Tuesday, December 24, 2013
24 December 2013
Stephenie Meyer b. 1973 (author, Twilight/New Moon)
Carmen Moore b. 1972 (Stargate SG-1, Wolf Lake, Andromeda, The 4400, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Eureka, Flash Gordon, Caprica, Supernatural)
Mark Millar b. 1969 (writer, Kick-Ass, Wanted)
Nicholas Meyer b. 1945 (director, Time After Time, Star Trek II, The Day After, Star Trek VI)
Fritz Leiber b. 1910 died 5 September 1992
(won 1958 Hugo for The Big Time and 1965 Hugo for The Wanderer)
A short list of birthdays with a preponderance of writers for a change, and the Picture Slot goes to the most highly regarded of the writers, the late Fritz Leiber, instead of the most financially successful, She Who Will Not Be Named. The one actress, Carmen Moore, has something in common with many actors who get a lot of appearances on 21st Century sci-fi TV shows. She's Canadian. This is not surprising given how many lower budget shows are filmed in Canada these days.
Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to Fritz Leiber, thanks for all the memories.
Favorite predictions published in 2013
Predictor: John Elfreth Watkins, writing in The Ladies' Home Journal in 1900
Prediction: Giant guns will shoot twenty-five miles or more, and will hurl anywhere within such a radius shells exploding and destroying whole cities. Such guns will be armed by aid of compasses when used on land or sea, and telescopes when directed from great heights. Fleets of air-ships, hiding themselves with dense, smoky mists, thrown off by themselves as they move, will float over cities, fortifications, camps or fleets. They will surprise foes below by hurling upon them deadly thunderbolts. These aerial war-ships will necessitate bomb-proof forts, protected by great steel plates over their tops as well as at their sides. Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of to-day. They will make what are now known as cavalry charges. Great automobile plows will dig deep entrenchments as fast as soldiers can occupy them. Rifles will use silent cartridges. Submarine boats submerged for days will be capable of wiping a whole navy off the face of the deep. Balloons and flying machines will carry telescopes of one-hundred-mile vision with camera attachments, photographing an enemy within that radius. These photographs as distinct and large as if taken from across the street, will be lowered to the commanding officer in charge of troops below.
Reality: Welcome to a five day retrospective of this year's predictions. Regular readers should not be surprised to be looking at a picture of my man crush John Elfreth Watkins. He does not technically count as "science fiction" because he was a museum curator and not an author, but I open up the prediction section to anyone willing to speculate about the future that is now the past or is only a few years away. I'm not sure if I found him on a wild Google hunt or got his name from one of the many very helpful bookstore employees or reference librarians who have been such a wonderful resource for me.
There are several very good predictions from Watkins, though regular readers will recall he went a little overboard on what the great advances in agriculture would look like. This one in particular predicts a lot of stuff that is not in existence in 1900, including "flying machines", effective submarine fleets, tanks, aerial surveillance and very long range artillery. For this and other predictions, John Elfreth Watkins was my favorite of the early weekly "regular contributors". His Wednesday regular spot has been taken over by a contemporary, the British writer T. Baron Russell from his 1905 book A Hundred Years Hence. I haven't been able to find out as much about Russell as I found out about Watkins; for example, I haven't been able to find a photograph of Russell. I haven't made all five selections for favorites yet, but so far Russell is not on the list. Sadly, Russell is to Watkins as Shemp is to Curly, as Kenney Jones is to Keith Moon. We will never love the replacement as much.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
Another weekly regular gets on the year end list. Yes, we are going to hear from Sensible Bob one more time.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!