb says Congratulations on learning to listen through novels. That’s a triumph of determination.

    Thanks much. It started first by doing it during long walks and eventually become doable during my time at home. Now I can listen and work at the same time. Indeed I can read short pieces of text and listen at the same time, a next trick that.

    Tomorrow I start i listening to Charles de Lint’s Forests of The Heart, a novel I’ve read several times and which I madly love but have never listened to as it’s just being released as an audio narrative.

  30. Pamela Dean on her LiveJournal once made what I thought was a very good point: that the most an anti-Stratfordian can say with intellectual honesty is, “Shakespeare didn’t write those plays.” Because if you’re going to disregard all the evidence we have that he did write them, how can you then turn around and accept the much flimsier evidence in favor of any other specific candidate doing so? But that’s not what we see: everyone without exception puts forth, “Shakespeare didn’t write those plays and I know who did.”

  31. 19) Cerebus: “controversial” is being kind. I read most of Cerebus through its run and quite frankly I’m going with “batshit crazy”. Two parts misogyny to three parts home-brewed Gnosticism.

  32. I find Shakespeare conspiracy theories interesting, mostly because what they tell us about the inner life of the people subscribing to them.

    I find that interesting with other conspiracy theories as well.

  33. David Goldfarb on October 24, 2021 at 9:28 pm said:

    19) Cerebus: “controversial” is being kind. I read most of Cerebus through its run and quite frankly I’m going with “batshit crazy”. Two parts misogyny to three parts home-brewed Gnosticism.

    It wasn’t always misogynist…or at least no more than many comic books. I think if it had been the descent of Sim into the gibbering maw of anti-woman brain worms might have been less worrying. It’s like he was Patient Zero for something awful that would consume the world.

  34. I have had to listen to an enormous amount about how Elizabeth I couldn’t possibly have played the stuff in the Fitzwilliams Virginal book. The different emphasis of technique in interpretation is always ignored, particularly by those who want to play the pieces with enormous variation in temp and dynamics. The fact is, Elizabeth was such a genius that if anybody was going to ghost write Shakepeare (as in after her death) she would be the likely candidate.

    I have to admit I love the idea of a deep state story set at the Elizabethan court, but I am not going to be the one to write it.

    Oh, and a close examination of the school system that Elizabeth set up, for boys and girls, provides all that is necessary to justify the compost provided for Will to write the plays. Under that system we deduce that Hamlet would have been about seventeen when he came back from college: and his behavior makes total sense when you compare him to the average seventeen year old, even today.

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