(1) DISNEY EXTRACTS HAND FROM COOKIE JAR. Design Taxi reports “Disney Redesigns ‘Star Wars’ Posters After Getting Called Out For Plagiarism”.
Disney has unveiled a new set of posters for the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story after its previous artworks were called out by a French artist for plagiarism.
In this redesigned collection, Disney has amended the graphics whilst sticking to a similar color scheme.
Each character remains paired with a unique color. For instance, ‘Han’ is matched with an orange-red aesthetic, ‘Lando’ gets a blue hue, while ‘Q’ira’ receives a pink-purple scheme.
(2) SCRYING THE CRYSTAL CLARKE. Ian Mond takes his shot at predicting the Clarke Award shortlist in “Brief Thoughts on the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2018 Submissions List” at The Hysterical Hamster.
Mark Hepworth did the same in a comment here on File 770.
(3) MANO-A-MANO. Steven Barnes, while speculating about which characters will get killed off in the next Avengers movie, added an interesting cultural critique of the martial arts in Black Panther.
this is petty, and a trivial objection, but another missed opportunity was the battle between T’Challa and Killmonger during the ceremony. It relates to a complaint I had about Civil War (which I loved). This is from a life-long martial artist’s perspective, so I’m only partially serious. The problem is this: BP fought like everyone else in Civil War, and his technique looked very Asian. Korean in the kicks. Not what the Prince of Wakanda would use, because African arts are as lethal. But in BP, both T’Challa and Killmonger fought pretty much the same. I find it difficult to believe that Killmonger, never having been in Wakanda, would fight with techniques that look as if he had been trained by the same people who trained T’Challa. They could have had a fascinating clash of styles. But that is really nit-picking.
(4) PANTHER POLITICAL ANALYSIS. At Blog of the APA: In “Black Issues in Philosophy: A Conversation on The Black Panther”, Greg Doukas and Lewis Gordon discuss the politics and ethics of leading characters in the movie.
GREG DOUKAS: I am thoroughly perplexed by the reaction exhibited in some of my friends and colleagues, whose ideas I otherwise ordinarily agree with. The proposition they raise, and which I’ve been troubled by, is this: Over the duration of the film, our hero T’Challa [the Black Panther] makes a transformation from a nativist into a character representing a liberal politics of amelioration and liberalism more generally, while his nemesis Killmonger emerges as a distinctly Fanonian character in his own politics by presenting a radical critique of colonialism and racism.
LEWIS GORDON: This is far from the case. First, Killmonger is not Fanonian. He is a tyrant. Fanon believed in radical democracy. Wakanda is clearly a republic and possibly a constitutional monarchy in which each member of the society contributes as counsel and skilled citizen. It’s clearly a city-state or what in ancient Greek is called a polis, in which politeia (the thriving of citizens through activities cultivated by such a social space) is expected to occur. Killmonger is more like the case studies of colonial disorders in the later part of Fanon’s The Damned of the Earth. He is a tyrant because his relationship to everyone was asymmetrical, driven by resentment and hate, and his regard for life was nil. Think of how he killed his loyal girlfriend Linda and how he ultimately aimed to destroy or destabilize Wakanda—a functioning African state—with the now faddish Afropessimistic declaration of “burning it all down.” His ego was such that he wanted to bar, through destruction of the special vibranium affected plant, the possibility of future Black Panthers emerging. Bear in mind also that T’Challa was not against fighting/violence. His point is that it should be used only when necessary, and he was doing so always on behalf of justice and a people in whose respect rested his legitimacy. Killmonger didn’t care about respect from the people. He also didn’t have respect for them. His “legitimacy” was like, say, Donald Trump’s: achieved purely from the strict adherence to the imperfect rules, though unlike Trump he actually defeated his opponent in fair combat. The people revolted against him not because he won the ritualistic battle but because his tyrannical rule defied the virtues the battle was to manifest. They fought against him in fidelity to the spirit of the rules.
(5) IMPRESSIVE. Rich Lynch actually came up with video of the Octavia Butler clue from Friday’s episode of game show Jeopardy! Click here: Jeopardy! Butler clue
(6) WHO AGAINST GUNS. Comics Beat updates readers: “Who Against Guns raises $16,000”.
We’ve been reporting on the fan-led effort known as Who Against Guns for several weeks now. Today, just over two weeks after the start of the campaign which launched February 26, organizers have announced that they’ve raised $16,000 for these gun violence prevention charities: Community Justice Reform Coalition, March For Our Lives, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action.
Guys! Some RAD Doctor Who fans are raising $$ for orgs working to end gun violence. $13,000 raised so far and the push ends TOMORROW. Let's help 'em get to $15K! Donate $10 or more to get access to bunches of EXCLUSIVE commentary and giveaways! Deets –> https://t.co/7KxPLVPnaM pic.twitter.com/8HBU3L7w4D
— Stephanie Beatriz (@iamstephbeatz) March 11, 2018
(7) TOLKIEN’S DOG STORY. Middle-Earth Reflections takes up J.R.R. Tolkien’s Roverandom.
