Pixel Scroll 3/19/17 1984 Was Not Supposed To Be An Instruction Manual!

(1) FAKE REVIEWS FOR CHARITY. For Red Nose Day, March 24, 2017, “Pay a fiver to Comic Relief and TQF will review your book. (But we won’t read it.)”.

The Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction team have written for the most respectable reviewing publications in the world, including Interzone! Black Static! The BFS Journal! And the Reading University student newspaper! But on Friday, 24 March 2017, for one day only, they will cast aside their scruples and review books they’ve never read, all in aid of Comic Relief.

For authors and publishers, big and small, this will be a great way to publicise your books while supporting a good cause. And maybe it’ll help people to recognise fake reviews when they see them. The book doesn’t have to be yours. You could order a review for a friend’s book. Or your favourite novel. Or your least favourite. Or buy several reviews. Anything you like!

We are taking bookings in advance. Once you have made a donation of five pounds, email us with the cover and blurb, or just include an Amazon link to the book in your message when making the donation, and we’ll book you in.

(2) GRUMPY OR DOC? The Guardian’s Zoe Williams asks “Beauty and the Beast: Feminist or Fraud?”

Has Disney really turned Beauty and the Beast into a feminist fairytale? Or is it all just posh frocks and women’s work with a slice of Stockholm syndrome thrown in? We delve beneath the furry facade

1) Incomplete subversion of the genre

The main – indeed the only – stated piece of feminism is that Belle has a job, so escapes the passivity and helplessness that has defined heroines since Disney and beyond. Eagle eyed feminist-checkers noted even before the film’s release that Belle’s inventing is unpaid – so it’s not a job, it’s a hobby. I don’t mind that. The future of work is automation, and even feminists will have to get used to finding a purpose outside the world of money.

I do, however, feel bound to point out that Belle’s invention is a washing machine, a contraption she rigs up to a horse, to do her domestic work while she teaches another, miniature feminist how to read. The underlying message baked into this pie is that laundry is women’s work, which the superbly clever woman will delegate to a horse while she spreads literacy. It would be better if she had used her considerable intellect to question why she had to wash anything at all, while her father did nothing more useful than mend clocks. It’s unclear to me why anyone in this small family needs to know the time.

(3) WHAT IF THEY THROW ROCKS? Eavesdrop on the “Confessions of an asteroid hunter” in The Guardian.

Space physicist Dr Carrie Nugent talks about the chances of Earth being hit by a giant asteroid – and why she owes her job to a Bruce Willis movie

The New Scientist reported research that speculated that millions could die if an asteroid came down over a city. Or that a tsunami would kill 50,000 people in Rio de Janeiro if it landed in the sea off the coast of Brazil. How likely is that? An asteroid impact in the worst-case scenario is a terrifying thing. It seems very uncontrollable: in popular culture it’s often a metaphor for human powerlessness over the world. But when you actually look at the problem and you look at statistics, you realise that we can find asteroids, and we can predict where they are going incredibly accurately. That’s kind of unique for something that’s a natural disaster. And, if we had enough warning time, we could actually move one away. It’s a solvable problem.

And these include firing a nuclear missile at the asteroid? Certainly. I interviewed Lindley Johnson who’s got the coolest title in the world: planetary defence officer. He makes the point that nuclear is something that’s being considered, but he also says that it’s a last resort. One thing I found surprising is that the most effective thing might just be to get out of the way. If it’s a small asteroid – and depending on where it’s going to come down – you might just want to evacuate. In the same way you would deal with a flood.

(4) IT’S ACCURACY IN JOURNALISM. This past week George R.R. Martin and the Mayor Santa Fe helped launch The Stagecoach Foundation, whose assets include a small office building. Martin wrote immediately after the launch —

Stagecoach will be a non-profit foundation. Our dream is to bring more jobs to the people of Santa Fe, and to help train the young people of the city for careers in the entertainment industry, through internships, mentoring, and education.

