Born December 25, 1924 — Rod Serling. Best
remembered for the original and certainly superior Twilight Zone
and Night Gallery with the former winning an impressive three Hugos.
He’s also the screenwriter or a co-screenwriter for Seven Days in May,
a very scary film indeed, as well as The New People series, The
Strange Case of Dr. Jekylland Mr. Hyde, A Town Has Turned to
Dust, UFOs: Past, Present, and Future and Planet of the Apes.
ISDB lists a lot of published scripts and stories by him. (Died 1975.)
December 25, 1965 — BBC’s Doctor Who aired the very first of its holiday
episodes “The Feast Of Steven”. Running about twenty-four minutes, this
First Doctor story survives only in stills and video fragments. It’s worth
noting that Jean Marsh who was once married to future Third Doctor Jon Pertwee
was a cast member here as Sara Kingdom who BBC does not consider a Companion.
December 25, 1992 — Roald Dahl’s The BFG premiered on ITV in the
U.K. It’s based on his decades-old novel of that name. It was directed by
Brian Cosgrove and scripted by John Hambley. The film was dedicated to animator
George Jackson as he had worked on quite a few Cosgrove Hall productions
prior to his passing some years earlier. This film is also the last and only
posthumous role of Ballard Berkeley, the voice of the Head of the Army, who
died four years earlier. Well received by critics and viewers alike, it’s now a
cult classic (don’t groan) with a 65% rating among reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
December 25, 1999 — The film that is an acknowledged homage to Trek, Galaxy Quest
premiered. It’s directed by Dean Parisot from a script by David Howard and
Robert Gordon. It has a cast of Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony
Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, and Daryl Mitchell. Chicon 2000 would of course award
the Hugo it deserved (yes, I’m biased) beating out The
Matrix, The Sixth Sense,
Being John Malkovich
and The Iron Giant.
December 25, 2005 – Doctor Who “The Christmas Invasion” premiered. This episode features the first full-episode appearance of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and is also the first specifically produced Doctor Who Christmas special in the series history as the ones before were considered just part of a series. It included Companion Rose Tyler as played by Billie Piper and Rose’s mother, Jackie, as played by Camille Coduri.
December 25, 2008 — The Spirit premiered. It was written and directed by Frank
Miller and starred Gabriel Macht, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson, Dan Lauria, Paz
Vega, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson. It’s based as you know on Will
Eisner’s most excellent The Spirit.
To say it bombed would be an understatement as it lost tens of millions of
dollars, critics for the most part really didn’t like it and it currently has a
rating of 14% among reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
(1) VIEW TRANSIT OF MERCURY ON MONDAY. These occur on average about 13 times each
century. The next one won’t be until the year 2032. Let EclipseWise
tell you about Monday’s event in “2019 Transit of
On Monday, 2019 November 11, Mercury will transit the Sun for the first time since 2016. The transit or passage of a planet across the face of the Sun is a relatively rare occurrence. As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible….
Observing the Transit
Since Mercury is only 1/194 of the Sun’s apparent diameter, a telescope with a magnification of 50x or more is recommended to watch this event. The telescope must be suitably equipped with adequate filtration to ensure safe solar viewing.
(2) SUPERNATURAL EPISODE RECAP. [Item by Martin Morse
Wooster.] In the latest episode of Supernatural a character was
introduced who said she made her living as “the number-one purveyor of
non-authorized ‘Supernatural’ collectibles on Etsy.” She also wrote
fiction set in the Supernatural universe, although it wasn’t clear if
this was fan fiction or professional fiction. But what made the fiction
distinctive was that instead of the typical Supernatural episode, which
has, for 15 thunderous seasons, pitted Sam and Dean Winchester against
vampires, assorted monsters, and the forces of Hell itself, the fan fiction had
the Winchester brothers doing laundry and other chores. This made the
stories very popular.
episode didn’t do much with the main character other than having her deal with
another character who was struggling with writer’s block. “The only
way to deal with writer’s block is to write,” she said.
is the first TV episode I’ve seen where fan fiction characters were referred to
in the episode…
(3) THE NEW NUMBER TWO. When John Hertz looked at Walter
Fiction trading cards he noticed that a photo of Isaac Asimov appears on
both Asimov’s and Arthur C. Clarke’s cards in the online gallery. It brought to
mind an anecdote about the two authors which is retold in the “Isaac Asimov FAQ” at Stason.org.
5.5 What is the Asimov-Clarke treaty?
The Asimov-Clarke Treaty of Park Avenue, put together as Asimov and Clarke were travelling down Park Avenue in New York while sharing a cab ride, stated that Asimov was required to insist that Arthur C. Clarke was the best science fiction writer in the world (reserving second best for himself), while Clarke was required to insist that Isaac Asimov was the best science writer in the world (reserving second best for himself). Thus the dedication in Clarke’s book Report on Planet Three reads “In accordance with the terms of the Clarke-Asimov treaty, the second-best science writer dedicates this book to the second-best science-fiction writer”.
(4) SIGHTS TO SEE. Fanac.org’s Joe Siclari called attention
to recent additions to their online collection, photos from the 1959 Worldcon,
and scans of calendars featuring work by two great fanartists, George Barr and
We also added two calendars today, one from 1960 (George Barr) and the other from 1969 (Tim Kirk). They’re now in a directory set aside for calendars, and I’m sure there will be more as we go forward. Scans by Joe Siclari. You can see it at: http://fanac.org/fanzines/Calendars/.
Actor-turned-politician Lenore Zann is finding a second act in politics just as one of her most well-known roles finds a second life on the streaming screen.
Zann, a longtime New Democrat MLA from Nova Scotia, arrived in Ottawa this week as a newly elected Liberal MP.
Rogue, the character Zann voiced in the iconic 90s X-Men: The Animated Series, will be on Disney’s new streaming service along with the rest of the superhero team when that service launches in Canada next week….
(6) MALTIN PODCAST. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In Leonard and Jessie Maltin’s podcast with James Gray, they talk about cosplay beginning at minute 14, when Gray asks, “At what point did adults start dressing up like Captain America at Comic-Con?” and then segue into Martin Scorsese’s complaint about the MCU films not being cinema. Gray argues that the decline in the humanities in the past decade meant that more young people don’t have as deep a knowledge of film as previous generations do. At minute 20, they switch to deep and interesting film talk.
never discusses why he decided to make a sf film with Ad Astra, although
he did say he enjoyed working with Donald Sutherland.
Leonard Maltin revealed at the end of the podcast that he always sits through
the credits because “the movie isn’t over until you’ve been threatened
with civil and criminal prosecution.”
In this episode, special guest Jennifer Albright of Have You Seen This? drops by to talk about Mary Sues, a term used to describe an overly-perfect female character created as a self-insertion wish fulfillment vehicle for the author. The discussion traces the expression Mary Sue back to its origin in Star Trek fanfiction and tries to grapple with its current usage. Does Mary Sue mean anything anymore? Is it a misogynistic term? Is Rey from Star Wars a Mary Sue? Is James Bond a Mary Sue? Does it really matter if a character is a Mary Sue?
(8) BOOKS FRANK MILLER LOVES. Shelf Awareness brings
with… Frank Miller”, best known for Daredevil, The Dark
Knight Returns, Sin City and 300.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, because he went for impossible adventure.
Your top five authors:
Isaac Asimov: He was the godfather of modern science fiction. He took us beyond the rocket ships and bug-eyed monsters.
Raymond Chandler: For his urban romantic poetry that celebrated 1940s Los Angeles.
Dashiell Hammett: His town was San Francisco; his dialogue was clipped, yet wildly evocative. His heroes were tough and very, very alone.
Dorothy B. Hughes: She brought a distinctly feminine edge to the hard-boiled genre and, in her own way, was ready to take us to darker places than any of the rest.
Mickey Spillane: For his pounding and frenetic portrait of New York City in the post-World War II era.
In 1950, a New York City police officer who was working missing-persons cases examined the body of an approximately 30-year-old man that was brought into the morgue. The man had shown up in the middle of Times Square at 11:15 p.m. that evening, “gawking and looking around at the cars and up at the signs like he’d never seen them before,” then was quickly hit and killed by cab when he tried to cross a street against the traffic lights.
The pockets of the deceased’s clothing held multiple pieces of coinage and currency of forms that had not been produced for several decades, yet many of them were in mint condition. His possessions also included items from types of businesses that no longer existed in New York City (i.e., a bill from a livery stable and a brass slug from a saloon), a letter postmarked in 1876, and cards bearing the name Rudolph Fentz with an address on Fifth Avenue….
Rod Serling remains one of the more influential writers in the annals of science fiction. As creator of The Twilight Zone, he took took viewers to strange dimensions and pushed the boundaries of what the genre could do. Yet, part of him feared he would not leave a lasting legacy. That’s one of the topics tackled in Remembering Rod Serling, a new documentary that will be unveiled Nov. 14 in theaters via Fathom Events to celebrate The Twilight Zone‘s 60th anniversary.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 9, 1886 — Ed Wynn. He appeared on The Twilight Zone in “One for the Angels” which Sterling wrote specifically for him. He appeared one more time on the series in, “Ninety Years Without Slumbering”. He provided the voice of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland and played The Toymaker in Babes in Toyland. No doubt his best-remembered film appearance was in Mary Poppins as Uncle Albert. Bet you can name the scene he’s best remembered for! (Died 1966.)
Born November 9, 1921 — Alfred Coppel. Have I ever mentioned how much I love pulp? Everything from the writers to the artwork to the magazines themselves are so, so cool. And this writer was one of the most prolific such authors of the Fifties and Sixties. That he was also a SF writer is an added bonus. Indeed, his first science fiction story was “Age of Unreason” in a 1947 Amazing Stories. Under the pseudonym of Robert Cham Gilman, he wrote the Rhada sequence of galactic space opera novels aimed at a young adult market. Wiki claims he writing under A.C. Marin as well but I cannot find any record of this. (Died 2004.)
Born November 9, 1924 — Alan Caillou. The Head in the Quark series. If you have to ask… Last role was Count Paisley in Ice Pirates and his first was on the One Step Beyond series. (Died 2006.)
Born November 9, 1924 — Lawrence T. Shaw. A Hugo Award-winning fan, author, editor and literary agent. In the Forties and Fifties, Larry Shaw edited Nebula, Infinity Science Fiction and Science Fiction Adventures. He received a Special Committee Award during the 1984 Worldcon for lifetime achievement as an editor. (Died 1985.)
Born November 9, 1954 — Rob Hansen, 65. British fan, active since the Seventies who has edited and co-edited numerous fanzines including his debut production Epsilon. And he was the 1984 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate. His nonfiction works such as Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980, lasted updated just a few years ago, are invaluable.
Born November 9, 1973 — Gabrielle Miller, 46. Her first genre series was Highlander: The Series. And yes, she had long red hair in it. That’s followed by M.A.N.T.I.S., Outer Limits, X-Files, The Sentinel, Dead Man’s Gun, Stargate SG-1, Viper, Poltergeist, Welcome to Paradox… oh, you get the idea.
Born November 9, 1974 — Ian Hallard, 45. He was on Doctor Who as Alan-a-Dale in “Robot of Sherwood”, a Twelfth Doctor story; in Sherlock as Mr Crayhill in “The Reichenbach Fall”; and he played one of the original directors of Doctor Who, Richard Martin, in An Adventure in Space and Time. And he wrote “The Big Four” episode with Mark Gatiss for the Agatha Christie series.
(12) JFK. Gideon Marcus (Galactic Journey) is lining
up fans who are interested in a free alternate history story.
Why did you decide to look so closely at these first 20 years of Lewis’s life?
Virtually all of Lewis’s biographers have puzzled over why he devoted most of his spiritual biography, Surprised by Joy, to his first 20 years. As I first began to read the letters of young Jack Lewis from the time when he first went away to school, I realized why Lewis thought his childhood and youth were so important in his conversion. During this period, he developed all of his major tastes about what he enjoyed in life and what he hated. Many of the ideas that he would pursue in both his scholarly work and his popular writings have their genesis in his teenage years. Whether books like The Allegory of Love and A Preface to Paradise Lost, or The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity, many of the ideas found in these books were topics of Lewis’s interest in letters to [lifelong friend] Arthur Greeves when he was 16 and 17….
NASA scientists recently opened a sample tube of rock and soil collected on the moon during Apollo 17. The tube remained unopened for nearly 47 years, and it is the first time NASA scientists have broken in to a fresh moon sample in over four decades. Researchers are using the lunar dirt to test next-generation sampling tools in preparation for the next time humans fly to the moon.
