(1) SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES. And everywhere else. Juliette Wade’s latest Dive Into Worldbuilding features “Sean Grigsby and Smoke Eaters”. Read the synopsis, and/or view the video at the link.
It was a real pleasure to have Sean Grigsby on the show! He’s the author of Smoke Eaters, one of the most high-concept novel ideas I’ve encountered. It’s basically “firefighters versus dragons.” I was eager to hear how, as a firefighter himself, he’d approached depicting the firefighting realistically and not just on the basis of speculation. Sean told us he was surprised how many internet references to firefighters are actually romance- or erotic-leaning, and assured everyone listening that that’s not what Smoke Eaters is all about. He also remarked that there are an astonishing number of stories involving firefighters who turn into dragons. The whole shirtless thing doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re trying to protect yourself from fire…
(2) NELSON BOND. Mike Allen was the keynote speaker as “West Virginia university celebrates ‘Dean of Roanoke Writers'” – the Roanoake Times has the story.
A stage play with a Roanoke connection delighted an audience of about 75 on a recent October weekend. Before the play started, I addressed the audience, sketching out the life of author Nelson Bond as best I could in the time allotted.
Bond, once called “the dean of Roanoke writers,” had his heyday in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. He wrote more than 250 short stories, most of them science fiction and fantasy. He also wrote radio shows and television scripts. He retired from writing in the 1960s, which is one of the reasons why his work is little known today.
…Ten years ago, I spoke at the dedication of the Nelson Bond Room on the third floor of the university’s Morrow Library. Frankly, I was gobsmacked and humbled that his family would ask that of me, and the same was true when I was asked to be the keynote speaker for the theater school’s Oct. 20 production of “Mr. Mergenthwirker’s Lobblies.”
… “Mr. Mergenthwirker’s Lobblies” tells the story of an eccentric, nervous, sweet young man who has two invisible companions called “Lobblies,” who have the power to foretell the future and use that power to thwart crime. The original story has a tragic ending — but proved so popular that Bond brought Mergenthwirker back and featured him in more stories. When Bond’s career made the leap to radio and then to television, he brought the character with him. In 1946, “Mr. Mergenthwirker’s Lobblies” became the first full-length stage play ever broadcast on a television network.
(3) WHO ON DISPLAY. Once upon a time there were Doctor Who Exhibitions in various places, now commemorated at this website:
(4) WHO ON THE DANCEFLOOR. Enjoy this Doctor Who dance from last night’s Strictly Come Dancing (aka Dancing With The Stars in the US.)
— BBC Strictly ? (@bbcstrictly) October 27, 2018
(5) JOHN WILLIAMS ON THE MEND. Fantha Tracks learned “John Williams is doing well and will return to Los Angeles shortly”.
John Williams is recovering well from his illness (read news), and will return to Los Angeles next week, according to information provided by Mike Matessino, producer and close friend of John Williams.
(6) SO YOU WANT TO BE IN MOVIES. Lance Phan has become an Instagram Famous artist, making 3-D models that can cast you as an animated character (BuzzFeed: “This Artist Can Draw You As If You’re A Character In A Disney Pixar Movie”).
How cool would it be to see yourself as a 3D-like cartoon character in the vein of a Disney Pixar film?
Well, that’s exactly what Lance Phan can do. He’s a super talented 3D artist who can make anyone look like a bonafide animated character from any Pixar film.
Lance tells BuzzFeed he’s been doing 3D art for about five years.
He started by drawing environment only because he claims his character modeling wasn’t good, but he had a goal.
He tells BuzzFeed, “Two years ago, I told myself that I needed more practice and commitment, then I went online to ask random people for their consent to make characters out of their profile picture.”
Once Lance began posting his new and improved 3D drawings online, people wanted to pay him to draw them, too.
(7) KAREN OBIT. The Boston Globe reports the passing of “James Karen, 94, character actor from ‘Poltergeist,’ ‘Return of the Living Dead’”.
James Karen, who began a long career as a character actor at the suggestion of a congressman and who appeared in thousands of commercials and more than 200 film and television roles, including ‘‘All the President’s Men,’’ ‘‘Poltergeist,’’ ‘‘The China Syndrome’’ and the cult classic ‘‘The Return of the Living Dead,’’ died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 94.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]
- Born October 28, 1902 – Elsa Lanchester, Actor from England who is famous for playing both Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and The Monster’s Mate in Bride of Frankenstein, which is considered one of the few sequels to a great film that is even better than the original film on which it is based. She has a surprisingly deep list of genre credits; she also played the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, and had parts in Mary Poppins, The Ghost Goes West, Passport to Destiny, The Spiral Staircase, The Bishop’s Wife, The Glass Slipper, Bell, Book and Candle, Blackbeard’s Ghost, Willard, Terror in the Wax Museum, and the SJW favorite That Darn Cat!, as well as guest roles in episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Night Gallery, and Off to See the Wizard.
