(1) WEIN SCHEDULED FOR SURGERY. Wolverine co-creator Len Wein has made a public appeal for your good thoughts when he’s in surgery on Tuesday:
I am about to impose on our online friendship for what I pray will be the final time. Then I can go back to posting endless videos of cute Golden Retriever puppies, of which there can never be too many.
Okay, so here’s the deal: About six weeks ago, I took a header while leaving my foot doctor’s office and bounced my head off the floor, which I may have talked about here. At first, they thought the damage was minimal, but further testing revealed I had fractured/broken my upper neck in several places, which need repair immediately or I run the risk of becoming a planter with a head on it. I’m going into the hospital tomorrow morning (March 6) for prep, with major all-day surgery scheduled for Tuesday (March 7) at 11AM PST.
So here’s where you come in. At that time on Tuesday morning, I’d really appreciate it if you just think good healing thoughts about me. I asked the same of you two years ago when I had my quintuple bypass heart surgery, and I believe to this day that’s a major reason I survived it.
So, if you think you can, please do. On the other hand, if you think I drink runny eggs through a straw, I’d rather you not think of me at all. After that, the rest is up to my talented surgeons and whatever Higher Powers That Be.
Thanks for listening, and I hope to see you on the other side.
(2) SPACEMAN SPIFF’S FRIEND. On The Verge, Andrew Liptak introduces readers to Brian Kesinger’s Tea Girls, which includes a series of Calvin and Hobbes-style Star Wars cartoons.
(3) GANYMEDE BORNE ALOFT BY DEVELOPERS. “Tolkien’s favourite watering hole in line for a makeover: St Giles pub The Eagle and Child in major redevelopment bid”. The Oxford Mail has the story.
HISTORIC Oxford pub The Eagle and Child is in line for a major revamp.
Pub company Young’s and St John’s College plans to redevelop the Grade-II listed watering hole in St Giles.
The makeover will span numbers 49-51, including Greens café next door and space above, which is vacant.
Under proposals submitted to Oxford City Council, the Eagle and Child will be expanded and upgraded, with distinctive eating and drinking zones created.
The two upper floors will be converted into seven hotel rooms, with en-suite bathrooms.
Leaseholder Young’s is working with St John’s College, which owns the building and both say they expect the redevelopment to be completed by 2018.
Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis said: “The Eagle & Child is an iconic pub with huge potential and we are very excited to be working with St John’s on its redevelopment.
(4) THE HOME STRETCH. Radio Times says these three stars have a shot at becoming the next Doctor Who.
Former Death in Paradise star Kris Marshall may be the clear favourite to be the next Doctor – but he still has competition from two women according to one firm of bookies.
William Hill says money is still being taken on Tilda Swinton and Olivia Colman suggesting that the battle for the keys to the Tardis could now be a three-horse race.
(5) SUGGESTED READING. The SFWA Blog has posted the “2016 Andre Norton Award Jury Recommended Reading List” of young adult and middle grade fiction recommended by jurors Ellen Klages, Leah Bobet, Eugene Myers, Jei D. Marcade, and Fran Wilde. I have indicated 2016 award finalist with as asterisk (*).
2016 Andre Norton Award Jury Recommended Reading List
(in alphabetical order by author)
- Kelly Barnhill – The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Algonquin) (*)
- Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree (Macmillan) (*)
- A. J. Hartley – Steeplejack(Tor Teen)
- Heidi Helig – The Girl From Everywhere (Greenwillow)
- David D. Levine – Arabella of Mars (Tor) (*)
- Katharine McGee – The Thousandth Floor (Harper Collins)
- Philip Reeve – Railhead (Switch Press) (*)
- Lindsay Ribar – Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies (Kathy Dawson Books) (*)
- Patrick Samphire – Secrets of the Dragon’s Tomb (Henry Holt)
- Delia Sherman – The Evil Wizard Smallbone (Candlewick) (*)
- April Genevieve Tucholke – Wink, Poppy, Midnight (Dial Books)
- Diane Zahler – Baker’s Magic (Capstone Young Readers)
(6) NEWSWEEK TOLKIEN TRIBUTE. “The Road Goes On – The Making of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Silmarillion’” is an article from Newsweek’s Special Edition: J.R.R. Tolkien—The Mind of a Genius.
The story of Bilbo Baggins and his quest to the Lonely Mountain was originally conceived with no connection with his vast and epic mythology. The Lord of the Rings, which began as a simple sequel to the immensely successful The Hobbit, also lacked concrete ties to The Silmarillion (at least in the book’s early stages). But the grip of Tolkien’s earliest tales on the rest of his oeuvre proved inescapable, and the author found himself adding references to his myths within The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, especially because several characters from the latter work, such as Galadriel, hailed from the time period described in The Silmarillion. Tolkien added these characters into his larger legendarium, and in doing so couldn’t resist the temptation to delve deeper into the myths he created and their implication for his world.
