Kendall volunteered to kick off a series inspired by the latest worldwide fashion statement.
I’m too shy to take my own photo and I don’t promise I’m reading all of these right now, but here is a photo for the new feature.
Cry Fox (“Rivers of London” graphic novel), Zero at the Bone written by Jane Seville and art by Son Gaepi (manga adaptation of the novel), No Way by S.J. Morden, The Girl With No Face by M.H. Boroson, Before Mars by Emma Newman, and Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James.
If you want to see this series continue, send photos of your mask and social distancing reads to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com
Marlon James won the new Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, and Walter Mosley was honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement when the 40th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded today on The Times’ Books Twitter feed.
Following each prize announcement, a video of the winner’s speech was shared on Twitter, with all videos now compiled on The Times’ YouTube page.
The Book Prizes recognized outstanding literary works in 12 categories.
2019 Book Prizes Winners
Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift: A Novel, Hogarth
George Packer, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, Knopf
Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose
Emily Bernard, Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine, Knopf
Emily Bazelon, Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, Random House
Ben Lerner, The Topeka School: A Novel, Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Eleanor Davis, The Hard Tomorrow, Drawn & Quarterly
Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, Yale University Press
Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction
Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy Book 1), Riverhead
Science & Technology
Maria Popova, Figuring, Knopf
Young Adult Literature
Malla Nunn, When the Ground is Hard, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Bradbury Prize winner Marlon James said in his acceptance remarks:
Well, you know, there is something kind of ironic about winning an award in tribute to the creator of the original American dystopia when we are in a kind of dystopia. You know, I I think kind of it makes me think even more about Ray Bradbury and more about how we look at his dystopia as a possible future not realizing in a way it has happened. You know, we’re not burning books but we’re burning intelligence, we are burning expertise, we are burning the simple privilege of knowing, and we’re seeing the consequences of that. But let’s not deal too much with the bad because this is a great occasion and I’m so incredibly honored and so incredibly humbled by winning this the inaugural Ray Bradbury prize for science fiction fantasy and speculative fiction…
Walter Mosley’s acceptance video:
The complete list of 2019 Book Prizes finalists and previous winners is available at latimes.com/BookPrizes, as is eligibility and judging information
The Book Prizes awards ceremony usually takes place at the LA Times Festival of Books in the spring, but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, and rescheduled to October 3-4 at USC.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Michael Toman for the story.]
The finalsts for the 32nd Annual Lambda
Literary Awards were announced March 10. The finalists were selected by a panel
of over 60 literary professionals from more than 1,000 book submissions from
over 300 publishers.
The winners will be announced June 8 in New York City
(1) WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE THINK OF MACLEAN. James Davis Nicoll’s
Young People Read Old SFF returns with the panel’s responses to “Unhuman
Sacrifice” by Katherine MacLean. Mikayla and the other young hands weigh
Katherine MacLean (1925 – 2019) was active as a short story writer mainly in the 1950s (although pieces appeared as late as 1997) and as a novelist mainly in the 1970s. Her Second Game saw her a Hugo finalist in 1959; Missing Man won a Nebula in 1972. Rediscovery offers MacLean’s “Unhuman Sacrifice”, an uplifting tale of a human missionary convinced he knows best for a community of just-contacted aliens. No doubt it can only end well.
The plan for this phase of Young People was to shift to a conversation-based format, using Slack to facilitate discussion. I then sabotaged this by getting sick the week the reviews came in. Ah, well. Next time it will all work swimmingly.
(2) MANY CHEFS. Daniel Brotzel’s SFWA Blog post “Collaboration” includes
this advice for making it work:
…Writing a book with someone else can be a nightmare or it can be pure pleasure. In our case, lots of things fell into place almost by accident, things which I can now see are essential to making a collaboration work. These include:
• a shared passion for the project and the idea • mutual respect for each other’s writing and ideas • a practical way of working that can accommodate everyone’s schedules and constraints • a willingness to set egos aside and make compromises for the good of the project (and the ultimate benefit of the reader) • an attitude that embraces sharing and the ambition to see things through • a good blend of the skills and capabilities that you to get a book off the ground – and beyond
Almost a full year ago we found out that the Animaniacs will be revived on Hulu with Steven Spielberg executive producing. And that was pretty exciting. But the larger question hung in the air: What about the original cast?
Well you can breath easy: They’re all back. Yes, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille, and Maurice LaMarche are all returning to the fold. Or the water tower, I guess. It’s a massive relief. It’s not that animated characters can’t be recast, it’s just that these specific actors are, frankly, a pure distillation of so many childhoods that it would be a shame if they weren’t all returning to Animaniacs. Hooray! Everyone likes good news!
…Book clubs also keep loyal readers inspired, including a Book of the Month subscription that includes a signed first edition of the shop’s choosing and an unclassifiable club that includes books that do not fall into the traditional mystery genre. For example, Rob Hart’s “The Warehouse,” which takes place in a near-future dystopian world where a company has become a totalitarian force, would not traditionally be shelved in a bookstore’s mystery section, but has been extremely popular in The Mysterious Bookshop.
Speaking of corporate monopolies, Penzler isn’t fearful of big box competitors.
“We can compete with Amazon because they don’t offer signed books,” he says. “I shouldn’t say that so loudly because they’ll probably do it, but every mystery writer comes to sign at our store. Half of books sold are signed and we don’t charge more for them!”
Long before digital imaging, German philosopher Walter Benjamin opined that reproductions of artworks lacked the “aura” of the original. But what about reproductions of people? To judge by Will Smith’s double act in Gemini Man, the forerunner can be just as lacking as the copy.
Conceived more than 20 years ago as a Tony Scott-directed action flick, Gemini Man eventually fell to Ang Lee, who has recently shown more interest in cinematic technology than storytelling. Once a versatile stylist, the Taiwan-born director of The Life of Pi now seems consumed by advances in CGI. His latest trick, casting Will Smith against a digitally backdated version of himself, can’t save this movie from being bland, sluggish, and sentimental.
…There’s something else that Gemini Man shares with The Da Vinci Code: clunky dialogue. Credited to three writers but reportedly the work of many more, the movie’s script offers a preposterous scenario that might have been finessed by visual and verbal wit. It has little of either….
I was wary approaching Gemini Man, which I saw at 120 frames per second (about four times normal film speed) in 3-D. I got a headache the last time I watched a high-frame-rate feature but I came away from this film a believer. Director Ang Lee is trailblazing new territory, as he did in Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk, but this time he has a highly enjoyable, action-packed story and a perfect star in Will Smith. The entertainment value is high and cutting-edge technology organically suits the content….
This week’s Full Lid soars above London with the parkour and violence enthusiasts of the Assassins Creed Symphony! Then I’m off to Sheffield to discover my new favorite poem at an event that celebrates science and art and where they mix. This piece genuinely left me speechless and I’ve been riding an endorphin wave from being able to see it all week.
Finally, I take a look at Swedish SF movie Aniara, adapting the epic poem and Horror Christmas reaches The Silence of the Lambs. If you like what you read, please share and subscribe and I’ll see you next week. Happy Friday, everyone!
RUSHDIE: Intimate, but you know, [English is] not my mother tongue. That’s to say. I grew up in a kind of environment in India where everybody’s kind of multilingual because you have to be. But basically the language we spoke at home was mostly not English, mostly Urdu. But I went to what they call an English medium school. So when I went to school, I was being taught in English. So I grew up more or less bilingual. One of the reasons that I never make a spelling mistake is because I had to learn the language. People who just have the language very often can’t spell.
JAMES: Yes, when you said that, I heard my high school teacher in the back of my head going “dot your i’s, cross your t’s, and leave a full stop by the end of every single sentence.”
RUSHDIE: Yes, exactly. We got taught that shit.
JAMES: Yes, but I remember for a long time my biggest struggle with writing in English is, I would put something down, or I’ll speak, and it took me a while to realize I sounded like the butler.
RUSHDIE: Like a butler?
JAMES: Yeah. Like it was a very colonial English.
RUSHDIE: Like Jeeves.
RUSHDIE: I can’t imagine you writing, the books you’ve written, as if you were Jeeves.
JAMES: I’m telling you, I used to use shit like “betwixt.”
(9) LEONOV OBIT. Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first to walk
in space, died
at the age of 85 on October 11. CollectSpace paid tribute:
…Selected alongside Yuri Gagarin among the first 20 Soviet Air Force pilots to train as cosmonauts in 1960, Leonov flew twice into space, logging a total of 7 days and 32 minutes off the planet.
Launched on Voskhod 2, the world’s 17th human spaceflight, on March 18, 1965, Leonov made history as the first person to exit his spacecraft for an extravehicular activity (EVA).
“The Earth is round!” he exclaimed, as he caught his first view of the world. “Stars were to my left, right, above and below me. The light of the sun was very intense and I felt its warmth on the part of my face that was not protected by a filter,” said Leonov in a 2015 interview with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) on the 50th anniversary of his spacewalk.
