(1) BLOB THEATER NEEDS HELP. A GoFundMe appeal has been launched to “Keep the Arts Alive at the Colonial Theatre!” The iconic movie house featured fleeing patrons in the 1958 movie The Blob, a scene fans have reenacted over the years:
The Colonial Theatre (aka Home of The Blob) is facing an unusually challenging winter: one in which we’re nearly 100% dependent on donations for survival. This is why we’ve launched this (first ever) GoFundMe campaign.
While many other theaters across the nation were making agonizing choices in the springtime, an outpouring of donations (thank you!!), the Payroll Protection Program, and emergency grants made it possible for us to delay messages like these.
By December 31st, we’ve got to raise $150,000 to meet our financial obligations and we’re banking on your help to raise at least a third of that total…
At this writing, supporters of The Colonial have given $15,025 of its $50,000 GoFundMe target.
(2) SUPERCROONERS. [Item by Daniel Dern.] io9 recommends “20 Superheroes Who Should Star in a Comic Book Musical”.
I’m particularly impressed by Patrick Wilson from Aquaman (singing with Kellie O’Hara, who’s a known and respected Broadway star, although Tom Hiddleston’s not shabby either, to name just a few.
I’m surprised the clip selected for Melissa Benoist (Supergirl) from The Flash, versus her (from that season’s musical crossover) Moon River, You’re My Superfriend, or Put A Little Love In Your Heart – see my 2017 File 770 post “In Case You Didn’t Watch The Flash Musical Episode…” for links. (Unfortunately, 2 of those links are now dead.)
(3) BROOKS AT THE FINISH. “As the Shannara Saga Ends, Terry Brooks Looks Back…and Forward”, a Publishers Weekly interview.
How did you decide to end the series with your latest, The Fall of Shannara: The Last Druid?
If you’re not energized, when you go into a 500 page book, you are in big trouble. It’s so hard to write a good book if you don’t love it from the beginning and all the way through, and you’re not working with a certain amount of energy every time you sit down. As things wore on into this last decade, I told myself, “There’s two things that are gonna happen here: Either you’re going to die, and somebody else is going to finish this series for you—probably Brandon Sanderson—or you’re gonna force yourself to write the ending now, and deal with the consequences.”
I always knew what the ending was I wanted, which also helped persuade me not to just abandon this thing. I knew what I wanted to write, I knew this was always a circular story about how one kind of power replaces another. Nature abhors a vacuum, and if science no longer exists in the world, and there is magic, then magic will be the power until it falls out of favor, which it will, because it’s elitist. And then science starts to reemerge because we’re an evolving society, and so would this one be. This book was always going to be about whether the Druid order, which has been there through all these 30 books, was going to continue to survive, or if it would fall apart at the end, as really everything eventually does. And I wrote it to answer that question. I’m at peace with it right now. I think I ended it the way I wanted to—and I can always go back to it if I choose to.
(4) ROW VS. WADE. James Davis Nicoll selects a fistful of authors who have answered the question: “Who Gets in the Lifeboat? Five Classic SF Survival Stories”. First into boat – Kal-El.
Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (1938 – present)
Superman’s origin story introduces a convenient way to sort people into survivors and the dead without forcing the protagonist into the ethically dubious position of being the one to choose. Brilliant scientist Jor-El foresees the planet Krypton’s imminent doom. Unfortunately for the people of Krypton, he is unable to convince that world’s government that the crisis is real or that steps must be taken to save the general population. At least in some versions of the story, he can’t flee himself, lest he provoke a general panic. In the end, he is able to save just one person: his infant son Kal-El, whom he dispatches to distant Earth. Too bad for the billions who die on Krypton, but hey, neither Jor-El nor Kal-El is responsible for the mass death.
(5) XENOGENESIS. GalleriesWest says of The Otolith Group: Xenogenesis –
Xenogenesis is the first large scale exhibition of The Otolith Group presented in Canada… Showing at the Southern Art Gallery in Lethbridge, Alberta until November 15.
…Xenogenesis is named after Octavia Butlers’ Xenogenesis Trilogy, which consists of Dawn. Xenogenesis: 1, Adulthood Rites. Xenogenesis: 2, and Imago. Xenogenesis: 3. As a pioneering African American female science fiction novelist, Butlers’ award-winning novels investigated questions of human extinction, racial distinction, planetary transformation, enforced mutation, generative alienation and altered kinship. From her first novel Patternmaster, 1976, to her final novel Fledgling, 2005, Butler challenged the questions of science fiction in ways that transformed the cultural imagination of futurity for generations of feminist thinkers, artists and philosophers from Donna Haraway to Denise Ferreira da Silva to the Black Quantum Futurists. Butlers’ fictions of xenogenesis, which are narrated as processes of alien becoming or becoming alien, have informed and continue to inform the movement of thought of The Otolith Group’s work.
(6) LOTS TO OVERCOME. “What It’s Like To Open A Bookstore During The COVID-19 Pandemic” – Forbes asked a couple who did it. (And in my brother’s hometown, Ventua.)
