(1) ONE ‘BOOK KING WON’T WRITE. Stephen King has deleted his Facebook profile reports CNN.
(2) WITCHER THOUGHTS. Walter Jon Williams suspects if you cared you’ve already watched the series, thus the heading — “Reviews Too Late: Witcher”.
…Anyway, the Netflix series is based on a series of stories and novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, who I believe I met twenty years ago and found quite genial. I haven’t read any of his books, though I’ve played Witcher III: The Wild Hunt, which I recommend to any of you interested in action-oriented console RPGs.
The Witcher in The Witcher is Geralt of Rivia, who despite having long white hair, weird eyes, magical powers, “White Wolf” as a nickname, and a sword is not Elric of Melniboné, mainly because Geralt is actually useful in his world, and all Elric does is bring doom to everybody.
(3) HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY. Bill Murray is stuck in the loop again.
So is one of his good pals –
(4) ANOTHER SUPER AD. This cracked me up, too. Amazon’s “What did we do before Alexa?”
(5) WORLDCON MEMBERSHIP RATE RISE. CoNZealand says –
If you haven’t purchased your membership of CoNZealand, now’s the time to do so.
On February 15th, the cost for an adult attending membership will rise to $450. All other membership tier prices remain the same.
(6) SEVEN OF NINE AT 25. The short answer to “a Voyager reboot?” is “No.” But Ryan has an interest in some kind of reunion. “Star Trek: Jeri Ryan Talks Voyager Reunion Potential After Picard” at Comicbook.com.
Jeri Ryan’s history with the Star Trek franchise seems to be coming together in 2020. She’s reprising her role as Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager in the new streaming series Star Trek: Picard. She’s also helping Star Trek Online celebrate its 10th anniversary. At the same time, Star Trek: Voyager is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020. With all of this happening at once, fans may wonder if Seven of Nine’s return in Star Trek: Picard could lead to a reunion with her former shipmates from Voyager, even if only for an episode of Star Trek: Short Treks. Ryan tells ComicBook.com that, while it would be fun to bump into some of her old Voyager colleagues again, she’s not looking for a full-blown revival.
“Would I love to reunite with some of those characters? Sure, I think that’d be great,” she says. “I don’t necessarily need to do a Voyager show again. I think that I’ve done that. But I’m not a writer. I can’t really tell you anything.
“I’m having a great time on Picard. It’s a very happy set. It’s a very relaxed set, which has been great. I didn’t have a phenomenal overall experience shooting Voyager. I don’t look back on that as a super fun four years for me, unfortunately, so to be revisiting this character in a more pleasant work experience is great.”
(7) HEAR A NOVEL OF THE YEAR. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting The Second Sleep as this week’s book of bedtime (though the rate they are going through the book it will last two weeks).
It is set in what at first appears to be in post-Tudor times but soon (first couple of chapters) reveals itself to be in a future England centuries hence following the fall of mankind.
Father Fairfax, a newly ordained priest has been sent by the Bishop of Exeter to the village of Addicott St George to bury Father Lacy who has recently died. But a mysterious figure appears at the funeral casting doubt on the accidental nature of the priest’s death.Fairfax soon discovers that Lacy had an unhealthy (sacraligious) interest in artefacts from before the fall. One of these was a communication device bearing the emblem of humanity’s sinful ways: an apple with a bite taken out of it…
Episodes so far:
Programme home page “The Second Sleep”
(8) FILET MINIONS. But wait, there’s more! The full trailer for Minions: The Rise of Gru, will debut worldwide on February 5, 2020.
This summer, from the biggest animated franchise in history and global cultural phenomenon, comes the untold story of one 12-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain, in Minions: The Rise of Gru.
(9) TODAY’S DAY.
[Item by Daniel Dern.] Sunday, February 2, is “National Yorkshire Pudding Day 2020: When is it, origins of the side dish, and the best Yorkshire Pudding recipe”.
Also known as “British Yorkshire Pudding Day.” Note, the article includes a recipe.
Depending on who you ask, where you search, or how you feel about it, Yorkshire Pudding and popovers either are or aren’t the same thing, although they’re clearly related. Here’s some of those opinions (and more recipes):
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born February 2, 1882 — James Joyce. I’m including him on the Birthday list as ISFDB has a handful of his short stories and an excerpt from Ulysses listed as genre: “The Sisters”, “Everlasting Fire“, “Hell Fire”, “May Goulding”, “The Hero of Michan”, (an excerpt from Ulysses), “What Is a Ghost” and “The Cat and the Devil”. So who’s read these? (Died 1941.)
- Born February 2, 1905 — Ayn Rand. Best known for The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged which is ISFDB lists as genre. Her works have made into films many times starting with The Night of January 16th based on a play by her in the early Forties to an animated series based off her Anthem novel. No, I really don’t care who John Galt is. (Died 1982.)
- Born February 2, 1933 — Tony Jay. Oh, I most remember him as Paracelcus in the superb Beauty and the Beast series even it turns out he was only in for a handful of episodes. Other genre endeavors include, and this is lest OGH strangle me only the Choice Bits, included voicing The Supreme Being In Time Bandits, an appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Third Minister Campio In “Cost of Living”, being in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (and yes I loved the series) as Judge Silot Gato in ”Brisco for the Defense” (Died 2006.)
- Born February 2, 1940 — Thomas M. Disch. Camp Concentration, The Genocides, 334 and On Wings of Song are among the best New Wave novels ever done. He was a superb poet as well though I don’t think any of it was germane to our community. He won the Nonfiction Hugo for The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, a critical but loving look on the impact of SF on our culture. (Died 2008.)
