Today’s word for Wednesday is blatherskite, a noun with two meanings; one, a person who talks nonsense and a lot of it; two, the nonsense itself. “He’s an ignorant blatherskite,” is one use; “She rattled on, filling her time with blatherskite” is the other. The word can be traced back as far as the mid-17th century, in Scotland (how did I know that?) and is the combination of the word “blather,” and “skite,” which the Oxford Dictionary site demurely defines as a Scottish derogatory term.
Books and Writing
Kameron Hurley says that when the middle of the book she’s writing starts to meander, she jumps to the end. This helps her get back on track. It’s an interesting blog post. This technique does not work for everyone, and in fact some writers will tell you that this this is guaranteed to kill the story for them, but Hurley makes good points about process and it certainly seems to work for her.
The New Zealand Herald discusses Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen with its author Lois MacMaster Bujold. Bujold shares her response to some of the comments about the book. It’s nice to see her mindset (I love the anecdote about her discussion with middle-schoolers about The Curse of Chalion) but the last half of this article veers into marketing and distributing. It seems like it wouldn’t be interesting… but it is! (Courtesy of File 770).
The paper ‘zine is reborn! At least in Australia, which also has, apparently, an annual Festival of the Photocopier. This article theorizes that, among other things, a convergence of Mean Internet People and a love of scrapbooking, glue sticks and scissors has fed a resurgence of the hand-stapled, independent paper publication. What do you think?
George Romero, grandfather of zombies, and Alan Moore, who wrote The Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell, will be awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Horror Writers Association. The awards will be presented at StokerCon, held in Las Vegas, in May of this year.
The Horror Writers Association is offering five scholarships to those who plan a career writing horror fiction, non-fiction or poetry. The scholarship is for education in writing (a fairly open category) and the deadline is June 1, 2016, except for one, the “Scholarship from Hell” which closes March 15. The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley scholarship is for women horror writers. (Via File 770)
Professor Tony Dyson, who built the R2D2 models for the original Star Wars, passed away on the island of Gozo in Malta, presumably on March 4 (that’s the day a neighbor found his body).
Pat Conroy, author of The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides, passed away on the same day. He wasn’t a writer whose work we would have reviewed, and apparently he decided at some point that fantasy was low-brow and silly (although he loved Ursula LeGuin, Italo Calvino and Jonathan Carroll, of course). Then fate intervened and introduced him to George R.R. Martin. Here is an essay by Conroy, from 2014, about how Martin made him love direwolves.
Movies and TV
Dark Tower, the movie, is happening. Will there be seven movies? Or more? It will be interesting to follow the development of this project. (H/T to Kat).
In other book-to-movie adaptations, Ian McShane will play Mr. Wednesday in American Gods. Ricky Whittle will play Shadow. People are deeply divided on this Gaiman work; it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing. I’m in the love-it category, and while I’m nervous because this could be a celebrated failure, the choice of McShane reassures me. The fact that it is a series rather than a movie also makes me think they will do justice to the richness of the tale.
As you know, I didn’t care much for Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, (see our reviews here), but I said at the time it would be a good movie. I think that’s especially true with Tim Burton’s skewed sensibilities driving it. (H/T to Kat.)
On the flight home from my vacation my seat-mate, a Japanese-American woman in her early fifties, was playing a game on her phone. The graphics were so beautiful that I asked her if she had been in Europe and taken pictures of cathedrals. She said she plays a lot of mobile games on her phone and her tablet. It got me thinking about the demographics of gaming, and sure enough, when I looked around I found this simple article from several months ago, breaking down the demographics by “casual,” “mid-core” and “hard-core.” Suddenly a lot of marketing decisions begin to make sense!
Companies like Industrial Toys understand the concept of the “casual” player, and are embracing the mobile game, as you can see in this article about their newest release.
Vantablack is the new black. Read the links in the article, especially this one; it’s very cool! Gene Wolfe’s Severian will be unhappy, since he no longer has the market cornered on material that is “darker than black.”
Courtesy of Suvudu, here are concept images of a high-tech eco-village. Beautiful stuff. I’d love to see if any version of it ever gets built.
Here is a Youtube video collection of the ten most futuristic cities on earth. (Today’s images represent three of these cities of the future.) I think this list is a good starting point for a spirited debate. Is the order right? Do the authors know that “Silicon Valley” is not a city? It might qualify as a metropolitan area, but it is not a city. And Toronto, more futuristic than Singapore?
Bustle’s article gives more detail about why these metropolitan areas were chosen. For example, Helsinki, which doesn’t look especially futuristic architecturally, definitely belongs on here for its choice of transparent city governance (and free wi-fi citywide!).