The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ suit to stop ComicMix’s Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go! project, a crowdfunded book featuring the writing of David Gerrold and the art of Ty Templeton.
The Ninth Circuit decision says —
The creators thought their Star Trek primer would be “pretty well protected by parody,” but acknowledged that “people in black robes” may disagree. Indeed, we do.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) claimed Boldly infringed their copyright and trademark for Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go! The Ninth Circuit panel concluded that Boldly did not make fair use of Seuss’ classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go! therefore ComicMix and the creators infringed DSE’s copyright, reversing the district court’s 2019 summary judgment in the defendants’ favor. However, the Ninth Circuit did affirm the lower court’s decision that the defendants’ book does not violate DSE’s trademarks.
The panel held that defendants’ use of Dr. Seuss’s copyrighted works, including the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (“Go!”), was not fair use. There is a four-factor legal test of fair use, and the panel said all four weighed against ComicMix. The case summary explains —
The panel concluded that all of the statutory factors weighed against fair use, and no countervailing copyright principles counseled otherwise. The purpose and character of Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go! (“Boldly”) weighed against fair use because defendants’ use was commercial and was not a parody or otherwise transformative. The creative nature of Go! and the amount and substantiality of the use of Go! also weighed against fair use, as did the potential market for or value of Seuss. The panel held that because fair use is an affirmative defense, the burden is on defendants with respect to market harm.
The Ninth Circuit observed that Boldly’s art was not simply comparable to Seuss’ style, it emulated specific pages in Seuss’ Go! The decision analyzes several instances in side-by-side comparisons.
…ComicMix’s claim that it “judiciously incorporated just enough of the original to be identifiable” as Seussian or that its “modest” taking merely “alludes” to particular Seuss illustrations is flatly contradicted by looking at the books. During his deposition, Boldly illustrator Templeton detailed the fact that he “stud[ied] the page [to] get a sense of what the layout was,” and then copied “the layout so that things are in the same place they’re supposed to be.” The result was, as Templeton admitted, that the illustrations in Boldly were “compositionally similar” to the corresponding ones in Go!. In addition to the overall visual composition, Templeton testified that he also copied the illustrations down to the last detail, even “meticulously try[ing] to reproduce as much of the line work as [he could].”
The case will now be returned to the district court for trial on copyright infringement, which the defendants will face without their fair use defense.
…The timescale for the complete evaporation of a black hole is huge, possibly longer than the age of our current universe, making them impossible to detect.
However, Sir Roger believes that ‘dead’ black holes from earlier universes or ‘aeons’ are observable now. If true, it would prove Hawking’s theories were correct.
Sir Roger shared the World Prize in physics with Prof Hawking in 1988 for their work on black holes.
Speaking from his home in Oxford, Sir Roger said: “I claim that there is observation of Hawking radiation.
“The Big Bang was not the beginning. There was something before the Big Bang and that something is what we will have in our future.
“We have a universe that expands and expands, and all mass decays away, and in this crazy theory of mine, that remote future becomes the Big Bang of another aeon.
“So our Big Bang began with something which was the remote future of a previous aeon and there would have been similar black holes evaporating away, via Hawking evaporation, and they would produce these points in the sky, that I call Hawking Points.
“We are seeing them. These points are about eight times the diameter of the Moon and are slightly warmed up regions. There is pretty good evidence for at least six of these points.”
(3) MULTIPLE CHOICES. The Guardian’s “Can you crack it? The bumper books quiz of 2020” includes a question about Iain Banks which I missed, so to heck with it anyway. (It’s a wide-ranging quiz. There are several more sff-themed entries. I missed almost every one of them, too, so double to heck with it.)
What day job did the Booker winner have while writing his novel? Who was rejected by Mills & Boon before becoming a bestselling author? Test your wits with questions from Bernardine Evaristo, Jonathan Coe, David Nicholls and more
(4) FAN SERVICE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is from Isaac Asimov’s In Memory Yet Green.
In The Early Asimov, I included “Big Game” among the list of those stories of mine that disappeared. Not so. I had it all these years and, without knowing it, had included the manuscript with papers of mine that I had donated to the Boston University library. A young science-fiction enthusiast, Matthew Bruce Tepper, who had prepared an accurate and exhaustive bibliography of my science fiction, went through my papers at BU, uncovered the manuscript, and sent me a Xerox copy. I had the story published in Before The Golden Age (Doubleday, 1974).
(5) IN MEMORY YET BROWN. Scott Edelman asks for help in tracing the history of this DC in 1974 Worldcon bid promotional shopping bag.
I found this among my late sister-in-law Ellen Vartanoff’s collection of science fictional memorabilia — an item I’d never seen before, promoting both Disclave and the 1974 D.C. Worldcon. You, who know all and see all, surely know when and where this might have been handed out — right?
…Eccleston went on to praise the scripts, which he described as “beautiful” – adding that the care and knowledge that had gone into them had played a huge part in easing him back into the role after such a long time away.
“That’s what made it feel seamless,” he said. “I felt that you [Briggs] understood what he was all those years ago – and so it was like putting on a pair of old shoes. Running shoes!
“Doing the scripts, you do get the sense of somebody who’s completely immersed in the lore of the show. I think what I realised, with all my writers, when I did the 13 episodes – and with this – is basically you’re playing the writer.
“You’re playing Steven Moffat, you’re playing Russell T Davies, you’re playing you [or] Rob Shearman… you’re playing them, their projected self, as the Doctor – and that’s what’s nice, because he has a slightly different voice from episode-to-episode while having continuity, of course. You all wanna be the Doctor!”
David Geiser, an artist whose career ranged from the underground comics he created in San Francisco in the late 1960s and 1970s to heavily textured mixed-media works he focused on after moving to New York in 1979, died unexpectedly of heart disease in his sleep at home in Springs on Oct. 14. He was 73.
A prolific artist, his work from the underground comics early in his career to recent drawings such as “Snail Ridin’ the Mouse” and “Dog Boy (a Young Cynic)” reflect his not only his wit and the eccentricity of his vision but also his remarkable draftsmanship….
“David left behind scores of underground comics from his early years in San Francisco, and hundreds of drawings and paintings,” as well as sculptures ranging in size from five inches square to 10 feet by 10 feet, according to Mercedes Ruehl, his partner since 1999. “In his spare time he was an avid reader of contemporary fiction from a wide array of cultures and nationalities,” she added….
(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
1995 – Twenty five years ago, Elizabeth Hand won the Otherwise Award for Waking the Moon. It would go on to win the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature the next year. And Terri Windling would in her fantasy summation in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighth Annual Collection select it as of her best books of the year. The American first edition cuts one hundred pages out of the British first edition.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born December 20, 1897 – Susanne Langer, Ph.D. First woman popularly and professionally recognized as an American philosopher. Fellow of the Amer. Acad. Arts & Sciences. Cellist. Five short stories for us, in The Cruise of “The Little Dipper”. (Died 1985) [JH]
Born December 20, 1930 – Tom Boardman, Jr. Son of the founder of UK’s Boardman Books, managing director after it left the family, SF advisor to Gollancz, Four Square, Macdonald, New English Lib’y. Edited five reprint anthologies 1964-1979. An ABC of SF got Aldiss to Zelazny if we allow its pseudonymous B.T.H. Xerxes. (Died 2017) [JH]
Born December 20, 1943 — Jacqueline Pearce. She’s best remembered as the villain Servalan on Blake’s 7. She appeared in “The Two Doctors”, a Second and Sixth Doctor story as Chessene, and she’d voice Admiral Mettna in “Death Comes to Time”, a Seventh Doctor story. I’d be remiss not to note her one-offs in Danger Man, The Avengers, The Chronicles of Young Indiana Jones and The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. (Died 2018.) (CE)
Born December 20, 1952 — Kate Atkinson, 68. A strong case can be made that her Jackson Brodie detective novels are at least genre adjacent with their level of Universe assisting metanarrative. (The Jason Isaacs fronted series is superb.) The Life After Life duology is definitely SF and pretty good reading. She’s well stocked on all of the digital book vendors. (CE)
Born December 20, 1952 — Jenny Agutter, 66. Her first SF role was Jessica 6, the female lead in Logan’s Run. Later genre roles include Nurse Alex Price in An American Werewolf in London (fantastic film), Carolyn Page in Dark Tower which is not a Stephen King based film, an uncredited cameo as a burn doctor in one of my all-time fav films which is Darkman, and finally she was Councilwoman Hawley in The Avengers and The Winter Soldier. (CE)
Born December 20, 1957 – Angela Hunt, Ph.D., age 63. Two novels, five shorter stories for us; a hundred fifty books, children’s, middle-graders’, adults’; some nonfiction; five million copies sold. Romantic Times Book Club Lifetime Achievement Award. A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year. Also Angela Hunt Photography. One of her dogs was on Live With Regis and Kelly as second largest in America. [JH]
Born December 20, 1960 — Nalo Hopkinson, 60. Named a SFWA Grand Master this year. First novel I ever read by her was Brown Girl in The Ring, a truly amazing novel. Like most of her work, it draws on Afro-Caribbean history and language, and its intertwined traditions of oral and written storytelling. I’d also single out Mojo: Conjure Stories and Falling in Love With Hominids collections as they are both wonderful and challenging reading. Worth seeking out is her edited Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction. She was a Guest of Honor at Wiscon thrice. Is that unusual? (CE)
Born December 20, 1967 – Jukka Halme, age 53. Chaired three Finncons. Guest of Honor at Eurocon 33 (Stockholm) and 37 (St. Petersburg). GUFF (Going Under Fan Fund when southbound, Get Up-and-over Fan Fund northbound) delegate, attended the 55th Australian national convention (“natcon”) in Brisbane. Chaired the 75th Worldcon (called simply “Worldcon 75”; opinions expectably differ on naming these things). Seen in fanzines e.g. Chunga, Twink, The White Notebooks. Served on the 2020 Tähtifantasia (“star fantasy”) Award jury. [JH]
Born December 20, 1970 — Nicole de Boer, 50. Best remembered for playing the trill Ezri Dax on the final season of Deep Space Nine (1998–1999), and as Sarah Bannerman on The Dead Zone. She’s done a number of genre films including Deepwater Black, Cube, Iron Invader, and Metal Tornado, and has one-offs in Beyond Reality, Forever Knight, TekWar, Outer Limits, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Psi Factor and Stargate Atlantis. Did I mention she’s Canadian? (CE)
Born December 20, 1981 – Nick Deligaris, age 39. Digital artist. Two dozen covers, and much else. Here is Bypass Gemini. Here is Skykeep. Here is Nova Igniter. He did the cover and is interviewed in this issue of Deep Magic. He has an interior on p. 5 of this issue of Tightbeam (PDF). [JH]
Born December 20, 1990 – Ashley Dioses, age 30. Five short stories; a hundred forty poems in The Audient Void, The Literary Hatchet, Ravenwood Quarterly, Spectral Realms, Weirdbook; collection Diary of a Sorceress. Inspired by Poe. [JH]
.. Lavie: Let me throw the first snowball here: I’m going with Tove Jannson’s “Moominland Midwinter” (translated from the Swedish by Thomas Warburton), one of the true greats and my favorite moomin book. Moomintroll wakes up alone from hibernation to find the world transformed, and everyone he knows is gone or sleeping (apart from Little My, who’ll never miss the fun). If you don’t cry over “The Squirrel With the Marvelous Tail,” you’re a monster. I reread it a few weeks ago and it’s just as wonderful as ever.
(12) NIVEN’S GENESIS.Fanac.org adds constantly to its online fannish collection. Among the latest gems are the programs from the series of LASFS Fanquets the club used to hold to honor members’ first pro sales. Larry Niven is now a Grand Master, but once upon his time he made his first sale to If. Read about his early career and what Fred Pohl liked about his work in Fanquet 13edited by Bruce Pelz.
Australian Science Fiction Review was nominated for Best Fanzine in 1967 and 1968. In 1968 (in the first year the Ditmars were presented), it won the award for best Australian fanzine. We now have a complete run under that name. The zine changed its name to Scythrop in 1969, and we added 5 issues of Scythrop: #21-24 and #28. We just lost John Bangsund to Covid-19 this year.
