(1) CATS MEOW, LIZARDS THUNDER, BOOK HAPPENS. Filers Charon Dunn and Sally Smith collaborated on a book that’s newly released! What’s it about? Rhonda Wray’s “favorite boy band is trapped on a dinosaur planet and it’s up to Rhonda to save them!” Let’s eavesdrop on what their cats think about it: “Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler by Charon Dunn and Sally Smith (according to their cats)”.
…T.B. Kahuna: I helped write the Sonny Knight trilogy. She didn’t really give me any credit. She did give me some of the cake with the book cover decoration, and it had whipped cream frosting.
Naomi: Pardon me, I didn’t mean to talk while you were interrupting. And yes, that was very good frosting. “Charon wanted to write about a girl adventurer going from zero to hero. And about dinosaurs, and boy bands, two things that have fascinated her for at least half a century. Sally wanted to make sure the science was tight and that the hero was truly heroic. They both undertook some serious #dinosaur research and many of their surprising findings are incorporated into the book.
For instance, raptors had feathers. There’s a little controversy over whether tyrannosaurids did, but raptors are basically birds with fangs, and they probably acted a lot more like crows or parrots than a pack of wolves. Which means they could probably communicate.” …
(2) NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE. The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2020 is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.
(3) MINTY FRESH. [Item by Dann.] Minty of Minty Comedic Arts dropped a “10 things” video about Dune recently. He actually had quite a few things that I hadn’t heard before. The behind-the-scenes ties to other genre properties were really interesting.
- 10 Things You Didn’t Know About DUNE
As a result, I also saw this one from August.
- 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Matrix
(4) HI TECH, HIGH FEAR. “Thoroughly Modern Hauntings: How Ghost Stories Keep Finding New Ways To Scare Us”: Frazer Lee explains at CrimeReads.
…Modern ghost stories, rather than being exposed as bunkum by technology, have instead utilised that technology to create new sources of terror. Our baby monitors, camera phones, and laptop webcams have of course given us a window on a secure and happy world. But they have also provided the ghosts with a way in. Just in the same way that Shirley Jackson’s paranormal investigators found themselves possessed by the evil in Hill House, our need to connect with each other is now providing fertile ground for the ghosts to emerge. Poltergeist’s entry point for evil was the TV set in the corner of every living room, swiftly followed by Stephen Volk’s Ghostwatch (1992), which made us afraid to watch live TV broadcasts ever again….
(5) A TREK FOR NICKELODEON. Ars Technica excites Trek fans with news of “Kate Mulgrew returning as Capt. Janeway in Star Trek: Prodigy“.
…Mulgrew popped in to make made the surprise announcement during the end of a Star Trek panel at this year’s all-virtual New York Comic Con. “I have invested every scintilla of my being in Captain Janeway, and I can’t wait to endow her with nuance that I never did before,” Mulgrew said. “How thrilling to be able to introduce to these young minds an idea that has elevated the world for decades. To be at the helm again is going to be deeply gratifying in a new way for me.”
…Prodigy, the first modern* Star Trek series to be explicitly targeted to a young audience, will be coming to Nickelodeon at some point in 2021. According to ViacomCBS, the show “follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning, and salvation.”
(6) ROCKET STACK RANK. Eric Wong forwarded the link to Rocket Stack Rank’s annual Outstanding SF/F Horror of 2019 with 28 stories that were that were finalists for major SF/F awards, included in “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, or recommended by prolific reviewers in short fiction.
Included are some observations obtained by changing the Highlight from Free Online to Podcasts, changing the table View by Publication and Author, and Filtering the table by awards, year’s best anthologies, and reviewers.
- 14 are free online (highlighted in default view), 7 have podcasts.
- 8 are Science Fiction, 13 are Fantasy, and 7 are Unknown (not reviewed by RSR but a finalist for one or more horror awards and Year’s Best horror anthologies).
- Among Publications, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Uncanny Magazine tied for the most here with 4 stories each (14%).
- Among ?Authors, none had more than one story in the list.
- SF/F horror stories are 16% of SF/F Awards finalistswith 16 stories (of which eight are Shirley Jackson or Bram Stoker award finalists) out of 99 total award-nominated stories from the 2019 Best SF/F.
- SF/F horror stories did a bit worse (11%) among “year’s best” Anthologies with 13 stories out of 122 total included stories from the 2019 Best SF/F. Paula Guran’s anthology has 4 of the 13, followed by the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy and Jonathan Strahan’s anthologies with 3 each.
- They did better (13%) among prolific Reviewers with 14 stories out of 105 total award-worthy stories from the 2019 Best SF/F. A.C. Wise thought 4 of the 14 were award worthy.
- As for RSR, we recommended 10 stories, were neutral on 8 stories, recommended against 3 stories, and did not review 7 stories (view by RSR rating).
