Here are 6 developments of interest to fans:
(1) Law and the Multiverse is a blog that analyzes the legal issues of comics superheroes. ‘Tis the season, therefore the author takes up a complaint against that jolly old fat man in the red suit:
Could an individual get a restraining order against Santa for stalking them? He does, after all, watch people all the time (both when awake and asleep), and keeps notes on them in the form of a list determining if they are good or bad….
We don’t think Santa’s behavior would meet [the New York] standard. People couldn’t have a reasonable fear of material harm because Santa has an unbroken record of hundreds of years of peaceful activity. It could be enough that he has actually caused material emotional harm to someone, except that the harm would have to be caused by contact or communication initiated by Santa. The problem here is that Santa doesn’t initiate communication; instead people write letters to him. Arguably he initiates indirect contact by entering people’s homes, but there’s no evidence that he enters homes where he is unwanted. In fact, staying up late to ‘catch’ Santa is traditionally considered to cause him not to visit.
(2) Stylist has selected the 100 best – and, in some cases, the most iconic – first lines from favorite works of literature. The list is gratifyingly heavy on sf and fantasy.
At #10 – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; #11 – Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis; #12 – J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; #14 – Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife; #15 – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring; #26 – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; #30 – C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; #32 – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; #36 – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web; #37 – Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange; #41 — William Goldman, Princess Bride; #44 — Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions; #46 — Iain Banks, The Crow Road; #47 — Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency; #50 — George Orwell, 1984; #51 – H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man; #56 – Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey; #64 – John Scalzi, Old Man’s War; #66 – H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds; #71 – William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist; #73 – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451; #74 – Richard Matheson, I Am Legend; #81 – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five; #83 — Richard Adams, Watership Down; #93 – Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy; #98 – Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart; #99 – Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds.
Indeed, when you review their list you may decide there are even more titles that should be deemed sf/f.
(3) ”NASA Johnson Style” [YouTube] is a “Gangnam Style” parody video from students at NASA’s Johnson Space Center – and it’s a high-tech hoot.
(4) Introducing another year-end list Grantland’s Alex Pappdemas sagely explains: “We live in the ruins of what used to be a monoculture and we are never, ever getting back together. So we need things to fail abjectly, because it brings us together.” Carrying out his mission to help unite the world by listing the worst cinematic failures of 2012, Pappademas drops the names of multiple dodgy sf films.
If nothing else, Battleship was the least-worst Taylor Kitsch movie of 2012, because Kitsch also starred in March’s John Carter, as a Civil War vet and treasure hunter who gets caught up in a war between a bunch of ridiculously named city-states (Zodanga!) after being transported to Mars. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the original John Carter tales so long ago that they were a crucial boyhood influence on Ray Bradbury, who died this year at 91; also, there hasn’t been movie money on Mars since the original Total Recall, which may be why this year’s Colin Farrell remake left out the Red Planet entirely.
(5) The ”Pages” exhibition at the Williamson Gallery at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, ending January 27, offers an eclectic mix of paper history and paper artwork. The LA Times reports:
A heavily marked page from Mark Twain‘s personal copy of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” reveals his editing process for the second edition. “Even after he’d written and published the book, he was still rewriting and changing some of the language,” noted Nowlin. “You can see where he’s crossed things out and put them back in so you can see his thinking process.”
Works by 22 artists, including Ed Ruscha, Hans Burkhardt and Alexandra Grant, are also on view. “Delilah,” a ceiling-high tower of stacked books by Michael C. McMillen, stands precariously in the middle of the room. An adjoining 36-foot-wide wall is covered with 100 botanical drawings by New York artist Robert Kushner. He collected orphaned pages from flea markets and book and antique shops, then painted flowers and plants over the original text and diagrams.
And much more.
(6) After reading all the books, seeing the movies, and going to Mythcons, is the Tolkien lover’s next step vacationing at The Hobbit House of Montana? That depends upon what you think about the captions given to some of the photos of the property:
[Bilbo] is the Big Shebang, the Big Kahoonah in these here parts!
…Hobbits eat 6 times a day and one of their mainstays are mushrooms. They don’t have green thumbs but they do have brown ones.
Fortunately, a very well-made promotional video [YouTube] tips the balance back in their favor.
[Thanks for these links goes out to James Hay, David Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster and John King Tarpinian.]
Trying to avoid a cinema failure by not using a planet’s name seems kind of absurd. Who blames the planet Earth when directors and actors produce a lousy movie?
& the website for the best opening lines also has a list of the best last lines for one hundred books.
It was momentarily disconcerting to see the name “Dave Klaus” listed as the plumbing contractor for building The Shire.
It’s a bit of a shame that they prohibit children. I have known many a quiet and intelligent fannish youngster who would fit in just fine, and not be disturbing to adults there for contemplation.