Lots of well-known writers and artists came and signed at last Sunday’s LA Vintage Paperback Show. Robert Kerr shot these photos (below) of some of the participants.
(1) GHOSTBUSTERS 3. Though few details seem to be available, it looks like there will be a fourth live-action Ghostbusters movie (Variety: “Jason Reitman to Direct Secret ‘Ghostbusters’ Movie”), with a new generation of Reitman taking over in the director’s chair.
Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman.
Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise.
Reitman has also co-written a screenplay with Gil Kenan and plans to shoot the film this summer, with Sony planning to release the latest sequel in summer 2020. Insiders say this film will be a continuation of the 1984 sequel and will not be connected to the 2016 film. Sources couldn’t say if that means that the original cast members will be back, as exact story details are still being kept under wraps but sources say Reitman has begun testing teenagers for four mystery roles.
ScienceFiction.com quotes Reitman:
“I’ve always thought of myself as the first Ghostbusters fan when I was a 6-year-old visiting the set. I wanted to make a movie for all the other fans. This is the next chapter in the original franchise. It is not a reboot. What happened in the ‘80s happened in the ‘80s, and this is set in the present day.”
(2) KOWAL DECLARES SFWA CANDIDACY. Mary Robinette Kowal announced on her blog: “Dear SFWA members: I’m running for the position of President.”
…I believe that SFWA is an important organization and that volunteering for it is a way that we can each help to pay it forward by making the field stronger. As a group, we can improve things within the industry in ways that individuals cannot, but we are dependent on our volunteers. We are dependent on you. I would very much like to help SFWA move forward so that it can continue to inform, support, promote, defend and advocate for our members.
Besides health care, what else am I interested in accomplishing?
- New opportunities to help our members diversify their income streams
- Strengthening the Nebula Conference as a professional development conference
- Protecting our rights for free speech
- Outreach to underserved and underrepresented writers in the SFF community
- Taking full advantage of our 501c3 status to apply for grants that will allow SFWA to be a more active and useful organization for our members
John Scalzi threw his support behind her in a post today at Whatever: “Mary Robinette Kowal is Running for SFWA President and I Endorse Her Candidacy”.
…Some of you may recall that I was SFWA president once, from 2010 to 2013. Mary Robinette was my vice president for two of those years, 2010 through 2012, and was secretary of SFWA for two years before that. In my role as president, I got a chance to see her work for SFWA up close. She was, in a word, excellent. As my VP she gave me sound advice and counsel (up to and including telling me when I was wrong), she executed on policy and strategy in ways that were smart and effective, and she was my not-so-secret weapon in instances that required tact and delicacy. She was, in sum, the very best of vice-presidents….
(3) NEXT STAR WARS COMICS ON THE WAY. Marvel’s “celebration of Star Wars characters” continues in April, with epic one-shots of heroes and villains of the original film trilogy in Age of Rebellion. For more information, visit StarWars.com.
Following the legendary sagas of the Jedi, the Sith, and more from AGE OF THE REPUBLIC, join writer Greg Pak (The Incredible Hulk, Weapon H) and artist Chris Sprouse (Black Panther) for new tales about some of the most iconic Star Wars heroes and artist Marc Laming (Beckett, Star Wars Annual) for new stories about the galaxy’s most dangerous villains. With covers by Terry and Rachel Dodson, these are stories you don’t want to miss!
Also in April, discover brand new sides of some of your favorite – and deadly – heroes and villains in AGE OF REBELLION SPECIAL #1, written by superstar team Marc Guggenheim (X-Men Gold), Jon Adams (The New Yorker, Love Romances), and Si Spurrier (Doctor Aphra), and drawn by Adams, Caspar Wijngaard (Doctor Aphra Annual), and Andrea Broccardo (Star Wars), with cover art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Guru-eFX!
(4) SFWA READINGS. There are four SFWA readings coming up in the Seattle/Portland area:
Seattle events are held at the Wilde Rover Irish Pub and Restaurant, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033. Phone: (425) 822-8940. Readings start at 7pm and go until 8:30
- January 29, 2019. KG Anderson, Joe Follansbee, Edd Vick
- April 23, 2019. Rebecca Roanhorse, Kari Maaren, Sam J. Miller
- September 10, 2019. Ted Chiang, Jack Skillingstead, Daryl Gregory
- November 12, 2019. Jeff Grubb, Shanna Germain, Caroline M. Yoachim
Portland events are held at Lucky Lab on Hawthorne. 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214. (503) 236-3555 Readings start at 7pm and go until 8:30
- January 31, 2019.
- Speakers: KG Anderson, Joe Follansbee, Edd Vick.
- Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sfwa-nw-portland-reading-series-january-2019-registration-52762399758
- Banner: https://www.sfwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/jan2019.png
- April 25th, 2019.
- Speakers: Rebecca Roanhorse, Kari Maaren, Sam J. Miller
- Banner: https://www.sfwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/april-2019.png
- September 12, 2019.
- Speakers: Ted Chiang, Jack Skillingstead, Daryl Gregory
- Banner: https://www.sfwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/sfwa_readers_sept_2019.png
- November 14, 2019.
- Speakers: Jeff Grubb, Shanna Germain, Caroline M. Yoachim
- Banner: https://www.sfwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/sfwa_readers_november_2019.png
(5) OOPS. You could be forgiven for thinking that yesterday’sTor’s promotional message contains a premature prediction, although I think it was just intended to be a list of the author’s accomplishments. See if you can spot the issue. (Image comes from here.)
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born January 16, 1903 – Harold A. Davis. Notable as another writer of the Doc Savage novels under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson. He was the first ghostwriter to fill in for Lester Dent on Doc Savage. Davis would create the character of Ham’s pet ape Chemistry in Dust of Death. (Died 1955.)
- Born January 16, 1927 – Anne R. Dick. Author of Search for Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982: A Memoir and Biography of the Science Fiction Writer. Her importance to Philip despite their short marriage can be appreciated in this New York Times obit for her. (Died 2017.)
- Born January 16, 1946 – Graham Masterton, 73. English horror writer with numerous titles to his credit. I want to to single out Rules of Duel, a short novel from the early 1970s that he wrote with William S. Burroughs. And The Manitou film based off his novel is a lot of bloody fun.
- Born January 16, 1948 – John Carpenter, 71. My favorite films by him? Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York. His films include the Halloween franchise, The Thing, Starman (simply wonderful), The Philadelphia Experiment, Ghosts of Mars and many other films. What do you consider him to do particularly well?
