(1) PICARD. Entertainment Weekly got the word from Alex Kurtzman: “Star Trek producer explains how Picard spin-off will be ‘extremely different'”.
“It’s an extremely different rhythm than Discovery,” [writer-director Alex] Kurtzman told EW exclusively. “Discovery is a bullet. Picard is a very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was, but I believe it will have its own rhythm.”
Continued Kurtzman: “Without revealing too much about it, people have so many questions about Picard and what happened to him, and the idea we get to take time to answer those questions in the wake of the many, many things he’s had to deal with in Next Gen is really exciting. ‘More grounded’ is not the right way to put it, because season 2 of Discovery is also grounded. It will feel more…real-world? If that’s the right way to put it.”
(2) NO BUCKS, NO BUCK ROGERS. Also,Variety says the Picard series will be made in California to take advantage of state tax benefits: “New‘ Star Trek’ Series to Shoot in California, Selected for Tax Credit”.
The California Film Commission announced Monday that the untitled “Star Trek” series and eight other TV series have been selected for the latest tax credit allocations totaling $90 million under the state’s expanded Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0.
Six recurring series already in the tax credit program and picked up for another season of in-state production have also been set for allocations — Fox’s third season of “The Orville” with $15.8 million, CBS’s second season of “Strange Angel” with $10 million, Fox’s ninth season of “American Horror Story” ($8.9 million), and the second seasons of “MayansMC” ($7.6 million), “Good Trouble” ($6.6 million) and “The Rookie” ($4.5million).
(3) LULZINE. John Coxon and España Sheriff have launched a new online fanzine called Lulzine, focused on comedy, and comedy in science fiction and fantasy. Check out Lulzine Issue 1. The editors are still looking for material that suits the first issue’s theme. (Adding stuff makes sense because Lulzine presents as a blog. But don’t tell anyone I said so.)
We’re hoping to add more articles to the first issue before we start the second issue just before Ytterbium (the next Eastercon). The theme of the first issue is comedy in television, so if anyone wants to pitch us articles, they can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(4) BREAKFAST WITH EINSTEIN. At Whatever, Chad Orzel explains “The Big Idea” behind his book Breakfast with Einstein: The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects.
Quantum mechanics is one of the most amazing theories in all of science, full of stuff that captures the imagination: zombie cats, divine dice-rolling, spooky actions over vast distances. Maybe the single most amazing thing about it, though, is that we think it’s weird.
That probably seems a strange thing to say, because quantum physics is so weird, but that’s exactly the point. These are the fundamental principles governing the behavior of everything in the universe, and yet they run completely counter to our intuition about how the world works. If these are the basic rules underlying everything, shouldn’t they make sense? How can the entire universe behave according to strictly quantum laws, and yet we’re not intuitively aware of it?
(5) GLOBAL VIEW. Here’s Mortal Engines’ fascinating “Explore London 360” video –
(6) STUDY IN THIS WORLD’S HOGWARTS. Buzzfeed displays photos of “16 Libraries That Look Like Hogwarts IRL”. One of them is —
2.The University of Washington Library in Seattle, Washington
(7) CREATING AN IMPRESSION. Dave Addey takes up book covers as part of his column’s “Typeset in the Future” sub theme at Tor.com: “Designing the Future: Deconstructing Five Sci-Fi Book Covers”. He doesn’t restrict the conversation to Tor publications, I just thought this one made a good excerpt for the Scroll —
“Loss of Signal” by S. B. Divya (A Tor.com Original,2018)
…The cover’s inverted planetary relationship evokes “Earthrise”, a famous NASA photograph taken onboard Apollo 8 by astronaut Bill Anders….
Like “Earthrise” and Loss of Signal, 2001’s intro shows our home planet far in the distance, small and insignificant when compared to the moon’s barren surface in the foreground. Both images require viewers to consider their place in the universe from an entirely alien vantage point, far from the comforts of home. It’s an entirely appropriate feeling for S. B. Divya’s story of the first human mind to circle the moon without a body in tow.
(8) UNSTINCTION. Shelf Awareness calls attention to Torill Kornfeldt’s “The Re-Origin of Species: A Second Chance for Extinct Animals”.
“There is no way in which a lost species can really be brought back to life,” writes Swedish science journalist Torill Kornfeldt in her fascinating debut, The Re-Origin of Species: A Second Chance for Extinct Animals. “The nearest thing we can manage is a substitute.” But as each chapter reveals, the “substitutes” that many scientists think are possible would be nearly identical to–and just as astonishing as–the originals.
