Pixel Scroll 9/27 Puppy Horror Pixel Scroll

(1) George R.R. Martin in “The First Emmys” on Not A Blog.

Andy Samberg’s joke about my attending the first Emmy Awards ceremony made me curious about Emmy history. This year was the 67th Emmy Awards, and I turned 67 last Sunday, but until Andy appeared beside me I hadn’t actually connected the two. Pretty amazing.

For a few hours I entertained the amusing thought that they were perhaps giving out those first Emmys even as I was being born. Alas, that was not actually the case. Emmy and I may both be 67, but I actually came into the world a few months before her. The first Emmy ceremony took place on January 25, 1949, to honor work telecast during 1948.

Interestingly, those first awards were strictly a local matter: a Los Angeles award, for shows broadcast in the LA media market. Not at all national. The first winner — for “Most Popular Television Program” — was a show called PANTOMIME QUIZ. A drama called THE NECKLACE won for “Best Film Made for Television,” and Shirley Dinsdale won as “Most Outstanding Television Personality.” She was a ventriloquist with a dummy named ‘Judy Splinters.’

(2) Brad R. Torgersen, in “A matter of canon” at Mad Genius Club, has a good handle on the importance of canon to fans’ relationships with successful franchises. He questions why Star Trek and Star Wars have sometimes gone astray.

See, respecting the canon isn’t just a matter of preserving timelines or sequences of events; though this is a huge part of it. Respecting the canon also means respecting what it is that fuels the enthusiasm of the people who watch your TV show, go to see your movies, or pick up and read your books.

I remember in the mid-1990s when it was revealed that neither Paramount Pictures, nor Viacom (the parent of Paramount) considered any of the many Pocketbooks Star Trek novels to be canonical, in terms of the movies and TV shows. That was a rather serious blow to me, as a fan. I’d read several dozen of those very same Pocketbooks novels, and considered some of them to be among the finest works of science fiction I’d ever encountered — they were that good. Written by top-notch SF/F authors who were doing terrific storytelling within the Star Trek framework. Then, ruh-roh, the corporate powers behind the franchise revealed that the Pocketbooks novels didn’t count. I was rather upset by this, as a fan. Both because of the time and money I’d invested, and because of the fact some of those Pocketbooks Star Trek novels were every bit as good as, if not better than, the movies and TV episodes of the time. Who were Paramount and Viacom to tell me, the fan, what was legit, or not?

(3) Greg Hullender’s new post on Rocket Stack Rank analyzes which magazines have placed the most stories in the finals of the Hugo and Nebula Awards over the past fifteen years.

(4) Margaret Atwood discusses the enduring controversy over The Handmaid’s Tale in the Guardian.

Some books haunt the reader. Others haunt the writer. The Handmaid’s Tale has done both.

The Handmaid’s Tale has not been out of print since it was first published, back in 1985. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has appeared in a bewildering number of translations and editions. It has become a sort of tag for those writing about shifts towards policies aimed at controlling women, and especially women’s bodies and reproductive functions: “Like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Here comes The Handmaid’s Tale” have become familiar phrases. It has been expelled from high schools, and has inspired odd website blogs discussing its descriptions of the repression of women as if they were recipes. People – not only women – have sent me photographs of their bodies with phrases from The Handmaid’s Tale tattooed on them, “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” and “Are there any questions?” being the most frequent. The book has had several dramatic incarnations, a film (with screenplay by Harold Pinter and direction by Volker Schlöndorff) and an opera (by Poul Ruders) among them. Revellers dress up as Handmaids on Hallowe’en and also for protest marches – these two uses of its costumes mirroring its doubleness. Is it entertainment or dire political prophecy? Can it be both? I did not anticipate any of this when I was writing the book.

(5) NPR reported about the devoted fans who crossed the country to Dodge City for the Gunsmoke reunion – even though all the leading characters are no longer with us.

WILSON: The show was nominated for a dozen Emmys and received critical acclaim for its unprecedented realism. It’s set in Dodge City, the hub of frontier cattle drives, with a reputation as a lawless town. Many of the main characters are no longer alive. Dennis Weaver, who played Chester Goode, passed away in 2006. Amanda Blake, who played the beloved Ms. Kitty, died in 1989 and James Arness, whose towering frame and distinctive voice made the character Marshal Matt Dillon shine, passed away four years ago….

