(1) SAG AWARDS. Genre productions were virtually absent from the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Awards except in the stunt work categories.
Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: “Mad Max”
Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series: “Game of Thrones”
(2) GUARDIANS SEQUEL. “’Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’: James Gunn Says He’s Cast the Villains and Star Lord’s Father” at Collider.
James Gunn is killing it on social media. The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director has made himself unusually accessible to fans, especially considering he’s at the helm of a massive franchise for a studio known for its secrecy. But Gunn can pull it off because he’s managed to find the fine line between satisfying fan curiosity without actually giving anything away.
I called it Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 because Guardians of the Galaxy: Dusk of the Rising Shadows is a paragraph.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 29, 2016
(3) FLIPPING BATMEN. Adam-Troy Castro has a very funny idea for “Making Batman Say, ‘Uhhhhhh, What?’”.
You know what would be really, really grotesque?
Switching Batmen and their Gotham Cities.
Imagine plopping Adam West’s Batman down in the dark and corrupt Gotham of, among other creators, Frank Miller, where half the cops are on the take and all the villains are not just colorful lunatics but mass murderers; imagine him fighting, for instance, the Joker of Scott Snyder’s DEATH OF THE FAMILY, or the one played by Heath Ledger.
Conversely, imagine the grim and militaristic Batman of ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN in the Gotham of Lorenzo Semple Jr., where all the crimes are whimsical and campy and Commissioner Gordon has all the competence of a turtle lying on his back.
This would lead to some fun scenes.
FRANK MILLER BATMAN: “There’s nothing about you I can’t fix, Joker…with my hands…”
CESAR ROMERO JOKER (Disconcerted): “Umm, what?”
ADAM WEST BATMAN: “I’m just an ally of this fine city’s fine, upstanding police force!”
BURT WARD ROBIN: “Gosh, Batman! You’re right!”
JIM GORDON: (Disconcerted) “Ummm, what?”
And Castro continues…
(4) LE GUIN DOCUMENTARY SEEKS FUNDING. Worlds of UKL is doing fundraising for a prospective documentary about Ursula K. Le Guin.
Jayn, who sent the link, mischieviously swears, “I have no connection with the production beyond also thinking that Le Guin deserves a documentary about her (and possibly also a Nobel Prize for Literature and the throne of an Empress.)” Well, who doesn’t agree with that?
Director Arwen Curry wrote on Facebook about a Kickstarter appeal that begins soon.
As I announced a while back, the NEH recently awarded Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin a major production grant. We’re so excited to finish filming and get into the edit room. But the NEH won’t release the funding until we raise the rest of the budget. On January 31, we will do a “soft launch” of a Kickstarter campaign, inviting friends and family to help support this important film. We hope to have a respectable sum when the press announces the campaign to the public on February 1. Can you help now by reaching out to your reading groups, your Facebook pages, and your best geek pals and asking them to ‘like” Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin? Thank you!
(5) STOKER BUST. Neil Gaiman is supporting Bryan Moore’s campaign to have a bust of Bram Stoker created in time for World Dracula Day.
As we previously reported, noted sculptor Bryan Moore has launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help fund his latest project, a gorgeous bronze bust of DRACULA author Bram Stoker, a project formed in collusion with the Dublin Writer’s Museum and geared to tie into World Dracula Day on May 26th, 2016.
And now, author and dark visionary Neil Gaiman, the man behind such works as SANDMAN, CORALINE and AMERICAN GODS is among the project’s most famous backers.
“We’re incredibly grateful for Mr. Gaiman’s kindness and generosity” says Moore, the sculptor who has successfully crowdfunded efforts to place busts of H.P. Lovecraft at the Providence Athenaeum Library in Rhode Island and Edgar Allan Poe in Massachusetts at the Boston Public Library
With 10 days left, The Bram Stoker Bronze Bust Project has raised $7,270 of its $30,000 goal.
(6) WOMEN HORROR WRITERS. A few days ago I linked to Nina Allan’s “Where Are We Going? Some Reflections on British Horror, Present and Future” at Strange Horizons, about another British horror anthology predominantly filled with male writers.
The anthology’s editor Mark Morris posted a response on Facebook. He begins with this argument:
Keeping with this morning’s theme of British horror, there’s an interesting article here on the state of British horror by Nina Allen, in which she raises, yet again, the subject of gender parity. With regard to THE 2ND SPECTRAL BOOK OF HORROR STORIES, I’d like to say this:
First of all, it’s not a ‘Best Of…’ anthology, as she claims, but an anthology of original horror fiction.
Secondly, she criticises the book – and by implication my editorship of it – by pointing out that of its nineteen stories only three are by women.
