(1) GRIEF RESOURCES. Pasadena Weekly talks with people who have lost a spouse and the support available for them, beginning with the widow of Harlan Ellison: “Surviving the profound loss of a longtime spouse”.
…Susan Ellison, 58, a native of the British midlands, was puttering around the hillside house in Sherman Oaks that she had shared for more than three decades with her famous (and pugnacious) 84-year-old writer husband Harlan Ellison, best known for his science fiction. He had dubbed it the Lost Aztek Temple of Mars long before suffering a stroke in 2014 that left him bedridden.
“I’m an insomniac and he was still asleep when I checked in on him early in the morning,” she recalled during a telephone conversation. “Then his therapist came,” and found him unresponsive.
“I thought he’d go kicking and screaming, but he died quietly. And I thought I’d be a lot more prepared,” she continued. Instead, she said, “I essentially shut down. He gave me a terrific life and he loved me completely. But I gave my life to him and now I don’t know who I am anymore. I have to find out.”
The experts say everyone reacts differently to a profound loss….
(2) MCFLY, ROBIN, FLY. Fascinating news — “Back to the Future musical sets date for world premiere in Manchester”.
Great Scott! The Back to the Future musical has finally set a date for its world premiere – 20 February 2020 in Manchester, before a West End run.
The show had originally been scheduled to open in 2015. But it was delayed, and unlike Doc Brown, the production team didn’t possess a time machine.
“Good things take time,” writer Bob Gale said. Actor Olly Dobson will fill Michael J Fox’s shoes as Marty McFly.
Bob Gale and I attended our first LASFS event together in 1970 (where Harlan Ellison was the guest speaker!)
(3) FREEDOM AT MIDNIGHT. Galactic Journey comments on the status of colonialism (in 1964) in a review of this Pyramid paperback: [May 16, 1964] A Mirror to Progress (Chester Anderson and Michael Kurland’s Ten Years to Doomsday).
These days, our world is undergoing a sudden and dramatic transformation. Starting immediately after the War, and accelerating since, many former colonies are becoming free nations, ready to embrace their potential and individuality. As these new countries find their own ways toward futures separate from their former masters, we in the Western world are able to experience life from different perspectives. These perspectives show the exquisite diversity of the human race. We are given the rare privilege to experience perspectives different from our own, perspectives sometimes frightening, sometimes exciting, but always intriguing. In doing so, we provide these nations the ultimate freedom: they can dream big. They can embrace new technologies and different ways of looking at the world. They can shake off the repressive yoke of colonialism and allow themselves to achieve their true potential.
Ten Years to Doomsday, the delightful new novel by the writing team of Chester Anderson and Michael Kurland, is a charming exploration of many of these themes using a mix of farce and drama….
(4) MULLIGAN OF THRONES. Over 900,000 have signed a Change.org petition demanding that HBO “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers”.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on.
This series deserves a final season that makes sense.
Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!
Petition author Dylan D. says in an update —
I haven’t heard from anyone HBO-related. I don’t think people can reasonably expect HBO to completely remake the season, or any part of this particular series (keep in mind the prequel spinoffs). It costs a fortune to shoot one episode, and I think most signers understand that. Will HBO lose gobs of money over this? Eh probably not. As Heath Ledger’s Joker once said, “It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.” And I think this message is one of frustration and disappointment at its core.
The Beaverton claims that Benioff and Weiss have launched a counterstrike — “Game of Thrones writers petition fans to write their own goddamn show, if they’re so smart”.
(5) HIT THE BRICKS. Y’know all those shows about flipping houses? This isn’t that. Let The Hollywood Reporter tell you the story: “‘Stranger Things’ Lego Set Goes Upside Down”.
Lego has unveiled a Stranger Things set that literally flips things upside down.
Stranger Things: The Upside Down, based on the Netflix series, is a massive 2,287-brick set where half the set is overturned. The piece consists of the house of the Byers family, played by Winona Ryder, Charlie Heaton and Noah Schnapp in the show, on the top side, and the supernatural alien world of the Upside Down version of the house on the bottom, but flipped.
The set is designed to be displayed on either side. It measures over 12 inches (32cm) tall, 17 inches (44cm) wide and 8 inches (21cm) deep. Lego is touting a shared building experience with this one, pointing out that the sections of the house come in 11 bags and that the real world and Upside Down houses can be built concurrently, if that’s your thing.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born May 17, 1936 — Dennis Hopper. I think his first genre film would be Tarzan and Jane Regained… Sort of, an Andy Warhol film. Queen of Blood, a vampire thinly disguised as SF film, was his next genre film. My Science Project was his next outing before he took part in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. And now we get to the Super Mario Bros. where he played King Koopa. What a weird film that was! Of he followed that by being Deacon on Waterworld… And then doing Space Truckers. Ouch. He’s El Niño in The Crow: Wicked Prayer, a film I barely remember. His final role was voicing one of the animated wolves in Alpha and Omega. He was also in Blue Velvet but I’ll be damn if I can figure out how to call that genre. (Died 2010.)
