(1) SIGN UP AND LINE UP. LAist says “You Can Reserve Star Wars Land Tickets At Disneyland Starting Next Week”.
Crowds are expected to be intense for Disneyland’s new section of the park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The company announced that you’ll need reservations (at least at first) to take this particular intergalactic journey. Now they’ve released details on just how and when you can score those reservations.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, aka Batuu, aka Black Spire Outpost, aka Star Wars Land opens Friday, May 31, and reservations open on May 2 — a week from Thursday. The reservations are free and are currently required to get into Galaxy’s Edge between opening day and Sunday, June 23.
Those reservations open May 2 at 10 a.m., and the park promises that full details on how to make those reservations will be released that morning at 8 a.m. You’ll be able to get those specifics via the Disney Parks Blog and Disneyland.com.
But “First visitors to Disney’s Star Wars land will get just four hours to see it all” warns the Los Angeles Times.
The opening of the 14-acre land is expected to create such a crush of fans that Disneyland engineers and landscapers have been working for several months to come up with ways to widen walkways and improve queueing systems to accommodate more visitors.
Disneyland managers announced last month that the efforts to ease congestion included removing several smoking areas from the resort and banning extra wide strollers by May 1.
The new land, which will resemble an out-of-the-way outpost on the planet Batuu, will feature two rides, four eateries, one space-themed cantina and five retail shops.
Only one of the two rides in the land — the interactive Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — will operate when the land opens. The second attraction in the new land — Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — will open later in the year.
(2) THEY DO NOT LIKE IT. The Guardian reports: “Tolkien estate disavows forthcoming film starring Nicholas Hoult”.
On Tuesday morning, the estate and family of Tolkien issued a terse statement in which they announced their “wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise or participate in the making of this film”, and that “they do not endorse it or its content in any way”.
A spokesperson for the estate told the Guardian that the statement was intended to make its position clear, rather than heralding future legal action.
John Garth, author of the biography Tolkien and the Great War, said he felt the estate’s response to the film was “sensible”.
“Biopics typically take considerable licence with the facts, and this one is no exception. Endorsement by the Tolkien family would lend credibility to any divergences and distortions. That would be a disservice to history,” he said. “As a biographer, I expect I’ll be busy correcting new misconceptions arising from the movie. I hope that anyone who enjoys the film and is interested in Tolkien’s formative years will pick up a reliable biography.”
(3) STOKERCON. StokerCon 2019 chair Brian W. Matthews wrote a stronger-than-average post about the convention’s antiharassment policy: “A Fellowship of Respect”.
…Reports of harassment at StokerCon™ 2019 will be followed up by the convention chairs, Lisa Morton and Brian Matthews. Anyone found to have violated these rules may be sanctioned, up to and including expulsion from the convention without refund, and if warranted, involvement of the Grand Rapids Police.
It pains me to have to state the obvious, let alone make it the subject of a blog post, but harassment exists, and it will not be tolerated. No one should be subjected to uncomfortable or unwanted attention. Ever. As a community, we understand horror. We write about it all the time. Protagonists. Antagonists. Good people put into terrible situations. Bad people out to cause harm. We live inside the heads of these characters. Frightened? Threatened? The feeling that you want to throw up? We get it.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but when it comes to StokerCon™ 2019, don’t be the villain.
Be the hero.
(4) RETURN TO THE HAGUE. Reunicon 2020, the 30th anniversary celebration of ConFiction 1990, is building increasingly detailed memory webpages to attract prospective attendees.
It all started with a phone call from a fan in New York way back in 1984. Then it took three years of bidding to win the race in Brighton in 1987. Another three long years to make ConFiction1990 a fact in The Hague, the second World Science Fiction Convention on the continent of Europe.
We have created this website and social media avenues to preserve the past for the future and… to promote our intended Reunicon 2020 to commemorate 30 years after ConFiction 1990.
We look forward hearing from you or seeing you in 2020 in The Hague and till then, enjoy the memories we wish to like and follow or share with you all ConFiction1990.
(5) LEGO CATHEDRAL. In the Washington Post, Marylou Tousignant says the Washington National Cathedral, as a fundraiser, is building a Lego version of itself that will ultimately be 500,00 bricks in total. Visitors can buy bricks for $2 and put them on the cathedral. The project is patterned after a similar project at the Durham Cathedral in England. “At Washington National Cathedral, another church is rising — out of 500,000 Legos”.
The website is cathedral.org/lego.
(6) LEARNING FROM TINGLE. Professor Sarah Uckelman (Durham University) tweeted the following from a seminar on “Computational Creativity Meets Digital Literary Studies.”
Access “DeepTingle” [PDF] here.
