Pixel Scroll 6/9/24 Filefjonk, Scrollmaiden, And Other Moominpixels

(1) INSTRUMENTS INSPIRED BY SFF. Guitar.com invites you to “Check out these sci-fi-inspired guitars, made with old model kits and even unused Covid tests”.

…Custom guitar brand Devil & Sons has launched a new series of sci-fi inspired guitars called Craftcasters, and their bodies are hand-constructed via the ‘kit bashing method’, where parts of old model kits, everyday items, hand cut plastic, sculpted epoxy, and yes (in this case), unused Covid tests, are pieced together to create unique artwork.

The uber-cool, spacecraft-like models were created across three years by artist and luthier Daniel Wallis, and according to him, they’ve been made using the same techniques model makers have been using for screen props since the original Star Wars and Alien films. Upon close inspection, you’ll be able to spot bits of train sets, remote controls, Warhammer models, and even old vacuum cleaner parts on their surfaces….

(2) DEFIANT PREQUEL. Abigail Nussbaum’s new blog post shares thoughts on Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, “a film that is missing its final act, that has a great gaping hole at its center, and which is nevertheless an exhilarating and entirely satisfying action extravaganza, and worthy companion to Fury Road.” ”Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” at Asking the Wrong Questions.

…And now of course it must be acknowledged that Furiosa does work. I won’t get into the question of whether it’s as good as Fury Road; it obviously can’t deliver the same sharp blow to the head as that movie did, and once you allow for that, the two movies are too different for a side-by-side comparison to make much sense. But it does make you feel the same exhilaration, the same joyful disbelief at the fact that someone can do this with the cinematic medium, the same pulse-pounding desire for this ride to just keep going and going, and the same profound connection to and investment in its characters. Which obviously raises the question: how?…

(3) STOKERCON GOH SUBTRACTION. One of StokerCon 2025’s announced guests of honor, Graham Masterson, has backed out due to a scheduling conflict the committee told Facebook readers today. “Whether it can be worked out or not remains to be determined,” they said.

(4) THE END IS NEAR. Ted Gioia says sci-fi will soon follow the western in “The 6 Laws of Dying Hollywood Franchises” at The Honest Broker.

…The same reliance on aging cowboys was evident at movie theaters. John Wayne was still the top western movie star until his death at age 72.

You can laugh at that, but Hollywood has pushed to even more ridiculous extremes with Harrison Ford. The studios cast him in three action franchises (Indiana JonesStar Wars, and Blade Runner) at an even older age than Wayne in his final film. (In a curious twist, this was Wayne’s little known role in Star Wars.)

This is not the sign of a healthy genre. Hollywood is now suffering at the box office, but you could have predicted it years ago, just based on its aging stars and franchises….

… How will this play out in the future? Well, let’s summarize what we learned from the rise and fall of the western genre.

  1. Genres die slowly, especially popular genres with large mass audiences. In those instances, the decline can continue for decades after a genre’s commercial peak.
  2. The final stages of decline are marked by total market saturation—reaching ridiculous levels. Far more product is churned out than even the core audience can absorb.
  3. The proliferation of merchandise aims to expand the franchise, but actually accelerates the pace of decline.
  4. During the period of decline, the average age of the core fan base gets older. Youngsters may continue to have some interest in the genre, but without the enthusiasm of the old days.
  5. Even more ominous, the box office stars start showing their age—and are far too old to lead any movement. They are hired out of desperation, because holding on to old fans is now more important than attracting new ones.
  6. As a result, everything about the genre starts to feel stale. The stories were fresher twenty years ago. The lead stars were definitely fresher twenty years ago. The only thing that isn’t stale is the movie popcorn out in the lobby—and even that’s not a sure thing.

This is obviously happening with almost every major Hollywood franchise today. We’re now almost fifty years beyond the release of Star Wars (1977)—that was long ago and in another galaxy. But even never-ending franchises eventually come to an end….

(5) VERY COOL BEANS. [Item by Danny Sichel.] Yes, it’s a few years old, but James D. McDonald posted an interesting little short story on his blog Madhouse Manor, and I felt it deserved more attention.

It’s called “The Coldest Equations Yet”, from 2017, and it’s a remix that might have made Tom Godwin smile and John W. Campbell grumble.

(6) THE REALLY BIG ONE. [Item by Jeffrey Smith.] I buy various volumes of The Best American series of short stories and essays every year, often starting them but rarely finishing them. I’ve decided to start cleaning some of them up, and am almost finished with The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016. In her introduction, the editor said she felt the most important piece in the book was “The Really Big One” by Kathryn Schulz. (See The New Yorker version from 2015, “The Earthquake That Will Devastate the Pacific Northwest”.)

Over the last few years I’ve come to really appreciate Kathryn Schulz’s writing, reading her pieces in The New Yorker and often reprinted in these volumes. (The next of these I will finish, The Best American Travel Writing 2017, also has a piece by her.)

The article is about the potential for a massive earthquake to hit the Pacific Northwest, the fault there being more dangerous than the San Andreas. The editor lives at the southern tip of the fault, and says a) that she knows people who sold their houses and moved away after reading it, and b) the state governments are looking into developing early warning systems and strengthening infrastructure because of it.

“I simply cannot overstate the power of this piece,” the editor wrote. “When you read it, imagine you live where I live. Your life would change because of this story, just like mine did. That’s the power of great writing.”

It’s a long piece, and starts out with a lot of background information. The second half, though, is terrifying.

It was interesting to read this now in part because we recently watched a set of three Norwegian disaster movies: The Wave; The Quake; and The Burning Sea. (You have to hunt them down — they’re each on a different streaming service.) Judging by the article, the filmmakers did reasonably well with the science.

Here’s the beginning of Schulz article in The New Yorker:

When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, Chris Goldfinger was two hundred miles away, in the city of Kashiwa, at an international meeting on seismology. As the shaking started, everyone in the room began to laugh. Earthquakes are common in Japan—that one was the third of the week—and the participants were, after all, at a seismology conference. Then everyone in the room checked the time.

Seismologists know that how long an earthquake lasts is a decent proxy for its magnitude. The 1989 earthquake in Loma Prieta, California, which killed sixty-three people and caused six billion dollars’ worth of damage, lasted about fifteen seconds and had a magnitude of 6.9. A thirty-second earthquake generally has a magnitude in the mid-sevens. A minute-long quake is in the high sevens, a two-minute quake has entered the eights, and a three-minute quake is in the high eights. By four minutes, an earthquake has hit magnitude 9.0.

When Goldfinger looked at his watch, it was quarter to three. The conference was wrapping up for the day. He was thinking about sushi. The speaker at the lectern was wondering if he should carry on with his talk. The earthquake was not particularly strong. Then it ticked past the sixty-second mark, making it longer than the others that week. The shaking intensified. The seats in the conference room were small plastic desks with wheels. Goldfinger, who is tall and solidly built, thought, No way am I crouching under one of those for cover. At a minute and a half, everyone in the room got up and went outside.

It was March. There was a chill in the air, and snow flurries, but no snow on the ground. Nor, from the feel of it, was there ground on the ground. The earth snapped and popped and rippled. It was, Goldfinger thought, like driving through rocky terrain in a vehicle with no shocks, if both the vehicle and the terrain were also on a raft in high seas. The quake passed the two-minute mark. The trees, still hung with the previous autumn’s dead leaves, were making a strange rattling sound. The flagpole atop the building he and his colleagues had just vacated was whipping through an arc of forty degrees. The building itself was base-isolated, a seismic-safety technology in which the body of a structure rests on movable bearings rather than directly on its foundation. Goldfinger lurched over to take a look. The base was lurching, too, back and forth a foot at a time, digging a trench in the yard. He thought better of it, and lurched away. His watch swept past the three-minute mark and kept going.

Oh, shit, Goldfinger thought, although not in dread, at first: in amazement. For decades, seismologists had believed that Japan could not experience an earthquake stronger than magnitude 8.4. In 2005, however, at a conference in Hokudan, a Japanese geologist named Yasutaka Ikeda had argued that the nation should expect a magnitude 9.0 in the near future—with catastrophic consequences, because Japan’s famous earthquake-and-tsunami preparedness, including the height of its sea walls, was based on incorrect science. The presentation was met with polite applause and thereafter largely ignored. Now, Goldfinger realized as the shaking hit the four-minute mark, the planet was proving the Japanese Cassandra right.

For a moment, that was pretty cool: a real-time revolution in earthquake science. Almost immediately, though, it became extremely uncool, because Goldfinger and every other seismologist standing outside in Kashiwa knew what was coming. One of them pulled out a cell phone and started streaming videos from the Japanese broadcasting station NHK, shot by helicopters that had flown out to sea soon after the shaking started. Thirty minutes after Goldfinger first stepped outside, he watched the tsunami roll in, in real time, on a two-inch screen.

In the end, the magnitude-9.0 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed more than eighteen thousand people, devastated northeast Japan, triggered the meltdown at the Fukushima power plant, and cost an estimated two hundred and twenty billion dollars….

(7) DON’T DO THIS, DO THAT. Editor Demi Michelle Schwartz decided this was a good day to share the writing problems she runs into most often. Thread starts here. Excerpted below are the first two out of five. The second one became a subject of dispute.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Born, sort of, June 9, 1934 Donald Duck, 90. Before I get to the history of Donald Duck, let me tell you why I chose this date. 

The first ever reference to the character by name was in The Adventures of Mickey Mouse, published by David McKay Company, Philadelphia in 1931 — although the actual character wasn’t shown. On the first text page, it says, “Mickey has many friends in the old barn and the barnyard, besides Minnie Mouse. They are Henry Horse and Carolyn Cow and Patricia Pig and Donald Duck…” Not characteristic at all of what is to come, just animals in a barnyard. 

