(1) STOP BREAKING THE RULES, DAMMIT. Thanks to Doctor Science, I discovered “Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules for Writing Novels” (at LitHub) and the mirth he’s inspired in many of our friends. (Links take you to the thread.)
Especially since there's that dig in there about money. First, writing for money is a FUCKING WIN shut up, and second, trying to disentangle ART from COMMERCE is a great way to encourage the starving artist myth, which is useful to content providers and dangerous for creators.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) November 15, 2018
3) Using the present tense is disrespectful to people who are actually living in the present, WHICH PROBABLY INCLUDES YOUR READERS. (At least, most of them. Some of your readers are in the future, and a few might somehow manage to be in the past.) Stick to the past conditional.
— Charlie Jane Anders, Our Opinions Are Correct (@charliejane) November 15, 2018
- Alexandra Erin re-upped her Franzen post from 2015, still apropos.
The first time I meet him, I’m in an almost-empty laundromat. It’s the height of the August heatwave. I’m folding my towels when he comes in. His hair is tousled. He wears a rumpled, button-up shirt with a ten-year-old blazer that was already ten years old when he bought it from a Salvation Army.
I know this, because he tells me it. I haven’t asked. He tells me he’ll forgive me for not having asked, this once….
3. If you aren't talking to your agent on a rotary telephone, they WILL NOT represent you
4. No shoe should ever touch your foot without a barrier. Socks and crocs are the professional writers' way
— Sarah Gailey (@gaileyfrey) November 15, 2018
And while we’re on the subject, writers can learn a lot from this – “Ask a Triceratops: Susan’s 10 Rules for Novelists” at Camestros Felapton. Here are the first two:
- Ensure your primary narrator is comfortable. Remember the novel is an aural medium and your narrator should have a comfy nest of uprooted plants to stand or lie down on.
- Pay attention to the little things: how did the t-rex get drunk? What kind of tree is she trying to climb?
(2) TRANSLATED LITERATURE. Europa SF brings word that the winner of The 2018 National Book Award for Translated Literature is of genre interest – the dystopian novel The Emissary by Yoko Tawada (Japan/Germany), Translated by Margaret Mitsutani. Europa SF has a long post about the award and the winning writer.
(3) WFC ACCOUNTABILITY. Silvia Moreno-Garcia takes the 2019 World Fantasy Convention committee to task:
So I’ve been wondering if I should say something here because I am busy and tired and I don’t need the attention, but I think I must: the WFC guest of honor lineup for 2019 is sad. The con takes place in Los Angeles but all the GOHs are white. The theme is Fantasy Noir.
Los Angeles has a huge Latinx population. But the one mention of diversity on the website right now is about “culinary diversity,” making me think POC are only good for making tacos.
On top of that there’s the odd choice of having Robert Silverberg, who was recently the cause of much Internet talk due to some of his comments related to Jemisin, as the toastmaster.
(4) FROM EXPERIENCE. Rachel Swirsky has written a “Q&A on Being a Jewish & Disabled Author”.
…I think my interest in Jewish science fiction stems from my interest in Jewishness itself, which is probably related to my self-identification as Jewish. I’m not sure why I have a strong identification with Judaism — I didn’t have to. As the granddaughter of a secular Jew who tried to cut all connections, I could have just put it aside; my brothers have. Our father is from WASPy blood with deep roots in American history–we’re descended from one of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence–and I could have chosen to identify with that to the exclusion of my Jewish ancestry.
What are you writing about now?
I’m writing a lot about disability. As a disabled person, there’s a lot of rich material to mine–and I still have a lot of unreconciled thoughts about disability, and things I’m figuring out. I think a lot of good writing is produced when the author is still on the edge of revelations, instead of settled.
(5) AMC OPTIONS SF. Good news for Annalee Newitz.
At last it can be told! AMC has optioned my novel AUTONOMOUS for TV, plus they bought a pilot script from the incredible, brilliant showrunner @absegel and me. I am stunned and ecstatic and zooming around!!! pic.twitter.com/9MWafUHBr7
— Annalee Newitz (@Annaleen) November 15, 2018
(6) WHO SWITCHES HOLIDAYS. It takes a Time Lord to fix a problem like this – or to cause it in the first place. BBC announces “Doctor Who to skip Christmas Day for first time in 13 years”.
The festive edition of Doctor Who will be shown on New Year’s Day on BBC One instead of Christmas Day for the first time since the drama’s return in 2005.
It will be the first Doctor Who episode to debut on 1 January since the second part of David Tennant’s series exit aired on the first day of 2010.
(7) HAVE AN APPLE? Mythic Delirium has revealed Ruth Sanderson’s cover for Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss.
In these eight stories and twenty-three poems, Goss retells and recasts fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Oscar Wilde. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, always lyrical, the works gathered in Snow White Learns Witchcraft re-center and empower the women at the heart of these timeless narratives.
