(1) ONE ‘BOOK KING WON’T WRITE. Stephen King has deleted his Facebook profile reports CNN.
(2) WITCHER THOUGHTS. Walter Jon Williams suspects if you cared you’ve already watched the series, thus the heading — “Reviews Too Late: Witcher”.
…Anyway, the Netflix series is based on a series of stories and novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, who I believe I met twenty years ago and found quite genial. I haven’t read any of his books, though I’ve played Witcher III: The Wild Hunt, which I recommend to any of you interested in action-oriented console RPGs.
The Witcher in The Witcher is Geralt of Rivia, who despite having long white hair, weird eyes, magical powers, “White Wolf” as a nickname, and a sword is not Elric of Melniboné, mainly because Geralt is actually useful in his world, and all Elric does is bring doom to everybody.
(3) HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY. Bill Murray is stuck in the loop again.
So is one of his good pals –
(4) ANOTHER SUPER AD. This cracked me up, too. Amazon’s “What did we do before Alexa?”
(5) WORLDCON MEMBERSHIP RATE RISE. CoNZealand says –
If you haven’t purchased your membership of CoNZealand, now’s the time to do so.
On February 15th, the cost for an adult attending membership will rise to $450. All other membership tier prices remain the same.
View the list of membership tiers and prices, and register to attend CoNZealand here.
(6) SEVEN OF NINE AT 25. The short answer to “a Voyager reboot?” is “No.” But Ryan has an interest in some kind of reunion. “Star Trek: Jeri Ryan Talks Voyager Reunion Potential After Picard” at Comicbook.com.
Jeri Ryan’s history with the Star Trek franchise seems to be coming together in 2020. She’s reprising her role as Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager in the new streaming series Star Trek: Picard. She’s also helping Star Trek Online celebrate its 10th anniversary. At the same time, Star Trek: Voyager is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020. With all of this happening at once, fans may wonder if Seven of Nine’s return in Star Trek: Picard could lead to a reunion with her former shipmates from Voyager, even if only for an episode of Star Trek: Short Treks. Ryan tells ComicBook.com that, while it would be fun to bump into some of her old Voyager colleagues again, she’s not looking for a full-blown revival.
“Would I love to reunite with some of those characters? Sure, I think that’d be great,” she says. “I don’t necessarily need to do a Voyager show again. I think that I’ve done that. But I’m not a writer. I can’t really tell you anything.
“I’m having a great time on Picard. It’s a very happy set. It’s a very relaxed set, which has been great. I didn’t have a phenomenal overall experience shooting Voyager. I don’t look back on that as a super fun four years for me, unfortunately, so to be revisiting this character in a more pleasant work experience is great.”
(7) HEAR A NOVEL OF THE YEAR. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting The Second Sleep as this week’s book of bedtime (though the rate they are going through the book it will last two weeks).
The Second Sleep by Robert Harris was cited by SF² Concatenation as one of their team’s choices for the best SF novels of 2019.
It is set in what at first appears to be in post-Tudor times but soon (first couple of chapters) reveals itself to be in a future England centuries hence following the fall of mankind.
Father Fairfax, a newly ordained priest has been sent by the Bishop of Exeter to the village of Addicott St George to bury Father Lacy who has recently died. But a mysterious figure appears at the funeral casting doubt on the accidental nature of the priest’s death.Fairfax soon discovers that Lacy had an unhealthy (sacraligious) interest in artefacts from before the fall. One of these was a communication device bearing the emblem of humanity’s sinful ways: an apple with a bite taken out of it…
Episodes so far:
Programme home page “The Second Sleep”
(8) FILET MINIONS. But wait, there’s more! The full trailer for Minions: The Rise of Gru, will debut worldwide on February 5, 2020.
This summer, from the biggest animated franchise in history and global cultural phenomenon, comes the untold story of one 12-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain, in Minions: The Rise of Gru.
