Ink For The Dead

Shirley_Temple_The_Shirley_Temple_Show_1961

Photo of Shirley Temple from the Shirley Temple’s Storybook episode “The Princess and the Goblins”.

I am interested to see File 770 is not the only sf/fantasy news outlet to pass on reporting Shirley Temple Black’s death this week. As of this writing, Locus, Ansible and SF Site News have had nothing to say about it either.

I wonder what readers of SF Site News and File 770, in particular, think about this omission? Our two sites habitually jump to report the passing of far more obscure Hollywood types who once worked on a $200,000 horror movie or had bit parts in genre TV shows.

Shirley Temple movies were rich in fantasy in the psychological sense, some even had dream scenes and exotic costumes, but they didn’t contain fantasy elements like witches, wizards, dwarves, supernatural magic and the like. Her studio refused to loan out the child actress to make The Wizard of Oz. She never made a signature fantasy film of her own.

However, as an adult she hosted Shirley Temple’s Storybook (1958-1961), and Random House published four collections of fairy stories branded with her name. I watched those shows as a kid! And when did I ever need any more excuse than that to mention someone?

I confess there’s no rocket science involved in File 770’s editorial decisions about whose obituaries are run.

Top 10 Posts for January 2014

More people wanted to read the allegations against Mary Poppins than Larry Correia. On the other hand, Mary Poppins didn’t return fire….

Incredibly, this is also the second consecutive month without an obituary among the most-read posts.

Here are the Top 10 Posts for January according to Google Analytics.

1. Mary Poppins, Murderess?
2. Beijing in 2016 Worldcon Bid
3. Larry Correia’s Vulgar Blog Post – His Word
4. 2013 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot
5. Pern [tag]
6. Myke Cole To Appear at Library of Congress
7. Carol Carr’s Collection
8. Traumatic Tuckerizations
9. Nice Is Nice
10. Harlan Ellison on The Simpsons 1/12

Top 10 Posts of 2013

In 2013 fandom lost two legends, Elliot Shorter and Marty Gear, and was shocked by the death of newly-selected Worldcon co-chair Bobbie DuFault.

The year 2013 also brought to a conclusion two legal stories File 770 has been following for years. The prosecution of Dragon*Con founder Ed Kramer ended in a plea deal and restitution to the victims. And a jury convicted Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller, of murdering LASFS member John Sohus in 1985.

File 770 also tracked the crisis within SFWA that led several writers to quit, and sparked its directors to expel a member for the first time.

Here are the Top 10 Posts for the year 2013 according to Google Analytics.

1. Terry Pratchett’s Coat-of-Arms
2. Elliot K. Shorter (1939-2013)
3. Bobbie DuFault Dies
4. Ed Kramer (tag)
5. Godzilla 2014 Trailer
6. One Resignation, Many Ripples
7. Marty Gear (1939-2013)
8. Christian Gerhartsreiter (tag)
9. Sign White House Petition for SF Author Stamps
10. Is Your Club Dead Yet?

Top 10 Posts for December 2013

It’s a very rare month when there’s not a single obituary among the most-read posts. In fact, this month the good news stories and humor pieces outnumber the hardcore news reports. So three cheers for that!

Here are the Top 10 Posts for December according to Google Analytics.

1. Ed Kramer Pleads Guilty
2. Myke Cole To Appear at Library of Congress
3. Saving Children from Ansible?
4. Saving Cordwainer Bird
5. Sherlock Holmes Free At Last
6. New Worldcon Bids and Feelers
7. Burns: Cleaning Up After Cleaning Out Crime
8. Filk on Today’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”
9. Kramer Seeks More Freedom
10. You’re So Vain I’ll Bet You Think This Post Is About You

Top 10 Posts for November 2013

So many checked back to read comments on the tributes to Elliot Shorter and Leland Sapiro that they remained among this blog’s most read posts, along with more recent obituaries.

On the lighter side, the rookie mistakes of Hal-Con drew many a reader, some probably envious that their own well-organized conventions don’t match its 4500 ticket sales.

Here are the Top 10 Posts for November according to Google Analytics.