(7) ELLISON CALLBACK. Dwight Garner’s review in the New York Times — “In Ian McEwan’s Latest, a Ménage à Trois — Software Included” – touches on some authors’ genre/not genre antagonism:
This touchiness runs in both directions. Who can forget Harlan Ellison’s obituary last year in this newspaper, in which he was quoted as saying: “Call me a science fiction writer. I’ll come to your house and I’ll nail your pet’s head to a coffee table. I’ll hit you so hard your ancestors will die.”
(8) AVENUE 5. Slate praises the casting of a forthcoming HBO sff series: “HBO Orders Armando Iannucci’s New Hugh Laurie Outer Space Tourism Comedy Avenue 5 to Series”
Iannucci’s verbally dazzling style of comedy often revolves around forcing characters who hate each other to be stuck in the same room, No Exit-style—meetings, plane flights, more meetings—and then letting them insult each other as elaborately and obscenely as possible. And “on a cruise ship surrounded by the deadly vacuum of outer space” is the most “stuck in the same room with people I loathe” that it’s theoretically possible for a character to achieve, so expect fireworks.
The cast also sounds exceptional: Hugh Laurie, who’s been killing it on Veep, will star as the captain of the space cruise ship Avenue 5. The Book of Mormon’s Josh Gad will play an egocentric billionaire who runs hotels and health clubs and the cruise ship Avenue 5; Suzy Nakamura from Dr. Ken will play his right hand woman. Gad’s other employees include Zach Woods from Silicon Valley as the ship’s head of customer service, Nikki Amuka-Bird as the head of mission control on Earth, and Lenora Crichlow as the ship’s second engineer. The Thick of It’s Rebecca Front will play one of the passengers. Best of all, judging from character description alone, is that Star Trek: Voyager alum Ethan Phillips will play Spike Martin, a hard-drinking former astronaut who falsely claims to have been “the first Canadian to land on Mars.”
(9) MCINTYRE MEMORIAL. Announced on CaringBridge: Vonda N. McIntyre’s memorial will be held Sunday afternoon on June 9 at The Mountaineers Goodman Auditorium at 7700 Sand Point Way NE in Seattle, Washington. Doors will open at 1:45, an event will start at 2:30, and the memorial will end at 4:30pm.
(10) MCGOVERN OBIT. Guy H. Lillian III reports:“Tom McGovern, a long-term member of the Southern Fandom Press Alliance, whose article on leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses made a strong article for my genzine Challenger, apparently died of cancer April 21 or 22.”
(11) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.
Several theories exist about the question mark’s origins but the most widely accepted version is that Alcuin of York, an English scholar and poet born in 735 and a member of Charlemagne’s court, created it. Originally named the “punctus interrogativus” or “point of interrogation,” this mark was a dot with a symbol resembling a tilde or lightning bolt above it, to represent the rise in pitch when a person asks a question. But it wasn’t until the mid-19th Century that it was first referred to as a “question mark.”
Source: Oxford English Dictionary
(12) TODAY’S DAY
April 23: World Book and Copyright Day. Pays tribute to authors and books and their social and cultural contribution to the world
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 23, 1879 — Talbot Mundy. English-born, but based for most of his life in the United States, he also wrote under the pseudonym of Walter Galt. Best known as the author of King of the Khyber Rifles which is not really genre and the Jimgrim series which is genre, much of his work was published in pulp magazines. (Died 1940.)
- Born April 23, 1923 — Avram Davidson. Equally at home writing mystery, fantasy or science fiction, he wrote two splendid Ellery Queen mysteries, And on the Eighth Day and The Fourth Side of the Triangle. I’m fond of his Vergil Magus series if only for the names of the novels were the like as The Phoenix and the Mirror or, The Enigmatic Speculum. (Died 1993.)
- Born April 23, 1935 — Tom Doherty, 84. Once publisher of Ace Books who left that in 1980 to found Tor Books. Tor became a subsidiary of St. Martin’s Press in 1987; it became part of the Holtzbrinck group, now part of Macmillan in the U.S. Doherty was awarded a World Fantasy Award in the Lifetime Achievement category at the 2005 World Fantasy Convention for his contributions to the fantasy field.
- Born April 23, 1946 — Blair Brown, 73. Emily Jessup In Altered States (based on the Paddy Chayefsky novel) was her first genre role. Later roles include Nina Sharp, the executive director of Massive Dynamic, on Fringe, an amazing role indeed, and Elizabeth Collins Stoddard in the 2004 television remake of Dark Shadows. Her last genre was Kate Durning on Elementary.
- Born April 23, 1956 — Caroline Thompson, 63. She wrote the screenplays for Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride. A stage version of the latter with director and choreographer Matthew Bourne was co-adapted with her this year. She also wrote the screenplay for The Addams Family.
- Born April 23, 1973 — Naomi Kritzer, 46. Her 2015 short story “Cat Pictures Please” was a Locus Award and Hugo Award winner and was nominated for a Nebula Award. Ok, I’m impressed. Indeed, I just went and purchased Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories on iBooks so I could read it. So what else by her should I read?
