(1) JAMES GUNN CANNED BY DISNEY. The director’s offensive tweets were unearthed and have led to him being fired by Disney according to Yahoo! Entertainment — “Disney Drops James Gunn From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Franchise After Offensive Tweets”.
Director James Gunn has been dropped from Disney’s Marvel franchise “Guardians of the Galaxy” over old tweets.
“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, in a statement.
Gunn, the writer-director of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, apologized late Thursday after a series of old (now deleted) tweets resurfaced in which the filmmaker made what he admitted were “offensive” jokes about taboo topics like rape and pedophilia.
Gunn frequently tweets about his opposition to President Donald Trump, and thus drew the ire of fans of the president such as right-wing provocateur Mike Cernovich, who began posting a series of old tweets by Gunn, many of which were subsequently deleted.
Online sleuths then dug up dozens of old tweets of the sort Gunn admitted were “offensive,” many from between 2008 and 2011.
“Expendables is so manly I f–ed the s– out of the p-ssy boy next to me,” he wrote in one.
“The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!’” read a tweet from February 2009.
Deadline’s coverage adds these details: “James Gunn Fired From ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Franchise Over Offensive Tweets”.
Disney and Marvel had never announced that Gunn would direct the third installment of Guardians of the Galaxy, but Gunn certainly declared it on social media. And after Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last summer grossed $863 million worldwide, to the original’s $773 million, there was every expectation he would remain at the helm. After all, the sly humor and tone that just crushed his career trajectory helped fuel the irreverently humorous tone of the Guardians franchise.
Unsurprisingly – “James Gunn Won’t Appear At Comic-Con After Being Axed From ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’”. Deadline has the story.
James Gunn, who was fired today from Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after past offensive tweets surfaced, will not make a planned appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego today where he was set to appear on Sony Pictures’ Hall H session to tout an upcoming horror film he is producing.
Gunn has made the following response:
NEW: James Gunn apologizes for past tweets: "I understand and accept the business decisions taken today…I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be." pic.twitter.com/YUMfHYGv85
— ABC News (@ABC) July 20, 2018
(2) WORST TOWN ON TV. Reason.com’s Glenn Garvin says don’t even stop there for gas — “Stephen King’s Nightmare Town Castle Rock a Distillery of Horrors”.
…Hulu’s new series Castle Rock is clearly an attempt to answer a question that has occurred to nearly every King reader multiple times over the years: Do the folks in this town ever notice the unholy frequency with which their neighbors fall into quicksand pits, get ravaged by their house pets, or are driven insane by mundane household items purchased at pawn shops?
Oh, yes they do, and you’ll have a creepy good time as Castle Rock follows their efforts to figure out why their town is such a demonic piece of crap. One of the lead investigators is even a Realtor, who I imagine faces some serious professional challenges in a town like this. (“It’s very cute little Cape Cod at an owner-was-murdered-by-a-jealous-neighbor-for-having-sex-with-the-ghost-of-Elvis price!”)
(3) CATCHING UP WITH THE PRISONER. It’s news to me! Apparently this sequel came out 20 years ago. Titan Comics is bringing it back.
Cult classic The Prisoner has been captivating audiences and firing imaginations since it first aired in the UK in 1967 and in the US the following year. Now fans can go even deeper into The Village with this official graphic novel sequel set twenty years after the events of the iconic TV series.
Originally published in 1988, Shattered Visage tells the story of former secret agent Alice Drake, whose round-the-world solo voyage is interrupted when she is accidentally shipwrecked and washes up on the shores of The Village. There she encounters Number Six, finds out what has become of Number Two, and discovers the true purpose of The Village.
Titan Comics, a licensee of ITV Studios Global Entertainment, are delighted to release this long out-of-print classic with new material, including character sketches and notes from writer/artist Dean Motter . Fans can finally get their hands on the unmissable next chapter in THE PRISONER saga for the first time in years.
(4) HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOR.COM. As part of Tor.com’s tenth anniversary celebration, Stubby the Rocket chronicles “15 Rituals The Tor.com Office Has Developed”.