…That enthusiasm extended to their opening day, which they said was “so much better than we could’ve imagined.” Though the store’s social distancing rules limit capacity to eight people inside at one time, they were pleased to see that everyone was respectful, with a line to the end of the block for most of the day. Masks are required while inside, and they sanitize all surfaces frequently. “People seemed grateful to have a space to come browse bookshelves, and so many commented that they are reading much more right now and are excited to have an independent bookshop to visit,” said the couple.
(7) BARR OBIT. Ken Barr has died reports the Gallifrey One FB group.
With great sadness, Gallifrey One must share the news that a dear and longtime member of our family, Ken Barr, passed away over the weekend after a long illness. Ken’s involvement in our foundation and development as a convention cannot be overstated; we owe so much of our success to him, his ownership and operation of his longtime West L.A. specialty bookstore Ambrosia Comics & Collectibles, and his mail-order business Ken’s Korner USA….
(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
- November 1988 — On this month in 1988, Jane Yolen’s The One-Armed Queen was published by Tor Books completing The Great Alta trilogy which started with Sister Light, Sister Dark and continued with White Jenna. SFBC would publish The Books of Great Alta several years later. The series would be nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award but that would go to Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer that year. It’s available at a reasonable price from the usual digital suspects.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born November 9, 1921 – Alfred Coppel. Under his Anglicized name (originally Alfredo Jose de Arana-Marini Coppel) and others he was a prolific pulp author: a score of novels, five dozen stories for us; much else. His “Read This” in the Jul 93 NY Rev SF was joined by one from Benford, one from Williamson. (Died 2004) [JH]
- Born November 9, 1924 – Larry Shaw. Active fan and pro. A Fanarchist and Fanoclast; among his fanzines Axe, Destiny’s Child; served a term as Official Editor of FAPA. Editor of If, Infinity, SF Adventures, published Harlan Ellison’s first magazine story. Two anthologies; one novelette of his own, four short stories. Special Committee Award from L.A.con II the 42nd Worldcon. See here; Len Moffatt’s File 770appreciation here. (Died 1985) [JH]
- Born November 9, 1934 – Carl Sagan, Ph.D. His Contact won the Best First Novel Locus Award; nonfiction The Cosmic Connection, the Campbell Memorial Award, Cosmos, the Best Nonfiction Hugo (later amended to Best Related Work); he won the Solstice Award; Pulitzer Prize, Peabody, two Emmys, NASA (U.S. Nat’l Aeronautics & Space Adm’n) Distinguished Public Service Medal. Professor of Astronomy & Space Sciences at Cornell. Assembled the Pioneer plaques and Voyager Golden Records. (Died 1996) [JH]
- Born November 9, 1946 – Dame Marina Warner, 74. For us, one novel, one novelette, half a dozen books on myth and fairy tale; three dozen books all told. Feminist and historian. Nine honorary doctorates; Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, later its first woman President; Chevalier de l’Orde des Arts et des Lettres; Sheikh Zayed Book Award; Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire; British Academy Medal, World Fantasy Award, for life achievement. [JH]
- Born November 9, 1947 — Robert David Hall, 73. Best known as coroner Dr. Albert Robbins M.D. on CSI, but he does have quite as few genre credits. He voiced Dinky Little in the animated Here Come the Littles, both the film and the series, the cyborg Recruiting Sargent in Starship Troopers, voice of Colonel Sharp in the G.I. Joe series, Abraham in The Gene Generation, a biopunk film, and numerous voice roles in myriad DCU animated series. (CE)
- Born November 9, 1954 — Rob Hansen, 66. 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, last updated just a few years ago, are invaluable. (CE)
- Born November 9, 1971 — Jamie Bishop. The son of Michael Bishop, he was among those killed in the Virginia Tech shooting. He did the cover illustrations for a number of genre undertakings including Subterranean Online, Winter 2008 and Aberrant Dreams, #9 Autumn 2006. The annual “Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for an Essay Not in English” was established by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts as a prize for an essay on the subject of science fiction or speculative fiction not written in English. (Died 2007.) (CE)
- Born November 9, 1974 — Ian Hallard, 46. He lives with his husband, the actor and screenwriter Mark Gatiss. He appeared as Alan-a-Dale in Twelfth Doctor story, “Robot of Sherwood”, and in Sherlock as Mr Crayhill in “The Reichenbach Fall”. He played Richard Martin, one of the original directors of Doctor Who in An Adventure in Space and Time. Genre adjacent, he co-wrote The Big Four with his husband for Agatha Christie: Poirot. (CE)
- Born November 9, 1950 – Pat Cummings, 70. Author & illustrator of children’s books. Recent juvenile for us, Trace. Coretta Scott King Award for illustrating My Mama Needs Me. Horn Book – Boston Globe Award. Orbis Pictus Award. Nat’l Secretary of the Authors Guild. [JH]
- Born November 9, 1988 — Tahereh Mafi, 32. Iranian-American whose Furthermore, a YA novel about a pale girl living in a world of both color and magic of which she has neither, I highly recommended it. Whichwood is a companion novel to this work. She also has a young adult dystopian thriller series. (CE)
- Born November 9, 1989 — Alix E. Harrow, 31. Winner at Dublin 2019 of the Best Short Story Hugo for “Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” which was nominated for a BSFA and Nebula Award. She has two excellent novels to date, The Ten Thousand Doors of January and The Once and Future Witches which was nominated for but didn’t win a WFA this year. She has a double handful of short stories not yet collected anywhere. (CE)
- Born November 9, 1990 – Rinsai Rossetti, 30. One novel so far, The Girl with Borrowed Wings, a Kirkus and Booklist Best Book. More, please. [JH]
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Frank and Ernest meet monsters who want to start political careers.
