(1) WEAR FOR ART THOU. The Geek’s Guide to Ugly Christmas Sweaters promises their Star Wars Christmas sweaters “will keep you warmer than the inside of a tauntaun (and smell better, too!)” They also offer designs from Marvel, DC, and Disney film franchises, as well as Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.
(2) #FLYINGWHILEDISABLED. Mari Ness has battled Aer Lingus for repairs to her broken wheelchair. Thread starts here.
(3) SFF AT NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL. [Item by Rob Thornton.] The Library of Congress taped the presentations made at this year’s National Book Festival and they are available at the Library’s website. Here are four of the presentations that were related to SF/F:
- V.E. Schwab discusses “Vengeful”
- Seanan McGuire discusses “Middlegame”
- John Scalzi discusses “The Consuming Fire”
- Charlie Jane Anders discusses “The City In The Middle Of The Night”
(4) THE BEST IN ADVERTISING. The marketing campaign for Captain Marvel got nominated. Yes, the marketing campaign. “‘Captain Marvel,’ ‘Lion King,’ ‘Irishman’ Marketing Campaigns Nominated for Clio Entertainment Awards” – The Hollywood Reporter has the highlights. The complete Clio shortlist is here.
Marketing campaigns for Captain Marvel, The Lion King and The Irishman are among the theatrical nominees for the 2019 Clio Entertainment Awards.
On the television side, Killing Eve, The Twilight Zone, Leaving Neverland, When They See Us and Fosse/Verdon made the shortlist for the awards, which will be handed out Nov. 21 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Craig Robinson is set to host the show, where the bronze, silver, gold and grand award winners also will be revealed.
Other theatrical nominees include campaigns for the upcoming Top Gun sequel, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.
Nominees also were announced in several other categories, including games and home entertainment.
(5) YOU’RE DARN TOOTIN’ IT’S CINEMA. Is anyone surprised to read that Disney CEO Bob Iger has leaped into the fray? Yahoo! Entertainment reports “Bob Iger Compares ‘Black Panther’ to Scorsese and Coppola Films in Defense of Marvel Movies”.
“When Francis [Ford Coppola] uses the words ‘those films are despicable,’ to whom is he talking? Is he talking to Kevin Feige who runs Marvel, or Taika Waititi who directs or Ryan Coogler who directs for us or Scarlett Johansson,” Iger said. “I don’t get what they’re criticizing us for when we’re making films that people are obviously enjoying going to because they’re doing so by the millions.”
(6) SUPERHERO MOVIES AS A RORSCHACH TEST. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Perhaps you can see what you want to see in your average superhero origin story. Writing in the Guardian, Steve Rose wades into the feud between auteur directors like Martin Scorsese and fans of superhero movies. Without taking a side in the debate, Rose offers a nuanced exploration of superhero stories, superhero fatigue, and fandom. “Auteurs assemble! What caused the superhero backlash?”
“People who wear masks are driven by trauma,” says Smart’s FBI agent in the new Watchmen. “They’re obsessed with justice because of some injustice they’ve suffered.” Maybe that’s been happening on a global level. Maybe still we need more of it. There are always arguments for and against processing reality through genre escapism and there are always “healthy” and “unhealthy” examples of it.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- October 23, 1959. “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine” featured Ida Lupino (1918 – 1995) who was the only person to have worked as both actress and though uncredited at the time as a director in the same episode of The Twilight Zone. She will be credited with directing “The Masks”. She was also the only woman to direct an episode of The Twilight Zone.
- October 23, 1998 — T-Rex: Back To The Cretaceous premiered. It was shot for the IMAX 3D format. It starred Liz Stauber, Peter Horton and Kari Coleman. It did very well at the box office and it had a stellar 70% rating at Rotten Tomatoe
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 23, 1880 — Una O’Connor. Jenny Hall in the classic Invisible Man. She’d be Minnie in The Bride of Frankenstein, and Mrs. Umney in the Cantervillie Ghost. (Died 1959.)
- Born October 23, 1918 — James Daly. He was Mr. Flint in Trek‘s “Requiem for Methuselah” episode. He also showed up on The Twilight Zone, Mission:Impossible and The Invaders. He was Honorious in The Planet of The Apes, and Dr. Redding in The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler. (Died 1978.)
