Pixel Scroll 5/27/16 With Pix You Get Eggscroll

(1) HANG ONTO YOUR TOWEL. Britain’s Radio 4 has provisionally ordered a six-episode Hitchhikers sequel.

Radio 4 has commissioned a new series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, over a decade since the last series aired.

It will become the sixth series for the sci-fi comedy on radio, with the show’s last run – Series 5 – having broadcast in 2005.

Expected to be titled ‘The Hexagonal Phase’, the British Comedy Guide understands that the new episodes will primarily be based around the book And Another Thing….

This news comes after Towel Day, the annual celebration of the work of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy creator Douglas Adams. The writer, who launched the hit series on Radio 4 in 1978, died in 2001.

In 2009 author Eoin Colfer was commissioned to write And Another Thing… featuring the same characters as seen and heard the previous radio series and books written by Adams. Although Colfer had the blessing of the creator’s widow, the announcement proved to be controversial at the time. Colfer has recognised that there was “semi-outrage” at the idea of another author contributing to the series, but he has been pleased by the reaction the book has since publication.

(2) THEY SAID NO. Esquire shows “This is What The Lord of the Rings Would Have Looked Like With Its Original Cast”.

7. Liam Neeson as Boromir

Details on this one are a little sketchy, so let’s file it under woulda, coulda, shoulda. “I have a particular set of skills… and a big ancestral horn.”

(3) HVP WARNINGS. Vox Day told his readers there will be warning labels on two items in the Hugo Voter Packet (the one for Tingle has already been reported here.)

The WorldCon convention has also issued at least two other “warning labels” to two other Hugo-nominated works in the packet, one a Best Related Work by Moira Greyland, the other a Best Short Story by Chuck Tingle.

(4) BEYOND CHARACTER POSTERS. ScreenRant has nice, large images: yesterday, Star Trek Beyond: Jaylah & Bones Character Posters Released”, and today, Star Trek Beyond: Spock and Chekov Character Posters”.

[The] the studio has unveiled two more posters that are obviously meant to highlight the film’s action quotient and its (new) cast of characters – two elements that have appealed to summer blockbuster fans over the series’ seven-year run thus far, and which Paramount clearly is banking on happening yet again. Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard McCoy is featured in one of the posters, while series newcomer Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service, the currently-in-production Mummy) as the mysterious Jaylah takes center stage in the other (see below).

(5) GENERATION HEX. At Observer, “A Millenial Reviews: ‘Star Trek’ Is a Blantant, Boring Rip-Off of ‘Star Wars’”.

I recently watched Star Trek because I never actually watched it growing up (I was busy having sex and hanging out with my friends after school) so I decided to marathon The Original Series. Let me tell you, good Yeezy almighty, Star Trek sucks earbuds. Now I’m a total geek, but I don’t understand how anyone can be expected to actually watch this stuff. Every episode is an hour long. Do you understand how long an hour is? That’s half of a podcast. If I don’t have 10 minutes to listen to Marc Maron talk about his dead cats then I don’t have 60 hours to watch a dudebro white-privilege his way across the galaxy in a deep V-neck. I tried though.

(6) ARISTOTLE! Atlas Obscura carries a Greek report that Aristotle’s tomb has been found.

A group of archaeologists in Greece say they have found the lost tomb of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and likely world’s first true scientist….

The archaeologists had been digging for 20 years at a site in the ancient northern Greece city of Stageira, where Aristotle was born in 384 B.C. Aristotle died 62 years later in Chalcis, about 50 miles north of Athens.

Ahead of the official announcement, the Greek Reporter has some more details on the tomb, saying that “literary sources” say that Aristotle’s ashes were transferred there after his death. It is located near the ancient city’s agora, apparently intended to be viewed by the public.

From the Greek Reporter

The top of the dome is at 10 meters and there is a square floor surrounding a Byzantine tower. A semi-circle wall stands at two-meters in height. A pathway leads to the tomb’s entrance for those that wished to pay their respects. Other findings included ceramics from the royal pottery workshops and fifty coins dated to the time of Alexander the Great.

Will R. asks, “I wonder if the tombstone reads, ‘Here Truths Aristotle.’”

(7) BIRDS OF A FEATHER. Scott Tyrell’s pictures of great authors as owls is heavy on British fantasy writers – Rowling, Tolkien, and Pratchett among them.

(8) BIRTHDAY BOYS AND A BAT-GIRL

  • Born May 27, 1911 –Vincent Price
  • Born May 27, 1922 — Christopher Lee
  • Born May 27, 1934 – Harlan Ellison.

Jason Davis of HarlanEllisonBooks.com figures the celebration is incomplete without people buying Harlan’s books and here’s his encouragement for ordering the latest volume of unfilmed scripts, Brain Movies 7.

If you’ve popped by HarlanEllisonBooks.com in the last couple days, you’ll have noticed that I surreptitiously announced that the sixty pages of bonus BRAIN MOVIES 7 content for those who pre-order will be Harlan’s unfinished motion picture adaption of his first novel WEB OF THE CITY; it’s called Rumble, as the book was known when this movie—which was to have starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello—was in development. It’s a very interesting adaptation and illustrates that Harlan was not averse to having a little fun with his own source material.

  • Born May 27, 1935 — Lee Meriwether

(9) PUPPIES FOR PEACE. The Huffington Post explains the TV host’s advice — “Samantha Bee Bets On Adorable Puppies To Reconcile Bernie And Hillary’s Feuding Supporters”.

So, in a bid to stop the “Democrat on Democrat violence” that’s been taking over people’s social media feeds, Bee’s team have created a new website: TotallyObjectivePoliticalFacts.org.

Clicking on the link brings up a picture of an adorable animal, alongside a salient quote — such as, “Why can’t we all just get long?”

“Just post that link in any thread where your liberal friends are tearing each other apart and end the argument,” Bee said in a YouTube clip on Thursday.

“Seriously, Democrats, just look at a picture of a puppy and hug it out before it’s too late…”

“She might regret going there….” says Steve Davidson.

(10) PREPARING TO VOTE. First-time Hugo voter and game writer Martin Ralya outlines his approach.

Will I be able to read 100% of the Hugo nominees? Realistically, probably not. I’ll do my best in the time I have, though.

I vote in the ENnie Awards every year, and I don’t even attempt to read/play every nominated work — doing so would entail giving up too much of my time. Instead, I play/read the stuff that interests me, and vote for stuff I feel familiar with. Unlike the Hugos, the ENnies don’t offer up a voter packet, but I make a point of visiting nominated blogs and checking out nominated free products.

