(1) NO MCKELLEN AUTOBIO AFTER ALL. In The Hollywood Reporter, “Ian McKellen Explains Why he Returned $1.4M Memoir Advance”.
“It was a bit painful — I didn’t want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn’t understood so far.”
The world isn’t going to get to read Sir Ian McKellen’s autobiography.
Last year it emerged that the celebrated and Oscar-nominated thespian would be penning his own memoir in a deal with publishers Hodder & Stoughton reported to be worth £1 million ($1.4 million). But earlier this month the 76-year-old stage and screen icon revealed that he’d pulled the plug on the contract.
(2) OVERFLOWING WITH VERSE. Poems that Make Grown Women Cry edited by Anthony and Ben Holden gets a plug at Book View Café . One of the contributors, Ursula K. Le Guin, explains her choice of a poem in the collection:
I chose Robinson Jeffers’ “Hurt Hawks” because it always makes me cry. I’ve never yet got through the last lines without choking up. Jeffers is an uneven poet, and this is an uneven pair of poems, intemperate and unreasonable. Jeffers casts off humanity too easily. But he was himself a kind of maimed, hurt hawk, and his identification with the birds is true compassion. He builds pain unendurably so that we can know release.
(3) KUZNIA MOVES UP. ”Job Moves” at Publishers Weekly reports “Yanni Kuznia, previously director of production, is being promoted to managing editor and COO at Subterranean Press.” SF Signal did an interview with Kuznia last year when she was still Director of Production.
AJ: Subterranean Press has a pretty small staff, so everyone wears multiple hats. Can you tell us a little about what you do at Subterranean? What is a typical work week like for you?
YK: As Director of Production, it’s my job to keep titles moving through the production machine. I need to make sure every book is proofed, art is commissioned, signature sheets are designed and signed, ARCs are ordered and sent out, authors receive and return page proofs, and that everything is reviewed one last time before we go to press. Of course, I have help doing all of this. I have two wonderful people, Geralyn Lance and Kyle Brandon, who work under me in Production, overseeing the day-to-day of several titles each. We talk continuously throughout the process to make sure every milestone is hit on time.
(4) FAITH. Deborah J. Ross at Book View Café finds three ways out for writers forced to deal with their “Original Vision vs. Compromising With the Market”. Number two is – go indie.
If you believe in your work, how can you be sure but this is not infatuation with your own words but that your work truly is of high quality? Every writer I know goes through spasms of self-doubt. Writing requires a bizarre combination of megalomania and crushing self-doubt. We need the confidence to follow our flights of fancy, and at the same time, we need to regard our creations with a critical eye. Trusted readers, including workshops like Clarion and Clarion West, critique groups, fearless peers, and freelance editors can give us invaluable feedback on whether our work really is as good as we think it might be. Of course, they can be wrong. It may be that what we are trying to do falls so far outside conventional parameters that only we can judge its value. It may also be that we see on the page not what is actually there but what we imagined and hoped.
Assuming that we are writing from our hearts and that the product of our creative labors is indeed extraordinary, what are we to do when faced with closed doors and regretful rejection letters? As discouraging as this situation seems, we do have choices. We writers are no longer solely dependent upon traditional publishers. We live in an era where writers can become publishers, and can produce excellent quality books, both in digital form and Print On Demand.
However, not all of us are cut out to format, publish, and market our work. All of these activities require time in which to acquire skills and time to actually perform them. That’s time we have lost for writing. While becoming your own publisher is a valid choice, it is not right for everyone. Some of us would much rather write in the next book.
(5) YURI’S NIGHT WORLD SPACE PARTY IN SAN DIEGO. Down in San Diego on April 9, Yuri’s Night celebrations will include a movie will include an sf movie showing. They’ll show Contact free at 7:00 p.m. in Studio 106 (San Diego Reader Building, 2323 Broadway, 92102).
Astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway has long been interested in contact to faraway lands, a love fostered in her childhood by her father, Ted Arroway, who passed away when she was nine years old leaving her then orphaned. Her current work in monitoring for extraterrestrial life is based on that love and is in part an homage to her father. Ever since funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) was pulled on her work, which is referred to some, including her NSF superior David Drumlin, as more science fiction than science, Ellie, with a few of her rogue scientist colleagues, have looked for funding from where ever they could get it to continue their work. When Ellie and her colleagues hear chatter originating from the vicinity of the star Vega, Ellie feels vindicated. But that vindication is short lived when others, including politicians, the military, religious leaders and other scientists such as Drumlin, try to take over her work.