…What Mr. Leonov did not reveal until many years later was that he and his fellow cosmonaut, Pavel I. Belyayev, who was also an Air Force pilot, were fortunate to have survived.
Mr. Leonov’s specially designed suit had unexpectedly inflated during his walk, and its bulk was preventing him from getting back inside the Voskhod.
“I knew I could not afford to panic, but time was running out,” he recalled in the book “Two Sides of the Moon” (2004), written with the astronaut David Scott, about their experiences in space.
Mr. Leonov slowly deflated the suit by releasing oxygen from it, a procedure that threatened to leave him without life support. But with the reduced bulk, he finally made it inside.
“I was drenched with sweat, my heart racing,” he remembered.
But that, he added “was just the start of dire emergencies which almost cost us our lives.”
The oxygen pressure in the spacecraft rose to a dangerous level, introducing the prospect that a spark in the electrical system could set off a disastrous explosion or fire.
It returned to a tolerable level, but the cosmonauts never figured out the reason for the surge.
When it came time for the return to Earth, the spacecraft’s automatic rocket-firing system did not work, forcing the cosmonauts to conduct imprecise manual maneuvers during the descent that left them in deep snow and freezing temperatures in a remote Russian forest, far from their intended landing point.
SFWA member John A. Pitts died on October 3 from amyoidosis. Pitts began publishing short fiction in 2006 with “There Once Was a Girl from Nantucket (A Fortean Love Story),” co-written with Ken Scholes. He went on to write several short stories on his own and in 2010 began publishing novels under the name J.A. Pitts with Black Blade Blues, the first novel in his series about Sarah Beauhall.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY.
October 11, 1957 — The Black Scorpion debuted. Starring Richard Denning, Mara Corday and Carlos Rivas, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 33% rating. Mystery Science Theater 3000, well, see for yourself here what they thought of it.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
October 11, 1921 — Linda Stirling. Sheila Layton in the 1945 The Purple Monster Strikes serial, also known as D Day on Mars. The sequel to this serial was the 1950 Flying Disc Man from Mars, which simply recycled much of the footage from the original. (Died 1997.)
October 11, 1940 — Caroline John. Liz Shaw, companion to the Third Doctor. Shaw was a brilliant scientist, unusual for a companion. She returned for The Five Doctors. And she would reprise her character in the Big Finish audio works. Later she played the role of Laura Lyons in the BBC adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, opposite Tom Baker as Holmes. (Died 2012.)
October 11, 1960 — Nicola Bryant, 59. Well known for her role as Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown, a companion to both the Fifth and Sixth Doctors. She also worked in “The Two Doctors” story so she appeared with the Second Doctor as well. Of course she’s done Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas.
October 11, 1965 — ?Sean Patrick Flanery, 54. I really think that his best work was on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the films that followed.
October 11, 1972 — ?Claudia Black, 47. Best known for being Aeryn Sun in Farscape, Vala Mal Doran in Stargate SG-1 and Sharon “Shazza” Montgomery in Pitch Black. She also had a recurring role as Dahlia in The Originals and starred as Dr. Sabine Lommers in The CW’s Containment series.
October 11, 1976 — Emily Deschanel, 43. Temperance “Bones” Brennan in Bones which crossed over with Sleepy Hollow twice (she visited the latter once) and she had a bit part on Spider-Man 2. More notably she was Pam Asbury in Stephen King’s Rose Red series.
October 11, 1985 — Michelle Trachtenberg, 34. Dawn, one of the most annoying characters in television ever, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Matthew Phelan: Is working with someone else’s characters emotionally freeing? Or do you feel an intense, world-historic duty to do justice to classic Nancy?
Olivia Jaimes: It feels like I’m writing Nancy fan fiction, which is very freeing. I’ve said the same thing to my editor before, and she’s gently broken it to me that my Nancies are canon, but fan fiction is what it feels like nonetheless. Maybe what I mean by this is that I feel comfortable transforming the strip in ways that suit me because I trust readers to know “the rules” of transformative works like fan fiction. It’s your take on characters that are shared by everyone. You’re not trying to pass seamlessly as the original author; you’re stretching and bending the original work to make it say what you want it to say.
(14) FLASH REFERENCES
FLASH. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Am I the only one who (a)
couldn’t tell what the words were, in the episode, (b) wouldn’t have recognized
this as a Queen tune, even if I had, nor necessarily which movie it was from, (c)
don’t mind, since, if nothing else, Cisco (formerly “Vibe”) had
“been waiting for the perfect moment to use it, and Caitlin (aka Killer
Frost) recognized it. Io9’s James Whitbrook’s episode recap “The
Flash Finally Did It” explains:
… And, via Cisco, The Flash finally, finally does something that is incredibly goofy, completely rad, and something it has simply been yearning to do since it first began: Cisco taps a key on STAR Labs’ sound system.
And Queen’s Flash Gordon theme starts playing.
It’s so dumb. It’s so good. It is, as Cisco argues, the perfect moment to deploy the 1980 classic. You don’t care that the black hole CG comes with all the questionable success CW-budget computer effects usually bring. You don’t care that this has been, otherwise, a pretty humdrum episode of The Flash, and weirdly low key for a season premiere. This is what this show has always been, and hopefully always will be, about: embracing the sheer, kinetic, camp audacity of superhero comics and just having an absolute whale of a time while doing so.
The Paris-based company’s film and television division is developing a slate of animated series inspired by its existing IP. First up: a Mars-set Rabbids Invasion special, after four successful seasons of the France 3/Netflix/Nickelodeon kids show. Other family-friendly programs in the works include a comedy-adventure inspired by the popular Rayman franchise and Hungry Shark Squad, based on the mobile game Hungry Shark.
… For slightly older viewers, Ubisoft is toning down its M-rated Watch Dogs action-adventure franchise for a tamer “cybermystery” aimed at tweens. The show centers on a teenaged “super hacker” who solves crimes in her high school.
On Tuesday, Blizzard came down hard on Chung. In an official statement on Hearthstone’s blog, the company announced that it would be suspending Chung for a year, forcing him to forfeit thousands of dollars in prize money from 2019 and firing the casters (commentators) who conducted the interview.
This is a big deal.
Blizzard, who created (among other things) World of Warcraft, is a massive company. It brought in about $7.5 billion in revenue in 2018. Like the NBA, which has rebuked the Houston Rockets’ general manager over a pro-Hong Kong tweet, Blizzard is not merely trying to operate within the confines of Chinese censorship but acting as its agent.
(18) HEY, THE TIMING IS NOT THE ROBOT’S FAULT. “Istanbul Airport Robot Has A Message for You!” on YouTube describes the friendly robots helping passengers at Istanbul Airport.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock,
Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, James Davis Nicoll,. Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman,
John A Arkansawyer, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit
belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
…For the past four years, active community arts leaders have campaigned and fundraised to install a new piece of public art in downtown Waukegan: Zachary Oxman’s Fantastical Traveler. The sculpture features an elder Bradbury astride a rocket ship, waving a book as he journeys forth.
…As part of the sculpture installation, Oxman also designed a small plaza around the statue, so you’ll be seeing hard hats and fencing at the Library’s front entrance very soon. Construction will not impact the Library’s operating hours, and our main entrance should remain easily accessible throughout the process.
…And mark your calendars – our sculpture is set to be unveiled to the public at a special dedication ceremony on Thursday, August 22. That’s Ray’s 99th birthday! We’ll celebrate with family-friendly activities right outside the Library at the corner of County & Clayton Sts. The fun will begin at 6:30pm, and all ages are welcome!
…We are very grateful to the local contractors who are donating their services as part of the construction effort, as well as all those whose donations have made the sculpture’s arrival in Waukegan a reality!
Check out this
post on the library’s Facebook
page for a peek inside the sculptor’s studio.
…Author doppelganging, for example, occurs when someone starts publishing books just like yours, using your name, in order to game Amazon’s search algorithms. I write a series of thrillers with a partner named Lincoln Child, and our nom de plume is “Preston & Child.” Half a dozen years ago, an entity named “Preston Child” started publishing thrillers amazingly like ours, with strikingly similar covers and titles.
For years, Amazon’s algorithms mingled the books of “Preston Child” along with our books, as if they were by the same author. Our publisher investigated and was unable to confirm the existence of Preston Child. (It’s next to impossible to prove someone doesn’t exist.) It took Amazon several years before it adjusted its algorithms to distinguish “Preston Child” from “Preston & Child.”