- Born October 28, 1951 – William H. Patterson, Jr., Writer, Conrunner, and Fan who was particularly known for his appreciation of, and scholarship for, the work of Robert A. Heinlein. He founded the Heinlein Journal in 1997, and co-founded the Heinlein Society with Virginia Heinlein in 1998. He also helped organize the Heinlein Centennial which took place in Kansas City in 2007. He published a two-volume biographical work entitled Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, the first of which was nominated for the Best Related Work Hugo. He was part of a successful Worldcon bid, as well as a failed Westercon bid about which he wrote a one-shot fanzine called The Little Fandom That Could. Mike Glyer’s tribute to him can be read here.
- Born October 28, 1951 – Joe R. Lansdale, 67, Writer and Martial Arts Expert who has written novels, stories, and comic books in many genres, including science fiction, horror, mystery, suspense, and western. He was a co-founder of the Horror Writers’ Association, and several of his novels have been made into movies. His DCU Jonah Hex animated screenplays are far superior to the live action Hex film. Bubba Ho-Tep, a comedy horror film starring Bruce Campbell, is his best known genre work, though he has done a number of novel series including The God of The Razor and Reverend Jedidiah Mercer, which are definitely Weird Westerns. He has been Guest of Honor at many conventions, including a World Fantasy Convention. His work has been nominated many times for awards, and he has won the Stoker Awards a stunning 10 times across most of its categories, including one for Lifetime Achievement. His short story, “On The Far Side Of The Desert With Dead Folk”, won a British Fantasy Award.
- Born October 28, 1952 – Annie Potts, 66, Actor whose most famous genre role is undoubtedly as the admin assistant to the parapsychologists in the original Hugo finalist Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II; in one of the many fan-pleasing cameo roles featuring actors from the original, she was the hotel clerk in the Hugo-nominated Ghostbusters reboot. She had a role in the Hugo finalist The Man Who Fell To Earth, provided the voice of Bo Peep in three of Pixar’s Hugo-nominated Toy Story films, also appeared in episodes of Hercules, The Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories, and currently plays the Meemaw of the titular character in Young Sheldon.
- Born October 28, 1958 – Amy Thomson, 60, Writer of hard science fiction whose first novel, Virtual Girl, which featured a female Artificial Intelligence and explored themes of feminism, was a Prometheus and Locus Award finalist and earned her a nomination for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Subsequent novels featuring uniquely-alien aliens were finalists for Philip K. Dick and Endeavour Awards. A really interesting io9 interview with her can be read here.
- Born October 28, 1978 – Gwendoline Christie, 40, Actor from England whose distinctive 6’3″ height gave her the perfect stature to play Brienne of Tarth in the Hugo-winning Game of Thrones (for which she received a Saturn nomination), and Stormtrooper Captain Phasma in the Hugo finalists The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, along with the animated series spinoff Star Wars Resistance and Star Wars videogames. Other genre appearances include parts in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The Zero Theorem, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, and a main role in the TV series Wizards vs. Aliens. She also appeared in the music video for Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine” in 2003.
- Born October 28, 1982 – Matt Smith, 36, Actor from England who, at the age of 26 – the youngest actor to be given that role – was tapped for a career-making part as the Eleventh incarnation of The Doctor in the very long-running, Saturn-nominated BBC series Doctor Who, a role which he reprised in the Sarah Jane Adventures crossover episode “The Death of the Doctor”, as well as voicing the Big Finish full cast audiowork and several videogames. Twelve of his episodes were Hugo finalists; two of those were winners. In other genre work, he portrayed the physical embodiment of Skynet in the Terminator Genisys film and had roles in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and another zombie film, Patient Zero. It was recently announced that he has been cast in a yet-to-be-disclosed role in Star Wars: Episode IX. And he wears a fez oh so well.
(8) A PAIR OF BIRTHDAY REVIEWS. And two writers continue their daily celebrations:
- Rich Horton: “Birthday Review: Stories of Richard A. Lovett”
Richard A. Lovett is one of Analog’s most regular contributors (of non-fiction as well as fiction), and one of its best. Today is his 65th birthday, and so here is a compilations of many of my Locus reviews of his stories.
- Steven H Silver: “Birthday Reviews: Amy Thomson’s ‘Buddha Nature’”
Thomson won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author in 1994 on the basis of her debut novel, Virtual Girl. She subsequently published two novels in The Color of Distance series and the stand-alone novel Storyteller, as well as three short stories. She has been nominated for the Prometheus Award for Virtual Girl, the Philip K. Dick Award and Seiun Award for The Color of Distance, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and Endeavour Awards for her novel Storyteller. In the trading card series issued by the Chicago in 2000 Worldcon bid, card number 28 was of Thomson and identified as the “Official Rookie Card.”