Kornfeldt travels the world to meet scientists who are attempting “de-extinction,” the practice of bringing extinct animals back to life. In Siberia, she meets Sergey Zimov, a Russian scientist attempting to revive mammoths. And in California she speaks with Ben Novak, a young scientist trying to resurrect the passenger pigeon. Other scientists are working on the northern white rhino, a Spanish ibex called a bucardo and, yes, even a dinosaur. There are still advancements to be made in genetic research before any of these experiments could result in actual resurrected animals but, according to the scientists Kornfeldt interviews, breakthroughs are happening at an unprecedented pace. De-extinction is only a few years away from becoming reality.
(9) BUT THEN I TURNED ON THE TV, AND THAT’S ABOUT THE TIME SHE WALKED AWAY FROM ME. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Looks like Gerard Way’s The Umbrella Academy won’t be the only science fiction TV show based on a comic book by a famous Emo band member. Blink 182 guitarist Tom DeLonge’s sci-fi graphic novel Strange Times is being turned into a show for TBS. The show will follow all-American teen Charlie Wilkins who starts investigating when his dad is abducted by aliens. He’s helped by his skateboarding friends and the ghost of a girl. Of the show, DeLonge says: “My love for all things paranormal and skateboarding are sometimes only superseded by my love for offensive humor. This series combines them all into one.” “Blink 182’s Tom DeLonge is making his own sci-fi TV series” – NME has the story:
…The show is in development at US network TBS and will follow “five dirty teenage skateboarders who solve paranormal mysteries while being chased by Deep State government agents.”
(10) WHEN IT ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAS TO BE THERE OVERNIGHT. “Mark Hamill reveals script for Star Wars IX will be flown to him and then immediately taken back amid intense plot leak fears” — Daily Mail has the story.
If you can’t trust a Jedi Master, who can you trust? Mark Hamill has revealed the script for Star Wars Episode IX will be flown to him and he must immediately hand it back after reading it.
Security around the finale is so tight that the 67-year-old is no longer allowed to keep a copy. He has yet to shoot his scenes.
The actor, who plays Luke Skywalker in the sci-fi saga, is currently in Prague where he is shooting the History Channel’s Knightfall.
(11) LIGHTSABER AUCTION CANCELLED. Profiles in History responded to the controversy reported in an earlier Scroll by withdrawing the item: “Star Wars lightsaber auction pulled over origin dispute”.
…However, the Original Prop Blog posted a series of videos raising doubts about the weapon, including alleged discrepancies between the lightsaber shown in that letter and the lightsaber in the auction catalogue.
There were also claims this might be a replica or prototype prop.
But Mr Roger Christian told the BBC it was one of five original lightsabers made for the film, saying: “It is real – I’ve got the Oscar to prove it.”
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born December 11, 1957 – William Joyce, 61. Author of the YA series Guardians of Childhood which is currently at twelve books and growing. Now I’ve no interest in reading them but Joyce and Guillermo del Toro turned them into in a rather splendid Rise of the Guardians film which I enjoyed quite a bit. The antagonist in it reminds me somewhat of a villain later on In Willingham’s Fables series called Mr. Dark.
- Born December 11, 1959 — M. Rickert, 59. Usually I don’t cotton with listing Awards but she’s rather unusual in she’s has won or been nominated for several major awards despite working largely in short fiction with I believe The Memory Garden being her only novel. “Journey into the Kingdom” was nominated for the 2006 Nebula Award for Best Novelette and an International Horror Guild Award, and won the 2007 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction Her Map of Dreams won a World Fantasy Award for Best Collection and a Crawford Award, and the collection’s title story was nominated for the 2007 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella.
- Born December 11, 1962 — Ben Browder, 56. Actor of course best known for his roles as John Crichton in Farscape and Cameron Mitchell in Stargate SG-1. One of my favorite roles by him was his voicing of Bartholomew Aloysius “Bat” Lash in Justice League Unlimited “The Once and Future Thing, Part 1” episode. He’d have an appearance in Doctor Who in “A Town Called Mercy”, a Weird Western of sorts. His most recent genre appearance was as a character named Ted Gaynor on Arrow.
- Born December 11, 1965 – Sherrilyn Kenyon, 53. Best for her Dark Hunter series which runs to around thirty volumes now. I confess I’ve not read any, so I’m curious as to how they are. Opinions? (Of course you do. Silly me.) She’s got The League series as well which appears to be paranormal romance, and a Lords of Avalon series too under the pen name of Kinley MacGregor.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
- This is no job for the sommelier: Bizarro
- Frosty the UFOman at Bizarro.
