Snapshots 72 Degrees Room Temperature

Here are 11 developments of interest to fans.

(1) Axe Cop is a comic “written by a 5 year old and illustrated by his 29 year old brother” about – what else? – a cop who carries an axe. He comes across like a cousin of Rorschach’s except more violent, if that’s possible. But even Axe Cop has a literary side. Recommended for your delectation, Ask Axe Cop #69, “Dear Axe Cop: Have you ever been to Narnia?”

(2) And speaking of Narnia… Dian Crayne wrote online: “I’ve been watching the commentary on the LotR extended cut, and one of the designers said that the rabbit Gollum bites into was a pelt they got from a furrier wrapped around a body made of Turkish Delight.” I’ve always wondered about the treacherous Edmund’s predilection for Turkish Delight in the first Narnia book. Do all the slinkers and stinkers love it?

(3) Dragon*Con and the 2012 Worldcon are scheduled head-on next Labor Day Weekend. How will they match up? Let’s look at three highlights from Dragon*Con TV. (Each is a YouTube file and runs under 2 minutes.)

Time to Walk advises fans to save steps by using the program guide to plan ahead. No mention of a Dragon*Con phone app. Looks like Renovation wins this round.

Building a Brand jokes about ways to leverage the sale of new products using Dragon*Con’s name value:

We could make Dragon*Con air fresheners.

Have your car smell like the con year-round.

The Worldcon’s entry wouldn’t smell any better – this round is a tie.

The final video celebrates that Public Broadcasting Atlanta’s documentary 4 Days at Dragon*Con won an Emmy at the 2011 NATAS Southeast Emmy Awards.

Sigh. We better hope Dragon*Con agrees to a rematch.

(4) Paul Cornell’s Worldcon report is a mix of affection, criticism, and justification for fan-run events. But as much as he likes Worldcons, don’t ask him to come to another one in a casino —

Never again for a casino hotel. Never again, please, Worldcon. Yes, we all thought beforehand: hey, kitsch; charming; could be fun! But it’s just grinding grimness, a cloud of cigarette smoke across breakfast, fruit machines growing everywhere like ugly coral, at the airport, between reception and the elevators. There were lost people doing evening things at every time of day. We walked through it all, we never touched it. We went into Reno too, and found there was no town there, just parched streets between casinos. All this is the opposite of what Worldcon is. At least, what it is to me.

(5) Was it only 9 years ago that Meeting News ran this article for trade show professionals about how the Worldcon is organized and run?

What makes the World Science Fiction Society’s annual convention seem other-worldly isn’t so much the guys walking around dressed like Klingons as the way the event is organized.

Despite some unconventional planning, the society presents a compelling value proposition to destinations — and as it happens, perhaps some lessons to planners of more conventional events.

What’s so unconventional? First, nothing pleases organizers of the World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, more than scheduling the international meeting over what planner Ben Yalow calls “rotten dates” — Labor Day weekend.

Remember when the Worldcon was held on Labor Day? Drew over 5000 people? Was held in a major metropolitan area? Chicon 7 committee, I’m counting on you! (Better get to work on that air freshener…)

(6) The Muzeo in Anaheim will be hosting Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination from October 15-January 9. At the same time there will be on exhibit “The Queen’s Gallery: Victorian Art from the Private Collection of Dr. Howard and Linda Knohl.” The Grand Opening celebration for the steampunk exhibit will be October 23 from 1-4 p.m.

When you enter the world of Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination you enter a world where the future shakes hands with the past, and where humanity’s innovative nature inspires future generations to do the impossible. Premiering at MUZEO, the exhibition is a fantastic and factual account of how the 19th Century’s inventive thinkers and writers launched mankind into the 20th Century – and beyond.

“Steampunk” is considered by many to be a growing modern reaction to man’s conquering of scientific boundaries. As technology and science took us beneath the sea, to the Earth’s interior and even to the moon, humanity began to wonder if its reach had, indeed, exceeded his grasp. Writers, artists and craftsmen began to entertain the notion of what life would have been like had circumstances pushed these innovations just a little bit further. We might have had computers before gas combustion engines, the Internet before the microchip, or warships in the air before the Wright Brothers ever flew. This spawned a whole new sub-genre of science fiction – Steampunk. With this new sub-genre came a whole fresh aesthetic…a Neo-Victorian examination of clothing, gadgets, art, music and literature.

(7) Postmodern punk may be the next craze. Look at this paragraph in the October Reason from Peter Suderman’s article about Medicare fraud:

In January 2011, Politico reported the bust of an Armenian mob ring charged with perpetrating $163 million in Medicare fraud. Among the items seized from the New Jersey group was a bundle of weapons, including multiple guns and a Bat’leth, a two-handed, double-bladed long sword modeled after the weapons used by Klingons on Star Trek

(8) Dinosaur feathers trapped in amber!

In real life, amber preserved feathers that provide a new image of what dinosaurs looked like.

“Now, instead of scaly animals portrayed as usually drab creatures, we have solid evidence for a fluffy colored past,” reports Mark A. Norell of the American Museum of Natural History in New York…

Amber, hardened tree resin, preserved a mixture of feathers from 70 million years ago. Other feathers contained in amber dating to 90 million years ago are less diverse.

Specimens include simple filament structures similar to the earliest feathers of non-flying dinosaurs — a form unknown in modern birds — and more complicated bird feathers “displaying pigmentation and adaptations for flight and diving,” the researchers reported.

(9) Letters of Note has posted the fan letter Ray Bradbury wrote to Robert Heinlein in 1976.  

(10) Sarah Schwarz did some in depth-research about George Lucas’ changes to Star Wars in the new Blu-Ray release and created a list of the 25 most shocking. Or was that hilarious? Here’s an example:

Han shoots Greedo, but only after a judo match, scrabble tournament, and seven rounds of rock, paper, scissors.

(11) Blame the Bone Gang if you noticed Pluto is missing:

In case you were wondering, that giant blast of light you saw in the night sky on January 31st, wasn’t Balloon Boy flying out into space or even some of George Bush’s one thousand points of light. Instead it was the infamous Bone Gang finally ridding our solar system of its biggest threat, Pluto. Those in the know, rightly call what was once labeled as our 9th planet, Yuggoth and know that it is the home to the evil evolved fungi, the Migo. This Migo have been a plague on mankind even longer than Rush Limbaugh and speeding tickets.

[Thanks for these links and tidbits goes out to Martin Morse Wooster, David Klaus, Andrew Porter, Lynn Maudlin, Vincent Docherty, John King Tarpinian  and John Hay.]