Abbreviated Scroll after a busy day of family celebrations.
(1) A BIG FISH TAIL. No, Jason Momoa is not the first actor to portray Aquaman in a live-action film (SYFY Wire: “How a $10,000 1984 fan film became the world’s first Aquaman movie”).
Warner Bros.’ Aquaman is poised to make a super splash this weekend as DC’s oft-maligned underwater wonder makes his solo feature debut. The $160 million fantasy adventure, directed by Saw and Insidious franchise helmer James Wan, already boasts optimistic box office predictions, targeting a $65 million opening.
But long before Jason Momoa emerged as the charismatic King of Atlantis in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2017’s Justice League, and, now, Aquaman, an officially authorized, $10,000 fan film became the world’s first Aquaman movie.
The film in question is on YouTube here. It runs about 20 minutes. I haven’t watched it – you’re on your own!
(2) SILVER BELLS. Galactic Journey’s Victoria Silverwolf celebrates the coming year at the newsstand: “[December 23, 1963] Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New (January 1964 Fantastic)”.
The Lords of Quarmall, by Fritz Leiber and Harry Fischer
You may not know the name Harry Fischer. A new writer, perhaps? Well, not exactly. In fact, Fischer created the famous characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in a letter to his friend Leiber nearly three decades ago. Since then, of course, the great fantasist has made the pair of adventurers his own. In 1937, Fischer wrote about ten thousand words of a novel. Leiber completed it, and it appears here for the first time.
Quarmall is a strange kingdom. Its ruler lives in a keep above ground, but the rest of his realm lies deep down below. He has two adult sons. One reigns over the upper half of this underground land, the other the lower half. The brothers are bitter rivals, each trying to destroy the other through treachery and magic. They also plot against their father. He, in turn, hopes to eliminate his sons and leave his kingdom to the unborn child of a concubine.
Unknown to each other, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are each hired as a swordsman by one of the brothers. When the king’s archmage announces the death of his master, the conflict between the siblings explodes into open warfare….
(3) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born December 23, 1945 – Raymond E. Feist, 73. Best known for the Riftwar series. The only novel I’ve read by him is was Faerie Tale, a dark fantasy set in the state of New York, which is one damn scary work.
- Born December 23, 1971 – Corey Haim. You’ll most likely remember him from the Lost Boys but he had a long career in genre film after that with roles in Watchers, Prayer of the Roller Boys, Fever Lake, Lost Boys: The Tribe (no, I’ve never heard of heard it) and Do Not Disturb. He showed in two series, PSI Factor and Merlin. (Died 2010.)
(4) COMICS SECTION.
- #TimesUpSanta at Pearls Before Swine.
- John A Arkansawyer explains, “The strip is there, big as day, but you have to mouse over for the Christmas greeting. I’m sorry he’s not updating as regularly as he did, but this week and last week were both very fine send-ups of supercliches. Maybe it’s just as well that we have to wait longer for longer, consistently good strips” — The Non-Adventures of Wonderella.
(5) MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS. Mike Kennedy asks, “Is it just me, or does the idea of parallel walls comprising a whole-body security scanner (Wired: “Super-Fast Airport Scanners Are Coming—Eventually”) remind you, too, of the scene in the original Total Recall where Arnold Schwarzenegger is spotted carrying a gun into a restricted area? I wonder if they can get these wholesale?”
Some passengers traveling through Denver International Airport this holiday season are in for a treat—or what amounts to a treat in today’s high-throughput, high-stress security environment. As they go through TSA screening, they’ll be able to keep their hands at their sides because of a new type of rapid body scanner. Instead of standing sideways in a plastic tube while a scanner shwoop shwoops around them, Denver fliers will step between two white plastic walls, about 4 feet apart. There are no moving parts, and the scan takes less than a second; if all is clear, the passenger moves on. The Denver scanner is built by Rohde & Schwarz, which also has a system up and running in Cologne Bonn Airport, Germany.
