(0) The Scroll is light because I had a medical appointment and also took some time to write the BasedCon post. Will make it up to you tomorrow!
(1) THE APPLAUSE METER. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Apparently a five minute ovation is no big deal at Cannes. Actually, I pretty much believe that. “‘Indiana Jones 5’ Gets Lukewarm Five-Minute Cannes Ovation as Harrison Ford Says an Emotional Goodbye” in Variety.
[When] the credits rolled, Cannes mustered a muted standing ovation for Indy’s latest adventure. Yes, the applause lasted for five minutes, but by Cannes standards, that’s more of a polite formality.
But regardless of how the crowd felt about the film, the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for Ford. The actor arrived on the carpet with wife Calista Flockhart, and an announcer introduced the duo as “Indiana Jones and Calista Flockhart.” Ford received a true movie’s star welcome, as thousands of fans screamed his name and the audience in the Palais jumped up to welcome him as he set foot inside the theater.
As the night began, Ford was summoned to the stage by Cannes festival director Thierry Frémaux to receive a surprise Palme d’Or after a reel of his greatest roles — from “Star Wars” to “The Fugitive” — played onscreen.
“I’m very moved by this,” Ford said. “They say when you’re about to die, you see your life flash before your eyes, and I just saw my life flash before my eyes. A great part of my life, but not all of my life. My life has been enabled by my lovely wife, who has supported my passion and my dreams, and I’m grateful.”…
(2) DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL. And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? “The ‘Indiana Jones 5’ Reviews Are In” and Dark Horizons has a roundup of critics reactions to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Here’s a sampling of reviews thus far:
“Exciting and excessive in equal measure, so over-the-top that an audience needs to throw up its collective hands and suspend disbelief… There are some beautifully affecting moments. If this is the final Indiana Jones movie, as it most likely will be, it’s nice to see that they stuck the landing. ” – Steve Pond, The Wrap
“However much action swirls on the surface of this kind of film, its foundations are built of reassuring nostalgia…[Mangold] is never anything but brisk… it moves along in the frame-by-comic book frame way that ‘Raiders’ did, but with more international destinations.” – Stephanie Bunbury, Deadline
“The final reel may take a serious flight of fantasy, but unlike those aliens in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it somehow feels an apt journey for Indy. Perhaps the film could’ve been more daring – it feels fairly safe – but fans will leave cinemas feeling like their old hero had one final great outing in him” – James Mottram, Radio Times
“Nobody with a brain in their heads will compare Dial of Destiny favourably to the first three films. There is a sense throughout of a project struggling to stand beneath the weight of its history. But Mangold… knows how to keep his foot on the pedal… Think of it as one of those halfway decent David Bowie albums from the 1990s” – Donald Clarke, The Irish Times
(3) ROTHFUSS NOVELLA ANNOUNCED. Patrick Rothfuss returns to the universe he conjured in the Kingkiller Chronicle with The Narrow Road Between Desires, an expansion and reimagining of his story The Lightning Tree, illustrated by Nate Taylor. Announced by Rothfuss via Twitch and his blog, The Narrow Road Between Desires marks Rothfuss’s first new release since The Slow Regard of Silent Things in 2014.
A DAW press release says, “The Narrow Road Between Desires is Bast’s story, told over the course of a single day as the charming fae schemes and sneaks, and dances into trouble and back out again with uncanny grace.” It will be released in hardcover on November 14, 2023 from DAW Books and Gollancz, of the Orion Publishing Group.
Rothfuss discussed the news release at length on his blog: “New Novella – An announcement in Three Parts”.
Ever since book two was delayed more than a decade ago, I’ve promised y’all that when a new book is going to be coming out, you’ll hear the news from me first.
The reason for this is a little complicated. But it boils down to this:
When you create something people like, they want to know when you’re going to make a similar thing so they can enjoy that too. If they like it a *lot* then they *REALLY* want to know when you’re doing it again.
If the thing you create is say… a batch of cookies for your kids, this isn’t a problem. They want more cookies, so you can let them know the cookie release schedule. If they forget, you can remind them. If the schedule changes, you explain why.
