(1) WHAT A CONCEPT. ScienceFiction.com delivers the news in a very amusing way: “Is Jabba The Hutt In Line For His Own ‘Star Wars’ Anthology Film?”
Look out ’50 Shades’ and ‘Magic Mike’! Some real sexy is about to hit the big screen! Namely, a stand-alone ‘Jabba The Hutt’ movie. Yes, following the now-in-production ‘Han Solo’ film, Disney is in some stage of development on additional films that focus on individual members of the vast ‘Star Wars’ mythology, including Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Now comes word that the space version of ‘The Godfather’ (who is just slightly slimmer than Marlon Brando later in his career) might also get similar treatment.
This news comes from a write-up by Variety about the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ movie and is just casually thrown out…
…As you probably know, Jabba doesn’t speak English. This is something that helped protect C-3PO who he kept around (and intact) in order to translate for him. American audiences rarely embrace foreign films. Does Disney really think The Force is so strong with fans that they will turn out for a movie spoken entirely in a fake alien language?
(2) GALAXY QUEST. A new writer will help the beloved movie resume its trek to TV? Promises, promises!
Amazon’s Galaxy Quest TV revival is back on track. Writer-actor-comedian Paul Scheer of The League has been tapped to pen the script for the Paramount Television-produced series. Scheer takes over for the feature film’s original scribe, Robert Gordon, who was on board to pen the script for the Amazon reboot. The Amazon series is described as a new take on the cult movie that starred Tim Allen, the late Alan Rickman as well as Sigourney Weaver. The original 1999 movie centered on the cast of a since-canceled beloved sci-fi show that was forced to reunite to save the planet after aliens believe their show was real. Plans for the Amazon series were put on hold after Rickman’s passing.
(3) ECLIPSE GUILT. You tell ‘em.
Americans take a break to watch a rare eclipse, and metrics are used to make them feel guilty. #rewroteitforyou https://t.co/E2ejclrY6g
— Monica Valentinelli Has Witches on the Brain ??? (@booksofm) August 19, 2017
(4) HEROIC EFFORT. Hugo administrator Nicholas Whyte has posted packet coordinator Jo Van Ekeren’s deeply interesting “2017 Hugo Voter’s Packet Debrief”. Did we mention, this job is not that easy? Here’s the part about eligibility issues:
Eligibility Issues encountered: after consultation with the Hugo Admins, an explanation was sent to the Finalist of the issue and what the resolution was going to be, and the Finalists were all quite gracious about understanding:
- Short Form Editor including stories they published but did not edit resolution: they resubmitted a document without those stories
- Short Form Editor including a short Novel they edited resolution: the Novel was not included in the packet
- Short Form Editor including an entire issue of a magazine in which they had an editorial published resolution: an extract with only the editorial was included in the packet
- Professional Artist including two works from an non-eligible publication resolution: these were not included in the packet
- Campbell Finalist requested inclusion of non-fiction work in the packet resolution: this was not included in the packet
- Campbell Finalist including a story from a non-eligible market, and a poem resolution: these were not included in the packet
- Fanzine creating an online web page with links to reviews of 2016 works which included a vast majority of reviews written in 2016, but a handful written in 2015 and 2017 resolution: let them know that I was going to let it slide, but that a future Packet Coordinator might not, and if there had been more of them, I wouldn’t have either, and suggested this might be something they wish to take into consideration in future as far as the timing of posting reviews
- Explicit Content: The porn novelette was placed inside a subfolder which included “Note – Explicit Content” in the folder name. The Fan Writer whose work included cartoon nudity and explicit verbiage agreed to create an online page on their website, and a document with a link to that webpage was included in the packet (at my recommendation, this URL was added to their robots.txt file, so that it would not be indexed by search engines).
- Editor Long Form: My original e-mail to the finalists referred to novels edited during the year, and it was called to my attention that the definition actually specifies novel-length works which were published during the eligibility year, and that those works could be either fiction or non-fiction. I sent a revised e-mail to the Editor Long Form Finalists to reflect these changes
(5) CAPTAIN AMERICA’S CREATOR. Mark Peters details “8 Ways Comic Book Legend Jack Kirby Fought Fascism” at Paste.
