(1) CAT RAMBO PREVIEW. Read a 2-chapter excerpt from Cat Rambo’s Devil’s Gun at Tor.com. The sequel to You Sexy Thing and second book of her Disco Space Opera series arrives on August 29.
Life’s hard when you’re on the run from a vengeful pirate-king…
(2) HUGO, GIRL! HUGO VOTER PACKET. Hugo, Girl! the Podcast is a finalist for Best Fancast.
Their submission to the Chengdu Worldcon Hugo Voter Packet is available in a public Google drive folder here.
They chose to include their episodes covering Ringworld, Neuromancer, Among Others, and Kallocain.
(3) BROOKLYN BOOKS & BOOZE. Rooftop Readings is now Brooklyn Books & Booze. Their next event is on August 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Barrow’s Intense Tasting Room at 86th 34th Street, Brooklyn, NY where there will be readings by Michael Swanwick, Alex Segura, W. Lance Hunt and Susan Breen.
This is a monthly (usually third Tuesday) in-person event that showcases three (or four) authors reading from their recent works. It’s free, but a ticket purchase gets you a drink. For more information, go to BrooklynBooksBooze.com. To buy tickets, go to Eventbrite.
(4) MAKING CAPITALISM WORK FOR THEM. The Guardian maps the latest obstacles to getting a game-playing kid to engage in a family visit to New York City: “‘Can I bring my switch?’: A family holiday throws up existential questions”.
…I exhaled. I was regretting my draconian stance on screen time yesterday. Now he’d think I’d left the charger behind on purpose, in the name of being together as a family! My mind flashed back to those holidays in Skibbereen, the grim forced marches through the rain with nothing to look forward to but fresh air …
“Well, the thing is,” I said. “We can’t charge the Switch right now because … ”
“Because we’re going to the Nintendo store!” my wife interrupted.
“There’s a Nintendo store?” I repeated.
“There’s a Nintendo store?!” My son was so excited that he momentarily put down his actual Nintendo.
“Yes!” my wife said, flourishing her phone with a somewhat maniacal look. “The flagship store is in Rockefeller Plaza.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Of course there was a Nintendo store. This was the centre of global capitalism. Good old capitalism!
My wife thought we should get the charger right away. But the fact that the good people of Nintendo had seen fit to grace New York with their presence had given the city a real boost in my son’s eyes. Excited that he’d shown an interest in a location actually to be found on planet Earth, I thought we could use the store visit as a carrot to lure him to other destinations – a kind of tourism by stealth.
First stop was the Empire State Building, now so colossally expensive that King Kong would probably give it a pass. “This is a world-famous view,” I told my son. “You can see the whole of Manhattan from here.” “Can you see the Nintendo store?” he asked. I checked. “No,” I said. My son frowned. “It’s still there,” I assured him. “But you can’t see it,” he said. “Right, but I can’t see lots of things and they still exist.” “But you don’t know for sure.” “Your family is adorable,” a woman told my wife….
To be honest, I can see the kid’s viewpoint. Back in Ye Olde Sixties I brought along a stack of library books on a family road trip and annoyed my father no end by sitting in the back seat reading instead of looking out the window at the places he was taking us.
(5) TWILIGHT ZONED OUT. MeTV throws in some made-up titles and challenges fans to decide “Are these real Twilight Zone episodes… or nah?” I got 12 out of 15 – but can you run the table?
(6) AVERT THOSE CURSES. The Scene newsletter takes us inside“The Fascinating World of Theatre Superstitions”.
The world of theater is a realm where creativity, artistry, and superstition intermingle. Behind the glitz and glamour of the stage lies a rich tapestry of traditions and beliefs that have been passed down through generations of performers, directors, and stagehands. These theater superstitions add an air of mystery and intrigue to an already captivating world. Join us as we explore the meaning and origins behind ten intriguing theater superstitions.
First on their list is:
“BREAK A LEG” – The phrase “Break a Leg” is a well-known theatrical superstition used to wish performers good luck. Interestingly, it is considered bad luck to wish someone good luck directly before a performance. The origin of this phrase is subject to debate, but one plausible theory is that it dates back to ancient Greece when audiences would stomp their feet instead of clapping to show appreciation. A successful performance would result in so much stomping that an actor might “break a leg.” Additionally, some believe it could be a way to confuse or trick malevolent spirits who might be listening.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 5, 1891 — Donald Kerr. Happy Hapgood in 1938’s Flash Gordon’s Trip To Mars which might be one of the earliest such films. His only other genre appearances were in the Abbott and Costello films such as Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man in uncredited roles. (Died 1977.)
- Born August 5, 1940 — Natalie Trundy. First, she was one of the Underdwellers named Albina in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Next, she played Dr. Stephanie Branton, a specialist studying apes from the future who came into our present day in Escape from the Planet of the Apes. Then in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, she played the chimp Lisa. (Died 2019.)
