(1) SURREAL CEREAL. “When I just saw this, I did suddenly wonder, ‘Is nothing sacred?’” says James H. Burns.
(2) RED LIGHT AT MORNING. Bob Byrne’s “The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: ‘Rudolph’s Performance Review’” at Black Gate continues his tradition of holiday humor.
You’d think the reindeer with the shiny red nose would have knocked his annual review out of the park after that foggy Christmas Eve, eh? Well, that Santa is one tough reviewer. Read on, and I wish you a safe, happy and blessed Merry Christmas….
(3) DON’T LINK. Jenneral Geek’s theory about Doctor Who’s most popular episode suggests “’Blink’ Might be Even More Timey-Wimey Than You Think”.
Now, you may also remember a flirtatious babe from the same episode named Billy Shipton. Billy is a detective investigating the disappearance of people in relation to Wester Drumlins. This is what brings us to the lovely meet-cute in which Billy Shipton and Sally Sparrow flirt in front of a dusty blue police box. Billy gets Sally’s number and when he asks for her full name she retorts, “Sally Shipton” without thinking, followed by her instant mortification and departure. Cut scene and fast forward – Billy gets Weeping Angel’d back to 1969 where he receives instructions from the Doctor not to contact Sally Sparrow until after their original encounter. Billy lives his life back to 2007 and calls Sally. They re-meet minutes later for Sally and 38 years later for Billy in his hospital room. An elderly Billy tells Sally Sparrow information that is relevant to the plot, BUT he also tells her that he married a woman coincidentally named Sally from the 70’s. He even shows a picture of his dearly beloved, Sally Shipton.
I know this is timey-wimey enough as is, but what if there is more? At this point of the episode I had to press pause because my mind was going through the time vortex. Hey, how cool would it be if Billy Shipton actually married Kathy Wainwright’s daughter? So, I couldn’t resist whipping out my handy dandy calculator and pretending like I don’t blow at math.
(4) RETROSPECTIVE. TCM Remembers 2015 honors actors, actresses and filmmakers who passed away this year, among them Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lee, Rod Taylor and Wes Craven.
(5) BSFA AWARDS. Nominations are open for the British Science Fiction Association Awards through December 31.
Who can nominate?
You may nominate a work if YOU:
- Are a member of the BSFA
- Send or give your nominations to the Awards Administrator to arrive by the 31st December of each year.
See here for further details.
(6) SEE ME. Now I’m surprised John Scalzi didn’t drop in this morning to support Buckaroo Banzai in Hampus’ next set of brackets.
All these science fiction reboots and sequels and franchises AND WHERE THE HELL IS MY GODDAMN BUCKAROO BANZAI REMAKE PEOPLE
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) December 15, 2015
I swear to God. Someone give me the rights. I WILL MAKE IT MYSELF AND IT WILL BE PERFECT LIKE TOMMY
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) December 15, 2015
But John, do you mean Perfect like Perfect Tommy, or like Roger Daltrey’s Tommy?
(7) ACKERMANSION II. There’s a petition at change.org calling on the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission to “Declare Forrest Ackerman’s house a historic monument!” The Commission considered an application at its December 3 meeting – I don’t know what they decided.
Forrest Ackerman is considered “the father of science fiction.” He was a magazine editor, science fiction writer and literary agent who represented Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, J.P. Lovecraft and L. Ron Hubbard, among many others. His magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, was an inspiration to writers and filmmakers like Stephen Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Stephen King, J.J. Abrams and Guillermo del Toro. Ackerman housed his extensive collection of sci-fi memorabilia in a private museum at 4513 Russell Ave. in Los Angeles and this home was dubbed the “Acker-Mini-Mansion.” The Smithsonian described Ackerman’s home as “one of the 10 best private museums in the country” open to visitors every Saturday since 1951 until Ackerman’s death in 2008. Please support designating Ackerman’s house a historic monument to prevent its demolition by developers who want to “put up a parking lot.”
I’m guessing “put up a parking lot” is a reference to Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” rather than an immediate plan for the property.
