(1) CONVINCING DISNEY TO PAY. In“DisneyMustPay: authors form task force to fight for missing payments”, The Guardian’s Alison Flood tells how pressure is being applied to Disney.
A task force made up of science fiction and fantasy, romance, crime and horror authors has been formed in an attempt to persuade Disney into paying authors outstanding royalties for novelisations and comics relating to their properties, including Star Wars, Alien and Indiana Jones.
The so-called DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force includes major writers Neil Gaiman, Tess Gerritsen, Mary Robinette Kowal and Chuck Wendig among its members. It has been formed by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in partnership with the Author’s Guild, Horror Writers Association, National Writers Union, Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.
The author organisations came together after the SFWA became involved in the author Alan Dean Foster’s battle to get Disney to pay him royalties for his bestselling novelisations of Star Wars and Alien. Foster was asked to write his novelisation of Star Wars: A New Hope by George Lucas himself, which was published in 1976. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, it bought the rights to the Star Wars novel, while Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019 meant it also bought rights to Foster’s novelisations of Alien, Aliens and Alien 3….
But despite the books still being in print, Foster claimed that Disney was not paying him royalties for them and that he’d had to go public after the company ignored multiple queries from his agents, legal representatives and the SFWA. The latter claimed that Disney had argued that it had purchased the rights, but not the obligations of the contract.
The SLF $1000 Older Writers Grant is awarded annually, since 2004, to a writer who is fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. We are currently offering a $1000 grant annually, to be used as each writer determines will best assist his or her work.
This grant will be awarded by a committee of SLF staff members on the basis of merit. If awarded the grant, the recipient agrees to provide a brief excerpt from their work, and an autobiographical statement describing themselves and their writing (500-1000 words) for our files, and for possible public dissemination on our website.
This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working with speculative literature. Speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more. Any piece of literature containing a fabulist or speculative element would fall under our aegis, and would potentially be work that we would be interested in supporting.
(3) IT’S ABOUT TO HATCH. Melinda Snodgrass invites readers to look over her shoulder as she explains “How I Plot”.
I mentioned on Twitter that I was getting ready to outline or break two new novels, and a follower asked if I could describe my process. It ended up being a really looong Tweet thread so I thought I would pull it all together here for folks who might not be on Twitter. I always outlined from the time I first started writing, I think it was a function of having been a lawyer and knowing that a brief has to take a judge or a jury to a certain conclusion so structure is important. I’m also the type of person who likes to have an itinerary when I travel and hotels booked in advance. But it wasn’t until I got my first job in Hollywood that I truly learned how to “break a story”. Ira Behr, Rick Manning and Hans Beimler were my teachers and they were very good ones. So without further ado….
First, I never start anything unless I know the ending. I don’t mean the wrap up, falling action, but the actual exciting climax. The next thing I ask myself is “What is the theme of this book?” What is it I want to impart about the human condition? The human heart in conflict with itself as William Faulkner wrote.
My short hand for this is “Plot is the shit that happens. Theme is why it matters.”…
(4) CHRIS GARCIA’S SFF FILM PODCASTS. Chris Garcia says he’s rediscovered a ton of episodes of his old podcasts and has started posting them on a new series of feeds.
- 52 Episodes to Science Fiction Film Literacy – there are currently 46 episodes available from Pinecast (52 Episodes to Science Fiction Film Literacy) or Apple (?52 Episodes to Science Fiction Film Literacy on Apple Podcasts). In the coming months Chris will be recreating six that were corrupted and make them available, too.
- Fantasy Film 101 is available from Pinecast or Apple. Its 16 episodes cover fantasy film history, emphasizing short films, foreign works, and the super-artsy.
(5) JOHN HODGMAN WEIGHS IN ON TIME TRAVEL CONTROVERSY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is John Hodgman’s column from the April 18 New York Times Magazine.
