(1) DOES SFF LACK IMAGINATION? Charles Stross, in “Do my Homework”, asks questions that speculative fiction writers aren’t speculating about, including futures without capitalism or the patriarchy and near-future novels about what the world will be like in 50 or 75 years. Stross’ second example is –
The social systems based on late-stage currently-existing capitalism are hideously broken, but almost all the SF I see takes some variation on the current system as a given: in the future, apparently people will have these things called “jobs” whereby an “employer” (typically a Very Slow AI controlled by a privileged caste of “executives”) acquires an exclusive right to their labour in return for vouchers which may be exchanged for food, clothing, and shinies (these vouchers are apparently called “money”). Seriously folks, can’t we imagine something better?
(2) RAMPING UP TO ST:D SEASON TWO. Starting next week — October 4 — on CBS All Access, Star Trek: Short Treks. Here’s the trailer for the first one, “Runaway”
STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS, four stand-alone short stories, will begin rolling out on Thursday, October 4, in anticipation of the early 2019 return of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. The first STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS is titled “Runaway” and stars Mary Wiseman as “Tilly.” Each short will run approximately 10-15 minutes and will be an opportunity for fans to dive deeper into key themes and characters that fit into the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and expanding “Star Trek” universe. Each of STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS four stories will center on a key character, including familiar faces from STAR TREK: DISCOVERY: Mary Wiseman (Tilly), Doug Jones (Saru) and Rainn Wilson (Harry Mudd), in a short he will also direct, as well as a new character unfamiliar to fans, Craft, played by Aldis Hodge.
(3) PRO 101. Mark Lawrence, in “Advances”, wrote an overview of author advances/signing bonuses/etc.
…So, what is an advance exactly?
Well, it’s kinda a cash bonus, and kinda not. For authors an advance is a de-risking device, and for publishers it’s a risk. For both of them it signals a commitment to the success of the book.
The advance is, in some senses, a gift. It cannot be taken away as long as the author delivers the book/s and they are accepted. If my next trilogy only sells three copies I will still keep the advance.
In another very real sense the advance is not a gift. If my next trilogy sells a hundred thousand copies I won’t see a penny as all of the income from royalties that would otherwise by paid to me will instead go to the publisher to pay back the advance. That process continues until the publisher is paid back. At that point the book is said to have “earned out”. After that point the royalties (typically ~5 to 15% of the cover price, depending on the format) will come to me.
So whether I have to sell 1 copy or 1 million copies before I see any more money depends on the size of the advance. With no advance I will earn from the first sale. With a million dollar advance I would have to sell many hundreds of thousands of books, maybe millions if most are cheap ebooks….
Lawrence’s post set off a lot of interesting discussion on Reddit.
(4) CHRIS GARCIA. There’s a new Drink Tank out, issue 404: “Heavy Metal & Horror!” Chris Garcia is excited —
It’s the first issue working with Doug Berry as co-editor! There’s writing from me, Doug, Kirsten Berry, Kyle Harding, Jean Martin, and a great cover by Espana Sheriff!
It’s up at eFanzines – Drink Tank 404 [PDF file].
Chris adds, “We’ve got our big Musicals issue deadline coming up to on October 8th!”
(5) SHRINK RAP. Today at Book View Café Laura Anne Gilman went off: “A Meerkat Rants: Eff you, I’m not neurotic”.
But it’s out there now, this “Oh, creative people, always needing validation” meme, as though the need for validation is somehow a special snowflake thing reserved for us. Like we spend every day of our lives whimpering because we din’t get enough love and attention when we were seven, or something.
Fuck you and the Freud you rode in on.
Here’s the thing, okay? And listen up, because next time I say it it’s going to be with sharp pointy knives….
(6) GOING UP. A Japanese mission will test a space elevator concept. BGR’s Mike Wehner explains: “Japan is about to launch a mini space elevator that could be a sign of things to come”.
We’re obviously not there yet, but Japan’s small-scale test is still vitally important. The test will be conducted using a small prototype that will travel between two small satellites. The satellites will be connected via a cable, and the satellites will provide the tension needed to keep the cable straight. The tiny elevator will then move back and forth along the cable, testing the feasibility of “elevator movement” in space conditions.