Apparently news reports got significant facts wrong, even the nearest big city paper. When when he saw the news reports, GRRM wrote a list of corrections:

— the Stagecoach building is not 30,000 square feet. Someone pulled that number out of their ass, and dozens of other reports have repeated it. That’s a rough approximate figure for MEOW WOLF, an entirely different place on the other side of Santa Fe. The Stagecoach building is perhaps a third that size,

— I did not “build” Stagecoach. David Weininger did that in 1999, as the headquarters for his compnay, Daylight Chemical Information Systems,

— I am not “opening a film studio.” Stagecoach is a non-profit foundation dedicated to bringing more film and television production to Santa Fe, it is not a film studio,

— there are no sound stages at Stagecoach (though there are several here in town, at the Santa Fe Studios and the Greer Garson Studios). It’s an office building, and will be used primarily for pre- and post-production purposes,

— I am not going to be “running” a foundation, much less a studio. That task I’ve given to a dynamic young lady named Marisa X. Jiminez, who helped open Santa Fe Studios here in town, and who will have total charge of the day-to-day operations of Stagecoach, under a board of directors.

(5) OVER THE TRANSOM. Compelling Science Fiction editor Joe Stech says they’re once again open for submissions. He’s looking for stories to include in issue 7 (and beyond). The submissions window will remain open until 11:59pm MDT on June 1st, 2017. Full details on the submissions page.

(6) MONTAIGNE OBIT. An actor who appeared in two original Star Trek episodes, Lawrence Montaigne (1931-2017) has died.

StarTrek.com is saddened to report the passing of Lawrence Montaigne, the veteran actor who played the Romulan, Decius, in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Balance of Terror” in 1966 and returned a year later to portray Stonn, a Vulcan, in “Amok Time.” The actor died on Friday, March 17, at the age of 86.

(7) BERRY OBIT. Famed guitarist Chuck Berry (ob-sf — he was referenced Back to the Future) died March 18. The Guardian has the best obit says Cat Eldridge.

Chuck Berry, who has died aged 90, was rock’n’roll’s first guitar hero and poet. Never wild, but always savvy, Berry helped define the music. His material fused insistent tunes with highly distinctive lyrics that celebrated with deft wit and loving detail the glories of 1950s US teen consumerism.

His first single, Maybellene, began life as “country music”, by which Berry meant country blues, but was revamped on the great postwar Chicago label Chess in 1955. It was not only rock’n’roll but the perfect indicator of just what riches its singer-songwriter would bring to the form. Starting with a race between a Cadillac and a Ford, told from the Ford-owner’s, and therefore the underdog’s, viewpoint, this immeasurably influential debut record featured one of the most famous opening verses in popular music: “As I was motorvatin’ over the hill / I saw Maybellene in a Coupe de Ville …”

Berry’s recording of “Johnny B. Goode” was included on the disk attached to Voyager, per a birthday letter sent from Carl Sagan.

(8) WRIGHTSON OBIT. Swamp Thing co-creator Bernie Wrightson (1948-2017) died March 18 of brain cancer. He was 68.

Wrightson was best known for co-creating the DC Universe character Swamp Thing with writer Len Wein and for illustrating the Swamp Thing comic in the early ’70s. His many other projects included a comic book version of the 1982 Stephen King-penned anthology horror film Creepshow and a 1983 edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, for which he spent seven years creating around 50 illustrations. Wrightson also worked as a conceptual artist on a number of films including the original Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest, and Creepshow director George A. Romero’s zombie movie Land of the Dead.

(9) TODAY’S DAY

History of International Read To Me Day International Read To Me day was established by the Child Writes Foundation to encourage the growth and spread of adult literacy. It became clear that in countries throughout the world adult literacy is a problem, and many adults simply lack the ability to read even for pleasure. When trying to find ways to help offset this, it became apparent that being read to as a child helped to encourage literacy and a love of reading in adults. The result of these findings was obvious! A holiday needed to be established to encourage the foundations of literacy by reading to our children, and thus was born “International Read To Me Day”!

