Pixel Scroll 2/15/16 Cause Pixels Like Us, Baby We Were Born To Scroll

(1) STAR WARS VIII. Cameras are rolling for the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, written and directed by Rian Johnson.

(2) THAT WAS THE FUTURE THAT WAS. A 1983 cover of BYTE.

Byte videotext cover

And if I squint real hard, will one of the options say, “I’ll be back”?

(3) EYE SING THE BODY ELECTRIC. A mere $3.50 on eBay!

Eye Sing

Twilight Zone Prop Reproduction From the only Twilight Zone episode, scripted by Ray Bradbury, I Sing The Body Electric comes a Facsimile UnLimited original – entitled: Eye Lettuce, it represents one of the eyes available for the fabrication “Grandma”.

(4) RONDO NOMINATING OPEN. If you’re a fan who’s enjoyed James H. Burns’ columns for File 770, affirming that you’d like to see him as a nominee for this year’s Rondo Awards could make a difference.

Check in at the Classic Horror Film Board’s Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards threads “For Best Blog or Online Column: James H. Burns at File 770” and “The Geography of Eden” for “Best Article”. While a nomination apparently is not decided by raw numbers, enthusiastic comments are likely to help,

(5) APEX ACQUISITION. Apex Publications has acquired Yours to Tell: Dialogues on the Art & Practice of Writing by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem, and expects to release the book in 2017.

Yours to Tell is a writers guide to fiction based on Steve and Melanie’s writing processes and experiences they’ve had teaching fiction, including two stints at the annual Odyssey Writing Workshop in New Hampshire.

About Yours to Tell, Steve says, “The book consists of a series of dialogues in which we discuss a number of topics on the writing of fiction, a method which we developed while teaching and continued to use for various articles and columns on both genre and non-genre writing. This is a unique approach for a writing guide, and has the advantage of presenting two different, but complimentary points of view for the basic issues of craft and encouragement which face all writers, whatever their level of skill and experience. We made this guidebook dense with practical information, empowering for new writers desiring a path for learning the craft, and inspiring even for those with more experience but wanting a fresh and encouraging view of the fiction writing process.”

(6) RECOGNIZING THE LESSON. “GUNN: ‘Hollywood Will Misunderstand The Lesson’ Of DEADPOOL’s Success” is the warning quoted by a Newsarama story.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn has come out with a very positive review of 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool, but warns that some in Hollywood already have misguided reasons on why the film is a success.

“I love Deadpool even more – the film is hilariously funny, has lots of heart, and is exactly what we need right now, taking true risks in spectacle film,” Gunn posted on Facebook.

However, Gunn takes issue with the perception of an unnamed studio executive who stated (via Deadline) that Deadpool succeeded because “The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label takes itself so seriously, can you imagine them making fun of themselves in a movie? They’d rather stab themselves.”

“Come on, Deadline,” said Gunn, going on to state that saying Marvel wouldn’t poke fun at itself is “rewriting history.”

“Let’s ignore Guardians for a moment, a movie that survives from moment to moment building itself up and cutting itself down – God knows I’m biased about that one. But what do you think Favreau and Downey did in Iron Man? What the f*** was Ant-Man??!”

Gunn goes on to say that he worries studio executives will learn the wrong lessons from Deadpool.

Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.”

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born February 15, 1954 – Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons.

(9) CONTINUED NEXT SLATE. Vox Day posted his slate for another Hugo category – “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Related Work”.

The preliminary recommendations for the Best Related Work category:

  • Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson.
  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini.
  • The Story of Moira Greyland by Moira Greyland.
  • Safe Space as Rape Room by Daniel Eness.
  • SJWs Always Lie by Vox Day.

(10) OCCURRING IN NATURE. The weekly science journal Nature for at least a decade has run an SF short story on the last page of each issue. The story in the February 4 issue was Robert Reed’s “An investment for the future.”

Nature’s brief background statement about author Reed says —

Affiliations

Robert Reed is the author of several hundreds stories and a few novels. He won a Hugo before it was controversial. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

(11) FAVORITE SON. Jim C. Hines pleads for equal time for the “Adventures of Michigan Man”.

From time to time, I see people collecting headlines about the wacky adventures of “Florida Man.” I decided to take a look and see what my home state’s “superhero” has been up to lately…

Two of his ten amusing examples:

(12) KEYBOARD KOMEDY. Meanwhile, Ohio Man was surprised when his fingers didn’t type what his brain commanded.

(13) DREAM LOUDER. At The Space Review, Dwayne Day’s article “In space no one can hear you dream” discusses the importance of entertainment set in outer space.

