(1) MERGER DERAILED. “Court Blocks Penguin Random House, S&S Merger” reports Publishers Weekly.
A federal court has blocked Penguin Random House’s acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster. At press time, Judge Florence Y. Pan’s opinion was not yet public as the parties still need to agree on redactions to protect confidential information, but in a brief two page order Pan enjoined the merger.
“Upon review of the extensive record and careful consideration of the parties’ arguments, the Court finds that the United States has shown that ‘the effect of [the proposed merger] may be to substantially to lessen competition’ in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books,” Pan’s order states. “Accordingly, judgment shall be entered in favor of the Plaintiff and the merger shall be enjoined.”…
(2) MEMORY LANE.
1982 — [By Cat Eldridge.] Tonight’s essay is about Evil Under the Sun which premiered forty years ago and is the second film with Peter Ustinov as the Belgian detective Poirot, after Death on the Nile.
Evil Under the Sun was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in 1941. (I do love the name of that publisher!) It would published across the pond here by Dodd, Mead and Company in the same year.
HERE BE CLUES, ERRR, SPOILERS
The novel has Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot, taking a rare holiday in Devon. During his stay, he notices a young woman who is flirtatious and attractive to the mean there including some who are married, but not well liked by a number of guests including of course their wives . When she is murdered during his stay, he finds himself drawn into investigating the murder.
(That makes it to the film though in a radically different manner.)
The film adaptation wasn’t that faithful to Christie’s work and truncated scenes for time constraints, removed minor characters, and added comical elements (Christie — comical?) that were not present in the novel.
Moreover However the novel here is set on an Adriatic island in the fictional kingdom of Tyrania and Christie’s original tale got meat-cleavered in relation to the characters so that Rosamund Darnley and Mrs. Castle were merged creating Daphne Castle, and the female character of Emily Brewster was written as a man named Rex Brewster. Totally unnecessary in my opinion.
NO MORE CLUES. YOU CAN COME BACK.
I will admit that Ustinov is not my favorite Poirot but that is because I don’t think that he looks like him as described by her in the stories. Mannerism wise, he’s spot on in these films.
The screenplay was written by Anthony Shaffer who had worked on Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile with an uncredited Barry Sandler. You might recognise another film of his, The Wicker Man. It was directed by Guy Hamilton who was responsible for the Sixties Bond films.
It cost ten million, give or take. It made only six million. Ouch.
Do critics like it? Oh, yes they do. As JR Southall of the Starburst movie newsletter says, “Perhaps less celebrated and well-remembered than the earlier Brabourne and Goodwin Christie adaptations beginning with Murder on the Orient Express in 1974, Evil Under the Sun is easily their equal and possibly even the best of them.”
It holds a seventy two percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. Not bad at all.
(3) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born November 1, 1883 — Edward Van Sloan. He’s best remembered for his roles in three Thirties Universal Studios films of Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. He was Abraham Van Helsing in the Dracula, a role he’d done in touring production of Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. He would be in a number of other horror films though none remembered as well as these. (Died 1964.)
- Born November 1, 1917 — Zenna Henderson. Her first story was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1951. The People series appeared in magazines and anthologies, as well as the stitched together Pilgrimage: The Book of the People and The People: No Different Flesh. Other volumes include The People Collection and Ingathering: The Complete People Stories. She was nominated for a Hugo Award at Detention for her novelette “Captivity.” Her story “Pottage” was made into the 1972 ABC-TV Movie, The People. “Hush” became an episode of George A. Romero’s Tales from the Darkside which first aired in 1988. (Died 1983.)
- Born November 1, 1923 — Dean A. Grennell. Writer, Editor, Firearms Expert, Conrunner, and Fan who edited numerous fanzines including La Banshee and Grue, which was produced sporadically from 1953 to 1979 and was a finalist for the Hugo Award in 1956. He published several short fiction works, and even dabbled in fanzine art. He ran a small U.S. gathering held the same weekend as the 1956 UK Natcon which was called the Eastercon-DAG, and another called Wiscon, which preceded the current convention of that name by more than twenty years. He is responsible for the long-running fannish joke “Crottled Greeps”. (Died 2004.) (JJ)
- Born November 1, 1933 — Gordon R. Dickson. Gordon R. Dickson, Writer, Filker, and Fan who was truly one of the best writers of both science fiction and fantasy. It would require a skald to detail his stellar career in any detail. His first published speculative fiction was the short story “Trespass!”, written with Poul Anderson, in the Spring 1950 issue of Fantastic Stories. Childe Cycle, featuring the Dorsai, is his best known series, and the Hoka are certainly his and Poul Anderson’s silliest creation. I’m very fond of his Dragon Knight series, which I think reflects his interest in medieval history. His works received a multitude of award nominations, and he won Hugo, Nebula, and British Fantasy Awards. In 1975, he was presented the Skylark Award for achievement in imaginative fiction. He was Guest of Honor at dozens of conventions, including the 1984 Worldcon, and he was named to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Filk Hall of Fame. The Dorsai Irregulars, an invitation-only fan volunteer security group named after his series, was formed at the 1974 Worldcon in response to the theft of some of Kelly Freas’ work the year before, and has provided security at conventions for the last 34 years. (Died 2001.) (JJ)
- Born November 1, 1940 — Robert Foxworth, 81. He’s been on quite a number of genre shows including The Questor Tapes,seaQuest DSV, Deep Space Nine, Outer Limits, Enterprise, Stargate SG-1 and Babylon 5. His first genre role was as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein where Bo Swenson played the monster.
- Born November 1, 1942 — Michael Fleisher. Comics writer best known for his DC Comics work of in the Seventies and Eighties on Spectre and Jonah Hex. He also has had long runs on Ghost Rider and Spider-Woman early which pulling it them on the Marvel Unlimited app shows that he is a rather good writer. (Died 2018.)
- Born November 1, 1959 — Susanna Clarke, born 1959, aged sixty three years. Author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which I think wins my award for the most footnoted work in genre literature. It won the World Fantasy, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and a Hugo. It was adapted into a BBC series and optioned for a film. The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories collects her short works and is splendid indeed. Her latest novel, Piranesi, was nominated for a Hugo at Discon III but did not win.
- Born November 1, 1984 — Natalia Tena, 38. She played Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter film franchise, and was the wildling Osha in Game of Thrones. She was also Lana Pierce on the YouTube SF series Origin which lasted one season. And, to my amazement, she was Fevvers in the stage adaptation of Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus which took place at the Kneehigh Theatre. The latter might been bloody awesome!
(4) COMICS SECTION.
- Frank and Ernest is a bit funny.
(5) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers: The House of the Dragon” the Screen Junkies say this prequel to Game of Thrones has “goth albno sociopaths” who, when they come close to capturing a crown, come down with “ranging throners.” There are lots of bad medical problems, including “parts-falling-off disease.” And the dragons continue to surprise people when they show up, even though they’re “as big and loud as a 747.”
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Steve Vertlieb, Joey Eschrich, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title debit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH.]