(7) KNIGHTCASTING. Yahoo! Entertainment finds Mark Hamill’s new role has some similarities to his Star Wars role: “From Jedi Master to Knight Templar: First Look at Mark Hamill in ‘Knightfall’ Season 2”.
Mark Hamill laid down his lightsaber last year and is now picking up a sword, as he joins Season 2 of History’s drama series “Knightfall.” And the first look image of Hamill in character reveals that he does, in fact, get to rock a beard for this project, too. And this one is even more badass than Luke Skywalker’s facial hair.
Hamill will play Talus, a battle-hardened Knight Templar veteran of the Crusades, who survived captivity for 10 years in the Holy Land and is tasked with training the new initiates to the Order.
“Knightfall” goes inside the medieval politics and warfare of the Knights Templar, the most powerful, wealthy and mysterious military order of the Middle Ages who were entrusted with protecting Christianity’s most precious relics.
(8) ALL POINTS BULLETIN. Don’t be taken in.
A scammer by the name of Audrie Stroud is claiming to be our 'Creative Editor' and contacting authors and artists in our name. We don't know this person and they don't represent us. More info: https://t.co/ugfpnrrkN4
— Escape Artists Inc. (@EAPodcasts) September 26, 2018
(9) BREYFOGLE OBIT. Batman artist Norm Breyfogle has passed away at the age of 58.
Batman artist Norm Breyfogle passed away. Norm's Batman was pure adrenalin rush. Everything was drawn to suit what Norm wanted to express, his exuberance on the page could not be pinned down by mundane mechanics and necessities.
He will be remembered. pic.twitter.com/PBi3iapBaO
— Patch Zircher (@PatrickZircher) September 26, 2018
RIP Norm Breyfogle. The definitive Batman artist for a generation – but of course, he did so much more than that. His mastery of line, flow, storytelling and emotion – both subtle and operatic – shone through in every panel. pic.twitter.com/s0r0QY7DDa
— Al Ewing Writes Comics And Tells You About Them (@Al_Ewing) September 26, 2018
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]
- Born September 27, 1933 – Roger C. Carmel, Actor who played the infamous Harry Mudd in two classic Star Trek episodes, as well as voicing characters in the Transformers movies, TV series, and videogames.
- Born September 27, 1934 – Greg Morris, Actor, known for a main role in the 1960s TV series Mission: Impossible, which he later reprised in the 1980s series remake, and for guest appearances in numerous episodes of genre shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, and The Twilight Zone.
- Born September 27, 1934 – Wilford Brimley, 84, Actor who has appeared in The Thing (the film adaptation of John W. Campbell, Jr.’s novella “Who Goes There?”), Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo finalist Cocoon, Cocoon: The Return, and the science fiction “classics” Ewoks: The Battle for Endor and Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.
- Born September 27, 1947 – Michael Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf, 71, Actor and Musician who has had frequent cameo roles in horror TV episodes and movies, including the unusual distinction of appearing on the menu in both the cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show and an episode of the HBO series Tales from the Crypt. He’s currently appearing in the series Ghost Wars.
- Born September 27, 1947 – Denis Lawson, 71, Actor and Director from Scotland, best known to genre fans for playing rebel pilot Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy and for being the uncle of young Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor.
- Born September 27, 1950 – Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, 68, Actor and Producer, a well-known character actor who has played roles in many genre series including The Man in the High Castle, Lost in Space, Star Wars: Rebels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Space Rangers, and Mortal Kombat, as well as voicing characters in numerous videogames.
- Born September 27, 1956 – Sheila Williams, 62, Editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine for the past thirteen years, following twelve years before that working under Isaac Asimov and Gardner Dozois at the magazine, which is a remarkable achievement. Editor, with Gardner Dozois, of the 17 “Isaac Asimov:” subject anthologies – think everything from werewolves to robots – collected from the magazine. Williams has been a finalist or winner of the Best Editor Hugo in numerous years, and this year was given the Kate Wilhem Solstice Award for significant impact on speculative fiction by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
- Born September 27, 1970 – Tamara Taylor, 48, Actor who appeared in the opening scene of the Firefly movie Serenity, currently has a role in the Altered Carbon series adapted from Richard K. Morgan’s books, and has played the voice of Wonder Woman in animated Justice League TV series and videogames.
