China Mieville’s novella “This Census Taker”, which is nominated for a Hugo, is also nominated for the 2017 Rathbone Folio Prize, a literary award which celebrates “the best literature of our time, regardless of form.” Well!
Congratulations, Tennessee! You didn’t win an award, but you got an element named after you! So did Japan, Moscow and Yuri Oganessian. You can read the details here.
Books and Writing:
Is part of HARRY POTTER’S charm that the books are boarding school books? The U.K. Guardian takes a look at British boarding schools, and the books written about them. Since the Potter books came out, British boarding schools have experienced an uptick in popularity. (“Fagging” as it is used in the second paragraph means being the servant or minion of an older boy.)
Enjoy this version of Pride and Prejudice, summarized with felt dolls.
Sharon Weinberger’s new book, The Imagineers of War; the untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency that Changed the World, deals with the Defense Applied Research Projects Agency,(and should win an award for longest subtitle). DARPA is a cornucopia of weird science ideas that would keep a supervillain busy for a lifetime. Also, some of these ideas were put into practice; they are crazy and they are scary.
I don’t remember putting this up earlier and I should have. Now that the Hugo finalists are out, this list is slightly less useful, but it’s a great resource for books in general… and the Dragon Awards are upcoming. Here is the Locus Recommended Reading List.
Marvel Executive David Gabriel opined to British pop culture site ICv2 that Marvel’s “diversity” was dinging their sales. He said he had heard that people don’t want to read about characters of color or female superheroes. Then he backtracked and said, well, some people do, but overall sales are down. Could the problem be a lack of direction, poor storytelling, or environmental/sociopolitical changes, perhaps? The UK Guardian followed up with a few Twitter comments from people who gave Gabriel their opinions about why sales might be down.
Movies and TV:
Finally, from Stubby the Robot over at Tor, an irrefutable theory about why Rey in Star Wars; The Force Awakens is a Skywalker. Her fashion sense gives her away.
Ghost in the Shell opened last Friday to disappointing box office. The studio thinks that the whitewashing controversy contributed to the low earnings. Variety pulled together a roundtable of reviews of the film.
I didn’t know that Anne Hathaway had a monster movie coming out, but she does! Colossal is out now. Here, Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis discuss their characters and the film. And here is a review.
If you are a faithful watcher of The Magicians you might enjoy this interview with showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara. It’s two months old so you will know some of the things they are talking about.
This may be more of a public service announcement; Game Stop has acknowledged that their credit card data from September, 2016, through February, 2017, may have been breached. I can’t help but notice that covers the Christmas shopping seasion.
Ars Technica reviews the tabletop role-playing game Arkham Horror, which is about the Tentacled One and not Batman. I always get those two Arkhams confused.
Polygon reviews Thimbleweed Park, a retro adventure game that plays homage to Maniac Mansion of the late 1980s.
Rather than possibly contaminate a warm salt-water sea on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, NASA will crash the Cassini probe onto Saturn itself. This breathless headline tries to imply something weirder than that, but for me the exciting take-away is that there is salt water on a moon of Saturn; does it, or did it, hold life?
Hoglet Rescue! Richard from Wildlife Aid and his impeccable British accent rescue a baby hedgehog from a food can.