(7) WHO HOLIDAY SPECIAL. There’s going to be a Doctor Who holiday special – but exactly which holiday, they haven’t said. “NYCC 2020: The Gang Has To Fight A Dalek While The Doctor’s Stuck In Space Prison In Holiday Special”.
A lthough the cast of Doctor Who couldn’t reveal much about the upcoming holiday special Revolution of the Daleks, they were able to give fans a taste of what to expect during the virtual Doctor Who Spotlight New York Comic Con panel.
During the panel, series stars Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, and Bradley Walsh explained that Revolution picks up where the Season 12 finale left off, with The Doctor stuck in a maximum security space prison, while her friends were back on Earth, completely unaware of the Time Lord’s incarceration.
(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
- Fifty years ago, the British SF Association Award went to John Brunner‘s The Jagged Orbit, and it followed his BSFA Award win in the previous year for Stand on Zanzibar which also won a Hugo at St. Louiscon. It would also be nominated for a Nebula but did not win. It was first published by Doubleday the previous year, but it hasn’t been printed in almost twenty years, though Open Road Integrated Media has it as an ebook available from the usual digital suspects.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born October 8, 1916 – George Turner. Eight novels, a dozen shorter stories; anthology The View from the Edge; memoir In the Heart or in the Head; essays, letters, reviews, in Algol, Amazing, Astounding, Australian SF News, Australian SF Review, Foundation, Metaphysical Rev, NY Rev SF, SF Commentary, Vector; Chandler, Clarke Awards; nine Ditmars (three for fiction, six for criticism); more work outside our field. Named Guest of Honor for Aussiecon Three the 57th Worldcon but died before it was held. Stern, perhaps waspish, distinguished. (Died 1997) [JH]
- Born October 8, 1920 — Frank Herbert. I’ll confess that I enjoyed Dune and Dune Messiah that’s as far as I got in the series. The BBC full cast audio version of Dune is quite amazing. The other Herbert novel I really liked was Under Pressure. Yes, I’ve read much more by him but all that I remember vividly. (Died 1986.) (CE)
- Born October 8, 1924 – Suzanne Martel. Quatre Montréalais en l’an 3000 (tr. as The City Under Ground; rev. as Surréal 3000 and The City Undergound) seems to have been the first SF novel in Quebec (or Québec). Two dozen novels in and out of our field. Three ACELF Prizes (Association canadienne d’éducation de langue française), Metcalf Award (for body of work; Canadian Authors’ Ass’n), Canada Council Children’s Literature Award (for Nos Amis robots tr. Robot Alert), Governor General’s Literary Award. (Died 2012) [JH]
- Born October 8, 1928 — John Bennett. A very long involvement in genre fiction starting with The Curse of the Werewolf in the early Sixties and ending forty years later with a role on the Minority Report series. Being a Brit, naturally he appeared on Doctor Who in the prime role of Li H’sen Chang as part of a Fourth Doctor story, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”. He had roles in Blake’s 7, Watership Down, Tales of The Unexpected, The Plague Dogs, Dark Myth, Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (as Dr. Sigmund Freud!), Merlin of The Crystal Cave and The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells. (Died 2005.) (CE)
- Born October 8, 1941 – Penny Frierson, 79. Chaired DeepSouthCon 15, co-chaired ConFederation the 44th Worldcon. Guest of Honor at Coastcon 1978 with husband Meade; fanzines with him e.g. Friersign Theater Presents, Scarfing Humble Pie; play (with MF) Shattered Like a Clockwork Orange. Rebel Award. [JH]
- Born October 8, 1946 – Andrew Stephenson, 74. Two novels, five shorter stories; a dozen covers, five dozen interiors. Here is Vector 69. Here is the Aug 75 Galaxy. Here is an interior for Inferno in its magazine serialization. [JH]
- Born October 8, 1949 – Richard Hescox, 71. A hundred fifty covers, fifty interiors; more outside our field. Artbooks The Fantasy Art of RH; The Deceiving Eye. Gaughan Award. Cover designer for DAW Books 1987-1994. Here is Walkers on the Sky. Here is Once on a Time. Here is Dancer of the Sixth. Here is The Sailor on the Seas of Fate. Website here. [JH]
- Born October 8, 1949 — Sigourney Weaver, 71. I’m picking her greatest genre role as being the dual roles of Gwen DeMarco and Lieutenant Tawny Madison in Galaxy Quest. Chicon 2000 did give the film Best Dramatic Presentation Award after all and it is a loving homage to all that is good in the genre. And yes, I know Conspiracy ‘87 gave Aliens a Best Dramatic Presentation Award as well but I’m really not a fan of that franchise. (CE)
- Born October 8, 1951 — Terry Hayes, 69. Screenwriter of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior which he co-wrote with George Miller & Brian Hannant, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with Miller, and From Hell (from the Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell novel) which he co-wrote with Rafael Yglesias. He’s also the writer of an unused screenplay, Return of the Apes. (CE)
- Born October 8, 1954 — Stephen Furst. Stephen is dead, damn it all. The saddest part of doing these birthdays is discovering how many folks have died that I reasonably expected were still living. Babylon 5 has had far too many deaths among its cast. He died of complications from diabetes at a far too young age. You know him most likely as Centauri diplomatic attaché Vir Cotto on Babylon 5, a decent being way over his head in a job he was ill-prepared for. He also directed three low-budget movies for the Sci Fi Channel: Dragon Storm, Path of Destruction, and Basilisk: The Serpent King; he additionally co-starred in the last two films. And he produced Atomic Shark which aired during Sharknado Week on Syfy. (Died 2017.) (CE)
- Born October 8, 1983 — Molly C. Quinn, 37. Fey / Intern Molly / Melony on the Welcome to Night Night podcast and Pemily Stallwark on the sort of related Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast. She’s Jenny in the Authurian Avalon High series, and showed up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Howard’s date. (CE)
- Born October 8, 1988 – Charlotte McConaghy, 32. Author, screenwriter. Eight novels. Interested in nature and fierce women. Migrations just released. [JH]
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Off The Mark gives a genre example of a “senior moment.”