I also don’t feel obligated to read every Hugo-nominated work, because fuck the Rabid Puppy agenda. I have a horseshit filter, and you know what? It didn’t stop working when I became a Hugo voter.

If a nominated work stands on its own merits, like Seveneves does, I don’t care if it also appears on the Rabid slate. If a slated work doesn’t stand on its own, or if it advances or supports Rabid Puppy horseshit, it’s going below No Award on my ballot.

(11) RECOMMENDED. Rachel Swirsky finds another story to love — “Friday Read! ‘The Traditional’ by Maria Dahvana Headley”.

I’m a big fan of science fiction that takes vivid, strange images into the future. I think, actually, I always have — and if you look at a lot of classic SF, that’s what it’s doing. That’s obvious when reading someone like Stanislaw Lem, but I think it’s still true about folks who we consider more traditional now. It’s just that some of the weird images they used have been carried on in the conversation so far now that they’ve become standard, and have lost their newness. Stories like this, and space opera by people like Yoon Ha Lee, bring a contemporary disjunctive strangeness to the genre. I look forward to seeing what happens when the next generation gets bored with it.

If you like odd surrealism and lyrical writing, Maria Dahvana Headley is worth perusing.

The Traditional” by Maria Dahvana Headley….

(12) CHINESE SF MOVIES. Linus Fredriksson has posted the “Chinese Science Fiction Fimography (1958-2016) with lots of links to films, some with subtitles. He explains some of his idiosyncratic choices.

Even though we are faced with some small hindrance when setting a date for the birth of science fiction film in China we are facing an even bigger obstacle when it comes to defining what science fiction really is. According to me science fiction film is a film which uses some form of idea, invention, geographical discovery to convey an image of an alternative society different from the one were living in now. So the appearance of futuristic technical gimmicks and/or inventions in the film is not necessary for defining a film as science fiction. On the contrary, some of the films I’ve watched has not gotten in to the list much because the science fiction elements in the movie is merely a way to get the story going and in the end they’re absent of context and doesn’t bring any further narrative development of the impact that scifi-gimmick might have had.

Take for example Bugs … a catastrophe film from 2015 which begins with a foreign scientist trying to develop a protein, in order to end starvation in the world, by experimenting with insects. Instead of relief for starving people he creates a giant bug which sends out smaller bugs that eat human beings and then returns to its host to feed it. The entire movie, except for the first minute or two, is about escaping these bugs and then killing the big bug. It’s lack of motivating the science in the film and being consistent with it, made me choose not to have the film in my list. It’s pretty much the same when it comes to the rom-com film Oh My God … but here I reasoned differently mostly because the film has been advertised as a scifi-comedy whenever I read something about it. Therefore Oh My God is on the list.

Yes, the genre labeling for the films in the list might be a bit arbitrary and inconsistent at times but that’s also why I’m writing this blog post so that other people can have the chance to have a second opinion on the selection of films. At the end of the list I will add all those films which has been labeled as science fiction but which I personally didn’t consider to fulfill the requirements of falling under that category.

(13) THE TOUGHEST AROUND. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog selects “6 of the Most Fearsome Warbands in Fantasy”.

Kailen’s Twenty, Snakewood, by Adrian Selby

This recent epic fantasy about a disbanded mercenary company plunged back into in their twilight years brings together an instantly iconic collection of gruff warrior types. The Twenty once turned back armies and toppled nations through chemical warfare, tactical cunning, and brute force, but the world has moved on. Kailen, their mastermind and leader, has gone into hiding, and the surviving members of this band of brothers are far past their prime, having retired to more peaceful pursuits or counting down their days working small mercenary contracts. When a shadowy assassin begins hunting them down, offing them one by one and leaving a single black coin on the bodies to signify an act of betrayal, and two of the Twenty, Gant and Shale, receive a desperate message from Kailen himself, they must embark on a journey to save their remaining friends from the legions of people who want their heads—but two past-their-prime swordsmen and an eccentric tactician may not be enough to turn the tide. The deeds of the Twenty were epic, but what truly makes them a warband for the ages is the chance to see what happens to a merc after the battles have ended.

(14) DESPERATELY SEEKING FRED’S TWO FEET. In Key West, they’re threatening to tow this car if they can’t find the owner.

Real-life-version-of-Fred-Flintstones-car-found-illegally-parked-in-Florida

The City of Key West, Fla., put out a call for help to find the owner of a most unusual illegally parked vehicle — a replica of a car from The Flintstones.

The city said in a Facebook post that a Stone Age vehicle resembling that driven by Fred Flintstone and company in the classic cartoon series (and live-action films) was found illegally parked without anyone around to claim the unique piece of property.

How long do you figure it’s been overparked, about 30,000 years?

[Thanks to Will R., John King Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, and Steve Davidson for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]

Pixel Scroll 4/15/16 Barkleby

AKA Dogless In The Arena

(1) WHERE NEXT TREK FITS IN. IGN reports

Birth.Movies.Death.’s sources are saying that the CBS All Access show will be set in the classic continuity, which is to say not in the J.J. Abrams reboot-verse. Additionally, Season 1 of the series will be set before the era of The Next Generation, but after the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. That covers a lot of years, and BMD’s report is not specific beyond that, but essentially what this means is that the era that could be covered spanned the time of the Enterprise-B (the one captained initially by Cameron from Ferris Bueller!) and the Enterprise-C (the one that was destroyed defending a Klingon outpost, as we learned in the classic TNG episode ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’). Not that an Enterprise will figure into the show necessarily…

(2) THE CHECK STOPS HERE. Scott Edelman’s Eating the Fantastic with Andy Duncan, Episode 6 of the series, unfolds at the Princess Cafe in the same booth where Harry and Bess Truman had lunch one Father’s Day more than 60 years ago.

Andy Duncan and Scott Edelman.

Andy Duncan and Scott Edelman.

Andy’s an award-winning writer many times over, having won a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, a Nebula Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. Plus he’s also been nominated for the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards. His collections include Beluthahatchie and Other Stories (which came out in 2000) and The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories (published in 2011).

(3) BEHIND THE THRONES. Maureen Dowd interviewed Peter Dinklage for the New York Times “Dinklage and Dragons: Will Tyrion Win the ‘Game of Thrones’?” And blabbed a secret.

