links for 2008-03-29

Arthur C. Clarke, R.I.P.

My God. It’s full of stars!

The man who was the father of a thousand dreams, has died in his beloved, adopted Sri Lanka. Arthur C. Clarke was 90.

The Clarke Belt. Childhood’s End. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Too many stories, novellas and books to recall… There’s not a geek alive who does not have their own list of favorites.

All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

Sigh. You will come close to immortality through your works.

You’re the star child now. Thank you, Mr. Clark.

Merry Christmas 2007

After leaving chocolate-chip cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeer, we awoke this morning and have watched an exuberant six-year-old unwrap far too many presents (our bad) and settle down, unsurprisingly, with one of the least expensive and uncomplicated gifts of the year. A old-fashioned wooden pop-gun — you know — with a cork on a string that goes “pop!” when you pump it.

Great fun, especially after ‘don’t be a space invader’ policies were reiterated. He’s a good boy, we didn’t even have to tell him to leave the cats alone. My personal favorite of his? The microscope.

Audrey gave me Paleoindian or Paleoarchaic?: Great Basin Human Ecology at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition, The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Vol. Two – The War Years, slide guitar for rock & blues instructional DVD and a lava lamp! Life is gooooood.

We hope you’re having a great day whether it is Christmas, Santa Claus Day, Newtonmas or just December 25.

This Fanboy Gets a Christmas Present

Peter Jackson, who directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will serve as executive producer for The Hobbit.

Bilbo Baggins is finally progressing on his most fraught journey — landing a leading role on the big screen. After three years of legal wrangling and public sniping, director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have reached an agreement to make J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings blockbuster trilogy that made nearly $3 billion at the box office and earned 17 Oscars. The Hobbit is Tolkien’s most accessible and popular book, a fairy tale about the reluctant adventurer Baggins, who embarks on a trip with 13 dwarves and the wizard Gandalf.

Jackson, who directed the Rings trilogy and inherited creative stewardship of Tolkien’s massive fan base, will serve as executive producer for The Hobbit with his wife, Fran Walsh. A director and screenwriter will be chosen in the New Year, when Jackson and Walsh meet with the studio heads. MGM, which owns the distribution rights to The Hobbit, will co-finance and co-distribute. (more)

I stopped paying attention when the post-Rings acrimony broke out between Jackson and New Line regarding the production of The Hobbit. This is likely old news to hard-core Ringers, but is great news to me.

I saw it in a sidebar whilst looking at Time Magazine’s Man Person of the Year story.

links for 2007-11-27

Norman Mailer, Dies at 84

He was a literary giant and will be missed, whether you agreed with him or not.

Norman Mailer, Towering Writer With a Matching Ego, Dies at 84 [New York Times]
Norman Mailer, the combative, controversial and often outspoken novelist who loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation, died early yesterday in Manhattan. He was 84.

Norman Mailer died of acute renal failure at Mount Sinai Hospital, his literary executor said.
The cause was acute renal failure, his family said.

Mr. Mailer burst on the scene in 1948 with “The Naked and the Dead,” a partly autobiographical novel about World War II, and for six decades he was rarely far from center stage. He published more than 30 books, including novels, biographies and works of nonfiction, and twice won the Pulitzer Prize: for “The Armies of the Night” (1968), which also won the National Book Award, and “The Executioner’s Song” (1979).

He also wrote, directed and acted in several low-budget movies, helped found The Village Voice and for many years was a regular guest on television talk shows, where he could reliably be counted on to make oracular pronouncements and deliver provocative opinions, sometimes coherently and sometimes not.

Mr. Mailer belonged to the old literary school that regarded novel writing as a heroic enterprise undertaken by heroic characters with egos to match. He was the most transparently ambitious writer of his era, seeing himself in competition not just with his contemporaries but with the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

I find it rather amusing how Mailer obviously really got under someone’s skin at the Times as his obit really harps on the amazing dimensions of his ego. Frankly, it was no larger than many in the public eye. Or sphere, for that matter.