(1) WWCD? Cody Christensen of Cedar City, Utah has a petition on Change.org called “Make Leia an Official Disney Princess” which requests that Disney induct Princess Leia into the pantheon of princesses and that some sort of ceremony for Carrie Fisher be held at a Disney theme park. He has over 40,000 signatures.
After the tragic lose of Carrie Fisher, we feel that it is only fitting for Disney to do away with the rule that an official Disney princess must be animated and make Leia a full-fledged princess. This would be a wonderful way to remember Carrie and a welcoming to one of Disney’s new properties that is beloved by millions.
What we are asking is that the Walt Disney Corporation hold a full ceremony inducting Leia as the newest Disney princess as well as a special service in memory of Carrie Fisher.
Christensen told Geek how he got the idea for the petition.
“I started the petition because it was something that bugged me since Disney bought the property. Disney had princesses and Leia was a Princess. Then I found out that Disney had set rules for who could and couldn’t be a princess. (Supercarlin brothers video) With Carrie’s death, I think that it’s time to change the rules.”…
“I actually have 5 daughters and there are constantly princess movies playing in the background.” he said “We are big fans of the current Princess line-up, but I think that Leia is a really strong, positive, awesome role model for my girls, and she would make a great addition.”
(2) SPEAKING OF DISNEY PRINCESSES. Abigail Nussbaum reviews Moana, The Lobster, Star Trek Beyond and Lalaland at Asking the Wrong Questions.
Moana – Disney’s latest attempt to reinvent the princess movie takes two novel approaches: drawing on Polynesian folklore and mythology for its story, and recruiting Hamilton wunderkind Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the film’s songs. Heroine Moana (Auli’l Cravalho) is torn between her duties as the daughter of the village chief and her desire to roam the seas, but finds herself able to gratify both desires when she’s tasked with restoring the heart of creation goddess Te Fiti, aided by Maui (Dwayne Johnson), the demigod who originally stole it. The plot is thus a picaresque, in which Moana and Maui encounter various dangers and challenges on their journey to Te Fiti, during which they also bond and help each other overcome their hang-ups. It’s a similar structure to Tangled–still, to my mind, the best of the modern princess movies–but Moana lacks that film’s multiple intersecting plot strands and broad cast of characters, and ends up feeling simpler and more straightforward. What it does have is genuinely stunning animation, especially where it draws on the scenery of the Pacific islands and the iconography of Polynesian cultures, and some excellent songs by Miranda, which pay homage to both the Disney and musical theater traditions while still retaining entirely their own flavor–I’m particularly fond of a scene in which Moana and Maui encounter a giant, jewel-encrusted lobster (Jemaine Clement), who sings a David Bowie-inspired glam-rock ballad, and then complains that no one likes him as much as The Little Mermaid‘s Sebastian. But pretty much every song here is excellent and memorable in its own right.
(3) TAIL-GUNNER LOU. “Is there a blacklist?” asks Lou Antonelli, because the rejection slips he gets now are not quite as warm as they once were.
A colleague asked me the other day if I felt there is a blacklist in literary s-f against non-PC writers.
I replied I don’t know, there’s no way to tell for sure; that’s the nature of a blacklist – it’s a conspiracy.
I will say that before 2015, when I was a double Sad Puppy Hugo nominee, my rejections almost always included invitations to submit to that market again.
Now, that is very uncommon, and in fact almost all my rejections now end with “best of luck” or “good luck with your writing” – and no encouragement to submit again.
Someone wrote anonymously to encourage Lou’s suspicions, inspiring a follow-up post decorated with a photo of Senator Joe McCarthy:
I don’t often approve anonymous comments, but I did in this one case, since it sounded true, and given the subject matter, it’s completely understandable why someone would prefer to remain anonymous:
“Day after the election, when I posted a picture of myself with a Trump hat, a famous editor of whom almost anyone would know her name, had her assistant message me to tell me how awful I am, that I’m not going to be invited to write in anthologies again, coupled with the threat that the publishing industry is small and word travels fast.
“Blackballing is real. But you are not alone.”