So now that the global hit — Season 6 starts in two weeks — has brought his character, the wily and louche “halfman” and “perverse little imp” Tyrion Lannister, into the sun-baked realm of Daenerys Targaryen, was it fun to act with the dragons? Or were they temperamental divas who chewed — or incinerated — the scenery?

“They’re not real,” he says, looking at me solemnly with his big, droopy blue eyes.

Whaaaaa? I am shocked, given the C.I.A.-level secrecy around the HBO show — which has sometimes confiscated extras’ cellphones and this year declined to provide the press with episodes in advance — that Dinklage would let such a huge spoiler slip out. (On a less top-secret note, HBO plans to make a comedy pilot inspired by my book “Are Men Necessary?”)

“The dragons are just a projection,” Dinklage says in his melodious baritone. “Ah, working with something that is not there. Sometimes I work with some actors who aren’t fully there. The guys in the visual effects department show you pre-visualizations, pre-vis. It used to be just storyboards, but now they’re really well done on computers, and you see the whole scene with you and the animated dragons before you do it, so you get that in your head. It’s neat. It’s cool. I like it.”

(4) A CENTURY OF FORRY. Monsterpalooza, April 22-24 at the Pasadena Convention Center, will feature a Forry Ackerman centennial panel on Sunday afternoon.

Forry 100th at MonsterPalooza

(5) TELEREAD COVERS HWA CONTROVERSY. Paul St. John Mackintosh, in “Horror Writers Association endures horrific meltdown over Bram Stoker Awards juror”, catches up on the David A. Riley story at TeleRead.

Riley, meanwhile, protested on his blog that: “It has been alleged by some people that I would be prejudiced against anything written or published or edited by non-white writers/publishers/editors. Utter twaddle. Yes, I am so prejudiced that I have paid for covers on two of the books I have published by Vincent Chong – one of my favourite artists. I am also in an advanced stage of negotiating with a black British writer to publish a collection of his stories.” Following that comment, the same Facebook respondent also posted: “That’s like saying I’m not racist I HAVE A BLACK FRIEND.”

Since I’ve found that my own past writings on the previous Riley controversy are being quoted in this context – as somehow “less negative than most” – I want to be quite clear where I stand on this go-round. Editorship of a revived horror anthology franchise is a totally different ball game to serving on a jury for a major award. Lisa Morton may say that “in specific regard to HWA’s Bram Stoker Award juries, the HWA will certainly act if/when a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works,” but I can’t see how a juror’s potential bias can not be an issue when appointing them to an awards jury. Would some worthy candidates boycott the Awards simply because Riley is on the jury? It’s already happened. Would the Stokers be tarnished by association? Ditto.

(6) ON THE BOTTOM. The BBC has pictures: “Film’s lost Nessie monster prop found in Loch Ness”.

A 30ft (9m) model of the Loch Ness Monster built in 1969 for a Sherlock Holmes movie has been found almost 50 years after it sank in the loch.

The beast was created for the Billy Wilder-directed The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, starring Sir Robert Stephens and Sir Christopher Lee.

It has been seen for the first time in images captured by an underwater robot.

Loch Ness expert Adrian Shine said the shape, measurements and location pointed to the object being the prop.

The robot, operated by Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime, is being used to investigate what lies in the depths of Loch Ness.

(7) INVENTED LANGUAGES. John Garth reviews A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages , edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins, is published by HarperCollins, in “Teach yourself Dwarvish: behind Tolkien’s invented languages” at New Statesman.

It is only thanks to a talk that he gave in 1931 at his Oxford college, Pembroke, that we have his considered thoughts on language invention. From its title, “A Secret Vice”, onwards, he strikes a note of embarrassment: “I may be like an opium-smoker seeking a moral or medical or artistic defence for his habit.”

It was indeed a long-standing obsession. Although the editors of this new critical edition place his earliest inventions in his mid-teens, Tolkien told one interviewer that he began when he was eight or nine. His talk is a vigorous defence of the “hobby” and, with the support of the background commentaries provided by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins, it becomes clear that the invention of languages has been a surprisingly widespread activity. A Secret Vice is a thoroughly engaging introduction for the outsider.

Tolkien describes hearing a fellow officer in a dull First World War army lecture exclaim dreamily, “Yes, I think I shall express the accusative case by a prefix!” Whether or not this is Tolkien in fictional guise, the scene is nicely conjured. “How far he ever proceeded in his composition, I never heard. Probably he was blown to bits in the very moment of deciding upon some ravishing method of indicating the subjunctive. Wars are not favourable to delicate pleasures.”

(8) GUNN REVIEWED BY LETSON. Russell Letson reviews Transgalactic by James Gunn for Locus Online.

…On one hand, SF traditionally sees itself as celebrating New Things so new that they haven’t even happened yet. On the other hand, there are the alternate history and steampunk subgenres (the latter of which quite deliberately adapts SF motifs and grafts them onto historical settings), so there is clearly an audience for retro-flavored entertainments.

And in any case, SF has worked and reworked its core materials since before the genre even had a name. With space opera, work by, say, Neal Asher, Iain M. Banks, Nancy Kress, Linda Nagata, or Walter Jon Williams is part of a tradition that goes back to E.E. ‘‘Doc’’ Smith and extends through Edmond Hamilton, Jack Williamson, Poul Anderson, and Jack Vance. Its story-space is a galaxy populated by exotic alien species, containing one or more star-spanning polities, possibly with a dizzyingly deep history. It is a setting made for explorations, intrigues, alien encounters, and wars – arguably a futureward projection of the condition of an Earth that still had blank spaces on the map, unknown peoples and societies, and tramp steamers to visit them.

This brings me to Transgalactic, the sequel to James Gunn’s Transcendental (reviewed in December 2013), which maintains its predecessor’s backward looks at earlier genre motifs and atmospherics. Transcendental echoes Olaf Stapledon in its embedded pilgrim-tales of alien evolutionary paths and ends with scenery and action right out of the SF-pulp version of lost-city adventures. Transgalactic continues that latter line, interleaving images and gestures from earlier cycles of science-fictional storytelling with more contemporary devices and shaping the whole concoction into an old-fashioned interstellar odyssey. …

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 15, 1983 — New-wave sci-fi classic Liquid Sky debuts in theaters.

(10) POPCORN WILL BE SOLD. Film exhibitors were courted at CinemaCon. Variety has the details — “Warner Bros. Offers ‘Wonder Woman’ Footage, Touts ‘Expansive’ DC Comics Universe”.

