Compiled by Carl Slaughter: Everyone is weighing in on Marvel’s Inhumans and everyone is weighing heavy.
Compiled by Carl Slaughter: Everyone is weighing in on Marvel’s Inhumans and everyone is weighing heavy.
(1) YOUR 1962 HUGO WINNERS. The Traveler at Galactic Journey spent Labor Day Weekend in Chicago engaged in fandom’s favorite pastime of complaining about the Hugo winners, like that gosh-darned Heinlein novel, Stranger in a Strange Land: “[Sep. 4, 1962] Differences of opinion (the 1962 Hugo Awards!)”
This line-up shouldn’t shock me, given the pre-convention buzz, and yet it does. Stranger has gotten a lot of attention, particularly from the mainstream edges of our fandom (probably because it dares to mention sex). It has also earned its fair share of scorn. It’s a lousy, preachy book, but if we’re judging by the sales, then it’s won its trophy, fair and square.
He hates Brian Aldiss’ winning works too! (Quick, the fainting cloths!)
I did give a Star to the first story in the Hothouse series, but the quality of the tales went down over the course of the publication. I understand they were novelized early this year, so Aldiss may get another bite at the apple. He doesn’t deserve it, though (the reviewer for UK sf digest, New Worlds, agrees with me).
(2) HANDMAID REX. Mari Mancusi saw something strange:
The handmaids were at the DragonCon parade. I’m a little concerned by the look of one of them…
(3) MORE SURPRISES. Here’s Atlanta Loop’s photos of the rest of the parade. Wait a minute – Jane Yolen was there?!?
Literary Guest of Honor and author of “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” Jane Yolen, waves to the crowd as she rides in the annual Dragon Con Parade. Photo: Jonathan Phillips
(4) SORRY, SON. Did you remember Indiana Jones has a son? Me neither. And no need to start remembering — Entertainment Weekly says “Indiana Jones 5 won’t feature Shia LaBeouf’s character”.
Will an Indiana Jones protege soon snatch the iconic wide-brimmed fedora from atop Harrison Ford’s head? Perhaps, but it won’t be Mutt Williams — a.k.a. Indy’s son, Henry Jones III — the character Shia LaBeouf played in 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
“Harrison plays Indiana Jones, that I can certainly say,” screenwriter David Koepp, who has penned a script for the fifth film in the storied Indiana Jones franchise, tells EW. “And the Shia LaBeouf character is not in the film.”
(5) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites everyone to “Chow down on Tortellini Carbonara with James Patrick Kelly” in Episode 46 of Eating the Fantastic.
James Patrick Kelly is a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning writer who recently published a career short story retrospective as part of the Centipede Press Masters of Science Fiction series. And had I not been turned down by the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop in 1974, I might have shared a dorm room with him! (But don’t worry. I was accepted in 1979.)
We discussed the reason he needed to attend the Clarion Science Fiction Workshop twice—and why the rules were then changed so no one could do it again, the suggestion Kate Wilhelm made that saved one of his short stories, why his reaction to comics as a kid was “Marvel, yes, DC, feh,” how the science fiction field survived the Cyberpunk/Humanist wars of the ‘80s, why he takes an expansive view of fanfic, how Cory Doctorow inspired him to enter the world of podcasting early, what allows him and frequent collaborator John Kessel to work together so well, his advice for how writing 10 endings to a story in progress will help writers find the right ending, and more.
(6) GEEKWIRE. Frank Catalano returns with the second podcast in his GeekWire special series on science fiction, pop culture and the arts.
This time, I interview SFWA President Cat Rambo about the new game writer’s Nebula Award, consider the importance of awards in a crowd-sourced recommendation landscape, revisit the Puppies controversy in light of last month’s Hugo results (you’ll recall I wrote about the Puppies for GeekWire two years ago), and get some advice for wanna be writers.
The story (focused on the game writing Nebula) with a link to the full podcast is here: “Game writers to be honored with Nebula Award in first for professional science fiction and fantasy org”.
SFWA President Cat Rambo says the organization began admitting game writers as members last year, and announced a Best Game Writing award category for 2018 to cover works published this year.
“I would think that one of the things a Nebula imprimatur would mean for a game is that it is a game that really has some story to it,” Rambo said. “That it’s a game that can achieve that sort of immersive wonderful experience that only text can bring.”
Rambo, a Seattle writer who is in her second term as SFWA president, sat down with GeekWire for this episode of our new podcast series on science fiction, pop culture, and the arts. Rambo has written more than 200 short stories and been nominated for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. Her stories are most recently collected in Neither Here Nor There (Hydra House) and Altered America: Steampunk Stories (Plunkett Press)….
Catalano says, “I have to admit, I’m enjoying mining my science fiction writing background. (And I do provide a full disclosure disclaimer early in the podcast interview that I am a former officer of SFWA, and still-active member.)”
