This week’s word for Wednesday is a noun, zounderkite, which you may have heard if you watched Penny Dreadful. It means a person who does very stupid things; “Chester, you zounderkite, I said ‘Don’t push the big red button!’” The word is believed to be Germanic in origin and was popular in Victorian times. It looks like it would be a good Scrabble word.
Courtesy of File 770, here are the winners of the British Science Fiction Awards. The winner for Best Novel was Europe in Winter by David Hutchinson.
The finalists for the Eugie Foster Award for short fiction were announced and include work from Alyssa Wong, Catherynne Valente, Amal El-Motar and N.K. Jemisin. The award will be presented at DragonCon in August.
Rockie Mountain Fur Convention in Denver has closed its doors after some problems with a subgroup of furries (fans who like to dress up as plush animals) who seem to have ties to the white supremacist right. One has a past record as a sex offender. This sounds pretty serious actually, but I have trouble getting past, “furries!” This is proof that every group has its convention problems.
OdysseyCon’s Guest of Honor, Monica Valentinelli, withdrew from the Con when she discovered that Jim Frenkel, who was expelled from WisCon in 2013 because of complaints of a persistent pattern of sexual harassment, and ultimately lost his job, was her guest liaison. Valentinelli brought up her concerns, particularly because she had previous bad encounters with Frenkel, with the Convention Committee. She got no satisfaction from the ConCom.
As of April 15, all three Guests of Honor had withdrawn. OdysseyCon has removed Frenkel from any position on the ConCom. Monica Valentinelli has blogged about ways to provide conrunners with information about the basics of running a con and creating a safe, welcoming convention.
Katie took a look at our New Releases page and found two books she’s excited about:
The Boy the Bird and the Coffin Maker – Matilda Woods
“I have a good feeling about this debut novel for children which sounds both unusual and enchanting. It covers difficult topics like death and grief and I’m always interested to see how authors deal with these themes in stories for children. It’s a bold move to make a coffin-maker your protagonist and I’m intrigued to see where Matilda Woods takes him.”
Invisible Planets: Collected Fiction – Hannu Rajaniemi
“I’m not familiar with Hannu Rajaniemi but all the signs from my spot of research are promising. As someone who doesn’t read a lot of science fiction, I’ve recently discovered that SF short stories are an excellent way into the genre. Also, one story features the Daughter of the Sea catching men in her net which is enough to reel me in.”
I’m curious about the Haruki Murakami story collection Men Without Women, myself.
Books and Writing:
Last week John Scalzi opened up his blog to reader questions, something he does annually. I link to whatever.com a lot, but it’s because he so often has interesting content. This post is in response to a question about how long it took him from the time he finished first draft of a piece until it got published, and being Scalzi, he provides about four different answers.
Apple lowers the price on its latest iPad in an attempt to entice iPad owners whose devices are aging, and also in an attempt to slow the slide in their sales.
Three scientists at Berkeley answer a vital question: Why do shoelaces come untied? Admit it, this question has plagued you, hasn’t it?
Movies and TV:
American Gods, the series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, premieres on Starz next week. Here is a review from an early screening of Episode One. Because of the immigrant story, they see it as politically relevant; I hate to break it to Vanity Fair but it’s been politically relevant since it was first published.
The trailer for Star Wars; the Last Jedi is out. How many times did you watch it? In case you didn’t, or in case you want to watch it some more, here it is.
“We know each other! He’s a friend from work!” Here’s the trailer for Thor; Ragnarok.
And Mr. Sunday Movies wants to analyze the Thor;Ragnarok trailer in some depth. (This lasts about eleven minutes.)
The 10th season of the new Doctor Who premiered on Saturday. It introduced a new companion, Bill Potts, and brought back Nardole, a character we met in “The Husbands of River Song.” Indiewire has a review. Mild spoilers.
Immediately following Doctor Who, Class, the Who-spin-off, premiered. AV Club liked it more than I did but had made of the same quibbles.
April, the internet’s latest media sensation, gave birth last week. By the way, April is a giraffe, and so is her child. (It’s not that I didn’t expect the baby to be a giraffe, but wouldn’t it have been interesting if it weren’t?) April drew as many as five million daily views at the peak of the giraffe-cam, and people celebrated the delivery as if her offspring were their own grandchild Congratulations April and baby giraffe!
NASA has provided photographs of a deep crack in the Petermann Glacier in Greenland. The crack may mean that part of the glacier will break off and melt, raising sea levels; but there is another crack that may keep that from happening.
In homage to the Ragnarok trailer I am putting up a video of the sinkhole/blowhole on the Oregon coast called Thor’s Well and Spouting Horn. It’s about 3 ½ minutes long.
Yes, these are my photos from a short trip to the town of Mendocino, California, and a visit to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. It could be worse; I returned home with 115 photos of ravens. You could be looking at those.