Curiously, two actors now famous in the science fiction genre played characters with rhyming names in bit parts on Gunsmoke (not in the same episodes).

WILSON: Bruce Boxleitner played the character Toby Hogue in 1975.


BRUCE BOXLEITNER: It was totally character-driven, but it was about a character. It wasn’t about the last sunset or the last cattle drive.

And Harrison Ford played “Hobey” in a 1973 episode.

(6) Kim Stanley Robinson answered questions about his new novel Aurora from readers at io9 earlier this week.

Among them was a question about some of the unexpected impact that encountering alien life out amongst the stars could have on a space colony—and how Robinson thought the meeting might play out:

[Robinson:] “I do think it might be possible than an alien life form could co-exist with Terran life and the two just kind of pass each other by. But mainly life tries to live by converting other things to energy, so other things can look like food to it. And Terran immune systems are very powerful. Allergic shock kills many people, and it seemed to me possible that an alien would have that effect on our immune systems, either correctly or incorrectly, in terms of diagnosing a threat.

“If that happened, some people would panic. It would become not just a medical question but a political question. Who do we trust, what do we trust? What’s safest? People aren’t rational in that situation, or, some are and some aren’t, and they can fight.

“I think the scenario in the book is quite plausible. But I admit what you say, in other situations, the alien-Terran interaction need not be so bad.”

(7) NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was scheduled to examine the moon’s surface during the eclipse today.

Sunday’s eclipse is special as it follows three other total lunar eclipses in the past 18 months (usually you don’t get that many in a row) and the moon will be at its closest point in its orbit to Earth, making it slightly bigger in the sky than usual — an event popularly known as a “Supermoon.”

The LRO has been observing Earth’s satellite since 2009, and wasn’t designed to operate during eclipses. The solar-powered spacecraft would switch off almost everything until sunlight returned again. But as controllers became experienced with the drops in power during LRO’s time in shadow, they got comfortable enough to turn on one instrument: the Diviner.

More formally known as the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, the instrument looks at day-night changes in temperature on the moon. And it turns out that during an eclipse, the plunge in temperature is sudden — almost like leaving a hot tub for an icy pool, according to NASA. Click here to watch a NASA animation of what it looks like, from the surface of the moon, during a lunar eclipse.

“Ideally we want to measure the full range of temperature variation during the eclipse,” Noah Petro, the deputy project scientist for LRO, told Discovery News. Petro is based at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

(8) Old Neckbiter is back on the big screen October 25 when Fathom Events delivers a Dracula Double Feature with a twist – the double bill is the 1931 English and Spanish language versions of Dracula. However, the Spanish version was filmed sequentially on the same sets, with a different cast, rather than dubbed, and is claimed by some to be the superior work. Also part of the event is a specially produced introduction from Turner Classic Movies that will give insight into both of these 1931 vampire-horror films.

Here is the trailer for the event.

(9) James Davis Nicoll would hate for you to miss his photo of the dinosaur joke on the Kitchener Library sign, which has now been shared on Facebook over 1100 times.

(10) Star Trek Continues Episode 5 “Divided We Stand” premiered this weekend at Salt Lake Comic Con. It’s now available online.

Kirk and McCoy are trapped in time while an alien infestation threatens the Enterprise.


(11) The Palm Restaurant opened in New York in 1926, near the headquarters of the King Features Syndicate, and the place attracted a lot of cartoonists who drew their own creations on the walls in exchange for their meals. Now the property has changed hands and the art is gone.


New York Eater has “before and after” photos in “Shock/Horror: The Murals Have Been Scrubbed From the Walls of The Palm”.

Jeremiah Moss at Vanishing New York said it for everyone.

What the fuck is wrong with people? This was the original Palm restaurant, 90 years old, gorgeous, storied, beloved, its walls covered in caricatures hand-drawn by some of America’s most celebrated cartoonists. This was a one-of-a-kind treasure, never to be reproduced. You can’t buy this kind of uniqueness, it has to grow organically and mature over time–over a century of time. But we’re living in a fucked up city where fucked up people do fucked up things like destroy art, culture, and history–all in one fell swoop if they can manage it–just to replace it with something banal and miserable from the monoculture of the day.

(12) Jessica Lachenal is not impressed with one dictionary’s effort to update itself: “Some of These New Oxford Dictionary terms Make Me Feel Pretty Out of Touch” at The Mary Sue.