“He became more and more interested in what you might call the metaphysical aspects of his secondary invention,” Christopher Tolkien said. “Above all with the nature of the Elves.” The result was that Tolkien died with what he regarded as his most important work, the urtext of a universe loved by millions, in a state of frozen transformation.
Fortunately, Christopher Tolkien was intimately familiar with his father’s vision for Middle-earth’s mythology and proved capable of sorting through the reams of notes and journals the professor left, containing everything from the genealogy of Elf kings to poems to the details of life in Aman. Working with Guy Gavriel Kay (who later went on to become an accomplished fantasy writer in his own right), the younger Tolkien crafted the final version of The Silmarillion for publication in 1977. For the first time, fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings learned of the titanic clashes between good and evil and feats of heroism only hinted at in their favorite fiction.
(7) TOLKIEN, THE PSYCHIC PAPER EDITION. And for those of you with no intention of ever reading the book, eBay is offering the perfect collector’s first edition of The Silmarillion – a publisher’s pre-sale dummy copy – for a mere $945. It has everything but that bothersome text.
TOLKIEN, J.R.R. The Silmarillion. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1977. First Edition. Publisher saleman’s dummy copy used in advance of the book’s publication. This sample book prints the half-title, title pages, copyright page and the first 32 pages of the text followed by a couple of hundred blank pages to fill out the book. With a long blank folded sheet at the rear as a mockup for the map that would be in the finished book. Bound in blue cloth with the stamping and decoration the same as that of eventually used in the finished book. Fine copy in a fine proof state dust jacket.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- March 5, 1943 — Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is released.
(9) THE FROZEN CHOSEN. As I reported earlier today, Vox Day released the Rabid Puppies 2017 slate. The slate comes with a brand-new logo.
Matt Y accepted the challenge of interpreting the new art.
And could someone decode that logo?
What you have is a title using a Heavy Metal font, giving it the look of a Def Leppard concert T-shirt. There’s a lot of ice, obviously a clear signal refuting climate change. There’s the castle from Frozen ironically in that they’ll never let it go. There are three puppies. The one on the left is sporting a ladies fur lined parka which might be seasonal however would seem odd to be wearing fur over fur. Not just in a PETA way but just in general. That puppy appears to be playing fetch with Mjolnir and is on it’s way to return it. The husky in the middle has it’s head cocked in stupefied confusion in a mirror image of how most people look when someone tries to explain Rabid Puppies to them. The one on the right didn’t get the melee weapons memo and is trying not to show the others how much that hurt it’s feelings.
The three of them will defend Elsa against the Duke’s evil plans, while desperately seeking a participation trophy once again.
(10) MAGICAL THINKING. Camestros Felapton, in “Tired Puppies 2017”, deconstructs Brad Torgersen’s latest column for Mad Genius Club.
In the comments, Brad even manages to have his cake and eat it by complaining about more ‘literary’ SF *not* having traditional SF covers (his specific example is All the Birds in the Sky) because that is a bad thing too for some reason. Yes, yes, you’d think that he would WANT non-nuggety SF to have non-nuggety covers but that would be applying far too much logical consistency to what is a fundamental objection to wrongbooks having wrongfun in the bookshop.
I think the best, most recent example of this, is All The Birds In The Sky. It’s packaged deliberately as a lit book. It desperately wants to escape the SF/F shelves and go live on the mainstream shelves where the “important” books live. (chuckle) I blame Irene Gallo, who is very much responsible for this trend at TOR. She wants the field as a whole to stop looking like it did during the high period. Because making all that amazing money with space art that actually looks like space art, and swords’n’sorcery art that actually looks like swords’n’sorcery art, was just so gauche.
Note how there is no ground for compromise here. If publisher market SF to a less-SF audience then for Brad this is bad, if they market the same SF to a SF audience then to Brad this is also bad. Would Brad *seriously* be happy if ALl the Birds in the SKy had a cover featuring space rockets (in the book), people descending from ropes from helicopters (in the book) and magical people casting spells (in the book)? Goodness no! That would be the other evil of somehow tricking the honest-SF-reader into reading a book with cooties.
We are back to the unspoken logic of much of what has consumed the right for decades. It is unspoken and avoided, an incomplete argument leads people to a conclusion that they would reject if spoken. By not following the logic they can retain a belief that they are moderate and reasonable. However, their argument always leads to the same spot. Brad would just rather these wrong books DID NOT EXIST. He doesn’t want to ban them or burn them or imprison their authors (although how else can his wish come true?) he just wants them to magically not be there.