(11) BEA MOVIE. Leonard and Jessie Maltin’s latest podcast is “Howard Ashman Documentary” which is a double-length episode centering around Don Hahn’s documentary Howard: The Howard Ashman Story, currently streaming on Disney+. Director Hahn, who the Maltins had interviewed before, is interviewed along with Ashman’s life partner, Bill Lauch; his sister, Sarah Gillespie;, composer Alan Menken; and Little Mermaid writer/director John Musker.
Fun fact: the producers of The Little Mermaid modeled villain Ursula after Bea Arthur but Arthur never read for the part because her agent refused to send her the script because he didn’t want her playing a witch.
(12) GEORGE CARLIN. Matthew Berry’s ESPN fantasy football column begins with a reminiscence about his first boss, George Carlin, which some of you who don’t hang around sports sites might like to read just the same.
…To be specific, I was the stage PA (production assistant) for “The George Carlin Show,” a 1994 sitcom that ran on Fox, so technically I was the assistant to George and the rest of the cast. But George was the star and, you know, his name was in the title, so it was made clear to me by my bosses that my primary and even my secondary duty was taking care of George and anything he needed, any time he needed it.
I answered the stage phone for him (George didn’t have a cellphone back then). I got meals for him. I would drive scripts to his house, and then I would drive George’s handwritten notes on scripts (George preferred to write things out longhand, and if he used email back then I never saw it) and bring them back to the writers room, among many other various tasks, all of them with the sole purpose of making George’s life easier.
I absolutely loved working for him.
As kind and gentle a guy as you’d ever want to meet, someone if you didn’t know who he was you’d never guess was a living legend. The exact opposite of his on-stage persona, he was always positive, not angry. Soft-spoken and unassuming, he was the first guy on the set every morning and the last guy to leave….
(13) JEOPARDY! Rich Lynch says tonight’s Jeopardy! has a whole category on science fiction novels.
Andrew Porter found contestants had trouble with this item —
Category: The World is Not Enough
Answer: In a Larry Niven novel, a motley crew of explorers travel to this ribbon-like “world” that encircles a star.
Wrong question: What is Discworld?
(14) PEGG’S PARANORMAL PROJECT. SYFY Wire eavesdrops on the New York Comic Con program: “Truth Seekers: Nick Frost And His Co-Stars Share Their Own Ghost Stories At Nycc 2020”.
When the Ghostbusters are busy and can’t catch a last-minute flight to England, who ya gonna call? Truth Seekers! Before the new paranormal comedy series hits Amazon later this month, Nick Frost and most of the core cast stopped by New York Comic Con to discuss the project, which Frost co-created with Simon Pegg, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders. The panel kicked off with the actors recounting some of their personal experiences with the otherworldly.
After breaking up with a former girlfriend years ago, Frost came home to find all of his possessions (save for a single mattress) had been taken by his ex. With her gone, strange things started to happen.
“Me and Simon Pegg ended up sleeping on this single mattress and just watching The X-Files on this weird, TV-video player combo,” said the Shaun of the Dead actor, who plays Gus, a paranormal investigator posing as an internet technician. “But we’d hear the door banging all the time and this bell would ring. And then one day I was laying there, watching TV, and I felt a woman kiss my forehead. As I span ’round, thinking it was Simon mucking about, I was just there in the house on my own.”
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Daniel Craig was on Jimmy Fallon’s show on Monday and said that he had never had a martini until he was chosen as James Bond, so the first thing he did was to go to Whole Foods, get a bottle of vermouth and a bottle of vodka and learned how to make one.
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Eric Wong, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinan, John Hertz, Rich Lynch, Dann, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]