(14) PARIS, BUT NOT IN THE SPRINGTIME. Could be news to you, too – J. G. Ballard’s interview in The Paris Review, Winter 1984: “The Art of Fiction No. 85”
I take for granted that for the imaginative writer, the exercise of the imagination is part of the basic process of coping with reality, just as actors need to act all the time to make up for some deficiency in their sense of themselves. Years ago, sitting at the café outside the American Express building in Athens, I watched the British actor Michael Redgrave (father of Vanessa) cross the street in the lunchtime crowd, buy Time at a magazine kiosk, indulge in brief banter with the owner, sit down, order a drink, then get up and walk away—every moment of which, every gesture, was clearly acted, that is, stressed and exaggerated in a self-conscious way, although he obviously thought that no one was aware who he was, and he didn’t think that anyone was watching him. I take it that the same process works for the writer, except that the writer is assigning himself his own roles. I have a sense of certain gathering obsessions and roles, certain corners of the field where the next stage of the hunt will be carried on. I know that if I don’t write, say on holiday, I begin to feel unsettled and uneasy, as I gather people do who are not allowed to dream.
Cyberpunk 2077‘s launch has been the kind of disaster we now expect from 2020. Released on Dec. 10, the ridiculously hyped roleplaying game was swiftly and widely derided for having more bugs than the Montreal Insectarium, with flying cars and glitchy penises dominating the discourse. Now, Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced that not only will it offer refunds to anyone who bought the game from its PlayStation Store, it will also stop selling Cyberpunk 2077 altogether….
(16) YOUR COMEDY MILEAGE MAY VARY. From last night’s Saturday Night Live.
“The Grinch” explains all the fun the Grinch had in Whoville the day after he carved roast beast at the feast.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Dann, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
On Monday a panel of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges heard oral arguments in Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ suit to stop ComicMix’s Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go! project.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) claims the crowdfunded book, featuring the writing of David Gerrold and the art of Ty Templeton, infringes their copyright and trademark for Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go! Previous District Court rulings had disposed of DSE’s trademark violation claims and copyright infringement claims, the latter decision now under appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
Courthouse News, in “Seuss-Star Trek Copyright Battleship Makes Landing at Ninth Circuit”, reports attorney Stanley Panikowski, representing Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said the Trek mashup would damage the demand for the Seuss original by competing with it in the graduation gift market. The mashup’s effect upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work is one of the four factors to be considered by the courts in evaluating fair use of copyrighted maerial.
Panikowski said via videoconference Monday… “‘Boldly’ has the same purpose, the same target audience, the same intended sales channels, and even the same substantive message as ‘Go.’ ‘Boldly is just a Star Trek-flavored clone of ‘Go,’” he added.
The Seuss classic reportedly “shoots to The New York Times’ bestsellers list” every May, purchased as a gift for graduates embarking on their careers.
If there’s reason to believe the Ninth Circuit is primed to reverse the decision and revive this mashup case, it comes from a point pushed by appellate judge Milan Smith. Several times during oral arguments, he stressed that the burden of showing a fair use is on the defendant. Meaning, it is ComicMix’s burden to show there isn’t market damage from Boldly rather than DSE’s burden to show there is the potential for market damage. Booth asserted the burden should be on the plaintiff, but in response to a question from Smith, the attorney admitted there’s no precedent of burden shifting when the judge rules the work is transformative.
Courthouse News reported another judge’s questions indicated skepticism that the mashup satisfies the copyright law’s requirements for protection as a transformative work.
When U.S. Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown, a Bill Clinton appointee, noted there is no bright-line rule for the court to determine if a work complies with the transformative use provision allowable by the Copyright Act, Panikowski said the work was not transformative because it did not criticize or comment on the substance and style of the Dr. Seuss original.
ComicMix attorney Dan Booth disagreed.
“‘Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go’ is a creative expressive work that poses no cognizable harm to Dr. Seuss Enterprises,” Booth said.
“Fair use matters to artists and the public because it gives them breathing room to create,” he added.
But McKeown countered that argument, saying: “I’m having a hard time understanding your argument that this is a parody.”
Booth said because “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is a book heavy on illustrations, rather than text, the parody of the Star Trek mash-up “is much more implicit through the illustration than the text.”
He also argued there is a “different undercurrent” of “Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go,” in which its parody is in “constantly pointing out the individualistic and narcissistic character of ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go.’”
“It’s a universalist theme as opposed to aspiring for the goals of one individual. Star Trek and ‘Boldly’ take on a different approach and shoot for a different ideal, an ideal of universalism, of group support, of communion rather than individuality,” Booth added.
McKeown appeared unconvinced, calling Booth’s argument an “after-the-fact justification” as to why ComicMix chose to parody Dr. Seuss.
She also poked holes in Sammartino’s finding the Star Trek parody was transformative under the Copyright Act.
“The district court’s opinion on fair use is if you take an existing expression and intersperse it with some new expression that all of a sudden you have a transformative work,” McKeown said.
“It would seem to me to sink the whole notion of copyright protection and almost everything would be fair use,” she added.
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner, this case “marks the first time that an appeals court has grappled with the genre of mashups.”
An attempt to place mashups on par with parody in terms of copyright law didn’t sit well with Ninth Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown.
“The district court seemed to take the position that if you take existing expression and then you interspersed it with new expression, you have a transformative work,” she commented. “That is a definition of transformative use that I haven’t seen before. It would seem to sting the notion of copyright protection, and almost everything would be a fair use.”
Nominations will continue to take place here on /r/Fantasy. Nomination rules are below. Please read them and ask any questions under the comment pinned at the top of the thread.
The method for voting will be explained when the voting thread goes live. The nominations thread will close December 26 at 12:30 p.m. PST. The voting thread will go live no later than about 10 pm on Saturday, December 28.
(2) DIZZYLAND. For your maximum confusion, the Best Visual
Illusion of the Year Contest presents its Top
10 Finalists. First prize goes to “Dual Axis Illusion.”
This spinning shape appears to defy logic by rotating around both the horizontal and vertical axis at the same time! To make things even more confusing, the direction of rotation is also ambiguous. Some visual cues in the video will help viewers change their perception.
(3) MEDICAL UPDATE. Eric Flint has posted on
Facebook a fully detailed account of the medical problems that caused him
to be hospitalized during NASFiC, and the course of treatment since, leading up
….Within a few weeks, my condition has improved drastically. My 02 saturation levels are back to normal and I’ve stopped having to use oxygen supplements. I spent the past weekend engaged in a long overdue cleansing of the basement – think “scouring of the shire” –which had me going up and down stairs for hours carrying heavy stuff without getting short of breath right away. Granted, after a few hours I’d get a little fatigued and need to rest a bit, but gimme a break. See “almost 73,” above. When I was a teenager, I spent a whole summer once digging ditches. Those days are behind me. (Happily. It’s not like I enjoyed it at the time any more than I would today. It’s just that at the age of 17 I was ABLE to do it.).
Okay, enough. This turned into a very long post so I’ll wait a day or so before posting a progress report on how my work is coming along. The gist is: “Quite well, actually.” As I said earlier, as long as I was sitting on my butt or lying down I was able to keep working despite the hypoxemia – and, o joyous day! – my current (and hopefully last) profession involves sitting on my butt or lying down pretty much 100% of the time.
…The new clip from the site cuts up footage from Marriage Story as well as both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars sequel trilogy to tell a similar story, but with Black Widow and Kylo Ren trapped in a relationship that has since become poisoned.
While both Driver and Johansson are earning buzz for their portrayal of the estranged couple undergoing divorce proceedings in Marriage Story, many fans are interested in their roles in their respective franchises.
(5) BROOKER OBIT. Tony Brooker
(1925-2019), mathematician and computer scientist who designed the programming
language for the world’s first commercial computer, died on 20 November 2019
aged 94. See the New York Times tribute.
Mr. Brooker had been immersed in early computer research at the University of Cambridge when one day, on his way home from a mountain-climbing trip in North Wales, he stopped at the University of Manchester to tour its computer lab, which was among the first of its kind. Dropping in unannounced, he introduced himself to Alan Turing, a founding father of the computer age, who at the time was the lab’s deputy director.
When Mr. Brooker described his own research at the University of Cambridge, he later recalled, Mr. Turing said, “Well, we can always employ someone like you.” Soon they were colleagues….
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
December 21, 1937 — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood, California
December 21, 1963 — During Doctor Who’s first season, the first part of “The Daleks” aired. Written by Terry Nation and directed by Christopher Barry and Richard Martin. The Daleks which are created and co-owned by Terry Nation will make their first appearance in this story. The below image is Dalek free so that I don’t spoil your appreciation of their first appearance.
December 21, 1979 — C.H.O.M.P.S. premiered. Hoping to take bite out of the kid-friendly box office, it was produced by Burt Topper and Joseph Barbera (yes, that Barbera as it was a Hanna-Barbera film), and a cast headed by Wesley Eure, Valerie Bertinelli and Conrad Bain. Critics found it mediocre at best, and reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes really don’t like it as it has Currently a 32% rating there.
December 21, 1979 — Disney’s The Black Hole premiered. Intended as The Mouse’s Reponse to Star Wars, it was directed by Gary Nelson. A cast of Joseph Bottoms, Maximilian Schell, Yvette Mimieux, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, and Ernest Borgnine were to be found here, while the voices of the primary robot characters were provided by Roddy McDowall and Slim Pickens who both were uncredited. Special effects were developed in-house as apparently were most of the matte paintings used. Critics for the most part didn’t like it, and it holds a 40% rating among reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. And it bombed at the box office.
December 21, 2010 — Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus premiered. Robert Picardo was the sole performer of genre interest in it, and it was directed by Christopher Ray, son of noted exploitation director Fred Olen Ray. Is it genre? Is it sci-fi? No one liked it, the critics gave it scathing reviews, and currently it has a 19% score among reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. It has, alas, at least two sequels.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 21, 1929 — James Cawthorn. An illustrator, comics artist and writer who worked predominantly with Michael Moorcock. He had met him through their involvement in fandom. They would co-write The Land that Time Forgot film, and he drew “The Sonic Assassins” strip which was based on Hawkwind that ran in Frendz. He also did interior and cover art for a number of publications from the Fifties onwards including (but not limited to) Vector 3, New Worlds SF, Science Fantasy and Yandro. (Died 2008.)
Born December 21, 1937 — Jane Fonda, 82. Sure everyone here has seen her in Barbarella? Her only other genre appearances are apparently by voice work as Shuriki in the animated Elena of Avalor series, and in the Spirits of the Dead, 1968 anthology film based on the work of Poe. She was the Contessa Frederique de Metzengerstein in the “Metzengerstein” segment of the film.
Born December 21, 1943 — John Nance. Let’s just say he and David Lynch were rather connected. He’s Henry Spencer in Eraserhead, he had a small role as the Harkonnen Captain Iakin Nefud in Dune and he’s Pete Martell in Twin Peaks. He’s also a supporting role as Paul, a friend of Dennis Hopper’s villain character in Blue Velvet but even I couldn’t stretch that film to be even genre adjacent. (Died 1996.)
Born December 21, 1944 — James Sallis, 75. He’d be getting a Birthday today if only for his SJW cred of giving up teaching at a college rather than sign a state-mandated loyalty oath that he regarded as unconstitutional. But he also does have a short SFF novel Renderings, more short fiction than I can count, a book review column in F&SF and he co-edited several issues of New Worlds Magazine with Michael Moorcock. Worthy of a Birthday write-up!
Born December 21, 1948 — Samuel L. Jackson, 71. Where to start? Did you know that with his permission, his likeness was used for the Ultimates version of the Nick Fury? It’s a great series btw. He has also played Fury in the Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War and showed up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. too! He voiced Lucius Best (a.k.a. Frozone)in the Incredibles franchise, Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars, the Afro Samurai character in the anime series of the same name and more other genre work than can be listed here comfortably so go ahead and add your favorite role by him.
Born December 21, 1966 — Kiefer Sutherland, 53. My he’s been in a lot of genre undertakings! I think that The Lost Boys was his first such of many to come including Flatliners, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, The Three Musketeers, voice work in Armitage: Poly-Matrix, Dark City, more voice work in The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration, Marmaduke and Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Mirrors, and yes, he’s in the second Flatliners as a new character.
Smile (A Dental Drama) by Raina Telegmeier (Scholastic, 2010) Telegmeier is, simply put, likely the most important figure in comics of the last decade; after a string of adaptations of the Babysitters Club novels for Scholastic, she’s spent the last ten years creating more comic readers than arguably any other creator with a series of graphic novels for publisher Graphix that mix autobiography with pure fiction, combining clear, easy to understand, visuals with writing that’s accessible and consistently smart and (perhaps most importantly) respectful of its target audience. Smile, Telegmeier’s first book this decade, remains perhaps the finest example of her work, with her story of dental problems as a kid able to win over any audience.
