WWWednesday; August 3, 2016

Conventions:

MidAmeriCon II announced on its Facebook Page that one of its hotels, the Courtyard/Residence Inn will not be available for the convention due to construction delays. They are working with other hotels to find rooms for registrants. (Courtesy of File 770.)

Andy Weir did a comedy video for Penguin Random House while he was at San Diego Comic-Con. These “tips” are definitely in the “don’t” column of anyone’s “Dos and Don’ts” list. (Warning, you might need a strong stomach for one of these.) I’m sure these rules will apply just as well at any convention this summer.

Books and Writing:

NPR posts an article about the interest in serialized fiction, especially with so many reading devices.  Charles Dickens would be pleased.

Thanks to Kat for this article from the Wall Street Journal about audio books. The good news for publishers is that audiobook sales continue to grow. The good news for readers is that publishers are starting to put real money into audiobooks, and focus on production values like voice actors, etc.

It’s not genre, but it’s funny. Zoe Heller reviewed Cynthia Oznick’s book in the NYT and did not give it a good review. While usually writers who respond to negative reviews don’t come out of the encounter looking good, Oznick’s wit make this one an exception.

Anne Rice will have a new Lestat novel come out in November. Happy? Thrilled? Blasé? Skeptical? I don’t know how I feel.

So, what is the oldest or first true science fiction novel? John Crowley says he knows; it’s The Chemical Wedding, first published in 1616, written by Johann Valentin Andreae. (I love John Crowley, but I still hold out for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.) Crowley may have a bit of a vested interested since his new interpretation of The Chemical Wedding is coming out soon, but it’s an interesting article nonetheless. Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan, on the other hand, chose Johannes Keppler’s fantastical story Somnium as the first SF novel. I think they are stretching the definition because they consider Keppler a scientist.

Did you attend a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child release party? Millions around the world did, as the book was released an midnight worldwide on July 31. This article has some pun photos. And Tor.com has a very spoilerish review.

Booze, Seriously:

In celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, Schmaltz is issuing a Star Trek ale.

DSCC had a panel on the magic of  “literary cocktails:” Mixology and Magic.

TV and Movies:

Zachary Quinto talks about Star Trek; Beyond and about the loss of Leonard Nimoy and the shocking loss of Anton Yelchin.

Kubo opens on August 19. Here’s a link to the trailer. The animation is good and I love the casting.

Internet:

This is also from NPR. At first I thought this was just another “Hashtag Gamergate” story, as I read the headlines about a woman voice actor in South Korea who was fired from her job for endorsing a T-shirt with a feminist slogan. As I read the article and learned more about the feminist group(s) in question, its own schism and the proliferation of groups with that name, I realized there is a lot going on here. Certainly, misogyny is one thing, but this article spotlights lots of interesting cultural aspects of Korea – and gamer culture.

Some of you may be old enough to remember Alanis Morisette’s 90s hit “Ironic.” Here, she and Late Night host James Corden update it.

Earth:

Why are corpse flowers in botanical gardens hundreds of miles apart from each other blooming at the same time? And why are they called corpse flowers? And eeeuwww! What is that smell? The rare and dramatic corpse flower is raising eyebrows, pinching nostrils and generating theories all over the place. While Atlas Obscura offers some theories, there is no definitive answer to the Corpse Flower Conundrum yet.

There will be no column next week, August 10, because I will be out of town at a writer’s conference. As Garrison Keillor always said, “Be well, do good work and keep in touch.”


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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