They also made sure we didn’t miss this —
Just yesterday, Variety broke the news that the CW is developing The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter for television. We want to sincerely congratulation Dora and wish her luck that this project comes to full fruition. Needless to say, we’re thrilled to be releasing her next book into the publishing wilds.
(8) FANZINES OF 1943. Dublin 2019 has announced that they will present Retro Hugos for works published in 1943. In order to provide material for those that would like to nominate fan materials for the awards, Fanac.org has assembled the list of fanzines published in 1943, with links to those available on line. Several hundred fanzines are already available, and they plan to add more as they become available, so keep checking back — http://fanac.org/fanzines/Retro_Hugos1943.html
(9) VALE, STAN. Stan Lee’s Twitter account (“The Real Stan Lee”) tweeted out a final statement from Lee as a short video.
So many wonderful moments with Stan came spontaneously. As we were setting up the camera one day, he casually started talking about his fans. We know how much Stan meant to you, and we thought it would be nice for you to hear how much your support meant to him. pic.twitter.com/WTX8U1afLm
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) November 14, 2018
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]
- Born November 15, 1877 – William Hope Hodgson, Writer from England whose best known character by far is Thomas Carnacki, featured in several of his most famous stories, and at least partly based upon Algernon Blackwood’s occult detective John Silence. Two of his later novels, The House on the Borderland and The Night Land would be lavishly praised by H.P. Lovecraft. It is said that his horror writing influenced many later writers such as China Miéville, Tim Lebbon, and Greg Bear, but I cannot find a definitive source for that claim. (Died 1918.)
- Born November 15, 1929 – Ed Asner, 89, Actor and Producer whose genre work includes playing Santa Claus to Will Farrell’s Elf, and roles on episodes of TV shows spanning decades: The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Invaders, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Tall Tales & Legends,The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, The Wild Wild West, Hercules, The X-Files, The Dead Zone, Spider-Man, and the upcoming Dead to Me. He has lent his distinctive voice to the main character in the Oscar-winning and Hugo-nominated Pixar movie Up, as well as with a long list of other animated features, series, and videogames, most notably in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Gargoyles, and as Jacob Marley in The Christmas Carol.
- Born November 15, 1939 – Yaphet Kotto, 79, Actor, Writer, and Director who’s known mainly for playing gruff law enforcement officers, but whose short genre film resume nevertheless packs a punch. Assuming we count the Bond films as genre – and I do – his first genre performance was as Dr. Kananga aka Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, and roles in Dan O’Bannon’s Alien, Stephen King’s The Running Man, Robert A. Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters, and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, as well as guest parts in Night Gallery and seaQuestDSV.
- Born November 15, 1951 – Beverly D’Angelo, 67, Actor and Singer whose genre roles include appearing in The Sentinel, High Spirits, and episodes of TV series such as Tales from the Crypt and Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre and Tall Tales & Legends. She was also a primary cast member in The Man Who Fell to Earth, a 1987 pilot for a series that never got picked up for continuation, which was based on Walter Tevis’s 1963 novel and Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 film.
- Born November 15, 1972 – Jonny Lee Miller, 46, Actor and Director from England who has been playing Sherlock Holmes in the Elementary series for the last seven years, but his first genre role was as a 9-year-old in an episode with Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor Who. While he’s had a fairly steady stage, film, and TV career across the pond since then, it’s only in the last decade that he’s become well-known in the States – unless, like JJ, you remember that 23 years ago he appeared in a shoddy technothriller called Hackers, with another unknown young actor named Angelina Jolie (to whom he ended up married, until they separated 18 months later). Other genre appearances include a trio of vampire films, Dracula 2000, Dark Shadows, and Byzantium, the live-action Æon Flux movie, and the lead in the pseudo-fantasy TV series Eli Stone.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Rhymes with Orange has a monstrous idea about room service.
(12) WHITE WOLF ANSWERS. In Item #2 of the Pixel Scroll for November 8, Joseph D. Carriker identified a big problem with the next Camarilla book for Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition. The next day, publisher White Wolf replied:
White Wolf Community – We realize the way we have portrayed various topics in the recent Camarilla and Anarch setting books can be viewed as crude and insensitive. We appreciate this feedback and we are actively examining our choices in these books. Earlier this year, we made a pledge to you to meet certain standards and be more direct with the community regarding the World of Darkness and our games. That’s a pledge we failed to uphold, and we are deeply sorry.
White Wolf is currently undergoing some significant transitions, up to and including a change in leadership. The team needs a short time to understand what this means, so we ask for your patience as we figure out our next steps.
We thank you for your support, and for calling us out when it’s needed. Your thoughts and opinions are essential to the improvement of White Wolf.
(13) NOVEMBER BOOKS. Raise Mt. Tsundoku high! Andrew Liptak recommends “11 new sci-fi and fantasy books to check out in late November” at The Verge.