(7) NO BUCK ROGERS, NO BUCKS. The iconic sf character is only making money for lawyers right now: “‘Buck Rogers’ Ownership at Center of Coming Trial”. Two rival estates want those bucks for their own.
The lawsuit is between descendants of author Philip Francis Nowlan, who created the fictional space explorer in the 1920s, and descendants of John Flint Dille, whose newspaper company once syndicated a Buck Rogers comic strip. On Friday, a Pennsylvania federal judge wrote the latest chapter in a long-running contest over rights with a decision that sets up a forthcoming trial over ownership….
“Although the question of whether the commercial success of Buck Rogers owes more to John F. Dille or Philip F. Nowlan is surely of great interest to the parties, and to Buck Rogers fans, it is simply irrelevant to the trademark questions that the trier of fact must answer here,” writes the judge.
The first big trademark question is who had priority on “Buck Rogers.” Who came first to claim “Buck Rogers” as their own? Not Nowlan or Dille, but rather their respective trusts. The Dilles no longer have a valid federal registration, so they must establish prior use of the mark in a way sufficiently public to be identifiable in the minds of the public.
Beetlestone writes that “there is a genuine issue as to whether Plaintiff can establish priority of use in the BUCK ROGERS mark. It must be noted that it is not necessary for Plaintiff to trace its claim to the BUCK ROGERS mark back to John F. Dille or Philip F. Nowlan. Instead, Plaintiff need only point to evidence from which a trier of fact could conclude that it developed trademark rights in the mark prior to January 15, 2009.”
That’s the date the Nowlans filed an intent-to-use trademark application.
The judge notes that the Dilles held registrations on “Buck Rogers” in the 1980s and had licensed those rights for games, comics and books.
(8) CANDID GIZZARD. The BBC reports “Scientists have developed a camera that can see through the human body”.
Scientists have developed a camera that can see through the human body.
The device has been designed to help doctors track medical tools, known as endoscopes, during internal examinations.
Until now, medics have had to rely on expensive scans, such as X-rays, to trace their progress.
The new camera works by detecting light sources inside the body, such as the illuminated tip of the endoscope’s long flexible tube.
(9) BREW HAULER. A true fan: “German waiter smashes beer carrying record – again”. Video at the link.
Oliver Struempfel spent months of training to carry as many full one-litre mugs as possible for a distance of 40m.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY
(11) COMICS SECTION. John King Tarpinian will remember why he recommended this one in a moment: Speedbump.
(12) SECOND VICTIM IDENTIFIED. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published the name of the second woman injured by chairs thrown from the Atlanta Marriott early Sunday morning during Dragon Con:
Jamie Temple-Thompson Amador, who was dressed as Jessica Rabbit from the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” was rushed to Wellstar Atlanta Medical Hospital, friend Jennifer Matteson told The AJC.
Both women have been released from their hospitals.
Mattheson said she and Amador drove from Louisiana for their first Dragon Con.
All in all, Matteson said their experience was still positive from the “phenomenal” hotel hospitality to the community.
“The love and support from the Dragon Con family is heart warming to say the least,” Matteson said. “We can’t wait to return for an even better experience, and reconnect with our new Atlanta family!”
(13) DRAGON AWARDS. At Women Write About Comics, Doris V. Sutherland says “2017 Dragon Awards Are No Longer Puppy Awards”. My mileage may vary.
Despite its recent vintage, the Dragon Awards already have a rocky history. Last year, the awards largely reflected the tastes of a very specific voting bloc: namely, supporters of the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies campaigns that formed to counter perceived left-wing bias at Worldcon’s Hugo Awards.
This led to such ludicrous situations as Brian Niemeier, a Puppy-aligned author, campaigning for his little-known space opera Souldancer to be voted into the Best Horror category for tactical reasons — and winning. L. Jagi Lamplighter, who edited Souldancer and became a finalist this year for her YA novel Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland, acknowledged the Puppies’ influence on the Dragon Awards results in 2016: “Puppy fans were eager to vote in a new award and may have been more vigilant than general fans who didn’t necessarily know about the Dragon Awards ahead of time.” Other authors from the Puppysphere, meanwhile, insisted that the Dragons were evidence of their mass popularity with the wider fandom.
However, it seems the farce of the 2016 Dragon Awards can now be consigned to the dustbin of fandom history. The 2017 Dragons have received a much higher turnout of voters and, all in all, they have done a considerably better job of living up to their stated aim of offering “a true reflection of the works that are genuinely most beloved by the core audience.”
This year, the one victory from the Puppy circles was earned by Larry Correia and John Ringo’s Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge, which won Best Fantasy Novel. Correia was the founder of the Sad Puppies campaign and is almost certainly the most popular author to be aligned with the movement, so his success here should not come as too much of a surprise.
(14) NIEMEIER ON DRAGON AWARDS. It’s kind of like watching a dog take a victory lap with one leg lifted.
