(1) PRINCESS ON CAMPAIGN. A set of election posters help publicize a new Star Wars novel — “Leia’s Past Haunts Her In new Star Wars: Bloodline Poster”, at IGN.
Set in-between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the upcoming novel Star Wars: Bloodline focuses on Leia Organa, and the shifting role she finds herself playing after the Rebel Alliance’s victory and key moments that will define who she is in Episode VII.
IGN has the exclusive debut of four posters for the novel, which will be given to fans at C2E2 and other upcoming conventions.
The posters are all variations on one another – starting with an in-universe campaign image of Leia and then showing how it has been defaced in different ways by some who seem none too happy with the Princess from Alderaan.
(2) DARTH BY THE HEARTH. Meanwhile, Dad’s lifestyle is no longer as glamorous: “This Ukranian man lives his life as Darth Vader – and the photos are incredible”
While many people would consider themselves serious “Star Wars” fans, one Ukrainian man is taking things to the next level.
Darth Mykolaiovych Vader legally changed his name in homage to the classic “Star Wars” villain. He spends his days dressed in a Vader costume, complete with black cloak, gloves, and of course, the iconic face mask.
Reuters caught up with Vader to see what life is like as one of the world’s most famous movie villains. Turns out, even mundane tasks, like showering and dog walking, look a lot cooler when the Sith Lord does them.
(3) CARNEGIE AND GREENAWAY SHORTLISTS. The shortlists for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals have been announced.
The Carnegie Medal, established in 1936, is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. The Kate Greenaway Medal has been given since 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children.
Locus Online identified these titles on the shortlists as being of sf/f interest.
- The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)
- The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness (Walker)
- Five Children on the Western Front, Kate Saunders (Faber)
- The Ghosts of Heaven, Marcus Sedgwick (Indigo)
- The Sleeper and the Spindle, Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Bloomsbury)
The winners will be announced June 20.
(4) A MONTH OF MARCH. C. Stuart Hardwick thinks a writing career is a marathon. He means it literally. See “Stay Fit” at The Fictorians.
What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how infirm! In action how like a potato!
…American’s should ditch the office chair and switch to a treadmill desk they said. We could loose a few pounds a week just by walking instead of sitting, and address all the other health impacts at the same time. We are not evolved to sit around, nor to stand around, but to hike.
So okay, I decided to give it a try. Treadmill desks are stupid expensive, though, so I made my own. I put a laptop and $10 worth of wire shelving on a $600 Horizon T101 treadmill. I learned to touch type while walking at 2.2 MPH on an incline—just enough to barely crack a sweat. I started loosing weight.
After two months, I was so impressed, I decided to splurge on an upgrade.
I bought a dedicated workstation and bolted it to the treadmill with a monitor arm and a theatrical clamp (I blogged about it here: https://cstuarthardwick.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/upgraded-treadmill-desk-2/). My weight kept falling. In addition to the treadmill, I also started spending time on the exercycle as well, and I used MyFitnessPal to track my net calories. In six months, I lost 45 pounds.
(5) WU ON SYFY SERIES. Brianna Wu appears in a new episode of The Internet Ruined My Life.
200 death threats later, online harassment is a new kind of normal for game developer Brianna Wu. But she refuses to let it silence her.
Wu is one of the subjects in the latest episode of the new Syfy Network series, “The Internet Ruined My Life.”
Wu is the cofounder and CEO of a gaming studio, Giant Spacekat, which make games that empower women, not objectify them.
(6) NOW WE KNOW. Pat Cadigan gives an assist to Philip K. Dick.
(7) IRISH SF. The Dublin 2019 Worldcon Bid has been given permission by author Jack Fennell to publish his bibliography of Irish Science Fiction, which describes hundreds Irish Science Fiction stories and books published from the 1850s to the present day. Download A Short Guide to Irish Science Fiction [PDF file].
Jack Fennel has also written a book, Irish Science Fiction.
When I started my doctoral research into Irish SF, I thought that I had picked a nice handy topic: there couldn’t be that many Irish SF novels and short stories out there, and whatever amount there was must be very recent. Over the course of the next four years, I was proven wrong over and over again. There were hundreds of texts out there, so many that I had to abandon my plans to write a comprehensive overview. What struck me as particularly bizarre, though, was the difficulty I had in finding this stuff when there was such an abundance of it. The reasons became apparent as I continued digging.
