(1) WE’LL BE GONE FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND THEN. Cass Morris tells what it was like aboard Disney’s Halcyon Starcruiser in “Together As One”, first in a series of posts where she’ll capture full details of this Star Wars immersive experience. And joining her vicariously will be your best opportunity because the attraction will close at the end of September.
… And there was just… there was so much. Especially on Day 2. Noah and I spent four hours in Batuu, and almost all of that time was completing missions. We were running around all over the Outpost. And then once back on the Halcyon, we had a little breather (and much-needed time to clean up, considering the effect that Batuu’s balmy climate has) followed by lightsaber training, but from 3:30 onward? It was just go-go-go. Of the four major paths available, I ended up on three of them. (Or, at least, pieces of each — there are sort of sub-tracks to at least the Resistance path, with different characters and objectives). My schedule was bonkers. I think I had seven alarms set on the evening of Day 2 to make sure I moved when I needed to.
If you’re willing to go hard, it pays off. You absolutely cannot do everything — many things are mutually exclusive just due to scheduling. But you can do a lot if you’ve got the energy, the focus, the time management skill, and the willingness to dash up and down a few flights of stairs many times.
Anyone who was inclined to mock the price tag has no idea just how much goes into creating something like this — both creating it in the first place and then running it on a daily basis. I have some idea, but the work I do is on such a smaller scale, to say nothing of a smaller budget. But I know how many documents it takes to get the story set, to plan the props and scenic elements, to train the performers for something that’s really just a couple of hours of “on” time, without the complex branching trees the Starcruiser has. To do something for a 45-hour long experience, with so many variables… it would have to be utterly gargantuan….
(2) WHERE’D IT GO? For the record, David A. Riley has deleted from his blog the two posts discussing the sale of his novelette to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. News of the magazine’s decision not to publish it is at the link.
(3) ABOUT BRADBURY. Issue 7 of The New Ray Bradbury Review is out, the first completely online, open access issue. Editor Phil Nichols tells what readers can expect in times to come.
…As we enter this new phase of the The New Ray Bradbury Review, we hope to explore the four cornerstones of Bradbury’s life and work which have informed the Bradbury Center’s mission. The first of these, underpinning many of the articles in this current issue, is the advancement of literacy, a cause which seems ever more timely in 2023, where we see the states of Florida and Texas enacting policies which restrict readers’ access—and especially young learners’ access—to diverse voices. The Ray Bradbury Center’s home state of Indiana is regrettably heading along a similar path, while there is a glimmer of light in the darkness in Illinois, which has legislated to ban book bans. The other three cornerstones of Bradbury’s life and work will be explored in future issues of NRBR: freedom of imagination and First Amendment rights; advocacy for space exploration; and the preservation of libraries…
(4) WORKAROUNDS. Joe Yao of the Chengdu Worldcon committee responded to concerns from those having difficulty logging into the website to purchase memberships, or vote for the Hugos and 2025 Site Selection. This is a diagnosis of one individual’s problem, but includes much general information.
…The credential message was sent by Tencent Cloud, which I believe is one of the leading IT companies with the most advanced technologies in China. However, there are still some of the email systems recognize it as spam. I have checked the back-end records trying to figure out this issue, and here is some information I would like to share with you.
There are 1,084 requests for credential emails since we opened the Site Selection and the Hugo Packet, not all of them were logging in for the purpose of voting but for other membership purchases, including the Chinese members to buy admissions. And 1,057 of the requests arrived at the email addresses successfully, in other words, the receiving rate is about 97.5%. Most of the emails that failed to arrive were BLOCKED by the receivers, which we have no way to help from my side and I believe it happens not only to Chengdu Worldcon.
The way I can help is suggest you use gmail account if possible to login and if you are a voting member in DisCon 3 or you have already purchased any memberships of Chengdu with other emails but cannot login right now, I can re-upload your gmail information to the system from my side….
(5) FILM OVER BOOK. A Buzzfeed writer names “17 Movies That Were 100 Times Better Than The Book”. Of course I had to click on that. Here’s one of the better entries:
5. “The Shining. One of my favorite movie facts is from The Shining. In the book, the Torrance family drives a red Volkswagen Beetle; in the movie, they drive a yellow one. Later in the movie, as Halloran is driving in the snowstorm, he passes a car accident where a semitruck has crushed a red Beetle. This is thought of as director Stanley Kubrick knowing he totally changed the story and was actively snubbing it with this shot.”
