Here are 11 developments of interest to fans.
(1) Lucy used to tease Schroeder about Beethoven’s greatness by demanding, “Did he ever get on a bubblegum card?” Now George R. R. Martin’s followers can inflict the same feelings of inadequacy on fans of other writers by asking, “Did he ever get his own brand of beer?”:
Ommegang announced this week that it is partnering with HBO to launch beers inspired by the channel’s critically acclaimed drama Game of Thrones. The first beer will be called Iron Throne Blonde Ale, and it will be launched on March 31 to coincide with the beginning of the show’s third season, the brewery announced in a statement.
(2) The year-end roundups are coming thick and fast. I’m sure you want to know what old science fiction book you should have held onto if you wanted to rake in the money this year. AbeBooks’ list of 2012’s most expensive sales lists this autographed sf novel in the top 25 —
21. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – $14,500
First impression of the first British edition published in 1951 and inscribed ‘Yours, John Wyndham / (John Benyon Harris) 22-8-51.’ Presented in a custom clamshell case designed by binder James Tapley.
(3) The beginning of Tim Folger’s article “Crazy Far” in National Geographic sounds a bit discouraging:
“This is not a model,” NASA physicist Les Johnson says as we gaze at the 35-foot-tall assemblage of pipes, nozzles, and shielding. “This is an honest-to-goodness nuclear rocket engine.” Once upon a time, NASA proposed to send a dozen astronauts to Mars in two spaceships, each powered by three of these engines. Marshall director Wernher von Braun presented that plan in August 1969, just two weeks after his Saturn V rocket delivered the first astronauts to the moon. He suggested November 12, 1981, as a departure date for Mars. The nuclear engines had already passed every test on the ground. They were ready to fly.
But he goes on to tout the 21st Century as the beginning of a new Age of Exploration. (Stephan Martiniere did the accompanying artwork.)
(4) And the next wave of space explorers dreams of eventually visiting places like ”The most exciting alien planets of 2012”:
We’ve got massive bodies, the tiniest solar systems ever seen and double-star systems…
(5) This item made me realize how long it’s been since I read Archie comics – I was in the barber shop waiting to get a boy’s haircut…
Archie and Jughead and George Takei … oh my!
The former Star Trek star and pop-culture fan favorite is coming to Riverdale in the pages of Archie Comics’ Kevin Keller No. 6, out today. Kevin Keller, the company’s popular gay character, is a Takei fan and the catalyst that brings the actor and his husband, Brad, into the comic.
As an advocate for LGBT affairs, just like Kevin in his comic, Takei felt his appearance would be a wonderful way to reach young people who may be isolated because of their family beliefs and communities.
(6) Grantland’s contributors have rendered their verdict on the overlooked movies of 2012, among them four sf epics which had poor — or zero — word of mouth:
Mark Lisanti knows why you didn’t see Dredd, and says that was a mistake:
It’s possible — no, likely — you missed it, that you weren’t even aware of its existence, that you wrote it off because of the vague memory of a scowling Sylvester Stallone in a nice helmet.
Sean Fennessey thinks you should see Prometheus – literally, see for its visuals, and pay no mind to the story:
I have no interest in parsing the philosophical underpinning of this movie. There are some ideas in play, of course, but they are so sloppily gathered, and the plot of the film is so goofily rigged, that it amounts to hot breath in a cold car. My advice, instead, is to buy a 140-inch television, purchase the Blu-ray of this movie, turn up the volume, grab a sodium-attack-sized bag of Rold Gold Honey Wheat Braided Twists Pretzels, and drink in the grandeur. Because Scott, after years spent filming Russell Crowe frolicking through vineyards, still knows how to deliver heart-clutching tension and eye-strafing beauty.
Dan Silver almost skipped Men in Black 3:
But (and I’m honestly still surprised, and a little embarrassed to say this) it was good! The film contained an actual plot. It wasn’t too diluted with gratuitous action set pieces. And it, shockingly, uses the tricky narrative device of time travel effectively.
And Bryan Curtis thought John Carter was OK no matter what anybody else says:
When we go to the multiplex these days, we go with an Internet opinion leader on each shoulder. There is Knowles and there is Finke. One wants us to think like a fan; one like an insurance claims adjustor. One transforms us into a 13-year-old; the other puts us in our late 50s with a raging ulcer. Ideally, there’s an ideological middle ground. But in this case, the latter voice won. When John Carter opened on March 9, it took in $8 million less than The Lorax.
(7) Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Treat yourself to some new collectible books being published next year!
In May 2013 two collections by Harlan Ellison will appear for the first time in hardcover with original cover art by Leo and Diane Dillon, Gentleman Junkie and other stories of the hung-up generation and The Deadly Streets. Subterranean Press will issue both in 750 copy trade editions, and 250 signed, boxed sets.(Note: Ellison is signing just one volume of each set, though both volumes will be numbered.)
(8) Or, Centipede Press will publish Mass for Mixed Voices, a collection of Charles Beaumont stories, 18 with prefaces by top authors of fantasy and suspense, including Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson, Ray Russell, Jerry Sohl, Dennis Etchison, Douglas Heyes, and others. The collection also features a new biographical introduction by editor Roger Anker, new artwork by David Ho, and a foreword by Beaumont’s son, Christopher – and the limited 250 copy edition is signed by editor Roger Anker, Christopher Beaumont, and cover artist David Ho.
(9) An Op-Ed writer in the LA Times says Ray Bradbury deserves to have a Metro station named for him:
We all admired him; he, to my everlasting honor and confoundment, befriended me. He was an immortal, and a generous and brilliant Angeleno. The city named a square at the downtown Central Library in his honor. I think we owe him at least a Metro station that bears the name of this man who famously didn’t drive; all of his energy and brainpower went into his formidable and hugely influential body of work.
There’s a great conversation starter. All great sf writers deserve something named after them! But what?
(10) Jordin Kare appears in a Reuters video report that speculates whether laser beaming could make power lines obsolete. He’s onscreen briefly at about :13.
(11) In the realm of practical jokes here is an unsurpassed work of art. A package was mailed to Professor Henry Jones Jr. – that would be Indiana Jones – at the University of Chicago, containing Abner Ravenwood’s journal. Its mailing label was typed on a manual typewriter, the packet contained handmade period money, and was posted from Egypt using period stamps.
[Thanks for these links goes out to John King Tarpinian, David Klaus, Steven H Silver, Michael J. Walsh and Andrew Porter.]