Title cloning, like author doppelganging, is legal, since you typically cannot copyright a title. Duplicate book titles are an old problem, now exacerbated by Amazon’s search algorithms. Seven months after my nonfiction book “The Lost City of the Monkey God,” about an expedition that discovered a lost city in the Honduran jungle, was published in 2017, a novel appeared, titled “Lost City of the Monkey God,” published using Amazon’s CreateSpace platform. It was also about an “expedition to discover a lost city in the Honduran jungle.” The last time I searched for my bestselling book on Amazon, the other one popped up in the number 3 position — above some editions of my book.
The cheats get weirder. Nora Roberts, the author of romance novels, discovered that books were being sold on Amazon containing extensive passages lifted from her books. She found a person in Brazil who appeared to be running a plagiarism factory, in which she took Roberts’ books and those of other romance authors, cut, pasted, rearranged and rewrote them to make new books to be sold on Amazon….
(3) LET US SAY IT AGAIN. Arwen
Curry’s Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin documentary is being broadcast on
PBS at 9 p.m.on Friday, August 2 as part of its American Masters series.
The film dives into Le Guin’s childhood, steeped in the myths and stories of Native Americans she heard growing up in Berkeley, California, as the daughter of prominent 19th century anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber, author of the influential book “Ishi in Two Worlds.” This deep childhood understanding of cultural relativism infused her work with a unique perspective; her otherworldly societies are all in some way reflections of our own.
At the heart of the film is Le Guin’s intimate journey of self-discovery as she comes into her own as a major feminist author. “What I was doing was being a woman pretending to think like a man,” she says, reflecting on why her early novels put men at the center of the action. But as second-wave feminism crashed into the science fiction world in the 1970s, Le Guin recognized her own internalized notions about heroism and power. Initially defensive, she found truth in the criticisms of her work. When revisiting the realm of “Earthsea,” she turned her gaze to its women, instead of powerful male wizards. The result was a transformation that echoed throughout the rest of her oeuvre. By embracing her own identity and learning to write as a woman, she eventually rose to the height of her literary power. Working across many genres, Le Guin received numerous honors, including the National Book Award, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, PEN-Malamud, and she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin had its world premiere at the Sheffield Documentary Festival and has shown internationally at dozens of festivals, garnering numerous awards.
…Dinosaurs has a distinctly not dinosaur-like alien species being visited by a human diplomat. The aliens are justly outraged by human attempts to terraform their worlds. They have assumed this was a pre-meditated attack by humanity against them. The diplomat has been despatched to broker a peace agreement….
Ava DuVernay’s big-screen version of DC’s New Gods is years away from release, but the writer-director teased the project — and offered small updates — Tuesday afternoon during a Twitter Q&A.
In response to fans’ questions, DuVernay confirmed that both Darkseid and the Female Furies will appear in the movie. The former is no surprise, as Darkseid is the main antagonist of the Jack Kirby-created comic book mythology DuVernay and co-writer Tom King will be drawing from. The latter, DuVernay suggested, is the result of her fandom of the character Big Barda, the leader of the all-woman fighting force. “I’m looking forward to [the Furies] so much,” she said.
While we were all arguing whether Idris Elba should be the new 007, he opted to become the next T-800 instead.
In Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the most agreeable of the innumerable Fast & Furious presentations, The Wire’s Stringer Bell plays a straight-up Terminator, with stainless steel innards, glowing orange eyeballs, and a Google-glass-like POV datastream that gives him helpful notifications such as ATTACK IMMINENT whenever bickering-buddy good guys Dwayne Johnson (aka Hobbs) or Jason Statham (aka Shaw) cock a fist in his direction.
But he has also got more than a little Darth Vader in him, in that he’s shown to be doing the bidding of a unseen superior with a digitally scrambled voice who scolds Brixton for his failures while his more-machine-now-than-man-body is welded back together, post-battle. The disembodied voice of Supreme Leader Snoke or whatever even orders Brixton to attempt to turn Hobbs & Shaw to the Dark Side instead of simply rubbing them out! There’s petty larceny, there’s grand theft auto.
(8) AUTHOR READINGS ON THE AIR. The New Jersey freeform radio station WFMU started a new show,
Radiovert with Nicole, in June (Weds. 7-8 p.m.) which features readings
from science fiction writers such as Tobias S. Buckell , Maureen F. McHugh,
etc. (“Far out stories from fantastic authors “) Here’s a link
to the archive page: Radiovert with Nicole: Playlists and Archives. Jack Adkins promises, “It’s a great show!”
And here is their masthead art – tell me, Filers, can there be any doubt this
show is for you?
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born August 1, 1862 — M.R. James. Writer of some of the best ghost stories ever done. A Pleasing Terror: The Complete Supernatural Writings, released in 2001 from Ash-Tree Press has forty stories which includes the thirty stories from Collected Ghost Stories plus the 3 tales published after that, and the seven from The Fenstanton Witch and Others. It’s apparently the most complete collection of his stories to date. (Died 1936.)
Born August 1, 1904 — Russell R. Winterbotham. Writer of both Western and SF novels under various names. His SF novels were all written between the late Fifties and mid Sixties and had such pulpish titles as The Space Egg and The Puppet Planet. He wrote a lot of short fiction but almost none of it nor his novels is available digitally. (Died 1971.)
Born August 1, 1910 — Raymond A. Palmer. Editor of Amazing Stories from 1938 through 1949. He’s credited, along with Walter Dennis, with editing the first fanzine, The Comet, in May 1930. The secret identity of DC character the Atom as created by genre writer Gardner Fox is named after Palmer. Very little of his fiction is available in digital form. (Died 1977.)
Born August 1, 1914 — Edd Cartier. Illustrator who in 1992 received the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, being the first artist to receive that honor. His artwork was first published in Street and Smith publications, including The Shadow, to which he provided many interior illustrations, and Astounding Science Fiction, Doc Savage Magazine and Unknown as well. (Died 2008.)
Born August 1, 1930 — Geoffrey Holder. Best remembered for his performance as Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die but he’s also the narrator in Tim Burton’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. He was Willie Shakespeare in Doctor Doolittle but it’s been so long since I saw the film that I can’t picture his character. And he was The Cheshire Cat in an Alice in Wonderland that had Richard Burton as The White Knight. (Died 2014.)
Born August 1, 1954 — James Gleick, 65. Author of, among many other books, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Electronic Frontier, and he is one of us, which is that he writes genre reviews — collected in Time Travel: A History. Among the works he’s reviewed are Le Guin’s “Another Story or A Fisherman of the Inland Sea” and Heinlein ‘s “By His Bootstraps”.
Born August 1, 1955 — Annabel Jankel, 64. Film and TV director who was first a music video director and then the co-creator and director of Max Headroom. She and her partner Rocky Morton first created and directed The Max Talking Headroom Show, a mix of interviews and music vids which aired on Channel 4 and HBO. Jankel and Morton would go on to direct Super Mario Bros. And they’re both responsible for the Max Headroom movie and series.
Born August 1, 1979 — Jason Momoa, 40. I knew it seen before he showed up as Aquaman in the DC film universe and I was right as he was Ronon Dex on Stargate Atlantis for five seasons. He was also Khal Drogo in the first season of A Game of Thrones. And not surprisingly, he was the title character in Conan the Barbarian.
(10) ANCIENT LIBRARY. In Mauretania is a largely forgotten
ancient desert library — the thread starts here.
San Francisco-based virtual reality startup Sandbox VR has teamed up with CBS Interactive to launch a new “Star Trek” virtual reality (VR) experience this fall. “Star Trek: Discovery Away Mission” will allow up to 6 friends to enter the world of the series, complete with phasers and tricoders, and a holodeck to boot.
The new location will first be available at existing Sandbox VR locations in Hong Kong, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, and come to new locations in New York, Austin, San Diego and Chicago soon after.
(12) SOURCE OF CRAZY IDEAS. Behind a paywall in the July 27 Financial
Times, famous people were asked how they were spending their summers.
Guillermo Del Toro said he was scouting locations and working on a script for
his remake of Pinocchio.
FINANCIAL TIMES: “What’s your best memory of childhood summer holidays?”
DEL TORO: “Reading Ray Bradbury in a hammock, by an avocado tree in Lake Chapala, Mexico.”
To celebrate the Ray Bradbury’s birthday (August 22) when he would be 99-years old, we are offering a special on Bradbury prints.
Besides being an acclaimed author he was also well-known for his oil paintings, a number of which we used for the covers of his signed limited editions. We have two we’re making available to commemorate his birthday, both SIGNED by Bradbury.
It’s a truism that horror, science fiction, and exploitation films often wrestle with a society’s ills earlier and more frankly than other genres, even if they dress the problem up in a Godzilla suit. We’re facing our fair share of brand new, atom-bomb-class impending catastrophes today, but one of America’s biggest problems was already ancient when Paul sat down to drop Timothy a line, and, judging from the trailer, The Hunt is aiming to shoot it in the lungs with an arrow. The rest of cinema hasn’t exactly ignored greed or money as a subject: from President Business all the way back to Eisenstein’s smoke-filled rooms, cinema’s got no shortage of greedy capitalist villains. But there have been far fewer films that have played around with the unpleasant fact that, as a general rule, the wealthiest people in the world don’t see, think about, or treat the rest of us like human beings. Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother Yourecently literalized this for a science-fiction take in which capitalists develop an alarming solution to building the workforce of tomorrow, and now director Craig Zobel and screenwriters Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof are chiming in from the horror section, as the trailer for The Hunt makes clear:
An artificial intelligence system should be recognised as the inventor of two ideas in patents filed on its behalf, a team of UK academics says.