The following year, a duck with the same name made another printed appearance in Mickey Mouse Annual #3, a 128-page British hardback. This book included the poem “Mickey’s ‘Hoozoo’: Witswitch, and Wotswot”, which listed some of Mickey’s barnyard animal friends: “Donald Duck and Clara Hen, Robert Rooster, Jenny Wren…” Again, nothing to do with the Disney character.

So when do we get that character? That was really when he was made the star of the Silly Symphony strips in 1937 and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who debuted who debuted later that year. The team who did the strip made a city sophisticate instead of, as they called him, a country bumpkin. (Never saw him as the latter.) 

“The Wise Little Hen”, officially released on June 9, 1934 was his first animated appearance. It was directed by Wilfred Jackson and of course produced by Walt Disney from a script by Otto Englander.  It is based on the fairy tale The Little Red Hen. I have not looked for videos of it on YouTube or Vimeo as the film’s copyright was renewed in 1961, so it will not enter the public domain until January 1, 2030. 

What does he look like there? Pretty much like he does today as you can see for yourself. He really hasn’t changed that much since introduced physically, just his character become more of the smart ass that I think he is. 

He would star in his own series that started in 1937 and ran for 24 years with “Donald’s Ostrich”, although two previous shorts, “Don Donald” and “Modern Inventions”, both from 1937, were later  included in this series, with “The Litterbug” being the conclusion to this series. 

Though he appeared in “The Wise Little Hen” short, the Walt Disney company officially lists the Don Donald short which was released in 1937 as his official release. No idea why. It off is still under copyright  as are allthe myriad shorts he did until Disney stopped producing his shorts in 1961. 

The one I now want to see is the second one which was released on May 29, 1937  titled “Museum of Modern Marvels” as it’s full of SF wonders including Robot Butler. 

I think I’ve prattled on long enough tonight. I do like the character a lot. I’m not a Disney fan first, being a Warner Brothers fan deep in the bone but I appreciate them. 

Editor’s Note: And courtesy of John Scalzi at Whatever we learned a new Donald Duck short dropped today: “D.I.Y. Duck”.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) THAT OTHER DUCK. “Darkwing Duck Returns: Dynamite Entertainment to Reprint Every Comic Book Story” reports IGN.

Dynamite Entertainment has become the source for Disney fans who yearn for the return of some of their ’90s favorites. Gargoyles has found new life at the publisher, and now Darkwing Duck is making his comeback.

Today Dynamite announced that they’ll be launching a new Darkwing Duck comic book series with the involvement of original animated series creator/writer Tad Stones. But before that book gets off the ground, Dynamite will be rereleasing every previous Darkwing Duck comic in a trio of graphic novel compendiums…

…Dynamite is turning to Kickstarter to crowdfund the Darkwing Duck reprints. The first volume will collect the entirety of writer Amanda Deibert and artist Carlo Cid Lauro’s 2023 series. The second volume will collect Lauro and writer Roger Langridge’s miniseries Justice Ducks and writer Jeff Parker and artist Ciro Cangialosi’s miniseries Negaduck. The third volume will collect all of the pre-Dynamite Darkwing Duck comics, including stories originally published in Disney Adventures magazine.

The Darkwing Duck Kickstarter campaign is live now….

(11) FAKE NEWS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Well this is firmly genre adjacent as fake news is fiction and it is spread by technology.

No, not Big Brother, but by the people themselves.  Orwell could not have made it up. Anyway, this is the cover story of this week’s Nature.

Online misinformation is frequently highlighted as a blight that threatens to undermine the fabric of society, polarize opinions and even destabilize elections. In this week’s issue, a collection of articles probe the scourge of misinformation and try to assess the real risks. In one research paper, David Lazer and colleagues examine the effects of Twitter deplatforming 70,000 traffickers of misinformation in the wake of violent scenes at the US Capitol in January 2021. In a second paper, Wajeeha Ahmad and co-workers explore the relationship between advertising revenue and misinformation. A Comment article by Ullrich Ecker and colleagues discusses the risks posed by misinformation to democracy and elections, and an accompanying Comment article by Kiran Garimella and Simon Chauchard assesses the prevalence of AI-generated misinformation in India. Finally, David Rothschild and colleagues put the harms of misinformation into perspective, highlighting common misperceptions that exaggerate its threat and suggesting steps to improve evaluation of both the effects of misinformation and the efforts made to combat it.

(12) FUTURAMA PREVIEW. Comicbook.com is there when “Futurama Season 12 First Look Released”.

Futurama Season 12 will be launching with Hulu on July 29th, and has finally given fans the first look at what to expect from the next wave of episodes. Confirmed to have many more seasons now in the works, the first look at Season 12 showcases a tease of where the next season will go to further differentiate itself from what went down during Season 11…. 

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] How the generations have changed. Is it true that the new generation of fans have never heard of The Prisoner? Moid Moidelhoff at Media Death Cult has a feeling that many have not as he takes a 24-minute dive into this remarkable show (one of my personal favorites). This is shot on location in Portmeirion where the series was set…. “The Most Influential Show You’ve (Probably) Never Seen”.

[Thanks to Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, Danny Sichel, Jeffrey Smith, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Steven French for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

Pixel Scroll 4/11/24 One Scroll, Furnished In Early Pixelry

(1) IT PAYS TO BE A GENIUS OF COURSE. The Steampunk Explorer updates fans about the Girl Genius Kickstarter:

Call it mad science or just good storytelling, but Phil and Kaja Foglio are blazing through Kickstarter with their latest Girl Genius graphic novel. The campaign for An Entertainment In Londinium reached its US$50,000 funding goal within 24 hours and is now in six-figure territory. It launched on April 3.

Stretch goal rewards include the “Envelope of Madness” with bookplates, bookmarks, and other printed items. Backers will also get PDF downloads of Volumes 12 through 14. All Girl Genius titles are now available for 50 percent off from DriveThru Comics through May 5.

The campaign itself runs through May 1. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

(2) OCTOTHORPE. Episode 107 of the Octothorpe podcast unpacks“The Significance of the Acorn”.

At Eastercon we welcomed Stunt Liz, Nicholas Whyte, to the podcast for the first time, and he brought an excellent tartan rocket! We discuss Glasgow 2024’s April Fool’s Day joke, before moving onto the Hugo Award finalists, what we think of Telford, and chatting about a lot of British TV.

Transcript here.

John, Alison, and Nicholas Whyte stand in front of a projection of the Octothorpe podcast and behind a panel table. Each of them wears a convention badge, and Nicholas holds the Glasgow Landing Zone Rocket. Nicholas is looking at the camera, while John and Alison are not quite as good at this. The table they stand behind holds beers, coffees, convention newsletters, phone batteries, microphones, and table tents.
Octothorpe at Levitation. Photo by Sue Dawson.

(3) HUGE RESPONSE. “’Joker 2′ Trailer Hits 167 Million Views in First 24 Hours” reports Variety.

The trailer launch for “Joker: Folie à Deux” was no laughing matter for Warner Bros. The marketing for the studio’s upcoming DC sequel, headlined by Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, got off to a stellar start with 167 million viewers in its first 24 hours. The teaser trailer went online right after it debuted at Warner Bros.’s CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas.

Sources tell Variety that the “Joker” sequel’s trailer numbers and social engagement surpassed that of the first “Barbie” trailer to become Warner Bros.’ biggest launch in recent years. The release was no doubt bolstered by Lady Gaga’s massive 150 million follower social media footprint. The trailer instantly became the #1 trending video on YouTube on premiere night and currently boasts 15.6 million views and counting on that platform alone, where it remains the #4 trending video nearly two days after its launch…

(4) ANOTHER DISNEY CASTING KERFUFFLE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] OK, this has gotten out of hand. It seems like every time there’s a movie remake (especially a Disney remake) somebody has to find way to get all bent out of shape about casting. Much of the time, a racist way.

But this time they jumped the gun extra early. There’s a rumored casting of a live action remake for Disney’s Tangled. But, let’s be clear, there’s no further rumor of the remake itself, just the casting.

So now some people online are jumping all over the actress (Avantika Vandanapu) who happens to be Indian-American. Because reasons. Stupid, racist, reasons. 

As one online commentator said, the haters seriously “still need a hobby.” “Avantika Vandanapu receives backlash for rumored casting as Rapunzel in ‘Tangled’ remake” says Variety.

…Although Avantika’s rumored casting received criticism from some on social media, fans also showed support for the “Senior Year” actress.

“These comments are so awful. I’m so sorry girl you are perfect,” one Instagram user wrote, while another added, “She is my Rapunzel ❤”

“Never Have I Ever” star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan also appeared to weigh in on the online controversy, writing on X Tuesday, “And they finally woke up to realize it was all just rumors and the sources never existed. … And to the racists, y’all still need a hobby (for real)”…

(5) ELUSIVE BRADBURY COLLECTION. Episode 2 of Phil Nichols’ Bradbury 101, first aired in 2021, is devoted to a rare OP anthology.

DARK CARNIVAL is Ray Bradbury’s great “lost” book, one of his finest short story collections. But it’s out of print, and has been for decades! Find out why in this episode..

(6) TRINA ROBBINS (1938-2024). Trina Robbins, artist, writer and editor of comics, died April 10. The New York Times has a biographical tribute.