(9) TODAY’S DAY.
[Item by Daniel Dern.] Sunday, February 2, is “National Yorkshire Pudding Day 2020: When is it, origins of the side dish, and the best Yorkshire Pudding recipe”.
Also known as “British Yorkshire Pudding Day.” Note, the article includes a recipe.
Depending on who you ask, where you search, or how you feel about it, Yorkshire Pudding and popovers either are or aren’t the same thing, although they’re clearly related. Here’s some of those opinions (and more recipes):
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born February 2, 1882 — James Joyce. I’m including him on the Birthday list as ISFDB has a handful of his short stories and an excerpt from Ulysses listed as genre: “The Sisters”, “Everlasting Fire“, “Hell Fire”, “May Goulding”, “The Hero of Michan”, (an excerpt from Ulysses), “What Is a Ghost” and “The Cat and the Devil”. So who’s read these? (Died 1941.)
- Born February 2, 1905 — Ayn Rand. Best known for The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged which is ISFDB lists as genre. Her works have made into films many times starting with The Night of January 16th based on a play by her in the early Forties to an animated series based off her Anthem novel. No, I really don’t care who John Galt is. (Died 1982.)
- Born February 2, 1933 — Tony Jay. Oh, I most remember him as Paracelcus in the superb Beauty and the Beast series even it turns out he was only in for a handful of episodes. Other genre endeavors include, and this is lest OGH strangle me only the Choice Bits, included voicing The Supreme Being In Time Bandits, an appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Third Minister Campio In “Cost of Living”, being in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (and yes I loved the series) as Judge Silot Gato in ”Brisco for the Defense” (Died 2006.)
- Born February 2, 1940 — Thomas M. Disch. Camp Concentration, The Genocides, 334 and On Wings of Song are among the best New Wave novels ever done. He was a superb poet as well though I don’t think any of it was germane to our community. He won the Nonfiction Hugo for The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, a critical but loving look on the impact of SF on our culture. (Died 2008.)
- Born February 2, 1944 — Geoffrey Hughes. He played Popplewick aka The Valeyard in the Sixth Doctor story, “The Trial of The Time Lord”. Intriguingly he was also was the voice of Paul McCartney in Yellow Submarine. (Died 2012.)
- Born February 2, 1947 — Farrah Fawcett. She has a reasonably good SFF resume and she‘s been in Logan’s Run as Holly 13, and Saturn 3 as Alex. (Does anyone like that film?) She was also Mary Ann Pringle in Myra Breckinridge which might I suppose be considered at least genre adjacent. Or not. Series wise, she shows up on I Dream of Jeanie as Cindy Tina, has three different roles on The Six Million Man, and was Miss Preem Lila on two episodes of The Flying Nun. (Died 2009.)
- Born February 2, 1949 — Jack McGee, 71. Ok, so how many of us remember him as Doc Kreuger on the Space Rangers series? I’ve also got him as Bronto Crane Examiner in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, as a Deputy in Stardust, Mike Lutz in seaQuest, Doug Perren in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a Police Officer Person of Interest to name some of his genre roles.
- Born February 2, 1949 — Brent Spiner, 71. Data on more Trek shows and films than I’ll bother listing here. I’ll leave it up to all of you to list your favorite movements of him as Data as I may or may appear on Picard. He also played Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, a role he reprised in Independence Day: Resurgence, a film I’ve not seen yet. He also played Dr. Arik Soong/Lt. Commander Data in four episodes of Enterprise. Over the years, he’s had roles in Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Tales from the Darkside, Gargoyles, Young Justice, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Warehouse 13.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Lio turns Groundhog Day into a moment of terror. (In a totally different way than Bill Murray does it.)
(12) WIGGING OUT. [Item by Scott Edelman.] Today would have been Tom Disch’s 80th birthday. Perhaps you’d enjoy these photos of him trying on wigs for GQ in 1971.
