(1) $$$ FOR JANEWAY MONUMENT. ScienceFiction.com spotlights a fundraiser — “Fans Are Collecting Money To Dedicate A Monument To Captain Janeway”.
Fans of ‘Star Trek: Voyager‘ are hoping to raise money to erect a monument in honor of lead character Captain Janeway in her future hometown Bloomington, Indiana. Kate Mulgrew portrayed the Captain for seven seasons on ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ from 1995-2001. She is the only female starship captain to serve as the focus of a ‘Star Trek’ series. The fictional character’s backstory included the fact that she was born and raised in Bloomington in the 24th century.
The Captain Janeway Bloomington Collective is raising funds to install a monument to the Star Trek: Voyager character in her “future” birthplace, Bloomington, IN. Donate between Oct. 22 – Dec. 22, and your contribution will be DOUBLED! www.janewaycollective.org/donate
(2) WRITERS, YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America responds to a ruthless business practice with a bromide: “SFWA Contracts Committee Advisory on No-advance Contracts”.
Recently, SFWA’s Contracts Committee was made aware of a situation in which a well-liked publisher canceled the publication of a number of books it had contracted to publish….
A publisher so well-liked that it cannot be named. (But see item #3 at the link).
And with this example of a ruthless business practice fresh in their minds what does SFWA advise writers to do?
Publishers of all sizes may find themselves unable to live up to their contractual commitments for a wide variety of reasons, some of which could not have been reasonably anticipated. Hence, the Contracts Committee urges writers to think carefully about signing a contract that provides no advance, or only a nominal advance, while tying up their work for a lengthy period of time.
So think carefully.
(3) LINE UP, SIGN UP, AND REENLIST TODAY. “Netflix’s ‘Space Force’ Enlists Noah Emmerich, Fred Willard And Jessica St. Clair” – ScienceFiction.com has the story.
Netflix’s already-in-production comedy ‘Space Force’ has added three new cast members to an already impressive cast, fronted by Steve Carell and John Malkovich. They will now be joined by Noah Emmerich, Fred Willard, and Jessica St. Clair. Carell stars as Mark R. Naird, “a General tapped by the White House to lead a new branch of the Armed Forces with the goal of putting American ‘Boots on the Moon’ by 2024.” Carell co-created the show with Greg Daniels (‘The Office’, ‘King of the Hill’).
Emmerich will portray the… *ahem* interestingly named Kick Grabaston, Naird’s old commanding officer, who is now the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff. Jealous of Naird’s new position, he does “everything in his considerable power to make Naird’s life difficult.”
(4) BUT IS IT ART? Cora Buhlert sums up the cinematic kerfuffle in “Old Directors Yell at Clouds – Pardon, Superheroes”.
…Because for all their flaws, today’s superhero movies are a lot more diverse in front and behind the camera, then the highly touted movies of the New Hollywood era, which were made by and for a very narrow slice of people. It’s no accident that directors, actors and characters of those movies are all white and male and either Italian-American or members of some other immigrant group (the characters in The Deer Hunter are all descendants of Russian immigrants). There are a lot of people who never saw themselves reflected in those movies – women, people of colour, LGBTQ people, people who are not American – and who likely never much cared for those movies either, because the big Scorsese or Coppola fanboys are mostly white dudes themselves.
Saladin Ahmed says it best in the following tweet:
(5) POP! SIX! SQUISH! Eneasz Brodski mourns a convention experience in “Why Are Your So Bad?” at the Death Is Bad blog.
I had a saddening encounter this weekend. On a panel about civil verbal disagreement, an audience member asked what to do when people use terms that are viewed by one side in a debate as slurs (such as “climate-denier”) and was told that in such a case, rather than getting upset one should stay quiet and introspect on their situation and see if they can understand why the other party would say such things….
(I know that “climate denier” is obviously drastically different. No one’s ever been kicked out of their house or beaten to death for being a climate denier. But after a failed attempt using a more analogous example, I found this was the only one that could get my co-panelist to consider how someone from the outside would view her call to ponder “why am I so bad?” rather than anything remotely realistic.)
Importantly, afterwards the panelist told me privately that she didn’t mean to be unfair or anything. It’s just that the person who asked the question was a White Man, he obviously needed to reflect on himself. And implicit both in her words and the “you know…” look she was giving me was that white men can have no legitimate complaints about how they are treated, and that was the basis of her answer. They are a class that can only ever do violence, and no verbal abuse can be visited upon them that is not morally justified. The only thing she knew about the question-asker was that he was white and male and somewhere north of his 40s, and that was enough.
(6) CARRIE FISHER BIO ON THE WAY. “Author of unauthorized Carrie Fisher biography defends it against family disavowal” — Entertaiment Weekly has statements from both sides.