For starters: social justice warrior? Really? I mean, okay, sure, your definition is pretty ironic: (informal, derogatory) a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views. “How dare they,” I can hear you saying. That’s fine. And I guess we can all agree that anyone who uses that term unironically is… well, you know.

Which brings me to the next term: fatbergFatberg?! Really? According to you, it’s a “a very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.” I get the wordplay–iceberg, fatberg–but… was there really a need for this? Do people run into fatbergs on a daily basis, so much so that they need a portmanteau to cover it? What are kids even doing these days? Oh, pro tip: don’t image search that.

What’s that, Collins? Yeah. Yeah, you have a good point. Awesomesauce is pretty old. Kids have been saying that for years now. Same goes for its buddy weak sauce.

[Thanks to Will R., Andrew Porter, JJ, Gerry Williams, Michael J. Walsh, Greg Hullender, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anthony.]

507 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/27 Puppy Horror Pixel Scroll

  1. I didn’t “get” comics as a kid – I read fast and didn’t realize you had to slow down and actually *look* at the pictures.

    I still have that problem with most graphic novels. I do OK with more factual ones, such as Gonick’s old Cartoon History of the Universe series and my current nom for Best Graphic Novel, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, by Sydney Padua (I’m putting it in Graphic Novel as it’s a steampunky speculation set in a universe where they actually got the Analytical Engine (which they keep calling the Difference Engine because it sounds better) working).

  2. Oddly most of the comics I like aren’t SFnal at all. Although I guess Inio Asano’s Goodnight Punpun might be considered magical realism. I mean the main character is a bird who looks like a cross between the Partridge Family logo and a PacMan ghost. And he does talk to god, who appears as a Japanese guy with a poofy afro. But that’s probably just symbolism.

    There is Ilkwon Ha’s great webcomic Duty Afterschool about high school students who are drafted into the military after Earth’s invaded by aliens. It’s sort of Starship Troopers if Heinlein had grown up in a country with universal military service. And without the starships.

    Hmm, since it’s receiving an official English release this year, but it previously received a pirate translation, would it be disqualified from the Hugos?

  3. The constitution does not specify that pirate editions don’t count. But I’d hope the Hugo Administrators would not count pirate editions. That would seem to be counter productive and WorldCon committees have traditionally been mindful of rightsholder’s rights.

    If Duty Afterschool is published in the US for the first time this year, then it’s eligible for a Hugo next year.

  4. Bill Willingham did Elementals and had his brain eaten, not Matt Wagner. 🙂

    An interesting thing about Torgersen’s particular invocation of Star Trek: the novels can’t all be canon. There are franchise universes where most or all of the stuff can kinda sorta fit together, but it’s genuinely impossible to fit all the novels covering the Enterprise’s first five-year mission into five years, even if the Enterprise could directly teleport from one point of interest to the next. Can’t be done. And it’s not like this is news – people like Barbara Hambly and John M. Ford were making jokes about it on FidoNet in the late ’80s.

    Simply declaring “these are all canon” couldn’t change that, and it’s a small confirmation of the Puppies’ beliefs about authority that this hasn’t ever apparently occurred to one of their prominent members.

  5. First SF novel: Rocket Ship Galileo, in 1955. But I was primed for the whole range of the fantastic already, having gone through some el-ed-friendly versions of the classical myths and the Arthurian stories by third grade. And before that, I was a faithful viewer of Captain Video, Space Patrol, and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. Come to think of it, my earliest clear memory of television is the opening of Lights Out–it must have been 1949 or 1950. Scared the bejabbers out of me.

    Loved The Twilight Zone but never warmed to Star Trek–by the time it aired, my notions of proper SF had solidified in ways that dismissed anything I thought of as “comic-booky.” (I retain this minor snobbery–there’s a firewalled section of my brain that is allowed to enjoy, say, the current Marvel movies because the analytical circuitry is switched off.)

    Oy, I feel so old.

  6. @RedWombat – The Maxx! Oh boy. My husband used to be a HUGE fan of that comic (and the accompanying HBO animated series). He introduced me to them early in our relationship, and they were one of the things we bonded over.