The sample tube holds about 15 ounces of lunar regolith, or loose rocky material from the surface. Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt collected the material during mission in December of 1972, NASA’s last crewed mission to the moon. The sample, 73002, was taken from a two-foot-long tube that the astronauts drove into a landslide deposit in a feature called the Lara Crater. A second sample, 73001, is scheduled to be opened in January.
In the latest installment of SYFY WIRE’s Behind the Panel, we’re roaming the halls of New York Comic Con while searching for an elusive Treasury Edition: MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz. True story: That was the first-ever collaboration between Marvel and DC. But their second collaboration was a true game changer: Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man.
That’s right, the unthinkable crossover already happened in 1976, with a follow-up sequel in 1981. Only the Treasury Edition format could fully capture the twin heroic icons of comics as they had their inevitable battle before their equally inevitable team-up to save the day. For the time, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man was the comic book equivalent of a blockbuster movie. That Treasury Edition is long out of print, but fans may be lucky enough to spot it at comic conventions.
(17) FROM THE LETTERZINE ZEEN. Kim Huett shares another gem
from his files with readers of Doctor Strangemind. “One of the reasons I find nosing through old fanzines so
worthwhile are the contemporary reactions to stories and authors. It’s always
fun to discover reviews of the big names back when they were just starting out.
As you can probably imagine I was most pleased to find what I suspect was the
first critical reaction to Ursula Le Guin.” — “In the Beginning”
… Take for example consider the following comments by US fan, Earl Evers, who reviewed the contents of the April 1964 issue of Fantastic Stories of Imagination in his fanzine, Zeen #2 within weeks of it hitting the shelves. In the process of reviewing this magazine, story by story, he had the following to say about what was one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s earliest published stories…
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Kim Huett also shared this link for…
Here’s an #Owlkitty video which more than adequately explains exactly why Tolkien didn’t feature cats in either Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Yes, the right cat would make a great Balrog or an excellent Nazgal mount except cats have minds of their own and I can’t imagine Sauron would like that (besides, they would stare right back at him and it doesn’t take an All Seeing Eye to find that sort of behavior annoying):
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John Hertz, Rich Lynch, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, RS Benedict, Olav Rokne, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Kim Huett, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
(1) HAUNTING VERSES. Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Halloween readings can be
listened to at the link.
SFPA’s Halloween Poetry Reading shares our enjoyment of speculative poetry with a broader audience, increases awareness of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and promotes the individual poets who take part. All SFPA members are welcome to submit one audio file per person of themselves reading one of their spooky, haunting, ghoulish, or humorous Halloween or horror poems.
….Here I am at the Conseil européen pour la recherche nucléaire or “CERN” in Geneva. Only here at the pinnacle of modern sub-atomic particle research can scientists determine the minute differences in cat length. To better understand our question I have taken two dogs and placed them within the seventeen mile long Large Hadron Collider. Within this massive apparatus, the two dogs will be accelerated to extraordinarily high speeds until, somewhere close to the Swiss-France border the two dogs will collide resulting in a cascade of elementary dog-particles.
This is also a big win for Sony here in continuing a series that will likely give it another $1 billion-plus-grossing film along with an 8% distribution fee or higher. Additionally, the deal keeps intact the creative steering of Disney’s Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who led two of the best and most profitable fan-pleasing pics in the Spidey film canon to $2 billion worldwide.
October 1959, America was deep into the ‘age of unease’ as viewers took their first steps into ‘another dimension, not only of sight & sound but of mind. Their ‘next stop, The Twilight Zone.
…Rod Serling, America’s most famous television playwright, astonished people with his announcement that he was to explore the realms of science fiction and fantasy in a new anthology show. Like Dennis Potter starting up Dr Who. But Serling, an impeccable liberal haunted by war, racial strife & the possibilities of nuclear Armageddon smuggled stories of conscience, doubt and possibility into 5 seasons of a remarkable show that has never died & has been revisited for a fourth time with Jordan Peele as host. In truth, nothing can match a realm of the American weird that Serling made uniquely his own.
In this special Radio 4 Extra documentary Alan Dein hears from Serling’s family, veteran directors Richard Donner & John Frankenheimer, actors Earl Holliman (star of the first ever episode) & Jean Marsh as well as the writers Jonathan Lethem & David Thomson & Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker. 2 Twilight Zone radio episodes accompany the documentary.
The U.S. military has warned service members about the potential for a mass shooter at screenings of the Warner Bros. film Joker, which has sparked wide concerns from, among others, the families of those killed during the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
The U.S. Army confirmed on Tuesday that the warning was widely distributed after social media posts related to extremists classified as “incels,” were uncovered by intelligence officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
September 28, 1858 — First photograph of a comet.
September 28, 1990— I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel) premiered. Starring Dolph Lundgren, it scores 31% on Rotten Tomatoes.
September 28, 2012 — Looper premiered. Starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, it scored 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and lost to The Avengers for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, Hugo Award in 2013.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born September 28, 1909 — Al Capp. Cartoonist responsible of course for the Li’l Abner strip. Is it genre? Of course. (Died 1979.)
Born September 28, 1913 — Ellis Peters. Writer of two excellent ghost novels, The City Lies Four-Square and By This Strange Fire. These alas are not available on iBooks or Kindle. (Died 1995.)
Born September 28, 1923 — William Windom. Commodore Matt Decker, commander of the doomed USS Constellation in “The Doomsday Machine” episode, one of the best Trek stories told. Norman Spinrad was the writer. Other genre appearances include being the President on Escape from the Planet of the Apes, The Major in “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” episode of Twilight Zone and Ben Victor in the “The Night of the Flying Pie Plate” story of The Wild Wild West. This is a sampling only! (Died 2012.)
Born September 28, 1926 — Bernard Behrens. He voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi in the BBC radio adaptations of the original trilogy. He also was Gustav Helsing in Dracula: The TV Series, played several different characters on the War of the Worlds and The Bionic Woman series and was even in a Roger Corman film, Galaxy of Terror. The latter scored 33% at Rotten Tomatoes begging the question whether any film he did score well there? (Died 2012.)
Born September 28, 1934 — Janet Horsburgh. She’s likely best remembered as Katie O’Gill in Darby O’Gill and the Little People. She was also Anne Pilgrim in The Trollenberg Terror and Jeannie Craig in The Day the Earth Caught Fire. (Died 1972.)
Born September 28, 1935 — Ronald Lacey. He’s very best remembered as Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (A series where they should’ve stopped with first film.) he’s actually in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as Heinrich Himmler though it’s uncredited role. One of his first genre appearances was as the Strange Young Man in The Avengers episode “The Joker”. In that same period, he was the village idiot in The Fearless Vampire Killers which actually premiered as The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck. And he’s in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as President Widmark. This is but a thin wafer of his genre roles so do feel free to add your favorite. (Died 1991.)
Born September 28, 1946 — Jeffrey Jones, 73. I see his first SFF role was as Mayor Lepescu in Transylvania 6-5000 which followed by being in Howard the Duck as Dr. Walter Jenning / Dark Overlord. He recovered from that movie flop by being Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice, and Dick Nelson in Mom and Dad Save the World. He’s Uncle Crenshaw Little in Stuart Little, and I see he shows in Sleepy Hollow as Reverend Steenwyck. He’s does series one-offs in The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, Amazing Stories and The Outer Limits.
Born September 28, 1950 — John Sayles, 69. I really hadn’t considered him a major player in genre films but he is. He’s writer and director The Brother from Another Planet and The Secret of Roan Inish; andhe wrote the scripts of Piranha, Alligator, Battle Beyond the Stars, The Howling, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Clan of the Cave Bear and The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Born September 28, 1966 — Maria Pilar Canals-Barrera, 53. She’s getting Birthday Honors for being the voice of Hawkgirl on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. She’s also voiced Commissioner Ellen Yindel in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and voiced Rio Morales, the mother of the Spider-Man, Miles Morales, on the Ultimate Spider-Man series. I just picked this to watch as it’s look very good.
Born September 28, 1967 — Mira Sorvino, 51. She’s Sara in Falling Skies in a recurring role in the last two seasons, and she’s Amy Whelan in Intruders. She voices Ingrid Cortez on Spy Kids: Mission Critical, and she’s Tess Chaplin in The Last Templar.
(9) FUTURE TENSE. At Slate, the new Future Tense story
is Marcy Kelly’s “Double
Spiral”. Tagline: “Read a new
short story about genetic testing, privacy, and profit.”
She was lucky.
Lucky, and then unlucky, and then lucky again, she thought, guiltily, seeing this child on the subway.
It was obvious, instantly. The shape of his head. The low-set mouth. The boy’s mother turned toward Rada and she looked away, not wanting to be caught staring.
The response essay, “Crossing
the Germline” is by Josephine Johnston, an expert on the ethical,
legal, and policy implications of biomedical technologies.
…Primarily as a result of our seemingly benign interest in family trees, several U.S. companies have already amassed proprietary databases of DNA from 26 million customers. There are an estimated 15 million samples in Ancestry’s database, while 23andMe says it has tested 10 million customers. Having learned that a minority of traits, such as Huntington’s disease or cystic fibrosis, can be explained by single genetic differences, scientists are now bringing big data approaches to genome sequencing to calculate “polygenic risk scores” quantifying the likelihood that people will develop schizophrenia, graduate from high school, or score highly on IQ tests.
The most popular musician on Patreon is the extremely online singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer, who has more than 15,000 patrons and doesn’t disclose her earnings.
…By and large, he (Conte) says, Patreon privileges those creators who tend toward higher-frequency output and whose fans regard them as (mistake them for?) dear friends. ‘Amanda Palmer loves her fans and they love her,,’ Conte adds. ‘They actually feel love for her. That’s a particular type of artists. Not every artist wants that vulnerable, close, open relationship with their fans. Like, really tactically: Do you run fan-art contests> Do you respond to comments on Twitter> Do you sell soap–do a weird fun thing with your fans then send them a thing in the mail, thanking them for what they contributed>’ If not, don’t count on making your rent via Patreon.
(11) TODAY’S CONSPIRACY THEORY. Someone who thought it would enhance the paranoid theme of his latest blog post asked why Dan Simmons’ official site today is displaying the message “We’ll be up and running soon” – essentially an “under construction” sign. The blogger wonders, did someone hack it to show displeasure about the author’s Thunberg comments? Maybe the blogger’s lack of research is what should be suspected. The Internet Archive shows this message has been on Simmons’ front page for over a year — https://web.archive.org/web/20180804122809/http://dansimmons.com/.
Escape room designer John Hennessy said that the idea for this room has been brewing for a long time.
…We went to a media preview and tried out the new game. The story begins with an eccentric professor who, like Hennessy, is obsessed with Atlantis. The professor has discovered how to open a portal to Atlantis, with your mission involving a search for the mysterious MacGuffin of the Poseidon Crystal.
You start inside the professor’s office, solving clues to activate his machine and open up the portal. The professor gifts your group with the ability to breathe underwater through a special hand stamp (just go with us here) and four Atlantean pendants.
Note: whenever you start out with an item in an escape room, you’re always going to need to use that item somewhere else. A door opens, and you’re whisked away to Atlantis.
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian,
Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, John A Arkansawyer, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
day Steve Davidson, who found one that was “Just right.”]
(1) FOR MY
FATHER…AND FOR ALL OUR FATHERS. It’s a good day to reread Steve
Vertlieb’s Father’s Day tribute to his dad — “My Father/Myself” (from 2017).
Here is a very special Father’s Day tribute that I wrote for my beloved dad, Charles Vertlieb. I hope that you’ll find it moving. Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Dad. I love you, and I miss you more and more with every passing day.
… The first dinosaurs we would have shared must have been at the New York World’s Fair in 1965, in Flushing Meadows, Queens (where the baseball Mets still play). In the second, and final year of that unparalleled spectacular’s existence, we saw Dinoland, Sinclair Oil’s famous “dinosaur garden.” (A small plastic stegosaurus soon became one of my prized possessions).
(2) NEW NEW NEW! Coca-Cola is the sponsor of today’s
practically daily Stranger Things tie-in
commercial. New Coke may go better with popcorn than on it.
… Here we go to the great one for his wise advice on writing. We’ll elaborate on some of his most famous quotes on the subject to showcase how screenwriters can apply the wisdom to their screenwriting art and craft….
4. “You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning.”
Screenwriters wait and wait for that big inspirational moment to come, often leading to endless months and months of waiting. Sometimes years. The best ideas come like a whisper in the night. It could be a single visual, a single line of dialogue, a single moment, a single character trait or arc, etc. Don’t wait for some big explosion of inspiration. Listen.
