(1) WHO HISTORY REMEMBERED. “’Matt Smith and I twiddle knobs. I am 12 again!’ Stars share their best Doctor Who moments – part two” in the Guardian.
Daniel Nettheim (director of episodes featuring the Twelfth Doctor, 2015-17)
The Doctor’s anti-war speech, from 2015’s Zygon two-parter, was a cry from the heart for compassion amid a searing indictment of the futility of war. It has never felt more relevant than it does today. The 10-minute sequence was delivered with considerable emotional heft by Peter Capaldi. It still brings a tear to my eye. When Radio Times readers voted for that year’s greatest TV moment, that came second, beaten only by Poldark scything a field with his shirt off.
Barnaby Edwards (Dalek operator, 1993 onwards)
I first worked as a Dalek in 1993. Three decades later, I’m still working as a Dalek – promotion is slow on the planet Skaro! My favourite moment was on a night shoot in Penarth in March 2008 for The Stolen Earth. It was my task to stop a Nissan Figaro in the street and threaten its occupant with extermination. It was Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen, my childhood hero. Here she was, still defending the universe from the Daleks. That’s the magic of Doctor Who. Faces come and go, but the adventure goes on for ever….
(2) EVEN ODDS. [Item by Chris Barkley.] Who will win the 2023 Booker Prize? I looked through the descriptions of the nominated books and two (or three) of them might be genre or adjacent. But, THREE guys named Paul in the ballot? What are the odds of that happening?????
Literary Hub’s Emily Temple says “Here are the bookies’ odds for the 2023 Booker Prize”.
We’re just shy of one week out from the announcement of the UK’s biggest book prize: the Booker. So it’s time to place your bets on who will win the £50,000, a massive spike in book sales, and lifelong bragging rights. (A different question, no doubt, than who should win.) If you need a tip, follow the money, and ask the bookies (they were at least close last year).
For the record: all things being equal, there is a baseline 50% chance of the Booker going to somebody named Paul on Sunday, but given the below odds, in which each Paul is more probable than the next, that number rises to . . . something I cannot calculate because I am an editor at a literary website who put all of my eggs in one basket long ago. But, higher. I think…
(3) IN THIS WORLD, ELWOOD, YOU CAN BE OH SO SMART, OR OH SO UNPLEASANT. Camestros Felapton tries to decide “Does outrage marketing work?”.
…Authors now write in a more crowded market in which even moderately successful writers struggle to make a living. Standing out from the crowd is difficult and name recognition matters….
So some authors may see a possible way forward: pick controversial/trolling-like positions, promote those positions to provoke a backlash, get free publicity and hence (maybe) more sales.
That’s the theory. I think credibly it is a process that works for Larry Correia but I can’t claim that there is any way to check in terms of sales. Correia has the advantage that his controversial stances match the author persona he projects on social media and that persona also fits the style and genre of the books he writes AND those stances (particularly on guns) fit with the audience for his books. If I just consider notable Puppies, the approach has worked less well for Brad Torgersen and notably there are mismatches across the board for Brad, he’s just not as good at projecting a tough guy persona online, and his actual novels are less well-targeted to a specific demographic and there’s not a thematic connection between his culture war topics and his science fiction other than it being vaguely backwards looking….
(4) WHO OWNS CHAOS? Facebook sent a surprising notice about a group I follow now formerly named “Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor”.
And I found this posted to the group:
(5) EX X-USER. Scott Edelman reveals in a public Patreon post “What Twitter (and the leaving of it) means to me”.
…But the first week of September, it all became too much for me, and I shared the status update you see above. In the 11 weeks since then, I’ve returned every 3-4 weeks only to remind visitors I wouldn’t be posting any more and giving links to my other social media presences, in part to prevent my account from going dormant, which might allow another to squat on my name.
What was the affect of this decision on Eating the Fantastic?
Downloads have dropped by a third.
I know correlation isn’t causation, yet I can’t help but believe the loss of serendipitous discovery which would occur on Twitter is the reason.