— Brian Niemeier (@BrianNiemeier) September 4, 2017
(15) LOOK OUT. Kevin Standlee got splashed – uh, with vitriol, that is: “They Doth Protest Too Much Methinks”.
I (probably unwisely) tried to ask some of the people crowing over how the recent Dragon Awards are the Best Awards Evar and that The Hugo Awards are dead, dead, dead because of course the only Real Awards are the Dragons, etc., asking why they thought an award that allowed someone with a bit of internet savvy the ability to vote potentially hundreds of times was a good thing, and the amount of vitriol sent my way was, well, not surprising, really. I’m sort of wondering if these people simply assume that everything is corrupt and everyone is on the take. They assumed, after all, that the Hugo Award results were rigged by a Secret Cabal. They don’t care of their pet system is rigged or flawed, as long as they Get What They Want. It’s sort of like the people who were quoted as saying they didn’t care if the last American Presidential election was corrupted, because Their Guy Won, and that’s all that matters.
(16) BACK FROM HELSINKI. Susanna Shore adds to the legion of Worldcon 75 reports in “My #worldcon75 experience”:
The first panel was called Bad Romance. I’d chosen it because I write romance and I don’t want to write it badly, but also because Max Gladstone was on it. He doesn’t strike me as a romance writer, but I like his Craft Sequence fantasy series and wanted to hear him. He turned out to be worth the queuing.
The panel had a hiccupy start as the chair didn’t show up, but a member of the audience volunteered to moderate. She turned out to be Julia Rios, who had won a Hugo Award the previous night for Uncanny Magazine and had partied till four in the morning, but she still managed to be a great moderator. Not only did she keep the conversation flowing, she also managed to live tweet the panel. As a whole, the panel was good and funny, though I didn’t learn anything I hadn’t known before.
(17) MARVEL’S INHUMANS. Sneak peek.
[Thanks to JJ, Mark-kitteh, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]
(1) ANOTHER MASTERPIECE OF CONRUNNING. Mothership says Akiba Town, held this weekend in Singapore and which markets itself as a “Japanese culture event bringing in official anime merchandise along with fan artists and guest cosplayers” — was a mess: “S’pore-organised cosplay event riddled with multiple problems, slammed by cosplay community”. It changed venues a week before the event, allowed stolen artwork to be sold as official merchandise, oversold vendor space, and the list goes on….
If you guys are coming to AkibaTown, please use the Hall B entrance! We're straight ahead to the end from there ? pic.twitter.com/wIGAkci5MV
— Ana ? /recovering/ (@cattnib) August 4, 2017
(2) A STELLAR GATHERING IN SCANDINAVIA. Sff authors and editors outside The English Bookshop, Uppsala, Sweden:
— The English Bookshop (@bookshop_se) August 5, 2017
Front: Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Amal el-Mohtar, Likhain, Ann Leckie, Jo Walton, Fran Wilde, Vivian Shaw, Arkady Martine (Dr. AnnaLinden Weller), Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
Back: Amanda Downum, Max Gladstone, Ada Palmer, Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch.
(3) CANADA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY BUGS SOME PEOPLE. It’s one thing to have bats in your belfry – quite another to have a giant spider: “Ottawa archbishop surprised by negative reaction to robotic spider on cathedral”.
The spider, named Kumo, is one of two giant robots created by a street theater company of artists, technicians and performers based in Nantes, France. The company, La Machine, was in Ottawa July 27-30 as part of celebrations marking Canada’s 150th birthday.
The spectacle of robots, music and other special effects drew tens of thousands to Ottawa’s downtown.
The show opened July 27 in the evening, with Kumo “waking up” to organ music from inside the cathedral. As the spider, suspended from cranes, climbed off its perch between the towers, “snow” fell from above as part of the event’s special effects.
“I don’t understand how allowing a mechanical spider to stand on the cathedral is anything but disturbing, disappointing and even shameful,” wrote Diane Bartlett on the archbishop’s Facebook wall.
…Archbishop Terrence Prendergast said he was surprised by the negative reaction to an artistic initiative after critics called the spider’s placement “sacrilegious,” “demonic,” and “disrespectful” of a sacred space.
“My cathedral staff and I anticipated that some … might object, but thought it would be minimal, as nothing demeaning was intended in the spider being near the church,” said the archbishop in an email interview with Canadian Catholic News.
“I regret that we had not sufficiently understood that others would see this event so differently. I say to those who were shocked that I understand that this would have been upsetting for them and that I regret that a well-intentioned effort to cooperate in a celebration was anything but that for them.”
— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) August 1, 2017
I came out to have a good time and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now.
— Kumo the RoboSpider (@CathRoboSpider) August 2, 2017
(4) MY NAME IS…JACK. A nine-year-old “guardian of the galaxy” has applied to NASA for the Planetary Protection Officer job which was discussed here the other day.
