(1) SURVIVAL ISSUES FOR ACTORS. Bleeding Cool quotes Wil Wheaton’s statement supporting the strike: “Star Trek Residuals ‘Kept Me Afloat For Two Decades’: Wil Wheaton”.
…In 1960, SAG and WGA struck to force management to adapt to the new technology of television. Without that strike and the agreement it birthed, residual use payments would not exist.
My parents stole nearly all of my salary from my entire childhood. My Star Trek residuals were all I had, and they kept me afloat for two decades while I rebuilt my life. I have healthcare and a pension because of my union. The AMPTP billionaires want to take all that security away so they can give CEOs even more grotesque wealth at the expense of the people who make our industry run.
To give some sense of what is at stake: There are actors who star in massively successful, profitable, critically acclaimed shows that are all on streaming services. You see them all the time. They are famous, A-list celebrities. Nearly all of those actors don’t earn enough to qualify for health insurance, because the studios forced them to accept a buyout for all their residuals (decade of reuse, at the least) that is less than I earned for one week on TNG. And I was the lowest paid cast member in 1988. They want to do this while studio profits and CEO compensation are at historic highs…
(2) IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS. The above item made me curious about Wil Wheaton’s The Ready Room. Here’s the most recent episode, “On A Healing Journey With Babs Olusanmokun And Melissa Navia” at Paramount+. Beware spoilers.
(3) CADWELL TURNBULL STORY. Sunday Morning Transport posted their last free story of July, “A Tech Mage Comes to Visit” by Cadwell Turnbull about a “stunning new world, and the characters who have strange powers over the machines there.” Editors Julian Yap and Fran Wilde encourage fans to read it and subscribe.
(4) ALASTAIR REYNOLDS STORY. Auki Labs has posted a short story, “End User” by Alastair Reynolds.
Alastair Reynolds’ “End User” is a chilling reminder, if one could call a vision of the future that, of why it is important for us as a society to reject surveillance capitalism and think critically about how AR will be delivered to us. We should never allow corporations to see through our eyes….
(5) ON THE COVER. These are pretty damn cute. Especially the one of the TARDIS. “Iconic Sci-Fi Vehicles Reimagined in the Cool Vintage Art Style of Modern Mechanix Magazine” at GeekTyrant.
Illustrator Chet Phillips has reimagined six iconic fictional sci-fi vehicles in as front covers in the vintage style of Modern Mechanix magazine. The magazine is known for its wildly cool and exaggerated illustrations, and was popular in the early to mid part of the 20th Century….
(6) AUREALIS AWARDS TAKING ENTRIES. The 2023 Aurealis Awards are open for entry from now until December 14.
The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction, are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.
We strongly encourage publishers and authors to enter all works published already this year by September 30, 2023, then subsequent publications as they are released; our judges appreciate having time to consider each entry carefully.
(7) COURT PUTS BRAKES TO ARKANSAS BOOK LAW. “Judge halts Arkansas ban on librarians giving kids ‘harmful’ books” reports the Washington Post.
A federal judge in Arkansas temporarily blocked a state law that would have made it a crime for librarians and booksellers to give minors materials deemed “harmful” to them — a move celebrated by free-speech advocates, who had decried the law as a violation of individual liberties.
Act 372 would have taken effect Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks issued a preliminary injunction Saturday, siding with bookstores, libraries and patrons in the state thatargued in a lawsuit filed last month that parts of the law were unconstitutional.
Section 1 would have made it a criminal offense to knowingly provide a minor with any material deemed “harmful” — a term defined by state law as containing nudity or sexual content, appealing to a “prurient interest in sex,” lacking “serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic, or political value for minors” or deemed “inappropriate for minors” under current community standards.
Plaintiffs also challenged Section 5, which would have allowed anyone “affected by” material in a particular county or municipal library to challenge the “appropriateness” of the material.
The plaintiffs argued that the law would force librarians and booksellers to make an impossible choice: Remove books that some might deem offensive to young readers from their shelves; create secure, adult-only spaces for those books; ban minors from their facilities altogether; or expose themselves to criminal charges or fines.
In his injunction, Brooks said the law “would permit, if not encourage, library committees and local governmental bodies to make censorship decisions based on content or viewpoint,” in violation of the right to free speech under the First Amendment. He agreed with the plaintiffs that the state’s definition of “harmful” materials was overly vague….
(8) SHELLEY BELSKY (1955-2023). Shelley Adrienne Mimi Belsky, a New York City fan, died July 25 at the age of 68.
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s tribute says: “Shelley was a transwoman known for her knowledge and love of science fiction literature and hearty laugh in east coast con suites in the late ’70s to ’80s before she married and moved to Canada. After a decade she returned to the US and resided in the Milwaukee area. She often attended Balticon….. May her memory be a blessing.”
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 30, 1911 — Reginald Bretnor. Author of many genre short stories involving Ferdinand Feghoot, a comical figure indeed. It looks like all of these are available in digital form on iBooks and Kindle. He was a consummate SJW. He translated Les Chats, the first known book about cats which was written by Augustin Paradis de Moncrif in 1727. He also wrote myriad articles about cats, was a companion to cats, and considered himself to have a psychic connection to cats. Of course, most of us do. (Died 1992.)