The AI has designed interlocking food containers that are easy for robots to grasp and a warning light that flashes in a rhythm that is hard to ignore.
Patents offices insist innovations are attributed to humans – to avoid legal complications that would arise if corporate inventorship were recognised.
The academics say this is “outdated”.
And it could see patent offices refusing to assign any intellectual property rights for AI-generated creations.
As a result, two professors from the University of
Surrey have teamed up with the Missouri-based inventor of Dabus AI to file
patents in the system’s name with the relevant authorities in the UK, Europe
The Internet has become a place where we cultivate relationships. Through quick messages that we type with our thumbs on our phones, we keep in touch with friends and family; we flirt and fall in love.
And the potential for miscommunication abounds. Who among us hasn’t wondered whether a message in ALL CAPS meant it was especially urgent? Furious? Or just enthusiastic?
The linguist Gretchen McCulloch aims to clear some things up with her new book, Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. The “new” rules, she says in an interview, are “emergent.”
“So the old rules are these top-down, ‘here’s how you use an apostrophe,’ ‘here’s how you use a semicolon’ type of thing,” McCulloch says. “The new rules are about: How are other people going to interpret your tone of voice? … The old rules are about using language to demonstrate intellectual superiority, and the new rules are about using language to create connection between people.”
McCulloch says a lot of the confusion stems from the fact that people read Internet writing differently, depending on when they first went online. She gives NPR a few examples.
In 2014, I started writing a book about internet language. Every so often, while I was working on it, I would look at myself and think, surely this is a fool’s errand. How could I possibly sum up the entirety of the living, breathing language of the internet within a couple hundred static pages?
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Martin More Wooster,
Jack Adkins, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, StephenfromOttawa, Rob Thornton, Carl
Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee and Greg Hullender in
The last few years have seen an uptick in pop culture stories featuring time travel, from the repetitions and revisions of “The Good Place” and “Russian Doll” to developments in “Game of Thrones,” “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Sometimes the MacGuffin by which we get to play with anachronism, but often also rooted in questions of free will and determinism, time travel is a fascinating springboard for fiction: Are there many futures, or just one? Can you change the past without changing the future, or yourself? This column brings together books about time fractured and out of joint, time as an unbroken lineage resisting empire, and time travel glimpsed through the overlapping lenses of psychology, philosophy and physics….
On a stage set up outside the life-sized Millennium Falcon that rests in the center of the rocky-mountain town of Black Spire Outpost, Luke, Han, Lando, and the man who brought them to life welcomed the first crowd of guests to the planet Batuu.
(3) JOHN WILLIAMS. “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite” is five
minutes of really good new John Williams music composed for the Galaxy’s Edge attraction
at Disneyland. (Audio only.)
If you’ve ever wanted your wedding photos held inside a frame by C-3PO’s disembodied hand, you’re in luck for $85. Crave the half-melted face of a battered-down Luke cast in bronze? Dream big, young Padawan, because everything you never thought could be put into production is here.
Pick up a few chance cubes like Watto’s in “The Phantom Menace,” a busted wooden Stormtrooper doll similar to the one young Jyn Erso had in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” or decorate your desk with Hera Syndulla’s prized Kalikori as seen in “Star Wars Rebels.” There’s even a Resistance MRE toolbox filled with pretzels, crackers, and candies designed after the dinner Luke refuses to share with Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Good news, Disney fans. If you loved Disney’s live-action “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast,” the Mouse House is bringing even more animated classics back to life.
From fairy tales like “Snow White” to classics such as “Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” Disney’s live-action list continues to grow with more than a dozen in the works.
Some of the movies are complete remakes of their animated counterparts, while others are based on origin stories or sequels to existing live-action adaptations.
(6) HANDSELLING. Cat Rambo livetweeted highlights from Mike
Underwood’s online class “The Writers Guide to Selling Books at
Conventions.” There’s more than one thread – get all the content by searching Twitter for #sellbooks.
When a child goes missing in the mythical world of Black Leopard, Red Wolf, a mercenary named Tracker is hired to find him. The novel, the first in a promised trilogy, follows Tracker’s adventures as he passes through ancient cities inspired by African history and mythology looking for the boy. Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James, who described his latest book as an “African Game of Thrones,” shows off his impressive skill at blending mystery, magic and history in this thought-provoking epic.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 2, 1950 — Rocketship X-M premiered in theaters.
June 2, 2010 — Actor Patrick Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 2, 1915 — Lester del Rey. I’m realizing that del Rey is one of those authors that I know that I’ve read but I can’t exactly remember what it is that I’ve read by him. Even after looking him up on ISFDB, my memory isn’t being jogged. The titles are sort of generic and nothing stands out. So did y’all find memorable by him? (Died 1993.)
Born June 2, 1921 — Virginia Kidd. She was a writer, literary agent and editor. She established herself as the first female literary agent in the field. She represented the likes of Anne McCaffrey, Gene Wolfe, Judith Merril, R.A. Lafferty and Ursula K. Le Guin. Wolfe modeled Ann Schindler, a character in his 1990 novel Castleview, in large part on Kidd. (Died 2003.)
Born June 2, 1937 — Sally Kellerman, 82. Dr. Elizabeth Dehner in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, the second Trek pilot. Like many performers at this time, she appeared also on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits as well.
Born June 2, 1939 — Norton Juster, 90. Author of the much beloved Phantom Tollbooth and its less known variant, The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth. Adapted in 1970 into a quirky film, now stuck in development hell being remade again. He also wrote The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, a story he says was inspired by Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.
Born June 2, 1941 — Stacy Keach, 78. Though best known for playing hard-boiled Detective Mike Hammer, he’s got a long association with our genre starting with being The Mountain of the Cannibal God, an Italian horror film. Next up for him was Class of 1999 followed by voicing both Carl Beaumont / Voice of Phantasm in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, a film I really, really like. More horror, and a really silly title, await him in Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return where The Hollow has a tasteful title which the Man with the Screaming Brain does not provide him. Storm War, also known as Weather Wars, is SF. And then there is Sin City: A Dame to Kill For which is a rather nice piece of film making. And yes, he’s been in a televised version of Macbeth playing Banquo.
Born June 2, 1965 — Sean Stewart, 54. Fantastic author whose Galveston novel that won the World Fantasy Award. I highly recommend as well as the Resurrection Man novels. I’ve not read his most set of novels, The Cathy’s Book series, but it’s take on augmented reality sounds intriguing.
Born June 2, 1974 — Dominic Cooper, 45. Jesse Custer on Preacher. He’s the young Howard Stark in the MCU, including Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter. Damn, I miss the latter, I thought it was a series that showed Marvel at its very best. He played a Constable in From Hell, and Henry Sturges in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Born June 2, 1977 — Zachary Quinto, 42. He’s known for his roles as Sylar on Heroes, voice of Pascal Lee in Passage to Mars, Spock in the rebooted Star Trek film franchise as well as Dr. Oliver Thredson in American Horror Story: Asylum.
Born June 2, 1979 — Morena Baccarin, 40. Very long genre history starting with portraying Inara Serra in Firefly and Serenity; Adria in the Stargate SG-1 series and the Stargate: The Ark of Truth; Anna in the 2009 version of the series V; Vanessa in Deadpool and Deadpool 2; and Dr. Leslie Thompkins in Gotham.
Robert Pattinson, the 33-year-old actor still best known for portraying an emo-teen vampire, is suddenly poised to play the world’s biggest bat. Warner Bros. has approved Pattinson to become the next title star of its multibillion-dollar Batman film franchise, Hollywood trade papers reported Friday. Directed by Matt Reeves (“Planet of the Apes”), “The Batman” — set for release in the summer of 2021 — is believed to center on the character’s formative years. And by choosing Pattinson, the studio spurred a long tradition of debate and complaint among fans.
True to form, the announcement immediately prompted some sharp social media responses, which ranged from “Wow, horrible!! DC comics swings and misses again” to “Have you seen him in anything not named Twilight? Because dude has real chops.”
(12) ONWARD. In theaters March 6, 2020.
Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new original feature film is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae—the team behind “Monsters University.”
(13) DEMAND BUT NO SUPPLY. Science Focus updates
readers about “Six
sci-fi inventions we’re still waiting for”. “Have you ever seen a science fiction blockbuster and thought:
“I want one of those!”? Here’s what some of the UK’s top scientists have to say
about our favourite sci-fi inventions.”