(4) BUMPER CROP. Mark-kitteh noticed that after SFCrowsnest’s brutal review of Uncanny Magazine #14 yesterday, Uncanny’s editors made some lemonade:
HUGE NEWS! We have received so many new @Patreon patrons, we are definitely adding AN ADDITIONAL POEM PER ISSUE! Fight on, unicorns! 😀
— Uncanny Magazine (@UncannyMagazine) January 5, 2017
(5) UTES READ GEEZERS. At Young People Read Old SFF, James Davis Nicoll has set the table with Miriam Allen DeFord’s “The Smiling Future”.
Miriam Allen de Ford was a prolific author of both mysteries and Fortean-flavoured science fiction stories. She was also an active feminist, disseminating information about family planning in a time when that was illegal in many regions. Although widely anthologized while alive , since her death she seems to have lapsed into obscurity, at least on the SF side of thing. A pity.
“The Smiling Future” is perhaps not de Ford’s best known science fiction work but it does have the advantage of being on the internet archive, not true of much of her work (because her work was mainly for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, none of which is on the archive). Also, it has dolphins and who doesn’t like dolphins? Selecting it out of all the de Fords I could have selected is therefore something of a calculated risk. Will the risk pay off?
There was enough of a positive reaction to get a good discussion going.
(5) WARNING. It takes a long time to stop laughing at Camestros Felapton’s “A Poster for Timothy”.
(6) SECOND WARNING. Not that Camestros Felapton won’t be a nominee for his work published in 2016, but the first thing he should put in his Hugo eligibility post from 2017 is “A Cat Reviews LaLaLand“. Quite funny, though beware, spoilers abound! …I read it anyway.
But what can you do with a super controversial story in this age of safe spaces and trigger warnings?
Then, in the midst of the Sad Puppy fervor, I caught a glimmer of an answer. Jason Rennie, editor of Sci Phi Journal and the brilliant mind behind SuperverisveSF, suggested in the midst of a flurry of Sad Puppy emails, that the authors involved get together and do an anthology of anti-PC stories, kind of a modern Dangerous Visions–putting into story form all those thoughts that the SJWs don’t want people to think. Basically, doing what SF is supposed to do, posing difficult questions.
Those of us on the email chain decided on the title: Forbidden Thoughts.
I LOVED this idea. Here was my answer to what to do with my controversial story.
So, I kept on Jason about this, and I kept on the other authors. When a few were too busy to be able to fit writing a new short story into their schedule, I convinced them to submit incendiary blog posts.
So we now had a volume with stories by, among others, John, Nick Cole, Brian Niemeier, Josh Young, Brad Torgersen, Sarah Hoyt, and, a particularly delightful surprise for me, our young Marine fan friend, Pierce Oka. Plus, non fiction by Tom Kratman and Larry Correia submitted some of his original Sad Puppy posts–the thing that started it all!
(8) THE FORBIDDEN ZONE. There probably are a few things The Book Smuggler would like to forbid: “The Airing of Grievances – Smugglivus 2016”
In publishing and on Twitter, advocates for equality, feminists, poc readers and authors were attacked left and right every time they called out racism and sexism in publishing. And folks, there was a lot of that this year. Like that one time when a publisher had a book of “parody” covers that was so racist it almost made our eyes bleed. White authors continued to be awful and show their asses, like that one who said that those who call out cultural appropriation are getting “too precious.” And just a few days ago, we all found out that racist nazi piece of shit Milo Yiannopoulos got a huge book deal with a major publishing house…
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
Born January 5, 1914 — George Reeves, TV’s first Superman.
(10) SOMETHING TERPSICHOREAN. Sparknotes explains Bradbury’s dedication of Something Wicked This Way Comes.
