(1) VISUALIZING LE GUIN. Andrew Liptak interviews artist David Lupton, who is responsible for the art in The Folio Society’s new edition of The Left Hand of Darkness – “Behind the gorgeous new illustrated edition of Ursula K Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness”.
Tell me a little about adapting the scenes from the novel with your art. How did you go about capturing the characters?
My process for adapting scenes for a Folio Society edition always begins in the same way. I start by reading the book from beginning to end. Then I go back and re-read the book whilst making notes of the scenes that I’d like to illustrate. I also have to keep in mind that the illustrations need to be paced throughout the book and depending on the length it usually works out that an illustration is needed every 20 pages or so. Therefore I go through the book and note what occurs around these page numbers and begin to formulate ideas on how to interpret the imagery described.
For The Left Hand of Darkness, I initially chose approximately 20 scenes that I thought could help tell the story visually and then I worked with Sheri Gee (art director at Folio Society) and Ursula to whittle down what imagery would work and what wouldn’t. I also wanted to draw a variety of compositions from extreme close-ups of faces, to wider drawings of snowy mountains, and so had to balance that imagery throughout the whole sequence. In terms of the characters, I simply read the descriptions in the text, which are quite succinct and open for interpretation, and then talked with Ursula personally to get an understanding of what she wanted.
(2) MEXICANX SAGA. Hector Gonzalez takes the opening step on “My Road to Worldcon 76. Part 1: The Mexicanx Initiative” at Medium.
…I remember pedaling like crazy to get to La Casa de los Sabores (aka home) in time to talk to John. I made it back with 18 minutes to spare, which I invested in taking a quick shower and cutting some vegetables for dinner. I dialed at 7:01 PM and I heard John [Picacio]’s voice. He wanted to know more about myself, why me, as a fan, wanted to attend Worldcon and be part of this Mexicanx Initiative. I shared how sci-fi and comics were a big part of my history while growing up. How friends and family usually gave me books for my birthday as a child and how I devoured those stories. How my favorite encyclopedia was about a humanoid robot that was part comic and part in-depth information about different topics, from astronomy to biology.
“Who is a current creator that you admire?” John asked. Alejandro Jodorowski was my answer. I shared how his movies, books, and comics had influenced me….
(3) BOUND FOR MARS. Already showing on Hulu – The First.
Sean Penn leads an ensemble cast in this near-future drama about a crew of astronauts attempting to become the first humans on Mars. Under the direction of visionary aerospace magnate Laz Ingram (Natascha McElhone), the crew contends with peril and personal sacrifice as they undertake the greatest pioneering feat in human history.
(4) HOW BEER WILL HELP COLONIZE MARS. On Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz opines that “Beer Might Be the Key to Surviving on Mars, But Not for the Reasons You Think”. It seems that beer wort is being used as feedstock for bacteria that in turn create something that could be useful on Mars or other harsh environments:
“[We have] developed a super-insulating, ultra-light, and ultra-transparent aerogel film,” Ivan Smalyukh, a professor in the [University of Colorado] Department of Physics, explained to Digital Trends. “Aerogels are extremely porous solid objects that are made mostly from air, and are about 100 times less dense than glass panes. Our aerogel is made from nanocellulose, which is grown by bacteria that eat waste beer wort, a waste byproduct of the beer industry.”
…“Extraterrestrial habitats will face extreme temperature fluctuations which must be eliminated inside the habitat,” Smalyukh continued. “We see our aerogel product as a prime way to accomplish this, additionally allowing for the harvesting and storage of solar energy inside of habitats because these aerogels are transparent to sunlight. Because our aerogel can be made from waste, space colonizers wouldn’t necessarily have to bring the aerogel with them from Earth, which would be expensive. Instead, they could grow, from waste, [and] with the help of bacteria, aerogels to be used in habitats.”
Needless to say, Food & Wine is thrilled that culinary science could play a role in colonizing other planets. Not that at least some of the colonists would object to having beer available with or without the aerogel byproducts.
(5) INDIANA IS FROM ILLINOIS? You can buy the house where Indiana Jones and Han Solo grew up, in a manner of speaking – Harrison Ford’s boyhood home is for sale.
