(1) RIGHTS ACQUIRED. A novel George R.R. Martin co-authored with Daniel Abraham and the late Gardner Dozois has been optioned for a movie. Variety has the details: “George R.R. Martin, Exile Content Pact on ‘Hunter’s Run’ Film Rights”.
…The sci-fi tale is the only one among Martin’s body of work that features a Latino lead, making it a natural fit for Exile Content which has produced a slew of content in Spanish and English.
Based on the sci-fi novel co-penned by Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham (“The Expanse”), “Hunter’s Run” follows Ramón Espejo who ekes out a living as a day laborer on a distant planet where he finds his living conditions no better off than what he left on planet Earth. He escapes but finds himself on the run for the murder of an interplanetary diplomat….
The novel itself took thirty years to finish, for reasons explained in the Wikipedia: “Hunter’s Run”.
…In 1976, science fiction author and editor Dozois conceived of a story beginning with a man floating in darkness. Dozois conceived of Ramón’s name, ethnicity (feeling that Hispanic protagonists were underrepresented in science fiction) and his basic situation, but the story did not proceed far. The following year, while working as a guest instructor at a Catholic women’s college at the invitation of Martin, his friend and colleague, Dozois read the story out loud. Martin thought the story was interesting and waited for Dozois to finish it, but Dozois found himself unable to do so. In 1981, Dozois suggested that Martin continue the story instead, which he did, bringing the story to the beginning of the chase sequence. Martin hit on the idea of expanding the story to a 500-page novel exploring the ecosystem of São Paulo..
After his writing on the story stalled in 1982, Martin handed it back to Dozois, suggesting they alternate working on it until it was done. However, Dozois was unable to come up with any ideas on how to proceed and the book remained in his desk drawer until 2002, when he and Martin decided to bring the story to the attention of a third author, Daniel Abraham. Abraham completed the story, and titled Shadow Twin, it was published by Subterranean as a novella in 2004. Dozois then went back and reworked the manuscript into a 380-page novel, renamed Hunter’s Run, for publication in 2007….
(2) STAY TUNED. Zack Snyder’s own longtime-in-hatching project Rebel Moon is finally on the way says The Hollywood Reporter: “Rebel Moon Netflix Release Date: Zack Snyder Movie Hits in December”.
Snyder originally developed Rebel Moon as a potential Star Wars feature more than a decade ago, before Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. “This is me growing up as an Akira Kurosawa fan, a Star Wars fan,” Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter in July 2021. “It’s my love of sci-fi and a giant adventure. My hope is that this also becomes a massive IP and a universe that can be built out.”…
(3) NOT AGAINST THE LAW? [Item by Daniel Dern.] Behind a paywall, more from the New York Times on the not-dead indie romance author: “A Fake Death in Romancelandia”
… She had not heard again from the police and sounded confident that she would not face charges, saying the family had not received substantial donations after her online death announcement; she had offered the detectives access to her bank accounts to prove it. She did admit feeling remorse for the fans who had grieved her loss.
“I’m sorry for their mourning, but from a legal standpoint, I did nothing wrong,” she said. “Morally, I might have done something wrong. But legally, there’s nothing wrong.”
(4) WHAT IF YOUR BOOK IS ALREADY INSIDE THE PICKET LINE? Dan Kois, a mainstream author, discusses the “HarperCollins strike: why publishing my first novel has me deeply conflicted” at Slate.
Today, my first novel is being published. It’s the culmination of seven years of work and, uh, a large number of years of dreaming of writing a novel. Publication day for a debut novel can be a little overwhelming, I’m told—you’ve got all those TV news producers begging you for interviews. (They haven’t called me yet, but I assume they will soon.) Overall, though, pub day ought to be a time of joy, if slightly nervous joy: A thing you made, and care deeply about, is finally making its way into the world!
But for me, and for a lot of other authors this winter, publication day is feeling a little bittersweet. That’s because we’re being published by HarperCollins.
About 200 HarperCollins publishing employees, primarily younger assistants and associates, have been on strike since November. Their demands are not outlandish and reflect the issues facing junior employees across publishing: They want the company’s minimum starting salary increased from $45,000 to $50,000. They want the publisher to address diversity issues at the company. They also want to ensure all eligible employees are in the union.
… So what do I owe the young striking employees of HarperCollins? Should I be delivering public statements about my support for the union? Sure, that’s easy. But is that enough? Isn’t the success of my book also success for a company that’s currently behaving in a way I can’t agree with? Should I be withholding my labor and refusing to promote my book entirely?