A new biography on the late actress and writer Carrie Fisher is generating controversy ahead of its release next month.
On Thursday, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, and her father, Bryan Lourd, issued a statement disavowing Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge, by Sheila Weller. Set to be published through the Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint Sarah Crichton Books, which falls under Macmillan — one of the Big 5 publishing houses in the U.S. — the book has generated strong buzz in the form of starred trade reviews and praise from award-winning writers including Rebecca Traister and David Maraniss.
Bryan Lourd wrote the statement. He calls the biography “unauthorized,” writing, “I do not know Ms. Weller. Billie does not know Ms. Weller. And, to my knowledge, Carrie did not know her.” He adds that Weller sold the book “without our involvement,” and that he has not read the book. “The only books about Carrie Fisher worth reading are the ones Carrie wrote herself,” he concludes. “She perfectly told us everything we needed to know.”
(7) HE’S DEAD JIM. The Guardian reports “Plan to exhume James Joyce’s remains fires international ‘battle of the bones’”. Seven cities claimed Homer dead, and all that.
… Joyce left Ireland in 1904 to live in Trieste, Paris and Zurich, never returning to his homeland after 1912. The writer had a complex relationship with the country, which in effect banned Ulysses over its “obscene” and “anti-Irish” content. He “decries Irish society’s conservatism, pietism and blinkered nationalism” in his writing, according to an essay from the Irish Emigration Museum curator Jessica Traynor. One of the characters in his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man describes Ireland as “the old sow that eats her farrow”.
Although Joyce “couldn’t bear to live in Dublin”, Traynor continues, his “spiritual and artistic engagement with the city continued until the end of his life”. When he lived in Paris, his “favourite pastime was to seek out visitors from Dublin and ask them to recount the names of the shops and pubs from Amiens Street to Nelson’s Column on O’Connell Street”.
When Joyce died aged 58 after undergoing surgery on a perforated ulcer, Ireland’s secretary of external affairs sent the order: “Please wire details about Joyce’s death. If possible find out if he died a Catholic.” Neither of the two Irish diplomats in Switzerland at the time attended his funeral, and the Irish government later denied Barnacle’s request to repatriate his remains.
If the Dublin city councillors’ motion is passed, the next step will be to ask the Irish government to request the remains be returned before the centenary celebrations around the publication of Ulysses in 2022. A spokeswoman for culture minister Josepha Madigan told theJournal.ie it was “a matter in the first instance for family members and/or the trustees of the Joyce estate”.
(8) COLLECTIBLE FANZINES. PoopSheet Foundation has details about the sale of the “Steve Ogden Fanzine Collection on eBay”.
Some of you know fanzine publisher/collector Steve Ogden passed recently. Per his wishes, I’ve begun listing his massive collection which includes comic fanzines, sf fanzines, mini-comics, underground comix, comic books and more.
Here are the current auctions and there are many, many more on the way. Please add me as a favorite seller if you’d like to stay on top of the new listings.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- Wikipedia’s “Featured Article for October 25, 2019” is about a British prozine —
Science Fantasy was a British fantasy and science fiction magazine, launched in 1950 by Nova Publications. John Carnell edited the magazine beginning with the third issue, typically running a long lead novelette along with several shorter stories….
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 25, 1909 – Whit Bissell. You most likely know him as Station Manager Lurry on “The Trouble With Tribbles”, but his major contribution to the SFF genre was being in all thirty episodes of The Time Tunnel as Lt. Gen. Heywood Kirk. He also did one-offs on The Invaders, I Dream of Jeannie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Science Fiction Theater, The Incredible Hulk and The Outer Limits. And yes, in The Time Machine film. (Died 1996.)
- Born October 25, 1940 – Janet Fox. Author whose stories appeared in countless genre zines and anthologies between the Seventies and mid-Nineties. Her long fiction, mostly the Scorpio Rising series, was done as Alex McDonough. She’s also known for the Scavenger’s Newsletter which featured a number of noted writers during its long run including Linda Sherman, Jeff VanderMeer and Jim Lee. (Died 2009.)
- Born October 25, 1955 – Gale Anne Hurd, 64. Her first genre work was as Corman’s production manager on Battle beyond the Stars. (A decent 42% at Rotten Tomatoes.) From there, we’ve such films as Æon Flux, the Terminator franchise, Aliens, Alien Nation, Tremors, Hulk and two of the Punisher films to name just some of her genre work. Have any of her films been nominated for Hugos?
- Born October 25, 1955 – Glynis Barber, 64. Soolin on Blake’s 7 for a series. She also appeared in The Hound of the Baskervilles (Ian Richard and Donald Churchill were Holmes and Watson) and a Sherlock Holmes series I didn’t know about, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson starring Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering.