1. Learning by plugging in (The Matrix)
Author Malcolm Gladwell’s theory is that all successful people will have spent at least 10,000 hours practicing their skill, but who has time for that? What we want is to ‘plug in’ to the Matrix like Neo did, and become a martial arts expert overnight.
Dr Peter Földiák, School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews: “This is probably theoretically possible but there are huge scientific and technical problems that need to be solved before this can be done in practice. To ‘implant’ knowledge directly into the brain, we would need a much better understanding of how information is stored in the brain by neurons, as well as precise mechanisms tapping into those neurons with new information. So while a lot of progress is being made in understanding how the brain works, the actual process of ‘knowledge implantation’ is unfortunately a very distant dream.”
After the publication of George Dyson’s book Project Orion, and a few specials, a lot of people know that in the early 1960s DARPA investigated the possibility of a nuclear-pulse-detonation (that is, powered by the explosion of nuclear bombs) spacecraft.
Preceding but also concurrently developed with Apollo, this extremely ambitious project had unbelievable payload capability. Where Apollo at 3,500 tons could only put two tons on the Moon, the smaller Orion (about the same total mass, 4,000 tons) could soft-land 1,200 tons (600 times as much) on the Moon, and the larger (only three times as heavy as Apollo, or 10,000 tons) could soft-land 5,700 tons (nearly 3,000 times as much) on the Moon, or take 1,300 tons of astronauts and consumables on a three-year round-trip to Saturn and back!1 The fission powered Orion could even achieve three to five percent the speed of light, though a more advanced design using fusion might achieve eight to ten percent the speed of light.
Most assume the program was cancelled for technical problems, but that is not the case. Few know how seriously the idea was taken by the top leadership of the US Air Force.
Because internal budget discussions and internal memoranda are not generally released and some only recently declassified, almost nobody knows how close Strategic Air Command (SAC) was to building the beginning of an interstellar-capable fleet. Had the personalities of the Air Force’s civilian leadership been different in 1962, humanity might have settled a good part of the inner solar system and might be launching probes to other stars today. We might also have had the tools to deflect large asteroids and comets….
(15) HOLE OTHER THING. According to Bright Side, “Mysterious Object Punched a Hole in the
Milky Way, Scientists Are Confused.”
Space is full of mysteries that have remained unsolved for centuries. But recently, the cosmos has baffled the world with a new, scary abnormality. Apparently, something is tearing holes in the Milky Way, the galaxy that contains our Solar System! What if the hole in the Milky Way was torn by a supermassive black hole like the one that dwells in the center of our galaxy? If it was, it’d be a pretty scary scenario. If these two black holes got too close, they wouldn’t be able to escape each other’s gravity, and a collision might be inevitable. And it would be an extremely violent event. But the thing is that the telescopes failed to find the source of the damage. So what could this unseen bullet be? Scientists have several theories.
[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, JJ,
John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew Porter for some
of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
Gibson’s debut novel is the book that forever changed science fiction with a visionary style that forged the cyberpunk genre. With narrator Robertson Dean at the helm, this story of a washed-out computer hacker who is hired to do the unthinkable is reborn.
SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik, read by Lisa Flanagan (2019 Audies Award Winner, Earphones Award Winner)
Novik updates the story of Rumpelstiltskin with a wildly original fantasy tale that has all the markings of a future classic. A young woman with a special gift attempts to save her family but is swept up in world of magic and demons.
This entertainingly absurd audiobook is the latest in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series and yet another example of the brilliance of the BBC’s audio programs. The talented ensemble cast brings to life Douglas Adams’s original characters, including John Lloyd as The Book, Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, and Geoff McGivern as Ford Prefect.
THE RAVEN TOWER by Ann Leckie, read by Adjoa Andoh (Earphones Award Winner)
Powerful ancient gods, a stolen throne, and revenge. This is the first fantasy book from Leckie, an author known for her space operas, and narrator Adjoa Andoah’s dynamic voices for the imaginative cast of characters make it an audiobook worth seeking out. The story is narrated by a god, the Strength and Patience of the Hill, who tells the story of the world it has observed for millennia. The god also addresses a certain human, Eolo, who is trans. Eolo and heir to the throne Mowat get caught up in political intrigue at court.
Narrator Grover Gardner captures the essence of an underrated science fiction classic while highlighting its introspective musings. At the height of the Cold War, Dr. Lucas Martino works tirelessly on a mysterious project that explodes, leaving him disfigured.
…In essence, we have to stop looking at each book as an income generator, and start thinking about multiple income streams. Very few authors, indie or otherwise, make a living out of their writing. Most of us have to have a “day job” as well. I think we need to look at our writing as a series of small “day jobs”. Writing a book alone won’t be sufficient; we need to leverage that fan base into more income opportunities. Some are already common. Others will have to become so. Examples:
Open some sort of support account (e.g. Patreon, etc.) where your serious fans can support you over and above buying your books. It may be a small, slow start, but it’s something on which one can build.
A tip jar on your blog or social media account can be a useful way for fans to offer support.
Consider offering appearances in your work to your fans. They can have their names used for a character, and pay for the privilege (anything from a few dollars for a very minor character, appearing once, to a higher price for a major character with more “face time”). This will probably only work if you’re an established writer, of course – it needs that sort of fan base.
And that’s just the first four of his seven bullet points.
(2) SOCK IT TO ME. Here’s
how Rod Serling was supplementing his income back in the day:
My father and I saw each other only three times before he died. The first was when I was about ten, the second was in my early twenties, and the last doesn’t matter right now. I want to tell you about the second time, when I went up to Syracuse to visit and he tried to make me join the GOP.
Let me back up a little and explain that my mother is a black woman from Uganda and my dad was a white man from Syracuse, New York. He and my mother met in New York City in the late sixties, got married, had me, and promptly divorced. My mother and I stayed in Queens while my dad returned to Syracuse. He remarried quickly and had another son with my stepmother. Paul.
When I finished college I enrolled in graduate school for writing. I’d paid for undergrad with loans and grants, and debt already loomed over me. I showed up at my dad’s place hoping he’d cosign for my grad-school loans. I felt he owed me since he hadn’t been in my life at all. Also, I felt like I’d been on an epic quest just to reach this point. I got into Cornell University, but boy did I hate being there. Long winters, far from New York City, and the kind of dog-eat-dog atmosphere that would make a Wall Street trader sweat. But I’d graduated. And now I wanted to go back to school. More than that, I wanted to become a writer. Couldn’t my dad see me as a marvel? Couldn’t he support me just this once?
I was once driving, alone and at dusk, down a dark and winding road that hugged a mountain thick with woods. I saw a black bear cross the road, from fields on the left to the mountain on the right.
I had never seen a bear so close before. Excited, I pulled the car up and parked near where I saw the bear vanish, and had my hand on the door before I came back to myself and thought, what am I doing? It’s a bear! I drove away unharmed.
There are things in one’s life that are best appreciated from a distance, and this book is one of them.
Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society and Warner Bros. have nabbed the film rights to “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” a buzzy new fantasy novel by Marlon James.
“Black Leopard, Red Wolf” draws on African mythology to tell the story of Tracker, whose acute sense of smell leads him to be hired to find a missing child against a backdrop of warring kingdoms and political chaos. The child he seeks may be the heir to an empire, something that complicates matters. James referred to the often bloody epic as an “African ‘Game of Thrones,’” but later said he was joking. Still, it includes plenty of the elements that made that HBO show a water-cooler phenomenon including witches, a shape-shifting leopard, a killer hyena, and conjoined twins.
…Then there’s the ever-popular “we found these abandoned transit stations” scenario. If humans aren’t the builders of the system, they probably don’t know how to expand it or change it. Because Ancients are notorious for their failure to properly document their networks, humans and other newcomers have to explore to see where the wormholes/tunnels/whatever go. Explorers are like rats wandering through an abandoned subway system. Examples…
By pivoting the merged list on category (novella, novelette, short story), publication, new writers, or author, and browsing the results, some noteworthy observations jump out visually.
Overlooked stories include “The Independence Patch” by Bryan Camp (score 8), “What is Eve?” by Will McIntosh (score 8), “Carouseling” by Rich Larson (score 7), each of which got recommendations from 5 prolific reviewers.
The traditional paid-only magazines (Analog, Asimov’s, F&SF, Interzone) had between 0%-6% of their stories in the Locus list, versus many free online magazines at 9%-16%, or Tor.com and Tor novellas which had a remarkable 31%-33% of their stories recommended by Locus.
There were 13 stories in the Locus list by Campbell Award-eligible writers.
Matthew Hughes, Robert Reed, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch each had 4 broadly recommended stories in RSR’s aggregated list, but none were in the Locus list. By comparison, Kelly Robson had 4 stories in the merged list and all 4 were recommended by Locus.