(13) EATS SHOOTS AND LEAVES. BrainPickings’ Maria Popova delves into “A Curious Herbal: Gorgeous Illustrations from Elizabeth Blackwell’s 18th-Century Encyclopedia of Medicinal Botany”. Tagline: “Time-travel to the dawn of modern medical science via the stunning art of a self-taught woman illustrator and botanist.”
A century before botany swung open the backdoor to science for Victorian women and ignited the craze for herbaria — none more enchanting than the adolescent Emily Dickinson’s forgotten herbarium — a Scottish woman by the name of Elizabeth Blackwell (1707–1758) published, against all cultural odds, an ambitious and scrumptiously illustrated guide to medicinal plants, titled A Curious Herbal: Containing Five Hundred Cuts of the Most Useful Plants Which Are Now Used in the Practice of Physick (public library).
(14) NOVEL APPROACH. The Collider says “‘The Thing’ Remake In the Works from Universal & Blumhouse Based on Recently-Unearthed Original Novel”.
John Carpenter‘s The Thing is, undoubtedly, a horror classic. If if you’ve never actually seen it—and shame on you if you haven’t, hypothetical person—you know at least one of the practical nightmares conjured up by the master. (The chest chomp? Come on.) But it turns out neither The Thing nor its 1951 predecessor The Thing From Another World were technically the full vision of author John W. Campbell Jr., who wrote the novella both films were based on, Who Goes There? That full vision would, in fact, be Frozen Hell, the novel-length version of Who Goes There? that was only unearthed in 2018, and Universal and Blumhoise reportedly plan to adapt into a feature film.
(15) DANCE, I SAID. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Writing for SYFY Wire, Andy Hunsaker wraps up genre films from Sundance — “Sundance Roundup: The record-setting “Palm Springs” and other genre highlights of the fest“ .
When you think of the Sundance Film Festival, it’s usually associated with indie dramedies, coming-of-age stories, or intense or quirky documentaries, but it’s also a showcase for insane horror madness and unique sci-fi. Here’s the slate of genre pictures from this year – keep an eye out for them sooner (or in some cases, later).
Films covered include:
- PALM SPRINGS (Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, and J.K. Simmons)
- NINE DAYS (Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Tony Hale, and Bill Skarsgård)
- THE NIGHT HOUSE (Rebecca Hall)
- BAD HAIR (Justin Simien, director)
- HIS HOUSE (Remi Weekes, director)
- SAVE YOURSELVES! (Sunita Mani and John Reynolds)
- HORSE GIRL (Alison Brie)
- WENDY (Benh Zeitlin, director)
- POSSESSOR (Brandon Cronenberg director)
- SCARE ME (Josh Ruben and Aya Cash)
- AMULET (Imelda Staunton and Carla Juri)
- SPREE (Joe Keery)
- IMPETIGORE (Tara Basro and Joko Anwar, director)
- LEAP OF FAITH: WILLIAM FRIEDKIN ON THE EXORCIST (Alexandre O. Philippe interviews William Friedkin)
- RELIC (Robyn Nevin, Emily Mortimer, and Bella Heathcoate)
(16) BELOW SEA LEVEL. Yahoo! frames the picture:
In a recent remake of a 2008 NASA video, planetary scientist James O’Donoghue shows what it would look like if all that water drained away, revealing the hidden three-fifths of Earth’s surface
And the YouTube introduction gives these details:
Three fifths of the Earth’s surface is under the ocean, and the ocean floor is as rich in detail as the land surface with which we are familiar. This animation simulates a drop in sea level that gradually reveals this detail. As the sea level drops, the continental shelves appear immediately. They are mostly visible by a depth of 140 meters, except for the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where the shelves are deeper. The mid-ocean ridges start to appear at a depth of 2000 to 3000 meters. By 6000 meters, most of the ocean is drained except for the deep ocean trenches, the deepest of which is the Marianas Trench at a depth of 10,911 meters.