Originally Roverandom was conceived in 1925 when the Tolkiens — Ronald and Edith with their sons John, Michael and Christopher — went on a family holiday to Filey, Yorkshire. They rented a cottage with the view of the sea and the beach to spend a big part of September there. At that time the Tolkiens’ second boy Michael, who was about five years old, had a small, black-and-white toy dog. The boy was extremely fond of it to the extent that he never parted with it. It was an unfortunate loss of that beloved toy during a walk on the beach one day and unavailing search for it that led Tolkien to make up a story about the dog’s adventures to explain its disappearance to the saddened boy.
In 1936, when The Hobbit was accepted for publication by Allen & Unwin, Tolkien was asked for more children’s stories, so he sent in Roverandom together with Mr Bliss and Farmer Giles of Ham. However, Roverandom was not published then: in 1937 The Hobbit came out, proved a tremendous success and the publishers demanded more Hobbit stories from the author. It was only in 1998 that Rover’s tale finally saw the light of day.
Just like some other stories written by Tolkien, Roverandom began as something told to the amusement (or, in this case, consolation was the initial motive) of his own family. But as the story began to grow, it inevitably drew in more aspects of Tolkien’s background and interests. From a simple children’s story it established connections with Tolkien’s own Legendarium, Norse mythology, Arthurian legends, folklore, history and real events which took place at the time when the story was being created and written down.
(8) SPOILER WARNING. In Zhaoyun’s “Microreview [TV series]: The Frankenstein Chronicles” for Nerds of a Feather, the spoiler isn’t what you think.
It’s one of the longest-running gags in show business: cast Sean Bean in your TV series and there is an extremely high chance his character will perish by the end of season one. If in a movie, he’ll probably die heroically, indeed motivationally, spurring the surviving heroes on to greater successes; in TV series, his specter looms over the remainder of the show, meaning everything that happens from then on occurs in the shadow of his sacrifice (since he is usually innocent of any wrongdoing but is executed/killed anyway). So when I finally watched The Frankenstein Chronicles, I knew to expect a gruesome end for Bean’s “John Marlott” at the end of season one. I don’t even feel the need to issue a spoiler alert so far, because Sean Bean’s near-inevitable death early in projects is a truth universally acknowledged.
(9) TENTH ANNIVERSARY. Kasma editor Alex Korovessis offers 10 Years of SF as a free download:
10 Years of SF! is an anthology featuring some of the best stories I have had the privilege to publish over the past 10 years, since Kasma’s inception in 2009. It is available freely by clicking the appropriate button below.
(10) THE MORE THINGS CHANGE. A fan lamented:
In the few months I have been an active member of fandom, I have found knit into its fabric a conglomeration of ego, hate, progressiveness, overbearing acts, belligerence, perversities, totalitarianism, crack-pot ideas and every good and bad thing that goes to make up the outside world.
Today on Facebook? No, these are the words of Clarence “Sully” Roberds, an Illinois fan writing in November of 1939. Think about that the next time you read a complaint that fandom isn’t what it used to be.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- John King Tarpinian passes along Drabble’s stfnal St. Paddy’s joke.
- And Bizarro’s tribute to the Sasquatch.
(12) 2019 HUGO RECOMMENDATIONS. Coffee break’s over – back to work!
Just when you thought your Hugo stress was over, from the mist emerges: THE 2019 HUGO SHEET! https://t.co/1py9CcWiBW
i.e. please tell me what short fiction to read this is the #2 way I find good short fiction THANKS
— Renay (@renay) March 17, 2018
Click to see Renay’s 2019 Hugo Sheet (at Google Docs).
(13) OFTEN IMITATED. Inverse celebrated the release of Forbidden Planet on March 15 in “62 Years Ago Today, the Template for All Sci-Fi Movies Was Born”.
Nearly every science fiction story you know and love today owes it all to one movie that came out in 1956, a film that set the standard for how sci-fi stories work for the modern audience. Franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek might have defined sci-fi for generations, but Fred McLeod Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet basically created sci-fi as we know it.
There’s even an opening scrawl with yellow text more than 20 years before the first Star Wars movie.
(14) BALLS. “Ikea Is Developing The Meatball Of The Future” – no, it’s not made from ground-up Billy bookcases.
Ikea is the largest furniture retailer in the world. But did you know that it’s also likely the largest meatball retailer in the world? Across its 340 stores worldwide, Ikea feeds people 2 million meatballs each day. Which is why Ikea’s high-concept Space10 lab is experimenting with a meatball of the future–one that uses zero actual meat. They call it the Neatball.
…The Space10 team is careful to clarify that none of these items are coming to market, but it’s interesting to see Ikea’s thought process on the future of food all the same. After all, Ikea has already given us a veggie version of its famous meatballs that people seem to like. And Space10 released meatball concepts not long ago that have since gone from art project to fully cooked concept here–because that’s what Space10 does: It prototypes the future for Ikea.
(15) AMAZON VS. CONSERVATIVES. Vox Day finds that Amazon’s alleged massacre of conservative authors’ book reviews is highly exaggerated [Internet Archive].