    The Sandman was another. I recall, either the year we met or the year after, at the academic summer program we both attended as high schoolers, we got taken off campus to a nearby comic book shop, and my to-be-husband suggested we buy the Orpheus issue with the glow-in-the-dark cover (which was the current issue at the time, so only maybe a couple bucks more expensive than the unadorned edition). We went back to campus and read it together, and I fell hard for the series and, eventually, most things Gaiman.

    I’d like to also +1 the suggestion of Jeff Smith’s Bone

    I have a fond nostalgic recollection of the Spider Woman comics where the titular character went back in time and faced off against Morgan Le Fey.

    @Lydy Nickerson – I was two days late responding to your last in our conversation in Pixel Scroll 9/23 (my response was late in the evening of 9/27), so when I finally replied it doubtless got swallowed up by the incomprehensible and messy thrash that’s still going on there. Mainly I wanted to say, however much we startled each other, the conversation that followed was very worthwhile. And to thank you for that. Thank you!

    Add me to those who get uncomfortable when Brad Torgersen’s tastes and loves are made fun of – he’s allowed to think that 90’s ST tie-ins are better and more meaningful than “classic” Asimov. Heck, I myself have been less than impressed with a lot of titles that most Filers seem to revere (Foundation, Lord of Light, Ringworld, etc). Opinions vary. It’s OK.

    And I can even empathize with the let-down a fan feels to find that something they loved has been expelled from canon – you can no longer hope for the main franchise to tell stories in those areas that have so resonantly spoken to you. That’s sad!

    But the way he seems to need all of fandom to agree with him and validate him on things that are matters of taste and subjectivity, and the way he villifies that part of fandom that doesn’t agree with him, and the way he has tended to characterize that disagreement as threats of violence (boxcars! gulags!) – Yeah, that’s grade A ridiculous stuff that makes him an embarrassment to our age cohort.

  7. Oh, if we’re including historical stuff in the comics noms:
    Punch magazine
    (Um… Full disclosure, I’m related to one of the artists from the 1800s via my maternal grandfather. But there were lots of artists, anyway.)

    PS. I’m pleased that my campaign for people to read and nominate The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage appears to be going well. 😉

  8. @Steve Wright:

    Hugh Walters was one of my introductions to SF as well (written SF, at least); also Wells and Verne, Norton and Heinlein, as seems to be standard for a whole generation (and when I escaped from the junior library I discovered a whole heap of Verne novels). I also recall reading Alan E. Nourse, though I cannot remember a title; in the almost-forgotten-now category, Patrick Moore and Captain W. E. Johns (the creator of Biggles – yes, he wrote SF as well).

    A little later in life, the New Writings in SF anthologies were required reading.

  9. Oh, and for historical comics, Little Nemo in Slumberland! Which has some deeply problematic stuff but also some stunning displays of imagination.

    And Carl Barks’ Donald Duck & Uncle Scrooge, about which much the same could be said.

  10. NickPheas- “Islands in Space”! One of my favourite SF novels as a child. Certainly one of the earliest specifically SF ones that I read and re-read.

  11. @Peter J: oh, Alan E. Nourse! Our library had Star Surgeon (not to be confused with the James White of the same name) and Raiders from the Rings – I think I’ve seen ebook editions of Nourse recently, somewhere, too.

    New Writings in SF – just passes my test; I can make out number 21 from here if I squint a bit. (There is a lot of old-school SF on the shelves in front of me….)

  12. I’ve got my suspicions that a couple of aliens from Duane’s tie-ins crept into the Young Wizards universe, for that matter.

    Blue with tentacles? I saw those, also. ‘Sokay: universes are funny that way. (Besides, they’re her aliens.)

  13. Oh, if we’re including historical stuff in the comics noms:
    Punch magazine

    I actually subscribed for a while in the late 60s, and saved a bunch of the cartoons.

  14. Add me to those who get uncomfortable when Brad Torgersen’s tastes and loves are made fun of – he’s allowed to think that 90’s ST tie-ins are better and more meaningful than “classic” Asimov.

    I don’t think Torgersen’s tastes are being made fun of. I think the fact that his reading in the genre has been very limited and yet he feels qualified to act as an arbiter of taste concerning entire eras of science fiction that he knows almost nothing about is what is being commented upon. If he wants to read nothing but Star Trek tie-in novels, that’s his business. But if Torgersen wants to lecture people who have read lots of other science fiction about how they are doing it wrong because the stories they like don’t have enough rayguns and rockets, then there’s a problem.