- Born January 16, 1949 – Caroline Munro, 70.Active in SF and horror films in the Fifties and Sixties. Amongst her many films are Hammer Horror films such as Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter and Dracula A.D. 1972. Later films include Starcrash (Christopher Plummer is in it so it can’t be that bad, can it?) and At the Earth’s Core. She appeared also as Tammy, a nursing employee of a sinister health farm, in “The Angels of Death” of The New Avengers, a vastly underrated show in my opinion if only for the fact it had the young and quite sexy Joanna Lumley on it .
- Born January 16, 1980 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, 39. Sometimes I find that the Birthday honorees have the oddest genre credits but this is the first singer and composer I’ve run across. His first genre credit is voicing Shag Kava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but he also gets credited as special featured composer. Next up is as composer and singer for the animated Moana film. His most recent, and I’ve no idea if he sings in it but I assume he does, is in Mary Poppins Returns
(7) THEY’RE DEAD JIM (OR WHATEVER YOUR NAME IS). Easy come, easy go? Newsweek lets us know that, “China’s Moon Plants That Sprouted Are Already Dead.” The experiment kicked off just before the mission’s landing site on the back side of the Moon did its monthly thing and earned the otherwise misleading title Dark Side of the Moon, (No, not that Dark Side.)
Yesterday the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that cotton seeds carried to the far side of the moon by its Chang’e 4 lander had sprouted, marking the first time that humans had successfully grown living material on the surface of another world.
But just a day later, it has emerged that the sprouting cotton buds died as night fell over the lunar far side, bringing the brief experiment to an end. The cotton seeds formed part of a “mini-biosphere” experiment aimed at understanding how plants and animals can grow and live on the moon.
The experiment involved a “mini-biosphere” consisting of a sealed metal canister filled with water, soil and air, which was designed to be its own self-sustaining ecosystem. To this mix, scientists added yeast, fruit fly eggs and the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato and rock cress—a flowering plant in the mustard family.
The biosphere was powered by natural light from the Sun, so the death of the sprouts as the canister entered the lunar night—where temperatures can dip to as low as -280 degrees Fahrenheit—was anticipated by mission planners.
“Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night,” Xie Gengxin, leader of the experiment from Chongqing University, told Xinhua, China’s state-run, English language news agency.
(8) DISSENTING OPINION. Don’t count Abigail Nussbaum among the fans of Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch: “The Illusion of Free Will: On ‘Bandersnatch’ and Interactive Fiction” at Asking the Wrong Question.
After seven years, four seasons, eighteen episodes and two specials, the conversation around Black Mirror seems to have settled itself into distinct camps. There are those who see it as a meaningful commentary on the growing role of technology in modern society and the pitfalls of our growing dependence on it. And there are those who decry it as a cynical, reflexively anti-tech exercise in nastiness. I tend to think of myself as falling between the two extremes—there are a lot of ideas in Black Mirror that I find interesting and unique, especially when it comes to the intersection of technology and capitalism; but I often feel as if many of them have happened largely by accident. The show’s latest foray, however, the interactive movie “Bandersnatch”, written by series creator Charlie Brooker and directed by David Slade, has shaken my indulgence. Not only does it revel in some of Black Mirror‘s worst excesses, it’s also an extremely bad example of interactive fiction, at a moment when the form is enjoying a creative flowering.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
January 16, 1939 — The comic strip Superman appeared. Robert Kerr writes:
80 years ago today the first Superman daily strip appeared in the Houston Chronicle. This was the first place Superman had appeared outside of Action Comics. His own solo comic book was still a couple of months away. The daily strip was where Krypton was first mentioned by name and the first place Superman got a more detailed origin. This was full circle for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Before DC Comics bought Superman for Action Comics #1, Superman was rejected by every major newspaper syndicate in the country. Before Superman pretty much created the comic book industry, cartoonist wanted their strips to be in newspapers.
(10) IT’S NOT THE WESTERN. Digg has some graphs that show “How Movie Genres Have Changed In Popularity Since 1910, Visualized”. Guess which genre is the perkiest?
The graph reveals several interesting trends. Some genres, for instance, have evidently fallen out of favor, such as musicals and westerns. In the 1930s, 15% of the movies released were musicals, while in 2018, the figure has fallen far below 5%. And although westerns saw a resurgence in the ’70s after its decline in the ’60s, the genre has had scant representation in recent years.
(11) TREK TRIVIA. ScienceFiction.com invites you to show your mastery of Star Trek and “Match The First Officer To The Starship”. The quiz is at the link. It was tougher than I expected – I scored only 3/10!
The ships of the United Federation of Planets have a long history of service, exploration, and combat in the Star Trek Universe. While the Captains of these ships usually end up getting most of the glory, it takes many, many crew members to effectively maintain a starship’s operations, and while the Captain is usually busy calling the shots, much of the administrative and personnel work falls to the First Officer.
This quiz will test your knowledge of those brave souls assigned to ships as the XOs. In some cases, these characters may have only served the First Officer role for a short while; in other cases, you may see names of officers whose adventures have squarely shown them in the second-in-command role. This will be no easy task, but hopefully you are up for the challenge. Engage!
(12) ST PHONE HOME. Do you want a better ST:TOS cosplay phone? Or do you miss your flip phone? Standing on the shoulder of the Wall Street Journal (whose story is behind their paywall), Mashable proclaims that, “A rebooted Razr with a foldable smartphone screen is coming in February, report says.”
Hellooo, 2004 is calling, and it is STOKED!
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Lenovo and Verizon are soon to reboot the iconic aughts Razr flip phone, with a 2019 twist — or should we say…. fold!!!
The report claims that Lenovo Group, Inc. has teamed up with Verizon as an exclusive partner to sell a new version of the Razr, based on the word of “people familiar with the matter.”
The new Razr will be a smart phone, but it will be able to retain its flip phone form because the screen will be a foldable. It will reportedly become available as soon as February (!!!), and cost $1500. Which, ouch. But that’s maybe worth it for retro foldable screen glory?
(13) WILL THE U.S. RETURN TO SPACE THIS YEAR? The Verge: “How SpaceX’s first astronaut crew is preparing to take on a brand new spacecraft” — “If schedules hold, SpaceX could fly people this summer.”
2019 may finally be the year when American astronauts launch to orbit from American soil again, ending an eight-year drought that started when NASA’s Space Shuttle program shut down in 2011. The inaugural flights of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program are slated to take place in the coming months, and the launches will see privately owned vehicles carrying space agency astronauts for the very first time. If the current schedules hold, California-based SpaceX may be the first one to send its vehicle to space with two NASA astronauts on board.