There are a lot of moments in Skywalker that, while affecting, could have been even more so if they hadn’t been so gosh darn rushed. The prequel trilogy had excellent actors who weren’t utilized fully because as a director Lucas didn’t know what to do with people; the Disney trilogy has excellent actors who aren’t utilized fully because they simply don’t have the time to process, onscreen, the overwhelming emotions they’re supposed to be having. Abrams the director steps on several of those moments because apparently he’s got another plot point he’s gonna cram in. It’s deeply rare, especially these days, that I say a film should be longer — Jesus, they really don’t need to be any longer — but Skywalker genuinely could have benefited from an extra ten or fifteen minutes, just to let its actors do their jobs.
(12) PUNCH PULLED. Leonard Maltin declined to throw his
popcorn box at the screen – after all, says he, other people will like the
Wars: Variations on a Theme”.
I had a good time watching J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, even though I felt sucker-punched more than once. The filmmaker knows that this is the last time he (or possibly anyone) will get to play with George Lucas’s original concept and characters and his giddiness gets the better of him. Without spoiling any surprises, let’s just say that elements of identity, the powers of the Force and matters of life and death are toyed with in the name of “gotcha” entertainment.
At the same time, Abrams knows that diehard fans share his sentimental longing to spend a little more time with the people who first won our hearts in the initial installments of the Star Wars saga. He milks this for all it’s worth, and if he errs on the side of excess I bet there are lots of folks who won’t mind.
…Lots of critics pointed out that the coda of “Star Wars,” when three heroes march up a corridor between columns of massed soldiers, is a visual quote of the wreath-laying at Nuremberg in “Triumph of the Will,” but everyone seems to assume this is a random allusion, devoid of historical context. It’s not as if Lucas was oblivious of the source. His film is full of fascist iconography — all, up until this moment, associated with the Empire. Assuming this final image is deployed intentionally, it might be most hopefully interpreted as a warning: Don’t become the thing you’ve fought against. The intimation of a hidden kinship between our hero and his enemy was right there in Darth Vader’s name all along — the dark father.
… As a devoted Harry Potter fan who also happens to be transgender, it was like a punch in the gut.
For the past decade, I’ve been an active player in the Harry Potter fan community, serving as the spokesperson for an independent nonprofit inspired by the boy wizard, sitting on the brain trust for a prominent Harry Potter fan conference and making videos about the impact the series has had on my life. I’ve seen the mind-blowing creativity of fans — from wizard rock music to cosplay to fan fiction that will make you weep — as well as their unparalleled capacity for positive change. Fans have organized in Harry’s name to donate over 400,000 books around the world, campaign in support of marriage equality and even convince Warner Bros. to switch to ethical sourcing for its Harry Potter-branded chocolates.
It was this community of loving, passionate people who accepted me with open arms when I came out as transgender at the age of 25. While I was nervous about coming out to some relatives and acquaintances, I never doubted that the Harry Potter fan community would accept me for who I was. After all, we all adhered to the values we learned from the books about being yourself, loving those who are different from you and sticking up for the underdog….
(15) A PAIR OF SCIENCE ROUNDUPS. Science has just published its
round-up of top science of the year. In the mix is the biological
recovery at the dinosaur asteroid impact site, a look at the human precursor
Denisovan species, quantum computing breakthroughs and new Horizons Kuiper belt
Forest fires consumed thousands of square kilometers of the Amazon this year, and many blame the policies of Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, for fanning the flames.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) estimates the number of fires in the Amazon increased by 44% compared with 2018. One factor was an increase in deforestation, to about 9700 square kilometers in the 12 months through July, the largest area since 2007–08, INPE reported in November. Ranchers and farmers cut down and sell valuable trees and then burn the forest to make space for planting crops or raising cattle. Remote sensing indicated that this year’s fires tended to be far away from where crops are grown, suggesting ranchers were probably responsible….
It’s been a tough year for viral cats. Grumpy Cat passed away May 14 at age 7 following a urinary tract infection, and, on Dec. 1, Lil Bub, a special-needs perma-kitten with an ever-dangling tongue, died in her sleep at age 8. Going strong, however, is Nala Cat, a Siamese-tabby mix with 4.3 million Instagram followers, who happens to be the sole feline client of powerhouse agency CAA….
A six-year-old cat has become an internet “superstar” as the first in Italy to receive two prosthetic hind legs following a serious road accident.
Vito, or Vituzzo, had both rear legs amputated after they were crushed by a vehicle in Milan while his owners were away on their honeymoon.
The couple, former basketball player Silvia Gottardi and her wife Linda Ronzoni, returned home immediately.
Vito’s story has been widely shared with the hashtag #vituzzosuperstar.
His surgery to attach two prostheses by inserting them directly into his remaining upper leg bones has reportedly never before been achieved successfully in Italy.
(18) SEUSS-COOKED MEAL. What’s this wrapped up in breakfast-scented paper for you from Sam? Surprise reveal, there’s a second serving of Green Eggs & Ham on Netflix.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, N., John King
Tarpinian, Olav Rokne, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, SF Concatenation’s
Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, Contrarius, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna
(1) YA’S OWN STORY ARC. Slate’s “The
Decade in Young Adult Fiction” is not specifically about sff, but a lot of the books they talk about
(Twilight, The Hunger Games, etc.) are genre.
As a book publishing phenomenon, young adult literature entered the decade like a lion. At the beginning of the 2010s, a generation that had grown up obsessed with Harry Potter and other middle-grade fantasy series decided it wasn’t that interested in adult literary fiction, with its often lackadaisical plotting and downbeat endings. YA stood ready to supply them with plenty of action, cliffhangers, supernatural beings, mustache-twirling bad guys, and true love. But now, at decade’s end, YA seems to be eating itself alive….
…The impulse that led to these and other worthy enterprises, however, is vulnerable to being twisted to less salutary ends on platforms that foster cliques, vendettas, and self-righteous posturing. In the past two years, online networks of YA authors and readers—mostly female adults—have been convulsed with assorted scandals and controversies that have left many outside observers with the impression that “YA Twitter” is hopelessly “toxic.” Bloggers and Twitter pundits pilloried 2017’s The Black Witch, a debut young-adult fantasy novel by Laurie Forest, for its purported “racism.” That criticism proved unconvincing—even to teen readers, who made the book a success and reviewed it enthusiastically on Amazon—but few of those weighing in on the controversy bothered to point out instead how listlessly predictable The Black Witch is, with the usual high-born heroine confronting an unjust world while embroiled in the usual bad boy/good boy love triangle. It didn’t quite seem worthy of the energy adult readers devoted to fighting over it….
THE SHOW WON’T GO ON: THE MOST SHOCKING, BIZARRE, AND HISTORIC DEATHS OF PERFORMERS ONSTAGE by Jeff Abraham and Burt Kearns (Chicago Review Press)
Abraham and Kearns surely aren’t the only show-biz aficionados who have harbored a keen interest in the stories of entertainers who actually died in front of an audience… but they’re the only ones who have had the gumption to research every urban legend surrounding this topic and separate fact from fiction.
RICK BAKER: METAMORPHOSIS by J.W. Rinzler; foreword by John Landis, preface by Peter Jackson, introduction by Rick Baker. (Cameron & Co.)
This massive two-volume tribute to seven-time Academy Award winner Rick Baker is a definitive study of his life and career in the world of makeup. Lavishly illustrated and beautifully produced in a slipcase edition, its quality and thoroughness justify its hefty price. Every page offers wonders and delights, including young Rick’s first correspondence with his hero, makeup genius Dick Smith, and his earliest experiments.
The thing about the act of plate-spinning is: It’s not about the plates. Not really.
…If we happen to notice one plate starting to wobble, after all, the first thing we do is look away from it, to see if the plate-spinner sees it, too.
We want them to succeed. The whole cheesy novelty act is predicated on this. The sheer skill it takes to keep the plates from falling — the eye, the timing, the light touch — that’s what we’re drawn to, really. The work of the thing.
J.J. Abrams is spinning a great many plates in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final chapter in the third and final trilogy of what we are now apparently supposed to call “The Skywalker Saga.” He’s not simply called upon to end the trilogy he began in 2015 with The Force Awakens, but the whole space-operatic, science-fiction-with-generous-helpings-of-fantasy, embrace-your-destiny, Joseph-Campbell, daddy-issues megillah. He has to land a Corellian light freighter that has been loaded down with everything that got kicked off in 1977…
He nails that 42-year-old recipe dutifully — effortfully, it must be said — but the flavoring’s off. The story doesn’t require him to toss in as many ingredients from earlier films in the saga as he does here, but he dumps them all (callbacks, references, echoes, events, characters) into the mix anyway. The result leaves you feeling not so much bloated — the film moves too quickly and is too much fun for that — but certainly overstuffed….
The Mandalorian, as a whole, is an interesting litmus test of just how successful a giant entertainment conglomerate can be when it comes to wringing a piece of previously existing IP for all its worth. One might measure success in Disney+ views/subscriptions or award nominations — but, in 2019, maybe the measure is whether or not you can proffer up a bit of fan service and hope the Internet latches onto it, turns it into a meme and does all your best viral marketing for you, free of charge.
(5) ECONOMICS IN SPACE. [Item by Olav Rokne.]
Nobel-prize winning economist, science fiction fan and 2009 Worldcon guest
Paul Krugman unpacked the macroeconomic themes of The Expanse in his New York Times column on
Wednesday. In specific, he highlights how the story of the Martian economy is a
parable about the need for public spending during downturns:
The emergence of high unemployment on Mars after demobilization and the end of terraforming makes it seem as if the real problem wasn’t technology, it was secular stagnation — a situation in which private spending is consistently too weak to employ the economy’s resources, except during unsustainable asset or debt bubbles.
(6) WE CAME, WE SAW, WE KICKED ITS
ASS. Close to the occasion of Ghostbusters’
35th anniversary, YouTuber and video essayist Ryan Hollinger has published a
video analyzing the film’s full legacy and its effect on mainstream belief in
the paranormal — “The Real Meaning of GHOSTBUSTERS… Apparently.”
Number 1 Titles By Genre (Manhattan, Staten Island & The Bronx, from the New York Public Library)
Classics: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Comics and Graphic Novels: Saga by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan
Fantasy: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Horror: The Shining by Stephen King
Mystery and Detective: The Chef by James Patterson
Romance: Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
Science Fiction: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born December 18, 1913 — Alfred Bester. He’s best remembered perhaps for The Demolished Man, which won the very first Hugo Award. I remember experiencing it as an audiobook — a very spooky affair! The Stars My Destination is equally impressive with Foyle both likeable and unlikable at the same time. Psychoshop which Zelazny finished is in my library but has escaped reading so far. I’ve run across references to Golem100 but I’ve never seen a copy anywhere. Has anyone read It? (Died 1987.)
Born December 18, 1939 — Michael Moorcock, 81. Summing up the career of Moorcock isn’t possible so I won’t. His Elric of Melniboné series is just plain awesome and I’m quite fond of the Dorian Hawkmoon series of novels as well. Particular books that I’d like to note as enjoyable for me include The Metatemporal Detective collection and Mother London.
Born December 18, 1941 — Jack C. Haldeman II. He’d get Birthday Honors if only for On the Planet of Zombie Vampires, book five of the adventures of Bill the Galactic Hero, co-written with Harry Harrison. He’d also get these honors for chairing Disclave 10 through Disclave 17, and a Worldcon as well, Discon II. He was a prolific short story writer, penning at least seventy-five such tales, but alas none of these, nor his novels, are available in digital form. (Died 2002.)
Born December 18, 1946 — Steven Spielberg, 73. Are we counting Jaws as genre? I believe we are per an earlier discussion here. If so, that’s his first such followed immediately by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Between 1981 and 1984, he put out Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Twilight Zone: The Movie and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Ok, so the quality of the last film wasn’t great… He’d repeat that feat between ‘89 and ‘93 when he put out Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Hook (YEA!) which I both love, followed by Jurassic Park which I don’t. The Lost World: Jurassic Park followed, starting a string of so-so to piss poor films, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, War of the Worlds and one decided stinker, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The BFG is simply wonderful.
Born December 18, 1953 — Jeff Kober, 66. Actor who’s been in myriad genre series and films including V, The Twilight Zone, Alien Nation, the Poltergeist series,the X-Files series, Tank Girl as one of the kangaroos naturally, Supernatural, Voyager, Star Enterprise, Kindred: The Embraced and The Walking Dead.