A Long Time Ago, in a Town Close to Chicago was a Storybook Tudor. Restore Harrison Ford’s Childhood Home to its Former Glory. 1st Time on the Market Since 1970.
(6) PRINCESS OR ACTION HERO? Fan art by Artemii Myasnikov reimagines Disney royalty as action heroes. Myasnikov’s Instagram feed also mixes in a lot of other genre work, but it was his Disney oeuvre that caught the eye of SYFY Wire’s Josh Weiss (“This fan art by Artemii Myasnikov turns Disney royalty into Disney action heroes”).
For too long, Disney’s pantheon of princesses were depicted as feeble damsels in distress that required handsome, horse-riding/sword-wielding princes to get them out of sticky situations. In recent years, however, the company recognized just how archaic this was and began to create strong, independent women who don’t need no men.
…They can all fend for themselves, kick butt and take names, but thanks to artist Artemii Myasnikov, they’ve become even more badass in art that turns them in all-out warriors. In a way, it gives a second chance to those old school princesses (Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella) that were nothing more than foibles for the “big strong” princes.
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(7) CLICKBAIT FOR CAVEMEN. NPR says “Researchers Discover Ancient ‘Hashtag'” – the oldest-found drawing dates back ~73k years.
Scientists working in South Africa say they’ve found the earliest known drawing. It was dug up in a cave where early humans apparently lived for thousands of years and left behind numerous artifacts.
The drawing isn’t what you’d call elaborate; it’s a row of crosshatched lines along the smooth face of a rock that may have been a tool for making ocher. In fact, the red lines were made with red ocher. The pattern (with a little imagination) resembles a hashtag. What’s remarkable is that it was apparently made about 73,000 years ago. That’s tens of thousands of years older than similar drawings made in European caves.
The researchers, led by Christopher Henshilwood of the University of Bergen in Norway, have previously found a sort of toolkit for making ocher at the site, known as Blombos Cave, that dates back 100,000 years. That evidence shows that early Homo sapiens were clearly making ocher a long time ago, though for what purpose is unclear. And they’ve found a piece of ocher from about 70,000 years ago with engraved crosshatching on it….
(8) WASHINGTON WONDERS. Michon Boston, in the Washington City Paper piece “Wonder Woman’s Version of 1984 D.C. Versus the Real Thing” looks at how the set designers for Wonder Woman 1984 turned the clock back in its Washington scenes, including building old-school phone booths, turning the facade of the long-closed Georgetown Theatre into a twin showing a double bill of Footloose and Ghostbuster, and resurrecting the AIDS activist slogan SILENCE=DEATH in front of the Hirshhorn Museum.
…Later, crews built a Commander Salamander façade over the former Appalachian Spring American craft storefront next door to Reddz and across the street from the original Commander Salamander, now an M&T Bank. The secret was out. The ’80s and Wonder Woman had arrived.
Operating under the working title Magic Hour, Fleischer and counterpart Matthew Noonan approached D.C.’s Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) to set the groundwork for filming a live-action period film in D.C.
“They approached us because they heard about the incentive program,” says OCTFME Associate Director Herbert Niles, describing the agency’s Entertainment Rebate Fund. Since 2016, productions have been able to apply for a refund of up to 35 percent of qualified production expenditures provided they spend at least $250,000 in D.C. and hire residents to work on the crew. Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman 1984 “represents the largest and most impactful production footprint in the District of Columbia since the film office was established [in 1979],” Niles says….
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
- September 16, 1963 – The Outer Limits premiered on television
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 16, 1932 – Karen Anderson. Author with Poul Anderson, King of Ys series, also The Unicorn Trade likewise with him. She’s also cited as doing a lot of essays, short fiction and poetry, some with him, some not. She’s also cited as the author of Henry Kuttner: A Memorial Symposium. And I’d love to see the maps she’s credited with having done!
- Born September 16 – Lisa Tuttle, 66. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, received Nebula Award for Best Short Story for “The Bone Flute” which she refused, and a BSFA Award for Short Fiction for “In Translation”. For novels, I’ll single out The Mysteries, The Silver Bough and Catwitch, a YA novel she co-wrote with Una Woodruff. I highly recommend Stranger in the House: The Collected Short Supernatural Fiction, Volume One.