    And one doesn’t even have to compare the Star Trek novels of the 1990s to classic Asimov to be able to show that reading nothing but the tie-in novels limits one’s horizon. Just look at the contemporary non-tie-in science fiction of the 1990s that Torgersen apparently managed to miss: A Fire Upon the Deep, Snow Crash, Red Mars, Beggars in Spain, The Sparrow, Remnant Population, Brightness Reef, Slow River, Idoru, Towing Jehovah, Parable of the Sower, The Time Ships, and on and on and on. If Torgersen wants to read a dozen Jedi novels and nothing else, that’s up to him, but he can’t do that while ignoring all of the other science fiction published in the 1990s and expect to be taken seriously when he talks about the shape of the genre.

  15. Aaron: Since fans do have relationships with tie-ins to franchises, it is worth thinking about the tradeoffs in what is defined as canon, which Torgersen is doing in reasonable terms.

    When we’re going through all these brackets and finding vast holes in some of our own experience, I think people would be more inclined to tread softer when it comes to guessing about and condemning supposed gaps in Torgersen’s reading experience.

  16. So Kindle Worlds has turned out to be pretty inert, whereas successful fanfic communities are extremely active and vibrant… and much of that is based on, indeed, not caring about whether a given story is official or part of the canon. Which is kind of an interesting phenomenon when you consider how upset fans (me, included) get when writers of a popular series ignore its own established canon.

    I’m not surprised. Among other things while it was marketed as fanfic it really is media tie-in. But marketing it as media tie-in wouldn’t have gotten nearly the buzz.

  17. On comics: it may be worth noting that (mutiple-Hugo-winning) Girl Genius started as a graphic novel series, and even though it’s now released on the web first, it’s still a graphic novel series.

    Star Trek novels and the like: yeah, I remember coming across some pretty good ones when I was a kid. There have indeed been some first-rate authors who gave it a try. I don’t pay much attention to media tie-ins these days, but there ya go. However, I still say that complaining about canon/non-canon is silly. It’s all fiction.

    Starting SF: I started with Mushroom Planet, and graduated to Norton, Heinlein, and Asimov when I was about 10. About the same time as the first moon landing. I quickly went on to read everything I could get my hands on, from Poul Anderson to Roger Zelazny, including Brunner, Clarke, Dick, de Camp, Delany, Ellison, Garrett, Herbert, Niven, Pohl, Russell, Schmitz, Silverberg, Simak, Tenn, Vance, Van Vogt, et al. And yes, some people’s ideas of what the “golden age of SF” was like seem to be very much at odds with what I experienced reading those works when they were relatively recent. Especially, but not exclusively, those who tend to refer to themselves as puppies. I think selective-reading is indeed the likeliest explanation.

    New words: all I can say is that I’m frequently grateful, when I read old novels, that I can find definitions for at least some of the now-obsolete slang in my dictionaries. (I’m fond of old hardboiled mysteries, for example.) I don’t see any reason not to be just as happy that newer slang words are documented, for much the same reason.

  18. Entry point: The Pedestrian, Ray Bradbury. It isn’t even very SFnal! But I was hooked on the idea of speculating about what happens if….. After that it was the rest of Bradbury, Asimov, then maybe Heinlein. By then I was slurping up anything I could find.

  19. Nourse? This moose remembers “The Universe Between” and “The Mercy Men”.
    (Also reading the Hugh Walters novels.)

    My guilty pleasure is Philip E. High.


  20. I don’t think Torgersen’s tastes are being made fun of. I think the fact that his reading in the genre has been very limited and yet he feels qualified to act as an arbiter of taste concerning entire eras of science fiction that he knows almost nothing about is what is being commented upon. If he wants to read nothing but Star Trek tie-in novels, that’s his business.

    So long as we’re clear on the distinction. I got a strong impression early on in this thread, with this comment:

    I’m sorry, I think my mind just broke. Did someone who knows how to spell “science fiction” say an “extended universe” book was better than, say, Foundation?

    that the issue was more that it was Bad Stuff and Shame On Brad For Thinking Otherwise. But the thread seems to have moved on a bit from there.

    And if it hasn’t, I’ll still fight anyone over the honor of Kagan, Duane & Ford.

  21. I don’t remember what my entry point was. But by first grade (age six or so) we had already had two orange tabby striped cats named Tom Bombadil. We would go on to have three more. My Dad really liked that name.