(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 16, 1894 — Mahlon Blaine. Illustrator whose largely of interest here for his work on the covers of the Canaveral Press editions in 1962 of some Edgar Rice Burroughs editions. He told Gershon Legman who would put together The Art of Mahlon Blaine “that he designed the 1925 film, The Thief of Bagdad, but Arrington says that his name doesn’t appear in any of the published credits.” He also claimed to have worked on Howard Hawks’ Scarface, but IMDB has no credits for him. (Died 1964.)
Born June 16, 1896 — Murray Leinster. It is said that he wrote and published more than fifteen hundred short stories and articles, fourteen movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays. Among those was his 1945 Hugo winning novella “First Contact” which is one of the first (if not the first) instances of a universal translator in science fiction. So naturally his heirs sued Paramount Pictures over Star Trek: First Contact, claiming that it infringed their trademark in the term. However, the suit was dismissed. I’m guessing they filed just a bit late. (Died 1975.)
Born June 16, 1920 — T.E. Dikty. In 1947, Dikty joined Shasta Publishers as managing editor. With E. F. Bleiler he started the first Best of the Year SF anthologies, called The Best Science Fiction, that ran from 1949 until 1957. He was posthumously named to the First Fandom Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the 71st World Science Fiction Convention. (Died 1991.)
Born June 16, 1939 — David McDaniel. He wrote but one non-media tie-in novel, The Arsenal Out of Time, but most of his work was writingThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. novels, six in total, with one, The Final Affair, which was supposed to wrap up the series but went unpublished due to declining sales but which circulated among fandom. He also wrote a Prisoner novel, Who is Number 2? (Died 1977.)
Born June 16, 1940 — Carole Ann Ford, 79. Best known for her roles as Susan Foreman in Doctor Who, and as Bettina in The Day of the Triffids. Ford appeared in the one-off 50th-anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.
Born June 16, 1958 — Isobelle Carmody, 61. Australian writer best known for her Obernewtyn Chronicles which she began at age fourteen. She’s rather prolific with I count at least twenty four novel and three short story collections to date.
Born June 16, 1972 — Andy Weir, 47. His debut novel, The Martian, was later adapted into a film of the same name directed by Ridley Scott. He received the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Artemis, his second novel, has been optioned as a film.
Like many Stephenson novels, Fall features a huge, multigenerational — and in this case, periodically reincarnated — cast of characters. But at its center is Richard “Dodge” Forthrast, an aging game company CEO and protagonist of Stephenson’s earlier novel Reamde.
The broad strokes of the story: Dodge dies during a routine medical procedure, and his consciousness is uploaded to a quantum computer. This digital Dodge (known as Egdod) slowly gains self-awareness and constructs a mystical space called Bitworld, presiding over a growing number of newly uploaded “souls.” But the wealthy transhumanist Elmo “El” Shepherd is furious that Dodge has seemingly recreated an old, regrettably human social system. He throws Dodge out of his own paradise, setting up a power struggle that will shake Bitworld’s very foundations.
The Child’s Play reboot is out in cinemas next week, and it’s already gotten the seal of approval from the one and only Snoop Dogg.
The rapper’s not one to mince his words, whether he’s reacting to the Game of Thrones finale or American president Donald Trump. So naturally, his quick-fire review of the new Chucky film, in a short clip for his Hot Box Office show on VH1, was filled with puns and quips.
Patricia Abbott: Landscape with Fragmented Figures by Jeff Vande Zande
Hepzibah Anderson and John O’Neill: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Pritpaul Bains: The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Brian Bigelow: Journey through a Lighted Room by Margaret Parton
Les Blatt: A Knife for Harry Dodd by George Bellairs
Joachim Boaz: Seconds by David Ely; Daybreak on a Different Mountain by Colin Greenland
John Boston: Amazing: Fact and Science Fiction Stories, July 1964, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli
Ben Boulden: A Talent for Killing (including Deadman’s Game) by Ralph Dennis
Brian Busby: The Black Donnellys by Thomas P. Kelley
Martin Edwards: Goodbye, Friend by Sébastien Japrisot (translated by Patricia Allen Dreyfus)
Peter Enfantino: Atlas (pre-Marvel) horror comics: June 1952
Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: DC war comics, February 1975
Will Errickson: In a Lonely Place and Why Not You and I? by Karl Edward Wagner
José Ignacio Escribano: Maigret in Vichy by Georges Simenon (translated by Ros Schwartz)
Curtis Evans: Who wrote which of the “Patrick Quentin”/”Q. Patrick”/”Jonathan Stagge” novels
Olman Feelyus: Horizon by Helen MacInnes
Paul Fraser: Famous Fantastic Mysteries, August 1946, edited by Mary Gnaedinger (The Twenty-Fifth Hour by Herbert Best and a short story by Bram Stoker); The Great SF Stories 11 (1949) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
John Grant: Summer of the Big Bachi by Naomi Hirahara; Silk by Alessandro Barrico (translated by Guido Waldman)
Aubrey Hamilton: The Cat Screams by Todd Downing
Rich Horton: Kate Wilhelm short fiction; The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman
Jerry House: Three by Kuttner by Henry Kuttner (edited and introduced by Virgil Utter)
Kate Jackson: The Strange Case of Harriet Hall by “Moray Dalton” (Katherine Dalton Renoir)
Tracy K: The Dusty Bookcase by Brian Busby
Colman Keane: Snout by Tim Stevens
George Kelley: The Golden Age of Science Fiction by John Wade; Best Seller: A Century of America’s Favorite Books by Robert McParland
Joe Kenney: Hickey & Boggs by Philip Rock (from the script by Walter Hill); Revenge at Indy by “Larry Kenyon” (Lew Louderback)
Rob Kitchin: London Rules by Mick Herron
Kate Laity: “Rabbit in a Trap” by Sandra Seamans
B. V. Lawson: The Saint in Europe by Leslie Charteris; Exeunt Murderers: The Best Mystery Stories of Anthony Boucher by “Anthony Boucher” (William White)
Fritz Leiber: “Try and Change the Past” (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1958, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.)
Evan Lewis: A Badge for a Badman by “Brian Wynne” (Brian Garfield)
Steve Lewis: The Dark Kiss by Donald Enefer; Joy Houseby “Day Keene” (Gunard Hjertstedt)
John F. Norris: The Sealed Room Murder by Michael Crombie
Matt Paust: The Everrumble by Michelle Elvy
James Reasoner: Tall, Dark and Dead by Kermit Jaediker
Richard Robinson: Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein
Janet Rudolph: Crime Fiction for Father’s Day
Gerard Saylor: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
Steven H Silver: Heavy Metal magazine, edited by Sean Kelly, Valerie Merchant, Ted White et al.
Kerrie Smith: A High Mortality of Doves by Kate Ellis
Duane Spurlock: Santa Fe Passage by “Clay Fisher” (Henry Wilson Allen)
Kevin Tipple: Oregon Hill by Howard Owen
“TomCat”: Damning Trifles by Maurice C. Johnson
Matthew Wurtz: Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1954, edited by H. L. Gold
(10) THAT’S CAT. ScreenRant invites you to step inside the pitch meeting that led to 2004’s
[Thanks to JJ, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Liptak, John
King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, and Martin Morse
Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Ann Nimmhaus.]
(1) WAYWARD WRITERS. Cat
Rambo shares her notes from Kay Kenyon’s class about plotting, “Mapping the
(2) OUTSIDE THE THEATER.
Abigail Nussbaum convincingly argues that the discussion around Captain
Marvel is more significant than the movie.
…Which is really the most important thing you can say about Captain Marvel: this is a movie that is important not because of what happens in it, but because of what happens around it. The most interesting conversations you can have regarding it all take place in the meta-levels–what does Captain Marvel mean for the MCU, for superhero movies, for pop culture?
…Another example is the way Captain Marvel refigures Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who functions here as Carol’s sidekick on Earth, where she crash-lands after being captured by Skrulls, the enemies of the Kree. Fury has been a fixture of the MCU since he showed up in the after-credits scene of Iron Man in 2008, and has always cut an imposing figure: a grey eminence, spymaster, and general who suffers no fools and always has plans within plans in his monomaniacal quest to defend the Earth from alien dangers. The version of Fury we meet in Captain Marvel is much more down to earth–funny, self-deprecating, willing to pause his serious pursuits in order to coo over an adorable cat, and inordinately pleased with himself over minor bits of spycraft, like fooling a fingerprint reader with a bit of tape.
It can be hard to square the Fury in Captain Marvel with the one we’ve known for twelve years in the rest of the MCU, and once again, when looking for solutions, one immediately turns to the metafictional. My first thought when the film’s credits rolled was “someone told Jackson to just do what he did in The Long Kiss Goodnight“.….
The Brie Larson/Samuel L. Jackson/Reggie the Cat sci-fi adventure opened with $153m in North America this weekend, which is the second-biggest solo superhero non-sequel launch behind Black Panther ($202m in 2018). It’s the third-biggest March opening of all time, sans inflation, behind Batman v Superman ($166m in 2016) and Beauty and the Beast ($174m in 2017).
You founded JABberwocky Literary Agency in 1994, and your agency has grown since, adding several agents and assistants. What are the most common problems in the manuscript submissions you receive?
Make every word count! No excess description. No tossing facial gestures like smiles and smirks onto the page for no good reason. Never stopping to give a three-line description of every character when they come on stage. Quoting two of Bradbury’s 8 Rules:
• Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
• Start as close to the end as possible.
…Most writers don’t understand that an agent can only represent a limited number of authors, and that agents specialize in particular types of fiction. Can you discuss how many authors you represent and why you’ve settled on that number? Can you describe the areas that you specialize in and why you’ve chosen those areas?
In an alternate universe, the initial crop of mysteries I sold (my very first sale as an agent was a mystery) would have taken off and the sf/fantasy not done as well! I never consciously set out to be a specialist. I don’t count clients; I have “clients” who haven’t written a book in 20 years, so do I count them? And some I’m working with but haven’t yet sold. I don’t target a particular number of clients. I’d say it’s my ability to get through my reading pile that says if I can take on more or fewer; that’s the pressure valve that says if the apparatus can safely support more.
The series touches on immigration, racism, xenophobia and gun control. Did you have any idea how prescient it would be?
Well, it was very interesting what was happening when we did the first season of “American Gods.” The country has taken a serious lurch to the right, as much as they’d love to say it’s taken a serious lurch to the left. I don’t think America would know a socialist if they fell over him. They think it’s somebody who lives in a garret in Russia and has no telephone and no refrigerator. But that’s due to their lack of education. America’s been dumbed down over the years, which is a shame. It’s wonderful to see Congress now with a rainbow color, if you like, of immigrants and nationalities and people who love this country. They’re talking about it in a different way.
(6) THE PRICE ON THE BOUNTY
Mechanic’s article “The
Great Star Wars Heist” recalls that in 2017, an uncovered toy theft
ruptured the Star Wars collecting community. Two years later, the
collectors—and the convicted—are still looking for a way forward.
…After talking with Wise, though, Tann’s doubts reached beyond one Boba Fett. The legitimacy of the dozens of purchases he’d made from Cunningham were at stake. Were those stolen goods, too?
Tann shared a comprehensive list of his purchases with Wise and, sure enough, Wise recognized more collectibles of his. But he noticed something else, too. The large volume of items that Cunningham was selling suggested that he had been stealing from someone else.
And the quality of the collectibles left little doubt as to who it was.
(7) SHEINBERG OBIT. Universal
Studios executive Sidney Sheinberg died
March 7 reports the New York Times.
His career-launching connection with Steven Spielberg proved lucrative for
Mr. Sheinberg, who could be as tender as he was prickly, was the one who allowed Mr. Spielberg to make “Jaws,” giving him a budget of $3.5 million (about $17 million in today’s money). A problem-plagued shoot pushed the cost to more than twice as much. But Mr. Sheinberg… continued to support the film, which went on to become the prototype for the wide-release summer blockbuster.
“Sid created me, in a way, and I also re-created Sid, in a way,” Mr. Spielberg was quoted as saying in The New York Times in 1997.
Under Mr. Sheinberg’s watch, Universal released two more hits from Mr. Spielberg, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) and “Jurassic Park”(1993). It was Mr. Sheinberg who handed Mr. Spielberg Thomas Keneally’s novel “Schindler’s List,” which the director turned into his masterpiece of the same title. Released in 1993, it won seven Academy Awards, including best picture.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat
Born March 10, 1891 — Sam Jaffe. His first role was in Lost Horizon as the High Lama and much later in The Day the Earth Stood Still playing Professor Jacob Barnhardt. Later on we find in The Dunwich Horror as Old Whateley, voicing Bookman in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, playing The Old-Man in The Tell-Tale Heart, and in his last film, appearing in Battle Beyond the Stars as Dr. Hephaestus. John Sayles wrote the script oddly enough. (Died 1984.)
