(1) #MAPPINGFANTASY. Alex Acks and Paul Weimer taught their “Mapping Fantasy” online class today. Cat Rambo tweeted the highlights – jump onto the thread here:
— ?RainbowRiotRambo? (@Catrambo) December 16, 2017
(2) PURINA ALIEN CHOW. Food & Wine investigates “How Hollywood’s Sci-Fi Food Stylists Create Futuristic Meals”.
For Janice Poon, one of TV’s most popular food stylists and a frequent collaborator with Bryan Fuller (American Gods, Hannibal, Pushing Daisies), food styling for the future is as much about taking cues from the script or the world around you as it is about pushing your imaginary limits—within production capability, of course.
Poon refers to the script, pulling the tone and character motivations from a food scene, before brainstorming alongside her showrunner (and sometimes even a cinematographer) on how a spread will look. However, Poon says that “because it is sci-fi, you can do just about anything really.” To do just about anything, Poon uses conventional tools like wet wipes and syringes, but also “an ability to problem solve” and a four and a half inch white ceramic santoku knife that enables Poon to work in the darkness of a set
(3) STRAHAN CALLING. Even as Jonathan Strahan’s 2017 best of the year collection is being readied for publication, he’s looking ahead to 2018 — Call for stories: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 13.
I edit The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year anthology series for Solaris Books. The twelfth volume in the series will be published in April 2018, and the thirteenth volume will appear in March 2019.
I am currently reading for the 2018 volume, and am looking for stories from all branches of science fiction and fantasy: space opera to cyberpunk, fairy tales to the slipstream, or anything else that might qualify. If in doubt, please send it.
This is a reprint anthology. Stories must have been published for the first time between 1 January and 31 December 2018 to be considered.
The submission deadline for this year’s book is:
1 November 2018
Anything sent after this deadline will reach me too late, as I deliver the final book to the publisher in late December. If a magazine, anthology, or collection you are in or you edit is coming out before 31 December 2018 please send galleys or manuscripts so that I can consider the stories in time.
(4) GALACTIC STARS. Meanwhile, The Traveler recognizes the best sff of 1962 in See the Stars at Galactic Journey.
The Ballad of Lost C’Mell, Cordwainer Smith (Galaxy)
The second time an Instrumentality tale has gotten a Star… and this one is better.
(5) CENTENARY PROJECT. The Clarke Award’s’ Kickstarter to fund “2001: An Odyssey in Words” has started. In this original anthology honoring Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s centenary year every story is precisely two thousand and one words long.
The Arthur C. Clarke Award is famous for its annual redefinition of that elusive term ‘science fiction,’ and Sir Arthur was always adamant that while the award may be named for him, it shouldn’t be styled on his work.
We wanted to make sure that the scope of the anthology was as broad as the fluid definition of science fiction for which the Clarke Award is renowned, while still retaining a direct acknowledgement of Sir Arthur’s own work.
The solution? A collection where every story has all the scope and freedom to imagine that an author might possibly want, but where the word count had to be precisely 2001 words (and we had rules about authors playing clever games with super-long story titles, just to make sure).
(5) CLARKE CENTENARY IN SOCIAL MEDIA. Here are tweets from some of the groups celebrating the day.
"All these worlds are yours…" -Arthur C. Clarke, "2010: Odyssey Two"
Exoplanets transform our view of the galaxy — and ourselves. Tour the weird and wonderful worlds scattered across our galaxy with a special Alien vs. Editor guide: https://t.co/uYzIFrUJQp#ArthurCClarke100 pic.twitter.com/BdezGySEX5
— NASA Planetquest (@PlanetQuest) December 16, 2017
100 years after his birth, Arthur C. Clarke remains one of the masters of science fiction. @arrroberts at @guardian takes a look at the best of his work: 'He has a fair claim to have produced the best short story, novel and screenplay in 20th-century SF.' https://t.co/GBMRMeUeOG
— The Folio Society (@foliosociety) December 16, 2017
"I'm sure the Universe is full of intelligent life. It's just been too intelligent to come here." – Arthur C. Clarke pic.twitter.com/OXwHFck1Ef
— Marcus Chown (@marcuschown) December 13, 2017
This is how Arthur C. Clarke–born 100 years ago today–sometimes responded to long letters from "crackpots." pic.twitter.com/yzNP3DIrOm
— Letters of Note (@LettersOfNote) December 16, 2017
- And I applaud Gideon Marcus for staying in character –
— Galactic Journey (@journeygalactic) December 16, 2017
(6) RIVALRY. From 2015, Adam Rowe at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog fondly remembers “The Decades-Long Flame War Between Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov”.
While introducing his Asimov at an event in London, Clarke had plenty of time to prepare his choicest insults.
“Well, Isaac, I’ve lost my bet. There are more than five people here,” he opened. “I’m not going to waste any time introducing Isaac Asimov. That would be as pointless as introducing the equator, which indeed, he’s coming to resemble more and more closely.”
(7) SUPERBOOTS ON THE GROUND. Andrew Liptak combed through all sci-fi media and came up with a list of “18 suits of power armor from science fiction you don’t want to meet on the battlefield” in The Verge. Here’s one of them:
Goliath Mk ? Powersuit, James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse
In The Expanse, Mars possesses the most advanced military force in the solar system, and its elite Marines are trained to operate in deep space, onboard spaceships, and planetary surfaces. They come decked out in a powerful suit of armor called the Goliath Powersuit. This armor completely protects its wearer, providing life support and armor, as well as a heads up display to help soldiers with targeting. They also come equipped with guns mounted directly into their arms, and carry a small rack of missiles on their backs.