  22. I’m sure I wouldn’t be allowed to vote for the Bayeux Tapestry. Being a Channel Islander, and thus Norman-French back yay the last thousand years or so, and with at least one knight in Caen in 1030 or so in my family tree, I’d be voting for my relatives!

    (In 1061 we’re starting to think that the English king isn’t living up to his promises.)

  23. I think people would be more inclined to tread softer when it comes to guessing about and condemning supposed gaps in Torgersen’s reading experience.

    Not a guess, Mike. He acknowledges mostly reading tie-ins and reading tie-ins first as a young man here.

  24. Entry points:
    Fireball XL-5 on first-run TV (yes, I’m old)
    Tunnel In The Sky by RAH
    Childhood’s End by Clarke

    Lots of Nutty Nuggets(TM) there. This led into Doctor Who (again, first run) and Niven (Ringworld, Known Space…) and a bunch of Asimov.

    Somewhere along the way, I also developed a taste for Doc Savage pulps as reprinted by ?Bantam? — what can I say, I was young and it was a long time ago. I grabbed a couple of them and reread them recently — err, they have not aged well.

  25. Re: graphic stories from the distant past, if we allow the Bayeux tapestry, then this 13th-century beauty, The Burning of the Sanjo Palace, should also be included. Note the interactive bit that lets you scroll through it.


    True, it’s not SF or fantasy, but it’s closely related to some very slightly later works that are definitely fantasy, such as Tsuchigumo no Soshi Emaki (samurai fight a giant spider) and Tengu Zoshi (troublemaking demons sow dissension among Buddhist temples).



    (These don’t seem to be coming through properly, sorry! If anyone can direct me to a tutorial on how to hide working links behind color-coded text, I would be very grateful.)

    For modern manga, my pick is From Eroica with Love (Eroika yori ai o komete) by Yasuko Aoike, although its closest genre identity is “spy thriller” (plus unrequited m/m romance and quite a bit of comedy) rather than “SF.”

  26. Entry points: In first grade I wrote & illustrated a book called My Trip to Mars. Sadly, recent scientific observations have reduced the accuracy of its predictions.

    Also, John Christopher’s Tripods books (and also The Lotus Caves) and Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain. And I remember spending one afternoon the summer after 2nd grade sitting on the front porch and reading Dad’s copy of Heinlein’s Red Planet, followed shortly by Dad’s copies of other Heinlein juvies.

  27. I believe I had a copy of a Scholastic collection of Alan E. Nourse stories called “The Counterfeit Man” when I was a kid in the mid to late 1960s. I remember nothing about it but the cover looks very familiar. I read a lot of things from the children’s section of the local public library, and I suspect my early reading was fairly typical: Andre Nortons like “The Stars Are Ours” and “Star Rangers”, juvenile novels like “Rocket Jockey” by Philip St. John (del Rey pseudonym; I bought a copy of this out of nostalgia recently), the odd pulp story collection like Asimov’s “Tomorrow’s Children”, which included some classic stories, and perhaps a bit later some of the Heinlein juveniles, starting I believe with “Red Planet”. When I was about 10 I went through a bunch of fairy tale collections, mainly Andrew Lang. I had been given Puffin Books editions of the Narnia books when I was 8 or 9 and read them repeatedly. I read pretty omnivorously, lots of other things besides fantasy and sf. The first sf novel I actually bought was a mid-60s paperback reprint of a Kuttner/Moore magazine story called “Earth’s Last Citadel”. My first magazine purchase was the November 1969 Analog, cover story “Gottlos” by Colin Kapp, a sort of precursor of modern military sf I suppose.

  28. Note the interactive bit that lets you scroll through it.

    It’s 2427 and Flash is merely a cautionary tale they tell baby software developers. But as soon as I hit send I’ll be snapped back to 2015, so I can merely envy future-me the experience.

  29. The first book I read that labeled itself “science fiction” was Alan E. Nourse’s Scavengers in Space, sometime around 1960 or 1961. (I had the opportunity to tell him that, around 30 years later, making him–he said–feel very old.)

    Before that, I’d read mostly fantasy, adventure (such as all of ERB’s Tarzan and John Carter books–thanks to books passed on to me by my grandfather from when he was a boy in the first part of the last century) or Tom Swift Jr.’s. I read all the Mary Poppins books that were out then, well before the movie came out.