…In 1970, Ms. Robbins was one of the creators of It Ain’t Me Babe, the first comic book made exclusively by women. In 1985, she was the first woman to draw a full issue of Wonder Woman, and a full run on a Wonder Woman series, after four decades of male hegemony. And in 1994, she was a founder of Friends of Lulu, an advocacy group for female comic-book creators and readers….

…Ms. Robbins was responsible for the first publication of some notable cartoonists in The East Village Other, including Vaughn Bode and Justin Green, but she took particular pride in the women’s anthologies she edited and co-edited, and in their explicitly feminist content: It Ain’t Me Babe Comix, Wimmen’s Comix and the erotic Wet Satin.

She also designed the famously skimpy outfit for Vampirella, a female vampire who appeared in black-and-white comics beginning in 1969 — although her design was not as skimpy as the costume later became. “The costume I originally designed for Vampi was sexy, but not bordering on obscene,” Ms. Robbins told the Fanbase Press website in 2015. “I will not sign a contemporary Vampirella comic. I explain, that is not the costume I designed.”…

Prior to her career in comics, Robbins was a clothing designer and seller, and for awhile a pinup model. She was in contact with fandom in the Fifties and Sixties, and posed for the cover of an issue of Fanac, the fannish newzine, wearing a propellor beanie and with her feminine attributes strategically covered by a copy of Fancyclopedia.

Harlan Ellison and Trina Robbins at the 1955 Midwestcon.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born April 11, 1920 Peter O’Donnell. (Died 2010.) London-born Peter O’Donnell was the creator of the Modesty Blaise comic strip along with illustrator Jim Holdaway sixty-one years ago. She has no past as she doesn’t remember anything about her life before escaping from a displaced persons camp in Greece after WW II at the age of fifteen. She runs a criminal gang called The Network, and takes her last name from Merlin’s tutor. Her sidekick, of course she has one, is Willie Garvin, to give a bit of friendship in her life.

Peter O’Donnell from the rear dustjacket flap of the Archival Press edition of The Silver Mistress. Photo by Robert K. Wiener.

O’Donnell and Holdaway met when they worked together on a strip about Romeo Brown, a dashing private detective and reluctant ladies’ man, that ran in the tabloid Evening Standard for most of the Fifties. Blaise, too, would run here. It was quickly picked up globally running in the US, Australian, Indian, South African, Malaysian and other papers as she had a great appeal.

After Holdaway’s death in 1970, the art was by Spanish artist Enrique Romero. He would leave eight years later with three artists replacing him until he came back until the end of the strip with it still running in the Evening Standard thirty-eight years after it debuted. 

Yes, it became a film which came just three years into the running of the strip. My did it piss O’Donnell off. Why so? Because he was hired to write the script which they then shitcanned and wrote a new one that had almost nothing to do with characters, the storyline or, well, anything else with the strip. Remember that friendship between her and Willie? Here it becomes full blown romance. And that’s just one of many, many changes. 

A later film, Modesty Blaise, would be done as a pilot for a series that never happened and yet another film, My Name is Modesty Blaise, would be done for yet another series that never happened.  The one had O’Donnell as a consultant and he liked it.

My Name is Modesty Blaise would be the only one with a British actress as the first had an Italian actress. Now Modesty wasn’t necessarily British as O’Donnell repeatedly said her nationality was deliberately not revealed. 

I’ve not touched upon the plethora of books, short stories, graphic novels and original audiobooks that came of these characters in the part sixty years, and I’ll skip detailing them here. 

So there you are. I did enjoy the strip when Titan, one of many who did, collected them in trade editions. I think there’s at least fifty trade paper editions available right now on Amazon. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) BE KIND TO YOUR WEB-FOOTED FRIENDS. This July, Marvel and Disney honor the 90th anniversary of Donald Duck and the 50th anniversary of Wolverine with an unexpected mashup adventure—Marvel & Disney: What If…? Donald Duck Became Wolverine #1.

Crafted by two acclaimed Disney comic creators, writer Luca Barbieri and artist Giada Perissinotto, MARVEL & DISNEY: WHAT IF…? DONALD BECAME WOLVERINE #1 is the latest comic book collaboration between Marvel and Disney following the What If…? Disney Variant Covers of the last few years and the highly anticipated Uncle Scrooge and the Infinity Dime #1 one-shot comic out this June. Fans can look forward to even more exciting crossovers between Marvel heroes and Disney icons throughout this year and next! 

The comic will introduce Donald-Wolverine along with all sorts of reimagined Disney and Marvel mashups in a wild adventure inspired by one of Wolverine’s most memorable story arcs, Old Man Logan. In addition, the saga will revisit some of the greatest moments in Donald-Wolverine’s history including his time spent with Weapon X and the Uncanny X-Men!  

Travel to the near future where chaos rules as Pete-Skull transforms Duckburg into a super-hero-less wasteland. Only Old Donald Duck can turn the tide, but he’s given up his battling days and prefers naps and his grandma’s apple pie over fighting villains. But when Mickey-Hawkeye comes knocking at the door with Goofy-Hulk at his side, Wolverine-Donald has to make a choice! Will a trip down memory lane change his mind to save the world? Or will the lure of the backyard hammock and a long nap keep him from popping his claws one last time?

(10) FOLLOWING GODZILLA’S ACT. Variety learns, “‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ Renewed, Multiple Spinoffs Set at Apple”.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” has been renewed for Season 2 at Apple TV+Variety has learned.

In addition, Apple has struck a deal with Legendary Entertainment to develop multiple spinoff series set in the so-called Monsterverse….

…The official description for Season 1 states: “Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ tracks two siblings (Sawai, Watabe) following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows.”…

(11) SO WE’LL WALK UP THE AVENUE. “They Made a Movie About a Pack of Sasquatches. Why?” The New York Times asks the filmmakers.

…An earthquake and an eclipse weren’t the only natural rarities that happened in New York City this past week. Did you hear about the sasquatch in Central Park? The makers of “Sasquatch Sunset” sure hope you did.

That’s because the sasquatch was a costume and his stroll through the park was a publicity push for the new film from the brothers David and Nathan Zellner. Opening in New York on Friday, the movie spends a year in the wild with a sasquatch pack — a male and female (Nathan Zellner and Riley Keough) and two younger sasquatches (Jesse Eisenberg and Christophe Zajac-Denek) — as they eat, have sex, fight predators and reckon with death.

Droll but big-hearted, the movie sits at the intersection of the ad campaign for Jack Link’s beef jerky, the 1987 comedy “Harry and the Hendersons” and a 1970s nature documentary, down to the hippie-vibe soundtrack.

Is it a family-friendly movie?

KEOUGH It depends on the family. [Laughs] I think the audience is everybody. It might be scary for small children.

DAVID ZELLNER It’s rated R for nudity, which is the funniest thing.

(12) CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER. Meanwhile, Camestros Felapton has fled the country, leaving behind to distract pursuers “McEdifice in: MYCOPHAGE! Part 1”.

Cliff “Edge” McEdifice is MYCOPHAGE the intoxicating new thriller from Timothy the Talking Cat, Straw Puppy and the ghost of Michael Crichton.

It is the Year 1995 and Cliff “Edge” McEdifice (ancestor of future soldier Chiselled McEdifice) is entangled in a web of conspiracy, tendrils and webs.

(13) NEXT TREK. “Star Trek Origin Movie Officially Announced By Paramount For 2025 Release” at ScreenRant.

Paramount Pictures officially announces the next Star Trek movie, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters in 2025. As reported in January, the next Star Trek movie isn’t the long-delayed, Chris Pine-led Star Trek 4 produced by J.J. Abrams, which remains in development at Paramount. Rather, the next Star Trek movie is an origin story directed by Toby Haynes (Star Wars: Andor) and written by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter).

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Arnie Fenner, Kathy Sullivan, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

Pixel Scroll 12/20/21 The RingWorld Must Roll, Please Turn On Your Scrith-Magnetic Footware

(1) HUGO AWARDS ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES. There’s been a demand for copies of some of the speeches by Hugo winners at the DisCon III ceremony. Here are links to three now online:

Martha Wells, who won twice, posted the text of her Best Series acceptance speech at “Hugo Awards”. (Only one speech — as she says, “I didn’t expect to win twice.”)

… I’ve been in this field since my first novel was published in 1993, and it has not always been good to me. At first I was too young and later I was too old. I was from the wrong place, I had the wrong accent, I wasn’t friends with the right people. And I know the amount of shit I’ve experienced is a small fraction compared to what writers of color, and other marginalized writers, have experienced and continue to experience in this field.

There are people who don’t want you to write. They especially don’t want you to write and be published. They want all stories to be told by people who are just like them. They have many different ways of letting you know that, and they all add up, and sometimes the weight of it is crushing….

Diana M. Pho, who won Best Editor: Long Form, has both text and video here: “My 2021 Hugo Award Speech”.

It was so unspeakably painful to live the last 18 months knowing — sharply — your breath, the very words out of your mouth, can kill.

Strangers. Loved ones. The vulnerable.

It makes you so afraid to speak. It makes you second-guess your choices. It makes even now being vaxxed, tested, boostered, all that, is not enough. Perhaps I am not enough. But I have done… I have now nothing except my words by which to make this known. It is so hard to feel the pressure and the honor to have the Hugo Award tonight….

Joe Sherry, part of the team that creates Best Fanzine winner Nerds of a Feather, has posted his speech here, with added remarks by the other editors Adri, The G and Vance.

… I’d like to thank and acknowledge the various writers at Nerds of a Feather, both past and present. Our names are on the trophy, but it is your writing day in and day out that makes this possible. You’ve been the best team of writers we could have ever asked to have and you’ve carried us along. You earned this. Thank you…

(2) WELLS-KNOWN. The Guardian’s David Barnett reports on the streak: “Martha Wells continues run of female Hugo award winners”.