In “A Brief Afterword,” Bradbury explains why Something Wicked This Way Comes is dedicated to Gene Kelly and describes how the book was written. Bradbury met Gene Kelly in 1950 and they became friends shortly thereafter. In 1955 Kelly invited Bradbury and his wife, Maggie, to a private screening of his “collection of musical dance numbers with no connecting plotline,” Invitation to the Dance, at MGM studios. Bradbury and his wife walked home and along the way he told his wife that he desperately wanted to work with Kelly. She suggested that he go through his stories until he found something that would work, turn it into a screenplay, and send it to Gene Kelly. So Bradbury looked through many of his short stories and found The Black Ferris, a ten page story about two young boys and a carnival. For a little over a month he worked on the story and then gave Gene Kelly the eighty page outline of a script that he had created. Mr. Kelly called Bradbury the next day to tell him that he wanted to direct the movie and asked for permission to find financing in Paris and London. Although Bradbury gave his assent, Gene Kelly returned without a financer because no one wanted to make the movie. Bradbury took the partial screenplay, at the time titled Dark Carnival, and over the next five years turned it into the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes that was published in 1962. As Bradbury writes at the end of his afterword, the book is dedicated to Gene Kelly because if he had not invited Bradbury to that screening of his movie, then Something Wicked This May Comes may never have been written. When the book was published, Bradbury gave the first copy to Gene Kelly.
(11) CALLING ALL CARLS. An emergency session of internet scholars has convened at Camestros Felapton’s blog to help him identify “That difficult first novel”.
I was stumped by a trivia question which asked: “What was the first novel in English?”
The problem with the question is one of setting boundaries, specifically:
- What counts as a novel? Do legends count? What about Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur? Is it a novel, a retelling or a purported (if fanciful) attempt at history?
- What counts as ‘in English’? Does Chaucer’s middle English count? What about Malory’s middle English (which is more like modern English than Chaucer?)
- Do translations count? Don Quixote is very like a novel, so might the first translation of that into English count?
(12) LOUDSPEAKER FOR THE DEAD. ScienceFiction.com has the story behind this particular effect — “Raising Cushing: New Video Shows Off CGI Work Done To Create ‘Rogue One’ Grand Moff Tarkin”.
Now, for those interested in how exactly they managed to bring Tarkin to life in the film, ABC News has released a new video on Twitter courtesy of ILM (check it out below) showcasing some of the work that went into building Tarkin, that shows in a handful of seconds what clearly took MONTHS of effects work to accomplish, giving us in brief all of the steps necessary to get the character right. They cast a man that already bore a striking resemblance to Peter Cushing, then digitally enhanced his features until he was Peter Cushing, animating all of his moments from that point onward to carry on the illusion.
— Clayton Sandell (@Clayton_Sandell) January 4, 2017
(13) WHEN SHALL WE THREE MEET AGAIN? A reboot of Charmed is in the works.
The story hails from Jessica O’Toole, Amy Rardin and Snyder Urman with O’Toole and Rardin penning the script.
The original Charmed starred Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan. Combs has already tweeted her reaction, saying “We wish them well.” Milano also took to Twitter. “#Charmed fans! There are no fans like you. You’re the best of the best,” she said.
(14) THEY CAME FROM SPACE. Here’s another job that pays more than yours — “These guys hunt for space rocks, and sell them for enormous profit to collectors”.
These ancient meteorites can be older than the Earth itself. The price tag is high: Just 100 grams of Mars rock, enough to fit in the palm of a hand, can demand $100,000.
For help tracking down such rare rocks, private collectors turn to professional meteorite hunters. These adventurers earn their living by crisscrossing the globe, searching for astronomic treasures. The risks are real, including prison and death, but so are the potential rewards — rocks that can be flipped quickly for fortunes.
The man who sold Jurvetson his Mars rock is 44-year-old Michael Farmer. Since the late 1990s, Farmer has traveled to some 80 countries looking for these precious rocks. Perhaps his best-known find is a nearly 120-pound meteorite discovered in Canada, which he and his partners sold to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for $600,000.
“Any time you dig up a treasure worth more than half a million bucks, it’s a good day,” said Farmer, who works closely colleagues around the world tracking meteorite showers.
This work is not for the faint of heart. In 2011, Farmer was kidnapped, beaten and nearly killed by Kenyan thieves. That same year, he was charged with illegal mining in Oman and imprisoned for two months. Farmer says his motivation is not purely monetary, but rather the thrill of the chase.
(15) GETTING THE POINT ACROSS. After seeing this cover some of you will find it hard to believe I am not the Washington Post’s copyeditor:
is this some kind of record for largest typo pic.twitter.com/kOZ9UIp0Ig
— WHY NOT COMMUNISM? (@samthielman) January 5, 2017
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Rose Embolism, JJ, Mark-kitteh, John King Tarpinian, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]