(1) HOLLYWOOD ACCOUNTING. Bones isn’t a sff show (most of the time) but the litigation will send ripples throughout all the media empires: “Fox hit with $179-million judgment in dispute over profits from ‘Bones’ TV show” (LA Times).
In a stunning decision that could have widespread repercussions in the TV industry, Fox has been hit with a $178.7-million judgment in its profit participation dispute with the team behind the hit series “Bones.”
The ruling, which was decided in arbitration, excoriated senior Fox executives and criticized the studio and network for its conduct. The decision has also rattled other studios, including the highest echelons of the Walt Disney Co., which is bringing aboard some of the same executives in its $71 billion acquisition of Fox.
Hulu is also at the center of the storm, with accusations that Fox withheld revenues from “Bones” when the series became available for streaming on the digital platform. Fox owns a 30% stake in Hulu, along with other major studios.
… “The Arbitrator is convinced that perjury was committed by the Fox witnesses,” the ruling stated. “Accordingly, if perjury is not reprehensible then reprehensibility has taken on a new meaning.”
(2) STAND AND DELIVER. It’s Facebook’s ambition to supplant Patreon, but how greedy can you get? Very. See ComicsBeat’s roundup on the topic: “Shocker: Details of Facebook’s version of Patreon reveal very creator unfriendly terms”.
Despite some bumps, it’s obvious that Patreon’s subcription model for crowdfunding is a success, to the tune of $500 million in creat or payouts in 2019. With that kind of money floating around, it’s no wonder that some other giant entities – including YouTube and Facebook – want to tap into the cash stream and launch their own subcription models to support creators.
Facebook’s version, “Fan Subscriptions,” rolled out last year in a very private test, offering to charge fans $4.99 a month for access to exclusive content by their favorite creators.
The program just expanded to offer its services to more content creators. And as Tech Crunch reports, reading the terms reveals, to the surprise of no one, that they are vastly less favorable to content creators than Patreon.
The Tech Crunch article says:
Facebook will drive a hard bargain with influencers and artists judging by the terms of service for the social network’s Patreon-like Fan Subscriptions feature that lets people pay a monthly fee for access to a creator’s exclusive content. The policy document attained by TechCrunch shows Facebook plans to take up to a 30 percent cut of subscription revenue minus fees, compared to 5 percent by Patreon, 30 percent by YouTube, which covers fees and 50 percent by Twitch.
Facebook also reserves the right to offer free trials to subscriptions that won’t compensate creators. And Facebook demands a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use” creators’ content and “This license survives even if you stop using Fan Subscriptions.”
(3) NUMBER NINE. [Item by Greg Hullender.] Mike Brown just presented a paper with new results that significantly narrow down the parameters for a hypothetical Planet Nine beyond Neptune. He wrote a few blog posts about it, the most useful of which is probably this one: “version 2.X”.
The upshot is that this should make it easier to find, but it also seems more likely than ever that it’s really out there. Looking at that projected orbit, it’s way, way beyond Neptune. And, yes, it’s massive enough to have “cleared its orbit,” so it’s still a planet, even by the new definition.
In principle, there is so much more that I would like to say, but at this point I think it’s becoming progressively clearer that my coffee supply ran out a couple paragraphs ago, and in an effort to prevent further degradation of the text, I will get straight to the final point: if Planet Nine is smaller, does that mean it’s harder to find with a telescope? Counterintuitively, it’s the opposite. The smaller distance from the sun more than makes up for the diminished surface area. Indeed, if we make naive baseline assumptions about P9’s albedo and adopt the interpolated exoplanet mass-radius relation to estimate P9’s size, Planet Nine turns out to be about one magnitude brighter than we previously thought. Annoyingly, though, the aphelion is very close to (in?) the galactic plane, where confusion due to background stars can readily impede detection. Still, unless we are unlucky and P9 is unexpectedly small and/or dark, it should be within the reach of LSST and comparable telescopes like Subaru. The good news is that in the case of Planet Nine hypothesis, time truly will tell.
(4) OR HE COULD PHONE IT IN. A.V. Club reports “George R.R. Martin turned down a Game Of Thrones cameo for a very good reason”.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Martin revealed that series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss asked him to travel all the way from his house in New Mexico to Ireland to film a cameo in one of the final season eight episodes, which, he says, he was “tempted to do.” Unfortunately, he’s a little too busy working on The Winds Of Winter, the next novel in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series–or so he says.
Anyway, if everyone wants this badly enough they can find a studio with a green screen in New Mexico, have Martin perform his bit, and fill in the rest with CGI.