(10) PORTALS OF DISCOVERY. Will you want to read the book after you play the game? “Joycestick: The Gamification of ‘Ulysses’” on the Boston College website.

A literary critic once asserted that the characters in James Joyce’s Ulysses – the sprawling, modernist opus that has bewitched or bedeviled readers for decades – were not fictitious: Through them, Stuart Gilbert said, Joyce achieved “a coherent and integral interpretation of life.”

Now, through a project titled “Joycestick,” Boston College Joyce scholar Joseph Nugent and his team of mainly BC students have taken this “interpretation of life” to a whole other realm.

Joycestick is Ulysses adapted as an immersive, 3D virtual reality (VR) computer game – a “gamification,” in contemporary parlance. Users don a VR eyepiece and headphones and, with gaming devices, navigate and explore various scenes from the book. Nugent, an associate professor of the practice of English, and his team are continuing to develop, refine and add to Joycestick with the hope of formally unveiling it in Dublin this coming June 16 – the date in 1904 on which Ulysses takes place, now celebrated as Bloomsday in honor of the book’s main character, Leopold Bloom.

(11) CAN’T BE FOUND. The author’s influence on pop culture is pervasive. So “Where Are All the Big Lovecraft Films?” asks this video maker.

H.P. Lovecraft is one of the most important horror and science fiction writers of all time, yet there really aren’t that many large scale adaptations of his work, and even fewer successful ones. So where are all the Lovecraft films?

 

(12) KEEPING UP THE RAY QUOTA. Just in case Camestros Felapton ever does another count….

FATHER ELECTRICO: RAY BRADBURY LIVES FOREVER! is a documentary film based on a collaboration between the author and sculptor Christopher Slatoff.

The frontal view of the sculpture depicts a young Ray’s father carrying him home from a very long day spent at two circuses. Turn the sculpture around and the image of the Illustrated Man and his tattoos come to life and tell their stories.

The other namesake, Mr Electrico, was a carnival magician who charged 12 year-old Ray to “live forever!” The budding author begin writing that day and never stopped.

The video can’t be embedded here, it has to be watched at Vimeo.

(13) NEITHER SNOW NOR SLEET. See Ellen Datlow’s photos from the March 15 KGB Reading.

Nova Ren Suma and Kiini Ibura Salaam read their stories (and parts of stories) the day after NYC’s mini-blizzard when the temperature was still icy

(14) EMAIL ASSAULT. “Shades of Langford’s ‘basilisks’,” says Chip Hitchcock — “US man held for sending flashing tweet to epileptic writer”.

A man accused of sending a flashing image to a writer in order to trigger an epileptic seizure has been arrested, the US justice department says.

John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Maryland, sent Kurt Eichenwald an animated image with a flashing light on Twitter in December, causing the seizure.

He has been charged with criminal cyber stalking and could face a 10-year sentence, the New York Times reports.

“You deserve a seizure for your post,” he is alleged to have written.

Mr Eichenwald is known to have epilepsy. He is a senior writer at Newsweek magazine, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a best-selling author of books including The Informant.

(15) HOW THEY DID IT. The Mummy (2017) Zero Gravity Featurette goes behind the scene of a stunt shown in the trailer.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, and Ellen Datlow for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day lurkertype.]

118 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/19/17 1984 Was Not Supposed To Be An Instruction Manual!

  1. (11) I first heard of H. P. Lovecraft when Night Gallery presented adaptations of the stories “Pickman’s Model” and “Cool Air.” Any reason to think those were substandard adaptations? I’ve never read anything by Lovecraft (yet).

    Oh, um… pre-fifth.

  2. @15: Isn’t 18 years a bit soon for a remake? The zero-G bit looks interesting, but (having done a few dozen jumps) I disbelieve that anyone could be firmly strapped into a rig in zero G in that short interval.

    Fifth!

  3. Second fifth is the best fifth!

    @10 I don’t want to read Joyce, and I haven’t even played the video game! (I *tried* to read Ulysses once and bounced right off it.)