- Why can’t Santa guest on Star Trek? Meme will explain.
(14) TONIGHT’S JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter has his eye on the tube. Tonight’s Jeopardy!, in the category “Posthumous Books,” gave the answer as: “After death, this horror author still talked about the Necronomicon in his novel, ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.'”
Wrong question: “Who is Asimov?”
(15) SKY’S THE LIMIT. In his latest Nerds of a Feather contribution,“Microreview [Book]: The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal”, Joe Sherry declares —
The Fated Sky stands well on its own but, when coupled with The Calculating Stars, is a masterpiece.
After reading The Calculating Stars (my review) earlier this year, I wrote about how Mary Robinette Kowal did more than achieve a sense of wonder, she brought the dream of spaceflight beyond the page and directly into readers hearts. The Calculating Stars was a masterful novel that will surely find a place on many Year’s Best lists and a number of awards ballots. It’s a lot to live up to, but the near perfection of The Calculating Stars only serves to whet the appetite for The Fated Sky.
The Fated Sky picks up a few years after the end of The Calculating Stars. There is a fledgling base and colony on the moon, regular round trip missions from the earth to the moon, and the IAC (International Aerospace Coalition) is planning for its first Mars mission. Each of the two books are tagged as “Lady Astronaut” novels and Mary Robinette Kowal won a Hugo Award for her story “The Lady Astronaut of Mars“. We know how the progression of Elma’s story, where she ends up. It isn’t about spoiling the ending, the beauty of The Fated Sky is in the journey. In this case, a journey to Mars.
(16) BATWOMAN IN CW CROSSOVER. The Hollywood Reporter tells“How Batwoman Fit Into The CW’s DC Comics World in ‘Elseworlds'”.
Batwoman has finally arrived on The CW. Ruby Rose’s iconic lesbian superhero officially made her debut during Monday’s Arrow, part two of The CW’s three-part superhero crossover “Elseworlds.”
With Earth-1 impacted by a magical book that altered reality, Monday’s Arrow installment of The CW’s big “Elseworlds” superhero crossover found The Flash’s Barry (Grant Gustin), Arrow’s Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Supergirl’s Kara (Melissa Benoist) in Gotham to try and get to the bottom of things. Unfortunately for the heroes, a mugging (and their inability to stand down) landed the trio in jail, where they were bailed out by a mysterious figure — Kate Kane (Orange Is the New Blackgrad Rose), aka Batwoman.
(17) JUST DO IT. Mars Society president Robert Zubrin argues in the Washington Post that “We have the technology to build a colony on the moon. Let’s do it.” The author of The Case For Mars takes aim at current NASA plans to build a mini-space station that would orbit the moon, and instead suggests that the time has come to set up a permanent habitable structure on the lunar surface.
…As for landing people on the moon, NASA is vague about that, too. Apparently, if we wanted to build a lander sometime in the future, it would rendezvous with the Gateway for some reason and then attempt a landing.
This is all just plain weird. It’s like building a big, expensive aircraft carrier, positioning it off the European coast and requiring passengers going from New York to Paris to land there first and do something (although what isn’t known) until another airplane is built to pick them up to carry them to their destination. This, we suspect, is not the best way to get to France.
Rather than build this murky Gateway, which we frankly doubt the American people will understand or support, we believe the best expenditure of time and money is to simply make it a national goal to build a base on the lunar surface. Such a base would be similar to the U.S. South Pole Station and constructed for the same reasons: science, exploration, knowledge, national prestige, and economic and technological development for the benefit of the U.S. taxpayer.
…If we’re serious about going to the moon, let’s just go there. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, reminding us of the sort of things we as a nation once accomplished. We should resolve now to do no less.
(18) STOP AND GO. First story isn’t good news: Himalayan glaciers are slowing because they’ve thinned enough that there’s less mass to move them downhill, and their outflows provide inland water. Second story also isn’t good news: Satellite images show Antarctic glaciers getting more lubrication on their way to the ocean, where they’ll melt and raise ocean levels.
The glaciers that flank the Himalayas and other high mountains in Asia are moving slower over time.
Scientists have analysed nearly 20 years of satellite images to come to this conclusion.
They show that the ice streams which have decelerated the mostare the ones that have also thinned the most.
The region has long been considered stable and unaffected by some of the more dramatic changes occurring elsewhere on the continent.
