Monday News: BSFA Awards, FBI v. Apple, DC Rebirth lineup, and Shakespeare’s puns
BSFA Awards – An excited shout of congratulations to Aliette de Bodard for winning two out of four British Science Fiction Association Award categories – Best Novel and Best Short Story – for The House of Shattered Wings and “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight.” The full list of nominees can be found here and you can check out Janine and Sunita’s review of The House of Shattered Wings here.
The BSFA awards are presented annually by the British Science Fiction Association, based on a vote of BSFA members and – in recent years – members of the British national science fiction convention Eastercon. They are fan awards that not only seek to honour the most worthy examples in each category, but to promote the genre of science fiction, and get people reading, talking about and enjoying all that contemporary science fiction has to offer. – BSFA
FBI Denies It Lied About Ability To Crack iPhone, Also Suggests Cellebrite Rumor Is Wrong – If you’ve been following the battle between the FBI and Apple, you know that the FBI basically put the case on hold, claiming it might have found an alternative means of cracking the iPhone without Apple’s help. You may also be familiar with the claims that Israeli company, Cellebrite, is providing the assistance. Now the FBI is scrambling to shut down accusations that the Department of Justice lied about needing Apple to provide a backdoor to all iPhones in order to crack one iPhone in particular, and in the meantime the assumptions about Cellebrite, which brought the company a lot of attention, may not be accurate. Shocker (not). And FBI Director James Comey continues to insist that the case is “not about trying to send a message or set a precedent.” Uh huh.
At this point it’s not clear that you can trust the FBI or DOJ on anything about these issues, as they’ve managed the messaging very, very carefully, and at times have made statements that are somewhere in that gray zone between “misleading” and “outright lies.” But Comey’s actions over the last year and a half make it quite clear that this is not just about this one iPhone and he very, very much wants a precedent that will effectively stop the possibility of encryption that the FBI can’t easily circumvent. – Techdirt
DC bets big on Rebirth: A re-centering of characters, and the Joker’s real name – Some of the major changes and creative teams are listed in the story linked above, but one notable revelation was that fans would finally learn the Joker’s real name. The semi-monthly, $2.99 volumes will include Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Justice League, Titans, Batgirl, Nightwing, and Blue Beetle, among others. And despite the usual protestations that this is not a “reboot,” Dan Didio’s apology suggests otherwise:
But before any announcements were underway, there was an apology. Co-publisher Dan Didio addressed the DC-centric crowd, giving a mea culpa on The New 52, which relaunched many core titles. Though it did “some good things,” said Didio, it seemed that feedback from the fans, mixed with concern coming from creators, caused the powers that be to rethink every title and character in the comics stable.
“We talked about the New 52, but something was missing. You felt it, and over time, we felt it too,” said Didio. “Why? Well, sometimes you lose your way. The whole purpose [of this event] is to show you, the fans, our commitment to you.” . . .
Storytelling was also brought up post-panel. And how the medium and the manner in which we tell stories has changed, and how the books and the business should reflect those changes. That means organic diversity in the books and in the creators who write and draw those books. This may cause character changes, etc., but the heart of the character, what made them popular in the first place, never really changes. The market and society are not stagnant, and “the readership hasn’t finished evolving yet, either,” says Didio. – Los Angeles Times
Such Ado: The Fight for Shakespeare’s Puns – An interesting article on the difficulty in preserving the original meaning in Shakespeare’s works. David Crystal’s new reference book, The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation, which will be released on June 1st, attempts to reintroduce Shakespeare’s use of language to contemporary readers, especially where the pronunciation of certain expressions shapes their meaning, and/or where the meaning depends on double entendres or linguistic ambiguity.
In the 400 years since Shakespeare made his bawdy puns, though, the evolution of language—and of pronunciation, in particular—has eroded many of the embedded bits of wordplay that would have been obvious to Elizabethan ears. “Prove” and “love,” in most English dialects, no longer rhyme. This is unfortunate for Sonnet 166, also known as the “marriage sonnet,” and its now-only-semi-rhyme: “If this be error and upon me proved/ I never writ, nor no man ever loved.” Same with “hour” and “whore,” which colluded to make Maria’s now-outdated pun in Twelfth Night: “My lady takes great exception to your ill hours.” Same with “ace” and “ass,” formerly homophones that allowed Demetrius, playing a card game at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to mock a fellow player with the following observation: “No die, but an ace for him, for he is but one.”
What all that means is that contemporary audiences, often taught to approach Shakespeare’s work with the hushed reverence of ceremonial celebration, can also miss its jokes—and, as a result, can miss its full range of ambiguity and meaning. And also, quite often, its fun. David Crystal is a linguistics scholar who has pioneered an “original pronunciation,” or OP, approach to reading and performing Shakespeare. He has made a study of how much of Shakespeare’s original meaning has been, well, (p)undone. And according to Crystal’s research, at least 96 of the 154 sonnets credited to Shakespeare contain rhymes that have since been lost to linguistic history. For the plays, which together form a much larger corpus, the number is likely much higher. – The Atlantic