- Born May 17, 1946 — F. Paul Wilson, 73. I’ve read, let me check, oh about half I see of the Repairman Jack novels. Anyone finished them off and should I do so? What else by him is worth my time?
- Born May 17, 1950 — Mark Leeper, 69. As Mark says on his site, “In and out of science fiction circles Mark and Evelyn Leeper are one of the best known writing couples on the Internet. Mark became an avid science fiction fan at age six with TV’s ‘Commando Cody.’ Both went to the University of Massachusetts in 1968.” And as Bill Higgins says here, their MT VOID fanzine is one of the longest published ones still going.
- Born May 17, 1954 — Bryce Zabel, 65. A producer, director and writer. Genre wise, he’s been involved as a producer or director with M.A.N.T.I.S., Dark Skies, Blackbeard, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. Writing wise, he has written for most of these shows plus the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Atlantis: The Lost Empire screenplays.
- Born May 17, 1954 — Colin Greenland, 65. His partner is the Susanna Clarke, with whom he has lived since 1996. The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction which was based on his PhD thesis. His most successful fictional work is the Plenty series that starts with Take Back Plenty and continues with Seasons of Plenty, The Plenty Principle and wraps up with Mother of Plenty. In the Eighties and Ninties, he was involved in the editorial work of Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction and Interzone.
- Born May 17, 1967 — Michael Arnzen, 52. Winner of three Bram Stoker Awards, one for his Grave Markings novel, another for Goreletter and yet another for his poetry collection, Freakcidents. Very impressive indeed. Oh and he’s a SJW.
(7) CALL FOR AUREALIS AWARDS JUDGES. The appeal begins:
We are seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2019 Aurealis Awards.
Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the Australian speculative fiction community, from diverse professions and backgrounds, including academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category (good time management skills and an ability to work in a team in an online environment are also essential).
The full guidelines are here.
(8) BOOK TO SCREEN. Jeanne Gomoll’s Carl Brandon, already available as a print-on-demand book, now can also be purchased from Lulu in PDF format.
Terry Carr recounts the invention of an imaginary black science fiction fan named Carl Brandon, one of the field’s most (in)famous hoaxes. In addition to Carl Brandon’s complete history, this volume includes his J.D. Salinger parody, “The Cacher of the Rye;” a more current parody by Carl Brandon 2.0, “The Kvetcher on the Racists;” and an essay by Samuel R. Delany, “Racism and Science Fiction.” To quote Carr: “In the late fifties, several of the fans of the Bay Area…presented fandom with a new fanwriter who was quickly acclaimed as one of the best writers around and who was, not incidentally, the first prominent fan who was black.” Read the book for more of this fascinating tale. All proceeds go to the Carl Brandon Society, which promotes discussions on race at conventions and conferences, and through its support of the Parallax and Kindred literary awards, and the Octavia E. Butler
(9) SJWC STAR OBIT. Celebrity feline passes on — “Grumpy Cat Dies; Her Spirit Will Live On, Family Says”.
Grumpy Cat — the blue-eyed cat with the permafrown that suggested perpetual irritation — has died, her family announced early Friday. She was 7.
The scowling kitty died of complications from a urinary tract infection, her owners said.
“Some days are grumpier than others,” Tabatha Bundesen wrote in announcing her cat’s death.
Born in 2012, Grumpy Cat became a darling of memes, cat fanciers and anyone who needed to be reminded that somewhere out there, there was a cat who looked as grumpy as they felt.
…Noting that Grumpy Cat had met the recently deceased Marvel Comics leader Stan Lee — who mimicked her frown in several photos — Twitter user Greeshma Megha wrote, “Hope they meet in heaven.”
(10) OVERDRAWN AT THE CALORIE ACCOUNT. BBC finds “Ultra-processed foods ‘make you eat more'”.
Ultra-processed foods lead people to eat more and put on weight, the first trial to assess their impact suggests.
Volunteers had every morsel of food they ate monitored for a month.
And when given ultra-processed food, they ate 500 calories a day more than when they were given unprocessed meals.
The US National Institutes of Health said ultra-processed foods may be affecting hunger hormones in the body, leading people to keep eating.
(11) NOT THE ILLUMINATI. Curiosity shares a scientific explanation for “How a Few Lucky Civil War Soldiers Started Glowing and Healed Faster”.
…In an astonishing, and frankly spooky, turn of events, as night fell, many of those wounded soldiers began to see a strange glow emanating from their wounds. They called it “Angel’s Glow” and it lived up to its nickname. When they were eventually recovered and moved to the field hospital, the soldiers whose wounds had been so blessed ended up recovering better and faster, with cleaner wounds and a better survival rate than the un-glowing. This really would sound downright impossible if it weren’t for the fact that it’s so well documented…
(12) MIDDLETON. Paul Weimer chimes in with “Microreview [book]: The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders” at Nerds of a Feather.
