Pixel Scroll 1/20/17 Try A Little Pixelness

(1) ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. GoodEReader reports “Audio Realms is out of business”.

Audio Realms has gone out of business and they have taken their main website and Facebook Page offline. They have provided no indication on what prompted their company to suspend operations. Some of their audiobook content remains available on Audible and Overdrive.

Some customers are irate who purchased Audio Realms content on Audiobooks.com. It seems that when the company want out of business all of the purchased content has disappeared from customers libraries and they have no way to access them.

The Horror Show podcast from November has info on how affected creators can stop further sales of their work (apparently AR was not paying creators what they were owed), around the 36:58 mark.

(2) GORN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Fifty years ago this week Captain Kirk dueled the Gorn.

The lumbering green guy appeared in the original series’ 18th episode, “Arena.” The episode was based on a short story written by Frederic Brown and published in Astounding magazine back in 1944.

In the memorable Star Trek version, Captain Kirk is transported to a rocky planet (aka California’s alien-appearing Vasquez Rocks) to duke it out to the death with the Gorn captain. We won’t give away the ending in case you’re saving all the original episodes for a rainy day or something, but let’s just say that there is not one thing about the Gorn that is not awesome…

(3) SFRA CALLS. The Science Fiction Research Association has put out a call for panel and presentation proposals for its SFRA Annual Conference, June 28 to July 1, 2017 at University of California, Riverside.

The conference theme will be Unknown Pasts / Unseen Futures and our keynote speaker is Nnedi Okorafor. This theme grows out of the 2016 conference, whose conversations reminded us that there is so much about the history of science fiction that has yet to be sufficiently addressed in scholarship, including marginalized or otherwise neglected bodies of work. The future of scholarship in the field can be opened up to new possibilities through this return to under examined elements in our genre’s past, opening it up to futures that are as-yet unanticipated in existing fictional and scholarly visions. This conference theme also reflects UCR’s commitment to science fiction scholarship that is focused on imagining and creating sustainable and inclusive futures. Thus our focus is equally on new voices in the field and the new kinds of futures that emerge from this broader sense of the field’s membership.

(4) BLINTZ BLITZ. Scott Edelman’s 27th episode of his Eating the Fantastic podcast features Ellen Datlow and Ukranian cuisine.

This first to be recorded this visit took place at the Ukranian restaurant Veselka, which turns out more than 3,000 pierogi each day, and has been around since 1954. My guest that afternoon was editor Ellen Datlow, who for more than 35 years has brought readers amazing stories in magazines such as Omni, on sites such as SCI FI Fiction, and in anthologies such as Fearful Symmetries, The Doll Collection, and more than 90 others.

We discussed why reading slush is relaxing, which editors she wanted to emulate when she began editing, how she winnows down her favorite stories for her Year’s Best anthologies, the complexities of navigating friendships when making editorial decisions, how Ed Bryant challenged her to become a better editor, and much more.

EllenDatlowVeselka-768x768

(5) FERRER OBIT. Actor Miguel Ferrer (1955-2017) died January 19. Geek Chocolate explains why you would know that famous sci-fi face:

In another shocking loss, we say goodbye to the actor who went from the helm of the USS Excelsior to the labs of OCP where RoboCop was built, from aiding Agent Dale Cooper in the town of Twin Peaks to Vice President of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

His first major role having been in Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop, he also had roles in William Friedkin’s The Guardian, Jim Abrahams’ Hot Shots! Part Deux, and as a voice actor in Disney’s Mulan and Justice League: The New Frontier as Martian Manhunter, but it was on television that he created the roles for which he is most famous.

Other television roles included Magnum, P.I., T J Hooker, Miami Vice, Tales from the Crypt, David Lynch’s On the Air, Will & Grace, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Robot Chicken, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Lie to Me, Psych, Desperate Housewives and most recently a long-running role as Assistant Director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, and it has been confirmed that he will be seen again later this year as Albert Rosenfield when Twin Peaks returns this summer.

The son of singer Rosemary Clooney and actor José Ferrer, the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in David Lynch’s Dune, his cousin George is also in the acting business.

(6) SMITH OBIT. Renowned convention bookseller Larry Smith (1946-2017) died January 20 from a dissected aortic aneurysm.