  4. From: a once and future regular who has not lately managed to even lurk regularly but that’s life at the moment:
    To: Filers Everywhere
    Re: Discussion in a recent scroll I can’t seem to find at the moment

    Since I’d fallen behind (way behind) on listening to Welcome to Night Vale, I didn’t yet know about Alice Isn’t Dead and Within the Wires until I saw it discussed here; someone was asking for podcast recommendations, possible in the context of Hugo noms?

    Anyway, I want to thank y’all profusely for having that conversation that alerted me to these podcasts’ existence. I devoured Alice Isn’t Dead: Part 1 over the course of a weekend. Loved it. Can’t wait for Part 2. And I have just finished listening to Within the Wires: Cassette #4 (Sadness, Lungs) and holy shit, shit just got real.

    I feel like maybe it isn’t the wisest move that I’ve actually been listening to WTW in situations appropriate to actual guided relaxation/meditation recordings. Makes things just a little too real. On the other hand, I’m not sure it would be safe listening to it while driving up and down Diagonal Highway or I-25.

    Anyways, thank you again.

  5. 11) Maybe they’re difficult to make because of the pervasive racism?

    14) Heard elseNet: apparently he also tweeted “I hope you die” to Eichenwald. That establishes intent.

    Tangentially, how difficult would it be to code some sort of browser plug-in which would detect and disable Stupid Blinking Shit, thereby blocking this sort of attack? It would certainly have uses far beyond the protection of epileptics, and since the demise of Geocities I don’t think there’s any major website platform for which it would be a serious inconvenience.

  6. Iphinome: Should we pitch in and see what they say about there will be walrus?

    Done. 😀

  7. (2) GRUMPY OR DOC? I watched “Honest Trailers” to see how creepy the cartoon version was. 😉

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwu8XNTGX5o

    (15) HOW THEY DID IT. OK GO’s video was cooler, to me (especially since I’ve seen stuff like the Mummy sequence not done for real and it looked real to me). More info at Wired.

    Also, I’m skeptical when Cruise says anything was spontaneous in that shot. Or maybe he just means that he wanted it to look spontaneous.

  8. @Lee: “Tangentially, how difficult would it be to code some sort of browser plug-in which would detect and disable Stupid Blinking Shit, thereby blocking this sort of attack?”

    Quite difficult, unfortunately, if your goal was to block only animations that flickered at a dangerous rate for epileptics rather than all animations. It would have to intercept rendering of any GIF image and analyze every frame of the image.

  9. @JJ awww I wanted to have some of the guilt^H^H^H^Hblame^H^H^H^H^H credit. Can I paypal you a dollar or something?

  10. Iphinome: awww I wanted to have some of the  guilt  blame  credit. Can I paypal you a dollar or something?

    Nah, save it for the next Nefarious Filer Plan, which will no doubt be proposed in 3… 2… 1… 😀

  11. @Nicole: I’m so glad you enjoyed!

    Both shows are really fantastic, and I love seeing the Night Vale team going and doing new, unique stuff, bringing in new people, and trying out new things.

  12. Quick note to all, that I’ve just put the first work this year on my Hugo longlist record for next year. “And Then There Were (N-1)”, by Sarah Pinsker. The woman who first discovers alternate-timeline travel organizes a convention bringing together a bunch of her alt-selves.
    I found it well-written and amusingly meta, although I did guess in advance the outlines of the solution to the mystery.
    It’s in the latest Uncanny. Their site says it’s available to read for free as of 2017-04-04. Uncanny doesn’t give category lengths in the magazine, alas, but it felt like a novelette to me.

  13. 14) Yikes, that is some serious anti-social behavior.