Tony; “My son read that the director James Gunn’s favorite time-travel movie is A Christmas Carol. That isn’t time travel! Please find against Scrooge, my son, and James Gunn, just to be sure. (P.S. I was mistaken. Apparently, it was Robert Zemeckis who said this.”
Hodgman: “I had never thought of Scrooge’s big night as time travel! And for that reason I find against you. Back To The Future is wonderful but only one template for time travel in movies. There’s the multiple timelines concept, as in Avengers: Endgame, which would account, say, for an alternate universe in which Robert Zemeckis, director of Back To The Future, could be wrong about time travel. But as with all these stories, they are designed to inspire imagination, not stamp it out as you seek to do with your own Tiny Tim. G Buy your son the biggest goose in town as damages.”
(6) AND THAT’S NOT ALL! [Item by Daniel Dern.] The new season (starts May 2) of DC Legends Of Tomorrow looks like a wild whacky ride! Watch the trailer even if you currently don’t plan to watch the show! And io9’s post “Legends of Tomorrow Season 6 Trailer: Aliens, Disney, Reality TV” says that beyond what the trailer shows, the season will include other references —
… And that’s not all! Entertainment Weekly confirms there will also be a Clue episode, an ALF episode (because of course there is), and, according to showrunner Phil Klemmer, “another episode that’s virtually all Constantine (Matt Ryan) in the Spanish Civil War, and that could just as well be from the Constantine TV show,” which sounds completely awesome….
(7) FIRM GRASP ON THE CATNIP. In“Timothy Reviews The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin” at Camestros Felapton, Timothy the Talking Cat propounds literary truths about a great classic that were previously unsuspected by any human being. But fairly obvious to a cat, evidently.
Greetings, salutations and the assorted lyrics of Hello, Goodbye by the mop-headed foursome from Liverpool to you all. I am, once again, your inimitable host and master of ceremonies, Timothy the Talking Cat esquire, who shall be taking you on a journey into the foundational texts of modern scientifiction….
(8) IMMERSIVE WHO. From a Digital Spy report: “Doctor Who – John Barrowman and David Bradley for Time Fracture”.
The pair, who play Captain Jack Harkness and the First Doctor on the BBC sci-fi series respectively, have recorded cameo appearances for the Immersive Everywhere event.
… Time Fracture is set to take place at Immersive | LDN in London and will put fans in the middle of a new Doctor Who story set at the time of the Blitz.
(9) COLLINS OBIT. Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins died April 28. Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk had this to say:
“Today the nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration in astronaut Michael Collins. As pilot of the Apollo 11 command module – some called him ‘the loneliest man in history’ – while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot.
“Michael remained a tireless promoter of space. ‘Exploration is not a choice, really, it’s an imperative,’ he said. Intensely thoughtful about his experience in orbit, he added, ‘What would be worth recording is what kind of civilization we Earthlings created and whether or not we ventured out into other parts of the galaxy.’…”
(10) TODAY’S DAY.
- April 28 – National Superhero Day. Marvel, naturally, celebrated by advertising a forthcoming production.
