Here are 7 developments of interest to fans.
(1) The way public television programming runs dead slow during pledge drives it makes perfect sense that zombies are helping raise money for KPBS San Diego. And the premium for a minimum donation couldn’t be more appropriate — a hand-cranked emergency radio.
(2) I really enjoyed Rod Searcey’s winsome photo of Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury posed with a company of firemen. The “Writers” portion of his site also has fine images of Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Kelly Link, Jack McDevitt and others. And I loved the one of Comet Hale-Bopp and the Stanford Dish.
(3) John Hickman interviews Coyote Frontier author Allen Steele for The Space Review:
Hickman: So is it fair to conclude that it ought to be humans and not just our machines in outer space?
Steele: …I’d give anything to hike the Valles Marineris or climb Mons Olympus. I’ll probably never have that chance—unfortunately, it appears that I was born too early for this—but I want the next generation to have that opportunity. It’s not just about sightseeing, but about making humankind a spacefaring civilization, and we can’t do that by simply relying on robots.
(4) A popular new theory is that the Easter Island statues were walked into position, like they were the world’s biggest and heaviest marionettes:
Sergio Rapu, 63, a Rapanui archaeologist and former Easter Island governor who did graduate work with Hunt, took his American colleagues to the ancient quarry on Rano Raraku, the island’s southeastern volcano. Looking at the many moai abandoned there in various stages of completion, Rapu explained how they were engineered to walk: Fat bellies tilted them forward, and a D-shaped base allowed handlers to roll and rock them side to side.
And here’s a bit more detail about the technique:
The researchers found that the statue’s fat belly produced a forward-falling center of gravity that facilitated vertical transport. A crew of as few as 18 people could use ropes to rock the statue back and forth, and forward… The vertical-transport trick worked with four rope-pullers on each side, plus 10 people to pull on the statue from behind, as if they were holding back a dog that was straining forward on a walk.
(5) Once upon a time somebody tried to use Ray Bradbury’s work without paying. (Certainly an understatement, but “twice a hundred thousand upon a time” reads so awkwardly.) Mark Evanier (News From Me) tells what Bradbury did about it when the klepto was EC Comics’ William Gaines:
Not long after its publication, the burglary was noticed by Mr. Bradbury but he did not go screaming to lawyers. He noted that the adaptation was well-done and that the two stories had been rather cleverly intertwined, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, so to speak. Suing might cost a lot, he knew, and there probably wasn’t much money to be collected…so he tried another approach. He wrote Gaines a letter that said, in essence, “You seem to have neglected to pay me for the adaptation of my work.” Gaines sent a modest check, a brief correspondence ensued and EC wound up adapting many of Ray’s stories on an official basis.
Al Feldstein did the adaptations. Bradbury met him for the first time 50 years later. Mark Evanier arranged for them to meet onstage during a Comic-Con panel in 2002 (circumventing Julie Schwartz in the process!) It’s a four-part story — (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4).
(6) Would you accept Game of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin as an authority about sex and violence on television? Well, heck yeah!
Q: The books depict more violence than the shows, which have their share of battles. Did you struggle to find a line on how to describe violence?
A: I don’t think I made any effort to define a line, I just want to present violence accurately and the way it is, and graphically in that sense. One of the things I hated about the television networks I worked for, primarily CBS with “Beauty and the Beast,” the premise was that Vincent is a beast and he’s repeatedly called on to defend Catharine and he does so violently. He doesn’t have a gun or a knife or anything. He is ripping people apart with his claws. We were never allowed to show any of that, it would be “disturbing.” But the network said we needed more “action,” code-speak for violence. No blood, not a drop of blood.
(7) But would you trust him to be your interior decorator? If so, he can get you this deal right away — a replica of the Iron Throne for just $30,000:
HBO is offering a life-size replica of King Joffrey’s seat from the hit fantasy series, made of 350 pounds of fiberglass and resin. (No, it’s not actually iron. That would have required a crane for delivery.)
[Thanks for these links goes out to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, David Klaus and John King Tarpinian.]