This week’s word for Wednesday is legendarium, a noun. It used to mean, generally, a collection of legends about a specific character (eg, legends of a certain saint). It has evolved largely in academic circles to describe all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth material. The word comes from the Latin word for a group of items to be collected, or displayed together.
The Bram Stoker Award acknowledges excellence in the field of horror. Its short list was released last week.
Books on the short list for best novel include Clive Barker’s The Scarlet Gospels, The Deep by Michaelbrent Collings, and The Cure by J.G. Flaherty. Books on the short list for best debut novel include Shutter, by Nicole Alameda, and We Are Monsters, by Brian Kirk.
It’s bittersweet that two of the nominated books were published by e-publisher Samhain, which announced last week that it is shutting down.
Books and Writing
The Speculative Literature Foundation is offering writers over the age of 50 a $500 grant to help them develop their careers. This is for writers over 50 who are just starting to work at a professional level. If you are one, or you know one, the deadline is March 31, 2017.
The Internet Archive now offers all 176 issues of the legendary If Magazine. The magazine was home to several serialized versions of Robert Heinlein’s work, as well as fiction by Samuel Delany, Harlan Ellison, Gene Wolfe and Alexei Panshin (H/T to Ryan.)
Pierce Brown’s Book Three of the RED RISING Trilogy, Morning Star debuted at #1 on three lists last week. It’s probably pretty safe to say that Golden Son is going to at least end up on the Hugo shortlist this year.
Apex Book Company has a Kickstarter campaign for its anthology Upside Down; Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. Writers in the anthology include Kat Richardson, Sunil Patel and Adam-Troy Castro; tropes to be skewered include “the chainmaille bikini,” “the city planet” and “the prostitute with the heart of gold.” It’s edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli.
The town of Woking, in Surrey, England, will devote most of this year to events commemorating H.G. Wells, born 150 years ago. Events will include performances of his works, a walking trail that follows the path of destruction Wells’s Martians created in Woking in War of the Worlds, and various academic and literary panels. Wells wrote his famous work there, and also set the first landing of the dread invaders just outside of town. Did you know there is a musical of War of the Worlds?
Movies and TV
Mixed feelings; I love the success story of this director, but… A Wrinkle in Time? This could go so bad so quickly… and I suspect I’d feel this way no matter who was directing. It’s not that it’s a sprawling saga or technically complicated, after all, it’s been produced as a stage play more than once. This story occupies a special place in my childhood memories and I don’t want that overwritten with the memory of a disappointing movie.
Still more about Paramount’s battle with the indie group who want to make Axanar. Is this argument, that Paramount must explain exactly what is, and isn’t, the Star Trek Universe, accurate? Wow. (Via File 770.)
I think it’s safe to say that Charlie Jane Anders did not like Gods of Egypt. This is simply one of the angriest, funniest and best-written movie reviews I’ve read, maybe ever, as Ander incorporates an angry-Lewis-Black riff but keeps her own unique voice throughout.
While Gods of Egypt may be in the running for a Golden Razzie in 2017, this year’s award winners are out, and the Fantastic Four remake had a good year… or, not a good year, depending on how you want to look at it. Fantastic Four tied with 50 Shades of Grey for Worst Picture, and won Worst Director, although it faced challenges in the acting department from 50 Shades and Jupiter Ascending. The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation bestows Razzies (named for a rude sound) in categories similar to the Oscars, and exists to have fun and skewer the pretentiousness of the movie-making industry.
Is anybody watching SYFY’s adaptation of The Magicians? I didn’t think so. It looks like it’s me and one guy at The Vulture. Every time I decide to end the show’s academic probation and flip over to something else, Eliot (played archly-to-the-max by Hale Appleman) has some one-liner that wins me back. Julia’s story is far more interesting than Quentin’s and still not quite interesting enough. I’m not sure what’s wrong here.
The Internet and the Potterverse
Radio Times discovered a Tumblr account by the lone IT guy for Hogwarts School of Magic – and yes, he is a muggle. Jonathan Dart didn’t know about magic or magic schools, but he hears through the grapevine that the other magic schools will be following the Hogwarts lead and hopes that other techies will learn from his (hilarious) example. IT folks and fans of the books, (two groups with major overlap), will enjoy this.
In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Universe, “The Sorting Hat is never wrong,” because science. Okay, that’s a teensy bit of a stretch, but this is a fun article about the sorting hat application and how accurate it can be. I am still dubious, because I got Ravenclaw and I’m pretty sure I belong in Hufflepuff, but that’s okay. And, I learned a new phrase that screams “fantasy title;” the Dark Triad.
A company that builds secret passages in houses. I want the bookshelf doors!
Should they stay or should they go? Steve Hoke, a retired grandfather of five, made a bunch of “gnome houses” for a local Pennsylvania park. An anonymous second party added actual gnomes, after the houses were in place. The houses enchanted park-goers, especially children, and brought an influx of visitors to the park, which the park officials didn’t like. Apparently, they were worried that overuse damaged the park (soil compaction and erosion are real concerns in public space). They asked Hoke to remove the houses. Now there is an online petition and public outcry about taking the whimsical structures away from the public. It seems to me that park officials could simply ask Hoke to reduce the number from 38 to something manageable, like 12.
Thank you again, Hubble Telescope, for giving us a thing of beauty and wonder. Here is a Wolf-Rayet nebula surrounding star WR31a, a shimmering blue bubble of light in the constellation of Carina.
They’re not exactly dragons, but these Slovenian salamanders are rare, long-lived, and reproduce only once or twice every ten years, so scientists in Postojna, in the Balkans, are anxious and thrilled to watch the eggs growing in this female salamander’s clutch.
Art and science combine to show us what happens deep inside our brains. I found these images fascinating and some of them disturbing, as they are meant to be.
Artus Scheiner was born on October 1863 in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). He was a self-taught artist who supported himself at first by working as a clerk for Financial General in Prague. Contemporaries include Alphonse Mucha and Emil Filla. His first works appeared in a German humor magazine called Lustige Blatter. As his art career expanded more of his work showed up in Czech society magazines and soon he was illustrating the works of famous Czech and Slovakian fairy tales like The Disobedient Kids by Bezeno Nemkova. He also illustrated many scenes from Shakespeare. These images are from the Wiki Commons. I noticed, after I chose these pictures, that there is a similarity in composition among all three.