(1) SCRAMBLED WHO. “Neil Gaiman Shares That There Are Multiple ‘Doctor Who’ Easter Eggs In ‘Good Omens’” — ScienceFiction.com has the story.
So, what kind of Easter Eggs might we see appear on the screen? Gaiman chimed in and shared:
“Jack Whitehall plays Newton Pulsifer, and the first time you see him going off to do a job he’s about to be fired from, his tie is actually the fourth Doctor’s scarf — really small, as a tie.
You know he must be an enormous Doctor Who fan, because he only owns one tie”
There’s also a new teaser trailer for the show –
(2) SINGING GEEKS! “Batman! Spider-Man! Marvel! DC! The Geeks are back this Sunday night in NYC!” The Off Broadway production of Geeks! The Musical! opens April 21 at St. Luke’s, 308 W 46th Street in New York. The music is by LASFSian Ruth Judkowitz.
David Bratman reviewed the 2014 production in San Diego.
…The story takes place over several days at a Comic-Con, though it could be any large generic media-oriented SF con – the coincidence of running into somebody and the difficulty of finding them when you’re looking for them plays some role in the plot. It’s the story of three pairs of friends who come to the convention, one set specifically in hopes of selling the avant-garde comic they’re working on, the others to buy collectibles or to attend programming or just to people-watch. They interact, and romantic pairings, both straight and gay, ensue….
The material has been updated for the 2019 production.
(3) TYPECAST ON TWITCH. Half a dozen sff and game writers will launch TypeCast RPG on Twitch this coming April 23. The continuing role-playing game will stream live Tuesday nights from 7-10 MST.
The members of TypeCast RPG will adventure in a world they’ve collaboratively created named Vaeron. Throughout the sessions, the dungeon master and five game players will make use of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition rule system to take their characters through a dark and heroic world in which cities have been built on the backs of slumbering eldritch monsters, stone-age dangers lurk in the lands below, and sky-ships plunder both land and air!
The cast includes:
- Dan Wells will serve as the Dungeon Master for the group.
- Charlie N. Holmberg will be playing Fleeda, a Stone Age human druid with complicated family problems.
- Alan Bahr brings forth Seggrwyrd, the gentlest (and biggest) Jotunnblut barbarian you’ve met.
- Robison Wells is Grummund, a scoundrel sky dwarf pirate you’ll cheer for.
- Mari Murdock is Grisk, a half-orc rogue torn between profit and faith, and willing to switch allegiances for the right reward.
- Brian McClellan is Krustov, the necromancer cleric and atheist (yes, it’s that confusing).
After the livestream wraps up, video viewing will be available on YouTube, as well as a podcast intended to launch on Wednesday afternoons. Various bonus content such as interviews, industry discussions for both fiction writing and gaming, and guest stars will be part of the live stream and other formats!
(4) AMAZON WILL PUBLISH SFF COLLECTION. The AP service carried the announcement of a prestigious collection:
Amazon Original Stories, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, announced today the forthcoming six-part science-fiction collection Forward, featuring original short stories from some of today’s most celebrated voices in fiction, including Blake Crouch, N. K. Jemisin, Veronica Roth, Amor Towles, Paul Tremblay, and Andy Weir. Forward will be available for free on September 17 th, 2019 to Prime and Kindle Unlimited customers. Readers can download the collection as a Kindle eBook or Audible audiobook.
Forward explores a central theme: the resounding effects of a pivotal technological moment. While each author started with this same prompt, readers will discover that each story unearths a unique corner of the sci-fi genre, ranging from intimate to epic, grounded to far future, hopeful to harrowing.
Andy Weir ( Artemis, The Martian ) imagines a high-tech Las Vegas casino heist; Paul Tremblay ( The Cabin at the End of the World ) immerses readers in a patient’s mysteriously slow healing process; Amor Towles ( A Gentleman in Moscow ) explores a fertility clinic’s god-like abilities to alter an unborn child’s life path; Veronica Roth (Divergent trilogy) spins a story of finding connection in the face of our world’s certain destruction; N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth series) subverts all expectations when an explorer returns to the ravaged Earth his ancestors fled; and Blake Crouch ( Dark Matter) follows a video game designer whose character Maxine unexpectedly “wakes up.”