… This is the sixth year that a woman has taken the best novel award, with Wells following Arkady Martine last year, Mary Robinette Kowal in 2019, and – for the previous three years – NK Jemisin….

(3) REFLECTIONS. L.D. Lewis, art director for Best Semiprozine Hugo finalist FIYAH Literary Magazine, described incidents of racism she experienced at DisCon III, her first Worldcon. Thread includes five tweets with examples. Starts here.

Lewis is also publisher at Fireside Fiction, founding Director of FIYAHCON, chair of the 2021 Nebula Conference, and Awards Manager for the Lambda Literary Foundation.

(4) MORE REFLECTIONS. It was also the first Worldcon for Clint Schnekloth, pastor of a Lutheran church in Arkansas, and founder of a refugee resettlement agency, who wrote up his experiences at DisCon III in “Pastoral Reflections On The World Science Fiction Convention (#WorldCon2021)” at Patheos, a wide-spectrum site about religions.

…One of the more remarkable aspects of the Con is the way the attendees steward the story of the conventions as a form of in-group identity. Quite often they say, “I found my people.” Or, “Let me tell you the history of what the many Cons were like and where they took place.” This typically comes up in any conversation long before any personal introductions like “where are you from” or “what do you do.”

As we talked, Wesley Chu walked up and joined our conversation. He was both interested in lunch tips, and because I had just attended his kaffeeklatsch he now quasi-knew me (Chu is a New York Times bestselling author with multiple books now optioned for television). This is another part of these Cons. Authors are still also just fans and people. There’s no special treatment.

Chu was heading off soon to go see the new Spiderman film, but in the meantime Juliette Wade walked up and introduced herself. This was a novelist new to me who now intrigues me, as I think she writes at the intersection of disability justice and sci-fi. Joining her was Kate JohnsTon, who among other things is a sensitivity editor. Turns out Kate is also new friends with a neighbor of GSLC here in Fayetteville, who just set up a coffee with me next week. So that’s weird small world.

This morning I got up and the first thing I did was playtest a new RPG with a novelist who is turning his stories into a game. We took about 30 minutes to create characters, then immediately set our characters out on a rescue/capture adventure on another planet. Leaning in to a bit of gaming with the hum of the convention in the background was just about perfect.

Now this afternoon I went to a session on Queering Necromancy. This panel discussion was packed to the gills. It’s hard to summarize everything said by the panel, but one thing stood out. A panelist said, “In a way, coming out is necromancy.” It’s both a kind of coming back to life after death, a raising of oneself, but it also means in some instances dying to others in order to live….

(5) LAKE WOE-IS-ME. The series’ holiday entry is coming this week. Meanwhile, use this newly-created page to catch up with all the installments of Melanie Stormm’s humorous series about the misdirected emails she gets from Writer X: “Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me: Links To Every Installment”.

(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1970 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Fifty-one years ago on this evening, “The Great Santa Claus Switch” aired on CBS  as part of The Ed Sullivan Show. It was directed by John Moffitt (who has one genre cred, directing The Werewolf of Woodstock film) as written by Jerry Juhl. The puppets here were designed by Don Sahlin who done some of the puppets on Kukla, Fran and Ollie. (Yes, I remember that show fondly.) The human here was Art Carney with the Muppet players this time being Jim Henson, Fran Brill, Richard Hunt, John Lovelady, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz and Danny Seagren.

The special, narrated by Ed Sullivan narrated in a chair surrounded by children on the floor by a fireplace, begins at the North Pole with Santa Claus and his Christmas Elves getting ready for another Christmas. However, Cosmo Scam played by Art Carney has hatched a plan to kidnap Santa and take his place. As part of the plan, Cosmo plans to abduct Santa’s Christmas Elves one by one and replace them with his evil henchmen.  It’s the Muppets first television special being done after four years of guest spots on the show. 

It hasn’t been released on DVD as the rights are held by the assignees of the Ed Sullivan Show, but you can watch it here.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 20, 1838 Edwin Abbott Abbott. Author of the Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, an 1884 novella that has come to be adopted as SF even though it’s really mathematical fiction. Go ahead, argue with me. (Died 1926.)
  • Born December 20, 1943 Jacqueline Pearce. She’s best known as the villain Servalan on Blake’s 7. She appeared in “The Two Doctors”, a Second and Sixth Doctor story  as Chessene, and she’d voice Admiral Mettna in “Death Comes to Time”, a Seventh Doctor story. I’d be remiss not to note her one-offs in Danger ManThe AvengersThe Chronicles of Young Indiana Jones and The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. (Died 2018.)
  • Born December 20, 1952 Jenny Agutter, 69. Her first SF role was Jessica 6, the female lead in Logan’s Run. Later genre roles include Nurse Alex Price In An American Werewolf in London (fantastic film), Carolyn Page in Dark Tower which is not a Stephen King based film, an uncredited cameo as a burn doctor in one of my all time fave films which is Darkman and finally she was Councilwoman Hawley in The Avengers and The Winter Soldier
  • Born December 20, 1952 Kate Atkinson, 69. A strong case can be made that her Jackson Brodie detective novels are at least genre adjacent with their level of Universe assisting metanarrative. (Her Jason Isaacs fronted series is also superb.) The Life After Life douology is definitely SF and pretty good reading too. She’s well stocked on all of the usual suspects. 
  • Born December 20, 1960 Nalo Hopkinson, 61. First novel I ever read by her was Brown Girl in The Ring, a truly amazing novel. Like most of her work, it draws on Afro-Caribbean history and language, and its intertwined traditions of oral and written storytelling. I’d also single out Mojo: Conjure Stories and Falling in Love With Hominids collections as they are both wonderful and challenging reading. Worth seeking out is her edited Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction. Midnight Robber earned her only Hugo nomination at The Millennium Philcon. 
  • Born December 20,1970 Nicole de Boer, 51. Best remembered for playing the trill Ezri Dax on the final season of Deep Space Nine, and as Sarah Bannerman on The Dead Zone. She’s done a number of genre films including Deepwater Black, Cube, Iron Invader, and Metal Tornado, and has one-offs in Beyond RealityForever KnightTekWarOuter LimitsPoltergeist: The LegacyPsi Factor and Stargate Atlantis. Did I mention she’s Canadian?
  • Born December 20, 1984 Ilean Almaguer, 37. Here for her role as Illa on the most excellent Counterpart series. If you’ve not seen it, I highly recommend it. 

(8) DIVE IN. Miyuki Jane Pinckard helps promote the Mermaids Monthly Kickstarter campaign in a guest post at Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup: “Thalassophobia”. The Kickstarter has nine days to run.

The thing is, I’m afraid of the ocean.

…I can’t quite pinpoint exactly when my feelings about the ocean and mermaids shifted. What I do know for a fact is that back in December 2019, amid a bleak world (with no idea how much bleaker it was going to get in just a couple of months), I backed a Kickstarter that promised mermaid fiction, poems, art, and comics, once a month. I didn’t especially care for mermaids then, but I really admired the work that Julia Rios and Meg Frank had done elsewhere, and I like to support independent publishing.

Every month, the issues landed in my inbox. They were, first of all, incredibly beautiful to look at, from their stunning covers to the layouts, the font choices, the interior art. And the stories! They featured a wildly diverse range of mer-creatures from righteously vengeful sea witches to joyful selkies to sirenas to human girls longing to become mermaids to climate activist rebelsMischievous rusalki and wild trapped mermaids. Stories that engaged with disability and toxic relationships and the meaning of home.

I began to realize that, actually, mermaids did mean a lot to me. And so did oceans….

(9) IT HAPPENED ONE VERY STARRY NIGHT. Polygon’s headline “George Lucas threatened Spaceballs’ Mel Brooks over Star Wars parody merch” doesn’t seem a fair representation of what’s said in the body of the article. However, there’s much more about Spaceballs than the issue with Lucas.

…Why? As Brooks explains in All About Me!, even a parody of sci-fi starts with finding the right story. Rather than looking to Star Wars, Alien2001 or any of the other famous science fiction plot, Brooks writes that Spaceballs was “inspired by Frank Capra’s 1934 classic It Happened One Night.”

It is the story of a runaway heiress (Claudette Colbert) who escapes her marriage by fleeing on her wedding day from a very, very rich but very, very dull groom and then she subsequently falls in love with an attractive wise-guy commoner (Clark Gable). We took that same basic plot and shoved it into space!”…

(10) NO KIDDING? Atlas Obscura assures us “In Sweden, There Is No Christmas Without Donald Duck”. “In Sweden, the Christmas star has a yellow bill, a furious temper, and no pants.”

EVERY COUNTRY HAS ITS OWN festive holiday traditions. Austrian children fear Krampus, the half-goat, half-demon who beats naughty children with sticks. Catalonian nativity scenes feature a small defecating man. And in Sweden, about 40 percent of the country gathers round the squawk box on Christmas Eve—to watch Donald Duck.

Every year since 1959, at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the 1958 special Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul (Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas, in English) is screened on Sweden’s main public television channel, TV1. Known in English as From All of Us to All of You, this hour of Disney mayhem is hosted by Jiminy Cricket, who leads viewers through about a dozen “Christmas cards” that open to reveal shorts, film clips and other cartoons dating from the 1930s through the 1960s. For decades Sweden only had two channels, and this was the only time of year when people could watch Disney animation or American cartoons on television. And the tradition stuck. Swedes are so compelled by the cartoon that last year during the program, cell data usage fell 28 percent and calls to emergency services dropped 16 percent, reports the Local.