These suits will resist small arms fire, and are small enough that they can be used inside the narrow corridors of a spaceship. But they’re not invincible, as Bobbie Draper’s Marines discovered on Ganymede during the television show’s second season.
(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA
Lillian Disney (wife of Walt) came up with the name Mickey Mouse.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
- December 16, 1901 — Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published
- December 16, 1981 — Beach Babes from Beyond premiered.
- December 16, 2016 — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
- Born December 16, 1775 — Jane Austen
- Born December 16, 1917 — Arthur C. Clarke
- Born December 16, 1927 — Randall Garrett
- Born December 16, 1927 — Peter Dickinson
- Born December 16, 1928 — Philip K. Dick
- Born December 16, 1957 — Lenore Jean Jones
- Born December 16, 1981 — Krysten Ritter (aka Jessica Jones)
(11) SWORD OF LIGHT. In honor of the release of The Last Jedi, Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett sent along this quote from Kaldar, World of Antares written by Edmond Hamilton and originally published in 1933:
With the tunic went a belt in which were a sword and a tube such as he had noticed. Merrick examined these weapons of the Corlans carefully. The sword seemed at first glance a simple long rapier of metal. But he found that when his grip tightened on the hilt it pressed a catch which released a terrific force stored in the hilt into the blade, making it shine with light. When anything was touched by this shining blade, he found, the force of the blade annihilated it instantly. He learned that the weapon was called a light-sword, due to the shining of the blade when charged, and saw that it was truly a deadly weapon, its touch alone meaning annihilation to any living thing.
(12) BELIEVE IT OR NOT. The price is unbelievable! “Check out an original ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber valued at $450,000”.
Starting Saturday, and just in time for the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” visitors to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Hollywood, California, will be able to see the iconic prop in person.
Ripley’s purchased the saber hilt for a whopping $450,000 at an auction last June held by Profiles in History. The auction house specializes in Hollywood memorabilia and acquired the prop from the collection of Gary Kurtz, a producer on “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” It’s the first time the prop has been put on public display.
(13) LYRICAL MIRACLE. This thread started in 2013 but gets rediscovered every time a new Star Wars movie comes out – begins here:
I heard there was a laser sword / That Jedi wield when they use the force / But you don't really care for Lucas do you?
— Daniel Kibblesmith ?????? (@kibblesmith) February 25, 2013
(14) HURLEY. BEWARE SPOILERS in Kameron Hurley’s review “The Last Jedi: Promises, Pitfalls, and What Sticks With You”. (No spoilers in this excerpt.)
I came out of watching The Last Jedi, and was like, “Well, that was good, but I’m not blown away.” It had a lot of threads; it felt like three movies in one, and cramming all that story into one movie made it feel a little bloated. The story beats weren’t that clockwork structure that The Force Awakens and the original trilogy stuck to. There were a couple of massive emotional moments that needed to be paid off more than we got.
And yet this morning I find that I can’t stop thinking about it. Stories are, at their heart, about characters. If I’m invested in the characters and their struggles, you can fall down on plot and no one cares….
(15) I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS A SPOILER. If it is, don’t read it.
Well, she's 6'6". They're about a foot tall. So that's 4 in each leg, three in each arm, 2 for buttocks, 4 in the chest, 1 in the head. Phasma is 21 porgs. https://t.co/kHIEUPZnoG
— Delilah S. Dawson (@DelilahSDawson) December 16, 2017
(16) MODERATE PRAISE. The Hugo Award Book Club concluded “The Stone Sky is the echo of a great book”, but they’d still like to give it an award:
The first book in the series, The Fifth Season, was innovative and unique. It offered a refreshing take on science fiction and fantasy that unquestionably deserved the Hugo Award. But The Stone Sky does not stand on its own. It is good, but mostly because it is an echo of a truly great book.
It might be more appropriate to honour N.K. Jemisin with a Best Series Hugo this year, rather than another Best Novel, because that would recognize how The Stone Sky works as part of a larger whole.
(17) SUMMATION. John Crowley’s Ka is a book-length historical fantasy about a crow. The author has been profiled by an area paper: “Conway author’s handwritten ode to birdwatching”.
The book was written while “looking out at Baptist Hill and watching people mow their lawns, and watching crows fly around.” Crowley explained in a recent interview about what went into the makings of “Ka” and how his living in Conway for nearly the last 35 years influenced his work.
The narrator of the novel, “feels like he is living in a country different from where he grew up,” after moving back home, he explained.
Crowley himself grew up in Brattleboro, Vt., moved to Indiana for college, and then New York City for some professional years, where he wrote his critically acclaimed, “Little, Big.” He eventually returned to New England.
Crowley said the narrator of the novel “says to himself that he is surprised by seeing kinds of birds that he doesn’t remember seeing when he was a child … the Canada geese use to fly overhead and still do, but they’re not going south anymore.”
Things like climate change, but also other elements that just sometimes change with generations, have thrown off this narrator.
“Things like that have changed his feelings about the world and saddened him … If I’m going to leave the world, it’s not the world I began in,” Crowley said about the protagonist.
(18) UNIDENTIFIED FLYING TRAILER. Avengers: Infinity War Reality Stone Trailer (2018). Is this a fan trailer or official?
[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]