(1) RABBIT CAST MULTIPLYING. More celebrities join the Watership Down warren: “Daniel Kaluuya, Rosamund Pike Join Animated Netflix/BBC Miniseries ‘Watership Down'”.
The latest adaptation of Richard Adams’ classic allegorical bunny adventure novel will be a CGI series, with John Boyega, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult and Ben Kingsley previously announced as voicing a group of rabbits, led by the brave Hazel (McAvoy) and visionary Fiver (Hoult). Written by Tom Bidwell, the series also will feature the vocal talents of Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace), Freddie Fox (Pride), Anne-Marie Duff (Suffragette), Miles Jupp (The Thick of It) and Olivia Colman, it was previously revealed.
The story follows a group of rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way.
Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther) will voice Bluebell; Pike (A Private War, Gone Girl) will voice The Black Rabbit of Inle; Egerton will voice El-Ahrairah; and Capaldi will voice the seagull Kehaar. Other new voice talent includes Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians, Humans) as Dewdrop, Tom Wilkinson (Selma) as Threarah and Rory Kinnear (Skyfall) as Cowslip,
(2) TOO MUCH SUGAR IN THAT PLUM. The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney really doesn’t like it: “‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’: Film Review”.
Disney’s attempt to wrestle E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 story and the perennially popular Tchaikovsky ballet into a fairy tale with a modern attitude is like one of those big, elaborately decorated, butter cream-frosted cakes that looks delicious but can make you quite ill. Something else that The Nutcracker and the Four Realms calls to mind is those mechanized holiday department store windows, stuffed with so many busy elements you can barely take them all in before some obnoxious kid behind you is nudging you to keep the line moving. So much attention has been lavished on the sumptuous visuals that the story and characters are suffocated.
(3) CROWDFUNDED DEPARTURE. Amazing Stories contributor Susan Sussman has launched a GoFundMe appeal to get her family out of Venezuela. Steve Davidson hopes everyone will help:
Susana Sussmann, author, conference organizer, editor and contributor to the Amazing Stories blog (read her posts here), is trying to get her family out of strife torn Venezuela and she needs our help.
She and her husband have secured job offers in Germany and have opened up a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to help her get to that job and her family to safer environs.
Susana and family have been caught up in and affected by Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis (information on which can be found here.) Her son needs medical and educational support which is simply no longer available to the family,
(4) EARLY REPUBLICAN. Camestros Felapton engages Plato in “Dialogue: Thessaly by Jo Walton”. Some say we don’t have great fan writers like this anymore – but we do!
[Warning on themes around sexual violence and consent]…
Camestros: You are a man of contradictions, Plato! You scorn poetry and yet you are the most poetic of classical philosophers. You fear fiction but you literally include made-up stories in your model civilisation and call them noble lies! In Western history, you are arguably the first person to invent a story and overlay claim that you just made it up and that it wasn’t actually based on an existing myth or history!
Plato: But those myths are for the purpose of instruction and improvement of the mind. The fictions you tell me about these “science fictions” are untruths about knowledge! What was that last one with the Olympic gods and thinking machines and the works of your island’s Homer? This new book you have better not be like that one.
Camestros: That would be Olympus and Illium by Dan Simmons. Well, there are some similarities. There are some excellent robot characters, as well as the gods of Olympus and both books discuss arete. However, Walton’s book is genuinely concerned with examining your ideas, rather than just exploring the Greek pantheon.
…Plato: Before we part company, can you tell me where I might find these books we have been discussing? It may be that you have at last brought me something worthy of my interest?
Camestros: Oh, you get them from Amazon!
Plato: The great warrior women are now booksellers! What wonders you era brings!
(4) YOUR NAME HEAR. This thread summarizes World Fantasy Con’s panel about podcasting – starts here.
Podcasts help create buzz, several authors got nominated for awards shortly after their stories were made into podcasts.
