Pixel Scroll 9/8 Perfidious Etceteras

(1) This day in history:

…in 1966, “Star Trek” premiered on NBC-TV.

Which makes it the perfect day to release Captain Kirk’s autobiography:

“The Autobiography of James T. Kirk – The Story of Starfleet’s Greatest Captain,” is to be published by Titan Books on Tuesday – 49 years to the day after “Star Trek” premiered on television in 1966.

It comes with illustrations, including Kirk’s Starfleet Academy class graduation photo and an unsent letter he penned to his son.

Fan fiction plays a popular role in the “Star Trek” universe and interest has been building since actor William Shatner, the best-known embodiment of Kirk, appeared at July’s Comic-Con International with Goodman and read excerpts from the book. A Shatner-signed copy of the book can be found on the Internet selling for $150.00.

According to the autobiography, Kirk passed over the Vulcan Mr. Spock to be his first officer of the starship Enterprise; 20th century social worker Edith Keeler, not the mother of his son, was the great love of his life; and Kirk may have another son on a distant planet – who makes what suspiciously looks like “Star Trek” movies.

(2) Now there’s an official touchscreen that can turn your Raspberry Pi into a tablet.

 Two years in the making, an official touchscreen for the tiny board has gone on sale.

The diminutive Raspberry Pi – a computer on a board the size of a credit card – has been wildly successful. It was created with the aim of encouraging children to experiment with building their own devices and while the makers thought they might sell 1,000 they have now sold well over five million.

(3)  The roads must roll! Chris Mills on Gizmodo says “Replacing Subway Lines With High-Speed Moving Sidewalks Sounds Terrifying”.

London has the oldest subway system in the world: great for tourism, but sometimes not-so-great for commuters. There’s all sorts of sensible plans to upgrade the city’s public transport, but here’s one particularly outside-the-box solution: a 15mph moving sidewalk, looping 17 miles under London. What could go wrong!

(4) Erin Underwood has a fine interview with Rosarium Publisher Bill Campbell at Amazing Stories.

Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell

(ASM): What upcoming book or project are you are especially excited about? Why that book/project? (Bill, this can be a Rosarium book or something else.)

(BC): All of our projects are really near and dear to my heart, and so are our authors and artists. At this level, you really get to know the people you work with, and you really find yourself rooting for their success and work yourself to the bone to try to help them reach it.

I think the one project, though, that’s nearest and dearest to my heart is Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany that I co-edited with Nisi Shawl. I don’t know if I’d have ever written science fiction if it weren’t for Chip, and I can’t help thinking how hard it must’ve been for him to be alone in the field for as long as he was. He had to carry a mighty large load for a lot of people and did it with such grace and intelligence. I told Daniel Jose Older that there are, perhaps, five people on this planet who intimidate me. Delany’s one of them. I just wanted to thank him. It took over two years to do it properly, and, thanks to Nisi and the authors involved, it turned out a lot better than I could’ve possibly hoped.

(5) Tom Knighton’s blog has a new header with a photo of the author, which really brightens the place up.

(6) Mark Pampanin of SCPR has dug a little deeper into how gay rights got its start in science fiction.

But it’s true – gay and lesbian writers and activists who wanted to connect with others in the LGBT community in the 1940s could only do so with pseudonyms and double entendre. And they were able to do it with the help of another burgeoning movement with roots in Los Angeles – science fiction….

Kepner and Ben, as Jyke and Tigrina, were both devoted members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, which met weekly in the basement of the Prince Rupert Arms near downtown Los Angeles to imagine a future of technological marvels and social equality.

The society still exists. Now in Van Nuys, it’s the oldest running science fiction society in the world, and holds members just as devoted as Kepner and Ben once were, like June Moffatt, who joined the society in August 1947 when she was a teenager. She says she “only met Tigrina once” but she knew Kepner quite well.

“He was good fun,” says Moffatt. Moffatt knew Kepner was gay and an activist, but he was still just “one of the gang. I remember once sitting down next to [Kepner] and telling him he was in danger,” Moffatt says, laughing. “I was flirting with him.”

(7) Black Nerd Problems’ L. E. H. Light declares “No More Diversity Panels, It’s Time To Move On”.

What’s a convention program director to do? They want to present and represent “diversity” in their audience. They’re hearts are in the right place, or not. As others have pointed out, sometimes The Diversity Panel is an excuse for the convention to avoid actually integrating their other panels. Well intentioned or not, the recent fuss at the Hugos really proves this point: we’re here, we’re not going any where. We and our allies vote for awards and read books and *gasp* write and publish them too! The “why is diversity important” is an answered question. So what’s next?

(8) Yesterday I had a clip about a spider clock, but there is a lot more to know about mechanical spiders if you’re interested. (The two of you who raised your hands can keep reading.) One example is this video, Inside Adam Savage’s Cave: Awesome Robot Spider!

We’re back in Adam’s cave to check out his latest obsession, a robot spider with incredibly realistic movement. Adam shows off the special box and platform he built to tinker and calibrate the spider, and then sends it crawling around the pool table in his shop. It’s not for the arachnophobic!