- He Scouted for the Army
When Kirby joined the army, his reputation as the co-creator of Captain America preceded him—but this talent didn’t get him a cushy job, like many luckier writers and artists. Rather, Kirby ended up serving as a scout, a thankless job that involved sneaking into enemy territory and drawing what he saw to help prepare future missions. This was extremely dangerous. As Kirby put it, “If somebody wants to kill you, they make you a scout.” Before setting off for duty, the auteur cranked out an increased flow of comics, stating that he wanted “to get enough work backlogged that I could go into the Army, kill Hitler, and get back before the readers missed us.”…
- He Was Ready to Fight Nazis Anywhere
Kirby, who grew up in Manhattan’s rough Lower East Side, knew how to throw a fist and didn’t back down from anyone—especially a Nazi. As Mark Evanier describes in his biography Kirby: King of Comics, “…Jack took a call. A voice on the other end said, ‘There are three of us down here in the lobby. We want to see the guy who does this disgusting comic book and show him what real Nazis would do to his Captain America’. To the horror of others in the office, Kirby rolled up his sleeves and headed downstairs. The callers, however, were gone by the time he arrived.” Based on everything we know about Kirby, these Nazi crank-yankers got lucky.
(6) THE WALKING SUITS. A billion dollars is at stake: “Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman Joins Lawusit Against AMC”. ComicsBeat has the story.
It’s a giant chess game out there in the entertainment world, with streaming giants and known content producers vying for the upper hand. Mark Millar signing with Netflix and Robert Kirkman going with Amazon made headlines on their own, but a new lawsuit makes the reason for Kirkman’s new home even more apparent.
On August 14, The Walking Dead’s series co-creator Robert Kirkman, joined producers Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara and David Alpert in a complaint filed against the AMC television network. The complaint alleges breach of contract, tortious interference, and unfair or fraudulent business acts under California business code. The damages being sought could exceed $1 Billion dollars.
Filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, the suit alleges that AMC “exploited their vertically integrated television structure” to keep “the lion’s share of the series’ profits for itself.” The Hollywood Reporter has provided a great breakdown of the major claims in the suit. The complaint alleges the network in effect reduced series profits using various means, thereby diminishing the percent owed to the named plaintiffs. One of the ways this was accomplished, the suit claims, is by AMC Network paying a lower than fair market licence value than the show is worth–a violation of the plaintiff’s signed agreements.
(7) HODGELL. On the Baen Free Radio Hour for August 18, P.C. Hodgell discusses The Gates of Tagmeth, her latest entry in the Kenycyrath Saga high fantasy series; and part thirteen of the complete audiobook serialization of Liaden Universe® novel Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- August 19, 1692 — Five hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts
- August 19, 1983 – Yor, the Hunter from the Future premiered
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- August 19, 1921 – Gene Roddenberry
(10) THE COLOR ORANGE. The Horror Writers Association has opened its Halloween Pumpkin Recipe Contest.
(11) THE COLOR PINK. Safety first! “Bed and breakfast helps chickens cross street with high visibility vests”.
A bed and breakfast in Scotland fitted a group of chickens with high-visibility vests to help them cross a local road.
Glenshieling House shared video Friday of a pair of chickens wearing the bright pink vests as they strolled across the rainy street.
(12) PAINOPISTE. The fans who produced Worldcon 75’s newsletter will be happy to tell you how they did it.
A central feature in the preparation of the newsletter was two parallel concerns: we resolved to make the W75 newsletter as accessible to fans with dyslexia & other reading issues as possible; and we resolved to make the newsletter visually impressive and professional-looking.
The Design AH’s experience with several years of Finncons had led to the emergence of a Finncon “house style,” including preferred typefaces & colors, through which Design sought to present a unified visual identity for W75. Consequently Design was able to provide the newsletter with an adaptable, minimalist & clear template design including a custom masthead and footer. This template was produced using Adobe Indesign and some custom graphics.
For my part, I concentrated on the question of accessibility. Early in this process, I noted that while W75 had agreed to follow the SWFA’s document “Accessibility Checklist for SFWA Spaces,” that document contained no discussion on the question of readability. Discussions between myself, the Design AH, the Design DH, and the Member Services DH Vanessa May, resulted in a number of recommendations which were incorporated into the final W75 newsletter. These recommendations were drawn from a combination of personal experience, systematic reviews in academic literature on readability, the British Dyslexia Association’s Dyslexia Style Guide, and the UK National Union of Students’ Disabled Students’ Campaign’s guidance on accessible printed materials.
