(1) TAG TEAM. YouTuber Morganeua, a fourth year PhD student in Theatre and Performance Studies, uses Stephen King and Toni Morrison to beat Isaac Asimov into the ground in “Asimov’s Adverbs.” (Think of it as a homage to “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses.”)
I just finished reading “Foundation and Empire” by Isaac Asimov and it was GREAT but I noticed THIS about his writing. What do you think about excessive -ly adverb use in novels?
(2) SEAT FLYERS. Cat Rambo shares her “Principles for Pantsers – The 20 Minute Edition” on her YouTube channel.
Some people outline their novel before they start. Others don’t, but just plunge right and start. There’s plenty of advice on how to do the former, but those who practice the latter sometimes feel that they’re floundering, and no one’s providing any guidance. Working with my own process as well as that of students, clients, and mentees, I’ve come up with twelve principles for writing that you can apply, pre and post-pantsing, in order to start moving from chaos to order.
(3) LITERARY AFTERLIFE. Andrew Nette, in “The Long, Dark Legacy of William Hjortsberg’s Supernatural Neo-Noirs” on CrimeReads, uses the publication of Hjortsberg’s Angel’s Descent to discuss his novels that fused the detective and supernatural, most notably Angel’s Heart (made into a Mickey Rourke film).
…A posthumously published book can be tricky property, given the inevitable question of whether the author was able to finalize the manuscript to the degree they wanted, were they alive. Although Angel’s Inferno does not feel incomplete, it lacks the economy and flow of Falling Angel. It is also far darker, more debauched and violent. When you’ve made a pact to sell your soul to Satan, in terms of what you’re prepared to do, the sky, or in Angel’s case, the depths are the limit.
(4) KOWAL’S VISION FOR SERIES. Mary Robinette Kowal’s talk for the 2020 National Book Festival about her “Lady Astronaut” series is online.
…My first moment where I’m really, really conscious of the space program aside from just like, oh, yeah, people go into space, is when Sally Ride goes up. And looking back at the history of this and thinking about how long it took us to send someone up, it bothered me. It especially bothers me now that this is a problem that we still have ongoing. And so, I wanted to see what it would have been like if we had actually centered women. I sometimes say that this is Apollo era science fiction that’s women-centered. I wanted to read Ray Bradbury, but with 100% more women and people of color. That’s what I wanted. I wanted that sense of Golden Age adventure, but I wanted to be there. And so, I created this world.
(5) CORBEN OBIT. Artist Richard Corben (1940-2020) died December 2 following heart surgery. He was a winner of the Spectrum Grand Master Award (2009) and the Grand Prix at Angoulême (2018), and an inductee to the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame (2012). Dona Corben announced his passing on Facebook.
Corben started in underground comics, then gained increasing fame over the years working in the French magazine Métal Hurlant, and at Marvel, DC and Dark Horse Comics. His name will ring a bell with Harlan Ellison fans as the artist on the three-story graphic novel Vic and Blood: The Chronicles of a Boy and His Dog (1988).
(6) ING OBIT. Author Dean Ing, whose story “The Devil You Don’t Know” was a Hugo and Nebula finalist in 1979, died July 21 according toLocus, whichhas a complete profile: Dean Ing (1931-2020).
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz]
- Born December 10, 1815 — Ada Lovelace. Lovelace was the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron and his wife Lady Byron. She was an English mathematician and writer, principally known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Genre usage includes Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, Stirling’s The Peshawar Lancers and Crowley’s Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land. (Died 1852.) (CE)
- Born December 10, 1830 – Emily Dickinson. She set on paper 1,800 poems, less than a dozen published during her lifetime – too unconventional. “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” got into a 2014 Everyman’s Library volume. She has a poem on a schoolhouse in the Hague, in English and Dutch. You could do worse than look at her Wikipedia entry. (Died 1886) [JH]
- Born December 10, 1824 — George MacDonald. His writings have been cited as a major literary influence by many notable authors Including Tolkien and Lewis, Gaiman and L’Engle, Beagle and Twain to name but a few that I’d single out. The Princess and The Goblin and Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women as particularly fine reading. The Waterboys titled their Room to Roam album after a passage in Phantastes. Not surprisingly, he’s well represented at the usual digital suspects with one publication an offering fifteen pages of reading for a dollar including eight novels. (Died 1905.) (CE)
- Born December 10, 1879 – E.H. Shepard. Earned the Military Cross. Lead cartoonist for Punch. Of particular interest to us for illustrating The Wind in the Willows and Milne’s four Winnie the Pooh books; see too The Reluctant Dragon. He did much else. (Died 1976) [JH]
- Born December 10, 1903 — Mary Norton. Author of The Borrowers which won the 1952 Carnegie Medal from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals recognizing the novel as the year’s outstanding children’s book by a British author. She would continue to write these novels for three decades with Hallmark turning it into a film in the early seventies. Her novels The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons and Bonfires and Broomsticks would be adapted into the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks in the same period. (Died 1992.) (CE)
- Born December 10, 1920 – Dan Spiegle. In a career of Blackhawk, Maverick, Spin and Marty, he also drew Space Family Robinson and The Black Hole. For this Roger Elwood book he did interiors too. Of his work on Mickey Mouse with Paul Murry, Scott Shaw said “none of the ‘real’ human characters seem to notice anything remotely unusual about [working] with a three-foot-tall talking cartoon mouse”; to quote KC and the Sunshine Band, that’s the way I like it. Inkpot Award. (Died 2017) [JH]