No, said Rachel Kambury, a striking associate editor at HarperCollins. “That’s not your responsibility,” she said. “We don’t want to harm HarperCollins authors.” Indeed, the striking workers aren’t asking customers to boycott Harper titles, and have even created a Bookshop.org affiliate page where you can buy Harper books (here’s a great example!) while also contributing to the union’s strike fund, which supports workers who haven’t gotten paid for two months now….
And Publishers Weekly posted a lengthy article about the strike, the company’s intransigence, and its prospective effects on the industry: “Who Wins in the HarperCollins Union Labor Dispute?”
As the HarperCollins labor dispute rolls into a new year, the company’s unionized employee strike is now the longest in the union’s more than 80-year history at the top publisher. Since the initial employee walkout on November 10, the dispute has caught the attention of all publishing sectors, with many anticipating the outcome as a test case for how labor unions could change business operations. But for many publishing industry veterans, whether that change is positive or negative remains to be seen.
Indeed, some smaller independent publishers—mostly outside of New York City—are concerned that the public nature of the strike, with wage demands made public, is raising unrealistic financial expectations. Smaller publishing operations can’t afford to match wages at the Big Five publishing companies. Moreover, despite the double-digit profit margins that the publicly-traded publishers have posted in recent years, publishing is generally a low margin business. Sales gains during the initial years of the COVID-19 outbreak notwithstanding, the industry typically has marginal growth in annual sales, and “flat is the new up” has long been an unofficial business slogan. A lengthy, very public strike only adds to the industry’s challenges, with many agents and authors wanting the dispute to be resolved quickly and immediately so the industry can get back to business.
As of January 18, unionized employees have missed 50 work days, amid numerous stories about HarperCollins’ low pay, particularly for entry-level employees….
(5) MARVEL MOVIES RETURNING TO CHINA SCREENS. “China ends de facto ban on Marvel films after more than three years” reports the Guardian.
China has ended its de facto ban on Marvel films, with superhero flicks Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania both locking in surprise release dates, after a three-and-a-half-year gap that has cost Disney hundreds of millions in ticket sales.
The films will be released in February, after the lunar new year, marking the first Marvel releases in the world’s second-largest theatrical market since Avengers: Endgame in 2019.
Foreign film releases are approved or denied by regulators at the China Film Administration, which is part of the Chinese Communist party’s propaganda department. The CFA routinely blocks the release of foreign films to maintain censorship and protect the domestic film industry.
The CFA has never explained why Marvel films have been blocked since mid-2019….
…The readmittance of Marvel films comes as the US and China work to repair relations, and amid other signs of China’s government easing its hardline approaches on the private sector.
(6) KINSMAN HISTORY MAKER. The Tribune-Chronicle in Warren, Ohio ran a profile about a famous local author: “Valley author found success in the stars”.
Edmond Moore Hamilton was a popular author of science fiction stories and novels through the mid-20th century. During his career, he wrote more than 30 science fiction novels and 400 stories.
… On Dec. 31, 1946, Hamilton married fellow science fiction author and screenwriter Leigh Brackett in San Gabriel, California, and in 1951 moved with her to a farmhouse in Kinsman, where they worked side by side for a quarter-century, but rarely shared the task of authorship….
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1993 — [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
I am not making the assumption that all of us here love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fiction but I deeply, madly do. At forty one novels and a number of related works including the Hugo nominated The Science of Discworld, there’s a lot of great reading to be had.
And let’s not forget a music adaptation by Steeleye Span of one of his novels. As the Green Man reviewer says, “It may be an example of retrospective inevitability now that it has actually happened in the form of the Wintersmith CD, however. In any case, the end result is one that is overwhelmingly a credit to all concerned; worthy of the names involved and their reputations.”
And of course, Discworld has food. Tonight, I’ll offer up one of my favorite quotes by him on that subject. Don’t worry — there’s more food to follow by him.
Our quote this Scroll is from “Theatre of Cruelty”, a Discworld short story that Terry Pratchett wrote in 1993. It has an interesting history as it was first written for W. H. Smith Bookcase magazine and then was slightly changed before being published in the program of OryCon 15, and finally in The Wizards of Odd, a compilation of fantasy short stories.
Pratchett allowed it to be published sort as a feral thing online, so you can find the full text, well, pretty much everywhere. Here’s a nicely formatted copy.
And here’s the excerpt from it that I promised.
