Dec 17, 2004
Ha, the lunatic takes over the asylum! Now, as Mr Pratchett
likes to say, the worm is on the other boot. Our awesome editrix
has been too distracted by worldwide signing tours and suchlike
frippery to upload this column every week. But, thanks to
technomagic at sff.net, I have gained the power to do this all by
myself. My wrods of widsom shall appaer uncensered....
Ursula Le Guin is deeply unhappy with the Sci Fi
Channel's adaptation of her Earthsea fantasies, and says
so on her
website and in an
article for Slate.com: 'I don't know what the film is about.
It's full of scenes from the story, arranged differently, in an
entirely different plot, so that they make no sense. My
protagonist is Ged, a boy with red-brown skin. In the film, he's a
petulant white kid.' The overall result: 'a generic McMagic movie
with a meaningless plot based on sex and violence.' Oh dear!
Diana Wynne Jones, however, is ecstatic after a secret
première of Howl's Moving Castle, practically on
her doorstep in Bristol: 'Miyazaki came in person, carrying with
him a tape of the film, an interpreter and sundry other shadowy
figures (all this was supposed to be secret for fear of the
Japanese media, who then descended on me afterwards, so I couldn't
mention it beforehand) and we had a private showing at the
Watershed cinema. The film is goluptuously splendid with
breathtaking animation. I had grown used to young ladies regularly
writing to me to say that they wanted to marry Howl. Now, Howl in
the film is so plain stunning and sexy that I think I have joined
them. And after the showing and the scamper through Bristol I had
a long talk with Mr Miyazaki and it began to seem that we were
soulmates.' Some writers have all the luck.
As Others See Us. No one expects the Daily Mail
to like any attack on organized religion, but Quentin Letts's
review of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre may
set a new record for spleen: 'Intellectual teenage girls swear by
Philip Pullman. His novels sell by the ton and his science
fictions are exotic and pseudo-portentous. Harry Potter for
Oxbridge eggheads.' (Mail, 10 Dec) There is more, much
Berton (1920-2004), Canadian journalist, broadcaster and
prolific novelist who wrote the children's fantasy The Secret
World of Og (1961), died on 30 November aged 84.
Buchanan (1923-2004), US maker of low-budget films, died on 2
December at age 81. SF ventures by this self-confessed
'shlockmeister' included the TV movies Zontar, the Thing from
Venus (1966), The Eye Creature (1967), In the Year
2889 (1967), Mars Needs Women (1967), and It's
Alive (1969 -- not to be confused with the better-known 1974
Larry Cohen film).
Irwin Donenfeld, editorial director and publisher of DC
comics following the death of his father Harry (DC's founder) in
1965, died on 29 November; he was 78.
Haney, US comics writer who wrote very many DC titles from the
mid-1950s and was described as one of the Silver Age comics
greats, died on 27 November. He was 78.
Schart Hyman, US artist and writer who illustrated over 150
books including many fantasies for children, died on 19 November
aged 65. She was a winner of the Caldecott Medal for children's
authors and artists. Jane Yolen writes: 'Alas, one of dear Trina's
last commissions was for the jacket of my historical novel (with a
small fantasy element in it) Prince Across the Water. A
dear friend, a brilliant illustrator, I shall miss her
Sounds Like ... The Bookseller records yet
another example of bookshop customers' creative title requests:
C.S. Lewis's well-known children's fantasy Lionel Ritchie and
Small Press. Orbital, the new British magazine
about sf which was scheduled to launch in June 2004, remains on
hold for good reason. Its editor Steve Williams had a heart attack
this summer and, although he intends to go ahead, has been under
doctor's orders to avoid any work until his recovery is complete.
Best of luck to him!
Burned So Bright.' Stephen Baxter is judging this
competition for sf stories set in those familiar futures where oil
is scarce and incredibly expensive. Unlike the prize: £100,
plus £50 to each of two runners-up.
Thog's Masterclass. Eyeballs in the Sky Dept.
'With the sun lolling on the horizon like a bloody and raped eye
upon a marble slab, twilight prevailed everywhere.' (Brian Aldiss,
The Long Afternoon of Earth [Hothouse], 1961)
Langford is an author and a gentleman. His newsletter, Ansible,
is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. His
most recent books are Different
Kinds of Darkness, a new short-story collection of
horror, SF, and fantasy, Up
Through an Empty House of Stars: Reviews and Essays 1980-2002,
100 pieces of Langfordian genre commentary, and He
Do the Time Police in Different Voices, a short-story
collection that brings together all of Dave's SF parodies and
pastiches. (This is a scary thought. Are you ready to laugh that
Dave lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000
books, and a couple of dozen Hugo awards. He continues to add
books and Hugos.