Born December 18, 1954 — J.M. Dillard, 65. Yes I know this is a pen name but I’m interested only in her Trek output tonight. She’s written at least fifteen tie-ins starting with Star Trek: Mindshadow in the mid-Eighties And her last seemingly being Star Trek: The Next Generation: Resistance in the late Oughts. She also wrote one of the many, many non-fiction works that came out on Trek, Star Trek: ‘Where No One Has Gone Before’: A History in Pictures, which was actually largely written by Roddenberry’s assistant on a work-for-hire contract as a another book that didn’t get published, a woman named Susan Sackett. Memory Alpha has the story here.
Born December 18, 1954 — Ray Liotta, 65. We could just stop at him being Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams, don’t you think that’s an exemplary genre cred? Well I will.
Born December 18, 1968 — Casper Van Dien, 51. Yes, Johnny Rico in that Starship Troopers. Not learning his lesson, he’d go on to film Starship Troopers 3: Marauder and the animated Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. Do not go read the descriptions of these films! He’d also star as Tarzan in Tarzan and the Lost City, show up as Brom Van Brunt In Sleepy Hollow, be Captain Abraham Van Helsing In Dracula 3000, James K. Polk in, oh really Casper, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sequels, Rumpelstiltskin In Avengers Grimm and Saber Raine In Star Raiders: The Adventures of Saber Raine. That’s a lot of really bad films.
…Geisel, though, had a long history of mixed feelings about Christmas. According to biographer Charles D. Cohen, as a student at Dartmouth College in the 1920s and a writer and cartoonist for the campus humor magazine theJack-O-Lantern, Geisel lampooned the whole affair, specifically citing the greed and materialism he saw in the season in an essay called “Santy Claus be Hanged,” which was mostly about how Christmas mornings are ruined because no one receives the items they truly want. He bemoaned, “Sister wanted silk unmentionables and she gets burlap unpronouncibles. Brother wanted a case of scotch and he gets a case of goldfish.” A few years later, in 1930, he published a humorous essay suggesting that parents should combine Santa Claus, his reindeer, the Bogeyman, the Sand-Man, and the Stork into one home-invasive figure—simplifying the number of flying and/or magical creatures that kids would have to count on entering their homes. And then he drew many cartoons representing classic Christmas hallmarks in weird or comically unpleasant versions.
For the past 70 plus years, nations around the world have attempted to intercept a mysterious hypersonic, high-flying intruder from the North Pole and learn its aeronautical secrets. Our Lapland aerospace Correspondent CHRIS TINGLE reports on the secret effort to counter these annual airspace intrusions.
When the final hours of 2019 arrive, a million celebrants will crowd Times Square in New York. Elsewhere, an estimated billion more will tune in to watch the annual spectacle celebrated across the globe.
…But few will acknowledge the man who really deserves their praise, a deeply religious British Royal Navy officer named Robert Wauchope.
…Wauchope’s goal was to make shipping safer. In the early 19th Century, having the exact time was crucial knowledge for mariners. It was only by keeping a ship’s clock precisely calibrated that sailors could calculate their longitude and accurately travel across oceans.
His ball, first demonstrated in Portsmouth, England, in 1829, was a crude broadcast system, a way to relay time to anyone who could see the signal. Typically, at 12:55, a creaky piece of machinery would raise a large painted orb halfway to the top of a pole or flagstaff; at 12:58, it would proceed to the top; and precisely at 13:00, a worker would release it to drop down the pole.
“It is a clear signal,” said Andrew Jacob, a curator who operates the time ball at the Sydney Observatory in Australia. “It’s easy to see the sudden movement as it begins to drop.”
Before the time ball’s invention, a ship’s master would typically come ashore and physically visit an observatory to check his watch against an official clock. Then he would quite literally bring time back to the ship. Wauchope’s invention let sailors calibrate their shipboard timepiece, called a chronometer, without leaving their boat.
“We’re so used to time being here and available, and that wasn’t always the case,” said Emily Akkermans, who has the enviable title, Curator of Time, at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. The museum and historic site houses the world’s oldest operating time ball, which since 1833 has dropped daily, barring blustery weather, war or mechanical breakdown.
The European Cheops space telescope has launched to study planets outside our Solar System.
The observatory will follow up the discoveries of previous missions, endeavouring to reveal fresh insights on the nature of distant worlds: What are they made of? How did they form? And how have they changed through time?
The telescope was taken into orbit on a Russian Soyuz rocket that set off from French Guiana at 08:54 GMT.
The ride to 700km lasted 145 minutes.
Cheops (short for CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) is a joint endeavour of 11 member states of the European Space Agency (Esa), with Switzerland in the lead.
…What’s significant about this mission?
Some 4,500 planets have been discovered since the late 1990s using a variety of techniques. But there is a feeling now that the science has to move beyond just detection; beyond just counting planets. We need to profile the objects in a more sophisticated way. Do they have atmospheres and how thick are they? What kind of clouds? Do they possess oceans on their surface? Do they have rings and moons? Cheops ought to be able to address such questions just from looking for these tiny dips in light during a transit.
… Since Fermi questions are so fun and useful, why aren’t they more widely taught? Why isn’t every middle school student doing one of these per week all year long?
I suspect a prosaic reason: they’re hard to grade fairly. Math education is accustomed to cut-and-dry answers. Fermi work is more like an essay, where there are many plausible answers, and reasoning trumps conclusions.
… One of the reasons the film is so famous is that Tezuka Osamu the “God of Manga”saw it in Japan as a kid and was profoundly influenced by it. In discussing his version of the Sun Wukong story he said
However, what really opened my eyes , impressed me deeply, and sparked my desire to create today was Princess Iron Fan, the first Chinese animated feature film., which premiered in Japan in 1942. (pg. 58)
… Du gives the background on inspiration for the film (Disney’s Snow White) , but most interestingly, for me at least, deals with how it ended up being shown in Japan and becoming, in some respects, the origin story of Asian animated film. It was the direct inspiration for Momotar?’s Sea Eagles (p.52), Japan’s first almost feature length animated film.
She also deals with what to make of Iron Fan, which was a big issue for the film at the time. It was made by the Wan brothers and a team of 250 artists starting on April 25, 1940. The film opened on Nov 19, 1941, in Shanghai. As you can see below, it was still running on Dec 8, 1941, when Japanese troops marched into the International Settlement and French Concession….
(17) BAD RAP. Who even thinks of stuff like this? “Thanos
vs J Robert Oppenheimer” — Epic Rap Battles of History does.
[Thanks to Nina Shepardson, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, Alan Baumler, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, JJ, N., John King Tarpinian, Darrah Chavey, John A Arkansawyer, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
(1) TWO NEW TAFF EBOOK FUNDRAISERS. David Langford says
they were unable to locate the final speech, but all
the rest of The Serious Scientific Talks by Bob Shaw are now
available as an ebook which you can download free – though with hopes you‘ll be
inspied to donate to the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund.
The same hope comes with Rob Hansen’s latest fanhistory compilation,
Sam Moskowitz’s The Immortal Storm is regarded by many as the definitive history of US fandom in the 1930s, but several contemporary fans either presented alternative versions of events or took issue with the book’s selectivity (New York-centrism in particular) and partisanship. Rob Hansen has compiled and introduced this collection of relevant fanwriting by Allen Glasser, Charles D. Hornig, Damon Knight, Jack Speer, Harry Warner Jr, Donald A. Wollheim and T. Bruce Yerke.
First published as an Ansible Editions ebook for the TAFF site on 1 November 2019. The cover photograph of (from left to right) Jack Darrow, Julius Schwartz, an unknown, Donald A. Wollheim and Conrad Ruppert is from the Ted Carnell collection; actual photographer unidentified. Approximately 47,000 words.
(2) TIME AFTER TIME. In “The
Superman Clause”, The Hugo Book Club Blog explores the rule in the WSFS Constitution that lets Worldcon members
vote to add a year of Hugo Award eligibility. Their research has uncovered
facts that are both fascinating and unexpected. For example, after listing all
the works that have been granted an extension, they say:
We find it interesting that despite the high quality of these works, only the Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction was actually placed on the Hugo Ballot (and it won a well-deserved Hugo trophy for Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn)….
(3) DRAGONS IN THE BOX SCORE. George R.R. Martin shares his
insights about the fate of two post-Game-of-Thrones TV projects, one
approved, the other dropped, in “The
Dragons Take Wing” at Not A Blog.
Ryan Condal is new to Westeros, but not to me. I first met Ryan when he came to New Mexico to shoot a pilot for a fantasy western that was not picked up. I visited his set and we became friendly. Later Ryan created and served as showrunner for the SF series COLONY, and we had the honor of doing a premiere screening for the show at the Jean Cocteau. He’s a terrific writer… and a fan of my books since well before we met. He tells me that he discovered the series just after A STORM OF SWORDS was published, and “I’ve loved the books for 19 years.” (He is also a huge fan of my Dunk & Egg stories. In fact, that was the show he wanted to do initially, but I’m not prepared to bring Dunk & Egg to television until I’ve written quite a few more stories). Working with Ryan on the development of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been a dream.
But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER. Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE.
(4) WHERE IS IT? Readers learned from the November Ansible
where Nature has hidden the fiction:
When Nature acquired a ‘new look’ with its 23 October issue, the ‘Futures’ short-sf-story page vanished from both the printed magazine and the website contents list. The feature continues online but you have to know where to look for it: nature.com/futures.
“The faster your ships, the smaller the Universe. The smaller the Universe, the more important it is to live harmoniously.” Inva weaves her digits together, invoking a picture of beings residing tranquilly side-by-side.
As the Traveler said, things have really been heating up in Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL). And what with President Kennedy being taken from us so traumatically last year, it has all been too much. We have been struggling with national security while mourning the loss of our leader, and also attending to a deluge of new computers that are coming into the lab. Things have calmed down a little so I am now able to share a few secrets with you again.
…I’m sure I also told you that we finally received our IBM 7090 computer. This equipment is being used for big science calculations around atomic energy, guided missile control, strategic planning (cryptanalysis, weather prediction, game theory), and jet engine design. I’m sure it is no surprise when I tell you we are using it to simulate nuclear explosions. This computer also has what they call an “upgrade,” the addition of more memory and input-output capability. The upgraded computer is called an IBM 7094.
(6) EXPLAINING THAT SUDDEN BURST OF TRAFFIC. I didn’t know there
was more than one sff writer named Spinrad – meet Demetria Spinrad.
This is one small step for your screens, but one giant leap for Apple TV+.
Apple’s streaming service officially launches today with a star-studded lineup of new shows including For All Mankind — the latest space-centric drama from Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: The Next Generation executive producer Ronald D. Moore.
[…] ET asked Joel Kinnaman, Shantel VanSanten, Sarah Jones and many more of For All Mankind‘s cast members to embark on a stellar mission to describe the drama in 10 seconds or less — and their answers are out of this world!
…The landing prompts the US to reexamine the drive to get to space. Astronaut Edward Baldwin (Altered Carbon’s Joel Kinnaman) takes the news particularly hard, and calls out NASA’s administration and Werner Von Braun’s cautious approach to space travel. He gets booted from his assignment, Apollo 15, but his antics attract the attention of some ambitious politicians and administrators, who get him to testify in congress that NASA all but allowed the USSR to get there first, and that the country needs a far more aggressive approach to space.
He gets his wish — he’s reinstated on Apollo 15, and Von Braun is forced out. The move is a timely one: after a far more hair-raising Apollo 11 mission (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin almost don’t make it off after a rough landing), the Soviets land a second time, this time with a female cosmonaut stepping out onto the surface. In response, President Richard Nixon orders that NASA begin training a team of female astronauts. When US intelligence believes that the Soviets might be planning a permanent camp on the Moon, NASA makes a lunar base a top priority.
(9) THE GAME GOES ON. The final trailer for Jumanji: The
Next Level has dropped – the movie comes to theaters December 13.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
November 1, 1974 — Phantom Of The Paradise premiered. Written and directed by Brian De Palma, and scored by and starring Paul Williams. It’s a very loose bastardisation of The Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Faust. Remarkably it rates 84%% among viewers at Rotten Tomatoes and 92% among critics.
November 1, 2000 — The SciFi series Starhunter premiered with its first episode, “The Divinity Cluster”. Starring Michael Paré, Tanya Allen and Claudette Roche, it would last just two seasons and be called Starhunter 2300 in the second season. Peter Gabriel Did the music for the second season opening credits.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 1, 1882 — Edward Van Sloan. He’s best remembered for his roles in three Thirties Universal Studios films of Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. He was Abraham Van Helsing in the Dracula, a role he’d done in touring production of Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. He would be in a number of other horror films though none remembered as well as these. (Died 1964.)