(5) BLADE. Is this the sword that Claire Ryan’s pen was mightier than? Authors thanked Claire Ryan for her work helping to expose #CopyPasteCris. (A list of 40 plagiarized authors is posted at the link.)
(6) RAISING A WRITER. Stuart Anderson’s Forbes profile “Isaac Asimov: A Family Immigrant Who Changed Science Fiction And The World” starts with a topical hook but is mainly a literary biography.
Isaac Asimov, one of the greatest science fiction writers of the 20th century, came to America as a family immigrant. In fact, he came as part of what some people, sometimes those not particularly in favor of immigrants, today call “chain migration.”
(7) NO SURPRISE. You will not be shocked by this BBC news item — “Hellboy: David Harbour remake fails to fire up box office”.
The latest remake of Hellboy has failed to catch fire, mustering a mere $12m (£9m) at the US box office in its opening weekend.
The turnout falls short of Lionsgate’s $20m (£15m) estimated figures.
Directed by Neil Marshall, the film stars Stranger Things’ David Harbour as a demon who switches satanic allegiance to protect humanity from evil.
Based upon Mike Mignola’s graphic novels, tensions reportedly plagued the R-rated superhero production.
Its poor performance with audiences, (underlined by its disappointing C-rating on Cinema Score), was also reflected by critics.
The Chicago Sun-Times described it as “loud and dark – but almost instantly forgettable,” while the Washington Post lamented its “flat performances and incoherent story”.
(8) PICARD. Three additions to the CBS All Access “Picard” series have been announced. Variety: “‘Star Trek’ Jean-Luc Picard Series Adds Three to Cast”.
Alison Pill, Harry Treadaway and Isa Briones have jumped aboard as series regulars alongside Sir Patrick Stewart in the upcoming untitled “Star Trek” series.
They join previously announced cast members Santiago Cabrera, Michelle Hurd and Evan Evagora.
…Pill, who is represented by CAA and The Burstein Company, is best known for playing Maggie Jordan on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series “The Newsroom.” Treadaway is known for playing Victor Frankenstein on “Penny Dreadful.” He is represented by Principal Entertainment LA. Briones, who recently starred in “American Crime Story: Versace,” is repped by Piper/Kaniecki/Marks Management.
(9) ALIEN RETURNS TO STAGE. “Date announced for North Bergen High School’s ‘Alien’ encore performance” reports NorthJersey.com.
There will be an encore performance of the stage version of the classic 1979 sci-fi movie, which became a viral sensation when some enterprising North Bergen High School students produced it with eye-popping sets and effects.
On April 26 at 8 p.m., North Bergen will reprise the show, which was staged for only two performances in March. Those performances caused a tsunami of interest when a video posted the weekend of March 23 got some 3 million hits.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 17, 1923 — Lloyd Biggle Jr. He was the founding Secretary-Treasurer of Science Fiction Writers of America and served as Chairman of its trustees for many years. Writing wise, his best-known series were the Jan Darzek and Effie Schlupe troubleshooting team, and the Cultural Survey. I find it interesting wrote his own Sherlock Holmes stories from the perspective of Edward Porter Jones, an assistant who began his association with Holmes as a Baker Street Irregular. There’re are two novels in this series, The Quallsford Inheritance and The Glendower Conspiracy. (Died 2002.)
- Born April 17, 1923 — T. Bruce Yerke. He was active member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, serving as its secretary for many years, and is credited with getting Bradbury involved with the group. Myrtle R. Douglas, Forrest Ackerman and he edited Imagination!, the Retro Hugo Award-winning fanzine. (Died 1998.)
- Born April 17, 1942 — David Bradley, 77. It’s his Who work that garners him a Birthday honour. He first showed up during the time of the Eleventh Doctor playing a complete Rat Bastard of a character named Solomon in the “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” episode. But it was his second role on the series as the actor who was the First Doctor that made him worth noting. He portrayed William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time and then played the role of the First Doctor in “The Doctor Falls” and “Twice Upon a Time”, both Twelfth Doctor stories. He is also known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film franchise, Walder Frey in Game of Thrones and Abraham Setrakian in The Strain.