More details are available in the article, plus RSR features for flagging/rating stories that make it easy to track your progress when reading stories from a big list.
(7) FINNEY OBIT. Albert Finney (1936-2019): British actor, died today, aged
82. Genre appearances include: A
Midsummer Night’s Dream (1959),
Scrooge (1970), Looker, Wolfen
(both 1981), The Green Man
(mini-series, 1990), Karaoke, Cold
Lararus (connected mini-series, both 1996), Delivering Milo (2001), Big
Fish (2003), Corpse Bride (2005,
voice). His final movie appearances were in 2012, for opposing camps in the
superspy genre: The Bourne Legacy and
Oreo the raccoon, the real-life model for Guardians of the Galaxy character Rocket, has died aged 10.
The news was announced on the comic book superhero team’s Facebook page. “Oreo passed away in the early hours of this morning after a very short illness,” it reads. “Many thanks to our wonderful vets for their compassion and care.”
Rocket the raccoon was voiced by Bradley Cooper in the 2014 film and its 2017 sequel.
Oreo died after a short illness early on Thursday morning, the Facebook post says “You have been an amazing ambassador for raccoons everywhere,” it reads. “You were perfect.”
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 8, 1819 – John Ruskin. Much to my surprise, this English art critic and pretty much everything else of the Victorian Era is listed by ISFDB as having a genre writing, to wit The King of the Golden River, or The Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria. Anyone ever read. (Died 1900.)
Born February 8, 1828 – Jules Verne. So how many novels by him are you familiar with? Personally I’m on first hand terms with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. That’s it. It appears that he wrote some some sixty works and a lot were genre. And of course his fiction has become the source of many other fictions in the last century as well. (Died 1905.)
Born February 8, 1932 – John Williams, 87. Composer of the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, one of the Superman films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones franchise, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films and the first three Harry Potter films.
Born February 8, 1953 – Mary Steenbergen, 66. She first in a genre way as Amy in Time After Time. She followed that up by being Adrian in A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy which I suppose is sort of genre. She shows up next in the much more family friendly One Magic Christmas as Ginny Grainger. And she has a part in Back to the Future Part III as Clara Clayton Brown which she repeated in the animated series. And, and keep in mind this is not a full list, she was in The Last Man on Earth series as Gail Klosterman.
Born February 8, 1969 – Mary Robinette Kowal, 50. Simply a stellar author and an even better human being. I’m going to select out Ghost Talkers as the work by her that I like the most. Now her Forest of Memory novella might be more stellar. She’s also a splendid voice actor doing works of authors such as John Scalzi, Seanan McGuire and Kage Baker. I’m particularly pleased by her work on McGuire’s Indexing series. So let’s have Paul Weimer have the last words this time: “I thought it was Shades of Milk and Honey for a good long while, but I think Calculating Stars is my new favorite.”
My guest this episode is Alan Smale, who has published short fiction in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Abyss & Apex, and other magazines. He won the 2010 Sidewise Award for Best Short-Form Alternate History for “A Clash of Eagles,” about a Roman invasion of ancient America. That’s also the setting for his trilogy, which includes the novels Clash of Eagles, Eagle in Exile, and Eagle and Empire, all published by Del Rey in the U.S. and Titan Books in the UK. When not writing, he’s a professional astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
We met for lunch at Mad Chef Kitchen & Bar, a gastropub which opened recently in Ellicott City, Maryland’s Turf Valley Towne Square. We were looking for something equidistant from both of us with good food, and based first on my research and then our experience, we definitely found it.
We discussed why an astrophysicist’s chosen field of fiction is alternate history rather than hard science, how his fascination with archeology and ancient civilizations began, the reason he started off his novel-writing career with a trilogy rather than a standalone, the secrets to writing convincing battle sequences, the nuances of critiquing partial novels in a workshop setting, how his research into Roman and Native American history affected his trilogy, what steps he took to ensure he handled Native American cultures appropriately, that summer when at age 12 he read both War and Peace and Lord of the Rings, one of the strangest tales of a first short story sale I’ve ever heard, how and why he joined forces with Rick Wilber for their recent collaboration published in Asimov’s, and much more.
Latin American science fiction and fantasy occupy an odd in-between space. The commercial categories we denominate fantasy, science fiction and horror don’t traditionally exist in Latin America. Instead, the fantastical is either simply called literature or receives the moniker of magical realism.
This means finding speculative fiction is trickier and more complex in this part of the world. It also means that Latinx authors may derive their SFF canon from a very different well than their Anglo counterparts. While science fiction and fantasy are normally associated with Tolkien or Asimov, a Latinx writer might be more inclined to think of Isabel Allende or Julio Cortázar. At the same time, it is not unusual for Latinx authors to have also been exposed to Anglo pop culture, fantasy and science fiction. Finally, since Latin America is a large region, the history, culture and folklore of Latinx writers may be radically different from one another.
The result is a wild, eclectic field of the fantastic, which is reflected by the selections in this bundle.
They nicknamed it ‘the replicator’ — in homage to the machines in the Star Trek saga that can materialize virtually any inanimate object.
Researchers in California have unveiled a 3D printer that creates an entire object at once, rather than building it layer by layer as typical additive-manufacturing devices do — bringing science-fiction a step closer to reality.
A technique that harnesses energy loss has been used to produce a phase of matter in which particles of light are locked in place. This opens a path to realizing previously unseen exotic phases of matter.
When light passes through matter, it slows down. Light can even be brought to a standstill when it travels through carefully designed matter. One way in which this occurs is when the velocity of individual particles of light (photons) in a material is zero. Another, more intriguing, way is when photons, which normally pass through each other unimpeded, are made to repel each other. If the repulsion is strong enough, the photons are unable to move, and the light is frozen in place.
The ability to engineer quantum states promises to revolutionize areas ranging from materials science to information processing… The robustness and generality of this scheme will ensure that, as it is refined, it will find a home in the quantum mechanic’s toolbox.
(16) SOCIALGALACTIC. Vox Day is creating a more pliable form of Twitter – or is it a version of Gab that will obey him? (Didn’t Mark Twain say that the reason God created man is that he was disappointed in the monkey?) “Introducing Socialgalactic” [Internet Archive link].
Twitter is SJW-controlled territory. Gab is a hellhole of defamation and Nazi trolls. So, after many of Infogalactic’s supporters asked us to provide something on the social media front, the InfoGalactic team joined forces with OneWay and created a new social media alternative: SocialGalactic.
Free accounts have 140-character posts and 1MB storage, which is just enough for an avatar and a header. We’ll soon be making Pro accounts available at three levels, which will provide posts of 200, 480, and 999 characters, and image storage up to 500MB. Sign up and check it out!
(17) GAME V. INFINITY. Dakota Gardner and Chris Landers, in “Would
Thanos’ Finger Snap Really have Stopped Baseball In Its Tracks?” on MLB.com, have a pro and con about whether Thanos really wiped out
Major League Baseball (as a shot of a devastated Citi Field in the Avengers:
Endgame trailer shows),
with one writer arguing that baseball would be doomed by Thanos and the other
arguing that MLB would fill its rosters with minor leaguers after thanos wiped
out half of the major leaguers because baseball always comes back.
Ask yourself this: Do you honestly believe baseball would simply stop if Thanos dusted half of all of MLB’s players, managers, front office staff, stadium personnel and fans? Do you think that if the universe had been placed into an existential funk, that baseball wouldn’t be even more necessary than it is today? Do you honestly believe that Alex Bregman or Clayton Kershaw or Mookie Betts, if they survived the snap, would be totally fine sitting on their butts and doing nothing for the rest of time?
…They plan for DART to reach speeds as fast as 15,000 miles per hour. The crash in October 2022 will fling debris from the asteroid moon. A small satellite will accompany the DART spacecraft to measure the effect.
The team wants to hit the asteroid moon with enough force to bump it, but not break it apart. The moon orbits the asteroid at a speed of about seven inches per second. They hope to change the speed by about a centimeter per second.
“We’re just going to give it a love tap,” said Andy Rivkin, the mission’s other co-lead and planetary astronomer at APL.
In theory, a series of taps over time could deflect an asteroid off a course for Earth.
“Several years ago, when I found out that J.J. Abrams was remaking, or rebooting, the Star Wars franchise, it was the only time in my career that I’ve ever put a call out,” she admits. “I wanted to be Leia. If I got to be a woodland elf [Tauriel in The Hobbit] and Kate from Lost and Leia, that would cover it. And then I got to be the Wasp! That’s all the big franchises.
“I was so in love with Leia when I was a little girl. Those were my two fantasies – to be a woodland elf and to be Leia tied to Jabba the Hutt in her sexy bikini. But then they called me back and said, ‘Well, there’s a little-known actress called Carrie Fisher who will be playing Princess Leia.’ Well, FINE, I guess that’s OK.”