- Born December 10, 1928 — John Colicos. You’ll first recognize him as being the first Klingon ever seen on classic Trek, Commander Kor in “Errand of Mercy” episode. (He’d reprised that role as the 140-year-old Kor in three episodes of Deep Space Nine.) He’ll next show up as Count Baltar in the original Battlestar Galactica continuity throughout the series and film. He’ll even show up as the governor of Umakran in the Starlost episode “The Goddess Calabra”. (Died 2000.) (CE)
- Born December 10, 1960 — Kenneth Branagh, 60. Oh, Branagh, I feel obligated to start with your worst film, Wild Wild West, which, well, had you no shame? Fortunately there’s much better genre work from you as an actor including as Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As a Director, I’m only seeing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Thor — Anyone know of anything else genre related? Is Hercule Poirot genre adjacent? (CE)
- Born December 10, 1969 – Jon Hansen, age 51. Born in Athens – Georgia. A score of short stories, a score of poems, in Albedo One, Electric Velocipede, Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, A Field Guide to Surreal Botany (his story is “Dream Melons”, where else should he have published it?) [JH]
- Born December 10, 1984 – Helen Oyeyemi, F.R.S.L.,age 36. Six novels, ten shorter stories. Somerset Maugham Award. PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) Open Book Award. Fellow of the Royal Soc. Literature (she’s Nigerian, lives in Prague). Here is a NY Times review of HO’s collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (winner of that PEN award) which I don’t think is behind a paywall – I could see it, anyhow. [JH]
- Born December 10, 1985 – Celeste Trinidad, M.D., age 35. A dozen short stories from this busy Filipina pathologist. Don Carlos Palanca Award. “Finding Those Who Are Lost” is in the Typhoon Yolanda Relief anthology Outpouring. [JH]
(8) YOU ASKED FOR IT. There’s no hiding from the truth. PronounceNames.com cites this authority for “How to say or pronounce Jekyll”:
Letter to the Times, Nov. 28, 1980:
Mr Roger Lancelyn Green (25 November) asks whether it is known how Robert Louis Stevenson intended the name of Dr Jekyll should be pronounced. Fortunately a reporter from the San Francisco Examiner, who interviewed Stevenson in his hotel bedroom in San Francisco on 7 June 1888, asked him that very question:
‘There has been considerable discussion, Mr Stevenson, as to the pronunciation or Dr Jekyll’s name. Which do you consider to be correct?’
Stevenson (described as propped up in bed ‘wearing a white woollen nightdress and a tired look’) replied: ‘By all means let the name be pronounced as though it spelt “Jee-kill”, not “Jek-ill”. Jekyll is a very good family name in England, and over there it is pronounced in the manner stated.’
Yours faithfully, Ernest Mehew
(9) CSI ARIZONA. [Item by Joey Eschrich.] Two new videos from Center for Science and the Imagination events are of interest to fans.
First, the latest episode of CSI Skill Tree, our series on video games, worldbuilding, and futures thinking, features the classic science fiction strategy game Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, with special guests Arkady Martine, author of the Hugo Award–winning novel A Memory Called Empire, as well as a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a climate and energy policy expert, and Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, a science fiction scholar at the University of Oslo and principal investigator of the European Research Council Project CoFUTURES.
Second, the latest in our Science Fiction TV Dinner series (which we don’t usually record), featuring Ellipse, a short science fiction film about the search for life in the cosmos, with special guests Ilana Rein, the film’s director and writer, and Sara Walker, an astrobiologist and theoretical physicist and the deputy director of Arizona State University’s Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.
(10) FREE READ. Publisher’s Pick’s Free Ebook of the Month is Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow.
One of the original novels of post-nuclear-holocaust America, The Long Tomorrow is considered by many to be one of the finest science fiction novels ever written on the subject. The story has inspired generations of new writers and is still as mesmerizing today as when it was originally written.
(11) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. “Foodie Find: Own a Vintage Clifton’s Cafeteria Tray” – NBC Los Angeles says you can get one for $75.
…But procuring a vintage tray, from one of the most celebrated and historic Southern California establishments, is an experience that’s as exciting as finding the last tempting dish of red Jell-O wobbling in your favorite cafeteria’s dessert section.
That’s just what will happen for some fans of Clifton’s Cafeteria.
The destination, which first opened in 1931, is well-known for its woodsy theme, its various levels, its small chapel, and its many decades of feeding Angelenos seeking a solid and affordable meal.
It closed for renovations for about a half decade, then reopened in 2015 with a number of new bars, including, eventually, the tiki-themed Pacific Seas on its upper level.
…Author Ray Bradbury enjoyed his 89th birthday at Clifton’s Cafeteria, a place dear to his heart. The Science Fiction Club met at the Broadway restaurant for many years back in the 1930s and ’40s, and Mr. Bradbury was a devoted regular.
To show gratitude to the author for being a longtime friend to Clifton’s, the cafeteria presented a tray, cheerfully wrapped in colorful birthday paper, to the acclaimed writer, a nostalgic and meaningful gift.
If a decades-old Clifton’s tray might hold that same meaning for you, or someone in your family or life, purchase yours here, sending support to the history-famous destination during the closure….
(12) ALL ABOARD. Which will be under your Christmas tree?
The Lionel Train store is selling the “Hogwarts Express LionChief® Set with Dementors Coach”.
…This new Hogwarts Express LionChief Set now features two passenger cars and one Dementors Coach with sounds!
What sounds those are they don’t say, but I can guess.
And the Bradford Exchange is hustling a Star Trek Express Train Collection with the one and only “Science Officer Spock – Live Long and Prosper dome car” which just amuses the heck out of me.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, James Davis Nicoll, Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Joey Eschrich, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]