This week’s word for Wednesday is gesellschaft; a noun, meaning an association of people who come together for a business, entertainment, cultural or social reasons. The word is German but has been adopted into American usage. This was a word that one of the two National Spelling Bee winners (it was a tie) spelled correctly last week.
Books and Writing:
N.K. Jemisin is quitting her day job to prioritize her fiction career. She is relying on Patreon to do it. The flavor of patronage is different when you have a collective investing in you, rather than one or two wealthy people in power. It’s an interesting discussion.
Theresa Preston, at Book Riot, asks many of the questions most of us would have about this move, although I think she confuses “publishing” with patronage, or whatever this new “subscription” process is. They aren’t the same thing. While factually accurate, the article puts a focus on “cat pictures” for patrons, and I don’t think that’s a true picture. Still, good questions, and an interesting move by an acclaimed writer. Certainly, Jemisin is in a unique position to make this move. Anything that frees up her time to write more awesome stories is good as far as I’m concerned.
Rachel Swirsky took a look at a list of common short-story titles Clarkesworld shared. Her thoughts make for fun (and helpful) reading, speaking as a writer who is terrible at titles, and would name everything “The Lump” as Swirsky calls it here (Article-Noun) if I could.
The Daily Mail asks, “Did the Devil Write This Bible?” Um, I’m voting “No.” Even without the “ghost-written by Satan” hype the humongous Codex Gigas sounds absolutely wild. And there is a giant picture of what might be a demon on the back, but I think this was written before back-flap author photos were common.
When he worked for Faber and Faber Publishers, T.S. Eliot rejected a social-commentary novel, a sort of fable. He felt that the politics weren’t quite right, but he also had problems with the story. Specifically, he told the newbie novelist in his rejection letter, the pigs should have taken over the farm, because they were the smartest animals, and perhaps what the world needed was “not more communism, but more public-minded pigs.” Read and enjoy Elliot’s professional and rather encouraging rejection of a book called Animal Farm, by George Orwell.
At Booksmugglers, Carlie St George examines stories where diseases and disabilities magically vanish or are cured at the end of the story. If you’re like me, you’ll see a few favorite books and movies in her line-up.
Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers, (seriously, like skip down right now if you don’t want to know), Marvel Comics released the new issue of Captain America, Steve Rodgers #1, on May 24, and it revealed that Cap is…. What? No! It can’t be! I looked for a spoiler-free article, but hey, good luck finding that. Twitter exploded into magma-hot indignation and some people have even launched letter-writing campaigns to get this storyline removed. I won’t reveal the spoiler in this paragraph, but there is a clue, which I stole from writer Felix Gilman, elsewhere in this post.
In that same comic, website Jezebel got a shout-out from Marvel.
Sad but true, some of those spells in J. K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER series may not hold up, as science students from the University of Leicester have informed us. Two new papers released by students show that gillyweed is unlikely to have worked the way it did in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film, while it seems like the jury might still be out on Skele-Gro. (I don’t know about you but I am crushed about the gillyweed.) I think the big take-away here is that some science students have a great sense of humor.
Movies and TV
X-Men Apocalypse opened on May 27th. The predictions were not optimistic, as you can read there. Forbes reported that it opened with a “mere $80 million.”
Another franchise that will not die is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and its latest installment opens on June 3. Here is an interview with Stephen Amell (Arrow). “We leaned in and really made a Turtle movie.” It sounds like he practiced that line in his hotel room before he came to the red carpet event.
Preacher, AMC’s adaptation of a Vertigo comic written by Garth Ennis, premiered last week. I thought it had high production values, beautiful scenery, great casting, and veered idiosyncratically between the incoherent and the cliché. But that’s just me. Many people loved it, including Collider. Here’s their review. Ennis himself is saying very complimentary things, as in this interview. And I will say that I loved it when Tulip (Ruth Negga) made a bazooka out of #10 cans, duct tape, die-cast toy soldiers and moonshine.
Rolling Stone Magazine has a list of the top 40 SF television shows. Do you agree with the order? I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but frankly, their gyrations to make it SF (“There’s an internet demon! There’s a Buffy-bot!”) were a little painful to read.
Polygon offers up a player’s guide for Uncharted: 4 multiplayer version, and reports that the No Man’s Sky release is now delayed until August.
Cyberpunk, and more recent works like Linda Nagata’s THE RED series, imagine neurological implants that improve, or at least change, how the human body functions. Science is catching up with fiction, as this article shows. The Nightly Business Report website provides a video segment that goes into more detail about these innovations. DARPA’s funding makes it even more science fictional.
Earth and Sky:
Again courtesy of Kate, enjoy this beautiful little video of an octopus kite.