(1) BABY GIFT. Disney UK created a short Winnie-the-Pooh video to welcome a royal baby.
The beginning of a grand adventure… Congratulations from Disney to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and The Royal Family on the arrival of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor!
(2) POP-UP KAIJU. Nerdist is witness to one of the biggest promos in Hollywood movie theater history: “GODZILLA’s Head Busts Out of the Hollywood Cinerama Dome”.
The historic Cinerama Dome in Hollywood unveiled a gigantic promotional item atop the dome. Emitting dazzling blue light, it catches the eyes of every passerby. Not to mention catching the eye of news helicopters, like those from the local CBS affiliate. It hearkens back to the days of classic movie studio showmanship, to say the least.
The giant Godzilla head is popping out of the iconic dome like he’s cracking the world’s biggest egg. He’s ready to stomp all over Los Angeles the way he used to stomp on Tokyo in the original movies. Michael Dougherty tweeted a picture of the unique promotion like a proud papa, which showcased the beloved kaiju with blue light coming out of his mouth, emulating his signature atomic breath.
(3) BOX OFFICE MONSTER. SYFY Wire rounds up the early response to the latest Godzilla movie — “Godzilla: King of the Monsters first reactions predict an American kaiju masterpiece “.
The film is already projecting a $50 million opening weekend when it storms into theaters on May 31, per Variety. Now the first round of reactions are calling King of the Monsters the perfect summer popcorn movie, as well as a masterpiece of American kaiju filmmaking that’ll win over new converts while pleasing lifelong fans.
(4) NUMBER, PLEASE. Camestros Felapton wants voters to be fully informed: “Cats, Dogs, Robots & Rockets: Hugo 2019 novels where they stand”.
I’ve reviewed and ranked the Hugo finalists for best novel by my subjective impressions but how about some more objective criteria. Specifically, how does each one feature in the key metrics of:
- Does it have cats in it?
- Does it have dogs in it?
- Does it have robots in it?
- Does it have rockets (or spacecraft) in it?
(5) WOMEN IN TV. Variety has a more serious set of numbers — “Pilot Season: Female Directors See More Representation Gains”. Additional details in the article.
For TV pilots, percentage of female directors increased somewhat this year over last year (8 percentage points). The total number of pilots ordered was down, but one more female director was represented this year than last.
(6) NERDS AHOY! A New York Times writers answers the question “What Happens When You Put 2,000 Nerds on a Boat?” A boat where John Scalzi is one of the nerds, no less.
It is the first concert of the JoCo Cruise 2019, and things are going so wrong. The musicians can’t hear themselves sing. Instruments drop out at random. One of the performers, Jim Boggia, has lost his voice.
Jonathan Coulton, the singer-songwriter for whom the cruise is named, grouses that it is a “train wreck on a boat.”
They carry on, trying to wrestle a show from the mess. Mr. Boggia starts playing “When You Wish Upon a Star” on his ukulele and raspily invites us all to sing along. The assembled hundreds join in a mass mumble, but one woman’s voice stands out and confidently rises, clear and lovely. Paul Sabourin, another of the performers, hops off the stage and hands her a microphone. The performers complete the song to rousing cheers.
I spot the singer. She is wearing extravagantly long elf ears.
Now in its ninth year, the JoCo Cruise is a grand annual gathering of the nerd tribe. You may not have heard of Mr. Coulton, who left his job writing software in 2005 to explore a music career, but he has built a fervid online community of fans….
(7) WELL, YEAH! Tough SF really lives up to its name with this post: “Actively Cooled Armor: from Helium to Liquid Tin”.
We have seen designs for long ranged particle beams and powerful lasers. Could they be the end-all, be-all of space warfare? Not if we fend off their destructive power with actively cooled armor…
Metal vapor cooled armor
Helium has high heat capacity but low density. We need a lot of pumping power to push enough volume through the heat exchanger to draw a decent amount of heat away.
The gases with the highest densities are metal vapours. The same volume brings a lot more mass throughput and therefore cooling capacity.
We want a metal that is dense but boils easily. Mercury is ideal. It boils at 630K, so we’ll set the minimum temperature to 750K to prevent it condensing back into a liquid. As before, we heat it up to 3500K.
(8) BOLGEO OBIT. Tim Bolgeo died May 12, surrounded by family, reports Marcia Kelly Illingworth. He was 70 years old. He was the founder and Chairman Emeritus of LibertyCon. He was a retired electrical engineer with over 30 years with the Tennessee Valley Authority, and had been in fandom since 1976.
(9) SARGENT OBIT. “Alvin Sargent, Spider-Man screenwriter, dies at 92” – BBC has the story.
Alvin Sargent, the American screenwriter who won two Oscars and penned scripts for the Spider-Man film trilogy, has died at the age of 92.
Sargent died of natural causes at his home in Seattle on Thursday.
He won Oscars for Julia, a 1977 Holocaust drama based on the personal writings of Lillian Hellman, and Ordinary People, a 1980 film about a family facing bereavement.
