(1) BEST BITS. BBC Radio 4 is airing “The Best Bits of the Good Parts Version” by Stephen Keyworth based on The Princess Bride on Christmas Day, and it will be available online for some time afterwards.
“This is my favourite book in all the world, though I have never read it”. When William Goldman discovers The Princess Bride by S Morgenstern is not the swashbuckling fantasy his father read him as a child, but is in fact a patchy and extensive historical satire, he sets out to create the “Good Parts” version…
A tale of true love and high adventure featuring a fighting giant that loves to rhyme, a swordsman on the ultimate quest for revenge, a pirate in love with a princess, a princess in love with a farm boy and a prince in love with war.
First a novel, then a film, now an audio experience:
The Best Bits of the Good Parts Version by Stephen Keyworth.
A two-part dramatisation of swashbuckling adventure plus five bitesize backstories which can be enjoyed as stand-alone stories or to enhance your experience of the drama.
The Dramatisation: Part 1
Buttercup is the most beautiful woman in the world and she’s in love with a farm boy who is about to become the most notorious man in the world…
(2) RAMBO ACADEMY HOLIDAY SALE. Cat Rambo’s Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers holiday sale opens today and runs through January 1, 2022. All on-demand classes are $5 each for lifetime access, or there are bundles for those that don’t want to do a lot of clicking around in order to get everything.
She adds, “If finances are tight but there’s stuff you think would be useful to you, let me know. I’ve got Plunketts set aside for these as well.”
- The Basics: A Toolkit for Writing Fiction
- Character Building Workshop
- Deep Dive into Neopronouns
- Description and Delivering Information
- Different Kinds of Love
- Dunking Your Reader in the Details
- Epistolary Fiction
- Getting Your Pod On: Podcasting for Writers
- Hex-Engines and Spell-Slingers: Writing Steampunk and Weird Western
- Historical Research for Writers
- Literary Techniques for Genre Writers
- Moving from Idea to Finished Draft
- Old Stories Into New
- The Power of Words
- Principles for Pantsers
- Reading to an Audience Workshop
- Rewriting, Revising, and Fine-Tuning Your Fiction
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics for Writers
- To Space Opera and Beyond
- Twenty-ish Types of Terror: Writing Horror Subgenres
- Writing Flash Fiction
- Writing in the Cracks
- Writing Interactive Fiction
- Writing Your Way Into Your Novel
If you want to grab everything without clicking around, here’s the entire bundle for $120.
If you bought last year’s bundle and just want everything new from 2021, here’s the update bundle for $30.
*”Lifetime” here represents the life of the Teachable platform, although I have no reason to think it’s going away anytime soon.
(3) TIME IS OUT OF JOINT. New Year’s Day specials instead of Christmas specials – “Jodie Whittaker’s lost Doctor Who specials were missed opportunity” in the view of Radio Times’ Helen Daly.
…While Jodie Whittaker has finished filming Doctor Who and is in her final batch of episodes, it feels a little early to write her Doctor’s obituary just yet. With three extended specials still to go and around 10 months before she regenerates, we’re still very much in the Jodie Whittaker era, with more adventures to form our lasting opinion of her time in the TARDIS before she leaves.
However, we do now know one thing her Doctor will never do – star in a Christmas special. And frankly, that will always be a crying shame.
Uniquely among the modern Doctors (technically, Christopher Eccleston’s The Unquiet Dead is set at Christmas) Whittaker will never take on a 25th December-themed festive frolic, after showrunner Chris Chibnall opted to focus on New Year’s Day episodes instead….
(4) I’M BATMAN. “Michael Keaton to reprise ‘Batman’ role in HBO Max’s ‘Batgirl’ in 2022” says USA Today.
Good news for “Batman” fans: Michael Keaton is reprising his iconic role in the upcoming HBO Max movie, “Batgirl.”
Keaton, who starred in Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” and the 1992 sequel “Batman Returns,” is set to return as Bruce Wayne alongside Leslie Grace, who will play Batgirl, along with J.K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser and Jacob Scipio.
(5) WORD PILOT. Sultana Raza sent this excerpt from her article “Steering the Wheel of your Inner Creative/Writing Journey” which appeared in the Inner Circle Magazine.
Which form(s)/genre(s) suits your style best?
Many writers like experimenting at the beginning of their writing adventures. It may take a while to find your style, or (sub-)genre. George RR Martin published quite a few sci-fi books, which had a select following of SFF fans. But it’s only when he came up with A Song of Ice and Fire that he seemed to have found his sub-genre: sword and sorcery, or epic fantasy, since these best-sellers had a much wider appeal.
Some authors like to vary their styles, with novelist David Mitchell being a case in point. Since he’s incorporated many eras (from 1850 to the far future) in his novel, Cloud Atlas, he’s used the language of those particular eras and places to create the atmosphere of those times.
A strong clue to finding out which form/genre maybe the most suitable for your style would be to make a list of your favourite authors/poets. And to note down which forms/genres/styles attract you and why. Another way would be to see which of your styles got you the most positive feed-back. Yet another indication could be to notice which form comes the most easily to you. Or which one might be challenging, but gives you the most satisfaction.
(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
2009 — [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Twelve years ago, Sherlock Holmes premiered. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey, and Dan Lin. The screenplay was by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, and Simon Kinberg from a story idea by Wigram and Johnson.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law were a most excellent Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson with Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade and Andrew Jack provided the voice of Professor Moriarty.
