WWWednesday: August 6, 2014

Today, we’re featuring two events on this date in history. First, in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee made public his idea for the World Wide Web. Here at WWWednesday, we salute Berners-Lee!

It is also the date, in 1996, that NASA announced that the meteorite ALH 84001 contained evidence of primitive life-forms. While the existence of non-terrestrial life has never been proven, this meteorite presents some fascinating evidence. Read about it here.

Art by Remedios Varos

Art by Remedios Varos

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

Lev Grossman has been publishing all over the place this week to coincide with the release of his latest novel, The Magician’s Land. This essay is about his five favorite magical portals; this one tells you how not to write a novel; and this one discusses his inspiration for his series, C.S. Lewis and the Narnia series.

Io9 published the best results from its six-word science fiction competition today. These are some delightfully funny, creepy, and evocative examples of flash fiction—read on!

Also on i09, Charlie Jane Anders wrote this great essay outlining 10 ways to create memorable characters in your writing. I really like #4.

Joanna Hillhouse shares her experience working with Mary Robinette Kowal on developing authentic Antiguan dialect here.

David Barnett gears up for SFF convention season in London in this article for the Guardian, highlighting some of London’s long history with science fiction. What I wouldn’t give for a ticket to London right now . . . well, pretty much anytime, but especially to experience some of these cons. British FanLit-ers, get ready to report!

CNN reports on African writers that we should be reading right now, several of whom are SFF authors such as Shadreck Chikoti and Nnedi Okorafor; Billy Kahora also comments on the ascendence of “afro-futurism.” If you’re looking for a place to start, check out this anthology.

Finally, Michael R. Underwood writes about introductory SFF texts that should be included in undergraduate syllabi, particularly focusing on including new texts for new readers.

Art by Remedios Varos

Art by Remedios Varos

Movies and Television:

Studio Ghibli is suspending operations following Miyazaki’s retirement, leading fans everywhere to wonder if, as Miyazaki himself suggested, it is all “falling apart.”

At the Star Trek: Las Vegas convention this past week, the “Women in Trek Fandom” panel stirred up a lot of supporters. Check out this article outlining a brief history of women’s place in Star Trek as actors, writers, directors, and fans.

Mark Juddery writes about a recent surge in Australian science fiction films for the Guardian. I love articles like this; they remind me how much there is to see and read and experience in the world beyond my tiny frame of reference.

University of Virginia is offering a class on Game of Thrones, providing an opportunity for students to study how the TV series was adapted from the novel series, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

Internet Stuff:

Sean Bean did a Reddit AMA in which he discusses his roles in LOTR, Game of Thrones, and his experiences with Nicholas Cage while filming National Treasure.

Alice Lee on The Toast has a great series: How to Tell If You Are In a Novel, featuring various authors. This one, Are You In a Haruki Murakami Novel, is priceless.

Artist Feature:

Art by Remedios Varos

Art by Remedios Varos

Remedios Varo was a Spanish-Mexican surrealist painter. Born in Spain, she lived in Mexico for 20 years at the end of her life, becoming friends with Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Leonora Carrington (who we’ve already featured), and worked as an assistant to Marc Chagall. Her paintings are precisely structured, with sharp angles, deep shadows, and swirls of mist. Many of the figures in her paintings appear androgynous, with a heart-shaped face and deep eyes much like her own.

My favorite is the Creation of the Birds, shown here as an owl-headed person sitting and drawing at a desk. Next to this figure is a strange contraption—is it mixing paint for the palette? Is it watering the birds that fly around the room? Or is it providing another service? Something about this inscrutable machine, with its blown-glass bulbs, reminds me of similar structures in Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.


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KATE LECHLER, on our staff from May 2014 to January 2017, resides in Oxford, MS, where she divides her time between teaching early British literature at the University of Mississippi, writing fiction, and throwing the tennis ball for her insatiable terrier, Sam. She loves speculative fiction because of what it tells us about our past, present, and future. She particularly enjoys re-imagined fairy tales and myths, fabulism, magical realism, urban fantasy, and the New Weird. Just as in real life, she has no time for melodramatic protagonists with no sense of humor. The movie she quotes most often is Jurassic Park, and the TV show she obsessively re-watches (much to the chagrin of her husband) is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her personal blog is The Rediscovered Country and she tweets @katelechler.

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4 comments

  1. Sandy Ferber /

    Regarding that meteorite ALH 84001: Big deal! I have been seeing primitive life forms in my neighborhood here in NYC for YEARS now!

  2. Varos is great. And she completely fits speculative fiction. Most of her work would suit the cover of literary fantasy, and given at times it becomes the mechanically fantastic, perhaps even steampunk. I imagine you had a hard time Kate choosing amongst her art for the post…

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