(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
- April 28, 1946 — On this night in 1946, The Shadow’s “Dreams of Death” episode first aired. It starred Lloyd Lamble (of Quatermass 2 fame) as Lamont Cranston and The Shadow with Lyndall Barbour as Margot Lane and Lloyd Berrill as The Announcer. The Shadow in the radio series was quite different from the printed version as he was given the power to “cloud men’s minds so they cannot see him”. This was at odds with the pulp novel character who relied solely on stealth and his guns to get the job done. Likewise Margo Lane was a radio creation that would later be added to the pulps. You can hear the episode here.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born April 28, 1840 — Palmer Cox. He was known for The Brownies, his series of humorous books and comic strips about the troublesome but generally well meaning sprites. The cartoons were published in several books, such as The Brownies, Their Book for some forty years starting in the 1870s. Due to the immense popularity of his Brownies, one of the first popular handheld cameras was named after them, the Eastman Kodak Brownie camera. (Died 1924.) (CE)
- Born April 28, 1910 – Sam Merwin. Edited Fantastic, Startling, Thrilling, Wonder, later Fantastic Universe; for a while editor of Satellite, associate editor of Galaxy; his letter columns were lively; he generally improved our field. Six novels, six dozen shorter stories for us; also romance and detective fiction, under various names. (Died 1996) [JH]
- Born April 28, 1914 – Phil High. Working thirty years as a bus driver did not prevent, may have helped, his writing a dozen novels, fourscore shorter stories. See here. (Died 2006) [JH]
- Born April 28, 1917 — Robert Cornthwaite. Actor in such Fifties films as The Thing From Another World, The War of the Worlds, Men Into Space and Destination Space. He would be active well in the Twentieth Century in such productions as The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Colossus: The Forbin Project , The Six Million Dollar Man, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and White Dwarf. (Died 2006.) (CE)
- Born April 28, 1926 – Jim Bama, age 95. Fourscore covers, a few interiors for us; interviewed by Vincent Di Fate in SF Chronicle. Outside our field, Westerns, sports, commercial art. Here is The 480. Here is V. Here is He Could Stop the World. Illustrators Hall of Fame. Artbooks The Art of JB; The Western Art of JB; JB, American Realist with introduction by Harlan Ellison. [JH]
- Born April 28, 1926 – Bill Blackbeard. One short story that I know of; correspondent of Amazing, Fantasy Times, Riverside Quarterly, Weird Tales; fanziner, in various apas including The Cult. Extraordinary collector of comics in newspapers and otherwise, eventually 75 tons; he produced 200 books, and that ain’t the half of it. See here (note by Our Gracious Host), here (Fancyclopedia 3), here (The Comics Journal). (Died 2011) [JH]
- Born April 28, 1930 — Carolyn Jones. She began played the role of Morticia Addams (as well as her sister Ophelia and the feminine counterpart of Thing, Lady Fingers) in The Addams Family. Though she had an uncredited role in the original The War of the Worlds which was her first genre role as a Blonde Party Guest, and she was Theodora ‘Teddy’ Belicec in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. She had a recurring role as Marsha, Queen of Diamonds on Batman. (Died 1983.) (CE)
- Born April 28, 1948 — Terry Pratchett. Did you know that Steeleye Span did a superb job of turning his Wintersmith novel into a recording? You can read the Green Man review here as reviewed by Kage’s sister Kathleen. My favorite Pratchett? Well pretty much any of the Watch novels will do for a read for a night when I want something English and really fantastic. (Died 2015.) (CE)
- Born April 28, 1959 – Fran Dowd, age 62. Chaired Eastercon 49; with husband John Dowd active in Eastercons and Novacons; F & J both Fan Guests of Honour at Eastercon 61. Sofa, i.e. chair when we need one, of the Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Society. Posted her Books Read in 2020 here. [JH]
- Born April 28, 1970 – Danielle Ackley-McPhail, age 51. Nine novels, five dozen shorter stories, a dozen poems; a score of anthologies with various co-editors. Member and supporter of Broad Universe. Was at the last known Lunacon in 2017, then in 2019 HELIOsphere. She and husband Mike McPhail publish ESpec Books. [JH]
- Born April 28, 1971 — Chris Young, 50. Bryce Lynch in the Max Headroom series which I still hold is of the best SF series ever done. The only other genre I think he’s are two horror films, The Runestone and Warlock: The Armageddon. Unless you call voice roles in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue genre… (CE)
- Born April 28, 1982 — Samantha Lockwood, 39. Daughter of Gary Lockwood of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame. And she apparently was in yet another video Trek fanfic though this may not have ever gotten done before Paramount squashed them, Star Trek Equinox: The Night Of Time. There’s a trailer but no actual episode that I can find, so her role in Sci-Fighters which as Girlfriend is her only genre role. (CE)
(13) COMICS SECTION.