Space enthusiasts, particularly those who have a vision of humanity spreading out into the solar system and establishing settlements, have had a difficult time convincing anybody other than a small group of true believers of the legitimacy of their cause. To have a broader impact they need as much help as they can get, particularly in the form of mass entertainment that can shape the popular culture and influence the general public, making settlement seem not fantastical or crazy but instead acceptable, as simply another step in human evolution….

The Expanse is the closest depiction of what space settlement advocates must see when they dream—and yet it is not a very positive vision of the future….

Life is not entertainment and entertainment is not life. But space advocates need popular entertainment to provide positive depictions of humanity’s future in space, not negative ones. They need a culture that is not hostile to their religion, and so far they haven’t gotten that, not even from the most sophisticated portrayal of solar sci-fi to date. Dying of asphyxiation or starvation on Ceres is not an appealing vision, and none of these examples of popular entertainment have provided a satisfactory explanation of why humanity should spread out into the solar system. So far popular entertainment is not helping. Perhaps somewhere right now a space advocate is penning the next great movie about humans moving beyond low Earth orbit, one where the achievement may involve struggle, but where the payoff is greater than simply survival against all odds. After all, survival is a heck of a lot easier by simply staying on Earth.

(14) DEPRESSION ERA MARS. BoingBoing reproduces the colorful alien tableaux from the astonishing “Psychedelic Space Alien themed Art Deco style 1931 high school yearbook” produced by Los Angeles University High School.

(15) MARS MY DESTINATION. Motherboard has the story about how “Britain’s Mapping Agency Made a Map of Mars”.

We’ll need maps when we go to Mars, too. At least, that’s the thinking behind British mapping organisation Ordnance Survey’s new map of the Martian landscape, which presents an otherworldly location in a format earthly ramblers will find familiar.

“There’s certainly no reason why you couldn’t imagine a future where someone might actually use a map on Mars in the same way that they would use a map on Earth,” said cartographic designer Chris Wesson, who made the map of a patch of Martian topography 3672 by 2721 km across, to a scale of 1:4 million.

(16) MARTIANS NEED PHONES TOO. This 1995 ad for AT&T stars Ray Walston who played a Martian living on Earth in the 1960s TV series My Favorite Martian which is the in-joke

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Dave Doering, Martin Morse Wooster, Mark Olson, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

266 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/15/16 Cause Pixels Like Us, Baby We Were Born To Scroll

  1. Blah, blah, blah racism, blah, blah, blah

    No way making a character a POC could be to make them more interesting or accessible to more people.

    Your a broken record Phantom. You have no imagination. As soon as you see a character change race or gender your brain shuts down. You keep saying the same thing over and over again. White characters changed to POC is evil.

    Lots of changes are made in comic books all the time and aren’t explained. Movies frequently change dramatically from the comic or book. It’s been that way since books and comics were first adapted to the screen.

    I’m tired of the number of films which, for no reason, take people of color and women and make them white or male. Happens with 90% of POC characters adapted for TV or movies. Does that tick you off? If not, why not?

  2. @Phantom

    Ms. Marvel was a generic eye-candy blond. Both Ms Marvel, and the blond in question have moved on.

    Changing Kamala Khan to a blond doesn’t work as this Ms Marvel is about how Kamala deals with her status both as a superhero as well a member of her community. Similarly, Steve Rogers doesn’t really work when you change him from a blue-eyed blond to a black man, or to a woman. The challenges he faced as a 4F man were substantially different to the challenges others would have faced.

    But the identities themselves are mutable. If you want to tell the story of an attarctive blonde Ms Marvel, you have Carol Danvers. For Captain America, you have Isiah Bradley or Sam Wilson or Danielle Cage.

    My, and perhaps others, measure is that the change should not detract from the story. Your metric is that the change must improve the story. One side effect of this is that you see change – particularly change that challenges your beliefs – as something negative, something that must be proven.

    End of the day, I’m absolutely aware the a substantial amount of characters and leads tend to be straight white males, given when and where they were created.. But what I also realise is that in many cases, there is actually no intrinsic need for this to be the order of the day, and that quite often the change does not detract from the story at all.

  3. snowcrash: My, and perhaps others, measure is that the change should not detract from the story. Your metric is that the change must improve the story. One side effect of this is that you see change – particularly change that challenges your beliefs – as something negative, something that must be proven.

    I find it bizarre that “not changing anything” is being equated to “respecting the source”.

    Science fiction and fantasy are about creating strange new worlds and exploring them. How boring it would be indeed, if those strange new worlds cannot continue to change with the times and with our imaginations. Expanding and exploring those worlds with new situations is certainly still “respecting the source”.

    I knew someone who insisted on eating the same thing, prepared in the same way, for dinner every night. Adding a garnish or sauce, or changing one of the side dishes, was simply not done. What a boring, tedious world that person must inhabit — and how sad that their mind simply can’t deal with anything other than what they already know.