Born November 1, 1897 — Naomi Mary Margaret Mitchison, Baroness Mitchison, CBE (née Haldane). Author of many historical novels with genre trappings such as The Corn King and the Spring Queen and The Bull Calves but also new wave SF such as Memoirs of a Spacewoman.
Born November 1, 1917 — Zenna Henderson. Her first story was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1951. The People series appeared in magazines and anthologies, as well as the stitched-together Pilgrimage: The Book of the People and The People: No Different Flesh. Other volumes include The People Collection and Ingathering: The Complete People Stories. She was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1959 for her novelette “Captivity.” Her story “Pottage” was made into the 1972 ABC-TV movie, The People. “Hush” became an episode of George A. Romero’s Tales from the Darkside which first aired in 1988. (Died 1983.)
Born November 1, 1923 — Gordon R. Dickson. Truly one of the best writers of both Science Fiction and Fantasy. I won’t even begin to go into his stellar career in any detail as that would require a skald to do so. His first published speculative fiction was the short story “Trespass!”, written with with Poul Anderson, in the Spring 1950 issue of Fantastic Stories which was the first issue of Fantastic Story Magazine as it came to be titled. Childe Cycle involving the Dorsai is his best-known series and the Hoka are certainly his silliest creation. I’m very, very fond of his Dragon Knight series which I think reflects his interest in that history. (Died 2001.)
Born November 1, 1941 — Robert Foxworth, 78. He’s been on quite a number of genre shows including The Questor Tapes,seaQuest DSV, Deep Space Nine, Outer Limits, Enterprise, Stargate SG-1 and Babylon 5. His first genre role was as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein where Bo Swenson played the monster.
Born November 1, 1942 — Michael Fleisher. Comics writer best known for his DC Comics work of in the Seventies and Eighties on Spectre and Jonah Hex. He also has had long runs on Ghost Rider and Spider-Woman earlywhich pulling it them on the Marvel Unlimited app shows that he is a rather good writer. (Died 2018.)
Born November 1, 1958 — Rachel Ticotin, 61. Melina in Total Recall. (Anyone see the remake?) She voiced Capt. Maria Chavez in the most excellent animated Gargoyles series. She hasn’t done a lot of acting but she was Charbonnet / Lilian in “Staited in Horror”, a Tales from The Crypt episode, and Theodora ‘Teddi’ Madden in “Mona Lisa”, an Outer Limits episode.
Born November 1, 1959 — Susanna Clarke, 60. Author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which I think wins my award for the most-footnoted work in genre literature. It won the World Fantasy, Nebula, Locus, Mythopoeic and Hugo Awards for Best Novel. It was adapted into a BBC series and optioned for a film. The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories collects her short works and is splendid indeed.
Born November 1, 1973 — Aishwarya Rai, 46. Indian actress who’s done two SF films in India, the Tamil language Enthiran (translates as Robot) in which she’s Sana, the protagonist’s medical student girlfriend, and Mala in Action Replayy, a Hindi-language SF romantic comedy. She was also Sonia in The Pink Panther 2.
Born November 1, 1984 — Natalia Tena, 35. She played Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter film franchise, and was the wildling Osha in Game of Thrones. She was also Lana Pierce on the YouTube SF series Origin which lasted one season. And, to my amazement, she was Fevvers in the stage adaptation of Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus which took place at the Kneehigh Theatre.
(12) ATWOOD NOW A COMPANION. But not the Doctor’s – the Queen’s.
Shelf Awareness reports a royal honor for Margaret Atwood:
On Friday, Queen Elizabeth named Margaret Atwood a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for her services to literature, the CBC reported, adding that Atwood told British media she felt “a bit emotional” in the presence of the Queen while accepting the prestigious accolade during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family’s Twitter account noted the event: “.@MargaretAtwood was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty for Services to Literature. #Investiture.”
“When you see the Queen at her age and her schedule that she puts out, it’s an inspiration to everybody, you just keep going,” Atwood said after the ceremony.
Founded by King George V in 1917, the Companion of Honour is an award for those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government over a long period.
(13) CRADLE OF GOLDEN AGE SF. In “Heinlein
and Butler Revisited”, Steve Fahnestalk tells Amazing Stories readers
about the time he visited Heinlein’s Missouri home town.
…Knowing that I would be driving to Missouri that summer, Spider [Robinson] asked me if I would be going anywhere near Butler and, if so, could I take some photos of the Heinlein wing of the public library. For reasons of my own not related to RAH, I was indeed going to Butler itself, so I said, “Sure!” and on June 15 of 2013, we drove into the almost prototypical little mid-American town. This town looks like something Ray Bradbury wrote, with a bandstand (Figure 2) on the town square across from the courthouse. I almost expected to see Mr. Dark and the Dust Witch! Or maybe even the story “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band” by Stephen King!
…I do know how important Tékumel and Gormenghast are to people. Tékumel was, after all, one of the earliest in-depth roleplaying game settings, the first that offered worldbuilding with the depth of J. R. R. Tolkien’s popular works without being in any way derivative. (This was important for RPG companies fearing letters from Professor Tolkien’s estate’s lawyers … who are fine people, of course! No offense intended.) Obviously, had anyone tried a Lord of the Rings knock-off that featured Hobbits renamed “Halflets” or some such thing, the game might have survived a legal challenge… However, no roleplaying game company back then had the cash to test the theory. Empire of the Petal Throne pointed the way and other companies have followed.
… Honda… would forge a unique path as Japan’s foremost director of kaiju eiga, or giant-monster movies. While the works of Kurosawa et al. were limited to art-house distribution abroad, Honda’s films played to mainstream moviegoing audiences in the U.S. and across the West, and they have subsequently become ensconced in the pop-culture pantheon. Honda’s influence is undeniable: as one of the creators of the modern disaster film, he helped set the template for countless blockbusters to follow, and a wide array of filmmakers—including John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, and Guillermo del Toro—have expressed their admiration for his work. Yet the full scale of his achievements has only recently begun to be appreciated.
But it all started with Honda’s sober-minded approach to the original Godzilla. Other directors had begged off the project, believing it was ridiculous, and that it would likely end up a laughingstock. But to Honda, this was no joke….
Since becoming chief executive of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, Bob Iger has masterminded the Mouse House’s growth into an entertainment empire with the takeovers of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox….
Following the publication of his memoir, titled The Ride of a Lifetime (Disney does theme parks too), he gave his only UK interview to BBC media editor Amol Rajan.
Here are five key things he said, including why “less is more” in the Star Wars universe, why Martin Scorsese was wrong to compare Marvel films to theme parks, and why Disney didn’t go through with a deal to buy Twitter.
…The legendary Taxi Driver and Goodfellas director recently put the boot into Marvel by saying they are closer to theme parks than real films because it “isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being”.
“Ouch!” is Iger’s reply. “Martin Scorsese is a great film-maker. I admire him immensely. He’s made some great films. I would debate him on this subject. First of all, Marvel’s making movies. They’re movies. That’s what Martin Scorsese makes. And they’re good movies.”
He goes on: “I don’t think he’s ever seen a Marvel film. Anyone who’s seen a Marvel film could not in all truth make that statement.”
(18) BREAKFAST IS SERVED. Daniel Dern says, “I’m not sure I’l like this on a
phone, or on a tablet, on a TV, or on a credenza…” Netflix will
launch its Seussian Green Eggs & Ham series on November 8.
Heroes aren’t born, they’re poached, scrambled, and fried… Green Eggs and Ham, serving November 8, only on Netflix. The story you know is just the start. This new adventure is off the charts. Hit the road with a whole new crew. There’s Sam, Guy, and a Chickeraffe too. But how’d we turn this 50-word, Seussian spiel into a 13-episode meal? Our recipe starts “Here” and definitely goes “There.” We added a “Box” full of “Fox”, a “Boat” load of “Goat,” and a “Mouse,” on the “House.” Try it in the “Rain” on a “Train” or go far in your “Car” to find a spot to park and stream it in the “Dark.” Because, in case you were unaware, this show’s miles ahead of “Anywhere!”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Daniel Dern, SF Concatenaion’s Jonathan Cowie, Mlex, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]
(1) KLOOS SIGNS OFF TWITTER. Marko Kloos left Facebook
seven months ago, and today deleted his Twitter account, too. He explains why
in “Writing and the
I have to come to realize that over the last few years, the Internet has had a profoundly corrosive effect on my professional output and occasionally even my emotional health.
This effect has been especially severe in two areas: social media and email, both of which basically constituted my consent to being easily and directly available to contact by anyone with an Internet connection. In Twitter’s case, that contact has also been fully public, which means that anyone with a Twitter account has been able to see and share any conversation I’ve had with people outside of direct messages.
As of today, I am withdrawing that consent by getting off social media and curtailing my availability via email.
Late last year, I got so tired of the constant necessity to curate my Facebook feed and the drama resulting from pruning my Friends list that I pulled the plug for good and deleted my account. In the seven months since then, I have not missed it, and beyond a few concerned messages from long-time Facebook acquaintances, my absence has been inconsequential to the world and a lot less aggravation and anxiety in my life. Last night, I deleted my Twitter account as well, for slightly different reasons that boil down to the strong feeling that it will have a similar life-improving consequence….
… To put it bluntly: I can no longer allow anyone with a smartphone and a data plan the potential ability to darken my day or interrupt my work by trying to pick an argument or fill my Twitter feed with aggravating stuff. Most emails and Twitter interactions with fans have been fun and positive, but there have been exceptions. And even the well-meaning emails from happy readers take a slice out of my writing time.
… And hoo boy, their expectations were met. That inaugural installment of Jessica Jones was a true humdinger. It was distinctive without being flashy, mature without being ponderous, ambitious without being self-satisfied, sexy without being exploitative, and just … good. I can’t tell you how much of a revelation a good superhero show was at that time. We were used to spandex outings that were inane, formulaic, and utterly uninterested in pushing a single envelope. But here was a tale that seemed like it was going to grapple with everything from PTSD to queerness and do it all with style. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg and star Krysten Ritter genuinely seemed to be elevating the game. As soon as the screening was done, I rushed to the lobby to get reception and email my editor like an old-timey reporter clamoring for a pay phone just after getting a hot scoop. I have seen the future of superheroes, I thought, and it is Marvel Netflix.
If it ever was the future, it is now the past. This week sees the barely ballyhooed release of the third and final season of Jessica Jones, which is itself the final season of Marvel’s four-year Netflix experiment. Its death has been agonizingly and humiliatingly gradual: Over the course of the past few months, each of the five ongoing series that made it up has been given the ax, one after another. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher; their fans saw them all go the way of the dodo — without fanfare….
(3) ENDS WITH A BANG. Fast Company’s article “The most expensive hyphen in history” unpacks an historic incident in the U.S. space program (that inspired a scene in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Calculating Stars.)
Mariner 1 was launched atop a 103-foot-tall Atlas-Agena rocket at 5:21 a.m. EDT. For 3 minutes and 32 seconds, it rose perfectly, accelerating to the edge of space, nearly 100 miles up.
But at that moment, Mariner 1 started to veer in odd, unplanned ways, first aiming northwest, then pointing nose down. The rocket was out of control and headed for the shipping lanes of the North Atlantic. Four minutes and 50 seconds into flight, a range safety officer at Cape Canaveral—in an effort to prevent the rocket from hitting people or land—flipped two switches, and explosives in the Atlas blew the rocket apart in a spectacular cascade of fireworks visible back in Florida.
… A single handwritten line, the length of a hyphen, doomed the most elaborate spaceship the U.S. had until then designed, along with its launch rocket. Or rather, the absence of that bar doomed it. The error cost $18.5 million ($156 million today).
(4) BATMAN AT 80. The Society of Illustrators is opening several momentous Batman exhibits at its New York museum.
Join us for a celebration of three momentous exhibits:
Starting out with Dirk Gently, Adams breaks away from the science-fiction/comedy genre a bit, creating a “ghost-horror-detective-time travel-romantic comedy epic” as the promotional copy on the hardback release claims. It does combine several divergent plotlines that mostly come together at the end. The main characters include a computer programmer, a mysterious detective, and an eccentric professor along with an Electric Monk, and an ancient ghost (as well as a more recent one). Part of the plot line of the book is similar to the Doctor Who story “City Of Death” with the main characters involved with an alien being from the past and using a time travel machine to defeat it. The time travelling done in Dirk Gently seems to be done by TARDIS. The professor in the book is Professor Chronotis from the Doctor Who story Shada that was written by Douglas Adams but was never completed. The setting of Cambridge, is also the same. Overall, it is an enjoyable book, although a bit hard to follow at times.
