(1) FOR CONRUNNERS. On Sunday, November 15, Virtual Convention Convention will be held — an event devoted to (guess who) convention runners of virtual conventions. Register at the link.
Steve Davidson sent the link and says, “I’ll be presenting on how I put AmazingCon’s scheduling together in a very short time-frame.”
(2) HAYAO MIYAZAKI NEWS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is from an interview with Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki by Leo Lewis in the November 9 Financial Times.
Two weeks before our meeting in June, the studio (Studio Ghibli) had announced that Miyazaki’s son Goro was working on a CH animated adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’s novel Earwig And The Witch, which is scheduled to be broadcast in Japan next month. But even more fascinating for Ghibli’s global fan base is the progress of the elder Miyazaki on How Do You Live?–his first film in the director’s chair since The Wnd Rises in 2013 and the reason he decided to come out of retirement. It was a decision, says Suzuki, that did not arise from any formal meeting of the company (“We never have those!” but from another of the daily chinwags between the two old friends.
Miyazaki, says Suzuki, has come into the office every day of the Covid crisis, even as the rest of the operation has had to be pared back and dependent on teleworking. The good news is that production has continued to some extent; the bad news is that because the maestro works at his own perfectionist pace, the film is at least three years away.”
Lewis talks about a video Suzuki made about how to draw Totoro that went viral. This is on the web as “Learn How To Draw Totoro From Studio Ghibli’s Former President.” He says he wanted to do something to cheer kids up at the height of the pandemic.
(3) ON THE RACK. Scott Edelman got a kick out of deconstructing the comics rack in this scene from The Queen’s Gambit.
(4) COMING TO A MT. TBR NEAR YOU. “The best recent science fiction and fantasy – review roundup” in The Guardian. They begin the list with Christopher Priest –
In The Evidence (Gollancz, £20), Christopher Priest makes a welcome return to the Dream Archipelago, a string of islands where nothing is as it first appears. Thriller writer Todd Fremde is invited to lecture at the university in Dearth, a subpolar island that undergoes destabilising changes in space and time known as “mutability”. While on the island he is approached by a semi-retired police commissioner; she recounts the details of a murder that occurred 15 years earlier. Fremde investigates the killing on his return home, only to discover that aspects of her story do not tally with the known facts. He soon finds himself drawn into a series of baffling events that threaten to bring the killer to his doorstep. With characteristic literary playfulness, Priest presents both a compelling mystery – Fremde’s attempts to work out the objective truth of the cold case – and a treatise on the unreliability of subjective narrative. The Evidence is an unsettling, Kafkaesque tour de force.
(5) WORLDCON BID VIDEO. The Chengdu in 2023 Worldcon bid has put out a promotional video. President Obama’s in there for a split second. (But not his successor – they’re trying to win, after all.)
(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
- November 13, 1987 — The Running Man premiered. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, María Conchita Alonso and Richard Dawson. It‘s very loosely based on the novel of the same title written by Stephen King and published under the Richard Bachman pseudonym. It was a moderate box office success and currently rates 60% at Rotten Tomatoes. (CE)
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born November 13, 1850 – Robert Louis Stevenson. Had he written only the novella “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, it would have been enough for us. (Incidentally, the name is pronounced “Jee-kill”.) What he did in 25,000 words! The best discussion I know is Nabokov’s, see N’s Lectures on Literature (F. Bowers ed. 1980). The Master of Ballantrae is ours, and many shorter stories. I recommend “Markheim” for the characterization of its antagonist – but no spoilers. (Died 1894) [JH]
- Born November 13, 1873 – Oliver Onions. You’ll expect me to recommend The Tower of Oblivion, and I do. Four more novels for us, three dozen others; three dozen shorter stories. He had been an amateur boxer and was a commercial artist; he sometimes did his own covers. (Died 1961) [JH]
- Born November 13, 1888 — Philip Francis Nowlan. He’s best known as the creator of Buck Rogers. While working in Philadelphia, he created and wrote the Buck Rogers comic strip, illustrated by Dick Calkins. Philip Nowlan, working for the syndicate John F. Dille Company, later known as the National Newspaper Service syndicate, was contracted to adapt the story into a comic strip. The strip made its first newspaper appearance on January 7, 1929. (Died 1940.) (CE)
- Born November 13, 1898 – Walter Karig. Navy captain, seven books of naval history; three Nancy Drew books, five others of that kind; detective fiction; four general-interest novels; for us, Zotz! Read it, and when you discover the tragedy, you’ll see why the movie was different. (Died 1956) [JH]
- Born November 13, 1930 — Adrienne Corri. Mena in “The Leisure Hive”, a Fourth Doctor story. She was also in A Clockwork Orange as Mrs. Alexander, Devil Girl from Mars, Corridors of Blood, The Tell-Tale Heart, Lancelot and Guinevere, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Moon Zero Two which is not a complete listing by any means. (Died 2016.) (CE)