- The Far Side involves what happens when aliens are the ones posing a familiar nature question.
- Dracula said, “I never drink…wine.” The zombies in Bliss say something else.
(14) SUPER PRESSURE. “’What if Superman was your dad?’ Comics legend Mark Millar on Jupiter’s Legacy” – a profile in The Guardian.
… Jupiter’s Legacy is based on Millar and artist Frank Quitely’s 2013 cross-generational saga about rifts in a super-powered family, whose conflicting politics and ideologies manifest themselves as a global power struggle, causing significant collateral damage. “People expected it to be like Kick-Ass or Kingsman,” he says, “which are quite nihilistic, really violent and ironic, whereas this show is very sincere. Kick-Ass is a pastiche of superheroes, but Jupiter’s Legacy is a love letter. The big question is: is it ethically correct, if you have the power to save the world, to stand back and do nothing?”
… The series contains what Millar calls a “boomer versus millennial argument”. This is reflected mostly through the Sampson family: Sheldon (AKA The Utopian) and Grace (AKA Lady Liberty) are the elder, age-defying leaders of The Union, a paramilitary team that has symbolised the American ideal ever since they gained their superpowers during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Cut to the present day and we find their children, Chloe and Brandon, are increasingly disillusioned by their parents’ code and expectations. “Superman is the best guy you could possibly have,” says Millar, “but imagine if he was your dad? That’s the idea with The Utopian, who the whole world loves. But what does that mean for your children? Because the pressures are incredible.”
Daniel P. Dern adds:
Like many-to-most supercapes these days, the issues of power/authority along with “hard to have a life when you’re a cape” fuel this. It’s not as extreme as The Boys.
Mark Millar has written bunches of superhero comics (including an entire publishing brand of his own creations).
Frank Quitely is one of my favorite comic artists. For example, All-Star Superman (1-12), Flex Mentallo (1-4), a great run on New X-Men.
Jupiter’s Legacy is based on a manageable-to-read # of comics — 24 issues across 5 books/volumes, plus 10 issues of JUPITER’S CIRCLE, a prequel series.
Wanna read before, after or during watching:
- Library-e-borrow LEGACY books 1-4 via HooplaDigital
- Buy the individual comic issues or the collected-into-books
- Borrow the books from your library
- Buy & e-read via Kindle, ComiXology.
I enjoyed the comics; I’m ready to watch the show and see how it goes.
(15) STRETCH RUN. [Item by Michael Kennedy.] After achieving all the basic goals on flights 1–3, Ingenuity is now ready for a little stretch. Stretch goal, that is. Flight 4 will go further, faster, and take more photos than ever before. As for what might happen on flight 5, project Chief Engineer Bob Balaram said, “We have been kicking around several options regarding what a flight five could look like. But ask me about what they entail after a successful flight four.” “With Goals Met, NASA to Push Envelope with Ingenuity Mars Helicopter”.
… The fourth Ingenuity flight from Wright Brothers Field, the name for the Martian airfield on which the flight took place, is scheduled to take off Thursday, April 29, at 10:12 a.m. EDT (7:12 a.m. PDT, 12:30 p.m. local Mars time), with the first data expected back at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 1:21 p.m. EDT (10:21 a.m. PDT).
“From millions of miles away, Ingenuity checked all the technical boxes we had at NASA about the possibility of powered, controlled flight at the Red Planet,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. “Future Mars exploration missions can now confidently consider the added capability an aerial exploration may bring to a science mission.”
The Ingenuity team had three objectives to accomplish to declare the technology demo a complete success: They completed the first objective about six years ago when the team demonstrated in the 25-foot-diameter space simulator chamber of JPL that powered, controlled flight in the thin atmosphere of Mars was more than a theoretical exercise. The second objective – to fly on Mars – was met when Ingenuity flew for the first time on April 19. The team surpassed the last major objective with the third flight, when Ingenuity rose 16 feet (5 meters), flying downrange 164 feet (50 meters) and back at a top speed of 6.6 feet per second (2 meters per second), augmenting the rich collection of knowledge the team has gained during its test flight campaign.