- Tom Gauld takes a look at vampire scientists:
(11) ANOTHER CANON IN THE BATTERY. John Wiswell contributes his experience to the series about works that mattered to people: “Personal Canons: Dragon Ball”.
Is this where I confess to piracy?
In the mid-90s I was a sickly teenager with little money and even less access to anything from Japan. Dragon Ball (and its edgier sequel Dragon Ball Z) had some buzz from the rich kids in my school as this mind-blowing martial arts epic. Those kids paid 30+ bucks per badly subtitled tape of the anime, usually with two episodes per tape. It would’ve cost more than my best friend’s car to get the entire show.
One sage stoner said the show was based on a manga by Akira Toriyama. These books were even less accessible — it would be years before a publisher licensed it for distribution in the U.S.
But fans work faster than capitalism.
Fans hand-scanned pages from the books, using MSPaint to translate the dialogue into other languages. Since manga is usually colorless, they flattened the image quality down to pure black and white, so that a standard crappy internet connection could download them. Downloading a chapter of the story took all afternoon – so I spent every afternoon hungry for the next page.
(12) I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. Joe R. Christopher’s 2005 review “Hobbits In The National Parks” covers a mystery writer’s Tolkien references.
Nevada Barr is known, among readers of mysteries, for her novels about Anna Pigeon, a National Park Ranger whose assignments usually take her to a different national park in each book. She began in Texas, in the Guadalupe National Park, in Track of the Cat (1993). The stories are told in the third person, in a manner that easily slides from giving Pigeon’s thoughts to objective descriptions and records of conversations and actions.
… This use of reference to Middle-Earth as an enlivening device prepares for most of the allusions that appear in the mysteries. What follows is, at least in intention and perhaps in reality, a complete survey of those references.
In A Superior Death (1994), set on Isle Royale National Park (in a northern area of Lake Superior), at one point four Park Rangers have to do a “bounce dive” down to an old, deeply sunken shipwreck. (The “bounce” means in this case that they have only twenty-two minutes at the bottom.) The Tolkienian comparison occurs just after they enter the cold water of the lake. Anna Pigeon looks at one of her fellow Rangers:
“Tattinger floated into view. With the regulator stretching his rubbery lips and the mask maximizing his watery eyes, he put Anna in mind of Gollum, the pale underearth creature that gave Bilbo Baggins the willies.” (p. 136)
The emphasis on Gollum’s paleness may tie to the first description of Jim Tattinger in the book as one who spent his time on computers and seldom dove the wrecks himself (p. 39) — in other words, an indoors office type. …
(13) UNFORGOTTEN. “Benjamin Ross Hayden explores Indigenous Sci-Fi in ‘Parallel Minds’”—a Canadian radio interview with the director:
Parallel Minds is a new film from Calgary-based director, Benjamin Ross Hayden. The film opened the Calgary International Film Festival last month to a sold-out audience. Parallel Minds is set for theatrical release in 16 cities across Canada.
A synopsis of the film:
On the verge of the release of Red Eye 2, a revolutionary contact lens that can record data and resurface buried memories, Margo, a Metis researcher in the Department of Memory discovers Red Eye’s head programmer murdered. Margo teams up with Thomas, a police detective running from his past, to uncover what happened to her friend and explore just how deep the revolutionary rabbit hole goes in this futuristic Indigenous thriller
(14) INVISIBLE FRIENDS. In “Seven Novels Featuring Fictional Characters With Even More Fictional Companions” on CrimeReads, Evie Green recommends novels by John Wyndham, Helen Oyeyemi, and Matthew Green for people who want stories about imaginary friends.
The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
Eight year old Jessamy lives in London with her Nigerian mother and British father. On a visit to her mother’s family in Nigeria she meets her first real friend, a girl she calls TillyTilly. TillyTilly takes Jess to forbidden, impossible places and makes her see the things differently. Jess goes home to London: a little while later TillyTilly turns up saying she’s just moved in nearby. It takes Jess a while to realize that no one else can see her new friend, and she struggles to resist acting on TillyTilly’s more destructive ideas. Through her new friend Jess discovers a truth about herself that she had never consciously known before, but which, perhaps, has been at the root of her anxiety all along. Sinister and scary, this is a gripping read all the more impressive because of the fact that it was written while the author was still at school.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George says the third Hobbit movie has “amazing action sequences” written by “people who failed physics in high school.”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cath Jackel, Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]