- Born September 27, 1973 – Indira Varma, 45, Actor and Producer from England who played Ellaria Sand in Game of Thrones and was Captain Jack’s second in the TV series Torchwood, in addition to doing numerous voice acting roles for videogames including World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age.
Payment in thanks for not inflicting the trailer for Ewoks: The Battle for Endor on you today can be sent to JJ’s P.O. Box in Schenectady, NY.
(11) ANCIENT WORD BALLOONS. A Smithsonian post “Ancient Comics Line This Roman-Era Tomb in Jordan” shows that speech bubbles (more or less) are not a modern invention.
When people talk about old comics, strips like Little Orphan Annie or Nancy probably come to mind. But archaeologists in Jordan recently uncovered a truly old incarnation of the form. Painted on the walls inside a 2,000-year-old Roman-era tomb, Ariel David at Haaretz reports that there are nearly 260 figures featured in narrative scenes, with many speaking via comic-style speech bubbles.
The tomb was discovered during road construction in 2016 near the town of Bayt Ras, north of Irbid, Jordan….
(12) REVIEWING THE NEW DOCTOR. BBC collated the reviews: “Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who: What do the critics think?”
Jodie Whittaker’s first episode of Doctor Who has received broadly positive reviews from critics.
Her performance, those of her co-stars, and the production values of The Woman Who Fell To Earth came in for particular praise.
But some critics felt there was still room for improvement.
In his four-star review for The Sun, Rod McPhee said Whittaker “may be the breath of fresh air needed to revive a flagging franchise”.
“She doesn’t always strike the right balance between quirky geek and masterful Time Lord. And at times she comes across as irritatingly childlike.
“But the highest praise is that you quickly forget you’re watching a female Doctor and just accept you’re watching THE Doctor.”
(13) BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Lost, stolen, or strayed? “Philip Pullman loses His Dark Materials ballpoint pen”.
The Oxford-based writer has turned to Twitter in the hope that his pen case, a Montblanc ballpoint pen and a pencil can be tracked down.
“I’m particularly attached to the pen, because I wrote His Dark Materials with it,” he tweeted.
The author does not remember when he last had his lost materials.
(14) DARK PHOENIX TRAILER. The next X-Men movie, in theaters February 14, 2019.
In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite — not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.
(15) MEXICANX SAGA CONTINUES. Hector Gonzalez reaches the deadline – for the food he’s serving: “My Road to Worldcon 76. Part 6: My Love Language is Tacos”.
… John had planned something during the opening ceremony. All the Mexicanx recipients in attendance would be present for it. That caused some issues with my timing, specifically getting the food ready for the reception. “A couple of degrees more in the oven will be needed,” I mused….
(16) DEAD MEN DO TELL TALES. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett is people’s go-to consultant for more issues than you’d guess.
On a more supernatural note somebody who would prefer to remain anonymous asked me my opinion on the topic of vampiric tumescence. Surprisingly they didn’t seem to regret reading what I had to say. Hopefully none of you do either.
His answer appears in: “The Case of the Vampire Erect”.
…The initial question when framed as basically as possible is as follows. Are all vampires, some vampires, or indeed any vampires capable of achieving tumescence?…
(17) BLACK PANTHER’S QUEST. Thanks to SYFY Wire we know — “Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest – You can now watch the first episode online”.
A rogue splinter cell of Atlanteans attempt to take over the surface world in the first episode of Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest on Disney XD — and you can watch the entire episode now online.
(18) OUTRO. Kim Huett remembers: “Years ago SBS, an Australian TV channel used fr a while a very charming set of SF themed bumpers. I recently found a set of them on YouTube” —
[Thanks to Daniel Dern, JJ, Chip Hitchock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Dann, Carl Slaughter, Kim Huett, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]