(1) FIRES SHUTTER FAMOUS MONSTERS CON. The Famous Monsters Halloween Convention scheduled for October 25-27 in San Jose has been officially cancelled due to Northern California wildfires. Senior Manager Philip Kim wrote on the convention website:
On Sunday evening, October 8th, 2017, a historically violent wind blew through the Bay Area. This extreme wind proliferated what is now one of California history’s most dangerous cluster of wildfires, still raging in Sonoma County and claiming more homes and lives by the day. We are told this may be days to weeks before total containment, as the heavy winds are predicted to return this weekend, adding to an already horrific situation. Though containment efforts are underway, it is catastrophic here with no sign of slowing down. This, by legal or any other definition, is an act of God.
Though the show is in San Jose, the majority of our staff live and work in Sonoma County. My family and I have been evacuated from our home since Tuesday and have no idea when we will be allowed back or if we will have a home to go back to. We are currently shut down to guarantee the safety of our staff. I made great efforts to see if we could turn the show into a fundraiser, but there were a few key obstacles that would not allow us to achieve this. This may have been my greatest sadness.
My team and I are grateful to everyone who trusted us and believed in our show. It has been one of the hardest decisions of my Famous Monsters career, but we are officially canceling Famous Monsters Halloween 2017.
(2) IN EMERGENCY, DIAL 9-3/4. A BBC story called “Hogwarts Express Rescues Family Stranded in Highlands” says a family stuck in a remote part of Scotland was saved when the Hogwarts Express, a steam train that makes daily runs in the western part of Scotland, made an emergency stop to pick them up.
Jon and Helen Cluett and their four young children were staying at a remote bothy in Lochaber when their canoe was swept away by a swollen river.
Facing a long walk back to their car across boggy land, they phoned the police for advice.
To their delight, they arranged for the steam train used in the Harry Potter films to pick them up.
The train, called The Jacobite, is used for excursions on the West Highland Railway Line, crossing the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct that also features in the movies.
(3) DOES 2049 STINK? James W. Harris is not a fan — “Blade Runner 2049 – The Evil of Heartless Sequels”.
Without the voiceover, both films are just action flicks of heartless machines killing heartless machines. Why has Ridley Scott never understood the Romeo and Juliet beauty of having a love story between lovers from two opposing houses? In Blade Runner 2049 we are taken on a meaningless thrill ride where it’s impossible to tell human from replicant – and I really didn’t give a shit either. There are a few touching scenes in Blade Runner 2049, but they are so artificial as to cause existential angst. At times we feel for K, our replicant protagonist, but the scenes are so obviously manipulating us that it’s hard to genuinely care.
(4) YOUTUBE CLICKBAIT OF THE DAY. And for those of you who favor the flop thesis there’s –
(5) MORE HELSINKI WORLDCON RESOURCES. Jani Ylönen’s Worldcon 75 podcasts:
- Worldcon75 podcast about epic fantasy with Edward James and Jyrki Korpua
- Worldcon75 podcast about gender in science fiction films and TV with Aino-Kaisa Koistinen and Andrew M. Butler
- Worldcon75 podcast about writing books in a second language with Aliette de Bodard and Emmi Itäranta
- Worldcon75 podcast about estrangement in speculative fiction with Gary K. Wolfe and John Clute
- Worldcon75 podcast about science fiction, cyber punk, writing and translating, with Ken Liu and Stanley Qiufan Chan
(6) OF WORLDCONS YET TO COME. JJ recommends the discussion on Reddit at NextWorldcon.
This subreddit is about the next Worldcon – and the ones after that one. You can talk about the ones that are confirmed and the ones that are still only bidding to become a Worldcon. To be completely hosnest, you can probably get away with talking about past Worldcons too, but the main focus here is the future.
This is also a good place to meet new people who are going to the next Worldcon and people who can offer good advice the host city for the next Worldcon or advice for people who has never been to Worldcon before.
(7) SFF ART HISTORY. Adam Roberts and Graham Sleight are working to fund publication of “Wonders and Visions: A Visual History of Science Fiction” through Unbound.
Our book tells the story of science fiction through its most iconic, beautiful, interesting and (sometimes) crass cover art: from the earliest days of publishing in the 19th-century, through the glory days of Pulp magazine covers and the Golden Age, into the endless visual experimentation of the New Wave and so to the post-Star Wars era, when a ‘visual logic’ comes to dominate not just science fiction but culture as a whole.
With over 350 full-colour images and more than 50,000 words of text this is more than simply an anthology of famous science fiction covers–it is an ambitious attempt to tell the whole history of the genre in a new way, and to make the case that science fiction art, from the sober future-visions of Chesley Bonestell, to the garish splendours of Hannes Bok, from the Magritte-like surrealism of Richard Powers, Frank Freas, Judith Clute, and Ed Emshwiller to the amazingly talented designers and artists of the 21st-century, exists as a vital and neglected mode of modern art as such.
… There will be three main types of entry. Firstly, there will be several hundred key covers: one or sometimes two images + plus 150-200 words of text, of the ten (or more) most iconic and recognisable covers from each decade of our history: from Wells and Verne to H Rider Haggard’s Barsoom and E E ‘Doc’ Smith’s Lensman, from Arthur C Clarke’s Childhood’s End and Asimov’s Foundation to Leigh Brackett and Joanna Russ’s Female Man, from Cyberpunk masterpieces by William Gibson and Pat Cadigan to dystopias by Octavia Butler and Cormac McCarthy, to twenty-first century SF.