SF Site News recapped his fannish resume:

Columbus book dealer Larry Smith (b.1946) died on January 20. Smith co-chaired the Columbus in 1976 Worldcon bid as well as chairing Marcons III-XII. He served as a vice-chair for Chicon IV in 1982. He also co-charied OVFF in 1998 and World Fantasy Con in 2010. In the early 1990s, he purchased Dick Spelman’s book business and, along with his wife, Sally Kobee, has sold books and most conventions in the Midwest and East Coast. He has managed the dealer’s room at numerous Worldcons and other conventions.

Smith and his friend Robert Hillis suffered repeated frustrations trying to get a WSFS convention for Columbus, OH – a city which was not very many fans’ idea of a tourist mecca. Later they did get to apply their talents to winning a 1982 Worldcon bid (led by Larry Propp and Ross Pavlac) for Chicago, a city fans would vote for.

In the past couple of decades Smith became an iconic convention bookseller, together with his wife Sally Kobee. If the business didn’t make them rich, just the same it did get them noticed by Forbes Magazine.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 20, 1936:  Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi face off in The Invisible Ray.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born January 20  — Nancy Kress

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born January 20, 1896  — George Burns, who once played God, is best known to fans as the actor who stood next to young Ray Bradbury in this photo.
George Burns and Ray Bradbury.

George Burns and Ray Bradbury.

  • Born January 20, 1926 – Harry Glyer
  • Born January 20, 1930 – Buzz Aldrin
  • Born January 20 – Jared Dashoff

(10) OH POOH. Five days left for you to bid on a drawing of Pooh and Piglet by the canonical illustrator. The minimum bid is $45,000.

Beautifully rendered watercolor and ink drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet by E.H. Shepard, the illustrator chosen by A.A. Milne to bring his literary characters to life. Here, Shepard draws Pooh and Piglet upon a letter to his agent, allowing the characters to express his feelings of gratitude and joy.

Pooh drawing

(11) RED PLANET, BLUE PLANET. NPR reviews Carrie Vaughn’s novel — “’Martians Abroad’ Is An Optimistic Glance Into Humanity’s Future”.

It’s perfect timing, then, for the publication of Martians Abroad. The novel is the latest from New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn, best known for her Kitty Norville urban fantasy series. But rather than involving werewolves in modern-day America, Martians Abroad sets its sights on the human-colonized solar system of tomorrow.

That said, most of Martians Abroad — as the title states — doesn’t take place on Mars at all. The majority of the action takes place on Earth. Polly Newton is a typical teenager — that is, a typical teenager living on Mars’ Colony One, where her mother is the director of operations. She sends Polly and her twin brother Charles to Earth to attend Galileo Academy, a prestigious school full of the scions of the most powerful families in the solar system. Polly and Charles are the first Martians to enroll at Galileo, partly because Mars is less wealthy and seen as a bit of a hick planet. (Not that Polly wants to go to Earth in the first place — she’s forced to abandon an upcoming internship as a starship pilot, something she desires more than anything.)

Chip Hitchcock sent the link with the gratuitous plea, “I hope they’re wrong about it being an homage to Podkayne of Mars, one of Heinlein’s more repellent books.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Christa Cook Sinclair, David K.M. Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP, who never gets woolly.]

71 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/20/17 Try A Little Pixelness

  1. @Chip: It’s a little confusingly written, because the Outsider starts out by saying that it will just “destroy one fleet completely”, but then it goes on to say “The survivor is the champion of his race. That race survives. …. If you die, your failure will be the end of your race.” I guess you could take that to mean either that the Outsider would wipe out the home planet of the loser, or that the winner’s fleet would go on to do that, but either way it seems like a scorched-earth plan.

    @James: I never thought of the possible reference to the Japanese flag before— there aren’t any tentacles on the flag, but that still sounds plausible. What does strongly remind me of the evil red ball, unfortunately, are the animated red sphere characters in all the AMC movie theater pre-show ads, which always creep me out.

  2. @Hampus: I thought the first half of It Follows was absolutely brilliant but then it completely lost the plot, and it was not redeemed by its fairly clever ending.

  3. @Jack Lint

    The Gorn are a playable race in Star Trek Online, along with the Green Orions they became part of the Klingon empire, so you see a lot of them around.

