Gravity Falls was a cartoon series that aired on Disney XD between June 2012 and January 2016 with a total of 40 episodes. The series was created by Alex Hirsch, who you might know as the creator of the cartoon series Fish Hooks. The series begins as 12-year old twins, Dipper and Mabel Pines, head to the small town of Gravity Falls, Oregon to spend the summer with their great uncle Stan (or, as he’s almost always called “Gruncle Stan”. Gruncle Stan runs a tourist trap outside of town dubbed the Mystery Shack, a curiosity shop claiming to reveal the secret weirdness of Gravity Falls, but really just revealing cheap props and tourist goods. But before they’ve been there long, Dipper finds a real secret, a cryptic journal buried in the back yard talking about secrets: zombies, demons, unicorns, and soon they have their first encounter with the town’s strangeness. Who wrote the journal? What does Gruncle Stan really know? What secrets is the town keeping? Dipper is driven to find out, with the help of Mabel, Wendy (his 16 year old crush who works part time at the Mystery Shack), and Soos (their 20-something friend who is employed as the Mystery Shack’s handyman and groundskeeper).
The point of a contract in many situations is to provide grounds for either side to use in the case of a legal dispute. The amount of money involved in a short story purchase is generally not a huge sum. Even at professional rates for a longish short story, you’re probably talking a few hundred dollars for the transaction unless you’re getting up into novella wordcounts or the publisher has an extraordinary pay rate. The sum is generally low enough that, if there were a dispute between author and publisher, disputing it through the legal system would make the dispute a money-loser for both sides.
Welcome to Night Vale is most well known for their podcast (written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor), formatted as a small town radio show set in a sleepy little horror town ala Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft. The podcast is nearing its 4th anniversary and 2015 saw the release of a related novel of the same title from Harper Collins.
On top of this, they also do live touring shows that tours both around the US and has gone to Europe, to Australia and New Zealand. The shows are in a similar radio-show format as the podcast, (with some differences that I’ll explain). The live shows are unique–they’re not just rehashes or previews of podcast episodes. After each live touring show is done they generally release recordings of that show.
Schwarzesmarken takes place in East Germany in an alternate 1983 where aliens have landed and are slowly taking over the planet in a torturous land battle. The aliens do not appear to be particularly intelligent, content to win battles through sheer numbers, but since they cannot be reasoned with, humans have no choice but to fight.
Though the aliens can be slain with conventional weapons, mecha are particularly useful for taking out the living alien artillery, and the 666th squadron, nicknamed Schwarzesmarken, is East Germany’s best unit.
The Archivist held the three remaining beads in her left hand. Images flickered across her visual cortex: an unknown woman’s face, a sunset on a planet she couldn’t name, the dazzling color of a sea she no longer had the words to express. The beads felt cool and impersonal in her fingers, though what they contained was neither. She had only these few memories left and she no longer remembered if they were hers or someone else’s.
Around her, the machine chugged and whirred. The metal tubing that encased her pod vibrated. The glowing core rose in front of her, spinning slowly around its vertical axis.
Seveneves is a science fiction novel, written by Neal Stephenson, published in May 2015 by William Morrow, and was one of the novels nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel this year. The story begins with a bang as something inexplicable happens to the moon. Something punches a hole through it, fragmenting earth’s only natural satellite into seven fragments. No one knows how this could be possible, or what caused it to happen, but soon they realize that these aren’t the most important questions: the most important question is “How can humanity survive this?” The moon is going to break up into smaller and smaller fragments and start a catastrophic meteor shower in only about two years.
Just the briefest of notes: fiction sales to Diabolical Plots bow count as qualifications for writers toward joining the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America(SFWA). Very excited by this news!
The Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story covers graphic novels and comic book series (including web comics). Five graphic stories were on the final Hugo ballot, but Sandman: Overture (written by Neil Gaiman with art by J.H. Williams III) appeared to be only a partial of the book in the Hugo Packet, so I haven’t reviewed that here.