- Born July 30, 1947 — Arnold Schwarzenegger, 76. Terminator franchise, of course, as well as Running Man, Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, Tales from the Crypt and True Lies.
- Born July 30, 1948 — Carel Struycken, 75. I remember him best as the gong-ringing Mr. Holm on Next Gen, companion to Deanna Troi’s mother. He was also Lurch in The Addams Family, Addams Family Values and the Addams Family Reunion. He’s listed as being Fidel in The Witches of Eastwick but I’ll be damned if I remembered his role in that film though I’ve seen it twice. And he’s in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor which I’ve never seen.
- Born July 30, 1947 — John E. Stith, 76. Winner of two HOMer Awards, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Forum on CompuServe, for Redshift Rendezvous and Naught for Hire. The former would be nominated for a Nebula as well. The HOMer Awards ended in about 2000.
- Born July 30, 1961 — Laurence Fishburne, 63. Morpheus in The Matrix films. My favorite role by him was Dr. Raymond Langston on CSI. (Not genre, though the forensic science there is SF.) His voice work as Thrax in Osmosis Jones on the other hand is outstanding as is his role as Bill Foster in Ant-Man.
- Born July 30, 1966 — Jess Nevins, 57. Author of the superlative Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victorian and the equally great Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which is far better than the film ever could be. He’s also written the Fable Encyclopedia which is a most excellent look at Willingham series. I didn’t know he also wrote fiction ‘til now but he has two genre novels, The Road to Prester John and The Datong Incident.
- Born July 30, 1975 — Cherie Priest, 48. Her Southern gothic Eden Moore series is kickass good and Clockwork Universe series is a refreshing take on steampunk which has been turned into full cast audiobooks by GraphicAudio. I’ve not read the Cheshire Red Reports novels so have no idea how good they are. Anyone read these? She won an Endeavour Award for her Dreadnought novel.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is skeptical about Star Trek’s transporter.
- FoxTrot brings Star Wars to the beach.
- Bizarro knows what used to decorate Viking helmets.
- Tom Gauld has a variation on the TBR pile.
(11) HOW MANY STEPS TO MORDOR? Literary Hub invites you to “Read W. H. Auden’s 1954 review of The Fellowship of the Ring”. He liked it! I was particularly interested in this measure of praise:
… The first thing that one asks is that the adventure should be various and exciting; in this respect Mr. Tolkien’s invention is unflagging, and, on the primitive level of wanting to know what happens next, The Fellowship of the Ring is at least as good as The Thirty-Nine Steps….
He refers to John Buchan’s 1915 “shocker”, beloved by readers of popular fiction a century ago. Their experience can’t really be recovered by reading the book now (or even several decades ago when I looked it up due to its reputation.) However, Auden’s comparison was a ringing endorsement in 1954.
(12) ANIME EXPLORATIONS. The new episode of the Anime Explorations Podcast is up – covering the conclusion of this year’s Summer of Jojo with the end of Stardust Crusaders. Episode 10 “JoJo Part 3 – Stardust Crusaders (Battle in Egypt Arc)”.
(13) T. HEE? “The Twilight Zone Needed A Favor From A Disney Great To Make The Dummy Work” at Slashfilm.
…Rod Serling and his crew didn’t have anyone on staff that could handle that, so they ended up recruiting for an unlikely source: Walt Disney Animation.
As the story goes (at least according to 1992’s “The Twilight Zone Companion” written by Marc Scott Zicree), “Twilight Zone” makeup effects artist, William Tuttle was hard up for ways to pull off the effect in a way that would please Serling, who was determined that the gag only works if the audience can recognize Robertson in the dummy at the end. It still had to look like a real ventriloquist’s dummy, but have enough of the actor’s features so nobody walked away from the episode confused…
The rest of the story is at the link.
(14) BERLITZKRIEG. Very clever.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Epic Spaceman helps us visualize our home galaxy:“The scale of The Milky Way – why is the galaxy bigger than we think?”
I love the Milky Way, this crazy, giant whirlpool of stars that’s our home. And I remember being blown away learning that the cloudy line in the sky was something we’re actually inside, something that really confused me at first. So this video is really my attempt to bring a little more appreciation and clarity to our oasis in the Universe. Making it has really helped me get to grips with some of the scale of things and I might well do another shorter video showing the size and location of some other things in the Milky Way on the ‘US’ scale. I also tried to address that existential dread that can creep in when getting to grips with the scale of things like this. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, our galaxy makes a long walk down to the chemist’s look like peanuts so I’ve tried to temper that with a quick reminder of the scale of the really small stuff. I do personally like to remind myself that I’m actually huge when the cosmos gets a little too big for its boots and starts melting my brain.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Lise Andreasen, Rich Lynch, Daniel Dern, Jennifer Hawthorne, Tom Boswell, Alexander Case, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day brnkn117.]