With the release of the HHG Companion book, even more links with Doctor Who are made known. Neil Gaiman has done a good job chronicling the history of the Hitchhiker’s Guide along with the rest of Douglas Adams career to date.
(6) CHANDLER AWARD. This is what the 2019 A. Bertram Chandler Award looks like – Edwina Harvey posted the photo.
The Lorax would be devastated to hear that the tree that inspired Dr. Seuss’ 1971 children’s book has fallen.
The Monterey Cypress tree was at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California, the seaside community where author Theodor Seuss Geisel lived from 1948 until his death in 1991.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 18, 1964 — The Twilight Zone aired its series finale: “The Bewitchin’ Pool”.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 18, 1908 — Bud Collyer. He was voiced both the Man of Steel and Clark Kent on The Adventures Of Superman radio show in the Forties on the Mutual Broadcasting System. He also voiced them in the animated The New Adventures of Superman which was a Filmation production. Joan Alexander voiced Lois Lane in both shows. (Died 1969.)
Born June 18, 1917 — Richard Boone. You likely know him as Paladin on Have Gun – Will Travel, but he does have some genre appearances including on The Last Dinosaur as Maston Thrust Jr. and in Rankin Bass’s The Hobbit the voice of Smaug. He also played Robert Kraft in I Bury the Living, a horror flick that I think has zombies and more zombies. (Died 1981.)
Born June 18, 1931 — Dick Spelman. He was a fan who was a legendary book dealer that really hated being called a huckster. He was active at SF conventions from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. He was guest of honor at ICON (Iowa) 12. Fancyclopedia 3 says it was themed “money-grubbing capitalist con” in his honor. (Died 2012.)
Born June 18, 1942 — Paul McCartney, 77. Well, I could include him for the Magical Mystery Tour which might be genre, but I’m not. He actually has a cameo in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as a character named Uncle Jack in a cell playing poker singing “Maggie May”. A shortened version of the song is on the Let It Be album.
Born June 18, 1945 — Redmond Simonsen. Coined term ‘games designer’. Best remembered for his design of the Seventies games Starforce: Alpha Centauri, Battlefleet Mars and Sorcerer. He cofounded Simulations Publications Inc (SPI) with James Dunnigan. (Died 2005.)
Born June 18, 1947 — Linda Thorson, 72. Best known for playing Tara King in The Avengers. For her role in that series, she received a special BAFTA at the 2000 BAFTA TV Awards along with the other three actresses from the series, Honor Blackman, Joanna Lumley and Diana Rigg. She’s also been in Return of the Saint, Tales from the Darkside, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, F/X: The Series and Monsters.
Born June 18, 1949 — Chris Van Allsburg, 70. He won two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration, for Jumanji and ThePolar Express, both of which were made into films. Guess which one I like? He illustrated A City in Winter by Mark Helprin which won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella.
Born June 18, 1958 — Jody Lee, 61. Illustrator with a long career in genre work. Her first cover art was Jo Clayton’s Changer’s Moon for Daw Books in 1985. Her latest was Michelle West’s First Born that came out this year on Daw Books which seems to be her primary client. Her rather excellent website is here.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Close To Home is there when diplomas are handed out at the Academy of Paranormal Studies.
A star of Avengers: Endgame, one of the biggest movies of all time, was completely excised from a modified pirated version of the film — along with everything else in the film seen as feminist or gay.
An anonymous fan edited out shots, scenes and characters in a “defeminized” version circulating now on an illegal streaming site. As well as losing Larson’s character, Captain Marvel, the defeminized edit is missing a scene where Hawkeye teaches his daughter to shoot. (“Young women should learn skills to become good wives and mothers and leave the fighting to men,” the editor opined in an accompanying document.) The role of Black Panther is minimized. (“He’s really not that important.”) Spider-Man doesn’t get rescued by women characters anymore. (“No need to.”) And male characters no longer hug.
(15) PITCH MEETING. Step
inside the pitch meeting that led to the final season of Game of Thrones!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, JJ,
Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
The recent release of Pokémon Detective Pikachu has prompted some readers to get in touch and ask about the quality of movies based on video games.
Most of the questions were variations of: “Are video game movies the worst type of movie adaptations?
To answer this, I looked at all movies released in US cinemas between 1993 and 2018, inclusive. (See the Note section for a more detailed explanation of the dataset and sources).
I’m going to use the Metacritic score and IMDb rating to serve as measures of quality from the perspective of film critics and film audiences, respectively.
The answer, supported by all kinds of statistics and
graphs is — yes!
(2) FUTURE TENSE. Elizabeth
Bear’s “No Moon and Flat Calm” is the latest installment in the Future Tense Fiction series. In it,
author Elizabeth Bear imagines a crew of safety engineers on a routine trip to
a space that are thrown into sudden disaster onboard the station. How will real
future humans react to calamity when we’re millions of miles away from home?
And how much can training for such potential crises override our natural
…It was a tiny, artificial world called Waystation Hab, and my four classmates and I were approaching it in a shuttle we’d been crammed into for four months. My classmates and I were all postgraduate apprentices in the safety engineering internship program….
In a response essay, “How Will People Behave in
Deep Space Disasters?”, Amanda Ripley, journalist and author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster
Strikes—and Why, tackles these
questions—and what they might mean for those striving to send humans to Mars
(3) DEFYING DOOMSDAY AWARD. Nominations for the D Franklin Defying Doomsday Award are being taken until July 31. The award grants one winner per year a cash prize of $200 in recognition of their work in disability advocacy in SFF literature.
This award is possible thanks to D Franklin, our wonderful Patron of Diversity who pledged the top pledge in our Pozible campaign, back in 2015. This allowed the funding of the award for three years, meaning that this will be the last year the award is given, although we hope the recognition helps those awarded in some small way.
The 2016 winner was Disability in Kidlit, a website and resource for discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature.
The Defying Doomsday Award jury comprises Twelfth Planet Press publisher, Alisa Krasnostein, and Defying Doomsday editors, Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench.
include non-fiction or related media exploring the subject of disability in SFF
literature. Works must have been published in 2018. Use this
form to submit nominations.The
winner will be announced in September 2019.
Of course, if one is of a certain vintage, one will have lived through Alexei Panshin’s annus mirabilis. In 1968, Panshin published three novels, two of which (Star Well and The Thurb Revolution) focused on wandering interstellar remittance man Anthony Villiers, who righted wrongs with wit and panache. 1969 saw the release of the third volume, Masque World, which raised what seemed at the time reasonable expectation of a new Villiers book every year or so. As it turns out, it has been (counts on fingers) half a century since the third book was published. Hope springs eternal.
There are footnotes at the end of
the article, in which the final line is –
Ditto Pratchett’s Discworld. I’d like more, but I’m not dissatisfied.
There was an empty seat in the front row when Good Omens had its world premiere in London on Tuesday.
But that’s not because organisers had trouble filling the gigantic (and newly reopened) Odeon in Leicester Square – quite the opposite, the event was packed out.
In fact, a seat was deliberately kept vacant for Terry Pratchett, the co-writer of the original novel, who died in 2015.
As a tribute, his trademark hat was placed in the front row as the premiere got under way.
As Peter White noted in Deadline, it’s highly unusual for a TV series such as Good Omens to “receive a glitzy world premiere in Leicester Square” as that’s “a feat usually reserved for big-budget superhero movies”.
A previously unknown yet print-worthy work by Stanis?aw Lem (unearthed from his immense archives; combed through by his son Tomasz and the author’s personal secretary Wojciech Zemek for the last 16 years) is truly a rare find. This is because the author of The Cyberiad unceremoniously burnt any and all of his own writings that he was not pleased with, in a bonfire at his home in the Kraków suburb of Kliny. He cast quite a lot of texts into the flames there, given that he wrote with such great ease. By what miracle did “The Hunt” manage to avoid the fate of other works that went up in smoke?
(8) ETCHISON OBIT. Horror author Dennis Etchison
(1943-2019) died during the night on May 29 reports his Facebook page. File 770 obituary
Porter has two photos of him taken earlier in his career, at the Nebulas in New
York City, and at a British Fantasy Convention, holding an award.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 29, 1906 — T. H. White. Best known obviously for the wonderful The Once and Future King which I read a long, long time ago. Back in the Thirties, he wrote Earth Stopped and its sequel Gone to Ground, sf novels. Gone to Ground contains several fantasy stories which were later reprinted in The Maharajah and Other Stories. ISFDB also lists Mistress Masham’s Repose, The Elephant and the Kangaroo and The Master as the other novels by him, plus the aforementioned story collection. (Died 1964.)
Born May 29, 1909 — Neil R. Jones. Early pulp writer who some claim coined the word “ astronaut” which appeared in his first story, “The Death’s Head Meteor”, which was published in Air Wonder Stories in 1930. His stories taken together fit within the idea of a future history like those of Smith and Heinlein. (Died 1988.)
Born May 29, 1930 — Richard Clifton-Dey. Illustrator of many SF book covers including The Wizard of Venusby Edgar Rice Burroughs. He did not sign many of his originals so his widow has the final say what is an original and what is not. (Died 1997.)
Born May 29, 1952 — Louise Cooper. She wrote more than eight works of fantasy and was best known for her Time Master trilogy. Most of her writing was in the YA market including the Sea Horses quartet and the Mirror, Mirror trilogy. (Died 2009.)
Born May 29, 1953 — Danny Elfman, 66. Ok, pop quiz time. How many genre films can you name that he composed the music for? I came up with Beetlejuice, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Batman, Mars Attacks!, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and the Men in Black films. And I’d forgotten he was in Oingo Boingo, a truly great pop band.
Born May 29, 1958 — Annette Bening, 61. Barbara Land in Mars Attacks!, Susan Anderson in What Planet Are You From?, and the Supreme Intelligence / Dr. Wendy Lawson in Captain Marvel.
Born May 29, 1960 — Adrian Paul, 59. Duncan MacLeod on Highlander. And yes, I watched the whole bloody series. His first appearance in genre circles was as Dmitri Benko in the “Ashes, Ashes” episode of the Beauty and the Beast series. He shows up next as Prospero in Masque of the Red Death. He’s got several series before Highlander, War of the Worlds (not bad at all) where he was John Kincaid, a short-lived role as Jeremiah Collins on Dark Shadows and an even shorter-lived rolled on Tarzán as Jack Traverse. His first post- Highlander Sf series is Tracker where he plays alien shapeshifter Cole / Daggon. A decade ago, he returned to a familiar role in Highlander: The Source. His last series role was playing Dante on Arrow. Note: this is not a complete list.
Born May 29, 1987 — Pearl Mackie, 32. Bill Potts, the companion to the Twelfth Doctor. The first openly gay companion in the history of the series. She’s got a podcast called Forest 404 which the BBC calls an “immersive sci-fi drama”. And finally she’s in the BBC Radio’s The Conception of Terror: Tales Inspired by M. R. James as Mika Chantry.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Lio finds Gaiman fans in the most unexpected places.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the $1-billion Disneyland attraction set to open May 31, will employ Stormtroopers to enforce a strict time limit on visitors. The Los Angeles Times reports that the four-hour rule is only one part of the park’s efforts to avoid overcrowding and a situation that feels as claustrophobic as being stuck in an Imperial trash compactor with a wookiee.
During the first three weeks after opening, guests will be required to make reservations and wear colored wristbands that designate their time slot. Once that four hours expires, the Galactic Empire forces will escort visitors out in a way likely more polite than normal Stormtrooper protocol.
(12) AND TO
THINK THAT I SAW IT ON AMAZON STREET. ComicMix’s
Glenn Hauman sent the link because he doesn’t want Filers to miss a new
literary work that navigates the space created by his legal victory over Doctor
Seuss Enterprises: “Oh,
That Book Of Chuck’s, Though!”
There’s really no way not to feel pioneering when Chuck Tingle‘s collection makes us feel like cheering. We hope DSE will not try now to state that this was a market they could– penetrate. Perhaps they have learned to keep their case shut. You limit fair use… you’ll get slammed in the butt.