- Born October 23, 1953 — Ira Steven Behr, 66. Producer and screenwriter responsible for the best of the Treks, Deep Space Nine. He went on to work on Dark Angel, The Twilight Zone, The 4400, Alphas, and Outlander. An impressive tally indeed.
- Born October 23, 1955 — Graeme Revell, 64. New Zealand composer responsible for such genre soundtracks as The Crow, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Saint (1997), Titan A.E., Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Daredevil and Sin City.
- Born October 23, 1959 — Sam Raimi, 60. Responsible for, and this is not a complete listing, the Darkman franchise , M.A.N.T.I.S., the Jack of All Trades series that Kage loved, the Cleopatra 2525 series, the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess series and the Spider-Man trilogy.
- Born October 23, 1976 — Ryan Reynolds, 43. Lead in that Green Lantern film. He was Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, and Seth in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He portrayed Wade Wilson / Weapon XI in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And he’s Deadpool.
- Born October 23, 1986 — Emilia Clarke, 33. She’ll be most remembered as Daenerys Targaryen on the Game of Thrones. Her genre film roles include Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys and Kira in Solo: A Star Wars Story. She was also Verena in Voice from the Stone, a horror film. Not to mention Savannah Roundtree in Triassic Attack, a network film clearly ripping off Jurrasic Park.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Off the Mark shows who coined a well-known phrase.
(10) A REAL CREDENTIAL. Andrew Porter tells me that in Iceland all hotel personnel get Photo IDs —
(11) SUPE’S AN IMMIGRANT, TOO. Polygon’s Susana Polo alerts readers that “The Superman story that set the Ku Klux Klan back years is now a comic” in an interview with artist Gene Luen Yang.
Superman Smashes the Klan is a three-part graphic novel about a young Superman battling racists, helping an immigrant family, and wrestling with his own status as an alien outsider. It’s extremely charming.
The book comes from the award-winning cartooning team of Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru, who were inspired by the 1946 Superman story “Clan of the Fiery Cross.” That story wasn’t a comic, but rather an arc of the immensely popular Adventures of Superman radio serial. In the audio adventure, Superman battled the racist machinations of the Ku Klux Klan. Excoriated and embarrassed by one of the country’s most popular radio shows, the white supremacist group actually saw a drop in membership.
Superman Smashes the Klan is the first time “Clan of the Fiery Cross” has been adapted to comics…
(12) BICYCLE BUILT FOR BOO. UPI is there when “11,000 zombies go for bike ride in Florida”.
About 11,000 people donned costumes and got on their bicycles for the Zombie Bike Ride, organizers of the annual Fantasy Fest event in Key West, Fla., said.
(13) NO EXCUSE. [Item by Todd Mason.] An excerpt from Peter Orner’s “A Refusal to Defend or Even Stick Up for the Art of the Short Story” in The Paris Review. Slight, but perhaps useful…and brief, and with some “strong” language…an excerpt:
…I refuse to grovel, to attempt to put into words what will always be unsayable, which is to say that what makes certain stories reach into your chest cavity and rip out what is left of your heart needs not be discussed. It is itself all the justification a story will ever need. The best offense being no defense at all. And so: none offered. And you, my friend, recently said to me, “You’re lucky you write stories. I mean the form is an ideal forum for today’s uber-distracted society. Don’t you think?” And because I love and respect you, in spite of the pain in my soul the question inflicted, here I am answering by not answering which has been my MO for much of life. No I do not think. Ah, screw it: the short story is, with the glorious exception of poetry, absolutely the least ideal mode of expression for our distracted society because it takes a certain kind of intense concentration. Compassionate concentration? To appreciate. To grasp. To love. I’m talking about a reading a story, a good story. What’s a good story? How am I defining—
You tell me. Because you know. This is personal. To you and to me.
(14) EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM. “Haunted house requires 40-page waiver, physical exam” — UPI interviews the host.
A Tennessee haunted house billed as the scariest in the world requires visits to sign a 40-page waiver, pass a physical and undergo a background check — and no one has ever finished the attraction.
Russ McKamey, owner of McKamey Manor in Summertown, said the price of admission is only a bag of food for his five dogs, and the prize for finishing is $20,000, but no one has ever collected the prize money.
