On this day in 1178, five monks in Canterbury were observing the moon and saw “the upper horn split in two.” As they describe it, “A flaming torch sprang up . . . the body of the Moon which was below writhed . . . throbbed like a wounded snake . . . after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.”
Only in 1976 did geologist Jack B. Hartung suggest that this phenomena was the creation of the moon’s Giordano Bruno crater, and that the monks witnessed it as it happened.
For all you role-players, Jason Heller at the A.V. Club writes a review of one of his childhood favorites, the Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy, the first D&D-related novel. They sound pretty good!
The Guardian published an article last week about the renaissance of the science-fiction short story, featuring Lightspeed Magazine, Strange Horizons, the Escape Pod podcast, and Tor.com. Bottom line, SFF has a huge fan base, and fans matter. But we already knew that, didn’t we?
Also at the Guardian, some reviews of the best SFF published in June, including Nnedi Okarafor’s The Lagoon, which I can’t wait to get my hands on. And as always, you can find more forthcoming titles on our New Release page.
A Sacramento author named Jeffrey Miles has published a fairy tale for kids about two princes who fall in love and get married, after being rescued by a lesbian princess. The book is already being featured in some libraries in New York and Sacramento.
Finally, Tor remembers Daniel Keyes, author of Flowers for Algernon and other books, who passed away on June 15.
Movies and Television:
Tor covers eight classic science fiction movies where no one is murdered. I hadn’t even thought about the prevalence of violence in sci-fi (it’s high), but this is a great list regardless of your stance on movie violence. I’m happy to see Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home on here—I always loved the whale sequences.
Disney is launching a new show, called Descendants. The premise is that the kids of Disney heroes and villains all go to school together; the show focuses on the children of Maleficent, Jafar, the Evil Queen, and Cruella de Vil. Oh, and it’s a “musical adventure comedy.” Personally, I think this sounds terrible, but I watch a lot of bad TV anyways. Also, Kristen Chenoweth is in it, as Maleficent, so . . . yeah. Gonna watch at least one episode.
Scientists posit that there may be an ancient earth inside earth. My friend Jen posits that “Doctor Who already did this one.” (I told her I’d credit her for the joke.)
In this fun video, a brain parasite (played by Alan Tudyk) living in the brain of an astrologer (Wil Wheaton) explains gravity as it acts on the bodies of astronauts. I wish Alan Tudyk inhabited my brain.
This infographic shows you where your favorite fictional lands are “actually” located, vs. where they were filmed. I like how Oz is in the middle of the ocean (“Not Kansas”).
This week, the Philadelphia Zoo named three new Black-Footed Cat kittens after the dragons in Game of Thrones. Rhaegal, Drogon, and Viserion are SO CUTE, you will want to see them and cuddle them and love them forever. You will not (probably) want them to conquer a city of slaves for you.
Finally, strictly because I want to, check out this list of other mythical creatures from medieval bestiaries.
Ellen Jewett, an artist from Guelph, Ontario, creates amazing mixed-media sculptures of phantasmagorical animals. I discovered her through Pinterest. Her Etsy profile says she was “raised among snails” (a phrase I love) and that she is currently pursuing a degree in Equine Science from Guelph University. “She considers her work equally an expression of art and academic curiosity into the lives of animals and human-animal cultural relationships.” Cool!
Her foxes fly, her pheasants burn, and her boars grow branches instead of spiky tufts. I am really into hybrids of all kinds (as evidenced last week with the Luttrell Psalter) and these animals are so imaginative, whimsical, and even dark. Each image could be the springboard for a whole novel.