I wonder if my daughter will want to read this one –
Firefly: Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove and Nancy Holder
Earlier this year, Titan Books announced that it was releasing a trilogy of Firefly novels, expanding the world of Joss Whedon’s short-lived TV show. With Whedon on board as a consulting editor, the first novel follows the crew of the Serenity as they’re hired to transport a cargo of explosives to a buyer. Things go sideways the Alliance takes an interest in the cargo and as a band of rebel Browncoat veterans begin to cause trouble. In the midst of it all, Captain Malcolm Reynolds goes missing, and his first mate, Zoë, has to make a choice between finding him and saving her crew.
And for the rest of you, there’s –
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin recently won her third consecutive Hugo Award for The Stone Sky, the concluding volume of her phenomenal Broken Earth trilogy. She has another book in the works right now, but her next will be her first collection of short fiction, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? The book features 22 of her fantastic, shorter works. Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review and said that the stories “demonstrate both the growth and active flourishing of one of speculative fiction’s most thoughtful and exciting writers.”
(14) SECOND OPINION. Answering Collins Dictionary’s choice of “single-use” (Pixeled recently), “’Toxic’ Is Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of 2018”.
(15) WHERE HE’S LEAST EXPECTED. BBC tells how “Lost Disney ‘Oswald’ film found in Japan”.
An anime historian had the cartoon for 70 years before he realised it was one of seven lost films.
The two-minute short features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a precursor to Mickey Mouse.
Yasushi Watanabe, 84, bought the film from a toy wholesaler in Osaka when he was a teenager, paying only ¥500 (£3.45 at current exchange rates).
Originally called Neck & Neck, the 16mm cartoon was tagged with the name Mickey Manga Spide (Mickey Cartoon Speedy), and remained in Mr Watanabe’s personal collection for 70 years.
(16) DUMBO. Here’s a recommendation for you – io9’s Beth Elderkin promises “The New Trailer for Disney’s Live-Action Dumbo Will Pretty Much Rip Your Heart to Shreds”. Not to mention, you’ll believe an elephant can fly…
(17) WORLDBUILDING. In this case, literally. Nature shares “A key piece in the exoplanet puzzle”.
The detection of a low-mass exoplanet on a relatively wide orbit has implications for models of planetary formation and evolution, and could open the door to a new era of exoplanet characterization.
The orbital distance of the reported planet is similar to that of Mercury from the Sun (Fig.). This places the planet close to the snow line of Barnard’s star — the region out from the star beyond which volatile elements can condense. The snow line is a key region of planetary systems. In particular, there are indications that the building blocks of planets are formed there.
(18) MORE ABOUT THAT EXOPLANET. Mike Kennedy notes, “The planet is, alas, probably outside the zone where liquid water could be expected to exist. Wikipedia has a partial list of stories taking place at or near Barnard’s Star. The earliest they note is Jack Williamson’s The Legion of Space.”
[…] Barnard’s star is a small red dwarf that’s older than the sun and about a sixth its size. It’s invisible without a decent telescope—the close star wasn’t even discovered until 1916.
Still, Barnard’s Star has long been buttoned into the lore of science fiction, inspiring astronomers to propose the presence of orbiting worlds as far back as the 1960s, and prompting fiction authors to weave tales of adventure around the hidden pinprick of light.
[…] “We’re 99-percent sure this is a planetary signal—but 99 is not 100,” he says. “What if the Barnard Star planet is not really there? It will be shot many, many times and people will try to kill it, but that’s how science works.”
(19) ONE PAGE SF. Jonathan Cowie announces SF2 Concatenation just posted its penultimate Best of Nature ‘Futures’ 1-page SF story of year.
Just up, the penultimate this year of our Best-of-Nature 'Futures' 1-page PDF stories
— SF2 Concatenation (@SF2Concat) November 15, 2018
(20) ORIGIN STORY. The Verge tells us that “YouTube’s tech-noir series Origin is Lost… in space (With a hefty dose of Alien and Dead Space on the side)”. The YouTube Originals show is on YouTube Premium, which is available in about 30 countries.
A man wakes up abruptly, gasping in shock. He’s alone in an unexpected place. Something has clearly gone wrong with the trip he was on, but he won’t know just how wrong until he finds his fellow passengers. They’ll have to work together to manage their basic needs and unravel the mystery of why they didn’t arrive safely at their destination. But can they trust each other, given their various unsavory backgrounds, which will largely be revealed by a series of flashbacks? On Lost, this man’s name is Jack Shephard. But in YouTube Premium’s new space series Origin, it’s Shun Kenzaki (Sen Mitsuji).
In Origin, the passengers wake up from stasis, en route to the distant planet Thea. They were supposed to reach the planet before being revived, but they’re still on board their transport ship, Origin. The Siren Corporation, which put them on the ship, offers its colonists a clean slate. Signing on for a colony means having all records of their history on Earth sealed — which gives the writers a perfect excuse to create crew members with particularly colorful pasts. “We’re five light-years from Earth. Who’s going to stop us?” one Siren spokesperson says in a promotional VR experience, channeling the sort of corporate hubris that always goes so well in science fiction stories.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, Rachel Swirsky, Mike Allen, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]