(1) SPIT TAKE. All you short fiction fans pay attention: “Short Story Dispenser to spit out free stories at three locations around Philadelphia” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Like picking up a pack of Oreos from the cafeteria vending machine, a new kiosk concept in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia will allow visitors to obtain short stories at the touch of a button.
Announced Thursday as part of the Public Library Association’s 2018 conference, Philadelphia was selected as one of four cities to receive a grant for Short Story Dispensers. The thin, sleek 5-foot-tall kiosks will be at three yet-to-be-determined locations throughout the city.
Each will offer one-, three-, and five-minute stories from a range of 20 genres. Stories will be spit out like an ATM receipt to users — and for free — on eco-friendly paper.
(2) IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN. “Time for a new episode of my Eating the Fantastic podcast,” says Scott Edelman, “And time to test the Internet gods!” Episode 62 invites you to chow down on calamari with Paul di Filippo:
Paul Di Filippo has published more than than 200 short stories—which as you’ll hear, I teased him about as conversation began—and has appeared in such magazines as Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Interzone, and many others. Some of those stories have been collected in The Steampunk Trilogy, Ribofunk, Fractal Paisleys, Lost Pages, Little Doors, Strange Trades, Babylon Sisters, and many, many others. And then there are the novels, such as Ciphers, Joe’s Liver, Fuzzy Dice, A Mouthful of Tongues, and Spondulix. He’s been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction Association, Philip K. Dick, Wired magazine, and World Fantasy awards. He was also my go-to reviewer back when I edited Science Fiction Age and then, for the Syfy Channel’s Science Fiction Weekly.
Paul’s the one who suggested Angelo’s Civita Farnese as our venue. The Italian restaurant was opened in Providence 1924 by Angelo Mastrodicasa. Paul’s entree of french fries with meatballs, a combination I’ve never seen before, turned out to be one of Angelo’s signature dishes, started during the Depression as a way for customers to fill up without emptying their wallets.
We discussed why the first story he ever wrote was Man from U.N.C.L.E. fan fiction, the pact he made with a childhood friend which explains why he owns none of the Marvel Comics he read as a kid, what caused the editor who printed his debut story to make the bold claim it would be both his first and last published piece of fiction, how his life changed once he started following Ray Bradbury’s rule of writing at least 1,000 words per day, why he’s written so much alternate history and for which famous person he’s had the most fun imagining a different life, why after a career in science fiction and fantasy he’s begun a series of mystery novels, what happened to the never-published Batman story he sold DC Comics which we never got to see, and much more.
(3) KURT BUSIEK OPTION. Todd Allen has the details: “Kurt Busiek Working on an Astro City Pilot With FreemantleMedia – Another Super Hero Universe License Acquired”.
If memory serves, Astro City has been under option of some kind since at least the early-to-mid ’00s. Back then, super hero movies were just starting to heat up with Spidey and X-Men, but Marvel hadn’t gotten their own studio together yet. These days, TV is arguably as needy as the film studios when it comes to comics licenses. (See: Netflix) And so, FreemantleMedia North America has come into possession of the film rights for Astro City.
FreeMantle is actually pretty big. They produce everything from The Price is Right to American Gods. What’s a bit more interesting is that Kurt Busiek, himself, is co-writing the pilot….
(4) THE UNFORGOTTEN. Pulp Librarian (@PulpLibrarian) ran a retrospective on Laser Books today. Mark Hepworth’s comment accompanying the link ended, “…complete with some really bad covers!” Since one of my favorite artists, Kelly Freas, did every Laser Book cover, I’m not going to print that…. Jump on the thread here —
Today in pulp: a cautionary tale of trying to shoehorn fiction into a standard formula, just because it’s in the same genre.
This is the story of Laser Books… pic.twitter.com/6GIlpBvO6o
— Pulp Librarian (@PulpLibrarian) March 23, 2018
(5) STORYBUNDLE. Time is running out on The Feminist Futures Bundle curated by Cat Rambo.
Rosemary Kirstein, one of the contributors (The Steerswoman), describes the bundle as “10 authors with novels that simply assume that their female protagonists are equal participants in society and able to pursue their goals — no preaching or excoriating involved!” The Storybundle is in its last week and ends March 29. You’ll find several posts with more info about the bundle at Kirstein’s blog.
Nicole Kimberling, another of the bundle authors, wrote a piece for The Mary Sue on “Why We Still Need Feminist Science-Fiction”.
When Cat Rambo first approached me about including my novel, Happy Snak, in a StoryBundle, I thought it would be representing the “outer space” niche in a collection of genre-based comedies. So when I realized my story would be included in “Feminist Futures,” I was taken aback. Happy Snak is about a woman who owns a dinky snack bar in space. She fraternizes with aliens and refuses to comply with arbitrary regulations but is otherwise largely apolitical. Why, I wondered, would anybody consider this feminist? Then, thinking further, I realized that for many women, just being themselves and making (and spending) their own money is still considered a threatening and subversive act. (I’ve got my eye you, Quiverfull.)