 

Other recommended one-day build videos are this one building Cylon raiders and troopers from plastic model kits with Aaron Douglas:

And this one building his Kirk chair:

(9) BBC Two has optioned China Miéville’s The City & the City and will develop the novel into a four-part series based on the Inspector Tyador Borlú character. British screenwriter Tony Grisoni is writing the adaptation.

“We are thrilled to be bringing China’s dazzlingly inventive novel to BBC Two,” said Damien Timmer, managing director at Mammoth Screen, which will produce the project. “It’s a 21st Century classic — a truly thrilling and imaginative work which asks big questions about how we perceive the world and how we interact with each other.”

(10) As you already know, Soon Lee is hosting a collection of the punny variations on the title of Rachel Swirsky’s “If you were a dinosaur, my love” produced on File 770 today.

(11) John Scalzi has entered Hugo hibernation. (See last comment on this post at Whatever).

I have officially come to the end of thinking about the Hugos for 2015. If other people decide they want to, that’s their business, but as for here, my plan is let it be through the end of the year. Because, fuck me, I’m tired of them.

May I also suggest that you let it go as well? Surely the rest of your 2015 is better spent doing something else with your time. I’m not saying you have to. I’m just saying you should. That goes for everyone.

(12) John C. Wright, on the other hand, is still roaming the tundra hunting for fresh prey.

If you voted, please write Sasquan, and demand, not ask, that they release the nomination data. The idea that the data must be kept private to avoid someone from deducing the voter’s identities is an absurd lie, not worth wasting ink to refute. They are trying to hide a bloc voting pattern, or a large number of votes that were entered after voting closed or something of the sort.

(13) Charles Rector in Fornax #5 [PDF file] begins his editorial on the 2015 Hugos with this tantalizing hook —

Have you ever taken a firm position on a subject only to realize later that you were on the wrong side and as time went on, you got to wonder how you ever took that previous position? That was my experience with this year’s Hugo Awards. When the year started, I was on the side of the slates. It seemed that the slates were a good idea given the state of the Hugo Awards.

I bet you’ll never see a turnaround like that anywhere else.

(14) 100 Years of Robots in the Movies. (Despite the title I’m pretty sure I saw a split second of Doctor Who in there – and other TV shows…)

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Jerry Pournelle, Ita, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cubist.]

Len Moffatt Passes Away

Len Moffatt died around 3 a.m. on November 30 reports June, his wife. He was 87.

Dave Locke adds, “June had been keeping some folks informed on Len’s hospital adventures with emails having the subject ‘Len’s Progress Report.’  This one was entitled ‘Len’s Progress Report – FINAL.’”

Len went into the hospital on November 19 with extreme abdominal pain. He had been operated on for herniated colon.

It’s a huge loss for June and all of Len’s friends from the two fandoms where he’s been active since the beginning. Len discovered SF fandom in 1939 and joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in April 1946. Len and June Moffatt were Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegates in 1973. Fans in the mystery field will miss him too, as a participant in Bouchercons and as a writer (his most recent sales were to Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine).

1972 Westercon GoHs, Lloyd Biggle Jr. (pro) and Len Moffatt (fan)

LASFS Website Posts Moffatt Photos

Rick Sneary, Roy Tackett, Takumi Shibano, Sachiko Shibano 

Above: Rick Sneary, Roy Tackett, Takumi Shibano and Sachiko Shibano enjoying the 1968 Worldcon.

The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society website now boasts dozens of fanhistorically important photos from the collection of Len and June Moffatt. What a trip in the Wayback Machine!

These photos from the end of the Sixties are a window into cons and events people were still talking about when I joined LASFS in 1970. Some are pictures of fans who made themselves unforgettable in ways good and bad but I only heard about because they vanished from the club before I arrived.

For example, they were still taking about the club’s  1965 Halloween Party. Not that you’d know it from the pictures, but this infamous party was interrupted by gunshots fired from outside into the building. Dian Pelz (later Crayne) was slightly hurt by flying wood splinters. One bullet passed between Dian and Bill Rotsler as they sat talking. A possible cause is that two crashers had been evicted from the party earlier in the evening. Police came and took down information, but no arrests ever made.

Here you can see the highlights of FunCon I in 1968 (which I recently mentioned in co-chair Chuck Crayne’s obituary.) They include a rare photo of Flieg Hollander, whose claim to fame includes mathematically proving Larry Niven’s Ringworld is unstable (the launching point for a sequel).

And there are a lot of interesting photos of well-known fans from back in the day. He’s a fannish legend, but have you ever seen a picture of the late Elmer Perdue? Or Locus’ Charles N. Brown, Marsha Elkin Brown and Elliott Shorter in their prime?

Here’s a photo of Ray Bradbury talking to Leigh Brackett.

And this is probably the fuzziest, pinkest photo ever taken of Fuzzy Pink Niven.