    First magazine was the January 1965 F&SF–before then, I didn’t realize they existed. (I’ve never missed an issue of F&SF since then, having purchased a lifetime subscription in 1977.)

    I miss the days when I had time to re-read books occasionally, but there are too many new ones coming out now to do that. (I’m way behind on the 2015 magazines, and am trying to catch up.)

  30. Early SF?

    I must have been 7 or so, and able to go to the junior library on my own for the first time. I remember translations of a German children’s novel, The Urmal In Space, Heinlein’s Red Planet, Alan E Nourse, Andre Norton, and so on…

  31. Having watched the first run of Fireball XL-5 doesn’t make you old; I did, and I’m barely into my late youth (a mere 1,274 years of age if my time travel clock is working correctly)

  32. Nick Mamatas: I wanted to go read that interview, but whether I click on the link to go direct, or try to read the Google cache file, I get a warning about the site.

    But just going by your note, if he says he mostly read tie-ins as a young man, wouldn’t that at least equip him for the specific discussion he’s having about tie-ins to franchises and the effects on their fans of not treating them as canon?

  33. @Cassy B — I’d be willing to bet the anthology with “A Pail of Air” was Asimov’s “Tomorrow’s Children.” It was considered juvenile at the time it was published, and contained lots of lovely works, “Star Bright” and “The Accountant” among them.

    I managed to get my hands on a library discard copy, and when I checked the South American River, I was amazed at the price a copy now goes for…sad to say it’s out of print. Wish someone would resurrect it…

  34. Entry point: a lot of classic fantasy, but that spilled over into Miss Pickering Goes to Mars, the Mushroom Planet books, and then Have Space Suit Will Travel.

  35. My first science fiction might have been Encounter Near Venus by Leonard Wibberly. Or the Mushroom Planet books. Or the Danny Dunn books. Or…

    I really don’t remember. My dad read science fiction, my dad’s family had this thing about Words In A Row, and then don’t really remember starting to read science fiction any more than I remember starting to read.

    Here in 3390, of course, no one has any idea who Leonard Wibberly was.

  36. @John Lorentz: I just reread Scavengers in Space for the first time in about 30 years a couple of months ago. Definitely an object of its time, but it held up reasonably well.

  37. But just going by your note, if he says he mostly read tie-ins as a young man, wouldn’t that at least equip him for the specific discussion he’s having about tie-ins to franchises and the effects on their fans of not treating them as canon?

    Sure, but your objection was to gaps in Brad’s reading experience. As he seems to think that the stuff he read as a young person was The Real Stuff and that SF now is just Affirmative Action Presents Nutless Nuggets, it’s worth pointing out what his formative experiences were.

  38. Re: comics

    I don’t know where the dividing line is between “SFF” and “not so much,” but if Batman stories are on the list it’s a pretty generous line, and if American Splendor is it’s nonexistent.

    That said, some picks I haven’t seen yet (or missed when they were mentioned):

    DAREDEVIL – Lee/Colan
    ON STAGE – Starr
    VENUS – Everett
    BUZ SAWYER – Crane
    KAMANDI – Kirby
    BOYS’ RANCH – Simon/Kirby
    DOCTOR STRANGE – Lee/Ditko
    AMERICAN FLAGG – Chaykin
    HICKSVILLE – Horrocks
    CRIMINAL – Brubaker/Phillips
    SATELLITE SAM – Fraction/Chaykin
    THOR – Simonson
    ALEC – Campbell
    BATMAN: MAD LOVE – Dini/Timm
    BATMAN – Englehart/Rogers
    AVENGERS – Englehart/various
    CONAN – Thomas/Smith
    SWAMP THING – Moore/Bissette/Totleben
    TAMARA DREWE – Simmonds
    UNCLE $CROOGE – Barks
    SHE’S JOSIE – Doyle/DeCarlo
    YOUNG ROMANCE – Simon/Kirby/various
    STAR WARS – Goodwin/Infantino
    MAISON IKKOKU – Takahashi
    2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY – Kirby

  39. Quite possibly first sci-fi I read would have been those Tom Swift novels, then Lloyd Alexander and Susan Cooper…Tom Swift had to be elementary school and then a bit later Susan Cooper and Lloyd Alexander. I didn’t get into ST tie-ins until junior high (of them all, Duane, Hambly, and Ford remain ones I remember. I was also thrilled to find Hambly’s non-ST writing).