(6) ANOTHER WRITE-OFF? “Disney finishes shooting Spiderwick Chronicles series, decides not to air it” reports Fansided.
…And indeed, Disney shot six episodes, with a cast that includes Jack Dylan Grazer, Lyon Daniels, Noah Cottrell, Joy Bryant, Mychala Lee, and Christian Slater as the shape-shifting ogre Mulgarath. But as it ends up…nah.
According to The A.V. Club, Disney has opted not to air the show on Disney+, even though it’s basically finished. This is a phenomenon we’re seeing more and more of lately. Remember the furor that resulted when Warner Bros. Discovery decided not to release the Batgirl movie after it had already finished shooting? How about when Disney spent over $100 million making a TV show based on the fantasy movie Willow only to remove it from Disney+ after a few months? Why are these studios spending all this money if they’re not going to let people watch what they bought?
A lot of it has to do with the economics of streaming. Will airing The Spiderwick Chronicles get more people to subscribe to Disney+? If not, it may be more cost-effective for Disney to dump it and write off the expenses on its taxes. It’s not like they can sell commercials during episodes, and they probably won’t sell a home video version, so there’s little way for the show to make money by itself. It’s a weird world we’re in now, and studios are trying to figure it out….
However, this line in Variety’s report “Spiderwick Chronicles Series Adaptation Not Moving Forward at Disney+” blurs the part about who’s footing the production bill:
The completed six-episode series, which hails from Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television, is currently being shopped to other potential buyers.
(7) KEEPING THE DISCWORLD NICE AND ROUND. The Gamer defends how the Pratchett rights are handed: “The Terry Pratchett Estate Is Right To Turn Down Subpar Adaptations”.
…The Pratchett estate has likely been burned by its experience with The Watch, something which languished in adaptation limbo for a number of years after the rights were bought. While the Amazon adaptation of Good Omens has been received far better by fans, the star power and intoxicating chemistry of stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen help things along. It will also help that co-author and lifelong friend of Pratchett’s Neil Gaiman is credited as creating the show and serves as a hands-on showrunner as the series moves past the events of the novel. If anyone knows how to continue the Pratchett legacy, it’s him.
In response to a headline decrying Discworld as another huge franchise “going to waste”, the Pratchett estate posted a status to the social media platform formerly known as Twitter saying, “It’s not going to waste, it’s just very much wanting to do the right thing and definitely not do the wrong thing. Again.”
The account, run by Pratchett’s longtime assistant and business manager Rob Wilkins, followed up by saying, “Our nuclear weapon remains our ability to say no and you simply wouldn’t believe how often we still have to use it”, adding the hashtag #Narrativia, referencing Pratchett’s production company that owns the multimedia rights to all of the author’s work….
… Rhianna Pratchett responded too, saying that “we are more mindful than ever, than when we give the ‘yes’ it has to be right”. After the decidedly unPratchett adaptation of The Watch, she has every right to be cautious. While the books are timeless, and continuously prove that Pratchett was ahead of his time in more ways than you could ever imagine, a slew of poor quality adaptations could tarnish that legacy….
(8) ARLEEN SORKIN (1955-2023). Arleen Sorkin, known for voicing Harley Quinn in animated DC Universe productions, died August 26 at the age of 67.
…In 1992, Sorkin began voicing Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series. She would reprise her role in other shows like Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Gotham Girls, Justice League and Static Shock. Sorkin also lent her voice as Harley Quinn for DC video games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, DC Universe Online and DC Universe Online: The Last Laugh….
(9) CAREER INCLUDED HARRY POTTER FILM. Actress Matyelok Gibbs died August 14 at the age of 91.
…On film, she played Erik’s mum in Terry Jones’s Erik the Viking (1989) – Tim Robbins was Erik, discovering there might be more to life than raping and pillaging, with Mickey Rooney as Erik’s grandad – and Auntie Muriel Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010), a gaudily attired, rude and gossipy great-great-aunt of the Weasley children resembling a bad-tempered flamingo….
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 28, 1915 — Tasha Tudor. American illustrator and writer of children’s books. Her most well-known book is Corgiville Fair, published in 1971, the first of a series to feature anthropomorphic corgis. (Died 2008.)