But satellites have now shown that ice streams running into the ocean along one-eighth of the eastern coastline have thinned and sped up.
If this trend continues, it has consequences for future sea levels.
There is enough ice in the drainage basins in this sector of Antarctica to raise the height of the global oceans by 28m – if it were all to melt out.
(19) GAME CENSORS. From BBC we learn that “China’s new games censors take tough stance”.
A panel of censors set up to vet mobile video games in China has signalled it will be hard to please.
State media reports that of the first 20 titles it assessed, nine were refused permission to go on sale.
The Xinhua news agency added that developers of the other 11 had been told they had to make adjustments to remove “controversial content”.
There has been a clampdown on new video game releases in the country since March.
The authorities have voiced concerns about the violent nature of some titles as well as worries about the activity being addictive.
President Xi Jinping has also called for more to be done to tackle a rise in near-sightedness among the young – something that the country’s ministry of education has linked to children playing video games at the cost of spending time on outdoor pastimes.
(20) FILMING IN NEW ZEALAND. The Hollywood Reporter shows how Peter Jackson’s pioneer efforts have paid off for New Zealand: “‘Avatar’ to ‘Mulan’: Hollywood Movies Are Keeping New Zealand Busier Than Ever”.
…In addition to recently hosting summer blockbusters like Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible — Fallout and the giant shark thriller The Meg, the New Zealand production uptick is indeed evidenced by the volume of high-profile projects that are in varying stages of production right now.
James Cameron is gearing up for the monumental task of shooting all three of the Avatar sequels there simultaneously early in 2019. The films were brought to New Zealand via a government deal that requires 20thCentury Fox to spend no less than NZ $500 million (about $345 million)in-country and to hold at least one of the world premieres there.
Meanwhile, Disney is just wrapping production on its live-action adaptation of Mulan, with a budget north of $100 million and Kiwi director Niki Caro at the helm. The project shot on the new stages at Kumeu Film Studios in West Auckland as well as on locations across the country. Netflix, of course, also is active in New Zealand, having recently begun filming the family fantasy series The Letter for the King in Auckland; Amazon Studios, meanwhile, is shooting the YA series The Wilds in Auckland nearby. Also courtesy of Amazon, the franchise that made New Zealand synonymous with Middle Earth is tipped to be coming back to the island nation — for many in the local industry, it’s simply unthinkable that the streamer’s Lord of the Rings TV series, with a rumored budget of $500 million, won’t shoot there.
(21) BEST RESOURCE. Congratulations to Mark Kelly who has added contents of 15 best-of-year anthology series to his Science Fiction Awards Database site, with single-page composite tables of contents for each series, and all stories included on their authors’ individual pages. (He still has more such series yet to do, for example, the Datlow/Windling series.) See “Anthologies & Collections Directory”. The first 15 “bests” include–
1939 – 1963 • Asimov/Greenberg • The Great SF Stories (DAW, 1979 – 1992)
1948 – 1957 • Bleiler/Dikty • The Best Science-Fiction Stories and Novels (1949 – 1958)
1955 – 1967 • Judith Merril • Year’s Best S-F (1956 – 1967)
1964 – 1970 • Wollheim/Carr • World’s Best Science Fiction (Ace, 1965 – 1971)
1967 – 1975 • Harrison/Aldiss • Best SF (1968 – 1976)
1974 – 1975 • Lester del Rey • Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year (Dutton, 1972 – 1976)
1971 – 1989 • Donald A. Wollheim • Annual World’s Best SF (DAW, 1972 – 1990)
1971 – 1986 • Terry Carr • Best Science Fiction of the Year + Fantasy (1972 – 1987)
1976 – 1980 • Gardner Dozois • Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year (Dutton, 1977 – 1981)
1983 – 2017 • Gardner Dozois • Year’s Best Science Fiction (St. Martin’s, 1984 – 2018)
1995 – 2012 • Hartwell/Cramer • Year’s Best SF, Year’s Best Fantasy (1996 – 2013)
2001 – 2004 • Silverberg/Haber/Strahan • Science Fiction Best of, Fantasy Best of (ibooks: 2002 – 2005)
2003 – 2017 • Jonathan Strahan • The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year (2004 – 2018)
2005 – 2017 • Rich Horton • The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy (Prime, 2006 – 2018)
2015 – 2017 • Neil Clarke • The Best Science Fiction of the Year (Night Shade, 2016 – 2018)
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Olav Rokne, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Olav Rokne.]