Born March 10, 1921 — Cec Linder. He’s best remembered for playing Dr. Matthew Roney in the BBC produced Quatermass and the Pit series in the later Fifties, and for his role as James Bond’s friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter, in Goldfinger. He also appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the Amerika series, The Ray Bradbury Theatre and The New Avengers. (Died 1992.)
Born March 10, 1932 — Robert Dowdell. He’s best known for his role as Lieutenant Commander Chip Morton in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. After that series, he showed up in genre series such as Max Headroom, Land of the Giants, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Freddy’s Nightmares. (Died 2018.)
Born March 10, 1938 — Marvin Kaye, 81. Currently the editor of Weird Tales, he has also edited magazines such as H. P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. The Fair Folk anthology which is most excellent and which he edited won a World Fantasy Award.
Born March 10, 1958 — Sharon Stone, 61. Damn, she’s the same age I am. She’s been in three genre films, her first being Total Recall where she played the ill-fated Lori Quaid. Her next was Sphere where she was cast as Dr. Elizabeth “Beth” Halperin, and last was in, errr, Catwoman where she was Laurel Hedare, an assassin.
Born March 10, 1977 — Bree Turner, 42. She’s best known for her role as Rosalee on Grimm. She also starred in the pilot episode (“Incident On and Off a Mountain Road”) of Masters of Horror. She was in Jekyll + Hyde as Martha Utterson. Confession time: I got through maybe three seasons of Grimm before giving up as it became increasingly silly.
3. Is there a book you’re currently itching to reread?
I’m in the middle of a slow reread of P.C. Hodgell’s Kencyrath series so I can get caught up with the latest volumes in time for the new book to come out later on in 2019. I’ve just finished rereading God Stalk and Dark of the Moon, so Seeker’s Mask is next. It’s been rereleased a few times but this remains my favorite cover. If you are looking for a really splendid high fantasy series with a darker edge, intricate worldbuilding, a complex heroine and fascinating cast of characters, this is one of the best around.
(11) SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. Idris
Elba guest hosted Saturday Night Live.
His sketches included –
“The Impossible Hulk”
“Can I Play That/” in which actors are told they can’t play various parts because trolls on Twitter say they can’t.
(12) GONE CRUISIN’. I don’t know what to say… (See second tweet.)
(13) AKA JOHN CLEVE, Here’s
a curiosity: a scan of a 7-page andy offutt
letter to Bob Gaines from 1977, mostly a history/list of his porn novels,
but also about a page of current events about his career at the time.
(14) DENIAL DENIERS. Cody Delistraty, in “John
Lanchester’s Future Tells The Truth” on Vulture,
profiles British novelist John Lanchester, whose new sf novel THE WALL is an
attempt to educate readers about climate change without preaching to them.
…Something else sets Lanchester apart from crossover literary personalities of yore. He has the ability to deflect — and to notice, too, when most people want to look away from the truth. (He has a “deep sympathy” for climate-change deniers.) He knows where to find the most pressing emergencies facing humanity, as he’s proven time and again with his nonfiction. But, crucially, in his fiction, he also knows when and how people tend to avoid the toughest topics. A central goal of his recent novels — which grounds them in cold reality — is to draw attention to what we might otherwise not want to notice: What are the lies that we musttell ourselves? What must we believe in order to cope with the world? Questions that, perhaps unsurprisingly, spring directly from his own life.
…Danvers first appeared in 1968. Originally known as Ms. Marvel, the character had fought for feminist causes throughout her comic book history, but her depiction by male writers and artists had several problematic elements. The oft-scantily clad Ms. Marvel had a tendency of being objectified or oversexualized; one infamous storyline in 1980 even featured her being raped and impregnated by an intergalactic supervillain….
(16) LEGACY. Neil Gaiman
wrote this eulogy after Harlan Ellison
passed away last June. It ends:
He left behind a lot of stories. But it seems to me, from the number of people reaching out to me and explaining that he inspired them, that they became writers from reading him or from listening to him on the radio or from seeing him talk (sometimes it feels like 90% of the people who came to see Harlan and Peter David and me talk after 911 at MIT have gone on to become writers) and that his real legacy was of writers and storytellers and people who were changed by his stories.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. A
clip from The Jack Benny Program with
John King Tarpinian, JJ. Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hictchcock,
Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories.
Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]
…In essence, we have to stop looking at each book as an income generator, and start thinking about multiple income streams. Very few authors, indie or otherwise, make a living out of their writing. Most of us have to have a “day job” as well. I think we need to look at our writing as a series of small “day jobs”. Writing a book alone won’t be sufficient; we need to leverage that fan base into more income opportunities. Some are already common. Others will have to become so. Examples:
Open some sort of support account (e.g. Patreon, etc.) where your serious fans can support you over and above buying your books. It may be a small, slow start, but it’s something on which one can build.
A tip jar on your blog or social media account can be a useful way for fans to offer support.
Consider offering appearances in your work to your fans. They can have their names used for a character, and pay for the privilege (anything from a few dollars for a very minor character, appearing once, to a higher price for a major character with more “face time”). This will probably only work if you’re an established writer, of course – it needs that sort of fan base.
And that’s just the first four of his seven bullet points.
(2) SOCK IT TO ME. Here’s
how Rod Serling was supplementing his income back in the day:
My father and I saw each other only three times before he died. The first was when I was about ten, the second was in my early twenties, and the last doesn’t matter right now. I want to tell you about the second time, when I went up to Syracuse to visit and he tried to make me join the GOP.
Let me back up a little and explain that my mother is a black woman from Uganda and my dad was a white man from Syracuse, New York. He and my mother met in New York City in the late sixties, got married, had me, and promptly divorced. My mother and I stayed in Queens while my dad returned to Syracuse. He remarried quickly and had another son with my stepmother. Paul.
When I finished college I enrolled in graduate school for writing. I’d paid for undergrad with loans and grants, and debt already loomed over me. I showed up at my dad’s place hoping he’d cosign for my grad-school loans. I felt he owed me since he hadn’t been in my life at all. Also, I felt like I’d been on an epic quest just to reach this point. I got into Cornell University, but boy did I hate being there. Long winters, far from New York City, and the kind of dog-eat-dog atmosphere that would make a Wall Street trader sweat. But I’d graduated. And now I wanted to go back to school. More than that, I wanted to become a writer. Couldn’t my dad see me as a marvel? Couldn’t he support me just this once?
I was once driving, alone and at dusk, down a dark and winding road that hugged a mountain thick with woods. I saw a black bear cross the road, from fields on the left to the mountain on the right.
I had never seen a bear so close before. Excited, I pulled the car up and parked near where I saw the bear vanish, and had my hand on the door before I came back to myself and thought, what am I doing? It’s a bear! I drove away unharmed.
There are things in one’s life that are best appreciated from a distance, and this book is one of them.
Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society and Warner Bros. have nabbed the film rights to “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” a buzzy new fantasy novel by Marlon James.
“Black Leopard, Red Wolf” draws on African mythology to tell the story of Tracker, whose acute sense of smell leads him to be hired to find a missing child against a backdrop of warring kingdoms and political chaos. The child he seeks may be the heir to an empire, something that complicates matters. James referred to the often bloody epic as an “African ‘Game of Thrones,’” but later said he was joking. Still, it includes plenty of the elements that made that HBO show a water-cooler phenomenon including witches, a shape-shifting leopard, a killer hyena, and conjoined twins.
…Then there’s the ever-popular “we found these abandoned transit stations” scenario. If humans aren’t the builders of the system, they probably don’t know how to expand it or change it. Because Ancients are notorious for their failure to properly document their networks, humans and other newcomers have to explore to see where the wormholes/tunnels/whatever go. Explorers are like rats wandering through an abandoned subway system. Examples…
By pivoting the merged list on category (novella, novelette, short story), publication, new writers, or author, and browsing the results, some noteworthy observations jump out visually.
Overlooked stories include “The Independence Patch” by Bryan Camp (score 8), “What is Eve?” by Will McIntosh (score 8), “Carouseling” by Rich Larson (score 7), each of which got recommendations from 5 prolific reviewers.
The traditional paid-only magazines (Analog, Asimov’s, F&SF, Interzone) had between 0%-6% of their stories in the Locus list, versus many free online magazines at 9%-16%, or Tor.com and Tor novellas which had a remarkable 31%-33% of their stories recommended by Locus.
There were 13 stories in the Locus list by Campbell Award-eligible writers.
Matthew Hughes, Robert Reed, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch each had 4 broadly recommended stories in RSR’s aggregated list, but none were in the Locus list. By comparison, Kelly Robson had 4 stories in the merged list and all 4 were recommended by Locus.
More details are available in the article, plus RSR features for flagging/rating stories that make it easy to track your progress when reading stories from a big list.
(7) FINNEY OBIT. Albert Finney (1936-2019): British actor, died today, aged
82. Genre appearances include: A
Midsummer Night’s Dream (1959),
Scrooge (1970), Looker, Wolfen
(both 1981), The Green Man
(mini-series, 1990), Karaoke, Cold
Lararus (connected mini-series, both 1996), Delivering Milo (2001), Big
Fish (2003), Corpse Bride (2005,
voice). His final movie appearances were in 2012, for opposing camps in the
superspy genre: The Bourne Legacy and
Oreo the raccoon, the real-life model for Guardians of the Galaxy character Rocket, has died aged 10.
The news was announced on the comic book superhero team’s Facebook page. “Oreo passed away in the early hours of this morning after a very short illness,” it reads. “Many thanks to our wonderful vets for their compassion and care.”
Rocket the raccoon was voiced by Bradley Cooper in the 2014 film and its 2017 sequel.
Oreo died after a short illness early on Thursday morning, the Facebook post says “You have been an amazing ambassador for raccoons everywhere,” it reads. “You were perfect.”
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 8, 1819 – John Ruskin. Much to my surprise, this English art critic and pretty much everything else of the Victorian Era is listed by ISFDB as having a genre writing, to wit The King of the Golden River, or The Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria. Anyone ever read. (Died 1900.)
Born February 8, 1828 – Jules Verne. So how many novels by him are you familiar with? Personally I’m on first hand terms with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. That’s it. It appears that he wrote some some sixty works and a lot were genre. And of course his fiction has become the source of many other fictions in the last century as well. (Died 1905.)
Born February 8, 1932 – John Williams, 87. Composer of the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, one of the Superman films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones franchise, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films and the first three Harry Potter films.
Born February 8, 1953 – Mary Steenbergen, 66. She first in a genre way as Amy in Time After Time. She followed that up by being Adrian in A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy which I suppose is sort of genre. She shows up next in the much more family friendly One Magic Christmas as Ginny Grainger. And she has a part in Back to the Future Part III as Clara Clayton Brown which she repeated in the animated series. And, and keep in mind this is not a full list, she was in The Last Man on Earth series as Gail Klosterman.
Born February 8, 1969 – Mary Robinette Kowal, 50. Simply a stellar author and an even better human being. I’m going to select out Ghost Talkers as the work by her that I like the most. Now her Forest of Memory novella might be more stellar. She’s also a splendid voice actor doing works of authors such as John Scalzi, Seanan McGuire and Kage Baker. I’m particularly pleased by her work on McGuire’s Indexing series. So let’s have Paul Weimer have the last words this time: “I thought it was Shades of Milk and Honey for a good long while, but I think Calculating Stars is my new favorite.”
My guest this episode is Alan Smale, who has published short fiction in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Abyss & Apex, and other magazines. He won the 2010 Sidewise Award for Best Short-Form Alternate History for “A Clash of Eagles,” about a Roman invasion of ancient America. That’s also the setting for his trilogy, which includes the novels Clash of Eagles, Eagle in Exile, and Eagle and Empire, all published by Del Rey in the U.S. and Titan Books in the UK. When not writing, he’s a professional astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
We met for lunch at Mad Chef Kitchen & Bar, a gastropub which opened recently in Ellicott City, Maryland’s Turf Valley Towne Square. We were looking for something equidistant from both of us with good food, and based first on my research and then our experience, we definitely found it.
We discussed why an astrophysicist’s chosen field of fiction is alternate history rather than hard science, how his fascination with archeology and ancient civilizations began, the reason he started off his novel-writing career with a trilogy rather than a standalone, the secrets to writing convincing battle sequences, the nuances of critiquing partial novels in a workshop setting, how his research into Roman and Native American history affected his trilogy, what steps he took to ensure he handled Native American cultures appropriately, that summer when at age 12 he read both War and Peace and Lord of the Rings, one of the strangest tales of a first short story sale I’ve ever heard, how and why he joined forces with Rick Wilber for their recent collaboration published in Asimov’s, and much more.