  4. @The Phantom – Green Lantern? That’s your argument? Half the problem with that film was that they were trying to shoehorn too much of the huge and sometimes confusing GL canon into ninety minutes, and the film ended up overstuffed and directionless. Honestly, if there was a film that would have been improved by quietly ignoring a bunch of its source material, it was Green Lantern.

    ‘Respect for source material’ is not the same as ‘slavish devotion to source material’, and it neither guarantees a good movie. Hell, Constantine with Keanu Reeves took a frigging crowbar to the Hellblazer comics, and it was an enjoyable enough picture once you got past that.

  5. @JJ I knew someone who insisted on eating the same thing, prepared in the same way, for dinner every night. Adding a garnish or sauce, or changing one of the side dishes, was simply not done.

    Hey I resemble that remark. Well until the stupid gallbladder is removed and I’m recovered. Sometime in March or April. Only my food is boring. Filers and good books/comics/other blogs/etc. add plenty of spice to my life. 😉

    You know some of us are just picky eaters. I don’t force my picky food habits on anyone else. LOL

  6. @The Phantom: So, almost everything you said was wrong, but you said it somewhat less disdainfully this time so I think we can work with that. 🙂

    Could Dr. Strange be a black guy? Sure. If they got the right actor, and didn’t make the change because of PC politics.

    So let’s leave aside for a minute that I consider what you call “PC politics” to be an excellent reason to recast a legacy white-man character, because I’ve had cancer twice and I can’t count on convincing you on the matter in whatever time I may have available.

    How can you know?

    There are all kinds of reason why producers might change the race of a legacy character beyond “doing the right thing” in terms of box-checking. These include: having the right actor; (Michael B. Jordan, for instance, gave one of the performances of the year in Creed. It’s not his fault FF was fractally misconceived.); wanting to appeal to today’s diverse market as opposed to yesterday’s monoculture – crass commercialism is something conservatives and libertarians should be able to respect; sensing that in today’s culture, the position of a particular cultural group now seems to fit better with a legacy character than their original cultural identity – for instance, Ben Grimm’s relation to “the Yancey Street Gang” was part and parcel of an era of Manhattan history when white ethnic kids, especially Jews, grew up in rough & tumble tenement blocks and formed gangs; gangs of Jewish kids are, to my knowledge…not a prominent feature of contemporary Manhattan life. So it might make a great deal of sense to cast Ben Grimm as Latino or African-American.

    There are probably reasons I haven’t thought of, but those are three off the top of my head. So my question remains, how do you know when a part has been recast because of “PC politics” rather than one of these other reasons. Or no reason! “We just felt like it.” (Why did Bob Kane and Bill Finger make Clark Kent white?) You can’t see into their hearts.

    I suspect that the answer is, you assume the producers are guilty of “PC politics” until and unless they can prove otherwise to your satisfaction, and you hate “PC politics” so much that the burden of that proof is almost always insurmountable.

    Ms. Marvel the graphic novel, nominated for the Hugo in 2015: can you take out the Muslim girl and substitute generic eye-candy Hollywood blonde? What if there’s a constituency for that change? Will it work, or will it be bullshit?

    See how when the shoe goes on the other foot it looks all heinous?

    This is false symmetry for reasons Felicia Day explained awhile ago.

    In this particular case, Kamala Khan’s identity as a Muslim and the daughter of Pakistani immigrants really is central to the character. If you ever read these comics you would see how that is the case. Spider-Man’s stories were never about his whiteness. (Peter Parker was really Jewish, mind you, not that Lee and Ditko were going to come out and say that.) Spider-Man’s combination of economic stress, intellect and alienation against a powerful impulse to do good for others are why the character works really well as a Latino blerd. Miles Morales. You can read his comics too.

    But leave that aside. Because of the way Hollywood works, the symmetry you think you’ve posited isn’t there.

    Bottom line: when you take already successful franchises with very long pedigrees, and you then change basic things about them for reasons that have nothing to do with the story, the result will not work well and the movie version of the popular franchise will suck. Two words, Green Lantern.

    Do you see why Green Lantern is a hilarious character to bring up in the context of a discussion of changing a character’s race because of “PC politics?” Hint: it has nothing to do with the movie.

    Respect the lore or watch your hundred million bucks go up in smoke.

    Here is where your lack of knowledge of that “lore” is hampering your understanding. For instance, the FF movie at least intended to “respect the lore” of the Ultimate continuity version of the team. Doing the same thing is how Avengers made Marvel a billion dollars. Avengers isn’t unpleasantly grim and savage like the Ultimates comics were, but in terms of how various characters related to SHIELD and the casting of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, there’s an awful lot of Ultimates in MCU continuity. Which makes sense, since, you know, one of the points of the Ultimate line of comics in the first place was, “Hey, let’s write these like the movies would do our characters.”