- Born February 2, 1944 — Geoffrey Hughes. He played Popplewick aka The Valeyard in the Sixth Doctor story, “The Trial of The Time Lord”. Intriguingly he was also was the voice of Paul McCartney in Yellow Submarine. (Died 2012.)
- Born February 2, 1947 — Farrah Fawcett. She has a reasonably good SFF resume and she‘s been in Logan’s Run as Holly 13, and Saturn 3 as Alex. (Does anyone like that film?) She was also Mary Ann Pringle in Myra Breckinridge which might I suppose be considered at least genre adjacent. Or not. Series wise, she shows up on I Dream of Jeanie as Cindy Tina, has three different roles on The Six Million Man, and was Miss Preem Lila on two episodes of The Flying Nun. (Died 2009.)
- Born February 2, 1949 — Jack McGee, 71. Ok, so how many of us remember him as Doc Kreuger on the Space Rangers series? I’ve also got him as Bronto Crane Examiner in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, as a Deputy in Stardust, Mike Lutz in seaQuest, Doug Perren in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a Police Officer Person of Interest to name some of his genre roles.
- Born February 2, 1949 — Brent Spiner, 71. Data on more Trek shows and films than I’ll bother listing here. I’ll leave it up to all of you to list your favorite movements of him as Data as I may or may appear on Picard. He also played Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, a role he reprised in Independence Day: Resurgence, a film I’ve not seen yet. He also played Dr. Arik Soong/Lt. Commander Data in four episodes of Enterprise. Over the years, he’s had roles in Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Tales from the Darkside, Gargoyles, Young Justice, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Warehouse 13.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Lio turns Groundhog Day into a moment of terror. (In a totally different way than Bill Murray does it.)
(12) WIGGING OUT. [Item by Scott Edelman.] Today would have been Tom Disch’s 80th birthday. Perhaps you’d enjoy these photos of him trying on wigs for GQ in 1971.
(13) EATS SHOOTS AND LEAVES. BrainPickings’ Maria Popova delves into “A Curious Herbal: Gorgeous Illustrations from Elizabeth Blackwell’s 18th-Century Encyclopedia of Medicinal Botany”. Tagline: “Time-travel to the dawn of modern medical science via the stunning art of a self-taught woman illustrator and botanist.”
A century before botany swung open the backdoor to science for Victorian women and ignited the craze for herbaria — none more enchanting than the adolescent Emily Dickinson’s forgotten herbarium — a Scottish woman by the name of Elizabeth Blackwell (1707–1758) published, against all cultural odds, an ambitious and scrumptiously illustrated guide to medicinal plants, titled A Curious Herbal: Containing Five Hundred Cuts of the Most Useful Plants Which Are Now Used in the Practice of Physick (public library).
(14) NOVEL APPROACH. The Collider says “‘The Thing’ Remake In the Works from Universal & Blumhouse Based on Recently-Unearthed Original Novel”.
John Carpenter‘s The Thing is, undoubtedly, a horror classic. If if you’ve never actually seen it—and shame on you if you haven’t, hypothetical person—you know at least one of the practical nightmares conjured up by the master. (The chest chomp? Come on.) But it turns out neither The Thing nor its 1951 predecessor The Thing From Another World were technically the full vision of author John W. Campbell Jr., who wrote the novella both films were based on, Who Goes There? That full vision would, in fact, be Frozen Hell, the novel-length version of Who Goes There? that was only unearthed in 2018, and Universal and Blumhoise reportedly plan to adapt into a feature film.
(15) DANCE, I SAID. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Writing for SYFY Wire, Andy Hunsaker wraps up genre films from Sundance — “Sundance Roundup: The record-setting “Palm Springs” and other genre highlights of the fest“ .
When you think of the Sundance Film Festival, it’s usually associated with indie dramedies, coming-of-age stories, or intense or quirky documentaries, but it’s also a showcase for insane horror madness and unique sci-fi. Here’s the slate of genre pictures from this year – keep an eye out for them sooner (or in some cases, later).
Films covered include:
- PALM SPRINGS (Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, and J.K. Simmons)
- NINE DAYS (Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Tony Hale, and Bill Skarsgård)
- THE NIGHT HOUSE (Rebecca Hall)
- BAD HAIR (Justin Simien, director)
- HIS HOUSE (Remi Weekes, director)
- SAVE YOURSELVES! (Sunita Mani and John Reynolds)
- HORSE GIRL (Alison Brie)
- WENDY (Benh Zeitlin, director)
- POSSESSOR (Brandon Cronenberg director)
- SCARE ME (Josh Ruben and Aya Cash)
- AMULET (Imelda Staunton and Carla Juri)
- SPREE (Joe Keery)
- IMPETIGORE (Tara Basro and Joko Anwar, director)
- LEAP OF FAITH: WILLIAM FRIEDKIN ON THE EXORCIST (Alexandre O. Philippe interviews William Friedkin)
- RELIC (Robyn Nevin, Emily Mortimer, and Bella Heathcoate)
(16) BELOW SEA LEVEL. Yahoo! frames the picture:
And the YouTube introduction gives these details:
Three fifths of the Earth’s surface is under the ocean, and the ocean floor is as rich in detail as the land surface with which we are familiar. This animation simulates a drop in sea level that gradually reveals this detail. As the sea level drops, the continental shelves appear immediately. They are mostly visible by a depth of 140 meters, except for the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where the shelves are deeper. The mid-ocean ridges start to appear at a depth of 2000 to 3000 meters. By 6000 meters, most of the ocean is drained except for the deep ocean trenches, the deepest of which is the Marianas Trench at a depth of 10,911 meters.
(17) SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. First, there’s Frozen 2 with alleged deleted scenes:
Then, “Society Debut,” where Bigfoot shows up at a snooty British party in 1918.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Scott Edelman, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Leavell.]