(1) Today’s birthday boys:
Born 1866: H.G. Wells
H. G. Wells in 1943.
Born 1912: Chuck Jones
Born 1947: Stephen King
Born 1950: Bill Murray
And as a bonus, also on This Day in History:
1937: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit published
(2) Grotesque parody news story of the day: “Game of Thrones Cast Murdered Following Emmy Victory”.
FANS of popular HBO fantasy series Game Of Thrones were this morning trying to get over last night’s shocking post-Emmy massacre, where virtually the entire cast and creative team were brutally murdered in cold blood.
… “One minute Peter Dinklage was standing with his Emmy and a big smile on his face, the next minute his head went sailing through the air,” said one eyewitness to what is now being referred to as the ‘Red Emmys’.
“Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner were stabbed through the heart, and the big lad who plays Sam got it in the neck. Even by Game of Thrones standards, it was fairly over the top”.
With so many members of the cast and crew slaughtered, fans are now fearing that next year’s season will focus mainly on Bran Stark as there’s basically nobody left at this stage.
(3) Constructed languages are the topic of a forthcoming documentary, Conlanging: The Art of Crafting Tongues .
Featuring an overview of the history of constructed languages up to and through the amazing creations and initiatives of those who actively invent new tongues today, this film tells the rich story that has expanded far beyond Tolkien’s “secret vice.” It’s being made by the people who know the craft intimately for language lovers and a general audience alike.
And All Things Linguistic has an interview with the creators of the documentary in the Conlangery #112 podcast.
(4) Add this to the list of “Han Solo in Carbonite” products — a huge vinyl sticker for your door.
(5) This year Gen Con featured another official beer, Drink Up and Prosper, from Sun King Brewing. According to the Indianapolis Star, not only was the brew available at the con, but it was put in cans and sold in stores.
This will be the fourth year the brewery has partnered with the world’s largest gaming convention, and the fourth beer brewed specifically for the event….
Previous beers included Froth of Khan (2014), Flagon Slayer (2013) and Ale of Destiny (2012).
(6) The Pittsburgh Pirates major league baseball team recently dressed up as superheroes “in the greatest baseball-themed comic book crossover of all-time.”
After the Pirates defeated the Dodgers, 4-3, the team dressed up as superheroes before boarding their flight to Colorado — like, for example, Superman with an expert hair curl hanging out with Bane that came complete with appropriate Zack Snyder lighting.
A squadron of Marvel’s cinematic heroes hung out with either a Na’vi or a really off-brand Nightcrawler: …
(7) The Tor boycott continues to fade to invisibility as a news story. Here’s what I found searching Twitter for “Tor boycott” today.
It was the hyphenated “Doc-Tor” that triggered the result.
(8) And by strange coincidence, Adam-Troy Castro has written some good advice in his new blog post, “Writers: The Long-Term Benefits of Not Being An Ass”.
For the vast majority of artists, being an asshole to the people who give you money is not a good career move. You are not indispensable unless you’re an eminence of such towering fame that they are willing to bend heaven and Earth to keep you. And sometimes not even then. Fame is fleeting.
So one guy I’m thinking of, who has come out and described himself as one of the greatest writers of his generation, who says that his work is reeking with literary virtues that any number of others would give their left tits to be even shelved next to, who has been abusing his publisher in public and attacking his editors as people and in general making himself a horse pill – I think he’s in for a surprise, sooner or later, probably sooner. Writers who can sell the number of copies he sells, or more, are not exactly thin on the ground, and the vast majority of them will not be rallying their readers to send hate mail.
But this is not about him. This is about you, the struggling artist. And to you I have some strong advice.
Be a sweetheart.
Be the kind of artist who, when dropping by the publishing house, brings cookies. Or if not cookies, then at least a warm smile and a gracious manner.
(9) The Clarion Foundation has received a $100,000 donation from a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous. Clarion will use the donation to launch an endowment fund in support of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, held annually at UC San Diego.
Karen Joy Fowler, president of the Clarion Foundation, expressed profound appreciation for this generous gift. “This is tremendously important to all of us who have worked with, for, and on behalf of Clarion over the years. For us, the workshop is a labor of love. Having these funds in hand allows us to plan for the future in a way we’ve never been able to before. This gift provides a solid foundation on which we can build.”
“Our global civilization is now embarked on an unconstrained experiment in long-term sustainability, which we have to get right for the sake of the generations to come,” says Clarion Foundation Vice President Kim Stanley Robinson. “Science fiction stories, ranging from utopian to dystopian, are what we do now to imagine outcomes that help us evaluate our present practices. The Clarion workshop nurtures and trains writers to change the ways we think about the future, and it helps to connect the sciences and the arts at UC San Diego and around the world. We’re thrilled with this gift, which enables us to continue that crucial work.”
The Clarion Foundation partners with UCSD in the delivery of the workshop, with the foundation managing faculty selection and the admissions process and UCSD managing the six-week summer workshop. The foundation has annually conducted fundraising campaigns that allow it to provide about $12,000 in scholarships each year and to cover expenses.
(10) Aaron French compares horror traditions in “Past and Future: Esoteric and Exoteric Philosophy in Weird Fiction” on Nameless Digest.
As with everything else, the philosophy behind dark, weird, and horrific fiction has evolved over time. This philosophical evolution of horror fiction arguably began in earnest with Edgar Allan Poe – though Poe also nurtured a sense of romantic love, which conquers, as well as defeats, his harshest poetry, e.g. “Alone.” Bleaker still, and more callous in disregard of the human race, is H. P. Lovecraft, grandfather of the grim, who described his philosophical position as the following: “…by nature a skeptic and analyst… [I] settled early into my present general attitude of cynical materialism.”
….But if we turn our attention to the postmodern, a new speciation occurs in the writings of Thomas Ligotti, representing a philosophy so hopeless, malicious, and unorthodox that it gives readers pause, unintentionally flipping mental levers and bringing about unwelcome psychological changes.
(11) Here’s somebody else who has definitely flipped his mental levers — “Man angers neighbors by shining ‘alien’ fighting spotlights”:
Neighbors in the Virginia Road area of Hermitage said Arthur Brown, 78, shines the spotlights outside his foil-wrapped house at all hours of the day and night because he is afraid of extra-terrestrial attacks.
(12) From June of 1992, a YouTube clip from Arsenio Hall with guests William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, who are too funny. Shatner enters using a walker and a nurse pushes Nimoy in a wheelchair.
James H. Burns further comments:
Shatner and Nimoy even pitch their convention appearances at the Creation cons of my old pals, Gary Bermand and Adam Malin–
And most amazingly, Shatner talks about his hopes for Star Trek Seven, which he later helped turn into a pretty good Trek novel!
[Thanks to James H. Burns, Will R., Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rose Embolism.]