Tor.com has existed on the internet for 10 years. And when you work in an office and you also work on the internet, where one day gives you a week’s worth of events to react to, you develop a lot of shorthands and rituals to get through the day….
6.) Dressing Up The Office, Part 1: Unicorn Lamp/Rocket Lamp
We had an in-office fundraiser for our unicorn lamp, and we adore it. (We also gave each color of the unicorn a different name after trying and failing to apply a single name.) Then we had an in-office fundraiser for a rocket lamp as well. It makes the place more homey, particularly during the darker parts of the year, and reminds us that we are all unicorns on the inside and rockets on the outside.
(5) RAMBO ACADEMY. The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers has posted a new list of classes. Notably, Seanan McGuire will be teaching a new class, an Ann Leckie’s doing her awesome space opera class again. Cat Rambo says if money’s an issue, see the info about scholarships below: “Classes for the Rambo Academy through October”.
- Rights and Reprints with Doug Smith Saturday, July 21, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Anthropomorphic Agenda: Writing Furry Fiction with Kyell Gold Saturday, July 28, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Detail and Image with Rachel Swirsky Sunday, July 29, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Old Stories into New with Rachel Swirsky Saturday, August 11, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Teen Story Workshop with Alethea Kontis Sunday, August 12, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Crypto- and Xenobiology and You: How To Build a Better, More Believable Beast, Using SCIENCE! With Seanan McGuire Saturday, August 25, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Ideas are Everywhere with Rachel Swirsky Sunday, August 26, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Breaking the Rules with Rachel Swirsky Sunday, August 26, 1:30-3:30 PM Pacific time
- Breaking the Rules with Rachel Swirsky Saturday, September 8, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Ideas are Everywhere with Rachel Swirsky Saturday, September 8, 1:30-3:30 PM Pacific time
- Fantastic Worldbuilding with Fran Wilde Sunday, September 9, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Beginnings and Endings with Cat Rambo Wednesday, September 12, 4-6 PM Pacific time
- Writing Steampunk and Weird Western with Cat Rambo Wednesday, September 19, 4-6 PM Pacific time
- Journaling for Creativity with Fran Wilde Saturday, September 22, 1:30-3:30 PM Pacific time
- Writing Flash Fiction with Cat Rambo Sunday, September 23, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Literary Techniques for Genre Writers with Cat Rambo Wednesday, October 3, 4-6 PM Pacific time
- Speculative Poetry with Rachel Swirsky Sunday, October 7, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Reworking, Revising, and Rewriting with Cat Rambo Wednesday, October 10, 4-6 PM Pacific time
- To Space Opera and Beyond with Ann Leckie Saturday, October 13, 1:30-3:30 PM Pacific time
- Detail and Image with Rachel Swirsky Sunday, October 14, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
- Writing Your Way Into Your Novel with Cat Rambo Wednesday, October 24, 4-6 PM Pacific time
- Moving from Idea to Finished Draft with Cat Rambo Sunday, October 28, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time
Free scholarships: If you cannot afford a class but really want to take one, apply for a Plunkett Scholarship. Each class has a slot reserved for such a student, and the sole criteria is that you can’t afford the class but really think it would be useful for you. To apply, mail me with your name, the class name/date, and a brief statement about why you want to take the class. QUILTBAG and PoC candidates are especially encouraged to apply. The Plunkett Scholarships are named for Edward Plunkett, who wrote as Lord Dunsany. Scholarship recipients will be notified the week before the class.
(6) SCHNEPP OBIT. Jon Schnepp (1967 – 2018): US actor, animator, director; died July 19, aged 51. Animation work includes Aqua Teen Hunger Force (18 episodes, 2000-02), Space Ghost Coast to Coast (eight episodes, 1995-99), Metalocalypse (62 episodes, 2006-12); he has a voice role in The Oracle of Outer Space, due out later this year.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- July 20, 1969 – How could it be 49 years already?