Warner Bros. talked up the “expansive” nature of the DC Comics cinematic universe during a presentation to exhibitors at CinemaCon on Tuesday, while debuting footage from “Wonder Woman” that highlighted the Amazonian warrior princess beating up a platoon of World War I soldiers. There was also a brief glimpse of love interest Chris Pine atop a motorcycle, as well as Wonder Woman using her shield to deflect gunfire, and riding a horse, sword drawn and ready for action…

The DC presentation ended on a high note with an ebullient Will Smith and the cast of “Suicide Squad,” a film about a team of super villains, taking the stage.

“What if Superman decided to fly down, rip off the roof of the White House and grab the president right out of the Oval Office,” a character asks in the extended trailer shown to the audience, setting up the film’s stakes. “Who would stop him?” The answer was a rag-tag group of amoral avengers, brought together by shadowy government operatives looking for an edge in a world of metahumans.

Smith promised that “Suicide Squad” will “fill those theaters up real thick,” while director and writer David Ayer pledged that “thirsty, hungry people are going to show up.”

(11) BYE KITTY. Rachel Swirsky bids “Farewell to Carrie Vaughn’s urban fantasy series about a werewolf named Kitty”.

Poor Kitty Norville. Everyone always laughs at the werewolf named Kitty, even though, as she points out, she had the name first.

I’ve read every single one of Carrie Vaughn’s urban fantasy series staring a werewolf named Kitty. So, of course, just like Mary Robinette’s Glamourist Histories and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, Carrie’s books ended last year.

The best one is book four. It packs a hell of a punch…

(12) STAR PROJECT. SFWA’s latest Star Project is By the Silver Wind by Jess E. Owen.

Fair winds to you!

If you’re already a member of the Gryfon Pride, please, make yourself comfortable, find a mossy rock to lounge, or go explore the amazing rewards for this, the campaign to fund the final volume of the Summer King Chronicles.

To those who are new, welcome! You’ve entered the world of the Silver Isles, where gryfons rule, dragons roam, ravens riddle, and wolves sing. I hope you’ll stay and become a member of the Pride!

The SFWA Blog explains:

This is a model Kickstarter for all self-published professionals. Congratulations!

SFWA makes small, targeted pledges to worthy Kickstarter projects by non-members, designating them  “SFWA Star Projects.” Projects are selected by the Self Publishing Committee, with coordination by volunteer Rob Balder. Selections are based on the project’s resonance with SFWA’s exempt purposes, and special preference is given to book-publishing projects in appropriate genres.

Funds for these pledges come from the SFWA Givers Fund. When pledges result in receiving donor rewards (such as signed books), these items will be auctioned off at fundraising events, to help replenish the Givers Fund.

The project has 10 days left in its campaign. All support is appreciated.

(13) 55 YEARS AGO IN THE UK. Galactic Journey’s overseas corresponded Ashley Pollard delivers “[April 15, 1961] London Calling (A Peek At UK Fandom)”.

Now a Red star has risen in the East — Vostok — aboard the ship is the first human in space: Major Yuri Gagarin, who is now a Hero of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and by extension a hero for all mankind.  The local prestige of our former wartime allies had plunged due to the recent discovery and capture of the Portland Spy Ring, causing ripples of concern over secrets lost, so having Major Gagarin take over the headlines has been welcome change — if only from one kind of paranoia to another: Reds with atomic secrets versus Reds in Space!  And because it turns my liking for all things to do with rocketry into a respectable talking point at parties.

Certainly, Thursday nights conversation at The London Circle, a meeting of like minded science fiction fans, was of nothing else.  (The London Circle was the basis for Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart.  I will not be drawn into the recent fan feud that has split the group because I attend for the absence of the pub and the chance to have a G&T with ice and a slice. How very non-fannish of me.)

Of course, this being Britain, we had to draw comparisons to Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass Experiment and the British Experimental Rocket Group and what happened to the hapless astronaut to leaven the concerns of those who see Soviet dominance in space as threat to World Peace.

As you can well imagine our conversations were more along the lines of aliens returning to Earth with Major Gagarin, and what would the Russian counter-part of Bernard Quatermass do?

(14) CHARITABLE COSPLAY. Will R. writes, “There seems to be a real thing over here–maybe it’s true in the States too–of people cosplaying for good (not to say cosplaying isn’t good for its own sake, I just mean explicitly to help others). We watched a doc one night on Star Wars cosplayers, who invest thousands in being Boba Fett or whatever, and do a lot of charity events in costume. It’s cool. Real heroes, you ask me.”

BelfastLive reports on one example — “Batman swoops into Northern Ireland Hospice to make patient’s dream come true”.

Batman swooped in from Gotham City to make a super fan’s dream come true – and share some crime-fighting secrets.

Northern Ireland Hospice patient Gary Owen – a self-confessed Dark Knight fanatic – received a very special visit from his hero today.

Gary, who is 28 and comes from Newcastle Co Down, chatted for more than an hour with the man in black, discussing movies, comics, Batman gadgets, and how to deal with villains.

The caped crusader brought special gifts from Forbidden Planet Belfast and exclusive Batman vs Superman merchandise – before Gary and his family watched The Dark Knight Rises movie.

A spokesman for Northern Ireland Hospice told Belfast Live: “Gary’s passion for Batman and super-heroes was obvious to Northern Ireland Hospice nursing staff and inspired them to create a special memory for him and his loving family.

“We created a cinema in the Day Hospice for Gary and family to watch the Dark Knight Rises, and Batman came in with gifts and comics.

“He and Gary chatted as if they had known each other for a long time. It is occasions like this that make lasting memories for families….”

 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will R. and Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little.]

Pixel Scroll 4/3/16 The Transatlantic Taste Gap – Hurrah!

(1) GUILLERMO DEL TORO. The Pacific Rim director admires this fan art:

Del toro tweet 2 CROPDel toro tweet 2 5 CROPDel Toro tweet 3 CROPDel Toro tweet 3 5 CROP

(2) SHEIKH DJIBOUTI. I always wondered what he looked like.

Heinlein stamp

(3) WORLDCON STAMPS. And for the next few days “Mars & Lunar Colony Postage Stamp Sheets for 11th Worldcon (Philcon II) 1953” are up for auction on eBay.