For this Verge Science video, we visited SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to meet those astronauts and see what one possible future of American crewed spaceflight looks like.
(14) BUT THEN HE GETS GOOD REVIEWS. A paper in Maine will not be ditching its book reviews after all: “Stephen King persuades newspaper not to scrap its book reviews”.
Author Stephen King – and his readers – have persuaded his local newspaper to reverse a decision to axe its book reviews.
The Portland Press Herald, based in his home state of Maine, had decided to stop running reviews of local books.
After King expressed dismay, the paper challenged him to get 100 followers to buy digital subscriptions.
His fans did not disappoint him, prompting the paper to pledge that “book reviews will return”.
(15) DISNEY MUSIC. “A Place Called Slaughter Race” from Ralph Breaks the Internet. Performed by Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, and Cast Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Phil Johnston, and Tom MacDougall
[Thanks to Paul Weimer, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Bill, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing Firesign reference editor of the day Kip Williams.]
By John King Tarpinian: Today, February 15, I was honored to accept a Proclamation from the City of South Pasadena on behalf of the Bradbury family. March 2 will be Ray Bradbury Day. There will be a ceremony held at, of all places, the fire station. As things are more solidified there is expected to be a reading from the Fahrenheit 451 play, a screening of the movie, panel discussions of Ray’s body of work, and the dedication of a mural in the previously dedicated Ray Bradbury conference room of the library. The library is one of the few remaining Carnegie libraries left in the state.
To read the proclamation, click on — Proclamation Ray Bradbury Day 2017.
(1) X-WING. Hollywood decorating the neighborhood for the premiere of Rogue One. Robert Kerr’s photo shows a prop now on display curbside near the theater.
Yahoo! Movies ran a series of photos taken while the fighter was being hauled into position.
Star Wars has definitely landed in Hollywood.
Preparations for Saturday’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiere have already seen some big road closures on Hollywood Blvd. — and on Tuesday, an X-Wing was spotted in the area where the stars of the film will gather in a few days.
Pictures quickly spread on social media, as apparently keeping an X-Wing secret is even trickier than keeping plans for the Death Star under wraps.
The red-carpet premiere itself also prompted major road closures in Hollywood, with the X-Wing now clogging streets up further. Road closures will last until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
(2) JAM ON MARS. Will Curiosity need Tommy John surgery? Seeker says “Curiosity’s Mars Drill Is Jammed”.
The Mars rover’s robotic arm-mounted drill appears to have malfunctioned and NASA has instructed the rover to hang tight while they find a solution.
Having your drill break down while you’re millions of miles from the nearest hardware store would be a bummer, but that is exactly what’s happened to NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.
The rover, which is currently located at the lower slopes of the 3.4-mile-high Mount Sharp (officially known as Aeolis Mons), was supposed to carry out a drilling operation on a geologically interesting location on Dec. 1 when mission controllers got word that Curiosity was unable to complete its commands. Early indications show that the rover detected a fault with the “drill feed” mechanism that lowers the drill piece to the rocky sample and aborted the operation.
(3) AT HOME. The Chicago Reader visited a popular sf author in her new (since 2012) neighborhood — “Mary Robinette Kowal makes puppets and writes in a 1913 building in the Ukranian Village”.
A fire is roaring in the fireplace and sprays of bright red winterberry adorn a vase on the deco mantel. The scent of hot cider wafts through the air. What Victorian-era storybook scene have I stepped into on this chilly, gray day in late November? It’s the home of Hugo Award–winning author, audiobook narrator, and professional puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal, a spacious and stately 1913 apartment in Ukrainian Village that she shares with her winemaker husband, Robert, and their two cats.
(4) RETURN OF RUTLAND WEEKEND TV. The Guardian ran this feature in August — “Ex-Python Eric Idle and Brian Cox to take on The Entire Universe for the BBC”. But now the BBC broadcast date is nearing.
Written by Idle, the one-hour show will feature the return of Rutland Weekend Television, the haphazard station depicted in Idle’s sketch show of the same name during the 1970s.
Filmed in front of a live studio audience, The Entire Universe will feature an “explosion of comedy, music and dance” and will air on BBC2.
Davis plays The Big Bang and comedian Fielding is Einstein, while Game of Thrones actor Hannah Waddingham tackles time, and Robin Ince attempts to keep order.
Idle has written songs for the Christmas special, which will be choreographed by Arlene Phillips and combine “fascinating facts about the birth of the universe with larger-than-life comedy characters”.
Cox finds himself in a major musical at Rutland Weekend Television, after thinking he is booked to give a lecture.
The program will be broadcast in Britain on BBC2 on December 26.
(5) DO JAMES DAVIS NICOLL’S HOMEWORK. He’s lining up books to review in 2017, and feels there’s one writer demographic that requires more of his attention:
Don’t often tick the Other/Genderqueer/Non-Binary box in my site’s review gender fields. Can change that. What authors should I consider?
He emailed me the link asking, “Do the F770 people have suggestions?”
Today’s auction is for a signed set of all four TWIXT books. But wait – there’s more! Metcalf also has a pile of “own voices” and books she’s offered to donate to a local shelter and/or children’s hospital in your name. The higher the bidding, the more books she’ll donate!
- $25: Two books
- $35: Three books
- $45: Four books
- $60: Five books
- $75: Six books
About Book One: INDELIBLE:
Some things are permanent. Indelible. And they cannot be changed back.
Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room-right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world-a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep and a life that will never be the same. Now Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one-his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future … and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.
Somewhere between reality and myth lies … THE TWIXT!
(7) TINGLE’S SATIRICAL NEWS SITE. Chuck Tingle harpoons the “alt-right” with his most feared weapon – laughter — at a new website, Buttbart. At the bottom of the home page are links for donating to the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Billings Public Library Foundation
READER POLL: What is real?
We asked our readers if reality was a constantly shifting web of cosmic planes, blinking in and out of exhistence depending on our location in spacetime.
K’GULH-TUB KA: %11
(8) GLENN OBIT. Mercury astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn (1921-2016) died December 8 reports SF News Site.
Glenn was the last surviving member of the Mercury 7 astronauts and the first American to orbit the Earth, flying on the third Mercury mission on February 20, 1962 aboard Friendship 7. Following his flight and status as a national hero, Glenn was grounded by President Kennedy and eventually became a Senator from Ohio and ran unsuccessfully for President. The oldest of the Mercury astronauts, he flew a second time in 1998 about the space shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest man to fly in space.