(17) SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. First, there’s Frozen 2 with alleged deleted scenes:
Then, “Society Debut,” where Bigfoot shows up at a snooty British party in 1918.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Scott Edelman, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Leavell.]
(1) ONE ‘BOOK KING WON’T WRITE.
I am awaiting King’s announcement that he is quitting Twitter due to the flood of false information in 3… 2… 1… 🙄
(3) they could have gotten more from the date if they’d used the full year: 02-02-2020 (or 2020-02-02)
It’s Palindrome Day!
@5: even allowing for the weak NZ dollar, that seems high for this far out — almost USD 300 according to Google’s calculator. Have I lost track of how Worldcon rates run, in general or specifically outside North America? (I don’t remember Aussiecon IV (the last one I attended) getting that high.) Did they mention anything about high rates while bidding?
@9: I hadn’t realized so many sources made individual Yorkshire puddings; I’ve always made and seen it as a batch cooked in one dish and cut in slices, as in The Joy of Cooking (mid-century edition). Competing traditions, I guess. And now I’m hungry just thinking about them.
@10 (Spiner): my favorite role of his is non-genre: Franz, the bad-tempered (and adulterous) Alsatian servant in Sunday in the Park with George.
3) Wouldn’t it be great if the studio did an ad campaign for Groundhog’s Day 2, and then re-released the exact same film?
Also, title credit! Yea!
12) The Tom Disch on the upper right looks unsettlingly like Rip Taylor.
I believe that “The Trial of A Time Lord” is a 6th Doctor story–yes, I just checked The Programme Guide. (Although it’s not really important.)
(9) TODAY’S DAY.
My family is so Yorkshire that we eat Yorkshire puddings with gravy as a starter for our Sunday meal and then have them as an accompaniment to the roast beef as well.
(9) I haven’t made Yorkshire pudding in an age and now I’m craving them
I remember both my daughters’ disappointment on being served Yorkshire pudding for the first time and discovering they were not, in fact, puddings in the sweet/dessert sense. They love them now, though.
Last time I made them was for Christmas dinner, and they didn’t turn out so well. Always a bit hit and miss for me.
10) I’ve read Ulysses and the short stories of Dubliners (I’m unaware of any others). There’s nothing there I’d think of as genre, except maybe some references to Irish folklore.
I really liked Second Sleep and am glad it’s getting some attention in the sf community. It will be on my Hugo nomination ballot for sure. It reminds me a little of A Canticle for Leibowitz.
There’s a pub in cycling distance of me that does a three course Yorkshire pudding menu. Yorkshire and onion gravy for a starter, a yorkshire filled with beef stew for main, and a sweet yorkshire desert. I have not tried it.
Is there a non-British Yorkshire?
@ Nick – can’t say I blame you!
Re: non-genre appearances for Brent Spiner, my wife reminded me of his appearance on Night Court. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrLvtoKZfxY&app=desktop
9) Oh, the Yorkshire pudding. Savory caloric and dietary doom!
10) Perhaps Joyce isn’t genre, but boy did his stylistic innovations show up in science fiction (especially New Wave and afterwards).
That Alexa commercial was pretty funny. Thanks for posting it.
Oddly, there are towns called Yorkshire in New York, Ohio and Virginia. To the best of my knowledge, none is famous for a pudding. The Ohio Yorkshire is in the same county as Scalzi, so Yorkshire Burritos?
(3) Whatever they paid Bill Murray, it wasn’t nearly enough. The groundhog probably should have gotten more, too.
(14) I was watching the Howard Hawks Thing from Another World before Christmas and I think it holds up pretty well. (With the exception of the girl Friday who seems to be there just to type up notes for the scientists, make coffee, and generally make the hero uncomfortable.) I would trade the special effects of the Carpenter version for the older version’s rapid dialogue and James Arness in the shadows.
