Good news for science fiction readers: RosettaBooks has announced the release of 35 titles by sci-fi god Arthur C. Clarke as ebooks, marking the first time these works have been available electronically in the United States. The Arthur C. Clarke Collection is on sale at a digital list price of $8.99 per volume at Kindle, Nook, iBookstore, and Kobo. Available titles are:
- The Odyssey: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061 Odyssey Three, 3001: The Final Odyssey.
- Rama: Rendezvous with Rama, Rama II, The Garden of Rama, Rama Revealed.
- Vanamonde: Against the Fall of Night, The City and the Stars, Beyond the Fall of Nigh).
- More Novels: Childhood’s End, Cradle, Dolphin Island, The Deep Range Earthlight, A Fall of Moondust, The Fountains of Paradise, Glide Path, The Ghost from the Grand Banks, The Hammer of God Imperial Earth, Islands in the Sky, Prelude to Space, Richter 10, The Sands of Mars, The Songs of Distant Earth, The Trigger.
- Short Stories: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke: History Lesson, Volume I, The Sentinel, Volume II, The Star, Volume III, A Meeting with Medusa, Volume IV, Expedition to Earth, Reach for Tomorrow, and Tales from the White Hart.
LC Makes His Day
The Library of Congress this week revealed the latest crop of 25 films to be inducted into the National Film Registry; it’s the usual mixed bag of classics and things you’ve never heard of. New inductees range from mainstream Hollywood fare like the Laurel and Hardy comedy Sons of the Desert to Breakfast at Tiffanys, A Christmas Story (go Ralphie!), Don Siegel’s gritty crime drama Dirty Harry, and The Matrix to experimental titles like Hours of Jerome: Parts 1 and 2. Here’s the full list:
- 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
- Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
- The Augustas (1930s-1950s)
- Born Yesterday (1950)
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
- A Christmas Story (1983)
- The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight (1897)
- Dirty Harry (1971)
- Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2 (1980-82)
- The Kidnappers Foil (1930s-1950s)
- Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests (1922)
- A League of Their Own (1992)
- The Matrix (1999)
- The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair (1939)
- One Survivor Remembers (1995)
- Parable (1964)
- Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia (1990)
- Slacker (1991)
- Sons of the Desert (1933)
- The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
- They Call It Pro Football (1967)
- The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
- Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1914)
- The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England (1914)
[Dirty Harry trivia: Hollywood royalty Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, Steve McQueen, and Paul Newman all turned down the role of Inspector Harry Callahan (thank the maker). The script by John Milius and others was sold to Universal Studios, which had Clint Eastwood under contract, so he snagged the role with Don Siegel directing. Eastwood wielded Harry's signature Smith & Wesson .44 magnum—and his even more dangerous attitude—to perfection. (Ever shoot one of those big N-frame Smiths? Pretty sweet.)]
Cruise’s Jack Off
Jack Reacher opens in theaters today, and to say it sounds dismal from this review is cutting it a break. The film ridiculously stars the diminutive Tom Cruise as Lee Child’s beefy ex-military asskicker. No disrespect to Cruise, I’ve liked him in many films, but a big, buff guy like Hugh Jackman or Tom Jane is more physically suited to the role. I know girls who could beat up Tom Cruise. I’m not alone in this mindset: the subtitle of the review is “Go ahead, pick a fight with him, but try not to laugh,” (ouch!) and the Bottom Line reads: “Cruise still fits into his action-hero jeans, but this laughably macho role borders on self-parody” (double ouch!). The whole film is just off. Here’s another book series that could have been morphed into a good movie, but instead receives a lethal injection of Hollywood ego.
Staying Alive Turns 35
Happy 35th anniversary to Saturday Night Fever, which gave birth to disco while reviving the slumbering career of the Bee Gees and making a top box office attraction out of John Travolta’s hair. Disco, mercifully, had a life span about as long as Travolta’s do.
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House premiered this day in 1879, and in 1937 Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves opened to raves, while It’s a Wonderful Life opened this week in 1946 to mediocre reviews and dismal box office returns. In the book world, the Brothers Grimm made their overture into publishing with the release of their first collection of stories on December 20, 1812, and A Christmas Carol published in 1843.
Lastly, GF remembers its old drinking buddy F. Scott Fitzgerald, who died of a massive heart attack in Los Angeles on this day in 1940. He was reading the Princeton Alumni Gazette and eating a chocolate bar. He told his girlfriend Sheilah Graham (he still was married to mad dog Zelda who was stashed away in a nut house) that he was getting a Coke, rose from his chair, and fell flat on his face dead as a doornail. He was 44 years old. Like Jay Gatsby’s, Scott’s funeral was sparsely attended, luring only a few writers working in Hollywood, including Dorothy Parker who, like Gatsby’s “Owl Eyes” peered in his coffin and muttered, “the poor son of a bitch.” Love to you, Scott.
Have a good weekend, all. Read some Fitzgerald, put on your boogie shoes, and get your geek on, baby! Happy holidays! God bless us, everyone!