— NASA (@NASA) August 4, 2017
(5) SUMMERTIME. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler says a Fritz Leiber story is the saving grace in a stinker issue of IF — “[August 6, 1962] Bookkends (September 1962 IF Worlds of Science Fiction)”.
So in this languorous time, about the only consistent pasttime I can enjoy, aside from my records, is the ever-growing pile of stf (scientifiction, natch) magazines. One of the ones I look forward to is IF, which, if it is not always stellar, usually has a few items of interest. This month, the September 1962 issue has a lot of lousy stories, and editor Pohl cunningly placed the best one in front so as to dull the impact of the sub-par stuff that follows. But the last tale is a fine reprise of the first, quality-wise. See if you agree:
A famous author and actor, Leiber’s works often approach sublimity. This is one of them, combining both beautiful prose and cutting edge science fiction….
(6) A TO Z. When yesterday’s Scroll said a website had picked an sf author for every letter of the alphabet – all male — Karl-Johan Norén immediately set about balancing the books with his own alphabetical list of 26 influential sf authors – all women:
A Eleanor Arnason
B Leigh Brackett
C C. J. Cherryh
D Pamela Dean
E Carol Emshwiller
F C.S. Friedman
G Mary Gentle
H Nalo Hopkinson
I Jean Ingelow
J Shirley Jackson
K Katharine Kerr
L Megan Lindholm
M Judith Merrill
N Andre Norton
O Octavia Butler
P Meredith Ann Pierce
Q Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
R Joanna Russ
S Mary Shelley
T James Tiptree, jr.
U Ursula K Le Guin
V Joan Vinge
W Kate Wilhelm
X Xia Jia
Y Jane Yolen
Z Marion Zimmer Bradley
(7) DISABLED HAVE GRIEVANCE WITH A LONDON COMICON. The Guardian reports “Young adult literature convention under fire over disabled facilities”.
Authors who appeared at the YALC young adult literature convention over the weekend, including Alex Wheatle and Joanne Harris, have spoken out about what they feel was a lack of disabled facilities at the event. Their complaints centre on the sequestering of one of two disabled toilets for the use of celebrities attending the associated Comicon festival on a lower floor.
Organisers of the event, tied to the London Film and Comic Convention (Comicon) at Olympia in London, were accused by one visitor of “ablism” after wheelchair users ended up squeezing into busy lifts and negotiating crowds to reach accessible toilets on the Comicon floor.
Actor and playwright Athena Stevens, who has cerebral palsy, described organiser Showmasters’ decision to rope off one of the facilities for famous figures attending Comicon – including Benedict Cumberbatch – as “ablist”….
Disabled charity Scope said that defining “reasonable” provision of toilet facilities was a grey area under the Disability Discrimination Act, but it did seem that Showmasters had shown a disregard for their disabled attendees over access to them.
Showmasters, however, denied claims that accessible facilities were unavailable on the same floor as the literary festival, which attracted 40,000 visitors, but acknowledged problems on Saturday. “There were two disabled toilets on that floor, and one was behind the green room wall,” he said. Overcrowding at lunchtime on Saturday had meant that wheelchair users were forced to use facilities on another floor, a spokesman conceded, but not for the whole weekend. Showrunners will consult disabled people to ensure there was no repetition of the problem, he added.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
(10) OH, SWEET SUMMER CHILD. Where’s the prestige in writing cheap books? The Guardian listens as “Philip Pullman leads writers condemning ‘pernicious’ book discounts”.
With more than two months to go before Philip Pullman’s long-awaited new novel from the world of His Dark Materials is published, pre-orders have sent La Belle Sauvage flying up bestseller lists. But with booksellers already slashing the cover price in half, the award-winning author has spoken out about how cheap books devalue the experience of reading, and called for an end to the “pernicious” doctrine of “market fundamentalism” if literary culture is to survive.
Pullman is president of the Society of Authors, which is launching a campaign for publishers to stop damaging authors’ earnings by discounting bulk sales to book clubs and supermarkets, and has slammed the cut-price culture in his trade.
“I don’t like it when I see my books sold cheaply,” Pullman said. “But I’d like to think I’m speaking on behalf of all authors who are caught in this trap. It’s easy to think that readers gain a great deal by being able to buy books cheaply. But if a price is unrealistically cheap, it can damage the author’s reputation (or brand, as we say now), and lead to the impression that books are a cheap commodity and reading is an experience that’s not worth very much.”
(11) A MISS IS AS GOOD AS A MILE. “That’s one small step for Tallinn…”: driverless bus service gets through first three days with “no major incidents”: “‘No major incidents’ as driverless buses launch in Estonia”
A pair of vehicles are operating on a route through the city as part of the Baltic state’s presidency of the European Union, and have so far managed not to collide with any other road users, national broadcaster ERR reports.
But there have been a number of near misses since the launch on Saturday, ERR says. An eyewitness reports that one of the buses failed to give way to a police car with its lights flashing on Monday; while an ERR photographer saw a bus ignore a red light at a pedestrian crossing, ploughing on regardless of the “surprise” it had provoked.
