WWWednesday; July 5, 2017

Annular solar eclipse Courtesy of NASA

Annular solar eclipse Courtesy of NASA

For readers in the USA, I hope your Fourth of July was fun, exciting and grass fire-free; and that you enjoyed your annual Syfy Twilight Zone marathon.


The original Comic-Con will stay in San Diego at least through 2021, according to this article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. (Thanks to File 770.)

Books and Writing:

This anthology has a time-travel theme and a contest! You can submit your own story. The window for submissions closes August 25, 2017. And here’s a little more about the whole premise.

Entertainment Weekly interviewed Philip Pullman about his prequel to HIS DARK MATERIALS; the new BOOK OF DUST series.

Could zombies really exist? Omnivoracious talked to two expert zombie creators, Mira Grant and M. R. Carey, to find out how they created their undead characters. I like that Mira Grant’s friends imposed new rules about what she could discuss while they were eating.

Is this book-related? Kind of. Over at Tor, Robert Jackson Bennett talks about the tasks that fill old-school second-world fantasies and how he has adopted one of them; smoking a big old piece of brisket. Not only an interesting essay but pretty clear cooking instructions if you want to build a smoker and have at it.

Daryl Gregory reminds us of five classic SFF books that feature psionic powers. We’ve reviewed More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler and The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester, so we’re at sixty percent in the psionic category.

The sun shows as a crescent during an eclipse. Courtesy of NASA

The sun shows as a crescent during an eclipse. Courtesy of NASA

More from Philip Pullman; along with other British writers, the fantasist raised more than 30,000 pounds for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire by taking bids to name a character after someone from real life. A teacher won, using the name of one of his students, who died in the fire.

Magazine Compelling Science Fiction changed its editorial statement to call what it publishes “plausible science fiction,” and then defines it clearly. This is a refreshing approach to the hard science/soft science/fantasy debate.

“I especially liked the scene in which Elizabeth Bennett [sic] stands down Lady de Bourgh. I longed to do the same to my gym teacher, but occasion never offered,” says Margaret Atwood of Jane Austen, although earlier she criticized the author for setting up bad expectations for young women readers. Atwood and several others donated handwritten observations on the seminal writer for a charity auction.

Book Stores:

Yep, it’s becoming its own category. Novel Emma Straub introduces her new bookstore, Books Are Magic. Perhaps my favorite line is, “Here is the couch I stole from my father.”

TV and Movies:

Applaud yourselves! Your outcry and your passion made Netflix rethink its abrupt cancellation of Sense8 and they are developing a two-hour finale to air next year.

TVJunkies interviewed Michelle Lovretta about the Season Three premiere of Killjoys. (Warning, spoilers.) Apparently this is going to be a regular thing at the TVJunkies site.

Netflix is attempting to “westernize” another Japanese pop culture fixture, Death Note. Apparently, it’s not going well.

Solar eclipse, 1994. Courtesy of NASA

Solar eclipse, 1994. Courtesy of NASA


This 2.5 minute video is either the present day, the immediate future, or an alternate universe featuring characters and a scenario created by William Gibson. I don’t know which. This is a profile of a professional game playing team who have chosen to live together and train together in Rochester, Michigan, so that they fully bond. The dialogue of the “team manager” Cameron would fit perfectly coming out of the mouth of any HR professional, or maybe the dorm R.A. They’re driven; they’ve skilled; they’re committed. They’re white, male and under thirty. This is both kind of awesome and kind of scary.

Solar System:

I wonder if I have the Minimum Qualifications to be an Eclipse Coordinator. There are some, as the USA gears up for the August solar eclipse.


There have been five extinction level events in Earth’s history, scientists say. The largest one is believed to have happened 250 million years ago, and three scientists think they have found the crater of the asteroid that caused the event.

Reality continues to challenge me at every turn. Here in my home state of California, a house designed to look like the Flintstone family’s house sold recently, for $2.8 million, but that was only after the price was dropped several times from an asking price of $4.2 million. It is not in Bedrock City, but Hillsborough, CA.


These depictions of solar eclipses are from NASA. I will probably recycle a few of them next month.

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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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