(1) This will be the Turkey Day Lite Scroll. Any links you think deserve to be included should be mentioned in the comments. I’ll be thankful for your help!
(2) WHO ENOUGH TO FILL ALL TIME AND SPACE. Charlie Jane Anders unfurls a long wishlist of “Doctor Who Spinoffs I’d Love To See” at Happy Dancing.
Doctor Who is back! This coming Saturday sees the first new episode in absolute yoinks, and there’s tons more to come. Returning showrunner Russell T. Davies has said one of his goals is to make more Who spinoffs, the same way RTD’s previous stint was accompanied by Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. (Full disclosure: RTD gave a very generous cover blurb to my novel Victories Greater Than Death.)
As someone who thinks about Doctor Who all the time (it’s true!) I’ve been musing about spin-offs I’d like to see. Here’s a bunch. (Warning: Spoilers for old Doctor Who stories ahead…)
One of them is:
The Paternoster Gang
Apparently this one has been a possibility at various times. For those who missed it, past showrunner Steven Moffat introduced a lady Silurian (Madame Vastra) and her human assistant/lover Jenny, living in Victorian England. They were eventually joined by Strax, an oddly peace-loving Sontaran warrior, and made several appearances during the Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi eras, as well as some Big Finish audios. A lesbian dinosaur lady solving mysteries with her friends in Victorian England honestly just feels like a no-brainer. Why doesn’t this exist already?
(3) TARDIS ARRIVAL IMMINENT. “David Tennant and Russell T Davies talk ‘joyous’ ‘Doctor Who’ return” at Entertainment Weekly.
…Davies wrote all of the 60th anniversary episodes and describes them as “a mini-season, really. It’s three different stories. There’s a little link between them, each one kind of cliffhangs into the next, but actually they are three separate stories.”
The first of those stories is titled “The Star Beast” and premieres on Disney+ Nov. 25. The tale starts with Tennant’s Doctor arriving back on planet earth just as an extraterrestrial craft crashes in the vicinity of Tate’s Noble. Davies describes the episode as “a great big family film. An alien spaceship falls in London, which is the Doctor’s meet and drink really. But is it by coincidence that that lands practically on the doorstep of an old friend of his who’s lost all memories of him?” The showrunner says the episode “becomes a huge, great big adventure with fights, and chases, and monsters, and terror, but also some great laughs as well.”
“The Star Beast” is based on a comic strip by legendary comics writer Pat Mills and Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons originally published in Doctor Who Weekly more than 30 years ago. The story introduced the alien character of the Meep, voiced in the new episode by Miriam Margolyes.
“It’s from 1979, an absolute classic,” Davies says of the original strip. “Pat Mills and David Gibbons, they were kids back then, but they created this marvelous thing. It’s always been one of my favorite Doctor Who stories, and coming back I thought it would be such enormous fun to celebrate the 60th, and also to grab hold of a great idea, to adapt it, And for those who might know the comic strip of old, don’t worry, there’s a lot of new stuff woven into it.”
(4) AUREALIS AWARDS DEADLINE APPROACHING. The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards, are taking entries through December 14.
It’s important to remember that ALL eligible Australian work published for the first time between January 1 and December 31, 2023 must be entered by December 14, even work intended for publication after the December 14 cut off date.
If you have any work scheduled for publication after December 14, enter it NOW! If publication is delayed, we can easily remove the entry, but we are unable to make exceptions afterwards if work is not entered by the December 14 deadline.
Please take care to check the updated entries received list and get your entries in!
(5) FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. May 4, 2024 is Free Comic Book Day. Titan Comics is getting a head start by announcing two titles that will be part of it.
Heroic Signatures and Titan Comics are pleased to announce that CONAN THE BARBARIAN will feature as part of FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, May 4, 2024. Written by Jim Zub with art by Jonas Scharf, this issue will launch a BATTLE OF THE BLACK STONE event, which will roll out through late Summer and into the Fall, building on plotlines introduced in the critically acclaimed CONAN THE BARBARIAN ongoing series.
Titan Comics is pleased to announce that it is returning to the TARDIS once more on Free Comic Book Day, with the release of DOCTOR WHO: THE FIFTEENTH DOCTOR: FREE COMIC BOOK DAY EDITION. Available in participating comic shops May 4, 2024.
Written by master of sci-fi and fantasy, Dan Watters (Loki, Home Sick Pilots, The Sandman Universe), this special issue kicks-off an all-new DOCTOR WHO comic series starring the FIFTEENTH DOCTOR (Ncuti Gatwa) and his companion in time and space, RUBY SUNDAY (Millie Gibson).
Free Comic Book Day takes place every year on the first Saturday of May. With over two thousand stores and several comic book publishers participating, the event gives readers a chance to grab a free comic and meet fellow comic readers. Readers can find their local participating store HERE.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 23, 1955 — Steven Brust, 68.
Of Hungarian descendant, something that figures into his fiction which he says is neither fantasy nor SF. He is perhaps best known for his novels about the assassin Vlad Taltos, one of a scorned group of humans living on a world called Dragaera. All are great reads. The Dragaeran series is twenty three novels deep with the latest, Tsalmoth, out this year, and Lyorn, out next year.
Now the related Paarfi’s historical romances are, errr, not my cup of Chai but may well be yours.
His recent novels also include The Incrementalists and its sequel The Skill of Our Hands, with co-author Skyler White. Both are superb.
His finest novel? Brokedown Palace. Oh, just go read it. It’s amazing. There’s nothing about it that’s not perfect from its setting to the character there to the fact that it’s based upon a folktale.
Brust’s short story “When The Bow Breaks” was nominated for the 1998 Nebula Award.
And no, I don’t love everything he’s done. I wrote a scathing review of Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille despite wanting to love it because of the premise. A Bar with flying through the galaxy with a resident band and eating great food. What’s not to love? So which of you did love it?