Despite no-one driving, local traffic law means that there still has to be a responsible person on board, meaning that all passengers are greeted by a host. They’ve been tasked with explaining the technology to passengers new to the world of autonomous vehicles, ERR says.
(12) AVOID BEING A STARVING ARTIST. Brad R. Torgersen’s seven items of writing advice in “Random crumbly bits of author stuff” end with —
7) So don’t quit your damned day job. Seriously. Do. Not. Quit. Your. Day. Job. It sucks trying to write full-time and work full-time. It sucks more not paying bills and being forced out of your house or your apartment. It sucks even more depending on the good will of your relatives, or your church, or government programs. If I had $10 for every embarrassed pauper author who proudly proclaimed, “I am a full-time writer, so fuck you,” and then (s)he went back to begging for lunch money, I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Starving artistry is not a holy calling. Really, it’s not. I know I am gonna get burned at the stake for saying it. But seriously, do not check out of the “mundane” work force. Not unless you’ve got a metric ton of dough in the bank, or you’ve got a spouse who eagerly volunteers to carry the mundane load — while you labor at the desk in the attic. But if you’ve got responsibilities to meet, and mouths to feed, please, meet them and feed them. As Steven Barnes said at Norwescon ’07, suffering for your art may be noble, but making your family suffer for your art, just means you’re an asshole.
(13) INHUMANS. In this“Marvel’s Inhumans” clip, Maximus and Medusa face off.
(14) YOUTUBE ARCHEOLOGY. Today I discovered there’s a whole subgenre of YouTube videos which take the musical intros to famous TV series and swap in visuals from Star Trek. I admire the effort, although they’re rarely funny. I found this one from 2008 to be somewhat amusing — it starts with the advantage that the original A-Team intro included a lot of self-referential humor.
[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman. John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
(1) SUN GOES POSTAL. Daniel Dern, who has an eye for science fictional and related kinds of cool postage stamps, points to plans for this year’s “Total Eclipse of the Sun to be commemorated on a Forever Stamp”. On June 20, the US Postal Service will issue a pair of stamps capable of a unique special effect:
In the first U.S. stamp application of thermochromic ink, the Total Solar Eclipse stamps will reveal a second image. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the Moon (Espenak also took the photograph of the Full Moon). The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools.
Thermochromic inks are vulnerable to UV light and should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible to preserve this special effect. To help ensure longevity, the Postal Service will be offering a special envelope to hold and protect the stamp pane for a nominal fee.
The back of the stamp pane [ a sheet, looks like of 8 stamps] provides a map of the August 21 eclipse path and times it may appear in some locations.
Tens of millions of people in the United States hope to view this rare event, which has not been seen on the U.S. mainland since 1979. The eclipse will travel a narrow path across the entire country for the first time since 1918. The path will run west to east from Oregon to South Carolina and will include portions of 14 states.
The June 20, 1:30 p.m. MT First-Day-of-Issue ceremony will take place at the Art Museum of the University of Wyoming (UW) in Laramie. The University is celebrating the summer solstice on June 20. Prior to the event, visitors are encouraged to arrive at 11:30 a.m. to witness a unique architectural feature where a single beam of sunlight shines on a silver dollar embedded in the floor, which occurs at noon on the summer solstice in the UW Art Museum’s Rotunda Gallery.
(2) BEAM UP MY MAIL. Dern says the eclipse stamp promises to be as cool as Canada’s “Star Trek – Transporter” stamp series, which he was able to get while there last summer.
A tribute to the high-tech world of Star Trek, this stamp uses lenticular printing, a method that makes images appear in motion when viewed from different angles. A homage to the show’s most famous technology – the transporter – and one of its most popular episodes, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” they bring the beloved series to the “miniature screen.”
Stamp designer Kosta Tsetsekas, of Vancouver-based Signals Design Group, saw lenticular as an opportunity to recognize the show’s futuristic vision and the special effects that brought it to life.
“I felt that lenticular, developed in the 1940s, had a bit of a low-tech feel that really mirrored the TV special effects used in the original Star Trek series. Thanks to newer technology, it is now possible to show a lot more motion.”
The set also includes one of Spock and Kirk passing through the Guardian of Forever in the “City on the Edge of Forever” episode.
(3) TAKE NOTE. SCORE: A Film Music Documentary features interviews with nearly 60 composers, directors, orchestrators, studio musicians, producers, recording artists, studio executives, In theaters June 26.
This documentary brings Hollywood’s premier composers together to give viewers a privileged look inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of the world’s most widely known music genre: the film score.
CAST: Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Trent Reznor, James Cameron, Randy Newman, Quincy Jones, Junkie XL, Howard Shore, Alexandre Desplat, Steve Jablonsky, Brian Tyler
(4) HOW RUDE. At McSweeney’s, Kaya York gives examples of what it would look like “If People Talked About Other Things the Way They Talked About Gender Identity”. Here are two:
Subatomic particles: “Now they’re saying they discovered ‘tetraquarks’ and ‘pentaquarks’. How many combinations of quarks are there? I can’t even keep up these days. What ever happened to just talking about good old atoms?”
