For all our USA readers, I wish you a happy, fun and loving Thanksgiving with plenty of American football; for all readers outside the US, have a good Thursday tomorrow, and everybody have a good week.
Thanksgiving is beginning to get tarnished between the relentless drive to transmute it from a day with loved ones and friends to a shopping extravaganza and the historical ties to colonialism and genocide. For me, still, it is a holiday for seeing friends and loved ones, taking stock, and spending a moment to be consciously grateful for what I have in my life.
About six weeks ago, where I live, devastating wildland fires destroyed nearly 6,000 buildings, most of them homes. People died in the fires because they could not leave their homes quickly enough. I want to thank all the first responders, those from within the county, like the sheriff’s officers who risked their own lives the first night of the fire to get people to safety; like the local firefighters, and all those who came from other jurisdictions to try to contain the conflagrations.
I’d like to thank everyone who volunteered at a shelter, who brought people clothing, books, toys, toothbrushes and blankets; the people who have gone out hunting for lost pets now that the areas are open; local restauranteurs who closed their businesses and went to cook at the shelters; the people who donated money; the banks who set up emergency funds and everyone who conceived up and executed a fundraiser for those who left homeless, jobless, or both. The fires were terrible. The response reminds me that we do pull together, we do help each other, and I am grateful.
There will be no column on November 29.
We are current on our Giveaways through November 9, I think. Please check back and see if you’ve won a book! If I’ve missed a giveaway column, please use the Contact form to let me know.
The Clarke Foundation announces the 2017 winners, who include Stephen Hawking (Lifetime Achievement Award) and Kim Stanley Robinson (Imagination in Service to Society). See all the winners here.
The U.K. Guardian has a round-up of literary awards for this week.
If you have unlimited funds and someone on your Christmas gift list who is a Star Wars fan, File 770 has the gifts for you! Yes, nothing says “May the Force Be With You” like Swarovski crystal Star Wars figures. This link is just an ad, but if you scroll down you can watch a glittering R2D2 gently rotating.
Books and Writing:
Scotland is hosting a poll of readers’ favorite literary themed pop song.
In this video, Andy Weir does not promote his novel Artemis at Comic-Con.
Movies and TV:
Not superheroes, assembly-line workers. That’s who will get to test the benefits of an exoskeleton at a Ford Plant in Michigan.
In Siberia, in a local called Krasnosamarskoe, archeologists discovered burial mounds and evidence of canine sacrifices. (Warning; mildly disturbing details for dog lovers.) The article has lots of theories and the findings paint an intriguing picture of this early society. Personally, I found the werewolf connection to be a stretch, but I appreciate them trying.
Nibiru, or Planet X – or, as some say now, Planetary System X – will destroy the earth sometime between November 20 and December 20. You might remember Nibiru because it was supposed to destroy the earth back in August. It missed that date, and the September and October dates, and last week it missed its November date. Believers continue to shift the date. The video footage of contrails in this article somehow prove the existence of a planet or mini-solar system at the edge of our solar system, in a way I don’t understand, but another believer says that slightly redder sunsets prove its existence too, so what do I know?
NASA astronomers can explain pretty easily why the doomsday object is such a consistent no-show; it’s because it doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, theories continue to flourish.
Yes, these are mine. Sorry, but they do fit a autumnal theme.