The subscriber base remains unchanged. I’ve shed none of those regular listeners. But most of my traffic has always come from non-subscribers, and that has dropped.
When I would tweet about an upcoming guest or a new episode or any podcast news at all to my nearly 5,500 followers on Twitter, that would be retweeted many times, and I’d see a corresponding jump in downloads. Part of that, I know, was due to the fact not all listeners were interested in every conversation. Some only wanted the science fiction guests but not the horror guests, or the comic book guests but not the science fiction ones, and so rather than subscribing, they’d wait to see who was appearing and make the decision to download then. And I believe that with no tweet reminding them to check out the content of the latest episode … they’re not.
Then there were the new listeners who, upon seeing one of their friends share about an episode new or old and learning about Eating the Fantastic, would swoop in and download every prior episode. That would happen frequently in the show’s pre-Twitter days, but since September 5th, I don’t believe it’s happened even once.
All of that discoverability is gone, like tears in rain, and seemingly not replaced by the attention I’m getting from my (currently) 788 followers on Bluesky or 561 followers on Mastodon….
(6) KEYS TO SUCCESS. “The True Story of ‘The World’s Greatest Typewriter Collection’” at Heritage Auctions’ Intelligent Collector blog.
Like so many collections, it began with a single purchase made on a whim – in this case, the typewriter used by a Pulitzer-winning sportswriter. The man who bought the machine, Steve Soboroff, was a fan of the man who used it, revered Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray, whose words Soboroff devoured each morning, especially after nights when Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax hurled fastballs using The Left Hand of God. Soboroff wanted the 1940 Remington Model J so desperately that he outdueled two others competing for it at auction in 2005: the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a hell of a score.
Not long after, Soboroff put another typewriter on the shelf beside Murray’s – a 1926 Underwood Standard that belonged to Ernest Hemingway and was used during the author’s legendary sojourns to Cuba. More machines followed in short order, each a typewriter that once belonged to someone who had appeared on the cover of Time. Novelists and playwrights, among them Jack London, Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw, Ray Bradbury, John Updike and Philip Roth. Actors, including Greta Garbo, Shirley Temple, Mae West, Julie Andrews and a typewriter collector named Tom Hanks. Musicians, from crooner Bing Crosby to tenor Andrea Bocelli. Visionaries. Journalists. The famous. The infamous. Playboy creator Hugh Hefner. Samuel T. Cohen, inventor of the neutron bomb. And Ted Kaczynski, the man called Unabomber….
(7) RECORD VIEWERSHIP. “When Hollywood Put World War III on Television” – a memory-stirring article, behind a paywall in The Atlantic.
We live in an anxious time. Some days, it can feel like the wheels are coming off and the planet is careening out of control. But at least it’s not 1983, the year that the Cold War seemed to be in its final trajectory toward disaster.
Forty years ago today, it was the morning after The Day After, the ABC TV movie about a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. Roughly 100 million people tuned in on Sunday night, November 20, 1983, and The Day After holds the record as the most-watched made-for-television movie in history.
I remember the movie, and the year, vividly. I was 22 and in graduate school at Columbia University, studying the Soviet Union. It’s hard to explain to people who worry about, say, climate change—a perfectly legitimate concern—what it was like to live with the fear not that many people could die over the course of 20 or 50 or 100 years but that the decision to end life on most of the planet in flames and agony could happen in less time than it would take you to finish reading this article….
(8) WINDOW CAT. Steve Green predicts that this shop in Berkeley, California has a decent stock of sf.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born November 21, 1924 — Christopher Tolkien. He drew the original maps for the LoTR. He provided much of the feedback on both the Hobbit and LoTR. His father invited him to join the Inklings when he was just twenty-one years old, making him the youngest member of that group. Suffice it to say that the list is long of his father’s unfinished works that he has edited and brought to published form. And he won two Mythopoetic Awards for doing so, and was nominated for a Balrog for publishing his father’s work. (Died 2020.)