Cats: “A Manx is not a cat. Cats are defined as having tails. Maybe it’s a koala.”
(5) SFFH JOURNAL. Download Fantastika Journal issue 1 free. Dozens of articles and reviews, including an editorial by John Clute.
From their website:
“Fantastika” – a term appropriated from a range of Slavonic languages by John Clute – embraces the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, but can also include alternative histories, gothic, steampunk, young adult dystopian fiction, or any other radically imaginative narrative space. The goal of Fantastika Journal and its annual conference is to bring together academics and independent researchers who share an interest in this diverse range of fields with the aim of opening up new dialogues, productive controversies and collaborations. We invite articles examining all mediums and disciplines which concern the Fantastika genres.
(6) GAME OF VAULTS. When you’ve got a license to print money, you buy more printing presses. Entertainment Weekly reports: “Game of Thrones forever: HBO developing 4 different spinoffs”.
HBO is doubling down — no, quadrupling down — on its epic quest to replace Game of Thrones.
The pay TV network is determined to find a way to continue the most popular series in the company’s history and has taken the highly unusual step of developing four different ideas from different writers. The move represents a potentially massive expansion of the popular fantasy universe created by author George R.R. Martin. If greenlit, the eventual show or shows would also mark the first time HBO has ever made a follow-up series to one of its hits….
The prequel or spinoff development battle royale is a bit like how Disney handles their Marvel and Star Wars brands rather than how a TV network tends to deal with a retiring series (Thrones is expected to conclude with its eighth-and-final season next year.) But GoT is no ordinary show — it’s an international blockbuster that delivers major revenue for HBO via subscriptions (last season averaged 23.3 million viewers in the U.S. alone), home video and merchandise licensing. Plus, there’s all those Emmys to consider (GoT set records for the most Emmys ever won in the prime-time ceremony).
(7) ANOTHER NIMOY HEARD FROM. Julie Nimoy has made a movie about her dad, too, Remembering Leonard Nimoy.
Leonard Nimoy grew up in Boston’s old West End, before urban renewal razed much of the once-ethnic neighborhood. As a kid, the future actor was mesmerized by “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the 1939 film based on Victor Hugo’s novel.
“I remember being touched by the humanity trapped inside the Hunchback,” Nimoy says in a voice-over in “Remembering Leonard Nimoy,” a new hourlong documentary that premieres at 9?p.m. Thursday on WGBH 2. For Nimoy, Charles Laughton’s portrayal of Quasimodo was entirely relatable: “That alienation was something I learned in Boston.”
Nimoy was many things — a fine art photographer, a philanthropist, a great-grandfather, the director of “Three Men and a Baby.” But he was known universally — and we do mean universally — as Spock from “Star Trek,” the half-human, all-logic officer in the long-running science fiction franchise. After Nimoy died in early 2015, an asteroid between Jupiter and Mars was named after him.
“Remembering Leonard Nimoy” shares the same orbit as “For the Love of Spock,” the recent feature-length documentary directed by Nimoy’s son, Adam. The newer film is produced and directed by Adam’s sister Julie and her husband, David Knight. Adam Nimoy appears on-camera (as he does in his own film) and gets an adviser’s credit, so there was evidently no familial dispute about telling the famous father’s story.
(8) GORDON OBIT. Actor Don Gordon (1926-2017) died April 24. He worked a lot – seems there was hardly a series in the Fifties or Sixties he wasn’t cast in at some point. His genre roles include appearances on Space Patrol, The Twilight Zone (two episodes – “The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross”: (1964) and “The Four of US Are Dying” (1960)), The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Wild, Wild West, The Invaders, The Bionic Woman, The Powers of Matthew Star, Knight Rider and movies including The Final Conflict, The Beast Within, and The Exorcist III.
(9) DALBY OBIT. Editor, scholar and bookseller Richard Dalby (1949-2017) passed away May 4 at the age of 68.
He edited a succession of well-chosen and pioneering anthologies, including the Virago volumes of women’s ghost stories, the Mammoth Books of ghost stories, the Jamesian collection Ghosts & Scholars (with Rosemary Pardoe) and several popular books of Christmas ghost stories and thrillers. Other noted volumes include The Sorceress in Stained-Glass (1971), Dracula’s Brood (1989) and Tales of Witchcraft (1991), all highly respected and now much sought-after.
(10) TODAY’S DAY
Star Wars Day
“May the Fourth be with you” was first used by Margaret Thatcher’s political party to congratulate her on her election on May 4th, 1979, and the saying quickly caught on. However, the first celebration of May 4th took place much later, at the Toronto Underground Cinema in 2001. This first official Star Wars Day’s festivities included a costume contest and a movie marathon. Fans’ favorite parodies of the franchise were also enjoyed, as were some of the most popular mash-ups and remixes. Since then, Star Wars Day has gained popularity and is celebrated by Star Wars Fans worldwide.