Firstly, it was just an accepted truism that Ireland was not science-fictional. The phrase ‘Irish science fiction’ would, at best, bring forth memories of irascible Irish engineer Miles O’Brien from the Star Trek franchise (to date, the only character to shout “Bollocks!” on a Star Trek episode); at worst, it would trigger traumatic flashbacks to Leprechaun 4: In Space. The idea of Irish SF in itself was somewhat ridiculous, and more often than not played for laughs. There was a general perception, among the ‘uninitiated’ anyway, that the Irish just didn’t bother imagining such things.
(8) UNMADE INDIANAS. Simon Brew at Den of Geek knows all about “The Indiana Jones Films That Never Were”.
Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars
Following the success of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, George Lucas would develop an idea or two that could have seen a fourth Indy adventure in cinemas in the 1990s. One that got quite far into the writing process was Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars, an idea that Lucas started working on in 1993. He originally hired Jeb Stuart to write the script for him before passing on the mantle to the late Jeffrey Boam (who had co-written The Last Crusade.)
In this one, Indy very nearly gets married at the start to a linguist by the name of Dr. Elaine McGregor. Amongst the guests at the wedding would have been Marion, Willie, Sallah, and his father, but instead of walking down the aisle, McGregor hops into a car on the big day and disappears. The search is thus on to find her.
Turns out she’s working on the discovery of alien bodies and a strange stone cylinder. Indy and McGregor crack the code on said cylinder, which turns out to be coordinates leading them to a mountain. Russian spies want in though, and as Indy tries to rescue Elaine from one of their planes, a flying saucer appears. A further alien encounter sees a truck being lifted off the ground. Meanwhile, a mysterious countdown clock ticks away, with the assumption being that it’s a bomb.
(9) EXCUSE FOR A PUNNY HEADLINE. Sometimes they have storms in Ireland, you may have heard. “Storm ‘troopers’ to inspect Star Wars site after winter weather causes safety concerns” reports the BBC.
An Irish island used as location in the latest Star Wars film is to undergo safety inspections after it felt the full force of winter storms.
Skellig Michael, off County Kerry coast, is a Unesco World Heritage Site that has played host to 8th Century monks and 21st Century film crews.
Parts of Star Wars Episode VII were filmed on the rocky landmass in 2014.
(10) STRING THEORY. Alastair Reynolds salutes Supermarionation in “Hey Joe” at Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon.
After a military coup, a dictator misappropriates global aid funds to develop drone warfare technology to use against his own citizens. A stricken submarine ends up in the territorial waters of a Central American failed state, threatening to derail international peace talks. In a Middle Eastern Sultanate, a political assassination leads to a constitutional crisis, imperilling the progressive, democratic policies of the rightful successor to the throne. In the Arctic, a nuclear accident heightens an already tense East-West standoff…
Failed states. Democracies. Autonomous weapons. Middle East crises. Rising nuclear tension. The East and West at each other’s throats …
This is the world of 2013 – or rather the world of 2013 as envisaged in 1968, when Gerry Anderson began making Joe 90, the last of his series to be based exclusively around Supermarionation.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
(12) THE FIRST TRUMP. Jeb Kinnison’s piece “Trump World: Looking Backward” is recommended as having a Canticle for Leibowitz illustratrion and flavor.
The Internet seemed to end the constraints on opinion, but a new sound of silence appeared when its two-way nature allowed crowds to join together to silence expression of ideas they found threatening. People lost their jobs because of one errant tweet, and politicians found it useful to stoke the flames of envy and resentment to gain votes. A new victim cult appeared, seeing racism and sexism in every element of US life, and command of the cult’s lexicon enabled entry to academic and government positions.
