Word for Wednesday. In The Accidental Dictionary, Paul Anthony Jones informs us that “naughty” used to mean “nothing.” It was a contraction of ne and aught, meaning “not anything.” In the 1400s the word began to take on an interpretation of “morally nothing,” and the word was used to mean bad or evil. By the Tudor era it specifically meant licentious or sexually inappropriate before gradually declining to have the “misbehaving” meaning it generally has today.
This year’s Skylark Award, given to a person who “has contributed significantly to science fiction, both through work in the field and by exemplifying the personal qualities that made the late ‘Doc’ Smith so beloved by those who knew him” was awarded to Jo Walton.
The British Arthur C Clarke Award was created in 1987. It’s a juried award, not decided by popular vote, and lately there has been controversy about the shortlist and the winner. Controversy over an award seems unthinkable, I know, but… oh, I can’t even pull that off. Anyway, this year, the Clarke awards will have a “shadow jury.” From the “long list” of Clarke contenders, each shadow juror will create their own six-book “short list,” and choose the best book from it. Here is a better description of the “shadow jury.” This link introduces you to a few of the members. Many literary awards use the shadow jury concept, but given how contentious the SFF community is, this sounds complex, ripe for even more controversy, and still, interesting.
And… Oh! They have a manifesto.
Ezra Clayton Daniels won the Dwayne McDuffie Award, which celebrates diversity in comics works, with Upgrade Soul, story that looks really interesting.
Books and Writing:
That rumor you heard last week about Philip Pullman starting a new trilogy sequel to HIS DARK MATERIALS? Seems like it might be true. The first book in the new trilogy THE BOOK OF DUST is due out October 19, 2017. “In a description that will resonate with the current political climate, Pullman has said that “at the centre of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free”.
This year’s Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference concentrated on YA, and the growth of book honestly depicting cultures other than white and middle class American. Participants included Daniel Jose Older, Ellen Oh and Jacqueline Woodson.
This Week in Weird… this article reports that Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, two well-known British writer/artists who work in the comics field, and have been feuding for a couple decades, are also genuine wizards and are fighting a magical duel. It’s hard to say which line I like best out of this. Is it, “Neither of them are exactly orthodox, but Moore is a more traditionalist kind of wizard,” or the much more unpackable, “According to Morrison… he was told part of the story by the aliens when he was abducted by them in Kathmandu?” Or is it the exchange in the comments, when someone challenges writer Urbanski for saying he’s an occult expert, and Urbanski replies, “I am a practicing initiated magician.” Yikes! Thanks to File 770 for this one.
Movies and TV:
According to Syfywire, oddsmakers are seeing an uptick in popularity of Tilda Swinton as the next Doctor in Doctor Who. What do you think?
Blastr (part of SyfyWire) profiles Zoe Washburn of Firefly as part of their Black History Month tribute. I did not know that Zoe had taken Washburn’s last name in the show, since she, like everyone, called him “Wash.”
Bitsie Tulloch talks about her journey on Grimm, and where the show will end up, as it heads into its ultimate few episodes.
Speaking of shows like Grimm, over on Black Gate, Violette Milan discusses the evolution of the ensemble cast in television. Her final sentence, which wonders which came first, the ensemble cast or the extended narrative arc, tells me she didn’t grow up watching soap operas.
Being a shallow person, if I had realized that Tim Hiddleston was in Kong; Skull Island, I might have paid more attention to this movie sooner. As it is, I am pleased to report that the odds are good that Godzilla and Kong may have a mano-a-mano (or is that pata-a-pata?) encounter in 2020 and that this films help set that up. And MUTOS? Really?
Entertainment Weekly shared some fun going “behind the scenes” of NBC’s Emerald City, via a playscript dialogue between Executive Producer Shaun Cassidy and Executive Producer David Schullner. It’s pretty funny. It might be slightly spoilerish of the episode “Lions in Winter” but the spoilers are the “whats” not the “hows” and you probably already knew them.
Related to Emerald City, this article has some lovely location shots from the show, whose visuals are stunning.
SyfyWire also reports the role David Thewlis (who played Professor Lupin in the Harry Potter movies) will play in this summer’s Wonder Woman.
For those of you who decided that 2017 is the year you build your robot army, Ars Technica has some help for you, in this detailed article.
I hadn’t seen this before. It looks like a sharp group on the masthead, and it’s sort of like Vox for SFF?
A friend introduced me to Lackadaisy, a beautiful webcomic set in the Roaring 20s, following the adventures of a group of bootlegger and speakeasy runners who are cats. Gorgeous artwork.
Strandbeests. I’m sure we’ve shared Theo Jansen’s amazing kinetic sculptures here before, before here, but I love them.
There is a castle hidden in San Francisco. More importantly, there are underground caverns and a hidden aquifer too. Here’s a little more about it.
One of today’s images is inspired by the 1977 animated movie Wizards, written, directed and produced by Ralph Bakshi. Is it safe to call it a cult classic?