    I do remember the “basilisk” stories, I came across them around the same time THE RING came out,

    11. There have been Lovecraft-adjacent movies that have done all right, but straight up adaptations seem to have not quite done so well. I think its probably the relative lack of action in Lovecraft stories. Despite what the CoC RPG might suggest, a lot of Lovecraft is very much talking, discussing, and reflection, rather than grabbing a bunch of guns and dynamite and facing off against the Deep Ones.The racism in the stories doesn’t do Lovecraft any favors, although that might not have stopped filmmakers in earlier eras.

    I think that’s why the excitement and disappointment at Del Toro’s flirting with doing “At the Mountains of Madness” is so high. A solid, big screen adaptation of Lovecraft in that vein seems as unlikely now as, say, a solid big screen adaptation of, say, The Lord of the Rings was 20 years ago, and craved all the same.

  14. Guillermo del Toro was trying to make an At the Mountains of Madness movie, but last I heard he said the similarities with Prometheus meant at least a long delay.

    I’ve just been watching the Netflix show Stranger Things, and it features a run-down American town, a basement portal to another dimension, an indescribable monster in the walls – the references are everywhere. And they may not come directly from Lovecraft, but from other books, shows or even games (Half Life?) which in turn were inspired by Lovecraft.

    It’s a bit like John Carter – people seeing the trailer thought it was ripping scenes from Star Wars. Likewise much of Lovecraft has been copied so many times that a straight adaptation of the original would not look, well, original.

  15. @David : Oooh, I love Pinsker’s work. Thanks for the recommendation!

    (Greg at RSR pegs it as a novella, and seems to have loved it just as much as you have 🙂 )

  16. @Niall McAuley

    Stranger Things gave me a Half Life vibe as well. I sold some friends on it by describing it “The Goonies meets Half Life”.

  17. (11) The two best Lovecraft adaptations I’ve seen remain the films from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (www.hplhs.org) — they did a version of Call of Cthulhu in the style of a 1920s black & white silent movie, with a stop-motion animated Cthulhu (I did see a clip in the linked video, although I haven’t watched the whole thing), and a version of Whisperer in the Darkness that was kind of in the style of a 1930s Universal monster movie.

  18. For any SFF fan coming to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, area the Meow Wolf exhibit (mentioned briefly in the scroll) is well worth a visit. We went there last year. Truthfully I had low expectations. I was also way wrong – it’s one of the coolest things conceptually I’ve seen in years. Their own website way under represents it, so posting a link to an Ars Technica article instead:

    Inside Meow Wolf

  19. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
    Doesn’t hurt to be paying close attention when driving the Diagonal, though to be fair, we’d been off it for a couple of minutes when that drunk ran the red light and totaled our car. The policeman who came by first told us they changed to red and blue lights on their cars because drunks seemed to aim at them.

  20. re Lovecraft on film: The Haunted Palace is thinly derived from The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, although it takes its title and much of its emphasis from Poe. The book is a good example of @Paul Weimer’s suggestion that there’s not enough action in Lovecraft for a movie; there’s only so long an audience would sit still for the slow, horrified realization that Jneq znqr gur zvfgnxr bs erfheerpgvat uvf erfheerpgvbavfg naprfgbe, jub xvyyrq uvz naq gbbx uvf cynpr, which is probably why the screenwriter hammered two ideas together. (There’s also the novel’s being almost completely unconnected to the Cthulhu mythos, which would make it less interesting for anyone looking to play off the current fad.)

  21. @Robert Whitaker Sirignano
    Well, I encountered Star Wars and The Abyss as novels well before the films came out, so someone’s obviously thinking that they might make a great novel.

  22. (8) WRIGHTSON OBIT.

    Wrightson was one of the first comic book artists I started to recognize for his own style and grow excited everytime I found something new by him. I remember his work on The Shadow, it was truly wonderful. Absolutely one of my favourite comic artists.

    With regards to Lovecraft-adaptions, I was kind of fond of Dagon. That was a good one.

  23. @hypnotosov
    This is part of super genius Theodore Beale’s masterplan to take over the SF field, clearly.

  24. @ Eli: So IOW, there’s no easy way to distinguish between a strobe and any other type of animated GIF? Yeah, that would make it pretty much impossible.