- Born November 13, 1933 – Jasia Reichardt, 87. Survived the Holocaust. Art critic, curator, teacher, gallery director; assembled the Francziska & Stefan Themerson archive. Famous for curating Cybernetic Serendipity at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; three related books. Robots: Fact, Fiction, and Prediction. Lectures, Our Dreams Change, We Don’t (2019). Many other books and articles. [JH]
- Born November 13, 1946 – Marty Massoglia, 74. Chaired Loscon 4. Fan Guest of Honor at Tuscon 10, Penulticon 3. Forty years a leading bookseller. Teaches Regency dancing. Now in Tucson, Arizona. He looked like this at LoneStarCon 3 the 71st Worldcon. [JH]
- Born November 13, 1948 — John de Lancie, 72. Best known for his role as Q in the Trek multiverse though I was quite fond of him as Janos Barton inLegend (if you’ve not seen it, go now and watch it). He also was Jack O’Neill enemy Frank Simmons in Stargate SG-1. He has an impressive number of one-offs on genre shows including The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica (1978 version), The New Twilight Zone, MacGyver, Mission: Impossible (Australian edition), Get Smart, Again!, Batman: The Animated Series, and I’m going to stop there. (CE)
- Born November 13, 1953 — Tracy Scoggins, 67. Capt. Elizabeth Lochley on Babylon 5 and its follow-up series, the short-lived Crusade. See Neil Gaiman’s most excellent Babylon 5 episode “ Day of the Dead” for all you need to know about her. She was also Cat Grant in the first season of Lois & Clark, and she played Gilora Rejal, a female Cardassian, in “Destiny” a DS9 episode. (CE)
- Born November 13, 1955 — Whoopi Goldberg, 65. Best known as Guinan the Barkeep in Ten Forward on Enterprise in Next Gen which she reprised in Generations and Nemesis. Other genre appearances include It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle to name but a few of her appearances as she’s very busy performer! And she has one interesting sounding genre novel, Alice, based off that novel to her credit. (CE)
- Born November 13, 1957 — Stephen Baxter, 63. Ok I’m going to confess that the only thing I’ve read that he’s written is the Long Earth serieswith Terry Pratchett. I’ve only read the first three but they are quite great SF! Ok, I really, really need your help to figure out what else of his that I should consider reading. To say he’s been a prolific writer is somewhat of an understatement and he’s gotten a bonnie bunch of awards as well though no Hugos. It’s worth noting that Baxter’s story “Last Contact” was nominated for a. Hugo for best short story as were quite a number of his works. (CE)
- Born November 13, 1977 – Leanne Hall, 43. Three novels. Text Prize for Children’s & Young Adult Writing. Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature. Australian Writers Week in China, 2014. [JH]
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- Moderately Confused shows Santa’s current dilemma.
(9) ON THE ROAD AGAIN. “Sasquatch Found?! Missing Bigfoot Statue Mysteriously Reappears On California Road” – SYFY Wire checks it out.
Early Thursday morning, officers from the Scotts Valley Police Department in Santa Cruz County, California responded to a call about a “suspicious figure” by the side of the road. That’s a phrase that could imply all kinds of scary things, but when the officers got to the spot in question, they found something they perhaps didn’t expect: Bigfoot.
Yes, Bigfoot has been found in Scotts Valley, California! And by “Bigfoot,” we mean a beloved four-foot-tall redwood statue of Bigfoot reported stolen from a local museum earlier this week….
(10) WON’T YOU SMILE FOR THE CAMERA? “Curiosity takes selfie with ‘Mary Anning’ on the red planet” – Phys.Org shows off the result.
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has a new selfie. This latest is from a location named “Mary Anning,” after a 19th-century English paleontologist whose discovery of marine-reptile fossils were ignored for generations because of her gender and class. The rover has been at the site since this past July, taking and analyzing drill samples.
Made up of 59 pictures stitched together by imaging specialists, the selfie was taken on Oct. 25, 2020—the 2,922nd Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s mission.
Scientists on the Curiosity team thought it fitting to name the sampling site after Anning because of the area’s potential to reveal details about the ancient environment. Curiosity used the rock drill on the end of its robotic arm to take samples from three drill holes called “Mary Anning,” “Mary Anning 3,” and “Groken,” this last one named after cliffs in Scotland’s Shetland Islands. The robotic scientist has conducted a set of advanced experiments with those samples to extend the search for organic (or carbon-based) molecules in the ancient rocks.
(11) WHERE WOLF? “A Japanese city is using these motion-sensing robot wolves to scare bears away”. Today I learned there are bears running around Japan. Which I can testify from local experience is a problem if they visit your neighborhood.
A recent spate of bear attacks in Japan has prompted one city to invest in an unusual scare tactic: robotic wolves.
The city of Takikawa in northern Japan, population 41,000, purchased two of the animatronic wolves — called the “Monster Wolf” — in September after bears were found entering the city, Reuters reports.