Even if your kids want more cookies than you can produce, and they complain, or whine, or nag at you, the whole thing is still manageable. (Though as anyone who has dealt with kids can attest to, dealing with over-insistent kids can be rough.) But it works because the number of kids is (statistically speaking) only about 2-3. This makes clear and consistent communication possible. Since you’re all on the same page, everyone gets to anticipate cookies together.
All of this goes out the window if, say, instead of making cookies, you make a book. And instead of a 2-3 kids, you end up with several million readers.
When I was first published. I thought communicating with folks online would be easy. I post an update, everyone reads it. Easy peasy. Right?
It only took a couple years to realize it doesn’t work that way. I can spend 10 hours writing a blog about how my Dad’s in hospice, explaining how the whole thing’s upheaved my life, been hard on my boys, and utterly destroyed any semblance of normalcy in my world…. Then later that day still get half a dozen people pinging me on different platforms asking me why it’s been years since my last book was out.
I can post updates on my blog, on twitter, on facebook, on Twitch, but that doesn’t mean people will read them. What’s more, all it takes is a rumor on a reddit thread to spread bad information and make people think there’s a new book coming out. If amazon’s ordering system auto-fills a publication date for Doors of Stone, people think it’s real, then get pissed when no book comes out on that not-real timeline.
It’s something that I still don’t know how to come to grips with. And the only solution I do have is the promise I made years back: That when there *is* a publication date for DOS, or I put out a different book, you’ll hear about it directly from me first. And no matter where else I make the announcement. (Like today on Twitch, for example.) I’ll also post about it here on the blog.
It’s not a perfect solution, but this way, if people hear a rumor, they can at least come over here and check out whether or not it’s real.
When I first promised that, I thought it would be easy. But at this point, I think we all know that I can be terribly naive….
…When I told Betsy I wanted to be first to break news like this to y’all, she agreed. And since then both Betsy and the other lovely folks on the publishing team have gone along with it, despite the fact that it makes things harder for them.
They have to do extra work in order to keep things secret, and it ties their hands a little. Believe it or not, promoting and marketing a book is way harder when nobody knows a book is in the works. Despite all this, we’ve all been keeping news about the novella secret, and the lovely folks at DAW have done that extra work so that I can make the announcement here first.
There are some downsides, though. If I’m going to be the first to break the news, I have to do so fairly early in the publication process so that marketing and PR people can do important things like… talk to bookstores and see if any of them would be interested in, y’know, putting it on the shelves so people can buy it.
The bad news is that since this is early in the process, it means the book is still in development. I’m still tweaking the text…
(4) PLATE ARMOR RATHER THAN MAIL, ACTUALLY. Brian Blessed poses with his Blackadder stamp in a photo released by Royal Mail Stamps & Collectibles on Facebook.
(5) GALACTIC STARCRUISER BOUND FOR SHIPBREAKERS? People reports “Disney to Close Star Wars Hotel, Galactic Starcruiser, that Opened in March 2022”.
Disney is permanently docking its Galactic Starcruiser hotel, it announced just 15 months after the massive project first opened.
“Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is one of our most creative projects ever and has been praised by our guests and recognized for setting a new bar for innovation and immersive entertainment,” Disney said in a statement shared with PEOPLE. “This premium, boutique experience gave us the opportunity to try new things on a smaller scale of 100 rooms, and as we prepare for its final voyage, we will take what we’ve learned to create future experiences that can reach more of our guests and fans.”
Its final voyage will take place in September.
Disney will be contacting guests who previously booked a stay for after Sept. 30 to modify their reservations. New bookings are currently paused until May 26….
… Starcruiser is also unique in that it requires guests to participate in a full voyage, meaning they can’t hop into the parks at will (though there is an “excursion” to Batuu, aka Disney Studios’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land) or choose their own dining options. And seeing as the Halcyon is hurtling through space, the property lacks a few other standard Disney resort offerings, like a pool or varied outdoor spaces to enjoy the Florida weather.
The experience does include some truly unique activities that should delight Star Wars aficionados and casual fans alike, like lightsaber training, a lesson in bridge operations — how to operate, shield (and yes, shoot from, when necessary) the impressive vessel — and two unique dining experiences where they can sample specialties like a blue iced Felucian shrimp cocktail and braised Bantha beef….