(11) ROAD HOG. “Sonic the Hedgehog will become playable via Tesla” reports Eurogamer. Legislators are already dealing with the first question that came to my mind.

Sega’s original Sonic the Hedgehog game will soon become playable via Tesla in-car screens.

Its the latest game to join the Tesla in-car games service, which is compatible with USB controllers. The move comes after a new partnership between the Elon Musk car company and Sega.

Of course, the comparisons between Tesla and Sonic make for an easy brand hookup. One can be wild, out of control, and controlled via computer – and the other… well, you get my drift.

Over the years, numerous games have become available to play via Tesla – including Cuphead, and The Witcher 3. With Cuphead, at least, you could only play while parked or charging – which is common sense.

Last month, the UK government finally announced plans to make playing games while driving illegal – at least while using a mobile phone.

(12) PLAY AGAIN? IGN points to the Homeworld 3 official trailer.

The legendary real-time strategy series is finally getting a new sequel. Check out the trailer for Homeworld 3, revealed at The Game Awards 2021

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Steven French, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Pixel Scroll 7/24/18 Interpixellary Loan Material: Do Not Remove This Scroll

(1) ASIA SF ASSOCIATION FOUNDED. The Asia Science Fiction Association held its first meeting on July 17 and chose these officers:

  • President: Liu Cixin (author Three-Body Problem)
  • Secretary: YK Yoon (Vice Chair, Korea SF Association)
  • Deputy Secretary: Regina Kanyu Wang  (Co-founder of Applecore), Feng Zhang (FAA), Dr. Arvind Mishra (secretary, Indian Science Fiction Writers Association)
  • Members: representatives of China, Egypt, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam etc.)

The Goals of the Society are:

a) to find ways and means of establishing contacts between the Science Fiction (SF) professionals and fans;

b) to ensure better mutual knowledge of SF literature and arts and of fandom activity in the Asian countries;

c) to propose the cognition of Asian SF in the rest of the world.

The first Asiacon will be held in Chengdu in 2019. Date and venue TBC.

More information about ASFA can be found on their website and Facebook.

(2) FUTURE TENSE. Joey Eschrich, Editor and Program Manager, Center for Science and the Imagination, and Assistant Director, Future Tense, sent the link to the latest story in the Future Tense Fiction series: “The Starfish Girl” by Maureen McHugh.

… LIAM CHAN (VOICE-OVER)
In 2017, Jinky was 11 years old, one of the top-ranked junior gymnasts in the U.S. Her family was contemplating an offer to train at the Iowa facility owned by gold-medal gymnast and coach, Gabby Douglas, when tragedy struck. During a routine vault in practice, Jinky overrotated, landed wrong, and fractured her spine, at the C5 vertebra.

She was paralyzed from the neck down. It seemed as if her gymnastics career, indeed, life as she knew it, was over.

CUT TO: Clip of J Mendoza in hospital bed, balloons.

LIAM CHAN (VOICE-OVER)
Then doctors proposed a radical new medical procedure. They would use starfish DNA to teach her body how to heal itself. The results were miraculous.

It was published along with a response essay by sports historian Victoria Jackson, “How Should Officials Decide When Cutting-Edge Medical Interventions for Athletes Cross the Line?”

Are elite athletes who undergo cutting-edge medical interventions after injuries benefiting from performance enhancement, and doing so to the degree that they should be barred from competition? What if the athlete suffered from an injury so traumatic that it made the medical intervention necessary? And anyway, if we expect these world-class athletes to strive to be the best—you know, whatever it takes—why should the organizations that govern competition have the power to force athletes out of certain treatments they deem to be on the bad side of “clean sports”?

(3) KHAN MAN. Theoden James, in “William Shatner explains why he refuses to watch ‘Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan’ again” in the Charlotte Observer, says that William Shatner will be in Charlotte this Sunday as part of a nationwide tour where people see Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and then chat with Shat for an hour.  Shatner says that he’s still touring at 87 because “every time I wake up on a bad mattress, I know how heroic this is” and then plugs his two new albums, including his holiday album “Shatner Claus.”

What other projects have you got going on this year?

I’ve got two albums coming out, a country music album and a Christmas album. The country music album, called “Why Not Me?,” will be out in middle of the summer (Aug. 10), and then the Christmas album will be out in October. In between, there’s a book called “Live Long and …” We’re putting the final touches on it now, and I just keep thinking, “God, there’s something more I could have done there. I wish I’d done something here or something there.” There’s always this self-criticism, especially when you don’t have the ability to change anything anymore. And that’s frustrating. But you try and bring the lessons along for the next time.

And what’s the Christmas album called?

“Shatner Claus.”

That’s a great title. Did you come up with it?

No, I wish I had. I remember I was in a room somewhere with a few people, and somebody said, “What’ll we call it?” I said, “Gee, I don’t know.” Then somebody popped up with “Shatner Claus,” and we all laughed and said, “That’s it!” Just like you did. That settled it. There was no more discussion.

(4) QUACK AUDITION. Io9 has a rumor about DuckTales:

Don Cheadle—noted survivor of Thanos’ wrath—is the new voice of Donald Duck in a preview from Comic Con.

(5) THE YEAR OF THE EMERGENCY HOLOGRAPHIC TEXANS. Fanhistory resource Fanac.org has added videos of LoneStarCon 2’s 1997 Hugo Ceremony.

Part 1 (40 min.)

In this video, first Neal Barrett, Jr. delivers some comedic remarks. There are philosophy jokes, famous writer jokes, and even a National Republican Party Loyalty Test (which has nothing to do with politics). Next, there are presentations of several other awards, including the Seiun Awards and acceptance speech by Rob Sawyer, Forry Ackerman’s announcement of the Big Heart Award, and Stanley Schmidt’s presentation of the John Campbell award. Thanks to ALAMO (Alamo Literary Arts Maintenance Organization, Inc) for both these videos.

 

Part 2 (1:07 hr.)

In this video, the Hugos are awarded, interspersed with funny comments by Toastmaster Neal Barrett.

Presenters include Teddy Harvia, Pat Cadigan, Ellen Datlow, Guest of Honor Don Maitz, Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock and Algis Budrys.

Recipients include Martin Hoare, accepting for David Langford (with an unusual acceptance speech), Bob Eggleton (with much ado about hair), Gardner Dozois, Connie Willis and George R.R. Martin. George talks about his winning novella which is part of his novel, Game of Thrones. Stanley Kim Robinson won the Hugo for Best Novel at this event.

 

(6) RE-BUFFY. The Hollywood Reporter says “‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Inclusive Reboot in the Works With Joss Whedon”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting the reboot treatment.

20th Century Fox Television, who produced the original Joss Whedon drama, has offered a new take on the beloved Sarah Michelle Gellar drama in development. Writer Monica Owusu-Breen, who worked with Whedon on ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, has been hired to pen the adaptation and serve as showrunner on the reboot.

Whedon will be an executive producer on the series and has been working with Owusu-Breen on the script, which features a black actress stepping into the role of Buffy made famous by Gellar.

(7) UPC SCIENCE-FICTION AWARD. The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) has announced there’ll be a new award for SF and fantastic literature in Spain. (English translation, edited.)

The UPC [Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya en Barcelona] Science-Fiction Award will be given at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival

UPC, the Social Council of the University and the Sitges Foundation International Film Festival of Catalonia have signed, on July 20, an agreement through which the International Fantastic Film Festival of Sitges will host the award ceremony of the UPC Prize of Science-Fiction 2018, a prize that rewards unpublished stories in this literary genre.

The award ceremony of the UPC Science-Fiction Award will be held within the framework of the 51st International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia , which will take place in Sitges from October 4 to 14, 2018.

The awards ceremony will take place, In particular, during the Taboo’ks day , dedicated to fantastic literature and its connection to the audiovisual sector and whose goal is to be the seed of a future market for literary rights aimed at the audiovisual sector. Taboo’ks, which is supported by the Federation of Publishers’ Guild of Spain and the Saló Liber, will host the presentation of four works that can be adapted to the cinema and a project adapted to it.

The UPC Prize of Science-Fiction 2018 , organized by the Social Council of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) since 1991, was convened in January of this year and the deadline for submission of candidatures ended the past June 15 The jury of the prize will meet next September to decide the winning works.

The agreement signed with the International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia Foundation also provides for the exploration of other avenues of collaboration with the UPC in future editions of the Festival, such as the organization of a hackató to design 3D models of characters Fantastic or a test competition to be overcome from a smartphone with geolocation.

(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

Nancy Lee Carlson won the Apollo 11 bag used by Neil Armstrong to collect moon dust for NASA in a lawsuit when the agency claimed it was their property. Carlson had purchased the bag for $995 at a government auction and sent it to NASA to be authenticated. The agency refused to return it so Carlson took them to court in Houston. Last year the judge awarded Carlson the bag, which she eventually sold for $1.8 million at Sotheby’s. [Source: Mental Floss]

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born July 24 – Lynda Carter, 67. Wonder Woman series, of course, but genre roles include the Supergirl and Smallville series, and Slayer, a vampire film. Rumoured to have role in the forthcoming Wonder Woman film but that’s very much unconfirmed even at the just held SDCC.
  • Born July 24 – Doug Liman, 53. Producer, Knight Rider reboot, and the Nightflyers series where a crew of space explorers are on a mission to find and explore a mysterious alien ship. Gee I’m sure this has been done before…
  • Born July 24 – Patty Jenkins, 47. Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984, appears in Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics as herself in “The Truth About Wonder Woman” episode.
  • Born July 24 – Rose Byrne, 39. Roles in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and several X-Men films; also in Peter Rabbit.
  • Born July 24 – Anna Paquin, 36. Sookie Stackhouse in the True Blood series,  and Rogue in the X-Men film franchise.
  • Born July 24 – Elisabeth Moss, 36. Roles in The Handmaid’s Tale, the animated Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, The Animaniacs and Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Born July 24 – Emily Bett Rickards, 27. Felicity Smoak in the Arrowverse, live and animated alike, also Paranormal Solutions Inc., a ghost hunters series, and Soldiers of the Apocalypse.