- Born August 5, 1943 — Kathleen Sky, 80. She wrote two Trek novels, Vulcan! reissued as Star Trek Adventures 11: Vulcan! and Death’s Angel reissued as Star Trek Adventures 10: Death’s Angel, both on Bantam. They were two of the earliest novels written off the series. She had four other SF novels —Birthright, Ice Prison,Star Rooks and Witchdame. She appeared as an Enterprise crewmember in the recreation deck scenes in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- Born August 5, 1947 — Élisabeth Vonarburg, 76. Parisian born, she’s Quebec resident. She was the literary director of the French-Canadian SF magazine Solaris. Her first novel, Le Silence de la Cité, was published in 1981. Since then she’s been a prolific writer of novels and short fiction. In 1993, her website notes received a Prix spécial du Jury Philip K. Dick Award for In the Mothers’ Land. H’h. I’m pleased to say that iBooks is deeply stocked in her works. Kindle has nothing at all by her.
- Born August 5, 1956 — Robert Frezza, 67. Wrote five SF novels of a space opera-ish nature in five years covering two series, McLendon’s Syndrome and The VMR Theory, and The Small Colonial War series which is A Small Colonial War, Fire in a Faraway Place and Cain’s Land) before disappearing from writing SF twenty years ago.
- Born August 5, 1956 — Maureen McCormick, 67. Though better known for being Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch, she has done some genre performances. She was Eve in Snow White: A Deadly Summer and Officer Tyler in Return to Horror High, both decidedly pulpish horror film. A step up in class was her portrayal of the young Endora in two episodes of Bewitched, “And Something Makes Three” and “Trick or Treat”. She shows up in another magical show, I Dream of Jeannie, as Susan in “My Master, the Doctor”. And she was used in six different roles on Fantasy Island.
- Born August 5, 1968 — Matt Jones, 55. Started as columnist for Doctor Who Magazine. A decade later, he wrote two of the Tenth Doctor scripts, a two-parter, “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit”, and one for Torchwood, “Dead Man Walking”. He co-authored with Joan Ormond, Time Travel in Popular Media.
- Born August 5, 1980 — JoSelle Vanderhooft, 43. Former Green Man reviewer with a single novel so far, Ebenezer, and several collections, Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories and Steam-Powered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories. She also co-edited with Steve Berman, Heiresses of Russ 2011: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction. Ossuary was nominated for Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- Tom Gauld’s monster checklist.
(9) CLEANING UP IN THE MARKETPLACE. Of course you would pay $38 for four bars of Marvel’s Avengers-themed soap. Don’t try and deny it. Dr. Squatch is waiting for your order.
(10) WHAT DO YOU WANT? It didn’t take a thousand words for Nghi Vo to tell what this picture should be worth.
(11) SCHOLARSHIP. Danny Sichel assures me this is “technically science fiction.”
(12) THE KINDEST CUT OF ALL. MeTV claims ”Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space” is underrated” and reviews the album cut-by-cut.
The year was 1967. The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Mrs. Robinson was trying to seduce Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Muhammad Ali was stripped of the heavyweight championship for his conscientious objection regarding the war in Vietnam. These were heady times.
As the Space Race captured the world’s imagination, so too did the adventures of the Enterprise crew on Star Trek. Captain Kirk may have been the leader, but it was easy to see why a certain Vulcan remained a fan favorite. Something about Leonard Nimoy as Spock created this passion and demand among fans. People were desperate for more Spock, and executives were eager to capitalize….
Here’s an example of their commentary:
3. “Where Is Love?”
Bet you didn’t know Spock did show tunes! If you’ve ever fantasized about Leonard Nimoy singing a song from hit West End music Oliver!, we have great news for you. This is the one that Oliver sings after getting thrown into the basement of a funeral parlour (also “parlor”). Neat!
(13) VOYAGER 2 ANSWERS THE CALL. WHEW! Yahoo! has good news: “NASA restores contact with Voyager 2 spacecraft after mistake led to weeks of silence”.
NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft was back chatting it up Friday after flight controllers corrected a mistake that had led to weeks of silence.
Hurtling ever deeper into interstellar space billions of miles away, Voyager 2 stopped communicating two weeks ago. Controllers sent the wrong command to the 46-year-old spacecraft and tilted its antenna away from Earth.
On Wednesday, NASA’s Deep Space Network sent a new command in hopes of repointing the antenna, using the highest powered transmitter at the huge radio dish antenna in Australia. Voyager 2’s antenna needed to be shifted a mere 2 degrees.
It took more than 18 hours for the command to reach Voyager 2 — more than 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) away — and another 18 hours to hear back.
The long shot paid off. On Friday, the spacecraft started returning data again, according to officials at California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory….
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Danny Sichel, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Danny Sichel.]