Reception among critics was nearly unanimously enthusiastic with Roger Ebert saying “The Conan Doyle stories are still read, and probably always will be. Most readers get to at least a few. But among moviegoers on Christmas night (traditionally one of the busiest movie nights of the year), probably not so many. They will be unaware that this ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is cheerfully revisionist. They will be entertained, and so was I. The great detective, who has survived so much, can certainly shrug off a few special effects.” The box office was amazing was it did over a half billion against the ninety million it cost to produce. It currently had has a seventy-seven percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born December 25, 1924 — Rod Serling. Best remembered for the original and certainly superior Twilight Zone and Night Gallery with the former winning an impressive three Hugos. He’s also the screenwriter or a co-screenwriter for Seven Days in May, a very scary film indeed, as well as The New People series, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Town Has Turned to Dust, UFOs: Past, Present, and Future and Planet of the Apes. ISDB lists a lot of published scripts and stories by him. (Died 1975.)
- Born December 25, 1928 — Dick Miller. He’s appeared in over a hundred films including every film directed by Dante. You’ve seen him in both Gremlins, The Little Shop of Horrors, Terminator, The Howling, Small Soldiers, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Amazon Women on the Moon, the most excellent Batman: Mask of the Phantasm where he voiced the gravelly voiced Chuckie Sol and Oberon in the excellent “The Ties That Bind” episode of Justice League Unlimited. (Died 2019.)
- Born December 25, 1945 — Rick Berman, 76. Loved and loathed in equal measures, he’s known for his work as the executive producer of Next Gen, Deep Space Nine which is my fav Trek series, Voyager and Enterprise which he co-created with Brannon Braga. He’d be lead producer on the four Next Generation films: Generations which I find boring, First Contact (which I really like), Insurrection and Nemesis.
- Born December 25, 1952 — CCH Pounder, 69. She’s had one very juicy voice role running through the DC Universe from since Justice League Unlimited in 2006. If you’ve not heard her do this role, it worth seeing the animated Assault on Arkham Asylum which is far superior to the live action Suicide Squad film to hear her character which is Amanda “The Wall” Waller. She also had a recurring role as Mrs. Irene Frederic on Warehouse 13 as well. She’s also been in X-Files, Quantum Leap, the Gargoyles series, Millennium, House of Frankenstein and Outer Limits. Film-wise, she shows up in Robocop 3, Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and several of the forthcoming Avatar films.
- Born December 25, 1984 — Georgia Moffett, 37. She’s the daughter of actor Peter Davison, the man who was Fifth Doctor and she’s married to David Tennant who was the Tenth Doctor. She played opposite the Tenth Doctor as Jenny in “The Doctor’s Daughter” and in she voiced ‘Cassie’ in the animated Doctor Who: Dreamland which is now on iTunes and Amazon. And yes she’s in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot as herself.
- Born December 25, 1939 — Royce D. Applegate. His best known role was that of Chief Petty Officer Manilow Crocker on the first season of seaQuest DSV. He’s got appearances in Quantum Leap, Twin Peaks (where he played Rev. Clarence Brocklehurst), Tales of the Unexpected and Supertrain. Yes, Supertrain. (Died 2003.)
(8) WHAT A TANGLED WEBB. In the Washington Post, Joel Achenbach takes a long look at the James Webb Space Telescope, explaining what it’s designed to do, why it’s important, and the many ways the mission can fail in the two months before it becomes operational. “NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, poised to launch, will open a new window on the cosmos — if everything goes just right”.
NASA’s long-delayed James Webb Space Telescope, a $10 billion marvel of engineering and scientific ambition, is finally poised to rocket into deep space from a launchpad in French Guiana, on the northeast shoulder of South America. What happens in the following days and weeks will either change our understanding of the universe, or deliver a crushing blow to NASA and the global astronomical community.
The Webb must cruise for 29 days to a unique orbit around the sun that keeps it roughly 1 million miles from Earth, four times the distance to the moon. At launch — scheduled for 7:20 a.m. Saturday, Christmas morning — it will be folded upon itself, a shrouded package inside the cone of the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5 rocket. After it escapes Earth’s gravity, it must begin opening up, blossoming into a functioning telescope….
One scientist tweeted —
(9) LANNISTER, RETIRED. “Peter Dinklage on ‘Cyrano’ and Life After ‘Game of Thrones’” — a New York Times interview.
…Still, in a recent and wide-ranging conversation via video call, Dinklage told me that he has found life since “Game of Thrones” to be quite liberating: “You feel this void, but then you also go, ‘Oh, wow. I don’t have to do that, so what am I going to do next?’ That’s the exciting thing.”
Here are edited excerpts from our conversation.
In the ’90s, you gave an interview where you said, “What I really want is to play the romantic lead and get the girl.”
I think I was speaking more to the idea that they get to thread the whole narrative, and that’s sort of a joy. I had been playing a number of fun parts, but they were supporting parts. Behind the curtain of filmmaking, so much of it is continuity of character: If you come in for one or two scenes, you can just lay some dynamite, have some fun, and then you’re out of there, but there’s no real arc to your storytelling.
I think what’s fascinating about “Game of Thrones” and why a lot of actors are now drawn to television, is because they get to do that slow burn. For example, if you take the character of Tyrion’s brother Jaime, he pushes a little kid out the window at the end of the first episode, but two seasons later, he’s a hero to the audience. It’s like, did you forget he pushed a kid out the window? It’s crazy the way you can just surf this narrative and take it wherever you want to go. I got to do that with Tyrion and you get to do that in the movie if you’re the lead, though you have to condense it a little bit more….
(10) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl,” Fandom Games says the latest Pokemon retread is “appealing only to the person who has to have remastered versions of everything they own” and features Pokemon they call “Cocaine Smurf,” “Hit That Bongtopus,” “Baby Shark,” “Street Shark,” “UFC Shark” and “Greg.”
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat Rambo, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]