(1) TINGLE. It was brought to Chuck Tingle’s attention yesterday that the incoming president of RWA, Damon Suede, made a claim about him in a 2018 interview. Chuck lit him up.
(2) OPINIONS. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.] The staff of the Boston Public Library share their top ten science fiction (BostonPL_Top 10 Sci-Fi Novels of the 2010s), fantasy (BostonPL_Top Ten Fantasy Novels of the 2010s), and horror (BostonPL_Top Ten Horror Novels of the 2010s) novels of the decade, and their ten best books of the 2019 (BostonPL_BPL Staff Picks: Best Books of 2019; includes two genre works).
(3) JEFF VANDERMEER GOES TO A WORKSHOP. Hilarious. Thread starts here.
(4) YODABYES. Geek Girl Authority rounded up “Our Favorite Baby Yoda Fan Videos That Gave Us All the Emotions”.
In a matter of seconds, at the end of the first episode of The Mandalorian, pop culture and Star Wars fandom was changed forever. Baby Yoda was introduced to the universe and we’ll never be the same. The immediacy in which we fell in love with The Child has left an indelible mark. The eyes, the ears, the broth sipping… We were immediately in our feelings and could not climb out. And, thankfully, so were some very creative fans.
Lovestruck, creative fans put out some wonderfully clever and sublimely hilarious videos. They run the gamut of Christmas song remakes, Hamilton mash-ups to very original productions. Take a look, dive into your Baby Yoda emotions and enjoy!
And hey – I actually know one of the singers in The Mary Sues! (She’s my daughter’s aunt.)
(5) SUPER ADAPTATIONS. “The Top 10 Comic Book Movies of the Decade” listed by Let Your Geek Sideshow.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
And maybe it was the freedom to explore obscure characters without being tethered to the baggage of canon that gave this film an opportunity to stretch? Or perhaps it was Gunn’s propensity for infusing humor, heart, and a killer soundtrack into a movie about a dysfunctional family which could very well be the most relatable premise ever?
Whatever the reason, you’ve got to give the dude credit–after all, Gunn was so confident with his realized vision that he held on to the merchandise-friendly Baby Groot until the end credits.
(6) NO NEED TO PREDICT. “Kim Stanley Robinson: ‘What the hell do we write now?’” – the author is interviewed by New Statesman.
…Advisers to the Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have sought him out to discuss the environment. But he doesn’t like to think in terms of political parties: “I’d just say I’m an American leftist. The left’s an honourable tradition and a very broad band from Bill Clinton to Xi Jinping. Anything that seems to be progressive in a way that a social scientist or an ordinary person in the street could agree with: health insurance, a pension, and the right to a job.”
His outlook is rooted less in ideology and more in the lived experiences of landscape – specifically the boldly fragile beauty of California’s terraformed farms and coast. “California’s different: it’s the fifth biggest economy in the world, it’s the gold rush, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and it’s too lucky. I wish the whole United States was being led by California, that would get faster solutions. On the other hand, the inequality here is getting as bad as anywhere.”
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born December 28, 1913 — Charles Maxwell. He makes the Birthday List for being Virgil Earp in the “Spectre of the Gun”, a not terribly good Trek story. He also appeared in My Favorite Martian’s “An Old Friend of the Family” as the character Jakobar. His longest running genre role was as the Radio Announcer on Gilligan’s Island for which he was largely uncredited. Interestingly he had six appearances playing six different characters on the Fifties series Science Fiction Theatre. (Died 1993.)
- Born December 28, 1922 — Stan Lee. Summarizing his career is quite beyond my abilities. He created and popularized Marvel Comics in a way that company is thought to be the creation of Stan Lee in way that DC isn’t thought if of having of having a single creator. He co-created the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man, an impressive list by any measure. And it’s hardly the full list. I see he’s won Eisner and Kirby Awards but no sign of a Hugo. Is that correct? (Died 2018.)
- Born December 28, 1932 — Nichelle Nichols, 87. Uhura on Trek. She reprised her character in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Other film SF roles included Ruana in Tarzan’s Deadly Silence with Ron Ely as Tarzan, High Priestess of Pangea in The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space, Oman in Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes and Mystic Woman in American Nightmares. Other series appearances have been as Lieutenant Uhura and additional voices in the animated Trek, archive footage of herself in the “Trials and Tribble-ations” DS9 episode and as Captain Nyota Uhura In Star Trek: Of Gods and Men which may or may not be canon.
- Born December 28, 1934 — Maggie Smith, 85. First genre role was as Theis in Clash of the Titans. Much better known as Minerva McGonagall In the Harry Potter film franchise. She also played Linnet Oldknow in From Time to Time and voiced Miss Shepherd, I kid you not, in two animated Gnomes films.
- Born December 28, 1942 — Eleanor Arnason, 77. She won the Otherwise Award and the Mythopoeic Award for A Woman of the Iron People and also won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Short Fiction for “Dapple”. She’s a Wiscon Guest of Honor. I wholeheartedly recommend her Mammoths of the Great Plains story collection, which like almost all of her fiction, is available in the digital format of your choice.