- Born November 21, 1941 — Ellen Asher, 82. Introduced many fans to their favorites as editor-in-chief of the Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) for thirty-four years, from 1973 to 2007 (exceeding John W. Campbell’s record as the person with the longest tenure in the same science fiction job). She was personally responsible for selecting the monthly offerings to subscribers, and oversaw the selection of individual works for their special anthologies and omnibuses. She has been honored with a World Fantasy Special Award, an Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction, a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and she was Editor Guest of Honor at Renovation.
- Born November 21, 1945 — Vincent Di Fate, 78. Artist and Illustrator who has done many SFF book covers and interior illustrations since his work first appeared in the pages of Analog in 1965 with an example being this November 1969 cover. He was one of the founders of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA), and is a past president. In addition to his Chesley Award trophy and 7 nominations, he has been a finalist for the Professional Artist Hugo 11 times, winning once; two collections of his artwork, Infinite Worlds: The Fantastic Visions of Science Fiction Art and Di Fate’s Catalog of Science Fiction Hardware, have been Hugo finalists as well. He was Artist Guest of Honor at MagiCon, for which he organized their Art Retrospective exhibit. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011. You can see galleries of his works at his website.
- Born November 21, 1946 — Tom Veal, 77. He’s a con-running fan who chaired Chicon 2000. He was a member of the Seattle in 1981 Worldcon bid committee. He chaired Windycon X. In 2016 he married fellow fan Becky Thomson. And he wrote the “1995 Moskva 1995: Igor’s Campaign” which was published in Alternate Worldcons and Again, Alternate Worldcons as edited by Mike Resnick.
- Born November 21, 1950 — Evelyn C. Leeper, 73. Writer, Editor, Critic, and Fan, who is especially known for her decades of detailed convention reports and travelogues. A voracious reader, she has also posted many book reviews. She and her husband Mark founded the Mt. Holz Science Fiction Club at Bell Labs in New Jersey (Mt = abbreviation for the labs’ Middletown facility), and have produced their weekly fanzine, the MT VOID (“empty void”), since 1978; it is currently at Issue #2,302. She was a judge for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for 20 years. She has been a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times, and Fan Guest of Honor at several conventions, including a Windycon. (JJ)
- Born November 21, 1953 — Lisa Goldstein, 70. Writer, Fan, and Filer whose debut novel, The Red Magician, was so strong that she was a finalist for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer two years in a row. Her short fiction has garnered an array of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominations, as well as a Sidewise Award. The short story “Cassandra’s Photographs” was a Hugo and Nebula finalist and “Alfred” was a World Fantasy and Nebula finalist; both can be found in her collection Travellers in Magic. Her novel The Uncertain Places won a Mythopoeic Award. You can read about her work at her most excellent blog.
(10) COMIXOLOGY APP GOES AWAY 12/4. ZDNET’s Lance Whitney scorns the way “Amazon is killing off its Comixology app in true supervillain fashion”.
Like Thanos, Kang, and Dr. Doom, Amazon seems to be on a mission to destroy superheroes, at least when it comes to providing a user-friendly platform for buying and accessing digital comics. In a new message posted online and in the app, the retail giant announced that as of December 4, its Comixology app will no longer be available and will instead be merged with its Kindle app for iOS, Android, and Fire OS.
After the deadline, you’ll still be able to access and read your existing Comixology comics, graphic novels, and manga titles, but only in the Kindle app. And before the deadline hits, you’ll have to download any Comixology books you were reading into the Kindle app. You may also need to head to your Amazon Digital Content page and send individual comic books to your preferred ebook reader.
On the plus side, any books you’re reading in the Comixology app will sync their progress in the Kindle app, so you can continue where you left off. You’ll be able to read your Comixology books in the Comics section of the Kindle website. And you can continue to buy digital comics from the Comixology area on Amazon’s website.