(5) STORYBUNDLE. Cat Rambo has put together another Women’s History Month bundle, The 2019 Feminist Futures Bundle. She says –
This one has a great range of stuff in it, with some terrific indie and small press reads. One book I am particularly pleased to have there is K.C. Ball’s collection, which I edited. K.C. was a dear friend whose passing I wrote about here.
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
- Snapshots from a Black Hole and Other Oddities by K.C. Ball
- Sunspot Jungle by Bill Campbell
- Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett
- Queen of Roses by Elizabeth McCoy
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!
- Albatross by R.A. MacAvoy and Nancy L. Palmer
- Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories by Naomi Kritzer
- The Child Goddess by Louise Marley
- Exile by Lisa M. Bradley
- The Goodall Mutiny by Gretchen Rix
- Mindscape by Andrea Hairston
(6) MEET THE CAST. SciFiNow has packaged them in one post — “The Twilight Zone teaser videos: meet the cast of the West End stage show”.
Reprising their highly praised performances from the Almeida run are Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Adrianna Bertola and Neil Haigh, who will be joined for the West End premiere by Alisha Bailey, Natasha J Barnes, Nicholas Karimi, Dan Crossley, Dyfan Dwyfor, Lauren O’Neill and Matthew Steer.
Here they are, talking about it…
(7) GET YOUR KICKS. Take a break and enjoy Genevieve Valentine’s lively and humorous “Red Carpet Rundown: The 2019 Oscars”.
Glenn Close. This is why some people who can reasonably expect a win still dress simply rather than go for something Fashiony; there’s no shame in seeming surprised you won, but the biggest shared glance-and-nod on this entire red carpet was Glenn Close dressing like the Oscar she was here to collect, and of course she was, because she had it in the bag, because she’d spent the entire red-carpet season in toned-down suits and gowns that looked extremely Career Oscar and reserved and dignified while she collected awards, and she threw it all out the window at the very last turn for this cape with four million beads (four MILLION beads!) to show up and get her statue, and then she didn’t get it.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born February 27, 1934 — Van Williams. He teamed for one season with the late Bruce Lee as his partner Kato on The Green Hornet and three Batman cross-over episodes. He would voice President Lyndon B. Johnson on the Batman series, show up in an episode of Mission Impossible, do a one-off Quinn Martin’s Tales of the Unexpected and that’s it. (Died 2016.)
- Born February 27, 1938 — T.A. Waters. A professional magician and magic author. He appears not terribly well disguised as Sir Thomas Leseaux, an expert on theoretical magic as a character in Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy fantasy series and in Michael Kurland’s The Unicorn Girl in which he also appears as Tom Waters. He himself wrote The Probability Pad which is a sequel to The Unicorn Girl. Together with Chester Anderson’s earlier The Butterfly Kid , they make up Greenwich Village trilogy. (Died 1998.)
- Born February 27, 1944 — Ken Grimwood. Another writer who died way too young, damn it. Writer of several impressive genre novels including Breakthrough and Replay which I’ve encountered and Into the Deep and Elise which are listed in ISFDB but which I’m not familiar with. (Died 2003.)
- Born February 27, 1957 — Timothy Spall, 62. Before his more famous roles, he started off in late Sixties horror film Demon Dream as Peck Much later he’ll appear as Rosencrantz In Hamlet. And then we came to him as Mr. Poe in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which I’ve yet to see. And of course he’s Peter Pettigrew, nicknamed Wormtail, in the Harry Potter franchise. And yes, he’s done much, much more than that for genre roles, so do feel free to chastize me for not listing what you think is his best role.
- Born February 27, 1960 — Jeff Smith, 59. Creator and illustrator of Bone, the now complete series that he readily admits has “a notable influence being Walt Kelly’s Pogo”. Smith also worked for DC on a Captain Marvel series titled Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil.
- Born February 27, 1962 — Adam Baldwin, 57. Genre roles include Firefly and its continuation in Serenity as Jayne Cobb. Colonel John Casey in Chuck, Independence Day as Major Mitchell and Mike Slattery in The Last Ship. He’s also done voice work such as Hal Jordan and Jonah Hex on Justice League Unlimited, and Metamorpho on Beware the Batman.
- Born February 27, 1964 — John Pyper-Ferguson, 55. I certainly remember him best as the villain Peter Hutter on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. but I see that he got he got his start in Canadian horror films such as Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and Pin: A Plastic Nightmare. His first major SF role was in Space Marines as Col. Fraser. And though he has an extensive one-off career in genre series, his occurrence as a repeated cast member is not uncommon, ie. he’s Agent Bernard Fainon the new Night Stalker for some episodes, shows up as Tomas Vergis on Caprica for six episodes and I see he’s had a recurring role on The Last Ship asTex Nolan.