Latin American science fiction and fantasy occupy an odd in-between space. The commercial categories we denominate fantasy, science fiction and horror don’t traditionally exist in Latin America. Instead, the fantastical is either simply called literature or receives the moniker of magical realism.
This means finding speculative fiction is trickier and more complex in this part of the world. It also means that Latinx authors may derive their SFF canon from a very different well than their Anglo counterparts. While science fiction and fantasy are normally associated with Tolkien or Asimov, a Latinx writer might be more inclined to think of Isabel Allende or Julio Cortázar. At the same time, it is not unusual for Latinx authors to have also been exposed to Anglo pop culture, fantasy and science fiction. Finally, since Latin America is a large region, the history, culture and folklore of Latinx writers may be radically different from one another.
The result is a wild, eclectic field of the fantastic, which is reflected by the selections in this bundle.
They nicknamed it ‘the replicator’ — in homage to the machines in the Star Trek saga that can materialize virtually any inanimate object.
Researchers in California have unveiled a 3D printer that creates an entire object at once, rather than building it layer by layer as typical additive-manufacturing devices do — bringing science-fiction a step closer to reality.
A technique that harnesses energy loss has been used to produce a phase of matter in which particles of light are locked in place. This opens a path to realizing previously unseen exotic phases of matter.
When light passes through matter, it slows down. Light can even be brought to a standstill when it travels through carefully designed matter. One way in which this occurs is when the velocity of individual particles of light (photons) in a material is zero. Another, more intriguing, way is when photons, which normally pass through each other unimpeded, are made to repel each other. If the repulsion is strong enough, the photons are unable to move, and the light is frozen in place.
The ability to engineer quantum states promises to revolutionize areas ranging from materials science to information processing… The robustness and generality of this scheme will ensure that, as it is refined, it will find a home in the quantum mechanic’s toolbox.
(16) SOCIALGALACTIC. Vox Day is creating a more pliable form of Twitter – or is it a version of Gab that will obey him? (Didn’t Mark Twain say that the reason God created man is that he was disappointed in the monkey?) “Introducing Socialgalactic” [Internet Archive link].
Twitter is SJW-controlled territory. Gab is a hellhole of defamation and Nazi trolls. So, after many of Infogalactic’s supporters asked us to provide something on the social media front, the InfoGalactic team joined forces with OneWay and created a new social media alternative: SocialGalactic.
Free accounts have 140-character posts and 1MB storage, which is just enough for an avatar and a header. We’ll soon be making Pro accounts available at three levels, which will provide posts of 200, 480, and 999 characters, and image storage up to 500MB. Sign up and check it out!
(17) GAME V. INFINITY. Dakota Gardner and Chris Landers, in “Would
Thanos’ Finger Snap Really have Stopped Baseball In Its Tracks?” on MLB.com, have a pro and con about whether Thanos really wiped out
Major League Baseball (as a shot of a devastated Citi Field in the Avengers:
Endgame trailer shows),
with one writer arguing that baseball would be doomed by Thanos and the other
arguing that MLB would fill its rosters with minor leaguers after thanos wiped
out half of the major leaguers because baseball always comes back.
Ask yourself this: Do you honestly believe baseball would simply stop if Thanos dusted half of all of MLB’s players, managers, front office staff, stadium personnel and fans? Do you think that if the universe had been placed into an existential funk, that baseball wouldn’t be even more necessary than it is today? Do you honestly believe that Alex Bregman or Clayton Kershaw or Mookie Betts, if they survived the snap, would be totally fine sitting on their butts and doing nothing for the rest of time?
…They plan for DART to reach speeds as fast as 15,000 miles per hour. The crash in October 2022 will fling debris from the asteroid moon. A small satellite will accompany the DART spacecraft to measure the effect.
The team wants to hit the asteroid moon with enough force to bump it, but not break it apart. The moon orbits the asteroid at a speed of about seven inches per second. They hope to change the speed by about a centimeter per second.
“We’re just going to give it a love tap,” said Andy Rivkin, the mission’s other co-lead and planetary astronomer at APL.
In theory, a series of taps over time could deflect an asteroid off a course for Earth.
“Several years ago, when I found out that J.J. Abrams was remaking, or rebooting, the Star Wars franchise, it was the only time in my career that I’ve ever put a call out,” she admits. “I wanted to be Leia. If I got to be a woodland elf [Tauriel in The Hobbit] and Kate from Lost and Leia, that would cover it. And then I got to be the Wasp! That’s all the big franchises.
“I was so in love with Leia when I was a little girl. Those were my two fantasies – to be a woodland elf and to be Leia tied to Jabba the Hutt in her sexy bikini. But then they called me back and said, ‘Well, there’s a little-known actress called Carrie Fisher who will be playing Princess Leia.’ Well, FINE, I guess that’s OK.”
While much better know for her acting, she says about
her writing, “I see myself as a writer who has a fantastic day job.” Her
children’s book series is The
“I don’t know many stories that have lived with someone as long as this has lived with me,” she says. “I was a reclusive young woman and a bit of a loner. I was somebody who came to literature very late, and when I did, I just fell in love with such a passion that I kind of became very focused on not just reading but writing as well. And seriously, that was my idea of a great Friday night at 14 – staying home and writing by myself.
“I was a big fan of Dr. Seuss, believe it or not. Where most people come to him at four, I was reading him at 14,” she continues. “And I think the adult side of me realized what he was doing. The subtlety of the messages he’d thread into these simple, silly poems really struck me as meaningful. And I realized that this adult took the time to put these sophisticated, important messages into my childhood stories.”
(20) SHARED WORLD. George
R.R. Martin pointed to this recently uploaded Wild Cards authors video:
In August 2017, a large group of Wild Carders assembled at my Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe for a mass signing, and we interviewed them about the up and downs of writing other people’s characters, and having other people write yours.
John King Tarpinian, Steve Green, JJ, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat
Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Eric Wong, Paul
Weimer, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title
credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day C.A. Collins.]
(1) LOOKING BACK ON HORROR. From Rocket Stack Rank, here’s a new (perhaps the first annual) selection of “Outstanding SF/F Horror” of 2016-2017.
Although horror isn’t our focus, we do review horror stories that turn up in our regular magazines, so in honor of Halloween, here are 26 outstanding science fiction & fantasy horror stories from 2016-2017 that were either finalists for major SF/F awards, included in “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, or recommended by prolific reviewers in short fiction (see Q&A).
(2) WRITING PROCESS. Jonathan LaForce notes it would be a waste to take the popular phrase literally — “Killing off the Darlings” at Mad Genius Club.
Perhaps “killing our darlings” is too much the wrong verbiage. Let us say, instead, “putting them on ice.” That’s really all we’re doing- setting them aside till we can use them again later. In this age of incredible digital technology, why worry about where you’ll save those scenes, those stories, those parts and pieces? Anybody take a look at how much space is available to use on cloud servers? My goodness!
Eddie’s struggles to find a new gig while oily tentacles are shooting out of his body in response to even minor discomforts are the most diverting section part of the film, if only because Hardy is fully committed in a way no other actor here is. Had this thing been greenlit at the 1990s apex of Venom’s popularity as a comic book character, it almost certainly would’ve starred Jim Carrey. So we all dodged a bullet there.
…I also went out to dinner with K. Tempest Bradford for one of the best meals of that extended weekend in the Santana Row neighborhood at Amber India.
K. Tempest Bradford’s short stories have been published in such magazines as Abyss & Apex, Sybil’s Garage, Electric Velocipede, and Farthing, and anthologies like Clockwork Cairo, Diverse Energies, Federations, and Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Stories of a Post 9/11 World. Her non-fiction has appeared at NPR, io9, xoJane, plus the Angry Black Woman blog, sometimes — as you’ll hear us discuss — going viral. Along with Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, she teaches the Writing the Other workshop, and is on the board of the Carl Brandon Society. She also happens to be one of the funniest people I know. Whenever I’m with Tempest, I can be assured there will be laughter.
We discussed how her Egyptian Afro-retro-futurism idea grew from a short story into a series of novels, the way she used crowdfunding to complete the research she needed, why her discovery of my Science Fiction Age magazine means I bear the responsibility for all she’s done since, how an online writing community gave her the confidence to be a writer, the advice from Samuel R. Delany she embraces the most, why she set aside her goal of becoming an opera singer and decided to become a writer instead, the reason there are so many female monsters in Greek mythology, how she blew up the Internet with her “Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year” challenge, her extremely strong opinions about Steven Moffat’s version of Doctor Who, and much more.
(5) NOT RAINBOWLED OVER. Bowlestrek snarks about that Doctor Who costume, asking which is worse, the 6th Doctor Who costume or the 13th Doctor Who costume?
— “Hipster, Wesley Crusher, Rainbow Brite, Mork & Mindy thrown into a blender abomination.”
— “Like somebody was trolling Doctor Who fans.”
— “I’ve shown this picture to people who are fashion conscious and the response almost across the board has been, “What the hell is that?”
— “What’s with the earrings, the suspenders, the rainbow shirt, what appears to be Tardis socks, and the old man pants?”
— “She looks like an elf.”
(The references to Wesley Crusher and Mork and Mindy are about the rainbow across the shirt.)
Perhaps because some of the early space hype was unconvincing when regarded with any attitude other than fanboy enthusiasm. And perhaps because there weren’t any compelling reasons (political, economic, scientific) for significant human presence beyond low Earth Orbit. We don’t need to send up squishy frail humans when we can send probes and remote-controlled vehicles .
Some readers might even now be making squinchy faces, maybe even pondering which unflattering cartoon of me to post in protest.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]
Born October 5, 1862 – Edward Stratemeyer, Writer and Publisher. Creator of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, which pioneered the book-packaging technique of producing a consistent, long-running series of books using a team of freelance writers, which sold millions of copies, some series of which are still in publication today. He himself wrote more than 1,300 juvenile novels, including the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, and Bobbsey Twins series, Tom Swift being the main character of a series of more than a hundred juvenile science fiction and adventure novels.
Born October 5, 1917 – Allen Ludden, Actor who became well-known for decades of hosting TV game shows, but who surprisingly had a part in an episode of Adam West’s Batman, played Perry White in the TV movie It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!, and had a cameo – as a game show host – in Hugo finalist Futureworld.
Born October 5, 1919 – Donald Pleasence, Actor and Writer who famously played the doctor in the Halloween movies and the President in Escape from New York. He also had a plethora of parts in other genre properties, a few of which include the main role in the Hugo finalist movie Fantastic Voyage which was novelized by Isaac Asimov, roles in episodes of the The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and The Ray Bradbury Theater, a part in George Lucas’ first foray into filmmaking, THX 1138, John Carpenter’s The Prince of Darkness, and the role of Merlin in the TV movie Guinivere.
Born October 5, 1949 – Peter Ackroyd, 69, Writer, Biographer, and Critic known for his interest in the history and culture of London. His best-known genre work is likely the Whitbread Award-winning Hawksmoor, the story of an 18th-century London architect building a church interwoven with the narrative of a contemporary detective investigating horrific murders involving that church, and is highly recommended. His novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem was recently made into a movie, and he produced a TV miniseries documentary entitled Peter Ackroyd’s London.
Born October 5, 1951 – Karen Allen, 67, Actor and Director known to genre fans as Marion in the Hugo finalist Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as well as roles in Starman, Ghost in the Machine, and Scrooged. She also played Christa McAuliffe in the TV movie Challenger.
Born October 5, 1952 – Clive Barker, 66, Writer, Director, Artist and Videogame Designer, famous for his horror novels. His series include Hellraiser,Book of the Art, and Books of Blood, as well as The Abarat Quintet which is quite superb. Though not recent, The Essential Clive Barker: Selected Fiction, published some twenty years ago, contains more than seventy excerpts from novels and plays and four full-length short stories. His Imaginer series collects his decidedly strange art. My personal favorite work by him is the Weaveworld novel. His works have received many World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Stoker, Locus and International Horror Guild Award nominations and wins, and have been made into movies, videogames, and comic books. He was the Toastmaster at the 1988 World Fantasy Convention, and Guest of Honor at Albacon III in 1986 and FantasyCon 2006.
Born October 5, 1952 – Duncan Regehr, 66, Actor from Canada probably best known to genre fans for his recurring role as a Bajoran resistance leader on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but who also had guest roles on The Greatest American Hero, Star Trek: The Next Generation, V, and appeared in the film Timemaster.