CNN’s obituary recounted the highlights of his 1962 mission:
….Glenn recalled in a Life magazine article a strange phenomenon that occurred during the mission: “There, spread out as far as I could see were literally thousands of tiny luminous objects that glowed in the black sky like fireflies. I was riding slowly through them, and the sensation was like walking backwards through a pasture where someone had waved a wand and made all the fireflies stop right where they were and glow steadily.”
The flight also featured a glitch that contributed to Glenn’s reputation for being cool under fire.
Because of an indicator light showing that the Mercury capsule’s heat shield was partly detached, mission controllers decided to bring Glenn home early and told him not to jettison his aft retro rockets, which allowed him to maneuver the craft in space. Because the retropack was strapped to the heat shield, it was thought it would provide an extra measure of security.
It would later be learned that the heat shield wasn’t damaged, but the fiery re-entry was made more spectacular by the scorching retropack in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Glenn’s first words when he stepped aboard the deck of the USS Noa were, “Boy, that was a real fireball of a ride!”
…More than 20 years after their historic missions, the team was immortalized in the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff.” Glenn — portrayed by Ed Harris — didn’t care much for the film, saying, “I thought it was dramatic enough without Hollywood doing its number on it.”
We are saddened by the loss of Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn. Ad astra. pic.twitter.com/89idi9r1NB
— NASA (@NASA) December 8, 2016
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRLS
- Born December 8, 1953 – Kim Basinger, Batman’s Vicki Vale.
- Born December 8, 1964 – Teri Hatcher, Lois and Clark’s Lois Lane.
- Born December 8, 1894 – James Thurber
(11) A GRAIL OF A TALE. A dinosaur tail was discovered trapped in amber in Myanmar.
The tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur has been found entombed in amber, an unprecedented discovery that has blown away scientists.
Xing Lida, a Chinese paleontologist found the specimen, the size of a dried apricot, at an amber market in northern Myanmar near the Chinese border.
The remarkable piece was destined to end up as a curiosity or piece of jewelry, with Burmese traders believing a plant fragment was trapped inside.
“I realized that the content was a vertebrate, probably theropod, rather than any plant,” Xing told CNN.
“I was not sure that (the trader) really understood how important this specimen was, but he did not raise the price.”
(12) POP CULTURE COINCIDENCE. Reuters reports a “Space oddity as Dr David Bowie treats ‘starman’ Buzz Aldrin in New Zealand hospital”.
In what can only be described as a space oddity, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is being cared for in a New Zealand hospital by Dr David Bowie after being evacuated from the South Pole.
In a truly remarkable coincidence, Aldrin’s doctor shares the name of the late British singer whose greatest hits included songs such as “Starman” and others about space travel that could easily have been penned for the great American astronaut.
(13) FANTASTIC FICTION AT KGB. Reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Livia Llewellyn and Sarah Pinsker on December 21 on Wednesday, December 21 at the KGB Bar in New York. Event starts at 7 p.m. Details at the linked post.
Livia Llewellyn is a writer of dark fantasy, horror, and erotica, whose short fiction has appeared in over forty anthologies and magazines and has been reprinted in multiple best-of anthologies, including The Best Horror of the Year series, Years Best Weird Fiction, and The Mammoth Book of Best Erotica. Her first collection, Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors received two Shirley Jackson Award nominations, for Best Collection, and for Best Novelette (for “Omphalos”). Her story “Furnace” received a 2013 Shirley Jackson Award nomination for Best Short Story. Her second collection, Furnace was published this year.
Sarah Pinsker is the author of the Nebula Award winning novelette “Our Lady of the Open Road” and the Sturgeon Award winning “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind.” Her fiction has appeared in magazines including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Uncanny, among others, and numerous anthologies and year’s bests. She is also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various independent labels and a fourth forthcoming. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her wife, dog, and a yard full of sentient vines.
(14) THE WORK THAT STORIES DO. Foz Meadows’ well-written piece “Unempathic Bipeds of Failure: The Relationship Between Stories and Politics” found a home at Black Gate:
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need stories to act as emotional dry-runs for caring about different types of people, because our empathy would already natively extend to everyone. But we don’t live in that world; because if we did, somewhat paradoxically, we’d have less urgent need of its empathy, as its unequivocal presence would make it much harder for us to discriminate in the first place.
Which is precisely why stories matter; why they’ve always mattered, and will continue to matter for as long as our species exists. Stories can teach us the empathy we otherwise lack, or whose development is railroaded by context, and yeah, it’s frustrating to think that another person can’t just look at you, accept what you are, and think, human, different to me in some respects but fundamentally as whole and as worthy of love, protection and basic rights as I am, but you’ve got to understand: we’re a bunch of bipedal mammals with delusions of morality, a concept we invented and which we perpetuate through culture and manners, faith and history and memory – which is to say, through stories, which change as we change (though we don’t always like to admit that part), and in that context, the value of the impossible – of SFF as a genre – is that it gives us those things in imaginary settings, takes us far enough out of the present that we can view them at a more objective remove than real life ever allows, and so get a better handle on them than our immediate biases might otherwise permit…
And so I think about the UKIP supporter who empathized with a fictional refugee [in Dragon Age 2] but voted to dehumanize real ones; about the millions of people who grew up on stories about the evils of Nazism, but now turn a blind eye to swastikas being graffitied in the wake of Trump’s election; of Puppies both Sad and Rabid who contend that the presence of politics in genre is a leftist conspiracy while blatantly pushing what even they call a political agenda; about fake news creators and the Ministry of Truth; about every f***ing dystopian novel whose evocation by name feels simultaneously on the nose and frighteningly apropos right now, because we shouldn’t have to cite The Handmaid’s Tale to explain why Mike Pence and Steve Bannon (to say nothing of Trump’s infamous comments) are collectively terrifying, and yet see above re: unempathic bipeds of failure, forever and always; and yet …
(15) ORANGE CONE BY THE ROADSIDE. The discussion of Meadows’ main points, however, was drowned out by the reaction to several lines in her closing:
For the past few years, the Sad and Rabid Puppies – guided by an actual neo-Nazi – have campaigned against what they perceive as the recent politicization of SFF as a genre, as though it’s humanly possible to write a story involving people that doesn’t have a political dimension; as though “political narrative” means “I disagreed with the premise or content, which makes it Wrong” and not “a narrative which contains and was written by people.”