(11) THUMBS DOWN. BBC calls live Beauty and the Beast overlong and pointless.
There are two obvious differences between the two versions, however. The first difference is that the current film is live-action, so there are lots of rococo sets and intricate digital creations to look at. And yet, despite the zillions of dollars that must have been spent on the Hogwarts-ish production design, the sad fact is that neither of the showstopping numbers, the title song and Be Our Guest, is as magical or imaginative as it was in a cartoon which came out over a quarter of a century ago.
Few of the actors live up to their predecessors, either. Buried as he is under layers of computer-generated imagery, Dan Stevens manages to make the Beast his own by finding the pathos in his aristocratic awkwardness. Ewan McGregor puts some oomph and ooh-la-la into Lumiere the candelabra. As for the rest of the cast, Emma Watson is prim and petulant as Belle; Emma Thompson’s Mrs Potts is no match for Angela Lansbury’s, who was as warm and soothing as the tea she brewed; and Kevin Kline is painfully mannered as Belle’s wittering father. In many cases, what it comes down to is that the voices in the cartoon were provided by musical and opera veterans who could really sing, whereas the same characters in the live-action film are played by movie stars who really can’t.
(12) DON’T BUILD THIS IN YOUR BASEMENT. The UK military misplaced what?
A north Wales town has a cold war thriller on its hands after nuclear submarine plans were found in a charity shop suitcase.
Staff at a Barnardo’s store in Porthmadog, Gwynedd, were amazed to discover the document showing details of the former £200m HMS Trafalgar.
“Someone said that if the phone rang and it was someone with a Russian accent, I should put it down,” joked manager, Stella Parker.
The plans will be auctioned off.
Charity store staff say the suitcase was donated anonymously and filled with books.
But hidden in the lining of the luggage was the impressive 6ft (1.8m) drawings of the former Royal Navy vessel.
Chip Hitchcock suggests, “Dave Langford is probably snickering at anyone who foolishly thought The Leaky Establishment was fiction….”
(13) VIRTUAL EXHIBITS. Twilight Zone Museum is celebrating 15 years online by hawking video from two TZ conventions held at the beginning of the century. (Remember when the 21st Century was the future?)
For those who missed our two Los Angeles-based TZ Conventions, you’re in luck! We have the 3 panel discussions done in 2002 available on DVD. The actor panel featured actors Cliff Robertson, Jean Carson, Jonathan Harris, Arlene Martel, Wright King, William Windom, Suzanne Lloyd, Kevin McCarthy, James Best, Anne Francis, and Suzanne Lloyd. The writer panel featured George Clayton Johnson, Earl Hamner, John Tomerlin (“Number 12 Looks Just Like You”), and Marc Zicree. The directors panel featured James Sheldon and Eliot Silverstein plus actors Susan Gordon and Ben Cooper (who appeared in their episodes). George Clayton Johnson’s historic keynote address at the VIP Dinner Celebration, which can be viewed for free right here on this page, is also available on DVD. The 2004 panels: Actor panel with George Takei, H.M. Wynant, Shelley Berman, Gail Kobe, Bill Mumy, and Lloyd Bochner. Director/Producer panel with Ted Post and Del Reisman (both of these panels were hosted by Tony Albarella). Writer panel hosted by Andrew Ramage, with Gloria Pall (TZ actor and writer of her own TZ scrapbook plus 14 other books), Sandra Grabman (author of “The Albert Salmi Story”), Chris Beaumont (son of Charles Beaumont, TZ writer extraordinaire), Roger Anker (biographer of Beaumont), and George Clayton Johnson. There was a fourth panel of folks involved with “The New Twilight Zone” (from the 80s), led by Alan Brennert and including Harlan Ellison, Rockne O’Bannon, and others. The charge is $60 for all four of the 2002 panels and the charge for all five of the 2004 panels is also $60. Shipping cost is $6 within USA; if you buy both sets, it’s still $6 total for shipping. Outside USA shipping – please inquire for cost, as we will have to look it up online. These are high quality Region 1 DVDs. Payment methods accepted are Paypal, cash, or USPS money order ONLY! If paying by Paypal, there is a surcharge of $6 if purchasing both sets, or $3 if purchasing only one set, due to Paypal’s processing fees. Note: it costs you nothing to send money by Paypal, but there is a fee for us to receive your money and a 2-3 day waiting period before it hits our bank account. Please email [email protected] to place your order or if you have further questions!
(14) DEADPOOL 2. A teaser for the next Deadpool movie is making the rounds.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]