TV and Movies

Comic-Related Movies and TV

Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse made comics fans proud on Golden Globes night by breaking Disney and Pixar’s rarely-broken strangle-hold on the category and swooping away with Best Animated Picture.

In other news somewhat related to comics, the director of Deadpool is teaming up with the director of Seven to produce an animated anthology series called Love, Death & Robots, comprised of 18 shorts running between 5 and 15 minutes each, from different filmmakers and directed at adults. The individual shorts will showcase different styles of animation, and a handful of stills are available at the above link to give a hint of what they’ll look like.

Netflix Original Series and More

Netflix’s acclaimed sci-fi horror series Stranger Things will return July 4 with a new season focusing on the familiar characters. While the teaser trailer that’s been released doesn’t offer much in the way of plot hints, it does suggest that at least some of the action will center around a new Starcourt Mall arriving in town, and a new character played by Maya Thurman-Hawke, who will sell ice cream in the food court along with Steve (Joe Keery). Francesca Reale (Haters Back Off!), Carey Elwes (The Princess Bride fame) and Jack Busey (Starship Troopers) will also appear, and a three-book prequel series and behind-the-scenes book are also in the works, if you can’t get enough of the creepy world of Hawkins.

And in their continuing search for new series, Netflix has ordered an original Shadow and Bone series based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows Grishaverse fantasy novels. The series will be run by Eric Heisserer, the writer behind Bird Box, and Shawn Levy, the executive producer of Stranger Things. Netflix is clearly banking on the fact that viewers can’t do without their content – on Monday they made the largest increase to subscription costs since opening the streaming field more than a decade ago, raising prices 13-18%. Whether or not this change will sit well with the audience has yet to be seen, but the stock market certainly approved of the change.

Netflix is clearly banking on the fact that viewers can’t do without their content – on Monday they made the largest increase to subscription costs since opening the streaming field more than a decade ago, raising prices 13-18%. Whether or not this change will sit well with the audience has yet to be seen, but the stock market certainly approved of the change.

TV and Movie Shorts

Publishing News

Short Story Markets

With so many writers focusing on New Year’s resolutions around writing and publishing, I thought I’d mention a bit of good advice for writers at the start of their careers: Submit to genre short fiction magazines and markets.

In the interest of disclosure, I give this advice because I love short fiction. But I’ve also found short fiction markets to generally be very open and supportive of new writers.

For example, editor C.C. Finlay recently said that Fantasy and Science Fiction “published 63 stories in 2018 (3 novellas, 21 novelets, 39 shorts). 22 (more than a third) were by writers making their 1st appearance in F&SF. 5 were by writers making their first pro genre sale.” And Finlay added the numbers from 2017 were almost identical.

Asimov’s Science Fiction is another pro-level SF magazine which publishes a good number of new writers each year, as does Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Both Asimov’s editor Sheila Williams and BCS editor Scott H. Andrews are known for reading every submission they receive and for encouraging and publishing works by new writers.

Two other magazines I urge new writers to consider are Interzone and Black Static. While these magazines don’t pay pro rates, they’re known for their high quality stories and for the attention their authors receive. Editor Andy Cox has an excellent ability to find stories by new writers in his slush pile. Each year Cox publishes (by my estimate) a dozen or more new writers who are receiving their first publication in one of his magazines. 

Genre magazines can also be more open to diverse writers and stories than traditional publishers. For example, over two-thirds of the original fiction published by The Dark last year was written by women and people of color. The Dark, like many other genre magazines, is also open to translations of genre stories from around the world.

And those are only a few of the genre magazines which actively seek out stories by new writers. Others worth checking out include Uncanny, Apex, Clarkesworld, and Nightmare, but there are too many to list all of them. 

One reason short fiction markets are so receptive to new writers is that many writers turn to longer works such as novels as they advance in their careers. So short fiction magazines have a much larger level of writer churn than book-length publishers. This means good short fiction editors know they must continually seek out new writers – which is great news for those writers.

New Publisher for Space and Time Magazine

Last year Space and Time Magazine said they would be closing after 52 years of publication. However, the magazine rang in the New Year with the announcement that Angela Yuriko Smith will take over as publisher beginning with the next issue (#133), tentatively scheduled for late spring/early summer 2019. 

Space and Time Magazine was launched in 1966 by original publisher and editor Gordon Linzner. The magazine faced a potential shutdown 13 years ago until Hildy Silverman took it over. Now, as the magazine states, history has repeated itself with another new publisher stepping up to keep it going.