Vox Day reacted in a post titled “Please to remove the libel”:
I have written to John O’Neill, my former editor at Black Gate, asking him to remove this false, malicious, and materially damaging libel directed at me, and by extension, the Sad and Rabid Puppies. As I was a long-time contributor to Black Gate, Mr. O’Neill knows perfectly well that I am neither a neo-Nazi nor a National Socialist, I have never been a neo-Nazi or a National Socialist, I do not belong to, or subscribe to the tenets of, the German National Socialist Workers Party or any subsequent facsimile, and I do not appreciate the libelous attempts of Ms Meadows, to publicly and falsely assert that I am “an actual neo-Nazi”.
Vox Popoli commenters spent the day conspicuously scavenging the web for Meadows’ personal and financial details and lodging their finds as comments on Day’s post. Meadows Twitter stream also has been haunted by people unsuccessfuly trying to intimidate the author by sounding as if there could be ominous consequences.
Day made several updates to his post, one saying a resolution was in process.
UPDATE: As I expected, John was very reasonable about it and the matter is being resolved. Thanks for your support, everyone.
But in the hours since, Meadows’ text has remained unchanged nor has O’Neill added any comment.
(16) INVASION. In a New York Times article “California Today: Booksellers See a Threat in New Law”, the A.C.L.U. has an opinion.
A new law going into effect next month mandates that anyone selling a signed book for more than $5 must vouch for the autograph’s authenticity. That includes, among other things, identifying the previous owner.
“If you visit my bookstore to trade in that copy of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ you picked up at a book signing, I’ll need to take down your name and address and then provide it to whoever happens to buy the book from me,” said Scott Brown, who runs Eureka Books in Eureka.
The law was designed to protect consumers from the booming trade in fake collectibles. But it is written so loosely that some worry it might drag booksellers down.
“I can understand why booksellers are concerned,” said Michael Risher, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Northern California. “The law is an invasion into privacy and should be amended.”
The legislation began with an effort by State Representative Ling Ling Chang to broaden a 1992 law about sports memorabilia. She joined forces with Mark Hamill, the “Star Wars” actor who kept seeing signed posters that were fake. Booksellers say they didn’t realize they were vulnerable until after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure in September.
Ms. Chang, who was unavailable for comment, has published on her Facebook page a statement that both “the letter and spirit of the law” do not apply to booksellers. Her reasoning is that the law is aimed at “dealers,” who are mostly in the business of selling signed collectibles. Since booksellers sell all kinds of books, many of them unsigned, Ms. Chang argues that leaves them off the hook.
But some booksellers worry that is not true….
(17) RATS! New Zealand’s 2017 national sf convention has opened a writing competition.
In our short story competition, you have the opportunity to channel your inner rodent, or world build a mischief of rats… Write us a short story which, in honour of our Ghost of Honour, Orville, includes a reference to a rat.
The competition is held in association with SpecFicNZ, who are generously contributing prizes, and judged by Guest of Honour Seanan McGuire. Get scratching!
We’re also running a drabble competition – 100 words of fiction based around a word you invented. If you’re new to writing, this could be a great place to start.
Find out more at www.lexicon.cons.nz/comps.php. Other competitions will be announced shortly; artists, filkers, and cosplayers, stay tuned.
(18) DEAL US IN. Tor.com’s Natalie Zutter has good news for Cards Against Humanity fans: “Patrick Rothfuss and Cards Against Humanity Release Special Sci-Fi Pack”.
For $5, this pack of 30 cards “poking fun at the Sci-Fi genre” (in Rothfuss’ words) will let you throw down the geekiest cards in your next game of CAH. All proceeds from the first two weeks of sales will go to Worldbuilders, Rothfuss’ nonprofit. What’s more, Rothfuss says, they’ll double that donation before passing it along to Heifer International, the organization that Worldbuilders supports.
Here’s everyone who contributed to the cards!
- Delilah S. Dawson
- Elizabeth Bear
- Jim C. Hines
- Myke Cole
- Martha Wells
- Catherynne M. Valente
- Patrick Rothfuss
[Thanks to JJ, Xtifr, Bonnie McDaniel, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Redheadedfemme. (Yes, Bonnie, I held over a few you suggested last year.)]
Twilight Zone: The Movie will be shown at the South Pasadena Public Library’s film and author night on July 14. There also will be presentations by local author David Melbye, and a re-enactment of a classic episode by Robert Kerr of Ray Bradbury’s Pandemonium Theatre Company.
David Melbye, whose book Irony in the Twilight Zone: How the Series Critiqued Postwar American Culture has just been released, will be on hand to discuss The Twilight Zone.
Melbye has taught a broad range of media studies courses at a variety of universities and academies in Southern California and abroad. He has also worked in the Hollywood television industry, contributing as a music producer for popular shows including Friday Night Lights, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and One Life to Live. Melbye is also the author of Landscape Allegory in Cinema (2010).
Robert Kerr of the Ray Bradbury Pandemonium Theatre Company will give a reading of the classic Twilight Zone TV episode “Game of Pool.” (Paul Clayton Johnson, who was previously announced, will not be available for the event.)
The free Film and Author Night is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library in the Community Room at 1115 El Centro Street. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. No tickets or reservations are necessary and refreshments will be served.
How about that. I never thought they’d make a fourth Star Wars movie.
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) December 19, 2015
(2) NO SERVICE. Geek Bar Chicago has posted an announcement that anyone discussing Star Wars spoilers before Christmas will be asked to leave.
The folks at Geek Bar have been extremely stoked about the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” even offering customers a discount if they show their ticket stubs. But that’s also forced the bar to instill a strict no-spoilers policy, so strict that they’ll boot fans out of the bar if they ruin the movie for other customers. They even posted a sign on the bar’s front door as a warning to guests who blab about important plot lines.
(3) TOLKIEN’S LANGUAGES. John Garth observed on Facebook:
Among this quarter’s crop of additions to the Oxford English Dictionary is “waybread” – a coinage by Tolkien, whose first civilian job was as an assistant lexicography at the Dictionary. Never mind inventing Elvish languages: he’s still helping to invent the English one.
Around 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary this quarter, including phablet, waybread, and bank of mom and dad. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Jonathan Dent, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED
(4) FREEDOM. David Brin does threat analysis in “Who Controls the Internet” at Contrarian Brin.
The End of the Internet Dream? Ever since Congress passed Al Gore’s bill, around 1990, setting the Internet free to pervade the world and empower billions, repressive governments have complained, seeing their despotic methods undermined. And yes, democratic governments have often muttered: “Why’d we go and do that?” as their citizens became increasingly rambunctious, knowing and independent-minded!
As we’ll see below, the ruling classes in undemocratic lands have been striving to adapt, and showing real signs of success. So frets Jennifer Granick who was keynote speaker at Black Hat 2015 – a hacker’s conference. “In 20 years, the Web might complete its shift from liberator to oppressor. It’s up to us to prevent that.”