While much better know for her acting, she says about
her writing, “I see myself as a writer who has a fantastic day job.” Her
children’s book series is The
“I don’t know many stories that have lived with someone as long as this has lived with me,” she says. “I was a reclusive young woman and a bit of a loner. I was somebody who came to literature very late, and when I did, I just fell in love with such a passion that I kind of became very focused on not just reading but writing as well. And seriously, that was my idea of a great Friday night at 14 – staying home and writing by myself.
“I was a big fan of Dr. Seuss, believe it or not. Where most people come to him at four, I was reading him at 14,” she continues. “And I think the adult side of me realized what he was doing. The subtlety of the messages he’d thread into these simple, silly poems really struck me as meaningful. And I realized that this adult took the time to put these sophisticated, important messages into my childhood stories.”
(20) SHARED WORLD. George
R.R. Martin pointed to this recently uploaded Wild Cards authors video:
In August 2017, a large group of Wild Carders assembled at my Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe for a mass signing, and we interviewed them about the up and downs of writing other people’s characters, and having other people write yours.
John King Tarpinian, Steve Green, JJ, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat
Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Eric Wong, Paul
Weimer, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title
credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day C.A. Collins.]
Tell me a bit about how you came up with the idea for “Skin City.”
One of my big fandoms here in Toronto is Nerd Girls Burlesque. They are a wonderful troupe of nerdy burlesque dancers who recently put on a Game of Thrones burlesque show, two fantastic and incredibly well-attended the Harry Potter burlesque nights, and a Doctor Who burlesque show. I love them. I think they’re fantastic. They’re so witty and so delightful. So when I think about Toronto or when I think about a better world in Toronto, it definitely includes them. I wanted to write about a nerdy burlesque dancer, and I wanted to put her front and center in the city, and I wanted Toronto to be known for that kind of thing.
James certainly makes his own unique contribution to the process of decentralizing the white European experience in fantasy fiction, although it’s important to recognize that this process has been underway for some time — and in so many different ways that it’s just plain lazy to compare this novel with, say, works from the last decade by Nnedi Okorafor or David Anthony Durham or Nora Jemisin or Minister Faust or Nisi Shawl or Kai Ashante Wilson (perhaps even beyond lazy). Neither is “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” Afrofuturism or even, really, “the African Game of Thrones,” as many – including James – have called it.
We’re just months from Game of Thrones’ final season, and HBO has released the first stills of Season 8 to get this hype train moving.
Though mostly character shots, it’s thrilling to see our favorite characters again – alive, for the time being, and moving around Westeros with the speed and urgency established in Season 7. Most surprising is the return of Varys (Conleth Hill) to the North…or does that snow mean winter is spreading south with the White Walkers?
(5) PROTIP. Myke Cole was
yanking peoples’ chains:
Of course, one person actually went looking for the list. (See
(6) VORLICEK OBIT. [Apologies for substituting certain letters
in his Czech name which WordPress won’t reproduce.] Vaclav Vorlicek, a Czech director of fantasy films that are greatly
beloved throughout Europe, died February 6. Cora Buhlert says he’s “definitely
one of the greats of our genre who deserves to be remembered” and has written an appreciation:
You may never have heard Vaclav Vorlicek’s name until today, but if you were a kid in Eastern and/or Western Europe in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, you have almost certainly watched his films at some point. Because Vaclav Vorlicek was the man behind many of those Czech fairytale movies that were afternoon television staples for children all over Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. Because – uncommon for the time – Vorlicek’s films crossed the iron curtain and entertained children on both sides.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 6, 1923 – Patrick Macnee. He was best known as the secret agent John Steed in The Avengers, a tole he reprised in the New Avengers. He made his genre debut as Young Jacob Marley in Scrooge. He then starred as Derek Longbow in Incense for the Damned (also released as Bloodsuckers, Freedom Seeker Incense for the Damned and Bloodsuckers, Freedom Seeker and Doctors Wear Scarlet). Next up is an uncredited role voicing Imperious Leader on the original Battlestar Galactica. He played Captain John Good R.N. in King Solomon’s Treasure based rather loosely on the H. Rider Haggard source material. What else? Let’s see… he shows up in The Howling as Dr. George Waggner, as Dr. Stark in a film as alternative title is, I kid you not, Naked Space and Spaceship. It’s a parody apparently of Alien. Next up for him is another toff named Sir Wilfred in Waxwork and its sequel. Yes he wears a suit rather nicely. At least being Professor Plocostomos in Lobster Man from Mars is an open farce. Yes let me note that he had a voice only role in the absolutely shitty remake of The Avengers as Invisible Jones, a Ministry Agent. I do hope they paid him well. His last film work was genre as well, The Low Budget Time Machine, in which he started as Dr. Bernard. (Died 2015.)
Born February 6, 1925 – Patricia S. Warrick, 94. Academic who did a lot of Seventies anthologies with Martin Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander with such such titles as Social Problems Through Science Fiction, American Government Through Science Fiction and Run to Starlight, Sports Through Science Fiction. She did write two books of a more serious nature by herself, The Cybernetic Imagination in Science Fiction and Mind in Motion: The Fiction of Philip K. Dick.
Born February 6, 1927 – Gerard O’Neill. Author, The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space and though lesser known, 2081: A Hopeful View of the Human Future. Conceptualized ideas of permanent space habitats and mass drivers. (Died 1992.)
Born February 6, 1931 – Rip Torn, 88. First genre work that comes to mind is of course RoboCop 3 and his Men in Black films. His first dip into our world comes as Dr. Nathan Bryce In The Man Who Fell to Earth. Yeah that film. Actually if you count Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he’s been a member of our community since his Twenties. He also shows up on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
The Questionable Content comic strip’s workplace is the Coffee of Doom coffeehouse. One of the baristas is highly educated.
However, there are serious problems with this series, which I am afraid is symptomatic for Weber’s recent work. Like the Safehold series, this one moves at a glacial pace. In 1009 pages, we advance from November 29, 1928 CE to May 3, 1929 CE. Barely three months… And this in a multiverse where it takes months even to send a message from one end of a chain of universes to another. The use of CE dates (in addition to the calendars used by the two opposing universes) makes me fear the worst: is the story at some point going to add a gate to our own universe? Which, of course, should be at some point in our future? Meaning that at a pace of 3 months per 1000 pages we have something like 400,000 pages to look forward to? Please no!
In fact, I’m not even sure that I will by the next installment in this series, because the glacial pace with which the narrative advances is not even the worst part of this book. No, those are the endless discussions of military logistics….
(10) THANKS FOR THE PRIVILEGE.
This went badly. Anand Giridharadas accepted a speaking engagement at a club
for wealthy progressives. Thread starts here.
Paleontologists in Argentina have uncovered a dinosaur unlike anything ever seen before. Alive some 140 million years ago, these majestic herbivores featured long, forward-pointing spikes running along their necks and backs. These spikes may have served a defensive role, but their exact purpose now presents a fascinating new mystery.
Locked inside the wood of Japan’s hinoki trees is an unprecedented 2,600 year-long record of rainfall patterns that are helping to piece together how weather shapes society.
At his laboratory in a wooded grove in northern Kyoto, Takeishi Nakatsuka holds up a vacuum sealed bag. Inside, bobbing in a bath of brown water, is a glistening disk the size of a dinner plate and the color of rich gravy. This soggy circle is the remnants of a 2,800-3,000-year-old tree, recovered from a wetland – water included, so the spongy wood does not deform – in Japan’s Shimane Prefecture, just north of Hiroshima. Within this ancient trunk lie secrets that can help us prepare for the future.
Nakatsuka, a palaeoclimatologist at Japan’s Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, along with a diverse team of 68 collaborators, has spent the last decade developing a novel method to reveal bygone precipitation patterns and interpret their effect on society. The results offer unprecedented insight into 2,600 years of Japanese rainfall patterns. By teasing out information locked inside the preserved wood of ancient forests, they are able to reveal just how much rain fell around the country over the past two and half millennia. It is an extraordinary record.
About every 400 years, the researchers found, the amount of rain falling on Japan would suddenly become extremely variable for a period. The nation would toggle between multi-decadal bouts of flood-inducing wetness and warmer, drier years that were favorable for rice cultivation. As the rains came and went, Japanese society prospered or suffered accordingly.
As weather patterns today increasingly defy expectations and extreme events become more frequent and severe, this window into past climate variability hints at what may be in store for us in the coming years. “Today is not different than 1,000 or 2,000 years ago,” Nakatsuka says. “We still have the same lifespans and we are still facing large, stressful multi-decadal variation.”
From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip WIlliams.]
(1) FANTASY LIST. ReedsyDiscovery offers its list of “The 100 Best Fantasy Series Ever”. It’s in alphabetical order by title – I was briefly worried, because if somebody wanted to put A Song of Ice and Fire in first place for some reason that could make sense, but it took me a moment to understand why Lord of the Rings was down around number 60.