(6) GRAPHIC PROOF. Neil Clarke showed Facebook readers that Clarkesworld is still battling the flood of ChatGPT-written submissions.
Chart shows the number of bans issued since November, almost entirely courtesy of ChatGPT and other LLMs being used to write bad SF/F and submitted against our guidelines. (Not interested in having a debate about the merits of our policy. Our reasons have not changed and those issues have not been settled.) Anyhow, the dip in March/April was thanks to some mitigation efforts that were more successful than expected. (Some people are still bouncing off those walls.) New approach this month was much more targeted and brought us back to February levels. Some of the tools I’ve put in place are making it a bit easier, but volume can eventually break anything. Problem is clearly getting worse. The May numbers just passed February and in fewer days.
(7) MEMORY LANE.
2015 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Mike picked Paolo Bacigalupi for the Beginning and I picked The Water Knife as the work. Why that work? I’ll tell you in a moment.
But first some notes about Bacigalupi and this novel. He won a Hugo at Aussiecon 4 for The Windup Girl novel, and a World Fantasy Award for his Tangled Lands collection. I’m very fond of his Ship Breaker novel.
The Water Knife was published by Alfred A. Knopf eight years ago, and the cover illustration is by Oliver Munday. It’s based on The Tamarisk Hunter story he did which was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in their May 2007 issue.
So why this novel? Because I think it’s one of his most interesting near future stories with fascinating characters and a fully realized setting. Now that’s all I’ll say given our policy of avoiding spoilers at all costs.
So now let’s have his Beginning….
There were stories in sweat.
The sweat of a woman bent double in an onion field, working fourteen hours under the hot sun, was different from the sweat of a man as he approached a checkpoint in Mexico, praying to La Santa Muerte that the federales weren’t on the payroll of the enemies he was fleeing. The sweat of a ten-year-old boy staring into the barrel of a SIG Sauer was different from the sweat of a woman struggling across the desert and praying to the Virgin that a water cache was going to turn out to be exactly where her coyote’s map told her it would be.
Sweat was a body’s history, compressed into jewels, beaded on the brow, staining shirts with salt. It told you everything about how a person had ended up in the right place at the wrong time, and whether they would survive another day.
To Angel Velasquez, perched high above Cypress 1’ s central bore and watching Charles Braxton as he lumbered up the Cascade Trail, the sweat on a lawyer’s brow said that some people weren’t near as important as they liked to think.
Braxton might strut in his offices and scream at his secretaries. He might stalk courtrooms like an ax murderer hunting new victims. But no matter how much swagger the lawyer carried, at the end of the day Catherine Case owned his ass—and when Catherine Case told you to get something done quick, you didn’t just run, pendejo, you ran until your heart gave out and there wasn’t no running left.
Braxton ducked under ferns and stumbled past banyan climbing vines, following the slow rise of the trail as it wound around the cooling bore. He shoved through groups of tourists posing for selfies before the braided waterfalls and hanging gardens that spilled down the arcology’s levels. He kept on, flushed and dogged. Joggers zipped past him in shorts and tank tops, their ears flooded with music and the thud of their healthy hearts.
You could learn a lot from a man’s sweat. Braxton’s sweat meant he still had fear.
And to Angel, that meant he was still reliable.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born May 18, 1930 — Fred Saberhagen. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read the entirety of his Berserker series though not in the order they were intended to be read. Some are outstanding, some less so. I’d recommend Berserker Man, Shiva in Steel and the original Berserker collection. Of his Dracula sequence, the only one I think that I’ve read is The Holmes-Dracula File which is superb. And I know I’ve read most of the Swords tales as they came out in various magazines. His only Hugo nomination was at NYCon 3 for his “Mr. Jester” short story published in If, January 1966. (Died 2007.)
- Born May 18, 1934 — Elizabeth Rogers. Trek geeking time. She had two roles in the series. She provided the uncredited voice for “The Companion” in the “Metamorphosis” episode. She also portrayed Lt. Palmer, a communications officer who took the place of Uhura, in “The Doomsday Machine”, “The Way to Eden”, and the very last episode of the series, “Turnabout Intruder”. She also had appearances on Time Tunnel, Land of The Giants, Bewitched, The Swarm and Something Evil. (Died 2004.)
