“Again? That trick never works!” The actor who voiced Rocket J Squirrel (Rocky and Bullwinkle), Natasha Badinoff, and many other famous cartoon characters, June Foray, passed away last week . She was 99 years old. She will live on the hearts of all of us who love the adventures of Moose and Squirrel.
Playwright Sam Shepherd also passed away this week.
Colson Whitehead’s novel Underground Railroad won the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke award for best speculative fiction novel.
Our own Terry Weyna will be writing the column for the next two weeks while I am on vacation. I am going to try to live-tweet some from WorldCon, and with any luck I’ll be able to send Terry a few photos from Finland and later from Iceland.
I’m going to do a little bit of site housekeeping here. The Giveaways are current through July 21. Please check and contact me if you have won. I will not be working on the Giveaways from August 9 through August 22, 2017. My plan is to catch them up when I get home.
Books and Writing:
This Irish Times article is definitely contrarian, but it is funny in spots, and dishes up some tasty food for thought. Is Harry Potter really a Millennial stereotype who earns a participation trophy just for showing up, never earning his Chosen One status? (I’m exaggerating. There is no participation trophy in the article.)
The Guardian looks at the impact of the television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. (Caution, spoilers for the show.)
Comics magazine Beat interviewed Swedish writer Karin Tidbeck about her visionary novel Amatka. (See our reviews here.) Everyone seems to be in agreement now that the colonists in that book are on another planet (although Tidbeck doesn’t confirm that). I think it’s just as likely to be another dimension. Anyway, interesting interview with a brilliant writer.
My big takeaway from this article is that there is a group of SFF readers in Edmonton who read all the Hugo nominees for Best Novel every year. That is cool! While I’m not sure I’m in complete agreement with their fear of the continued trend of nominating sequels, I certainly see their point.
Camestros Felapton comes through again with a fun “genre shifter.” I like how the fonts change! (Thanks to File770.)
Indonesian cave art is believed to be slightly older than that found in Spain and France. This may change archeologists’ thinking about where cave art started. Plus, it looks beautiful.
Movies and TV:
Valerian did not do well at the box office. It did better in France, home of its source material. Vulture has some ideas about why the movie did not find its American audience.
Atomic Blonde seems a little more popular, at least with the critics. Here is a review from Rogerebert.com. Two things make the movie work according to them; lighting, and Charlize Theron.
One of the best writers in fantasy right now has had a novella taken up for adaptation by AMC. A series based on Victor LaValle’s “The Ballad of Black Tom” should be very interesting.
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht talks about American Gods. Could it go on forever? Would they dip into similarly-themed Gaiman material?
Midnight, Texas premiered on NBC last Monday. The show is based on a series of Charlaine Harris novels. The village of Midnight is a haven for supernatural beings, even though it’s built on (of course!) a well of supernatural power. When loner conman/medium Manfred shows up, things start getting crazy. Here, the cast talks about what they think of the town.
Ars Technica makes the case for an exomoon.
This is from Twitter. This video is great on its own; but with the music? Enjoy. Thank you, Tom Peck.
I seem to disagree with the article writer on Valerian. I plan on seeing it just because – but I guess I’m outside of his thinking because I rarely see movies in the theater unless someone in my family wants to see it. So I’ll wait until it is on DVD. I suspect it will prove much more popular on DVD.
I suspect that it will find a following, especially these days when many people how large TV screen and theater-quality sound.
I was so sad to see June Foray passed away. She was such a huge part of my childhood!
I was startled to discover how many characters she voiced in her career.
If Amatka was on another planet, where was the inevitable monument to landfall? I was wondering if it was a computer simulation of some kind, although the oldest writings by people who claimed to have come from the old world (like the woman with the cat hallucination) might argue against that. On the other hand, there would be no reason not to bring some animals on a physical journey, while a computer simulation might have been kickstarted with a minimum set of biologically based entities based on real people.
The story of the colonization is understandable sketchy (because of the nature of the story). Vanja’s father whispered that “nobody knows where we are,” which makes me think something went wrong. That MIGHT explain why there is no monument and no Landfall Historical Center.
The Harry Potter article reads like the author never actually read the books. One of the major themes of the series is how Harry grapples with fame that he doesn’t feel he deserves, so arguing that Harry is a bad role model because of his undeserved fame is rather silly.
Also, there’s a claim that the Dursleys are a slur against the English working class, which is rather odd considering that Uncle Vernon is a manager and his son goes to a private school.
Finally, the author seems to consider LotR as children’s book. The Hobbit, yes. LotR? Really?
Yes, the Dursleys as “British working class” made no sense, and LoTR as “children’s literature”… (maybe in Britain?) Is it possible the writer is basing this essay on the movies? Although Uncle Vernon is still a middle manager in in the movies, too.