Unused collection of Interplanetary Postage Stamps in very good condition. The two different stamps were designed by Russell Swanson for the 1953 11th World Science Fiction Convention (PhilCon II) in Philadelphia, PA.  One stamp is marked “Luna Colony Postage; First Moon Rocket – 1965; a $5 blue horizontal. The other stamp is a $10 red vertical, “Mars Postage; First Mars Expedition, 1974, and depicted “Preparing the Atmosphere Rocket”. In 1953, these were sold in sheets of 40  for 50 cents by the PhilCon II Committee for publicity and revenue.

 

s-l1600

(4) I PITY THE FOOL. Will R. can’t get rid of the haunting feeling that he’s been fooled twice by Gmail’s “mic drop” button. Will says —

Though the laugh may still be on me, just so you know: the retraction followed the announcement, and there are actual comments out there (not just the questionable Twitter grabs) from people who seem to confirm that the button was real for at least a while. I admit, though, that it feels a bit phildickian trying to pin it down now, that it would indeed be a clever metaprank if the button never were real, that I’m certainly never long from playing the fool again, and that I hope whatever joke there ever was here is now wrung out.

Really, only meant to apologise if I had steered someone toward a harmful link. No joke!

(5) SPACE PARTY. Yuri’s Night is the World Space Party, celebrated at events on and around April 12.

Yuri-wp-be-human-2015-logo

Yuri’s Night is a global celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space. Yuri’s Night parties and events are held around the world every April in commemoration of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981.

“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!” — Yuri Gagarin, 1st human in space….

Since 2001, Yuri’s Night has:

  • Featured talks and presentations by Ray Bradbury, Will Wright, George Takei, Richard Garriott, Anousheh Ansari, and many others
  • Been celebrated at the South Pole, Hayden Planetarium, and in orbit on the International Space Station
  • Planted hundreds of “moon trees” around the world in collaboration with American Forests
  • Received the “Best Presentation of Space” award from the Space Frontier Foundation
  • Trained the next generation of space leaders for organizations such as the National Space Society, Virgin Galactic, and Space Florida

Anyone can start a Yuri’s Night event, and it’s completely free.

(6) LA EDITION. Find out about Yuri’s Night in LA, April 9 at the California Science Center, on Facebook.

Join with 100+ events around the world in celebrating the 1st human mission to orbit the Earth and all space can make possible for us. Come to the pre-party, make your own space hero trader card, listen to Samantha Cristoforetti talk about her 199 days on ISS last year. Apollo 11 moonwalker, Buzz Aldrin, and Star Trek’s Lt Uhura, Nichelle Nichols will also be there. Your best playa wear or space costume is encourged. DJ Dynamix will be spinning till midnight! Don’t wait, event has sold out every year!

(7) SWIRSKY RECOMMENDS. There was no foolishness in Rachel Swirsky’s April 1 “Friday Fiction Recommendation: ‘One Paper Airplane Graffito Love Note’ by Will McIntosh”

Will McIntosh is an exceptional writer whose work deserves more recognition than it gets. He won the Hugo Award several years ago for the excellent short story “Bridesicle,” but I wish people had paid more attention to his following novels and short stories. He does aliens really, really well.

However, this story has no aliens. It has dreamy magical realism instead.

The full 2007 McIntosh story is a free read at Strange Horizons.

(8) MORE ACCOLADES FOR BECKY CHAMBERS. While musing about the Hugos (“Hugo nominations for novels: And the final nomination list will be…”) Rachel Neumeier added a paean of praise for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which certainly would have been on my ballot if it had been eligible.

This was recommended to me by Linda S, who was right — I loved it. I was trusting her when I didn’t quite have time to finish the book before nominations closed, which worked out fine because I liked the resolution quite a bit. But I notice one File 770 commenter said it might not be eligible. I don’t know why, but if not, too bad! I guess I should have nominated Bryony and Roses instead. Well, at least Ursula Vernon’s story “Wooden Feathers” was on a lot of lists; I was glad to see that.

Anyway, I have not had time to write a review of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, obviously, but I nominated it because it is a really fun SF space opera with a cluttered Star-Trek-Federation type of setting — I haven’t seen anybody tackle a setting like that for a long time. Actually, the closest background I can think of in recent SFF is in Tanya Huff’s Valor series.

I had quibbles here and there with the worldbuilding and story, but OMG did I ever love Kizzy, one of the Best! Characters! Ever! Chambers must have had so much fun writing her, seriously. I have a new ambition: to write a wild impulsive uninhibited extrovert who is as much fun as Kizzy. Wonderful character building through dialogue. I wound up becoming quite attached to all the characters, including the ones who were thoroughly unsympathetic at the beginning. I also liked the rather intimate feel of the story against the very wide-scale background, which Chambers pulled off despite frequently switching the pov. And as I say, I liked the resolution. There are sad things about the ending, but it is not a downer.

(9) INDIE. Today’s Brevity cartoon has a kind word for writers from Middle-Earth.

(10) ANNIHILATION CASTING. Uproxx reports Ex Machina’s Oscar Isaac and Alex Garland are teaming up with Natalie Portman“’Annihilation’ Becomes A ‘Star Wars’ Party As Oscar Isaac Joins Natalie Portman”.

Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, the story follows a team of female scientists exploring “Area X,” a supposed environmental disaster zone in a future America. Portman’s character, never identified by name in the book, has the ulterior motive of looking for her husband, who was lost on an expedition. In the grand tradition of environmental disaster areas with creepy pedigrees, things get weird pronto for the expedition as Things Are Not What They Seem, but Portman is unlikely to stumble across a little green dude with a strange grasp of sentence structure.

(11) COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT. Jonathan McCalmont was dubious about being quoted in yesterday’s Pixel Scroll:

The correct context of yesterday’s tweet may not have been Puppies, but rather McCalmont’s general policy, tweeted today –

(12) DROP EVERYTHING. AWOL announces “Tasmania Is Currently Looking For A ‘Chief Wombat Cuddler’”

OK I know what you’re thinking, what even is a Chief Wombat Cuddler? Well, you’ll be the chief… of… wombat cuddlng at Tassie’s Flinders Island. Makes perfect sense.

Apparently over the past few weeks, a cheeky wombat from our southernmost state has been getting quite a bit of attention online thanks to a real cute YouTube video. Derek the wombat – great wombat name, by the way – lives out on Flinders Island, and because the Internet is all but obsessed with him, the folk over on the island have decided he needs a little company….

All you have to do is fill out the application form here before 10pm on April 16. Entrants must be over the age of 18 and of course, love cuddling wombats. What are you waiting for!?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Michael J. Walsh, Will R., and Kyra for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor Cora.]