(10) WORLDCON 76 – NEW PROGRESS REPORT. Worldcon 76 Progress Report 4 can be downloaded by anyone.

Progress Report 4 is now available online. Over the next week, if you opted in to paper copies, you should see it in the mail. Check inside for information about Traincon, Tours, more places to visit while you’re in SJ (including wine country!), a shopping guide, and more memories from fans.

(11) WORLDCON 76 CHILD CARE.

(12) WTF? Yahoo! Entertainment is reporting “Marvel Provided Grief Counseling Sessions at Comic-Con for People Still Devastated by ‘Infinity War’ Ending”.

Marvel fans attending San Diego Comic-Con 2018 didn’t get the chance to see any footage from “Captain Marvel” or the upcoming fourth “Avengers” movie, but they did get a chance to grieve together over the “Infinity War” ending that left Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Star Lord, Black Panther, and more superheroes dead. As reported by io9’s Germain Lussier, Marvel set up a booth near Petco Park in San Diego that offered grief counseling sessions for upset fans.

The booth featured posters with positive affirmation quotes like “We Are Groot” and “You are Stronger Than Vibranium.” Once inside, a group of 10-12 fans met with an actor posing as a counselor. The session included fans working their way through the following questions: What’s your first memory of the MCU? What was something it did that surprised you? What was it like when you saw the end of ‘Infinity War’? Who was the most shocking loss?

The final part of the process was the chance to take a group hug photo with a giant Hulk. While inside the booth, fans were treated to donuts and got the chance to watch a deleted scene from the movie. You can read more about the Marvel booth at io9.

(13) MAY WE PRAY. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] A rare authenticated Lunar Landed microfilm copy of the Bible—this one from Apollo 14—is going up for auction (LiveScience: “Rare ‘Lunar Bible’ That Visited the Moon Is Up for Auction”).

During the height of the race to the Moon, the Apollo Prayer League sponsored microfilmed copies of the King James Bible to sent on various Apollo missions. There were reportedly 512 copies on Apollo 14 alone, though only 100 of them were put in the Lunar Module to make the trip all the way to the Lunar surface.

Hundreds of these so-called lunar Bibles — 512, to be exact — were bundled in packets and carried by Apollo 14 to the moon. The lunar module held 100 copies, 200 copies were officially stowed in the command module and an additional 212 copies were secretly hidden aboard by NASA microbiologist and [Apollo Prayer League (APL)] board member Harold Hill prior to launch, according to APL.

Of those, 100 Bibles reached the moon’s surface with Mitchell. Only 11 copies of the Apollo 14 lunar Bibles bear official letters of authenticity signed by both [Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell] and [APL director Rev. John M. Stout…]

The microfilm has been “mounted and framed in a gold-and-enamel setting” and the auction includes the Mitchell/Stout authenticity certification. Online bidding opens at $50,000 and runs through at least 5 PM PDT Thursday 26 July 2018. The auction is being handled by Nate D. Sanders Auctions.

(14) MORE POPULAR THAN JESUS? “Facebook angers Flanders with Rubens ban” – a classic painting is barred from FB due to underdressed corpse.

The Flanders Tourist Board has written an open letter protesting against Facebook’s “cultural censorship” of adverts showing paintings by Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens.

The removed ad featured the artist’s The Descent from the Cross, which shows a bare-chested Jesus.

Following the ban, the authority made a satirical video with fake investigators ushering visitors out of a museum after they looked at similar paintings.

Facebook has not yet responded.

(15) PRESENT AT THE CREATION. In “China fossil tells new supercontinent story”, BBC reports on evidence that Pangaea lasted longer than previously thought.

A newly discovered dinosaur may be re-writing China’s geological history, according to recent findings.

The latest addition to the family of giant, long-necked dinosaurs known as sauropods, Lingwulong shenqi lived in the north of the country about 174 million years ago.

At this time, East Asia was thought to have split from the supercontinent Pangaea.

But Lingwulong may be evidence that that was not the case.

(16) NOT THAT YOU ASKED. Ron Charles in the Washington Post reports that a paper by four Dartmouth professors, led by anthropologist Nathaniel J. Dominy and English professor Donald J. Pease, conclude that the Lorax is based on patas monkeys Theodore Geisel saw during a trip to Kenya in 1970: “Is Dr. Seuss’s Lorax real? These professors may have solved a 47-year-old mystery”.

Now, almost a half-century after the Lorax first popped out of a stump, his real identity can be revealed. Four scholars, led by Dominy, explain their method like this: “We used eigenface decomposition methods to calculate facial similarities and we generated the plot with t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE), an iterative algorithm that down-projects multidimensional information into two dimensions for visualization.”

About now, you may be thinking, “I would not read that on a boat, I would not read that with a goat,” but hang on. That’s just a fancy way of saying that the scientists fed photos of monkeys and illustrations of the Lorax into a computer to determine the closest match

(17) COMIC (HOPEFULLY) RELIEF. I’ll probably wind up being sorry I laughed at this.

https://twitter.com/jamesenge/status/1021666132888088576

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, mlex, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Rev. Bob, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

Pixel Scroll 12/16/16 Pixel Bell Rock

(1) DUCKTALES. As a kid I loved my father’s Donald Duck imitation. He was so funny. That memory immediately came to mind when I read David Tennant will voice Scrooge McDuck in the reboot of Disney DuckTales. I can’t stop imagining Tennant doing my father’s duck accent. Admittedly, Tennant’s character doesn’t sound like Donald, even so, will the voice of the deadly serious Tenth Doctor really be transformed into the dialect of a Scottish billionaire duck?  ScienceFiction.com has the story.

To announce the cast for the highly-anticipated reboot, Disney XD released a video of the all-new stars singing the original series’ theme song. Headlining the quack pack for the upcoming globe-trotting adventures is ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ star David Tennant, who will no doubt bring his particular Scottish burr to Uncle Scrooge. He’ll be joined by ‘Powerless’ and ‘Community’ star Danny Pudi, ‘Parks and Recreation’ favorite Ben Schwartz, and ‘Saturday Night Live’ staple Bobby Moynihan as the voices of mischief-making Huey, Dewey and Louie, respectively. The cast will be rounded out by Beck Bennett as Launchpad McQuack, Toks Olagundoye as Mrs. Beakley, and Kate Micucci as Webby Vanderquack. But to get in on the fun that is that unforgettable theme song, check out the video below of the cast participating in a ‘DuckTales’ sing-along:

 

(2)LICENSED TROUT. My good friend, who chooses to be identified as “Kilgore Trout” for purposes of this news item, is organizing a convention, and like good conrunners should he is licensing the music they’ll be using. But Kilgore was bemused by the aggressive terms of the ASCAP agreement —

I note their list of potentially infringing uses:

Please note that your organization is responsible for any music used at the event, including music used by exhibitors, speakers or music provided overhead by the facility in your meeting/event rooms.  

Examples of reportable music uses:

Live music (bands, soloist,pianist, harpist, etc), Disc Jockeys, karaoke, Guitar Hero or mechanical music (Internet streaming or downloaded music, CD’s, Records, Radio, iPod music,DVD’s, Videos, background music provided by the hotel or facility)

Music during the receptions & closing ceremonies

Lead in & exit music

Music used during meetings, PowerPoint presentations

Pro-speakers using music at part of their speeches, whether live or

mechanical

CD players,iPod, Music via computers in booths or exhibits

Music utilized during awards banquets, event dinners and parties

Comedians and magicians using music or parodies of songs

Multiple or large screen TV’s used at events

Flash Mobs

Zumba, Yoga and group relaxation sessions using music

Event video/DVD streamed or archived on your event website

In particular, I want to highlight “flash mobs”, “large screen TVs”, and event video as reportable. I have asked for clarification, as surely they can’t mean the presence of TVs requires a license.

Also, note the requirement for a license if the hotel provides background music in the facility. (Isn’t that an issue between ASCAP and the hotel?)

(3) DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE. WIRED rounded up all the grumpy, sneezy and dopey designers in town to “shove a lightsaber through the Death Star’s design”. Go ahead, click on it and reward their bad behavior….

Despite its reputation as a symbol of fear and oppression and its confounding vulnerability to proton torpedoes, the Death Star continues to be a subject of endless fascination—especially in the design world. In advance of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a new book—Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual—lays bare the plans for the station that, presumably, get stolen by rebels, transmitted to Princess Leia, secreted in an R2 unit on board the Rand Ecliptic, and eventually made possible the Death Star’s destruction. Oh, sorry: spoilers.

Point is, the drawings of the planet-killing not-a-moon may look like gobbledygook to you, but to a trained designer, they’re fare game for criticism. And when WIRED asked a bunch of designers, architects, and other professionals for their assessments, most were not kind. That’s not just because of the Death Star’s evil connotations, but due to obvious design flaws. These include, among many other things, limited amenities for stormtroopers and other employees, defense vulnerabilities, severe aesthetic disappointments, and a real lack of creativity when it comes to disposal of waste heat.