Freedom & Necessity with Emma Bull is decidedly different but excellent none the less.
His rather good Firefly novel, My Own Kind of Freedom, stays true to that series. It was pitched as an actual episode but that never happened obviously.
He’s quite the musician too with two albums with Cats Laughing, a band that includes Emma Bull, Jane Yolen (lyrics) and others. The band in turn shows up in Marvel comics. A Rose For Iconoclastes is his solo album and “The title, for those who don’t know, is a play off the brilliant story by Roger Zelazny, ‘A Rose For Ecclesiastes,’ which you should read if you haven’t yet.”
Quoting him again, “’Songs From The Gypsy’ is the recording of a cycle of songs I wrote with ex-Boiled-in-Lead guitarist Adam Stemple, which cycle turned into a novel I wrote with Megan Lindholm, one of my favorite writers.” The album and book are quite amazing! Yolen’s son Adam is the vocalist on this album.
Did I mention he’s on the chocolate gifting list? Well, he is.
(7) COMICS SECTION.
- The Argyle Sweater this time is non-genre, but the pun is truly horrible.
(8) BEYOND ROBOTECH. “As A.I.-Controlled Killer Drones Become Reality, Nations Debate Limits” in the New York Times.
It seems like something out of science fiction: swarms of killer robots that hunt down targets on their own and are capable of flying in for the kill without any human signing off.
But it is approaching reality as the United States, China and a handful of other nations make rapid progress in developing and deploying new technology that has the potential to reshape the nature of warfare by turning life and death decisions over to autonomous drones equipped with artificial intelligence programs.
That prospect is so worrying to many other governments that they are trying to focus attention on it with proposals at the United Nations to impose legally binding rules on the use of what militaries call lethal autonomous weapons.
“This is really one of the most significant inflection points for humanity,” Alexander Kmentt, Austria’s chief negotiator on the issue, said in an interview. “What’s the role of human beings in the use of force — it’s an absolutely fundamental security issue, a legal issue and an ethical issue.”
But while the U.N. is providing a platform for governments to express their concerns, the process seems unlikely to yield substantive new legally binding restrictions. The United States, Russia, Australia, Israel and others have all argued that no new international law is needed for now, while China wants to define any legal limit so narrowly that it would have little practical effect, arms control advocates say.
The result has been to tie the debate up in a procedural knot with little chance of progress on a legally binding mandate anytime soon….
(9) A NEW MEANING FOR CPR. The Clarke Center at UCSD has announced a Center for Psychedelic Research.
Initially organized at the Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative at the Clarke Center, this dynamic collaboration—which cuts across several divisions and departments at UC San Diego to bring together novel approaches and insights into the potential of psychedelics to help millions and produce new fundamental insights into the brain and consciousness—is now formally recognized as the Center for Psychedelic Research). The new center, and the history it builds upon—dating back to research on psychedelics in the early 1970s by CPR Director Mark Geyer—was recently featured in the UC San Diego Magazine, which can be read online here.
The article is “Psychedelic Revolution” and it begins:
The story of psychedelics research at UC San Diego does not begin with research scientist Albert Yu-Min Lin, but it is certainly a good place to start.
In 2016, the world-renowned scientist, National Geographic explorer and three-time UC San Diego graduate (’04, MS ’05, PhD ’08) suffered a devastating accident that resulted in the amputation of his lower right leg. After the physical wounds healed, Lin was left with excruciating and debilitating “phantom limb pain.”
He describes the sensation as the feeling of “my leg folding in half and breaking into bones and lighting on fire and knives stabbing into it … but there was no leg there.”
Lin had recently read about successful studies using psychedelics in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Desperate and willing to try anything, he drove to the desert to try psilocybin, the active compound in “magic mushrooms.”
He says, “If our mind is how we perceive the world, and our mind can also perceive our bodies in that context, then maybe I should be looking into the tools that are used to treat other aspects of the mind.”
A single session with psilocybin alleviated his pain in less than 30 minutes. After weeks of all-consuming and debilitating pain that had him on the brink of extreme depression, Lin felt like himself again.
His psychedelic experience changed everything.
But until then, the use of psilocybin to treat phantom limb pain had not been researched in a controlled, rigorous way. According to the National Institutes of Health, phantom limb pain affects an estimated 60% to 80% of amputees….
(10) SOUND EFFECTS. The New York Times covers the work of a composer: “Martians, Dolls and a Cellist’s Dog: The Many Worlds of Jennifer Walshe”,
… a new piece, composed by Walshe, … called “Some Notes on Martian Sonic Aesthetics, 2034-51,” it invites a chamber ensemble to impersonate a musically trained crew who have set up a colony on Mars and are beaming performances back to Earth.
While researching the piece, Walshe, 49, said that she had asked NASA how sound waves travel in carbon-dioxide rich atmospheres (“you don’t hear high-end frequencies”). She had also requested that packets of freeze-dried food be placed on the percussionists’ tables, so that the audience could hear the sound of astronauts chowing down, along with cans of compressed air to imitate the hiss of airlocks opening and closing.
And the helium-filled balloons? Here to make the double bassist’s bow feel 60 percent lighter, as though he were playing in Martian gravity. “I’m a hardcore science fiction fan,” Walshe said as she strode onto the street. “I want things to be as accurate as possible.”
(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Ryan George is more than just a fly on the wall at “The Marvels Pitch Meeting”.
The Marvels definitely raises some questions. Like how are they still making villains like this? Isn’t that the same plan as in Spaceballs? Why did Monica not try to fix the space-time hole from our side? Captain Marvel is so powerful she can reignite suns? What was up with that singing planet? To answer all these questions, check out the pitch meeting that led to The Marvels!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]