At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
- July 20, 1976 — Viking I landed on Mars to explore the surface of the Red Planet. The first robots on Mars, Viking I and its successor gave scientists their first information about the planet’s surface, including information they hoped would allow people to walk there. Although the Viking probes found no evidence of life on Mars, they returned detailed pictures of the planet and information about the soil’s composition. (John King Tarpinian will eat a Mars bar after he finishes his Moon Pie.)
(8) PROBABLY SOMETHING BUT NOT A TUX. The message Worldcon 76 sent to encourage Hugo nominees to dress up for the ceremony generated a certain amount of resentment, and things were already touchy before Paul Cornell’s tweet threw gasoline on the fire. Cornell soon banished it from Twitter. However, there’s a screencap in Kay Taylor Rea’s response —
wow, this is some classist, sexist bullshit
lotta people showing their whole asses this week and letting me know I don’t need to read/review their work, so that’s cool pic.twitter.com/130Ybp76DE
— Kay Taylor Rea (@kaytaylorrea) July 20, 2018
Some of these selected tweets were direct comments on Cornell’s, while others addressed the general conversation rippling through the sff community.
Nominees said "we want to feel comfortable and welcome at the ceremony where we will be recognized for our achievements." So actually Paul Cornell is the one not honoring winners. Number one.
— Jenny @ Reading the End (@readingtheend) July 20, 2018
Hi Paul, I'm a nominee x2. I want everyone to dress in a way that makes them feel like their best self. That doesn't equate to semi formal, which can be out of reach for many bodies & budgets. I don't want anyone's experience lessened. @JohnPicacio has the right of it.
— Sarah Pinsker (@SarahPinsker) July 20, 2018
If your attitude is “it is not appropriate for someone’s talent to be celebrated unless everyone present is dressed in a manner pleasing to me” then I think you’re the one who may need to readjust his perceptions.
— Mike Brooks (@MikeBrooks668) July 20, 2018
I think so, but I'm not sure why we need to judge anyone's choice of how to celebrate. If someone needs to wear jeans or cosplay it doesn't disrespect me or my work. I love the breadth of nerdprom aesthetic.
— Sarah Pinsker (@SarahPinsker) July 20, 2018
I mean, I'm glad to know that I don't have to feel stressed about my choice to watch from the bar, since my clothing choices aren't acceptable to sit in the back of a dark room and clap.
— Razorblade Snowflake (Sephiroth But Also A Wolf) (@Keffy) July 20, 2018
I heard from #HugoAwards Ceremony co-Directors Randall Shepherd & Jessica Guggenheim this AM. They've got my back. They've got yours. Wear to the Hugos what makes you feel best. You will be celebrated. Semi-formal, formal, jeans, cosplay — we can't wait to welcome you on 8/19.
— John Picacio (@JohnPicacio) July 20, 2018
I'm not a nominee and this year I'm not even close to the short list but solidarity with everyone who got hit with that bull sugar "elegant professional event" email. This is the Hugos. Let's make it weird. https://t.co/ME3OQK1jZB
— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) July 20, 2018
If I wanna show up buck-ass nekkid with a photograph of a cat's butthole over each nip, that is my choice and also possibly the choice of local obscenity laws but the point stands. What a load of bollocks.
— Bo Bolander (@BBolander) July 20, 2018
Oh, and if the thing that's stressing you is that now you DON'T KNOW WHAT TO WEAR to the Hugo Awards. I have a team of people who are good with fashion across the gender spectrum.
We will FabFive anyone who wants it.
And not to hit media expectations, but to be your best self.
— Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) July 20, 2018
Y'all, this is extremely important to me. I want our SFF spaces to be places where you can wear the "outfit of your heart", like @KMSzpara said.
The confidence and joy of wearing something that makes you feel genuinely *you* is fantastic.