    And Julius Schwartz disrespected the hell out of the “lore” of the Golden Age when he revamped Green Lantern and the Flash and Hawkman and the Atom and everyone else, revived superhero comics and started the Silver Age. Did John Byrne “respect the lore” of Superman when he revamped the character at DC’s behest in the mid-80s? Many, many fans felt he did not! But DC made a lot of money off it.

    Superheroes, as part of popular culture, have to change over time to reflect that culture. If they don’t, they end up in the nostalgia bin with Doc Savage and Sir Denis Nayland Smith.

    My suggestion would be, take a deep breath, let your tsuris about “PC politics” go for a bit, and just experience contemporary pop culture for itself. The FF movie will still suck; black Heimdall will still be a minor accessory to an enjoyable series of buddy pictures dominated by Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston; and distaff Ghostbusters will either be hilarious or not, because as a wise man once said, sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    And maybe read some comics. They’re fun! And Marvel Unlimited is only like $9 a month.

  7. @JJ – It’s a particularly difficult claim to make regarding comics, given how mutable not just the characters, but the timeline themselves are. How did Xavier become a paraplegic? Where did Stark build the Mk 1? All of these have been updated or retconned in the comics multiple times, sometimes to make sense of the “10 year timeline”, sometimes for other reasons (ie aligning with the MCU).

    Dunno (and don’t care) about Green Lantern enough to notice any major changes to lore. Seemed pretty faithful, if as you say, overstuffed. Hal Jordan is a test pilot, braver than smart, yadda yadda yadda. The Green Lantern I liked, and was most familiar with thanks to JL(U), was John Stewart.

    @Jim Henley – your comment on Spider-man reminds me of something I read a while back. Essentially it was that you have a young orphaned boy in Queens who is brought up in a not-affluent household, who loses has (adoptive) father to criminal violence and is mostly brought up by his aunt. At which point the writer started to really wonder about the complaints that Peter Parker must be white because $REASONS

    Not sure where I read it from though – maybe Coates? You have no idea how badly I want to read his Black Panther *now*

  8. Jim Henley on February 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm said:

    @Self:

    (Why did Bob Kane and Bill Finger make Clark Kent white?)

    The hell, man. Are you just trolling Busiek now?

    Oh well done 🙂 (there was an Elseworlds though in which Kal-El’s ship crashed in Gotham and he was adopted by the Waynes? My memory of these things is less than encylopedic)

  9. snowcrash on February 18, 2016 at 8:13 pm said:

    @Jim Henley – your comment on Spider-man reminds me of something I read a while back. Essentially it was that you have a young orphaned boy in Queens who is brought up in a not-affluent household, who loses has (adoptive) father to criminal violence and is mostly brought up by his aunt.

    In the Netflix Daredevil the classic Murdoch/Daredevil backstory felt anarchronistic.

  10. @Camestros – I remember that Elseworlds. Speeding Bullets. It wasn’t bad, as I remember it but the follow up where Bruce Wayne became Green Lantern of Earth didn’t do it for me.

  11. Camestros Felapton
    Don’t know about Elseworlds, but that sounds like something I saw once in one of their ‘imaginary’ stories (which were always stuffed to Mr. Creosote level with ironic coincidences — Yes, Dear Reader, in this imaginary tale, Lois Lane is a ten-foot tall four-slice pop-up toaster! IRONIC, isn’t it??) back in the silver age.

    Reading these stories, with all those koochy-coo coincimadences going on feels somewhat like being in the company of some jerk who believes you’re on acid, and it’s up to him to make sure you have a “trippy” time, so he keeps twiddling his fingers in front of your eyes, even after you tell him to knock it off.

  12. There are all kinds of reason why producers might change the race of a legacy character beyond “doing the right thing” in terms of box-checking.

    For that matter, the reason Marvel changed Nick Fury to a black guy in the Ultimate line was to get some more black faces into their new spin on the Marvel Universe. So while it’s excused as somehow okay in the AVENGERS movies because it was based on the comic, which means it wasn’t just done for PC — in the comics it was done for PC.

    The character was popular, but that doesn’t change the reason why it was initially done. We’re told that if that’s why it was done, then it’s inherently bad. Except that it wasn’t with Nick, so apparently it’s only bad if you don’t like it.

    And Kane and Finger made Clark Kent white for the same reason Simon & Kirby made Diana Prince a nurse.

  13. @snowcrash: I think you’re being a little unjust to Carol Danvers, who when she made her debut was the chief of security at a US Air Force base. Hardly “generic eye candy”, especially in the late ’60s.

  14. @David Goldfarb

    That’s entirely fair – I know very little of Carol Danvers’ pre-Warbird days (except about that horrific pregnancy story). I was going more by appearance than anything else

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