Born October 5, 1958 – Neil DeGrasse Tyson, 60, Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, and Writer whose nonfiction work Reflections on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is considered genre. He has had cameos in several genre TV shows and films, including Stargate: Atlantis, Ice Age: Collision Course, Bojack Horseman, The Simpsons, and The Big Bang Theory. Tyson is known for tweeting about inconsistencies and bad science in science fiction films, and Andy Weir famously posted“Someday, Neil deGrasse Tyson is going to either read The Martian or see the film adaptation of it. When he does, he’s going to immediately know that the sandstorm part at the beginning isn’t accurate to physics. He’ll point out that the inertia of a Martian storm isn’t enough to do damage to anything… The knowledge that this is going to happen haunts me.”
Born October 5, 1959 – Rich Horton, 59, Writer, Critic, and Editor. He is best known as an anthology editor – and a damn superb one at that – who has been putting out Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies since 2006, as well as one-off anthologies Space Opera, Robots: The Recent A. I., and War & Space: Recent Combat. He started out writing reviews for SF Site in the late 90s, and has been reviewing books and short fiction for Locus Magazine since 2002.
Born October 5, 1967 – Guy Pearce, 51, Actor and Director from Australia who is known for genre works Memento, the remake of The Time Machine, Prometheus, and the Hugo finalist Iron Man 3.
Born October 5, 1974 – Colin Meloy, 44, Musician, Singer, Songwriter, and Writer. Front man of the indie folk rock band The Decemberists, and author of the juvenile fantasy novels The Wildwood Chronicles.
Born October 5, 1975 – Carson Ellis, 43, Writer, Artist, and Illustrator whose work graces genre works The Wildwood Chronicles written by her husband Colin Meloy, The Mysterious Benedict Society series, a Lemony Snicket book, and The Decemberists albums. Birthday celebrations must be an intimate affair.
Born October 5, 1975 – Kate Winslet, 43, Actor from England whose genre credits include the TV series Dark Season and the films A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, the Hugo finalist Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, Contagion, the Divergent series, and the upcoming Avatar 2.
Born October 5, 1975 – Parminder Nagra, 43, Actor from England who appeared in Ella Enchanted, had a recurring role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a guest part on TRON Uprising, and a voice part in Batman: Gotham Knight.
Born October 5 – Paul Weimer, Writer, Reviewer, and Podcaster, also known as @PrinceJvstin. An ex-pat New Yorker living in Minnesota, he has been reading science fiction and fantasy for over 30 years and exploring the world of roleplaying games for more than 25 years. An avid blogger, he also contributes to the Hugo-nominated fancast The Skiffy and Fanty Show and the SFF Audio podcast. He was the 2017 Down Under Fan Fund delegate to the Australia and New Zealand National Conventions, and his e-book DUFF trip report, consisting of more than 300 pages of travel stories and stunning photographs, is still available here.
Sunday (October 7) SpaceX will try (for the first time) to land a Falcon 9 rocket on the West Coast.
If you’re in the vicinity of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday evening (Oct. 7), you might hear some strange booming and see some weird lights in the sky. But the Air Force would like you to know that there’s no need to worry; something entirely normal is going on — a rocket that heaved its way up into space will be falling back to Earth, correcting its trajectory with “multiple engine burns,” and then (if all goes well) settling comfortably back on its landing struts in the vicinity of its launch site.
Life lately in the tiny northern Minnesota town of Gilbert has resembled a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock film. Birds, lots of birds, have been “flying into windows, cars and acting confused,” according to the city police department, which has been fielding reports from anxious residents.
But these birds aren’t out for human blood. They’ve just had a few too many — a few too many overripe berries, that is.
“Certain berries we have in our area have fermented earlier than usual due to an early frost, which in turn has expedited the fermenting process,” Gilbert Police Chief Ty Techar explained in a statement. “It appears that some birds are getting a little more ‘tipsy’ than normal.”
Yes, having a boozy lark is nothing abnormal among the feathered set.
(10) CASTALIA HOUSE CHANGING STRATEGY. Vox Day will be pulling most of his imprint’s books from Kindle Unlimited, and will reduce the number of new fiction authors he publishes — “Why KU is killing ebooks” [Internet Archive link]
I did an analysis of our ebook sales and was surprised to discover that with 7 exceptions, Kindle Unlimited is simply not worth it even without taking potential non-Amazon sales into account. So, we’re going to be removing most of our books from KU and returning them to the Castalia House store over the next three months. By the start of the new year, most of our books will be available from all the major ebook platforms as well as our online store.
Remember, every dollar in the KU pool represents about THREE dollars removed from the ebook sales pool. And because the overall market is not growing, it is a zero-sum game.
We’re also going to reduce the number of new fiction authors we publish. Because repeated experiments have demonstrated that even the very best-selling KU novelists don’t sell very well in print, and because the success of KU puts us in a catch-22 situation with them regardless of whether they sell well through us or not, we are going to focus our efforts on strategic properties that we create, own and develop rather than those that we merely publish.
Because non-fiction a) sells well in print and b) is not popular on KU, our non-fiction publishing will continue without any change in focus or strategy.
Maybe the Russian bots that Bay identified are all extra-governmental, built by trolls with spare time on their hands and a grudge against Lucasfilm. Or maybe Bay’s findings are yet another example of how thoroughly Russian intelligence has zeroed in on the idea that white nationalism is central to driving a wedge into American society.
If the latter is true, then what’s most unnerving about Russia’s intelligence strategy and its connection to Star Wars isn’t what that strategy says about Russia, but what it says about us.
Whomever you believe is behind movements like Gamergate and the pushback against The Last Jedi, what they reveal about America in the 2010s feels a little hard to swallow at first: At this point in history, a lot of us — and especially a lot of young, white men — are centering their identities and their senses of right and wrong on pop culture artifacts, sometimes with a near-religious zealotry. Call it “fandamentalism.”
A touch-sensitive robotic finger that can be attached to smartphones has been developed by a researcher in France.
The MobiLimb finger can crawl across the desk, waggle for attention when messages arrive and be used as an interface to control apps and games.
It can also stroke its owner on the hand, which developer Marc Teyssier said could create more personal connections.
He told the BBC people generally found the finger creepy or weird because it was so unusual, but hoped it would be “accepted” in time.
(13) KEEPING IT OFF THE TIP OF THEIR TONGUE. French language body urges alternative phrase for “fake news”. Somehow information fallacieuse doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi; the Commission offers “infox” among the alternatives, possibly not knowing how “Fox” is Frenched in the US.
Or if that is too long-winded, CELF suggested the abbreviation “infox”, formed from the words “information” and “intoxication”.
“The Anglo-Saxon expression ‘fake news’, which refers to a range of behaviour contributing to the misinformation of the public, has rapidly prospered in French,” the commission rued.
“This is an occasion to draw on the resources of the language to find French equivalents.”
(14) DRAWN THAT WAY. Comic artist Alex Ross appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers promoting his latest book, Marvelocity.
Comic book writer and artist Alex Ross talks about his artistic process, what drew him to the idea of drawing realistic versions of superheroes and explains why he doesn’t have an email.
(15) SIGN UP FOR THE ZONE. Rod Serling pitches The Twilight Zone to advertisers back in the day.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Eric Wong, JJ, Alan Baumler, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, James Davis Nicoll, Scott Edelman, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Edd Vick.]
Imagine somebody wrote a novel about the cat and the fiddle, and the cow that jumped over the moon. In fact, imagine somebody wrote a trilogy of novels, starring the luna leaping cow. Then imagine that Netflix turned the first novel into a 10 hour premium tv series, with Joel Kinnman?—?swiftly becoming this generation’s Christopher Lambert?—?as the cow.
If you’re really into the cat, fiddle and cow genre, if you’re MEGA excited by animals leaping over celestial bodies, you’ll be happy.
For everybody else, the experience of watching Altered Carbon is going to be about as enjoyable as 10 hours of kids nonsense poetry. You might have some patience for the first hour, but by episode 3 the audience will be desperate to jump ship.
According to The Illustrated Book Of Science Fiction Lists (edited by Mike Ashley for Virgin Books in 1982) E.C. (Ted) Tubb has 45 pseudonyms credited to him, Robert Silverberg is well behind with 25, Henry Kuttner further back yet with 18, while Cyril Korthbluth trails with a mere 13.
I suspect that in this, the future world of today, the question the above information raises is not why so many pseudonyms but why any at all? I know that when I were a lad it was a given that authors used pseudonyms all the time while we, their audience, didn’t but nowadays it seems to be very much the opposite. So yes, I can understand why the above numbers might seem inexplicable to many of you.
So why were authors fond of pseudonyms once upon a time? Luckily for us editor, author, and co-founder of The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Anthony Boucher, decided to offer some explanation in Rhodomagnetic Digest #2, published by George Blumenson in August 1949 for The Elves’, Gnomes’ & Little Men’s Science-Fiction Chowder & Marching Society. Boucher was certainly qualified to write on this topic since his real name was William Anthony Parker White….
(3) KICKSTARTER. Hampus Eckerman says “I’ve always regretted I was out of cash when the Swedish edition was made. I’ll back this one for sure.” — “The Keyring RPG”.
The Keyring RPG is a combination of the idea of creating a procedural role-playing game and the discovery of a really cute notepad. Mashing those ideas together gave rise to the Keyring RPG.
From the FAQ —
What is the resolution mechanic in the game?
You have three basic abilities, strength, charisma and mental strength. Each of those abilities have a number of dots. Each dot represent a die. To determine if you succeed, you roll as many die as you have against a set difficulty, and you add the skills to the result of the die roll to improve your results.
I have 2 dots in strength, and I need to climb a wall. The wall has a difficulty of 3. Both of my rolls fail, a one and a two, but I have two dots in the skill problem solving. I add my dots in problem solving to the roll and succeed. From a narrative perspective, I use problem solving to create a sling harness and have my friends haul me up the wall.
Key features (no pun intended):
The Basic Game is very small, only 7 x 3 x 2 centimeters. You can carry it on your keyring.
It features a procedural adventure building system
A full rules set that allows for a lot of flexibility when playing
Five sets of generic maps
They’ve raised $3,795 of their $7,590 goal with 13 days to go.
As Benny walks home in the dark, a Twilight Zone-like fog envelops him and the music takes off on a Twilight Zone-like theme. Before long he runs into a sign reading, “Welcome to Twilight Zone. Population unlimited. [an arrow left] Subconscious 27 Mi./ [an arrow right] Reality 35 Mi.” (It gets a laugh, if only canned.) Benny finally sees his house across the street and goes and rings the bell. Rochester answers but doesn’t recognize Benny. Rochester calls on his employer, “Mr. Zone” (Serling) to deal with the situation, and Serling explains that the town is named after him (“You can call me Twi”), and he is the mayor.
(5) CLARKE CENTER PODCAST. Into The Impossible, a podcast of stories, ideas, and speculations from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, has posted Episode 14, “Alien Contact”:
We’re digging in the vaults to explore ideas of alien contact, with Jill Tarter (SETI Institute) and Jeff VanderMeer (bestselling author of the Southern Reach trilogy). We’ll talk about the Drake Equation, the faulty math of the film Contact, manifest destiny, whether we’re alone, flawed assumptions about the concept of intelligence, what fiction can do to help us think about the very alien-ness of alien contact, and how it may be happening all around us.
Since the early 1960s he has lived in London, as well as spending time in Greece and Spain. A regular contributor to the legendary Pan Book of Horror Stories during the early 1970s, his stories “Fengriffin” and “The Hunter” were filmed as, respectively, —And Now The Screaming Starts! (1973) and Scream of the Wolf (1974), and Arkham House published his novel The Third Grave in 1981 (soon to be reprinted by Valancourt Books). The author of an estimated 300 books or more under various pseudonyms, his powerful zombie novella “Pelican Cay” was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 2001, and David was Guest of Honour at the 2010 World Horror Convention held in Brighton, England. He was always a bigger-than-life character, and I’ll miss him.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
February 4, 1938 — Disney releases Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
February 4, 1950 — The Flying Saucer opened theatrically.
February 4, 1951 — Two Lost Worlds premiered.
February 4, 1995 — Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys appeared in theaters.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
Born February 4, 1914 – George Reeves, 1950s TV’s Superman.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Mike Kennedy says Brewster Rockit is always genre, and this one doubly so.
But on an ongoing basis, now that I have a New York literary agent, I do my best to provide her with as much information as possible about how to best handle a Canadian client. I’m aware that what is normal for me might not be normal for her, so I send her videos and articles.