(11) EXCEPT IN WISCONSIN. The school district has announced a “no costume” policy going forward: “Wisconsin High School Evacuated After Student Arrives in Stormtrooper Costume for Star Wars Day”
A student celebrating Star Wars Day prompted the brief evacuation of a Wisconsin high school on Thursday morning because they were wearing a Stormtrooper costume, officials said, describing it as a mix-up.
Capt. Jody Crocker, of Wisconsin’s Ashwaubenon Department of Public Safety, tells PEOPLE it happened this way:
Someone driving adjacent to Ashwaubenon High School saw a masked person entering with a large duffel bag and what appeared to to be a bullet-proof vest — but what was actually a costume of a Stormtrooper, a fictional soldier in the Star Wars franchise….
The school was evacuated for about an hour and the students were safely returned, Crocker says.
(12) DARTH WELCOME HERE. Ironically, a Tennessee hospital is perfectly fine having Darth Vader on the premises. But then, he’s not in costume. That’s just his name.
Meanwhile, ABC News chose May the Fourth to reveal Darth Vader is a 39-year-old man living in Tennessee, United States. Darthvader Williamson, that is….
Ms Knowles explained that she compromised with Darthvader’s dad, who wanted to use the full title Lord Darth Vader. She agreed to the shorter version because she “hadn’t seen the movie” and “didn’t know the character”.
Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment, “I’d say someone who names their boy after a major villain is more than a ‘serious geek’, even if it’s not naming him Sue.”
(13) PIXEL POWER. Satellites go where no man has gone before: counting albatrosses on inaccessible island steeps. The BBC tells how in “Albatrosses counted from space”.
The US government has only recently permitted such keen resolution to be distributed outside of the military and intelligence sectors.
WorldView-3 can see the nesting birds as they sit on eggs to incubate them or as they guard newly hatched chicks.
With a body length of over a metre, the adult albatrosses only show up as two or three pixels, but their white plumage makes them stand out against the surrounding vegetation. The BAS team literally counts the dots.
(14) INTERNET ABOVE THE SKY. Deployment will begin in two years — “Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to send the first of its 4,425 super-fast internet satellites into space in 2019”.
“SpaceX intends to launch the system onboard our Falcon 9 rocket, leveraging significant launch cost savings afforded by the first stage reusability now demonstrated with the vehicle,” the executive said.
The 4,425 satellites will operate in 83 orbital planes at altitudes ranging from 1,110 KM to 1,325 KM.
SpaceX argues that the U.S. lags behind other developed nations in broadband speed and price competitiveness, while many rural areas are not serviced by traditional internet providers. The company’s satellites will provide a “mesh network” in space that will be able to deliver high broadband speeds without the need for cables.
(15) FIFTIES SF NOVEL TO STAGE. London’s Br\dge Theatre lists among its future projects a production of The Black Cloud, a new play by Sam Holcroft, from the 1957 novel by Fred Hoyle. “One of the greatest works of science fiction ever written,” according to Richard Dawkins.
The New York Times reports —
The London Theater Company is a new commercial venture by Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr, who previously ran the National Theater in London together; Mr. Hytner was director, overseeing artistic programming, while Mr. Starr served as executive director.
The company’s first season will take place in the new Bridge Theater, the name of which was also announced on Wednesday. The 900-seat venue, on the south side of the Thames, near Tower Bridge, is the first commercial theater of its scale to be built in London in 80 years, according to the company.
(16) SUPERNATURAL AFTERLIFE. Teresa Wickersham covered an on-stage interview with Jim Beaver for SciFi4Me.com — “Planet Comicon 2017: Idjits, Death and No Bobby in Season 12 of SUPERNATURAL”.
Jim said that he just looks at the script and guesses how to play it. Usually someone will tell him if he gets it wrong. Writers create and the actor visually and orally interprets what they have created. Ninety-nine percent of what you love is the writer. “I’m happy to be here and take his (Kripke’s) money.”
Jim Beaver’s favorite episode is “Weekend at Bobby’s”, which was Jensen Ackles’ first directing experience. He said Jensen did a fine job. It was exhausting, being on screen ninety percent of the time. He said that you wouldn’t be an actor if you didn’t want to have people pay attention to you. “Look at me.” It’s not about the art at first. Probably only “Daniel Day Lewis is playing Rousseau in his kindergarten.”
One of the audience members said his sister cried when he died. “You should have seen my accountant.”
(17) HELP WANTED. Now’s your chance to get paid for something you’re already doing for free – reading horrible content on Facebook. The Guardian has the story — “Facebook is hiring moderators. But is the job too gruesome to handle?”