There was a shop on Goodramgate, York which did sell a Yorkshire pudding based burrito, but I think they discontinued it. Will check.
I remember both my daughters’ disappointment on being served Yorkshire pudding for the first time and discovering they were not, in fact, puddings in the sweet/dessert sense.
As a kid, I really enjoyed leftover yorkshire puddings covered with Lyle’s golden syrup for dessert.
Popovers in Maine clearly share an evolutionary origin with yorkshire puddings. They’re good with ice cream and wild blueberries.
(Nickp is not nickpheas)
10) Brent Spiner was also in ‘Threshold’ a one-season-and-done SF series on CBS in 2005. Aliens, ya know.
Peter Dinklage was a co-star, a useful fact for anybody trying to map Six Degrees of Genre Separation
3) I did like this commercial.
I liked the L’Oréal “Girls in Space” ad, where they’re promoting and supporting Girls Who Code.
Another Meredith Moment: An ebook containing the first three volumes of Jo Clayton’s Diadem Saga (Diadem From The Stars, Lamarchos, Irsud) is available for $2.99. Also, Robert Sheckley’s Crompton Divided is available for $1.99. They are available from the Usual Suspects.
@10 Let’s not forget Brent Spiner’s role as John Adams in the 1996 revival of 1776
Here’s the opening sequence (Spiner comes in aroudn halfway.
and (audio) of Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve.
It’s a good cast album, even more so when cuts are when intermingled with ones from HAMILTON.
jonesnori/Lenore Jones said I should post this here:
Scroll, a scroll, a scroll I’ll make.
How many pixels will it take?
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three to post on my Facebook Wall!
Please, for the love of all that is holy, put the rest of Clayton’s Diadem Saga (and the rest of her back catalog) onto eBook.
Ditto Louise Cooper, for that matter.
(Am I repeating myself? Most probably.)
@ Xtifr. You mean the one that ended with the female astronauts accidentally killing themselves?
(9) one of the only things I miss from home.
My mother made Yorkshire pudding – once. (Her father’s paternal grandparents actually were from Yorkshire, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. Mom would do experimental cooking once in a while. I keep wondering where she found the one for layer cake with lemon slices.)
From the Yorkshire Pudding article:
… Which to my knowledge is basically true. The only type of yorkshire pudding I ever saw as a whole tray when I was a kid was the kind you mix up for toad in the hole, and the rest of the time they were individual puds. Easier to serve up, I think, as much as anything, and there’s a lot of bits and bobs you need to get onto plates for a full-on roast dinner so cutting some of that serving time down is probably very appealing.
@Nickp: As a kid, I really enjoyed leftover yorkshire puddings covered with Lyle’s golden syrup for dessert. Were these puddings made with dripping, or some neutral fat? I’m trying to imagine the taste of dripping combined with light molasses (the closest US equivalent that I can deduce from the Wikipedia description) and coming up with “ugh!” — but I suppose most of us formed tastes in childhood that seem peculiar to other people.
@Meredith: my experience with dished Yorkshire was that cutting and serving was a minor issue compared to being able to cut pieces of varying size; this was in a ~galley kitchen (the male architect’s worst error in designing our house) rather than some Martha Stewart monster, but UK kitchens might be even smaller, and we probably had more serving space in the dining room.
I was served an incredibly rich version — imagine something still flour-based but somewhat like a crunchy thick omelet — by friends who married Jewish and Hispanic traditions and are both intensely into cooking. He said he’d never seen another version; I’ve wondered how that mutation happened.
xkcd did something similar to this, a ‘What If?’ based on opening a drainage portal in Challenger Deep. The main difference is that Monroe was treating it strictly as draining from one location, meaning that once a sea became landlocked, the water level in it stopped going down. Sarcasm included, as normal for xkcd:
(The sequel at https://what-if.xkcd.com/54/ involves the water from the portal being dumped on Mars and how that changes the terrain there.)