…Further, the author seems invested in telling stories about worlds having to change to survive, a theme that her All the Birds in the Sky used for Earth, as a pair of protagonists tackle the problems of Earth in completely different ways. The City in the Middle of the Night continues that tradition, although the framing and the process is very different. The tone is very much darker than the prior novel, those looking for the breeziness of the first novel are going to have expectations dashed picking up this book
(13) MATERIALS GIRL. HBO put out an official teaser for its forthcoming original series, His Dark Materials.
Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the first season follows Lyra, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. As she journeys through the worlds, including our own, Lyra meets Will, a determined and courageous boy. Together, they encounter extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living?—?and the dead?—?in their hands.
WHERE TO FIND BOOK REVIEWS. Todd Mason’s weekly post has lots of links: “Friday’s “Forgotten” Books and More: the links to the reviews: 17 May 2019″.
- Patricia Abbott: Broken Harbor by Tana French
- Frank Babics: Who Can Replace a Man? aka The Best Science Fiction Stories of Brian W. Aldiss
- Mark Baker: Murder in Little Italy by Victoria Thompson
- Brad Bigelow: The Bloater by Rosemary Tonks
- Paul Bishop: W. Glenn Duncan 1940-2019
- Les Blatt: The Exploits of the Patent Leather Kid by Erle Stanley Gardner
- Joachim Boaz: The World Menders by Lloyd Biggle; The Sudden Star by Pamela Sargent; The Lost Face by Josef Nesvadba (translated by Iris Urwin)
- John Boston: Amazing Stories: Fact and Science Fiction, June 1964, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli
- Ben Boulden: Call Me Hazard by “Frank Wynne” (Brian Garfield); Closeup by Len Deighton
- Brian Busby: An Army Doctor’s Romance by Grant Allen
- Steve Case: The Deep by John Crowley
- Ellison Cooper: The Lingala Code by Warren Kiefer
- Hector DeJean: The Man in a Cage by (Jack aka) John Holbrook Vance
- Martin Edwards: The Name of Annabel Lee by Julian Symons
- Peter Enfantino: Atlas (proto-Marvel) horror comics, April 1952
- Will Errickson: Finishing Touches by Thomas Tessier
- José Ignacio Escribano: Big Sister by Gunnar Staalensen (tranlated by Don Bartlett)
- Olman Feelyus: Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
- Mark Finn: “The God in the Bowl” by Robert E. Howard
- Paul Fraser: Astounding Science-Fiction, November 1943, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.
- John Grant: The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard; Good Morning, Darkness by Ruth Francisco
- Aubrey Hamilton: She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth
- Rich Horton: The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackery; Roger Zelazny capsule reviews; Alter S. Reiss stories; The Ghost Brigade and The Lost Colony by John Scalzi
- Jerry House: Zane Grey Comics #246, 1949: Thunder Mountainadapted
- Kate Jackson: A Knife for Harry Dodds by “George Bellairs” (Harold Blundell); Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
- Tracy K: The Iron Gates by Margaret Millar; April reading
- Colman Keane: “Sweet Little Hands” by Lawrence Block
- George Kelley: The Great SF Stories #9 (1947) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
- Joe Kenney: Chase by Norman Daniels
- Rob Kitchin: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan; The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
- B. V. Lawson: A Bleeding of Innocents by Jo Bannister
- Evan Lewis: “Tarzan” aka “Tarzan and the Tarmangani”, a 1940sTarzan comic book prose filler/mailing permit content attributed to Edgar Rice Burroughs, ghostwriter unknown
- Steve Lewis: “Child of the Green Light” by Leigh Brackett, Super Science Stories February 1942, edited by Alden H. Norton; Saturday Night Dead by Richard Rosen; “The Eyes of Countess Gerda” by May Edginton, The Story-Teller, December 1911
- John F. Norris: The Perfect Alibi by Christopher St. John Sprigg
- John O’Neill: Davy by Edgar Pangborn; Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy
- Matt Paust: The Last Supper by Charles McCarry
- James Reasoner: The Land of Mist by “Arthur Quiller” (Kenneth Bulmer)
- Gerard Saylor: The Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
- Jack Seabrook and Peter Enfantino: DC war comics, December 1974 (and the best of 1974)
- Steven H Silver: George Scithers (editor of Amra, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Asimov’s SF Adventure Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales)
- Victoria Silverwolf: Worlds of Tomorrow, February 1964, edited by Frederik Pohl
- Kerrie Smith: Cities of the Sun by David Levien
- “TomCat”: The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage by Enid Blyton
- David Vineyard: Strip for Murder by Richard S. Prather
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Todd Mason, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]