While I was looking for this week’s word for Wednesday I came across two I really liked, so you’re getting both of them. Bardolotry is a noun, and means the excessive (usually humorously so) adoration of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon. And for all you fantasy writers, Catoptromancy is the term for the use of mirrors in magic. This term probably came into use around 1610, according to dictionary.com, and comes from the Greek word for mirror, katoptron.
David Bowie died on Sunday, January 10 in New York. Bowie had been living with liver cancer, and released a new album just two days before his death. Although he is best known for his music, as a musician, singer, performer, composer, innovator and profound influence on other musicians, Bowie is also a star in the heavens of speculative fiction. His concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars had a science fictional premise. As an actor, Bowie played an exo-sapient who comes to earth seeking help for his dying planet in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), and co-starred in the lush, stylish vampire thriller The Hunger in 1983. He was also the sexy and sinister Goblin King in Jim Henson’s 1986 feature The Labyrinth. We will miss him; but his work continues, inspiring others. In his memory I invite you all to put on your red shoes and dance the blues.
Kim Stanley Robinson won the Robert A Heinlein Award for 2016. (Via File 770.) The award acknowledges outstanding fiction and technical writing that encourages the exploration of space.
John Scalzi has been awarded the Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts for 2016. This award showcases artists, art organizations, businesses and private organizations that support the arts. Scalzi blogged about it at Whatever, and says he thinks he is the first science fiction writer to win this award in Ohio. That does appear to be the case, and it’s a nice nod to the genre.
Reddit awarded the Stabbies, their Best of Awards. Brandon Sanderson won for best fantasy novel and Seth Dickinson won for best debut novel with The Traitor Baru Cormorant. I think the Stabbie should get an award for coolest award. It’s a dagger! How cool is that?
Horror fans, Britain’s This is Horror award voting is open through January 25. I’m delighted to see two of my favorites of 2015 on the list of candidates; Simon K Unsworth’s The Devil’s Detective, for Novel, and Cthulhu Fhtgan! edited by Ross Lockhart, for Best Horror Anthology.
Books and Writing
Daily Science Fiction sends a short story out to e-mail subscribers Monday through Thursday. Starting last week, they are sharing excerpts from a collaboration by the late Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold. Here is the first one. A section will show up every other Wednesday.
Book Smugglers celebrated their eighth birthday with a retrospective. They did a lot in 2015, including making the transition from reviewing to publishing.
Have you ever bought a book, gotten it home, and found out it wasn’t the one you wanted, but had a similar title? Entertainment Weekly shares a few examples of books that “basically have the same title.” (via Publishers Weekly.)
Natalie Luhrs at Pretty-Terrible provided this link to Max Gladstone’s personal reading project in 2015. I love how well he conveys a particular moment of insight.
Andre-Norton.com announced that the first two books in Norton’s WITCH WORLD series may be adapted as a feature film. (This site does not permalink each article, so you may have to scroll down to find it.) Hat tip to File 770 for this item.
Is Patreon the new El Dorado for short-story writers? Maybe, if you’re already an established writer or an internet personality. It’s definitely a new source of short fiction for avid readers, if they’re willing to pay. Simon Owens explores the pros and cons.
Lois Tilton, long-time reviewer, has resigned from Locus Online. Tilton states that Locus had begun to delete statements in her reviews without informing her or discussing it with her.
Sf Signal gives us a sneak peek at the cover (and the blurb) for Richard Kadrey’s latest SANDMAN SLIM book, The Perdition Score.
Movies and TV
CBS and Paramount have joined forces to stop a feature-length fan Star Trek film, Axanar. While the copyright holders of Star Trek haven’t been rigorous about enforcing intellectual properties issues with Star Trek in the past, Axanar is looking more and more like a professional film and less like a fannish product. CBS and Paramount have filed Cease and Desist orders. The production team of Axanar argues that is only uses the Star Trek Universe, and chooses a minor character mentioned once in one episode of the original show.