The Monster Wolf is mounted on a stationary pole and comes equipped with motion sensors.
When those sensors are triggered it swivels its head, flashes lights in its eyes and on its tail, and emits a variety of sounds, including wolf-like howls and the clanking of machinery.
(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Chuck Jones’s MGM Cartoons–The Dot and The Line (1965)” is a 1965 cartoon, directed by Chuck Jones and with a script by Norton Juster, about a doomed romance between a dot and a line. Narrated by Robert Morley.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, JJ, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Contrarius, Steve Davidson, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]
And I would think that the Long Earth (just read the first) is not among his best work…it’s good but he’s written better.
I’m too tired. I’m not going to try to retype the comment I just wiped out. Just–Baxter, anything that looks interesting to you up to Voyage. Proceed further only with extreme caution, other than the Long Earth series.
Hey! I got a title!
I haven’t read any recent Baxter, but I did enjoy his Xeelee books (grand-scale SF that at one point has two sides of a war chucking galaxies at each other) and his kind of alternate future Apollo program stuff (Voyage, Titan, Moonseed), although the latter two, Titan in particular, were remarkably grim.
I have determined, after research and consideration, that Titan and Moonseed do not exist, and therefore I cannot possibly have read them.
I finally got much needed osteopathic therapy on my neck and shoulder today from my therapist at Martins Point. Her two year old daughter had gotten Covid-19 (she’s fine, nothing worse than a bad cold for symptoms) but their protocols met she was out of the office for six weeks.
She ordered more blood work today be done as the mystery of why I’m breaking bones far too often needs to figured out. The fall that fractured my knee and broke my right shoulder as well shouldn’t have done either. And though I’ve got mild osteopenia that shouldn’t be a contributing factor either.
Lindt dark chocolate with hazel nuts was the chocolate she got today.
(3) Analog stopped using that version of the title in 1981. I’ve looked at all the covers that ISFDB has, from 1962 through 2000, and I can’t find that one, so it’s either a variant that ISFDB missed, or it’s not from our universe. (I don’t remember seeing it, but that doesn’t prove anything.)
3) The Queen’s Gambit:
I also noticed the anachronistic Avengers logo on the spinner. Still, that comics spinner is on-screen for a couple of seconds and is never fully in focus, so I can’t fault them too hard for not taking a lot of trouble over it.
ISFDB has scans of all Analog magazine covers online, and I took the time to go looking for the one in the episode. I looked at every cover from 1965-1980…twice. And I didn’t find it. I am pretty sure that they mocked up a plausible-looking but not real issue.
Scott Edelman is correct that they used anachronistic trade dress. In the summer of 1963, Analog should have been larger (bedsheet size, not digest) and with a different logo. In fact things are a bit worse than he reports: it’s possible to see that they used the version with “SCIENCE FICTION” on top of the title and “SCIENCE FACT” below it: this was in use starting April of 1967. (And continued through October of 1979.) If they were going to mock up an issue, I wonder why they didn’t research the correct trade dress?
I’ll note that the issue of Chess Review on the stand is likewise plausible-looking but not real. I didn’t check every issue online at uschess.org (they took too long to download) but the trade dress in use throughout the 1960’s included the month and year on the front, not just the month.
There were a few times when they were filming somethign set in NYC, using downtown L.A., and the NYT newspaper boxes had random copies inside (that is, different boxes had different issues visible). So I think they aren’t going for accuracy, just impressions.
I can’t find that issue of Analog at all, like everyone else. The price is 60 cents, and it’s to the right of the cover, which started in about 1967. I wonder why they would go to the trouble of mocking one up instead of using a real one?
Closest cover title I can find is “The Mechanic”, by Hal Clement. September 1966. But the cover really doesn’t match, though there are vague points of similariy.
Stephen Baxter – I’m another one who liked the Xeelee stories (maybe the short story collection Vacuum Diagrams could be a good entry point to that sequence), and also The Time Ships, his sequel to Wells’s The Time Machine. He’s one of those writers who Think Big, and his stuff’s al the better for it.
Stephen Baxter is a prolific author with good and bad books. I haven’t read anything close to all his work.
My favourite of the Xeelee novels is Timelike Infinity, with the atypical Coalescent in second place.
I quite liked the two alternate histories series, Time’s Tapestry and Northland.
The first is more of a time war story, the second is set in Doggerland (so some of it, at least, is alternate prehistory!)
(7) De Lancie’s role in the 1970s BG is amusing – he’s in face-covering armor, but his voice is so distinctive that it’s easy to tell its him.
I really enjoyed The Time Ships
Oh, yeah, The Time Ships!
Baxter also has two good duologies: Proxima/Ultima and Flood/Ark. His collaborative work with ACC is very good – four novels in total, I think, and one of them addresses the question of what would happen to human society if all possibility of personal privacy was extinguished. His series of Manifold series of novels is wonderful.