How can we help you with that? https://t.co/pUr3wZpI7D
— Alyshondra Meacham (@AlyshondraM) July 20, 2018
(9) ON THE RUNWAY. Meanwhile, Jodie Whittaker made a fashion statement wearing a hood at “Comic-Con 2018”
In the midst of this year’s Her Universe fashion show, founder Ashley Eckstein stepped forward and apologized for a last-minute addition to the line-up, a model who was late but who really wanted to walk the runway. And since it was the day of Comic-Con in which the new Doctor Who crew had been introduced, it was appropriate that the model would be wearing some new Whovian fashion.
From the moment she stepped on to the runway, though, the model looked familiar. Head down, hair dangling, it was clear she was almost made for the jacket that looked like the 13th Doctor’s. Of course, it’s because she is the 13th Doctor, making a surprise appearance for fans and to talk with an excited Eckstein.
(10) TAKEI MEMOIR. A graphic novel about George Takei’s childhood in a California concentration camp in WWII will come out next year: “George Takei Memoir ‘They Called Us Enemy’ Coming in Summer 2019”.
With immigration and the detention of migrant children in the news, IDW Publishing has announced details of They Called Us Enemy, a graphic novel memoir of George Takei’s childhood in American internment camps.
To be released in summer 2019, They Called Us Enemy will be co-written by Takei, Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, with art from Harmony Becker. Its plot revisits the actor and activist’s childhood as one of 120,000 Japanese Americans held in American concentration camps run by the United States during the Second World War.
According to the publisher’s official description, the book is “Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the terrors and small joys of childhood in the shadow of legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s tested faith in democracy and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?”
“It has always been my mission in life to raise the awareness of the unjust imprisonment of Japanese Americans in barbed-wire prison camps during World War II,” Takei told The Hollywood Reporter. “But I had no idea how chillingly relevant that dark chapter of American history would be to our times today.”
(11) DOOR DRAGONS. Here’s a chance to avoid missing the party:
As a reminder–if you are a lapsed SFWA member, we will not be able to admit you to the SFWA suite if you are registered to attend WorldCon. We will not be set up to take your renewal at the door. Please consider renewing your membership at least a few days before the con.
— SFWA, Inc. (@sfwa) July 20, 2018
(12) HE’S GOT THAT COVERED. Let Boing Boing tell you about the latest nuisance filing: “Trademark troll who claims to own “Dragon Slayer” now wants exclusive rights to book covers where someone is holding a weapon”.
Austin’s Michael-Scott Earle, last seen around these parts when he filed a trademark on the phrase “Dragon Slayer” for use in fantasy novel trademarks, has found a new depth to plumb: he’s filed a trademark on book covers “one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author’s name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author’s name are depicted in the same or similar coloring.”
(13) NIGHTMARE. Charles Payseur connects you with short fiction — “Quick Sips – Nightmare #70”.
The pair of stories from Nightmare’s July issue focus on people trapped in situations where they don’t have a lot of power, mostly because of their age. They weigh in on opposite sides of the specrtum, though, one character made vulnerable because of his old age, put in a home where he might be preyed upon at any moment and aware always of his own approaching death. The other piece focuses on a young person in a stifling household, living with rules that aren’t designed to protect him so much as to make his parent’s life easier. In both situations, the toxicity of the environment manifests in ways great and small (and sometimes furred) and forces the characters to choose if they’ll stay and try to face them or try to escape from a power they might not be able to defeat head on. Let’s get to the reviews!
(14) LEST DARKNESS PALL. Nature has a line on “A planet the colour of charcoal”.
A hot and gaseous planet orbiting a distant star is one of the darkest ever found.
Astronomers led by Teo Mo?nik at Keele University, UK, used NASA’s Kepler telescope to study a star called WASP-104, which lies roughly 144 parsecs from Earth in the constellation Leo. Earlier observations had documented a dimming of WASP-104’s light every 1.76 days, indicating that a planet was regularly crossing the star’s face. But Mo?nik’s team could not detect starlight reflecting off the planet, as scientists usually expect after discovering a new world. That led the researchers to conclude that the planet is nearly pure black in colour.
(15) TOAD IN THE HOLE. That’s what Ellen Klages ordered in Episode 72 of Scott Edelman’s Eating the Fantastic podcast.