Have you ever considered how handsome a sentient, physically manifested state was? Or dreamed about traveling abroad and having a fling with some charismatic living continent? This love of locations is an erotic fantasy as old as time, and who better to bring it to life than the world’s greatest author, two-time Hugo Award finalist Dr. Chuck Tingle.
AB: I didn’t get any positive response, so I decided to make a lateral move within the company to a sister group, and that’s when I started working for a gentleman named Fred Pollock. At that time, there were a handful of Intel Fellows in the company. These are the topmost technical folks at Intel. He’s an incredibly smart person and one of the top computer scientists. I spoke to him, and his view was, “I don’t know. You know what? Go convince yourself.” That’s all I needed. I needed somebody who would be open-minded enough to allow me to take this risk.
I didn’t just rely on him. I started socializing this idea with other groups at Intel. I talked to business guys, and I talked to other technologists, and eventually, I even went out and talked to Microsoft. And we spoke to other people who ultimately became our partners, like Compaq, DEC, IBM, NEC, and others.
Basically, I had to not only build a life inside the company, but we had to ally with people outside, and obviously, each company or each person that I spoke to had their own perspective on what it ought to be. One thing that was common was that everybody agreed that PCs were too hard to use and even hard to design around. Something had to be done, and that’s where it all began.
New Yorkers, get ready for another chance to marvel at Manhattanhenge.
For two days every spring and summer, the sunset lines up with Manhattan’s street grid, creating a gorgeous celestial spectacle. For a brief moment, the sun’s golden rays illuminate the city’s buildings and traffic with a breathtaking glow.
“It’s the best sunset picture of the year that you will have in this beautiful city,” Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History said to The Times in a 2017 interview. “Sometimes they call it the Instagram holiday.”
Manhattanhenge’s name is a homage to Stonehenge, the monument in England believed to have been constructed by prehistoric people and used in rituals related to the sun. During the summer solstice, the sunrise there is perfectly framed by its stone slabs.
… Some 200 years ago, the architects who created the plan for modern Manhattan decided to build it using a grid system with avenues that run north and south and streets east and west. That choice inadvertently set the stage for Manhattanhenge, according to Dr. Faherty.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. According to a hypothesis astronomers have laid out in a new paper, the exploding stars at the end of their lives – supernovae – could have bathed Earth in cosmic radiation, beginning around 8 million years ago, and peaking around 2.6 million years ago.
This radiation would have ionised the lower atmosphere, likely resulting in an increase in cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. This, in turn, could have increased forest fires – eradicating the forests of Africa, where early humans are thought to have originated, and allowing the savannah to take their place.
You see, bipedal locomotion confers a number of advantages to human species, especially in the African savannah where height increases visibility.…
“Not as crazy as it sounds” – but maybe “not as
convincing as you’d like,” too.
In this post, I’ll be going over the nominees for Best Novelette. Novellettes are defined by the Hugos as works between 7,500 and 17,500 words, so these are stories that can be read in a single sitting, although, they still require a little bit of time to do that (for the longer end stories). I’m generally not the biggest reader of shorter fiction, so most of the nominees here were new to me (I’d only read 2 of the 6 nominated stories prior to the packet being released). Still, I really enjoyed pretty much all of the nominees – so I think all of these six are award worthy, and choosing how to rank them was not particularly easy….
…Most of us know what it feels like to experience food cravings. We usually crave higher calorie foods, which is why cravings are associated with weight gain and increased body mass index (BMI). But the story we tell ourselves about where these cravings come from could determine how easily we give into them.
It’s widely believed that cravings are our body’s way of signalling to us that we’re deficient in a certain nutrient – and for pregnant women, their cravings signal what their baby needs. But is this really true?
Much of the research into cravings has instead found that there are probably several causes for cravings – and they’re mostly psychological.
…There is evidence suggesting that the trillions of bacteria in our guts can manipulate us to crave, and eat, what they need – which isn’t always what our body needs.
This is because microbes are looking out for their own interests, says Athena Aktipis, assistant professor at Arizona State University’s department of psychology. And they’re good at doing this.
“The gut microbes that are best at surviving inside us end up being more frequent in the next generation. They have the evolutionary advantage of being better at affecting us in ways that get us to preferentially feed them,” she says.
In its latest effort to be involved in every aspect of our lives, Amazon is reportedly working on a new voice-activated wearable device that is capable of recognizing human emotions. According to Bloomberg, the wearable will be worn on the wrist, like a watch, and is described as a health and wellness product in internal documents. Lab126, the team behind the Echo and Fire Phone, is working on the device alongside the Alexa voice team…
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In The
Quintet of the Sunset on Vimeo, Jie Weng looks at how five cats, including
Business Cat, Workout Cat, and Race Car Cat, view their owner.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Hampus
Eckerman, Glenn Hauman, Chip Hitchcock, ULTRAGOTHA, JJ, John King Tarpinian,
Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some
of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
ComicMix was the winner today when a Federal judge decided the remaining copyright issues in Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ suit to stop the Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go! project.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) had claimed the crowdfunded book, featuring the writing of David Gerrold and the art of Ty Templeton, infringed their copyright and trademark for Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go! A court ruling in May 2018 disposed of DSE’s trademark claims, but the copyright claims remained to be litigated.
In granting ComicMix’s motion for summary judgment U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino explained: “Summary judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied that there is ‘no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’”
ComicMix argued there was no copyright infringement because Boldly is fair use, and under applicable caselaw “the doctrine of ‘fair use’ shields from infringement particular uses of a copyrighted work.”
Judge Sammartino wrote that Congress set forth four non-exclusive factors for use in evaluating whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is fair:
(1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
In an attempt to foreclose a successful fair use defense, Dr. Seuss Enterprises pointed to the Federal Circuit’s 2018 decision in Oracle America, Inc. v. Google. That case deals with copyrighted Java API code and whether Google infringes when it makes its own version intended to allow software programs to communicate with each other. It’s a high-stakes battle that has a good shot of being taken up by the Supreme Court. When it comes to the purpose and character of Boldly, Dr. Seuss analogizesthe book to what Google did with Java.
“The Court does not find Oracle persuasive,” responds the judge, addressing what she sees as the key distinction. “in Oracle, the Defendants copied the 37 SE API packages wholesale, while in Boldly ‘the copied elements are always interspersed with original writing and illustrations that transform Go!’s pages into repurposed, Star-Trek-centric ones.’ Defendants did not copy verbatim text from Go! in writing Boldly, nor did they replicate entire illustrations from Go! Although Defendants certainly borrowed from Go!—at times liberally—the elements borrowed were always adapted or transformed. The Court therefore concludes, as it did previously that Defendants’ work, while commercial, is highly transformative.”
(2) The nature of the copyrighted work;
The judge finds that the factor of the nature of the copyrighted work — Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go — slightly favors the plaintiff before addressing the amount and substantiality of the portion used.
(3) The amount and substantiality of the portion
used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
Judge Sammartino said that she considered the situation in the current case to be comparable to a suit about a poster created to advertise Naked Gun 33-1/3: The Final Insult:
Although the Court ultimately concluded that Boldly was not a parody, the Court concludes that this csse is most analogous to the situation in Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp. In Leibovitz, the defendant was alleged to have infringed a famous photograph of a nude, pregnant Demi Moore that appeared on the cover of the August 1991 issue of Vanity Fair. The photo of Ms. Moore was itself “a well known pose evocative of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.”
As part of an advertising campaign for an upcoming movie, the defendant commissioned a photographer to take a photo of another nude, pregnant woman in a similar pose, and “[g]reat effort was made to ensure that the photograph resembled in metic ulous detail the one taken [of Ms. Moore] by [the plaintiff],” from the model’s posture to her hand placement to the use of a large ring on the same finger. The defendant’s photograph was then digitally enhanced using a computer to make the skin tone and body shape more closely resemble that of Ms. Moore in the plaintiff’s original photo. Leslie Nielsen’s face was superimposed on the model’s body, “with his jaw and eyes positioned roughly at the same angle as Moore’s, but with her serious look replaced by Nielsen’s mischievous smirk.” The finished poster advertised that the movie was “DUE THIS MARCH.”
The Second Circuit stressed that, “[i]n assessing the amount and substantiality of the portion used, [the court] must focus only on the protected elements of the original.” Consequently, the court reasoned, the plaintiff “is entitled to no protection for the appearance in her photograph of the body of a nude, pregnant female,” but rather only “the particular way the body of Moore is portrayed.”
The court clarified that, “[e]ven though the basic pose of a nude, pregnant body and the position of the hands, if ever protectable, were placed into the public domain by painters and sculptors long before Botticelli, [the plaintiff] is entitled to protection for such artistic elements as the particular lighting, the resulting skin tone of the subject, and the camera angle that she selected.” The court ultimately concluded that the defendant “took more of the [plaintiff’s] photograph than was minimally necessary to conjure it up, but” that there was “little, if any, weight against fair use so long as the first and fourth factors favor the” defendant.
As in Leibovitz, the Court must take care in distinguishing precisely those elements of the Copyrighted Works to which Plaintiff is entitled copyright protection. Examining the cover of each work, for example, Plaintiff may claim copyright protection in the unique, rainbow-colored rings and tower on the cover of Go! Plaintiff, however, cannot claim copyright over any disc-shaped item tilted at a particular angle; to grant Plaintiff such broad protection would foreclose a photographer from taking a photo of the Space Needle just so, a result that is clearly untenable under —and antithetical to—copyright law. But that is essentially what Plaintiff attempts to do here. Instead of replicating Plaintiff’s rainbow-ringed disc, Defendants drew a similarly-shaped but decidedly non-Seussian spacecraft—the USS Enterprise—at the same angle and placed a red-and-pink striped planet where the larger of two background discs appears on the original cover. Boldly’s cover also features a figure whose arms and hands are posed similarly to those of Plaintiff’s narrator and who sports a similar nose and eyes, but Boldly’s narrator has clearly been replaced by Captain Kirk, with his light, combed-over hair and gold shirt with black trim, dark trousers, and boots. Captain Kirk stands on a small moon or asteroid above the Enterprise and, although the movement of the moon evokes the tower or tube pictured on Go! ’s cover, the resemblance is purely geometric.
Finally, instead of a Seussian landscape, Boldly’s cover is appropriately set in space, prominently featuring stars and planets. In short, “portions of the old work are incorporated into the new work but emerge imbued with a different character.”
(4) The effect of the use upon the potential
market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Hollywood Reporter summarized the court’s take on the last
When it comes to Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, the judge concludes that it isn’t likely usurp its predecessor’s position in the children’s book market because ComicMix has targeted those familiar with both the Seuss and Trek canon with a work that includes some sexual innuendo (hello, Captain Kirk). The derivatives market is called a “closer question,” but the judge notes that Dr. Seuss has “introduced no evidence tending to show that it would lose licensing opportunities or revenues as a result of publication of Boldly or similar works.”
Judge Sammartino, finding this factor did not favor either party, invoked
the Supreme Court’s statement in Fogerty
v. Fantasy Inc. to justify ruling for ComicMix:
The Supreme Court has admonished, “[t]he primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but ‘to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.’ To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.”
The text of today’s decision also revealed ComicMix originally planned to follow up Boldly with two other Suess/Trek mashups, “Picard Hears A Q” and “One Kirk, Two Kirk, Red Shirt, Blue Shirt,” whose fate is now uncertain.
The list includes showings all over the West Coast.
(3) ENDEAVORING TO IMPROVE
ON STAR TREK. [Item by Dann.] It has taken 10 year’s worth of effort, but Ron “AAlgar”
Watt and Matt Rowbotham have created the most comprehensive Star Trek-focused podcast in
history. They have watched and reviewed every episode of every
professional Star Trek franchise on
their Post Atomic Horror
Along the way, they have invited friends to the party
to broaden the number of perspectives on Star
Trek.And along the way, they have pointed out episodes that they could have
It is one thing to say you can do something better
than the professionals. It is quite another thing to put your money
and/or ego where your mouth is.
To that end, the duo has created the Endeavor
podcast. This is the story of the Endeavor;
a Federation starship exploring the Andromeda galaxy with crew members ranging
from Klingons to Romulans to Cardassians to an assortment of people from the
United Federation of Planets. The first episode of fanfiction dropped on March
1 on iTunes and Stitcher. Matt and Al hope to create radio theater that
compares favorably with more professional efforts. They have assembled an
outstanding stable of vocal performers to aid them in their attempt.