However, he will be equally remembered for his later work on Spider-Man.
Sargent wrote the screenplays for Spider-Man 2 in 2004 and Spider-Man 3 in 2007. He also did a rewrite for the 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born May 12, 1902 — Philip Wylie. If I trust Wikipedia, he inspired everyone from Lester Dent to the creator of Superman. No doubt he was a prolific pulp writer with quite a few of his novels adapted into films such as When Worlds Collide (co-written with George Balmer) by George Pal. This is the first I’ve heard of him, so I’m curious as to hear what y‘ all think of him. (Died 1971.)
- Born May 12, 1907 — Leslie Charteris. I really hadn’t thought of the Simon Templar aka The Saint series as being genre but both ISFDB and ESF list the series with the latter noting that “Several short stories featuring Templar are sf or fantasy, typically dealing with odd Inventions or Monsters (including the Loch Ness Monster and Caribbean Zombies.” (Died 1993.)
- Born May 12, 1928 –– Robert Coulson. Writer, well-known fan, filk songwriter and fanzine editor. He and his wife, writer and fellow filker Juanita Coulson, edited the fanzine Yandro which they produced on a mimeograph machine, and which was nominated for the Hugo Award ten years running right through 1968, and won in 1965. Yandro was particularly strong on reviewing other fanzines. Characters modelled on and named after him appear in two novels by Wilson Tucker, Resurrection Days and To the Tombaugh Station. (Died 1999.)
- Born May 12, 1937 — George Carlin. Rufus in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. He also showed up in Scary Movie 3 and Tarzan II. (Died 2008.)
- Born May 12, 1938 — David Pelham, 81. Artist and Art Director at Penguin Books from 1968 to 1979, who was responsible for some of the most recognizable cover art in genre books to date. He did the cog-eyed droog for Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange in 1972. There’s a great interview with him here.
- Born May 12, 1942 — Barry Longyear, 77. Best known for the Hugo- and Nebula Award–winning novella Enemy Mine, which became a film by that name as well. Gerrold would later novelize it. An expanded version of the original novella as well as two novels completing the trilogy, The Tomorrow Testament and The Last Enemy make up The Enemy Papers. I’m very fond of his Circus World series, less so of his Infinity Hold series.
- Born May 12, 1950 — Bruce Boxleitner, 69. His greatest genre role was obviously Captain John Sheridan on Babylon 5. (Yes, I loved the show.) Other genre appearances being Alan T. Bradley in Tron, Tron: Legacy, and voicing that character in the Tron: Uprising series. He has a recurring role on Supergirl as President Baker.
- Born May 12, 1968 — Catherine Tate, 51. Donna Noble, Companion to the Eleventh Doctor. She extended the role by doing the Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures on Big Finish. She also played Inquisitor Greyfax in Our Martyred Lady, aWarhammer 40,000 audio drama, something I did not know existed.
(11) FULL LID. Alasdair Stuart’s new issue of The Full Lid (May 10, 2019) includes “a look at the excellent movie version of The Wandering Earth, Jonathan Snipes of Clipping’s latest album and the 2000AD All-Ages Special. This week’s Hugo spotlight is Bogi Takács and there’s the usual collection of interesting/fun/gravity defying interstitials too.”
There’s a moment in The Wandering Earth where one character is using his back-mounted minigun to blast through layers of permafrost while the others are frantically trying to haul a fusion core up the elevator shaft of a frozen skyscraper so they can take it to one of the several thousand engines powering Earth through space and turn it back on. It comes after an earthquake which turns into a car chase which turns into a rescue mission and is, in any way you’d expect, third act action.
It arrives at the one hour mark.
Are you getting that I really liked this? Are you picking up what I’m putting down here? Because The Wandering Earth is really good….
(12) STREET LEGAL John King Tarpinian forwarded an “unexpurgated” copy of Bradbury’s Mars drivers license. (I guess we don’t have to keep his address private anymore.)
(13) ALSO SPRACH TOM HANKS. If we were really in space, we wouldn’t hear this preview of Studio 360’s segment about 2001, which might not be a bad thing…
Read the post here — “American Icons: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — Part One”
A half-century after it was released, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is still supplying light amid the darkness. It’s considered not just a great film but an important and influential work of modern art. An astonishing marriage of sound and image, man and machine, there’s nothing simple or obvious — nothing monolithic — about it.
With no help from cinematic CGI, its vision of the 21st century and beyond seems uncannily prescient and profound. Before we’d even landed on the moon, “2001” showed us how privately operated spacecraft would one day take us there.
(14) BEFORE DUNE. HorrorBabble presents an audio reading of a Frank Herbert story:
When Horror Meets Science Fiction: Volume II Episode 5: Old Rambling House “Old Rambling House” was written by American writer, Frank Herbert, and first published in 1958. The story tells of the Grahams – all they wanted was a home they could call their own … but what did the home want?
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Marcia Kelly Illingworth, Richard Howell, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, Alasdair Stuart, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge Andrew Porter, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton. (I think the title is longer than today’s Scroll.)]