- Born May 18, 1946 — Andreas Katsulas. I knew him as Ambassador G’Kar on Babylon 5 but had forgotten he played played the Romulan Commander Tomalak on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His first genre role on television was playing Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and he had a recurring role in Max Headroom as Mr. Bartlett. He also had appearances on Alien Nation, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, Millennium, Star Trek: Enterprise and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. (Died 2006.)
- Born May 18, 1948 — R-Laurraine Tutihasi, 75. She’s a member of LASFS and the N3F. She publishes Feline Mewsings for FAPA. She won the N3F’s Kaymar Award in 2009. Not surprisingly, she’s had a number of SJW creds in her life and her website here gives a look at her beloved cats and a lot of information on her fanzines.
- Born May 18, 1949 — Rick Wakeman, 74. Keyboardist and composer best known for his tenure with the pioneering space-rock band Yes. Wakeman has also released musical adaptations of the novels Journey to the Center of the Earth and 1984. The former album reached #1 in the UK and #3 in the US. He also wrote an album, Out There, dedicated to the memories of the astronauts who died in the Columbia disaster. (Xtifr)
- Born May 18, 1950 — Mark Mothersbaugh, 73. Founder and main songwriter for the new wave band Devo, which regularly featured science-fictional themes in their music and stage shows. The band’s tongue-in-cheek conceit was that they had devolved from full humanity–hence the name. The title of their first album, Q. Are We Not Men? A. We Are Devo!, was a shout-out to The Island of Doctor Moreau. Mothersbaugh is also a prolific composer for films, tv, and games. His credits include the theme for the underrated SyFy show Eureka and much more. (Xtifr)
- Born May 18, 1952 — Diane Duane, 71. She’s known for the Young Wizards YA series though I’d like to single her out for her lesser-known Feline Wizards series where SJW creds maintain the gates that wizards use for travel throughout the multiverse. A most wonderful thing for felines to do! Her Tale of the Five series was inducted into the Gaylactic Spectrum Award Hall of Fame in 2003. She also has won The Faust Award for Lifetime Achievement given by The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
- Born May 18, 1958 — Jonathan Maberry, 65. The only thing I’ve read by him is a number of works in the Joe Ledger Series which has a high body count and an even higher improbability index. I see that he’s done scripts for Dark Horse, IDW and Marvel early on. And that he’s responsible for Captain America: Hail Hydra.
- Born May 18, 1969 — Ty Franck, 54. Half of the writing team along with Daniel Abraham that’s James Corey, author of the Expanse series. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen behind by a volume or two as there’s just too many good series out there too keep up with all of them, damn it!
(9) CHINESE NEBULA AWARDS. China.org.cn, China’s national online news service, ran an extensive profile of the 14th Xingyun (Nebula) Award winners: “China’s top sci-fi award recognizes young talent”.
Chinese writer Tianrui Shuofu won the top award for his novel “Once Upon a Time in Nanjing” at the 14th Chinese Nebula Awards on Saturday in Guanghan, Sichuan province, demonstrating the rise of young talent in Chinese sci-fi.
Tianrui Shuofu, a 27-year-old online writer whose real name is He Jian, has created several popular sci-fi novels including “Die on Mars.” His latest work, “Once Upon a Time in Nanjing” (also known as “We Live in Nanjing”), was serialized on the literary site qidian.com in 2021. The story follows a high school senior in the city of Nanjing in 2019 who communicates via radio with a girl from 2040 who lives in the same city and learns about the apocalyptic future world. Together, they embark on a mission to save the Earth….
(10) GAIMAN PICKETS. “Neil Gaiman Joins the WGA Picket Line With a Classic T-Shirt” – The Mary Sue has the story.
…Since the strike began, many recognizable faces have joined the picket lines. Many are writers, while others are actors and other entertainment industry professionals expressing solidarity with writers.
Earlier this week, a Tumblr user fuckyeahgoodomens spotted Gaiman at one picket site, holding a sign and wearing a striking red t-shirt….
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]