- Born December 28, 1945 — George Zebrowski, 74. He won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for Brute Forces. He’s married to Pamela Sargent with whom he has co-written a number of novels, including Trek novels.
- Born December 28, 1970 — Elaine Hendrix, 49. I found a Munsters film I didn’t know about (big fan I am yes) and she’s Marilyn Munster in it: The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas. She later is Gadget Model 2 (G2) in Inspector Gadget 2. (Anyone watch these?) And she’s Mary in the animated Kids vs Monsters.
- Born December 28, 1978 — John Legend, 41. Several years back, Legend was Jesus Christ in of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice opera Jesus Christ Superstar which aired on NBC. He also voices Crow in the animated Crow: The Legend film.
- Born December 28, 1981 — Sienna Miller, 38. The Baroness in one of the endless G.I. Joe films I’ve no intention ever of seeing, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to be precise. More interestingly, she’s Victoria in the flawed but still worth seeing Stardust. (Go listen to Gaiman reading it for the best take on it — brilliant that is!) And she’s Darcy in Kis Vuk, A Fox’s Tale, a Hungarian-British animated tale that sounds quite charming.
- Born December 28, 1982 — Beau Garrett, 37. She made her genre appearances first in Turistas and Unearthed, definitely grade b horror films, before being Captain Raye in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Gem in Tron: Legacy.
- Born December 28, 1987 — Thomas Dekker, 32. He’s best known John Connor in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Zach on Heroes andAdam Conant on The Secret Circle. He also played Jesse Braun in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. He was also in ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 which might be one of the worse titles I’ve seen for a horror film….
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- Tom Gauld’s take on a recent newsmaking bit of punctuation.
(9) FAST DEATH. “Russia deploys Avangard hypersonic missile system” – BBC has the story.
Russia’s first regiment of Avangard hypersonic missiles has been put into service, the defence ministry says.
The location was not given, although officials had earlier indicated they would be deployed in the Urals.
President Vladimir Putin has said the nuclear-capable missiles can travel more than 20 times the speed of sound and put Russia ahead of other nations.
They have a “glide system” that affords great manoeuvrability and could make them impossible to defend against.
…Mr Putin said on Tuesday the Avangard system could penetrate current and future missile defence systems, adding: “Not a single country possesses hypersonic weapons, let alone continental-range hypersonic weapons.”
(10) IT’S FOR SCIENCE! NPR asks “Would You Lend Your Voice To Our Experiment?”
We need your help — and your voice.
From a robot in your phone to a smart speaker in your kitchen, voice-to-text algorithms are moving into more and more aspects of our lives.
But how well do they understand English speakers of all backgrounds? We’re running an experiment to find out.
This is where you come in: Record yourself speaking (we’ll give you prompts), send us the clips and we’ll have the machines interpret them. It doesn’t matter if you know of or have used the devices or services we’re testing. If you can speak, we’d like to hear from you.
Here’s the link to the experiment: https://npr.forms.fm/voice-crunching
A podcast based on a 1930 American horror story has been relocated due to fresh inspiration from “rural English mythology” and an alleged UFO sighting.
The BBC Sounds podcast The Whisperer in Darkness features reports by US airmen who claimed to have seen a UFO in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk in 1980.
Writer Julian Simpson visited drama locations in Suffolk with actress Jana Carpenter before penning the series.
His version is loosely based on the novella set in Vermont by HP Lovecraft.
(12) VIRAL TENTACLES. This animatronic has gone viral.
(13) DISNEY EXEC PROFILED. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Behind a paywall in the November 23 Financial Times, Emma Jacobs profiles Walt Disney Animation Studios president Jennifer Lee.
“Ms Lee knows something about identifying with animated heroes. The 48-year-old has described growing up in Rhode island on “a poor street in a rich town: where she was tormented by schoolyard bullies, In Disney’s Cinderella, Ms Lee found comfort in a character who ensured cruel mistreatment before finding happiness. The bullying left her plagued with self-doubt. ‘People talk about the dangers of rose coloured glasses,’ she said. ‘But let me tell you, the lenses of self-doubt are far worse. They are nasty. Thick and filthy.”
….”Ms. Lee once wrote that the hardest part of being a female director was not the legacy of Disney or making herself heard in a room full of men. Rather it was the red carpet. ‘I didn’t know that being a size 2…might as well be a size 92 to the elite designers; I have never wanted to be an animated character so badly.'”.
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “I’m a Lunatic Chef That Cooks Food Using Explosives.”
The master chef’s guide to serving up steaks to customers extra extra extra extra extra extra extra well done, whether they asked for it or not. This is also Cooking Simulator’s July 4 2019 update that adds some festive things for destroying your kitchen even faster.
[Thanks To Chip Hitchcock, James Davis Nicoll, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, StephenfromOttawa, John King Tarpinian, N., and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Warner.]