    That pretty much led into Heinlein, Asimov, and my mother’s rather delightful collection of sci-fi anthologies.

    I was something of an early reader and a very voracious one. A local library had a very deep and excellent sci-fi collection (the head librarian was a big sci-fi and fantasy fan) that I spent years exploring. Pretty sure I ran into Iain Banks there sometime in High School, and I know I discovered Terry Pratchett through that collection.

    Funny thing about those Tom Swift novels — several years back, my wife got me a collection (some reprints, some originals) of a dozen or so TS novels. Some from the 20s and 30s, some from the 50s and some from the 80s. Interesting progression from Tom Swift and his motorcycle to Tom Swift running around the moons of Jupiter. It was a nice little reminder of my childhood. (She gives much better gifts than me!).

  40. Lori Coulson, I wouldn’t mind re-reading that anthology; perhaps I’ll swing by the library of my childhood (it’s only about 15 miles away from where I now live) and see if they still have it on the shelf. Or perhaps I can inter-library loan it. Thanks for finding the anthology title!

    Alas, the only story in that anthology that I truly remember is “A Pail of Air” but for some reason that one indelibly burned itself into my memory. I think possibly it was the first catastrophic story (the sun is receding! The atmosphere is freezing!) that I’d ever read, children’s books of the time being rather scant on dystopia or tragedy…. (Yes, I know it has a hopeful ending. That didn’t decrease the impact.)

  41. Entry point: a lot of classic fantasy, but that spilled over into Miss Pickering Goes to Mars, the Mushroom Planet books, and then Have Space Suit Will Travel.

    I was happy to find ebook editions of the original Miss Pickerell books (the ones written by Ellen MacGregor, not the newer ones written by Dara Pantel) just recently for a very small cost.


    Alas, they have only added to the every-growing to-be-read stack.

    I remember the joy in the school room whenever the Scholastic Books order arrived. I bought a lot of books in the late 50s and early 60s through them.

  42. @Meredith:

    Least favourite: The Seeker

    A.k.a., what happens when you give a book based on mostly pre-Christian English mythology to the same conservative Christian production company that did the Narnia movies. Not only did they make significant changes that made things worse, most of those changes were so telegraphed that I spent almost half the movie dreading what turned out to be a correct guess as to how they redid the climactic scene.

    Not even counting the toothmarks from Christopher Eccleston’s chewing the scenery saved this movie.

    @Simon Bisson/NickPheas:
    Count me in on the list of people who still has the original issues of Fusion. (And the original boxed set Albedo/Erma Felna EDF RPG. And the Chessex edition that included a supplement with the full spaceship construction rules. And the Sanguine ‘Platinum Catalyst’ edition…)

  43. John Lorentz — Thanks for the correction on the name. Obviously the things I read that long ago are starting to go.

    But then it’s 4803 and I’m only a brain in a jar. Need to have my nutrient solution checked.

  44. The Urmal in Space – was that the one with the palindromic planet? Where the alien was called Otto, and his people were the Nem? Or am I dredging up something entirely different from the dusty lumber rooms of my memory?

    – Speaking of which, and on the theme of comics: has anyone mentioned Dan Dare yet? Some of those big splash pages were genuine works of art, in every sense.

  45. John Lorentz — Thanks for the correction on the name. Obviously the things I read that long ago are starting to go.

    I was saved by Google.

    I was sure the character’s name was spelled “Pickerall”.

  46. _A Pail of Air_ is one of those interesting “hard” sf stories that makes no scientific sense — even as a young kid reading it I knew the idea of keeping air in from hard vacuum with carpets was silly — but somehow still works and sticks in the memory.

  47. estee on September 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm said:
    Re: graphic stories from the distant past, if we allow the Bayeux tapestry, then this 13th-century beauty, The Burning of the Sanjo Palace, should also be included.

    In terms of long-ago and stuff I’ve actually seen, the painted walls (outside walls) of the Bucovina monasteries in Romania are something else. This one in particular:


    Ok not super original narratives but that isn’t a fair criticism 🙂

  48. I believe I had a copy of a Scholastic collection of Alan E. Nourse stories called “The Counterfeit Man” when I was a kid in the mid to late 1960s.

    I still have mine!

    But that’s not the Nourse I will review one Sunday.

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