- Born August 28, 1916 — Jack Vance. Where to start? The Dying Earth series? Or perhaps the Lyonesse trilogy? I think I’ll pick the Demon Princes series. Damn he was good. Hugos? Oh yes. Discon was his first for “The Dragon Masters” short story followed by winning one for “The Last Castle” novelette at NYCon 3. His autobiography, This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”), Jack Vance, won at Aussiecon 4. Let’s not forget that he has a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement as well. And a SFWA Grand Master Award, too. (Died 2013.)
- Born August 28, 1917 — Jack Kirby. Responsible for a goodly part of modern comics from Captain America and the X-Men to Challengers of the Unknown and the New Gods. (Another DC film that got cancelled, damn it.) I had forgotten that he created the Black Panther. (Died 1994.)
- Born August 28, 1925 — Arkady Natanovich Strugatsky.The Strugatsky brothers were well known Russian SF writers who were Guests of Honor at Conspiracy ’87, the Worldcon that was held in Brighton, England. Their best-known novel in the West, Piknik na obochine, has been translated into English as Roadside Picnic. It is available from the usual suspects with a foreword by Le Guin. (Died 1991.)
- Born August 28, 1948 — Vonda McIntyre. I’ve read a number of her works including Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun which are all phenomenal. The latter was based on a short story of hers done as a faux encyclopedia article “The Natural History and Extinction of the People of the Sea”, that was illustrated by Le Guin. Neat. (Died 2019.)
- Born August 28, 1951 — Barbara Hambly, 72. Author of myriad genre works including the James Asher, Vampire Novels, The Windrose Chronicles, and the Sun Wolf and Starhawk series. Some Trek work. Was married for some years to George Alec Effinger.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Tom Gauld has his own version of “Writer Beware!”
(12) CELEBRITY COMIC COLLECTION GOES UNDER THE HAMMER. “Kevin Smith is Auctioning His Personal Comic Book Art Collection” and CBR.com hits the highlights.
…A highlight of the auction is Green Arrow cover art by Matt Wagner from issues #1 – #12, estimated to bring in between $1500.00 and $3000.00 each. Additionally, the collection features one of Smith’s rarest gems, a page from Frank Miller’s Daredevil #161, penciled by Miller and inked by Klaus Janson, estimated to cost $20,000.00 to $40,000.00. Each lot in this historic auction will come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) from Bodnar’s and Smith’s autograph.
A percentage of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to a scholarship fund for the Joe Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey. Smith, in his characteristic manner, exclaimed, “My current reduction in home wall space is going to make some ardent comic collectors’ dreams come true!” He added, “This will be the sale of the century.”…
(13) PLANET STEWARDS. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has chosen eight books and a film for their Planet Stewards Book Club. Craig Russell’s climate-crisis novel, Fragment, was selected alongside the film Don’t Look Up and the work of many other excellent authors, including Pulitzer Prize winner, Annie Proulx. Dates and subjects of club sessions and video links are here.
(14) COVER ARTIST. The Guardian shares Matt Stevens’ work in “Cover version: films reimagined as vintage paperbacks – in pictures”.
…For his project Good Movies As Old Books , Matt Stevens combined two of his main interests: recreating his favourite films in the style of vintage paperbacks. The North Carolina -based designer and illustrator begins with iPad sketches before using Photoshop to create the effect of old paper and weathered cover textures. The first 100 designs were collected in a Kickstarter-funded art book, and a second one is in the works. “You have to be efficient with the visuals and really distil down the concept into something simple, while still making an impact,” he says. “I love the challenge of that.”…
Andrew Porter dropped the link with a note: “Stephens apparently has no idea that another James Gunn is an actual author of SF books… One of the cover designs looks suspiciously like it’s by Mike Hinge.”
(15) TIME CAPSULE. There are still 153 photos of fans and writers on Mike Resnick’s Facebook album, spanning the decades of his life in fandom. Moshe Feder pointed this out a few days ago.
(16) WHO DID YOU SAY YOU WERE? “TV Characters With Mystery Names” at TVLine. The genre examples are not the most interesting ones, but there are some.
…What follows is an extensive small-screen history consisting of the following:
Characters whose first, last or full names have never been revealed.
Characters whose names were kept secret for multiple seasons. (Angels, aliens and other inhuman entities were not included.)
Here’s one example:
AGENT 99, GET SMART
The name of Maxwell Smart’s partner-turned-wife was never disclosed. The show would later follow tradition when she gave birth to their twins — a boy and a girl — and never revealed the daughter’s name.
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Naomi.]