Filers Destroy Pixel Scroll

Filers proved today there is no such thing as an innocent question….

Bonnie McDaniel http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417321

By the way, since this is National Poetry Month, are we having Scroll titles based on poems?

The other Nigel http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417341

T’was Brillig and the Pixel Scroll did gyre and gimble in the web

Soon Lee http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417342

Two Pixels diverged in a Scroll, and I
I took the one less traveled by,

rea http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417454

Whan that Aprille, with hise pixels soote,
The scroll of March hath perced to the roote . . .

Jack Lint http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417441

Scroll Season!
Pixel Season!

Kip W. http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417443

Come file with me and read my scroll
And we shall prove the pixels droll
That Hugos, books, shows, and things,
Fans and working writers brings.

And we will crawl about the Net
And hear of famous folk we’ve met
And if your joy be piqued to stroll
Come file with me and read my scroll.

Jack Lint http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417448

In the middle of the web in the land of Glyer
Lives a brave little pixel whom we all admire.

I’ll just stop here as I’m not even sure if Glyer and admire rhyme.

Steve Wright http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417452

A Glyer who bore, ‘mid snow and ice
A pixel with the scroll device
Excelsior!

Jim Henley http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417464

Downward to pixels on extended scrolls.
For the Scroll’s more full of pixels
Than you can understand.

The Scroll That Through the Vile Hive Drives the Pixel.
The scroll of pixels isn’t hard to master.
Pixel is Scroll; Scroll, Pixel. That
Is all ye file and all ye need to file.

The apparition of these pixels in the scroll:
Items in a vile, long File.
Before I’d build a pixel
I’d ask what I was scrolling in or out.

Stoic Cynic http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417470

@Mike Glyer
I can recognize a rhyme, it’s meter that always gets my goat

Well you know what they say:

Don’t do the rhyme if you can’t do the time….

Will R. http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417476

Oh Pixel, My Pixel (from the Dead Scrollers Society).

Stoic Cynic http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417481

I blame @Will R:

O PIXEL! my Pixel! our fearful trip is done;
The scroll has weathered every troll, the talk we sought is won;
The Hugo is near, Worldcon I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady File, the website bright and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where in ‘older posts’ my pixel lies,
Fallen cold, unread.

Greg Hullender http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=2#comment-417489

Pixels, pixels everywhere
And all the scrolls did link.
Pixels, pixels everywhere
Nor any pup to think.
(From “The Rime of the Ancient Filerscum.”

Stoic Cynic http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=2#comment-417508

Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Where there’s a slate…

We want to vote the straight ticket today,
But Space Butt Raptor seems just so… outre’
We’re gonna gambit that gambit all day

Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Left, Right.
(LEFT?!? WHO LET THAT SJW IN HERE! SKIN HIM!!!) *clangs, shouts, singing resumes*
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way

Right, right.
Right, right.
Right, right.

With apologies to Rankin Bass

 

Peace Is My Middle Name http://file770.com/?p=22527&cpage=5#comment-262347:

This is last year’s, but still …

The Puppies is a slate, ma lads, for the Hugo Prize she’s bound,
And the quay it is aa garnished wi bonnie fanboyz round.
Captain Torgersen he orders tae vote the Puppies high,
He’ll fetch himself a Hugo, lads, or know the reason why.

Chorus

And it’s cheer up, ma lads, let yer hearts fill wi hate.
When the Sad and Rabid Puppies nab the Hugos for the slate.

Along the quays at Puppyheim the fanboys stand aroond,
Their angst all pulled aboot them and the salt tears rinnin doon.

Oh, don’t you weep, my bonnie Pups, though ye’ll be left behind.
For the Beale will pal wi’ Scalzi, before we change our mind.

Here’s a health tae the Son o’ Torger, likewise the John C. Wright,
Here’s a health tae the Monster Hunter, and the fans who fight the fight.

We wear the trenchcoats o the brown, an fedoras o the gray,
We’ll pack the slate wi Pups me lad, we cannae lose that way.

It’ll be bright baith day and night when the Puppy lads come hame,
Wi a load of Puppy Hugos, boys, and money tae oor name.

Like the ships all crushed in ice, me lads, while fishing for the whale,
We’ll try and try and try again until the Pups prevail.

The Dreams That Connect MLK and SF

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Will R.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. isn’t often the first name that comes to mind when we think “science fiction,” but perhaps that’s changing.

It’s hardly necessary at this point to remind ourselves that King has at least one well-known literal connection to science fiction. The story of how he personally shaped Star Trek, certainly among the most influential works of the genre, for instance, has been relayed in these very files:

If not for Dr. Martin Luther King, Nichelle Nichols would have abandoned Star Trek and the role of Uhura. Her reminiscence about their encounter is quoted on Dangerous Minds:

“Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am that fan. I am your best fan, your greatest fan, and my family are your greatest fans…. We admire you greatly ….And the manner in which you’ve created this role has dignity….”

I said “Dr. King, thank you so much. I really am going to miss my co-stars.” He said, dead serious, “What are you talking about?” I said, “I’m leaving Star Trek,” He said, “You cannot. You cannot!”

I was taken aback. He said, “Don’t you understand what this man has achieved? For the first time on television we will be seen as we should be seen every day – as intelligent, quality, beautiful people who can sing, dance, but who can also go into space, who can be lawyers, who can be teachers, who can be professors, and yet you don’t see it on television – until now….”

But it’s striking that the connection between King and scifi increasingly seems to be assumed. The occasion for this post, for instance, was happening upon the following unusual comments from a small town on the high plains of New Mexico:

As nationally recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) Alumni Director Robert Graham said he finds his thoughts of civil rights and freedom mixed with thoughts of science fiction.

Graham, who attended King’s alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, said he thinks about stories such as King convincing Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols to stay on the show for more seasons, because it is important that there is diversity. He said he heard this story on National Public Radio.

Graham said science fiction is a representation of the future of a society, so it is important to civil rights that diversity and acceptance is shown there.

“Science fiction foreshadows our future as a species and talks about current issues,” said Graham, who is helping to organize the city-wide celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

Eastern New Mexico, for those who haven’t been there, is a place that’s mainly ranches and open range, a place you wouldn’t usually think of “sci-fi country” (though Roswell isn’t all that far away). Certainly it’s one anecdotal bit of evidence. But lest that seem like an outlier, consider this lead, from an article headlined “Keep King’s dream alive, don’t perpetuate racism and intolerance” that appeared recently in The Dialog, “Serving the Catholic Community of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore”:

“All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.”