(5) RECOMMENDATIONS. Rocket Stack Rank has published a consolidated list of short-fiction recommendations for the 2016 Hugo Awards.
These are divided by category (Novella, Novelette, and Short Story) and result from combining the recommendations of eight different reviewers.
In email, Gregory N. Hullender answered the obvious question head on:
So is it a slate? I don’t think so. The buckets are alphabetical by title, and none of the top few totals to exactly five. Also, we’ve gone out of our way to show people how to (legally) get copies of all these stories; no one can accuse us of urging anyone to vote without reading.
(6) AUTOMATED CODE WRITING. Platinum Rule, The Code of Conduct builder supplies appropriate language based on the user’s answers to basic questions.
However, I found it would quit working when I reached the question about sponsors, which means it’s more a curiosity than anything else.
(7) BEAR INTERVIEW. Suvudu interviews Elizabeth Bear, co-author of An Apprentice to Elves.
SUVUDU: Elizabeth, it’s a pleasure to have an opportunity to talk with you. You and Sarah Monette wrote one of my favorite short stories, “Boojum”, which I’ve raved about for years. Stumbling upon the Iskryne series was a real treat. How did the two of you meet, and what is it that first got you working together?
Elizabeth Bear: We were introduced by a mutual friend on livejournal because we were both interested in Elizabethan Theatre. I was working on the book that eventually came to be called Ink and Steel, and she was writing her dissertation. We kind of stuck, and we started writing some collaborations to blow off steam from our allegedly real work.
(8) THE BLUE MARBLE REDUX. NASA has released a new high-resolution Earthrise image.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon.
“The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.”
(9) LOCAL STAR WARS. The BBC explores the question “Could a war in space really happen?”
In the past the nuclear balance between the US and the USSR helped to prevent war in space. The modern world is more complex and already some 60 countries are active in space. So is a war involving attacks on satellites now becoming more likely?
Millions have been enjoying the Hollywood version of conflict in distant parts of the universe as the new Star Wars film is released. It’s enjoyable escapism – space conflict is, after all, nothing to do with reality. Or is it? According to military analyst Peter Singer of the New America Foundation, “the idea of… fighting in space was once science fiction and now it’s real”.
Space wars may not involve intergalactic empires or spacecraft zapping each other. If they occur they are likely to be focused on things that matter hugely to all of us – satellites.
(10) LASERS AT WAR. “US Air Force planes armed with laser guns soon and maybe shields too” asserts Marie Singer at Market Business News.
US Air Force planes could be armed with Star Wars type laser guns by the end of this decade, and maybe shields that protect aircraft from incoming missiles and bullets, says the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which is scheduled to demonstrate the technology by 2020.
Larger aircraft are already able to carry laser weapons fit for their size. However, developing effective and usable laser technology for the smaller warplanes is more challenging. Apart from being small enough not to undermine the fighter jet’s agility, they need to be accurate and effective when travelling at supersonic speeds.
(11) Today In History
- December 19, 1960 – NASA’s first successful launch of a Mercury Redstone rocket. (Via io9.)
- December 19, 1986 – The Little Shop of Horrors musical remake, was seen for the first time on this date. Both Martin Scorsese and John Landis were attached to direct before the job finally went to Frank Oz. The original had an unknown actor playing in the title role, Jack Nicholson.
(12) Today’s Birthday Boy
- Born December 19, 1975 – Brandon Sanderson
(13) FORWARDING ADDRESS. Jeffrey A. Carver has moved his blog Pushing a Snake Up a Hill. Click the link and you’ll discover where.
(14) BANDERSNATCH REVIEW. Sherwood Smith reviews Diana Pavlac Glyer’s new book in “Bandersnatch—writing and writers’ groups” at Book View Café.
In The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community, (which I talked about here) Diana Pavlac Glyer established herself among the foremost Inklings scholars. It’s one of those rarities, a deeply academic book that is also immensely readable.
That book proved that the Inklings really were a collaborative group, and not a bunch of lone geniuses who got together regularly to read bits then retreated to their man caves for more solitary labor.
In Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings, she shows how they did it. I reviewed the book specifically over at Goodreads, but in this post I’d like to use the book as a springboard to write up some thoughts about writing groups and different meanings of collaboration, as this is a subject (or net of subjects) that I always like discussing.
(15) THE BOOK OF PUPPY. Matthew Foster’s Welcome to the Doomsphere: Sad Puppies, Hugos, and Politics was released in Kindle form on December 17.
After several years of unrest in science fiction fandom, a gang of authors under the banners Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies came to town to change the Hugo awards and perhaps publishing, and to turn over a few tables. Regular fandom responded, with many of the major names in F&SF literature being drawn into the brawl. What followed was cheating, lies, insults, rape and death threats, challenges to duel, letters to the police, harassment, boycotts, racial slurs, accusations of censorship, and according to one major Pup author, sodomy…so much sodomy.
For nearly six months, the best authors of our generation stopped writing books and started arguing. Was it the culture wars entering literary science fiction? Was it mainly White, mainly male fans trying to turn back the clock? Was it an attack on freedom of speech? Was it revenge for past slights or a cunning plan to sell a lot of books?
Foster told his Facebook followers the book has already received the first of what he predicts will be many one-star reviews.
(16) THE DOCTOR. I didn’t know any Antonelli apologists before Dr. Mauser raised his hand in “The Antonelli Affair” at Shoplifting in the Marketplace of Ideas.
If one takes the position that Gerrold is merely an internet blowhard, and that he doesn’t actually mean any of it to take place outside of his fevered imagination, then contacting the police over an internet crank was probably taking things too far. And to Lou’s credit, he did what any proper gentleman should have done, he admitted his mistake (such as it was) and apologized.
His apology fit all of the criteria I’ve spelled out before for what makes up a proper apology. He laid out exactly what he had done, owned it, admitted that his actions were inappropriate, made it right by retracting his police complaint, and promised to not do it again. He did not try to justify it by saying anything about what Gerrold had said that concerned him enough to think a police report was necessary. That would be trying to shift blame, and not proper for a true apology.
Mr. Gerrold graciously accepted the apology, and in any civilized society, this would be the end of the issue.
Of course, this is not a civilized society we’re talking about, this is Fandom.
In any case, the SJW side of fandom rose in coordinated furor over this revelation, making all kinds of demands for Lou’s head, literally and figuratively.