(13) PRO TIP. There’s some truth in what she says –
How to become the best at everything:
1. Go to Everything.
2. While you're there, tell people you are the best.#writerslife #amwriting
— Camille Singer (@CamilleASinger) August 17, 2017
(14) IN THE BEGINNING. James Cooray Smith, in “Starting Star Wars: How George Lucas came to create a galaxy” in New Statesman, has a lot of good information about how Star Wars came to be created, including how the first character Lucas created was Mace Windu and how much of Star Wars was filmed at EMI Elstree because the Harold Wilson government was trying to keep the facility open and one condition of studios filming there was that they had to bring in their own technicians, which suited Lucas fine.
The script development money gave Lucas enough to live on whilst he continued work on the screenplay. As he did so it changed again; a ‘Kiber Crystal’ was written in and then written out. Skywalker became Deak Starkiller’s overweight younger brother before becoming the farm boy familiar from the finished film. Characters swapped names and roles. A new character named Darth Vader – sometimes a rogue Jedi, sometimes a member of the rival ‘Knights of Sith’ – had his role expanded. Some drafts killed him during the explosion of the Death Star, others allowed him to survive; across subsequent drafts his role grew. Some previously major characters disappeared altogether, pushed into a “backstory”, Lucas choosing to develop the practically realisable aspects of his story.
This is an important clarification to the idea that Star Wars was “always” a part of a larger saga, one later incarnated in its sequels and prequels. That’s true, but not in an absolutely literal way. Star Wars itself isn’t an excerpted chunk of a vast plotline, the rest of which was then made over the next few decades. It’s a distillation of as much of a vast, abstract, unfinished epic as could be pitched as a fairly cheap film to be shot using the technology of the mid 1970s. And even then much of the equipment used to make the film would be literally invented by Lucas and his crew during production.
(15) ANALYZING WINNERS. Cora Buhlert has “Some More Words about the 2017 Hugo Awards”.
Last I said in my last Hugo post, I did not expect The Obelisk Gate to win, because it was the second book in a trilogy and those rarely win and also because it was competing in a very strong ballot. In fact, I suspected that All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders would win (which also wasn’t one of my three top picks), since it already won the Nebula and Locus Awards (in the end, it came in second). I’ve been wondering how my predictions for this category could have been so totally off and I suspect that we’re seeing an effect at work here we often see with awards of any kind, from genre awards via general literature prizes to the Oscars, namely that more serious works focussed on serious issues tends to trump lighter works. Now both All the Birds in the Sky and A Closed and Common Orbit are lighter and more hopeful works, even though they do tackle serious issues as well. Coincidentally, A Closed and Common Orbit addresses very similar issues as The Obelisk Gate, namely who is viewed as a person and who is viewed as a thing or tool, but it handles these issues in a very different way. And due to a general bias towards more serious works that can be found in pretty much all awards, a darker book like The Obelisk Gate trumped a lighter and more hopeful treatment of the same theme like A Closed and Common Orbit (or the equally lighter and more hopeful All the Birds in the Sky). It was always pretty obvious that Death’s End and Too Like the Lightning were not going to win, since both were love it or hate it books, which leaves Ninefox Gambit as the other darker and more serious work on the ballot.
(16) THE RETURNS. Steven J. Wright also pores over the order of finish in “Hugo Awards 2017: The Relentless Detail”. For most readers “gone are the days when everyone just voted for Langford and forgot about it” is a lighthearted jape about Best Fanwriter (medic!), while I found it easier to admire this turn of phrase about Best Fancast:
And a big (though genteel) yay from me for Tea and Jeopardy, there, easily my favourite among the podcasts. Not much to say about the vote, except that Ditch Diggers got gradually jostled down into its final place. Next one down the long list is Verity!, which has got to be more fun than The Rageaholic, if only because groin surgery is more fun than The Rageaholic, and yes, I am qualified to make that comparison.