That’s a prophecy from a science fiction show called “Battlestar Galactica,” but sometimes I think it might be a prophecy for our world, as well.

The articles prompt thoughts about MLK, how he saw the other country embedded within our own as he sat in jail cells, caught between communities, and about how much of King’s thought is concerned with galactic scale and scope. He’s famously associated with the phrase “the arc of the moral universe is long,” for instance (which he apparently didn’t invent – but it’s a hallmark of great speakers, isn’t it, that they make phrases their own?)

If any genre of fiction can attest to that scope, give it some form the mind can work with, it must be science fiction.

Perhaps it’s on my mind because I just finished reading Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. I wasn’t surprised to find it laced with science fiction and superhero references given Chabon’s background with Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, but I was surprised by how much of the book turned out to be about Afrofuturism. Though the book itself was hardly his most successful, the passages dealing with the experience of African-Americans and why science fiction might be a natural analogy are among the book’s best elements. Consider:

Gwen recalled a lecture of Julie’s, delivered one night when he was ten or eleven, on the difference between terraforming and pantropy. When you changed a planet’s atmosphere and environment to suit the needs of human physiology, that was terraforming; pantropy meant the alteration of the human form and mind to allow survival, even prosperity, on a harsh, unforgiving world. In the struggle to thrive and flourish on the planet of America, some black people had opted for the epic tragedy, grand and bitter, of terraforming; others, like Gwen’s parents and their parents and grandparents before them, had engaged in a long and selective program of pantropy.*

Scifi puts the choices into their starkest form.

The past may be another country, but, as we are reminded by the television revival of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, it can be awfully hard to tell the difference when you’re there. Maybe it’s only the outcasts who glimpse the truth. And so today, let’s spare a thought for King the alien, whose dream of beings who can coexist despite differences still too often looks like fantasy.

/* Who hasn’t given a lecture like this at the age of ten or eleven?

Pixel Scroll 12/22 I Saw Mommy Reading Pixel Scroll

(1) IN SFWA TIMES TO COME. Cat Rambo in “What I’m Hoping For SFWA in 2016” tells about the organization’s accomplishments and shortfalls in 2015, and what the future holds. Here’s an excerpt from each category —

SFWA’s 2015 Accomplishments

We hammered out membership criteria that didn’t just include writers publishing independently or with small presses but made us the first organization to consider crowdfunded projects as a publication path. That’s led to an influx of new members and fresh energy that’s been delightful to be part of….

Some Bad Stuff

The lack of a plan behind the 50th Anniversary Anthology finally sank that project when our CFO and I realized that the books would have to sell for 84.50 each in order to break even….

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2016

M.C.A. Hogarth has been a terrific Vice President, proactive and self-guided. One of her projects is a guidebook for SFWA members that explains everything: how to join the discussion forums, how to nominate for the Nebulas, how to participate in the Featured Book Program on the website, who to mail with directory issues, etc. That will appear in 2016 and I think it will be a bit of a revelation to us all….

Rambo ends with Henry Lien’s anthem “Radio SFWA,” which I must say I am a huge fan of, whatever it may do for anybody else…. (The lyrics appear when you click “show more” at the song’s YouTube page.)

(2) RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens lands unprecedented award nomination” reports Polygon.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already shattered plenty of box office records, but the movie has also made history by reportedly earning an unprecedented nomination from the Broadcast Critics Association.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Association made the historic move to include the film as the eleventh contender for their Best Film award. The nomination list had come out eight days before The Force Awakens was released, effectively shutting the film out entirely. Usually, films must be submitted during a specific voting period and those that don’t meet the deadline aren’t considered at all.

(3) GOOD FOR A QUOTE. Academic Henry Jenkins, who appeared as a witness in The People Vs. George Lucas, explains “What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars” at Confessions of an Aca-Fan.

This blog post might be subtitled “The Pretentious Ass Strikes Back.” Here’s a story we tell in my family.

In 1977, Cynthia Ann Benson, an undergraduate at Georgia State University, has signed up for a class on film theory and criticism, with some nervousness about whether it will take the pleasure out of going to the movies. On the first day of class, the instructor — Jack Creech — is late, and a group of students are gathered outside the classroom. This guy — you know the one — another undergraduate student  is standing around making assertions about gender, race, and technology in the recently released Star Wars movie to anyone who will listen and to many who would probably rather not be listening. She goes off after class and writes a letter to her best friend describing “this pretentious ass pontificating about the social significance of Star Wars” as summing up everything that made her fearful of cinema studies.  It took me several years to overcome that unfortunate first impression and get her to go out on a date with me. We’ve now been married for almost 35 years.

So, it was some ironic glee that I accepted the invitation of the media relations folks at USC to be put on a list of experts who could talk to the media about Star Wars. I found myself doing some dozen or more interviews with reporters all over the world in the week leading up to the release of A Force Awakens, filling them in about the impact which the Star Wars franchise has had over the past few decades.

(4) HE’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK FOLKS. James H. Burns sent an email to ask: “Hey, Mike, do you know why I’ll be wearing a deerstalker cap on the 25th?”

The answer: “Because I’ll be Holmes, for Christmas.”

(5) I’M MELTING…MELTING….

(6) HIGH CASTLE TO CONTINUE. Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle has displaced Titus Welliver-starrer Bosch as its most-watched original according to The Hollywood Reporter.  The show’s pilot also has been streamed more times than any other pilot in Amazon history. The company announced a few days ago it has renewed the show for a second season.

(7) DID YOU PAY ATTENTION? Pit your wits against “Orbit’s Ultimate 2015 Science Fiction and Fantasy Quiz” at Playbuzz. Multiple choice questions, for example:

Fans visited the Discworld for the last time this year, with Terry Pratchett’s final book, The Shepherd’s Crown, released in August. If you were to visit Ankh Morpork, how would you recognise the city’s crest? It contains…

JJ says, “In my opinion, it’s way too heavy on media (Film, TV, comics) and Game of Thrones, but I’m sure a lot of Filers will do well on it.”

(8) BIG NAME ZOMBIE WRITERS. Jonathan Maberry and George Romero are joining forces to edit Rise of the Living Dead, an anthology of all-original stories set in the 48 hours surrounding Romero’s landmark film.