(11) SORT OF LIKE A MEREDITH MOMENT. [Item by Daniel Dern.] There’s an available MAX (HBO) deal: $2.99/month (with ads) for six months (normally $9.99/month) — https://auth.max.com/product. (Offer ends Monday Nov 27)
(12) TWO SHORT CLIPS FROM DOOM PATROL. [Item by Daniel Dern.] DPers imagine themselves in TV trailers.
Cliff Steele (Robotman) imagines himself teaming up with Vic Stone (Cyborg) for Steele & Stone, a Seventies-style cop show.
Rita Farr (“Elasti-Girl” imagines herself teaming up with Cyborg: in Beekeeper & Borg, like Steed and Mrs. Peel. Watch the Beekeeper & Borg trailer on YouTube.
(And a Reddit user edited the second trailer to match timing with the source material! — “I edited ‘Beekeeper & Borg’ to match the ‘The Avengers’ intro”.
(13) STEAMPUNK ART. Atlas Obscura Experiences is offering a four-part lecture series “Exploring Steampunk Art With Bruce Rosenbaum” for $75 a ticket. The promo says “Bruce Rosenbaum has been dubbed the Steampunk Guru by the Wall Street Journal and Steampunk Evangelist by Wired Magazine.”
Syllabus at a Glance
This course includes four total sessions, each lasting two hours on four Mondays beginning November 27.
Session 1 (Monday, 11/27, 7:30–9:00 PM ET)| Intro to Steampunk: Defining steampunk and identifying its origins.
Session 2 (Monday, 12/4, 7:30–9:00 PM ET)| Designing a Steampunk Life: Exploring the philosophy and concepts of steampunk art, from creative problem solving and collaboration to adaptive reuse.
Session 3 (Monday, 12/11, 7:30–9:00 PM ET)| Past/Future Art: Taking a closer look at the process of making different kinds of steampunk art and design.
Session 4 (Monday, 12/18, 7:30–9:00 PM ET)| The Business of Steampunk: Looking into how to transform your steampunk art practice into a business (with examples from Modvic)
(14) REVISITING THE BROTHERS HILDEBRANDT. In 1994, Marvel Comics’ greatest characters were brought to life by two of science fiction and fantasy’s most renowned illustrators in Greg and Tim Hildebrandt’s unforgettable Marvel Masterpieces III trading card set. To celebrate the 30th anniversary next year, Marvel Comics will proudly showcase the Brothers Hildebrandt’s gorgeous Marvel Masterpieces III artwork in a new collection of variant covers.
Also available as virgin variant covers, the new covers will begin in January and continue all year long. Fans have already seen previews of the January pieces and now can see what’s coming in February, including spotlights on Cable and Night Thrasher for their upcoming new solo series.
Across more than 150 beautifully painted illustrations, comic fans saw the Brothers Hildebrandt’s masterful approach to the Marvel Universe with these timeless depictions of heroes and villains that have stayed with in the hearts and minds of fans ever since. Now, be captivated once more when they adorn the covers of select Marvel titles next year! For more information, visit Marvel.com.
(15) BY GRABTHAR’S HAMMER, WHAT A SAVINGS. Heritage Auctions next Space Exploration Signature Auction on December 14-15 is offering a “Full-Scale McDonnell Aircraft Corporation Manufactured Friendship 7 Mercury Spacecraft Exhibition Model”. All you need is about $50,000 and a place to keep it around the house.
…Painted on the exterior are the Friendship 7 logo, “United States,” and an American flag very similar to what was painted on John Glenn’s capsule, the first mission on which an American orbited the Earth. A 27.5″‘ x 33″ removable hatch can be detached to allow closer inspection of the outstanding interior cabin assembled of a composite of wood and metal that features two fluorescent lights that beautifully illuminate the mannequin and instrument panel when plugged in via a standard plug at the bottom of the capsule. The attention to detail in the cabin is extraordinary. The instrument panel display is similar to the “B” configuration that was used on the Friendship 7 mission. The silver spacesuit has not been removed for inspection. However, the model was donated to the BSA in 1966; therefore, the suit is of the period….
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Steven French, Steve Green, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]