Just Cool Links

At the Guardian, Damien Walter points out that being male is not a prerequisite for writing hard SF. It’s a decent article, though IMO mentioning M. John Harrison in an article about women writing hard SF is not quite appropriate, because no matter how good a writer he is, M. John Harrison is not a woman.

Also at the Guardian, Ewan Morrison, whose predilection for gloom and doom articles about the self-publishing bubble and the impending death of literature and the world as we know it I have occasionally skewered over at the Pegasus Pulp blog, has now made out a new threat to literature and western culture as we know it, namely fanfiction. His overview about the history and taxonomy of fanfiction is actually surprisingly good, though he ends with his usual gloom and doom predictions. I pick apart this article as well as the latest indie publishing uproar regarding Sue Grafton’s negative remarks over at the Pegasus Pulp blog.

There is also a good discussion about Morrison’s post in the comments at The Passive Voice with contributions by Mr Morrison (who claims he’s been misquoted) himself.

Jeff Vandermeer has an insightful post about setting, characterisation and point of view. Long but well worth reading.

At Paperback Writer, Lynn Viehl has a great post about word and brandname creation for writers.

This is really cool: Tobias Buckell posts a video of the test flight of a new hybrid airship of the US Army. Found via Jay Lake, who could really use a hug today.

It was the dream pairing we’d all hoped for back in the 1990s. Last week, rumours claimed that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson a.k.a. Mulder and Scully from The X-Files had finally gotten together in real life. Alas, the PR spokespeople of both claim that it’s not true. Too bad, because it would have been so cool.

And now for some sad news:

Science fiction writer Harry Harrison died aged 87. Here are appreciations from John Scalzi and iO9. Harry Harrison is best remembered for his Stainless Steel Rat and Bill the Galactic Hero series as well as for Make Room, Make Room which was the basis of the dystopian film classic Soylent Green (The big twist/spoiler is not in the original novel BTW and Harrison was reportedly furious about it). But my introduction to his work – apart from seeing Soylent Green on TV as a young girl and being terrified of it – was his To the Stars trilogy from the 1980s, which I picked up from a spinner rack in Rotterdam’s futuristic De Bijenkorf department store in approximately 1989. Somehow it seems appropriate to be introduced to Harry Harrison’s work in a building designed by Marcel Breuer.

Italian special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi, the man who built E.T. and the alien from Alien and all sorts of other classic SF film critters died aged 86.

German actress Silvia Seidel committed suicide aged only 42. Germans of my generation will remember Silvia Seidel from the 1980s teen series Anna where she played a young ballerina torn between career and love. Anna was one of the popular Christmas series of the 1970s and 1980s – youth oriented adventure shows that ran every day from Christmas Day to New Year, which was about the worst time of the year to broadcast them, because mandatory family visits or the fact that some families did not allow TV at Christmas made it difficult for many kids to see them. I mostly only saw a few episodes, though I usually pretended to have seen the whole series to impress my classmates. Silvia Seidel’s career quickly fizzled out post Anna and her personal life was a mess as well, if the tabloids are to be believed.

Here’s a clip of Silvia Seidel as Anna. It was surprisingly difficult to find one where she’s actually dancing, since Anna apparently spent much of the early episodes of the series in a wheelchair (which I had completely forgotten). It also turns out that the actual show was not very good at all, which is why you should never rewatch these things as an adult. Billy Elliot it’s not, not even close. Nonetheless, Silvia Seidel was a talented young woman who deserved better.

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