(17) PSYCH. Alexandra Erin did an analysis of how professed beliefs can interact with internal worldviews to lead to apparently contradictory behavior. She used as an example Brad Torgersen and the Hugos. The thread begins here —
LRT: I think we need to recognize the difference between what we profess vs. what we internalize, rather than focusing on "what we believe".
— Alexandra Goblin (@alexandraerin) August 16, 2017
(18) DRAGON AWARDS RUNNERS. Rebecca Hill viewed the recording of last year’s Dragon Awards ceremony and noted the names of the organizers are, besides President Pat Henry, David Cody, Bill Fawcett, and Bev Kaodak. Of course, we reported last year that David Cody left a comment on Monster Hunter Nation on a thread, making sure people knew how to register.
(19) BETTER HUMOR. The death of a space-age “treat”: astronauts no longer have to eat freeze-dried ice cream: “The Best Item In An Astronaut’s Care Package? Definitely The Ice Cream”.
We all remember astronaut ice cream, those little dehydrated bricks of neopolitan.
The reason astronauts generally don’t have much access to the real stuff isn’t rocket science, but rather something we’ve all encountered: a lack of freezer space.
What limited refrigeration there is on the space station is given over to blood samples, urine samples, etc. — stuff you don’t really want next to your Moose Tracks.
Unlike previous cargo vehicles used by NASA, the SpaceX Dragon capsule has the ability to return to Earth without burning up on re-entry.
That means it can bring stuff back. The spacecraft is equipped with freezers to transport medical and scientific samples back to Earth. And sometimes, those freezers are empty when they go up to the station — which leaves room for ice cream, Vickie Kloeris, manager of NASA’s Space Food Systems Laboratory, tells NPR.
Before the capsule lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Monday, she says, NASA’s cold storage team packed it with a sweet array of frozen treats: 30 individual cups of Bluebell ice cream and some Snickers ice cream bars.
(20) HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN. NASA attacks a bigger worry than asteroid collisions: “NASA’s ambitious plan to save Earth from a supervolcano”.
There are around 20 known supervolcanoes on Earth, with major eruptions occurring on average once every 100,000 years. One of the greatest threats an eruption may pose is thought to be starvation, with a prolonged volcanic winter potentially prohibiting civilisation from having enough food for the current population. In 2012, the United Nations estimated that food reserves worldwide would last 74 days.
When Nasa scientists came to consider the problem, they found that the most logical solution could simply be to cool a supervolcano down. A volcano the size of Yellowstone is essentially a gigantic heat generator, equivalent to six industrial power plants. Yellowstone currently leaks about 60-70% of the heat coming up from below into the atmosphere, via water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks. The remainder builds up inside the magma, enabling it to dissolve more and more volatile gases and surrounding rocks. Once this heat reaches a certain threshold, then an explosive eruption is inevitable.
But if more of the heat could be extracted, then the supervolcano would never erupt….
(21) NOW IN SESSION. A Chinese ‘cyber-court’ has been launched for online cases:
The Hangzhou Internet Court opened on Friday and heard its first case – a copyright infringement dispute between an online writer and a web company.
Legal agents in Hangzhou and Beijing accessed the court via their computers and the trial lasted 20 minutes.
The court’s focus will be civil cases, including online shopping disputes.
Judges were sworn in and the first case was presented on a large screen in the courtroom.
(22) BEAGLE SUIT. Cat Eldridge has made the latest filing by Peter S. Beagle’s attorney in his suit against his former manager Connor Cochran available here. The filing includes a brief history of the litigation, including the information that in 2016 the court awarded a firm representing Beagle’s attorney $24,000+ in attorneys fees.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Rose Embolism, Martin Morse Wooster, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contrbuting editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
3) Calvinism is alive and well in the American workplace. Not even a rare eclipse can be stopped for without guilt.
(20) So we’ll need a giant gemstone obelisk and some people to operate it and…
(3) The Calvinists can go hang. Enjoy the eclipse if you have the opportunity.
Some Calvinists will have fun.
(4) HEROIC EFFORT.
The sausage-making process is long, involved, and sometimes complex. My thanks to Nicholas Whyte and all those past & present who have helped to administer the Hugo awards.
(18) DRAGON AWARDS RUNNERS.
Are the Dragon awards becoming more transparent? That would be a welcome development.
