(1) “The Empire Strikes Thomas Kinkade” points to Jeff Bennett’s satirical improvements on “The Artist of Light.”
(2) American wizards have a completely different word for “Muggle” reveals Entertainment Weekly.
Next year’s Harry Potter prequel film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set in 1926 New York, where the wizarding community uses another term entirely for people without magical powers.
In shifting the franchise away from the U.K., author J.K. Rowling — who also wrote the movie’s screenplay — is poised to introduce several new words into the Potterverse lexicon, and the most significant might be what Stateside wizards say instead of Muggle: “No-Maj” (pronounced “no madge,” as in “no magic”).
(3) And here’s a gallery of images from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
In Entertainment Weekly’s new issue, we go on the set and deep inside the chamber of secrets of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here’s your first look at Katherine Waterston as Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Alison Sudol and Queenie Goldstein, and Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski.
(4) More alleged secrets are spilled by the host of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert:
J.K. Rowling can’t stop revealing “Harry Potter” secrets, even though the last book came out over 8 years ago. It’s time for Stephen to take spoilers into his own hands.
(5) Adam Whitehead, in “A History of Epic Fantasy – Part 25“, courts controversy by asking about the Harry Potter series:
But is it really an epic fantasy?
That question has been asked many times before and has proven slightly controversial. The more obvious answer may be no: the books are set in the “real” world, with some of the action taking place in real locations such as London. Much of the story is set in and around a single location, Hogwarts, whilst epic fantasy is often based around a long journey or series of journeys across a fantastical landscape. Epic fantasy also usually features a large and diverse number of nonhuman races, whilst Harry Potter only has a small number of them, and all of the primary protagonists are human. Epic fantasy also relies on characters with diverse skillsets, whilst in Potter pretty much everyone of note is a wizard.
But there are strong arguments to the counter. The books may touch on the real world but most of the action takes place in original, fantastical locations such as Hogwarts. Also, the books make much of the idea of the world being similar to ours, but one where magic is real (if mostly secret) and the impact that has on government and society, making it arguably an alt-history.
(6) At World Fantasy Con 2015:
(7) Also allegedly sighted at WFC by Adam Christopher. No context!
(8) Ethan Mills continues his celebration of Stoic Week at Examined Worlds.
Friday: Relationships with Other People and Society Stoics, Vulcans, Buddhists, and artificial intelligences alike are often accused of being emotionless and not caring about other people. In all four cases, this is a mistake (although in the case of AIs, it may depend on which AI you’re talking about). See my philosophical tribute to Leonard Nimoy for more on this point. As any sufficiently nerdy Star Trek fan knows, Vulcans actually have emotions, but, in many of the same ways as Stoics, they train themselves to move beyond being controlled by negative emotions and they cultivate positive emotions like compassion. Vulcans like Spock do care about their friends. The deep friendship that Spock feels for his crew mates, especially Kirk and McCoy, is unmistakable, as illustrated most poignantly near the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (whether Spock is a utilitarian or virtue ethicist is hard to say.)
Marcus Aurelius realized that cultivating compassion for everyone is often hard, especially when other people are obnoxious (as they so often are, even more so now that we have internet trolls).
(9) In “Guillermo del Toro’s Guide to Gothic Romance” at Rookie the director lists the Gothic romances that influenced him.
Do you ever wonder what goes on in the wondrous mind of director, producer, and screenwriter Guillermo del Toro? Yes? Same. Well, to chime with the recent release of his creepy, goth thriller Crimson Peak, Guillermo has curated a syllabus of the Gothic and Gothic romance novels, short stories, and engravings that influenced the making of the film. He sent us these recommendations with the following words: “I hope you enjoy some of these as fall or winter reads by the fireplace.” Before you post up beside an actual fire, here’s what Guillermo del Toro has to say about these Gothic essentials.
First on the list –
Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan Le Fanu This book defines the link between fairy tales and gothic romance. Uncle Silas is a convoluted, highly perverse mystery-thriller about innocence in danger, written by the master of ghost stories, J. Sheridan Le Fanu. It’s a dense but rewarding read, and it was crucial to Crimson Peak.
(10) Superman will make a (blurry) appearance on the next episode of Supergirl.
Consequently, Josh Wilding at We Got This Covered is a little bit crabby.
While it makes some sense that Superman would come and save the inexperienced Supergirl, the series really needs to find a way to take him off the board so he’s not continuously used as a plot device in future. If that’s not going to happen, then he should make an actual appearance instead of all these endless teases.
(11) Cedar Sanderson, “The Slow, Dark Eclipse of the Soul”, at Mad Genius Club.
It’s been a discouraging week, overall. First there was the article about SF writers coming into the genre without reading the classics of the genre. Then, when I started working on a list of classics available free (or very cheap) online to suggest to potential readers, I got a comment to the effect of ‘classics suck, they should die in a fire, and why should anyone read them?’
In the aftermath of that, which left me wondering why I was trying to make this list… I don’t make the lists to force anyone to read anything. I can’t – who am I? I’m not the teacher, or the… anything. I’m just someone who likes to create these lists of recommendations with input from others, and then they generate even more suggestions in the comments. I make lists to be beginnings, not endings. The hope is that someone will see a title they had never read, or had forgotten, and that strikes mental sparks in folks who have favorites they want to share, and so on. It’s about building up the genre, not tearing it down. I’d never say ‘you must read these books, and only these books, all others are anathema.’
As I was saying, I was still mentally mulling the whole ‘classics suck!’ thing over in my head, when a minor controversy erupted over writing book reviews. When, if ever, is it ok to be critical in a review? Should we put ourselves in a position where we say ‘well, that author is on my side, ergo I must never say a bad word about his work?’ Well, no, I don’t think so. Nor do I think that the occasional critical review is a bad thing – as long as the review is analyzing the work, not the author, and leavened with the good along with the bad. That’s how I do it. But it’s discouraging to be told that we can’t present a critical view of a work, simply because of who the author is.
(12) Fans are so smitten by the idea of an illuminated toy lightsaber that’s sturdy enough to bash around that they have fully funded Calimacil’s Kickstarter and then some – raising $46,889, well beyond the $38,259 goal.
The challenge was to build a lightsaber made of foam for safe play. To integrate light, we had to enhance the foam formula we normally use to build our products. Moreover, we had to develop a new technology into the handle to enable both light and sound. Thus our journey began, and we successfully achieved the creation of a fully immersive foam LEDsaber!….
The LEDsaber can communicate with a smartphone through Bluetooth. With that communication enabled, you will be able to customize the light effects of the blade. Multiple choices of colors are available: red, blue, green, orange and more. Even more, you can create various visual plasma effects on the blade….
Calimacil has no intention to commercialize the product using any kind of trademark associated to Disney. For the purpose of the kickstarter campaign we use the term LEDsaber.
(13) A lot of people post about their pets passing away, and I empathize with their sadness and loss.
It’s rare that someone can communicate what it was like to be in relationship with that animal, as John Scalzi has in “Lopsided Cat, 2000-2015”.
(14) And I therefore place next a BBC video in which an “Astronaut plays bagpipes on International Space Station” –
A US astronaut has played a set of Scottish-made bagpipes on the International Space Station to pay tribute to a colleague who died.
Kjell Lindgren played Amazing Grace on the pipes after recording a message about research scientist Victor Hurst, who was involved in astronaut training.
It is thought to be the first time that bagpipes have been played in space.
(15) Internet English – the language in which “honest” means “brutal”!
The Force is awakening soon – and we have an honest look at the trailer for the movie that everyone’s already going to see anyway.
[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]