“When Ingenuity’s landing legs touched down after that third flight, we knew we had accumulated more than enough data to help engineers design future generations of Mars helicopters,” said J. “Bob” Balaram, Ingenuity chief engineer at JPL. “Now we plan to extend our range, speed, and duration to gain further performance insight.”…
(16) THE HOLE MOON CATALOG. The New York Times echoes an artist’s question: “Why Aren’t More Moon Craters Named for Women?” Illustrations at the link.
The moon’s surface is pockmarked with craters, the relics of violent impacts over cosmic time. A few of the largest are visible to the naked eye, and a backyard telescope reveals hundreds more. But turn astronomical observatories or even a space probe on our nearest celestial neighbor, and suddenly millions appear.
Bettina Forget, an artist and researcher at Concordia University in Montreal, has been drawing lunar craters for years. Ms. Forget is an amateur astronomer, and the practice combines her interests in art and science. “I come from a family of artists,” she said. “I had to fight for a chemistry set.”
Moon craters are named, according to convention, for scientists, engineers and explorers. Some that Ms. Forget draws have familiar names: Newton, Copernicus, Einstein. But many do not. Drawing craters with unfamiliar names prompted Ms. Forget to wonder: Who were these people? And how many were women?
“Once this question embeds itself in your mind, then you’ve got to know,” she said.
Ms. Forget pored over records of the International Astronomical Union, the organization charged with awarding official names to moon craters and other features on worlds around the solar system. She started underlining craters named for women.
“There was not much to underline,” Ms. Forget said.
Of the 1,578 moon craters that had been named at that time, only 32 honored women (a 33rd was named in February)….
(17) EIGHTIES FLICKS. “80s Sci-Fi Films Explored in Trailer For The Nostalgic Documentary In Search Of Tomorrow” — GeekTyrant tells why it’s worth watching.
A new trailer has been released for the upcoming documentary In Search of Tomorrow, which taps into the nostalgia of the sci-fi films of the 80s. For any of you who grew up in the 80s and enjoyed these films, this is the kind of doc that you can truly appreciate.
The film comes from journalist and filmmaker David A. Weiner and it’s a “four-hour-plus retrospective of ’80s sci-fi movies featuring interviews with actors, directors, writers, SFX experts, and composers.” They have over 75+ interviews and there are a lot of stories and revelations that come to light….
(18) SPOILERS MAYBE? Anthony Mackie was on Colbert last night to discuss being the new Captain America and to marvel at a piece of The Falcon swag Colbert acquired. “’Humbling And Exciting’ – Anthony Mackie On Becoming Captain America”.
(19) COLBERT (ON FRESH AIR) TALKS ABOUT HIS INTRO TO SF & F. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Among other things. The SF stuff starts around minute 30, where he names a handful of authors that many Filers will know, including a few that you rarely hear in mainstream conversations, like A.E. Van Vogt Also, how Joe Biden is arguably (my word not his or Terri’s) part of his “origin” story going from playing a character to being a (night show) host as himself. “Stephen Colbert On Missing His Live Audience And Making Comedy A Family Business” on NPR.
On why he turned to sci-fi and fantasy in his grief when his brothers and father were killed in a plane crash when he was a kid
Anything is possible [in fantasy stories]. Often it’s a young man who finds himself with extraordinary powers that he didn’t have at the beginning of the story. There’s a “chosen one” in fantasy stories. Often there’s a missing father figure — if they’re not just orphans outright. … I think being able to make … an alternate world where there are new rules, or the character who you identify with can make his own rules, maybe even bring back the dead or make things impossible possible … I think that’s related to being in a constant state of grief and anxiety and needing a place to be able to escape to.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, JJ, BravoLimaPoppa, Martin Morse Wooster, IanP, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Daniel Dern, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lenora Rose.]