Architect Cameron Sinclair, founder of Small Works, a firm that specializes in building solutions in post disaster zones and underserved communities, calls it “yet another techno-driven ego play by the Empire,” primarily blaming a lack of community engagement during the building’s conceptual phase. “If you look at the accommodation wings, there is little room for troopers and their families. No educational spaces, no decent public places and extremely limited access to fresh produce. (Seriously, vertical food farms have been around for generations.) All the communal spaces have been downsized due to an over emphasis on unproven technology.”

(4) LONG LIST EBOOK. David Steffen wants you to know that the Long List Volume 2 ebook was released this week. Hie thee hence!

(5) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #18. The eighteenth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for a TGM Fundraiser: Manuscript Critique from Jessica Reisman.

Attention authors: today’s auction is for the critique of a manuscript, up to novella length (39,999 words), from author Jessica Reisman. Reisman is the author of more than 25 published stories, several of which have been honorable mentions in various Year’s Best anthologies. She won the Southeastern Science Fiction Achievement Award (SESFA) for her story “Threads.”

(6) A BUNDLE OF BRONZE. Captainco is offering a Forrest J Ackerman statue & Tales From The Acker-Mansion Bundle.

Celebrate Uncle Forry’s Centennial with a very limited faux bronze statue of Forrest J Ackerman by Dark Horse, accompanied by the Tales From The Acker-Mansion anthology. A perfect gift for any Monster Kid you know or the Monster Kid in yourself. A $300+ value for only $200!

statue-ackermansion-bundle_large

(7) MORE FAVES. Smash Dragons has picked its “Best of 2016”.

Well it’s that time of the year again. The festive season is in full swing here at the lair (no, I’m not drunk… yet), and I figured it was time I reflected on what has been an amazing year for genre fiction.

Looking back over the books I read in 2016 made me realise just how lucky I am to be a reader. I’ve witnessed the emergence of some stunning new talent this year, and I’ve rediscovered some old favourites along the way. To paraphrase George R R Martin, I’ve lived a thousand different lives over the past twelve months, and I’ve loved every single one of them! Choosing a top ten proved extremely difficult. I struggled to make my selections for a long time. However, after much deliberation and thought I managed to nut it out, and I’m pretty happy with the list I came up with. Most of the top ten have full reviews (those that don’t never fear, I will get to them soon), which I have provided links to if you’d like to check them out. I’ve also linked purchase information. It is the season of giving after all, and as a friend of mine pointed out when you buy a book you are buying two gifts essentially (one for the reader, and another for the author of the book you purchased). So be generous to those around you!

So without further ado, I give you my top ten best reads of 2016!

1 – The Fisherman by John Langan/Crow Shine by Alan Baxter

I cheated a little here, but I really couldn’t seperate the two. The Fisherman is a magnificent character- driven cosmic horror that crawled under my skin and refused to budge. Langan is a masterful storyteller, and The Fisherman is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read, period. You can buy The Fisherman here.

Crow Shine is also an incredible book that is filled to the brim with rich and powerful dark fiction. It is one of the best collections I’ve ever read, and Baxter is one of the best short fiction writers working in the world today. I loved this book so much I even forked out a lot of money to buy a signed limited edition copy of it! Highly recommended. Check out my full review here, and buy yourself a copy here.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 16, 1901: Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published.
  • December 16, 1983 – Nazis are forced to turn to a Jewish historian for help in battling the ancient demon they have inadvertently freed from its prison in The Keep, seen of the first time on this day.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born December 16, 1917 – Arthur C. Clarke
  • Born December 16, 1928 — Philip K. Dick

(10) THESE AREN’T THE CRITICS I’M LOOKING FOR. This NPR review makes Rogue One sound “meh”.

You won’t get more plot than that from me, because plot is the chief attraction in Rogue One. With Stormtroopers lurking ’round every intergalactic corner, director Gareth Edwards hasn’t much time for such other Star Warsian charms as character, grace, whimsy and, most of all, fun. He does like to linger over battles, although I can’t say their outcomes are ever much in doubt, the fears of a pessimistic droid (voiced indispensably by Alan Tudyk) notwithstanding.

We’ve been here before, and will doubtless go here again, probably with more imagination, and hopefully with more seeming to ride on the outcome. Rogue One is allegedly a standalone story, but it’s also a prequel, tied so tightly to the stories we’ve already heard that most 9-year-olds will be able to tell those nervous Nellies in the rebel alliance how it’s all going to come out, even before Jyn delivers the script’s flatfooted version of a St. Crispin’s Day speech.

(11) CURTAIN OF HISTORY DRAWN BACK. Another NPR review — “’Hidden Figures’ No More: Meet The Black Women Who Helped Send America To Space”.

Shetterly grew up in the 1960s in Hampton, Va., not far from NASA’s Langley Research Center. She’s African-American, and her father, extended family and neighbors were all scientists, physicists and engineers at NASA. But it wasn’t until about six years ago that she understood the magnitude of the work black women were doing there. She recently told NPR’s Michel Martin, “I knew that many of them worked at NASA. I didn’t know exactly what they did.”

Shetterly spent the next six years searching for more information. She researched archives and interviewed former and current NASA employees and family members. In her book, she details the journeys and personal lives of Langley’s star mathematicians, and recounts how women computers — both black and white — broke barriers in both science and society.

(12) PREDICTING THE PRESENT. The BBC tells “Why Children of Men has never been as shocking as it is now”.

Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopian thriller is one of the 21st Century’s most acclaimed films – and its version of the future is now disturbingly familiar. Nicholas Barber looks back….

If the plot harks back to two classic fictions of the 1940s, Casablanca and Nineteen Eighty-Four, the setting is breathtakingly contemporary. Cuarón doesn’t use captions or speeches to explain what has happened to civilisation, but, judging by the old newspapers we glimpse, society has been rocked by climate change, pollution, nuclear accidents, social division, and terrorist bombings. Nevertheless, all of Britain’s troubles have been blamed on asylum seekers, who are locked in cages, and then bussed to hellish shanty towns. “Poor fugees,” says Theo’s hippy friend Jasper (Michael Caine). “After escaping the worst atrocities, and making it all the way to England, our government hunts them down like cockroaches.”

The blame game

Ring any bells? Mass migration was a major issue in 2006, so it’s not surprising that it should be so central to Children of Men. But, a decade ago, no one had predicted the Syrian refugee crisis, or that the US’s President-elect would propose registering Muslims, or that the UK would vote to leave the European Union after a campaign that focused on immigrant numbers. Today, it’s hard to watch the television news headlines in Children of Men without gasping at their prescience: “The Muslim community demands an end to the army’s occupation of mosques.” “The homeland security bill is ratified. After eight years, British borders will remain closed. The deportation of illegal immigrants will continue.” In 2006, all of this seemed plausible enough, but perhaps a little strident, a little over-the-top.

(13) CHECK YOUR PHONE. Here are “20 Extremely Real Texts From Superheroes” selected by Cracked.

Sometimes we like to take a break from writing words about superheroes to look at images of words written by superheroes. To show you what we mean here’s another installment from our friends over at Texts From Superheroes. Check out their website here.

(14) COVER LAUNCH. Orbit has unveiled the cover and title for N. K. Jemisin’s final Broken Earth book.

The highly lauded and award winning Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin comes to its remarkable conclusion in THE STONE SKY. The first book in the series won the Hugo award and was shortlisted for the Nebula, Audie, and Locus award, was the inaugural Wired.com book club pick, and was a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. The sequel, The Obelisk Gate, was chosen as one of NPR’s Best of the Year and one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2016.

THE STONE SKY, publishing in August 2017, closes out a trilogy that is haunting, beautiful, and surprisingly prescient. Our earth-shattering cover for the third book was designed by Wendy Chan.

jemisin_stonesky-tp

(15) FREE FANZINES. Bruce Gillespie has made three of his fanzines available for download as PDF files from eFanzines:

SF Commentary 92, July 2016. 70,000 words. Ray Sinclair-Wood’s ‘Poems of the Space Race’, Michael Bishop’s ‘Scalehunter: Lucius Shepard and the Dragon Griaule Sequence’ and ‘I Must Be Talking to My Friends’: a cat story, plus 80 correspondents. Cover art by Carol Kewley and Ditmar.

SF Commentary 93, December 2016. 60,000 words. First part of John Litchen’s ‘Fascinating Mars: 120 Years of Fiction About Mars’; Colin Steele’s ‘The Field’: the year’s SF and fantasy books; and two accounts of ‘My Life, Science Fiction, and Fanzines’ — Bruce Gillespie and James ‘Jocko’ Allen. Cover art by Ditmar and Elaine Cochrane.

Treasure 4, October 2016. 50,000 words. Mervyn Barrett’s tales of the Melbourne SF Club during the 1960s; Robert Lichtman’s pocket history of FAPA; four tributes to John Collins (from Robyn Whiteley, Bruce Gillespie, Don Collins, and Gail Reynolds); Jennifer Bryce’s ‘Travels in the UK, 2014 and 2015’; and Robert Day’s tales of another fandom — trainspotting around Britain and Europe. Plus many correspondents.

(16) RAGE. The New Inquiry has a transcript of a panel with Deji Bryce Olukotun, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Haris Durrani — “The Changing Faces of Sci-Fi and Fantasy”.

The trio discussed the limits of heroism, the politics of reality-building, and the whitewashing of publishing. The following is a transcript, edited for length, of their conversation.

DEJI BRYCE OLUKOTUN  When PEN approached me to help organize the event, I was in the middle of reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther comic books, which are super popular: they sell out every week. I felt real enthusiasm that a writer of color who was a National Book Award winner and MacArthur Fellow was tackling comic books, but at the same time, I wasn’t thrilled with some of his depictions of African themes and cultures.

