(1) TALKIN’ ABOUT MY REGENERATION. The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2017 trailer is online.
(2) A PREVIOUS GENERATION. Meanwhile, at Comic-Con, Harrison Ford still doesn’t know whether he was a replicant: “Blade Runner 2049: Harrison Ford responds to Deckard replicant mystery”.
Moderator Chris Hardwicke couldn’t help but ask Ford if Blade Runner 2049 would address the lingering questions about Deckard’s identity – human or replicant?
After a long pause, the star responded: “It doesn’t matter what I think.”
So that clears that up then.
(3) ACTUAL COMICS NEWS FROM COMIC-CON. NPR observes “Yes, Some Comics Are For Kids — And They’re Big Business”.
Before I left for San Diego Comic-Con this week, I checked in with Lucy Strother, a fourth grade teacher in Philadelphia whose students just love comics. “We have like a comics and graphic novels bin in the library and it’s perpetually empty because the kids are so obsessed with comics and graphic novels,” she says.
Strother says graphic novels are an important way to get kids used to reading longer chapter books with more mature ideas. And for her students, there’s one author who reigns supreme. “The queen of my classroom is Raina Telgemeier.”
“My name does mean queen,” Telgemeier laughs. She’s here at Comic-Con to talk comics and meet young readers; her latest graphic novel, Ghosts, is a gentle, lovely story for middle grade readers, about a girl coming to terms with her little sister’s serious illness.
(4) OPEN FOR CLICKS. The Westercon 72 (and aspiring 2019 NASFiC bid) website has gone live. The con will be in Layton, UT.
(5) OUT OF THE SHADOWS. Clarke Awards administrator Tom Hunter sent out the links himself:
Adrian Tchaikovsky has also been busy reviewing all six books on this year’s shortlist, splitting his reviews into three equal parts.
- Part one: Faith In The Future covers A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers and Central Station by Lavie Tidhar.
I want to wave a flag for Chambers’ aliens?—?while there is a definite Trek-like philanthropic principle going on, the species are all well defined, and then the individuals are separately defined so that you don’t get the common problem of “all of X species are like this”, and furthermore “X species are basically humans with this hang up and a narrowed emotional range”. Like Planet, Orbit makes a virtue of telling the stories of ordinary people in a multispecies galactic community, with plenty of digressions and diversions that only add to the verisimilitude of the world and the characters.
- Part two: The Evil That Men Do discusses The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and After Atlas by Emma Newman.
Where this book crosses from the historical into Clarkes territory is the railroad of the title. Now I have a confession here, because my knowledge of this period is limited and my first introduction to the phrase ‘underground railroad’ was in Babylon 5, which utterly baffled me because I thought they were talking about a literal one. And in Whitehead’s book, there is. Instead of the loose network of sympathisers and rescuers, white and black, there is a genuine railroad under the ground smuggling slaves from place to place, constantly in danger of being discovered by the slavers. In this way, Whitehead gives us the southern US as a series of “stations” (3) where different scenarios play out between black and white, slave and free.
- Part three: Sufficiently Advanced Mathematics deals with Occupy Me?by Tricia Sullivan and Ninefox Gambit?by Yoon Ha Lee.
Tricia Sullivan is a SF author of considerable repute, with Occupy Me her fourth visit to the Clarkes shortlist (having, I believe, won it in 1999 with Dreaming in Smoke). This is a book about time, space, energy and angels, and it’s going to be relatively difficult to talk about because finding out what is actually going on is one of the chief pleasures of the book. The plot effectively starts in the middle and then unfolds towards the beginning and the end simultaneously, and that is entirely appropriate for the sort of physics that is flying around in the plot. Flying, in fact, is a major theme.
(6) SURVIVING CHILDHOOD. Here are “9 dangerous toys that prove kids were just tougher before 1990”. John King Tarpinian says he had these —
Clackers had a lot of fun nicknames: knockers, click-clacks, bangers, knocker bockers or knicker knackers. But by any name, these 1970s toys were dangerous as heck, especially if you got the original acrylic glass clackers that some kids were either strong enough or intent enough to shatter. It was enough to get the attention of the Society for Prevention of Blindness, who issued their own warning, before a 1973 Consumer Product Safety Commission arrived to deliver the country to the coddling culture that condemned toys like clackers (which are available today in safer wooden, plastic or metal varities) and birthed a generation of nervous parents today.
(7) CARLSON OBIT. SF Site News reports the death of Jeff Carlson:
Author Jeff Carlson (b.1969) died on July 17. Carlson published the short story “Exit” in 1994? and his next story, “Pressure,” appeared in 2001. His first novel, The Plague Year appeared in 2007 and opened a trilogy, including The Plague War and The Plague Zone….