  4. Eck, I tried to post a comment about “Podkayne of Mars” and I must have done something wrong because it’s disappeared. Suffice to say, I remember reading it at about 13 years old (56 now) , and although I don’t remember at all if I actually liked it. My first Heinlein was “The Puppet Masters,” which I read over and over again, possibly for the nudity.

    I read “Starman Jones” probably around the same time, and reread it maybe 8 years ago, and still liked it.

    And very sorry to hear about Larry Smith, who I bought many books from at Windycon, Capricon, and Chicon7.

  5. I loved Podkayne of Mars, while seeing lots of its problems as a young teen. I’ve stopped rereading it so I can preserve at least some of that love.

  6. John M. Cowan: I found your original comment in trash and have approved it. There’s some overlap with the second comment but I’m sure we can live with that.

  7. I read a lot of Hein,ein, but read Puppet Masters relativly late, mainly to close the gaps (i.e. I aimed to read all novels that were availible in German). I felt it was dated. Not bad, but, dated. And I am/was a BIG Heinlein fan!
    Probably the reason: Back then the idea was new, but when I came across it, it has been done repeatedly in all kinds of forms.

    Maybe that is another reason, why new readers are not necessary in love with “classic SF” (as discussed in another scroll)

  8. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP, who never gets woolly.

    I’m not so much woolly as I am sheepish looking.

    Having smashed through Abbadon’s Gate in a couple of days I’m continuing on with Cibola Burn and wishing I’d picked up on the Expanse series earlier.

  9. @Eli: so both of us remembered correctly — there’s a difference between what’s narrated and what’s to come, which is plausible in a short work. Thanks for the update.

    @Peer Sylvester: you mean like the people who think Shakespeare put too many cliche’d phrases in his work? Not quite a fair comparison, perhaps, as the original ideas are sometimes expounded clumsily or with contemporary baggage, but ISTM that it’s worth knowing how unoriginal some ideas are. (This lack of knowledge seems more common when mundane authors try to write SF; cf Laurie R. King’s Califia’s Daughters.)

  10. Yes, that might be the case. I mean, who really wants to read a classic take on Zombies now?
    Granted that is probably an extreme example, but people tend to compare and if there is a lot of “same but better” stuff around, people cant be blamed if they dislike the original.
    Sometimes the original is the best (as it is argubly with Shakespeare), but often ideas are improved upon, telling a similiar story leaner , better, more modern… If you dont have nostalgia to make up for it (because you read them for the first time), they might just loose to newer works.

  11. I’ve been re-reading some of H.G. Wells’ SF recently, since they just went out of UK copyright. In this case, being very early versions of a lot of major SF ideas mostly works to their benefit.

  12. Gorn were actually one of the enemy races in a version of a text-based Star Trek game I used to plan on an IBM mainframe, with the code written in APL. I believe there were Klingon, Romulan, Tholian, and Gorn as enemies. The Romulans had cloaking fields so you could only pinpoint their locations after they shot at you, the Tholians could create a ‘web’ and keep your ship from moving if there were enough of them in a sector, the Klingons had some nasty weaponry… the Gorns were the wimps of the enemies, with nothing you didn’t have. Of course, given that in the show we never really saw Gorn ships, I guess the writers of the game were working with what they had, which was nothing.

    (APL was the first programming language I ever learned, back in the mid-70s. Some people have ranting uncles with opinions about people. My uncle had opinions about programming languages, worked in the computing services department at a University, and taught me to program in APL when I was about eight. He also showed me that Star Trek game. I used to have rolls of thermal paper from an IBM terminal from the games I played.)

  13. In Starfleet Battles, the Gorn are presented as big enemies of the Romulans, and using smaller sized but still potent plasma weapons.

  14. Sorry to hear about Larry Smith; he was an important part of Readercon for me. Condolences to his family and friends.

  15. (6) SMITH OBIT. Very sad. Like many, I’ve bought plenty of books from him (them) over the years.

  16. I’m terribly sad to hear about Larry Smith. He was my favorite bookseller the last few years. My deepest condolences to Sally.

  17. Why do so many people miss the point about Saint Podkayne? Is it because they delight in inferior teachings?

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