(8) THE VOICE. Last summer Natalie Luhrs raised $5,125 from folks who wanted her to livetweet her experience reading a Theodore Beale novel, and unlock another major incentive. And now that incentive has arrived — “Bad Life Decisions: Mary Robinette Kowal Reads Theodore Beale. Sexily” — at Pretty Terrible.
(9) OKORAFOR. Nnedi Okorafor has been named the winner of Brittle Paper’s African Literary Person of the Year Award.
Brittle Paper is a blog written by Duke Ph.D. student Ainehi Edoro.
The 2015 African literary person of the year goes to Nnedi Okorafor for the many ways in which Africa inspires innovation in her approach to storytelling.
The way she writes about Africa is refreshingly different. Take for example her 2014 novel titled Lagoon. The novel follows the near-apocalyptic chaos that takes over Lagos when aliens land on its shores. In the novel, she pushes us to imagine a futuristic but recognizable Lagos swarming with aliens and creatures. The novel is a mashup of cultural iconographies that range from alien spaceships and viral youtube videos to Igbo ancestral masquerades and folkloric archetypes to Karl Marx and Danfo buses. She tells a story about Lagos by situating the city, its fears and anxieties, its history and its landscape within a global network of literary traditions and philosophical concerns. A novel such as Lagoon brings to the conclusion that African life is so complex, so rich that to adequately give an account of it we have to draw inspiration from everywhere—from Nollywood but also from Star Wars, from Esu but also from American rappers, from Pentecostal churches but also from underground LGBT communities.
(10) Today In History
- Born December 14, 1900 – The quantum theory
Through physical experiments, Planck demonstrated that energy, in certain situations, can exhibit characteristics of physical matter. According to theories of classical physics, energy is solely a continuous wave-like phenomenon, independent of the characteristics of physical matter. Planck’s theory held that radiant energy is made up of particle-like components, known as “quantum.” The theory helped to resolve previously unexplained natural phenomena such as the behavior of heat in solids and the nature of light absorption on an atomic level. In 1918, Planck was rewarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work on blackbody radiation.
(11) TOY AUCTION. An auction of over 600 Star Wars collectible toys on December 11 brought in more than $500,000.
The higher-end items in Nigo’s collection were either rare or still in the original packaging, making them desirable collectors’ items.
A rare Luke Skywalker figure — one of only 20 confirmed — was expected to sell for $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for $25,000.
The highest-selling lot, a seven-figure multi-pack sold exclusively in Canada in 1980, garnered $32,500 at the auction.
Among the items were two sets of “Star Wars” coins which were estimated to sell for between $25,000 and $35,000. They sold for $27,500.
(12) LITTLE TEENY EYES. Supervike is creating Monster Hunter International miniatures.
I paint and model little toy soldiers, and since there really aren’t any commercially available that represent the world of MHI, I’m trying to convert and paint existing miniatures to fit and represent the characters.
The scale of these miniatures is about 28mm. That just means the ‘average’ man of 6ft tall or so, is represented as 28mm tall. So, that’s a bit over an inch tall for us that never could figure out the metric system (thanks Jimmy Carter).
Some are fascinating, like the set in “It’s beginning to look a lot like Fishmen”.
Deep ones, those aquatic Lovecraftian fishmen, are only briefly mentioned in Monster Hunter International. They serve as the badguys in a mission previously mentioned with a SEaL team and a cruise ship.
Turns out that the Deep Ones aren’t just interested in mindlessly attacking humans, they also prefer to lay their eggs inside a human host. I’m assuming the outcome (other than the obvious madness) would be something like these guys. These are Deep One Hybrids, the spawns of such an unholy union.
(13) PATENT FENDING. The Washington Post’s Larry Downs names “The 4 worst patents of 2015” after this introduction:
This was another depressing year for patent law, which long ago lost sight of its constitutional moorings as a balanced and limited source of incentives for innovators. Though Congress, the courts and the Patent and Trademark Office each tried in their own way to rein in a system widely-regarded as out of control, in the end nobody made much progress.
On just one day in November, for example, over 200 new patent lawsuits were filed, as plaintiffs rushed to beat a change in federal procedure that could require more specific claims. Most were from companies that buy up patents of dubious quality and use them to extract nuisance settlements from actual innovators….