There are shots of fans paying tribute to Star Trek at the 1966 Worldcon (Tricon), and of William Shatner mingling.

There are photos from any number of Westercons: the 1965 Westercon, 1966 Westercon, 1967 Westercon, 1969 Westercon, 1970 Westercon, and 1972 Westercon. Why no pictures from a 1968 Westercon? Because after winning their 1968 Westercon bid the same group successfully bid for the Worldcon and held a single con to satisfy both, BayCon, the 1968 Worldcon. From that Worldcon: Void Boys Ted White and Greg Benford;  Bob Bloch, Betty Farmer, and John W. Campbell, Jr. having cocktails; and from the masquerade, Cory Seidman (later Panshin) as a Corflu Bottle

There are quite a few pictures documenting the LASFS’ efforts to buy its first clubhouse. Bruce Pelz led the LASFS to reorganize as a nonprofit corporation as a step in acquiring a clubhouse. These pictures were taken at the first LASFS Board of Directors Meeting in 1972, held in Milt Stevens’ apartment. (I was there!)

LASFS bought its first clubhouse the following year, a property on Ventura Boulevard. Most of these shots are of fans refurbishing it.

[Thanks to Lee Gold for the story.]

John Hertz on Bradbury’s 89th Birthday Party

By John Hertz: If you thought an 89th-birthday party for Ray Bradbury at a bookshop would be crowded, you’d be right. If you thought it would be an occasion to buy his books and get them signed, you’d be right. As June Moffatt said when I reported by phone, these were good things.

Bookfellows, 238 N. Brand Bl., Glendale, CA 91203 (also called “Mystery and Imagination”, the name of their Website), is a new- and used-book shop with a fine s-f stock. The party started at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 22nd, Bradbury’s actual birthday. The Cosmic Joker keeps making me type “Bardbury”. This too may be a good thing.

On a giant greeting-card shopowners Christine & Malcolm Bell had written “You’re a living book”, so below I wrote “because you’ve set us all afire”. A chocolate cake with orange icing was decorated with a Jack-o’-lantern wearing eyeglasses. We all sang “Happy Birthday”.

Outside, which was no less crowded, only different, George Clayton Johnson was talking about heroes. I said, “You yourself are one of the heroes.” He said, “You’re observant as ever.” I bowed. He did too.

Inside, Matthew Tepper and Charles Lee Jackson II told me they hadn’t known about the party, just came looking for books. Tepper said, “This is the second time I’ve gone to a bookshop and found Ray Bradbury there.” It was so crowded Tepper took out a handphone and called Christine Bell to ask whether she had a book he wanted.

I told Jan Bender I was sad she hadn’t exhibited in the Worldcon Art Show at Montréal. She said she’d been daunted by the prospect of Customs problems. I asked if she’d tried the special procedure the Art Show had worked out, better, I’d heard, than Torcon III in 2003. She said she’d heard nothing from the Worldcon at all, indeed wondering if her Attending Membership payment had gotten lost, so that upon arriving she dutifully paid for an Attending Membership only to be asked farther down the line “Why do you want two Attending Memberships?”

Bo Derek brought Bradbury a birthday present, which shows how little I know about celebrities. It was a good party.

Len Moffatt in EQMM

Len Moffat’s Sherlockian poem “What a Friend We Have in Sherlock” appeared in the November issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. It’s about Holmes’s alleged relationship with Irene Adler.

The November issue is apparently off sale, but electronic texts are available from several online services, including ereader.com.

Len and his wife June are past TAFF delegates and long-time LASFSians, who helped organize several early Bouchercons.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]

LASFS Cuts the Birthday Cake

The Los Angeles chapter of the Science Fiction League (No. 4) began meeting in 14-year-old Roy Test Jr.’s family garage in 1934. On October 28, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society celebrated 70 years of friendship and fanac. Founding member Forrest J Ackerman performed the duty of gaveling the 3,507th meeting to order with President Van Wagner’s pink plastic lobster.

For Ackerman, Len and June Moffatt, this was their second consecutive day of celebration. A group of eofans gathered on October 27, the real anniversary, at their old stomping grounds, Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown LA. Local TV news covered the get-together because it also included those teenaged fans who grew up to have stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen.

The October 28 club meeting drew around a hundred fans, about evenly divided between the usual crowd of active members and old-timers from bygone decades. The more widely-known regulars included John Hertz, Joe Minne (who introduced me to LASFS), Rick Foss, Matthew Tepper, Elayne Pelz, Drew Sanders, Charles Lee Jackson 2, Marc Schirmeister, Marty Massoglia, Christian McGuire (L.A.con IV chair), Francis Hamit, Leigh Strother-Vien, Ed Green, Liz Mortensen, John DeChancie, Marty Cantor, Tadao Tomomatsu (“Mr. Shake Hands Man”) and Mike Donahue. Some of the graybeards present were notables in national fandom back in the day, like Arthur J. Cox, and others remain well-known, like Fred Patten, John Trimble, William Ellern, Dwain Kaiser and Don Fitch.