Not having to raise your arms over your head is a tiny improvement, but it’s a big deal for people with limited mobility. And saving even a second per person adds up to shorter lines for everyone. The new scanner is an example of the booming, maturing field of full-body scanners. They are based on millimeter-wave technology, and they’re giving security personnel the equivalent of Superman’s x-ray vision. (But without the x-ray radiation concerns.)
(6) WHAT SHAT. Mr Bill says, “Ohh Nooo!!!” The headline in The Independent (“William Shatner criticises ‘hysterical’ Me Too movement: ‘Women use it as a weapon’”) really sounds bad. It’s up to you to read the article and find out if he’s being taken out of context or is seriously stepping in it.
(7) ANOTHER PILE. BBC overheard this one: “Sending astronauts to Mars would be stupid, astronaut says”.
One of the first men to orbit the Moon has told BBC Radio 5 Live that it’s “stupid” to plan human missions to Mars.
Bill Anders, lunar module pilot of Apollo 8, the first human spaceflight to leave Earth’s orbit, said sending crews to Mars was “almost ridiculous”.
Nasa is currently planning new human missions to the Moon.
It wants to learn the skills and develop the technology to enable a future human landing on Mars.
Nasa was approached for a response to Anders’ comments, but hasn’t responded.
Anders, 85, said he’s a “big supporter” of the “remarkable” unmanned programmes, “mainly because they’re much cheaper”. But he says the public support simply isn’t there to fund vastly more expensive human missions.
“What’s the imperative? What’s pushing us to go to Mars?” he said, adding “I don’t think the public is that interested”.
(8) FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS. Patti Abbott returns with links to the following reviews at her blog: “Friday ‘s Forgotten Books, December 21, 2018”.
- Frank Babics, SENTENCED TO PRISM, Alan Dean Foster
- Les Blatt, MORE MURDER IN A NUNNERY, Eric Shepherd
- Brian Busby, BEST BOOKS read in 2018
- Kate Jackson/CrossExaminingCrime. MYSTERY IN WHITE. J. Jefferson Farjeon
- Martin Edwards, FIVE ROUNDABOUTS TO HEAVEN, Francis Iles
- Rich Horton, THE CONFIDENCE MAN, HIS MASQUERADE, Herman Melville
- Jerry House, THE CALIGARI COMPLEX, Basil Copper; THE SECRET OF SHARK REEF by “William Arden” (Dennis Lynds)
- George Kelley, TIED UP IN TINSEL, Ngaio Marsh
- Margot Kinberg, ALL SHE WAS WORTH, Miyuke Miyabi
- Rob Kitchin, COP HATER, Ed McBain; SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, Kurt Vonnegut
- B.V. Lawson, DANGLE, Meg Elizabeth Atkins
- Evan Lewis, THE KING’S COAT, Dewey Lambdin
- Todd Mason, “The Faithless”, a novella by John D. MacDonald, plus stories by James McKimmey, Jr. et al.: REDBOOK, May 1958
- J.F. Norris, THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS GHOST STORIES, V. 3, edited by Simon Stern
- Mike Lind/Only Detect, CHARLIE CHAN: HIS UNTOLD STORY, Yunte Huang
- Matt Paust, THE DEATH OF MR. LOMAS, Francis Vivian James Reasoner, LONGARM AND THE COLDEST TOWN IN HELL, Tabor Evans Richard Robinson, A HOLIDAY FOR MURDER, Agatha Christie Gerard Saylor, THE TOMB, F. Paul Wilson Andi Shechter, NO HUMAN INVOLVED, Barbara Seranella
- Kevin Tipple, FLASHBACK, Ted Wood
- TomCat, “Time Wants a Skeleton”, Ross Rocklynne
- TracyK, THE SHORTEST DAY, Jane Langton
(9) VIDEO OF THE DAY. James Cordon: 22 Musicals In 12 Minutes w/ Lin Manuel Miranda & Emily Blunt. Daniel Dern says, “No real sfnal aspect here, but hey, who doesn’t love a quick zoom through great musical moments…and see the current ‘Ms. Poppins’ strut some other stuff.”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, John A Arkansawyer, Todd Mason, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.] n Locked=