Dr. Mauser finds fault with everyone else’s behavior but Antonelli’s, who immediately abandoned the self-imposed penance he announced at the time: “I need to ponder the hurt I have caused. To give me time to think, after Sasquan I am taking a half-year hiatus from attending any conventions and/or submitting any fiction.”
(17) THE LONGEST DAY. Robert Kerr shot this picture at the Hollywood and Highland Metro Red Line station on the way home from seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday.
John King Tarpinian’s caption: “After a hard day at Padawan school even Jedi need to take the subway back to Coruscant.”
(18) POINT AND SHOOT. Grim humor from Cheezburger – a comic “That Wouldn’t Be a Long Movie – Sean Bean as 007 in….“
[Thanks to Will R., Iphinome, Michael J. Walsh, Soon Lee, Steven H Silver, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
(1) INCREASED THEATER SECURITY. “’Star Wars’ Theaters Tighten Security Due To Heavy Crowds And Suspicious Activity” reports Deadline.com.
“A majority of the reason why we’re beefing up security is because it’s the biggest movie ever,” said the security expert. He said he might assign one guard in any given weekend at an average 12-plex. Deadline has learned that in a venue, say, in downtown L.A., theaters normally employ about three to four security guards. However, those same locations through the holiday will now get as much as three times that. Disney, Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ distributor, is also said to be providing some security.
Dave Doering asks, “I actually expect to see mock light saber battles, odd costumes and aliens. Anything suspicious about seeing aliens in LA? And for that matter, what is ‘suspicious’ for LA?”
Oh, anybody walking instead of driving. Things like that.
(2) MOST NUTS. LA’s enthusiasm for the movie is apparently only a pale reflection of Dave’s home state of Utah. Or so says the Washington Post, in “This is the state where people are most nuts about Star Wars“
That is according to Google Trends, at least. During the past week, Utahns have done more Star-Wars related Googling than people in any other state. People in Utah are about 25 percent more likely to Google “Star Wars” than their nearest competitors in fandom, Californians. And they are more than twice as likely to Google the topic as people in Oregon and Mississippi, the two least Star Wars-crazy states.
(3) BOX OFFICE. The new Star Wars movie killed on Thursday night. Uh, figuratively speaking.
J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens awoke to a record-breaking $57 million in Thursday night previews at the North American box office.
The previous champ was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ Part 2, the final film in the franchise, which earned $43.5 million in Thursday previews in July 2011. The Dark Knight Rises took in $30.6 million in 2012, and Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 took in $30.4 million, also in 2012.
(4) RETURN OF THE LINE. And here are some of the customers, in line at Hollywood’s El Capitan theater at 1:30 this morning. Photo by Robert Kerr.
(5) NO WAITING. At the International Space Station, the line to watch Star Wars was much shorter.
“I am told that ‘Star Wars’ will be waiting for us up there,” British astronaut Tim Peake wrote on Twitter on the eve of his launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday (Dec. 15). “What a place to watch it!”
The space station’s six-person crew, which includes the newly-arrived trio of Peake, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA’s Tim Kopra, as well as commander Scott Kelly of NASA and cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov, will be able to watch “The Force Awakens” thanks to Mission Control and a recently-installed theater system on board the orbiting outpost.
(7) FORD RAMPAGE. By now you’ve probably overdosed on Star Wars coverage and are in the mood to see “Harrison Ford continues his ‘Star Wars’ toy path of destruction on ‘Conan’”. The payoff is just after 2:10 in the video.
“Conan” associate producer Jordan Schlansky is a “Star Wars” superfan. Jordan Schlansky is also Jordan Schlansky, so when he got a chance to meet Harrison Ford and J.J. Abrams, he spent most of it boring them to tears asking about the grips on Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. Then he asked Ford to sign his Millennium Falcon. And not just any Millennium Falcon — it’s the Lego Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon, which is worth thousands of dollars, according to a quick glance of eBay.
Ford took the Millennium Falcon in his arms and immediately tossed it over his shoulder “accidentally.” As it is a Lego set, it was promptly destroyed. Ford did end up signing a piece of it, but Jordan Schlansky had already walked off by that point, so Ford threw the piece back in the pile and then threw the pen offstage, presumably at Jordan Schlansky’s sad face.
(8) THE FORTE AWAKENS. The mischievous James Langdell asked on Facebook –
No spoilers please… but could anyone who has actually seen the movie let me know if it was done as a musical?
All the commenters are pulling his leg so hard it’ll be surprising if it doesn’t come off…
(9) IN TUNE WITH THE TIMES. Cultural commentator Martin Morse Wooster does know where you can find some Star Wars music.
If you go to blackcatdc.com, you will find that Ms. Cherry Pitz and the Hotsy Totsy Burlesque review are doing their “Tribute to the Star Wars Holiday Special” tonight at the Black Cat Backstage in Washington,
“If you want to see Wicket the Ewok in pasties, now’s your chance,” Kristen Page-Kirby says in the Washington Post. “(And if you really want to see Wicket the Ewok in pasties, get some help.)”
You know–and you can quote me on this–“Cherry Pitz” is NOT a good burlesque name.
My goodness, I forgot to include the link!
(10) OVER THE AIR. In the UK, Sian Welby’s weather report on 5 News made 10 Star Wars puns in 40 seconds, all delivered with a straight face.
True, the wordplay varies in quality, ranging from the excellent “A Leia of cloud covering the UK” and “If you’re forced to awaken early tomorrow morning it will be on the dark side” to the groansome “If you Luke father west you will be seeing a glimmer of sunshine – if you’re Wookie” but you certainly have to admire the effort.
(11) BOX SCORE. I had to include Mark Lawrence’s new post for obvious reasons: “A Year in Numbers… Five!”
The blog had its millionth hit in 2015 and got almost 70,000 hits in one month!
And finally, Twitter, where at last I broke the 10,000 follower barrier!
(12) ALTERNATE AWARDS. Kary English, who hadn’t posted on her blog for almost six months, has briefly commented on Sasquan and thanked the people responsible for her having “Rockets in my pocket”.
Shahid Mahmud, my wonderful publisher at Galaxy’s Edge, who made sure I didn’t go home rocketless no matter what happened at the awards ceremony. The lovely red rocket he gave me now has a place of honor on my brag shelf.
Her other rocket is one of Ken Burnside’s Crashlander Awards.
(13) FUNDRAISER. SFWA is auctioning a George R.R. Martin-signed Game of Thrones 2016 calendar on Ebay.
This is a twelve month wall calendar with thirteen paintings (one for each month, plus a centerfold) by artist Magali Villeneuve depicting scenes from each of the published volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire as well as a scene from the forthcoming The Winds of Winter. The calendar is signed on the front cover by George R. R. Martin.