- Born September 16 – Jan Siegel, 63. She’s best known for the Fern Capel series which consists of Prospero’s Children, The Dragon-Charmer and The Witch’s Honour. She also did the YA Sangreal trilogy and a number of other works which may or may not be genre.
- Born September 16 – Mike Mignola, 58. Illustrator and writer, best known for his long running Hellboy series. Two novels with Christopher Golden, Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire and Joe Golem and the Drowning City, another with Thomas E. Sniegoski, Grim Death and Bill, the Electrocuted Criminal. Extensive comics work as well including one of my favorite undertakings, Gotham by Gaslight.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- At Farcus two guys try to get their carcass on Noah’s Ark-us.
- Get Fuzzy makes very, very, very bad use of CCGs.
(12) SCALZI BREAKOUT. I liked this series of groanworthy puns –
Don't make tweets with puns even if someone you love says they enjoy them; don't give in to dear pressure https://t.co/kqr12gOoSa
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 16, 2018
Also, it's okay to eat your bagels without cream cheese. Don't give in to schmear pressure. https://t.co/q6ST3Qx5sp
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 16, 2018
If you're a medieval defender of a castle, don't let anyone shame you for carrying a halberd instead of a pike. Don't give in to spear pressure. https://t.co/EDJkRHcrxj
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 16, 2018
Pro tip: When you're newly in Paris, don't challenge to a duel the first three men you meet. Don't give in to musketeer pressure. https://t.co/enS2RP7Sqg
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 16, 2018
FINE, I am done with puns for today. I have given in to "This Ends Here" pressure. https://t.co/U3Kd9gIHG7
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 16, 2018
(13) I’M MELTING. “ICESat: Space will get unprecedented view of Earth’s ice” — ultraprecise measures of what we’ve lost.
The American space agency has launched a laser into orbit to measure the condition of Earth’s ice cover.
The satellite mission, called ICESat-2, should provide more precise information on how these frozen surfaces are being affected by global warming.
Antarctica, Greenland and the ice floating on the Arctic Ocean have all lost volume in recent decades….
(14) MORE ABOUT BEER. “‘World’s oldest brewery’ found in cave in Israel, say researchers” — pushes date from 5K to 13K years ago, and suggests beer may not have been a side-effect of making bread.
Researchers say they have found the world’s oldest brewery, with residue of 13,000-year-old beer, in a prehistoric cave near Haifa in Israel.
The discovery was made while they were studying a burial site for semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers.
Brewing beer was thought to go back 5,000 years, but the latest discovery may turn beer history on its head….
(15) COLD BALLOONS. Read about “The giant hangar built for an Arctic airship”:
In the photo, a huge silver airship floats over a large snowfield. On the sides of the airship are stamped in black capital letters, one word: ITALIA.
The machine itself is dwarfed by the snow-covered mountains that surround it on three sides. Their glaciers glisten in the spring sunshine. In front of it is the sea, full of floating chunks of ice.
Cables hang down from the sides of the craft like the antenna of an insect. A multitude of tiny stick-like figures await their orders below.
In front of the dirigible is a very large, strange-looking construction. It has no roof, but two sides that look like the giant wooden trestle bridges that you see in Westerns movies. It is clad in green canvas.
But what exactly is it?
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Escape (2018) a man realizes he is living in a simulation, in a short film narrated by Stephen Fry — “Stephen Fry Voices a New Dystopian Short Film About Artificial Intelligence & Simulation Theory”.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Steven H Silver, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]
On the other hand, during theatre breaks, it’s usually the women’s bathrooms which have long lines, while the men’s bathrooms have no lines at all.
In the case of one theatre with an inadequate number of bathrooms, the women simply commandeered the nearly unused men’s bathroom and used the stalls there. When a man came to pee, the women still waiting outside would simply shout a warning.
John Hertz responds by carrier pigeon —
When I once in Vanamonde misstated a famous misspelling as “poctsacrd” and the author of Up To Now locced “Nothing is sacrd”, I promptly corrected to “poctsarcd”, yielding to Jack Speer’s pressure.
Kendall: Already put in a backing amount.
(I am still utterly furious at myself for missing the one for Stand Still Stay Silent book 2. Which, incidentally, is all-but-epilogue on the first adventure, so anyone who wants a complete story arc equivalent to reading a complete novel, this would be a good time to start reading…)
@Lenora Rose: Yay! I mean yay for backing, not for missing anything!