- Born April 23, 1976 — Gabriel Damon, 43. Remember Hob, the smart wise assed villain in Robocop 2? Well this is the actor who played him at the age of thirteen years old! I see he also was on Star Trek: Next Generation in “The Bonding” episode as Jeremy Aster, and on Amazing Stories in their “Santa ’85” episode as Bobby Mynes.
(14) COMICS SECTION.
- Ziggy’s doctor prescribes a comical cure.
(15) BODILY EXPERIENCES. Ursula Vernon, suffering from some typical traveler’s ailments, has been receiving unsolicited medical advice. One friend suggested leeches. Another said —
(16) THROUGH THE YEARS. Standback recommends a project to Filers —
In Jewish tradition, we count each day of the seven weeks between Passover and Pentecost; 49 days. Sefer Ha’omer is posting a historical SF/F book review every day of the counting — reviewing a 1901 book on Day 1, a 1902 book on Day 2, and so on.
I’ve read some of the essays and really enjoyed them — and I like the historical literature tour, and the selection of lesser-known works by classic authors
Today is Day 4 of the Omer, and here’s the essay for H.G. Wells’ “The Food of the Gods and How It Came To Earth”.
Here’s the project’s Facebook page (2 daily posts, English and Hebrew).
(17) SF MILESTONES. James Davis Nicoll delivers “A Brief History of Pamela Sargent’s Women of Wonder Anthologies” at Tor.com.
…Sargent had been shopping the initial anthology around for several years without luck. Publishers generally felt the market for such an anthology would be small. She got a lucky break when Vonda N. McIntyre asked Vintage Books how it was that despite having done all-male anthologies, they’d never published an all-women one. Vintage was interested in the idea, provided that someone not on their staff did the editing. McIntyre introduced Sargent to the folks at Vintage and the rest is SF history.
(18) SIGNAL BOOST. “Parkinson’s results beyond researchers’ wildest dreams” – BBC has the story.
A treatment that has restored the movement of patients with chronic Parkinson’s disease has been developed by Canadian researchers.
Previously housebound patients are now able to walk more freely as a result of electrical stimulation to their spines.
A quarter of patients have difficulty walking as the disease wears on, often freezing on the spot and falling.
…Normal walking involves the brain sending instructions to the legs to move. It then receives signals back when the movement has been completed before sending instructions for the next step.
Prof Jog believes Parkinson’s disease reduces the signals coming back to the brain – breaking the loop and causing the patient to freeze.
The implant his team has developed boosts that signal, enabling the patient to walk normally.
However, Prof Jog was surprised that the treatment was long-lasting and worked even when the implant was turned off.
(19) NEW WAY TO LAUNCH SATELLITES. BBC video shows “New aircraft rises ‘like a balloon'”.
Researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have helped create a revolutionary new type of aircraft.
Phoenix is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to stay in the air indefinitely using a new type of propulsion.
Despite being 15m (50ft) long with a mass of 120kg (19 stone) she rises gracefully into the air.
…As the project’s chief engineer, he has overseen the integration of Phoenix’s systems.
“It flies under its own propulsion although it has no engines,” he says.
“The central fuselage is filled with helium, which makes it buoyant so it can ascend like a balloon.
“And inside that there’s another bag with compressors on it that brings air from outside, compresses the air, which makes the aeroplane heavier and then it descends like a glider.”
…The point? To create a cheaper alternative to launching satellites.
…The oft-quoted rule of thumb in the space business is that putting a satellite into orbit costs its weight in gold.
(20) ELVES. BBC peeks “Inside the magical world of elves” .
Many people in Iceland believe in little hidden people – huldufólk – or elves. Or so surveys suggest. But do they really?
(21) THE YEAR AT THE UK BOX OFFICE. SF Concatenation has posted its “Science Fiction Films Top Ten Chart – 2018/19” – based on UK box office performance.
Remember, this is the UK public’s cinema theatre box office we are talking about, and not fantastic film buffs’ views. Consequently below this top ten we have included at the end a few other worthies well worth checking out as well as (in some years) some warnings-to-avoid. Also note that this chart compilation calculation did not include DVD sales or spin-off product earnings, and our chart is also subject to weekly vagaries.
(22) DC. Daniel Dern brings word that DC Universe upped its streaming library — now ~20,000 comics. (Marvel says they have 25,000 on theirs.) “Set eye balls to ‘glaze over’!” says Dern.
(23) INFINITY ROCKS. Avengers: Endgame Cast Sings “We Didn’t Start the Fire” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
The cast of Avengers: Endgame recaps the entire Marvel franchise by singing their own superhero version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Heather Rose Jones, Alan Baumler, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Guy H. Lillian III, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]