Auctioned off by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. All proceeds from this auction will be given to the SFWA Givers’ Fund.
The SFWA Giver’s Fund combines non-restricted charitable donations to SFWA and will use these funds to provide needed grants to genre-related organizations and/or individuals and will also disburse funds to the SFWA Emergency Medical and Legal Funds as needed.
(14) GAIMAN READS. From last year, the New York Public Library recording “Neil Gaiman Reads ‘A Christmas Carol’”. (Via ScienceFiction.com.)
Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman performs a memorable dramatic reading from NYPL’s own rare copy of “A Christmas Carol,” which includes edits and prompts Charles Dickens wrote in his own hand for his unique public readings 150 years ago. Dressed in full costume and joined by writer and BBC researcher Molly Oldfield, Gaiman performs the classic tale as its great author intended.
(15) REACTION. Adam-Troy Castro shared his highly negative response to Daniel Enness’ latest Castalia House blog post in a public Facebook post. Some good lines, but you’ll need to read them there. They only work in context with direct allusions to material I’ve chosen not to excerpt here.
(16) IN HIS STALKING FEET. From the BBC: “Author Richard Britain jailed for ‘bad review’ attack”. [Via Ansible Links.]
A former Countdown champion who travelled 400 miles to attack a teenager who gave his book a bad review has been jailed for 30 months.
Richard Brittain, 28, used Facebook to track victim Paige Rolland, 18, to the Asda store in Glenrothes where she worked.
He then smashed a full wine bottle over her head – knocking her unconscious.
Warning – from here it’s turtles Star Wars all the rest of the way down!
(17) CONSPIRACY THEORY. Camestros Felapton explains it all to you in “The True History of R2D2 – Sith Lord”.
In the films we know of five Sith lords, in addition there is one other character who:
- is directly linked to the dark side in the film
- appears to use force powers including using a ‘force jump’ to move
- appears to us the ‘Jedi mind trick’ to manipulate minds
- shoots lighting
- holds a lightsaber
(18) HOT STOVE LEAGUE. Cut4, a Major League Baseball blog, has the baseball/Star Wars mashup of your dreams.
Yes, MLB has “Star Wars” fever, but did you know that “Star Wars” has MLB fever, too? In a world as big as the Expanded Universe, did you really think there was no baseball? Life in the Empire can’t be all battling with light sabers and zooming around in TIE fighters. Sometimes, you just want to watch the game. So here’s your introduction to ELB (Empire League Baseball)…
(19) PLANET POLL. “See the ‘Star Wars’ Worlds Exoplanet Scientists Can’t Help But Love” at Space.com.
Last week, close to 350 exoplanet scientists gathered in Hawaii for the American Astronomical Society’s Extreme Solar Systems III conference. Space.com took the opportunity to ask 20 of these folks about their favorite “Star Wars” worlds.
The scientists we polled were almost evenly split among three worlds from the “Star Wars” original trilogy: Hoth (from “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back,”), Tatooine (from “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,”), and the moon of the planet Endor (from “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.”).
(21) BOY TOY. “Sith lord or samurai lord? Darth Vader becomes decorative doll for Boys’ Day in Japan” at Rocket News 24.
A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away (from English-speaking territories, anyway), Yoshitoku Taiko made its first doll. Founded in 1711, the company’s history goes back to a time when Japan was ruled by a shogun, and the country sealed off from the rest of the world.
More than three centuries later, Yoshitoku Taiko is still in business, but Japan is now part of the global community. That’s why the company’s latest offerings are two exquisitely crafted dolls of Darth Vader in samurai armor.
(22) CONTENT WARNING. Boing Boing brings us “Star Wars medical merch from Scarfolk, the horror-town stuck in the 1970s”. A few of the others have a certain “ewww” factor….
[Thanks to JJ, Hampus Eckerman, Steven H Silver, David Doering, John King Tarpinian, and Brian Z. for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]
By John King Tarpinian: This weekend Creature Features in Burbank, California hosted a photo gallery retrospective of the career of Vincent Price from the David Del Valle archives. Lovely black-and-white photos of the man that gave us so much pleasure over the decades.
I have my own Vincent Price story. While in high school and college I worked at the Los Angeles Zoo. Mr. Price was a zoo patron and visited the zoo frequently. When he wished to be left along he would leave his hair at home and be wearing a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, hard black shoes with black socks and garters. People would either look away or totally ignore the funnily dressed older gentleman. And as long as he did not speak nobody would be the wiser.
All the photos are by Robert Kerr. The white haired gentleman is Clu Gulager, best known for his role in The Virginian TV series.
David Del Valle’s introduction to his exhibit begins:
Vincent Price was fond of reminding his fans that “If you limit your interests, you limit your life.” In a career that spanned nearly six decades, Vincent Price made films in nearly every genre. However, it was the horror genre that made him an icon – especially in the turbulent 60s, with the youth market ready to cross boundaries in every aspect of life and art.
In the 50s, Price was already well on his way to becoming the heir to stars such as Boris Karloff with films like House of Wax and The Fly. The showmanship of William Castle presented Vincent as the elegant host of the House on Haunted Hill, and then allowed him to reveal The Tingler — shocking teenagers senseless as they were electrified with buzzers hidden beneath their theater seats.
A young director named Roger Corman did the rest, creating eight films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Poe Cycle presented the Gothic master of horror persona that would remain with Vincent Price for the rest of his life.
The Importance of Being Vincent is an exhibit of the finest Price images to be offered anywhere. It represents my favorite actor in the world, showcasing every aspect of his career in show business.
For the rest of the month, the exhibition will be available for viewing during regular hours at the Creatures Features store, 11a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 11a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The South Pasadena Public Library’s special event on October 29 took as its theme Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree”.
A story and photo at South Pasadena Now tells about the participants:
Artist Gris Grimly not only illustrated the newest edition of Bradbury’s classic book “The Halloween Tree,” he also exhibited the book’s original artwork at the library event. Robert Kerr, a member of the Ray Bradbury Pandemonium Theatre Company, offered insider background details about both “The Halloween Tree” book and movie, as well as reminiscences of Bradbury’s fondness for “his favorite holiday.” Tarpinian, a close friend and associate of Bradbury, recently donated a brick to the library from Bradbury’s house in LA that was torn down in 2014. Fjeldsted is South Pasadena’s director of library arts & culture and has coordinated six events at the library since 2010 to honor both Bradbury and his legacy. Fjeldsted, above, is holding the brick that was beautifully framed by Mission Framing of South Pasadena.