    @ Niall: Like the joke about someone being exposed to Shakespeare for the first time and complaining that it’s full of cliches.

    @ Robert: That depends a lot on who’s doing the novelization. The thing about making a novelization from a movie is that you have a chance to flesh it out by putting in all the stuff that tends to get taken out of a novel when it’s made into a movie, and a good writer will do that. So if the movie was good, you’ll end up with “the novel from which this movie might have been made” and it’ll be better for the same reasons that people always complain about how the movie wasn’t as good as the book.

  25. Regarding Bernie Wrightson….

    Two of his earlier pieces were for Jack Chalker’s Mirage Press when he did the dustjackets of:

    The Conan Reader edited by L. Sprague de Camp
    1968, Mirage Press
    http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/images/8/87/THCNNRDR141968.jpg

    The Conan Grimore edited by L. Sprague de Camp
    1972, Mirage Press
    http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/images/f/fe/THCNNGRMR281972.jpg

    Wrightson was born in Baltimore, so it’s no surprise he and Jack found one another.

  26. @Hypno: It’s VD trolling Scalzi. Could be a case, but that’s up to Scalzi — who seems to be ignoring it, at least publicly.

    Ignoring Beale is generally the healthiest approach. I suggest we do the same 🙂

  27. My favorite bit of Lovecraftian Night Gallery was “Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture” by Jack Laird where Peaboy (played by Carl Reiner) lectures to his class (including students named Lovecraft, Derleth and Bloch) on the Necronomicon as a storm brews up outside.

  28. I’ve met movie tie-in novels that improved on the movie. Most movie scripts are novella length at best, so to get a novel, one needs to pad a bit, and the padding can make a big difference.

    But as to why we look at books and want to adapt them to movies, there are a lot of possible reasons it goes that way more often.
    – because books are the much older medium, there are a lot more books than movies, and so a lot more material to look at for its commercial potential.
    – movies cost a heap more to produce than books, but also reach a greater audience in a shorter span of time. Some books will definitely have reached a greater audience than any movie ever will (things like Tolkien and Austen leap to mind) but they do it by a massively long tail. So if you want everyone to share and discuss a story, three hours of film is faster and more accessible than a novel. (Now. Of course, part of why movie tie-in books exist as a thing is from the days when movies were only in theatres and a lot of people had no way to watch. So this development is newer than the desire to film classic stories. It still adds to the impulse).
    – as long as there has been THEATRE people have desired the awesome visual spectacle of favourite characters standing up and doing things right in front of them.
    -There’s a power in audial and visual input that is intrinsic to how living beings work. Language develops much later than sight or sound in the span of evolution.
    – it’s also easier to understand a story in visuals than in text. (This doesn’t make movies intrinsically dumber as some would assert, but it does make processing the same base story elements simpler, which both leads to the lazy person’s “I’ll wait for the movie” and the book’s frequent case of deeper detail.

  29. Wrightson was one of the first comic book artists I started to recognize for his own style and grow excited everytime I found something new by him.

    Same here. Those Bernie Wrightson Swamp Thing comics in the 1970s freaked me out as a child. I couldn’t get enough of them. He was one of the first comic artists I encountered whose style was genuinely scary. (I was too young for the horror comic era.)

    Though Alan Moore’s later run on Swamp Thing is considered an all-time classic, it always bothered me a little that it overshadowed Wrightson and made so many changes to what Len Wein and Wrightson had done a decade earlier.

  30. @Hypnotosov, Standback: Scalzi is safe to ignore this, but unlike past attempts at trolling, this one may trigger a response from the multinational publishing conglomerate and their army of lawyers who also have a stake in this book’s intellectual property.

    Why is he associating the Castalia ‘brand’ with this? Even if VD argues parody or whatnot it’s a huge risk. Sure he’ll have his people fired up about him being ‘censored’ again, but even they’ll have trouble justifying this.