1. Nova Scotia Con Overwhelmed By Crowd
2. Mothership Has Launched
3. Godzilla 2014 Trailer
4. Elliot K. Shorter (1939-2013)
5. Mike Jelenski (1980-2013)
6. Jim Goldfrank Passes Away
7. 2013 Nova Awards
8. Leland Sapiro (1924-2013)
9. Loncon 3 Nixes Experimental YA Hugo
10. C. S. Lewis Receives Memorial in Poet’s Corner

Giving Thanks

Out of all the things I have to be thankful for, when it comes to this blog the two I appreciate most are my friends who send interesting items to write about, and the readers who do their best to save me from my frequent copyediting blunders.  I am grateful for the help!

Where Were You?

foucaultBy Mike Glyer: My fifth grade class was on a field trip to Griffith Park Observatory that day in 1963. We’d watched the Foucault Pendulum swing in answer to the earth’s rotation. Stared in awe at the Zeiss Projector’s recreation of our night sky on the observatory’s central dome. Eaten bag lunches and reboarded the school bus where the radio news was droning in the background. The driver said he had a very important announcement to make. President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas and taken to the hospital.

I think the kids who were immediately upset had the right response. But it was not yet known that the President had died, and my best friend and I had a more detached reaction. We’d lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis just a year earlier so we wondered how Cold War adversaries might try to exploit this tragic development. And had grandiose ideas about lowering the flag to half-mast when the bus arrived back at school. Yet I’d actually been quite a Kennedy fan as a boy — I’d even gotten relatives to take me to his Senate office on a summer trip to Washington D.C. in 1960 (he was away on campaign).

My parents’ generation remembered where they were when they heard the news about Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, or V-E Day and V-J Day in 1945. Of course I hadn’t been born yet. The JFK assassination was the first “where were you?” event in my generation. Doubtless for many of you that epochal moment is as remote as WW2 was for me. Perhaps the Challenger explosion or 9/11 was your first cultural snapshot moment. Or some other event altogether?

It’s Only Rock-n-Roll

Nothing rouses the ire like somebody else’s list of the greatest rock-n-roll songs. “What’s that doing on there?” “He left off WHAT?”

In John Sandford’s mystery Broken Prey a character’s effort to pick the 100 best songs of the rock era for his iPod is a recurring motif. His complete list appears at the end of the book.

Lucas Davenport spends a scene explaining his some of his choices, like the deliberate decision to leave out anything by the Beatles. But he never notices there’s also not a single Michael Jackson song. And he idiocyncratically lists two versions of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – a good place to get started with my red pencil, neither being anywhere near favorites of mine.

Most of the songs on his list are well-known – I can remember how they start or the chorus. I was sorry a few titles are unfamiliar — music I’ve missed that became popular after my hearing loss forced me to abandon in-car radio listening.

A long time has passed since I came up with my own ordered list of favorites – something people do in amateur press associations to keep the conversation rolling. On that old list I had Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” in first place, with its magical sax solo and haunting portrait of a rootless musician. That clear-eyed understanding about a career that’s already gone as far as it can is a component of another favorite, Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” – neither makes Davenport’s list, but surprisingly, a third song of that type, Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” does. (I never visualized Davenport as a fan of piano lounges or Billy Joel in general — Sandford must, and he would know…)

I haven’t seen my old list lately. There were some songs on it that would be gone today. Did I really like “96 Tears” that much, or was I mainly amused that it was performed by a band named Question Mark and the Mysterions? The Jackson 5’s “Tears of a Clown” had a type of arrangement that hit the same spot as Left Bank’s “Pretty Ballerina” – now Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” does a lot more for me. Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft” still impresses but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” touted as one of the greats and I don’t think it would make my list anymore.

Anyway, it was intriguing to me to realize I responded to this fictional list as if I had a dog in the fight…

Top 10 Posts for October 2013

People came to pay their respects to Elliot K. Shorter, who’d been a legend in more than one fandom, and other friends who passed away in October.

They also came to look at the future of fandom – a new Worldcon bid for Finland.

And an unusual number of readers – for File 770 – discovered viral videos here promoting Godzilla 2014 and Carrie.

Here are the Top 10 Posts for October according to Google Analytics.

1. Elliot K. Shorter (1939-2013)
2. Godzilla 2014 Trailer
3. Larry Tucker (1948-2013)
4. Dot Lumley Passes Away
5. Terror at the Coffee Shop
6. Finland Bids for Worldcon in 2017
7. Future Worldcon Bids
8. Leland Sapiro (1924-2013)
9. Philip Nutman (1963-2013)
10. Helsinki in 2017 Bid