Yoon Ha Lee, “Extracurricular Activities” (Tor.com, 2/17) – a quite funny, and quite clever, story concerning the earlier life of a very significant character in Lee’s first novel, Ninefox Gambit. Shuos Jedao is an undercover operative for the Heptarchate, assigned to infiltrate a space station controlled by another polity, and to rescue the crew of a merchanter ship that had really been heptarchate spies, including an old classmate….
Welcome back to A Political History of the Future, an irregular series about how contemporary SF and fantasy address current political issues, and how they imagine worlds different than our own in their political, social, and economic functioning. Our first subject, published last fall, is the first novel by io9 co-founder Annalee Newitz, a technothriller about a world in which the ready availability of non-human labor fundamentally changes the meaning of freedom.
The title of Autonomous is a pun, and a thesis statement. “Autonomous”, in our understanding and in the current common usage, refers to machines that can function without human interference–autonomous cars, most commonly. Despite its connotations of freedom, it’s a designation that denotes inhumanity. It isn’t necessary, after all, to specify that a human being is autonomous. In the world of Autonomous, this is no longer the case. Its citizens–human and machine–are distinguished as either autonomous or indentured. So a word that connotes freedom becomes a reminder of how it can cease to be taken for granted, and a usage that connotes inhumanity is transformed in a world in which personhood is a legal state and not a biological one. In both cases, it’s a reminder that the hard-won ideas of liberty and human rights that we take for granted are not set in stone; that core assumptions about how society could and should function can change, in many cases for the worse.
I thought it was fair. I thought I owed the boys some. And Arram is so popular, and gets into so much trouble, that I knew I could do it. Which was an act of hubris on my part that still leaves me breathless. See, I’m kind of notorious for one thing in particular as a writer — I’m pretty straightforward about teenagers and sex. I’ve lost count of the mothers and father’s who’ve come up to me and said, “Thank you for explaining it to them.” The thing was, in my first book, I had a girl disguised as a boy. And when you’re a girl disguised as a boy, going through puberty, the changes in your body become a major part of the plot. So I just stuck with it as I went on. And when I was working on this book, I got to a point and I went, “Oh my god, I can skip it, but that wouldn’t be right.” So I went to my writing partner, Bruce Coville, and first he laughed himself silly at me, but all those embarrassing little questions, he answered them for me. But it was important, it had to be done. I had to be as fair to the guys as I was to the girls. Which is one reason why I’m going back to girls after this is over.
…Ursula was not just a great author to me, she was one of several of my book parents. Growing up as I did with a family who was more interested in drinking and violence, I never got guidance in how to live. Through her books, Ursula taught me that you could deal with a problem by thinking rather than fighting. She taught me that gender differences don’t make one gender superior to the other. And she also helped me understand that we all have shadow parts of ourselves that we fear, but the way to cope with the shadow is to accept it with courage….
A fascinating story of growing up as a gay fan of comic books in the 1960s, building a fifty-year career as an award-winning writer, and interacting with acclaimed comic book legends.
Award-winning writer Bill Schelly relates how comics and fandom saved his life in this engrossing story that begins in the burgeoning comic fandom movement of the 1960s and follows the twists and turns of a career that spanned fifty years. Schelly recounts his struggle to come out at a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness, how the egalitarian nature of fandom offered a safe haven for those who were different, and how his need for creative expression eventually overcame all obstacles. He describes living through the AIDS epidemic, finding the love of his life, and his unorthodox route to becoming a father. He also details his personal encounters with major talents of 1960s comics, such as Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man), Jim Shooter (writer for DC and later editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics), and Julius Schwartz (legendary architect of the Silver Age of comics).
… Note from the author: This is NOT the same book that was published in 2001 under the title Sense of Wonder, A Life in Comic Fandom(which is out of print). This new book contains two parts: the text of the first book, and a sequel of equal length. Part one covers my life up to 1974; part two picks up the story and continues it to 2017.
Before The Last Jedi hit theaters, there were rumors circulating that Finn and Poe would have a relationship in the movie, marking the first openly gay characters in Star Wars. That rumor was obviously proven to be false, but The Last Jedi did feature a brief gay relationship between two other characters that many Star Wars fans did not notice right away and now everybody is freaking out. Rian Johnson has not confirmed the scene yet, but he will more than likely address it since he has talked about nearly every decision he made while making The Last Jedi.
An eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted two Porgs snuggling with each other in the background of a scene on Ahch-To and noticed that both of the creatures were male. Officially, male Porgs are slightly larger and have orange feathers around their eyes, which both of the Porgs in question have. The image of the two gay Porgs has since taken the internet by storm and people are freaking out that they didn’t notice the small detail right away.
only male porgs have orange plumage around their eyes, and both snuggling porgs have those markings. gay porgs, folks. tlj is a gift that keeps on giving pic.twitter.com/yxDO6HJ3iD
(18) PORTMAN ON SNL. Natalie Portman answers Star Wars questions in her Saturday Night Live monologue….
And her Stranger Things 3 preview is hysterical.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Hampus Eckerman, Will R., Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, and Steve Vertlieb for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jenora Feuer.]
Doom conquered the United States in 2099, made himself President and did what you’d expect Doom to do in that position. It’s worth noting that he also became a God of his own universe in 2015’s ‘Secret Wars’, so this President thing isn’t that impressive.
Another ingredient in fireworks, called perchlorate, helps the fuel combust and makes the colors shine more brightly. But it’s also thought to be toxic, which is why the Environmental Protection Agency regulates how much of the stuff can seep into drinking water.
As with air pollution, it’s not completely clear the extent to which fireworks displays contaminate water systems with perchlorate. But a 2007 study conducted by EPA scientists found that perchlorate levels in Oklahoma surface waters increased by between 24 to over 1,000 times baseline levels after an Independence Day display — and it took from 20 to 80 days to go back down.
We are raising money to help his wife, JoAnn Kaiser, who is in her 80s and lives well below the poverty level. Dwain and JoAnn owned one of the last used bookstores in Pomona, not because they made a enough money to live on, but because they loved educating our community. More importantly, they loved BOOKS. JoAnn is unable to cover the overwhelming expenses she will incur during this time of great loss: funeral, a memorial service, moving, and paying store bills. We reach out to all of you for support. Any assistance you can provide will impact JoAnn’s ability to grieve the loss of her best friend and husband without the burden of wondering how she is going to survive financially. All proceeds will go toward Dwain’s funeral, a memorial service, and moving expenses.
The goal is $10,000, and at this writing they are halfway there.
Warner Bros. and the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien have resolved a rights dispute over “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” the two parties said in a court filing.
The Tolkien estate and its book publisher HarperCollins had filed an $80 million lawsuit against Warner Bros., its New Line subsidiary and Rings/Hobbit rightsholder Saul Zaentz Co. for copyright infringement and breach of contract, in 2012, as reported here in “What Has It Got In Its Jackpotses?”
The gist of the suit is that their agreement allows the studio to create only “tangible” merchandise based on the books, not digital products like the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game.
…The suit also complained the defendants had asserted rights to exploit the books through anything from ringtones and downloadable games to hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.
Tirrenia, partnering with Gruppo Onorato Armatori and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, has started a great restyling of their ferry ships.
The classical white and blue livery will progressively be substituted by the DCSuperheroe par excellende: Batman!
Sharden, docked today 7th April of 2017 at pier 18 of the Port of Civitavecchia, is one of the first Tirrenia ships to wear the new colours: both sides of the ships are different from one another: at one side are Batman and Robin, at the other Batman with his fierce enemy, the Joker.
(6) TRIVIAL TRIVIA
The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the hammer of Thor (the Norse god of thunder and lightning) as a religious symbol for veteran gravestones. Two soldiers have headstones bearing the hammer.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
July 4, 1865 — Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published.
July 4, 1939 — Julius Schwartz ditched the last day of the first World Science Fiction Convention and went with Mort Weisinger and Otto Binder to see a ballgame at Yankee Stadium. He still got to see fan history being made. Baseball fan history.
A very special thing happened that afternoon: Lou Gehrig announced his retirement from the game of baseball. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It’s something I will never forget.
Gehrig’s famous lines echoed throughout the park:
For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
When the Bush I administration took office, most of the Reagan people were replaced by Bush supporters. As a Reagan man – I chaired the Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy that in 1980 wrote the Space and Space Defense policy papers for the incoming Reagan administration – my White House access and contacts effectively came to a halt. There were no more Reagan men in the White House.
However, there was the newly created National Space Council, headed by the Vice President, Dan Quayle. Mr. Quayle was not a space cadet, and hadn’t been well known in the pro-space community. Until the day he was asked to be then Vice President George H. W. Bush’s running mate, he was referred to as “the distinguished junior Senator from Indiana”, and generally well regarded; the day after he joined the ticket he became a buffoon not to be taken seriously by the very same news media. However, he took the post of Chairman of the National Space Council seriously, and when the Citizen’s Advisory Council proposed an X project, the SSX, he met with General Dan Graham, rocket genius Max Hunter, and council chairman Jerry Pournelle.
We presented our proposal for the SSX, a 600,000 gross liftoff weight (GLOW) single stage to orbit (SSTO) X Project; as Max Hunter said, we hoped it would make orbit; it would sure scare it to death. It would also be savable; and it could be flown sub-orbital. Of course it was fully recoverable. The preliminary design description was done mostly in my office, with visiting members of the Council working on it.
Mr. Quayle listened to us, and the asked advice from his technical people. He was told that recoverable single stage to orbit was impossible and had been proved to be so in a RAND study. Mr. Quayle then asked RAND to review that study, which they did, and Lo! It turned out not to be impossible after all. It was a possible X Project. Mr. Quayle tried to get it funded; apparently he took us quite seriously. He was unable to get full funding, but he did get Air Force funding for a scale model. Douglas won the competition for that X project, and it was built, on time and within budget, and delivered to White Sands test range for flight testing. It became known as the DC-X (Douglas Aircraft gave all their aircraft, such as the SC-3, that kind of designation).
One big controversy about vertical rocket landings was that it could not be controlled at low altitude and the speeds involved. Another was that it would re-enter nose down, and wouldn’t be able to turn tail down. DC-X flew 10 successful missions, landing and being refueled and flown again; there are plenty of reports on that. On one of those missions it went from nose up the nose down, then back to nose up in which orientation it made a perfect landing.
Alas after the 10th flight the Air Force turned the ship over to NASA. On the eleventh mission, it successfully landed, but a NASA technician had failed to connect the hydraulic line to one of the landing feet, and it fell over. It could have survived that, but due to over vigorous (and needless testing) the NASA test people cracked the hydrogen fuel tank, then welded it and sent it to fly. Falling over cracked that tank and DC-X literally burned on the ground a hydrogen leaked out.
Mr. Clinton won the 1992 election, and in 1993 abolished the National Space Council. President George W. Bush did not revive it, nor did President Obama.
…For his next act, Cole is changing things up a bit. His upcoming series, The Sacred Throne, exchanges the modern-day world that he’s been using as a setting for a more traditional fantasy realm. The Sacred Throne series is very much a modern-day fantasy thematically, but more on the “grimdark” side of the genre in the vein of authors like Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, or George R.R. Martin than the more optimistic worlds of Tolkien or Lewis….
Why the change from the more urban fantasy setting from your Shadow Ops series to something closer to traditional swords and sorcery?
This book is super important me. So the Shadow Ops series, when it sold and when it got praised, it was always the authentic military voice. I think I might have been the only currently serving military member writing. At the time I was still on duty to the Coast Guard when that book came out. There’s a lot of retired military guys writing, but I don’t know anyone who is actually active and writing, which is what I was doing. So I kept getting praise for my “authentic military voice.” I was just kind of like, “Okay, I’m glad that people like this, and I’m definitely happy if it sells books,” but the truth is that you start to think “Well, is this a gimmick?” Do people like my writing because I’m a good writer, or do people like my writing because it’s authentic and it’s a military voice? And of course that set me up for kind of growing insecurity, and so it became very important to me to prove to myself that I was a writer with a capital W. That I can do other things.
The number one writer who could challenge the King for positioning is Andrew Pyper. Pyper’s most recent novel titled “The Damned” is rapidly becoming a massive success. The 2013 novel has already become a best seller. This is number six and by far the most pleasing to his following. The Writer from Toronto has written the horror story and makes no apologies. The book follows “The Demonologist” which established quite a fan base for the writer who is beginning to delve more deeply into horror genre, but without the commercial nonsense that many come to expect. He’s not prone to cliche and you’ll have to read it to find out how he makes use of throwing curves so you won’t really know what’s coming up.
Basco has a cameo in the film, but is too old to play the young Rufio. A new generation of kids now knows him better for his voice-over work as Prince Zuko in the Nickelodeon cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” But he still gets recognized by “Hook” fans every single day.