Rise of the Living Dead will be published by Griffin, and will include stories by Brad Thor, Brian Keene, Chuck Wendig, David Wellington, George Romero, Isaac Marion, Jay Bonansinga, Joe Lansdale, Joe McKinney, John Russo, Jonathan Maberry, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Mike Carey, Mira Grant (pen name of Seanan McGuire), Neal Shusterman & Brandon Shusterman, and Sandra Brown & Ryan Brown.

(9) LEWIS PART THREE. Matthew David Surridge unveiled “Wandering the Worlds of C.S. Lewis, Part III: Dymer” at Black Gate.

In 1922 C.S. Lewis recorded in his diary that he had “started a poem on ‘Dymer’ in rhyme royal.” His phrasing’s interesting: a work “on” Dymer, as though it were a well-known subject. “Dymer” was already a familiar story to him. He’d written it out in prose in 1917, one of his first mature prose works to use modern diction and avoid the archaisms of William Morris’ novels. Late in 1918 he wrote in a letter that he’d just completed a “short narrative, which is a verse version of our old friend Dymer, greatly reduced and altered to my new ideas. The main idea is that of development by self-destruction, both of individuals and species.” Nothing of this version seems to have survived in the 1922 poem, which was finished in 1925 and published in 1926 to mixed reviews.

(10) HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS. After viewing “Boston Dynamics’ Robo-Dogs Pulling a Sleigh is a Terrifying Glimpse of Christmas Future”, Will R. asked, “Do electric puppies dream of…wait…where was I?”

I love the possibility of a Christmas battle royal between the Robo-Dogs and the regiment of parading Krampuses – it would be the real life equivalent of that Doctor Who episode where the Daleks fought the Cybermen….

(11) PARTYARCHS. Because the MidAmeriCon II Exhibits team will be helping people throw parties in the Worldcon’s event space, rather than have them in hotel rooms, they are inviting people to an advance discussion —

Hi all you party throwers!

At MidAmeriCon II, we are going to have a different party setup and we have some questions to ask of you and answers to share with you.

Please subscribe to our party-discussion mailing list by sending an email to party-discuss-join@midamericon2.org with the subject line of SUBSCRIBE.

Even if you aren’t going to throw a party, we are interested in your insight and advice.

(12) BOND ON ICE. James H. Burns calls”Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?” from the sixth James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, “Perhaps the most unusual song in a James Bond film.” Nina Van Pallandt is the singer.

The song played behind this action scene:

(13) RECOMMENDATION SITE. Ken Marable’s 2016 Hugo Recommendation Season is working its way through every category week at a time. It just wrapped up the Best Fanzine recommendations.

Previously covered – Best Semiprozine, Best Fan Writer, Best Professional Artist, and Best Editor (Short Form). See the schedule at the site for when others will be covered.

(14) BOIL’EM, BAKE ‘EM, STICK ‘EM IN A STEW. Peru’s Centro Internacional de la Papa will learn how to grow “Potatoes on Mars”.

A team of world-class scientists will grow potatoes under Martian conditions in a bid to save millions of lives.

The experiment, led by the International Potato Center (CIP) and NASA, is a major step towards building a controlled dome on Mars capable of farming the invaluable crop in order to demonstrate that potatoes can be grown in the most inhospitable environments.

The goal is to raise awareness of the incredible resilience of potatoes, and fund further research and farming in devastated areas across the globe where malnutrition and poverty are rife and climbing….

By using soils almost identical to those found on Mars, sourced from the Pampas de La Joya Desert in Peru, the teams will replicate Martian atmospheric conditions in a laboratory and grow potatoes. The increased levels of carbon dioxide will benefit the crop, whose yield is two to four times that of a regular grain crop under normal Earth conditions. The Martian atmosphere is near 95 per cent carbon dioxide.

(15) FISHER. “Han Jimbo” (James H. Burns) says this interview with Carrie Fisher from earlier in the month is just delightful.

(16) CINEMATIC COAL LUMP. ‘Tis the season to remember what is generally regarded among the worst movies ever made.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians can be viewed free online. (As if you would pay to see it!)

(17) WAY OF THE HOBBIT. Ebook Friendly draws our attention to the “Following the Hobbit trail (infographic)”.

Quirk Books, an independent book publisher based in Philadelphia, has released a fantastic infographic that will let you study the timeline of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

The visual was prepared for Quirk Books by Michael Rogalski.

Following-the-Hobbit-trail-infographic

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Will R., James H. Burns, John King Tarpinian, JJ, and Gregory N. Hullender for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]

Shedding Light on Dark Vador

vader COMP

By Will R. Bit of a follow-up to the Paris poster…  Seeing him referred to as “Dark Vador” interested me, as I figured it must be a well-known thing in order to appear on a poster that way. Googling around a bit hasn’t clarified it much for me, but it seems partly to have to do with a somewhat spurious etymology by George Lucas himself, who has apparently suggested that “Darth Vader” might have been derived from Dutch words for “Dark Father”:

The real problem here is that it’s Lucas who started the “dark father” interpretation. See the Darth Vader article,

In a 2005 interview, George Lucas was asked the origins of the name “Darth Vader”, and replied: “Darth is a variation of dark. And Vader is a variation of father. So it’s basically Dark Father.” (Rolling Stone, June 2, 2005). “Vader” is the Dutch word for “father” (the Dutch word is instead pronounced “fah-der”), and the German word for “father” (Vater) is similar.

(via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ADarth)

I say somewhat spurious because apparently “Darth Vader” wasn’t always intended to be the character we now know. (From the page above: “…in the earliest scripts for Star Wars, the name ‘Darth Vader’ was given to a human Imperial general.”)

Anyhow, I couldn’t quickly find out how far back this goes in France, but it seems to be a fairly established thing. (E.g., Dark Vador) It’s strange partly because “dark” doesn’t mean “dark” in French, so I’m not sure what you gain by the change. (Maybe “darth” sounds like something else?) “Vador” I can see, as it’s more phonetic. C3PO’s name was apparently clumsy to pronounce in French and thus altered as well.

Then I assumed this must also happen in other languages (kind of the way dogs’ barks sound different depending on where the dogs live – “How Dogs Bark In Different Languages”). And indeed, I found one reference to him being called “Lord Fener” in Italy: “Why is Darth Vader called Lord Fener in Italy”.

My guess is this is covered extensively somewhere, but if not, perhaps it would be an interesting topic. Was this done from the beginning? Were other adjustments made around the world? Would “Lord Fener” have terrified me the same way Vader did when I was seven?