- Born April 17, 1959 — Sean Bean, 60. His current role that garners him recognition is his performance as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, but he’s worked in our area of interest a long time. His first genre role was in GoldenEye as the the antagonist of Bond, Alec Trevelyan (Janus). Next he shows up as Boromir in the first of The Lord of the Rings films. He played Dr. Merrick in the horror SF film The Island and was James in horror flick The Dark which purports to be based off Welsh myth. Following in the horror vein, he’s Chris Da Silva in Silent Hill (which gets a sequel later in Silent Hill: Revelation) and in yet more horror is John Ryder in the remake of The Hitcher. (Was it so good that it yearned for a remake? I doubt it.) Black Death — yes more horror — and the character of Ulric ensued next. Finally something not of a horror nature in playing Zeus in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief happened. I’m going to forgo listing the subsequent horror films he’s in and just finally note that he’s in The Martian playingMitch Henderson.
- Born April 17, 1972 — Jennifer Garner, 47. Back before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were Marvel Comic movies. Such was the case with Elektra Natchios and its lead character of Elektra Natchios. Don’t remember anything about the film anymore. She also had the same role in Daredevil.
- Born April 17, 1973 — Cavan Scott, 46. To my thinking, there’s somewhat of an arbitrary line between fanfic and professional writing. (Ducks quickly.) which brings me to the world of fiction set in media universes where a lot of fanfic is set. This writer has apparently specialized in such writing to the extent that he has novels in the universes of Dr. Who (including the subgenre of Professor Bernice Summerfield), Blake’s 7, Judge Dredd, Skylanders Universe, The Tomorrow People, Star Wars and Warhammer Universe. Judge Dredd? Novels?
(11) SOMEONE BLEW THE BUGLE. Do cats really have nine lives, or do they make up the other eight? The question is inspired by the latest installment of Timothy the Talking Cat’s autobiography — “Beyond the Bounds of Genius: Chapter 3”
Chapter 3: Marine Sergeant Tim
…My first attempt failed as I had mistaken the Post Office for the Marines. In my defence “Royal Mail” and “Royal Marines” look very similar if you are reading a sign from cat height. Further confusion at the Salvation Army ended more violently as I attempted to attack a uniformed man with a trumpet in an attempt to show my martial temperament….
(12) RIGHT THERE IN THE TAX RECORDS. CNN reports: “Shakespeare home in London, where he wrote ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ found by historian”.
…Marsh’s quest began after The Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse in East London’s Shoreditch, was discovered in 2008. The historian wondered where Shakespeare was living when his plays were performed there, which predated The Globe as the playwright’s workplace.
It had previously been identified that the Shakespeare lived in Central London near Liverpool Street Station, then known as the parish of St. Helens, after he was listed on taxpayer records in 1597/98, but the exact location was never identified….
(13) UNQUOTE. This 1975 letter from Thornton Wilder mentions the Dinosaur from “The Skin of Our Teeth” while illustrating a classic writers’ problem:
Before leaving for Europe (hope you had a lovely time) you sent me a beautiful American Wildlife Calendar. I was enjoying the pictures – the timber wolf, the woodchuck, the bison – and the mottos, Job, Walt Whitman. Dostoievsky, Dante – when I was thunderstruck to see my name-my birthday month, April … subscribed to a howling idiocy: “The best thing about animals is that they don’t say much.” I never wrote that! I never thought that! I yelled for Isabel and pointed it out to her, the tears rolling down my face. “Isabel! Somebody’s played a cruel joke on me. WHEN DID I SAY SUCH A THING? Let’s move to Arkansas until the laughter dies down.”
“Don’t you remember that Mr. Antrobus says it in The Skin of Our Teeth when the Dinosaur is whining about the Ice Age.”
“But l, I didn’t say it.”
Then I thought of all the damaging things that could be brought up against me from that same play:
The Child Welfare Calendar: “A child is a thing that only a parent can love” Thornton Wilder.
The Anti-War Calendar: “God forgive me but I enjoyed the war; everybody’s at their best in wartime.” Thornton Wilder.
No more playwriting for me.
(14) DREAMSNAKE. Adri Joy gives a very fine overview of the book and its influence in “Feminist Futures: Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre” at Nerds of a Feather.