…And then move on to this episode’s guest, Ellen Klages, who won the Nebula Award in 2005 for her novelette, “Basement Magic.” Her novella, “Wakulla Springs” (co-authored with previous guest of the show Andy Duncan), was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula awards and won the World Fantasy Award in 2014.
She won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the Lopez Award for Children’s Literature, and the New Mexico State Book Award for Young Adult Literature for her first novel, The Green Glass Sea. She has served for twenty years on the Motherboard of the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. Her novella “Passing Strange” was one of the finalists for this year’s Nebula award.
Our venue for this episode was the relatively new Whitfield at Ace Hotel. This was certainly the most picturesque setting for a meal I experienced in Pittsburgh, because the building which housed both hotel and restaurant was a century-old former YMCA.
We discussed why it took 40 years from the time she wrote the first sentence of her Nebula Award-nominated story “Passing Strange” to finish the tale, what a truck filled with zebras taught her about the difference between storytelling and real life, how cosplaying helped give birth to her characters, what she finds so fascinating about creating historical science fiction, why revising is her favorite part of writing, the reason she’s the best auctioneer I’ve seen in my lifetime of con-going, what she teaches students is the worst mistake a writer can make, how her collaboration with Andy Duncan gave birth to an award-winning novella, whether she still feels like “a round peg in genre’s polyhedral hole” as she wrote in the afterword to her first short story collection, and much more.
(16) ON THEIR WAY. Tor.com’s Lee Harris promised readers A Pair of Solarpunk Novellas from Becky Chambers without giving a definite date when they’ll come out.
Ever since I read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet I’ve wanted to work with Becky. She has a lightness of touch that makes you want to keep turning the page. So, when I contacted her and she suggested we work together on a couple of solarpunk books I was delighted. There’s a lot of darkness in the world, today, and I can’t wait to bring you Becky‘s trademark adventure style, wrapped up in a bundle of positive SF. It’s what we need, right now.
(17) CAPITAL CATS. In our national’s capital, a credential census is planned: “Washington, D.C., Is Counting All Its Cats. It Will Take 3 Years And $1.5 Million”.
…Various groups are working to spay and neuter stray cats or facilitate cat adoptions. Thousands of cats each year are spayed or adopted.
But groups like the Humane Rescue Alliance “have little sense if their programs are the lion’s share of adoptions in the city, or if their trap-neuter-return program is effective in helping to control the cat population,” Fenston writes.
It’s not easy to gauge a city’s cat population by eye alone.
“Cats are hard to see,” conservation biologist Tyler Flockhart told The New York Times. “You see very few cats when you’re out walking around. And that’s because they’re secretive animals. When you see a cat, there is almost certainly more than one there.”
(18) UNCREDENTIALS AND GAMING. Linda Holmes of NPR made the connection — “Put Your Face In It: How Gaming Helped Me Understand My Dog”
When I am walking my dog around the neighborhood now, I imagine him going boop-boop-boop as he wanders along wondering what he should approach, much as I do when I walk from my Stardew Valley farm to the place where I will once again sell my virtual parsnips. And when he sees an empty Doritos bag lying on its side on the street, I realize that he is having the same experience I did the first time I picked up an imaginary oyster on the imaginary beach. He is saying to himself, “This could be some wonderful and magical key to a benefit yet unrealized! This could be magic! This could taste delicious! This could transport me to another dimension!” Most importantly, he is thinking what I am always thinking any time I fail to investigate anything: “But what if I really neeeeeed it?” And he is pushing the only button he has. His action button.
(19) SUGGEST A NAME. But Spacy McSpaceFace need not apply: “Wanted: Inspiring name for Europe’s 2020 Mars rover”. This time suggestions will go to a panel instead a popular vote.
Here’s your chance to name the European rover that will go to Mars in 2020.
Currently called ExoMars, the six-wheeled robot needs something a bit more engaging and inspiring for when it lands on the Red Planet.
Astronaut Tim Peake is leading the hunt for a great moniker.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steve Green, David Doering, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, DMS, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]