And Cat has two video interviews of the authors included in the bundle:
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY
- March 23, 2012 — The first installment of The Hunger Games made its theatrical premiere.
(7) OVERTIME. JonnyBaak’s video takes a behind-the-scenes look at the 1966/67 Irwin Allen hit The Time Tunnel.
(8) LEGO IDEAS WINNER ABOUT TO HIT MARKET. io9 advises “Start Saving Your Quarters Because Lego’s Tron: Legacy Light Cycles Set Finally Arrives Next Week”.
Originally approved for production back in late November of last year, the light cycle design that BrickBros UK submitted to the Lego Ideas site looks significantly updated and streamlined by Lego’s own designers for the production version of this set. But the changes certainly seem to benefit fans of Tron: Legacy, as the set now includes two light cycles, and three minifigure versions of Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), Quorra (Olivia Wilde), and Rinzler (Anis Cheurfa), complete with identity discs.
(9) ABOUT THOSE SJW CREDENTIALS. Dogs and cats – never the twain shall mark.
— Shane Ivins (@CharmingKobold) March 24, 2018
(10) UNBELIEVABLE. A professional cartographer makes fun of real-world map of New Orleans: “A guy who makes Role-playing games has criticised a map of New Orleans for being “unrealistic” and it’s gone viral”. Start the thread here:
Holy cow—if you like fantasy maps, spend some time looking at New Orleans. WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON WITH THIS CITY?! If this came in from a freelancer, there are half a dozen things that would raise my eyebrows. pic.twitter.com/ApqYYWlE8d
— James L. Sutter (@jameslsutter) March 19, 2018
(11) BRADBURY’S WRITING TIPS. Tripwire has rediscovered “Ray Bradbury’s 12 Rules For Writers”. Here are the first two —
- Don’t start out writing novels. They take too long. Begin your writing life instead by cranking out “a hell of a lot of short stories,” as many as one per week. Take a year to do it; he claims that it simply isn’t possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row. He waited until the age of 30 to write his first novel, Fahrenheit 451. “Worth waiting for, huh?”
- You may love ’em, but you can’t be ’em. Bear that in mind when you inevitably attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to imitate your favorite writers, just as he imitated H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle and L. Frank Baum.
(12) ACCESSIBLE EMOJIS. Proposed emojis for various disabilities: “Apple proposes 13 new emoji that represent people with disabilities”
The original Apple submission to the Unicode Consortium [PDF file] (the ruling body for emoji selection and all things else Unicode) states (in part):
- Completeness Does the proposed pictograph fill a gap in existing types of emoji?
The proposed set in itself provides a significant advance in coverage to depict various forms of disability, and fills a significant gap in representation and inclusiveness among existing emoji. We welcome other considerations that can help complete the set.
Mike Kennedy sent the link with a note: “It occurs to me that people who work Access for cons might have some ideas for additional emojis to “help complete the set.”
(13) SETTLEMENT IN TREK ACTOR’S DEATH. “Anton Yelchin: Star Trek actor’s parents settle legal case with car firm”: The rollaway that killed the new Chekov led to 11,000,000 cars recalled; damages will support a foundation.
Gary Dordick, the lawyer for Yelchin’s parents, said the money would go to the Anton Yelchin Foundation. The amount hasn’t been disclosed.
The money will also help fund a documentary about Yelchin’s life.
The actor was born in Russia and played Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek films released in 2009 and 2013.
He died when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against a concrete mailbox at his LA house in June 2016.
His parents filed a wrongful death case against Fiat Chrysler in August that year, saying the gear changer was defective.
In April 2016, the company had recalled 1.1 million vehicles across the world because of concerns that they could roll away after drivers exit.
(14) STAY FROSTY. “Thrills and chills at Broadway’s Frozen musical” — a hit with the audience, and the critic.
The puppet design provided for Sven and Olaf the snowman is a highlight of this Frozen, which had its official opening night on Thursday.
Credit for this goes to puppet designer Michael Curry, who previously made magic as Julie Taymor’s collaborator on The Lion King, Disney’s longest-running Broadway hit.
Yet for all the clever design elements involved in the production, it’s the performances, guided with wit and tenderness by acclaimed British director Michael Grandage, that propel the story.
That story is spun by librettist Jennifer Lee, adapting her own screenplay, and composer/lyricists Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez – Academy Award winners both for Frozen and, more recently, Coco.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. I can’t resist this video of the “Flaming Tomb on Easter Sunday.” People begin to see the light at the 1:18 mark.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mark Hepworth, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Bill, Rosemary Kirstein, Scott Edelman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lenora Rose, with an embellishment by OGH.]