… The visitors must then watch a 2-hour video called And Then There Were None, which features footage of every visitor from July 2017 and August 2019 quitting before the end of the experience. Visitors leave by uttering the code phrase, “You really don’t want to do this.”
(15) INSURANCE CLAIM. The house in this commercial is a little creepy, nothing that would make you forget what they’re selling, however.
The gecko helps a new homeowner search through the attic of his home, and makes some creepy discoveries.
(16) CUBESATS PREVAIL. “Itty-Bitty Satellites Take On Big-Time Science Missions”.
Tiny satellites are taking on a big-time role in space exploration.
CubeSats are small, only about twice the size of a Rubik’s Cube. As the name suggests, they’re cube-shaped, 4 inches on each side, and weigh in at about 3 pounds. But with the miniaturization of electronics, it’s become possible to pack a sophisticated mission into a tiny package.
…”I saw a flyer on a bus stop that said, ‘Want to build a satellite?’ ” says Hannah Goldberg. At the time, in 1999, she was an undergraduate engineering major at the University of Michigan. The flyer caught her attention, and she decided that building satellites was exactly what she wanted to do.
Today, Goldberg works at GomSpace, a Danish satellite company making CubeSats for the European Space Agency.
“In the beginning, in the early days of CubeSats, they kind of had a bad reputation,” Goldberg says. “People didn’t think you could do much science or much engineering benefit with them.”
…But with the advent of smartphones, Goldberg says, engineers started getting really good at packing a bunch of electronics into a small space. CubeSats started getting more sophisticated, and the cost of electronics that could be used in space came down. Scientists started to take notice.
(17) QUANTUM LEAP? “Google claims ‘quantum supremacy’ for computer”.
Google says an advanced computer has achieved “quantum supremacy” for the first time, surpassing the performance of conventional devices.
The technology giant’s Sycamore quantum processor was able to perform a specific task in 200 seconds that would take the world’s best supercomputers 10,000 years to complete.
Scientists have been working on quantum computers for decades because they promise much faster speeds.
In their Nature paper, John Martinis of Google, in Mountain View, and colleagues set the processor a random sampling problem – where it checks a set of numbers that has a truly random distribution.
Sycamore was able to complete the task in three minutes and 20 seconds. By contrast, the researchers claim in their paper that Summit, the world’s best supercomputer, would take 10,000 years to complete the task.
(18) THE DAY OF THEIR RETURN. The BBC pleads “Terminator Dark Fate: Please terminate this franchise”
Original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton are reunited in this latest instalment of the cyborg franchise – but otherwise it’s pointless, writes Nicholas Barber.
Well, he did say he’d be back. Arnold Schwarzenegger made that promise in The Terminator in 1984, little realising that “I’ll be back” would become his most famous line of dialogue, or that the homicidal cyborg he was playing would become his defining role. True to his word, he was back for Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, along with the original film’s writer-director, James Cameron, and its co-star, Linda Hamilton. After that, Schwarzenegger was back for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, Terminator Salvation in 2009, and Terminator Genisys in 2015, but they wandered further and further from the lean, mean high-concept thrills of the 1984 classic. And now he is back again in Terminator Dark Fate.
…[Most] viewers will be waiting for Arnie and Linda to show up – and when they eventually do, it’s worth the wait. Much like Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode in last year’s Halloween – another exercise in course-correcting a franchise by pretending several of the sequels didn’t happen – Hamilton’s Sarah Connor is now silver-haired, surly, armed to the teeth, and with a voice so low and harsh that it sounds as if her cigarette intake will kill her before any robots manage to. She is an icon from the moment she strides out of her car carrying a gun the size of a fully grown Christmas tree. Schwarzenegger’s arrival is even more welcome. That stillness… that deadpan line-delivery… that physical resemblance to one of Stonehenge’s standing stones… even at the age of 72, he is better than anyone at playing an unstoppable cyborg (Luna just doesn’t have the requisite menace). And he is quite touching, too, as a killing machine who has reformed and settled down as a grey-bearded family man.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Robot Chicken’s “O Great Pumpkin” parody.
[Thanks John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Todd Mason, Mike Kennedy, Olav Rokne, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Russell Letson.]