— Setsu U @ #WFC44 (@KatanaPen) November 2, 2018
(5) MONSTER SCIENCE. Amusing podcast from Harvard Dept. of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology on the science of big monsters: “Veritalk: Monsters Episode 3 – King Kong vs. Gravity”. There’s also a transcript.
AFP: So this really busts the idea of having King Kong. We couldn’t have an ape the size of a skyscraper that just wouldn’t work at all.
SCS: I think both King Kong and Godzilla, at the very least they would have to be built very differently than what we typically see as a lizard or a or a primate. They would definitely have to remodel their body shape in order to support that much weight.
AFP: So, if you’re big?—?you need lots of oxygen, a long life, and industrial-strength limbs. But if you want to survive, you also need to eat.
SCS: I mean, this is one of the things that worries me the most about Godzilla. If you just go into Tokyo and you start smashing things, at some point you get hungry. And as a carnivore that means you have to hunt. But all of the prey that are available are so tiny with respect to your size?—?and being big requires a lot of energy. The largest animal on the planet, the blue whale, it is still technically a carnivore. It spends its life eating krill, which are these small crustaceans. But a blue whale has to take in something like eight thousand pounds of food every single day. I have no idea how long it would take me to eat eith thousand pounds of food but every single day that’s what it has to do just to stay alive and keep swimming.
AFP: Right. You would have to eat a lot of bus loads full of people before you feel a little bit full.
SCS: Many, many busloads. yeah. [laughs]
(6) FOR COMICS GOURMANDS. Among the stacks of comics coming to Marvel Unlimited this month:
Thor Odinson. Steve Rogers. Tony Stark. The Big Three of the Avengers are reunited at last! And just in time to save the world from total annihilation at the hands of their most powerful enemies yet: the 2000-foot-tall space gods known as Celestials. Behold the coming of the Final Host. Who will answer the call to assemble for a wild new era of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Hint: one of them has a flaming skull for a head. And what strange, world-shaking connection exists between the Final Host and Odin’s ancient band of Prehistoric Avengers?
(7) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. Paul DiFilippo has reproduced Ray Bradbury’s 1984 “A Salute to Superman” at Theinferior4. Paul rightly says, “I doubt this has seen the light of day in 35 years.”
(8) CLI-FI NEWS. “Amazon launches climate change sci-fi series about ‘possible tomorrows’” – The Hill has the story.
Amazon Original Stories, an Amazon Publishing imprint, this week launched a sci-fi series about “possible tomorrows” in a United States ravaged by climate change.
The series, called “Warmer,” includes seven books that explore fictional stories about characters fighting to survive despite rising temperatures, floods, ice storms and rising sea levels.
“’Warmer’ is our first collection of topical fiction, an area where we plan to keep expanding next year with collections of socially-attuned suspense stories, tales of dating after #MeToo, and more,” Original Stories’ editorial director Julia Sommerfeld said in an interview with Publishing Perspectives.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]
- November 2, 1913 – Burton Stephen Lancaster, Actor who played Dr. Paul Moreau in the 1977 film The Island of Dr. Moreau, which also featured genre favorite Michael York. His only other genre appearance is in Field of Dreams as Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham.
- November 2, 1927 – Steve Ditko, Artist and Illustrator who began his career working in the studio of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, during which he began his long association with Charlton Comics, and which led to his creating the Captain Atom character. Did I mention that DC absorbed that company as it did so many others? Now he’s best known as the artist and co-creator, with Stan Lee, of the Marvel Comics superheroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. For Charlton and also DC itself, including a complete redesign of Blue Beetle, and creating or co-creating The Question, The Creeper, Shade the Changing Man, and Hawk and Dove, all characters in use to this day, he was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990, and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Born November 2, 1942 – Stefanie Powers, 76, Actor whose best known genre role has been as the lead, April Dancer, in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., a spinoff from the original TV series which lasted one season. Other appearances include a crossover guest role on episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, the horror movies Someone Is Watching, The Astral Factor (aka Invisible Strangler), Ellery Queen: Don’t Look Behind You, and Fanatic, and the Transformers Bumblebee predecessor, Herbie Rides Again. She played aviation pioneer Beryl Markham in the movie A Shadow on the Sun.