David Gerrold took to Facebook with a suggestion that Paramount act more like Lucasfilm, celebrating fan films and creating a special award for them. He refers to it as a “voluntary garden.”
The Vatican newspaper film reviewer panned Star Wars; The Force Awakens. Wait, the Vatican newspaper has a film reviewer? The reviewer thought the movie was confusing and hazy, and also that the villain wasn’t evil enough. (Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader were “efficient villains” apparently. Geez, Vatican film reviewer, Kylo Ren is just starting out; can’t he have a learning curve?) Stephen Colbert, who is an active Catholic, had a few things to say about this.
Summer Glau will appear with former Firefly costar Nathan Fillion on Castle, later this season. Glau is the latest in a small parade of Firefly celebs who have graced Fillion’s CBS show; others include Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres. My favorite line in this article is the description of Glau’s role in Arrow as “CEO/assassin.”
Screenrant gives us a list of 10 SF TV spinoffs that failed. I remember most of these, except for Total Recall, which I can’t recall.
ABC has confirmed that they ordered the pilot for Marvel’s Most Wanted, a spin-off of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which is a spin-off of the AVENGERS movies. The characters of Mockingbird and Lance Hunter will star.
This is the trailer for Hulu’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 11.22.63. (H/T to Ryan.)
Rey will become a game piece in the next version of Hasbro’s Star Wars Monopoly.
Appropriately, it took a handwritten letter from an eight-year-old girl to call out Hasbro’s inexplicable failure to include Rey in the original Monopoly game, and the game company’s excuse that they didn’t want to commit “spoilers” by including her is simply nonsensical. (Here is the girl’s letter.) Hasbro will fix their mistake in the version of the game that comes out in the spring.
Reddit and The UK Guardian both covered the petition to get an element in the periodic table named after Sir Terry Pratchett’s “color of magic,” octarine. (Thanks to Ryan for the Reddit link.)
These intricately carved gourd lamps throw light designs onto nearby walls, and they are exquisite.
Yes, another roundup! Because it’s January and that’s what we do. Polygon offers the most anticipated games of 2016. The video is like a starter sampler; the article lists 100 upcoming games.
Earth (or Maybe this is “Space”)
Geologists in the Australian outback uncovered a meteorite that they think is 4.5 billion years old.
On Nautil.us, David Brin opines that 2015 was the “best year for space.” With the New Horizon pictures, insights about Mars and out-of-system discoveries, it’s easy to see his point. (H/T to Bill.)
Speaking of cool space things, here’s an article on a “ravenous” black hole.
Our January 7 Giveaway, the best book you read in December, 2015, is still active. I think I’m current on the giveaways now, so be sure to go back and check the comments to see if you’ve won.
To remind everyone about Comet Catalina, visible in the predawn sky on January 17, I chose Comet Halley in classic artworks as my theme for today. Yes, that is a diamond broach from the early Victorian period. Those Victorians knew how to commemorate stuff.
While I was looking at their comet pictures, I came across this great post on Stendhal Syndrome. Without ever explaining the blog’s own hiatus, this post presents an entertaining and informative discussion about the state of being overwhelmed by art. (And shouldn’t we have a biopic of Gustave Courbet as played by Johnny Depp? I mean really. Look at that portrait.)
I started reading about the Lois Tilton thing — her announcement, everyone’s comments, Locus’s response — and eventually got a headache and quit.
It surprised me. It really surprised me. I’ll have to read Locus’s response.
I actually liked that Kylo Ren wasn’t pure, unmitigated evil. But then I guess that’s why I’m not the Vatican newspaper’s official film reviewer…
not sure what makes a villain “efficient”, but I gotta go with the Vatican on the whole too much similarity thing. And “gotta go with the Vatican” is not a phrase I’m known for using a lot . . .
and how the hell did I not know about Desert Fireball Network? My cable company has to be more proactive!