Second there will be more extended visual comparative studies, one or two page spreads that compare multiple covers for the same book, to see the way different artists and publishers have approached the task of visualising some of the most famous novels in the history of the genre: The Day of the Triffids; Dune; Left Hand of Darkness and more, as well as surveys of the work of famous illustrators, or publishing houses.
Third there will be milestone entries: examples of groundbreaking or unusual covers, usually the first example of (among other things) a fine late 19th-century illustrated binding for a SF title; a garishly coloured SF magazine cover; a Golden Age fix-up paperback, a psychedelic 1960s New Wave title, a movie-tie-in; a graphic novel adaptation of a classic: Shelley’s Frankenstein as first SF novel; Auf Zwei Planeten as first Martian invasion; Time Machine as first time travel; Orphans of the Sky as the first Generation Starship novel; Leo and Diane Dillon’s illustrations for Ellison’s Dangerous Visions; early computer-generated SF art; and Metal Hurlant revolutionising the potential of SF comics.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- October 14, 1926 — A. A. Milne’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh, was published.
- October 14, 1947 — Charles Yeager, piloting a Bell X-1 jet, became the first person to break the sound barrier.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- John King Tarpinain says today’s The Argyle Sweater demonstrates another failed attempt to find a use for overly large garden produce.
- Nor does true romance run a smooth course at Bizarro.
- And then there was this premonition in 1966….
(10) PUMPKIN VINE. Is the wine good? Otherwise $1,600 it’s a lot of money to spend for a cute label: 2013 Stacked Jack Cabernet Sauvignon Etched 6L
This bottle is even more unique, as it features etched custom artwork. We affectionately refer to the label as “Stacked Jack,” was created by award-winning children’s book illustrator John Manders. Third generation family member and General Manager Nat Komes discovered John’s art while reading to his kids at the St. Helena library. Inspiration comes from many places!
(11) MUSIC OF THE FEARS. Remember that day Art Garfunkel went shopping with George Lucas? Their lovechild is on sale at BrainyTee.
(12) LOCKDOWN. The New York Times story “Twitter Users Split on Boycott Over Platform’s Move Against Rose McGowan” cited Brianna Wu:
Plenty of those participating in the protest came from outside the celebrity ranks.
“I love this platform, but it’s time to do better. See you all in 24 hours,” wrote Brianna Wu, a congressional candidate in Massachusetts
(13) MR. SCI-FI. Star Trek writer Marc Scott Zicree, Mr. Sci-Fi, spends a few minutes considering which is better, Star Trek: Discovery or The Orville. What do you think?
(14) EXHALE. The BBC reports how “NASA carbon space observatory ‘watches Earth breathe”.
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) tracked the behaviour of the gas in 2015/2016 – a period when the planet experienced a major El Niño event.
This climate phenomenon boosts the amount of CO2 in the air.
The US space agency’s OCO satellite was able to show how that increase was controlled by the response of tropical forests to heat and drought.
The forests’ ability to draw down carbon dioxide, some of it produced by human activity, was severely curtailed.
The science has significant implications because the kind of conditions associated with El Niños are expected to become much more common under global warming.
(15) BASED ON A SOMEWHAT TRUE STORY. NPR’s Mark Jenkins reports that “‘Professor Marston And The Wonder Women’ Is Strangely Subdued” — and loose with facts:
Sweet and rather silly, the movie is entertaining. It’s rarely persuasive, however, and generally seems like a missed opportunity.
Among the film’s most characteristically Hollywood traits is its rampant fictionalization. A complete accounting of the script’s liberties would require a dissertation, but it’s telling that Robinson has the Marstons meet Olive while she’s enrolled at Harvard/Radcliffe, where Bill is a professor and Elizabeth is a Ph.D candidate. In fact, Bill did get three degrees, and Elizabeth a master’s, from the university. But Bill didn’t teach, and Olive never studied, at Harvard or its sister school.
(16) PULLMAN PREVIEW. NPR delivers “First Read: Philip Pullman’s ‘The Book Of Dust'”.
Malcolm Polstead, the 11-year-old at the center of the story, sees a great deal of the secret life of Oxford from the perspective of the rivers and the canal in his canoe La Belle Sauvage. Here he witnesses something he’d never expected to see, and discovers something that will change his life.
— Philip Pullman
Malcolm let the canoe drift to a halt and then silently slipped in among the stiff stems and watched as a great crested grebe scrambled up onto the towpath, waddled ungracefully across, and then dropped into the little backwater on the other side.
(17) VIRTUAL CALORIES. BBC wants to show you “The city where the internet warms people’s homes”.
“The cloud” is a real place. The pictures you post on Instagram, the happy birthday wishes you leave on Facebook pages, and the TV shows you stream on Netflix aren’t living in a nebulous ball of condensation in the sky. They live on a massive series of servers – all connected together in rows and towers in giant warehouses.
Few people have ventured into these data centres. But in the Swedish capital Stockholm, I went inside these information labyrinths, and discovered that they’re not just housing data. All the heat they give off is helping to warm homes in the city of over 900,000 people. How does it work? And could it create a new business model for the tech industry worldwide?
(18) THE X IN MAISIE. Did you know Arya Stark is a mutant? In Marvel’s The New Mutants, in theaters April 13.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Mark-kitteh, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, David K.M. Klaus, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]