To give just a sense of just how out of touch the law has become, I asked Daniel Nazer, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to highlight the worst patents he’s come across this year. Nazer, who holds the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents (yes, really), had little trouble coming up with these four, culled from a monthly “Stupid Patent of the Month” post he writes for the EFF site. (The complete list is available here.) Each one highlights a different crisis in our badly-misaligned patent system…
(14) VASICEK. Joe Vasicek’s latest proposition is “Disagreement is not offensive”, at One Thousand And One Parsecs.
If you take offense whenever people disagree with you, chances are that you’ll never be able to cut it as a writer. In order to write well, you have to be able to see things from inside the heads of people who aren’t like you and probably don’t agree with you.
This is why I support Sad Puppies: because the SJW types in Science Fiction are usually the first to cry offense over anything that doesn’t fit into their narrow worldviews. This naturally makes them as vehemently opposed to intellectual diversity as they (falsely) claim that the Puppies are to racial, sexual, and cultural diversity. When you look at the books and stories that these people uphold as shining examples of the genre, their rigidly ideological worldview is as plain as the emperor’s new clothes.
Disagreement is not “offensive.” In fact, it’s a sign of respect. If your opponent thought that your opinion or argument wasn’t worth engaging with, then they simply would have ignored you. By saying “I don’t agree,” they are acknowledging your position in an intellectually honest way. When you willfully misrepresent your opponent’s views, or bully them into silence, it is a sign of disrespect that warrants taking offense. And who is most guilty of that? I’ll give you two chances, and the first one doesn’t count.
(15) THE MAX. Blunt is one way of describing Max Booth III’s “Sad Puppies and The Goosebumps Rap: The Best and Worst Things to Happen to Literature in 2015” at Lit Reactor.
The KKK Sad Puppies are a group of white supremacists science fiction writers set on fixing the Hugo Awards. They are very pathetic nerds who won’t be satisfied as long as people other than straight white males are represented in science fiction. Keep the genre pure, they say. Heil Hitler, they probably also say. Our penises are tiny and we need to make others feel miserable to satisfy ourselves, they almost definitely say. So, in 2015, they managed to get Puppy nominees in almost every category. Because of this clusterfuck, many categories were given “No Awards”.
World Fantasy Award
Hey, speaking of racists. This year also saw a very nice and welcome change: Lovecraft was removed as the model for the World Fantasy Award. Many non-terrible people celebrated this victory, and many other terrible people whined about it. Especially ST Joshi, whose recent blog posts are both hilarious and sad. It’s still unknown what will take Lovecraft’s place as the trophy model. I’ve already suggested myself, but have yet to hear back. I’ve also heard many people suggest a dragon, but dragons as we all know, are lame. Honestly, a giant dong might be the way to go.
(16) ONE STAR (WARS) RATING. Milo Yiannopolous argues ”Star Wars Is Garbage” at Breitbart.com.
With Star Wars, liberal Hollywood got it all wrong. They get everything wrong, of course, but this movie franchise really takes the biscuit. They turned the heroes into villains, and the villains into shining beacons of virtue. With a new film on the horizon, I feel duty-bound to warn you about the desperate shortcomings of this particular entertainment phenomenon.
If we’re honest with ourselves, the real wretched hive of scum and villainy is Skywalker Ranch, where George Lucas and his band of morally dissolute bastards created the Star Wars universe, a blight on western civilisation and culture.
This magisterial bit of trolling includes lines such as —
Jabba the Hutt was actually pretty progressive.
Oh, and by the way, Darth Vader’s daughter was installed as the leader of the galaxy after he killed the rightful and democratically elected leader, Emperor Palpatine. I’m just saying.
(17) USE THE SOURCE. A “Google Chrome extension replaces all mentions of Donald Trump with Voldemort” reports the Telegraph.
The Trump2Voldemort extension for the web browser replaces any text referring to the Republican candidate with ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ or ‘Tom Riddle’
The source is here:
— Sarah Xiyi Chen (@Sarah_X_Chen) December 10, 2015
(18) ULTIMATE TIME SAVER. Michael McNulty’s YouTube video plays Star Wars I-VI simultaneously in six side-by-side windows!
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Jerry Pournelle, and Brian Z. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day James H. Burns.]