There is such a thing as an edible, nay delicious, meat pie floater, its mushy peas of just the right consistency, its tomato sauce piquant in its cheekiness, its pie filling tending even towards named parts of the animal. There are platonic burgers made of beef instead of cow lips and hooves. There are fish ‘n’ chips where the fish is more than just a white goo lurking at the bottom of a batter casing and you can’t use the chips to shave with. There are hot dog fillings which have more in common with meat than mere pinkness, whose lucky consumers don’t apply mustard because that would spoil the taste. It’s just that people can be trained to prefer the other sort, and seek it out. It’s as if Machiavelli had written a cookery book.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born January 18, 1882 — A.A. Milne. Oh, Pooh has to count as genre, doesn’t he? A talking, honey loving bear? Certainly that an exhibition entitled “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London shows his place in our culture. There’s also Once on a Time, a rather charming fairy tale by him. And though it isn’t remotely genre, I wholeheartedly recommend The Red House Mystery, a Country House Mystery that’s most excellent! (Died 1956.)
- Born January 18, 1932 — Robert Anton Wilson. Conspiracy nut or SF writer? Or both? I think I first encountered him in something Geis wrote about him in SFR in the Eighties. Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy is just weird and might or might not be a sequel to The Illuminatus! Trilogy. But the absolutely weirdest thing he did I think is an interview titled Robert Anton Wilson On Finnegans Wake and Joseph Campbell. Yes, he frothed at the mouth on Campbell and Joyce in it! (Died 2007.)
- Born January 18, 1937 — Dick Durock. He was best known for playing Swamp Thing in Swamp Thing and The Return of Swamp Thing and the following television series which ran for three seasons. His only other genre appearances were in The Nude Bomb (also known as The Return of Maxwell Smart) and “The First” of The Incredible Hulk. He shows up in Die Hard with a Vengeance in a subway scene. No, it’s not genre, I just like that film. (Died 2009.)
- Born January 18, 1943 — Paul Freeman, 80. Best remembered I’d say for being the evil René Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He also played Professor Moriarty in Without a Clue which had Michael Caine as Holmes and Kingsley as Watson. He played Frederick Selous on two episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. His last genre appearance was the new The Man Who Fell to Earth series.
- Born January 18, 1953 — Pamela Dean, 70. Her best novel is I think Tam Lin though one could make an argument for Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary which Windling claims is her favorite fantasy novel. Her Secret Country trilogy is a great deal of fun reading. Much of her short stories are set in the Liavek shared universe created by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly. Alll of these are now available on all major digital platforms. According to the files sitting in my Dropbox folder, there’s eight volumes to the series. They’re wonderful reading. End of plug.
- Born January 18, 1955 — Kevin Costner, 68. Some of his genre films are Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld, The Postman and the recent Dragonfly. Bull Durham is one of my go-to films when I want to feel good. He also was Jonathan Kent in both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. On the baseball side of things, I really like his Field of Dreams — his acting in it as Ray Kinsella is quite excellent. Not quite as superb as he was as “Crash” Davis in Bull Durham but damned good.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro shares the latest in alien transportation.
(10) LET THERE BE MOMENTARY LIGHT. “Inside the nuclear fusion breakthrough that could be a step to unlimited clean energy in the distant future” CBS’ 60 Minutes has posted their coverage as a text article in addition to the video recording.
…Last month, the nearest star to the Earth was in California. In a laboratory, for the first time, the world’s largest lasers forced atoms of hydrogen to fuse together in the same kind of energy producing reaction that fires the sun. It lasted less than a billionth of a second. But, after six decades of toil and failure, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory proved it could be done. If fusion becomes commercial power one day, it would be endless and carbon free. In other words, it would change human destiny. As you’ll see, there’s far to go. But after December’s breakthrough, we were invited to tour the lab and meet the team that brought star power down to Earth.
Uncontrolled fusion is easy–mastered so long ago the films are in black and white. Fusion is what a hydrogen bomb does, releasing energy by forcing atoms of hydrogen to fuse together. What’s been impossible is harnessing the fires of Armageddon into something useful.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory helps maintain nuclear weapons and experiments with high-energy physics. An hour east of San Francisco, we met Livermore’s director, Kim Budil, in the lab that made history, the National Ignition Facility.
Kim Budil: The National Ignition Facility is the world’s largest, most energetic laser. It was built starting in the 1990s, to create conditions in the laboratory that had previously only been accessible in the most extreme objects in the universe, like the center of giant planets, or the sun, or in operating nuclear weapons. And the goal was to really be able to study that kind of very high-energy, high-density condition in a lot of detail….
(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: High on Life”, Fandom Games is not just honest, but brutally honest.
…From Rick and Morty creator and alleged domestic abuser Justin Roiland comes a brand new video game that’s exactly the thing that you would expect from him. It’s a space adventure where every joke goes on two minutes too long – High on Life.
Witness what happens when Justin Roiland decides to bring his vision to life in game and experience a world that feels like a cheap knockoff of a thing made by the same guy…
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]