- Born November 2, 1949 – Lois McMaster Bujold, 69, Writer and Fan who has won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein’s record (not counting his Retro Hugo). Quite impressive that, especially given the multitudes of other awards her works have received. Bujold’s works largely comprises three separate book series: the Vorkosigan Saga, the Chalion series (aka The World of Five Gods), and the Sharing Knife series – the first two of which have won the Hugo Best Series Award. Starting out in fandom, she joined the Central Ohio Science Fiction Society, and with Lillian Stewart Carl, co-published StarDate, a Star Trek fanzine in which a story of hers appeared under the byline Lois McMaster. To this day, she has great engagement with her fans through the blog she maintains on GoodReads. She has been Guest of Honor at dozens of conventions including the 2008 Worldcon, and she has been presented the Skylark Award for achievement in imaginative fiction.
- Born November 2, 1952 – David Andrews, 66, Actor probably best known in genre for his role as Claire Danes’ father the Army General in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. He also played Astronaut Pete Conrad in Apollo 13, and had roles in World War Z, Stealth, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cherry 2000, and Graveyard Shift.
- Born November 2, 1957 – Michael Bailey Smith, 61, Stuntman and Actor, he’s appeared in multitude of genre films and TV shows, including The Fantastic Four, Babylon 5, Star Trek: Voyager, The X-Files, Seven Days, Roswell, Men In Black II, and the Emperor: Battle for Dune video game.
- Born November 2, 1959 – Peter Mullan, 59, Actor and Filmmaker from Scotland whose first genre role is in FairyTale: A True Story, which is based very loosely based on the story of the Cottingley Fairies (and which makes for interesting reading, if you have the time). He played Corban Yaxley in both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and is currently in a recurring role on the Westworld series as the James Delos character.
- Born November 2, 1968 – Samantha Ferris, 50, Actor from Canada who had starring role on the TV series The 4400, a recurring role as Supernatural, and guest roles in episodes of The New Addams Family, Stargate SG-1, V, First Wave, Smallville, The Collector, and Battlestar Galactica
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Frank and Ernest find a little Dickens keeps ‘em tickin’.
- Horrible internet pun features in today’s Questionable Content.
(11) WHAT THEY HEAR. Something to keep in mind when you’re in New Zealand for the 2020 Worldcon –
Kiwi gold! https://t.co/EqO5f2HWSH
— John (@JohnAqel) November 2, 2018
(12) READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP. NASA has published a composite image of Bennu—the clearest look yet at the near-Earth asteroid that’s being visited in about a month. (Gizmodo: “NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Captures Stunning View of Asteroid Bennu Ahead of Arrival”). Even with the fancy processing, Bennu is still only about 100 pixels wide.
More than two years after its launch, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has beamed back what the space agency is calling a “super-resolution” view of the asteroid Bennu. OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s exciting mission to near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu, which the spacecraft is set to reach in about a month, to collect and bring back a sample to help scientists better understand the origins of the Solar System.
The close-up of Bennu was created with a series of images taken on October 29 and shared by the space agency earlier this week. NASA used eight images snapped by the spacecraft from roughly 205 miles away to create a super-clear composite image.
“The spacecraft was moving as it captured the images with the PolyCam camera, and Bennu rotated 1.2 degrees during the nearly one minute that elapsed between the first and the last snapshot,” NASA said this week. “The team used a super-resolution algorithm to combine the eight images and produce a higher resolution view of the asteroid. Bennu occupies about 100 pixels and is oriented with its north pole at the top of the image.”
(13) PROFESSORS PHONING IT IN. BBC announces “‘Hologram’ lecturers to teach students at Imperial College London”.
Imperial will initially limit its use to its Business School’s activities but expects the technology could eventually become common.