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- The bridesmaids are a bit literal-minded at Nerd Girls Unite.
(10) HARRY POTTER. NPR looks at Harry Potter’s influence: “Inside The Ever-Expanding Wizarding World: Harry Potter At 20”. Chip Hitchcock observes, “The hotel that hosted all 4 Noreascons is buttoned up due to a strike, but next door the Barnes & Noble has a standup of tchotchkes right in the middle of the store.”
It’s hard to remember a world before Harry Potter. The children’s book series is a juggernaut that spawned a film series, theme parks, a Broadway play and museum exhibits. It’s been 20 years since readers in the U.S. were first introduced to the wizarding world, and more than 500 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide.
The series is still intensely personal for the boys and girls who have read, and still read the books. It’s also had a deep impact on what children read.
At the New York Historical Society, a new exhibit called “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” traces the roots of author J.K. Rowling’s novels — and it’s filled with Potterheads of all ages. Inside the museum, curator Roberta Olson is justifiably proud to show what she’s got.
(11) WHAT’S THE PLAN WHEN IT ALL GOES TO HELL? Douglas Rushkoff tells Medium readers what’s on the minds of the wealthy: “Survival of the Richest”.
After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys?—?yes, all men?—?from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.
They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.
Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”
(12) SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER. Runes are busting out all over: “Heatwave reveals England’s lost prehistoric sites” – pictures from all over the UK.
Surveys from the air have revealed Neolithic ceremonial monuments, Iron Age settlements, square burial mounds and a Roman farm for the first time.
Historic England said the weather “provided the perfect conditions” to see the crop marks because of the lack of moisture in the soil.
They include two Neolithic monuments discovered near Milton Keynes.
The long rectangles near Clifton Reynes are thought to be paths or processional ways dating from 3600 to 3000BC, one of the oldest of their type in the country.
Numerous features in a ceremonial landscape near Eynsham, a few miles north-west of Oxford, date from 4000BC to 700BC.
Monuments to the dead, a settlement and a circle of pits can be seen in crop marks on the field in an area that is already protected….
In each case the remains are revealed as differences in colour or in the height of crops or grass.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “The discovery of ancient farms, settlements and Neolithic cursus monuments is exciting.
(13) LOADS OF REVIEWS. If you’re looking for reviews to read, there are links to the reviews of all the works listed below at “Friday’s Forgotten Books, October 26, 2018”.
- Les Blatt, THE LADY IN THE LAKE, Raymond Chandler
- Brian Busby, THE TRIUMPHS OF EUGENE VALMONT, Robert Barr
- Kate Jackson/CrossExaminingCrime. N OR M?, Agatha Christie
- Martin Edwards, THE MURDER OF MARTIN FOTHERIL, Edward C. Lester
- Curtis Evans, Felicity Worthington Shaw/”Anne Morice”: Her Life in Crime
- Rich Horton, MASTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, Robert Silverberg; THE SECRET VISITORS, James White
- George Kelley, THE FUTURE IS FEMALE, edited by Lisa Yaszek
- Margot Kinberg, TESS, Kirsten McDougall
- Rob Kitchin, THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN, Robert Lindsey
- B.V. Lawson, SHE SHALL HAVE MURDER, Delano Ames
- Evan Lewis, THIRD ON A SEESAW, “Neil MacNeil” (W. T. Ballard)
- Steve Lewis, SQUEEZE PLAY, Paul Benjamin
- Todd Mason, YESTERDAY’S TOMORROWS edited by Frederik Pohl; EDITORS edited by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford; Futurian editors Doris Baumgardt, Donald Wollheim, Robert Lowndes, Larry Shaw; and the likes of Samuel Delany’s DHALGREN, Josephine Herbst’s THE STARCHED BLUE SKIES OF SPAIN and Gustav Hasford’s THE SHORT-TIMERS
- J.F. Norris, THIRTEEN STANNERGATE, G.M. Wilson
- Mike Lind/Only Detect, A PUZZLE FOR FOOLS, “Patrick Quentin”
- Matt Paust, WHEN TIME RUNS OUT, Elina Hirnoven
- James Reasoner, THE MANITOU, Graham Masterson
- Richard Robinson, THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY MURDER, Lee Harris
- Gerard Saylor, DEAD BEFORE DYING, Deon Myer
- Kevin Tipple hosting Barry Ergang, WHISTLE UP THE DEVIL, Derek Smith
- TomCat, APPLEBY’S OTHER STORY, Michael Innes
- TracyK, HIS BURIAL TOO, Catherine Aird
(14) BATWOMAN PHOTO. Melissa Benoist (Supergirl) has posted a photo of Ruby Rose in her Batwoman costume for this year’s Arrowverse crossover.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Hampus Eckerman, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Todd Mason, Mark Hepworth, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]