Ever wanted to work for Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg has just announced 3,000 new jobs. The catch? You’ll have to review objectionable content on the platform, which has recently hosted live-streamed footage of murder, suicide and rape.
In his announcement, Zuckerberg revealed that the company already has 4,500 people around the world working in its “community operations team” and that the new hires help improve the review process, which has come under fire for both inappropriately censoring content and failing to remove extreme content quickly enough. Just last week the company left footage of a Thai man killing his 11-month-old daughter on Facebook Live on the platform for a whole day.
Instead of scrutinizing content before it’s uploaded, Facebook relies on users of the social network to report inappropriate content. Moderators then review reported posts – hundreds every shift – and remove them if they fall foul of Facebook’s community standards. Facebook does not allow nudity (including female, but not male, nipples), hate speech or glorified violence.
I looked around and didn’t find these jobs being offered yet.
(18) EXTRA SENSE. Blindsight in the real world:
It ranks among the most curious phenomena in cognitive neuroscience. A handful of people in the world have “blindsight”: they are blind, but their non-conscious brain can still sense their surroundings.
Milina Cunning, from Wishaw in Scotland, lost her sight in her 20s, and later realised she had this blindsight ability. She has been studied extensively by researchers.
“If I was to throw a ping pong ball at Milina’s head, she would probably raise her arm and duck out of the way, even before she had any awareness of it,” says Jody Culham, a scientist who has scanned Cunning’s brain.
(19) SAY MR. SANDMAN. Neil Gaiman converses in his sleep: “Neil Gaiman On Returning To ‘Sandman,’ Talking In His Sleep And The Power Of Comics”
On creating a dysfunctional family for Sandman and his siblings (also known as “The Endless”)
A lot of it went back to when I started writing Sandman. Back in 1987 I began to write it. I was thinking that there really just weren’t any comics out there with families in [them] — and I love family dynamics. I love the way that families work or don’t work, I love the ways families behave, I love the way that families interact, and it seemed like that would be a really fun kind of thing to put in.
When I came over to America to do signings, people would say to me, “We love the Endless; we love Sandman and his family, they’re a wonderful dysfunctional family.” It wasn’t a phrase I had ever heard before, and I said, “Hang, on. Explain to me, what is a dysfunctional family?” And people would explain, and after a while, I realized that what Americans called a “dysfunctional family” is what we in England call “a family,” having never encountered any of these functional ones.
(20) FIRST PAST THE POLE. Racing molecules: “Microscopic Cars Square Off In Big Race”
This car race involved years of training, feats of engineering, high-profile sponsorships, competitors from around the world and a racetrack made of gold.
But the high-octane competition, described as a cross between physics and motor-sports, is invisible to the naked eye. In fact, the track itself is only a fraction of the width of a human hair, and the cars themselves are each comprised of a single molecule.
The Nanocar Race, which happened over the weekend at Le centre national de la recherché scientific in Toulouse, France, was billed as the “first-ever race of molecule-cars.”
(21) ALL FROCKED UP. The next Marvel TV series is off to a rough start: “‘Marvel’s Inhumans’ Costumes Draw Jeers: ‘Discount Halloween Store,’ ‘Walmart’”.
Entertainment Weekly released a first look at “Marvel’s Inhumans,” the studio’s latest foray into television, and it’s not going over so well.
The interview with showrunner Scott Buck doesn’t reveal much more than what we already knew about the show, but it does provide the first official picture of the group known as the Inhuman Royal Family, which will star in ABC’s eight-episode show.
The show follows the family, which features — from left to right — Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), Karnak (Ken Leung), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Medusa (Serinda Swan), Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), and Maximus (Iwan Rheon). Each are Inhumans, or superpowered humans descended from aliens and possess sometimes catastrophic abilities.
The main criticism of the photo on the internet, which you can check out above, seems to focus on the costumes, which look cheap. Some people compared them to things you’d find in a Halloween store or a Hot Topic.
(22) JUST PUCKER UP. Atlas Obscura celebrates a working relic of history — the “Pneumatic System of the New York Public Library”
Put into operation in New York in 1897 by the American Pneumatic Service Company, the 27-mile system connected 22 post offices in Manhattan and the General Post office in Brooklyn. The pipes ran between 4 to 12 feet underground, and in some places the tubes ran along the subway tunnels of the 4, 5 and 6 lines. At the height of its operation it carried around 95,000 letters a day, or 1/3 of all the mail being routed throughout New York city….
But there is one wonderful New York location where the pneumatic tubes have proven quicker and more nimble then their modern-day electronic substitutes; the stacks of the NY Humanities and Social Sciences library. When one hands their paper slip to the librarian, they slip it into a small pneumatic tube and send it flying down past seven floors of books deep underground. The request is received, the book located, and it is sent up on an ever-turning oval ferris wheel of books.
[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, rcade, JJ, Cat Eldridge, David K.M.Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Daniel Dern, stuckinhistory, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Rose for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob.]