“The alternative is to use video-conferencing software but we believe these holograms have a much greater sense of presence,” Dr David Lefevre, director of Imperial’s Edtech Lab, told the BBC.
(14) SWAG. Steven Hager registered at World Fantasy Con and took a photo of his free bag of books.
Alma Katsu gave a peek at what’s inside –
Huge bag of books in World Fantasy Con bag! Stay tuned for a giveaway#wfc2018 pic.twitter.com/8fF1ZG6QS3
— Alma Katsu (@almakatsu) November 2, 2018
(15) I’VE SEEN DEFACE BEFORE. Scott Edelman asks people to be on the lookout for the suspect –
(16) POST-APOCALYPTO. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The final episode of Post-Apocalypto, an explicit animated series from rock duo Tenacious D (Jack Black & Kyle Gass) has been released and with it the same-named album (Billboard: “Tenacious D Premiere Their Hilarious ‘Post-Apocalyptic’ Album: Listen”). The animated series is hand drawn by Black and “follows the hilarious antics of two friends, voiced by Black and Gass, after the world is destroyed by an atomic bomb.”
The new album brings listeners on a sonic journey through the series and features Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl on drums. Post-Apocalypto is the duo’s fourth LP and first release since 2012’s Rize of the Fenix.
Samples of all 21 tracks (some spoken dialog; some played/sung) of the album can be streamed at the Billboard article. Full disclosure: I tired the first few samples and didn’t much care for it, so I didn’t finish the samples. I also watched the first of the six animated episodes (“Hope”) and found it less than hilarious (eliciting a few mild chuckles at best). YMMV.
(17) X-NUMBER OF SHOPPING DAYS LEFT. Here’s a gift for the sff fans on your list: “Calamityware Mugs: Things Could Be Worse (Set of 4)”. (Artist Don Moyer has all kinds of appealing designs at Calamityware.)
No matter how bad your day is going, these beautiful porcelain mugs graciously remind you things could be much worse. You could also be chased by UFOs, pestered by pirates, or plagued by giant frogs.
One set of four identical 12-ounce (355 mL) porcelain mugs adorned with Don Moyer’s multi-calamity drawing. These mugs are made and decorated by the award-winning Kristoff Porcelain workshop in Poland using the traditional in-glaze technique. That means the image is slightly melted into the surface like the fine porcelain you see in museums.
…These porcelain mugs feature Don’s drawing of a traditional blue-willow paradise discombobulated by more than a dozen calamities, perils, and pests. You’ll find…
• hairy fiend
• giant frog
• unpleasant blob creature
• voracious sea monster
• agressive pterodactyls
• rambunctious robots
• zombie poodle
and other suspicious animals and shrubs.
(18) EXCLUSIVE CLUB. Your mission should you choose to accept it….
I would also like to welcome @RoanhorseBex, author of Trail of Lightning, to the small but elite cadre of writers w/'lightning' in their book titles, who now have to spend the rest of their careers explaining the difference between 'lightening' and 'lightning.' ? pic.twitter.com/FetocIElyy
— Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) June 27, 2018
(19) A WARNING FROM SFWA.
Indie writers, we are hearing early rumors that the recent Bowker outage was due to a hacking incident. If you use Bowker, please be aware that your credit card and passwords may be compromised, and be cautious if you receive ransom emails — apparently they are bogus.
— Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (@sfwa) November 1, 2018
(20) SHADOW OF DEATH. Shadow puppets tell the story in a one-hour Frankenstein at Public Theater, January 3-12 in New York.
Love, loss, and creation merge in unexpected ways in this thrilling classic gothic tale conceived by Manual Cinema. Stories of Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein, and his Monster expose how the forces of family, community, and education shape personhood—or destroy it by their absence.
Internationally-renowned multimedia company Manual Cinema stitches together the classic story of FRANKENSTEIN with Mary Shelley’s own biography to create an unexpected story about the beauty and horror of creation. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mlex, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Olav Rokne, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]