Executive Summary: Snake is a healer in a fractured post-apocalyptic world, travelling through various communities which live out relatively isolated existences in a world which appears to have gone through nuclear war. As you might guess from her name, the title, and almost every book cover Dreamsnake has been released with (except for a 1994 edition which decides to focus on the book’s stripey horse. There’s also… this.) this healing involves snakes: Mist, an albino cobra, and Sand, a rattlesnake, are both bred to synthesise various cures and vaccinations for illnesses, representing a combination of genetic engineering and on-the-spot biochemistry. The third snake is even more special: Grass is a dreamsnake, an extremely rare “offworlder” breed able to create hallucinations and pleasant dreams which are most often used to ease the pain of the dying.
(15) THINKING INSIDE THE BOX. Spacefaring Kitten bring Nerds of a Feather readers up to speed about the series of which this new Reynolds work is a part: “Microreview [Book]: Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds”.
There’s something in the dying (or at-least-super-old) Earth subgenre that has always resonated with me: a storyworld littered with weird and wondrous leftovers from times so far past that people are not quite sure what to make of them. In those stories, the massive weight of history hangs over the world and makes it alien in a very specific way….
(16) NO SHORTAGE. Charles Payseur uncorks more short fiction reviews in “Quick Sips – Beneath Ceaseless Skies #275”.
The two stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies’ first April issue feature young women separated from their families to learn some hard lessons from some rather kick ass older women. The pieces look at death and loss and war and where the characters fit into the larger tapestry of their communities, families, and worlds. They look at service, and sacrifice, and honor, and all the complicated ways those are used both against and to educate children, to prepare them for the roles they are expected to inhabit. These are two stories that carry some heavy darknesses, and yet tucked into them as well are narratives of care, healing, and hope. To the reviews!
(17) MUSIC OF THE SPHERES. The BBC will supply a soundtrack for the anniversary of the first Moon landing — “The BBC Proms are going to outer space: 2019’s season highlights”.
The BBC Proms will blast into hyperspace this summer, with a series of interstellar concerts marking the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings.
Alongside classics like Holst’s The Planets, the season will include a Sci-Fi Prom, featuring scores from films such as Gravity and Alien: Covenant.
A CBeebies concert will take children on a journey to the Moon, including a close encounter with The Clangers.
And the season opens in July with a new piece inspired by the first Moon walk.
Zosha Di Castri’s Long Is The Journey, Short Is The Memory will be premiered on Friday 19 July, under the baton of Karina Canellakis – the first female conductor to oversee the First Night of the Proms.
Meanwhile, art-rock band Public Service Broadcasting will play their concept album Race For Space in a special late night Prom.
The record, which combines sparse electronic beats with archive audio recordings from the US-Soviet space race, will be presented in a new arrangement with the Multi-Story Orchestra.
(18) DESERVES A TOUNGELASHING. “Star Wars: George Lucas names Jar Jar Binks as his favourite character”. Check the calendar – nope, it’s not April first.
George Lucas’ has revealed that Jar Jar Binks, one of the most reviled characters in the Star Wars saga, is actually his all-time favourite.
The 74-year-old director made the surprise announcement at a fan event marking the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
“[It] is one of my favourite movies and of course Jar Jar is my favourite character,” he said via video.
(19) A.K.A. Maybe George was just creating a distraction to keep us from noticing that “Disney Has Officially Renamed The First Star Wars Movie”. Let Gamebyte explain:
Just when you think you’ve got your life sorted and you know what’s what with the world, Disney has to go and screw with all our heads and rename the original Star Wars movie.
Heading back to 1977, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was our first trip to that galaxy far, far away and made household names of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Jump to 2019 and we’re on the cusp of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX.
We’ve come a long way since A New Hope, but now, the House of Mouse is renaming George Lucas’ epic space opera. The movie is now called Star Wars: A New Hope, fitting with Disney’s current naming of the movies since Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.
(20) COMIC RELIEF. Philip Ball’s 2014 post “The Moment of Uncertainty” translated his interview on uncertainty, with Robert Crease, historian and philosopher of science at Stony Brook University. The interview appeared in the French publication La Recherche. Amid the serious scientific stuff is this little joke —
There’s even an entire genre of uncertainty principle jokes. A police officer pulls Heisenberg over and says, “Did you know that you were going 90 miles an hour?” Heisenberg says, “Thanks. Now I’m lost.”
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Mlex, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip WIlliams.]