@OGH: Glad you liked it.
@Rev. Bob: “Yer a bit late to that party, Darren…”
I don’t see how. No one yet has mentioned bier pressure.
@Cora: I’ve heard of that happening elsewhere. I suspect it’s an issue in many older buildings; at best there’s the same amount of floor space, which works out to fewer facilities even without a sitting room in front — and that doesn’t allow for slower throughput and possible higher use. I was pleased to note when I was floorplanning Sasquan that the exhibit hall had more total spaces for women, but that building went up in the early 2000’s; it was also so asymmetrical that the unthinking symmetry of restrooms seen in standard buildings couldn’t happen.
It’s cloudy and gloomy here, and it’s making me depressed. I think I’m vulnerable to drear pressure.
One of our local breweries has a similar problem. Usually, one of the guys will guard the door while the ladies do what needs doing. Sometimes one of the ladies guards the door.
Mostly people just acknowledge the problem with a minimal of fuss.
You can take everything a man has as long as you leave him his dignity. – John Wayne
Unisex bathrooms solve the problem pretty well–as well as some other problems, such as the notion that everyone can be divided into two simple categories. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still uncomfortable with the notion. (Or notions.)
One place I worked at had four bathrooms, which were labeled “straight”, “gay”, “bisexual”, and “other”. Of course, these were bathrooms for employees, not for the general public, and everyone knew the signs were tongue-in-cheek, and not meant to be taken seriously. But I certainly thought the idea made at least as much sense as the simple M/F division. 🙂
Well, theatres mostly are older buildings, at least here in Europe. Though the Metropol Theatre here in Bremen also has this issue and that opened in 1999.
I’m all for unisex bathrooms, but a lot of people don’t like them and/or feel uncomfortable using them. And so the lone unisex bathroom at my university (another building which had problems with too few toilets for too many people during the beaks between classes) was the one bathroom on campus where there never was a line, because many people flat out refused to use it. A pity, because it wasn’t just a unisex bathroom, it was an art project, too.
@Cora Buhlert: I know the idea of unisex bathrooms makes some people uncomfortable. But the idea having to make a binary choice about your gender before you can pee also makes some people uncomfortable.
You’ll pardon me, I’m sure, if my sympathies for people who prejudices are catered to by most of the world are much less than my sympathies for people who face uncomfortable choice about bathrooms almost everywhere they go.
Like I said, I’m with you on unisex bathrooms and believe that public buildings should offer unisex bathrooms in addition to regular binary ones.
Though I don’t see unisex bathrooms replacing binary bathrooms anytime soon, if only because there are laws requiring that restaurants, businesses, etc… have to offer a certain number of separate bathrooms for men and women.
I know when LinuxCon was here in Toronto a couple of years ago, they had put up some of their own signage (with the hotel’s permission) explicitly listing some bathrooms as non-binary.
(I relayed this information to people I know involved with another con that was in the same hotel, but they unfortunately didn’t seem to do anything with it.)
The radiation place I’ve been going to has two unisex restrooms, one for staff (off a hallway) and one for everyone else (off their lobby).
@6 – That Rapunzel bears a striking resemblance to a character from the Sluggy Freelance comic.
Re: unisex restrooms – We just hosted the final event of our roller derby season, a three-day tournament at our usual venue, the Boulder County Fairgrounds. With a little prompting from our guest skaters and fans, a non-trivial amount of (both of) whom would pee easier if they didn’t have to declare a gender to do so, we had by the morning of the second day covered over all the “MEN” and “WOMEN” signs both above and beside the doors with placards saying “All-Gender Restroom [with/without] urinals,” and accompanied by an informative sign explaining the policy in language sympathetic to those uncomfortable with sharing space but quite firm in the policy’s necessity. Also included language inviting anyone who got harassed by some self-appointed bathroom patrol jerk (not the sign’s language) to bring their concerns to us. Seemed to go pretty well.
The Rush mention (“pee-r pressure”) that kicked off the discussion really resonated with me. I remember being smug about that through my concert-going 90s… then surprised and delighted at the Clockwork Angels tour that the bathroom lines had reached more or less equilibrium when I wasn’t looking for.