Although it is free, please RSVP as seating is limited.
(6) GUESS WHO? The website for Innominate (“The Con with no name!”) is up.
Innominate is the 2017 Eastercon, the British National Science Fiction Convention. Eastercon’s have been held over the Easter weekend every year since 1955 and is a regular gathering place for science fiction fans from around the UK and elsewhere to celebrate the genre in all of its formats.
Eastercons stand in a long tradition which we intend to celebrate, while aiming to bring in new elements too. The convention will cover books, film, television, art and costume and the programme will include talks, discussions, exhibits, workshops and other entertainment.
(7) FIREFLY LESSONS. Tom Knighton points out what businesses can learn from his favorite TV series in “Loyalty, Firefly, and Captain Mal”.
From a management perspective, Mal may be an ideal leader to emulate. Oh sure, there are others out there. Real life examples exist. I’ve been blessed to work with someone like that myself, but not everyone is exposed to that. However, anyone can pop in a DVD and watch Mal and learn.
So why is Mal so ideal?
First, he is a hands-on leader. In the pilot episode, Mal and Jayne are moving crates of their ill-gotten gains, stashing them where prying eyes won’t see. He doesn’t relegate the task to anyone else, but instead works just as hard as his crew does. When they don’t eat, he doesn’t eat. When they work, he works.
This firmly establishes his belief that he’s not better than anyone, despite being captain. Yes, he issues orders, but because he’s shown that he’ll do anything he asks others to do, his orders are followed.
Second, his top-down loyalty. Mal doesn’t have to like a member of his crew to be loyal. He doesn’t care for Simon, not in the least. It’s obvious to everyone, especially Simon. However, he refused to leave a member of his crew behind, regardless of his personal feelings about the man.
(8) OTTO BINDER BIO. Bill Schelly’s Otto Binder, The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary is coming back into print June 7 from North Atlantic Books (paperback, 320 pages, $19.95.) It has 28 new images, of which 14 are new photographs.
Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary chronicles the career of Otto Binder, from pulp magazine author to writer of Supergirl, Captain Marvel, and Superman comics. As the originator of the first sentient robot in literature (“I, Robot,” published in Amazing Stories in 1939 and predating Isaac Asimov’s collection of the same name), Binder’s effect on science fiction was profound. Within the world of comic books, he created or co-created much of the Superman universe, including Smallville; Krypto, Superboy’s dog; Supergirl; and the villain Braniac. Binder is also credited with writing many of the first “Bizarro” storylines for DC Comics, as well as for being the main writer for the Captain Marvel comics. In later years, Binder expanded from comic books into pure science writing, publishing dozens of books and articles on the subject of satellites and space travel as well as UFOs and extraterrestrial life. Comic book historian Bill Schelly tells the tale of Otto Binder through comic panels, personal letters, and interviews with Binder’s own family and friends. Schelly weaves together Binder’s professional successes and personal tragedies, including the death of Binder’s only daughter and his wife’s struggle with mental illness. A touching and human story, Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary is a biography that is both meticulously researched and beautifully told, keeping alive Binder’s spirit of scientific curiosity and whimsy.
(9) PENNED BY C. S. LEWIS. There are a couple dozen entries on Brenton Dickieson’s list of “Photographic Plates of C.S. Lewis’ Manuscripts and Letters”, and several illustrate the post.
A reader suggested I add to my collection of previously unpublished C.S. Lewis manuscripts (“The Lost-But-Found Works of C.S. Lewis“) by providing a list of manuscripts that show up in photographic plates in books and journals. I know that most of these are published by now, but this list is valuable for people who want to get to know C.S. Lewis’ handwriting.
(10) RACHEL SWIRSKY INTERVIEWS FRAN WILDE. Rachel Swirsky conducts a “Silly Interview with Fran Wilde, expert on man-made wings”.
3. Have you ever done skydiving or hang gliding or anything similar?
I haven’t! I’m a sailor. I have relatives who hang-glide, and I spent a lot of my childhood watching storms roll in on the cliffs of the Chesapeake Bay (it gets really windy), but in order to do the research for UPDRAFT, I wanted to feel the physics of being in a wind tunnel, and I wanted to make sure I was writing a flying book, not a sailing book turned sideways. So I went indoor skydiving, which was a hoot. And very spinny.