Let me explain a little more what I mean. I was excited that Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has been a comic book fan his whole life, is tackling the genre, but I had critiques about his technique–some of the dialogue, some of the writing. I felt the dilemma that a lot of people feel if you are from a marginalized group. A lot of voices, especially black voices aren’t making it on the page with major publishers. Was I going to actually destroy opportunities if I spoke out against his work and said, “Well, I love this part of the story but I don’t like this part”?

(17) READING THE NIGHT AWAY. Not a new article, but seasonally appropriate! From NPR, “Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual ‘Christmas Book Flood’”.

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what’s really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It’s a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the “Christmas Book Flood.”…

What kind of books, exactly?

“Generally fiction and biographies would be the mainstays, although it varies a lot,” Bjarnason says. “Two years ago one of the surprise best-sellers was a pictorial overview of the history of tractors in Iceland.”

That book, And Then Came Ferguson, wasn’t the only unusual breakout success. Another, Summerland: The Deceased Describe Their Death And Reunions In The Afterlife, came out last year. The book, by Gudmundur Kristinsson, an author in his 80s who believes he can talk to the dead, sold out completely before Christmas 2010 — and sold out yet again after being reprinted in February 2011.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, and David Steffen for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Redheadedfemme.]

Pixel Scroll 6/9/16 I See All Good Pixels Scroll Their Heads Each Day So Satisfied I’m On My Way

(1) WHAT’S A FEW MILLION BETWEEN GEEKS? Wizard World will be scaling back conventions after posting a $4.25M loss in 2015.

The comic convention franchise Wizard World is scaling back the number of conventions after filing a $4.25 million loss in 2015, according to ICv2. The company, which takes its name from the defunct magazine Wizard, held 25 events in 2015 for a combined revenue of $22.9m, which was less than 2014’s convention revenue of $23.1m despite only hosting 17 shows that year. Looking closer, Wizard World’s 2015 conventions earned on average $916,000 per show, as opposed to $1.36m in the year prior.

Additionally, Wizard World has sold all but 10% ownership of the fledging ConTV to Cinedigm. That venture was a $1.3m loss for WizardWorld in 2015.

WizardWorld has 19 conventions planned in 2016, with one being the new ‘con cruise’ venture.

(2) WISTFUL WATNEY. From The Martian Extended Edition, now on Digital HD, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD.

Mark Watney marvels at Earth and contemplates on the reasons for his rescue from Hermes.

 

(3) LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. Mark Gunnells wrote “A Love Letter to Joe R. Lansdale”.

Some of you may be saying, Who’s that?  And if you are, that makes me sad.  The man’s talents are so immense that he really should be a household name in my opinion.  His books never fail to impress and thrill me, and I’ll give a few reasons why I am such a fan.

One, simplicity.  The man’s language can be so lean and yet convey so much.  He doesn’t have to do a lot of literary acrobatics to get his point across, but can say so much with such economy of words.  It is something I aspire to.

Two, dialogue.  I’m a sticker for good dialogue, and Lansdale knows how to do it.  His characters talk in a way that is witty and fun but also believable and authentic.

Three, darkness of character.  But not just of the villains.  He isn’t afraid to infuse his protagonists with darkness too.  They aren’t all saintly and virtuous, but a mixture of good and bad, just like real people.

Four, diversity.  The man does westerns, mystery, horror, and a great deal of fiction that defies category.  I think that hurts him in some ways, since the industry (and many readers) like writers who are predictable, where they know what they’re getting going in.  That isn’t Lansdale, and I love him for it.  He is also equally adept at short stories, as well as novels and novellas.

(4) ROAD WARRIOR. “Letter From Terry Brooks: The Importance of Touring” at Suvudu.

…Chained to my computer and locked away for 8 to 10 months while writing, you tend to forget what it is you are writing for. You tend to forget how wonderful it feels to hear that your books mean so much to the readers. You forget that it gives you energy and inspiration for your work. But the book events remind you of all this, and they give you an unmistakable desire to go back and do more and to never, ever disappoint your readers by doing something that is less than your best work.

Love the families that come out. Sometimes four or five, all reading the books at once. Love the stories of how people came to read the books in the first place – frequently through another member of the family recommending them. Love the way the stories and characters have impacted people at times in their lives when things seemed a bit bleak. I am reminded of how we all escape into books to flee our own lives now and then, and when we do we inevitably return better able to get on with things. Love all the strange, wild tales of where people were and what they were doing when they read a particular book…..

(5) TWEETAGE OF THE LAMBS. Here’s a little-known fact about Amazon rankings.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 9, 2006 — The animated feature film Cars, produced by Pixar Animation Studios, roars into theaters across the United States.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY DUCK

  • Born June 9, 1934 — Donald Duck made his first screen appearance in “The Wise Little Hen.”

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS AND GIRLS

A time traveler, a pirate and a princess…

  • Born June 9, 1961 — Michael J. Fox
  • Born June 9, 1963  — Johnny Depp
  • Born June 9, 1981 — Natalie Portman

(9) WHITE HOUSE LOOT CRATE IN HEADLINES. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports “Obama gave Trudeau a signed copy of Star Wars script”.

According to ethics disclosures, Justin Trudeau was given a copy of “The Force Awakens” script – the seventh Star Wars movie, released last year – signed by writer/director J.J. Abrams. U.S. President Barack Obama gave Mr. Trudeau (a big fan of the sci-fi franchise) the gift, along with a sculpture, a photograph and toys for the children, during the state visit to Washington in March.

Mr. Trudeau and his family gave the Obamas a sculpture and indigenous clothing.

The personal touch of this particular gift is no doubt a sign of how close the two world leaders are. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Obama will see each other again at the end of the month, when the President comes to town for the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa on June 29. Mr. Obama is expected to address parliamentarians while he’s in town.

(10) BROOKS FANZINES. The University of Georgia (as reported last month) is displaying Ned Brooks’ fanzines in the Rotunda of the Russell Special Collections Libraries through July. Now there is also a companion online exhibit anchored by George Beahm’s tribute, “To Infinity and Beyond! The Fanzine Collection of Ned Brooks”.

(11) WILLIAMS SCORES AFI AWARD. Tonight John Williams picks up the 44th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award. The ceremony will air on TNT on June 15.

John Williams’ storied career as the composer behind many of the greatest American films and television series of all time boasts over 150 credits across seven decades. Perhaps best known for his enduring collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, his scores are among the most iconic and recognizable in film history, from the edge-of-your-seat JAWS (1975) motif to the emotional swell of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) and the haunting elegies of SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993). Always epic in scale, his music has helped define over half a century of the motion picture medium. Three of Williams’ scores landed on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores — a list of the 25 greatest American film scores of all time — including the unforgettable STAR WARS (1977) soundtrack, at number one. With five Academy Award® wins and 49 nominations in total, Williams holds the record for the most Oscar® nominations of any living person.

(12) VAPORTECTURE. “Is a Comic-Con museum headed to Balboa Park?” asks the San Diego Union-Tribune. The answer is: not necessarily.

So far it’s undecided whether such an attraction would simply share space with the Hall of Champions or occupy nearly all of the 68,000-square-foot, memorabilia-filled venue next to the Starlight Bowl.

“I heard they might be interested in doing something, so I made contact and began a conversation, and it’s been going on for awhile,” said Hall of Champions board member Dan Shea. “We have a space that could be considered under-utilized for what we have. Comic-Con is an iconic community group, and we would love to see them stay here, so we thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a museum for them in our hometown. And that’s what we talk about when we get together now and then.”

But no deal has been reached, and it could be some time before a museum even materializes, Shea acknowledged.

“There’s no hurry to move it along,” he said.

Comic-Con International spokesman David Glanzer was equally vague about the prospects for a Balboa Park museum devoted to the popular arts icon, a San Diego presence since 1970. The four-day convention, which now draws more than 130,000 attendees, is contracted to stay in San Diego through 2018.

Asked about what the museum might showcase and how much space it might occupy, Glanzer responded, “We’re still in discussions. I’m sorry but we haven’t gotten that far yet.”

Shea said an announcement about the possibility of a museum was made, in part, to put to rest “silly things we were hearing about what people thought they knew about this.”

(13) SEVENEVES MOVIE MAYBE. “Skydance Reunites ‘Apollo 13’ Team For Neal Stephenson Sci-Fi Novel ‘Seveneves’”Deadline has the story.

EXCLUSIVE: Skydance has set the Apollo 13 team of writer Bill Broyles, director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer for an adaptation of bestselling author Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Seveneves. Grazer and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment is producing the ambitious adaptation.

(14) KRAKEN, NOT STIRRED. Nerdist “Meet the GAME OF THRONES Brittle Star: Ophiohamus Georgemartini”.

The trend of naming new species after pop culture icons is on the rise, and we’re giving the latest addition to the list of nerdy namesakes our stamp of approval. A brittle star, found deep in the South Pacific, has been officially dubbed Ophiohamus georgemartini because of its likeness to the thorny crown found on the cover of book two in the Game of Thrones series, A Clash of Kings….

The George R.R. Martin-friendly specimen was found off the coast of New Caledonia, at a depth of 275 meters (902 ft), but you can find brittle stars in shallow waters as well, and even in rocky tide pools. “Brittle stars live everywhere,” explains the Echinoblog’s Dr. Christopher Mah. “Under rocks, in the mud, on corals, under corals … even on jellyfish. Many of them are tiny, tiny little critters that fit easily into cracks, crevices and nooks in rocks.”

[Thanks to Stephen Burridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bruce Baugh.]