I’ll answer this observation by stating what I’ve stated several times before – for me, the most important thing when editing an anthology is to get the *best stories possible* for it. I don’t care whether those stories are by men or by women. I’m not driven by having to fulfil particular quotas as regards sex, race, level of fame or anything else. All I’m interested in is selecting the very best stories out of all the ones that are sent to me. And if the twenty best stories (in my opinion) were all written by men one year, or were all written by women, then those are the ones I would select. (And would no doubt be damned for it).
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- January 30, 1933 — The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit radio.
- January 30, 1991 — Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs premieres.
(8) NO DAY IN HISTORY, EVER. At Ancient Origins, which thrives on such things, an architect has presented a radical new theory about Stonehenge.
Could the prehistoric Stonehenge megaliths once have been the support for a wooden, two-storey roundhouse, a venue for feasting, speakers and musicians? That’s the theory of an English landscape architect who designed a small model of what she has in mind and is looking for money to build a 1:10 scale model of the structure.
Sarah Ewbank says the fact she is not an archaeologist has freed her from preconceived notions and allowed her to approach the matter in a fresh way.
(8) TODAY’S CHEERY SCIENTIFIC THEORY. More sound and therefore more depressing is Scientific American’s report about emerging evidence for a transmissible Alzheimer’s theory.
For the second time in four months, researchers have reported autopsy results that suggest Alzheimer’s disease might occasionally be transmitted to people during certain medical treatments—although scientists say that neither set of findings is conclusive.
The latest autopsies, described in the Swiss Medical Weekly on January 26, were conducted on the brains of seven people who died of the rare, brain-wasting Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD). Decades before their deaths, the individuals had all received surgical grafts of dura mater—the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. These grafts had been prepared from human cadavers and were contaminated with the prion protein that causes CJD.
…Neither study implies that Alzheimer’s disease could ever be transmitted through normal contact with caretakers or family members, the scientists emphasize. And no one uses cadaver-derived preparations in the clinic anymore. Synthetic growth hormone is used for growth disorders, and synthetic membranes are used for patching up in brain surgery.
(9) A FEW BRICKS MORE. “Beautiful LEGO: Wild!, a New Book Exploring Natural Brick Wonders” at This Colossal has a gallery of photos.
LEGO-based artist, author, and curator Mike Doyle (previously here and here) has collected another impressive set of LEGO masterpieces in his lastest book Beautiful LEGO: Wild! by No Starch Press, a book that explores natural wonders from undersea landscapes to a family of sea otters produced from over 3,500 LEGO pieces. Unlike Doyle’s last book which featured sculptures depicting sci-fi horrors and ghoulish nightmares, this book collects the works of several dozen artists who capture natural scenes from our planet’s Animal Kingdom and beyond.
One of Doyle’s own pieces that appears in the book is a new piece titled Appalachian Mountaintop Removal (2015), a work composed of more than 10,000 pieces that directly references the act outlined in its title. Mountaintop removal is a form of coal mining affecting the Appalachian Mountains that levels mountains, poisons aquifers, and damages surrounding wildlife indefinitely. You can learn how to help the destruction of these natural resources as well as view more of Doyle’s massive lego sculptures on his blog here.
(10) GRRM ON HUGO NOMINATIONS. George R.R. Martin encourages people to nominate for the Hugos at Not A Blog.
What you nominate is, of course, entirely up to you.
But please, NOMINATE. I have been beating that same drum for a decade, and this year it behooves me to beat it even louder. Nominate the stuff that you enjoyed best last year. Let your own individual voice be heard.
Yes, I have recommended some stuff I liked, in older posts below. And I will be doing more of same in the near future. But remember, that’s just me saying, “hey, I liked this, you might like it too, take a look.” No one should ever nominate anything just because someone else tells them to.
(11) VOX DAY ON HUGO NOMINATIONS. On the other hand, Vox Day told Vox Popoli readers when they can expect his Rabid Puppy list.
The Rabid Puppy List of Recommendations That Is Most Certainly Not a Slate, Much Less a Direct Order From the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil will be posted in February.
(12) PREMATURE VICTORY PARADE. Meanwhile, Randy Henderson may have been up late scrying his crystal balls, judging by his post “Important Update: All the Awards I’m Going to Win in 2016!”
It’s award nomination time! AND THANK GAWD, I don’t need to ask you fine folks to nominate or vote for me or anything, because I already know all the awards I’m going to win this year. The people behind the people behind the scenes have told me I’m a shoe-in. So here’s the list. Don’t be jealous.
2016 Hugo for Best Novel Idea about Use of a Hugo: “Condom demonstration prop in sexual education class for cyborgs“, submitted by Randy Henderson, author of Finn Fancy Necromancy…
And after that, he plans on winning every other award in the field….
[Thanks to Will R., Jayn, James H. Burns, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]