The wings in the book aren’t hang-gliding wings, they’re more like a cross between furlable wings and wing-suit wings, so I also watched a lot of wingsuit fliers on long-flights and also doing particularly dangerous things like flying through canyons. I researched about 2,000 years of man-made wings in history, and talked a lot with engineers who understand the physics of foils – aka: wings.
(11) YA REVIEWS YA. My favorite YA reader, Sierra Glyer, added a review of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas to her blog.
…It is about a 18 year old assassin named Celaena Sardothien. She is the most feared assassin on the continent but one day she gets caught. After she gets caught she is sent to a slave camp and this is where the book starts….
(12) WEIST ESTATE AUCTION. The catalog for this year’s Jerry Weist estate auction (to be held at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention April 22-24, 2016) is now available. Over 4,000 pulps, dime novels, men’s adventure magazines and other magazines. Here’s a link to the catalog (19 pages).
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL
- Born April 5, 1908 – Bette Davis
(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
- Born April 5, 1916 — Gregory Peck. Among his many roles: Ahab in John Huston’s Moby Dick, scripted by Ray Bradbury.
- Born April 5, 1933 — Frank Gorshin, who played The Riddler on Batman and the bigoted half-whiteface, half-blackface alien Bele on an episode of Star Trek.
(15) THREE-BODY. Ethan Mills tackles the “Wobbly Relations of Past, Present, and Future: The Three-Body problem by Liu Cixin (Translated by Ken Liu) at Examined Worlds.
The Philosophy Report: Is Nature Uniform? What to Expect from ETs?
Philosophy is mentioned several times, including the Chinese philosopher, Mozi, and the German philosopher, Leibniz, who are both characters in the game. Aside from such small connections, two major issues are the uniformity of nature and the reaction to extraterrestrial intelligence.
In philosophy of science (and regular life for that matter) we all rely on what some philosophers have called the principle of the uniformity of nature. This is usually discussed in (constant) conjunction with David Hume’s problem of induction. Could we live as successfully in the world as we do, could we do science, if the laws of nature were not in some sense uniform across time and space? If the laws of nature varied over time or between countries or planets, could we really get around? Could we do science? Or — closer to Hume’s point — whether this principle is really true or not, should we believe it? Could we stop believing it even if it turned out to be unjustified?
But what if we had lived on a planet where as far as we could tell the laws of nature do sometimes change, where things are never the same over time, could we have evolved as we did and could we have developed science? Those are some of the intriguing questions raised in The Three-Body Problem.
(16) HEARING MCCARTHY. TC McCarthy is not alone in his opinion:
There are so many writers who agree with me re #hugoawards and are too scared to "come out"- I stopped fearing a long time ago.
— Based SciFi (@tcmccarthy_) April 4, 2016
(17) GETTING THE CAMEL’S NOSE UNDER THE TENT. A list of “11 sci-fi and fantasy books for people who don’t like sci-fi and fantasy” at Minnesota Public Radio News.
Sci-fi picks for people who don’t like sci-fi
So, you think you don’t like sci-fi. What turned you off?
Long descriptions of space ships and their alternative fuels? Too many alien names to keep straight? Just not into “nerd” stuff? Send your stereotypes packing to Planet Zurlong for a minute, and try one of these books that may offer you a new perspective on the genre.
For the record, most of these fall into the category of “soft” science fiction. “Hard” science fiction revels in technical details, whereas soft is not as focused on the specificity of its futuristic elements. Consider this a “soft landing” on your genre dive.
(But yes, sometimes descriptions of space ships can be fascinating.)
1) “The Wool Omnibus” by Hugh Howey
When Howey’s work first caught critics’ eyes in 2012, it was dubbed the “sci-fi version of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.'” That comparison is purely about how the book was published, not about the quantity of whips or handcuffs in it. Like “Shades,” it took off as a self-published Internet phenomenon.
Howey posted the first 60 pages of “The Wool Omnibus” online as a standalone short story in 2011, but within a year, that turned into a 500-plus page project that topped bestseller lists. The books take place in the Silo, a post-apocalyptic city built more than a hundred stories underground.
(18) DANIEL RADCLIFFE RETURNS. Swiss Army Man will be in theaters June 17.
There are 7 billion people on the planet. You might be lucky enough to bump into the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
(19) BFG OFFICIAL UK TRAILER 2.
From Director Steven Spielberg, “The BFG” is the exciting tale of a young London girl and the mysterious Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, “The BFG” (Big Friendly Giant) was published in 1982 and has been enchanting readers of all ages ever since.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Will R., and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor ULTRAGOTHA.]