(1) PHOTOS FROM THE LOCUS AWARDS.
File 770 was a Locus Award finalist in the magazine category and I did arm someone with an acceptance statement in case I unexpectedly won. It never occurred to me to dramatize my feelings about losing, however, I see First Novel nominee Sylvia Moreno-Garcia refused to admit defeat. (Or was that just her reaction to Nick Mamatas?)
My designated accepter, Suzle Tompkins, stands at the right of this photo.
(2) THUMB UP. Gary Westfahl delivers his verdict at Locus Online: “The Fogeys of July: A Review of Independence Day: Resurgence”. BEWARE SPOILERS.
Since I was recently complimented at a conference for writing “honest” film reviews, I feel obliged to begin this one by conveying my honest reaction to Independence Day: Resurgence: although I was bored and appalled by the original Independence Day (1996), and utterly baffled by its tremendous popularity, I somehow found its belated sequel to be surprisingly engaging, even moving, despite some obvious issues in its logic and plausibility. Perhaps this indicates that I am finally becoming senile, unable to distinguish between worthwhile entertainment and reprehensible trash; perhaps this is a sign of the times, so that a film modeled on a film that stood out in 1996 for its risible inanity and clumsy manipulativeness now seems, amidst scores of similar films, merely typical, or even a bit superior to its lamentable competitors. Perhaps, though, it is simply a better film than its precursor, the theory that merits some extended exploration.
(3) ONLINE COMICS. David Brin is back with “A look at Science Fiction webcomics: Part 3”.
Crowded Void, by Mike West offers one of the more unusual concepts. Finding Earth too crowded and people rather distasteful, Vincent Foxwell thought he could find peace when he took a job on a cargo vessel, hauling junk in space, with only an AI for company. Space turns out to be more crowded than he imagined…. when his spacecraft is swallowed by a massive space worm, where there is already an intestinal civilization of over a million humans and aliens, jockeying for position in the worm’s digestive cycle. He must find a way to escape… before digestion is complete. But first he must deal with the The Joint Intestinal Monarchy, which controls the worm, harvesting parts from spaceships. No end of good material for humor… a new theory of wormholes? Start at the beginning here.
(4) BANDERSNATCH. Charles de Lint reviewed Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch in the July/August Fantasy & Science Fiction.
Yes, there is a wonderful font of information about the Inklings, but it also provides one of the better guides to the collaborative process, including a chapter with the end about how to get the most out of a group set up in a style similar to that of the Inklings. I think one of the best pieces of advice she gives is the difference between “I don’t personally like this’ and ‘This isn’t any good’ in critiquing a manuscript.
To writers setting up a writing group, I recommend Bandersnatch wholeheartedly, That said, those who simply love to read–especially those who particularly appreciate the work of Tolkien, Lewis, and Williams–will find much to enjoy as well.
(6) EAU DE MIDCHLORIAN. When you wear Star Wars Perfumes, the Force is with you….
The trilogy of futuristic “must have” perfumes transfers the essence of the Star Wars universe skillfully into a fascinating world of fragrances, which represent the best-known elements and characters from the saga.
The products are presented in a luxurious and lavish flacon which draws upon the symbolism of probably the most emblematic element of the movie – the lightsaber.
There’s Amidala, for women, and Jedi, and Empire for men.
AMIDALA inspired this fragrance through her royal elegance as well as by her strong, indomitable will. The elegant and sensual notes of vanilla, musk and patchouli are complemented by a fruity top note of apple and tangerine and merges into a sovereign seductive aura for any situation by day and by night; a floral perfume with oriental and powdery notes, which makes its wearer irresistible.
Should you want to smell like Darth Vader, spritz yourself liberally with this stuff —
EMPIRE covers you with an aura of masculinity and power. A scent that captures the dark side of the Force; mystical, formidable and superior. It starts with a sparkle of fruity notes from lime and apple. Powerful chords of amber, patchouli and tonka-bean characterize the powerful heart and base note that refine the composition. The result is a distinctive, oriental, seductive fragrance – perfect for the night, made for men which one better does not get in the way.
I just love that The Mary Sue kicks off its post about these perfumes with a GIF from the first Star Wars movie showing our heroes in the garbage bin and Han Solo demanding, “What an incredible smell you’ve discovered.”
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- June 25, 1951 — On this day in 1951, CBS aired the first commercial color television network broadcast. At the time, no color TV sets were owned by the public. The broadcast was seen on color TV sets in public buildings. (Emphasis on commercial – there were other network broadcasts in color the previous year, 1950.)
- June 25, 1982 — John Carpenter’s The Thing, seen for the first time on this day.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL
- June 25, 1925 — June Lockhart, whom some remember from Lassie, while fans remember her from Lost in Space.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- June 25, 1903 – George Orwell
(10) MARK THIS DATE: Neil Gaiman will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers next Friday night, July 1.