I’ve read a dozen of these – you’re bound to do better!
The other day, Victor LaValle, a Queens-born author who employs the form of the fairy tale as a barbed hook to lure readers into serious treatments of race, parenting, and the internet, ordered dim sum with Marlon James, a Jamaican author of sweeping social epics that delight in challenging all the conventions of narrative. Both have book projects out this week. Black Leopard, Red Wolfis James’s highly anticipated follow-up to the Man Booker Prize–winning A Brief History of Seven Killings. LaValle has co-edited a new speculative anthology, A People’s Future of the United States, prompting 25 of today’s biggest SFF writers to contemplate the future — and dark present — of the country….
MJ: I gotta say, that’s maybe the first time anybody’s ever mentioned that I write about sex. I actually kinda screamed.
VL: Did you feel all right with me talking about that aspect of it?
MJ: Absolutely! I don’t mind people writing about the violence, but it tends to be all they write about.
VL: For a black writer writing about gangsters, violence is almost the go-to. But sex is absolutely a part of your work in such a big and vital way, as another form of — not just violence but as communion, communication. I was talking about this with my wife, and she pointed out that none of the reviews of your last book mentioned sex at all. So as I was reading this one, I was like, It’s here, too. I just need to say, people should talk about sex.
MJ: Literary realism has this sort of indie-film attitude toward sex. Violence is violent, but sex isn’t sexy. It’s compulsive; nobody’s happy; they enjoy the cigarette way more than the sex. Sometimes I read these novels, none of which I’ll name, and I go, It’s not that hard to enjoy sex, people.
(3) KLAGES INTERVIEW. Juliette
Wade and her team take another Dive Into
Worldbuilding with “Ellen
Klages and Passing Strange”. See the interview in video (below) or
read the synopsis at the link.
I asked Ellen what had been the initial seed of this novella. As it turns out, the novella has a very long history! Ellen told us that she started writing a novel or a short story or something in 1977 when she was 22 or 23, and had just moved to San Francisco, and just figured out that she was queer. She ended up wandering around a lot, learning about Mona’s and many of the other locations that appear in the novella. She did a lot of research and did what she described as cosplaying Haskel and Netterfield with her love of the time. She told us she thought it would be a novel. She had four scenes typed, and would read the scenes every few years and say to herself, “Damn, I should do something with that.”
Then, years later, Jonathan Strand asked her for a novella for Tor.com. By that point, Ellen says, she had four or five folders full of notes and photographs put together from all her years of research. At that point she did 3 1/2 more months of research before writing. She read about a dozen books on Chinatown. She said she started there because it was “the thing I knew I had to get right.” She filled eighty pages with notes, most of which didn’t get used. One page, which she showed us on video, was filled with Haskel’s signature. She explored the gay and lesbian historical archives about Mona’s.
Three of the characters in the story, Babs, Polly, and Franny, have appeared in other works of Ellen’s fiction. In “Out of Left Field,” Babs and Franny appear as relatives of the main characters. Polly appears in “Hey, Presto!” and Franny in “Caligo Lane.”
A chance discovery, hidden away in a series of 16th-century books deep in the archive of Bristol Central Library, has revealed original manuscript fragments from the Middle Ages which tell part of the story of Merlin the magician, one of the most famous characters from Arthurian legend.
Academics from the Universities of Bristol and Durham are now analysing the seven parchment fragments which are thought to come from the Old French sequence of texts known as the Vulgate Cycle or Lancelot-Grail Cycle, dating back to the 13th century.
Parts of the Vulgate Cycle were probably used by Sir Thomas Malory (1415-1471) as a source for his Le Morte D’Arthur (published in 1485 by William Caxton) which is itself the main source text for many modern retellings of the Arthurian legend in English, but no one version known so far has proven to be exactly alike with what he appears to have used.
(5) ONE FOR THE FILES. Colette
H. Fozard, Co-Chair
of the DC in 2021 Worldcon bid, writes:
I wanted to let you know that we made our bid filing with Dublin 2019 Site Selection and it has been accepted as complete by the Site Selection Administrator.
(6) ANNIE BELLET 10 YEARS IN SFF.
Celebratory thread starts here.
(7) EMSHWILLER OBIT. Author
Carol Emshwiller (1921-2019), winner of World
Fantasy Con’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) has died. The SFWA Blog has an
Author Carol Emshwiller (b.Carol Fries, April 12, 1921) died on February 2nd, 2019. Ms. Emshwiller began publishing science fiction in 1954, with the story “Built for Pleasure.” Emshwiller built a reputation as a short fiction author and Ursula Le Guin said that she had “one of the strongest, most complex, most consistently feminist voices in fiction.”
…SFWA President Cat Rambo remembers,
Carol Emshwiller was one of the greats of short story writing, right up there with Grace Paley, James Tiptree Jr., Ursula K. Le Guin, and R.A. Lafferty, and she pushed its edges in order to do amazing, delightful, and illuminating things–just as she did with her longer work. As a short story lover, I am gutted by this loss to the writing community and plan to spend part of today re-reading Report to the Men’s Club and Other Stories, with its beautifully incisive and unflinching stories.
from Melissa C. Beckman shows the author in front of a portrait of her painted
by her late husband Ed Emshwiller.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 5, 1904 – William S. Burroughs. I’m going to confess that I’ve read nothing by him so everything I know about I’ve absorbed by reading about him and seeing his fiction turned into films. So though ISFDB lists a number of his works as SF, I’ve not a clue what they’re like. So educate me please. (Died 1997.)
Born February 5, 1922 – Peter Leslie. Writer in a number of media franchises including The Avengers, The New Avengers (and yes they are different franchises), The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and The Invaders. ISFDB also lists has writing in the Father Hayes series but I don’t recognize that series. (Died 2007.)
Born February 5, 1934 – Malcolm Willits, 95. Author of The Wonderful Edison Time Machine: A Celebration of Life and Shakespeare’s Cat: A Play in Three Acts which he filmed as Shakespeare’s Cat. He also co-edited Destiny, an early Fifties fanzine with Jim Bradley.
Born February 5, 1940 – H.R. Giger. Conceptual designer in whole or part for Aliens, Alien³, Species and Alien: Resurrection to name a few films he’s been involved in. Did you know there are two Giger Bars designed by him, both in Switzerland? And yes they’re really weird. (Died 2014.)
Born February 5, 1964 – Laura Linney, 55. She first shows up in our corner of the Universe as Meryl Burbank/Hannah Gill on The Truman Show before playing Officer Connie Mills in The Mothman Prophecies (BARF!) and then Erin Bruner in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. She plays Mrs. Munro In Mr. Holmes, a film best described as stink, stank and stunk when it comes to all things Holmesian. Her last SF was as Rebecca Vincent in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
(9) LEAPING V. LOOKING BEFORE.
Jason Heller tells other dreamers not to wait. His thread starts here.
A bunch of sff authors begged to differ.
(10) ON THE RADIO. Genre
was shut out at the BBC
Audio Drama Awards 2019 but there’s the link in case you want to see
the results. However, the winner in the Best Actress category is known to fans
from her work on Torchwood.
WINNER: Eve Myles, 19 Weeks, director Helen Perry, BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Radio 4
(11) KLINGON CUTLERY. Police in Northwest England raided the home of a teenager
and seized a cache of weapons including one that was … more esoteric. The BBC
reports “A replica of a weapon wielded by a race of alien warriors in the
sci-fi TV show Star Trek has been seized by police from a 17-year-old boy’s
bedroom.” They did not, however find a ChonnaQ or D’k
tahg. “Star Trek Klingon blade seized from Widnes teen’s
When she found her way into science fiction and fantasy, those genres turned out to be well suited to her imagination, her curiosity, and her subversive suspicion that man was not the measure of all things. From the very beginning, in interviews and essays, Le Guin championed science fiction’s literary value. She did it most memorably in a 2014 speech when she accepted the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (or what writer China Miéville in the documentary calls “the welcome-to-the-canon award”). In that speech, she described herself and her colleagues as “realists of a larger reality.”
STX Entertainment has unveiled the second trailer for its animated UglyDolls movie via The Ellen Show, and the message of what looks to be a Trolls redo is actually very resonant for us all: Don’t shy away from what makes you different; embrace it.
The new trailer also explains where the singing UglyDolls come from — they’re factory rejects compared to the “normal” dolls of our world, and are left discarded in a town all their own. They’re all pretty much happy until a renegade by the name of Moxy (voiced by Kelly Clarkson) wants to explore the wider world and find the kid who will love her. Along with her friends, Moxy will travel to the Institute of Perfection, which pairs dolls with humans.
JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Juliette Wade, Cat Eldridge, Olav Rokne, John King
Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, rcade, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl
Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day microtherion.]