- Born February 27, 1966 — Peter Swirski, 53. He’s a academic specialist on the late SF writer and philosopher Stanis?aw Lem. As such, he’s written the usual treatises on him with such titles as Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future, Lemography: Stanislaw Lem in the Eyes of the World and From Literature to Biterature: Lem, Turing, Darwin, and Explorations in Computer Literature, Philosophy of Mind, and Cultural Evolution.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Monty & Doc visit the past to find out how the Egyptian pyramids were constructed only to be surprised…
- …but Monty still needs to be careful with his eggplant emoji; the Pharaoh might get the wrong idea.
(10) MAINTAIN AN EVEN STRAIN. Another dead author gets his name on a book above the title, though at least they acknowledge he didn’t write it (AP News: “Sequel to Michael Crichton’s ‘Andromeda Strain’ due in fall”). An authorized sequel to The Andromeda Strain—The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel H. Wilson—is due for a November 12 release by HarperCollins.
Its publication marks the 50th anniversary of “The Andromeda Strain,” Crichton’s techno-thriller about scientists fighting a lethal extraterrestrial microorganism. Released when Crichton was just 27, it was later adapted into a feature film and television miniseries, with Ridley Scott among the producers.
“It’s exciting to be shining a spotlight on the world that Michael so brilliantly created and to collaborate with Daniel Wilson,” [his widow,] Sherri Crichton[,] said in a statement. “This novel is for Crichton fans; it’s a celebration of Michael’s universe and a way to introduce him to new generations, and to those discovering his worlds for the first time.”
[…] “As a lifelong fan of Michael Crichton, it’s been an unbelievable honor to revisit the iconic world that he created and to continue this adventure,” Wilson said in a statement.
(11) MARS NEEDS LEGS. Wired UK says that, “Astronauts arriving on Mars won’t be able to walk. VR may save them.” It sounds a bit odd, but (re)training the brain to pay attention to signals from your inner ear is important after a long period of weightlessness.
It lasts around 23 minutes and feels “like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, on fire, then crashing really hard.”
That’s how retired Nasa astronaut Ron Garan describes the return from space, strapped into the tight confines of a Soyuz capsule plummeting through the atmosphere back to Earth. The touchdown, slowed by a parachute and – at the very end – six small rockets, is called “soft,” but in reality it’s extremely rough.
We’ve all seen the scenes once the capsule has landed – astronauts and cosmonauts being carried away from Soyuz and carefully lowered into chairs. This is not a precaution; people returning from space literally cannot walk. The reason, however, is not the rough re-entry, but the fact that while in space, they have kind of lost their legs – albeit temporarily.
(12) DON’T YOU WANT SHORT FICTION TO LOVE: Continuing to read with cupidity, Jason once again points to some February fiction he enjoyed including a possibly odd combination of horror and a Valentine’s Day tale in “Month in Review: February 2019”.
Counting a few stories from the late-breaking Tor.com Short Fiction and the last BCS and Terraform stories from January, February produced 48 stories of 210K words. It also produced the odd results of two recommended dark fantasy/horror stories with no SF or general fantasy and five otherwise noted SF stories with no fantasy (though one could easily be considered yet another sort of dark fantasy/horror). Three of the five come from my two February Tangent reviews of Constellary Tales and InterGalactic Medicine Show, which have some oddness of their own. The former was born recently and I reviewed the second issue. The latter contained the surprising announcement of its death in the editorial. So the gods of short fiction giveth and taketh away.
(13) MORE ON NEBULAS. J.A. Sutherland shines light on sff’s major awards and their different goals. Thread starts here.
Efforts to cast the kerfuffle over the 20BooksTo50K Nebula list as tradpub vs. indie civil war are tripped up by some of the facts.
- World Weaver Press announced on Facebook:
It has come to our attention that one of our books, THE CONTINUUM by Wendy Nikel, was included in the 20booksto50K “slate” Nebula recommendation list. Neither the author nor anyone involved with World Weaver Press was aware of this list until yesterday, nor do we endorse it. While we would be thrilled to see this novella nominated for any of the major SFF awards, it needs to be nominated on its own merits, not as some sort of statement regarding “indie” vs. “trad pub.” Besides, we are actually a traditional publisher. Just a small one.
And JDA didn’t pay attention to Yudhanjaya Wijeratne saying he has a five book contract with HarperCollins.
Meanwhile, Wijeratne and his co-author are keeping the nomination but considering turning down the award if they win.
Cora Buhlert has an extensive review of what all parties have been saying in “Some Reactions to the 2018 Nebula Award Finalists”. She concludes:
As for the whole “indie versus traditional” rhetoric, honestly, that debate is so 2012. The stigma against self-publishing has long since evaporated. Can’t we move on and accept that indies, traditionally published authors and hybrids are all part of the same genre? The Nebulas aren’t hostile to indie works – the 2014 Best Novel finalist The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata was self-published, at a time when SFWA wasn’t even open to indie writers yet. The Hugos aren’t hostile to indie works – the novelette “In Sea-Salt Tears” by Seanan McGuire in 2013 was the first self-published finalist and there have been several since.