- Born October 25, 1971 – Marko Kloos, 48. Lines of Departure was nominated for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel on a slate organized by the Sad Puppies. In reaction to this, Kloos withdrew the novel from consideration for the award. He was subsequently honored by George R. R. Martin for this decision. And that gets him Birthday Honors.
- Born October 25, 1989 – Mia Wasikowska, 30. She’s Alice in Tim Burton’s creepy Alice in Wonderland and equally creepy Alice Through the Looking Glass. Rotten Tomatoes gave the first a 53% rating and the second a 29% rating.
(11) THE BOX SCORE. The Hollywood Reporter hears cash registers ringing: “Box Office: ‘Joker’ Passes ‘Deadpool’ as Top-Grossing R-Rated Pic of All Time”. I didn’t know they kept statistics for this.
To date, Joker has earned $258.6 in North America and $529.5 million internationally. It is is expected to ultimately take in close to $900 million globally, with some thinking it has a shot at approaching $1 billion. The film is an enormous win for Warner Bros., particularly considering it faced security concerns ahead of its release and that it is not a traditional comic book movie. Ultimately, Joker is expected to turn a profit north of $400 million. Village Roadshow and Bron each have a 25 percent stake in the film.
The new record for Joker puts it atop an R-rated all-time list that, in addition to Deadpool, includes 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded ($738.6 million), 2017’s It‘s ($697 million) and 2003’s The Passion of the Christ ($622.3 million), not adjusted for inflation.
(12) YOUR MONEY’S NO GOOD HERE. However, one studio is strangling a traditional revenue stream. Vulture reports “Disney Is Quietly Placing Classic Fox Movies Into Its Vault, and That’s Worrying”.
Joe Neff knew there was trouble when the horror films started vanishing.
Neff is the director of the 24-Hour Science Fiction and Horror Marathons that happen every spring and fall at the Drexel Theater, an independent venue in Columbus, Ohio. For this year’s Horror Marathon, Neff wanted to screen the original 1976 version of The Omen and the 1986 remake of The Fly, two of hundreds of older 20th Century Fox features that became the property of the Walt Disney Corporation after its $7.3 billion purchase of the studio’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, was made official this past spring. In the preceding few months, Neff had heard rumblings in his Google group of film programmers that Disney was about to start treating older Fox titles as they do older Disney titles — making them mostly unavailable to for-profit theaters. More and more film programmers and theater managers were reporting that they had suddenly and cryptically been told by their studio contacts that Fox’s back catalogue was no longer available to show. Some got calls informing them that an existing booking had been revoked.
(13) WATCHMEN AND ITS DISCONTENTS. [Item by Olav Rokne.] A segment of the fan community is voicing grievances about HBO’s Watchmen series that they complain is “too political.” Their grievance is, of course, nonsense, and Alex Abad-Santos of Vox magazine delves into exactly why Watchmen is, and always has been, a seriously political (dare we even say anti-fascist?) work of fiction. “Some Watchmen fans are mad that HBO’s version is political. But Watchmen has always been political.”
In Moore and Gibbons’ version of Watchmen, giving someone unrestrained authority is a recipe for disaster. Lindelof pushes that question further and glances into American history to draw on that same theme, but from the point of view of black men and women — people who have been ostracized, belittled, dehumanized. People who someone like Rorschach would have loathed.
(14) LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHTENED OUT. Gareth L. Powell will explain it all to you.
(15) FOR ALL MANKIND. WIRED braves the elements to take readers “Inside Apple’s High-Flying Bid to Become a Streaming Giant”.
More than 50 buildings and soundstages sprawl across the 44 acres of the Sony Pictures lot. That’s a lot of windowless oblongs, and even more distance between them. If you need to get from, say, the Jimmy Stewart Building to Stage 15, golf carts and Sprinter vans are the customary mode—even on sunny days. On a particular Saturday in February, while an atmospheric river settled over Los Angeles, those vehicles were a necessity. The downpour was bad luck for the dozens of journalists there that day, but it was also a touch allegorical. After what felt like years of anticipation, Apple was about to take us behind the scenes of a show it was making for its still mysterious, still unnamed subscription streaming service. We were going to find out if Apple, maker of so many devices that have redefined the way we consume content, could finally make content—good content—of its own.
After the journalists handed their phones to Apple staffers to be taped up with camera-blockings stickers, the vans shuttled the group to Stage 15. (The Sony complex is also home to HBO’s Insecure and Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Apple may have a near-trillion-dollar market cap, but it still leases soundstages like everyone else in Hollywood.) Dryness maintained, we walked into the control room of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center circa 1969.