(11) HARD TO WIN. Chuck Tingle had a good excuse for not getting a Locus Award.
(12) BREXIT DEBRIEFING. Camestros Felapton registered his disapproval of Brexit by refusing to art containing a notorious Leave supporter.
Not doing cat pictures because Timothy is still running around the house wearing a mop and pretending to be Boris Johnson whilst shouting “effinEurolosers” at squirrels.
(13) FREE SPEECH. The July Harper’s Magazine excerpted the brief the Language Creation Society filed in the Axanar lawsuit claiming that CBS and Paramount did not have copyright over the Klingon language.
Plaintiffs claim copyright over the entire Klingon language. The notion is meqHutlh (‘lacking reason.’) If this court commits this qab qech (“bad idea”), an entire body of thought will be extinguished. Hoch jaghpu’Daj HoHbogh Suvwl’ ylvup-‘ (‘Pity the warrior who kills all his enemies.’) By Plaintiffs’ account, everyone who translates something into Klingon, writes a poem in Klingon, gives a speech or presentation at a Klingon Language Institute meeting or Star Trek convention, or gives lessons on how to speak Klingon is a copyright infringer. Qam ghu’vam, loD! (“This will not stand, man!”) Plaintiffs’ argument that ‘a language is only useful if it can be used to communicate with people, and there are no Klingons with whom to communicate’ is an insulting assertion. Many humans speak Klingon. People get married in Klingon. Linguist d’Armond Speers spent three years teaching his infant son how to speak Klingon. Speaking and writing in Klingon is not simply a matter of transposing words from a different language, either. The Sesame Street theme-song lyric ‘Sunny day, chasing the clouds away’ translates into Klingon as jaj pen puQmo’, chaw’nIS je Jaj ‘ej Haw’raDchen, or ‘Day of the daytime star, the clouds are filled with dread and forced to flee.’ Klingon is not just a language, but a state of mind.
(14) TEMPLE GRANDIN. A Blank on Blank animation of an interview with Temple Grandin contains lots of food for thought for geeks and nerds. (Don’t be thrown off by the Squarespace ad about 4:30, because Grandin resume talking for another 90 seconds when it’s done.)
(15) RAINING ON A PARADE. Jesse Hudson, in a review of Alastair Reynolds’ Chasm City for Speculiction, compares its execution unfavorably with an Iain Banks standby.
This is important to note given the bifurcated storyline, and its intended effect. Seemingly an emulation of the narrative structure of Iain Banks Use of Weapons, Reynolds’ adherence to plot above character does not allow the big reveals to be very big. I will not spoil the story for those unable to put one and one (not even two and two) together, but suffice to say the underlying reality of the situation is telegraphed in the least subtle ways the length of the novel, emphasized by the lack of complete coherence at the character level. Where Banks’ story resolves itself in surprising fashion upon the final chapter, a surprise that feeds logically back through the entire book, I have doubts Chasm City does the same for the majority of readers—this coming from a person who is terrible at predicting endings
I’m not implying any defect in Hudson’s opinion of Reynolds’ book, but I have to say I saw the ending of Use of Weapons coming from a long way off. To me, Banks’ success was in delivering the expected “surprise” in an elegant way.
(16) TOM REAMY. Joachim Boaz reminds readers about a strong award contender, now forgot, Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices (1978), at Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations.
Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices (1978) was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and BFSA awards and came in second in Locus voting for best novel in 1979. Posthumously released, Reamy died of a heart attack while writing in the fall of 1977 at 42. His take on small town America transformed by the arrival of a traveling circus and its array of wonders will stay with you for years to come. The science fiction elements (revealed more than halfway through the novel) interlace and add to the elegiac and constrained fantasy feel. The specter of sexuality and violence spells cataclysm.
(17) OLD SCHOOL FAN. In a piece cleverly titled “Trexit”, Steve Davidson says “Get off Star Trek’s lawn!”
Alec Peters, you asked for it and you got it. A set of fan work guidelines for the Star Trek universe that pretty much kills everything except maybe Lego animations. (Which are fine for what they are, but…)
I don’t personally do fanfic, fan films, fan art, etc., I’m sufficiently happy to stick with the originals, lament the lack of “more of the same”, and to spend some time dithering over whether or not I want to invest in the latest whatever released by the franchise holders.
But maybe that’s because I’m an old school fan with old school ideas about how one goes about engaging with someone else’s property….
(18) A LIZARD WITHOUT THUNDER. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler is falling out of love with one of the major prozines: “[June 25, 1961] The Twilight Years (July 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction“.
Like Victorian ladies’ hats, the dinosaurs became increasingly baroque until they were too ungainly to survive.
I worry that The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is heading in that direction. I’m all for literary quality in my sf mags, but F&SF has been tilting so far in the purple direction that it is often all but unreadable. I present Exhibit A: the July 1961 “All-Star” issue.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]