Beware of Morality Clauses in Author Contracts

Judith Shulevitz offers an interesting look at the morality clauses many publishers are trying to insert into their author contracts. As an example of these clauses Shulevitz describes the contract used by Condé Nast magazines, which states that if in the company’s “sole judgment”  the writer “becomes the subject of public disrepute, contempt, complaints or scandals,” Condé Nast can terminate the agreement.

As Shulevitz explains, this clause means “a writer need not have done anything wrong; she need only become scandalous. In the age of the Twitter mob, that could mean simply writing or saying something that offends some group of strident tweeters.”

Authors should definitely beware of these clauses and strongly push back on them.

Publishing Shorts

  • The Flip is a new e-newsletter focused on female leadership in publishing. The first issue goes out January 28. Subscribe here.

Video Game News

Fallout Creators Go to The Outer Worlds

On the heels of significant backlash against Bethesda over the release of Fallout 76, the original creators of Fallout and the developers behind Fallout: New Vegas have announced a new game titled The Outer Worlds. Based on the trailer, the new game would seem to be combining stylistic elements familiar to players of Fallout with a science fiction space setting in a universe where corporations have pushed colonists to the very edges of the universe. No release date has been announced yet, but based on what we’ve seen so far, fans of space RPGs and the Fallout universe will both find something worth looking into here.

Procedural Content Generation

And if you are a game developer, you may want to read Gamasutra’s piece discussing with a number of developers why and how to best use procedural content generation, and how to avoid its misuse. Gamasutra also offers a 2018 year in review with their “top games, devs, events and trends.”

Books and Comic Books News

Kamala Khan Gets a New Creative Team

G. Willow Wilson will be passing the Ms. Marvel torch on to Eisner Award-winning writer Saladin Ahmed. Wilson has written the series since Kamala Khan’s debut in 2014, to great popularity and critical acclaim. There’s little doubt that Ms. Marvel will be in good hands, however – in addition to winning the Eisner Award, Ahmed’s Black Bolt series for Marvel was a finalist for the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, and he has recently been writing for Miles Morales: Spider-Man.

SFWA Awards Announced

SFWA has announced William Gibson as their 35th Damon Knight Grand Master for his contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The award recognizes “lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.” In addition, science fiction author and astrophysicist Gregory Benford has been awarded the 2019 Robert A. Heinlein Award, “bestowed for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space.”

Podcasting News

Parsec Awards Respond to Complaint

The Parsec Awards committee has responded to a complaint alleging that one of their 2018 winners had “a history of extremely disturbing behavior” with a statement that the unidentified winner can keep their award and that the committee feels the 2018 awards were judged in accordance with stated policies and procedures. “It is the goal of The Parsecs to judge solely on the merit of the content,” the committee continued, “and not on gender, heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation, politics, or other factors not in the podcast as presented to the audience.”

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Conventions News

According to Amanda Cherry’s Twitter account, Emerald City Comic Con will have a “Consent is Sexy” panel featuring Meg Elison, Jasmine Silvera, Seanan McGuire, Joseph Brassey, Liz Argall, and herself. Emerald City Comic Con features a mix of guests from comics, entertainment, and the literary world, and will be held in Seattle, Washington (USA), on March 14-17.


Jason Sanford

Jason Sanford is a two-time finalist for the Nebula Award and has published more than a dozen stories in the British SF magazine Interzone, which also devoted a special issue to his fiction. In addition he has published numerous stories in magazines such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and other places, along with appearances in multiple "year's best" anthologies and other collections. His fiction has been translated into nearly a dozen languages including Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, and Czech. Jason's website is www.jasonsanford.com and he publishes a weekly Genre Grapevine column on his Patreon at www.patreon.com/jasonsanford.

Jen Grogan

Jen Grogan is a writer, editor, web content specialist, and nonprofit administrator based out of Seattle, where she lives with her husband, two loud but adorable cats, and too many books. She’s written for Women Write About Comics and a few other online venues, but has not yet convinced herself to call any of her fiction manuscripts complete. As an editor, she encourages others to do as she says, not as she does. In her free time she enjoys knitting, hiking, calligraphy, leading school tours for the Seattle Art Museum, and traveling to find new places to hike and new museums to visit. You can find her online at jengrogan.com.