The left-behind grew angry, and simmered in disability payments and painkilling drugs while they saw their children discriminated against by the gateway institutions built by their forebears. They had supported the growth of the Federal government through costly wars and the building of a social safety net, only to be left out and denigrated by their ruling class. Federal agencies were taken over by progressives and affirmative-action hires, and wasted time and resources shuffling reports and holding grand meetings to write about working toward solving problems that barely existed while neglecting their core functions. The levels of incompetence tolerated grew and grew, until civil service employees could hold their jobs after being absent for years or being discovered spending most of their time viewing Internet porn. Major new government programs and projects failed and billions of dollars were wasted without consequence, those responsible for the failures being promoted to further damage the private economy by ruling from Washington.
And all that’s before Trump even appears.
(13) NUSSBAUM’S BALLOT. Abigail Nussbaum’s entry “The 2016 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Short Fiction Categories” makes compelling reading for her honest admission that – like who knows how many Hugo voters – she’s allergic to paying for short fiction.
Before we get started, a few comments on methodology, and observations on the state of the field. Almost all of these stories were published in magazines that are freely available online, largely because that makes them easier to access whenever I have some free reading time. As I did last year, I ended up skipping the print magazines completely, as well as most of the for-pay online magazines. The one exception is the novella category, where the e-book boom continues to be extremely rewarding for both authors and readers, creating a new market for slimmer volumes and more contained stories that you can enjoy for just a few dollars apiece.
She also read the free fiction on Tor.com despite some misgivings – it was, after all, free.
Second, I should say that I debated for a long time over reading stories published on Tor.com, or in the publisher’s new novella line. The behavior last year of Tor editor Tom Doherty, in which he all but aligned himself with the Rabid Puppies and their leader Vox Day, was to me completely beyond the pale, and the fact that Doherty has not retracted or apologized for his words is a black stain on the entire company he runs….
(14) I’M SHOCKED. Via “Barbershops, Bookshops, Histories and Bad Math” by Jared at Pornokitsch, this link to the Observer post “Amazon Best-Selling Author” is a crock of shit”.
Last week, I put up a fake book on Amazon. I took a photo of my foot, uploaded to Amazon, and in a matter of hours, had achieved “No. 1 Best Seller” status, complete with the orange banner and everything.
(15) PHOTO TOUR OF LEGO HOGWARTS. From Popsugar, “A Supermom Created This 400,000-Piece Hogwarts Castle Out of LEGOs, and We Are Speechless”.
Finch’s absolutely epic 400,000 piece structure puts every single LEGO creation ever built — my tiny, school-bound Potter most of all — to shame.
The mother of two built a LEGO Hogwarts castle so full of detail, only a true fan could have lovingly pieced it together with such success. “I did quite a bit of research in the books and movies looking for the smallest of details, things like the old-fashioned slide projector in Lupin’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class, the location of the potions class, and the wood paneling in the charms classroom,” she told LEGO blog The Brother’s Brick.
(16) BITE ME. “’You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat’: ‘Jaws’ Writer Reveals Origins of Movie’s Famous Line” in The Hollywood Reporter.
The infamous line from Jaws, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” which landed at No. 3 on Hollywood’s Top 100 Movie Quotes, came about during those rewrites.
“It was an overlap of a real-life problem combined with the dilemma of the characters onscreen,” [Carl] Gottlieb says of the origins of the line. The real-life problem being a barge (named by the cast and crew S.S. Garage Sale), which carried all the lights and camera equipment and craft services, was steadied by a small support boat that was too tiny to manage the job.
Gottlieb recalls: “[Richard] Zanuck and [David] Brown were very stingy producers, so everyone kept telling them, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.’ It became a catchphrase for anytime anything went wrong — if lunch was late or the swells were rocking the camera, someone would say, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.'”
Roy Scheider, who played Brody in the movie, ad-libbed the line at different points in his performance throughout filming. But the one reading that made it in to the final cut of the movie was after the suspenseful first look at the great white shark. Says Gottlieb, “It was so appropriate and so real and it came at the right moment, thanks to Verna Field’s editing.”
Gottlieb has heard the line pop up in a lot of strange places, but he says the most memorable time it was quoted back to him was in a casino: “I was playing poker and thought I had a winning hand, ’cause I had a full house, which is referred to as a ‘full boat,’ and the guy across the table from me said, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat,’ and he put down a larger full house.”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Nigel, Will R., and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]