(1) A DREAM. Pat Cadigan on Facebook:
It’s Christmas Eve, and you know what that means––it’s time for my favourite Christmas story!
One night, Confucius had a dream about chopsticks…..
(2) THE CASE FOR EMAIL. NASA calculated the surprising amount of money it would cost to send a Christmas card to Mars.
Next: they can calculate how much it will cost to send someone to receive the card on Mars. (With and without potatoes.)
(3) DECK THE TARDIS. Alex Kingston and Matt Lucas kick off the holiday.
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) December 24, 2015
(4) THAT SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR. And the Doctor Who Christmas Special is just hours away. Here are two previews.
The Doctor reunites with River – The Husbands of River Song – Doctor Who Christmas Special – BBC
“Are You The Surgeon?” – The Husbands of River Song Preview – Doctor Who Christmas 2015 – BBC
(5) ART APPRECIATION. An sf art collector discusses a cover artist of the Golden Age — “Hubert Rogers’ Astounding Covers — And His Fascinating Correspondence with Robert A. Heinlein and L. Sprague de Camp” by Doug Ellis at Black Gate.
At IlluxCon this past October, one of our major purchases was a pulp painting by artist Hubert Rogers. Rogers was Astounding Science Fiction’s primary cover artist from late 1939 to early 1952, with a break from 1943 through 1946 due to World War II (which he spent in Canada painting war posters and other paintings related to the war). We’d made arrangements over the summer to buy it from a friend of ours, who had owned it for many years, and he drove it up to IlluxCon with him so we could complete the deal.
Ellis maximizes the visual interest of his post with copies of the covers, and reproductions of several letters from L. Sprague De Camp and Robert A. Heinlein.
One of the Heinlein’s 1941 letters to Hubert Rogers says —
I will be interested to see how you have conceived the character Lazarus Long in my new serial I thought of him as looking a good deal like Carl Sandburg, earthy and robust, but not tall. My wife says he likes like an Uncle Sam with a dash of Doctor E. E. Smith. We are anxious to find out what he actually does look like.
(6) Today In History
- December 24, 2011 – Cheetah, chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s, died on this date. Your monkey’s mileage may vary.
(7) Today’s Birthday Boy
- December 24, 1910 – Fritz Leiber
(8) SPACE CHOW. “Christmas dinner on the International Space Station: What do the astronauts eat?” in The Independent.
Nasa tends to dominate the operations on the ISS, so the Christmas food is more typically American – turkey, green beans, sweet potatoes and cornbread are staples, and they’re all served out of small plastic packages that can be heated up in a special onboard oven.
However, Russia also has a strong presence in space, so there is some regional variation – Cloeris said the Russians have some “really good mashed potatoes,” as well as excellent cranberry sauce.
(9) AND FOR DESSERT. “Oh, Just a Gingerbread House Rendition of the Overlook Hotel from ‘The Shining’” at Messy Nessy Chic.
Nothing says “Happy Holidays” quite like a cult horror movie turned miniature winter wonderland in the form of everybody’s favourite Christmas cookie! Come play with us…
(10) THESE AREN’T THE DROIDS I’M LOOKING FOR. Why would George R.R. Martin (“Puppies at Christmas”) endorse Sad Puppies 4 in advance of seeing what they actually do, unless he believes the power of suggestion can make it so?
For decades now, LOCUS and NESFA and other fan groups have produced reading lists at year’s end, long lists generated by recommendations from their editors/ members/ etc. If at the end of this process, Sad Puppies 4 puts forth a similar list, one that has room for BOTH Larry Correia and Ann Leckie, I don’t think anyone could possibly object. I won’t, certainly. A list like that would not be a slate, and the whole “slate voting” thing will become moot.
And that would be great. That would mean no Puppygate II. That would mean a spirited literary debate about writers and books without the acrimony and the name-calling. From that debate a truly democratic and diverse ballot could emerge, one that represents all tastes. That would mean no ‘No Awards’ at Big MAC II, and the Hugo ceremony could once again become a joyous celebration of the best and brightest in our field.
In my post-worldcon blog post last August 31 (( http://grrm.livejournal.com/440444.html )) I expressed the hope that the ugliness of 2015 could be left behind, that Fandom and Puppydom could coexist in peace. That’s still my hope. And right now I am feeling a little more hopeful than I was in August. People are talking books, not trading epithets…
(11) DOCTOR HOOEY. Or will this turn out about as well as people expect? In the comments on Kate Paulk’s “Hugo Category Highlight: Best Fan Writer”, Dr. Mauser pleads for even more attention….
(12) PRODUCTION NUMBER. “California Christmastime,” from Rachel Bloom and the cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]