(16) THE NOTHINGULARITY. Vox makes a recommendation: “Zero Hours is a terrific fiction podcast about the end of the world”.
…But what feels like the end of the world happens millions of times a day on a more personal level. A marriage crumbles into ruin. Somebody loses their job. A child dies. Your favorite baseball team makes some boneheaded managing decisions and misses the World Series. You can’t find the chips you want. None of these is literally apocalyptic, but each one can be metaphorically so. Sometimes, that’s as bad as the real thing.
The space of the personal apocalypse is where the new audio fiction podcast Zero Hours thrives. It’s a seven-episode anthology series set across seven centuries and 594 years, beginning in 1722 and ending in 2316. (In between every episode, 99 years pass, so episode two takes place in 1821, episode three takes place in 1920, etc.)
Every episode depicts one of these smaller, personal apocalypses, but none of them actually end humanity (though the last takes place after we’ve gone extinct). The story is probably most similar to David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas (and the subsequent film based on it), but really, it’s not quite like any other work of fiction.
(17) WHAT’S STREAMING? Zomboat! on Hulu.
In this British sitcom available on Hulu, a cheeky group of travelers flee a zombie-infested Birmingham, England, by canal.
Daybreak on Netflix, is a comedy that “revolves around cliquey teens in a post-apocalyptic Glendale, Calif., where a nuclear blast has transformed many grown-ups into zombie-like monsters.” (Hey, John King Tarpinian’s hometown!)
(18) NOT YOUR AVERAGE TAILORS. A company called Full Body Armors offers custom-fitted superhero outfits including Batman, Iron Man, and Deadpool. “The Iron Man Mark 47 suit can include a motorized mask, a voice changer, and even an integrated cooling system.” All for five thou a suit!
Even if you order today, The Wearable Armored Batsuit Costume Suit won’t arrive in time for Halloween. Or Christmas. Maybe for Martin Luther King’s Birthday.
(19) SJWCS’ REAL STORY. “Why do we think cats are unfriendly?” If you feed them, they will come. Maybe. Eventually.
Cats are the only asocial animal we have successfully domesticated. We’re disappointed that we don’t bond with them as easily as dogs. But are we just missing the signs?
Dogs seem almost biologically incapable of hiding their inner moods – shuffling, snuffling, tail-wagging clues to contentment, nervousness or sheer, unadorned joy. Despite what the famous painting might want to tell you, dogs would be terrible poker players. We pick up their cues all too easily.
Cats also have sophisticated body language – their moods are signalled through twitching tails, ruffled fur, and the position of ears and whiskers. A purr usually (but not always) signals friendliness or contentment. They’re a usually reliable method of working out if the cat is in friendly mode or best left alone.
…One clue to the cat’s image may come from how they were domesticated in the first place. It was a much more gradual process than that of dogs – and cats were very much in the driving seat. The earliest domesticated cats started appearing in Neolithic villages in the Middle East around 10,000 years ago. They didn’t depend on their early human hosts for food – they were encouraged to fetch it themselves, keeping crops and food stores safe from rats and other vermin. Our relationship with them was, from the outset, a little more at arms’ length than dogs, who helped us hunt and relied upon humans for a share of the spoils.
The cat that may be currently curled up on your sofa or glaring at you from its vantage point on top of the bookcase shares many of its instincts with that of its pre-domestic ancestors – the desire to hunt, to patrol territory, guarding it from other cat; they are much closer to their old selves than dogs. Our taming of cats has only partly removed them from the wild.
(20) THIS ONE’S REAL. Not a link to an Onion surrogate this time: “JK Rowling calls for end to ‘orphanage tourism'”.
JK Rowling has told young people not to become volunteers in overseas orphanages, because of the risk that they might be unwittingly supporting places that are cruel to children.
The Harry Potter author warned that children in orphanages in poorer countries often still had parents – but they had been separated by poverty rather than the death of their parents.
“Do not volunteer in orphanages. Instead, look at what drives children into institutions,” she told a conference in London.
The author set up a charity, Lumos, in response to cases of neglect in Eastern European orphanages, which is campaigning to remove children from orphanages and return them to their families.
It operates in countries including Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Colombia, Haiti, Ethiopia and Kenya.
(21) NOW IN PAPER. Well, yes, it is a commercial. But this is a pretty book! Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop Up Galaxy preview.
Presented in a dynamic 360-degree format that enables the action to be viewed from all sides, the book also opens up to form a displayable 3D diorama of the entire saga. Packed with amazing Star Wars moments and hidden surprises to discover, Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy represents a whole new level of sophistication and interactivity in pop-up books and is guaranteed to thrill fans of all ages. Matthew is the King of Paper Engineering and returns to the franchise with this new, deluxe pop-up.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, Olav Rokne, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]