“I’ve been Rufio longer than I’ve not been Rufio, for sure,” he says. “To this day, it’s a blessing and a curse. Some people have such strong memories of me as a young actor, that it’s hard to see me as anything else. But everyone comes to Hollywood hoping to get a role people are going to remember them for, and I get girls saying I was their first crush, or Asian guys saying Rufio was the first time they saw an Asian kid on-screen that wasn’t nerdy or stereotypical, so I was lucky the character that resonated was cool.”
(12) TZ. John King Tarpinian told me he’d be at home today watching the Twilight Zone Marathon. And Steve Vertlieb made a timely recommendation that I read his 2009 post “The Twilight Zone: An Element of Time”:
“The Twilight Zone: An Element Of Time” is my published 2009 celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the original, classic Rod Serling television series. With original teleplays by Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, and the visionary pen of host Rod Serling, along with accompanying scores by Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, and Fred Steiner, among others, this tender recollection of the iconic sci-fi/fantasy anthology series may bring to mind your own special memories of the program. Be swept away into another dimension with this sweet remembrance, adrift upon rippling currents of time and space, only to be found in…”The Twilight Zone.”
Here’s the beginning:
For a writer searching for his voice in the midst of corporate conservatism during the late 1950s, the creative horizon seemed elusive at best. Television, although still a youthful medium, had begun to stumble and fall, succumbing to the pressures of financial backing and sponsorship in order to survive its early growing pains. Navigating a successful career through a cloak of fear and indecision became problematic for a young writer struggling to remain relevant.
Rod Serling had penned several landmark teleplays for The Columbia Broadcasting System, including Patterns, and Requiem For A Heavyweight, but the perils of network censorship were beginning to take a toll on the idealistic author. As his artistic voice and moral integrity became increasingly challenged by network cowardice, Serling found his search for lost horizons alarmingly elusive.
The studio offered new details of the upcoming film, which will see Eddie Redmayne return as magical beasts lover Newt Scamander to take on Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard played by Johnny Depp, who was unmasked at the end of the first movie.
Jude Law will star as future Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the film, a younger version of the character originally played by the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the Harry Potter films. The sequel moves the main action to 1920s Paris, shortly after Scamander’s capture of Grindelwald at the end of the first installment.
Warner Bros. revealed that “Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape and has been gathering more followers to his cause – elevating wizards above all non-magical beings. The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander.”
(14) MORE THAN JUST DECORATIVE. JJ sends this along with a safety warning, “Totally not a suggestion for Hugo winners with annoying neighbors. Purely hypothetically.”
@LUCIFERwriters fyi a Hugo award is very heavy and pointy and would make an excellent murder weapon. Fictionally. In fiction. Not real life.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Steve Vertlieb, Mark-kitteh, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day, the e.e. cummings of filers. clack.]
(1) THE FENCE. A recent Pixel Scroll reported construction is almost finished on the residence replacing Ray Bradbury’s torn-down home. Designed by architect Thom Mayne, the new house where he and his wife Blythe will live had been promised to include a tribute to the late author in the form of a fence with Bradbury quotes. But you can’t really make out any text in LA Observed’s photo:
So John King Tarpinian swung by and shot his own set of pictures.
These are three of the four panels that Mr. Mayne has erected. The fourth panel was removed, not sure why. You can only see panels one and two easily. Panel three is behind shrubs, as will be panel four when it is reinstalled. For the life of me I cannot decipher anything.
Disney (DIS) and Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise put up stellar results in its return to theaters this weekend, nearly three years after unexpectedly blowing the doors off the box office.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” brought in $145 million, making it the fifth highest grossing domestic debut for a movie in Marvel’s universe of interconnected films. Forecasts had estimated its U.S. opening weekend haul would check in around $140 million to $160 million.
Openings in the Chinese and South Korean markets this weekend helped push the movie’s global gross at $427.6 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
(3) FILE SEVENTEEN YEARS. Congratulations to Julia Bartlett-Sloan, who graduated from the University of Georgia on May 5 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
S.N.L. buffs will be the first to tell you that Yoshimura—who has been with the show from the start—first appeared as Sulu opposite John Belushi’s Captain Kirk in a 1976 sketch titled “The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise” from Saturday Night Live’s very first season.
(5) FRENCH SFF COMPETITION. Entries are being taken for the Prix Joël-Champetier through August 31. Eligible works are unpublished stories in French by non-Canadian authors, no longer than 10,500 words. The winner will be selected through blind judging (see the guidelines about preserving anonymity.) Subscribers to Solaris can enter free, others must pay a C$20 fee. The winner will receive a 1,000 Euro prize.
Secret Empire #1—by Nick Spencer, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Matthew Wilson, and Travis Lanham—doesn’t immediately pick up after the events of Secret Empire #0, which chronicled the reveal of Captain America’s deception of his friends, allies, and the world at large. Instead, it’s an unspecified number of months after, with Hydra in control of the United States, and Captain America at its head.
Heroes still attempt to resist—spearheaded by a group lead by Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the A.I. essence of Tony Stark operating out of a hidden base in the Nevada desert, with the young Champions running sorties against Hydra patrols in Vegas—but for the average America citizen, Hydra is now their leader. And while Marvel Comics has blustered over accusations of Hydra’s past links to the Nazis, and even attempted to deny the political undertones of Secret Empire, it’s hard to read Secret Empire #1 and not draw parallels between Hydra’s rule and the rise of the Nazi party in ‘30s Germany. Books have been burned in classrooms, history has been rewritten….
There’s a man, there, carrying Captain America’s shield.
That man is one of the neo-Nazi white supremacists who attempted to get into the Minnesota State Capitol yesterday. He and his compatriots could not get in.
They were defied by regular Minnesotans, linking arms, standing their ground against hatred. The neo-Nazis were defied by the heroism of ordinary people who see evil and refuse to turn away. These regular Minnesotans understand something that Marvel Comics and Nick Spencer have completely failed to grasp.
Decent human beings do not harbor, encourage, or condone white supremacy. Decent human beings do not by their action or inaction permit evil to fester.
You brought this on yourself, Marvel. Instead of cute kids running around playing at being Avengers, a grown man carried YOUR shield, Marvel, into battle on the steps of my state capitol building yesterday.
And your shield, Marvel, stood for hatred.
May you long reap the joy and reward of your actions.
E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised by a single mother and a public library in Yonkers, New York. He has published four novels, and short stories in various magazines and anthologies, including Space & Time Magazine, Hidden Youth: Speculative Stories of Marginalized Children, and Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy. His first novel, Fair Coin, won the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult SF and Fantasy, and YALSA selected The Silence of Six as one of its “Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” in 2016. His next book will be DoubleThink, a collection of stories related to The Silence of Six from and he continues to write for ReMade, a science fiction series from Serial Box Publishing.
Sam J. Miller’s short stories have appeared in publications such as Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed, along with multiple “year’s best” anthologies. His debut novel The Art of Starving, forthcoming from HarperTeen, was called “Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless and powerful… a classic in the making” by Book Riot. His second novel, The Breaks, will be published by Ecco Press in 2018. He graduated from the Clarion UCSD Science Fiction & Fantasy Workshop in 2012. A finalist for multiple Nebula Awards along with the World Fantasy and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards, he won the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award for his short story “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides.”
Begins 7 p.m. at KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs) in New York.
(9) HELP NEEDED. If someone reading this who is fluent in Korean would be willing to serve as a go-between for a brief exchange regarding some fan-related questions, please send me your contact name and e-mail address and I will put you in touch with the fan who needs the help.
In an interview with Collider, Liman confirmed that the new movie will be called Live Die Repeat and Repeat, a nod to the tagline and later title that was given to the film for digital and home release, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. Blunt is on board to reprise her role as Rita Vrataski, along with Cruise as star Bill Cage. Liman previously said the movie will be a sequel that’s actually a prequel, playing on the film’s use of time to subvert people’s expectations of what a sequel should be like.
(11) DE-AGING. The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna looks at the CGI wizardry that enabled Kurt Russell, in a crucial early scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, to look the way he did in 1980.
From there, [director James] Gunn credits the technological growth. “It helped that Kurt has aged pretty well and that the makeup and hair team did their [work] properly,” the director says, “but it’s also that visual effects are just getting better and better.
“It’s not cheap and it’s not easy,” Gunn adds. “That [scene] pretty much took our entire post-production period to finish. I didn’t get the final shots till almost a few weeks before ‘lock.’ ”
2. Curing cancer with machines Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 film Elysium featured a magical medical pod that could cure cancer in less than a minute. While that device is an obvious Hollywood fantasy, it has roots in real medical technology that is available today.
Over the past decade, cancer treatments have improved dramatically on the pharmaceutical level, with immunotherapy and targeted therapies, and on the mechanical level, with advanced oncology machines.
Accuray’s flagship product, the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System, is one of these machines. The CyberKnife uses tiny lasers to deliver highly concentrated doses of radiation into the body to kill cancerous cells. The process, unlike chemotherapy, spares healthy cells and requires no physical incisions — making it a pain-free, minimally invasive option for patients with inoperable or surgically complex tumors.
(13) DON’T MESS WITH MAMATAS. What’s appropriate here? Maybe a warning: “Never bring a letter opener to a gunfight.”
Does Bill O'Reilly pay you to tweet nonsense with his settlement money, or did you sell your psych drugs to an undergrad? https://t.co/CQmar0icsX
(14) RANKING STAR WARS. David French, in “The Actual Definitive ‘Star Wars’ Movie Ratings” at National Review Online, has lots of funny bits and isn’t that political. I especially liked his throwing in ratings for the zombie apocalypse, “the actual apocalypse” and The Phantom Menace…
4. Revenge of the Sith: What? A prequel movie cracks the top four? Ahead of Return of the Jedi? Here’s the thing about Revenge — Anakin’s turn to the dark side just works. You can see why he did it, why it made sense, and why a Jedi would turn on his own order. I don’t know if this was Lucas’s intent, but he spent the prequels making the Republic (and the Jedi) look like an intergalactic U.N., wielding their lightsabers to lop off the heads of anyone who dared to exercise the slightest degree of self-determination. Revenge made me like the Sith. It made me root for the emperor.
This summer will be one small step for Lego fans, and one giant leap for nerd-kind.
Lego Ideas is launching a NASA Apollo Saturn V rocket set on June 1, 2017, to help space fans everywhere pull off historic moon missions from the comfort of their own homes.
Like NASA’s storied space program, this kit will come with three separable Saturn V rocket stages, a lunar orbiter, lunar module, crew of three astronauts, and even an American flag for the microfigurines to plant on the moon.
One of the greatest scenes in sci-fi history has been captured perfectly in LEGO. That is the moment in Return of the Jedi when Princess Leia chokes Jabba the Hutt and kills him dead. It is Leia vs Jabba. This cool creation is the work of artist Iain “Ochre Jelly” Heath and it is stunning. It really captures the moment perfectly, with Leia pulling the chains and Jabba’s tongue coming out of his nasty slimy mouth. The quality here is good enough for an official LEGO kit. If only we could buy it.
Night Gallery, Rod Serling’s follow up to the highly successful Twilight Zone series, only lasted for three seasons before imploding under the pressure of internal conflicts. It seems that in a complete lapse of sanity, Jack Laird, the show’s producer, forgot a fundamental maxim of making great television: allow Rod Serling to do whatever he wants to do. Nevertheless, the show managed to squeak out a run on NBC from 1970-72.
The premise of Night Gallery centered around Serling as the curator of a Museum of the Macabre, and he would introduce the shows various segments with a piece of art that represented the basic story on canvas. These stories still mined the areas of fantasy, science fiction and horror which Serling knew so well—again utilizing his own original teleplays as well as adapting works by such writers as H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and Robert A. Heinlein for the small screen—but at an hour’s running time, the show could present multiple segments, some of the more whimsical segments clocking in at under five minutes.
(18) FORRY, BLOCH AND “EGO”. Earlier this year Fanac.org posted the audio recording of Loncon II’s (1965) Guest of Honor and other Banquet speeches.
This audio recording is enhanced with over 40 appropriate images and features: Guest of Honor speech by Brian Aldiss, Arthur C. Clarke on working with Stanley Kubrick, Robert Bloch’s hilarious comments on fandom, TAFF winner Terry Carr, and Forry Ackerman’s presentation of the Big Heart award. Most astonishingly, Robert Silverberg presents the Hugo awards in 6 minutes while still torturing the nominees by delaying the announcements. Original audio recorded by Waldemar Kumming and digitized by Thomas Recktenwald.
[Thank to rcade, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]