British Fantasy Award winner returns prize; Sam Stone hands back award after criticism of judging process. [The Guardian]
"Controversy has riven the 40-year-old British Fantasy Awards, with the winner of the best novel prize handing her award back just three days after it was bestowed.
But the organisation and presentation of the awards has been drawing criticism since then, culminating in Sam Stone, the winner of the best novel award – named after American writer and editor August Derleth – announcing yesterday that she is giving it back.
The biggest attack on the awards was delivered by editor and anthologist Stephen Jones, who on Tuesday posted a lengthy blog
decrying the organisation of the BFAs and making several allegations against awards co-ordinator and British Fantasy Society chairman David Howe."
posted by Fizz
on Oct 6, 2011 -
Hidden away in vaults and out of distribution for over forty years, Herostratus was in its own time largely misunderstood. After only a handful of initial screenings it virtually disappeared from public view altogether, remaining all but forgotten to this day. Yet while admittedly flawed, the film does offer a compelling critique of the failure of 1960s postwar idealism in Britain, an ideal portrayed as having degenerated into neurotic self-gratification.
It is also of note as Dame Commander Helen Mirren's first credited screen role
. (not safe for those sexually aroused by Helen Mirren) [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Aug 30, 2011 -
"Little slices of glamour beamed directly into your home in half-hour chunks; a perky theme, flashy titles, charismatic host, inventive format, gags, quiz, games, raucous outro – the works! Incredibly plain people given a quick glimpse of the good life, to which the tanned, funny man in the nice suit held the door." The joys of the 1980s game show
. [more inside]
posted by mippy
on Aug 4, 2011 -
100 Firefights, Three Weeks: Inside Afghanistan's Most Insane Fight
"In its first three weeks in Afghanistan’s Sangin district, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines got into more than 100 firefights and sustained 62 casualties. The insurgents managed to negate the Marines’ night-vision gear, and rendered their traditional close-combat tactics useless. Things got so bad, the 3/5’s superior officers even suggested pulling their troops back. That didn’t happen. Instead, the 3/5 went after the militants, hard. When the 3/5 came home, they told counterinsurgency historian Mark Moyar all about their deeply unconventional approach to what was already an unconventional war."
This is an excerpt in Wired of Moyar’s 74-page after action report
. (pdf) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 12, 2011 -
is a unique online speaking dictionary that offers clear pronunciations of English words
, slang terms
, technical terms
, brand names
, proper names
, and many foreign words
, including common variations
. Astoundingly, the sound files are not computer-generated
-- every single one of the site's 138,152 entries
are enunciated in the dignified tones of British academic and polyglot Tim Bowyer
, who has steadily expanded its glossary
over the years using logs of unsuccessful searches and direct user suggestions. The site is part of Bowyer's Fonetiks.org family of language sites
, and is also available as a browser extension
and as a mobile app for iPhone/iPod
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 23, 2010 -
Friday Frivolity: A highlight reel
of clips from the BBC show Walk on the Wild Side
, featuring voiceovers for animals so you finally get to know what's really going on in all those nature documentaries. This BBC playlist
has previews for a lot of the individual episodes. (I got region-blocked on a few of those videos, but most seem to work fine.) [more inside]
posted by kmz
on Dec 17, 2010 -
Chai Why? The Triumph of Tea in India
: "But whereas I initially supposed tea-drinking to be as Indian, and perhaps as old, as the Vedas, I have come to know that it is, in the longue durée
of Indian history, a very recent development; one that (in many parts of the country) did not much precede my first visit, or that even followed it."
posted by dhruva
on Apr 19, 2010 -
UK Space Agency launched
with a logo
that "looks uncannily like the logo for the British Rocket Group, a scientific body from Doctor Who." It's mission is to develop British space technology
, "[b]ut this will have to be done through unmanned
space activities, because for the foreseeable future the UKSA will not have enough resources to reverse the decision, taken by the Thatcher government
in the 1980s, that Britain will not pay for manned space flights... planned expeditions to the International Space Station will be funded by the country's partners in the European Space Agency."
posted by kliuless
on Mar 24, 2010 -
(1975-77) is a British sci-fi series, the last production of Gerry
and Sylvia Anderson
who were first recognized for their work in "Supermarionation
." This series saw the end of the couple, with Sylvia Anderson leaving the show at the end of the first season. She was replaced by Fred Freiberger, who brought in some Star Trek sensibilities
and attempted to cater the show more to the American action-adventure audience. A third season was planned but not produced, and left the series unfinished, ending on an episode that was "like bad Shakespeare, or worse, bad Star Trek.
" Fans still support the show in many forms, even creating a semi-official fan-produced mini-episode entitled Message from Moonbase Alpha
to bring some completion to the series, which was shown on September 13, 1999 at the Breakaway: 1999
convention. Another group of fans has recently taken to updating the whole series
, to bring Space:1999 into the future
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jan 13, 2010 -
The Works of Swede Mason
: "Jeremy Clarkson,
" "Get in the Back of the Van,
" "Jungle All The Way,
" "Bill Wyman's Metal Detector,
" "Put the Lotion in the Basket, *
" "Got The Sucka,
" "The Gobshite, *
" "Squashed Thingy,
" "Spare Me The Madness,
" and the pair of tracks based on Neighbors
deaths "Coffee And Croissants
" and "Todd....Dead.
" [more inside]
posted by flatluigi
on Oct 13, 2009 -
“There are many underhanded ways of making your conker harder. The best is to pass it through a pig." World Conker Champion – Charlie Bray. The World Conker Championships are on this weekend. All the action
from last year. previously  
In other news, a cure for bleeding canker
has been found, with a welcome side effect, leaf miners don't like having garlic breath.
posted by tellurian
on Oct 8, 2009 -
Charlotte and Branwell Brontë wrote many of their stories of Angria on tiny sheets of paper in nearly microscopic handwriting. This particular example consists of four sheets of notepaper folded into sixteen pages. The individual sheets are approximately 4 ½ inches long and 3 5/8 inches wide, and the entire text contains about nineteen thousand words.
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 18, 2009 -
The Letter of Last Resort. At this very moment, miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there is a British nuclear submarine carrying powerful ICBMs ... there is a safe attached to a control room floor. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander and it is from the Prime Minister. In that letter, Gordon Brown conveys the most awesome decision of his political career ... and none of us is ever likely to know what he decided.
posted by veedubya
on Jan 22, 2009 -