(1) I foresee no way this won’t be a greedy, bloated slug of a movie.
(15) Interesting thoughts, as is usual from Cora Buhlert. However, my impression of Seanan McGuire’s nominated work was the opposite of hers. “Every Heart a Doorway” didn’t depend on the portal fantasy, IMO, but on the disconnect that persons who had found themselves (in some way) but were forced into their old roles or environment felt. So it used the stories of Oz or Narnia, but didn’t depend on them.
The October Daye series, however, I ranked much lower. Not because it included romance (where the Vorkosigan series included at least as much) or because it was urban fantasy, but because I felt that it was fundamentally repetitive. Toby gained things and powers, but didn’t really evolve. We learned things about fairy, and Toby’s changeling nature was alluded to, but we seldom got to see real interaction between fairy and the mundane world.
A bit of sunday Meredithing, Amazon UK has “Today’s Big Deal” featuring 8 of Peter F Hamiltons works at 99p each. On a pages per penny valuation that’s an absolute bargain, and represents a serious alleviation of wrist strain compared to paper copies!
16) And now everyone in fandom knows where my second most embarrassing surgical scar is! Well, I knew it might happen when I put the words out there….
(Second most embarrassing? I’m more mortified about the one over my navel, because it was to fix a peri-umbilical hernia, which is most common in newborn infants, so getting one at the age of fifty made me an extremely late developer.)
(Incidentally, I’m a Stephen with a PH, but everyone calls me Steve… I just use the middle initial in a doomed attempt at differentiation, to distinguish me from other Steve Wrights such as the multiple murderer and the Radio 2 DJ.)
(And I’m in brackets again. Help.)
[Excuse me, I must be going. I am in a comfy chair wth the credential on my lap.]
It uses only its mind:
Will tomorrow be a Total Eclipse of the Pixel Scroll?
It’s all files and scrolls till someone loses a pixel.
@14: A fascinating story. Points I particularly noticed were that Lucas survived the weather-and-cast troubles that doomed Gilliam’s version of Don Quixote (now being revived), and that Fox had less than no idea what a hit they had on their hands. OTOH, I was surprised at As “Star Wars” expanded into more cinemas, and people began to queue round the block to see it — in Boston people were queueing on the day it opened. (They couldn’t all have been the people who saw the trailer at Boskone, whose attendance then was around 1000 — about the capacity of the theater it was showing in.)
@Paul: guess who a cruise line hired to observe the occasion?
@chip That’s awesome!
Possibly of interest, a Kickstarter campaign is running to fund an animated film featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, who sends Barry and Joe back in time to save the world.
Hey, for anybody who’s interested, Jessica Jones Season 1 is finally out on Blu-ray.
Although I had the disaster of the phone and the Hugo Ceremony Manual Focus, I have been sharing some of my other photos of my trip on twitter, and collected here:
Finally saw Wonder Women. It’s fantastic.
Recent reading: first lines by Steve Degroof. An enjoyable collection of mostly lightheared short stories. ‘Dead to Rights’ is the story to read if racism is on your mind.
The Office of Mercy by Aries Djanikian. A dystopian future novel. No racism or sexism here, but that doesn’t mean people still can’t be horrible to each other. And justify themselves in totally reasonable sounding terms.
Fires of Nuala by Katherine Kimbrel. A con woman goes to another planet with an unusual culture and gets involved in a murder mystery with lots of politics. The mystery was okay, the answer was fairly obvious early on. I liked the romance subplot. Overall, better than most space operas.
@chip: Coincidentally, SFGate resurrected an article from 2015 today which includes a photo tagged “Fans line up to see ‘Star Wars’ during the film’s opening weekend at the Coronet Theatre on May 25, 1977. The Geary Boulevard movie house seated close to 2,000”
If it doesn’t go directly to the photo, it’s #43 in the list. They do love their slideshows.
@Jamoche: impressive — but if that was the Coronet, I wonder what the Crown was like ;-). Like every other movie theater that existed in/near Boston when SW opened, its theater is now closed — but the total number of screens is up substantially; apparently megaplexi work.
@bookworm1398 Glad you liked it. I’m having fun writing these stories. Still shooting for 6 collections, although 4 seems more likely. After that, I might expand some of the stories into novels, just to see how they turn out. 😀