  31. If The Corroding Empire is a work of parody, I expect that it (and even the cover) would be on safe ground legally.

    If it isn’t, as long as it’s an original work that doesn’t use John Scalzi’s characters or setting, it would be tough for his publisher to block. The cover could be an infringement.

    There’s a lot of latitude allowed in writing a book that’s obviously reminiscent of somebody else’s IP. Look at what Scalzi himself did with Redshirts.

    Scalzi being aped in this manner by another publisher is a compliment to his prominence in the field. Theodore Beale is just helping to further cement Scalzi’s fame.

  32. I’ve been out of bthe loop for a bit, but what’s up with VD’s John Kalsi “Corroding Empire” nonsense?

    It is just the latest installment in VD’s man-crush on Scalzi.

  33. 2) I haven’t seen the newest Beauty and the Beast, but I don’t know that its possible to feministize the story given the essential plot points – he is holding her prisoner for no reason and she comes to live happily with him. The only reasonable variations I can see are those that made Beauty less good – maybe she’s part of a gang of thieves who arranges to go to the castle to scope it out?

  34. Paul

    This is part of super genius Theodore Beale’s masterplan to take over the SF field, clearly

    I guess if he can’t get by on his own writing he’s settled for being a cheap imitation, like a Nintendlo Swatch or a Somy Paystation.

  35. @rcade: The presentation seems to veer from parody to straight-faced ripoff. The cover is a ripoff but the image is not a parody, the tagline is a joke, the description is mostly serious but contains shots at Scalzi, the author name is a joke but also has serious impact on customer confusion, the story as far as the Kindle preview might have a loosely similar setting but is not a parody. It’s clearly intended to be confused with Scalzi’s book during its launch, and if you don’t play by the rules of parody they can’t protect you.

    Amazon can also interpret the Kindle terms and conditions as they see fit whether or not it would survive in a court case; this sets a bad precedent for what people can use their service for. And if he used the Kindle ‘keywords’ to associate his book with Scalzi’s, then it’s open-and-shut; that’s something Amazon heavily frowns on.

  36. I haven’t seen the newest Beauty and the Beast, but I don’t know that its possible to feministize the story given the essential plot points – he is holding her prisoner for no reason and she comes to live happily with him.

    I saw it this weekend. I wasn’t aware of the hype that Belle was reinvented as a feminist. After seeing the film I’d call that idea a bit oversold, but she was independent, self-reliant and smart. The movie could’ve given her more to do with those traits.

    Her imprisonment wasn’t much of an imprisonment. She barely had any time to feel distress before animated furniture was treating her like a contestant on The Hairiest Bachelor.

    The piece linked in the Scroll includes a lot of stupid digs that made it tough to take the whole thing seriously. One example: Belle’s father didn’t just mend clocks. He made clocks that were mechanical works of art and was successful enough to be taking them to a fair to display.

    When I watch Disney films I tend to focus on the villain. Their motivations are usually more entertaining, and this movie’s Gaston was — to be numerically precise — a hoot an a half.

  37. Amazon can also interpret the Kindle terms and conditions as they see fit whether or not it would survive in a court case; this sets a bad precedent for what people can use their service for.

    If Amazon gets an IP-related complaint about The Collapsing Empire, it may pull the book off the site and tell Beale to work something out with Scalzi’s publisher before it will be reinstated.

    That happened on an ebook that I wrote. A big company complained to Amazon that a word in the title was a trademark infringement. Amazon pulled the book despite the fact that hundreds of other books had that trademark as a word in the title. The only way my publisher could have gotten the book back for sale was to get the company to agree. This never happened.

  38. I haven’t seen Beauty and the Beast either, but I can report that 13 year old girls love it, and spend the entire weekend singing the songs.*

    *Note: based on a sample of one, results may not be reliable.

  39. @airboy Swamp Thing was a copy (intentional or not) of The Heap from the original Airboy Comics.

    They have some commonality of swampy origins. But the characterization, appearance, and most importantly, story arcs, are so different that I don’t think “copy” is a word that applies here.

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