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- July 23, 1999 — Disney’s Tarzan became the first all-digital film
- July 23, 1995 — The Outer Limits reboot aired “I, Robot” with Leonard Nimoy
(9) WHETHER TO RATIFY. This year’s Hugo administrator Nicholas Whyte, writing as a private individual, gives his take on several rules changes pending at this year’s business meeting: “The 2017 WSFS Business Meeting: Deterring Slates”.
Three Stage Voting
I was one of a number of people last year who put our names to another proposal, Three Stage Voting, which is on the agenda as amendment C.4. This would introduce an extra voting stage. After nominations are made, and the top fifteen candidates identified, Hugo voters (members of that year’s Worldcon) would vote on whether or not to accept the top fifteen as acceptable finalists. Voters would choose “Reject”; “Accept; or “Abstain”. Those rejected by at least 60% of the combined total of “Accept” and “Reject” votes, if and only if the number of “Reject” votes is at least the higher of 600 or 20% of the number of eligible voters, would be barred from the final ballot, which would have the top five (or six) vote-getters from the nominations tally minus any that were rejected by the new process. This was passed by the 2016 Business Meeting and must now be ratified by the 2017 Business meeting to come into effect for next year.
I signed this last year, but I no longer support it, for the following reasons….
Whyte gives four reasons. When it comes to 3SV, Whyte and Dr. Mauser (quoted yesterday) have some common ground.
(10) PUMP UP THE VOLUME, A different kind of Apple Music — “Sing Different: Steve Jobs’ Life Becomes An Opera”. Chip Hitchcock says, “It’s in an appropriately tech location; you can see the lights of Los Alamos from the theater site.”
Even Campbell was initially skeptical of the idea, which came from 40-year-old composer Mason Bates. Bates was convinced that in Jobs’ “complicated and messy” life, he’d found the right subject for his very first opera.
“He had a daughter he didn’t acknowledge for many years; he had cancer — you can’t control that,” Bates says. “He was, while a very charismatic figure, quite a hard-driving boss. And his collisions with the fact that he wanted to make everything sleek and controllable — yet life is not controllable — is a fascinating topic for an opera.”
The (R)evolution Of Steve Jobs shifts back and forth in time over the course of 18 scenes. Its fragmented, non-linear narrative was a deliberate choice by Campbell and Bates, who wanted to reflect Jobs’ personality and psyche. “Steve Jobs did have a mind that just jumped from idea to idea to idea — it was very quick,” Campbell says.
(11) WONDER WOMAN. Marcus Errico of Yahoo! Movies, reporting from Comic-Con, in “WONDER WOMAN II Offiicially Confirmed at Comic-Con, Script ‘In The Works Right Now”, writes DC “to the surprise of no one’ officially green-lit Wonder Woman II, but they’re still working on the script and Patty Jenkins is not yet attached to the project.
Every mention of the film, star Gal Gadot, or images of the Amazonian princess in action during Warners’ Saturday presentation in Hall H was an applause line. And when the simple Wonder Woman II graphic appeared at the end of a sizzle reel, the crowd went wild.
(12) AND YOU THINK YOUR CON HAS TECH PROBLEMS. Pokemon Go event overloads: “Refunds as Pokemon fest beset by glitches”.
As many as 20,000 attendees at a Pokemon Go festival in Chicago are being offered refunds after technical glitches meant fans were mostly unable to catch anything – let alone “them all”.
Disappointed fans will also be offered $100 in the form of the app’s in-game currency, Pokecoins.
The event on Saturday had been touted as a chance for fans to come together and catch some of the rarest monsters on the hugely successful app.
But fans booed and chanted “fix our game!” and “we can’t play!” as executives from Niantic, the game’s creator, attempted to explain the problems.
At one point a bottle was thrown at a presenter on stage – it missed.
(13) FLORIDA MAN. The Orlando Sentinel reports a hometown fan (and File 770 reader) is headed for Helsinki.
Juan Sanmiguel’s affinity for intergalactic storytelling has taken him around the globe.
Next month he’ll check off a new country as he’s off to Finland for the annual Worldcon and Hugo Awards — which are known as the most prestigious for the science-fiction genre. The awards are scheduled for Aug. 11 in Helsinki.
For the past 25 years, he’s made the annual trek to the convention in countries such as Australia, Scotland, Canada and England.
“I haven’t missed one since ,” said Sanmiguel, who has attended the convention a total of 27 times. “It’s still prestigious … the biggest one so far was the one in London three years ago.”
Also president of the Orlando Area Science Fiction Society, Sanmiguel briefed members of the club Sunday on this year’s nominees, which include mainstream filmed works such as “Stranger Things,” “Deadpool,” “Ghostbusters” and two episodes of the acclaimed “Game of Thrones” series.
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Nicholas Whyte, JJ, and Tom Hunter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Barrett.]