Besides, most people were initially willing to give 20Booksto50K the benefit of a doubt. The reaction was mostly along the lines of, “Well, they’re new and don’t know the culture and etiquette. They’ll learn and maybe some of the stories are good.” But the huffy responses from some 20Booksto50K Nebula finalists and other members of the group (Lawsuits? Really?) have destroyed a lot of good will, not just towards this group, but also towards indie writers in general. And I really doubt that was the intent.
(14) IF THIS GOES ON. Bernard Lee’s cover art for Parvus Press’ forthcoming collection of original science fiction, IF THIS GOES ON: A Science Fiction Look at the Politics of Our Future, has been accepted into the exhibitions for both the Society of Illustrators East and West annual exhibitions.
Bernard is a California artist and illustrator and painted this cover as oil on canvas. It pictures the Lincoln Memorial lost to the waters of the Chesapeake following rampant, unchecked global warming. Underwater flora rise ominously behind the statue of the Great Emancipator and sandbar sharks, native to the Chesapeake, have taken residence inside the Memorial’s remains.
Said Colin Coyle, Publisher at Parvus Press, “It was nearly impossible to provide clear direction for the cover of a collection this diverse. But Bernard Lee rose to the challenge and produced a beautiful work of art that’s really a stand-alone contribution to the collection in its own right.”
The Society of Illustrators Exhibition in New York runs through March 9, 2019 as part of “Illustration 61” at the Society of Illustrations Museum in New York, located on 128 East 63rd Street. “Illustration West 57”, the annual exhibition of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles will be exhibiting the artwork in March. IF THIS GOES ON releases on March 5.
(15) NETFLIX. The OA Part II airs March 22.
No one survives alone.
(16) OPEN THE BOOK BOMB BAY DOORS. Following last week’s avalnche of posts by romance writers calling foul on people’s unscrupulous exploitation of Amazon’s business model comes one from Larry Correia defending himself for doing something no one has complained about: “A Note About Book Bombs” [Internet Archive link.] Isn’t there’s a Bible verse “The wicked flee where no man pursueth”?
A Book Bomb is when you get as many people as possible to buy a specific book on a specific day, with the goal of pushing it as high up in the sales rankings as possible on Amazon, with the goal of getting it onto some bestseller lists, so that more new eyeballs see it. This is a great way to expose an author to new readers.
Lots of people do this, but the ones we do here on Monster Hunter Nation tend to work better than average….
I’ve had bitter cranks whine about how this is “gaming the system” because apparently authors are supposed to sit quietly while tastemakers and critics decide what should be popular. No thanks. I’ll game that system then, and appointed myself a tastemaking critic. But a BB ain’t cheating because these are all legit sales using actual money, being purchased by actual human beings, who will hopefully enjoy the book enough to leave a review and purchase the author’s other books….
An altruistic effort to share his platform – what’s to complain about that?
(17) DREAM BIG. “OneWeb satellite internet mega-constellation set to fly” – BBC has the story.
London-based start-up OneWeb is set to launch the first six satellites in its multi-billion-pound project to take the internet to every corner of the globe.
The plans could eventually see some 2,000 spacecraft orbiting overhead.
Other companies are also promising so-called mega-constellations, but OneWeb believes it has first-mover advantage with an operational system.
…Assuming these pathfinders perform as expected, OneWeb will then begin the mass rollout of the rest of the constellation towards the end of the year.
This will see Soyuz rockets launching every month, lofting up to 36 satellites at a time.
To provide global internet coverage, there will need to be 648 units in orbit.
(18) SNEAK PREVIEW. “Sir Philip Pullman’s second Book of Dust out in October”. Here a clip from the top of the story; also has author commentary.
Sir Philip Pullman’s second instalment in his Book of Dust series, where he returns to the world of His Dark Materials, will be released in October.
Heroine Lyra Silvertongue is back as an adult in The Secret Commonwealth.
Lyra was a baby in the first book in the Book of Dust trilogy, La Belle Sauvage, which was critically acclaimed when it was released in 2017.
The new book is set 20 years after that, and seven years after the end of the His Dark Materials series.
Sir Philip’s publishers have released an extract from the start of the new book which sees Lyra at odds with her daemon Pantalaimon after they unwittingly witness a murder.
The book sees Lyra, now an independent young woman, “forced to navigate a complex and dangerous new world as she searches for an elusive town said to be haunted by daemons.”
[Thanks to Jason, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Cat Rambo, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]