(1) Henge proliferation. Now a huge ritual arena has been discovered near Stonehenge. You almost end up thinking Stonehenge, which used to seem quite big in itself, was nothing but the cherry on top….
Researchers find hidden remains of massive Neolithic stone monument, thought to have been hauled into position more than 4,500 years ago
The Stonehenge Hidden Landscape project has transformed how archaeologists view the ancient site, which sprawls over 4 sq miles of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The main monument stands at the heart of a landscape rich with burial grounds, pits and chapels. Last year, researchers found the remains of 17 new chapels and hundreds of other archaeological features scattered across the site.
Two huge pits have been discovered in a two mile-long monument called the Cursus that lies to the north of Stonehenge. The pits seem to form an astronomical arrangement: on midsummer’s day, the eastern pit’s alignment with the rising sun and the western pit’s alignment with the setting sun intersect where Stonehenge was built 400 years later.
The rise and fall of the newly discovered monument at Durrington Walls suggests that buildings were modified and recycled since the first stones were laid around 3100BC. A large timber building encased in chalk is thought to have been a house of the dead where defleshing was performed as a burial ritual.
(2) This unnaturally leads us to Dr. Faustus AU’s The Call of Cthulhu – for beginning readers at Deviant Art.
(3) I sure didn’t score very well on Revolvy’s The Batman 1960s TV Show quiz. Must have missed more episodes attending choir practice than I thought.
(4) You won’t need an alarm to wake up once you have the spider clock – you’ll be too scared to go to sleep.
In Arachnophobia, the clock has been reimagined as the body of a spider, its mechanical movement engineered to sit partially outside the body as the spider’s head, where it can be viewed and admired as it sits on a table, or mounted to a wall.
(5) Idaho Public Radio offers advice for writers from science fiction author David Levine.
David D. Levine is the author of the upcoming novel ‘Arabella of Mars’ (Tor 2016), as well over fifty science fiction and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo Award.
We spoke with Mr. Levine at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane this August, and asked him what advice he had for aspiring writers. “Persistence is the only thing you cannot do without,” he said.
(6) Galactic Journey’s idea is intriguing —
Imagine living through the post-Golden Age of science fiction and fantasy. What would it be like to experience this journey at the plodding, one day per day pace?
Though I’m a bit disappointed with its 1960 Worldcon report — [September 6, 1960] The 1960 WorldCon in Pittsburgh!
Of course, I wasn’t actually present at the con, it being held some 2500 miles away on the 17th floor of the Penn Sheraton in Pittsburgh. But I know people, and I have access to a million-dollar ‘fax machine. Thus, even though the custodial staff is just barely finishing its sweeping up after some 300 attendees had a roaring great time, I am already able to bring you this report:
The primary purpose for a convention is to allow fellow fen (plural of fan) to mingle. Gordon Dickson likens it to a Gentleman’s Club where adventurers can meet and compare notes before heading off back into the wild. Fred Pohl calls it a family gathering.
It looks like the demographics of fandom match that of publication: women are in the distinct minority, but they are present and often outsizedly significant.
Not sure what the point is of a report that doesn’t acknowledge the names of anybody but the pros (not even all of those pictured are named).
If somebody is writing a throwback account of everyday life in the genre, I’d expect to see more evidence of research from sources that aren’t available online. Harry Warner Jr., anyone?
(7) Brandon Kempner at Chaos Horizon has worked up a new estimate of the number of Sad and Rabid Puppies based on the 2015 nominating data released at Sasquan.
(8) Django Wexler has coded an E Pluribus Hugo simulator.
Important Caveat: I am not a voting theory expert! Smarter people than me have thought about this. However, I am a programmer of sorts, and interested in this stuff. So, I wrote up a thing that runs the EPH algorithm on test data. (I obviously don’t have access to actual Hugo data!) I thought other people might get something out of it, so I’m posting it here.
(9) I like Joe’s attitude.
To the dozens of folks I love but missed at DragonCon this year: it was totally on purpose, take offense please
— joe peacock (@joethepeacock) September 7, 2015
(10) Chuck Wendig has found the silver lining in all those one-star reviews people have dumped on his new novel Star Wars: Aftermath.
Others have suggested that there may be a campaign by some Legends fangroups to “raid” the book’s reviews to tank its ranking with these one-star reviews — an interesting tactic that does indeed tank its actual review score, but not its sales ranking given that Amazon algorithms are interested not in the quality of the reviews but rather the attention that the reviews and the book get. (Meaning, a passel of negative reviews actually elevates the book’s overall sales ranking. Which in turn garners it more sales. Amazon reps have been clear with me on this point: buyers buy books with reviews, period. Not good reviews, not bad reviews. But rather: quantity of reviews impress buyers to make purchases. So, leaving a ton of bad reviews actually increases the book’s sales. Ironic, and not likely what anyone supporting such a campaign intends.)
Ben Lindbergh at Grantland outlines the basic problem for Extended Universe fans:
It’s an apt title for a story at the intersection of two climactic events concerning the galaxy far, far away. The in-universe aftermath is the power struggle that succeeds the destruction of the Second Death Star and the loss of the Empire’s Sith-heavy C-Suite at the end of Return of the Jedi. But the book also arrives amid a meta-aftermath: the Alderaan-like extinction of the old Expanded Universe, which started as a supplement to the movies and soon outstripped them in scope, sprouting into a story-surrounding-the-story that spanned thousands of years and unfolded via hundreds of books, comics, and video games from 1976 until 2014, when Disney decided to clear the decks for future films by declaring all that came before non-canon.
(11) Police are circulating the photo of a person of interest in a sexual assault at Dragon Con this weekend.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution —
Atlanta police are asking for the public’s help identifying a man who may be connected to a sexual assault at the popular sci-fi convention Dragon Con.
Officer Kim Jones said the female victim was in town for the convention and was sexually assaulted early Sunday “by a white male wearing an FBI baseball cap.” The man reportedly introduced himself as “Gary from Marietta.”
Police also released a photo of the suspect. Further details about the incident were not immediately available.
Dragon Con draws tens of thousands of people to Downtown Atlanta each year, many in costumes and other paraphernalia celebrating comic books, movies and pop culture. This year’s festivities began Friday.
In an emailed statement, Dragon Con media relations director Don Carroll said it is the convention’s policy not to comment on “specific incidents.”
“Dragon Con is proud to offer a safe and inclusive convention for its members that is free of harassment or assault of any kind,” the statement said. “We work with the Atlanta Police Department all year to develop and install procedures to prevent issues such as these. If and when they occur (we) insure they are handled by the appropriate authorities. APD is on site throughout the convention.”
Anyone with information about the alleged assault or the person of interest is asked to contact Detective R.C. Sluss at 404-546-4260. Tipsters can also remain anonymous — and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000 — by contacting Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS and crimestoppersatlanta.org.
[Thanks to JJ, Andrew Porter, Eric Lindsay, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]