It’s time to join me at the table with someone who’s been part of the community of the fantastic even longer than I have — Michael J. Walsh. Over the past half century, he’s been a fan, a book dealer, a convention chair, and a publisher. He’s attended every World Fantasy Convention since the first in 1975, including the last one, where he and I were two of the Guests of Honor. Through his small press, Old Earth Books, he’s published Avram Davidson, Christopher Priest, Allen Steele and many others, plus two Howard Waldrop collections, which won him a special award from the World Fantasy Convention in 2009.
We got together for lunch last month the same day I attended the Midwinter Midway fundraising function put on at the Peale Museum by Submersive Productions, the immersive theatrical troupe I adore, four of whose members were my guests in Episode 86 of the podcast, where we discussed the science fictional nature of their diverse happenings.
Michael and I met at Ida B’s Table on the same block in Baltmore as the Peale. Ida B’s is perhaps my favorite recent restaurant discovery, one I try to visit whenever I’m in that city for great fried chicken, or shrimp and grits, or in this case, brisket benedict.
We discussed what it is about the annual World Fantasy Conventions that drew him to attend all 44 of them, how a generous teacher’s gift of an Ace Double led to his first exposure to true science fiction, the big score which induced him to become a book dealer, the way Ted White was able to do so much with so little when he edited Amazing Stories in the ’70s, what witnessing Anne McCaffrey and Isaac Asimov singing Gilbert and Sullivan tunes made him realize about writers, what his time in fandom taught him which made him realize he could make it as a publisher, the time he was left speechless by Robert Heinlein offering him a drink, why it would have been wrong for a certain book he published to have won a Hugo, what con-goers most misunderstand about con runners, and much more.
DISABILITIES. Ben Mattlin in the Washington Post, who has spinal muscular atrophy, was hired to be a
sensitivity reader for a book on the subject and wants people to know he is
disabled, and does not “have a disease” — “Disability
and disease aren’t interchangeable”.
Disability is the more inclusive choice. A disability can result from illness, injury, accident, genetics and more. That broad base gives it power. If ‘my disease’ refers to a specific condition within my body, ‘my disability’ connects me with a diverse array of other people, a common cause….
To my ears, though, “disease” will always be troubling. I’m okay with “disorder,” “impairment” and other neutral, science-y sounding terms. I’m not a stickler for politically correct language either. Call me a “disabled man” (#SayTheWord) or a “man with a disability” (#PersonFirstLanguage) — I honestly don’t care which. Growing up, I was called handicapped, and that’s still fine with me in most contexts (especially because it doesn’t come from a begging reference, contrary to popular belief, but from an advantage that’s forfeited to make a game fair). I was also taught that “cripple” is a dirty word, yet many of us have reclaimed it with pride.
(6) THE RIGHT MENTOR. Sandra
M. Odell found a connection made through SFWA’s mentorship program helped her
to cope with the effects of mental illness on her productivity: “More
Writerly Than Thou” at the SFWA
I have struggled with the titanic highs and crushing lows of severe mental illness and PTSD most of my life, yet nothing quite prepared me for the psyche shitstorm that followed the release of my second collection, Godfall & Other Stories.
The collection got a good response;
however, Odell experienced a months-long period of being unable to resume
writing, and when she was finally brave enough to reach out to other authors,
rather than getting understanding and support, she was frequently reminded that
she should just be thankful for the success of her collection:
…The after book blahs had become tangled in the web of my mental illness. So many writers, some my closest friends, sought to help by applying the panacea of one-word-then-the-next that I nearly suffocated beneath the weight of my own failure and self-loathing because I couldn’t keep up. I would never write again, the success of my collection was a fluke, I’d failed my agent and my friends, the stories were worthless, and no one would miss me when I was gone. I almost missed the voices I needed to hear most. “Are you okay? How can I help?”
Help came from an unexpected source. I applied for the SFWA mentorship program, certain I was too broken to find a match. To my surprise, I was paired with a mentor familiar with the bitter trials of writing and mental illness. My mentor allowed me to lead the conversation, asked gentle, non-judgemental questions, and shared their own struggles with post-publication depression and tips on what had worked for them to set priorities and reclaim their words. The idea that more experienced writers could be paired with those seeking to learn more about how to manage their craft had proven itself. After our first email exchange, I cried for an hour. I was no longer alone….
“Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.” – Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (1960)
There’s a healthy dollop of wisdom percolating through the slapstick silliness and anarchic absurdity of Dr Seuss. More perhaps than any other children’s author, the musings of US writer and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel – who adopted the pen name Dr Seuss while at college – amount to a kind of philosophy. It’s one that has entered popular consciousness, contributing to pop song lyrics and even being cited by a Supreme Court judge. Yet there’s also a political edge to Dr Seuss that is often overlooked.
… “Dr Seuss, beloved purveyor of genial rhyming nonsense for beginning readers, stuff about cats in hats and foxes in socks, started as a feisty political cartoonist who exhorted America to do battle with Hitler? Yeah, right!” exclaims Art Spiegelman, the graphic novelist who created Maus, in the foreword to a 1999 book. Historian Richard Minear’s Dr Seuss Goes to War features nearly 200 cartoons that were left unseen for half a century – cartoons that help redraw the beloved king of the kooky.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 8, 1994 — Wheeled suitcase with collapsible towing handle patented…and every CON goer is forever grateful.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 8, 1859 — Kenneth Grahame. The Wind in the Willows of course which to my surprise has but only two film adaptations, one animated and one live. Did you know A.A. Milne dramatized it for BBC Radio 4 back in the Seventies? Oh, and he did write one other fantasy, The Reluctant Dragon. (Died 1932.)
Born March 8, 1921 — Alan Hale Jr. The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island which most likely isn’t genre but he did show up in such films as Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl, The Fifth Musketeer and The Giant Spider Invasion which is most decidedly SF if of a pulpish variety. Series wise, I see he was on The Wild Wild West and Fantasy Island. (Died 1990.)
Born March 8, 1934 — Kurt Mahr. One of the first writers of the Perry Rhodan series, considered the largest SF series of the world. He also edited a Perry Rhodan magazine, wrote Perry Rhodan chapbooks and yes wrote many, many short stories about Perry Rhodan. He did write several other SF series. Ok what’s the appeal of Perry Rhodan? He runs through SF as a genre but I’ve not read anything concerning him. (Died 1993.)
Born March 8, 1939 — Peter Nicholls. Writer and editor. Creator and co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction with John Clute. His other publications were Science Fiction at Large, The Science in Science Fiction edited by Nicholls and written by him and David Langford, and Fantastic Cinema. (Died 2018.) He became the first Administrator of the United Kingdom-based Science Fiction Foundation. He was editor of its journal, Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction, from 1974 to 1978.
Born March 8, 1945 — Micky Dolenz, 74. Voiced the Min Max character in the two part “Two Face” episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Voiced Ralph on The Secret Files of the SpyDogs, an animated where Adam West voiced the Dog Zero character and Robert Culp provided additional voices. He also voiced, and I kid you not, Wendell the Love Grub on Mighty Magiswords. [Editor’s note: Maybe Cat can keep himself from mentioning Circus Boy and The Monkees, but I can’t!]
Born March 8, 1950 — Peter McCauley, 69. Best known I’d say for being on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World in which he played Professor George Challenger. Lovely show which I’ll really like. Running for three three seasons, it’s his only major genre role to date though he’s shown up on The Ray Bradbury Theater, Mysterious Island (a New-Zealand television series based on Jules Verne’s novel L’Île mystérieuse), Xena: Warrior Princess, Tales of the South Seas and Legend of the Seeker.
Born March 8, 1959 — Aidan Quinn, 60. Ok, I really l liked him in Practical Magic, but will admit that I’ve not seen nor plan on seeing The Handmaid’s Tale which he was in. Yes, he was in Jonah Hex but let’s not hold that against him. He also had the title role in Crusoe, and was Cpt. Robert Walton in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He was in The Eclipse as Nicholas Holden, and showed up in The Last Keepers playing John Carver. He was in a production of Scheherazade produced in Chicago, and played in Prince Hamlet in a Promenade Theatre, NYC production of that play. Series wise, he’s currently in the Elementary series as Captain Thomas ‘Tommy’ Gregson.
Born March 8, 1976 — Freddie Prinze Jr., 43. I’m fairly sure his genre role was in Wing Commander as Lt. Christopher Blair followed by the animated Mass Effect: Paragon Lost in which he voiced Lieutenant James Vega. Speaking of animated endeavours, I’ve got him in Kim Possible: A Sitch In Time voicing Future Jim / Future Tim followed by being in all in all four seasons of the animated Star Wars Rebels as Kanan Jarrus. And that series I highly recommend.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Frank and Ernest shows when walking while looking at your phone is actually safer!
Janet Opal Jeppson Asimov died on Monday, February 25, 2019. She was ninety-two years old. Janet is remembered for her significant contributions to psychiatry, psychoanalysis, science fiction, and her dedication to humanism. AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, who was in regular communication with her for years, recalled, “Janet was a whirlwind well into her eighties, racing from place to place but taking time to engage in lifelong learning, to write in her unique and compelling style, and to appreciate the arts and culture. Her direct approach, generous demeanor, and clever humor will be sorely missed.”
(12) WALLS GO UP IN THE
PRIVATE SECTOR. Escape Artists’ Alasdair
Stuart has dropped The Full Lid
for March (I really need a better action verb there), which features a look
inside the business, “Podcasting Does A Thing II: Welcome to the Montage.”
…That paywall though and what it means is much more interesting not to mention complex. Whether we like it or not, and that’s a nuanced answer that we’re all working on, paywalls are going to be a thing in podcasting for a while. As my partner in all things pointed out, this is the exact same thinking behind the plethora of streaming platforms we’re all about to be expected to pay for. Everyone’s seen Netflix’s money. Everyone wants some of it and the attempt to replicate that model is already spilling into other media with podcasting. Witness the Disney streaming platform, the conclusion of the Netflix/Marvel relationship, the Spotify assimilation of Anchor and Gimlet Media and the astonishing amount of money Himalaya just threw at their podcasting slate. That’s not cash anyone spends lightly.
(13) LEST DARKNESS FALL. Did social media cause this
neighborhood to be overrun? “Paris
street to ‘shut out Instagrammers'”. Chip Hitchcock adds, “One is
reminded that in the Niven story there were, deliberately, no teleport booths
on Rapa Nui — a choice that wouldn’t help this site.”
A pretty cobbled street in Paris has become a huge hit on Instagram, with thousands of pictures and “likes”.
But residents of Rue Cremieux have now had enough and are calling on the city council to restrict access at certain times.
One has even launched an Instagram account logging all the unwanted activity on the street.
It illustrated how the search for the perfect picture could become a problem, said travel blogger Kris Morton.
Residents have asked the city council to provide a gate that can be closed at peak times – evenings, weekends and at sunrise and sunset, when good light attracts people searching for a perfect Instagram picture.
…Three years ago, I’d have said this was a particularly good entry in the Marvel film series but Captain Marvel has the tough act of following up Thor Ragnarok, Infinity War and the frankly deliciously good Black Panther. There’s certainly enough feminism in the film to wind up the worst sections of society but I sometimes feel they pulled some of those punches and maybe dialled things back a notch when turning it up to 11 might have been smarter.
(15) WHAT EFFECT DOES
TROLLING HAVE? In the Washington
Post, Steven Zeitchik says that while
trolls “can have a highly scarring effect on individual targets” such
as Leslie Jones, the success of targeted films shows that “there’s
actually little evidence that trolling accomplishes its primary objective”
of depressing movie attendance. “Captain
Marvel: How the trolls always win — until they don’t”.
In fact, if one looks at previous movies with significant trolling campaigns — the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Black Panther” — it’s clear how ineffective they can be. “Ghostbusters” performed somewhat underwhelmingly with $128 million domestically. But “Last Jedi” was the highest-grossing movie of 2017, with $620 million in the United States. And “Black Panther” is the third-highest-grossing domestic film in history.
(16) ROTTEN TROLLMATOE.
Meantime, Rotten Tomatoes is taking
steps of its own to control the trollbot population. There’s an article in The
Hollywood Reporter but this is more succinct —
The SpaceX Crew Dragon hit its splashdown time of 8:45 a.m. ET right on target Friday, landing in the Atlantic Ocean after undocking from the International Space Station and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
The successful test and splashdown is “an amazing achievement in American history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who called the SpaceX flight the “dawning of a new era in American human space flight.”
The Atlantic Ocean landing is the first in nearly 50 years for a capsule that was designed for humans, NASA says. The last such incident: the Apollo 9 splashdown on March 13, 1969.
Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Dann, Cat Eldridge,
Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]