Of course, the mere fact that there is a closed alliance of authors with personal relationships who pay very close attention to reviews may explain at least a reasonable percentage of these deletions, given the terms of service. I checked out my reviews and it looks like ten or fewer reviews were deleted across all my various book listings. Not only that, but several of the reviews were one-star fake reviews, so two of my average ratings actually increased. This made me suspect that the deleted reviews were likely in open violation of Amazon’s terms of service, which Amanda Green’s investigation appears to have generally confirmed.
He also says in a comment:
Don’t get Clintonian. It’s not tricky at all. Are they family? Are they close friends? Did they work on your book?
If so, then don’t review their books.
That being said, I think Amazon would be well advised to limit reviews to Verified Purchases in addition to whatever conflict-of-interest limitations they see fitting.
Let’s face it, the world doesn’t need any more reviews on the lines of “I am so-and-so’s mother and I can’t believe he wrote a whole book! It’s really good!”
(16) COMICS RANT. The comics artist Colleen Doran went on an epic Twitter rant about “diversity hires.”
It implies things about race, it implies things about sex, it implies things about sexuality. And because I can’t read your mind, I don’t really know what “diversity hire” means to you. But I know what it means to me. So tread that ground with care.
Start the thread here —
OK, I'm just going to say this outright: as someone who has been in the business since the time there weren't very many girls in it, when people start making comments about icky "diversity hires", it makes my hair go the wrong way. And I have a lot of hair.
— Colleen Doran (@ColleenDoran) March 16, 2018
(17) THE FORCE IS WITH THEM. Pacific Standard profiles “The Jedi Faithful”.
Disambiguating real-world practices from the traditions that the Star Wars franchise established is not so much a passing curiosity as one of the central reasons the group of Jedi has assembled here for the weekend. Belief in the Force here on Earth is ultimately simple enough, a matter of faith that requires no greater suspension of disbelief than praying to any other life-force or deity. However, the practical extension of that belief, as demonstrated in the Star Wars canon—namely, that one can use the Force to exert mental influence on the external world—poses a larger problem: The cosmos, absent green screens, doesn’t so easily succumb to the will.
And so, for those following the Gospel of Lucas, life can often seem a battle of approximations. Lightsabers here on Earth aren’t in fact shafts of light, but an alloy of plastic and LEDs. Jedi on Earth have downgraded telekinesis for noetic sciences and a belief that collective thought can influence external change. And, as their possession of DVD box sets, plastic lightsabers, and Star Wars kitsch indicates, they, unlike their fictional counterparts, haven’t quite subscribed to an ascetic’s denial of worldly attachments
(18) MAGIC SCHOOLS. L. Jagi Lamplighter says Superversive SF’s Fantastic Schools and Where to Find Them blog is “just a fun thing a couple of us are doing–covering magic schools and schooling in general. We are open to posts from anyone who writes about Magic Schools. It’s just a labor of love kind of thing. Nothing big. (Or anyone who has an opinion on either magic schools or schools in general.)”
She penned their most recent post: “Which Magic School Is For You: Roke”.
How many of you ever wished you could attend Roke? I bet many readers don’t even know what Roke is.
Once upon a time, in the long-ago dream time of the 1970s and 80s, there were three fantasy series everyone read: Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, C. S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles, and Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea Trilogy. Everyone who read fantasy had read all three, and they were considered equally great.
I remember the day, some years ago now, when I realized that while Narnia and Lord of the Rings had made the grade, Earthsea had been basically forgotten. Many modern fantasy fans had never heard of the books. They didn’t even know that LeGuin had invented one of their favorite concepts: the magic school.
But Ursula Leguin’s magic school in Wizard of Earth Sea was the first time a fantasy writer thought “Gee, we see so many wizards in stories. Who trains them? Where do they go to school?”
And what she gave us was Roke.
(19) MUPPETS. Gwynne Watkins, in the Yahoo Entertainment story “Miss Piggy’s ‘a mess inside’: Frank Oz and puppeteer pals reveal Muppet secrets”, interviews several associates of Jim Henson who are promoting Frank Oz’s HBO documentary Muppet Guys Talking.
If I were thinking about, from a viewer’s perspective, which Muppet changed the most over time, I would say Miss Piggy.
Oz: Yeah, probably so. But Piggy is a different situation. I’ve said this before: Her beginnings were in the women’s liberation movement, just by accident. And I don’t consciously change things, but the characters don’t interact with the world — I interact with my world. And I don’t interact in such a way where I say, “Oh, I’ve got to put that in my character.” I think because of the zeitgeist, it just kind of happens without me knowing it. But Piggy’s a little different. Piggy is such a mess inside, that I think as the years go on, she gets more and more emotional baggage. And that’s mainly why she changes. She keeps being rejected by the frog. She keeps trying and cannot do the things that she wants to, like tell jokes or dance. So I think she has this emotional baggage that hurts her more and more and more, and as a result she covers more and more and more. That’s what I think.
[Thanks to JJ, Mark Hepworth, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, rcade, Cat Eldridge, David Doering, Carl Slaughter, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ken Richards.]